Monthly Archives: January 2013

Guotie (Pot sticker)

Jiaozi is a Chinese dumpling and it is a hot favorite among Chinese households. Jiaozi can be steamed, boiled, or pan fried. The pan fried version is known as guotie (pot stickers) or gyoza in Japan. As the name implies, the dumpling stuck slightly to the wok at the end of cooking but it could be easily removed by nudging it using a spatula.

While jiaozi filling commonly consists of meat and/or vegetables, there’s no limit to what you can add in it. You can make the filling with the ingredients you like/have on hand. Both taste and textures are very important in dumpling making. For me, I love to add shitake mushrooms, carrots, and wombok leaves together with the mince pork to produce different textures (bitey and crunchy). The filling smells and taste wonderful with the addition of seasonings such as sesame oil, shaoxing wine, good quality soy sauce, grated ginger, and garlic. The wrapper and wrapping style for guotie is different from deep fried wontons. Guotie wrappers are white in color, round-shaped, and thicker compared to wonton wrappers. My first jiaozi attempt which was 3 years ago was unsuccessful and I ended up with disintegrated dumplings as I did not seal the dumpling properly. Make sure you pinch the edges of the dumpling firmly so that they won’t break apart when cooking.

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Crispy skin on the bottom and tenderly soft skin on the top.

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Seddon Deadly Sins Cafe

Address: 148 Victoria Street, Seddon VIC 3011 Australia.

Opening hours: Tues – Sun (8 am – 5 pm), Mon (closed)

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We were up in Melbourne last Saturday to do a bit of shopping. On the way there, we stopped by Seddon Deadly Sins cafe in Footscray for our brekkie. Finding a parking space was easy as there are plenty of free 2P parking lots around the area. As soon as we walked into the cafe, we were greeted by a friendly waiter, he ushered us to our table, and took our drinks order. We were then given a menu and it took me quite a while to decide what I wanted to eat as every item on the menu sounds very interesting and yummy. In the end, I decided to go with the Spanish eggs while Mr. D ordered the croquettes from the specials.

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Siew Ngap (Chinese Roast Duck)

Roasting a duck is a little trickier than roasting a chicken or pork belly due to the thick layer of fat underneath the duck skin. In order to obtain crispy duck skin, it is crucial to drain all the fat. Various methods have been employed to achieve thin and crispy skin duck and these includes steaming the duck over boiling water, air dry the duck for a few hours before roasting, using an air pump to separate the skin from the fat layer or pierce the skin of the duck to render all the fat. I opted for the piercing method as it is the simplest approach. The whole duck roasting and resting process took about 4 1/2 hours but I can assure you that it’s all worthwhile. The duck meat was so GOOD, moist and tender and the skin, although I would prefer it to be a tad crispier, it’s still delicious. Next time, I’ll bake it at 400 °F for 12 min instead of only 7 min for extra crispy skin.

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4 hr roast duck. Extremely succulent meat.

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Morning Tea @ Lavish Specialty Coffee Cafe

Address: 119 – 121 Little Malop Street, Geelong VIC 3220, Australia.

Opening hours: Mon-Fri (8.30 am – 4 pm), Sat (8.30 am – 3 pm) & Sun (closed)

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It’s not difficult to find a good coffee spot in Melbourne city. In fact, there are plentiful scattered around the city. I couldn’t say the same for Geelong but fortunately we have Lavish Specialty Coffee Cafe in the city. Yesterday Mr. D craved for a cup of good coffee hence we decided to drop by the cafe to fulfill his caffeine needs. The staff here are very committed and passionate in their coffee and I really enjoy watching the baristas working behind the counter, looking so engrossed in making the perfect cup of coffee for each and every one of their customers. The coffee here is strong and aromatic with just the right creaminess.  When I was at the cashier paying for our drinks, I noticed a tray of fantastic looking banana and raspberry muffin on the counter. They looked too good to pass up so I ordered one to try. The muffin was so delightfully soft and paired very well with the cream and drizzles of raspberry sauce.

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Mocha and banana & raspberry muffin.

Crackling Siew Yuk (Chinese Roast Pork)

Before I started dating Mr. D, I had a peculiar way of eating pork belly. I would first separate the pork belly into little segments: the meat, the fat, and the skin. Then, I would throw away the fat layer and sometimes including the skin too if I couldn’t separate it from the fat properly. I am very sure that when I did that, it was not for health reasons but for some strange reason I assumed that the fat tasted horrible. When Mr. D witnessed what I did, he was dumbfounded and gave me a weird look as if I’ve committed a serious crime. Then, he said that I totally missed the whole point of eating a pork belly. It was kind of hilarious now that I think back (Hehe!). Since then, slowly I begin to discover the incredible tastiness of melt-in-my-mouth fats. It’s just sinfully delicious. Now, a plate of juicy and tender siew yuk with crispy crackling skin will put me on cloud nine. (´ ▽`).。o♡

When cooking siew yuk, it’s important to get good crackling skin as if it’s not crackled completely, the skin will be tough and chewy. The tricks of getting crispy crackling skin are to dry the skin, prick holes on the skin to render the fat, and grill the skin for a few minutes in the oven at the end to blister the skin. The marinade for the meat consists of five spice powder, nam yee, garlic, sugar and salt. I suggest that you try to source the best five spice powder possible as it does make a difference to siew yuk taste. My favorite would be the popular Pok Aun Thong’s five spice powder from Penang. It has a deep red color and I found that it’s more fragrant than the other brands that I had tried thus far. Unfortunately, they don’t export their products so whenever I go back to my hometown, I would bring a few packets over to Australia.

Nam yee is a red fermented bean curd which is a must have ingredient for siew yuk marinade. Fermented bean curd is basically preserved tofu soaked in flavored brine and is usually used as a condiment in congee, porridge, braised dishes or vegetable stir-fries. Red fermented bean curd incorporates red yeast rice with brining liquor giving it red color. Nam yee is used a lot in meat dishes as it’s very aromatic and flavorful.

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Sinful yet irresistible.

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Deep Fried Wontons

Who doesn’t love crunchy deep fried wontons? They are great as party food, snacks or as accompaniment to rice. In Malaysia deep fried wontons are also served with egg noodles, char siu (barbequed pork) and choy sum (asian green) dressed with dark and light soy sauce (a.k.a dry wonton noodle). With ready-made wonton wrappers easily available in the supermarket, making wonton is a breeze. Wonton filling mainly consists of mince pork, prawn, water chestnuts, spring onions, and seasonings. Cornflour and egg white are used to bind the ingredients together. To obtain a good wonton filling texture, do not add in too much mince meat and do not compact the meat like you do in making meatballs. You do not want a filling that’s too dense in this case. I like to put in a lot of roughly chopped water chestnuts and prawns to give the filling a crunchier texture. There are various wonton wrapping methods or techniques available on the internet depending on the wonton shapes. The wonton shape that I usually make resembles a hobo’s bindle which is simple, quick to make, and suitable for beginners.

Wonton filling ingredientsIngredients for wonton filling.

FillingMix well using a fork.

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Stir Fry Spiral Pasta with Bacon & Mushrooms

One time, Mr. D’s mom cooked this for dinner and I instantly liked it. It is something different from your usual pasta dish and taste awesome. Furthermore, it is super simple to cook and extremely versatile. You can use/add whatever ingredients you fancy (prawn, squid, chicken or beef) to the pasta. The combination of worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, and chilli sauce creates a tangy sweet and sour taste with a subtle hint of spiciness that will appeal to those who loves sweet and sourish food. It is important to ensure that the pasta is not overcook in step 1, or else it’ll end up unpalatable as the pasta will cook further in the wok and it’ll be sticky and gluggy. Hence, it is advisable to cook the pasta 1-2 min less than the stated time on the packet.

IMG_6627I used smoked bacon but you can use whatever ingredients (meat/cured meat/seafood) you have in your fridge.

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