Oh no, I have been missing in action again! No, I have not forgotten about PonPeKo at all. I am still experimenting in my kitchen and trying out new cafes and restaurants. I just could not find time to write about them. Or… is it just an excuse for my lack of discipline?
I just did two gym classes and got back home hungry. I have a pack of pork mince and some baby capsicums in the fridge and sweet and sour meatballs suddenly came into my mind. It is easy to whip up and Mr. D will love it as it is a meat dish and it is deep fried too. This dish is sort of a simplified version of Ku Lo Yuk dish.
In Malaysia, fish heads are frequently used in curries and in stock for noodle soup. I know, some of you would probably feel squeamish about eating fish heads but according to the Chinese elderly, fish heads are actually very nutritious, especially the eyeballs. They believe that eating the fish eyeball will improve one’s vision. I’m not sure how true is that but it doesn’t matter to me. It being nutritious is not the reason I like it. I enjoy fish heads mainly because they are so flavorful. This is especially true for salmon fish head due to its high fat content. Malaysians love their fish head and this is why it is super expensive back home. Fortunately for us, not many people in Australia knows how to appreciate fish head and therefore it is quite cheap here.
Fish head bee hoon is a very comforting dish and it is great in cold weather. The soup is extremely appetizing with slight sourish taste from the pickled mustard green and tomato. The stock has a really nice aroma as the fish head pieces are deep fried first before they are boiled in the water.
I have not been updating PonPeKo ever since I started work in February. I truly wanted to keep PonPeKo alive but my tiredness and laziness got best of me. Truth be told, we still haven’t finish unpacking the boxes in our kitchen. Most of my baking utensils are still sitting in the boxes and hence I do not have any dessert materials to post lately. Moreover, since moving up here, it’s really easy to find places with excellent food and desserts which leads to more procrastination from my side. Hmm, I really need to stop procrastinating and get everything unpacked as soon as possible. Be more disciplined, Yang!
Today, I would like to share my favorite economy rice dish with you. If you’re not familiar with the term “economy rice”, it’s basically a food stall that sells a selection of dishes ranging from various meat, vegetables, fish, and curries. You can pick any dish and as many dishes as you like to have them as accompaniment to rice. Economy rice is very popular in Malaysia as it’s cheap and good. Ku Lo Yuk is one of the popular dish and it is sold in every economy rice stall. It’s not too difficult to make, just make sure that you don’t add in too much cornflour to avoid the coating of the pork becoming too floury. Try to avoid using canned pineapples in syrup as they are overly sweet. Canned pineapples in natural juices are better as they have the slight tanginess which complements the sauce in this dish.
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.
Ingredients for wonton filling.
Mix well using a fork.
Last week has been hectic and exhausting. I had very little motivation to cook yet both of us did not feel like eating out. So, I whipped up a simple chicken curry puff for dinner using instant Malaysian curry paste from A1 Best One. A1 Best One instant curry paste is very famous in Malaysia and it is sold in most overseas asian groceries stores . The reasons behind its popularity are its wonderful aroma and flavorful taste. Please take note that there is another instant curry paste sold in the stores that has almost similar name as A1 Best One and it is known as A1 ActionOne instant curry paste. Initially, I thought that they are both from the same company but later found out that they were different. I prefer A1 Best One’s curry paste over A1 ActionOne as the latter taste a bit dull.
Ingredients you need.
Quick Chicken Curry Puff (Serves 5)
- 1 packet of instant curry paste
- 1 medium red onion (chopped)
- 2 potatoes (peeled and cubed)
- 4 chicken thigh fillets
- 300 ml water
- 1 tbs oil
- Wash the chicken thigh fillets and pat them dry with a paper towel. Cut the fillets into cubes.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the chopped onions and fry until translucent.
- Add in the instant curry paste and stir-fry for 2 min or until aromatic.
- Add in the cubed chicken thigh fillets and potatoes and stir fry for 3 min.
- Pour in 300 ml of water. Cover the lid, lower the heat and let the curry simmer until the chicken is done and potatoes are tender (30-45 min).
- Let it cool.
Are you a fan of claypot chicken rice? I know I AM! For those of you who have no idea what it is, allow me to enlighten you. 🙂 Basically, it is a combination of marinated chicken pieces, shitake mushrooms, and rice cooked in a claypot over high flames and right before it is served, an egg is cracked over the rice and sprinkled with salted fish. I’m feeling hungry already by just describing it. Haha, greedy me! 😛
Claypot chicken rice is easily obtainable anywhere in Penang, Malaysia. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Australia especially in Geelong. But that won’t stop me from enjoying my favorite food. If I crave it, cook it I shall!
Cooking the dish in a claypot will produce a layer of crispy bits at the bottom of the pan and this gives the dish a great charred flavor. This charred flavor together with the egg and fragrant salted fish are just amazing! (Mmm!~~ ) Sadly, I do not have a claypot so I’ll just have to make do with what I’ve got, a microwavable pot or a rice cooker. Although cooking it this way does not give you the amazing crispy charred bits, it still taste delicious especially when serving with good quality salted fish. This dish is a great one pot dish for those lazy days as it is very simple to cook. It is important to get the right balance of saltiness in this dish. After some trial and error, this is the final recipe that I’m happy with.
Salted fish brought in from Penang by Mr. D’s mom. Salted fish sold in asian groceries stores in Melbourne is super expensive and not as fresh looking as the ones back home.
Soaked shitake musrooms. Do not throw away the soaking liquid as it is used to enhance the rice flavor.
Golden brown salted fish.
Make sure to stir fry the rice and all of the ingredients evenly in the wok before transferring to the rice cooker or microwavable pot.