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.
Sinful yet irresistible.
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.
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.
I used smoked bacon but you can use whatever ingredients (meat/cured meat/seafood) you have in your fridge.
Japanese curry rice or karē raisu is Mr. D’s favorite and whenever I cook this dish, he’ll jump for joy like a little boy in a candy store. Japanese curry is very popular in Japan and you can easily get it in any fast food shop or cafe. Unlike Indian or Malaysian curry which are on the spicy side, Japanese curry is not spicy, has thicker consistency, extremely aromatic and slightly sweeter. It is a very appetizing dish and Mr. D couldn’t have enough of it. This dish is simple and quick to prepare as you can use store bought Japanese curry roux in block form. There are an assortment of instant curry roux which are easily available in any Asian groceries store. The major brands are from House Foods, S&B Foods & Ezaki Glico.
In our quest to search for the best instant Japanese curry roux, we tested the different range we could get hold of such as the S&B Golden Curry, S&B Tasty Curry, House Vermont Curry, House Java Curry, and House Kokumaro Curry. Our verdict: Kokumaro Curry from House is without a doubt the best curry among all the instant Japanese curry we tried as it’s seductively aromatic and tantalizing. It tastes as good or even better than the ones serve in the Japanese restaurant here. It comes in a box with 2 blocks of curry roux and each block yields about 5 servings.
Finely diced shallots, bite-sized chicken, diced carrots and potatoes, and Kokumaro instant curry roux are all you need.
Itadakimasu! Honto ni oishii desu!
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.
For me, it’s important to obtain good quality cheese and pasta when cooking Mac & Cheese because these two are the heroes of the dish. I enjoy Barilla’s pasta more than San Remo’s as Barilla’s pasta has nice bitey texture and shorter cooking time. As for the cheese, I used Bega’s vintage cheddar and Mainland’s Gruyere. This recipe by Neil Perry calls for the addition of smoked paprika and Dijon mustard into the cream mixture. The flavor is rather interesting and all of them goes hand in hand together. I usually give it a generous sprinkle of breadcrumbs over the top and slowly grill it for better crunch and fragrance. I can assure you that you’ll be sticking to this recipe after you try it as it’s so easy, quick, and most importantly, DELICIOUS. I was pleasantly surprised at how light this dish is despite the amount of cream and cheese used in this recipe. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
These are what you need. Missing breadcrumbs as I forgot to take it out from the cabinet.
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.