Friday, November 12, 2010

Confinement Food - Varity Nutrition Soup for Wk#1, 月子餐 - 第一周-各类补汤


Forgive me for the inconsistency of my photo quality recently. The time is approaching - it is just around the corner - trying to post as many things as I can. But it doesn't work so well for a clumsy pregnant woman.

After getting advices from elderly women and reading some articles about confinement food, I have come up with a few choices of nutritional soup for my first week's confinement. It is not recommended to consume meals cooked with alcohol (even wine) and sesame oil in the first week post-partum because it will lead to unfavorably high vaginal blood discharge (恶露). The meals for the first week should be balanced, neutral and nourishing.

Here I came up with 3 types of nutritional soup first. I will update more whenever I have chance. It has been really exhausting recently, so I am trying to catch some rest. I would appreciate if some of you could share some tips with me about your confinement experience too.

大肚婆临盆在即, 动作迟钝, 没花什么心思拍照片了, 有拍到交货就好了啦! 照片品质不好, 请大家多多体谅哦...又要采购, 又要试煮, 又要记录食谱, 又要更新网志, 又要在生产之前赶工作进度....累啊!!!

今天先来几道温和的补汤, 还有一些要等以后有机会再整理了...目前争取时间休息最重要.

听 了一些过来人的意见和参考了许多医疗书籍, 结合了老人家的传统和医学上的资料, 我整理了几道产后第一周所要喝的补汤. 根据书上说的, 产后第一周的重点在於排除恶露, 除了服用生化汤, 饮食方面以均衡清单为主, 由于酒精会使血管广张促进血液循环, 而使出血更多, 所以饮食不加酒禁麻油为宜, 中药补汤也需要等到第二或第三周开始. 老人家说的, 第一周要"温补". 以下几款补汤其实也适合在平时褒来補一補, 做法简单, 是属于比较温和的補汤, 不会燥热. 还有其它补汤等我有机会在UPDATE吧, 大肚婆超忙的!!!

月子餐尽量少盐, 要不然水肿消不掉哦! 自己也是在学习, 也恳请有坐月经验的读者们多多留言分享, 感激不尽哦!!!

Soup # 1. - Mushroom & black fungus chicken soup - 香菇木耳鸡汤

1. 1/2 free range chicken chunks (approx. 600g), 半只土鸡(切大块) - pre-washed with boiled water, 川烫备用
2. 4~5 pre-soaked mushrooms - cut to chunks
3. 1" of fresh ginger chunk (can use bigger chunk if you like it)
4. 4~5 pre-soaked black fungus
5. 1 fresh oyster mushroom (sliced) - optional, can omit if it is not available.
6. Some wolfberries
7. 1000~1200ml water.
8. Salt to taste

Steps :

1. Boil the water, add in chicken and mushroom.
2. Bring boil again, simmer over low heat for approx. 40~60 minutes.
3. Add in black fungus, oyster mushroom slices, wolfberries.
4. Bring to boil again, simmer another 20 minutes.
5. Remove from heat, season with salt.

Soup# 2 : Black Bean Pork Rib Soup (黑豆排骨汤)

1. 400g Pork ribs (can substitute with pork knuckles chunks), pre-washed with boiled water, 川烫备用.
2. 2/3~1 cup black beans (wash and sauteed over medium heat (without oil/grease) until the bean's skin begin to crack), remove from heat and set aside.
3. 1" ginger chunk
4. 1200 ml water.
5. Salt to taste.


Steps :
1. Boil the water, add in ingredients # 1~3.
2. Bring to boil again, simmer over low heat for 80~90 minutes.
3. Salt to taste.

Soup# 3 : Chicken in Brown Sweet Rice Soup - 糯糙米汤炖土鸡
(recipe from Sister Lisa)

1. 1 cup (use rice cup) of brown sweet rice
2. 1400~1500 ml water.
3. 1/2 free range chicken chunks (approx. 600g) (1/2 只土鸡块), 川烫备用.
4. 6~8 Black dates/red dates 黑枣/红枣 (optional)
5. Salt to taste (can be omitted)

Steps :
1. Cook the sweet rice until it is the consistency of congee.
2. Separate the rice from the liquid. (I keep some rice)
3. Add in chicken chunks and dates
4. Bring to boil, simmer over low heat for 45~60 minutes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Confinement Food (月子餐) : Pork Knuckles in Ginger and Vinegar 猪脚姜醋


Curious about whether I am in confinement period??? Not yet, but pretty soon! :-). This is why I said I couldn't move fast in my prior post. I think some of you may have already guessed I am pregnant. :-p. After the moving and un-packing, we are now busy with baby stuff shopping and buying my confinement food ingredients. One of my tasks before labor is to cook excessive food that is freezable for my honey - Tom. That way he doesn't have to eat too much of the high sodium frozen foods that are usually sold at supermarkets here.

I think I have got most of the confinement recipes ingredient stocked up in my pantry, but as most of them are not the same as what are available in Malaysia, I am going through some "rehearsals" on some of the common confinement meals in order to get the right amount to make it taste like what I usually cook. I am so lucky that I have some friends here who are volunteering to help me through out this critical post-natal period. I think it is also better for them to know ahead what kind food I can handle and write down proper recipes for them to follow.

Pork Knuckles in Ginger and Vinegar is one of the Chinese traditional confinement foods that help to increase milk supply for breastfeeding moms. I got different types of vinegars at Lee Lee. Since the one I used in Malaysia was special made to cook this, I didn't have to mix different types of vinegar to make up the right taste. The ratio of mixing the sweet and sour vinegars depends on personal taste, and you can adjust the ratio according to your liking. Recommended ratio is 60~70% sweetened vinegar, 30~40% black vinegar.


我在坐月子中吗???目前还不是, 不过也快了!!我想一些人已经猜到为什么我在之前的搬家文章里面谈到为什么我不能搬太快了吧?我觉得自己在2010年完成了很多事情咧..拖了两年的婚礼, 搬家, 生小孩...感觉到这一年过得特别快.

搬 完家之后就是在忙BABY的必需品和月子餐材料的的采购, 还蛮多东西要买的咧. 列单中应该买的都已经七七八八了. 家里储藏室里的角落也堆满了月子餐所需要的材料, 之前也有从PENANG带一些中药回来. ARIZONA的华人不像CALIFORNIA那么多, 这里没有月子中心, 我听说还有人特别从CALIFORNIA聘请坐月婆过来, 费用不少哦...大大超出我们的预算了...很幸运的我在这边有一些肝胆相照的朋友, 义务帮我煮月子餐, 真的让我很感动. 因为材料的出产地不同, 我想我需要事先"彩排"一下, 写好材料的用量和做法, 让我的朋友跟着食谱来做, 这样她们就比较了解我可接受的口味, 那就比较节省时间了.

首 先出场的这一道是猪脚姜醋, 很普遍的一道马来西亚华人的月子菜. 据说可以促进乳汁分泌, 对想喂母奶的妈妈们很有帮助哦. 以前在PENANG可以买到特制的乌醋, 酸度和甜度刚好. Lee Lee 这边卖的种类看得我眼花缭乱, 花了一番之间研究, 最后选了以下3种. 用量的比例可依照各人的口味调整, 建议比例是 60~70% 甜醋, 30~40% 乌醋/黑米醋.

Recipes & Steps :

1. 1 pork knuckle (have the butcher cut to desired size of chunks) - pre-washed with boiled water, 用滚水川烫备用.
2. 1 bottle (590ml) sweetened vinegar (添丁甜醋)
3. 280~300 ml black vinegar (Koon Chun -冠珍 brand or Kong Yen-工研 brand) - I prefer Kong Yen brand as it tastes better and much more smooth (less harsh) sourness. 我比较喜欢工研醋, 感觉酸度没有那么呛, 比较香和顺口.

4. 2~3 tbsp black sesame oil
5. 2 chunks ginger (approx. 3 inches - will add more during confinement period, add 2 to 3 chunks more. 目前不加太多, 会上火气, 真正做月子的时候要加多一两块)
6. Salt to taste (not recommended during confinement period - 普通日子可加盐调味, 做月子的时候可以不加就不加)

7. Some black beans - 黑豆 (optional - can help on back/lower back bones soreness, 可以随意加点黑豆, 对减轻腰骨酸痛有帮助哦).

8. Hard boiled eggs - optional

**Use clay/ceramic/glass ware to cook or serve this meal, don't use metal ware. 用瓦磁或玻璃锅/碗烹调或盛载为家, 忌用金属.**

Steps :

1. Grease the slightly heated pot with sesame oil, fragrant the ginger chunks.
2. Pour in desired ratio of vinegars.
3. Add in pork knuckles, black beans (optional), hard boil eggs (optional)
4. Bring to boil, simmer for 40~60 minutes or until desired tenderness.
5. Salt to taste (can be omitted during confinement period)
6. Skim the excessive oil before serve.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Cake


On of my colleagues, Janet, made this cake for our front desk lady's birthday. I was curious how would it taste. Surprisingly, I fell in love immediately right after I had the first bite. The cake was moist but not greasy, not too sweet. I thought Tom may like it too. I am so thankful that Janet was willing to share the recipe (from Mary) with me. I seized a short break to make this cake yesterday, it was quick and easy. Tom loves it. Both of us finished it in just 2 days.
I may try to use banana in my next attempt, I think it will taste great too. I used glass bakeware this time, I think it would be dry at the edges if using steel bakeware. So, you may have to adjust the heat and time if you are using different bakeware.

昨天忙里偷闲做了这蛋糕, 真的好好吃吔....不油腻, 吃了不会有太大的罪恶感. 做法简单又快速, 以后会常做来吃. 下次做的时候会尝试用香蕉来代替 Zucchini ,我想味道也一样棒吧?


1. 1/2 C butter
2. 1 3/4 C sugar (I used 1 1/2 C brown sugar)
3. 1 tsp vanilla
4. 2 1/2 C flour
5. 4 Tbsp cocoa powder
6. 1 tsp soda
7. 1/2 tsp baking powder
8. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
9. 1/2 C vegetable oil
10. 2 eggs
11. 1/2 C sour milk (add 1/2 tsp vinegar to milk to sour)
12. 1/2 tsp salt
13. 1/4 tsp cloves (I omitted it because I don't have it in my pantry, still taste good though)

1. 2 C grated zuchinni

C) Topping (adjustable to your personal liking, the cake itself is not that sweet, I like it better with the sweetness from the chocolate chips topping)

1. 1/2 C ~ 2/3 C semi-sweeten chocolate chips
2. 1/2 C chopped walnuts
3. 1/2 tsp cinnamon (omitted because I'm not a big fan of cinnamon)
4. 1/2 brown sugar (omitted, I like it with more chocolate chips)

Steps :

1. Preheat the oven at 350F.
2. Mix all the ingredients A together.
3. Fold in grated zucchini.
4. Pour into un-greased 9 X 13 glass bakeware.
5. Mix together ingredients C, sprinkle over top of the cake batter.
6. Bake at preheated oven for 40~45 minutes. (Adjust accordingly if you use steel bakeware)

Happy baking! :-)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Asam (Tammarind) Steamed Fish


It is nice to have something sour and spicy during summer season, more appetizing!! I would use fresh caught fish head to make this dish if I was in Malaysia, it will be tastier.

夏日炎炎, 在这热死人不偿命的天气, 没辣没酸真的吞不下饭啊!!来一道亚篸酸辣蒸鱼吧!!开胃又下饭. 最好是用鱼头, 但是这边要找新鲜鱼头是不可能的啦...唯有用鱼肉代替咯..


Recipe and Steps :

1. 350g sea bass steak - rub the steak with some salt, set aside. (can be any kind of fish as long as it is fresh, ocean caught fish head is the best)

2. Paste - blend or grind 2 red chilies and 15~18 purple shallot together.

3. Mix paste #2 with the following seasoning :
i) 1 tbsp asam (tamarind) juice
ii) 1/8 tsp salt (or to taste)
iii) 1/3 tsp oyster sauce

4. Pour over the mixture #3 on top of the fish steak.

5. Top with 5~6 stalks of kesum (Vietnamese cilantro) leaf

6. Boil the water in a steaming pot, steam the fish over high heat for 12~15 minutes.

7. Dish out, discharge the kesum leaf and sprinkle few drops of lime juice (optional)

8. Serve warm.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Spicy Sizzling Prawn (香辣铁板虾)

Tom is leaving for China on a business trip again. I am trying to clear out some food from the freezer to cook something nice for him before the trip. After that, I think I will just have all kinds of noodle soup for 3 weeks while he is away.

Here is what I got for his meal the second day before his departure. The spicy sauce is really good to mix in rice. Keep in mind that this dish is served on a heated hot plate, so don't overcook the prawns.


Recipe for Spicy Sizzling Prawn :

1. 300g large prawn - trimmed, de-veined, peeled (optional)

2. Chili mixture - pound or blend the following ingredients:-
i) 3~4 red chillies - unseeded
ii) 1~2 cloves garlic
iii) 4 purple shallot

3. 4~5 ginger slices
4. Some onion slices (approx. 40~50g)
5. 1 tsp oyster sauce
6. 1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
7. 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
8. 3~4 tbsp water
9. A dash of sugar (optional)
10. 1~2 tsp Lime Juice (can substitute with tamarind juice)
11. Salt to taste
12. Some green onion for garnishing

Steps :

1. Heat up a hot plate to be used for serving in separate stove.
2. In another heated and greased pan, fragrance the ginger and onion slices
3. Add Chili mixture and cook for 30~60 seconds (watch out the heat)
4. Add in prawn, oyster sauce, sweet chili sauce, dark soy sauce, stir for evenly cooked.
5. Add some water, a little at a time and stir to mix well.
6. Season with a dash of sugar, lime juice and salt to taste.
7. Dish out and serve on a a heated hot plate.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Luo Han Guo & Winter Melon Tea (罗汉果冬瓜茶)


HOT!!! HOT!!! HOT!!!!!45C !!!

Tom was working outdoor to fix the house during the weekend. Even though he drank a lot of water, I still worry about the heat. I made this tea to prevent him from getting heatstroke. I believe Luo Han Guo beverage is not strange to any Malaysian. You can easily get it from any coffee shop, food court or road side stall.

Luo Han Guo (Siraitia grosvenorii) is commonly used for medicinal purposes and as a sweetener. It is normally available in dried form. It's nature is cool and not toxic. The fruit can act as a remedy for heat stroke, wet the lungs, remove phlegm, stop cough and aid defecation. - source from wikipedia.

It is actually very cheap if you make this heat relief beverage by yourself.

Recipe and steps :

1. 1 Luo Han Guo (place in a cheese cloth, tie up, and crushed)
2. 500g winter melon, cut thin to 2" length strips
3. 1500ML water
4. 1tbsp brown sugar
5. 20g~25g rock sugar (can skip or add as desired because Luo Han Guo itself is sweet)
6. 20g dried longan (can skip it or try not to use much as it will bring up " internal heat" of your body)

Steps :
1. Boil the water, add in Luo Han Guo (wrapped in cheese cloth) and winter melon.
2. Bring to boil again then simmer over low heat for 20~30 minutes.
3. Scoop out the winter melon strip to a bowl with a small strainer, immediately add in brown sugar over winter melon, lightly stir to well absorb, let it marinate and set aside.
4. Add in dried longan, and cook for another 10~15minutes.
5. Add in rock sugar, stir until it is melted.
6. Switch off the heat.
7. Scoop a spoonful winter melon in your glass and pour the tea. Can be served warm or cold (fridge it when it is cooled).

Take care and stay cool my friends!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vegetarian- Cold Cucumber and Tofu (凉拌小黄瓜豆腐)


It is 45C outside, and it will continue for another 3 days....I think I will be half cooked if letting me standing outside for 10 minutes. Lucky I can work from home today. Tired about meaty meal? Lets try some simple low carb vegetarian dish. It is very simple and refreshing.

1. 1 Persian cucumber (aaprox. 160g) - unseeded, cut to strips, marinate with a dash of salt and few drop of lime juice, chilled.

2. 220g Soft/Silken Tofu - cut to aprox. 1/2" thick slices, cook in a pot of boiled water for 2~3 minutes. Drained and cooled.

3. 1/3" inch of ginger - chopped
4. 1/2 red chili - chopped

5. Seasoning sauce - mix the following ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
i) 1~2 tsp soy sauce
ii) 2 tsp drinking water
iii) 1/2 tsp sesame oil

6. Garnish with some cilantro (optional)

1. Arrange Tofu slices and cucumber strips on a plate.
2. Mix ginger and chili into sauce # 5, then pour on top of the cucumber strips!
3. Garnish with some cilantro (optional)

ENJOY!!! and STAY COOL!... :-)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Spicy Roasted Pork Fried Rice


It is very common in Malaysian Taoist worship to offer roasted pork to the God for special occasions. Whenever there is an special occasion, there is always lot of leftover roasted pork, chicken or duck for my family. I love to use the leftover pork to make some fried rice with chili padi, the spiciness of the added chili really gives the taste a "kick".

I bought some roasted pork from Lee Lee yesterday, mainly just want to make this dish that I have been craving for so much!


You don't need to put so much effort for the seasoning, the taste of the roasted pork itself is already good enough to make you drool.

Recipe for 2 servings :

1. 2 eggs mix with a spoon of fresh milk - beaten.
2. 50g purple shallot - chopped or sliced
3. 3~4 chopped chili padi (or as desired)
4. 1.5 bowl cooked rice - cooled completely or overnight rice
5. 130g roasted pork chunks
6. some green bean or long bean cubed (optional)
7. Some green onion for garnishing

Seasoning :-
1. 1~2 tsp soy sauce
2. 1tsp oyster sauce
3. A dash of white pepper powder

Steps :

1. Make scrambled egg and set aside.
2. Fragrance the shallot in a greased heated pan.
3. Add in chili and rice, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Stir to mix well.
4. Add in roasted pork chunks, long bean cubes and scrambled egg. Continue to fry for approx. 3~4 minutes. Sprinkle some water if necessary
4. Shake in a dash of white pepper powder, garnish with some green onion, dish out and serve warm.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Nasi Lemak (Rice with Coconut Milk) and Curry Chicken


OK, back to cooking posts now.

It is July 4th weekend, we have 3 days off. There is no more reason for me to be lazy and find all kind of excuses not to cook.. :-p

It is not fair to Tom too, he has been eating too much of my lazy meals recently, fried rice, noodle soup, koey teow soup, beehoon soup, mee suah soup, fried noodle, pizza...etc. I feel a bit

We have a small pot luck party on this weekend, they ordered curry chicken from me, I decided to cook some additional ingredients for nasi lemak (coconut rice)just for ourselves and some of my friends I recently met here - they are from Singapore and Malaysia.

Recipe for Curry Chicken

Please keep in mind that this recipe is for 5lbs of chicken, adjust the amount of the ingredients if you cook for smaller portion.
It is impossible for me to find the fresh ground spices over here in Arizona. Hence I have invented my own version of curry chicken, I don't really like the typical Chinese curry chicken that with a lot of coconut milk gravy. I like curry Kapitan but it is too dry for me, so, I mix with a pack of curry rendang paste in order to produce more gravy to mix with the rice. Here's my version of curry chicken.

1. 1.5 pack (110g) of Hup Long curry Kapitan powder (see picture at the end of the post), it is available at local oriental supermarket (Lee Lee), I normally buy it from Penang (Carrefour or Tesco).

2. 1 pack (200G) of Mak Nyonya Rendang paste (see picture at the end of the post)
I brought this from Penang too, you can substitute it with any brand that is available at your local oriental supermarket)

3. 5lbs chicken, marinade with 0.5pack(35g) of curry Kapitan powder with 1/2tsp of salt for 1 hour.

4. 500g purple shallot - ground or blended
5. 4 stalks lemon grass - crushed
6. 8~10 curry leaf
7. 1000~1200ml water
8. 3~4 tbsp thick coconut milk
9. 2~3 tsp lime juice
10. 2pcs of lime peel (about 2" size) - optional
11. Salt to taste
12. 2~3 potato, cook until soft, peel and cut to chunks.

Note :
*** If I cook 1 whole chicken - approx. 3.5lbs, I will just reduce the Kapitan curry powder to 1 pack usage, reduce the water and coconut milk, I will keep the same amount of ground shallot.***


Steps :

1. Heat the pot, add in sufficient oil.
2. Quick fry marinated chicken
- Not to well cooked. About 2 minutes for a whole drum stick, less than 1 minute for the rest of cuts. I know this step may not sound healthy, but it prevents the meat from becoming mushy. And it makes the meat coat better with the curry gravy too. Split to few fries if you want to save the oil.

3. After quick frying the chicken, discharge excessive oil. Leave about 3tbsp of oil in the pot.
4. Fragrance ground shallot for about 5 minutes (adjust the heat if necessary), add in lemon grass, curry Kapitan powder (pre-mixed with some water), rendang paste and curry leaf.
5. Stir and fragrance for another 5~8 minutes.
6. Add some water water (I added 800ml first, then followed by small portion until it reached my desired texture, if you like thicker gravy, reduce the amount of water)
7. Bring to boil, add in pre-fried chicken, pre-cooked potato chunks. Simmer about about 10~15 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
8. Add in coconut milk, lime juice, salt to taste.
9. Bring to boil again then remove from heat immediately.
10. Add in lime peel - optional (I like it this way as it brings some tangy aroma to my curry chicken, the lime peel shouldn't be cooked, or it will bring bitter flavor to your curry gravy ).
11. Skim excessive oil if necessary.

Sambal chili- I made this 1 day ahead and forgot to record the volume of my ingredients. I believe a lot of Malaysians have their own homemade recipe. I made it simple just a combination of fresh ground chili, roasted prawn paste (belacan) and key lime juice.


Sambal Ikan Bilis (Sambal Anchovies and Peanut)- only mix the sauce with anchovies and peanut when serving to avoid soggy texture.

I make this for small portion only just for ourselves and my friends from Malaysia and Singapore)

1. 100g anchovies - rinsed then dried with paper towel, bake in the oven for 25~30 minutes at 300f. Juggling the baking sheet every 10 minutes to prevent burning. I avoid to deep fry it for health reasons (try to avoid too much frying

2. 150 peanuts - saute without oil until golden brown (again, avoid frying it)

Sauce for ikan bilis

1. 1tbsp oil
2. 100g onion slices
3. 2tbsp homemade sambal chili
4. 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
5. 1 tsp oyster sauce
6. 70ml water
7. 1~2 tbsp tamarind juice
8. 1/2~1 tsp dark soy sauce
9. 1/2 tsp sugar
10. Some corn starch liquid for thickening
****no need to season with salt because anchovies are salty enough****


1. Fragrance onion slices with oil.
2. Add in sambal chili, stir and switch to medium heat.
3. Add sweet chili sauce, oyster sauce and dark soy sauce.
4. Stir for few second then add in water, tamarind juice and sugar.
5. Bring to boil then thicken the sauce with corn starch liquid.
6. Remove from heat immediately.

Lastly...coconut rice, just grab all the ingredients below into a rice cooker then press start. :-)

1. 3 cup jasmine rice - washed and rinsed.
2. 2.75~3 cup water (depends on which brand of the rice you use)
3. 5~6 tbsp thick coconut milk
4. 1/4 tsp salt
5. 1 inch of fresh ginger chunk
6. 6~8 pandan leaf (screw pine leaf) - I like it more-- :-)


Curry Kapitan powder - it is also available at oriental supermarket here - Lee Lee Supermarket.

Brought it back from Penang, I found it tastes better. The one sold at Lee Lee is the brand from Singapore.

Monday, May 3, 2010

KaiLan Char Chap

A dish we like to order when we dine at the "Chu Char" restaurant. It is Simple and fast if we make it at home, less than 10 minutes of the cooking.

1. 200g kailan (peel the skin of the stems if needed), cut to approx. 2~3 inches strips, separate the stem and leaf.
2. 3~4 garlic - chopped
3. 4~5 slices ginger
4. some chicken breast slices and medium size shrimps - my preferences - a lot of shrimps again!! (sometime the chu char will mix with some sotong (squid), fish cake slices too)
6. 1/2 tsp oyster sauce
7. salt to taste
8. 4~5 tbsp of water
9. Corn starch liquid to thicken the gravy
10. few drops of Shao Xing wine
11. 1 tsp vegetable oil
12. 1 tsp sesame oil

Steps (stir fry over high heat, it should be done in approx. 3 minutes) :
1. Grease the heated pan with vegetable and sesame oil.
2. Fragrant the garlic and ginger slices
3. Add in chicken and shrimps, stir fry for approx. 10 seconds
4. Add in kailan stems first, stir fry for 10 seconds.
5. Add in kailan leaf, oyster sauce, salt. Continue to cook for another 45~60 seconds
6. Sprinkle some water
7. Thicken the gravy
8. Add few drops of Shao Xing wine before remove from heat

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Penang Char Koey Teow


I like to use extra large prawn for my Char Koey Teow (CKT). I should have named it Penang Lorong Selamat Char Koey Teow!!!- The famous stall in Penang with "sombong" Auntie and over priced CKT. Many years ago it was about RM4~RM5 a plate, I don't know how much is that right now, may be RM7~RM8?? Why pay so high? We can make it our own with extra prawn too!!

I came from a hawker family, I grew up from a famous hawker center/food court in my home town. I liked watching how those hawker prepare the food, like Hokkien Mee, Jawa Mee, Ikan Bakar, Char Hor Fun, Hokkien Char, Char Koey Teow...etc. I was there until I finished my high school - 15 years of watching...LOL!! I will never forget how they control the heat, the timing of cooking. It is just become my instinct now.


Tricks to make a good CKT :

1. Sauce (everyone has their own secret recipe/ratio in sauce mixing, it is all about soy sauce, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar)
2. Heat
3. Timing ( a plate of CKT should be done in approx. 3 minutes with appropriate heat The best way to learn is watch closely every time when you order CKT outside, compare the differences of the texture when you eat it at different places)
4. Use pork lard
5. Fresh ingredients

The recipe I am going to share today is from my relative. She is not as famous as Lorong Selamat Auntie, but has a good reputation too. Trust me, I was seriously thinking of selling CKT if I have never met Tom. I was so frustrated and tired of my work, and had deeply considered to switch my carrier. I used to worked 16 hours a day. My relative who is selling CKT works only 4~5 hours a day, 5 day week, and her income is more than those Manager levels...LOL!! Never mind, I think I will still want to sell CKT one day when I retire and move back to Penang with Tom.. :-) . Use extra large prawn for my CKT and sell it cheaper than Lorong Selamat CKT, I really "beh siok" - not happy with the owner! LOL!!!

Here's the recipe for the CKT sauce, you can mix extra and refrigerate it :

Mix and stir to blend well.
1. 2/3 cup soy sauce
2. 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
3. 2 tbsp oyster sauce
4. 2 tbsp fish sauce
5. 1 tsp sugar

Ingredients for a plate of CKT :

1. 2~3 garlic - chopped
2. 3~4 extra large prawn (personal preference)
3. Bean sprout (soak in the water, when you add the bean sprout to your CKT, the water drip will keep your CKT moisture)
4. Fresh Koey Teow (keep in mind that if your koey teow have been kept in fridge, it will need longer time to cook through - probably extra 60~90 seconds)
5. Lap Cheong (Chinese Wax sausage) slices
6. Fresh cockles (I couldn't find it here, so I skip it)
7. Chinese chives
8. Pre-mixed CKT sauce
9. Chili Paste
10. An Egg
11. Some while pepper powder

Steps (I can not tell you exact timing when do you need to add the ingredients, it is all depending on the heat and experience, it should be done in approx 3 mins for a plate of CKT, like I said before - watch closely how those hawker prepare your CKT) :

1. Heat up the pan
2. Add a table spoon of oil/pork lard (those hawkers usually add more than that)
3. Add garlic, then prawn (stir for few seconds)
4. Add 1/2 of your bean sprout
5. Add koey teow, immediately follow with a 1~1.5 table spoon of the CKT sauce, chili paste, stir to coat well.
6. Stir the koey teow to the side of the pan, grease the middle of the pan with some oil, drop an egg, few drops of CKT sauce, some white pepper.
7. Cover the egg with the koey teow, immediately add in cockles, lap cheong, another half of bean sprout, chives.
8. Stir to mix well, remove from heat and serve warm.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pumpkin Congee + Stir Fried Pickled Mustard (南瓜粥配素炒酸菜)


The weather here is getting warmer. I am not feeling well, have no appetite to eat anything fancy. Since today is our vege day, I made something light and easy - pumpkin congee and kiam chai (pickled mustard). Simple delicious!


这几天气温比较高了...没什么胃口.., 既然今天是初一, 不吃肉, 就煮简单和清淡一点吧...

南瓜粥配素炒酸菜, 酸菜还蛮开胃的....我和TOM一天里面竟然把一大碗的酸菜给扫光了...呵呵..
我喜欢用南瓜来褒粥, 吃起来有点甜甜棉棉的...健康又美味!

Pumpkin congee
- 3/4 cup of rice - washed and rinsed
- 1500ml water (or as desired)
- few drops of vegetable oil
- 400 g pumpkin (with skin) - cut to approx. 2 inches cube.
- some Goji berry - optional

Steps - boil the water and rice with few drops of oil, switch to low heat and cook for 20 minutes. Add in pumpkin cubes, continue to cook for another 60~80 minutes. Add in Goji berry 10 minutes before remove from heat.

Stir fried pickled mustard.
1. 300g pickled mustard - pre-soaked in the warm water for at least 1 hour, rinsed once, cut to strips, wash again, rinse and squeeze out the excessive water.
2. Oyster mushroom - thinly sliced
3. 百页豆腐 (not sure how to call this in English) - thinly sliced
4. 3~4 chili padi or red chili - sliced
5. 1/2 inch of ginger - striped
6. 3 garlic - chopped
7. 1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
8. Some soy sauce to taste (omit if the pickled mustard is salty enough)
9. a dash of sugar
10. some green onion for garnishing
10. some water

Steps :
1. Heat and grease the pan, fragrant the ginger and garlic. Add in chili slices, quick stir for 20 seconds.
2. Add in the mushroom and tofu slices, vege. oyster sauce and some soy sauce, stir fry for 2 minutes.
3. Add in picked mustard, sprinkle some water. Stir fry for another 3~5 minutes.
4. Season with some vege. oyster sauce, dash of sugar, soy sauce (if needed).
5. Garnish with some green onion, remove from heat.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

蟹肉粉丝豆腐汤(Crab meat tofu soup)

有没有很像鱼翅汤啊??? 吃起来味道也很像哦....Shark fin soup???

This is the soup I like to make whenever I am craving for shark fin soup. Tom actually like it better than the real shark fin soup because of the cruelty how we treat the sharks just to get the fins. I added silken tofu just to enhance the smoothness texture, you can omit it if you want to make it more real like shark fin soup.


其实鱼翅吃起来真的没有什么味道, 为了减少那么一点罪恶感, 我还是用粉丝来代替好啦. TOM还蛮喜欢的. 你不妨一试? 我加了嫩豆腐是因为我喜欢滑顺的口感, 如果你想让它更像鱼翅汤, 你可不必加豆腐.

1. Chicken stock - 500~600ml
2. Dried scallop - 1 (optional)
3. Bean thread (粉丝) - 20g- pre-soaked and cut to about 3~4 inches strips.
4. Frozen crab meat - 300g (I like it more!!!) - thawed
5. Silken tofu (嫩豆腐) - 120g - cut to 1/3" cubes
7. Salt to taste
8. Corn starch water for thickening
9. Some Shao Xing wine
10. Black vinegar / Balsamic Vinegar

Steps :

1. Boil the chicken stock with dried scallop, add in bean thread, cook over low heat for 10~15 minutes.
2. Add in crab meat, cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Slowly stir in tofu cubes, bring to boil again.
4. Salt to taste, thicken the soup with corn starch.
5. Add some Shao Xing wine (1~2 tsp).
6. Serve hot with some black or balsamic vinegar

Thursday, March 18, 2010



While Tom is gone for the business trip, I usually settle myself with simple and quick meal. Don't bother to make anything special just for 1 serving.

But today I am going to do something fancy to pamper myself. Sesame ginger Chicken or pork kidney is a popular dish in the month of confinement for a Chinese woman after giving birth to a child, it is very nourishing. It is definitely not a dish for regular/ daily meal as the combination of sesame oil and ginger will bring heat to your body, this is not recommended for those people with high blood pressure.

Tom doesn't like the taste of pork kidney, can't stand the urine odor. But if you clean it completely, the smell will go away. I soaked in the hot water for an hour and rinse it few times before cook. Since I am home alone, I can cook something I have been long craving for and don't have to cook a separate meal for him. :-)


I didn't really measure my ingredients, they are adjustable according to your preference.

1. 1 tbsp thin ginger strips
2. 1 tbsp sesame oil
3. 3 chicken wings - cut to portions
4. 1 pork kidney - clean well, cut to approx. 1.5" chunks , soaked in hot water for an hours, rinse it thoroughly.
5. 500~600ml water
6. Salt to taste
7. Some Shao Xing Wine

Steps :
1. In a heated sauce pan, fragrant the ginger, add in chicken wings, stir fry for 2~3 minutes.
2. Add in water, bring to boil. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
3. Add in pork kidney and bring to boil again.
4. Salt to taste.
5. Add some Shao Xin wine before remove from heat

TOM 不在的时候, 我都是吃得很简单, 有时候一个荷包蛋加酱油配白饭就是一餐了. 没什么心情煮, 再说, 一个人的量真的不好煮.

话说我自己本身超爱吃麻油的, 又喜欢吃猪腰(虽然有些人会觉得很恶心), 但是如果是自己在家里弄, 彻底的清洗干净, 就不会有什么味道了. TOM 不吃....趁现在他不在, 我就煮一道自己喜欢吃的来奖赏自己吧!!!! 汤如果有剩, 还可以加点面线哦...

虽然很爱, 但是我不是时常都会煮这道菜, 热量高, 也会造成身体 热气也高, 我在想哦.... 如果有一天我做月子的时候每天都吃..., 会不会从此以后就不敢吃了???

Thursday, March 4, 2010

"You Tiao" in Thai Sauce (泰式油条沙拉)


I am not sure if some of you have tried this before. I am not sure if you can really find it in Thailand. This is the dish I usually had when I ate at an economy rice stall in Penang, Prai industrial area, the place I used to work.

I have some leftover "you tiao" in my fridge. So, here I come with my "You Tiao" in Thai sauce. I couldn't find bunga kantan (ginger torch) here in Arizona, so I replaced it with kesom leaf (Vietnamese cilantro). Personally, I still like it better with the fragrance of bunga kantan.


It is a good snack or appetizer for a party. You may mix the sauce before serving to keep the best texture (crispyness) of the "you tiao" pieces. Don't put the sauce on the "you tiao" pieces until it is being served, or the bread will become soggy.

Recipe and steps :

1. 1 "You tiao" - split and cut to 1 inch piece.

- bake the "you tiao" pieces at 300F for 12~15 minutes, the longer the harder. It should be crispy outside, and soft inside. (The lady boss deep fries them, it is faster, but not so healthy).

2. Sauce
- 50ml tamarind juice
- 3 tbsp Thai chili sauce
- 1 tsp (or as desired) brown sugar

Cook ingredient # 2 over medium heat until boil. Stir to mix well. Set aside for cooling.

3. Garnishing
- 4~5 small purple onion - sliced or chopped
- 5~8 kesom leaf (bunga kantan is recommended) - chopped
- 1~2 chili padi - chopped (optional)
- few drops of lime juice

Before serving, mix cooked sauce # 2 and garnishing ingredients, pour over baked "you tiao" pieces. Toss to coat well. Enjoy!!!


Conversation between Tom and me about "You Tiao" when I made him kopi "o" with "you tiao" the other day.

Tom " What is this?"
Me " urr... Chinese bread stick" ( I referred the the packaging)
Tom " what is Chinese bread stick"
Me " It is ONE kind of bread" (...lazy to explain)
Tom " OOooo... um...let me try it....nom-nom-nom....arhhhh it is DONUT WITHOUT SUGAR IN STICK SHAPE"
Me " arhhhhhhh ya...ya..ya...ya " (gosh... I was going to tell him it is "DEEP FRIED GHOST" literally translated from Cantonese - "Yao Char Kuai"...hahahahaha!)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kopi "O" and me


It is Sunday morning, I made some kopi "O", dip with "you char kuih" (Chinese bread stick), I got a bag of them from MeiKong supermarket last night. The coffee beans were brought from Penang last November. This is my typical daily breakfast in my working life in Penang. I would have no energy to work at all if I missed them.

Have you guy noticed that I have less recipes posted recently? There are a lot of things going on. The major reason is Tom has been out and will be out of town again, he is not home for 2 months out of 3. I think for most of people who love cooking, the major motivation is their love one is there to share the food. When he back from business trip, he put 5 lbs on weight, there is my job again to help him on diet. So, there is really not a good timing for me to make any goodies recently. I think I will be putting off my cooking adventure for a while.

However, I still have a lot of thinking in my life to share. I am thinking if I should make a different blog in mandarin. I am Chinese educated, I gave up my languages study when I had to learn 3 languages in school, it was too confusing to me to learn 3 languages at the same time. So, I focused on everything related to number because it is more interesting. No doubt, I became a writing "idiot" - no matter in Malay, Chinese or English, I just hated to write. Of course, there is no doubt that I would choose "Accounting" as my major in college. In my mind, I just have to deal with the numbers.

When I first started my working life, I was happy enough the first 3 years in accounting position, didn't have to deal with too many people. However, there was a big change in my life in 1997. I met a "crazy" boss and was dedicated cross function position - finance, secretary, sales and marketing, purchasing and shipping....!! Started then, I had to travel to different countries and deal with a lot of people in different field. I started to feel the pain. I was really weak in writing skill or express myself in different language, even in Mandarin, because I used to speak "Hokkien" in school and home. You know, the first time I wrote a fax memo to my boss in Mandarin, he called and told me he didn't understand my memo....hahahaha.... what a shame. Okay.... from there, I started to learn slowly my speaking and writing skill in Mandarin as I had to deal a lot of issues with Taiwan and China. No matter what, writing is always a "nightmare" to me.

The reason I called my boss crazy is, because he is really "crazy"...! LOL! When he first started establish his international business to US and European countries, he put me as a pioneer window to deal with those sales reps, buyers and engineers. Back then, I was still a "little girl". I was just 23 years old the first time when he sent me to The Netherlands to solve the quality issues. What?? Quality problem? Not finance? Ya...., I was forced to learn some engineering knowledge which I felt was very tough for me. Most of the time, I traveled alone. Was I scared? Ya... very!!! The first time I travel to US, I had to arrange everything by my own, met a representative that I have never met. He hired a Chinese guy here as my translator, as my broken English was really poor and silly. Out of his 10 American accent sentences, I could barely understand one. hahahahaaha...!!

Back then, I spent 1 day to reply just 1 email from US, slowly, 20~50 emails a day were not a problem for me. But, those business English is pretty common. How about more expression in life and feeling? Oh well... I am still learning. Tom has been a good teacher for me (even sometime he is not very patient :-p).

A lot of time, I think from Mandarin, then write in English, it is not a good practice, I do hope I can do better.

I am in conflict, I don't want to give up in Mandarin too, if I have started my blog in Mandarin, of course, I will have more posting about my thoughts, but I would be slow to write in English better. But, I am living in English environment now, working, family, daily life are all English, sometime, it is kind of like "refreshing" if I could express myself freely in my own language....

As my friend, would you mind to give me your opinion?

这世界上是否真的很少有两全其美的事情? 当一个人在这边生活, 身边大多数都是充斥另外一种语言的环境的时候, 自己是否还可以同时维持母语和第二语言的学习程度呢? 这真是一件不容易的事啊? 只怪自己当年在学校不好好学习...

一直以来, 本身的写作和表达能力都是差强人意, 很欣赏那些人一拿起笔来, 就可以畅所欲言的人. 写作文一直以来就是我的恶梦. 要我写一篇作文, 不知刹死了多少细胞, 妈妈的鸡汤都没办法补回来!!!哈哈哈... 高中毕业以后最高兴的事情就是不必写作文了!!!觉得凡事用讲的就可以了, 干麻还要写的这么麻烦, 后来要念专科的时候要写论文, 才知道"歹志"大条, 文章写得不好, 要怎么把自己的想法和论点好好的表达呢? 可是那时候后悔已经来不及了!!

出来社会工作, 在会计部混的前3年还没感觉. 可是后来遇到了一位超级"头风"的老板, 就吃尽苦头了. 第一次用中文写传真给他, 他竟然打电话来说"我不明白你要讲什么, 你还是用电话给我联络好了" 哇咧......超丢脸的. 英文烂, 已经没话说了, 连中文也写得乱七八糟的, 我还有脸见我祖宗十八代吗???

从此以后, 自己就一边工作, 一边向台湾和大陆的同仁学习中文. 真的很后悔自己以前念书的时候没有好好学习掌握中文. 当然啦, 那时候自己很清楚, 以目前全球化的商业环境, 英文也是很重要的. 那时候也没有想到自己需要面对老外的一天.

我那"头风"老板(希望他永远都不会看到这篇文章, 嗯...或许考虑剔除我的照片, 这么一来他就不知道我说的是他啦....哈哈哈), OK, 话说回来, 我也不知道是犯着谁了, 他有事没事, 就会失踪, 有时候一个星期, 有时候 3 个月, 结果就是丢我一个人在撞墙壁, 工厂大大小小的事情要面对. 刚开发的出口业务要面对, 千吨重压力压得我快喘不过气来....可是换的角度来想, 那真的是很难得的学习机会, 工作挑战不断, 自己从中学到的经验, 是很多人都没有机会遇到的.

好啦...脑筋转弯, 解决了工作压力的问题, 可是自己的外语烂却是事实. "头风"老板时不时把我一个人丢在一个陌生的国家, 去面对从来没见过面的人..我那时候人家还叫我"小丫头"咧.....他那么对我, 是不是超狠心的啊???

说我不知天高地厚吗? 才不呢, 我那时候时时刻刻都是在精神紧张的状态, 要是我一个人在国外有什么三长两短, 他要怎么向我父母交代啊??

那时候时常安慰自己说"没关系的, 兵来将挡, 水来土淹(不知道是不是这样写, 多多包涵啦..), 又不是要了自己的命, 什么事情发生都好, 总有办法解决的!! 这样的道理, 让我渡过了大大小小的难关...也从中学习了宝贵的经验.

话说回来, 对于中文, 本来就是自己的母语, 要从新学习也没有那么困难. 工作环境, 听电台, 看中文节目, 交朋友....,没多久, 很自然的, 很多想法都可以用中文来表达了. 可是英文呢? 说真的, 马来西亚的英文学习环境也不错, 可是就是因为自己懒, 加上本身的成长背景, 要自己的英文进步, 感觉就有点吃力咯...

记得第一次出差到美国, 还需要一位翻译言来帮我沟通呢...其中也闹了不少笑话. 后来自己也慢慢的学习, 可是那毕竟是商业来往, 很多都是公试化的...!!至于很多生活上的体验和想法, 那可是要永无止境的学习啊....

我开始写部落格的时候也是抱这学习英文写作能力的想法, 要写得像老外那样是不可能的事情.

有时候很想要另开一个中文的部落格, 让自己有一个抒发心情的小天地, 可是心理不免有一种罪恶感, 觉得自己脑袋不思长进, 不好好学习英文. 可是, 能够用自己的母语来表达并没有罪啊? 用一个自己熟悉的语言来抒发心情, 那不也是一个抒解压力的方法吗??

好矛盾哦...朋友们, 你们可以给我一点意见吗?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

CNY and Valentines San Diego Trip part 2

The second day of our San Diego trip was a little bit "manly". We had a tour at USS Midway Museum, which is just about 10 minutes walk from our hotel. USS Midway was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy. It is the only remaining US aircraft carrier of the world war 2 era. It was launched in 1945. You would be impressed how it was built back then when those advance technologies were still did not exist. Lets go for a photo tour..., we were really enjoyed the tour and forgot to take most of the facilities that built in the ship, it was just like a small town, could load up to 4500 soldiers.

The USS Midway as seen from our hotel room.

Alongside the dock.

Inside the hangar deck.

A US Marines fighter plane.

On one of the elevators used to bring airplanes up to the flight deck.

On the flight deck - many old and newer planes.

A fighter-bomber.

Several newer jet fighters.

Inside a large helicopter.

A newer fighter-bomber.

Machine guns and rocket launchers on an attack helicopter.

Monday, February 15, 2010

CNY and Valentines San Diego trip part I

Tom surprised me with a trip to San Diego for CNY and Valentines celebration!!! San Diego is a nice place to visit. We spent the first day at Sea World, and second day at USS Midway Museum. Of course, a romantic valentines dinner at a famous seafood restaurant. Tom named it "ocean" theme for this year as he knows I miss being away from Penang which surrounded by the ocean and rich with seafood! We have had an enjoyable and eye opening trip and probably will plan another trip in summer.

Lets go for a photo tour. :-)

Sea World entrance Shamu (name of the whale) Volkswagen

Spring is approaching, love the flowers...

Killer whale...

Trained whales jumping during a show.


Lion Fish - the spines are poisoned!

Sea anemone.

Sea Lion performing at a show.

Flamingos! They are pink because they eat shrimp.

Up close with a shark!

Moray Eels.... they looks pretty scary for me....

Petting the bat rays

Sleepy Polar Bears.


My drink for the valentines dinner - valentines cocktail

Cheers.... Happy Valentines!

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