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! :-)
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