Monday, March 31, 2008

Corned Beef Fried Rice

I took the liberty to approve myself eating more solid food *grin*. I think I could eat fried rice as long as it's rather mushy, eh? I fancied corned beef fried rice, but I couldn't handle the heavy big wok yet, so my sous chef handled the whole thing :)

- 2 cups of rice, let it rest overnight in the fridge
- onion, finely chopped
- frozen green peas, defrosted in a cup of hot water
- 1 can of corned beef
- salt, pepper, sugar, soy sauce
- olive oil, a bit of butter

Saute corned beef in olive oil with a bit of butter, stirring it to smaller bits (on normal days I like making the pieces rather crispy, but for my condition, it was simply to heat it up and infuse the oil with beefy flavour), set aside. Saute onion until transparent, add green peas, add corned beef, add rice, stir well (in my case, until a bit mushy), and serve.

Let's hope my doc won't black face me when he found out about this ;)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Grilled Choco Bananas

Bananas are good for us. Full of vitamins and a good source of potassium (that's until I am done with them and turned them bad. LOL)

I miss the bananas generally found in Indonesia, especially the big ones (pisang raja), perfect for banana fritters/other sweet snacks. Since I couldn't find those here in Hong Kong, I had to settle for these small ones (just about 10-12 cm long), they have the most similar texture and taste to the ones I wanted. Perfect. They just need my magical touch to make 'em sinfully yummy in no time.

Preheat oven to 200C. Simply peel the skin off, slice 'em in half, lay them on oven tray, slather them with butter, and sprinkle some chocolate (chips, powder or rice bits) generously. You can also add a mountain of grated cheese (this is how we normally do them in Indonesia), bake until golden brown. I dusted some chocolate powder onto them. Perfect for afternoon tea time. :)

Submitting this for Weekend Herb Blogging, which is hosted by The Houndstooth Gourmet this week. Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Chicken-Hater Converter: Lemon & Butter Chicken

This is my chicken hater converter dish.

I tried a lot of things to lure my sous chef the chicken hater to love home cooked chicken, from cooking the chicken with minimum herb and spices (no, not chicken sashimi, cooked it with ginger and soy sauce-didn't work), to covering the chicken taste with spices (corriander, chilli, tomatoes, curry, even my beloved kecap manis), distracting attention with low cut tops and mini skirts, nothing worked, the only acceptable chicken dish is anything KFC-esque (nobody loves KFC and deep fried chicken than me, but even I wanted a change, plus, my own selfish reason was: I can't eat deep fried chicken yet as of now-LOL)

I had my plan Q (almost Z), I fancied smothering chicken legs with lemon's strong citrusy scent and ofcourse, the richness scent of butter. Now who wouldn't love that...the dish is as simple as dumping things into the oven, I even threw in zucchini for my daily dose of vegetables, all in 1 pot, and hey! It worked! My sous chef went all finger lickin' and complained that I didn't buy enough chicken legs (fresh chickens are expensive lah!)

- the juice of 2 lemons and some zest (wahahaha depends on how citrusy you want it to be)
- 3 pieces of chicken legs (upper and lower thigh), cut half
- 1 zucchini, half, sliced
- 1 onion, 4 cloves of garlic
- salt, sugar, pepper
- 1 or 2 tbsp of butter, olive oil

Preheat oven to 250C, heat from top only, drizzle a little olive oil at the bottom of the pot, lay zucchini, some onions and garlic, lay chicken pieces of top, skin facing up, put some onions and garlic in between, grate some lemon zest, squeeze in the lemon juice, put some pieces of butter in between the chicken pieces, sprinkle salt, pepper and sugar, dump into the oven until skin is browned, shift the heat to be from both top and bottom (skip this step if you want the zucchini pieces charred). After 1.5 hr, the chicken's skin turned crisp and the meat is super tender. Scoop some of the juices onto the chicken from time to time if you want, to add the extra flavor and moisture onto the chicken skin.

I've successfully recruited my sous chef into my chicken-fanatic-cult. MUHAHAHAHA

Monday, March 24, 2008

*Hong Kong Coffee Shop Classic: The Red Soup

Continuing the soft diet...goshhh when is it gonna be over?? Hmmm but let's see the silver lining, it's motivated me to try things I've never tried before, for once my blog may not be full of crispy golden browns for a change (who am I kidding? I still miss the golden browns. sob sob sob).

Those who are from Hong Kong knows this one very well, for this is a famous item in Hong Kong coffee shops. Most "fast meals" (fai chan) comes with either:
- Chinese soup (which often taste like stinky feet soup or with major MSG overload, or severely flavorless)
- "Cream" soup (which normally is just super corn starchy with almost no cream and again tasteless) or
- my favorite, Red soup, which taste decent if not yummy most of the time.

I imagine it takes hours to boil, so I hardly try to recreate it at home. When I eventually did, without knowing the secrets, I failed miserably, my red soup was even more flavorless than HK coffee shop's "cream soup". Shame. On. Me. HAHA

The other day, desperate for something tasty, I requested sous chef's help to make the red soup. After a lengthy (luckily not charged by the hour) consultation with sous chef's mom, we learnt "The Secrets to Successful Hong Kong Style Red Soup" (this is sooo gonna be a self-help book title), which are:
1. Tomato Paste (this gives the soup its vibrant red hue and thickness)
2. Vinegar (this gives the soup its acid punch)

No matter how much I tried to replace those two ingredients with read tomatoes, it just didn't work.

- lots of tomatoes
- 1 large potato
- 1 onion
- 2-3 stalks of celery
- 1 medium sized carrot
cut into chunky bits
- pork/beef brisket, blanch with ginger before cutting into chunky bits
- 1 can of Tomato paste
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- salt pepper

Throw everything into a boiling water, boil for about 1.5 hour, stir in the tomato paste, add the vinegar, salt, pepper, boil some more (the longer the better). Serve with bread + butter or garlic bread.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Creamy Oreo Mocktail Shots

One of the most unbearable things from my hospital experience:

That's right! Pretty much 24 hours of no eating and drinking (9 hours before surgery, and 15 more hours after surgery). Adding to the torture, I kept watching reruns of Top Chef season 1 and 3 haha, I was gnawing on my hospital pillow by the time I watched the 2nd episode, my stomach was gurgling the theme song LOL. Actually seeing all the good food in the series was a huge motivation for me to get better.

Once the no eating and drinking period was over (dieting is not for me, let alone it was hard), I had to be on a "soft diet". Soft diet shouldn't stop me from having fun, eh? So...while all I wanted to eat was these crunchy oreos...

Let's make em fit into my soft diet :), shall we?

Pour 6 pcs oreos into 1 big mug of warm milk, mix well, I like leaving some chunky oreo bits to bite into

Seems like this soft diet is starting to look up :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I'm back with Sausage Noodles Omelette

Yo y'all! I'm back from the hospital, the surgery was a hugeee success! From now on, it's gonna be eating, sleeping, relaxing, lots of bad TV, girly novels and gossip magazines...hoho I bet you're all jealous...except for the parts where I need to be on a soft diet (oh mannn!!!), can't move much, can't talk much :( struggling to wash my hair...these suck, but I'll be over this soon hehe.

Since I can't chew much yet, let alone cook...I'll post my previous food these days, or new food I asked the sous chef to whip up. Here's an all time favorite breakfast/brunch/teatime/snack item, Sausage Noodles Omelette, and I'm submitting this for Presto Pasta Nights :)

So easy, always yummy

- Instant noodles with soup base seasoning (you can replace this with egg noodles and chicken stock cube/powder)
- 2-3 eggs for each package of noodles (depending how big the noodle package is)
- salt, sugar, pepper
- Sausages (I use chicken franks, sliced, slightly pan fried)
- Oil for frying
- Water for boiling

Boil noodles as directed in the package, drain, pour cold water over it, set aside. Mix soup base seasoning/chicken stock powder/cube with eggs, add the sliced sausages, add noodles, on hot frying pan, fry until the outer part is golden brown. Serve with ketchup or chilli sauce. You can change sausages to corned beef, spam, cheese, or add more things, as long as you allow enough egg to hold em together. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

**Ugly Delicious: Crispy Fish & Hospital News

Good news, bad news.
OK. The good news first. Brought home some pan fried fish the other day, just had to reheat it in the oven for a bit, and it is ready to rumble. Super crispy, I could even eat most of the bones, tasty, and not a even a bit fishy. All we need to do is just marinating the fish with salt, preferably overnight, you can add lime juice for a punch of acid, and pan fry both sides til golden brown. Serve with steamed rice. A dip of chilli with sweet soy sauce, finely chopped shallot, corriander and lime juice made it perfect.

As for the bad news...I gotta be away in a hospital for a few, I am not having a boob job or nose job, eye job nor lipo (I wish....), so I am not gonna emerge looking like Rachael Ray's twin anytime soon.

I will be having a surgery to treat my hyperthyroidism. Although the medical condition made me eat like a construction worker without getting me fat, I've decided to go through with the surgery (am I crazy???!!!), due to the fact that the medication I've been taking for years compromised my immunity system and made me super vulnerable.

I wanna cook some serious fried things and I wanna be able to eat them too, so I gotta get well.
Wish me luck guys, promise to write as soon as I could get my hands on my keyboard :)

**Mama's Classic: Hong Kong Style Curry Chicken Wings

Today's Guest Chef!
Executive Consulting Chef: Ms. O' Chow (aka sous chef's mom)
Experience: more than 30 yrs of experience in home cooking
xpertise: Chinese food, from quick, fast & easy to difficult, complicated, ma q fan (super troublesome) dishes
Other expertise: creative DIY household solutions, tai chi, gardening, retail stock market investments
Interests: an avid animal lover

So I had a take away of home cooked Chinese Curry Chicken Wings with me. I tend to go overboard with curry, as in, I wanted to add everything into the curry pot...due to none other than greed *grin*

The original curry consists of chicken wings and potatoes, then I added broccoli and tomatoes, actually I wanted to add tofu puffs, sausages, beans, etc etc etc...luckily sous chef stopped me from going overboard. We ended up with a lively colorful dish.

- garlic, ginger, crushed
- onion & green pepper, sliced into big chunks
- potatoes, chop into big chunks
- chicken wings (depends on how many you can eat, I should eat minimum to 5 at a time HAHA)
- broccoli, tomatoes, sliced into small chunks
- curry powder/paste
- coconut milk
- cooking oil, salt, pepper, sugar

Marinate chicken wings in some salt and pepper, pan fry to brown the skin, set aside. Saute garlic, ginger, onion and pepper, add chicken wings, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, add curry paste/powder, add coconut milk, salt, pepper, sugar...serve with steamed rice or bread

Every region cooks their curry differently, my personal favorite is Indonesian (totally biased) and Thai.

In Hong Kong, Fairwood or Cafe de Coral fast food chain makes super delicious Chinese Curry Beef Brisket, you can try and do your own at home, or contact your "executive consulting chef" aka mama.

Monday, March 17, 2008

...and Now I Pronounce You *Mr & Mrs. Brisket Daikon

Once upon a time, in MochachocolataRita land, there was a girl called Daikon. Little Ms. Daikon is your girl-next-door-down-to-earth girl. She spends her days sharing her richness of ascorbic acid, folic acid and potassium and she generously provides vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper and calcium, although she is pretty reserved in terms of calorie.

Her snowy complexion, full figure, crunch, fragrance, generosity, and versatility attract numerous suitors. But she had her heart set on the hunky Mr. Beef Brisket. She heard about his richness in zinc all the time. When she finally met him, his manly texture, his tender touch, his macho scent, conquered her all. It was love at first sight.

After a sweet, long, hot & steamy serenade...I pronounced them Mr & Mrs. Brisket Daikon

I am submitting this for the Weekend Herb Blogging, which is hosted by Thyme For Cooking this week.

Here are some pictures of the-so-much-in-love Lil Miss Daikon

The face

The hair

The body- aw!

All prepped for the love union

The make up (by Chu Hou sauce)

- 1 medium sized daikon (Chinese/Japanese white radish), cut into chunky chops
- Beef brisket (I used HK$37 worth of brisket)
- Chu Hou sauce (if you wanna make it from scratch: fermented salted soya bean, sugar, water, soy sauce, garlic, fermented red beancurd, rice wine, salt, chilli, & rice vinegar)
- 2 cloves garlic, 2 slices of ginger, crushed
- a bit of cooking oil
- salt, pepper, rock sugar
- chopped spring onion to garnish

Blanch beef brisket in boiling water with salt and ginger for about 2 minutes, drain, set aside. Saute garlic and ginger, add beef brisket, 2-3 tbsp of chu hou sauce, transfer from wok to pot, add rock sugar, boil on low heat for 1 hour, check taste, adjust when necessary add chopped daikon, continue to boil for another hour, sprinkle chopped spring onion on top, serve with rice. This dish is very popular in Hong Kong, enjoy!

The union of Love, Mr & Mrs Brisket Daikon

(We don't follow the traditional girl name-boy name format in MochachocolataRita land he-he-he)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kering Kentang & Tempe - Caramelised Soy Bean Cake & Potatoes

Friday was a day off (yay! doing my little day off dance at the background), and I was thinking how to spend the day.

I ofcourse chose to conveniently "forget":
- an avalanche of dirty laundry at the corner of my bedroom (and living room, and bathroom, and dining room) screaming to be brought to the laundry shop
- floor desperately needs vaccuming
- furniture begging for dusting
- the bathroom laughing hazardously every time I almost slipped on the life threateningly dirty tiles
- clean dishes, pots and pans mocking me as they took over my tiny kitchen
...the list is endless...

But all I could think about was how I've been missing kering tempe, and how inconvenient it is to do kering tempe on work days. So, dodging the dirty laundry, pirouetting past the dusty furniture, pranching over the dirty floor, I went straight to the nearest Indo shop and bought myself a pack of tempe (Indonesian soy bean cake), and got it going. I love the wet and moist version, not the dry and crunchy one, but both are delicious. :)

- 1 pack of soy bean cake, diced
- 1 medium potato, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 4 cloves of shallot, sliced
- a bit of ginger, crushed
- 3 red chilli, remove seed, sliced
- palm sugar
- kecap manis
- salt, pepper
- 3 tbsp of coconut milk
- cooking oil

Soak palm sugar in a bit of hot water (I used 3 of those) until totally dissolved

Tempe - the soy bean cake - tempe can be used as a meat replacement

Dice the tempe into a tiny rectangular shape, sprinkle with salt

Fry until golden but not too dry. This can already be eaten. I had to fight myself not to "sample" too much
I like the softness of potatoes as a contrast to the crunchy tempe. Fry the diced potatoes until golden.

Saute garlic, chilli, shallot, ginger in hot oil, add tempe and potato, add the dissolved palm sugar, salt, pepper, kecap manis, stir in the coconut milk, bring it to boil, serve.

Serve with hot steamed rice.

OK. I couldn't live in a dirty flat. So, finally spent the whole afternoon off cleaning. The kering tempe made a perfect reward :)

PS. Retno of Kedai Hamburg also made her version of Kering Tempe. Check it out! :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bistik Trio

I've grown up eating bistik in Indonesia. The word came from Dutch biefstuk which means beef steak. The version we had at home is so different from regular beef steak. It is a mix of beef fillet and potatoes cooked in kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce), regular soy sauce, garlic, shallot, and grated nutmeg. Ofcourse, in Indo, we eat potatoes with rice.

My version accomodates the busy and the lazy as usual. Mixing the beef with lots of tomatoes and tofu as veggie substitute (Bistik Trio of Beef, Tomato & Tofu Puff), so I didn't have to cook the veggie separately. It saved me a LOT of time, which was productively used to watch more TV (enjoyed The Heartbreak Kid yesterday night) and grow myself on my sofa. lol

- HK$25 beef for stir frying
- HK$3 tofu puff
- HK$2.50 tomatoes
- finely chopped garlic, thinly sliced shallot (shallot vs garlic ratio = 2 to 1)
- kecap manis (Indo sweet soy sauce, I can't live without this) & regular soy sauce (kecap manis vs regular soy sauce ratio = 2 to 1)
- chopped chilli (remove seeds)
- a little corn starch + water
- olive oil

Marinate beef in kecap manis, regular soy sauce, a bit of corn starch while prepping the other ingredients. Saute beef with a bit of shallot and garlic, set aside. Saute shallot, garlic, chilli, add tomatoes, tofu puff, add kecap manis, regular soy, add beef, heat up everything. Serve with steamed rice.

I didn't manage to get my lazy bum to the store to get nutmeg powder, so my version had to go without. Still tasty though :)

...and...I am submitting my Satay Beef Ramen for Presto Pasta Nights. Enjoy!

Check it out & join the fun!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Black Sesame Pudding

This is one of Snacks in Black I purchased earlier. Finally I tried making this pudding, thanks to sous chef's persistent follow up (what a good project manager)

Day 1
SC: Are we having the black sesame pudding tonight?
Me:'s too late...maybe tomorrow...
Day 2
SC: Are we having the black sesame pudding tonight?
Me: I'm not in the mood, maybe tomorrow...
Day 3
SC: Black. Sesame. Pudding
Me: I have a headache, maybe tomorrow...
...Day 10

SC: Where. Is. My. Black. Sesame. Pudding!
Me: It's that time of the month, maybe tomorrow? I promise!
Day 11
5:10 pm...
SC: We're having black sesame pudding tonight right?
Me: (reluctantly)...yes...
8:15 pm...
SC: Yeah! Yeah! Black sesame pudding! You need to start preparing it
Me: maybe after exercise class?
10:30 pm...
Me: (ah maybe I don't have to make the bloody pudding after all..hihihi)
11:15 pm...
SC: (Eyes sharper than flying daggers) Aren't you going to prepare the pudding??!
Me: (sigh...seems I can't put this off any longer, moved my ass off to the kitchen, forcing a smile)...OKOK...gonna do it now...

OK. "Making" may not be the correct word, as I actually didn't "make" anything. All I did was...

1. Taking pictures of the Black Sesame Instant Pudding Mix and the milk

2. Pouring 400 ml milk, mixing it with the powder, heating it up

3. Pouring the mix into these little plastic moulds, letting it cool off and moving them to the fridge

Day 12
Both: creamy, sweet, smooth, & velvety..

So easy yet so yummy...if it sounds too good to be true...I'll try it :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Chicky Love

"First love never dies" yeah. right. I don't think so. Everybody had their puppy love, and I forgot mine as easily as I forgot to bring my office access card every morning :)

If there's one love I can never get over, is my love for chicken. Call it my chicky love. The scene of a young girl waiting impatiently by the kitchen for the chicken to be served, skillful little hands meticulously peeling the meat off the bones, the big grin full of joy after every bite, face smeared by chicken bits and pieces while licking the bone of the fried chicken thigh, everything are still so vivid in my mind.

So, I hope I will certainly bore you with chicken-and-chicken-again postings. MUHAHAHAHA.

This one is "adapted" from Jamie Oliver's Tender & Crisp Chicken Legs with Sweet Tomatoes. I've tweaked it so much due to (un)availability of ingredients and time constraint, it finally became something else (doesn't it always?)

- 4 x Chicken thigh fillet, cut half = 8 pieces
- as much tomatoes as you can fit in the oven tray (slice each tomato into approx. 8 parts)
- half an onion, just cut into a few parts
- a few cloves of garlic, don't bother to even peel the skin off (this is so Jamie)
- some broccoli
- olive oil, salt, pepper

Rub chicken fillets with some salt and pepper, to dramatically shorten cooking time, I pan fried the chicken fillets to crisp the skin. Pre-heat oven to 200 C, lay everything on oven tray, spread everything evenly, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper (I did this rather generously), bake for about 30 minutes or until the chicken meat is cooked through and covered with tomato juice.

You'll get tender, tasty, tomatoey and juicy chicken with crispy skin, chickeny tomatoes and broccoli...and the juice....hmm I think I just fell in love all over again.

PS. My sous chef is so against chicken. Between you and me, I think it's just jealousy.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Yum Cha, A Classic Hong Kong Brunch

Drink the burning-your-tongue-boiling-HOT TEA, enjoy the vast array of mouth watering dim sums, be prepared to be shocked by the seemingly rude service, where the flatware & utensils are almost being thrown onto the table, take every pulse of the busy and lively atmosphere, experience Hong Kong’s classic, favorite brunch, yum cha

My favorite is Bo Lei (pu-erh in Mandarin). Don't get intimidated by its darkness, it is much less bitter than jasmine tea and much less agressive than Iron Buddha tea. It is earthy and healthy. It washes down all of the oily dimsums we had (oh yeah baby, the dimsums might be steamed, but they come with more oil than my shiny T-zone)

In Hong Kong, be prepared to share tables almost everywhere. I grew to love it. I am a nosy bitch and I LOVEEEE listening to other people's conversations (well, if they didn't want me to listen, they wouldn't speak as loudly as the firework explosions on New Year’s Eve, wud they?).

By the end of each meal, you'd generally learn what are these people's occupation, the fact that they hate their boss & most of their colleagues, their jealousy over their neighbours/relatives' success, their recent overseas trip, or their recent extravagant purchases, how much is their property worth, and how much they earned/lost in the stock market.

If you do not wish to disclose your personal matters to half of the restaurant, you can try conversing in an incomprehensible language (this is handy for me, every time my sister visits, we'd talk about everybody else in Javanese, only to discover that they too, are Javanese. OMG!) or bring something to read. My choice was the U-travel magazine, and the most popular choice in Hong Kong is the local newspaper, all the uncles drool at the porn section, and all the aunties bitch about whichever celebs on the entertainment gossip section.


The ever so popular har gaw (steamed prawn dumplings) succulent and enticing

I love these crispy, glutinous, meaty, sweet & salty ham sui gok

Apart from the tapping your fingers 3 times beside your cup when someone poured you hot tea to thank them and removing the lid of the tea pot to get it automatically refilled, I just learnt another yum cha science from my sous chef

In Hong Kong, the dimsums do not come in push-carts. You are given a piece of ordering paper, where you can tick the items you'd like to have. It is always tricky to figure out how much we should order. I always wanted to try everything, and always ended up with too much dimsums. Good thing I don't read Chinese, so the ordering responsibility is generally not my problem lol

It is good to start small and order more later. But this could result in awkward silence (if you are dining with the boss you fear/colleagues you hate/relatives or neighbors you always jealous of). Worry no more. Someone has figured it out.

My sous chef learnt from TV (oh, what a reliable source!), that the formula when ordering dimsums is: number of people x 2.2 = no of baskets of dimsums. We have tested this formula over numerous work lunch, and it is pretty accurate. Hmm maybe except when I was there, cos...I'm not proud of this, but I always exceeded my 2.2 quota *grin*

Oh, the gorgeous dimsum above is the super yummy Gai Jak (steamed chicken, fish maw, ham, and mushroom, wrapped in beancurd skin)

My next favorite dimsum is jan chu gai (pearl chicken = glutinous rice with meat, salted egg yolk & mushroom filling). Rich & super tasty. It's like unwrapping a precious gift on Christmas morning (but I generally do not bite them)

The next one's gotta be char siew cheong fun (BBQ Pork wrapped in rice sheets). I am a big carb fan, so I love this silky smooth, chewy, handmade rice sheets, paired with the rich & tasty BBQ pork

I just wish the tea could also wash away the fat from yesterday's huge BBQ pork dinner I had :p