Fried Spring Rolls (Video #135)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Regular readers of this blog would know I made my first cooking video last week. So why is this video #135 instead of #2?

Heh . . . heh . . . heh . . . 

Because I'm following a Chinese custom.

In the old days far, far away in China, an abundance of male heirs to carry on the family name was considered good fortune. So much so that if someone had only one or two sons – which was tantamount to a tragedy – he'd say he had 11 or 12. IOW, it was how many he actually had, plus 10. Hence, the eldest son became #11, and the second son #12.

Note that the creative accounting applied to sons only. It was perfectly alright to have only one daughter, or even none at all.

Pickled Green Papaya

Monday, 24 October 2011

The world is divided into two parts: those who love pickles, and those who hate pickles.
....... . . . .. ... . . ... . . .... . .. . . . . . .

Soon Kueh (Turnip Dumplings) (I)

Monday, 26 September 2011

Success at last at making the dough for soon kueh! It was my seventh attempt and sixth recipe. How's that for perseverance? As I kneaded the dough, I felt quite sure that this time it would work. And it did, beautifully. Mind you, I had spring roll wrappers standing by in case the dough failed again.

What was wrong with the five recipes that didn't work?

Babi Masak Assam

Friday, 23 September 2011

Compared to Shermay Lee, who supposedly began learning Peranakan cuisine when she was 5 years old, Wee Eng Hwa was a very late starter. She began learning Nyonya cookery at the relatively ancient age of 47.

Fortunately, Wee Eng Hwa had two advantages over the self-proclaimed culinary child prodigy.

One, she could see what was in the wok without standing on a chair.

Two, her sifu has been guiding her for some 20 years. Shermay's, even if you believe her marketing spin, kicked the bucket after lesson one.

Sayur Lodeh

Monday, 22 August 2011

It was Cook a Pot of Curry Day yesterday because, to cut a long story short, some mainland Chinese with a delicate nose had asked his Singaporean Indian to stop cooking curry. Indignant Singaporeans protested in unison when they heard the story. How dare they tell us not to cook curry! It was a wonderful excuse to tell the mainland Chinese where to shove it, all in the name of protecting the national identity. Before long, Curry Day was organized via Facebook.

There are curries, and there are curries. If it had been a Malay, Nyonya or local Chinese cooking curry next to the mainland Chinese, there probably would have been no dispute. But Indian curries are different when they're not adapted to suit the tastes of the Singaporean Chinese. They have a pungence that's far more powerful than Malay, Nyonya or Chinese-style curries. Chinese Singaporeans call it 'the Indian smell'. For those who don't mince their words, 'smell' may be replaced with 'stink' or 'pong'

Sambal Kangkong (Water Spinach with Chilli Paste)

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Do you know that there's a connection between kangkong and the God of Fortune, aka 财神爷?

I'm guessing you don't, so here's the story:

3,000 years ago, China was ruled by an emperor who knew diddly squat about everything. As with all useless emperors, he had a wicked concubine, and his was called 妲己.

Stuffed Tau Pok with Rojak Sauce

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Working out the recipe for Chinese rojak didn't seem like work since it didn't involve any cooking. In fact, stirring and tasting was my kind of entertainment.

Once I figured out how it was done, I wolfed down a huge bowl of fruits and vegetables. That was my '5 a day' as per doctor's orders, in one shot.

Chinese Rojak

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

I was busy stirring bowl after bowl after bowl of rojak sauce last weekend, trying to find one that I liked.

The first mistake I made was with the tamarind water. I followed the rojak recipe in The Best of Singapore Cooking, mixing a walnut size blob of assam with 80 ml of water. That totally spoilt the sauce/dressing 'cause it was way too watery.

Dry-Fried Bitter Gourd (干扁苦瓜)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

There're two types of bitter gourd in my neck of the woods: big and small.

I think some health freaks enthusiasts buy the small ones to make juice?

Ewww . . . . They look really bitter – the gourds, not the fr . . . Sorry, health enthusiasts.

Nyonya Achar

Sunday, 9 January 2011

I learnt how to make achar from my landlady's maid who, when she came and cleaned my place every week, occasionally left me little gifts in the fridge.

I'm usually too shy (yes, really!) to ask anyone for recipes but I liked her achar so much that I did. She not only wrote it down for me but also – bless her! – brought all the ingredients to my place and showed me how.

Poached Spinach with Salted and Century Eggs

Saturday, 2 October 2010

There're a couple of vegetables I refer to as Chinese spinach. Yin choi (苋菜) is one of them.

I love yin choi because the texture is smooth when I cook it with minimal oil. Other dark green veggies, when they don't have oil, would be gritty.

Yin choi goes well with dried anchovies. I like to do a stir-fry with dried anchovies that have been fried till crispy. That's quite nice.

Yin choi in dried anchovy stock – with maybe some fishballs or pork meatballs – makes a quick, delicious soup.

Buddha's Delight (Chap Chai, 罗汉斋, 什菜)

Monday, 20 September 2010

It was my mother's birthday a few days ago. To commemorate her, I made a big pot of Buddha's delight (罗汉斋) or, if you prefer the less elegant name, chap chai (什菜). It was a dish she always made for our first breakfast of the Chinese New Year.

Caramel Popcorn

Friday, 9 April 2010


A tub of popcorn costs $6-7.

Richard B. McKenzie, in a book titled Why Popcorn Costs So at the Movies, estimates there's a 1,300% profit margin on movie popcorn in the US.

In Israel, it was recently proposed to outlaw overpriced popcorn (link here). Will the Israeli parliament pass the law and set a precedent? Well, I'm not holding my breath.