Butter Prawns with Egg Floss

Butter Prawns with Egg Floss

Hello Everyone! Today’s recipe is one of my favourite dishes that I simply cannot resist whenever I see it available on the menu of any restaurant that I go to. To be perfectly honest, it’s not about the prawns (or sometimes chicken) that makes me crave for this dish, but for the yummy egg floss that accompanies the protein. The egg floss is buttery, crispy, and a touch salty. I’m not quite sure as to how to explain it’s flavour besides what I have just said because when you think about it, it’s just fried in butter and oil, and topped over the protein that’s stir-fried in all the other flavours. Nonetheless, I love it.

Butter Prawns with Egg Floss Ingredients

I’ve not seen this dish in Asian restaurants around Sydney, and I don’t particularly know why since it’s quite popular in Chinese restaurants here. I guess that sort of explains my cravings for them whenever I’m back in Brunei. Since I have a confused and inexplicable love for this dish, I thought I’d give it a go and make it at home. I’ve never made this dish before, and to be honest, I can’t get the egg floss as thin and as crispy without browning them too much, as those in the restaurants, but I think I’ve pretty much nailed the dish in terms of its taste.

Butter Prawns with Egg Floss Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g prawns, shelled and deveined
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 sprigs curry leaves
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a medium-sized frying pan or wok over medium-high. Season the beaten egg yolks with a bit of salt.
  2. Continuously swirl the oil quickly in one direction and then add the beaten egg yolks in slowly from a height. Continue swirling until the oil is foamy and the egg is crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the heat and transfer the egg floss to a sieve to drain out any excess oils. Set aside.
  3. Heat a bit more oil in the same frying pan and sauté the chillies, curry leaves, and garlic together until fragrant.
  4. Add in the prawns and season with a bit of ground salt and black pepper. Toss and leave to cook, about 6-8 minutes.
  5. Once the prawns are cooked through, transfer to a serving dish and top with the egg floss.
  6. Serve immediately with steamed rice and enjoy!

Butter Prawns with Egg Floss

Butter Prawns with Egg Floss

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Devon Café (Devon by Night) - ENTRÉE: King Salmon Sashimi, Avocado, Jelly, Ikura, Chives

Devon Café (Devon by Night)

Hello Everyone! And a very Happy New Year to all! I trust everyone enjoyed celebrating in one way or another. I spent the whole day sitting out in the sun with friends as we waited for midnight to strike. Watching the fireworks display by the Harbour Bridge was an amazing experience, and also such a tiring day of waiting really.

Anyway, hopefully I can keep this going as long as I have visited enough places and have the time to write up my dining experience. I feel like it’s been a while since I did a review – well that’s because it has been a while indeed! So, starting this New Years, I will be uploading a review every Sunday on top of 2 recipes a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So I’ve been to Devon Café a total of 3 times now this year; twice for brunch and once for their dinner service. The both times that I went for brunch I ordered the same dish, and so did the one other person I went with, so I thought doing a review just on the one dish from their brunch menu was a bit meh. I had the Eggs Blini by the way which you can probably already tell because I had it twice (within two weeks) was so good and also apparently was the most Instagrammed dish from their menu at the time.

Anyway, the last time I visited Devon Café was actually in August of this year. Yes, that means that the food that you see in this review may not even be on their menu anymore as I am aware that menus here in Australia tend to change depending on the season. Therefore, the food that you see here are from their winter menu, and I have not been back to know whether their menu is different for the now summer season.

Devon Café (Devon by Night) - ENTRÉE: Prawn and Scallop Wontons
ENTRÉE: Prawn and Scallop Wontons
Scallop and Prawn Ceviche, Crispy Wontons, Green Mango, Peanuts, Nahm Jim ($18.00)

When the waiter first came to our table with these, I actually thought he got our order mixed up. In my head I was like “these aren’t wontons are they?” I was actually hesitant to have him place the dish on our table and I think he could tell that I was confused. I asked “are these the wontons?” He assured me that they were, AND then I saw him carrying the other plate that had the wonton wrappers. Yes I know, not quite how I’ve known wontons to be served, but nonetheless these tasted amazing! I really loved the freshness of the prawn and scallop ceviche paired with the kick of spice from the nahm jim sauce. Not to mention the crispy wontons that added that extra crunch to the dish!

Devon Café (Devon by Night) - ENTRÉE: King Salmon Sashimi, Avocado, Jelly, Ikura, Chives
ENTRÉE: King Salmon Sashimi, Avocado, Jelly, Ikura, Chives ($15.00)

Enticingly fresh salmon. What more can I say? This dish was spot on for me!

Devon Café (Devon by Night) - MAIN: Chinese Egg Custard, Shiitake, Fungus, Yellow Needle Flower, Chinese Fried Bread and Perigord Black Truffle
MAIN: Chinese Egg Custard, Shiitake, Fungus, Yellow Needle Flower, Chinese Fried Bread and Perigord Black Truffle ($29.00)

This dish gave me some mixed feelings – well, now that I think of it, the flavour didn’t quite sit well with me even though I think my other friends enjoyed it. I found the mushroom taste to be a bit too overpowering for me, which was probably the main reason why I didn’t not enjoy this dish. Also, the Chinese Fried Bread was not at all crispy, at least not as crispy as the ones I’d get back home. Their bread also didn’t look that fresh.

Devon Café (Devon by Night) - MAIN: Aunty Yulia's Short Ribs
MAIN: Aunty Yulia’s Short Ribs
Slow Cooked in Indonesian Sweet Soy with Spicy Tomato and Basil Relish ($28.00)

This was probably the highlight of all dishes. The short ribs were cooked to perfection; falling off the bone tender and packed with that delicious kecap manis flavour. The relish was a nice refreshing touch to the palette and that him tot spice really gave it that kick it needed. I highly recommend this dish if it’s still on their menu!

Devon Café (Devon by Night) - DESSERT: Matcha Fondant (Green Tea Molten Lava Cake)
DESSERT: Matcha Fondant (Green Tea Molten Lava Cake)
with Vanilla-bean Ice Cream, Honey Dew Balls and Pistachio Crumb ($13.00)

This dessert I believe is actually one of the main reasons why I wanted to go to Devon by Night. I saw it all over Instagram and I said to myself that I NEEDED to go here just to be able to get my hands on this dessert. The last time I had a green tea molten lava cake was 2 or 3 years ago at Tokkuri. That I loved, but I think now THIS I love more! The perfect consistency and paired with other flavours and textures that really enhanced the dish. The lava was thick and rich – just absolute yum! A definite must try!

Devon Café (Devon by Night) - DESSERT: Fried Ice Cream Bao with Dark Chocolate Sauce
DESSERT: Fried Ice Cream Bao with Dark Chocolate Sauce ($7.00)

This was the day that I broke my fried ice cream virginity as well – and I am glad that I lost it to Devon’s Fried Ice Cream Bao! Such a clever and innovative way of fusion cooking; serving fried ice cream in a bao. The only let down with this was that they served it with a dark chocolate sauce – don’t get me wrong, the sauce was perfection, but I was expecting a kaya (coconut jam) sauce instead, as from what I’ve seen all over Instagram. I seriously believe that it would’ve tasted a hundred times better! I’m probably being biased here since I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, but KAYA?! My fellow kaya-loving friends/followers will be able to imagine magic happening in their mouth just thinking about this flavour combination.

Devon Café is quite a popular breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner spot to both the locals and the tourists. So if and when you get the chance to Sydney, or are currently residing in Sydney, this should be in your places to eat in Sydney list. A MUST! They’ve recently opened a new branch in Waterloo on Danks St. which I was able to visit with two other friends for a nice brunch just this week actually. Unless their menu has changed at the original Devon Café, their menu is quite different so I will be doing a review on them too! Soon I hope!

Devon Café
76 Devonshire Street
Surry Hills, New South Wales
Australia, 2043

– Ally xx

Oxtail Kare-Kare

Oxtail Kare-Kare

Hello Everyone! So I was just browsing through all the posts I’ve uploaded since I got into a regular uploading schedule and I realised that I actually haven’t posted a savoury dish in a while. I’ve been posting about cakes, cookies, and muffins these past few months! The last savoury dish that I blogged about was back in October with The Ultimate Brekkie (for those who have not seen it, click on it and prepare to drool, seriously).

Today’s recipe is a little different, or may be different to some of my readers/viewers. It is one of my most favourite dishes of all time, and only because my mom used to make it on a regular-enough basis to always have this orgasmic sensation with every bite. It may not suit the taste buds for many I feel, but seriously, every person I’ve made this for, well okay 3 people, loved it so much that they’ve even gone and tried to make it for themselves!

There are a few things to cover in this recipe that many may not know about, so I’ll start of with what even is Kare-Kare. Pronounced kah-reh kah-reh, it is a traditional Philippine stew flavoured with ground roasted peanuts or peanut butter, onions, and garlic; creamy, rich, and thick. Traditionally, a palayok (clay cooking pot) is used to cook this dish and it is also used as the serving pot. Typical meats that make the base for this stew include oxtail (sometimes this is the only meat used), pork hocks, calves feet, pig feet, beef stew meat; and occasionally offal, or tripe, rarely goat or chicken. Besides the meat, vegetables are also cooked with the stew and these include a range of (but are not limited to): eggplant, Chinese cabbage (or other leafy greens), long beans, okra (lady fingers), daikon, etc. – usually equaling or exceeding the amount of meat in the dish. The overall dish is then coloured (and flavoured) with annatto seeds, which is extracted by add the seeds in oil or water. Since I didn’t have some in handy, I just left them out – I feel like it didn’t have a significant effect to the overall flavour of the dish.

This dish is often served and eaten with shrimp paste known in a Philippines as bagoong (pronounced ba-go-ong). Sometimes it is spiced with chilli, or sautéed with garlic, onions, tomatoes, and sprinkled with calamansi (small round lime) juice. Bagoong paste varies in appearance, flavour, and spiciness depending on the type. Pink and salty bagoong is marketed as “fresh”, and is essentially the shrimp-salt mixture left to marinate for a few days. I sautéed a whole jar of shrimp paste and only used about a generous tablespoon of it on the side for this dish. The rest I put back into the jar and into the freezer until for later use. There are many other dishes that you can make with the sautéed shrimp paste and it may pop up in my blog a few more times!

I cooked up this dish for our supposed International (Asian) Feast Night that we had been planning for a while. I say “supposed” because instead of having food from 5 different Asian Cuisines, we ended up only having 3 and it turned out to also be Lydia’s farewell dinner. Basically Lydia cooked a dish from China, Vidhya from India, and me from the Philippines. Jialing (who did not show up by the way because she had a staff dinner) was supposed to make a dish from Malaysia, and Marissa, who already went on holiday, was supposed to make a Vietnamese dish. I was seriously so tired that night, I mean first of all, I had just come back from my Outback trip and only felt the tiredness after returning back. Secondly, I worked from 9am-5pm that day, and when I got home, I straightaway went into the kitchen to cook. I was SO tired that I actually seriously fell asleep at the table after dinner, during dessert. Talk about an induced food coma!

So for this night, which by the way happened about 3 days after I got back from the Red Centre, I decided to make my famous Oxtail Kare-kare. I also made a chicken version for Vidhya because the only meat she eats is chicken (and fish). I’ve never actually tried the dish with chicken before; it turned out okay but in my honest opinion, it wasn’t as flavourful as the Oxtail. I have made this dish in the past as well where I used pork hock/leg, pork shoulder, beef shank or gravy beef, and my mom made it a few times with beef tripe – all these cuts of meat work perfectly well with the dish. Some butchers sell oxtail either whole or cut. If your local butcher happens to seek them whole, just kindly ask them to cut it into rounds for you, that’s what I did. I remember as a little kid that I would always love the bigger cuts because they had more meat in them… Until someone ruined it for me saying that “the bigger the cut, the closer it is to its bum!”

Oxtail Kare-Kare Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 45 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the stew

  • 1kg oxtail, cut into rounds
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 5 dried bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed then minced
  • 1 large onion, halved and then sliced
  • 1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (a very generous tablespoon)
  • 1 tsp rock salt
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Ground salt and pepper
  • Buk Choy, separated
  • Eggplant, sliced diagonally
  • Long beans, cut into 1-inch long strings
  • Okra (lady fingers), whole and then sliced later once cooked

For the sautéed shrimp paste

  • 345g bagoong alamang (shrimp paste)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed then minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large onion, halved and then sliced
  • 1 tbsp sugar

METHOD

  1.  Add the oxtail, bay leaves, rock salt and whole peppercorns to a large pot with about a litre of water, or enough to submerge the meat. Boil for about 1 to 1 and a half hours until tender. If you are using a pressure cooker (which I don’t have), 30-35 minutes should do the trick! Once the meat is tender, remove from the heat and set aside. Do not throw away the stock.
  2. While your meat is tenderising, move onto sautéing the shrimp paste. Heat oil in a medium-sized frying pan and sauté garlic and onions until fragrant. Add the tomatoes in and sauté until they have softened. Add the shrimp paste in and give it a good mix. Add in the sugar and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and set aside. You may need to heat it up again before serving.
  3. Heat oil over medium-high heat in another pot and sauté the garlic and onions until fragrant. Add the the oxtails, season with ground salt and pepper, and give it a good stir. Add the peanut butter to two cups of the stock and stir until the peanut butter has softened. Add the peanut butter mix to the oxtail and bring the heat to low. Let it simmer for about 8-10 minutes. If you want your stew to be less creamy and thick, add more stock to your liking.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and cook your vegetables for no longer than 5 minutes. Drain and transfer the cooked vegetables to your oxtail stew just before serving. Serve hot with sautéed shrimp paste and enjoy!

Oxtail Kare-Kare

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Stir-fried Gravy Beef with Chilli, Ginger & Shallot

Stir-fried Gravy Beef with Chilli, Ginger & Shallot

Hello Everyone! I actually wasn’t planning on photographing and posting today’s dish as I kind of made it up on the go. I usually plan ahead the dishes that I want to make for the week to ensure that I have all the ingredients that I need for the upcoming week – saves me time of having to go back and forth the grocery shops if I forget one or two ingredients. I actually don’t have much in the fridge right now (in terms of accompanying ingredients for my meat).

Last night I took my beef shanks out of the freezer to defrost in the fridge overnight but still not knowing what I was going to make until later on the next day. I still had the pantry essentials, such as chillies, ginger, onions, and shallots – so I decided to whip up a beef stir-fry! I also had all of the ingredients to marinade the beef in so that was good! I kind of eyeballed the measurements though so forgive me if this recipe is too bland or salty; I’m just going to go off by remembering how much of each ingredient I added to the marinade, feel free to adjust though!

Stir-fried Gravy Beef with Chilli, Ginger & Shallot Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

For the marinade:

  • 300g beef shank, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp shaoxing rice wine
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 stalks spring onion, cut into 1-inch long strips
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 3 tbsp Sunflower oil

METHOD

  1. Add all the ingredients for the marinade in a medium-sized bowl and mix together until combined. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let the beef marinate for at least an hour before cooking.
  2. Heat the sunflower oil in a medium-sized frying pan over high heat. Add the green onions and ginger. Sauté for about 2 minutes. Then add in half of the chilli slices and onions, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Add the beef shank slices and toss to combine. Cook for a further 5 minutes, adding a little bit of water to loosen the sauce a bit. Cook for a further 3-5 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Garnish with the remaining chillies and serve with steamed rice and asian greens.

Stir-fried Gravy Beef with Chilli, Ginger & Shallot

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pan-fried Whole Snapper with Chilli, Ginger, Shallot & Soy Sauce

Pan-fried Whole Snapper with Chilli, Ginger, Shallot & Soy Sauce

Hello Everyone! A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I bought 2 whole snapper for just 15 dollars. Well I thought that today I should cook up a delicious meal with the other – same ingredients to dress it up, but probably a little less healthy than the steamed snapper since it’s pan-fried, but obviously the flavour and texture changes when cooked differently.

As I was having it for lunch this afternoon, my housemate Marissa walked into the dining area and I asked her to try some. She loved it and said “did you take a picture of this?” knowing that I am one to definitely blog about it – I mean, of course I took a photo! She also asked me if I followed a recipe, and I said no, I just whipped this up with the ingredients I had in the fridge. It is actually a dish that my Mom makes very often, but with pompano fish – and dressed with just dark soy, calamansi (small round lime, green on the outside and with a centre pulp that is orange in colour), and a little bit of the fish oil that it was pan-fried in. Deliciously lip-smacking! Also often served with steamed rice and stir-fried kangkung in belacan. The simplicities are always the best.

Anyway, this is my take on my Mom’s pan-fried pompano – as the title says, pan-fried snapper with chilli, ginger, shallot & soy sauce. Marissa asked me if you can tackle this recipe with any type of fish such as barramundi, and I honestly think that it will go well with barramundi and any other types of fishes out there.

Pan-fried Whole Snapper with Chilli, Ginger, Shallot & Soy Sauce Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole snapper, gutted, scaled, and cleaned
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced
  • 1 stalk green onion, sliced, green and white parts separated
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chilli oil
  • Lemon wedge
  • Ground salt and pepper

METHOD

  1. Season the snapper with ground salt and pepper. Heat sunflower oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Make sure that the pan is scorching hot before putting the fish in as this will prevent the skin from sticking to the pan. Fry the fish for 5-6 minutes per side. Remove the fish from the pan and place onto a serving dish. Drain the oil, leaving about a tablespoon behind.
  2. Add the ginger and sauté for about a minute before adding half of the chilli slices and the pale and white parts of the green onions. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Turn the heat off and add the soy sauce. Mix around for a bit and then pour over the fish. Add the chilli oil and drizzle with lemon juice. Garnish with the remaining green onions and chilli slices. Serve with steamed rice.

Pan-fried Whole Snapper with Chilli, Ginger, Shallot & Soy Sauce

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Spirali with Prawns & Coconut Milk

Spirali with Prawns & Coconut Milk

TGIF! Hope everyone had a good week. Today’s dish is once again pulled from my 1000 Italian Recipes Cookbook, though I must say that the ingredients are hardly Italian at all – but nonetheless packed with flavour and again very little ingredients needed. Today’s post will be a short one as I don’t have a long back story for you to endure before getting to the recipe, but please do enjoy this lovely dish.

Spirali with Prawns & Coconut Milk Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 18-20 MINS SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup spirali pasta (or other shaped pasta)
  • 250g tiger prawns, shelled and deveined
  • 1 cup (200ml) coconut milk
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, ends crushed and tips sliced
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Chives
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water according to the packet instructions. Drain and set aside reserving about 2-3 tbsp of the cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan together with the crushed lemon grass, lime zest and half of the chilli slices. Leave to simmer over low-heat for about 10-15 minutes for the flavours to infuse into the milk.
  3. Add the prawns and leave until they turn pink (about 3 minutes), then stir in the chives and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Fish out the lemongrass stalks and toss through the pasta. Garnish with remaining chilli and lemongrass slices. Serve.

Spirali with Prawns & Coconut Milk

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Steamed Whole Snapper

Steamed Whole Snapper

Hello Everyone! My fridge (or should I say, my part of the fridge since I share a house with about 20 other people) has been looking a bit lonely for the past week. Nothing makes me happier than going to Paddy’s Market, and coming home with bags of fresh meat, seafood, and vegetables – and a bonus development of arm muscles from carrying heavy shopping bags, but probably not good for my back in the long run. My part of the fridge is looking happier now with all that food!

Steamed Whole Snapper

I probably bought more than 5 kilos of meat ranging from beef, chicken, and yummy pork ribs. I also got 2 whole snappers for $15, one of which will be featured in today’s post, and the other probably later in the week, as well as some prawns and salmon portions. I know that this sounds like a LOT of food for a tiny girl like me, but all this will probably last me a month or so. Paddy’s is not difficult to get to from where I live, but it is quite a bit of a trek and time consuming to go to every week to shop especially when there are a few other supermarkets close by. The reason why I go to Paddy’s at least once a month is because of their meat, seafood, and vegetables – cheaper and definitely fresher and of better quality than your local Coles or Woolies. I once got sick from meat that I got from Coles… That’s all I’m going to say.

Anyway, onto the recipe – this is a dish that my mom would always make for dinner, using a different fish of course and a different method of cooking. She usually cooks it over a charcoaled barbecue and I don’t know, there’s just something about it being cooked that way that made it so much more tastier. I obviously wasn’t going to start a barbecue for just one fish, plus, I don’t actually have a barbecue in the house (well I do but it runs on gas and I kind of blew it up towards the end of last year – don’t ask). So I stuck to steaming the fish today, but if you do want to give this a try, I highly recommend my mom’s way of cooking. Lip-smacking goodness I tell you!

Steamed Whole Snapper Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole snapper, gutted, scaled, and cleaned
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced
  • 1 stalk green onion, sliced, green and white parts separated
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp rock salt
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced

METHOD

  1. Nestle the snapper on a large piece of foil and scatter the red and white parts of the onions, ginger, tomatoes, peppercorns, and salt. Drizzle the lemon juice, soy sauce and sesame oil over the fish.
  2. Loosely seal the foil to make a package, making sure that there is enough space at the top for the steam to circulate while the fish cooks.
  3. Steam for 20 minutes. If you don’t have a steamer, you can place the parcel on a heatproof plate, or a stainless steel wire steamer rack, over a pan of gently simmering water, cover with a lid and steam.
  4. Garnish with the remaining green onions and chilli slices. Serve with steamed rice.

Steamed Whole Snapper

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Stir-fried Pipis in XO Sauce

Stir-fried Pipis in XO Sauce

I remember the first time having this, not too long ago actually, about 1 and a half weeks ago, instant love. I was having dinner with Pam (ex-housemate, fellow foodie, and now long-distance twinnie) and her family who had just arrived that morning from Singapore. We were meant to have a homemade pizza night but we were all feeling a bit tired to cook. Still happy anyway because I got to meet Pam after 4 months since we last saw each other, and I got to meet her family. We had dinner in Chinatown (forgive me, I don’t actually remember the name of the restaurant), and amongst the many dishes we ordered, the stir-fried pipis in XO sauce caught my attention.

It was so yummy, well cooked, and had a good amount of spice to it. It was that good that I had to recreate it for myself, and I did – with larger pipis as well (the ones at the restaurant were baby-sized)! They were only $16.00/kg at the seafood market in Market City. The pipis were already cleaned and had no sand and grit in them. They were also alive which amused me quite a bit to be honest. I stood there over the bucket and started playing with them – tapping their shells, and picking them up and squeezing their shells shut, until the lady approached me and asked me if I wanted to buy them. I bought roughly about 800g for about $13.00 and I was able to get two meals out of it – with steamed jasmine rice and pan-fried eggplant. So delish!

XO sauce is a spicy seafood sauce commonly used in southern Chinese cooking. It’s made of roughly chopped dried seafoods, including scallops, dried fish and shrimp, and subsequently cooked with chilli peppers, onions, and garlic. XO sauce can be used as a condiment on the side of main dishes or used in cooking to enhance the flavour of fish, meats, vegetables, and otherwise bland foods such as tofu or noodles. The named is derived from fine XO (extra-old) cognac, which is a popular Western liquor in Hong Kong which denotes high quality, prestige, and luxury.

Check out the original recipe from Yahoo!7 Lifestyle.

Stir-fried Pipis in XO Sauce Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 800g live pipis
  • 1/2 cup fish stock (or clam juice)
  • 1/4 cup XO sauce
  • 1/4 cup Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 red birds-eye chillies, sliced
  • 2 stalks green onion, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime

METHOD

  1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan (or preferably a wok if you have one) over high heat. Sauté the green onions and red chillies (reserve a few for garnishing later) for 2 minutes or until softened.
  2. Add the pipis and cook for a further 3 minutes or until most of the shells have opened.
  3. Add in the XO sauce, fish stock, Shaoxing wine, and oyster sauce. Simmer for about 3 minutes or until all shells have opened (cook for no more than 5-6 minutes, discard any unopened shells). Transfer to a serving plate.
  4. Top with reserved green onions and red chillies. Drizzle with lime juice and serve with steamed rice.

Stir-fried Pipis in XO Sauce

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Guess who’s back? Back again? That’s right, I’m back from the dead (as some may say) and here with another post! I do apologise for not posting over the past few weeks. I just finished my first semester of my 4th year and it feels so good to have completed everything! I finished on Tuesday morning and practically celebrated the whole day – from a barbecue, to 22 Jump Street, and finally ending the night/early the next morning at a bar/club. I didn’t really get back into my cooking until this morning after having gone grocery shopping to fill up my empty fridge. It felt so good to see a shelf full of fresh fruit and vegetables, and meat.

Today’s recipe is something close to my heart, or should I say tummy? I remember growing up with Thien Thien Chicken Rice just a couple of blocks away from where I spent my early 7 years of life, and still continued to go back and forth there up until today. $3.20 chicken rice? Don’t mind if I do! Hainanese Chicken Rice here in Sydney is almost 3x (sometimes even 4x) more expensive and honestly not as delicious as chicken rice back home – but I can’t do anything about it. When I crave it, I just have to have it. I recently had some at Kreta Ayer in Kingsford with some friends and we were a bit disappointed. The chicken was well cooked, rice was mediocre, and the sauces, disappointed. Chilli sauce from a bottle? No spring onion and ginger oil? No soup to go with the dish? This must be a joke.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

After that disappointment, my friend and fellow housemate, Marissa, and I decided that when we were both free from assignments and exams, that we would make our very own Hainanese Chicken Rice, and that’s exactly what we did for today. I was in charge of cooking the chicken and rice, while Marissa took care of the sauces and carving of the chicken.

Check out the original recipes that we followed:

Hainanese Chicken Rice

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the chicken

  • 1 whole chicken (ours was 1.6kg)
  • 5-6 thick slices of ginger
  • 3 stalks of spring onion, cut into 1″ sections (both green and white parts)
  • 1 pandan leaf, washed and halved
  • 2 tsp chicken stock powder
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Salt for cleaning and seasoning the chicken

For the rice

  • 3 cups uncooked long-grain rice, washed and drained
  • 3 cups reserved chicken poaching broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 pandan leaf, washed and halved
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

For the chilli sauce

  • 6 red birds-eye chillies
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp reserved chicken poaching broth
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

For the spring onion and ginger oil

  • 4 stalks spring onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the dressing and garnishes

  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 lebanese cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • Sliced spring onions
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chicken poaching broth
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Hainanese Chicken Rice: Chilli Sauce

Hainanese Chicken Rice: Spring Onion and Ginger Oil

METHOD

  1. Rub a small handful of salt all over the chicken, getting rid of any loose skin and dirt. Rinse chicken well, inside and outside, and season with a generous amount of salt. Stuff the chicken with the ginger slices, green onions and pandas leaves. Place the chicken in a large stockpot and fill with cold water to cover the chicken. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then immediately turn the heat to low to keep it to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes more (less if you’re using a smaller chicken).
  2. When the chicken is cooked through, turn the heat off and remove the pot from the burner. Immediately lift and transfer the chicken into a bath of ice water to cool. Discard the stuffing. The quick cooling will stop the cooking process, keeping the meat soft and tender, and giving the skin a lovely firm texture. The quality of the chicken skin is important in this dish! It’s all about the skin texture. DO NOT DISCARD THE CHICKEN POACHING BROTH.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauces and dressing. For the chilli sauce, combine chillies, ginger, garlic, sugar and salt in a mortar and pound to a paste. Add the lemon juice and chicken poaching broth, and pound again. Set aside.
  4. For the spring onion and ginger oil, add the spring onions, ginger and salt to a heatproof mortar and pound lightly with the pestle. Heat the oil in a small frying pan until smoking and pour onto the mixture. Once the sizzling stops, combine lightly with the pestle and leave to infuse for a few minutes.
  5. For the dressing, mix the sesame oil and soy sauce with the chicken poaching broth.
  6. For the rice, heat cooking oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the ginger and the garlic and fry until your kitchen smells like heaven. Be careful not to burn the aromatics! Add in your drained rice and pandan leaves, and stir to coat, cook for 2 minutes. Add the sesame oil, mix well. Add the reserved poaching broth and bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down to low, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit (with lid still on) for 5-10 minutes more.
  7. While the rice is cooking, remove the chicken from the ice bath and carve to serve.
  8. If you have any remaining chicken stock after that, you can season it and add a few onion slices. This can be served as a light soup to accompany the meal. We added some slices of hairy melon to our soup.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kangkung Belacan

Kangkung Belacan

My mom used to make this dish all the time back home. Honestly, I’ve never made it for myself ever since being here in Sydney, except for today. On occasions though when I’d be eating out with friends in various Asian-Malaysian restaurants, I would come across this on their menu and MY GOODNESS were they overpriced! Like I get the whole profit making thing but honestly, it’s like more than a 500-600% profit for this simple dish! Mamak in Chinatown for example is priced at $14.00 while Delima Restaurant is priced at $17.95. I know Delima adds prawns to their kangkung, but seriously. Overall, if I totalled how much I spent for this dish, it would total to about $3.00 inclusive of all the ingredients, and naturally it’d be even cheaper back home. Here a bunch of kangkung averages to about $1.50 depending where you get it from, while back home you paid 99c for five bunches.

Kangkung, also known as ‘water spinach’, is a vegetable commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisines, mainly Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore where it is usually stir-fried in a chilli sauce. Kangkung is also evident in other Asian cuisines and I do recommend that you check out how else it can be used by going to wikipedia (I know, the whole conception of wikipedia not being a reliable source, but trust me). Belacan, or sambal belacan, basically consists of fresh red hot chillies, roasted Malaysian shrimp paste and lime, made into a paste or sauce to be used either as a condiment, or as an ingredient in cooking.

So for today’s recipe as titled: Kangkung Belacan (stir-fried water spinach with chillies and shrimp paste).

Kangkung Belacan

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp sambal belacan*
  • 1 bunch kangkung, washed, leaves separated from the stems, and stems cut into short lengths
  • Handfull of small-sized ikan bilis (dried anchovies)

*I used a store bought paste, but you can always follow a recipe make your own.

METHOD

  1. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over high heat. Add the ikan bilis and fry until crisp. Set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add the garlic and 1 of the sliced bird’s eye chilli and sauté until golden brown. Add in the onions and sauté until soft. Bring the heat down to low and then add in the sambal belacan, cooking the belacan over high heat will cause it to spit all over the stovetop and we don’t want to have a messy cooking area. Cover if needed. Sauté the belacan until fragrant.
  3. Add the the kangkung leaves, stems and a little bit of water to dilute the belacan you think can’t handle the heat. Cover until the leaves start to wilt. Toss around the belacan to coat the leaves and stems evenly (kangkung literally takes only a minute to cook).
  4. Transfer to a serving plate and top with the fried ikan bilis and fresh red chillies. Serve with hot rice.

Kangkung Belacan

BON APPÉTIT!

– Ally xx

myTaste.com