Cao Nian Gao/ Stir fry Rice Cakes

Nian Gao is a rice cake made out of rice flour traditionally eaten by Chinese and Koreans on New Year’s Day.

Ingredients:

Chopped Shallots

2 tablespoons of Peanut Oil

1 pound of Ground Pork or Chicken

2 shakes of Garlic Powder

2 shakes of Onion Powder

1/2 tablespoon of White Ground Pepper

1 packet of Korean rice cakes, sliced oval shape ones (You need a steamer)

1 can of pickled snow cabbage

Method:

Steam Korean rice cakes in a steamer for 20 minutes. Add some cooking oil to the rice cakes prior to steaming to prevent them from sticking together.

Heat up oil, put chopped shallots in oil and fry till slightly golden brown, then add ground meat. Fry till meat is completely cooked while seasoning with garlic powder, onion powder and white ground pepper. Add the pickled snow cabbage and stir fry for a few seconds.

When rice cakes are done steaming, add the ground pork or chicken and pickled snow cabbage in the pan and continue to stir fry evenly. Turn off the heat before rice cakes start getting golden brown as they will become too tough to chew on.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Shrimp Tumis

This is a popular Singapore Malay and Indonesian dish. My late mother used to make this dish with her nine ingredient homemade chilli paste. I used a little Korean chilli paste, i.e. Gojujang as substitute of my mother’s chilli paste.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of Peanut Oil

1 Chopped Garlic

1 Chopped Shallots

2 pounds of Jumbo Shrimp with shell

1 cup of Tomato Ketchup

1 tablespoon of Gojujang (Korean chilli paste)

1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice

5 sprigs of chopped Cilantro

Method:

Heat up oil in frying pan, add chopped garlic and chopped shallots. Before the garlic and shallots turn golden brown, add in the jumbo shrimp (shell-on). When the shrimp is about 80 percent cooked or pink, add in tomato ketchup, gojujang and keep stir frying until the shrimp is cooked and the sauce is caramelized around the shrimp. Then add in lemon juice and chopped cilantro and stir them in.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Steamed Meat or Char Siew Buns

My best reward for making these buns was getting a thumbs up from my wonderful three year old daughter when she ate the first bun mommy made for her.

Ingredients for the dough:

2 packets of Bột Bánh Bao flour (1 packet of flour makes 12 buns, so this portion will make 24 buns)

2 cups of Milk

1 cup of Sugar

2 tablespoons of Oil

24 White Paper Cupcake Cups

Mix everything well in a strong mixer like Kitchen aid mixer with the appropriate attachment. Used the mixer to knead the dough for 10 minutes and cover the mixer bowl with a damp cloth for 15 minutes. Then knead for another 5 minutes and cover with damp cloth again until you are ready to make the buns.

I made two different fillings: Char Siu filling and Pork/Chicken filling

Ingredients for Char Siu filling:

1/2 pound of Pork Belly (sliced into thin strips) or Boneless Chicken Thigh (cut into thin small pieces)

1/4 pound of Lean Ground Pork or Lean Ground Chicken

3 sticks of Chinese Sausage/ Lap Cheong or Chicken Lap Cheong (cut into very small pieces)

1 chopped Shallot

1/2 clove of chopped Garlic

1/2 teaspoon of chopped Ginger

1 tablespoon of White Ground Pepper

2 shakes of Garlic Powder

2 shakes of Onion Powder

1 1/2 tablespoons of Ketchup

1 teaspoon of Oyster Sauce

1 tablespoon of Brown Sugar

Method for making Char Siu fillings:

Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan. Fry chopped shallots and garlic until garlic are slightly golden brown. Add pork belly or chicken thigh meat and ground meat. Fry until 90 percent cooked, then add chopped ginger, white ground pepper, garlic and onion powder and mix well. Next, add Chinese sausages and fry untill all meat is thoroughly cooked, then add ketchup and brown sugar and mix well until the sauce thickens and slightly caramelizes. Scoop up the filling with a spatula that has holes to drain off excess oil. Allow fillings to cool down either at room temperature or in the fridge.

Ingredients for Pork or Chicken filling:

1/2 pound of Pork Belly or Boneless Chicken Thigh meat

1/4 pound of Lean Ground Pork or Ground Chicken

1 bunch of Green Onions (chopped finely)

2 tablespoons of Chopped Ginger without the skin

1 teaspoon of Sesame Seed Oil

1 teaspoon of Chinese Rice Wine/ Shaoxing Jiu

1 teaspoon of Hawaiian Shoyu (with ginger flavor)

1 teaspoon of Teriyaki Sauce

1 Egg

Grind pork belly with lean ground pork in a food processor. Alternatively, use boneless chicken thigh meat with lean ground chicken. Add the rest of the ingredients including the seasoning into the food processor and blend well with the meat.

How to wrap the buns:

Approximately divide each batch of filling into 12 equal portions in a bowl with a metal spoon, i.e. 24 total. Do one kind of filling at a time.

Divide the dough into 24 equal portions, cutting the dough with a knife. Roll each portion into a ball and roll each ball out with a small rolling pin so that the middle of the dough skin is thicker than the edges of the dough skin. Put a dollop of filling on the dough skin on the table and carefully pull and pinch the dough skin to the middle as you go around the entire circumference of the the dough skin then pinch and twist the center together tightly. Invert the pinched side of the bun onto a cupcake cup and do the same for the rest of the buns. The buns are less likely to come apart in the steaming if the pinched side of the bun is facing down in the cupcake cup. When all the buns are sealed, steam them in a steaming pot for 20 minutes and move to a plate with a pair of tongs.

Mark the Char Siu buns with red dye, dotting the bun with one bamboo chopstick.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Or Lauk/ Singapore Oyster Omellette

My first memory of this Singapore Street food goes way back to the seventies when my father would take us to a street food center, near the old Thong Chai Medical Institution on Eu Thong Seng street, for supper. I remember this was one of the dishes my father ordered for us including boiled cockles and Cantonese fried fritters/salad (Ham Sa-lay). Subsequently, after the street food center was demolished, my family enjoyed having this dish at Chomp Chomp food center during the late 80s and early 90s.

Ingredients:

2 pounds of small oysters

1 1/2 cups of sweet potato starch mixed into one big soup bowl of cold water (about 2 1/2 cups of water) – add 1 tablespoon of white ground pepper

12 beaten eggs – add a few dashes of Thai fish sauce and 1 teaspoon of white ground pepper

2 tablespoons of cooking oil

Method:

Stir the sweet potato starch well in to the big soup bowl of water and microwave for 2 minutes or until they turn into starch.

Heat up oil to the frying pan. Pour in egg mixture and lay oysters carefully in and around the egg omelette. Cover the frying pan until most of the egg on the underside is cooked. Then drop blops of the sweet potato starch in and around the omellette. Cover for a few seconds. Then chop the egg omelette into quarters and flip them over. Let the other side brown before turning off the heat and dishing it up.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Sotong Gurita Tumis/ Spicy Octopus

I came up with this dish after finding frozen baby octopus in one of the Asian stores. Growing up, my mother would stir fry sotong/ squids with tomatoes, sliced onions and chilli paste. I tried to adapt my mother’s dish using baby octopus.

The Singaporeans have a colloquial saying “blur like sotong”. It describes someone who is spacey like a squid that is blinded by its own ink.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of peanut oil

1 yellow onion cut into strips

1 tablespoon of Mae Ploy Red curry paste

1 tablespoon of curry powder

1/2 teaspoon of belachan (I used very little because it is very salty)

2 tablespoons of mustard seeds

1 cup of tomato ketchup

2 pounds of baby octopus cut into halves

6 tomatoes on the vine cut into wedges

2 tablespoon of lemon juice

5 sprigs of chopped cilantro

Method:

Heat oil in a pan, add in yellow onion strips. Before the onions turn brown, add in curry paste, curry powder, belachan and mustard seeds. When the paste starts smelling fragrant, add in baby octopus. When the octopus are almost cooked, add in tomato ketchup. Stir and flip until the octopus are cooked then add tomato wedges, lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Mix well, then turn off heat.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Cai Po Neng/ Eggs with Salted Turnip

This is a dish that my mother often cooked in my family. We have this dish at least once a week. It is a very popular Singapore home style dish.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons of Peanut Oil

12 Eggs

1 small packet of Cai Po/Salted Turnip, rinsed and strained

1 tablespoon of sesame seed oil

1 teaspoon of Kikkoman light soy sauce

2 dashes of Thai Fish sauce

1 teaspoon of White Ground Pepper

Method:

In a non-stick frying pan, heat up oil. In a bowl beat up all 12 eggs and add in sesame seed oil, Kikkoman light soy sauce, Thai fish sauce, white ground pepper and mix well. Then add cai po/salted turnip and mix well. Pour the mixture into frying pan and cover the pan with a lid. When the underside of the egg omellette is mostly cooked and brown, cut the omellete with the spatula into quarters and flip them over and brown them on the other side. Now, you are ready to serve the dish.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Penang Shrimp Noodles and Ipoh Hor Fun

Penang and Ipoh are located in Malaysia. Many Singaporeans enjoy Malaysian food with Singapore and Malaysia being neighbors separated by just a causeway/ bridge.

I made the same rempah and the broth for both dishes.

Ingredients for the rempah:

1 tablespoon of Mae Ploy red curry paste

– Grind in a food processor: 1 whole garlic (skin removed), 2 shallots (skin removed), 1/2 and inch of ginger (skin removed), 5 green/red chillies, seeds removed and cut into small pieces

– 1 teaspoon of belachan

Fry the rempah in 1 tablespoon of peanut oil until fragrant, put aside for flavoring soup later.

Ingredients for the noodles:

1 rack of pork ribs/ 2 whole chicken breast bone in

25 shrimp with heads and shell

Evergreen yakisoba noodles/Any yellow noodles/Spaghetti or Flat Rice Noodles

Rempah that you made earlier

10 pieces of rock sugar

1 – 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce

2 dashes of Thai fish sauce

Cilantro for garnishing

Method for making the broth:

Use pork ribs or bone in chicken breast to make the broth.

For pork ribs, blanch the ribs with boiling water and bring the water to boil and immediately discard the water.

Use boiling water to cook the ribs or chicken breasts. Bring water to a boil and simmer on low for 2 hours.

Method for preparing the noodles, ingredients and cooking the broth:

For Penang Shrimp Noodles, use Evergreen brand yakisoba noodles or any other yellow noodle, or spaghetti.

For Ipoh Hor Fun, use dried flat rice noodles.

Blanch the noodles with boiling water until soft and strain.

Cook twenty five shrimp with shell on in a separate small pot. Throw the heads of the shrimp into the big pot of broth.

When shrimp is cooked, scoop them out of the pot and shell them when they have cooled down.

Boil sliced pork for Penang Shrimp Noodles or sliced chicken breast for Ipoh Hor fun in the broth that was used to cook the shrimp. Scoop up the meat when cooked. Add this broth to the big pot of broth and add the rempah gradually until you think the flavor is good enough. Then add rock sugar, dark soy sauce and thai fish sauce.

Serve in bowls, noodles, peeled shrimp, meat, garnish with cilantro. Pour hot broth over the ingredients.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Curry Flavored Samosas

Samosas are commonly found in Singapore amongst Indian and Malay food. The fillings for samosas can also be used for curry puffs.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of Peanut Oil for frying

1 chopped Yellow Onion

4 Potatoes (cut into 1/2 inch cubes)

3 Chicken Half Breasts (cut into 1/2 inch small cubes)

or 1 Pound of Ground Lamb (add 1 teaspoon of cumin and ground coriander seeds for lamb)

10 Sprigs of Coriander chopped (include 2 sprigs of chopped mint for lamb)

1 pound of Frozen Carrots and Peas thawed

Seasoning:

1 teaspoon of Ginger Powder

3 heaping tablespoons of Curry Powder

1 tablespoon of Chilli Powder

1 tablespoon of Paprika

1 tablespoon of White Ground Pepper

2 tablespoons of Garlic Powder

2 tablespoons of Onion Powder

1/2 tablespoon of Garlic Salt

1/2 tablespoon of Onion Salt

Method:

Season the cubed chicken with all the ginger powder, 1 tablespoon of curry powder, and 1/2 of the remaining spices. (Mixed in spices well with a pair of chopsticks, I used bamboo chopsticks for cooking and stir frying all the time).

In a pot (at least 6 quarts), boil potatoes in cold water with lid on until the water comes to a boil. Turn off the heat immediately. Potatoes should be soft enough for a fork to prick through but not too soft because we are going to cook it further in the frying pan. Let it sit in the pot of hot water until ready to cook.

Heat up peanut oil in frying pan. Add chopped yellow onions. Add in cubed chicken when onions start to brown. Stir fry the chicken and onions with a pair of bamboo chopsticks until chicken is cooked and turns golden brown. Now, strain the potatoes. Add potatoes to the frying pan and add the remaining spices to the potatoes. Mix potatoes in well with chicken until all the excess water evaporates. Then add in carrots and peas and mix well. Lastly, add in chopped coriander. Mix well and turn off heat. Do not overcook the coriander.

Allow the contents for the samosa to cool down in a dish in the fridge before attempting to wrap them.

Wrapping Samosas and Sealing with Beaten Egg Yolk:

I recommend pan frying the samosas because they may fall apart if they are deep fried.

Method:

Add four tablespoon of oil to a non-stick frying pan. Fill the pan loosely with samosas. Do not move the samosas until they are golden brown on one side. You can push one of them lightly with a pair of bamboo chopsticks after about three minutes on one side, if it moves, you can flip that one over.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Belacan Shrimp Balls

Belacan Shrimp Balls

Shrimp Paste

This is similar to shrimp jemput, a Malay food. I came up with adding belacan or shrimp paste to the shrimp balls because of my love for belacan. Belacan is a dried shrimp paste that is commonly used as a condiment to make chilli paste/ rempah in Singapore. It needs to be cooked before it can be eaten. The type of shrimp paste I used is shown in the picture above. It is made in Thailand and is a great substitute for traditional belacan as it can be scooped out of the container easily.

Ingredients A:

1/2 to 1 tablespoon of Dried Shrimp Paste/Belacan

2 1/2 to 3 pounds of Peeled Shrimp cut into small pieces

1 small bunch of Chopped Green Onion/Scallions

Black Pepper

White Ground Pepper

4 Eggs

Ingredients B:

All Purpose Flour

Cold Water

Method:

Mix all of ingredients A together. Then add just enough all purpose flour to coat all of ingredients A. Add enough cold water gradually to form a moist dough while mixing everything well with both hands.

Shape each ball with two metal spoons and drop them into the deep fryer. Fry them for about 7 minutes or until golden brown.

I made these for my outdoor parties.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise