Spicy Tilapia

I really wanted to try making my own Spicy Tilapia after eating it a few times at a local Chinese restaurant here. They did not add spring onion but added bamboo shoot. I made mine with spring onions and didn’t add bamboo shoots because I didn’t have any. I also added firm tofu to mine as tofu and fish are a great combination. The frozen Tilapia that I got from the grocery store was very fresh and delicious. My daughter ate everything on her plate including Thai Jasmine Rice.



1 firm Tofu, cut into equal small triangular pieces

3 pounds of boneless Tilapia Fillet, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 Shallot, chopped

1 Garlic, Chopped

9 Dried Red Chillies

1 inch knob of Ginger, peel and slice thinly

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Green Bell Pepper

2 small bunches of Green Onion, cut into 2 inch long pieces

1/2 a tablespoon of White Ground Pepper

2 tablespoons of Oyster Sauce

2 tablespoons of Chinese Rice Wine/ Shaoxing Jiu

1 1/2 tablespoon of Corn Starch mix with 1 1/2  to 2 cups of cold Water


Heat up 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Fry each side of each piece of tofu until golden brown. Dished up tofu and set aside for use later.

Add shallots and dried chillies to the remaining oil in the frying pan. Fry until shallots and garlic turn slightly brown and dried chillies turn a darker color. Add ginger and fry until you can smell the ginger before the shallots burnt. Next, add bell peppers and fry for a few seconds.

Then, add the fish, white ground pepper, oyster sauce and Chinese rice wine. Flip each piece of fish after each side turns white. Cover the pan until fish is no longer pink. Add the tofu and corn starch mix and flip each piece of tofu so that it is coated with the sauce. Add green onion and mix it into the other ingredients. Let the tofu absorb the sauce a little before turning the heat off.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise


Yellow Curry Collard Greens

Nothing beats fresh, organic vegetables from the Saturday Farmer’s Market. We were at the Saturday Market for our favorite tilapia fish and chips and swung by the farmer’s market to look for vegetables. We saw a bundle of beautiful collard greens. I wanted to try cooking them as I have never cooked it before. I had collard greens for the first time at friends’ Passover dinner this year. It was sauteed with lots of onions and carrots and was simply delicious. I set out to make my spicy version with dried shrimp flakes to mask the bitterness.


Ingredients of the curry paste or rempah:

8 small Red Chillies

1 Shallot

1 Garlic

1/2 an inch of Ginger, peel and cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon of Curry Powder

Other ingredients:

2 leaves of Collard greens, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon of Oil

1 Yellow Onion, chopped

1 tablespoon of Dried Shrimp Flakes

20 Dried Anchovies, peel each one into half, remove guts and heads

1 can of Coconut Milk


To prepare the dried shrimp flakes for seasoning, rinse the 1 small packet of dried shrimp under hot tap water for a minute to remove excess salt. Strain the dried shrimp. Grind the dried shrimp in a food processor. Bake the dried shrimp in the oven on an aluminum baking pan at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until dry.

Keep one tablespoon of dried shrimp flakes out for seasoning the curry paste or rempah. Store the rest in a zip lock bag and place in the fridge for future use.

Grind up the ingredients for making the curry paste or rempah in a food processor.

Add oil to the frying pan. Fry the chopped yellow onion until golden brown. Then add the curry paste or rempah and fry until fragrant. Add dried shrimp flakes and dried anchovies. Mix the ingredients evenly in the frying pan.

Add the collard greens. Fry until the collard greens are mostly cooked.
Add coconut milk and simmer on high until the collard greens are entirely cooked.

It takes longer to cook collard greens compared to most vegetables.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Assam Pedas Ikan Curry/ Tamarind Fish Red Curry

I cooked this fish curry dish to go with roti prata (Indian flat bread). This spicy dish is great for winter time and cold weather where the body needs the extra spices to keep warm.


Ingredients for making the curry paste or rempah:

8 – 10 small Red Chillies

1 Garlic

2 Shallots or 1 Red Onion

1 inch knob of Ginger (Peeled and cut into small pieces)

Ingredients for making the Assam juice:

2 or more cups of water

1/3 of a block of Assam

Additional Ingredients for the Fish Curry:

2 tablespoons of Oil

1 Yellow onion, chopped

3 stalks of Lemon Grass, cut into 3 inch long pieces

20 small Okras, cut and discard the heads and tails

2 Purple Eggplants, cut and discard the stalks, cut length-wise into half, then quarters, and slice into two inch long pieces

4 Curry leaves

3 Spanish Mackerel, remove guts, clean the fish, cut fish down the middle keeping the bones then cut the fish lengthwise into half or thirds (I bought frozen Spanish Mackerel that are already gutted and cut into half down the middle)

3 – 4 tablespoons of Fish Curry Powder (I recommend Baba’s Fish Curry Powder)

1 – 2 tablespoons of Lime Juice

A few dashes of Fish Sauce

1 Can of Coconut Milk

4 – 6 Tomatoes on the vine, discard vines, cut into wedges

3 spritzes of Cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon of dried Mustard Seeds


To make Assam juice. Add water and Assam paste in a bowl. Use your hand to squeeze the Assam paste in the water, keep repeating until the tamarinds are worn down. Then strain the Assam juice by pressing the thick juice through the strainer and adding more water if necessary. Discard the tamarind seeds.

To make the curry paste or rempah, grind up red chillies, shallots, garlic and ginger.

In a big soup pot, heat up oil and fry chopped yellow onion until golden brown. Next add the curry paste and lemon grass. Fry until fragrant. Add okra, purple eggplant, assam juice, lemon juice, curry leaves and pour in enough water to barely cover the ingredients.

Bring everything to a boil until the eggplant is soft enough for a fork to prick through.

Add fish, curry powder, fish sauce and coconut milk. Bring the curry to a boil. Then add tomatoes, cilantro and dried mustard seeds. Simmer until fish is cooked.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Yellow Curry Mussels

This is a great dish to go with Thai jasmine rice, a loaf of french bread or over noodles.


8 small Red Chilies

1 Garlic

2 Shallots or 1 Yellow Onion/ Red Onion

1 inch knob of Ginger

2 tablespoons of Fish Curry Powder (I recommend Baba’s Fish Curry Powder)

4 stalks of Lemongrass, cut into 3 inch long stems

2 tablespoons of Dried Shrimp Flakes (See below on how to prepare them with 1 small bag of Dried Shrimp)

2 cups of Water

1 can (19 fl oz) Coconut Milk 560 ml

2 tbsp of Oil


Discard the mussels that have broken shells. Pull out the beard of each mussel and scrub each and every one of them under cold tap water. This is the hardest part.

Next, make the chilli paste or rempah by grinding up red chillies, garlic, shallots, ginger and curry powder together.

To prepare the dried shrimp flakes for seasoning, rinse the 1 small packet of dried shrimp under hot tap water for a minute to remove excess salt. Strain the dried shrimp. Grind the dried shrimp in a food processor. Bake the dried shrimp in the oven on an aluminum baking pan at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until dry.

Keep two tablespoons of dried shrimp flakes out for seasoning the curry paste or rempah. Store the rest in a zip lock bag and place in the fridge for future use.

Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Add the chilli paste, dried shrimp flakes and lemon grass. Fry them until they are fragrant then add mussels, coconut milk, and water. Cover the frying pan until the shells of the mussels are opened. Turn off the heat and serve. Discard any mussels that refuse to open.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Strawberry Pie

Now that the weather is sunnier, I am craving for more strawberries. I made this pie this morning after my hubby bought me a big box of strawberries.

You will need 1 rectangular 9 by 13 inch Pyrex dish.


3 pounds of Strawberries (slice each strawberry into 3 or 4 pieces)

6 cups of Multipurpose Flour

1/2 cup of Salted Butter

1/2 cup of Unsalted Butter

4 tablespoons of Shortening

1 1/2 cups of Water for the Pie Crust

3 tablespoons of Vanilla Essence

1 cup of Cornstarch

1 cup of Icing Sugar

1 to 1 1/4 cup of Water for spooning over the Cornstarch and Icing Sugar

1 beaten Egg for brushing over pie crust


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

To make pie crust, pour multipurpose flour into a big mixing bowl, cut butter into small pieces. Rub in butter to form coarse crumbs. Add shortening and rub in to form more coarse crumbs. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and gently press crumbs together to form a big and round dough. Do not knead.

Spray Pyrex dish with baking Pam. Flour the table. Roll out dough as far as you can, about 1/4 inch thick.

Put the Pyrex dish on top of the rolled out dough and trace the bottom of the Pyrex dish with a table knife. Place the traced out piece of dough on the bottom of the Pyrex dish.

Cut a 2 inch border around where the bottom piece for the pie was, like a picture frame. Cut this border into 4 pieces, cutting through the corners. Line the inner sides of the Pyrex dish with the 4 border piece, pressing the joints together.

Line the bottom of the pie with the cut strawberries. Overlap the strawberries if necessary.

Sprinkle the corn starch evenly over the top of the strawberries. Do the same for the icing sugar. Spoon 1 to 1 1/4 cups of water evenly over the top of the cornstarch and icing sugar to wet them.

Cover the pie with strips of crust, criss-crossed or weaved using the excess crust.

Brush egg over the pie crust.

Bake pie for 65 minutes at 375 degrees and broil on high for 2 minutes.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Black Chicken Herbal Soup

This soup is good for cold weather and winter time.


There are 12 different dried chinese herbs and ingredients shown above for this soup.

Top row (Left to Right): Yu Zhu, Huai Shan (Chinese Yams), Kezi (Wolfberries) and Dried Scallops

Second row: Hwa Qi Seng (Wild Ginseng), Dang Gui, Dang Shen and Red Dates

Third row: Ren Shen (Ginseng) and Chuan Gong

Fourth row: Gan Cao (Liquorice Root), Pao Shen (American Wild Ginseng) and Fresh Ginger Slices

(Not shown on pictures) I also added 10 dried shitake mushrooms pre-soaked with boiling water for at least ten minutes and cut off stems. I cooked them whole in the soup without the stems.

2 Black Chickens available at Asian Stores.

Give the birds a quick rinse and stuffed each bird’s cavity with a slice of ginger skin on.

Optional Ingredient:

A piece of lean pork about 1/2 a pound


Place everything in a 7-quart crock pot. Pour boiling water into the pot to completely cover the chicken, up to about two inches away from the top of the crock pot. Always use boiling water to make clear soup with meat. Turn on crock pot to the low setting, cover and let it cook for at least 12 hours or until soup turns darker than before. Then turn setting to keep warm until ready to serve.

For less greasy soup, chill soup in a separate pot in the fridge overnight after soup is done. Skim off and discard the layer of fats on the surface before reheating the soup.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Tonkatsu or Chicken Katsu

The best tonkatsu I had when I was a little girl, was made by my aunt, my father’s sister, who used crushed soda biscuits or crackers instead of panko for the breading.


2 pounds of Picnic Cut Pork (or Chicken Breast), slice into thin wide slices.

Marinate meat with:

3 tablespoons of Kikkoman Light Soy Sauce

2 tablespoons of Lemon Juice

1 tablespoon of Sesame Seed Oil

1/2 tablespoon of White Ground Pepper

1 tablespoon of Japanese Rice Wine, i.e. Michiu

Egg Whites of 4 eggs, separate from the yolk.

Panko Bread Crumbs or Crushed Crackers


In a frying pan, heat up enough oil to coat a non stick pan. Dip each piece of meat in the egg whites, coat both sides of the meat with panko and lay flat in the frying pan. Do not flip the meat until you see the edges turning golden brown. Use a pair of bamboo chopstick to push a piece of meat to see if it moves a little. If it does, flip that piece over and let it fry in the pan until the side down is golden brown. Dish up the fried tonkatsu or chicken katsu onto a plate or bowl that is lined with paper towels to absorb the extra grease from the pork. Serve with white rice and Kikkoman tonkatsu sauce or by itself.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Mom’s Egg Roll

This Teochew egg roll dish is my mom’s family recipe. My mom and my grandmother made this dish for every special occasion.The egg rolls are called “Neng Gao” in Teochew.

Ingredients for filling:

1 packet of Vegetarian Tofu Skin, cut each piece into quarters

4 Firm Tofu

1 pound of Peeled Shrimp

1.5 –  2 pounds of boneless Pork Cutlet, about 6 to 8 pieces (Use chicken breast if preferred)

2 Leeks, cut off the dark green leaves and discard; remove and discard most outer layer; chopped finely; and wash, rinse and strain (repeat three times).

1 cup of Sweet Potato Flour

1/2 cup of Cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon of Mediterranean Sea Salt

1/2 teaspoon of White Ground Pepper

1/2 teaspoon of Black Pepper


2 dozen Eggs

2 beaten Eggs for sealing


In a big bowl, mash up the firm tofu with both hands. In a big sauce pan, boil the shrimp until pink. Remove shrimp from the water, chop finely and add to the bowl of tofu. Use the same water in the sauce pan to boil the pork cutlet. Remove pork cutlet after it is cooked and cut into small cubes with a fork and a knife. Save the broth from boiling the shrimp and the meat for making soup later. I used the broth to make fish ball soup with lettuce. Add pork cutlet to the tofu and shrimp. Also, add the chopped leek, sweet potato flour, cornstarch and seasoning. Mix well.

Beat up 4 eggs for each egg skin. Heat up two tablespoons of oil to a non-stick frying pan. Pour in egg mixture and spread the egg mixture evenly over the pan. Cover the pan until egg is completely cooked. Repeat the process to make more egg skin. Cut the egg skins into 1/2 or 1/4.

Now, use a quarter piece of tofu skin to make the rolls. Add a piece of egg skin to the top of the tofu skin. Add some filling on top, roll it tightly like making spring rolls or ngoh hiang, folding in the two sides first. Seal with egg mixture. Do not overfill the rolls.

Place 2 egg rolls separate from one another in a glass dish sprayed with PAM for grilling. I find the square Pyrex dish better at keeping the egg rolls separate so that they will not stick together after steaming. Steam each batch in a steamer for 6 minutes. Do not steam any longer than that as they might fall apart. Remove immediately from the steamer with oven mittens. Eat now, slicing up the egg roll or place the dish in the fridge overnight to let it cool down completely before pan frying.

COPYRIGHT 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Lotus Root Soup

This is a great clear soup with herbs that have both Ying and Yang properties. The red dates and wolfberries (gezi) have Yang properties as they are more heaty and likely to raise body temperature and the Yuzhu does the opposite, helping to cool the body down. So the ingredients in this soup balance out the qi in the body by the use of both Ying and Yang herbs.


1 rack of Pork Ribs, cut in between bones trim off fats

Boiling water

2 long stems of Lotus Root, peeled and sliced

9 dried Red Dates

2 tablespoons of Wolf berries or Gezi

1 bowl of raw peanuts, give a quick rinse and soak in room temperature overnight, keep the water that the raw peanuts were soaked in

5 strips of Yuzhu

Optional Ingredients:

1/2 a dried octopus, cut into small pieces

2 dried scallops


Put ribs in a big pot, cover ribs with boiling water and bring the water to a quick boil. Turn off the heat immediately and discard water carefully, leaving the ribs in the pot. This is to clean out the blood in the bones of the ribs.

Now, add lotus root, red dates, wolf berries, raw peanuts and the water for soaking them, yuzhu, dried octopus and dried scallops to the pork ribs and add enough boiling water to completely cover everything. Omit the optional ingredients if you prefer a less fishy taste. Use boiling water instead of cold water for making the soup to ensure that the soup is clear. Bring the soup to a boil.

Then, cover the soup and simmer for 2 hours on low heat.

COPYRIGHT 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Teochew Steamed Fish

This is how my mom who is Teochew makes steamed fish. This dish is relatively bland, so the fish can be dipped in dark soy sauce when eating with rice. The dish can be steamed in a steamer but I steamed in it the oven by adding water to the dish and covering the dish with aluminum foil.


1 tablespoon of sesame seed oil

1 whole fish or fish fillets (I used black cod fillets here)

4 tomatoes cut into wedges

2 salted sour plums crushed

1 dollop of sliced sour mustard leaves (I pre-cut them and store them in a jar with chopped galangal, vinegar, water, sugar, brandy, and 2 dried chillies)

8 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in boiled water for 15 minutes, remove stalks and cut into strips

1 small bunch of spring onions, cut diagonally

1 inch of ginger, peeled and cut into strips

2 spritzes of cilantro chopped


Lee Kum Kee, dark soy sauce at the side for dipping the fish after it is cooked


Oil a rectangular Pyrex dish with sesame seed oil. Put fish in the dish and coat both sides of the fish with sesame seed oil. Top the fish with the rest of the ingredients. Add about 1 inch of water. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake in oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

COPYRIGHT 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise