Cereal Butter Prawns (I)

Friday, 25 February 2011

Melt some butter and, when it's bubbling nicely, grab a few sprigs of curry leaves and rip off the leaves (with style, of course). Toss 'em in the wok, together with a roughly chopped up cili padi. Stir vigorously, knocking the spatula against the wok now and then. (Not sure what the knocking is for but that's what chefs do. Maybe it's a man thing?)

Butter, curry leaves and cili padi are all ingredients with pretty strong flavours but they complement rather than overwhelm each other. Each stands its ground, yet works with the other two to create a killer combination loved by young and old alike.

Har Lok (干煎虾碌, Dry-Fried Prawns)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011


Remember har lok? It was the prawn dish that ruled the scene before (relative) newbies like cereal prawns and butter prawns usurped its throne.

Pandan Leaf Chicken

Friday, 18 February 2011

Whenever I see Pandan Leaf Chicken, I'd remember the lunch I had with my Australian boss in a Thai restaurant in Melbourne. That was a long time ago, when Australians probably weren't as familiar with Thai food as they are now.

One of the dishes we had was Pandan Leaf Chicken and, as I chatted away, Boss did something that I still remember now. He picked up a piece of fried chicken, unwrapped it, and put the entire pandan leaf in his mouth – no chicken, just the stiff, wiry leaf!

My eyes widened in horror and my mind went, 'WHOA! WHOA! YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THAT!'

Dry-Fried Bitter Gourd

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.

Bitter gourds that are really bitter have hard, narrow ridges and are darker green. The less bitter ones are relatively softer, less green, more yellow, and have wide ridges. The bitter gourds I cook are the big ones that, over the years, have become less bitter. I used to sweat them before cooking but that's not necessary now.

Salt-Grilled Salmon Head

Sunday, 13 February 2011

I have a great solution for people who don't eat fish heads because they don't like the eyes staring at them. Eat the eyes first, then there's nothing to stare with!

Steamed Pork Ribs with Pickled Plums

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Ribs again, after the last post on coffee pork ribs? Well, that's all I have in the fridge.

The last time I shopped was more than a week ago, before Chinese New Year. I tried to stock up last Sunday but there wasn't anything fresh at all. The market and supermart were all clearing their leftovers from before the holidays. I'm guessing they'd be clearing their old stocks till this weekend, so I'm following suit. No one's fobbing off stale stuff on me!

After feasting on "heaty" goodies like steamboat and bak kwa, it's time to rebalance the body by eating more "cooling" stuff like fruits and vegetables. And for meat devotees who must eat an animal part or two everyday, pork ribs steamed with pickled plums is a good option. According to traditional Chinese medicine principles, frying or roasting meat makes it "heaty" but steaming doesn't. And it's even better if the steamed meat is paired with pickled plums, which is a strong "cooling agent".

Coffee Pork Ribs

Monday, 7 February 2011

I'm not a coffee addict. I have only seven cups a day . . . .

Just kidding, folks. I have three, max; most days I have two. I always have one first thing in the morning, sometimes with a couple of cream crackers for dunking. On days when I'm a good girl, that's the only coffee I'd have.

My favourite coffees are macchiato (espresso with a dollop of steamed milk) and romano (espresso with lemon zest) when I want 'proper' coffee. I also like latte, for washing down cookies or cake, but that's more like coffee-flavoured milk rather than coffee. Whatever coffee it is, it's always without sugar.

I love food that's slightly bitter, from bitter gourd to bitter chocolate, and anything made with coffee such as coffee cheesecake and coffee candy. Pork ribs deep-fried and coated with coffee? Yeah, baby, yeah!