Mee Kuah

This is one dish that I can proudly declare to be handed down from my mum (Finally I can say I have hope in slowly following her footsteps in yummy cooking ;p) Of course, I have improvised the dish. It is one of Princess’ fave dishes and asks that I make it regularly (Dont you love it when your children ask more of your cooking? ;)) 

I look forward to the day when I can pass down this recipe to any of my brood and expect to taste their versions. The highlight of this dish are the garnishes. My mum even had an elaborate dish plate for the various garnish but fuss-free me opted for L&L compartment container 😉 And its always daddy who prepares the garnishes as the cucumber and omelette need precision cutting/ slicing which is simply beyond me ;p

I find this super  easy to make despite it looking elaborate ;>

Ingredients

  • Cabbage leaves
  • Minced mutton (chicken or beef can do as well)
  • Tomato puree
  • Chilli paste
  • Minced ginger and garlic 
  • Noodles- yellow egg noodles and white kuay teow are my choices

Garnishes

  • Omelette (sliced thinly)
  • Coriander and spring onion (chopped finely)
  • Cucumber (peeled and sliced thinly)
  • Lime
  • Fried shallots
Steps
  1. Boil cabbage leaves
  2. While waiting for cabbage to be cooked, heat oil. Saute ginger and garlic. 
  3. Add chilli paste and fry well
  4. Add tomato puree and mix thoroughly
  5. Add minced meat and stir well
  6. Add cabbage leaves and some water
  7. Leave to simmer
  8. Prepare garnishes

When serving, mix noodles with the gravy in separate pot. Add to plates and top with garnishes. You can add more gravy if preferred. ENJOY! ;D

Brown Jambalaya

This rice dish was part of a menu plan during CNY. It was only at the end  of cooking I realised that there were two types- Red Jambalaya and Brown Jambalaya 

I made the latter and definitely will make the former as it requires tomatoes (one of our staples) and tomato paste. According to Wikipedia, this is one true fusion dish with Spanish and French influence. I like this cos I can just throw in whatever ingredients I have in hand and need to use up quickly.

These are the ingredients I used: 

  • Onions, chopped (you need lots! I used about 6)
  • Garlic  and ginger, pounded (not required but I added out of habit 😉
  • Dried shrimp (another optional; I love the aroma of shrimp and garlic being fried)
  • Chicken stock (to cook rice and to add to the onions)
  • Red wine and Steak sauce
  • Rice (I used 3 cups)
  • Pepperoni
  • Picnic ham
  • Luncheon meat
  • Grated vegetables (carrots, celery and zucchini)

Steps:

Cook rice separately with stock. I will cook with the chicken rice paste in the future to add more flavour.

Heat oil. Saute garlic and ginger. Add dried shrimp. Stir til aromatic. 

Add chopped onions, with some water. Keep stirring til water is evaporated. 

I added chicken stock the second time round. Keep stirring til there is no more liquid. 

I added red wine for a final cooking of the onions. Keep stirring until onions have caramelised completely.

Add the meat pieces. Mix thoroughly with onions. Add vegetables.

Just a dash of steak sauce. Mix well. 

Then add rice to the mixture. Coat rice well with the mixture. I added iceberg lettuce and fried shallots for colour and texture ;D

Toasted Herb Rice

I have yet to make this, though its already noted in my menu planning calendar. 

  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 2 T. butter or margarine
  • 1 can condensed chicken broth, heated
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 4 green onions, chopped 1
  • t. dried basil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Place rice in an ovenproof Dutch oven. Cover with lid. Bake at 325 for 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is golden brown. add butter and stir until melted. Carefully stir in broth and 3/4 cup boiling water. Cover. Bake 30 more minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in onions, basil and pine nuts; serve at once.
Source: Mildred Bickley

I got the recipe from the following group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SimpleMeals/

My version will incorporate the following changes:
Instead of chicken broth, I will use my home-made chicken stock. All other seasoning will be just added to the rice cooker with the rice to cook OR saute the onions and pine nuts in butter and add them to the uncooked rice with the basil. 

Zucchini rice

This is one of my favourite dishes to cook and enjoy! I first got to know about this from the following site:

http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/2007/01/04/zucchini-rice

My version:

I add grated carrots, leek and celery, dried herbs (when available) and use vegetable stock to the cook rice. Its very yummy with the stock. 

I love cooking flavoured rice- such as pilau and herb rice. I find them very wholesome and fuss-free to make.

Must have ingredients

You will always find these in my kitchen-

  • onions (usually the red ones)
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • potato
  • tomatoes (I just cannot have enough of these!)
  • Eggs
  • yoghurt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I switched to EVOO since reading that olive oil is more refined.)
  • Canola oil, soon giving away to Palm oil for deep frying (reason for the switch)
  • Sauces- Soya sauce (both dark and light sauces), Fish sauce, chilli sauce and tomato ketchup (Sunshine has recently discovered how yummy this condiment is ;))
  • Cheddar cheese slices (Parmesan  when making pasta and pizza, and its Princess’ fave snack too ;))

My default items in the marketing list-

  • carrots
  • zucchini
  • lemons
  • green leafy vegetables- usually spinach
  • herbs especially mint since the family loves mint tea

Regular basics

These are my standard bases I use regularly. You will not find measurements in my recipes as I tend to add ingredients according to my whims. Whenever possible, I will provide links so that you may have a better idea of proportions to use. Otherwise, I am certain that you are able to adjust the proportions to suit your own/ family taste buds 😉

Sambal

  • Onions or shallots (latter said to be more flavourful)
  • Garlic (chopped or minced)
  • Ginger (pounded- used especially for sambals with fish or mutton)
  • Lemongrass (optional)
  • Dried shrimp (a must have for me; though daddy makes very yummy sambal without these)
  • Tomatoes (another must-have or Tomato juice is another flavourful option)
  • Tamarind (soaked in water- another optional as it depends on the type of sambal)
  • Chilli paste or chilli powder (for paste- just soak dried chilli in hot water for an hour and blend them in a grinder. Some add onion/ garlic/ lemongrass/ anchovies/ tomatoes to add flavour to the paste but its really optional)
  • Fish sauce/ soya sauce (optional)

Steps

  1. Heat oil. (I use EVOO or palm oil. No more canola). Saute garlic briefly and add dried shrimps and onions.
  2. Once there is aroma and the onions are browned, add lemongrass, if using.
  3. Add chilli powder/ paste and fry for about 5-10 mins.
  4. Add fish sauce, if using
  5. Add chopped tomatoes/ tomato juice. Mix well with the chilli. Cover wok and wait until tomatoes become soft or the juice starts to simmer.
  6. Add tamarind paste, if using.
  7. Soya sauce can be added if sambal is too spicy. Otherwise just add pinch salt if fish sauce has not added the salt taste.

Stock

I make stock when I have enough vegetable leftovers or chicken bones. One tip I learnt was to use roots and veg tops (such as carrot tops) to make stock. Though these are usually omitted from cooking, they are still packed with nutrients. This is definitely one way of reducing waste- methinks ;p The following are what I throw in a pot of boiling water to make basic vegatable stock

  • Whole onion
  • Garlic cloves
  • Ginger (sliced- used only for chicken stock)
  • Celery
  • Carrot
  • Zucchini
  • Spring onion
  • Roots of any green leafy vegetable
  • Coriander roots (when available)
  • Lemongrass (optional)
  • Peppercorns
  • Bay leaf (optional)
  • Dried herbs or any available herb (optional)

For chicken stock, I use the above in bold and chicken bones. One suggestion is to dry fry the bones before adding to boiling water for more flavour.

Besides soups, I use stock when making herbed or vegetable rice, sambal (dhal curry) or any dish requiring liquid.