Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Birthday to my dear Sister

We just wanted to wish you a very happy Birthday. May your Birthday bring you everything you're hoping for and may happiness, health and wealth is with you throughout your life!! Enjoy your special day!

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to my dear WKey,
Happy Birthday to you!

We love you so much…….

With best wishes from Dad, Mum, YF, WK, SC, SP, Carmen, Caren, Dan, HK and YL

Monday, August 25, 2008

Seremban Siew Pao

We like Seremban Siew Pao very much. We still remember that there is a small but very famous shop in Ipoh selling Seremban Siew Pao, which is located at the Jalan Dato Onn Jaafar. Today, my dear requested me to bake some Siew Pao for his tea time besides watching the closing ceremony of Olympic games. After I came back from fitness studio, I started to bake some Char Siew. To prepare the filling, I fried some chopped shallots and garlics with the Char Siew. For the seasoning, I added Char Siew sauce, Hoi Sin sauce, soya sauce, salt, sugar, pepper, five spice powder and chinese cooking wine. Added some green peas at the end so that they won't turned yellow overcooked. Thicken the sauce and let it cooled down.

At the mean time, we started with the doughs. For the skin, we needed to prepare one oil dough and one water dough. The oil dough was kneaded with more shortening than the water dough. The trick here is to prepare the skin so that the water dough and oil dough are layered subsequently. The oil dough is responsible to separate the water dough. Here are our recipes of the doughs:

For the water dough
  • 250 gm plain flour
  • 70g sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 70 gm butter
  • 120 ml water

For the oil dough
  • 150 gm plain flour
  • 80 gm butter

Knead the doughs separately. Wrapped them up and store in the fridge for at last 30 minutes before continuing.

Separate the doughs to 10 portions each. Roll out a piece of the water dough to form a circle and wrap a piece of oil dough in the middle. Flatten it with the palm and roll it out again. Now, we need to layer the doughs. To do this, roll the dough up like a swiss roll. After that flatten it again and roll it up again. Repeat this step three times. My tip is, flatten it only on one side to form a long stripe since it is easier to roll it up. Don't overdo this step or else the skin will be as hard as a stone.

To wrap the Pao, roll out the dough (now try to get as round as possible as it will be easier to wrap). Put a spoonful of the filling in the middle and try to wrap the end together. It is not so easy to explain. I am also not very good in this. Make sure to press the top firmly or else it will crack when baked. To bake, preheat the oven to 200ºC and bake for 25-30 minutes. Oh.. brush the Pao with egg yolk before baking to give it a glance.

The Siew Pao turned out to be surprisingly good. Finish them as soon as possible. I still remember last time when I was always waiting at the shop for the Siew Pao fresh from ovens. They taste the best warm.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympic is ending

The 2008 Olympic games are coming to an end. It has been a success for China, one could really be proud of it as a Chinese although the western countries have always tried to put a shadow onto it throughout the games. Of course if one puts the politics on the center stage, there are still a lot of things the Chinese government could improve. Everyone knows about it and perhaps it starts to seem boring discussing it. The journalist needs to find something else. Today I saw the German TV broadcasting Olympic games and in the flash news, they reported which German athletes won medals today and who did not. In the middle of the report, they showed some pictures of some exotic foods (I just could recognize some scorpions and sea horses) and reported that their journalist found a store selling these grilled foods in Beijing and they tried it. As comment by the news anchor, translated literally: "our reportes who tried it said that it is crispy outside and tender inside, don't know whether you would like it, bon appetit". Then they continued with some other sport news. The clip is totally meaningless and why can't one just concentrate on the sport events and leave it. I have the feeling that they just try to somehow remind the audience that although the Chinese can organize a great game with many world record broken, there are still the same Chinese like last time eating scorpions and sea horses.

Most Germans are not really interested in the games. There are only two channels here broadcasting the games live. Of course also only when Germans are taking part. This is logical and I can understand it. So I missed the badminton men single final and could not even watch any synchronized swimming and gymnastic rhythmic that I like, poor me. Tomorrow is the last day and I will definitely watch the closing ceremony and see how the Chinese surprise the world again.

Peri-peri chicken with pumpkin soup

It was raining here the whole day and we could not go out for shopping. So we decided to make something simple for dinner. We marinated some chicken with olive oil, peri-peri powder and paprika powder just like how I marinated the spare ribs some days ago. We baked it together with some potato wedges.

Having used peri-peri powder for some while, googled it today and found that it is made from a type of African bird's eye chili. It is often used in Portuguese cuisines. It makes me remember the Chicken Piri-Piri from Nando's where one could choose the spiciness of the chicken on liking. The peri-peri powder we bought here is of course not that spicy.

We also made a pumpkin soup. We bought an organic pumpkin and it was quite expensive, 2 Euro/kg. Just boiled the pumpkin, carrot and celery before blending them to a soup. It turned out to be quite sweet as expected. Tasty but I prefer zucchini soup.

Sometimes it is easier to cook western food than Chinese food. The preparation took less than 30 minutes and once everything was in the oven, we could just relax in front of the TV until the food is cooked. It is also healthier, definitely when compared to Siew Yuk. I just looked at the photos we took, look at the fat layers, aiyah, tomorrow must go to gym already.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Siew Yuk Tongku Wantan Mee

We used to make Siew Yuk once a while since we miss this very much here. It is actually very easy although one may think that it is very complicated and not possible to make this at home. Here is how we do it:

Buy a piece of belly pork (with skin), not so small as it will shrink to two third of the original size after grilled. Also not too big since it will never cook inside thoroughly. If you want to make it for a lot of people, buy two of moderate size. We bought around 1/2 kg. Marinate it one night before. Boil the pork in water with vinegar for 30 seconds. Dish it out and rub with salt. Prepare the marinate, combine Nam Yu (fermented beancurd, red one), five spice powder and cooking wine. Rub the marinate over the pork and store in the fridge overnight.

Grill in the oven the next day, preheat the oven to 200ºC. Put the pork on a rack upside down (skin facing down) and grill for 20-25 minutes. Turn the pork around now skin upwards. Prick the skin all over, this will make the skin crispy and baked again for another 20 minutes. Eventually turn up the temperature to 230-250ºC to make sure the skin gets crispy. Of course the time and the temperature depends on the size of the pork and the oven as well. So experiment yourself and keep an eye on it during the first try. Oil will drop down from the pork while grilling, so remember to put a plate below it so that you won't spoil your oven, the oil is of course fantastic for cooking ... or maybe you should just pour them away if you are health conscious. Let it cool down for a while before chopping it into pieces.

We made some wantans and Tongku chicken sauce to go with the noodle. Not bad, two of us finished all the Siew Yuk, terrible...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Crazy cooking

A round up of what I experimented these few days. Not much time updating my blog since I am busy preparing my exams, very scary. My way to reduce stress is cooking, sport and cooking again.

Baked some muffins middle in the night yesterday. My dear thought that I was crazy or too hungry. However, the muffins turned out to be the best I have ever made. Used a recipe found online and did some modifications. I called this Baileys Mixed Fruit Muffins. Share this recipe with you:
  • 160 gm flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 75 gm sugar
  • ¼ cup dried mixed fruits
  • 75 gm melted butter
  • 125 ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp Baileys.
Beat the egg, milk, Baileys and melted butter until fluffy. Fold in the flour, baking powder and sugar and mix well. At the end pour in the mixed fruits. Fill into baking forms and baked at 200C for 15-20 minutes.

Bought a packet of spare rips last weekend and didn't know what to do with them. Actually there is not much meat on these spare rips and the best way of preparing them is barbecued them. I marinated the spare rip with whatever I found in the kitchen and just experimenting around. Marinated with Peri-Peri chili powder, paprika powder bought from last Budapest trip, pepper, salt, sugar, sesame oil and olive oil and baked them in the oven. Very very yummy, the marinate was baked on the outside and made the spare rips very crispy. My dear said I must bake this again next time to go with beer. Aiyah...

Monday, August 18, 2008


We bought this during the weekend. Federweißer also known as new wine. It is the stage between freshly pressed grape juice and finished wine. It is sparkling, sweet and contains at least 4% alcohol. The fermentation is still in process and one could still see white yeast in the bottle. At the end, the alcohol percentage can reach to more than 10%. Storing it a cool temperature will slow down the fermentation process. My dear likes this very much and he will buy it every time he sees it. Federweißer is not available throughout the year, only at the time of grape harvest, around August to October. It is less expensive than normal wine, this one cost around 1,50 Euro. The Germans say that one could get drunk easily drinking Federweißer than drinking normal wine since it still has a high percentage of glucose. Luckily, my dear has never been drunk from drinking this.

Fried rice with satay

Found this recipe from an online magazine. Decided to give it a try as we were thinking of making Satay recently. We marinated the chicken meat overnight with honey, salt, pepper, lemon grass and curry powder. There were then baked in an oven and brushed occasionally with honey and oil. The taste turned out to be quite similar to satay at home but of course minus the charcoal grilled flavor which makes it special. Anyway, I think it is healthier this way and much simpler to prepare. We made some satay sauce to go with it. This is not the first time as we do prepare satay sauce every time we make steamboat. It is very simple indeed. We roasted some peanuts and blended them in a mixer. Then we fried some garlics and onions together with curry paste until fragrant. Add some milk into it (we don't like to use coconut milk here, of course it would be more authentic) and pour the peanuts into it while stirring frequently. Add salt and sugar to taste. We fried the rice also with curry powder, some kind of Malay fried rice. I think everyone has its own favorite was of frying rice so I will skip it here. Oh.. ya..., how can I forget the cucumber and keropok. By the way, the keropok tastes fantastic with the satay sauce, try it!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


After rain yesterday, I saw the most beautiful rainbow ever. I managed to capture some photos and wanted to share them with you. Rainbow is a sign of hope to me. Wishing Malaysia to get its first gold medal in Olympic and may all our wishes come true.

Scones for breakfast

It is sometimes hard to figure out what to have for breakfast. There are not much to choose from here in Germany, just bread, bread and bread... We are bored and decided to bake our owns. We like the British scones, fluffy and it goes well with marmalade, butter or just ate by its own. Most important of all, it is so easy to make. After googling around for a while, we decided to use this recipe:
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons of butter
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of raisins
knead all the ingredients together and form into small balls. We brushed the top with egg yolk to give it a glanz and baked at 200º C for around 20 mins. That' it, easy isn't it?

Scones is best ate with marmalade and a cup of fresh brewed coffee, of course tee is prefect as well.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Cooking chicken rice sounds quite simple. Basically, one just needs to boil the chicken, cook the rice, cut the chicken into pieces and put them next to the rice. That's it... However, it is really an art how to cook the prefect chicken rice. Even in Malaysia, we would say that this shop sells better chicken rice than the others or I will only eat at one specific shop I like the most. I think when it comes to this simple and yet well known food, the detail in each step of preparation is very important. When boiling the chicken, the timing needs to be perfect, too long will spoil the chicken and it becomes rough and chewy, too short of course leaves the chicken inside raw. At the right time, one must take the chicken out and put it into cold water to stop the cooking process so that the meat remains tender and smooth. One would also not just boil the chicken in plain water, we normally add ginger, garlic and spring onions into the water before putting the chicken into it. The rice must be fluffy and fragrant. Therefore, we normally fried the rice with butter before cooking it in a rice cooker with ginger and garlic. We used the chicken broth from boiling the chicken. We always prepare three kinds of dips or sauces for chicken rice. Without them, the chicken rice taste boring and loss its character. For the first one, we chopped the ginger very fine and pour boiling hot oil over it. The second one is kind of home-made chili sauce, finely chopped red chilies mixed with vinegar and sugar. The third one is a classical, just coriander with soya sauce. Add three together onto the chicken, thumbs up!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chee Cheong Fun

Wanted to cook this for a long time and we have been missing this very much. We thought it is not possible to make Chee Cheong Fun as one may need a big steamer like those hawkers selling "Hong Kong style" Chee Cheong Fun. They normally steamed the rice flour mixture filled with "Char Siew or prawns" over a big piece of cloth. It is not so easy to do this with the cooking utensils found in a normal kitchen. Until recently we found a recipe of making home-made Chee Cheong Fun. Instead of steaming the rice flour mixture, it is cooked with a flat non-stick pan under low heat. We decided to give it a try some weeks ago using this recipe. However, we could not get the mixture of rice flour and tapioca flour right. We were also not too sure with the amount of water to use. The Chee Cheong Fun turned out to be very "floury"and rough. It cracked when it is cooked for too long. Afters several failed attempts, we gave up. As a conclusion, we thought that the mixture was not right.

My dear remembered he saw some ready-mix flour for Chee Cheong Fun in one of the Asian shops here.We could not find it until recently, maybe out of stock in the last weeks. We grabbed one and tried it again today. We added the amount of water recommeded on the packaging and the first piece of Chee Cheong Fun was still too thick and rough. We added more water as I could remember the mixture used by those hawkers is more watery than what we had. The second attempt was much better, not anymore floury and thoroughly cooked. I think too much flour before made it hard to cook. We added a few drops of oil into the mixture and the Chee Cheong Fun looks better, shiny and smooth, also easier to cook. We though we got the right mixture now. We continued making the whole batch and were very satisfied this time with the result. Although I must say it is still too thick compared to those "Hong Kong style" Chee Cheong Fun but no different to those "normal" Chee Cheong Fun one gets in KL. This was indeed our aim today as we also prepared a lot of "Yeong Liu". These are normally stuffed vegetables with minced meat and are ate together with noodles or of course Chee Cheong Fun. The sauce is also very important part of a good plate of Chee Cheong Fun. I combined "Hoi Sin" sauce, water, sugar, soya sauce, and sesame oil and cooked it until the sugar dissolved. It tasted exactly the same as those "sweet sauces". Although my dear prefers the "Ipoh style" Chee Cheong Fun with mushroom and minced meat sauce. We will try this the next time.

We also tried this recipe recently. Just share a photo here with you. Thanks Angel, yummy...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Birthday to our lovely Mummy!!

To our lovely Mummy,

This brings a special thank you now that your Birthday's here,
For all the loving things you do
for others through the year-
It also comes to thank you for the caring things you say
And to wish you special happiness today and every day.
May happiness, health and wealth be with you throughout your life

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to dear Mummy,
Happy Birthday to you!

With Lots of Love Happy Birthday!!
We love you so much…….

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Glutinous rice with curry chicken

I think glutinous rice and curry is one of the best combinations. We cooked curry quite often and actually it is quite simple. One could in these days buy different kinds of curry mixtures. We like those curry paste from Thailand, which we can get very easily here or those Indian curry powder. Chinese loves curry with coconut milk, we try to avoid it as it makes the curry too heavy. We normally just add water or milk. For us it is usual to put potatoes into curry, they absorbs the curry aroma and thicken the curry. Once my dear cooked curry for his German friends and they were quite shocked to see potatoes in curry. Potato is the main primary carbohydrate source besides the bread in Germany and it is normally ate separately. For the German, it is definite strange to see potatoes in a dish. At the end, they still said that it is a good combination. The glutinous rice is fried with mushrooms, dried shrimps and steamed. Oyster sauce, soya sauce, five spice powder, sesame oil, sugar, salt and pepper are added for flavoring.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Seafood Pasta

We like pasta very much and we used to cook pasta very often at home. Pasta is actually kind of fast food here in Germany or maybe the whole Europe. Just like noodle back home in Malaysia, one may cook a packet of "Maggi mee" (it is synonym for all instant noodles in Malaysia) for a fast and warm meal. I do believe the theory that the pasta is related to Chinese noodle and was brought by Marco Polo to the west from China. Or at least he did introduce the Chinese noodle making skills into Italy and the pasta evolved into today's form. Anyway, pastas are cooked in different ways here, in Germany one cooks the pasta and sauce separately and at the end one just scopes the sauce onto the plate of pasta. For me, this is the lazy man way of preparing pasta. In Italy, one mixes the pasta into the sauce in the pan before serving. I can still remember the time we had pasta in Rom some years ago. We ordered two portions, one Spaghetti Bolognese and could not remember exactly the other one, but definitely pasta with white sauce. The portions were so huge that we both could only finish one portion and left almost the other half untouched. The pasta was prepared in a very simple manner, like the Bolognese, just pasta and meat sauce. Nothing more, nothing less. As I said, European fast food.

For me, the most important part of preparing a good bowl of paste is the sauce, either tomato sauce or white sauce. What you add to the sauce later is just a manner of taste, minced meat, seafood, veges or bacon. We used to cook the sauce with those ready mix stuffs. The worst are those in powder form with lots of artificial colorings and flavorings. Better are those from bottles, somehow fresh ones, like tomato sauce with cottage cheese or herbs. These are of course more expensive, a decent one will cost you around 2-3 Euros per bottle for 2 servings.

We try to keep away from these ready products and instead make the sauce ourself. Actually, it is very simple. The tomato sauce is somehow similar to the one we used earlier in making tomato soup or chili con carne, but a bit thicker (just use more tomatoes and less water). After cooking the tomatoes with garlic and onions for a while, just blend everything together in a mixer to form a smooth and thick paste. This is our simple recipe of making the sauce:

1 clove of garlic
one onion
5 big ripe juicy tomatoes
chicken stock (or just water if you don't have any), not too much or else the sauce will become watery
pepper and salt to taste
herbs (we used those combined herbs for pizza with everything)
one chili (up to you, we like it a bit spicy)

Among all different kinds of pastas, we like seafood pasta the most. Although we cook Bolognese the most since it is the simplest. We cooked today for dinner seafood pasta with schrimps, squids and salmons. Instead of using chicken stock or water for the sauce, we fried the shells and the heads of the prawns and boiled them to made kind of prawn soup. This method is very similar to the one of boiling the broth for "prawn mee". I always find it very wasteful throwing the heads and shells of the prawns away as the most aroma is found in here especially the heads. We fried the salmons, prawns separately and boiled the squids for a while before adding them into the sauce. This is a must as squids release lots of juices when cooking and it dilutes the sauce if put raw directly into it. Moreover, it will also cause the sauce to taste very fishy. At the end, just combine the seafoods and cooked pasta (we used the classical spaghetti) into the sauce and that's it. One should never overcooked the pasta, it should be Al-dente (firm but not hard). Else the pasta will taste very muchy.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Tom Yam with Udon

Today my dear was craving again for something spicy . We both love spicy foods, especially hot and sour: Tom Yam, Laksa, Assam Curry... I think not only us, these are just the tastes of Malaysia, rich, exciting, appetizing and of course yummy. The feeling when you sweat from inside out is just so indescribable. If is somehow kind of self torture but you still enjoy it. However, we try to reduce the spiciness always as it is not that healthy as we know.

I cooked Tom Yam today as lunch with Udon. The texture of Udon is similar to "Lai Fen" (a kind of noodle that goes well with curry or laksa available in Malaysia). We never tried this combination before but it turned out quite nice. Just that Udon is of course much thicker than normal Lai Fen. We used to add whatever we can find in the fridge for the Tom Yam soup. We think there is no real rule what one should put into a Tom Yam soup, just what you like and what is in hand. We normally add some chicken meats, button mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, broccolis, prawns, and crab sticks, which are what we normally stock up during our weekly shopping.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Mexican night

Some catching up to something we cooked the last few weeks that I have no time to upload. Just discovered these photos on my camera when transferring others photos. We made an Mexican night two weeks ago and cooked some Mexican food: chili con carne, some BBQ chicken wings with sweet and sour sauce and sesame seeds and Chicken burritos.

We used to cook chili con carne using those ready mix packet and it tasted very artificial. Chili con carne is actually nothing more than tomato soup with chili, minced meat, corn and red beans. We decided this time to make our own tomato soup. We cooked fresh tomatoes with garlic, onions and some herbs until soften (approx. 20 minutes) and blended the soup in a mixer. We stir fried the veges and added in the soup and allowed to cooking under low heat for a while before serving. This taste much better than those ready mix sruff and of course fresh and healthier. The made these chicken wings inspired from what we ate some time ago in a spanish buffet. We baked some marinated chicken wings (chili powder, salt and pepper) and coated it with sweet and sour sauce (ketchup, honey, sugar, salt, corn flour and water) and sprinkled them with roasted sesame seeds. We bought some tortillas to make the chicken burritos. For the filling, we cooked chicken with onions, cucumber and paprika (big red chillies). Each of us just managed to have one, since we were already half full after having the soup and chicken wings. I like the chicken wings at most although it was not exactly the same as what we had before, but close to it. Will try to improve on the sauce next time.

Cola Chicken- First attempt

After struggling to decide what to have for dinner tonight, I decided to give cola-chicken wings a try adapted from Sock Peng recipe since we have an opened bottle of cola for some days. My dear won't drink it anymore as he said that cola without gas is just like water with sugar. My dear was a bit skeptical seeing me cooking chicken with coca-cola. It turned it however to be quite nice. A bit sweet and not too much of the cola taste. My dear like it as well, definitely this will not my last time cooking this. Thanks Sock Peng for her mother's secret recipe.

We had Kang Kung along with the cola chicken. This is one of my dear favorite dish. The Belacan paste from Adabi is perfect for stir fry Kang Kung. We brought this from home last time, unfortunately we could not find it here in Germany. Will defintely bring more next time when I am home.

Happy Anniversary

On the 1st of August, we celebrated our 7th anniversary. We could not celebrate this day years before as we both were separated and we appreciate it very much that we have the chance to spend this day together now. I got a present few days before, which I have wished since I was young, my own Lego. It is a Lego set of Ferrari F1 team (I am a fan). We started assembling the set and thought that it would be piece of cake since the set is actually meant for 8-12 years old kid. We only managed to finish the small figures the first day and had to stop since we both were tired too tired to continue. We strived to finished the whole set the next day and we did manage. I must admit that it was not that simple and we were happy to see all the parts in the right place at the end.

On that day, I got a bouquet of flowers with lovely roses and lilies. My dear had a hard time finding nice flowers as the weather these few days were extremely warm. In exchange I gave my dear his present. What was it? Secret... We spent the evening having a candle night dinner in a local restaurant serving german cuisine. We passed by this restaurant thousand times but thought that it was just a simple cafe. We decided to give it a try on their dinner menu for two. The restaurant resided in a building built in the 18 century just next to the railway station. The interior was left untouched for over hundred years, but was of course modernized with some new lightings however the big old lamps were still hanging from the tall ceiling. The tables and seats are also brand new. However, one could still feel the traditional ambient in the restaurant like one of those French brasserie in old time.

There was only one menu to choose from so it saved us the part of looking through the menu. We decided to have red wine (I think a glass of cola will spoil the evening...hihi). The appetizer was a soup. Literally translated from german it is called "The soup with seven herbs and scrimps". We started to cook these kinds of western style soups recently but had never try or even heard of this. So we were curious to try it out. It turned out to be very nice and creamy though a bit too heavy for me. I assumed at least a whole cup of cream was used for my bowl of soup. We never do this at home since we prefer light and fresh soup instead. But I still like it, something different. The main course was pork steak with mediterranean vegetables and balsamic sauce. Definitely the thing for me, the steak was juicy, lots of vegetables, the only thing a missed was the sauce, it could be a bit more. Both of us were actually very full after the main course, and we decided to have a 15 minutes break before the dessert. It was very relaxing sitting in this 18th century building enjoying the music and red wine. The dessert was french pancake with vanilla ice cream and orange sauce. Too big the portion, I could only give it a try and surrendered. My dear of course managed to finish almost the whole plate.

After dinner we started to walk home (the restaurant is just 15 minutes walk from our place). The walk was just right since we definitely need it. We both enjoyed the day and especially the dinner.
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