Sunday, May 25, 2008

Give Instant Noodle a Makeover

Most Asian grew up with instant noodles or ramen noodles. I have to admit, instant noodle is one of my comfort food. Simple and easy way to eat instant noodle is : boil the water, put the noodle and seasoning packet that comes with it in boiling water then add in an egg. Wah have your comfort food.

When I was small, Cintan and Maggi are my favorite brands. Flavor wise: curry, chicken and mushroom are the one I like the most. However, over the years I discovered Maggi mee that imported or distributed from India and Hong Kong tasted very different than the one from Malaysia or Singapore. The noodle texture is very soggy (I did not over cook the noodles) and starchy. My cousin who currently working at Libya also agreed that Maggi mee from Malaysia and Singapore are the best too!

Maggi Mee from India
(I only tried one kind and threw away the rest of them)

However, I don't really like egg in my instant noodle, I either like to eat my instant noodle plain or go to the extreme to give my instant noodle a makeover.

1 package of any flavor instant noodle
2 grilled imitation crab sticks (cut into chunks)
Fried Shallot

1) Follows the instructions on the packaging to cook the noodle.

2) Add in spinach and imitation crab leg when the noodle almost ready.

3) Garnish the noodle with fried shallot.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Simple and Easy method to make Tofu Hua (豆花)

I love tofu. I pretty much love everything made of Tofu. However, I don't really like Tofu in the soup, not sure why.

Back home Malaysia, fresh soymilk and Tofu Hua (豆花) can easily be found. Tofu Hua --豆花 or 豆腐花 is a type of Chinese dessert made with soymilk, the texture of the tofu hua is very soft and silken. Some people might call it as Tofu Pudding.

Yesterday, I was craving for Tofu Hua so much, here in US is not like I can walk down to the street to get a bowl of tofu hua. Therefore, I decided to make my own. I am sure the method that I use is not how people makeit in the old days. Hey, as long as the taste and texture close to the real tofu hua, I will be fine :)

I seriously not sure how to start at first. I kinda compare the texture of the tofu hua with the texture of the Panna Cotta (one of my fav. desserts), so I told myself, seem they both have a very similiar texture, I should use the panna cotta recipe and make my tofu hua.

This is how I made my tofu hua yesterday evening:

1 envelope of unflavored gelatin
3 cups of unsweeten soymilk
1/3 cup of sugar (or less) (skip or use less sugar if using sugar added soy milk)

1) Pour 1/3 of the soymilk in bowl and sprinkle in the gelatin.

2) In a sauce pan, put the remaining soymilk and sugar and place over medium heat.

3) Cook until sugar dissolve. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat.

4) Stir in the gelatin in the warm soymilk.

5) Pour the warm soymilk into a bowl. Let it cool at the room temperature, after that cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.

Depends on which part of the Malaysia you from, I am from the southern part of Malaysia, we eat tofu hua with soymilk and ginger sugar syrup. Central or northern part of Malaysia, they served tofu hua with brown sugar syrup.

I have to say I love our southern way of eating tofu hua. Nice and delicious!!!

Leena's tips: 1 envelope = 7 gram or 2 teaspoon. This tofu hua is not a traditional type of tofu hua but taste wise very close. However, you can only eat this Tofu hua in cold not hot.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bak Chang 粽子

Bak Chang means Zong zi (粽子) in Chinese. Bak in Hokkien means meat and Chang I believe means rice dumpling.

Zong zi or ba chang is a kind of traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice and stuffed with different filling such as: pork, shiitake mushroom , wood ear, dried shrimps, preserved duck egg yolk, beans and etc then wrapped in bamboo leaves.

According to Wikipedia:
"Zongzi is traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival (端午节) which falls on the fifth day of the fifth moon of the Chinese calendar (approximately early- to mid-June), commemorating the death of Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet from the kingdom of Chu who lived during the Warring States period. Known for his patriotism, Qu Yuan tried unsuccessfully to warn his king and countrymen against the expansionism of their Qin neighbors. When the Qin Dynasty general Bai Qi took Yingdu, the Chu capital, in 278 BC, Qu Yuan's grief was so intense that he drowned himself in the Miluo river after penning the Lament for Ying. According to legend, rice dumplings were thrown into the river to prevent fish from eating the poet's body. Another version states that the dumplings were given to placate a dragon that lived in the river."

Here is how I made my bak chang (I used what I had in my pantry)

1) Soak the bambo leaves for a few hours. Or put in the boiling water for 1/2 hr until they are soft.

2) Soak over night glutinous rice or a few hours. By doing this will shorten the cooking time.

3) I only use pork, shiitake mushroom and wood ear as my filling.

4) Par-cooked the pork. I saute my pork with chopped garlic, white pepper, salt, soy sauce, oyster sauce and black soy sauce.

5) Saute the shiitake mushrooms and wood ear with chopped garlic, black soy sauce, salt and soy sauce.

6) Wash and drain the rice. Saute the rice with chopped garlic, chinese five spice powder, soy sauce, black soy sauce and salt.

7) You need some kind of skill to wrap the bak chang. I am so lazy to type out the steps, found this how to wrap bak chang from You Tube: (I wrapped my bak chang slightly different than the lady in the video. It doesn't which method, the end result will be the same..taste good)

8) After you done wrapping the bak chang, put the back chang in a deep pot and then fill the pot with water. Make sure the water is covering the bak chang.

9) Lucky me, work in commercial type of kitchen, I use the steamer instead, only took me about 1 hr to steam the bak chang. But if you are like anyone else, make this at home, boil the bak chang for arrpox 3 hrs. If you soak the rice overnight, it only take approx. 2 hrs.

So, are you up to the challenge?