Sunday 30 September 2012

Pig Tail, Seaweed & Tofu Soup 猪尾海带豆腐汤

Pig Tail, Seaweed & Tofu Soup 猪尾海带豆腐汤

A traditional soup handed down from my father-in-law



Pig tail and soaked seaweed

Soft tofu

Anchovies or ikan bilis as it is known locally in Malay


1 pig tail about 500g ( cut into 2 inches sections )
15g dried seaweed ( soak in water, clean and cut into strips )
1 piece soft tofu ( cut into chunky pieces )
10g anchovies a.k.a ikan bilis ( wash )
2.5 litres water
1 tsp salt, or to taste


1.  Pour the 2.5 litres of water into a large pot. 
2.  Add in the cut pig tail pieces, seaweed, tofu and anchovies
3.  Use slow fire to boil till the pig tail is soft and about 1.5 litres of soup is left
4.  Add in salt to taste

Seaweed is believed to be a rich source of iodine

A Trip Back To Chaozhou, China

A Trip Back To Chaozhou, China

( April 2006 )

The ancient city gate of Chaozhou city 

A close-up view of the connecting tunnel.

A plaque at the entrance to the Kai Guan Temple 开源寺

The urn is supposedly carved from a piece of meteorite.

SK's cousin is on the left and SK's brother is on the right

The Ten Thousand Hands Guan Yin

The old, rundown and no-longer-in-use village school of SK's ancestral village

Another view of the village school that has seen better times

A temple under renovation in the village

SK's two Malaysian cousins on the left, China cousin on the right at the back and brother in front

Cousins at the village shrine

A pavilion beside the Han River

Another tourist attraction known as Leng Oh 龙湖

A red bougainvillea with no leaves

The Tian Hou Temple in Leng Oh 龙湖天后宫

An old painting of the famous Xiangzi Bridge


The present location of the Xiangzi Bridge where they plan to rebuild the bridge and restore it to its former glory. The restoration has since been completed.

Saturday 29 September 2012

Crab Siew Mai 蟹肉烧卖

Crab Siew Mai 蟹肉烧卖


Looks delicious even when raw!


30 to 40 pieces of won ton skin
1 tbsp cooking oil for oiling the base of a steaming plate 

Ingredients For Siew Mai Filling

350g minced pork and fat
100g bamboo shoot (diced )
20g spring onion (chopped )
1 medium-size crab ( boil to cook and remove all the flesh )
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp Shao Hsing wine
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
A dash of pepper
1 tsp oyster sauce

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly together.

Note : It's optional to leave some of the crab meat to top up the siew mai as garnishing

Instruction To Wrap The Siew Mai

1.  Place one tsp of the siew mai filling onto a piece of won ton skin
2.  Gather the edges together to form a firm cylindrical shape. Ensure the bottom of the siew mai is flat to enable it to stand on its own
3.  Level the top with the back of a spoon after dipping in water 
4.  Place the wrapped siew mai on an oiled steaming plate
5.  Repeat the process until all the filling and won ton skins have been used up
6.  Place the wrapped siew mai at least 1 cm apart to avoid them sticking together.

Steaming the Siew Mai

1.  Heat up the water in a steamer and bring it to a boil
2.  Place the whole plate of siew mai into the steamer
3.  Steam at high heat for 10 minutes

Note : You can refer to my previous post on The Technique of Steaming Food, read  here


Looks even more delicious when cooked!

Scenes Of Daily Life In Chaozhou, China (潮州市)

Scenes Of Daily Life In Chaozhou, China (潮州市)

(April 2006 )

In April 2006 SK, his family members and I went back to Chaozhou. We put up with KS's cousin for the duration of the visit. It was the second time we went back to Chaozhou. Sk's cousin is the son of SK's third uncle on SK's side. In other words SK's father and SK's cousin's father are brothers. SK's cousin lives in Chaozhou city and he is a retired government servant. SK's cousin has three sons and two daughters and they are all married and living in the vicinity. This arch is just next to the building where SK's cousin lives. Chaozhou city is a medium-sized city and is not well-developed with few tall buildings. It is more of an administrative centre than a commercial one and life there moves in the slow lane.

Traffic is light and chaotic most of the time.

The Golden Dragon shopping complex where we bought quite a bit of paintings and ornaments.

A liquor store and an eatery next to each other

We were riding a tricycle when taking these photos

The building where my cousin lives. He is on the 6th floor and the building is not serviced by a lift

I don't know what the cyclist is carrying but it definitely is something super light

This is the sports stadium.

This is the pagoda next to the Han River that flows through Chaozhou city. Legend has it that as long as the pagoda stands next to the river it will never flood because it had been fengshuied to protect the city from inundation

Friday 28 September 2012

Mint Leaves To Curb Whooping Cough 风咳药

Mint Leaves To Curb Whooping Cough 风咳药

 These leaves have a very strong and overpowering mint smell


These mint leaves can be concocted into a brew to curb 'wind cough'. When the coughing is due to excessive consumption of cold drinks or when the coughing gets worse in cooler environment, e.g. when the person is in an air-conditioned room or when the person is exposed to direct draft from a circulating fan, then this brew may be able to help curb the cough. You have to drink the concoction a few times for a full recovery and in the meantime avoid consuming cold drinks



Left : Honey date (蜜枣)or mud cho in Cantonese
 Right : crystallised lemon (桔饼)or kat paeng in Cantonese


A sprig of mint leaves ( about 20 leaves )
2 honey dates
1 crystallised lemon
5 Chinese rice bowls of water


1.  Clean and wash the mint leaves
2.  Put everything into a large pot and add 5 bowl of water
3.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the flame to low
4.  Boil over a slow fire until about 1 Chinese rice bowl of brew is left
5.  Drink while it is warm

Note : You have to brew this concoction and drink it a few times to gauge its effectiveness. It is not as if this is a miracle herb whereby  you drink it once and expect your cough to be totally cured!. In the meantime, avoid cold drinks for at least a week or two and to keep yourself warm.  

Grilled Pork Ribs (烤排骨)

Grilled Pork Ribs (烤排骨)


 It's finger licking good!



400g pork ribs

Marinade Ingredients 


1/2 piece Shanghai red bean curd
1 Chinese soup spoon oyster sauce
1 Chinese soup spoon black soy sauce
100g sugar
2 tbsp Shao Hsing wine
2 tsp salt
2 Chinese soup spoon water

In a big bowl, mix all the above ingredients thoroughly

Shanghai red bean curd
Nam Yee in Cantonese




1.  Add the pork ribs into the mixed marinade and stir thoroughly.
2.  Marinate for 2 hours
3.  Stir the mixture every half an hour
4.  Preheat oven at 200 degree Celsius
5.  Place the pork ribs on the oven rack
6.  Place a baking tray underneath the rack
7.  Grill for 15 minutes, turn the pork ribs over and baste the pork ribs with the remaining marinade sauce
8.  Grill for another 15 minutes
9.  Do not over grill otherwise the pork ribs will be very tough



Thursday 27 September 2012

X-Files : The Thing In Manchu Costume

X-Files : The Thing In Manchu Costume

My maternal grandmother shared this experience with us. She did not believe in ghosts and the supernatural. She was an atheist. But my maternal grandpa was a very staunch Buddhist and a very god-fearing superstitious man who toed the line and observed all the taboos.

Back in the old days, a few families lived together under the same roof. One day, my grandpa's relative passed away. The Chinese believe that the soul of the newly deceased will come back to visit his home and his loved ones for the last time on the 7th day of his death. On such a day, a feast will be prepared to welcome him and his "guardians" (bull head and horse face) who will be accompanying him back for his home visit. This feast will be laid out on a table in front of the altar table waiting for the return of the soul of the deceased. The entire household is supposed to retire to their rooms early and locked up all their doors. Lights must be switched off. Everyone is to stay as quiet as possible until dawn. Nobody is allowed to come out of their rooms.

My grandmother was her usual sceptical self. She retired to her room as instructed but she refused to switch off the lights. She sat reading by the open window until late into the night, or possibly until the early hours of the following morning, absorbed in her novel. 

Then, all of a sudden, she heard footsteps outside her window. Not feeling afraid at all, she just looked out of her window and she saw the back view of a man. Well, nothing scary at all, right ?. But then, she noticed that the man was wearing a Manchu costume and the man sported a queue down his back !

She wasn't living in the Manchu era. So who the hell walked around in the middle of the night wearing a Manchu costume ?

I leave it to your imagination.

Steamed Soft Tofu With X.O. Sauce 水豆腐铺X.O.酱

Steamed Soft Tofu With X.O. Sauce 水豆腐铺X.O.酱

The spiciness of the X.O sauce complements the bland tofu
What a great combination !


1 piece soft tofu ( cut into two halves, and cut further into 16 bite-sized pieces )
1 tbsp of  X.O. sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp shallot oil
1 tbsp chopped spring onion for garnishing

Note :  You can read up on my post on how to make X.O. sauce,  here 
Note :  You can read up on my post on how to make shallot oil


1.  Put soft tofu on a plate and steam over boiling water for 5 minutes
2.  Take it out of the steamer, pour away the excess water collected in the plate
3.  Add 2 tbsp of soy sauce
4.  Add 2 tbsp of shallot oil
5.  Add 1 tbsp of X.O. sauce
6.  Garnish with chopped spring onion

Note :  If you do not have X.O. sauce just leave it out because without the X.O sauce it is just as good but the X.O sauce will further enhance the tofu dish

It's so easy to make this dish.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

X.O. Sauce (X.O.酱)

X.O. Sauce (X.O.酱)

For those who like spicy sauces

X.O. sauce is spicy and fragrant, it is very well suited to South East Asian palates. I usually make a substantial batch and store them in little jars with tight lids in the refrigerator. You can add a spoonful or two of X.O sauce to your plain noodles and instantly your noodles will be transformed into spicy and tasty noodles. You can use X.O sauce to fry rice. The possibilities are endless. X.O. sauce is very versatile.


200g dried scallops
100g minced garlic
100g minced shallots
4 tbsp dried shrimps ( soak and minced )
10g dried chillies ( soak and pound or grind them )
200 ml cooking oil
7 tsp sugar
5 tbsp of Shao Hsing wine



  1. Wash the dried scallops. Add Shao Hsing wine to the scallops and steam them for 30 minutes
  2. When the steamed scallops have cooled down, shred them into tiny strips
  3. In a wok, add in the 200 ml of cooking oil and heat until hot
  4. Add in the minced shallots and minced garlic and saute until fragrant
  5. Add in the dried shrimps and dried chillies and stir-fry until aromatic
  6. Add in the dried scallops, sugar and continue to stir until dry and fragrant
  7. Dish up and let it cool down
  8. Store them in little jars in the refrigerator

Jackfruit 菠萝蜜

Jackfruit 菠萝蜜

One morning on the way to work we decided to stop at the Selayang wholesale market to pick up some fresh vegetables and fruits. SK saw some very fresh newly arrived jackfruits at a stall. So he headed to the stall to pick up 2 kg of the fruit at RM4-00 per kg. For your information five pieces of jackfruit flesh are being retailed at RM3-00 elsewhere.

Fresh and fragrant jackfruit flesh. They are juicy and crunchy.

Newly arrived jackfruits sitting on the floor of a wholesale stall in the Selayang wholesale market. These fruits are about one and a half feet long.

These two fruits are about three feet in length and they are the giants among the batch.

These jackfruits are about two feet long

Part of the jackfruit that has been cut open.

These mouth-watering jackfruit flesh makes a great dessert.


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