Month: September 2015

Crunchy lettuce wrap of pepper beef and pickled carrot, with Vietnamese style dipping sauce (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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Some friends are over for lunch today. I made these tender pepper beef and pickled carrot wraps with a Vietnamese style dipping sauce. The wraps are crunchy,  juicy & satisfying.   Best of all, so very easy to make.


Pepper beef wrap with pickled carrotRecipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Easy lunch at home – turmeric prawns (gluten free)

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If you have a spice collector like me, you may have turmeric & cumin in your pantry. I also keep ginger pieces and chilies in my freezer. With a onion, this prawn dish is 5 minutes away … no recipe required.

Turmeric prawns with cumin

Clean 12 prawns; dice the onion, slice 1 chili, mince a little ginger (optional); heat up a frying pan with some cooking oil; add the onion, ginger & chili; stir fry until onion  is coated with oil; add turmeric & cumin (I use about 1tsp each for a mild taste); stir for the spices to coat the onion; push the onion to the side; add prawns, 1-2 minutes each side until cooked through; stir through the onion; season with salt.

I serve this with an Indian inspired chickpea & bacon stew.

Steamed oysters with soy sauce, sesame oil, shallot, coriander and chilies

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My hubby & I always debate about natural oysters vs. cooked oysters. I love my oysters lightly steamed (30 seconds to 1 minute on hot steam), topped with sliced shallot^, coriander, chilies, white wine, soy sauce* and sesame oil;  then finish with a hot splash of cooking oil on top of the herbs to bring out the flavors & freshness. It is so simple and delicious, no recipe required.

* use gluten free soy sauce for an gluten free option.

Steamed oysters with shallot, corriander, chili, soy sauce, sesame oil

20-minute meal : sausages with cumin and turmeric spiced potatoesm with spinach

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A long day at the office, tired, hungry & craving for a quick meal. The local food store had a few pack of chicken sausages left so I was able to make this meal – tasty & satisfying! The star of the dish is the potatoes with cumin & turmeric.

Potato spanich turmeric

No recipe required for this dish, here are a few simple steps: Read the rest of this entry »

30 minute one pot meal – steamed turmeric chicken, with coconut milk, lemongrass and ginger rice (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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Have you ever try a one-pot meal using a rice cooker?  A rice cooker often comes with a plastic steamer – it is very handy when you want a quick & easy meal.

30 minute one-pot meal - steamed turmeric chicken, with coconut, lemongrass & ginger rice

Here are the simple steps: Read the rest of this entry »

Clams with XO sauce, and the life story of my uncle from TaiShan 台山

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These lovely New Zealand clams reminded me my first clam experience, a dish made by my uncle’s family from the countryside of TaiShan, GuangDong province in China.

Clams XO sauce, and the story of my TaiShan 台山 uncle
Clams XO sauce, and the story of my TaiShan 台山 uncle

My mother and her brother were children of a concubine who married an elderly man returned to China after years of hard laboring in Malaysia. During the second sino-Japanese war, both parents died as the family ran out of money. For some reasons unexplained to me, the family offended some important locals with considerable power. My uncle, at the age of about 7, was sent to prison as a Japanese traitor. When he was released, he was so weak & sick that he was carried out.  He was never the same again.

During one school holiday I was sent to stay with TaiShan uncle and his family in the village. My uncle was a man with very few words, not smart, worked a lot, and always smiling.  He was very skinny and looked sickly. With money sent by another uncle from Singapore, he was able to get married. He married a kind, strong, capable and hardworking woman and they had 3 children. As rice farmers, they did not have sufficient rice for me to eat. So I brought them food stamps, some money and some old clothes which they treasured.

Taiishan village - the lane way leading to the house my uncle's family once lived
Taishan village – the lane way leading to the house my uncle’s family once lived

The eldest boy, Zhong, who was a few years younger than me, was responsible for providing ingredients for lunches and dinners. Some days we went to the rice field with some threads & small potato pieces – we fished out frogs from the water. Some days, we went to the creek, searched through mud to find tiny little clams. The frogs were small and we chewed the bones as well as whatever little meat on it. The clams, half of a bowl to share among us, was so very delicious and moreish.  I still remember the satisfied looks on the children’s faces at the end of each meal. They never complained about wanting anymore or anything else.

When economy improved in the 80s, the rice field was sold to make way for factories. There was no more farming to be done. My uncle figured out that if he collected soft drink tins and bottles, he could sell them for money to buy snacks. Reportedly, he was the happiest soft drink bottle collector around town.

I felt happy and sad when I cooked & enjoyed this delicious New Zealand clam dish with XO sauce.

Cooking method is as follows:

Read the rest of this entry »