Mains (Asian)

Chili, ginger and garlic prawns (gluten free)

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Some summer Friday afternoons following the school pick ups, my school-mum friends may drop by for a few glasses of bubbles and the kids have a swim in the pool.

I always keep some easy-to-cook ingredients in my freezer for such occasions – homemade curry puffs, spring rolls, and of course, wild caught Australian prawns. The prawns are delicious, already peeled, easy to defrost, and quick to cook.

Chili, ginger and garlic prawns

Method is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Bitter melon with beef and fermented black bean, and the story of the ‘left-behind’ children

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Bitter melon 苦瓜 with fermented black bean 豆豉 and beef

When I chatted with my friends over lunch today, I told them about the documentary about the left-behind children in Southern China.

These children lived in small and remote communities deep in the beautiful mountains in the GuangXi province, bordering Vietnam.  With limited land for farming, their parents left home to work in factories in the coastal cities.  Some children lived with their elderly grandparents. Some children, as young as 12 years old, looked after themselves and their younger siblings.

Living in leaky shacks, these children faced daily challenges with the lack of food, water, firewood, money for school, and loving care by parents.  Yet, the children were full of hope and spirit. Their daily chores, besides going to school, were fetching water, growing a few corns, collecting wild vegetables and cooking meals. The children looked forward to seeing their parents once a year during the Luna holiday, when the massive migration of workers returned home to their families.

Amazing resilience, their unique stories filled with sadness and joy.

“I was a left-behind child too, together with my younger brother and sister,’ say my friend Loyd, who came from Malaysia.  “I  was cared by my grandparents until I was 9 years old. My parents worked at a logging site in the forest.  My dad leased out equipment to the workers, while my mum worked as an administration clerk for the big logging company.”

” How do you feel about it, growing up without parents?” I was curious.

“This was the life we were given. We appreciated what we had.” Loyd said.

I always look up to this man, kind, respectful and calm.  Life is good for him and his family.

I cooked a bitter melon dish tonight.  Bitter melon is an unusual vegetable with bumpy husk and a peculiar peppery taste.  Some people hate its bitterness, yet many more appreciate the humble and unique deliciousness it offers.

Life is good when you appreciate it.

Easy stir fry method is as follows:

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Meals for the homeless – Indian spiced chicken drumstick fillets

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A nearby butcher sells chicken drumstick fillets at an unbelievable price. This is gold – I reckon the drumstick is the best part of a poultry – juicy, tender and full of flavors.

This week, I made some Indian spiced chicken drumstick fillets for our homies.

So easy, with 3-4 simple steps:

  • Cut the chicken drumstick fillets into chunky pieces
  • Marinate the meat with garlic and ginger paste,  natural yogurt, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, garam masala, mustard oil, sesame oil, salt, and black pepper 
  • Pan fry in small batches with a little cooking oil  
  • Optional garnish – sliced fresh mint, fresh chili and toasted sesame seeds.

Tasted pretty good.

Pan fried spiced chicken fillets

 

Salted duck egg, with sweet and spicy vegetables (FODMAP friendly)

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A lovely Italian man at my husband’s work keeps a few ducks in his back yard. He gave us some fresh eggs again.  We are so blessed.

I salted the eggs in brine for two weeks, using 3 tbsp of salt for 1 liter of water. The yolks were just turning golden, and the egg white was not overly salty.  For a bit of fun, I steamed the eggs in small cups, rather than a simple semi-hard boil.

I saute some diced red capsicum, cherry tomatoes and diced cucumbers with some cooking oil, tomato sauce, chili sauce. I added a dash of sesame oil, and garnished the vegetables with some chopped coriander and toasted sesame seeds.

Looked mouth watering and tasted delicious.

Salted duck eggs

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Chicken giblet with cucumber (sustainable living #3)

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Chicken giblets need to be cook quickly to avoid over cooking. So I blanch the giblets in hot water quickly before slicing and pan frying.  Once blanched, I cook the giblets the same way as the chicken liver.

Here are the easy steps:

  • Blanch the giblets quickly in hot water; transfer to a plate to cool
  • Thinly slice the giblets
  • In a frying pan, add some cooking oil, bring it to very hot temperature; add sliced ginger, minced garlic, and sliced chili;  add sliced giblets, a little sugar, toss; splash a little dark soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, toss; remove from heat
  • Add some sliced shallot / scallion, toss
  • Add some sliced cucumber, toss
  • Garnish with chopped coriander

The giblets taste better the next day, served chilled as a salad (‘liang-ban’).

Chicken giblet with cucumber

Chicken liver with oyster sauce (sustainable living #2)

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My favorite chicken liver recipe calls for a quick stir fry in a very hot wok.

It is super simple:

  • In a frying pan, add some cooking oil, bring it to very hot temperature
  • Add sliced ginger, minced garlic,  sliced chili, and sliced shallot / scallion (white part only),  toss lightly
  • Add chicken liver pieces (cleaned and trimmed in advance);  splash in a little sugar and toss (for aroma), splash in some dark soy sauce (for color), oyster sauce, white pepper, stir fry till cooked
  • Add some sliced shallot/scallion (green part), toss
  • Garnish with chopped coriander and toasted sesame seeds

Chicken liver with chili, garlic and ginger

 

Stir fry Pig tongue with leek (sustainable living #1)

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Our family talked about sustainable living from time to time.  We achieved very little – the house is unsuitable for solar panels, and we are too busy to run a productive veggie patch or to keep a coup of chickens.

One thing we do well as a half-Asian family, is to use “fifth quarter” cuts such as offal.

Here is a stir fry pig tongue dish this week:

Stir fry pig tongue with soy and chili sauce

 

Stir fry pig tongue with soy and chili sauce

Simple cooking steps are as follows:

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