Archive for the ‘Noodles’ Category

1st November this year fell on a Tuesday. I could have made a bridge for a longer “weekend”, but could not due to my workload at work 😦

I was glad to break off work for that one day that week for a yearly family reunion, hosted by one of my SIL’s. While driving to my SIL’s, we stopped at a friend’s house. I received a text message from F that she was giving away some of her ‘harvests’ in her garden. 

Guess what? I hand-picked the chillies in her garden. They were so, very, very fresh! She wanted only the red ones, so I helped myself to the green chillies. I didn’t mind the ‘raw version’ at all, because I knew if I left the chillies wrapped in absorbent paper in the lower drawer of the fridge, the chillies would ripen. 

And I was right!

10 days later, some of the birds’ eye chillies had turned to a lovely bright orange-crimson colour. And I knew exactly where some of the chillies would end up into 😉

Thai Chef vs Me

There was one Wednesday that I took a day off and brought my 2 sons out for lunch (Note, both boys had half-day school / Univ on a Wednesday). We went to a Thai resto near our place. 

For starter, I ordered Tom Yum Goong (TYG) for us. It was a good TYG, but I missed that Oomph in their soup. It was a wee bit too lame. 

Saturday came, and TYG was in the pipeline for our lunch menu.

So here it was, my version vs the Thai Chef’s. 


And not only that, I made my TYG in my thermomix! 


To be honest, I could eat my TYG all day without anything else that day, because it had been a while since I last made the soup! I looked back at a post I wrote; it was in March this year when I had friends over. You can read it all … Here 🙂

Because I love bold-tasting soups, I thought of a way to totally infuse the aromatics in the soup first before proceeding further. Be warned! It’s a highly seasoned soup that hits the palate and warms the heart without burning, if you know what I meant 😉

(Note: This is my own recipe using my preferred method – tried and tested – after a few trials and errors).  

Please be aware that some measurements are not given as only you will know how much or how little you want to put in the dish. Remember, “Ut quod ali cibus est aliis fuat acre venenum” or what is food for one man may be bitter poison to others. 

Ingredients A

  • 2 cm piece galangal
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 lemongrass
  • 2 coriander roots

Ingredient B

  • 5 g cooking oil / coconut oil

Ingredient C

  • 1,500 g water

Ingredients D

  • Lemongrass, bruised and halved
  • Shallots, halved 
  • Galangal, sliced
  • Bird’s eye chillies, lightly bruised
  • Kaffir lime leaves, lightly bruised with the fingers

Ingredients E

  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Homemade chilli paste, eyeball for colour, taste and flavour
  • Salt, to taste 

Ingredients F

  • Prawns, shelled 
  • Mushrooms, sliced 

Ingredient G

  • Lime juice, to taste
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved or whole

Ingredient H

  • Fresh coriander 

Steps –

  • Place A in the TM bowl. Grind 5 sec/ sp 10  * 2

  • Add B. Sauté for 3 mins/100C/ sp 2 
  • Place D in SB and add C. Cook for 15 mins/ 120C/ sp1


  • Remove the SB and tip the aromatics in a bowl. Set aside for garnish later.

  • Transfer F in the SB. Cook for 4 mins/120C/ sp 1 or until the prawns are cooked. 

  • Remove the SB and set aside the cooked prawns, mushrooms, etc
  • Add E. Cook further for 5 mins/ 120C/ sp 2


  • Add G. Stir for 1 min/ R/ spoon
  • Assemble a serving bowl with prawns, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, some slices of galangal, bird’s eye chillies, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Garnish with H.
  • Done!


Happy 1st Anniversary!

I made the TYG to go with my Nasi Ulam and baked spiced chicken. Our Saturday lunch was the bomb, by the way, with full-blown explosion of flavours. Yup, my kind of food 🙂


There’s no better way to celebrate my first year anniversary of owning the thermomix than sharing with you some of the dishes I have conjured the past 12 months using my most used kitchen gadget today!

And as they say, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words‘ …


IMPORTANT NOTICE : Please be aware that I’m neither a Consultant/ Advisor nor an employee of Thermomix.  I am NOT paid anything from any parties. I just happened to own a thermomix and love doing what I’m doing and will continue doing so. 

Happy Mid-Week ya’ll!

Cheers!

Last Summer my family made a trip to Kuching; a very much delayed trip of 7 years’ overdue. While I was in 7th heaven binging foods I grew up eating, my Belgian hubs and Belsian boys were craving for their Belgian fries. Erm… I guess I could totally understand their cravings, because that’s what happened to me this Summer!

We were in the South of France for 2 weeks, consuming local Provençal’s 3-course meals almost daily. And guess what? My palate was screaming for SPICES!!! 

When we headed home, I was longing for that one dish that’s packed with spices and fresh herbs. Because I had been “pampered” with served meals while in the Provence, it was hard getting back to cooking mode. By the way, I have not been using my thermomix for almost a month! Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!

Therefore, one weekend, I moved my thermie and placed it under the extractor hood. My mission? To appease my craving. Yup, I was craving for the Indonesian inspired dish, “soto ayam” because that’s one tantalising dish that’s packed with all the goodness of spices and fresh herbs. No ready-made or instant boemboes! Everything was fresh and cooked from scratch… in my thermie!

If you are wondering what “Soto” means, I was as blur as most of you, so I asked the right people, my Indonesian colleagues. They said it’s a soup dish. Yes, I knew it’s a soup dish, but what is soto? I did not get an answer right away but they went on to explain that usually chicken meat is submerged in water with specific spices and herbs to obtain the broth.

Okay, in my humble opinion, soto is not just a simple soup dish, it’s the method how the broth is made. My Indonesian colleagues agreed to my curious conclusion. 

And by the way, I used fresh turmeric to give the broth that vibrant yellow look, while poaching and simmering the chicken in the broth. It’s such a healthy dish, with lots of flavour and very, very aromatic.


Two years ago, I posted the soto ayam recipe done the conventional way, so in this post, I’m going the opposite direction. 

The Revival

Since our Summer hols in August, my thermomix had been left idle for about a month! When I started cooking the soto ayam, my thermie went bonkers. The sound of the blades spinning was not normal. It sounded rusty. I was hoping the squeaky sound would go away. It did not, until I started to boil the chicken. Guess what?!!! My thermie stopped cooking completely in the first 4 to 5 minutes. And I still had so many more minutes to go before the raw chicken meat was cooked!! Oh no!!!! Not now. So I did what I had to do, i.e. removed the plug and then re-plugged. At the same time, I had to re-start the menu. I felt like a surgeon reviving a comatose. Thank goodness, the ‘flatline’ re-acted and my thermie came back to life! It was a HUGE relief! Phew!!!

And here’s how I cooked my Soto Ayam, which I have personally translated as Fragrant Herbed Chicken Soup, because that’s what it actually is!

Ingredients A


  • 5g Sarawak white peppercorns 
  • 5g coriander seeds


Ingredients B


  • 70g garlic
  • 230g shallots
  • 50g galangal
  • 10g (1 stalk) lemongrass 
  • 25g turmeric 
  • 65g ginger
  • 20g candle nuts
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves



Ingredients C

  • 60g coconut oil

Ingredients D


  • 8 pcs (ca 1 kg) chicken drumsticks 
  • 800g water
  • 4 stalks lemon grass (bruised)
  • A palmful kaffir lime leaves (bruised)
  • Coarse sea salt to taste


Ingredients E


  • 8 – 9 medium-sized eggs placed in Varoma dish 


Ingredients F

  • 500g hot water

Garnishing 

  • Cucumber, julienned
  • Fried shallots (not in photo)
  • Spring onion 
  • Fresh coriander
  • Mint leaves 

Method


  1. Place A in TM bowl. Dry roast for 10 mins/ V/ sp 1. Mill the toasted spices when temp drops below 60C. Mill for 1 min/ sp 6->10/ MC
  2. Tip the ground spices onto a clean plate/ bowl. Set aside
  3. Meanwhile add B and blend for 15 sec/sp 10. Scrape the sides of the inner bowl and under the lid. Again, blend for 15 sec/ sp 10.  
  4. Add C and ground spices A and sauté for 15 mins/ V/ sp 1
  5. Add D. Cook for 15 mins/V/R/ spoon
  6. Place E on top of TM bowl and cook / boil further for 17 mins/ V/ R/ spoon (or until the eggs are boiled according to your liking or better still, use the TM5 recipe chip and boil the eggs separately. I like mine with firm white and runny yolk. Heaven!  )
  7. Remove Varoma dish and cool eggs under cold running water. Set aside.
  8. Remove cooked chicken. Set aside 
  9. Meanwhile add F and check the seasoning of the broth. Boil further for 5 mins/ 100 C/ R/ spoon
  10. Before drizzling the hot spiced broth, plate the sliced cooked chicken in a (deep) bowl and garnish with thinly stripped cucumber, coriander leaves, spring onions and mint leaves. Place a hard or medium or soft boiled egg on top and sprinkle with fried shallots/ onions.
  11. Pour the hot broth slowly over the chicken.
  12. Serve with steamed white basmati rice (which I also cooked in my thermie)

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words!


Sinfully yummy. One of the best comfort foods 🙂


Mmmmm….Simply gorgeous!

I served my soto ayam with steamed basmati rice.

My Verdict?

When my thermie stopped cooking in the first 5 minutes, I felt my whole world came crashing down around me! It was that bad. I was thinking that I had prepared everything for nothing. That’s just not me. I wanted to see, or better still, taste the end result. It appears that the thermie must not be left idle for a long time. It needs attention and wearing, therefore, TM owners, keep your thermie busy! 

Now, the verdict for the dish. Usually I would serve the soto ayam with vermicelli or noodles. This was the first time I had the fragrant herbed chicken broth with steamed rice. It was a complete meal which we all liked, but personally, I would serve the broth with rice noodles. As you can see, the egg was supposed to be hard-boiled, but it turned out soft, which we all liked, too 😀

With the summer temperatures behind us, this dish will be made quite frequently now. This dish is pure comfort food for cold weather. 

So I made this dish again with rice vermicelli, and making sure to boil the eggs separately as per the recipe chip. 

Et voilà!

Yummy !!!!


Stay warm! 


Cheers!


MP just returned from Australia after an extended Christmas and New Year holidays in Singapore late last year until early this year. When she flew back to BE, she wanted to meet up with X and I. It used to be a yearly tradition – Hubs and I, X and hubs and MP and hubs, however, with the demise of MP‘s husband, we decided to meet ~ only us girls ~ without our other halves lately.

For X, weekends are near to impossible as she’s the biggest supporter and fan of her Professional footballer son, DJC. Football matches are usually scheduled on weekends and X has never missed a single match when her son’s playing or not playing. And weekdays are out of the question for X and I as we both work full time. Finally we came to a consensus and chose one Friday evening after work. I carpooled in X‘s car.

INSTANTly Charmed 

We arrived at MP’s apartment and were entertained with tidbits, nuts, vodka and coconut water. Mmm… Pretty weird concoction, but it was okay, meaning we were not tipsy 🙂

MP confessed she’s not much of a cook. What she eats and cooks are instantaneous prepackaged meals.

While the 3 of us were chatting, she suddenly disappeared from the living room and came back with 3 packets of instant noodles!  Yay! We’re going to have instant noodles dinner!  

Uh-uh! MP was not going to cook. She was showing X and I and boasted how good the instant noodles were. The best, she said. I could not concur as I have not eaten instant noodles in a long time. 

By the way, I later googled that the 3 packets of instant ramens MP were showing us ranked Top 10 in the world, 2 of which ranked numbers 1 and 2 based on Ramen Rater’s Top Ten instant noodles for year 2013! Wow! I wasn’t even aware instant noodles were taken so seriously.

Nope! We did not meet to eat instant noodles – sorry to disappoint you 😉 It was a special evening and we adjourned to a Thai restaurant in the vicinity.

   

Kuching Laksa with a Twist 

Three weeks after the 3 of us met, I stumbled upon the instant ramens at an Asian store in the city centre.

By the way, I have stopped buying or eating instant noodles but this one was different. I was enthralled by the word on the package. Laksa

I bought 3 packets, priced at Eur 2.45/ pkt, which were not cheap at all, however considering the size of the packet, I hoped it was a home run buy. 

Introducing Singapore Laksa La Mian.  It’s a huge packet with a net weight of 185 g, thus making it a main meal, and most importantly, No MSG added

 
  

Each packet consists of 2 sachets, (A) Laksa paste and (B) Laksa premix. The noodles or La Mian or ramen were pre-steamed and air dried. The “premix” is actually coconut milk powder (santan). 

I did not follow the instruction labelled at the back of the packet, instead I did it my way, which I was familiar with. I transformed the Singapore Laksa La Mian to Kuching Laksa *big smile

First, I made the prawn broth and the chicken broth; and then I cooked an omelette, blanched some bean sprouts briefly in hot water. I then cut a lime in wedges and finally there were fresh coriander leaves for garnishing.

 

I cooked 3 packets of the La Mian, but used only 1 sachet of coconut milk powder (Laksa Premix). It tasted rather odd if I used all 3 sachets. 1 sachet was plenty.

And here were the results!
  
  

With different lighting and camera angle, the colour of the laksa broth was creamier.

 

Verdict : In 2013, the Singapore Laksa La Mian ranked no 1 in the world and has been on the Top Ten on the Ramen Rater’s List ever since. With such elite ranking, the laksa must be good, right? Frankly speaking, I did not cook the laksa as it was, hence I could not judge the taste in its original recipe.  I have modified the broth with prawns and chicken. That could be the reason why the laksa tasted very homemade, however, the Laksa paste had a strong shrimpy flavour (hey bee). I’m absolutely okay with the extra umami flavour, however, the coconut milk powder was not my favourite ingredient. A little goes a long way. For 3 packets, I used only 1 sachet and added half a chicken stock cube and course sea salt to taste with 500 ml * 3 water proportion. All the condiments used to garnish my bowl of Singapore Laksa La Mian were revamped to that of  Kuching Laksa.  The la mian (ramen) was undoubtedly the best. I loved the al dente and chewy texture of the noodles. It was top notch. That’s what made the Laksa La Mian very satisfying. Will I buy this instant noodle again? Yes, why not? It was a good instant noodle. I’m just not sure if it was the best. I missed the sour component of the laksa.  I had to squeeze a few  wedges of lime to balance the flavours – spicy, salty, sweet, umami and sour.  THAT made my meal complete!

With quite a bit of broth leftover, I blanched some vermicelli and made a bento box of Kuching Laksa for me to bring to work the next day.  It was THE most satisfying and appetising lunchbox ever!

  
  

Nom… Nom… Nom!  It was YUMMEH!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Cheers!

I must confess since owning the Thermomix, I have became somewhat analytical in the way I cook, and even trying to challenge why we can’t fry rice in the thermie the normal way? 

There are thermomix fried rice recipes on the net. Honestly ~ in my opinion ~ they should not be called “Fried Rice” (rather misleading, if you asked me …) but more appropriately, “Mixed Rice”, simply because cooked rice cannot be fried in the TM

Against all odds, the stubborn me decided to cook fried rice in the Thermomix, my TM5.  It was a DISASTER!  I ended up with a sticky and clumpy mass and felt like a downright despondent nincompoop …

By the way, the taste was great but there was absolutely no way I could fix it. I could transform that into a yucky looking porridge but that defeated the entire purpose. I wanted Fried Rice. Period !

   

Conclusion: Thermomix cannot fry (cooked) rice.

Thermomix , Noodles and Pastas 

To err is human.  I have learnt the grievous mistake in frying cooked rice in my Thermomix. That was my first and the last time I attempted such a stunt. 

Don’t get me wrong, though, the Thermomix cooks awesome rice and porridge, which my family has enjoyed immensely.

Here’s the verdict of awesome fluffy rice cooked in my thermie. I kept my rice warm by covering the simmering basket with an aluminium foil. 

  

And then came the question of whether we could fry noodles in the Thermomix…

That’s when my inquisitive mind became inquisitiver. Lol!

Here’s the result of cooking tagliatelle in my thermie. The pasta came out to perfection, ie with the right ‘al dente‘ texture.
 

Question: If we can cook pasta in the TM, why can’t we cook Asian-style noodles in there? 

Answer: Yes, we can!

Hint: Follow the logic of cooking the pasta (found in TM5 recipe book or chip) and you will end up with a foolproof Asian-style fried rice noodles cooked in your thermie. 

Here’s my first attempt and I LOVED it! My family loved it. 

  

Here’s how I cooked my foolproof Char Bee Hoon (Fried Rice Noodle/ Vermicelli). Note, you need to use thicker strands of vermicelli, not the fine ones to xerox my result.

By the way, the choice of ingredients and taste is up to you. These, you need not have to xerox mine at all.

Ingredients A

  • 30 g shallots
  • 15 g garlic

Ingredient B

  • 20 g cooking oil

Ingredients C

  • 355 g water
  • 2 Tbsp mushroom oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • A dash of ground white pepper

Ingredients D

  • 250 g ‘Go Tan‘ Rice noodles (Bee Hoon) – rinsed briefly with cold running water; do not soak 
  • 60 g white celery (stalk)
  • 60 g carrot
  • 60 g green bell pepper
  • 60 g red bell pepper
  • 60 g yellow bell pepper 
  • 1 stalk spring onion
  • 200 g fish cake, sliced 

   

  

How to prepare?

  1. Place A in TM bowl. Blend for 5 sec/ sp 5. Scrape the sides of the inner bowl
  2. Add B. Sauté for 3 mins/ V/ R/ sp 2
  3. Add C and cook for 4 min 30 sec/ V/ R/ spoon
  4. Add D. Cook further for 5 mins/ V/ R/ spoon. Leave the noodles in the TM bowl for 5 mins before serving. Note this last step is not necessary if you are using fine vermicelli sticks.

   

  

 

Verdict: With the right choice and type of rice noodle/ vermicelli, the texture and the amalgamation of flavours were accurately absorbed in the noodles without getting clumpy or sticky or cut-up. I kid you not. 

I wish I could have 2nd or 3rd helping but that was not meant to be. A 250g-packet of  Go Tan rice noodles was the right quantity to serve 4 people as a main meal. 

Using Finer Vermicelli Sticks

On the other hand ~ to give you an idea ~ using finer strands of vermicelli may result in the noodles getting cut-up whilst the blades were spinning, even at reverse/ spoon speed.

Here’s one I made earlier 😜

  
 

Verdict: As you can see, the strands of noodles were shorter, but definitely not a clustered clumpy mass. And hey, I wasn’t complaining. My guys were not complaining, either, so all’s well that ends well😋

Have a great week!

Cheers!

I’m sorry, no, if you are thinking this post is related to a Slavic folk dance. Sorry to disappoint you. I wish it was, but right now, I’m feeling pretty nostalgic. I have not been back to Kuching since 2008! 7 years is a long time. The “itch” has begun 😉

Kolo may be a Serbo-Croat word, meaning “wheel” or a Slavic dance performed in a circle, but the ‘kolo’ I grew up knowing is none other than the springy, curly, yellow noodles “dancing and bouncing” in my bowl, garnished with crushed crispy fried garlic and shallot, tasty minced pork, slices of sweet and succulent char siu (BBQ’d pork), with sprinkle of chopped spring onions. And by the way, the secret to the delectable taste and flavour of the kolo mee as the Kuchingites called it, lies in the use of rendered lard (or drippings of bacon)

Here’s a classic bowl of Kuching’s kolo mee. Very simple ingredients used, and proverbially phrased as “less is more“.

IMG_0529

Some hawker stalls would include chai sim, literally translated as “vegetable heart” or Chinese Flowering Cabbage. I remembered paying only 50 cents for a good quantity of kolo mee at the stall near my parents’ house many years ago. It was probably an illegally constructed stall built within the compound of the owner’s house. Illegal or not, my siblings and I were always looking forward to the opening hour of the stall in the evening. It was not an eat-in stall, but a take-away one. What the kolo mee seller did in those days was assembling the kolo mee on a newspaper lined with a clean plastic film like so.

IMG_0531

Obviously, I did not take this picture. Courtesy of MalaysiaFlavors.com and thanks!

When we brought home the paper-wrapped kolo mee, we never transferred the noodles on a plate or bowl. We ate the noodles as they were originally served, i.e. out of the paper with a pair of chopsticks! Absolutely no hassle of cleaning and washing up. That’s the beauty of simple living 😉

When the Craving gets Tough …

Kolo mee is synonymous to Sarawak, particularly, Kuching. Even the chewy-springy-curly noodles are found only in Sarawak. It is not the same as wantan mee, where the colour is darker, drenched in dark soy sauce, when cooked.

However, the wonton noodles are easier to buy overseas. The noodles are quite similar but not curly and bouncy as kolo mee. When the craving gets tough, the tough gets going….

I was glad I could get hold of these wonton noodles in Belgium.

IMG_0543

For best result, kolo mee is always prepared per bowl per person and served immediately. Production time  of homemade kolo mee may be a wee bit longer as I lacked the proper utensils.

I skipped using lard and found an excellent substitute. Crispy fried shallots in oil! And it’s healthier😜

IMG_0545

Before assembling the bowl of kolo mee, you need to either make your own char siu or store bought. I homemade my char siu. I will blog about this in another post, but here’s the end result.  I daresay it was YUMS!

IMG_0537

The next item that needs prior preparation is the minced meat. White meat is preferred, for example pork, chicken or turkey. I used a mixture of pork and calf minces, marinated in light and dark soy sauces, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce, freshly milled white pepper and some cornflour to bind the meat and seasonings together. Marinate for at least one hour and then cook the minced meat.  Set aside.

The Execution

Here’s how I executed my bowl of kolo noodle. I have chosen to use the word “noodle” here, because it is a generic term and it is not confined only to “mee” but also bee hoon, tang hoon, kway teow, etc.

Recently, I made kolo kway teow. It was a big hit with my 3 guys. It was not the first time I made kolo noodles, but it was the first time I used kway teow (flat rice noodle) in this recipe.

IMG_0551

After blanching/ cooking the flat rice noodle according to instruction, set that aside.

In a big pot, boil some water. While the water is boiling away, cook the prawns (washed and deveined. You may want to leave the tail end intact. I opted to remove the entire prawn shell).  Set the prawns aside.

Next in the pipeline is the colour ‘green’.  Although spring onions or chai sim are most popularly used, I chose to use Shanghai Bok Choy, which is easier to find than chai sim. Wash, clean and cut in desired length and size.  Set aside.

Finally, the chillies. I made pickled red chillies. Simply, fresh red chillies in white vinegar. Set aside.

At this stage, I felt ecstatic! I went through the checklist and ticked my “list” visually.

Blanched kway teow ✅

Homemade char siu

Cooked minced meat ✅

Homemade crispy shallots in oil ✅

Cooked prawns ✅

Washed, cleaned and cut Shanghai Bok Choy ✅

Boiling water ✅

Pickled red chillies ✅

Oh yes, forgot one thing. Cold water.

Ooh…. I was getting excited!  *big grin*

Don’t forget to reach out for these bottles from your larder – White vinegar, fish sauce, Sarawak white pepper, light soy sauce, sesame oil (optional), cooking wine (optional). These liquid items complement the whole dish.

image

Now the “le moment suprême” (the moment of truth)

Reach for a working bowl and add a tablespoon of crispy shallots in oil and a teaspoon each of vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, a dash of white pepper and a pinch of chicken bouillon. You may or may not want to add sesame oil and rice wine, which may be too overpowering and makes the noodle tastes less authentic. My other half prefers the smoky flavours from the sesame oil and rice wine. As I have said, they are optional ingredients and are simply there as personal preference.

Next, get a big wire strainer ready. Scoop a portion of kway teow into the strainer. Dip the strainer in the boiling water until the kway teow softens, definitely not too long. We don’t want mushy and lumpy flat rice noodles.

Immediately transfer the hot kway teow to the cold water in just seconds and then back to the boiling water. Then immediately transfer the noodle to the working bowl and mix well to coat the kway teow with the seasoning liquid. Transfer the noodle portion to a nice serving bowl or plate.

Meanwhile, warm the prawns and baby Bok Choy in the hot water in a matter of seconds. Drain and garnish the bowl of kway teow with a few slices of char siu, prawns, minced meat and  baby Bok Choy, topped with some crispy shallots.  Serve immediately with pickled chillies and a bowl of clear broth, sprinkled with chopped spring onions.  Ridiculously hard work, but I’m a tough nut to crack! LOL!

Here you go … the visual steps.
image

This is my version of the famous Kuching Kolo Mee/ Kway Teow made in Belgium😄
image

image

Heaven! I’m in heaven!😋

And here were the ones made using wantan mee. Equally delicious, simply because they’re homemade.

image
image

I’m definitely linking this post to Little Thumbs Up, organised by Doreen of my little favourite DIY and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. The January 2015 LTU theme is “Noodles and Pasta” hosted by Anne from My Bare Cupboard

2015/01/img_8720.jpg

Happy trying!

Well I’ve tried and I’ve done it and I’m totally satisfied.

Will I make this again? You bet!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Cheers!

I don’t recall having lots of snowy winters in Belgium, and if there were, then they came at the least expected moments, rarely during the Christmas season. I have been in Belgium for almost 20 years and I have experienced, perhaps, once or twice of white landscapes between Christmas and the New Year.

Last month was rather mild with 2-digit temperatures of 11or 12 degrees Celsius, hence “too hot” for snowfalls, however, snow DID fall only for one day when the mercury dropped to minus 2 degrees Celsius on Sunday, 28th Dec 2014. And that’s about it! Now that we have flipped the calendar to another brand new year, we have also experienced lots of chilly weather the past three weeks.

Last weekend, Belgium woke up to an amazingly beautiful white landscape. The air was so fresh, the snow so white, crisp, light and fluffy to the touch. I was glad it snowed on Friday night leaving a picturesque landscape on Saturday. Here were some photos I took of our back and front yards.

2015/01/img_0445.jpg

A Temporary Hermit and a Frugal Lunch

Actually I had planned to do some shopping on Saturday morning, but with such cold weather, I had to retract my plan. I became a weekend “hermit”, hibernating in my warm cocoon instead. Did I like it? Of course I LOVED it!

Coincidentally, I received a text message from a girlfriend asking me what my favourite warm winter dish is. I have lots, but looking at the fact that it’s cold outside, a warm soupy dish makes the best comfort food.

Okay, it was a weekend. My pantry was running low of fresh vegetables and meats. Hmmmm…… what to eat? I opened the fridge and there was a bag of beansprouts I bought earlier in the week and half a daikon. I went downstairs to our cellar and opened the deep freezer. Lo and behold, a bag of frozen prawns and another packet of fishballs were staring at me. I smiled gleefully and knew immediately what I could conjure from all the available main ingredients.

And by the way, I always have reserved packets of noodles or pastas in my kitchen cupboard. They come in REALLY handy. And boy was I glad I still had a packet of bee hoon or rice sticks or rice vermicelli or rice noodle or whatever-way-you-want-to-call-it noodle that day.

And here’s the result of our frugally yummy and comfy lunch, an all-in-one bowl Bee Hoon Soup.

2015/01/img_0436.jpg

As this was an impromptu, flash-in-the-pan kind of cooking, I have no measurements, but only guestimates, which is also my middle name.

Ingredients for the broth
• 1 big Onion pricked with 4 cloves
• 5 cloves of Garlic
• 2 sticks Lemon Grass
• Kaffir Lime Leaves
• Ginger
• Star Anise
• Black Peppercorns
• Half a daikon (washed, peeled and cut in chunks)
• Water (pure guestimate for 4 eating adults plus a bit more for extra helpings)
• Chicken Stock Cube (if this was a planned dish, make your own chicken broth or vegetable stock)
• Salt and pepper to taste

Garnishing
• Bean Sprouts (top and tail)
• Coriander (or any fresh herbs of your choice. I happened to have some wilted coriander in my fridge that day…)
• Spring Onions (I always have these in the fridge. Remove the slimy brown bits and julienne them)
• Carrot (for colour – julienned)
• Frozen prawns (thawed, cleaned, deveined and boiled in small amount of water with half a stock cube and freshly milled black pepper. Set cooked prawns aside. Pour the cooked water from the prawns into the broth)
• Frozen fishballs (these can be added to the broth while simmering)
• 1 packet Bee Hoon (blanched in hot water or according to instruction)

Condiment
• Hot Chilli Flakes
• Sesame Oil
• Shaoxing Wine (or any type of cooking wine or Whisky)
• Lemon Juice
• A dash of Brown Sugar, to taste
• Salt and Pepper, to taste

What was nice about this dish was it was an all-in-one-pot cooking. Just let the broth simmer away. Your kitchen will smell deliciously herby.

2015/01/img_0438.jpg

The soup is ready when you are absolutely sure of the flavour, taste and the right level of saltiness you want to scoop onto the bowl of Bee Hoon. Please note the blanched Bee Hoon is very, very bland on its own, hence, the soup or broth can do with a lot more seasonings. Be warned!

What I did to lift up the taste of my bowl of flash-in-the-pan Bee Hoon Soup was concocting a condiment to round up our Saturday “warm” winter dish. I must say, it was out-of-this-world, simple, yet delightfully delicious meal. My guys were completely bowled over. The warm broth combined with the extra heat from the homemade condiment almost instantly unclogged my older son’s stuffy nose. And mine, too. *sniffles* 😀

2015/01/img_0442.jpg

Luckily, I had the foresight to cook more broth and not just for 4 servings because my sons had second helpings!

I’m submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up, organised by Doreen of my little favourite DIY and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. The January 2015 LTU theme is “Noodles and Pasta” hosted by Anne from My Bare Cupboard

2015/01/img_8720.jpg

I am also linking this post to The Great Britsh Store Cupboard: Cooking with Herbs Challenge – January 2015

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f5c/12721388/files/2015/01/img_8719.png

I came across Sarah’s blog, Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity by chance. I love her sense of humour and her motto “live a champagne life on a sparkling cider budget“. Exactly what her blog is about. So here I am, linking my post to Homemade Mondays – Week 116 hosted by Sarah of Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity, Aubrey of Homegrown and Healthy and co-hosted by Kelly of The Sustainable Couple

Stay warm!
Cheers!

Char Kway Teow is Hokkien and literally translated as “stir-fried rice cake strips”.  This dish is omnipresent in Malaysia as well as Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei.

There are many versions to this dish, but the most popular connotation linking to this dish is the one dubbed as Penang Char Kway Teow. Even in Hong Kong, these stir-fried noodles are often known as Penang Char Kway Teow, indicating the dish’s origin.

I haven’t been to Penang in a long, long while; hence, my memory of an equally good plate of Char Kway Teow was my last trip home to Kuching in 2008! I made sure that every trip home would include stopovers at my family’s favourite Char Kway Teow hawker stall 😀

When the craving gets tough…

It has been almost 6 years since my last trip home!! Man, how time flies… Yes, I’m crazy craving for foods I knew and grew up eating.

The closest platter of Char Kway Teow I could get here in Belgium is the Thai version of Pad See Ew, meaning fried (with) soy sauce.

1a. CKT_Pad See Ew11b. CKT_Pad See Ew2

These were the Thai Pad See Ew variations I have had in Belgium, BUT, they were not the same as the Malaysian or Singaporean Char Kway Teow 😦

And then – out of the blue – one fine day, a girlfriend was asking if I wanted fresh flat rice noodles!  Oh yes, bring ‘em over friend.  I knew immediately what I could conjure from those oodles of noodles 😀

I am aware we could use the store-bought pre-packed dried rice noodles, but the fresh ones are oh, so delicious.  It’s quite different, most certainly.

2. CKT_fresh noodles

Armed with the 2 packets of the fresh flat rice noodles, I went in search for a hawker style Char Kway Teow recipe.  I found the exact recipe I wanted in a little cookbook called “Hawker’s Delight – A guide to Malaysia & Singapore hawkers’ food

3. CKT_Hawker's Delight

Sorry for the foggy picture because I was totally blurred and smitten with my platter 😉

The day I got the fresh flat rice noodles, I cooked my first plate (ever) of Char Kway Teow in Belgium. As there are many versions to this dish, I stuck to the basics, and most of all, using ingredients I had in my kitchen larder and refrigerator rather than explicitly replicating the entire recipe. I could if I wanted to, but my craving got the better of me. I did not rush to the supermarket to buy all the ingredients but remained loyal to the approach of a rather good plate of Char Kway Teow, I must say 😉

By the way, here’s how my first plate of Char Kway Teow turned out…

4. CKT_first plate

Absolutely delish!

Ingredients –
Serves 4-5
  • 600g Kway Teow or flat rice noodles (I took a handful per plate x 4. Personally, the CKT tastes better cooked in smaller portions)
  • 300g Medium size prawns – shelled and deveined (I used 4-5 prawns per plate per person, shelled and deveined but leaving only the tails intact)
  • 250g Oyster or cockles – boiled and shelled (I did not have these but used fishballs in lieu)
  • 250g Squids (I will use these the next time)
  • 200g Chicken, beef or pork – cut thinly (I did not use meat. I made seafood CKT)
  • 300g Bean sprouts (I will use these the next time)
  • 12 Stalks of chives – cut into 2cm length (I used spring onions, but will use chives the next time)
  • 2 Stalks of chai sim or sawi (bok choi) – cut into 3cm length
  • 3 Eggs

Pounded ingredients –

  • 2 Fresh red chillies
  • 6 Cloves garlic (I used quite a lot – whole knob!)

Seasoning –

  • 1 Tbsp light soy sauce, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce for the colour
  • I also added some white vinegar (this was not in the recipe)

Some water

For marinating the meat and seafood – leave for about 15 minutes

  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp pepper

3 Tbsp cooking oil

Method –

  1. Heat oil in a smoking hot wok. Fry pounded ingredients until fragrant.
  2. Add seasoned prawns or meat strips and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add some water (if necessary), then followed by squids, cockles or fishballs.
  3. Increase heat and stir fry for 3 minutes.
  4. Pour in the soy sauces, bean sprouts, chai sim, chives (or spring onions). Fry and mix well.  Crack the eggs and keep stirring. Finally, add in the flat rice noodles.
  5. Stir and toast thoroughly for 2-3 minutes
  6. Taste for seasoning and colour before plating up

I like my CKT quite dark and garlicky 😉

They were so addictive that I cooked more that evening.  My guys lurve their CKT, albeit home cooked on an electric stove. Ha ha ha…

I think I have improved in the colour and taste the second time around.  LOVE it!!

5a. CKT_plates

5b. CKT_closed up

I realised I have not been linking up to CYB in a long time.  Joyce, I hope my quick, simple and basic hawker-style Char Kway Teow will do justice on your CYB blog-hop page ;-).  So here I am linking my CKT to Cook-Your-Books#10 hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours

Cook Your Books

As prawn is one of the mainstays of the CKT recipe, I’m also linking this post to Little Thumbs up with the March theme ingredient using “PRAWNS organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and hosted by Food Playground

th_littlethumbups1-1

 

Have a great day.  Enjoy!

Cheers!