Roasted Sweet Potato with Orange, Honey and Chili 橙汁蜂蜜烤薯条chéng zhī fēng mì kǎo shǔ tiáo

Many root vegetables are really good for us. They are known for their concentrations of Vitamin C, B and A as well as their level of health-promoting antioxidants which help enhance the body’s immune system. These lightly sweet potato chips can be either a good snack choice or served as a side dish for dinner.

Serves 3-4 (as side dish)

  • 900g                                                      various sweet potatoes of your choice
  • 3 tablespoons                                    olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons                                    honey
  • 60ml                                                      orange juice
  • 2/3 teaspoon                                     salt
  • A pinch                                                 black peppercorn            

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200C°/400F°.
  • Peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into the pieces (a little thicker than French Fries). Place the potato pieces in a bowl. Add into the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.

 

Braised Mushrooms and Minced Pork Noodles香菇肉碎面Bak Chor Mee

A typical Singapore hawker staple (street food) that I had always enjoyed and have missed so much. This has to be the only kind of food that I can have for any meals of the day. In Singapore, it’s not often that people tend to cook this from home, partly because of the much efforts involved, partly because it doesn’t make economic sense as it is available for any hawker stalls conveniently located in most of the neighborhoods.

Properly braising mushrooms is the key to make a good bowl of the noodles. The mushrooms have to be simmered long enough to absorb all the flavors. In the hawker center, very often you will see a slow cooker that’s used to simmer the mushrooms for hours and are kept warm all the time so that the mushrooms just get tender and softer.

Although it might seem too cumbersome a dish to prepare at home, but all in all, I took less than an hour to serve up this dish from simmering the mushrooms, to boiling the soup to preparing the noodles. It’s not as intimidating as it seems after all. 

Serve 1 (this is the recipe for 1 serving, just multiply the quantities of the ingredients if you wish to have more servings.)

  • 100g       Chinese egg noodles (click here for homemade egg noodles)全蛋面
  • 50g                        minced/ground pork猪肉末
  • 3 pieces                meatballs肉丸 (available at the frozen section of Asian market)
  • 5 slices                 fishcake鱼饼 (available at the frozen food section of Asian market)
  • Some lettuce
  • 1/2 cup                  mung bean sprouts (optional)豆芽

For the Braised Mushrooms

  • 4 pieces                dried shiitake mushrooms, rinsed and soaked in hot water. Remove the stem and sliced thinly, 干香菇泡发切丝
  • 250ml                   mushroom water, retained from soaking the mushrooms
  • 200ml                   water
  • 1 tablespoon      oyster sauce蚝油
  • 1 teaspoon          light soy sauce生抽
  • 1 teaspoon          dark soy sauce老抽
  • 10g r                                      rock sugar冰糖
  • 1 star anise八角
  • 3 slices        ginger生姜
  • 3 cloves       garlics, slightly crushed蒜头
  • 2 piece      dried orange peel (optional, to add some tanginess to the sauce)陈皮

For ground pork marinade

  • ½ tablespoon    light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon          corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon          sesame oil
  • A pinch of white peppercorn powder

For the soup base:

  • 300ml stock
  • 300ml water
  • 1 tablespoon            shallots oil (fry the slices of shallots in the oil over low medium heat) or just use a tablespoon of cooking oil
  • A pinch of salt + white peppercorn powder

For the noodles sauce (mix all together):

  • 1 tablespoon sambal paste (this is a spicy paste, optional)
  • 1 tablespoon                      shallots oil (fry the slices of shallots in the oil over low and medium heat) or just use a teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoon    braised mushroom sauce
  • 1 tablespoon                      soup base
  • 1 teaspoon                          Chinkiang vinegar

Method

  1. Combine the mushrooms and the braised sauce together and simmer over medium low heat for at least 30 minutes or more. Top up with more water if the sauce gets dry out too fast. You can also braise the mushrooms over a slow cooker for at least 2 hours.

2. Combine the ground pork together with the marinade ingredients, mix well and set aside in the fridge.

3. Combine the stock and water with the shallot oil, salt and white pepper corn powder to make the soup base. Cook till it boils. Add in the meatballs and fish cakes. Cook about 3-5 minutes. When all has floated to the surface of the soup, drain them and set aside. Add in the minced pork into the soup. Cook it briefly till done and drain. Blanch the mung bean sprouts. Drain.

4. Heat up another pot with some water and cook the noodles in the boiling water. Drain once cooked.

5. To serve, get a big serving bowl. Add the noodles sauce to the noodles and stir to mix well, place a few lettuce leaves and some mung bean sprouts. add into the noodles. Top the noodles with braised mushrooms, meat balls and fish cakes. Garnish with some minced spring onions, but this is optional. Serve hot.

Crispy Char Siu Puffs脆皮叉烧酥cuì pí chā shāo sū

They can be found at any dim sum restaurant. This China southern style puff pastry is folded around the sweet and meaty filling, brushed with an egg wash, and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Can be oblong or crescent shaped.

Traditional southern style pastry is shaped by making and combining low-fat and high-fat dough which requires good amount of work. I took a short cut using the store-bought puff pastry and came up with a cheater’s version. With this hassle-free recipe, you can skip all the fussy steps and make some awesome and flaky char siu pastry on the go. They are perfectly served when they’re still hot, with a cup of your favorite Chinese tea.

Makes 6

Filling

  • 1 tablespoon               cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon                  minced shallot小红葱头
  • 1/4 yellow onion         about 40g 洋葱, minced
  • 80g                              char siu pork, diced叉烧肉切小粒 (click here for homemade char siu pork)
  • 1 tablespoon               hoisin sauce海鲜酱
  • ½ tablespoon             caster sugar (optional)白糖

Thickening (simply mix all the ingredients below in a bowl)

  • 1 tablespoon       corn starch玉米淀粉
  • 3  tablespoons      water
  • ½ teaspoon         sesame oil
  • 1 packet store-bought frozen puff pastry block, 375g, (you will need have it thawed in the fridge overnight.)
  • whisked egg, for egg wash
  • 1 tablespoon               white sesame seeds

Method

  1. Make the thickening by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

2. Heat oil in a frying pan. fry the minced shallot over medium-high heat until aromatic. Add the minced onion and cook until soft and translucent, followed by the diced char siu. Stir in the char siu sauce with the water. Cook until it starts to boil. Add the thickening and cook to your preferred consistency. Transfer to a large bowl and let it cool down. Set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 400F / 200C. In the meantime, lightly sprinkle flour on a clean surface. Roll out the puff pastry into a 32cm x 22cm (12.5inch x 8. 5inch) rectangle sheet with a rolling pin. Use a 10-cm (4-inch) cookie cutter (or use any round shape plate or bowl available in your kitchen) to trim out 6 circles.

4. Place a heaped tablespoon of char siu filling in the middle of each circle. Damp the sides with water and seal tightly. Repeat this step with the remaining fillings. Carefully transfer the char siu pastry on a lined baking tray. Lightly brush egg wash on pastries. Cut 2 to 3 slits in the middle of each pastry surface. Sprinkle sesame seeds. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot.

Supreme Soy Sauce Fried Noodles豉油皇炒面chǐ yóu huáng chǎo miàn

You will find the supreme soy sauce fried noodles at most of the Cantonese dim sum restaurants. A traditional Cantonese fried-noodle dish, it can be made at home within minutes. Every strand of the noodle is evenly coated with the savory and sweet soy sauce, mixed with the crunchy bean sprouts and chives.  It’s simple, yet delicious.

Serve 2

  • 2 tablespoons      cooking oil
  • 200g                              egg noodles (100g per serving) 全蛋面 (click here for homemade fresh egg noodles)
  • 100g                              chicken breast, sliced
  • ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced洋葱
  • 5 stalks                        Chinese chives韭菜, cut into small pieces, separate white and green parts
  • 50g                                                mung bean sprouts绿豆芽
  • 1 tablespoon                        white sesame seeds 白芝麻

Marinade

  • 1/4 teaspoon                     salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white peppercorn powder 白胡椒粉
  • 1/2 teaspoon                     corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon      sesame oil
  • ½ tablespoon                     Chinese cooking wine

Seasoning sauce

  • 1 teaspoon                         caster sugar白糖
  • ¼ teaspoon                        white peppercorn powder白胡椒粉
  • 2 tablespoons    light soy sauce 生抽
  • 1 tablespoons                   dark soy sauce老抽
  • 1 teaspoon                         sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons                   water
  1. Add all the marinade sauce in the chicken slices. Mix well. Let it stand for about 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, prepare the seasoning sauce by mixing all the ingredients of sugar, white peppercorn powder, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil and water.

2. Bring a big pot of water to a boil, add in egg noodles. Use chopsticks to loosen the noodles to prevent them from sticking together. If the noodles are freshly made, cook for about 3 minutes to al dente (80% cooked). Remove and rinse with running tap water. Drain and set aside.

3. Heat up the 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a wok, add into the marinated chicken over medium heat. Fry for 1-2 minutes once the chicken turns pale (80% cooked). Remove the chicken by leaving the residual oil in the wok. Add into sliced onions and white parts of the chive. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add into mung bean sprouts, cooked chicken and noodles. Pour into the seasoning sauce. Mix and stir fry for about 3 to 4 minutes till sauce absorbed by the noodles.

4. Stir in the green part of the chive. Turn off the heat.

5. To serve, place the noodles in a big serving plate. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds.

Tips:

  1. There are often two kinds of egg noodles available at Asian grocers. One is for making noodle soup, the other for stir fry. Get the one for stir fry to make this dish as it won’t easily break apart while stir frying.
  2. Bean sprouts and chives cook very fast. Make sure you do not toss them in the wok too early.