Monday, March 30, 2009

Ipoh Hor Fun

We had 10 people over on Saturday for Ipoh Hor Fun.The difference between the traditional Ipoh Hor Fun and the meal I served is instead of " kai see" or shredded chicken I served " white cut chicken" and giant prawn wontons instead of prawns as the garnish.The chicken turned out very well and everyone commented how "smooth" it was.
The giant prawn wontons also turned out nicely.The wontons were larger than normal because I used "sui kow" skins instead of the usual wonton skins. I had to get them from the manufacturer as these are only supplied to restaurants and not available in the Chinese supermarkets unlike the common wonton wrappers
Serving 10 piping hot bowls is no easy task. The time between each bowl served should not be more than 1 minute as I want my guests to all sit down and have the meal together. If the interval between each bowl is say 6 minutes, it will take 1 hour to serve 10 bowls. By the time the last bowl is served, the first guests would have long finished their meal. The key is to serve each bowl piping hot. I achieve this by cooking the hor fun in bulk ahead of time and then portioning it into the 10 bowls with the chives. I will then have a very large stock pot ready with boiling water. When it is time to serve I will quickly reheat the hor fun and the chives in each bowling before ladling in the stock. In this way the dish is served in a timely manner piping hot. It took just about 10 minutes for everyone to be served.
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Versatile Minced Pork

Got another piece of pork butt for $1.29/lb and had the butcher mince it for me for anther 10 cents. Mince pork is a very versatile ingredient. It can be steamed as a meat patty, steamed with tofu or in this instance made into a noodle dish. Any balance can be frozen for later use. The minced porked was cooked with shitake mushrooms and seasoned with oyster sauce. I used garlic, green onion and ginger as aromatics. Also dark soya sauce from Malaysia was used to give the dish some colour. Any type of noodle can be used. I like "mee sua" and it went very well with the chicken stock soup base.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pork Ribs

The price of pork has been relatively low over the last few weeks. Whenever I venture into a Chinese supermarket, or any supermarket for that matter, I typically scout for the specials or products that are really fresh and nice. Yesterday pork side ribs were $1.39 /lb vs the usual price of $2/lb. So I bought one slab of about 3.5 lbs and had the butcher cut it to bite size pieces ( actually they cut it through the bone into strips and I will cut them into bite size pieces) I used about 3/4 of the ribs and steamed them with black bean sauce. Depending on the amount of black bean sauce used( I used 2 table spoons of ready made paste from Lee Kum Kee) no further salting is required. The result was a dish of succulent ribs enjoyed by the whole family. I plan to use the balance of the ribs to make a soup noodle noodle dish the next day.
I also made a dish of stuffed red peppers using fish paste bought over the weekend.The peppers were pan fried ( fish side down) and then finished with a black bean seasoning.The key is to use a generous amount of corn or tapioca starch on the insides if the peppers so that the fish paste will adhere to the peppers. The peppers were sweet and succulent and this turned into a very tasty dish.
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Monday, March 9, 2009

The beginning of the end

This is really my favourite time of year. Winter is coming to an end. I am certainly not celebrating prematurely as I realize that mother winter can ambush us with another cold spell and/or another snowstorm in the coming weeks. However all the signs are here. The days are getting longer, 6.00 pm is still bright especially when we moved to Daylight Saving Time yesterday.
In baseball, spring training is in full swing and the World Baseball Classic is now on. The Blue Jays may again not make the playoffs this year but at this time of year, hope springs eternal.
For golf , the driving range will be opened soon and the season will start in about 4 weeks. The earliest I played was March 31st, but typically it is the first or second week of April.
This anticipation is what makes this my favourite time of year. It is the beginning of the end.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Toronto

Today is the 175th birthday of the wonderful city of Toronto, my home for the past 19 years. It is safe, clean and I believe, a quality of life that has few peers. Torontonians do not know how lucky we are as we complain about everything - bad air, traffic gridlock, high crime rates, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter etc. I suspect many have not been to other parts of the world to experience real traffic gridlock or hot weather.
As a birthday present the temperature soared to 18c this afternoon, so what is the big deal? Well it was -16c on Monday.Therefore today I really enjoyed being outdoors driving around with my sunroof open.
Also today I had a free Driver fitting session with the Ping representative in one of Golf Town outlets. For those of you not familiar with golf, club fitting is important in getting the maximum benefit from your clubs. Just as you need to get fitted for a suit, you need to get the right club for for swing. I ended up getting a sort of prescription for my Driver, 12 * loft, offset with "soft" regular shafts ( polite way of referring to "senior" shafts) and a thinner grip size to allow me to set the wrists better, which is the main thing I am working on in my golf swing.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Comfort Food

Had this for dinner last night.Pork meat patties, the ultimate home cooked comfort food. Bought a piece of "pork butt" from the Chinese supermarket and had them grind it for me. I almost never buy ready made minced pork from the Chinese supermarkets as I am not sure what cuts of pork they use.Usually they are too fatty for my liking.
There are many ways to flavour this mince pork dish, salted eggs, cuttlefish and my favourite, preserved vegetables.From the leftovers I will usually make a congee for next day's meal
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Monday, March 2, 2009

Hainan Chicken Rice

A family favourite, Hainan Chicken Rice.Typically make this dish at least twice a month especially if whole chicken is on special in the supermarket.This week it was a "buy get one free deal". So I made 2 chickens this time.The chicken was put in boiling hot salted water , covered. When the water came to a reboil the heat was turned to the very lowest setting and steeped for 45 minutes.( If there is only one chicken I will turn off the heat completely and steep for 30-35 minutes) It was then removed and put into icy cold water for 30 minutes. It was then hung up to cool and dry for 3-4 hours. I found that it is only by this method that the skin and meat is firm, comparable to the ones in restaurants and BBQ outlets
For the rice, first render some oil from chicken fat, flavour with garlic and lightly fry the rice grains.Then cook the rice in the normal manner but with salted chicken stock instead of water.
I like to serve this dish with chilli garlic sauce or ginger /green onion sauce, although I personally also like it with Coleman's mustard.
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