Pan fried chicken thighs

Some time ago I found myself having to cook for only A and me, so with much excitement and enthusiasm I decided to do a one dish meal by pan frying chicken thighs. I followed this recipe and it turned out pretty wonderful! The cooking time was long but it actually gave me time to lounge around instead of hovering over the pan in the kitchen.

I served this up with a modified version of this side dish (substituted bacon with pork slices and corn with mixed beans) and dinner was ready!

I really do relish in trying out non-Chinese style recipes, though those opportunities are few and far between.

Birthday Mee Sua

It was the MIL’s birthday, so I decided to cook mee sua for dinner. My family uses tang hoon instead of mee sua, but apparently the “correct” choice is the latter. The last time I cooked mee sua was for A’s birthday, I can’t remember how I did it but I recall it was an overkill on ingredients. I was determined not to repeat that, and besides the mee sua was meant to be a staple to go with other dishes.

I largely followed Noob Cook’s recipe, but I used ready made chicken broth from Swanson instead of cooking from scratch with chicken drumsticks and chicken carcass. I don’t know where to buy chicken carcass and ain’t nobody got time for that on a weekday.

My end product in a bowl contained soup, mee sua, hard boiled eggs, shiitake mushrooms and xiao bai cai. It was my first time cooking soup with shiitake mushrooms, and I thought that greatly enhanced the flavour. I shall include mushrooms more often from now on!

Stray Observations:

  • I cooked hard boiled eggs for the first time in my life. I placed the eggs in a pot of water and brought to boil for about 10 minutes, then I turned off the stove and left them for about 4 minutes before rinsing them under cold water. The yolk turned out just slightly runny, which was ok, but I had trouble peeling the shells! I’m sure there’s a fool proof method to perfectly peel eggs, I shall Google it soon.

Soups (1)

The mother has been giving me something called huai shan, she says it is nutritious and can be cooked in soup. The last stick of huai shan ended up in the trash can because 1) I had no idea how to cook it 2) it started growing furry stuff all over!

I finally googled it and found out that 淮山 is in fact Chinese yam! To be honest I was slightly disappointed, I was expecting it to be something more exotic. Also, yam = carbohydrates, something I am not too crazy about.

Nonetheless, I did some research on yam soups and came across this website with simple enough recipes. I needed to clear the overflowing containers of fish stock in the freezer, so I went with the Pork soup with Chinese yam and goji berries.

The internet says I should wear gloves or something protective over my hands when handling the hairy huai shan, and I did just that. Upon peeling the skin I realised the flesh was sticky, gooey and very slippery! Chopping it up into chunks required more caution and I was terrified of chopping off my fingers. Well, I learn something new everyday!

Confession time: I actually have a slow cooker which we purchased when we first moved in, but I have never taken it out before, so I don’t know how to use it. There wasn’t time to fiddle around with a new equipment, so I turned to my trusty stove top soup pot to boil the soup. After 2 hours, the soup was ready and it tasted really great!

Stray Observations:

  • A said I overcooked the yam. That is true, after all the yam was simmering inside for 2 hours. I shall make a note to add the yam 1 hour into cooking.
  • I added carrots, because I like carrots.
  • The mother-in-law commented that she doesn’t like to drink fish soup because of the fishy smell (referencing the soup I cooked a few days ago), but this soup was fine. She doesn’t know that this was in fact the same fish stock as before! I think a combination of long simmering + ginger slices masked the fishiness very well.

Steamed Cod Fish (2)

I wrote about steamed cod fish a while back, since then I have upgraded and now include chai poh in my cooking. I follow this recipe quite closely except I do not season with salt and pepper before steaming – chai poh is already salty despite the rinsing, and there’s already chopped chilli padi in the chai poh mixture, so I’m thinking the pepper taste will be quite negligible.I ran out of ginger the other day and didn’t layer ginger slices beneath the fillet, the dish turned out fishier than usual! I always had my doubts about ginger removing fishiness but now I’m sold on this. My only problem now is that I don’t know how to store cut ginger! I should go google this.

Yaki Udon Part I

I am obsessed with the frozen Sanuki udon found at Medi Ya and Isetan supermarkets. Prior to this discovery I had been buying dry udon from Fairprice, and the udon always tasted sour. :/ After trying Sanuki udon I never looked back, now it’s mandatory for the freezer to be perpetually stocked with frozen udon.

After bowls after bowls of soup udon, I decided it was time to venture into stir frying again. Just One Cookbook has an easy enough recipe, I had everything besides the Mentsuyu (which I purchased from Cold Storage), so over the weekend I cooked for two (three, if you count the blob growing inside me).

Stir fry noodles is not difficult to cook after all, so I wasn’t surprised that it turned out delicious. Most of the flavouring came from the Mentsuyu, and I think I will be relying on it for many other dishes from now on. I forgot about adding carrots (or maybe subconsciously I chose to ignore it because I still can’t julienne properly), and I basically grabbed anything I could find in the fridge to throw into the pan. The ingredients list is as follows:

  • Sliced pork (marinated with corn flour and sesame oil)
  • Cauliflower
  • White enoki mushrooms
  • Strands of xiao bai cai
  • Crabsticks (diced into tiny bits)
  • Sliced onion
  • Chopped spring onions

Stray observations:

  • Omitting carrot and using white enoki mushrooms meant that my dish looked insipid despite the wonderful taste. I shall make a note to remember the carrot and to use brown enoki mushrooms instead.
  • A gave it a 8/10: -1 for forgetting the carrot and -1 for the oiliness. I’m perplexed by the oiliness though, I used a minimal amount for the stir fry. I suspect the Mentsuyu caused it!
  • When I announced my intention to cook yaki udon, A gave out a very loud groan, “again?!” Why can’t I have a more supportive husband?

Banana Oat Pancakes Parts I and II

I’ve been meaning to make pancakes for a while, after A promised to do so (and even bought a Betty Crocker premix) but never kept his promise. The sister is always boasting about how wonderful her pancakes are, so I decided to one-up her by making healthier pancakes by eliminating flour and sugar. I found an easy enough recipe that asked for banana and oats among other common ingredients, so one fine weekend morning I decided to try it out.

Part I: HOW DO I TELL IF THE PANCAKE IS DONE ON ONE SIDE?!

I assembled my ingredients, and having no faith in our lousy cheapo blender, I decided to blend the oats into a flour texture first before combining it with other ingredients. Surprisingly the blender worked pretty well, so I made a note to skip blending the oats first. After resting the batter, I set out to cook the pancakes. The instructions were to “heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat” and then “fry spoonfuls of the batter until golden brown on both sides”. As oil/butter was omitted from the description, I did not add any to oil the pan. The first pancake turned out black at the bottom!

Eventually I realised my mistake and hastily grabbed some butter from the fridge. For the second pancake, I watched it like a hawk and constantly checked the bottom to see if it was burnt like the previous one. Due to my incessant checking, the pancake broke into two.

(Interlude: A walked in on me and exclaimed, “好香啊!” But upon seeing the mess in the kitchen he immediately went, “what did you do…”)

At this point in time I realised the only way I was going to succeed was to ask the sister for help, so I called her and begged her to tell me the secret of pancake flipping. All she said was, “bubbles on the top.” So, for the third pancake, I waited till bubbles formed on the top before checking the bottom, and it was indeed time to flip it over. Success! Or so I thought.

Upon tasting I realised it was too mushy and banana-nery! I scrolled through the comments on the link and noted that bigger bananas demanded a greater amount of oats!

I resolved to trying again the next day. I must master the art of making hipster pancakes!

Part II: HOW DO YOU WHIP EGG WHITES? WHAT ARE PEAKS?!

The sister said I should separate the whites from the yolks, blend the yolks with the rest of the ingredients, whip the whites until peaks formed, and then fold the whites in with the rest of the mixture. So I did just that, and whipped the whites in a glass bowl with a fork, but all I got were BUBBLES and MORE BUBBLES. My arm was very sore at this point so I gave up and dumped the entire white mixture into the batter. No peaks will be witnessed today.

When it was time to fry the pancakes, I remembered to butter the pan. This time round I waited for the bubbles on the top before flipping, and I am pleased to report that my pancakes turned out great!

The pancakes were served with Morinaga maple syrup and blueberries, and even though A hates pancakes, he finished them all. It could be because that was the only breakfast that was available, but I’d like to think it’s because he found them delicious.

Also, I adjusted the amount of oats based on the previous day’s experience, so the pancakes were less banana-nery and more pancake-y. I have mastered the art of making hipster pancakes. Muahahahahaha.

Pan fried salmon with spice blend

I was most excited to have a sous chef in the kitchen with me, for once I had access to serious help instead of having the condescending husband breathing down my neck.

The initial idea was to try the pan fried fish recipe from here, but substitute the lemon butter sauce with this recipe as we are not big fans of wine in our cooking, but we ran out of time and could only manage to serve up the seasoned salmon without the sauce. Nonetheless, it still tasted really good, but we also added some mayonnaise on the side just for additional flavour.

I am now the proud owner of the following spices:

  • Chilli powder
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Black pepper
  • Basil
  • Parsley

Angmoh cooking is really pattern more than badminton. I must have spent about $50 acquiring the above spices. 😦