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. 😦

Stir Fry Black Pepper Pork

Still utterly terrible at meat dishes, so I decided to try a simple black pepper stir fry. The original recipe from Noob Cook is meant for beef, but I substituted with pork instead. My dad cooks his version of black pepper pork quite often, but this recipe is very different from what he does.

Anyway, apparently it was a success because even the MIL complimented it! Her only criticism was that there was not enough vegetables, which is true. I left out the bell peppers because I didn’t have any, and I cut down on the amount of celery because it was my first time cooking celery and I didn’t know how it would turn out! My impression of celery is not good.

Fake Nasi Goreng (1)

I’ve been meaning to try cooking nasi goreng using this recipe. I have all the ingredients (sans pickles) but I do not have the mortar and pestle required to smash some of the ingredients together! So until I decide I am strong enough to lug a mortar pestle set home, I shall make do with my fake nasi goreng recipe (which honestly tastes good enough).

Based on the link above, I omitted the belacan and hence pounding of the garlic + shallots + belacan, and then followed the remaining recipe to a T. What I liked about the recipe is that it asked for equal parts of kecap manis, sambal oelek and fish sauce. It’s idiot proof and easy for me to remember, so I don’t have to dig out the recipe for reference anymore!

Also, I finally found the AAA Sambal Oelek sauce in Giant – none of the Fairprice outlets carried it. I’ve concluded that Giant is better for Malaysian/Indonesian items.

The only additional ingredient I added into the rice was a bowl of mixed peas. Apparently authentic nasi goreng doesn’t contain much ingredients. But the truth is I just didn’t have additional stuff to throw in.

Pantry Essentials

After a few months of tinkering in the kitchen, I’ve come to see a pattern in Chinese cooking. Most dishes require the same condiments, so as long as you have the following list in your pantry, you can conquer most dishes:

  • Cooking oil
  • Salt
  • Granulated white sugar
  • Oyster sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Light soy sauce
  • Dark soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Corn starch
  • Cooking wine

I like that I can reuse the condiments for almost all dishes, it is certainly more convenient than Western dishes that require unique spices like oregano or basil. Maybe if I cooked more Western dishes I might feel the same way about the spices, but as I am outnumbered in my household with regards to affection for non Asian dishes, I have to stick to my sesame oil for most part. 😦

Recipe Depository

Most times when I’m cooking something I’ve already attempted before, I refer to this space as it contains the reference links plus my own small notes. I thought I should also do up a collection of recipes that I intend to try eventually:

  1. Nasi Goreng
  2. Bolognese Sauce
  3. Lemon Chicken

I cooked braised tofu the other day but it didn’t turn out the way I imagined it would have. I couldn’t get the sauce to thicken despite adding corn starch solution. After looking through tons of recipes in Mandarin (I googled 红烧豆腐) I realised my original recipe was too complicated! I will try again next time.

Chinese Cabbage Soup

A reluctantly offered to cook Sunday’s dinner, but it ended up being a team effort anyway. I had all these ingredients for cabbage soup, so we followed the instructions here meticulously.

I added some wolfberries into the soup since 1) I have a big bag of it and 2) I think you can add wolfberries to everything (?), and I used the dried scallops that we bought from Hokkaido. The soup turned out pretty well, except I started farting and shitting endlessly the next few days thanks to the cabbage.

My husband is weird in the kitchen, he doesn’t want to look at recipes and can’t hold the ladle properly, plus he refuses to listen to my reasoning when I tell him he has to fry the onion before the garlic (garlic browns easily and thereafter turns bitter). But at least he tries.