Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tribute to masterchef Australia-Claire's fried masterstock chicken with Chilli Caramel and Orange Salt

Sorry for the extremely late update as I have been busy over the past few months, working feverishly hard to pursue my career in medicine and I am glad to say that I have finally graduated as a doctor. HOORAY! Now, I'm just waiting to attend my graudation ceremony in August which means I have ample time to relax and embrace my hobbies and passions; one of which is cooking. I've also been recently hooked on Masterchef Australia and I really like some of the talented contestants on the show especially Alvin Quah who is coincidentally a Malaysian. I like his extremely likable and genuine character not to mention his quirky and comical personality on the show. His character and Chinese Malaysian upbringing is greatly reflected in the dishes he invents and he states that most of his foods are a tribute to his mother who has instilled in him a passion and love to culinary arts. I think he was most noted for his drunken chicken and bruised salad which highlighted the sort of homely asian cuisine he so inspires to cook in his future restaurant. He uses familiar ingredients like pandan leaves, shaoxing wine, star anise, cinammon bark, yam cake etc which is nothing spectacular to a typical Malaysian but nevertheless awes and amazes the ang-moh. Apart from him, there are a few other contestants who really shines and I was a bit disappointed when Marion was booted off the show as she clearly was the favourite to win Masterchef and has shown the greatest potential. Finals are next week and I am eagerly awaiting who will Masterchef but I do admit that I'll be a bit sad once the show is over. The show was voted #1 reality tv show in Australia and its absolutely no surprise given the avid characters and the unexpected twists and turns the show brings.

Anyway, I tried this recipe off Claire (taken from the official Masterchef website) and it did turn out really well. I added some extra ingredients but no doubt I'll be making this soon.

Fried Masterstock Chicken with Chilli Caramel and Orange Salt

1 x 1.6kg chicken
Vegetable oil, for deep frying

600ml light soy sauce (I used 1 cup)
½ bottle sake (I used 1 cup shaoxing wine)
1 tsp ground star anise (I used 4 star anise)
1 ½ cinnamon sticks (I used 2)
1 large knob ginger, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups caster sugar (I used 150g yellow rock sugar)
½ orange, pared zest(substituted with 2 dried mandarin peel)
I added 1 1/2 litres water, 1 large knob of ginger sliced and 2 green onions

1 cup caster sugar
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 cup master stock

1/2 orange, zest finely grated (I skipped this)
1 tbs rock salt

Step 1: Preheat oven to 65°C.

Step 2: For the masterstock, add all ingredients to a large saucepan with 4.5L water, bring to the boil and simmer 20 minutes.

Step 3: For the chilli caramel, heat sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, brushing down sides with a pastry brush dipped in water. Increase heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, cooking until it is a light caramel. Add chilli flakes and dilute with a little of the masterstock.

Step 4: For the orange salt, dry the orange zest in the oven for 1 hour, then pound with rock salt in a mortar and pestle until fine.

Step 5: Quickly blanch the chicken in boiling water and transfer to the master stock saucepan. Cook chicken in masterstock, turning after 20 minutes. Turn again after another 5 minutes, then sit in stock for a further 15 minutes with the heat off and the lid on. Remove chicken from the master stock and cut in half. Pour enough oil into a wok until it is one third full. Heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, deep fry the chicken, basting constantly until the skin has turned a caramel brown, drain well and drizzle over chilli caramel. Cut chicken with a cleaver Chinese style through the bones and meat.

Step 6: Serve with chilli caramel and orange salt.

Serves 4

Monday, March 8, 2010

Roast chicken and glutinous rice stuffing

I spotted this recipe on pigs pigs corner and I instantly bookmarked it. I mean who can resist crispy, tender succulent chicken with beautifully sticky glutinous rice stuffing? And the best part of the rice is that it's filled with savoury flavourful lap cheong (chinese sausages); the Chinese cousin of bacon. Plus its an excuse for me to experiment on my newly installed oven; (well its not exactly brand new since it has been previously used by our tenant) but all in all its still a much better kitchen tool than my old convection turbo oven which doesn't seem to produce efficient results (the meat always comes out a tad dry and the browning is not even). This home-cooked recipe is actually do-able but the finished bird is sure to impress your family and friends. I followed the recipe quite precisely except changing and adding a few tweaks here and there and the bird turned out a sure winner and absolute delight to eat. The only slightly tedious part is that the chicken needs to be marinated overnight and the glutinous rice and mushrooms soaked overnight but the next day is quite easy peasy. Nevertheless, its worth putting in a bit of extra effort and you can be sure you are going to latch on and save this recipe for the special occasion when you invite some guests over for a dinner party.

Recipe for roasted chicken with glutinous rice stuffing: adapted from Pig's pig's corner, Rita's blog and noobcook

1 whole chicken
Salt (I used 1/2 tsp)
For marinade:
1 tbs grated ginger
1 tbs garlic - finely minced
2 tbs Lee Kum Kee char siew sauce
1 tbs honey
1 tbs dark soy sauce
1 tsp 5 spice powder
1 tsp white pepper powder
For rice:
2 rice cups glutinous rice
10 Chinese mushrooms - soak until softened and sliced
2 Chinese sausages (I used 1 black 1 normal)
1 tbs dried shrimps - rinsed and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp roasted peanuts
1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup water used for soaking mushrooms
Rice seasonings:
1 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs kecap manis
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs dark soy sauce
1 tbs light soy sauce (I used 1 teaspoon)
1/2 tsp white pepper powder

The day before:
Clean and trim chicken. Pat dry with paper towels.
Generously rub salt all over chicken and the inside of the cavity. Leave to stand for about 30 mins.
Mix together ingredients for marinade and rub marinade all over chicken and the inside of the cavity. Wrap with cling flim and refrigerate overnight.
Soak glutinous and Chinese mushrooms (in separate containers) in water and leave overnight.

The next day:

Before roasting, prepare glutinous rice stuffing.
Drain rice, leave aside for later use.
Slice the mushrooms, Chinese sausages and chop up some dried shrimps.
Heat up a non-stick pot, add Chinese sausages, fry until browned.
Discard some oil in the pot, leaving about 1 tbs of oil in the pot. Add dried shrimps. fry until fragrant.
Add mushrooms. Add rice. Pour in rice wine and seasonings and toss rice. Add chicken stock and water used for soaking mushrooms. Mix. Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and leave to cook for about 20 mins.
Stuff the cooked rice into the chicken's cavity. You will havea bout half of the stuffing left, so you can start eating now =) no need to resist!
Place on a roasting rack.
Roast at pre-heated oven (220°C for 30 mins).
Remove bird from oven, baste it and continue roasting at 200°C for another hour or until done for a 2kg chicken (I roasted mine for 30 minutes at 220°C and then 45-50 minutes at 200°C for my 1.7kg bird). Check by piercing the the thigh with a knife, juices should run clear. You may have to cover with foil half way through to prevent it from burning.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Loh hon chai/chai choy/Buddha's delight recipe

This recipe is a traditional mixed vegetarian dish that is typically devoured on the first day of CNY. I have grown up loving this dish since I was a child and it was a treasured dish to savour as I only got to eat it once a year in my grandmother's house during Chinese New Year. The typical vegetables in this dish are carrots, mushroom and chinese cabbage(one can also add choy sum or cauliflower) but the highlights are the other ingredients such as tau foo pok, dried lily bud, fatt choy (symbolising prosperity), beancurd sticks, gingko nuts, fried tau kan, black fungus and glass noodles. The final product is a mouthwatering slightly sweet and savoury dish that goes perfectly with a bowl of piping hot rice. The dish actually tastes even better the next day as flavours from the sauce seep into the vegetables and other assorted ingredients. The main essential ingredient to the sauce that distinguishes it is the red fermented beancurd. Added condiments include shiitake mushroom vegetarian oyster sauce, shao xing wine, sesame oil and sugar. I made quite a generous portion of this dish to save it for the next day and I must admit I was rather pleased that it turned out really well for my first attempt and received the thumbs up from both my parents.

Recipe for loh hon cha/chai choy/Buddha's delight:


about 7 - 9 cloves of garlic (about 1/2 bulb), chopped
2 walnut size shallot, chopped
about 3 - 4 small squares/ 1.5 large squares (40 - 50g) of red fermented beancurd 紅腐乳/ 南乳 (hong fu ru/ nam yee), mashed with 2 tbsp of the red pickling juice(I used 4)
2 tbsps MAGGI® Shitake Mushroom Vegetarian Oyster Flavoured Sauce
1 tbsp MAGGI® Light Soy Sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp shao xing wine
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp white pepper
about 1/4 cup of cooking oil (less if you preferred down to about 3 - 4 tbsp)
1 cup water/200 ml (I ended up using a lot as I had a lot of ingredients so I used 200ml mushroom soaking water and 200 ml chicken stock)

8 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked and halved
1 lb Nappa cabbage, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
6 - 8 pieces Fried tofu (tofu pok) - halved
3 long pieces dried bean curd (foo chook) - soaked and break into small pieces
75g black fungus - Wan yee - soaked
30g lily bulbs - soaked and tied into knots
16 precooked gingko nuts
40g presoaked glass noodles
10g presoaked fatt choy

1) Heat some oil and fry 1/3 of the minced to a golden hue, then throw in the hard part of the cabbage to be mixed with the garlic oil. Fry for a few seconds then follow by the leaves of the cabbage. Fry until the leaves collapse and the moisture is dispelled from the leaves, about 5 minutes. Scoop out and set aside.

2)Heat oil then add garlic and shallot and fry for about 2 minutes till fragrant. Then add mashed fermented beancurd and stir for few minutes till fragrant.

3) Add shitake mushroom and beancurd stick, carrots, gingko nuts, lily buds, tau foo pok and stirfry for 3 minutes.

4) Then return the cabbage and stir fry mixing well. Add some of the water, bring to the boil, add the seasonings, then reduce heat, cover with lid and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Adjust taste (may need to add more red beancurd if not enough flavour).

5) Then add in the glass noodles and fatt choi. You need quite a bit of liquid for the noodles to absorb while they cook. If not enough add more water/stock. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes till bubbly hot, do not cook too long or the noodles will be very soft. Simmer until sauce has thickened and add enough sesame oil and ground pepper to taste. (I thought my dish was slightly dry so next as I still had about 100ml reserved so next time I'll add in the remaining stock/liquid).

*Always add in the longest to cook items first then the rest, can add in stages.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pan seared salmon on baby spinach with tarragon cream sauce

I found this recipe on Closetcooking and it was an adaption of a Bon Appetit recipe featured on, an exceedingly popular gourmet food website with millions of recipes accumulated from the finest chefs in the world. The recipe itself was tried by at least 130 people with the average rating of 4 out of 5 stars. The recipe looked relatively simple, quick and didn't require an extensive list of ingredients. I decided to give this recipe a shot as salmon is one of my favourite fish and in my opinion, the best way to cook it is to panfry it so that the skin crips up perfectly. Pairing it with a delicious creamy sauce on a bed of wiltered spinach makes this dish extremely inviting and brings it up to a whole new level of fine dining gourmet experience. After skimming through some of the comments, I decided to triple the sauce and double the amount of spinach as these were the only complaints for this recipe. The dish turned out uber fantastic and the salmon seared up so that it was nice and crispy on the outside and yet it melted in your mouth. I especially loved the tarragon creamy sauce. Tarragon has an anise like flavour when raw though it mellowed out nicely when it was cooked. I also added a bit of king oyster mushrooms and garlic as recommended from one of the users as I had some leftovers and the silky smooth mock abalone texture from the mushrooms and aromatic garlic actually added more flavour to the sauce! The recipe probably will taste even better if I had white wine but since it was not available, I used chicken stock instead to deglaze the pan. I think another vital step is not to throw away all of the juices and butter from the pan after you have seared the salmon and use some of this delicious caramelized juices when making the sauce and spinach. I'll probably make this again soon once I get hold of a fresh new salmon.

Recipe for pan-seared salmon on baby spinach with tarrago cream sauce adapted from Closetcooking and


2 7-ounce skinless salmon fillets (I used 570g of 2 salmon steaks)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

3 large shallots, sliced (I used 10 shallots)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon (I used 4 1/2 tablespoons of fresh tarragon)
3 ounces baby spinach leaves
I added 6 cloves garlic

1/3 cup dry white wine (I substituted with 1 cup chicken stock)
1/4 cup whipping cream (3/4 cup cream)


Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add salmon; sauté until just opaque in center, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in same skillet. Add half of shallots and half of tarragon and half of the garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Increase heat to high; add half of spinach and toss 30 seconds. Add remaining spinach; toss until wilted. Divide between plates.
Melt remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining shallots, tarragon and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add wine/stock to deglaze the pan then add cream and boil until sauce is thick enough to coat spoon, about 3 minutes. (I found that after 6 minutes the sauce had not reduced much so I had to thicken it slightly with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water) Season with salt and pepper. (I didn't add salt at all). Place the salmon on the spinach and pour the sauce over. Bon appetit!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Claypot chicken rice with lap cheong

This for the Chinese is traditional comfort food. There are many variations but the classic consists of diced chicken pieces marinated in a sticky savoury dark sauce, Chinese sausages (lap cheong) and dried salty fish that goes perfectly with the charred rice. Everything is simmered in the claypot over a charcoal stove giving this dish a distinctive flavour. In Hong Kong, its called the '4 flavoured rice' although people normally devour this delicious piping hot dish during the Autumn and Winter (so shouldn't it called the 2 season rice?) when the temperature drops. The salted fish actually enchances the taste of the claypot rice but I left it out as my dad thinks its too salty. I added Shiitake mushrooms to it as well as I felt that that the dish was lacking in vegetables. You can also add bok choy to it but I thought that it may dilute the other delicious flavours and soften the rice making it undesirably soggy as normally a lot of water and juices are released when vegetables are steamed. I garnished it with spring onions and golden fried crispy garlic to make the dish appear more appealing. The recipe actually calls for 4 tablespoons of garlic oil and a drizzle of 1 tablespoon of dark soya sauce before serving but I omitted that as the dish was sufficent in salt and there was already some oil coating the rice from the lap cheong. (Who wants to eat rice swimming in oily greasy lard, anyway?) The rice turned out to be light and fluffy (not too hard or too soft) and the chicken pieces and mushrooms tender and tasty from the marination (I marinated it for 2 hours) and it was complimented by the slightly fatty juicy chinese sausages. This is an easy recipe that is definitely for keeps.

Claypot chicken rice recipe adapted from lily's wai sek hong kitchen and My Kitchen Snippet's website


2 cups rice, washed and drained
3 cups chicken stock (I used 1 1/4 Knorr chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 3 cups of water)
4 chicken thighs cut into pieces (bone in chicken pieces can also be used)
5 Chinese mushrooms, soaked, cut into half (I used 8)
1 Chinese sausage, sliced (I used 4)
1 ½ cm thick salted fish, sliced thinly, fried till crispy (I omitted this)
1 tbsp black soya sauce (omitted)
4 tbsp garlic oil (omitted oil but kept the garlic)


2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1 tsp of ginger juice (grated a knob of ginger and squeeze)
1 tbsp sesame oil
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
½ tbsp corn flour


Spring onion chopped


1. Mix chicken, mushrooms with marinade and ginger, season for 30 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok and stir-fry marinated chicken meat for 1 minutes. (I actually stir-fried it for about 5 minutes or more to ensure it was cooked). Add mushroom slices, sliced chinese sausage and stir fry for another 2 minutes or so. Dish out and put aside. (You can actually skip this step and just steam the chicken with the rice but I read a few of the comments and realised that many found that the chicken was still undercooked and had to microwave it at the end separately before dumping it in together with the rice).

3.Put rice and chicken stock into a clay pot, cover and bring to boil lower fire and cook with low heat till holes are formed on top. (About 15 minutes) (Stir once in awhile so that rice won't stick to the bottom of the claypot)

4. Spread marinated chickens and mushrooms, Chinese sausages on top, cover and cook with low heat till rice is dry and chicken pieces are cooked (another 15 minutes). Remove from fire.

5. Sprinkle salted fish on top, cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes till rice is dry and fluffy.

6. Before serving, sprinkle spring onionss and garlic, mix in to combine toppings and rice.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nyonya pineapple prawn curry recipe

Yesterday, I made a srcrumptious dish of pineapple prawn curry. I followed a recipe from a Nyonya cooking book and added a few extra ingredients and the curry turned out to be bursting with a rich fragrant aroma from the spices. This was the first time I made my own curry paste as I was previously unaware of all the spices used such as galangal, candlenuts, turmeric, coriander seeds, fresh and dried chilies. The taste wasn't all that spicy but the creamy coconut milk blended well with all the heavenly spices, fiery red chillies, sweet pineapple chunks and delicate springy prawns. The simmering time is approximately 20-30 minutes as it is vital not to overcook the prawns as they will turn out rubbery! I used fresh coconut milk which my dad bought from the market which really added to the flavoursome exotic curry broth unlike the can coconut milk. Next time, I'll probably add an extra tin of pineapples to balance out the numerous prawns swimming deliciously in this authentic Nyonya curry dish. Perfect with a steaming bowl of rice or vermicelli/beehoon.

Nyonya pineapple prawn curry recipe: Adpated from Penang Nyonya Cooking by Cecilia Tan


300g medium sized prawns (I used 400g)
1/2 coconut grated squeezed for milk (I used 2 packets thick coconut milk and 1 packet approximately 200ml diluted with 2 cups water)
3 tbsp coriander seeds (ketumbar) pounded
2 stalk lemongrass, white part only
5 shallots
3 cloves garlic
3.5cm fresh young turmeric (kunyit)
2 cm slice galangal
2 candlenuts (buah keras)
5 dried chillies
4 fresh red chillies
3/4 tsp shrimp paste (belacan)
1 small pineapple/1 can of pineapple chunks
8 tbsp cooking oil
salt 1/2 tsp (I also added half a Knorr chicken buillon cube)
sugar 1/4 tsp

1) Deshell and devein the prawns but keep the tail.
2) Grind coriander into paste and set aside. Blend all other ingredients: chillies, candlenuts. garlic, shallots, turmeric, lemongrass.
3) Heat pot, pour in oil. Add blended ingredients and stir fry 1 minute before adding the coriander and belacan.
4) Add 1/2 of the diluted coconut milk bit by bit to prevent burning. (I then transferred to a claypot)
5) When mixture starts to bubble, add prawns and stif fry 1 minute. Add in rest of diluted coconut milk. Add pineapple and salt and sugar to taste.
6) Boil till pineapple is soft. Add concentrated coconut milk an continue cooking for a few minutes.
7) Lower heat, cover pot and simmer for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Soy sauce chicken recipe

Since it's Chinese New Year, I decided to cook a rather authentic dish called Soy sauce chicken. Its basically a whole glossy chicken simmered in a delicious salty sweet broth brimming with the essence of spices, herbs and Chinese wine. The chicken is silky smooth, tender and juicy and goes fantastically well with a ginger scallion dip. Apparently, this dish is even famous overseas and is being sold in many Chinese BBQ restaurants including Sydney.

I was lucky to find a Chinese recipe from a chef working in Shang Palace in Shangri La Hotel. The chef claims that this traditional recipe has been passed down over a few generations since the 1960's with many key ingredients that make this soy sauce extremely flavourful. Since the recipe called for a whole chicken, I was a bit skeptical at first as the sauce ingredients were not much and I was hesistant that I did not have a pot large enough to contain the entire chicken. So I used chicken leg quarters which is another good alternative and I was quite pleased I made the right choice as the sauce was just adequate enough to fully submerge the chicken legs. I simmered it under low heat for about 30 minutes and by then I could already see the chicken was slightly falling off the bone so I switched it off immediately and allowed it to sit in the wonderful sauce to soak in the flavours. (Note: for 1 whole chicken you probably will have to turn it more often, basting the cavity with sauce occasionally and cooking time will be longer).It's pretty easy to make but the only trouble I faced was carving the chicken. I confess I have horrible knife skills (I didn't go to culinary school) so I couldn't produce perfect chops. Nevertheless, the chicken turned out pretty well, better than I expected and I reserved about a cup full of the remaining sauce.

Soy Sauce Chicken Recipe (豉油鸡)adaopted from Rasa Malaysia

1 whole chicken or 3-4 chicken leg quarters (about 3 - 3 1/2bs)
2-inch ginger (skin peeled and lightly pounded)
4 cloves garlic (lightly pounded)
2 stalks scallions (cut into 2-inch lengths)
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick (about 2-inch length)
1 dried tangarine peel soaked first to soften
1 dried honey dates (optional)
1 cup soy sauce (I used 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup dark soy sauce (I used a few tablespoons less than 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup Chinese rose wine (preferred) or Shaoxing wine (I used Shaoxing wine)
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
3 dashes white pepper powder
4 oz. rock sugar
4 cups water

Ginger and Scallion Dip

1/2 cup ginger (skin peeled, pounded, and finely chopped)
1/2 cup scallion (cut into thin rounds)
1 clove garlic
1/2 heap teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
1/2 heap teaspoon salt
1 cup oil
1 tbsp white vinegar


To prepare the ginger and scallion dip, place the ginger, scallions, salt, vinegar and chicken bouillon powder into a small bowl. Heat up 1 cup of oil in a wok and add the garlic clove. Once it turns black and oil starts to smoke, pour the oil into the small bowl and blend well. Beware of sizzling reaction! Set aside.

Add all ingredients (except the chicken) into a deep pot and bring it to boil on high heat for 15 minutes. Add the chicken quarters into the pot and boil over high heat for about 10 minutes. Lower the heat to simmer on low fire for about 30 minutes. Once in a while, move the chicken around so the skin won't burn. Halfway through, turn the chicken over to get even browning. Use a skewer to pierce the thickest part of the thigh. If the juice that runs out is reddish, give it another 3 min or so, switch off fire and let it steep in the sauce and heat for a couple of min. Turn off heat and let the chicken steeped in the soy sauce mixture for a few hours to soak in the flavor. Dish out the chicken quarters, rub with a bit of sesame oil before chopping into pieces and serve immediately with the ginger scallion dipping sauce. (Soy sauce chicken is usually served cold or at room temperature.) A plate of white rice, some greens or sliced cuke will go well with this.

Cook’s Notes:

Some dark soy sauce is darker than others. If you have a very dark soy sauce, you should probably use less.
Dongbo Rou (东波肉) in a Shanghai restaurants uses dried honey dates (蜜枣) to make their soy sauce mixture. Dried honey dates impart delicate and natural sweet taste to soups and stews and widely used in Cantonese cuisine. It’s optional if you don’t have them.
Save the soy sauce mix. It’s great for soy sauce eggs. Add a few hard-boiled eggs into the soy sauce mix and steep them overnight and you have some great tasting Chinese soy sauce eggs (滷蛋). You can also use the soy sauce mixture to make soy sauce tofu (滷水豆腐); deep fry the tofu and soak it with the soy sauce before serving.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tenji Japanese Buffet Review

First of all, what happened to these items?

Unagi missing in action

Mouthwatering specialty; Singapore Chili Crab: not in sight


clams in Chinese superior stock; didn't see this

Vietnamese style prawns also missing

And I thought these were SUPPOSED to be BIGGER:

From top to bottom: cod and white pomfret steamed, scallop, abalone supposed to come fresh in a shell like a jewel, a WIDE variety of Haagan Daz ice cream, oyster

Our cod turned out so miniature in comparison to this plus they gave us the part with loads of fork-like bones. As for the pomfret, we were given a black pomfret; a poor choice of a fish for steaming.

Fresh succulent scallops that is suppose to pop in your mouth; mine wasn't that fresh

Gigantic strips of abalone!!! What happened to ours?!?

A wide selection of Haagan Daz flavours...instead of our 2 pathetic flavours

The oysters weren't all that huge, smaller than my palm's size.

Since it was CNY eve, my family and I decided to head down to Solaris Mont Kiara to try the Tenji Japanese buffet. Since I was a first-timer, I had quite high expectations of the place since both my parents raved that they served a wide variety of food that was definitely up to standards in terms of taste, quality and freshness. I was quite eager to try their specialities: grilled unagi, steamed cod, steamed white pomfret, deep fried soft shell crab, roast lamb roll, clams in superior stock, scallops, oysters, abalone, Singapore Chilli crab and sashimi. On the previous night, I did a bit of research and read that most of the food blogs praised the succulent, tender grilled eel, the extremely large sized oysters that you can wonderfully slurp on, the melt-in-the-mouth cod fish with the flavourful seasoned sauce and the juicy roast lamb roll seared to perfection that must be immediately seized upon arrival as once it's finished will be replaced by a not so glamorous seafood pizza. We booked our table for the supper session and got there around 9:10pm. We waited for about 15 minutes before finally being ushered to a cosy corner table indoors.

On first sight of the place, I was quite impressed that they did the atmosphere quite extravagantly with slightly dim patio lights admist a pebbled walkway lined with a few attractive potted plants that led to the main entrance. The indoor setup equally matched the outdoor arena and was bursting with a hazy purplish glaze that was rather welcoming. The food presentation was quite appetising on sight and the food were delicately placed on poreclain plates and some on wooden boats such as the sushi section carefully laid upon a rack of ice to seal its freshness. It was basically divided into a few main sections; Japanese, Chinese, Western, outdoor BBQ and grill, desserts and drinks. There was ample space to walk around which allowed the diner to roam freely while scouring for food. The crowd was small and totally unlike the bustling queue with hoards of people swarming over every single food section proclaimed from other food blogs. After being shown our seats, I went for a walk around to peek at the dishes eagerly hoping to discover the 'famous' and 'recommended' dishes I heard about from my parents and cited by many food bloggers.

To my utter dismay I COULDN'T find a SINGLE MORSEL OF UNAGI, SINGAPORE CHILLI CRAB and GRILLED LAMB ROLL. On questioning the staff they replied that they didn't have these food items even for the dinner crowd. I was quite fustrated that the restaurant decided to cut down on their expenses but what infuriated me the most was that the lack of UNAGI. I mean, the only place you can actually find unagi is in a Japanese restaurant so a Japanese restaurant without unagi is just like Mcdonalds without burger and fries. I cannot believe they actually decided to skip out on a MAIN AND ESSENTIAL dish that is although pricey, defines the exquisite taste of Japanese cuisine. My hopes for this place was rapidly dissipating.

Anyway I told myself, leave out those items and sample the rest of the other dishes; who knows they may turn out extremely delicious. And I was not proven wrong over many of the recommended dishes especially the steamed cod, pomfret, crispy deep-fried soft shell crab and abalone. My parents on the other hand stated that the steamed cod was not as scrumptious as compared to their last visit and came up with a hypothesis that most of the foods were leftovers from the dinner session which probably explained their lower degree of 'freshness' and 'quality'. However, the highlight of the evening for me was cheese baked escargot. Now, I have never tried, once in my life, escargot, but one bite of the sticky cheesy mollusc that popped out of it's shell oh-so-ever-easily with a dab of your chopsticks sent me literally to heaven. Mum, on the other hand said the cheese was a bit hard and solidified probably due to air-conditioning and not replacing with fresh ones. I thought it was rather good and probably whacked one plate of the slimy molluscs (who knew that creepy crawly snails that produced gelatinous amounts of yucky slime could actually send your tastebuds to cloud 9). The guy at the Western section gave me a little smile each time I took a spoonful of the escargot.

The rest of the other Japanese food like the abalone was plump and juicy to the bite (in comparison to the not-so-fresh scallops), the oysters wobbly in its goodness and taste, the tempura prawn and soft shell crab tasty and deep-fried to a crispy crunch and the salmon sashimi tender and fresh. I didn't bother wasting my time popping a clip for the teriyaki chicken as I read it only faired average. Moving on to the grilled section, the lamb was rather flavourful in terms of seasoning but it was a bit tough and after a few bites you kind of feel you are chewing on rubber. The same goes for the roast duck. The chicken wings sauce was slightly tangy, sweet with a hint of saltiness and would deserve a lavish amount of praise but unfortunately the piece I took was a bit undercooked as there were still bloody red juices evident in some parts of the flesh. (Still cannot compare to Wong Ah Wah grilled chicken wings). The Chinese section fared so-so only with the cod fish being one of the better prized dishes. The pomfret they cooked was a black pomfret which is not ideal for steaming (according to dad) and the piece they served was miniscule in size which greatly differed from one that I read about. The chinese yee mee (or was it longevity noodles?) was surprisingly above average compared to the local coffee-shops in the sense that the sauce deliciously clung to the noodles and not drowned or smothered it and the noodles were still springy despsite being laden for a few hours with sauce. The worst dish in my opinion was probably the sweet and sour chicken (bleh, and I thought my home-cooked sweet and sour chicken was actually a level above theirs considering that it's not that great in the first place). The chicken pieces were solid rock hard, the sauce was bland and the dish basically resembled tasteless chicken with tomato ketchup hastily smeared on top. There weren't even the tradtional onions, pineapple pieces or green capscicums to compliment it. The Western section served pan-fried salmon belly which was not bad but the roast lamb and beef were utterly horrendous. It was just too tough to chew on; my teeth were literally breaking into it. (It just a giant slab of meat that couldn't be torn apart even with the aid of a fork and knife). I took a bit of the fettucini in cream sauce to try and I found it to be merely average. It didn't have any bacon or any sort of meat in it nor mushrooms which is typical of fettucini carbonara and I suspected that the chef was very stingy with the cream sauce. I didn't bother about the dessert section as I am not fond of desserts but I could clearly see that dad enjoyed the Baskin Robbins ice-cream which so happened to be conveniently located next door to our table.

Overall, I would give this place a 6.5/10. There were some good and not so good items but this could be attributed because we went for the supper session which meant that we were having the left-overs from the earlier diners. The standards would probably be higher if you go for the afternoon/dinner session. And also the fact that they didn't serve unagi, chili crab and grilled lamb roll which are supposedly their top dishes. I cannot stress how insanely ricdiculous and illogical it is for a popular Japanese buffet restaurant to fore-go on unagi. Would i go there again? Probably only if they start serving back their unagi, grilled lamb roll and Singapore chili crabs (all I got was singapore chili clams which were puny). After all, the customers deserve their money's worth. Oh and did I mention they only had two Haagan Daz ice-cream flavours? Clearly another cut down on their prized selection. Luckily for me I'm not all that much of an ice-cream lover.

Taste: 6.5/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Service: 6/10


Note: All pictures officially taken from Tenji Japanese Buffet food review from several Malaysian food blogs

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Creamy coleslaw recipe

I was searching for a coleslaw recipe online that was creamy, tangy and light. I spotted a KFC coleslaw recipe that claims it is a duplicate of the original KFC coleslaw recipe. Skimming through the ingredients, it sounded quiter genuine and I was eager to try it but to my dismay I was unable to find one of the essential ingredients; buttermilk. Its not available in Malaysia even at Cold storage supermarkets but they come in gigantic cartons in Sydney where they are completely wiped out before the week is over. Its main uses are in cakes/pastries, salads, buttermilk fried chicken and you can even drink it although its going to be extremely rich.

I then tried hunting for another recipe and I stumbled upon Chef Bobby Flay's creamy coselaw recipe on Foodnetwork. The ingredients were easy to find and I was quite attracted that it used sour cream and vinegar to balance out the creaminess of the mayonnaise. I also briefly read through the reviews and was astounded that many of them rated the recipe a five out of five stars with postive comments. Some said that 1 tablespoon of mustard was a bit too much but I still used the same amount stated in the recipe as it gave an extra 'kick' to the salad. I used Djon mustard which isn't too strong so maybe that's why I could afford to use 1 tablespoon. Other than that, the salad turned out to be really good and would make a good comparison to KFC coleslaw. It tasted heavenly after 2 hours in the fridge as the veggies had time to soak up the dressing. However, I noticed that I needed to spoon out some of the dressing as cabbage and carrots tend to exude a lot of water so next time I'll probably dry and squeeze out all the water thoroughly first before adding the dressing. It still proved to be one of the creamy yet lighter salads and its definitely a recipe for keeps.

Creamy coleslaw recipe adapted from Bobby Flay of Foodnetwork

1 head green cabbage, finely shredded
2 large carrots, finely shredded
3/4 cup best-quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons grated Spanish onion
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons celery salt (I just used 2 sticks of freshly chopped celery for crunch)
Salt and freshly ground pepper (I omitted the salt but not the pepper as I found the dressing had enough flavour)

Combine the shredded cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, sugar, vinegar, mustard, celery salt, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, and then add to the cabbage mixture. Mix well to combine and taste for seasoning; add more salt, pepper, or sugar if desired.

Gordon Ramsay's Sticky Lemon Chicken with champ recipe

Gordon Ramsay is one mean arse of a chef (Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen) but he sure can cook. He has earned 12 Michigan stars in culinary cooking and I think he's one of the best chefs around. He really cares about how the foods tastes as you can see from the episodes on how ferocious and savage-like he is as he drills the poor amateure chefs. This recipe requires only about 30 minutes cooking time and doesn't even need any marinating beforehand. The sauce is cooked with the chicken so that the chicken can absorb all the wonderful flavours and as it reduces the honey caramelizes and becomes sticky, perfectly coating the chicken. The lemon juice and vinegar adds a tinge of sourness to counteract the sweet honey and the lemon slices and thyme seasons the chicken together. I've noticed that lemon, thyme and garlic goes gorgeously well together just like peanut butter and jelly and any recipe that uses these 3 ingredients is sure to taste fabulous. The recipe actually calls for champ (mashed potatoes) but you can eat it with rice or even bread!

Sticky Lemon Chicken with champ recipe

Serves 4
Lemon Chicken
1 large chicken, jointed into 8–10 pieces
Sea salt and black pepper
3–4 tbsp olive oil
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
Few thyme sprigs
Splash of sherry vinegar
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
1 lemon, finely sliced (ideally with a mandolin)
Bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

1kg floury potatoes (e.g. King Edward), peeled
Sea salt and black pepper
30g butter
Bunch of spring onions (about 6–8), trimmed and chopped
100ml double cream
100ml whole milk, plus extra if needed

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Brown the chicken pieces (in batches if necessary) over a high heat with the garlic and thyme for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Return all the chicken to the pan, add the sherry vinegar and bubble until reduced by half. Drizzle over the soy sauce and honey and shake the pan to mix.
2. Pour in a good splash of hot water and add the lemon slices. Let the liquid bubble and reduce down until syrupy, which will take about 10 minutes or so. By now the chicken should be cooked through.
3. Cut the potatoes into similar-sized chunks and boil in salted water for about 10 minutes, until tender when pierced with a small sharp knife. Drain well.
4. Mash the potatoes while still hot, using a potato ricer if you have one, then stir through the butter and spring onions.
5. Pour the cream and milk into a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Take off the heat and gradually pour on to the potatoes, mixing well. If the mash is too thick, add a little extra milk. Season generously.
6. Transfer the chicken to a platter and sprinkle over the chopped parsley, serve with the champ and green beans.

Note: The recipe from actually differ A LOT from how Gordon makes it. I was doubtful at first since both the methods differed but I opted for the safer route and followed Gordon Ramsay. I've read other people's food blogs and they said that its wildly inacurrate and if you follow Ramsay's verbal instructions, though, the chicken turns out rich and tangy, with a golden stickiness, just as promised. Below, you'll find a more literal translation of the recipe. I hope Gordo ripped that intern a new one.

Gordon Ramsay's Sticky Lemon Chicken

1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 head of garlic, sliced in half horizontally (I'm not sure if I saw him actually put this in, but it's a good addition from the web recipe)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 lemon sliced thickly, plus juice from another half of lemon
"Little cup of water" or "about a ladle of water". Lord help us, Ramsay, could you be more unhelpful? It looks to me like maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup he splashes in, possibly less. Start small and add more if needed.
Bunch of fresh thyme, minced with scissors
2 tablespoons honey
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
Cut up your chicken, or do that fancy thing Ramsay does to the drumsticks you already have and salt and pepper everything. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the chicken, and brown thoroughly on both sides.

When the chicken is a nice goldeny-brown, add the soy sauce and the vinegar. Top with the lemon slices and squeeze the juice from half of that other lemon over everything. Add your little cup of water and, over medium-low heat, simmer, turning the pieces from time to time for about 6-7 minutes (or until most of the water has cooked away, whichever comes first).

Season with the fresh thyme and drizzle with honey. Add a good grind of pepper and cook for another five minutes or so. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with champ--that's Irish for mashed potatoes with green onions. There's a recipe that somewhat resembles the one Ramsay cooks in the video here. And those ml measurements? They're right on the back of your measuring cup.
Serves 4 hearty eaters.

Here's a video of Gordon Ramsay making the dish:

Potato salad recipe

Potato salads are perfect for barbecues and potlucks. I really liked this recipe from blogchef as it incorporates bacon and hardboiled eggs. The bacon adds a whole new delicious flavour to the salad and the eggs compliments the sauce. I find that red potatoes are the best to use as they are a better texture. Remember don't overcook the potatoes otherwise you might end up with mashed potato salad instead! The spring onions cool down the dressing and adds as a nice crunch to it as well. I made this for a potluck party and I received a lot of praises. Most potato salads use a bit of Djon mustard and sour cream but this just uses plain mayonnaise (make sure its a high quality mayo like Kraft). It is best served chilled in the fridge for 1-2 hours and even tastes good the next day.

2 pounds raw red potatoes (washed)
6 eggs
1 pound bacon
1 onion (finely chopped)
1 celery stalk (finely chopped)
2 cups mayonnaise
salt and pepper (to taste)

Step 1: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the red potatoes and cook until their tender but still firm (about 15 minutes). Drain potatoes and allow to cool in the refrigerator.
Step 2: Place eggs in a sauce pan, add water until the eggs are covered. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Cover and let eggs sit for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and plunge eggs into cold water. When eggs are cooled peel the shells off and chop.
Step 3: Cook bacon until crisp by your method of choice. ( I microwaved them for 3 mins and placed each bacon on a sheet of kitchen roll and covered it with another sheet. Don't press the top sheet too tightly as the bacon may stick to it. I learnt that from my mistake). Place on paper towels to drain, cool and crumble it into bits.
Step 4: Chop the cooled potatoes, leaving the skin on. Place chopped potatoes in a large bowl. Add eggs, bacon, onion and celery. Add mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Mix well and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
(Makes 10 servings)

Vietnamese caramelized chicken ga kho recipe

This vietnamese recipe was inspired by foodwishes and I saw that many other food bloggers/enthusiasists like ravenous couple that tried this recipe (through links on his page) said that the dish was easy to make and the chicken turned out to be sticky sweet, slightly salty and tender to the bite. Chef John has a fantastic way of recreating the caramel sauce by combining fish sauce, sugar, water and vinegar in a one step that results in a caramelized sauce that is gooey, sweet and savoury. Be careful to turn your fire down to medium-low otherwise you might burn the sugar and furthermore reduce the sauce too much. The essentials of this dish is to try and burn the sugar onto the chicken and let is soak up all the delicious juices from the pan and the sticky sweet savoury sauce. Use chicken thighs and not breasts as you are going to simmer it for awhile and chicken thighs can withstand the heat and don't go dry unlike chicken breasts the longer you cook it. Furthermore, the longer it simmers in the sauce, the better the chicken is going to taste. I also followed Chef John's advice and added some roasted peanuts for the added crunch.

Caramelized Chicken - ga kho


2.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (I used bone in)
3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup water
4 cloves of minced garlic
2 Tablespoons grated/finely minced lemongrass (you can also substitute with finely minced ginger)
2 shallots, minced
2 jalepenos and 1 thai chili (optional), thinly sliced (I substituted jalapenos with green chilli)
2 green onions, sliced about 1/2 inch
Fresh cracked pepper
Roasted sesame seeds

2 Tablespoons cooking oil

Marinade the chicken with 2 Tablespoons of fish sauce and 1 Tablespoon brown sugar for about 1/2 hr.
In the meantime in a small bowl make the sauce by combining 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup each of water, rice vinegar, and fish sauce and mix until dissolve. Add the lemongrass, shallots, and garlic and set aside.
Heat a large pan on high with cooking oil and add the chicken with the flat surface of thigh facing down. Allow to sear without touching them for a minute or so and then pour in about 1/4 of the sauce. Try not to move around the chicken as you want the chicken to sear and caramelize. The sauce will start to thicken and the chicken will brown after a few minutes.
Check to see if it's nicely caramelized, then turn the pieces of chicken over and pour in the rest of the sauce. Continue to cook until sauce is reduced to nice thick consistency and just as you turn off the heat, toss in the chiles and green onions.
Transfer to serving platter and generously top with roasted sesame and fresh cracked pepper.

Here's a video of Chef John making the dish:

I strongly suggest you check out his blog, he is an amazing chef and I've tried several of his recipes and they all turned out to be really scrumptious and appetizing. Here's the link.

Simple Grilled Pork Chop Recipe

There are countless recipes available on the web for grilled pork chops. You can imagine the chaos one will experience in deciding the best recipe. I stumbled upon one recipe from and at first I didn't have high expectations of it as it only had a few simple ingredients. However, I was greatly suprised as the dish actually turned out really well and it has been a favourite in the house. Furthermore, you don't really need overnight marinating but certainly no harm will be done if one decides to do so. What is unique about this recipe is that it has a dry rub first followed by a wet rub/typical barbecue sauce when you lay your pork chops/fillets on the grill. I actually used center cut pork chops without bone which are more tender and requires less time on the grill. The sauce goes deliciously with the pork chops and you can eat it with rice or mashed/baked potatoes. Its a no fuss meal that the family and kids will enjoy.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 pork chop and 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup ( I mixed tomato with chilli ketchup)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons Kikoman soy sauce)
pepper to taste (I used cayenne pepper for the extra heat)

6 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic salt ( I mixed 1 teaspoon of garlic powder with 1/4 teaspoon salt)
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
I added extra 1 teaspoon paprika

Cooking spray
Prepare grill or broiler.

To prepare sauce, combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Place 1/4 cup sauce in a small bowl, and set aside.

Trim fat from pork. Combine the thyme, garlic salt, and pepper; sprinkle over pork. Place pork on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray; cook 6 minutes on each side, basting with remaining sauce. Serve pork chops with reserved 1/4 cup sauce.

Note: This recipe yields very little sauce so you might want to double/triple the amount of sauce as you need to baste the pork chops on the grill before flipping over.

Restaurant style chinese steam fish recipe

Chinese style steam fish with the typical soy sauce, shaoxing wine, ginger, coriander leaves and spring onion is an easy and healthy dish to conquer. Furthermore, its relatively simple to do as it only involves steaming, chopping up your garnishes and heating up a wok of garlic infused oil to pour on your lovely steam fish once its cooked before adding the soya sauce. The sizzling sound of the oil as it splatters on the fish is absolutely heavenly and the purpose of this step is to give the fish a few seconds of deepfry and glistens it with a shiny coating.

I am always fond of using either pomfret, garoupa, catfish/patin but I suppose any fish would work but one must be beware of the murky 'fishy' taste from certain river fish like tilapia. In order to eliminate this I always stuff my fish first with loads of ginger, spring onion, coriander and make a bed for it consisting of the same ingredients and finally topping the fish with some coin slices of ginger. Make sure that you put the fish into the steamer when the water is boiling and you can see wisps of steam and leave it inside for about 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of fish). Smaller fish can be steamed for about 8 minutes in total including fish fillets. Remember do not OVERCOOK the fish!!! Nothing tastes worse than eating tough, overcooked fish. The key to a wonderful steamed fish is a soft, silky and oh-so-delicate texture I always go by the rule of thumb 1 sec per gram of fish. Oh, by the way, the secret of the delicious soya sauce is that you must add rock sugar *wink*. Here are some secret techniques I've incorporated after citing the site of a Cantonese Chef from the Shang Palace of Shangri-La Hotel.

Secret Techniques for Restaurant-style Chinese Steamed Fish

Fresh fish; preferably alive and swimming in a tank.
8-10 minutes steaming time. 8 minutes for a smaller fish or 10 minutes for a bigger fish. Use your best judgment, and don’t forget to set your kitchen alarm.
Discard the fishy and cloudy fish “water” after steaming. Contrary to common belief, it doesn’t add flavors to a steamed fish dish. If any, it will leave a bitter–from the fish guts if the fish was not cleaned properly–and fishy taste.
Rock sugar. Wonder why the soy sauce is so good that you can just eat plain steamed rice with the soy sauce mixture? Rock sugar is the secret.
Use oil. Heat up some oil in your wok and pour it over the fish before adding the soy sauce. It gives your steamed fish that perfect sheen before you top it with the soy sauce mixture.

Recipe for Chinese style steamed fish (adapted from Rasa Malaysia and My Steamy Kitchen)

1 pound whole fish (or fillets 1″ or thicker) yields the best results
1 stalk scallion (cut into 2-inch length, and then cut into thin silken threads)and
some cilantro leaves for garnishing
salt (just a pinch) and pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine

4 stalks, scallions – cut into 3″ lengths
3″ piece of ginger – slice into “coins”
small bunch of cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine to pour on fish prior to steaming (or any cooking wine like dry sherry)
salt & pepper

4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons shaoxing wine or rice wine
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 dashes white pepper powder
2 tablespoons rock sugar (grind into powder form) or to taste
fresh chilli – thinly sliced (optional)

Place all in a bowl and microwave for 30secs

2 stalks, scallions – cut into 3″ lengths
2″ piece of ginger – finely julienned to the skinniest, thinnest strips you can possibly manage without a microscope
6 cloves of garlic (I like garlic)
2 tablespoons cooking oil

Equipment: shallow pan to hold fish & large pot or wok for steaming. If you don’t have a fancy steamer or steamer insert, take a shallow-ish bowl and invert to use as a stand. Or…3 shot glasses inverted.

1. Clean & Stuff: Clean your fish, pat dry. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Take half of (A) and stuff inside the fish. If you are using fillets, skip this.

2. Make your bed: Take the other half of (A) and lay it in a shallow pan. If using fillets, just use all of (A) for the bed. Lay the fish on top of the bed. If fish is too long, cut in half. Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine on top of the fish.

3. Steam: Add 2″ of water to your large pot, cover and boil. When it is boiling, uncover and wipe the inside of the cover clean of any condensation (all this condensation will drip back down on your fish, diluting the flavor) Put your fish pan inside, propped up with a small inverted bowl. Steam the fish on medium (see below for cooking times).

Whole fish 1 lb: check at 12 minutes, add 2 minutes for every 1/2 lb
Fillets 1″ and thicker: check at 10 minutes, add 2 minutes for every 1/2″ more thickness
Fillets less than 1″: check at 7 minutes
Super thin fillets: check at 5 minutes
Check to see if its done at the times indicated. Poke your chopstick at the flesh near the top fin. If flesh flakes easily near the top fin, then its done. If flesh sticks together still, then add 1-2 more minutes to cooking time. For fillets, just gently poke at the flesh in the middle. Timing really depends on the thickness of your fish. Also check to make sure you haven’t run out of steaming water.

4. Aromatics: Towards the end of the steaming process, you’ll want to start preparing the aromatics that garnish the finished dish. Take a microwave-safe bowl, add (B) and microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside. When fish is done steaming, carefully lift the fish out onto a serving platter, discarding all of the cooked cilantro/ginger/scallions and the fish juice in the pan. Pour the hot (B) over fish.

Now we’ll work with (C): In a separate pan or wok, heat up cooking oil until you see smoke. Add the ginger and scallions, fry for 10 seconds to “pop” the flavors. Pour this cooking oil + herbs over the fish. You’ll hear a very satisfying sizzle! Then add the soy sauce mixture over the fish and garnish with extra coriander/cilantro/chinese parsley leaves and serve the fish immediately with white rice.