Thursday, October 31, 2013

Egg Mayonnaise Sandwiches

3 hard-boiled Eggs
Water to boil Eggs
3 teaspoons of Mayonnaise
White Pepper to taste
Paprika to taste (Optional)
Italian Hers to taste (Optional)
2 slices of Bread
2 sliced Cheese (Optional)
2 tablespoons of diced Yellow Onions (Optional)
4 tablespoons of diced Tomatoes (Optional) - My mom use to put this when she makes egg sandwiches for us

Step 1 Place the egg in a pot, fill it with water just enough to cover.
Step 2 Put it over the stove, bring it to a boil and let it continue to boil for about 7 minutes.
Step 3 Scoop out the Egg and place it in cool water to soak for 10 minutes to drop the temperature.
Step 4 Peel the eggs & place it in a plate and mash them up.
Step 5 Add in the Mayonnaise and mix until evenly combine.
Step 6 Dash of pepper to taste and mix until evenly combine.
Step 7 Optional, place the cheese on the bread, scoop and spread the Egg Mayonnaise evenly.

It's ready to serve!

Simple filling to make a sandwich for breakfast, lunch or dinner.


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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Trying out Aoki's wonderfully Inexpensive Lunch Menu

For many fine dining, Michelin-starred restaurants in UK and Europe, the lunch menu is a 'budget' offering which allows the less well-heeled food lover to sample the restaurant's cuisine, service and ambiance at relatively low prices. For example, that celebrity chef's flagship Restaurant Gordon Ramsay serves up a three-course lunch at 'just' £55 - a steal compared to £135-£165 at dinner.

Similarly, many of the top restaurants in Singapore with eye-watering dinner prices serve up lunch menus that really are within the reach of us regular Joes. Take, for example, Les Amis group's Japanese restaurant Aoki. Dinner sets start at SGD 165, which is special, special occasions only pricing for the majority of us, but Lunch sets can be had for as low as SGD 30. That's pretty reasonable money, which is why we call up to make a reservation and find ourselves seated just off to the side of Head Chef Kunio Aoki's watchful eye.

Chef Kunio Aoki at Les Amis Group Aoki Japanese Restaurant

Somewhat surprisingly, there's very little communication between the Head Chef and the rest of his team. There's even less of it between the Chefs and the diners. The few sushi places in Japan which we ate at (even the budget kaitenzushi joints) the Chefs had almost constant communication going back and forth with the diners and themselves; why is Aoki so different? Different chefs different styles, I suppose.

Chef Kunio Aoki at Les Amis Group Aoki Japanese Restaurant

Anyways, let's move on to the food! Each diner gets a compulsory $3 appetizer-cum-cover charge (which appears on the bill as 'Otoshi') - today's appetizer was a cold siew bak choy with shredded bonito flakes. Was pretty good, although I don't quite understand why this is compulsory, or why we had to find out about this charge only when receiving the bill. Just saying that a heads-up would've been nice.

Otoshi at Les Amis Group Aoki Japanese Restaurant

The Otoshi also comes with a small garden salad with a delightful citrus-ey/soy-sauce-y dressing. I decide to splurge a bit and order the Nigiri Sushi Tokusen ($50.00) which additionally comes with a silky smooth Chawanmushi with mushrooms, chicken and shrimp.

Salad and Chawanmushi at Les Amis Group Aoki Japanese Restaurant

Speaking of sushi, here it is! 8 nigiri, one maki and tamagoyaki (also known as astuyaki tamago). The choice of fish was good - thankfully no squid which I don't like raw - and as expected of an atas sushi restaurant, delicious. There's just something oh-so-different about eating sushi from a proper itamae. The rice is served at just the right temperature and is packed just at the right density. The techniques they use - marinating the akami (tuna) so that it smoothens and loses that 'flaky' texture. Marinating the ikura in soy sauce to give it an extra dimension other than 'salty' and 'fishy.' Oishii.

Nigiri Sushi Tokusen at Les Amis Group Aoki Japanese Restaurant

The darling goes for the cheaper Mazechirashi ($35.00). Chirashi means scattered in Japanese and describes this dish fairly well - scattered cuts of various raw fish, vegetables, tamago, uni (sea urchin) and ikura (salmon roe). This isn't any ordinary Chirashi though; it's the best Chirashi we've ever eaten. The fish to rice ratio is about 2:1, so you get a lot of it. Each mouthful is an explosion of different flavors. In one spoon you might get some tuna with creamy uni; in the next, an explosion of salty umami goodness as you munch down on some ikura.

The dish is so good that I'd even say this Mazechirashi is the meal option to order here for lunch, unless you really must have sushi to satisfy some craving.

Maze Chirashi at Les Amis Group Aoki Japanese Restaurant

Both lunch sets finish off with genmaicha (brown rice tea) to cleanse the palate and a trio of desserts - mango ice cream, warabi mochi, and some jelly which we've forgotten even though it was explained by the waitress. Oops!

Desserts at Les Amis Group Aoki Japanese Restaurant

The bill comes up after taxes to slightly under SGD110 for the two of us. Yes it's not exactly everyday lunch prices but the food stands head and shoulders above anything you'll get at Sushi Tei, Ichiban Boshi, Itacho Sushi and any of the other lesser conveyor belt places. Definitely worth a visit even if you don't work anywhere near the area! It's a small restaurant though so reservations are compulsory. Non halal.

Aoki Restaurant
1 Scotts Road
#02-17 Shaw Centre
(65) 6333 8015

Okinawa Pork Belly Shiitake Mushroom Rice (Okinawa Butaniku Hara Kinoko Shītake Gohan)

1 cup of Japanese Rice
enough water as advice by your Rice Cooker
80g of thinly sliced shabu-shabu Pork Belly
1 tablespoon of dry Wakame (Seaweed)
1 sliced Shiitake Mushroom
1 teaspoon of Black Sesame
1 tablespoon Sake
1 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce

Step 1 Wash the Japanese Rice and pour enough water as the measurement in your rice cooker.
Step 2 Put in the sliced shabu-shabu Pork Belly, dry Wakame, Shiitake Mushroom, and Black Sesame.
Step 3 Mix all the ingredients up until it is evenly distributed.
Step 4 Turn on your rice cooker to cook.
Step 5 When the rice cooker beeps, leave it for extra 10mins.
Step 6 Loosen the rice and mix them up and dish them in rice bowl or bento box.

Lovely rice that can stand alone.


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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Chawanmushi with Angry Bird Fishcake, Prawns, and Shiitake Mushroom

2 Chawanmushi Cups
2 Eggs
320ml of Filtered Water / Dashi Stock / Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons Soya Sauce
1 tablespoon Mirim / Chinese Rice Wine
4 pieces of peeled Prawns
4 tablespoons of Filtered Water
2 Angry Bird Fishcake
1/2 sliced Shiitake Mushroom
Water for steaming

Pre-cook peeled Prawns
Step 1 Heat up a pan.
Step 2 Pour the Filtered Water and place the prawns in.
Step 3 Let it Simmer on both side until it turns slightly white.
Step 4 Remove from pan and set aside.

Chawanmushi Egg Mixture Steps
Step 1 Fill a steamer with water and put it to boil. Note that the cups should 2" above the boiling water.
Step 2 Break eggs into a bowl and stir it gently in a cutting motion to avoid bubbles from forming. Stir till well-mixed.
Step 3 Gradually stir the Filtered Water / Dashi Stock / Chicken Stock into the eggs.
Step 4 Add Soya Sauce and Mirim / Chinese Rice Wine and stir till well-mixed.

Assembling and Steaming Steps
Step 1 Arrange the Prawns, Angry Bird Fish Cake & Shiitake Mushroom in the Chawanmushi Cups.
Step 2 Fill the Chawanmushi Cups with 3/4 full of the Chawanmushi Egg Mixture.
Step 3 Place in the steamer and cover the Chawanmushi Cups.
Step 4 Steam on high heat for 2 minutes then off the fire to let the egg set.
Step 5 Continue steaming for anything 5 minutes on low heat then off the fire to let the egg set. This is to prevent over cooking. Repeat one more time or until the top middle is not watery.
Step 6 Remove Chawanmushi cups from the steamer and set aside to cool for 2 minutes before serving.

Tips: Do not beat the mixture. For a smooth beancurd-like texture and no bubbles too, use the cutting motion while you stir gently.

It's ready to be serve!

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Stir-Fry Sesame Mayonnaise Enoki Mushroom (Itame Gomamayonēzu Enoki Take)

1 pack of fresh Enoki Mushroom
1 tablespoon of Japanese Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of White Sesame

Step 1 Discard root of the Enoki Mushroom, rinse it then cut them into halves.
Step 2 Ground the White Sesame using a ponder and set aside.
Step 3 Heat a non-stick pan.
Step 4 Add in Mayonnaise and Enoki Mushroom and cook on medium heat for 10seconds.
Step 5 Turn the heat off then mix in the grounded White Sesame.
Step 6 Transfer onto a serving plate.

It's ready to be serve!

Click here for our blog page Cooking Classes for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Boiled / Stream Edamame (枝豆)

1 cup of frozen Edamame (brand we used is below)
Water to Steam
2 pinch of Salt

Step 1 Pour or the Edamame out to thaw for 30mins.
Step 2 Put the water in the steam to boil.
Step 3 Place the Edamame in and steam for 15mins. Or place in and boil it for approx 5 mins.
Step 4 Sprinkle the Salt and let it steam for another 15mins.
Step 5 Take it out and you may serve warm. Or blench it inside a ice water bath to serve it chilled.

Simple hand reach of a snack and a side Japanese dish to match with your Japanese meal.


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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Butaniku Hara Shōyuni (Thinly Sliced Pork Belly Simmered in Japanese Sauce)

250g thinly slice shabu-shabu Pork Belly
1/4 sliced Sweet Onion or 1 teaspoon of Onion Powder

Sauce Ingredients
2 tablespoon Water
2 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Mirin
1 tablespoon Sake

Step 1 Pour all the Sauce in a pot and bring it to a boil.
Step 2 Add in the Sweet Onion or Onion Powder and let it boil for 30 seconds.
Step 3 Add in the sliced Pork Belly bring it to a boil then turn the heat to low.
Step 4 Let it cook on low heat until all is well done.
Step 5 Turn off the heat and put in on a serving place or On your bento or On steam rice.

This dish is good to serve as a main dish.


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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Stir Fried Lettuce with Fermented Bean Curd 腐乳油麦

2 tablespoons of Cooking Oil
4 cloves of sliced Garlic
1 cube of Fermented Bean Curd
2-3 bundles of Lettuce

Step 1 Wash and half lettuce. Do not spin dry.
Step 2 Heat a pan. Add in Cooking Oil.
Step 3 When Cooking Oil is heated up add in Garlic and stir fry till bubbles form slight then add in the Fermented Bean Curd. Press & loosen up the cube.
Step 4 Turn up the heat to high. Throw in the Lettuce and constantly toss it. Remove from fire when the Lettuce turn bright green.

It's ready to serve! Enjoy.

Click here for our blog page Cooking Classes for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Friday, October 18, 2013

Egg Droplet Soup with Ikan Bilis / Anchovy Stock

Extremely simple soup to make at home in a very short time.

2 bowls of Water
2 hand full of Ikan Bilis / Anchovy
2 Eggs
Salt & Pepper to taste

Step 1 Bring the water to a boil.
Step 2 Add in Ikan Bilis / Anchovy and continue to boil till they turn pale.
Step 3 Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and put aside.
Step 4 Turn off the fire. Stir and continue stirring the soup while you slowly pour in the beaten eggs.

It's ready to serve!

Click here for our blog page Cooking Classes for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How to store ginger for a longer period?

Problem of finishing up the ginger that you have bought? Here is some tips!

Tip 1 Peel the ginger & cut them in few size that will be used but do not slice them up.

Tip 2 Place in a zip lock bag or a container.

Tip 3 Take it out to defrost before use.

Hope this tips help. Our experience, the garlic have been kept for 2 weeks and we still have some in our freezer.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Braised Pork Belly (Dong Po Rou / 东坡肉)

Dong Po Rou is one of deary's favourite dish. Because of his mom's Hakka genes. Pork Fat = Yummy!!!

Pork Preparation Ingredients
600g Pork Belly
Water (Enough to cover the pork belly)

Bring the pot of water to a boil. Add in the pork belly and boil for 5mins. Remove and set aside. Discard Water & Rinse the pot.

Look out for 3 layer pork belly! Just like in this picture.

Sauce Mixture Ingredients
3 tablespoons Soy Sauce
4 tablespoons Dark Soy Sauce
3.5 tablespoons Shao Xing Wine

Mix the following in a small bowl & set aside.

1.5 tablespoon Cooking Oil
6 stalks of Spring Onions
6-8 thick slices of peeled Ginger
Water (Enough to cover the pork belly)
40g Rock Sugar

Heat up the same pot that is rinsed, add in the oil and heat it too. Stir-fry the Ginger until aromatic then add in the Spring Onions.Pour in Water & Rock Sugar and bring to a boil for 10mins. Add in Sauce Mixture and the Pork Belly skin side down. Bring it to a boil for 5mins. Then lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 2.5hours. The pork is ready when it has the melt in the mouth tenderness.

Dish up the pork in to a serving dish and use a scissors to cut the pork in desire size. Drizzle some sauce over it and it's ready to serve!

Click here for our blog page Cooking Classes for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Trying Out Chatterbox' $27++ Mandarin Chicken Rice!

Hainanese Chicken Rice is undoubtedly one of Singapore's favorite dishes. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of stalls and restaurant chains all around the city that serve this smooth boiled chicken with fragrant rice (cooked in chicken stock) and chili/garlic dish. By far the most iconic of them all is Chatterbox's Mandarin Chicken Rice. It may not be Singapore's best or favorite chicken rice, but it certainly wins the award for most expensive at just under SGD 32.00 nett after taxes and service charge.

Chatterbox Mandarin Chicken Rice Singapore

Chatterbox's version is also probably the largest-portioned chicken rice in the city. Unlike many other $3 places which are all rice no chicken, Chatterbox uses extra large 2kg birds, and serves up a full quarter chicken with each order. No worries about going hungry, then! As is fairly standard with Hainanese chicken rice nowadays, the chicken is boiled and then dunked in ice water to smoothen and firm up the skin.

Chatterbox Mandarin Chicken Rice Singapore

We also added on some iceberg lettuce, which at $9++ is a rather steep price to pay.

Chatterbox Mandarin Chicken Rice Singapore

A closer view of the Chicken - this photo below is from the drumstick & thigh cut. Naturally the drumstick & thigh is smoother and juicier but also a bit oilier than the breast meat.

Chatterbox Mandarin Chicken Rice Singapore

So ... is the chicken rice really worth $32? Well, we thought that the chicken was cooked very well and not as oily as most other chicken rice shops around town. The skin was also nice and smooth but perhaps a little on the lean side. We also did think the breast meat was perhaps ever so slightly less 'smooth' than other top places. Chili, garlic and soy sauce (laced with some chinese wine!) were sublime, and the rice was fragrant and tasty without being oily.

Our opinion then is that the Mandarin Chicken Rice really does deserve a spot in any "Top X Chicken Rice in Singapore" lists among the other heavyweights like Tian Tian and Boon Tiong Kee. However $32 is something like four or five times more expensive than the others, which honestly doesn't really make it worth the money even considering the Hotel Mark Up. For us, it's definitely worth paying a visit at least once just to cross it off your list of 'famous foods I must eat before I die,' but it would be really tough to justify a return visit.

Chatterbox is located at Mandarin Orchard Hotel / Mandarin Gallery. Open seven days a week, reservations not necessary.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Uber Delicious Sous Vide Citrus Soy Salmon

Looking back at our blog posts lately, we do seem to be putting up more and more cooking and baking recipes, and not as many restaurant reviews. Perhaps it's because good restaurants worth reviewing aren't usually cheap, and we've discovered that with a little trial, error and effort, you can often get much better value by cooking at home!

Today we're going to bust out the sous vide circulator yet again - but this time we're going to water bathe some fish. A stack of salmon fillets, to be exact. As you can see we've cut the skin off the fillets - this is because with sous vide the skin stays limp and soft, and to be honest not very appetizing. So we just skin the fillets with a sharp knife, and fry them up separately in a pan (don't really need extra oil cos the skin is full of natural fish oil) for a crispy snack.

Citrus Soy Sous vide Salmon recipe

The first step is to brine the fish. Brining means soaking in a salt solution - what this does to salmon is to inhibit the excretion of albumen (pinkish strands of protein) during the cooking process so you get a more visually appealing fillet. Oh, and it adds moisture, too. You want to mix water, ice and salt in about a 4:2:1 ratio (example, 400ml of water, 200ml of ice and 100ml of salt), soak the fish and leave it in the fridge for about half an hour before cooking. Make sure the water is as cold as possible! Brining in water at higher temperatures could cause food safety issues.

Citrus Soy Sous vide Salmon recipe

Once that's done, mix up about 1 tablespoons each of minced garlic and ginger, 1 tablespoon of any kind of citrus (orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice) and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce for each fillet. Mix it, dish it into your vacuum pack or ziplock bags, and we're ready to bathe!

Citrus Soy Sous vide Salmon recipe

Surprisingly, salmon doesn't take all that long to cook. 25 minutes is sufficient at anywhere from 48°C (rare) to 52°C (medium rare) to 60°C (medium), depending on how you like your fish. Try not to cook it past more than 40 minutes as although it won't technically overcook, it loses some of its texture and may get a little mushy.

Citrus Soy Sous vide Salmon recipe

Once done, it's ready to serve! As in most sous vide applications, the low cooking temperature means that the salmon tends to look a little pale. You can serve it as is, or put it under the broiler or blowtorch really quickly just to add a little colour. Serve with whatever takes your fancy - here we've paired the fillet with a side of spaghetti aglio olio and some steamed broccoli.

Citrus Soy Sous vide Salmon recipe

Looks amazing, tastes even better! The sous vide process ensures evenly cooked juicy fish throughout with melt-in-your mouth consistency. It's an easy dish to whip up, requires hardly any skill, and you can just as easily expand it to a dozen people at a dinner party. Give it a try! I don't think you will be disappointed.

Note: We have an additional SideKIC Kitchen Immersion Circulator available for sale. If you're interested do drop an email at shuigao(at)gmail(dot)com. Singapore, JB and KL only.

Click here for our blog page Cooking Classes for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~