Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Umbuk Pisang Masak Sup - Experimental Cooking

I remember eating the pith ( umbut in Malay language ) of banana trunk. Yet, I dun remember when. I remembered people talking about dishes of umbut pisang. Or it is I remembered wrongly. Mind does play tricks, you know..


There are several plants of which their piths and young shoots are edible. Among them are bamboo, and coconut, oil palm, banana…..

Enough of talking. It’s time to make things happen.

The banana tree ( technically it’s not a tree, it’s a giant herbaceous plant ) is peeled tilk the core, the pith, that is. The banana tree must never bore fruit. As once banana fruits, it's pith will be hardier. Lagipun, banana won't fruit twice ( Ta’kan pisang berbuah dua kali, the Malay says ), after fruiting, the tree will be chopped down. It’s not productive anymore, put to death lah.

Make sure peel till the 2nd layer, where the pith is tender, easily snapped. The innermost layer is the best part ! Slice the pith evenly, about 0.5cm thick. There is some sort-of-latex forming once the pith is cut. Never mind that. Won’t die eat that.

Sauté some garlic, anchovies, chilies. Then pour in a bowl of water, bring to boil. Add in the pith slices. Lastly, little salt to taste.

It’s done ! It tastes good. I’m not dead yet, that’s for sure.

The local Malays cooked it with curry or asam. They say that the latex substance will dilute in acidic media. Well, try it out la !

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sweet Corn Soup 玉米汤

Ingredients :

handfull of fresh sweet corn, about 300g
diced carrot, 1 piece
sliced pork / chicken / or giblets of chicken ( gizzard内筋, heart, liver )
1 egg, beaten
corn flour, mixed in water
minced garlic
500ml water

Method :
First saute the garlic. Then, add in water, bring to boil.
Then, add in the pork / chicken / giblets, corn, carots. Again, bring to boil.
Pour in the beaten egg, stir well.
Lastly, the corn flour in water, to thicken the soup.
Salt and msg to taste.

Another of my favourite instant soup.

Stir-fried Lady's Finger 酱油羊角豆

Okra, or Lady's finger is known as kacang bendi in Malay language, or 羊角豆 for Malaysian Chinese, ( although it is not actually botanically a kacang or 豆. It is certainly not a pea )

When cooked, it become slimmy. I think at some point as a child, we dislike lady's finger for its mucilage. We make fun of it for its similiarity to snivel, which is absolutely disgusy to consume !

Well, enough of talking.... lets wok !

Lady's finger is best stir-fried.

First, saute the diced garlic and anchovies. Next, throw in all the sliced lady's finger ( about 8 pieces ). Again, keep stiring to avoid burning.

( Is it not common sense to keep stiring to avoid burning ? Hell it is ! So, I won't bother to mention it anymore. Felt like a moron )

Add in some dark soysauce, fish sauce and a bit of msg. Done !

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lady's Finger 羊角豆

Lady’s finger ( Abelmoschus esculentus ) is a flowering plant from the Malvaceae family ( along with cotton, cocoa and hibiscus ), originated from West Africa. It is believe that it reached the New World along with slave trafficking.
It is also called ‘okra’ in the United States. In various Bantu languages ( Subsaharan African Niger-Congo languages ), it is called ‘kingombo’ or a variant thereof, and this is the origin of its name in Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and French. The Arabic ‘bāmyah', is the basis of the names in the Middle East, Eastern Europe. In India, it is known as 'bhindi' in Hindi, probably explains the name 'bendi' in Malay.

Bendi produces mucilage when cooked. This mucilage is a thick, gluey substance rich in soluble fiber. Not all likes the sliminess of bendi, to avoid sliminess, bendi pod is cooked uncut, or briefly stir-fried, or cooked with acidic ingredients such as citrus, tomato, or vineger. Alternatively the pods can be sliced thinly and cooked for a long time, so that the mucilage dissolves.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Mixed-Vege One-Pot-Rice 一窝饭

One-pot cooking is the most logical thing to do when cook for 1 or 2 person. It is convenient, easy to prepare, and most importantly balance in nutrient. Besides, its energy saving, need not to wash a lot of utensils, and thus environmental friendly.

This is one of my regular one-pot rice-based meal :

Put 200g ( 2 cups ) of rice into rice-cooker, add in water and a pinch of salt.
Add in some diced carrot, lots of frozen corns, some frozen peas, diced onion, miced garlic, diced chicken meat, oyster source, black pepper ……

For more variety, can also add in meat balls, hotdogs, diced pork…..
Other vegetables e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, long beans, French bean, winged angled bean, lady’s finger are only to be added on top of rice when it’s almost done.

Switch on the cooker, sit back and enjoy a cuppa while waiting. Easy !

Stir-fried Cabbage 炒包菜

Cabbage, Brassica olercea, is a very convenience and nutritive vegetable to cook. Despite the cheap price of cabbage, it is an excellence source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. It also contains significant amount of glutamine, an amino acid with anti-inflammatory properties.

The part of the plant that is normally eaten is the spherical cluster of immature leaves. Since the leaves in the inside layer are usually well tight and clean… so, don’t have to wash them. Washing the outer layer will suffice.

An easy way to prepare a cook cabbage is to stir fry it…

Ingredients :
1. half a cabbage, shredded in small pieces…
2. carrot, 1 piece, sliced…
3. anchovies, a bit ( since I don’t like it very much… )
4. half an onion, sliced…
5. 2 eggs
6. garlic, 3-4 cloves, miced …

Sauté the garlic and anchovies over mid-high heat.
Add sliced carrot and shredded cabbage, and then sliced onion, stir to avoid burning.
When the cabbage is soften, open a crater in the middle of the vegetables, add in the eggs. Allow the eggs to slightly cook before stir-mix all the ingredients.
Add salt to taste.

Stir fry cabbage is relatively easy dish to cook…..we don’t have to worry about overcook or undercook it. Still, I like it well cooked.
Besides adding eggs to it, hotdogs, chicken, fish balls, and whatsoever you can think of, can also be added.

Note that I didn’t add any water. I don’t like it damp. Thus constant stirring is vital to avoid burning.