Saturday, July 30, 2011

World's Hottest Chili 2011 - Trinidad Scorpion Butch T

Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper is the world’s hottest chili pepper.  It is named after Butch Taylor, the owner of  Zydeco Hot Sauce.  The ‘scopion’ refers to its pointed end which resemble a scorpion’s stinger.

Prior the this, the world’s hottest pepper was Naga Viper pepper.  A laboratory test by EML Chem in Melbourne, in March 2011, measured 1,463,700 Scoville scale, hotter than Naga Viper’s 1,382,118 Scoville scale.

The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T is grown in a farm in Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia, by Marcel de Wit, the owner of Chilli Factory in Morisett.

The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper is so strong that those who handle it have to wear protective gloves.  Exposure to the eye or near the eye could cause temporary blindness.  While cooking the Butch T, one should wear a chemical mask and a body suit to guard against the fumes.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

丝瓜炒蛋 Stir-fried Luffa with Eggs

It is always in my humble opinion that practice does makes perfects in everything, including cooking.  

My previous stir-fried luffa with egg dish doesn’t seems to be anywhere near perfect.  Its too watery. 

So, this time, I took things a little bit slow and steady. 

First, I saute ( with low flame ) the julienned ginger till its golden and crunchy. 
Then only I fry 2 eggs over the ginger.  ( 1 egg is not enough, so this time I put in 2 eggs )
When the eggs are done, and the wok is steaming hot, I put in all the luffa and stir for a while. ( just a while… 1-2-3-4-5-6 )
Then, pour in a bit ShaoXing Huadiao Wine… ( I don’t know exactly how much ).  Let it sizzling for a while, then stir continously.  
Before the wine dried up, turn down the flame.  Let the luffa cooked through the heat carried by the liquid (wine), and the steam.
Cover the wok. Let it simmer.
As the wine is drying up, the luffa should be already cooked.  If not, drizzle a bit more wine.  Simmer it some more.
If the luffa is cooked and there are still lots of sauce, turn up the flame and stir fry a bit to dry it up.
When it's cook, add a little of salt to taste.

A perfect dish should be dry with minimal sauce.  The egg should still in chunks.

This is not yet perfect.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

清炒田七菜 Stir-fried Madeira vine - Experimental Cooking

田七菜 is Anredera cordifolia commonly known as Madeira vine, originated from South America. 

It is known as 落葵薯 in Taiwan and China.
In Malaysia, it grows vigorously in Cameron Highlands as a greens   But soon it gets wild and becomes a noxious weed.  For the sake of marketing this wildly grown liana, the local farmers named it 田七菜,  as its aerial tubers are similar to Panax notoginseng's, the real 田七, an invaluable herb. 

The tubers and leaves are edible.

I just simply stir-fry it with a bit of garlic ( garlic is an utmost important  ingredient in Chinsese style-stir-fry dishes ) and sliced chicken breast.  It is slimy and smooth in taste.

Friday, July 22, 2011

炒木瓜 Stir-fried Papaya - Experimental Cooking

It had been quite a long time since I last experimenting with papaya in kitchen. 

This time, I stir-fried it !  Sound scary ?

Lets get started !.... first I saute some anchovies.  Then put in the sliced papaya.  Just make sure the papaya is not too  ripe and soft.  Pour in a bit water and simmer for a while.  Just add salt to taste.

Protected Geographical Status

Protected Geographical Status ( PGS ) is a legal framework defined in European Union law to protect the names of regional foods.  Protected Designation of Origin ( PDO ), Protected Geographical Indication ( PGI ) and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed ( TSG ) are distinct regimes of geographical indications within the framework.

Came into force in 1992, the legislation ensures that only products genuinely originating in that region are allowed in commerce identified as such.

The law enforced within the EU and being gradually expanded internationally via bilateral agreements between the EU and non-EU countries.  Protected indications are treated as intellectual property rights by the Customs Regulation 1383/2003.

Objectives of the protection :
-       - to protect the reputation of the regional foods
-       - to promote rural and agricultural activity
-       - to help producers obtain a premium price for their authentic products
-       - to eliminate the unfair competition and misleading of consumers by non-genuine products

Protected Designation of Origin ( PDO )
The PDO is the name of an area, a specific place, or, in exceptional cases, the name of a country, used as a designation for an agricultural product or a foodstuff,
-        which comes from such an area, place or country,
-        whose quality or properties are significantly or exclusively determined by the geographical environment, including natural and human factors,
-         whose production, processing or preparation takes place within the determined geographical area.

The entire product must be traditionally and ENTIRELY manufactured ( prepared, processed and produced ) within the specific region and thus acquire unique properties.

Protected Geographical Indication ( PGI )
The PGI is the name of an area, a specific place, or, in exceptional cases, the name of a country, used as a description of an agricultural product or a foodstuff,
-         which comes from such an area, place or country,
-         which has a specific quality, goodwill or other characteristic property, attributable to its geographical origin,
-         whose production, processing or preparation takes place within the determined geographical area.

The entire product must be traditionally and at least PARTIALLY manufactured ( prepared, processed, or produced ) within the specific region and thus acquire unique properties.

Traditional Speciality Guaranteed ( TSG )
The TSG is a trademark for an agricultural product or a foodstuff, which has a certain feature or a set of features, setting it clearly apart from other similar products or foodstuffs belonging to the same category.  The product or foofstuff must be manufactured using traditional ingredients or must be characteristic for its traditional composition, production process, or processing reflecting a traditional type of manufacturing or processing.

The entire product does not have to be manufactured in a specific geographical delimited area; its is sufficient that it be traditional and different from other similar products.

e.g. Karelian pasties, Sahti beer, etc

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Braised Bitter Gourd with Pork Belly 苦瓜焖三层肉

First, slice pork belly for about 5mm thick.  Gently fry them over slow heat till browning. 

Alternatively, can also deep fry them.  But deep fry requires a lot more cooking oil, which is not very healthy, not to mention wasteful.  So I opted for  Ongrizinal green cooking

Meanwhile, I cut open horizontally a bitter gourd.  Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and the whitish core.  Then slice them into 2 mm thick.  Thinly sliced gourd are easier to cook.  By the time the pork belly are already nicely browned, put in all the sliced bitter gourd.  

Stir for a while, then add in some water.  After its boiled, turn the flame to minimum to simmer the ingredients for about 10 minutes, or till the bitter gourd is softened.  

Add salt to taste.

The bitter taste of bitter gourd is because of momordicin.  To remove the bitter taste, some would soak the sliced bitter gourd in a salt solution.  A faster way is rubbing the sliced bitter gourd with salt.  The salt would create a higher solute concentration compare to inside the plant cells.  Thus the water in the cells moves outwards the cell, bringing along the momordicin.

南瓜糖水 Pumpkin Tongsui - Experimental Cooking

Ingredients :

1. Pumpkin, skinned, in chunk, 1kg
2. 2 liter water
3. 100g  pearl tsagu
4. sugar, 4 table spoon

First, cook the pumpkin in the water till they are cooked and softened.  Add in the sugar.
Meanwhile, in another smaller pot, boil the pearl sagu till they turned translucent. ( see smaller picture )

Puree the cooked pumpkin with a food processor. 
Add in the pearl sagu.  Stir to mix well.

Serve hot.

cooked pearl sagu are translucent

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Meranti Soup - Experimental Cooking

Sayur meranti is said to be Solanum americanum.  Others claim it to be S. nigrum  
The Malay name ‘meranti’ is more popularly tagged as a timber tree of Shorea genus.

I asked my Indonesian workers how to cook this leafy plant.  They replied me unanimously : ”masak lemak“, which means ’cook with coconut milk‘.  
OMG ! Is it the only way to cook it?  Is it the only way they cook everything ?

Nevertheless, I decided NOT to listen to them. 

Meranti is a small shrub with small white flowers.  The stem are more tender near to the shoots.  Older stems are harder.  So I take only the shoots and leaves, and discard most of the stems.   

First I saute some garlic, then add in some sliced chicken breast.  Stir for a while.
Add in water.   Add in all the meranti leaves and some rice wine.  Bring to boil.
Add a bit salt to taste.

The taste is in-no-way I can describe.  Its not at all similar to any other greens.  Eccentric taste !

Although meranti are reported to be poisonous, they are eaten as greens in many part of the world.   The green fruits contain high levels of solanine and solamargine, hyoscine, hyoscyamine, and many other toxic glycoalkaloids.  So, eat at your own risk !     

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Steam Egg with Veg

Another variant of my steam egg series, added with sliced bell pepper and parsley.

Chrysanthemum Tea

Chrysanthemum tea (菊花茶)is a flower-based tisane made from chrysamthemum flower of the species Chrysanthemum morifolium or Chrysanthemum indicum.

It is very popular in East Asia and S.E.Asia.   To prepare the tea, dried crysanthemum flower are steeped in hot water ( or boiled ), sweetened with rock sugar or granular sugar.  It is often served hot, but also popularly served chilled especially during hot days.

Braised Chicken & Pork Belly with Judas's Ear

While preparing the ingredients for Braised Chicken with Judas’s Ear,  I can’t find enough chicken for the dish.  Less chicken meat means relatively lots of Judas’s ear… that’s kinda off balance. 

It was too late to abort the cooking, as I had already soaked the Judas’s ear.   Out of desperate, I decided to top up with pork belly instead.

Midway during simmering, out of nowhere, I pour in some rice wine.    

Surprisingly, it turn out quite okay.    

Thursday, July 14, 2011

CNY : 瓜子 Kuaci

Kuaci, 瓜子 literally means ‘gourd’s seed’, is a term collectively refers to dried or roasted seeds, sometime flovoured or salted, of sunflower, pumpkin, watermelon, luffa, cucumber or wintermelon etc, usually consumed as a snack. 

Dehulling is commonly performed by cracking the hull with one’s teeth and spitting it out while keeping the kernel in the mouth and eating it.

Kuaci is reported to have many nutritional properties, but I do not intend to discuss it here.   Its significance in culture is sometime more amusing.  In Chinese community, kuaci is always related to ‘多子多孙’,  ‘fruitfulness’, ‘abundant offspring’ … thus its served during CNYs, and weddings.

Monday, July 11, 2011

薏米水 Job's Tears Drink

Bring to boil some 100g of Job's tear in 4 liter of water, then simmer for about 1 hour.  By then, the water had been reduced to half of the original volumn.
Add in more water to compensate the losses.  Bring to boil again.  Add about 7 table spoon of sugar.
The grains can be consumed together.  I prefer to blend it... easier to gulp it down...
Serve hot or chilled... with a slice of lemon, or not.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Corn Soup

Corn soup is on my of favorite.  It is delicious, as does easily prepared.

First, saute some garlic.  When the garlic turn brownish and fragrant, add in some sliced chicken breast..  Stir for a while.

Add in some cubed carrot, just to make it more colourful.
Then, put in the kernelled corn.  ( preferably fresh corns.  If not second best choice is Del Monte Foods’ canned corn kernel.  Make sure its whole kernel, not cream style.  Last of choice is frozen corn )

Pour in sufficient water.  Bring to boil.  Add in salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with parsley.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

泡参粥 American Ginseng Porridge

First, clean some 150g of rice.  Add some 10 slice of American Ginseng 泡参 ( Panax quinquifolius ), some wolfberries 枸杞 ( Lycium barbarium ), and some 200g of sliced chicken breast.

Simmer it in 4 liter of water, for about 1 hour.

Add salt to taste !! !

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

西芹炒饭 Celery Fried-Rice

Ingredient :

1. Rice, kept overnight in fridge
2. Celery x 4 stalks, sliced
3. Carrot x 1, diced
4. Cabbage x 2 leaves, shredded
5. Chicken breast meat / lean pork meat, sliced
6. Onion x ½, diced
7. Sweet corn, a bit ( optional )
8. Garlic x 2 cloves, minced

Method :

1. Sauté garlic over heated wok
2. Put in the meat, stir
3. Stir in diced carrot ( carrot take longer time to cook, its needless to explain further why it should be the first to add in )
4.  Add in sweet corn and celery, keep stirring
5.  Add in cabbage and onion, keep stirring
6.  Lastly, when all ingredients is 90% cooked, add in the rice.  Stir well with light soy source.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

上汤苋菜 Chinese Spinach Soup

First, saute some mince garlic. 
Add in generous portion of water, bring to boil.  Add in anchovies, and sliced American ginseng 泡参( Panax quinquifolius ).  Simmer with Chinese wolfberries 枸杞( pronounced gouqi in pinyin  ) ( Lycium barbarium ) till the American ginseng‘s flavour is out. 

Normally, Chinese angelica 当归 is used ( Angelica sinensis ), instead of American ginseng.   I had no choice but to use American ginseng because after I finish prepared all the ingredients, I realized that there are no more Chinese angelica left in the fridge.  

Remove the anchovies.  Add in a few slice of chicken breast / lean pork.
Add in Chinese spinach 苋菜 ( pronounced xiancai in pinyin ) ( Amaranthus dubius ). Bring to boil.
Add in salt to taste.

腐乳炒菜花 Stir fried Broccoli + Cauliflower with FermentedBeanCurd

Cut into bite size, half a Broccoli 西兰花, half a Cauliflower 花椰菜 and a Bell pepper.
Slice a Carrot, and a stalk of Celery.
Mince 2 cloves of garlic, stir fry in hot wok.
( Optional : add in sliced chicken breast / lean pork )  
Add in the carrot first.  Carrot takes longer time to cook.
Then add in the Broccoli and Cauliflower.  Stir fry till its half cooked.
( overcooked Broccoli and Cauliflower tends to softened, which is less desirable.  I prefer slightly cooked Broccoli and Cauliflower, which still have the distinct green flavour and crunchy bites )
Add in the Celery and Bell pepper. ( overcooked Bell pepper softened too )
Stir in 2 crushed Fermented bean curd.   Add salt and msg to taste.

花生鸡脚莲藕汤 Peanut Soup with ChickenFeet & LotusRoot

First, I washed and soaked the peanut.  Then, I pre-cooked it in a pressure cooker.
Meanwhile, I wash and cut the lotus root, trim the chicken feet’s nail.  Then put into the pressure cooker, with some shredded dried squid.
Add a little bit of salt to taste.
Turn on the flame to maximum and let it cook for a while.
Serve hot.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ongrizinal Fried Rice 王子の炒饭

Basic Ingredients :
Rice, cooked, preferably kept in fridge overnight
Carrot, diced
Sweet corn, kerneled
Green peas

Method :
Saute some minced garlic over heated wok...
Add in diced carrot...
Next, the sweet corn and green peas...
Keep on stirring...
Add in the rice.... don't stop the stirring... ( I know its tiring )
Stir in some light soy souce... evenly
some white peper powder too ...
( no need to add salt, as the soy souce is already salty )
( don't stop stirring )
Garnish with sliced cucumber...
Serve hot