3 Plus 1 (Series 4) - Steamed Chicken with Cordyceps Flower 3菜1汤 (系列4) - 虫草花蒸鸡

This is another dish which I attempted from the Channel 8 programme 3 Plus 1 (Series 4), 3菜1汤, episode 4 - Steamed Chicken with Cordyceps Flower 虫草花蒸鸡.

The dish seemed very easy to cook with light flavouring and supposedly nutritious as well due to the medicinal property of cordyceps flower. When the chefs introduced this ingredient, I was very intrigued and made a mental note to look for it when I pass by any chinese medicinal hall.


Initially I had no idea what Cordyceps Flower 虫草花 is. I thought it's related to Cordyceps Sinensis 冬虫草, which is high in medicinal value but rare and expensive. After a search on the net, found out that it's actual name is Cordyceps Militaris 冬虫草花. It's a cultured mushroom fungus with similar medicinal value as cordyceps Sinensis. It's rich in protein, zinc, vitamins A & E and helps protect and strengthen the lungs, kidney and liver. Interesting indeed! I thought that this could only be found at big chinese medicinal hall; but the other day when I saw a small neighbourhood medicinal hall, decided to try my luck and yes they have it! Cost $6.80 for a tub (about 38g).


Steamed Chicken with Cordyceps Flower

Ingredients
  • 1/2 chicken (I use kampung chicken)
  • 5g salt
  • 10g cordyceps flower
  • 4-5 pieces red dates
  • Corn starch
  • Green leafy vegetable
Steps
  1. Marinate the chicken with salt for 15-20 mins.
  2. Soak cordyceps flower in hot water for 15-20 mins (to reduce the red colouring), then drain the water.
  3. Soak the red dates for 15-20 mins then slice.
  4. Place the chicken in a steaming dish, scatter the cordyceps flower and sliced red dates on top and around. Steam the chicken for 25-30 mins (original time stated in recipe is 15 mins, but I find many parts of the chicken not cooked so I increased the timing).
  5. After steaming the chicken, pour the chicken stock (juice from steaming) into another pot, heat and add some cornstarch to make into a slightly thickened gravy.
  6. Blanch some green leafy vegetable (water added with some oil and salt).
  7. Debone the chicken and arrange on serving plate. Scatter cordyceps flower and sliced red dates on the chicken, arrange the blanched vegetables around, and pour gravy all around. Best served warm.
虫草花蒸鸡
(source: no. 834 i-weekly supplement)


材料
  • (半只, 约700克)
  • 虫草花 (10克)
  • 红枣 (4颗)
  • 小白菜 (50克)
  • 盐 (5克)
  • 生粉 (5克)
 做法
  1. 先以盐腌制鸡只片刻.
  2. 将鸡只放入蒸盘中, 铺上虫草花和切片红枣, 放入蒸锅蒸 15 分钟.
  3. 取出蒸好的鸡只, 去骨取肉再切块, 与虫草花, 红枣和汆烫熟的小白菜一起摆盘.
  4. 将剩余的汤汁稍微勾芡后淋在食才上即可.
贴士
  • 用热水烫虫草花 , 降低色素.

The whole dish is quite light in flavouring. The cordyceps flower is crunchy in texture and quite tasteless. The natural juice from the chicken during the steaming process makes the meat very tasty and succulent. This recipe is definitely a keeper. I think I will also try cooking the cordyceps flower in soups and use this ingredient more often now.

3 Plus 1 (Series 4) - Crispy Chinese Yam 3菜1汤 (系列4) - 香酥淮山

I'm a big fan of Singapore's MediaCorp edutainment programme 3 Plus 1, 3菜1汤, hosted by Taiwanese show host 曾国城. After a long hiatus, the programme now into its fourth series is back again since a month ago!

In the past three series, the format was such that each week, there were two pairs of artistes (whether local or overseas) in each team who competed in cooking 3 dishes and 1 soup within 30 mins; the main ingredient for one of the dish was determined by the producer and the meal must be within budget of $20. The dishes cooked by all the teams were even compiled into three recipe books and I've bought all three :p 我可是这个节目的忠实粉丝哦! The reason why I like this programme is because most of the dishes are easy to prepare using practical ingredients and nothing too fanciful.

In this new series, there's a slight revision, budget has been increased to $25 and instead of two artistes in a team, one of the participant is a chef which makes the dishes made even more attractive! So for the past few Fridays, I'm been following the programme fervently unless I had to go out. For the dishes which caught my interest, I would even re-watch the segments on XINMSN catch-up TV to note the important points. LOL! Anyway, the recipes are currently featured on the i-weekly supplement so yes I've been buying the i-weekly magazine because of the recipes too!

So far, I've attempted a few of the recipes already and most of them were quite palatable lah. Will be sharing some of my attempts over a few posts. This is one of my favourite dish to-date, Crispy Chinese Yam with salted egg yolk and pork floss 香酥淮山, featured in Episode 4.


When the team introduced this dish, I immediately took an interest because Chinese Yam (淮山/山药) is a very nutritious root vegetable that has several health benefits. Other than cooking it in soup and blending it into egg mixture for steamed egg, I have no idea how else to cook it. This dish really offered a very good alternative to make my family eat more Chinese Yam since it's deep fried.

There are a few components to the dish, mixing the batter, deep frying the chinese yam, quick stir frying the battered chinese yam with salted egg yolk and finally topping with some pork floss.


Crispy Chinese Yam with Salted Egg Yolk and Pork Floss

Ingredients
  • 250g Chinese Yam
  • 2 Salted Egg Yolks
  • 30g Chicken or Pork Floss
 Batter
  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 10g Glutinous Rice Flour *1
  • 7g Corn Starch
  • 8g Baking Powder
  • 120-125g Water *2
  • 20g Cooking Oil (any type, I use Canola) *3
  • 5g Salt
 Steps
  1. Prepare crispy batter: Mix all the ingredients for the batter until well blended. Set aside. Cut the chinese yam into 1cm slices and put them into the batter. Make sure each piece is well coated with the batter.
  2. Steam the salted egg yolk for 7 minutes, mash and set aside.
  3. Heat the cooking oil till hot, turn off the heat and drop the batter-coated chinese yam into the hot oil. Turn on heat again and deep fry at low heat till golden brown. Once golden brown, remove from oil and drain excess oil on kitchen towel.
  4. Heat wok, add some oil and fry salted egg yolk till bubbles appear. Put all the battered chinese yam into the wok, stir fry quickly to ensure the pieces are coated with the salted egg yolk evenly. Place the chinese yam onto a serving plate and garnish with chicken/pork floss and parsley/coriander.
Note
  1. Adding glutinous rice flour to the batter will allow deep fried food to stay crispy longer.
  2. The original amount of water given in the recipe was 70ml (equivalent to 70g) but I found the batter to be too thick and in fact doughy, so I added water bit by bit till a smoother consistency, similar to thick cream.
  3. Adding cooking oil to the batter will enhance the crispiness of deep fried food.

香酥淮山

材料
  • 淮山 (250克)
  • 咸蛋黄 (2个)
  • 鸡/猪肉松 (30克)
脆浆粉
  • 面粉 (100克)
  • 糯米粉 (10克)
  • 太白粉 (7克)
  • 发粉 (8克)
  • 水 (120克)
  • 油 (20克)
  • 盐 (5克)
 做法
  1. 在大碗中混合脆浆粉材料调匀; 淮山切片 (约1公分厚), 放入脆浆粉中.
  2. 将咸蛋蒸熟, 再压碎.
  3. 先烧热油后熄火, 把沾满脆浆粉的淮山逐个放入油中, 再开小火继续油炸熟, 捞起沥干.
  4. 热镬, 以少许油炒咸蛋至起泡, 倒入炸淮山,拌匀后盛盘, 再撒上鸡/猪肉松,以葱花点缀.
 贴士
  • 在脆浆粉中加入糯米粉, 食材炸后能保持酥脆.


I love the overall texture and taste of this dish very much. The battered chinese yam is very crispy, with a tinge of saltiness from the salted egg yolk and a tad of sweetness from the pork floss. The texture of the chinese yam is a cross between potato and white radish and taste bland.

Hubby liked the dish, but the picky little one didn't seem to like it although it's deep fried food. Anyways, this recipe is a keeper for me but I think will only cook it occasionally as I don't really like to do deep frying at home.

Tonkatsu Sandwich and Mixed Sandwich - AFF Japan Oct 2013

Whenever I go to Japan, I would have at least one brunch or lunch at bakery cafes. I love the bakery cafes in Japan! There are typically two sections to the bakery cafe, one section selling all the breads, sandwiches, cakes, salads for takeaways (just like our local bakery), and another section for dine-in. Customers may select the different types of bakery items they like, order a drink and dine-in at the cafe. The concept is very much like Province bakery at Holland Village, but the selection is so much more! I usually had a very hard time deciding what I want to eat because everything looks good! You know the Japanese, the food always look palatable with well-coordinated colour schemes even!

One of my favourite sandwich is the Tonkatsu Sandwich. It's basically deep fried pork cutlet drizzled with tonkatsu sauce and sandwiched between shokupan (Japanese white bread). The combination - crispy bite of juicy tonkatsu, tangy tonkatsu sauce and fluffy white bread is a match-made in heaven I would say! Some bakery would also add shredded cabbage to make the sandwich more refreshing as well as visually appealing.

This is a very easy to put together sandwich, the toughest part is frying the tonkatsu. I usually buy pork loin and cut into 5mm thickness for ease of cooking. The key to achieving a crispy piece of tonkatsu is to deep frying the pork loin two times. The first time using medium low heat in order to cook the meat, and the second time using high heat to make it crispy. Using this method, the tonkatsu won't be oily at all and will remain crispy for a long time.


Tonkatsu Sandwich
(makes 1 serving)

Ingredients

(1) Deep fried pork cutlet - Tonkatsu
  • 1 slice pork loin, about 1/2cm thickness
  • Salt and pepper
  • Egg, cornstarch
  • Japanese panko
  1. Wash pork loin, pat dry with kitchen towel, then tenderise.
  2. Marinate pork loin with pinch of salt and pepper. Chill in fridge for 30 mins.
  3. Heat oil in pot, medium low heat.
  4. Coat pork loin with cornstarch, tap away excess cornstarch.
  5. Coat pork loin with egg.
  6. Coat pork loin generously with panko.
  7. Deep fry pork loin in medium low heat till panko turn pale brown, both sides.
  8. Remove from heat, and place pork cutlet on wire rack or kitchen towel to remove excess oil, for 5 minutes.
  9. Turn up heat of pot, on high.
  10. Deep fry pork cutlet for second time, about 20-30 seconds each side. Remove immediately and place pork cutlet on wire rack or kitchen towel.
(2) Assembly
  • 2 slices Japanese sandwich bread (Shokupan)
  • 1 slice Tonkatsu
  • Shredded Japanese cabbage
  • Tonkatsu sauce
  1. Place some shredded cabbage on a slice of bread.
  2. Drizzle some tonkatsu sauce generously onto the shredded cabbage.
  3. Top with tonkatsu.
  4. Place some shredded cabbage onto the tonkatsu.
  5. Drizzle some tonkatsu sauce generously onto the shredded cabbage.
  6. Finally end with the other slice of bread.
  7. Cover the sandwich with kitchen towel and place a heavy plate/bowl on top for 10-15 mins *to compress the sandwich slightly to hold the shape.
  8. To serve, cut the sandwich lengthwise into rectangles.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Other fillings for Japanese sandwich include veggie, egg mayo, teriyaki chicken, karaage chicken, korroke and even fried noodles.

Here's another mixed sandwich (egg mayo and tomato/cucumber) which is so easy to put together and requires minimal cooking. The other key to making yummy sandwiches is using good quality white bread that's cut slightly thicker and very fluffy. I find that the white bread by Sunshine or Gardenia brand is not really suitable for sandwiches as they are more dense in texture, and not fluffy enough. Bakeries like Four Leaves, Provence sell thickly-sliced fluffy white bread these days.


Mixed sandwich
(Makes 2 servings)

Ingredients
  • 1/2 Japanese cucumber (Kyuri)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 egg
  • Japanese mayonnaise, black pepper, salt
  • Butter and mustard
  • 4 slices Japanese sandwich bread (shokupan)
Steps
  1. Cut cucumber lengthwise into 4 slices.
  2. Cut tomato into 4 slices.
  3. Boil egg for about 10-12 minutes, mash and mix well with Japanese mayonnaise, black pepper and salt to taste.
  4. Mix butter and mustard together (alternative: Japanese mayonnaise) and spread on 4 slices of bread.
  5. Arrange cucumber and tomato between 2 slices of bread.
  6. Spread mayonnaise egg between the other 2 slices of bread.
  7. Cover the sandwiches with kitchen towel and place a heavy plate/bowl on top for 10-15 mins *to compress the sandwich slightly to hold the shape.
  8. To serve, cut the slices of bread lengthwise into squares or diagonally into triangles.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Both the above recipes are referenced from this Japanese cookery book I bought several years ago in Japan. It's called Beginners Guide (with basic tips) to Japan's western cuisine Yōshoku. Although I can only read and understand the instructions partially, I bought it because the recipes look colourful and yummy, and some recipes come with step-by-step pictorial instructions.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1 Oct 2013 : Japan, 

Butterscotch Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

| 4 comments
Last month, I was browsing the internet randomly and came across this post by CakeJournal.com on Butterscotch Recipes: Sweet, chewy and delicious desserts. And what caught my attention immediately was the Butterscotch Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies by Sally's Baking Addiction.

I have mentioned before that I love desserts that are both sweet and salty, such as my Chewy Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies and Salted Caramel Cupcakes. I decide there and then that I'm going to attempt this recipe! The thing is, where am I going to find butterscotch chips? I couldn't find it at Phoon Huat which is the largest retail supplier of baking ingredients in Singapore. I guess butterscotch chips is not commonly found here. When I did a search on the internet, there was very little info about where to buy it. Then I came across a blog thread where someone from Singapore also asking the same question! And someone replied that she got it from Cold Storage Supermarket at Parco Bugis Junction.

I didn't want to make a special trip to Bugis area, so I searched a few Cold Storage in the West area and even the bigger NTUC Fairprice Supermarkets but to no avail. Then so happened that I had to go Bugis area recently and I reminded myself to pop in Cold Storage at Parco Bugis. Yahoo! I managed to get hold of a pack of butterscotch chips, that was the last pack left on the shelf! Lucky me!


Here are the three key ingredients for the cookies. Nestle Toll House Butterscotch Morsels bought from Cold Storage at Bugis; Salted Mini Pretzels bought from Marks & Spencer and Valrhona Chocolate Solid Baking Perles bought from Shermay's Cooking School.


I converted the original recipe from cups to metric which is what I'm used to. I love to weigh most of my ingredients to be more precise. Yes, I'm anal about the weighing, I have two kitchen digital weighing scales, one of them has precision of 0.1 and the other 0.5 :p:p:p I also reduced the amount of sugars by half as based on past experience, American recipes tend to be too sweet for my liking, moreover the butterscotch chips and chocolate perles are already quite sweet.

I prefer my cookies to be smaller, and to get a uniform shape, I like to use my 3cm-diameter disher.

Butterscotch Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction)
  • 260g Plain Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 170g Salted Butter
  • 100g Light Brown Sugar (original 200g)
  • 50g Caster Sugar (original 112.5g)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (original 2 tsp)
  • 50g Pretzels, chopped into small pieces (I use Marks & Spencer Salted Mini Pretzels)
  • 80g Butterscotch Chips (I use Nestle Butterscotch Morsels)
  • 80g Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I use Valrhona Chocolate Solid Baking Perles)
  1. Preheat oven (fan-assisted) to 170 degree celsius.
  2. Sift plain flour and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter and both sugars on medium speed using paddle attachment, till light and fluffy. Scrap sides of mixing bowl as necessary.
  4. Add egg gradually, then vanilla extract.
  5. Add flour mixture gradually, until just blended.
  6. Add pretzels, butterscotch chips and chocolate chips and fold into the dough.
  7. Chill the dough for at least 30 mins. (I put the dough in the freezer).
  8. Scoop dough using ice-cream scoop (disher) and arrange dough on silpat mat/baking sheet placed in a baking tray. Leave each dough at least 2cm apart from each other.
  9. Bake at 170 degree celsius for 13-15 mins.
Surprisingly, the cookies didn't spread much unlike the Chewy Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies. Probably coz I freeze the dough before baking, and reduced the amount of sugar. Anyway, they turned out totally scrumptious! I liked it that it's not too sweet. It's crunchy on the outside and chewy inside, with taste of both chocolate and butterscotch. The chopped bits of pretzel added an extra crunch as well, a nice contrast to the chewy interior of the cookie. Perhaps I could add a little more of the three key ingredients next time, just for additional kick!

Both dear son and hubby liked the cookies, especially dear son who kept asking for more! Anyone wants to give these a try?

Tempura 天ぷら - AFF Japan Oct 2013

Tempura 天ぷら is such a popular and likable Japanese dish that I believe even non-Japanese food lover will enjoy since it's deep fried :p And it's extremely versatile too. You can eat it as on its own (with a dipping sauce), or as Tendon which is tempura served on rice drizzled with some sauce, or as Tenzaru which is tempura with soba, or as tempura udon (shrimp tempura served inside the udon soup). These dishes can also be found almost anywhere in Japan.

The type of tempura we see in local Japanese eateries are usually prawns, white fish, mushroom, brinjal, lady's finger, green bell pepper and root vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato and yam. The ingredients are dipped in a simple light batter consisting of low protein flour, egg and water and then deep fried for a few minutes. Specially prepared tempura flour is also readily available in supermarkets, just need to add water to the flour according to instructions.

Although preparing the ingredients and batter look easy, to get the right consistency of the batter and right temperature of cooking oil when deep frying is no mean feat. Most often the tempura turns out not crispy enough or too oily.


For simplicity, I used only a few ingredients here - golden mushroom, pumpkin, brinjal, lady's finger and imitation snow crab stick.

The recipe is actually referenced from my all-time favourite comic book - Cooking Papa クッキングパパ :p
Cooking Papa is an ongoing Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tochi Ueyama. The chinese edition I have is translated by a Taiwan publisher. The Japanese series has 124 volumes now whereas the chinese series at 110. I'm an avid follower since 10 years ago as the illustrations are vivid and of course the food featured looked so yummy!

The story revolved around a salaryman based in Hakata (Fukuoka, Kyushu) who can cook well, and in a way spreading the love of food and culture among his family and friends. In each volume, there is usually 8 to 10 chapters featuring stories on a certain food and recipes for the dishes are provided. Through reading the comic series, I learnt more about the Japanese food culture in different parts of Japan. And it's not just Japanese food, international cuisine is also featured when the characters travel to Korea, China, Europe, America. There's even a few chapters on Singapore, featuring chicken rice (新记 at the old Margaret Drive Hawker Centre) and Bak Kut Teh. As the author is an avid cook himself and travels to different parts of the world, the food featured are definitely authentic :)



 The recipes are usually very detailed with lots of great tips for cooking :)

Tempura

Ingredients (flexible according to your preference)
  • Golden Mushroom
  • Pumpkin
  • Brinjal
  • Lady's Finger
  • Imitation Crab Stick
Batter
  • 100g Low Protein Flour (plain flour/all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup (200ml) Cold Water
  • 1 egg
  1. Wash all the ingredients, cut into small pieces accordingly and pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Mix flour, cold water and egg in a bowl and stir rapidly using chopsticks for a few secs. Do not over-mix, it's ok to see lumps or traces of flour. Drop an ice-cube in the batter to retain the cold temperature.
  3. Heat deep frying pan/pot with sufficient oil to cover the largest piece of ingredient. 
  4. Test the temperature of the oil by dropping a bit of batter into the oil. If the batter sinks to the bottom then floats slowly, temperature is about 160 degree celsius which is the right temperature for frying vegetables. If the batter sinks to the middle then floats quickly, temperature is about 170 degree celsius which is good for frying seafood.
  5. Dip the ingredients into the batter and gently drop into the oil. Fry till the batter turns slightly golden brown.
Dipping sauce
A dipping sauce is usually accompanied with tempura to reduce the oiliness
  • 1 cup (200ml) Dashi (make from scratch or use dashi powder/granules sold at supermarket)
  • 1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Ryori-Sake
  • 1 tbsp Mirin
  • 1 shiitake mushroom, soaked and softened
  • Grated Daikon
  • Grated Ginger
  1. Bring dashi and mushroom to gentle boil.
  2. Add soy sauce, ryori-sake, mirin according to taste.
  3. Before serving/dipping the tempura, add some grated daikon and ginger.
Dashi (reference from Japanese Home-style Cooking by Keiko Ishida)
  • 600ml Water
  • 8cm Dried Kelp, rinse well
  • 20g Bonita Flakes
  1. Put water and kelp into a pot and soak for 30 mins.
  2. Heat over medium heat and when small bubbles appear from the bottom, remove kelp
  3. Once the water starts to boil, add bonito flakes, reduce heat and simmer for a few seconds. 
  4. Remove from heat, then leave till bonito flakes sink to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Strain stock and discard solids.
  6. Use the necessary amount for dipping sauce, balance can be used for chawanmushi, miso soup etc. Or freeze till later use.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1 Oct 2013 : Japan, 

Omurice オムライス - AFF Japan Oct 2013

People who have been following my blog and FB know that I'm crazy over Japan :p. There are so many factors that attract me to Japan again and again, the zakka culture, the depachika (underground food hall), onsen and FOOD! The food culture is vast and colourful in Japan, and I always admire the Japanese for their persistence in incorporating quality ingredients in cooking, putting their heart and soul during the process and most importantly painstakingly presenting the food in a refine and artistic manner.

Personally I find it rather difficult to prepare a Japanese meal at home. Partly because the main ingredients I have in my pantry are catered towards local cooking. I do have some Japanese condiments and sauces but if I were to prepare Japanese dishes, usually they would be very quick and easy ones which I further localise and improvise. And partly because the Japanese (even the homemakers) are so refined and meticulous (in their preparation of ingredients, cooking process and presentation) that I find it hard to follow!  Yep, I admit that I'm very clumsy in the kitchen; I could never be a Japanese homemaker!

Anyway, when Alan of Travelling Foodies and Wendy of Table for 2. or More sent open invitations to join the Asian Food Fest Japan, I'm rather hesitant as I'm not confident of producing something worthy. When the Malaysia Food Fest was in the running for the past year, I hadn't join in as I was busy and unfamiliar with Malaysian cuisine *excuses*. Since I love Japan so much, I should try hor? So I mustered my courage and attempted my first official entry for AFF Japan - Omurice オムライス.


The Omurice オムライス is a classic example of contemporary Japanese cuisine Yōshoku 洋食 which is influenced by Western cuisine. It is a popular dish that can be found at many family restaurants in Japan; and it's also supposedly an easy dish that Japanese homemakers would cook for their kids. This dish typically consists of chicken rice pan-fried with ketchup and wrapped in a thin sheet of omelette, then served with ketchup or demi-glace sauce.

I love love love ketchup so decided to challenge myself to make this dish at home! I got the recipe from youtube channel: Cooking with Dog, which specialises  in Japanese home-style cooking hosted by a cool poodle Francis (very cute channel!). The chef in the show made it look so easy that I thought I can do it too!



Well, I was so wrong. This was my third attempt which looked slightly more presentable. Frying the rice was easy peasy actually. It was the omelette that killed me! During my first attempt, I think the heat was too strong when I poured the egg mixture into the frying pan, before I had time to "stir the egg mixture vigorously with a chopstick", the omelette was already cooked and hardened. LOL.

During the second attempt, I carefully controlled the heat of the pan and all seemed well until I placed the fried rice onto the omelette and tried to wrap the egg on top of the rice. I think there was too much rice so it was quite hard to wrap. Then as I flipped the omurice onto a plate, the egg broke and the fried rice dropped all over the place. Quite a disaster I must say!

I decided to give myself one last chance. And this time, it went reasonably well. I placed only half of the fried rice onto the omelette as I was afraid that the omelette might burst again. Hence my omurice looked quite slim; still presentable except for the sides of the omelette which looked quite ugly (couldn't get the omurice into shape of a rugby). So I cropped the sides of the photo. Kekekeke. Sorry!

Taste-wise I must say the chicken rice was delicious, I love the taste of ketchup with the sticky texture of short-grain rice, and the ingredients chicken, mushroom, green peas really complemented the fried rice well. But I think this may be the last time I attempt this dish? LOL. Coz I couldn't seem to get the omelette right lah!


Omurice
Recipe from Cooking with dog
(serves 2)

Chicken rice
130g Boneless Chicken Thigh, cut into cubes and season with salt & pepper
¼ Onion, finely chopped
1 Clove of Garlic, finely chopped
4 Button Mushrooms, sliced
30g Frozen Green Peas, blanch with boiling water

200g Canned Tomato (I use canned diced tomato)
½ Bouillon Cube (I use chicken stock cube)
1 tbsp White Wine (I use Japanese cooking wine)
1 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
1 Bay Leaf
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil (I use canola oil)
280g Steamed Rice cooked with less water (use short grain rice where possible)


Omelette
4 Eggs
2 tsp Whipping Cream
Salt & Pepper

Presentation
Salad Greens
Tomato Ketchup

Steps
  1. Heat frying pan with some olive or canola oil. Saute garlic till there's a nice aroma. Then add the onion and saute till translucent.
  2. Next add the chicken and stir fry till chicken begins to brown. Add the mushroom and continue to saute.
  3. Add the wine, canned tomato, ketchup, bouillon cube and bay leaf, frying continuously.
  4. When the mixture begins to sizzle, add the green peas and saute till sauce is reduced. Remove the bay leave.
  5. Add the rice into the mixture and fry evenly. Adjust taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Remove the fried rice from pan and divide into 2 portions.
  7. Preparing the omelette: Crack 2 eggs into a bowl, add whipping cream and stir till blended.
  8. Heat the frying pan with some olive or canola oil. Swirl to coat the pan. Pour the egg mixture into the pan (maintain low heat) and stir the mixture vigorously with chopsticks, and swirl the mixture around the pan.
  9. Once omelette is semi-cooked, place the chicken rice onto the centre of the omelette and wrap both sides of the omelette onto the rice. Gently push the omelette to the side of the pan and flip the omurice onto a plate.
  10. Shape the omurice using kitchen towel. Decorate with salad and ketchup and serve warm.


There's another method of cooking the omelette such that the centre is semi-cooked and runny and when you slice the omelette, the egg just flows down beautifully. Here's an impressive video of omurice prepared by a Japanese chef in Kyoto. Don't think I can ever do this!

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1 Oct 2013 : Japan, 

Lobster Galore at Sg. Rengit, Pengarang, JB

| 7 comments
Hubby and I love seafood. And for me, lobster especially. Unfortunately, price of lobster is exorbitant ridiculous costly in Singapore, so we hardly eat lobster or dine at seafood restaurants here. When Hubby went fishing at Tanjong Pinang in Indonesia a few months ago, he found that lobsters there are priced much lower and he boasted about the lobster feast he had -_- Well, I don't think I would want to go fishing so had to hold that thought about lobster feasting at Tanjong Pinang.

Then recently, he told me that there's a town in Johor Bahru that specialises in lobster dishes, specifically Sungai Rengit, Pengarang, about 20-30 mins away from Desaru. Hey hey, what have we been missing all this while huh? We venture to JB once in a while to indulge in seafood, but this is the first time we heard of this lobster village. Die die have to go!

So we sneaked off to JB for our lobster feast during one Saturday late afternoon in August. The journey from Tuas checkpoint to Desaru took about 1.5hrs, and from there another 20-30 mins to reach the sleepy fishing village of Sungai Rengit.

This is the Sungai Johor Bridge, an expressway bridge across Johor River on the Senai-Desaru Expressway. It used to take about 2.5 hrs to drive from Senai to Desaru and since the bridge is opened in 2011, the travel time is shortened to about an hour.


 

A tell tale sign that we have arrived at the lobster village at Sungai Rengit, the lobster sculpture-mascot!

This is something interesting as different towns in Malaysia have their own mascots to symbolise the specialty of that particular town.

From our search on johorkaki.blogspot.com, there are about 8 seafood restaurants that feature lobsters in their menu.

For our very first visit, we decided to go for Restoran You Kees. According to Johor Kaki, You Kee is popular among the locals with a more competitive price, as compared to its next-door neighbour Jade Garden which is the biggest and most popular seafood restaurant in Pengarang and slightly higher price.

The restaurant certainly looks humble as compared to Jade Garden (see below). But we believe that since this place is highly patronised by locals, means that it's good right?


Seeing the lobster made me salivate already!

Appetizer made of dumpling/wanton skin. Crispy, slightly sweet and very fragrant.

Stir fry veggies (奶白) with shredded dried scallops. Very nicely done, fresh and crunchy.

The highlight of our meal, butter fried lobster the signature dish of You Kees. The lobsters used were slightly smaller in size. The idea is to put the whole piece of the lobster meat into the mouth and let the flavours of the succulent lobster meat burst with the rich buttery taste of the crispy crust. So good! I think there were about 8 pieces (4 lobsters) on the plate and I couldn't help but feel disappointed when we cleared all within minutes.

Hubby insisted on ordering black pepper crab. Unfortunately the crab meat was a little disappointed, quite limp and not succulent. However, the pepper sauce was quite delicious.

Overall, we felt quite satisfied with our first lobster meal at Pengarang, just that it was not quite enough to appease our appetite (and don't bother with crabs) :p.

Ever since our first lobster feast in August, we kept thinking about going back to Pengarang to try the other restaurants. But the almost 2hr drive is pretty daunting, imagine driving 4hrs to eat lobster, worth it?

So on Children's Day holiday, we decided to bring dear son to Desaru for a night's stay and there, the perfect excuse to go Pengarang for our lobsters again! Haha :p

This time, we decided to go for Jade Garden, it is afterall the most famous restaurant in Pengarang.

What caught our eyes immediately were the tanks and tanks of lobsters of different sizes! We knew we have come to the right place.


Fried egg with prawn. This was ordered specially for dear son the egg monster.

Signature tofu dish. The tofu was very crispy on the outside and melt-in-the-mouth inside. Sauce was really fragrant too.

The obligatory stir fried kailan in garlic.

Now, the star of the show. Lobster in superior broth 上湯龙虾! Yes, one lobster for each of us! The lobster meat was very crunchy, sweet and succulent. The sauce was very rich, buttery, sweet with a hint of chinese herbs. Seriously heavenly!!!

A big mouth of indulgence for me!

After finishing our servings of lobster, both of us looked at each other and giggled. It wouldn't hurt to have another lobster right??? After all, we have came all the way here!

So we asked for recommendation and the staff recommended us this Lobster cooked in Italian sauce 香草龙虾. And this dish totally blew our mind away, simply orgasmic! I mean we were already feeling quite full, you know diminishing marginal returns? This, still made us went gaga. All I could say was, it was so so so good. The sauce was simply to-die-for. Saltish, buttery, sticky with alluring aroma of mixed italian herbs and basil. The size of the lobsters were slightly smaller but it was just perfect to go with this sauce.

Totally satisfying meal! We are already missing the lobsters! While we were dining, we saw several other dishes by other diners which looked absolutely yummy as well.

Gosh, should we return to Jade Garden for our next hunt, or try the other 6 restaurants. Can't decide!!!