21 June 2018

Guay Tiew Reua Thai Boat Noodles

Boat noodles is a very popular street food in Thailand 🇹🇭 In fact, noodles is a very big part of the food culture. I learnt that all types of noodles (whether rice noodles, glass noodles, egg noodles), they are all called Guay Tiew (same pronunciation) unlike in SG where Kuay Tiao means thick rice noodles. I still remember when I ordered my very first bowl of Guay Tiew, thinking that it's thick rice noodles, the hawker gave me "Sen Lek" which is very thin and slightly chewy. Sen Lek is somewhat like the default type of noodle hawkers would serve if you don't specify, or some stalls just serve "Sen Lek" only. Anyways, there's a whole lot of jargon to learn about ordering noodles, such as the type of noodles, soup or dry, type of broth, and we're not even talking about the fried ones. Well, I guess the same goes for SG where we have so many type of noodles as well.

I digress.

Anyways, Guay Tiew means noodles and Reua means Boat, so literally translates to Boat Noodles, I think because it's traditionally cooked and served on a boat, and hence the name. I love Boat Noodles as the broth is very aromatic and flavourful, plus I get to eat pig's blood which is no longer available in SG. I used to enjoy pig's organ soup during my teens because of the pig's blood. LOL! Nowadays, friends around my age who loves pig's blood still talk about it fondly and I guess we could only satisfy our craving or rather, relive the fond memories in Hong Kong or Thailand.

I digress again.

Back to the Thai Boat Noodles. And so, the very authentic stalls would use the liquid from pig's blood to thicken and flavour the soup broth  but sometimes they can be a little overwhelming on the palate. Some hawker stalls may also add MSG to the broth making the soup a tad too salty for my liking. That got me to think whether it's feasible to make the noodles soup at home. After searching on the internet for recipes, I found there are many variations to making the broth; some use beef bones and some use pork bones and different aromatics are used to season the soup. I decided to adapt from Hot Thai Kitchen's recipe as I find her youtube videos very informative and recipes easy to pick up.

Have tried cooking this a few times already, and I must say I love how my Boat Noodles turned out. So as mentioned, the broth is a key component, and homemade is even better because no MSG is added.

The recipe by Hot Thai Kitchen is such that the pig's blood is optional, that is it's not necessary to use the liquid to thicken the soup. The broth is already very aromatic and flavourful as it is. Trust me my soup tasted equally nice without the pig’s blood :p.

To serve, besides noodles of your choice, I included ingredients such as fishball, fishcake, marinated pork slices, bean sprouts and water spinach (kang kong), along with condiments like cilantro, spring onion, Thai basil, fried shallot & garlic, and finally a chilli vinegar dipping sauce.

Let's start with the soup broth preparation, which I usually cook one day in advance and let the flavours develop overnight.

Soup Broth
(makes 8 servings)


  • 4 pcs pork bones (about 950g)
  • 4 pcs chicken leg bones (optional, I use because I happen to have them)
  • 1 pc onion
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, lower white portion only
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 10 slices galangal
  • 1 pc star anise
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 pc cilantro roots
  • 2 pc pandan leaves
  • 9 cups water
  • 3 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Golden Mountain thai soy sauce (if don't have, just use light soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp tao jiew (yellow soy bean paste)
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 15g rock sugar
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • Sea salt, to taste (I didn't add)


  1. Blanch the pork and chicken bones to get rid of blood and dirt. Rinse and place them in a large stock pot. 
  2. Add onion, lemongrass, coriander seeds, garlic, galangal, star anise, cinnamon, cilantro roots, pandan leaves, water and chicken stock. Bring the pot of stock to boil then lower heat, cover and let it simmer for 2hrs. Use a fine sieve to remove any scums that float to the top of the stock from time to time.
  3. After 2hrs, add the seasonings - soy sauce, dark soy sauce, tao jiew, white vinegar, rock sugar and white pepper and simmer for another 1 hr. 
  4. After 1hr, taste the soup and add sea salt if required.
  5. Leave the soup stock in the pot overnight. *if stock is prepared early in the day, at night bring it to boil first, off heat and cover.
  6. The next day, strain and discard the ingredients. Boil the soup broth again and it's ready to use.

Now that the soup broth is ready, it's time to cook Boat Noodles!

Personally I prefer Sen Yai which is thick rice noodles like the hor fun we have in SG, my son likes Sen Yai as well, but a thinner version of it. As for the HB, he likes Sen Lek which is the thin noodles which is slightly chewy (not glass noodles). Luckily I can get all these at one hawker stall at the wet market I frequent.

Typical ingredients include marinated pork slices, fishball, fishcake, pig's blood (optional), bean sprout, water spinach (kang kong).

To serve, I have two separate pots, one is the soup broth and the other is water to cook the noodles and vegetables.

(1) Bring the soup broth to boil and cook the fishball, fishcake, marinated pork and pig's blood.
(2) Bring the other pot of water to boil, blanch the bean sprouts, water spinach till just cooked, drain and place them in individual bowls. Next cook the noodles briefly till just cooked, drain and add them on top of the vegetables.
(3) Scoop the fishball, fishcake, pork and pig's blood from the soup broth and arrange on the top of the noodles.
(4) Finally, scoop the soup broth into the bowl of noodles till the soup just cover the ingredients. Best serve hot!

Not forgetting condiments, the noodles are typically served with cilantro, spring onion, fried garlic, fried shallot, Thai basil and not forgetting, chilli vinegar dipping sauce which will add much kick to the Boat Noodles!

Chilli Vinegar Dipping Sauce - blend all the ingredients together. Start with minimal amount of chilli and add more according to preference.

  • 1-2 red chilli and thai chilli, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar

    Look at my bowl of noodles loaded with ingredients. LOL! That's the beauty of home cooked dishes. I think I cannot be a noodle seller; there's too much preparation work involved and I load my noodle soup with too much ingredients!

    Usually I will make a large pot of soup broth and eat it for a few meals (mainly because the ingredients are sold in large quantity and cannot use up within one meal). LOL! Anyway we don't mind since we enjoy this noodle soup a lot. Aroi Mak Mak!

    15 June 2018

    Bak Chang 肉粽 ~ Glutinous Rice Dumpling

    The Chinese Duan Wu Festival (端午节)or commonly known as Dragon Boat Festival is upcoming next Monday! There's a story behind how this festival came about (to commemorate a patriotic poet/exiled official by the name of Qu Yuan in the warring states period of China (just google to find out more).

    In Singapore, the festival is typically celebrated with dragon boat race and eating Bak Chang aka glutinous rice dumplings (it could be more elaborate in China). Nowadays, many people have long forgotten about the significance of this festival and affectionately call this day Rice Dumpling Day without knowing the true meaning behind it.

    My knowledge of rice dumpling is very limited, I only know a few variations or flavours, such as Hokkien savoury rice dumpling which typically includes pork belly, mushroom, dried shrimp and chestnut; Nyonya sweet rice dumpling which includes minced pork and candied winter melon; Kee Chang or Alkaline rice dumpling which is basically tasteless and eaten with coconut palm sugar syrup. These days, there are of course more flavours and additional ingredients such as salted egg yolk, abalone, scallop and sweet ones with red beans etc etc.

    My mum learnt to wrap the Hokkien-style bak chang from my paternal grandmother and auntie, and from there she adapted her own taste for the ingredients and texture of the glutinous rice. My mum's bak chang is lighter on the palate; the glutinous rice is softer in texture and less salty so I can still taste the aroma from the bamboo leaf. Each ingredient is pre-cooked separately so each has its own flavour/aroma yet complement one another in the dumpling.

    That said, every household has their own recipes and personal flavours but since young I grew up with my mum's bak chang so I'm very used to this particular taste and texture. So much so that I'm quite picky when it comes to bak chang. Usually commercial ones don't impress me much as they tend to be overwhelming in taste and heavy on the palate. I like my bak chang small, less seasonings, less rice and more ingredients.

    Anyways, all these years I have not bothered to learn how to make bak chang as my mum would wrap a few dozens for giveaways. However she has stopped in the recent years. So I reckoned I ought to pick up the skill from her, else this heritage cuisine might be lost in my family! Haha. Sounds so serious.

    So last year during the Duan Wu Festival period, I asked my mum to teach me how to make bak chang from scratch. She already prepared most of the ingredients, and showed me how to fry the glutinous rice and wrap the bak chang the proper way. As with folks of her generation, everything was done with estimation, so I simply asked her for the ingredients and method and try to figure out the quantity on another day. Frankly cooking is the easier part, the tough part is the wrapping and I'm lousy at wrapping! I remembered I took like 10 mins to wrap one bak chang, as I was trying to figure out how to shape and secure it properly. I even asked my mum to buy a full set of ingredients for me to practise (and figure out the recipes). As usual I procrastinated till late November (before my shift to Thailand) and I think I only wrapped 18 pieces, and some of the bak chang turned out quite ugly. But at least I figured out the quantity of ingredients and noted the proper steps.

    Few weeks ago I was back in SG and the shops were beginning to sell bak chang materials/ingredients, just the right time! Ok, yep I brought back the key stuff and did my wrapping two days ago! My second solo attempt in wrapping bak chang \(".)/

    My target this time is 3 dozens as I intend to gift them to my girlfriends here (if the bak chang turns out good). Preparation work started on Tuesday night, where I soaked some of the ingredients first. Spent Wednesday morning pre-cooking all the ingredients and finally started wrapping and cooking in the afternoon. By the time I completed 30 pieces of bak chang, it was evening. Underestimated the quantity of glutinous rice and I still had some leftover ingredients. Was in a dilemma whether to prepare an additional batch of glutinous rice as I was very tired already and my kitchen was like a war zone. In the end, I decided to push ahead and made another 9 pieces. So it's literally a full day's work and I managed to wrap 39 pieces of bak chang in total!

    I'm quite happy with my attempt this time, most of the bak chang turn out well and resemble the triangular shapes. LOL! However, I was a little inconsistent, the first batch had slightly more rice than ingredients and as I progressed, managed to adjust such that there were more ingredients or at least balanced amount.

    Here are the key ingredients for bak chang.

    Dried mushroom (Japanese shiitake) - I bought the smaller ones (from SG) so that I can wrap the whole piece in each dumpling without cutting. Wash and soak them overnight.

    Dried shrimp - These were bought from Laem Chabang, a coastal port north of Pattaya. I chose the large ones to have more bite. Wash and soak in hot water for 15-20 mins.

    Pork belly - I bought them from the supermarket here, they came in long strips of about 1.5 inches width. Remove the skin (else too tough) and bones (if any). Cook the strips in a broth water (recipe below) till just cooked (able to poke through meat with chopsticks), remove and cut into bite-size pieces. *Strain and reserve the broth water for later use.

    Dried chestnut - These were bought in whole pieces from SG, imported from Italy. My mum bought Canadian ones last year but I couldn't find. Boil the dried chestnut and soak overnight, the next day remove the tough brownish membrane bits from the chestnut.

    Glutinous rice - If possible buy a special breed called Rat Tooth (鼠牙)only available during this period. It's more refined and softer in texture. Otherwise, any good grade of glutinous rice is fine. Wash and soak for 2-3hrs.

    Pre-cooking for the ingredients (detail recipes below):

    Pork belly - stir-fry the pork belly pieces with shallot oil, five-spice powder, coriander powder, white pepper, salt and broth, till fragrant.

    Dried chestnut - braise the chestnut in broth water (used to cook pork belly strips) till soft (not mushy).

    Dried mushroom - Stir-fry the mushroom with shallot oil, coriander powder, five spice powder, pepper, dark soy sauce, sugar and salt and braise in broth water.

    Dried shrimp - Stir-fry the shrimp in shallot oil, coriander powder and white pepper till fragrant.

    Glutinous rice - stir-fry the rice in shallot oil, season with salt, white pepper and dar soy sauce (for colour), to taste. Fry till fragrant and slightly sticky.

    Bamboo leaf and string - wash and soak in water till ready to use. Choose the mid-size ones, trim edges if necessary.

    Once the mise en place is done, the wrapping which is the tough part begins!

    Here are three videos I took last year, my mum giving tutorial on how to wrap the bak chang. They are now my previous go-to guide!

    Bak Chang 肉粽 ~ Glutinous Rice Dumpling
    (makes around 39-40 pieces)

    (A) Pork Belly

    • 6 strips pork belly (about 880g after removing skin & some fats, 1.5 inches in width)
    • Broth water: 5 cloves garlic, 1 spring onion, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1.25L water
    • Seasonings: 2 tbsp shallot oil, 1/2 tsp five spice powder, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/4 tsp white pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 8 tbsp broth water
    1. Wash the pork belly, remove skin and bottom bone layer (if any).
    2. Place pork belly into a pot, add the broth water ingredients, bring to boil and cook till chopstick is able to go through the meat (just cooked).
    3. Remove from broth water and cut the pork into bite-size pieces (about 45 pcs)
    4. Strain the broth water and set aside for use later.
    5. In a frying pan, add shallot oil and stir-fry the pork bites till slightly browned. Add five spice powder, coriander powder, white pepper and salt and stir till well-mixed. Add broth water and simmer for 5 mins. Dish and set aside.

    (B) Chestnut 

    • 250g dried chestnut (around 45 pcs)
    • 2 cups broth water (from cooking the pork belly)
    1. Wash and place chestnut into a small pot. Add enough water to cover more than 1 inch of the chestnut. Bring the water to boil. Off heat, cover and let the chestnut soak overnight.
    2. The next day, remove the tough bits of brownish membrane in the chestnut.
    3. Place the chestnut in a small pot, add broth water and cook till the chestnut turns soft (not too soft). Dish and set aside.
    (C) Dried Shrimp
    • 70g dried shrimp (around 90 pcs)
    • Seasonings: 2 tsp shallot oil, pinch of coriander powder and white pepper
    1. Wash the dried shrimp a few times. Soak in hot water for 15-20 mins. Clean throughly and drain.
    2. In a frying pan, add shallot oil and stir-fry the shrimp with the coriander powder and white pepper till fragrant. Dish and set aside.
    (D) Mushroom
    • 45pcs dried mushroom
    • Seasonings: 1 tbsp shallot oil, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp five-spice powder, 1/4 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp dark soy sauce, 1 cup broth water
    1. Wash and soak mushroom in water overnight.
    2. The next day, drain water and squeeze dry the mushroom slightly.
    3. In a pot, add shallot oil and stir-fry the mushroom with the seasonings till fragrant. Add broth water and braise for 15 mins (or liquid almost becomes dry). Dish and set aside.

    (E) Glutinous Rice

    • 1.85kg glutinous rice
    • Seasonings: 10 tbsp shallot oil, salt, white pepper, dark soy sauce (to taste)
    1. Wash and soak the rice for 2-3 hrs. Drain.
    2. In a large wok or frying pan, add shallot oil and drained rice. Stir-fry till rice is shiny and coated with oil. Season with salt, white pepper and dark soy sauce. Stir-fry till seasonings well-mixed and rice is slightly sticky.
    3. ***Salt and pepper is to taste (take a few grains of rice to try, I added around 5-6 tsp of salt). Dark soy sauce is for colour, add tsp by tsp till desired colour tone. My wok is not big enough, I had to fry in 2-3 batches. After frying the batches, I mix all the rice together in an extra large mixing bowl and mix them well. Set aside.
    (F) Bamboo leaf and string
    • 90-100 pcs bamboo leaves
    • 40-50 string (not sure what string they are, they come together in the pack, maybe banana string)
    1. Wash and soak the bamboo leaves and string till ready to use.
    2. Tie the string in bundles of 10 for easy counting and cooking. Hang the bundle using hook at height level for ease of tying the bak chang.
    Assembly and cooking
    1. Take 2 bamboo leaves, place them opposite sides of each other.
    2. Twist the leaves to become a "cup". Add about 1 tbsp of glutinous rice into the cup, add pork, mushroom, dried shrimp and chestnut. Add another 1+ tbsp of glutinous rice to cover the ingredients, drizzle 1-2 tsp of chestnut water.
    3. Wrap up the rice dumpling and securely it tightly using the string. 
    4. Once 10 pieces of dumping per bundle is completed, they can be sent for cooking. To cook, add  water to a large pot (around 2/3 depth), bring to boil and add 1 tbsp of salt. Lower the bundle of dumplings into the pot and boil on medium heat for about 1 hour (make sure the water covers all the rice dumplings). Once done remove from water and hang to cool slightly (optional) before eating.
    5. *** My cooking pot is small, can only boil 10 pieces of dumplings at one time. For bigger pots, may be able to cook larger quantity, but avoid overcrowding the pot to ensure dumplings are properly cooked.
    6. *** Rice dumplings are best eaten warm. Steam for 10-15 mins before eating. They can be stored in freezer for up to 1 month or fridge for a week. Thaw before steaming.
    *Shallot Oil
    Shallot oil is a key ingredient in bak chang making. It's available at supermarkets but quite easy to prepare at home. 
    • 150g shallot, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup cooking oil
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    1. Add cooking oil and salt to small pot on medium low heat, add sliced shallots and fry till shallot turns golden brown. Watch closely towards the last few minutes as the shallots can get burnt easily.
    2. Drain and set aside oil for use. For the crispy shallot, it can be enjoyed as a condiment for stir-fried vegetables, fried rice, noodles etc etc.

    My very first batch of bak chang fresh from the pot two days ago. Quite pleased that they turned out reasonably well =D

    Gifted half of the bak chang to my girlfriends and they loved it! The hb and I have also been having bak chang for breakfast for the past two days. LOL! The rest are kept in the freezer and we will eat them whenever there's a craving!

    Overall, really happy with how my bak chang turns out, most of them look reasonably nice =D Although it's a lot of hard work and effort involved, the satisfaction is immense. Hopefully I will be able to practise making bak chang at least once a year! Or maybe next year I should learn to make Nyonya Chang?

    03 June 2018

    Thai-Themed Meal: Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cake), Khao Pad Sapparod (Pineapple Fried Rice), Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad)

    [ Collaboration with Borges Singapore and Singapore Home Cooks ]
    Dish 1 - Braised Chicken with Bamboo Shoot & Mushroom
    Dish 2 - Thai-themed ~ Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cake) and Khao Pad Sapparod (Pineapple Fried Rice)

    As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been using olive oil and grapeseed oil for most of my cooking in the recent years, because they are healthier and boast of multiple health benefits. Many people have this misconception that olive oil and grapeseed oil can only be used for western cooking or drizzling on salad; however both oils are good for stir-frying and deep-frying as well! I usually alternate between the two types of oil for my cooking (as well as baking).

    Once again appreciate the opportunity given by Borges Singapore and Singapore Home Cooks to demonstrate the use of olive oil and grapeseed oil in our common daily Asian dishes :)

    For my second dish (or rather dishes), I'm going Thai since I'm currently residing in Thailand =D That said, many Singaporeans simply love Thailand as well as Thai food, judging from the frequent trips that I see on FB by friends and snaking queues at Thai eateries in Singapore. My family included :p

    I've been trying to cook more thai dishes, since I've access to more thai ingredients now. Today's dishes are Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cake), Khao Pad Sapparod (Pineapple Fried Rice), Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad), all popular and quite easy to cook at home, and I'm using Borges Grapeseed oil to cook them (except for Som Tum which doesn't require oil).

    Some useful info about Grapeseed oil (source from Borges Singapore and Singapore Home Cooks):
    • Cholesterol Free. Contains vitamin E and A. 
    • Ideal for Wok, sautéing, frying and fondues.
    • Mild taste, light and nutty overstones that allows the flavours of other foods to shine through when used for frying and cooking.
    • Contains acid linoleic essential fats.
    • Low in saturated fats. No Trans Fat.
    • Carbohydrate and sodium free.
    • No added preservatives, flavourings or colorings.
    • With a smoke point 210-245ºC, it is ideal for stir-frying, fondues and deep-frying.
    The Grapeseed oil is unique by its polyunsaturated fatty acid concentration and natural antioxidants that contribute to regulating the free cholesterol presence and radicals in the body. Grapeseed oil has a relatively high smoke point approximately 420ºF (260ºC), so it can be safely used for stir-fries, sautéing and fondue. In addition to this smoking point, Grapeseed oil has other positive attributes in relation to cooking. It has a clean, light taste that can be described as “nutty”.

    Tod Mun Pla or Thai Fish Cake is a popular snack or appetiser which is very easy to make at home. Simply blend fish meat, red curry paste, egg yolk and sugar into a paste, add long beans, kaffir lime leaf and thai/holy basil, shape into a patty and pan-fry. Taste really good with sweet chilli dipping sauce. I make my own sweet chilli dipping sauce as well, so that I can adjust the sweetness and spiciness level. Mine is less sweet with more vinegar (for a more tangy taste).

    Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cake)
    (makes about 18-20 pcs)

    • 500g fish meat (choose more tender fish, I use dory and tilapia)
    • 2 tbsp red curry paste (storebought)
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 2 stalks long beans, cut into thin slices
    • 8 pcs kaffir lime leaves, cut very finely
    • Handful of thai basil or holy basil
    • Fish sauce (to taste, if necessary)
    • 10 tbsp Grapeseed Oil (Borges)
    1. Cut fish meat into small pieces. Add the fish meat, red curry paste, egg yolk and sugar into a food processor or chopper and blend till a paste forms.
    2. Taste-test: Wet both hands and a teaspoon, scoop a spoonful of paste and form into a patty. Heat a frying pan with 1 tbsp of oil and pan-fry the patty till golden brown on both sides. Taste to see if salty or flavourful enough. I use store-bought red curry which is quite salty and flavourful. If not, add 1 tbsp more of red curry paste and/or 1 tsp of fish sauce to the fish paste.
    3. Once fish paste is ready, add long beans, kaffir lime leaves and basil, use a spatula to fold the ingredients till well-mixed.
    4. Heat frying pan with 10 tbsp of oil (my pan is 26cm) on medium high heat. Wet both hands and a tablespoon, scoop a spoonful of paste and form into a patty using the hands. Pan-fry the shaped patties in the frying pan till golden brown on both sides.
    5. Best serve hot with sweet chilli dipping sauce.

    Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce

    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 1 big red chilli
    • 3-4 thai chilli/chilli padi (to taste)
    • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp sugar (to taste)
    • 1/3 cup white or rice vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 3 tbsp water
    • Garnish: sliced shallot, cucumber and coriander
    1. In an electric chopper or food processor, add garlic and both chilli and blend coarsely (bits are visible).
    2. Place blended garlic and chilli bits into a small pot, add sugar, vinegar, salt and water and bring to gentle boil over low heat. Taste and add more sugar or chilli if necessary.
    3. Stir till mixture turns syrupy and remove from heat. The mixture will thicken slightly more once cool down. 
    4. To serve, top with sliced shallot, cucumber and coriander.

    Pineapple fried rice is yet another favourite dish, as it has a tinge of sweetness from the pineapple (and raisins), aroma from curry powder, seafood freshness from the prawns and different textures from the rice and cashew nuts.

    Khao Pad Sapparod (Pineapple Fried Rice)
    (serves 4-5)

    • 3-4 tbsp Grapeseed Oil (Borges)
    • 10 pcs prawns, deveined and sliced into half
    • 2 eggs
    • 530g cooked rice (preferably overnight)
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 10 pcs cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
    • 150g pineapple flesh, cut into small pieces
    • 60g cashew nuts, lightly toasted
    • 4 tsp thai soy sauce
    • 2 tsp fish sauce
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • pinch of salt
    • 1.5 tsp curry powder
    • 1/2 tsp white pepper
    • 4 stalks spring onion, finely chopped
    • Garnish: coriander, thai lime
    1. Heat up a large deep frying pan or wok on medium high heat, add 2 tbsp of grapeseed oil and saute the sliced prawns till just cooked. Dish up and set aside.
    2. Add 1 tbsp of oil, add the eggs and scramble lightly. Once eggs are almost cooked, add the rice and toss to mix well with the eggs.
    3. Push the rice aside, add 1 tbsp of oil and saute the onion till slightly cooked (changes colour), then toss the onion with the rice.
    4. Add the seasonings and toss the rice to mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Mine is on lighter side.
    5. Add cooked prawns, cherry tomatoes, pineapple, cashews into the rice. Toss to mix well.
    6. Off heat and add spring onions and toss to mix well.
    7. Best serve hot (in pineapple bowl or plates).

    And finally Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad)! This is such a refreshing salad that our family eats it so very often as it's crunchy and appetising with different textures and taste. Many times the HB would tabao from the evening market on his way back from work. It's convenient to buy from street stalls as you can find it everywhere, but the thing is sometimes they are too spicy and sweet for my palate. Of course the advantage of homemade is, you can adjust the taste to suit your own tastebud.

    The below recipe is on the lighter side, feel free to adjust the seasonings. As my mortar and pestle is  small and I don't have a big proper som tum mortar, I make my som tum in my own steps by batches, which is not the authentic way of preparing it. Please google or check youtube videos on how it's done properly.

    Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad)
    (serves 4)

    • 200g julienned green papaya (I use a slicer tool to slice the papaya into thin strips)
    • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 2 stalks long beans, cut into 1cm pieces
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 3-4 thai chilli, add more to taste
    • 2 tbsp fish sauce, add more to taste
    • 1-2 tbsp palm sugar, add more to taste
    • Juice from 1 thai lime, add more to taste
    • 3 tsp tamarind juice, add more to taste
    • 3 tbsp raw skinless peanuts, toasted till slightly browned
    • 1 tbsp tiny dried shrimps, lightly toasted
    1. Soak the julienned green papaya in iced water for 10 mins. After 10 mins, dry using salad spinner or kitchen towel.
    2. Add the green papaya into a large mixing bowl, use a pestle to lightly pound/crush the papaya strips.
    3. Add cherry tomatoes and long beans into the mixing bowl and lightly pound/crush them using the pestle.
    4. Add the tiny dried shrimps into the salad.
    5. Add the peanuts into the stone mortar, lightly crush the peanuts into halves or smaller pieces. Add the peanut pieces into the salad.
    6. In the same stone mortar, pound the garlic and chilli till a coarse paste. Add fish sauce, palm sugar, lime juice and tamarind juice. Lightly pound and stir till the palm sugar is melted.
    7. Pour the sauce from the mortar into the mixing bowl, toss everything together till well-mixed. 
    8. Taste the salad and adjust taste to preference.
    9. The salad tastes best freshly prepared.

    Hope everyone enjoys these thai dishes! I'll try to post more thai recipes in time to come (if I have the time!). Stay tuned :)

    LAST CALL for Borges Giveaway!
    Want the best from the Mediterranean? We are giving away three sets of Borges Gift Basket worth $60 at http://bit.ly/2INmCz4 

    Be sure to check it out!

    01 June 2018

    Braised Chicken with Bamboo Shoot & Mushroom

    [ Collaboration with Borges Singapore and Singapore Home Cooks ]
    Dish 1 - Braised Chicken with Bamboo Shoot & Mushroom
    Dish 2 - Thai-themed ~ Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cake) and Khao Pad Sapparod (Pineapple Fried Rice)

    In the recent years, I've switched to using olive oil and grapeseed oil for most of my cooking, because they are healthier and boast of multiple health benefits. Many people have this misconception that olive oil and grapeseed oil can only be used for western cooking or drizzling on salad; however both oils are good for stir-frying and deep-frying as well!

    Really pleased and honoured to be partnering with Borges Singapore and Singapore Home Cooks to demonstrate the use of olive oil and grapeseed oil in our common daily Asian dishes :)

    For my first dish, I'm using the Borges Classic Olive Oil to cook this simple but wholesome one-pot meal, Braised Chicken with Bamboo Shoot & Mushroom. I believe most chinese families would have our own rendition of this classic chicken stew at home, as it's like a comfort and homey dish to many of us.

    Olive oil is considered as the healthiest fat due to its high content in oleic acid. For the Borges Classic Olive Oil, it is a blend of quality refined olive oil and a high quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Due to its less accentuated flavor and aroma, it is the most suitable oil for frying, braising and for vegetable and meat stews. 

    Some useful information about using olive oil in the kitchen (source from Borges Singapore and Singapore Home Cooks):
    1. Whether fried, boiled or roasted, any food should be cooked at low heat. The temperature should never exceed 200ºC so that the olive oil does not deteriorate.
    2. The best temperature to fry green vegetables and fish is between 155 and 160ºC. For other foodstuffs, between 175 and 185ºC. Never exceed 210ºC, as olive oil starts to burn beyond this temperature.
    3. If the recommended temperature is respected, olive oil hardly penetrated the food, does not increase its calorific value and maintains its nutritional qualities.
    4. Filtering olive oil after frying allows to be re-used 4 times.

    Braised Chicken with Bamboo Shoot & Mushroom
    (served 4-5)

    • 1.2kg chicken meat, chopped into pieces
    • 12pcs dried mushroom, soaked in water to re-hydrate
    • 200g bamboo shoot, sliced
    • 6 stalks spring onion, lower portion only
    • 5 slices ginger, sliced
    • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
    • 5 tbsp Classic Olive Oil (Borges)
    • 1/2 cup mushroom water (used to soak the mushroom)
    • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
    • Corn starch slurry (1 tsp corn starch + 2 tsp water) 
    • Garnish: spring onion, chilli, coriander
    • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp hua tiao cooking wine
    • 2 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 tbsp corn starch
    • 1/4 tsp white pepper
    1. Marinate the chicken pieces with oyster sauce, soy sauce, hua tiao cooking wine, sesame oil, corn starch and white pepper for 3-4hrs.
    2. Heat a cooking pot to medium high heat, add olive oil and saute spring onion, ginger and garlic till fragrant.
    3. Add the marinated chicken pieces and stir-fry till slightly browned.
    4. Add the mushroom and bamboo shoot, and stir-fry with the chicken for a minute.
    5. Add the mushroom water and bring the mixture to boil.
    6. Turn heat to low and let the chicken simmer for about 20-25 mins.
    7. Add dark soy sauce to the braised chicken for some colour and corn starch slurry to thicken sauce slightly. (add sea salt to taste if desired, I didn't add as I find the sauce flavourful enough from the marinate).
    8. Garnish and serve hot with rice.

    This pot of wholesome goodness smells so aromatic when I'm cooking it, even my mum who's with me exclaimed that the aroma is tantalising. And indeed, the sauce is heavenly and goes so well with rice! Couldn't resist second helping :d~~~

    Do give this simple one-pot dish a try with Borges Classic Olive Oil :)

    Want the best from the Mediterranean? We are giving away three sets of Borges Gift Basket worth $60 at http://bit.ly/2INmCz4 

    Be sure to check it out!