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Archive for the ‘garlic’ Category

Another one of my favourite dishes, and one that we used to have quite often on the dinner table at home. However, in recent years we haven’t enjoyed this dish, and looking back I guess it coincides with the time that my grandmother stopped going to the wet market (and visited only supermarkets) because it was too slippery and dangerous for her as her walking became more unsteady. At the supermarket, fresh bamboo shoot is not easily available, so not being able to procure it meant that we didn’t cook this dish anymore.

If you’re not familiar with this dish, what the instructions below don’t tell you is that the tauhu+pork+prawns+egg mixture is to be shaped into giant meatballs (bigger than a squash ball, bit smaller than a tennis ball). The tauhu meatballs and shredded bamboo shoots (two-inch long sticks) are then put into a soup made from taucheow, garlic and prawn stock.

Pong Tauhu

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A whole series of acha (achar) recipes starting from today. We can think of acha as the local version of the pickled onions/cauliflower recipes I posted earlier.

Acha recipes labelled ‘Penang’ and ‘Malacca’, illustrate the regional differences and the very Straits Settlements-based nature of these Straits Chinese acha recipes.

The vegetables are not specified, but cucumber, carrots, cauliflower and cabbage are common ones to use for acha.

I’m not certain if ‘saffron juice’ in fact refers to the more commonly-used turmeric (kunyit), as the two are both yellow spices and often confused with each other. See my notes in the Malacca acha recipe.

Acha Penang

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This was an interesting recipe to try and figure out because of all the unfamiliar names, with non-standard phonetics. They sounded like Cantonese, so I went around asking Cantonese speakers to get some answers. Once I got the English names, it was easy to check up the Chinese characters and double check the pronunciation in Cantonese and Mandarin, thanks to CantoDict.

“Loa may” = 鹵味 = lou5 mei6 [Cantonese] / lu3 wei4 [Mandarin]
My Ee Poh Peggy tells me that this basically refers to a braised dish, and this style of cooking used to be very popular in the past – there were many types of “loa may” dishes. When I visited Taiwan, I came across a lot of
鹵味 lu3 wei4 dishes, especially 鹵肉販 lu3 rou4 fan4, which is bits of soya-sauce-braised pork fat spooned over your bowl of white rice as an alternative to plain white rice to eat with various small dishes. It’s harder to find lard cubes in health-conscious Singapore these days, as compared to the 1960s.

“Yin sye mai” = = jyun4 seoi1 mai5 [Cantonese] / yuan2 sui1 mi3[Mandarin] = coriander seed

“Park-kork” = 八角 = baat3 gok3 [Cantonese] / ba1 jiao3 [Mandarin] = star anise

“Kwai phay” = 桂皮 = gwai3 pei4 [Cantonese] /gui4 pi2 [Mandarin] = cinnamon
This was the hard one,
not everyone knew it and the ‘phay’ [skin] part of the phrase made us guess all sorts of other things, such as lemon peel, which didn’t sound right in the context of this recipe.

Chicken Loa May A

Chicken Loa May B

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The ingredients for filling and egg skin one more time! However, this time there are finally instructions on how to prepare the filling.

Notes:
– the pork is specifically ‘sam chang’, the pork with fatty layers which make it tender and juicy :),
– ‘tau cheong’ (Cantonese) is used in the list of ingredients here, but in the other ingredients lists posted previously as well as in the instructions here, the Hokkien version, ‘tau cheow’ is used.

My grandmother’s tip on preparing the filling: grated bangkwang is too fine, it doesn’t give the same ‘bite’ as hand-chopped bangkwang. So no modern shortcuts if you want to get that ‘traditional’ taste :)!

See my last entry on the importance of duck’s eggs (as opposed to chicken’s eggs). Do check out my other poh piah entries here.
Popia 4A

Popia 4B

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Another page of poh piah quantities – ingredients for the filling as well as to make the egg skin. It looks like this page of notes has been revised, edited and added to several times over the years, and most likely 1994 was the most recent one – 32 years after the notes featured in my last poh piah posting. (Do check out my other poh piah entries here.)

Some indications of the changing times are:
1) different writing instruments: a blue pencil, blue fountain pen ink, blue ballpoint pen and blue felt-tip pen (must have been Schwan! the type my grandfather loved to use and stocked up the home with!).
2) differing measurement systems: katis and pounds put next to kilograms here.

Note the useful little table of equivalents for pieces of poh piah skin in pounds and katis.

I think “3 D. eggs” means “3 duck’s eggs”. See further comments here.

As what for ‘starch’ refers to, it’s not cornflour – often known as ‘cornstarch’ – which is listed as a separate ingredient. Oddly enough, in my first poh piah egg skin posting, I’ve written wheat flour and tapioca flour (where’s the cornflour?) [NB 19/5/07: just spoke to my grandmother’s friend, who is named elsewhere in the notebook the person as behind the wheat+tapioca flour recipe. She’s an amazing nonya cook of the ‘agak-agak‘ tradition, and confirms that 2 parts wheat flour + 1 part tapioca flour is what she uses.] In the second poh piah posting, I had ‘starch’ and ‘flour’! Perhaps the answer is: cornstarch and tapioca flour?? (I’ve just tried to check it up, but there’s nothing in Mrs Lee Chin Koon’s cookbook (the original 1974 version of the ‘New Mrs Lee’s Cookbook‘), nor any of the other nonya cookbooks I have.) [NB: figured it out, see my answer here.]

Once again, no instructions! But don’t despair, there are many more pages on poh piah which I will share with you in the coming days (^_^).

Popia 3

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After that wonderful Poh Piah Egg Skin making photo, of course, we’ll have a series of Poh Piah notes to follow. Don’t forget, the very first recipe I posted here was my grandmother’s Poh Piah notes from the 1990s :).

No instructions here, just quantities of ingredients for Poh Pia(h)/popia filling. If I interpret the notes correctly, this would have been enough to feed our own family for lunch & dinner, as well as family friends, ‘Choa family’ for dinner, and in December 1962, all this would have cost $10.

Measurements in tahils, katis and pounds.

Short forms and ingredients:
B. kwang = bangkuang
B. cheow = bee cheo / sweet flour sauce
Wanswee = coriander leaf

Interesting spelling variations on the Chinese words :).

Don’t forget to check out my other poh piah entries here.

Popia 1

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 Sweet and Sour Pork

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