We Have Moved…

Dear friends and followers,

The decision to strike out and own my URL had been brewing for a while. Buoyed by your encouragement and support, I took the plunge the sought to own the domain name for Ginger and Chilli. Unfortunately someone else had the same idea for the spicy name and I had to come up with Plan B.

Plan B:
Step 1.  Find a name that represents my style and recipes.
Step 2. Check if the URL is available. Buy URL.
Step 3. Begin migration to Ginger and Cilantro.

You have been my motivating force and source of encouragement. I am very excited about the new website, and I look forward to your continued support and feedback. Please visit and follow me at:

Ginger and Cilantro!

Ginger and Cilantro Logo (1) DSC04377

Fried Salmon Cubes

Fried Salmon Cubes 20160529 (3)

I had a halved salmon tail, unskinned, wrapped in my freezer. I remember having scrumptious fried salmon at home, seasoned with nothing but salt and pepper coated with a little bit of flour. Here I added turmeric. Having learnt about the health benefits of curcumin, the chemical in responsible for the yellow colouring in turmeric, I have been trying to incorporate the spice into my dishes in moderation. As with any frying method of cooking, the drier the fish is, the crispier the result. Use kitchen towels to squeeze as much water out as possible. Coat salmon cubes with a dry rub.

Dry RubFried Salmon Cubes 20160529 (1)
½ cup flour
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt

Instructions
1. Shake off excess marinade from salmon cubes.
2. Heat 5 tbsp of oil till very hot.
3. Carefully place pieces of salmon into oil and lower heat to medium-high. Allow to cook till a thin crispy crust forms on one side. If using salmon with skin still on, start with the skin side down.
4. Turn pieces over and repeat on other side. You can also repeat on any other sides that are not crisped by then.
5. Remove onto a piece of kitchen towel to soak up excess oil and serve.

Fried Salmon Cubes 20160529 (2)

Serves 3

For gluten-free version, omit flour in the dry rub.

 

 

 

 

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Fried Tang Hoon (glass noodles) 炒粉丝

Fried Tang Hoon 20160518 (1)

Tang hoon, also called vermicelli, glass noodles, 冬粉 (dong fen, meaning winter noodles), is a light version of bee hoon, typically made from some kind of starch. Most commonly found are ones made of mung bean starch, often referred to as ‘mung bean thread’. Compared to bee hoon, which is made of rice, tang hoon is finer and more delicate. Further, it looks glassy and transparent when cooked, hence the name ‘glass noodles. Tang hoon is tasteless on its own, making it a versatile addition to many dishes. It can be used to add textural interest to soup or gravy, as a side dish when stir-fried, or as in this recipe, as a meal by itself. Common ingredients for stir-fries include some combination of chicken, fried or dried shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, fish cake and bean sprouts. It is merely a matter of preference, variety and choice. I added a hefty dose of pepper in my version; go easy if you do not care for it as much.

 

Fried Tang Hoon 20160518 (2)

Ingredients
2 packets tang hoon, soaked till soft and drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, diced
2 eggs, beaten
½ carrot, julienned
Handful of bak choy leaves

Sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 oyster sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
½ cup vegetable stock
1 tsp pepper

Instructions
1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in wok. Add garlic and shallots. Stir-fry till golden.
2. Add carrots. Fry till nearly cooked through.
3. Add bak choy leaves. Fry till wilted,
4. Add tang hoon and sauce. Stir to combine well. Lower heat to medium.
5. When liquid is mostly absorbed, add eggs to side of wok and leave untouched till eggs are half-cooked. Break up egg and mix into tang hoon till eggs are cooked through.
6. Garnish with green onions. Serve with dollop of belachan.

Serves 2 (as a meal)
Serves 4 (as a sidedish)

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All-Essential Condiment: Belachan

Always accompanying Southeast Asian food, belachan is a mainstay in cuisine from south of China, to Thailand, to Malaysia, to Singapore, to Indonesia and to reaches far and in-between. Needless to say, as Straits-cooking is a fusion of Malay, Chinese and Dutch influences, it is an essential condiment to nonya or Peranakan food.  At its heart is shrimp paste. Preparation from there on varies widely based on culture, cuisine and heritage. Some version of it can be easily found in any Asian food store around the world. However, every Southeast Asian family is likely to know someone who will insist that so-and-so in the family makes the best homemade belachan ever, and proclaim it with quiet pride. I am no different. I like mine spicy, made with chilli and sometimes a touch of lime for an added zing.

One of my favourite store-bought version is from Glory Foods:
Glory Sambal Chilli with Prawns

For more information about Shrimp Paste, follow this link.
For more information about Straits Chinese or Peranakan, follow this link.

Braised Eggplant and Minced Pork

Eggplant and Pork 20160517 (1)

Plump, firm, bright purple in colour – ‘Eggplant’ as it is widely known here in America, commonly called ‘Aubergine’ in Europe, and liltingly called ‘Brinjal’ in my homeland in South-East Asia, is rather bitter when raw but easily absorbs flavours used in the cooking process. Its versatility is evidenced by its widespread use in varying cuisines around the world, using a range of preparation techniques. Here is one of my staple recipes using only a handful of ingredients that are easily found in my pantry. Asian eggplants which are elongated in shape are easily available here and is what I have used, cut into 2″ x ½” strips. If using oval-shaped ones, they can be cut into semi-circular pieces, ½” cubes or any shape that is easy to eat. Braising allows the eggplant to slowly soak up the sauces, giving it a complex, rich taste.

Ingredients
2 medium-sized eggplants, cut into 2″ x ½” strips
½ lb minced pork
5 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, mincedEggplant and Pork 20160517 (3)
Cilantro, to garnish

Sauce
4 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing) or dry sherry
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon black vinegar
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pepper

 

Instructions
1. Prepare sauce and mix well. Set aside.
2. Heat a little oil in a wok. Add pork into hot oil, breaking up the pieces Eggplant and Pork 20160517 (2)constantly to prevent clumping.
3. When pork is half-cooked, add a little more oil and reduce the heat.
4. Add garlic and eggplant. Cook till eggplant starts to wilt at the edges, about 2-3 minutes.
5. Add mushrooms and cook for 1 minute.
6. Add sauce and bring it to a boil, stirring to coat eggplant in the sauce. A little water (no more than ½ cup)  may be added if sauce is insufficient.
7. Reduce heat to a medium simmer and cover till eggplant is fully cooked and sauce has mostly been absorbed.
8. Garnish with cilantro.

Serves 4

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Celery with Chicken and Cashew nuts

Celery Chicken 20160512 blogA twist on the classic ‘Cashew Chicken’.  This dish features celery as the main ingredient, making for a healthier option. Season the chicken well, according to your personal taste. A dash of paprika or turmeric adds a more exotic flavor. Chili powder offers a spicy kick. The small amount of protein will go a long way in enticing the palette. Picky eaters will forget they are eating vegetables.

Ingredients
1/2 lb chicken, cubed, and lightly seasoned with cornstarch and pepper
3 cups celery, diced
A handful of roasted cashews
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
3 cloves garlic, sliced

Instructions
1. Fry garlic till just about to turn golden.
2. Toss chicken and quickly fry till half-cooked.
3. Add celery, starting with stems which take more time to cook than leaves, if any.
4. Season with soy sauce and oyster sauce. Lower heat and cook for 1 minute.

Serves 2

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Chai poh 菜脯卵 (Salted Radish) Omelette

I wasn’t in the mood to cook today. It was a good thing I have eggs on hand. And chai poh.
Chai poh 菜脯 is salted radish, easily found in asian supermarkets. Very commonly found accompanying teochew porridge. Well, good thing I have some one hand too. Chai poh neng 菜脯卵, or salted radish omelette, is easy to make and traditionally has only 1 ingredient – you guessed it – eggs. I added shallots and ginger here because I wanted fragrance from the shallots, and heat from the ginger.

Ingredients
½ handful of chai poh
3 eggs, beaten
2 shallots, chopped finely
1″ ginger, chopped finely
salt/pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Rince chai poh several times in water to remove some of the saltiness. Squeeze dry and remove as much water as possible using paper towels.
2. Heat up some oil and stir try chai poh. This is to give it a slightly crispy texture, hence you want it as dry as possible. Note that it will never become completely crispy!
3. After about 30 seconds, add shallots and ginger. Fry till fragrant.
4. Prepare beaten eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Go easy on the salt as chai poh is already salty.
5. On high heat, add beaten eggs. Swirl eggs around pan evenly. Solid whites should form quickly around the edges. Lower to medium heat after about 5 seconds.
6. Allow eggs to cook. Spread eggs around if necessary to keep it even.
7. Flip or fold the omelette, depending on your preference, and cook till done.

Serves 2

Cai Po Neng

image courtesy of noobcook