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From Cha-plang photos

Shadow stormtrooper: Hi…what can I get you?

Stormtrooper: Hmmm…I think I’ll have the bak-chang, the vegetable curry, and a pecan pie for dessert.

From Good Food: Bad Photos

a) Bak-chang (sticky rice dumpling with meat and salted egg yolk)

I didn’t make this. I’ve seen dumplings in the ready food aisle at the local Asian store. I’ve always hesitated to buy anything in that refrigerator, since I have no idea how long the food items have been sitting in there. But I caved in to the bak-chang, partly because I can’t remember if I had it during my last trip home. It cost around US$3 and was quite good, not the best, but good enough.

From Good Food: Bad Photos

b) Vegetable curry

I made this for the early sort-of Thanksgiving dinner that I had 2 weeks ago. It’s not a vegetarian curry because I added a bit of ikan bilis (anchovy) seasoning to add more pizazz to the curry. It has cauliflower, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, tau-pok (soy puff), yellow split peas and lentils.

From Good Food: Bad Photos

c) Pecan pie

I had my first pecan pie several years ago at someone’s house during Thanksgiving dinner. It was love at first bite. That pecan pie was so good, it had a lot of pecans….crunchy, nutty, sweet and salty…wonderful combination. I don’t remember having another pecan pie ever since then. So when my friend Andrea invited me to her place for a Thanksgiving dessert party, I decided I’ll bake my very first pecan pie. I found a highly rated and yet simple recipe from allrecipes.com, and gave it a try. It came out beautifully and everyone loved it. I’ll definitely make this again.

Here’s the makan list again!

A little shorter than last year’s list. So many food cravings, so few days.

1. wonton mee & sui-kow
2. dim sum (plus egg tart)
3. lots of seafood
4. char koay teow
5. hokkien mee
6. roast duck rice
7. hokkien char
8. steamboat
9. indian rojak/pasembor
10. curry mee
11. indian mee goreng
12. roast pork rice
13. koay teow th’ng
14. satay
15. KFC hot and spicy
16. sushi buffet
17. char hor fun
18. nasi lemak
19. bak-chang

Reunion Dinner 2008

I invited a few friends over for CNY Reunion Dinner. This year, I decided to make Yong Tau Foo. As I was stuffing the vegetables, I realized that this dish is very labor intensive.

I had to stuff the okra, eggplant, bittermelon, mushroom, taupok (fried soft tofu), and silken tofu.

Then, lightly pan-fry the items to brown the fish/pork paste stuffing.

Make the sauce and place everything back in the wok to braise till everything is cooked.

Place the cooked items in the oven to keep warm. Wash the wok and then steam the delicate stuffed silken tofu.

Thankfully, it turned out good. I also tried to make a stuffing out of texturized vegetable protein (TVP) but that didn’t turn out great, so my vegetarian friend had to eat Yong Tau Foo without any stuffing.

Homemade Malaysian Food

I tried to make kuih bangkit few days ago following this recipe, and it was an utter failure. The cookies were rock hard, not light and melt in your mouth. What a disappointment. But I’ll try again this weekend.


Two trays of failed kuih bangkit.


Rock-hard kuih bangkit.

Today, I made Char Siew following this recipe, and I’m astounded that it really tasted like Char Siew. Amazing! I think it’s even better than some store-bought char siew.


A strip of char siew right off the broiler.


Sliced char siew.

CNY cookies

Another unsatiable craving: CNY cookies.

I especially miss Kuih Bangkit. I don’t even get to eat that while I’m back in Malaysia because I’m never back during CNY season, and this cookie disappears into nothingness after CNY. So this CNY season, I’ve decided I’m going to make this cookie and share with my friends. I’ve bought all the ingredients (e.g., tapioca flour, canned coconut milk, icing sugar). I will try and make a batch this weekend.

This picture shows the cornflakes cookies that I baked just now. It’s ok: crispy on the outside and a little chewy on the inside. I don’t think they are supposed to be chewy on the inside though. Now that I have this big box of cornflakes, I’ll make it again another day.

Roast pork belly

One of my unsatiable cravings in the US is roast pork belly (siew yuk). I’m too far away from Chinatown civilization. The nearest asian grocery store does sell it in the refrigerated section but it doesn’t look very fresh. I have no idea how long that piece of meat has been sitting there and it cost $7 for a small tray. So for the past few years, I haven’t had roast pork while in the US. However after reading several malaysian food blogs, I decided to try and make it following this recipe.

Here are pictures of my very first homemade roast pork belly. It turned out pretty good but it has too much fat. So I won’t be making this again for a long time.





My next cooking endeavor will be barbeque pork (char siew).

While I was at the cashier counter in the small asian grocery store, the cashier was rather amused by the shopping bags that I brought along with me. She asked me where I’m from and proceeded to tell me that her Taiwanese customers also bring their own bags.

Turkey Coma-free Thanksgiving Lunch

 

 

For some unknown reasons, I’ve dropped out of everyone’s must-invite-over-for-thanksgiving radar, so I planned a cook-something-nice-and-eat-alone thanksgiving meal. But that was not to be. Geraldine, my Cameroonian pal, gave me a call the day before Thanksgiving and I invited her over to share my Thanksgiving meal with me.

My original menu was Jabchae (Korean stirfried noodle with loads of vegetables) and baked belacan chicken. But cooking for people from different cultures can be rather tricky. I learned my lesson the first time I invited some African friends over for a meal. For that special meal, I made clear chicken soup with carrots, potatoes and onions, stirfried broccoli and carrots, and curry chicken. They spurned my chicken soup but liked my curry chicken and found the broccoli “interesting”. After some thought, I decided to stick with the Jabchae and belacan chicken (if she was white, I would steer clear of the belacan). I added the stir-fried collard greens, crossing my fingers that Geraldine would be ok with it. The meal turned out great, we had a good time chatting over ridiculous roommate issues, haunting past issues, and American cultural issues.

Turkey inflation:
1. For the past many years, the residential office had held a Thanksgiving turkey lottery and gave out 5 frozen turkeys each year. No turkey lottery this year.
2. For the past many years, a local church had held a big thanksgiving dinner for the international students. No big thanksgiving dinner this year.
3. For the past few years, my church had held a donate-a-frozen-turkey-to-a-local-family event. No free frozen turkeys to local families this year.

Are these signs of what’s to come?
I guess I won’t be out doing any Black Friday shopping this year then.

Food in a Skillet

My ridiculous video on the battle between homemade and store-bought food. The battle is fought to the music of Rebirthing by Skillet. Get it? Food and Skillet? I have to stop doing these early morning imovie projects. This project would have taken less time if I had remembered to always save my work. Lost a whole big chunk (actually lost all of it) when iMovie crashed!