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Monday, February 8, 2016

BBQ Bak Kwa (Chinese Pork Jerky)

Bak Kwa, while growing up is something we get to enjoyed only during Chinese New Year in Malaysia. I used to queue up for hours at Petaling street "Ngo Lei Ya" just to get a couple of packets of this BBQ meat...

That may sounds like crazy now, but the wait makes the BBQ meat all the more precious, so is the memory of celebrating Chinese New Year with families.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Traditional Chinese New Year Cake/Nian Gao

My childhood was spent mostly in a small town in southern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The "festive" atmosphere in small towns during and before Chinese New Year are so much stronger in comparison to cities.

The elderly in families will start making types of New Year cakes/Kuehs weeks before Chinese New Year. This Nian Gao/Sticky rice cake is one of them.

My grandma was the one that makes this cake for everyone in the family, she will stayed up all night to watch the fire. Every steps of making this cake is manual and rigorous.

Nian Gao is normally used for prayers in Chinese New Year, a well steamed Nian Gao can be stored for months without being refrigerated.

Even though there are many short cut recipes of Nian Gao circulating around the net nowadays.

I still find it imperative to preserve the traditional way of making it.

Though I can't stone grind my glutinous rice and steam cook using fire woods, I do managed to replicate the process as closely to the origin as I can with the aids of blender and slow cooker.

I have to say that I cannot be more pleased with the result!

Here I am, together with my family heritage -- Nian Gao, wishing everybody a prosperous and healthy year of Monkey!

Hokkien Pok Nyee (Minnan Style Meatballs)

When I was young, Chinese New Year preparation is a very lengthy and tedious process. The elderly in the family will have to start weeks ahead to make ingredients for cooking for the reunion dinner.

Bak Nyee/Meatballs is one of the tedious ones, it requires mincing pork butt with butcher knife on a huge chopping board slowly before adding other ingredients. A few people will have to work together to take turn to make sure the pork was well minced. When one works on mincing the meat, others will chipped in to peel garlics and shallots, which will later be added to the pork to be minced together.

The minced pork will then be seasoned with spices and salt, together with some crushed soda crackers (for crunchiness). The seasoned meat will be make into small balls and being thrown with force between two palms, just like how you would with playing throwing of balls. Doing this for around 10 times will result in a very round and solid meatball, which is chewy in texture.

The meatballs is a very good dish on its own after frying, the leftover could be make into different kind of meatballs dishes too.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Spring roll (Poh Piah)

The traditional East Asian calendars divide a year into 24 solar terms (節氣). Lìchūn (立春) literally: "start of spring") is the 1st solar term.

Traditionally we will eat something that grow in spring in the day Lichun falls. Typically stirred fried vegetables wrapped in a steamed sheet made from wheat flour, it is thus called "Spring Roll". Spring rolls could be eaten fresh or fried.

Mum used to buy fresh spring roll sheet from a local lady, with lots of different kind of vegetables, fried eggs, and this Mang Guang Char.

All the kiddos in the house were allowed to wrap our own spring rolls, that was more fun than eating it. My brother will stuffed his rolls with so much fillings that it could hardly roll up!

It was very fond memories and since it is Lichun today, I am making some spring rolls for the families to upkeep the tradition.

Mang Guang Char(Stir Fry Shredded Jicama)

Jicama is a very common fruit/vegetable in Malaysia, it could be eaten raw as fruit or cooked into different type of dishes. This Mang Guang Char is one of them, we eat it as dishes to go with rice or congee.

It is a very common vegetables to be wrapped in spring roll/Popiah, it can also be used as filling of steamed bun/pau.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Gingko Barley Soy Skin Sweet Soup

It suddenly got very cold this week here in the east coast of USA with more than 10 inches of snow. The air became very dry and cold, my lips crack and nose dried up, it's about time to make something that could help fight cold and dryness!

I saw the fresh bean curd skin and fresh Gingko at the Chinese supermarket today, it is perfect to make this sweet soup good to moist the skin and nourish the body!

How to make Phulka/Chapati & Puri (Video)

Phulkas (also known as Roti or Chapati in some regions in India) is a thin puffed flat bread made with whole wheat flour (Atta). It is a daily staple food for many people in India, especially the northern regions.

Rotis are traditionally cooked on tava (A flat iron skillet) and later place over direct flame to quickly puff it up.

Growing up as a Chinese girl in Malaysia, I have never come across any homemade bread until much later in my teenage let alone preparing it.

I started preparing homemade rotis when we moved to USA after marriage, I had to learn from scratch, took me months to learn how to knead the dough with right texture, another few more months to learn how to roll a somewhat presentable round rotis. My husband N had to eat so many failed attempts before it gets better.

I can now say that I make pretty good rotis and made a short video on it. It does gets better with practise, that is for sure.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Ngoh Heang/ Lorbak

This meat roll in bean curd skin is a common Chinese New Year dish back home. There will be housewives making it at home and sell in advance weeks before chinese New Year, mom will buy from her friends and keep it in the freezer.

We will thaw a few of this rolls and fry it before reunion dinner, it takes a very short time to turn it into another good looking and delicious reunion dinner dish!
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