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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Recipe - Luffa (Ridge Gourd) Stir Fry With Egg

The luffa or ridge gourd is a dark green ridged (10 ridges) vegetable having white pulp with white seeds embedded in a spongy flesh. It is a storehouse of nutrients like fibre, vitamin C, zinc, iron and magnesium. It is commonly cooked stir fried or in a soup.

In this recipe, the luffa is stir fried with eggs.

The first thing to do is to remove the hard skin of the luffa with a peeler. The skin can be quite hard. I cut them into strips of half cm thick. I find that blanching them in boiling water for 1 minute make it easier to cook and the taste comes out better. Taste is mildly sweet.

luffa strips
Ingredients:
1 luffa, peeled and cut into strips of half cm thickness
2 eggs, beaten
A dash of pepper
1 tbs of light soy
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs of oil

Method:
Blanch the cut luffa in boiling water for 1 minute and set aside
Heat oil in a wok or pan till hot.
luffa

Add the garlic and fry till fragrant on medium heat
Toss in the luffa
Toss in the eggs, add the light soy and pepper.

Dish is done when the eggs are done.


In this 6 minute video, the luffa is steamed with oyster and sauce.



Friday, 29 June 2012

Joke - Dentists Favourite Bible Verse



John's mother is a devout Christian. He had just opened his own dental practice. He was dismayed when  his mother told him that she was embroidering a Bible verse to hang on the walls of his waiting room.

"Mum, nobody put up Bible verses in dentist clinic" he groaned.

His mother assured him that he would like it.
He did.

The verse his mother chosed was Psalms 81.11

"..Open your mouth and I will fill it." Psalm 81.11

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Story Of The Starfish

While walking along the beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down and picking something up and throwing it into the sea.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

He got closer still and called out, "Good morning ! May I ask what it is you are doing ?"

The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

The old man smiled, and said, "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is out. If I don't throw them in, they will die."

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, "But, young man, do you realise that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish along every mile ? You can't possibly make a difference."

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it back into the ocean, past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one".

Author unknown.




Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Recipe - Steam Sutchi Fillet With Ginger Oil

The sutchi fish (catfish) is a fatty fish with mild flavour. That means the fish will absorb the flavours of the seasoning. The sutchi fillet is a versatile ingredient. It can be steamed, fried or grilled and is used often in the popular fish and chips.

The fillet is sold frozen because most of them are imported from Vietnam, In this recipe, the fillets are steamed and topped with fried ginger and oil.

To prepare the fillet, the first thing to do is to rub lightly a bit of salt on the fillet after thawing and rinse away the salt. This will take away any sea smell or mud smell from the fish.



steamed fillet
Ingredients
2 sutchi fillets
1 sprig spring onion, cut into 1 inch length
2 slices of ginger for steaming
2 inches of ginger, finely julienne for frying
1 teaspoon of oyster sauce mixed with 1 teaspoon of light soy
1 chilli padi
2 tbs of oil

Method:
Lightly rub salt on the fillet and rinse the fillets
Place the fillet on serving plate, spoon the oyster sauce mix with light soy over the fillet.
Place the ginger slices and a few pieces of spring onion over the fish.
Steam for about 8 minutes.

fresh spring onion and chilli on steamed fillet
Remove the steamed ginger slices and spring onion.
Replace with fresh spring onions.

In a wok or pan, fry the julienne ginger in oil till fragrant and the ginger is golden brown.

Spoon the ginger and oil over the fillet and serve (top left picture).







Enjoy
  


In this 3 minute video, the fish is rub with salt and corn starch and rinsed to get rid of the sea smell. It is a more thorough method.



A short 3 minute video showing how pan fry sutchi fillet seasoned with garlic and pepper powder.



In this video in Taiwanese, a mixture of hokkien and mandarin, the steam fish is flavoured with crispy soya beans. The fish fillet is flavoured with salt and pepper and steamed for about 5 minutes. Hot bean paste is fried separately to give the oil flavour. The oil is used to fry the crushed soya beans till crispy. Crispy soya beans are spooned over the steamed fish.

Nice!




A nice and easy way to steam fish fillet with Thai style chilli sauce


Joke - Who Is Smarter - Batman Or Superman ?

Everyone knows who is Batman or Superman. So this is a joke everyone can relate to very easily.

Who is smarter ? Batman or Superman ?

The correct answer is Batman because both Batman and Superman wear their underwear outside but Batman is smart enough to cover his face with a mask so that nobody can recognize him.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Laughter And Health Benefits


There are many health benefits to laughter. Research has shown that laughter helps to boost the immune system, reduce cravings for food and relieve stress. There are even doctors who claim that laughter helps people recover more quickly from illnesses.
Scientifically speaking laughter helps the body in the following ways:
  1. laughter helps to reduce the release of stress hormones like adrenaline.
  2. laughter exercises the diaphragm, the chest and abdominal muscles and give us a good body workout and it actually benefits the heart and our blood circulation.
  3. laughter helps us to release our physical and emotional energy. It is like going to a quiet place and shout on top of your voice (without disturbing others) .You feel so much relief after a good bout of laughter.
  4. laughter relaxes the mind and distract us from the focus, stresss, anxiety or anger we may be facing.
  5. laughter helps to give us a lighter perspective of things and we learn to let go and not take things so seriously.
  6. laughter helps us to connect with others socially. If you know how to tell jokes, it really helps you to socialize and connect with other people.
animated gifs of laughing paople- man rolling on the floor laughing

Mango And Health Benefits

Mangoes are a great source of vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium. They are also a good source of fiber to promote healthy digestion. Vitamin A helps the body to build and maintain healthy skin and bone. Vitamin A promotes healthy eyesight. Vitamin C boosts the immune system.


The antioxidants protects against cancer and helps to fight against heart diseases.


Mangoes are rich in soluble fibre which prevents constipation.


A short video on the health benefits of mangoes.




Monday, 25 June 2012

Young Coconut And Health Benefits

The young coconut  has green husk and those sold in supermarkets already have their husk removed. It takes about a year for a coconut to mature.

Drinking the young coconut water helps to cool the body and maintain body temperature. The most important benefit is that the coconut water helps to detoxify the body.

Coconut water is a powerhouse of natural electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants and phytonutrients, and is low in sugar, but pleasantly sweet

It’s great for post-exercise rehydration, but also has anti-inflammatory properties, protects your heart and urinary tract, is a digestive tonic, improves your skin and eyes, supports good immune function, and can even help balance your blood glucose and insulin level.

Coconut water is the richest dietary source of cytokinins, plant hormones that have anti-cancer, anti-aging, and anti-thrombolytic benefits in humans  

The water is like electrolytes which helps to carry oxygen and nutrients to cells in the body. This helps to refresh the body. The water also helps to increase metabolism and clean the digestive tracts. Coconut water starts to ferment when exposed to air.


A  2 minute video on how to open the young coconut.



Sunday, 24 June 2012

Recipe - Singapore Fish Head Curry

The burst of flavours from the variety of spices that go into making the Singapore fish head curry will jolt the taste buds like no other recipes can match. The list of spices alone can bewilder anyone. Turmeric, chilli, coriander, aniseed (or star anise), cumin seeds, fenugreek, pepper, cloves, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cardamom and cinnamon make up this list.

If you add other condiments that accompany the spices, the mind boggles. Other condiments include garlic, ginger or galangal, onions, candle nuts, lemon grass and curry leaves.

I use salmon fish head for practical reason. At $6.90 a kg, it is about half the price of the snapper head. It is quite a big head, weighing 800 grams. The salmon head goes very well with the curry.
salmon head in 2 halves


For the curry, I was able to buy the fresh fish curry paste from the market. For 50 cents, the lady gave me 1 tsp of turmeric paste, 1 tsp of ginger paste, 2 tsp of chilli paste, 2 tsp of coriander paste, 1 tsp of garlic paste and 1 tsp of mixed spice paste.

Fresh curry paste have a much stronger flavour. But if you are not able to get it fresh, fish curry powder in packet form (picture on right) is available and 2 tbs would be enough for 1 big fish head. There is also fish curry paste available in packet form.

But if you do like to make your own curry paste the good old fashion way of using mortar and pestle, I recommend this one by Carole (Link). For cooking fish curry, I would add a knob of fresh turmeric to her already long list of spices.


baba's fish curry powder
Ingredients:
Curry paste (as above)

Additional ingredients:
1 large onion, finely chopped,
knob of ginger, peel and chopped
1 stalk of lemon grass, cut into 1 inch and crushed
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs of salt
2 green chili padi
1 tsp of tamarind paste, mixed in half cup of water
curry paste and 40 ml of coconut milk
2 sprigs of curry leaves
60 ml of coconut milk
1 lime for garnishing
1 sprig of fresh coriander for garnishing

2 tbs of oil

Vegetables:
1 tomato, cut into slices
1 eggplant, cut into bite size
5 okra, cut into bite size

Note: 
A tbs of prawn paste can be added to give extra taste and flavour.
The wok or pan must be big enough to hold the fish head which is quite big.
My wok is 45 cm and can hold only one big fish head.

Method:
In a wok or pan heat the oil in medium heat till hot
Toss in the onion, ginger and garlic and fry till fragrant.
Add the curry paste, lemon grass, curry leaves and chilli and stir fry until fragrant.
Add tamarind juice and salt.
Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Add the coconut milk

At this stage, check the taste of the curry gravy. Add more salt if necessary.
Check also that the gravy can cover the fish head.

Add the vegetables and bring to a boil.
Finally add in the fish head, bring the mixture to a boil.
Cover the wok or the pan, turn the heat to medium low and let the fish simmer in the gravy.
This let the fish head absorbs the flavour of the curry and in turn, the bones of the fish will sweeten the curry.

Cooking time is about 10 minutes.

As a guide, the cooking time for 500 grams of fish is 8 minutes. Add 1 extra minute for every 100 grams extra of fish.

Dish out and serve with garnish.

This 4 minute video shows how to make your own curry paste



The most popular fiish head curry restaurant in Singapore is Muthu's Curry at Race Course Road. Some tips on cooking the fish head curry are given in this 3 minute video.





3 minute video on how to eat Singapore fish head curry.





Mark Weins cooks Southern Thai Fish Curry.




Saturday, 23 June 2012

Persimmon Fruit And Health Benefits

This brightly colored orange fruit is rather high in carbs and natural sugars. In addition to the tannins which give the immature fruit its astringent taste, it contains two compounds known as shibuol and betulinic acid that are though to have anti-cancer properties. A study conducted in Japan showed that the peel of the persimmon contains phytochemicals known as proanthocyanidins which may protect cells against oxidative damage associated with aging.

Although eating persimmons may have significant health benefits, there’s one potential drawback. Because they contain the compound shibuol, they have the capacity to react in the acid environment of the stomach to form a gooey compound which can cause an intestinal obstruction known as a bezoar. In many cases, if a bezoar is formed from eating persimmons, it can require surgery. For this reason, persimmons should only be eaten on a full stomach and never eaten with crabmeat which can increase the tendency for bezoars to form. Persimmon can cause constipation.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Recipe - Baby Kai Lan (Kale) With Oyster Sauce

Kai lan or kale is being recognised for its store of nutrients, health benefits and delicious flavour. It has a high concentration of vitamins A, C and K and sulphur containing plant nutrients. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorous.

In this recipe, the baby kai lan is cooked with oyster sauce in a microwave oven and garnish with a generous mix of crispy garlic with oil and crispy shallots.

Ingredients
200 grams of baby kailan
1 tbs of oyster sauce
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbs of oil
2 tbs of crispy shallots

Method:
baby kai lan
Put the chopped garlic and oil in a small bowl.
Microwave on high for about 2 minutes.
Start with one minute and use increments of 20 seconds, so as not to burn the garlic.
When the garlic starts to brown and is fragrant, it is done.
Set aside.

Arrange the baby kai lan in a serving plate and drizzle 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce over the vegetables.
Microwave on high for 3 minutes.
It is done when you see the kai lan wilt.

Spoon the crispy garlic and oil over the vegetables. 
Mix well.
Garnish with crispy shallots and serve.

Enjoy this platter of goodness at home for about $1 whereas at a restaurant, it will set you back by about $10.

In this 2 minute video, the kai lan is stir fried the traditional way




In this 7 minute video, the kai lan is mix with bok choy and spinach.






A nice video on cooking kailan with oyster sauce.




Thursday, 21 June 2012

Recipe - Cabbage Stir Fry With Carrot And Black Fungus

Cancer prevention tops the list of health benefits of cabbage. Cabbage is rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and glucosinolates which prevent cancer. Carrots are known for the rich supply of beta-carotene, among other antioxidants. Carrots promote vision health. The black fungus helps to reduce blood pressure and cholesterols.

In this recipe, the cabbage is stir fried with carrot and black fungus. The cabbage and carrot are sweet while the black fungus on its own has no flavour but absorbs the flavour of the sauces and seasoning it is cooked with.

The black fungus comes in dried form and has to be soaked in water for 30 minutes before cooking. It has a crunchy texture when cooked.
black fungus

Ingredients:
300 grams cabbage, cut into bite size
1 carrot, cut into slices
2 pieces of black fungus, soaked in water and cut into bite size
1 tbs of dried shrimp (for flavour)
2 tbs of light soy
A dash of pepper
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs of oil

Method
Heat the oil in a wok or pan
Toss in the dried shrimp and garlic when the oil is hot.
Fry for a minute or so, till dried shrimp and garlic gives flavour
Toss in the cabbage, carrot and black fungus.
Stir fry for a minute for the vegetables to absorb the flavour.
Add half a cup of water and cover the wok or pan
Let the vegetables steam for 2 to 3 minutes to quicken the cooking.
Remove the cover, add pepper and stir for the last 1 minute.
The vegetables should be soft enough with a bit of crunch.
Serve and enjoy a plate of goodness.

 


In this short 3 minute video, the cabbage is cooked with salt and sugar.



A 7 minute video on how to make cabbage rolls



In this Taiwanese video, cabbage is blanched in boiling water to soften the leaves. Cabbage is steamed with minced pork. Chopped ginger, chopped mushrooms, rice wine, pepper, light soy and wolberries are added to the minced pork. As a bonus, a hard boiled egg braised with oyster sauce is wrapped inside the pork. Sesame oil is added last for flavour.


 

In this Taiwanese video, eggs are added to add fragrance to the cabbage, carrot and black fungus. Preserved bean curd is used instead of salt and sesame oil is added last.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Recipe - How To Cook Bird Nest Soup

Bird's nest is made from the saliva of swiftlets, a kind of bird. The swiftlets use a glutinous secretion to bind together materials for nest building. The secretion comes from glands located below the tongue of the birds.
Once the eggs are hatched and the young birds are able to fly, the nests are abandoned by the birds. If the nests are not harvested by humans, scavengers like lizards and ants will consume the nests.

bird nest
The bird nest has a high content of protein and minerals like zinc, copper, iron, sodium and phosphorous. This protein has essential amino acids which helps to regenerate body cells. Legend has it that taking bird nest regularly will promote youthful smooth complexion and healthier skin tone. In short, eating bird nest regularly will give a person a fair and smooth skin.

In this recipe, ginseng is added to boost the immune system, while rock sugar is added for sweetness. A pandan leaf is added for fragrance.

As a guide, one piece of bird nest can make one or two servings (small bowl).

Ingredients (5 servings)
5 pieces (each is about 5 grams) of  bird nest
A few pieces of ginseng
1 tablespoon of rock sugar
ginseng slices
1 pandan leaf.
5 bowls of water

Method
Step 1.
Soak the bird nest in water for 3 hours or overnight.
Check the bird nest for loose feathers and take them out.
Step 2
Double boil the bird nest with ginseng and pandan leaf in low heat for 2 hours.
Step 3
Add rock sugar at the last 15 minutes

Caution: bird nest may not be suitable for everybody.

Here is a short video showing how to cook bird nest soup.




The Story Of A Son

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.


When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier.

The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door.  A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.

He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.

The young man held out his package. "I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this."

The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears.

He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift."

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection  On the platform sat the painting of the son.

The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?"

There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."

But the auctioneer persisted, "Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?"

Another voice shouted angrily, "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!  "But still the auctioneer continued, "The son! The son! Who'll take the son?"

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. "I'll give $10 for the painting." Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.
"We have $10, who will bid $20?" "Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters." "$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?" The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel.  "Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!

A man sitting on the second row shouted, "Now let's get on with the collection!" The auctioneer laid down his gavel, "I'm sorry, the auction is over."

"What about the paintings?"

"I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!"

God gave his Son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, "The Son, the Son, who'll take the Son?" Because you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Recipe - How To Make Singapore Rojak


The Singapore rojak is a crisp, savoury fruit salad. Usually cucumber,  bean sprouts, pineapple, turnips, green mango, yu tiao (crispy Chinese crullers) and tau pok (crispy fried bean curd puff) are mixed in this salad.  A dressing made from prawn paste, tamarind sauce, sugar and chili paste is added to the mix, then garnished with crushed peanuts.

The dish is eaten with bamboo skewers; you pick up the pieces one by one and pop them in your mouth. The medley of flavours in rojak is exquisite - a combination of savoury, sweet, and sour with the delightful crunch.



shrimp or prawn paste
Recipe
For the dressing:
2 tbs of prawn paste
2 tbs of tamarind sauce (tamarind paste mixed in water)
2 tbs of sugar
half teaspoon of chili paste
half a teaspoon of belacan powder (optional)

The usual ingredients for the salad are:
cucumber or zucchini
pineapple
belacan or dried shrimp paste
crispy yu tiao
crispy tau pok (roasted fried bean curd puff)
turnip (jicama or yam bean)
blanched bean sprouts (optional)

4 tablespoons of crushed peanuts.

Method:
 In a large mixing bowl, toss the ingredients for the dressing.
Stir and mix them well.

Cut the salad ingredients into bite size and toss them into the bowl.
green mango
Mix thoroughly all the ingredients.

Top with the crushed peanuts and serve.

Note:  Adding shreds of torch ginger bud (bunga kantan) would give the dish additional kick.



tau pok



pineapple
torch ginger bud
yu tiao


Now for a mouth watering 3 minute video on how to make Singapore rojak:



5 minute video, rojak Indonesia style, in Indoensian



You will love this Singapore Indian Rojak, 3 minute video


Mangosteen and Health Benefits

Mangosteen is a rich source of vitamins C, A, B2 and B6. These vitamins help the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. 

It also contains a very good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids  which help control heart rate and blood pressure; thus offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.

Mangosteen fruit is a great source of xanthones, a group of naturally occurring polyphenolic compounds such as garcinone E, garconone B, alpha-mangostin and beta-mangostin. The antioxidant properties of xanthones help to remove free radicals from the body and control their deteriorating effects. These antioxidants can help slow aging, boost immune system, control degenerative diseases like arthritis.

The right way to open a mangosteen:


























Monday, 18 June 2012

Story Of The Hospital Window

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. 

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. 

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. 

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. 

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. 

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it. In his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. 

Days and weeks passed. 

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. 

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. 

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. 

It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. 

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you." 
Epilogue: 
There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.

Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.
If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy.
Today is a gift, that's why it is called the present.



A short 4 minute video of the story.




Sunday, 17 June 2012

Recipe - Steam Fish With Plum Sauce

Fish provides high quality protein, vitamins A and B and a generous amount of phosphorus, potassium, and calcium that will nourish the body. Fish is also a versatile ingredient. A variety of condiments, spices and seasoning can be used to give the fish different tastes, different flavours and add goodness to the meal.


Greasy grouper fillets are used for this steam recipe. The greasy grouper is a lean fish and has mild flavour.

The fish is steamed till cooked and a sauce is prepared separately as a topping for the fish.



Recipe for steaming the fish (5 fillets).
Put the fillets on a serving plate, lightly sprinkle a dash of salt on the fillet.
Put a slice of ginger and chopped lemon grass (half inch) on top each fillet.
Steam for 10 minutes on medium low heat till cooked.
Discard the lemon grass, ginger and water and set aside.

Recipe for the sauce:
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp sugar
2 salted pickled plums, pits removed
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp light soy
1 tsp of cornstarch mixed in half cup of water
2 small chillies, diced
1 sprig of spring onion, cut into half inch length
2 tbs of oil

Method:
Heat the oil. Add all ingredients (except the cornstarch and water) and stir fry for about 2 minutes.
Add the cornstarch and water and stir for another minute. The taste should be sweet, salty and a bit tangy.
Spoon the sauce over the fish.

This is a nice video showing how to prepare steam fish with plum sauce.
It comes in 2 parts, each about 11 minutes. Worth watching.



And part 2

Story Of The Empty Chair


A man's daughter had asked the local pastor to come and pray with her father. When the pastor arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed.  The pastor assumed that the old fellow had been informed of  his visit.

"I guess you were expecting me, " he said


"No, who are you?"


"I'm the new associate at your local church," the pastor replied.  "When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up."


"Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?" Puzzled, the pastor shut the door. 


"I've never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head."


"I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, 'Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here's  what I suggest. Sit down on a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised,  'I'll be with you always. ' Then just speak to him and listen in the same way you're doing with me right now."


"So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm."


The pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, and returned to the church.


Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon. "Did he seem to die in peace?" he asked.


"Yes, when I left the house around two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek.  When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, in fact, beyond strange--kinda weird.  Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed."


Author unknown

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Durian And Health Benefits

Durian contains abundant nutrients including protein, fat, vitamins, calcium, iron and phosphorus. It is considered a "heaty" fruit because it has rich nutrients. Durian can help to nourish the body, invigorate the blood circulation and dissipate the coldness. Although the nutrition value of durian is very high, people should not eat it excessively. The excessive intake of durian can cause "heatiness" in the body and the abundant nutrients cannot be completely absorbed by the human body. Because of a large amount of sugar, the excessive intake of durian can also worsen the symptoms of the patients with diabetes. Durians should be eaten in moderation so as make full use of abundant nutrients contained in durian like calcium and phosphorus.


This 22 minute video explains the different flavours of durian and how to choose the one you like.





Recipe - Tandoori Chicken

This savoury and aromatic chicken dish is a favourite in India. When I was first introduced to this dish in an Indian restaurant in Singapore, I was smitten. I had to try to learn the recipe.

The restaurant had a real tandoor which is a cylindrical oven using charcoal for heating. Cooking at home with an electrical oven is not exactly the same thing but the chicken taste just as good. Drumsticks or thighs are perfect for this recipe.

Recipe(serves 5):
5 chicken drumsticks
1 cup yogurt, 150 ml.
2 tbs ginger garlic paste
2 tbs garam masala powder. I use the brand "Housebrand". It is very fragrant.
1 tbs salt
1 tbs sugar

Method:
Cut slits on the chicken drumstick so that the marinade can get into the drumstick.
Rub the salt and sugar on the chicken drumsticks.
In a mixing bowl, add the yogurt, garam masala and ginger garlic paste.
Marinate the chicken in the mixture and let them sit overnight in the fridge.

Grill in the oven at 200 degrees C for about 30 minutes.
Turn the drumsticks at about the 20 minute mark or when the drumsticks start to turn brown.
If you like it a bit sweeter, drizzle a bit of honey after you turn the drumsticks.
Enjoy the flavour and the taste.

This 2.3 minute video shows how to cook this recipe
Titli makes her own garam masala.


A 4 minute video showing what is a tandoor



A 2 minute video with Gordon Ramsay pan fry a tandoori spiced halibut.



Friday, 15 June 2012

Chilli And Health Benefits

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chillies. It is what gives chillies the kick or intense heat. Chillies can have a dramatic impact on your health by helping to boost blood circulation and also act as a thinner to help protect against strokes. Chillies also provide pain relief , reduce inflammation, prevents stomach and prostrate cancer. Eating food with chillies every day is all you need to enjoy the multiple and important health benefits they have to offer.

Recipe - Seafood Hor Fun (Flat Rice Noodles)

The smooth and slippery texture of the flat rice noodles topped with a tasty gravy packed with ingredients makes this dish a popular meal among Singaporeans and Malaysians. It is simple to prepare and easy on the pocket. It is a light meal suitable for lunch and dinner.

The rice noodles are first given a quick fry with dark soy to give colour and a smoky flavour. The other ingredients are stir fried separately with a sauce or gravy for topping.

In this recipe, I use toman (snakehead) fish slices, fishcake, and cockles. Bean sprouts and xiao bai chye are added as vegetables. To top it off, the hor fun is served with a spoonful of my favourite green pickled chillies.

Common ingredients are prawns, squid and fish slices.

Ingredients for frying the noodles: (one serving)
125 grams of flat rice noodles
2 tbs of dark soy
1 tbs of oil

Ingredients for the sauce:
slices of toman fish
slices of fishcake
2 tbs of cockle meat, parboil and rinse
1 tbs of light soy
1 tbs of oyster sauce
1 cup of water
1 tps of corn starch for thickening
1 tsp of garlic,finely chopped

Method:
First give the noodle a quick fry on high heat with the dark soy
Set aside on a serving plate

Stir fry the other ingredients in a wok or pan, by heating up the oil and the garlic. Add all the ingredients and fry for about 3 minutes. Pour on top of the fried rice noodles and serve with the pickled green chillies.

Here is a 4 minute video on how to cook seafood hor fun


Another 4 minute video on how to cook beef hor fun by the same chef



A step by step video on how to make beef hor fun.

Nice!




A 2 minute video on how to cook mix hor fun





Thursday, 14 June 2012

Garlic And Health Benefits


The sulfur compounds that give garlic its pungent flavor can also lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol, lower blood pressure and even reduce your risk of stomach and colon cancer. Garlic contains vitamins A, B1, B2 and C.  A clove has 4 calories, 0 fat and 0 fiber. Bake a whole head for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft and sweet and spread on bread instead of butter.


A 3 minute video on health benefits of garlic





Recipe - Garlic Sprout Stir Fry With Bean Curd

Garlic sprouts or garlic shoots are flowering stems of garlic. They have a mild garlic flavour and like the garlic, are known to boost the immune system. They are sold in bunches of about 200 grams each in the market and supermarket. Garlic sprouts are versatile ingredients. They can be stir fried with seafood or meat to give a flavourful and hearty dish. In this recipe, the garlic sprouts are paired with bean curd in a stir fry.

Recipe:
2 bunches of garlic sprout, rinsed and cut into 1 inch length
3 pieces of bean curd, cut into half cm strips
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 tbs of oil
1 tbs of corn flour
1 tbs of light soy

The bean curd is pan fried separately from the garlic sprouts and added as a topping.

garlic sprout
Method:
Dust the bean curd strips with flour.
Heat the oil in a wok or pan.
When the oil is hot, fry the bean curd strips until brown on both sides on low heat, about 2 minutes each side.
Set aside

bean curd
Toss the garlic, garlic sprouts into the pan.
Add the light soy and stir fry for about 3 minutes.
Add the fried bean curd and serve.


In this 3 minute video, garlic sprouts are stir fried with shredded chicken