Wednesday, March 28, 2012


An advance greeting for a Happy Easter Day. He's alive!

I will be taking a short break for 2 weeks.

My son is coming home for a short holiday and I am looking forward to a Taiwan Trip for 5D/4N together with him and my sister who is also back from Australia.

After that I will be going to Guangzhou, China to visit my Ku Cheh (aunty) with my sisters for 4D/3N. It has been a year now since my last visit to see her. Her health is deteriorating since then.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Since I was joining my family for the qing ming, I decided to make this classic Steamed Egg Sponge Cake to bring along as my offering.

This recipe called for 4 eggs and 1 egg white. I made 2 cakes and the 2 egg yolks were given to my dogs as treats. This type of steamed sponge cake is zero fat which makes me feel guilt-free when snacking on it.

Eggs and sugar are whisked together till you get a thick batter. When you lift up the whisk and the batter leaves behind a thick ribbon then you are ready to add the flour in batches.

Add the flour in small batches and make sure that it is thoroughly combined. Here I have added around 100 gm of black sesame seeds, roughly grounded.

Pour into lined pan and steam over boiling water (high heat) for around 30-40 minutes.

Be quick when you remove the pan cover, so that the water will not drip onto the cake.

Leave cake in the pan for a few minutes before turning out on rack to cool.

The crumbs are not fine but the cake is soft and does not stick to your mouth. It is not too sweet either and the sesame seeds adds a nutty flavour when you bit into it.

Recipe adapted.

I was feeling adventurous and decided to try another recipe from Kitchen Snippets. She did this using the Royal Selangor Pewter jelly mould and she used coconut milk. I did not have any coconut milk so i substituted with just around 50ml of whipping cream. I used this new jelly mould which I bought from my trip in Hongkong.

The batter whipped up beautifully but when I added the whipping cream, the mixture immediately deflated! Hence it only came half way of the mould.

Anyway, just went ahead to steam it.

I love the clean lines of the jelly mould and the red colour made the steamed cake looked so pretty.

Cross section of the cake. The texture of this cake is dense and it did not taste sweet.
I still preferred the classic Steamed Sponge cake though.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


I went along for Qing Ming with my brothers over the weekend. It is a Chinese practice that the sons carry out this tradition of tomb sweeping and not the daughters. However there can always be exception. The actual day is on 4th April but then you can choose to go 10 days before and 10 days after the actual date and ahem... "they" will still be around!

According to seniority rank, we visited the tomb of my grandfather. This tomb has been beautified by my brothers since 2006, otherwise it used to be just a stone slab with his name as he died during the World War and money was very scarce then. This the oldest graveyard and it is so spacious and airy as many of the tombs had already been evacuated.

The tomb and the surrounding has already been cleared by the workers prior to Qing Ming, so there is really not much sweeping involved here.

The food offering prepared by my brother and his wife. They had to prepare 3 sets of the food for each of the 3 different tombs. My small contribution is the Rainbow Steamed Sponge Cake at his top left hand side.

As you can see all the preparation were carried out by my brother ie. the male of the family.

My eldest brother lighting the first incense.

This is an exception- my sister May from Australia who purposely came back for Qing Ming. She has missed many Qing Ming since she migrated overseas. Glad she did not forget her roots!

The paper offering - very basic offering - paper luggage and paper gold ingots.

We can only burn the offering once it was confirmed that the spirit had taken the meal.

How?- by throwing a pair of coins and if both coins has the same face, then it is called "Sing Pui".

The worker who was waiting around for us in fact told us that he can "see the old man smiling" !

Well, maybe- because the saying that these men who work around these graveyards do have a special eye/sense of the spiritual world.

I don't believe in burning any sorts of "branded goods" and "electrical goods". To me its more of sale gimmicks by those shops selling the prayers items.

Now this is what I call "really tomb sweeping". The second place that we went to is grave of my grandmother. She died when my father was then doing well in his business. So her tomb was a more elaborate one.
We all can remember/recall how much my father has honoured and obeyed my grandmother and his love and care for his siblings and I clearly see these traits among my own siblings now.

Father has taught us well.

My second and eighth brother busy removing the eroded soil.
This graveyard is more crowded and the path is very narrow and drainage is therefore poor here and many of tombs had this problem of soil erosion and flooding.

Don't think that this all the family- only a quarter of the Chan clan is here.

Finally it was done before we repeat the same procedure of prayers and offerings.

After this, we finally made our way to the Kwong Tong Pagoda to offer our prayers to our father and mother. The pagoda was very crowded and the incense and open fire burning made your eyes water. It felt too commercialised and did not evoke the meditative mode within us or at least within myself.

However, whatever it be I am sure most of these people that came are just like us, to carry out our filial duty and to teach the future generation of our past and future.

Monday, March 19, 2012


I remembered that I had cooked satay(not grilled or BBQ) at home once very long ago. We used to organise birthday parties at our old house. We would invite the neighbours boys and girls around our age group and had a good time eating and playing games. Besides our signature 7-coloured Agar-agar (aka as Magic Mirror); 9 layers kueh; Steamed Sponge cake, I did once cooked satay for our guests.

So I re-created Chicken satay once again for my daughter at home.

Nasi Ketupat - Nowadays - it is cheat's version- packet of rice are available nowadays. Boiled them for almost half hour. This can be done overnight so that the rice packet is cool otherwise if you cut them when hot, it will not be compact.

What I did the last time was to boil the rice with more water so that they are softer and then packed/pressed them down in a baking tray and use some heavy items to put on top so that the rice got compact. It was then cut into cubes.

Chicken satay - Now cooked using a grill pan. I can still get charred bits and it is not as oily as those store-bought. Last time, using a wok and keep stirring till the meat was cooked.

The gravy was thick and redolent with ground peanuts. Last time, have to pan fry peanuts and then ground them myself.

My version of Chicken Satay- whether its cheat's version or not it was still yummylicous.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The early bird gets the worm

It is not the worm that I got but the most wonderful breakfast yesterday morning.
As it was school holidays there were hardly any traffic jam and hence the reason that I can reached my office so early morning.

This was the only restaurant opened at that hour and there were a few patrons waiting to be served!

A wide array of cookies available at the counter.

And the most colourful candies as well.
Soon they began serving the people- thosai on banana leaf! What a wonderful sight and tantalising aroma!

The smell of banana leaf and warm idli made me salivate and intensified my hunger.

There were tiny bits of vegetables in the dhal curry as well and thick coconut chutney was delicious.

The combination of the warm idli, dhal curry and coconut chutney - what more could I ask. This is the best Indian breakfast I have tasted.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Thickened Wintermelon Soup

Wintermelon is good for us. It helps to relieve coughs and is cooling for the body.
This soup is very refreshing during the hot weather.

Thickened soup often called "Kang" in Chinese can be served as a one-dish meal.

The main ingredients are: wintermelon (skinned and cut into cubes), chicken breast (diced), prawns (diced), fresh mushroom (diced/sliced) spring onions (diced), garlic(minced) slices of ginger and of course chicken stock/broth.

Heat the pan, add oil and saute the garlic, spring onions (white part) and ginger till fragrant

Add the wintermelon and saute for a few minutes till they soften.

Add chicken stock/broth. This is what I bought back from my Hongkong trip. This broth is delicious and totally MSG free (so it says). It is so handy and convenient to use.

Bring to a boil and cover and simmer for just around maybe 5-10 minutes. The wintermelon should just be about turning transparent.

Remove from the heat and leave aside covered.

Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients:

1. season diced chicken with soya sauce, pepper and cornstarch

2. dice the prawns and season with a bit of sugar.

3. blanch fresh mushroom in boiling water for just a few second - to remove the "raw" smell
dish up and set aside.

Bring the pot of wintermelon back to a boil (by now they should have all turned transparent).

Add the fresh mushroom followed by the chicken.

Adjust seasoning and thicken the soup with a bit of cornstarch solution (if necessary and you prefer it thick).

Lastly add the prawns.

Remove from heat immediately so as not to overcook the prawns.

Garnish with coriander and serve warm.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Making Fresh Pasta

Ever since, I have attended the workshop making fresh pasta, I wanted to try it at home.

I had bought 2 packets of the semolina flour during the workshop and before the expiry date runs out, I better start doing something about them. Of course, I don't want to spend money an expensive pasta making machine in case this is just a fancy whim.

So finally I bought this manual pasta machine just for RM50.00 and over the weekend I started to make my own pasta. The first problem I realised was that I had no suitable table to clamp the machine onto. Finally I managed to clamp the machine just by the edge of this marble table and as a result it was wobbly and the machine kept moving/shifting and the clamp could dropped out and I had to redo it again. Another problem was that I was unable to turn the knob to change the width and the handle itself kept falling out! I was all ready to give up if not for my hunger.

But I persevered. I had prepare the dough overnight and used only half the dough and after passing it through the machine a few time (only till level 3 as I cannot turn the knob any further)- this is what I get.

I had wanted to make fettucine and yet again I am not able to get that press mode to move.
So in the end, I managed to pass it through the spaghetti mode and managed to get some angel hair spaghetti. There is no time to dry these fresh pasta as I was getting hungry already.

The pasta were quickly blanched - just took less then 5 minutes to cook.

I served them with some Spicy Chili Beans with minced beef and they made a great combination.

The texture of the pasta was springy and tasted very good.

So, what did I do with the other half of the dought? It is still sitting in the freezer.

After the "struggle" with the machine, I think, I will give it a good rest for the time being.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


This is also another overdue post on my birthday. Besides having a buffet dinner at Shogun Japanese Restaurant with some of my sisters and brothers earlier the week, I had this quiet dinner with my daughter.

Me and my daughter Sarah then.

Me and my daughter Sarah now.

I am so thankful for this daughter. She is always by my side and so caring towards me. She took me for a belated birthday dinner at Dragon-I at Leisure Mall.

Jasmine Flower Tea.

Spring Onion Pancake

Of course the Siao Loong Pau - Shanghainese Dumplings.

Pick them up at the tip and savour the delightful juice/soup before finishing off the delectable morsels of meat dipped in vinegar and julienned ginger sauce.

Dessert- Black Sesame Glutinous Rice Balls in Rice Wine with Osmanthus flower- fragrant and truly comforting food.

By the end of the meal, the jasmine flower had bloomed.