The first post of 2011. I do apologize for the long absence, it has been such a crazy year-end last year I had no time to properly craft a post but there has been a lot of eating. My parents and brother were here for Christmas and New Years, if you can imagine all the restaurants I wanted them to try on top of all the sight-seeing.
Now that they’ve gone back home and we’re about 10 days to Chinese New Year, I wanted to start the first post of the year with a lot of “Har”. So, I made Penang Prawn Noodles or Penang Hokkien Mee. “Har” is prawn/shrimp in Cantonese and auspiciously it sounds like “Ha” of “Hahahaha”. I am originally Hokkien and we call prawns/shrimps “Hae“, you could say it sounds like “Heh” of “Hehehehehe” too. And so my point being, eating a lot of “Har/Hae” would induce a lot of happiness, one of the auspicious traits you want in your house during Chinese New Year!
Penang Prawn Noodles is a bowl of happiness in my eyes. Its rich broth is made from simmering pork bones and prawn heads until every ounce of their flavour is extracted. And then a necessary blend of spice paste carefully pounded with dried shrimps, chilies, shallots and garlic, which is then sauteed in peanut oil until fragrant and aromatic is added into the broth. It is an absolute delight to slurped on because the marriage of flavours from the prawns, pork and the slick red oil floating on every bowl dances in your mouth like sex.
The most time consuming part of cooking Penang Prawn Mee is the broth, it’s an element that will either make or break the dish so take the time to clean the pork bones and use the freshes prawns you can get. You need A LOT of prawns/shrimps for this dish. Usually, I would used 1500 grams worth of shrimp shells and 700 grams of pork bones for 1.5 liters of broth. If you cannot get as much shrimp shells, you should get a sachet of Tean’s Gourmet Prawn Noodle Paste from your Asian grocery store for a bit of help in boosting the flavour of your broth. You may use other brands but I won’t be able to guarantee how the flavours will turn out. read more …
During Chinese New Year, I almost died from eating so much food! Well, not literally. It was a lot of food. But first, I am gonna share with you a very delicious Lor Bak recipe from my grandaunt. She’s a pro when it comes to making Nyonya fares, after my grandmother (who is the guru) passed on, we go to her sister for great Nyonya fare.
Usually, the reunion dinner is special because we’d have Lor Bak (meat with five spice spring roll), Joo Hoo Char (dried cuttlefish with jicama stirfry), Sio Bak, Sio Ark, Sio Keh (roast pork, roast duck, roast chicken all in that order), Nyonya Chicken Curry, Hu Peow soup (fish maw soup), fresh steamed fish, loh hon chai and several other dishes that is varied every year. But the ones listed above is a staple during our reunion dinner. I know it’s a lot even for 12-15 people.
So during my CNY reunion dinner with my family, we had steamboat (hotpot) and Lor Bak on the sides while we waited for the soup to boil. I made it using a recipe that’s age old in our family and while it didn’t actually LOOK like my grandma’s Lor Bak, it sure tasted like it. One reason why it didn’t look like the original is because I didn’t wrap it tight enough. Pfft.
But here’s the recipe for Lor Bak:
Originally, people use pork as the filling but my grandmother and grandaunt switched to chicken decades ago for health reasons. I’m used to the chicken version but you can go ahead and use pork tenderloins in replacement 🙂
Bean curd skins, cut into 5×4 inch squares (for wrapping), you would need about 20 sheets.
500gram chicken breast fillets
3 stalks of spring onion, chopped finely
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup of jicama bean, julienned into 0.5 cm thickness
1.5 tablespoon of good 5 spiced powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
a handful of crispy fried shallots (store-bought ones are fine and recommended for convenience sake)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped and sauteed in oil until golden brown (you want a bit of the crisp garlic and oil)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon of soy sauce
2 tablespoon of cornstarch
Oil for deep frying
1. Heat oil until it is 300 degrees Fahrenheit. I prefer this temperature because the meat cooks as the spring roll turns golden brown evenly.
2. In a large bowl, combine ALL of the ingredients above except for the bean curd skins. Mix well. Let the chicken marinade for about 15-30 minutes.
3. With 1 sheet of bean curd skin, put in 2-3 fillet of chicken with a bit of the ingredients from the marinade. Wrap as you would a spring roll and be extra careful to roll it tightly so it doesn’t open up while frying. To keep the bean curd skin together after rolling in the filling, dab your fingers in the marinate from the bowl and wet the ends of the bean curd sheet before sealing it off.
4. Repeat step 3 until all the filling is used up.
5. Deep fry the Lor Bak until it becomes crispy golden brown.
6. Let it cool a little bit before cutting.