Friday, 21 February 2014

Simple Stir Fried Chinese Leeks with Tau Kua (semi-soft tofu)

My family members love Chinese Leeks.  We love it especially if stir fried it with roast pork belly.  I am sure most Malaysian Chinese  know how sinfully delectable this dish is if served with soy sauce and bird's eye chili!  It's very addictive too. Sometimes hubby and I enjoy having it just with cold beers; without rice. Whereas my children would have extra rice if Chinese Leeks is served!
 Stir Fried Chinese Leeks with Roast Pork and Hard Tofu

For a change, you can also mix and match Chinese Leeks with whatever dishes you have in mind.  
 Chinese Leeks with Swiss Mushrooms

 Fried Rice with Chinese Leeks and Apple Cubes

Simple Stir Fried Chinese Leeks with Tau Kua

Ingredients :
- 5 pcs semi-soft tofu (cubed and deep or pan fried)
- 4 Chinese Leeks (washed and cut)
- 1 pair Chinese Sausage (washed and sliced)
- 1 carrot (julienne)
- 1 thumb sized ginger (crushed)
Seasonings : (to taste)
- salt
- soy sauce
- Chinese cooking wine (Hua Tiao Jiu)

Method :
1)  Heat oil in a wok enough to deep fry or pan fry tofu.  (I prefer to pan fry).
2)  Pan fry tofu until both sides are golden brown.  Dish out and set aside.
3)  Leave about a tablespoon of oil in the wok.  Saute ginger until aromatic.
4)  Add Chinese Leeks, Chinese sausages and carrot.  Keep stir frying until all the ingredients are half done.
5)  Add salt and soy sauce to taste.  Keep stirring and if too dry, add some water.
6)  Transfer the fried tofu back to the wok. Stir and mix well.  
7)  Drizzle some Chinese cooking wine and give it a quick stir.
8)  Dish up and serve with steamed rice or plain rice porridge.
Such a palatable and aromatic dish!
Have a wonderful weekend ahead and cheers :)

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Friday, 14 February 2014

Chap Goh Mei (Chinese Valentine's Day) and Baked Cheesy Prawns with Garlic for Valentine's Day

This year Chap Goh Mei falls on the 14th February 2014 and coincides with Valentine’s Day.

Chap Goh Mei, in Hokkien dialect means “the 15th night of the Chinese New Year”. It also symbolises the ending of the Chinese New Year. Chap Goh Mei is also known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day, Lantern Festival or Yuan Xiao. On Chap Goh Mei night family members gather for another reunion dinner.

On this day, the unmarried women or those missed the ferry would write their names and contact numbers on the oranges. Then they throw them into sea, lake or rivers with the hope of finding a good husband. However, as time goes by, people are more creative. Nowadays, we can also see available bachelor men throw bananas too into the river or lake with the same intention.

Hopefully my Baked Cheesy Prawns with Garlic spice up and add some fire to your relationship, hehehe...
Curious?  Well, aphrodisiac foods have long been known as a sure-fire way to revive any relationship.  To the Romans, prawns with garlic is capable of stimulating and set your desire alight.  So, if you think your relationship needs a boost, get cooking and bring the flames of passion to life!  Or isn’t it a double happiness and joy for all to celebrate this wonderful day filled with love and gratitude with your loved ones, family and close friends?
Ingredients :
6 big or medium-sized prawns (cleaned and marinated)
3 tbsp minced Garlic

1 tbsp finely chopped basil leaves
Mozzarella Cheese 
Olive oil
2 limes or lemon 

Marinates : (to taste)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
A dash Chinese cooking wine or rum

Direction :
1)  Trim and clean the prawns.  Then, slit open and devein the prawns. 
2)  Marinate for 20 minutes.
3) Poke with satay stick or toothpicks from one end to the other, pull until straight.
4) Add chopped basil leaves and garlic to the slit parts.

5)  Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree.
6)  Line the tray with aluminium foil and arrange the marinated prawns.
7)  Then top with Mozzarella or any grated cheese and drizzle with olive oil or cooking oil.
8)  Bake for 10 to 12 mins depending on the size of the prawns.
9)  Serve with lime or lemon juice.
My special credits to Shane for his idea of serving baked prawns on Valentine's Day and Amelia of Amelia's Dessert for her recipe.
Happy Valentine's Day to all my friends here
who have been understanding, loyal and supportive. 


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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Significance of Ang Pows 红包/利事 and Chinese New Year Greetings

This year, according to the lunar calendar and the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2014 is the Year of the Horse and falls on the 31st January 2014. It is celebrated by Chinese all over the world. Lunar New Year denotes new beginnings and a fresh start.
This is a time of celebration, reunion, forgiveness, sharing and thanksgiving. This is the day Ang Pow plays an important part of our Chinese tradition.
Ang Pow or red packet is commonly known as “Lai See”. Ang Pow is extremely auspicious among the Chinese community.
The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits.
It’s also a gift of money which symbolizes blessings, good luck, good health and success.
We usually put brand new notes (but not necessary) inside red envelopes. I don’t mind getting old notes as long as it’s legal tender, hahaha!
Besides Chinese New Year, Lai See is also given during weddings and birthdays. It’s a tradition to give Ang Pows to children or those who are still single during Chinese New Year.
As working or married adults, we also give Lai See to our elders ie. grandparents, parents, parents-in-laws, and our loved ones. My hubby gives me Ang Pow too during Chinese New Year. Likewise, my parents and in-law also give Ang Pows to their daughters-in-law, sons-in-law and also married children. It’s always an honour to receive red packets sealed with blessings and good wishes regardless of the amount of money received.  
My children have been taught and advised not to open the ang pows they received in front of others out of courtesy. They usually keep their ang pows received until the 15th day of the Chinese New Year; that’s Chap Goh Mei, and only open the red packets to count how much they have received before I keep it for them in their bank account.
Chinese are very particular when giving or receiving money during any auspicious or happy occasions such as Chinese New Year, weddings, birthdays, etc.
For the benefits of my foreign and non-Chinese readers, should you need to give money as a gift to a Chinese friend during a happy occasion, always remember it must be in red packets or pink envelopes.
Please bear in mind that money as a gift in a white envelope is a BIG NO, NO. This is only given as ‘Pak Kam’ (white gold) which is being donated to a deceased family so as to ease their financial burden for any funeral expenses incurred.
Asian Chinese get offended easily when receiving money in white envelopes!! So, my dear friends, should you need to give money as a gift to any of your Chinese friends or business associates, always use RED PACKETS for happy occasions and white envelopes to a deceased family.
It’s also common practice in Chinese organisation where employers give Ang Pows to employees as bonus before the office closed  for the Chinese New Year and on the day when the company reopens for business after Chinese New Year holidays.
Banks, big organisations, insurance companies, departmental stores, and shops distribute free Ang Pow packets to their customers.
In the olden days, Ang Pows were usually a red piece of paper where money is wrapped inside. 
However, time has changed and the design and artwork of the Lai See has improved in many ways. Ang Pow packets come in attractive designs.
These designs can be in carps, peonies in full bloom, golden mandarin oranges, golden pineapples, Chinese zodiac animals in accordance to the relevant year, etc. Each design has a different motif that is significant to the Chinese New Year.
Over the years, I have been collecting some truly attractive and beautiful Ang Pow packets. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my dearest sister who have recently generously given me some of her limited collection of beautiful Ang Pow packets.
Thanks Dear !!!
Let’s gallop confidently into a healthy and prosperous year of the Horse with abundance of good luck, remarkable achievements and an endless journey of successful goals and dreams!!!
Gong Xi Fatt Chai !!!


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