Category Archives: Malaysian Food

Beef Rendang

Many years ago, we brought Beef Rendang home to US, from Malaysia. Yes, vacuumed packed Beef Rendang.

Later, when we were still living in Texas, we flew from Dallas to California for Malaysian Food. And our order always included Beef Rendang. After we moved to Portland, Oregon, we drove 3 hours to Seattle to eat Beef Rendang from a Malaysian Restaurant. My craving for Malaysian foods was especially strong when I was pregnant. Thank God, my husband was kind enough to fly or drive with me.

One day, not long ago, I discovered the secrets to making this popular Rendang dish.

Secret 1: Use Beef Shank. Cook the beef shank until it is tender. It usually takes 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Secret 2: Use pre-mix Rendang sauce. In the past, I have used the Indofood brand and it tasted good. Yesterday night, I used a combination of Indofood brand and Hup Loong brand and it tasted even better. Photo shows a stalk of fresh Lemongrass and the two types of pre-mix for Rendang.

 

Secret 3: Use fresh Lemongrass. I cook the sauce with Lemongrass. When the sauce is cooled, I use a blender to “semi-puree” the sauce. The sauce will still have fibers from the Lemongrass. Don’t worry about it.

Secret 4: Use Coconut Milk. I use canned ones because we don’t have the luxury of fresh coconut milk in the US. I just use the brand that is on sale. I choose the can that has no dents, latest expiration date and sound “liquidish” when I give it a shake.

A note on Lemongrass

  • Use only the bottom 3 or 4 inches of the Lemongrass.
  • In room temperature, fresh Lemongrass shrinks over time and lose their fragrance from the outer layer first. So, I always choose the Lemongrass with the fattest bottom.
  • When I have left-over Lemongrass, I bruise it and cook it with rice.

Finally, if you are interested to cook Beef Rendang from scratch, check out: Rasa Malaysia Beef Rendang Recipe.

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High Stock (高湯)

Stir fry Rice Noodles (Bee Hoon) tasted especially delicious tonight. The reason is I used “high stock” to cook it.

“High Stock” is a direct translation from Mandarin language. To make “high stock”, start with fresh bones. Cook the bones with enough water to cover the bones, a couple slices of ginger and a little cooking wine. Once the water boils, turn it to low and cook it for a whole day. I use my electric slow cooker for cooking bones.

After a whole day of slow cooking, the bones will become soft and all the minerals will go into the soup.

At this time, soup is carefully drawn from the pot and passed through a filter to ensure its purity, and then is put through the process of skimming all visible fats from its surface.

Fat can be easily removed if the temperature of the soup goes down below a certain level. There is a threshold where fat can be easily removed from the soup and that threshold is hard to describe in writing. You can experiment it yourself by checking up on your cooled stock. Once you notice a fatty solid substance floating on top of your soup and your soup is still in liquid form, it is time to skim the fat.

If your stock turns into jelly-like substance, you know you have made “High Stock”.

Stir-fry Rice Noodles (米粉)

My friends love my Rice Noodles. I have revealed the first secret, and that is using “High Stock”.

My second secret lies in the type of dry Rice Noodles that I use, and that is the Hsin Chu brand. Hsin Chu is a city in Taiwan and they are famous for their Rice Noodles. I like this brand because if I soak it a little too long, it doesn’t break or melt. Also, this brand of Rice Noodles has a yellow tint to it which I think is healthier to our body because little or no bleach is used while making it. Detailed recipe is posted Taiwanese Food Page.

 

Often, I make this delicious soup in bulk and freeze it in separate containers. If there is a dish that calls for High Stock, I pull one container out from the freezer and use it for my dish.

One such dish is Bah Kut Teh. My Mom said Grandpa‘s secret to his famous Bah Kut Teh was a good “High Stock”.

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Bamboo Shoots (竹笋) and Bamboo Leaves for Glutinous Rice Dumpling (粽子)

My husband loves to eat Bamboo Shoot. My blogger friend, Alice who lives in Japan, has Bamboo Shoots growing in her backyard. How cool is that?

The shoots are used in numerous Asian dishes and broths, and are available in supermarkets in various sliced forms, both fresh and canned version.

The following is stir fry bamboo shoots with mushroom and garnish with colorful chilies. I used stock to cook the shoots.

 

Additionally, bamboo leaves can be used as wrappers for zongzi, a steamed dumpling which contains glutinous rice and other yummy ingredients. The recipe I used was adapted from kuali. Instead of using the blue color extract from bunga telang, I used, “black glutinous rice”. The translucent square piece is not lard. It is a piece of winter melon. The dark red color is from black glutinous rice. The filling is Nyonya Pork Stew.

 

 

It is the Zongzhi season. Here are a couple of blogs that has recent articles on ZhongZhi: HaveFoodWillTravel, LittleCornerofMine.

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Oyster Omelet (蚵仔煎)

This is my husband’s favorite dish.

The first time I ate oyster, I could not understand, why would a person enjoy eating a soft, mushy, and sea smelling thing? Why would someone consider oyster as priced food? Certainly, eating oysters is an acquired taste.

I was reading about oyster on wikipedia and found out this interesting fact. There is no way of determining male oysters from females by examining their shells. While oysters have separate sexes, they may change sex one or more times during their life span.

Fresh oysters must be alive just before consumption. A simple rule: oysters must be tightly closed; oysters that are already open are dead and must be discarded. To confirm if an open oyster is dead, tap the shell. A live oyster will close and is safe to eat. Dead oysters can also be closed, but will make a distinct noise when tapped.

Enough introduction on oysters. Let me talk about Oyster Omelet, Oh-Ah-Chian 蚵仔煎. In Fujian or Hokkein language, Oh-Ah means oyster. Since this dish originated in Fujian, China, it is also popular in places with Fujian’s influences such as in Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan (where it is often sold in night markets).

In the US, Oyster Omelet can be found in very authentic Taiwanese restaurants. This dish has 4 major ingredients, oyster, powdered sweet potato starch, eggs and greens, topped with a little sweet chili sauce.

When my husband walked through the door tonight, he was immediately filled with excitement because he smelled something familiar. Throughout the dinner, he kept telling me how delicious it was. In the end, with a sigh, he said, I shouldn’t eat this last piece of oyster. I admit that this dish is full of cholesterol from the eggs as well as from the oyster, so I told him that I am not going to make this dish anymore, at least for a long time. He immediately gobbled up the last bite!


The following recipe is adapted from Passionate Eater.

Ingredients:
10 oz jar of refrigerated shucked oysters, drained
1/4 cup powdered sweet potato starch
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce as shown in the photo grid (or substitute 1 tbsp of sriracha mixed with 1 tbsp of ketchup)
3 large eggs, scrambled
1 tbsp of vegetable oil (divided)
1 cup of cooked garland chrysanthemum greens (Dang Oh), stir-fried with 2 cloves of chopped garlic (can substitute mustard greens or spinach for the chrysanthemum greens)

Method:

Combine the sweet potato starch, water, and oysters until thoroughly blended.

Swirl the scrambled egg mixture into the heated pan. Since I use a nonstick pan, I did not add any oil to the pan. Being careful not to break the egg omelet, heat it until it begins to set.

Pour the starch batter with oyster on top of the omelet. Cover with a lid, allow it to cook until it begins to turn translucent. Add the cooked greens. Flip the sweet potato starch pancake and cook until it becomes translucent throughout. The pancake should have a gluey texture, almost like mochi. Now, take the cooked pancake off the heat.

Spread the hot sauce on the surface of the scrambled omelet, and enjoy!

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Roast Pork (Char Siu)

I have a very good friend from Beijing China who is a great cook. Watching her cook in the kitchen is like watching a ballerina gracefully performing a dance.

One important lesson that I learned from her was using the right kind of meat to make Char Siu, and that is to use the Pork Shoulder Butt cut.

If you live in Portland, Costco Warehouse sells this type of cut in the meat department. I usually buy in bulk, roast the marinated pork and make different dishes with this meat. Sometimes, I would distribute the roast pork to my neighbors and friends or vacuum seal it for future use.

Recipe
Use a plastic bag to marinate your strips of pork overnight with the following:
3 tbsp of sugar
1 1/2 tbsp of wine
1 1/2 tbsp of oyster sauce

This recipe is for 2 to 3 lbs of meat. If you have more meat, adjust the amount of marinade. Bake the meat in a preheated oven with 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. The following are before and after photos. Additionally, you can dip the cooked strips of pork into (1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1 tbsp honey) glaze and grill it for a short while to give the pork a shine. Glazing recipe is from Auntie Lily. Traditionally, char siu were dipped in red food coloring. I prefer to omit the coloring.

Here are some ideas to make different meals out of these 6 strips of meat.

Sliced Roast Pork with Saffron Rice.

 

Siew Pao (Baked Roast Pork Bun) 燒包

Char Siu Pao 燒包

Other dishes that uses roast pork include Wonton Mein and Char Siu Fried Rice. I have posted an article on Wonton Mein recipe but the photo does not look as delicious as WMW‘s Wonton Mein photo. I took that photo before WMW told me about the “best shot” option on my camera.

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Presentation Matters

Both of the following two dishes contain the same ingredients, with the exception of cilantro in the second photo. However, the first photo looks more appetizing.

Why is that?

I thought I share a few tips on how to best present the food that you spent hours preparing.

Tip 1: Use an attractive dish to display your food. Jaden of Steamy Kitchen is great at “dressing” her dishes. Tonight, I scoured around my kitchen looking for a platter or dish to display dinner. Finally, I used earthenware’s lid. Yes you read right, I turned the lid upside down and used it as a bowl to hold the food.

Tip 2: Always try to use a garnish to tie back to your dish. This is a tip that I learned from an article written by L from Still Life With. Since the dish I made tonight was slow cooked with shallots, I garnished with a few slices of fried shallots.

Tip 3: Put condiments in a smaller container and display that with the dish. Sliced colorful chilies in a small clear bowl stand beautifully on a pair of chopsticks, a trick I learned from Rasa Malaysia’s article on Penang Char Hor Fun.

Tip 4: Use a clear platter or dish to display your food art. In the following photo, the platter had Asian prints all around and it became a competition with the food itself for attention.

 

The recipe is as follows:
Taiwanese Ground Pork with garlic and shallots
(reference: http://www.recipezaar.com/95047)

Ingredients:
1 lb ground pork
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 tablespoons minced garlic
1 (3 ounce) package fried shallots (can be found at any Oriental grocery store)
2 cups water
1/3-1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon msg (optional)
steam rice

Method:
Brown pork in skillet until cooked; drain off oil and set aside.
Add vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat.
Saute garlic for 1 minute.
Add pork and shallots, stir a few times.
Add water and the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil.
(Lee Ping’s note: I added a couple of chopped shitake mushrooms.)
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
Uncover and cook for 15 more minutes.

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Barbequed Chicken Wings

This is a perfect dish to feed a crowd. Young and old will enjoy this dish. This crowd pleasing dish is easy to prepare and does not cost an arm and leg.

Chicken wings is highly regarded in Malaysia for their slightly gelatinous texture, as shown in Lyrical Lemongrass Grilled Chicken Wings and WMW Jalan Alor Floggers Meet.

The following recipe is adapted from “The Food of Malaysia (Authentic Recipes from the Crossroads of Asia)”.

6 large chicken wings
1/2 tsp Chinese wine
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp black soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients and marinate the chicken wings for 6 hours. Bake in oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.

If you have more chicken wings, double the amount of marinade and put the marinade in a ziplock or plastic bag. Put each chicken wing in the plastic bag and coat each chicken wing with the marinade.

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Siew Pao (Baked Char Siu Bun) 燒包

When we were little, my Mom used to drive across the Klang bridge to buy these baked buns or shāo bāo (包) with roast pork fillings for us, as snacks. It has been 20 years, but I still remember the taste of this delicious bun.

The filling is shallots, roast pork or Char Siu (叉燒) and green peas. Special thanks to Lily for the recipe.

This Asian snack is also referred to as:

  • Baked Char Siu Bun or Baked Char Shao Bun in English
  • Siew Pao or Siu Pao in Cantonese
  • Shao Bao in Mandarin
  • Recipe for Char Siu filling (adapted from Lily’s recipe)

    2 Tbsp oil
    1 Tbsp Flour
    4 chopped shallots
    300 gm Char Siu ( finely diced )
    3 Tbsp sugar
    ¾ cup water (Since the Char Siu was fully cooked, I reduced the water to slightly less than 1/2 cup. The more water, the longer I have to wait for the sauce to thicken.)
    1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
    1 Tbsp light soya sauce
    1 tsp Dark soya sauce
    1/2 cup frozen green peas

    Heat oil and stir in the shallots.
    Add in flour and fry until flour is cooked and brown.
    Put in the diced char siu and fry for a short while.
    Add in water, all the sauces and sugar.
    Cook till the sauces thicken and gluey.
    Lastly add in the green peas.
    Set aside to cool .

    For the skin, I used the Pie Crust Mix, a tip, I learned from Rasa Malaysia. I made 12 Siew Pao from one package of Pie Crust Mix. The hardest part about making this snack is perhaps wrapping the bun. Don’t put too much filling or it will be too hard to enclose the bun. Since I was conservative on the filling, there is still a small bowl of filling left.

    I baked the buns according to the temperature listed on the Pie Crust Mix. After 10 minutes of baking, I took it out and brushed one beaten egg yolk on the top of each bun and put it back into the oven and bake until golden brown.

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    Bah Kua (Homemade Jerky) 肉乾

    We used to drive 6 hours to Vancouver, B.C. Canada to buy authentic “Mei Jen Siang/Bee Cheng Hiang 美珍香” Bah Kua. They are quite pricey as well. The store would vacuum pack for us and put a label that can go through custom. However, our hearts still beat fast when we pass immigration for fear that we cannot bring this snack over to the US.

    These days, when we have the crave, we make our own.



    Ingredients:

    1 lb minced meat, with some fats
    1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
    1 tbsp dark soy sauce
    slightly less than 1 tbsp of light soy sauce
    1 tbsp cooking wine
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 tsp cooking oil

    Steps:

    Put minced meat in a big bowl. Add in seasonings. Use chopsticks and stir in one direction until meat becomes gluey.

    Put the meat on SILPAT (as shown in photo) or parchment paper. Cover with a big plastic cling wrap. Use a roller to roll the meat to 2mm thick.

    Place in baking tray and bake in preheated oven 257’F (125’C) for 20 minutes. After that, increase the temperature to 356’F (180’C) and bake for about 20 – 30 minutes. Then, remove the meat from the oven and flip over on a piece of parchment paper and continue to bake for about 10 minutes. The time used to bake the meat depends on the thickness of the meat.

    I also tried Lily‘s Pork Long Yoke recipe and it was a great success. I used every ingredient in her recipe except for licorice. I also substituted rose wine with regular Chinese wine. It tasted and looked great. The grill marks (from my Panini maker) not only enhanced the look but enhanced the taste as well.

    To prevent my 6 year old from gobble the Pork Jerky up too quickly, I added some red pepper flakes.

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    In His Time

    My mind is still with the terrible incident that happened earlier this week. My heart weeps with the families of the victims.

    This morning’s reading is

    Psalm 37:5 Commit your life to the Lord, He will do if you trust in Him.

    I used to pray and expect God to answer my prayers immediately. I thought it was my responsibility to do everything in my power to bring about the answer.

    I looked ahead and saw the verse that our speaker spoke of during the past weekend retreat.

    Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.

    God (Holy Spirit) will talk to me if I continue to read His words and please Him. He will make all things beautiful for me.

    I remember a beautiful song that I used to play and sing many years ago.

    In His Time, He make all things beautiful. That You do what You say, in Your time.

    Simple Comfort Foods

    Bread with Kaya and butter (imagine eating this with soft boil egg for breakfast)

    Laksa Lemak

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    Filed under Malaysian Food, Stream in the Hip Desert 新沙漠甘泉

    My Grandpas – Malaysian Chefs (我的祖父是大廚師)

    Surprise, Pa!  The winner of the chef award goes to you because you are a chef at heart, if only Mom allowed you in the kitchen. 

    Not many people know this – I have cooking genes, both from my father’s and mother’s side of the family.  Both my Grandpas were famous chefs!  I have teamed up with my father to write the following article.  Actually, Mom and Dad did most of the writings for me.  Dad’s penmanship is much better than mine and they know the facts first-hand.  I think this is a nice post for my kids to have, to know about their Great-Grandpas.  I also thought it will be a good introduction to the Bah Kut Teh dish that I will be sharing in my Malaysian Food Page.  If anyone is familiar with Klang Bah Kut Teh, guess what?  I am the grand-daughter of the late Lee Boon Teh!

    I think it is nice for my kids to know a little about their Great-Grandpas.  They were both noble men and at the time of their funerals, streets were filled with mourners.   I remember Grandpa Lee. He wore the traditional black Chinese outfit and he was super tall. 

    When Grandpa Lee died, I was only 5.  I did not understand that solemn occasion but I enjoyed the puppet show, parade with men walking on stilts, yummy Lumpia (Poh-Piah in Hokkein) and meat balls (Bah Wan in Hokkein).  Grandpa Chong died before I was born, but I can imagine he was a nice man, just like my father.  

    Grandpa and Grandma Lee married in Eng Choon under the rite of arranged marriage, in the province of Fujian and then emigrated to Klang and settled down in Klang, 30 minutes from Kuala Lumpur.  They started to work as hawker plying the Ang Ku Kay cake and Chinese New Year glutinous rice cake business.  (I did not know this fact until now.  Perhaps, this is the reason why I have a deep passion for this dessert.)   

    Later, they started the Bah Kut Teh (肉骨茶) business at the Malay Street, Klang.  I learnt from mom that they are the first one who started the Bah Kut Teh business in Klang under the trading name of Der Dee (德地), which translates to Virtue Earth.   

    Since his death, the family Bah Kut Teh business is being run by his eldest son and following his death, the business is being operated by his grandson.  Mr. Lee Boon Teh has a big family, 7 sons and 5 daughters and around 50 grandchildren.  (I am one of the 50 grandchildren.)  Almost all his sons are in the Bah Kut Teh business.

    Their eating shop is well established and well known to all the patrons who enjoyed a meal of Bah Kut Teh.  Everyday, at the crack of dawn, all the tables and seats at the shop will be fully occupied.  The patrons traveling from far and wide from cities next to Klang will come to taste the authentic Bah Kut Teh. 

    Their recipe is authentic with Chinese herbs to boil with the pork ribs and other delicacies to placate the taste bud of the eating public. This stall is renowned for its delicious taste and their reputation is well-known as the foremost Klang Bah Kut Teh.  Now, with the demise of the first generation of the pioneer, the business is being taken over by the second generation of the Lee’s family.  One of the landmarks is the stall located-down the bridge at Klang and another famous stall is situated at the Malay street where my late grandpa started his eating business many decades ago.

    My other grandpa, Mr. Chong Yoon, died in a motor car accident prematurely at the age of 46 years old.  He worked as a caretaker (chef and administrator) for Shell Company at Mallaig bungalow at the famous hill resort -Fraser’s Hill in the state of Pahang.  He emigrated from the town of Xian Nin in the Province of Kwang Tong at the age of 26 years old.  Grandpa Chong traveled to Kuala Lumpur by boat from Xian Nin in 1911. 

    He traveled back to China and married grandma two years later.  He accompanied her to Malaysia by boat, which was quite dangerous in those days where airplane was unheard off.  Grandma Chong used to describe to my father how precarious was her journey from China to Malaysia.  In those days, life was very hard and difficult to earn a gainful employment in China.  Therefore, Grandpa Chong chose to leave China and ventured forth to K.L. with the spirit of adventure to look for “greener pasture” to start a new life and family in Malaysia.  

    In the beginning, he worked as a hospital assistant helping to take charge of patients in one of the private hospitals.  Therefore, he was very proficient in dressing wounds for people who have minor injury and cuts as a result of accidents. 

    Later, grandpa Chong and family moved to Fraser’s Hill, where he became a chef/caretaker in Mallaig bungalow.  His oldest son was two years old and my father turned one. In those days (1940’s), life was tough and during the Japanese occupation, my grandparents had to learn to survive under very trying circumstances. My grandma helped out in planting vegetables and rearing poultry to survive under the repressive and oppressive Japanese regime, while grandpa worked hard to keep the whole family going.  Grandpa acted as an honorary treasurer for the only Chinese school at Fraser’s Hill.  He also raised funds from the general public to subsidize the Chinese school in order to give the children a better Chinese education.  His generosity and zeal for Chinese education was a household word at Fraser’s Hill. 

    He was a good chef who excelled in cooking both Occidental and Oriental foods.  His specialties were the Hakka Yong Tao Foo, Hainam chicken rice and exotic Hakka Pork with Yam cooked in the traditional Chinese style.  He also cooked Western style cuisine with flourish.  On grand occasion like Chinese school anniversary, he will be invited to cook for the whole Chinese community in the school kitchen.  He was also a Chinese scholar well-versed with the Chinese calligraphy.  He was a paragon of virtue and taught his children the ethics and good family values.

    (Great-Grandmas were remarkable women as well and I will team up with my parents again to write an article about them.  Prepare tissues because the next article about great-grandmas will bring tears to your eyes.)

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    Filed under Malaysian Food, Stream in the Hip Desert 新沙漠甘泉

    Cashing the Check

    We all go to the bank for a purpose. We present our check, receive the cash and then leave, having transacted the real business. We do not go to the bank just to lay our check at the teller’s window, and then pick it up and leave without cashing it.

    “Unfortunately, a great many people play at praying. They do not expect God to give them an answer, so they simply squander their prayer time. Our heavenly Father desires us to transact real business with Him in our praying.” Charles H. Spurgeon.

    Proverbs 23:18 There really is hope for you tomorrow. So your hope will not be cut off.

    After I read the above from Stream in the Desert, I brought my 19 month old baby to the library. After the library, since the weather was good and I haven’t shop for awhile, I thought I shop at the 23rd street. People who live in Portland are aware of the traffic in this hip street. It is very tough to get a parking spot. Well today was no different. However, I had a few opportunities to park. Unfortunately, these parking spots required me to parallel park. I thought to myself, “Here’s my chance to “cash my check”. So, I attempted to parallel park. I said a brief prayer and started my attempt. I signalled for the spot and started to reverse into the spot. By this time, a line of cars were waiting behind me. There is no Hollywood ending to this short story because I …….

    chickened out after reversing about 3 times. This incident reminded me of my childhood prayers. I had procrastinated to study for exams. At the last minute, I prayed to God. Of course, my prayers were not answered. What I did today wasn’t “cashing the check”, in fact, it was darn-right stupid because I had not been formally trained to parallel park. It is like jumping off a building and asking God to catch me.

    I did not have to cash my check today. I did not have to shop on 23rd street and buy more shoes. I needed to cultivate inner beauty, the beauty of gentle and quiet spirit.

    1Peter 3:3-5 Braiding your hair doesn’t make you beautiful. Wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes doesn’t make you beautiful. Instead, your beauty comes from inside you. It is the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Beauty like that doesn’t fade away. God places great value on it. This is the holy women of the past used to make themselves beautiful. They put their hope in God. And they followed the lead of their husbands.

    Here is a blog where many friends and family are cashing their check, putting their ultimate hope in God.

    Food For Thought

    I made Char Kway Teow last night.

    What made it taste authentic are these sauces.

    Humor

    Our 6 year old little dragon brought out baby’s bib and put it on herself.

    When asked why she did that, “I did not want to soil my new blouse with the coffee ice cream”.

    She even give our 8 year old little tiger a bib to wear!

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    Filed under Malaysian Food, Stream in the Hip Desert 新沙漠甘泉

    Secrets To Success

    I have never run out of ideas to blog. Just posting what I cook for dinner will guarantee at least one post a day. My morning readings of Stream in the Desert is another post. What I struggle with is

    1. finding appropriate time to blog without neglecting the needs of my family
    2. debating what is appropriate to post and what is pleasing to God.
    3. Since I have never gone thru seminary, I am also quite hesitant to quote the Bible for fear that I may be preaching the wrong thing.

    I was thinking about this quote today:

    I do not know the secrets to success, but the secrets to failure is trying to please everyone.

    The Bible has answers for everything, dealing with anger, children, death, divorce, eternal life, faith, friendship, getting even, giving, grace, greed, happiness, heaven, hope, joy, kindness, loneliness, love, peace, poor, salvation, swearing, suffering, worry, etc. Perhaps the secret to success is spending time in the morning to read God’s words. If you cannot please anyone else, at least you are pleasing God.

    Dinner (Hai Nan Chicken Rice)
    Perfecting this dish is not an easy task. Let me explain. To achieve tender cooked chicken is difficult. Sometimes, when the whole chicken is right out of the refrigerator, the exterior will cook faster than the interior. Hence, when you cut the chicken up, you will see blood surrounding the chicken. After entertaining guests with this dish, I learned:

    • guests do not like to see blood.
    • non-malaysian guest do not like to eat raw cucumber.

    So, I improvised a little. I marinated the cucumber, the Thai style (4 tbsp each sugar and vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 T water). Another trick is sprinkle some sour plum powder over the raw tomato. My mother in law brought me the sour plum powder from Taiwan. I have not seen it here in the US.

    Visit to the Library

    Angel at the library this morning… listening to stories, singing songs and playing with other babies.


    A few months ago, she was very shy and would not leave my arms. Look at her now. She is not shy at all. Even sat at Susan’s lap and sang songs with her.

    Susan, a volunteer at the library, is great with kids.

    My Reward

    And now, my reward of the week, a cup of Hazelnut Latte….


    After many weekly visits to this cafe, I finally remembered to bring my camera to take a few photos of this cafe. The aroma of fresh baked bread and fresh brewed coffee always lured me in.

    French Cafe

    Every Thursday and sometime even Friday, I bring my 20 month old baby to the library and across the street from the library is a French cafe. I am lured to this cafe for their hazelnut lattes. They also have fresh bakeries. Here are some photos taken at the cafe. The hazelnut latte is one of the best that I have ever tasted. Even better tasting than the local Starbucks. I have only one bad experience out of 10 visits where the coffee tasted diluted.

    This baker is putting the doughs in for fermentation.

    Here, he is sprinkling flour to prepare the board for second kneading.

    Humor Of The Day

    My brother forwarded this humor to me. If you like baked beans, read it. If you do not like baked beans, read it anyways because you will have a good laugh after reading it.

    One day, I met a sweet gentleman and fell in love. When it became apparent that we would marry, I made the supreme sacrifice and gave up beans.

    Some months later, on my birthday, my car broke down on the way home. I told my husband I would be late because I had to walk home. On my way, I passed by a small diner and the odor of baked beans was more than I could stand. With miles to walk, I figured that I would walk off any ill effects by the time I reached home, so I stopped at the diner and before I knew it, I had consumed three large orders of baked beans.

    All the way home, I made sure that I released all the gas. Upon my arrival, my husband seemed excited to see me and exclaimed delightedly: “Darling I have a surprise for dinner tonight.” He then blindfolded me and led me to my chair at the dinner table.

    I took a seat and just as he was about to remove my blindfold, the telephone rang. He made me promise not to touch the blindfold until he returned and went to answer the call. The baked beans I had consumed were still affecting me and the pressure was becoming most unbearable, so while my husband was out of the room I seized the opportunity, shifted my weight to one leg and let one go.

    It was not only loud, but it smelled like a fertilizer truck running over a skunk in front of a pulpwood mill. I took my napkin from my lap and fanned the air around me vigorously. Then, shifting to the other cheek, I ripped off three more.

    Keeping my ears carefully tuned to the conversation in the other room, I went on like this for another few minutes. The pleasure was indescribable. When eventually the telephone farewells signaled the end of my freedom, I quickly fanned the air a few more times with my napkin, placed it on my lap and folded my hands back on it feeling very relieved and pleased with myself.

    My face must have been the picture of innocence when my husband returned, apologizing for taking so long. He asked me if I had peeked through the blindfold, and I assured him I had not. At this point, he removed the blindfold, and twelve dinner guests seated around the table chorused: “Happy Birthday!” I fainted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (If you are the author of this humor, please contact me so that I can give you credit for it.)

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    Filed under Malaysian Food, Places To Eat in Portland, Stream in the Hip Desert 新沙漠甘泉

    Silence is Golden

    If there is silence in a conversation, I feel awkward.  I am always eager to give answers; Too quick to speak.  Sometimes, saying nothing is the best.

    He answered nothing (Mark 15:3).  Jesus could have caused His accusers to be laid prostrate at His feet. Yet He answered not one word, allowing them to say and do their very worst.

    At times, I thought, “Who am I kidding? That person will never change.  A leopard will never change the prints on its skin. Chinese popular saying,  river and mountain can relocate, but a person’s character is hard to change.”  But, I held my tongue.

    Food For Thought

    Aah, our dinner tonight.  Klang Black Hokkein Mee and Pandan Chiffon Cake.  Sorry, no left overs….

    Perhaps this is the most expensive Black Hokkein Mee in the world.  I used fresh lobster meat to substitute the meat for this dish.  The truth is I don’t know how to deal with squid yet. 


    If you think this cake looks good, the taste is even better.  It is moist and fluffy, not too sweet but enough to satisfy any sweet tooth.

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    Filed under Malaysian Food, Stream in the Hip Desert 新沙漠甘泉