Sunday, 31 October 2010

Potato Salad

Dearest Whimsical Readers,

Need a quick munch and yet gives you a full and happy stomach? Potato Salad never disappoints me. You can either treat this as an entree for your dinner, or a simple meal for your lunch. Here's how it goes:

2 Russet Potato (US) (preferably medium sized)
1 Green Apple (I like the sour taste to it)
2 Shallots
10 Cherry Tomato (slide into half)
2 Eggs (boiled)
4 Rashers of Streaky Bacon
Salt and Pepper
Mayonnaise (preferably KRAFT)

1. Chop the potatoes into cubes and boil them (takes about 15-20 minutes)
2. Boiled the eggs (takes about 10-15 minutes)
3. While your potatoes and eggs are boiling it's way, slice your cherry tomatoes into half, put them into the chiller.
4. I prefer not to remove apple's skin, I love the skin! Chop them into cubes and place them into the chiller
5. Slice the shallots into thin slices.
6. Fry the Bacon till crispy, chop them into chunks.
7. When the potatoes and eggs are ready, drain them, leave it to cool *slice the eggs into quarters*
8. Add all of the ingredients into a nice salad serving bowl, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Eggs, Apple, Bacon, Shallots and finally the Mayonnaise. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Note: This dish you will get to taste, salty, sour and sweet. Enjoy!

Your truly,
Whimsical Buddies

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Fried Rice #2 with Fried Dace

Fried Rice with Fried Dace

Dear Whimsical Readers,

F~ This is another version of chinese fried rice, as we all know, fried rice is very simple and can be made with all sorts of ingredients depending on your creativity. This version is from my dear mommy and I love it! So I'd like to share it with everyone, the special ingredient here is Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans, its not the prettiest thing in a can if you're not familiar with Chinese Cuisine. But I assure you, it taste really good. It can also easily go with plain white rice as a dish itself. I've also heard you can cook it with Bak Choy or Bitter Gourd, interesting even for me. Be sure you will see these recipes as soon as I try them! But now, I will show you Fried Rice with Fried Dace, here we go!

Ingredients: Serves 4
4 Cups Overnight Rice
1/2 Can Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans (thinly shredded)
1 Small Chinese Cabbage (thinly sliced)
1 Egg
1 Clove Garlic (finely chopped)
1 Medium Yellow Onion (thinly chopped)
1 Tbsp Ginger (finely sliced)
1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Fried Dace with Salted Black Bean

1. In a heated Pan/ Wok, add in 1-2 Tbsp Oil from the can of Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans. Fry the Fried Dace, to give it a crunchy texture for the fried rice. Dish out and keep aside.
2. In the same Pan/ Wok, now with Cooking Oil, lightly brown the Garlic, Ginger and Onion. Followed by the Chinese Cabbage and let it cook for 2 minutes.
3. Next, add in the Rice to the mix and continue to cook the mix for another 5 minutes.
4. Then, crack the Egg and mix it well as you cook it. (the Egg binds everything together, so a good mix is crucial) 
5. At this point, add in both Soy Sauce for colour and again mix well.
6. Bringing back the Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans and mixing it well and adding Oil from the can if needed at any point. Taste and adjust to your preference.
7. Dish out and serve hot.

To enhance the fragrance and flavour of the Fried Rice, use the Oil from the can of Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans instead.


Your Truly,
The Whimsical Buddies

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Tofu with Woodear "Mu Er"

Tofu with "Mu Er"

Hello Whimsical Readers,

F~ A couple weeks ago, you had some Cold Tofu from my partner in crime J~ and this week I thought of sharing with you another one of my Tofu recipe. It is a hot dish cooked with chicken and a type of mushroom that is very commonly used in many Asian cuisine called Cloud Ear Fungus always more commonly known as Wood Ear from the direct Chinese translation "木耳" pronounced as mù ěr.

I like this mushroom because even after it is cooked, it still retains its crunchy texture. It might look somewhat unappealing because of it's brown and slight translucent appearance but I assure it is really tasty when you get it right. Sometimes this fungus comes in a dried form and has to be soaked in water for awhile before you can cook but the fresh ones should also be easily available if you know where to look. ;)

For those who are skeptical of Tofu as well as strange Asian fungus, worry not, this recipe should change open your mind about it. Still not convinced? Try it with a friend or a loved one, make an "Experiment Night" and if you really don't like it, I guess there's always McD's or Pizza. But you have to try it before you can hate it so here it goes!

Ingredients: Serves 2-3
2 tubes Egg Tofu (1 inch slices) Be very gently as the Tofu can be very delicate*
60 grams Wood Ear (2x2 slices or thinly sliced)
60 grams Chicken (small pieces)
3 Tbsp Cooking Oil
2 Tsp Sesame Oil (optional)
3-5 Tbsp Soy Sauce
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

1. In a heated pan/ wok, add 1 Tbsp of Cooking Oil, fry the Egg Tofu until the surface is slightly browned or when the smoothness because somewhat rough (approx 2 minutes). Then, take it out and leave it aside.
2. With the same pan/ wok, add the remaining Cooking Oil to cook the Wood Ear for 2-3 minutes, followed by the Chicken for another 5 minutes.
3. At this point, bring the Egg Tofu back into the pan/ wok as well as adding in the Soy Sauce, Salt and Pepper. Then under a medium flame, close the lid for 2 minutes.
4. Just before dishing out to serve, add some Sesame Oil to enhance the fragrance if you like.


Yours Truly,
The Whimsical Buddies

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Aubergine Belacan (Spicy)

Hello Whimsical Readers,

F~ Hello, hello, did you notice the date today (10/10/10) is supposedly a very auspicious date? Not sure whether about where you're from, but where I'm from, it's for sure that there will be many couples getting married on this day. However we're not here to talk about people getting married, we're here for something more important which is FOOD. Haha. So let's get cracking..

However, let me first introduce to you a crucial ingredients that is very popular is the Southeast Asian regions from countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines. It is called Sambal Belacan. Sambal itself is a Malaysian/ Indonesian word for chili based sauce. Belacan is grounded shrimp that has been fermented, sun-dried after which cut into small blocks prior to cooking. Sambal belacan together means the shrimp paste is mixed and cooked with grounded chili, making this ingredient very spicy.

So now that you know one of the secret to spicy curries, let me show you another way to use Sambal Belacan. Without further ado, I present to you Aubergine Sambal Belacan. It is a mixture from the Malay and Chinese cuisine of Malaysia.

Aubergine Sambal Belacan

Ingredients: Serve 4
1 medium-sized Aubergine (sliced)
3 small Shallots (finely chopped)
70 grams Chicken (thinly sliced)
30 grams Dried Shrimp
2-4 Tsp Sambal Belacan (depending on your Spice Tolerance Level)
3 Tbsp Cooking Oil
1-2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
250 ml Water
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

1. After heating up your Cooking Oil in a pan/wok, add the Shallots and fry them for about 2 minutes.
2. Then add the Dried Shrimp and let it cook for a minute or so before adding the Chicken and again letting it cook for 2 minutes.
3. Next, add in the Aubergine and pour in 150 ml Water and close the lid for 3-5 minutes. (stirring it occasionally)
4. Turn the flame to a medium high before adding the Sambal Belacan, Salt & Pepper, Soy Sauce and the remaining Water to the mix.
5. Let it simmer for 2 minutes before serving.

Enjoy, and don't burn your tongue. =P

Yours Truly,
The Whimsical Buddies

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Beef Stragonoff

Dear Whimsical Readers,

F~ So today is my birthday!! Yeah! Happy Birthday to me! I'm not really a big-party person, I just don't like the idea of having a big party and not being able to interact with everyone, I prefer a something smaller where everyone one has the opportunity to talk to each other. Although come to think about it, I haven't had a party for myself since I was 12. Every other party for me is either small with my various groups of friends and big ones I host are usually for someone else.

Turning 22, its not so significant as 21 but I was on an island waiting for the storm to pass with a group of campers so we can kayak our way back to the mainland, plus the fact I was camping the whole month so basically means I was cut off from the world, doesn't really make it a typical 21st birthday. Nonetheless, it is memorable for me because I was doing what I love, out in the "wilderness"! Some of you would think I'm crazy but I absolutely love the outdoors and camping. And since this year I am within civilization, I decided to have a small dinner party of 8.

This is actually the first time I've made dinner for 8 people all by myself and  have to say, I'm really proud of my accomplishment, next step Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner for 25! Wow..haha. Back to my birthday dinner, I made Beef Stroganoff with a side of pasta. It is easy enough to make and you can cook it a little earlier in advance and let it simmer to perfection as you entertain your guest. And making a larger portion is no a problem either.

Beef Stroganoff is originally a Russian dish which included sour cream in the recipe and instead of pasta, rice was served with it. The recipe varied as it travelled to Europe, North America, Australia, South Africa, Brazil etc. This version of beef stroganoff is more towards the european styled cuisine with cream sauce.

Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients: Serves 4
600 grams Beef Tenderloin (pounded flat, sliced, lightly coated with Flour)
375 grams Fettucini Pasta
300 grams Mushroom (preferably fresh, thinly sliced)
1 Medium Yellow Onion (finely chopped)
300 grams Cream
60 grams Butter
30 grams Flour
60 ml Red Wine
1 Tbsp Tomato Pureè
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Basil Leaves (garnish, optional)

1. In a boiling Pot of water, add some Oil (so the Pasta doesn't stick to each other) and Salt (for minimal flavour) before adding in the Pasta. Cook it accordingly and drain it, then keeping it warm, aside
2. Meanwhile, in another heated Pan/ Wok, melt 40 grams of Butter before putting in the Onion and letting it glaze for about 2 minutes.
3. Followed by the Beef, letting it cook for 5 minutes. Dish out the Beef and Onion and put it aside, keeping it warm.
4. Add the remainder Butter into the same heated Pan/ Wok, then toss in the Mushroom for about 3 minutes. Cook them until they start to turn into a nice brown.
5. Once the Mushroom starts to brown, add in Tomato Pureè and Red Wine and continue cooking for another 2 minutes or until the liquid begins to thicken.
6. Now bringing back the Beef and Onion into the Pan/ Wok, then mix in the Cream under a low to medium flame, thickening the Cream. (approx 1-2 minutes). Also not forgetting the Salt and Pepper to taste.
7. Dish out a generous portion of both beef and pasta and serve hot. Garnish with a couple Basil leaves.

- A good tip how to properly cook your mushroom (which I learnt from movie: Julie & Julia) is not to crowd your mushrooms. fanning them out thus giving them enough space to cook and brown nicely.
- For those of you who prefer more sauce like me, what you can do, it add a little more Cream (100 grams) as well as Water (65 ml). However keep note that once the cream sauce cools down, the tendency of the sauce to reduce is very likely.


Yours Truly,
The Whimsical Buddies

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Help! The Weather is Killing Me!

Dear Whimsical Readers,

J~ Air conditioner already on full blast but the weather is so hot that all you want to do is just hide yourself in the house!? The humidity is so high that it feels like you got punched into your face!? Ho Right! You came to the right place! This is the dish that can solve the problem for you! It's super fast and east and I guarantee this is a cold dish to remember for life!

Cold Tofu

A box/ 300 gram Silken Tofu
Spring onion to garnish (finely chopped)
3 Shallots
3 Tbs Oil

2 Tbs Light Soy Sauce
1 Tbs Oyster Sauce

1. Remove the tofu gently from the box, place the tofu on a plate, add in all the sauces on the tofu, and let it chill in the refrigerator.
2.  Heat up the oil in low heat, add in the shallots, fry till it turns golden brown.
3. Take out the tofu, while the oil is still bubbling it's way, and immediately pour all the oil on top of the tofu
4. Garnish with spring onions and serve.

Yours Truly,
The Whimsical Buddies