Thursday, January 30, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year 2014 新年快乐

Wishing everyone a very Happy Chinese New Year 新年快乐.  May you gallop your 
way to good fortune, love, happiness, good health, success and wealth in the Year of the Horse.


Gong Xi Fa Cai 恭喜发财 from us all at Goodyfoodies :)

Our Chinese lanterns flowers for CNY :) Huat ah!


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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

CNY 2014: Toh Yuen Chinese Restaurant, Hilton Petaling Jaya

This year, the theme at Toh Yuen Chinese Restaurant, Hilton PJ for Lunar New Year is "East Meets West Tale of Love" as both the Lunar and Gregorian calendar's Valentine's Day both fall on the 14 February. Double the love! Diners will be served a complimentary heart-shaped dumpling with red bean paste and love letter for this occasion. As for CNY dining, diners can choose from four celebratory banquet menus, which are priced from RM1088++ to RM1688++ for ten persons. We were delighted to be invited to the hotel to sample some of their sumptuous Chinese New Year offerings. 


Chinese Pear and Jellyfish Yee Sang


I'm a little slow in the yee sang department this year, but I finally had my first "toss"  today. We tossed to good fortune, health and a great Year of the Horse.

Diners can choose from a few yee sang options, such as fresh salmon and baby abalone, Japanese clam and jellyfish, fresh salmon and jellyfish, jellyfish with seaweed, and Chinese pear and jellyfish. We had the latter - Chef Tham, the head chef of the restaurant explains that he chose Chinese pear from Korea as it has a nice fragrance when the fruit is ripe.


The braised eight treasure soup was beautifully presented, certainly one of the prettier soups I've come across lately. Tastewise, it was really good too, brimming with an abundance of seafood such as dried scallops, abalone, crab meat and sea cucumber.


Pomfret is always a welcome sight during CNY dinners, as fish symbolises "surpluses for the new year". This deep fried pomfret, served with fried ginger was excellent - fresh and moist, and I liked the addition of chilli powder and Szechuan peppercorn which gives this a subtle spicy kick.



This may look like a simple dish, but Chef Tham tells us that the scallops are cooked via the double-boil method for 2 hours. The braised Chinese long cabbage was smooth and tender and has absorbed the lovely flavours of the dried scallop sauce.

Braised Chinese long cabbage with dried scallop sauce

The seafood fried rice with XO sauce was certainly good, with plenty of wok hei and fragrance. This is definitely one fried rice I wouldn't mind having a couple of bowls of.



Deep fried nian gao (New Year cake) and golden fish with red bean paste completed our lovely meal at Toh Yuen. The nian gao is sandwiched with yam slices and deep fried, so good we had to ask for more.



Head Chef of Toh Yuen, Chef Tham


Diners can also try their luck counting the gold coins and symbols of prosperity in the Jar of Fortune at the restaurant entrance for a chance to win a "sweet surprise".

The CNY menu is available until February 14, 2014.




Pork-free.

Location: Toh Yuen Chinese Restaurant, Level 1, Hilton Petaling Jaya, 2 Jalan Barat, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Tel: 03-7955 9122 ext. 4073/4.

Website: http://www.zestpj.com/

GPS Coordinates: 3.102164, 101.640573


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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Recipe: Stir fried scallops with sugar snap peas, celery and carrots

Here's one last auspicious recipe before the arrival of the Year of the Horse. Without fail, scallops would be served at least once in my home during the 15-day Chinese New Year period. My whole family loves scallops. It can be simply stir fried with some greens and yet produce an absolutely delicious dish.


Stir fried scallops with sugar snap peas, celery and carrots


I have chosen to use large Hokkaido scallops, but of course you can use smaller scallops and just reduce the cooking time accordingly. Scallops represent family unity, and so does sugar snap peas. Carrots give the dish a splash of colour and also symbolises good luck. The vegetables are simply sauteed lightly so that they still retain their vibrant colour and crunchiness. I like to add a dash of ginger wine, as it complements seafood perfectly.



This is not only an auspicious dish for Chinese New Year, but also perfect for anytime of the year.  Simple and delicious!


Stir fried scallops with sugar snap peas, celery and carrots
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 6-8 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients
12-16 large fresh scallops
80g sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/3 carrot, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3-4 slices old ginger
1 tsp ginger wine
1 tsp chicken stock granules, or more to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil

1. Heat oil in a wok over medium high heat. Add garlic and ginger, and stir fry for 1-2 minutes, until garlic is lightly browned. Add the sugar snap peas, celery and carrot, and stir fry for 2 minutes or until vegetables are cooked but still crunchy.

2. Add scallops and cook for about 1 -2 minutes (depending on size of your scallops). You do not want to overcook the scallops or else the texture will be rubbery. The centre of the scallop should remain translucent.

3. Add ginger wine and season with chicken stock granules, and stir well. Serve immediately.




You can check out this recipe for stir fried asparagus with scallops and king prawns, for an alternative way of cooking scallops.

For Reunion Dinner ideas, see this post.


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*This recipe was featured on Asian Food Channel's Facebook page on 1 February 2014.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Baby Sumo's Top 8 Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner Dishes

Are you ready for the Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner 年夜飯? For many Chinese families, this is an important occasion, as family members gather together for the annual reunion dinner. The dinner is held on CNY eve (30 Jan this year), and will be in the home of the most senior member of the paternal family. The reunion dinner will usually be a sumptuous feast and will feature auspicious dishes to ring in the new year.

Here are my Top 8 CNY Reunion Dinner dishes (8 chosen for the obvious reason, as it is considered a lucky number for the Chinese), which often graces our table during the Reunion Dinner.  Please click on the name of each dish to get the recipe if you need some last-minute inspirations.





1. Braised pork knuckle with sea cucumber

This is a popular Hokkien dish, which my grandmother prepares without fail for our reunion dinner every year. In recent years, I have started to appreciate pork knuckle more and this is a dish which is usually only eaten during Chinese New Year, hence all the more reason to cook and eat this during the festivities. Furthermore,  sea cucumber 海参 is a homonym for happiness ("hoi sum"). This tastes really fantastic with longevity noodles 寿面.




2. Baked fish with lemon and dill

During the reunion dinner, many families would traditionally serve fish as the homophone for fish (魚yú) is a homophone for "surpluses"(餘yú). It is best to serve a whole fish and it is believed that it is good to intentionally not finish the dish, to symbolise having surplus every year.

You can steam it with soy sauce and some spring onions, however we prefer to bake it in the oven with some lemon and dill, and served with a garlic-soy sauce dip.




3. Fish maw with mushrooms

Other than serving a whole fish, we also like to have fish maw, braised with mushrooms. Sometimes, my grandmother also adds in deep fried chicken feet into the stew.




4. Chinese roasted pork belly (Siew Yuk)

Another must-have dish during our reunion dinner is roasted pork belly (siew yuk). Pork symbolises strength and wealth. Try this easy 3-ingredient siew yuk this year!




5. Steamed prawns with Shaoxing wine and egg white

Prawns symbolise laughter and good fortune, as the sound of the Chinese word "har" sounds like laughter "ha ha ha". We value happiness in our family, hence prawn is another must-have during the Reunion Dinner. This is a nice simple way of cooking prawns, and preserves the natural sweetness.



6. Stir fried asparagus with scallops and king prawns

It is no secret that scallops are my favorite seafood and what luck - scallops symbolises family unity, hence giving it the green light to make an appearance at our Reunion Dinner. More prawns in this dish and we are delighted to welcome more laughter into our life. Afterall, they say "laughter is the best medicine"!




7. Stir fried leeks with sliced mushrooms

Leeks 蒜 are commonly served as the name is a homophone for "calculating (money)" (算suàn). Dried shrimps contribute an umami flavour to this dish, and the Chinese name hae mi 虾米sounds like laughter "ha ha ha". Mushrooms 冬菇 also have an auspicious meaning - longevity.





My choice of dessert after the reunion dinner are my all-time favorite CNY cookies - pineapple nastar rolls. Pineapples symbolise "prosperity". These can be made a few days in advance so on the day, just open the tin and enjoy! If you want a more traditional dessert, you can try pan fried nian gao served with grated coconut.





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*This post was featured on Asian Food Channel's Facebook page on 30 January 2014. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Recipe: Chinese New Year Vegetarian dish (Jai 素)

For those abstaining from meat on the first day of Chinese New Year, a vegetarian dish which is commonly served is Jai 素. This dish is harmoniously made up of loads of auspicious ingredients such as leeks, mushrooms, carrots, dried lily buds and cabbage. My mum would make this for us every year without fail while we were growing up and I love it a lot!

Jai 素


Our choice of ingredients for our Jai 素 include:
a. Chinese or shitake mushrooms symbolises longevity
b. Leeks, a homonym for "counting" (money)
c. Unbroken glass noodles symbolises long life
d. Dried lily buds, also known as golden needles symbolises wealth
e. Carrots symbolises good luck
f. Spring onion, or scallions are symbols of spring. CNY is also known as "Spring Festival".
g. Wood ear fungus, mok yee symbolises longevity
h. Cabbage symbolises prosperity and luck
i. Tofu puff, the golden colour symbolises gold and wealth.

Phew! Is this an auspicious dish or what? ;D



Not only is it auspicious and vibrant, we really enjoy eating this too. Our version is a little soupy, hence we usually serve some longevity noodles on the side.

It's so good, Mr Horse wants some too!




Chinese New Year Vegetarian Dish (Jai 素)
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients
3 tbsp cooking oil
80g glass noodle (tong fun)
1 shallot, finely sliced
4 mushrooms, sliced or leave whole, soaked for at least 1 hour
15g wood ear fungus (mok yee), soaked for at least 30mins
15g dried lily buds (kam cham), tied in knot and soaked for at least 30mins
25g tofu puff
1 cabbage leaf, sliced thinly
1 inch carrot, julienned
2 spring onion, cut into 2 inch lengths
1 leek, cut into 2 inch lengths
800ml water
2 tbsp mushroom sauce
1/2 tsp salt



1. Heat oil in wok over medium high heat. Once hot, add the glass noodle and fry until crispy, about 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.

The ingredients for the Jai 素


2. Using the same wok, add the shallots and fry for a minute, until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and stir fry it for another minute. Add the wood ear fungus, dried lily buds and tofu puff and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes.

3. Add water, and bring to the boil. Season with the mushroom sauce and salt. Allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes for mushrooms and tofu puff to absorb the flavour.

4. Add the glass noodles (from Step 1) and braise for another 3-4 minutes. If it looks a little dry, you can add some more hot water (100ml) - the final product should have some liquid (a little soupy). Then, add the carrot, cabbage and leeks and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the leeks are cooked though.  Finally, add the spring onions and cook for another 30 seconds. Taste and season with more salt, as necessary. Serve immediately.





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*This recipe was featured on Asian Food Channel's FB page on 27 January 2014.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Recipe: Dahlia butter cookies (Kuih Semperit) (CNY)

With my two good kitchen assistants, we've been baking CNY cookies almost every weekend. Last weekend, we made both pineapple nastar rolls as well as these Dahlia cookies, sometimes also known as cherry cookies or simply butter cookies. I chose this cookie because I like the pretty dahlia flower shape. In Malay, this cookie is called kuih semperit.

Dahlia cookies, aka kuih semperit

In order to make this cookie, you have to buy a plastic piping nozzle (it will be usually be labelled kuih semperit on the packaging). To make this, simply mix all the ingredients into a smooth dough and put into the piping nozzle and pipe out these flowers. As they say, practice makes perfect and after a few tries, we piped out nicely-shaped dainty little flowers. It is then decorated with cherries to resemble a flower.  I did not use food coloring, hence my flowers are a pale yellow post-baking. 


Pipe them straight on the baking tray


These cookies taste better once it is cooled completely, and left for at least 12 hours. They are buttery, with a distinctive taste from the rose essence. Baby C also likes it cos it's pretty, and she helped me style the cookies for this post. :) Right after our photoshoot, she popped about 8 of these cookies into her mouth and said "YUMMY"!


A short video on how to pipe these dahlia cookies

video



Dahlia butter cookies (Kuih semperit)
Recipe by Baby Sumo, adapted from Joyce
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 22-24 mins
Makes 90


Ingredients
125g butter, softened at room temperature
70g icing sugar
170g plain flour
20g custard flour
60g cornflour
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp rose essence (or vanilla extract)
1 tsp broken cherries


1. Preheat oven to 150°C (no fan). Sift the plain flour, custard flour and cornflour in a large bowl. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and icing sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in egg yolk, and rose essence (or vanilla), and mix until combined.

3. Add in the flour (from Step 1) and mix until you get a soft dough. Turn off the machine.

4. Using the piping nozzle, pipe out the dough on to the tray. See video for instructions - pipe the dough out then twist to "cut".



5. Decorate with a piece of cherry in the centre. Press lightly.


Ready for the oven


6. Bake in preheated oven for 22-24 minutes, the cookies should not be browned when it's done. Cool in pan for 2-3 minutes, remove cookies and cool completely on wire rack. Store in airtight container.








I am submitting this post to the Bake-Along event #57: CNY cookies hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours,lena of Frozen Wings and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids. You can link your post at one of the hosts page.


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Friday, January 24, 2014

Recipe: Traditional Scottish Shortbread (Petticoat Tails)

Burns Night is celebrated on 25 January every year to commemorate Scotland's most famous poet, Robert Burns. I do take a great interest in anything Scottish, and I feel it is only apt to post something Scottish today.

We love Scottish shortbread, and this was actually the first of two (the other being Delia Smith's) shortbread recipes which we tried over the Christmas period. Traditional shortbread is either shaped like fingers or petticoat tails.



To make these buttery golden shortbread, all the ingredients are mixed together until you get a smooth dough, then press into a loose bottomed pie/cake tin, prick all over and score into 8 wedges. This batch of shortbread was made by Baby C and daddy.

This shortbread has a shorter baking time compared to Delia's, however the resulting shortbread is slightly more gritty but nevertheless buttery and delicious.Out of the two recipes, I prefer Delia's.



Baby C did a great job making these Scottish shortbread
video


Traditional Scottish Shortbread
Recipe adapted from Good Food Channel - Mary Berry
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
Makes 8 wedges


Ingredients
120g plain flour, sifted
60g caster sugar
120g salted butter, softened at room temperature
60g semolina (suji)


1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (no fan).

2. Place all the ingredients together in a bowl, and mix well (using your hands) until you get a smooth dough. You can also use a food processor if you like.

Mix the ingredients until you get a smooth dough


3. Press into a 24cm loose bottomed cake/pie tin, or alternatively roll the shortbread out to form a circle with a 24cm diameter and flute the edge.

4. Prick gently over the top with a fork and using a sharp knife/pizza cutter, score the surface of the round into 8 even wedges. Sprinkle with a little more caster sugar (optional- I skipped this).



5. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until firm. It will look pale golden when it's done.

5. Set aside to cool a little, but cut into wedges while still slightly warm. Store in an airtight tin once cooled completely.




I am submitting this to the "Baby Sumo's Christmas Recipes Collection 2013" event which I am hosting. You can link your recipes here.

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