I traveled to Malaysia for the first time in May 2013. It was an amazing food experience and I am excited to share what I learned about Malaysian cuisine with you. The best part of the trip was watching my dad enjoy nostalgic food from his childhood. While souvenir shopping in a Malaysian grocery store, my dad spotted a bottle of cincalok and told me that when he was a child, his family’s servants would toss nets into the ocean during shrimp season to catch tiny shrimp for his mom to make cincalok from scratch. After hearing that story, I had to bring some home.
Posts Tagged ‘Chinese Food’
Cooking with Alison’s Mom (Part 1)
I have always wanted to learn how to make traditional Chinese soups and health drinks. So this chicken and rice wine health drink/soup is the first of my new recipe series, Cooking with Alison’s Mom. (Be sure to check out the Cooking with Alison’s Grandma recipe series.)
This Chinese soup is often served to women who have just given birth as it is supposed to be nourishing and warming. I particularly like drinking this healthy soup in the winter. It’s also a great way to enjoy/use up homemade glutinous rice wine. This soup could be made using only 2 ingredients – chicken and glutinous rice wine, but my mom likes to add a few more ingredients to enhance the health benefits and flavour.
Chinese hot chili oil is versatile, delicious, and cheap and easy to make. Use this as a condiment (e.g. for dumplings), use it in sauces (see bang bang chicken recipe here), soups (hot and sour soup recipe here, Chinese borscht (lor sung tong) recipe here), add this to a noodle dish (even instant noodles), or use it as a substitute for cooking oil to add heat to any dish.
Normally, this is made using whole, dried red chilies, which gives the hot chili oil a red colour. However, I happened to have a lot of red chili flakes on hand, so I used that instead.
Shanghai noodles are thick and chewy. At Chinese restaurants, they are usually darkly coloured and stir fried with thin strips of pork and cabbage. Since the noodles are so thick, they don’t tend to be as flavourful as they appear. That’s why I like eating this dish with Chinese red vinegar. I don’t know if anyone else does this, but I find that the red vinegar adds flavour, helps to cut the oil, and makes the dish feel less heavy. Try serving these noodles alongside sticky rice rolls (recipe here).
Sticky rice rolls make delicious breakfasts and snacks. They are easy to make, can be filled with any flavourful toppings that you like, and can be eaten on the go. These originated in Shanghai but personally, I prefer the fillings that are more commonly used in Hong Kong. Strongly flavoured fillings work best in these glutinous rice rolls. Some common fillings include pork floss, preserved vegetables, and Chinese deep fried dough stick, etc.
Cooking with Alison’s Grandma (Part 3 of 4)
During my last visit with my grandma, she showed me how easy it is to make your own Chinese salted eggs! Chinese salted eggs are simple, delicious, cost-efficient side dishes. Personally, I find them addictive. They can be enjoyed as a side dish to compliment a plain bowl of white rice or congee, or they can be used to flavour many different Asian dishes; just to name a few: steamed egg dish, claypot rice, steamed minced pork, rice dumpling (joong/zhong zi), etc. You can even add salted eggs to simple Chinese vegetable soups. This recipe makes a very large amount, which is perfect for making a large batch of Chinese rice dumplings (joong / zhong zi). Feel free to scale it down if you’re not making rice dumplings. My family never has trouble finishing a batch.
Cooking chicken by boiling or poaching is easy and great for making healthy, oil-free, meals. It may sound bland, but this results in deliciously moist meat and a pot of chicken stock. When boiling or poaching chicken, you want to use meat that still has the skin on and the bone in, so you can purchase cheaper cuts of meat and save money while eating healthy. You can boil a whole chicken or pieces of chicken. Shred the cooked meat and use it in salads, sandwiches, wraps, soup or, my favourite, bang bang chicken (recipe here). Another healthy and simple way to cook chicken is by steaming (see recipe here).
Jien duy are deep fried, sesame seed coated, glutinous rice balls with a sweet red bean paste filling. These homemade jien duy are the best that I have ever had and I’ve even tried the jien duy in China. These are crispy on the outside, light and airy on the inside, and they have a perfectly thin layer of sticky and chewy glutinous rice flour. These are best when served warm and the day that they were made. They’re surprisingly easy to make, but getting the oil to the right temperature can be a bit tricky.
Happy Chinese New Year! “Nian gao” or “leen go” (translation: year cake) is a cake that is traditionally eaten at Chinese New Year. It has a soft, dense, sticky and chewy texture and is not meant to be very sweet. Traditionally, it is vegan and steamed. See the traditional recipe here. However, the non-traditional, non-vegan baked variation tastes even better (in my opinion). This baked version combines a Western cake-like crust with the traditional sticky and chewy middle. Traditional nian gao / leen go is usually made in 9″ or 10″ pie plates, but for the baked version, I prefer to make small individual sized cakes, because the crispy edges are the best part. These make cute gifts for Chinese new year and are great for introducing people to Chinese new year cake, because nian gao could be considered an acquired taste. Baked nian gao tastes best when served hot.
Cooking with Alison was created two years ago, today! A lot has happened in the past two years, including adopting my dog, Blue, and moving back to Toronto, ON (this very weekend actually). To the surprise of everyone (myself included), I’ve maintained the momentum of recipe testing and writing. I’d like to thank everyone for making my efforts worthwhile. (See the one year anniversary stats and shout outs here.) Hopefully I can keep up with the cooking and baking for a third year of Cooking with Alison!
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Shrimp chips (also known as prawn crackers) are light, puffed up, crunchy snacks that are very popular all around the world. In some North American Chinese restaurants, multi coloured (with food colouring) “shrimp chips” are served atop a deep fried whole chicken, but those shrimp chips almost never have any real shrimp in them. They taste like styrofoam and don’t resemble the real thing in flavour or in texture. The best shrimp chips in the world, in our opinion, are made in Brunei. It’s been many years since any of us were in Brunei, and I thought that I might never taste their shrimp chips again, until I discovered how easy they are to make at home. Malaysian shrimp chips are a very close second best in my opinion.
I made this for my family recently and they thought that it tasted even better than the restaurant’s dish. My mom kept raving about how good it was and how even she can’t replicate that Chinese restaurant “flavour” (known as “wok hay”). My brother even suspected that I had used MSG! :) Just to be clear, I never use monosodium glutamate (MSG), because it is a neurotoxin and, clearly, you don’t need it to make great tasting food.