Monday, September 1, 2014

Unker Cooks : Baked Lemon Cheese Cake

I tell you hor... if you want to be an awesome guy, the (almost) perfect boyfriend/husband or just the most happening friend in your group of sickening friends, there is one thing you should do... which is to learn how to cook.

And when I mean cooking, I don't mean becoming an expert of cooking the MyKuali Penang White Curry Mee or knowing the exact timing of how to boil water.. you MUST become the chef / baker.

The way to a lovely lady's heart is via her stomachs... or expensive handbags... since the latter is somewhat difficult... you shall focus on the former.

I mean, come one... it's not exactly too hard to cook right? If you take some time and study the millions of recipes online, you'll find that it's actually not that hard to whip up something simple in the kitchen. Some guys just like to say 'No' before they even get their ass up from their chair. It's miserable to be with people like that. It's exactly the same group of people who will tell you "Cannot laa... later kena potong" when you tell them to go have some Melayu girl friends. Jeezz.....

Anyhow, my interest in cooking was instilled when I was really young.. and it's all thanks to my mother who has taught me the simple dishes when I was young... curry chicken.. fried rice... etc etc. If today I'm not a Senior Wrap Mountain Wrap Sea, Gold Bowl Wash Hand engineer, I'll be a chef. Hence, it's not too later to show some interest in cooking. You can share your results with your sickening friends so that you can fine tune your recipe depending on how many of them suffer from food poisoning. Now isn't that fun?

Okay... I've been asked to share the recipe for the Baked Lemon Cheese Cake. This cake has been quite popular in my office because got people order from me one leh!! Fuyooh..

So, less talk and let's get baking:

What you'll need:

  • 400g of SCS cream cheese (2 x 200g boxes)
  • 120g of Emborg unsalted butter (MUST BE UNSALTED)
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence
  • 200g of fine granulated gula prai (More if you're feeding people with sweet tooth)
  • 70g of corn flour 
  • 7 large eggs from local bansan (morning market)
  • 400ml of Emborg whipping cream (2 x 200ml boxes)
  • 1 large lemon (it costs RM2 each now. DAMN !)

What you need to do:
  1. Make sure you take out everything from the fridge 1 hour before baking. The cream cheese, butter and whipping cream needs to be at room temperature
  2. Start the oven and preheat at 180'celsius
  3. Put the butter and cream cheese into the mixing bowl and start mixing at low speed. Scrape the sides and mix evenly
  4. Add the sugar and mix at medium speed. Make sure everything is mixed well.
  5. Add the corn flour and vanilla essence mix mix mix mix mix mix....
  6. Crack one egg at a time into the mixture and mix it evenly. Do this until all the eggs are used.
  7. By now the batter would be very watery. Don't worry. It's meant to be like that
  8. Add the whipping cream into the mixture to make it even more watery. 
  9. Finally, squeeze one biji of lemon into the mixture and give it a final mix.
  10. Pour the super watery mixture into the baking tray, I like to use those disposable aluminium trays so that I can throw them away when we're done eating.
  11. Put the tray into a larger tray, then pour hot boiling water into the larger tray. This is to keep the cake moist and prevent the top from cracking. 
  12. Bake for 40-45 minutes. When the top is golden brown, use a wooden chopstick and poke inside the cake. When you take out the chopstick, nothing will stick to it. Turn off the oven and take out your cake. Let it cool.
  13. When fully cooled, cover the cake with aluminium foil and let it chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours. Usually I just leave it overnight.
See? So easy...

Okay I sien liao.. bye bye

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Unker Cooks : Baked Honey Chicken

So today I cooked...

Baked Honey Chicken


Here's what you need (for 2 persons):

  • 1 chicken leg. Keep skin intact. 
  • Abalone sauce
  • Light soya sauce
  • Black pepper
  • 2 x Shallots
  • 1cm of Ginger
  • 2 bulb of Garlic

Here's what you do:

Remove skin of shallots, ginger and garlic. Put them into the blender. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Blend away!

Wash chicken and remove all blood related parts. Pat dry with Jusco™ paper towels. Add one tablespoon of Abalone sauce into the blended stuff. Mix well then spread all over the chicken leg. Add a dash of Sarawak black pepper your colleague bought from his last holiday trip on each side of the chicken.

Add one tablespoon of honey too and cover evenly all over the chicken. I used some "selected acacia honey" from Hai-O.

Let chicken sit in the marinade goodness for 1 hour. Turn it around once a while to make sure all parts are covered.

And here comes the fun part. Place chicken on baking tray in the oven. Set oven at 250 Celcius and bake for 15 minutes or when you notice the skin starts to burn become black. Take it out, flip it over and bake for another 15 minutes.

To check whether the chicken is cooked, use a knife and poke the thickest part of the chicken. If there are still blood oozing out, it's not done yet. If it's clear chicken juice flowing, then you're done!

Take out and cover chicken with additional one tablespoon of honey. You can serve as it is or chop up nicely. The skin will be slightly crispy and  the meat very juicy and tender.

Yummm yummm..... No salt necessary!

Baked Honey Chicken... .DONE! :D

Monday, October 8, 2012

Unker Cooks : Banana Sorbet

So let's talk about ice cream today...

Do you know hor?? That majority of Malaysians don't know that they've been having FAKE ice cream? Yeah... you read that right... FAKE... TIPU... PALSU....

"Unker Ho ah.... you sure or not? Don't simply tok kok sing song here laa..... why fake leh?? "

Ahhh...  you see... Initially, I'm also as ignorant as the public, and bought my ice cream based on two criteria only:

  • Flavour
  • Price

So... most of the time I would just buy whatever that's chocolate or vanilla and less than RM10 per box. Certain famous brands come to mind but let's not name names for the sake of names :D

This is until when an American expat in my company told me that those were not ice-cream.

I asked why.

"There's no milk in the ingredients!"

So one day I went to the neighbourhood supermarket and took a look at the ingredients of a certain dinding brand chocolate ice cream.

Wah... my expat colleague was right! Those type of cheap ice cream are made from hydrogenated vegetable oils.... and ZERO milk. It also contains flavouring, preservatives and lots of sugar. That's fake ice cream!

Consuming such things regularly will only give you one thing = High Sugar level and fat.

I was totally turned off from those cheap ice cream after that and never bought them ever again.

"So anjua? Where to buy HEALTHY ice cream ah?"

Actually, it's not very far to get good healthy ice cream. However, as milk is a controlled item by our lovely government of Malaysia, they can be pretty pricy. I think by now you should know what brands I'm talking about...

So as far as I know from my personal experience, these places sell ice-cream that are made from real MILK:

  • New Zealand Natural
  • Haagen Dasz
  • Baskin & Robins 

When I was in Austin, Texas, I was spoilt for choice when it comes to enjoying these real deal ice cream. I guess it's still a long way to go for Malaysia. I mean, not everybody can afford a RM28++ / tub ice cream :(

ANYWAY.... since we're on the topic of ice cream. Let me share with you an extremely simply recipe for a homemade sorbet.

"Eh? Sorbet is what ah?"

Ahh... in case you don't know, sorbets are ice-cream without milk! Ha ha...

So... cut the crap and get to the chase, here's the recipe for:

Jin Jia Tok™ Banana Sorbet

What you need lah?

There are only two ingredients needed for this sorbet (enough to share amongst 2 adults)
  • 2 ripe bananas (I used Dole bananas but I highly recommend 3-4 pisang emas as they're sweeter)
  • Vanilla essence extract

What you do with them lah?

Firstly, make sure the bananas are ripe, then throw them into the freezer. Make sure they turn rock hard and icy cold. It's okay if the skin turns brown, you don't eat the skin.

Next comes what seems to be the hardest part of the recipe, you need to peel off the frozen skin. It takes some effort because your fingers will BURN from the icy cold skin. I used a knife to help me with it..

After that, dice the banana into half inch chunks and throw all of them into a high torque, high power, high RPM super power blender you can buy from iFoodEx™ at PISA.

Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence extract too. It's okay if you don't. 
Add some water into the blender and start blending. Use a spoon to stir it once a while to ensure that all the banana are blended into a creamy paste..

By now the sorbet is almost ready. Scoop everything into a bowl and put it back into the freezer for another 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

When your kids cannot wait anymore and start crying... take out the bowl and sprinkle whatever you wish on top. 

For me I garnish with sunflower seed kernels and also golden raisins. I recommend chocolate rice because chocolates & bananas goes very well with each other.

DONE !!!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Unker Cooks : Jin Jia Tok™ Hainanese Chicken Rice

So hor.... everybody loves Chicken rice.... but not everybody likes to cook chicken rice. The main reason is because it involves quite a fair amount of work and you have the washing up to do after the meal. Well, if you love cooking, these are nothing.

But sometimes leh.... it is good to get down and dirty in the kitchen once a while... to prepare that one dish you love. And that was what I did today.... to prepare my own version of

Jin Jia Tok™ Hainanese Chicken Rice

The Hainanese chicken rice is sometimes also referred to as the 'Pak Cham Kai' in Cantonese. Why I choose to cook this instead of the usual roast chicken type? Well.... I feel that this is easier to cook in my small little pigeon hole. Also, I am actually a Hainam-kia suki. Yeah, my father's family originated from some Hainan province in China... so it's in my blood to cook Hainanese chicken rice. 

LOL !!!!

Okay... cut the crap and straight to the main topic of the day!!

What you need lah?

For a meal to feed 2-3 adults and one toddler:

  • TWO large chicken legs from AEON. Keep the skin intact.
  • TWO pieces of young ginger. 
  • Some spring onions
  • Some shallots
  • Some garlic
  • Taugeh (bean sprouts)
  • Pandan leafs (screwpine leafs)
  • Rice of any type (I am using Ecobrown unpolished brown rice)
  • Ice cubes
  • Cold water
  • Sesame oil
  • Oyster sauce

What do you do with them lah?

Firstly, wash the chicken legs clean, remove all blood related stuff. Rinse and using a paper towel, pat dry then sprinkle some salt and pepper. Leave aside.

Remove the skin of the young ginger. Keep about an inch for the rice while the rest is for the ginger dipping sauce.

In a pot big enough, boil some filtered water at high heat. Add a teaspoon of salt just for fun. When the water is bubbling at 100'Celsius, insert both chicken legs into the pot and immediately switch to low heat. Cover the pot..

IMPORTANT: Do not allow the water to boil. If you see bubbles, turn off the flame and let it sit. The idea is not to boil the chicken but just to poach it enough to cook the chicken.

Check the chicken once a while. Poke the thickest part of the chicken with some fork or chopstick. When clear chicken juice flows out, it's almost done. Remember! Never boil the chicken.

It is okay if you found out later that the chicken is not fully cooked. You can always finish up the job by steaming it or for lazy people, just microwave it. LOL...


Prepare a pot big enough to fit the chicken legs, take out the chicken legs from the pot and put it inside. Quickly, pour ice cubes on top and then cover the chicken with ice water.

This may look gross for those of you not used to these type of cooking. But this step is crucial to ensure that the chicken skin stays firm and the meat stays tender, the hallmark of a good Hainanese Chicken Rice. Put aside for 10-15 minutes and go take a toilet break.

By the way, NEVER throw away the chicken stock (the pot of water where you poached the chicken legs). You need this super power water for the other stuff.

After that, remove chicken from the ice bath and pat dry again with paper towels. Alternatively, just let it drip dry.

When it has warmed up to room temperature, use a sharp cleaver or chopping knife, cut the chicken into bite size chunks and arrange neatly on a plate. Garnish with chopped spring onions and some fried garlic...

Cucumber is optional but it's a nice add-on value meal to the chicken :D

Okay... let's move on the the rice...

Wash the rice and rinse it. Keep aside.

On a pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. Stir fry coarsely chopped shallots, garlic and young ginger slices until aromatic. Add the washed rice into the pan and stir fry briskly for about 8-10 minutes.

After that, pour everything in the pan into the electric rice cooker. Add tied pandan leafs and also the stalk of two spring onions.

Do not use plain water to cook the rice!! Instead, use the chicken stock earlier. Add enough chicken stock to cook the rice (this is different from rice to rice). Sprinkle a dash of salt into the pot, cover and switch it on.

It should be cooked within 20-30 mins.

While the rice is cooking, you can prepare the ginger dipping sauce.

Using the remaining young ginger, grate them finely into a bowl. Chop 3-4 shallots finely and mix together. Add 2 teaspoon of salt too. Oh... don't forget to add a handful of chopped spring onions. Pour 4-5 tablespoons of the chicken stock into the bowl and mix them well. Taste and add stock / salt according to your own liking.

I tell you... this dipping sauce is really nice. For people who doesn't like spicy chilli, this is an excellent alternative. It goes well with the rice and chicken too!

Meanwhile, add two tablespoons of oyster sauce into a bowl, add some chicken stock and mix well. Pour on top of the chicken. Keep some for the rice too or as a dip for the cucumbers.

The last dish is the taugeh. This is the easiest to make.

Boil water in a pot. Blanch the taugeh in the pot using a metal strainer for 30 seconds - 1 minute. Remove and drain water. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Add fried garlic and spring onions. DONE!

 By now, the rice should be done. It should be causing your kitchen to smell very nice too! LOL... dish out, pour some oyster sauce and serve! Since I have enough spring onions left.. I added them on top of the rice too. YUMMMY...

 All these will go very well with any clear soup. For today's menu, I've prepared the pork ribs with white radish, carrots and scallops soup. DELICIOUS!

 So that's all!!! It's my first attempt and I must say, I'm very proud of it.

Jin Jia Tok ah!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Unker Cooks : Abundance Prosperity Pork Belly with Abalone Sauce

It's Saturday again! That means it's time for Unker Ho to get busy in the kitchen again. Woo hoo~! I tell  you hor... being in the kitchen really makes me happy, as long as I'm the only person in the kitchen. Ha ha...

So anyhow, today I'm going to post the recipe for a very nice pork-based dish:

Abundance Prosperity Pork Belly with Abalone Sauce

LOL... I have no idea where the name came from... it just appeared somewhere...

So what you need lah?

(1) Pork Belly (about half a kilo) from Tesco

- I just happened to do my shopping in Tesco and saw that the pork belly was quite nice. So I just buy. End of story.

- If you want to, choose a pork belly that has more meat than fat. Some pork belly has more fat.

(2) A bottle of Abalone Sauce from the morning market uncle

(3) One lemon

- Wash the lemon clean and put it in the freezer. You can use it for many other dishes so just keep on frozen lemon at your convenience at all times

(4) Sesame oil

(5) Two slices of ginger

So what do you do with them?

(1) Wash the pork belly and pat dry with paper towels

(2) Cut it into half inch chunks. Remove the skin.

(3) Season the pork belly with a pinch of salt and also some pepper. I'm using some grounded black pepper. Black pepper tastes nicer :D

(4) Heat up about 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. Keep the flame low at all times. High flame produces mega smoke which will cause your husband / wife to mop the floor after cooking.

(5) When you start to smell the sesame oil, put in the two slices of ginger

(6) Let the ginger sizzle in the oil for a while.. it will turn brown slightly starting from the edges. Then add all the seasoned pork belly into the pan. Remember to continue keep the flame low.

(7) Toss and turn the pork belly around so that they're completely covered by the ginger-smell sesame oil. You will notice that more oil will be produced in the pan. It's from the fat!

(8) Continue stir frying the pork belly. You know you're ready for the next step when they turn slightly brown like this:

(9) Pour two tablespoons of abalone sauce into a bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon of water. Stir them well then pour it into the pan.

(10) Continue stir-frying everything until the pork belly is covered with the abalone sauce. It will thicken very fast as one of its ingredients is corn starch! This is also the time you switch off your stove. 

(11) Dish out everything onto a plate. Using a grater, take out the frozen lemon and grate a little bit of lemon skin on top. This is really an ultra-powerful flavour enhancer.

(12) Abundance Prosperity Pork Belly with Abalone Sauce... DONE!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Unker Cooks: Chinese Cough Syrup (Meatless version)

So hor... after I posted my recipe for the Chinese Cough Syrup ... some people has feedback that cooking luo han guo together with pork is actually quite strange as those two things seems like not something you would mix together in a pot.

Yes I do agree as I was taken by surprise initially when I first saw the recipe. Well, I'm more adventurous that why I dare to tried it out.

But anyhow, for those who doesn't want to try it yet want to have something similar, I have another Chinese Cough Syrup (meatless version) recipe for you!

What you need?

  • Luo Han Guo (罗汉果)  x 1
  • Bit Cho (密枣)- 4-5 depending on your taste, the more you put the sweeter the soup)
  • Bei Xing (北杏)
  • Nan Xing  (南杏)

The combination of both bei xing and nan xing should be about 1 big tablespoon. However, try to keep the ratio of Nan Xing to Bei Xing to 3:1 ratio. This is mainly because Bei Xing is the more bitter cousin and also it contains a very small amount of natural poison. So better don't over-poison yourself. LOL !!!

Last but not least, one candied dried orange peel (桔饼). 
The candied dried orange peel is a very good item that helps with preventing thirst and also in dissolving 
phlegm in the throat.

As an overview, here are the ingredients you need in a nutshell which is able to boil for 2-3 persons:

What do you do with them la?

It's easy!!!

  1. Wash all the ingredients with water and rinse them to remove any sand or dirt.
  2. Punch the luo han guo until it breaks.
  3. Boil a pot of about 1.5 litres of water.
  4. Throw in everything and boil for 10-15 minutes in high heat. 
  5. Cover the pot and turn heat to lowest and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve hot!

The main difference between this version compared to the previous one is that this is much more sweeter and has a distinct tangy flavour thanks to the candied dried orange peel.

If you feel that it's still not sweet enough, throw in more bit cho or a lump of rock sugar. 

Here's to self-healing using strange Chinese herbs!  :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Unker Cooks : Chinese Cough Syrup

So hor.. lately UltraBen™ (that's my son if you just know me yesterday) has been coughing with lots of phlegm in his throat. Well, that little 3 year old boy still doesn't know how to spit out the phlegm and that makes things worst. For example, occasionally he would vomit the food due to discomfort, making things worst.

Aiya... as a father... what can I do? Well, besides giving him cough mixture (for kids), I've decided to boil a very good soup just for coughs and phlegm that's originated from some big oriental village in China.. LOL

This recipe is enough for 2-3 persons.

What you need lah...:

So... head over to Eu Yan Sang (or your nearest Chinese pharmacy and get these stuff:

Nan Xing + Bei Xing (南杏 + 北杏)

In non-potent sacred power soup from the oriental century old hidden secrets terms.... these are actually the seeds of the apricot fruit from northern and southern China. 

Nan Xing is sweeter while Bei Xing is more bitter. That doesn't really matter because I can't tell which is which when it's in the mouth. What really matters is that these powerful seeds of the 18-style Tiger Claw fist is very very helpful in curing coughs and also lubricating the lungs (LOL). 

You can be sure to find these seeds in any Chinese soups that helps to cure coughs.

For this soup, you just need about a spoonful of both seeds. It's okay to include more.

Bit Cho (密枣)

These are dried honey dates. 
They are also good for the lungs and assist in reducing coughs. 

Use 5-7 biji for this recipe.

Luo Han Guo (罗汉果)

This is no stranger to many people, it is also known as the Monk's fruit. This is grown in Southern China and exported worldwide in its dried brown form. Each one costs about RM1.00 to RM1.50 depending on size. It is also an extremely sweet fruit. 

Luo Han Guo is excellent for heatstroke, sore throats, cough or any other respiratory problems.

Use 1 biji for this soup.

of course, lastly....

Some pork shank or ribs depending on what you like lah.

So what do I do with them lah?

  • The very first thing you need to do if you have pork or chicken in your recipe is to wash them. Boil a pot of water, add some salt as catalyst (LOL). Throw in the pork and let it boil for 5-8 minutes. 
  • Remove pork ribs from the dirty water. Throw water away or give to the project engineer tomorrow morning in office.
  • Soak nan xing, bei xing and bit cho in some lukewarm water for few minutes. Throw away water and put everything into a fresh pot of water. Add the pork ribs.
  • Wash luo han guo and hold it with your left hand, then using your right hand, punch it real hard until the shell cracks and the insides are exposed. 
  • Throw the injured luo han guo into the pot and let them boil for 20 minutes at medium flame.
  • Reduce flame to the lowest and simmer for about 1 hour.
  • Serve!!!

I'm double boiling the soup because my kitchen stove's flame is so POWERRRRR that the lowest flame is still boiling the soup and not simmer it. Ha ha... well.... as long as it works.

You can just drink the soup and throw away the rest. For me, I like to chew on the nan xing and bei xing. 

And that.... is how you make Chinese Cough Syrup.