Category Archives: Recipes

Recipe: Honey Baked Chicken Wings

Yesterday I was asking my friend where to buy food colouring for my next project, yet somehow got her interested and wanting to come to join me for a bread making session over at my house in the near future, when I could get all the ingredients ready. While I was still high and going on about my watermelon lookalike bread fantasy, I suddenly realized I hadn’t been updating my recipes. So today I have decided to make honey baked chicken. My son refused to eat any chicken except those prepared by me and since he is strictly Turkish food lover, I have been experimenting with food to get him in hopes he could enrich his palate so that he would grow up to accept a different range of cuisine around the world.

Ingredients

  • 500 g chicken wings
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp light soya sauce

Method

  1. Marinade the chicken wings with all the ingredients for at least 1 hour or overnight. I usually mix it and leave it in my fridge overnight so that I can simply cook it the next day.
  2. Arrange chicken in a baking dish.
    Before going into the oven.

    Before going into the oven.

    After coming from oven

    After coming from oven

  3. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius and bake for at least 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Even my picky eater son enjoys his honey baked chicken.

Recipe: Fruit Compost. Sweet dessert for a hot summer.

It’s summer time in Turkey and that means fruits galore. I love summer time for their fruits but definitely not for the heat. So a good way to chill out is have this dessert. It quenches your thirst and most importantly helps me get rid of fruits that I don’t want to eat. I am a fairly picky eater since I prefer my fruits to be sweet and hate them sour. It so happened that I bought a kilogram of cherries last week, which were not as sweet as I thought them to be, so instead of feeding my fat garbage can, I cooked the cherries and they are yummy! Plus it is a very easy recipe.

Ingredients

1 kg cherries, pitted

1 pot of water

half cup sugar

Method:

  1. Fill a pot of pitted cherries with water, cover the pot and bring it to boil.
  2. Boil it for another 15 minutes or until the fruits softened.
  3. Pour in the sugar and stir the mixture. Add more to taste if you prefer it sweeter.
  4. Remove from heat, let it cool and cool it in the fridge.
  5. Serve cold.

Note: you can replace cherries with any hard fruits you fancy. You can also cook peach, grapes, pear and quince. They taste just as good.

I love my fruits!

I love my fruits!

 

6 horrifying dishes to try in Asia

Being a Chinese descendant, born and raised in the sterile Singapore environment and currently living in Turkey, I have been asked countless times if I had eaten dogs, cats or monkeys. It’s as if  being Asian, such food are daily consumed and made readily available to us and I have been asked so many time I was getting sick of it. Therefore I might as well bring the gross factor up one rung and compiled a list of the various disgusting but supposedly healthy food found in Asia. I hope this will challenge the idea that bugs, spiders, monkeys, dogs and cats do not necessary make the list of the top gross dishes here in Asia.

1. Cordyceps commonly known as the Dong Chong Xia Cao meaning winter worm, summer grass

Its biological name is Ophiocordyceps sinensis, which is a type of fungus that parasitizes the larvea of the ghost moths. The fungus germinates in the living larva, kills and mummifies it, and then the stalk-like fruiting body emerges from the corpse. It is known in English colloquially as caterpillar fungus, or by its more prominent foreign names: yartsa gunbu or yatsa gunbu (Tibetan), or Dōng chóng xià cǎo (Chinese: 冬虫夏草; literally “winter worm, summer grass”).

The gross factor?

The caterpillars are prone to infection by the fungus which live underground in alpine grass and shrublands on the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas at an altitude between 3,000 and 5,000 m (9,800 and 16,000 ft). Spending up to five years underground before pupating, the Thitarodes caterpillar is attacked while feeding on roots. It is not certain how the fungus infects the caterpillar; possibly by ingestion of a fungal spore or by the fungus mycelium invading the insect through one of the insect’s breathing pores. The fungus invades the body of the caterpillars, filling its entire body cavity with mycelia, a sclerotium and eventually killing and mummifying the host. The caterpillars die near the tops of their burrows. The dark brown to black fruiting body (or mushroom) emerges from the ground in spring or early summer, always growing out of the forehead of the caterpillar. The long, usually columnar fruiting body reaches 5–15 cm above the surface and releases spores.

I have seen these in some medicinal stores and once asked my dad why do they look like worms, are they once real worms? To this, his reply was they only look like worms but they are actually plants. Only today I found out the truth: my dad was not lying but he wasn’t telling the whole truth either. Thankfully I have not tasted them. This is the part I just couldn’t comprehend, why would anyone eat live caterpillars, much less mummified DEAD caterpillars? It’s sounds like a plot from The Walking Dead.

Wait, there’s more…

O. sinensis is known in the West as a medicinal mushroom, and its use has a long history in Traditional Chinese medicine as well as Traditional Tibetan medicine. The hand-collected fungus-caterpillar combination is valued by herbalists and as a status symbol; it is used as an aphrodisiac and treatment for ailments such as fatigue and cancer, although such use is mainly based on traditional Chinese medicine and anecdote. Recent research however seems to indicate a variety of beneficial effects in animal testing, including increased physical endurance through heightened ATP production in rats. It can also be used in soups for additional health benefits.

2. Virgin boy egg commonly known as Tong Zi Dan

Virgin boy eggs or tong zi dan (Chinese: 童子尿煮鸡蛋; ) in plain English is urine-boiled eggs. Really? Yes, you heard it right,  urine. Virgin boy eggs are a traditional delicacy of Dongyang, China made by cooking eggs in urine collected from young boys.

The gross factor?

Every year in early spring time, the urine of prepubertal school boys preferably under 10 years is collected and boiled with eggs and sold for 1.50 yuan, around twice the price of a regular boiled egg. Dongyang residents believe “the eggs decrease body heat, promote better blood circulation and just generally reinvigorate the body.” In 2008, Dongyang recognized the eggs as “local intangible cultural heritage.” 

 

Oh my God, it is now recognized as cultural heritage?! Eating it sounds super gross. Oh my GOD, are those real human hands touching urine? Why is he not even wearing gloves? Ughhh, wait, don’t tell me, I don’t want to know.

Wait, there’s more…

Apparently, Dongyang residents believe “the eggs decrease body heat, promote better blood circulation and just generally reinvigorate the body.” According to a doctor of Chinese medicine, urine crystals are like ren zhong bai. “It can treat yin deficiency, decrease internal body heat, promote blood circulation and remove blood stasis.” One doctor said that urine has no beneficial health properties as it is simply a waste product while another labelled it unsanitary but did not object to the practice of consuming the eggs.

Go figure.

3. Balut known plainly as boiled duck egg

Sounds normal? This duck egg is very special. A balut or balot is a developing duck embryo that is boiled and eaten in the shell. It is commonly sold as streetfood in the Philippines. They are common food in countries in Southeast Asia, such as Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. They are often served with beer.

  

The gross factor?

Fertilized duck eggs are kept warm in the sun and stored in baskets to retain warmth. After nine days, the eggs are held to a light to reveal the embryo inside. Approximately eight days later the balut are ready to be cooked, sold, and eaten. Vendors sell cooked balut from buckets of sand (used to retain warmth) accompanied by small packets of salt. Uncooked balut are rarely sold in Southeast Asia. In the United States, Asian markets occasionally carry uncooked balut eggs. Alternatively, they can be mail-ordered. The cooking process is identical to that of hard-boiled chicken eggs, and baluts are eaten while still warm.

The age of the egg before it can be cooked is a matter of local preference. In the Philippines, the ideal balut is 17 days old, at which point it is said to bebalut sa puti (“wrapped in white”). The chick inside is not old enough to show its beak, feathers or claws, and the bones are undeveloped. The Vietnamese often prefer their balut mature from 19 days up to 21 days, when the chick is old enough to be recognizable as a baby duck and has bones that will be firm but tender when cooked.

Most of us would have eaten the young fluffy one that has once roamed the Earth and smelt the air but eating one that is still on its way here but yet to see its mama’s face is a total whole new level of evil.

Wait, there’s more…

There’s even the art of eating balut.

1. Crack a small hole on the more rounder part of the shell (if you hit a hard white piece, then you did it wrong).
2. Crack it a little more until the hole is the size of a bottle cap. Sip the broth from inner sides.
3. Sprinkle whatever seasoning you would desired.
4. Don’t be afraid to eat the small little duck inside, just eat it like a boneless chicken thigh, dip the yolk in some lime juice and eat! The bones will give the egg a crunchier taste, just chew the bones and swallow. If you dare!

4. Century egg 
Another harmless egg? This Century egg or pidan (Chinese: 皮蛋), also known as preserved egghundred-year eggthousand-year eggthousand-year-old egg, and millennium egg, is a Chinese cuisine ingredient made by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing.

The gross factor?

Through the process, the yolk becomes a dark green to grey colour, with a creamy consistency and an odor of sulphur and ammonia, while the white becomes a dark brown, translucent jelly with little flavour. The transforming agent in the century egg is its alkaline material, which gradually raises the pH of the egg to around 9 – 12, or more during the curing process. This chemical process breaks down some of the complex, flavorless proteins and fats, which produces a variety of smaller flavorful compounds.

In other words, you are eating fart. (Fart has the component of ammonia, which gives its distinctive fart smell.) Didn’t your mama tell you that food that has gone BLACK mean it has rotted and not fit for consumption? Why are you holding onto your fart-y rotten egg?

Wait, there’s more…

At special events like wedding banquets or birthday parties, a first course platter of sliced barbecued pork, pickled baby leeks, sliced abalone, pickled julienned carrots, pickled julienned daikon radish, seasoned julienned jellyfish, sliced pork, brawn and the quartered century eggs is served. This is called a lahng-poon in Cantonese, which simply means “cold dish”. So now, rotten eggs have been given a special high status.

5. Shirako also known as Cod Fish Sperm Sac or Milt

In case you start wondering if chinese are really that disgusting, this slippery, soft white food is a popular winter delicacy in Japan. Shirako, otherwise known as Cod Fish Sperm Sac, is said to melt in the mouth like butter and is made from cod milt, a fancier word for fish sperm. It can be eaten both raw and cooked, depending on individual tastes.

The gross factor?

I think this mainly applies to guys. I cannot imagine what would the fish say when it realizes that his ‘balls’ will be served for all to see and then eaten. I can see some of you guys crossing your legs already.

Wait, there’s more…

As with many animal parts in Asian cuisine that have special qualities, eating the Cod’s sperm gives you stamina in bed. If only you can get past the stage of actually eating another’s balls.

6. Yak penis

Since we are at the topic of ‘balls’ we might as well migrate up and talk about Yak Penis. Yak penis is a Chinese delicacy and is also known as “Dragon in the Flame of Desire”. It is most commonly served in the Guolizhuang Restaurant in Beijing which is famous for serving penis and testicle dishes.

yak-penis.jpg

The gross factor?

Earlier on, we were talking about serving ‘balls’ on the table. Well, now we are going to serve its ‘manhood’. I pity the poor eunuch yak. I didn’t realized Yak has such a long one. Now I wonder, how does one eat a penis? I also wonder how would a man feel eating someone’s ‘manhood’, doesn’t it makes one feel so gay?

Wait, there’s more…

Many Chinese believe animal penises increase male potency and do wonders for women’s skin. Ohh and it sounds so sexy: honey, shall we have penis for dinner today?

Recipe: Prawn soup. Make better soup but mass grave for poor prawns.

I love prawn noodle soup back home. Since it is not possible to find such a dish in Turkey, I thought of making one at home even though am not sure how to. So the experiment in my kitchen began two sunday afternoons ago.

Normally I love to leave my broth to boil under low heat for a couple of hours for a much tastier soup. The longest I had ever boiled soup is 4 hours and that was the best soup I had made so far. However, 2 hours is enough for most soup. As I was standing in front of my stove, watching the carcasses float about in the mass boiling grave, a sense of pity washed over me. At least their death is not for vain.

Poor prawns. Your death will be remembered.

Poor prawns. Your death will be remembered.

Apparently my son loves the soup, even though he refused to eat the prawns.

fingers licking good

fingers licking good

Ingredients

  • 200g cow bones
  • 1 clove cinnamon stick
  • 5-6 clove star anise
  • 500 g prawns, unshelled
  • 1 teaspoon dark soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soya sauce
  • black pepper, crushed
  • enough water to boil
  1. Put the bones, cinnamon stick, anise and pepper into the water and bring it to boil.
  2. Boil for at least an hour. Put in the prawns and continue to boil for another hour.
  3.  Add in the dark soya sauce, light soya sauce to taste. Optional: normally I will add a dash of fish sauce for the extra fishy taste.
  4. Serve with rice. I served mine with bee hoon. Enjoy!

At last, I discovered the recipe. I served mine with lots and lots of white pepper. Best way to cure my homesickness.

my favourite prawn noodle soup

my favourite prawn noodle soup

Recipe: Fish and prawn soup. Weird but nice combination.

I love soups. I love making soups and I love fish. I used to play with my food when I was very young and my favourite is of course, the fish. I would peel the meat off, leaving the bones intact and take out piece by piece just to figure out what’s inside the bones and head of that fish (sorry fish, I couldn’t resist my curiosity), that’s my first lesson on nervous system.

The prawns (more likely shrimps, judging from its size) were on sale last week so the guy dumped a 2 kg bag of prawns on me and I had to figured out how to dispose them. I am also an experimental cook (remind me to ask my son if he thinks he is lucky to be my first guinea pig when he gets a bit older) so I try out different recipes, sometimes conjure them out of thin air. This is one of them. It’s a bit tedious when it comes to shelling the prawns and removing the bones but it’s worth the effort. Trust me.

Ingredients

  • 1 sea bass (moronidea) or any fleshy fish, cleaned
  • 1 dried squid
  • 4-5 dried scallops (optional)
  • 500 g prawns, not shelled
  • dried mushrooms (optional, I just love dried chinese mushrooms)
  •  a dash of fish sauce
  • soya sauce to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dark soya sauce
  • few slices of ginger (this is important to remove the fish smell that some may loathe)
  • enough water to boil all the above.
  1. Put the fish, scallops, prawns, squid and ginger in a pot of water. Bring to boil.
  2. Boil the broth for about an hour under low-medium heat.
  3. Add the fish sauce, soya sauce and dark soya sauce. If you like, you can also add a cube of fish stock, if available.
  4. Drain the soup. Shell the prawns and remove the bones of the fish.
  5. Serve with rice. Add pepper to taste if you like it spicy. Enjoy!

Note: you will find that the fish and prawn will disintegrate after boiling so long. It’s good for my son who refused to eat prawn on sight so this is a way to introduce prawn into his system. For those who wants the prawn to be whole, I recommend to boil only the head first, then add in the headless prawns after 40 minutes of boiling.

Hmm fish and prawn soup

Hmm fish and prawn soup

Recipe: Dark sauce ginger chicken and mushroom egg

Been getting sick of Turkish food so I thought of making some comfort food from my childhoods days. Turned out that my son loved it! It’s obvious where he got the genes from.

However, I have not been getting any success in getting my son to take mushrooms so I had to prepare the two dishes together. They are simple and fast, so it’s no fuss at all.

Dark sauce ginger chicken

Ingredients

  • 300 g chicken diced
  • ginger, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dark soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon light soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (you can opt to use less if you desire something less sweet)
  • water
  1. Heat some oil in a wok. Put in the ginger and fry it until fragrant.
  2. Add in the chicken and stir fry it until thoroughly cooked.
  3. Add the dark soya sauce and light soya sauce and mix it thoroughly.
  4. Add the sugar and stir fry it for a minute.
  5. Pour in some water and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Serve with steamed rice. Yum-my!

Mushroom Egg

  • 1 small onion, chopped to small pieces
  • 50g mushroom, washed and sliced to thin pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the oil. Fry the mushrooms in the wok until the juices have almost evaporated.
  2. Next, put in the onion and fry until the onion softened.
  3. Add in the egg and stir fry it quickly until the egg has been cooked.
  4. Add in the salt and pepper to taste. Taste great with the chicken and steamed rice.

Image

Recipe: Cooked peas with meat

Being the age of 3, most children seemed to have a natural aversion for anything green. The same goes for my son whom I have been trying to coax into eating his veggies but to no success. However, I realized my son loves peas for some strange reasons, so I decided to try out this recipe: by drowning the peas in gravy and meat. He loved it!

Ingredients

  • 500 gr peas
  • 200 gr meat (I used lamb in this recipe), chopped into pieces
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pepper paste / tomato paste
  • hot water
  • pepper and salt to taste

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pot. Stir fry the meat.
  2. Keep stirring the meat in the pot until the juices have almost evaporated.
  3. Add in the chopped onion and garlic. Continue to stir fry until the onion softened.
  4. Add the pepper paste/tomato paste and chopped tomato. Fry it for a minute until well mixed.
  5. Pour the hot water in and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Now add in the peas, cook it until the peas softened.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I served this on top of steamed rice and it’s yummy. At least, my young man finished up his bowl tonight.

 

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yum yum peas