sesame oil

X for XO for #AtoZChallenge: easy XO fried rice recipe

XO stands for eXtra Old for cognac – a variety of brandy liquor – that has been stored for a minimum of 6 years (from 2016 onward, a minimum of 10 years).

Cognac, named after the town Cognac in France, must be twice distilled in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in Limousin or Tronçais oak barrels.

Since brandy has been used for:

♥ cake & pie toppings

♥ steak sauces

♥ soups such as onion soup

♥ Christmas pudding

♥ XO fish head bee hoon (thick noodle) in Singapore

May I recommend using XO cognac for simple home-cooked dishes like fried rice?

XO fried rice by ServicefromHeart
Since I was using leftover rice for baby Ren – which I purposely cooked softer, my fried rice was slightly soggy.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 28 Mon, I lovingly present a recipe of XO fried rice by ServicefromHeart.

XO fried rice by ServicefromHeart
Colorful rice grains of mixed white, red, brown rice

Serving: 1

Preparation & cook time: < 15 minutes

Ingredients:

♥ 1 bowl pre-cooked rice, dried & chilled

♥ 2 tbsp olive oil

♥ 1 tbsp sesame oil

♥ 2 cloves garlic, minced

♥ 1 slice ginger, minced

♥ 1 tsp anchovies powder

♥ 1 tsp dark soy sauce (kecap manis)

pepper, to taste

♥ 1 tbsp spring onions, chopped

♥ 2 tbsp XO cognac

♥ 1 egg

♥ 4 scallops (optional)

♥ 1 carrot, diced (optional)

♥ 1 stalk celery, sliced (optional)

♥ 1 tbsp peas (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat oil using high heat to stir fry garlic and ginger until fragrant.

2. Sauté vegetables (carrots, celery, peas)

3. Add scallops. After a side is cooked, turn them over.

4. Add rice, pepper, anchovies powder, dark soy sauce. Stir to mix well.

5. Coat with sesame oil and XO for a shiny look. 6. Stir thoroughly.

7. Garnish with spring onions.

Tips:

1. Use cold and dry cooked rice. You want to use firm rice grains because they are easier to separate while stir-frying them. This choice is important to prevent your fried rice turning out soggy or mushy. To remove moisture, you can either (A) air freshly-cooked rice and then refrigerate the rice for a minimum of two hours or (B) use leftover rice from the night before.

2. Use medium to long grain rice such as medium grain of jasmine rice. Choose the sturdy grains that don’t clump together when fried. Avoid short grain sushi rice or glutinous rice, which is softer and tends to stick together.

3. To acquire the smoky, slight burnt flavor, use high heat: a blazing hot pan / wok if possible. Add sufficient amount of oil to prevent your fried rice ingredients from sticking to the surface of pan. While the heat to stir fry our home-cooked version of fried rice may not be as hot as restaurants’ ones, we can pre-heat our pan with a lid before adding ingredients.

4. To ensure thorough mixing of flavors and aroma, cook 1 to 2 servings at a time.

5. To have a crunchy texture, include vegetables like celery or long beans as ingredients.

6. For a stronger taste, you can pre-infuse your oil with ginger and garlic overnight.

7. To prevent the fried rice from turning out mushy or soggy, I prefer to separately cook the egg into a sunny side up or an omelette that can be thinly stripped to garnish on top of the fried rice.

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,
ServicefromHeart
20140428

U for udang for #AtoZChallenge: udang tim DOM (steamed DOM prawns)

Hello seafood lovers! Spending my early years in Indonesia – an archipelago with 18,307 islands*, I grew up loving seafood greatly. We had them fresh and relatively inexpensive as compared to landlocked regions.

* according to a 2002 survey by National Institute of Aeronautics and Space of Indonesia (LAPAN).

Udang is an Indonesian name for prawn. Initially, I wanted to prepare wasabi prawn but changed my mind as its recipe requires deep frying. Our little kitchen has no separation from our living room, so I agree not to deep-fry anything, as it will cause the couch and living room floor turning oily.

Quoting Plato, “necessity is the mother of invention,” I am motivated to think of ways to prepare delicious prawn dish without deep frying.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 24 Thu, I lovingly present a recipe of udang tim DOM / 法国廊酒蒸 / steamed DOM prawns.

steamed DOM prawns by ServicefromHeart

♥♥♥

DOM Bénédictine (法国廊酒) is a Made-in-France medicinal herbal liqueur beverage (1) developed in 1510 in a Benedictine monastery in Abbey of Fécamp, Normandy, France, and later (2) rediscovered by Alexandre Le Grand in 1863. 

DOM stands for “Deo Optimo Maximo” (“To God, most good, most great”) and is a commonly used abbreviation at the beginning of documents of the Benedictine Order. Aspiring like the highly dedicated manual & intellectual work of the Benedictine monks for God, we sincerely hope to produce delicious and nutritious meals with optimum and maximum love for our loved ones.

While the exact recipe of this 40%-alcohol liqueur is a closely guarded secret hitherto, we know that it is distilled in antique hammered copper pot stills and aged in oak barrels for four months.

Nowadays, the ingredients include 27 ingredients. The list includes herbs and spices such as angelica, hyssop, juniper, myrrh, saffron, aloe, arnica & cinnamon.

When I just delivered baby Ren, I was given several bottles of DOM. The generations of our parents and grandparents believe that luxurious DOM helps mothers to recover from childbirth, especially during confinement. Thank you for such a gift with over 500 years of tradition!

♥♥♥

Servings: 2

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes or until prawns are cooked

Ingredients:

♥ 6 large prawns (known as shrimps in US)

♥ 3 cloves garlic (蒜头), minced OR 1 small knob ginger (), sliced

♥ 1 tbsp sesame oil (麻油)

♥ 1 tsp DOM Bénédictine (法国廊酒)

♥ 1 tsp salt ()

Below are optional:

♥ 1 tsp wolfberries / Goji berries (枸杞子), washed & soaked

♥ 1 tsp light soy sauce (kecap asin)

♥ 1 tsp coriander / cilantro (胡荽叶) / parsley (香菜), finely chopped

Directions:

1. Trim the head and tail end of the prawns using a pair of scissors.

2. Devein both back & under sides using a tooth pick.

3. Soak deveined prawns in salted water (to enhance the texture) for 10 minutes, drain & rinse.

4. Place ginger / garlic at the bottom of bowl, prawns on top of ginger.

5. Sprinkle DOM and sesame oil on top of prawns.

6. Steam at high heat until prawns cooked & turn orange (check once in a while to prevent overcooking). Cover bowl with aluminum foil.

steamed DOM prawns by ServicefromHeart

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,
ServicefromHeart
20140424

O for orange for #AtoZChallenge: orange olive recipe

Mandarin oranges (aka mandarines) are sweet, juicy and rich in Vitamin C. Often, during the period of Lunar New Year, we have given and received (exchanged sounds more appropriate here) pairs of Mandarin Oranges or tangerines. They are symbols of abundance and good fortune.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

We love simply eating the Mandarin oranges by peeling its relatively easy-to-peel skin or squeezing them into thirst-quenching 100% orange juice. Besides these options, how to make the bright enthusiastically orange-colored Mandarin oranges more appealing to our taste buds?

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

Black olives are pickled at full maturity. Since fresh olives are naturally very bitter and unpalatable to many people, olives are fermented with lye, brine or packed in salt to remove oleuropein.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

My first encounter with black olives was at Pizza Hut in Jakarta. In my childhood, pizza was considered as a treat in my family because it is relatively expensive. Our Daddy and Sister* who are meat lovers, loved our pizza to be topped with more meats, while I appreciated the extra flavors that sliced olives and pineapples added to our pizza.

* She shared some interesting recipes at her Youtube Channel: LukSunshine. When I miss her, I would enjoy watching her videos.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 17 Thu, I lovingly present a recipe of orange olive, that can be served as a snack or a side dish, gently fusing the East and Mediterranean flavors.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

Let our family member(s) or friend(s), who normally skip fruits, especially sour oranges, enjoy the nutritious and anti-oxidant-rich oranges.

Serving: 2
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
♥ 2 oranges / Mandarin oranges, diced
♥ 4 black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
♥ 2 stalks celery, sliced and diced
♥ 1 tbsp sesame oil
♥ 3 tbsp plain / Greek yogurt
♥ 1/4 tbsp pepper
♥ 2 tbsp nuts, finely chopped

Directions:
1. Blanch celery in salted boiling water for about 2 minutes. Refresh in cold water. Drain.
2. Mix oil, yogurt, pepper in a bowl.
3. Peel,pith and dice Mandarin oranges.
4. Toss oranges and celery in yogurt mixture bowl.
5. Garnish with olives and nuts.
orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

We can use a type or a variety of nuts for this recipe, and I recommend pistachio for the sweet memory of pistachio gelato in Italy!

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,
ServicefromHeart
20140417

N for noodle for #AtoZChallenge: quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast

Since Dear has to go to work in early mornings, our favorite noodles are those that are quick-to-cook, but not instant noodles – which were originally invented by Momofuku Ando (吴百福) of Nissin Foods in Japan.

quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast by ServicefromHeart

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 16 Wed, I lovingly introduce 3 favorite quick-to-cook noodles:
♥ misua
♥ kway teow  
♥ udon

♥♥

Misua, also known as mee sua / 面线, is a variety of dried salted Chinese noodles that cooks in less than 2 minutes in boiling water.

A symbol of longevity in Chinese culture, misua – a thin wheat flour noodle, is a humble breakfast for a birthday celebration.

How is about a whole wheat misua for a quick yet filling breakfast?

quick-to-cook noodles misua for breakfast by ServicefromHeart

♥♥♥

Kway teow /  粿条 is a flat rice noodle that is commonly used for stir-frying, affectionately known as char kway teow / stir-fried kway teow in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

We also love to cook a soup using chilled kway teow for breakfast, it is ready in less than 2 minutes!

quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast by ServicefromHeart

♥♥♥

Udon / うどん / 烏冬 is thick wheat flour noodle in Japanese cuisine, that is often served in kakejiru broth with tempura. 

I also love stir-fried udon in soy-based sauce, known as yaki-udon.

How is about a plate of no-fry udon with vegetable soup? Enjoy its recipe & the udon!

I buy chilled udon without any pre-packed seasoning, as a homemade seasoning of sesame oil, honey, vinegar, finely chopped fresh cilantro can be easily made.

Add some quick-to-cook vegetables such as celery or bok choy.

quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast by ServicefromHeart udon

Soup / juice / extract from steaming fish can be used as a seasoning for udon or some other types of noodles. Keep the soup in fridge for the next day / morning use. Without the need to warm the cold soup, add in hot boiled noodles and stir immediately.

quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast by ServicefromHeart udon

The water used to boil noodles can be used for hard-boiled egg to save gas / electricity for us.

Directions:
1. Once noodles are cooked, immediately drain the boiling water into a bowl containing a fresh egg. The temperature of the boiling water matters, it has to be high.
2. Cover the bowl to let the egg sits for at least 10 minutes*.
3. Serve the half-boiled egg with a dash of soy sauce and a pinch of freshly ground pepper.

* I prefer my egg to be more cooked but not fully cooked.

Other recipes that I love:
♥ misua meat ball, known as almondigas / bola-bola in Philippines; bola means ball in Bahasa Indonesia. How is about trying a MSG-free version of misua meat ball @ Mga Luto Ni Lola (My Grandma’s Recipes) by GJ Coleco?
Singapore-style half-boiled egg by Jason Ng @ Feast To The World

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,
ServicefromHeart
20140416

F for finger millet for #AtoZChallenge: East Asian style Finger millet porridge by ServicefromHeart

Finger millet (also known as ragi / Muthari kurukku / Kezhvaragu / pampered corn / Nachni / Eleusine coracana / 䅟子), is a rich source of calcium, protein, fiber, vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin).

East Asian style Finger millet porridge by ServicefromHeart

This grain is very cooling on a hot day, especially for hot summer or dry spell (kemarau) such as an extreme one that we had in Singapore from February to mid March 2014. It is the driest one since 1869 for Singapore.

East Asian style Finger millet porridge by ServicefromHeart
withered bougainvillea during a dry spell in Singapore (2014)

Finger millet can grow with less water than rice and wheat does.

East Asian style Finger millet porridge by ServicefromHeart

Thank you for the finger millet that Candida gave me (and baby Ren)! She has given liquid of finger millet – mixed with milk – to her baby girl Divita since she turned 6 months old.

East Asian style Finger millet porridge by ServicefromHeart

The choice for finger millet over wheat is probably due to more easily digested proteins of the former.

Finger millet also contains the amino acid methionine (Met / M) – the only amino acid coded by the initiation codon AUG of mRNA for protein synthesis.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 07 Mon, I lovingly present a recipe of East Asian style Finger millet porridge by ServicefromHeart.

East Asian style Finger millet porridge by ServicefromHeart

Serving:1

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

♥ 3 tbsp finger millet seeds (穇子)

♥ 1 tsp wolfberries (枸杞子), washed & soaked until fluffy

♥ 1 egg (鸡蛋)

♥ 1 tsp sesame oil (麻油)

♥ grounded white pepper (白胡椒粉) to taste

♥ 1 fresh parsley leaf (香菜叶)

Directions:

1. Wash ragi by rubbing them in water for a minimum of 3 times.

2. Soak ragi overnight or at least 15 minutes.

3. Add finger millet to soup stock / boiled filtered water.

4. Stir finger millet continuously to ensure thorough cooking until the porridge thickens and bubbles stop to form on surface.

5. When finger millet is almost cooked, gently add egg & wolfberry. Stir.

6. Add white pepper. Mix well.

7. Garnish with parsley.

East Asian style Finger millet porridge by ServicefromHeart

Other recipes that I love:
♥ An advice to cook ragi properly to prevent constipation from Yummy Tummy
ragi drink for baby by Oishi
Ragi porridge recipe for baby
Sweet ragi malt
♥ Swathi combines ragi and oats

East Asian style Finger millet porridge by ServicefromHeart

Next time, I will use finger millet flour so to cook faster so that I can play more with Baby Ren, an idea for a future #5minutemeal recipe!

East Asian style Finger millet porridge by ServicefromHeart

With love,
ServicefromHeart
20140407

Very easy simple recipe of steamed fish with sesame oil

Steamed fish fillet is easy to prepare as well as healthy and delicious to eat. Imagine the tender, succulent and delicate flesh of fish that also nurtures us with proteins & Omega 3. Enjoy a piping hot steamed fish with a bowl of steamed rice for a happy breakfast or a heart-and-tummy-warming dinner at your own comfortable home at the fraction of the cost eating outside. Life is beautiful!

Very easy simple recipe of steamed fish with sesame oil by ServicefromHeart

While enjoying your meal, listen to a nice piece of classical music or Chinese orchestra. Perhaps, without TV to minimize the distractions. This savoring moment is indeed a simple happiness.

Very easy simple recipe of steamed fish with sesame oil by ServicefromHeart

I also love how the traditional Chinese character for the word fish 魚 (Yu2) looks like a swimming fish. 魚 (Yu2) also sounds like the words for wealth and abundance.

Very easy simple recipe of steamed fish with sesame oil by ServicefromHeart

Serving: 1-2

Preparation time: < 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

♥ 200 g boneless (if possible) fish fillet (e.g. salmon 三文鱼, snow fish 鳕鱼)

♥ 1 tbsp sesame oil* (麻油)

♥ dashes of pepper (胡椒粉), to taste

♥ fresh herbs e.g. parsley 香菜/ cilantro 胡荽叶 / coriander 芫荽, finely chopped (optional)
* For sesame oil, I use Ghee Hiang Baby brand manufactured in Penang, Malaysia, using methods and techniques learned from Fujian, China.

Directions:

1. Boil water in a steamer.

2. Wash fish fillet thoroughly. Pat dry gently with a kitchen towel.

3. Place the fillet in a non-plastic bowl.

4. Sprinkle sesame oil and pepper on top of the fish.

5. Garnish with herbs.

6. Cover the bowl with a small plate to ensure smaller space of aroma circulation.

7. Once the water in the steamer is boiled, steam the fish for 5 minutes ++ using high heat or until cooked*

* Once cooked, the meat comes off the bone easily with a chopstick.

Tips:

Use fresh fish fillet. If this is not possible,  rub white vinegar on the fish to minimize the fishy smell.

To enhance flavor, you can add soy sauce, ginger, spring onions / scallions, rice wine / DOM as Chinese-style steamed fish recipes often call for.

You can also steam the fish fillet bowl inside a half-cooking rice cooker, so that you save gas / electricity and wash less utensils, as Agnes and
Zhen sometimes do.

Other recipes that I love:

Hong Kong style steamed cod fish & steamed cod with wolfberries, red dates, angelica root by Annie Mok @ Annieliciousfood food. To prevent the fish fillet from sticking to the bottom of the bowl, place ginger / spring onions beneath the fish.

Teochew steamed fish with salted (sour) plums, salted vegetables, tomatoes, chilli by Wifey @ NoobCook. If possible, ask the fishmonger to clean the fish for you. Normally, I buy fish fillet for convenience.

Chinese steamed fish by Bee Yinn Low @ Rasa Malaysia

Cantonese steamed fish by Namiko Chen @ JustOneCookBook & Leemei Tan @ My Cooking Hut

garlic asparagus fish steamed in the parchment paper in the oven by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman @ A Beautiful Mess

Very easy simple recipe of steamed fish with sesame oil by ServicefromHeart

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,
ServicefromHeart
20140331

Star anise & DOM for braised sea cucumber recipe

Star anise, shaped like an eight-pointed star, is the fruit of a small evergreen tree native to southwest China.

star anise DOM for braised sea cucumber recipe by ServicefromHeart

Scientifically known as Illicium verum, star anise contains anethole – a derivative of aromatic phenylpropene.

Anethole has potential antimicrobial properties against bacteria, yeast, and fungi. In large quantities, anethole is slightly toxic, so please consume star anise moderately.

Star anise is commonly used in diverse cuisines, including Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Vietnamese ones.

Star anise is an ingredient of the traditional Chinese / Peranakan five-spice powder.

Indonesian rendang curry, Indian meals of Briyani / biryani and masala chai also use star anise.

Warm in nature, star anise has been used to relieve  rheumatism and cold.

Star anise also contains shikimic acid, a precursor compound for the anti-influenza drug oseltamivir, popularly known as Tamiflu, manufactured by Roche.

♥♥♥

DOM Bénédictine (法国廊酒) is a Made-in-France medicinal herbal liqueur beverage (1) developed in 1510 in a Benedictine monastery in Abbey of Fécamp, Normandy, France, and later (2) rediscovered by Alexandre Le Grand in 1863. 

DOM stands for “Deo Optimo Maximo” (“To God, most good, most great”) and is a commonly used abbreviation at the beginning of documents of the Benedictine Order. Aspiring like the highly dedicated manual & intellectual work of the Benedictine monks for God, we sincerely hope to produce delicious and nutritious meals with optimum and maximum love for our loved ones.

While the exact recipe of this 40%-alcohol liqueur is a closely guarded secret hitherto, we know that it is distilled in antique hammered copper pot stills and aged in oak barrels for four months.

Nowadays, the ingredients include 27 ingredients. The list includes herbs and spices such as angelica, hyssop, juniper, myrrh, saffron, aloe, arnica & cinnamon.

When I just delivered baby Ren, I was given several bottles of DOM. The generations of our parents and grandparents believe that luxurious DOM helps mothers to recover from childbirth, especially during confinement. Thank you for such a gift with over 500 years of tradition!

♥♥♥

Sea cucumber is rich in proteins and minerals. Eating sea cucumber helps in strengthening the kidneys, relieving dehydration and nourishing blood. Sea cucumber is also often consumed post-surgery to aid wound healing.

We are grateful for the gift of sea cucumber from Zhen and Emerald brand scallops (products of Canada) from Agnes & Francis. Thank you!

star anise DOM for braised sea cucumber recipe by ServicefromHeart

Servings: 3-4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 + 60 minutes

Ingredients:

♥ 1 sea cucumber (海参), washed & cut into bite chunks

♥ 3 scallops (带子)

♥ 4 shitake mushrooms (香菇), quartered

♥ 2 tbsp meat (), minced

♥ 25g lily flowers (金针花), washed & soaked in warm water for > 30 minutes

♥ 50g bean curd skin / bean stick ( 腐竹), washed, soaked in warm water, rinsed & cut into bite-size

♥ 5 cloves garlic (蒜头)

♥ 1 tbsp dark soy sauce (kecap manis)

♥ 1 knob ginger (), minced

♥ 1 tbsp olive oil (橄榄油)

♥ 1 tbsp sesame oil (麻油)

white pepper powder (白胡椒粉), to taste

♥ 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder (桂皮粉)

♥ 2 star anise (八角)

♥ 1 tsp DOM Bénédictine

♥ 350 ml water

Directions:

1. Soak frozen pre-cleaned sea cucumber, scallop, dried mushrooms in room temperature water. Soak bean stick & lily flowers with warm water. Blanch meat.

2. Wash, squeeze, cut mushrooms. Massage mushrooms with sesame oil.

3. Strain meat dry and mix with garlic & ginger.

4. Heat non-stick frying pan with olive oil.

5. Sauté garlic, ginger, mushrooms, meat over high heat until fragrant.

6. Add scallops, DOM, cinnamon, star anise, dark soy sauce over medium heat until scallops turn slightly golden brown at their edges.

7. Add & sauté bean stick & lily flowers.

8. Add and spread sea cucumber on the pan, add water to cover sea cucumber.

9. After water is boiling, turn heat to low and simmer for 60 minutes or until sea cucumber turn chewy. Stir occasionally. Ensure that sea cucumber is covered with liquid, else top up some water.

star anise DOM for braised sea cucumber recipe by ServicefromHeart

Tips:
Zhen’s advice not to overcook the sea cucumbers as they will dissolve into gel-like texture.
♥ The alcohol content of DOM has evaporated during the cooking process so I also enjoy this nutritious dish while breastfeeding.
♥ This dish can be frozen (for ~3 days) / kept in a fridge (until next day) and served with fast-cooking noodles to prepare for a #5minutemeal breakfast.
With love,
ServicefromHeart
20140328