Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dinner for the kids!

Last couple of Wednesdays, I've been cooking dinner for some of the kids in our youth group at Church. I was watching Martha Stewart on TV, on Wednesday morning when I decided that I would make "Chef Bao's" Sloppy Bao!

Check out this funny video:

Below the shallots and lemon grass!

I improvised on the toppings, I just mixed them all together. I topped slices of baguette with this meat sauce and the kids loved it!! It's an amazing flavor!

I also made macaroni cheese today. I used my magic pot to cook the macaroni by putting it aside for 6 minutes (per instructions on the package) only after it came to a boil on the stove.

Result? Perfect macaroni!

Baked macaroni cheese!

Fried some Chinese style meehoon too!

Sarawak Laksa

My friend gave me a few packets of Sarawak Laksa paste and it's been in my freezer for a while. I have no idea how to cook Sarawak Laksa!

Definition from Wikipedia:
Sarawak laksa (Malay: Laksa Sarawak) comes from the Malaysian state Sarawak, on the island of Borneo. It is actually very different from the curry laksa as the soup contains no curry at all. It has a base of Sambal belacan, sour tamarind, garlic, galangal, lemon grass and coconut milk, topped withomelette strips, chicken strips, prawns, fresh coriander and optionally lime. Ingredients such as bean sprouts, (sliced) fried tofu or other seafood are not traditional but are sometimes added.

Last weekend at the coffee morning sales, my stall was sold out quite early so I had time to sit around to chat with some old friends from Sarawak. Gina who is the grandmother of my Godson taught me how to cook the Sarawak Laksa.

I cooked the pork bones and chicken stock in my magic pot one day ahead. I used my 8 L pot, brought the water to a rolling boil, added the bones and kept it boiling for 10 minutes. I left it in the magic pot for more than 10 hours.

The stock turned out excellent and clear!

After clearing the scum, look at the clear soup!

Look here for a similar recipe. I am lazy to re-write everything and this recipe posted by Hochiak! seems similar to how I cooked the Sarawak Laksa.

I cooked a sambal which Gina taught me.
1 packet of chili boh
1 cup of dried prawns
some oil from the Sarawak Laksa

1. Cook the chili boh in some oil from the Sarawak Laksa.
2. Soak and pound dried prawns coarsely.
3. When chili boh darkens to a dark red/maroon color and smells fragrant, add the dried prawns and cook for a while. Add salt to taste if necessary!

Coffee morning sales

Last weekend I sold American Breakfast at our Church coffee morning sales in aid of the parish PIHD (Parish Integral Human Development) fund.

My target sale was for 100 pax. It was a fun morning!

Below is a tray of mixed vegetables which I boiled in salt water and coated in butter. Next is a tray of scrambled eggs.

There were chicken nuggets, sausages, baked beans, fries and not forgetting a huge hamburger bun! (not in picture).

Sold out by mid morning.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thermal Magic Pot curry chicken

I decided to cook curry chicken today in my Thermal Magic Pot. I actually did the cooking in another clay pot first before transferring the contents into the insert pot.

In the clay pot, I sauteed some ground shallots, ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and chicken curry paste until fragrant.

Then I tossed in the chicken, the coconut milk, potatoes and salt and allowed the contents to come to a boil. Immediately, I transferred the contents into the insert of the Thermal Magic Pot and allowed the curry mix to come to a boil.

As soon as it came to a boil, I covered the insert with it's lid and transferred it into the outer pot.

Three hours later, the curry is cooked and delicious!

I tested the potato, it was intact but soft in the center. Perfect cooking.

Life can be a breeze with a little planning!


Today, after a long time, I decided to cook Hijiki.

Perfect brown rice cooked in Thermal Magic pot!

This was my lunch today. Home cooked Hijiki, store bought Korean Kim Chi and brown rice topped with some toasted sesame seeds.

Close up on the Hijiki.
Note: I cooked the Hijiki minus the sugar and mirin for a healthier version by adding only shoyu and a dash of sesame seed oil.

Kim chi.

Consuming brown rice makes me feel good!

Onigiri to go

I made some Onigiri to go yesterday.

I was in a hurry and so I used the plastic molds to make the Onigiri. It's got a Salmon filling inside and sesame seeds and salt in the rice.

I cooked the Calrose rice in my large Thermal Magic Pot and it turned out perfect! I packed them in the Onigiri plastic wrappers I bought from Daiso.

Convenient stuff to bring around!

Cooking soup with my Thermal Magic Pot

I cooked pork bones soup on Tuesday. Very simply blanch the pork bones in a smaller pot of hot water and transfer into the insert pot.

The ingredients for today's soup!

I added Arrowroot, some dried oysters, dried scallops, some red dates and dried octopus.

Bring the pot of soup to a rolling boil and remove the scum.

About six hours later...

I removed the scum, brought it back to a rolling boil and added some salt to taste. Delicious hot soup.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Experimenting with my Thermal Magic Pots

Today, I experimented with my Thermal Magic Pots again! This morning I did a quick run to the supermarket to pick up some topside cubes. Most of what I needed was in my fridge, so when I got home mid morning, I began preparing to make a beef stew.

Usually, I would sear the beef over the stove or in the oven and cook the other vegetables a little before simmering the beef stew over the stove or in a crock pot for three to four hours. This time, I simply cut up the vegetables, like you see in the picture below.

Clockwise: cherry tomatoes, chopped celery, one potato, a box of button mushrooms, one carrot, one yellow onion and some herbs. On the side was a pack of beef topside.

I have very poor photography skills, neither can I figure out what to do with a camera other than make sure it's on auto and press the button as instructed. Sorry for the blur pictures which follow!

Fill 1/5 of the insert pot with water.

Add all the vegetables and beef cubes into the pot.

Bring to a rolling boil. Scoop away the scum.

Put the insert into the outer pot.

I left it for six hours. This was the result.

A closer look at the beef stew. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

I tried cooking brown rice using the Thermal Magic Pot. I had soaked the brown rice for 3 hours prior to cooking. After 3 hours, when the water came to a rolling boil, I allowed it to cook for 10 minutes on a simmer.

After two hours in the outer pot, the rice turned out "PERFECT!" I was completely surprised! I couldn't believe it! Brown rice is a tricky grain to cook but this is too good to be true!!!!

Look at the fluffy and not too wet brown rice!!! It was cooked through!

Aghhh!!! I don't know why the color of this picture turned out like this!!

Look at the beef, tender and delicious. All the vegetables weren't mushy and well cooked through! What a successful attempt! I LOVE THE THERMAL MAGIC POTS!!!!!

The beef stew was delicious and the brown rice was cooked beyond my expectations!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thermal Magic cookers

My friend Emily introduced Thermal Magic cookers in her blog sometime last year. I was curious and asked that she help me purchase two pots.

Being first time user, I obviously didn't read enough how the pot worked to attempt continuous usage! What a waste!

I gave one pot to my mum which she uses to cook rice and I found use for mine, making yogurt! The yogurt is really easy to make in this pot and it turns out like magic! LOL!

Just fill the inner pot three quarter way with whatever type of milk you like and heat over the stove. Test the temperature over the back of your hand and if it feels warm then it's ready to add the yogurt "mother". Turn off the fire, stir in the "mother", close the lid and pop it into the outer pot and 'lock'. Leave for about 4-6 hours and you get deliciously smooth yogurt.

My mum gave me a 5L pot last year which was kept on my kitchen shelf. I had surfed the net about using the thermal pots and I didn't find very much encouraging information.

So, more than a year has passed and why all the sudden interest? I met a friend last week end and saw that she was using a 6L thermal pot. I was curious and asked her if it really worked?
She was a world of inspiration, recounting all the different methods and recipes which she had used the thermal pot. I was awed and my jaw dropped. To imagine that the thermal pot could actually do all that and save so much cooking gas? Seriously? I had to try it out!

I woke up the next morning and began preparing to cook a fish stock for dinner that night. I didn't know what to do so I just brought the water to boil in the inner 5L pot. I added the fish bones, two onions, some ginger, some ikan billis and freshly pounded white pepper. I allowed the water to come to a rolling boil for 5 minutes and popped the inner pot into the outer pot. Left it there for 6 hours before I opened it. Actually I was ready to bring the family out for dinner if this became an epic failure.

The result was a great surprise because after I scooped out the scum from the top, I tasted a clear and delicious soup! I was immediately sold to cooking soup in thermal pots!!!!

In my home, we drink soup every night at dinner. Regardless of whether it's a Chinese, Japanese or Western meal, we'd have miso soup or mushroom soup or something soup! When I boil soup a la Chinese then I usually boil the soup over a gas stove for at least 3 hours.

On the same day I tried cooking rice for lunch and so I washed one cup of rice and added one and a half cup of water, brought it to a rolling boil over the stove. Popped it into the outer pot and left it for 2-3 hours.

The rice turned out deliciously fluffy.

A closer look at the fluffy rice!

Since then, I've experimented with three different soups and each turned out surprisingly delicious. I've cooked chicken, ginger in sesame seed oil, soy sauce pork and more rice in the smaller pot and each time the dish turned out really nice!

I need to experiment more! *grinning happily*

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bento 317

I made a bento from leftovers for myself today. Just a bunch of raw vegetable sticks (celery, kyuri and carrot), some roasted vegetables (peppers, zucchini, button mushrooms, onions etc) and some white rice.

There were some pieces of left over lamb and a piece of corn.

#3's lunch is the usual soy sauce pork, some garlic bread and white rice. I bought a new flask for soup.


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