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Spicy Hare stir-fry regional SiChuan style – Recipe

Spicy Hare Sichuan style

Spicy Hare Sichuan style

Hunting season has begun with an abundance of local Wild Game choice; Hare, Pheasant, Goose, Deer and Wild boar to name a few. Since I returned home I haven’t had the chance to try on Wild Game cooking. The occasion did not present itself till recently, to buy Wild Game and fowl directly from a hunter-gatherers group. Almost two weeks ago I picked up a Wild Rabbit or Hare, already butchered in parts; front legs, back legs and saddle at my request. Otherwise, I would have to skin, gut, debone and butchering it myself well that is just too much 麻烦 ’mafan’ or trouble since I only could prepare it the next day.

For this dish, you can use the whole Rabbit or Hare saddle rack by chopping it up in pieces or cut out the loins and then cut at an angle in fine slices. After I had posted my photos I received questions how I deboned the Hare. Instead of writing out that process I found a good instructional video to watch. Newbies to deboning might find this to be helpful improving their technique and make this dish as a next meal.

Sichuan is one of the popular cuisines in China and has set ground in Europe with a growing group of gourmets aficionados, its famously know because of their hot spicy taste and the flavour of numbing Sichuan pepper (aka Mala Wei 麻辣未). However it is actually a variety of flavours combined together; spicy, salty, sour, sweet, bitter, smokey and flowery (Sichuan peppercorns). It is not rare that you will find all of these flavours in one dish.

Flavors of Chuan Cuisine — hot and spicy

A variety of seasonings are used in Chuan Cuisine, and each dish can be cooked differently. Therefore Chuan Cuisine enjoys a reputation for variety. As the saying goes it’s ‘one dish with one flavor and one hundred dishes with one hundred flavors‘.

The most common flavors of Chuan Cuisine are hot and spicy, “the five fragrances” (Fennel, pepper, aniseed, cinnamon, and clove), other mixed spices, chili and Sichuan pepper (made with prickly ash), and sweet and sour. Source: Chinahighlights

Ma Po Doufu, Kung Pao Chicken, Yu Xiang Rou, are favourites in and outside of China, next to the common and exotic ingredients are wild game dishes, in all Chinese cuisines and all over south-east Asia. This realisation came to me after the huge response I had on my post with the request to share my recipe.

Now you might have an idea what you are preparing to taste, eating spicy and hot will never be the same. Since it was a trial cooking with Hare meat I have not taken any photo shots during preparation or cooking, these will be added later. For more information on some of the ingredients with images, you can read this here.

Last Sunday I’ve picked up a frozen goose and another Wild Rabbit, the Goose to try a roast and the Rabbit in three different dishes. Coming up!

Spicy Hare Sichuan style

Spicy Hare Sichuan style, dinner tonight

Enjoy!

Spicy Hare or Rabbit Sichuan style

Spicy Hare Sichuan style

Spicy Hare Sichuan style

Who would have guessed at a food swap, having a great coffee talk I would end up joining wild game groups on the net and near the woods (no I don’t hunt). My curiosity has introduced me to otherwise unknown wild game gourmets of cooks and hunters.

It didn’t take too long to buy a fresh wild rabbit/hare directly from a hunter and before I arrived home I decided to prepare Sichuan style version. With the infamous dried peppers ‘Hua jiao‘ 花椒粒 and ‘La jiao’ 辣椒乾 (literal translation is flower pepper kernels and dried Sichuan chilli).

Both are very distinctive spices not easily replaced if you want to add a particular heat and aroma.

Hua jiao & La Jiao

Hua Jiao Flowerpepper and La Jiao Sichuan whole pepper

 

These ingredients are not common in supermarkets or deli stores. I have added the images for recognition. So you know what to search for at the Chinese supermarkets or Asian Toko’s.

Homemade Sichuan hot chilli oil is an infused aromatic oil, made of grounded Sichuan chilli peppers (la jiao) and flower pepper (Hua jiao) to flavour the oil together with other spices. Used as a finish in many stir-fries, swirled on top of noodle soups and an integral part in marinades for spicy appetisers.

A part of my last batch ended up as food gifts so I need to refill and stock up my own pantry soon. Making the oil is not for the fainthearted because using and stir-frying peppers will release a very pungent sensation and can irritate the skin and eyes.

Conveniently store bought works as well, you can find these at the supermarkets/Toko’s. Shop for the standard Chilli oil look for an aromatic Sichuan version on the shelf.

Aromatic oils; Homemade SiChuan hot pepper chilli oil and Sesame oil

Aromatic oils; Homemade Sichuan hot chilli oil and Sesame oil

 

Aromatic oils; Homemade Sichuan hot chilli oil and Sesame oil 

As with buying sesame oil, for advanced gourmet sleuths, they enjoy cooking with various oils for blending or cooking purposes. Buy small bottles once open use it quickly or it can turn rancid. Note of caution, sesame oil is not intended for frying, but only quick sauté for example to fragrance a dressing or sauce at the end of cooking.

Spicy Hare or Rabbit in Chinese Food Therapy

In my childhood rabbit meat was a staple ingredient and prepared by my parents in many dishes; stir-fries, stews, and herbal soups often paired with traditional Chinese medicine. The latter to make a tonic with the purpose of strengthening and nourishing the body. Cooking with Chinese herbs is about recuperating the body and rabbit meat is well known for its high protein content.

In Chinese dietic therapy; “According to TCM food, like medicine can be divided into the characteristics cold-hot-cool-warm. When applied correctly nutritional ingredients can help the patient to overcome an inclination to or even a manifested disease. Food used to aid and act as preventive part of a nourishing diet can achieve the same goal to strengthen recovery process”.

For more information on the use of tonics and food therapy, click on the links. Browse the internet for more in-depth TCM information and/or elaborate search on practices and belief system.

Rabbit or Hare meat is considered foods with warming qualities, high protein level and the temperature was cold. The more reason altogether to add spice in this wild game stir-fry dish bringing it all in balance.

A few days later I posted food pics of my Sichuan style cooked spicy hare dish just for fun between all other social media posts. The food pics picked up attention with a request to share the recipe and preparation method. Instead of a wild rabbit, hare, you can make this dish with other meats as well, for e.g. lamb would be very nice with the peppers, capsicum, and daikon (rettich/white carrot or aka daikon).

Here is the recipe link Spicy Hare stir-fry regional Sichuan style – Recipe.

Chinese style braised oxtail bones – recipe

Chinese style braised oxtail bones are served as a topping on rice or served separately in a wide bowl. Vegetables as carrots and cassava are added making this dish a hearty and flavoursome nutritious dish. Paleo fans will enjoy its warming earthiness as much without any gluten ingredients. Interchanging between a variety of bean sauces (Chinese fermented soybean sauces), chilli paste and spices will allow you to play with an aroma to your own liking. Or be adventurous and choose to cook from other south-east Asian cuisines enjoying the different flavour, texture with salivating fragrances.

Serve in a bowl by itself with rice or noodles on the side, or topped above as a one-dish meal for lunch or dinner. As a main dish, if preparing a menu for more persons, I would suggest adding a vegetable- and doufu dish with a light soup to complement each other. The Chinese style braised oxtail bones will be the focus for your guests at the table. For the recipe scroll here below, click here for Chinese braised oxtail in Instant Pot information and photo images.

Difference between braise, stews and soup – Update 21 December 2015

I received engaging comments with the questions, how much liquid to add. Followed by the difference between braising and stews. In answer to my readers,  I am updating the post with the replied information on the method of cooking techniques used for tougher cuts of meat.

To start with the liquid in any recipe, it focuses on the right volume to add, water, stock or broth. Next, the cut size of the meat (small cubes) and cutting against the grain means cutting crosswise through the long muscle fibres in the meat. Breaking them up makes meat more tender.

Often used cuts are the less tender and gelatinous parts of meat for slow cooking as well as the use of accompanying vegetables in the dish. In order to fuse all the ingredients together to melt into a tender and flavoursome dish, is by breaking down the connective tissue as tendons (collagen) just simmering it slowly using the right low temperature.

Braising and stewing cooking technique are combination cooking methods using the hob and/or oven.

  • Braising is cooking meat on a bed of vegetables in a small amount of liquid, utilising steam and stewing in its cooking process. At the end of the cooking process, the meat often falls off the bone and the concentrated gravy is clinging to the pieces of meat.
  • Stewing is a slow cook method, where the food is cut into smaller pieces and covered in liquid using gentle heat for a long time. Here the meat is fork tender and the liquid is reduced covering the meat pieces in an aromatic thick sauce.

Cooking with high pressure is perfect it doesn’t require a whole lot of liquid, making it perfect for braised dishes in my Instant Pot DUO 7-1 I use or Lux 6-1 (version without yoghurt option). In comparison with my stove high-pressure cooker, where you have to manually set the timer and keep an eye on it still. The IP has automated meat/stew 30 minutes program you just press and walk away, at the end of time cancel the keep warm function so the natural pressure release can come down a bit faster (approx. 30-45 min.).

For a braised result, I submerge the meat by adding water or stock just barely covering it exposing some of the bones and meat. If you would opt for only (e.g. 50%) using half of water or stock to add, be aware that the gravy will reduce significantly as well. Tip: Keep in mind if this dish is completely cooled the gravy of the bones will be very gelatinous (jiggly as jelly). Meat jelly is another Chinese delicacy served eating it cold as homecooked food and can be creatively used in appetisers or bun fillings for example.

If I like to make a stew instead, I will submerge the ingredients covering it to ½-1 inch (1 ½ – 3 cm) above with liquid or more if it calls for a soupy consistency.

 

Drink suggestions:

  • Tea leaves: Green tea or Jasmine tea is very common, but Pu Erh tea has an earthy smokiness which is very pleasant with an added bonus it really cuts the fat down in your body.
  • For the beer fans: You will enjoy this dish with a light beer, a darker beer, even more, tasteful. In The Netherlands seasonal draft beer or bottled bock beer would be nice to pair along, it has richer, sweeter lager with warm toasty undertones and minimal bitterness. More information on Beleef bockbier 2015, with an overview of 125 different bock beers in The Netherlands. Besides Guinness Stout beer or a Kilkenny, share yours.
  • As for wine lovers: A red Bordeaux is an easy choice, but for the adventurous wine sleuth, an Australian Shiraz-Viognier Barossa 2006 is a discovery I can recommend. My all time favourite would be the Chilean Tarapacca Carmenere, rich in berry fruits and spices to pair with my bowl of Chinese style braised oxtail bones. You will not believe it, but I made my acquaintance and fell in love with Tarapacca in Taipei. Of course, there are far more than one grape or bottle, the more reason to cook and pair more meals.

If you have made the braised Oxtail bones, share your dinner send me a photo.

Enjoy!

 

Please read my disclaimer and disclosure on affiliated links and copyright notice for links and information in this post

 

Hainan Chicken Rice recipe dinner tonight

My adaptation of Hainan Chicken Rice recipe is here below with related links:

Aromatic poached chicken, tender and succulent very healthy and easy way of preparing. The poaching broth doubles as clear soup and flavours the cooked rice. Final result of three dishes; tender succulent poached chicken, flavored rice and aromatic soup.

Cooking dinner tonight

Prepare dinner for 4-6 adults, with kids, it can serve easily up to 8 persons.

  1. Hainan Chicken Rice foodie chat
  2. Hainan Chicken Rice tutorial step-by-step
  3. Chinese stock methods and variations
Recipe Hainan Chicken Rice; Preparing chickens; stuffing set

Preparing chickens; ingredients to marinate and for flavour

 

Hainan Chicken rice - lunch & diner

Hainan Chicken rice – lunch & diner


After reading and enjoying a good meal, why not travel to Hainan? The tropical island of China with white sandy beaches, turquoise sea and waving palms beckoning you to come and visit. “China’s southernmost province, an allure that is increasingly known worldwide as it is set to become an international tourist destination.” Source: China Daily

The island is located in the South China Sea near Vietnam. It has not always been such a commercial and busy island. Tucked away behind the vast country mountains, this island has long been hidden for tourism. Han Chinese already built villages around 200 BC. But the Li population was only discovered in the 1930s.

Hainan is also called ‘Tail of the Dragon.’ Money is not the problem, like many popular areas in China. The developments go here with the speed of light. The island has a speed rail that allows you to move, although we find that bikes are still the best option.

Hainan, China





Bitter gourd stir fry egg mix preserved & salted

Bitter gourd is very popular vegetable throughout South-East Asian cuisines, you will find this Asian vegetable in soups, stews, stir-fry dishes and healthy juice drinks. Bitter gourd aka Bitter Melon (or Bitter squash) is now widely available in Asian supermarkets and shops.

This uneven textured green vegetable is good for one’s health. Drinking bitter gourd juice is a great way to detox your body, while regularly eating bitter gourd as a part of your daily diet is known to prevent skin ailments and aids a glowing skin. It contains a lots of vitamins ad nutrients and is especially highly beneficial for diabetics for lowering down their blood sugar levels. The bitter taste boosts the immune system and while there is no accounting for taste, you are definitely into Asian food if you serve, cook and eat Bitter gourd often.

Cut in halve, remove seed & pith

Cut in halve, remove seed & pith

Cleaning Bitter Gourd

The secret of appreciating bitter gourd is to make sure you clean the bitter gourd well;

  1. Slice the gourd in half and scrape out all the seeds with membranes and pith (white sponge), leaving only a thin layer of white 2-3mm to the green skin of the bitter gourd and cut in thin slices.
  2. Or cut cylindrical and carefully clean by hollowing and removing the insides out for stuffing and further preparation.
  3. Parboil the remaining flesh (especially with larger cuts) to mellow its strong flavor for a few minutes only, then prepare for casseroles, stir-fries, stews or soups.

With young and smaller bitter gourds I skip parboiling but make sure I clean them well and season during stir-frying, to ensure that bitterness turns into a pleasant flavor adding to the final dish.

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From left to right: Salted Duck eggs, Chicken eggs, Preserved eggs

Various eggs

  • Century eggs 皮蛋 pídàn is a Chinese delicacy, preserved duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime and rice hulls. The traditional method of processing time depends on the method and may take several week up to several months. At present a simplified approach of soaking the eggs in a chemical bath for 10 days speeds up the aging process while wrapped in plastic. We buy both interchanging century eggs wrapped in rice hulls or in plastic packs for convenience, it can be cooked and often used in cold dishes as salads too.
  • Salted duck eggs 咸鸭蛋 xián yā dàn or 咸蛋 xián dàn (salted eggs) is another typical Chinese food preserve made by soaking the duck eggs in brine or in damp salted charcoal. You do not see them often anymore, eggs covered in a thick layer of salted charcoal paste, mostly they are wrapped in plastic containers or vacuum packed. We often eat them as a side dish with congee (rice porridge) or as an ingredient in baking, rice dumplings or stir-fry dishes. You need to cook salted duck eggs before further preparation in cooking or baking.
  • Eggs are a common staple food and one of the most versatile ingredients used in cooking. The most commonly used bird eggs are chicken, duck, goose. In more refined gourmet dishes the two opposites in egg sizes, quail eggs or ostrich eggs may be used.

Bitter gourd stir fry egg mix preserved & salted

While stir fried bitter gourd with eggs is a common dish found in many local South-East Asian cuisines, the origin of this dish is infused by leftover rather than a particular native dish  since we have eaten many bitter gourd egg stir fry versions. The ingredients are more or less the same the used seasonings may differ by locality and cook. A simpler version will be linked here soon.

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Sliced bitter gourd, three eggs mix and chopped garlic

Scroll down for this recipe as shown in the image.

 

Note: a word of caution while bitter gourd is highly nutritious, the vegetable should not be eaten or given to allergy sufferers, pregnant women and young children:

  • If you happen to be allergic for melons such as honeydew and cantaloupe (cucurbitaceae plants aka gourd family) you better avoid preparing or eating bitter melon.
  • For pregnant women the vegetable contains laxative component which may cause premature contraction and lead to miscarriages. Contact your doctor first.
  • For very young children, since the plant insulin is very effective in keeping blood sugar levels down it might cause the child sugar levels to drop.
  • For diabetes, you can add bitter melon to your diet but MUST check you blood sugar level and consult your doctor if in treatment with sugar medication, because bitter melon can cause your blood sugar levels fall dramatically if consumed too excessively.

Flat beans stir-fry with ground pork & bean sauce, recipe

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Flat beans are in season now for € 0,99 p/kg, fresh bright green, smooth skin, crunchy and string less, flat beans belong to the same group as runner beans. Flat beans here in The Netherlands/Europe are cooked, boiled or steamed, although I do not know many cooks who will use this unless they have a steamer appliance or steamer-oven otherwise too much hassle. My favorite way of cooking is stir-frying, the cutting up takes more time than cooking in a wok or saute pan/flatware.

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Day before I had prepared fresh aubergines with SiChuan chilibean paste and I only needed half a package of ground pork meat, so I had some leftover ground meat to be used.

D7K_1273

When I refer to soybean paste, I realized it can be confusing especially since I have 4 kinds of bean sauce. Three as shown in the picture above; the first one is a Taiwanese brand, the two glass jars Chinese and the fourth one missing is a Thai version (a photo will appear in another dish soon). Now for tonight’s dinner I only used bean sauce, the middle jar but if I would be cooking with chicken or dou fu I would mix bean and hot bean sauce together for an even stronger flavor.

Flat beans stir-fried with ground pork & bean sauce

To speed up cooking even more, you could zap the bean in the microwave for 5-7min (depending microwave power), we like a crunchier texture so never pass beyond 7 min otherwise even stir-frying will make them wilt even more. With cutting up the vegetables, cooking the rice (2-3pers) and stir-frying this dish dinner is served with 15- 20 minutes tops.

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You can substitute flat beans for runner beans and make this a vegetarian dish by omitting ground meat, variation are endless. You can even create a spicier version by mixing both the bean and hot bean sauce or adding a chili paste to enhance spiciness and leave out the bean sauce entirely. This recipe gives you a base to mix and match and experiment further to create your dish.

Chamomile GouQi Zi Tea – MY CUP 茶馆

As a child we grew up with all kinds of herbal infused stew concoctions as food, drinking medicinal herbal tea’s made of leaves, root and spices to invigorate and/or recuperate bodily functions and boost immune system. Lighter infusions such as tisane for alleviation or purification for cold, headache, stomach upset, bowel stimulation and other minor or chronic ailments. The later better known as Chinese detox teas are a popular medicinal category tisanes.

Chamomile GouQi Zi Tea 

I just prepared Chamomile (Camomile) GouQi Tea, an infusion (of dried herbs, fruit blends) used as a beverage or for medicinal effects also known as Tisane. Today I am drinking it as to rejuvenate myself and enjoying its fragrance and beauty of flowers and berries in my cup.

Camomile with GouQi

Camomile with GouQi

Tisanes are infusions that don’t contain true tea leaves (Camellia Sinensis). They are made from flowers, berries, peels, seeds, leaves and roots of other plants. In the World of Tea all “true tea’s” leaves stem from the plant Camellia Sinensis. 

We do call many herbal and fruit brews “tea’s”,  a drink, remedy, or extract prepared by soaking tea leaves or herbs in liquid known as infusions or Tisane. The process of extracting certain active properties as with Tisanes are characterized or indicated by ingredients of plants parts, either the flower, leaves, flower, root, bark, seed and spices.

Very well known are Chamomile, Mint, Lavender and ginger infusions. These are single used plant parts, but often tisanes are made from multiple parts of the same plant or blends of several plant types and can be classified as medicinal.

While some tisanes have long histories of medicinal use, the well known infusions (e.g. Mint as refreshing and Lavender as a natural sleep aid) are popular consumed for enjoyment and relaxation. In Asia especially China, Chinese Traditional Medicine Tea’s are daily consumed as a part of lifestyle and for their medicinal effects and benefits since many recipes and/or blends are high in antioxidants and nutrients.

Camomile GouQi Zi Wellness Tea

Camomile GouQi Zi Wellness Tea

Chamomile flower

There are two types of chamomile commonly used for teas, the “true” chamomile, or German chamomile, Matricaria recutita, which is most widely used and Roman chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile.

Chamomile medicinal benefits; boost the immune system, to help relaxing sleep aid, treatment for fevers, colds, stomach ailments, and as anti-septic an anti-inflammatory. As a child suffering bronchitis I was prescribed to use as a vapor it alleviates cold symptoms and asthma. Because of its medicinal properties and best known for its calming and soothing qualities, it is wonderful to sip just to ease away stress and discomfort.

In Chinese Chamomile tea 洋甘菊茶 Yánggānjú chá, to make a cup of Chamomile tea it’s important to use water that is very hot but not boiling because boiling water can destroy the therapeutic properties of the Chamomile herb. For more info on organic Chinese Chamomile Tea read full text here.

Known side effects of chamomile: “Like any supplement or herbal product, talk to your doctor before adding chamomile supplements to your diet. Potential interactions include: aspirin, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen, sedatives and any blood thinning medication (Coumadin, Plavix, Pradaxa, aspirin, Lovenox). Chamomile has the potential to interact with other supplements”.

Chinese GouQi Zi 枸杞子

GouQi Zi 枸杞子 also called GoJi or wolfberries, is hugely important and popular herb used throughout Chinese cuisine, yields a number of health benefits used in Chinese traditional medicine. The Chinese Wolfberry is one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits around and has anti-aging properties, for greater benefit it is often used in combination with other herbs. GouQi Zi – GoJi berries have an orange-reddish color, the dried berries have a similar shape and chewy texture as raisins with a slight sweet -sour note giving a mild tangy aftertaste.

Modern research confirms Gou Qi Zi’s jack-of-all-trades status by demonstrating positive effects on the immune and cardiovascular systems, including an anti-neoplastic effect against cancer cells.  So every time they trot out a new ancient “superfood” from the jungles of some exotic land to squash into some overpriced mega-ultra-power-bomb-health-drink, inform yourself thoroughly before splashing out the cash. For home made remedies just add few berries to your infusion, soups or stews cheap and cheerful, as for inspiration search for Chinese herbal medicine recipes.

As for the benefits of medicinal health tonics, for Westerners who are not familiar with Chinese medicines in general I would strongly suggest to visit a TCM doctor first before starting to experiment on yourself as a guinea pig. Herbal medicines have health benefits and side effects, if not properly used or wrong administration of herbal medicine causing danger to health.

Especially marketeers popularizing GoJi drinks and teas have not your health but high turnover as their objective, caution is needed as in consuming large quantities and possible drug interactions. “Too much of a good thing, can make you sick, it is Balance that matters most”.

For first time buyers in Europe I would recommend to visit qualified TCM practice, Chinese herbal medicine shops or Chinese Supermarkets rather than local Health Food stores. Health food stores purchases the product based on promising marketing information without proper knowledge yet of medicinal properties and uses. You can read more about GouQi Zi medicinal qualities and other Chinese herbs in English here for information.

 

Huat Kueh 发糕 or Prosperity Cake by Louisiana van Menxel

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A Guest recipe contribution from my Indonesian-Chinese friend and fantastic home Chef Lousiana van Menxel. Both our family moved around the same time to India and she has single-handedly rocked New Delhi with her famous Sate’s and left a lingering Indonesian food impression behind. They were sad to see her leave and I am very happy to enjoy her up close again, a more than welcome opportunity to sample even more of her dishes.

Louisiana shared her recipe of making Huat Kueh 发糕 (Fa Gao aka Fa kueh) or Prosperity Cake. Kue’s are a popular snack in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, (even Vietnamese and Thai dessert versions) as a former colony it is also popular in The Netherlands. What makes it so special is that besides local native specialities you can distinguish many different cultural influences as Chinese and European pastry making methods.

Another indication is language in Chinese-Indonesian culinary culture, mainly through loanwords derived from the Hokkien, Hakka and Cantonese dialects for many snacks and dishes. For example kue is derived from the Hokkien pronunciation ‘kueh’.

Huat Kueh or easier pronounced Prosperity cake, the name originates due to leavening process when the cake produces a bloom that bursts, opening up the top like a flower symbolizing a burst of prosperity.  The prosperity cakes were often used as props in many Lion dances during Chinese New Year’s celebrations or business openings to bring prosperity and good luck.

If not by friends or family food talk, a simple search on the internet will provide an impressive overload on recipes and making methods for Huat Kueh, which also proves how popular this scrumptious little cake is in south-east Asia and in Chinese diaspora’s across the globe.

'Huat Kueh' 发糕  Prosperity Cake

‘Huat Kueh’ 发糕 Prosperity Cake

 

The earliest method of making these cakes comes from the tradition of making Chinese rice wine as was customary in the old days in many farm households, a sustainable life was a survival necessity. Nothing was spoiled and everything has it purpose or re-used, so were the wine lees (sediment after wine is filtered). Wine lees* as well as soy pulp (okara) were fed to the pigs on the farm or the lees were used to be mixed with rice flour into fermentation in making these prosperity cakes, hence the wait for a couple days but it is absolutely worth it.

Fermented rice has many purposes and I have seen the product in plastic containers at the Oriental Supermarket in The Hague on display directly in front when you pass through the entry gates. Worth to note is that in south-east Asia you will often notice the use of Eno* as a substitute for baking powder.

Can’t wait to try my hand with Louisiana’s Huat Kueh, have devoured these on many occasions and now they hopefully will burst as prosperous out of my steam pan soon and yours too 🙂 However if you rather like to just east them, she is happy to make them for you, send me an e-mail request to connect with Louisiana HomeChef.

Terima kasih banyak, Lousiana! ♥ 非常感谢!

Huat Kueh 发糕

Louisiana’s resep asli in Indonesian for English recipe box below;

Bahan:
Mix A:
250 beras
2 sendok air
2 sendok teh ragi/ tape
2 sendok teh gula
Campur semua diamkan 2 hari

Mix B:
300 gr gula
4 gelas air
Di masak dan diamkan dingin

Menggabungkan:
A+ B di mixer di halusin semua baru campur 600 gr tepung beras dan diamkan 9 jam dan baking powder 2 sendok teh.

sebagai langkah terakhir:
Panaskan royang 20 menit
Taruhkan mangkok ke dlm kukus
Taruh ENO 2 sendok
Baru tuangkan kedalam mangkok kukus 20 menit.

Dingin dan Selamat makan

 

Prosperous tray of Huat Kueh

Prosperous tray of Huat Kueh

Note:

  • The Japanese sake rice lees makes a perfect marinade base for meat, vegetable or fish, read this food & wine article by Makiko Itoh. Digesting of brown lees is also good for health especially lowering the risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease according to a PubMed (US National Center for Biotechnology Information) article click to read for more information.
  • Eno (a fast-acting effervescent fruit salts, used as an antacid for upset stomach and reliever of bloating) contains; sodium bicarbonate, citric acid with anhydrous sodium bicarbonate, when it gets mixed with water the bubbles of CO₂ gets produced which relieves gases. The soda neutralizes the acids in the stomach. Hence their tag-line; “Gets to work in 6 seconds”. Available in little 150 gr. jars or 5 gr. sachets  at most Asian shops and supermarkets in The Netherlands and other European countries, however since 2013 it is withdrawn from the UK market. While Eno can be taken  by diabetics, their competitors with alternative fruit salts use sucrose making it unsuitable for diabetics.

Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry recipe

A request from TinYee for “What’s for dinner?”, how about a quick stir-fry tender chicken with broccoli florets flashing out of the wok onto a plate. Let’s not forget to write down the Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry recipe and post it please :-).

If you’re cooking for a family or friends this is a healthy and tasty dish to serve on the table. Chinese stir-frying and Asian cooking is all about setting up for flash cooking.

Chicken Broccoli stir-fry recipe is an easy budget-friendly dish and a crowd pleaser. All the ingredients can be easily substituted with other meat cuts and greens in season. Pork, lamb, beef (even fish, see note) with vegetables like cauliflower, green beans, Pak Soi or Chinese cabbage. Versatile and ideal to mix vegetables of what is left in the refrigerator and needs to be finished

 

Quick, easy and economic no leftovers of ingredients, whether you cook Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry for 4 persons or make 4 meals ahead for your weekly meal plan. Start with the preparation, cutting up the ingredients in bite-size pieces. Season the thinly sliced meat quickly set aside. blanch the vegetables and quickly into an ice-bath. Have all other seasoning bottles and jars ready to grab and heat up the wok.

Cut up broccoli florets or other vegetables in equal bite-size pieces. Blanch the vegetables, short and quickly into an ice-bath. This will stop the cooking process. Have all other seasoning bottles and jars ready to grab and heat up the wok.

Chicken broccoli easy stir-fry recipe

Tip:

Check the fridge if other ingrediënts can be chopped into the dish too. This help clearing and finishing into a colourful and healthy cooked meal. When stir-frying always add the hardest/toughest ingredients first and soft ingredients last into the wok.

Another Chinese stir-fry recipe is Flat beans with ground pork and bean sauce or try seafood suggestion Thai Red Curry Mussels Recipe.

Cooking notes:

  • This recipe is suitable to adapt for Keto, Paleo and diabetes diet.
  • For soy sauce gluten free options:
    • soy sauce choose tamari sauce (wheat free) as the closest substitution
    • Bragg liquid amino (purist would say nay because it’s not made with a natural fermentation but chemical process instead)
    • Coconut amino (a healthy soy substitute, made from coconut sap. It has a salty, slightly sweet flavour and is rich and dark in colour)
    • fish sauce (made from fermented fish/seafood although it is different it tastes as good). If there are none dietary restriction I often use both in cooking.
    • home-cook experiment, make your own instead. Will follow up soon with a discovery post.
  • Cooking oil
    • Olive oil use light, extra virgin is too heavy and will carry an after taste.
    • Sesame oil is only used for flavouring at the end, not intended for stir-frying, it burns too quickly and becomes bitter.
    • Coconut oil is mostly used in Keto and Paleo cooking.
  • Chicken seasoning powder in principle should be gluten free or use a vegetable powder as substitute
  • For vegan diet:
    • use fresh tofu
    • dried compressed soy flavour tofu
    • Tempeh (fermented soybeans)
    • Okara, when I make fresh soy milk the leftover soybean pulp is called Okara. Very nutritious and versatile to make pancakes or burgers.
    • Quorn
    • You can also buy a large variety mock soy meat packages at Chinese supermarkets.
  • Instead of meat, you can also substitute with fish fillets too. Coat the pieces in corn flour and fry them first, take out, continue with the recipe and add when almost done.
  • Cornstarch is what I standard use, next tapioca starch and tapioca flour or arrowroot.
  • Mushroom sauce (vegetarian) and oyster sauce are both used as extra flavour seasonings or omit.

 


Hainan Chicken Rice – foodie chat trivia

Last weekend I went out to shop for pork belly, but the butcher shop closed earlier than I had expected. Ended up at the local Moroccan halal butcher, buying entirely different ingredients. Came home with two fresh Halal broilers to prepare Hainan Chicken Rice 海南鸡反 for dinner. A family favourite dish with loads of stories attached, where to go to sample and taste, and company who joined. Asians habitually talk about food, so everyone chimes in to share at the table with fellow travellers and foodies.

Once upon a time… of course it’s not a fairy tale, but this dish has a long history. An old saying “Whoever wants to go to China must cross the Seven Seas” opening up food chat trivia with many questions and even more answers. This Chinese dish must have accompanied Admiral Zheng He with his treasure fleet on his expeditionary voyages. Throughout south-, south-east Asia all the way till the east coast of Africa from 1405 till 1433. Diaspora of Chinese communities emerged far from home with immigrants bringing with them their skills and reminders of home in preparing comfort food.

Let’s jump forward in time, across the Pacific Ocean at the beginning of the 19th century first immigrants arrived known in American history as Chinese railroad workers. Sailing the opposite direction over the Atlantic Ocean, the first Chinese seamen arrived in The Netherlands in 1911. This time frame and distance show a glimpse of a long history; it explains how widespread early Chinese peasant cooking has caught on all continents and the adaptability of Chinese dishes to local taste.

Hainan Chicken Rice

This famous dish named after a Chinese sub-tropical island 海南岛 in the South China Sea, where a local dish prepared with the main ingredient “Wencheng Chicken” originates. Long after the first immigrants, the present dish is still named as Hainan Chicken Rice. Recognised for its simplicity, aromatic rice and the tender poached chicken it remains a favourite dish trending on top of many food lists with fans in- and outside south-east Asia. Singapore proudly lists as one of their national dishes, available at almost every street corner coffee shop called Kopitiam, food courts, hotels and even highlights on Singapore Airline menu.

If you have travelled throughout this region e.g. Taiwan, HongKong, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, you will recognise a resembling chicken dish. In taste and presentation slightly different as influenced by available produce and local taste. Hong Kong has it’s own cooking style and their way of preparation gained popularity as Pak Kai or BaiJi, 白鸡, also resulting in succulent meat cuts.

The Thai variation is known as Khao man kai, in Vietnam, it is called Com Ga Hai Nam. Every mouthful of Chicken & Rice are as good as the source dish, most importantly it shares the same characteristic of poached succulent chicken meat and fragrant broth.

Hainanese Chicken Rice is about simplicity

Chicken – Traditional Hainan free-range Wencheng chicken feed is with coconut and peanut shells. The adopted Singaporean national dish version is claimed prepared best with a Kampung chicken (Ayam Kampung means free-range village chickens, common in Indonesian and Malaysian). Home in The Netherlands I have prepared this dish with corn-fed free-range chicken, broilers and cut chicken parts, foremost it needs to be fresh.

In all fairness, during the week I will buy supermarket cuts or broilers, but for this dish, I will opt for a poultry butcher. To buy specialities such as Bresse Chicken from France very flavoursome and worth the cooking effort to prepare a particular dish. A rare, the only bird with an A.O.C. a national quality label of origin. Once plucked the chicken are all naked and look the same (right?), but the Bresse chickens have blue feets. A slightly cheaper option is the free range Dutch corn-fed Kemper chicken, very tender and tasty meat. You can easily recognise a corn fed chicken by its yellow-orange skin and when cooked the meat flavour differs from a battery or factory production.

BROILER: A meat chicken processed at the age of 7-12 weeks when it reaches 2 ½ to 3 ½ pounds live weight. Historically Broilers were marketed as birds ranging 1 to 2 ½ lbs.

fresh broiler chickens, Hainan Chicken Rice

Halal broilers

Cooking technique: Use the stock for poaching the chicken, with all the extracted aromas the broth can be used to cook the rice. Served as clear soup accompanying the dish or reserved liquid used for flavourings of stir-fry dishes. Click for “Chinese stock methods” on the highlighted link.

Hainan Chicken - Poaching Chicken legs

Poaching Chicken legs – Hainan Chicken

Chicken fat – Chicken fat is used to stir-fry the rice first or made into a paste with additional spice and herbs, to enhance the flavour and then add the stock with ginger, garlic (and optional adding of pandan leaves and other herbs). Use the chicken fat in making the original Singaporean style chilli dip-sauce (if I use a whole chicken I pull out the chicken fat especially to make a big batch, for taste it is worth the trouble of preparing the chilli dip).

Chicken fat

Remove chicken fat and use a rice paste or chilli paste as dipping sauce

Accompaniments – dipping sauces

By looking at the various dipping’s you can retrace the serving country;

  • Hainan the dish is accompanied with typical oyster sauce and minced garlic, along with chilli dip and finely minced ginger with a bit of green onion (shortly heated in oil to draw out flavour and sharpness without darkening).
  • Singapore a customary hot chilli paste sauce (consisting of minced peppers, lime juice with chicken fat, chicken broth, garlic & ginger), along with pounded ginger served with dark soy sauce. Recent years the Thai Sriracha sauce has become a very popular condiment, due to its close spicy sourness and garlicky taste.
  • Hongkong has lime/lemon juice added to the ginger, next to a hot chilli sauce.
  • Thailand a sauce mix made with yellow soybean paste, thick soy sauce, chilli, ginger, garlic and vinegar instead.
  • Vietnam serves the accompanying sauce mix made of salt, pepper, lime juice and fresh chilli (use of fish sauce too).

Rice – Standard cooked white rice is just what it is plain rice. The chicken rice uses a rice paste with chicken fat for intense aromatic flavour. The stock included a variety of fresh herbs; it influences a different result as in soup or cooked rice. If you add Pandan leaves it enhances the grass fragrance, combine or interchange with lemon grass and galangal (aka blue ginger, Leng Kua/Laos, Kham, etc.) for a more defined citrus aroma. Have the pandan leaves combined with coconut milk (and lemon grass) to make Nasi Lemak another fragrant and traditional rice dish.

Hainan Chicken cooked rice

Hainan Chicken Rice either cooked with rice paste or poaching stock.

Hainan Chicken Rice assembly

Hainan Chicken Rice assembly – remove herbs from the rice – cut up the chicken

Almost ready to assemble our Hainan Chicken Rice plates – Singapore style. You can easily recreate this dish, for more information click on “Chinese stock methods” or “Hainan Chicken tutorial” or recipe post.