Friday, July 23, 2004

Simple Cooking: Taiwanese Dinner

It has been a long time since i step foot into the kitchen and get my hands on some simple home-cooked meal. I developed a slight phobia of the kitchen ever since i found out that there were little cockroaches spunning around my kitchen. So much so for calling myself a hygienic freak (nature of virgo). What the heck was a dirty kitchen doing at my place? I was surprised to find that my flatmate couldn't care less about the horrible little creature living in the kitchen cabinet. She continued to cook and eat as usual. *shucks*

I didnt find out about the insects until I first stepped into the kitchen after 2 long months. gosh. I couldnt believe how filthy the kitchen has turned into in the 2 months when I basically live off on bread and bikkie i.e. no cooking at all. So I spent 2 whole days scrubbing and washing the kitchen from inside out. I disinfected all the kitchenware too. That was 2 whole days of hard work.

Okie. Enough of my whinge here. Sorry, I dragged the opening story on a little too long. Need a whinge just like those needing a smoke that's all. My main point is my kitchen is finally clean. I can start cooking again and to know that everything is safe to eat and use.

♥ foodies date: 22nd July 2004
♥ where: pinkcocoa's kitchen

♥ pinkcocoa's taiwanese dinner

ShinChan brought a large bag of fish cutlets over a few weeks ago. Nice one, ShinChan. Bringing uncooked food to keep at my place so I can cook for you! Smart.

pinkcocoa's kitchen dinner menu as at 22ndJuly
♥ ham & sweet corn soup*
♥ steamed swordfish in spicy bean sauce
♥ tomato scrambed egg
♥ stir fry cabbage


♥ greentea jelly**
♥ strawberries

* I cheated this time and used knorr instant soup package
** I made this using instant jelly pack too. Thanks to my dearest aunt in taiwan who sent me 4 packages of instant jelly powder. *muaks*

♥ steamed swordfish in spicy bean sauce
I have never excelled at seafood cooking. Mainly because my family isn't one that adores seafood. My mum doesnt really know much. Dad was always in charge of any fish dishes at home. And when he did, it was usually steamed whole fish. My grandma does either very simple steamed fish with gingers and shallots or it's pan-fried fish with soya sauce. Simple stuff really.

My version of steamed fish comes from a taiwanese cookbook. Here's the original recipe. I twisted it a bit by using spicy bean sauce.

1 whole white fish*
1 stick of shallots, chopped
2 slices of ginger
2 cloves of garlic, minced

Spicy bean sauce:
2 tbsp bean sauce (dou ban jiang)**
1tbsp cooking wine
1tbsp soya sauce
1/2tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water
black pepper to taste

1. Cut the fish into 3 long slices and place onto a lightly greased plate.
2. Mince garlic and ginger. mix together bean sauce and water.
3. Stir fry ingredients in step(2) on high with a little oil. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir fry until mixed.
4. Scoop the sauce onto the fish and steam*** until cooked. About 15minutes. Make sure the water is boiling before you place the plate of fish in.
5. When done, simply sprinkle on some chopped shallots and serve.

* I used a piece of swordfish cutlet and halved all ingredients.
** I used chilli bean sauce by lee kum kee
*** I steamed the fish together with rice using my taiwanese electric cookpot. Time saving strategy!

♥ Tomato scrambled egg
This is a very common taiwanese dish. Every family has a different way of cooking it. For instance, k's version is different from mine. Hers is more salty whereas mine comes in a sweet and sour sauce. I havent really got a recipe for this because everything was done in the 'agar-agar' method.

I am an egg fiend. Whenever it's my turn to cook dinner, out of the 3 dishes I always manage to include an egg dish. If my home cooking becomes more regular, you will be seeing more of the different types of egg dishes from pinkcocoa's kitchen!

♥ stir fry cabbage
Just like the egg dish, my dinner is never completed without a vegetable dish. It's always simple vegetable dishes. Either poached veggies with some oyster sauce or stir fry them with a little crushed garlic.

This is a typical pinkcocoa's style dinner and what I consider as a balanced meal. The soup, egg and veggies are in a way condiments to compliment the main dish so they are always present whenever it's my turn to cook. Sometimes I get a little lazy and ditch the soup.

With the newly bought spicy bean sauce, I am thinking about making "ma po dou fu" (lady ma's beancurd). I wonder when will my next cooking crave comes about.....

lee kum kee chilli bean sauce