It’s a lazy Sunday.  I didn’t play golf.  I’m suffering from golfer’s elbow.  I didn’t hit the ball right. I hit the ground a lot before my club hit the ball, and now my elbow hurts like hell.  That’s the price of not being a good golfer.  It looks so easy when I saw professional golfers hit their balls on TV, it is really a very difficult thing to learn to swing the club right.  I’m resting at home today. I started my cooking early.  I made chicken on a stick for lunch and ate some of the leftover Singapore Noodles that I made last night.  I’ve been thinking about chicken on a stick for a while since I watched Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods episode in Japan.  He learned how to make the Japanese version of chicken on a stick.  I missed this dish too.  Instead of the Japanese version, I missed more of the Malaysian chicken on a stick, Chicken Satay that is served with peanut sauce.  Every time I had Malaysian food, I would order half a dozen of combo satays (6 sticks) that had 2 beef, 2 chicken and 2 pork.  They were served with peanut sauce and pickled cucumber.  What a great appetizer to start a meal. YUM.

Put seasoned chicken meat on a stick
Put seasoned chicken meat on a stick
Grill chicken on a stick
Grill chicken on a stick
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Ingredients (Make about 6 sticks):

  • Chicken meat, 1 pound (boneless, I used chicken fingers breast meat. You can use thigh meat too)
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp
  • Ginger, 3 slices
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Chicken powder, 1 tsp
  • Cooking oil, 1 tsp
  • Bamboo skewers, about 6 or 7 sticks (or you can use the metal skewers)

Peanut sauce:

  • Chunky peanut butter, 1 cup
  • Brown sugar, 2 Tbsp
  • Hot chili sauce, 1 tsp
  • Garlic, 2 cloves, finely chopped
  • Honey, 3 Tbsp
  • Soy sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Hot water, ½ cup
  • Lime, 1

 

Pickled Cucumber (Optional):

  • Cucumber, 1
  • Vinegar, 1 Tbsp
  • Sugar, 1 Tbsp
  • Salt, a dash
  • Water, 2 Tbsp

 

Steps:

  1. If you are using the bamboo skewers, soak them in water first.  They will not get burnt.
  2. Finely chop 1 clove of garlic and ginger.  Put both in a big mixing bowl.
  3. 1 tsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp of chicken powder into the bowl.
  4. Cut chicken into cubes like 1.5 inches.  Put the chicken cubes into the mixing bowl.  Mix them well with the seasoning.  Add a tsp of cooling oil to the mixture.  Mix it well.  Cover the mixing bowl with a lid or plastic wrap, and let it marinated in the fridge for at least 20 mins.  I also tried the lazy person’s version of not cutting the chicken at all, ie just put the whole piece on a stick. They didn’t cook as nice as the ones that are cut.  See the picture.
  5. Prepare the pickled cucumber if you are getting fancy:  Peel the cucumber, remove big seeds if there are any.  Cut cucumber into small cubes like 2 cm long.  Add vinegar, sugar, water, and a pinch of salt to the cucumber. Mix them well.  Let it get marinated for at least 20 mins in a refrigerator.
  6. Prepare the sauce: mix all the sauce ingredients in a small serving bowl.  Cut the lime in halves and squeeze the juice in.  Mix it well.
  7. When the chicken is marinated.  Put chicken cubes in the skewers.
  8. Start the grill.  Cook the chicken for 5 -7 minutes on one side.  Flip it over to cook the other side for another 5-7 minutes or until it is fully cooked.
  9. Serve hot with the peanut sauce.

I feel a little bit better today that my cat survives his surgery. I hope he stays strong and will recover soon. I was in a much happier mood to try something new knowing that he is getting a bit better.  I searched on google for scallion pancake recipes. I made this once when I was in a cookery class in high school.  I remember this is one of those things that require a lot of work, and take a lot of skills too.  What was I thinking?  Why would I want to do all these work just for a piece of scallion pancake?  I don’t know.  Once in a while, I do weird things that I can’t explain myself.  Or may be I just needed something to take my mind off worrying about my cat.  I followed Ming Tsai’s recipe except it was too late when I realized I put in cold water instead of hot water.  I thought it can’t be that bad, it was just a small screw up.  Oh well… other than that, it was messy to make it too.  Plus, I wasn’t skillful enough.  It turned out more like a scallion nann bread than a thin scallion pancake.  LOL. Ya, I screwed up sometimes but it’s ok.  I’ll eat my consequence literally hahahha….I should have flatten it out more to make it thinner.  It is not a complete failure, but I certainly need more practice and need to follow the instruction 100% next time.

 

Roll the dough out, add scallion
Roll the dough out, add scallion
Roll it in a long swiss roll, then curl it like a spiral
Roll it in a long swiss roll, then curl it like a spiral
Flatten it out to make a 5 or 6 inches pancake
Flatten it out to make a 5 or 6 inches pancake
Pan fry the scallion pancakes
Pan fry the scallion pancakes
Scallion Pancakes
Scallion Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour, 2 cups
  • HOT water, 1 cup
  • Sesame oil, 1 Tbsp
  • Scallion, 5 or 6 stalks
  • Salt, a dash

Dipping sauce:

  • Soy sauce, ¼ cup
  • Chinese vinegar, ¼ cup
  • Ginger, minced, 1 tsp
  • Red pepper flakes, 1 tsp
  • Sugar, 1 tsp

 

Steps:

  1. Mix the dipping sauce in a small bowl.  Put it aside.
  2. Add a tablespoon of sesame oil in a bowl.  Put it aside.
  3. Cut scallions into small dices.  Add a pinch of salt.  Put it aside.
  4. Sieve flour in a large bowl.  Pour a little bit HOT water at a time to the flour and mix it with a spoon.  Continue to add water until the flour becomes a ball of dough.  You may not need the whole cup of water.
  5. Cover the dough with a piece of damp cloth and let it rest for 30 mins.
  6. Cut dough into 4 pieces. 
  7. Roll a piece of dough into a flat, thin pancake.  Brush some sesame oil on the pancake.  Add about a tablespoonful of scallion to the pancake, spread it out evenly.
  8. Then roll the pancake starting from one end of the dough to form like a swiss roll.  Then curl the roll to form like a spiral.  Then flatten it out with a rolling pin to form a 5 or 6 inches pancake.
  9. Use a non-stick frying pan. Spray some oil in it.  Use medium high heat.  Cook the pancake for about 2 minutes on one side.  Add a tablespoon of water to the pan. Then cover it for a minute. This will create some steam and help to cook the dough.  Flip the pancake over, and let it cook for another two or 3 minutes until it is golden brown or look crispy on the outside.  Serve it hot with the dipping sauce.

I was staying up late last night doing my school work.  I had my TV on, and I was flipping channels.  I came across a show on TLC called “Hoarding Buried Alive”.  I cannot imagine how people can bury themselves literally with tons and tons of stuff.  The whole house was like a storage room.  A psychologist was there to help them.  It turns out that people were holding on and keep piling up stuff because every item represents a piece of memory to them.  It’s hard to let go a part of the memory.  I guess people use different ways to hold on to their memory.  For me, I’m not super neat, but I don’t pile up junk either.  Instead, I associate food with people, memory, all the good and bad times of my life.  A lot of food I like may not really taste super yummy, but it is the memory I associate with it that makes the food special.  Here is one of them – Cheung Fan, some kind of rice noodle that you can order at a Chinese Dim Sum restaurant.  The noodle itself doesn’t have much taste.  When you mix it with soy sauce, hoisin sauce and hot sauce, it would be yummy.  There was a street vendor near to my house when I was kid.  They sold breakfast food including Cheung Fan, Chinese Donut Sticks, Congee in the morning.  Mom would ask me to get some Cheung Fan, and Congee for breakfast. Usually there were like 10 or so people waiting in line to get them. I saw the owner put a thick, white, glue-looking mixing on a flat pan to make a thin layer.  Then he quickly put a cover on top.  After a few seconds, the white mixture was steamed.  It turned into a big flat piece of noodle.  He would cut it into 3 pieces, then quickly roll each piece into a long roll.  This whole process happened so fast.  I loved watching how the noodles were made and how fast the guy could do it.  He passed the rolls of noodles to his wife who took care of the customer’s orders.  She would hold a few rolls in her hand, use a pair of scissors and cut them into edible size like 2 inches long.  Put the noodles on a piece of non-stick paper or so, and sprinkled quickly some dark soy sauce, put some hoisin sauce and hot sauce on one corner, and then she put the whole thing in a small white plastic bag.  The noodles were soft and melt in my mouth. It was one of my favorite breakfast.

Of course, now we don’t have any street vendors making fresh Cheung Fan in US.  I can only buy a bag of ready-made Cheung Fan from the refridgerated section of a Chinese grocery store.  They were nowhere as good, but it was the memory that it reminded me that left a warm feeling.

 

Ready-made Cheung Fan. You can get it from a Chinese Grocery Store
Ready-made Cheung Fan. You can get it from a Chinese Grocery Store
Put a wet paper towel on top, and microwave it for 1 min
Put a wet paper towel on top, and microwave it for 1 min
Pan fry the Cheung Fan just like what they do in Dim Sum restaurants
Pan fry the Cheung Fan just like what they do in Dim Sum restaurants
 

 

Cheung Fan with Soy Sauce and Hoisin Sauce
Cheung Fan with Soy Sauce and Hoisin Sauce

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Cheung Fan.  You can get it from the refridgerated section of a Chinese grocery store.
  • Dark soy sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Hoisin sauce, 1 tsp
  • Hot sauce, 1 tsp (optional if you like it spicy)

Steps:

  1. Put the noodles on a plate.  Since they were refridgerated before, the noodles became harder and all turned into a big lump. It’s OK.  We’ll untangle them. Wet a piece of paper towel.  Put the wet paper towel on top of the noodles.   Then put it in a microwave on high temperature for 1 minute.  This will make the noodles softer.
  2. Break the noodles by hand. Be careful, some part of the noodles could be hot.  Use a pair of scissors and cut the noodles into edible size like 3 inches long.
  3. Use a large non-stick frying pan.  Spray non-stick cooking oil to the pan.  Put the noodles in the pan.  Spread them out in one layer.
  4. Use medium heat.  Let the noodles cook for 2 minute or so.  Don’t touch it. This is not a stir fry dish.
  5. Flip the noodles over to the other side.  Cook them for another 2 mins or so or until the noodles are soft.
  6. Put them on a plate.
  7. For the sauce, you can pre-mix the sauce together like I did, or you can add the soy sauce first, then put hoisin sauce and hot sauce on the side.

I woke up early this morning. I feel so good.  I usually sleep till noon on a weekend.  Just to be able to feel the sunlight in the morning is wonderful.  I want to write down the new appetitizer that I just learned from my coworker the other day.  We had a Chinese pot luck lucheon a few days ago.  Someone made Chinese Tea Eggs.  I heard about this dish a long time ago.  I know this is one of the popular snack or street food in China but I never got a chance to try it.  I told my coworkers that I have never tried this dish before. Guess what?  Every one was giving me a hard time saying that I”m not Chinese.  Some of my friends teased me in other ocassions that I”m imitation Chinky.  I don”t care!  Well, there are so many traditional Chinese dishes that I have not tried.  So for now, I have more things to look forward in my life.  See… I am thinking positive!  Could be the power of the morning sunlight

 

Chinese Tea Eggs
Chinese Tea Eggs

 

Pretty Chinese Tea Eggs
Pretty Chinese Tea Egg
Try Chinese Tea Egg for a Healthy Snack
Try Chinese Tea Egg for a Healthy Snack

Ingredients:

  • Uncooked Eggs, 1 dozen
  • Soy Sauce, 1 cup
  • Salt, 2 tsp
  • Sugar, 1 tsp
  • Star Anise, 5 pieces
  • Chinese Black Tea leaves- 2 Tbsp or 2 tea bags.  Actually any black tea would do.  If you don”t have Chinese tea, use English Breakfast or Orange Pekoe tea.  Does not need anything fancy. 

Steps:

  1. Use a saucepan, put the uncooked eggs in one layer in the pot.  Add cold water to the pot to cover the eggs, like 2 inches high.
  2. Use medium heat.  Bring the water to a boil.  Let it boil for 1 minute. Turn off the heat.  Remove the pot from the heat.  Put a lid on the pot, cover it and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the eggs from the pot.  Run them under cold running water, or iced water.  Keep the pot of the water for later use.
  4. Gently crack the shell of each egg all over on a plate.  Do not remove the shell. Put the eggs aside.
  5. Add the Chinese tea, soy sauce, salt, sugar and star anise to the water in the pot.  Use medium heat.  Bring it to a boil.
  6. Add the eggs back to the pot.  Make sure the water covers the eggs.  Add more water if needed to cover the eggs. 

Use medium low heat, let the eggs simmers for 3 minutes or until the water boils again. Turn off the heat.  Cover with a lid. Let the eggs marinate in the sauce for 5 or 6 hours. If you can let them sit over night, that would be even better.

Finally the weekend is here. Thank God!  I have time to catch up on my blog. It was such as long week. I started a new job. I was busy meeting up with my new boss, and the people that I needed to talk to for my job transfer.  I also organized an Asian Pot luck lucheon.  Originally, I planned to make some Chinese Chicken Fried Rice or Fried Soy Sauce Noodles.  But I was really running out of time. So I made some pan friend chicken dumplings instead.  Of course, I did not make the dumplings from scratch. I got 3 bags of Chinese Chicken Dumplings from Trader Joe. They are like $3 a bag, and they are pretty decent dumplings.  I made a dumpling sauce with it. It turned out great. Everyone loved it.

Lay Dumplings In One Layer in Pan
Lay Dumplings In One Layer in Pan
Use Aluminum Foil as a Lid
Use Aluminum Foil as a Lid
Pan Fried Dumplings for Pot Luck Party
Pan Fried Dumplings for Pot Luck Party

Ingredients:

  • Frozen chinese dumplings, 1 bag. I used the Trader Joe Chicken Dumplings here. They have thin skins and cook fast.
  • Water, 1.25 cups

Dumpling sauce:

  • Soy Sauce, 2 Tbsp
  • White Vinegar, 2 Tbsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Worchestershire sauce, 1 tsp
  • Sugar, 1 tsp
  • Water, 2 Tbsp
  • Sesame oil, two drops (optional)

Steps:

  1. Use a large frying pan. Spray non-stick cooking oil to fully cover the surface of the pan.
  2. Lay frozen dumplings flat side down in one layer onto the pan.  Make sure they don””t overlap with each other. NO NEED TO DEFROST the dumplings ahead of time.
  3. Use high heat. Let the dumplings cooked for 2 minutes to make the skin crisp.  DO NOT touch/flap them.
  4. Pour 1.25 cups of water to the pan.  If the dumplings have thicker skins, pour 1.5 cups of water instead.
  5. Cover the pan with a lid, or a piece of aluminum foil.  Let it cooked for 7-8 minutes with high heat or until the water dries up.  The water will give a steamming effect to the dumplings.
  6. Turn off the heat when the water dries up.  Let it sit for 1 minute with the lid on.  Remove the dumplings from the pan.
  7. To make dumpling sauce, put all the sauce ingredients in a small serving bowl.  Mix it well.  Optionally, you can add sesame oil, chopped garlic and ginger to the sauce to make it fancy.