It’s getting pretty normal for hubs and I to spend the holidays on our own since we got married some 3 years ago. I’d cook something simple but nice for the 2 of us and we’d enjoy a quiet night in together, away from all the fuss and crowd.
This year, I’d probably be making something easy like this Kimchi Fried Rice & Daikon Chap Chye (mixed vegetables). To wash all that down, a simple Cincau drink (Grass Jelly) would be nice. They are easy to make, relaxing even, and I get to spend time with the hubs, reading and chatting.
Because these are such easy recipes, you’re getting all 3 today for the price of 1! :-D Except, there is no price to pay so feast your eyes on these.
As you would notice, I’m taking an Asian route today. In a couple of days, I’ll share a very simple Western style dinner for 2 that I think hubs and I would be enjoying as we usher in 2013. Stay tuned for that!
But for now, let’s delve into my Daikon Chap Chye, seeing it needs a little time to braise. This is dish is originally a vegetarian Straits Chinese (Nyonya) dish. I’ve changed it a bit to suit our taste. You can switch the ingredients around or keep it vegetarian. I, however, added in some pork and prawns for a bit of bulk and flavour. Also, daikon isn’t really a traditional ingredient for this but hey, I like the sweetness it brings.
So here’s what we need:
Tang Hoon (mung bean noodles), Dried Lily Bulb, Black Woodear Fungus, Beancurd Stick, Dried Straw Mushrooms, Minced Pork, Shrimp, Soy Sauce, Oyster Sauce and…
This is Nam Yee, or Red Fermented Beancurd. It’s creamy, almost custard-like but cannot really be eaten raw (unlike fu yee, the paler variety that is eaten with porridge, much like Marmite or Bovril) as it is pretty pungent but adds a real umami, smoky fragrance to any dish.
First the mince is seared on high heat until 3/4 cooked. Then veggies go in (I should have added the carrots later as they fell apart due to cooking too long!), and then everything else but the shrimp & tang hoon goes in with a bit of water. Everything simmers and marries in the pot for 20 minutes, while you prepare your fried rice. At the final minute, toss in the shrimp & tang hoon. Once it has absorbed some sauce, it’s ready!
After the rice is properly mixed in (I like to use two ladles to break up the rice by smushing big clumps. Because it’s overnight rice, it’s firmer and can handle a bit of rough treatment), the kimchi liquid goes in to give the rice a nice colour. If you want it redder, add some paprika powder.
For a nice refreshing accompaniment, I recommend Cincau drink. We love this grass jelly drink, especially the one that has honey in it already. Very nice flavour. If you have never heard of this before, our trusty Wikipedia has an article on it. ;-)
Cincau (or chin chow as the packet says) comes in similar packaging like silken tofu. They are also sold in tubes but I don’t like those because it’s so so hard to cut! For this, all we have to do is turn it out and chop away.
I like to add a bit of palm sugar syrup in for flavour.
So there you have it! Kimchi fried rice, Daikon Chap Chye and Cincau for a quiet night in with your spouse. :-)
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 14:17)
Daikon Chap Chye
(inspired by Noob Cook)
serves 4 (we have enough leftovers for another meal. WIN!)
1/2 cup Minced Pork
1 tbsp Nam Yee (red fermented beancurd) crumbled; if not available, use miso or any fermented bean paste
1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 1/2tbsp Soy Sauce
1/2 large (or 1 full small) Daikon, peeled and cut into 1 in coins
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch coins
10-12 small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup dried mushroom (I used straw mushroom), reconstituted
30 gms tang hoon (mung beans noodles), soaked until soft then drained
1 Beancurd Stick, soaked until soft then drained
a few pieces dried Wood Ear Fungus, , soaked until soft then drained
a few strands dried Lily Bulb, , soaked until soft then drained and knotted
1/3 cups water, or more if needed
Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Before starting with anything, make sure all dried ingredients are washed, soaked, reconstituted and softened.
- To flavour mince pork, mix it with nam yee, oyster sauce and soy sauce.
- On HIGH heat with 1 tbsp oil, sear mince for 30 seconds before stirring. Leave until almost cook through, about 1 minute.
- Add daikon and fry for 1-2 minutes, until daikon starting to turn slightly translucent in the centre.
- Put everything else in, except shrimp, tang hoon and carrots* with water. Bring to boil then cover and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes until daikon is tender and dried ingredients are soft. If sauce has evaporated, add more water.
- In the final few minute, add carrot & shrimp and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
- Finally add tang hoon and let it absorb sauce for 1 minute. Adjust seasoning.
- Dish up and serve with rice!
*I would advise putting the carrots in later because it softens very quickly and breaks down. The same happens to tang hoon if overcooked. Shrimp, however, becomes very tough. Or according to my brother, turns into organic chewing gum.
Kimchi Fried Rice
(inspired by my aunt Doreen)
serves 4 small sides but 2 main
2 cups day old Rice
1 inch Salted Fish (I used ikan masin kurau or salted threadfin), washed & thinly sliced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
3/4 – 1 cup Kimchi plus juice, roughly chopped if in large pieces
1 tbsp Fish Sauce, or more to taste
a dash Paprika Powder, optional
- On MEDIUM HIGH heat, fry salted fish slices until lightly brown, 2 minutes.
- Add garlic and fry for 1 minute.
- Push that aside and pour in eggs. Scramble and let it set for a moment before breaking into large pieces with spatula.
- Scatter in kimchi.
- Pour in rice and break up large chunks.
- Increase to HIGH heat and add fish sauce. Mix until everything is combined.
- Pour in reserved kimchi juice, if any, and stir. If you want more colour, add a dash or 2 of paprika powder.
- Serve in cute little rice bowls and eat with chopsticks. Not mandatory but recommended. ;-)