Sweet Soy Pudding (Tou Foo Fa)

Tou Foo Fa or Douhua (in Mandarin), is a soft and tofu dessert. Tou Foo Fa is made by coagulating soy milk into curds. Tou Foo Fa is usually served warm in sweet syrup but many people also like it chilled.

When I grew up in Malaysia, it was a very common hawker food where the vendors walk from house to house screaming “Tou — Fooo — Faaa — Tou — Jeong — Sui”. We look forward to this which they usual come around in the afternoon. These days no one sells it this way anymore. It was quite common that this pudding is made in a big wooden barrel.

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In Canada, you may find Tou Foo Fa only in specialty tofu stores. However, the more common soy milk can be found in many groceries stores like Safeway, the Superstore, and Save-On-Food. I learned how to make Tou Foo Fa from soymilk from a friend in a home bible study group and have since made Tou Foo Fa for the family. Arkensen is a great fan of Tou Foo Fa. He enjoys it cold.

The biggest challenge in making Tou Foo Fa is that almost all steps must be followed correctly or else it would turn out too watery. Tou Foo Fa is supposed to be soft and smooth like puddings.

Ingredients
  • 1 litre of sweetened soy milk
  • 1.5 teaspoons of gypsum powder (熟石膏粉)
  • 1.5 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon of hot water

The above ingredients is sufficient to make servings for four.

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Beef Stroganoff

Nothing improves the taste of pasta more than a good appetite.
~ Italian Proverb

Ben went with me for grocery shopping two weeks ago and saw Stroganoff sauce in a bottle on the shelves. He asked that I try this out. The instruction on the bottle seems simple and does look like something that the boys would like.

Beef Stroganoff, in its simplest form, is simply tender beef with a mushroom and sour cream sauce served over noodles, or even rice. The current accepted history of this dish dates back to the 1890s when a chef working for Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov, a famous Russian general, invented the recipe for a cooking competition in St. Petersburg.

I used egg white pasta to go with the Beef Stroganoff.

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Ingredients
  • 1 bottle (400ml) of Stroganoff cooking sauce
  • 1 package (340g) of egg white pasta
  • 1 lb sirloin steak
  • 1 can of mushroom pieces
  • cilantro for garnishing

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For those who loves beef stroganoff, you will like this Hamburger Stroganoff from scratch too.

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Rice Krispies Squares

A good breakfast cannot take the place of the evening meal.
~ Chinese Proverb

This week, Nanzaro wanted to make something for his brother’s birthday party and decided to make Rice Krispies Squares for him. We bought some “Christmas Special” package of Rice Krispies which comes with red and green rice krispies last Christmas and did not use it until now. Anyway, it makes very pretty Rice Krispies Squares, much better than the single brownish rice krispies.

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Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 250g package regular marshmallows
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

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Dim Sum at Sun Sui Wah

Words that come from the heart stay warm three winters long.
~ Chinese Proverb

Panos slept over last night at our place and since we planned to go out for dim sum on this Saturday morning, we brought him along too. Panos has never been to a dim sum place before. We told him stories about eggs dunked in horse urine, chicken feet, beef tendon and all — he took it in good stride and told us he’ll try it all! 🙂

We went to the Sun Sui Wah Restaurant in Richmond just across from the Lansdowne Mall. It’s a very busy restaurant, especially in the weekend. We went early just as it opened before the weekend crowds starts streaming in.

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Dim Sum is a Chinese light meal or brunch, eaten sometime from morning-to-early afternoon with family or friends. Dim sum consists of a wide spectrum of choices, from sweet to salty. It has combination of meat, vegetables, and seafood. It is usually served in a small basket or on a small dish, depending on the type of dim sum. Dim Sum is a Cantonese term, literally translated as “choose heart”, meaning “choose to one’s heart’s content”. It may also be derived from the words “yat dim sum yi, meaning a “little token”.

Dim sum dishes can be ordered from a menu or sometimes the food is wheeled around on a mobile cart by servers. Traditionally, the cost of the meal is calculated based on the number and size of dishes left on the table.

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Char Siew Pau
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Dumplings
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Chicken feet and Beef tripe

Some modern dim sum restaurants record the dishes on a bill at the table. Servers in some restaurants use different stamps so that sales statistics for each server can be recorded. Continue reading

Frosted Cupcakes

Words are sweet but they can never replace food.
~ Nigerian Proverb

Arkensen’s birthday coincidentally fell on spring break. He invited a few friends over to celebrate his birthday with him. So, instead of buying a cake from the bakery as we normally do in the past, I baked him some cupcakes instead. Cupcakes go very well with kids celebration like birthday parties or classroom celebrations. Because they are baked in a paper cup container, they do not require plates or utensils for serving — no dishes to wash!

BTW, do you know that cupcake is also known as fairy cake?

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Ingredients
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola or corn oil
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream

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Nachos

Man is like pepper — you only know him when you’ve ground him.
~ Nigerian Proverb

I’ve never paid much attention to Mexican food. Maybe it’s because the names are so hard to remember and pronounce — or maybe there are too many syllables to those Mexican names! Maybe too, it’s because that I don’t really care much about dishes with beans. Beans makes the guys at home fart a lot!

I learn a little bit about Mexican food the past week when the Richmond Cooking Club featured simple Mexican food — salsa, guacomole, tortilla, enchiladas and nachos. This piqued my interests now on Mexican food and will try to learn more about it.

Today, I am going to blog on a very simple snack which I believe is a favourite with almost everyone. Nanchos in its simplest form is tortilla chips covered in melted cheese. You can add additional toppings such as salsa, sour cream, olives, jalapeno and what nots.

Here is an interesting story I found out about Nachos in Wikipedia:

Nachos were created in Coahuila, Mexico by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya in 1943. The story goes that the wives of American airmen came to his restaurant after the kitchen had closed. Anaya quickly prepared the dish and later added it to his menu. The term “nachos” came from Anaya’s original name for the dish, which was “Nacho’s Especiales,” or “Nacho’s Special Dish.” Nacho Anaya’s original nachos consisted of fried tortilla chips covered with melted cheese and jalape?o peppers.

BIG_IMG_3685_edited-1Ingredients

  • A bag of Tostitos tortilla chips
  • Shredded cheese
  • A bottle of salsa, we prefer the hot and chunky type
  • Pickle pepper, optional

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Xiao Long Bao from Richmond Public Market

Note: The latest post about the Richmond Public Market is of February 2011 and is found on this link.

We had earlier blogged about the Richmond Public Market. This week we went again to the Public Market to have a quick and small lunch because we had plans for a big dinner tonight.

Many of our Chinese friends had recommended that we try the buns from a stall called Tian Jing Northern Cuisine. The buns, called Xiao Long Bao (literally “little basket bun”), were very different in that it is not only filled with meat, it also is filled with broth! It’s amazing how they are made in such a way that the watery broth does not leak or absorb out. You gotta try it and see what I mean.

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Xiao Long Bao are traditionally steamed in bamboo baskets, hence the name. It can be filled with hot soup and meat and/or vegetarian fillings, as well as other possibilities. The fillings are wrapped in something like a jiaozi wrapper that turns almost translucent after being steamed. Shanghai steamed buns can be recognized by their unique design, as the filled wrapper is gathered up into fine folds at the top, prior to steaming.

The buns we bought costs just $2.99 for six small buns. Just enough for a light lunch.

We were attracted by another type of buns in the same store which is called Gou Bu Li Bun — translated literally as “even dogs would not touch”!! It looks like ordinary buns.

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These buns actually is similar to the smaller Xiao Long Bao — the filling is pork meat and has broth in it too. Unlike other types of buns, you’re advised to eat these buns with a chopstick, not with your hands. It’s because the soup/broth does spill all over your hands. The soup inside is created by placing some meat gelatin inside the dumpling before steaming. The steam heat melts the gelatin into soup.

This dish costs $4.75 for six buns and comes with a spicy and sour soup.

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Personally I felt that it’s really nothing special other than the fact that it is filled with soup. It’s just OK but if I want buns I will go for char siew pau anytime.

You know what? I might just blog about making char siew pau one of these days.

Tian Jing Northern Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Cinnamon Buns

Make bread while the oven is hot.
~ Iranian Proverb

I love cinnamon buns with cream cheese frosting, so does the others in the family. Everytime I walk past the bakeries or the bakery section in grocery stores I can’t help eyeing the yummy looking cinnamon buns (WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING) on the shelves. They are too expensive and costs a dollar or more each. Naw, I can make it much cheaper and tastes just equally as good.

This is my masterpiece — looks good? 🙂

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It’s very simple to make … provided you have a bread machine to make the dough. If you do that manually, there is so many factors that contributes to a perfect dough — kneading, water temperature, proofing the yeast, etc. With the machine, you just need to throw in all the ingredients and let the machine spin it’s magic — all done and prep’ed in two hours. Invest in a bread machine if you don’t have one.

I make this at least once a month. Nothing beats freshly made cinnamon buns when it comes out smelling nice and the soft, fluffy insides that nearly melts in your mouth. Perfect with a cup of fresh brewed coffee.

Ingredients

The ingredients below is used to make 12 cinnamon buns:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, cut up
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1.25 teaspoons active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

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Bah Kut Teh (Pork Rib Tea)

No matter if you eat a little or a lot of garlic, the smell is just as strong.
~ Tibetan Proverb

Bah Kut Teh (Hokkien for “pork rib tea”) is a soup served in Malaysia and Singapore. Story has it that it originated from a town in Malaysia called Port Klang. Generally it is cooked in a clay pot with various parts of the pig, varieties of mushroom, lettuce, and dried tofu sheets or tofu puff. The soup itself is a broth which consists of several herbs and spices (including star anise, cinnamon, cloves and garlic) which have been boiled together with meat for many hours. Light and dark soy sauce are also added to the soup during cooking, with varying amounts depending on the variant.

Bah Kut Teh is commonly eaten with rice, and particularly in Malaysia, often served with strips of fried dough called Yau Char Kwai (or Youtiao in Mandarin). Dark soy sauce is used as a condiment, sometimes accompanied with chopped chilli padi, which is ultra hot that it can kill your taste buds! Tea is also usually served in the belief that it dilutes or dissolves the copious amounts of fat which are consumed in the eating of this dish.

This dish is normally served as breakfast or brunch but over time has gained acceptance as a dinner dish.

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Ingredients
  • 1 kg of pork meat
  • 1 package of fried tofu puff
  • 1 package of dried bean curd stick
  • 8 pieces of dried shiitake mushroom
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 package of Bah Kut Teh seasoning mix

The ingredients above is sufficient to make 8 servings. Be warned, this is a lot of food. We normally make it once and eat them over two days. You can use chicken to substitute the pork but not beef. For this time, I use pork shoulder meat but if you prefer something leaner, you can use pork ribs instead.

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Condiments
  1. 1 pair of fried dough (you may find this in Chinese Bakery)
  2. Garlic
  3. Thai chilli

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Pho Saigon on Kingsway

Updated 17th August 2010: This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.

Giving just a crumb to the hungry is worth more than giving lunch to the satisfied.
~ Vietnamese Proverb

I missed authentic Asian food after a week in the states. While there Arkensen MSN’ed me and we agreed we should go for pho this weekend. We went to a place called Pho Saigon along the eastern end of Kingsway, you know, the section just before Kingsgate?

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We have been to this place before. What we liked about this place was not so much of the pho noodles but the other Vietnamese food. It had been a while and were surprised that the place had a new coat of paint. It’s much brighter now. Apparently, the owner has changed because we could not see the normal faces and the menu does look different.

IMG_3554_edited-1Everytime I am here I ordered their dry seafood noodles. I ordered the same this time but they don’t look as good as last time. I prefer darker sauce but this one is much lighter. Enjoyed the squid and prawns — very generous portion.
IMG_3558_edited-1Suanne and Nanzaro shared the curry chicken with rice. It was not spicy but was very rich. I can see that they used a lot of coconut milk. There was very few meat — just three miserable pieces. There were more pieces of potatoes and carrots. No, not as good as it was last time we came.
IMG_3556_edited-1Arkensen will always go for Pho. He’s not the adventurous type when it comes to food. This time he has graduated from Beef Balls Pho to the No 1 Pho (all kinds of beef meat) — hmm, I am impressed. He finished off the whole LARGE bowl. I like to see that he finishes so much food.

So, is it good? No, it’s nothing to shout about. The place is simply not the same anymore — nice looking place but the food is just so-so. Total damage (including tips): $24.

Pho Saigon on Urbanspoon