Chinese New Year Series: Hotpot

Believe it or not, we virtually ate non-stop for 5 hours after the Yee Sang. I had never been so full for as long as I remember. We just ate and chatted … and ate and chatted. The primary dish is the hotpot. Because of the number of people there, we had two separate hotpots going.

Hotpot is also known as Da Been Lo or Sang Woh in Cantonese. The best time to enjoy this is during the colder winter months. That is why at this time of the year, some of the Chinese grocery stores have sections dedicated only to hotpot ingredients.

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Hotpot is supposed to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. It consists of a simmering pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. It’s popular these days to use a double pot with a centre divider to have two types of broth — one a normal chicken/pork broth and the other the ultra spicy Thai tomyam broth.

Suanne and I were in charge of the “condiments” and sauces. We had once had hotpot in a restaurant in Richmond where they had available something like 15 sauces. So, we thought that we do the same too. Here is what Suanne prepared: green onions, ginger, cilantro, and three different types of chilli peppers.

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We went around the chinese grocery stores to scour for sauces. I think we got a dozen different ones. They include abalone sauce, hoisin sauce, minced garlic, crispy prawn chili sauce … and …

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… soya sauce, pickled chilli sauce, Thai chilli sauce, sesame sauce and satay sauce.

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The best sauce is still the Sah Cha sauce. This is a popular hotpot sauce originated from Taiwan which is also known as Barbecue sauce. These sauces are meant to be used as a dip and is not something you add to the hotpot.

I guess everyone just did not “get it” because the sauces and condiments went relatively untouched! Next time, I think I will do a demonstration first!

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There are also lots of meat balls of every kind … pork, beef, fish, prawns, squid and what nots. These are the only things that we can be sure the kids will eat. Polly and Vincent provided this, I believe.

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Prawns cooked very fast and adds a lot of flavor to the already flavorful broth. Yummy! Prawns with the shell on will impart more flavor. Double Yummy! Peeling the shells is half the fun when you are sitting around the table chatting. Nice touch, Janice and Bernie.

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Prima Taste Singapore Chilli Crab

Polly recommended this Prima Taste Singapore Chilli Crab to me quite a while ago. Oh it must have been like 6 months ago. I had this in the storeroom and been procrastinating in trying out this product. I have never cook a crab at home before and I shudder at the thought of killing a live crab. I finally got down to do it. Well, I did not have the cut and clean the crab. I got the shop where I bought the crabs from to do it for me.

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The Chilli Crab turned up pretty good and very easy to cook. The whole family really enjoyed it. The creamy and spicy gravy goes superbly well with steam rice. It is also great with just bread and the gravy.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Prima Taste Singapore Chilli Crab paste
  • 3/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 – 1.2 kg crab
  • 2 small eggs
  • 500ml water (divided into 470ml & 30ml)
  • Coriander leaves for garnishing

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The Prima Taste Singapore Chilli Crab package consists of:

  • 1 packet of Chilli Paste
  • 1 packet of Premix for Chilli Crab
  • 1 packet of Extra Hot Chilli Mix

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KL Series: Kiew Brothers

After the Hainese Chicken Rice, Nanzaro and I went for a walk in Chinatown. Chinatown is better know as Petaling Street or Chee Cheong Gai in Cantonese. This place a must-go place for tourists. This is where you could get a Rolex for only $10.

The whole street is not closed to traffic and is lined with stalls. Every other stall sells counterfeit products — clothings, watches, DVD movies, perfume. It is also where some of the best chinese food are found.

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We went to the Kiew Brothers shop to get some dried meat. Many swear that Kiew Brothers has the best dried meat in the country. In Cantonese, they are known as “woh lai yeh” which simply translates to “here I come”. I can’t figure why that name but if you say those words, everyone will know what you mean.

They BBQ the meats in front of the shop and has a big fan that blows the smoke out to the street. You can smell the aroma around the vicinity of the area.

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Heong Peah

In my last trip to Malaysia and Singapore, I brought back some Heong Peah. It has been a long, long time since I had this and frankly, I have even…

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Minstrels

Minstrels are chocolate buttons with a hard glazed shell sold in the United Kingdom. It's pretty much like M&Ms and Smarties. Ben brought some home after his London trip this…

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Instant Curry Chicken Nyonya Mix

Ben brought back some instant curry mixes from Malaysia during his Singapore-Malaysia trip recently. One of them is this Instant Curry Chicken Nyonya Mix.

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I made the Nyonya Curry Chicken and served it together with some nasi lemak condiments like sambal onions, cucumber, fried anchovies and peanuts.

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Ingredients

  • 1 package of the Instant Curry Chicken Nyonya Mix
  • 1 can of coconut milk (400ml)
  • 6 chicken drumsticks (600g of cut up chicken pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: Sister-in-Law’s Cooking

In my week in KL, I had always eaten out except for one meal which I had at home. Poh Ting cooked up a storm for dinner one of the days. She is the wife of my younger brother and is an awesome cook judging by the food she cooked.

The fried chicken was great. The skin of the chicken were crisp and is stuck so tightly to the meat. I didn’t know what marinate she used. Suanne does not make anything fried at home and so this was really good for a change.

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This is asparagus with prawns. The asparagus in Malaysia is a lot more shorter and thinner, unlike the bigger ones we find here in Canada. I like asparagus … a lot.

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This is a simple mixed vegetable dish with slices of pork. The gravy was light and goes so well with rice. Simple dish but really nice.

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: Wing Heong Dried Meat

This is known by so many different names. Westerners will probably refer this as jerky but I think a lot of people just calls it dried meat. Dried Meat is a popular (an expensive) snack in Malaysia and Singapore. In chinese, it is known as bakkwa or rougan in Mandarin.

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Dried Meat is sold by the weight, typically in kg or in catty (a chinese measurement of weight). It costs over $60 for 1 kg.

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