Pongteh Chicken: Nyonya Blackbeans Sauce Chicken

Pongteh Chicken

Impulsive buying is a common act when I shopped in the Asian supermarkets. I am vulnerable to discounted items on the shelf. I will find ways to convince myself that I need to buy them even without ideas on what I am going to do with them. The tub of black beans paste is not an exception. It has been sitting in my pantry for quite some time. I finally put it into use when I spotted it has merely a month life span remaining.

The very first dish I attempted with black beans paste is a Peranakan dish from South East Asian named Pongteh Chicken aka blackbeans sauce chicken. It is a popular dish serve in Nyonya Restaurants and is best enjoy with fluffy white rice and sambal belacan (shrimp paste chili).

350g chicken piece (highly recommend chicken thigh)
5-8 shiitake mushrooms (socked in water overnight)
4 medium size potatoes (boiled and cubed)
5 shallots (minced)
5 cloves of garlic (minced)
3 tbsp of cooking oil
3 cups of water

2 tbsp of blackbeans paste
1 tbsp of dark soy sauce
1 tbsp of light soy sauce
1 Duong Thot Not palm sugar
salt to taste

1. Heat up the cooking oil in the pan and stir fry the minced shallots and garlic till fragrant.
2. Add in the chicken pieces and sauce. Stir till the chicken pieces are well coated with the sauce.
3. Pour in the water and add-in the boiled potatoes and shiitake mushroom.
4. Close the lid and simmer for 30 minutes.

A simple scallion omelette complement the dish perfectly. Fantastic dinner for the day! I received great compliments for my pongteh chicken.

I highly recommend to use chicken thighs for the dish as the thighs are more suitable for extended simmering as compared to chicken breast. 

Blackbeans Sauce Chicken

Sesame Sweet Potato Balls Recipe

We bid good-bye to Ms. Summer and we now welcome Mr. Fall.

Weather starts to turn chill since early of the week and I longed for a bowl of sweet potato soup to warm myself up. I've gotten a 500g of sweet potatoes from the supermarket and was so ready for the 'great dessert for the day'. Somehow there was a change in plan after I spotted a simple recipe on purple sweet potato pancake with sesame seeds. It is deemed to be a healthy snacks as you barely need anything else except the sweet potatoes and sesame seeds. I was so tempted to give it a try and I actually traded off my long-love sweet potato soup.

However, the initial recipe turned out to be failure. The texture of the mashed sweet potatoes was way too soft and they kept falling apart. The sweet potato mixture kept on getting stuck on the frying-pan after contacting with the heat (even with low heat). Only 20% of what I made were in good shape. Check out the last image attached, in case you are curious on how the 'defect' pancakes looked like.

Hence I attempted to salvage the sweet potato mashed by transforming them to  delicious yet sinful pan-fried sesame sweet potato balls instead. 

400g of sweet potatoes (skinned and sliced to 2-3cm thick)
200g of all purpose flour
2 tbsp of sesame seed
a pinch of salt
sugar (optional)
cooking oil (sufficient for pan-frying)

1. Steam the sliced sweet potatoes in the steamer until they turned soft.
2. Mashed the sweet potatoes.
3. Add in the all-purpose flour, salt, sesame seeds and mix everything well.
(You may add-in sugar if you prefer the sweeter version or vice versa)
4. Use both of your palms to shape the mashed sweet potato to any circular form you prefers.
5. Heat-up the cooking oil in the skillet and pan fry the sweet potato balls till golden brown.

The nutty taste from the sesame seeds has indeed added a great twist to the sweet potato balls. It helps to balance up the sweetness from the sweet potatoes. Pretty addictive snack I would say. I can easily finish the whole 400g of sweet potato balls all by myself.

The defects ... 

Bone's Mega Simpler @ Bone's American Diner Restaurant

Summer is not perfect without some proper barbecues. Supermarkets are  packed with great discounts for marinated meat, poultry and sausages. Adverts and pictures with tempting grilled meats printed on weekly grocery catalogues make me drool. I craved terribly for barbecue ribs and eventually dragged Phoebe  along for my barbecue quest.
 Bones, the American style restaurant
We opted for Bones, the American style restaurant. The initial plan was to order a full slap of ribs. However the Bone's Mega Simpler on the menu caught our eyes. The course comprises of 4 pieces of buffalo wings, 3 pieces of crispy tenders, 3 pieces of the original American spareribs, 5 pieces of onion rings, a bowl of crispy American sweet potatoes, hot sauce and aioli (oil and garlic sauce).

The portion is rather generous and is definitely suffice for small eaters like us to share a course. I would say for merely €13.50, this sampler set is definitely value for money given the fact you can sample the specialties here. There are variety top-ups and dips which you can opt for to go with the set which range between €1.50 to €8. 

The spareribs tasted good too. The ribs were juice and tender.
As a potatoes lovers, we topped a bowl of Bones's home style potato slices for merely €2. Unlike the regular fries, these home style potato slices were crisscut. I am a big fan of crisscut fries, so i found no reason to dislike it. However, the sweet potatoes fries wowed me. They were crispy and sweet in taste which I found they tasted lighter than the crisscut potatoes.

I was let down by the hot wings as I expected them to be fire-grilled instead of deep-fried.

Overall it was a good meal but the element of grill has been minimized. I ended up having more deep-fried stuffs than my original crave of barbecues. Perhaps another round of barbecue spareribs soon.

Homemade Korean Bibimbap

Korean mixed rice bowl
Gochuchang (Korean chili paste) is one of the top essential condiments in my little pantry. Gochuchang is a very versatile ingredient which I have been using for many of my recipes which include:-
1) Dakgalbi (Korean spicy stir fried chicken)
2) Korean pancake 
3) Gochuchang roasted chicken 
4) Kimchi fried rice
5) Bibimguksu (Korean spicy mixed noodles)
and many more.

Yes, I am using this magic ingredient for my all-time-favourite Korean dish, bibimbap also refer as Korean mixed rice bowl. I never get tired with bibimbap, in fact i can have it all day long. There are a lot of cutting and stir-frying tasks involved in preparing for a bowl of sumptuous bibimbap. However, it could be rewarding where you can have all the ingredients cooked and set aside for later use. Usually if I am making bibimbap at home, I will make a huge portion which could last me for breakfast,  lunch and dinner ... sometimes even supper.

Homemade Bibimbap

The typical bibimbaps served in the restaurants usually come with bulgogi, bean sprout, spinach, carrot, cucumber, mushroom, gosari and egg. Bibimbap is well enjoy with a bowl of steaming hot beansprout soup or seaweed soup. There is no restrictions to the ingredients for your homemade bibimbap. I usually make my side dishes based on what I have in my refrigerator and pantry. I even skip the soup by substituting it with a cup of warm Korean corn tea. Yum!

Here you go the recipe for Denise' homemade bibimbap.

chicken pieces (ready-made salad chicken pieces)
eggs (fried egg - sunny side up)
button mushroom (sliced)
carrot (cut into matchsticks)
spinach (click here for
sigeumchi-namul recipe)
sesame seed
cooking oil
sugar, salt and pepper to taste
soy sauce

1. Heat up a tsp of cooking oil and stir fry the carrot. Season with some salt and pepper. Dish out and set aside.
2. Repeat the same process for leeks and spinach.
(Alternatively, you may make sigeumchi namul by check out the link above)
3. Saute the button mushroom with some soy sauce, sugar, salt and pepper. Dish out and set aside.
4. Stir fry the chicken pieces or heat up in the oven (low heat) for 8-10 minutes.
5. Assemble all ingredients or topping on a bowl of steaming white rice (refer to the picture below)
6. Top the sunny-side-up egg in the middle of the bowl and place a scoop of gochujang at the side.
7. Sprinkle some seaweed and sesame seeds on top
8. Mix everything together and enjoy.

Korean mixed rice bowl

I prefer the sesame seeds to be sprinkled last on the 'mixture' so it will look more appealing. Regardless of the sequence, the bibimbap still tasted fantastic. The homemade bibimbap is hands down my best dish of the week. Thumbs up!!

Toast Waffle with Nutella and Banana

I do have a soft spot for wafflers and crispy crepes despite the fact I don't have a sweet tooth. This may be due to a waffle food-stand in the shopping mall just a stone throw away from where I stay back home. 

The ingredients for the waffle batter are simple, merely eggs, flour, water, sugar and milk. What made the difference is the golden ratio or ideal measurement of each ingredient. The waffles are freshly made upon order and customer could choose various toppings to go with the waffle such as chocolate spread, nutella, peanut butter, coconut jam (kaya) and various fruit jam. The great smile of the freshly baked waffle always attract many passer-by. Despite the long queue, waffle lovers still willing to wait patiently for a bite of warm and fluffy waffle. It is definitely worth the wait.

I miss waffle so much until I actually started to surf for waffles recipe. During my recent shopping for a waffle maker, I accidentally discovered the ready made toast waffle from the cookies section. I bought a packet to try. Little did I know, the waffles tasted super good than they look. They have very similar texture to the waffle I am familiar with - moist, soft and fluffy with strong castella cake flavour. 

This is the packaging of the toast waffles. It comes with 6 pieces of rectangular size waffles, weighing in at 250g. It cost a bit over a Euro. The waffles may not look appealing from the humble packaging but they tasted very good. You may warm the waffle in the oven for 3minutes or you may also eat it on its own. They taste both equally good.

The ready-made toast waffle is indeed a perfect option for waffle lover who has no time to make their own waffle at home. They can be a quick fix as the everyday breakfast or even desserts when you anticipate guests coming over. Just warm up the waffles in the oven and top it up with 2 scoops of ice-cream and drizzle of chocolate sauce. For a healthier version, waffle top with mixed berries or your favourite fruits with a drizzle of maple syrup and a dash of powder sugar.

Toast waffler

I had tried a variety of toppings or spreads on the waffler, but the best has to be Banana with Nutella. It combine to form the "Perfect Trinity" - waffle, banana and nutella.

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