Friday, 29 May 2009

Wanchai market in Hong Kong

Small fruit stall (by Christ tell)
No, I have not been to Hong Kong recently unfortunately, I just thought it would be fun to show the wonderful things I have seen in the markets over there! (bear with me as I only had a compact camera, my faithfull Optio SV, in order to travel light..).
I revisited Wanchai Markets severa times, as I could not get enough of the sight...

Wanchai Market stretches behind the very busy main street road of Hong Kong Island.

Cross the hustly and bustly street, try not to get ran over by one of the trams, and there you are: woooooaaaaah!
Market streets (by Christ tell)

Let's start with the vegges before we tackle more serious stuff (vegetarians and vegans, get off at the vegetables stage!...)
in a later post.
Vegetables (by Christ tell)
The place is enormous, and the choice brilliant, the atmosphere,amazing. I discovered lots of vegetable s I still haven't used til this day...

Also al lot of flowers, orchids, and more strange decorative fruits:

decorative fruits (by Christ tell)

And this part of the market would not have been complete without the sweet shops of course!
Sweet stall (by Christ tell)Sweet sweet seller (by Christ tell)
This woman was so sweet, when I asked if I could take a photo,
she put her hand up and said stop!
took a lipstick out of her pocket, applied it,
and gave me this wonderful smile! :))
That's it for now,
you can have see tofu: because the second part of this post will all be about meats and fish... and this post is vegetarian Friendly!

Varieties of Tofu (by Christ tell)

I hope you enjoyed the walk with be, and if you are up for it, follow me onto the next post...
Last stalls (by Christ tell)

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Chinese style steamed seabass

Steamed fish with greens and chinese sauce (by Christ tell)
You must know it by now, my favorite fish is seabass, and yes, steamed with greens. Very healty, easy and no fuss. Extremely tasty.

So here's another recipe, chinese this time.
You won't need much:
- 1 fresh seabass, filleted
- 1 broccoli
- a handful of runner beans cut in strips

for the sauce (adjust vinegar and Soya to taste)
- 5 tblspn Soya sauce
- 2 tblspn white wine vinegar or chinese vinegar
- 1 tspn sesame oil
- 2tblspn water
- 1 bird eye chilly, sliced
- 1/2 thumb fresh ginger chopped finely
- 1 tblsp golden syrup

Cook the fish and the vegetables in the steamer in separate baskets for 12 minutes
Prepare the sauce by mixing the ingredients and adjusting.
Dish the fish and vegetables, pour the sauce on top (or serve the sauce separately if you prefer)

Steamed fish with greens and chinese sauce (by Christ tell)

Did I say it was quick and easy? Ah! I wasn't lying!...
This one definitely beats the take away.. (well, I don't do take aways anyway..)

Source: my own experimentation with various tastes

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The make-do Phở (Vietnamese noodle soup)

The make do Phở (by Christ tell)
I was talking to @lovingpho's and looking a his great website the other day, as was already thinking of the trip to Vietnam I am planning for the end of the year. I sent lovingpho's address to my friend Marjolaine (see previous posts there, there and there) who in turn sent me her recipe and encouraged me to make my first Phở. Impatient, and missing some of the ingredients, I decided to proceed nevertheless.

So my Phở is definitely not authentic, but was surely tasty. And it took no time to prepare.

Here are Marjolaine's instructions for a quick Phở soup:
- rice noodles
- Beef slices
- stock (beef used if sliced beef used)
- nước mắm
- ginger
- star anise
- chinese 5 spice
- slices of red chillis
- lime
- ngò gai (culantro, or long coriander)
- Thai basil
- bean sprouts

Heat the beef stock with the spices, ginger, sliced onion and star anise.

In a bowl, place the chilli, herbes, beensprouts, lime, noodles and beef slices. Pour the stock on top and serve.

NOW. I ran out of
nước mắm (but I still have some thai fish sauce. not quite the same though. they taste very different..) did not have beef slices, bean sprouts or thai basil, I had cilantro but not culantro, and I had rice flakes only as I also ran out of rice noodle.
BUT, it was lunchtime and I was hungry so decided to go ahead anyway. So here is my heretic alternative:

I used some chicken stock I had, in it I threw finely sliced shallot, 1 star anise, a pinch of chinese 5 spice and some rice flakes (they are flat square type noodles see in the next photos), and the ginger chopped .

In a bowl I prepared: the cilantro (coriander leaves), lime juice, diagonal slices of a bird'seye chilli
The make do Pho (by Christ tell)

I used the vietnamese sausage I had in the fridge:
Vietnamese sausage (by Christ tell)
I cut slices in dice, but with hindsight I should have cut long thin strips.

Then I poured the stock mix on top of the ingredients...
The make do Phở (by Christ tell)
The make do Phở (by Christ tell)
Like for thai food, one of the big secret is the right balance between the fish sauce and the lime (adjust). The soup was great for a speed lunch, but I can't wait to make a proper one, as the flavour with the indicated ingredients will be more delicate of course. I already have quite a lot of the ingredients because I often cook Asian food, but I guess it demands some specialist fresh ingredients, and in the UK, even if it is easy to find them in chinatown (ahem, I live next door from it), in this recession time, some people might find it a bit costly to make.

I am looking forward to taste the original vertsion during my trip in Vietnam, can't wait!

Source: Marjolaine's recipe + my own heretic modifications

Monday, 25 May 2009

Reminiscence of Malaysian street food [2]

Night food (by Christ tell)
A great attraction of the Malaysian food scene is the Hawker center. A place where hawkers are garthered on a small perimeter, some having exercised their skills for years, or for generations, competing for reputation. Gurnley Drive in Georgetown on Pulau Penang is one of these places, and has acquired quite a notoriety. Some Islanders will tell you that it has become more touristy in the last years, but obviously I could not vouch for that, and I decided to see for myself anyway.
Gurnley drive is a long corridor with tables in the middle and hawkers on its sides. I did find that there was a repetition of dishes, and not knowing the reputation of each hawker, I had to try what took my fancy. But before eating I had a walk around, which did not prove to make my decision easier.

I took a few pictures of some interesting stalls, like what I would call the food on stick stall, with fishballs, sausages,seafood (shrimps, baby squids)...:
Food on a stick stall (by Christ tell)

The Popiah stall, another very famous Malaysian specialty, a cold illed pancake:
Making a Popiah [2] (by Christ tell) Making a Popiah [1] (by Christ tell)Making a Popiah [3] (by Christ tell)

The soup stall, which possibly of chinese origin, a huge choice of ingedients from which you choode what will make up your soup: noodles, seafood, tofus, leafy greens, fish ball, fish paste filled vegetables, offals... name it, it's there!
Ingredients for the chinese soup (by Christ tell)
Ingredients for the chinese soup (by Christ tell)
Soup which is prepared for you to take to one of the central tables.
Chinese soup (by Christ tell)
By the way, on some stalls, you seat at the table, and somebody takes your order, and you get to pay at the end of the meal. On most hawker centers, you choose a table, then go and order your food and drinks and pay for it at the different hawkers, then the dishes are brought to you.

I loved one of the sweet stalls, the apom stall, where little banna pancakes (the poms) were baked and folded in two.

Mini pancakes and banana slices (by Christ tell)
Mini pancakes and banana slices (by Christ tell)

At the same stall were also made very thin pancakes that were rolled whilst
still hot
Apom being rolled (by Christ tell)

No need to say, impossible to starve out there!
In the midst of our meal, came an unexpected downpour of rain, and most people left, although a few stayed under the umbrellas, undisturbed, including us...

I hope you enjoyed this little visit, I have not quite finished my series of posts on Malaysian foods, so keep your eyes peeled...

Reminiscence of Malaysian street food [1]

Nasi Lemak (by Christ tell)
I travelled to Malaysia last year, where I had a great food experience. I was looking at the photos I took then, and thought I should share some of the food I had over there. Here's a snipet of some of the food I had in Georgetown in Penang.

I will start with with Nasi Lemak, the national dish of Malaysia. As we were walking to town from our Hotel to town, we had the incredible luck to pass a (weekly!) craft market where one stall was local women had made food to sell for charity. So we were very glad to be served home made Nasi Lemak! the tasty cold dish was excellent and so fresh!

For the whole holiday, I had been looking for any opportunity to find some roti canai, an ossession of mine, since I have heard that it is the same bread used in Thailand to make the banana pancake (see previous blog post).
The dish is a roti bread served hot with curries for breakfast and originates from India and can be found everywhere in Malaysia. We ate the best one at a little cafe in the Little India quarter.

In Little India (by Christ tell) In Little India (by Christ tell)
The Roti Canai was perfect (sorry, I started eating it before I took the photo, I could not resist...):
Roti canai (by Christ tell)
And it was served with a selection of six beautiful curries!
I also took the photos of the'making of' since making the Roti itself is an magic art and requireexperience and skills:

Making a roti canai 5 (by Christ tell)

I could not resist and ordered other breads, like roti tissue (ahem, this one got eaten before it could be photographed but you can see what it looks like here), Dhosa:
Dhosa (by Christ tell)
And all the breads were the best I've had during the whole trip. Unforunately, I was too full to be able to taste one of the puri bread from the mountain that had just been produced:
Poori (Puri) Bread (by Christ tell)

That day, when I found that little Indian cafe the breads were so good, that I almost fainted, like the Imam!
To be followed...

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Kung Po Chicken - quick chinese fix

Sichuan Kung Po chicken (by Christ tell)

Kung Po (also spellt Kung Pao)was one of the grades for officials in China. The inventor of this chicken dish was a "Kung Po" official in China who named the dish according to his grade.
This makes a great hot dish that doesn't demand too much time... Don't skip the dried chilis, they are really adding something... I like this dish very very very hot!


- 2 large chicken breasts cut in strips (vegetarians/vegans use Quorn)
- (1/2cup) water chestnuts (optional)
- 1 handful unsalted roasted peanuts (Monkey nuts 20 min oven 200degC then peeled)
- or you can use cashew nuts
- 5 dried Chinese chilis cut in half (they are the ones looking like mini red bell peppers). Remove the seeds if you think it's too hot for you.
- a handful of runner beans or green beans cut in strips

For the sauce:
- 4 tablespoons white wine

- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch (dissolved in 2 tablespoons water)
- a tblpn hot chili paste (chili oil)
- 2 tblpn rice vinegar
- 4 tsp golden syrup

- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- 2 tablespoon minced ginger (optional)


Make the Sauce: In a small bowl combine wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch/water mixture, chili paste, vinegar and golden syrup. Mix together and add green onion, garlic.
Kung Po chicken
In a small wok, heat sauce slowly until aromatic. (you can use the sauce as a marinade for the chicken and then cook it if you prefer)
Kung Po chicken

the chicken in a large skillet until the meat is opaque and white and the juices run clear
Sichuan Kung Po chicken (by Christ tell)
Add dried chilis (water chestnuts and) peanuts and runner beans, cook a few minutes more.
Sichuan Kung Po chicken (by Christ tell)
Add the sauce,
Sichuan Kung Po chicken (by Christ tell)
Let simmer together until sauce thickens.
Sichuan Kung Po chicken (by Christ tell)

Kung Po chicken

Source: my experience of the dish in restaurants + various sources