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Singapore Chinese Pork Curry


(serves 6)
Singapore Chinese Curry is a culinary relic of the British colonial era in Singapore. Many of the British officers had previously been stationed in India and developed a taste for curry. The British Army in Singapore however had to rely on Chinese cooks who out of neccesity concocted their own curry recipes. The result was the unique Singapore Chinese Curry which contains many common items of South-east Asian cuisine. In such curries you’ll find strange ingredients such as pork, dried shrimp, bean curd and cabbage. If you are a fan of curry, this is definitely a novel curry variety you must try. 
IngredientsChinese Curry

  1. Pork Spare Ribs (1 kg)
  2. Yeo’s Minced Prawn Sambal (2 x 140g cans)
  3. Cabbage (1 small head)
  4. Firm Tofu (2 standard blocks)
  5. Fried Bean Curd Puffs (2 cups)
  6. Fishcake or Fishballs (200g)
  7. Glass Vermicelli (50g dry weight)
  8. Coconut Milk (300ml)
  9. Chinese Wine
  10. Five Spice Powder
  11. Cumin
  12. Chicken Stock Cubes (2)

Preparation

  1. Begin by pressing the tofu as explained here. You cannot use soft tofu as it will completely disintegrate and disappear.
  2. Open the two cans of minced prawn sambal into a large pot. Add 1kg of raw pork ribs and allow to marinate for at least an hour.
  3. Dissolve 2 chicken stock cubes and 1 t sugar in 2 cups of hot water. Add the stock, coconut milk and fish balls/cake to the pot and heat to a low simmer.
  4. Sprinkle in 1T of five spice powder and 1T of cumin and simmer for 90 minutes. Top up with water as necessary.
  5. Cut your cabbage into quadrants and manually break the quadrants into individual leaves. Cut the pressed tofu into large cubes, about 8 per block.
  6. Add the cabbage, fried bean curd puffs and pressed tofu cubes and simmer for about 15 minutes before turning off the heat.
  7. Before serving, soak the vermicelli in cold water for 7 minutes and then drain away the water. Bring the pot of curry to a simmer again add the vermicelli and 3T Chinese wine. Simmer for 10 minutes before serving.
  8. This dish is best served with steamed rice or egg noodles.
Ingredients

Bean Curd Puffs and Dried Vermicelli

 Notes

  • This recipe is pretty easy if you can get all the semi-prepared ingredients as they are listed. If not….
  • The spiced minced prawn a.k.a. prawn sambal is a key ingredient but unfortunately its not that easy to find in some parts of the world. You can order Yeo’s Minced Prawn in Spices from Amazon. One other option is to make your own. If you have access to a Chinese food store, buy some dried shrimp. Soak a cup of the shrimp in cold water for half an hour before mixing in half a chopped onion, 4T chili paste, 2T Oil, 1T Five Spice Powder and 1t sugar. Put the mixture in the blender for a few seconds and then finish off by frying in a pan.   
  • The other uncommon ingredient is fried bean curd (aka tofu) puffs, also known as Tau Pok in some Asian countries. If you can’t find any bean curd puffs in your local supermarket, you can make some yourself. Freeze then defrost 2 blocks of silken (i.e. not firm) tofu. Next dry and cube the resulting spongy tofu and then deep fry them as you would French fries.
  • Take note that the vermicelli to be used is the glass type (white when raw and transparent when cooked) which doesn’t get mushy even if it is cooked for quite a while. When in doubt, the ones to get are those made in Thailand.
  • For additional flavour, I often add a tin of smoked clams at step 3. Sometimes I also add some baby corn. Its a very flexible dish so experiment with any extra ingredients you fancy.
  • There is another similar style of Singapore curry known as Nonya Curry. That is a fusion of Chinese and Malay cuisine while this is a fusion of Chinese and Indian cuisine. The two should not be confused. 
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Napa Cabbage Rolls


Napa cabbage rolls are the perfect side veggies for haters of brussel sprouts and spinach, since they have no bitter taste. Napa cabbage (this is a long shaped cabbage) is also the perfect vegetable for making rolls. They absorb the taste of what they are cooked in, they don’t disintegrate when you slow cook them, and every leaf is approximately the same rectangular shape.

Ingredients

  1. Napa cabbage
  2. Stock bones 
  3. Stock cube

Preparation

  1. You can make prety much any amount you like. You’ll notice I didn’t really specify the number of servings or amount of cabbage. The Napa cabbage also comes in mini sizes nowadays so its up to you however many you want to use.
  2. The first thing to do is to make some stock. Boil your stock bones, together with any meat trimmings you have handy with one stock cube. If you are vegetarian, you can use a vegetable stock cube just as easily.
  3. Cut the bottom stem remnant off your cabbage and then disassemble into the individual leaves. After washing them briefly in water, stack the leaves neatly in a pyrex container as shown below.
  4. Fill the pyrex with stock about 3/4 of the way up and then cover with aluminium foil, crushing the portions at the handles to hold the foil in place.
  5. Bake for about one hour at 150oC (300oF) and then allow to cool.
  6. When you roll them, start at the bottom of each leaf. Bend a small potion over till you snap the stem and then continue to roll the rest of the leaf up till the end. Plain gravity will hold the supple leaves in shape.

Notes

  • I often stack my cabbage rolls up like logs in a pyramid fashion. You can also arrange them in a ring aound your main dish.
  • This simple dish is very temperatue versatile. You can microwave them for a few seconds if you wish to serve them hot but are making them ahead of time. Or you can serve them icy cold with a little of the stock in small individual shallow dishes, asian style, with a little sprinkling of sesame perhaps.
  • The soup that is left also makes for a plesant light consumme which you can serve. 
 
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Posted by on April 6, 2010 in Appetizers, Recipe, Salad

 

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