The Science & Philosophy of Chai Buay: There is still life yet in your leftovers


The title of this post is almost tongue-in-cheek.

What has science or philosophy to do with this traditional Hokkien "leftovers" dish, you may ask.

As always, what goes on behind a dish always piques my curiosity, especially something as unique as Chai Buay or Choi Keok.

If you are reading it, chances are, you or someone in your household already knows how to cook this. This weekend, I had great difficulty finding the long leaf Mustard Green ("Kai choy") and I assume many households are not throwing away their leftovers.

CNY 2017: Cooking your family tradition

Choi Keok - A wonderful dish from leftovers (Photo credit: Goh Eck Kheng)
As another year turns, it is helpful to remind myself that TFC is simply about inspiring and getting home cooks to cook more. To this end, I am surprised (though I shouldn't be) at the role of ink and page (still) in inspiring home cooks to translate their reading into cooking. That is good to know.

Well, another CNY is coming. What are you planning to have on your Reunion table? 

I know you are gawking at those advertised pictures of pencai and roast meat and wondering about what you should be ordering in for your Reunion Dinner.

You have to be realistic about how good some of these commercial dishes can be, given the rush of CNY season and the mass cooking approach. You are not likely to get what you see...WYSINWYG!

Working on the easier Recipes from the Cookbook


I have been asked a few times:

"What are the easier recipes in the cookbook that one can start with?"

This list is good for new cooks:

Stir Fried Ginger Chicken - p 49
Steamed Egg - p 45
Tow Yew Bak - p 65
Pan Fried Turmeric Mackerel   - p 117
Cold Tofu in Bango Sauce - p 129 (more assembling than cooking)

As for noodle recipes, Ipoh Kai See Hor Fun (p 160) is good for one to start with. You can use the hor fun commonly sold here (some stalls actually call it Ipoh Hor Fun) or use dehydrated pho from NTUC etc.

And there are a whole set of recipes which are only slightly more challenging for new cooks such as the Wok-Cooked Char Siew, Steamed Pork Ribs in plum sauce, Ayam Goreng Halia etc. I also don't think Claypot Chicken Rice is difficult and I have listed an easier version (p 189).

You are likely to cook what you feel like cooking on a given day. Remember that there is nothing like freshly cooked home dishes. Just put a lot of love into it!

A short Cooking Video for the Wok-Cooked Char Siew Recipe

I have done a short video which will be helpful as a visual companion to the Char Siew recipe in the book and this blog. Enjoy.

Home-made Tim Cheong Sauce (Sweet Sauce)


Hi again.

Now that the cook book has been released, it appears that more are cooking now from my Mum's recipes.

It is a good thing that we are not done yet with paper and ink. There is something about that format which is more practical and connects better with the home cook. Good to know, as I had some doubts when the idea of a cookbook was first mooted.

The cookbook is best seen as a companion to this site or the other way round. From here, I can make reference to it. And yes, recipes do not need to be final when printed! There will alway be variations.

The recipes in the cookbook use limited photos due to constraints of space and design choices.  Here is where the blog can complement as photos of the process can be helpful for some recipes.

Addendum to Nasi Lemak Recipe in Mum's Classics Revived


It has been proofread many time over but *groan*, there are still some typos, most which are minor.

But this addendum is important for the Nasi Lemak Recipe.

At the bottom of page 201, which has been cut off:

"If you do not have a suitable steamer, you can still cook the rice well in an electric rice cooker. Add the thin coconut milk into the water (remember to keep the 1:1 liquid-rice ratio). Include the salt and pandan leaves. When the rice has cooked, switch the cooker to ‘warm’ mode. Add the coconut cream, more pandan leaves and stir gently. Then let it stay in warm mode for another 15 minutes."

It is important to note that you can use the electric rice cooker to do good and fluffy rice for Nasi Lemak and these missing instructions are important.

Happy cooking!!! 

You can buy the cookbook from: 

Bookstores in Singapore
Kinokuniya Online, go to link here
The Cathedral Cafe (profits from books sold here will go to charity, go to link here)

It will be available in Amazon sometime next year.