Friday, April 27, 2012

Stewed Bittergourd with Chicken


I first tasted this dish when I was giving tuition to my colleagues' kids as a favor for a period of time. Since we went directly after work to her mother-in-law's place, it was a blessing to eat good home-cooked food there. And every time I tasted something good, I will asked her how she cooked it, especially those I thought my Dad would like. It's simple but a good variation from the normal way of how bitter gourds are cooked.

1/2 large bitter gourd or a small one, cut length wise into four and cut further into large chunks
1 boneless chicken thigh fillet, sliced into equal size as the bitter gourd
1/2 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed and chopped roughly
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
1 or 2 chili padi, finely minced (optional)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce


  1. Heat up about 2 tablespoons of oil in a hot pan and briefly stir fry the minced ginger, garlic, fermented black beans and chili until fragrant.
  2. Add in the chicken thigh fillets and cooked until just changed color.
  3. Add in the bitter gourd chunks and mix well. Add in the dark soy sauce and oyster sauce before adding enough water to just cover the ingredients.

  4. Turn to medium heat to simmer for about 10 minutes or until bitter gourd is soft (or to your preference).

  5. Season with salt to taste before serving with rice.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Borough Market Brownie

Borough Market Brownies

If you have ever been to London and visited the Borough Market, you might have tasted this delicious brownie that's situated right at the end of the area. My friend Sylvia and her hubby are coming to visit us in a couple of weeks' time to take pictures of our son Isac (we are very honored!) and you should definitely check out their Facebook page for Eight Dot Photography and also her blog, Peaches and Donuts which I have mentioned before. She is bringing me some goodies from London that I can't get here in Sweden, unfortunately, no brownies, so I googled and found this recipe from BBC Good Food website and it's a keeper! I halved the recipe so it's enough to make one square pan (20 x 20 x 3 cm) of brownies and also had to adjust some ingredients since I didn't have quite enough dark chocolate in my pantry when I first made it, but it works fine and I've done my version a couple of times now that has always turned out well. Serve it warm with a nice vanilla ice cream....ah the pleasure of life :)

170g dark chocolate (at least 55 per cent cocoa solids)
160g unsalted butter
3 whole eggs
150g caster sugar
25g cocoa powder
40g plain flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C while you prepare the batter by first melting the chocolate and butter in a small pot or in a bowl over boiling water. Let it cool slightly.
  2. Whisk the sugar and eggs together until pale yellow, then add in the chocolate butter mixture.
    Borough Market Brownies
  3. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder and fold it into the mixture until well blended. Line the pan with baking paper and pour in the batter and bake for 20 minutes. Let it cool in the pan before enjoying this rich brownie.
    Borough Market Brownies
    Borough Market Brownies

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pig's Trotters in Sweet Vinegar Confinement Food


In Sweden where it's not common to hire help after giving birth, I had to do my own confinement in my own way. What I discovered from many Chinese friends is that there are different ways how confinement is being done, and this dish is certainly more unique to South East Asian Chinese or the Hokkiens. I got a slow cooker or crock pot for my birthday from my in-laws (nice huh!) and used it to cook this for myself. It's a very simple recipe but the key thing is to use the correct vinegar - which is the sweet vinegar, identified by its name or one of the brand, Ba Zhen as shown in the picture. Contrary to belief, this dish can be eaten by anyone and is one of my Dad's favourite too.

1 pig trotter
1 large piece of ginger, about 200g
2-3 tablespoons of sesame seed oil
1 bottle of sweet vinegar
1-2 blocks of gula melaka
Hard boiled eggs (optional)


  1. The night before cooking, prepare the vinegar solution by crushing the ginger with a cleaver and place in a pot to fry without oil until dry before adding the sesame seed oil and fry until fragrant. Add the whole bottle of vinegar and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Let it cool overnight.

  2. The next day, scald the pig trotters in a pot of boiling water, rinse and drain. Heat up the pot with some cooking oil and brown the scaled trotters slightly.

  3. Place the trotters, gula melaka and the vinegar solution together in the crock pot and let it cook on low heat for four hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Add in the peeled hard boiled eggs half an hour before serving. Serve with rice.