Hong Kong Style rice porridge

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Another week of living off 20 dollars in groceries. Its starting to get really challenging because I wanted to get avocados but I knew I would be over budget. I wanted to get açai puree but I knew I would be over budget. I just had to tell myself “maybe next week.” Oh the temptation! This week I went over by $2.06. Not bad…I think its because of the chicken that I needed for my favorite margarita pasta recipe (will post that next week).

So here is what I bought this week:
Sprouts had an amazing 72 hour sale (Friday-Saturday):
1. Mom’s Best naturals Toasted Cinnamon Squares
2. 1 Gallon of 2% Milk
3. Roma tomatoes (1.29 for a pound)
4. Shredded cheddar cheese (1.30)
5. Grapes (0.88 per pound)
6. Chicken breast (really small portion for 2.83)
7. Pasta (1.50 each!)

Vietnamese market down the street from my place — I usually like buying meats here.
1. 1 pound of pork shoulder (1.99 per lb)
2. Pork neck bone (0.99 per lb)
3. Ginger (I only needed 1-inch of ginger. Don’t recall how much it was per pound but I was only charged 4 cents)
4. Dozen medium eggs (1.19)
5. Preserved duck egg

I can’t believe I forgot to take pictures of my grocery shopping trip. But just take my word for it folks.

I’m going post the congee recipe by popular demand. It’s called by many names throughout Asia — Chao (Vietnam), Jook (China), Lugao (Philippines), and more.

Anyways, I grew up eating this dish and I didn’t like it too much growing up. Maybe because my mom made it every week and my dad liked it and that was all he asked for. My boyfriend loves this dish. In fact, he tried to make it and I didn’t like the texture too much–too much rice. Then one night, my friend took me to a Hong Kong cafe in Alhambra. She told me her favorite dish was the rice porridge and I said “eh…really? I’m not too crazy about it because my mom always makes it. My boyfriend loves it and makes it. My boyfriend’s mom makes it too.” Then when the tilapia with preserved egg congee came in, I became a believer. It sounds like an unusual combination but its so good, it’s addicting! I guess it was the creamy texture and the preserved egg that bought me in.

A couple weeks later, I took my boyfriend to the same Hong Kong Cafe in Alhambra and ordered the tilapia with preserved egg congee to show him what it’s all about. He liked it too and I was trying to find out how this congee’s smooth and creamy texture.

After researching, it’s very easy — no blending or breaking rice required. It’s a very forgiving recipe so feel free to change the quantities. Also it’s very cheap to make.

Pork and Preserved Egg Congee

Ingredients:
2 cups of rice, rinsed
Oil
Salt
13 cups of water
1 lb of Pork (1.99 for 1 lb)
1 lb of pork bones (69 cents)
1-inch of ginger (4 cents)
4-6 preserved eggs (1.99)
Ground Pepper
Green Onions

1. Rinse rice and put rice in a container. Marinate rice with sesame (try other oils too if you don’t have sesame) oil and 1 tbsp of salt. Take your time.
2. In a stew pot of 13 cups of water put in pork, pork bones, and ginger and let it cook all the way through. This will be your pork stock. (Feel free to put chicken or beef stock).
3. After the pork cooks, take out the pork and cut it into small pieces and set it aside for later.
4. In the stew pot, let your pork stock reduce (to however you want). Add more salt to taste.
5. Take out the pork bones and discard.
6. Rinse your marinated rice with water and put it in the stew pot and let the rice cook. Take your time with this one. How the rice becomes so creamy and fine is that when the rice cooks in the stew pot, it pretty much get “overcooked” that it breaks itself. See? No blender needed.
7. After you get your desired texture, you can add more water to make it less sticky.
8. Add back your pork. Add quartered preserved eggs and let it heat up.
9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
10. Add in green onions (I didn’t have a lot of green onions in my porch, so I used chives too).
11. Serve :-)

Feel free to add soy sauce or fish sauce or some sriracha :-).

Enjoy!!

Cost of ingredients: $4.71 (does not include rice, oil, salt, ground pepper, green onion).

Compiling my South East Asia entries

It took me a while to get around making entries for every single city I visited but I DID IT!

So to make it more organized here it goes :-)

1) Hong Kong

I

II

III

IV

I wasn’t too crazy about Hong Kong. Wanted to leave early and head to Bangkok–which I did!

2. Bangkok

Ia, Ib

IIa, IIb

III

This city was so much fun! Wish I stayed longer! Didn’t get a chance to go to the floating markets though, a princess died the week of my arrival. Until next time Bangkok (and maybe explore a couple other cities in Thailand too!)

3. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Day one

Angkor Wat: A, B

Day two

Check out photobucket for more pictures!

4) Phnom Penh


I

II

We arrived here on Khmer New Year. Significantly less locals because they all went back to their hometown this time of year.
And this was how I learned avocados don’t grow abundantly in South East Asia.

More Phnom Penh Pics.

5) Sihanoukville


More at photobucket.

6) Chau Doc

Photobucket album

7) Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Photobucket Album

So here is the condensed list folks! Enjoy!

Think I got bitten by the travel bug–ouch!

Siem Reap Day 1 – lets go to Cambodia!

Left Bangkok at 7 am to Cambodia.

Admiring the southeast Asia landscape.

Arriving to the Cambodian border…

Thailand…

Cambodia

The border town in Cambodia is called Poipet.

Then we went for more driving. I remembered what stood out most in Cambodia is all the French architecture houses. It also made me think how wide the social gap is in Cambodia. I don’t think a person of a modest income in America would even own a house like this. I have seen either very nice French houses or very poor shacks living right next to each other.

Also Cambodia’s government is corrupt. It may be the poorest country in southeast Asia, but I might see a few Lexuses here. Quite questionable…

Siem Reap reminds me of New Orleans a bit. Maybe because of how the buildings are designed, maybe the river, maybe the liveliness of downtown.

New York Bagels

In our first night, we went to a small village in the outskirts of Siem Reap by tuk-tuk.

You’ll random piles of trash or scraps on the road. On the way to the village, we even saw people piling up trash in the river.

Here is the village we went to for dinner.

They made us dinner and it was quite charming eating outside in their porch. We even played with the local children.

Then we went to the Night Market.
WARNING: The vendors are very aggressive.

Thought this picture was funny. Get a fish massage — I didn’t get one myself but I sure think SeaWorld should have one!

Day 2 Bangkok Part II – Wish I spent more time here….

Wish I spent more days in Bangkok because I got a glimpse of the old city. That day there was a funeral for a princess and there were no cars on the road and there were no boats on the river. Whuddhi and I took a taxi from National Stadium to check out the hotel where I meeting my group the following day to start my trip to Cambodia.

We were trying to go the Golden Mountain….

But then..it was closed :-(. Here’s a model and some pictures at the cafe. As I said, wish I spent more time in Bangkok so I would have another day to visit Wak Saket and do a lot more things in the old city.

There were suppose to be a lot more boats in the river…but like the roads, the river was empty.

Then took a tuk-tuk and taxi back to meet up with Mike.

Funny sign in the taxi.

Dinner for tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t know what is up with the gap…can’t see it on my editor.

Hong Kong IV

Miscallany in Hong Kong.

Here’s some appetizing pictures:

Pocari sweat? I’m going to guess this is an energy drink but it’s so clear maybe like Smart water. Was going to buy it before I left Hong Kong but it never crossed my mind.

A restaurant called “Yo Mama”.

Like…”Yo Mama cooks so…bad…”

ehh…Placenta???

I love shopping for beauty products but this isn’t one I’ll wildly go after…

That’s a book shelf laying along the ceiling at Honeymoon Desserts. Pretty cool!

Cute looking food!!

Pedestrian cross walk sign.

 

Oh yeah…it was Easter Weekend. Happy [late] Easter!

Hong Kong Part III

I”m kind of backlogged but that’s ok.

Here’s more pictures of food in Hong Kong.

Probably the only Chinese thing I’ve seen my whole 24 hours in Hong Kong. Just duck and pork.

This was good. From Honeymoon desserts. Kind of reminds me of halo-halo. here’s I believe evaporated milk (?), ice, coconut shreds, grass jelly, vanilla ice cream, green tea ice cream, and strawberries.

Pancake with green tea custard. It’s a Japanese snack :-).

Hong Kong Part II

The food in Hong Kong was pretty disappointing. Couldn’t find any Chinese food. There were lots and lots of Japanese foods and Japanese influenced desserts. Lots of French influenced pastries, Italian food, and Vietnamese pho.

Looks really long and hard for some Chinese food but found only one.

In Hong Kong, there was also McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway pretty much everywhere I go.

To start, I’ll review the Vietnamese restaurants.

Why is the pho places so fancy? If you convert the prices from HKD to USD, the price of pho is about the same.

Yeah…my first official meal in HK was pho. Kept running all over HK to find some Chinese food for lunch but I got so hungry I needed some pho to fill me up fast.

Then when I walked to another shopping centre. I saw another Vietnamese restaurant.

Should take someone from Hong Kong and take them out for pho in San Jose. Definitely not fancy. Straws in Vietnamese places are considered a luxury anyways.

To be continued on food in Hong Kong.

Happy holidays!

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Here’s the food from Wednesday night’s party.

It was the long overdue apartment warming party/Pre-Christmas/Pre-New Years Eve party.

The most frequently asked question was “why have a party on a week night?”

My invite says “why not let’s live for the moment!” The real reason was that it’s before Christmas and people are most likely traveling the following day or Friday so it was perfect for us.

The menu for the party was pad see ewe, papaya salad, Korean meats for Korean BBQ, kimchi, spinach, Caesar salad, lettuce wraps, spring rolls, fried banana, fish, pumpkin pie, and mini cheesecakes.

It was a good turn out. My friends met Lychee but we are most likely not going to keep it. I’ll talk about it in another
post.

Instead I’ll include my simple recipe on my mini cheese cakes. It serves 12 people.

Ingredients:
– gingersnaps
– butter
– 1 egg
– 1/3 cup of sugar
– 1 8-oz of cream cheese
– 2 tbsp of vanilla extract

We wanted to add some cherries on top but forgot to pick them up at the store.

Anyways, crush the gingersnaps until fine and blend with butter you can add as much butter as you want but you don’t want it so buttery it falls apart. Place your gingersnap mix in the muffin pan for the cheesecake crust and put it in the fridge to set.

In a separate bowl, mix the remaining of the ingredients and put the cream cheese mix in the muffin pan and put it in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Take it out and let it cool and enjoy!

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Bibingka

Ok so I cheated using White King Bibingka mix and all I had to do was add sugar, eggs, and butter. Not bad…but next time I’ll top it with coconut and salted egg. If you don’t have either of those–then cheese is fine too. If you don’t have that either…then plain and buttery is good all by itself.

Oh yeah…next time I’ll try to look for some banana leaves or maybe put them in muffin pans because they’re so buttery, they fall apart.

P.S. Check out Mocha’s–she’s spectating a race car competition!

Bulk up like a Sumo Wrestler

Wanna bulk up like a...sumo wrestler? Now you can with this soup called “Chanko Nabe”!! On Saturday, I made this on my first try and believe or not—everyone liked it.

You see, every time my boyfriend and I go to LA we like to stop by my friend’s house and cook for them. The first time was pineapple fried rice served on a real pineapple and the second time we made banh xeoh. Looking through my blog I cannot believe I never got around posting those too.

Anyways this time my boyfriend suggested to make Chanko Nabe because he saw it in the food network. It looked really good but my concern was that one of my friends doesn’t like pho (shocker!!). How can one NOT LIKE pho!! But yet she likes Beef Noodle Soup…? But yet she does not like sushi… Anyways she loves this soup.

So folks, here’s the recipe!! and my side notes:

Side notes:

  • I used bouillon cubes instead of chicken broth
  • I did not have shimeji mushrooms, bok choy, prime rib roast (will put that next time!), and burdock root
  • FYI pretty much almost no rules when making this stew and since we like mushrooms I added more mushrooms
  • Like sumo wrestlers after a meal, we took a nice long nap :-)
  • (off topic) Still need to write more substantial posts…

Ingredients

    • 1 (2 7/8 ounce) packages fried tofu, cut into large pieces ( abura-age)
    • 10 cups chicken broth
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons mirin
    • salt, to taste
    • 1 medium waxy potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, sliced crosswise, and blanched
    • 1 piece daikon radishes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, sliced crosswise, and blanched
    • 1 small carrots, trimmed, peeled, sliced on the bias, and blanched
    • 1 leeks, white part only, trimmed, washed, and sliced on the bias
    • 1/4 head napa cabbage, cored and cut into large pieces
    • 4 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
    • 4 ounces shimeji mushrooms, trimmed and separated
    • 4 ounces fresh burdock root, trimmed, peeled, and shaved into long thin strips
    • 10 ounces grilled tofu, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces ( yaki-dofu)
    • 1/2 lb boneless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
    • 7 ounces bok choy, root part trimmed
    • 1/2 lb prime rib roast, frozen then thinly sliced
    • 1 lb udon noodles

Directions

  1. Open abura-age and place in a colander. Pour boiling water over deep-fried tofu to remove any excess oil. Allow to drain.
  2. At the table, set cooking pot on a portable stove in center of table. Fill with chicken stock, add soy sauce and mirin, season to taste with salt, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  3. Divide remaining cooking ingredients, except noodles, into thirds. Keep chilled until ready to cook.
  4. Add about one-third of the potatoes, daikon, carrots, leeks, cabbage, mushrooms, burdock, grilled tofu. chicken, fried tofu, and bok choy to simmering broth.
  5. Cook until vegetables begin to soften and chicken is just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add about one-third of the beef.
source: food.com