Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dry Phnom Penh Noodles


I find that I lose my appetite when it’s really hot and muggy out. Does it happen to you too? Right now, the Weather Network says that it feels like 35 degrees Celsius with the humidity. Hopefully the severe thunderstorms roll through and help cool the city off soon. Well, I always find myself out of ideas for a quick meal to make. But here's a solution. Dry Phnom Penh noodles (aka ka tieu Phnom Penh, hu tieu Nam Vang in Cambodian and Vietnamese respectively). You can read about the Phnom Penh noodle soup version here and here.

You’ll need to soak some rice noodles in cold water for at least an hour. Then bring out some oyster sauce, fried garlic and fried garlic oil, minced meat (ground pork, shrimp, garlic, oyster sauce, black pepper, and sugar), green onions, cilantro, and dark soy sauce.

Once the noodles become opaque and flexible, cook them in boiling water for about thirty seconds. The noodles should be cooked a bit softer than you would if you were eating Phnom Penh noodle soup. It’s the same idea with cooking pasta past al dente if you’re making a cold pasta salad, instead of cooking pasta al dente when it’s being served with a sauce.

Back to making the bowl of noodles; cook the minced pork in either simmering soup or water is fine as well. Add the cooked minced pork to the cooked noodles in a bowl. Regarding the proportions of the condiments, it really depends on who is making it. Everyone has a different way of making it. I personally like to add a few squirts of hoisin sauce in addition to the things above. If you're unsure, I'd start off with a bit of oyster sauce and enough fried garlic oil to loosen the noodles. Taste the noodles and season to your taste.


I also like to add a bit of this preserved vegetable. It's super salty. You might want to rinse it in some water beforehand.

That’s pretty much it. If the noodles are too sticky, add a bit of water or soup to loosen the whole thing. You don’t have to be in the kitchen very long, nor do you need to have the stove or oven on for very long. I like to wash this bowl down with a bowl of flavourful broth, but with this weather, a cold beverage would be better.

On a random note... I'd really like to try my hand at making naeng myun. It's a Korean cold noodle soup dish. Very interesting. It would make a perfect meal in this weather. In other news, there's actually a Korean song about the dish. It's sung by Jessica (from SNSD) and comedian Park Myung Soo. Here's a link to the naeng myun song on youtube.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Homemade Hummus in Five Minutes


As long as you have a food processor or even a blender, you can make homemade hummus in about five minutes. We just made the basic hummus. You can tweak the "recipe" however you want. (I put "recipe" in quotations because our household believes that recipes are just guidelines.)


You’ll need a can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans).



A few cloves of garlic (we used five cloves for a spicier and stinky hummus), a few tablespoons of tahini (we used about 2 tbsp), a bit of olive oil, lime juice (we juiced one and a half limes), zest from half a lime, salt, black pepper and water. After a few pulses, you’ll have to scrap down the bowl. Everything was blended until relatively smooth. We adjusted the consistency and the taste as we went along.

That was it. All the flavours balanced well and tasted great with some fresh pita bread. I liked a bit more olive oil so I mixed some in at the top, though I should've just mixed it in a small bowl.

The small can of chickpeas was able to fill one of our round containers. It'll probably last us two weeks, unless we get more fresh pita bread, greek pita bread, or naan bread.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Humble Bowl of Homemade Pho


It’s been a while since I last wrote about homemade pho. We’ve definitely made and enjoyed many pots of pho since. It seems we've been giving Phnom Penh noodles more love.

One of the many pots of pho was made with pork bones. We try to buy the meatier pork bones. The meat becomes tender after being simmered in the soup for two or three hours and just melts in your mouth.


Thin rice noodles were soaked in cold water at least an hour prior to eating. Since the rice noodles have already absorbed a lot of water, they only need to soften in boiling water for literally one second. I like to press the cooked noodles with the ladle to drain any excess water, that way it doesn’t taint the soup.

My bowl of noodles was topped with some tender bits of pork, some slices of beef (eye of round), and some green onions. We didn’t have any cilantro or onions that day or else those would’ve been added too.

I like to bring the pot of pho soup to a boil for a few seconds and then bringing it down to a gentle simmer when I’m ready to eat. The soup would become cloudy if the pot of pho were to be left on a boil. Ladles of super hot soup filled the bowl and then the bowl of pho was eaten immediately. The thin slices of beef are cooked in the soup and the pork bits are heated through.

The thing I love about homemade pho is that you can just top up your bowl with more soup afterwards. I usually end my meal with a ladleful of soup to wash everything down. Mmm...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sticky Rice with Mangoes and Sweetened Coconut Milk - Khao Neeo Mamuang


When the weather is sunny and hovering around 30 degrees Celsius (or 84 degrees Fahrenheit), it makes me think of desserts like shaved ice and sticky rice with mangoes. Although my relatives are from Cambodia, I can’t recall eating mangoes with sticky rice and sweetened coconut milk.  In Thailand, they call it khao neeo mamuang.

Not long after watching some youtube videos of street food in Thailand and Singapore, I had sudden cravings of tasting sticky rice with mangoes. We luckily had some ripe mangoes from Toronto. Perfect.

Sticky rice was made with a bit of coconut milk powder and water. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough water and some of the rice became crunchy.


A couple of mangoes from the case were placed in a plastic bag to ripen quicker for a few days. (You can also use this technique to ripen bananas quicker too.) This was the result. The soft mangoes were deep orange and, once peeled, filled the kitchen with a sweet perfume of mangoes.


The coconut-scented sticky rice was topped with the sliced mangoes. Coconut milk was drizzled on top but it just didn’t taste right. There was something missing. Simple syrup was needed to sweeten the sticky rice and make it taste better.

This dessert dish would’ve been much better if the sticky rice was made properly.  Some of the sticky rice earned a big womp womp. Not only did it stick to our teeth, but they also weren’t pleasant to chew. I’m not sure that it’s worth the extra effort to eat ripe mangoes. I’d be perfectly happy to eat cold ripened mangoes alone -- especially in the heat.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bruschettas and Naan Pizzas


Fresh tomatoes, garlic, flat leaf parsley, and a bit of lemon juice are an amazing combination. Lastly, it's seasoned with salt and black pepper and left to mingle. It's remarkably quick and easy to make. I'll probably wait and make this again when tomatoes are really plump and ripe.



We could've just toasted up some bread, topped that toasted bread with the mix and eaten them like that, but OP wanted to make cheesy bruschetta. So we added quite a bit of shredded mozzarella and old cheddar cheese to the mix. Isn't it pretty?




OP topped the buttered baguettes with the tomato mix and then threw them in the oven to toast up. We prepared the naan pizzas as we waited for the bruschettas to bake. OP said that by buttering up the baguettes, they don't get as soggy.

Although the bruschetta tore up the roof of my mouth because they were a tad over-baked, the bruschettas were very tasty. The warmed tomatoes and garlic were mellowed by the oven and could’ve been tasty even to tomato haters out there. The pain was worth it.


We needed to make something else for lunch and so we made naan pizzas. Using store-bought naan bread, we topped them with plain tomato sauce, pizza pepperoni, shredded cheese, fresh basil, thinly sliced garlic and Genoa salami as toppings. Nice and simple. The pizzas were baked on a sheet pan (aka baking sheet or baking pan) in the pre-heated 350 Farenheit oven. VN and I have made naan pizzas a few times, but it's been the first time I've done this at home.

The fresh basil that we bought from the grocery store was a bit on the expensive side. There were a few roots still attached to some of the basil. I'm gonna try to plant them and see if they'll grow so that I can make more homemade pizzas with fresh basil in the future. Hopefully I won't have to buy basil in the grocery stores again.


Once out of the oven, the warm smell of basil perfumed the kitchen. Ever since enjoying Margherita pizzas at Libretto, I’ve fallen in love with the simplistic flavour composition. So I made a Margherita pizza, but with the addition of thinly sliced garlic. Garlic on pizza may scare some people, but when it’s thinly sliced and placed on the tomato sauce, the harshness of the garlic is cooked out. It’s an amazing thing.

I’m not sure why bruschettas and naan pizzas aren’t regularly in our rotation, cause its a beautiful way to use up fresh tomatoes and basil. It's also really easy and quick to whip up. They’ll definitely be making more frequent appearances this summer.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Breakfast

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

This morning, Mom was greeted with a spread of Westphalian ham, spicy Genoa salami, sautéed spinach, eggs (poached and fried), and potato cheddar leek sourdough bread for breakfast.

Westphalian ham was soft and not as chewy as some prosciutto can be. When fried in a pan, the ham tasted like a smoky bacon. We all preferred to eat the Westphalian ham as is. Lucy picked this at the Golden Rooster Deli in Kingston, and also brought back a few other things from her brief visit to Kingston.

Sautéed spinach with onions and Greek salad dressing.

Slices of spicy Genoa salami.

Shredded old cheddar and mozzarella cheese.



Potato cheddar leek sourdough bread from Pan Chancho. The loaf of crusty bread was quite dense but was flavourful on its own.


We finished off breakfast with a sweet note. Lucy bought some desserts from Card's Bakery: cherry supreme bar, peanut butter brownie, and double chocolate brownie.



Golden Rooster
111 Princess Street
Kingston, ON
Golden Rooster Deli on Urbanspoon

Pan Chancho
44 Princess Street
Kingston, ON
Pan Chancho Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Card's Bakery/Cakes by Krista
304 Bagot Street
Kingston, ON

Saturday, May 12, 2012

We Are Teochew - Eating Congee

I’ve always been jealous of my Cantonese and Mandarin-speaking friends. It’s not hard to find Cantonese-speaking or Mandarin-speaking people but what about Teochew/Chiuchow-speaking people?

Our parents and grandparents were born in Cambodia, but they’ve always reminded us that we are culturally and ethnically Chinese. My great grandparents are from Swatow (aka Shantou), Guangdong, China. My great grandparents left China and emigrated to Cambodia. I never thought much about it. Although my parents tried hard to ingrain the Teochew language at home, we (the siblings and I) have become whitewashed. Instead of being fluent in our language, we speak mostly english at home. Most of our family speaks a mixture of english, Cambodian, and Teochew. Sometimes all three languages are used smoothly in one sentence, but at other times, the sentences are very choppy and full of pauses. We’ve grown quite used to hearing Enbochew (?) Cameoglish (?) and Teobodian (?) sentences. 

While living in Toronto with my relatives in my first year at Humber, a lot of my Teochew came back. It was uncommon to hear English in their household. They spoke 90% Teochew. In fact, it was quite odd to hear them speak English, and I actually felt uncomfortable speaking English to them. My parents would’ve been thrilled had we, their four little trolls, spoke mostly Teochew when we grew up. English comes more naturally to us than Teochew. Using English just takes less effort.

That got me thinking. Since there are few Teochew food bloggers out there, why not start to incorporate more Teochew in ours. But before that, Lucy and I have thought about the way our family speaks Teochew and we’ve come to the conclusion that our ancestors were probably from the countryside in China. The way we pronounce particular words are probably butchered beyond recognition. And with that, let’s begin typing out these words phonetically -- or at least try, shall we? If you’re Teochew, it’ll probably take a couple of tries to understand it since it’s such a difficult language.

Referring to Wikipedia’s Chiuchow Cuisine page, here are two dishes:

Chinese characters: 咸菜鸭汤
English: Salted vegetable duck soup, or pickled mustard and duck soup
Teochew transliteration (according to wiki): Kiam cai ak terng
My take: Kiam chai ak tung
Kiam chai = salted vegetable
Ak = duck
Tung = soup

Chinese characters: 肉碎面
English: Minced pork noodles
Teochew transliteration (according to wiki): Bak chor mee
My take: Bak chau mee
Bak chau = minced pork
Mee = egg noodles (typically chow mein noodles)

Nu auy do kung bauy?
Are you hungry yet? (Asking someone who is younger than I am)

Ua ha a lao mai gai bak yong!
I love Grandma’s (on my dad’s side) pork floss!

Mai joi seuh. Ua mai giek gu chai guo.
No thanks. I don't want to eat garlic chive dumplings.

Speaking of pork floss, we had muay (aka congee) for brunch a few months back. I love eating my grandma’s ba yong (pork floss) puauy (with) muay. And mee bao (toast). And bagels. And toasted sesame bagels spread with garlic butter. Ahem… unfortunately, we didn’t have any pork floss left but we did have a bunch of other things.


Huoi guoi (preserved cucumbers). This one is slightly sweet. There's a bottle of the see ew (Golden Mountain seasoning sauce; Maggi equivalent) to the left side of the jar of huoi guoi. We'll use the seasoning sauce to drizzle over pan-fried Chinese sausages.


Ga na chai mixed with oh ga na (preserved olive leaves with Chinese olives).


Gong chieng (Chinese sausages). The sausages were thrown back onto the griddle to get some colour after this photo was taken.

Richard made some chai poh nung (preserved daikon omelette). It’s really easy to make.



The chai poh is rinsed and then finely diced. If it isn't, I find the preserved radish has an artificial sweet taste much like aspartame. Unless you like that taste, make sure you give the radishes a good rinse. Sung tao (garlic) is minced and briefly gets sautéed until fragrant.



The mix is taken off the heat and added to a few scrambled eggs. The whole mix was poured out onto the hot griddle, cooked, then flipped/folded. The chai poh nung was a bit overdone as you can see by the colour of the eggs.

We had some leftover gong dao guo (braised dry tofu). Pork and cabbage was braised along with the tofu.

When we make muay, it’s usually looser and more liquid than what’s pictured here. This batch was quite thick.

Other than bak yong, we usually eat congee with who you (preserved tofu and soy beans). Congee is very comforting, especially when you have lots of things to eat it with. Our family typically eats congee when someone is sick, but it's also quite nice to have it for brunch once in a while.

So yeah. We are Teochew. Don't be shy to comment if you are too. Where are all the Teochew nang (people) at?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...