XO Fried Carrot Cake

I have to admit, when I’m in Singapore, I never really ordered the white version of the fried carrot cake. The black version was always my favourite and is still is! Just something about the sweetness of the dish that draws me in and I am totally addicted to it! But since my last post I did on the chai tow kway, I had half of the steamed carrot cake left and wanted to try something different! So I spoke to my dearest mum and she suggested frying it with some XO sauce and that thought and idea was in my head ever since. So off to the supermarket I went to get some XO sauce.

   But being me, I couldn’t just use only the sauce that came out of the bottle, I had to amp it up! heh A pity I wasn’t brave enough to make it from scratch. But this was, honestly, really good! And all it needs is the addition of a few things : dried scallop, dried shrimps, shallot oil and garlic !

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VIOLA! Super delicious XO sauce! The best thing is, you can make alot of this and just store it in a airtight container and use it for anything – noodles, fried rice and just about anything! When I used this for the fried carrot cake, it was really good. I actually liked it better than my black one (and that’s a big call for me! haha). The XO sauce definitely added a punch to the kinda ordinary carrot cake, and I could just keep eating it all day! NOMS!

So do give this a try cause I’m very sure you will love it! (:

Amped Up XO Sauce

2 tsp shallot oil

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

25g dried scallop, soaked and drained, reserving water

25g dried shrimp, soaked and drained, reserving water

4 heap tbs of XO sauce, from the bottle

Steps :

1) Finely chop the dried shrimp and set aside. Pour the water that was reserved from soaking both the dried scallops and shrimp in a measuring cup, and top it up to the 1 cup mark.

2) In a small saucepan, heat the shallot oil on medium heat and add the garlic, dried shrimp and scallop and fry till fragrant and the garlic is slightly golden. Add the XO sauce and water and bring it to a boil before turning the heat down to low, and allow the sauce to simmer until it reduces and thickens. This will take about 30-45 minutes. Do not rush this process, in case you burn the bottom. Stir it every now and then.

3) Once it has thickened, put it aside to let it cool down. Store in an airtight container and would be able to keep in the fridge for up to 1 month.

XO Fried Carrot Cake (a foodmadewithlove original, serves 2)

1/2 of the steamed carrot cake (refer to my other post)

3-4 tbs chye poh (preserved turnip)

1 tbs chopped dried shrimp

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 tsp sambal chilli (more if you like it spicy)

2 tbs amped up XO sauce (recipe above)

1 tsp fish sauce

white pepper, to season

3 stalks of spring onion, slice finely for garnish

3 tbs shallot oil

Steps :

1) Cut the steamed carrot cake to small pieces. Again, I do prefer it a little smaller, so that it will crisp up more. In a non-stick pan, add the shallot oil and fry the carrot cake till golden brown and crispy. Have the heat on medium-high.

2) Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic, dried shrimp and chye poh and fry till fragrant. Add more oil if needed.

3) Add the fish sauce, XO sauce, pepper and sambal. Fry till the carrot cake is well coated.

4) Pour the beaten eggs onto the carrot cake and allow it to set slightly before flipping over. Using the spatula, cut up the pieces into smaller chunks. Add the spring onion just before serving. Top with more XO sauce if desired!

ENJOY!

Beef Onion and Guinness Pies

Have you been watching Masterchef Australia? Cause I have! I’ve been watching religiously. hehe And loving it! Friday’s Masterclass is the day I will never miss and even if I do, I will catch up on it online. It is during this time when I get inspired and motivated to try making completely new things. I love the fact that they post their recipes on the masterchef australia website too! Makes it so much easier when trying new dishes!

The Friday that we saw Gary made his beef onion & guinness pie, the mr immediately asked me to make it for dinner the next day! I was very hesistant to make pastry from scratch cos the first time I made a pie/tart base, it failed miserably! So I had a back-up plan, if the pie case failed, I would mash potatoes and turn it into a cottage pie instead! So with a back-up plan in mind, I went all out! So much so I invited friends who were in Melbourne for a visit over for dinner! Haha. I wasn’t too sure what got into my head.

Thank goodness the pie was a big hit! The pastry was buttery and flaky. We could just have it on it’s own (and we did for the left over pastry haha)! I couldn’t really believe how easy it was to make it and I had alot of fun rolling it out and cutting it to fit the baking tin as well! hehe And the best way to have the pie? With a whole heap of tomato sauce of course! YUMMY!

This is definitely a pastry I can see myself making very very often in the future for either sweet or savoury dishes!

And the beef. Where can I begin? It melts in your mouth. Pity I couldn’t cook it for slightly longer cause I already made my guests wait for 1 hour (lucky thing I had Running Man on so they were entertained! hehe) and so I just really needed to get it in the pastry cases, baked and served!

Remember my back-up plan? I had to use it anyway because I had so much beef left, it was a great way to serve them – with creamy parmesan mash! To complete the meal, I made a bowl of salad and viola! (: Was a perfect night with good company!

Beef Onion and Guinness Pies (Adapted from Masterchef Australia)

Filling

3 kg chuck steak, cut into 5cm pieces

150ml olive oil

6 onions, sliced

8 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

5 dried bay leaves

4 tbs plain flour

salt and freshly ground black pepper, for season

2 carrots, cut into large chunks

600ml Guinness

1.5 litres beef stock

1 egg, beaten

Tomato sauce, to serve

Maggie Beer’s Sour Cream Pastry

200g chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

250g plain flour, extra for dusting

pinch of salt

1/2 cup sour cream

Steps : 

1) Season the beef generously with salt and black pepper. Heat a non-stick frying pan with 100ml of olive oil on high heat, and cook the beef in a few batches until all sides are well browned.  Add the carrot and cook for 5-6 minutes until golden. Set aside.

2) In a large pot, add the rest of the 50ml of olive oil and heat over low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are soft and translucent, stirring continuously. This will take around 40 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the bay leaves and cook until a slightly darker brown, without burning it. Add the flour and stir till there is no visible flour left.

3) Add the beef and carrots into the pot and pour 1/2 of the Guinness into the pan to de-glaze, scraping all the brown bits on the bottom. Pour that and the remaining Guinness into the pot. Add the beef stock and make sure there is enough liquid to cover all the beef. Bring it to a boil.

4) Partially cover the pot with the lid and lower the heat to low. Allow that to simmer fir at least 2 1/2 hours or until tender. Set aside and allow it to cool until the pastry is ready. This could also be made in advance and kept in a fridge for up to 3 days.

5) To make the pastry : In an electric mixer, blend the butter and flour and a pinch of salt until the mixture resembles large bread crumbs. Slowly add the sour cream and mix until it comes together to form a dough. Shape it into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for 20 minutes.

6) Preheat oven to 190 degrees celcius. Grease 12 holes in a cupcake baking tin with butter (or 6 in a muffin tin). Roll out the pastry to 3-5mm, using a little extra flour for dusting. Cut out 12 rounds about 4 cm bigger than the cupcake holes and another 12 rounds that are about 2 cm larger for the lids.

7) Place a pie base in each hole, then press in lightly with your fingers. Make sure there is about 1 cm left above the mould. Fill each hole with some beef mixture and top each with a pastry lid and crimp the edges to seal in the filling. Brush each pastry top with the beaten egg, and cut a small hole in the center of each pie for steam to escape.

8) Bake the pies for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Turn out and serve with tomato sauce.

ENJOY! (:

PS : I made much more than the 12 pies needed, so like I mentioned before, I topped the leftover beef filling with a creamy parmesan mash. You could easily make another batch of pastry and make more pies! (: Or just cut the recipe into half! 

Son-in-law Eggs

  I can still remember the first time I had son-in-law eggs, ‘khai luuk kheuy’ in Thai, at Gingerboy last year and it was a new and fun experience. I’ve never heard of son-in-law eggs prior to that beautiful meal at Gingerboy and after having them, I couldn’t get enough of it! It was one of the most popular dishes and came highly recommended. The wait staff explained to us, upon the arrival of the eggs, that we had to have the whole egg in one go to have the best experience. And of course, we did!

We tried to fit the egg into our mouth (it wasn’t a small egg in case you’re wondering) and when we bit into it, our eyes glowed and when we all finished it, we all did a harmony of  “WOWS” haha. It was truly amazing! The egg yolk was still really runny and the egg practically did a mini explosion in our mouths! I was in awe.

The next time I had them was my recent trip to Chin Chin. And this time, we learned our lesson, we decided to cut it into smaller pieces to truly enjoy the flavour. Since then, I just wanted to have more! So I decided to search for recipes online and found one by Ai-Ling @ Food Endevours of the Blue Apocalypse! It looks delicious and sound easy enough for me to follow. So off I went to KFL to get some of the ingredients and made it for lunch!

So glad I did, cause it was delicious! With the tangy, sweet chilli caramel, it was perfect! We loved the chilli caramel so much that we kept the leftovers so I could make the eggs again the next day! haha Obsession, I know.

Are you also a fan of son-in-law eggs? If you are, do give this recipe a try! I’m very sure you will love it! Do head over to the link to see the step-by-step pictures! It definitely helped me! (:

Son-in-law Eggs with Chilli Caramel (Adapted from Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse)

2 eggs

Vegetable oil, for deep frying

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbs palm sugar

50ml fish sauce

2 tbs tamarind paste

3 chilli padi, sliced thinly

Spring onion, sliced thinly, for garnish

Fried shallots, for garnish

Steps :

1) For the eggs : Soft boil the eggs. I used an egg cooker for this. But if you’re using the stove, place the eggs in a small pot and fill with cold water, just enough to cover the eggs. Place over high heat, and when the water has come to a boil, remove the pot from the heat and allow the residual heat to cook the eggs gently for a further 3 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a pot of cold ice water, to stop the cooking process, for 10 minutes. Gently peel the eggs and pat dry using paper towel. Set aside.

2) For the chilli caramel : In a heavy-base pot, heat the sugar on low heat, swirling occasionally until the sugar liquifies and turns a slightly dark brown. Careful not to take this too far, as it will burn and taste bitter.

3) Take the pot off the heat, and slowly add the fish sauce. It will cause the smoke and bubble vigorously, so take caution.

4) Once the bubbling has settled down, return the pot back on the stove on low heat, and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the chillies and stir it well. Take the pot off the hear, and add the tamarind paste and palm sugar. Mix it until the palm sugar has dissolved completely. Set aside.

5) Heat oil in a small saucepan on medium-high heat, then add the soft boiled eggs and fry till golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.

6) Using a pair thongs, put the eggs in the pot of chilli caramel and coat it. Place the coated eggs in a bowl, and garnish with spring onions and fried shallots. Pour a bit more of the chilli caramel on top of the eggs, if desired.

ENJOY!

PS : Like Ai-Ling, I prefer a gooey yolk, which is why I chose to soft boil my eggs. If you don’t like that, you could hard boil your eggs, and just repeat the whole process of putting the eggs in ice water after it is cooked. Will still be delicious! (:

Fried Carrot Cake (Chai Tow Kway)

Fried carrot cake has always been my favourite breakfast back in Singapore since I was little! My parents would come across what they feel is the best one and either bring me there or buy me a packet to try! Because I use to live in the West, my favourite stall is at Bukit Timah Market and now that I live in the North, my favourite is no doubt the stall from Serangoon Gardens Market! (: In fact, I have a plate of fried carrot cake almost every Sunday after church! If you don’t know, fried carrot cake comes in black and white. My favourite is the black one. The blacker the better!

This is the one from Serangoon Gardens Market. It’s really amazing. Every single bite has got a balance of carrot cake, egg, chye poh, and sweet black sauce! Not too dry and just a tad moist the way I really like! And what’s more? It’s cheap! $2.50 and I will be happily stuffed! hehe

So it’s been on my agenda for almost a year to try and make from scratch, but just never got around to doing it. So since it’s the holidays, I decided to get down to getting it done! Truthfully, I was quite nervous, cause making kueh (of any kind) is not really my forte. That’s probably why it took me over a year to pluck up my courage to make it! But I’m so glad I did! This recipe from Bee @ Rasa Malaysia is delicious! The texture of the kueh is not too soft, so it’s really easy to fry without being all clumped up together!

It does take a little bit of time to get it done, and you have to wait overnight for the carrot cake to cool and chill in the fridge so that it’s much easier to handle and simpler to cut it into smaller pieces. So I recommend that you make the carrot cake a day in advance! It was perfect for me, cause I made it on a Saturday and fried it on Sunday so it just felt like being home and having a plate of delicious fried carrot cake at the markets. (:

 So do you have a favourite hawker food like I do?

Fried Carrot Cake (Adapted from Rasa Malaysia)

For the Carrot Cake

2 medium radish (about 800g), grated finely

50ml water

200g rice flour

250ml water

1/4 tsp salt

Steps :

1) Over a very low flame, steam the grated radish and 50ml of water for about 30 minutes or until the radish turns translucent. Set aside and allow it to cool.

2) Mix the rice flour, water and salt until well combined, making sure there is no lumps.

3) Add the rice flour solution to the cooled grated radish. Stir and mix it well, then pour into a round metal cake tin. The mixture will look like a watery coleslaw. Steam the mixture for 45 minutes on high heat.

4) Leave the carrot cake to cool (best to leave it overnight in the fridge) so that it would firm up and would not stick to the knife when you’re cutting into it.

Fried (black) Carrot Cake (Serves 2)

Half of the steamed carrot cake

3 tbs shallot oil

3-4 tbs chye poh (preserved turnip)

3 eggs, lightly beaten

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

 1/2 tsp sambal chilli

2 tsp fish sauce (can add more if needed)

2 tbs thick sweet black sauce

white pepper, to season

2 stalk spring onion, sliced finely

Steps :

1) Cut the steamed carrot cake to small pieces. I do prefer it a little smaller, so that it will crisp up more. In a non-stick pan, add the shallot oil and fry the carrot cake till golden brown and crispy. Have the heat on medium-high.

2) Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and chye poh and fry till fragrant. Add more oil if needed.

3) Add the fish sauce, pepper and sambal. Fry till the carrot cake is well coated.

4) Pour the beaten eggs onto the carrot cake and allow it to set slightly before flipping over. Using the spatula, cut up the pieces and add the thickened sweet black sauce. Fry and mix it well. Add the spring onions and dish up into a bowl.

ENJOY! (:

Mine turned out a little drier than I hope, but was still really delicious! If you love fried carrot cake like I do, do give this a shot! (: If you prefer the white version, just omit the last step! So make the carrot cake today so that you can fry it tmr! 

Prawn Noodle Soup (虾面汤)

I love hawker food. If I were to name the individual dishes that I love (and miss), I probably need a whole blog post! haha But one of my ultimate food I love is no doubt prawn noodle soup. The best part of this dish is of course the soup! I would always finish every drop of the soup and leave an empty bowl behind!

Mum has replicated this dish many times when I’m back in Singapore for a holiday and has taught me the steps to making it. So I needed to practice making it, or I would definitely forget! Plus, I froze the prawn heads from the cheesy butter prawns I’ve made (twice) and have enough to make a good prawn stock.

Prawn Stock 

1 bulb of garlic, finely chopped

500g prawn heads

1 tsp salt

2 tbs shallot oil

1 litre hot water

Steps :

1) In a medium-sized pot, heat the shallot oil and fry the garlic on medium heat, stirring continuously until fragrant, and slightly golden brown. Careful not to burn the garlic, as it will leave a bitter taste in the stock.

2) Add the prawn heads and fry till the shell turns orange-red colour. Using a masher, light press the heads to get maximum flavour. Give the prawn heads a good stir before adding the hot water.

3) Boil the prawn stock for 20 minutes before straining the stock through a sieve. Reserve the prawn stock while you prepare the other components of the dish.

Prawn Mee Soup (虾面汤)

800g pork bones, blanch in boiling water for 5-10 mins

1 bulb of garlic, left whole

3 litres of hot water

prawn stock (recipe above)

8 whole prawns, sliced length-wise and deveined

50g bean sprouts, blanched

a bunch of choy sum, cut into 2-inch pieces and blanched (can use any green leafy vegetables)

12 slices of fish cake, blanched

noodles, any type you like (I used thick rice vermicelli)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground white pepper

4-5 tbs fish sauce, or more if you think it’s not salty enough

1 tbs shaoxing wine

fried shallots, for garnish

chilli powder, to serve

Steps :

1) In a large heavy-based pot, bring the 3 litres of water to a boil, then add the pork bones and allow it to boil for 1 hour. Add the bulb of garlic and add the prawn stock.

2) Add the salt, pepper, fish stock and shaoxing wine and allow the stock to simmer on low heat for at least another 2 hours (or more if you have the time).

3) Just before serving, add the prawns into the pork & prawn stock and cook it until the prawns have turned orangey-red. Take it out and set a side.

4) Plating up : Place a tsp of shallot oil and fried shallots at the base of a big bowl. Add the noodles and give it a good toss. Place the blanched bean sprouts, vegetable, fish cake and prawns on top of the noodles. If you fancy more protein, dish out some of the pork ribs into the bowl as well.

5) Add as much soup as you like into the bowl with a ladle and serve with more fried shallots. Add some chilli powder if you want to add some kick to the soup, I don’t have my prawn mee soup without adding it!

ENJOY! *Slurps*

PS : There should be heaps of soup left, so you can always freeze it up and use at a later stage or just have more of the deliciousness the next day! (:

{Quick & Easy} Shallot Oil

Shallot oil is widely used in many chinese/asian cooking. My grandmother would always have a metal tin full of fried shallots and the fragrant shallot oil. We would have it with her mince meat noodles, wanton noodles, and everything really! Too delicious to resist adding it in the dishes! It adds an extra flavour and depth. It’s really simple to make too! Just that shallots are a little costly here. So use in moderation! hehe

Shallot Oil

1 1/2 cup of vegetable oil

200g shallots, sliced thinly

Steps :

1) In a small pot, heat 1 1/2 cup of vegetable oil on medium heat and add the shallots. Allow it to fry the shallots till they turn golden brown.

2) Strain the fried shallots, reserving the oil in a bowl. Allow the oil to cool down and transfer into a glass bottle. Place some fried shallots in the oil and keep in the fridge. (Should be able to keep for a couple of months)

3) Place the fried shallots in an air tight container. You should be able to keep the fried shallots for 2 weeks.

You could garnish many dishes with the fried shallots, and cooking with the shallot oil just makes the dish more flavourful! Trust me, this is something you should make and keep!

PS : I will be using this in my Prawn Noodle Soup dish that will be posted next! So stay tuned! (: 

Huxtaburger : Best Burgers in Melbourne

Yes. I got to try the much anticipated burgers from Huxtaburger! I’ve been wanting to try their burgers since the end of last year! Don’t know why I even waited this long to try it, cos now I just want to have it again and again!

It’s a small little burger place, that has a few bar seats and outdoor tables. We went at dinner time, and it was buzzing with people! The bar seats were all taken and majority of the people were buying takeaways. Although it was a crazy cold night, the mr scored us a table outside and we took it without much consideration!

The chef at work! (: Patties, eggs, bacon, pineapple and buns!

The Mr ordered the Denise which has  jalapeno & sriracha mayo ! The spicy option between the 5 on the menu. It was so good that the mr took one bite of his burger and stood up, went to the counter and ordered another! haha I couldn’t stop laughing and couldn’t wait to bite into my own!

I shared the Huxtaburger with Alicia and my smile got wider after every bite into the burger! It was simple but so delicious and super tasty! Exactly what burgers should be. The buns were fried so they had the extra crunch when you bite into the burgers and it was super soft! AMAZING!

We ordered a large side of crinkle cut chips and they came in a cute paper cup! The chips were so crispy on the outside and soft-pillowy middle! Just the way I like my chips! hehe And nothing goes better with burgers right? (:

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is truly the BEST burger EVER! Introducing the Bills. It’s the Huxtaburger with the works : Egg, bacon, pineapple & beetroot! Oh-My-Goshhhh! I had a bite and really, this was truly the winner! I am salivating just looking at the picture! A burger is definitely needed this week!

Now you can definitely understand why the mr (and I, just don’t have a shot of me haha) were SO HAPPY after having our burgers! It was so darn good, and we will definitely be back for more!

PS : They also have a kid-size burger so do bring your children along too! (: I’m pretty sure they will love it!

So what are you waiting for? Head to Huxtaburger as soon as possible! You won’t ever regret it! *SLURPS*