Monday, 11 February 2013


from my old blog

Instead of mom cooking out a storm this year. I offer to contribute my share to the table.

Not that we are tired of mommy's cooking. In actual fact, we always yearn for mom's cooking especially on special occasions.

The table is always filled with great varieties of her home cooked food. Every dish tastes simply great. Though she had imparted some of her knowledge, somehow it is never the same. Guess we need to cook that long to be able to reach her standard. LOLz.

Anyway, this year, I wanted to do Pen Cai . This dish has many many versions and many stories. Guess we will never ever know which is the original. but I do know that Pen Cai is loaded with lots of good stuff.

The ingredients are also subjective to your budget.

I chose this recipe as it was published in an OCBC magazine and came from a reputable chef. Partly also I enjoyed those ingredients listed by him.

Since mommy was down at my house last week, I decided to "make use" of her expertise in 海味 and drove down to Rochor with her to buy the stuff for Pen Cai.

True enough, if I were to do it alone. I reckon I will get the wrong stuff or different quality. Mom patronised this stall for years. Thus we were able to get really special service despite the crowd. If not I bet I will be in for a long wait and everyone will ignore me too.

Auntie Lan was so helpful, she even gave me her mobile number just in case I forgotten her instruction how to presoak and prepare the dried stuff.

Despite the long process of preparing this dish. I think we should called this a pot of love as the preparation is really time consuming.

I can't wait to show off this at tonight's reunion dinner. Let's hope my family will enjoy it.

Am taking this opportunity to wish all my supporters of this humble blog.

新年快乐, 身体健康, 万事如意

May the year of the ox brings you good health and good luck.

What you need:

10 whole baby abalone (I strongly recommend using fresh abalone as the dried ones takes extremely long hours to soften)
150g fish maw, soak for about 6 hours or until soft
10 pcs whole dried scallop, rinse and soak, keep liquid for later use when putting together the pen cai.
10 pcs sea cucumber, about 5cm by 3cm in size
10 pcs dried flower mushroom, soak for 2 hours or until soft, discard the stalks
10 pcs dried oyster (large size), soak for 1 hour, discard the hard shells if any
300g streaky pork, rinsed and sliced into 10 pcs
200g white chinese radish, cubed into 3 cm cubes
500g white chinese cabbage, sliced into 6cm long pcs
10g black fungus, soak for 30mins and rinse
10g black moss, soak for 20mins and rinse
8 slices ginger
40g spring onion
fermented tofu, oyster sauce, sugar, rock sugar, salt, cooking oil, light soy sauce and dark soy sauce.


Fish Maw:
In a pot, boil 2 litres of water, scald fish maw for 5 mins, then turn off heat, leaving fish maw to soak for 5 hours.

Rinse fish maw in cool water for 30 mins. Repeat process if fish maw is not soft enough. Cut soften fish maw into 10 pcs, set aside.

In a pot, scald abalone in boiling water for about 5 mins, then drain water.

Add more fresh water to the pot with 10g rock sugar, 2 tsp light soya sauce, 2 slices of ginger, 10g spring onion and continue simmering for 4 hours until soft and tender (you may have to extend the hours).

Using our fingers to test for tenderness. When abalone is tender, set aside with the sauce for use when putting together the pen cai.

In a large pot, add pork slices, 2 slices of giner, 10g spring onion, 1/2 a piece of fermented tofu, 1/2 tsp sugar and some extra dark soy sauce to taste.

Add enough water to cover pork. Cook over high heat till water boils, then lower heat and simmer, keeping pot covered.

After 1 hour, remove from heat and set aside.

Sea cucumber:
In a pot, add 1 litre of water, 2 slices ginger and 10g spring onion.

Bring to a boil and scald the sea cucumber for about 10mins. REmove sea cucumber and set aside.

Discard ginger and spring onion.

Boil 1 litre of water and add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar and 2 tbsp cooking oil to a rapid boil.

Scald cabbage leaves for 3 min, remove and drip dry.

Method of seasoning:

2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce, light soy sauce
2 tbsp hua diao cooking wine

Method for serving:

In a large claypot, layer the ingredients and any of its accompanying sauces in this order:

Cabbage, radish, pork slices, black fungus, flower mushroom, sea cucumber, scallop, baby abalone and sauce and dried oyster.

Add in pen cai seasoning and allow the gravy to cover all the ingredients.

On high heat, bring the filled claypot to boil for 5 mins, then reduce to medium heat and simmer for 30 mins.

Then add in fish maw and black moss, simmer on low heat for 30 mins till done.

note: keep an eye to ensure water content in the claypot to make sure it does not dry up.

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