The Household COO - Part 2

Recipes: Dry Wan Tan Mee Kosong

My boys love their Wan Tan Mee. But that’s all they love. Just the mee. Nothing else – not the char siew, not the wan tans, or anything else that goes with it.

I have watched those hawker stall owners making Wan Tan Mee “kosong” for my boys time and again and I figured it doesn’t look so hard to make so I gave it a go and the boys approved. It’s really easy, too… It’s all in the technique.

Wan Tan Mee

Ingredients:

  • Wan Tan Mee noodles – the fresh noodles which you can get from the cold section in Village Grocers (you can see it in the picture above); they come in packets of four bundles
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp thick soy sauce

Method:

  • Fill a pot with water and bring to the boil
  • Drop your bundle of noodles into the water and use a pair of chopsticks to separate the strands of noodles
  • When the noodles are cooked (maybe about a minute or two after the water starts boiling again), scoop them out, drain and run under cold water – this seems to be an important step so don’t skip it.
  • Return the noodles to the boiling water to warm them up again, then scoop them out again, drain the water and add the sauces. Toss the noodles until they are evenly coated with the sauce.

Meat Topping:

  • sliced pork or chicken
  • marinate meat with:
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
    • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
    • 1 tsp thick soy sauce
    • dash white pepper
    • dash ground ginger
  • stir fry and pour over the noodles

Vegetables:

  • add some boiled choy sum or kai lan

Chinese Soup: Sip Chuan Tai Pu

It turns out that DH really hates herbal soups so I stopped making them for a while to give him a break (read: I was growing weary from all that negative feedback). Alas, I was too ambitious when I went shopping for herbal soup ingredients so here we are again…

This soup is called Sip Chuan Tai Pu. It is said to promote general health and is a nutritious and healthy soup beneficial for the whole family. Unfortunately, the taste didn’t go down well at all with my whole family – too “herby”, according to DH. I’m not particularly one for herby soups either but this one – though not among the better Chinese Herbal soups that I tried – was still a lot better than the brain soup. Ah well… We tried.

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Ingredients:

  • 500g chicken or meat
  • 1 tsp salt to taste
  • 2L water
  • Sip Chuan Tai Pu Soup ingredients

Sip Chuan Tai Pu Soup Ingredients:

  • Ligusticum Wallichi
    • Contraindications: pregnancy and breastfeeding.
    • Indications: headache, pain, insomnia, acid reflux, diarrhoea, indigestion, cough.
    • Actions: analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, sedative, expectorant.
  • Angelica Sinensis
    • Contraindications: pregnancy, breastfeeding, heavy menstruation. May cause stomach upsets, nausea and vomiting.
    • Indications: anaemia, atherosclerosis, allergy, constipation, blurred vision, cramps.
    • Action: analgesic, anti-cancer, nootropic, immunity booster, sedative, anti-ulcer, antianaemic, anti-viral, hypertensive, oestrogenic.
  • Paeonia Lactielora
    • Contraindications: pregnancy
    • Indications: used for gout, osteoarthritis, fever, respiratory tract illnesses, and cough; women use peony for menstrual cramps, polycystic ovary syndrome, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and for starting menstruation or causing an abortion. It is also used for viral hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, upset stomach, muscle cramps, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), to induce vomiting, spasms, whooping cough (pertussis), epilepsy, nerve pain (neuralgia), migraine headache, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Rehmannia Glutinosa
    • used for diabetes, anemia, fever, osteoporosis, and allergies; and as a general tonic.
  • Codonopsis Tangshen
    • use for: HIV infection, protect cancer patients against side effects of radiation treatment, boost the immune system, treat weakness, loss of appetite (anorexia), chronic diarrhea, shortness of breath, noticeable heartbeat (palpitations), asthma, cough, thirst, and diabetes.
  • Poria Cocos
    • Action: diuretic, antibacterial, relaxes the digestive system, reduces stomach acid, lowers blood sugar, and can strengthen cardiac contractility.
  • Atractylodes Macrocephala (Bai Zhu)
    • in traditional Chinese medicine, it is said to invigorate Qi and strengthen the spleen, eliminate dampness and promote diuresis, stop sweat, and prevent miscarriage.
    • Main clinical usage and indications are lack of appetite due to spleen deficiency, abdominal distension and diarrhea, dizziness and palpitation caused by phlegm and retained fluid, edema, spontaneous sweating, and fetal irritability.
  • Glycyrrhiza Uralensis
    • Contraindications: pregnancy and breastfeeding.
    • Indications: bronchitis, acid reflux, arthritis
    • Action: antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, laxative, antioxidant, anti-viral
  • Ziziphin Jujuba
    • alleviates stress and is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, cardiotonic, antioxidant, immunostimulant, and wound healing properties.
    • Clinical trials have found it to be useful for chronic constipation and neonatal jaundice
    • Research also indicates nootropic (brain enhancer for memory, cognitive, intelligence) and neuroprotective properties
  • Astragali
    • Action: enhances immune system, diuretic, reduces blood pressure, anti-inflammatory, reduces stress
  • Cartex Cianamani – I couldn’t find any information on this particular herb

Method:

  • Put the meat into water and bring to the boil. Remove the meat and clean off the meat scum.
  • In a crock pot (slow cooker), place water, meat and soup ingredients. Turn on high heat until bubbling. Reduce to low heat and continue cooking for another hour or two.
  • Add salt to taste.

Disclaimer:

I’m not an expert on Traditional Chinese Medicine. I’m just a mother trying to understand the health benefits behind some of the commonly used herbs in Chinese cooking. You can believe it – or not (I don’t believe everything either) – I’m just the messenger so don’t shoot me.

One of the main problems with Traditional Chinese Medicine is the lack of proper documentation. Sometimes there is even a lack of agreement on what’s what. I’ve tried to make do with what I can find and decipher.

Getting the Right Noodles for a Perfect Finish

The secret to a good bowl of noodles is having the right noodles. Get this part wrong and it won’t matter how good the rest of it tastes because no one will eat it – at least, my boys won’t. My boys like their noodles soft, but not soggy, or mushy. So… after experimenting with various noodle brands, I have finally found the brands we absolutely MUST have when making specific noodle recipes…

Gyu Niku Udon

See: Gyu Niku Udon Recipe (Japanese Beef Noodles)

We’ve tried a number of udon brands but so far nothing stacks up like this one. I can’t even tell you the brand name because I can’t read the characters. All I know is that it is made in Japan. Interestingly, this was the only brand that we tried that is made in Japan. Maybe that’s why it was the only brand to pass the taste test. So far, I’ve only seen it at Village Grocer’s, although it is sometimes out of stock.

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Chicken Bee Hoon

See: Chicken Bee Hoon Recipe

Bee Hoon is a very sensitive noodle to work with because it gets soggy and mushy very easily. After trying a few brands, we finally landed one that worked for us – ecoBrown’s. That’s not to say that ecoBrown will never get soggy or mushy – cook it for long enough and it, too, becomes unpalatable to my fussy eater – but it is much more forgiving. ecoBrown’s is also available from Village Grocer’s and also sometimes out of stock.

Pho Bo

See: Pho Bo Recipe (Vietnamese Beef Noodles)

Like Bee Hoon, it’s hard to find good kuey teow that cooks to a nice texture. Pad Thai noodles by Star Brand does the trick. You have to cook it for a little longer so that it softens sufficiently but at least you’re not so likely to over-cook it. This one’s also available at Village Grocer’s.

And there you have it… perfect noodle dinners every time. Well, almost.

Recipes: Gyu Niku Udon

Gyu Niku Udon is another hot favourite for the boys… G2 especially. He can guzzle an adult size portion of this and still ask for more. Some time back, I learned how to replicate this recipe at home so we didn’t always have to go out to eat whenever my boys wanted Gyu Niku Udon. This is probably one of the easiest meals ever. I must thank the kindly Japanese lady who saw me studying all the packets in the Japanese food aisle and took the time to help me find the soup stock I needed for this dish.

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Ingredients:

  • 3L of water
  • 3 sachets of Higashimaru Udon Soup
  • 800g Udon
  • 2 tbsp Wakame or 8 stalks of bok choy
  • 500g beef, thinly sliced

Notes:

  • The quantities for udon, vegetables and beef are only a suggestion – you can add more or less depending on your preferred ratio of noodle to meat and vegetables.
  • I like to have this dish with wakame – seaweed, but the hubs will only eat it with Bok Choy.
  • For those of you who have never seen wakame before it’s cooked, it looks a lot like tea leaves. Once you put it in boiling water, it opens out to the wakame that is served in the restaurants.

Method:

  • Empty sachets of soup stock into the water and bring to the boil.
  • Add noodles and bring to the boil again.
  • Add beef. Remove from heat when the beef is just cooked.
  • Serve.

Yes. That’s it. So, so, so easy I almost feel guilty about the praise G2 lavishes upon me whenever I make this for him…

Related Recipes:

Recipes: Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

We have a chocolate ice cream recipe that does not use cream but I had to figure out what to do with the 3 cups of cream I had sitting in my fridge so we came up with this milk chocolate ice cream recipe that uses cream…

The ingredients of ice cream are pretty straight forward – milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, and flavouring. The hard part is trying to figure out the proportions so that your ice cream comes out just right. Well, I reckon this is a pretty decent working mixture for chocolate ice cream. The best part is that this consistency makes it easier to scoop straight out of the freezer. My previous ice cream recipes were so solid that we usually had to let it sit on the bench for a while before scooping them out.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 c cream
  • 2 c full cream milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 250g sugar
  • 5 tbsp cocoa, sifted
  • 6 tbsp full cream milk powder

Method:

  • In a saucepan, pour milk, egg yolks, and sugar. Stir with a whisk on medium heat until the mixture is just starting to thicken.
  • Remove from heat and strain the mixture into a mixing bowl. Leave to cool a little.
  • Add cream, cocoa and milk powder and whisk on medium until well combined and you can see bubbles in the mix.
  • Chill the mixture for at least two hours.
  • Pour into ice cream maker and churn until the mixture has the consistency of soft serve.
  • Scoop ice cream into a container and freeze overnight.

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