Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ipoh revisited

Above left; token vegetables - my favourite lotus root, gingko and macadamia nuts. Right - beautiful and gorgeous suckling pig.

I just read back on my last post on Ipoh and it was only a year ago. So why did I feel so much had changed since? I guess people build things real quick over there. There are buildings that seem to have sprouted overnight. Anyway, its been a whole year since I treated my taste buds to some seriously mouthwatering food that only Ipoh can provide. I missed Chinese New Year so I went back for Grandma's 91st birthday instead. I lured Hunky along with the promise of big, fat, juicy prawns and suckling pig. And boy he was one big happy Hunky. We did our usual lunch pit stop at Tien Chun. Thinking back on the noodles is making my mouth water. Lovely, happy sar hor fun. Beautiful, nourishing broth and silky smooth chicken that would make Lians green with envy. I had forgotten how smooth the noodles were and I had quite a bit of trouble gripping them with my chopsticks. So gorgeous!

I don't know what it is about Ipoh but I always feel sleepy in the afternoon. Hunky and I actually passed out and only woke up in time for dinner at Pusing Public Restaurant. It was a full house as usual with two weddings going on. We were treated to free entertainment via karaoke warbling. My aunties who organised dinner over ordered as usual. Blood circulation was cutting off at the waist and the chairs creaked under our weight after all that was consumed. I had copious amount of suckling pig which is always so good here! Not too much fat, super crispy skin and tender meat. Sublime! The other dish that was very good were the noodles. Lots of plump bean sprouts and pork! Of course the night would not be complete without Mrs. Chong's marbled butter cake. Its still pretty good but the icing seems a lot oilier than I remember. The following day we had breakfast at grandma's that my mum had bought for us. Hunky had curry mee and I had mee hoon with sar kok foo pei. Not a big fan of deep-fried goodies but even I have trouble resisting these deep fried babies. For lunch, a few cousins along with a token uncle went to have lunch at Lee Ho Fook. We went there to have one particular fish which they had run out off. Fortunately they had some other really nice dishes like the sweet and sour pork and prawns done two ways; the heads were steamed with egg and the bodies were stir-fried. So freaking good! Especially the heads. They were chock a block full off creamy flavour! I still look at the picture and sigh longingly. Til next year!

Above left - my favourite food picture for now. So freaking delicious!!! Right- the stir fried decapitated bodies. Plump and bouncy!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Penang Prawn Mee

I've never tried making prawn mee before until very recently. Its so simple! The only problem really is saving up enough prawn heads. Hunky and I don't eat prawns all that often so it has taken us almost a year to save enough heads for the stock. What inspired me to make this dish was actually some lovely looking pork ribs I had bought. I suddenly remembered how delicious the prawn mee at Champs was (this was almost 10 years ago, I have no idea what its like now). It was a steaming hot bowl of pure gorgeousness topped with big and juicy pork ribs. With that in mind, it was full steam ahead. I had already made some chicken stock the week before so I used some of that and topped it up with more water and half a chicken that was in the freezer. I didn't add the chilli paste into the soup as I liked the pure unadulterated taste of the soup so much. This recipe fed 6 adults.

1.5L chicken broth
500ml water
1/2 chicken
1 grocery bag of prawn heads
sugar & salt to taste

to serve
blanched kangkong, 3 hard boiled eggs sliced, deep fried shallots, 30 small poached prawns, 18 pieces of pork rib, blanched mee hoon

chilli paste
Blend together 5-10 dried chillies, 5 cloves garlic and 10 shallots together. Heat oil in wok and fry ingredients together until aromatic
  1. Bring ingredients to boil and then simmer for a few hours depending on flavour and how you want to reduce the soup. I used about a tablespoon of brown sugar and a teaspoon of salt.
  2. Remove all the bones and prawns, then put in the ribs for 1.5 hours.
  3. Shell prawns and clean thoroughly. Poach them in the soup and set aside.
  4. To serve, assemble cooked ingredients in a bowl before ladling hot soup over. Garnish with chilli paste and fried shallots.
On the left, all the shell and bones. To the right, aromatic and delicious stock!