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Recipe: Black Chicken (Silkie) Soup (药炖乌骨鸡)

All these times, I have shunned away from silkie (more commonly known as black chicken) as it is not the prettiest thing to look at or to touch. What changed my mind? We were invited for a food tasting session and lo and behold, the double-boiled black chicken soup was on the menu. (Thinking to myself, you can’t be kidding right?) We were each served a bowl of the soup. Initially, I was quite hesitant to taste it, but after plucking up all the courage I have, I took a sip of the soup and it wooed me over immediately by the aromatic and flavourful taste.

As black chickens are packed with iron, antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients which are good for our bodies, I thought: why not share it with our readers to promote a healthier lifestyle.  Drink to health!!

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Serves 4 persons

Ingredients

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1 whole black chicken cut into 4 portions, skin off

3 slices ginger

3 to 4 bowls boiling water

Salt to taste

 

Herbs:

10g dang shen

10g sweet yu zhu slices

10g huai shan

6 dried longan

5g ginseng slices

8g wolfberries

5 pieces red dates

1-2 pieces golden date

 

Method:

  1. Clean and wash the black chicken. Then set aside.
  2. Wash all the herbs, drain, and set aside.
  3. Add water into a pot of your choice.
  4. Add in the black chicken, ginger, and herbs. Then bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 2½ hours.
  6. Add salt to taste.
  7. Serve with steamed rice.

Notes from Mummy’s Kitchen:

  1. The sweetness of the soup is derived from the dried longan and the golden dates. If you don’t like the soup to be too sweet omit the golden dates.
  2. You can replace the herbs accordingly to your liking.
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Recipe: Lu Rou Fan (Braised Pork Rice Bowl (滷肉饭))

In recent months, I have been finding ways to cook one-bowl dishes that are not just flavourful but also nutritional for my family. These are especially convenient on Mondays when the market is closed and Tuesdays when I am going for my bible study.

This Lu Rou Fan is one of my latest findings. The best cut of pork to cook this dish is pork belly as it has the layers of fats and lean meat and can be cut into small pieces. The skin is highly recommended for this as it contains rich collagen. The meat is braised over low heat for a long enough period to create a savoury braised meat sauce that is bursting with flavour and melts in the mouth. Oh, don’t forget to add in the eggs into the braising sauce. We love them, but if you are not a fan, you can omit them. You can also add some blanched bak choy or green leafy vegetables of your liking to the rice bowl to make it a wholesome meal for the family.

I am so glad that I cooked this as it tasted even better than my usual Teochew Braised Pork with just the addition of some extra spices. It is definitely a must do again dish. Writing this recipe is already making me hungry!

If you enjoyed this recipe, you can like and follow us on Beyond Norm’s Facebook Page and subscribe to our blog. You can also follow us on Instagram (@TheRealBeyondNorm) and YouTube (@BeyondNormEats), to get the latest exciting updates and videos.  We would also like to welcome you to join our Mummy’s Kitchen Facebook Group for food lovers like you, whether newbie or veteran.

 

Serves 4 persons

Ingredients

500g skin-on pork belly, cut into small pieces of 2 to 3 cm

2 teaspoons oil

15g rock sugar

6 cloves, lightly smashed

8 shallots, roughly chopped

10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked till soft and cut into small pieces

60ml Shaoxing wine

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

Water, enough to almost cover the meat

6 to 8 hardboiled eggs, peeled

Some green leafy vegetables, blanched

 

For the spices (place them in a spice bag)

3 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

3 bay leaves

2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns

2 pieces dried tangerine peel

2 slices fresh ginger

 

Method:

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
  2. Blanch the chopped pork belly for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok over low heat.
  4. Add the sugar and cook the sugar for a couple of minutes.
  5. Turn up the heat to medium-high, then stir-fry the onions and garlic for a minute.
  6. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another 2 minutes.
  7. Add the blanched pork, Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. Mix well.
  8. Add in the bag of spices, eggs, and water. Then bring it to a boil.
  9. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 1½ to 2 hours.
  10. Then remove the bag of spices and turn up the heat to thicken the sauce. Stir occasionally.
  11. When all the flavours are well combined several hours later, re-heat it and stir to prevent sticking. Then serve with steamed rice and the blanched vegetables.

Recipe: Curry Pig Skin with Chee Cheong Fun (咖哩猪皮猪腸粉)

Menglembu is a quiet and peaceful town in Perak, Malaysia. Interestingly, when you drive towards this town, you will see a few giant peanuts at the center of the roundabout. Once upon a time, there was a hidden food haven named Ma Chai “Twins” Chee Cheong Fun (CCF) which was one of the must eat food. The uniqueness of this CCF was that you can choose your favourite side dishes, such as sambal petai, sambal cockles, curry pig skin, wild boar curry, fried chicken and many more, as add-ons.  To make this dish even more flavourful, it was garnished with fried shallots and sesame seeds.  Sadly, when we returned to Menglembu recently, we discovered that the business has since closed.

Well, well… Now that we cannot taste this in Menglembu anymore, I was inspired to recreate this Curry Pig Skin dish to go with Chee Cheong Fun to continue our fond memories of this dish.

Like and follow us on Beyond Norm’s Facebook Page and subscribe to our blog. Follow us on Instagram (@TheRealBeyondNorm) and YouTube (@BeyondNormEats), to get the latest exciting updates and videos.  We would also like to welcome you to join our Mummy’s Kitchen Facebook Group for food lovers like you, whether newbie or veteran.

 

Serves 3 to 4 persons 

Ingredients:

10 pieces Chee-Cheung-Fun 猪腸粉 (cut into strips)

1 pack baked pig skin

10 long beans (cut to 1-1/2 inch)

3 tablespoons curry powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1½ tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons chopped shallots

Some Curry leaves

3 Lemon grass, cut into 3 sections

1-inch Belacan, toasted

800ml stock/water

150ml coconut milk

2 tablespoons cooking oil

Salt & sugar to taste

 

Garnishing (Optional)

Fried Shallots

Sesame seeds, toasted

Fried dried shrimps

 

Method:

  1. Soak the pig skin in water for about 15 minutes.
  2. Once it has softened, cut them into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
  3. Heat a pan and add in the cooking oil.
  4. Add in ginger, garlic and shallots. Fry till fragrant.
  5. Add in the toasted belacan, curry leaves, and lemongrass. Fry for a couple of minutes or till fragrant.
  6. Add in the pig skin and stir-fry for a minute.
  7. Pour in the stock/water, then cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
  8. Add in the long beans and simmer for another 10 minutes or till the texture is to your liking.
  9. Remove the lid, then add in the coconut milk, salt, and sugar to taste. Continue to simmer until the gravy is slightly thick.
  10. Serve with Chee Cheong Fun and top with your garnishes (if any).

Recipe: Cheng Tng (清汤)

When we were kids, my late dad would bring us to places to have this cold, sweet dessert.  In those days, we did not have a refrigerator at home, so having this cold dessert was definitely a special treat for us.

Missing Dad plus the extreme hot weather recently, Cheng Tng seems to be a good option to combat the heat and bring me some good childhood memories.  For some of you who are not familiar with this dessert, Cheng Tng literally means clear soup. It is both light and refreshing.

Some might think that Cheng Tng is easily available at hawker centres or food courts, so why bother to cook it yourself. You need to bear in mind that many of the Cheng Tngs that you consume outside have a lot of fragrance essence added into it, which is why I prefer to cook it at home. I can also adjust the ingredients according to my preference. Feel free to share your Cheng Tng cooking experience and the preferred ingredients you like to use in the comments below.

Like and follow us on Beyond Norm’s Facebook Page and subscribe to our blog. Follow us on Instagram (@TheRealBeyondNorm) and YouTube (@BeyondNormEats), to get the latest exciting updates and videos.  We would also like to welcome you to join our Mummy’s Kitchen Facebook Group for food lovers like you, whether newbie or veteran.

 

Serves 4 to 5 persons

Ingredients

120g lotus seeds

120g dried longan

50g dried white fungus

10 red dates

70g or more rock sugar (depending on your taste)

3 knots pandan leaves

2 litres of water

 

Method

  1. Soak white fungus and dried lotus seeds, separately, in warm water for about 10 minutes till they soften.
  2. Then trim the softened white fungus into small clusters and discard the stem portion. Set aside.
  3. Next, remove the green pith from the center of the lotus seeds to prevent the bitter taste when cooking.
  4. Add 2 litres of water and pandan leaves into a pot. Then bring them to a boil.
  5. Add in the white fungus and continue to simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
  6. Next, add in the lotus seeds, dried longan, red dates, gingko nuts, and rock sugar into the pot. Simmer for another 20 minutes or till the ingredients soften.
  7. Remove the pandan leaves.
  8. Taste and see if it is to your liking, you can add more brown sugar if necessary.
  9. It can be served both hot or chilled.

Recipe: Black Sweet Vinegar Pork Trotter/Knuckle (猪脚醋)

Black Sweet Vinegar Pork Trotter is a classic, Cantonese heritage dish. It is a dish that has it all – sweet, sour, savoury and gingery. The pork trotter is stewed slowly over low fire in the tasty black sweet vinegar, and this makes the meat tender and succulent.

This is a post-natal dish which is believed to boost the immunity for women during confinement.  The natural collagen of pork trotters is very good for one’s health too.  The first time I tasted this dish was during my confinement month, after I had my second child. To be frank, yours truly did not really enjoy it then. Somehow this dish has a certain appeal to my husband, and especially my daughter. As I matured (hahaha) and my taste buds changed, I thought I should attempt to cook this dish for my family. I knew that even if I did not eat it, my family will!

I kid you not, now I have a different opinion of this dish: I love it, love it!! When I offered this dish for my mum to try, she was initially sceptical, but her end verdict was many thumbs up!!! I am sure it will become one of your favourite dishes too. 😊

If you like this recipe, be generous and give us some feedback/comments below. We would also like to welcome you to join our Mummy’s Kitchen Facebook Group for food lovers like you, whether newbie or veteran. You can like us on Beyond Norm’s Facebook Page and subscribe to our blog. Follow us on Instagram (@TheRealBeyondNorm) and YouTube (@BeyondNormEats), to get the latest exciting updates and videos.

 

Serves 4 to 5 persons

Ingredients

1.4 kg pork trotter

600g Bentong ginger/old ginger (cut into chunks and smashed)

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 bottle black sweet vinegar

750ml water

200g gula melaka

1 tablespoon salt

10 hardboiled eggs (optional)

 

Method:

  1. Cut the pig’s trotter into 2½-inch pieces. (Mine was cut by my butcher)
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  3. Lightly blanch the pork trotters in the boiling water for 2 minutes to remove any impurities.
  4. Drain and set aside.
  5. Heat a claypot or a pot, then add in the sesame oil.
  6. Add ginger and gula melaka. Then stir fry till fragrant.
  7. Next, add in the pork trotter pieces and coat well with sesame oil mixture.
  8. Add in the vinegar and the water.
  9. Add in the salt and bring it to a boil.
  10. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 1½ hours.
  11. Serve immediately with white rice.

Note:

  1. Preferably cook the dish ahead of serving time to allow the flavour to infuse into the meat thoroughly. Reheat before serving.

Recipe: Dry Rendang Chicken Noodles (aka Ipoh Dry Curry Noodles)

When you mention dry curry noodles, the famous Yee Fatt Ipoh Dry Curry Chicken Noodle will come to mind. This noodle has always been our family favourite and each time we visited Ipoh, we never failed to have it!!

As I was going to prepare some Chicken Rendang with the Dancing Chef Padang Rendang Paste, the first thing that came to my mind was this Dry Curry Noodle. Voila! My own version of the Ipoh Dry Curry Chicken Noodle was created.

If you like this recipe, be generous and give us some feedback/comments below. We would also like to welcome you to join our Mummy’s Kitchen Facebook Group for food lovers like you, whether newbie or veteran. You can like us on Beyond Norm’s Facebook Page and subscribe to our blog. Follow us on Instagram (@TheRealBeyondNorm) and YouTube (@BeyondNormEats), to get the latest exciting updates and videos.

 

Serves 4 persons

Ingredients:

For the Rendang

1 pack of Dancing Chef Padang Rendang Paste

2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size

4 stalks lemongrass, each stalk cut into 3 portions and slightly bruise

Handful kaffir leaves, crush

2 cups thick coconut milk

1½ cups water

6 tablespoons kerisik (toasted coconut) [Click here to find out how to make it at home]

 

For the Noodle:

800g yellow noodle

100g bean sprouts

100g char siew, sliced

Some mint leaves

 

For the Dressing Per Person:

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

½ tablespoon oyster sauce

½ teaspoon castor sugar

dash of white pepper

 

Optional:

10 to 12 pieces of chicken skin

Salt

Pepper

 

Method:  

Cooking the Chicken Rendang

  1. Marinate the chicken with some of the Rendang paste for about 30 minutes.
  2. Add the Rendang paste, lemongrass and kaffir leaves and stir fry till fragrant.
  3. Add in the chicken pieces and combine well with the paste.
  4. Next, add in water and coconut milk and let it come to a boil.
  5. Stir in the kerisik.
  6. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Add water as necessary as the end result of this rendang should not be too dry.

While the Chicken Rendang is cooking,

  1. Put all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  2. Boil a pot of water. Blanch the bean sprouts, and then the yellow noodles.  Set aside.
  3. Season the chicken skin with salt and pepper.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of oil on a non-stick pan, then shallow fry the chicken skin till crispy.
  5. Dish out and set aside.

For Serving:

  1. Pour the dressing sauce into a serving plate.
  2. Add the blanched noodle, beansprouts, and the sliced char siew or BBQ pork.
  3. Next, add the rendang chicken with the sauce on the plate of noodles.
  4. Top it with mint leaves and the crispy chicken skin and serve immediately.
  5. Enjoy the noodles by mixing all the ingredients with the dressing.

 

Review: Sudio TOLV – True Wireless Earphones

Since the release of Apple’s very own AirPods, wireless earbuds have been on a rising trend; as seen in this review, the new Sudio TOLV is the latest addition to the market. Thankfully, the industry has progressed greatly since the early days of wireless earbuds, where it was plagued with multiple problems.

The name Sudio is a combination of the words “Swedish” and “Audio” into a seamless name which reflects both their design vision and their promise to offer exceptional sound quality to music enthusiasts of every stripe – wayfarers, daydreamers, and storytellers alike.

As they develop as a company, Sudio is continuously looking for ways to improve their environmental impact. At present, they use PU and artificial leather for several of their products. They also ship their products from their factories to the respective warehouses by boat to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used during transportation. Through these ways, their hope to reduce the amount of waste created in the production process. It’s great to see a corporation such as theirs striving to play their part in corporate social responsibility issues.

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The TOLV is Sudio’s second truly wireless model and it has improved features that gives it a big advantage when compared to its predecessors. It has Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity which allows each earbud to be connected individually. That means that the earbuds can also be used one-sided, like a wireless Bluetooth ear set. In addition to that, the earphones only weigh 4.5 grams per earbud. It also comes in a redesigned portable charging cradle with matte rubber finishing.

Right from the get-go, the design is clean and minimalistic. Each side of the earbud has a simple button for all essential functionalities:

  • Press once on either side to play or pause music
  • Press twice on the left side to go to the previous track; and
  • Press twice on the right side to go to the next track

If you’re using it as a wireless Bluetooth earset, you could press once on the right side to answer the call and press and hold the button for two seconds to reject the call.

Now, for the part that all my fellow audiophiles have been waiting for… The bass for the Sudio TOLV is pronounced but not overpowering, whilst the highs are clean and crisp. The vocals are generally clear and concise, however with some tracks, they do sound a little manufactured. Overall, the Sudio TOLV produces a sound that appeals to most genres and is on the better spectrum compared to some of the other wireless earbuds out in the market.

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One of the problems that most wireless earbuds have is the fit. As we all know, ears come in different shapes and sizes. As such the earbuds may not fit securely in your ears. A good fit is an important factor as it does affect how it sounds and it helps prevent you from losing one side. So, if you get a chance, do try it out before you purchase! However, I’ve found that they fit me comfortably. And after literally jumping around (sorry downstairs neighbour) and shaking my head vigorously, the earbuds are still securely in place.

Something I really like is the simplicity of switching the Sudio TOLV on; all you need to do is to take the earbuds out of the case to automatically switch them on and place them back to switch them off. Gone are the days of needlessly pressing on buttons to turn the earbuds on and off!

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While the case is relatively small, it still manages to hold a charge of approximately 500mAh. However, I found it strange that the cradle is designed to rest flat on its back, but the charging port and the two battery indicator LEDs (the cradle’s battery level on the left and the earbuds’ battery charging status on the right) is also placed at the back. Hence, the Sudio TOLV is left to dangle and can never rest flat whilst being charged.

The earbuds itself has a really good battery life. Sudio claims that the TOLV has a total play time of 7 hours per charge, with 4 additional charges for a total of 35 hours. Through our own tests, after about 4-5 hours of usage, it still had about 40% of battery left.

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Overall, Sudio has done a good job on the TOLV – and for the price of SGD189, you can get your hands on one of your own!

Head on over to Sudio’s website right now to make your purchase – and don’t forget to enter the discount code BeyondNorm upon checkout to get 15% off! *Valid from 1 May to 30 November 2019.

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As part of their Summer 2019 promotion, if you purchase from Sudio’s website, you can get a free summer tote bag with every earphone/headphone purchase and free delivery to anywhere in the world! *Valid from 1 May to 31 July 2019.