Archive for November, 2008

A Pictorial Recipe – Simple Delicious Onion Cinnamon Chicken Stew

Good morning, dear friends 😀

Ah, this is my husband’s favourite comfort food from his childhood – every time I cook this, he will rush home immediately from work for dinner and have one big serving of freshly, cooked rice to go with it. Just this one dish is enough for him and he doesn’t even go for the other dishes that I had cooked. 🙄 😆

For a slow-cooker version of this recipe, visit my dear blogger friend, sweetrosie’s, site HERE .


Freshly cooked, hot, steamy Onion Cinnamon Chicken Stew – yummy! 😀


Now, this dish is extremely easy to cook – it is the simplest of all my recipes – there are just a few ingredients required, but the chicken stew is so full of flavour and tender. Best is, there is only one pot to wash if you are cooking it in a Corningware casserole like I did. Usually on those days when I really don’t feel like spending a long time cooking in the kitchen, I would cook a large batch of this chicken stew and have a simple vegetable stirfry on the side, and of course, a bowl of nourishing soup. Fortunately, all my kids go crazy over this dish, too. 😆

This recipe is dedicated to Nic and her 2-year old son and I hope this yummy stew will whet her son’s appetite! 😉

Here is a pictorial recipe to make it easier for you to cook this dish.

Simple Delicious Onion Cinnamon Chicken Stew

Ingredients and Method –



3 large, whole chicken legs (they are more tender, but you can use 1/2 a large chicken also) –

chopped into bite sizes….marinate with 2 tbsps of oyster sauce, 2 tbsps of soy sauce, 1 to 2 tbsps of black soy sauce, 1 tsp salt, a few shakes of white pepper



1 large cinnamon stick (smashed into smaller pieces), 4 large potatoes (cut into wedges or chunks), 5 large onions (peeled and sliced). The more onions, the better! 😉



I like to use a Corningware casserole to cook this dish so, there is one thing less to wash.



Heat up about 2 tbsps of vegetable or olive oil. Pour in the chicken together with the marinate and ctir for about 3 minutes. This step is to seal in the chicken juices to make the chicken tender. There will be some browning at the edges of the casserole and you have to be careful to scrape the sides down to prevent burning.



Tip in the plate of potatoes, onions and cinnamon stick. Add in 1 tbsp salt, 2 tbsp oyster sauce and mix all the ingredients thoroughly, about 3 minutes.



Add in about 2 cups of water – until the water level reached half the chicken and potatoes….stir to mix thoroughly and bring to a boil.

Lower heat to low and simmer chicken stew for about 40 minutes….be sure to stir every few minutes for even cooking as the water does not cover everything.

At the end of the cooking time, check the gravy to see if it is thick enough. If not, then use a cornstarch-water mixture to thicken it further.

Check the taste of the stew and adjust with more salt or soy sauce to your preference.


Voila! Your simple yummy onion cinnamon chicken stew is ready. If your family can hang on a bit longer before you serve this (because the smell of this stew is so aromatic and appetising while you are cooking it), let the stew stand for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, so that the flavours are all totally infused.

I hope your family will love this chicken stew as mine does! 😀

Bon Appetit! 😀


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Yummy Homemade Hainanese Chicken Rice

Good evening, dear friends 😀

On those days that I really don’t know what to cook, I would go for simple one-dish or one-pot type of meals. Hainanese Chicken Rice can be commonly found in almost every coffee shop and there is even a chain of restaurants specializing in selling Chicken Rice. So, I seldom cook this at home, unless I really ran out of ideas or motivation to plan a dinner menu.

Anyway, my kids love my home cooked version of Chicken Rice because mine is a bit different – they love the special black sauce and the green pea soup. I learned to cook this wonderful, yummy chicken rice from my late mother-in-law. 😀


A plate of fragrant chicken rice with coriander leaves and green onion curls as garnishing, and some cucumber and tomato slices on the side



A giant platter of perfectly cooked, moist “white cut chicken” or “pak cham gai” in Cantonese, garnished with some coriander leaves and green onion curls, and drizzled with ample fried golden shallot oil. Yummy! 😀



…with some homemade dark sauce and pounded ginger-garlic chilli as dips



… and a bowl of delicious green pea and chicken soup, with a sprinkle of chopped green onions and a few generous shakes of white pepper

The is a Chinese style of Chicken Rice that has its origins to a group of Hainanese migrants to South East Asia about 100 years ago. Hainan is an island located in the southern part of China. In Malaysia, most Hainanese ended up opening coffee shops which were popular due to their Hainanese style of brewing coffee and for their “yin-yeong” toasts. In addition to their famous Chicken Rice, Hainanese are very good cooks, often specializing in a fusion of Eastern and Western cuisine.

Here are the recipes to my version of Hainanese Chicken Rice. Please note that the portions here are huge as I like to cook ample servings of food. The leftovers can be eaten for lunch the following day. Alternative, the extra chicken pieces can be turned into “Salted Chicken” or “Harm Gai” for the next day. 💡

It is very tricky to get the timing just right for cooking the chicken for this dish. I have tried many methods such as steaming, boiling and in this recipe, I had used a combination of “dunking,” boiling and poaching to get the perfect texture and moistness of the chicken meat.

For this, you need a really fresh chicken (I bought mine from the wet market in the morning), the bird should be mature enough for full flavour (my chicken was about 2.3 kilos), and it should be at room temperature when cooking. 💡

Poached White Chicken or “White Cut Chicken” or “Pak Cham Gai” (serves 10 persons)

1 whole chicken & 3 whole chicken legs (cleaned and rubbed with 3 tbsps of salt)

Some chicken necks and bones (skin and fat removed) for stock

Enough water to immerse chicken in a fitting pot

* 2 tbsps salt

* 2 tbsps of sesame oil

5 tbsps of fried shallot oil

Some coriander leaves and green onion curls for garnishing

Method –

1) Boil the chicken bones in water to prepare the stock –  simmer over low heat for about 40 minutes long.

2) Meanwhile, tie a twine or thick string around the wings and body of the chicken.

3) Remove chicken bones, and bring heat back to high.

4) Holding the string, lower the chicken gently into the water, making sure that the whole chicken is well immersed into the stock.

5) After 1 minute, use the string to pull the chicken out of the chicken stock and wait for the stock to come to a boil again.

6) Repeat the chicken “dunking” steps 4 and 5 for 6 times. The reason this is done is to ensure that the inside cavity of the chicken gets heated up properly by the hot stock. Else, we will end up with the inner thigh and backbone area sill partially uncooked while the rest of the chicken gets overdone.

7) Place the whole chicken into the stock together with the 3 whole chicken legs. Cover the pot.

8 ) Wait for the stock to come to a boil again. Be sure to check frequently for this. We don’t want to boil the chicken.

9) Immediately turn off the fire.

10) Leave the chicken to poach for 1 hour.

11) After one hour, gently remove whole chicken and chicken legs and immerse them into a large bowl of cold water. This step will produce a very smooth and silky texture to the chicken skin and meat. Yummy! 😀

12) Remove chicken after 10 minutes. Let dry for 3 minutes.

13) Rub the sesame oil and salt all over chicken. Leave chicken for about 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on how long you can wait before wanting to eat it!) for it to cool down completely for easy chopping/cutting. Else, the meat will get “smashed up” or break apart.

14) Cut chicken up into bite sizes, drizzle with fried shallot oil and garnish with the coriander leaves and green onion curls.

Voila! Your very own homecooked “white cut” chicken, Hainese style! 😀



How to cook Hainanese Chicken Rice (for 10 persons)

6 cups fragrant or jasmine rice, rinsed clean

2 tbsps salt

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp white pepper

3 pandan leaves, tied into a know (or 1/2 tsp of bottled pandan essence)

Enough chicken stock to cook rice (skim off the layer of oil in the chicken stock for use in cooking the rice – this makes the rice more yummy. I know, it is oily but just drink ample cups of Chinese tea after this meal to wash the fats away! 😉

Method –

1) Put all ingredients into an automatic rice cooker to cook.

2) Be sure to stir the ingredients at least 2 to 3 times during cooking.

3) Cook chicken rice while the chicken is poaching.



Green Pea Chicken Soup

Using the leftover chicken stock (reserve 2 cups for making homemade black dipping sauce), add one can of Ayam brand canned Green Peas and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes. Season to taste and garnish with  chopped green onions and lots of white pepper. Yummy! 😀



Homemade Black Sauce for dipping chicken

In a pan, heat up 2 tbsps of oil, and then fry 2 tbsps of chopped garlic. Add in the 2 cups of reserved chicken stock, 5 to 6 tbsps of thick black soy sauce and bring to a boil for about 2 minutes. Add in 2 tbsps of sugar (this sauce is sweetish) and then thicken with a cornstarch-water mixture.

Put into a bowl for serving. One of my kids love to pour this sauce over his rice. 😉



Garlic-Ginger Chilli Sauce

10 red chilli

3-inch knob of fresh, young ginger, skin scrapped off

6 pips of garlic, skin removed

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp sugar

Juice of 6 to 8 calamansi limes (limau kasturi)

Pound chili, garlic and ginger in a peststle and mortar untul fine. Don’t blend – it just doesn’t taste as good as pounded chili. Add in salt, sugar and lime juice and you are now ready to eat your very own Hainanese Chicken Rice! 😀

Hope you will give this recipe a try and once you have tried your own homecooked Chicken Rice, you will find those sold outside somewhat lacking in taste!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking! 😀

choesf 😀

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Inspiration For Being A Stay-At-Home Mom


Good afternoon, dear friends 😀

This year marks the 8th year that I retired from my career and became a full time homemaker. The switch was quite drastic because when I was working, I had a maid to take care of the house chores and cooking for the family. Due to problems with maids, I decided to do away with any domestic helper and became the empress of my household instead. 😆

The main and crucial factor that moved me and my hubby to take this step was for the wellbeing of our children. Seeing as we have 4 kids, we want them to be brought up and nurtured properly with their parent at home (me), instead of having some temporary maid look after them.

There are times when the dreary housechores and the no-pay-for-me situation make it hard to motivate me but I take pride in seeing my family being well looked after, especially seeing my children grow up.

Today, my 17-year old daughter told me something that made my heart go all warm and my eyes all teary from joy – that  I have done these 8 years was all worth it! When we are working, our job performance is rewarded by the size of our paycheck….but as  homemakers, there is nothing concrete to measure how we do.

The Person That Inspires Me The Most –

“I’m confident everyone has an inspiring person they look up to – a person who motivates them to strive for the best in life, a person who holds a special place in his or her heart. We work hard to improve ourselves and our lives, and we feel it is important to overcome each day and each obstacle, because we are inspired by that special person’s strong spirit.

I, too, have a person who is the driving force in making me a better person. This person is none other than my mother. If there is an award for the most selfless person in the world, that award definitely – and without a doubt – goes to my mom. My mom always puts others’ needs above hers: like how she always waits for my dad to come home from work, no matter how late, so to make sure his dinner is still warm; like how she always gives us the best fried chicken bits, because it’s our favourite.

My mom also has such immense compassion. I remember once, there was a kitten stuck in a 1-metre-deep drain outside of our house, and it was crying noisily all morning. My mom felt so sad for the poor kitten and was adamant that she rescued the little kitten (although she couldn’t climb in and my sister saved the kitten instead)! It was such an awe-striking scene, but I was (still am) impressed. She is the reason why I’m such an animal-lover.

Also, my mom can be said to be the family’s happy bone. She radiates happiness just from a broad smile, and it cheers us up immediately. Aside from that, she is my source of comfort when I feel down and depressed. At times, I can be so frustrated and moody that I’ll snap rudely to anyone who talks to me. My mom understands that, and without speaking she’ll just squeeze my hand gently, as if to say inaudibly, “I’m here for you.”

My mom always teaches my siblings and I to be humble and thankful for all that we possess. She came from a poor family and always speaks of the measly food they could only afford for three meals a day. She reprimands us whenever we don’t finish our food, and thus we learn never to be greedy with food. Here’s a funny bit: my mom’s the one who influenced my dad to be thrifty! Imagine my dad doing so just to impress my mom, back when they were dating, but now I can see that my mom has influenced him greatly

Mommy (I still call her that sometimes) also teaches us to always put nothing above family. She says to always cherish and appreciate the people we love, and no comfort can replace the comfort a family offers. She always tells my siblings and I fondly that, “I love each of you equally, because you’re all my beloved children.” She brings us up to be kind and responsible, and to work hard so that we can build a better life as independent adults.

I am the person I have become today, thanks to Mommy. Not only that, I will become the person I want to be, encouraged by Mommy’s strong-spirit. Whenever I achieve something great, I will think of her and her proud smile. I love you, Mom!”

I’m really flattered by this essay and my daughter’s inner thoughts – wow, am I glad I quit my job to take care of my family! 😀

With peace, harmony and prosperity to you all,

choesf aka HappyHomemaker88 😀

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A Pictorial Recipe – Yummy Yam Rice Kuih aka Woo Tau Koh

Two pieces of yummy Woo Tau Koh with some sweet sauce/teem cheong and chili on the side

Good afternoon, dear friends 😀

My hubby loves Yam Kuih or Woo Tau Koh in the Cantonese dialect, but thus far, my recipe for Yam Kuih was only mediocre. 😳 The last time I made some Woo Tau Koh for my family was on the Winter Solstice Festival or Tung Jit on 22 December, 2006. Yes, that sure was a long time ago! 🙄

A few years back, we had the best tasting and “melt in the mouth” Yam Kuih at a cousin’s house during Chinese New Year but she didn’t have the recipe. The kuih was given by someone from Penang. All she knew was that Yam Kuih had pork belly in it and that was why it tasted soooo good. Ever since, that particular taste of Woo Tau Koh has been “haunting” me and my hubby.

Last week, I had bought a recipe book specializing in traditional Malaysian desserts and kuih muih and I was so happy to find in there a Yam Rice Kuih recipe that has pork belly as an ingredient as the other recipes I had came across never did. So, I quickly bought all the necessary ingredients to test out this recipe on Saturday ……. and ……..

I am very happy that the Woo Tau Koh turned out sooo delicious! 😀

My family said it was the best they ever had – we enjoyed it so much that we had Yam Kuih for lunch and tea on the same day, and more on the next day for breakfast!  😆

So, here is my recipe which was slightly modified from the one in the book and you know me by now – I always cook a lot for my family and the recipe here makes one huge tray of Woo Tau Koh, measuring 18 inches in diameter and 2 1/2 inches high. You may like to cut down the ingredients by half for your family. 😉

Yam Kuih or Woo Tau Koh

Ingredients & Method –

Dried Shrimps, Rice Flour, Corn Flour, Yam


800 gm pork belly or streaky pork – cleaned. Steam for 10 minutes over high heat. Then chop coarsely. Marinate with 1 tsp salt, 2 tbsps soy sauce, 1 tsp white pepper.

160 gm dried shrimps, rinsed clean and then soaked in half cup of water for 10 minutes. Remove shrimps from water and chop coarsely. Reserve liquid for flour mixture later.


1 kg yam, peeled and diced


2 rice bowls of homemade fried golden shallots – 1 bowl for mixing into the rice flour mixture, 1 bowl for garnishing the top of the kuih

(Reserve 10 tbsps of the fried shallot oil for cooking yam, shrimps and pork)


To make this rice flour mixture, you need to mix the following in a bowl –

600 gm rice flour

100 gm corn flour

100 gm all purpose flour

10 cups water

Liquid left from soaking dried shrimps

2 ikan bilis or chicken stock cubes (or 4 tbsps of stock granules)

1 tbsp white pepper

1 tsp 5-spice powder (optional)

4 tbsp salt (or to taste

Method –

1) In a wok, heat up the 10 tbsps of shallot oil.

2) Put in the chopped pork and dried shrimps. Fry for about 2 minutes.

3) Tip in the diced yam and fried golden shallots, and stirfry everything until aromatic….about 5 minutes.


5) Pour the rice flour mixture into the wok now. Stir thoroughly to mix the flours and water


6) Keep stirring until the mixture gets thickened like in the picture above. Pour into a pre-oiled (using more fried shallot oil) metal tray.


7) Smoothen the surface of the kuih and steam for 1 hour over high heat.


8 ) Let cool, and then garnish with fried golden shallots, chopped green onions and red chili. Serve Yam Kuih with some sweet sauce (teem cheong) or hoisin sauce and chili sauce.

Because my tray of Woo Tau Koh was so huge, it took a long time for it to cool down completely (more than 45 minutes). My hubby was too hungry to wait and we had it while it was still warm, which was a mistake – the kuih was still too soft for cutting and was a bit gooey. So, the trick is to let the Yam Kuih cool down completely and let stand for at least an hour more to get the best texture. 💡

I hope this recipe works for you, too, and do let me know how your Woo Tau Koh turns out for this recipe. 😉

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!

choesf  😀

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