Archive for December, 2008

How To Prepare Your Crispy Roast Pork/Siew Yoke For Roasting

Good evening, dear friends 😀

During the last Winter Solstice Festival (Tung Jit), I had made some Siew Yoke (Crispy Roast Pork). I took some photos to show you how easy it is to prepare your pork for roasting. I was taught this method by my pork lady butcher at the market.

How to prepare your Siew Yoke for roasting Method 2

** (Method 1 was posted HERE. Also  do read comment # 204  there  for the 3rd technique of preparing the roast pork)

Step 1 – After your slab of pork belly is cleaned, scald the skin side in boiling water for 3 – 5 minutes. This is to make the skin slightly cooked so that it is easier to be pricked with a fork or sharp point of knife



Step 2 – Drain off liquid in a colander and pat dry with paper kitchen towelspreparing-your-siew-yoke-002-small


Step 3 – Prick all over with the tines of a fork



Step 4 – Use a sharp knife to make shallow cuts about 1-cm apart



Step 5 – Mix the following into a marinade (for 1 1/2 kg of pork belly) – 1 cube Nam Yee (fermented red beancurd), 2 tbsps 5-spice powder, 2 tbsps salt, 1 tbsp pounded garlic, 1 tbsp sugar. Rub this thoroughly into the meat side of the pork… preparing-your-siew-yoke-005-small


Step 6 – Get ready 2 tbsps of white vinegar and 1 tbsp salt … preparing-your-siew-yoke-006-small*

Step 7 – Brush the vinegar onto the skin preparing-your-siew-yoke-007-small


Step 8 – Brush on the salt preparing-your-siew-yoke-008-small

Then, keep the marinated pork belly uncovered in the refrigerator overnight, and bring it to room temperature before roasting.

For roasting instructions, please READ HERE. (Homemade Yummy Crispy Roast Pork/Siew Yoke Recipe)

Bon Appetit and enjoy your Siew Yoke! 😀


Comments (22) »

My Deepavali & Hari Raya Haji Festival Food

Good evening, dear friends 😀

I have been feeling under the weather these few days and although I want to write here, my lethargy and “uncooperative brain” is not allowing me to do much. So, seeing as I have some photos taken earlier for you, I’ll just post them all here and add on the recipes later.

On the day of Deepavali (the Hindu Festival of Lights) in October, I cooked a full Indian meal for the first time and my hubby was very impressed. He loves Indian curries but somehow, I thought they were difficult to cook. But then, since I love to celebrate the various culture’s festivals with some unique feasts, I decided to take out my dusty “Malaysian Cookbook” and look up some Indian recipes.

I had also cooked some Rasam (sour soup) and made some cucumber achar, but I forgot to take pictures of them.

Here are pictures of my Deepavali feast –


A creamy, delicious Mutton Curry with carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, coriander leaves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, cardamon, fennel and cumin



Ayam Kurma, which is a very mild (almost non-spicy) Indian Chicken Curry


deepavali-dinner-003-smallNasi Briyani – good quality Basmati Rice cooked with ghee (clarified butter), spices, mint leaves and garnished with crispy, golden fried shallots. Here, some Ayam Kurma gravy has already been poured onto the rice ..


Then, for the Muslim festival called “Hari Raya Aidil Adha”, I cooked some Dried Chicken Curry (Chicken Rendang, Rendang Ayam), Peanut Sauce (Kuah Kacang) and made some Ketupat (Compressed Rice in Coconut Leaf Casings). I finally perfected my Ketupat recipe this time because the other two times, the ketupats were either too sticky or hard.

Here are the pictures for my Hari Raya Haji feast –


Fresh, woven coconut leaf casings for making Ketupat – filled up to 55 % with long grain rice (I used good quality Kedah, a state in the northern region of Malaysia) grown rice, and boiled over low heat in salted water for 4 hours



Cooked Ketupat, ready to be cut into cubes and eaten with Kuah Kacang, Chicken Rendang, some sliced cucumber and raw onion



Kuah Kacang or Peanut Sauce to go with Ketupat or Satay


chicken-rendang-smallMalay Dry Chicken Curry or Chicken Rendang


For my Christmas Roast Turkey Dinner, I had cooked a 15-pound turkey, with mashed potatoes, broccolli, green peas, baby carrots, and a fresh button mushroom stirfry. However, I couldn’t show you their photos because they looked rather dodgy…… :oops:, anyway, I had photos of last year’s Christmas Eve Roast Turkey Dinner here. 😉

I wish you a Happy New Year! 😀

With peace and joy,

choesf 😀

Comments (6) »

A Beautiful Story…Merry Christmas to ALL! :D


Good morning and Merry Christmas, dear friends 😀

I received this beautiful story via email from my Reiki Support Group and thought I should share it with you because it is so touching and it shows the wonderful Christmas spirit of love, kindness, compassion and generosity. Although I am a Buddhist, I like to also join in the celebrating all festive occasions with my friends of from different religions. 😀

Read on and enjoy …

This story is worth passing on. Santa Claus turns up in many different disguises most times we call it being a good Samaritan. Enjoy the core of this message.

May we all feel the joy of giving at Christmas! I wish you all a Peaceful and Merry Christmas and Joy in the New Year. If only this was the way it was for all…… There wouldn’t be anyone in need if we all did this for one person.


I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her. On the way, my big sister dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” she jeered. “Even dummies know that!”

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that
day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easierwhen swallowed with one of her “world-famous” cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. “No Santa Claus?” she snorted …. “Ridiculous! Don’t believe it! That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.” “Go? Go where, Grandma?” I asked. I hadn’t even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun.

“Where” turned out to be Kerby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors,Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. “Take this money,” she said, “and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.

I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs.Pollock’s grade-two class.

Bobby Decker didn’t have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn’t have a cough; he didn’t have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement.

I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.”Is this a Christmas present for someone?” the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.”Yes, ma’am,” I replied shyly. “It’s for Bobby.” The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again,
and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, “To Bobby, From Santa Claus” on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa’s helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. “All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get going.”I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open.Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker’s bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team. I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care…And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care…And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

With peace and joy,

choesf 😀

Comments (9) »

Happy Winter Solstice Festival & Tung Jit 2008!

Happy Winter Solstice Festival to you, dear friends from all over the world! 😀

tong-yuens-2008-002-smallMy children made 2 odd Tong Yuen –  a giant ball in the left bowl, and a green “mushroom” in the right bowl! 😆

My family and I have had a great feast today with ample helpings of Tong Yuen or glutinous rice balls in sugar syrup – the symbol of this happy festival. I had cooked so much food that there was enough to serve 7 persons for lunch and dinner, with some leftovers for tomorrow, too! 😆

Preparations for our Winter Solstice Lunch began the day before with the rolling of Tong Yuen…as usual, my kids like to make odd-shaped rice balls and since it was all in the joyous spirit of this festival, I let them do what they wanted. Henced, you can see 2 abnormal Tong Yuen in the picture above! 🙄



I bought the Tong Yuen dough from the market…there were many stalls selling this dough made from groundingpre-soaked glutinous rice into a wet paste and the liquid is removed by putting the “paste” into a muslin bag and hanging it up to dry.   Traditionally, there are only 2 colours, with the much larger portion being white. I had added in other colours for the fun of it. 😆



A tray of multi coloured Tong Yuen freshly rolled out…to be kept in the fridge and cooked the next morning



A pot of freshly cooked Tong Yuen in sugar syrup, flavoured with a few Pandan Leaves. Most people would use a few slices of ginger instead of Pandan Leaves, but my kids don’t like the ginger taste


Because it was going to be a lunch feast instead of dinner, I prepared and marinated the meats the day before and put them in the fridge. As in all meals in celebration of Chinese Festivals, it is essential to have at least on the menu a Roast Pork or Siew Yoke dish, steamed “white cut” chicken, a noodle, a vegetable sitfry, and the popular Pig Stomach White Pepper Soup.  All the food cooked were then offered with prayers to our “ancestors” to celebrate with them the Tung Jut festival, say our thanks for a bountiful year (during ancient times in China, it was for a bountiful harvest instead), and have a reason to be merry on this longest night in the year!

Below are the dishes that I had cooked for my family…today (Monday), I am just going to sit back and relax and buy some takeouts for dinner because I am tired with 2 days of preparation and cooking of this feast. Moreover, I am taking a breather now as tomorrow I will be busy buying stuff to cook my family’s Christmas Eve Roast Turkey Dinner! 😆 



Longevity Noodles – dried flat egg noodles cooked in boiling water for 5 minutes, drained and then stirfried with Chinese cabbage, Mustard Greens, julienned carrot, slices of Shitake mushrooms and pork slices. Oyster sauce and some chicken stock left from steaming the chicken are used to flavour this noodle.



A platter of fresh, homemade yummy crispy Roast Pork Belly or Siew Yoke



Instead of using a whole chicken, I used 3 whole legs instead to make “Steamed White Cut Salted Chicken”



A colourful medley of assorted vegetables stirfried with some “Tau Kan” or wheat gluten – a “Chap Chye” or “Mixed Vegetables”, flavoured with oyster sauce


Malaysian Chinese style of Chicken Potato Curry, very tasty when eaten with the noodles. I cooked this because it has been a tradition in my husband’s family to have Curry Chicken on all festive occasions. 😀



A very delicious, peppery, spicy pork ribs and pig stomach soup…another popular dish or soup to be had during festivals.Only thing was this was the first time that I had cooked this – I will write about this famous soup in another post.


Now, I am planning my Roast Turkey menu and will write about it in a few days time! 😉

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 😀

With peace and joy,

choesf 😀



Comments (10) »

A Period Of Festivals & Celebrations

Good evening, dear friends 😀

Wow, at this year end, things are getting exciting as we have a number of celebrations and festivals. Come this Sunday, 21 December, 2008, the Chinese all over the world will be celebrating the Winter Solstice Festival. Usually, this festival falls on the 22nd of December every year, but as this year is a leap year with an extra day on the 29th February, we are celebrating it on the 21st instead.

I am now planning my menu for my Winter Solstice Lunch but a sure thing on it will be the “Tong Yuen” or Glutinous Rice Balls, a symbol of this important festival. 😀


A bowl of colourful Tong Yuen or Glutinous Rice Balls in Pandan flavoured sugar syrup



My 2007 Winter Solstice Dinner spread – clockwise from the top –

  • Breaded Garlic Pork Chops
  • Chicken & Potato Curry
  • Steamed & Salted Chicken
  • Treasure Soup
  • Hokkien Thick Egg Noodles
  • Fuzhou Fishballs, Mushrooms and Broccoli (centre)

For the recipes of these festival dishes, just click HERE.

The celebration of Tung Jit as this festival is called is a joyous one not only because it is celebrating the Winter Solstic…. but it also signals the start of the preparations for the Chinese New Year, which will fall on 26 January, 2009.

During this short period before Chinese New Year, decluttering and cleaning of the whole house is done to remove all old, stale energies, and to welcome new chi into our homes. Then the necessary Feng Shui cures and enhancers are place to ensure a smooth and prosperous year 2009.

After that, it is shopping and shopping of new year goodies ranging from auspicious sounding foodstuffs, waxed meat imported from China, auspicious Chinese decorations, new clothes and shoes…..and oh, I forgot…there will be lots of baking done for Chinese New Year cookies. Wow, as I am typing this, I am already excited about all these! 😆

The Chinese gets very excited with the new lunar year because with it, new energies, prosperity and happiness are ushered in for rest of the lunar 2009 year.

Then the next week, we will be having a Christmas Eve dinner with all the trimmings to celebrate Christmas with the rest of the world…wow, another great festival with all the yummy feasting. 😀


My 2007 Christmas Dinner Eve Homecooked Dinner



My plate of yummy Christmas turkey, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, stuffing and broccoli last year

I will post here later the pictures and recipes for my festivals as we celebrate these joyous occasions! 😉

Happy Winter Solstice Festiva, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 😀

With peace, harmony and joy,

choesf 😀

P.S. For those of you overseas who would like to celebrate this Winter Solstice Festival with me and would like to make your own Glutinous Rice Balls from glutinous rice flour, let me know by leaving a comment here and I will post a recipe for you. I buy freshly ground wet glutinous rice from the markets here.

Added on 18  December, 2008 –

I am happy to see there are a few of you who are interested in making your own “Tong Yuen” or Glutinous Rice Balls. Good, we can celebrate the Winter Solstice Festival together. It is a Chinese belief that when we eat the Tong Yuen on that day, it will mean that we are getting one year older! I remember during those few  years when  I was living in the US, I didn’t eat any Tong Yuen and therefore, I should be 5 years younger in my   Chinese age! 🙄

Here is the recipe for Tong Yuen –

Ingredients –

125 gm glutinous rice flour

25 gm rice flour

150 ml boiling water

Method –

1) Combine glutinous rice and rice flours in a mixing bowl.

2) Pour in boiling water.

3) Mix with a pair of chopsticks or a fork.

4) When the mixture is cool enough to handle, knead it for a few minutes until it is well mixed, smooth and pliable. If you find the dough is too dry, then add in a little more water.

5) Divide dough into portions and add in your favourite colours. Traditionally, the Tong Yuen are just in white and pink..but I had added in green and yellow colours just for the fun of it! 😆

6) Pinch off small portions and roll in small balls, about 1 cm in diameter. While you are doing this, prepare 2 pots of water – one pot is for cooking the rice balls…..and the other pot will contain    your “sweet soup” of sugar syrup.

7) For the sweet soup or sugar syrup, just bring to boil the following ingredients and simmer for about 10 minutes and then turn off the fire : –

  • 1 litre water
  • 200 gms sugar
  • 2 to 3 slices fresh ginger, or 2 pieces of Pandan Leaves or 1 tsp of Pandan Flavour

Traditionally, slices of ginger are added for flavour…so, it is more like a ginger syrup. But because my children don’t like the taste of ginger, I have decided to use a few pandan leaves to flavour the syrup instead of ginger and it is just as aromatic. 😉

8) To cook the rice balls, put about 20 balls at a time into a pot of boiling water. They will sink to the bottom. Once the balls float to the surface, this means they are cooked.

9) Remove cooked rice balls with a slotted spoon and put them into the pot of  sugar syrup.

Voila! Your very own Tong Yuen are ready to be served as dessert after your Winter Solstice Dinner or just as a tea time “Tong Sui” or “Sugar Water Drink”…a teatime dessert. I usually keep my Tong Yuen in the fridge if there are any leftovers and then just warm up some in the microwave the following day. The rice balls will harden in the fridge.

I hope you like the taste of Tong Yuen. My children gets very excited and will have at least 2 bowls of  this once-a-year Rice Ball Dessert after dinner.

Note – the portion for the recipe here is quite small…..for my family of 6 with huge appetites, I make about 1 kg worth of wet glutinous rice flour. But for those making this for the first time, start small and if you like this, you can always make another batch in a very short time! 😉

Comments (11) »

Homemade, Healthy, Detoxifying Herbal Drink – Misai Kucing (“Cat’s Whiskers”)

Good morning, dear friends 😀

No, I am not boiling real cats’ whiskers for a healthy drink 😆 … but a type of plant known as “Misai Kucing” in the Malay language (translated as “Cat Whiskers”) because the sprays of white flowers look like a cat’s whiskers! 😉


A few pots of “Cat’s Whiskers” growing in my little garden


The scientific name for this plant is “Orthosiphon Aristatus” and it is a common ornamental plant or garden herb in Malaysia. I was first introduced to Misai Kucing more than 10 years ago when my husband’s elderly aunty told me to brew its leaves as a health drink to treat his gout problem.

(**Add on 14 Sept, 2009READ HERE for an article in our local newspaper recently on “Misai Kucing Cures All” , and the lady talked about the A H1N1 Flu and breast cancer.)

In addition to treating gout (it removes urea acid), the active compound of Misai Kucing is also good for –

  1. diabetes by balancing blood sugar levels
  2. stress
  3. high blood pressure
  4. removing toxins
  5. revitalise our energy
  6. regeneration and building of new cells
  7. balancing our body systems

Seeing the real benefits of this plant, I then quickly harvested some Misai Kucing from my garden and made a large pot of health drink for my family. As I had some other Chinese herbs like a Buddha fruit or Lor Hon Kor (good for phlegm and lungs), dried cane strips, and some cooling dried herbs….I decided to combine them with the Misai Kucing.


Misai Kucing on the left, some dried cooling Chinese herbs, dried bamboo cane, a Buddha’s Fruit aka Lor Hon Kor…all ready to be boiled for 4 hours in a large pot



After 4 hours of simmering over a small fire, I added in 2 cups of red sugar or dark sugar … this type of sugar has anti-inflammatory properties



My pot of Misai Kucing and other herbs to make a cooling, health drink



A large mug of Cat’s Whiskers health drink for each of my family.


The rest of the drink are stored in jugs in the fridge and we drink this over 2 days…a nice, refreshing drink for the hot days here in KL. I now have 6 pots of Cat’s Whiskers plants in my garden, so that they can be harvested every two weeks for making my family’s pot of health drinks for health maintenance. It is definitely cheaper than buying those teabags! 😉

So, I would advise you to buy a small pot of Misai Kucing and plant it in your garden or in your apartment’s balcony, i f you have some space. They grow easily in pots and need minimum care – water daily, direct or indirect sunlight, and bi-monthly fertilising. If I can plant them, you can, too! My present batch of Cats’s Whiskers plants are offshoots of the original one- foot tall plant that I bought about 4 years ago.

I wish you good health always!

choesf 😀

Comments (68) »

Master atan’s Bird Release Ceremony for Christmas


Good evening, dear friends 😀

I am posting here an announcement from Master atan at his FORUM for those of you interested in having a special Bird Release Ceremony prayer done for your family, relatives and friends for Christmas.

To join, please click HERE or HERE .

If you have any queries, you can comment here and I will liaise direct with you through your email.

I wish you and your loved ones a Merry & Joyous Christmas, and a smooth and successful year in 2009! 😀

With peace, harmony and joy,

choesf 😀

Dear Members and visitors,

I am doing a Bird Releasing Ceremony (BRC) for Christmas – this is the first time I am doing this unique BRC for members, family and others.

The objectives of this BRC for Christmas are …..

1. Give thanks to the Lord.

2. Create good chi for Christmas.

3. Receive Blessings from the Lord – especially for Protection, Love and Healing.

4. Able to earn/receive plenty of good merits/karma on this Christmas day.

5. Do a good deed for someone and in return one can earn more good merits and karma.

Many of the members here had one way or another benefited from the Prayer Room 2008 – it is good to give thanks to the Lord, He may have directly or indirectly helped or assisted you in the 2008 Prayer requests.

Anyone can join – the Lord has Love for everyone who needed His help.

Most of the money I may receive will be donated to Rozalia, a nice and humble lady who always has time to help and assist many members who are going through a tough time in life. She is going through regular therapies to recover from her stroke.

Master atan

Comments (7) »


Be The Change!

Wish to Dish

Celebrating food and all the joy that comes from creating and eating it.

Give Me Meatloaf

tales of messy, meaty, midwestern food

Back to Spain

Spanish recipes, travel + more

Welcome to Brenda's Blog

Helping others access and implement new creative skills.

Stories of a Highly Sensitive Introvert

On a journey to rediscover herself. :)


Food, Photography and Travels

P e d r o L

storytelling the world

The silverplatinum flame

Divine channelings, Divine Mother Blessings jewelry, Divine Diamond Shield for protection and attunements

Marina's Kitchen

Cooking with Love & Passion


High quality ads for WordPress

food to glow

feel good food that's good for you


Authentic Korean recipes even YOU can cook!

Recipes We Cherish

Recipes we love. Memories we cherish.

Chitra's Healthy Kitchen

Recipes for healthy living

Frugal Hausfrau

Recipes so Good no-one will know you're Cheap!

%d bloggers like this: