Posts tagged Chinese

Easy Delicious Prawn Toasts

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Good evening, dear friends 😀

Hmmmm….these days the weather is really cool and it feels like we are in Cameron Highlands now. 😆 Therefore, I can spend more time in the kitchen making some fried snacks…..and as promised earlier, here is the recipe for my family’s most favourite finger food. Whenever I make this snack for tea time, my husband and kids can’t wait to eat them and as I am frying the Prawn Toasts, they eat them just as fast! 🙄 But it makes me very happy to see them enjoying my cooking and I would make a big batch of this.

Please adjust the proportion of the ingredients according to your family size, okay…..as this recipe is for my excited family of 6! 😆 Also, because it is heaty to eat fried stuff when it is so hot after cooking, serve this snack with some cucumber slices to balance the heatiness…..otherwise, your family may complain of sore throats in a day or two. Or, having some cold beers with this finger food would be good, too, as beers are considered cooling to the body according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Oh, be sure to serve the Prawn Toasts with lots of bottled chili sauce. 😉

EASY DELICIOUS PRAWN TOASTS (serves 6 hungry persons) 😀

Ingredients –

* 1 or 2 loaves of white sandwich bread, remove the skin and cut into 4 pieces for each slice of bread (the total amount of bread required would depend on how much prawn filling you put on top of each quartered piece)

* 1 kg medium sized fresh prawns with shells (about 600gm if shelled prawns)

* 1/4 cup finely chopped carrots

* 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions/scallions

* 1 cup finely chopped water chestnuts

* 1 small egg, beaten

* 1 tbsp sesame oil

* 2 tbsp soy sauce

* 1 tsp pepper

* 3/4 tbsp salt

* 3 tbsps corn starch

Method –

1) Shell/Peel the prawns. Wash and wipe dry. Chop finely or put in a food processor to mince prawns into a paste.

2) In a large bowl, mix prawn paste thoroughly with the rest of the ingredients.

3) Put about a tablespoon of the prawn filling onto each quartered bread slice. Repeat until all the prawn filling is used up. Set aside.

4) Heat up about 5 cups oil in a wok or pan. When oil is hot, reduce fire/heat to medium high.

5) Place uncooked prawn toast with the prawn filling side down first and fry until golden in colour….about 2 minutes. Then turn over to fry the bread side…about 1 minute.

# Note – you got to be careful with the frying part and pay attention so that the prawn toasts don’t get overdone….they can get cooked quite fast depending on your fire. Perhaps, it is best that you fry one piece first and then taste it to check for doneness and whether there is enough salt or not.

6) Remove from heat and put Prawn Toasts (bread side down) onto kitchen paper towels to absorb as much oil as possible. Serve with chili and cucumber slices.

Hope you and your family will love this delicious finger food. Let me know how they turn out by commenting below, okay? 😀

Bon Appetit!!

P.S. This snack is sinfully delicious and loaded with calories, and it is good to have a cup of strong Chinese or English tea to wash the “oils” down after eating this! 😉

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Drink Chinese Tea To Lose Weight & Lower Cholesterol

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Dear friends, 😀

Today’s lunch was a heavy nasi lemak with all the side dishes for the family. Usually, after a heavy meal, I would drink a cup of Chinese tea to help with the digestion and right now, I have beside me a hot cup of Chinese Green Tea, which I am slowly sipping and enjoying every bit of its “golden” taste. 😀

I have many types of tea at home – Earl Grey from the UK, Cameronian Boh Tea (locally produced tea), 22-year old Pu Erh Tea from China (the older the Pu Erh tea, the more expensive and smoother tasting), 10-year old Pu Erh, Chinese Green Tea and Japanese Green Tea. It all depends on my mood and on the occasion for the selection of tea.

The Chinese and the Japanese have been drinking teas for thousands of years. My grandparents and parents would drink tea all day long. There would be a teapot and a teacup beside them at home. It is believed that teas can help to “wash down” the oils in our digestive system. In Chinese restaurants during banquets when prawns are served, there will be bowl of light tea for us to remove the oil from our fingers if we had used our fingers to shell the prawns. These days, there are many “tea houses” that sells a variety of teas from China, with exquisite tea sets to make the art of drinking tea a great experience, just like the art and ritual of drinking Japanese tea.

Chinese teas are made from a variety of plants for a variety of reasons. Chrysanthemum flower tea is one very common type. Drunk with meals it helps to aid digestion, especially of greasy foods. It is also commonly taken to help strengthen the lungs, relieve head congestion (tension headaches) and balance the “yangness” or “heatiness” in our body. When made from fresh flowers, the flowers can be applied to the eyes to relieve dryness and itching. In China, chrysanthemum tea is now being recommended for office workers exposed to Video Display Terminals (VDTs). To make this healthy tea – to a teapot that can contain 500 ml of water – add 2 tbsp of chrysanthemum bud tea, 2 tbsp of Chinese wolfberries (gei ji) and 3 slices of dried licourice (kam choe). Fill up with boiling hot water. Steep for 5 minutes before drinking. When teapot is empty, pour hot water again for a second round.

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Chrysanthemum Bud Tea

Recently, I met a former colleague, who has retired from a senior management position and I was surprised that he look noticeably slimmer than his usual chubby self. Knowing that he is not the type to go on diet, I asked him what his secret to his weight loss was – he said he picked up the habit of drinking Chinese tea with his meals every day! According to a news article at WIFR.com, Dan Rose lost 40 pounds over a period of 2 years. The only lifestyle change that he has made was to drink Chinese Green Tea everyday and his new routine appears to be working very effectively for him. 😀

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Loose Green Tea Leaves

But what does the Green Tea has over the other beverages? Scientists believe that Green Tea has EGCG and catechins, a powerful anti-oxidant, known to increase metabolism (which in turn burns fat), prevents blood clots and lowers cholesterol. All teas in general have been found to relax, relieve anxiety (don’t want to do those tedious house chores? Have a cup of tea and see how you feel half an hour later! 😉 )

Now, before you rush off and buy lots of Chinese tea to drink, I must warn you that there are some side effects to drinking Chinese tea. For the non-seasoned tea drinkers, it may cause insomnia, especially if you drink tea within 6 hours of your bedtime, because tea contains caffeine also. I have many friends who take great pleasure in the art of drinking tea – they would have tea drinking sessions after dinner all the way til bedtime and they have no trouble falling asleep….but it takes 2 months to get to such a stage! 🙄 For some with sensitive stomach, the Green Tea may be a bit harsh on the stomach causing gastric pains and heartburns. Also, please drink the teas in moderation and they should not replace your water intake.

Personally, I love the smoother tasting Pu Erh teas from the Yunnan province in China and this type of tea can range from a few years old to many years old. The older the better, but it will cost more. The Pu Erh teas are fermented, and therefore, they are easy to store for a long time. They are usually found in hard pressed, round blocks.

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Compressed Pu Erh Blocks

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, drinking Oolong (fermented) teas like Pu Erh Teas have better medicinal and health benefits than Green Tea because they are not as “cooling” or “yin” on the body system, and Pu Erh teas are more soothing and “neutral” instead because they are cooked and fermented.

Drinking Chinese tea is different than Western teas. No sugar is added and the tea leaves or tea bags can be “re-used” for another round or two, i.e. simply add more almost boiling hot water and we have another pot or cup of weaker tea to drink. But both the types of teas are just as enjoyable and relaxing. Pu Erh teas are more earthy in flavour, whilst the Green Teas are more aromatic.

Try a cup of tea and see for yourself – take some time out from whatever you are doing, observe how you are feeling in your mind (and body as well)….then go make yourself a cup of hot tea. Have a small sip of tea, keep the tea in your mouth………savour its taste, and then swallow. Good, ey? 😀

Just relax, put your feet up in a comfortable place, and do what you love to do to relax…watch some movies, read a book or just look at the scenery outside your house. 😉 Half an hour later, carefully observe how you feel, especially mentally…..you will notice that you are more relaxed, your mind is clear and not as heavy as before… 😉 😀

Happy Tea Drinking! 😀

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Easy Chinese Sweet & Sour Pork (or Fish or Chicken)

Good Morning, dear friends 😀

This dish is a great favourite among many and in my family because of the sweet and sour taste that whets one’s appetite. We will have extra helpings of rice whenever we savour this delicious, yummy dish. 😉 There are sweet and sour pork (picture above) or chicken or fish, but the cooking method and the sauce are the same. Just change the meat. My friend’s Swedish boyfriend must have Sweet & Sour Pork almost on a daily basis whenever he is in KL! 😆

Sweet & Sour Fish (or Pork or Chicken)

Ingredients :

* 500g whole Garoupa fish or Sea Bass – season lightly with salt and pepper; dust lightly with tapioca flour or corn starch. Set aside.
( Note – if using pork of chicken, 500g of meat to be cubed and marinated with 1 small egg, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 pepper and 3 tbsps corn starch. Set aside for at least 1 hour, but it tastes better the longer you marinate it. Set aside)

Ingredients (A):


* 50g green capsicum, cut into cubes

* 1 red chilli, seeded and cut into cubes

* 1 tomato, cubed

* Some canned pineapple cubes

* 1 large onion – cut into cubes

* 1 cup cubed deseeded cucumber

Sauce ingredients:

* 2 cloves garlic, chopped

* 4 tbsp tomato sauce

* 2 tbsps white vinegar

* 2 tbsps soy sauce

* 1/2 cup pineapple syrup (from the can)

* 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper

* 1/2 cup water

* Cornstarch & water for thickening sauce


Garnishing:


* Spring onion/Green onion

* Chilli strips

* Coriander leaves

Method :


1) Deep fry meat in hot oil. Dish out, drain well and set aside in a serving dish.

2) Heat wok with oil, saute chopped garlic and cubed big onions for 2 minutes.

3) Add in sauce ingredients (except cornstarch) and bring to a boil.

4) Add in the rest of the ingredients A and simmer for 2 minutes. Thicken gravy with cornstarch.

5) Pour sauce over meat and garnish before serving.

There you have it – your very own home-cooked delicious Sweet & Sour Fish or Pork or Chicken. Serve this with steaming hot rice, and your favourite vegetable dish….. maybe even a soup. Oh, you can add more or less vinegar or tomato sauce dependind on your taste preference. And if you prefer boneless fish,, you can used cubed fish fillet. 😉

Later I will post some nutritional soups recipes here. 😀

Hearty Appetites to all,

choesf 😀

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Mistresses, Concubines & Little Dragon Ladies

Ah, this is a hot topic for many …… what prompted me to write on this was a newspaper article that appeared today. 😆

During the imperial times in China, a large number of concubines was a symbol of power. One emperor was even reputed to have 3,600 concubines, and he had to resort to drawing lots to see which lucky concubine will have the blessings to stay the night with him. Even for the lay people, when they have lots of wealth, they would take on a few wives so that they will have more sons to carry down the family name and carry on their businesses.

This practice is thought to have been stamped out after the Communists took power in 1949 in China, although Chairman Mao had many lovers, including his physician. But in recent years, the keeping of mistresses and “ernai” (second wives) appears to be making a comeback.

The Guardian in UK reported last month that a corrupt senior official in Shaanxu province hs been brought down by his 11 mistresses. According to a report in The Beijing News, China is suffering from a plaque of corruption and it was found that corruption and concubines go hand in hand. The highest ranking official to fall from grace in the past year was Chiang Liangyu, who was accused of keeping 2 mistresses and embezzling 3.4 billion yuan (US$480 million). According to a widely-circulated report on the Rednet website, there are 5 motives for China officials to keep a mistress =

1) using their power to play with women

2) showing off

3) addiction to sex

4) perversion

5) a desire to have more children (China has a one-child policy per couple to control their overpopulation).

On the local front in Malaysia, the government at one time suggested allowing girls from China to come and work as domestic maids, like those from Indonesia and Philippines. However, the proposal got shot down by the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) Women’s Party because of a lot of negative feedback from their members – there were many cases of young girls who are visiting here on a social pass becoming the mistresses of local married men, especially older men who are pensioners. Most of the times, these men are enticed into draining their pensions and life savings and when this happens, then the girls will move on to their next cash rich target. The oldest age of this male victims was 80 whose mistress was only 24. These girls are now known as “little dragon ladies.”

The Star newspaper here has reported that Wanita MCA chief Datuk Ng as saying that unless clear guidelines on the recruitment for Chinese maids are laid out and the interests of local women protected, the political party wing is against the move for these maids. Ng, however, stressed that the party was in no way showing disrespect to women in China, but was rather taking a realistic stand in looking after the well being and happiness of the local women and ensuring family values were safeguarded. Of course, there were the usual brickbats from wives and husbands who thought their marriage was not susceptible to these little dragon ladies!

Here is a mistress’s account as written by Jonathan Watts and Huang Lisha from Guardian Newspaper Ltd –

Azhen, a 24-year old from Jiangsu province in China has a blog about her life as a concubine in Shenzhen, a city close to Hong Kong. For 3 years, she has been the mistress of a man who is old enough to be her father.

“Society calls us ernai. It is not a job that any of us would have aspired to do as children. Some do it for money. Others for love. Many, like me, do it because they have suffered some cruelty and feel desperate and alone.” Azhen said that she was neglected as a child and her father left her mother before she was born. Although reluctant to reveal how much money he gives her and what kind of apartment he pays for, she says her life has improved.

“He comes to see me if he has the time. If he is busy, he calls me. As long as he is nice to me, he doesn’t need to seduce me with too much money because I am not materialistic.”

But it doesn’t take the little dragon ladies for affairs to happen. I have heard 2 real life experiences from 2 of my friends –

At the funeral

This friend’s father passed away many years ago. During the wake which was held at his home, suddenly a woman turned up with 2 teenaged sons to pay respects to his late father. This woman was sobbing away in front of the coffin and to the family’s shock, it turned out that she was his late father’s mistress. For her to have borne 2 sons who were already in their teens, the affair has been kept a closely guarded secret that came out in the open during the funeral!! Last I heard was that my friend’s family has accepted this “addition” to the family tree as their relatives.

In the next street

This was related to me by my friend 10 years ago. Her neighbour’s husband would come back from work around 5pm every day. Then he would walk his dog for one hour as well as spend some time in the nearby park until 7pm, when he would be back for dinner. Somehow later, it was found out that he has been keeping a mistress in a house in the next street, and he would go visit her everyday! Not sure if they had any children or not……. 🙄

With peace and harmony,

choesf 😀


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How does feng shui improve our life?

What is feng shui (pronounced as “fung shway”)? It is an ancient Chinese philosophy of nature that uses the placement of space and movement of energies called “chi” or “qi” in Chinese and “ki” in Japanese. Feng shui is often identified as a form of geomancy, divination by geographic features, but it is mainly concerned with understanding the relationships between nature and ourselves so that we might live in harmony within our environment.

Chi is an energy that is constantly flowing everywhere. This energy symbolizes life, health, prosperity and everything that is positive to us. Whenever chi finds obstacles for circulating we will notice it since it will directly affect our lives. Our life quality can diminish or be improved depending on the way chi flows in the environments we inhabit.

This way, a person who feels upset or depressed should pay attention to the chi flow around and within his house. When we are feeling ill or like our life is not flowing as it should, this might be due to chi circulation problems. By spotting the obstacles that may not allow chi circulate freely and then ending up with them, we will be bringing the right fluidity to chi and to our lives along with it.

Depending on the way objects are placed and distributed within environments (outside or inside our homes) , they would help or block the natural chi circulation. Therefore, we need to make sure they are placed in the correct way and that is what feng shui does. Feng shui can be applied to improve our quality of life, our career, our health, our wealth and our relationships, However, it is very important to note that feng shui (or Earth Luck) only accounts for 1/3 of our luck in this life, the other 2 portions being Heaven Luck (based on your time and date of birth) and Man Luck (which is your own efforts in your endeavours) but at least, you can manipulate this area to make your life better in addition to working hard.

Although the ideas date back at least 3,000 years, yet a growing number of architects and decorators are integrating feng shui ideas with contemporary building design. Most buildings in Hong Kong like the HSBC Bank and Standard Chartered Bank have their designs in compliance with feng shui rules, although these banks have their origins in England.

Feng shui is related to the very sensible notion that living with rather than against nature benefits both humans and our environment. It is also related to the equally sensible notion that our lives are deeply affected by our physical and emotional environs. If we surround ourselves with symbols of death, contempt, and indifference toward life and nature, with noise and various forms of ugliness, we will corrupt ourselves in the process. If we surround ourselves with beauty, gentleness, kindness, sympathy, music, and with various expressions of the sweetness of life, we ennoble ourselves as well as our environment.

Learning the guidelines to feng shui can be very complicated. Thus the reason why successful Chinese business owners will hire a Feng Shui Master to help design the layout of a business property in order to ensure the success of their business. Feng Shui is also becoming very popular in the Western countries as people are seeing very rewarding results by utilizing feng shui techniques.

May you have prosperity, good health and peace always! 😀

choesf :D

Added on 27 Dec, 2007 – PLEASE READ THIS POST to find out how you can use Feng Shui to improve your life and make the new year 2008 a success for you. Happy New Year!

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