Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Note 8: Christmas

The time of the year where Mr. Robotic goes into a frenzy of non-stop shopping and fretting over what to get for each friend is finally coming to an end. While it is a most tiring process (Mr. Robotic has lost count of the number of shopping bags he had carried around), the happy faces of the recipients is "priceless". =)

Mr. Robotic would like to give thanks to all who had helped him for year 2009 and wishes all his friends a Merry X'mas and Happy Holidays!!

Bring on 2010!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Note 7: Chapter on Ms. 大眼妹

It is a joyous day! Not so much that the day is centred around Mr. Robotic but rather Mr. Robotic got to share and take part in the wonderful wedding moments of Ms. 大眼妹.

This is the first time Mr. Robotic get to witness the "fetch the bride" cerenomy as compared to hearsay from friends on the event. One of the highlights got to be the bridesmaids wedding game challenges for the groom where the bridesmaids will block the door until the groom performs a series of tasks with the help of his brothers troupe.

On the surface, this seems to be a money grabbing opportunity for the bridesmaids or a tekan session for the groom and the brothers, well, at least this is the version that we are familiar today. Thinking deeper, the original intent of the simple games is to test the groom's sincerity and love for the bride. To Mr. Robotic, these little obstacles are what makes the love memorable and interesting. Ain't it a good story material to tell your grandchildren what is grandpa 's love pledge to grandma or the love song that grandpa crooned to grandma? =)

Ms. 大眼妹 has grown up to be Mrs. Lim.

Mr. Robotic wishes Mr and Mrs. Lim many more chapters of happiness and romance in their love story!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Cooking 6: Siew Mai

At the start of the week, Mr. Robotic is so looking forward to the weekend to test out the siew mai recipe. As there were a few hiccups, the siew mai did not turn out as he intended for it to be. Read on...

Siew Mai
Learned of this recipe from Food 4 Tots.

Ingredients (Serves 15 to 18 pieces):
- 120g prawns (net weight, around 10 medium sized prawns)
- 100g pork (semi-lean)
- 2 pieces water chestnuts
- 1 piece dried shitake mushroom (soaked and squeezed dry)
- 1 stalk spring onion
- 20 pieces square dumpling skins (trimmed into neat round circles)

- ½ tea spoon salt
- ½ tea spoon sugar
- 2 tea spoon cornflour
- ½ to 1 table spoon fried garlic /onion oil
- Dash of sesame oil and white pepper

- Fine carrots cubes or fine cubes of salted egg yolk

(A) Stuffing
1) Chop water chestnuts, mushrooms, spring onion into fine cubes/ pieces.
2) For prawns, peel, de-vein and wash in running water, pat dry with kitchen towel. (Secret no. 1) Divide them into 2 portions. 1st portion – pat flat and chop with the back of a knife (chopper) till fine and sticky. Cut the other portion into fine cubes.
3) Knead minced prawns in a bowl till sticky.
4) Add in minced pork, cubed prawns, salt, sugar, pepper and stir well.
5) Add in water chestnuts and mushrooms and mix well.
6) Add in fried oil, sesame oil and cornflour and stir in 1 direction until well combined and sticky.
7) (Secret no. 2) Cover the bowl with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

(B) Wrapping
1) Cover the wantan skin with a wet cloth (to prevent the skins from turning dry).
2) Prepare a piece of clean cloth to wipe your hands (make sure your hands are clean and dry)
3) Put a piece of wantan skin on your palm.
4) Add 1 full teaspoon of filling in the centre.
5) (Secret no. 3) Wet the edge of the skin with water (to help it stick tightly).
6) Bring the edges together with the back of the teaspoon. Close the edges using your thumb and index finger forming a circle like closing a full blossom rose.
7) Press down the filling and smooth the surface (apply a bit of water and use your thumb).
8) (Secret no. 4) Flatten the bottom so that the siew mai can sit properly on a greased steaming bamboo basket.
9) Sprinkle with a little chopped carrots or salted egg yolk.
10) (Secret no. 5) Steam it over HIGH heat for about 10-12 minutes.
11) Remove and serve.

With the no. of steps involved in making this dish, it has got to be one of Mr. Robotic's most challenging task till date. Mr. Robotic made a few mistakes but the crucial one is leaving the filling in the fridge for more than 2 hours. In fact, Mr. Robotic left the filling overnight in the fridge as he was called out by friends and only returned home after midnight. The other little mistakes are the substitute of fried garlic or onion oil with olive oil with the wrong measurement, failure to pat the prawns dry and the hiccup with the steaming halfway with the stove out of gas.
While Mr. Robotic is quite pleased with the aesthetic look of the siew mai, he couldn't pass the dish with the bland taste. He will be taking up the challenge again!