Wednesday, August 20, 2014

[Recipe] Baked 'Har Jiong Gai' - Shrimp Paste Chicken

If you've been following my blog, you would probably know by now how I dislike deep frying in my home. So with most of our craving for deep fried food, I would use my oven to do the job for me. But with har jiong gai? Is it even possible? My answer is a resounding yes!

The most important ingredient for this dish, is of course, the very pungent fermented shrimp paste, or belechan as we are familiar with. I am always for a quick-fix-meal kind of a mom so I've opted for the easiest way to get hold of my shrimp paste. I also use this to fry my belachan fried rice or kangkong, so there's varied dishes you can use it for too! A bottle costs about $3.50.

Preparation time : 15 mins  Cooking time : 30 minutes  Serves : 4

Ingredients :
1) 18 pcs mid wings (or any other parts of the chicken you like)
2) 1 tbsp shrimp paste (dilute with 1/2 tbsp of water)
3) 1 tbsp oyster sauce
4) a dash of sesame oil
5) pepper to taste (I like loads of it)
6) cornflour
7) oil

Marinade the chicken with the above ingredients from no.1-5 for at least 2-3 hours. Leave in fridge.

When you are ready to cook, prepare the oven temperature to 180 deg celcius. Line your baking tray with foil paper and spread a very thin layer of oil evenly on the foil. This aids with "frying" the chicken and prevent the skin from sticking to the foil paper.

Lightly coat the wings with cornflour and as evenly as possible, shaking off the excess flour before placing on tray.

Place the wings in the oven and "fry" for 15 minutes and then turn the wings over the other side and "fry" for another 15 minutes, till golden brown. Take the wings out and let it soak up any excess oil on an absorbent paper towel before serving. Best served hot!

*Optional Step*
Many deep fried food we consume outside are deep fried twice to achieve a crispier outer layer. So just before I served the wings to our table, I laid a fresh foil paper on the baking tray, and place all the wings into the oven again. This time, at a high of about 200 degree celcius for about 10 more minutes or till crisp.


Till the next post, have a wonderful day!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Derby Hat and A Fascinator

I love to DIY as many things as I possibly can. I love to enhance essentials that may be bought in a very basic form or use my imagination and resources to create something from scratch, whenever possible. Basically, I just love to work with my hands (and make full use of the creative side of my brain). 

Recently, my DIY skill was put to the test when a close friend confided that she has to dress up for an event and for a specific derby theme. If you don't know yet, I love going beyond my boundaries when it comes to creating. Looking for a derby hat online was probably the easiest way out. The thing was, having it shipped in would take forever. By the time it arrives, the event would have been long over.

So, it was decided that I could come up with a fascinator since we all had no clue where to find those big hats in Singapore. Even if we were to find it, we figured it would probably be pretty costly. Very fortunately for me (or for my friend!), while I was out on my quest to get suitable materials to make the fascinator, I chanced upon this big plain hat! Oh, if only you can imagine the glee I had on my face and in my heart at that moment! I was reeling with excitement with the vision I had on the end product.

I found this plain hat at Bugis Village for only S$14.90.
When I got home, all I could think of was feathers, feathers, feathers. "But no birds on my hat! Lest they poop!", she said.

You see, I bought a whole lot of it at People's Park Complex, where a lot of my favourite craft stores are located in a single building. I had a vision to make it a classy hat and the feathers came into mind.

A big flower on the hat was also requested and I remembered that I've some unused artificial ones. These 2 flower combination came together and were perfect for the hat. The flowers, alongside a strand of big white acrylic pearls to go around the hat, made it exceptionally classy and elegant. And yes. I didn't forget em' feathers! The addition of the purple feathers gave the overall style an oomph.

If you can't tell just yet. I am pretty pleased with the outcome.

So, what do I do with the exaggerated "ton" of feathers I bought? I decided to make her a fascinator anyway so that she may have a choice of what to use at the day of her event.

Viola! The feathers put together with glue and secured with a felt base. Enhanced with a faux peacock style feather piece, which is actually an iron on piece. The metal hair clip was sewn on.

I'm very happy that I've unlocked another creativity level and that I managed to deliver an expectation. I hope that my friend will have a blast dressing up for the event.

*** At Adeline's Loft, it's not always only about customizing a jewelry. Exploring different kinds of accessories or gift ideas, is also part of my customization service. Do send me a query if you have something you would like to customize and we can discuss your desired creation together. Send me an email : oon.adeline[a] or visit my Facebook page and drop me a message from there. ***

Till the next post, have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

[Food Review] Marina South Curry House

The last time I stepped foot in the Tanjong Pagar vicinity was about 7 years ago, when I had a little private jewelry showcase invitation for the female staff in a recruitment office, during lunch hour. A few days ago, I was back at the area for a food tasting session with Marina South Curry House, and at a mall called 100am, which *ahem, I never knew existed. I certainly felt alien. Well, at least, now I know I have one more mall in my to-shop list! 

Anyway, back to my post. I found out, that the restaurant name Marina South Curry House, does not imply that their dishes are 100% curry based, as anyone would have rightly assumed so. They used to operate in Marina South but that was a very long time ago. It was a relief to know that they serve up old school zhichar dishes that caters to everyone in the family. So no worries there if there are family members, like my children, who are not into spicy food yet. 

The ambience of the restaurant portrays a sense of the olden days - nothing fanciful but definitely a comfortable and cosy setting, which I like.

S$3.90 per drink
We were introduced to try their signature drink - Iced Buah Long Long or buah kedongdong, which is better known in Malay. It was my first time trying it and I quite like it. It was slightly tart with a hint of mango flavor. Refreshing! It is a must-try.

S$8.90 per dish
When we dine with children, the sweet and sour pork dish is always a must-have at a zhichar stall. We liked the fact that the meat is very tender and not flour-filled crusted. There's enough of the sweet and the sour, which makes it an appetizing dish.

S$8.90 per dish
Pork ribs, when cooked right, is tender and it's meat will fall off the bones. It is our first time having curried pork ribs. This was a pretty flavorful dish and went great with our plain rice. If you are a novice with curry, this would probably suit your tastebud as it is mild. Spiciness level : 2 out of 5.

S$8.90 per dish
With a special dish name like that, how is it possible that it wouldn't taste heavenly? I've never come across such an exotic vegetable dish with a combination of long beads, aubergine, okra and stink bean (petai). The rempah (mixed spices) infused well with the vegetables and is very delectable! I'll be very happy to pair this alone with plain rice. Spiciness level : 3 out of 5.

S$8.90 per dish
It tasted nothing like the curried pork ribs, even though the curry looks the same. If you have a penchant for mutton, you will definitely enjoy this dish. I am quite particular about the gamey mutton flavor which was hardly present in this curry. Spiciness level is also pretty low : 2 out of 5.

S$18.90 per claypot
The 'Fish Head Bee Hoon' was a much awaited dish as the family is always on the quest for the best one. This is definitely not your typical kind of fish bee hoon soup you would expect from a zhichar stall. Although we appreciate that it was cooked with a rich, tasty and superior broth that has been simmered for over 6 hours, we couldn't help but be a little let down with a tad of fishiness in the soup that night. There is certainly room for improvement and I'm confident the chef will live up to the expectations of this dish in due time. This claypot 'Fish head bee hoon' is good for sharing.

I can't help but think of my favorite Thai food when I see green curry.  The chicken meat is tender and the aroma of the curry is pretty mouth-watering. It would have been perfect if it was a little less salty. Spiciness level : 2 out of 5

A wholesome vegetable dish which is lightly flavored. I love the crunch of the bok-choy, which was cooked to perfection.

S$12.90 per plate
Another dish we looked forward to having that night was the 'Salted Egg Chicken Wings' which met our expectations. Fried to perfection with salted egg coating, it gives the dish a very distinctive taste which  my children liked - even though they don't take salted eggs and were of course, not aware it was coated with it! The crispy skin was a plus.

The friendly boss of Marina South Curry House also served up 2 new fish dishes for us to try, which will be available at their new concept stall which I am looking forward to patronize. It's location is still a secret but I just had to share what I tried. I absolutely love the sambal fish dish shown on the left photo. Whereas my children enjoyed the sweet and tangy coated one on the right. The fish used were very fresh, soft and meaty. Definitely something to look forward to! The stall will ready for operation by year end so stay tuned for news of the location at their facebook page. It may just be very near you.

Overall food experience :  8/10
The food is fresh and the portions served are pretty generous. We especially like that the prices are kept affordable. A very family friendly and casual place to dine with attentive service. I would definitely go back to try their hor fun dishes, which looks very yummy too.

Many thanks to Agnes and Irene of ATMC for the invite.
ATMC facebook.

100 Tras Street #03-14
Singapore 079027

Contact number : 6694 8108

Operating hours :
11.30am - 4pm, 5pm - 9.30pm, daily

Till the next post, have a wonderful day!

Disclaimer : The Accidental Mom Blogger and family were invited for a food tasting session at the said restaurant. The opinions written in this blog post are purely my own. No monetary compensation was given.


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