Chefs Tiew Boon Wee and Chris Eng share their recipes for these famous zi char treats. You’ll be surprised by how easy they are to cook at home.
Poached Baby Spinach With Egg Trio In Superior Broth
POACHED BABY SPINACH WITH EGG TRIO IN SUPERIOR BROTH
By Tiew Boon Wee, executive chef, Seafood Paradise.
For the broth: 1 tbsp chicken stock powder 300ml warm water A pinch of salt.
200g Chinese baby spinach (about 2 bunches) 1½ tbsp cooking oil 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 50g lean minced pork 1 salted egg yolk, diced 1 egg, beaten ½ century egg, diced.
1 In a bowl, dissolve the chicken stock powder in warm water. Stir in a pinch of salt and set aside.
2 In a pot, blanch the spinach in boiling water for 3min and set aside.
3 Heat the cooking oil in a wok set over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry until it begins to brown. Remove and set aside.
4 Stir-fry the minced meat and salted egg yolk for 1min. Stir in the chicken broth, beaten egg, century egg, and fried garlic. Simmer for 15sec, then serve immediately.
Homemade Teochew Prawn Rolls
HOMEMADE TEOCHEW PRAWN ROLLS
By Tiew Boon Wee Makes three rolls
3 water chestnuts, boiled for 20min, peeled and finely diced 1 coriander stem, finely minced large carrot, shredded ½ yellow onion, diced.
2 eggs 1 tbsp oyster sauce 1 tbsp sesame oil A dash of pepper A dash of fivespice powder 500g minced meat (preferably lean pork) 100g fresh prawns, minced 100g cuttlefish paste*.
3 large sheets dried beancurd skin (30cm by 20cm) 3½ tbsp tapioca flour Cooking oil, for deep-frying 2 tbsp kecap manis.
1 Combine all the Mixture A ingredients. Set aside.
2 In a bowl, beat the eggs, oyster sauce, sesame oil, pepper and five-spice powder from Mixture B until well combined.
3 In a larger bowl, mix the minced meat, minced shrimp and cuttlefish paste. Pour in the egg mixture and combine thoroughly.
4 Add Mixture A to complete the filling.
5 Briefly dip the beancurd skin in water and then place on a clean surface. Spoon the filling onto the bottom of the sheet, leaving a 2.5cm gap at the bottom and sides.
6 Fold the bottom edge over the filling, then fold the sides over and roll tightly towards the top. Dab the two corners at the top with a bit of meat filling to “glue” the edges.
7 Steam for 20min and cool. Slice into bite-sized portions and coat with tapioca flour.
8 Set a wok over medium heat and add enough cooking oil for deep-frying. Fry the rolls for 2-3 min or until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel to drain.
9 Serve with kecap manis or any sweet sauce.
*Cuttlefish paste can be found in the chilled section near the tofu in major supermarkets.
Deep-fry the kang kong leaves in small batches, so each one cooks separately.
Crispy Kang Kong With Cuttlefish In Seafood Sauce
CRISPY KANG KONG WITH CUTTLEFISH IN SEAFOOD SAUCE
By Tiew Boon Wee.
For the seafood sauce:
1 tsp hoisin sauce 4 tsp sweet Thai chilli sauce 1 tsp chilli sauce 1 tsp ketchup 1 tsp oyster sauce ½ tsp sesame oil.
100g all-purpose flour 100ml water Cooking oil, for deep-frying 100g kangkong leaves (about 2 bunches), stalks removed 1 cuttlefish (about 300g), rinsed A pinch of salt A dash of pepper White sesame seeds (optional).
1 Combine all the seafood sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
2 In another bowl, combine flour and water to make the batter. Mix until there are no lumps, and set aside.
3 Set a wok over medium heat and add enough oil for deep frying. Dip each kangkong leaf into the batter until well-coated, and drop one by one into the hot oil. Cook for about 1min, until crispy, remove and transfer to a paper towel to drain the oil.
4 Prepare the cuttlefish. Cut it open and remove the head, innards, ink sac, plastic-like spine and membrane. Lay it flat and score the flesh diagonally, about 1cm apart. Do the same in the other direction to get a criss-cross pattern. Slice the cuttlefish into chunks, about 7-8cm long.
5 Blanch the cuttlefish pieces in boiling water for 1min. Set aside.
6 To serve, place the kangkong leaves on a plate and arrange the cuttlefish on top. Drizzle seafood sauce over and garnish with sesame seeds.
Cereal burns easily in hot oil. Toss it about quickly after adding it to the wok.
By Chris Eng, chef and co-owner, Star Yong Kwang BBQ Seafood
2 cups Nestle Nestum Multi-Grain Cereal 1½ tsp milk powder 1½ tsp pork floss ½ tbsp caster sugar 500g medium-sized prawns 1 egg, beaten 2 cups potato starch Cooking oil, for deep-frying ½ tbsp margarine 4 curry leaves 1 chilli padi, cut into 5 1 egg yolk.
1 Evenly mix the cereal, milk powder, pork fioss and sugar. Set aside.
2 Coat the prawns with the beaten egg and then the potato starch.
3 Heat cooking oil in a wok set over high heat. In two batches, deep-fry the prawns for about 5min or until golden brown. Remove and set aside. Discard the oil.
4 Lower the heat and melt the margarine in the wok. Add the curry leaves and chilli padi. Add the egg yolk and stir quickly until the mixture bubbles and turns golden brown. Add the prawns, and then the cereal mixture. Toss to coat evenly. Serve.
Pat off any excess batter on the chicken before frying, so the outer coating is not too thick.
Shrimp Paste Chicken
SHRIMP PASTE CHICKEN
By Chris Eng
1kg chicken wings 80g shrimp paste 2 eggs, beaten 1 tbsp caster sugar ½ cup corn flour 1 cup potato starch 2 cups water Cooking oil, for deep-frying.
1 Marinate the chicken with the shrimp paste, eggs and sugar. Leave to rest for 30min at room temperature.
2 Meanwhile, mix the corn flour, potato starch and water for the batter.
3 Heat the oil in a wok set over high heat. Turn heat down to medium and deep-fry the wings in four batches until golden brown. Each batch should take about 8min. Serve hot.
Salted Egg Yolk Pork Ribs
SALTED EGG YOLK PORK RIBS
By Chris Eng.
1kg pork ribs, chopped into 4cm pieces 2 eggs, beaten 1 tbsp + 1 tsp caster sugar A pinch of salt ½ cup corn flour Cooking oil, for deep-frying ½ tbsp margarine 5 salted egg yolks, steamed for 15min and mashed 4 curry leaves ½ tin (200g) evaporated milk.
1 Marinate the pork ribs with the eggs, 1 tbsp sugar and salt. Chill in the fridge for 15min.
2 Coat the ribs with corn flour.
3 Heat the cooking oil in a wok set over high heat. Deep-fry the ribs in three batches until golden brown. Each batch should take 5-8min. Remove and set aside. Discard the oil.
4 Over low heat, add margarine to the wok. Mix in the mashed salted egg yolks and curry leaves, taking care not to let the sauce burn. Pour in the evaporated milk and keep stirring to get a thick gravy.
5 Stir in the remaining sugar and add the pork ribs. Stir-fry until evenly coated. Serve hot.