|Gong fu tea|
Before that, just to talk a little about my grandparents. They were immigrants from China to Malaya in the 1920s and were here to earn a better living. They were from the district of Shantou, also used to be known as Swatow. They were Teochew people, they speak the teochew dialect. Few of my uncles and cousins who stayed with them know how to speak the dialect but not my mum. Neither do I. My grandfather drinks Oolong tea everyday, in Gongfu tea style..with that miniature set of teapot and cups. They eat porridge most of the time, hardly see them eating rice. As far as i can remember, i always see steamed fish and salted vegetables on the table. After checking with my mum, she told me about these 2 dishes. My mother is not a great cook, she's not really fond of cooking. I think some of the dishes that she learnt from my grandma were probably these two and also Or Nee, a kind of sweet yam dessert.
This bok choy soup tastes a little similar to the 'choi keok' that we chinese normally eat, minus the spiciness. Though it looks like the dried vegetables soup but it's different. It's a little sour in taste and the soup sweetness comes from all the bones that we put in. While my grandma put in all sorts of bones, my mum suggested to put in the roasted pork trotters and some chicken meat for sweetness.According to my mum, this is my grandfather's favourite soup. Though it doesnt really look appealing, it's a very nice and appetising soup. I'm not really sure if this is a Teochew kind of soup but surely comes from a Teochew grandma who cooks Teochew dishes all the time.
Now what you see on the right is a popular kind of teochew dish, you can find this in almost all teochew restaurants or food stalls. It's a kind of braised meat.. pig's cheek and ears to be exact. I know this may sound disgusting and yucky to some of you, well.. if i were not exposed to these kind of food from young, i would probably think like you too. It's normal. My grandpa likes to eat these, one cooked in this way and another one, just boil them till tender and serve with garlic chilli dipping sauce. It's my first time cooking this, instructions and method come from my mum, no proper measurement.." just taste as you cook along", she told me. Besides this, the teochew people will also like to add in pork belly, tau foo and eggs together with the cheek and ears. Not that i'm also fond of eating this but i think it's nice to show some of the food coming from the Teochew group. If you are keen to cook a dish based on a heritage , do join in the event. Details can be found here.
|ingredients for soup|
Bak Choi Soup
400gms bak choi ( cut into pieces)
600gm roasted pork trotter, chop into pieces
500 gm chicken meat, cut into pieces
3 bulb smoked garlic, flatten
salt to taste.
Put in all the ingredients into a pot, bring it to boil, lower fire and continue to cook for 1.5 hrs.
Note: quite a big pot of soup, can serve 5-6 people. You can easily adjust the amount of ingredients to cook a smaller portion.
Braised Pig's Cheek and Ears
300gm pig's cheek and ears, (cleaned and torched, this can be done by the butcher)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
3 pieces licorice/ 'kam chou'
4 star anise
1/2 clove garlic, flatten
1. Clean the pig's cheek and ears and blanched under boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove and discard water.
2.In a pot, put in water, oyster sauce, light soya sauce, dark soya sauce, licorice, star anise, garlic and pigs cheek and ears and bring to boil. Once boil, lower fire and let simmer for about 1 hour till meat is tender but not too soft and gravy is thicken.