I am a scientist who loves to cook because there are many similarities between working in a lab and cooking in a kitchen. I love to share my cooking experience with you and to inspire others to cook.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cantaluope with Translucent Sago and Fragrant Coconut Syrup

This is one of my favorite desserts of all time. No surprise, it involves coconut milk. It is a refreshing yet rich dessert that is commonly consumed as a drink. A certain restaurant in New York City has perfected this dessert in an item on their menu called "Frozen Banana Tapioca" and I have been determine to revisit my childhood memory and to recreate that dish with my own interpretation.

Cantaloupe/Honey Dew/Papaya - 1 small fruit is more than enough
A bag of sago
Sugar (for making the syrup)
1 can of coconut cream

Each of the ingredient in this dessert needs to be prepared separately for assembly later.


A) Fruits  - cut into small pieces and refrigerate
B) Sago - cook until translucent.
C) Syrup - Boil approximately 2-3 cups of water. Add sugar until the syrup attains your preferred sweetness. Chill the syrup in the refrigerator.

1) Mix coconut cream with the syrup. I would start with a 1:1 ratio of coconut cream and syrup. There is a lot of freedom on how you much of each to use. It all depends on your taste and preference.
2) Lay the fruits at the bottom of a bowl, add the sago over the top and drizzle the coconut syrup.

It is that simple, isnt it?

Fresh fruit, the fragrance of coconut, the sweetness of the syrup and the soft texture of Sago. It dun't get any better than this. You can definitely use other fruits such as honeydew, papaya, watermelon, all kinds of berries and even banana.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Braised Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetable

This is one of those dishes that I categorized under the title "Classic Mom's dishes".  I would ask my mom to make this dish whenever I get the opportunity, which is rare. I am a blessed with a mother who cooks really well and extremely blessed to have my mother sojourning at my place for a short term.

We finally made it to Chinatown to buy the necessary ingredients to make this dish:

Braised Pork Belly with Salted Dried Vegetable.

So what is this Preserved Vegetable? In Mandarin, it is called 梅菜。 As the name suggested, vegetables (usually some kind of mustard) are salted and dried under the sun. As in most regions with cold winter weather, vegetables are pickled/preserved so that there is vegetable on the dinner table during winter times.

Ingredients  (10 servings)

One bunch of preserved vegetable (about 1 lb)
Pork Belly (about 1.5 lb)
Pork Butt/Pork Shoulder (about 1 lb)

                                                                Preserved Vegetable


One whole garlic bulb
Two thumb-size ginger
half tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons light soy sauce,
3tablespoons dark soy sauce


All of the work in making this dish are in the preparation

1. Cut the meat into small chunks and boiled in water for 10 minutes to remove the grim.
2. Clean the preserved vegetable thoroughly and chopped into small pieces
3. Clean and remove excess dry skin from the garlic (leave it as a whole bulb)
4. Slice the ginger into thin slices

1. Combine the cooked pork, preserved vegetable and all the seasoning ingredients into a pot.
2. Add just enough water to cover the top of the meat/vegetable.
3. Turn the heat on high.
4. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 1-1.5 hours. Or until the meat is fully tenderized.
5. Seasoned with more salt if needed.

Imagine you are sitting outside an old quaint cottage in the village with your partner when the sun is setting. You basked in the residual warmth of the sun and enjoy a bowl of rustic stew. That's the only way I can describe the feeling of eating this dish.

If that's not pleasurable enough, treat yourself to a glass of homemade mint tea.