Wednesday, January 21, 2015
I have been frying eggs crispy since the day I was tall enough to reach the stove and all of a sudden it's currently a revolution. It's so hip it requires defence. It's so much talked about some find it quite difficult to master (what do I do with that mucus around the yolk?!), the perceived skill level required perhaps on par with what some chefs qualify as the perfect sunny side up and one day warrant its own test slot in cooking competitions.
Because simplicity and caveman methods are now a trend - something we have to fight for, while sous vide anything and perfectly poached eggs are what one would expect from any respectable menu. People who call themselves chefs or expert cooks no longer remember how to cook rice on the stove with the dingiest cheap metal pot and no rice cooker, understand the best way to use high heat, not put oil (and worse still, a piece of meat) onto a cold pan or the fact that fat and caramelization anything equal flavor. Basic instinct and common sense are lost in the kitchen, as if it's not bad enough the world is losing it already based on recent events unfurling before our lives.
Make this any given day, season it well (please, good soy sauce only) and put it on everything. As the slightly crunchy-edged fluffy whites and creamy yolks embalmed with a soft layer of film wreak havoc in your mouth, embrace the fact that we never did need much to make good food absolutely brilliant.
Crispy Fried Egg
Best done using a Chinese wok for its concaved bottom. If using a skillet or cast iron pan, reach for the smallest one in your kitchen.
- 1 good glug peanut or other vegetable oil (not butter)
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A dash of good quality light soy sauce
- A few drops of toasted sesame oil
Heat up the wok or pan over high flame. Pour in the oil and let it heat up to just smoking, swirling the fat around. Add the egg, reduce heat to medium-high. Let the hot oil and pan do its job and just stay put, taking in all that drama while the whites bubble around the top and more than a few drops of oil splatter around your stove top. Refrain from moving or touching it as the edges begin to brown. This should take about a minute.
With a spoon or spatula, spoon over some of the hot oil over the top to help cook the white (you can tilt the pan/wok slightly to scoop out some oil). Once there are no more raw whites visible, remove gently, draining out excess oil (best done with a slotted fish spatula). Rest on desired meal or dish, season as desired. Continue with the next egg if required.
Continue reading Crispy Fried Egg
Friday, October 03, 2014
These days I find myself relearning the basics.
Using fewer ingredients, keeping things simple.
As the world goes on to demand much and more, I try not to forget how to choose fresh fish at the market, how to fillet it, make the best of its briny flesh and extract flavor from every last bits of its bones. I fry an egg, make it crispy around the edges and toss my favorite soy sauce with thin noodles. When I come home hungry with nothing else but cold rice, all a Chinese really needs is a wok and some spring onion.
Often we confuse simple as easy, laborious as difficult.
We say simple is boring and complicated is creative. Let's think of something new, do an interpretation of this. The fundamentals are forgotten. How our ancestors farmed, cooked and ate discounted as traditional, not quite enough for our (seemingly) evolved palates.
In almost every culture, our prior generations have created things that worked. Dishes passed on to us that make us feel almost broken should we be deprived of them for just a short time. The French, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese, they didn't have much. They didn't need much to create the best things with flavors and textures which has come to haunt us for our lifetime and those of our children if we're smart enough to preserve these gems.
We, what have we created?
Continue reading Simplicity
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Growing up my mother used to tell me stories on how she grew up with raw eggs cracked over hot rice with just a dash of good soy sauce and a meal like that was awesome. Of course, the eggs were collected from grandma's chicken coops, still warm and freshness unparalleled by any eggs you get of third party vendors. The yolks were almost crimson and so aromatic, sometimes just a pinch of salt and white pepper would do the job.
Those were the stories, I never had Tamago Kake Gohan (卵かけご飯) and didn't know it's also close to a Japanese institution till I had it at a quaint little casual eatery at Boat Quay. Theirs were simply served with some braised chicken bits, torn nori and sliced scallions. I polished off the entire bowl, feeling surprisingly contented over something so simple. What can I say, I'm Asian - all I need is rice and eggs.
Since then I've stocked my pantry with Japanese rice, furikake, nori sheets and shichimi togarashi. TKG is perfect for quick and clean weeknight meals. I'd grill teriyaki drenched fish or chicken in the oven while steaming the rice. If you're feeling fancy throw in some roasted mushrooms or leeks. Instead of soy, all that caramelized goodness from roasting the protein goes on top of the rice. Unless you're adverse to runny eggs (most eggs we get today are pasteurized, so salmonella poisoning would be unlikely), I strongly recommend that you try this at least once.
Once your rice is cooked and rested (but still piping hot), make a well in the center and crack a room temperature egg over it. Quickly garnish and always, always stir with a chopstick, like so. And no, despite what this article says, you don't need a special TKG soy sauce to go with it, just good soy.
Continue reading Tamago Kake Gohan (卵かけご飯)
Life Is Great explores the incredible world of food and cooking. We hope to share with you our most delicious moments and inspirations.
“Just like becoming an expert in wine–you learn by drinking it, the best you can afford–you learn about great food by finding the best there is, whether simply or luxurious. The you savor it, analyze it, and discuss it with your companions, and you compare it with other experiences.”
Julia Child (Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
“Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.”
- Crispy Fried Egg
- Tamago Kake Gohan (卵かけご飯)
- Strawberry Pie
- One Pot Chicken Rice
- Bak Chor Mee (肉脞面 - Minced Pork Noodle)
- Hakka Salted Egg Steamed Pork (咸蛋蒸猪肉)
- Best Egg Salad
- Blood Orange Chiffon Cake
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
- Rose Levy Beranbaum's Basic Brioche
- Meyer Lemon Bars
- Hong Kong Part III
- Hong Kong Part II: Zongzi/Bakchang (粽子/肉粽)
- Caffè HABITŪ (the table) at G.O.D. Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
- Hong Kong Part I
- Australia 2010 Part 1: Melbourne
- Bourke Street Bakery, Sydney
- Il Fornaio, St Kilda
- Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne