Braised Chicken with Celery - simply tasty in Chinese style.

Celery has numerous important nutrients that are beneficial to overall health. It may help in the following amongst many others:- protects and lessens the risk of heart diseases; reduces inflammation in the body - arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma; supports digestion and eases flatulence; fiber for healthy digestive tract and aids in easing menstrual discomfort.

A word of caution for those on medication. Since celery cannot be interacted with certain drugs, consult a doctor if on drugs especially depressants and those that are for thyroid function. Besides that, avoid consuming it if easily susceptible to developing food allergy as celery especially the root can be a common cause of food allergy.

Having said that, the pros are more than the cons and thus this important vegetable is not to be excluded for those who do not have problematic food issues. Do eat moderate servings regularly a few times in a week. And of course, my recipe for today is including celery as one of my ingredients in braised chicken using the Chinese style of cooking; tasty and full of healthy goodness!

Braised Chicken with Celery
500g chicken legs
1/8 tsp ground black peppercorns
1 tsp light soya sauce
  • Chop chicken into moderate pieces and mix together with pepper and sauce. Set aside to marinate while preparing the ingredients as below.
200g celery
150g carrot
1 small onion
4 pips garlic
20g ginger
2 dried chillies or more
100 ml water
1 tbsp water
1 tsp oyster sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cornflour
1/2 tbsp cooking oil
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice wine 
  • Julienne celery into 1/2 cm widths.
  • Cut carrot lengthwise into halves and julienne into 1 cm widths.
  • Slice onion lengthwise into 1/2 cm wedges.
  • Lightly crush garlic and discard skin. Trim the heads.
  • Scrape skin from ginger and julienne thinly.
  • Snip chillies into 1 cm pieces. 
  • Mix together 1 tbsp water, oyster sauce, salt and cornflour.
How to cook
  1. Coat heated wok/pan with cooking oil and sear chicken, garlic and ginger over high heat for 2 minutes or until nicely browned.
  2. Add 100 ml water, carrot, chillies and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover and braise for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
  3. Remove cover, turn heat to high and add celery and onion. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Mix in cornflour mixture and cook another 1 minute.
  5. Stir in sesame oil and rice wine for 1/2 minute and turn off heat. Dish out and serve with rice (serves 2 to 3 pax).
** Double the water and seasonings for more gravy if preferred.

Here's wishing everyone abundant blessings in the year 2018. Happy New Year!


Glass Noodles with Mixed Vegetables / 'Chap Chye Tanghoon' - a popular traditional Chinese dish.

My last post was on glass noodles and I will continue with another recipe today using it but with a difference; noodles taking a back seat with mixed vegetables especially cabbage in the forefront. Reason being, this dish is usually eaten with rice.  But of course, cooking is always versatile and if a one meal noodle dish is preferred, increase the noodles and decrease the vegetables by all means. Adjust the sauce though since the decrease in vegetables also decreases the sweetness.

Glass Noodles with Mixed Vegetables or 'Chap Chye Tanghoon'  in the Chinese Hokkien dialect is a Chinese traditional dish. The ingredients which are commonly used are cabbage, glass noodles, dried beancurd (any type), dried shitake mushrooms, dried black fungus and dried lily buds. Some Chinese clans add on other ingredients besides these. It can be made as either vegetarian or non-vegetarian with meat. Some strictly cook the vegetarian version to observe religious beliefs and also as one of the many dishes to celebrate Chinese New Year reunion dinner. However, there are many who cook both versions on ordinary days.

I will be sharing the vegetarian version with you here and which I grew up eating. It was not because of any religious belief but as a normal fare (a little oyster sauce added) since our table would already be laden with meat side dishes each meal time. Whenever I saw roast pork, fried or braised soya sauce chicken, I knew mother would include vegetarian glass noodles and her ever popular pounded 'sambal belachan' (chilli shrimp paste dip). Yummy!

Glass Noodles with Cabbage (Vegetarian) / 'Chap Chye Tanghoon'
20g dried Shitake mushrooms
5g dried black fungus
50g dried beancurd sticks
5g dried lily buds
50g glass noodles (starch of green beans and potatoes)
  • Wash and soak mushrooms and fungus in a pot for 2 hours or until softened. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Squeeze excess water from mushrooms. Slice mushrooms and fungus. Reserve 250ml of the boiled stock.
  • Rinse beancurd and soak in water for 2 hours. Discard water and cut into 4 cm lengths.
  • Rinse and soak lily buds in water for 15 minutes. Discard water and tie each into a knot.
  • Soak noodles in water for 15 minutes and drain.
200g cabbage
30g carrot
50g onion
20g garlic
2 tbsp peanut oil
  • Slice cabbage and carrots into small pieces.
  • Slice onion lengthwise into 1cm wedges.
  • Mince the garlic.
250ml reserved boiled stock.
1 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp salt
  • Mix all together.
How to cook
  1. Saute garlic in heated oil until lightly browned.
  2. Add mushrooms, fungus, beancurd, lily buds and stir fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Mix in cabbage, carrot and onion. Turn heat to high and stir fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Pour in sauce and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium high and simmer for 3 minutes.
  5. Add noodles and turn heat to high. Cook for 2 minutes, lightly tossing to mix everything.
  6. Turn off heat, transfer to a serving platter. Serves 3 to 4 pax with other side dishes.

** Mushrooms, fungus and beancurd can be soaked to soften one day ahead. Remove from water, and store in airtight container in the refrigerator. On the day of cooking, leave in room temperature while preparing the rest of the ingredients.


Glass Noodles with Enoki Mushrooms - springy and 'chew-licious'.

Today, I will be sharing a recipe on glass noodles which is one of my all-time favourite noodles. I don't cook it often now though since there are so many other types of noodles to choose from whenever I want to cook an easy, quick and all-in-one meal of noodles. I feel kind of spoilt for choice whenever I see so many varieties of dry and wet noodles of different lengths, shapes, sizes and colours that are easily available. And with new types appearing on the shelves too! However, I have a habit of checking the ingredients list of unfamiliar brands before any purchase and when in doubt, I tend to fall back on those that are reputably safe and have always been using.

Glass noodles or 'tanghoon' in Chinese Hokkien which is my dialect is also known as glass vermicelli or cellophane noodles. Probably it is because they turn clear and translucent when cooked. My personal name for them is 'chew-licious'! They are flavourless in their dried forms but become springy and delicious after cooking with other ingredients. Although they are not made from rice or wheat, they are also classified as a type of noodles made from the starch of green beans, mung beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tapioca or yam. They are sometimes referred to as bean threads for those made from beans and potato threads for those made from potatoes.

I am using glass noodles that are made from a mix of green beans and potatoes in this recipe. Enoki mushrooms with their firm and crunchy bite and yet tender texture complement them very well. Why not make your festive spread this season a fusion one by including this delicious dish?

Glass Noodles with Enoki Mushrooms

150g glass noodles
  • Soak noodles in water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
200g pork tenderloin or chicken
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
  • Slice pork into desired size.  Mix all together and set aside.
1 large leek
100 g carrot
100g or more Enoki / Straw Mushrooms
4 pips garlic
2 shallots
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp cooking oil
  • Slice off the root ends of the leek and wash off the dirt especially in between the layers of the leaves.  Cut the white bulbous part lengthwise into halves and julienne and the leaves too.
  • Julienne the carrot.
  • Trim away the base of mushrooms and brush off any remaining dirt. Separate into individual strands.
  • Mince the garlic and shallots together finely.
250ml water
2 tsp light soya sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt
  • Mix all together.

How to cook
  1. Saute minced garlic and shallots in heated 1 tbsp oil over medium low heat until aromatic and lightly browned.
  2. Add pork, turn heat to high and stir fry until nearly cooked.
  3. Mix in carrot and leek and fry for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in mushrooms, 1/8 tsp salt and cook for another minute or until a little moist. Turn off the heat and scoop out into a plate. Set aside.
  5. Pour sauce into the wok and bring to a boil. Add in noodles and simmer over high heat for 2 minutes, turning gently  twice. Turn off the heat and stir in cooked vegetables. Mix together and then dish out into a serving platter.  Serves 3 to 4 pax.
** If cooking for big groups or buffet spread, cut the noodles into shorter lengths for easy mixing and serving.


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