Category Archives: Chinese

Step-By-Step Recipe: Spicy Dried Shrimp Rolls / Hae Bee Hiam Rolls (蝦米香)

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Chinese New Year (‘CNY’) is already in full force, and I figure that these are the three possible reactions you might have towards the picture of the Spicy Dried Prawn Rolls / Hae Bee Hiam (蝦米香) above:

1. No more, just NO MORE – They were good while they lasted but I am already harbouring a sore throat from over-consumption…
2. NO, just give me some! A handful will do, or just a couple! What is CNY without these?!
3. Excuse me, but what are these?

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TummyTroll Specials: An overseas student’s Chinese New Year

TummyTroll’s homemade prawn roll snacks (hae bee hiam)… More on this later ;)

Have you ever wondered how Singaporean students abroad celebrate Chinese New Year away from family and friends? Our celebrations might be much more toned down with barely a decoration or two, but you would be surprised at how creative many of us are when it comes to CNY! Here are some things I have noticed across most student celebrations:

1. Almost all of us use our trusty rice cookers for “steamboat” because this REALLY works very well
2. Mahjong (yes, those with the tiles) and card games always find their way into our celebrations
3. Can’t get your hands on yusheng, pineapple tarts and other festive goodies? We DIY and make them from scratch! Continue reading

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Short Recipe: Chwee Kueh (水粿)

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Chwee Kueh are little steamed cakes made from rice flour and water, topped with savoury preserved turnip and a dollop of sambal chilli. They’re steamed in small bowl-like metal containers and form a small “dimple” or well of water in the middle when done (because they’re so soft and moist)! It’s a really popular breakfast item and snack. Fortunately they are also one of the easiest Singaporean/Malaysian delights to make at home because they require so few ingredients that should be readily available at oriental supermarkets. It’s really a godsend to overseas students like us, because it’s one of the easiest ways to cure homesickness!

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We’re trying… Pineapple Tarts (黄梨酥 / 黄梨挞)

So, as you might recall… We made a successful Pineapple Jam for pineapple tarts, commonly deemed to be the most tedious and difficult step in the process. What next? Being the half-ambitious, half-greedy souls we were… We set aside an evening’s time to make the dough for the tarts.
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Short Recipe: Pineapple Jam for Pineapple Tarts (黄梨酥 / 黄梨挞)

66118_532908936742403_733011070_n (1)When it comes to Chinese New Year snacks, the undisputed popularity champion must go to Pineapple Tarts. Almost every ethnic Chinese person I know likes pineapple tarts –  I’d hardly found anyone who dislikes or hates it. And I can understand why – With buttery soft tart bases and moist sweet-sour pineapple jam, pineapple tarts just scream delicious!

Does your family purchase pineapple tarts from suppliers or supermarkets outside, or do your grandmothers, aunts, mothers (and grandfathers, uncles, fathers by all means) make them all at home? I belong to the former and grew up listening to my mother chant “Pineapple tarts are one of the hardest snacks to make”. My mother’s words are definitely not an exaggeration… My greatest respect goes to all who make their own pineapple tarts. Just imagine stirring pineapple jam over the stove over low heat for hours standing, then making a buttery dough so sensitive to touch (butter melts easily when it comes into contact with our human hands), and then finally making enough tubs of them to give away to your relatives (oh those babies, how could you bear to part with them!)

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We’re eating… Fried Nian Gao in Crispy Batter (炸年糕)

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Hello! Just a few days ago at Step-By-Step Recipe: Chinese Steamed Sticky Rice Cake / Nian Gao (年糕) we steamed our own Nian Gao from scratch, so today we’re here to fry these goodies into little parcels of melting calories joy! Why, it’s really quite a versatile delicacy that can be enjoyed steamed, fried or even as a sandwich (more on this later). It’s most commonly pan-fried with a thin coating of beaten eggs – Anybody knows why? In any case at TummyTroll we made a crispy batter that gives the fried goods a nice eggy crunch. No recipe this time as we were not very sure with the proportions, but we’d have provided some sound recipes from other bloggers below! Enjoy photos of the process below:

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Step-By-Step Recipe: Chinese Steamed Sticky Rice Cake / Nian Gao (年糕)

18284_535693313130632_647927807_nLooks familiar to you? This is a traditional Chinese New Year delicacy known as Steamed Sticky Rice Cake, or Nian Gao (年糕), made from glutinous rice flour. If you’re in the UK like us, you might have realized that it’s not easy at all to obtain this Chinese New Year goodie anywhere. I reckon some shops in Chinatown (London, Manchester, Newcastle etc) would stock imported or home-made versions for deprived hungry Nian Gao lovers but it is definitely very expensive, not so good for poor students on a budget. Good news then, it’s actually not that difficult to recreate this in your kitchen using the “short cut” method of caramelizing the sugar first. What’s more, you need less than 5 ingredients, and a hardy steamer. It’s mostly sugar, flour, some time and a lot of patience – Try making it yourself too!

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Happy Chinese New Year 2013 – Calling for entries from YOU!

Dong dong dong chiang~ Happy Chinese New Year! 2013 is the year of the Snake, and the second Chinese New Year I’d spent away from home. Unfortunately (and ironically) in Bristol the most atmospheric place in the entire city is at the oriental supermarket where we saw throngs of Chinese students sweeping goodies off the shelves in preparation for a weekend of celebratory feasting – I am definitely missing out on all the rowdy celebrations, incessant snacking and shameless red packets back home… Nevertheless it still remains my favourite festival of the year, and I am sure many ethnic Chinese would share my sentiments. It’s a time for feasting and festivity, but more importantly it’s a time for family and friends. Very much like Christmas but much more boisterous and unabashedly red!

At TummyTroll we have a few special Chinese New Year recipes coming up for this special season – I understand we’re a little late (but hey this special occasion isn’t just a one day thing, it lasts for 2 weeks!) I was inspired by many of my friends who made their own Chinese New Year snacks for a variety of reasons, like 2nd year Cambridge student Jia Yi who made her own pineapple tarts with her boyfriend Xin Jie… I was mindblown:

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I didn’t think pineapple tarts could be created at home – Afterall I grew up buying all these snacks from the supermarket. We were hence inspired to set up a TummyTroll special entry documenting the Chinese New Year experiences of all our fellow overseas students. If you’re a student spending Chinese New Year away from your home country, we’re interested to find out how YOU spent your Chinese New Year. We welcome all pictures, stories or even short write-ups. We would love to see how you had your reunion dinners, whether you used your rice cookers as induction hot pots (like my housemates and me haha), whether you decided to deck out in red with all your friends… Everything! Do drop all your comments and stories below or you may contact me directly on Facebook.

We are looking forward to all your submissions! Enjoy the remaining days of Chinese New Year – Huat ah! (This means “prosperity” in the Hokkien dialect) :D

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Step-By-Step Recipe: Soya Milk / Soy Milk (豆奶 , 豆花水 , 豆浆)

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After what seemed like an eternity of hiatus on this space, we’re back! We apologize for the lack of updates these couple of weeks – The start of another school term always sends us into a mad flurry with (last minute) work and rushed assignments. Not to mention how many microwave meals I’d been having… My mother wouldn’t be proud.

Anyway, we were nursing a really strong craving for Soya Milk a while ago. Okay, maybe just me. I was dreaming of drinking fragrant, piping hot soya milk for breakfast – It’s something I’d come to take for granted while I was growing up in Singapore. I always preferred fancier drinks with the likes of Starbucks frappes or KOI bubble tea despite the fact that they probably also cost 5 times as much. Ever since I came to the UK, I came to miss nothing but soya milk (beverages wise). Which comes as a surprise to me as well – I’d never missed drinking Bubble Tea but here I am constantly thinking of the poor man’s soya milk! It doesn’t help that the soya milk we find in the UK can be rather overpriced or another thing altogether (I’d tried several brands of soya milk and the taste is just different).

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We’re eating… Chinese-style Chicken, Spinach & Wolfberry / Goji Soup

Have you ever seen a chicken soup this red? Well, I hadn’t myself. I went a little overboard with the wolfberries (goji berries) and the soup became this shocking shade of red after 6 hours in the slow-cooker crock pot. Before you start gagging, it was still delicious – I kept a leftover portion till the next day and the flavours were even further intensified.

Maybe I should really call this “Wolfberry Soup” instead of Chicken Soup. :P

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