In this series of articles, LocalHood volunteer @Sze Yeen, an avid cook herself, speaks to 3 fathers of the community that love to cook for their family. These are regular fathers, not professionally cooks or even working in the F&B sector just those who enjoy sharing their love for cooking with those they love most in their lives.
In this profile of our Father's Day Series, Sze speaks about food: The love for making a meal, the origin of the love for cooking with another foodie and loves-to-cook dad, who also happens to be Sze's better half CHEW 😎👍🏻. Chew shares with LocalHooders, some of his tried and tested recepies which win him the WOWs each time :-) . Enjoy!!!
Like many of us, Chew’s first cooking attempt was when he was missing home cooked food while in college. Omelette should be doable. So he thought. His first ever dish; preserved radish omelette “chai poh neng” was way too salty and totally inedible. That was his first cooking lesson; take the time to learn the ingredients and how they complement each other. For those who are not familiar with this popular Malaysian Chinese dish, preserved radish is heavily salted thus salt is not required for the recipe.
A dish inspired from our Singapore visits and not available in Hong Kong, black pepper crab is one of Chew’s signature dish.
Chew has come a long way since his disastrous college cooking days. These days, when it is steak night or when we feel like having linguine alle vongole Jamie Oliver, my only contribution for the meal is the salad. So what motivates Chew to the kitchen these days? In his own words, “For my family to appreciate the food I like and to enjoy them the same way as I do.” Trust me, that is just partial answer. You see, I married a sensory foodie. The food source, the ingredients, the preparation, how it’s served, the taste and what might go well with it. He cares about the overall eating experience. If the overall experience is not up to his expectations or if he perceives it’s not value for money for a particular dish he likes, Chew will try to replicate that dish at home. He enjoys the challenge of perfecting the taste and texture. For the life of me, I could never tell the subtle difference between the first to the 3rd attempt. They were just as delicious.
Shaanxi style knife cut noodles “dao xiao mian” 刀削面 served with minced meat, tomato omelette and blanched choy sum is a family favourite.
Chew learnt the technique of cutting (shredding) the noodles from an ex-neighbour who hailed from the birthplace of this traditional dish.
Thanks to Chew’s persistence, we get to have freshly baked baguette at home these days. He has recently mastered the perfect French baguette. Taking the opportunity while working from home the last few months, Chew learnt the technique from several youtube sources and experimented with different kinds of flour besides the regular bread flour. We had baguette made from stone ground whole wheat as well as Korean bread flour. The entire family unanimously agree the best baguette uses French T65 flour. The perfectionist side of Chew was not happy with just finding the right flour. Not willing to burn a hole in our pockets, we went hunting around town and found a budget DIY scoring knife from a stationary shop!
Chew’s initial 80 cent scoring knife.
Perfectly scored baguette with the proper scoring knife that cost HKD15!!
Chew’s baguette is crusty and chewy on the outside while soft inside 😋😋.
So what are three tips Chew will like to share with aspiring new home chefs ?
Just do it and learn from mistakes
Be meticulous to achieve the desired results
Always aim to enjoy the food together with others
To inspire the cook in you, here’s a super simple and yet delicious 3 ingredient recipe from Chew :
Ingredients (quantity is up to individual preference):
Fresh live clams
Seeded and julienned fresh bird-eye chilli (optional)
Clean out the sands from the live clams
Place cleaned and drained clams on a wide flat plate. Do not to overlap the clams.
3. Put generous amount of shredded ginger on top of the clams. Amount depending on your spicy tolerance. If you like it spicier, sprinkle seeded and shredded chilli on top of the ginger.
4. Pour enough shaoxing wine to immerse 90% of the clams.
5. Heat steamer under high heat.
6. Once water is boiling, place plate on the steaming rack and cover the lid.
7. Steam clams over high heat for about 5 minutes or more. Cooking time will depend on the amount of clams. If only a portion some of the shells are opened, put lid back on and steam under high heat for a couple more minutes before checking in again. Clams are cooked when about 90% of the shells are opened. Make sure not to over steam.
8. Serve hot and enjoy😋😋!!