Penne vegetables in mushroom soup

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Sai choy – Braised mixed vegetables

Sai choy is one special dish for Chinese New Year. It does have many different names for it. We always have this dish on Chinese New Year. Grandma used to be the one preparing this dish for us in Malaysia. My grandma makes her with a lot of ingredients. Some ingredients I cannot find here or not sold near me.

The main of this dish is white cabbage. And I love it when the cabbage is braised till it’s soft and the gravy is sweetened with fermented beancurd and sauces. Also, cabbage cooked well actually soaks up the fragrance of the fermented beans and garlic too. There are also other different textures and flavours with a whole range of ingredients like wood ear fungus, dried mushrooms, glass noodle, black fungus and canned mushrooms.

I change the recipe as I couldn’t find the red fermented beancurd, beancurd skin, beancurd stick and dried lily flower. I have use white fermented beancurd. Presentation wise is not colourful and red colour, but it actually tastes even better after all the ingredients have had a chance to soak in the fermented beancurd and sauces. Serve it with rice, a must have for me cut red chilies soaked in soy sauce and char chee yoke (Braised pork belly) for a delicious and comforting meal. Let’s cook!!!


8 shiitake dried mushrooms, soak overnight, cut bite size, reserved water
100 g glass noodles
1 1/2 Tbs minced garlic
3-5 thinly slice ginger (OPT)
700 g napa cabbage, cut into bite size
60 g dried sliced black fungus, soak overnight
8 pieces dried wood ear fungus, soak overnight, cut bite size, reserved water
1 canned straw mushrooms, about 425 g, drained water, cut in half
1 canned whole mushroom about 425 g, drained water, cut in half
4 white fermented cubed beancurd
2 Tbs Shaoxing Chinese wine
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs oyster sauce
2 Tsp sesame oil
2/3 c water reserved from mushroom
1/4 c water reserved from wood ear fungus
extra water if needed


Heat oil in wok on medium heat, add oil and ginger. Let the ginger caramelize for about 30 seconds without letting it burn. Next add in white fermented beancurd and break it up with wooden spoon. Add the garlic, shiitake mushrooms, wood ear fungus, black sliced fungus and stir fry for 2-3 minutes, to get mushroom and fungus coated in fermented beancurd sauce.

Add the Shaoxing wine, 2/3 c reserved from mushroom and wood ear fungus water and bring to boil. Next, add cabbage, cook till softened for 4-5 minutes. Make sure it’s softened. Add other cut mushrooms, sesame oil, soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Toss to mix well, cover the wok, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If water runs dry, add more water about 1/2 cup. Let vegetables simmer for further 10 minutes. Before serving, soak glass vermicelli until softened, and mix into pot. Glass vermicelli absorbs liquid quickly, so if you add the noodles too early, they will bloat and there will be too little sauce left. Keep stirring. If you want to have extra sauce add another 1/2 cup of water. Spoon sai choy onto serving plate, garnish with cut chili and soy sauce and serve with char chee yoke. Enjoy with a glass of white wine!!!!

Note: You can add beancurd skin, beancurd sticks or lily flower. Or you can add carrots, baby sweet corns and snap peas like my friends did in their sai choy. You might want it more liquid, so add more stock or water. I didn’t add extra. You can omit cut chili and soy sauce. You can put fried shallots, red dates, gingko or fried tofu. Or create your own flavour ingredients. You can use any green leaves vegetables, or box ready stock or cube packet stocks.


helenscchin's Blog

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Bow vegetables pasta in vegetable sauce with chili flakes

Felt like having meat and have not had meat for more than 3 weeks now. Went to butcher got myself a juicy Scotch fillet and some button mushroom which is not on sale either. Then went to get salad, it’s on sale.

Give my meat a couple of hot water wash clean, pat dry and wash mushroom too. Give a couples of sprays clean the salad. Well, we are in lockdown and don’t want to be infected. Got to be careful and I am happy to have found a butcher that is open for business as many shops are closed.

I licked my plate very clean; it seems like I have not had meat for ages. It’s a simple meal with not much needed done in cook. My meal is delicious juicy, hearty and comforting. Let’s cook!!!!


2 Scotch fillets
1 Tbs butter
Salt and black pepper to taste
zest of 1/2 orange
juice of 1/2 orange
1 red onion
1 small garlic clove
1/4 cup (60 ml) cognac
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
fresh parsley, chopped
olive oil
150 g button mushrooms
1 packet salad


Melt butter and oil in deep pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of steaks with salt and generous amount of ground black pepper. Add to skillet and cook to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium. Transfer steaks to 2 plates. Cover with foil to rest.

Don’t discard the hot oil. Peel the red onion and the garlic clove and chop them finely. Turn the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic to the hot pan. Stir well. Season with a pinch of pepper and salt. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the onion starts to brown a little. Then add the orange zest. Stir again. The pour in the cognac, the red wine vinegar, the water, and the orange juice.

Stir the sauce well and cover the pan then. Let the sauce simmer and reduce by half for a couple of minutes. It should thicken a little. Then add the mushroom and freshly chopped parsley. Stir and check the seasoning. Add extra pepper, salt, or red wine vinegar to taste if necessary. Then add the fillets back to the hot pan to warm up again and to absorb the sauce about 1-2 minutes on very low heat. Spoon fillets and mushrooms with the sauce onto plate Then place some salads next to it.  Serve with a glass of red wine. Enjoy!!!!


helenscchin's Blog

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Lamb racks crumbed with carbonara beetroot pasta and vegetables

Went to the Glen Shopping centre with my sister. Bought a lot of Chinese New Year biscuits, sponge cake and some more packets of curry paste. Then went to a nearby stall browsing to see if I can get panettone.

Found a few different types of dried flavoured pasta and this beetroot noodles type pasta caught my eyes. Bought it to try to see is there really beetroot and not just the red colouring. Using the leftovers two lamb rack, baby spinach and some broad beans.

This time my lamb rack is coated with cayenne, oregano and breadcrumb. I am practising to perfect my carbonara sauce which I have browse and seen on you tube. I know it’s not presentable, but my focus is perfecting carbonara sauce, and making crumbed lamb racks. Glad it’s taste like beetroot. Dinner is ready, comforting and delicious. Let’s cook!!!!


150 g beetroot pasta
70 g Pecorino
30 g Parmesan
2 Lamb rack
1 small carrot, cut into bite size
2 Tsp cayenne powder
1 Tsp minced garlic
1 sprig oregano, remove leaves
2 yolks
baby spinach
broad beans, stems remove and string along the side
black pepper
balsamic vinegar (OPT)


Marinade lamb rack with salt, black pepper, oil and balsamic vinegar for 1 hour. Place in fridge. Put kettle on. Once boiled pour into microwave safe bowl with carrot and broad beans and microwave for about 6-8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Remove the shell and skin of broad beans when it had cool down. Once 1 hour marinated lamb is up, place lamb in room temperature for 30 minutes. In a deep plate put breadcrumbs, black pepper, cayenne and oregano leaves, mix well. Coat well lamb racks.

Preheat oven 180 degrees C. Put a pot of salted water to boil. Once boil add a drop or two oil and beetroot pasta in. Cook until tender about 5 minutes. Drain reserve 1-2 cup of water and set aside.

In a bowl add yolks, Parmesan, Pecorino and black pepper. Mix well. Add 2 Tbs pasta water and stir to mix well. Set aside. Place lamb in a small tray, sprinkle some salt and put into oven cook for about 5 minutes on one side. Turnover and cook further 3-4 minutes or to your liking.

Heat oil in saucepan on medium high. Add garlic cook until fragrant. Then add spinach cook for about 1 minutes then add in carrots and broad beans cook further 2 minutes. Next add pasta and about half cup water toss around and add more water if too dry, and off hob.

Add yolk mixture, mixing to coat until creamy. Spoon onto bowl and drizzle some yolk mixture, sprinkle some breadcrumb mixture and let lamb racks lean on beetroot pasta. Serve with a glass of red wine. Enjoy!!!


helenscchin's Blog

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