Savoring The Best All Over Town…


Posted by crizlai On February - 1 - 2012

Nowadays, it’s rather hard to get great tasting spring rolls (choon pheah/春卷) as how your grandma would make them. Somehow, most cooks detested the tedious amount of time in cutting those ingredients into smaller cubes, marinating them well and stir fry all the cut ingredients individually before mixing them together as the filling. Since I had my nieces back from Australia for a short visit, I had decided to make them some delicious HAINANESE STYLE CRAB MEAT SPRING ROLLS. Of course, those rolls were stuffed with juicy crab meat. Here are some of the tips and recipe in coming up with these delicious spring rolls which would be ideal for family reunions or as party snacks.


500g minced meat (chicken, beef, pork as your preference)
300g peeled prawns (cut in dices with kitchen scissors)
2 fat Australian carrots (finely diced)
10 water chestnuts (finely diced)
1 jicama/sengkuang (6” diameter – finely diced – can be replaceable with more water chestnuts)
1 cabbage (6-7” diameter – finely diced)
8 Chinese mushrooms (soaked in luke warm water and finely diced – retain the juice)
3 big onions (finely diced)
6 cloves of garlic (chopped finely)
1.5” young ginger (grated finely)
3 Tbsp 5-spice powder (add more if you want it stronger in taste)
600g-800g peeled steamed crab meat
Soy sauce
Oyster sauce
Sesame Oil
Cooking Oil
1 pkt pre-packed spring roll skin (8.5” x 8.5”/215mm x 215mm)

Some coarsely crushed deep fried sole fish (phee hoo) bits

MARINATES: 30 minutes
MEAT – 2 Tbsp sesame oil, 2 Tbsp oyster sauce, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp 5-spice powder, pinch of salt and some pepper. Mix well.
PRAWNS – 1 Tbsp Sesame oil, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar and some pepper. Mix well.
MUSHROOM – 1 Tbsp Sesame oil, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar, ginger juice and some pepper. Mix well.

You would need a large steel basin to put in all the cooked items as we will be cooking individually prior to mixing all together.
1. Saute some chopped garlic in some oil. When brown, put in the diced mushrooms and stir fry until dry. Scoop up and place in basin.
2. Saute some chopped garlic in some oil. When brown, put in the diced prawns and stir fry until they turned orange. Scoop up and place in basin.
3. Saute some chopped garlic in some oil. When brown, put in the minced meat. Flatten it evenly and allow one side to be slightly brown. Flip part by part over and let it cook for another 1-2 minutes on medium fire. Scramble the meat in the wok into little chunks. Add in the diced onions and 2 Tbsp 5-spice powder. Stir fry until the onions look translucent. Scoop up and place in basin.
4. Heat up some oil in the wok and put in the diced carrots. Stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add in the diced jicama and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Finally add in the diced water chestnuts and stir fry for another 2 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK the vegetables as we would want to maintain a bit of crunch in the bite. Scoop up and place in basin.
5. Next saute some chopped garlic in some oil. When brown, put in the diced cabbages, 2 Tbsp oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, some sprinkles of pepper, a pinch of salt and stir fry until ALMOST cook. Again, we would want to maintain that bit of crunch. (You can sprinkle in some mushroom juice if it’s too dry)
6. Put in the rest of the cooked items in the basin and stir evenly.
7. Place a deep plate at the base of the basin and scoop the evenly stirred filling onto it. Note: This is to ensure that whatever oil and moist within the filling will be captured under the plate to enable a dryer filing for wrapping.
8. Leave to cool down prior to wrapping.

As for wrapping the spring rolls, there are a few steps to be taken care of to avoid any leakage. Just follow the steps in the diagram below and you won’t go wrong. You can mix some flour with water as the glue (or to patch up any broken holes) but I just used water since I had the experiences in wrapping the rolls well.


Scoop 2 porcelain spoons of the filling and place slightly below the centre of the spring roll skin. Place some crab meat and start wrapping. Laced an empty tray with a layer of kitchen towel and place the wrapped spring roll on it. DO NOT PLACE wrapped spring rolls on top of each other as they will get stuck to each other.


Heat up some cooking oil on HIGH. When you see some bubbles in the oil, lower to MEDIUM. Fry INDIVIDUALLY, starting from the thicker base while showering the top part with the hot oil. Turn over after about 15s and fry for another 10-15s or until golden brown. Make sure you have lots of kitchen towels laced in any deep container to drain off the excess oil. The trick is to let the spring roll stand vertically upwards. Serve while hot with the sauce of your choice.


Option 1: Worchester Sauce (Lea & Perrins) with cut red chilies (RECOMMENDED)
Option 2: Worchester Sauce (Lea & Perrins) plus a bit of chili sauce with cut red chilies
Option 3: Simply pour some Thai chili sauce
Option 4: Put in 6 red chilies (removed seeds), 2 green chilies (removed seeds), 4 cloves of garlic, 2-3 Tbsp sugar, pinch of salt, and juices from 8-10 Kasturi lime into a blender. Top the amount with some boiled water. Blend until fine. Taste the blended sauce and adjust the sweetness and sourness to your liking.

Any excess filling or skin can be kept in the freezer until further use for up to 2 weeks.

(Serves: 12-15 pax with approximately 40-50pcs)




Posted by Criz Lai On October - 19 - 2008

Please note that this Hainan Chicken Rice stall remained in the same coffee house but the whole place has been renovated under the new ownership of Yummy Cafe.


Sometimes it is rather hard to make a decision to get good Hainanese Chicken Rice in town area as there were just too many around. Moreover, more and more shops have mushroomed all over town selling this yummy food. You might not believe it but all the shops have their own version of Hainanese Chicken Rice. Some might use sesame oil, rice wine, ginger juice, oyster sauce or just plain soy sauce. Somehow, I was stuck to one stall by the name of Kowloon Hainan Chicken Rice (same coffee shop as the famous Super Lai Lai Bak Kut Teh selling at night) for years. It could be due to growing up in the neighborhood and got accustomed to the taste or maybe I love the way the chicken meat slices were presented with lots of vegetables and dark soy sauce.


With more than 24 years of experience ever since he was just 15 years old, Ah San has been selling his unique type of chicken rice to the public. The rice served was different too as it was damp enough and had that special old ginger and chicken oil fragrance in it. I have never had any complaints before on his crispy roasted chicken (the best around 10am) or his smooth, juicy yet soft Pak Cham Kai (White Chicken). He would also sell some Roasted Pork Char Siew daily and Roasted Chicken Char Siew on certain days. With all the delicious meat, he has his special homemade dark soy sauce (for chicken) and sweet sauce (for Char Siew) which made the dishes even more appetizing. Here are two of his most sought after combinations.


If you have noticed carefully, each set would have sliced cucumber and cooked bean sprouts with some spring onions garnished on it.


Other than dining in, you could always buy back his yummy chicken which is quite big for a mere RM24 per bird. It would be advisable to call up to make your order if you required more birds. Takeaway sets are also available at only RM3.50 per box (with extra rice). You can choose either one of the meat or a mixed one would cost you between 50sen to RM1 more.



The shop is just opposite Red Rock Hotel. If you are driving down from Komtar into Jalan Macalister, you will see a petrol kiosk on your left. The shop is just right after that in Thong Lek Coffee Shop at the junction of Jalan Nanning.



If you are in for some adventurous home cooked Chicken Rice, you can always try out my own Hainanese Chicken Rice recipe.

Name: KOWLOON HAINAN CHICKEN RICE (Opposite Red Rock Hotel)
Address: 97, Jalan Macalister, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 016-455 8825 (Ah San)
Opening Hours: 10.30am – 3.00pm (Closed Tuesday)
GPS: 5.416585, 100.323029

Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 7/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 9/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)


Posted by Criz Lai On March - 2 - 2008
It has been awhile since I posted up a recipe to share with my readers. Last Saturday, I have decided to cook something healthy and less oil for lunch. I cooked Hainanese Chicken Rice. Here is my recipe:


1 medium chicken (3-4kg) (wash with salt and get rid of the intestines)
1 stalk Chinese parsley/cilantro (chopped about 2” in length)
7 stalks spring onions
4” old ginger (slightly crushed)
2 cups fragrance/plain rice
5 tablespoon sesame oil
some soy sauce
3 teaspoon salt
6 cups chicken stock (boil 6-8 chicken bones with 8 cups water)

1. Wash rice until clean. Drain excess water until dry.
2. Heat up the wok. Put in 4 tablespoon sesame oil and add in 2” of crushed ginger. Stir until you get a fragrant smell.
3. Add rice and stir for about 10 minutes on medium high and transfer everything into a rice cooker.
4. Pour about 3 cups of chicken stock. Add in 3 stalks of whole spring onions and cook.
5. Stir the rice a little when it starts boiling. Mix in salt and/or soy sauce to taste.
6. Add some chicken stock if it is too dry.

1. Cook 4 cups of water and 3 cups of chicken stock into a tall pot on high until boil.
2. Add in 2” of crushed ginger and 3 whole stalks of spring onions into pot.
3. Add in 2 teaspoon of salt.
4. Put in the chicken and cook on medium high. Cover the pot partially. Lower the fire if necessary as the chicken should be cooked slowly.
5. Turn chicken once in a while to ensure it is properly cooked.
6. Cook about 45 minutes.
7. Drain the chicken. Pour one tablespoon sesame oil. Rub evenly all over the cooked chicken while hot, followed with some soy sauce.
8. Cut chicken into preferred sizes.
9. Garnish with some chopped Chinese parsley and spring onions.
10. Served with hot rice and garlic chilly sauce.

(Serves: 3-4)

Note: For those who do not wish to have rice, you can use wholemeal breads or buns instead. You can slice the chicken into small cubes. Mix in some mayonnaise, pepper, herbs and a pinch of salt. Put in some chopped lettuce and sliced tomatoes. Tada…you have your healthy chicken sandwich.


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