Savoring The Best All Over Town…


Posted by crizlai On October - 22 - 2012

For those mushroom lovers, you are in luck today as I’m going to share a simple bean curd sheets dish with an assortment of the earthly flavored mushrooms. I call this dish DEEP FRIED BEAN CURD SHEETS WITH ASSORTED MUSHROOMS. The rich in antioxidant mushrooms are low in fat and carbohydrates plus zero cholesterol with high proteins, vitamins, minerals, water and fiber. They contain natural insulin and enzymes which break down the starch and sugar in food. So, it’s surely a healthy dish for all~ 🙂


10pcs fresh bean curd sheets (tao bor/yuba/腐皮卷 – Each piece cut into 3 pieces. Deep fry until golden brown)
1/2” young ginger (scrape off skin, julienne)
1 palm size wood ear fungus (soak, cut into bite size)
10 medium size Chinese mushrooms (soak, cut into halves)
20 straw mushrooms (cut into halves)
2 packs Shimeji mushrooms (50g x 2, cut off roots, wash well, drain dry)
1 small carrot (remove skin, cut into half and slice into 1/4” thick semi circle, blanch)
5-6 tbsp mushroom sauce/vegetarian oyster sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1tbsp corn flour (dilute in some water)
1 cup vegetable stock
2tbsp vegetable oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Enoki mushrooms
Button mushrooms
Shao Xing wine (1 tsp)
Spring onions (cut into 1” length)

• Heat up the oil in a wok and sauté the julienned young ginger until fragrant.
• Add in the mushroom sauce and sesame oil. Stir evenly for about 1 minute.
• Add in the vegetable stock and bring to boil.
• Set fire to LOW and add in the wood ear fungus, Chinese mushrooms, straw mushrooms and Shimeji mushroom and simmer for another 5 minutes.
• Add in salt and pepper to taste plus the diluted corn flour to thicken the gravy.
• Pour in the deep fried bean curd sheets and sliced carrots. Stir evenly for about 2-3 minutes.
• Scoop out and serve with hot steaming rice.
• You might want to garnish with some spring onions to bring out the colors.

(Serves: 5-6)

You might wonder what fresh bean curd sheets are? Here’s a photo on this wonderful ingredient.





Posted by crizlai On August - 2 - 2012

At one time of our lives, we might have taken instant noodles in whatever form, whether they were in packet form or in a cup. Why don’t we make it a bit more interesting by adding in some ingredients to make it more appetizing? Let me share with you my STIR FRY CHICKEN & MUSHROOMS NOODLES WITH TOMATO SWIRLS recipe. This dish has balanced fragrant flavors with a tad of sourness from the tomato swirls to boost up any appetite.


6 pcs instant noodles
250gms chicken breast meat (thinly slice, marinate with a bit soy sauce, pepper and sesame oil)
10 dried Shitake mushrooms (soaked, drain, slice thinly & marinate with ginger juice, a bit soy sauce, a pinch of sugar, pepper and sesame oil)
1 thumb size young ginger (grate & juice)
1 carrot (fine julienne)
1 stalk spring onions (cut into 1” length, leave some finely chopped ones for garnishing)
1 clove garlic (finely chop)
2 eggs
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
3 tbsp oyster sauce
Soy sauce
Sesame Oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Sambal belacan (optional)

3 fresh red chilies (remove seeds & cut into chunks)
2 tsp belacan (shrimp paste) granules
1-2 limes (juice)
Pound the red chilies until small bits, add in the belacan granules. Add in lime juice when serve.

Spring onions (finely chop)
Red chilies (optional)
Deep fried shallots (optional)
Tomato swirls

• Beat up the eggs with the tomato ketchup, some sprinkles of pepper, a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil.
• Heat up your pan (18-20cm pan) and fry the beaten eggs in 2 batches.
• Roll the cooked eggs up tightly and leave aside.
• Heat up a pot of water and cook the instant noodles until you get the al dente required. Drain well.
• In a wok, heat up 4 tablespoons of oil and sauté the chopped garlic until brown.
• Put 3/4 of the sauteed garlic and oil onto the cooked noodles, together with the oyster sauce, one tablespoon of sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and some sprinkles of pepper. Mix thoroughly.
• Heat up the remaining oil in the wok and sauté the marinated mushroom, slices until brown. Scoop out.
• Add in some more oil and sauté the chicken until cook. Add in the cooked mushroom and mix well. Scoop out.
• Add some oil and saute the carrots for about 2 minutes.
• Add in the seasoned noodles and mix well.
• Pour in the mixed chicken and mushrooms and mix thoroughly. Add in pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
• Add in the 1” cut spring onions and give it a stir or two.
• Scoop up the noodles onto a serving plate and garnish with some chopped spring onions, sliced chilies and some thinly sliced tomato swirls.
• Serve hot.

(Serves: 3-4)




Posted by crizlai On July - 24 - 2012

Most people would love to have sweet desserts for tea. For my case, savory items would suit me better as it’s another way to control my blood sugar level. Nobody would believe that I created these yummy snacks for tea mostly with leftovers~ Haha! Well, I have some puff dough left in my freezer as well as some mushroom gravy I have in stock from my previous grilled meat dishes. I just added some finely cut chicken slices to the mushroom gravy and that became my filling for my CHICKEN & MUSHROOM PUFF BOAT.

I learned the puff pastry from Gordan Ramsey’s Rough Puff Pastry recipe. Let me show you my mushroom gravy recipe instead which would serve as a great sauce for any grilled, batter coated or breadcrumb coated meat dishes. As for the balance of the cut dough, I simply wrap around some boiled cocktail sausages to come out with another snack I called COCKTAIL PUFF. Another bonus snack~ 😛


250gms dried Shitake mushrooms (soak in hot water & slice thinly) or 400gms fresh mushrooms (slice thinly)
60gms butter (about 1/8 of a 454gms block of butter)
1/3 cup flour (sift)
900ml meat or vegetable stock
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp brandy/whiskey
Salt & freshly grounded black pepper to taste

300gms chicken breast meat (slice & coarsely cut into bits)

Cherry tomatoes & micro greens

• Melt the butter in a large saucepan/wok on MEDIUM-HIGH heat.
• When the butter sizzle, add the mushrooms and sauté until dry with golden brown color for about 10 minutes.
• Reduce the heat to MEDIUM and stir in the sifted flour. Cook for about 5 minutes.
• Reduce the heat to LOW and slowly whisk in the meat/vegetables stock.
• Add in the mixed herbs and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes (or until your preferred thickness) while stirring occasionally to avoid the base being burnt.
• Add in the brandy/whiskey, salt and freshly grounded black pepper to taste. Now you have your sauce to serve with any meat dishes.
• As for the chicken & mushroom filling, just leave about 1/4 of the gravy (about a cup with mushrooms) and pour in the chicken meat. Slowly saute until cook. If the gravy is too thick or salty, just add a bit of hot water to dilute it. Roughly drain the gravy into any existing gravy stock you have left.
• As for the puff pastry (based on my displayed photo), cut the rolled dough into 2″ x 4″ rectangular. For every 2 pieces, cut a hole in one and lay it on another whole pastry. The remaining cut piece you can use it to wrap around a boiled cocktail sausage to avoid wastage.
• Glaze your baking tray with some butter.
• Place your puff pastries on it and brush evenly with some butter.
• Preheat your oven on 210°C-220°C for 10 minutes.
• Place your baking tray inside and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.


• When the puff pastries are done, use a butter knife to flatten the inner layer.


• Fill them up with the chicken & mushroom filling. Garnish with cherry tomato and micro greens. Note: Try not to have any gravy in the puff pastries as it would wet the base.
• Serve hot

(Makes: 12-15pcs)

Do enjoy your simple snacks~ 🙂





Posted by Criz Lai On January - 19 - 2009

The Chinese New Year is just a week away from now and most of the Chinese families would be busy with spring cleanings and preparation for their reunion dinners on Chinese New Year eve. Some families would prepare steamboat dinners while others would cook some traditional dishes for the celebration. As for my family, we would gather for a steamboat dinner. On top of that, I would also help out in preparing some dishes for the following days. One of my favorite self concocted dishes which I had cooked for the last few years would be my so-called Eight Precious Jewels of Asia.

In short, it’s BRAISED OYSTERS AND SCALLOPS which had eight wonderful combination of seafood, meat and nuts. There’s a secret to this dish. I had used Chabot’s Napoleon Armagnac 1998 brandy to pep up the taste. It even got a thumb-up from the experienced 64 years old chef, Malai Chong. Here’s the recipe but please take note that cooking this dish required lots of patience and time as each items would be cooked separately before combining all. Moreover, all the items are not cheap. A small bowl selling in some restaurants (not so much similar to the way I had cooked) would cost around $13-$33 (RM40-RM100) and they would use only 3-4 of the ingredients I had used below.

300g pork belly meat (slice thinly)
100g dried oyster
50g-100g dried baby scallops
100g baby Japanese mushrooms
100g dried Chinese chestnuts
150g peeled/tin ginkgo nuts
25g hair moss (Fat Choy)
1 tin braised peanuts (170g net weight, 110g drained weight)
100g young ginger (scrape off skin, maintain 6 thin slices, grate the rest for juice)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
Soy Sauce
Dark Soy Sauce
Oyster Sauce
Sesame Oil

METHODS & MARINATES (leave minimum 1 hour):

– Cover the dried oyster with some hot water until soften. If the dried oysters you had bought were too hard. You can always pressure cook them (covered with water) for 15 minutes. Retain the juice for cooking.
– Drain well and marinate with 2 tbsp each of ginger juice, sesame oil, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp brandy/whiskey and a dash of pepper.

– Cover the dried scallops with some hot water until soften. If the dried scallops you had bought were too hard. You can always pressure cook them (covered with water) for 15 minutes or steam for 25 minutes. Retain the juice for cooking.
– Drain well and marinate with 1 tbsp each of ginger juice, soy sauce and 1 tsp sesame oil.

– Cover the dried mushrooms with some hot water until soften.
– Drain well by pressing softly but firmly. Retain the juice for cooking.
– Cut off all the legs.
– Marinate with the balance of the grated ginger (juice plus fiber), 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil and 1/2 tsp fine sugar.

Chinese Chestnuts:
– Soak the dried Chinese chestnuts with some hot water.
– Drain well and use a toothpick to get rid of any remaining red skin still attached to the nuts.
– Heat up a pot of water and boil the nuts for 20-30 minutes until the nuts are soft. Do pick up one to test out the softness as some brands of nuts or too dried ones would take a longer time to cook.

Ginkgo Nuts:
– The easiest way would be by getting a tin of cooked ginkgo nuts or a pack of frozen precooked ones but it would not taste as great as those fresh ones.
– If you happen to get hold of fresh ones, there would be more work involved. You would need to knock the shell and peel of the orange brown skin.
– After all the hard work, you have to cook them in a pot of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Drain well.
Important Note: Please check with your supplier if the nuts are young nuts. Older ones would have well developed embryos/growth within and these would make the nuts bitter. Slit slightly on the head and get rid of the embryos before boiling them.

Hair Moss:
– Soak the hair moss with some hot water.
– Semi drain the hair moss while leaving some water inside (about 2 tbsp).
– Marinate with 1 tbsp each of ginger juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and 2 tsp of brandy/whiskey.

– Rub the pork with some salt and wash off.
– Cut into 1.5” strips and slice thinly.
– Drain well and marinate with 2 tbsp each of sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce and a dash of pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Chicken breast meat (in place of pork)

1. You can combine all the retained juices in a bowl. Make sure you sieve the juice prior to using.
2. Heat up 2 tspn oil in a wok and sauté the marinated oysters to golden brown. Scoop and leave aside.
3. Heat up 1 tspn oil and sauté the marinated scallops to slightly brown. Scoop and leave aside.
4. Heat up 2 tspn oil and sauté 1 tsp chopped garlic until brown. Pour in the marinated mushrooms and sauté them until slightly brown and dry. Scoop and leave aside.
5. Heat up 3 tspn oil and sauté 1 tbsp chopped garlic until brown. Pour in the marinated pork, 1 tsp of dark soy sauce, 6 slices of ginger and stir fry them until cooked.
6. Add in 2.5 cups of the retained juice and simmer under high fire for 5 minutes. You can add in some hot water if not enough.
7. Lower the fire to medium and add in the Chinese chestnuts and the whole can of the braised peanuts. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
8. Add in the oysters, scallops and mushroom. Stir evenly and let it simmer until the water is halved.
9. Add in the ginkgo nuts and stir thoroughly for about 5-10 minutes.
10. Scoop up the cooked items into a bowl while retaining as much gravy as you can in the wok.
11. Pour in 1.5-2 cups of hot water and bring the gravy to boil.
12. Pour in the hair moss and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
13. Pour in the cooked items in the bowl and stir evenly. Lower fire and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. You can add some hot water if the gravy become over dry as some hair moss would absorb more water.
14. Best served with white rice.
Note: You can keep any remains in the freezer for weeks. When you need the dish, you could always defrost it and add some hot water to bring it to boil. Make sure that you let it boil until your preferred choice of dryness. Good Luck!

(Serves: 8-10)




Posted by Criz Lai On May - 13 - 2008


This is one type of hawker food that you would not find anywhere else in Penang – the Oriental Chicken Mushroom Hor Fun. The stall has been operating there for two generations ever since it moved over from Jalan Siam. Most of the patrons are regulars as the stall is way out of the view from the main road. You can either order it dry or soup with Hor Fun, Bee Hoon or Mee. Both will come topped with yummy, tender juicy chicken meat, mushrooms and wood fungus.

What make this dish unique is that the boneless chicken meat cubes, mushrooms, wood fungus are stewed until all the herbs and spices had gone right into the meat. One bite and you will taste the mild herby taste of Dong Quai (Chinese Angelica or Female Ginseng), a traditional herb used in some Chinese dishes for strengthening the blood circulation, gynecological ailments, fatigue, mild anemia and high blood pressure. Women should know better how this herb will help. 😛

Price wise, a small bowl will cost RM3.00 and a big one RM3.50. Here are the two big bowl of the Hor Fun that we had ordered. If you plan to eat something heavier such as dinner, Tuck Sai Café does provide ala carte dishes with rice. The dishes are quite tasty but the pricing for the food and drinks could be pricey a bit.



If you are moving from town area along Jalan Dato Keramat towards Greenlane / Air Itam, you will see the Dato Keramat Police Headquarters at the traffic light. Drive further about 800m and you will see a big Nasi Kandar shop on your left. Turn into the road, Jalan Singapura (next to the road, same stretch as the Nasi Kandar shop is Honolulu Bistro & Café – formerly an old cinema) and turn right into Jalan Bukom. The stall is prominently located on the ground floor of the Sri Pelangi Apartment on the right.


Ground Floor, Sri Pelangi Apartment, Jalan Bukom, Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 6.00pm – 11.00pm (Close Sunday & Monday)
GPS: 5.411768, 100.319059

Ambience: 6/10
(1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 6/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 6/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 6/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

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