Asian Cooking: Mom’s Claypot Rice Recipe


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One of my most favourite dishes growing up is this giant pot of my mom’s homemade claypot rice.

I always loved how we’d huddle round the dining table, waiting for the moment where she’d lift the lid of the pot. All those magical flavours would come wafting out and make all our mouths water. One of my favourite memories growing up ever!

Today, you’re in for a real treat, as mom share’s her special recipe.

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Ingredients: (1 Pots, serves 4)
– 2 Pork Sausages
– 10-15 Baby Shitake mushrooms
– 1 Kampong Chicken (chopped and skinned)
– 3 cups of White Rice
– Dried Shrimps (soaked in hot water, finely-chopped)
– Dried Scallops (10 pieces soaked in hot water)
– Large prawns
– 2 slices of Ginger

Condiments:
– Dried Shallots
– Lard cubes
– Salted fish
– Spring Onions

Begin by frying all Chinese sausages, shallots, dried shrimp and salted fish separately. These will form the flavour profile of the rice and give it that distinctive fragrance.

Save the salted fish oil for the rice and chicken.

 

Next, fry ginger slices in some of the salted fish oil, and add chicken. Fry till half-cooked then throw in shitake mushrooms. Fry for another 5 minutes. Add water, and black sauce. Simmer to boil for 10 minutes over a medium fire, followed by 20 minutes over small fire. This makes the meat juicy and tender. Set aside.

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Travel: A Sunset Tour of Frankfurt City, Germany


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Germany’s Frankfurt city might sometimes be overlooked for its more exciting cousins – Berlin, Munich and even Hamburg. The word picturesque doesn’t often come to mind when people think of this bustling commercial centre. And yet, that’s exactly what I found when I spent a day there while waiting for my flight home.

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Perhaps it was because it was languishing in the rose gold glow of the evening sun. Or that I was lucky enough to encounter perfect weather. Either way, I was smitten with this underrated city. Sometimes, when you expect nothing, everything becomes a beautiful surprise.

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Frankfurt is the financial capital of Germany. Much like Shanghai is to China. And yes, parts of the city reflect that lean, mean machine. But much of it is steeped in history and gorgeous architecture.

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Take The Römer (German surname, “Roman”) for example. It’s an iconic medieval building that’s also one of the city’s most important landmarks. It was built around 1612, and served mainly as the city’s town hall.

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Loved the unique look of the building! Taking a slow stroll to the city will inevitably lead you to the river Frankfurt on the Main and of course, the Eiserner Steg or Iron Bridge.

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Just look at that gorgeous setting sun over the sparkling, still waters. A vein of calm running right through the city’s frenzied, beating heart.

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Review: Mrs Pho, Beach Road


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There’s nothing quite like a piping hot bowl of comforting pho on a rainy day to warm the cockles of your heart. Especially when said cockles are tossed in fragrant chilli oil and golden, melt-in-your-mouth chunks of luscious lard.

Say hello to the Cockles Stir-fried with Garlic ($7.50).

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Yes, I know it’s a pho place but I’ve gotta say that the cockle dish was really the hot favourite on the menu. I saw at least three other tables order it with their noodles, and one girl sitting next to us had the whole plate to herself. Obviously, we had to try.

Overall: ★★★★1/2 An authentic, affordable Vietnamese feast.
Price: $

Honestly, if you’re expecting your usual medium rare blood cockles, you won’t get it. These were fried till they were shrivelled and had none of the distinctive shellfish flavour of a less cooked dish, but it’s impossible for anything fried in lard and copious amounts of chilli oil to taste bad. So definitely give it a try!

And now, on to the main dish — This Pho Bò Tái or Sliced Beef Noodle ($8.90) with extra Beefballs.

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Travel: Interlaken City, Swiss Alps


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Oh, what a winter wonderland! Interlaken is a traditional resort in Bernese Oberland located in Central Switzerland. It’s about an 90-minute drive from the city, and is the main gateway to all the key mountains and resorts in the area.

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You can take a train from Zurich as well, but I loved the drive there. You’ll be totally in awe of these gorgeous views of emerald lakes, snow-topped mountains and quaint timbre houses. Such a wonderful change from the city!

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Upon arrival, you’ll find Interlaken really is a small town of only 5,000 inhabitants! But you’ll be spoilt for choice at the sheer number of activities in store for visitors.

 

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From parasailing, to ice-skating and lots of shopping, this is a great stop before going deeper into Bernese Oberland just to get a feel of the area.

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