Sunday, March 27, 2011

两菜一“汤”:Simple Menu

From left: Stir-Fry Vegetables,  Braised Noodles (焖福建面),  Salted Pork Bone Congee (咸猪骨粥)

This is a simple menu for 6 persons.  If you read the title and wonder "where's the soup" ..... it's there with a twist.  The ingredients I have here are almost the same for preparing soup, except for the addition of rice grains, which makes it a porridge or congee.  Cantonese congee requires a few hours of simmering over low heat till the rice grains breakdown and literally melts into the water.

It's the same ingredients for making soup, except for the uncooked rice grains.

It is called Salted Pork Bone as you have to marinate the pork bones with a generous amount of salt (I used about 3 tbsp salt) and preferably, have it marinated overnight in the fridge.  What you want is for the salt to penetrate into the meat and bones, which will make the pork meat/bones very tender and tasty after cooking.  As I only thought of cooking this in the last minute, I only managed to marinate the pork for about an hour (I need another 2 hours for cooking).  Don't worry of the large amount of salt used, you need to wash off the salt and blanch the pork bones in hot water before cooking.  The saltiness in the meat/bone will be just nice to flavour the big pot of congee.  A variation is the salted pork bone congee with dried vegetables or 咸猪骨菜干粥.  Salted pork bone porridge is good for relieving body heatiness and aches.

Ingredients for making Salted Pork Bone Congee
(serves 6)

6 big pieces spare ribs or bones (marinated with 3 tbsp salt)
1 + 1/4 cups uncooked rice (seasoned with 1/2 tbsp oil and 1/2 tsp salt)
2 slices ginger, 6 red dates, 3 medium-sized scallops, 3 dried oysters

1) Marinate the pork bones with salt for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight in fridge.
2) Season the rice with oil and salt for half an hour before cooking.
3) Wash off all visible salt from pork bones and blanch them in hot water.
4) Bring a pot of water (about 3 litres) to boil, add the salted pork bones, rice and all other ingredients.  Simmer over low heat for 2 to 3 hours.  Let it rest for 30 minutes before serving.

1) After 1.5 hours, check and stir the porridge constantly to prevent sticking at the bottom.  I usually throw in a porcelain/ceramic soup spoon to help to prevent sticking of porridge at the bottom.
2) Add 1 to 2 honey dates (蜜枣) for a sweeter porridge.

Approx cost: Spare ribs ($4) + scallops/oysters ($5) + others ($1) = $10

Braised Noodles
Braised noodle is one of the "must-order" dishes when I go to a Hokkien restaurant, along with the kong bak pau.

Here is my home-cooked version with a few simple ingredients:

(serves 6)

Flat noodles (1 packet, 500g), homemade chicken stock (small tub), Chinese long cabbage (3 to 4 leaves), 1/2 carrot (sliced), 3 cloves garlic (minced), 1 onion (sliced), ngoh hiang (4 small pieces, sliced), red chili (sliced), Holland peas (6 to 7 pod),  spring onion & parsley (chopped), 1 tbsp fried shallot.

Seasoning: 1 to 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp black sauce, 2 tsp 扁鱼粉, 1 tsp sesame oil, pepper to taste.
Note: If using store-bought chicken stock (which is quite salty) you will need to cut down on soy sauce/oyster sauce.

1) Heat some oil in wok on high heat.  Stir fry the Holland peas briefly and set aside.  While the remaining oil, stir fry the onion, followed by garlic.
2) Add the cabbage and carrot and stir fry till aromatic.
3) Add the flat noodles and continue to stir-fry for about a minute to two. 
4) Add the chicken stock and sufficient water to fully cover all the ingredients in wok.  Cover.
5) When noodles start to boil, lower to medium heat and let it simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes.
6) Stir the noodles (avoid sticking to wok), add the ngoh hiang and seasonings (except for sesame oil and pepper).  Cover and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes (if too dry, can add a little more water).
7) Add the Holland peas (step 1), sesame oil, chili, fried shallot, some spring onion & parsley, pepper and stir well to combine.  
8) Garnish with some more spring onion/parsley, chili and fried shallot.

Approx cost: Noodles ($1.50) + stock ($1) + vegetables ($1) + ngoh hiang ($0.50) = $4

I added a plate of stir-fry vegetables, which costs about $1.50 to prepare.  Hence, the total costs of this menu is about $15.50 for 6 pax. 

I will be submitting this post to Cuisine Paradise for the "2 Dishes, 1 soup $20 Budget meal" event. 

For more 3-plus-1 or 2-plus-1 menus, check out the summary here. 


  1. I like this combination! My 2 favourites - noodles & porridge! Great ideal to cook for weekends.

  2. Yes, one of my fav combi too! Better still, if add a raw fish salad as a side dish.

  3. wow!!! Waifong your budget meal combination gets more and more interesting. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas :)Now we have more dishes to try on.

  4. Thanks Ellena. I guess you must have received many interesting ideas of 2+1 budget meals. Looking forward to your summary.


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