Thursday, April 14, 2011

2 plus 1 menu: My Favorite Soup

Home-cooked meal for less than $10!

Tonight's menu (serves 3 to 4):
Fong's Favorite ABC Soup (马铃薯蕃茄红萝卜煲鸡汤) - S$4.00
Corn Fritters with Avocado Dip (黄金玉米片) - S$3.00
Broccoli with Egg Whites in Milk Broth (奶汁蛋白西兰花) - S$2.00

Total: S$9.00

I am sharing this dinner menu at "$20 Budget Meal April", a blog event organised by Cuisine Paradise. 

For more of my 3-plus-1 or 2-plus-1 menus, check out the page here. 

Ingredients: Corn, carrots, potato, onion, tomato, chicken bones & meat, few red dates (not in pic)

ABC Soup - 马铃薯蕃茄红萝卜煲鸡汤
This has been my favorite soup since childhood.  I usually use bones from one chicken plus the breast meat to cook this soup.  To make the soup even tastier, you can either add a few pieces of dried scallops (瑶柱) or you can add a thumb-size piece of preserved vegetable (大头菜) - available from dried-goods provision stalls.  Prices of dried scallops has been shooting rocket high - a 50 cent sized piece of dried scallop is about S$180 to S$200 for a kilo (it was about S$140 to S$160 last year).  For everyday food, I just used a small piece of 大头菜.

To cook:
1) Blanch chicken bone + meat in hot water and set aside.
2) Cut all vegetables into big chunks.
3) Bring a pot of water (about 1.8 litres) to boil and add in all the ingredients, except for tomato.  Cover and simmer over low heat for an hour and a half.
4) Add tomato and simmer for a further 30 minutes.  Add salt to taste (if necessary).

Approximate costs
Chicken bones/breast meat ($2.00) + corn/carrot/onion/tomato/red dates ($2.00) = $4.00

Cost saving tips: 
1) I usually buy a whole kampong chicken from supermarket.  Wash and separate into various portions: bones for soup, wings/thigh/drum for dish, breast meat for stir-fry, make into meatball or for soup.
2) For this menu, I briefly simmer the corn for 15 minutes (in step 3). Remove, let it cool for preparing another dish - corn fritters (see below).


Corn Fritters - 黄金玉米片
Of all the ingredients that I used for cooking the ABC soup, the corn is usually the least flavourful at the end of the cooking.  If I want to eat the corn on its own, I would only add in the corn at the last 20 minutes of cooking.  Sometimes, I would use the corn to prepare another dish, like in this case, the corn fritters.  Before I list the ingredients and preparation, let me share how to remove the corn kernels easily with minimal wastage:


How to remove corn kernels:
1) Remove a few corn kernels with your fingers (see top left) -  this is to create "room" for the chopstick.
2) Use a chopstick to push out the corn kernels along the row (see top right).
3) Once you have removed a row of corn kernels, the rest is easy.  Simply slide the chopstick down in- between the rows of corn kernels.  This is to loosen it (see bottom left).
4) Remove the kernels by pressing each row of kernels with your thumb (push down gently and to the side).  The kernels will come off easily (see bottom right).

Another cost saving tip:
After removing the kernels, put the bare corn cob back into the pot of soup.  The core is still very sweet for flavouring the soup.  

(makes 8 corn fritters)

Corn kernels from 2 corn cobs (about 1 cup)
1 tbsp chopped ham (I used luncheon meat cos I have a leftover slice)
1/2 red chili, chopped (alternatively, use bell pepper)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 stalks spring onion, chopped
2 stalks parsley, chopped
1 egg
1 to 2 tbsp milk
Approx 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of pepper

Approximate cost:
Corn (from ABC soup) + chili/onion/parsley/spring onion ($0.50) + ham/egg/milk/flour/others ($1) = $1.50

1) Mix all the ingredients together.  Leave it for about 5 minutes.
2) Heat some oil (for shallow frying) in frying pan over medium high heat.  When oil gets moderately hot, add a tablespoon of batter mixture into the pan and spread out slightly using the back of the spoon.  Make a few fritters at each time.
3) Fry the fritters on both sides till golden brown.  Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 till all the batter mixture is used up.
5) Serve hot immediately with Thai sweet chili sauce or avocado dip.

How to make avocado dip:
1 ripe avocado (remove skin and seed)
1/2 red chili, finely chopped 
1/2 onion, finely chopped 
1/2 tomato (remove seeds), finely chopped 
2 stalks parsley, finely chopped 
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp plain yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste

Approximate cost:
Avocado ($1) + vegetables (from corn fritters) + yogurt/lemon ($0.50) = $1.50

Mash the avocado with a fork or spoon and mix well with all the ingredients.  Cover and chill in fridge till ready to serve.

Quick & easy nutritious dish

Broccoli with Egg Whites in Milk Broth - 奶汁蛋白西兰花

A medium-sized broccoli, cut into florets
2 egg whites, beaten
Some stock (I scoop a ladle of soup from my pot of ABC soup)
2 to 3 tbsp milk
A small handful of wolfberries
Salt to taste

Approximate cost:
Broccoli ($1.30) + egg whites/milk/wolfberries ($0.70) = $2.00

1) Either blanch the broccoli in hot water (with a pinch of salt and oil) for a few minutes or stir-fry with some chopped garlic and a pinch of salt, add 1/2 cup water, cover and cook for a few minutes.
2) Arrange cooked broccoli on serving plate.
3) Heat up the stock, add milk, salt to taste.  When mixture starts bubbling, add the wolfberries and the beaten egg whites.  Give it a few stir and pour over the broccoli.


  1. you are a smart housewife! Love your ideas and tips! especially use the corn to cook two ways.Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. You are a great cook! I hope I have 10% of your skills!

    I have an award for you, do pick it up from my blog, cheers!

  3. @Sonia: Learnt all these tips/ideas along the way. My mum/MIL have even more tricks in their bag!

    @Happy Homebaker: Thanks for the lovely award. I'm sure you cook lots of lovely dishes for your kids too, other than playing with butter and flour.

  4. I love the corn fritters..... i wan to try this :p

  5. Smaarrrtt!! As a new housewife that cant cook, I'll give it all a try :) Thanks... Keep on writing, k??


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