Enter the Dragon

Gong Xi Fa Cai - May the Dragon bring much love, happiness, good health and prosperity.

Orange Yin Yang Cookies

It's about a week until Chinese New Year, my first back home in three years. You know that Chinese New Year is around the corner when those plastic cookie jars with red lids start popping up everywhere - oh, how I've missed the love letters and almond cookies! When I thought about what I wanted to make to contribute to the ever-growing collection of cookies in the kitchen, I decided that we had to have some orange cookies this year because nothing says Chinese New Year festivities quite like oranges and mandarins.

Adapted from the Monte Carlos recipe featured in The Malaysian Women's Weekly, January 2012


Orange Cookies:
185g butter, chopped at room temperature
1/2 cup brown suggar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup plain flour
Rind of 4 oranges
Juice of half an orange 

Chocolate Glaze:
250g dark/cooking chocolate
3/4 tbsp vegetable oil 
1 tsp instant coffee powder

Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celcius. Line oven trays with baking paper. 
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
Sift flours together and fold into creamed mixture.
Add orange rind and orange juice, mix well to form a smooth dough.
Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes or pop in freezer for 15 minutes. 
Form cookies (I used cookie cutters) and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. 
To make chocolate glaze, melt chocolate with oil over low heat. Take of heat and stir in coffee powder, making sure that powder dissolves fully. 
Deep cooled cookies into the hot chocolate glaze and allow chocolate to cool and set. 

The cookies are surprisingly light and when dipped into the chocolate glaze, remind me of those addictive Jaffa cakes. I also love what they represent - a balance of chocolate and orange, and hopefully a balanced, wholesome year ahead.


Holiday Foodsteps: Completing the Foh San Experience

The last time I was at Foh San, I was vegetarian for the day, so while the sights and smells definitely tempted me, I dutifully stuck to the vegetarian-friendly dim sum dishes. This time, I was very much my omnivorous self and very eager to tuck into the very dishes that had tempted me so. It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that the restaurant was full at 8.30am - we thought we were rather early but were proven quite wrong. After the table-scouting-pressure-applying routine that eating out in just about anywhere in Ipoh seems to entail, we went straight for the counters where piping hot little morsels of dim sum were being dished out.

Restoran Foh San
51 Jalan Leong Sin Nam
30300, Ipoh, Perak 

I must say that dim sum is definitely more for the omnivore, with the variety of meat-laden dishes available. Here, you'll catch a glimpse of some of my favourites.

Char Siu Sou (Barbecued pork pastry). These unassuming looking little pastries were absolute stars in my book with the char siu filling just right and the pastry light, crumbly and baked to a perfect golden brown. 

Wu Kok (Deep fried yam dumplings). Yam dumplings are one of those dim sum staples - every outlet has a version of it and sometimes, just sometimes, you get some truly outstanding ones. The dumplings are Foh San are not outstanding but manage to do the trick with their slightly lighter coloured char siu filling.

Siu Mai (pork dumplings). I'd never seen wolfberry-adorned siu mai before.

Century egg-topped dumplings. 

Steamed pork ribs with black beans. I liked that the Foh San version wasn't overly salty (as black bean dishes often are in danger of) and that the ribs weren't simply all about the bones. 

I was on the look out for the lotus paste filled glutinous dumplings that I'd fallen in love with the last time I was there but they were no where to be found. I suppose that's the thing about a restaurant that doesn't have a menu - then again, it also means that there's a little element of surprise at every visit. Some other dishes that were table favourites include the loh mai kai (steamed glutinous rice with chicken and Chinese sausage) and fried radish cake.

So yes, the Foh San experience feels a little more complete now that I've sampled some of their non-vegetarian dishes. Sure, one can argue that better versions of some of the dishes can be found elsewhere but there's something about joining the legions of happy dim sum eaters on a Sunday morning in that hustley, bustley atmosphere that gets you coming back time and again.

Holiday Foodsteps: Luen Fong Restaurant, Tanjung Tualang

All it took was the mention of the word "prawns" and we didn't need anymore convincing. We hopped onto the bus we'd charted for our little food trip to the Malaysian food hotspots of Penang and Ipoh and went in search of Luen Fong Restaurant in Tanjung Tualang.

Luen Fong Restaurant
No 19, Market Street,
31800 Tanjong Tualang,
Perak, Malaysia.

We caught a glimpse of the live prawns at the entrance of the restaurant - larger than your usual prawn and with what looked like scaled down versions of lobster legs. Settling down at the table, one gets a sense of how popular the restaurant is from the newspaper clippings on display. We ordered, and waited in anticipation.

Simply steamed with egg white, the prawns looked almost too good to eat as they arrived at our table in all their sunset coloured glory. I appreciated how succulent and juicy the prawns were but found that they lacked the sweetness that I usually associate with prawns.


Deep fried soft shell crab - these crunch little bits of crab are always a crowd pleaser and this time, it was no different.

Steamed soon hock - well liked for the delicate flesh that belies its less attractive physical features, this freshwater fish is quite hit-or-miss as a lot rides on the freshness of the fish. This one was on the hit end of the scale with the flesh still firm but delicate.

Kam Heong Clams. I love a good clam dish and this not only had the oomph of a good kam heong dish, it also had the freshness of the clams going for it.

Buttermilk Mantis Prawns - this marked the start of a whole array of buttermilk mantis prawn dishes that we were going to have over the course of of trip. These ones were crunchy and had just the right amount of flavour, making it no surprise that it instilled the desire to have the same dish at every subsequent meal.

Kung Po Frog. A little meat to provide some balance to all the seafood we were having. Sure, the choice of meat was rather unusual but it was one of the better frog dishes that I've had.

I must say that the prawns left me disappointed as I had been looking forward to that gorgeous prawn flavour - ahh, to think of what could have been. Seafood at the restaurant is fresh (as evidenced by the live prawns at the entrance) and one could tell that the dishes had much experience behind them. Unfortunately, the cleanliness of the restaurant left much to be desired and as such may not be everyone's cup of tea.