Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Steamed Glutinous Rice - CNY Feast @ Floravale

The group had a pot-luck session at Alan's place last Sunday to celebrate the Chinese New Year. My contribution this time - Eight Treasure Rice aka Steamed Glutinous Rice.  My recipe below (serves 20 easily or 4 trays):


8 cups or 1.2kg Glutinous Rice (2 cups/tray - Soak for at least half hour)
500g pork belly
60g dried mushroom
120g dried shrimp
80g dried scallop
4 chinese sausage
250g ground nuts
Chopped Garlic

The ingredients

Seasoning (Mix all with the water used for soaking the dried ingredients)
4 Tablespoons dark soya sauce
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
Five spice powder


Peel, clean and slice the shallots into thin and uniform thickness

Wash and skin the sausages and cut into small pieces

Soak and soften the dried mushroom and cut into small pieces

Soak and soften the dried scallop and peel into small pieces

Soak and soften the dried shrimp and chop them finely (I used food processor to cut down the preparation time)

Wash, clean and cut the pork belly into small long pieces. Season with soya sauce, pepper, five spice powder and fish sauce

Deep fried the shallots until golden brown and put aside. Use the same oiled pan to brown the ground nuts. Keep aside. (You can do this step in advance and store the fried shallots and nuts in air-tight containers)

Using the shallot oil, fry the dried shrimps until foam starts to form. Add the dried scallop and fry for another minute.

Add the chopped garlic and fry until just before it turns brown

Add the pork belly and stir fry for a couple of minutes

Add the sausage and dried mushroom and fry for another minute

Add the glutinous rice and the seasoning sauce mixture

Fry for another minute to evenly coat every grain with the sauce and mix the ingredient evenly

Transfer the rice mixture into 4 trays. Add 1 ladle of the rice water to each tray and steam them over high heat for 25-30 minutes. Glutinous rice will taste better if it is not too soft/cooked. You should use a spoon to "loosen up" the rice mixture during cooking. Just before cooked, add a spoonful of the shallot oil to the rice and mix well.

Garnish generously with coriander, fried shallots and ground nuts. Yummy!

Check out the other dishes we had for the session:

Wife's signature Yu Sheng

Jazz's garlic butter prawns

Richard's Thai fish cake

Chye Ling's curry chicken

Eeleen's "Hoe See Fatt Choy"...

... Ngoh Hiang...

... and fried bee hoon

We had some great wine but I had forgotten to take pictures of the bottles we had that afternoon.

Although most of us knew each other since our university days, the five families became closer as we bought our first homes and started our families about the same time at The Floravale.

I actually missed the convenience of staying together at Floravale (The kids can meet up regularly and the adults can all walk home after our drinking and dining sessions) but not the travelling distance and time.

Maybe all of us should consider moving to the same condo or area again?! :)

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Huat Ah!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Phuket Kamala

Thailand is slowly becoming our favourite holiday destination due to the shorter flight time, beautiful beaches and favorable currency exchange rates. Last year, we visited the country on 3 occasions (Krabi, Phuket and Chiang Mai) and we returned last week to Phuket again with CJ and Jazz for a 4D3N getaway and our first holiday in 2012.

This time, we chose the quieter Kamala for a more peaceful and relaxing getaway and yet it was just 10-15 minutes drives from the touristy Patong when we wanted a slice of the nightlife and shopping. As this was a no-kids getaway for the 2 couples, we booked the Cape Sienna in Kamala. This hotel has a No-Kids-Under-12 policy and was voted the most romantic hotel in Asia by tripadvisor travelers' choice awards.

Cold, refreshing tea and towel were served at the hotel holding area while waiting for our rooms

An fish-eye view of the sea from the hotel lobby 

The hotel was designed as a retreat for the urban cosmopolitain
Not the most luxurious rooms that we have stayed but interiors are modern and the rooms offer stunning seaview from the balcony

Bed was scattered with rose petals and 2 cute "Towel elephants"

Vanilla Sky Bar & Lounge - Located at the roof top of the hotel main building. Serves a wide variety of cocktails  in a modern resort setting with a breathtaking view of the Kamala Bay.

We spent quite some time here at Vanilla Sky

View of the resort main pool and the Kamala beach in the background from Vanilla Sky

The Sky, Sea and the infinity pool at Sienna Rocks - Pool by the Sea. Can you see the dividing lines?

We love Sienna Rocks 

The Poolside

We spent quite a fair bit of the trip lazing at the hotel pool side, Sienna Rocks and Vanilla sky.  But we did take up some fun activities and visited some interesting spots of Phuket including the Big Buddha of Phuket.

We spent 3 hours on one of these All-Terrain-Vehicle (ATV) touring round the Phuket Town areas.

Known among Thais as the Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri Buddha in full, it is 25 meters across at the base. The whole body is layered with beautiful white Burmese marble that shines in the sun, making it a natural symbol of hope. The views, and the actual image itself are all breathtaking.

The Big Buddha

View of Phuket Town from the one of the view points during the ATV ride

Another "Photo Stop"  during the ATV ride. No idea what the temple at the background was?!

Kamala Beach

Kamala Town

Phuket Premium Outlet

While walking to Kamala Town from Cape Sienna, we past by this beautiful Andara Resort and were immediately captivated by the lush surrounding and majestic buildings. The resort staff was very friendly and gave us a tour of the resort although we were not the hotel guests.

We ended up having our best lunch of the trip at SILK - A fine Thai restaurant within the resort which was voted Thailand Best Restaurant in 2010.

Andara Resorts and Villa

The resort was constructed with lots of natural materials such as stones and timber. 

The passage way connecting the hotel front desk and the Villas

SILK - Award winning Thai Restaurant

Contemporary Thai setting

Yam Som O - Pomelo Salad with Tamarind Dressing and Crispy Shallot

Poo Ja - Deep-Fried Crab Meat, Carrot and Onion in Crab Shell

Massaman Goong Silk - Massaman Curry with King Prawns, Sweet Potato and Peanuts

Pla Thord Samun Prai - Deep-Fried White Snapper Fillet with Thai Herbs

Phad Kana Moo Grob - Stir-Fried Green Kale with Golden Crispy Pork

Gang Phed Ped Yang - Red Curry with Roast Duck, Pineapple, Grape and Cherry Tomato

Khao Niaw Mamuang - Traditional Thai Style Sticky Rice with Fresh Mango

Other dining highlights of this trip include a Tapas Night at Vanilla Sky where free-flow of hot and cold Tapas were served with a bottle of wine per person.

Bite-Sized Tapas Buffet

Chilean House Wine for the Tapas Night at Vanilla Sky

The Vanilla Sky @ Cape Sienna

Nothing beats a ice-cold beer on a hot afternoon. We had this for our first lunch at Kamala Town.

Fried Chicken Drumlets with Papaya Salad and Sticky Rice

Three Sauce Snapper

Deep-Fried Thai Prawn Cakes

Tom Yum Goong

We like the cold and sweet Thai Ice Milk Tea
We also enjoyed our lunch at Wine Connection,  Patong, although the service was bad, really BAD! I would prefer not to go into the details. If you like above-average food but do not mind the service quality, this is actually a good place for late brunch or lunch.

Salmon Ravioli

Egg Salad

Stew Lamb with Fettucine

Pumpkin Ravioli
We snapped close to 600 pictures during this trip and below are some of the interesting shots.

A panaroma view of the Andaman Sea at Kamala Bay 

The poolside with the Partial Blue Effect

The Partial Green Effect

Sunset at Kamala Bay

Colourful row of Bikes neatly parked along Kamala Beach

Macro Flower

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