Here are more treasured Chinese heirloom recipes in celebration of the Dragon Year.
It is to amah Tan Chan Lam Chim and aunt Mary Chan Ang that Ana Ong owes much of her cooking prowess.
Sadly, the amah, who turns 96 next week, is ill.
But her former ward has fond memories of her. They said her favorite expression of love for them was her cooking.
According to Ana, in their youth, all summers were spent with amah in Naga.
Upon their arrival, two special dishes awaited them: traveler’s misua, said to bring good luck and long life, and pork chop adobo with eggs, a favorite of her ward whom she called her grandchildren. But they would come to dread the second dish toward the end of their visit, since amah had the habit of cooking 10 kilos of chops at a time, leaving the children no choice but to eat them from start to finish of their vacation.
According to Jonathan, one among 19 of amah’s grandchildren, her misua is the best. It is a dish that tastes like home.
Amah’s Traveler’s Misua (as taught to Ana)
1 onion, sliced
2 k pork bones – (bias) slow-boiled for 2 hours
½ k each pork kasim & chicken breast, sliced thinly
½ k live suahe, boiled and shell set aside
50 g dried mushroom shiitake (soaked and sliced thinly )
2 packs red carton egg misua
1 pack shredded dried squid, wash then soak overnight in 1 cup water
100 g dried scallops, soaked overnight in 1 cup water
100 g shallots, sliced
thinly, fried in oil until golden brown and drained
In a wok, sauté onion in oil.
Add pork, chicken, mushroom, dried squid and scallop, stir-fry quickly.
Add squid and scallops soaking liquids and pork bone stock.
Simmer for 20 minutes.
Season stock to taste with salt and MSG if you wish.
Lastly, add the cooked shrimp.
Blanch 1 pack of egg noodles, drain and toss with oil from the fried shallots.
Ladle stock, enough to coat and flavor the noodles.
Garnish with scrambled eggs, green onions, fried shallots and peanuts.
Mary Chan Ang, now 86, is the lady Ana runs to when she wants to learn how a traditional Chinese dish is made.
It was her cooking that enabled her to raise all of her 13 children after their factory burned down. Auntie Mary used to sell 1,000 pieces of machang a day.
She shares her Teng Que recipe—Sweet Sticky Rice Cake with Fried Shallots—round balls for prosperity, sticky rice for togetherness. Usually served during the winter solstice, it is also prepared for other festivities including the New Year.
1 pack glutinous rice flour
1 c water
Combine and knead.
Form into a ball then flatten, with pinkie, to make indented discs.
Leave 100 g of the dough and color it pink, using red coloring, knead and again shape into disks.
Boil water and cook rice discs until they float.
½ c oil
12 pcs shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
4 tbsp sugar
In a wok, fry shallots until golden.
Remove oil leaving about 2 tbsp.
Add sugar, mix and immediately add rice discs.
Put shallots and mix gently.
According to Kelly, Ana’s husband, machang was served and eaten during the dragon boat festival to commemorate the death of a Chinese poet. Today, it can be enjoyed every single day of the year.
Auntie Mary gifts us with her famous machang recipe.
1 k each pork liempo, chicken—cut into cubes
1 k malagkit rice
2 tbsp sugar
20 pcs dried mushroom, soaked in 1 cup water, Aunt Mary says keep mushroom water to use for adobo.
20 pcs whole chestnut, dried or roasted, peel
100 g hebi, soaked in 1 cup water
In a wok put ¼ c oil, add 2 tbsp sugar, once caramelized, add liempo and cook 5 minutes.
Add chicken, cook 2 minutes.
Put ¼ c coconut soy sauce, add 1 c water plus hebi and mushroom water.
Simmer 10-15 minutes.
To the sauce add mushroom, hebi and chestnut. Cook 5-10 minutes depending on mushrooms, remove.
Taste sauce and season. Divide sauce.
In a wok add ¼ c oil, sauté malagkit, slowly add half of the adobo sauce. Cook until rice is evenly coated with the oil and the sauce, until light brown, about 5 minutes.
Get bamboo leaves and start wrapping machang.
Start off with a handful of rice, making sure that each parcel has 1 piece of chicken, pork, mushroom and chestnut. To make special machang, add a thin slice of Chinese ham and 2 slices of Chinese sausage to the rice.
Bring water in a stockpot to a boil.
Add the remaining sauce.
Submerge the parcels to cook in boiling water, 1 hour.
Ana Ong is a caterer of home-cooked traditional Chinese fare and the maker of what is to me the best congee in town. Call 0916-7021585.
Next Week, Imelda Go’s bakwa recipe.
My book “Kitchen Rescue 3, The Directory – My Lifeline to Eating, Cooking and Living” is now available in all leading bookstores, or call 6474744.
For my cooking class schedule, call 0917-5543700, 0908-2372346, 4008496, 9289296.