Home Recipes

Welcome to our collection of recipes--both Singaporean and international--that we've acquired, come across, experimented upon. Your suggestions are more than welcome!


Cheesecake II

Tried a different cheesecake recipe, this time, from cooksillustrated.com. It is definitely much more professional than my earlier one. I liked the taste of my earlier recipe, but the texture to this one is much better. So I've adapted the newer recipe in an attempt to get both the taste and texture I like.

Fresh out of the oven


4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1+ cup Oreo baking crumbs (basically crushed Oreos without the icing)

4 sticks of cream cheese (8oz/250g each)
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 tsp lemon zest from 1 small lemon
1 tsp cinnamon powder (not in the original recipe, which calls for 2 tsp vanilla extract)
1/4 cup whipping cream (or heavy cream)
1/4+ cup sour cream

Essential equipment

9 inch springform cake pan (or even better: a "Cheesecake Pan with Removable Bottom"--but alas! I left mine in Singapore...)
Large roasting pan (big enough for the cake pan to fit in it)
Foil (larger version: 25 inch wide)
Electric mixer, etc.


1. Heat oven to 375 degrees (Fahrenheit) with the oven rack in the middle position. Wrap springform pan bottom with foil, tuck foil underneath pan bottom, assemble pan, then pull foil around side of pan. Prepare a kettle of boiling water.

2. For the crust: melt butter, mix it well with the Oreo crumbs. Spread and push the resulting mixture onto the bottom of the pan evenly. Make sure that it covers the entire bottom. Bake for about 10-15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool down. Bring the oven down to 325 degrees.

3. Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth (I usually allow the cream cheese to warm up by it leaving out of the 'fridge before using). Mix in sugar, about 3 min allowing it to dissolve. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down after each addition, ensuring ingredients stuck at bottom of bowl are fully incorporated so as to avoid lumps. Add zest and vanilla and beat until just incorporated. Manually stir in cream and sour cream. Beat egg whites to soft peaks (separately) and manually fold into batter.

4. By now, the cake pan should be cool enough to handle. Grease the sides with butter. Cover pan underneath and along sides with sheet of heavy-duty foil and set it in the roasting pan. Bring kettle of water to boil. Pour batter into prepared pan. Cover the top of the pan with foil (just put a sheet over lightly over the pan, don't bother wrapping it around the pan). Set roasting pan on oven rack and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up side of springform pan.

5. Bake at 325 degress until perimeter of cake is set, but center jiggles like Jell-O when pan is tapped, 45 to 50 minutes. Turn off heat and leave oven door ajar (using a long-handled kitchen fork or spoon to hold it open) for 1 hour longer. Remove springform pan from water bath and set on wire rack; cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours. (Can be refrigerated up to 4 days.) If done right, the cake should shrink slightly, detaching itself from the sides of the pan.

Successfully made night of Wednesday, Oct 19. To add blueberry topping when serving (desert on Friday evening for guests).


Homemade Gongbao Chicken

I've been on the lookout for Chinese restaurants that do good Gongbao Jiding ever since I came to North America--with mixed results most of the time. While the better (i.e., more expensive) restaurants can usually do a good job with it, the same cannot be said for the run-of-mill lunch-special-for-3.99 outfits (usually too watery). Today, I decided to give the dish a go myself--after finding a respectable looking recipe online (adapted below), and reminding myself that I should be looking for ways to use my small stash of Szechwan Peppercorn and Dried Chilli. But as usual, I had to take some liberties with the recipe, the most scandalous being the substitution of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Peanut Oil (I've switched to Olive for practially all of my cooking--including stir fry--for a while by now), and Balsamic Vinegar for Black Chinese Vinegar (since my last bottle was used up and I wasn't intending to buy a new one just for this). The overall results--I am happy to report--exceeded expectations:


Recipe (as I prepared the dish)
"+" means "and a bit more"

Main Ingredients
- 1 1/2 boneless chicken thigh (supposed to be breast) without skin (about 2/3 lb)
- 2 garlic cloves and an equivalent amount of fresh ginger
- 4 scallions (a.k.a. spring onion), white parts only
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (supposed to be peanut oil)
- Small handful dried red chillies (preferably Sichuanese, but I only have generic)
- 1 tsp whole Sichuan peppercorn (I love this stuff)
- 1/2 cup cashew Nuts (bits; traditionally roasted unsalted peanuts; but cashew is supposed to give a grander version of the dish--and in any case, that's what I have today)

- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine (medium-dry sherry is supposed to do as well)
- 2+ tsp cornstarch (or 1 1/2 tsp potato flour)
- 1 tbs water

- 3 tsp sugar
- 1+ tsp cornstarch (or 3/4 tsp potato flour)
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- 3 tsp Balsamic Vinegar (supposed to be Chinkiang black Chinese vinegar)
- 1 tsp sesame oil (product of Singapore "Chee Seng" brand, no less)
- 1 tsp chicken stock (i.e., water + pinch of Knorr chicken broth mix)

Preparation (As it turns out, most of the work is in the preparation (cutting, measuring, etc.). The cooking itself does not take all that long. Hopefully, as I get more experienced with the dish, I will be able to guesstimate the quantities without having to resort to the measuring spoons all the time. I've rearranged the original instructions to reflect the actual sequence I took more closely.)

1. Cut the chicken as into 1/2-inch cubes (no need to be too exact lah). Place in a small bowl and mix in the marinade ingredients. Let sit..
2. Peel and thinly slice the garlic and ginger. Chop scallions into chunks as long as their diameter. Snip the chillies in half or into 2-inch sections, discard as many seeds as possible. Set aside.
3. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

(left: the ingredients all ready for the pan; right: a bevy of seasoning)


1. Heat Olive Oil over high heat (another scandalous substitution: I use a non-stick pan rather than a wok). Leave one small slice of garlic for testing the temperature--when it begins to sizzle, it's time. Add the chillies and Sichuan pepper and stir-fry briefly until they are crisp and the oil is spicy and fragrant (opening the windows is advised). Take care not to burn the spices. Add the ginger and garlic (they are added later in the original recipe but Wifey prefers her garlic well cooked). Stir.

2. Add chicken and fry over high heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the chicken cubes have separated, add the scallions and continue to stir-fry for a few minutes until the meat is cooked through (test one of the larger pieces to make sure).

3. Give the sauce a stir and add it to the wok, continuing to stir and toss. As soon as the sauce has become thick and shiny, add the cashew, stir them in, and serve.

(Variations: The same dish can be made with cubes of pork, shrimp, or prawns.)

Next stop: Mapo Tofu, Iron Chef Chen Kenichi Style.