Our lovely BonAppetour host, Cassandra, writes about her first experience hosting guests in her home in sunny Singapore! An avid home-chef, with a passion for creating exotic yet authentic dishes, Cassandra is a foodie at heart, and loves to spread the joy of cooking at home by sharing recipes and video tutorials with her friends!
Thanks for contributing this article, Cassandra!
Have you ever wished you could dine at some local’s place when you travel?
I always wished I could visit their house and tastes their home cooked food. When I was approached with this concept, I thought it was awesome, except for one thing – I am the host instead of the guest! I felt quite apprehensive about opening up my home to complete strangers who will pay me for their meal. Erm, did I just said I wish I could eat at some strangers’ house?
I was cracking my head. There are wide varieties of cuisines available in Singapore. What type of food is not easily available to foreigners or tourists?
So, I decided to make a Peng Cai. We usually eat this dish during Chinese New Year and strangely, this one-pot wonder is so easy to make but I don’t remember having it on a regular day. You can use many of your favourite ingredients to flavour the dish. I asked my guests for their choice and they chose chicken as the meat ingredient. In my peng cai, there’s prawns, fresh scallops, roast chicken cooked in broth flavoured by wong bok, dried mushrooms & dried scallops. (My recipe is included at the end of this post!)
At around 6.30pm, the guests arrived at my place. They were from Beijing, Italy and Singapore. My hubby helped showed them to their seats while I served the peng cai, as well as some seafood tofu puffs as a side dish. I prepared some sambal belacan as dipping sauce. However, it was a pity that my Italian guest could not tolerate its spiciness.
We had a good chat about their stay in Singapore. It was eating, talking and laughing throughout the dinner. I totally enjoyed hosting this dinner experience with BonAppetour. I am going to Penang early next year, and I heard that ther are BonAppetour hosts in Penang – I really look forward to being a guest at their place!
1 Wong Bok, cut into pieces and separating the stem and leafy parts
4 dried mushrooms, rinsed and soaked
4 dried scallops, rinsed and soaked
8 pcs of fresh scallops, sliced into halves
8 pcs of prawns
2 chicken drumsticks, bones removed
1 pkt golden mushrooms
1 small carrot, cut into flower shape and slice into 5 mm thickness
3 cups chicken stock
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk spring onion, chopped
6 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp chinese wine
Dashes of pepper
- Fry garlic till fragrant.
- Add chicken stock and seasoning.
- Stir well.
- Add the stems of wong bok, follow by leafy parts.
- Laid the carrots on top of wong bok.
- Bring to boil.
- Switch to small fire, cover and simmer for 15-20 mins till wong bok had softened abit.
- Set aside some carrots for arrangement.
- Arrange the rest of carrots, mushroom and dried scallops around the claypot.
- Using a flat plate slightly smaller than the diameter of your clay pot, arrange the rest of ingredients on it. Arrange some carrots around the ingredients.
- Use your hand to push the ingredients so that they slide into the clay pot with the arrangement still intact.
- Cover and simmer for 10 mins till ingredients are full cooked.
- Add spring onions.
- Serve in claypot.
- I am using a 2.9 litres Tanyu claypot.
- The chicken stock looks little to begin with but after simmering, the water content in wong bok will seeped out. You can add more stock after wong bok had softened (if you prefer).
- Use small fire and cover with lid while simmering the wong bok. This is to create a “steaming” effect with the small amount of stock in the claypot.
- The total cooking time for wong bok to completely softened is about 25 mins. As this dish has to cook in layers to maintain its arrangement, you need to plan what ingredients goes in first or later.
- If radish is added, you can arrange them around the claypot, submerged in broth and cook together with wong bok, dried mushrooms and dried scallops.
- If yam and pumpkin are added, you can do without carrots. Arrange them on top of wong bok so that they are steamed instead of cooked in broth. Rearrange them around the claypot before laying the rest of ingredients for the final cooking at the last 10 mins.