Ay Caramba, Suanie cooks Parmesan Chicken Burrito!

Yesterday for dinner, I decided to make… PARMESAN CHICKEN BURRITO!
Truth to be told, I didn’t know it was going to be called that.
I had in my mind a boneless chicken dish soaked in tomato sauce and eaten with tortilla bread.
It’s quite a big deal for me because I’ve never cooked chicken before.
As in, whole pieces of chicken. La carne!. Minced meat doesn’t count.

As they say, every epic journey begins with a visit to the nearby hypermarket.

Parmesan Chicken Burrito - ingredients

First, the chicken. I bought chicken keel because it’s the part with the least bones.
I remember years ago when my sister told me to buy her some chicken.
“Which part of the chicken??” I asked.
“Chicken keel, the chicken keel!”
“Huh what? WTF is chicken keel? Is it ribs? Is it thigh? WHAT???”
“…. KEEL… K-E-E-L! It will be written there lah, go look for it.”

Next, the tomato sauce. Ohai Prego, saviour of inept cooks, aiding culinary noobs since 1981.
Why go through all the headache and trouble of making your own tomato sauce…
when Giant sells a large Prego ready-made bottle for less than RM 10?

Then tortilla bread. Which is, tortilla bread.
Not much introduction. It was on the shelf and I grabbed two.

Spices! I already had in my limited stash: black pepper, basil and oregano.
In the photo, they’re sitting on top of a box of frozen chicken stock.
For that, you’ll need a sister like mine, who makes lots of good (and expensive) chicken stock.
She then freezes them, to be used little by little whenever the occasion calls for it.

Condiments! Lots of chopped garlic, onions and dried red chilli.
I like lots of garlic and onions with everything I cook.
Dried red chilli gives it that extra kick. That was just half of what I used.

Cheese! Two slices of cheddar, to be added to the sauce when it’s simmering.
Premium bacon! Because I had lots of leftover and bacon makes everything nicer.

Parmesan Chicken Burrito - frying the condiments

1: Heat up a deep frying pan (or flat-bottomed wok or whatever suits your fancy). Add some olive oil. How much olive oil? I don’t know, enough to cook the chopped garlic that you’d be putting in next.

2: Add the chopped onions and let it cook for a while. Like, 8 or 10 hippopotamus.

3: Add the red chilli. Make sure that you’d remove the seeds, else you’d camp on the throne.

4: Fry fry fry and it smells really great. Don’t bluff you one. Then dump all of the chicken into the pan. Stir well, make sure that your condiments cover all chicken slices. At some point, feel free to pour in some chicken stock, or not. Up to you. I don’t know if it actually made a difference, but it made me feel better :D

Parmesan Chicken Burrito - chicken in the pan

1: Heat up another frying pan and fry the bacon. If you cook it together with the chicken, not so nice lah because it may not turn out as well. I bought this frying pan from IKEA for less than RM13. It has served me well and cooked many a bacon. Worthy investment. Once the bacon is properly cooked, let it chill for a while, then chop it into little pieces. Word of warning: use tongs and not thy fingers to pick up the bacon pieces. The oil is still hot and may fry your skin and flesh. I speak from painful, painful experience.

2: Once the chicken is browned (you can tell when it looks more like chicken you’d eat than its raw state), add some of the marvellous ready-made Prego pasta sauce, about a third of it will do. Stir everything well, make sure the sauce is spread out evenly.

3: Add more of the pasta sauce + some water. Stir stir stir. Dump in the spices. Honestly I couldn’t taste the spices because I put in a lot of chilli and the taste was quite overpowering But now I can say that I’ve cooked something where I added in spices such as basil and oregano, can you??? Heh.

4: Add the rest of the sauce + more water. Stir. Add the bacon bits + its own oil that it was cooked in. For every drop you waste, Zeus creates another Justin Bieber. It’s true. Then look at the big pot of chicken drowning in tomato sauce and realise in belated horror that you’ve cooked enough for 6 people when you’re only 2. I think this ‘unable to calculate’ thing stretches beyond figures…

Anyway, let the whole pot simmer for a while. I dunno, 5 mins? Was never really good with time. Then blast the shit out of the stove (full heat) for about a minute. Again I’m not sure why but like I’ve said before, it makes me feel better, so there.

Parmesan Chicken Burrito - shredded parmesan

Oh, you also need shredded cheese to go with your burrito. I think the norm is shredded cheddar, but I have a heck lot of parmesan in my fridge that I’ve no idea what to do with them. Plus I’m not going to pay good money for shredded cheddar when I have shredded parmesan. It’s all cheese, they will eventually taste the same… I think.

On an unrelated note, I need to find use for grated parmesan, all 250g of it. And 10g cheese powder. I have no idea why I bought it, but it was cheap and now I do not know what to do with it. Spread it out in the wind like dandelions?

Parmesan Chicken Burrito - where to eat

Finally you’re done! Microwave the life out of your tortilla bread for 30 seconds, then serve everything in front of the telly that’s playing LOTR: Return of The King. I think this was the part where they were in Gondor, preparing for Sauron’s attack from Mordor. Yes, I know the movie is not Mexican ala burrito but I am not a thematic eater. That, and I do not know how to make lembas.

Parmesan Chicken Burrito - how to eat

How to eat the fantastic Parmesan chicken burrito, you ask? Easy like Britney!

1: Place desired amount of chicken + sauce onto a piece of tortilla bread. Sprinkle cheese.
2: Fold the bottom to cup the filling, then fold the left.
3: Then fold the right and waheyy!!! it’s like a pocket!
4: Bring it closer to your mouth and om nom nom nom nom!

Comprender? Buen provecho! Quiero ver tus tetas!
Heheheheh, not really.

Ryan teaches you how to use a mop

Ryan the helper My mom got me a ‘self-squeezing’ mop. I’ve no idea what the proper name is, so that’s what it’ll be known from now on – self-squeezing mop. Technically you still need to apply some strength to twist the handle for the almost self-squeezing part to happen. At least you do not have to squeeze the yarn of the mop itself with your bare hands, which some people find thoroughly disgusting. Which I don’t, because it’s part of cleaning, herro?!? Then wash your hands later with Dettol, HERRO?!?

The time one takes to twist the handle and squeeze out the water, I could have done the same with my bare hands for 2 mops. 2.5 if it was a challenge. Not that I do not appreciate the present from my mom, I really do. I will parade it with my line of other mops (I have 2 normal white ones and one pink one, don’t judge). I will use it exactly the way Ryan taught me to.

Ryan is going to teach you how to use the mop too. Watch carefully…

Isn’t he such a helpful, albeit bossy… erm, helper? Yes he is.
Here’s a photo of him eating a drumstick of a duck.
The boy’s got teeth.

Ryan eating a roasted duck drumstick

Merry Christmas & A Very Happy New Year!

Yeap, it’s that time of the year again.
Monsoon rain and flash floods.
Last minute shopping for more things that you don’t need.
Ka-ching ka-ching ka-ching.

It’s also nearly the end of another year.
Cliche, but what a year it has been!
Trying to tie the loose ends of the purchase of my 1st and own home.
Burnt out from trying to get it habitable in time for a rushed moving in.
Yadda yadda yadda.

Got to know quite a few new people, most of which I’m proud to call my friends.
Got to know some people’s true characters, I don’t hang out with them anymore.
Would be stupid if I still did, right?
Got to be in a calmer, more Zen frame of mind.
Want to be more chillax, happy, peaceful.
Leave me out of your drama, I’m too old for this shite.

Made a lot of mistakes, still trying to learn from them.
Made a lot of bad judgment, sometimes I wish I could turn back time.
Made a few wrong calculations here and there, wish I could count better.
(OK that’s not gonna happen but a girl can dream, right?)

It’s hard to grow up. Inevitable, but hard.
But one thing’s for sure…
I will never get too old to kiss Christmas cows in public :D

Merry Christmas 2010 from Suanie

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year to you, my loved ones, and all.
Except for Miley Cyrus. And that Bieber kid.
‘Cos I don’t like them, that’s why.
Gosh, I hope their Christmases suck.

Chinese Traditions: Dong Zhi aka Winter Solstice Festival

Today is Dong Zhi, aka Winter Solstice Festival. It is a time of Chinese get-togetherness/ family reunion, something about unity and harmony and other such nilai-nilai murni yang dipentingkan oleh bangsa Cina. Check out the Wikipedia entry for more information.

Apparently this festival is more important than Chinese New Year. I’m unsure of the reason, but my sister is doing a good job of making sure that we try to get together for Dong Zhi. A couple of years ago I made other plans on this date and my sister gave me a hard time about it. Since then I try to make sure that I don’t do anything else on Dong Zhi other than to be with my family <3

Last night after dinner, we went back to my sister's to make tang yuan, glutinous rice balls. It is a dessert traditionally consumed on Dong Zhi; again the sticky balls and sweet soup adds on meaning to the family unity bit. I’m glad my Mom gave us this bit of tradition as kids, we had so much fun back then making them.

Chinese Winter Solstice Festival - glutinous rice balls in the making

I think she was trying to pass on the tradition for Ryan the Nephew, but judging from last night, it didn’t seem that he was very interested. Oh well, he will learn, heh! She ended up making most of the glutinous rice balls because I wasn’t very good at it.

As you can see from the list of ingredients, you’ll need glutinous rice flour that is mixed with a bit of water. They are then rolled into little balls and cooked in plain water, then served in sweet syrup. You can add fillings to the rice balls; we had red bean paste (my favourite!), lotus seed paste and fragrant sweet peanuts.

Chinese Winter Solstice Festival - Mom making tang yuan
Mom making tang yuan while Dad does what he does best – sitting there :P

Chinese Winter Solstice Festival - Sweet ginger soup

The sweet soup to go with the tang yuan was made from water, rock sugar, pandan leaves, red dates and lots of ginger. Yummilicious!

Chinese Winter Solstice Festival - Tang Yuan, or Glutinous Rice Balls
A bowl of tang yuan

Ryan the Nephew didn’t want to eat the tang yuan. I told him that all Chinese people eat tang yuan and he may not be Chinese if he didn’t eat it! Hehehehe.. Then I made him go ask his Mom and Dad if he was really Chinese. You should have a nephew like Ryan too, it’s so fun!

In the end his Dad made him eat one or two tang yuan just for the festival. He wasn’t too happy about it, heh.

Chinese Winter Solstice Festival - Sister with her tang yuan Chinese Winter Solstice Festival - Ryan the Nephew

That’s my eldest sister -_-” because I stopped her to take a photo just as she was about to dig in.
And that’s Ryan swallowing the tang yuan before he rushed into the kitchen to get water to wash it down.
Ahh.. one day he’ll learn…!

Cuti-Cuti Malaysia: The Kuala Lumpur Tower

KL Tower - 01 View from below We visited the Kuala Lumpur Tower because it’s a tourist thing to do. I’ve been up there a couple of times but never blogged about it, so here it is.

The KL Tower (Malay: Menara Kuala Lumpur) is an iconic structure in the city centre, atop Bukit Nanas which is the oldest gazetted forest reserve in the country. The tower stands at 421m and is 94m above sea level. Built for telecommunication purposes, construction began in 1991 and the tower was completed in 1996.

Atop the KL Tower is a public observation deck and a revolving restaurant. Every year, the KL Towerthon is held where participants run up 2,058 steps to the top of the tower, which is something that I’d never consider doing, thank you very much.

The last time I was at the KL Tower, the entrance fee to the observation deck for Malaysians and non-Malaysians differed. Now in the name of equality, we pay the same amount: Adults RM38 (USD12) and Kids RM28 (USD8.75). It comes bundled with a package of “ADVENTURE” which are activities for kids, or “CULTURAL” which is a visit to the cultural village.

I think the entrance fee is a bit steep: 2 parents with 3 kids would have to fork out RM160 (USD50) for the visit, which is quite a lot of money!

KL Tower - 02 View of Petronas Twin Towers

Apparently the guided tour (tape with headphones) is very good, comes in several languages. The observation deck is spacious, there are telescopes at certain windows where you could peek at people in swim suits lounging at various hotel pools. Souvenirs are sold at one end of the deck, you may get cheaper and better options at Petaling Street (Chinatown).

KL Tower - 03 Observation Deck KL Tower - 04 View of Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Inside the observation deck, and view of the Petronas Twin Towers

After a while, we went back down to the cultural village. Sorry, the 1Malaysia Cultural Village, because 3MalaysiaDLL Cultural Village would be correct yet politically incorrect.

As you enter the attraction, a C-3PO in steel dreadlocks greets you with one steel palm in a halt position, and the other steel palm in a ‘gimme your money’ position. Trust me, I too did not know what it meant.

KL Tower - 05 Cultural Village
So I took a photo with it, maybe it was the alien version of God of Fortune

The 1Malaysia Cultural Village was basically a few facades of traditional Malay houses, the very mini version of Mini Malaysia in Melaka. If you’ve not been to the Mini Malaysia in Melaka, you should because it was great. But then I was 12 years old when I was there last, so things may have changed a little, I do not know.

We were told that there would be a ‘cultural show’ inside the hall. As we entered, a traditional Malay band was already playing and they were really good. I wish I had the guts to yell out for them to play Lady GaGa.

KL Tower - 06 Cultural Village KL Tower - 07 Cultural Village - playing the congkak
Inside the KL Tower Cultural Village

Of course, the cultural show was a few dancers garbed in traditional costumes moving about to supposedly Malay/ Chinese/ Indian music. The best one was the Indian dance, not sure if he was really Indian so here’s a photo. What do you think?

KL Tower - 08 Cultural Village - Dancer doing the Indian dance
Dancing queen

It was a rather fun trip and AD quite enjoyed himself. Of course I was happy that I didn’t have to pay for my ticket. If I did, I’m sure I would have been slightly bitchy about it.

KL Tower - 09 Suanie was there
Suanie was there

Kuala Lumpur Tower: http://www.menarakl.com.my