As we stay cooped up at home, we can't help but miss the simple pleasures in life, such as enjoying a family meal at our favourite Chinese restaurants. So, while waiting for the government to ease the restrictions on dining out, use your free time to learn how to cook. To get you started, we asked some of the celebrated chefs in Singapore to share simple recipes you'll have no trouble whipping up.
1. Twice-cooked pork
This recipe has actually been in chef Chen Kentaro's family for generations. His grandfather, the culinary legend Chen Ken Mi who introduced Szechuan cuisine in Japan, used to prepare it when he was a child so it holds a lot of fond memories. Back then, garlic scapes were not so common in Japan so cabbage was used as a substitute. That said, Kentaro encourages home cooks to use their creativity in the kitchen especially if some spices and ingredients may not be available. "Don't shy away from making the dishes your own by adding condiments you find the most suitable."
Serves three to four
150g pork belly
140g green cabbage
100g green capsicum
50g Japanese leek, white part
50g Japanese spring onion
As needed cooking oil
1 tbsp chilli oil
1 tsp fermented black beans (douchi), minced
1/2 tsp grated garlic
1/2 tbsp Chinese fermented rice (jiuniang)
2/3 tbsp chilli bean paste (doubanjiang)
2/3 tbsp sweet bean paste (tianmianjiang)
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1/2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
A dash of ground white pepper
1. Boil the pork in a large pot of water until the juices run clear when the pork is pricked with a skewer. Cut the pork into 2-mm thick slices.
2. Cut and discard the core from the cabbage, then cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Cut the capsicum into strips. Cut the Japanese leek diagonally into 5-mm slices. Cut the Japanese spring onion into 3-cm lengths.
3. Heat some oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the cabbage and sauté lightly. Transfer the cabbage to a plate. Drain any excess oil from the wok.
4. Place the pork in the wok slice by slice and avoid overlapping them. Allow to brown on both sides.
5. Add the capsicum and Japanese leek, and sauté.
6. Add seasoning A and sauté until fragrant. Return the cabbage to the wok. Add the Japanese spring onion.
7. Add seasoning B and simmer over low heat for the flavours to blend.
8. Add the chilli oil and give it a quick stir. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.