Delicacies For The Masses

According to an article posted on the following website, a 71-year-old man developed extreme swelling and large blood-filled blisters, called hemorrhagic bullae, on his left hand just 12 hours after eating raw seafood.

This article created quite a sensation but it also included a link to the original report in the New England Journal of Medicine. I wonder if anyone actually clicked on the link and noticed that the article in had conveniently omitted: “He had a history of type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension and was undergoing hemodialysis for end-stage renal disease.”

Check out the original report over here.

Nevertheless, a word of caution is still in order and there is something which I need to highlight here. A lot of raw seafood served on a plate were actually rare delicacies decades ago. I remember when I was dating in my 20s and when bringing a girl to a Japanese restaurant was guaranteed to impress her. That was the time before automatic sushi cutters were invented. Chefs back then were very particular about the source of their ingredients and the method of preparation. There could be no rush, no compromise. That was until Japanese cuisine moved from avant garde to mainstream and then from delicacy to fast food – complete with delivery service and tiny stalls dispensing machine-made sushi rolls. With the roaring demand and a tight, competitive lid on prices, sushi makers can no longer be so particular about the source of their ingredients.


Chua Lam has told us that the Japanese don’t normally make sashimi out of salmon – especially farmed salmon. We’ll never know if the sashimi ingredients used by our sushi makers are really “sashimi grade” as defined by traditional sushi chefs and food experts. One Japanese friend told me that while he loves sashimi, he can only afford to eat it at reputed establishments once in a while and he never eats it outside Japan. Some food for thought for those who want delicacies to come cheap.

Baked Seafood Pasta

This is one of my kids’ favourite dishes. It takes a bit of time to make, but I assure you that it’s well worth the effort. First and foremost, you’ll need to mince a few cloves of garlic and chop up about two onions.


Fry in olive oil until the garlic starts to brown and fragrant. Make sure the garlic and onions are fried properly or they will give off acrid fumes during baking.


Next, add in one small can of tomato paste. You’ll need to add salt and water. About 2 teaspoons of salt would be sufficient. You can also use fresh tomatoes and blend the mixture later.


Over here, my sauce was a bit too thick. I should have added more water. The pasta is easy. I like to use angel hair as it takes up the flavours better.


Remember to add salt into the water. Don’t worry about the sodium as you’re not going to drink the water. Turn off the heat and drain the water when the pasta is half cooked. Season your seafood with salt and pepper. You can blanch it with hot water and line the tray. Add the half-cooked pasta and sauce that you’ve prepared earlier.


Mix everything up, then add about 4-5 glasses of red wine. This wine I bought at the supermarket (mixture of shiraz, cabernet and merlot) for $21 turned out to be surprisingly good.


Cover properly to prevent evaporation, the bake at high heat for 20 minutes.


And here it is, a bit drier than usual, but it still tasted so good that my younger son wanted second and third helpings. The wine helped a lot.

Chan’s Ipoh Hor Fun

It looks simple, but it’s not. Quite time-consuming actually. First, you prepare the soup stock. For this, you’ll need to boil sliced shitake mushrooms with chicken meat and slices of ginger. Add fried shallots, oyster sauce, light soya sauce, pepper and sesame oil to add flavour to the stock. After simmering for about half an hour, you can add your shrimp and let it cook for another 5 minutes or so. You can then add in your hor fun and vegetables. Once everything is boiling again, thicken the stock with some corn starch and you’re ready to eat.