What The Fish! One Fish, 2 Styles

Pangasius Hypothalamus is a riverine catfish cultivated in the Mekong region of SE Asia. Laos, Vietnam and Thailand are the main producers. Recently, the fish has gotten a lot of negative publicity. More objective info can be found here.


Guess what? I bought some frozen Pangasius fillet. It’s cheap and I’ve also heard that it’s delicious. Check out the packaging. Reputable company and sold by a reputable supermarket in Singapore. Can’t be that bad, right?


This is what frozen Pangasius looks like. Rather decent looking. I used one fillet for Chinese style steaming and two fillets for Thai style pla nerng manao.


For Chinese style steaming, I used tomatoes, ginger, mushrooms. The seasoning included light soya sauce, white pepper, sesame oil and hua diao wine. Nothing spicy here as this is meant for the kids.


Very decent results here. I don’t think anyone can tell that it’s a cheap freshwater fish. The flesh is soft, juicy and has very nice texture.


For Thai style steaming, I have lots of chopped garlic, green chilli, red chilli, lime juice, fish sauce and water. Cilantro is added after the fish has been steamed.


Pangasius seems to be a reasonably good alternative to sea bass for this Thai style pla nerng manao. Fragrant and spicy, it’s actually quite good. Try it.

Tofu Appetiser

Most of the appetisers we find in Chinese restaurants are nuts and pickles. There’s this restaurant at JB that serves a very special tofu appetiser. I like it so much (mostly because of the originality) that I’ve decided to try making it myself. Here goes.


First, you need to fry the diced tofu until you get a crispy crust. I didn’t deep fry this. Just a little bit of oil in a non-stick pot with a lid on. Keep tossing and stirring and this is what you’ll get.


The soul of the dish. Asam paste, sugar, soy sauce and water. Add sliced shallots and chilli padi. Boil up the mixture, then add it to the tofu like a sauce or gravy.


Toss it around and the dish is ready. The restaurant actually served this as an appetiser. What do you think?

Fried Rice Paradise

Fried rice is seldom done with planning. Most of the time, it’s a last minute decision when you find the queue at the zer cha too long. Thus, the ingredients are normally what you happen to find in your refrigerator. Quick, simple, unpretentious. That’s what fried rice ought to be like.

However, it would be a mistake to think that fried rice is idiot proof. It certainly isn’t and you do need proper technique to make a good plate of fried rice.


Here, I have egg, vegetables, some razor clams left over from Chinese New Year and some fish tofu left over from breakfast last month.


First thing you do, fry the garlic and shallots till they’re brown. Be generous with the oil!


Next rule. Egg first. Scramble it nicely and let it cook well before you add the other ingredients.


Add the vegetable, put in some oyster sauce, toss it around, then add the cooked rice. Make sure the rice is not steaming hot or it will be taste soggy.


And here’s the finished impromptu fried rice. I don’t think I need to assure you that it tasted great.