Friday, October 8, 2010

What's For Dinner Tonight?

Yam Rice and Watercress Soup.  Comfort food that is simple, easy and extremely satisfying.  For a change from our regular standard dinner, usually a vegetable dish, a meat or fish dish, soup and of course, plain white rice, I decided to cook Yam Rice instead. Yam Rice has always been a favourite.  I love eating yam, delicious in both sweet and savory.  Watercress Soup is nutritious and delicious. Usually when the weather is hot, the Chinese would boil this soup as it helps to reduce heatiness  and detoxifies the body.   This is one of my family's favourite soup.

Here's the recipe for the rice :

Yam Rice
(serves 4 to 5)
2 cups basmathi rice
3 cups hot water
400gm yam, cubed (approx. 2 cups)
200gm lean pork meat
50gm dried prawns
2 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp chinese five-spice powder
1/4 tsp white pepper powder
2 tsp chicken stock seasoning
1 tsp salt or more, to taste
3 to 4 tbsp cooking oil
crispy fried shallots for garnishing
chopped spring onions for garnishing

  1. Wash rice and soak in water for about 20 minutes. Drain.
  2. Wash dried prawns clean and soak in water for about 20 minutes.  Drain and pound coarsely, or chop to small pieces.  Retain water from soaked prawns.
  3. Clean yam and cut to small cubes. Keep aside.
  4. Slice pork meat to thin slices.
  5. Heat oil and saute chopped garlic until fragrant. Add in dried prawns and stir till dried prawns are crispy and fragrant. (It will start to crackle a little when crispy). Add in pork slices and stir for about 2 minutes. Stir in the yam, 5 spice powder, pepper and continue to fry for 2 minutes.  (It should smell aromatic by now). Add in the drained rice and stir for about 2 minutes. 
  6. Scoop the yam rice into a rice cooker. Place retained water from (2) above in a cup and add hot water to make a total of 3 cups. Pour into the rice cooker, add chicken stock seasoning and salt to taste (It should be slightly saltier than you would like it to be).  The rice would have absorbed some of the saltiness when it is done. 
  7. When rice is cooked and rice cooker switched to "Keep Warm", leave it for about 15 minutes for the rice to settle, then fluff it with a fork or spoon. 
  8. Spoon onto a plate and garnish with crispy fried shallots and chopped spring onion. (Crispy fried shallots and the chopped spring onions really do make a difference in this rice dish, it will taste so much tastier and more fragrant, so I would advise you not to skip these garnishings!).

Here's the recipe for Watercress Soup :

Watercress Soup
Ingredients :
600gm pork ribs
400gm watercress, cleaned and snap to large pieces
15-20 red dates
2 honey dates (optional)
40gm dried squid, washed and drain
salt to taste
3-1/2 litres water

Method :
  1. To get rid of the smell and scum from the pork ribs : Boil some water in a small pot.  Put the pork ribs and let it simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Drain. Discard water.
  2. Boil 3-1/2 litres water in a stockpot. (I use a big claypot for soups).  Add in pork ribs, red dates, dried squid and let it boil at medium heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Add in watercress and turn heat to low. Let it simmer for another 2 hours, stirring once or twice in between. If water evaporates, some hot water may be added.  Add salt to taste.
  4. Serve hot.


  1. I love your recipes because you always have such interesting ingredients. I've never heard of red dates, I don't think we get them over here. I'm curious how they taste as I just love honey dates. And basmati rice is my favourite!

  2. yams = yum !!!! this looks so comforting and yet so simple, those are the BEST kind of recipes - thank you so much for your comments on mangiabella, grandpa was such a wonderful man and I miss him so, he just moved here last week and had only been here 4 days before he passed away, I'm so thankful we got to see him at least once before his passing. much love to you sweet bella

  3. This look really nice and yummy!!! love it! xx gloria

  4. I love your rice dish; I could eat a mountain of that! I'm sure your family welcomed the delicious change.

    Ps. You're spot on about the chocolate cake 'oil vs butter' taste. Butter gives a better taste..oil makes it keep longer. Thanks for your comments :)

  5. The yam rice is super yummy and such a great comfort meal! I have never had watercress before - would love to try it in your tasty soup.

  6. Wow, what a great combination!
    I can imagine the deliciousness of the yam rice when eaten with the naturally aromatic watercress soup.

  7. This sounds like a great meal! The yam rice looks really tempting, especially since I have all of these ingredients. Yum!

  8. What interesting dishes. They both look delicious.

  9. The rice and soup both sound delicious. I love the unique taste of watercress and must try the soup. Thanks for the recipes!

  10. Hi Melynda,
    It is delicious, one of my favourite rice meal.

    Hi Brenda,
    The red dates are dried ones. I think that most probably you may be able to get them from the Asian or Chinese stores, it is one of the most common ingredients in Chinese soups. It is sweet but not as sweet as the dried honey dates. Thanks for visiting!

    Hi mangiabella,
    It is good to know that you have the chance to spend sometime with your grandfather. Thank you for visiting!

    Hi Gloria,
    Thank you for your kind comments! Have a lovely day.

    Hi Brittany,
    Thank you! Have a nice day!

    Hi Reeni,
    Thank you for stopping by! Have a good day!

    Hi AloyChia E.Joan,
    Thank you for visiting! Have a lovely day!

    Hi scrambledhenfruit,
    Yes, this is a lovely rice meal. Have a nice day!

    Hi Lisa,
    Thank you for visiting my blog and for your nice comments. Please do visit again. Have a lovely day.

    Hi Pam,
    Thank you, Pam. Have a nice day!

  11. Lovely recipes...Really love the yam rice, but they are both fantastic :)

  12. Yum! I know you said this is simple, but it looks to me like it is so much more. I like how you call it comfort food. I don't have dried off the the market to pick some up. The soup and the rice just are awesome! Wonderful flavors!

  13. Hi Magic of Spice
    Thank you! Have a nice day!

    Hi Megan,
    Thank you. Have a lovely day!