Month: March 2014

Spicy Corn & Coriander Fritters

Spicy Corn & Coriander Fritters

This is a very nice party bite dish – it’s easy to prepare and delicious with simple flavours.  The best part was, your vegetarian friends will love you for it.  The fresh lettuce used to roll these delicious fritters gives a very refreshing feeling before revealing that beautiful crunch.  The lovely chilli jam can be made to suit your taste – if you prefer it to be really spicy, then add more chilli and likewise for non chilli lovers. It is also a very good method to disguise any form of vegetables for lil’ ones and they will not disapprove of it. Spicy Corn & Coriander Fritters with Chilli Jam (adapted from Benjamin Cooper’s Chin Chin the Book)  Makes 12 fritters Ingredients: 6 corn cobs with kernels removed 3 eggs 2 tbsp light soy sauce 1 tsp sea salt 1 birds eye chilli or 2 red chillies 12 fresh lettuce leaves, for wrapping 3 fresh kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped 1/2 bunch coriander leaves, finely chopped 1/2 bunch mint leaves, finely chopped 12 sprigs mint, for garnish …

Pork ribs braised in young coconut juice

Pork Ribs Braised in Young Coconut Juice

This dish has exceeded my expectations – using young coconut juice (aka coconut water) to braise and flavour is unexpectedly delicious.  I love coconut juice by nature for drinking but haven’t actually tried using it to cook.  Coconut juice is known for their refreshing effect and drinking it during hot weather helps to cool down the body. By simmering in the coconut juice, the pork absorbs the sweet and refreshing flavours of coconut juice as well as its toasted aroma.  To get that real coconut flavour, I used freshly-packed real coconut which is available at green grocers.   According to Luke Nguyen, author of The Food of Vietnam, this dish was coincidentally created by the Vietnamese locals after they got too excited and incidentally took over his cooking station while filming his show.  LOL, I can just imagine how chaotic it was at that time 🙂 In this recipe, I have used pork bbq ribs which is a little difficult to cook but still as delicious.  My lil’ one prefers the pork bbq ribs than …

Hokkien Mee

Malaysian Hokkien Mee

Recently, I have been punishing myself with day dreams of Malaysian delicacies that I am missing so terribly – like the sinfully tasty black KL style Hokkien Mee.  Each time I go back to Malaysia, I will drop by my favourite PJ Jalan 222 shop – Restaurant Ahwa for their tasty Hokkien Mee.  As you also know, Malaysians eat more than 3 meals a day 🙂 So, for supper, my neighbourhood shop, Nanking Restaurant, in USJ will be my cure for a late night craving of a good Hokkien Mee. So what makes a good Hokkien Mee? Based on my many trials and experiment of this dish, the key ingredients are: 1) The black sauce – like it or not, it’s the sauce that can break or make the dish.  In this recipe, the black sauce was created using Cheong Chan Thick Caramel Sauce.  This sauce is black and sticky with high caramel (sugar) content and taste more savoury compare to dark soy sauce.  Available at all Asian Grocers. 2) Crispy fried pork fat – …

Sambal Tumis

Malaysian Sambal Tumis

There’s one thing about Malaysians that you should know – Malaysians can live without water, but not without sambal 🙂  Sambal tumis, aka, fried chilli paste, is no ordinary chilli paste and a very handy paste to have in the pantry.  It’s the ‘mother of all chilli paste’ used in many Malaysian dishes like Nasi lemak, Mee goreng, Sambal ikan bilis, Kangkung belacan and many more.  Nothing beats a real (damn) good home-made Sambal tumis.  This is a simple recipe shared by some of my Malay friends that will produce a decent home-made Sambal tumis. The killer ingredient is the Belacan (shrimp paste) – a must-have in this chilli paste.  It’s made from fermented ground shrimp mixed with salt, but beware of the extremely pungent smell that’ll leave you (and your neighbour) breathless.  So, before you make this paste, remember to open all windows and doors. In overseas countries, belacan can be found in most Asian grocers. Home-made Sambal tumis is very personal because the level of spiciness and sweetness can be adjusted to suit …

Cereal Prawns

Cereal Prawns

Cereal Prawns is another great Malaysian dish that is full of buttery and oatful goodness.  This is a fast, tasty and extremely flavoursome dish to enjoy.  Best cooked with prawns due to its light and crunch texture. I used a packet of instant cereal prawn mix which I bought from Asian Grocer – the cheat’s method 🙂 But I have to say that the cereal prawn mix is pretty close to the taste I remembered, so I’m not complaining.  There are 3 key factors that will yield a good dish: 1) Curry leaves – it is important to use fresh curry leaves because it’s more aromatic compare to the dried ones.  2) Timing of mixing the egg yolk into the cereal mix is crucial so the cereal mix can yield that light, fluffy and crunchy flavoursome texture.  3) Fry the prawns with shells on to produce that maximum flavour. My lil’ one loves the cereal mix so much so that she can finish a bowl of white steamed rice generously drizzled with cereal mixture. Cereal …

Pork Belly with Chilli Caramel

Pork Belly with Apple Slaw and Chilli Caramel

If you want to cook to impress – you must try this belly belly delicious dish that brings out the best in a pork belly through 2 cooking methods – braise and deep fry. When I first tasted their flagship dish at Red Spice Road, I could not get it out of my head ever since. I was obsessed with its amazing flavours and told myself that I have to try the recipe – all I need is time and focus because there are a lot of components in this recipe that needs to be prepared ahead … and well, to achieve that perfect belly of goodness. Pork belly is one of the most popular meat used in Asian cuisine especially in Chinese and Korean dishes.  The primary method to cook pork belly is braising or slow cooked which gives us meat that’s full of flavour and melt-in-your-mouth texture. Apart from the fact that I absolutely L.O.V.E pork belly, combining 2 cooking techniques by first braising the pork belly to give that melt-in-your-mouth texture and …

Scallops Hazelnut Butter

Scallops with Hazelnut Butter

You would know by now that I have a knack for scallops.  When I was living in Malaysia, fresh and juicy scallops were hard to come by and they are expensive.  So, scallops are basically luxury seafood in Malaysia and best eaten in restaurants since they have access to fresh scallops. This scallop recipe spells French and Manu Feildel 🙂 And when Manu introduced this recipe in his book Manu’s French Bistro, he mentioned that the three most important ingredients in French cooking is butter, butter and butter (hahaha).  This dish accentuates the earthiness flavour of hazelnut butter and yet does not overwhelm the natural taste of the juicy scallops.  A superb and easy-to-prepare dish when entertain guests at home. Scallops with Hazelnut Butter (adapted from Manu Feildel’s Manu’s French Bistro)  Serves 4 Ingredient: 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature and chopped 40g finely chopped hazelnuts (or doing short pulses in the blender) 20g panko breadcrumbs (store-bought) juice from 1/2 lemon finely ground black pepper 12 fresh scallops sea salt Method: 1. Place butter, chopped …

Spicy Fish Curry

Spicy Fish Curry

What can I say about curry?  It’s aromatic, delicious, spicy and very very addictive.  Although it makes you sweat, your mouth burns and the strong smell lingers in your kitchen and all over your clothes till many days next, you’ll still crave for more.  Funny what curry does to people like me 🙂  I grew up with all sorts of curry – one of the privileges of staying in Malaysia 🙂 I remembered when my mom made her delicious curry chicken and chilli chicken, she always frequented Makcik’s (Auntie) spice store at the Sunday morning wet market to buy her aromatic curry powder that transforms any dish into a glorious curry dish.  I am so missing my mom’s curry now! This is an easy curry recipe that your family can enjoy.  To adjust the spiciness so lil ones can enjoy, reduce the number of chillies used in the curry paste. Spicy Fish Curry (adapted from Donna Hay’s The New Classics) Serves 4 Ingredients: 1 tbsp peanut oil 500g white fish fillets, chopped to big bite-size …

Steamed pumpkin cake

Steamed Pumpkin Cake with Palm Sugar Caramel

I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin but I was tempted to try this recipe from John McLeay’s The Road to QV because the dessert looks good and very very Asian 🙂   On top of that, I love palm sugar especially the dark palm sugar (aka gula melaka) which is one of the key ingredients in most Malaysian desserts.  Good palm sugar is very aromatic and tastes absolutely sweet to the core. For this recipe, I used the white palm sugar but I would recommend to replace the white palm sugar with dark palm sugar for the sauce as it will be more aromatic. White palm sugar is commonly available from Coles, Woolies in Australia.  Dark palm sugar can be bought from Asian Grocer stores. Don’t be deceived by the presentation of the dish, it actually tastes pretty awesome. Steamed Pumpkin Cake with Palm Sugar Caramel (adapted from The Road to QV)   Serves 4 Ingredients: 700g pumpkin, peeled, steamed and mashed 80g caster sugar 50g white palm sugar, shaved 6 eggs, beaten 250 ml coconut …

Churro Bites with Chocolate Dip

Churro Bites with Chocolate Dip

If you haven’t tried churros before, you are missing out.  When I first bit into these delicious, crunchy Spanish doughnuts at a humble Churros food truck in Victoria Market, I have loved them since. Churros are basically long shaped, fried-dough pastries served with warm, sweet, milky chocolate dip or dusted with cinnamon sugar and it is yum! When frying them, the oil must be heated to the right temperature so when the dough is piped into the oil, the exterior will crisp up and brown beautifully while maintaining that soft and moist bite inside.  If the oil is too hot, it will burn the dough immediately. There’s no denying that churros appeal to all ages.  It is super easy to make with short preparation time and I’d guarantee that your kids will love love love these sweet bites.  So, next time, when you’re feeling bored, don’t forget to whip up some churros for your family to enjoy. Churro Bites with Chocolate Dip (Churro recipe adapted from Cooking Classy) Serves 4 Ingredients: 1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup …

Agedashi Tofu

Agedashi Tofu

Today, I’m sharing with you one of my favourite Japanese dishes – Agedashi tofu.  This dish will not be left out when I go to a Japanese restaurant.  There is simply no excuse for a Japanese restaurant to “screw up” this dish, because to me, Agedashi tofu is like the national dish of a Japanese restaurant – somewhat like sushi and sashimi 🙂 Agedashi tofu means soft tofu cooked in hot dashi stock.  Basically, the tofu is cut into cubes or round and lightly dusted with potato flour or corn flour and then deep fried until golden brown.  It is then served in a hot tentsuyu broth. I have tried to perfect this recipe and after 3 (yep! lucky 3) attempts, it is perfected.  For the first attempt, I used a really soft silken tofu which was a disaster because the tofu crumbled to its death in my pan.  Second time around, I used the wrong dashi (the ones that come in packs which was meant to flavour dashi soup and not dashi sauce).  This …

Scallops & Bacon Aglio e Olio

Scallops & Bacon Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Spaghetti Aglio Olio is a classic Italian pasta dish and one of my favourite pastas of all time.  It’s such an easy pasta dish to make and tastes absolutely fantastic.  It’s so easy that you’d probably need to try very hard to go wrong.  Spaghetti Aglio Olio got its name from cooking in garlic and olive oil.  Sometimes, chilli flakes are added into the equation to give it a bit more “stir” in flavours, which is the way I like. In this recipe, I wanted to treat my family to some fancy pansy ingredients – scallops and bacon, so the dish is much more flavoursome.  You can replace with prawns if you like. Scallops & Bacon Spaghetti Aglio e Olio  Serves 3 Ingredients: 15 fresh scallops (see note) 4 pieces bacon strips, cut into small bite-size pieces 12 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped 40g unsalted butter 4 tbsp olive oil vegetable oil 3 servings spaghetti (about 250g) dried chilli flakes, to taste 3 tsp dried italian herbs (store-bought) sea salt fresh cracked black pepper parmesan …