All posts filed under: Basics & Condiments

mango chicken summer roll

Lunchbox Idea: Chicken & Mango Summer Rolls

Some time ago, the mere thought of making rice paper rolls made me scared and daunting.  That’s because they break easily and difficult to roll (they turn soft after a while). So, after a few mishaps of really really un-good looking rolls, I found a few simple tips that I’d like to share with you: 1) Rice paper comes in sizes. Buy the large one. 2) Do not soak the rice paper until soft. Instead, soak for about 5-6 seconds, remove and place on a clean surface. The rice paper will continue to soften while you roll. 3) When rolling, keep them tight by pushing the edges back while rolling forward.  This keeps ingredients intact when you have your first bite of goodness. Sounds good?  Now, let’s try to get some rolls out, shall we … My lil’ one adores rice paper rolls.  It makes a good lunchbox meal and because there are no boundaries, you can go wild with just about anything in them.  She would choose what she wants in her rice paper roll and she would roll them herself 🙂  I like …

crab toasts

Breakfast Crab Toasts with Sriracha Mayonnaise

There are so many ideas for a yummy breakfast full of goodness.  I love my breakfasts served in a quick and easy fashion.  It also has to be plainly indulgent.  I may have thrown in some fancy sphancy crabby ingredients here for a wee bit of indulgence but if you’re not in the mood for seafood breakfast, you may also serve these to entertain.  And voila! I trust your guests will enjoy them. Crab Toasts with Sriracha Mayonnaise (adapted from Jean-Georges) Serves 2 Ingredients: 2 slices freshly baked sourdough bread, toast till golden brown 200 g freshly picked blue swimmer crabmeat, prepared a day in advance 2 lemon wedges 2 tbsp Sriracha Mayonnaise (Sriracha Mayonnaise) 1 egg yolk 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 1/2 tsp salt 3/4 cup grapeseed oil 2 tsp fresh lemon juice 2 tsp Sriracha chilli sauce Method: 1. To prepare the mayonnaise – whisk the yolk, mustard and salt until well blended.  Add oil in a slow, steady stream to emulsify the mixture, while continue whisking.  Add in the lemon juice and Sriracha until …

Thai grilled pork

Thai Grilled Pork with Nam Jim Jaew

Thai grilled pork, muu yang, as they are popularly known in Thailand is one of the many many delicious street food that once you have tried, you will never forget the flavours.   You’ll be happy to know that it’s really easy to make this dish especially in summer when you have that hot BBQ grill going!  Invite a couple of friends over, have some cool chilled beer and get that pork on the barbie! The recipe calls for pork neck which is a relatively cheap cut and can be purchased from the Asian butcher.  It’s a wonderful cut that keeps the meat moist when grilled.  You can grill the pork as a slab or you may skewer the pork.  But beware of over cooking pork as they can easily become dry and plastic when over-cooked. And that sauce … my oh my, that sauce is definitely a killer! You must believe me – because the combination of that beautifully marinated grilled pork and that killer sauce will make you go gugu-gaga 😉  How wonderful to kick …

Steamed prawns

Steamed Tiger Prawns with Minced Garlic

Recently I’ve been very much obsessed with Sam Leong’s cookbooks – yes and I bought all 3 of his cookbooks (LOL).  If you don’t know who this guy is, he’s a Chinese celebrity chef from Singapore and has won many impressive awards and accolades from the culinary world.  Trained by his Malaysian dad who was well-known as the king of shark fin years ago.  Sam is known for his modern Chinese cuisine, combining old school cantonese cuisine with modern flavours. So, it is from the cookbook A Taste of Home, that I fell in love with this recipe.  It’s not just an easy recipe to follow, the dish is super super tasty and it takes less than 15 mins to cook.  So, tell me, what’s not to like aye?  That home made soy sauce is (seriously) to die for and goes so well with rice!  Not only that sauce is tasty, it’s so versatile that you can use this to dress any steamed chicken or fish dishes. “Simple recipes are always the best policies. Even better when …

wonton dumplings in chilli oil

Mouthwatering Wonton Dumplings in Chilli Oil

After my Sichuan episode the other day with the spicy cucumber salad recipe, my hubby was craving for another mouthwatering Sichuan dish.  This time, I turned to the same cookbook for some hot & spicy inspiration and found the perfect weekend snack to impress my hubby. Interestingly, the chilli oil seasoning is pretty similar to the previous recipe.  Talk about simple recipe adaptations.  I love this kind of recipe – no wastage of raw materials! So, that settles for the adults and for lil’ one, I deep-fried the dumplings and she absolutely loved it. Chinese dumpling is one of the most versatile dish in the world – everything can be adapted to suit your needs and tastes. “Making dumplings are fun – you can let your imagination run wild.  There are just so many things you can do with them…” From the filling to the cooking technique and the sauce! For the filling, you can replace pork with seafood and then you can opt to poach, deep-fry or steam before completing your dish with just a dip (any dips …

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 …

Ingredients for Master Stock Chin Chin

Master Stock

Master stock is a crucial ingredient for braising meats.  It’s like the mother of all stock!  The surprising flavours that you find so intense actually comes from the mix of spices and ingredients used to boil for hours with the meat.  There are many variations of Master Stock but there are much similarities across the ingredients used in Master Stock.  This recipe is adapted from Chin Chin the Book as I was using it for the Chilli-Salt Chicken Wings recipe. I replaced some of the ingredients which I could not find like Mekong Whisky with normal whisky and cassia bark with cinnamon.  Still taste awesome. How master stock works is that you don’t throw away the stock after using to braise chicken/pork/beef/duck but you strain and freeze it for use the next time.  The next time you use it, just defrost the frozen stock and top up with some water and add some ginger, garlic and spring onions.  Master stock gets their intensity and richness of flavour when it has been used over and over …

Chin Chin's Sweet Fish Sauce

Sweet Fish Sauce

Chin Chin’s Sweet Fish Sauce from Chin Chin the Book is a handy sauce to keep in the pantry. Basically, it’s all the “neat” ingredients that makes up THAT heavily Thai-accented flavouring in some or rather most of their dishes.  So, thanks to Benjamin Cooper, this is no secret anymore 🙂 There are many fish sauce brands in the market and each brand has a different level of saltiness and umami.  In the book, Chin Chin uses Megachef Premium Fish Sauce brand and I use Squid brand – a brand easily found in Coles or any Asian Grocer.  If you want to find out which commercial fish sauce brands to buy and their taste level, you can check out the Thai Fish Sauce Taste Test at SheSimmers. It’s a fantastic article and you get to learn all about fish sauce 🙂 Sweet Fish Sauce (adapted from Benjamin Cooper’s Chin Chin the Book)    Makes 1 1/2 cups Ingredients: 40-50g palm sugar, grated 1/4 cup water 2/3 cup fish sauce, adjust to preference and taste 1 stalk lemongrass (white …

Nam Jim Dressing Pound

Nam Jim Dressing

Nam Jim dressing is one of the many classic Thai dressing that comes in handy.  Just like any Thai dishes, balance of flavours is extremely important – the hot, sour, sweet and salty.  This dressing goes well with any salad or grill meat, fish or seafood.  You can adjust the ingredients to taste and if you don’t want it too hot, remove the seeds from the chilli or substitute with red chilli. If you plan to make more, store the remaining in a covered jar and keep them refrigerated for up to 3 days.  Discard after that. Nam Jim Dressing (adapted from Billy Law’s Have You Eaten cookbook) Ingredients: 2 bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped 2 shallots, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tbsp coriander root & stem, finely chopped 2 tbsp palm sugar, grated 2 tbsp fish sauce, to taste 1/2 lime juice Method: 1. Gently pound the chillies, shallots, garlic and coriander to bruise them.  Be careful not to turn them into a paste.  Transfer to a bowl. 2. Add the …