Friday, May 29, 2009

Assam Black Pomfret

Black Pomfret is one of the frozen fishes that somehow is just as good as one which has just come out of the water.
I had to show my guests around, we enjoyed ourselves so much that we forgot about the time. We were running very late for dinner, luckily the fish was taken out to thaw in the morning before we left home. So, cooking this dish was no effort as the assam spices was a premixed and pineapple was from the can. Only the tomatoes needed to be halves. Thank goodness for premixed spices and a well stocked pantry.

1 black pomfret
1/2 salt
1 packet of Assam pedas (any brand will do - adjust taste with tamarind juice and sugar)
2 tomatoes cut into halves
1 can pineapple chunks

Clean the black pomfret of scales and salt the fish, inside and on the surface of fish.
Follow the instructions in the packet of assam pedas premix, add in the black pomfret. Cover and cook until fish is cooked. Adjust taste with tamarind juice if not sour enough, sugar and salt according to taste.
Add in tomatoes and pineapple chunks and bring gravy back to the boil.
Serve hot with white rice and enjoy.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Braised Pork Shank With King Topshell

Pig shank braised to tender perfection. The meat was still firm and succulent enough for a good bite whilst the skin tender and soft for a the perfect contrast in texture. The King Topshell kicked it up a knotch and made this dish definitely good stuff. As a bonus, serve with Flower Buns

1 can Mexican King Topshell/Bao Ngu
1 pig’s shank
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
10–12 dried black mushrooms, soaked
1 piece dried squid - washed
4cm piece cinnamon stick
1 star anise
3 cloves
3cm piece young ginger, smashed lightly
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp ground tau cheong/mein see
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 stalks spring onions
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
Stock/water - enough to cover the shank
Thickening (combine):
1/2 tbsp corn flour
1 tbsp water
Green Leafy Vegetables - blanched

Bring half a pot of water to a boil. Put in shank and blanch for three to four minutes. Remove and wipe dry. While it is still hot, brush it with dark soy sauce.
Heat 1/2 cup oil in a wok and when oil is hot, lower shank in and fry until the skin is browned. Remove and put shank in cold water to rid of excess oil.
In a pressure cooker, heat 2 tbsp oil and add in the cinnamon bark, star anise and cloves. Fry until the cinnamon bark is opened. Then, add in the remaining ingredient B.
Cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat.When the second ring(15 lbs) on the pressure cooker appears, lower the heat and set the timer for 25 to 30 minutes.
Release the pressure and remove the lid, check the shank for doneness and remove it from pot. (Tent with foil to keep warm)
Return pot to the stovetop, add in the liquid from the King Topshell. Reduce the sauce abit, then add in the King Topshell - just to warm them up.
Remove King Topshells and slice, arrange sliced King Topshells, Mushrooms around the pork shank on a platter which has blanched green leafy vegetables.
Thicken the sauce, adjust the taste( i like to add more Shaoxing wine), and pour hot sauce over the pork shank platter.
Sprinkle with sesame oil and serve immediately with Flower Buns.


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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Boiled Crawfish

Crawfish boils are usually held outdoors as it will be messy and lining the table with newspaper, makes cleaning up so much easier. It is usually cooked in a large scale (a whole truck-load of crawfish), but with this scaled-down recipe, you can make it in the kitchen. Some of the fun of boiling crawfish is personalizing your boil by adding favorites accompaniments such as artichokes, mushrooms, sausage, even broccoli besides the regular potatoes and corns.


12 pounds live crawfish
8 quarts water
1 package (1 pound) Zatarain's® Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil
1 large onion, peeled
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
6 ears corn, shucked and halved crosswise
2 - 3 oranges/lemons - cut into wedges

Pour live crawfish into a washtub or ice chest; cover with water. Drain. Repeat 3 to 4 times until crawfish are clean. Drain. Discard any dead crawfish and debris.

Mix 8 quarts water, Crab Boil, onion ,garlic and oranges/lemons in large (20-quart) stockpot. Bring to boil on high heat; boil 5 minutes.
Add potatoes; boil 5 minutes. Add crawfish and corn; return to boil. Cover and cook 2 minutes.

Turn off heat and let stand 20 minutes.
Add about 6 to 8 cups ice to stockpot; let stand 20 minutes to cool.
Drain and serve.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Talam Ubi Kayu

This kuih's topping is the same as Kuih Talam but the bottom layer differs. This is made with grated cassava/tapioca and gula melaka/jawa. Making kuih here is not so tedious as yesteryears, coconut cream comes in a can, tapioca grated and rice flour are readily available. There is no prep, just assemble all the ingredients, and the kuih is ready.

1 lb frozen grated cassava - thaw and drain
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 small block/8 oz gula melaka/jawa
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups water(use 400 ml if cassava is not drained)

40g rice flour
1 1/2 tbsp green bean flour
1/2 tsp salt
300ml coconut milk

Put gula melaka/jawa and water in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 2 - 4 minutes, until gula melaka/jawa is dissolved. Strain through a fine sieve.
Add in drained cassava and tapioca starch and stir well to combine.
Microwave on high one minute at a time, stirring after every one minute. Cook until mixture has thickened slightly.
Grease lightly a 9 inch cake pan and pour thickened cassava mixture in. Level the top and steam for 15 - 20 minutes until cassava is thoroughly cooked.
Prepare the topping, by mixing all the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl, microwave on high for 1 minute, stir, and continue for another 1 minute, mixture should thicken slightly.
Scratch the top of cooked cassava and pour in the topping.
Continue to steam for 10 minutes until the topping is firm and cooked through.
Remove from steamer and allow to cool before cutting into bite-size.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chongqing lazi ji/Peppered Chicken

I would like to thank Iris Cheng who wrote to me asking for this recipe. I hope this recipe is what you are looking for. I can see that how you can miss that "ma la" and hot spicy flavor, they are additive. At the end of our dinner, the chicken cubes were gone and the red chillies/peppers were left behind. It was a waste to thrown them away so, i blended it with shallots, garlic, ginger and belacan to make into a sambal. My daughter, Sandra, knows me too well. When she saw the sambal, she knew.


1 lb skinless chicken breast/legs/thighs cut into 1 inch cubes.
1/2 cup dried chillies - washed and cut into 1 - 2 inches, drain dry
2 tbsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp cooking wine
1 tbsp chopped ginger
4 cloves of garlic -- sliced
4 stalks spring onions -- cut into 2 inch lengths
1/2 tsp sugar

Vegetable oil for deep-frying and stir-frying

Marinade :

2 tsp shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp light soya sauce
1 tsp dark soya sauce
1 tsp ground sichuan peppercorns
1 t cornstarch
2 tbsp beaten egg white

Marinate cubed chicken with the marinade for at least 1/2 hour.
Heat 2 cups oil; when oil is hot, add the chicken cubes and deep-fry until crisping round the edges. Remove the chicken and leave aside.
Tip out the bulk of the oil, leaving about 2 tbsp. behind
Add the garlic, ginger and spring onion -- stir and then add the red chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. Fry for about 20 seconds, taking care not to burn the chilies.
Put the chicken back in the wok, splash on the cooking wine to the sides of hot wok and season with soy sauce, salt and sugar. Stir well to combine.
Dish out and serve hot with white rice
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hard -Boiled Egg Chocolate Cookies

Lately i have been seeing recipes which use ingredients which are not the usual - making cookies or linzetorte with hard-boiled eggs!!!Although i am traditionally sorting comfort foods of yesteryears, i too am game to give new pairing of ingredients a go. The cookies were accepted well, they were chewy and fluffy. This recipe will come in very handy especially for Malaysians who have just attended a Malay Wedding, coming home with hard-boiled eggs.


2 3/4 cups all purpose bleached flour
8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks (16 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 hard boiled egg, cut into big chunks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Large handful of chocolate chips


Combine flour and butter in food processor.
Pulse until mixture is mealy and coarse.
Add the salt and baking soda and pulse to mix.
Add both sugars and hard boiled egg. Pulse again until mixture is mealy looking.
Add in the raw egg and vanilla and pulse until mixture just begins to come together.

Dump mixture into a bowl, add chocolate chips and using a 1 1/2 oz ice-cream scoop, scoop mixture onto lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart.
(Egg whites will be visible in dough and will disappear as the cookies bake)

Bake at preheated 350 degrees F. (convection) for 12 - 15 minutes or until cookies appear lightly browned around edges.
Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to rack to finish cooling.

Important: Let cool completely before serving. The texture gets better as the cookies cool. It’s even better if you cool the cookies, freeze them, then thaw them.

Makes 20 cookies

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Monday, May 18, 2009


I have always wanted to make this malay snack which i thought needed a mould but when i found out that it can be made without it, i made it and it was very successful. A small wok is needed and so a little oil too and one rempeyek is made at a time, it may sound tedious, but it was worth it. To obtain a nice even round piece, the oil must not be too hot. A piece is fried until it has set and it has to finish browning in the oven, which is a very good step, as the baking browns and remove excess oil. I would prefer to partly roast the peanuts as i find that using raw ones, some are not thoroughly cooked through.

125 g rice flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp whole cummin seeds
1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds
2 - 3 tbsp soaked, pounded ikan bilis
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 partially roasted peanuts

Mix all the ingredients together except for the peanuts and leave batter to rest for at least 10 minutes.
Heat oil in a small wok until it is less than moderately hot, ladle a scoop of batter, add some peanuts to the batter.
Pour batter into oil in a circular motion, let batter set before turning to fry the other side. Snack can be removed as soon as it has hardened, need not to be golden brown cos it has to be browned in the oven.
Repeat making the snacks and when all is done, brown in a 350f oven until they are golden brown and crispy.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Daikon Kimchi

My son-in-law likes kimchi fresh, so i will only make small batches as often as needed. Making this kimchi is not difficult, only alot of prep, but it is worth while making it at home cos it is fresher and very much less expensive.


1 1/2 - 2 cups peel daikon cut into chunks
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp Korean chili powder
1 piece ginger - about 1/2 inch - grated
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
1 tsp salted shrimp
1 tbsp soya sauce
½ cup chopped scallions
1 tbsp glutinious rice flour plus 1/4 cup water - mix well
3 tbsp chopped onions(optional)
3 tbsp chopped carrots(optional)

Toss daikon chunks in a bowl with salt, let sit for 1 to 2 hours. Wash and drain.
Cook glutinious rice flour mixture for 1 minute in the microwave until it is cooked.

Combine sugar, chili powder, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, shrimp and soy sauce and cooked glutinous rice flour, stir. If very thick, add a little warm water.
Stir in scallions, onions, carrots( if using) and drained daikon chunks.
Serve right away or cover and refrigerate; kimchi will keep for 1 to 2 weeks and become stronger over time.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Microwave Carrot cake

Have you tasted microwave cakes yet? You will see that cakes cooked in the microwave turn out to be very light and delicate with a tender crumb.
It also takes a fraction of the time one would normally allow for traditional baking oven. The recipes are so easy that children enjoy making no bake cakes as well as adults because it's literally as easy as mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl and putting them inside a microwavable dish.
All the tortes, gateax, chocolate cakes and family cakes that you can think of, do work with your microwave.
The answer to all microwaved cakes is to camouflage their pale tops with frostings or icing. I personally do not like frosting and do not encourage my grandchildren to have it, that's why i do not frost unless the cakes are for celebrating. I have included the Cream Cheese Frosting which goes very well with this Carrot Cake. If you have a sweet tooth or need to make this cake more appealling, do frost it.

2 cups finely shredded carrots
½ cup toasted walnut pieces
½ cup chopped dates
1/2 cup brown sugar (3/4 cups for friends who are at sea-level)
2 large eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cold milk
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (3/4 tsp for friends who are at sea-level)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed (apple- pie) spice


Butter and flour a 9-inch round and 3-inch deep microwave-safe cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

Put the carrots, dates and roasted chopped walnuts into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 5 seconds or pass through the sieve. Add this mixture to the carrots mixture and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.

In the bowl of the food processor combine the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla essence and milk. With the processor still running drizzle in the vegetable oil. (no food processor, no problem, mix by hand)
Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined.

Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake microwave on high for 8 minutes, turning cake pan around three times. Allow to stand for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack. (microwave wattage - 900 watts)

Invert on to a plate when cooled completely. Remove the paper.

Frost with cream cheese frosting after cake has cooled completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ozs cream cheese
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup confectioner's sugar
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended.
Add the vanilla, lemon juice and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ipoh Sar Hor Fun

Ipoh, the capital city of the State of Perak in Malaysia, is famous for this dish. The best, thinly sliced 'hor fun', which is 'rice noodle', can be found in Ipoh and it is so, cos of the water found there is good for making good rice noodles . In the good old days, when there were no highways and byways, it takes forever to reach Ipoh but now, it takes less than 3 hours, not that long to drive there and have a bowl of this noodles. Ipoh has many more good eats so it is worth the drive.


1 lb fresh rice noodle/dried Hu Tieu

1 lb shrimps with head - on
2 nos. whole chicken leg
Chinese chives (sectioned)
2 stalks scallions (chopped)

Ingredients for Chicken Broth:

3 nos. whole chicken carcass/2 packets of Swanson Chicken stock
Shrimp's shell (removed from the above 1 lb shrimps)
1/2 lb soya bean sprouts (tai tau nga)
2 x 1 inch size rock sugar
1 tsp whole white peppercorns (crushed)
5 liters water
salt to taste

Ingredients for Shrimp Oil:
125ml cooking oil
Shrimp head (removed from the above 1 lb shrimps)


To cook the shrimps, bring 1 liter of water to the boil and blanched the shrimps until they turn pink and cooked through. Remove and shock in ice water. Remove the heads and drain dry, to be use for frying with the oil. Remove the shells for making the chicken broth.
To cook the chicken legs, bring back the above water which was used to cook the shrimp, to a rolling boil. Put in the chicken legs and when water comes back to a boil, let it simmer for 5 minutes and cover with lid, turn off heat and let chicken legs poach for 15 minutes. Remove and shred when cooled.

To make chicken broth, rinse the chicken carcass,place them into a stock pot, add in the rest of stock ingredients, together with the water which was used for cooking the shrimp and chicken legs, bring to the boil. Reduce to low heat and cook for approximately 1-2 hours. Alternatively, use the pressure cooker which will take less than 1/2 the time.
Season with salt and strain the stock. Leave aside.
To make shrimp oil, heat up the cooking oil in the preheated wok, place in shrimp heads, stir-fry over low heat until the shrimp oil separates. Remove from heat, strain well.
Pour some of the prawn's oil into the chicken stock.
Blanch the "Hor Fun", Chinese chives in boiling water separately. Dish up and drained.
To assemble, place the "Hor Fun" into a serving bowl, add in blanched Chinese chives, , chicken shreds and shrimps.
Serve with hot chicken broth, add in a little shrimp oil and chopped scallions.
Serve hot with fried sambal or chopped chilly in soya sauce.


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Monday, May 11, 2009

Pan-Fried Pau/Sang Cheen Pau

Pan-Fried Paus ready to eat - Bon Appetit

Ready for the pan

This is a very quick and easy way to make paus and these paus are second to none. You do not necessary have to steam paus although Steamed paus are healthier, other ways of cooking them are more exciting, like this Pan-Fried version. The crispy bottom and the soft top with flavorful, succulent filling make these paus to die for.

2 cups bleached flour, remove 2 tbsps and replace with 2 tbsp wheat starch(tung mein fun)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lard/shortening
1 tsp instant yeast
1/2 + cup water
For Frying
1 tbsp oil
1 cup water
1 tbsp bleached all-purpose flour
600 gm pork
4 stalks of spring onion
15 gm young ginger
50 gm shallots(sliced and fried till golden)
1 1/8 tsp salt
1 ½ tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soya sauce
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp msg
100 cc stock



For pau:

Mix ingredients A together.

Knead until smooth and elastic.

Let it rise for 40 mins or until dough has double in size(to accelerate rising, put a pan of hot water on the lowest rack of oven and put bowl with dough on the rack above - cover bowl)

Cut into equal portions and line them in a row.

Cover with a slightly damp cloth.

Starting from the first portion, flatten into a disk with your hands and fold in the edges of dough into the center, pinch into a round ball and leave covered. Repeat with the second portion and so forth.

When portions are done, start with the first ball, cup with palm of your hand and roll ball on tabletop, in a circular motion. Repeat with the rest of the balls.

Starting from the first ball again, roll into a very thin circle before wrapping in filling. Repeat.

Let it rise for 20 minutes. (Paus are ready for steaming or pan-fried)

Heat a big non-stick skillet with 1 tbsp oil and place wrapped paus onto hot oil. Do not crowd - pau will expand during cooking.

Fry until the bottom of paus are browned.

Mix the flour to the water and add into skillet, cover with lid and cook until paus have risen and cooked.

Remove lid and cook until the water has evaporated and continue to fry until the bottom of paus are crispy.

Repeat this process with the remaining paus.

Serve immediately, the bottom of paus will not be crispy when left out for too long.

For Filling:

Chop pork till fine.

Chop spring onions and ginger until fine.

Mix ingredients for seasoning with pork.

Use the cake mixer and with the paddle beat pork until elastic.

Add in stock, spring onions and ginger.


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