Friday, October 31, 2008

Rendang Minangkabau

More beef recipes and this type of rendang has been a craving since the 50's. As you all already know that i grew up in Seremban and the State is Negeri Sembilan. This state's is populated with Minangkabau - read about them in Wikipedia. This rendang is one of their cuisine which is so delicious, words cannot describe how good it is until you have tried it. In the good old days, there was a coffee shop besides the Plaza Theater and in this coffee shop was a Malay Food Stall which has the best Rendang. My classmate's family, ran this coffeeshop and i think it was called 'Kui Heng"(spelling?) Help!! any oldies from Seremban. This rendang has no spices but lots of aromatic herbs/leaves like tumeric leaves, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, shallots and garlic, tumeric , chilly api and lots of coconut to make 'kerisek' and milk for cooking the beef in. When i was in Malaysia last, I made a batch of premixed with all the aromatics that was required and that was how i was able to make the rendang that i craved for. So sad, only one batch, have been looking for tumeric leaves with no success.

Have a look at this other rendang Kampong Johnson's Rendang



2 lbs beef
2 cans coconut cream - 400 ml can
1 piece Asam keping
2 - 3 pieces tumeric leaves - tear up


Ingredients to be ground:

1/2 cup bird's eye chilies/chilly api
1 inch knob galangal, peeled
1 inch knob ginger, peeled
1 inch knob turmeric, peeled
2 stalks lemon grass (used only the bottom
white tender part)
1 lb shallots, peeled
1 whole bulb garlic, peeled


4 - 5 pieces kaffir lime leaves
1/2 cup Kerisek
2 teaspoons salt or to taste


To prepare the kerisik.

The best is of course, to get freshly grated coconut.

Spread this on plate in a thin layer and microwave it on high for 3 mins, stir and microwave again for 1 min. Repeat until the coconut is totally dry and starts to brown a little.


Use dessicated coconut in a can.

Transfer dessicated coconut into a heated wok (no oil, no water) and over a SLOW fire, fry until it is fragrant and browned. Keep stirring ALL the time. If you undercook, it won't release it's oil when pounded. If it's overcooked, it will taste burnt. This is a slow process and you will just have to be patient. I would say the color of the kerisik when it's ready is close to the color of the skin of toasted almonds (the regular almonds, not the small dark almonds).

While browned coconut is still hot, pound it until it is very fine and oil is released. A food processor won't do the job. You can either pound it in a (granite) mortar & pestle or use a spice mill. The paste will look smooth but not smooth to the touch and should feel only slightly gritty. Set it aside. You will know you have made perfect kerisik when after sitting for a while, the oil rises to the surface and the coconut paste 'sets' at the bottom. When you insert a spoon to scoop it out, it seems that the coconut paste has hardened but it's not. If you drop it by the spoonful, it will for about 2 seconds hold it's shape and then spread. This kerisik, if you care to taste it at this point, doesn't taste good - bland and just very slightly bitterish. It is however, very fragrant.

Kerisik keeps well refrigerated in an air-tight container - I'd say about a month or so. You will need to let it come to room temperature before using it, or it will break your spoon trying to scoop it out! I have also freezed kerisik successfully.

To cook the Rendang

Cut beef into 1/2 inch thick slices with the grain. Set aside.

Into pressure cooker, put ingredients A and B. Add enough water so that it is above the meat. Close the lid and pressurized for 15 - 20 minutes.

Remove lid when pressure is released totally.

Check meat to see if it is tender enough.

Return pot to the fire , add kerisik, kaffir lime leaves and continue simmering, stirring all the time, until meat is tender and gravy thick.

Stir in salt to taste.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Beef with Flat Rice Noodle/Sap Chow Ngau Hor

I just realised that i have not posted many beef dishes and this beef dish needs no introduction.
It is a must to order in a chinese restaurant, as they have so much 'wok hey' but cooking this at home is not such a tedious task.

A pkt of fresh hor fun/flat rice noodle
1/2 lb Beef fillet/sirlion - slice thinly across the grain
1/2 cup drained canned straw mushroom - cut into slices
1/4 cup sliced carrot
1/2 lb Choy sum - wash and cut into 2 inch lengths - put on a plate and microwave for 2 mins.
1/4 cup of sliced young gingers
Oil for frying beef and noodle
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp light soya sauce
1 tsp dark soya sauce
1/2 egg white
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp shaoxing wine
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp tapioca starch
2 tbsp water
2 tsp cooking oil
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp cornstarch

Knead the marinate except the oil, thoroughly into the sliced beef and when well mixed, add in the oil and knead again. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Fry the hor fun/flat rice noodles like you would for Wat Than Hor
Heat 1 cup oil and when it is hot, fry the beef by batches. Fry beef until 3/4 cooked.
Remove all the oil and leave 2 tbsp. Fry the ginger slices, then add in the beef and choy sum. Stir fry, then add in the gravy ingredients. Cook gravy thickens and pour over the noodles.
Serve hot.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Molly's Ketchup Mei Fun With Omelette

Although this dish has no exotic ingredients, it is very tasty and a favorite in my family, Molly's family. Molly is my mom and she is 82 years old. She has dished up this Ketchup Mei Fun for us, her children and also her grandchildren so often and yet we cannot have enough of it. We might have it for breakfast, lunch or snack time and as usual the plate of mei fun will be consumed in a jiffy. I have served this dish many times at parties and potlucks,and the request for the recipe was always the main topic of the conversation. I have promised to post this recipe but there was no more left for picture everytime i cooked this dish. The green vegetables were present for making this platter more colorful - the original is just mei fun and omelette.


1/2 lb mei fun/beehoon/rice vermicelli - soak in cold water
1/2 cup tomato ketchup/sauce
1 tsp chicken seasoning powder/granules
1 tbsp chopped garlic
4 eggs - beaten with salt and pepper
Water - enough to cook the mei fun
oil for frying the omelette and the mei fun
salt and sugar to adjust taste

Make omelette and cut into strips, set aside.
Heat oil in wok and fry the chopped garlic until slightly golden.
Add in tomato ketchup/sauce, 1 cup water and chicken seasoning. Bring to the boil and stir to combine.
Add in soaked mei fun and stir fry until mei fun is cooked and dry. (sprinkle more water if mei fun is still not cooked through and add more oil if necessary - mei fun tastes better with a little more oil)
Adjust the taste with salt and sugar.
Dish out and serve hot with the omelette.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Conch, Conpoy and Pork Ribs Soup

I have bought fresh conch before, they were no very tasteful but these dried conch is different. They made the soup so sweet as in umami and the texture is like eating sliced abalone.

2 lbs pork ribs
2 big pieces dried conch
A handful of dried scallops
8 - 10 red pitted dates
Salt and Pepper

Soak dried conch and dried scallops until they are soft and reconstituted.
Put enough water to cover the pork ribs and bring to the boil. Continue to boil until scum foam up.
Discard the water and wash the pork ribs thoroughly.
Put pork ribs and all other ingredients in the pressure cooker. Add enough water to cover and make sure it 2/3 full. Cover lid and pressurized soup for 15 - 30 minutes. Release pressure before opening the lid.
Alternatively use the slow cooker and cook the soup for at least 6 hours.
Using a gravy separator, remove the fat and discard.
Adjust the taste with salt and pepper
Serve hot

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Stuffed Crispy Tofu/Tauhu Sumbat

Tauhu sumbat -a nutritious finger food snack, are pockets of fried tofu stuffed with vegetables You get both protein and vegetables in one serving. When drenched with a spicy peanut sauce, they are extra tasty but they are just as good if served with any chilly sauce. There are many types of tauhu/tofu that you can use for this dish and of course, it has to be the fried ones, but i use the 'tauhu/tofu pok' which are very crispy when they are fried again before filling.


Several pieces of semi-hard tauhu/tofu or tauhu/tofu pok
1/2 cucumber, cut into fine thin strips
1 cup beansprouts, scalded lightly

Enough oil to deep-fry tauhu/tofu

Sauce(follow the Satay Sauce) or

1 tbsp thick tamarind juice
1/4 - 1/2 cup water
2 tbsp oil

Combine the following:

300g groundnuts, toasted and pounded coarsely
3 to 4 red chilli, seeded and pounded
3 shallots, pounded
1 clove garlic, pounded
1/2 tsp belacan granules

2 tsp brown sugar
Pinch of salt, or to taste


For tauhu/tofu pieces, cut diagonally into halves. Sprinkle a little salt. Pat dry with paper kitchen towels, then deep-fry in hot oil until crispy on the outside. Cut a slit in the tauhu and pry open slightly. Stuff with a little bit of each vegetable into the opening.

For Tauhu/Tofu Pok, make a slit and then either deep fry or toast in the oven before stuffing.

For the sauce:

Heat two tablespoons oil in a wok and saute the combined pounded ingredients until fragrant. Add tamarind juice, water and seasoning. Bring to a simmering boil until sauce turns thick. Dish out and serve with the tauhu sumbat


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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fried French Beans with garlic

The aristocrats of the bean family. Haricots verts aka French beans can be cooked whole if they are small, just snip the ends. I like to deep fry them in oil as this way, or the chinese restaurant's way of cooking vegetables, keep the sweetness within and the color remains green, unlike beans that have been steamed or blanched in water, they turn yellowish green which is very unappetizing.


350 g French beans - use the young ones
1 cup oil
1 tablespoon Garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Sesame oil
1 teaspoon black vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt

Wash the beans and snip the ends. Pat dry with kitchen towel.
Heat the pan until it is very hot. Add the oil.
Fry the French beans and remove when the beans begin to shrivel. Cook the beans in batches. Drain the oil away.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in pan, add the chopped garlic, and stir-fry until fragrant and golden brown. Remove the fried garlic for garnishing.
Add the French beans to the pan and sauté for a further 30 seconds. Add vinegar and sea salt.
Dish out and sprinkle with the sesame oil and top with the fried garlic.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fried Squid

These bigger squids are very good for frying. No matter how you plan to cook the squid, they will have to be cleaned. Don't be squeamish... remember - you're bigger than they are! Just follow the instructions at the bottom of page and you have cleaned squid, ready for cooking.


2 pounds of squid
1 tsp tumeric powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Rice flour and cornflour for dredging (all-purpose flour can be used)
oil for frying

Preheat a deep skillet or heavy-bottomed frying pan over low heat. (Alternatively, preheat a deep fat fryer.)

If working with frozen rings, defrost per package instructions. Otherwise, clean and prepare squid for frying (see Instructions below), keeping the tentacles in one piece if they are small and if they are larger, cut them in pairs.
Season with salt, pepper and tumeric powder.

Pour 1/2 to 3/4 inch of oil into the frying pan /wok (it should not come up to over half the depth of the pan) and turn up the heat to high.
Dredge the squid in flour and let sit for a few minutes. Gently shake off excess flour and, when the oil is hot, fry without crowding in the pan until crisp and golden brown on all sides. (beware and be cautious, as splatter might occur)
Remove with a spider strainer and drain on baking rack which has been lined with paper towels.
About dredging:
I find that putting the flour in a plastic bag, adding the squid, and shaking gently to coat does a better job than just rolling the pieces in the flour.
Leaving the squid in the flour until slightly soggy, and then frying, produces a nice crisp result.

About frying:
Frying each batch of squid lowers the heat of the oil. Allow the oil to get hot again before adding the next batch.

Instructions for cleaning fresh squid

Holding the body firmly, grasp the head and pull gently, twisting if necessary, to pull the head away from the body without breaking the ink sac. The internal body and tentacles will come with it.

Cut the tentacles from the head just below the eyes. At the center of the tentacles is a small beak. Squeeze to remove and discard.

Set aside the the tentacles to use (they're edible and tasty). If the recipe calls for ink, reserve it, otherwise discard the head and ink sac.

At the top of the body, there is a clear piece of cartilage. Pull it out and discard.

If the squid has an outer spotted membrane-type skin, pull it off and discard.

Under cold running water, wash the tube carefully, inside and out, to get rid of any sand or other remaining tissues, and wash the tentacles carefully as well.
For larger squid, split the body in half and score the inside of squid with a sharp knife, then cut into bite size. Scoring in diamond cuts will give the squid pieces a pretty curled pattern when cooked or fried. The pattern is good as it will coat up sauces used and make the squid good eats.
Let the squid drain very well. Pat dry with kitchen towel, as dry as possible.. (To ensure less splatter when frying)

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Teochew Kiam Chye

My Dad's favorite dish to go with Teochew Moi. He would send us to get this Kiam Chye from the best teochew moi stall parked in River Road, Seremban. The Kiam Chye was so well cooked that it melted in the mouth and sinfully delicious cos it was cooked with lots and lots of pork fat. I like to accumulate pork skin and when i have enough of skin and fat, will make a pot of this dish.

Kiam chye/salted vegetable - use the stems only, keep the leaves for other dishes
Pork skin and fat
Chicken seasoning granules

Chop the kiam chye into very tiny pieces
Cook the chopped kiam chye in water, drain away the water.
Put drained kiam chye, pork skin and fat in a pressure cooker, put in water just enough to cover the kiam chye. Close lid and pressurize for 15 minutes.
Release pressure before opening lid.
Remove the pork skin and return pot to the stove , bring back to the boil, adjust the taste with chicken seasoning granules and salt.
Alternatively this can be cooked slowly in a slow cooker or on the stovetop, simmer until kiam chye is very soft.
Serve hot with Congee or white rice.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sambal Shrimp with Petai

You should see the grin on my face when i saw frozen petai in the asian store as i have not eaten this for quite awhile and i like it.
Petai beans or seeds look like broad beans.
Petai has earned its nickname 'stink bean' because its strong smell is very pervasive. It lingers in the mouth and body, like asparagus, it contains certain amino acid that give a strong smell to ones urine, an effect that can be noticed up to two days after consumption. And like other beans, their complex carborhydrates can also cause strong-smelling flatulence. Surprisingly, the frozen ones are not so potent and the texture is still crunchy.


1/2 lb shrimps - deveined.
1 pkt of frozen petai
1 pkt of Delima's Assam Seafood Paste - available online from
2 tbsp oil

Heat oil and add the pkt of Delima's Assam Seafood Paste and saute until fragrant.
Add shrimp and cook until shrimps are 3/4 cooked.
Add petai and finish cooking until the shrimps are totally cooked and the petai are heated through.
Adjust to your taste by adding salt, sugar or assam juice.
Serve hot with white rice

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bubur Cha Cha

Ask any malaysians/singaporean about Bubur Cha Cha, not only will you get a cheerful response of how delicious this sweet is and you might even see them breaking into a dance - Cha Cha Cha.


300g taro, diced
150g orange color sweet potato, diced
150 g purple/yellow color sweet potato, diced
80g black-eyed beans, soaked in hot water for 2 hours(optional)
100g sago pearls(optional)

100g tapioca starch
Very hot boiling water
Red food coloring

2 cans 400 /ml coconut milk/cream
1/4 tsp salt
100g sugar, or to taste

3 pandan leaves, knotted


Steam diced taro and diced colored sweet potato separately until soft (about 20 minutes) .

Cook soaked black eyed pea until soft(if using. i cook in the pressure cooker)

Cook sago pearls (if using. I did not use these, cos the i made the chewing tapioca starch) until they become translucent (about one half hour).

Using a spatula, add very hot boiling water to the tapioca starch in a mixing bowl, bit by bit until it becomes doughy. Mix well with a drop of red food coloring. When it can be handled with bare hands, roll into 1cm thickness and cut into strips. Cook in boiling water until they become translucent (about one half hour). Remove and soak in iced water until needed.

Put coconut milk/cream, sugar, salt and knotted pandan leaves into a pot and bring to a gentle boil, stirring continuously.

Add taro, sweet potato, , tapioca jelly and black-eyed beans, sago pearls and mix well.

Serve hot or cold.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kai lan Two Ways

This is special way to kick up a knotch to this dish. I have always served Yau Kai Lan and Mock Seaweed/Seasoned Laver as separate dishes and never thought of putting the two together until my elder girl, Sharon, told me that she had this dish for dinner at a restaurant in Malaysia. I should have used the very tiny 'ikan bilis' but since i had a tub of fried ikan bilis, decided to use that.


11/2 lb Kai Lan
1/2 cup Tiny ikan bilis - fried until crispy
Toasted sesame seeds
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp garlic oil
Follow the method in Yau Kai Lan and Mock Seaweed/Seasoned Laver

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Loh Mei Chook/Black Glutinious Rice Sweet Soup

This sweet rice soup must go hand in hand with crispy Yau Char Kway II and it is top in the list of my comfort food. Make it on a cold wintery day and it will surely warm up not only the body but the soul too, thinking of home. Well done, it should be creamy, sweet, a tinge of saltiness from the thick coconut milk and the crispy yck said it all.


250 g black glutinous rice
50 g white glutinous rice
5 litres water
150 - 200 g castor sugar
75g dried longans, rinsed
2–3 pandan leaves, knotted


Yau Char Kway II
Thick coconut milk mix with 1/2 tsp salt


Wash black and white glutinous rice thoroughly and soak in water for several hours.

Put rice and water into a pot and cook over medium heat until rice is soft and almost creamy.

Alternatively cook in the pressure cooker for 10 - 15 minutes but make sure that the watelevel must not be more than half of the pressure cooker). Remove lid when pressure is released and add in more water to make the soup creamy.

When rice has reached the desired consistency, add dried longans and pandan leaves.Add sugar and simmer for a further 10–15 minutes over gentle heat. ( Sugar should never be added in the beginning of cooking)

Serve with coconut topping and Yau Char Kway II


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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nagaimo and Cabbage Soup

Nagaimo aka Fresh Wai San is available in the asian stores and knowing me, is always game to give it a try although it is quite pricey. I like the texture of the dried ones in the herbal soup which i cook quite often and would like to taste this fresh one. Guessed you would have to choose one which is more mature to get the powdery texture like in lotus root. All in all, it is soft and if i had cooked a little longer, i think my pot of soup will be like chowder. I prefer the dried ones better. Read Wiki for more info about this yam


1 lb lean pork ribs/pork loin
1 section of nagaimo/fresh wai san - peel and cut into slices
1/2 cabbage
8-10 dried pitted red dates(optional)
6 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste.
Wash pork ribs and have enough of water to cover the ribs.
Bring to the boil for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and pour away the water.
Wash the ribs with cold running water.
Put ribs back to the soup pot and add 6 cups of water, sliced nagaimo, cabbage, pitted red dates(if using) and bring the soup to high boil.
Then lower the heat and let soup simmer for 30 - 45 minutes .
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot.


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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mix Vegetables & Chicken Stir Fry

Chicken Stir fry is one of the most popular in any fine dining chinese establishments around the globe and can be easily cooked in the privacy of your own home. Pork , beef or seafood are good substitutes for chicken and use vegetables that are in season. Sauces can be varied too, use any sauce available in your pantry, be adventurous.


1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
Vegetables of your choice - red, green or yellow peppers, snow peas/snap peas, refreshed shitake mushrooms, waterchestnuts, carrots etc.
1 clove garlic - chopped
2 slices ginger
2 tbsp oyster sauce
Oil for stir frying

2 Teaspoons Light Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Rice Wine or Dry Sherry
1/4 Teaspoon Sesame Seed oil
1 Teaspoon Cornstarch
a dash of pepper


Cut the chicken into 2 inch thin strips or slices

Add the light soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, sesame oil and the cornstarch. Marinate the chicken for 20 minutes. Add 2 tbsp oil to chicken before browning.
Cut the vegetables to sizes that match the chicken strips of slices.

Heat wok until it is very hot and brown the chicken in batches for 2 minutes (Flip chicken to brown the other side only when the first side is browned).
Reheat the wok, then add the chopped garlic and ginger. Stir-fry the vegetables, one kind at a time, dish out, leaving the oil behind, and repeat. Do not dish out the last vegetable, return the chicken and vegetables to the wok. Add oyster sauce and stir-fry until chicken and vegetables are heated through and coated with oyster sauce.
Serve hot with rice or noodles
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Friday, October 17, 2008

Long Beans Omelette

This omelette must be in any home cook's repertoire. This recipe is one which needs the minimum of ingredients - the 2 main ingredients are eggs and long beans. The amount of eggs and long beans need no measurements but obviously eggs have to be more than long beans, otherwise it will not be an omelette but scrambled instead.

4 eggs - lightly beaten
1 cup long beans - cut into 1/4 inch lengths.
salt and pepper
4 tbsp oil

Beat eggs with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in pan and when oil is hot, add in the long beans and saute until long beans turn bright green.
Add in eggs and fry until the bottom is brown, then flip omelette and brown the other side.
Dish up and server hot.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lor Bak

This is another way to use 'Fu Pei' - Bean Curd Sheets. This dish is very popular in Penang and is readily available in most eating places in Kuala Lumpur but here, you would have to make your own. Other items - such as Fried Tofu, Prawn Fritters, Century Eggs and fresh cucumbers wedges are served along with these.

1 lb pork, cut into strips
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp, finely minced garlic
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt, or to taste
½ tsp, black pepper
1 tsp 5 spice powder
1 tbsp ground soya bean paste(mein see/tau cheong)
1 egg, lightly beaten

4 or 5 pieces Fu Pei (bean curd sheets)
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup hot boiling water

1½ cup vegetable oil

1 seedless cucumber, cut into bite-size chunky wedges
INGREDIENTS for Dark-soy Dipping sauce :

2 tbsp dark soy-sauce
a pinch of Chinese 5-spice powder
2 tbsp sugar
salt , to taste
4-5 tbsp water
½ tsp cornstarch
1 egg white, lightly beaten

INGREDIENTS for Sweet-chili sauce :

4 tbsp Sirachi Chilli sauce or any chilli sauce
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, pounded
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
3 tbsp sugar


To Prepare Dark-soy Dipping Sauce :

In a small pot, combine all ingredients [except egg white], over low heat, bring to a slow simmer
Simmer 1-2 mins stirring occasionally till sauce is smooth
Add egg white, stir with fork, forming fine white streaks in the sauce
Remove from heat, serve at room temperature .

To Prepare Sweet-chili sauce :
Combine all the ingredients and mix until the sugar is dissolved.

To Prepare Lor Bak:

Soften dried bean curd sheets by wiping gently with a clean wet tea towel or paper towels. Cut into squares - size of your choice.( don't forget to add an additional inch on all sides, for folding and rolling )
In a small bowl, add cornstarch and hot boiling water, mixing well into a glue-like paste, set aside
In a bowl, combine (A) and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

In the center of a bean-curd sheet, spoon pork mixture length-wise, forming it into the shape of a log. Brush all the sides of the bean-curd sheet with the cornstarch paste. Roll tightly, folding in the sides while rolling.
Repeat this procedure.
Heat wok on high, add vegetable oil, allow oil to heat up to moderately hot [350F].

Fry several lor bak untill golden brown,, then turn up the heat or remove a few scoops of oil so the the temperature of oil can be very hot and further crisp the lor bak. Remove, drain on cake rack .
Allow to cool slightly, before cutting into bite-size.

Arrange on a serving plate , along with a condiment bowl of dark-soy dipping sauce and a bowl of sweet-chili dipping; garnish with cucumber wedges.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fu Pei Kuen

It's time for some Grandma's Stories, yes, story about my Grandmother, Ah Poh, my maternal. Her name is CHAN YUET SUN and if not deceased will be more than 100 years old. She is the daughter to CHAN SOW LIN, who must be someone prominent as there is a road in Kuala Lumpur, named after him. Her husband, YAP THAI KHIM is one of the sons of YAP KWAN SENG, and there is also a road in Kuala Lumpur named after his father. It is so sad to know that my mother is related to YAP KWAN SENG but has no relationship. I saw in the net about his family tree and i did not find my Ah Koong's name in it.

When Ah Poh was alive, we knew she had a brother but there were no family gatherings or such, so we never really knew his family.

Ah Poh stayed with us in Seremban while Ah Koong stayed with his other wife 'Mang Ngan Poh' named so cos she has very poor eyesight, in Kuala Lumpur.

Ah Poh had 5 daughters and my 'Yoke Yee' came with her when she got married. It was confusing when i was young, that i had 2 'Thai Yee Mah'. My mom, who is 82 years old, is the youngest of the girls. There is a 'Kow Foo' from Ah Koong's third wife who left him and of course 'Kow Foo' was not allowed to leave as he is the only son but his older sister left with his mom to the United States.

I had just wanted to say that 'Fu Pei Kuen' was one of my Ah Poh's favorite, she has good taste, but i got carried away with this lengthy story. Ah Poh would request my mom to make her 'Fu Pei Kuen' and the filling will be 'Beansprouts, shrimp and fried Tofu' but i have made mine using the dish Yee Mah Kar Luoi which is 'shredded zuchini, dried shrimp and mung bean noodles'. Ah Poh liked the 'kuen' lightly 'ngat' - heated on a lightly oil pan which made the skin soft like fresh foo chuk.


1 lb beansprouts
a few sprigs of chinese chives or spring onions - washed and cut into 1 inch in length
1/2 lb peeled shrimp - deveined
1 small piece of firm tofu
1 clove of chopped garlic
1 tsp fish sauce
a dash of pepper
Oil about 1/4 cup

2 sheets tofu skin (fu pei) - available in the freezer of asian stores
1 tablespoon tapioca starch, mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water to make a paste for sealing the edges of the tofu skins


Marinate the shrimp with 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp tapioca starch for at least 1/2 hr. Wash the shrimp to rid of salt and starch with running tap water. Drain and pat dry , then season with 1/4 tsp of salt, sugar and pepper.

Cut the firm tofu into 1/4 inch slices, then into 1 inch in length. Julienne into 1/4 inch shreds.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a wok until moderately hot. Add in the shredded tofu and add in a little salt to the tofu. Fry until tofu is slightly brown. Turn off the heat. Remove and leave aside.

Remove all the oil and leave about 1 - 2 tbsp. Reheat the oil.

Stir fry the shrimp until cooked, then add in garlic and beansprouts. Fry until beansprouts are still crunchy, add in fish sauce, chives/spring onions.

Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, spread out the tofu skins on a work surface. Cut each skin into 4 inch squares. Dampen the skins with a little water and cover with a damp cloth.

Spoon 1 portion of the vegetable mixture onto each tofu skin square, fold a corner over to firmly encase the filling and tuck the corner underneath. Fold in both ends of the wrapping skin, as if wrapping a parcel, and roll up to resemble a filled pancake. Spread a little of the tapioca paste on the edges and press firmly. Repeat with the remaining wrapper skins.

Heat a lightly oiled flat skillet (frying pan) until moderately hot. Reduce the heat a little and pan-fry each tofu roll on each side until the tofu skin is soft

Serve with chilly sauce.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yee Mah Kar Luoi

This is another dish which the name is a mystery to me as i wonder how it is connected to a wedding - mom's elder sister's daughter's wedding????????.
This is one of the ways to cook the bountiful crop of zuchini.

2 small young zuchini
1 bundle of mung bean noodle - soaked
1 tbsp of dried shrimp - soaked
1/2 cup stock/water
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 slice ginger, then julienned finely
1/2 tsp fish sauce
a dash of pepper
2 tbsp cooking oil
Spring onions for garnishing

Julienne or shred the young zuchini and if the zuchini is more mature, remove seeds before shredding.
Heat oil and add the dried shrimp, saute until fragrant, then add in the ginger and garlic. Stir fry to combine.
Add in the shredded or julienned zuchini and add in stock or water, cover, and cook until zuchini is tender.
Add in soaked mung bean noodles and stir fry until noodles are cooked through.
Adjust taste with fish sauce and pepper.
Garnish with spring onions.

Serve Hot
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Monday, October 13, 2008


Note: This recipe has been adapted from "Desserts by Pierre Herme," by Dorie Greenspan. Copyright 1998 by SOCREPA and Dorie Greenspan. Reprinted by permission of SOCREPA. Published by Little, Brown. Video for Carioca Cake

I had wanted to make this cake since i watched Pierre Herme made it on one of Martha Stewart's show and that was long ago. I finanlly made it for my daughter's birthday. Of course i did not get the 'V' design on the ganache. It was not that easy, perhaps i will make several before i get it.



1 9-inch Genoise (How to is at the bottom)


1/2 cup Simple Syrup (How to is at the bottom)
5 ounces (2 packed cups) ground-for-espresso coffee (the coffee must be very finely ground)
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso or instant coffee


1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably Valrhona Manjari), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water


10 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably Valrhona Noir Gastronomie), finely chopped
2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups heavy cream


1 1/2 cups sliced blanched almonds
1/2 teaspoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 tablespoons Simple syrup


To make the coffee syrup:
Spoon off 2 tablespoons of the simple syrup, cover, and refrigerate to use later for the cocoa-dusted almonds.
Keep the remainder of the syrup at the ready.
Line a strainer with a double thickness of dampened cheesecloth, and place it over a small bowl; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the ground coffee, stir, and immediately pour the mixture through the lined strainer. You should have about 3/4 cup of very dark coffee. Stir in the instant coffee and the simple syrup. Reserve. (The coffee syrup can be made up to a week ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.)

To make the mousse:
Beat the cream until it holds medium-firm peaks, then cover and chill. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and egg yolks at the lowest speed for a few seconds, just to break up the eggs; set aside while you prepare the chocolate and sugar syrups.

Melt the chocolate in a microwave oven or in a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove the chocolate from the heat, and, if necessary, pour it into a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients for the mousse. Cool the chocolate until an instant-read thermometer registers 114 degrees.

While the chocolate is melting and cooling, place the sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally and washing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil the syrup over high heat without stirring until an instant-read thermometer registers 257 degrees, about 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately remove it from the heat.

With the mixer on the lowest speed, beat the eggs for a few seconds, then very slowly add the hot sugar syrup in a thin, steady stream. To avoid splatters, try to pour the syrup down the side of the bowl, not into the spinning whisk. (Inevitably, some will splatter, but don't attempt to scrape the hardened syrup into the eggs -- you'll get lumps.) Increase mixer speed to high, and beat eggs for about 5 minutes, or until they are pale and have more than doubled their original volume. If the mixture is still warm, reduce the speed to medium and continue to beat until eggs are at room temperature.

Using a large rubber spatula, fold about 1/4 of the whipped cream into the chocolate. Fold in the rest of the cream, and then, very delicately, fold in whipped egg mixture.

To make the ganache:
Place the chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl. Bring the cream to a boil, and remove it from the heat. Pour the cream into the chocolate in three additions, using a rubber spatula to stir the mixture in concentric circles, starting each time with a small circle in the center of the bowl and working your way out into larger circles. You'll have a smooth, glossy ganache. Allow the ganache to rest uncovered and undisturbed (don't stir it) at room temperature until it sets, 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the room's temperature. When the ganache is properly set, it will hold a ribbon for a second or two when stirred. It is ready to be used now or covered and refrigerated until needed.
If the ganache is chilled, it must be brought back to its proper consistency by leaving it at room temperature until it's spreadable (the best method), or by heating it over hot water or in a microwave oven at low power. Do not beat it or otherwise overwork it, or it will lose its lovely -- and characteristic -- sheen.

While the ganache is setting up, transfer the cake from the refrigerator to the counter. (Working on a cold rather than a solidly frozen cake will facilitate applying the ganache.)

To make the cocoa-dusted almonds:
Center a rack in the oven and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Sprinkle the almonds with the cocoa, then toss with the simple syrup to coat, and spread them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast the almonds, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes, until they are deeply and evenly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a rack, and cool the almonds to room temperature. (The almonds can be used immediately or packed into an airtight container and stored at room temperature for about 4 days.)

To assemble the cake:
Trim the top of the genoise so it is nice and smooth.
Cut two layers from the cake, each between 1/4- and 1/2-inch thick (these layers need to be extremely thin), and set them aside. The remainder of the genoise can be frozen for later use.

Center an 8 3/4-inch dessert ring on a cardboard cake round.
Place one layer of genoise, cut-side up, in the ring.
Brush enough coffee syrup over the cake to moisten it thoroughly.
Using an offset spatula or a flexible rubber spatula, spread 2 to 2 1/2 cups of mousse over the cake and smooth the top.
Position a second layer of cake on the mousse, pressing down gently and jiggling the cake to settle it in place.
Brush on some coffee syrup, and spread on another 2 to 2 1/2 cups of mousse; smooth the top so it is level with the edge of the dessert ring. (You may have some syrup left over, and you will have extra mousse. The syrup can be refrigerated for another use, and the mousse can be refrigerated for two days or frozen for a month.)
To set the cake, transfer to the freezer and freeze for 2 hours. (The cake can be made to this point and frozen for up to a month.) If you're not going to freeze the cake for long-term storage, it should be transferred to the refrigerator to defrost after 2 hours.

Remove the dessert ring.
Using a long metal offset spatula, spread ganache over the top and sides of the cake. If you want to repeat with another one or two layers of ganache, go ahead -- you've got plenty of ganache to play with. If the ganache is firm enough to hold a design, you can decorate the top now. If the ganache is still very soft, return the cake to the refrigerator for a few minutes to set it enough to hold a line drawn across its surface with a knife. (Keep the leftover ganache at hand so you can cover up any design attempts that don't pass muster.)

Decorate the top of the cake using the blade of a long, serrated bread knife. Hold the handle of the knife with one hand and the tip with the other. Starting at one edge of the cake and holding the knife almost perpendicular to the cake, gently slide the knife from one side of the cake to the other. Without losing your place at the edge of the cake, shift the blade about 1/16 inch and slide it 1/16 inch back to the opposite edge of the cake. You will have created the first V in a herringbone pattern. Continue until you have decorated the entire top of the cake. If the knife blade becomes clogged with ganache, clean the blade before continuing the pattern. Return the cake to the refrigerator for a few minutes to set the design. If you prefer, the cake can be finished with a flat-top -- that is, a smooth coating of ganache -- or you can decorate the top with swirls, ridges, or any other pattern that pleases you.

The last step is to press the toasted almonds against the sides of the cake. (If the ganache has set so it's very firm and the almonds won't stick to the sides, just warm the sides ever so slightly with a hair dryer -- lightly melting the ganache will help the almonds to adhere.)
The cake can be served now or chilled until serving time. If the cake is very cold and firm, let it rest at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before serving
Makes 1 1/3 cups

1 cup sugar Ice water, for bath

In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine sugar and 1 cup water.
Bring mixture to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar completely dissolves, about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat, and set over ice bath until room temperature.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes one 9-inch cake

4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted


Center a rack in the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 9-inch pan, dust the interior with flour, and tap out the excess. Set aside.

Pour a few inches of water into a skillet large enough to hold the bowl of your electric mixer
Bring the water to a gentle simmer. Melt the butter, and set it aside to cool -- it should be just warm when you're ready for it.

Hand-whisk the eggs and sugar together in the mixer bowl. Place the bowl in the skillet of simmering water and, whisking steadily, heat the mixture about 4 minutes, until it is foamy, slightly pale, and reads between 130 and 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove the bowl from the water.
Fit the electric mixer with a whisk attachment, and beat the mixture on high speed until it cools to room temperature and triples in volume, about 5 to 8 minutes. You'll know it's just right if, when you lift the whisk, the batter falls back into the bowl and forms a ribbon that remains on the surface for 10 seconds before it dissolves.

Stir about 2 tablespoons of batter into the slightly cooled butter, and set it aside.
With a large flexible rubber spatula, gently fold the flour into the batter in two or three additions (you might find it most convenient to add the flour to the bowl by shaking it through a strainer), taking care to handle the batter gently in order to maintain its bubble structure. The batter will lose volume as you fold in the flour and later the butter. This reaction is inevitable and shouldn't jeopardize the success of the finished cake. Still working with the spatula, fold in the butter mixture. At this point, the batter must be used immediately.

Pour the batter into the prepared 9-inch pan, and bake for 28 to 33 minutes, or until the top is golden and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack; unmold after 5 minutes. Turn the cake right-side-up to cool to room temperature

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Salt Steamed Chicken/Yeem Kook Kai

Marinate Chicken with sea salt, ginger juice, shaoxing wine, pepper, a pinch of five spice powder.
Cut greaseproof paper into 10 " x 10" squares, use 2 layers for a piece of chicken, grease paper with a little oil. Place chicken in the center of paper
Wrap chicken up by letting 2 opposite corners to meet, then fold down in small folds, now let the other 2 corners meet and fold down. Tap up the open seam. Use a large bowl and layer the bowl with newspapers, push papers down to form a bowl, Fill 1/3 of 3 lb natural sea salt/coarse salt. Lay the chicken parcels on top of salt.
fill the top with the rest of the salt. Make sure the parcel are snuggled inbetween the salt. Cover the bowl with more newspapers and then overturn the bowl onto the countertop.
Fold the newspapers up to form a huge parcel and use tape to stick the newspaper in place
Put in the microwave and cook on 70% or medium level for 20 - 22 minuts. Remove parcel from microwave and let it sit for 10 minutes. Remove the tapes and tear open the parcel, be cautious as the chicken parcels and salt might be hot
Brush away the salt from the chicken parcel before opening the chicken packet.
Chicken is ready to be served, hot or cold. Enjoy

I have been wanting to try this Salt Steamed Chicken for a long time and the idea of getting 10 lbs of salt to cook the chicken puts me off, the salt costs more than the chicken. Yes, you will need this huge amount of salt for the whole chicken. So, I am being practical and instead of cooking the whole chicken, i use only chicken thighs only, the chicken has to be cut into pieces later anyway. Chicken pieces cook faster than the whole chicken, another thumb up for saving time and energy.
The conventional way of cooking this chicken is:
A large wok is required to hold the chicken and the salt.
The salt is wok fried until very very hot before you bury the chicken parcel, cover and cook until the chicken is cooked.
Play with your food, that is what my dear friend tt would say. Use whatever but not too strong a flavor as it might be too overpowering.
I like to add a very tiny piece of Dang Quai under the skin of the chicken pieces.
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Baked Donuts

Have you picky eaters at home? Do i need to ask? When the food you show them at the supermarket, is received with great enthusiasm, with jumping joys of 'I want, I want', but what happens after? One try and the rest of the pack are left in the fridge, staring at you, every time you open the fridge. I am from the old school and frugality is top in my list. I must get rid of these yogurt drink before they expire, i made bread, pancake and then donuts too.

Donuts are not so appealing when not dressed(glazed), so, i glazed some but they were not accepted by the picky eaters, they exclaimed that they preferred the plain ones better. I was relieved to hear that, cos i personally do not like glazes and after 8 years here, still have not acquired the american's pleasure of all glazed pastries.


1 cup self rising flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 bottle of The Dannon Danimals drink (3.1 oz) - flavor of your choice or any yogurt drink
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 c. sifted powdered sugar
2 or 4 tbsp. milk
Toppings: Everything and Anything except the kitchen sink

1. In a big bowl, combine (A).
2. Beat (B) lightly and pour into (A), mix by folding in until all the liquid is combined with the flour. Mixture will be still lumpy. Set aside.
3. Spray the donut pan with nonstick cooking spray and fill them half full. (Half filled will result donuts with hole at the bottom but if you don't mind and want a bigger donut, then fill 3/4 full)
4. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes for the normal size donuts, for the mini ones 6 - 7 minutes will do or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire rack.
To glaze:
Combine powdered sugar with milk, stirring until smooth.
Dip donuts and holes in glaze.
Sit on rack to drain and top with toppings.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Spicy Chilly Shrimp

Time for some easy cooking, no fuss, no muss, just open the packet of curry mix and add in all the other ingredients and it is ready to serve as soon as the prawns are cooked.


1 lb med to large-sized prawns or shrimp, un-shelled - mix with 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper.
4 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
1 small onion, sliced
2 ripe tomatoes, quartered or sliced
1 packet Claypot Nyonya Fish Curry Mix (available online from )

1/2 lime

Garnish with cilantro/thai basil


Heat oil and add in the fish curry mix, saute until fragrant.

Add in the onions, stir until they are soft.

Add in the prawns and tomatoes. Cover and cook until prawns are cooked.

Stir in the coconut powder and adjust the taste by adding more salt or sugar.

Squeeze 1/2 a lime before serving.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Meat Paste/Gio

This recipe is inspired by Andrea Nguyen Cookbook - Into the Vietnamese Kitchen. I have changed it to suit my taste by adding sesame oil and ACCORD to keep the meat moist.

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp ACCORD - (a picture of and what is ACCORD can be found hereBouncy Beef Balls)
2 lbs boneless well-trimmed boneless pork leg
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
3 1/2 tbsp tapioca starch
5 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp ACCORD


Slice meat into 1/4 inch thick strips. Remove the silvery strip of tendon, cartilage or sinewy bits, keep visible fat for richness.

Mix marinade well and add in to meat. Mix well and cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to overnight. The meat will stiffen as it sits.

Working in batches, Grind the meat in a food processor until a smooth, stiff, light pink paste forms.(it will take several minutes. if your food processor is not heavy duty, stop machine after every minute - this is also good for the meat, as the heat in the grinding, if for too long, might cook the meat). The paste is ready when there is no more visible bits of meat and the paste should have a slight sheen.

Remove paste from food processor into the stand mixer bowl. Using the paddle, beat the paste on high speed for 1 - 2 minutes.
The paste is ready for making into sausages or meat balls.
Meat Balls ala Don

For making Gio Lua(a smooth, light colored sausage)

Bring a 4 or 5 quart pot of water to the boil, lower to a simmer and keep warm.

Put a 12 x 18 inch piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil on a work surface, with the short side closest to you.

Center a 5 x 12 inch banana leaf on the foil.

Deposit a chinese rice bowl of packed paste on to the bottom edge of the leaf, roughly shaping it into a fat 5 inch long log. Roll up the leaf to encase the paste, creating a cylinder. Place cylinder at one of the short end of the foil and roll it up, letting the foil naturally over-lap to form a silver tube. Seal the ends close and folding toward the center. The tube has to be tied to ensure the shape and compactness of the paste, make sure the string is taut.

Return the pot of water to a boil. Drop in sausages and boil for 40 minutes.

Let them cool completely before untying and removing the foil.

Keep the banana leaf in place and can be refrigerated until serving.

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