Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fried Shallots


I absolutely love fried shallots as a condiment to my dishes. No not those store bought fried shallots… I meant those authentic homemade ones.

I remember growing up eating them especially with my fried beehoon, fried noodles, porridge and anything possible. These crispy thin slices of shallots will transform a simple dish to a culinary delight.

To make them you only need 2 ingredients ie Shallots and sufficient oil to deep fry them. However, not many people are keen in making them as it is tedious (slicing all those shallots into thin and even slices). The deep frying timing has to be precise as too short a time will result in soggy shallots while too long in the fryer will yield burnt shallots.

Here is how I do it…..

P6030587Peel shallots and rinse them before slicing. Dab dry with a kitchen towel then slice thinly and uniformly to ensure even cooking. (Quantity is up to you). Leave this in room temperature for a couple of hours so that the moisture will dry up.

P6030591Heat up the wok. Pour in sufficient cooking oil. The oil will be ready for frying when you see bubbles coming out from the bamboo chopsticks (see above).

P6030592Pour in the sliced shallots.

P6030593Keep stirring and you will see the shallots slowly changing colour. Do not add anymore oil once you added in the shallots.

P6030596Once the shallots turn light golden brown, get ready to remove it from the wok. This is the most important and tricky process. If you let the shallot turn brown, they will be burnt as the shallots will continue to cook even when you remove them from the wok.

P6030597Remove the shallots from the oil using a slotted ladle.

P6030598 Blot out excess oil by draining the shallots on kitchen paper towels or tempura paper.

Cool. Store the fried shallots in an airtight container in the fridge.

To use, simply take them out from the fridge and sprinkle sufficient amount to topped over almost any dish.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Not everyone’s cup of Tea (Sambal Petai Ikan Bilis)


Many people do not like eating Petai aka Parkia speciosa (bitter bean, twisted cluster bean, or stink bean) due to its peculiar smell.


In my family only DH and me like it. My children will not touch any dishes with Petai in them. So I hardly cook this dish at home.

Mom loves Petai especially when cooked with sambal (chill). She yearned it, so my sister bought back some Petai recently and I dished it out for Mom.

Sambal Petai Ikan Bilis

Mom is so happy to get to taste this dish despite the fact that it’s a wee bit too spicy (hot) for her.

Sambal Petai Ikan Bilis

Ingredients :
1 cup peeled petai seeds
1 cup ikan bilis
i big onion (cut into small wedges)
Salt & Sugar to taste
1/2 cup asam jawa juice

2 tbsp cooking oil


Chili paste :
15 dried chillies
5 shallots
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp belachan stock granules

1. Wash and strain ikan bilis. Place on a microwavable dish and microwave at high for 3 mins or till crispy and golden brown. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in the pan and saute the onion till fragrant.
3. Add in the ground chilli paste and fry until fragrant.
4. Put in petai and stir-fry briskly.
5. Add in asam jawa juice and and seasoning.
6. Simmer till gravy becomes thick.
7. Add in crispy ikan bilis, Mix well and dish up. Serve with hot steam rice.

Fry big onions Add grounded paste






Stir in Petai

Add tamarind juice

Add ikan bilis

Sambal Petai Ikan Bilis


Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Walk Down Memory Lane

A fortnight ago, I drove over 300km to my hometown, Penang with childhood friend.
Purpose of the trip….
to celebrate our 50th years of living with our school mates.
We had 45 girls congregating there ..from all over Malaysia and many parts of the world (some as far as The United States of America). A number of us were out of touch for over 3 decades (since we left High School)
It all started here….
Over 40 decades ago, a bunch of carefree and chatty girls enrolled in the Primary Schools of Convent Green Lane, Penang. Over the years, we laughed together, fight amongst ourselves and had the most wonderful time of our childhood here.
We went our separate ways after High School to pursue our individual careers. We may have changed in our physical outlook but we still remain the same ole chatty and noisy girls.
A group of us met in the school to take some photos and reminiscent of those good old schooldays .
CGL 17 
Lots and lots of hugging, laughters and catching up to do.
We must have made so much noise that if we were still attending school we would definitely be sent to Detention!
CGL group
This is where we would assemble every morning before class starts.
There were a number of smaller gatherings during this weekend (depending on availability of each individual). However, the main function was our Dinner in GHotel, Gurney Drive, Penang on 9th June, 2012.
We had managed to rope in a total of 45 girls… I refer to ourselves as “girls “ because despite most of us having experienced motherhood (a couple even have grandchildren), we still acted like 17 year olds. Giggling, laughing out loud at each others jokes and even some pranks.
Thanks to the organising team, the food was good and ambience was perfect.
ghotel spread1 ghotel spread5 ghotel spread2 ghotel9
A cake to celebrate our Big 5O!
We are proud of it…
After all.. quoting some of us “50 is the NEW 35!!!”

What was most significant that night is how we network with each other.
No hard feelings, no bitchiness at all.
It was all good.
ghotel mingle
Mingling and catching up was the main agenda for the night.
ghotel group
We wondered why it took us so long before we had this get-together.
Kudos to the organising team for the job well done.
Let’s hope our next meet will not be another 3 decades from now!!!!
In the meantime, let’s stay in touch.
Thanks to all my dear friends for the wonderful time.
The long drive back was worthwhile :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Crispy Oven-Baked Roasted Pork (Siew Yoke) 脆皮烧肉

Mum has cut down on red meat for almost a decade. While fighting Cancer, she has taken out pork from her diet.

Lately, she has mentioned to me that she has not tasted “siew yoke” for quite awhile and missed the taste.
Thought I should make some for her. Making my own, I could at least control the amount of salt used (so that it will not be so salty).

Mum loves it. The skin was very crispy while the meat was still juicy. It is also not as salty as those that we buy.

This is really a very easy recipe. Only 4 ingredients needed with a ratio of 1:1:1:1 (1kg pork : 1 tbsp salt : 1 tbsp pepper : 1 tbsp 5 spice powder.

The Crispy Oven Baked Roasted Pork
(Recipe source: Angel, of Cook.Bake.Love )

Ingredients: -
1 kg pork belly (take the whole slab - do not cut into thin strip)
1 tbsp salt (I used fine Sea salt)
1 tbsp of the white pepper
1 tbsp at five-spice powder

1) Clean the pork belly and pat dry with the kitchen paper towel
2) Score the meat about 2cm apart both vertically and horizontally (do not score, the skin).
3) Prick all over the skin with a sharp skewer (I used the tip of a small Knife). Prick as much holes as possible This the step is very essential to ensure crackling on the skin.
4) Rub the skin and meat with salt all over.
5) Mix the white Pepper and five-spice powder and rub into the meat including the scored areas (do not rub on the skin ).
6) Keep the pork belly in  the fridge uncovered (skin side up), for a few hours. This is to dry up the skin so that it will become crispy after baking.
7) Take out pork belly 30 mins to 1 hour before baking to thaw in room temperature. Put the pork belly on a grill with skin side up (remember to place a tray lined with aluminium foil below to catch the oil).
8) Bake in preheated the oven, upper the rack at 200C for 50 mins , Adjust to 220C and continue to bake for another 10 mins. Check the skin, if there is still spot that is not crackling, switch to upper fire (so that the meat won't be over baked), bake for another 10 mins at 220C. Repeat this step (check every 10 mins), turn the position of pork belly if necessary, until there are  cracklings all over. If there is certain spot where the crackling is not so well done after prolonged baking, try to wipe away the oil and rub some salt on the skin before baking. Scrape away the charred part with a tong or knife before serving.
8) Rest the pork before cutting it into bit size pieces.

Making roast pork is easy. All you need is patience. However, the challenge is always the aftermath ie the cleaning up (as the oven will be coated with oil from the pork.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chai Kueh (Steamed Vegetable Dumplings) 菜粿

A couple of days ago Mum mentioned that it’s been a long while since she last tasted “Chai Kueh”. Chai Kueh is a traditional dumpling with vegetable fillings.

I have never made this dish before. Googling for the recipe brought me to Nasi Lemak Lover’s blog. The recipe looks manageable for me. With all the ingredients in hand. I made Chai Kueh yesterday.


Gave half to my parents and got thumbs up from them. 
The texture of the skin was just perfect. Soft and chewy. Delicious. Only downside is my mistake of shredding the jicama (sengkuang) and carrot too finely. This has resulted in the absence of crunch for the filling. I should have used the coarser shredder.

My skill of wrapping the chai kueh has great room for improvement. (look …my chai kueh have odd sizes and shapes!)

The dough is rather sticky and difficult to handle. I find the dividing the dough into small balls and then rolling them flat (individually) makes it easier for wrapping.

I love seeing how these little “package” in white OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         miraculously turn translucent (showing off the golden fillings) after steaming

(Chai Kueh) Steamed vegetable dumplings   菜粿
(recipe adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover)

For the filling
Ingredients :
1 large jicama (sengkuang), shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1 firm tofu, pan fry till brown, shredded
20g dried shrimps, soaked in water, chopped
Some chopped coriander ( I used cilantro/ spring onions)1tsp salt or to taste
2tbsp light soy sauce or to taste
1tsp sugar or to taste ( I omitted this) Pepper

Method :1. Heat oil in a wok, sauté dried shrimps till aroma.
2. Add in jicama (sengkuang), carrot and fried firm tofu, continue to cook for 15mins or till dry.
3. Add in seasonings and chopped coriander, mix well. Set aside to cool.

For the dumpling skin
Ingredients :
100g Tang Mein flour (Wheat starch)
200g tapioca flour
10g sugar
A pinch of salt
20g cooking oil
450g hot boiling water

Method :
1. Mix two flours in a mixing bowl, stir to combine.
2. Add sugar, salt and cooking oil in the hot boiling water.
3. Pour hot water into the mixing bowl and quickly stir to combine to become dough. Set aside to cool.
Other ingredients
banana leaves
fried garlic oil

To make steamed vegetables dumplings
1. Dust tabletop with a lot of tapioca flour (dough is very sticky), roll dough to form a thin circle.(using a round cutter or a small bowl to cut out thin circle as to standardize the size)
2. Wrap 1 tbsp of filling with each skin. Fold into semicircle and seal the opening by pressing the edges together.
3. Place each dumpling on a small sheet of banana leaf, place on a steaming tray, steam for 15mins.
4. Remove the steamed dumplings and brush the surface with some garlic oil. Serve hot.

The Chai Kueh tasted good even when cold. If you want to eat it the next day, just steam it again and it will taste as good as fresh!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Linda Collister's Espresso Brownies

I have not baked Brownies for awhile….

Last night while I was reading some food blogs, this particular recipe from Bisous A Toi caught my attention. I like the idea of adding coffee to the brownies and the marble effect with the cream cheese.

As I happened to have all the necessary ingredients, I went ahead and baked it today.

This is a very aromatic brownie. Why would it not be?…. when there is so chocolaty. However, the scent of the coffee is rather faint. Perhaps I did not use a high quality coffee powder. Just used the normal instant Nescafe powder. Nonetheless, it is still delicious. The cream cheese layer (topping) has a slight crunch while the texture of the brownie is fine, moist and soft.

I did reduce the sugar by a little (as you know I am not a sweet tooth).
Linda Collister’s Expresso Brownies (adapted from Bisous A Toi )
230g Dark Cooking Chocolate - 70%
115g unsalted butter at room temperature
275g powdered sugar ( I reduced to 250g)
5 eggs - beat until just fluffy
2 tbsp instant coffee, dissolved in a little hot water
70g flour
60g cocoa powder
20g full cream milk powder
100g Cream Cheese - room temperature
125g Butter
2 eggs - small size
40g Flour

Cream cheese mixture
Beat cream cheese and butter until soft
Add in eggs one at a time
Once combined add in sifted flour and continue to whisk - put aside

Melt dark cooking chocolate using double boil method - set aside
On a stand mixer,whisk butter and sugar till soft
Add in instant coffee.
Add in beaten egg and continue to whisk
Add in sifted flour, cocoa powder and milk powder.
Add in melted dark cooking chocolate..
Once mixed switch off mixer and pour batter into 22 x 22cm pan.. smoothen the top.
Pour a few dollops of cream cheese mixture on top of the chocolate batter.. do a little swirl to get a marble effect
Linda Collister's Espresso Brownies - with cream cheese swirls

Bake on preheated oven of 160C for 40-50 mins depending on your oven.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Fresh from the oven

Tea time treat
Linda Collister's Espresso Brownies 1
This is a keeper.
I bet my children will be asking for it again soon ;)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Roasted Chicken Drumstick


Bought some chicken drumsticks yesterday with the intention to cook chicken curry. Unfortunately, this morning I realised that I have ran out of potatoes.

So, looks like I will need to change tonight’s dinner menu. Still wanting to cook something with curry powder, I have opted to roast the chicken drumsticks instead.


This is a very simple recipe. With just under an hour of preparation time, this is an amazing tasty and crisp roast chicken drumstick. Got a double thumbs up from the family and DD was practically licking her fingers savouring every single bit of it.

Here is how this dish was prepared.

Roasted Chicken Drumstick (my own version)

Ingredients :

5 pieces of chicken drumstick ( One for each member of my family)

60gm butter (soften in room temperature)

2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

2 tsp of curry powder

1 tsp of chilli flakes

a handful of dried rosemary



5 chicken drumstickClean 5 pieces of chicken drumstick. Make sure you trim off the excess fat from the chicken. Pat them dry and place them in a roasting pan.

season with salt & pepperSeason these “babies” with salt & pepper.  Leave them aside, while you prepare the marinate.

Butter garic & curry powderMix together butter, chopped garlic and curry powder in a small bowl.


mixed with dried rosemary

Mix till a paste is formed and add in the dried rosemary.


mixture on chickenSpoon the paste onto the drumsticks.


coat with mixtureRub the paste all over the drumsticks …making sure they are well coated.

Bake them into a preheated oven of 200 deg C for 45 mins.


Once golden brown, remove it from the oven and let it stand in the roasting pan for a few minutes before plating them.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Don’t they look delicious???


The butter made the skin incredibly crispy.

The drumsticks were really flavorful and the chilli flakes gave some heat to this dish.

This is definitely a good change from the normal curry chicken dish. Great to be taken as a main course with some salad or with a plate of hot steamy rice.

Based on the response from the family, I see myself cooking this again in the very near future.