Thursday, December 30, 2010

Curry puffs aka Karipap

Currypuff or Karipap in Malay is an all time favourite tea time snack in my household. My mum makes thousands of these savory snacks fulfilling orders from neighbours, relatives for birthdays, weddings, or any occasions. 

So mum recruited my brother and I to prepare these treats, we were mostly in charge of sealing the dough with a special pinch and twist action so when these are deep fried in hot oil, the filling will not spill out.

I have recorded a short video on how its done, (see below) just to show you the basic principles of the pinch and twist method, with a bit of practice your "braided" edges will look neat and pretty :)



250 gm all purpose flour
40gm butter
2 Tbsp salad/cooking oil
1/2 cup cold water mixed with 1/2 tsp salt

300gm sweet potatoes (Peeled and diced)
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp kurma powder
1 large onion minced
coriander leaves (chopped)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
Oil for deep frying


Pastry :

Heat oil and butter until butter is melted and pour mixture into the flour. Mix well until resembles bread crumbs. Pour in cold water and mix until dough is smooth. Roll into 16 round balls and set aside.

Heat some 2 tbsp oil and sautee onions, garlic and ginger for 3 minutes. Add the kurma powder and fry until another 2 minutes. Add diced sweet potatoes and stir to mix to coat the potatoes with the spices.

Add water and continue to stir until mixture is dry and the potatoes is cooked well. Add chopped coriander. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Sprinkle some flour to your rolling pin and board. Flatten the individual dough one at a time maintaining a round shape and add 1 tbsp of the cooled filling, Seal the edges. Now this would take some practice so here is the video of how this is done.

Once all the currypuff  is completed, place on a lined tray and bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can deep fry these puffs in a pan of hot oil at 120 C for 3 minutes on each side.

Happy Trying!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Butter Chicken

December is truly a lazy month for me, and the incessant rain does not help. I havent been trying out any new recipes because everyone seems to be in a soupy I have been making chicken soup, clam chowders, spicy lamb soup etc. 

Today is the first day, the sun came out of its hiding after five days. I thought I must cook something other than soup today!!

I love a good butter chicken and I have tried several recipes from the net. I tried this recipe from tonite and we were quite pleased with the end result. It's taste is very authentic and its quite simple to prepare. 

So I thought it is worth sharing with butter chicken lovers out there :) So enjoy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Kuih Seri Muka (Steamed Glutinous Rice topped with Pandan Custard)

This dessert is one of many pandan flavoured treats that mom used to make while we were growing up. It is very popular in Malaysia and you can always find them from roadside stalls to restaurants and hotel buffets.  I made one batch today and gave this plate to the lovely elderly couple who lives across the street, Gary & Grace. Mom always gave our neighbours treats and I am continuing the tradition. Its a good way to foster good neighbourly relations....after all they say "love thy neighbor"! So go ahead, try sharing this with your next door neighbor and build that good relations, you will never know when you may need to borrow a cup of sugar and you would not feel awkward when you do.


Bottom Layer

300g glutinous rice, washed and soaked for several hours or overnight, then drained well
½ - ¾ tsp salt
200ml thin coconut milk
1 pandan leaf (screwpine leaf), knotted

Top Layer

6-7 pandan leaves, cut into 4-5 cm lengths
100ml water
180ml coconut milk (extracted from 1 grated coconut)
130g castor sugar
1 eggs
3 tbsp cornflour
3 tbsp all purpose flour


Put well-drained glutinous rice in a 20cm square cake tin. Add salt to coconut milk and mix then pour over the rice. Stir well and place knotted pandan leaf on top.

Steam the rice over rapidly boiling water for 10-20 minutes or until rice grains are completely cooked.

Discard pandan leaf. Fluff up the rice with a wooden fork. Use a piece of banana leave or a piece of foil to lightly press down the rice into the cake tin until it is compact. Steam the rice again for 12-15 minutes.

To prepare the top layer:

Process the pandan leaves in a food processor until u get a fine pulp. Strain the pandan juice through fine muslin. (Use only 100ml strained pandan juice)

Combine eggs, sugar and coconut milk. Stir lightly until sugar dissolves, then add pandan juice and the 2 types of flour to mix.

Pour the mixture over the prepared rice and steam over GENTLE HEAT for 30 minutes or until completely set. (Do not steam over rapidly boiling water otherwise the custard layer will not be smooth) Allow to cool before cutting into diamond shapes.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Buah Melaka (Glutinous Pandan Flavoured Balls)

This is another Malaysian favorite for tea time. My late father used to love this and mum always makes them using the pandan leaves from the backyard for that lovely aromatic flavour and the lovely green colour. Buah Melaka gets its name from the sweet palm sugar also known as Gula Melaka that fills the center when you bite into this treat. You can easily get  palm sugar from any Asian grocer. This dessert is also known as Onde Onde but dont ask me why it is named so. 

250 g Glutinous Rice Flour
200 ml Pandan Juice (see note)
150 g  Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar), finely chopped
100 g dessicated coconut
A Pinch Of Salt
In a large bowl, combine the glutinous rice flour with Pandan juice and knead lightly. 
Mix the coconut with a pinch of salt and steam for about 2 – 3 minutes and let it cool completely.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Pinch a small piece of dough (about 15 g each) and flatten lightly. Fill the center of the dough with palm sugar. Roll them in your palm to form a smooth ball and cook the glutinous rice balls in the boiling water. When the rice balls float to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon and shake off the excess water.
Coat the rice balls with the coconut and serve immediately.
Pandan Juice:
 Blend 10 Pandan leaves with 220 ml water and sieve through muslin cloth to obtain the clear juice.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sambal Tempoyak Daun

Sambal tempoyak daun

Finely chopped leaves

OK those who knows this dish, needs no introduction. Its a Negeri Sembilan (my parents are both Nogorian) specialty and any true blue Nogorian has to know how to make this, otherwise you cant claim to be from this state.

Before we proceed, you would need the essential ingredient Tempoyak prepared before hand (see earlier post). If you dont have this in your pantry then you can either buy or make some.

This dish is a delicacy normally prepared during the fasting month because it keeps very well and can actually be tasty enough to be eaten on its own with plain rice.

You would need:

5 birds eye chilies
1/2 cm fresh turmeric

1 bunch tapioca leaves ( pucuk ubi kayu)
2 pieces turmeric leaves ( 1 grow mine in my herb garden)
5 pieces daun kaduk (wild pepper leaves) - available from your Vietnamese grocer
2 stalks lemon grass (finely chopped)

10 pieces anchovies
1/2 cup petai (sator)
1 small box(200 ml) of Kara coconut cream
3 tbsp Tempoyak


Pound A in mortar and pestle until fine.
Chop all of B (see above photo).
Add all ingredients A, B & C into a pot and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with hot plain rice.

daun kaduk (wild pepper leaves)

Tempoyak (fermented durian)

Tempoyak or fermented durian flesh is a must in my mother's kitchen. My late father will request for tempoyak mixed with freshly pounded chili paste to be eaten with plain steamed rice, and he will be a happy camper.

I really cant put into words how good tempoyak is eaten as a side dish with chili or added into any dish like Gulai Ikan Patin Tempoyak, or Sambal Tempoyak Daun. When added to a coconut cream based dish, it adds another dimension in flavour and cuts through the creaminess of the coconut milk.

Just because tempoyak is not readily available in Australia, does not mean I cant have tempoyak in my pantry, right?

As durian is readily available here, all I need is to grab myself a durian, crack open the thorny shell and start separating the flesh from the seeds.

You will need:

1 glass jar with lid
durian flesh from 1 durian
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
Plastic cling wrap

Fill your jar with the durian flesh and add salt & sugar. Mix well and leave out on the counter overnight covered with cling wrap. The fermentation process will take place within 24 hours but please do not cover your jar with the lid as the bottle may actually explode with the gas buildup.

The next day you can close the lid on the jar and place your tempoyak in the refrigerator for up to 12 months.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chocolate Molten Cake

A cold rainy night would be perfect for a warm chocolate cake with a soft gooey centre, dont you agree? I must share how easy this was to make and how good it taste, especially if you are a chocoholic like me.

I must thank Sis Melissa for posting this recipe and I have been waiting for the weekend to prepare this. So here is the video of this recipe, it is in Italian with English Subtitles, thankfully.

I served mine with fresh blueberries as it is now in season. It was quite a treat!

Bon Apetit!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Banana Crumble Muffin

If you are like me always running against time to bake the quickest but yummiest deserts, here is a quick and easy way to prepare a sweet treat. I like this recipe because I dont need to actually whip up a topping as the topping is baked together with the muffin. You can dive right into these once the muffin are cooled.

The crumbled topping is crunchy and coconut gives is a nice texture and flavour. Go ahead give this a try, and soon you will be making batches of these delicious treats!



2 bananas mashed,
2 ½ cups self-raising flour,
2 tsp ground cinnamon,
2/3 cup brown sugar,
½ cup finely chopped walnuts (optional),
1 1/3 cup milk,
2 eggs,
1 tsp vanilla essence,
150g melted and cooled unsalted butter.

Crumble topping: ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup plain flour, ¼ cup (45g) desiccated coconut, 35g unsalted butter


Preheat the oven to moderate, 180 degrees Celsius.
Sift the self raising flour and cinnamon into a large bowl.
Add the brown sugar and walnuts and stir together.
Make a well in the centre.

Add eggs, butter, milk, vanilla and bananas. Mix well and pour into the well in the dry ingredients. Fold the dry mixture into the wet, mix well until just combined.

To make the crumble topping combine the brown sugar, flour and desiccated coconut in a small bowl, then rub in the butter until the mixture resemble breadcrumbs. Place tablespoonfuls of the crumble mixture onto the muffin mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted through the centre comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack

Makes 12

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kerabu Pegaga

I love Sunday Markets, fresh produce at half supermarket prices and best of all, I can find a great many variety of produce I normally cant find elsewhere.

I feel like a kid in a toy store when I shopped at the Underwood market. With summer around the corner, the market was filled with a more tropical variety of vegetables, bamboo shoots, tapioca leaves (pucuk ubi), kangkung and daun pegaga (pennywort leaves or otherwise known as Gotu Kola).

I have a pot of pegaga growing the backyard but I am far from harvesting them as its barely enough to feed the whole family.

Well enough said, here is the wonderfully fresh and tasty kerabu pegaga.


Daun pegaga (pennywort leaves)
2 tbsp grated coconut (dessicated coconut)
2 Dried Chilies
1 tbsp Dried Shrimp
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 cm belacan (shrimp paste)
Juice from one lime/lemon
Oil for frying
Fried tempe cut into cubes


Wash leaves and soak in salt water for 10 minutes. Drain.

Fry shrimp paste, dried shrimp and chilies in hot oil for about 1 minute. Drain on paper towel. Add into mortar and pestle, pound into a fine paste.

Add salt & sugar & lime juice and taste accordingly to achieve a good balanced flavor.

Add 2 tbsp shredded/dessicated coconut.

Toss with pegaga leaves and add the fried tempe.

Serve with steaming hot rice.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I love most things Spanish, from it's beautiful language, its beautiful Moorish-inspired architecture, and its famous sporting figure who, this weekend is on the verge of winning his third Formula 1 Driver's championship, Fernando Alonso. Good luck keeping Webber biting at your heels....may the best man wins.

Spanish food is definitely one my favorite foods, from Paella, Tapas and the simple but elegant, cinnamon flavoured Spanish doughnut, the Churros.

Its basically choux pastry deep fried and also very popular in Mexico, Morocco, Latin America, Portugal and America. Its a great afternoon snack for tea time and I leave you with the recipe to enjoy my Churros, Muy Bien!


1 cup water
2 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter
1 cup white flour
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 to 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, depending on taste


Preheat 1 1/2 to 2 inches of vegetable oil in a 10 to 12 inch frying pan to 375 degrees F. In a separate dish mix the 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

In a 3 qt. sauce pan add the water, brown sugar, salt, and butter and heat to a good boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour. Stirring in the flour will take some muscle. Mix it in until well blended.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and vanilla together and then add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until well blended and all the egg is completely mixed in.

Fill your decorating tool with the churro recipe dough and attach the largest star tip you have.

Test your oil by placing a small amount of dough in it. The dough should bubble up right away or that means the oil is not hot enough and a soggy churro is on the way.

Once the oil is hot enough, squeeze some dough (with decorator) into the oil about 4 inches long. I used my finger to release the dough from the decorator. Careful not to burn yourself.
Cook them about 1 minute and turn them over with a slotted spoon. Cook an additional minute or two. You're looking for that nice golden brown color.
Remove the churros with the slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel-covered plate to absorb excess grease.

While still warm, roll each churro into the dish with the sugar and cinnamon until coated.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fruit Pavlova


150ml egg white (approximately 4 eggs)
1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
2 tablespoons corn flour (corn starch), sifted
2 teaspoons white vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).

2. Place the eggwhite in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, whisking well, until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour and vinegar and whisk until just combined. Shape the mixture into an 18cm round on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper.

3. Reduce oven to 120°C (250°F) and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.

4. Decorate with your desired toppings.

Apam Balik (Pancakes with peanut & sweet corn filling)

Kuala Lumpur is a food haven, everywhere you turn, there is multitudes of street/hawker food from breakfast to lunch, tea time, dinner and through to supper. Malaysians simply loves food!

One of the many street food that we miss in Malaysia is this sweet treat, the "apam balik" normally served during tea time. It is basically pancake filled with creamed sweetcorn, sugar and crushed peanuts. So off to google I go and found this recipe from the net and tried it out. It turned out quite nicely and I suggest you give it a try.



2 cups self raising flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 medium egg
1 3/4 cup milk
a few drops of yellow coloring


1 cup roasted peanuts - crushed roughly
1 can creamed sweetcorn
1 cup sugar


Add all batter ingredients into mixer and mix well until no lumps are present. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat non stick pan and brush lightly with butter.
Pour 1 ladle of batter onto the pan once hot on medium heat. Cover pan and wait till bubbles are formed on the surface and sprinkle sugar, peanuts,corn and a pinch of butter.

Remove once sugar is melted on the surface, fold into half and serve.

Repeat until all batter is used. Enjoy!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Grilled Stingray in Special Sauce ( Ikan Pari Bakar Pantai Timur)

We went fishing yesterday and landed two stingrays and a bucketful of breams. What does a Malaysian do with fresh stingray? Well what else but the tasty street food famous and easily found along the beach in Kuantan or Terengganu, Grilled fish in Banana leaf with special sauce. You can find frozen banana leaf from your local Asian Grocer, otherwise just using aluminum foil will do. The purpose of using the foil is to keep the fish and the marinade contained in a pocket while cooking under the grill. Using banana leaf to line the inside of the foil lends a nice aromatic flavour.The fish is cooked in the marinated pocket for 20 minutes and some caramelization will be formed when fish is grilled on high heat.

The special sauce used to marinate the fish while grilling makes all the difference. Here is the recipe if you are keen to try.

You can make this paste ahead of time and freeze it for future use. Will come handy when you need a quick dinner idea.

2 pieces cut from the sides of 2 lb Stingray
2 tbsp palm sugar or dark brown sugar
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp tamarind paste
a large piece of banana leaf or aluminum foil

Ingredients A (Marinade sauce)

1 onion, sliced, for garnish
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
2 stalks lemongrass, tender ends only
1½ tsp toasted belacan [dried shrimp paste]
3 tbsp chili paste

Rub stingray with lemon juice and salt, set aside for 10 mins

Blend A in processor to form a fine paste.

Heat wok on high, add oil, stir fry paste until browned and caramelized about 5-6 mins.

Add tamarind juice, sugar, salt to taste, reduce heat to medium, simmer till sauce is slightly thickened.

Remove from heat, allow sauce to cool.

Soften banana leaf in hot water, dry well with a tea towel.

Spoon and spread half the sauce on the banana leaf and, lay the stingray fillets on top, spoon the rest of the sauce on the fish.

If using banana leaf, you can still use the foil for the outer layer and secure foil by creating a pocket.

Grill on a hot charcoal bbq grill or pre-heated grill oven for 20 minutes.

Serve with steamed rice and salad.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fish Head in Turmeric & Coconut Milk Gravy

Not everyone will find this dish appealing but if you are a true blue Malaysian, chances are you are just like me, and a good Fish Head Curry or Asam Pedas Fish Head is a delicacy.

And so tonight I was missing a taste of home and we haven't had our family favorite Masak Lemak Kuning in a while....and voila dinner is served!

The advantage of living in a country where fish heads are dumped into a hole and buried after the fish is filleted is just demand for this delicacy and if it was offered for sale, it would only cost a mere dollar or two. Ka-ching! What a bargain!

Just in case you are game enough to try this, here is the recipe.

Half a fish head (mostly sold in halves, if not have the fish sliced in half)
1 can coconut milk
1 stalk lemon grass
2 tbsp Blended chili paste
Salt to taste
1 inch Turmeric (peeled and pounded into a paste)
Lemon/Lime juice


Add all ingredients except the lime juice into a pot big enough to fit your fish head. Keep stirring until the oil separates and forms a oily film on the top layer. This will take about 30 minutes of constant stirring on medium heat.
After 15 minutes, turn the fish head and keep stirring for another 15 minutes and once cooked, take off the heat and add lime juice. Serve with white rice.

Note: Although the whole fish head is a delicacy but the best part of the fish head is the eye!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

I love cinnamon and a good cinnamon roll is top of my list of favourites. A friend had posted photos of her cinnamon rolls on her FB page and it reminded me of that wonderful smell of the rolls baking in the oven. Thanks Shaz!

Of course I googled some recipes and Shaz kindly shared hers as well but I do want to share a good pictorial of a step by step recipe and you can opt to use the bread machine, stand mixer or a food processor, even good old fashioned elbow grease.

This page also detailed on how to freeze the dough for future use. A very good tip on storing the dough is explained here. So while I enjoy my freshly baked rolls with a cup of coffee, you can enjoy reading the pictorial.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Choc Ganache with Lavender Cream & Raspberry Tart

240g plain flour
200g butter
Pinch of salt
300ml thickened cream
1 tbs caster sugar
1 tsp unsprayed lavender flowers (you can replace with vanilla if lavender is not available)
1 punnet raspberries

160ml cream
40g butter
180g dark chocolate, finely chopped

Step 1: Place the flour, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor and blend until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 1-2 teaspoons cold water and blend again until the dough just comes together. Tip out onto a lightly floured board or clean bench and form dough into a disc, enclose in cling film and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Step 2: Roll pastry out to 3-5mm thick, then use to line four 20cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Prick the base with a fork, then place back in the fridge to rest for about 20 minutes.

Step 3: To make the ganache, place the cream and butter in a pan and stir over medium heat until butter has melted. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl, pour over the warm cream, then stir until the chocolate has melted.

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the pastry case with baking paper and pastry beads or uncooked rice. Blind-bake for 7-10 minutes, then remove baking paper and beads and bake for another 5-10 minutes until just golden. Press down any bubbles that have risen up and allow to cool. Remove from tart case and place on a serving plate or clean board.

Step 5: Meanwhile, whip thickened cream with sugar until soft peaks, then stir through lavender flowers. Cover with cling film and refrigerate until needed.

Step 6: Pour the chocolate ganache into the tart shells. Spread evenly with the back of a spoon or palette knife.

Step 7: Top tarts with lavender cream and decorate with raspberries.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Afghan Rice

I love a good biryani but I dont love the long and arduous preparation time. That is until I discovered the recipe for Afghan rice. Some call it the poor man's biryani. There's nothing "poor" about the taste. It is rich in flavour just like any good biryani should. I normally make mine without any meat which in turn cuts the cooking time even further.

Please give this a is sooo worth your time ( not too much of it is required in this case)


• 2 1/2 cups basmati rice
• medium onion (chopped or sliced)
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• tsp chili powder (optional)
• 1cup oil
• Lamb meat or chicken (optional)
• 2 – 3 carrots
• 1 cup raisin
• 1 cup almond


· Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion, sauté until brown, do not burn.
Add the shredded carrot and fry until caramelized.
· Add the chicken (optional), chili, mix then add water (3-4 cups), cook for 30 minutes.
· Soak the rice for 30 minutes and drain.
· Fry the almond to golden brown, remove with slotted spoon, fry the raisins until buffs, remove.
· Add the rice, almond, raisins, and the cumin seeds, bring to boil until most of the liquid is absorbed, fluff the rice with a fork, reduce the heat to low, cover, cook for 20 minutes.

Serve with chopped fresh coriander. As seen above, served with Lamb kofta and Kangkung Belacan (water spinach cooked in belacan)

Laksam ( Rice Flour Pasta with Mackerel Sauce in Coconut Milk)

Laksam is a testament of the diversity of Malaysian cooking styles. It is the East Coast take on the Laksa dish, basically noodles in gravy usually topped with garnish and a chili paste. In addition to the Laksa Lemak, Laksa Sarawak, the famous Laksa Penang and my personal favourite Laksa Johor (see earlier post), Laksam actually originates from the North eastern states of Kelantan and Terengganu. It may not be as popular as the Laksa Penang but it does have a huge following for those who have tried this tasty dish.

Rice Flour Pasta

2 cups Rice Flour
3 ½ cups water
Pinch of salt
Oil for brushing

Mix flour with water achieving a runny batter similar to a tempura batter.
Prepare a steamer with a flat vessel /plate enough to hold a thin layer of the batter.
Pour a ladle of the batter onto plate that has been brushed with oil.
Close steamer lid and steam for 2 minutes.
Repeat process until all batter is used.

Put aside to cool. Once cool roll up the round pieces and slice thinly to form the pasta (see pic).

500 can coconut cream/milk
2 Tamarind pieces (asam keping)

500g can Mackerel
1 inch ginger.
2 medium onions
2 clove garlic
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp sugar.


Blend B in food processor and pour into a pot on low heat. Add A and stir on low heat until the oil from coconut milk separates to the surface (about 20 minutes)

Snake beans - sliced thinly
Cucumber - sliced
Bean Sprouts
Mint leaves

Chili topping (Sambal Belacan)
3 fresh red chilli (deseeded)
1 inch belacan (shrimp paste) toasted on high in the oven for 3 minutes
Blend in food processor and add lime juice or lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

Arrange pasta and serve with gravy topped with garnish and chilli paste.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Coconut Rough Trio

My dear hubby has been working on unclogging the drain all morning and he did such a good job, I thought I would make him his favourite desert.

If you like coconut and know how to melt chocolate then this is the desert for you.


100g milk chocolate; melted
1 1/2 cups toasted coconut
100g white chocolate; melted
100 dark chocolate; melted

1. Grease 8cm x 26 cm bar pan; line with baking paper

2. Combine milk chocolate and 1/2 cup of the coconut in a small bowl. Spread mixture into pan. Refrigerate about 5 minutes or until firm.

3. Combine white chocolate and another 1/2 cup of the coconut in a small bowl. Spread mixture on top of the milk chocolate . Refrigerate about 5 minutes or until firm.

4. Combine dark chocolate and remaining coconut in a small bowl. Spread mixture over the white chocolate. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until firm.

5. Remove from pan and slice with a hot, dry knife.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tom Yum Fried Rice

No ideas for breakfast? Here's a quick one for you. Although you would need a Tom Yum Paste (see pic above) to qualify this as an easy under 30 minute recipe.


2 cups cooked rice (left over from last night's dinner)
1 medium onion
2 garlic gloves
1 cup frozen shrimp (defrosted)
1 cup frozen peas ( prepared as per package instructions)
I tbsp Tom Yum Paste.
Oil for frying
1 egg

Fried shallots for garnish


Pound onion and garlic in mortar and pestle. Heat oil in frying pan and fry the onion/garlic paste for 1 minute. Add the Tom Yum paste and continue frying for another minute. By this time the aroma is filling up your kitchen and hopefully the kids are getting up from their slumber!

Add shrimp and rice and stir until mixed through. Add cooked peas and finally push aside the rice to create a hole in the centre of the pan and break the egg. Stir egg until scrambled and keep stirring to spread the scrambled egg evenly throughout the rice.
Serve with fried shallots and chopped cilantro or spring onions.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Choc-Chip, Fig & Walnut Slice

This desert is so easy to make that my 18 year old son out of boredom decided to try it out. Amir is having his 2 week break from college and was looking for something to do. I guess he got tired of the XBOX and computer games. I basically told him he could go through my stack of brand new recipe books that I have not had time to read.

He took me up on my challenge and decided this is the easiest recipe from Women's Weekly "a Taste of Chocolate" that he dares to attempt. Amir is quite savvy in the kitchen by the way, cooking dishes from ready mixes but he is quite apprehensive about desserts. This would be his first desert making venture.

I give it a 9 out of 10 because it turned out great and the fig really made the dish fresh and the brown sugar is not too sweet, the walnut gave it the crunch and the chewy & gooey choc chip made this a sure winner.


185 g unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (165g) firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cup (185) plain flour
1/2 cup (65g) finely chopped dried figs
1/2 cup (95 g) dark choc chips
100g dark eating chocolate (melted in Bain Marie)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 180C
Grease 20x30cm pan, line base with baking paper, extending paper 5cm over long sides

Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in sifted butter then figs, nuts and choc bits. Press mixture into pan.

Bake slice about 25 minutes. Mark slice into 24 squares. Cool slice in pan, drizzle with chocolate.

Cut into squares when chocolate is set. Then watch how fast this disappears!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tofu with Sautéed Garlic and Sesame Oil

I am all for quick and easy cooking, especially on a week night and you are tired from a long day at the office. Which is why this is one of my favourite side dishes; it can be served with rice and a main dish or another vegetable dish, whichever you prefer.

All you need is soft tofu, available from any asian grocer in the cold/refrigerated section. The rest of the ingredients are basic things in any kitchen/pantry.

You may even serve this to guests at a dinner party because it looks good and tastes even better! Best of all it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.


3 cloves garlic (finely minced),
3 stalks spring onion (sliced finely)
2 birds eye chilie (sliced finely)
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp corn flour (mixed with 1/2 cup water)
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
A dash of sesame oil
Fried shallots


Sauté garlic, spring onions & chillies for 2 minutes in heated oil.
Glaze with soy sauce
Add corn flour mix and stir through and take off the heat.
Slice tofu and place on a heat proof serving dish and pour garlic soy mixture.
drizzle with sesame oil & top with some fried shallots and serve!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Vietnamese Fresh Vegetable Spring Rolls

This is my favourite packed lunch. I love a light lunch at the office because a heavy tummy would make me sleepy and I cant really take naps in the office, can I?

Traditionally, cooked shrimp or tofu is added to this roll but I do prefer the vegetarian variety. I love how the different colours make this a very attractive dish and it does taste good too!

1 package rice paper wrappers (bahn trang)
1 head green leaf lettuce
1 bunch cilantro (leaves and tender stems)
1 bunch thai basil (optional)
1 carrot, grated
1 cucumber, julienned thin
1 package mung bean sprouts
1 package very thin, round rice noodles (vermicelli)


1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the rice noodles for a minute, then drain them and rinse in cool water.

2. Wash and slice the vegetables and lay everything out on a cutting board or counter. You'll need a plate for wrapping the rolls. The lettuce leaves should be sliced into manageable strips, and discard any of the cores that are too tough or crunchy. The basil and cilantro leaves can be left whole or coarsely chopped.

3. Fill a large bowl with hot water to soften the rice paper wrappers. Do this a piece at a time. Don't be surprised if you ruin a few wrappers before getting it just right. Submerge a single dry wrapper in the warm water completely. (You have to soften and wrap the rolls one at a time.) For the first few, keep your fingers on the edges and feel the wrapper as it softens and begins to turn transparent. It may help you to count-off the seconds so that you know how long it takes for the following wrappers--the ones I used took between 30 and 40 seconds to get just right. Once the wrapper is very supple, gently lift it out with both hands. It will get sticky quickly, so take care not to let it fold in on itself. Place the wrapper flat on the plate.

4. Put a little of each filler item into the wrapper. You should create a little oblong mound of filling items just to one side of the center of the wrapper on the side closest you. It may take one or two to get the quantities just right.

5. Wrap the roll up by taking the edge closest to you and flipping it up over the little mound of filling. Gently roll the filling up until you've just past the halfway point, then pull the sides in and roll it the rest of the way.

There are several options for the dipping sauce. A quick one can be Thai sweet chillie from the bottle with a dash of fish sauce. Sometimes I just prefer a simple soy with a dash of wasabi.

Alternatively, just add crushed peanuts with hoisin sauce and some chillie oil.

Dip recipe:

1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
a dash of chillie oil

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tagine cooking

If there was a Nobel prize for a kitchen appliance, I would vote for the person who invented the Tagine! For the uninitiated, Tagine is a clay dish with a cone shaped lid traditionally used in Moroccon cuisine.

Tagine actually refers to the cooking process, the vessel and the dish all in one. The ingenuity of this process lies in the infusion of flavours slowly cooked in this "oven" without allowing any steam to escape. Trust me,the flavours of any dish cooked in a tagine is highly intensified and moisture is retained leaving the meat moist and tender.

It must have been the SBS Food Safari program that introduced me to the Tagine and I instantly fell in love with its beautiful terra cotta colour and elegant shape. I went out and bought my first tagine the very next day and I have since made it a point to cook a tagine dish at least once a week. Unfortunately, my dear Amir broke the conical lid and I now use the base for decoration in my kitchen.

Its been quite a long search and I was getting desperate for a replacement as we have been without a Tagine for nearly two months. The hubby was hinting that he misses his favourite weekly Tagine. So I ventured out today to Myers and lucky for me, they had this cute red Tagine for sale at half the original price!

The top photo is my new Tagine and the one of below is the older tagine which has served us well.

I have tried cooking both lamb & chicken recipes and both are equally delicious. I'd like to think Tagine cooking is very healthy as very little oil is used.
Here is a simple Tagine recipe that I often use. I actually got this recipe booklet along with the first Tagine that I purchased.

Just a little tip, when you are looking to purchase your tagine, may I recommend choosing the base that is deeper, so when you cook your dish, it will be able to hold more gravy and it will not spill over as most tagine dishes uses at least 1-2 cups of water.

Chicken Tagine with Chickpeas & Capsicum

250g canned chick peas
8 pieces chicken
2 red capsicum ( chopped)
4 fresh sweet chilies (deseeded & chopped)
2 tbsp Olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1/2 ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
250 ml water


Heat oil in Tagine, add garlic, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper and stir. Add chicken pieces and brown chicken on high heat.Add chickpeas, capsicum & water.
Cover and bring to the boil, lower the heat and cook for 45 minutes.

Uncover tagine and simmer for another 10minute and serve with rice or cous cous.

Note: one of the tips I picked up from the SBS Food program was the chefs in Morocco actually soak the chicken pieces in vinegar and salt for 10-15 minutes, this makes the chicken tastes better as it would get rid of any bacteria & actually firms up the meat. Once you are done soaking the chicken ,you have to rinse with cold water just to get rid of any traces of vinegar.

Lamb Curry

I remember the first time I started work, it was an international food week at the office. I decided to cook my family favourite, the lamb curry and three years later, my mates at the office still talks about that plate of curry I brought with me. And so tonight I meticulously measured the spices required for this mix for my friends so all they need to do is use the premixed spice when cooking their lamb curry...what are friends for right?

Rogan Josh literally means Red Curry and the deep red colour is achieved from the tomatoes. The curry is very versatile and can be served with plain rice or biryani or with the Malaysian Roti Jala/Lacy Crepe (I will post the recipe for this soon).

So here is the recipe and do enjoy!

Lamb Curry: Rogan Josh

* Around 500 grams lamb/beef curry cuts
* 1 tsp minced ginger
* 1 tsp minced garlic
* 1 teaspoons salt.
* 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
* 3 teaspoons garam masala
* 2 teaspoons ground coriander
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 2 dessert spoons of plain natural greek style yoghurt
* 1 teaspoon of red chillie powder (more if you like it hot)
* 2 medium onions - finely chopped
* I can of peeled plum tomatoes

Throw in the finely chopped onions and stir fry until the pieces start to go soft and translucent. Then add in garlic and ginger and keep stir-frying.
Then add all the quantities of ground spices and keep frying - the mixture should be dry-ish - and this is called "dry-frying" - or "pot-roasting". Fry for a few minutes until the heavenly aroma fills up your entire house - and then add the chunks of lamb. Keep stir-frying!

You should stir-fry for around 5 mins on high heat until the meat has fully browned. Then throw in the tinned tomato.

Stir it all about and let it cook for a few mins before adding a couple of large dollops of plain natural yoghurt. Stir it all in and then put the flame on high to bring it to a boil.

Then put the lid on and immediately transfer to the lowest possible flame burner. Come back after half hour - take the lid off and give it a stir - and then put lid back on and let it simmer for another half hour. Repeat this for around one and half hours - and you will notice that the consistency of the mixture is a bit thicker - and the colour is bit redder/browner .

At this point it's done! Taste it in order to see if any more salt or chillie powder needs adding - and make sure that the lamb pieces are tender - not chewy! Then sprinkle on a generous handful of freshly chopped coriander leaf and stir it in. Let it rest with the lid on for 5 minutes and it's ready to serve!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Seafood Paella recipe

The Pakistanis/Indians have their biryanis, the Jordanians with their Maaqloobah & there's Bukhari rice which originated from Arabia. All these are basically rice dishes slow cooked with meat/chicken/fish and a variety of spice mixes closely guarded and handed down through generations.

The Spanish version of rice in spices is called Paella and if you click the title, it will link you to a very simple Seafood Paella recipe. I had prepared this tonight; using a piece of Mackerel steak cut into cubes and frozen Marinara seafood pieces as I did not have fresh mussels or prawns.

The best thing about Paella is probably the crust, where all the flavour settles and the spices are intense. Compared to the other meat and rice dishes, paella uses only two spices Saffron and Paprika and yet the flavour is rich and the aroma is so inviting.

Paella recipes actually varies from region to region in Spain. Regardless of which recipe you may use, the end result is always a winner!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thai Chicken Stir Fry

This is one of my favourite recipes because it is really easy to prepare yet so delicious especially when served with plain rice.

I actually timed myself when prepping the ingredients. Chopping up the fresh ingredients took only 5 minutes and chopping up the chicken pieces another 2 minutes.

Add another 5 minutes for cooking time and you have your dinner under 20 minutes flat.

I normally have these basic ingredients in the pantry. So I dont really need a trip to the supermarket. Kafir limes leaves are best kept in the freezer in a ziplock bag, and it retains its flavour up to a year (trust me, I have tried it). I don't normally freeze lemongrass as I have plenty in my backyard.


1 stalk lemongrass - chopped 1 cm
1 large onion - sliced
1 cm ginger - julienned
1 clove garlic - sliced
1 fresh chili - sliced and de-seeded
2 tomatoes - quartered
400 gm chicken pieces
5 pieces of kaffir lime leaves
3 tbsp oil
!/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)

Heat oil on high and stir fry all ingredients except chicken and tomatoes until onions are translucent. Add chicken pieces and fry until chicken is cooked through ( 3-4 minutes). Add 1/2 cup water and tomatoes. Heat through and add fish sauce if available. Serve with white rice.

Note: You can shorten the cooking time if you wish to just use Tom Yam Paste instead of the fresh ingredients.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Never forgetting my roots

I am always trying my best to instill in our kids that we are first and foremost Malays, no matter where we are. Never to forget our roots, our heritage, our culture, values and beliefs. Part of that culture is of course the food that we eat.

For the uninitiated, Malay food is often prepared with lots of onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric and sometimes galangal. Lets get to know these three commonly used roots/tuber. I will not elaborate on the health benefits of these tubers as you can easily wiki/google them and read for yourselves.

As far as flavours, the ginger (halia) is used to spice up curries, rendangs, or even in drinks, evident in the famous teh tarik halia (ginger flavoured milk tea). I will share with you a ginger tea recipe that is both yummy and very good for your digestive system. Ginger can be kept up to 2 weeks or more in the refrigerator.

The turmeric or "kunyit" in Malay is commonly used in powder form for coloring in curries, for marinating meat or fish and one of the most important ingredients in the famous Masak Lemak Cili Padi (Turmeric in Coconut Gravy). Turmeric leaves are also used in rendangs, or used in grilling fish and a variety of dishes for its unique flavour. Similar to the turmeric root, it can be kept in the fridge up to 2 weeks or even more or longer in the freezer.

Last but not least is the galangal or the Malay word is "lengkuas", which closely resembles the ginger in appearance but not its flavour. It does not keep as long because it tends to dry and harden within a week in the fridge. Also used in dishes like laksa johor or kerutuk daging/ayam. Do not throw out your galangal when its hardened. What I do is grate then root and you get powdered galangal which serves just as well in curries and does not lose its flavour.

So here is my favourite ginger tea recipe:

Spiced Ginger Tea

1 stalk lemon grass cut the tip leaving the white part
1 stick cinnamon
1 clove
3 cm ginger, peeled and sliced

Simmer in a pan with 4 cups water for 10 minutes. Serve hot with honey.

Enjoy your cuppa!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Roast Chicken

Everyone loves a good roasted chicken....I know I do. Even the roasted chicken at Coles has tempted me more than one occasion..LOL! Which is motivation enough for me to try the multiple roasted chic recipe on the web..Last night was no exception..felt like a roasted bird dinner and lo and behold this one from Emeril Lagasse caught my eye for its simplicity and ease to prepare. I had to add my fave veg, the sweet potatoes as I noticed the baking time of 40 mins is the usual time I take to roast my sweet potatoes to perfection.

A tip for those who wish to try this recipe. Do leave the skin on the potatoes as it turned out the "naked" potatoes forms a crust which prevented the juices to be absorbed. Left the garlic cloves unpeeled too, but sliced on top. The flavours of the basil & lemon is a definite winner and as I didnt have any fresh rosemary, I just use my Masterfoods Tuscan spices which was sent to me compliments of Masterfoods (I received a box full of Masterfoods goodies from the folks at Mars food....thanks Glenn!)

Click the link as the title and you will be taken to the recipe at the Food Network website. This one is definitely a keeper! And BTW, I omitted the wine as I don't normally cook with alcohol. I didn't think it needed it anyway!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Almond Cookies

We celebrated Eid a week ago but I am still in a festive mood. Besides having plenty of rendang, ketupat, satay, laksa johor, lontong and the likes, my sweet tooth yearns for one of my favourite deserts, the Greek wedding cookies or better known as Kourambiedes. I normally buy this at the market and kids just love this, except it is a bit pricey when I have to pay 10 dollars for a dozen. Off to google I go and got an easy enough recipe and tried this out for our Eid celebration. This mixture yields 5 dozens which is quite a lot, and I have put my personal touch to the original recipe as the original calls for raw almonds. I thought it would nicer to have the roasted almond flavour. The verdict from the family...."mom, this is better that the one we get from the market". I am a happy camper :)

Almond Cookies

500 gm unsalted butter
1 cup caster sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp vanilla extract
*4 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 cup raw almonds
Pure icing sugar for dusting

Roast almond in a preheated oven at 150 C for 15 minutes. Leave to cool and chop in food processor until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Beat butter & sugar in an electric mixer until fluffy and white. Add egg yolks and continue beating. Remove bowl from mixer and add vanilla.
Add chopped almonds & mix well. Add sifted flour one cup at a time until dough does not stick and easily shaped.
Shape into round marbles and bake on a lined baking tray in a preheated oven at 160 C for 20-22 minutes until golden brown.
Leave to cool and dust with pure icing sugar.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Salam Aidilfitri/Eid Mubarak

It's the new moon of Syawal and its a day of celebration, a special day for all Muslims. I remember growing up, Syawal brings us scrumptious banquets of beef rendang, rice cubes (compacted rice boiled in palm leaves), satay & peanut sauce. Biscuits and sweets to feast on all month long. New shoes, new outfits, packets of money for us kids as gifts from visiting relatives. All of this possible by the grace of the Al-Mighty who showers us with His blessings.

Every year, my mum would prepare the mandatory rendang, alternating between chicken or beef from one year to the next. Its no surprise that Rick Stein named this the top ten curry of all times. The ingredients may vary from region to region in Malaysia but the kind that my mum prepares uses very basic ingredients, slow cooked to perfection and as my husband puts it so succinctly, "the taste of Raya (Eid) in one bite". So here it is the humble rendang for you to try.

Beef Rendang


2 kg beef or chicken pieces
500g onions
4 tbs chili paste
6 cloves garlic
4 stalks fresh lemon grass (chopped finely)
4 cm ginger
2 cans of 500ml coconut cream
2 tbsp salt
1 piece of turmeric leave or 2 pieces kaffir lime leaves(optional)
2 tbsp kerisik* (toasted coconut pounded)- optional


Blend onions, garlic, ginger, chilli paste and chopped lemon grass in food processor.
Heat wok/scan pan. A non stick surface seems to work well as you would not need to keep stirring the gravy for the next 2 hours.

Pour one can of the coconut cream and stir on low heat until cream bubbles and oil surfaces (10 minutes). This method is a healthier alternative than actually adding processed cooking oil when caramelizing your spice paste. Some recipes calls for adding "kerisik" to the end of the cooking process. However, converting the coconut cream into oil achieves the same nutty aromatic flavour from adding the "kerisik".

Add the blended spice paste onto the oil and keep stirring until paste turns aromatic. Turn up the heat and add beef or chicken to sear and seal the meat in the spices.

Once all pieces are seared, turn down heat to medium. Keep stirring until juices are reduced and lower the heat and cover the pan until the lowest setting for 30-40 minutes to tenderize the meat and gravy is reduced to half.

Add the second can of coconut cream to the pan,mix well and cover the pan for another 30 minutes on low heat.

The gravy should be further reduced and the oil should separate at this point. It is really up to personal taste how "dry" you like your rendang. That's the beauty of this dish, it is good on all levels, and it keeps for several days as long as you keep re-heating it and the drier it gets, the more developed the flavour.

Add fresh turmeric leaves or kaffir lime leaves. Stir through.

Its good with plain rice, or rice cube, nasi lemak or my personal favourite; with a slice of white bread.