Monday, June 27, 2011

Home made Kim Chi - an experiment

One can easily grab a bottle of Kim Chi from the nearby Korean or Asian Grocer but who knows what goes into those bottles and how long it has been fermenting. Although Kim Chi can last up to 3 months as it ages it get more sour, personally I prefer fresh and not too sour Kim Chi.

So I gave myself a new challenge in my test kitchen to prepare a home made Kim Chi. After going through several recipes on the internet, I decided on this particular one as I like the "secret ingredient" used in this version.

A good Kim Chi is packed full of flavour and crunch and is a great side dish or best eaten with rice. Not only that it taste great, apparently it is very good for you. It aids in your digestion and it claims to have tumor fighting properties.

So you will need:

1 whole head of fresh cabbage
3/4 cup sea salt diluted with 
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup of ko choo kah rhoo, also known as fine red chili flakes made into a paste with added water
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
3-4 stalks spring onions chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce (optional)
1/2 pear 
1/2 onion
1/2 apple
Blend the last 3 items


Separate the leaves and chop them up into bite-size pieces. Add the salt water and leave to soak at room temperature for 4 hours.

The salt will help draw moisture out of the cabbage, and will also act as a natural preservative.

Wash and strain the cabbage two or three times. You want to rinse off the salt water and return the cabbage to a large bowl.

Now add the garlic, ginger and chili paste, fish sauce and chopped spring onion. Add the blended pear/onion/apple as a sweetening agent.This is the secret ingredient I was referring to. Commercial version would probably just add a tablespoon of sugar. Please use a pair of plastic gloves when mixing/tossing this so your hand will not burn.  

Transfer seasoned cabbage leaves into a large glass bottle. Be sure to use firm pressure with your hands to push down on cabbage leaves as they stack up inside the bottle.
Transfer any liquid that accumulated during the mixing process into the bottle as well - this liquid will become kim chi brine. Some liquid will also come out of the cabbage leaves as you press down on them as they are stacked in the bottle.
Your kim chi is now ready to eat. Refrigerate and take out portions as needed. The refrigerated kim chi will continue to ferment slowly in the refrigerator over time. You may add sesame oil onto the kimchi before serving.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sensational Seafood Tom Yum

The cold weather has got me thinking of soups all the time, I have had the minestrone, the gumbo, or the clam chowder. My palette was longing for something Asian, so I thought of the smashing Thai Tom Yum Soup.

My version of this simple yet delish soup.

If you can can get your hands on a good tom yum paste, it will make things easy for you, but assuming that you dont, fear not as it will still be an easy task to produce this tasty soup.


300 g seafood marinara mix
4 cups water
2 garlic cloves minced
5 kaffir lime leaves
3 thin slices fresh or dried galangal
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 stalks lemon grass cut into 1-in (2.5-cm) lengths
2 shallots, sliced
1/2 cup sliced bak choy or mushrooms
5 green Thai chili peppers (optional)
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) lime juice
1 teaspoon black chili paste (if not available u can finely blend 5 fresh chilies and fry in oil until it splits and caramelized)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro/coriander leaves 


1. Heat water to the  boil.
2. Add the chili paste, garlic, lime leaves, galangal, fish sauce, lemon grass and shallots to the water & chili peppers, if using. Cook gently for 5 minutes.
3. Add bak choy or mushrooms to the soup, leave to simmer for another 3 minutes When the seafood pieces are cooked add lime juice. Pour the soup into the bowl, stir, garnish with the cilantro leaves, and serve.
Enjoy with a bowl of rice!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lamb Shoulder with Mint Sauce

Winter is here and the cold makes me long for comfort food such as this lovely slow roasted Lamb Shoulder by Jamie Oliver. I have made this twice and both times its a big hit with the family.


For the lamb:

  • 1 (2.2-pound) shoulder of lamb
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1 bulb garlic, unpeeled, broken into cloves

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups good-quality hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 heaped tablespoons capers, soaked, drained and chopped
  • 1 large bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

For the lamb:


Preheat your oven to 450 to 500 degrees F.
Slash the fat side of the lamb all over with a sharp knife. Lay half the sprigs of rosemary and half the garlic cloves on the bottom of a high-sided roasting pan, rub the lamb all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place it in the pan on top of the rosemary and garlic, and put the rest of the rosemary and garlic on top of the lamb. Tightly cover the tray with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Turn the oven down immediately to 325 degrees F and cook for 4 hours - it's done if you can pull the meat apart easily with 2 forks.

To make the sauce

Remove the lamb from the oven and place it on a chopping board. Cover it with foil, then a kitchen towel, and leave it to rest. Pour away most of the fat from the roasting pan, discarding any bits of rosemary. Put the pan on the stovetop over medium heat and mix in the flour. Add stock, stirring and scraping all the sticky goodness off the bottom of the pan. Add the capers, turn the heat down and simmer for a few minutes.
Finely chop the mint and add it to the sauce with the vinegar at the last minute then pour into a pitcher. Place everything in the middle of the table, and slice the lamb in front of your guests. Absolutely delish!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Easy Chicken Pie & Lemon Yogurt Cake

I am guilty of neglecting this blog for months now, since our trip back to the homeland and been back here for more than a month. 

I have been procrastinating for the last 2 months until today when I found a message in my inbox from a dear friend who wanted a link to my food blog. She was presented with a brand spanking new oven for Mother's Day and wanted some quick easy recipes.

So thanks dear Muni for coaxing me out of my couch potato existence and get cooking and writing again.

I wanted to write about my gastronomic journey in Malaysia but I cant seem to locate all the food photos I took :(  but I havent given up yet. God willing I shall find them!!.

Jamie's Easy Chicken Pie

INGREDIENTS: (serves 4)

4 x 180g boneless chicken breasts
Knob of butter
Bunch of spring onions
150g button mushrooms
1 heaped tspn plain flour
2 tspns English mustard
1-heaped tbspn crème freche
300ml chicken stock
Fresh thyme
½ nutmeg
Store bought puff pastry (in the frozen section of your grocer)
1 egg

Put the chicken breasts on a plastic board and slice into 1cm strips. Put a lug of olive oil and a knob of butter into the hot, large, wide pan. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes or so. Meanwhile, quickly trim the spring onions and wash the mushrooms, then slice together in the food processor. Add to the pan with 1 heaped tablespoon of flour and stir. Add 2 teaspoons of mustard, 1 heaped tablespoon of crème fraîche and 300ml of chicken stock and stir well. Pick the thyme leaves and stir into the pan with a few fine gratings of nutmeg and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Leave to simmer.
Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and unroll the sheet of puff pastry. Use a small knife to lightly crisscross and score it. Take the pan of chicken off the heat. Tip the filling into an ovenproof baking dish slightly smaller than the sheet of pastry (approx. 30 x 25cm). Cover the filling with the pastry sheet, tucking it in at the edges (like in the picture). Quickly beat the egg, then brush it over the top of the pie. Put into the oven and cook on the top shelf for around 15 minutes, or until golden and gorgeous. 
I watched Jamie cook this in his 30 minute meal show and didnt do the carrot mash or the french style peas but I made the super easy Lemon yogurt cake for desert :) The recipe is taken from Donna Hay's fast easy recipes. 

Not only that it tastes good and very lemony, it does not take much effort to prepare and the outcome does not disappoint. You will love the moist and fluffy texture.
Lemon Yogurt Cake

  • ¾ cup (180ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup (280g) thick natural yoghurt
  • 1¾ cups (385g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 cups (300g) self-raising (self-rising) flour
  • lemon frosting
  • ¾ cup (120g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Place the oil, eggs, rind, lemon juice, yoghurt and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Sift over the flour and stir until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into a greased 24cm fluted ring tin and bake for 35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  5. While the cake is still hot remove from the tin and place on a plate.
  6. To make the lemon frosting, gently stir together the sugar and lemon juice.
  7. Spoon over the cake and allow to set. Serve warm.