Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Eid Ul Haj 

It is customary for Muslims to offer sacrifice on Eid-ul-Haj or Eid Ul Adha. So this year we perform the Qurban as usual and ordered a lamb through the butcher. 

The purpose of this sacrifice is to mirror the sacrifice of a ram by Prophet Ibrahim A.S in place of his son. One may consume the meat and utilize the skin of their sacrificial animals and/ or give it away as charity. 

So last weekend was a lamb cooking marathon for me. I divided a third of the meat from the 15 kg lamb for our own consumption and the other 2/3 to be given away to friends. 

So off I go cooking 2 kg of Red lamb curry (recipe here) and 2 pots of Afghan Rice (carrot rice). I gave away the remaining uncooked portions and the lamb curry to the local community here.

While thinking of what to cook next, my thoughts drifted to my uncle's (my mum's older brother) yummy Lamb Dalca. It is a type of traditional Malay style one pot dish of lamb curry pieces cooked in coconut milk with lentils (usually dhal), carrots, eggplant, potatoes, beans, okra and tomatoes. 

My uncle was  a cook in the Royal Malaysian Army and his Lamb Dalca was so popular that even after he retired, his friends and neighbours will enlist his help to cook at their wedding functions or any large gatherings. Come to think of it, everyone in my family on my mother's side are great cooks,  my eldest aunty used to cook 4 large pots of Nasi Lemak for the huge crowd at all Soccer games played at the National Stadium 30 years ago. She is now 80 yrs old and I long for her beautifully cooked food.  Mak Ngah's Nasi Lemak Kukus is legendary.

So here I am wishing I had my uncle's original Lamb Dalca recipe. From memory I could remember the way my mother would cook her version, it actually taste pretty good, alhamdulillah. So here it is:


200gm dhal (soaked overnight)
500gm lamb curry pieces (washed and drained)
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
2 cm ginger
3 tbsp curry powder (I used Baba's Kari Daging- available at any Asian Grocer)
3-4 curry leaves
1 stick of cinnamon
2 star anise
3 cardamons
1 can coconut milk (I used Kara brand)
4 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp tamarind paste or juice of  half a lemon
Salt to taste (1 -2 tsp)

Chop these into similar sized pieces:
Fresh Green or Red Chili as a garnish


1.Process onion, garlic and ginger in a processor or pound in a mortar and pestle and form into a paste.
2. Heat oil in a Dutch Oven or any pot with a cover and saute the paste until caramelized ( a thin layer of oil rises to the top)
3. Add cinnamon, cardamon, star anise and curry leaves.
4. Continue to stir and add the lamb pieces, and seal the meat until browned.
5. Add dhal that had been soaked and drained
5. Add coconut milk with a cup of water and tamarind paste or lemon juice
6. Bring mixture to a boil and add potatoes, carrots, and celery and eggplants
7. Once potatoes are soft, add tomatoes and beans (I didnt have any okra)
8. Simmer for another 5 minutes 
9 . Serve with Plain Rice/Tomato Rice or a piece of Tosai or Paratha.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tepung Pelita

Yes I admit, I have been slacking off...have not been updating my blog much. So here  I am halfway into the most Holy month in the Hijri Calender; Ramadhan and I must have thought about an old favorite of my late father's. He loves to have this dessert for breaking of fast or known as iftar. It's a 2 layered pudding, with the bottom half flavored with pandan leaves topped with the creaminess of lightly salted of coconut milk. This dessert is easy to make but the tricky part may be fashioning the banana leaf casing.

I could use a ramekin dish but trust me you don't get the same flavour and aroma from the banana leaf. So I have actually created a pictorial on how to create this simple origami. Before you set off to do this, the banana leaf needs to be softened (so they don't break when you fold them) by blanching it in hot water or leave in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes or so. Another method is to leave it in the hot sun or use the BBQ grill.

Now for the recipe.

For the bottom layer:
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups water
4 pandan leaves blended with 1 cup water

Mix flour, water, sugar and pandan extract until well blended.
Cook over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture thickens and shiny. Remove from heat and you can spoon mixture into the banana leaf casing. There is a reason why we spoon the mixture while it is still hot. See note*

The traditional recipe is quite sweet as 1/2 tsp of sugar is add to each casing before adding the bottom layer. Hence a hot mixture will melt the sugar.

Top Layer:
1/4 cup rice flour 
2 cups coconut milk (I use Kara brand)
pinch of salt

Mix flour and coconut milk and cook over medium heat and stir until mixture thickens.
Spoon the coconut mix above the pandan layer that has now set..
Let cool and store in the fridge to chill.

Enjoy your iftar or Selamat Berbuka Puasa ! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sticky Buns (Cinnamon Rolls II)

My quest for the closest thing to the perfect cinnamon rolls has ended! All the while I have been using this recipe from the net for my cinnamon rolls and the results are ok but not fantastic.

I came across a new magazine with a gorgeous picture of these delicious finger licking dessert and I had to have it. I went home straight away to try out the recipe, how excited was I with that photo ;) I know food excites me that much....its scary!.

So I followed the recipe to a T and the results does not disappoint.  I have this habit of tweaking recipes to make it simpler but I would not change this one except maybe, reduce the cooking time to 40 mins from the original 45mins as the buns were slightly overcooked on the top but thankfully the bread was still moist and melt in your mouth goodness!

I didn't have any pecans in my pantry so I omitted it for now but would love to add them the next time I make this, insyaallah. Please also note that all butter are to at room temperature (unless otherwise noted)


7g sachet dry yeast
125 ml warm milk
75 g caster sugar
3 eggs
375g plain flour, extra for dusting
135 unsalted butter (cut into 2cm cubes)

125g unsalted butter
75g firmly packed brown sugar
125 ml thickened cream
60ml maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
180g pecans toasted, chopped

125g unsalted butter
165g firmly packed brown sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Glace Icing
160g icing sugar
15g unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp milk

1. To make dough, place yeast, 1 tbs sugar and milk in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside in a warm place for 5 min or until mixture bubbles. Lightly beat 2 eggs and combine into yeast mixture.

2 Combine yeast mixture and remaining sugar, flour and salt into the bowl of electric mixer using the dough hook, mix on low speed until a soft sticky dough forms. With mixer running add 125g of chopped butter one cube at a time. Ensure each cube is mixed well before adding the next one.

3. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl. Melt remaining 10 g of butter and brush over top of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and put aside in a warm area until it doubles in size (around 1.5 hrs)

4. To make caramel, stir butter, brown sugar, cream, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan over high heat until combined. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes until mixture is glossy. Pour 2/3 of this mixture into a 35cm x 21cm x 5cm baking dish coating bottom and sides. Sprinkle 1/3 of the toasted pecans and set aside.

5. To make filling, using an electric mixer beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt on medium speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.Stir through half the remaining pecans.

6. Punch down dough, then turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to a 1/2 cm thick 30cm x 40 cm rectangle. Spread filling evenly over dough, leaving a 2cm border. Roll tightly like a Swiss Roll and cut evenly into 12 pieces and arrange cut side up on top of caramel prepared baking dish.

7. Loosely cover dish with wrap and leave to rise for another 1.5 hours.

8. Preheat oven to 180C. Whisk remaining egg with 1/2 tsp water in a small bowl and brush over the top of buns. Bale for 40-45 minutes until buns are golden brown. Keep an eye on the buns, if they brown too quickly, cover with foil. Cool for 5 minutes, then spoon over remaining caramel. Scatter remaining pecan and cool for 5 minutes.

9. Lastly, combine all ingredients for icing until smooth. Drizzle on cooled buns and stand 10minutes to set before serving.

I skipped step 9 because I didn't want this to be overly sweet but in retrospect I would try it next time because the rolls are not super sweet at all.

Good Luck and Bismillah! 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Spanish Baked Eggs

Breakfast is my most favourite meal of the day. You are eager to start the day off right and your tummy is crying out for food. And it is the only main meal that can be either savoury or sweet! How good is that?

Well if you feel like having breakfast fit for a king, but dont really want to make a big effort, then you must try making this dish. It is easy to prepare, tasty, have an almost gourmet feel to it.

Once you dig into the perfectly cooked eggs with its runny middle and taste that lovely caramelized chutney on the bottom, you will think you are having breakfast in a 5 star establishment....no kidding!

Well you would't know until you tried it for yourself. So here you go:

Spanish baked egg

(Serves 4)


2 tsp Olive oil
4 free range eggs (large)
100 gm mushrooms (diced)
1 small capsicum (diced)
1 large onion (diced)
flat leaf parsley ( a few sprigs)
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 can of chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan
Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Pre heat oven to 325F. Add onions and garlic into Olive Oil in a medium heated pan. Sautee until onions becomes translucent. Add parsley, capsicum and mushrooms and stir until caramelized. Add chopped tomatoes and spices. Mix well and remove from heat. Spoon mixture into ovenproof single serve dish and make a well in the middle of mixture and break egg in the middle of well.

Bake in the pre heated oven for 5-8 minutes until egg whites are set. Less time if you want your yolk runny. Remove from the oven and sprinkle grated parmesan and sprinkle the Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Serve with garlic toast or french baguette to scoop up the lovely gooey egg/veg mixture!

Bon Apetit!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Easy Chili Crab



Who does not like a good finger lickin Chili Crab on a bed of hot steaming rice...or soft fluffy bread to scoop up that tasty sauce.

Fresh crab is a must for a a good chili crab dish, and thankfully there are plenty here in sunny Queensland. Alhamdulillah.

This recipe was handed down to me by my mother in law....I feel very lucky that both my mother and MIL are great cooks.  I figured the best way to keep hubby happy is to know how to cook his fave dish from the best person that know how!


Serves: 4
  • 1kg fresh crab (cleaned) and halved, separate claws
  • 5 cm fresh ginger (cleaned and sliced)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 250ml water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 6 fresh red chillies (deseeded)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic

Preparation method

Prep: 15 minutes | Cook: 15 minutes

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sambal Tumis Jering

If you look up Jering or its scientific name Archidendron Jiringa, you will find that the medicinal values are many, namely aids in hypertension and diabetic patients.

Now I love this fruit for its bitter, meaty, and rich texture, especially cooked with caramelized onions and chili and crispy anchovies. Aaah, warm memories of childhood in my mothers kitchen.

So finding this fruit in the Vietnam market is a godsend, and here is the result.

Sambal Tumis Jering

1 bottled Jering (Dahendi) - drained and washed
5 fresh red chilies
1 large onion (half sliced and half pounded with the chilies)
1 tsp salt 
1 tsb sugar
1 piece of tamarind skin (asam gelugor)
200g dried anchovies
Oil to fry the anchovies


Boil jering pieces until soft (around 10minutes), drain and roughly pound to break the pieces up - set aside.

Pound chilies and half of onion until fine, add salt.

Wash anchovies and drain.

Heat oil in a pan and fry anchovies until crispy - (set aside)

Remove oil from the pan, leaving about 2 tbsp. Add jering pieces and fry for 3 minutes. Add chili/onion paste and sliced onions and stir fry on medium heat until caramelized  for about 4-5 minutes - (careful not to burn), mix in the sugar.  Add tamarind piece and stir to mix the flavours for another 2 minutes.

Take off heat and serve on hot steamed rice. Enjoy :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chicken pie in filo pastry

If you wanted a different twist to your regular chicken pie, try using a filo pastry instead of your regular shortcrust. The result is a delightfully crunchy and light meal. If you have not used a filo pastry before, not to worry because following the instructions on the package should set you up nicely.
Also using the black seed provide a nice flavour and texture to the dish, not to mention the health benefits of this amazing herb.

You will need:

2 tbsp Olive oil
700 g chicken breast (diced)
30 g butter
1 tsp plain flour
4 potatoes (peeled and boiled)
1 cup mushroom (sliced)
1 large onion (diced)
1 tsp salt 
pepper to taste
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
1 cup cream
1 package filo pastry (from the frozen section in the supermarket)
1 tsp black seed


  1. Pre-heat Oven to 400 F/200 C
  2. Heat oil in a pan and cook the onion until soft, add the flour and sautee until brown (careful not to burn). 
  3. Add mushroom and cook until softened, add chicken pieces and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Mix in peas and carrots, and stir in the cream and salt.
  5. Add in the cooked potato and combine well. Set aside.
  6. Spray a rectangle baking pan. 
  7. Unpack the filo pastry and place the first layer onto the baking pan. Continue to layer the pastry , brushing with the melted butter every time a new layer is placed.
  8. After 6 layers, add the filling and distribute evenly. 
  9. Place a layer of filo pastry onto the filling and repeat the process until all 6-7 layers are placed. 
  10. Brush the top layer with milk and sprinkle the black seed.
  11. Place into oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown
  12. Cool and serve.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Labneh in Olive Oil and spices

If there was a tasty and healthy option to cheese, I would vote for this.  Labneh or laban is a popular middle eastern snack made from strained yogurt.

Plain yogurt is strained to remove the whey using muslin cloth over a period of 24-48 hours to form a soft cheese which will then formed into balls and serve with extra virgin Olive Oil and sprinkled with spices and black seed.

If you dont already have muslin cloth, you can actually use coffee filter for the same effect.  I prefer using the muslin as it is easy to handle and can be reuse over and over again.....after all muslin are cheap and readily available.

So lets get to the ingredients:

You will need :

1 kg plain yogurt
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
Muslin cloth (about 2 feet square) 
Extra virgin Olive Oil
Black Seed (Habbatussawda/Sativa seeds)
Spice mix (I used Harissa spice mix)

Mix yogurt with salt and sugar in a bowl. Place muslin cloth in another bowl and pour yogurt mix onto the cloth. You can immediately see the whey (a clear liquid) dripping into the catcher bowl. Tie the muslin over the yogurt into a neat and tight pouch with plenty of string to hang this pouch in your refrigerator.

Tie the package together with a rubberband and hang it from a hook, placing your bowl beneath to catch any dripping whey.

After the 24 hours is up, you will find your catcher bowl is filled with whey. This whey is rich in beneficial bacteria and as such is slightly acidic.   Don’t throw it away, the thin faintly green-looking liquid is quite valuable.   You can use it to soak grains to render them more digestible, in bread baking, as a starter for fermented foods and in smoothies for extra protein and probiotics.   Whey should keep, refrigerated, for up to six months.  

You will find your cheese is now formed and you can store them in a container and make them into a cream cheese frosting for your cupcakes or use in cooking pasta, salads, dips and many other variety of dishes.

soft cheese is formed with similar texture to cream cheese

For this recipe, you will shape them into bite size balls and serve in a bowl filled with extra virgin oil and topped with spices and black seeds.

This snack is packed full of goodness from all the sunnah foods, milk, extra virgin olive oil and black seed (habbatussawda).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mangomisu (liquer free)

Our family loves mangoes, who doesn't? So if you are like us, here is another way to enjoy this delicious fruit and there is no baking required. I got the recipe from the net and as usual adapted it to my own version. The original recipe actually uses 2 egg yolks but I will not use raw eggs for my dessert and risk a salmonella infection. The desert is perfectly fine without it.

Also if you cannot find Mascarporne cheese, you can actually substitute half cream cheese and half ricotta cheese, I have not actually tried it this way but it should be fine since both are similar in texture with ricotta being on the thin side which can be compensated with the thickness of the cream cheese.

As for the savoiardi biscuits, just in case your local supermarket don't stock them here is a recipe to make your own.

So what are you waiting for, get busy and within 2 hours you and your family can enjoy this delicious and fruity dessert.

Bismillah and enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 6)

500g mascarpone cheese
600ml thickened cream
1/3 cup (50g) icing sugar
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla essence)
Juice of 2 oranges
300g savoiardi (sponge finger biscuits)
3 mangoes, flesh sliced 1cm thick


Line the base of a 22cm springform cake pan with plastic wrap or baking paper. Place the mascarpone, thickened cream, icing sugar, vanilla seeds in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed until thick and well combined.

Dip half the sponge fingers into the juice mixture and layer in the base of the cake pan. Spread with one-third of the mascarpone mixture, and top with one-third of the mango slices. Repeat the process, then top with the remaining mascarpone mixture, reserving the remaining mango slices to serve. Cover the cake and chill for 2 hours or until firm.

To serve, carefully remove the sides and base of the cake pan and transfer the mangomisu to a platter. Decorate with curls of the reserved mango, then slice and serve.