Monday, June 30, 2014

spicy calamari spaghetti

I'm just crazy over Italian food and I don't know why
I've done quite a bit of pasta 
experimenting with ribbon, elbow and macaroni
and earnest desire right now is to cook more of Italian ;)
this dish is spicy as chilli paste are used in the recipe
to localize its flavor to suit Asian tastebuds!

Here's how I cook it:

on one stove boil water in a pot to cook the spaghetti

meanwhile on the next stove heat 2 Tabsp cooking oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat

sautee 2 sliced mushroom till tender and add in 1 diced onion..stir well

add in 2 crushed garlic mix well and keep on stirring till the onion become transparent

toss in 1 teasp chilli paste and 1 teasp salt..keep stirring for 1 minute to cook the chilli paste

add in 2 teasp tomato paste + 3 teasp canned diced tomatoes + 1 cut green chillies + sprinkle of black pepper

 mix all the ingredients well and allow to simmer for 2 minutes

check the spaghetti and if it is cooked, drain the water from the pot and keep aside

add in 5 cut calamari and quickly mix in the gravy until the calamari turns opaque white
an indication that the calamari is cooked

remove the calamari immediately onto a serving plate

add in the spaghetti and mix with whatever is left of gravy in the pot

add in the cooked calamari back into the pot, mix thoroughly and off the fire

serve immediately and garnish with cilantro
I was running out of fresh oregano :(


a word on calamari
I added in the calamari when the gravy is thickening to infuse its flavor into the calamari 
but immediately remove it from the pot when it is cooked or turns opaque white
overcooked calamari have very hard and rubbery texture

Monday, June 23, 2014

sambal belacan

This is a must have condiment in every meal in Malaysia!
even when we travel abroad our meals are not complete without this sambal
ask any Malaysian and I bet you they would agree with me :)

Here's how I make it:

 flatten some belacan (size of your thumb) and place it on a non-stick pan over small fire
the idea here is to get the belacan toasted and crispy 

while waiting for the belacan to be ready, wash and dry 3 fresh red chillies and 2 "chilli padi"

using your fingers tear up the chillies into small pieces and put it into a mortar

add 1 teaspoon salt and half teaspoon sugar

by this time the aroma of the belacan has engulfed your kitchen and it has become crispy

remove pan from the fire and toss all the belacan into the mortar 

before you start pounding cover the top of the mortar with your left palm
this is to avoid tiny yet watery pieces of chilli or its seeds from entering your eyes

pound gently at first and as the chillies break up you could speed up your pounding

the meshed up chillies would get very wet and soggy

so be careful of those watery chillies from 'jumping' into your eyes

once all the chillies are meshed up, not too fine, squeeze the juice of 3 calamansi and mix well

remove it from the mortar and put it in a small bowl together with some cut calamansi

store sambal belacan in a tight lid container and keep it inside the fridge 
it can last for many days!
voila :)

a note on belacan
belacan are shrimp paste and it stinks especially for those who are not familiar with it
they are packed in round or square shapes and it is quite damp
storage is best in the fridge at all times

Friday, June 20, 2014

grilled chicken

This is my first attempt in grilling chicken
and what do you know..
it was a huge success!!
simply delicious :)

Here's how to do it:

mix 2 Tabsp "Lingham's chilli sauce with ginger" + 1 teasp mayonnaise + 1 teasp soy sauce

mix it well and taste to see if you need to add more on any of the ingredients to suit your taste

pour this mixture all over a cleaned 1/4 chicken and leave it to marinate for 30 minutes

after 30 minutes sprinkle salt all over the chicken pieces

 heat a non-stick pot over small fire and arrange all the chicken pieces neatly inside

close the lid and allow to cook

keep checking on the chicken by turning sides as and when it turns color to ensure even cooking 


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

sweet potato fries

As easy as making french fries
yet much tastier and nutritious than french fries
this is my first try and I'm definitely loving it to bits!

Here's how I do it:

peel the skin of the sweet potato (local orange-colored ones) and cut into thin strips

heat enough oil in the wok for deep frying

deep-fry the sweet potatoes till golden in color

remove it from the wok and drain the oil

while it is hot sprinkle salt over the fried sweet potato

you could eat it without the salt added but the salt actually brings out its sweet flavor

great for afternoon tea delight!

enjoy :)

masak asam pedas

This is the most popular dish from Melaka
people come from near and far just to get a taste of this
there are many varieties on cooking this sumptuous dish
and what I am sharing now with you is the simplest one :)

Here's how to cook it:

pound 3 shallots + 2 garlic + 1/2" ginger + 1" turmeric till fine

heat a medium pot over medium heat and pour in 2 Tabsp cooking oil

throw in 1 crushed lemongrass and when the oil is hot sautee all the pounded ingredients

then add in 3 Tabsp "cili giling Puteri" and 1 teasp salt..stir well until the whole mixture turns caramelized red in color and crispy

meanwhile take 1 Tabsp tamarind and mix with 1 cup water to make tamarind juice

add in the tamarind juice, 2 cut tomatoes and mix well and allow it to boil

add in the fish and let it boil before allowing it to simmer

taste the salt again and off the fire

it is that easy!! :)

a word on tamarind juice
when adding tamarind juice into the mixture do so gradually and taste the gravy before adding more
this is to avoid the gravy from becoming too sour
the final gravy should maintain the taste of chilly to it with a tinge of sourness

Saturday, June 14, 2014

fried bihun

Rice Vermicelli
This is probably one of the easiest 
comfort food to make and it is really fulfilling!
my own creation and I believe you could be more creative :)

Here's how I did it

heat 2 Tabsp cooking oil in a wok over medium fire

fry 10 ikan bilis till slightly brown then add in 1 sliced shallot followed by 2 finely chopped garlic

sautee 1 teasp chilli boh while adding 1 teasp salt, 2 Tabsp tomato sauce and 1 Tabsp oyster sauce

stir well then add in tauhu (cut small squares) and 5 fishballs (halve it)..keep stirring well

add in 2 stalks cut 'pak choy' and mix well and taste the salt

finally add in bihun and mix all ingredients well while continue stirring

add in 2 Tabsp water and mix well all over the fire

a word on water
water is added last to make sure the bihun gets soft. it is advisable to add water little by little as you need to see the texture of the bihun before adding in more water. taste it and if need be only then you add more water

Friday, June 13, 2014

masak chin chuan

This ia a Peranakan dish 
which I savor since childhood
I've no idea though why is it called "chin chuan"

Latest update
A word of recognition to Judy Janet Jasmine Lee
based on her research she found out the actual name of this dish is "chuan hu"
thanks ever so much Judy! :)
I dedicate this song to you
"Judy, Judy, Judy...I love you!"

A very simple dish to prepare

marinate 1 slice cleaned mackerel in turmeric powder+chilli powder+salt

deep fry the fish over medium heat until golden brown and place it on a serving plate

using the same oil, reduce it to 3 Tabsp to sautee 1 sliced onion, 2 chopped garlic and sliced 1/2" ginger

add in 1 tomato - cut into 6 wedges and 2 cut green chillies and stir well

add in 1 teasp salt and stir well

in a bowl, mix 1 cup water with 1 Tabsp tamarind paste to make tamarind juice

add tamarind juice into the wok, mix thoroughly and allow it to boil

tasting time and check the gravy, if it is thick enough, off the fire and pour the gravy over the fish

Bon appetit! :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

fish head curry

This is my mom's recipe
it is the same as in making fish curry

Here's how I made them

clean the mackerel fish head and soak in tamarind juice and salt ..keep aside

choose a pot which perfectly fit the fish head

heat the pot over medium fire and pour in 2 Tabsp of cooking oil

while waiting for the oil to heat up throw in a pinch of mustard seeds and fenugreek

you will know the oil is hot when you hear the mustard seeds popping

sautee 5 thinly sliced shallots, 2 garlic and a twig of curry leaves

in a bowl, add enough water to "Baba Curry Powder for fish" (small pack) until it become watery yet smooth paste

 when the aroma of the curry leaves fill your home and the shallots have turned transparent, pour in the curry paste and add 1 cup water and mix well and allow it to boil

add in 2 tomatoes (cut into 6 wedges), 5 ladies finger and 2 green chillies (slit halfway)

when the vegetables are cooked add in 1 teasp salt and stir the curry well

add half cup low fat milk and stir well and taste the salt
if need be add in more salt

finally add in the fish head gently and let it immerse into the curry

make sure both sides of the fish head gets cooked by turning it over gently

time for last taste and off the fire


a word on the curry
towards the end of the cooking session if you find that the curry is too watery, remove the cooked fish head only and put it on a serving plate and allow the curry to simmer further until the gravy gets the fire and pour the curry gently all over the fish head.

Bon appetite! :)

Monday, June 9, 2014

squid in sambal goreng

Original recipe from my mom
but with a slight twist from me always :)

here's how I do it

clean squids and slice up the squids as in the above picture

slice up 1 lemongrass and then pound it until fine..keep aside

next pound 5 shallots, 2 garlic and 1" ginger and sautee in a wok over medium heat

add in 2 Tabsp Puteri Cili Giling (chilli boh) stirring well

add 1 teasp salt and keep stirring until the color turns dark red

add in the pounded lemongrass and mix well

add 1 teasp sugar and stir well all over

add in the squids stirring well until it turns opaque white
and then transfer only the squids onto a serving plate

add 5 fishballs into the wok and stir well
(this is optional..I was finishing off leftovers in the fridge)

immediately put in 1 sliced onion and stir once and off the fire
the onion would remain crunchy and very sweet this way

a word on the lemongrass
the pounded lemongrass idea was from Chef Wan and I do that for all my sambal dishes
outstandingly delicious :)
do not blend it in the blender because you need to put water into the blender and this will make the paste very watery and the consistency of the sambal is no longer there. Sambal goreng has to be dry.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

squid in soy sauce

original recipe from my mom
thanks mom :)
credit also goes to May Goh for sharing her recipe
a friend who have the same enthusiasm and passion in cooking!

let's get started

marinate 4 cleaned squids with 2 Tabsp dark soy sauce

heat 2 Tabsp oil in a pot over medium fire 

sautee 1 diced onion followed by 2 crushed garlic and thinly sliced 1/2" ginger

pour in 2 cups water and add in 1 thinly sliced potato and allow to boil and cook

add in 5 dried red chillies and 2 Tabsp light soy sauce with 1 teasp salt

allow to boil and simmer before adding in the marinated squids

let the squids boil for about 2 minutes stirring it for thorough cooking

remove the squids from the pot and put it on a serving plate

simmer the gravy for another 5 minutes to thicken it
mash up some of the potatoes inside so the gravy thickens naturally

off the fire and pour the gravy by the sides of the squids and serve immediately

a word on cooking squids

squids cook very fast so once you see the flesh turning opaque white in color and firmed up, it is time to remove from the heat. Prolonged heating would shrink the squids and make them very hard just like rubber

Monday, June 2, 2014

kuih keria

Meet the Malaysian doughnut :)
looks like any american doughnut but the taste is very different
I used to love commercial doughnuts before but once I've cooked this there's really no turning back

Here's how I do it

boil sweet potato of your choice until it is cooked

drain the water and use a fork to mash the sweet potato until smooth

add enough flour to form a dough

pinch a small portion of the dough to make small round balls
use the palm of both of your hands to do this

using your index finger press in the middle of the ball to make a hole

repeat doing this until the dough are used up 

heat a non-stick wok with 2 cups oil and deep fry all the doughnuts

when you are done frying the doughnuts transfer the hot oil into a container and
 re-use the same wok for making the sugar icing

do not wash your wok

proceed to put in 2 Tabsp sugar and 2 Tabsp water

keep stirring until sugar appeared whitish and formed large bubbles

check the consistency of the syrup by lifting your ladle frequently

when the syrup gets thick add in all the doughnuts and keep stirring 
so that the syrup coats every one of the doughnut

off the fire while you keep turning the doughnut to form the 'snow' icing

I love to experiment so I made this doughnut 3 times just to see how the 'snow' turns out during the different stages of consistency of the sugar syrup 

to get the coating below I waited until the bubbles of the syrup gets smaller 
and much refined before adding in the doughnuts 

try it and you will definitely love it! :)

a word on the sugar icing
the sugar icing will only form when the fire is off so be careful..
just as the syrup has coated the doughnuts turn off the fire immediately and you will see the icing forming

Sunday, June 1, 2014

grilled salmon in red bell pepper

Salmon is the easiest to prepare
and doesn't involve much cooking time
but I don't cook this often because of its distinct taste
and this recipe which I created today was delicious!

Here's how I do it

place one red bell pepper (capsicum) over a medium fire on a stove and let it cook

check often to see if the skin has become black and keep turning the pepper over the fire

meanwhile heat a non stick pan on the next stove and put a piece of salmon on it

rub salt on the salmon and dash butter on all sides of the salmon

allow the salmon to brown before turning over the other side and repeat the salt and butter

check the bell pepper from time to time
when all of it are black remove from fire and put it immediately into a salad bowl

wrap the salad bowl top with aluminium foil and keep it rest for about 5 mins
the heat from the bell pepper will soften its outer skin for easy peeling

once the salmon is ready remove it from the fire

unwrap the aluminium foil and peel off the black skin of the pepper and cut into wedges

sprinkle salt on the peppers and serve immediately with the salmon

squeeze lemon juice all over the salmon and pepper and 

when you mix the soft and juicy pepper with the salmon I could only say
"it's pure indulgence" :)

a word about grilling

I'm using a non-stick frying pan instead of a griller set simply because the pan is much easier to manage and it gets the cooking done quicker..less hassle to clean afterwards too!

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