Sunday, July 31, 2011


God forbid..... (that I would ever need to be executed). 

I would be an executioner's worst nightmare. I would never be able to choose my death dish. It would have to be a toss between so many dishes. My ethnic Malay Sambal Belacan and Fried Salted Fish with white rice, a Western Chocolate Anything and now a Chinese Kung Pao Chicken dish. 

And this is all Terri's fault. Her Kung Pao Chicken was just too mouth watering to ignore. I couldn't shake it off no matter how hard I hit my head on the kitchen sink........ Or was it the stove? Anyway.....

This. Was. So. Good. 

I followed Terri's detailed instructions to a T. I did everything she demanded that one should do. On my own initiative I had read Kung Pao Chicken recipe five times....then.... all the whys and the hows and the why nots. It was pure prep, chemistry and finally execution (pun not intended). Terri and A Daily Obsession remains my repository for Chinese cooking. Period.

N took one bite of the Kung Pao Chicken, looked at me and begun to nod.....slowly but surely. I stared back into two pools of dark eyes and saw drool.

The recipe ~

The only thing I would do to improve my Kung Pao Chicken would be to add little more stock or water or increase the ingredients for the sauce. So that I would have more Kung Pao sauce. 

This Kung Pao Chicken wasn't fiery because I had gotten rid of the seeds in the dried chillies. That reduced the heat by quite a bit and by my insane standards the sichuan pepper wasn't that hot either. I had also replaced rice wine with 1 1/2 tsp of sugar instead. And I added some squares of yellow sweet peppers. Hence the spice meter of this dish was just right for some of my family members who cannot tolerate spicy food.

Kung Pao Chicken ~ by Terri of A Daily Obsession

250 gm skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 - 2cm squares
3/4 cup dried chillies, cut into 3 cm lengths
1 tsp sichuan peppercorns
3/4 cup leek, cut diagonally into 2 cm lengths
1/2 cup yellow pepper, cut into chunks
1 large handful of roasted peanuts
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 tsp of finely chopped ginger

Chicken marinade :

2 tsp cornflour
1 small egg white
a dash of pepper
]2 T rice wine (I used 1 1/2 tsp sugar instead)
1/4 tsp salt

Sauce ingredients :

1/2 T rice vinegar (I used apple cider)
1 1/2 - 2 T dark soy sauce
1 1/2 T sugar
1 1/2 T stock or water
1/2 tsp cornflour

Cut chicken breasts into chunks, 1.5 - 2 cm squares. Massage chicken marinade into the chicken pieces with your hands and leave in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Heat 1 cup of vegetable oil in a hot pan and fry chicken pieces in one layer at high heat. When chicken turns white at the sides, turn over and stir. Do not overcook (1 minute only) Remove chicken.

Pour away oil into a ceramic dish for later use. But leave 3 tablespoons of oil in the wok. 

Fry chillies on very low heat in the oil until crispy. Make sure it doesn't burn by making sure the heat is very low. Scoop up and keep aside.

Pour away oil because this oil would be too hot(spicy) to re-use. 

Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil from frying the chicken to the same wok. Throw in the leeks until they turn a bright green. Take out immediately and keep aside.

Add minced garlic and ginger, sichuan pepper to wok and stir a few seconds and fragrant. Pour the sauce mixture in , stirring all the time until the sauce gets dark thick and the sugar in it caramelizes. Add the chicken, leeks and stir quickly and lastly add peanuts. 

Serve  hot with white rice.

Spice up your life and I wish you a lovely day ~

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I have never been a fan of bombs. Because of that I have never attempted to make them. Generally speaking I like dainty and pretty food which explains why I like desserts. Or at the least I like making them. I like looking at them. But when they look like 'bombs' and are huge the interest wanes.

But when I saw these here on this very practical and interesting blog of Lily Lai Sek Hong's I thought they looked quite appetizing. Although I do think that the name is a little outdated by now. These days their namesakes come in all shapes and sizes. Anything but round I believe. But having said that I can't think of a better name at this moment. So bombs it is.

I followed Lily's recipe largely. Particularly the recipe for the dough. It turned out pretty good but I think H was expecting something more chewy. I watched the back of his head from the kitchen while he ate it and waited for that mmmmmm....sedapppp...but it didn't come.

H was, I know, expecting the other 'bomb'. His favourite cake. The one with the red bean filling. The dough of which is made of pure glutinous rice flour thus making it really chewy and stretchy when you sink your teeth in and pull it away from you. The Chinese Jin Dui.

But these are sweet potato bombs. The dough less chewy in texture than the Jin Dui cakes but both nutty because of the sesame seeds. These, however, had a coconut-ty, juicy and sweet filling of freshly grated coconut cooked in a palm sugar syrup. (My favourite kind of filling). Jin Dui and these look identical. But they are different cakes so it is unfair to compare. I'm sure these taste like they are supposed to taste. I can't really tell because I have never eaten one before. But if Lily's blog is anything to go by I know that this recipe is true.

As a whole these are not one of my favourite local cakes and neither are the Jin Dui-s. But like they must try everything. At least once. Or you have never lived. Or blogged.

The recipe ~

Sweet potato bombs ~ adapted from Lily Lai Sek Hong

11/2 cup freshly grated coconut
1/2 cup palm sugar, grated
1/2 cup water
2 tsp glutinous rice flour
1/2 tsp salt

Place palm sugar and water in a small pan over small heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Put in the grated coconut and salt an mix in until the coconut is covered evenly by the syrup. Add glutinous rice flour and mix well again. Take off heat and allow to cool.

Sweet potato dough

I have converted the measurements to grams

600 gm of sweet potato that has been baked till cooked, cooled completely and mashed, ( or about 3 cups) - I used the yellow kind
140 gm plain flour
117 gm glutinous rice flour
1 tsp salt
2-3 T water

Mix mashed sweet potato, flours and salt in a bowl and rub the mashed potato in until it is somewhat mixed. Put in 1 tablespoons of water first and knead a little to bring the mixture together. If necessary add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of water and knead until a smooth ball of dough is formed.  

Pinch off golf ball sized dough one at a time and flatten it out into a disc. Place a teaspoon of the coconut filling onto it and pinch the edges to seal and shape into a ball again.Place on a large tray and continue to use up the rest of dough and filling in the same way. The amount of dough and filling were perfect. I got 21 one balls with only a pinch of dough left over. Each 'bomb' was about 11/2 inch in size (diameter).

When all have been shaped fill a small bowl of water and place on the counter where you are working. Pour about a cup of sesame seeds into a flat dish or shallow bowl and place it on the counter too. 

Dip each 'bomb' into the water and then into the dish of sesame seeds. Roll around the bomb with your dry hand to coat. Keep each coated bomb aside on a tray and continue with rest of 'bombs' in the same way until finished.  Top up the dish with more sesame seeds if necessary.

Heat oil in deep pot for deep frying. When oil is hot drop in several 'bomb's in but do not overcrowd otherwise the dough will get soggy. Lower the heat to medium so that the sesame seeds will not brown too quickly before the dough gets cooked through. When a light golden brown (about 5-7 minutes, I didn't count) lift off the bombs with a  slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

PS: H liked these after all. He says they are easier to eat. 

I am submitting this to Muhibbah Malaysian Monday

Head over to Shaz of Test With Skewer for the round up.

I hope you have a lovely day :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Like those before me I was ecstatic to be invited to guest post on Bee's blog Rasa Malaysia. It is the food blog that every food blogger aspires to guest post on. Bee asked me if I would be interested. Was she kidding?! If there is a hole in my roof I think I just made it.

Hers is one of the first blogs I scrolled through in my early days of blogging and still follow silently because my jaw hangs each time I stop by. Everything seems professional, the recipes precise, the photography perfect and most of all her repertoire of dishes are endless. It was and still is sheer inspiration. And here I am now making my little mark and taking up a teeny space on the famous food blog of Rasa Malaysia. Imagine that!

Bee has published her first cookbook called Easy Chinese Recipes. I think everyone interested in Chinese cooking or who collects cookbooks  should get it. If Bee's blog is anything to go by I'm sure her cookbook is a treasure.

Spicy Honey Chicken is quite akin to the Malay Ayam Masak Merah (red cooked chicken). In both, tomato ketchup is one of the main ingredients used. It is the Malay version of a Chinese sweet and sour chicken.

Please go over to Bee’s Rasa Malaysia for the rest of the post and recipe ~

More ~

One more ~

Take care and have a lovely day ~ On Rasa Malaysia.

I am submitting this to Muhhibah Malaysian Monday

Head over to Shaz of Test With Skewer for the round up


Dragon fruits are flamboyant with their shocking pink skins and their even more shocking purple-pink insides. However they are, in flavour, not such the drama queen that they appear to be (its more elegant twin is white inside). 

It is not an overwhelming fruit. It is mildly sweet, soft and quite refreshing and the seeds somewhat nutty in texture. It is native to South America and today it is cultivated widely in Vietnam for commerce. 

I stared at it sitting in my fridge in all its pink and purple glory. I had bought it skinned and sliced. I thought it would make an outrageous looking jam. I had originally bought it because I had wanted to make a natural food colouring. But I realised after checking at Tes's lovely blog that it is not the flesh that is used to make a pink/red food colour but the inside of the skin. Experiment abandoned.

So I made jam ~ 

It turned out looking beautifully purple pink. And because it does not have an overwhelming flavour I quite liked it. Neither sour nor tart. Just midly sweet.

Then I made tarts ~

Because I did not have a shallow tart tin I used Sarah-Jane's Easter egg silicone moulds that I used for easter egg madeleines. So I had egg shaped tarts filled with  dragon fruit jam.

The recipe ~

Dragon fruit jam

280 gm dragon fruit flesh (purple kind), cut up into chunks
140 gm sugar
1/4 lemon, juice extracted
1/4 tsp gelatine soaked in 1 T water, left to soften (optional)

Place everything, except gelatine and water into a pan. Place over medium heat and bring ot a boil and them lower to simmer and simmer until it becomes a thick jammy syrup. Add the gelatine/water mixture and stir to mix in. Simmer until jammy and to a consistency that you like.

Dragon fruit jam tarts ~

Sweet short crust pastry

250 gm all purpose flour
60 gm castor sugar
125 gm cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 ts salt
1 egg yplk
2-3m T cold water

Place all ingredients into a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers rub in the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles a coarse meal. 

Gently using both hands press the mixture together until it all comes together into a ball. The heat from your hands will soften the butter and this in turn will make the dry ingredients, butter and wet ingredients adhere and come together to form a dough. 

You can also use a food processor if you find the process a little messy to do by hand. The food processor basically does the same thing of softening the butter by the warmth from the motor and after a few seconds the mixture will come together. As soon as it comes together into a dough stop the machine at once and remove the dough from the bowl immediately.

Do not knead the dough with your palms as this will activate the gluten in the flour and make a tough pastry. 

Roll out the pastry to 1/4 inch thick and cut into rounds that will fit whatever tart pan that you use. I made 12, 2 inch long oval jam tarts with this. Had a bit left over that I kept in the freezer.

Place the cut out pastry into the tart moulds and fill with jam till almost full. Bake in a 180 C oven for 10- 15 minutes.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Sometimes when you dig deep enough you will uncover little jewels in unexpected places ~ like blogresepi and this beautifully simple Finnish pancake that I spied on her blog. It was so smooth and so creamy and buttery. I paired it with slices of orange segments in an orange juice reduction and it became even more refreshing with bursts of orange globules in my mouth.

Imagine ~ I did not need to stand in front of a stove turning pancake after pancake. After pancake........

 ~after pancake ~

The batter is poured into a lined rectangular baking pan, sprinkled with sugar and left to bake for about 20- 25 minutes in a hot oven until it puffed up and became hideously glorious, browned on the top in places (in this case only one place) and looked likely to burst along the edges. Whoa-waaa...

PS: As you can see I need a new oven ........this present one has hot spots like the punctures in our planet's ozone layer :(~

Then I cut it up into squares, dusted it with some cinnamon powder and dribbled the orange segments in an orange juice reduction over the slices. Yes ~

You must ~ try this ~

The recipe ~ From blogresepi ~

500 ml milk ( I used fresh whole milk)
2 eggs
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup melted butter or olive oil ( I used butter)
2 T sugar
a pinch of salt

Extra sugar for sprinkling

Pre-heat oven at 220 C

Line a rectangular baking pan, 10" by 81/2 "

Mix all ingredients except extra sugar in a bowl and mix with a  whisk until a smooth batter.

Pour into lined baking pan, sprinkle with extra sugar and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes.

Orange reduction ~

3 oranges
1/4 cup sugar

Peel one orange and cut into segments carefully leaving out the fibres and white pith. Keep aside.

Juice the other 2 oranges and put juice into a small pan. Add 1/4 cup sugar and stir and place over medium heat and let simmer until it reduces to thickish syrup, Add the orange segments and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Leave aside or let cool.

Serve pancakes by cutting into squares, dust with cinnamon powder and top with the orange syrup either warm or cold.

Monday, July 11, 2011


I love my Malay cakes even if they are plain toads (kodok). These are authentic. There is no grated coconut meat in it, no baking powder is used and no egg at all....all of which would give these bites airiness, lightness, puffiness and turn them into dainty, too perfectly round, bland, made-over versions of the original toad bites.

Purists, however,  would swear by the original kampung (village) version which is crisp and chewy on the outside and soft, mushy and banana-ey on the inside. And quite toad-like in looks.....irregularly shaped, flat, heavy, ugly and greasy but absolutely to die for. I love my Toad Bites or Kuih Kodok.

Rice flour is added to the batter for a crisp and chewy skin, plain flour to hold the batter together and of course the mashed banana gives the inside the mushy and banana-ey goodness that we die for. I don't see why anyone would not love these. 

Anything greasy has to be good.  Kiddies especially love these.....imagine chubby little fingers pushing toady bites into chubby little mouths filling up those chubby little cheeks and chomping with their tiny teeth. Chomping on toady bites.....hands greasy...hands touching hair, hands touching clothes, hands touching furniture and their mommies.

The recipe ~

297 gm very ripe mashed bananas,  ( I used pisang berangan)
60 - 65 gm granulated sugar
4 T plain flour
3 T rice flour
1/4 tsp salt

Oil for deep frying

Mix mashed bananas and sugar with a wooden spoon. Stir in both flours and salt until combined.

Heat enough oil for deep frying in a pot. When hot or 180 C drop the batter in by teaspoonfuls. Let fry for about two minutes after which time the fritters would lightly golden, puff up and loosen slightly from the bottom of the pot. Agitate it a little so that it releases completely from the bottom of the pot and turn over to brown the other side. When the fritters are a deeper golden colour lift out and drain on two layers of kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. 

Continue to fry the rest in the same way. 

If you eat these hot or warm you will experience the lovely crunchiness and chewiness that the rice flour gives to the fritters. The crunchiness is lost when cold but it is still chewy and deliciously mushy and banana-ey inside.

Great served in paper cups to kiddies. 

Yes those cute animal picks are from Daiso ~

I am submitting this to Muhibbah Malaysia Monday.

Head over to Shaz of Test With Skewer for the round up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


It's at Daiso where my little insignificant, pointless, niggling and  piddling dreams come true. Thus these tartlets were born.

We all know that there are mama melon ballers but dare we dream that there baby melon ballers? I did. And my melon baller dream came true. Now....dare you tell me that that baby isn't cute!

Because fresh fruit tartlets are prettiest when topped with small dainty fruits like berries (in my book), but which are ridiculously priced if you're living right smack on the equator, I have never bothered to make fresh fruit tartlets. Until I found this baby melon baller. Now I can make my own tropical 'berries' for tartlets anytime. From baby mango balls , baby bright red water melons balls to baby jade honey dew melon balls. 

Angie from Angie's recipe had this Fresh Fruit Tartlets recipe that had a filling of a ground hazelnuts-butter-sugar paste instead of custard. I thought the moist, rich, nutty paste was a brilliant change from the usual custard filling...a filling that I was never inspired to make for fresh fruit tartlets. 

So I am glad I made these because both the subtley sweet, crusty pastry and the moist hazelnut filling is to die for. And the squishy, spurty and juicy mango and baby grapes on the top made a perfect finish. Truly...quite a remarkable recipe. Thanks to Angie. I would make these if I were you. 

True ~

The recipe ~ adapted wholly from Angie's Recipes

Sweet Pastry Crust ~

250n gm pastry flour ( I used AP flour)
60 g castor sugar
1/4 tsp salt
125 g butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg yolk
2-3 T cold water

Put everything in one bowl and work in the butter until the mixture resembles corse breadcrumbs. Then bring everything together with your fingers until it becomes a soft dough. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before rolling out to line the baking tart tins. Angie used 4, 12 cm tart moulds. I used 4 egg rings and 2, 12 cm tart moulds. 

I rolled the pastry between two sheets of baking paper for easier lifting of the pastry. The pastry is quite soft and rich. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick and line the tart moulds right up to the sides. Prick the base with a fork. Refrigerate while you make the filling.

Filling ~

85 gm butter, softened
85 gm icing sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
85 gm ground hazelnuts

Beat butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until thick and creamy and soft. Add egg and beat again until well combined. Add in the ground hazelnuts and fold in. Fill the pastry lined moulds until 3/4 full. Do not fill right up because the filling will puff up a little upon baking. The little space between the top of the baked filling and the rim of the cooked pastry allows the fruits berries or balls of fruit to stay within especially if like me you do not use a whipped cream topping for the fruit to rest on.

Topping ~

8 tsp Chantilly cream (I did not use any kind of cream for the topping)
Small berries or 'berries' melon balled tropical fruits or small seedless grapes


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