Monday, December 29, 2008

Yam Fritters / Keledek Goreng

3 more days before we have to change the date to 2009. Time sure does fly very fast. Like Michael said, "Just when I'm finally putting the date on cheques to 2008, it's changing again!". And a lot happened in 2008 too. From the political to weather to world to financial news. Some are good while others look very bleak. You all know which ones are looking very bleak at this moment. We are just done with a 4-day weekend and now we are about to get another 4-day weekend. Some of us of course has to take Friday off to get the long weekend but I am sure it is worth it. Who wants to go to work for 1 day in between holidays, right?

Anyways, I haven't been cooking that much lately but while looking for what to have for breakfast yesterday, I found a yam sitting on the kitchen counter and thought maybe I should make yam fritters. As some of you already know, fritters are a local favourite snack in Malaysia especially during tea-time and breakfast. The usual ones are of course banana fritters but the sellers would usually sell different kind of fritters and yam fritters are one of them. Here is how I make my yam fritters.

Yam Fritters

1 yam, pealed and sliced 1/2cm thick
3 tbs all-purpose flour
2 tbs tempura flour
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Cold water
Oil for deep frying

1. In a bowl, mix flour, turmeric powder and cold water to form a thick batter.

2. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan on medium high.

3. Take 1 slice of yam at a time and coat with the batter and slowly put it in the wok/pan. Depending on the size of the sliced yam and wok/pan, fry a few at a time. Don't overcrowd because that will change the temperature of the oil. Flip once or twice.

4. Fry until golden brown on both side.

5. Sprinkle with some powdered sugar and serve immediately.

**I find the type of yam sold here to be a bit watery than what I am used to and if not eaten immediately after deep-frying, the crust tend to get soggy.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Chicken Rice Set ala Ende Li's

chicken rice nasi ayamAmong all my aunties, I go to Ende Li's house a lot since they live the closest to my parent's house. Ende Li is my dad's younger sister and she has 7 kids and she LOVES to COOK and FEED us. Just by going for lunch or dinner at their place is like a party itself with lots of people and of course, lots of food. When my cousins (from another family) were still studying in Kuala Lumpur (KL), the usual hang out places would either be at my parents's house or Ende Li's house because we are the only family from my dad's side living in KL. When any of the cousins say they're going to be at either my parent's place or Ende Li's place, the words would travel, calls would be made and the next thing you know everybody would be there. So this entry is dedicated to Ende Li (and of course my uncle Ayah Rashid) who always welcome us to their home with open arms and table. :)

Chicken Rice Set
serves 3 -4

Chicken and Soup

6 pcs chicken
2in ginger, pounded
4 garlic, pounded
4-spices (1 star anise seed,3 cloves,3 cardamon & 1in cinnamon stick), rinsed (optional)
2-3 cups water
2 tbs cooking oil
Salt and sugar
3-4 tbs sweet soy sauce
1 tbs white pepper
Veggie oil for deep frying

1. In a pot, heat the oil and add the 4-spices. Once it's fragrant, add the pounded ginger and garlic. Stir.

2. Add in the chicken, water, salt and sugar to taste. (Be generous with water because you will need the stock to make the rice and chili sauce for your chicken rice). Stir occasionally until the chicken is cooked. About 30min.

3. Once the chicken is cooked, take about 1/4 cup of the stock and put it into a big bowl. Mix in the sweet soy sauce and white pepper. Mix well. Add in the chicken to marinade. Let it sit for at least 30min and deep fry.


Rinsed 1 1/2cup basmathi rice, put it in the pot and instead of water, add in 2 3/4 cup of the chicken stock/soup and let it boil. Once boiled, cover and simmer for 20min.

Chili Sauce

In a bowl, mix 4 tbs sambal oelek with 1 tbs ketchup, 3-4 tbs chicken soup and salt and sugar to taste.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sardine Tart

sardine tartI don't know why I love sardine. I just do. I think it is simple, easy to make, cheap and yummy to eat. That is more than enough reasons to like sardine, don't you think? Anyways, yesterday I made some of these sardine tarts. Truth is, I wasn't sure what to make when I bought the flaky dough sheet. I knew that the filling is going to be sardine but not of the shape. I thought of making sardine rolls but then I wrongly cut the dough so I just let it flow and thus emerges the Sardine Tart. All within 30min! Hah! Rachel Ray, here I come!

Sardine Tart
makes 24 in mini muffin tray

1 can Pillsbury Flaky Dough Sheet
1 can sardine in tomato sauce, 5.5oz
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/3 serrano chili, finely chopped (optional)
3 tbsp ketchup
salt and sugar

1. Preheat oven at 375F

2. In a bowl, mix everything except the dough sheet and taste.

3. Lay the dough sheet on to a flat area (I used my wood chopping board) and cut into 24 pieces.

4. Fit the dough into the mini muffin pan and fill with the sardine mix.

5. Put it into the oven and bake for 13-15min.

Want more of sardines? Check out my Spicy Sardine Sandwich.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pumpkin and Spinach in Coconut Milk

pumpkin spinach coconut milkI still remember the first time ever that I had pumpkin. My mom never cook anything using pumpkin so I never knew about it. I was 13 years old and it was my first year in boarding school. I think it was lunchtime and we all went to the dining hall and queueing to get our food. Then I saw this yellow thingy in yellowish gravy/soupy thingy. I asked my friends what they are and was told it is 'labu', a Malay word for pumpkin. Right there and then, I decided that I like pumpkin especially when it is cooked in coconut milk. But I never made it myself until recently.

Buying a pumpkin, I found out, is not an easy task for an amatuer like me. I feel almost obligated to share with you my first experience of buying a pumpkin. It was during the Halloween season recently. I suddenly had the crave for some Pumpkin in Coconut Milk so off we go to the supermarket and started looking for a pumpkin. Since the only pumpkin that I know of is those that are used for Halloween, I got myself 1 tiny one of the orange type. Got home and started to cut it only to find that it is too dry and definitely not the type used for cooking. I must have bought the ones for Halloween decoration purposes! *smack head* Thank god for my good friend Zue of ZueMurphy who told me to get the Kabocha pumpkin and I finally get to make these creamy Pumpkin and Spinach in Coconut Milk and share it with you. Thanks Zue!

Pumpkin and Spinach in Coconut Milk

Half Kabocha pumpkin, cleaned and cubed
1 serrano chili, pounded (optional)
1in fresh turmeric, pounded
1 stick lemongrass, bruised
3/4 can coconut milk (400ml)

Salt and sugar to taste

1. Put the pumpkin in a pot and add water just enough to cover them. Add the pounded chili, turmeric and lemongrass. Stir and let it boil. Keep adding some water until the pumpkin is soft.

2. Once the pumpkin is soft (you will know this by the sticking a fork to it. If the fork goes all the way through, then it is ready), add in coconut milk, salt and sugar. Stir and taste. Let it boil.

3. Lastly, add in the spinach and give it a few stirs and turn off the heat.

4. Serves hot with white rice.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Eidul Adha Mubarak

Wishing all Muslims,
Eid'ul Adha Mubarak!

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sambal Tumis Udang (Prawn/Shrimp Sambal)

sambal udang prawn shrimp


Sambal Tumis is a cooked chili paste. It is the basic sambal that is normally enjoyed with Nasi Lemak. Add some squid, you will get Squid Sambal, add some eggs, Egg Sambal and the list goes on and on. I love to have some hot and spicy stuff when the weather is chilly like now so a few days ago I made a big batch of sambal tumis so I can enjoy some while freeze the rest for later use. Yesterday I decided to make some Prawn Sambal to enjoy with my white rice.

Nasi Lemak with Sambal Tumis is very popular in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia (although I think it is called something else in Indonesia) and is available the whole day from breakfast to late supper. For those unfamiliar with the number of meals available for us, there are breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and supper. Didn't I tell you we ate a lot? *wink*

Sambal Tumis Udang / Prawn Sambal

12 medium to large size prawn/shrimp, cleaned and deviened (you can also deshelled)
1/2-1 onion, sliced about 1/2cm wide

1 small bottle of sambal oelek, 8oz
2 medium-sized onion, quartered
5in ginger
1-2 stalks lemongrass (I used 1 tablespoon grated lemongrass)
1 tbsp belacan powder or 1 sq in belacan block (optional)

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 small can tomato paste/puree
1/2cup water
1 tablespoon powdered tamarind (or 3tablespoon of fresh tamarind juice)
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
1 cup sugar

1. Grind all ingredients in B.

2. Heat up the oil in the wok (med high) and put the B ingredients in. Keep stirring for about 10min.

3. Add water, tomato paste, tamarind powder/juice, salt and sugar. Continue stirring for another 4-5min. Taste and add salt/sugar if necessary.

4. Add in the sliced onion and prawn, stir a little bit, cover and simmer for 2-3min.

5. Uncover, stir and taste. Let it set for another 3-4min and serve.

You can enjoy these Prawn Sambal with Nasi Lemak , plain white rice or with your roti pratha.

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cheesy Garlic Biscuits

cheese garlic biscuitIs it just me or it is hard to get back to posting after a very long weekend? Well, Thanksgiving was good. Our friends, Shirley and Kevin came to celebrate it with us. We did not have any turkey this year but that does not mean we did not have lots of food. We had hot roast beef sandwiches, Cheesy Garlic Biscuits, sushi, potato salad, coleslaw, yeemee noodles and even a few vodka shots. ;)

I don't really fancy biscuits but Michael loves them especially the ones at Red Lobster. He could just eat those Cheesy Garlic Biscuits and nothing else and he is a happy camper. Very easy. So for Thanksgiving, I decided to make some. I found the recipe at and decided to give it a try. I'm glad everybody liked them. It is easy to make and goes well with the hot roast beef sandwiches.

Cheesy Garlic Biscuits Recipe
Makes 12


*** Burst21 is a game made by my husband during his spare time. Please do extend your support to the game. Thank you all!

****Chef's note: I made these again last night but using Jiffy's Baking Mix. The result is almost the same. So if you can't find Biscuit Mix, you can always use baking mix or maybe even pancake mix. Good luck!

1 pack buttermilk biscuit mix (I used Bisquick, about 1 1/2cups)
1 1/2cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oregano (you can omit or use less)
3/4 tsp garlic salt

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray cooking sheet with non-stick spray.

2. Put biscuit mix, cheese and milk in a bowl and mix well to form a sticky dough.

3. Using spoon, drop lumps of dough onto cookie sheets 1.5in apart. Bake for 10min.

4. In a bowl, melt butter and mix with oregano and garlic salt.

5. When the timer goes off, take them out and brush with butter mixture and bake 5min at 400F and another 5-6min at 350F.

6. Transfer into a plate and serves immediately.

Get up to 65% off on Easter Airfares

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Please Give Me a Name

Update: From all the suggestions received, I have decided to pick the one given by Jun of IndochineKitchen which is Frankly Onion. This dish is officially called Frankly Onion.

Thank you all and Happy Thanksgiving!

My friend invited us to a potluck farewell party yesterday at their place in Anaheim. 2 of our friends, Ping and Rachel are moving to Minnesota because Rachel got a job offer teaching at the university there. She had asked me to bring Mango Apple Salad which I did but I also wanted to bring something else. I really didn't know what to bring until it donned on me that we have a few packets of beef franks in the freezer.

They are served at the bar as snacks and I really do not know what it is called or what I should call it. That is why I need your help to give a name to these snacks. Until it is given a name, it shall remain as a 'name-less' dish but not recipe-less. These are good for parties or if you just want to snack on something but without too much work. If you are making these for kids, just omit the chili.

Frankly Onion
serves 3-4

1 packet beef franks, cut diagonally
1 onion, sliced
1 red chili, sliced
Sugar to taste

1. In a pan or wok, sauteed the beef franks on high heat.

2. Add onion and chili. Stir until soft.

3. Add sugar and taste.

4. Transfer to a plate and serve hot.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Swiss Souffle Potatoes

baked potato souffleLooking at my my blog entries it seems like I only make asian or Malaysian dishes. Well, that is not entirely true since Michael doesn't really eat my food so everytime I cook something for myself, I will cook something western for him like here, here and here.

Recently we went to Ross and I found this cooking book called Best-Ever 500 Recipes. They might have 500 recipes but typical me, I would only try to make something if 1) I have the ingredients or at least substitute with something that I already have 2) its easy to make 3) its something that either one of us would like. So I chose to make these Swiss Souffle Potatoes and they turned out so good I wish I had made more.

Swiss Souffle Potatoes
serves 2

2 baking potatoes (about 1lb)
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese (I used mozzarella)
1/4 cup herb butter (I used regular butter)
2 tbsp double/heavy cream (I used evaporated milk)
1 egg, separated
salt and ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425F.

2. Scrub the potatoes and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 1-1.5hrs or until tender. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350F.

3. Halves potatoes and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Place the potato shells on a baking sheet and return to the oven to crisp up while making the filling.

4. Mash the potato flesh, add cheese, butter and egg yolk. Mix well, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Whisk white egg until stiff and carefully fold into the potato mixture. Pile the mixture back into the potato shells and bake for 20-25min until risen and golden brown.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Crab in Spicy Plum Sauce

crab plum sauceSeafood is plenty here in California but being Asian, there is only so much of steamed seafood with butter or seafood in creamy sauce that I can take before I am craving for that spicy, sweet and sour seafood. Not to mention that it is also very pricey to eat seafood out in the restaurant.

For our 4th anniversary last month, we went to the Joe's Crab Shack. The crab legs are pretty good but somehow it does not satisfy my crave for crabs. So later in the week, we headed off to the asian supermarket and got me 2 huge dungeness (i think!) crabs for less than $4/lb. I would normally make sweet and sour crab but this time I decided to use the plum sauce that I bought and was very happy with the result.

Crab in Spicy Plum Sauce
serves 1-2

1 crab, cleaned, separate the claws and half the body
8-10 thai chili
1in ginger
3 garlic
1 shallot
7 tbsp plum sauce
1/3 cup water
salt and sugar
1 egg, slightly whisked
2 tbsp veggie oil

1. Pound thai chili, ginger, garlic and shallot until it forms a paste.

2. In a wok or deep pan, heat the oil on medium heat and sauteed the paste until fragrant.

3. Add water, plum sauce, salt and sugar. Stir and taste to your liking.

4. Add in the crab, turn the heat to high. Flip the crab until all covered with sauce. Cover. 1min.

5. Uncover, flip the crab again and add in the egg. Turn the heat off and keep flipping the crab until they are all covered with the egg.

6. Serve immediately with white rice or toast.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Portuguese Egg Tarts

I was hooked on these scrumptious Portuguese Egg Tart eversince the first time Rasa Malaysia made them for me. Everytime we meet up for makan (eating) session, I will request her to make them. So many times that she told me to request for something else beside egg tarts. haha.

Dan's Chocolates

I did not own the mini muffin pan until a few weeks ago when I found them at Walmart selling for 4.99 which is a real bargain so I grabbed one. Last weekend we were invited to a birthday party in Temecula and I decided to use it and make some Portuguese Egg Tarts. The first try was as usual a disaster. Instead of using 1 box of pastry mix, I used 2 so you can imagine how thick the crust was! The next morning we rushed to the supermarket and got another box of pie crust mix and finally they turned out so so good.

Portuguese Egg Tarts
makes 24 in mini muffin pan

A. Crust
1 box Betty Crocker Pie Crust Mix 11oz
3 tbsp melted butter
1/3 cup cold water

B. Filling
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup milk
1 tspn vanilla essence

1. Stir ingredients A in a bowl until it forms a big ball. On a floured surface, roll the dough and cut into 24 little balls.

2. Butter the muffin pan or you can also use pam. Preheat the oven to 200F.

3. Flatten the balls and try to mould/shape them to fit into the muffin pan using your fingers before you actually fit them into the pan. Once all 24 are ready, set aside.

4. Put all ingredients B in the blender and beat for 3-4 minutes. Strain using a strainer into a measurement cup for easy pouring. Fill them into the crust about 80% full.

5. Turn up the heat to 375F and bake for 25min or until the filling start turning a little bit brownish.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Catfish In Spicy Coconut Broth / Ikan Keli Masak Lemak Cili Padi

I made Ulam Pegaga in my last post and promised that I was going to post the recipe for Catfish in Spicy Coconut Broth or Ikan Keli Masak Lemak Cili Padi. This dish is common in Negri Sembilan, 1 of the states in Malaysia. People from that state basically eat very very spicy food. As much I love spicy food, I dont think I can ever eat like them. Mine is very mild compared to how they are usually made.

The last time I made Masak Lemak Cili Padi was with crabs and that was like maybe a year ago. After seeing Roz of Home Creation using catfish in her dish and MamaFami cooked Masak Lemak Cili Padi, I decided to cook this dish using the catfish that I have.

Ikan Keli Masak Lemak Cili Padi
serves 2-3

1 whole catfish, cut and cleaned (you can also use filet)
7-8 thai chili, pounded (more or less depending on how spicy you want them to be)
Fresh turmeric, pounded (alternatively use 1 tbsp turmeric powder)
1 stick of lemongrass, bruised
3/4 can coconut milk (400ml)
1/2 cup water
Salt and sugar to taste

1. Put all the ingredients in a pot on medium low heat. Keep stirring.

2. When it is about to boil, add in the fish. Flip the fish once or twice until it is cooked.

3. Served with warm white rice together with Ulam Pegaga with Sambal Belacan.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Pennywort Leaves Salad / Ulam Pegaga with Sambal Belacan

Ulam is a Malay word meaning eating vegetables raw and bitter. Sambal Belacan is sambal (chili paste) with belacan (fermented shrimp paste). For Malaysian in general and Malay in particular, ulam with sambal belacan is eaten as a side dish together with white rice and other dishes. These are all spread like a buffet and enjoy by the whole family together for lunch or dinner.

Finding a typical leaves for ulam here in the USA is of course not an easy task. They are of course the usual 'suspects' that I usually use for my ulam here like cucumber and cabbage. Others like petai (stinky beans), ulam raja (wild cosmos) and kacang botol (winged bean) are not easily available. But I am pretty lucky since the Asian community in California is huge and ulam pegaga or pennywort leaves is plenty at the asian supermarket.

You can eat them just like that with sambal belacan or you can make a salad. Today I am going to show you how to make the salad.

Pennywort Leaves Salad

A bunch of pennywort leaves, rinsed and chopped/sliced
2-3 tbsp grated coconut

Sambal Belacan

4-5 red chilies
2-3 thai chilies
1 tsp belacan
1.5 tbsp sugar
A pinch of salt

1. Put the chopped pennywort leaves and grated coconut in a bowl.

2. Pound all the ingredients for sambal belacan in mortar and pestle or you can also use food processor.

3. Transfer the sambal belacan into the bowl and mix well.

4. Serves with warm white rice and other dishes.

I also made catfish in spicy coconut broth to go with my rice and ulam which I will post the recipe next. Please do come back for that recipe soon.

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