Sunday, August 31, 2008

Selamat Hari Merdeka August 31, 2008

Merdeka means freedom in our national language, Bahasa Malaysia or also known as Malay. Today marks 51 years since Malaysia gained it's independence from the British. Petronas apart from being known as one of the biggest oil and gas company in the world, is also known for their award winning advertisement (commercial). The above is their advertisement for Merdeka 2008. It is in Malay but with an English sub-title. The message is very strong (as always!) and I feel that I need to share it with my readers. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Being away from home is not an excuse not to celebrate it. We are having a barbeque session later today and fret not, picture will follow soon. ;)

To all Malaysian out there where ever you are, Selamat Hari Merdeka!

*For information regarding holidaying in Malaysia, please go to Tourism Malaysia.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

How to Make Chicken Rice

This is a simple home made chicken rice recipe that I usually make to go with my roast chicken. Sometimes I would just buy the chicken from El Pollo Loco and cook the rice to go with it.

Chicken Rice
Serves 2-3 adults

1/2 cup jasmine rice
1/2 cup basmathi rice
2" ginger, pounded
1 cube chicken stock
1 3/4 cup water
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
salt & sugar to taste
3 tbsp veggie oil

1. In a bowl, mix water with turmeric powder and chicken stock.

2. In a pot, heat the oil and saute ginger until fragrant.

3. Add in rice and stir a couple of times.

4. Add water and turn the heat to high.

5. Add salt and sugar to taste and stir a few more times. Let it boil.

6. Cover and simmer for 20-25 min, depending on your stove.

7. Once cooked, let it sit for 5-10 min (covered).

Served warm with Roast Chicken. Garnish with fried shallot/onion.

* If you are using chicken broth instead of cubed chicken stock, just replace the amount of water with chicken broth. Too much water/broth will make your rice too starchy.

** Cup mentioned for rice is regular measurement cup and not rice cup. I do not have rice cup. ;)

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chicken Rice with Roasted Chicken Recipe

I have been meaning to make chicken rice for the longest time. And I mean really make them. Roasting the chicken. Cooking the rice and making the sambal (chili paste). All these while, I cheated by getting the chicken from El Pollo Loco. So this time, I got myself a whole chicken. Cleaned but uncut. I told myself that I have to roast the chicken. It is time to use the roasting pan that I got last year. All I have got to do is find the meanest roast chicken recipe online.

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Of course I would love to have the skin to be crispy especially after watching the Iron Chef show recently where the chef used this air-blowing machine thingy that completely separates the skin from the flesh of the duck! My mouth opened so big that my chin fell on my chest for a few seconds. I told Michael that I would love to have one and he just laughed. Oh well. I tried. Maybe I should start with getting a really really nice set of knives first.

Now back to roast chicken. Who said that searching the roast chicken recipe online is easy? Just try typing the word roast chicken on google and they will let you know that they are 2.8million entries for them. That's only for the words 'roast chicken'. So after going through quite a number of recipes, I finally get the idea of what ingredients I needed for the taste that I was looking for. The other key thing is that I try to use the things that I already have in my kitchen.

Chicken rice comes in a basic set that comprises of the rice, chicken, sambal (chili paste) and soup. Today I am posting the roast chicken recipe. I will post the chicken rice recipe next so please do come back and check it out.

Roast Chicken

1 whole chicken,

3" ginger, pounded
3 garlic, pounded
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp five spice powder

1. Trim of excess fat from chicken, rinse and pat dry

2. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients.

3. Rub the chicken inside and out

4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight. Or you can just marinate it for a couple of hours before roasting.

5. When ready to roast, preheat the oven at 350F

6. Place the chicken in a roasting pan. Use a wooden skewer to 'tie' the legs together. Cover with aluminium foil.

7. Roast for 45-60 min.

8. Uncover and set the oven to 450-475F and continue roasting for another 10-15min or until the chicken is fully cooked.

9. Remove chicken and cut into desired pieces, preferably when it has cooled down a little bit.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Green Beans with Oyster Sauce Recipe

A typical set of Malaysian meal would usually consist of white rice, 1 or 2 (or sometimes 3 or even 4) meat and/or seafood and vegetables dishes. One of the many reasons why I hardly ever cook before. The other reasons varies from 1) i was lazy 2) my aunties/cousins are all great cooks so i just go to their houses 3) 24hrs restaurants/stalls are everywhere.

The using of oyster sauce and garlic is very much chinese influenced dish. I love this dish since the beans are kept crunchy and not chewy and using minimum ingredients. And for this dish, I really do use minimum ingredients. If you dont already have oyster sauce at home, you can get it from the asian aisle at the regular supermarket. My personal favourite brand is Lee Kum Kee but I am sure other brands are ok too.

Green Beans with Oyster Sauce
Serves 1-2

A handful of green beans, ends trimmed (you can either leave as 1 long piece or cut into 2)
2 garlic, thinly sliced
half red chili, thinly sliced
1 tbsp oyster sauce
A pinch of sugar (optional)
1 tbsp cooking oil
half cup water

1. In a wok or frying pan, heat the oil on high heat and saute the garlic

2. Add water and let it boil. Add oyster sauce and sugar, stir.

3. Add green beans and chili, stir once or twice and cover. Turn the heat to low. 1 min.

4. Uncover and stir one more time.

5. Serve immediately.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Malay-styled Omelette / Telur Dadar Recipe

Telur is egg in Malay word. And I love eggs. Fried egg. Hard boiled egg. Soft boiled egg. Fried hard boiled egg. You name it and I would probably have had it or would have it. And when I dont know what to cook, this is what I would make. Telur dadar or malay styled omelette is something like omelette without the milk or cheese and instead we added onion, chili, salt and pepper. Some people would add veggies but I like mine with only onion and chili.

Telur Dadar
serves 1-2

2 eggs
half red chili, sliced
half onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 tbsp cooking oil

1. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients except oil and continue beating.

2. Heat oil in a wok or small shallow frying pan on low heat.

3. Add the eggs into the wok/pan and let it cook slowly. About 2 minutes.

4. When you see the sides of the egg getting brownish, flip it upside down and continue cooking for another minute or two.

Enjoy with a plate of warm white rice. You can also put a little bit of sweet chili sauce or sweet soy sauce on top. That is how I would normally eat my telur dadar.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Red Snapper In Ginger and Vinegar Soup Recipe

Yup, I made up the name for this dish. I dont want to fry it and make sweet and sour fish as I would usually do. Neither have I made this dish before but somehow I had the taste in my mind. Although I have the rice vinegar, I decided to use the juice from the sweet bread and butter pickle and I am happy with the result. So did my friend J who called saying that she was coming for lunch. ;)

Red Snapper In Ginger and Vinegar Soup
Serves 2-3

1 red snapper, cleaned, cut into 2 pieces
3 in ginger, thinly sliced
3 garlic, pound or finely minced
1 lemongrass
1 tomato, cut into 6 wedges
1 red chili, sliced
4-5 tbsp sweet bread and butter pickle juice
1 cup water
salt and sugar
4 tbsp cooking oil

1. In a wok or deep pan, heat the oil and saute ginger and garlic.

2. Add in water, lemongrass, pickle juice, salt and sugar. Turn the heat to high. Stir. Let it boil and taste.

3. Slowly add in the fish and tomato, cover and reduce the heat to medium. About 1-2min.

4. Uncover, flip the fish and cover again for another 1 min.

5. Add the sliced chili into the soup, stir a little bit and turn off the heat.

Just like other typical asian dishes, this is to be enjoyed with warm white rice. Just add a few spoon of the soup on your rice and eat the fish together with the rice. You can also add some light or sweet soy sauce.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ace of Cakes, Live!

2008 Celebrity Food Show / OC Culinary Event
Hilton Anaheim Hotel, CA
August 15-17, 2008

Picture from the poster



Duff, Mary Allice & Geof

Geof & Duff

We went for the 2.30pm show hoping to see them up close and personal. Unfortunately we were not the only ones. It was more like a Q&A session while Duff and Geof decorate a cake which by the end of the 1 hour session, was not finished. The ballroom where they held the event was rather small and the only thing separating the stage and the vendors are the blue curtain. So you can only imagine how it was when you are trying to listen to them between the music and the noise coming from the other side of the curtain.

It is a little bit disappointing that we did not even get to take pictures with them. The closest that I could get was maybe 30feet away from the stage but obviously it was not close enough as you can see from the pictures that I took. Not to mention that it was somehow pretty dark. I asked a girl beside me who was also sitting on the floor trying to take some pictures and hers were dark too. Oh well!

A few facts about them that I found out from the Q&A session:

1. The pricing of the cake starts from $1000.

2. Duff's mom lives in Long Beach.

3. They only make a maximum of 15 cakes a month and they wont budge once they have reached their quota. They have even rejected an order from Kevin Bacon! Imagine that.

4. They are fully booked until December 2008.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Banana Fritters / Cekodok Pisang Recipe

What do we Malaysian have in common? The answer is simple. EAT. Boy, do we love to eat! No matter how long we have been away from home, we just cannot change when it comes to eating. At breakfast, among other topic discussed would definitely be, "where or what are we going to have lunch and/or dinner?". It is pretty common for us to have breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and supper. Everyday.

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I may not be eating 5 meals/day anymore but I do daydream about it. I cannot help it. I like to know what I am going to have for lunch and what is for dinner, while I am having breakfast. Michael used to find it weird that I would be asking him what does he want for lunch while or right after we had breakfast. He is used to it now though. A girl needs to know in advance if she needs to take the chicken out from the freezer, you know what I mean? ;)

Anyways, my friend came over for lunch yesterday. After we had our lunch, she asked if I were going to make fried banana. Since I do not have plaintain which I normally use for fried banana, I decided to make some banana fritters instead. Another easy-peasie recipe. These are usually sold by the road-side stalls back in Malaysia during breakfast and tea time.

Banana Fritters / Cekodok Pisang
Serves 2

3 ripe bananas, peeled
1/2 cup flour
1/3 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
Oil for frying

1. In a bowl, mash the bananas well. Add in the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. You will get a slightly thick batter.

2. In a wok or deep pan, put in the oil about 1.5"-2" high and preheat at medium heat.

3. Scoop the batter using a tablespoon and slowly let it 'slide' into the hot oil. Make sure the spoon is not too high up from the oil to avoid splattering. Fry until golden brown. Flip once or twice during frying.

4. Repeat step 3 until you have used all the batter.

Fry between 6-10 of them at any one time depending on the size of your wok/pan. You dont want to fry too many at one time since that would change the oil temperature and you will end up with soggy fritters drenched with oil.

If you like fritters or banana, you will also like these:

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

BBQ - 080808

Honey Barbeque Chicken Wing

We had a few friends over last week for a barbeque on that auspicious day 080808 which was the day chosen by China for the opening of the Olympic Games. Besides hotdogs and burgers, I decided to make honey barbeque chicken, mango & apple salad, chicken rice (and I totally forgot to take pictures of) and Argentine Salsa Criolla. For dessert, we had lemon meringue pie, brought by S&D. Thank you S&D. ;) This time, I added a tablespoon of chili powder (for 2.5lb of chicken wings) into the chicken marinade to make it a little bit spicier and yummier. Do try adding some if you want to make them.

Mango & Apple Salad

You might also realise the changes in how the pictures were taken. Yup, one of our 3 guests is who else but Rasa Malaysia. She patiently taught me how to take the pictures. How many pictures were taken of the food that day? Almost 50! Snap crazy? You bet! ;) Thanks BY.

Argentine Salsa Criolla

For the salsa, I got the recipe from my newly found foodie friend, KitchenGirl. Here is my version of the salsa.

1/2 red onion; finely chopped
1 green bell pepper; finely chopped
2 tomato; seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic; finely sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup EVOO, extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (i used rice vinegar)
lime juice from 1/2 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients and serve. You can eat it immediately or put it in the fridge for half an hour and serve chilled. Michael didn't really like the taste of pepper in it so the next time I am just going to make it without. This is of course, a personal preference.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Spicy Sardine Sandwich Recipe

Playing around with the newly acquired photoshop. I know I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go but well, I am learning.

Sardine is pretty easy to get here in the US but most of the times they come in oil whereby in Malaysia, most of them comes in tomato sauce. They are widely used as filling, be it sandwiches or puff or roti canai (pratha). Some people might think less about sardine compared to tuna but trust me, if you know how to prepare them, you will get hooked.

Sardine sandwich is one of my personal favourite when it comes to sardine of course. It is cheap, easy to make and easy to eat and also healthier. My other favourite would be eating white rice with sardine, cut chili and onion. That would be for another post.
Sardine Sandwich
Serves 2


1 can sardine in tomato sauce
1 red chili or if you like it hotter, 2 thai chili, finely chopped
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp ketchup
1-2 tbsp lime/lemon juice
Salt & sugar

1. Put all the ingredients and the juice from the sardine into a bowl and mix well.

2. Add in the sardine and using a spoon or fork, mash the sardine (gently if you want it to stay a bit chunky)

3. Taste to your liking.

If you are using a sandwich maker, lightly butter 1 side of each bread. Place the bread with the buttered side out.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Let's Play A Guessing Game, Shall We? Part II

Now, can you guess what those are?


Thank you all for playing along with my guessing game. Yes, this is Cek Mek Molek. Its very popular especially in the East Coast of Malaysia, mainly in the states of Kelantan and Terengganu. Eventhough my family live in Kuala Lumpur, I basically grew up in the East Coast since I went to a boarding school and attended a higher institution there. And that is how I got to know of all the goodies that East Coast have to offer. The words cek mek basically means lady and molek means pretty, sweet, cute and/or petite so directly translated it means Pretty/Sweet Lady. They may not be that pretty in look but they sure are sweet!

I made this during one of days when I was sitting watching the tv on one fine Sunday evening when suddenly, just out of the blue, I just crave for it. They are pretty easy to make since the ingredients are very basic. Sweet potato, flour, salt, sugar and oil for frying, that is all you need to make this sweet delicacy.
Cek Mek Molek
Serves 3-4

400-500gm sweet potato (I use 1 medium size)
1/2 cup flour (more or less depending on the size of the potato)
1/2 tsp salt
frying oil (enough to deep-fry them)

1. Boil the sweet potato until soft. Drain and mashed.

2. Slowly add in the flour and salt and mix well. Just remember that too much of flour will make them hard.

3. In a wok or frying pan or deep fryer, heat the oil using medium heat.

4. Take some of the dough and shape into a ball about 2in diameter. Since the dough can be pretty sticky, sprinkle some flour on you palm before you make the ball.

5. Slowly flatten the ball and press the middle part to make a small crater. Put some sugar and fold it back into a ball. Make sure it is properly sealed to avoid the sugar from running out when frying.

6. Slowly shape the ball into an oval shape with a slightly sharpened ends. As you can see from the pictures, I failed in making the ends sharp. Continue until all the dough is finished.

7. Fry them until golden brown.

Cek Mek Molek is usually enjoyed for breakfast and/or tea. Do be extra careful when biting into this delicacy as the sugar inside will already turned into liquid form (syrup). Biting it too fast or hard can result in having your whole table and/or shirt covered with the syrup.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Baked Beef Murtabak/Curry Puff Recipe

I have to admit that my intention was to make curry puff but after 2 failed attempt at making the dough myself, I scrapped the idea and decided to use the spring roll wrapper that I have in my fridge and wrapped the filling ala-murtabak. Murtabak is an Indian Muslim dish commonly found in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and apparently in Yemen too where they are called Motabbag which means 'the folded'. I just found that out myself thanks to Wikipedia. In Malaysia, it would either come with beef or chicken filling and it has among other ingredients, egg and onion and folded with the same dough as roti pratha or roti canai.

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For my Murtabak/Curry Puff, I did not use egg since I used ready-made spring roll wrapper which is thicker than the original dough used for murtabak.

Baked Beef Murtabak/Curry Puff
Makes 12-15

2 potatoes (peeled and cubed 1/4")
1/3/lb ground beef
1 red onion (cubed 1/8")
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2-1 tbsp chilli powder
salt & sugar
1 cup water
2 tbsp oil
Spring roll wrapper

1. In a wok or pan, heat the oil and saute the onion.

2. In a small bowl, mix curry powder and chilli powder with some water and add to the wok until fragrant.

3. Add the ground beef and stir. When the meat is brown, add the potatoes, water, salt and sugar and stir until the water dries. Taste.

4. When the filling is done, let it cool for 15-20min.

5. Preheat oven at 325F

6. Lay out the spring roll wrapper on a plate, put the filling in the middle. Fold first end, followed by the 2 side ends and wet the last end with a little bit of water so it sticks. Repeat until all the filling are used. (The size would be about 3"x2.5")

7. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 10-15min each side until they turn golden brown.

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Peanut Butter Chocolate Nutella Maple Syrup Marble Cake

Phew! That is a mouthful one huh? But its so good. I hardly ever bake a cake because Im afraid that they would not come out good. But when I looked at Dhanggit's cake, I knew that I had to give it a shot. It is pretty easy to make and gave me the excuse to buy some Nutella for myself. A girl has got to be smart. ;) I also learned a few things while making this. it Easy to Fill your Coffee Mug

1. Im not that bad at baking. :P
2. I learned that separating egg yolk from white egg is not that hard. Yes, that was the first time I did it.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Nutella Maple Syrup Marble Cake

3 eggs
4oz sugar
1 1/4cups flour
6oz butter (1.5 stick) - melted
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp peanut butter (next time i would use 5tbsp!)
2 tbsp Nutella
2oz dark chocolate
1tsp (heap) baking powder

Preheat oven at 325F

1. Start by separating the yolk and white of the 3 eggs.

2. Cream the yolk with sugar, melted butter and maple syrup until it becomes creamy. Add flour, baking powder and mix well.

3. Beat the egg white until they become stiff and add to the mixture. Continue mixing.

4. Divide the cake mixture into 2 portions.

5. Mix 1 portion with the melted chocolate and nutella spread and peanut butter in the other portion.

6. You can either pour the 2 flavors at the same time on a well greased baking dish of your choice or pour them alternately or any other way you want for the marble effect. I simply pour them line by line since im not too creative. hahaha.

7. Bake the cake for 30 min, take it out and cover the top with aluminium foil (Dhanggit said to avoid burning and that is exactly what I did) and continue baking for another 10min.

The result is a soft chocolaty, peanut buttery cake. The smell when the cake is baking is so intoxicating that I keep sniffing into the air just to get the smell. The cake was however a bit dry when it's new but gets moister the next day. Im no experct on cake but I guess it was because the butter has sets in nicely.

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