Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thosai


Thosai or Dosa is definitely one of our favourite Indian cuisine.

What is Thosai? It is an Indian crepe or pancake-like made from rice and lentils. A typical South Indian cuisine... most probably Kerala. Thosai can be eaten for breakfast or dinner or in Malaysia... you can get Thosai anytime of the day from Indian restaurants.

I have known Uma since 1990. And since then... almost every Deepavali or Diwali, she would invite us to her house ...  Mr H and I  would feast on the good food cooked by her late mom... and thosai served with mutton curry... would be one of many delicious festival food...
I had my first lesson in thosai making... when we visited Uma and her family in Queenstown, in 2007... she taught me how to make thosai.... the art of spreading batter over hot gridle...  Fantastic... I can make my own thosai... May not be as good ... but better than nothing... 
Next ~ to learn how to cook her wonderful curry.... :) maybe next trip to Canberra where she now resides...

  • 1 cup of urud dhal
  • 2 cups of long grain rice (uncooked)
  • salt
Washed and soaked urud dhal and rice grains separately, overnight. With just enough water (to move the blades), blend (separately) until smooth. Mix well and add more water (if needs be) to have a smooth batter...Leave to ferment overnight... possible longer on cooler days. The batter should be slightly 'sourish' in taste and smell.

Note: to expedite the process of fermentation, one could add about 1 teaspoon of yeast.

Heat up a gridle... oil it... ladle the mixture onto the hot surface. Using the back of the ladle.... moving in circular motion...to spread and thin the thosai...Thosai is ready when the top surface 'bubble up' and turns colour. Serve immediately with lentils or beef curry or mutton curry.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore with olives Risotto


I will not ramble too much on this post... we were too busy with our gardening activities over the Anzac Day long weekend...  just planted rows and rows of leeks... my last count was 70 seedlings, pomegranate and blueberries....  just too exhausted to put on my 'thinking cap'...

This is another version of Chicken Cacciatore... cooked with arborio rice. One pot meal has always been my 'favourite'... especially after a good work out in the garden. 
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 400g jar of tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion - chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves - chopped
  • 100g of rashers - chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup of arborio rice
  • 2 teaspoon of fresh rosemary leaves - chopped
  • 500g chicken thigh fillet - cubed
Place stock and tomato pasta sauce in a saucepan and bring to boil... lower the heat to a simmer.

Heat oil in the saucepan over medium heat and add rasher, onion and garlic. Stir until the onion has softened. Add rice and rosemary. Cook and stir for 1 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of stock mixture, cook and keep stirring until the stock has been absorbed. Repeat with the remaining stock... and everytime add 1/3 cup of stock at a time... until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender and creamy. Serve topped with parmesan cheese and parsley.
Recipe ~sfi

Saturday, April 24, 2010

White Chocolate Chips Brownie

During the last week of school holiday, Miss E said she felt like baking something...perhaps cookies.. something sweet. She flipped through most of my cooking magazines, cookbooks but still hasn't found what she's looking for. Then I tried suggesting that she try and bake cookies from one of my 'Foodblogger Mates' ~ My Cooking Hut.. ~ white chocolate and macadamia nuts...

"nope" she said.. (shucks... I wanted to try that!!). She ransacked my pantry... my baking box...she found a bar of dark cooking chocolate..(we had previously bought some white and milk choc chips packets... its me trying to coax her to make Leemei's cookies.. hmm another failed attempt on my part again...)

Finally.. she settled for Janelle Bloom's Brownie...with slight modification...as we ran out of castor sugar ...oops.. hence icing sugar came in handy... and instead of some walnut... she wasn't keen of any type of nuts ~ afraid that pimples might popped out like popcorn (1 month plus to her officially being crowned as Miss Teenager)... she replaced walnuts with white choc chips.

Then came the crunch... preparation works ~ melting the chocolate...
I prefer the double boil method... she was adamant..she wanted to microwave the chocolate...when I exercise my 'mom-veto' power.... she mildly posed rhetorical questions... "Mom, Remember... the chocolate fondue? ....who burnt the chocolate in the microwave?? I  know how not to burn the chocolate in the microwave... ;P"  hmmm.... what can I say...she used her Ace...and left me dumbfounded...
  • 200g butter
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup self raising flour
  • 3 eggs - lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 150g white choc chip..
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup castor sugar
Pre heat oven to 180C. Greased baking paper with 5cm overhang to fit a 20cmx20cmx3cm pan.
Melt the chocolate with butter in the microwave for 1 minute on HIGH... stir... if the chocolate has not fully melted.. then microwave again... check and stir every 30 seconds on HIGH.

Mix in sugars... and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add in cocoa powder.
Add eggs in the chocolate mix.... Then add in both flours.
Mix well... and pour into the pan and baked for 30-40 minutes or until the skewer comes out with moist crumbs.. Cool in the pan.. and serve...



May be I should read her the MOM's Rules:

Rule no 1 : Mom is always right..
Rule no 2 : Always refer to Rule no 1...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Beef Panang Curry

Growing up in the Northern part of Malaysia which has  common border with Thailand... coupled with my paternal grandfather ~  of Thai descend, its no surprise that we developed the penchant for Thai food...especially Mr H Jr!!

Panang Curry has always been on top of  Mr H Jr's list whenever we feel like having Thai food... it is tasty, creamy and nutty. His favourite ingredients..all in one pot: beef, red curry paste, coconut milk and peanut butter...  hmmm.. not too encouraging for our well being ... bad for our ticky-ticker... the Heart... .. 

On the hindsight... it's easy to cook... not too hot for my little missy Miss E. Therefore, 'indulging' once in a blue moon and in moderation ... should be OK..  ;) ...
Recipe from Somi Anuntra ~ Thai Cooking Class.

  • Mince beef - roll into a ball
  • corn flour
  • oil for frying
Shape the beef into small round balls of 2.5cm in diameter. Roll balls in flour and shake off the excess. Shallow fry the meatballs until slightly golden brown. Remove and set aside on kitchen paper.

Panang Curry
  • 3 tablespoon of red curry paste (available from supermarkets or Asian grocer)
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoon crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (or more if desired)
  • salt to taste
Saute the red curry paste until fragrant. Add in coconut milk, fish sauce peanut butter and sugar... stir on low fire. Add in the meatball and leave it to simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with steam rice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chilli Garlic and Prawn Spaghetti


I have an 'Italian' girl living in my house... who loves nothing but her pasta...  in any shapes & sizes  and tastes...She can have pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner... She learned how to whip up a quick meal using spaghetti, tomato sauce and tasty cheese ...
I enjoy my pasta... but I need varieties ...can't have the tomato base sauce all the time... 
This garlic, chilli and prawn spaghetti, is simple yet refreshing. A meal everyone can enjoy... I can have mine with chillies...and my little Italian girl aka Miss E.. can enjoy her spaghetti... minus the chilli of course!!. Its a win-win situation for us.
  • 3 cloves of garlic - chopped
  • 2 chilli - chopped (optional)
  • 400g dried spaghetti
  • 500g cooked prawn - deveined and leave tail intact
  • olive oil
Cooked spaghetti according to the packet. Drained and reserve about a bowl of the 'pasta' water.
Saute the garlic and chilli in a 3 tablespoon of olive oil until fragrant. Stir in the spaghetti with the reserve water. Give a quick toss around the pot or frying pan. And add in prawn, and give it another quick toss.... season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Apom Balik/ Malaysian Pancake


Apom-Balik
Apom Balik is a type of pancake... sprinkled with grounded peanuts, creamed sweetcorn and sugar... cooked on a griddle then folded in half. There are 2 types of Apom Balik ~ thick and 'meaty'  or thin and crispy. I prefer the later...

Apom Balik used to be one of the must have's Sunday breakfast... when we were living in Kuala Lumpur.

Kids have been craving for Malaysian food  and had been asking for Apom Balik (and many other food request too!!). I made Apom Balik once (about 4 years ago)... before my blog was born ... using a small non-stick frying pan. It tasted OK but couldn't perfected it to the vendor's 'thin and crispy' Apom Balik. So on my visit to my hometown... last April, I bought an Apom Balik mould (pic above)... made of brass(tembaga)...it's quite heavy and suppose to maintain and distribute the heat evenly.  

This basic recipe is ransacked from my sister's collection of recipes ...  We tried out this recipe at her place and it turned out good... So I recreate using the same recipe with the omission of banana essence as I prefer not to use it.... and voila..I managed to have a nice Apom Balik.. I still need practice to achieve that crispiness...Kids will be grinning from ear to ear if they read this... more Apom Balik ...yay  :)

Batter
  • 500g of plain flour
  • 250 ml or 1 cup of sugar
  • 750-800 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon bicarbonate soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 teaspoon salt
Mix everything into a smooth batter.

Topping
  • Creamed corn
  • roasted peanuts - roughly grounded
  • sugar
Heat up the 'Apom Balik' mould. Grease with 1 teaspoon of margarine, pour batter onto the mould. How much batter? Depending on how thick or thin... one prefer. Leave to 'bubble'... then sprinkle with grounded peanuts and sugar, then drop dollops of creamed corn. Once the edges and the bottom has turn golden brown, fold the Apom Balik into half....Serve...



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Laksa Johor



There are many Laksa varieties in Malaysia. Almost every States has their own version of laksa.
This laksa is a signature dish from Southern part of Malaysia, Johor.

I had my first taste of Laksa Johor when I was in Derby, UK.  My friend and housemate, Azi, ... cooked us Laksa Johor.  At that time.. many thousands kilometers away from home... we would make do with whatever ingredients that we can get to make a nice Laksa Johor. She taught me the arts of  'twirling' the spaghetti and to cut the cucumber and so forth. 
I grew up with  Asam Laksa, ...hence  I find Laksa Johor fascinating   .... the gravy is rich ... fishy, creamy (using coconut milk)  ...and  fresh herbs like basil ... creates a fresh and flavoursome taste ...

I have not had a home cooked Laksa Johor  for quite a long time until last April... when I visited my former boss, who opens a restaurant in a suburban Kuala Lumpur....serving authentic Johorean cuisine....

So this is my version of Laksa Johor...  
  • 1 kg basa fillets
  • 20 fresh prawns (clean ~ without shell and tail)
  • 2 tablespoon belacan
  • 3 tablespoon sambal
  • 2 red onions - chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic - chopped
  • 3 stalk of lemongrass - chopped
  • 3 cm ginger - chopped
  • 3 cm galangal - chopped
  • 5 tablespoon fish curry powder
  • 6 pcs asam keping or tamarind slices
  • salt and sugar to taste
  • 400 ml thick coconut milk
  • 1.5 liter of water.
  • 5 tablespoon of oil
Blend onions, garlic, galangal, ginger, belacan and add 1/4 cup of water. Blend into a fine paste.

Bring to boil 1.5 liter of water. Add in the fillets and prawns and cook for 5-8 minutes. Drain the stock into another pot. Blend the fillets and prawns. Set aside.

Heat oil in a stockpot or deep pot over medium fire. Fry the grounded spices, curry powder until fragrant and oil separates. Add the blended fish and prawns. Give a good stir for 5 minutes. Then add in fish stock and tamarind slices. Bring to boil and leave it to simmer for 15 minutes.
Lastly add coconut milk. Lower the fire and season with salt and sugar.


Preparing the Laksa and its condiment:
  • 400g spaghetti - cooked as per packet instruction
  • 1 red onion - thinly sliced
  • raw beansprout
  • finely shredded cucumber
  • thinly sliced chillies
  • fresh herbs like Thai basil and mint
  • long beans or snake beans - thinly sliced
Assemble the spaghetti and its condiment in a bowl and ladle the fish broth or laksa into the bowl...serve...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pizza or Nuttella Snails


We are into our second week of autumn school break... And when kids are at home... they are reluctant to have bread..(who wouldn't... if most school days, they have been having sandwiches, wrap etc for lunch!!). A loaf of bread will last us for at least 5 days during school break, whereby, school days... a loaf a day!!
These snails are great for quick snack and also great for lunch boxes too ... when school starts next week!!! :)

  • 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 80g cold butter- chopped
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
Preheat the oven 200C (fan forced) with the baking tray on the centre shelf.

Place flour, butter and sugar in a food processors, process until mixture resemble crumbs. Add milk and process until dough comes together. turn dough onto a lightly flored surface, knead until smooth.

Roll the pastry to a 30x20cm rectangle. Spread either with nutella and sprinkle the almond meal or spread the tomato paste, sprinkle some mixed herbs, rashers and cheese. Roll up the from a long length edge into a log. Using sharp knife, cut into 8 slices. Place snails side by side on a piece of baking paper. Slide the paper onto the hot tray and bake for 12-15 minutes.
~ready steady cook
For Nutella snails:
  • nuttella spread
  • almond meal
For pizza snails:
  • rashers - chopped into small pieces
  • tasty / mozarella cheese
  • tomato paste

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pumpkin Pie


I am so chuffed that I finally baked a Pumpkin Pie!!!

Mr H  has been hinting for quite sometime... and almost every Halloween or whenever I bought pumpkin from the market  ... "wouldn't it be nice if we can have pumpkin pie"...and my reply would be... "hmmm.... yes darling, it would be nice"...and just leave it at that... The pumpkin will soon ended up as soup for my little dearie Miss E

So here it is my first Pumpkin Pie ... and it will not be my last..(eventhough it'll take me years to bake my second...:). hahaha)

The pumpkin filling was from Ina Garten with some modification... and the crust is from Australian Women's weekly cookbook...

Biscuit Pastry
  • 90g butter - cube
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup self raising flour
Combine the flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add in the butter. Mix both until it resemble breadcrumbs. Add in the egg. Knead until smooth. Cover the bowl with "Glad wrap' and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out the pastry between sheets of floured baking paper until large enough to line pie dish. Trim the edges. Prick the base lightly and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

Cover the pastry with baking paper and fill up the pastry with either rice grains or baking beans. Bake @180C for 10 minutes. Remove the beans carefully from the pastry case. and bake for further 10 minutes. Cool.

Pumpkin filling:
  • 2 cups of mashed pumpkin (butternut)
  • 1/2 packed raw sugar
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon custard powder
Mix all until combined.
Pour into the cooled pie shell... and bake at 180C for 50-60 minutes or until the filling is set.

Tip: to avoid having a burnt pie crust... cover with aluminium foil along the top edges of the crust..

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Vegetable curry with Dried Shrimps


We love our curries.... and this is a good meal to 'clean out' the crisper before going to market for the fresh vegetables stock-up. Any kind of vegetables will do...(may be not the leafy ones like spinach, pak choy etc).
Serve with either steam rice, mantou or even roti canai
A nice winter warmer....
  • cauliflower - florets
  • cabbage - cut into 1 inch
  • french beans - 2cm in length
  • carrots - cut into sticks
  • aubergine - cut into chunk
  • 1/4 cup curry powder -mix with 1/2 cup water to make paste
  • 1/2 cup of dried shrimps - chopped
  • a little bit of belacan (prawn paste)
  • 400 ml of lite coconut milk
  • 1 brown onion - roughly chopped
  • deep fried beancurds (from Asian grocer) / taupok
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
Stir fry the chopped dried prawns until fragrant. Then add in the onion. Saute until onion is soft. Stir in the curry paste and lemongrass....cook until fragrant. Add in carrots, cabbage and cauliflower and cook until its tender then add in the rest of vegetables with coconut milk, prawn paste (belacan) and beancurd. Season to taste.

Note: for extra 'zing'.... add more curry powder ...and for a wholesome vegetarian meal... just omit the dried prawns and belacan...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Toad-in-a-Hole


It was a long awaited.... long weekend for us...
Mr H~ he was up to his nose with work... kids~ looking forward to 'sleeping in' and me... no more morning and evening mad rush too... well at least for the next 2 weeks... phew...

We had list of things to do over the Easter long weekend... give kitchen and family area floor ~ a good scrub and polish, some work in the garden ...dig out here and there to make pathways and planting succulents, to grow garlics and other autumn vegetables (possible leeks..), clean the alfresco and the list goes on and on and on....

Work is still in progress... but managed to finish cleaning and polishing floor, dug out dirt for pathways...planted garlics....

With all the great plans instore and to save time... we had BBQ (again!) ... with lots of sausages and other meat too... the leftovers are great for a quick meal the next day... like Toad-in-a- Hole.
  • 16 beef chipolatas sausages or BBQ sausages
  • 1 large brown onion - thinly sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 plain flour
  • cherry tomatoes
  • rosemary leaves
Pre heat the oven to 200C.

Heat a large frying pan over moderate heat. Add the sausages to the pan, cooked until slightly brown and then add in the thinly sliced onion. Cook and turn the onion and sausages until brown.
Whisk the milk, plain flour and eggs in a jug until well combined. Add salt to taste.
Arrange the sausages and tomatoes in a ovenproof dish. Pour the batter over the sausages and tomatoes and sprinkle rosemary. Bake for 30 minutes or until set. Serve with salad.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Nasi Dagang

Nasi Dagang is a signature dish from Terengganu .

My thanks to my dearest friend, Uja, for this recipe...
She has painstakingly typed and emailed me (her mom's recipe) nearly 2 years ago.. when I requested for one... Sorry Uja!!... it took me this long to cook it... :)

Red glutinous rice is used in Nasi Dagang .. and since I can't find any here, I substitute with red cargo rice... it is not the same as red glutinous rice but it has a nice bitey texture.. and as for the gravy... instead of using fish curry powder, I blended some spices...but kept to the cooking method that makes the curry/sauce.. thick and yummy...

The last time I had Nasi Dagang ~ when Uja's mom cooked for us before we moved to Perth... and that was nearly 7 years ago...

Since it is going to be a long Easter weekend... so I thought of posting this Nasi Dagang for everyone/anyone to try. A lot of work involved in preparing this dish...and its time consuming... but its worth it!!!

For the rice:
  • 3 cups(rice cooker cup measurement) of red cargo rice.. see note 1 below
  • 1 cup of glutinous rice (using the same cup to measure)
  • 1 can of thick coconut milk
  • 1 cup of water (cup definition as above)
  • shallots and ginger ~ thinly sliced
  • salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoon of fenugreek (halba)
Soak both type of rice in 2 separate container overnight. Drained and mix. Prepare the steamer...
Steam the rice for 40 minutes then add water... continue steaming for another 45 minutes before adding in coconut milk, salt, shallots, ginger and fenugreek seeds. Give it a good stir. Steam for another 10 minutes (until the rice is cooked thoroughly)... and leave it to rest for a while before serving...

For the Fish and stock:
  • 4 hiramasa cutlets
  • 5 pieces of tamarind slices
  • 2 tablespoon palm sugar
  • salt
Cover the fish cutlets with water (water level..just about covering the cutlets) in a saucepan. Add in tamarind slices,palm sugar and salt. Bring to boil. Reserve the stock.

For the Sauce/Curry
  • 4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoon fennel
  • 1/2 inch galangal
  • 1/2 inch fresh tumeric
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 inch of ginger
  • 200g red onion
  • 12-15 dried chillies
  • 4 tablespoon roasted shredded coconut~grounded into paste (kerisik)
  • some palm sugar
  • 1 can of thick coconut cream
  • 2 inch of cinnamon stick
  1. Blend all the above spices (except roasted shredded coconut, palm sugar, coconut cream and cinnamon stick).
  2. Heat up (and on medium heat) the coconut cream in a saucepan until oil separates (pecah minyak).... then add the blended spices, roasted coconut (kerisik), palm sugar and cinnamon stick.
  3. Bring to boil then leave it to simmer until the sauce has reduced to half... add water to the initial level again.
  4. Repeat the step 3,.. but this time round... add in the fish (see note2 below) and the reserve stock...
  5. Simmer on low fire until the sauce thickened...
  6. Add the fish cutlets... if omitted in Step 4.
The end result: the sauce should taste creamy, a little bit sourish and slightly on the sweet side...

note 1 : substitute red cargo rice with white long grain rice. 
note 2: you can omit the fish ... add in the stock instead at Step 3.. otherwise the fish will be mushy...


Serve with carrot ribbons, cucumber ribbons, tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion mix with sugar, salt and vinegar.