Saturday, November 29, 2008

Recipe : Sayur Lodeh

Sayur lodeh is a popular Indonesian vegetable stew in coconut curry. This dish is also very popular in Malaysia and Singapore and essentially served in Malay homes and restaurants. Honestly, I have never been a fan of this dish as I prefer chicken or meat curry vs vegetable curry. But then, my Hubby-D loves this dish and I had an easy solution to make it, thus I made it much to his surprise! Hurray! I scored points!

Simple ingredients :-
1) Ready-made Sayur Lodeh Spices by Asian Home Gourmet. This is available in most supermakets. :) If you need the recipe to make the spices from scratch, please scroll all the way below.
2) Vegetables - I just scanned thru my fridge and took whatever was available.
- Half a carrot - sliced to semi-thin sticks
- French beans - 8-10 string beans
- Napa cabbage and some round cabbage
- Onions - one
- Potato - one potato sliced in cubes

3) Usually the ingredient requires firm tofu but since I did not have any, I kinda improvised. I took some chicken breast, cut into cubes, marinade with salt, pepper and a dash of soy sauce and stir-fried till cook. Dish and keep aside. Smart eh....I made Vegetable Lodeh and disguised the chicken as tofu!! Haha....

Simple Steps -

1) To make sure that my vegetables turned out fragrant and cook at the same time, with a little oil in wok, I fried some of the vegetable for 5 minutes. The potatoes take a bit longer time to cook hence I put in the potatoes first, then the carrot and then the french beans. Remove and keep aside.

2) In the same wok, remove paste from packaging, add 2 bowls of water and 1 bowl of coconut milk. Bring it to a boil.

3) Add in all the vegetables plus the tofu...ahem...chicken cubes :)

4) In low fire, let it simmer for 20 minutes. Voila! Ready to eat! Yum yum!

My hubby was ecstatic and very appreciative. Made me feel like such a wonderful wife!! :)

For all of you who wants to make the spice from stratch, here is the recipe :
Spice blend recipe
2 tablespoons chili paste
2 teaspoons shrimp paste (belacan)
2 medium onions
4 garlic cloves
2 stalks lemongrass
20 small dried shrimp, soaked in hot water to soften
1 inch fresh ginger
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
4 tablespoons oil

Blend all this ingredients in mixer till fine!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Recipe - Cinnamon Rolls

I can't believe I made this! Doesn't it look lovely? Please click here to read how I got this inspiration.

Below is the step by set recipe. Trust me, it is easy.

Simple ingredients - ( I have made some changes to original recipe)

Dough :
4-ounce package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
4 cups of all-purpose flour

1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 6 tablespoons hot water

Simple steps :-

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a bowl and set aside for 2 minutes

2. In a mixer, put milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg and mix till blended. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle.

3. Place the dough in well-greased bowl for proofing, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours . When doubled in size, remove the dough.

4. Roll out on a floured surface into about a 15 by 9-inch rectangle.

5. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

6. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired

7. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal.

8. Cut into 12 pieces. Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes.

9. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

For the glaze. mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

Hope you like this recipe and do let me know if you try making it. All the best!

Don't forget to click to my other food blog and check out how I got this inspiration plus many other food postings. Enjoy!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Homemade Meat Balls with Water Chestnut

Homemade meat balls. Ahhh!! For as long as I can remember, since young I only had homemade meat balls. My family do not eat out very often and even if we ate out it would be mostly Chinese food. Therefore, I have always had the impression that meat balls are made at home. Of course now, you can get pre-packed meatballs from supermarkets easily.

I will share with you my simple recipe of homemade meatballs. I am sure there are many variations of this in terms of ingredients that you can use but this is a very basic recipe that is fast and simple. I would be adding water chestnut for extra crunch in this recipe.

Simple ingredients -
Base meat ingredients -
1) 500 gram minced pork
2) 1 medium sized onion or 3 pieces of shallots- chopped fine.
3) 2 cloves of garlic - chopped fine.
4) Seasoning - salt, soy sauce, cornstarch, pepper.

5) Special add-on - Water chestnut - I just used half of the can below. I did not buy fresh ones cos it was just too tedious to peel and cut so I opted for the easy way out. However, fresh ones are definitely sweeter so do use fresh ones if you get to buy them in the supermarkets.

Simple steps -
1. Remove half of the sliced water chestnut from the can. Chopped it fine. I will leave the size up to you. Some prefer it smaller but I have opted for slightly larger pieces so that I can taste the crunch.

2. Mix and marinade all the ingredients of the base meat mix. Add the water chest nut last.

3. Mix it well. Actually my water chestnut bits are a bit chunky. I should have made the bits smaller as it was a bit difficult to make it stick together when I roll it into small sized balls.

4. Shape the meat mix into small round shaped balls. Use a average sized table spoon, scoop up the meat, wet your fingers a bit and shape into balls on your palms.

5. Last step - heat wok with oil for frying. Fry the meat balls till golden brown. Voila! Ready to eat! Trust is YUMMY!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Simple Fried Rice

I wrote about "How to cook the perfect fried rice" in a few weeks ago. I realized that I never did a posting on fried rice despite cooking in regularly in my kitchen. To me, fried rice is such an easy dish. All I need is overnight rice and then I can throw in whatever ingredients into the fried rice.

This time, it will be a very basic and simple fried rice. I only need 4 ingredients.
1. Overnight rice (kept in fridge)
2. 2 eggs
3. Long Beans - 4-5 stalks (chopped)
4. Some minced pork or chicken

Simple steps -

1. My tip for a perfect fried rice - I always cook the ingredients first and then kept aside. This is to ensure that I only focus on making the rice perfect when I put the rice in the wok. So in this case, I used a 2 TBSP of oil in wok, add in the minced meat, stir fry and then add in the chopped long beans. Stir fry for 5 minutes, add some salt, scoop up and keep aside.

2. In the same wok, add 1 TBSP of oil. Pour beaten egg into the wok.

3. Do not need to flip the egg. Just pour the overnight rice on top of egg. Remember, make sure that you have loosen the rice before you put into wok.

4. Mix the rice around in the wok in a fast motion. Fire can be at mid to high. Add some salt and light soy sauce. If you want it to be darker, you can add dark soy sauce.

5. Continuously stir the rice in wok to prevent rice from sticking to wok. Add the cooked meat and long beans on rice.

6. Now, all you need to do is to continuously stir fry to mix the rice around and let the heat from the wok enveloped the rice. Imagine you are a top chef in the kitchen, using your strong arms to stir up the best fried rice.

7. That's it. It's that easy. The fried rice looks a bit dry cos I used very little oil and I do not like my rice wet. To me, most important is to get a fried rice that has "heat of the wok" ("wok hei"). Then all the ingredients will blend well together.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Homemade Prawn Mee

I have to thanks Precious Pea for this inspiration. I tried to make my own prawn mee a few months back but I was making an abridged version aka "the cheat version". Link here. I used the soup base from an instant noodle but added all the condiments so that it looked like a prawn noodles that I was ordering from a hawker stall in Malaysia. It was a nice Saturday morning breakfast thrill to surprise my Hubby-D. Fast and delicious prawn mee from Foodmadesimple hawker stall.

Precious Pea was so nice to direct me to her posting whereby she made the prawn mee from scratch. I decided that I must make it one day but firstly, I would have to accumulate the prawn heads. After months, I finally managed to accumulate enough so this is my attempt at the original foodmadesimple's Homemade Prawn Mee.

Simple Ingredients -

Soup base :-

1) Prawn's heads and shells - from 1-2 pound of prawns

2) Pork ribs -1 pound

3) Water - 10 cups (approximately 2 liter)

4) Rock sugar - 2-3 small pieces.

Chili Paste :-

1) 20 dried chilies (soaked to soften)

2) 5 fresh red chillies

3) 6 shallots (peeled)

4) 4 cloves garlic (peeled)

5) 2 TBSP of water

I made the chilli paste earlier. Blend all the ingredients above till fine. Heat the wok with 4-5 TBSP of cooking oil. Stir fry the chili paste for 5 minutes. Dish up and set aside.


1) 1/4 pound of lean pork meat (boiled and sliced thinly)

2) 1/4 pound shrimp / prawns (shelled, deveined - stirfry lightly)

3) 2-3 hard-boiled eggs

4) 1 pack of rice vermicelli / mee hoon (scalded) - enough for 3-4 servings

5) Kangkung or water convolvulus (scalded)

6) Bean sprouts (scalded)

Simple steps :-

1) Firstly, with a 2 tbsp of oil in wok/pot, you stirfry quickly the shrimp heads. Then you add water and bring it to bowl. Simmer on low heat for about 1.5 hours or longer until the stock is yellowish orange like above.

2) Strain the stock through sieve. Discard the prawn heads and shells. Discard the orange "foam" which in on top of the stock. Add the chilli paste, add the pork ribs and continue to boil in low heat for another 1-1.5 hour until the pork ribs are thoroughly cooked.

3) Ah-ha the special ingredient is to add rock sugar. Don't know why but for sure it would sweeten the taste. Let it boil until ready. Add salt to taste. The stock is ready!

4) To prepare the rest of the ingredient is pretty easy. Boil the eggs until hard boiled. Boil the pork slices, shrimp, until cooked, Keep aside. Get some fried shallots. Boil the kankung (water convolvulus) and bean sprouts. Boil the noodles.

5) Ready to eat?? To serve, place a portion of meehoon(rice vermicelli), some kangkung and bean sprouts in a bowl. Ladle hot prawn stock over. Top with pork slices, shrimp, egg and pork ribs and fried shallots. Add more chilli for more 'kick' as desired.

Click here for Precious Pea's recipe.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Mee Siam

Mee Siam, which means "Siamese noodle", is a dish of thin rice noodles (mee hoon, vermicelli) in spicy, sweet and sour light gravy. Honestly, I have never really eaten a proper mee siam with gravy. This is because I love fried mee hoon and I don't like it with gravy. So in Malaysia, whenever I have mee siam, I always decline the gravy.

Thus, when I decided to make mee siam, I searched the net for recipes and found it a little bit confusing for me, particularly because I was looking to just make the dry noodles but yet have the taste of the gravy! So I decided to mix and match the ingredients and create my own version of mee siam. Please note also I am missing the dried beancurd ("Tau kwa") and dried preserved soy bean ("tau cheong) which are important ingredients in an original mee siam.

So, I went with an easier version of dry mee siam, yet still ensuring it has the sweet, sour, spicy flavour.

Simple Ingredients.
1) Vermicelli or Mee Hoon ( enough for 3-4 persons) - soaked and drained.
2) Beans sprouts ("Taugeh") - one cup
3) Prawns - 8-10 pcs
4) Dried Shrimp (soaked and chopped) - one handful
5) 1 tbsp of chilli paste
6) 1 tbsp of tamarind paste (dissolved in water)
7) 1 Egg (hard boiled)
8) 1 lime - for 1 tsp of juice and rest for garnishing
9) A bit of garlic/ shallots to stir fry

It was rushed day for me and once I started cooking, I totally forgot to take photos. So for this recipe, I will just write the process. Sorry yeah but trust me...I did cook it :)

Simple steps -

1) Firstly, stirfry the shallots and garlic till fragrant. Remove and leave aside. Next, stirfry the dried shrimp till fragrant. Add the prawns and do a quick stir till prawns are cooked. Add in the chilli paste and tamarind paste.

2) Add in the vermicelli and stirfry. Continously stir the meehoon to prevent it from sticking to the wok. Add a bit of tamarind juice and lime juice. Add salt and some fish sauce. You can use soy sauce if you do not have fish sauce. Add a bit of sugar and continue to toss the meehoon.

3) Ready to serve. Add green onions, sliced hard boiled eggs and lime as garnishing.

4) This is my version of mee siam. Well it is not exactly the exact formula but it has the tangy, sweet, sour and spicy taste. If I have added the preserved soy bean paste, probably the taste would be closer but I am happy with my results for now. Voila! Ready to eat! Yummy!