Monday, January 31, 2011

Mini Shrimp and Pork Floss Rolls

I decided to make these for fun, and in the spirit of Chinese New Year :)

Sweet pork floss rolls

Crispy and spicy sambal dried shrimp

Mini spring rolls with spicy dried shrimp

Mini spring rolls with spicy dried shrimp

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fried Black Hokkien Mee

I really miss eating KL Hokkien Mee, and I mean the real thing. Thick yellow noodles braised in a dark soy-based gravy, with nothing more than some cabbage, pork slices and lard, and served with sambal belacan, it's one thing that I have to eat whenever I visit KL.

My version of it has no lard (of course if you could throw in some lard, that would be perfect). It's simple to prepare and my kids love "black noodles". A little like Asian style squid ink pasta. Perhaps a little squid ink in the dish might enhance the flavour.


500g thick yellow noodles, softened in hot water
4 cloves garlic
Prawns/fish cake/calamari
Sliced pork/chicken, seasoned with soy, pepper, sugar and cornflour
2 cups cabbage, roughly chopped

2 tbsp soy sauce
5-6 tbsp thick dark soy sauce
2 cups stock
2 cups water
1 tsp chicken/ikan bilis stock powder
Salt, sugar, pepper for seasoning


  1. Fry the prawns/fish cake/calamari until cooked, remove and set aside.
  2. Heat up oil and fry garlic, then fry the meat. Add cabbage and stir-fry for a while, then add sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Add noodles, cover and braise for about 10 minutes or until noodles and cabbage have softened and gravy is thick and starchy. Add more water/stock if necessary to cook the noodles further.
  3. When cooked, add the prawns/fish cake/calamari, mix it through and it's ready to serve with some sambal belacan.
Note: I find that this dish usually tastes better the next day after the noodles have soaked up the gravy.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nastar Pineapple Rolls (Pineapple Tarts)

Celebrate CNY with pineapple tarts :)

The quest is over. Loving these buttery melt-in-your-mouth pineapple tarts.  You may also click here to view my other post on Pineapple tarts.

Nastar Pineapple Tarts / Rolls


300g good quality butter, at room temperature
80g icing sugar
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fine salt

Sift together:
420g plain flour
50g corn flour / custard powder
1 tsp baking powder

Lightly beat together for egg wash:
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp condensed milk
2 tsp fresh milk/water
Pinch of salt
A drop of yellow food colouring

2 medium-sized pineapples (about 1.4kg after peeled and cored), cut into chunks (or 2 cans (about 800g each) pineapple chunks in natural juice, or you can mix both)
300g - 400g sugar, or to taste
2 tsp lemon juice (or depending on how sour/sweet the pineapples are)
1 inch cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1/2 star anise

Blend the pineapple chunks with a food processor. Make sure they are fine enough that you can't feel any course chunks when you rub them between your fingers. Pour into a sieve to drain some of the excess juice, but not too dry. Cook pineapple and spices in a wide heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Lower heat to simmer (or use high heat but stir continuously and watch it to make sure it doesn't burn). Add the sugar and stir for about 30-40 minutes or until mixture is dry, thick and amber in colour. Halfway through, check for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary. Add lemon juice to taste. Leave aside to cool, refrigerate for a few hours and roll into small elongated pieces (about half teaspoon of pineapple jam each) to be used as filling.

Line baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Cream butter, ghee and sugar until light. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time. Then add vanilla and salt and beat until fluffy. Fold in sifted ingredients and mix into a firm dough. Put dough into a nastar mould and press out into a strip of about 2-inch lengths. Place a piece of pineapple jam on one end and roll up pastry to enclose the jam.

Put the rolls on prepared trays. Brush with egg wash (optional), and bake in preheated oven at 180°C for 15-18 minutes or until it starts to turn golden. Do not overbake as it may turn out too hard, and probably burnt too! Remove from oven and leave on tray for about 5 minutes. Then transfer to wire racks to cool. Store in airtight containers.

Rolling out the pastry using a nastar mould
(Background: Pineapple jam rolled into little balls)

Assembling the pineapple rolls

Just need to brush some eggwash on the pastry before popping them into the oven

Ran out of pineapple jam, so I used the extra dough to make butter cookies for the kids

Mmm....pineapple... (just noticed the pineapple slicer though)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Singapore Fried Hokkien Mee

Cooked in prawn stock, with calamari, prawns, fish cake, sliced pork, garlic chives and egg, served with chilli and lemon

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Grilled Spicy Coconut Chicken

Grilled Spicy Coconut Chicken Recipe


800g chicken drumsticks/thigh/legs

Ingredients to be finely ground to a paste:
1 large brown onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 inch ginger
2-3 tbsp chilli paste (or 4-6 dried chillies)
1 tsp belacan / shrimp paste
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground fennel
3 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric

200ml coconut milk
4 slices galangal
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, bruised (otherwise, just add 1 tbsp lemon juice)
3 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 tbsp dark soy, for colour
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
Coriander leaves for garnish


  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pot and fry the ground ingredients. Add galangal, lemongrass and chicken and sear the chicken all over till browned. Add dark soy and coconut milk and simmer for 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked and gravy is almost dry. If not dry yet, remove the chicken first and continue to reduce the gravy until the desired consistency. Add brown sugar and salt to taste.
  2. Preheat oven grill. Transfer the chicken to an oven-proof dish and put under the hot grill for about 10 minutes until skin starts to crisp/char. Then ladle the gravy over the chicken and continue to grill for another 5 minutes or so until caramelized. Remove and garnish with fresh coriander. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Luscious Coconut Jam ("Kaya")

After watching chef Susan Feniger serving up Toast with Coconut Jam and Soy Glazed Eggs on Top Chef Masters, I felt like having some kaya (coconut jam) too. It's been so long that I can't remember the last time I made it. It's a pity she got eliminated for serving that to the judges, no matter how good it was, it just wasn't Top Chef material. But I'm glad she managed to introduce kaya to the Americans (and all watching Top Chef) just like how head judge Tom Colicchio introduced "Bak Kwa" to viewers on the Top Chef blog after last season's finale in Singapore.

I have never tried Susan Feniger's kaya recipe before. The recipe below is the "standard" (I guess) method that I usually adopt, and one that my mum uses too (more or less). It's easy to make at home, but just be prepared to stand over the stove, stirring the jam continuously for about an hour. Otherwise you might end up with scrambled coconut eggs instead of a silky smooth coconut custard.

PS: If you are looking for a kaya toast fix in L.A., go to SUSAN FENIGER'S STREET. She even has a webpage dedicated to Kaya Toast!

Kaya toast

Coconut Jam ("Kaya") Recipe


10 eggs, beaten
400ml coconut cream (I used Ayam Brand)
500g caster sugar
2 pandan (screwpine) leaves, knotted


  1. Reserve 2 tbsp of sugar and add the rest to the beaten eggs. Mix until all the sugar is dissolved. Add coconut cream and stir. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove any impurities.
  2. Place mixture in a double boiler (I used a large metal bowl and placed it over a pot of simmering water. Alternatively, you can place the mixture in a heavy-based pot directly on the stove and stir over low heat, but be careful not to let the eggs cook at the bottom of the pot) together with pandan leaves and stir continuously over medium heat. Once the mixture starts to heat up, watch the heat and lower it to low-medium. If the pot/bowl becomes too hot to touch, then it's too hot for the mixture! You will need to lower the heat so as to avoid getting scrambled eggs.
  3. Optional step: In the meantime, while still stirring, place the 2 tbsp reserved sugar in a small, clean, dry heavy-based pot and turn on the heat to medium-low. When the mixture starts to boil, watch it closely as it turns yellow to amber. When it turns to a slightly amber brown (but not burnt!), remove from the heat and pour into the egg mixture while still stirring. The sugar will crystallize in the mixture but will eventually dissolve. This is to add a deeper richer colour to the jam.
  4. After stirring and stirring for about an hour, the mixture should have thickened and darkened in colour. It is ready when the consistency is like that of thick pouring custard (but note that once it cools down, it will thicken further). Discard the leaves, pour the jam into jars and let cool before storing (I store it in the fridge). Serve with hot toast and thinly sliced salted butter!
The kaya is ready!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wok-tossed King Prawns in Soy Sauce

I love fresh large king/tiger prawns and they are already so delicious on their own that you don't have to do much to it to prepare a tasty dish. Here, I have just cooked them in a soy base, which reminds me of how my mum used to make them when I was little. When I served it to Zach for dinner, he was a little upset and didn't want to eat it because he wanted the "crispy one" that I usually deep-fry in batter. Well, we told him that if he didn't eat them, he wouldn't be having any chocolate chip cookies for dessert. So he reluctantly ate a few mouthfuls, with a little scowl on his face just to insist that he wasn't going to like it. But after a while, I think he started to enjoy eating it because he was trying hard to restrain from smiling everytime he had a spoonful of the soy-coated prawn with his rice. It must be the sweet and salty black sauce. Kids just love anything in soy (and we adults do too). And it's easy and delicious!

Wok-tossed King Prawns in Soy Sauce


500g large prawns, kept whole, washed, feelers trimmed off and deveined
3 cloves garlic
5 slices ginger
3-5 bird's eye chilli (optional)
A handful of coriander, chopped

Sauce (combine in a bowl):
1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp chinese cooking wine
3-4 drops sesame oil
1/4 cup water
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Dash of white pepper


  1. Heat up some oil in a wok on high heat. Drain the prawns of any liquid and toss the prawns in to fry for about a minute until almost cooked. Be sure not to overcrowd the wok, or else the prawns will start to stew. Remove and set aside.
  2. Heat up 1 tbsp of oil in wok, fry garlic and ginger till fragrant. Add in chilli if used. Pour in sauce ingredients and bring to a boil until it is slightly reduced. Check for seasoning.
  3. Toss in the prawns and fry quickly on high heat until coated in sauce and just cooked. Turn off heat and stir in chopped coriander. Dish out and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Toll House Cookies

These chocolate chip cookies are sensational! Crispy around the edges and slightly chewy in the centre with just the right amount of sweetness. The recipe comes from a book by Alex Goh that I recently added to my cookbook collection. I hadn't planned on making any cookies that afternoon as I still had some lemon loaf from the previous day. I had brought Z to the supermarket and he insisted that he wanted to buy this box of chocolate chip cookies. I don't really trust most of the baked goods that are made and sold in-house by the supermarkets as I believe they are overloaded with sugar and probably preservatives and other additives as well. So I told him that I'd make cookies for him instead. I was hoping he would have forgotten about it after we got home, but right after lunch, he said, "Mummy, can you get all the ingredients first?". I paused for a while (as I was busy washing the dishes) before I realised what he was asking. Just as well, since J was asleep, I quickly pulled out the recipe and proceeded to get everything ready, which didn't take too long. I just had to wait an hour for the dough to firm up in the fridge before shaping and placing the cookies on the baking tray, and they only took 15 minutes in the oven. I never used to like chewy cookies, but these are buttery, thin and light in texture with a slight chewiness and a hint of hazelnut meal which makes them just a little special :)

The Humble Lemon Loaf

This was one of the first cakes I had ever baked, which was about 4 years ago. I had a small fiddly little mixer made from cheap plastic, which, when turned on, looked like the mixing bowl was going to fly off the base as it rotated and rocked back and forth. But the cake still came out great, and I fell in love with it instantly, as did my cousins Soo and Rachel who also tried their hand at the recipe. I think they loved it so much that they kept taking turns baking it every other day for a while. I, too, baked another one shortly after the cake was all eaten up the next morning.

What I love about this cake is that it's super easy to make with only 6 ingredients, and as long as I have lemons at home (and I only need one!), I know I can have a nice dessert on the table within a couple of hours. This is a classic lemon syrup cake, which is like a lemon pound cake glazed and soaked in tangy lemon syrup. I always love the crusty exterior of the cake, which has little bits of crystalized sugar from the syrup after it's cooled, which gives it a nice crunch with a little zing from the lemon juice. I was pleasantly surprised that even the kids loved it, and they kept going back for more. Usually, they only eat anything that has chocolate in it. Lemon must be the new chocolate!

This recipe is from, which is a fantastic website and a regular source of recipes for me. Have a go at it if you are craving for something sweet, something lemony. It's comfort food, and an easy one too!

Recipe adapted from

Lemon Loaf


125g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 large lemon, rind finely grated, juiced
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional) 
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 6cm deep, 19cm x 10cm (base) loaf pan.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream butter, 1 cup of sugar and rind until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract, if used.
  3. Add half the flour and half the milk to egg mixture. Gently stir to combine. Fold in remaining flour and milk. Spoon mixture into loaf pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  4. Combine remaining sugar and 1/3 cup of lemon juice. Use a skewer to poke holes all over the loaf. Pour syrup over hot loaf while still in pan. Stand in pan until cooled.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Handmade noodles (Mee Hoon Kuay/Ban Mian)

After I returned from my vacation in Singapore, I realised that I had eaten almost everything I planned to eat there except for one thing - Mee Hoon Kuay, which literally means Wheat Flour Cake, but then we all know that often enough, literal translations from a foreign language (especially Asian languages) to English usually spells disaster and confusion. The dish actually comprises hand-made flour noodles (similar to fresh pasta, but uses less eggs) served in a broth usually made from ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and topped with crispy ikan bilis, meat, leafy vegetables and a poached egg. It also comes with a chilli sauce that you can dip the meat into or spoon into the soup.

Okay, just writing about this is making me drool.

Mee Hoon Kuay is thin, soft and silky smooth. Slurp slurp!

This is not one of those hard-core lard-laden high-cholesterol street/hawker food that regularly appears in articles on Singapore's top die-die-must-try or if-don't-eat-you-regret foods. It's a simple and relatively healthy dish that I reckon appeals more to the female population (in Singapore), and not so much to the meat-loving masses. I recall eating this occasionally at the hawker centre after work, dressed in my suit, hovering over this steaming hot bowl of noodles, trying to enjoy it while wiping away beads of perspiration caused by the steam and the unforgiving tropical heat. I'd be tearing (my eyes perspiring) along, satisfied nonetheless but wishing I could have a blast of cool air-conditioning to end an almost perfect meal.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Churros from Heaven!

When G saw the title of this post, he laughed and started to imagine thousands of churros falling from the sky. Well, I wish [it was cloudy with a chance of churros]! But really, these little spanish doughnuts taste so heavenly I could probably eat a whole plate of them. They are basically deep-fried choux pastry, light and crisp on the outside, soft, creamy, buttery and fluffy on the inside. And I didn't even need to dunk them in hot chocolate (which I didn't prepare as I discovered that I ran out of dark chocolate). They were just lovely to eat on their own, with a generous dusting of cinnamon sugar.

Hot churros dusted with cinnamon sugar. Yum!!!

The recipe I used came from Karen Martini from a very old episode of Better Homes & Gardens, which was one of my favourite shows on TV until the children took over the box. Since then, the only cooking shows I get to watch are things like "I Can Cook" on CBeebies (a children's cooking programme). Anyway, I remember watching Karen making these delectable mouth-watering churros on TV, but I didn't take down the recipe! Fortunately, I found that somebody had posted the recipe on her blog, thank you! And true enough, it only makes sufficient to serve 2 people, so next time, I might double the batch to avoid any fighting over who gets to eat the last one :)

Here's the recipe I used:



100ml milk
100ml water
80g butter
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
120g plain flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
Oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup icing/caster sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, for dusting

Chocolate for dipping (optional):

100g dark/white choc
100 ml cream


For churros, combine milk, butter, sugar and water in saucepan and bring to boil. Add flour, stir quickly with wooden spoon to combine. Cook for 3 mins over medium heat, stirring constantly. Spoon the mixture into a food processor. Add the vanilla extract and eggs and process until mixture is smooth.

Heat oil in large deep frying pan. To cook churros, oil a spatula, then use a large piping bag with a 1 1/2 cm star nozzle to pipe figure of eight about 6 cm long onto the blade. Slide churros into the hot oil and cook for 4-5 mins, turning often until golden and cooked. Alternatively, just pipe the dough directly into the hot oil and cut off the end with a knife (or your finger will do the job too). Drain on paper towels. Dust churros with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

For the chocolate diping sauce, place the cream in a pot/saucepan and stir over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Place chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl, pour over the warm cream, then stir until the chocolate has melted. Serve warm with hot churros.


  1. If you don't have a food processor: Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool slightly for about 5-10 minutes. Add vanilla extract, and beat in the eggs one at a time with a wooden spoon till well combined.
  2. If you don't have a piping bag, simply scoop out the dough with a tablespoon and drop them into the hot oil to make doughnut balls!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Peanut Butter Jam Swiss Roll

I recently purchased a new swiss roll tin to replace my el cheapo one that warps under high temperature, which is not ideal as I bake my swiss rolls at 200°C. I tried it out yesterday and was thrilled that the cake turned out the way I expected, soft and fluffy, and well-risen with an even flat surface. I made a basic vanilla sponge, and filled it with strawberry jam and peanut butter cream. I could have rolled it better, but it wasn't as "round" as I wanted it to be, probably because I tried to fill it with too much of that delicious cream! Cold, light and creamy, peanut-buttery and melts in your mouth. Addictive!

Vanilla sponge filled with sweet-salty-buttery peanut butter cream and strawberry jam

The recipe for the cake is really basic, but I'll just show it here anyway:


4 eggs
85g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g cake flour, sifted
60g melted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease and line a 23cm x 33cm swiss roll tin with baking paper.
  2. Using a hand mixer, whisk/beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl over a pot of simmering water until it reaches about 40°C (use the back of your fingers to test the temperature). This step is to "activate" the eggs, especially if the eggs are cold, so that it beats better. Remove bowl from the pot and continue to whisk until it becomes thick, creamy, fluffy and doubled in volume, ie. when it reaches ribbon stage. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  3. Sift flour over the batter in 3 batches, folding it carefully with a large metal spoon or spatula until well incorporated.
  4. Pour the warm melted butter around the edges of the bowl (so as not to deflate the mixture) and fold in carefully until well incorporated.
  5. Pour mixture into the tin, and tilt the tin back and forth to spread the mixture evenly. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until the cake is cooked and the edges have started to come off the sides of the tin. The cake should make a soft hissing noise when you gently press the top of the cake with your finger. Do not overbake, as the cake will be dry and will tend to crack when you roll it.
  6. Remove cake from oven and from the tin, and cool on a wire rack.
  7. Remove baking paper from the bottom of the cake. Place cooled cake on a new sheet of baking paper, top-side down, spread the filling on it, and roll it up using the paper. Roll it up in aluminium foil securely to hold its shape, and refrigerate for about 2-3 hours until firm. Slice and serve.

About 6 tbsp Rose's traditional strawberry jam (which I love as it has chunky strawberry pieces)

Peanut butter cream: Use about 1 cup cold thickened / whipping cream, and whip to almost firm peaks, add in 1-2 tbsp icing sugar and continue to whip till firm. Fold in 2-3 tbsp peanut butter and mix until smooth. And the best part is in licking the spoon! Mmm...yummmm....!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gravy Mee Suah with Deep-fried Chicken Cutlet

I realised that the kids actually like eating mee suah (wheat flour vermicelli), so I made another version of mee suah for dinner last night, serving it with a starchy gravy and topped with some deep fried chicken cutlets. It would have been perfect if I had some oysters to go with them, although I must admit that I've only had Taiwanese Oyster Mee Sua only once in my life and that was a very long time ago. So I have very little memory of what it tasted like, except that it had a gooey starchy gravy and tiny blobs of creamy oysters in it.

Here's what I used in making the gravy:

  1. Chopped garlic, ginger slices and spring onions
  2. Light soy, a little dark soy, oyster sauce, mushroom soy sauce (optional), chicken/ikan bilis stock powder, dried shrimp (optional), dried scallops, sesame oil, black vinegar, chinese cooking wine, pepper and pinch of salt (not too much as the vermicelli itself is slightly salty)
  3. Tapioca starch and cornflour for thickening
Ladle the gravy over prepared mee suah and top with deep fried chicken cutlet, fried shallots and spring onions. Serve with some minced garlic and chilli if desired.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Grape, Cherry and White Chocolate Clafoutis

Clafoutis - a French dessert where a sweet batter is poured over fresh fruits and baked in the oven, then served with a dusting of icing sugar

I had been meaning to make clafoutis since watching it on Junior Masterchef last year. Well, it so happened that I had some sour grapes (really, they were too sour for my liking, apart from Z who seemed to think they were sweet!) and a handful of cherries in the fridge, and I thought it would be a good way to use up the grapes if nobody (except Z) was going to eat them. I decided to try out the recipe on Masterchef which is a Cherry and White Chocolate Clafoutis, although I omitted some of the extra touches like the marinated cherries, mascarpone cream and cherry compote (okay that's like half the recipe already). All I wanted to do was find some use for those grapes!

Having clafoutis for the very first time, it is a sweet flan-like dessert, with a pancake/bread pudding texture. The sweetness of the pudding and white chocolate bits (I used white choc chips instead of grated white chocolate) is a nice contrast to the tartness of the grapes and cherries, which are warm, soft and juicy.

This is an easy dessert that everyone can prepare at home, using various types of berries, stone fruits, apples etc (I wonder how a durian clafoutis would turn out though). It's also one that you can get your kids to help out with. Z enjoyed helping to pick the grapes and cherries off the stems, assembling them in the dish and mixing the batter. Maybe next time I could get him interested in the clean-up after that!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mee Suah and Omelette Soup

This is one of my favourite things to cook especially when I'm feeling sick or when I want something simple and healthy. It goes down easily and doesn't require too much jaw action. I made this for lunch on Sunday because I figured fish and chips would be too greasy and unhealthy for the kids (although we ended up getting them fish and chips for dinner anyway), and besides, I didn't have anything else to cook. This one is easy because I always have the basic ingredients, ie. eggs, mee suah (wheat flour vermicelli), dried shrimp ("hei bee") and dried anchovies ("ikan bilis") in my pantry. It's my life saver when there is nothing else to eat at home, or when I need something quick and easy. And it's delicious, of course!

Here's what you need:

(Serves 2)

Mee Suah (vermicelli made from wheat flour)
2 tbsp dried shrimp, pounded/chopped finely
2 eggs, beaten with 1 tbsp water, and seasoned with soy and pepper
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
Ikan bilis (dried anchovies), fried in oil till crispy and seasoned with a little light soy and sugar
Chopped spring onions and fried shallots for garnish

Seasoning for soup:
Light soy sauce
Dash of chicken stock powder
2-3 drops sesame oil


  1. Heat up some oil in a wok. Fry garlic till browned and caramelized. Transfer onto a dish, leaving the oil in the wok.
  2. Add the dried shrimp to the wok and fry briefly. Pour the beaten egg over the shrimp to make an omelette. When it's cooked, break it up roughly with a spatula. add the fried garlic and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer for about 5 minutes and add in seasoning.
  4. Prepare the mee suah by blanching in boiling water briefly until the strands start to separate and soften. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Toss and separate the strands with a fork so that they don't clump together.
  5. Ladle the omelette and soup onto the noodles and garnish with ikan bilis, spring onions and fried shallots. Serve immediately!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Blackforest Mud Cake

I have been craving for blackforest cake ever since my cousins have been talking about cousin SK's awesome out-of-this-world blackforest cake (which I have never seen nor tasted before). Unfortunately for me, they all live on the other side of the equator, so I had no choice but to bake my own using a recipe from the AWW cookbook. The cake is rich, moist and melts in your mouth, like a mudcake, and not the typical chocolate sponge found in continental bakeries. As such, one slice is enough to make a meal (whereas with the sponge version, I can usually go for seconds or thirds). This is a big cake, and if only I knew my neighbours better, I would give them some. Looks like only my sister will be benefiting from my baking exploits for now.

You can make your own blackforest cake easily by using an instant cake mix (a chocolate sponge or super moist chocolate cake mix), and then fill the layers with kirsch, chantilly cream and cherries. I used canned black cherries, although I think sour Morello cherries would go well to balance the chocolatey sweetness of the cake. Then, just decorate them with extra cherries, chocolate curls, lollies etc and you have your masterpiece!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Belacan "Popcorn" Chicken, Two-Ways

I call these popcorn chicken because they look like the ones sold in KFC, except that my version is slightly bigger (and meatier) and not just morsels of deep fried flour like KFC's. Z saw these on the kitchen counter as I was frying them and immediately asked for some. I guess he must have known that anything deep-fried  must be good. These are perfectly bite-sized, so they are easy on little hands and little mouths. Both Z and H loved them and kept coming back for more.

In making these, I used chicken breast fillets as I find that they are easier to cut into neat little cubes. I used bottled fine shrimp paste and peanut butter (yes!) as a base for the marinade, and then dusted them in potato flour to give it a "karaage-like" effect when deep-fried. You can substitute with cornflour but I think the results may be slightly different.

I also switched it up to make a spicy adult version for our dinner, and I did this by frying some chopped garlic, chillies, spring onions and curry leaves in a little oil, and then tossed in the fried chicken pieces together with some salt and pepper (white/black/szechuan pepper will do, or try paprika or chilli flakes).

Here is the recipe for "Popcorn" Chicken:


500g chicken breast fillet, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
About 1 cup potato flour/starch (or substitute with cornflour)
Oil for deep-frying

1 heaped tbsp Lee Kum Kee Fine Shrimp Sauce
1 heaped tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp Shao Hsing chinese cooking wine
Dash of pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp cornflour


  1. Combine marinade (except cornflour) in a bowl and mix it thoroughly with the chicken. Then add cornflour and mix again. Leave in fridge to marinade for 3-4 hours.
  2. Heat up oil in a wok. Coat the chicken pieces in potato flour and fry them in batches, for about 4-5 minutes each time until lightly golden and cooked. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper. You can refry them a second time for a crispier coating. Enjoy these little chicken poppers!

"Popcorn" Chicken Nuggets for the kids

Deep-fried salt and pepper chicken

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chocolate Chip Scones

This morning, I asked Z what he wanted for breakfast, and he said he wanted scones. Well, the batch of chocolate chip scones that I made yesterday were finished, so since Z was so intent on having his scones, I decided to make another batch this afternoon. This time, I made sure I was gentle in handling the dough such that I did not overknead it. Instead, I brought the dough together lightly with my hands and shaped them into a round disc before cutting them into wedges (as I did not have a scone cutter). These baked beautifully and I was thrilled at how wonderful they turned out! I served them with just some whipped cream (there was no need for jam as the chocolate bits were already sweet) and the whole family loved them! Eating scones is just like eating the crunchy external crust of a freshly baked cake, or a little like muffin tops, except that it's not so sweet. No wonder Z loves them! :)

Chocolate Chip Scones


2 cups self-raising flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
60g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
Scant 2/3 cup chocolate chips (I used dark + white choc chips)
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml milk
100ml heavy cream, plus extra for brushing
Lightly whipped cream, to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. Line baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, salt into a large bowl. Rub in butter until resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the chocolate chips. Make a well in the centre.
  3. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla extract. Pour into the dry mixture and using a flat bladed knife, mix until it forms a sticky dough. Bring it together onto a floured surface and gently knead until it just comes together.
  4. Working quickly, press dough to a 2 cm thick disc, and using a knife, cut into wedges (or use a scone cutter to cut out rounds). Lift them onto the baking tray and arrange them side by side about 1 cm apart. Brush the tops with the extra cream/milk. Bake for 15-20 minutes until tops are golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm with whipped cream.

Monday, January 3, 2011

My First Scones

I don't remember having ever bought scones before, and the only time I ate them was when someone else baked them or they were served at work for morning/afternoon tea. So, I'm not really a big fan of scones until I tried them at Auntie Nancy's (as you may recall from my previous post). They were light, fluffy and tasted so good I wish she didn't make the rest of the delicious food so that I could save my stomach just for scones. I would have asked her how she made them but she was just too busy in the kitchen making her lentil soup and chicken and all. So I guess I'd just have to try a few different recipes to see which one yields the best results.

Scones are simple ie. it uses basic ingredients like flour and milk, and some raising agent like soda or baking powder. Then there are variations to the recipe like some use eggs, butter, cream, lemonade, and some recipes don't. Well, I figured butter and cream would certainly make the scones tastier, so I used a recipe adapted from and substituted the ingredients with pastry flour, baking powder and some cream. I also folded the pastry a couple of times to make it more flaky (I read this somewhere). The scones turned out looking pretty good. They tasted fine but I would have preferred them to be lighter and fluffier. Perhaps I should have just stuck to the recipe and used plain self-raising flour instead. Otherwise, they had a nice crispy crust and tasted great with jam and cream.