Friday, September 30, 2011

Chicken Jjajangmyun (Noodles in Black Bean Sauce)

The reason I love eating Jjajangmyun (my new comfort food) is because the thick, dark and rich gravy that coats the noodles reminds of KL Hokkien Mee, which is one of my favourite foods ever. All that's missing is the sambal belacan, but perhaps Korean red pepper paste (gochujang) might be a substitute instead?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's the Gingerbread Men!

Gingerbread boys bringing home a Christmas tree in their all-weather snowmobile

Christmas is in the air! I can just smell it..... No. Wait. That's just the sweet scent of gingerbread baking in the oven, and it's actually beginning to smell a lot like Christmas! I'd better stop before I break into a silly song because these funny little brown men that could very well be in their own commercial for Old Spice are making me think funny too.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Cookies

I was planning to make Peaches and Cream cookies using Momofuku's Blueberry and Cream Cookies recipe, but then, I came across this one for Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Cookies by Sunny Anderson. Seeing all the rave reviews, I decided to make these instead.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bulgogi Beef

Bulgogi (meaning "fire meat" in Korean, referring to the method of cooking the meat over an open flame as in bbq) is a popular Korean barbecue beef dish that is simple and easy to prepare. It comprises thin slices of beef with scallions and sesame seeds, and a delicious sweet-tasting sauce which goes perfectly with steamed white rice. Here is the recipe for the bulgogi that I made for tonight's dinner. The sweetness in the sauce is enhanced by the sake (Japanese rice wine), which makes this dish taste so good!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thai-style Grilled Marinated Chicken

One of the best barbecued chicken wings I have ever eaten comes from a Thai restaurant in our area. They are succulent little drumettes grilled over a charcoal fire, with a sweet and sticky glaze, and served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. And just like any other food I fall in love with, I tried to replicate these tasty little wings at home using coriander root as the core ingredient, mixed with a few sauces to get that rich and intense flavour that is sweet and savoury.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pavlova Roulade with Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream

Have egg whites? Make pavlova! Or better still, for something a little fancier, make a pavlova roulade! This dreamy dessert of soft, white, fluffy meringue rolled up and filled with fresh strawberries and mascarpone cream is sure to impress, and making it is easier than it looks!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gamja Jorim (Potato Side Dish)

I have to admit that the first time I ever ordered food at a Korean restaurant, I did not expect all these little "banchan" side dishes to arrive at the table. In my mind, I was thinking "Wow, what a good deal! Just order one dish from the menu and you get all these little extras!". But I really enjoy savouring these tasty little accompaniments, especially when hungry tummies just can't wait for the main meal to arrive. They usually vary from one restaurant to another, and sometimes from day to day as well, even at the same restaurant, and so, there's always something to look forward to.

Buchujeon (Garlic Chive Pancake) with Gochujang Dipping Sauce

A thin and crispy garlic chive pancake served with gochujang dipping sauce

Pajeon (Scallion pancake) may be more commonly found in Korean restaurants, but here's one made with garlic chives (buchu = chives, jeon = pancake) that is equally delicious, especially served with some grilled calamari/squid or other seafood, and tangy and spicy dipping sauce made with gochujang (Korean red pepper paste).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Red Rubies Blue Sapphires

One thing I love about eating out in Singapore is that you can always find dessert stalls at the food courts or hawker centres which sell a variety of Asian desserts. These range from ice jellies to hot sweet soups to colourful fruity concoctions with mountains of shaved ice. One of my favourites has to be the Red Rubies, which is a Thai dessert also known as Tub Tim Grob. In the beginning, I was a little skeptical about eating slimy red-coloured cubes of water chestnuts, or rather, it was the shocking red that made me think twice. However, after I kept hearing my friends raving about how delicious it was, I decided to give it a try. And indeed, they were right! Crunchy little cubes of water chestnuts covered in a soft and chewy jelly-like coating made from tapioca starch, served with sweet coconut milk - it's the perfect combination and a great way to end a meal.

Pomegranate Molasses Butter Cake

The first time I used pomegranate molasses was to make Muhammara sauce, a delicious Middle Eastern dip that goes well with just about anything. I recently discovered another use for pomegranate molasses, and that is to incorporate it in a butter cake, with a sweet, tart and creamy glaze, topped with pomegranate-glazed walnuts. The cake is buttery, tender and moist, with a hint of the molasses. The walnuts that are glazed with sugar and molasses, are sweet and crunchy like candied walnuts, and also make a great snack eaten on their own.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Saba Shio (Grilled Salted Mackerel)

Saba Shio, or salted mackerel, is a simple but tasty dish often found on the menus of Japanese restaurants. I discovered that I could make this at home at a fraction of the price of ordering one at the restaurant. You can find frozen salted mackerel in most Asian grocery stores, nicely sealed and vacuum-packed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Red Peppers Stuffed with Spicy Fish Mousse

Roasted red peppers or capsicums are lovely and sweet, and goes really well with the fish mousse (known as "Otak/Otah" in Malaysia). I usually use Thai red curry paste (Mae Ploy brand) to make the fish mousse as it is a quick and easy alternative to making it from scratch. If you prefer to omit the peppers, you can just bake it in an oven-proof dish or steam it in dish until the custard is set.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quick and Easy: Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) with Oyster Sauce

Gai Lan, or Chinese Broccoli, was one of the few vegetables I learnt to eat as a kid. My dad would pick out the tender stems for me to eat and I would quietly enjoy them with steamed white rice. He knew I didn't like any vegetables that were leafy and fibrous, but those thick and tender Gai Lan stems were sweet and delicious. I have yet to get my own kids to eat anything green other than broccoli and peas, but perhaps next time.

Korean-style "Slaw" with Gochujang Dressing

This is a spicy and zingy salad of shredded cabbage and red onions, made with Korean red pepper paste (Gochujang) and cider vinegar. This "Korean-style" coleslaw, as I like to call it, is also great with sliced apples, cucumber, carrots or any other vegetables you would use in coleslaw. You can eat it on its own as an appetizer or salad, or serve it as a side dish with meat/chicken. The cider vinegar gives it a lovely refreshing hint of apple.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pineapple Tarts

Pineapple Tarts


400g plain flour
250g cold butter, diced
2 egg yolks, cold
2 tbsp iced water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Mix the yolks with vanilla and iced water. In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt and butter until they resemble bread crumbs. With the motor running, add the yolk-water mixture and process until the dough starts to come together. Pour out the contents and gently knead the dough to form a ball. Flatten and wrap in clingwrap. Rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough about 1cm thick. Press out shapes with cookie cutter (dusted with flour) and fill with jam. Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes. Leave on tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

To make pineapple jam, see here.

Goreng Pisang with Kicap Cili

I wonder how people would react to eating banana fritters with a soy and chilli dipping sauce?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Steamed Pork Buns

After making the Barbecue Chicken Pau last week, I got hooked on making and eating homemade steamed buns. Moreover, I wanted to have another go at pleating the buns, and so I found a few bun-wrapping videos on youtube, which I watched a few times over trying to picture it in my head when I make them later.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Barbecue Chicken Pau (Chinese Steamed Buns)

Steaming hot buns with barbecue chicken, peas and egg
I must admit that I was inspired to start this blog after seeing that my cousin Rachel had started her beautiful blog called A Little of Everything. We used to just post pictures of our cooking adventures on Facebook, but now everything just goes into our blogs. She recently attended a pau (chinese steamed bun) making class and made these tasty little barbecue chicken buns. They are like char siew buns, but using chicken instead, and I could just imagine how delicious they were.

Fu Chuk Yee Mai with Snow Fungus and Chinese Almonds

In Cantonese, Fu Chuk means beancurd skin, and Yee Mai refers to barley. I don't really know what snow fungus and chinese almonds are called in Cantonese, so I've just named them in English! Anyway, this is a delicious chinese dessert that is easy to prepare, although it might take 1-2 hours before it's ready. I used to see desserts like these in Singapore food courts and hawker centres, but they never did appeal to me back then because I always associate beancurd skin with savoury food, and not in the context of a sweet soup. Now that I've tried making this at home, I find that it's such a light, refreshing and delicious dessert (or sweet soup, as some may call it) and one that can be eaten any time of the day. The snow fungus adds a lovely crunchy texture along with the almonds which gives it a subtle fragrance and hint of flavour.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bo Luc Lac (Vietnamese Shaking Beef)

We ordered takeaway from our local Vietnamese restaurant last weekend and I decided to try something different - Com Bo Luc Lac, which I later found out means Shaking Beef with Rice. It's called shaking beef because you shake the pan to toss the beef when cooking it. The dish was actually meant for the kids as both G and I decided to have Indian for dinner, and the kids have not developed their tastebuds for spicy food. The Com Bo Luc Lac looked delicious, even in its styrofoam container - cubes of charred beef covered with black pepper in a pool of syrupy black sauce, served with steamed white rice. It was so good, especially with that sauce, that I made up my mind to attempt making it this week.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Japanese Potato Salad

When it comes to cooking Japanese food, one of my favourite sources for recipes online is JustOneCookbook. Just think of a Japanese dish you feel like eating (or cooking) and chances are you'll find it there. The author, Nami, also makes the effort to post step-by-step pictures of how the food is prepared, which I'm grateful for especially since Japanese cooking sometimes involves specific food preparation techniques that are easier explained in pictures.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mini Taro Nests with Cumin and Sesame

Crunchy taro fritters spiced with cumin, chilli and sesame
I bought a piece of taro last week and couldn't decide what to do with it. It was a toss up between yam rice and bubur cha cha. Then, I had a sudden thought about these "yam muruku" which my sister and I used to eat when we visited relatives in Ipoh, Malaysia. We called them that because they tasted like muruku, just that they were made with finely shredded yam. Everytime we went to Ipoh during Chinese New Year, we would always look forward to eating these crunchy spicy snacks. We would usually have a tin of it to bring home, which we would then ration carefully over a few days. They were really addictive, although not the healthiest of snacks.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Quick and Easy: Grilled Sesame Miso Salmon

Grilled Sesame Miso Salmon


2 boneless salmon fillets, skin on (approx 200g each)
2 tsp white/yellow miso
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sake
1 tsp sesame
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil


Wash and pat dry the fillets. Combine the miso, rice vinegar and sake in a bowl. Rub all over the salmon and leave to marinade for 2-3 hours. Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds and salt in a small pan and roughly grind it with a mortar and pestle. Put aside.

Heat up oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Shake off any excess marinade. Place the salmon skin side down in the pan and fry 3-4 minutes until crisp (but not burnt!). Flip over and cook the other side for another 3-4 minutes until medium done. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with sesame salt. Serve with rice and a side of vegetables.

Tip: Take the salmon out of the fridge half an hour before cooking to let it come down to room temperature before frying.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Apam Berkuah (Banana Coconut Pancakes)

I had never heard of this traditional Nyonya dessert before until a friend of mine mentioned it to me, and kindly shared the recipe which comes from a cookbook by Terry Tan. I was excited about making it because I had some blue pea flowers (bunga telang) which I seldom used, and this was the perfect opportunity to use them. These pancakes are wonderfully light and fluffy, and together with the thick and rich banana sauce (more like a gravy, really), it was a match made in tropical heaven. Each bite just melts in your mouth, and will have you wanting (and eating) more.

Chocolate Orange Brioche Pudding

This easy variation on bread and butter pudding tastes great when served hot with vanilla ice-cream. It has a hint of citrus flavour that goes perfectly with the oozy dark chocolate (and the ice-cream!).