Monday, January 30, 2012

Brigadeiros (Brazillian Choc Fudge Balls)

Brigadeiro is a Brazillian fudge candy created in the 1940's and was named after Brigadier Eduardo Gomes. It resembles a chocolate truffle, and is often made with condensed milk, cocoa powder and butter, rolled into little balls and covered in chocolate sprinkles. They are apparently very popular treats at children's birthday parties in Brazil.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Bak Kwa (Pork Jerky)

This popular Asian-style pork jerky is sweet, sticky, juicy and delicious, and is so easy to make at home. Commonly found in Malaysia and Singapore, it is traditionally grilled on a wire mesh over a hot charcoal fire. However, if you don't have a barbecue grill or pit at home, just your oven broiler or grill will work fine to produce some of that smoky charred flavour. It's best to use a fatty pork mince in order to get a tender and juicy result, but if you prefer a healthier option, then use lean pork (with less fat) by all means.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tauhu Goreng (Deep-fried Beancurd in Spicy Sauce)

Deep-fried tofu with a sweet and spicy sauce on a bed of shredded cucumber, garnished with plenty of ground peanuts

Today, I am sharing a recipe (that my mum just taught me) for one of my favourite Malaysian childhood dishes - "Tauhu Goreng", which literally means Fried Tofu. It is most delicious when the tofu is served piping hot with a sweet and spicy sauce, and lots of ground peanuts. Try to make your own deep-fried tofu as the texture is much better than commercially prepared ones.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pineapple Tarts and Nastar Recipe

In the spirit of Chinese New Year, I am reposting my recipe for pineapple rolls (see here, here, here and here for earlier posts). I hadn't actually planned on making pineapple rolls this year as I already made pineapple tarts (open-faced ones) a week ago. After seeing so many photos of pineapple rolls being posted on Facebook by friends and cousins, I just couldn't resist the temptation to make them too. Making pineapple rolls are just a little more tedious, messy and time-consuming compared to making open-faced tarts. However, despite the backache that usually comes as a side-effect of crouching over the table making these pretty little pastries, I very much enjoy the process of moulding, rolling and cutting the dough.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Salmon Miso-Mayo

Salmon is lovely to eat only if it's cooked right, medium rare, but not well done. Overcook it and it will be tough, dry and flaky. I always try to choose salmon fillets that have more fat on it. After all, it contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids which are good for you (and especially for the kids). I find that baking salmon fillets in the oven is easiest in order to produce perfectly cooked salmon, as this method ensures that the fish is evenly cooked, compared to pan-frying it which often results in oil splatters all over the stove (in my case anyway). I've heard that if you want to pan-fry it, you should start with the salmon in a cold pan with a little oil, and then slowly heat it up, skin-side down. I have yet to try that method though.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Agedashi Nasu (Deep-fried Aubergine)

Agedashi refers to dishes that have been deep-fried (age) and served with a light clear stock (dashi). Agedashi tofu is a popular dish where firm tofu is lightly coated in cornstarch or potato starch, then deep-fried until lightly golden. This is then served in a clear stock made from dashi, soy and mirin, and usually topped with grated daikon, spring onions and bonito flakes. The coating on the tofu soaks up the sauce and turns into this silky and gooey texture which complements the soft and hot tofu.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mushroom Penne with Cajun Chicken Schnitzel

Here is another variation on Cajun chicken pasta (click here for the earlier version) where I've used Swiss brown mushrooms in the sauce (for more flavour), and made a crumbed chicken schnitzel dressed in Cajun seasoning to go with it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Beef Sukiyaki

Sukiyaki is a popular Japanese-style hotpot where paper-thin slices of beef is slowly simmered in Sukiyaki sauce (a mixture of soy, mirin and sugar) in a shallow iron pot together with some vegetables, mushrooms, tofu or noodles. Sukiyaki is cooked at the table over a portable stove or electric frying pan, and each person helps him/herself to the food as it cooks. The hot food can be dipped into beaten raw egg if desired and is served with steamed rice. Based on what I've gathered, there are two styles of Sukiyaki. One is the Osaka style where the sugar, mirin, soy sauce and dashi are added during cooking. Then there is the Tokyo style where the Sukiyaki sauce mixture is made in advance and served with the cooked food.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Green Pea Cookies with Aonori

This is the time when you will find many people busy baking cookies for the coming Chinese New Year, which falls on January 23rd this year. I remember how I would always look forward to CNY, when all the shops would be filled with mountains of festive goodies on display, with traditional Chinese new year music blaring from the speakers. The atmosphere is simply fantastic! In Singapore and Malaysia, you will find throngs of people at the shops and supermarkets busy stocking up on CNY snacks, drinks and other food. Almost every store will have some sort of hongbao lucky dip/draw. The clothing section at the department stores will be filled with a sea of red, as it is an auspicious colour this period and most people will try to wear something red on new year's day (although I sometimes get away with wearing pink or purple, or perhaps just a splash or speck of red somewhere).

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Cajun seasoning is typically a spicy mixture of herbs, paprika and chillies. It makes a sensational rub or marinade for meats and fish, which are traditionally grilled or barbecued until blackened and form a crust on the outside. I used bottled Cajun seasoning which already contains salt, which makes it really convenient. Before grilling, rub some oil over the meat before rubbing in the seasoning, so that it absorbs the flavours better. I made a creamy bacon and mushroom fettucine topped with Cajun-spiced chicken fillets, which is a fantastic combination. However, I think I might use penne instead next time as I prefer the texture and shape of it. I find that fettucine can sometimes be a little too unwieldy to eat especially when it cools down and sticks together.