Friday, August 30, 2013

Malaysian Fish Head Curry

This is a Malaysian-Chinese style fish head curry, as opposed to the Indian-style which uses fish curry powder, curry leaves, fenugreek and mustard seeds. I think most commercial fish curry powders are meant for Indian style curries, and so I made my own from scratch using ground coriander, chilli and turmeric. After three attempts, I was happy with how this final one turned out. Cod fish head was fantastic, although snapper head works perfectly well too. Some of you may cringe at the thought of having a fish head served at the dining table. If that's the case, you can always substitute with fish tail or fish cutlets. I love having lots of okra, eggplant and tofu puffs in my curry, making it pretty much a one pot wonder. Find the recipe after the jump.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Caramelized French Toast with Strawberries

Finally, a recipe for French Toast that the kids couldn't get enough of! I made this two mornings in a row, and both times, they"fought" over who could have the last piece. I was quietly pleased, of course. I used less sugar in the first batch, and served it with a generous glug of maple syrup. Yum! With the second, I was more heavy-handed with the sugar and butter. I had been meaning to make Kouign Amman, a crisp, chewy French pastry that is loaded with sugar and butter, and tastes like a rich croissant glazed with butterscotch. I figured if that's what it takes, then bring on the sugar and butter! And my, it was sinfully delicious and indulgent for French toast. In fact, it wouldn't be a bad idea to serve it for afternoon tea or dessert either. It's eleven pm right now. I'm thinking, French toast for supper, anyone?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Salted Egg Yolk Crispy Squid

I had the pleasure of dining at one of Sydney's most popular Roti Canai establishments on Friday. Mamak specialises in Malaysian cuisine, in particular its famed roti canai, which are freshly made on the spot and served on a silver-coloured platter with two curries. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that it was my "inaugural" visit to Mamak, since almost everyone I know has been there at least once. I didn't set any expectations for this place, and was pleasantly surprised by how authentic (both in flavour and heat from the chillies) the food was. One dish I just had to try was the Sambal Sotong - stir-fried brown cuttlefish in fiery (indeed!) sambal sauce. I grew up enjoying nasi lemak, lontong and roti canai served with sambal sotong and it's one of my favourite Malaysian dishes! Typically, it uses dried brown cuttlefish which is soaked in alkaline water to rehydrate, tenderise and give it a springy texture when cooked.
In Malaysia, we use the term "sotong" loosely, regardless of whether they are cuttlefish, squid or calamari. In a different context, namely Singlish, "sotong" can also refer to a person who is "blur like sotong". Anyway, I picked up a book from the library today - Sydney Seafood School Cookbook - and learnt a new word: Cephalopods. It comes from the Greek word, meaning "head-feet", which sums up the appearance of squid, cuttlefish and octopuses. Squids have long cylindrical heads and a thin, translucent feather-shaped internal shell, called a quill. Cuttlefish is similar to squid, but have a broader, thicker head, shorter arms and a thick, calcified internal shell. Octopuses are different in that they have round heads instead of cylindrical, and lack the two longer tentacles, side fins and internal shells that the other two species have. Calamari (flashbacks of Kellie Pickler in her Southern drawl) is just the Italian word for squid, though it also refers to another species of squid.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chimichurri Roast Chicken


Seems like ages since my last post. I've been quite busy of late. Well, actually, I've been on holidays. Busy on holidays with the kids. Then, I returned from my holidays and was busy getting back into routine again. Now that I've settled back in, it was time to start those blogging juices flowing. Not. Speaking of which, I made a juicy roast chicken with chimichurri for dinner last night. I only just discovered chimichurri a few months ago.Prior to that, it always crossed my mind as being related to chimichanga (well, they do sound like they come from the same family!). We have a little herb garden at home, and there are two plants in particular that are thriving throughout the year - the rosemary and the parsley. There was a time, many years ago, when our parsley never survived more than a few months. Now, we have a parsley bush that's enough to make chimichurri for a month.