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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pon Teh, non halal

                 Pon Teh is a traditional Nyonya dish which every Nyonya should have in her repertoire and it definitely taste much better the next day as by then the meat would have infused in the gravy. For those who are not familiar with this dish, you can braise this dish, either with Chicken or Belly Pork and I opt for the latter because the next day, the meat is still intact and having some fats on the meat makes for a smoother texture.

                I learnt this dish from my esteemed Mother in Law, one of the best Nyonya cooks that I know; she can even make the most simple dish more tasty; perhaps I am biased as she does have some "magic" in her fingers and whenever she presents the food on the dining table, you can rest assured that she would have wiped the rim of bowl or plate clean and the food would be neatly stacked; one fantastic Nyonya. Haha, one con in having a fantastic cook in your MIL is that yr better half will at some time or rather, unintentionally, say, with no malice intended, "Mummy did not add this!!!"  Thank goodness it is Not, "Mum  WAS a better cook than you", haha, I probably would have stage a boycot and not cook a couple of meals.  Sorry for deviating, I was saying as I learnt this from my MIL, there is no Exact measurement of any ingredient and as I know this dish like the back of my palm, sorry, I never measured Everything :( but dont worry it is a fool proof recipe if it is not up to yr taste adjust with salt and a little sugar.  Mum just shared with me that except for the shallots & garlic, there is no hard and fast rule.  She told me that the shallots should be 50% more than the garlic and though she may have passed away in 1988, I always remember what she taught me in the cooking department, thanks Mum for being a good mentor. RIP mum.  Ophelia



            1 kg                Belly Pork


          16                    medium size Shallots/small Onions, pound finely
            8                    medium size Garlic, pound finely
          1 1/2                Chinese soup spoon ground Tau Cheong [use a brand that is Not so salty]


               8                 Dried Mushrooms
               4                 medium size Potatoes


                                 Water [I normally add the water 1 1/2 inches higher than the height of the meat]


              1 Tabsp        Black Soya Sauce
              1/2 Tabsp     Sugar
                                   adequate Salt, If necessary, as Tau Cheong is salty by itself

  1. Boil the mushrooms in some hot water for 10 - 15 minutes.  It is much faster to boil the mushrooms than to soak then in hot water :) .
  2. Fry the pounded Shallots in sufficient oil than the Garlic and grounded Tau Cheong till fragrant.
  3. Add in the meat.  Stir fry for 5 minutes in order to seal in the juices [this way, your meat will be moist].
  4. Add in sufficient water, Black Soya Sauce, mushrooms & bring it to a boil.  Once boiling reduce fire to medium low & simmer for 40 minutes till belly pork is cooked. [As potatoes cook quite fast, ADD Potatoes after 20 minutes of simmering [*Add Salt & Sugar Now] and let it further simmer for another 20 minutes i.e. Total cooking time approximately 40 minutes]Another tip is if you prefer to have a slightly more thicker consistency, add mash a few of the cooked potato and then at the end of cooking but I would rather not as next day the gravy gets thicker [It always taste better the next day].

                     1.  To really get a feel good feeling, you Must make sambal belacan; squeeze limau kasturi juice and eat this together with some fried Salted Fish and Pon Teh as Pon Teh is rather bland and needs the Sambal Belacan to jazz things up.  I am also terrible; From young, and still do, I love to pour quite a bit of gravy on my rice and then mix quite a bit of sambal belacan on it and after eating, I would slurp the soup off my plate, yummilicious!!!  If you havent made Pon Teh, try it and you would find it is a good comfort food.

                     2.  I like to add Salt [IF NECESSARY] after 20 minutes of simmering as I like to "kid" myself as then some of the water would have evaporated and I would use slighty less than if at the Very beginning and to put it then would be better than at the last minute as you would allow the Salt and Sugar to infuse the meat and the gravy.

                     3.  Sugar is my own concotion as I believe you need to add in a little to sort of balance off the flavour :)

                     4.  Belly meat is better as if you were to eat just the lean meat alone, the lean meat would not be tender and succulent.

                      5. The dish taste better the next day as then it would have, more time, to infuse properly in the flavourful gravy.

                      6.  Chicken wings and whole chicken leg can be substituted in place of Belly Pork.  I dont mind the chicken but next day when you warm it up to eat; sometimes the chicken meat may disintergrate.

                       7.  If you abhor using sugar, try using instead a chucky piece of Turnip/Seng Kuang/Bangkuang for a natural sweetness.  Before adding it in, I like to use a knife and poke it around to encourage the juice to come out easily :) but this is a sway from the norm, at one of my classes where Pon Teh was one of the things the Chef was teaching, he used theTurnip.

                     Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mutton Paratal

                    Most Indians, if you ask them, what is their favourite food.  They would probably tell you, "Mutton/Chicken Paratal" and will probably add that their mum makes the best Paratal and I would have to definitely agree as whenever I am invited for Deepavali celebration, the Mutton Paratal is definitely going to be on the fantastic spread, amongst other signature dishes and you will find that in each Indian household there will be a great Chef; or maybe two; mum and grandmother and they will each have their own well tried recipes handed down from grandmother to mother and at times, a safely guarded family recipeA Paratal is a semi dried curry.

                  I learnt this special Mutton Paratal from a reknown Indian Chef.  Hope you enjoy making same for your family.

              Ingredients for Mutton Paratal


             One and a half kg             Mutton
                   2 teasp                      BLACK Soya Sauce


                  5 pips                              Garlic
                  1"                                    young Ginger
                  7                                      Shallots/small Onions
                  3 small pieces                   Lengkuas
                  2                                      Green Chillies
                  5                                      Dried Chillies, wash, soak in hot water


                    2 Tabsp                       Ghee
                    1                                 Big Onion


                     2                                   Cloves
                     1                                   Star Anise/Bunga Lawang
                     1"                                 Cinnamon stick/Kayu Manis
                  1/2 teasp                         Fenegreek/Halba
                1 1/2 teasp                        *Cumin seed/Jintan Manis

                 1/2 teasp                          Tumeric powder/Kunyit powder
                   5 Tabsp                           Meat Curry Powder


                   400 ml                              Second Santan [100 ml Thick Santan mix with 300 ml water]

                   100 ml                               Santan

                                                             A sprig of Curry leaves



  1. Blend "B" till fine.
  2. Marinade "A" with "B" for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat kwali with ghee, fry Big Onion short while then add "D" stir fry short while then add in "A" stir fry for 2 - 3 minutes then cover it & cook for 5 - 10 minutes, checking it so that it does not burn.
  4. Add in "E" stir, cover & cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add in the 400 ml Second Santan, SALT & cook on medium low fire till almost dry.
  6. Add in 100 ml Santan, curry leaves [crush curry leaves just before adding in to release its aroma] & let it simmer on medium low fire till almost dry & oil rises & meat cooked.
  • Curry leaves : we were taught in class to add the curry leaves towards the end of cooking time if you want a strong aroma and to crush it with the palm of yr hand just before throwing them in the pot; this way you will get a better waft;
  • Ghee is clarified butter and when you cook Indian cuisine it is good to use ghee for an authetic taste.

  •  Sorry in respect of the 400 ml Second Santan, it should be 100 ml thick Santan mixed with 300 ml Water.  When I first uploaded this recipe I typed "100 ml thick Santan mixed with 350 ml Water; typo error :(
                       Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Beef Rendang

              This is a simple recipe that does not have much prep work and taste good. You will note that it is a revolutionary style of cooking ie that the rempah is marinated with the beef & not tumis/fried with oil first.  Serve the Rendang with Chicken Curry and Roti Jala; both recipes in my blog.


                 20                  Dried Chillies
                 18                  small Onions/Shallots
                   8 pips          Garlic
                   1 1/2"           young Ginger
                  2"                  Galanga/Lengkuas
                  3                     fat Lemon Grass/Serai
                  2"                   Fresh Kunyit/Tumeric


                   1 cup            grated Coconut [to make kerisik]


                500 gm            lean Beef [stewing cut]


               600 ml              "Thin" Santan [mix 150 ml Fresh Santan with 450 ml water]


               1 - 2 pieces       Assam Keping
                  2                      Kunyit leaves, shred [Not to the extreme ends] then knot it
                  2                      Kaffir Lime leaves/Daun Limau Perut [remove centre vein & cut finely]


                2 level teasp    Salt
                1 level teasp    Sugar, opt

  1. *Pound/blend "A" till fine. 
  2. Fry "B" Without Oil in a wok over low medium fire; stirring till crisp & golden brown.  Cool down slightly then grind in a processor till fine.
  3. Cut beef into 2 cm x 3 cm slices.
  4. Marinade the beef with the blended ingredients in the fridge for 2 hour for all the flavour to infuse the meat.
  5. Remove beef from fridge & thaw for 30 - 45 minutes.
  6. Place beef & "D" ie the thin Santan, "B" AND "E"  in a large pot.  Bring it to a boil Then Reduce fire to medium low to simmer; stirring occasionally till liquid almost evaporated; a red film of oil will start to rise to the surface.
  7. Add "F" and taste and adjust salt and sugar if necessary.
                        Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nasi Kunyit

                I love eating Nasi Kunyit with either Chicken Curry and Rendang and made very sure that I didnt miss going for this class.


               500 gm                      Glutinous Rice
                 40 gm                      Fresh Tumeric/Kunyit
                   2 pieces               Assam Keping
                   8                            Pandan Leaves
               100 ml                       Fresh Santan mix with 200 ml Water ["Santan solution"]
                   1 3/4 teasp            Salt
                 1/4 teasp                 Black Pepper Corns

  1. Wash Glutinous Rice several times till water runs clear.
  2. Place in a big basin & cover with plenty of water.
  3. Pound the Kunyit till fine, tie it in a muslim cloth & place this and the Assam Keping in the basin of glutinous rice and soak overnite.
  4. Next day discard the Assam Keping & kunyit & rinse rice in several changes of water, handling the rice carefully to avoid breaking the grains. Place rice on a siever to drain the water.
  5. Boil water in the steamer.
  6. Line the base of a shallow cake tin with the pandan leaves [shredded lengthwise to release the aroma].  Place the drained rice over the pandan leaves & steam over rapidly boiling water for 15 minutes.
  7. Stir the salt into the fresh Santan.  Transfer the steamed rice into a large bowl & gradually add the santan, stiring it well using a wooden spoon.  The rice will absorb the coconut milk.  Add the pepper corns.
  8. Transfer the rice back to the shallow cake tin & steam again for another 20 minutes.
  9. Serve the nasi kunyit with either Chicken Curry or Rendang or better still both.
              Comments - It is sometimes difficult to gauge the amount of santan solution as it depends on the glutinous rice.  Sometimes the glutinous rice needs 250 ml Santan solution and the Chef gave us as a guide between 250 - 300 ml Santan solution.  I would suggest that you do not use all the 300 ml, retain 50 ml and check whether the rice is cooked after the second steaming time of 20 minutes.  If rice is slightly gritty add the balance 50 ml, stir it well and steam again for perhaps 5 minutes more :)

                           In my next post I will blog on Rendang. Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia.

Chicken/Belly meat Curry Without Santan

                I tried, on the spur of the moment to concoct making my own version of a curry without the use of Santan and as better half is an ardent believer that without santan, the curry wont have any kick, I made this "Santanless" curry with Belly meat and then served it with my Roti Jala 3 nites ago.  After dinner I asked how was the curry and the response was in the affirmative and that's when I said that there was no santan at all in the curry.  On hindsight I really wish I had addressed his penchant for santan a long time ago :( Ophelia


              1 kg               Belly meat/Chicken
              5 Tabsp        Meat Curry Powder
            1/2 Tabsp       Tumeric Powder/Kunyit Powder
              1 Tabsp         Red Chilli Powder


              5                     Shallots/small Onions


              3                    Cardamoms
              1                    Cinnamon stick/Kayu Manis
              3                    cloves
              2 pips            Garlic
              2 sprigs        Curry Leaves


              4                    Potatoes
              1                    Tomato


                                     Water 1" higher than the level of meat


                  1 teasp      Salt
                1/2 teasp     Maggi Concentrated Chicken Stock
                1/2 teasp     Fish Sauce 

  1. Marinate "A" in the fridge for 1 hour.
  2. In the meantime fry "B" till golden brown.  Remove onto plate.  Retain oil in the frying pan.
  3. Remove chicken from fridge & thaw for 30 minutes.
  4. Use the oil in the same frying pan and add a little more oil if not enough, heat it & fry "C" [squeeze the curry leaves just before adding to the hot oil to release its aroma].
  5. Add in the thawed marinated chicken & stir fry for 3 minutes to seal the juice.
  6. Add in "D" and stir fry for 2 minutes for all the curry flavour to infuse in the potatoes & tomato.
  7. Add in "E" and the seasoning & cook on medium low fire till potates and chicken/belly pork are cooked approximately 25 minutes; bearing in mind chicken cooks faster than belly pork and make sure you dont over cook the chicken.  Check for taste and adjust accordingly.
  8. Add in the fried shallots as a garnish.

                             Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Food for tot

                 I find that this so astonishing true as it holds so much wisdom in just two short, simple lines and a powerful message gets across and sometimes you may never know that by posting things like these, we may bring some kind of healing and touch someone's life and for those troubled souls, this one, especially, for you and I hope it did bring a ray of sunshine and a promise of better tomorrows and it did remind me of God's promise that HE brought you there and HE will surely bring you out. Trust in HIM. Praise the Lord, Allelulia. God bless and thank you Joc for this msg.

               "Life is made up of little moments; cherish the good ones and hold them close to your heart.  Let go of the bad ones and just move on". 

                 Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fish, Veg soup with noodles

                 A very good nourishing comfort food especially for those cold days.  I love incorporating one pot meals at least once a week.  Ophelia


                  1 kg            *fish [use the fish head & bones for stock & you need 300 gm fillet]


                                      the fish head & bones
                  1"                young Ginger
                  2 cloves      Garlic
                  1                   medium size Big Onion
                  1                   small Carrot
               1.3 litres         Water

                                       Salt & Pepper to season
                                      Oil for frying


              300 gm            Fish fillet cut into 1 cm slices
                   2 teasp        Light Soy Sauce
                                       Pinch of Salt & Pepper

                   1 Tabsp      Oil
                   1 cm             Ginger
                   3 cloves      Garlic
                   1                   medium size Big Onion
                   1                   small Carrot, quartered lengthwise & slice 1 cm thick
                   1 cup           Fresh Mushrooms [oyster, button or shiitake] slice 1 cm
                   1 cup           Cauliflower, separate into florets
                   1 cup           coarsely shredded Cabbage
                   1                   small Tomato, cut into 1 cm cubes
                                        Salt & Pepper to season

                   1 - 2 Tabsp  Spring Onion, chopped

                    Noodles of your choice [kway teow, meehoon OR dried egg noodles]

                    [Accompaniment -

                                      Red Chillies, Chilli Padi/Bird Chillies
                                      Light Soy Sauce
                                      Limau Kasturi juice]

              Method to make Fish Stock
  1. Cut fish head & bones into pieces.  Wash & pat dry with paper napkins.  Season lightly with salt & pepper.  Heat sufficient oil & fry the bones till well browned.  Remove & drain on kitchen napkins.
  2. Transfer fish into a large pot.  Add the ginger, garlic, onion, carrot & water.  Bring water to the boil, Reduce heat to LOW & simmer for 45 - 60 minutes [max 60 minutes otherwise soup become cloudy.  STRAIN stock & discard solidsYOU SHOULD HAVE 1 LITRE OF FISH STOCK.

  1. Season fish fillets with the Salt & Pepper mentioned in "C" above in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 Tabsp Oil in a non stick frying pan & saute the ginger first, garlic [as garlic browns very fast] until garlic just begins to brown.  ADD in the fish fillets & fry over HIGH heat for a few minuts till fillets tun opaque [about 3 minutes] Remove fish onto plate.
  3. Reheat the stock & when it comes to the BOIL, add the onion & carrot.  Simmer for 5 minutes before adding the mushrooms & cauliflower, followed by the cabbage & tomato. 
  4. When cabbabe has wilted but is still crunchy, ADD the fish.  Allow soup to come back to a Boil & then turn off heat.  Taste & adjust Salt & Pepper.
  5. Prepare your choice of noodles.  Divide among 4 bowls & ladle hot soup over.  Sprinkle with spring onionEnjoy the hot soup.

                As there is alot of preparation in respect of the vegetables especially if you prepare this by yourself, I would suggest you prepare them the day before & get your fishmonger to fillet yr fish :)

                 Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia.

Nyonya Prawn Sambal

                 Try this lovely Prawn Sambal.


               600 gm            medium size Prawns, leaving head & tail intact
                   1                   Tomato, remove seeds


                  12                   Dried Chilli, soak in hot water for 15 minutes
                    5                   Red Chillis
                  10                   Small Onions
                    2                   Serai
                    1 1/2"          Belacan, fry without oil till fragrant.

                                 Then pound/blend "B" till fine.


                    5 Tabsp      Limau Kasturi juice OR Limau Nipis
                    3 Tabsp      Assam Jawa juice [30 gm Assam Jawa mix with water then strain]
                    1 Tabsp      Light Soya Sauce
                    2 Tabsp      Castor Sugar
                    1 teasp        Salt

                                    Mix together "C" into small bowl


                     whole pieces of hard boiled quail eggs or hard boiled eggs, quartered, Opt
                     3 Limau Perut leaves, remove centre vein [bitter] & shred very finely

  1. Marinate shelled prawns with 2 teasp sugar for 1 hour in the fridge.
  2. Fry prawns in hot oil till it cooked & changes colour.
  3. Use the same oil [as the oil is fragrant after frying the prawns] & top up more to fry the blended "B" till fragrant & oil bubbles appear.
  4. Add the pre fried prawns & sliced tomato & fry for 1 minute [do Not over cook prawns].
  5. Add "C", shredded limau perut leaves & hard boiled eggs & stir gently.  Taste and adjust any salt, sugar if necessary.
                      It is important that prawns are not over cooked otherwise texture of prawns will be slightly hard.  Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia.

Tau Foo Fah [Soya Bean Curd]

               This is an easy version using agar agar, which works like a charm & then setting it in individual small cups/small tupperware containers, covering same or cling wrap & then refrigerating it..  Let's start by doing the syrup first.  Ophelia

                 Ingredients for Syrup

                 200 gm              Palm Sugar/Gula Melaka, roughly chop for faster melting
                 100 ml               Water
                     2                     Pandan leaves, make a few shred then tie into a knot.

                Method for Syrup
  1. Place palm sugar, water & pandan leaves in a saucepan & bring to boil & cook for 10 - 15 minutes till slightly syrupy.
  2. Strain into jug & cool then refrigerate.
              Ingredients for Tau Foo Fah

              600 ml                Soya Bean milk
              300 ml                Water
             1 1/2 teasp          Agar agar powder

             Method for Tau Foo Fah
  1. Pour Soya Bean Milk & Water into a pot.  Stir in agar agar powder.  Bring mixture to a boil then reduce fire to medium & simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour mixture into little tupperware containers, leave to cool at room temperature.  When Cooled, use the cover to close it or cling wrap & chill in the fridge till ready to serve.
  3. Serve well chilled soya bean jellies with the palm sugar syrup.
                Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Creme Brulee

               Cream Brulee is something lovely and something simple to do.


                 8                Egg YOLKS
            100 gm          Castor Sugar
             500 ml           *Whipping Cream

  1. Preheat oven at 160 degrees Celcius for 15 minutes.
  2. Boil hot water for steam bath/bain marie purpose.
  3. Place *double paper cups on baking tray [*by doing likewise you give your paper cups extra support when the batter is poured in].
  4. Beat eggs and sugar manually with a whisk till sugar dissolves.
  5. Add in the Whipping Cream & mix it manually till it is incorporated & well combined; taking note not to over mix so as not to have too much air bubbles.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared paper cups 3/4 full.
  7. Pour hot water in the baking tray.
  8. Bake in pre heated oven at 160 - 170 degrees Celcius for approximately 30 minutes +- [bearing in mind that everyone's oven is individual and you have to know your oven heat].
  9. Check with skewter whether creme brulee done.  Remove from oven, cool then chill.

                 INFO -

                           1.  Whipping Cream, sometimes called Dairy Cream, is normally used for either:-

                                    (a)  Baking; OR

                                    (b)  It can be used for cooking;

                                 Some brands of Whipping Cream are Anchor Whipping Cream, Emborg,
                                President and Shani Whipping Cream [what is written in blue at the top of
                               this cartoon is, "OLDENBURGER", Whipping Creram, SHANI];

                         2.  WHEREAS, Non-Dairy Cream i.  CANNOT be used to cook; ii. it is an "artificial"
                               cream and sweet and it is used mainly, for decorating purposes.

                        Please note that these info are my personal notes and observations taken during class and not, without prejudice, to promote or discourage any brand esp No.2, it is for knowledge purposes.

                         Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nasi Lemak

                I think most of us Malaysian grew up eating Nasi Lemak and it sort of became a staple diet; even the simple packet of Nasi Lemak with sambal, a quarter of an egg, a few fried Ikan Bilis & peanuts which we can buy on the foot path in front of shops or at gas station do taste absolutely good especially if you have just returned from quite a long trip overseas; haha you sort of crave for it And we did exactly that, we bought Nasi Lemak to satisfy our quest for Malaysian breakfast and for those of you abroad, Sen Hon and Wei-xun, this is especially for you both dear :), and for any of our children studying abroad it is with you in mind that I am posting this.


                 3 cups            long grain Rice
             650 ml                 Water
             100 ml                 fresh Santan
                 1 teasp            Salt
                 2                      Pandan leaves

  1. Wash Pandan leaves.  Shred/tear it on both ends but not the the very extreme ends [as otherwise cant make into a knot] then tie into a knot.  Then crush it with your palm.  [When you shred & then crush the leaes or any herb for that matter, it encourages them to release its fragrance/oil]
  2. Place rice, if possible, in a large siever & wash it in several changes of water & shake the siever while doing so.  This way the chances of the grains breaking is lessen :) Place in a rice cooer with the water, santan, salt & pandan leaves.
  3. Cook until liquid is absorbed, stir rice once & leave undisturbed until rice grains are cooked through.  Fluff rice up wit a fork and serve hot with sambal tumis, the traditional accompaniment of hard boiled eggs, sliced cucumber, fried Ikan Bils, peanuts & fried Kang Kong.

                           Sambal Tumis


           15 - 20                            Dried Chillies, wash & soak in hot water for 20 minutes
           10                                    small Onions/shallots
           1/2 teasp                        toasted Belacan
           1 - 1 1/2 teasp                Tamarind mix with 1/4 cup Water

           1                                      Big Onion

        1/2 Tabsp                         Sugar
            1 teasp                          Salt


         Addition either:-

                             1 cup             Ikan Billis, cleaned, rinsed & fried in oil


                         400 gm              fresh Squid


                          400 gm             medium size Prawns

  1. Snip dried chillies into 2 cm lengths, with scissors, & soak in hot water for 20 minutes until soft & plumb.  rinse chillies in a colander, discarding most of the seeds that end up in the collander.
  2. Place dried chillies, small onions & toasted Belacan in a blender & blend finely.
  3. Heat oil in a wok & fry the blended ingredients.  Fry over medium heat till most of the liquid evaporates & oil surfaces [this will take up to 20 minutes.
  4. Add either of the addition & cook for 8 - 10 minutes [if your choice is Ikan Bilis which you have pre fried & you want them crunchy, just add it in & cook for 4 - 5 minutes].
  5. Lastly add the tamarind mixture, BRING it to a boil, add salt & sugar to taste.
           Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Ayam Masak Merah

               I just returned from a quiet retreat and while away I was itching to come back so that I could place my impatient fingers on the keyboard and blog away; anything that came to mind and today I blogged quite a few posts to satisfy a hunger for writing and an outlet to post on my passion for baking and cooking.  I just started blogging half a year ago and I didnt know how I existed before then.  I supposed telly was my interest then these days except for a few interesting shows, I find myself drawn more and more to my blog and face book.

           This dish is very simple to do.


         500 gm               Chicken, chopped
           1/2 teasp          Salt


          10                       Dried Chillies, wash & soak in hot water for 20 minutes
            2                       Red Chillies
            2                       Chilli Padi
            4                       Buah Keras/Candlenuts, roughly chopped for easier processing
            7                       Small Onions
            3 pips              Garlic
            1"                     young Ginger
            1"                     fresh Kunyit


            1                      Big Onion, slice into rings


             2 teasp          Sugar
             2 teasp          Tomato Paste
             1 teasp          Vinegar
             2 Tabsp        Tomato Ketchup
             3 Tabsp        Chilli Sauce
                                    Salt to taste


             1 cup             Water

  1.  Rinse chicken & Pat dry with paper kitchen towel.  Season lightly with 1/2 teasp salt for 10 minutes while you prepare the rempah.
  2. Blend "B" into a fine paste [rempah].
  3. Heat 1 cup oil in a wok over medium heat & fry the chicken in two batches in order to seal the juices; stirring about 5 minutes in total.  Drain & remove chicken.
  4. Pour out all but 4 Tabsp of oil in the wok that was used to fry the chicken [as the oil has umps of flavour] & fry the Onion rings for 2 minutes.  Carefully remove the onion rings; leaving as much of the oil in the pan as possible.
  5. Fry the blended rempah over medium heat until fragrant & oil separates [tip: Most Nyonya cooks will swear that if there isn't suffient oil to fry the rempah, yr curry wont taste good.  My better half, being a Baba, stands by this fact, his mum being a truly wonderful cook, and even though I am health conscious, I would have to agree with both his mum and him and the only way I would ease my conscious is to scope excess oil once it is cooked and fry veg with just enough oil].
  6. Add the seasoning ie "D" & cook for 3 - 5 minutes.
  7. Add "E" bring this to a boil & then return the chicken into the wok.  Simmer for 5 minutes, taste & adding any salt or sugar if necessary. Lastly add the fried Onion rings cook for another minute.  If you like you can garnish with a few sprigs of Yin Sai/celery leaves.
                    It would be better if you cook this in the afternoon and warm it up & serve it for dinner to give time for the food to infuse.  Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Laksa Johor

                    This post, which I learnt at a cooking workshop, is dedicated to Syed, and I rated it 9/10 and was hellav glad I went for same and for 10 pax +-


                     1 kg              Ikan Kembong
                600 gm              Shallots/small Onions
                300 gm              Garlic
                300 gm              young Ginger
                100 gm              *Dried Chilli,soaked
                  20 gm               Curry leaves
                  50 gm               Bunga Kantan
                200 gm               Dried Prawns, soak in hot water for 20 minutes
                  50 gm               Daun Kesum, sliced
                500 ml                fresh Santan
                    2 litres           *Fish Stock
                200 gm               *Fish Curry Powder
                300 gm               Kerisek
                                            Salt & Sugar to taste


                     6                    Cloves
                    1"                  Cinnamon stick/Kayu Manis
                    5                    Cardamons

               Cucumber, remove skin  & seeds & slice into thin strips
               Bunga Kantan, sliced
               Long beans, raw, sliced
               Red Chilli, sliced
               Limau Kasturi, one per bowl
               10 boiled egg
               Bean Sprout/Taugeh, raw
               1 packet Spaghetti, boiled al dente or your usual noodles [Spaghetti is a nice change]

               [*Sambal Belacan

                 Put in a blender 4 Red Chllies, 6 Chilli Padi, 2" toasted" Belacan & 2 Tabsp Assam Jawa water (Take a small handful of Assam Jawa mix with some boiled cool water, squeeze & strain]

  1. Fry the grated coconut without oil, till golden brown then blend same.
  2. Pound the dried prawns finely.  Set aside.
  3. Blend shallots, garlic, ginger & dried chilli till fine.  Set aside.
  4. Wash fish & boil fish with 2.5 litres of water & Retain this for your stock, you need 2 litres of stock. Debone the fish.
  5. Blend the fish meat with a little water/stock.  Set aside.
  6. Boil water in a big pot, throw in some salt & Spaghetti & boil it till al dente [read the package for boiling time].
  7. *Slate/mix well the 200 gm Fish Curry Powder with the 2 litres Fish Stock; making sure to smoothen any lumps.  Set aside.
  8. Heat oil in a frying pan & saute Spices till fragant.
  9. Add in the blended Shallot mixture, the curry leaves, bunga kantan, daun kesum, dried prawns & grounded fish meat.
  10. Add in the Fish Curry Powder solution & stir. Add in the fresh Santan.
  11. Stir well & add in the Kerisek & season with salt & sugar.
  12. Assembled the boiled Spaghetti/noddles & condiments in a bowl.  Pour hot soup over.
                Feed back - When I go for any class, I usually go with no expectation so that when I do find the class good, I come back with a light fuzzy feeling in my head, waiting with anticipation to reproduce what I learnt and that is my basic concept to life, no expectations so that when things dont work out, you dont feel so disappointed but when you do find something really good, it is really a pretty good feeling that the joy can be triple.

              Sorry for swaying from what I wanted to say on the onset in respect of this class.  I came out from it, enriched, learning so much in terms of presentation esp when you want to do this as a sit in dinner.  The Chefs displayed each condiment in beautiful individual bowls and these bowls were then placed in a big round platter and the noodles were placed in bowls on the dinning table and the "soup" was warming away in a electric steam boat on a side table; simmering gently away to the tune of pleasant soft music and the sweet aromatic waft coming from the electric steam boat was almost electrifying; it was almost like sheer extesy when the soft gentle growls from our tummy swayed in tanden with the music :) :) :)

                 Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Thai style fish cakes

                   This is something I learnt long ago from a reknown Chef which was lovely. Ophelia

              Ingredients for Thai style fish cakes

                     600 gm              Mackerel [Tenggiri Papan]
                         1                    Red Chilli, remove seeds
                         2                    Chilli Padi
                         1 stalk            Lemon grass/Serai
                         1"                   slice Galangal/Lengkuas
                         1                     Egg, beaten
                         3 Tabsp          Santan
                    1/2 level tsp        Salt
                    1/2 level tsp        Freshly ground Pepper
                    1/2 level tsp        Sugar
                        1 Tabsp            Fish Sauce
                        1 Tabsp            Limau Kasturi juice
                        4                       Shallots/small Onions
                        3 Tabsp            Coriander/Yin Sai, leaves & stalks, chopped
                        2                        Kaffir Lime leaves/Daun Limau Perut, remove vein & finely shredded
                        2                        Long Beans, thinly sliced
                   4 - 5 Tabsp             Oil

  1. Remove the skin & fillet the fish paying close attention to removing the bones.  You want a net weight of 400 gm.
  2. In a mortar & pestle pound both chillies, Serai & Lengkuas finely.  Set aside.
  3. Place fish, pounded ingredients, beaten egg, Santan, salt, pepper, sugar, fish sauce & lime juice together in a food processor.  Whiz until mixture forms a tacky paste.  Remove into a bowl & stir in the sliced shallots, coriander, daun limau perut & long beans. Mix it well manually but dont over knead.
  4. Using 2 spoons; dip in water, form mixture into small balls roughly 1 1/2" [3 cm] across.  Flatten to make patties 1/2" [1cm] thick.
  5. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat & fry fish cakes for 2 - 3 mintues per side or until golden brown.  Remove with a slotted spoon & place on a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.  Serve with a dipping sauce.
                         Coriander & Chilli Sauce


                 2 Tabsp              Maggi Chilli Sauce
                 1 Tabsp              Tomato Ketchup
                 3 cloves              Garlic
                 1 Tabsp              Limau Kasturi juice
                 2 Tabsp              Water
                                           Pinch of Salt, Sugar, opt
                A little                 roughly chopped Coriander/Yin Sai leaves.

                        Combine all the above in a mini food processor & process till fine.

                            Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Spicy Soya Sauce Pork [Non Halal]

                     This dish is dedicated to Sarah, yes this is Ju's "Pork Curry", hope you do try this sometimes. This dish is my daughter's favourite and whenever I cook this dish, I just have to text her that I made it for dinner and she will try her very best, come rain or shine, to come back to eat same unless of course if she had a prior appointment but Then, it doesnt really matter if she cant make it to the dinner table as it sure does taste absolutely better the next day as normally most food needs a little time to sort of infuse together and she has told her friends that  she coined it as Pork "Curry" as it has a spicy taste from the dried chillies used in the dish, a dish she never gets tried off!!!  And this dish was the first recipe that I printed to include in a folder each that I am starting to compile for my children, my legacy to them so that when I am no longer around, they would not be "stranded" as their favourite recipes would be in a folder for each of them as it is very usual, when that time do happen,  for siblings to ask each other, "Do you know how to make mummy's .....?"  and of course as everyone is so busy in their separate lives, working or otherwise, they would not have the time to learn their favourites and I love the doing the things that I learnt as everything is weighed so for those who love consistency in their food, like yours truly here, 99.9% of what I post is measured this is just the thing because then there would not be any "hit and run", the food would always taste the same. Whenever I cook the things that I learnt, my recipe and a pencil will always be on the kitchen counter and if I made a few changes to suit my taste bud and personalise it, I would always minute it down. These are my own tips that I like to share with you too.  And then again there are those who prefer to just know what are the ingredients used and then "adopt" their own style which is fine as to each his own.

                    If you were to cook this dish, not only is the taste awesome, the aroma coming from cooking the garnish will float through your kitchen with such a wholesome smell that would make your tummy growl for food gratification.


                      1 kg                       Belly Pork
                      2 Tabsp                Light Soya Sauce
                      1 Tabsp                Dark Soya Sauce
                    10                             Dried Chillies


                     80 ml                        Light Soya Sauce
                       1 Tabsp                 Dark Soya Sauce
                       1 Tabsp                 Oyster Sauce
                       2 whole                  Pods *Smoked Garlic [just wash, Do not detach stump, just smash]

                       1 Tabsp                 Shao Xing Wine
                                                      *Water [slightly higher than the level of the meat]
                      1/4 - 1/2 Tabsp       Sugar


                      30 gm            Dried Cuttlefish [you know the thin stringy one you use for frying
                                                                           Seng Kuang/Turnip/Bangkuang]

                        5 pieces      Dried Chillies

  1. Snip the stems of the Dried Chillies & knock off some of the seeds [if you do not want it too spicy].  Wash & soak in hot water for 10 minutes.
  2. Put "A" in a large pot, cover lid & marinade for 4 hours in the fridge.
  3. Remove from fridge & thaw for 30 - 40 minutes.
  4. You can either Deep Fry "A" for 3 minutes in order to seal the juices OR you can straight away do Step No.5 if you are pressed for time.  You should do both styles so that you can compare the difference in taste & texture.
  5. Put "B" in the large pot together with "A" & Cook For 25 Minutes on medium low fire & stirring it occassionally to prevent burning.
  6. Add "C" bearing in mind that the amount of water should be slightly higher than the level of the meat, & simmer on medium low fire for 25 - 30 minutes.
  7. IN THE MEANTIME (a) submerge the Dried CUTTLEFISH in vinegar [vinegar just above the level of the Dried Cuttlefish FOR 10 MINUTES ONLY [THIS IS THE SECRET TO MAKE THE DRIED CUTTLEFISH CRISPY] & then place it on a siever to drain off the vinegar; (b)  Snip the stems of the dried chillies & knock off some of the seeds.  Just wash & soak in hot water for 10 minutes then place on siever to drain off water; (c) HEAT some oil in a frying pan, add the dried cuttlefish & dried chillies together & fry till you can smell the aroma of the dried cuttlefish.  Remove & place on kitchen paper napkins to absorb the oil.
  8. Once the meat is cooked, garnish it with the fried dried cuttlefish & dried chillies.

                      1.  *The smoked garlic has some black skin & alot of  older folks like me will swear that in some Chinese cooking, the smoked garlic gives an umpph.  If you dont have same you can just use garlic.

                     2.  The garnish ie the fried dried cuttlefish is optional and whenever I cook this, most times I omit them.

               Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia