Friday, April 29, 2011

Maggi Goreng (Fried Maggi Mee)

It's been a long while since the last time I frequented mamak stalls. They have all varieties of food to offer but I normally go for either a tosai or maggi goreng (without egg). I've one heard one of my friends remarked before that only fools would order maggi goreng because anyone can jolly well whip up this dish at home at a much cheaper cost. While this could be true,  I somehow feel it's lacking in a particular taste when I fried it myself at home. I cannot pinpoint out exactly what is lacking. Wok flavor perhaps? Anyway, I was frying this vegetarian maggi goreng the other night for my dinner and to be packed for my lunch to office the following day. It wasn't spectacular (I'm comparing to this certain mamak where I've ordered from them before) but it was more than edible for me. From a scale of 1 to 10, I would give a rating of 7. Maybe I should have added an egg, I don't know but it was meant to be a vegetarian dish right from the start. Here's what I did :

Ingredients :
2 packets of Maggi Mee Kari Letup (Maggi instant Noodle with curry flavor)
2 pieces of tofu (hard type)
6 cloves of garlic - chop
1 carrot - cut strips
cabbage/ mustard greens (sawi)
1 tomato - quartered
dark soy sauce
a little water

Method :
  1. Heat oil and fry the tofu in low fire. When all sides turn brown, dish out and let it cool slightly before cutting into cubes.
  2. In a pot, boil water to cook instant noodles. When water is boiled, turn fire off before you add in the instant noodles. It takes a short while for the noodles to soften. Drain the noodles before it is fully soften and run over with cold water. Drain and set aside (leaving a little water in the pot with noodles.
  3. Heat oil and fry garlic till fragrant. Add in cabbage and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes before adding in carrot strips and tomato.
  4. Stir a while before adding in the tofu. Right after that, toss in the half packet of curry powder seasoning (the sachet in the noodle pack) in it along with a little water. Do not add in all 2 packets of seasoning. Stir to mix evenly. Pour in the drain noodles follow with the dark soy sauce. Mix evenly and taste the noodles before adding in more curry seasoning. Go easy on the seasoning and add according to your preference. Add in a little water if need be.
  5. Garnish with fried shallots,cut chillis and lime.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Roasted Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

One of the easiest and fastest recipe I know of is roast chicken. I don't know why but I was suddenly thinking of eating either fried chicken (other than KFC) or roast chicken. When I want something, I really want it fast. So the moment the clock struck 12pm, I shot off to Giant to look for chicken for dinner tonight. I don't know what kind a Giant this is but there wasn't any whole leg chicken on the shelf. Neither could I find chicken wings or drumsticks. What was available were whole chicken, half chicken and chop chicken parts. I had to settle with a small size half chicken then. It was a good thing I have lots of spices in office because when I reached office, I cleansed the chicken and started rubbing the chicken thouroughly with salt, course black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and dried parsley. Since there was a metal meat tenderizer on hand, I used that too tenderize the meat, half hoping the marinates will seep into the meat faster. Roast the chicken at 170C for about 30 mins. I turn the chicken over after 20 mins of roasting and the last 5 mins, I turn it back for a final roasting on the other side so that I'd get a more crispy and brownish skin.

As for the vegetables, here's what I did :

  • 3 mid size potatoes
  • 1 large carrot, cut smnaller size
  • 3 mini size aubergine, cut thinner strips
  • 8 cherry round tomatoes
  • few pieces of lettuce.
  • 1 big onion, cut rings.
  • salt
  • Mc cormik garlic & pepper seasoning.
  1. Peeled potatoes, cut into smaller sizes and boil in water with pinch of salt for about 20 - 30 mins. When potatoes are slightly soft, dish it out.
  2. Heat up pan with olive oil. Toss in the potatoes and left in pan. Turn occasionally so that all sides came in contact with the pan. Add in onions and  cut carrots.
  3. Toss in the aubergine and stir till they are evenly soften. Add in pinch of salt and some Mc Cormik seasoning.
  4. Keep close watch and refrain the vege from getting burnt. Turn off fire and transfer to glass dish before popping it into the oven.
  5. Roast vege for 30 mins in 140C.
  6. Serve together with roasted chicken and garnish with fresh lettuce and cherry round tomatoes.

The seasoning I used. Sorry, picture taken with my phone.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Flat Flour Noodles (Pan Mee / Mi Hun Kueh)

This used to be a dish made by my grandmother when I was still in Batu Pahat. Grandma would knead the dough and mom would prepare the rest of the ingredients, including cooking the dish. Later on, mom undertook the task of kneading the dough. I wanted to introduce our Johor style of Pan Mee to hubby but what prevented me from cooking it was the work itself : all for just 2 of us to eat. I mean, how much can 2 person eat? And all the trouble for that? Finally when mom came over, I had 4 people in the house to have dinner. Mom took over the kneading of dough ... and the cooking. I prepared the ingredients for her. Together we made this for dinner. It was fabulous! There were many other side ingredients that were classified as 'must-have' : fried shallots, anchovies and lastly chili padi (bird's eyes chili) . I would scatter all these on top but Iwill not stir it. Reason being I do not want the anchovies to go soft and limpy. Hubby enjoyed the dish tremendously and actually asked mom how she made the tasty soup.

For Dough:
500 gm all purpose flour
2 large eggs
150 ml water,plus extra if necessary
a pinch of salt
some corn starch for dusting

For Topping:
500 gm minced meat (we made into round balls. Marinate meat with salt, sesame oil and soy sauce)
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar

fried anchovies,head removed
fried shallot

Soup Base:
200 gm fresh anchovies,washed
5 liter water
1 anchovies cubes*Knorr*
salt and ground white pepper powder to taste
1 lb baby green mustard ,washed and cut (we used a vege which we called 'money' vege).

Method :
1:Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl,sifted .Add in water and eggs,mix and knead into a stiff dough.Cover with wet cloth or paper towel,let it rest for 30 minutes.

Soup Base or Stock :
1. Prepare 5 liter water with fresh washed anchovies at medium high heat.Boil or simmer for 45 minutes. Add in anchovies cubes. Simmer for another 10 minutes before add in salt and ground pepper powder to taste. Reduce heat to low. Discard the anchovies. Taste the soup before you add the soy sauce and sugar. Add them based on your own taste preference.

2. In low fire, roll mince meat into balls and add into soup. Turn to moderate heat for about 3 - 5mins. Add some some fried shallot and fried anchovies. Turn down fire.

3. Pinch the dough into the soup. Some like it thick while others like it thin. Pinch according to your preference. When all dough are in the soup, stir a while so that they are cook evenly.

4. When the dough are cooked, add in the vegetables. Dish out and garnish with fried shallots and fried anchovies. Serve hot with cut chili.

My cooking tips : Instead of pinching the dough in, you may want it eat it as noodles. Use the pan mee machine  (cost less than RM50) to make the noodles. If you don't have one,  roll the dough flat on a floured surface. Use a knife to cut strips to the thickness you desire.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Soft Cotton Japanese Cheesecake II

True to my words, I baked another Soft Cotton Japanese Cheesecake on Monday night, right immediately I reached home from office. I just couldn't bear to omit the lemon entirely so in the end, I squeezed plentiful of lemon juice in it as well. I reckon I'm smarter this time, having learnt from my previous small mistake. I took extra care to beat the egg whites to the right consistency. I was too lazy to line base my pan so I just greased it thoroughly. I have proven this could be done because the cake came out of the tin easily, thank God for that. When the baking time was over, I left the cake in the oven without opening the over door ajar. It was an hour later that I opened the door slightly ajar for about 20 min so as to let the cake gradually adapt to the temperature change. I was almost happy with the texture of the cake. It was smooth, soft and moist. It didn't collapse as much as the last time I baked but I definitely didn't achieve the kind of standard I had hope for. Nonetheless, I was happy with the cake.

Click here for the recipe. 

My cooking tips :  Because I had left the cake inside the oven for an hour, perhaps you might want to consider cutting down the baking time for 5 - 8 minutes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Homemade Kaya by Mom

Hubby's sister was asking me whether my mom knows how to make kaya. That's goes without saying. Mom knows how to make kaya and has been making since my primary school days. I recalled seeing her making the kaya by using a slow cooker. Apparently she did but it wasn't the most recommended method. When mom was down here with me in KL, I asked her to show me how to make kaya. Afterall, it has been like donkey years since I last ate the kaya made by her. She actually needed a double boiler to make it but like I said in my previous post, I don't have one at home. We put a glass bowl in a huge pot filled with simmering water and cooked the kaya in very slow fire for over an hour.

It is rather easy to make kaya. All you need is a little patience because there was a lot of constant stirring and that means you gotta stand to accomplish the task. As simple as the recipe is, I just cannot recall the exact measurement my mom used. I shall post it in the next 1 or 2 days. Gotta call my mom in Singapore tomorrow to get the recipe :)  Meantime, just hang it there .

I've just got the recipe from my mom. Here you go...

Ingredients A:
1 fresh coconut milk (fit into one chinese bowl)
4 eggs
300g castor sugar
5-6 pieces of pandan leaves, knotted

Ingredients B:
5 tbsp castor sugar
1 tbsp water (or enough water to 'wet' the sugar)

Method :
  1. In a pot, mix in Ingredients A. Stir them well until sugar dissolved.
  2. Cook this over low fire in a double boiler. If you don't have one, put the glass bowl (with ingredients A) and place them in a pot filled with water).
  3. Keep stirring every now and then until mixture reaches a smooth consistency. This will take about an hour. Mixture will also thicken.
  4. In another pot, pour in Ingredients B and cook over very very low fire. Ensure it's either 1 tbsp water or just enough water to wet the sugar. You may omit water entirely BUT it will be slightly tough to cook just sugar without a single drop of water. Mixture will turn brown. Turn off fire.
  5. Pour the brown sugar mixture into the thickened coconut mixture and stir for another 10 - 20 mins.
  6. Turn off fire and kaya is done.

My cooking tips :
  • You may substitute the eggs with duck eggs instead which will give a smooth texture to the kaya. The downside is duck eggs have higher cholestrol.
  • Before stiring in the brown sugar mixture, you may want to remove the pandan leaves from the coconut mixture. This way, it may be easier to stir in the brown sugar mixture.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Soft Cottony Japanese Cheesecake

Today's baking was like no other time. I didn't pre weight my ingredients. It was bake in a spur of moment BUT I took it all slow and steady. I got the recipe at the beginning of the week and I thought I wanna attempt it on Wed evening because I took half a day off to rest but of course, that didn't materialize. This recipe was adapted from Diana's recipe book. I have long wanted to try my hands on a soft cotton japanese cheesecake. It first caught my attention about 10 years ago when Joyce my friend, introduced this Tiffin cheesecake (if memory serves me correctly, the name should be Tiffin). I'm very selective of cheesecake because I'm not a cheese person. Sometimes the smell even puts me off. However, I just couldn't get enough of this particular soft cotton cheesecake she bought for me.
The instructions from the recipe required a double boiler which I don't have one at home. What I did was placing a bowl in the wok with water & cook over slow fire. The heat from the water and fire from the stove had me perspiring all over and my body was all heated up. It took me quite a while, standing there and stiring the ingredients in the bowl until they were fully melted. Once the baking time was up, I left the cake in the oven for about 15 mins before opening the door slightly ajar. Mistake. Big mistake. I should've just leave the cake in the oven for an hour or more WITHOUT leaving the door ajar because the cake has shrunk considerably just because I did that.

Amidst all this near disaster, the cake really lives up to its name. The cake was as soft as cotton. It's moist, of course and I coudn't help wondering whether I should omit the lemon juice. I went ahead with the lemon juice because I was worried the overpowering smell and taste of cheese will put me off. I love this cake. I'm gonna bake this again next week because I have another bar of  philadephia cheese which will expire soon. And you can be sure that this time, I'm not gonna repeat the same mistakes I made this time. Try it out and let me know of your outcome. By the way, I know the picture sucks. Taken with my handphone at midnight :)

Ingredients :

140g fine granulated sugar
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
50g  butter
250g  cream cheese
100 ml  fresh milk
1 tbsp. lemon juice
60g cake flour /superfine flour
20g cornflour (cornstarch)
1/4 tsp. salt


1. Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler. Cool the mixture. Fold in the flour, the cornflour, egg yolks, lemon juice and mix well.

2. Whisk egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.

3. Add the cheese mixture to the egg white mixture and mix well. Pour into a 8-inch round cake pan (Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of the pan with greaseproof baking paper or parchment paper).

4. Bake cheesecake in a water bath for 1 hours 10 minutes or until set and golden brown at 160 degrees C (325 degrees F).

Makes 1 (8-inch) cheesecake.

My cooking tips :
1. It is important that you do not overbeat or under beat the egg whites. Beat till soft peaks form
2. I cover the top with an aluminium foil to prevent it from browning at the top at early stage. I remove the foil 10 minutes before the baking time is up
3. I reduce the baking time from the recommended 1 hour 10 mins to an hour. Know your oven well.
4. Leave the cake in the oven for an hour after the baking time is up. This is to prevent the cake from collapsing from the sudden change of temperature.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mamak Mee Goreng

I still have a lot of the special noodles from Sg. Lembing, given to us by hubby's colleague. This is supposed to be the yellow noodles which chinese love to consume but 3 things set apart  this noodle (from Sg. Lembing) from the normal yellow noodle you purchase in hypermart :  (a) this noodles has considerably less amount of lye water in it (in Cantonese we call it kan soi), (b) this yellow noodle is not fat and round but it's thinner and flatter (something like linguine) and (c) other than the usual floor and stuffs used to make noodles, they claim to be using 100% pure mountain water as well, thus making the noodle tastier.  Both hubby and I will never order any yellow noodles when we eat out in hawker stall. With this Sg Lembing noodles, I am able to try out certain dishes which require nothing else but yellow noodles. In this instance, it's Mamak Mee Goreng.

I ran upstairs and frantically flipped through my recipe book and found the recipe I was looking for. To my surprise, the sauces were pretty much the same that I've used in my recent attempt of Ramen in a Jiffy. The steps to making this dish is rather simple. I didn't have any meat with me but that was fine because I had enough vege base ingredients on hand. Here's the recipe, adapted from Agnes Chang.

Ingredients :
500g fresh yellow noodles
120g mutton, thinly sliced (I omitted this)
1 tsp light soya sauce
1/2 tsp dark soya sauce
dash of pepper

4 tbsp oil
1 bombay onion, sliced thinly
4 stalks sawi, cleaned and cut into 3cm length (I substituted with cabbage)
3 pieces fried beancurd, diced
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp chilli sauce
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
** I added 4 tbsp hot water
dash of pepper (I omitted this)
2 eggs (I omitted this)
3 green chillis, sliced
3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
**I added shitake mushrooms, carrot and fish cake, chopped garlic

Method :
1. Season mutton with soya sauces and pepper. Fry fish cake and set aside. Slice it when cool.

2. Heat oil and stir fry sliced onion till fragrant. Add in the mutton and fry till it changes color (if you have mutton)

3. Add cabbage and fry till slightly soft before adding in the tomatoes, carrot, diced beancurd and slice fish cake. Dish out and set aside.

4. Heat up oil, fry some chopped garlic. Add in sliced mushrooms. Fry till soft and set aside (Omit this step if you are using mushrooms).

5. With the mushrooms still in the wok, add back the vege based ingredients which you have fried earlier. Stir a while before adding in the yellow noodles. Pour the prepared sauces in.

6. If you have eggs, break in eggs and stir quickly to mix with teh noodles. Add in green chillies and mix well.
7. Dish out and serve. You may garnish it with fried shallots, green and red chillis and lime.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chocolate Muffin

I was back in Singapore in March to visit my brother's family who came back to Singapore for vacation. The last time I saw Gerald and Leanne (my nephew and niece) was 2 years ago. It is not often I have the opportunity to see them so I thought it's either I fly there to meet up with them or miss the chance and God knows when the chance will knock on my door again. So I flew all the way from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, one month from my last trip there. Got to see mom, dad, John's entirely family too and all was good. I'm happy Leanne remembers me (so she said). Gerald probably had no inkling on who I am, probably regarded me as a stranger that just walks past his life :) Prior to the trip, I was picking on my brains what cake to whip up when I'm there coz a month ago when I was there, I didn't bake anything. Kakak was dissappointed that I didn't bring anything along to bake and I promise her the next trip back, I will. Well, the next trip back proved to be a month later and I was pretty stressed up with work. I didn't want to bake the same recipes I've baked before but instead try out those new ones I've baked in KL but I doubted the kids nor the adults will like my peach upside down cake. Most importantly, I didnt' have the 'heart' or desire to bake coz my work has taken a toll on me. So as not to let anyone down, I hastily drove to the bakery shop to purchase a packet of chocolate muffin mix. With this, I didn't break my promise to Kakak and the kids willl get to eat the cake of chocolate flavor.

I was tempted to modify this muffin premix by melting some chocolate and adding into the cake batter. But like I said before, I just didn't really have the mood to bake this time. In the end, it was just melting butter and mixing in the premix. Yes, as simple as that. It has been a long long time since I bought a premix because that to me wouldn't be called baking. It's already all simplified and you dont' get to enjoy the process of baking at all. However, with a premix, you do not have to worry about failure.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ramen in a Jiffy

It's Sunday night and it's also one of those rare days I'm having dinner at home instead of somewhere else. For the past 2 weekends, the chinese were scrambling to the cemetery grounds for tomb sweeping, a festival we called Qing Ming. We got up pretty early for this and by the time I got home, it was almost 3pm! Since everyone was exhausted from the morning event, we decided to eat our dinners separately. I was trying to take an afternoon nap but of course that didn't materialize, much to my chagrin. Instead of wasting time by lying on the bed and gazing at the ceiling, I jumped out from bed and went straight to my kitchen. I started taking out a zucchini which I bought it because it was an 'on sale' item ( at RM2), a carrot, a packet of shitake mushroom. Obviously zucchini is normally used for a western dish while shitake mushroom is best cook in the asian or chinese way. I went against all odds and decided to mix the 2 instead to fry a ramen noodle.  What came to my mind was this looks like an East Meets West kind of dish.  Well besides using this 2 ingredients for my dish, I became adventurous and came up with a special sauce : a mixture tomato ketchup, chili sauce, chinese oyster sauce and soy sauce.  The verdict? You try it out and tell. All I can say is hubby ate quite plentiful. It tasted even better when I ate it the next day but I fried it again with an egg.

Ingredients :
1 zucchini - slice
1/2 packet of shitake mushroom - thinly slice
1 carrot - shred
7 cloves garlic - chop
3 shallots - slice
Organic ramen

Seasoning :
tomato ketchup
chili sauce
oyster sauce
soy sauce
pinch of salt
chili flakes (optional)

Method :
1. Heat up oil in wo and saute garlic and shallot till fragrant. Add in the zucchini.
2. Stir for about 2 minutes before adding in the shitake mushrooms. Saute till mushrooms turn soft and water seeping out from it.
3. Add in the shreded carrot and stir fry for a minute before adding in the ramen.
4. Stir the sauce and add in little by little. Taste and add more of whichever sauces to your own preference.
5. Dish out and serve hot.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chinese Leek with Pork Belly

Dad likes to have meat in every meal and  I don't mean any meat will do. He specifically likes fat kampung chicken or pork belly with thick layers of fat. With just 4 of us having dinner and hubby not keen on having a heavy  dinner, my mom will usually keep our dinner with just 2 or 3 varieties. Gosh... it just hit me that it's the same number of dishes I cook for just hubby and myself. Well.. anyway, we have got this healthy looking chinese leek in our fridge and mom suggested we can mix the pork belly with the leek and made a simple stirfry. In this way, we got both meat and vege in one simple dish. I usually like to cut the leek real slim and small. Mom apparently had a totally different idea of cutting the leek. Let me tell you the dish was outstanding. Leek was crunchy, pork belly was well seasoned and the entire dish has a hint of sweetness, thanks to the carrot.

Ingredients :
1 piece of tofu
6 stalks of chinese leek
1 carrot
200g pork belly
5 cloves garlic, chopped
some chicken powder
1 tsp shaoxing wine
pinch of salt

Marinates :
1 tbsp shaoxing wine
soy sauce
pinch of salt

Method :
1.  Marinatae the pork belly and set aside. Heat up oil and fry the tofu. Set aside to cool before slicing it thinly

2.  With remaining oil in work, fry the chopped garlic for a while before adding in the pork belly. When meat turns color, add in the leek. Saute for 5 minutes before adding in the carrots. Add in the chicken powder, salt and shaoxing wine.

3. Add in the sliced tofu and mix with the rest of the ingredients in the wok before cover it and simmer for a further 1 - 2 minutes. Dish out and serve.