Tuesday, April 29, 2008


One of my favorite Indian snack. I first learn to make this yummy treats when I was in Home Science class. It is pretty simple to make Vadai. Here are the ingredients:


200g dhall (lentils)
a bit of water
1/4 tsp cumin
1 green chili-finely sliced
1 red chili - finely sliced
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 sprig curry leaves, finely chopped
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp rice flour

1. Wash and soak dhall overnight. Drain well, then put into a blender. Add water and process until dhall is coarsely blended.
2. Combined all the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Heat oil for deep-frying.
3. Wet your hands and take a spoonful of dhall mixture, place the mixture on the palm of your hand. Make into a round then flatten slightly.
4. Drop into the hot oil. repeat until all the dough is used up. Fry until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel.

Note : Vadai is best eaten hot.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Siew Mai

My family back home love having dim sum breakfast on Sunday but we can't do it here because we have to go all the way down to Philly if want to have some and Philly is about an hour drive from home. So the best thing to do is to make it myself. It much healthier and is not too difficult to make either.

Ingredients :

300 grm of ground meat (pork or chicken)
200 grm of shrimp (roughly chopped)
5 water chestnuts (diced small)
3 dry shitake mushroom (soak still soft and diced small)
2 stalk of spring onions - finely chopped
1 stalk of coriander (optional) - finely chopped
1 egg white
2 tsp of corn starch
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1/2 tsp of sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste

Some wanton wrappers
some green peas or carrot cubes (for garnish)

1) Combine all the ingredients together except for the wanton wrapper and mix well. Set it aside in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2) Trim the wanton into round shape.
3) Put one teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper and press the wrapper up around the filling so that it almost meet at the top. Make sure the bottom is flat.
4) Press a green pea or a carrot cube into the top. Arrange the siew mai in a grease plate and steam over high heat for 10 - 15 minutes.
5) Serve warm with chili sauce.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie

I always like the idea of chicken pie or any kind of savory pies. When you are baking it the whole house just filled with the sweet scent of the pie and when you dig into this dish it never fails to please. This is a very easy recipe which anyone can make. I used the store bought pie crust and you can either use the short crust or puff pastry.

Ingredients :

2 pcs of pie crust
2 cups of cooked chicken meat
2 carrots - cut into small cubes
2 stalk of celery - cut into small cubes
1 cup of green peas
1 potatoes - cut into cubes
1/2 onions - finely diced
1 cloves of garlic
1 can of low sodium cream of chicken or mushroom soup
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg - beaten

1) Heat up the pan and lightly brown the onion and garlic. Then add in the celery and carrots, saute for 2 minutes.
2) Add in cream of chicken or mushroom soup and add in about 2 cups of water. Mixed well and bring to boil and add in the potatoes. Continue to simmer until potatoes soften and add in the chicken and green peas.
3) Stir well, cook until sauce thickens. Check seasoning. Dish out and let it cool.
4) Pre-heat the oven to 375 degree F. Prepare a pie dish. Roll out the pastry 1" larger than the pie dish.
5) Put in the filling and cover the top with another piece of roll out pastry and crimp the edges. Cut a few slits on top of the pastry for venting air.
6) Brush the top of the pastry with beaten egg and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.
7) Let it cool down for 10-15 minutes before serving.

A few of you asked how I make the lattice design on top of the pie. Here is my secret :) I used this gadget I bought a few years ago from a kitchen supplies store.

(Front view)

(Back view)
Note : You can add extra water if the filling gets too dry before the potatoes is soft.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spicy Beef in Dark Soy Sauce

I was trying to surprise Carlos by grilling him a steak last week. I took out a piece of meat from the freezer thinking it was his rib eyes steak. I marinate it and grill it just in time for his dinner. He was so looking forward to his juicy steak until he took a bite out of it and told me 'Sweetie, this steak is so hard and tough as a leather' I was like how can that be. This is the steak we bought from Sam's Club. I took a bite and man it was really tough. I make a mistake by taking my chuck beef for my stew instead of his rib eyes. This shows how much I know about meat :) Poor Carlos had a sandwich for his dinner that evening. I felt so bad and make him his steak again the next evening and this time I used the right beef and it came out perfect. I think from now on I should not cut my stewing beef like the steak start labeling them before freezing it.

So what I did with that piece of cooked meat? I sliced it thinly and make a dish out of it the next day :)

Ingredients :

1/2 pound of lean beef - slice thinly
2 tsp of turmeric
3 tbsp of flour
1 red chili- slice thinly
1 green chili - slice thinly
1 onion - quartered
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
1 stalk of lemon grass - finely chopped
2 tbsp of sambal oelek or chili boh
2 tbsp of dark soy sauce
1 tsp of sugar
salt and pepper to taste

1) Mix the cut beef with turmeric power, salt and pepper and then lightly toss it with the flour.
2) Heat up some oil in pan and fry the beef until golden brown. Drain and remove oil from pan. Leave only about 2 tbsp of oil in pan.
3) Add in garlic, onions, lemongrass and stir fry until fragrant and lightly brown. Add in sambal oelek, dark soy sauce and stir fry of 10 second.
4) Add in beef and the cut chilies. Check seasoning. If the dish is too dry add in a few tablespoon of water. Stir until well mix and dish out.
5) Serve with warm rice.

Note : My beef was a bit dry because I already pre-cooked it before frying them. Beside that this dish tastes really good. If you find the sambal oelek too spicy you can always replaced it chili sauce.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

This cheesecake bars is the ideal dessert to to end a meal. You can replace the blueberry with any kind of fruits like raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, etc.

Ingredients :

1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/2 stick of melted butter - 4 tbsp
12 oz of reduced fat cream cheese (about 1 1/2 packet)
5 tbsp of sugar
1/4 cup of low fat milk
2 tbsp of cornstarch
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of lemon zest
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of blueberries

1) Pre-heat over to 350 degree F. Line a 8"x 8" square baking pan with aluminium foil. Mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter.
2) Press the graham cracker mixture firmly to the bottom of the baking pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3) In a food processor or mixer, blend cream cheese, eggs, milk, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest until smooth. Do not over beat.
4) Pour the cream cheese mixture into the crust and then cover the top with blueberries. Bake in the over for 35-40 min or until the center is set.
5) Cool completely. Lift the cheesecake out of the pan into cutting board and cut into bars. Serve cold.
Note : If you want it sweeter you can add more sugar to it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Steam Tapioca/Cassava Cake

I still have a packet of frozen tapioca in the freezer which I bought many months ago so decided to make some steam tapioca kueh. Is a very simple recipe which doesn't need too many ingredients.

Ingredients :

400 grm of grated Tapioca/cassava
100g Sugar
2 tbsp of corn starch
120 ml coconut milk
2 pandan leaves
Pinch Of Salt
1 cup fresh grated white Coconut + 1/4 tsp of salt

1. Steam grated white coconut with salt for about 5 minutes, then set aside to cool.
2. Squeeze any access liquid from the tapioca then mix the sugar, corn starch, coconut milk and a pinch of salt together. Mix well.
3. Grease a pan with some cooking oil, pour mixture in, lay the pandan leave on top and steam over medium heat for about 25 minutes or until its done.
4. Remove from heat, cool completely and remove the pandan leaves.
5. Cut to desire shape, coat with grated coconut and serve.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sambal Shrimp with Tempe & Asparagus

One food I miss most since leaving home is the traditional Malay food. My old office is just right across a mosque at PJ and I will always 'ta pau' my lunch there. I just love their sambal, curry, fried fish, ikan masin and all the ulam ulam. That is why you can see that I like cooking Malay food every chance I got here. One of my favorite is Tempe. I am lucky that I can get Tempe from Wegman's supermarket. Here is a simple Tempe dish that I always cook and since I had some asparagus in my fridge I add it in too.

Ingredients :

10 shrimp - clean
1 packet of tempe - cubes
6 asparagus - cut into 1" lenght
1 onion - slice thinly
2 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp of sambal oelek or chili boh
2 tbsp of tomato ketchup
1 tsp of sugar
salt and pepper to taste

1) Pan fried the tempe until golden brown, drain the oil and set aside.
2) Remove oil and leave about 2 tbsp of oil in the pan. Add in garlic and onion and stir fry until lightly brown. Add in sambal oelek, tomato ketchup and stir fry for a 30 second.
3) Add in shrimp, stir fry for 10 second and add in the asparagus. Add in a bit of water if it gets too dry.
4) Once the asparagus is slightly tender add in tempe, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
5) Stir fry until well combined and dish out.
6) Serve with warm rice.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Easy Fried Rice

I think fried rice is one of the easiest Asian dish to make. You can whip this up real quick and the best part it's not just good for leftover rice, but leftover anything. You can throw almost anything in and it will still taste great! It's one of those meals that works no matter what you happen to have on hand. This is my version of quick and easy fried rice.

Ingredients :

2 cups cold cooked rice
1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables
1 yellow or red pepper - cut small
1 cup of protein (char siew, chicken, shrimp, spam) cut small
2 eggs - beaten
2 spring onions - sliced thinly
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
2 shallots - sliced thinly
1 tsp of ginger - finely chopped

Seasoning :

1 tbsp of oyster sauce
3 tbsp of soy sauce
2 tbsp of fish sauce
some pepper

1) Heat up wok on high heat and add some oil. Put in ginger, shallots and garlic and stir fry until lightly brown.
2) Add in the meat, stir fry for about 20 seconds, then add in the peppers and mixed vegetables. Stir fry for a minute and then push all the meat and vegetables to the side of the wok and then add in the beaten eggs. Scramble the eggs until half cook.
3) Add in the rice and all the seasoning. Continue the stir fry for 2 minutes until everything well mixed. Check seasoning and lastly add in the spring onions.
4) Serve warm.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shrimp In Fruity Sauce

Most of us should be familiar with sweet and sour chicken or pork dish. Carlos and I are not a fan of pork so I decided to adapt this dish to shrimp. This is a quick and easy stir-fry dish that can be done in minutes.

Ingredient :

1/2 pound of shrimp - peel and deveined
1/2 cucumber - cut in chunks
1 cup of pineapple - cut in chunks
6 strawberry - cut in half
1/2 a mango - cut in chunks
1 medium size onion - quartered
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
1 tsp of freshly grated ginger

Sauce :

3/4 cup of orange juice
3 tbsp of lemon juice - optional
2 tbsp of plump sauce
3 tbsp of tomato ketchup
1 tsp of corn starch
1 tsp of sugar - optional
salt and pepper to taste

1) Mixed all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Heat up a pan with a little bit of oil. Add in chopped garlic, onions, ginger and stir fry till lightly brown.
2) Add in shrimps and stir fry for a few second until it changes color. Then add in all the cut fruits and cucumber. Stir for a few second and add in the sauce.
3) Stir and bring to boil and check seasoning.
4) Serve with warm rice.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pandan Swiss Roll

I am a fan of swiss roll because of its soft texture, not overly sweet and using very little butter but never attempts to make any. I tried making it once about 15 years ago but it was unsuccessful. The swiss roll turn out really dry and cracks when I try to roll it up and I end up making trifle out of it. After that experience I never make this cake again.

This time I fair a bit better. The roll turns out really soft and moist. Even Carlos who never fancies any kind of sponge cake ate a huge slice of it. One thing for sure I need a lot of practice in the art of rolling it up. It still cracks on me but it was much better than the last one.

Ingredients :

5 eggs
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp of emulsifier (ovalet)
3 tbsp of water
1/3 cup of melted butter
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 tsp of pandan paste

Filling :

Some Kaya (egg custard) or strawberry jam

1) Pre-heat oven t0 350 degree F. Light grease a swiss roll tin (10 x 14" ) and line with some parchment paper.
2) Combined eggs, flour, sugar, emulsifier, water, vanilla and beat on high speed until mixture is white and fluffy.
3) Turn off mixer and slowly fold in the melted butter. Mix thoroughly.
4) Remove about 1 cup of mixture and add in the pandan paste.
5) Pour the white mixture into the baking pan and spread it out evenly.
6) Put a few dollop of the pandan mixture on of the white mixture and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until lightly brown.
7) Take out the cake and cool down for 5 minutes before turning it out on a parchment paper. Roll it up while its still warm and leave it to cool down completely.
8) When is cool, unroll it and then spread some kaya or jam on it. Roll the cake up again, cut and serve.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Roast Chicken Thighs

This is a fuss free one-pot dish where all the ingredients are roasted together. It's my favorite way of cooking chicken thigh where it doesn't involved much cleaning or washing. This kind of meal ideal is for a family dinner - serve it at the table, straight from the roasting pan. Just add a green salad and you are good to go.

Ingredients :

4 chicken thigh with legs - removed all the skin and fat (if you prefer the skin then leave it on)
2 tbsp of Dijon mustard
1 tbsp of honey
salt and pepper
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of garlic powder
few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 pound of red skin potatoes - cut into half or quarters
2 medium size onions - cut into quarters

1) Marinate the chicken thigh will all the above ingredients except the onions, potatoes and set aside for at least an hour.
2) Pre-heat over to 400 degree F. Line the baking pan with aluminium foil (for easy cleaning) and oil the base with some olive oil.
3) Place the cut vegetables at the bottom of the baking pan and sprinkle some salt and pepper and drizzle some olive oil and toss well.
4) Place the chicken thigh on top of the vegetables and roast it for 45 minutes to an hour or until the chicken is done and the potatoes are tender.

Note : You can always used other type of roasting vegetables for this dish.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

I have been craving for oatmeal cookies for the past few days now and I don't want to bake the traditional oatmeal cookies. I wanted to bake something healthier or at least that's what I like to think 0f :) So I went through my baking pantry to see what healthy ingredients I can find to make the healthy bars. The outcome was good. The bar wasn’t too sweet and it’s just nice with a cup of coffee or tea.

Ingredients :

1 cup of white wholewheat flour or flour
1 1/4 cups of quick-cooking oats
2 tbsp of honey
1/2 tsp of salt
6 tbsp of melted butter
1 cup of low sugar strawberry preserves (you can used the regular ones)
1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flaked

1) Prepare an 8" x 8" square pan and line it with aluminium foil. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree F.
2) In a bowl combine wholewheat flour, oats and salt.
3) Mix the honey into the melted butter and pour it into the flour mixture. Stir until crumbly. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture.
4) Press the remaining crumb evenly into the pan. Spread the strawberry preserves over the crust.
5) Combine coconut with the reserved crumb mixture and sprinkle over the preserves.
6) Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and cut into bars.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Tofu Salad With Peanut Sauce

I just love tofu cook in anyway but not Carlos. He still can't understand why I would eat something so tasteless and soft :) Since tofu is tasteless I will always find ways to jazz it up with bright and bold flavor. This is a simple salad with a touch of spiciness and it's really good for anyone who is a vegetarian or you can even serves this as an appetizer.

Ingredients :

2 pcs of firm tofu
1 cup of jicama - julienned
1 cup of cucumber - julienned
1 cup of carrot - julienned
1 cup of beansprout

Peanut sauce :

3 tbsp of crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp of sambal Oelek (more or less)
1 clove of garlic - chopped
2 tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar
3/4 cup of water (more or less)
2 tbsp of sugar (more or less)
salt and pepper to taste

1) Dry the tofu in a paper towel and fry it in hot oil until crispy and golden brown. Drain the oil on paper towel.
2) In a small saucepan, heat up a tablespoon of oil and stir fry the garlic until lightly brown. Add in sambal Oelek and cook for a few second.
3) Add in lemon juice, water and then peanut butter. Stir well until the sauce thicken and boil. Add in sugar, salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
4) Cut tofu into bite size pieces and mixed it with all the vegetables and drizzle peanut sauce on top and serve.

Note : If the sauce it too thick for your liking you can add more water to it.