Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ayam Pongteh/Braised Chicken in Fermented Bean Paste

I am not really sure what Pongteh means, but basically Ayam Pongteh is chicken, potatoes, mushroom braised in fermented soybean paste. This is a must order dish in any Nyonya restaurant. The flavorful chicken meat that has been infused with the salty bean paste, sweet shallots and garlic goes really well with rice. My good friend Shereen who reside in New Zealand is kind enough to share her family recipe with us. Thanks Shereen.

Ingredients :

2 Ib chicken
300gm shallots
150gm garlic
3 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp fermented bean paste (tau cheong)
1 1/2 - 2 cups water (depend on how much gravy you like)
4 medium size potatoes – peel and cut into half or quarter
5 whole Chinese dry shitake mushrooms – soaked in hot water until soft
2 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar – more if you like it sweeter
2 tsp thick black soy sauce

1. Clean, removed skin and cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Pat dry. Put the shallots and garlic in a food processor and ground it into paste.
2. Heat up the oil in a frying pan; add in the ground shallots and garlic. Stir fry until fragrant and lightly brown.
3. Add in the fermented bean paste, stir fry until fragrant. Add in the chicken pieces, continue to stir-fry and until chicken changes to pale color. Put in the water.
4. Bring it up to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Add in the mushroom and potatoes. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add in sugar, black soy sauce. Continue to shimmer until gravy thickens, chicken is cooked and potatoes tender. Check seasoning.
6. Serve with warm rice.

Note: This dish can be kept in the fridge for a few days and it actually tastes better the next day.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Raisin Buns

When I saw the raisin buns at this Blog I knew I have to try it out. This raisin bun is much softer and flakier than the usual Cinnamon Rolls . I don’t have a lot of experience in making this type of flaky dough as I find them too tedious and I have to do a lot of rolling. But the urge of making this gets the best of me. Since the weather is getting much cooler so it is the best to make this as keeping the dough cold so the butter does not melt during rolling is critical. I did put the dough back into the fridge in between rolling for an hour before working on it again as the butter start melting on me. For those who like this type of flaky bread, do try it out. It is really good. I bet you can't stop at just eating one ;)


2 cups (250 g) flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 packet (7 grm) dried yeast
½ cup water
113 grm of cold butter - cut the butter into 4-5 pieces

1. Put all the ingredients except the butter in a mixing bowl. Mix and knead dough until smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise until double its size. It will take about 2-3 hours.

Roll out the dough and place the cold butter in the center of the dough. Bring in the four corners to the center. Please refer to the video here on how to roll out the dough. After you are done rolling let the dough rest in the fridge for 2-3 hours and then you can make some rolls with the fillings of your choice or some croissants. I decided to make some raisins buns with it.

For the raisins buns you need:

1 quantity of the ready dough
½ cup of dark brown sugar
2 tsp of cinnamon powder
1 cup of raisins

1 egg (for egg wash)

1. Prepare a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Mix sugar, cinnamon powder and raisins together in a bowl. Roll out the dough into rectangle shape about 1/3” thick. Sprinkle the mixture on top.
2. With your palm lightly press the filling ingredients into dough and then roll them up like a Swiss roll. Secure the roll by pinching both ends of the roll. Cut the rolls into ¾” pieces and line them on the baking sheet.
3. Place them in a warm spot and let them rise for an hour or until they are doubled in size. Beat the egg and brush it over the buns. Bake them at 350°F for about 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown.
4. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for as long as you can resist them before digging into it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nyonya Acar/Spicy Pickle Vegetables

I love Acar, but I never attempt to make it until a couple of weeks ago. Acar is a type of vegetable pickle/salad popular in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Made from different vegetables like cucumbers, long beans, carrots, cabbage and is pickled with spicy paste and vinegar. Ground peanuts and sesame seeds are also added to this dish. Acar is commonly served as a condiment to be eaten with a main course. This is a great vegetarian dish too.

I adapted the recipe from Star Kuali and simplified the ingredients and method to suit my taste and ingredients I have in hand.

Ingredients :

1 cucumber - (removed the seeds) and cut into 4cm strips
150g cabbage leaves, cut into 2.5cm squares
2 carrots cut into 4cm strips
150g long beans, cut into 4cm strips

To make into paste:

6 fresh chillies
5 dried chillies –soak in hot water until soft
6 shallots
2 cloves garlic
2 cm fresh turmeric root/1 tbsp ground turmeric
1” galangal (lengkuas)
3 candlenuts/almond or macadamia nuts
1 stalk lemon grass, sliced finely
1” of shrimp paste (belachan) - optional

Vinegar mixture:

1 cup of white vinegar
1 cup water
6 tbsp of brown sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
1 tsp salt
200g roasted peanuts, skinned and pounded
5 tbsp roasted sesame seeds

For blanching the vegetables:

600ml water
400ml vinegar
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

1. Rub cucumber slices with 1 tbsp salt. Leave aside for one hour. Wrap in clean towel or muslin cloth and squeeze out excess liquid. Put all the ground ingredients in a food processor and ground into paste and set it aside.
2. Bring water, vinegar, salt and sugar for blanching vegetables to a rapid boil. Blanch the vegetables (except cucumber) one type at a time for 15 second. Remove and using a clean kitchen towel, squeezed the water out of the vegetable and set it aside.
3. Heat up about 3-4 tbsp of oil in frying pan and stir-fry the ground ingredients until fragrant and the oil begins to separate. Stir in water and vinegar. Add sugar and salt and bring to a boil, then leave to cool completely. Check seasoning as you might need to add more sugar to it.
4. Stir in all the prepared vegetables, peanuts and sesame seeds. Store in a clean jar and refrigerate.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Steamed Nori Meat Rolls

Something quick, simple and healthy for lunch or dinner. This dish goes great with rice.


2 sheets nori seaweed


300 grms ground meat
200 grms shrimp - roughly chopped
2 spring onions
1/2 carrot - grated
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp of soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Sauce :

3/4 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste

1) Mix all the filling ingredients together and let it marinate for half and hour. Divide into 2 portions.
2) Put one portion onto the seaweed and roll it up. Cut it into 6-8 pieces roll and steam it for 15 minutes.
3) While the roll is steaming prepare the sauce. Put all the sauce ingredients into a small saucepan and bring it up to a boil until sauce reduce and thicken.
4) When the rolls is done, pour the sauce over and serve warm.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baked Mac and Cheese

Do you love Mac and cheese? For me macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. With the weather getting much cooler I just want to eat something warm and comforting like this cheesy, creamy goodness baked pasta.


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp of flour
1/2 cup roughly chopped bacon
1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup diced fresh tomato
½ box of pasta ( penne, elbow or ziti) – cook to al-dente
2 cups of milk ( I used 1% fat)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
½ tsp of pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a pan over the medium heat, render the bacon fat until brown and crispy. Remove and drain the bacon on paper towel. Remove all the bacon fat. In the same pan, add in the olive oil. Stir in the chopped onion, cook until it’s lightly brown.
2. Add in the flour. Stir and cook until the flour turn lightly brown. Add in the milk, stir well and bring it up to boil. Once the sauce thickens, add in the cheese.
3. Once the cheese melted, turn off the heat. Add in pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the pasta, chopped tomato and the bacon. Reserved some of the bacon for garnish.
4. Transfer the pasta into a baking dish and bake it in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for 35-45 minutes or until the top of the pasta lightly brown. Garnish with bacon bits and serve warm.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Coconut Egg Jam/Kaya

Diana and I love our morning toast slather with butter and rich Kaya or sometime we simply eat it with our crackers. We are able to buy this jam from the Asian market but they are not as good as the homemade one. That is why I prefer to make it myself. Make from coconut milk, some eggs, sugar and a few pandan leaves. Sound simple enough? Making kaya need a bit of patience as you have to stand at the stove, constantly stirring it for over an hour. In the end you will be rewarded with a pot of rich, sweet and fragrant jam to eat it with your toast. ENJOY!!

(From Wikpedia.org)

Kaya, or coconut egg jam, is made from coconut milk, duck or chicken eggs which are flavored by pandan leaf and sweetened with sugar. The spread originated in Southeast Asia, most likely Indonesia or Malaysia. This is reflected by its tropical ingredients santan (coconut milk) and pandan leaf. Kaya is sweet and creamy, available in golden brown or green colored spread depending on the amount of pandan and extent of caramelization of the sugar. As with other jams, kaya is typically spread on toast and eaten in the morning but is enjoyed throughout the day. Kaya is also used as a topping for dessert like pulut tekan, a dessert of glutinous rice.

Ingredients :

8 extra large eggs
400 ml thick coconut milk
380 grm sugar
6 Pandan/ screwpine leaves

1. Whisk the egg and sugar until well combined. Strain through a sieve. Then add in the coconut milk.
2. Pour the mixture in a thick heavy bottom saucepan. Tie the pandan leaves into a knot and put it into the mixture. Cook the mixture over the lowest heat on the stove. Cook and stir constantly until smooth and mixture thickens. (do not turn up the heat or else the mixture will lumpy or become scramble eggs. You can also cook this kaya in a double boiler)
3. Store in the fridge once it’s cool.

Note : 1. If you like your kaya to be really smooth, just put it in the blender and blend it for a few second when it is cool. 2. If you like caramel colored kaya, just take 100 gram of the sugar and cook it until it turn into caramel, then add about ½ of the coconut milk. Stir till sugar dissolves. Set it to cool and add into the egg mixture before cooking. Since I can't get fresh coconut milk here I just used the can coconut milk.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Taro Meatballs

I love dishes made from Yam or Taro and if I see a dish using Taro I will definitely try it out. I saw this dish Ngor Hiang with Yam/taro at The Little Teochew blog I know I just have cook it. I simplified the recipe using whatever ingredients I have in the fridge. I don’t have beancurd skin in hand so I just shape it into round balls and fried it. For the full version of the recipe you can check it out here . If you love yam/taro you will love this dish. These meatballs are crispy on the outside, soft, tender and very flavorful on the inside. I will definitely make this again but next time it will be with the beancurd skin.


1 pound ground lean pork or any ground meat of your choice
½ pound of shrimps – shelled, deveined and finely chopped
200 grm of taro – peel, steamed and mashed
6 water chestnut – cut into small cubes
1 small carrot – finely grated
3 spring onions – cut small
1 egg
2 tbsp of cornstarch
1 tsp five spice powder (optional)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp pepper
Salt to taste

1. In a mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients together and put it aside in the fridge to marinate for an hour.
2. Shape the meatballs into desire size and deep fried it in medium heat until cooked and golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note : If you prefer to bake them, make sure you drizzle them with a little olive oil before baking them in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes or until cooked through

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Luscious Lime Bars

If you give me a choice of dessert I will always pick the one that contains lemon or lime. I love everything lemony, I love their scent, I love their color but above all, I love the sour bite to it. I strongly believe that by adding citrus juice it makes everything taste even better.

These luscious lime bars are the alternative to the traditional lemon bars and best of all you can cut it into small bite size squares and picked up and eat it with your fingers.

Ingredients for the base:

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp melted butter

Ingredients for topping:

3 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 cup condensed milk
2/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp of lime zest

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degree F. Line and lightly greased a 8" x 8" square baking pan with parchment paper, overhang on both side (for easy removing your bars later).
2. In a mixing bowl, combined all the base ingredients together. Press it evenly to the base of the baking pan. Bake it for 10 minutes, remove from oven and let it cool.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and condensed milk until well combined. Add in lime zest, lime juice and mix well. Lastly add in heavy cream and mix well.
4. Pour the topping over the baked base and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the center is set. Cool complete before cutting into it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sugar Coated Crispy Snack/Ribbon Biscuit

I suddenly crave for this type of snack which I ate when I was young. I am not sure if we can still buy this back in Malaysia. I don’t know what this snack is call so I can’t Google for the recipe. So I came up with something similar. It turns out pretty good, sweet and very crunchy. Carlos can't stop munching on it. By the way, does anyone of you know the name of this snack or maybe the recipe to share?


300 grm of flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
3 tbsp of sesame seeds
5 tbsp of cold butter
1 egg
100 ml coconut milk

For sugar coating:

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water

1. Sift flour, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Beat the egg and mix in the coconut milk. Mix well and set it aside.
2. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sesame seeds. Stir in the egg mixture and mix until the dough comes together. Knead until it forms into smooth dough.
3. Rest the dough for half an hour. Roll out the dough thinly as thinly as possible (about 1/8”) Cut into 2” x 1 ½” rectangle and use the tip of the knife and cut a slit in the middle of the rectangle. Insert one end of the dough into the slit and pull slightly so the dough curls slightly.
4. Heat up some vegetable oil for deep frying. Fry the dough until golden brown. Remove and drain the oil.
5. Remove all the oil from the frying pan. In the same pan, add in the water and sugar. Bring it up to a boil and let the syrup reduce by half. Add in the fried dough and mix well into the syrup to coat and the syrup dried up.
6. Remove the fried dough into a line baking sheet and leave it to cool.

Note: If the dough is too sticky, add bit more flour to it and if it get too stiff add a bit more coconut milk.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Peach Upside Down Cake

I still have a few peaches left in the fridge so I decided to make this simple but flavorful cake. This cake might look like a difficult, fancy cake to make but it’s actually quite easy. Great for entertaining your friends or just dinner with the family. As usual if you can’t find fresh peaches you can always substitute it with plumps, nectarines or even apples.

Ingredients for topping:

4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced

Ingredients for the cake:

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup or 113 grms)
3/4 cup sugar
2 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp of milk
1 tsp of orange zest

1. Line and greased an 8” round pan. Prepare the topping. Melt the butter and brown sugar. Pour it to the base of baking pan. Arrange the peach slices in a circle over the base. Set it aside.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree F. Cream butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Beat in the egg one at a time until well combined.
3. Add in vanilla and orange zest. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Slow down the mixer and slowly add in the flour alternately with the 2 tbsp of milk. Mix until combined.
4. Spread the batter over the peaches and bake the cake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes before inverting it to a serving plate.

Note : Winners for the Pillsbury Simply..... Refrigerated Cookies Giveaway :

Thank you everyone for participating. Jenn can you please email me your address.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Pillsbury Simply...Refrigerated Cookies Giveaway!

Who can say no to cookies, right that’s why I was looking forward to try and review the NEW Pillsbury Simply...TM Refrigerated Cookies. I baked two batches of them last night, one Chocolate Chips Cookies and the other one Peanut Butter Cookies. They were so easy. You literally just open the packet, put them in the baking sheet and stick them in the oven. After 15 - 17 minutes you have your dose of cookies. Everyone agreed that they tasted just as good if not better than other refrigerated cookies they have eaten. Best of all they are made with wholesome ingredients like flour, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla and have zero grams trans fat, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial colors or flavors and no preservatives.

I’ve arranged with Pillsbury to give 3 of my lucky readers a Pillsbury tote bag and two coupons and the coupons entitle you to 2 free package of Pillsbury Simply . . . Refrigerated Cookie Dough. And if you can't wait you can also get a printable discount coupon here to save on either variety of Pillsbury Simply.

To win the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me what is your favorite cookie. Don’t forget to leave me your email address too so that I can easily and accurately contact the winner.

The giveaway will end on September 6th 2009 at 6.00pm (Eastern Time). The giveaway is open to US only (due to shipping and the coupons can only be use here in the US) I will randomly draw the winner (s). GOOD LUCK!!