Sunday, January 31, 2010

Moist Banana Cake

I always have a soft spot for banana cakes as it is one of the very first cakes I learned to bake. I just love the rich banana flavor, light and moist of this cake. Banana cakes are easy and inexpensive to make. The really great thing about this cake is that you can use your over-ripe bananas. Bananas are a great source of vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium but if you ask me the best reason to try this banana cake is just that it tastes soooo good!


2 stick/226 grams butter
1 cup of sugar
4 eggs
4 tbsp of condensed milk
4 bananas (about 1 3/4 cups) – mashed
1 tsp vanilla or banana essense
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Greased and line an 8” round baking pan or 8” x 8” square pan. In a bowl sieve flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set it aside.
2. Beat the soft butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time and mix until smooth. Mix in mashed bananas, vanilla and condensed milk. Mix well.
3. Lower down the mixer speed, slowly add in the flour mixture and blend just until smooth.
4. Pour batter into the baking pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing it. Let the cool before serving.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Baked Pasta Casserole

I was cleaning up my pantry the other day and notice that there are so many different types of leftover pasta (a handful of each) and the boxes are taking too much space in my pantry. I have to find ways to use it all up. Since I am into one dish meal nowadays I decided to make this pasta casserole with whatever I have in my pantry and fridge. Baked pasta is a great dish for any buffet party or a lunch and dinner at home. It is always good to serve it with a fresh salad.


1/2 pound of small dry pasta – I used ziti, penne and small shell pasta
1 can of tuna – packed in water
2 tomatoes – cut into 1/2” cubes
8 oz artichoke hearts – drain water and halve
1 onion – cut small
3 cloves garlic – chopped
1 1/2 cup of grated cheese – any type
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups of milk
2 eggs – beaten
Some chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; set aside.
2. In a large skillet, add in 2 tbsp of olive oil, sauté the onions and garlic until fragrant and lightly brown. Add in the flour. Stir well for 30 second and add in the milk. Continue to stir until the milk thickens and comes up to a boil.
3. Add in one cup of the grated cheese, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Once the cheese melted turn off the heat. Add in the tomato, artichoke hearts, tuna, cooked pasta and eggs. Stir gently to combine.
4. Spoon the mixture into a casserole dish, sprinkle the balance grated cheese on top and bake in a pre-heated 375 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly and the top brown. Serve warm.

Note: If you can’t find artichoke hearts you can always replace it with green peas, blanched vegetables like asparagus or broccoli.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Apple Zeppole/Fried Dough Balls

Zeppole is a light deep fried dough balls. These Zeppole also know as Italian donuts and it is usually eat with dusted powdered sugar or simply filled it with custard, jelly or pastry cream. I made these with some grated apples to give it some extra sweet tanginess and it is great for afternoon snacks with a cup of cappuccino.


½ stick/4 tbsp of butter
1 cup water
3 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1 cup flour
3 eggs
1 green apple – grated and squeeze out water

Toss together:

4 tbsp of sugar + 1 tsp of cinnamon powder

1. In a medium size saucepan combine the butter, salt, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Take saucepan off the heat and stir in the flour. Return saucepan to the heat and stir continuously until mixture forms a ball, about 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Transfer the flour mixture to the mixer. Whisk the dough for a minute to cool it down a bit. Add eggs, 1 at a time, incorporating each egg completely before adding the next one. . Beat until smooth. Add in the apple. Mix well and set it aside.
3. Pour enough oil into a frying pan. Heat the oil over medium heat. Using a small ice-cream scooper or 2 small spoons, carefully drop about a tablespoon of the dough into oil. Turn the balls once or twice and fry until golden brown. Removed and drain the oil on paper towel.
4. Toss the Zeppole in the cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Orange Chicken

Carlos doesn’t always eat the Asian food I prepared especially those Malaysian dishes that have strong flavors. He only eats simple Americanized Chinese dishes like Mongolian Beef, Honey Sesame Chicken , Dumplings , Stir-fry Broccoli with with Beef Tenderlion or this Orange Chicken.

Orange chicken is a favorite dish in the Chinese restaurant and take out place here. What really stands out about this dish is the combination of orange and lemon juice. It gives this dish a sweet and tangy taste. If you are looking for a simple Chinese dish for your dinner do give this recipe a try. It save you a trip to the Chinese take out place as you can make it right at home.


3 pieces of chicken breast – cut to bite size pieces
1 tsp of Chinese wine or sherry
1 tsp oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp of pepper
1 egg white
1 cup of cornstarch


3/4 cup orange juice
½ cup chicken stock or water
1 tsp of orange zest
Juice of a lemon
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
3 tbsp of soy sauce
2 tbsp of light brown sugar or sugar – more if you like it sweeter
1 tsp of cornstarch
A few dashes of pepper flakes
1 tsp of grated ginger
1 clove of garlic – finely chopped

1. Place chicken pieces in a large bowl. Add in egg, salt, pepper, cooking wine, oil and mix well. Set it aside to marinate for half an hour.
2. Dredge the chicken pieces with cornstarch. Heat up some oil in wok or deep fryer. Add in chicken pieces and fry until golden brown. Remove chicken and drain on paper towel.
3. Mix all the sauce ingredients together except for garlic and ginger and set it aside. Remove all the frying oil from the wok and leave about a tbsp of oil. Stir fry garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add in the sauce mixture and bring it up to boil.
4. Continue to simmer until the sauce thickens and reduce to about half. Check seasonings and make sure the sweetness it to your likings. Add in the chicken pieces and toss it until it is well coated with sauce.
5. Dish out and serve warm.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Steam Glutinous Rice Cake/Rainbow Seri Muka

I will be going back to Malaysia soon and I need to clean up quite a bit of leftovers in my fridge. I still have a bit of soaked glutinous rice left from the Kuih Wajik so I decided to make another local favorite kuih from Malaysia. This Seri Muka is very similar to the one I made previously but I change the recipe a bit and made the topping into 3 colors.

Ingredients for the bottom layer:

400 grm of glutinous rice - wash and soak for at least 4 hours or overnight
230 ml of coconut milk
2 pandan/screwpine leaves
1 tsp of salt

Ingredients for the top layers:

4 large eggs
6 tbsp rice flour
5 tbsp custard powder/cornstarch
500 ml of coconut milk
200 grms of sugar
1 tsp of salt
Few drop of red and yellow coloring
Few drop of pandan paste

1. Prepare the steamer. Combine glutinous rice, salt and coconut in a square or round cake pan. Mix well. Place the screwpine/pandan leaves on top of the rice and steam over rapidly boiling water for about 30–35 minutes or until cooked through.
2. Discard pandan leaves. Fluff up the rice, and then press rice firmly down with a banana leaf or aluminum foil until it is compact. Return it to the steamer.
3. For the topping, stir eggs and sugar until well combined. Add the coconut milk and the rest of the ingredients. Strain the batter to remove any lumps.
4. Divide the batter into 3 equal portions. One portion adds a few drop of red coloring, another one with yellow and the last one with green or pandan paste.
5. Scratch the surface of the steam rice lightly with a fork. Pour in the first (red) layer of the batter on top of the rice. Steam over a low heat for 5-7 minutes or until set.
6. Before pouring the second (yellow) layer scratch the surface lightly with a fork. Steam until set and followed by the last (green) layer. Steam for another 7 minutes.
7. Set it aside to cool completely before cutting into serving pieces.

Note: Do not steam over rapidly boiling water otherwise the custard layer will not be smooth)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Baked Cheesy Chicken Rice

During winter I like making meals using the oven as this way I am able to warm up the kitchen at the same time. This baked rice is a great one dish meal as it is fuss free and with very few ingredients which I have it in my fridge and pantry all the time. Nothing is more comforting than digging into this cheesy baked rice in our cold winter weather


3 cups of cooked rice
4 tbsp cream of mushroom soup
¾ cup of water
2 shallots or ½ onions – sliced thinly
3 cloves of garlic – chopped
1 chicken breast – cut into small cubes and marinate with some salt and pepper
1 cup of broccoli florets
1 cup of small cube carrots
¾ cup of green peas
½ cup cubes cheddar
½ cup grated Swiss cheese
A few slices of mozzarella cheese
Some chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium saucepan bring some water to boil. Blanch carrots and broccoli florets for 20 second. Drain and set it aside. In a bowl mix the mushroom soup with 3/4 cup of water and set it aside.
2. In a deep frying pan heat up about 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add in shallots and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant and lightly brown. Add in the chicken and stir-fry until it changes color.
3. Add in the mushroom soup mixture and bring it up to boil. Turn off the heat and add in cheddar and stir until melted. Add in chili flakes, salt and pepper.
4. Next add in blanched broccoli, carrots and green peas. Stir well. Lastly put in the rice and stir until well mixed. Check seasonings.
5. Put the rice mixture into a casserole dish. Top it with Swiss cheese and lastly mozzarella cheese.
6. Baked in a pre-heated 400 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese topping brown. Serve warm.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Braised Noodles/Mun Yee Mee

We Chinese love our noodles. There are days where we can eat noodles for all 3 meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. In fact, if you have tried Chinese noodle, you will know that there are many different types of noodles and ways of preparation according to your preference. Chinese noodles are easily available now in most supermarkets. There is one noodle which I can’t find here is ‘Yee Mee’. I will always bring some back here when I visit Malaysia but guess what. I’ve found it in New York and I bought a few packets of it when I last visited. Yee Mee is fried to crispy brown. Since it is fried, this noodle creates a nice aroma and flavorful taste when cook.

I usually like to cook Cantonese style with it and another style is Mun Yee Mee. Mun means simmer or braised in Cantonese. So this yee mee is braised in sauce until it is soft and the noodles absorbed all the wonderful flavor of the sauce.


2 pieces dried yee mee noodles
1 piece chicken breast, sliced (season with a bit of oyster sauce and dash of pepper)
10 shrimps – peeled and deveined
some mustard greens/cabbage or baby bak choy
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 cups of chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat up wok on high. Add about 2 tbsp spoon o f oil and add in the garlic. Stir fry until lightly brown.
2. Add in the chicken, stir-fry until it changes color. Add in chicken stock and all the seasonings. Bring it up to boil. Add in the yee mee and continue to cook until the gravy thickens. This should take about 3-4 minutes.
3. Then add in the vegetables and shrimps. Continue to cook until noodles soften and check seasonings. Serve warm.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Palm Sugar Glutinous Rice Cake/Kuih Wajik

I remember the first time I tried this kuih was at my Malay schoolmate house during Hari Raya. Kuih wajik has always been one of my favorite kuih since. Back in Malaysia I never learn to make this kuih as I can buy it easily from the hawker-stalls or from the Malay kuih seller. Living in the US however I don’t have the luxury of going out to buy some when my craving strikes. So whenever I want to eat kuih I have to make it myself. I found this recipe at and it turn out pretty close to the one I ate from back home.

(Adapted from

250g glutinous rice, soaked overnight
150g palm sugar (Gula Melaka), chopped into small pieces
50g soft brown sugar
100ml water
150ml thick coconut milk
½ tsp salt
2 screwpine/pandan leaves, knotted

1. Drain the glutinous rice and place in a shallow heat-proof dish. Mix in the salt. Steam rice over rapidly boiling water for 20 minutes or until just cooked. (Do not worry if the rice grains appear dry and tough; this is the way they should be.)
2. Put water, both sugars and screwpine leaves in a pan. Stir and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer syrup for about 10 minutes. Strain the syrup.
3. Place syrup, coconut milk in a wok. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick and syrupy and the surface is full of bubbles.
4. Add the steamed rice. Stir constantly until mixture is thick and sticky. The wajik should be quite gooey. Turn mixture out onto a shallow tray lined with a banana leaf. Allow to cool and harden, then cut into serving-sized pieces.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Baby Bok Choy

I am lucky to have a small Asian store so close by to home. I have ample supply of fresh Asian vegetables every week. One of my favorite veggies to buy is baby bok choy. This is a very common vegetable in the Asian household. I prepared this simple vegetable when we have some guests over for dinner the other day.


A big bunch of baby bak choy or any type of greens
3 cloves of garlic – chopped

1 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp of soy sauce
4 tbsp of water
1/2 tsp sugar

1. Wash the greens and toss dry. Bring a pot of water to boil. Blanch the vegetables for 12 seconds. Removed , toss dry and put the vegetables on a serving plate
2. Heat up 2 – 3 tbsp of olive oil and stir-fry the garlic until lightly brown. Removed the garlic and oil and set it aside.
3. In the same pan bring all the sauce ingredients to boil. Once boil pour the sauce over the vegetables. Top it with the fried garlic.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Orange Almond Cake

I made this cake when we have guest over for dinner the other day. This is a super very rich, moist and dense cake. The orange flavor is intense and if you love citrus this cake is for you. It kept really well and the almonds help to keep the cake rich and moist, and it has served well as mid-morning snacks throughout the week.


226 grm butter
180 grm sugar
180 grm ground almond
150 grm flour
½ tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
Zest and juice of 2 oranges

1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degree F. Greased and line a baking pan with parchment paper. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together. Mix in the ground almond and set it aside.
2. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs, one at the time and beat well until well combined.
3. Reduce speed to low and add in the dry ingredients in 3 badges alternating with the orange juice and zest. Mix until just incorporated.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for 50 minutes or until the cake is golden and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool.

Note: I will be going back to Kuala Lumpur early February. I hope I am able to meet up with some of you when I am home. So if you are interested maybe you can email me. My email address is at my profile. Thanks.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Thai-Style Stir-fry Shrimps

Kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass plays a great role in this dish. This is one delicious way to cook shrimps with rich fragrant flavor of kaffir lime leaves. This dish can be served with warm rice or noodles


10 large shrimps – cut away all the legs and leave the shell and head intact
3 cloves garlic – finely chopped
4 bird eyes chili – finely chopped
1 lemongrass – finely chopped
½ tsp of turmeric powder
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 tsp brown sugar
Salt to taste

1. Heat about 2 tbsp of oil in a pan. Stir in garlic, lemon grass and chilies. Stir-fry until fragrant. Add in kaffir lime leaves, turmeric powder, sugar and salt. Stir well.
2. Add in the shrimp, tossing them around in the pan to make sure they are coated in the sauce.
3. Arrange the shrimp against the base and side of the pan to fry on both sides until lightly brown and the shrimp cooked.
4. Dish out and serve warm.

Note: Do not add any water as the shrimps will discharge some liquid.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Lemon Yogurt Cakelets

I am crazy over mini cake pans. When I saw this beautiful Nordic Sea Shell Baking Pan I just have to get it. I think among all my baking pans this is the most expensive one. So to in order to justify the money I spent on it I better utilized it to the maximum ;) I bake these cute little cakelets with it. Aren’t they beautiful? I just love the look of it. These cakelets are crispy on the outside and really moist on the inside. It is pretty addictive and I don't think you can stop at eating one or two.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/3 cup vegetable oil


1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 of sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the mini cake pan or mini muffin pan.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bow and set it aside.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, the eggs and lemon zest. Until light. This will take about 3 minutes. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter until well incorporated.
4. With a spoon fill the cake pan with the cake batter. Do not over fill it. Bake in the oven fort 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean and cake is lightly brown.
5. Meanwhile for the glaze, cook the lemon juice and sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
6. When the cakelets are done, allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. While it is still warm carefully drizzle the glaze all over the cakelets. Remove from cake pan once it is completely cool

Note: If you don’t have the mini cake pan you can always make this in Madeleines pan, mini muffin pan or even Kuih Bahulu Mould .

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Abacus Beads/Suin Poon Tzi

I remember eating this dish many years ago in Malaysia. There is a small café at PJ Old Town that served this dish and I remember ordering it each time I visit that them. ‘Suin Poon Tzi’ (算盘子) or Abacus Beads is a popular Chinese Hakka dish. Even though I am a Hokkien but I just love Hakka dishes like Yong Tau Foo, Kau Yoke and Char Yoke. Abacus Beads is very similar to the making of Italian gnocchi but instead of potato we use yam or taro. The yam or taro is steamed, mashed and mixed with tapioca flour to form into dough. It is shape to resemble beads on an abacus. They are boiled in water until it floats. Once boiled these beads has a soft on the outside with a nice fragrance of taro and chewy on the inside texture from the tapioca flour. The beads can be stir-fried with vegetables, meat or anything your like.

Ingredients for dough:

450 gram taro/yam, cleaned, peeled and thinly sliced
170 gram tapioca starch
½ tsp salt

1. Steam taro until soft and mashed while it is hot.
2. Add the tapioca starch and salt in a bowl and add the hot taro paste to it. Stir well and when it cools down a bit knead it to form into smooth dough. (If the dough is too dry add a bit of water and if the dough is too soft add a bit more tapioca starch)
3. Pinch a piece of the dough (size of a marble) and roll into a ball and gently press in the centre with your thumb to make a deep dimple. Do the same to the rest of the dough.
4. Bring a pot of water to boil. Drop in the beads and once it floats, let it boil for another 30 seconds. Remove the beads with a slotted spoon. Set it aside for further use.

Ingredients for stir-fry:

2 shallots – thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic – chopped
1 chicken breast – cut into small cubes
1 small carrot - peel and cut into small cubes
4 Chinese mushroom – soaked till soft and sliced
2 pieces of dried wood ears or black fungus, soaked and thinly sliced
Some spring onions – cut small for garnish
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
3 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
¼ cup chicken stock or water
½ tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat up a frying pan. Add about 2 tbsp of oil and stir-fry shallots and garlic until fragrant and lightly brown.
2. Add in meat, carrots, mushroom and black fungus. Stir-fry for a minutes until the meat changes color and cooked.
3. Add in the abacus beads, all the seasonings and chicken stock. Stir-fry for a minute until well mixed. Check seasoning.
4. Dish out and sprinkle with spring onions. Served warm.