Monday, January 31, 2011

Roti Canai/Paratha Bread - Step by Step

One of the things I miss most here in the USA is the Mamak stalls. We like to go there for breakfast or for teh tarik (pull tea) in the evening. My friends and I can just sit there and talk till the wee hours in the morning. Sometimes I do miss that simplicity in life. Roti canai or roti paratha is a flat bread that is flip over and over until they become transparently thin before they fold them with lots of air bubble and ghee inside that when they pan fry it, it becomes light and crispy on the outside and slightly chewy and springy on the inside.

I might look easy to make but they are not. Each time I try to flip it, the dough will stick together and I get the oil all over the kitchen. I gave up and end up stretching the dough will my fingers. The roti canai came out ok. Not as thin and crispy as I wanted it to. I hope I will do a better job the next time I make this again. From now on please don’t take the Mamak roti canai for granted. It involves more hard work than you think ;)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Salted Egg Yolk Chicken

I’ve got winter blues. The weather is dreary and COLD. We have so much snow until I am so fed-up of shoveling it. We are expecting more snow next week. At this time of the year I wish I am in Malaysia celebrating CNY with my family. I need something to perk me up. What can be better than this sinful chicken dish? When I saw the recipe over at Wendy’s not too long ago, it spoke to me. Actually it yelled at me “Make me right away” ha ha... I did slight changes to Wendy’s recipe. Instead of tapioca starch I used cornstarch and add some garlic to it. This is a wonderful dish and I think it will be nice to serve it for CNY reunion dinner.

Adapted from Table for 2

2 pieces chicken breast – remove skin and fat and cut into 1” chunks
½ tsp salt
Dash of pepper
1 egg white
½ cup cornstarch

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Assortment of Pineapple Tarts

Chinese New Year won’t be complete without these little morsels. Pineapple tarts are usually available during CNY. So, what makes a good pineapple tart? For me it have to be bite size so that you won’t feel too guilty eating too many of it. The pastry has to be buttery, sturdy enough to hold the jam but soft enough to melt in your mouth. The jam is flavored with cinnamon and I like the jam to have a hint of sourness in it. I like my tarts to have plenty of jam on it so I do not skims on the pineapple jam. When the flavor of the buttery tart and the jam comes together, it should strike a blissful balance. I don’t think anyone can stop at just eating one or two. Forget about your diet. Start your diet only after CNY ha ha...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bak Kua/Chinese Pork Jerky

This is another must have snack for Chinese New Year. Who doesn’t like Bak Kua? Maybe if you are a health nut than you might stay away from it. For me Chinese New Year is the time to indulge into all the sinful food, cookies and other luxury snacks that we don’t eat often. Bak Kua variously translated as dried meat, grilled Chinese Pork Jerky or BBQ meat slices.

Back in Malaysia you can get this jerky all year round but strangely, most people will eat this only during CNY. Many people are willing to queue for hours during this time of the year just to get their hands on the BBQ meat from their favorite store. My family is very picky over our bak kua. We only eat the bak kua from a certain store and it has to be lean and doesn’t have the rancid porky smell.

Living here I don’t have the luxury of eating Malaysia Bak Kua. I am able to buy them in New York but they do not taste good at all. They claimed to be made by Malaysian but it just doesn’t have the taste of the one from home. I tried making this once but it didn’t turn out too well either. It was too oily (because of the fatty ground pork) and the taste was out. I didn’t like it at all. So I stay away from making this for a few years.

I tried making it again this year by tweaking the recipe and lo and behold, it turns out really good. The meat was well marinate, a great balance of sweet and savory with a hint of fruity orange. I used mostly lean meat and I made everything in the oven. No more grilling it outside in the super cold winter. You should see me when I first made this. I was standing at the grill in my heavy winter clothing. My neighbors must be thinking this woman was MAD ha ha… If you want a healthier bak kua with no chemicals and preservatives why not try to make it at home. Since this bak Kua has no preservatives, try to consume it within a few days. I don’t recommend you make too much of it at one time unless you want to give it away to family and friends. These keeps well in the fridge and just reheat it in the toaster oven before consuming.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sweet and Sour Crab

Let skip a CNY cookie posting today and post this dish that I cooked some time ago. Diana and I love our seafood. Be it fish, shrimps, squid, clams and crabs. When she comes home I will usually try to cook her favorite dish. We don’t eat crab often as it is not easily available at our small Asian grocery store here and also I don’t really like to deal with live crabs. So happen I saw them selling it not too long ago and I grab half a dozen of it. There is not much meat on this type of blue crab but they do have a lot of roe on it which we like. I like cooking it this way with plenty of spicy, sweet and sour sauce so we can mop it all up with some mantau (Chinese Steamed Bread) Eating crab is a messy affairs but we were completely satisfied with it.


6 blue crabs
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 large red chili – finely chopped
2 spring onions – cut into 1” length
1 egg - beaten

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chinese Peanuts and Sesame Candy Bars

I grew up eating this peanut candy and it is Carlos favorite snacks too. This candy is something that we will have on our CNY snack tray too. I Google for it and the only recipe I find is from Aunty Lily’s so I used hers. Here is a note to myself the next time I am making this again. Do not talk on the phone while making this!! The phone rang when this was cooling down and by the time I hang up the phone, the candy got way too hard when I tried cutting it so I end up breaking most of it. That is why you see the ugly pieces here. I am submitting this cookie to Aspiring-Bakers # 3 My Favourite CNY Cookies hosted by j3ss kitch3n

Recipe adapted from Aunty Lily’s

1 cup sugar
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 1/4 cups skinless roasted peanuts

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Osmanthus Cookies

CNY is just around the corner and I see a lot of cookies popping up from fellow blogger’s blogs. It is making me very nervous as I’ve just started to bake mine. This is the very first cookie that I made for CNY using dried Osmanthus flowers. I only used the Osmanthus once to cook this chicken dish and I still have a big jar of it. I think the Osmanthus gives a really nice fragrant to the cookies and it is just the perfect fit for CNY celebration. If you’re looking for something different to bake for the CNY I hope you will try this out. I am submitting this cookie to Aspiring-Bakers # 3 My Favourite CNY Cookies hosted by j3ss kitch3n .


180 gram unsalted butter – room temperature
140 gram icing sugar
1 egg yolk
260 gram flour
40 gram cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp dried Osmanthus flowers
1 egg – for egg wash

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Grilled Chicken Banh Mi with Pickled Vegetables

The first time I encounter with this popular Vietnamese Sandwich was in California. We were at Westminster and we had our lunch at the famous Lee Sandwich place and I was hooked. I love the taste of the fresh grilled meat, the sweet, sour, crunchy pickle vegetables, sandwich between the light and crispy baguette. Here is my homemade version on the famous sandwich.


2 pieces chicken breast - skin and fat removes


2 cloves garlic - chopped
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
Black pepper

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pani Popo/Coconut Buns

Pani Popo is the traditional name for a sweet and sticky bun that originated in the South Pacific Islands of Samoa. In English Pani means bun and Popo means coconut. These buns are baked in a pool of thick sweet coconut milk. When I baked these the whole house smell so good and they taste even better right out of the oven. Soft, sweet and the sticky coconut at the bottom tasted just like kaya. I am so in love with these buns. If you like this type of buns please tries this out. I am sure you are going to like it too.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Garlic Roasted Potatoes

When come to cooking potatoes I like to keep it simple. For me simple is often the best. To get it crispy on the outside and tender on the inside I will usually par-boiled the potatoes first. Then cut them into wedges and roast them over high heat. Normally I will toast in all the herbs before roasting but this time I did something different. I lightly brown the garlic, chili and green onions and toss it into the potatoes once it is done.


4 large potatoes (I used red skin potatoes)
3 spring onions
3 cloves garlic – chopped
1 large red chili – finely sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Just as promised here are some pictures I took of our 4th winter storm of the season. We expected much more snow than this but at the very last minute the wind kind of change it directions and the shore line got more of it. Phew…. Thank God of that. I think God heard my prayers. Carlos is out of town so I have to shovel all by myself. Here are some pictures that I took to share it with you.

My poor car..all covered up in snow

Mr snowman wearing a thick coating of snow

All done!! Time for a cup of hot Milo ;)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mini Tuna Tarts

We were hit by two snowy days last week. When it snow I like stay at home, curl up near the fireplace with a cup of hot Milo and watch TV. I’ve been watching so much TV especially the Food Channel, TLC and Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) until my head nearly go bonkers. So I decided to take a break from TV and bake something. I made these little mini tarts so we can have it for our afternoon tea.

These quick and flavorful tarts are easy to make. If you don’t feel like making the dough from scratch you can always use store bought short crust pastry or puff pastry. As for the filling, no cooking required. Just used canned tuna and a few other ingredients and you have fresh tarts with you tea. These tarts are great for entertaining too.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Kaya Balls/Coconut Jam Balls

I always wanted an electric Takoyaki pan but can’t bring myself to buy it because it cost way too much money for a small gadget. I was so happy when Diana gave me that for Christmas. I promise her that we will make Takoyaki together when she comes home the next time. In the meantime I can’t just let the pan sitting in the kitchen counter without making anything out of it so I decided to try my hand in making Kaya Balls.

These little bite sized delights are commonly sold in Malaysia shopping center food courts. . They are basically little dome-shaped buns filled with kaya (coconut egg jam), chocolate or peanut butter. I tried goggling for the recipe but can’t seem to find the one I want. So this recipe is something I come up with and it turn out pretty good.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Sang Har Mee/Freshwater Prawns Noodles

Sang Har Mee or freshwater prawns noodles are one of the most expensive noodles dish back in Malaysia. A plate will cost your around RM40-RM75.00 depend on the serving size and also the cost of the prawns. Actually cooking this dish yourself is much cheaper. All you need is a few ingredients like fresh big prawns, ginger, green onions and some vegetables to cook the thick gravy. The prawns should not be over-cooked and the choice of noodles can be sang mee or wanton noodles. But for this dish I used yee mee since Diana bought some from New York. Diana and I enjoyed this dish a lot and we plan to cook it again the next time she comes home.


2 pcs of yee mee
6 big fresh water prawns – clean and cut into halves. Season with a bit of salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic - chopped
5 slices of ginger
2 spring onions – cut into 1” length
A handful of cabbage or any type of green vegetables
2 ½ cups chicken stock
1 egg – beaten
1 tsp cornstarch – 2 tbsp water

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Crispy, Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings

Who doesn’t like chicken wings? I for one am crazy over it. These crispy, sweet and sticky wings are addictive. The hint of ginger and a bit of chili flakes compliments really well with the wings. This was indeed a finger licking good. Even Carlos who is not a big fan of wings ate a whole lot of it. If you like wings do give this recipe a try and I am sure you will not be disappointed.


12 chicken wings – clean, cut and tips removed

Marinate for the wings:

1 tbsp of ginger juice
3/4 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper


1 egg
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cornstarch

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Orange Scented Monkey Bread

Hi everyone, I hope all of you had a wonderful New Year celebration. Year 2010 was a pretty interesting year for me. Many things happened, some good and some not so good. But it was over and done with and I am looking forward to new 2011. Like all the past years I am not going to make any resolutions or goals. I know myself; I will make resolutions on January 1st and abandons it by January 8th so why bother. Instead, I am going to make list of things that I would like to do. Anyway, thank you all for visiting, support and also taking the time to comment. I really appreciate all your encouraging words.

Let start of the New Year with something gooey and sweet. I know, what a name for something so deliciously good, right. I tried to find the origin of the name ‘monkey bread’ and I can't really find the definitive background of it. I baked this for our breakfast and share some with our neighbor. We love this bread especially the taste of orange, cinnamon and brown sugar. The flavors are perfectly blended into the sweet and sticky buns. Best of all we get to pull the pieces apart when we eat it.