Sunday, 30 March 2008

Rice Vermicelli with beef and spring onion


To serve 4,


Stir fried rice vermicelli

400g dried rice vermicelli
2 onions
splash of soy sauce
cooking oil

Stir fried beef with spring onion sauce

500g rump steak or silverside
1 level tsp of bicarb mix with a few drops of water (optional to tenderise meat if required)
2 - 3 tbsp of brandy (you can use chinese wine but I find brandy gives a very nice flavour)
3 tbsp oyster sauce
2 - 3 tsp of soy sauce
ground black pepper
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp corn flour

1 thumb size ginger
3 garlic cloves
cooking oil

4 - 5 stalks of spring onion

1 - 2 tbsp of corn flour mix with a little water
some boiling water


1. Soak rice noodles in tap hot water till softened. Test some if chewy it is not ready.

2. Slice onion.

3. Slice beef into very thin slices.

4. If using bicarb, mix into beef and leave for 30 minutes.

5. Then mix in the other marinate ingredients and leave to marinate for about 2o minutes

6. Grate or shred ginger and chopped garlic

7. Cut spring onion into 3 cm long

8. Fry onion in few tbsp of oil till slightly brown, add rice noodles and stir till hot add enough light soy sauce and continue stir frying for another 5 minutes. Do use a non stick pan, rice noodles will stick very easily. Take noodles out, cover and keep warm.

9. In a clean pan/wok, add 2 – 3 tbsp of oil, add ginger and garlic stir fry till fragrant. Turn heat right up add beef and stir fry till almost cooked through but still a little pink, add splosh of boiling water (about ¾ - 1 cup) to make a sauce. Taste to see if you need more soy or oyster sauce. Add ground pepper to taste. Thicken the sauce with slackened cornflour then lastly add spring onion.

10. Spoon meat and sauce over rice noodles.

Pulut Udang Panggang (Sticky Rice Rolls with dried shrimps sambal wrapped in banana leaf)

Slide show (slick to view)

Sticky Rice:
2 ½ cup of glutinous rice or sticky rice (cup size 250ml)
200 ml coconut milk (tin)
200 ml boiling water
1 ½ tsp salt

Filling :
Sambal Udang Kering * (recipe)

1 pack of banana leaves
Some cocktail sticks

  1. Soak glutinous rice with tap water overnight or at least 4 hours.
  2. Drain off excess water.
  3. Add rice into a glass dish.
  4. Mix coconut milk with boiling water and salt. Stir. Add to rice. The level of liquid should just cover the rice.
  5. Steam. To speed up the steaming, microwave the rice and dilute coconut milk for about 4 minutes till very hot. Steam for about 1 hour till cooked through. Cover and leave to cool.
  6. Prepare and cut the banana leaves.
  7. Wrap cooked sticky rice as per slide show.
* If you don’t like dried shrimps, you can use minced beef (do not blend with spices), stir fry with the blended spices till it is quite dry. Qty of beef use about 250g.

Sambal Udang Kering (dried shrimps sambal)

Slide show (slick to view)


200g dried shrimps

8 shallots (about 200g)

4 -5 garlic

3 mild red chillies (I use Tesco chillies)

4 - 6 mild dried chillies (I use thai dried chillies)

1 thumb size galangal

3 lemongrass

1 tbsp shrimp paste

Few tbsp of cooking oil

2 tsp of sugar

2 tbsp of tamarind juice (ready to use or from tamarind pulp)

  1. Peel shallots, garlic and galangal. Roughly chopped
  2. Remove tough outside layer of lemon grass, topped and tailed. Then slice very fine crosswise.
  3. Remove stalk and seeds from dried chillies, soak in warm water. After soaking cut into chunks.
  4. Remove stalk and seeds from fresh chillies, cut into chunks.
  5. Mix all ingredients except sugar and tamarind in a food processor till smooth.
  6. Heat oil in pan, fry the paste with sugar and tamarind juice (to taste). Cook at medium low heat for about 15 -20 minutes till fragrant. Leave to cool.
a. Use this sambal for Sticky Rice Roll in banana leaf - Pulut Udang Panggang (recipe)
b. This sambal is also great just with rice.
c. Use this to stir fry snake beans or water spinach (kangkong) etc.

Crispy Duck (with Pancakes)

Chinese: 香酥鴨

Slide show (click to view)


1 whole duck or duck pieces

1 tsp of black peppercorns

2 tsp of Szechuan peppercorns

2 tsp of salt

1 tbsp soy sauce

Few tbsp of plain flour

2 cups of cooking oil for deep frying

Duck accompliments:
Pancakes (recipe)
Shredded cucumber
Shredded spring onion
Diluted Hoi Sin sauce or LKK duck pancake sauce see this link
Finger bowl with lemon slices (optional)


  1. Roast both peppercorns in a dry pan for about 2 – 3 minutes till fragrant.
  2. Ground peppercorns and salt.
  3. Rub pepper salt all over duck inside out.
  4. Leave to marinate for few hours
  5. Steam the duck for about 2 – 2 ½ hours till the duck is very tender but not falling apart.
  6. Take the duck out and leave to cool.
  7. Cut the duck into half. Pull and remove most of the bones.
  8. Rub all over with soy sauce.
  9. Coat the duck with flour.
  10. Deep fried till crispy and golden brown
  11. Shred duck and serve with warm pancakes, shredded cucumber and spring onion and diluted hoi sin sauce or LKK Peking duck sauce

* If the hoi sin sauce you have is very salt dilute with water and add sugar, if too liquid add a little cornflour and heat till thickened. Leave to cool.

Duck Pancakes

Chinese: 春餅, 鴨皮


225g plain flour (about 2 cups, cup size 250ml)

150 ml of boiling water (about 3/4 cup)

1/2 tsp of salt

some sesame oil

  1. Mix salt into flour
  2. Pour boiling water into dough.
  3. Leave to rest
  4. Knead till smooth, add flour if too sticky. Leave for 5 minutes.
  5. Cut dough into 2 piece
  6. Roll and cut each dough into 10 piece (20 pieces in total)
  7. Press each piece to a disc.
  8. Brush half the discs with sesame oil.
  9. Put the other piece without oil on top.
  10. Press down and roll each piece to a very thin pancake. You can dust the working area with flour or lightly oil the working area before rolling. Dusting with flour the pancakes will be drier, oiled surface the pancakes are softer. Up to you which method you chose.
  11. Cook on a dry hot griddle pan for about 15 - 20 sec each side.
  12. Peel each piece into two.
  13. Cover, ready to eat. If you like them softer can give them a quick steam or dampen with water wrapped in paper towel and microwave for few seconds
  14. To make in advance, steam or microwave (see 13) before serving. Wrap warm pancakes in foil during eating will keep them warm and moist for a while or if you have a tortilla warmer that will work too.
  15. To keep: Will keep in fridge for up to a week.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Soto Ayam with Ketupat (chicken soup with pressed rice cake)

This will serve 3 - 4

5 - 6 shallots, sliced thinly
1/4 cup of cooking oil

1 thumb size galangal, sliced
2 lemon grass, bruished
2 - 3 star anise
1 or 1/2 chilli sliced into half
1 fat clove of garlic, sliced
about 8 peppercorns, crushed
few whole cloves

1/2 tsp of turmeric
1 small onion quarter
2 - 3 lime leaves, crushed

1 1/2 litres of chicken stock or 2 tsp of chicken stock powder with 1 1/2 litres of water

4 chicken thighs (skinned)

salt to taste (or dash of fish sauce, not authentic but taste rather nice)

600 - 700g ketupat* (pressed rice) cut into small cubes or cooked rice vermecelli or a bit of both

Some beansprouts

some chopped spring onion and coriander
some diced pineapple
chopped chilli (optional)
sprigs of mint for decoration (optional)


Heat oil till hot, drop in shallots and fry at medium heat till golden brown, take the shallots out and remove the oil separately.

- Leave about 1 tbsp of the frying oil in the pan. Put in the aromatics, galangal, lemon grass, chilli, garlic, star anise, peppercorns. Stir fry for couple of minutes till fragrant. Add turmeric powder and lime leaves, a quick stir then popped in the quartered onion and stock. Bring to a boil. Add chicken pieces and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or till chicken is cooked. Add salt or fish sauce to taste.

- Remove chicken to cool. Then shred.

- Strain the broth. Skimmed off most of the floating fat. Return to the pan and bring to a boil.

- In another pan, add boiling water and pressed rice cubes to heat through for couple of minutes. Remove rice cubes and place on serving bowls. Throw in the beansprouts and blanch quickly. Remove and scatter over rice cubes.

- Pour boiling broth onto each serving bowl.

- Sprinkle on shredded chicken, chopped spring onion and coriander, fried shallots, chopped chilli, pineapple and decorate with sprigs of mint.


This recipe is a quick method. Traditional ketupat is made with raw rice filled in a weaved container made with coconut leaves and boil.

Slide show (click to view)

Cook some rice as normal by absorption method.

While the rice is still hot, mash with a potato masher. The rice will get stiffer as you mash.

Mash till it is no longer grainy and quite smooth.

Line a container with cling film with extra overhang. Spread the mashed rice to mould the container, pressing down with a spatula.

Fold over the cling flim, press the rice cake with finger to ensure no air gap and even on top.

Tip the rice cake out with the cling film.

Press with something heavy. Like in the slide show, I used a bread tin then a bowlful of fruits which happened to be the heaviest object on my worktop at the time. Press for about 15 - 20 minutes.

Leave in fridge till ready to use. Will keep for a day or two in fridge.

* Though pressed rice cubes are traditional, many people prefer rice vermicelli with soto ayam.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Gado Gado

This recipe will serve 2

Salad ingredients:

Few snake beans or French beans, boiled and cut into small pieces.

Handful of finely sliced cabbage (optional, this is in most recipes but I don’t like it)

Few stalks of water spinach (kangkong) trimmed of tough stalks, blanched then cut into 3 - 4 cm long

Handful of beansprouts, use raw or blanch for few seconds

Handful of fresh or canned pineapple, cut into chunks

1 square of Chinese tofu, cut into chunks and shallow fried till all sides are brown.

1 small piece of cucumber, cut into pieces

Few slices of red onion, loosen (optional)

Handful of cooked potato, sliced or in small chunks

** if you have some tempeh, you can fry and cut into small pieces.

1 – 2 hard boiled egg. Cut into slices or quartered

Sauce: About ½ - ¾ cup of Sambal Kachang or peanut sauce (see recipe)


Few shallots, sliced and deep fried till brown and crispy or you can use bought crispy onion (optional)

Some ground or crushed roasted peanuts

Few keropok (malay prawn crackers) , crushed. If not available can use chinese prawn crackers


- Mix or layer salad ingredients

- Pour over sambal kachang

- Sprinkle on ground peanuts and crushed prawn crackers

For vegetarian version, leave out the egg and prawn crackers. For the peanut sauce leave out shrimp paste just use a bit of veggie stock powder and more soy sauce.

Sambal kachang (spicy peanut sauce)

Sambal kachang

This quantity will make about 1 ½ cups of sauce

1 cup of freshly roasted peanuts (raw peanuts with skin) or bought roasted peanuts (you can use peanut butter if you want but only about ½ cup)

1 – 2 tsp of shrimp paste

1 - 3 red chillies, deseeded

½ cup of coconut milk from a tin

Some tamarind juice (much as you like), use reconstituted tamarind pulp or ready to use tamarind juice or concentrate

Salt to taste

Small chunk of palm sugar (much as you like)

Some water to thin the sauce (optional)


- Dry roast shrimp paste in a pan for 2 – 3 minutes (if you use thai shrimp paste it is a lot softer than Malaysian shrimp paste, just spread it on the pan Dry roast till the paste is dry and crumbly). Warning: very strong smell, open all windows and close kitchen door.

- Put all ingredient in a blender and blitz till very smooth and thick, add water if you like it thinner.

- You can either heat the sauce for few minutes then leave to cool. I never bother just use it straight after blending.

Lamb Kormah


50g (about 14 tbsp) Coriander seeds

2 tbsp fennel seeds

2 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp black peppercorns

1 tbsp white peppercorns (if not available use black)

1 level tsp of whole cloves

10 – 12 green cardamoms

3 whole star anise

2 small sticks of cinnamon

½ nutmeg (grated)

1 tbsp turmeric powder

Roast all ingredients except nutmeg and turmeric powder in a dry pan for few minutes till slightly brown and fragrant. Leave to cool slightly. Add grated nutmeg and ground to a very fine powder in a grinder. Mix in the turmeric powder. Leave to cool completely before storing in air tight container/jar.


A. Meat with spices

1 – 1.3 kg of lamb meat in bite size chunks (from leg or shoulder)

1/3 qty of the Kurmah curry powder per recipe

1 ½ tsp of salt

B. Cooking ingredients

4 – 5 tbsp ghee or cooking oil (I normally use cooking oil, find ghee too rich with all the other flavours)

12 – 15 fresh or frozen curry leaves

1 onion (tennis ball size), roughly chopped

1 red onion (tennis ball size), roughly chopped

1 thumb size ginger, skinned and sliced

5 – 6 cloves of garlic (about 1/2 bulb)

1/2 - 1 (400 ml) tin of coconut milk (qty depends on how rich you like the sauce)

C. Vegetables

1 large mild Spanish onion (sliced)

400 – 500g cooked potatoes, in chunks (optional), I don’t normally add potatoes, preferred without pototoes

D. Curdled nut milk

1 small handful (about 25) cashew nuts

½ cup of full cream milk

1 tbsp of lemon juice

** in some traditional recipes, many use white poppy seeds but I find this did not add any value to the dish and it can be gritty if not blended very fine.

E. Garnishes

¼ cup or few sprigs of fresh coriander, chopped

Few chillies red and green, sliced (optional) – I never find this necessary but if you like it hot, use as much as you like

** some recipe add fried mustard seeds in oil, I find this unnecessary as the dish is already very rich and full of flavour without the mustard oil.


- Rub spice powder and salt onto meat and leave to marinate for few hours.

- Blend both onions, ginger and garlic till smooth

- Heat oil/ghee in a large pan till hot, throw in the curry leaves to sizzle for about 10 seconds, add onion, ginger and garlic paste and stir fry for about 5 - 10 minutes till the paste is reduced slightly and thickened.

- Add meat and brown for about 10 minutes, stir to prevent burning.

- Add about 1 ½ cups of water and simmer at low heat with lid on for about 1 hour till meat is tender. If the meat is getting dry during stewing, add more water.

- Add coconut milk turn heat up, when boiling add Spanish onion and cook for few minutes, then add cooked potatoes (if using) and simmer till potatoes are warm through.

- While the onion is cooking, blend cashew nuts and milk till very smooth and thick. Scrape into a bowl and add lemon juice to let the nut milk curdles. Add this to the kormah just before ready.

- Stir in chopped coriander and chillies (if used). Ready.

If you can wait till next day, this curry will taste even better. If not dish up and sprinkle on some chopped coriander.

** You can use other meat like stewing beef or chicken, just adjusts the cooking time to suit.

Curry Puffs

Slide show (click to view)

A. Flaky pastry

1. Water pastry
350 g of plain flour
100 g of Trex or pastry margarine*
½ tsp of salt
About ½ cup of cold water
2. Fat paste pastry
280g of plain flour
180 g of Trex or pastry margarine
½ tsp of salt
- for the water pastry, rub fat into flour till well mix, add salt. Mix water into the crumbs bit at a time till the pastry bind and no more crumbs in the bowl and a soft dough formed. No need to knead I prefer to make this by hand, more control to the texture of dough. Amount of water is a guideline, different flour absorb different amount of water
- to make the fat paste, rub fat and salt into flour and at the same time squeeze the fat crumbs till they bind to a greasy dough
- Leave both pastry to rest for about 20 – 30 minutes.
- After resting give the water pastry a quick knead till the dough is smooth.
* I preferred to use a bland vegetable fat for flaky pasty. I used to use Crisco a vegetable shortening from USA, but due to hydrogenated fat and unavailability, I find Trex (tasteless and no hydrogenated fat) is as good. You can use lard if you wish but to me making a malay snack with lard just doesn’t feel right with me. Butter is ok but I find the taste a bit strong for this type of S E asian pasties.
** You can use the same flaky pastry for any filling. Great for Chinese char siu flaky triangle you find in dim sum restaurant.

B. Filling
4 – 5 potatoes about 600g
300g of minced beef
3 - 4 tbsp of curry powder (homemade mix or shop bought)
1 – 5 tsp of chilli powder (qty depends on how hot you like and the strength of the chilli)
1 – 1 ½ tsp of salt
2 onion (tennis ball size) about 350g
1 tbsp of tomato paste
Cooking oil
- Cut potatoes into fine dices
- Chopped onion
- Fry onion with few tbsp of oil for few minutes add curry powder, chilli powder and tomato puree, fry till fragrant then add meat and brown for few minutes.
- Add potato dices and stir, sprinkle with water to keep the mix moist and help the potatoes to cook. Cook for about 10 minutes till potatoes are cooked.
To make the puffs: (see slide show)
1. Divide both pieces of dough into two.
2. Roll out one half of the water pastry
3. Take half of the greasy dough and cut into pieces and dotted all over the rolled out water dough.
4. Spread the grease dough with spatula till even and smooth. If you are struggling, wet the spatula with water will help spreading.
5. Roll into a log
6. Roll and stretch to extend the log to about few inches longer.
7. Cut into half. Roll and stretch one half (aim for around 3 cm diameter) then cut into about 12 pieces. Repeat with the other half piece.
8. Repeat steps 3 – 7. You now have about 48 - 50 pieces of dough, cover to prevent drying.
9. Take a piece of dough, with the cut size on the side, press down with fingers then roll to an oval disc.
10. Fill the disc with about 1 tbsp of filling. Slightly dampen the edge (half the disc) with water. Fold the pastry over to form a half moon shape. Press the open edge together then crimp.
11. Continue making the puffs till finish. This will take sometime. Lay each puff on non stick baking tray. If using baking tray without non stick, line tray with parchment paper then the puffs.
12 Brush each puff with beaten egg.
13 Bake at about 190 – 200 deg C (fan oven) for about 20 - 25 minutes or till golden brown.

Orange Chiffon (sponge) cake

Slide show (click to view)

Baking tin:

1 x 23 cm tube tin (no non stick and do not grease, very important)


A. Batter mix

5 large egg yolks

70g of sugar

100 ml sunflower oil or other odourless light cooking oil

180g of S R flour

½ tsp of baking powder

180 ml of fresh squeezed orange juice (about 1 ½ oranges)

Zest of 1 orange

B. Meringue

5 large egg whites

100 g of sugar


- Add sugar to egg yolks and beat till creamy. Add rest of the ingredient in and mix till smooth. Leave aside and clean the whisk (make sure it is not greasy)

- Beat egg whites till quite frothy, add sugar in bit at a time and whisky till very thick like meringue. Remove whisk.

- Now you mix with a spatula or large metal spoon. Add few tbsp of the meringue and mix into the batter mix to loosen the mix. Pour this over the meringue and quickly mix both together. Pour into tube pan.

- Bake for 50 minutes at about 165 – 170deg fan oven (very important NO opening of the oven during baking or testing to make sure it is cooked. If you do the cake will collapse to a pancake very quickly, you have to trust the cake is cooked before deciding to open the oven door. This cake should be cooked in 50 minutes, if you see the top is still very wet, leave for few more minutes)

- Take the cake out very quickly and tipped it upside down to cool. Do have some ventilation under the cake.

- Leave to cool completely.

- Turn over upright, scrape to loosen the side and the inside tube with a long and thin knife. Lift up the cake by the tube, scrape and loosen the base. Tipped the cake over on a plate. Ready to enjoy. (this cake is normally eaten plain. If you like you can drizzle some orange flavour glace icing all over the cake)