Monday, 27 October 2008

Kari Ayam (curry chicken)

This is my version of malay chicken curry. I like the curry quite saucy.


For the rempah (spice paste)
150 - 160 g shallots
3 - 4 cloves of garlic
6 - 7 candlenuts
12 - 20 dried chillies, about 15 - 20g
1 small piece of fresh turmeric about 20g (or 1 heap tsp of turmeric powder)
1 thumb size piece of ginger about 25g
1 tbsp belacan or shrimp paste

Other ingredients
5 - 6 tbsp cooking oil
3 stalks of lemon grass
about 20 - 25 curry leaves
1 - 2 tbsp of tomato puree
800g chicken pieces (I use thighs and drumsticks)
400ml tin of coconut milk
1 - 2 tsp of sugar (optional)
1 tsp of salt

  1. De-stalk and de-seed the dried chillies then soak in warm water till soft. Drain of excess water. Peel shallot, garlic and ginger.
  2. put all the spice paste ingredients into a mini blender and blitz till smooth.
  3. Trim the lemon grass and bash them.
  4. Heat oil then add in the lemon grass and curry leaves, stir till fragrant then add in the spice paste and tomato puree. Stir for about 8 - 10 minutes on low heat.
  5. Add in the chicken pieces, stir for about 10 - 12 minutes.
  6. Add in about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of water, let this boil for couple of minutes, turn the heat to minimum lid on and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Add in the coconut milk, simmer with lid off for another 10 - 20 minutes till the sauce is reduced to your liking. Add salt and sugar to taste.
  8. Skimmed of any oil floating on top if you wish.
  9. Ready to eat with rice, bread or roti jala.
* The skimmed oil is great for future curry cooking and anything you like to add in some curry spiced oil.
* More dried chillies more spicier the curry and redder the sauce.
* If you don't like it too spicy and want a redder sauce, add more tomato puree.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Chinese five spice doughnut

Chinese: 鹹煎餅 (Hum Jin Bien)

This Cantonese fried bread is one of my favourite chinese bread. This doughnut is a pinwheel bread spread with a salty spicy mix. It's is spicy, salty and chewy.

This recipe make about 13 - 14 pieces


For the dough
400g white bread flour
1 tsp of easy blend yeast
300 - 315 ml of water
1 tsp of salt
3 tbsp of sugar

For the spicy spread
2 squares of red fermented tofu (南乳) - about 1 tbsp
2-1/2 tsp of salt
3 tsp of five spice water
2 tsp of water

2 cups of cooking oil


1. Mix the dough ingredient together and knead for about 10 minutes (I use bread machine)
2. Leave the dough to rise till double in size. Punch down the dough.
3. Spead working area with dusting of flour and roll the dough into 13" x 10" square, about 8 - 10 mm thick.
4. Mash the fermented tofu and mix the spread ingredients
5. Spread the mix evenly on the dough using a spatula. (see picture)
6. Roll the dough up like a Swiss roll.
7. Cut the rolled dough into 13 - 14 pieces.
8. Coat each piece of dough with flour and press it down flat to about 5 - 8 mm thick. (see picture)
9. Cover and leave to rise for about 20 minutes.
10. Heat 2 cups of oil in a large pan or wok till quite hot.
11. Scope each dough up with a spatula and lower gently into the hot oil. Fry for 1 minute, turn over and continue frying and flipping till both sides are golden brown.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Steamed chicken with chinese dried vegetables

This steamed chicken is one of my favourites since I was a kid. Not sure what this is called in chinese but I do know this is cantonese style and recipe of my mum. Various dried chinese vegetables are used such as shitake mushrooms, cloud ears, lily buds and red dates. All these dried vegetables are available from any chinese supermarket.

Recipe (enough for 3-4)

500g chicken (thigh or breast), cut into bite size
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp of grated ginger
pinch of ground pepper
2 - 3 tsp of sesame oil
1 tbsp chinese cooking wine or brandy (I prefer brandy)
1 tsp of sugar (optional)
2 tsp of cornflour

about 6 - 7 shitake mushroom
small handful of lily buds 金針
small handful of cloudears 雲耳 or woodear木耳
4 - 5 chinese red dates 紅棗

To prepare the dried vegetables, soak till soften. Cut shitake into strips. For the lily bud remove any hard part and tie into each into knot if you got time. Clean the cloudears or woodear to remove any grits, then cut or tear into small pieces. For the red dates, cut into small slivers, remove stone if there is any.
Mix chicken with the marinate and leave for about 20 minutes.
Mix the soaked vegetables with chicken, put this onto a pyrex or deep dish and steam for about 25 - 30 minutes.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Chicken with sweet yellow bean paste

I love black bean sauce and chilli bean sauce. Not had a recipe for yellow bean sauce on the blog yet. There are quite a few yellow bean sauces in various chinese names as 麵豉醬/豆瓣醬/黃醬and there is also a sweet bean sauce 甜麵醬. Sweet bean sauce is made with fermented soya beans and wheat flour, it is the main ingredient for hoisin sauce, some brand of sweet bean sauce is called hoisin sauce like the plastic packet as shown on the picture. All the yellow bean sauces and sweet bean sauce are interchangeable and taste very similar. Sweet bean sauce has a sweet taste as the name suggested. The following are two brand of sweet bean sauces I got at home.

This chicken dish in chinese is called 醬爆雞丁 (jiang pao ji ting), a famous Beijingnese dish. The recipe is rather simple. Cucumber is the common vegetable added. Some recipes use green pepper and some use bamboo shoots. Garlic and Shaoshing wine are not normally used but if you like it you can add some. I added red and yellow pepper for the colour.

For the recipe (enough for 3 -4 as a mixed dishes meal)

300 - 350 g skinless & boned chicken breast, cut into bite size
1 egg white (a small egg), beaten
1 heap tbsp of cornflour
1 - 2 tsp of light soy sauce

1 cup of cooking oil

150g sweet pepper, any colour you like, cut into bite size
150g cucumber, quartered and cut off the soft centre then cut into bite size
1 - 2 tbsp grated ginger (to your taste)
2 tbsp of chopped spring onion
about 2 - 3 tbsp sweet bean sauce甜麵醬 or yellow bean sauce (qty depends on your taste and saltiness/thickness of different brands)
dash of light soy, to your taste
pinch of sugar, to your taste


  1. Mix chicken with egg white, cornflour and soy, leave to marinate for about 20 minutes
  2. In a wok or large frying pan, heat the oil till very hot, drop the chicken in, stir and let it fry for about 1 minute or till the meat has turned white, but not necessarily cooked through. Take the chicken out and drain off the excess oil. This process is called velveting.
  3. Remove all the oil but leave about 1 tbsp.
  4. Add the ginger and spring onion and bean sauce, stir till fragrant.
  5. Add chicken and vegetables, stir fry for few minutes till vegetable are tender and chicken is cooked and well coated with the sauce. Add pinch of sugar and dash of soy sauce to taste.

Stir fry shredded potato

Chinese: 炒土豆絲 (chow tu dou se)

Potato is such a versatile vegetable; boiled, fried, sauted, roasted, deep fried and mashed. But stir fried? This is what attracted me to try this recipe, popular in Northern China like Beijing and Shanghai. Northern Chinese has a lovely name for potato called 'tu dou' or translated as bean of the earth.

Stir fried potato is a very simple poor man's recipe. Normally the potato is stir fried with only a bit of garlic, chilli and some spring onion. I like a more complex flavour so I added carrot and some Sichuan preserved vegetable (zha cai). The key to prepare this dish it to shred all the vegetables very very fine. I got a Japanese mandoline which saves a lot of work. The potato must be washed to remove all the starch and soaked till crunchy.

I really like this recipe, the flavour is light yet fragrant with the spices. The vegetables are crunchy and delicious. Thoroughly recommended if you like a cheap vegetarian dish.

For the recipe (enough for 4 as part of mixed dishes meal)

400 - 450 g large potatoes (I used 2 baking potatoes), cut into very fine strips
1 medium carrot, cut into very fine strips
120 - 130 g Sichuan preserved vegetable (zha chai) 榨菜, cut into very fine strips
1/2 to 1 red chilli, sliced or cut into matchstick
2 - 3 stalks spring onion, sliced into long strips
2 fat cloves of garlic, chopped
2 - 3 tsp of Sichuan peppercorns
1 - 2 dried chillies, roughly chopped or cut into small pieces (or 1/2 tsp of chilli flakes)
about 1 tbsp of ChinKiang black rice vinegar (can sub with balsamic vinegar*)
dash of light soy (to your taste)
pinch of sugar to taste
2 - 3 tbsp cooking oil

  1. Shred the vegetable into very fine strips, you can use mandoline for the potato and the carrot. For the shredded potato, rinse several times to remove the starch then leave to soak in cold water for about 20 -30 minutes, then drain.
  2. You need to hand cut the Sichuan preserved vegetable, don't work with the mandoline. After cutting, rinse with water to remove some of the saltiness then squeeze dry and leave aside.
  3. Prepare the red chill, garlic and spring onion
  4. In a pan or wok, heat some oil and add the Sichuan peppercorns and fry till you can smell the fragrance of peppercorns. Use a slotted spoon and remove all the peppercorns and discard.
  5. Add in the dry chillies and garlic, fry till fragrant.
  6. Turn the heat right up and add the vegetables and fresh chilli, stir fry for a minute or two add vinegar, soy sauce and sugar to taste. Continue to stir fry for another minute or two till all the vegetables are very hot and tender but still quite crunchy.
  7. Stir in the spring onion and the dish is ready to eat.

If you don't have any Sichaun preserved vegetable (榨菜), you can sub with any chinese pickled vegetables like snow vegetable (雪菜) or pickled mustard (鹹酸菜).

*This post is kindly supported by OGourmet, fine food shopping for best balsamic vinegar