Monday, 20 April 2009

Daging Dendeng

Daging dendeng is Malay spicy dried beef like jerky. It's rather yummy, savoury, spicy, sweet and sour. I had this with rice and cold beer it was very good.

To make this will take a bit of time but it is not that difficult.

Recipe will feed 4 - 5 people

A. boil the meat
1 to 1.2 kg of topside or thick meaty beef brisket
2 stick of lemongrass
1 thumb size ginger, sliced
1 medium onion, cut into half

  1. Brown the meat with a little oil till golden all over.
  2. Put the meat in a stock pot, put all the ingredients in and pour enough water to cover the meat. Simmer at medium heat for about 15 - 20 minutes till water is hot, skimmed off any scum. Then turn the heat right down to minimum cover and simmer for another 80 - 90 minutes. Take the meat out, lightly cover and let it cool.
  3. Once the meat is completely cooled, cut into slices about 0.5 - 0.6cm thick. Then pound the meat (not too hard) with meat hammer or rolling pin till the meat fibres are loosen but not falling apart. You can prepare this in advance and keep the prepared meat in fridge up to 2 days.
  4. Discard the spices. The boiling liquid is excellent for soup noodles, to add extra flavour maybe throw in a few bones or another small piece of beef at the beginning, makes excellent Vietnamese pho.

B. Crispy shallot

180g of shallot
1 cup of oil
  1. Slice the shallot very thin deep fried in hot oil till golden and crispy, you do need to stir regularly to prevent the onion browning quicker around the side of the pan. Drain on paper. Reserve the oil for later use.

C. the flavouring

15 large dried chillies (about 15 - 16 g), soaked
100g of shallot, peeled
3 - 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 sticks of lemon grass

50g wet tamarind with seeds
1/2 cup of boiling water

2 whole star anise
2 tbsp of ketchup manis
1.5 tsp of salt
70 - 90g gula melaka/gula jawa/jaggery/palm sugar, grated

oil from frying the shallot

chilli for garnish (optional)

  1. De-stalk and de-seed the dried chillies then soak in hot water till softened. Drain.
  2. Soak tamarind with boiling water and leave till cooled, then squeeze with hand to release the pulp then sieve.
  3. Remove fibrous outer layer of lemongrass, top and tail, then thinly sliced into rings.
  4. Blend chillies, shallot, garlic and lemongrass in a mini blender till very smooth. If the machine is struggling add a tbsp or two of the tamarind juice will help.

D. Cook the Dendeng
  1. Fry the meat with few tbsp of shallot oil till browned both sides. You may need to do this in several batches. Remove meat.
  2. In the same wok or pan add about 6 tbsp of the shallot oil and fry the spice paste and star anise for about 10 minutes then add in palm sugar, ketchup manis, salt, tamarind juice and salt. Continue stirring for another 5 - 10 minutes till the mixture is drier and thicker.
  3. Add in the meat pieces and stir fry till all the sauce is absorbed and the meat is very dry, about 10 - 15 minutes. Stir in a handful of crispy shallots.
  4. Plate up and sprinkle with more crispy shallots and few chilli slices for garnish

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Bun Bo Xao (Vietnamese beef and glass noodle salad)

Similar to nue num tok , Bun Bo Xao is Vietnamese version of beef salad, refreshing and full of goodness. Once you got all the ingredients prepared it is very simple.

Recipe will feed 2 people

1. Beef
250g rump steak or sirloin
1-1/4 tbsp of fish sauce
3 fat cloves of garlic
2 sticks of lemongrass
1 tsp of sugar
2 tbsp cooking oil or oil left from frying crispy shallot

2. Salad
125g of glass noodles (cellophane noodles)
1 medium carrot
about 2 - 3 leaves of green crispy lettuce like cox or oriental lettuce
1 handful of beansprout
small handful of oriental herbs you can find or got in the fridge- coriander (cilantro), Vietnamese mint (rau ram or laksa leaf), Thai basil or common mint (chopped)

3. Nuoc Cham Sauce
1 large red chilli, chopped or minced
1 - 3 bird eyes (if you like hot), chopped or minced
1 clove of garlic, chopped or minced
1 lime, juice
1 heap tbsp sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
4 - 5 tbsp of hot water

some roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

  1. Prepare the beef, remove any gristly bits on the beef and cut the meat into very thin slices. Chopped garlic. Remove the outside 2 tough layers of the lemongrass, top and tail then cut the bottom 3 inches into paper thin rings. Mix all the ingredient together and leave to marinate for about 20 minute or make in advance.
  2. Make the nuoc cham sauce by mixing all the ingredients together.
  3. Prepare the salad, soak the noodles in warm water till soft for about 15 min. Shred the carrot (I used a mandoline) and cut lettuce into thin strips. Rinse bean sprouts. Drain off noodle soaking water. Put noodles and bean sprouts together in a large bowl, pour in boiling water and leave for about 1 minute, then drain. Rinse with cold water, shake off excess water. Mix all the salad ingredients together. Pile this on serving plate or salad bowl. Mix this with 2 - 3 tbsp of the nuoc cham sauce.
  4. Heat the pan till red hot, spread the beef evenly and thinly on the hot pan, do not stir let the beef brown on the bottom then stir quickly to coat some of the caramelised bit all over the beef then ready to put beef on the the salad. Spoon on more nouc cham sauce all over the salad. Then sprinkle on peanuts. Ready to eat.

** Can sub beef with chicken or pork.
Any nouc cham sauce not used can keep in the fridge and use within a week.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Steamed silken tofu with prawn 蝦仁滑豆腐

One of my store cupboard essential is this instant tofu pack. It is very handy when I need silken tofu quickly. Great for steaming. This tofu is very soft not suitable for frying.

One of my favourite use of this tofu is steamed savoury tofu with prawn or minced beef.

Once steamed the tofu texture is very smooth and silky like custard or egg tofu you find in a tube from Chinese supermarket. For this recipe,

1 packet of instant tofu
handful of raw shelled prawn
about 1 tbsp of light soy
about 2 tsp of sesame oil
1/2 tsp of cornflour
pinch of pepper
pinch of sugar

about 1 tbsp of chopped ginger
about 1 stalk of spring onion
a bit more sesame oil and soy sauce


  1. Follow the packet instruction boil the soya milk and add the coagulant, pour this straight into a deep dish, cover and leave to set and cool.
  2. Marinate the prawn.
  3. Set the steamer on, steam the tofu only for about 6 - 8 minutes till the tofu is hot, use a piece of kitchen towel to absorb any moisture on top of tofu so the sauce is not too watery. Discard paper.
  4. Spread the prawn on top and steam for about 4 - 5 minutes till prawn is cooked or turned milky and pink.
  5. Spread on ginger and spring onion. Drizzle with a bit more sesame oil and light soy on top if you like. Ready to eat

* You can sub prawn with minced lean beef.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Chai Tow Kway 菜頭粿 (S E Asian Style)

Stir fried Chai Tow Kway is really a Malaysian/ Singaporean street food version of the Cantonese style Loh Bak Koh you find in dim sum restaurant which includes Chinese sausage and other things. This Turnip cake is made plain then stir fried. You can either make the turnip cake yourself see recipe below or buy a lump of the steamed cake from Chinese supermarket.

For the recipe of the plain turnip (mooli) cake,


About 800g of peeled mooli or daikon
280g oriental rice flour
50g tapioca starch
500ml of water
1 tsp of Knorr chicken granules
1/2 tsp of salt
dash of sesame oil

about 1 tsp of cooking oil for greasing

  1. Grate the mooli fine as you can (I use a coarse Microplane). If not you can blend small chunks the mooli in a food processor to a smooth paste.
  2. Cook the grated/blended mooli in a large pan till hot and bubbly.
  3. While the mooli is cooking, mix both flours with water.
  4. Pour the flour batter into the mooli add remaining ingredients. Continue cooking on gentle heat and stirring all the time till the mixture looks like thin porridge. Heat off.
  5. Grease a large Pyrex casserole, about 2 litre size. Pour mixture into dish and smooth the top.
  6. Steam for about 1 hour or till cooked through. Take the cake out, cover and leave to cool completely or overnight.

For the stir fried Chai tow kway. Serve 2


a little fragrant oil left from frying crispy shallot or plain cooking oil with 1/2 tsp of minced garlic
1/4 of the above qty of turnip cake or about 500g
handful of bean sprouts
4 - 5 strips of preserved radish (chai bo) - optional if you don't like this leave this out
2 -3 stalks of spring onion
some red chilli
2 beaten eggs
dash of ketchup manis or dark soy
dash of soy sauce

some crispy shallots
some sambal tumis or your favourite chilli sauce

  1. Cut the turnip cake into chunks.
  2. Chop preserved radish. Chop chillies and spring onion too.
  3. Heat wok with some oil and stir fry turnip cake and chopped radish for couple of minutes till hot. Add dash of ketchup manis and soy to taste, add beaten egg and fry till egg is dried. Add bean sprouts stir briefly then add spring onion and chilli. Plate up and sprinkle on some more chilli and spring onion if you wish and some crispy shallot. Eat with a dollop of sambal tumis or some chilli sauce.

Touhu Goreng (Malay style fried tofu salad)

Just made a batch of tofu at the weekend as per this recipe and plenty of sambla tumis so the obvious choice is to make some tauhu goreng. Simple and tasty.


2 - 3 large blocks of Chinese tofu
about 2 tbsp of cornflour
pinch of salt
1 inch thick oil in a wok (about 1/2 cup)

few tbsp of sambal tumis
handful or shredded cucumber, don't use the soft core (about 5 - 6cm long of cucumber)
handful of bean sprouts
1 stick of spring onion
1/2 to 1 red chilli
small handful of roasted peanuts
couple of wedges of lime or limau kasturi


  1. Crushed or ground the roasted peanuts
  2. Shred the cucumber, spring onion and chilli
  3. Blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water very briefly, drain and leave to cool. You can leave the blanching and leave the bean sprouts raw if you like.
  4. Heat oil till very hot. Pat dry the tofu piece, rub with salt and coat lightly with cornflour. Fry the tofu till crispy and brown both sides. Take them out and cut into bite size.
  5. Put the tofu pieces on a plate, spread with as much sambal tumis as you like
  6. Pile on the shredded vegetables, sprinkle with peanuts. Squeeze of lime and ready to eat.
Eat the tofu while still very hot so it is crispy.

If you can find some jicama or yam bean this will very nice too finely shredded.

Sambal Tumis

Sambal tumis means fried sambal, one of the most versatile sambal other than sambal belacan. It's more lemak or rich because of the additional garlic, onion and cooked in plenty of oil. Once cooked and stored in sterilised jar will keep at room temperature for months, better than sambal belacan which is not cooked and must be kept in the fridge.

If you like Thai nam prik pao you will like sambal tumis. I love this sambal you can use this as a dipping sauce for anything or add to anything you like like noodles, fried tofu and stir fried kangkong etc.... Also great for cooking telur sambal tumis (hard boiled egg sambal) and sambal bilis (asian dried anchovies) using the sambal paste straight from the jar without preparing the spices great for time saving.

Here is the recipe. This recipe will make 4 -5 (1 lb) jars, depending on the adjustments to ingredients you used. Adjust the recipe quantity if you like to make less. This sambal is very additive you will use it up very quickly, I can assure you.

100 - 110g dried large chillies - medium hot variety (I used those from Chinese supermarket, don't use a very mild variety)
125g fresh hot red chillies, if you use superhot chillies use less
250g shallot (I used supermarket variety, Asian more expensive)
300g onion (red is better flavour)
80 - 90g garlic (about 1 1/2 bulb)
100 - 125 g belacan or shrimp paste (use Malaysian type if you can find some, if not use Thai)
100g wet tamarind with seeds (use wet tamarind without seeds about 75g)
5 - 6 tbsp of sugar or more if you like sweeter
1 tbsp of salt or more if you like it more salty
250 ml to 400 ml cooking oil (see note below)

  1. Wear gloves if you want to. Use a pair of scissors and cut the stalk off the dried chillies then cut in half lengthwise to release the seeds. Then soak in tap hot water for about 30 minutes or till softened. Rinse and drain ready to use.
  2. Remove stalk from the fresh chillies. You can remove the seeds or leave them on. Cut into smaller pieces if the chillies are large
  3. Peel the onion and shallots. Cut into small chunks. Peel the garlic.
  4. If using Malaysian belacan which is usually in a block, cut into 0.5 cm thick pieces and roast in a dry pan till in medium heat turning every minute or so till the outside turned dried and pale in colour. If using Thai shrimp paste just put small pieces in the pan and roast and turn for few minutes.
  5. Blend all the ingredients mentioned above in a mini blender (in several batches) till you get a very smooth paste. If you blender get stained, soak with boiling water and pour in some bleach, the stain will be gone in few minutes.
  6. Soak the tamarind with 1 cup of boiling water and leave it to soften and cool. Then squeeze with your hand to release the pulp then strain to extract the juice.
  7. Pour the tamarind juice in a large sauce pan or wok and reduce the liquid to about a third. Then pour in the spice paste and cook it till hot at medium low heat till bubbling hot while stirring frequently to prevent the liquid sticking and spitting. Once the mixture is very hot, reduce the heat to low and continue simmering for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently and cover the pot/wok (ajar to release steam) while you are not stirring. Then add in the oil, salt and sugar and continue cooking for another 15 minutes or so, still stirring frequently and cover the lid when not stirring, but be very careful the oil will spit don't get too close. The sambal is then ready to eat or put into jars.
  8. While the sambal is cooking, clean enough glass jars to fill 5 lb of sambal, then leave the jars not the lids in a low oven for about 10 - 15 minutes till very hot and dried. Turn the heat off then put the lids in the oven to dry. Put a clean ladle and jam funnel too to sterilise in the oven.
  9. Pour the very hot sambal into hot jars right to the top, clean any spill with clean kitchen towel then screw the top on tight right away and leave to cool. Once cooled the jars will be vacuum sealed and so will kept for long time.
  10. This sambal is ok to eat right away but better leave to mature for at least 1 week before eating. If stored in sterilised jar will keep for months. If kept in plastic container you need to keep it in the fridge and use within 2 weeks or so. If the vacuum sealed jar is opened keep in fridge and use within few weeks.


When roasting the belacan (shrimp paste) and cooking the sambal, i
f you don't want your house smell for the next few days best do this outdoor using a portable cooker or gas ring on a bbq.

When cooking the sambal the mixture is likely to spit so cooking outdoor saves a lot of cleaning up.
You neighbours will probably knock on your door demanding what the hell that stinking smell comes from. :)

If you add the oil at the beginning when cooking the mixture, it will spit like crazy because of the high water content and can be dangerous. The amount of oil you add depends on how you like it, if you like me who like the sambal glistening and rich I will add all the 400ml, if you like the sambal very lean use 1 cup or less but the sambal will look dull, not that tasty and keeping is probably not as good with more oil.