Monday, November 29, 2010

Black Bean Soup

Black bean really comes in handy in my kitchen. Whenever I lack of fresh ingredients for soup, black bean soup will be the soup of the day. The soup is nutritious as the black bean contains fiber, protein, flavonoid anti-oxidant, vitamins and minerals. More info can be found here

Some people boil the soup with dong quai, but I used to boil the black bean soup with garlic and pork ribs, and seasoned with light soy sauce. That's about it, and finally let the slow cooker perform the simmering job. It sounds extremely easy, right?

Black Bean Soup
Serves 3-4

150 grams black bean, rinsed with running water
1 bulb of garlic, peeled
200 grams of pork ribs, blanched
1.5 liter water
light soy sauce to taste

1. Add pork rib, black bean and garlic to the slow cooker pot. 
2. Bring water to boil in a pot. Pour it into the slow cooker pot. Leave the ingredients to cook under high heat for at least 3 hours. Then shift it to low heat and leave it simmers for another 2 hours or until the bean is softened.
3. Add light soy sauce to taste. Serve hot with rice.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Home Grown Spring Onion

I'm in the progress to achieve my dream to have a little spice garden at home. I have very little knowledge and experience in gardening. First, I started to grow mint and parsley back in August this year. The Parsley didn't last long. Within a week, the plant was dried up. On the other hand, the mint plant grows pretty well. I'm neither a green thumb or black thumb. 50-50, I would say? So far, a few batches of home grown mint leaves were harvested to make mint leave omelet, assam laksa and mint leaves soup. 

About a week ago, I planted a few shallots into a pot. Now, each shallot blossoms into spring onion. It is so easy to plant it at home and it shoots pretty fast. Furthermore, it requires no special care, except sun light and water to survive. Spring onion doesn't last long in fridge. So, it is a good idea to grow on your own and harvest it anytime you need it.Soon, I'll utilise this fresh home grown spring onion in my culinary, either raw or cooked.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fried Macaroni - The Fusion style

When I was a kid, I hate to have macaroni. I just don't like the taste when cooked in chicken stock. It's too bland to my liking. However, ever since I discovered this fusion style fried macaroni, it has become my favorite meal at home. Through simple cooking, the macaroni has transformed into a flavorful one-pot-dish. Well, I do change the ingredients from time to time to get a different flavor. Overall, I would say macaroni cooked in this way tastes so good! yummz!

Fried Macaroni - The Fusion style
Serves 3

Macaroni, portion for 3, cooked per the packaging instruction (I cooked it longer to get softer texture)
3 Brussel sprouts, sliced horizontally
1 onion, peel and diced
a half palm-sized portion of char siew, chopped
2 caps of dried shiitake mushroom, dehydrated and chopped
2 eggs, beaten lightly
cooking oil

1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp chili paste
2 tbsp water

1. Heat up 1 tbsp oil in a wok. Fry the egg in 2 batches into 2 egg sheets. Set aside for cooling. Roll up a piece of egg sheet and sliced it thinly. Do the same for the 2nd piece. Set aside for the garnishing later.
2. Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in the same wok. Fry onion till transparent. Add char siew and mushroom to stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add Brussel sprouts and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Toss in the boiled macaroni and seasonings. Fry for 3 minutes.
3. Dish out and garnish with egg strips. Serve hot.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Peri-Peri Grilled Fish

I have no regret in buying a non-stick grill pan. It's is one of  the essential cookware for me right now. My first cooking experiment with the grill pan goes to Peri-Peri Grilled Fish. Just like the chicken kebab, the fish fillets were basted with Nando's Peri-Peri sauce and chopped garlic. It was then pan-grilled to perfection. This is a simple way to spice up a fish dish. Next, I shall try to pan-grill meat/poultry, seafood and even vegetables. 

Peri-peri Grilled Fish
Serves 3-4

220 grams fish fillets (I used Kurau fish), de-boned, cleaned and pat dried
1 tbsp of vegetable oil

2 tbsp of hot Per-peri sauce
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
pinch of salt

1. Marinate the fish fillets and leave in fridge for 2-3 hours.
2. Heat oil in a grill pan. Brown the fish on both sides. Serve hot with rice.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meat Ball & Capsicum In Tomato Sauce

Meat ball and capsicum are perfect match. Pair it up with onion and tomato sauce, and you'll get a delectable dish to serve with rice. To simplify the cooking, the meat ball can be shallow fried in non-stick pan or wok instead of deep frying. The meat ball is equally tasty with 2 different methods, but shallow fried version sounds more healthy.

Meat Ball & Capsicum In Tomato Sauce
Serves 2

200gm of minced meat (pork, beef or chicken)
Cooking oil

Marinades for the meat:
1 1/2 tbsp of light soy sauce
1 tsp of sesame oil
dash of pepper
1 1/2 tbsp of corn starch
2 shallots, chopped

The Sauce:
1/2 onion, diced
1 green capsicum, cut into rectangle shape
1 yellow capsicum, cut into rectangle shape
3-4 tbsp of tomato sauce
1 tsp of light soy sauce
1 tsp of brown sugar
200ml water

1. Marinate the minced meat for 20 minutes. Then wet your palms with water and shape the marinated meat into meat balls. Set aside on a clean plate.
2. Heat some oil in a non-stick pan or wok, shallow fry the meat balls using medium heat. Rotate the meat balls from time to time until all surface turned golden brown. Rest it on kitchen towel and transfer it to a serving plate.
3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a clean wok, sauté onion for 2 minutes. Add capsicum and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add all ingredients for the sauce and bring to simmering. Off the flame, and pour the sauce over the fried meat balls. Serve hot with rice.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Koay Teow Th'ng aka Flat Noodle Soup (粿條汤)

"Koay Teow" is a type of  flat rice noodle that is made of rice flour. The very thin layer of rice flour mixture is then steamed to thin sheet and laminated with vegetable oil before cutting into flat rice noodle. Flat noodle soup aka koay teow th'ng is one of famous Penang street food. If you dine out for koay teow th'ng, most probably your meal portion is over dosed with MSG. It can't be avoided. Hence, to be at the safe side, I prefer to cook it at home.  

The cooking step is pretty simple and straight forward. Dish blanched koay teow into a bowl. Pour chicken stock over the koay teow. Garnish it with hand-pulled chicken strips, fish balls, lettuce and fried garlic. It's best served with bird's eye chili dips. Viola! I love this type of homey meal.

I'm sharing the dish with PPN#189 (by Ruth from Once Upon A Feast) which is hosted by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Vegetarian Fried Rice With Spices

This is a good recipe on a meatless day. It’s my own version of vegetarian fried rice with spices. With so many fresh spices around in Malaysia, it’s definitely an advantage in cooking a vegetarian meal. For example, the ginger bud and Kaffir lime leaves that I used in this fried rice could easily be found in the wet market. The spices are not only infused the rice with pleasant fragrance, but it also make the food more presentable.  Anyone said vegetarian meal is bland? This will proof you wrong.

Vegetarian Fried Rice With Spices
Serves 3

1.3-1.5 cups of rice, cooked and leave it cooled
1 broccoli stem, cubed
1 carrot, peeled and cubed
12 French beans, chopped
8 cloves of shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
6 Kaffir lime leaves, cut into thin strips
1/2 of ginger bud, chopped
cooking oil

3tbsp of light soy sauce
1/2 tbsp of dark soy sauce (optional)

1/4 of ginger bud, chopped

1. Heat enough oil in a wok. Fry the shallots till golden yellow.
2. Add carrot and sauté for 2 minutes. Toss in the French bean and broccoli stem to sauté for another 1 minute.
3. Pour in the cooled rice and light soy sauce. Fry till the rice is evenly coated with soy sauce.
4. Add Kaffir lime leaves and ginger bud. Stir to mix well. Of the flame and dish out. Garnish with chopped ginger bud.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Spaghetti Stir-Fried With Laksa Leaves

The fresh laksa leaves that was left over from the assam laksa was utilized in this spaghetti stir-fry. I thought the spaghetti will be infused with lemony flavor from the laksa leaves, Who knows, it's pretty tasteless per hubby's feedback. So, don't be fooled by it's appealing look. Anyway, hubby was very supportive as he finished up all the portion that I specially prepared for his lunch. 

Spaghetti With Laksa Leaves
Serves 1

spaghetti, portion for 1
1 Brussel sprout, horizontally sliced
18 pieces of laksa leaf
6 medium-sized prawns, shelled and deveined
1/2 onion, peeled and thinly diced
cooking oil
chili for garnishing (optional)

Salt and pepper

1. Cook the spaghetti per the packaging intruction till al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat some oil in a wok. Saute onion till soft it not browned. Add laksa leaves and Brussel sprout to combine and  stir fry for 2 minutes.
3. Ass prawns and saute for 2 minutes. Toss in spaghetti and saute with the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Dish out and garnish with chili.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Penang Assam Laksa

Assam laksa is one of Penang's famous street food. The silky smooth rice noodle in hot and spicy fish soup is garnished with lots of fresh veggies and served with prawn paste as condiment. The contribution of mint leaves, ginger bud, laksa leaves, pineapple, lemon grass, tamarind juice, belacan, onion and cucumber gives the assam laksa a distinctive flavor. It's pungent, sweet, sour and spicy. It's mouth-watering indeed. Gosh, I'm addicted!

I'm sharing the dish with Presto Pasta Nights #188, which is hosted by Ruth from Once Upon A Feast.

Penang Assam Laksa
serves 4-5

1kg fresh laksa noodle
5 mackerel fish, gutted and cleaned
a ping pong ball sized of tamarind, mixed with 200ml water, strained and retain the juice
3 tbsp of chili paste

2 liter water
15 sprigs of laksa leaves
half ginger bud, sliced into 4
3 stalk of lemon grass (the white portion), lightly smashed with the back of clever knife
                                   2 onions and 1.5cm cube of belacan, blended
brown sugar

mint leaves
half bunga kantan, chopped
1 cucumber, cut into strips
quarter of a small pineapple, peeled and cut into steps
1 1/2 tbsp of shrimp paste diluted with 2 tbsp of hot water

1. Put ingredient (A) in a pot. Bring to a low simmering boil for 2 minutes. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the mackerel fish and bring to boil for 10 minutes or until cooked.
2. Remove the fish from the soup and leave it cool. Then flake the fish, break into pieces and return to the soup. 
3. Add chili paste and sieve in the tamarind juice and leave it simmers under low heat. 
4. Flake the fish, break the flesh into pieces and return to the soup. 
5. Add seasoning to taste. Continue to simmer for 1-2 minutes.
6.To serve, put a handful of laksa noodles in a metal strainer and immerse in a pot of boiling water to scald the noodles for half a minute. Drain and put into a bowl. Add a little of each garnish. Pour laksa soup over the noodle and garnish. Drizzle a little prawn paste over and serve hot.


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