Monday, April 30, 2012

Mee Siam

There is a story behind the making of this dish. I am in my eighth month of pregnancy and two weeks ago, I developed a huge craving for Mee Siam. It was one of those major pregnancy cravings and I really had to have it. I have never tried to make it before and its an intricate dish- and I scouted around the entire town for the ingredients to make the dish. Last week, on the day I tried to make it, and I suddenly felt very exhausted and overwhelmed. I walked out of the kitchen in the midst of prepping my ingredients and took to bed instead, deciding I could never replicate Mee Siam. My husband Thomas saw how down I looked and went in there with the recipe and replicated the dish. I was really taken by surprise and enjoyed the dish for the next 2-3 days immensely.

I decided today to go back into the kitchen and conquer the making of the Mee Siam. And I did- it was delicious.

Ingredients:

For spice paste A:
4-5 shallots
3 cloves garlic
6 dried chillis (soak in hot water for 10 mins)
1 tbs dried shrimp (soak in hot water for 10 mins)
1 tbs belachan
2 red onions
6 candle nuts.

(Grind the ingredients)

For spice paste B:
4 tbs of tau cheo (bean sauce)- blend the tau cheo in grinder
Tamarind juice from 3 tbs of tamarind- mix with 1 cup of water and sieve out seeds
2-3 tbs palm sugar (or white sugar)
1 tsp dark soya sauce
1/2 tsp salt

Other Ingredients:
1/2 packet of bee hoon (soak in hot water, drain and set aside)
1/2 packet of bean sprouts (soak in hot water, drain and set aside)
1 hard boiled egg sliced
2 sprigs of chinese leeks sliced
1/2 pkt coconut milk
1/4 lime

1. Heat oil in pan and fry spice paste A until fragrant.
2. Fill up the pot to half with water and add spice paste B. (about 1.5 litres of water)
3. Let it simmer for 20 mins before adding coconut milk

To serve:
1. Put blanched bee hoon and bean sprouts on the bottom of the bowl.
2. Pour gravy on top.
3. Garnish with eggs, lime and leeks.

The broth is a wonderful mixture of sweet, sour and spicy flavours and goes beautifully with the boiled eggs, noodles and vegetables. I was in heaven. (again)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A bucket of chicken

Just wanted to post a picture of the homemade 'bucket' of chicken (or perhaps in this case, stainless steel bowl of chicken), fresh off the fryer. I really should consider a mock KFC barrel/bucket to serve the chicken if I had guests over :-)

The two links which had KFC recipes that I found useful:
https://apps.facebook.com/theguardian/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2009/jul/24/kfc-secret-recipe-revealed
http://youtu.be/Dsj228b-RX8

Kentucky Fried Chicken

I have been doing a lot of research on Kentucky Fried Chicken recipes and have collected some recipes but never really found the time to make it. My husband Thomas decided to make it last night, after looking at the recipes I gathered- but tweaked it to what he felt to be the most suitable blend of spices. It came out exactly like the Colonel's chicken and hit all the right spots. I dont think I will have to visit a KFC again- it tasted so much better home-made with mashed potato, salad and homemade wedges.

The most important thing is to make a milky brine mix first: (for 8 pieces of chicken)
3 litres of water
1/2 litre of milk
1 tbs MSG
1.5 tbs salt
2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp thyme
1/2 tbs sugar
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

1. Soak chicken in milky brine overnight.

Then prepare seasoned flour mix:
20 tbs white flour
1 tsp MSG
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt

1. Take chicken out of milky brine and dip in seasoned flour.
2. Remove to a plate and allow to dry for 20 minutes.
3. Then dip the chicken in brine and flour again (this is called double dipping).

Then you deep fry chicken in hot sunflower oil- turn the heat to medium and fry two pieces at a time in a large pot/pan until golden brown for 10-12 minutes.

And there you have it, Kentucky Fried Chicken made right in your own home.

Note: My pieces of chicken were made specially without the MSG addition and the rest were made with MSG- I found that the MSG made a big difference in how the chicken tasted if you want to make it taste like true KFC-style chicken. In the first link posted above, the people at Guardian compared two KFC style recipes and found that the one with the MSG tasted exactly like what you can find in KFC restaurants. So I suppose the colonel's secret is not a 'blend of herbs and spices' but rather one flavor enhancer ;-)

In the second link, the chicken is prepared by a man who used to work in KFC and he says that the overnight brine mix is very important. He makes a brine mix, and then later makes a mild milk wash- in this case, we combined the brine and milk in one go. I think he is right- that the overnight brine mix is vital if you want to make good tasty chicken that browns up beautifully in the fryer.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tuna Sandwiches

Like sardine sandwiches, my tuna sandwiches are usually made with onions, chilli and lime as well. The only difference is that I add a dollop of mayonnaise into the mix. I usually whip up a batch of tuna mix to keep in the fridge and it satisfies the craving for a mid-afternoon snack.

Ingredients:
1 can tuna in oil
1 red onion sliced
1 red chilli sliced
1 lime juiced
1 tbs mayonnaise

1. Open can of tuna and let oil out into a saucepan.
2. Heat oil in saucepan and fry onions until softened and fragrant. Add chilli.
3. Add tuna and finish off with fresh lime juice. Add 1 tbs mayonnaise.
4. Serve hot on toasted bread. Absolutely delicious.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Masak Lemak with Fresh Prawns

This is a picture I managed to dig up from a few months back when I didnt have dried prawns and made the Masak Lemak with fresh prawns instead. I just wanted to showcase how versatile the dish can be- you can make it with ingredients you have at hand- in this case, I didnt have kangkong or spinach but chinese chives. You can also do away with leafy vegetables and put long beans, cabbage or French beans.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Danish Apple Cake

A Danish apple cake is really easy to put together and lovely for a Sunday afternoon.

Ingredients:
8-10 apples peeled and cored
150 g sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar
Macaroons (you can buy this from the supermarket)
1 packet of cream whipped

1. Make the apple sauce by boiling apples in 1/4 pot of water, sugar, cinnamon stick and vanilla sugar.
2. When apple sauce is thick, remove from heat to cool and line on the bottom of a dish
3. Cover with bashed up pieces of macaroons (put macaroons in a bag and beat with rolling pin)
4. Whip cream and line the top.
5. Let it cool in the fridge for an hour before serving. Lovely on a spring afternoon.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mummy's Masak Lemak

Another recipe from Mum- Masak Lemak. Usually I eat this with fried ikan bilis (anchovies) on the side. A bit of sambal is a nice addition too, or a begedil (potato patty). This version from Mum is made with kangkong and dried prawns. There are many versions of Masak Lemak- you can make it with chicken or seafood as well.

Ingredients:
200 g kangkong (you can use spinach or anything leafy)
2 red chillies
3 cloves garlic
1 red onion
1 tbs dried prawns
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp tumeric powder

1. Pound chillies, garlic, onion, salt and dried prawns into a paste.
2. Heat oil and fry the paste until fragrant.
3. Add the spinach and cook until softened (you can also add cabbage or long beans)
3. Add coconut milk and seasonings and cook until the coconut milk comes to the boil. Serve with rice.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fried Instant Noodles

Fried instant noodles was a favourite snack when I stayed at a hostel during University. Its cheap, easy and tastes very delicious when made with an addition of fresh ingredients. I made a much healthier version for myself today by simply using the egg noodles in the packet without the MSG (have to be careful with my diet these days because of the pregnancy)- but usually I would make fried instant noodles with 1 packet of the MSG mix for 2 packets of noodles.

Ingredients:
2 packets egg noodles. (boil egg noodles until softened)
4 cloves garlic minced
1 green chilli minced
A handful of beansprouts
2 sprigs of coriander chopped
1 tbs tomato sauce
1 tbs dark soya sauce
1/2 tsp light soya sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
salt and pepper
(original recipe calls for 1 packet of the seasoning mix, which I substituted with 1/2 an organic chicken stock cube I had in my cupboard)

1. Heat oil and fry garlic until fragrant.
2. Add green chilli and beansprouts and cook until beansprouts are softened.
3. Add noodles and stir with sauces and seasonings. Garnish with coriander.
4. Serve hot.

And there you have it- the perfect mid-day snack.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sardine Sandwiches

I love, love, love sardine sandwiches- especially when its cooked with onions and fresh red chilli and drizzled with lime. Serve on toasted white bread.

Ingredients:
1-2 can sardines in tomato sauce
1 red onion sliced thinly
1 red chilli chopped finely (I keep the seeds because I like it hot, but you can de-seed the chilli)
1 lime

1. Heat a bit of oil in saucepan and fry onion until softened.
2. Add the chilli.
3. Add the sardines and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and drizzle with lime juice.
4. Serve on hot toast.

Note: This is also wonderful as a filling in shortcrust pastry. Known in Singapore as Sardine curry puffs. I used to make them in open face pie shells to save on the work of folding them up and making too much pastry, and called them sardine tarts.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Black Sauce Pork

I have been having a case of heartburn because of the pregnancy and made a batch of my mother's black sauce pork- which is a delicious braised pork dish with ginger and garlic. It treated the problem immediately. I added spinach to make the dish more hearty and had it with white rice. Recipe can be found in the archives

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Chocolate Mousse

Cold chocolate mousse in a frosted wine glass. Is there anything better? This one is made with whipped cream to give it an airier, lighter texture. I have added a spoon of coffee powder as well to enhance the flavour of the chocolate.

Ingredients:
120 g good quality dark chocolate
25 g butter
1 tbs coffee powder
2 pasteurised egg yolks
2 pasteurised egg whites
4 tbs white sugar
120 ml whipping cream

1. Set a pot of water to boil and place a metal bowl on top of it to melt chocolate, butter and coffee.
2. Leave to cool and add in egg yolks when the mixture is warm but not hot enough to cook the yolks- it should produce a silky texture when mixed.
3. Whip cream in one bowl and whip egg whites with sugar in another bowl- both should be stiff.
4. Fold in the cream and egg whites when the mixture has completely cooled down.
5. Spoon into glasses and refrigerate for at least half a day before serving.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Mee Goreng

Another breakfast favourite from Singapore- mee goreng. Cooked with eggs and prawns and garnished with a lime wedge. Recipe can be found in the archives

(and have you noticed I now know how to capture the 'smoke' from the food in my pictures? ;-))

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Suri Saag and Chapati

I was craving food from back home and attempted to make suri saag yesterday. Saag can be made in various ways- as a plain vegetarian dish or with meat such as pork or mutton. This is suri saag- which translates to pork saag. Chapati is the perfect pair-up to this dish.

Ingredients:
200g pork cubed- marinated with pinches of tumeric powder, garam masala, chilli powder and salt.
300 g spinach leaves
1 onion
1 head garlic
50 g ginger piece
1 tomato
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
pinch of tumeric and chilli powder

1. Blend onion, ginger and garlic into a paste.
2. Heat oil and fry pork cubes until golden brown. Remove to plate.
3. Use remaining oil to fry up the paste until fragrant.
4. Add spinach and tomato and cook until spinach has wilted.
5. Add the pork to the dish and season with spices.
6. Serve with chapati (recipe can be found in my archives).