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Posts Tagged ‘malaysian food’

         

 

 

 

As promised, this is the second part to my Sydney updates. The second lot of friends we had over for dinner were Kaye and Yina with with their respective partners. Kaye and I go way back. We’ve known each other since high school, after I “saved” her ex-boyfriend 🙂 . We then went to college and uni together. Over the years we’ve drifted apart due to our lifestyles and distance. However, since relocating to Sydney, we’ve rediscovered this friendship all over again. 

 

Being a very asian crowd, I opted for a classic Malaysian/Singaporean favourite – Hainanese Chicken Rice. Although the dish is a “one pot – all done” sorta dish, it requires a bit of time and effort when preparing it. Trust me though, the meal is worth every ounce of effort put into it! 🙂

 


Soup:

Ingredients:

  • Chicken frame
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Celery

Method:

  • Bring a pot of water to boil. Add chicken frame and allow it to boil for a few minutes. This will allow all the crap to come out from the frame. 
  • Bring a kettle to boil. Throw the whole pot of water away and give it a good wash. Run chicken frame under cold water to stop the cooking.
  • Place all ingredients into the pot and bring it to the boil. Cover the lid and place on lowest heat. Allow soup to boil over low heat for a few hours. 

 

Hainanese Chicken:

Ingredients:

  • A whole chicken or chicken pieces (drumsticks, chicken wings, chicken breasts)
  • Spring onions, cut into half inch pieces
  • Garlic, crushed and peeled
  • Ginger, slices into think slices
  • Soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Salt, pepper and sugar
  • Shaoxing wine
  • Container of ice water
  • Cucumber, sliced thinly for serving

Method:

  • Place chicken in a large container and marinade with all the ingredients (except for the ice water and cucumber). Leave for a few hours. 
  • About 1-2 hours before dinner, cook the chicken. 
  • Place a bucket with ice water on the side. Bring soup to boil over medium-high heat. 
  • Blanch the chicken, 1-2 minute at a time, a couple of times, carefully lifting it in and out of the pot, try not to bruise the skin. 
  • Remove the chicken and dunk in cold water. This is so the flesh stays firm and the skin is sealed. 
  • Drain soup into another pot or ladle out as much of the stuff as possible. Bring it to a boil and leave it to boil for a couple of minutes. This is because you’ve previously blanched raw chicken in the soup so some of the impurities would have gotten in. Giving the soup a good boil will help minimize the risk of salmonella. 
  • Now, put all chicken pieces into the pot, cover the lid, turn off the heat and leave it for an hour. Make sure that chicken pieces are fully submerged in soup. 

Rice:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of rice, washed and drained well
  • 4.5 cups of chicken soup
  • Big knob of butter
  • Garlic, crushed and peeled
  • Ginger, sliced thinly
  • Salt, to taste

Method:

  • Heat a wok on high heat, add butter and melt. 
  • Add garlic and ginger. Fry till fragrant. 
  • Add rice and give it a good toss. Season with salt according to taste.
  • Place everything into a rice cooker and top with chicken soup. Cook. 
  • When rice is done, remove lid and allow it to evaporate a little. This will allow rice to be grainy and less soggy. 

Chilli Dip:

Ingredients:

  • Ginger, big knob (about 2-3cm) – sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Spring onion, just the white part – sliced
  • Red chillies – a mixture of chilli padi and red chillies
  • Salt and sugar, to taste
  • Little bit of chicken soup

Method:

  • Place all ingredients into a blender/food processor (or use a pestle and mortar). Give it a good whisk. 

Serving:

  • Arrange chicken pieces and cucumber slices attractively on a large plate. Sprinkle some spring onion on top.
  • Serve with rice and dipping sauce.

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Being faraway from home often has its disadvantages. One of them being that you miss out on most, if not all the celebrations you grew up in. Malaysians are well-known for their festivals and celebrations. Being multi-racial, we celebrate all sorta festivals for the different races. Growing up, all these different celebrations meant public holidays to me – an extra day off school, more time to play and go shopping, sleeping ins etc etc. I think when you grow up in it, you kinda just start to take it for granted as the years go by, especially if it’s not a celebration you embrace yourself. But when you are faraway from home, you start missing these celebrations as no matter how faraway you are, a part of you will always carry the roots you came from. 

In comparison to a lot of my friends, I would have to say I was more privileged than most of them. My parents are very sociable people and that meant that they have friends from different races, which also meant that we got invited to lotsa different celebrations! As kids, my sis and I were often “dragged” along for Hari Raya (which is the Muslim celebration) and Deepavali open houses. Just being there is an eye opener! You get to see different practices and culture, taste different and amazing food, and watching people dressed up in their traditional wear was so much fun! 

When we were young, we had an Indian part-time maid – Letchumi, who would come to our place a couple of times each week to clean and stuff. My mum and her were particularly close and even after she stopped working for us, she’d still dropby our place once in awhile to catch up. Every time we opened our house for Chinese New Year, mum would ask Letchumi for help to prepare food and clean the house etc. And every year, without fail, we would receive an invite to her place for Deepavali. Just very quickly, Deepavali (or Diwali) is a major Indian festival normally celebrated in October or November each year. Known also as “The Festival of Lights”, this day is celebrated all over the world by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. Deepavali has different significance to each different group. But overall, to many, the festival marks the victory of good over evil and the uplifting of spiritual darkness. Hence, on this day, the Indians would light oil lamps and perform some sorta spiritual cleansing ritual to mark this day.

Every year when we went to Letchumi’s place for Deepavali, she’d cook up a feast for us. There’ll be all sorts of curries, capatis, tosais etc etc. And of course there’d be different cookies and sweet stuff to munch on. My favourites were the murukus and these sweet crispy things that my mum called beehives. Because we kids loved them so much, every year, Letchumi would fill 2 containers for us to bring home. Sadly, I no longer have this opportunity now that I’m overseas. So, you can just imagine how ecstatic I was when I found the recipe for muruku and beehives on Aunty Lily’s website. She calls them Kuih Rose (Rose Biscuits) but I still like to call them beehives because of their shape and design. When I went back for holidays in 2007, I found the mould used to make them and bought them without thinking twice! I still can’t find the mould for murukus and had to use my icing press when I made them last year. However, I can’t seem to find the photos for them so guess we’ll just have to settle for beehives this time and save murukus for a future post. 


Ingredients:
1 can of 400 ml coconut milk
2 large eggs
170 gm sugar
150ml water
1/2 tsp salt
240 gm all-purpose flour
100 gm rice flour
Oil for deep frying        

Method:

Prepare at least two moulds.
Combine coconut milk, eggs, sugar, water and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves.
Sift all-purpose flour and rice flour and add in the the above. Whisk to obtain a consistent batter, sieve to prevent lumps. Pour batter into a straight sided cup.
Heat oil in a wok/deep fryer until 325F..
Preheat moulds in the hot oil. (The moulds have to be hot enough for batter to cling on them)
When the oil is hot enough, dip mould into batter. Make sure batter coats only the bottom and sides of mould.
Place coated mould in hot oil. Shake to release from moulds. If required, use wooden chopsticks to help releasing. Fry until golden brown.
Repeat until all the batter is used up by using two moulds alternately. Use one while the other is being heated up in the hot oil.
Preheat oven @ 250 f and bake the crispies for 10 – 12 minutes to ensure that they are well done.
Leave to cool completely on wire racks.
Store in air-tight container.

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Sizzling hot dishes to keep you warm         

Sizzling hot dishes to keep you warm

Pearlyn’s been really sick…but now she’s ready to enter into and embrace the warmth, vibrance and pleasures spring has to offer. Last week, I was sick as a dog. I had a serious case of tonsillitis and was suspected to have glandular fever. Thankfully, I responded to antibiotics or else you wouldn’t hear from me for a long, long time. I was not too happy that I had to cancel a catering engagement at the last minute, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that more opportunities will come knocking on spring’s doors!

I know it’s spring and that a winter-like post is probably not very wise but this once again was one of the many pleasures I got to experiment this winter. For those not in Tassie, winter this year was a very cold affair for us, which suits me just fine as the snow and cold are probably one of my best friends!

You know how during those cold winter nights, all you want to do is sit in front of the fireplace, with the TV or stereo playing something light in the background, a glass of wine in hand, feet tucked into the soft, fluffy carpet, a doona or a rug over you and digging into a nice steaming hot bowl of soup or plate of stew. That’s the ideal picture…perfect even some might say. This winter, I pinched a couple of sizzling hot plates off ah koh and had the best 3 dinners of my entire winter! 🙂 Oh well, mine wasn’t exactly the picture above – more like sitting in front of the heater, at a study desk in front of my computer and watching “Friends” as I ate off the hot plates – but what the heck, I was close enough to the above dream!

Personally, I think the hot plates were one of the greatest creations of men. Regardless of whether it’s a cold winter’s night or a hot summer’s evening, nothing served on a hot plate would come with any less amount of “oohs” and “aahs” from the people it’s serving. Who would have thought that a cast iron dish on a wooden board would create so much hype and anticipation? If you haven’t tried a meal on a sizzling hot plate, you need to. Somehow, even the most simple dishes taste absolutely stunning on them. 

I haven’t had yee mee for a long time. I don’t really know what these noodles are called in English, but they are these round coil of noodles which have been deep fried hence are really crispy. In Malaysia, it’s normally served on hot plates hence the famous “Tit Ban Yee Meen” (Hot Plate Yee Mee). Call me fussy, some may even say weird, but in my mind, yee mee is best served on a hot plate that’s why I’ve never cooked it in Tassie since I didn’t own a hot plate! But the instant I got my hands on Ah Koh’s hot plates, I knew this was the dish I was going to whip up.

Hot Plate Yee Mee (Tit Ban Yee Meen)

Ingredients:

  • Yee mee
  • Bok choy
  • Chinese shitake mushrooms
  • Prawns
  • Chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces
  • Baby corn, sliced lengthwise
  • Garlic
Seasoning:
  • Soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Chinese cooking wine
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Pepper
  • Sesame oil
  • Corn flour
Method:
  • Marinade chicken with the above seasoning for at least 2 hours or overnight. Soak mushrooms in warm water to allow it to soften. Drain and squeeze out the water.
  • Heat a wok on high. Add oil and fry minced garlic till fragrant. Add chicken and toss well. When chicken is about 80% cooked, add corn, mushroom and bok choy. Allow to simmer for a while. Add the prawns last. Mix corn flour with a little bit of cold water and add into mixture. 
  • In the meantime. place the hot plate on another stovetop, and allow to heat on medium. Drizzle with sesame oil. Put 2 pieces of yee mee on the plate and allow them to brown a little so it’s nice and crispy.
  • Season to taste and ladle the hot stirfry and grave onto hot plate. It will sizzle and gravy will thicken a little. 
  • Serve immediately.

Among some of the other dishes whipped up during my triple sizzling hot nights were hot plate tofu, cik kong (black vinegar) pork chops and spicy stir fry. Hhmm…Yum! Just thinking about them now makes my mouth water! The hot plate tofu is probably another of the famous hot plate dishes often served. I normally make something similar without the hot plate but this time round, frying the egg tofu using the hot plates was a lot more fun and definitely looked a lot tastier!

Hot Plate Tofu (Tit Ban Tau Foo)

Ingredients:

  • Chicken/Pork mince
  • Egg tofu, cut into half inches slices
  • Egg
  • Spring onion, chopped finely, split white from green parts
  • Garlic, minced finely
Seasoning:
  • As above
Method:
  • Season mince with the above seasoning. 
  • Heat a wok on high and fry garlic and bottom white part of spring onion till fragrant. Add mince and toss well together.
  • Add seasoning and cornflour mixture, allow to simmer.
  • In the meantime, heat hot plate on another stovetop. Drizzle with olive oil. Place tofu and allow it to brown on both sides. Remove and drain on kitchen towel. 
  • Crack an egg onto hot plate and make sure it coats the whole plate well. Once egg has set, place tofu on top then ladle mince and grave over it. Sprinkle remaining spring onions and serve immediately.

I’ve decided that the next 2 items I’m going to be investing in to make my all my winter nights to come sizzling hot and on fire are the hot plate and the claypot. After you’ve tried it, you’ll be converted like me. 

 

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supreme pork chop, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.When I was a kid, my parents used to bring me to Esquire Kitchen for dinner. I loved their pork chop noodles there. This recipe, once again, is from my Hawkers’ Fair Simplified book. Sweet and sour in taste, it was perfect with rice.Ingredients:

  • Pork fillets
  • Oyster sauce
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp custard powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200 ml water
  • Corn flour

Sauce:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Chilli sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Curry powder
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Soy sauce
  • Water

Method:

  • Use the blunt edged side of the cleaver and pound the pork chops till tender and approximately 5-10 mm thick. Add in all the marinade except for the corn flour and season for a few hours or overnight.
  • Take the pork fillets out from the fridge and mix well with corn flour.
  • Heat oil for deep frying. Deep fry till golden brown. Dish and drain on paper towel.
  • Mix sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Bring to slight simmer in a wok. Add in pork fillets and mix well. Dish up and serve.

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tau foo fa (soy bean custard), originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

I absolutely LOVE tau foo fa! I used to be able to eat it for 3 meals a day! 🙂 For those of you who don’t know, tau foo fa is an asian dessert made from soy beans. It’s a very versatile dessert – can be served hot or cold, sweet or savoury. Different asian countries serve it differently – in Malaysia it’s served with white sugar/palm sugar syrup; a friend of mine from China said in her hometown, it’s served with spicy chilli bean sauce; Ryan said he had one in Sydney done Yin and Yang style with black sesame paste; my mum used to take the leftovers and serve with garlic and onion sauce for dinner – see..it’s really versatile and can be served however you want.

Ingredients:

  • 300g soy beans
  • 2400ml water
  • 3 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 tsp gypsum powder
  • 3/4 bowl water
  • Sugar and Palm sugar (gula melaka)
  • Pandan leaves

Method:

  • Soak soy beans 5-8 hours.
  • Blend with water and strain. Bring to boil in  a large pot.
  • While the soy bean milk is boiling, mix the corn flour, gypsum powder and 3/4 bowl water together.
    Pour the mixture into a large pot/slow cooker. Wrap the lid with a tea towel.
  • When the soy bean milk comes to a boil, pour it into the pot with the gypsum mixture. Cover the lid and leave it to set for 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, prepare the sugar syrup. Bring the white sugar and palm sugar to boil with water and pandan respectively in 2 saucepan till it thickens.
  • Uncover the lid and ladle into bowls. Serve with sugar syrup.

Note:

  • Try to use a big pot that’s heat proof or that retains as much heat as possible when setting the tau foo fa. I use a slow cooker. If you don’t have one, wrap a big pot with a tea towel and place in a box or something to retain the heat.
  • Use a flat ladle when scooping the tau foo fa. My mum got me this special ladle from Malaysia but if you don’t have one try using a turner.

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deep fried special bean curd, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

deep fried special bean curd, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

 

I got this recipe from the Hawkers’ Fair Simplified book my mum bought me. Krys and I made these together but ours obviously didn’t look as good as the one in the picture. But the taste was nevertheless not compromised. Every piece was wiped out and it was praises all around.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of soft bean curd
  • 2 pieces of egg bean curd
  • 150g fish paste
  • Fresh coriander, chopped
  • Carrots, chopped
  • Red chillies, chopped (optional)
  • Chicken stock granules
  • Salt & pepper
  • Corn flour & oil for deep frying

Method:

  • Mash soft and egg bean curd until fine. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Pour mixture into a greased pan and steam in a wok till set.
  • Leave aside and allow it to cool.
  • Cut into pieces. Coat the pieces with corn flour and deep fry
  • Dipping sauce: Mix chilli sauce and mayonnaise in a bowl.

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ayam percik – pre-grill, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

ayam percik – post-grill, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

ayam percik, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all my Muslim friends! To those who do not know, Hari Raya Aidilfitri also known as Hari Raya Puasa literally means Fasting Day of Celebration. This is because during the month before Hari Raya – the Ramadan month, it is compulsory for Muslims to fast from dawn to dusk. Hence, at the end of the month, they celebrate by gathering with family members and friends to feast together.

I’ve mentioned in my previous post that during the Ramadan month, many food bazaars will pop up all over the place, selling delicious food. Last time, one of my favourite and a must every time I visited the bazaars was Ayam Percik – a Malaysian East Coast specialty. It’s a Malay style chicken which is marinated in a spicy coconut gravy and traditionally BBQ-ed over charcoal. Yum!

This is a long overdue post. During the Ramadan month, Krystal was tempting me for days with photos of Ramadan bazaars posted in various blogs, making my mouth water and craving getting stronger daily. I couldn’t control my craving any longer, hence decided to create my own Ayam Percik. Our friends (Duy and Jeeuk) invited us over to his place for dinner – but instead of them cooking, I was to cook there. Since Jeeuk missed nasi lemak a lot, I made sambal and served it with coconut rice.

    Ingredients:

    • Chicken Maryland
    • 2 Teaspoons Tamarind Pulp
    • Lemon Grass,(bruised)
    • 1 Cup Water
    • 1 Cup Thick Coconut Milk
    • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar
    • Salt to Taste

    Marinade:

    • Salt
    • Sugar
    • Chili Powder
    • Turmeric Powder

    Spice Paste:

    • Candlenuts
    • Garlic
    • Dried Chillies, soaked in Hot Water
    • Red Chillies
    • Ginger
    • Shallots

    Method:

    • Mix the marinade, combine with the chicken and season overnight.
    • Chop the spice paste ingredients and blend finely.
    • Heat Oil in a frying-pan and fry the spice paste, tamarind and lemon grass for 5 minutes. Add water and cook for another 3 minutes. Add coconut Milk, sugar and salt and simmer over a medium fire for 5 minutes.
    • Barbecue the chicken over a low charcoal fire or under a grill, basting frequently with the gravy, until the chicken is cooked.

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