Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Coconut Jam (Kaya)

sri kaya

Kaya literally means "rich" in Malay.  It certainly is an appropriate name for this rich, thick and silky smooth jam which is a blend of coconut cream, sugar and eggs with a hint of the pandan fragrance.  Caramelised sugar is added to give the jam a deep golden colour.

I love kaya on toast or in a cheese sandwich and also on crackers too.  What about you?

Recipe adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover's Caramel Coconut Jam

4 eggs (55g each)
250g caster sugar
350ml coconut milk
a few blades of pandan leaves

  • To make the caramel, melt 100g of sugar in a pot over low fire.  Allow the sugar to dissolve completely and turn into a deep golden colour, swirling the pot as you go.  Remove from heat.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and coconut milk.  Using a balloon whisk, stir until sugar dissolves.  Then add in eggs and whisk to combine.
  • Strain coconut and egg mixture directly into the caramel.  Add in pandan leaves.
  • Place the pot of kaya mixture on the double boiler under low heat.  The water should be just simmering with bubbles at the bottom of the saucepan. Use a silicon spatula to keep stirring the kaya until it starts to get thick and sticky.  (It took me 1 hour to get to the desired consistency).  The jam will thicken further once it is cooled).
  • Remove kaya from heat.  Discard the pandan leaves.
  • Fill in sterilised jars immediately and leave it to cool in the jar (with the lid off) before storing in the fridge.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Kahlua Sponge Cake

Boozy Cake

Boozy Cake

This moist and soft sponge cake which has been spiked with Kahlúa will definitely excite your taste buds but won't get you tipsy. Kahlúa is a coffee-flavoured liqueur which contains rum, corn syrup and vanilla bean and it has a sweet and vibrant taste.  

75g plain flour
10g rice flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

5 egg whites (193g)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
70g caster sugar

5 egg yolks (90g)
60g coconut oil
55g milk
30g (2 tbsp) Kahlua coffee liqueur
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp dark cocoa powder

  • Preheat oven to 140 deg C.
  • Using an electric beater, whisk egg white until foamy.  Gradually add in sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks formed.  Set aside.
  • Using the same beater, beat egg yolks, coconut oil, milk, Kahlua and vanilla extract until blended.  Then add in sifted flour and mix well to combine. 
  • Add 1/3 of the meringue into the egg yolk batter and stir to combine.  Then lightly fold in the rest of the meringue.
  • Pour batter into an 8" round pan with a removable base (do not grease or line the pan).  Bang the pan on the kitchen bench to remove large air bubbles.
  • Sift cocoa powder into 2 tablespoon of batter.  Randomly drop teaspoonful of batter on the cake and using a chopstick, swirl a decorative pattern.
  • Bake at 140 deg C for 30 min, then increase the temperature to 170 deg C and bake for another 30 min.
  • After removing cake from the oven, drop the pan on the kitchen bench to prevent the cake from shrinking.
  • Leave cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove cake from the pan.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fragrant Braised Pork Belly

Ingredients:  (Serves 7 - 8)

650g pork belly, cut into chunks
8 hard boiled eggs
65g bean curd sticks, cut into 2cm length
200g firm tofu, cut into cubes
30g soy bean paste
2 tbsp cooking oil

1 tsp lesser galangale or 'sand ginger' powder (沙薑粉)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2.5 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp chinese wine
10g grated "gula melaka" (or brown sugar)

Blend into paste:
90g shallots
30g garlic
4g coriander powder

  • Marinate pork belly with marinade for at least 2 hours.
  • Heat oil in a wok and saute the blended paste until aromatic, then add in soy bean paste and stir to combine.  
  • Add in marinated pork and stir fry for about 2 minutes or until meat turn slightly opaque.  Pour in the marinade and add enough water to cover the meat, eggs and bean curd sticks. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to simmer for 1.5 hour.   
  • Add in tofu and continue to cook for another 20 minutes.
  • Serve hot with rice.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Thai Spicy Lemongrass Chicken

 Thai Spicy Lemongrass Chicken

This is a quick and easy chicken recipe which is packed with flavour - heat, sweet, sour and salty meld together this Spicy Lemongrass Chicken. I love the unique aroma of the torch flower ginger which gives a subtle but distinct flavour to the dish.


475g chicken thigh, cut into pieces
1 tsp chopped chilli (I replaced with dried chilli flakes as I don't have fresh chilli)
1.5 tbsp cooking oil
1/4 cup water

2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornflour
5g grated palm sugar
2 tbsp tom yam paste

Pounded ingredients:
4 tbsp lemongrass
2 tbsp torch flower ginger (bunga kantan)

  • Marinate chicken for at least 1 hour.
  • Heat oil in a pan and stir fry pounded ingredients until aromatic.  Add in marinated chicken and fry until golden brown.  
  • Add in water and cook under medium fire until sauce has thickened and almost dried up.
  • Dish out and serve hot with rice.

Thai Spicy Lemongrass Chicken
Marinate chicken pieces for at least an hour
Pounded lemongrass and torch flower ginger

Monday, April 18, 2016

Fragrant Braised Pork Ribs

 Braised Pork Ribs

1kg pork ribs, cut into chunks
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp fermented soy beans ("tau cheong")
50g "gula melaka" (or brown sugar)
2 tbsp cooking oil

Pounded ingredients:
60g shallots
35g ginger
20g garlic

1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce

about 2 cups water

  • Marinate pork ribs with Chinese cooking wine and black pepper for at least 2 hours.
  • Heat oil in a wok and saute the pounded ingredients until aromatic.  Add in fermented soy beans and "gula melaka" and saute for about a minute.  
  • Add in the pork ribs and fry over medium-high heat until meat is slightly brown. Pour in sauce and stir to combine. Add in water - enough to cover the meat. Bring it to the boil.  Then reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours or until meat is tender and sauce thickens. (Add more water if needed).
  • Serve hot with rice.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Stir-fried Tofu, Leek and Dill

The green, feathery leaves of dill is very aromatic and has a strong distinctive taste which I love so much.  Dill pairs beautifully with seafood or eggs, but today I am going to incorporate this aromatic dill into a tofu and leek dish.  It is a very simple yet delicious dish which goes very well with rice or plain congee.

350g firm tofu, diced
50g dried shrimps, soaked and chopped into smaller pieces
2 leeks, sliced thinly
1 small bunch dill, chopped
half a carrot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
cooking oil

  • Heat oil in a wok and fry the tofu until light brown.  Dish out and set aside.
  • Fry dried shrimps until fragrant.  Dish out and set aside.
  • Saute minced garlic with some oil until aromatic.  Add in diced carrot and stir-fry for a minute or two.  Toss in leek, fried tofu and dried shrimps; stir to combine.  
  • Season with salt and pepper.  Finally add in chopped dill and stir to combine.
  • Serve hot with rice or congee.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pumpkin Rice Vermicelli (金瓜炒米粉)

Pumpkin noodles

I am not a fan of pumpkin; however much to my delight this dish of Pumpkin Noodles taste amazingly delicious and it is so easy to cook.  The pumpkin lends a sweetness and vibrant colour to the dish. I decided to toss in some basil instead of coriander leaves and I am glad I did because the basil added so much much flavour to the noodles. If you like pumpkin, why not give this dish a try ...

Ingredients:  (Serves 2 - 3)

200g dried rice vermicelli
270 - 300g pumpkin, cut into strips
25g dried shrimps
3 large dried shiitake mushrooms (about 20g)
3 cloves of garlic (about 15g), minced
1 scallion
1/2 cup thai basil leaves
3 tbsp cooking oil
1/2 tbsp sesame oil

Seasoning: (adjust to taste)
1 cup water, or more - adjust accordingly
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp fish sauce (optional)
ground pepper

  • Soak rice vermicelli to soften.  Drain.
  • Wash and soak the dried shrimps in warm water for about 5 minutes.  Drain and chop into small pieces.
  • Wash and soak the shiitake mushrooms until softened.  Discard the stems and slice thinly.
  • In a hot wok, heat up 2 tbsp of oil and fry mushrooms and dried shrimps.  Then add in minced garlic and scallion and fry until aromatic.  Toss in pumpkin.  Splash a little water if too dry. (Do not overcook the pumpkin).  Dish out and set aside.
  • In the same wok, heat up the remaining oil and add in vermicelli and seasoning. Toss to combine.  Then add in the pumpkin and toss well. 
  • Dish out and serve hot.

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