Saturday, August 22, 2015

Radish and Carrot Soup

I am sure this soup is quite common in many Chinese households.  This is one of our family's favourite soup which is easy to make. Most of the time we don't really need a recipe for soup; just put in your favourite ingredients and some meat or bones, and viola, you'll have a bowl of tasty soup!  I usually cook my soup for at least 2-3 hours because the longer you cooked it, the more flavoursome the soup becomes. If you have leftover soup, keep it in the refrigerator.  It tastes even better the next day as the flavour continues to develop.

1 medium sized radish (Chinese daikon) about 500g
1 carrot (about 300g)
1 kg pork bones (or chicken)
4 dried scallops, washed
10 red dates, washed
a thumb-sized ginger, smashed
1/2 tbsp white peppercorns, washed and crushed
about 4 litre water
salt, to taste
  • Peel radish and carrot; cut into chunks.
  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil; put in pork bones and blanched for about 5 minutes (to remove the impurities).  Drain and discard water. Wash the bones and set aside.
  • Fill the pot with 4 litre of water and bring to the boil.
  • Add in all the ingredients except salt.  Bring back the water to a rapid boil and cook for 10 minutes over high heat. Then reduce to low heat and let it simmer for about 3 hours.
  • Season with salt and serve hot.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Vegetarian Sambal Petai

Petai or stinky beans - you either love it or loathe it.  Despite the pungent odour that lingered in your breath and toilet after consuming these, this is one dish that you wouldn't want to miss if you are a fan of petai.  It is commonly cooked with sambal prawns or ikan bilis with brinjal, okra, long beans or winged beans (aka four angled beans) in the mix.  

One word of caution, before you cook, make sure you split the petai into halves to make sure there are no worms hidden inside.

sambal mushroom stems


long beans
winged beans
your favourite sambal (I used the sambal mushroom stems I cooked the other day)
salt & sugar, to taste
3 - 4 tbsp water
lime juice (optional), to taste

  • Heat a little oil in the frying pan and add in sambal and water.
  • Toss in brinjal, long beans and winged beans.  Stir until all vegetables are coated with sambal. Add in more water if too dry. 
  • Lastly add in petai and toss well.  Season with salt and sugar and lime juice.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sambal Mushroom Stems

shiitake mushroom stems

dried shiitake mushrooms
Dried shiitake mushrooms

Do you discard dried shiitake mushrooms stems after using the caps for cooking? Some people used the tough and fibrous stems to flavour their soup and then discard them before serving. However, I love to save and freeze them for making vegetarian sambal.  Building up my collection of mushroom stems takes several months, but it's worth the wait. 

Before cooking, blitz the mushroom stems in the food processor or crush them with mortar and pestle.  I prefer using the latter to achieve the 'floss-like' texture.  Cook your favourite sambal recipe and just add in the pounded mushroom stems and you'll have a bowl of delicious sambal! 


About 3 cups of mushroom stems (soaked in water overnight) 
salt & sugar, to taste
4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
2 tbsp light soy sauce
enough oil

Sambal paste:
200g shallots
100g garlic
4 stalk lemon grass (use the white parts only)
a knob of galangal
a small knob of turmeric
6 candlenuts
2 tbsp chopped bunga kantan
5 tbsp chili powder
some water 

  • Blend all the sambal ingredients into paste.  Set aside.
  • Pound the mushroom stems using mortar and pestle until you achieved 'floss-like' texture.  Set aside.
  • Heat enough oil to fry the pounded mushroom stems under low heat until dry. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Heat enough oil to stir fry the pounded ingredients until aromatic.  Add in the mushroom stems and shredded kaffir lime leaves and stir to combine.  Add in light soy sauce, salt and sugar. Continue to fry until dry.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Pumpkin Chiffon Cake


Ingredients: [For a 20cm chiffon cake]
5 egg yolks
20g caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
60g rice bran oil
20g coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
70g mashed pumpkin
75g plain flour
15g rice flour

5 egg whites
65g caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
  • Toast pepitas in the oven for 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
  • Sift plain flour and rice flour together twice.  Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks, sugar and salt until pale. Gradually add in oil and mix well.  Then stir in mashed pumpkin, coconut milk and vanilla extract. Beat until incorporated.
  • Add flours into the egg yolk mixture in three batches, using a balloon whisk to stir.
  • In a clean, dry bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.  Add in cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.  Gradually add in sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Add a quarter of the beaten egg whites into the flour/egg yolk mixture and using a balloon whisk, mix to lighten the batter.
  • Next, add in the remaining beaten egg whites in two batches. Fold gently with a silicon spatula.
  • Sprinkle pepitas evenly over the base of the tube pan.  Then gently pour the batter into the pan.  Use the spatula to level the surface of the batter and sprinkle the rest of the pepitas over the batter. Gently tap the pan on the kitchen bench twice to remove any large air bubbles.
  • Bake the cake for 1 hour 10 minutes.  The cake is done when the top springs back when touched and the cracks on top should look and feel dry.
  • As soon as the cake comes out from the oven, invert the pan to cool. Unmould the cake when it is completely cool.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Spiced Raisins Buns

Bread Rolls
Bread rolls
Bread Rolls
... before baking 

Recipe adapted from Victoria's  Soft & Fluffy Cranberry Bread 

Ingredients: [Makes 20 buns]

Cooked starter dough:  [Prepare this the day before]
60g bread flour
5g caster sugar
42g hot water
24g butter
  • Place water into a small saucepan over low fire.  Add butter into the hot water and stir until butter has melted.
  • Bring to the boil and turn off the fire.
  • Mix in flour and sugar and stir to form a soft dough.
  • Transfer into a container and keep it covered.
  • Chill for 18 - 24 hours.

Main dough:
400g bread flour
60g plain flour
40g coconut flour
90g light brown sugar
8g salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
8g instant dry yeast
60g egg
50g thickened cream
255g coconut milk
125g starter dough (all of the starter dough)
100g raisins

50g coconut oil

  • In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all ingredients (except coconut oil) together.  Knead until a soft dough is formed.  Add in coconut oil and continue kneading until dough is smooth and elastic and passes the window-pane test.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it.  Allow to proof until double in size.
  • Punch the dough down and knead lightly.
  • Divide dough into 20 equal portions.  Cover and rest for 10 minutes.
  • Then shape dough into balls and place close together onto a greased and line baking tray (32 x 25 x 5 cm).  Cover and proof until almost double in size.
  • Preheat oven to 185 degrees C.
  • Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes or until buns are golden brown.
  • Transfer buns onto a wire rack and brush butter over hot buns.  Set aside to cool.

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