Saturday, November 26, 2005

May's Spicy No-Cream Carbonara

It's a well known fact that I'm lactose intolerant. One dollop of flavoured milk, full cream milk, rich cream (whipped cream included) or any too-rich ice cream sends me running off to the loo in 3 minutes flat. It's a born-with-it thing and it's a pain in the arse (literally). On happier note it also prevents me from putting on too much weight. So there.

I've always loved a good Italian carbonara but after my first and failed attempt at preventing it from coming out of the other end I gave up hope of ever finding a good carbo that would sit well with my tummy.

Until I found a similar recipe to this in a magazine. I've modified it quite a bit as I personally like to add more ingredients and spice. And I also like it to be low fat and light.

Vat you need:

Pasta - I prefer penne anytime
Lots of garlic - chopped finely
Lots of red chili - chopped finely
A few slices of bacon - minus fat!
2 eggs - beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper
Parsley - chopped
Chives - chopped
Olive oil

How now brown cow?

1. Talk to your food first. Important. Oh, and remember to boil pasta to al dante.

2. Heat olive oil in pan. Throw in garlic and chili. Fry till fragrant.

3. Throw in bacon and fry until cooked. Add parsley. Season with pepper only.

4. Turn off fire. Drain pasta and add it to bacon mixture.

5. Turn fire on to low and slowly add beaten egg mixture to the pasta.

6. Stir constantly to prevent eggies from scrambling.



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, November 18, 2005

Sarawak Laksa

Less than two weeks before i return to home sweet home and i'm already craving the food back home , especially the three treasures of Kuching and dare i say , Sarawak , local dishes . These treasures in no particular order (in my mind) are kolo mee , foochow kam pua mee (i'm true to the foochow side of me) and of course , Sarawak Laksa...not the KL imitations that are simply different...the real Sarawak Laksa...the rich belachan , tamarind paste and lemongrass based broth enveloping the soft lucious rice vermicelli (none of those fat yellow noodle versions which i refuse to take) all accompanied with heaps of tauge (bean sprouts) , large prawns , chicken shreds , sometimes a touch of coriander and my favourite...heaps of omelette shreds.

I searched in vain for a recipe from the most reliable source (the net lar) in vain. It seems no one has ever posted up a Sarawak Laksa recipe...there's the Penang one , the Lemak Laksa and all sorts of laksa but the Sarawak trace of it. Perhaps its one passed down in families only? And so i set out assimilating my memory and knowledge of curries to create my own. The initial yellow colour of my broth was deceptive until i mixed in the vercimelli and tasted it...ahh...what's that i feel? Not just satisfaction but pride...haha. I don't dare say its an exact Sarawak Laksa replica...but i tried my best and i'm sitting here typing with a runny nose from the don't go after me if it doesn't meet your standards hor...but it should. This recipe is quite budget lor if you make lots of curries and have the ingredients lying around like i had lots of rice vermicelli and prawns to clear before i fly i only had to buy the most important ingredient - belachan paste . And so...i give to you...Sarawak Laksa:

What you need ar?

6 tablespoons belachan paste
1 1/2 tablespoons tamarind paste...duh
3 stalks lemongrass...hard outer layers removed , soft inner layer chopped
4 cloves garlic...chopped
3 small red chillies...chopped
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon chilli powder
1/2 tablespoon hot paprika powder (optional)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
5 curry leaves
3 lime leaves
50 ml coconut cream
100 ml coconut milk
500 ml of water
2 tablespoons palm oil
100 g rice vermicelli...this one depends on how much you want to eat hor
prawns...this wan depends on how much you like seafood hor
1 egg
beansprouts...i personally don''t like this one depends on individual taste lor...
a touch of coriander :)

Now follow instructions carefully liao:

Wait...for those of you who are unable to consume spicy food comfortably , please be warned that this dish is HOT...but what's laksa without its spiciness eh? I guess you can reduce the amount of spices used...get rid off the chilli powder if you want but always mantain the belachan paste.

The most important thing is the broth. So here's how i made it...First , put the garlic (should be chopped by now ar) , lemongrass (should already be chopped also hor) and the chillies (need i tell you?..these should also be chopped already) into a blender / processor to blend the tastes together....or just chop them really fine. What you should get is a strong pungent mix that if mixed with soy sauce will taste good with chicken rice , like Noel's cheater's chicken rice...haha. In a pot of reasonable size , saute this mix with palm oil (actually...what oil you use doesn't really matter lar) for a while. When you feel happy enough with the frangrance (not till everything's burnt lar) , pour in the coconut cream and mix . Then , pour in the coconut milk too . At this point , mix in the belachan paste , tamarind paste , turmeric powder , chilli powder , paprika powder and brown sugar . For extra taste , add the lime and curry leaves (preferably torn to expedite this process) . Let this simmer for a while and to make sure your broth isn't too sticky , fill her up with water .

As i said , the broth is most of the after this , all you need to do is cook your vermicelli , prawns and tauge...i just boil them in a pot of water and set them aside in that order . If you love omelette shreds like me , fry an egg and cut it lor. Sadly , if you haven't noticed , i did not have the time to cook and shred chicken...i'm still in exam mode hor. Maybe just buy some cooked chicken and shred lar.

Anyway...pour your broth in a bowl (making sure you filter all the chunky leaves and all) , drop the vermicelli in , then decorate with prawns , coriander , tauge and omelette shreds as i could i forget? Serve with some extra belachan and of course , the half lime.

Enjoy it piping hot and get set for a night of sweat , runny noses and bowel problems later...haha...but it's worth it.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Cheater's Chicken Rice

Last night, before I slept, I found myself craving for chicken rice. So i told myself i would make some for lunch today. It's a cheater's version of chicken rice, meaning that this is the super-budget version of chicken rice: not full-on enough for the heavy preparation (making the chicken soup stock). The second reason it's a cheater's recipe is bacause it uses roast chicken rice recipe, and not the steamed chicken. But the best part is that it'seasy to prepare and it tastes like the real deal.

Cheater's Chicken Rice
(serves 2)

For the rice:
300 ml white uncooked rice
Chicken fat - skim some off chicken thighs and render them under heat
A few slices of ginger
450 ml Water (or chicken stock, if you have time to make the real deal)
1 tsp salt

For the chicken:
Supermarket ready-roasted chicken, enough portions for two people
1 tbsp light soy
1 tbsp sesame oil

1. Prep the rice! Heat the chicken fat (you want the oil) and fry the ginger slices until fragrant. Add uncooked rice and coat everything with the oil. Yes, it sounds disgusting, but this is what makes the chicken rice so tasty. Another reason why you shouldn't eat so much chicken rice back home!

2. Pop everything - rice, oil, ginger - into rice cooker and add water and salt. Stir well before cooking. The rice to water ratio should be 1:1.5. Cook in rice cooker (or, if you're like me, in the microwave).

3. Cut up chicken in portions, paying special attention to parts with skin. Skin is good! Helps soak up the seasoning and give taste. Also adds the fat content to this recipe, so again, don't be eating chicken rice night and day. Good parts for portions: the breasts and drumsticks. Thighs are a bit oily. Make sure you lay them out skin side up.

4. Heat up oven - 160 fan forced. We're not going to cook the chicken again, just heat it up and baste it. Mix the soy sauce and sesame oil and brush half the mixture over the chicken. Place basted chicken in the oven for a couple of minutes, and then baste with the remaining mixture. Place in oven again and switch off. Let heat keep the chicken warm while the rice finishes cooking.

5. Dish out rice and serve with chicken on top! Drizzle with soy sauce and sesame oil if desired, serve with sliced cucumber if you have it. Share with depressed housemate.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Better than Campbells (TM) mushroom soup

When i was a kid, campbell's mushroom soup was a regular feature on the dinner table. We would have campbell's mushroom soup at least once a week, especially if it was american dinner day. That was the day we had western food for dinner - roast chicken, with mash potatoes and salad. And mushroom soup. And it always had to be campbells. Once we tried Heinz and it really really sucked! Then i grew up and found out how to make cream of mushroom soup on my own. It's super easy, and super cheap. I made this version with extremely budget stuff. Clearance mushrooms, homebrand cream and homebrand soup stock.

What you need:
2 - 3 large mushrooms, chopped (finely, if you don't have a hand blender)
150 ml of cream (that's half a small bottle of cream)
1 tsp beef stock powder / cube
250 ml water
Pepper to taste
Olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley to garnish

In a pot, heat olive oil on a slow fire and fry the mushrooms. When the mushrooms look wet, add a pinch of salt. If you've chopped the mushrooms finely, add salt immediately. Add cream and use blend to the consistency you want (I use a hand blender). Top up with beef stock and water, add pepper to taste and parsley to garnish. Serve with bread.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Some assembly required

I decided on a simple dinner today while needing to clear out what was in my fridge and pantry. I had some shrimp and some bee hoon. I decided to make rice paper rolls. Of course, i had to buy the rice paper rolls, but that's ok. The other tricky thing is actually making the rice paper rolls... out of the seven i did, only two came out decent.

Rice Paper Rolls

What you need:
Rice paper skins
Prawns, cooked
Crushed peanuts

Bee hoon (vermicelli)
1 tbsp Fish sauce
1 tbsp Light soy
1 tsp Sesame oil
Fresh mint leaves

Soak the bee hoon in hot water. When soft, drain the water and add fish sauce, light soy, sesame oil and pepper. Mix well. Add mint leaves and mix well again

Soak the rice paper in warm water. When soft, lay skin on a clean wet tea towel. place shrimp, lettuce leaf, peanuts and bee hoon mix. Wrap. Curse self for putting too much the first time.

Perfect process by third try. Lose it all over again in the fourth. If you really can't get it right, fret not. Mix everything but the rice paper together and serve as a salad!


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Breakfast Anyone?

Recently , i was reminiscing my childhood...and then suddenly one particular memory stood out. Maybe i was just hungry in the morning , but i recalled how dad used to carry me up as a child on a wooden four-legged stool (which i couldn't climb because it was just as big as me then) to watch him fry french toasts in a chinese wok...haha...i remember watching intently as he dipped the bread slices into his mix and then transforming them into frangrantly golden delicacies. Fuah , my mouth watering already . That , i believe , was the first time i was exposed to cooking...and strangely also the only thing dad knew how to cook (don't ask me why...i never asked)...the rest of my kitchen training...credits to mum lor...and that is another story i shall not disgress to.

Despite my sudden cravings for french toast , i didn't call dad to steal his recipe , probably because in Malaysian time , he would be busy (which will land me in scoldings hor) and i doubt that he remembers because i haven't had his french toast in years...i can't even remember when the last time was.

And so , i turned to someone i was certain knew how to make french toasts...heh heh...and i think i pestered her annoyingly in the process...sorry.

Anyway , here's how to make french toast...loads of it in fact...good for the morning boost before work / study with excerpts of me pestering dear Melissa on MSN (i put her words in pink because she types in pink...haha) :

haha...okie...which wan are u more confident in ? pancakes or french toast?

french toast i guess
ok...where is this heading to?

(sniggers evilly) haha...just curious...i'm thinking of trying and posting a breakfast recipe...since i "wake up" damn early nowadays...mind sharing?

errrr well i just generally toss things in and then i taste

i dont actually have a recepie
and spelt tt wrong
egs sugar milk and bread


hmm...approximation...true style :)...haha...and yes u did...but as long as we understand each other thats fine...try to remember how much u put? (subtly digging more info)

errr crap i really don't know

eggs depends on how much youre making

milk depends on how soggy you like your french toast
i like mine super soggy


and sugar depends on how sweet u like it

i dont eat mine with like syrup or anythign so it tends to be sweet
then fry in butter until it turns a nice color
oh ya the length u soak the bread depends on how soft u want it to be

after this , i started getting annoying in asking for specific quantifcation of ingredients. So, i said my apologies and then based on the newly gained pearls of wisdom , i came up with this :

yeild for 5 pieces of thick slice white bread = 10 pieces of triangular french toast = 1 days worth of breakfast = yes i know i eat quite a bit :

3 eggs
1 cup of standard metric cup = 250 ml
1 tbs sugar per thick slice white bread = heaps of sugar and sweet enough to keep you sugar high for the morning...please cut down if diabetic...or don't put any at all if you don't have a sweet tooth...i don't want to get sued.
and some butter for frying.

How ar? aiya...this recipe is so easy even a kid can make it...just beat the eggs in a bowl , add the milk , stir , add sugar , stir , dip bread in mix and then fry on butter until it turns nicely golden...

how to get it beautifully golden? generosity with butter (try frying both sides with different parts of your pan each time and making sure both parts for frying are generously laced with butter for every piece) + patience + fire control = simple and yummylicious.

Oh...and i found out i prefer my french toast super soggy too...heh.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Steak with A Twist

Hmm...this blog has been silent for quite some time...people aren't blogging because:
(a) too busy during exam period to spend time on blogging
(b) too busy during exam period to cook
or i think the most plausible answer is
(c) all of the above

I woke up from my afternoon nap a couple of days ago dreaming of a good dinner...probably because i missed lunch...normal for a student facing exams lor. Deciding somehow that i didn't want it to be spicy like the last steak recipe...i thought well...Noel used marmalade for his pork chops , why don't i make something slightly sweeter too...heh heh...and since my house mate was trying to finish some up , i decided to use this...jeng jeng...*drum roll*

that's right...raspberry jam...wahaha

How to make this dish leh?

Use the same "marinade" from the last steak recipe i.e butter and pepper...After that for the sauce , use :

2-3 tablespoons of raspberry jam.
2 pinches of black and white crushed peppercorns (of course , again...Sarawak pepper is the ideal hor...)
2 pinches of paprika powder.
reasonable amount of chopped coriander...about 2 teaspoons will do.
some butter...about a teaspoon should do.
and a touch of red wine (only if you have some point buying some just for this dish)...just to give it some class (if you can actually taste it out lar like me)

Don't worry too much about the spices...most people hardly taste them...raspberry jam has a good powerful flavour...the spices are there to bring up the flavour a notch or two. Enjoy .


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

May's sicky soupie

The other day I fell sick and was feeling sorry for myself.

Then I realised I had some dry peanuts and pork bones. So I made my happy peanut soup.

Vat you need:

Pork bones
Dry peanuts
Soya sauce

How now, brown cow?

1. Clean the pork first. Then pour hot boiling water over it so porky won't smell.
2. Soak peanuts in water.
3. Get a nice big pot and throw in peanuts and pork.
4. Boil for at least 2 hours.
5. Add soya souce for taste.

Easy peasy!


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

May's impress-your-friends Seafood Marinara

This is probably the easiest recipie in the world. Unless you really can't cook and/or you like to burn your food.

The happy thing about cooking seafood it's that it's super yummy. The sad bit? It can be expensive depending what you choose.

My mum actually taught me this dish but I seem to be better at it than her. Hah! Why, you might ask? Well, I decided that one has to put at least 3 or 4 different types of seafood in this dish.

Ok ok, that's why it's expensive.

This marinara is quite different from what we normally have in Melbourne. It's not cooked in Napoli sauce *I tried it that day, yuck* or cream. I'm lactose intolerant so I hate cream. So this dish is cooked in olive oil. Extra virgin, to be exact.

Why am I smirking? I'd better stop it. *smacks self*

Vat you need:

Lots of garlic, chopped finely
A few nice red chillies, seeds removed, chopped finely
Parsley, chopped
Prawns, peeled
Loose crab meat
Any other type of seafood
Pasta, preferbaly spagetthi

How now, brown cow?

*start cooking your pasta first!*
(I always forget this part and end up kicking myself)

1. Put in lots of olive oil.
2. Throw in garlic, chili and parsley and fry till fragrant.
3. Turn fire down to low and throw in all the seafood.
4. Remember to befriend your food. Talk to your seafood.
5. If mixture seems dry, add more olive oil.
6. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off fire.
7. Remove boiling pasta, place under cold water to prevent from sticking.
8. Under a super low fire, toss pasta and seafood evenly.



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

cheesy pork chops

funny how i've been posting pork chop recipes nowadays. here's another one, inspired by my auntie Elsie, who is not really my auntie, but a family friend back home who used to cook for us all the time.

what you need:
pork chops
sliced cheese
minced garlic

1. First, butterfly the pork chop so that it opens up in the middle. That, of course, is where you stuff the cheese and pepper in.
2. Coat the chop with a mixture of breadcrumbs, garlic and chopped basil.
3. Grill and serve. I ate it with wedges (store bought, too lazy to make my own. hahaha)


AddThis Social Bookmark Button