Thursday, October 24, 2013

Gulai Nangka (Young Jackfruit Curry Stew)

Hi, everyone! It’s me again… today, I’m going to share with you my gulai nangka recipe. This is another favorite dish of mine and my family. I modify this dish to accommodate my 2.5 year old kid and for those of you who don’t like their food spicy. But don’t sweat, if you it spicy, you can add sambal into it. ;)

Prepping time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 - 35 minutes

1/3 big onions 
4 to 5 garlic 
A stalk of lemongrass (use the bottom only, about 3 inches from the root)
1/2 inch ginger (only if you decide to add chicken, beef or pork)
1 tsp tumeric
A can of coconut milk + a can of water
A can of young jack fruit (cut the jack fruit into half or third)
Vegetables (I use cabbage and few bamboo shoots) - you can also add in carrots
If you decided to add protein, you can add chicken enough to feed 3-4 people, or tofu

1. Blend onions, garlic, lemongrass and ginger (only if you are adding chicken, beef or pork) together. Stir fry the paste. I ran out of lemongrass, so there is no lemon grass in my cooking and it is still tasty. Now, if as you can see, I was too lazy to get my food processor out. Instead, I sliced the onions and garlic thinly. Fry it until you can smell the aroma. If you want your dish to be spicy, you can add two tablespoon of sambal or 3 or 4 bird's eye chili (Thai chili). 

2. Next, add a teaspoon of tumeric. Stir about a minute. If you decide to add chicken, beef or pork, add them now. Cook until your protein is 3/4 cooked. 

3. Then, add a can of coconut milk and a can of water to dilute. 

4. Add a can of jack fruit. Drain it before you add it to your stew. Again, I got lazy as well so I added them in big chunks but if you are sharing with many people, I suggest you cut the jack fruit to half or third of its size. 

5. Next, add your veggies. You can also add your tofu now. Stir well. Lower the heat to medium. 

6. Cover and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Stir it 2-3 times to prevent the coconut milk from breaking apart. (breaking part means it'll cook and turn oily)

7. Serve warm on a bread of white or brown rice. This is a kid friendly dish so I added sambal as a condiment on the side instead of adding into the stew. 

8. Adrian says enjoy! 

Simple Malay Sambal

Hello everybody! Thanks to Meg's Omma for adding me into this tight, lovely and warm group. I'm honored. So... for my first post, I decided to share the most basic staple condiment in my household. It is called sambal. What is sambal? Sambal is a condiment made with chilies. You can add it to your rice or to a dish you’re preparing for lunch and dinner. Sambal is a staple to most Malaysians. It is so delicious and addictive; sometimes, I will eat my rice with a boiled egg, sambal and sliced cucumber (to combat spicy). There are many versions of sambal. Some people would add fried anchovies, fish paste, shrimp paste (the most popular one) or nothing. Since I’m an almost vegan, there will be no seafood ingredient added but feel free to add if you want an extra oomph.

The sambal recipe I would like to share came from a Minangkabau region. My mom’s side of family originally came from Minang, a region that is located in West Sumatera, Indonesia. It is the most original sambal.

A packet of red chillies (be careful)
½ cut of big red onion or 7 or 8 shallots (I prefer shallots because it is sweeter)
3 or 4 garlic cloves
One medium size tomato (I prefer Roma coz it is less watery)
Salt, sugar and oil

Prep time: less than 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

1. Into the food processor: chilies (cut into half), medium cut onions, garlic, cubed tomatoes and two spoon of cooking oil. Blend. The purpose of oil is to smooth out the chili seeds.

2. Stir fry the blended paste. Stir it to prevent the paste from burning. Add oil as needed. Cook the sambal until the water evaporates. Add salt to taste. Add sugar to your taste. Some people likes to add a squeezed lime or a tablespoon of vinegar to give that a sweet and sour taste. If you decided to add fish or shrimp paste, add a teaspoon along with other ingredients and blend. But if you like an overpowering taste, you can add more paste.

Some people prefer using dried instead of fresh chilies. The steps are the same except you need to soak the dried chilies into hot water first before you blend with the rest of the ingredients. 

Serve warm with rice as a condiment or add sambal to your dish. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Malaysian Soy Sauce Chicken (Ayam Masak Kicap)

I was chatting with Ricky-oppa, JoAnne and I don't remember who else one day about food.  Ricky was telling us about some dishes that his mom makes that he knows how to make.  He sent me some instructions for five of them and this is the first one that I have tried.  He described pretty well how to make it, but without much in the way of quantities.  Then I went and looked up the dish on YouTube and watched a few videos.  Turns out his mom doesn't make it like any of those, so they weren't much help, lol.  Anyway, this is how I made it tonight.  It was a hit, and got thumbs up from both Sam and Meghan. Ricky's mom uses chicken wings and legs, and most of the YouTube vids showed that too.  I used chicken breast, because that's what I had.

I didn't take pictures of all the ingredients because, frankly, I forgot, lol.  We were rushing around trying to get dinner made so that Meghan wouldn't be late to her night class.  I do have a picture of the soy sauce bottle.  This is important because this is a sweet, thick soy sauce that is not like Kikkoman or whatever kind you have for your Chinese food.  It's called Kicap Manis and I found it in the Filipino store in town.

So, these are the ingredients that I used to make enough for about five people (we had leftovers). We ate it over rice, but noodles might be good, too.

cooking oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 or 2 teaspoons of minced ginger
2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1/2 cup (approx) of Kicap Manis soy sauce
1/2 cup (approx) water
2 biggish potatoes, peeled and sliced (Mama Anne cuts hers in chunks, I did slices cuz it cooks faster and we were in a hurry, lol)
1 big carrot, sliced (same thing, Mama Anne cuts hers in chunks)
1/2 bell pepper, sliced...I used a yellow one

Heat a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil in a skillet or wok.  Add onion, garlic and ginger and stir and cook until fragrant.

Add chicken and cook for a bit, until it starts to get brown.  (If you're using legs and wings, the directions online say to cook about halfway through)  We did it stir fry style, where we kept stirring as it was cooking.

(wow, that's a blurry picture, Meg must have been stirring fast, lol)

After the chicken gets kind of browned, add the sweet soy, stir it around to coat all the chicken, then add the water.  

Then put in the rest of the vegetables.

Stir until the veggies are coated, then turn down the flame, cover the skillet with a lid and let it simmer.  I just happen to have a giant skillet lid that is the perfect size for covering a wok.  Let it cook until the veggies are tender.  It only took about 10 minutes, might take longer if you have chunks instead of slices.

When the veggies are done, it's ready to serve.  I think it took me about 15 minutes to prep the veggies and chicken, and about 20 to make it.  Rice was already in the rice cooker.  So that's a pretty fast, yummy dinner.  We ate it with spicy sambal oolek on the side. 

One thing I noticed in the YouTube vids was that most of them put some rice vinegar in it.  It was tasty without it, but when we were done eating, just to see the difference, we put a splash of rice vinegar in the leftovers and retasted.  I think it brightens the flavors a little bit, I liked it. I would add a Tablespoon or so when you put in the soy and water.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Super Juicy Lemon Cake

Hello everybody! I've been baking again. Yes, there are a lot of family birthdays in spring (me first, then my daughter, then my father-in-law, and then my husband. Plus, there's also one of my husband's uncles and his favorite aunt who have their birthdays these days).
The ingredients - I only use organic stuff
The super juicy lemon cake is probably the birthday cake in my family. Because the cake is so juicy and delightfully (sweet and) sour, it is a perfect dessert even after a heavy meal. Also, it's super easy and quick to make and you only need to most basic ingredients.

Prep Time: 15 min (max)
Bake Time: 60-65 mins (11-12" cake form // 28 - 30cm )


250g unsalted Butter (8.82oz), room temperature
250g Sugar (8.82oz)
4 Eggs
Lemon Zest from 2 organic Lemons, freshly grated
250g Flour (white) (8.82oz)
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
Fresh Juice of 5 Lemons
100g Powdered Sugar (3.5oz)

Make The Cake:

1) Butter a 11-12" cake from and preheat the oven to 350º F (= 180º C)
2) Beat the butter until it is soft and fluffy
3) Add the sugar and the eggs (either together or first the sugar, than the eggs) and beat until it is foamy
butter and sugar. Yum :)
4) Add the lemon zest (I use a grater, but you can also use a sharp knife)
5) Add flour, backing power and salt, and mix well
6) prepare the juice-powered sugar mix, for pouring over the still-warm cake (mix lemon juice and powdered sugar together well)

That's it! Put dough into cake form
 And don't forget to enjoy some of the dough!
Bake for approx. 60 minutes. Let the cake cool off for a little bit, then use a knitting needle and poke at least 10 holes into the cake. Pour the whole juice-powdered sugar mix over the warm cake! It takes a while to be soaked up.
Happy Birthday, dearest husband!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Noona Cher's 5 Minute Toffee

Howdy folks!  Our long national nightmare is now over... I'm finally posting my toffee recipe!  The star of many a get-together over the past 30 years, shipped all over the world!  So strap yourselves in and let's GO!

Noona Cher's 5 Minute* Toffee

1 cup toasted slivered almonds (I use Trader Joe's brand)
1 stick cold salted butter (if you use unsalted, add 1/4 tsp. of salt)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup (no substitutions!)
6-8 oz. chopped dark chocolate
extra chopped almonds or sprinkles for garnish (optional)

1 quart saucepan
1 8" round cake pan
Heat-proof spatula or wooden spoon
Take everything listed above and throw it into a 1 quart saucepan (non-stick preferred) since it will boil over in a smaller pan.  Set a timer for five (5) minutes and turn on the heat to Medium.

Boil everything uncovered for 5 minutes without stirring.  The butter will have not melted completely, and there will only be a few bubbles on top of the mixture.  At the end of 5 minutes, stir the mixture until combined.  Set the timer for another 5 minutes.

Let it boil during the next 5 minutes without stirring, and then stir at the end again.  The mixture should be boiling vigorously and start turning a light nutty brown.  Set the timer for another 5 minutes.

Let it boil during the next 5 minutes, keeping an eye on the color until it becomes a darker brown.  Stir a few times to keep from scorching, but remove from the heat before the time is up if it starts browning too fast.

Immediately take the pan off the heat and scrape the mixture into the 8" cake pan (protect your counter first with a hot pad).  Some excess melted butter may rise to the surface, so lightly dab that away with a paper towel.  Just don't dab away too much, because that extra butter helps it from sticking to the pan.

Immediately sprinkle the chopped chocolate on the top of the hot mixture and let everything sit for another 5 minutes.  (Use 6 ounces of chocolate if you like a thin layer; 8 ounces if you prefer a larger ratio of chocolate-to-toffee.)

Take an offset spatula (or your choice of utensil) and spread the melted chocolate evenly all over the cooling toffee.  Don't worry if it hasn't completely melted, as your garnish will cover any chunks left over.

While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle your garnish across the top, and then set aside to cool completely.  If you're in some sort of freakin' hurry, you can also plop the pan in the fridge to chill instead. (I used colored Wilton sprinkles this time around since I made this pan for a birthday party this weekend.)  When cooled, run a small spatula around the edge of the pan to loosen and then turn the toffee out onto a cutting board or plate.  Break into pieces and ENJOY!!!

*See why I call it "5 Minute" Toffee now?  HA.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Nutella Cake (Gluten Free)

Hello chingus! This is my first post on this blog - thanks for adding me! I'm based in Switzerland, which means I'm used to metric measurements (like dl, cl, kg, g ...) and confused by that other stuff! Lucky for my American (and British) friends, however, the Nutella Cake recipe I've got is in oz and cups etc. and I had to go on the internet to "translate" everything into my measurements.
The basic ingredients
Saying that the Nutella Cake has a long tradition in my family would be a lie - no, a (male) friend of ours made this cake for his son on his birthday, where I first had it 3 years ago. Last year, I made it for my daughter's birthday (first time) and this year, I made it again. Unfortunately, it's for daycare ... so I will not get a single piece of it!!!!!!
Licked clean ^^
Prep Time: 30 min
Bake Time: 40 min (9" cake pan // 24cm )
Cool Off Time: 2-3 hrs


13 oz (370g) Nutella
1/2 cup (120g) Butter (unsalted)
6 Eggs
3 oz (85g) Chocolate, 85% Cacao (make sure to use Swiss chocolate! :)
3 oz (85g) Hazelnuts (I buy them ground, but grinding them yourself is much better)

  1. In a non stick pan, quickly roast the hazelnuts then set them aside in a plate to cool off. Be careful, they burn easily!
  2. Melt the butter and the chocolate (broken into pieces) in a pan, mix with a (wooden) spoon until melted, then let it cool off a little.
  3. Butter a 9" cake pan and preheat the oven to 350º F (= 180º C)
  4. Take a big bowl, and mix the Nutella and the Hazelnuts
  5. Separate the egg whites and the yolks, add the yolks to the Nutella-Hazelnuts mix, and mix the mix!
  6. In another bowl, whip the whites with a pinch of salt (using a mixer). The whites should have a firm consistency but still look wet, don't over do it!
  7. Add the butter-chocolate mix to the Nutella-Hazelnut mix, and mix the mix again!
  8. Carefully, in small increments (about 1/4 at a time), fold in the whipped egg whites. 
  9. You can add a tiny bit of baking powder if you want, but it is not necessary. 
Work until completely absorbed, then pour into the cake pan. Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes, or until the sides of the cake will start separating from the sides of the pan. There is no need to poke with a toothpick to check if the inside is ready or not.

Be aware: the cake will come out of the oven nice and fluffy, but it will deflate to half the size during its cool off period, so don't be shocked!
out of the oven, nice and fluffy
You can now garnish as you see fit (powdered sugar works, for example). I usually use a chocolate frosting (bought in the store)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Making Fresh Ricotta Cheese!

A friend and I are attempting to make Italian gnocchi for the first time later today.  I love my gnocchi baked with sauce and ricotta cheese.  So Meg and I decided to make fresh ricotta today.  It tastes SOOOOOO much better than store bought, and is very, very simple.  There are several different recipes online, but this is the one that has worked best for me, yielding the most cheese.  It takes time, but most of the time it's just sitting there doing it's thing while you watch a drama, so no biggie, right?

You need a big, heavy bottomed pot so that your milk won't scorch, and a thermometer (I used a candy thermometer).  Pour in 2 quarts of whole milk and 1 cup of heavy whipping cream.

Heat over medium heat, stirring so that it doesn't scorch, until it reaches 185 degrees F (85C)  It doesn't usually take very long.  

Turn off the heat and add 3 Tablespoons (44 ml) of either vinegar or lemon juice.  White vinegar is probably best, but I'm out, so I used cider vinegar.  This is your curdling agent.

As you stir, the curds should start forming. 

After stirring for a minute or two, cover the pot with a clean cloth and go watch a few episodes of Flower Boys Next Door.  Let it sit for about 2 hours.

Ok, now you're ready to pour off the whey.  Place a strainer in a bowl.  

Line the strainer with cheese cloth.  

 Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the curd and put it into the cheesecloth-lined strainer.  I usually scoop as much as I can into the strainer, then carefully, slowly pour all of the liquid through the strainer.  You can only do this if your bowl is big enough to catch all the whey BELOW the strainer.  This a really big stainless mixing bowl.

Stir it don't want to press the curds into the cheesecloth too much, but it will help the whey to drain through.

Let it drain for 2-3 hours.  Time for a couple more episodes!  In between eps, or during commercials, pull up the four corners of the cheesecloth and gently squeeze the whey out.

There you have it, fresh ricotta.  This is ready for putting in your favorite lasagna, baked pasta, stuffed shell recipe. It's great with ANY recipe that calls for ricotta, including desserts.  It will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.   If you are counting calories, this is a higher fat content than the part-skim ricotta that you find in the grocery store.  I've seen recipes for that, but you get so little curd from it that it's not worth the trouble.

Update May 2015:  After a couple of batches that didnt curdle right, I did some research and found that you can use up to 1/3 cup of your curdling agent.  I didn't want to start over, so I heated it back up, added 2-3 tablespoons more lemon juice (or vinegar) and it worked.  Didn't seem to affect the taste or consistency.  

Don't throw away the whey!  You can use it in any baked good recipe that you use milk in....pancakes, etc.  It has protein and you've just taken most of the fat out of it!

You can use the cheesecloth several times, just rinse it out really well and then I run it through the washer on hot without soap.