Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Floral Interlude

Floral interlude

These flowers are on my kitchen window sill

Amarylis - has been blooming every year for the last 4 or 5 years




Monday, 27 February 2012

crispy skin roast duck

Cripy Skin Roast Duck

Have been wanting to try and make this crispy skin roast duck for ages after I tried doing this ages ago and did not get a crispy skin and sort of gave up. Then the craving came up again and I was trolling the net to get some ideas and finally was brave enough to try again!. It was good but the next time when I do it, I will omit the seasoning in the cavity of the duck as I dont think it really did anything and I will season the skin with 5 spice powder as well.

Here is the original recipe taken from Chinesefoodaboutcom but with my inclusions (if you like).

•One 4 1/2 lb (2 kg) oven-ready duckling
•2 teaspoons salt
•4 tablespoons maltose or honey
•1 tablespoon rice vinegar
•1/2 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)
•about 1/2 pint (280 ml) warm water
For the Stuffing: - would not use next time I make
•1 tablespoon oil
•1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion
•1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger root
•1 tablespoon caster sugar
•2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
•1 tablespoon yellow bean sauce
•1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
•2 teaspoons five-spice powder


Clean the duck well. Remove the wing tips and the lumps of fat from inside the vent. Blanch in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes, remove and dry well, then rub the duck with salt and 5 spice powder and tie the neck tightly with string.

Make the stuffing by heating the oil in a saucepan, add all the ingredients, bring to the boil and blend well. Pour the mixture into the cavity of the duck and sew it up securely. - Will omit for my future ducks

Dissolve the maltose or honey with vinegar and red food coloring (if using) in warm water, brush it all over the duck - give it several coatings, then hang the duck up (head down) with an S-shaped hook to dry in an airy and cool place for at least 4 - 5 hours.

To cook: preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. (200 degrees C./Gas 6). Hang the duck head down on the top rack, and place a tray of boiling water at the bottom of the oven. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. (180 degrees C., Gas 4) after 25 minutes or so, and cook for a further 30 minutes, basting with the remaining coating mixture once or twice.

Since I did not have anywhere to hang my duck in the oven, I just put it on a rack and roasted for half hour on one side, turned it round, basted it and then turned round again and basted it for another 15 minutes.

To serve: let the duck cool down a little, then remove the string and pour out the liquid stuffing to be used as gravy. Chop the duck into bite-sized pieces, then serve hot or cold with the gravy poured over it.

Kept telling myself to take a picture of my duck hanging to dry but forgot, so only have a picture of the finished duck!

Duck with bones removed

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Steamed Pork Buns

Steamed Char Siew Buns

One of my facebooks friends made some char siew buns recently and she said she got the recipe from the internet and what she made looked good which prompted me to make some too.

Here's my simple char siew recipe

500 gm pork shoulder
2-4 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp Oyster sauce
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp light soya sauce
1 tsp dark soya sauce
1 tbsp rose wine
2 tbsp garlic powder or minced garlic
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tpsb brown sugar


1. Mix all the marinade ingredients into a tupperware or ziplock bag and add in the pork and make sure pork is throughly coated. Leave for a couple of hours or overnight.
2. When you are ready to cook, heat a little oil in pan and place the pork in the pan and fry for about 15 mins on each side, covered.
3. Once char siew is cooked, place it on the grill pan or bbq to caramalise some of the pork.
4. Boil the remaining marinade as gravy for the char siew.

Sorry was in a hurry to make my buns that forgot to take pictures of the char siew!

For dough
3 cups All purpose flour
2 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil.

1. In a large bowl add water, yeast, salt sugar and oil. Mix well until the dry yeast is fully dissolved.
2. Add 3 cups of flour to the yeast water. Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead for 2-3 minutes.
3. Set aside in warm place and cover with cling film until the dough doubles in size.
4. After the dough has risen, knead it again for 1 minute to remove any extra gas. Set it aside in warm place and cover with cling flim for 30 minutes.

To make the buns:
1. Split the dough into 16 smaller pieces.
2. Take a few dough balls and put them on a floured cutting board. The rest of balls should be in the bowl, covered, to prevent them from getting dried out.
3. Roll out each ball into a disk 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.
4. Place a disk into your palm and add 2-3 tbs of filling mixture to the center of it.
5. Lift the edges of the disk up around the filling, then press the edges together to seal the filling snugly inside the bun.
6. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, until you’ve made 16 buns.
7. Put 6-7 cups of water in the bottom of a large steamer and place each bun on the rack.
Baking cups also work well. When you place the buns on the rack, leave a 1 inch gap between them because they will get bigger when steamed.
8. Wait for 20 more minutes to let the dough rise even more.
9. Bring to a boil over high heat, and steam for 20 minutes.

Baos before steaming

After steaming

Ready for makan!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Bittergourd with fish paste

Bittergourd stuffed with fish paste

Bought bittergourd at Chinatown last week and was going to stir fry the bittergourd with eggs but since another friend said that was the only dish she could do with bittergourd, decided to stuff the bittergourd with fish paste - ala yong tau foo style and fry in black bean sauce. Simple but yummy.

Bittergourd - cut into 1cm rounds - seeded
fish paste
1 tbsp - Black beans with garlic sauce

1. Blanch bittergourd in boiling salted water for a couple of mins to soften.
2. Drain and dab cornflour on the inside of the bittergourd so that fish paste can stick to it.
3. Stuff hollow of bittergourd with fish paste.
4. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry stuffed bittergourds. Once they are slightly coloured, add 1 tbsp of black bean sauce and add 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil and simmer for a couple of mins. Add cornflour slurry to the sauce and once it has thickened, remove from fire and serve.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Bubur cha cha

Bubur cha cha

Was "talking" to my internet friends about bubur cha cha and that made me crave for it and when I wanted to do it, had no yam, so had to wait a couple of weeks before I managed to get to the chinese supermarket to get my yam. And when I got it, here is the finished product!


200g yam (taro)- diamond shaped dices
100g orange color sweet potato - diamond shaped dices

For the coloured starch:
100g tapioca starch
Very hot boiling water
Red food colouring
Green food colouring

1 can - 400 ml coconut milk/cream
1/4 tsp salt
100g sugar, or to taste
3 pandan leaves, knotted


1.Steam diced yam (taro) and diced sweet potato separately until soft (about 10 - 15 minutes) .

2. Using a spatula, add very hot boiling water to the tapioca starch in a mixing bowl, bit by bit until it becomes doughy. Separate into 2 bowls abd add a drop of red and green in each bowl. Mix well. When it can be handled with bare hands, roll into 1cm thickness and cut into diamond cubes. Cook in boiling water until they become translucent and float to the top. This will take about 10 mins. Remove and leave in iced water until needed.

3. Put coconut milk/cream, sugar, salt and knotted pandan leaves into a pot and bring to a gentle boil, stirring continuously.

4. Add the yam and sweet potato and tapioca cubes.

5. Serve hot or cold.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Chicken Karaage

Chicken Karaage - Healthy version

The original method calls for the chicken to be deep fried, but apart from using too much oil and spluttering around, deep fried is not very healthy is it? So, most times now, when something calls for it to be deep fried, I will bunk it in the oven. And to me, it tastes just as good and crispy and it will work as a bento dish as well, cos I kept a couple for the next day and it was still good!

300gm boneless chicken thighs
1 2 inch piece fresh ginger - grated
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sake or orange juice (for those who cannot take sake - or you can omit it)
about 1/2 cup Potato starch or cornstarch, (enough to coat the chicken. Potato starch is better, but cornstarch will do)

1.Cut up the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces. You can remove the skin if you like, though it does make the chicken crispier.
2. Peel and grate the piece of ginger.
3. Put the chicken pieces in a bowl. Add the grated ginger, soy sauce and sake, and mix well. Let it marinate for a minimum of 10 minutes to around 30 minutes is ideal.
4. Once you are ready to cook the chicken, lightly oil (I use a spray oil) a baking tray, lightly starch the chicken and place on the cooking tray in a heated 200 deg oven for 15 mins on one side. After 15 mins, turn the pieces around to crisp the other side.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Kuih Lapis

Kuih Lapis

This is a belated post. Made this on Christmas eve as we were invited to Christmas lunch at a friend's place, so I thought I would make this and have this as a local dessert! My friend is a Sarawakian and husband English, so the children have all eaten this before one time or another. After lunch was over and when it came to desserts and when I took this out, everyone went oo-ing and ah-ing as they had not had it for a long time. And the surprising thing is my friend's granddaughter loved it as well!


150g rice flour
15g mung bean flour
15g tapioca flour
400 ml coconut milk

For the syrup
150g castor sugar
150ml water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pandan paste or green colouring
A few drops red colouring

1. Combine sugar, water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Strain and set aside to cool.
2. Put rice flour, mung bean and tapioca flours and salt into a large mixing bowl. Pour in coconut milk and    mix well.
3. Stir in syrup.
4. Strain the batter to ensure it is free from lumps.
5. Divide the mixture into 3 bowls and add the colouring of your choice. In my case, it was pink, green and plain.
5. Place a greased 8 inch tray in the steamer and heat up for 4–5 minutes.
7. Pour a ladleful of the plain batter on the heated tray. Cover and steam over medium heat for 5–6 minutes or until set.
8. Next a ladleful of the pink batter over the plain layer and steam covered for 5 minutes.
9. Next with the green and repeat the procedure, alternating white, pink batter and green until all the batter is used up. Lastly, the final layer which is red. (Add a little more colouring to the pink to get it a darker colour)
10. After the final layer is set, steam the kuih for a further 12–15 minutes. Halfway through open the lid to release the steam, then cover again until the end of the steaming process.
11. Cool the kuih thoroughly before cutting into small diamond-shaped pieces

Friday, 3 February 2012

Sugi biscuits

Sugi Biscuits

This is from Chef Devagi's page on the QBB.

250g ghee
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
500g plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda (using this will give the cracking effect)
170g icing sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine salt

1. Melt ghee over low heat or use the microwave oven for about 10-15secs and leave it to cool
2. Add vanilla essence to cooled ghee
3. Sift flour, bicarbonate soda, icing sugar and salt into mixing bowl
4. Pour ghee mixture in flour mixture and knead well to form a firm dough.
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
6. Roll dough into melt-in-your-mouth ball sizes and place on greased tray and bake for 25 - 30 minutes till cooked but not brown. The cookies should be white and crumbly in texture.