Sunday, May 29, 2016

Karate (pork) chops!

Marinade for the pork chops:
0.5 tablespoon of Kikkoman Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
1 small knob of old ginger, sliced
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tsp of Shaoxing wine
Marinate two pork chops well and place into ziplock bag, along with the rest of the marinade. Leave overnight to marinate.
Heat two tablespoons of #BenefitCoco oil in a pan, place the pork chops into the heated oil and pan fry it on both sides till cooked through. Pour the remaining marinade over the pork chops as you pan fry. Add in cherry tomatoes and pan fry it on both sides with a teaspoon of #BenefitCoco oil till blistered.
Serve with a side of honey bbq sauce. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

(鸡)不择食 : Chicken rice- Local delights in the comfort of home


For chicken stock and chicken
1 medium whole chicken
1 packet of chicken feet, nails and calluses removed.
2 large carrots
Half a head of lettuce
1 heaped tsp of salt (to taste)

For chicken oil:
2 tbsp Sesame oil
Chicken fat
Generous amounts of minced ginger
Three cloves of smashed garlic

For rice:
3.5 cups of rice
Chicken stock as required
1/4 tsp of salt (to taste)
Chicken oil

For sauce:
A knob of ginger chopped into matchsticks
1 tsp oyster sauce
1  tsp soya sauce
1  tbsp Sesame oil
20 ml of chicken stock

For sides:
1 packet of Beansprouts
1 piece of firm Tau Kwa, pan fried
6 pieces of fried tofu puffs, pan fried and chopped
1 tbsp of minced garlic
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
50 ml of chicken stock

1. Boil chicken feet and bones and chopped carrots in a big pot of water enough to fully submerge a whole chicken. Boil on high heat then simmer on low heat for about an hour. Add salt to taste.
2. Place whole chicken into the broth.
3. Bring to a rolling boil for a few minutes before turning off the fire. Leave the chicken to cook with residual heat for about an hour.
4. Remove from stock and submerge in iced water to stop the cooking process.
5. Fry reserved chicken fat with two tablespoons of sesame oil, minced ginger and smashed garlic. Remove chicken fat.
6. Add chicken stock into rice, a dash of salt and the chicken oil with ginger and garlic. 
7.  Bring the remaining chicken stock to a boil and blanch chicken with the soup to slightly warm up the meat before chopping to serve over a bed of lettuce leaves. Drizzle sauce over the chicken.

For the sides:
1. Add one tablespoon of oil and fry minced garlic till fragrant. 
2. Throw in beansprouts and stir fry on high heat.
3. Add in oyster sauce and chicken stock and stir fry.
4. Add in pan fried tau kwa and fried tofu puffs and stir fry to mix thoroughly with sauce. 

From our kitchen to yours,

Brenda x

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Thai style steamed chilli lime squid : Pla Meuk Neung Ma-Nao

What's in a name? 

Pla Meuk = Squid

Neung = Steamed
Ma-Nao = Lime 

I guess the chilli part didn't need to be stated since we're talking about a Thai dish here.

So it's taken me too long to get down to trying out a dish as simple as this.

Trust me. 

You'll wonder why you ever needed to read a recipe on this. ;)


300 g squid, cleaned and skin removed
3 bird's eye chiili, seeds removed and chopped
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoon fish sauce
3 small lime, squeezed and seeds removed
0.5 tsp honey
0.5 tsp chicken concentrate
50ml water
1 small bunch of coriander, stalks chopped and leaves for garnishing
1 tablespoon Thai seafood sauce (optional)

Clean and squid and remove the skin as much as possible. Slice it into rings but don't cut it through. 
Steam them for 3-5 minutes. Keep tabs on them! They'll be overcooked before you know it. I'm not squidding you! And you're not gonna fancy have rubberbands for dinner.

Mix the chicken concentrate and warm water to form chicken stock. Dissolve honey and stir thoroughly.
Then add in lime juice and fish sauce.
Mix in minced garlic, chilli, coriander and thai seafood sauce. 

Once the squid is ready, pour out steaming liquid from the steamed squid into the sauce mixture and ladle the final mixture generously over the squid. 

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot (:

From our kitchen to yours,

Brenda x

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

乱中有序。Skipping the meat on this version of chap chye. :)

  • Ingredients
  •  8 large dried mushrooms
  •  1 litre of water, or more if necessary
  •  100g haebi or dried shrimp
  •  10g dried black fungus or cloud ear fungus
  •  10g dried golden lily buds
  •  20g tung hoon or bean vermicelli
  •  20g tau kee
  •  2Tbs Cooking oil + 1 Tsp Sesame oil
  •  2Tsp minced garlic
  •  2 1/2Tbs tau cheo or fermented soyabean paste
  •  1kg cabbage, washed and cut roughly into pieces
  •  1Tbs concentrated chicken stock or 1 chicken cube
  •  Salt to taste
  •  Oyster sauce to taste

1. Wash the dried mushrooms and soak till reconstituted. Drain but keep the liquid (mushroom water) for use later. Cut the mushrooms into strips. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, soak the dried shrimp, black fungus, black moss, golden lily buds in separate bowls of water for about 10 minutes. Drain each item and set aside. Tie the lily buds into knots and trim the ends. Set aside.
  • 3. Heat oil in a large wok on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and dried shrimp and fry until fragrant.
  • 4. Add the tau cheo and continue to fry.
  • 5. Next, put in the cabbage. Add about 200ml of water. Cover and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  • 6. Add the mushroom water that you had set aside earlier, followed by the mushrooms, black fungus, tau kee and golden lily buds. Stir. Add just enough water to submerge most of the ingredients.
  • 7. Add the concentrated chicken stock, salt and oyster sauce to taste.The vegetables should be cooked and soft, but not mushy. Bring this to a rolling boil then turn down to low heat before adding in the tung hoon. 

  • Happy cooking!

    From my kitchen to yours,
    Brenda x

    Monday, March 28, 2016

    This must be Confucius' Favourite dish. The eggplant that doesn't have any egg. 鱼香茄子但有没有🐠哦。


    1 large brinjal, sliced into halves and then lengthwise
    250g minced pork
    Half a carrot, blanched.
    5 cloves of garlic, minced
    1 sprig of spring onion, roughly chopped
    1 tablespoon of (fermented beancurd) spicy bean paste
    0.5 tsp of fish sauce
    1 tbsp of oyster sauce
    1 tsp of dark soya sauce
    A squeeze of lemon
    100 ml of water

    Marinade for minced pork

    1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
    1 tablespoon sesame oil
    1 tsp ground white pepper
    1/2 tsp light soy sauce
    1 tsp minced ginger
    1 tsp minced garlic

    Cornstarch mixture

    1 tablespoon cornflour
    2 tablespoons water


    Chopped spring onions
    Sliced red chilli
    1 tablespoon of chicken/ pork/fish floss


    Shallow fry brinjal slices. Heat three tablespoons of oil in the pan, place brinjal slices skin side down. After a few minutes, turn it on its side and repeat till all sides have been shallow fried. Set it aside on some kitchen towels to drain the oil.

    Heat up the reserved oil and fry the remaining minced garlic with the white portions of the spring onion till fragrant.

    Add in the minced pork and fry together with the spicy bean paste. Add the brinjal and blanched carrot slices. Stir fish sauce, oyster sauce, dark soya sauce and a squeeze of lemon into 100ml of water before pouring it over the ingredients in the pan. Give it a good mix to ensure that the sauce coats the ingredients evenly.

    When it starts to bubble, turn the heat to low to let it simmer for 5 minutes. Then turn up the heat and thicken the gravy by stirring in cornstarch mixture to desired consistency.

    Garnish as desired and serve hot with rice. Maybe two servings of rice. :)

    From our kitchen to yours,
    Brenda x

    Sunday, March 27, 2016

    Edible Art : Garden of blooms x Osmanthus| Wolfberries| Waterchesnut Jelly


    1 Pack Red Man Brand Konnyaku Premix Jelly Powder 
    1200ml Water
    4 tsp Osmanthus flower, remove petals from stems if any
    1 heaped tablespoon of wolfberries, soaked 
    8 waterchestnuts, peeled and diced


    Bring 1200ml of water in a pot to a rolling boil, and add in the osmanthus flower petals. Then simmer it on low heat for 2 minutes.

    While on low heat, stir in the Konnyaku Jelly Premix till completely dissolved. Use a balloon whisk if you have one.

    Then turn off heat and let it cool a little before transferring it to desired jelly mould. I used a regular square glass ceramic container. 

    Give the solution a quick stir to spread out the osmanthus flower petals, wolfberries and diced chestnuts before chilling it in the fridge for at least 2 hours till firm before serving. 

    From our kitchen to yours,
    Brenda x

    Monday, February 29, 2016

    Never eat food you can't pronounce. Except quinoa. You must eat quinoa.

    Quinoa. That's probably gotta be something close to quiche right? I mean, milk and eggs. How could that go wrong? Oh quiche was right but I could be wrong about quinoa. And I was. Quinoa is an ancient seed. A superfood that's one of the few plant based sources of complete protein. Little wonder why it would have been regarded as the Incas' gold, the mother grain.

    I've had it in my pantry for the longest time but I wasn't sure how to introduce this to my family on the dinner table. Not as a side but as a substitute for that starchy rice that's a staple at every Chinese family dinner. Lofty ideas. Never attempted. Till tonight. That one special day every four years. 

    Now where do I start? I read about bitter tastes, mushy turnouts. That would be a recipe for disaster. So I made sure I had backup. Made sure there was rice grains to be cooked, noodles on standby. With a deep breath, I took out my nearly forgotten white and red quinoa grains and got down to washing them. So apparently the white quinoa has the most neutral and easy to love flavour for first timers but I was keen on trying the red ones too, which have a more earthy flavour. Plus a colour pop would really appeal to one's stomach I figured? 

    Quinoa has a natural coating, saponin that gives rise to a bitter taste if not washed properly. How much washing is enough? To be honest, I was none the wiser, and gave it two rounds of  vigorous washing in a fine mesh strainer. I took three quarters of the white quinoa and topped it off with another quarter of the red quinoa to make one cup. The standard ratio of quinoa to water/ stock is 1 : 2. Keep to that ratio and try it out with different stocks. I boiled up a pot of wintermelon, dried cuttlefish, pork bones and chicken breast broth and I used that as my stock. Since that was already pre-salted, I didn't add any additional seasonings. 

    Boil it over high heat till the liquid is almost absorbed. That's about ten minutes worth of boiling. Then add in the carrot from the soup stock, raw cubed pumpkin and raw chopped broccoli because these cook quickly. Then turn off the flame and let it stand for five minutes. Don't peek! Then remove the lid, you should see the spirals separated from and curling around the quinoa. Use a fork and fluff up the quinoa gently. Serve warm. :)

    The verdict? The jury decides... that this would not be a staple. But this would be a welcome side :) Simple. Versatile. Tasty. And a very worthwhile attempt into eating well. 
    First try and definitely not the last!

    From our kitchen to yours,
    Brenda x

    Tuesday, February 23, 2016

    When Cinderella's pumpkin carriage meets... A rice cooker :)


    2 wedges of pumpkin, cubed
    1 carrot, sliced
    3 cloves of garlic, minced
    8 chinese mushrooms, soaked and sliced
    30g of dried shrimp, rinsed and soaked, reserve water
    200g lean pork, sliced
    (Marinate with 1 tbsp of sesame oil, 1 tsp of white pepper, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1 1/2 tbsp of oyster sauce, 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce, 1 tbsp of light soya sauce and a dash of Shaoxing wine)
    6 large prawns, deveined and deshelled, reserve heads
    1 sprig of parsley, chopped
    1 chicken cube, dissolved in 100ml of water
    2.5 cups rice, rinsed (I measured the amount of water needed for 2.5 cups of cooking and soaked the rice in it while prepping the rest of the ingredients) 
    Chye sim, washed and chopped.
    1 packet of Hokto Maitake mushrooms (or black fungus) for added crunch. *Optional.

    In the rice cooker, turn the setting to cook and add 2 tbsp of oil. 
    Stir fry garlic and dried shrimp till fragrant. 
    Add in the shrimp heads, using the frying slice to press down on the heads and discard.
    Throw in the mushrooms, the marinated lean pork and fry till almost cooked.
    Add in the pumpkin and carrot to fry.
    Pour in the rice, water and dissolved chicken stock cube, add in the chopped chye sim and mix till well combined.
    Place the prawns on top and close the rice cooker. 
    Wait for it to work its magic :)

    From our kitchen to yours,
    Brenda x

    Friday, February 12, 2016

    红(萝卜)运当(菜)头 | the approach of good luck!

    • Ingredients
    • 1 kg white radish, grated (reserve water)
    • 50g red carrots, grated (reserve water)
    • 150g rice flour
    • 50g corn starch
    • 1 Chinese sausages, removed from casing and diced
    • 8 pcs dried black mushroom, soaked and diced (reserve water)
    • 1 piece of dried cuttlefish, soaked and cut into bitesized strips
    • 30g dried shrimps, soaked (reserve water)
    • 2 shallots, finely sliced

    • Method: 

    • Marinate the black mushroom, cuttlefish and shrimps with 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp wine and a small pinch of sugar.

    • Combine the corn starch and rice flour with 21/2 rice bowls of water including reserve water from the radish, carrot, black mushroom, scallops and shrimp, soaking the mushrooms and cuttlefish. Stir and mix well to form a smooth batter.

    • With 3 tablespoons of oil, sauté shallots till fragrant with chopped sausages then add in shrimps, mushrooms and scallops. Toss in grated radish and carrots, add 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp ground white pepper and 1 tbsp oil before stirring well. Toss it well to mix and keep frying till the liquid appears from the radish and carrot strips.

    • Turn to low heat, slowly stir in flour mixture into the turnips. Turn and mix well until it forms a sticky dough. 

    • Grease dish for steaming. Transfer the batter into the pan and over high heat for about 40 minutes.

     Leave to cool and cut into slices to be pan fried. Or steamed and garnished with parsley, spring onions and chopped

    Recipe adapted from :

    I substituted cuttlefish for scallops. It tasted good too but I'll probably stick with scallops in future :)
    Have adjusted the sugar because I used red carrots for natural sweetness.
    I'll probably try it with just white radish in future to try and recreate the ones served at dim sum restaurants! 

    From our kitchen to yours,

    Friday, January 29, 2016

    Flax(seed)ing the muscles for some salted egg yolk cookie love! :)

    Salted egg yolk cookies
    Yields about 60 pcs (1 inch diameter, 5mm thickness)


    125g plain flour
    10g corn flour
    1/8 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tbsp milk powder
    1/4 tsp fine salt
    2 salted egg yolks
    85g unsalted butter
    30g caster sugar + 10g icing sugar
    1 egg yolk (lightly beaten for egg wash)
    Flaxseeds (for decoration)


    Preheat oven at 160 degree Celsius.
    Steam salted egg yolks till firm then mash coarsely and set aside.
    Sift plain flour, corn flour, baking powder, milk powder and fine salt together. Set aside.
    Cream unsalted butter and sugar mix till light and fluffy.
    Add in mashed egg yolks and flour mixture and mix till combined to form a soft dough.

    Refrigerate the dough for about 20 minutes for ease of handling. 
    Roll out the dough to 5 mm thickness.
    Stamp into desired shape with cookie cutters.
    Line baking tray with baking sheet and arrange cookie dough on the baking sheet.

    Gently brush the tops of each cookie dough with egg wash and sprinkle some flaxseeds.
    Repeat as above for the remaining dough. 
    Bake each batch for about 10 minutes till golden brown.
    Let cookies cool till room temperature before storing in an airtight container.

    Friday, January 15, 2016

    Keep Calm and Eat Crab @ 瑞安炖汤美食馆

    So this was my taste of childhood. Our family used to do trips across the causeway every other week back in the days when we still had a separate blue restricted passport for trips to West Malaysia.

    Anyone still remember that? 

    And that's when our love affair with this unique crab bowl started. On the third level of the market at Larkin. We'd pack ourselves in the car by 8am and be off on our way towards the Woodlands Causeway. Breakfast was a standard affair once we got to Larkin Market. No one tries to change their orders. It was a standard three stall order. A nondescript shop in the middle of the hawker centre selling pork trotters, braised intestines and of course the crab bowl, the store opposite selling hot drinks and perfectly executed half boiled eggs and the quiet congee stall next to it selling familiar comforts of pork and chicken congee. Oh and of course, grandpa always does a takeaway of the fried noodles in open trays wrapped in plastic sheets laid on top of newspapers. Life was simple. 

    While we've skipped Larkin altogether these days except for the odd days where grandma is good enough for walks and would like to buy fresh foods from the market, I'm glad we no longer have to drive that far for our favourite crab bowls.

    What's changed? The location, for sure. It's now situated just behind Leisure Mall Pelangi and you will pass by Moonlight cafe on your way down. Don't get distracted! The once nondescript stall at the run down Larkin Market now has their own air conditioned space along a row of shop houses at Jalan Kuning. And their menu has also expanded. So we now head over for a lunch fix instead. 

    Make your request for lean meat if you aren't a fan of the fat or collagen that comes with pork's trotters (RM 10). They'll try their best to accommodate your requests.

    All those eyes! Baby shrimp omelette (RM 12). Every bit of fluff and crisp in this one plate of yums.

    Sambal baby sweet potato leaves (RM12). The sambal gravy was evil! So bad it was so good till the last drop. 

    And while this might not be the best plate of hor fun, I loved the taste of the ample wok hei (RM 6). 

    And the crab bowl (RM 7.50)? That's still my taste of childhood and they are still using the same recipe with the same great taste after all these years. That's the one thing that hasn't changed and that's what keeps us coming back. 

    Do give them a try the next time you're past the Causeway.  

    Swee Ang Restaurant 瑞安炖汤美食馆
    70, Jalan Kuning,
    Taman Pelangi.
    Tel : +607-3337828
    Operating hour : 8am - 9pm daily