AFC GRILLED : Chef Sean Connolly

An evening of good food.

Lap Cheong Watermelon Bites

An asian take on watermelon bites!

Baked Fish with Kiwi in Sweet and Sour Sauce

Add a twist to sweet and sour fish!

Semperit Pandan Cookies

Cute cookies for the festive season!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sauteed Shrimps With Golden Kiwifruit

The red, gold, and green sauteed shrimps. Am I too early for Christmas? I know I am but the thing is I love festive colours, regularly including green and red into many of the dishes I cook at home - chilli and fresh coriander topping the list of most used ingredients!

Hubs popped a packet of golden kiwifruit into our shopping basket one Sunday. I was excited by the yellow colour of the flesh of the kiwifruit, and it wasn't long before I started thinking how nice it would be in some sort of salad.

Sauteed Shrimps With Golden Kiwifruit

Quick and easy, this is what I came up with!

Sauteed Shrimps With Golden Kiwifruit

- 200g shrimps (sliced in half)
- 1 large kiwifruit (cubed)
- 4 cloves garlic (pounded or chopped)
- ¼ chilli flakes
- ¼ black pepper
- Some fresh coriander (chopped)
- Salt to taste
- Cooking oil


1) Heat 1 to 2 tbsp cooking oil in pan. Saute garlic until fragrant.
2) Add the shrimps and season with salt, black pepper and chilli flakes. Pan-fry the shrimps until cooked. Then, remove from pan and let it cool for a bit before adding the kiwifruit and coriander. Eat!

1) Shrimps, Golden Kiwifruit, Garlic, Coriander.
2) Pan-fry the shrimps.
3) Toss to mix. 4) Eat!

Red, gold and green - the three colours that make this a visual treat, for me at least.

Sauteed Shrimps With Golden Kiwifruit

Mangoes make a great alternative. Dragonfruit would be nice too but the flavour would then be subdued. The more intense sweet and sour from the kiwifruit give this dish a kick on the taste buds. I like it!


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Daun Pegaga Masak Lemak (Centella In Turmeric Coconut Gravy)


Daun Pegaga
aka Centella, Gotu Kola or the Asiatic Pennywort is mostly eaten raw in Ulam, a Malaysian rice salad or cooked 'masak lemak' style, that is, in coconut milk gravy.

Centella In Turmeric Coconut Gravy

It's also delicious in Urap, an Indonesian salad consisting of steamed vegetables mixed with seasoned grated coconut. I will try it this way one day. For now, I'm having my Daun Pegaga in a yummy coconut gravy with pounded fresh turmeric, strips of dried squid and anchovies. The aroma was tantalising and I felt an urge to eat it fresh out of the pan even before it touched the dinner table. Tsk, tsk!

Below is a picture of Daun Pegaga. It is a little tougher than most greens I know and is mildly bitter-tasting but not unpleasant. I munched away quite happy with the flavour.

Daun Pegaga / Centella Asiatica / Gotu Kola

Daun Pegaga Masak Lemak (Centella In Turmeric Coconut Gravy)
- 40g daun pegaga (snip roots away, cut in half)
- 1 lemongrass (smashed)
- 1 red chilli (pounded)
- ½ thumb fresh turmeric (pounded)
- 15 dried anchovies (rinsed)
- 1 tbsp dried squid strips (optional) (soaked for 10 mins and rinsed)
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- ⅛ tsp salt (to taste)
- Half ⅛ tsp sugar (to taste)

1) Heat milk and water in pan. Bring to a simmer, just below boiling point.
2) Then, add lemongrass, turmeric, chilli, dried anchovies and dried squid strips. Cook for a couple of minutes for the flavour to come together. Stir constantly and keep it from boiling.
3) Season with salt and sugar.
4) Finally, add in daun pegaga. Cook until done like you would any green leafy vegetable.

From top-left : Ingredients, Simmer All The Ingredients, Serve!

Best eaten with rice.


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Prawns With Creamy Salted Egg Yolks Sauce


I'm late! I'm late! I'm late to the salted egg yolks party, but it's a trend that I believe will never go out of style because it is numero uno on the yumness scale! Therefore, any time is a good time to jump on the bandwagon.

'Sap Ham Dan Har' (Wet Salted Egg Prawns) is a dish hubs and I regularly order at a Chinese restaurant nearby for visiting friends and relatives to try because it puts the oohs and aahs around the dinner table.  It has always been on my mind to cook this. However, nothing materialised until I decided to make my own salted duck eggs a month back. When the eggs were ready, I started searching for recipes to use it up.

Prawns With Creamy Salted Egg Yolks Sauce

A little googling brought me to Lia's Food Journey blog. It looked closest to the dish I wanted to recreate. I made a couple of changes to suit my palate, of course.

The result is this dreamy salty-sweetish prawn dish that had us licking the plate clean!

Prawns With Creamy Salted Egg Yolks Sauce

- 330g prawns (deveined)
- 5 salted duck egg yolks (steamed and mashed with a fork)
- 4 cloves garlic (pounded)
- 1 red chilli (sliced)
- 6 dried or fresh kaffir lime leaves (optional)
- 45g butter
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 2½ tsp sugar (to taste)

For frying:
- 4 tbsp corn flour
- 1 beaten egg
- 4 tbsp cooking oil


1) Dip prawns in beaten egg, then coat with corn flour. Pan-fry in cooking oil until just done. Remove prawns from pan.
2) Leave about 1 tbsp of the cooking oil in the same pan (spoon out excess). Add butter and garlic. Saute until the butter is melted.
3) Add kaffir lime leaves and the mashed egg yolks. Stir to combine.
4) Then, add evaporated milk and sugar (to taste). Stir until creamy. The sauce is done. Lower the heat or switch it off.
5) Add the prawns back into the pan along with slices of red chilli. Stir until the prawns are all coated with the sauce.

1) The ingredients. 2) Dip prawns in egg and coat with corn flour.
3) Pan-fry the prawns. 4) Heat butter, saute garlic in pan for the sauce.
5) Add mashed salted eggs and kaffir lime leaves. 6) Stir quickly.
7) Add evaporated milk. 8) Finally, mix the prawns together.

There you go. Best eaten with rice!

Prawns With Creamy Salted Egg Yolks Sauce


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Garlic Chives Mee Hoon Kueh


The Hokkiens call it Mee Hoon Kueh, the Hakkas know it as Pan Mee. These are easy handmade noodles that can be prepared anytime using basic ingredients that are found in most Malaysian households.

Garlic Chives Mee Hoon Kueh

Generally, the Hakkas' method of making this is to cut the noodles into straight flat strands using a wooden block. Hence, the name Pan Mee (Board Noodles). This was how it was done in the old days. Fast forward now, the term is used less strictly with Pan Mee sellers offering a choice of hand-torn noodles too.

Wikipedia provided an excellent answer to my curiosity :
"The current style is a mix between the traditional methods of Hakka and Hokkien. The Hakka initially made the noodle by shaving off a dough, whilst the Hokkien would roll the dough into a flat piece then hand-tear into bite-size."

I learnt to make these hand-torn noodles through an old home cooking magazine I was subscribing to in the 1990s, adding my own twist with chopped garlic chives. Lack of a perfectionist state of mind leaves my mee hoon kueh less prettily shaped. However, there was no compromise on the texture and the taste. I conclude - don't worry about how it looks!

Garlic Chives Mee Hoon Kueh

2-Person Portion

For the noodles
- 165g Tesco enriched wheat flour
- 1½ tbsp chopped garlic chives / kucai
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)
- ½ tbsp corn flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 60ml water


1) In a bowl, mix flour, corn flour and salt together.
2) Add the wet ingredients, that is, the egg and oil.
3) Knead into a dough, adding just enough water for all the ingredients to come together.
(I added about 60ml water).

4) Rest the dough for ½ an hour.

Optional: Immerse the dough in water for about 4-5 hours to remove some of the gluten in the flour.
Pour the water away and rinse the excess flour out by kneading the dough under light running water (no need to be thorough). The dough will be wet and springy.

5) Knead the chopped garlic chives in. The mee hoon kueh is now ready for use.
6) Blanch the mee hoon kueh in hot water before adding it into soups.

Boil a pot of water. Oil or wet your fingers. Pinch a small portion of the dough into the pot of hot water. Cook for a couple of minutes or more until done. Strain the water away and add the noodles into soup of choice. Alternatively, just cook the noodles together with the soup.

1) Flour, corn flour, salt, egg and oil. 2) Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients.
3) Use your hand to bring the dough together. 4) Knead.
5) Immerse in water. 6) Add in garlic chives.
7) Springy dough. 8) A cooked mee hoon kueh.

Tip: Soup isn't the only way to enjoy mee hoon kueh. It can be 'dry' (as we call it), flavoured with a mixture of soy sauces and chilli..

I had my mee hoon kueh the typical way, that is, with anchovies soup. For the greens - since I was growing some Pak Choi in my little garden, I plucked a few leaves to go with it.

For the soup

- ¼ cup dried anchovies (Bilis Jepun/Japanese Anchovy. Rinsed.)
- 2 dried black fungus (Soak in water until rehydrated - about 30 mins. Slice thinly.)
- 3 dried mushrooms (Soak in water until rehydrated - about ½ day. Slice thinly.)
- 6 Pak Choi/Bok Choy leaves or more
- A pinch of Knorr Ikan Bilis stock cube
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Water

- A handful of crisp fried onions
- A handful of crisp fried anchovies
- 1 red chilli (sliced thinly)

1) In a deep pot, bring 1.5L water to a boil.
2) Add mushrooms, black fungus and dried anchovies along with a pinch of anchovies seasoning cube. Cook on medium heat for at least 5 minutes. Taste and season accordingly with salt and white pepper. Cook for a further couple of minutes or so to allow the flavours to come together.
3) Finally, stir the pak choi greens in.
4) Place the cooked mee hoon kueh into serving bowls. Pour the anchovies soup in along with mushrooms, the greens and black fungus. Garnish with fried anchovies, slices of red chilli and fried onions.

Note: The soup was done in about 10 minutes.

1) The ingredients for the soup. 2) Boil it all. Easy-peasy!
3) Serve garnished with fried onions, chilli and ..

Garlic Chives Mee Hoon Kueh topped with Crisp Fried Anchovies!

There are several mee hoon kueh recipes on the net with small variations in the method and ingredients, mostly made through a perspective of personal preference. This is a recipe I tried and tweaked out of a magazine and am pleased to report that it rocks!

Garlic Chives Mee Hoon Kueh. Eat!


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Baked Eggs With Sardines And Cabbage


It was supposed to be a tart.  A dreamy Diana Henry creation of pastry topped with sardines, except that I had planned on adding vegetables and a slice of lemon on the side. As it happened, nothing turned out the way it was visualised in my mind - I didn't have the necessary ingredients on hand.

My plans to go grocery-shopping and to meet a friend to drop off the BBQ set I had given away was thwarted by car trouble. The old sweetheart wouldn't crank up.  There you go, a kink in my otherwise perfect morning.

Baked Eggs With Sardines And Cabbage

So, eggs were used instead and a sunshiny dish was born to bring cheer to an otherwise gloomy-weather day. Someone said it looked like pizza. Surely a good looking one?

Baked Eggs With Sardines And Cabbage

- 6 small fresh sardines
- 6 eggs
- 1 red chilli (sliced)
- 2 cups sliced cabbage
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Black pepper (several dashes)
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- An 11" round baking dish


1) Brush cooking oil around the baking dish.
2) Lay the cabbage inside.
3) Beat egg with salt. Pour it around the cabbage.
4) Rub sardines with a bit of salt and place on top of egg/cabbage mixture.
5) Sprinkle chilli slices on top and finish with several dashes of black pepper.
6) Bake at 175C for about 25 minutes.
(Note: Baking time will vary depending on your oven and type of pan.)

1) Lay the cabbage into the dish. 2) Pour beaten egg over.
3) Place sardines on top, decorate with slices of chilli and dashes of black pepper.
4) Bake until the fish is cooked. 5) It's done!

Baked Eggs With Sardines And Cabbage

Best eaten on its own paired with ketchup or sauce of preference.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Braised Chicken With Olive Vegetable


A dash of salt, white pepper and some chopped garlic is how I regularly stir-fry vegetables. Things became a little more interesting when I started exploring beyond the norm, trying out various condiments available in our supermarket.

One of it was a jar of Olive Vegetable. This, I discovered, is really chopped mustard greens with olives and not leaves from olive trees per se as I had initially thought from the name on the jar label. Anyway, it is from then on that I have begun flavouring my french bean stir-fries this way - a teaspoonful of olive vegetable for a plate. A brilliant way to add taste to a dish without the usual seasoning.

I discovered from the world wide web that it's delicious in fried rice too, but I have yet to try this. Instead, I went further with a braised chicken dish. It turned out to be a finger-licking experiment and I am glad that I made extra!

Does this not look yummy?

Braised Chicken With Olive Vegetable

Braised Chicken With Olive Vegetable

- 8 chicken wings (slice into two, that is, separate drumettes from wingettes/tips)
- 8 cloves garlic (pounded with pestle in a mortar)
- 1 red chilli (sliced)
- 3 tbsp Singlong Olive Vegetable (using a strainer, drain oil from vegetables, keep oil aside)
- ½ tbsp corn flour (with 1 tbsp water stirred in)
- 2 cups water
- Pinch of salt (optional)


1) Heat olive vegetables oil (just the oil!) in pan.
2) Pan-fry the chicken pieces in medium heat until lightly browned.
3) Push the chicken aside. Add garlic and saute for a bit before stirring it together with the chicken.
4) Then add olive vegetables. Stir- fry.
5) Add water, turn the heat up and bring to a simmer. Cook on low heat with the lid on but slightly uncovered.
6) Once the chicken is done (about 15minutes), remove the lid and cook uncovered on high heat until the liquid is reduced by half. Taste and if necessary, season with salt.
7) Switch the heat off. Add the slices of chilli and thicken the sauce with the corn flour mixture. Stir to combine. Done!

Best eaten with fluffy white rice.

1) Chicken, Garlic, Chilli, Olive Vegetables + Oil.
2) Pan-fry the chicken, then saute the garlic.
3) Add olive vegetables. 4) Add water and simmer.
5) Lastly, add slices of chilli and thicken with corn flour.
6) Braised Chicken With Olive Vegetable .. Done!

Braised Chicken With Olive Vegetable. Yum with rice!

There you go, an easy recipe!


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Pan-Fried Lamb Shoulder Chops With Strawberries


Selamat Hari Raya to our Muslim blog readers!

6 July marks the end of the fasting month for 2016. I will miss the vibrant Ramadhan Bazaars that were aplenty in my neighbourhood. However, the food scene is no less quieter with makeshift lemang stalls popping up along the roadside, Raya cookies and dodol which we received from friends. Lemang is coconut milk glutinous rice cooked in a bamboo stick over an open fire. I'm aiming to get some this weekend.

This blog post is nothing to do with local food, however. I thought it'd be a nice change to have lamb for dinner after a month of feasting on traditional eats. It was paired with small strawberries which I bought for a bargain at a supermarket. 'Tis the belt-tightening season. Funnily, it's not just about the finances. My waistline is waging a war with burgeoning love handles. That said, I wish I'd gotten more of the strawberries; it would have been beautiful in a fruit tart too.

Pan-Fried Lamb Shoulder Chops With Strawberries

Pan-Fried Lamb Shoulder Chops With Strawberries
- 340g Lamb Shoulder Chops (or 3 pcs)
- 150g small fresh strawberries (leaves removed)
- 2 kiwi fruits (cubed)
- 2 shallots (sliced)
- 3 stalks lemongrass (smashed)
- ½ tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp coarse salt
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp sugar or to taste
- A dash of black pepper
- 1 tsp corn flour (mix in 1 tbsp water)
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- About ¼ cup water

- Some boiled broccoli or vegetable of choice, butter and salt (toss together) .

1) Rub the lamb with coarse salt. Leave aside for about 15 minutes.
2) Boil some broccoli florets in a pot of water. Dunk the boiled broccoli into cool water to stop the cooking process. Immediately toss in butter and a sprinkle of salt. Keep aside.
3) Rinse the salt away from the lamb cuts. Rub on ground nutmeg and cumin seeds.
4) Heat cooking oil in pan. Place the smashed lemongrass into the pan and the lamb cuts on top of it. Pan-fry the meat for a couple of minutes on each side or to a level of doneness of preference. Then, remove the cooked lamb cuts from the pan and leave aside to prepare the sauce.
5) Using the same pan, splash in a tbsp or two of water. Add the onions. Stir-fry it for a bit before adding the kiwi fruit.
6) Cook the kiwi fruit until it looks a little smashed. Add sugar, a little water and a dash of black pepper. Stir to combine.
7) Add the strawberries. Cook until slightly tender.
8) Finally, switch the heat off and stir the corn flour in to thicken the sauce. Add more water if you find the sauce too gooey.
9) Plate the lamb and pour the strawberry-kiwi sauce over. Serve immediately with vegetable of choice.

1) The Ingredients. 2) Pan-fry the spiced lamb pieces.
3) Cook to a level of doneness that is to your liking. 4) Prepare the strawberry sauce.

Taste-wise, the tangy sweet-savoury strawberry-kiwi fruit sauce went very well with the salted spiced lamb.

Pan-Fried Lamb Shoulder Chops With Strawberries

I've never been one to shy away from experimenting with new flavours. This one worked out wonderful for me.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Food Discovery : Ramadhan Bazaar, Jalan Kuching (Kuala Lumpur)


It is the fasting month for Muslims all over the world. The breaking of fast is called 'Berbuka Puasa' in Malay. In Malaysia, Ramadhan Bazaars or PARAM (Pasar Ramadan) as we call it for short, begins at 4PM daily around many locations all over the country. This goes on for a month until Hari Raya (Celebration Day) marking the conclusion of fasting days. Ramadhan Bazaars are a food haven for those keen to try local food creations and more traditional eats.

One of my favourite bazaars is the one located along Jalan Kuching. Roaring with smoke from grills and huge pots of boiling soup, the place is lively with folks taking their time to scour stalls for food to buka puasa and then there's us, the makan (eating) enthusiasts joining the fun.

"Haaa...mari, mari! " Come, come, the food vendors call out to us to visit their stall.

Bazaar Ramadhan, Jalan Kuching

Murtabak Maggi
One of the more exciting finds at the bazaar. It's basically a pancake of Maggi instant noodles cooked with meat, vegetables and egg. The recipe can be found here at Maggi's website in case you're keen to try it out.

Maggi Murtabak, Bazaar Ramadhan Jalan Kuching

Kuih Lompat Tikam
The green layer is made from rice flour and pandan extract, the white layer from coconut milk and the red/pink layer consists of lightly salted sticky rice. A bit of food colouring is used. The whole combination is plain tasting -  the flavour comes from the sweet syrup of gula melaka (palm sugar) which is poured over just before serving.

Lompat Tikam, translated literally, means 'Jump Stab'. Folklore has it that long ago, the Sultan of Kelantan was presented with trays of sweetmeats as a gift from another kingdom. It was an elaborate occasion and one of the maidens carrying the tray tripped. This caught the Sultan by surprise, accidentally stabbing her in the process. In memory of the incident, the kuih was named as such.(Source: Kelab Pencinta Sejarah Kelantan)

Kuih Lompat Tikam

Roti John
This is a a long piece of bread (soft French loaf) filled with an omelette of minced meat and onions. There are many variations to the filling - Generally, it is onions and minced meat sauteed on a flat pan. Beaten egg is then poured over and a slice of cut open bread is slapped on top. Once cooked, the omelette would have stuck onto the bread. This is flipped over and followed by a drizzle of chilli sauce or mayonaise.

There's a funny tale as to how this bread masterpiece got its name. It seems that in the 1960s, an Englishman named John asked a Malay hawker if he sold hamburgers. He didn't of course but with a bit of ingenuity, he created this and it was coined Roti John (John's Bread). More about Roti John here.

Roti John

Kuih Tepung Gomak / Abok-Abok
This kuih (sweetmeat), popular in Kelantan and Trengganu, is a sticky cake that is made from glutinous rice flour and filled with grated fresh coconut mixed with brown sugar or gula melaka (palm sugar). The outer layer  is usually coated with ground roasted mung beans.

Kuih Tepung Gomak

Pictured below:
Fried Popiah
(spring rolls)
- a deep fried vegetable wrap that is rolled in chilli sauce with crushed peanuts sprinkled over.
Kuih Bakar - a baked custard-like cake.
Bubur Kacang Hijau - sweet mung bean dessert in coconut milk.
Bubur Lambuk - a savoury porridge of meat, coconut, herbs and spices.

1) Fried Popiah 2) Kuih Bakar Pandan
3) Bubur Kacang Hijau 4) Bubur Lambuk

Besides cakes, snacks and meat barbecues, one can also find an array of rice and noodle dishes.

This beef noodles soup seller is a regular at Jalan Kuching's Ramadhan Bazaar. The Soto Daging comes with a packet of yellow rice vermicelli with cooked beef, spicy soy sauce chilli and beef soup.

Beef and Parts

Drink stalls like the below are a common sight. The varieties are interesting ranging from blue lemon, calamondin lime with preserved plums, yam, dried longan and grass jelly.

Drink Stalls

That ends my walk at Jalan Kuching's Ramadhan Bazaar. I bought more than I needed, promptly sharing it away with friends. For more on local kuihs, click here to read our 2014 blog post on Ramadhan Bazaars.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Oven-Roasted Baby Potatoes With Curried Pumpkin


I've probably mentioned several times on this blog that we're rice-eating people. Occasionally, I break out of the norm with just potatoes and meat. This is more of a side dish. I needed something to pair with plain roasted chicken.

Oven-Roasted Baby Potatoes With Curried Pumpkin

The dish is simply flavoured but no less delicious with pork lard and dried spices to amp things up just a bit.

Oven-Roasted Baby Potatoes With Curried Pumpkin
For the potatoes -
- 350g baby/cocktail potatoes
- 1/8 tsp chilli flakes
- 1/8 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tbsp melted pork lard
- Some fresh coriander (chopped)
1) Mix all the above together (except the coriander). Bake until done. It took about 40minutes at 180C for me. Use a skewer to check.
2) Serve garnished with fresh coriander.

For the pumpkin -
- 360g pumpkin (remove seeds, wash but leave the skin on)
- 1 yellow onion
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp Alagappa's meat curry powder (mix with a bit of water into a thick paste)
- 2 dried cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 tbsp cooking oil
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- Some water
- Pinch of Knorr chicken stock cube
- Salt to taste

1) Steam the pumpkin until cooked. Spoon the flesh away from the skin and leave aside.
2) Blend the onion and garlic. Use a bit of water to get it going, if necessary.
3) Heat cooking oil in pan. Add the blended onion/garlic. Saute until just fragrant.
4) Add the spices and curry powder. Stir for a minute before adding the pumpkin in.
5) Then add ¼ cup water, pinch of chicken cube and salt to taste. Cook into a thick paste.
6) Switch the heat off, stir the coconut milk in. Let it cook for a bit before dishing out.

1) Potatoes, Chilli Flakes, Pork Lard.
2) Mix all the ingredients in 1) and bake!
3) Steamed Pumpkin, Curry Paste and Blended Onion/Garlic.
4) Saute the onion/garlic, add the curry paste and spices.
5) Add the pumpkin.
6) Stir the coconut milk in last. Cook into a thick paste.

Oven-Roasted Baby Potatoes With Curried Pumpkin

Serve as a side dish with chicken, topped with roasted potatoes.

Oven-Roasted Baby Potatoes With Curried Pumpkin and Chicken

There was way too much pumpkin for two people, so I had whatever was left over for breakfast the next morning. The basics -- spread the curried pumpkin onto an oven-proof plate, make a hole in the center and break an egg in. Then, bake until the egg is done.

Curried Pumpkin With Egg


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Chrysanthemum Greens With Shrimp Paste (Stir-Fry)


I make it a point to include vegetables into every meal, breakfast being the exception. It's always a hot chocolate malt drink in the morning, occasionally a pastry and then off we go to work or start on our chores. Guilty as charged for rushing through the most important meal of the day!

Tong Ho or Chrysanthemum Greens as I know it, is one of the many leafy vegetables that receives a lot of love in this household, in the nom nom sense, that is! I would describe the taste as tangy, with a faint peppery flavour plus just a tinge of bitterness coming across.

Chrysanthemum Greens With Dried Shrimps and Shrimp Paste

This vegetable wilts quickly during cooking. It's best to have everything prepared and close at hand.

Chrysanthemum Greens With Shrimp Paste (Stir-Fry)

- 200g Chrysanthemum Greens
- 4 cloves garlic (pounded)
- 1 red chilli (sliced)
- 1 tbsp dried shrimps (rinsed and pounded)
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- 4 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp cooking oil


1) Heat oil in pan.
2) Saute garlic and shrimp paste for a bit.
3) Add dried shrimps and chilli. Stir-fry.
4) Add water and then the greens. Stir-fry.
5) Once the greens wilt, it's done!

Note: I didn't have to season this with salt. The dried shrimps provided enough saltiness.

1) Chrysanthemum Greens. 2) Pounded Garlic and Dried Shrimps.
3) Saute garlic and shrimp paste. 4) Add chilli and dried shrimps.
5) Add the greens and some water.

Best eaten with plain rice.

Chrysanthemum Greens With Shrimp Paste


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Chicken Satay Pizza - The Shortcut!


This is easy to make and especially so if you're living in Malaysia where good chicken satay is sold everywhere. Oh, the convenience!

Lightly charred skewered chicken pieces, grilled over hot charcoal, is the stuff of heaven for locals. The meat is marinated in a blend of herbs and spices usually consisting of lemongrass, ginger, galangal, cumin seeds, fennel and turmeric making it delightfully flavourful.

If you're looking for a shortcut to a delicious meal, then this recipe is for you. It's something you make when you're not up to doing a whole lot of work for good-tasting pizza. 

My husband enthused after trying this once, "We should think about stocking up on pizza dough ...just in case." I don't think I need to elaborate on what he means by 'just in case'. It looks like pizza dough is going to be a regular grocery purchase, and we'll be ordering satay takeaways more often!

Chicken Satay Pizza

Chicken satay is typically sold (in Malaysia at least) with spicy peanut gravy, fresh cucumber and onions included. This is all you need to make the pizza topping. For best results, use thick peanut sauce.

Chicken Satay Pizza

- 1pc 9" ready-made pizza dough/base (I went with Tricious)
- 8 sticks grilled chicken satay (remove meat from skewers) + thick spicy peanut sauce, fresh onions and cucumber
- ½ packet Family Favourites 150g pizza topping with mozzarella
- 1 red chilli (sliced)
- 1 green chilli (sliced)

1) Place pizza dough onto a piece of baking paper. Spread the spicy peanut sauce on top (scoop on more peanut than the liquid.).
2) Top with with chicken satay pieces, the onions, red chilli and green chilli.
3) Finally, sprinkle grated mozzarella pizza topping around.
4) Bake in a pre-heated oven according to instructions on the pizza base box. 
5) Eat with chilled cucumbers on the side!

Don't thank me for being a genius. The credit goes to my close friend Sharmini Segari, who shared the idea with members in our cooking group some three years ago.

1) The Ingredients 2) Spread satay sauce on
3) Top with chicken, onion, chilli 4) Sprinkle grated mozzarella around
5) Bake in the oven!

Best enjoyed with friends and family!

Chicken Satay Pizza


Friday, May 13, 2016

Food Discovery : Rice Crunch, Sekinchan


Sekinchan, a small fishing village in Peninsular Malaysia, is famed not only for its fresh seafood and handmade snacks but also for its picturesque paddy fields.

Throngs of local tourists flood here during school holidays. The landscape is most beautiful when the paddy plants are at the beginning of flowering stage, carpeting fields with lush greenery. It is a view that relaxes tense shoulders, a sight that will remain in fond memory for a long time.

I could go on and on about the wonderment of standing in the middle of a paddy field but this post is about a delicious rice snack that I purchased from a stall located behind Sekinchan's well known paddy processing factory. Just because this is a haunt for day-trippers, it doesn't mean it's less special or 'overrated', a label synonymous with anything touristy. For every bite I took, there was a yearning for another. That's the trouble with yummy food. It's hard to stop eating!

Delicious Bubble Rice Cracker Hot Off The Wok!

These snacks were made on the spot. Rice Crunch is the name it is packaged under. To us, it is also known as Bubble Rice Crackers or Rice Bubble Bars.

Two cheerful men, seasoned with making bubble rice crackers, made short work of the snack. They were used to gawking tourists, evident from the way they paid no heed to our clicking cameras. I was amazed by their speed, from cooking to slicing! They worked together in perfect harmony. If only this spirit of teamwork was embodied in every layer of society.

You must be curious as to why I'm singing high praises of this rice snack; It's common, can't be said to match the uniqueness of a cronut nor it is as visually exciting as macarons.

I'm impressed because I have never taken a huge liking to bubble rice crackers before. Overly sticky and sweet rounds up my limited experience. This one, however, is flavoured just right and the delicate puffed rice, held together with a bit of syrup, offers a pleasant crunch with less gooeyness. Great texture! Peanuts and sesame seeds add to the palatable experience.

Here's a small look at how this is made.

Bubble Rice Crackers In The Making

It starts with syrup fried in oil. Once the mixture begins to thicken, sesame seeds and peanuts are added. After a good stir, a bucket of puffed rice was poured in. It is mixed up very quickly as you can see from the video above. Finally, it is transferred into a rectangular tray for shaping.

The bubble rice mixture is pressed into the tray with a heavy stone rolling pin.Then, the tray is turned upside down - a wide rice bubble 'cake' pops out and it is ready to be cut. A chopper is used to slice it into bite-sized pieces.

I purchased two packets. It was left unsealed since it was still very hot. The seller advised waiting until the rice bubble crackers had cooled before tying it up with the twist-ties provided.

Rice Bubble Bars / Crackers

The best thing about this snack? There's no artificial flavours, colouring or preservatives! Do I hear cheers?

Rice Crunch

The view behind the food stall.

Paddy Field and Factory, Sekinchan

Where to get this: At a food stall located across the road from the back entrance of PLS Marketing's Sekinchan Paddy Processing Factory. Visit for directions to this place.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Beer-Braised Pork Belly


There's something about beer that turns me on. Thinking about it lifts my spirits. That's silly, I know. I guess I love beer people; the ones I've met are generally a fun bunch. This image of carefreeness is most likely the reason I do things with much gusto when beer is involved. Or maybe it's just a bit of alcohol talking. 

A little beer in cooking does no harm. It's like adding coke into chicken. I'm infusing it into a pork belly dish here. It was so yum that I'm itching to cook this again, but as they say, you can't have too much of a good thing! It's a necessary evil to balance our meals out with healthier meat cuts. Pork belly is high in fat.

Beer-Braised Pork Belly

Although I like beer, I have never gone beyond a glass at any one time. I admit to being a lousy beer drinker, but I have always enjoyed things in small doses.

For this recipe, I went with Carlsberg - a light, pleasant beer. I didn't want it to overpower the dish, but to each her own is my take on this. Use any beer you like!

Beer-Braised Pork Belly

- 360g Pork Belly (sliced)
- 5 cloves garlic (pounded)
- ½ tbsp dark soy (thick, sweetish variety)
- 1 tbsp jaggery powder
- ⅛ tsp salt (preferably to taste)
- ½ cup beer (Carlberg)
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 to 2 red bird's eye chilli (thinly sliced)
and some spring onions (sliced) for garnishing


1) Mix pork belly with jaggery and dark soy. Leave aside.
2) Heat oil in pan. Pan-fry the pork pieces for a couple of minutes.
3) Add the garlic. Fry it for a bit.
4) Then pour the beer in along with some water. Cook covered on low heat for about 15 minutes.
5) Remove the cover and cook on high heat until the sauce is reduced to a glaze. At this point, the pork belly is sweetish. Season with salt for a savoury oomph!
6) Give it a good stir. It's done. Serve garnished with chilli and spring onion.

Best eaten fresh out of the pan, with rice or on its own. It's great with congee too.

1) The Ingredients 2) Add jaggery powder and dark soy onto the pork
3) Mix well and leave aside 4) Pan-fry the pork pieces before adding the garlic
5) Finally, pour the beer in!

Beer-Braised Pork Belly garnished with Bird's Eye Chilli and Spring Onion


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