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, February 27, 2013

Foil-Baked Herbal Chicken

Oh noooOoo.. there goes my decade-old crockpot! It tore at the rim just as I placed the heavy clay pot onto the heating base *sad*.

I was going to slow cook a herbal chicken dish for dinner but ended up using the oven, going the foil-wrap way. The meal turned out oh-so-yummy but then again, my lack of fussiness is surely a bane to food critiquing and any real assessment taste-wise. I have the genes of a regular mom (although I'm not one myself) when it comes to food and wastage.

This is my version of Foil-Baked Herbal Chicken. It's simple to prepare - just involves throwing everything together and leaving it to cook. The end result is tender chicken in a rich flavoured sweetish soup gravy.

Foil-Baked Herbal Chicken

- 4 chicken thigh pieces
- 2 large red dates (seeded and halved)
- 2 medium onions (quartered)
- A handful of solomon seal rhizome (yu zhu, pre-soaked an hour)
- A handful of fresh coriander (roughly cut)
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce stirred in 1-1½ cup water (largely depends on baking tray size)
- Pinch of salt and pepper

1. Rub a little salt and pepper on the chicken pieces.

2. Line the inside of the baking dish with foil. Spread chicken pieces, dates, onions, yu zhu on top. Pour diluted oyster sauce in at the sides (Add more water/sauce if you want more gravy).

3. Cover the top of the tray with foil, make it air-tight (to steam the chicken). Bake at 180C in a pre-heated oven for just about an hour. Leave to rest for another 15 minutes before opening the cover (Be careful - hot steam will gush out.)

4. Garnish with coriander and serve.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Egg and Mushrooms on Toast

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I'm no peanut butter and jam girl so making breakfast always requires a little more effort. You wouldn't want to be me if you're always rushing off for work early mornings.

Of course, there's always wonton noodles at that hawker stall round the corner or roti canai from my favourite mamak to save the day. How typically Asian of me!

My ideal b-r-e-a-k-f-a-s-t would be this:
A Toast to Captivating Breakfast
How I did it, roughly...

- 1 piece of bread
- 1 medium red onion (sliced)
- 4 fresh white button mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 small egg
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp dark sweet soy sauce
- Pinch of table salt and pepper
- Bacon bits (optional)
- Cooking oil

1. Heat oil in cooking pan. Add onions and mushrooms. Add oyster sauce and sweet soy sauce (and a little water if too dry). Do a quick stir-fry, making sure all the ingredients are coated with sauce. Remove from pan and leave to cool.

2. Lightly toast bread in a toaster. Then, place it on a baking tray. Arrange cooked onions and mushroom in a circle on the toasted bread making a small wall, leaving space in the middle for the egg. Crack egg onto the middle of the toast.

3. Bake this in a pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes at 180C or less (I would watch the oven).

4. To serve, sprinkle salt and pepper on egg. I added bacon bits because I felt like having some.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Soy Sauce Chili Dip (Cili Kicap)

Sliced chili in soy sauce? It can be found in almost every restaurant here because it makes a great accompaniment for the typical Malaysian rice or noodle dish. I think of it as our national dipping sauce.

In our home, it is also a must-have on the dinner table. Today, I was inspired to add a little twist to the simple recipe for extra oomph. It involves crushing all the ingredients together. The end result is a spicy piquant sweet, salty dip.

Here's my take, with the recipe included below.

Spicy Chili-Soy Dipping Sauce

- 1 red chili (sliced)
- 4 green bird's eye chili (sliced)
- 1 very small red onion (chopped)
- A pinch of fresh ginger

- 1/2 calamansi (seeded)
- 1/4 cup sweet saltish soy sauce (I use a local brand - "Cap Dua Ikan")

1. Using a mortar and pestle, roughly crush chili, onion and ginger together into small bits.
2. Once done, add soy sauce and squeeze calamansi juice into the mix. Stir well and serve.

Best eaten with rice dishes or as a batter-fried food dip (I'm thinking bananas, sweet potatoes, vegetables).

Crush, crush, crush!
Warning ~ known to increase appetite!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Stir Fried Water Apples with Squid and Cabbage

Water apples are known by many names. We call it wax jambu in my household.

I love cooking with fruits and had a little kitchen fun experimenting with water apples when a friend gave some to us.

Water apples aren't as sweet as most fruits but it is juicy so it makes more sense to stir fry it than to attempt baking it with something.

Anyway, here's what I did. Simple, but the outcome was tasty. My other half, the one person who has little love for this fruit has this to say ~ "I never knew water apples could taste this good!" I agree.

Stir Fried Water Apples with Squid and Cabbage

Estimates for two, best eaten with rice.

- 2 water apples (sliced thin)
- 1/2 small cabbage (sliced thin)
- 1 medium-sized Squid (sliced into ring-shaped sections)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 sprig spring onion (chopped)
- 1/2 tsp corn flour (diluted in 1 tbsp water)
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- Salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat oil in cooking pan. Add garlic and fry until lightly browned.

2. Add squid, water apples and cabbage. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Stir fry until water apples are slightly tender. Finish by stirring corn flour into the mix.

4. Garnish with spring onion before serving.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Lunar New Year "Happiness" Drink

I love Chinese New Year. It is a time which inspires us to cook with "auspicious meaning" in mind, usually involving food with similar sounding words that convey good wishes or messages.

For instance, the word Fatt Choy widely meaning 'prosperity wish' in Cantonese closely resembles the word Black Moss (also Fatt Choy) in the same language. For this reason, many Chinese include Fatt Choy into their New Year menu.

In our family, it is no different. On the first day of Chinese new Year, Tua Soh (eldest sister-in-law) prepares the "Happiness Drink" for our household. It is a sweet concoction of typical auspicious Chinese ingredients like the Pak Hup which is noted for unity, lotus seeds for fruitfulness, gingko nuts for wealth and so forth. The sweetness of the drink makes it a pleasant experience that keeps us happy. This is the message that it carries.

I share the recipe below, courtesy of Tua Soh. There are no quantifiable measurements for this recipe. You're free to follow your heart ~ the key is simply that it must be sweet and every cup served should contain at least one of each ingredient.

Happiness Drink

- Dried Lotus Seeds
- Gingko Nuts
- Pak Hup (Dried Magnolia Petals)
- Honey Dates
- Dried Longans
- Dried Red Dates (Cut in half and seeded)
- Cane sugar (To taste)

1. Boil dried lotus seeds, gingko nuts and pak hup together until tender. Then, drain away the water. We don't use this water because it is bitter. Leave aside.

2. Boil honey dates in sugared water, drain and leave aside.

3. To make the longan soup, boil dried longans with water (enough to serve the number of people required) for 3-4 minutes in a large pot. Add red dates and cane sugar. This will be the base of the drink because of the fragrant smell.

4. To serve, combine longan soup with ingredients from 1. and 2.

Pot of fragrant goodness

Yummy Honey Dates

I hope you enjoy this drink as much as I do.

Friday, February 1, 2013

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