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, June 24, 2015

Squid In Coconut Milk (Spicy)


For as long as I can remember, we have always called this 'Sotong Masak Lemak'. Lemak, meaning 'fats' in the Malay language, refers to the coconut milk that is the key ingredient in a masak lemak recipe. Masak means cook and Sotong, is squid.

Although we (largely) speak English at home, no one would catch what it was exactly that I would be dishing out for dinner if I said I was cooking 'Squid In Coconut Milk' . Cue cricket sound, followed by a chorus of "Eww!". No whoops of yahoo or hooray until I say it in the name they are familiar with. It's similar to calling Kuih Kapit aka Love Letters a 'Clamped Snack'. The former sounds much better, of course. Some food names are best left untranslated in my opinion, but for blogging purposes, I try my best!

Squid In Creamy Coconut Milk - a little spicy!

Getting back to this yummy take on a local favourite - This dish is pretty common in our region because of our obsession with food laced with coconut milk and grated coconut. Pop into any Malay food stall and you'll see a variety of masak lemak dishes. I've made a creamier version, as you can see from the thickness of the gravy. This can be diluted with a bit more water, if that's your preference.

As I've added bird's eye chilli into the mix, this is a wee bit spicy. No heavy seasoning required as the gravy is already sweetish on it's own.

Squid In Coconut Milk (Spicy)

- 250g squid (sliced)
- 2 red chilli (sliced in the middle as shown below)
- 1 lemongrass (smashed)
- A small turmeric leaf or ½ a large leaf (thinly sliced, primary vein removed)
- 200ml coconut milk
- Some water
- Salt to taste

For the turmeric paste (ingredients to blend):
- 1 thumb fresh turmeric (roughly chopped)
- 7 green bird's eye chilli (deseeded)
- 3 medium red onions (roughly chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (roughly chopped)
- 1 lemongrass (thinly sliced)


1) Make turmeric paste. Blend ingredients listed above with ¼ cup coconut milk and ¼ cup water, until fine.

2) Heat pan on low. Pour in turmeric paste and add in the red chilli and smashed lemongrass. Simmer or cook on a low boil for several minutes to combine the flavour, and until the red chilli is slightly tender. Stir slowly, and continuously.

3) Add a little water into the blender (about 2 tbsp). Rinse out the remaining paste and pour this into the pan along with the remainder of the coconut milk. Add the turmeric leaf. Keep stirring and allow it to come to a low boil.

4) Add the squid. Season with salt. Stir until squid is done.

1) Ingredients required. 2) Blend the ingredients into a paste.
3) The paste turns into a nice orange-yellow thanks to the turmeric. 4) Cook the paste for several minutes.

1) Add coconut milk and turmeric leaf. 2) Add the squid.
3) Season with salt and it's done.

Squid In Coconut Milk (Spicy)

Squid In Creamy Coconut Milk- Great with rice!

Best eaten with rice. Could go yum with bread, but it isn't my favourite way.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Braised Pork With Pickles


Black vinegar pig trotter or pork knuckles has been a family favourite for generations. Along the line (I don't know how it happened or when exactly!), mixed pickles were introduced into the dish. It made sense since the ones we use are vinegar-based and therefore, produces a similar tasting dish. 

This version turned out so delicious that it has been used time and time again in replacement of the usual vinegar sauces that was once considered a must traditionally.

The recipe shared here is one that I had noted down as my aunt cooked. She flew into the city two months ago and has been staying with me since. My aunt volunteered to make this dish for us out of the blue and I jumped with glee at the thought of seeing the process first hand!  

Tadaa..! Does it not look gorgeous? We finished the whole pot in one meal!

Braised Pork With Pickles - A Vinegary Take!

Taste-wise, this dish is vinegary-sweet. Be warned that we lean towards sour. It's a personal preference. Adjust the sugar measurements to suit your palate.

Braised Pork With Pickles
Ingredients :
-  800g pork (400g pork belly, 400g pork knuckles - into pieces)
- 1 cup smashed old ginger
- 1 bottle 530g Nowka mixed pickles (or any other brand)
- 1 tbsp thick dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp black vinegar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar (or more)
- 2½ tbsp cooking oil
- 6 to 9 cups water

How-to :
1) Heat oil in large pot or pan.
2) Saute ginger for a minute or until lightly fragrant.
3) Add pork into the mix and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
4) Stir in thick soy sauce, salt and black vinegar. Mix well.
5) Add enough water to stew covered until meat is tender (this took us an hour or so with 9 cups water in an electrical cooker on medium heat).
6) Once the meat is tender, cook until sauce is reduced to 2-3 cups.
7) Add mixed pickles (pour in all contents). Stir in sugar (to taste). Cook for a minute to allow the flavours to settle in. That's all there is to it.

Best eaten with plain white rice in view of strong flavour.

1) Pork pieces 2) Smashed ginger
3) Mixed pickles 4) Sauteing ginger in cooking oil

1) Stir-frying pork and ginger 2) Adding thick soy sauce, salt and black vinegar
3) Add enough water to cook until tender 4) Cook covered
5) Add the pickles once meat is tender 6) Add sugar and stir until combined

Braised Pork With Pickles - Best eaten with plain rice!

Yummy Braised Pork With Pickles


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