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, May 25, 2016

Chrysanthemum Greens With Shrimp Paste (Stir-Fry)

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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)

Ingredients
- 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

How-to

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

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Chicken Satay Pizza - The Shortcut!

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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

Ingredients:
- 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
Optional
- 1 red chilli (sliced)
- 1 green chilli (sliced)

How-to:
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


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Friday, May 13, 2016

Food Discovery : Rice Crunch, Sekinchan

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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 http://www.sekinchan.org/paddy-processing-factory.html for directions to this place.

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Beer-Braised Pork Belly

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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

How-to:

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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