Sunday, December 26, 2010

Orange Cinnamon Marmalade

Ever since I started blogging I would bake Christmas goodies for family and friends. However this Christmas has changed my life around on a personal basis and because of this, I am keeping this year's celebration to a very low key. However I did decide to do something and it was to make marmalade jam. I had been wanting to try making jam in the early part of this year but had put it off. Why? I guess the logical part of me said why put so much time into it when buying a jar off the shelf isn't really that expensive.

The next time the idea crept into my head, which was a couple of weeks ago, I decided not to use the logical part of my brain. I went ahead to make this over a weekend. The marmalade turned out very well, only slightly bitter (as what a good marmalade should be) and not overly sweet as I had reduced the sugar content in this recipe.

Orange marmalade 1

Orange marmalade 2

Orange Cinnamon Marmalade
Makes about 8 cups
Recipe Adapted from


1 kg (about 5 small) oranges, scrubbed
300g (about 2 medium) lemons, scrubbed
9 cups water
1.1 kg sugar
3 cinnamon sticks about 2" length


1) Thinly slice half the oranges and all the lemons. Then cut them up long strips.

2) For the remaining oranges, slice off only the rind part, leaving behind the white parts around the flesh of the oranges (a bit of the white part on the rind is fine). Then remove only the flesh of the remaining oranges. Cut the orange rind into thin strips and chop up the flesh.

3) Remove all the seeds from the oranges and lemons, and reserve aside. Wrap seeds in muslin to form a pouch and tie with a long piece of unwaxed string.

4) Place oranges, lemons, cinnamon sticks and water into a large heavy-based saucepan. Place pouch in fruit mixture and tie the string to saucepan handle. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 2 1/2 hours or until citrus rind is very soft. Squeeze excess liquid from pouch and then remove the pouch.

5) Reduce heat to low, add the sugar and stir, without boiling, until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Boil, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until jam reaches setting point (105°C on sugar thermometer). To test, place a teaspoonful of jam on a cold saucer in the freezer for 2 minutes or until cooled to room temperature. Run a finger through the jam - if the surface wrinkles and the jam remains in 2 separate portions, it is ready.

5) Remove saucepan from heat and use a metal spoon to skim off any scum from the surface. Stand marmalade for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Ladle the marmalade into hot, sterilised jars (about 2-1itre [8-cup] capacity in total), seal and invert jars for 2 minutes. Turn jars upright and allow to cool. Label.


To sterilise jars, wash the jars and lids in warm soapy water and rinse well. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes. Transfer jars and lids to a baking tray lined with baking paper and place in preheated oven at 100°C until dry. Use jars straight from the oven.

The marmalade will keep, unopened, for a year in a cool, dark place. Once opened, store in the fridge for up to 3 months. You will need a 10cm-square piece of muslin and unwaxed string for this recipe.

Orange marmalade 3

Orange marmalade 4

Friday, December 17, 2010

Japanese Style Red Bean Swirl Bread

I've met a number of food bloggers who swear by the "tangzhong" method of making breads and so far I have only tried this one time when I was making buns for my Mini Sliders .

The texture of the bread is slightly different and lighter using the "tangzhong" method. However with all home-made breads, I always think it's best consumed on the day they are made. I decided to make a "sweet" loaf rather than "savoury" as I had some left over store bought red bean paste (for my Singapore readers, I bought it from Phoon Huat). I used to fear making bread because I had to do it by hand. I can never tell whether I would have kneaded it enough or not. But ever since I've gotten my KA, it's such a breeze. However do ensure that you have at least half a day set aside when making any yeasted goodies.

red bean bun 2

red bean bun 5

Japanese Style Red Bean Swirl Bread (Tangzhong Method)
Recipe Adapted from here

Ingredients of tangzhong (湯種 )
(Enough for 2 loafs of bread)

50gm/ 1/3 cup bread flour
250ml/ 1 cup water


1) Mix flour in water well without any lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon, whisk or spatula to prevent burning and sticking while you cook along the way.

2) The mixture becomes thicker and thicker. Once you notice some “lines” appear in the mixture for every stir you make with the spoon. It’s done. Remove from heat.

3) Transfer into a clean bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking onto the surface of tangzhong to prevent from drying up. Let cool. Chill in fridge for several hours before using. (The tangzhong can be stored up to a few days as long as it doesn't turn grey. If so, you need to discard and cook some more.)

Ingredients for the Bread:

350gm/ 2½ cups bread flour
55gm/3 Tbsp caster sugar
5gm/1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp milk powder (to increase fragrance, optional and can be omitted)
1/2 cup milk (I used low fat)
120gm tangzhong
2 tsp instant yeast
30gm/3 Tbsp butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)

Filling: Store bought red bean (azuki) paste


1) Combine all dry ingredients: flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the center.

2) Whisk and combine all wet ingredients: milk, egg and tangzhong, then add into the well of the dry ingredients. Knead until you get a dough shape and gluten has developed, then knead in the butter. The dough will be extremely sticky.

3) Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not sticky and elastic. (I added an additional 2 Tbsp of flour just to incorporate the dough). Knead about 12 mins if using KA.

4) Knead the dough into a ball shape. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel or cling wrap. Let it proof till it's doubled in size, about 40 - 60 mins.

5) Transfer to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide the dough into four equal portions (or more depending on your tin). Knead into ball shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 20 minutes.

6) Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape. Spread a thin layer of red bean paste, leaving a 1" border along the sides. The start to roll from the upper, shorter end down to the bottom (as you would a jelly roll). Tuck in the 2 ends and place into your tin, with the sealed end facing downwards. Repeat with the remaining dough.

7) Arrange the rolled-up dough in a greased or non-stick loaf tin. Leave to proof again for 40 mins or until dough has doubled in size.

8) Brush whisked egg on surface. Bake in a pre-heated 180C (356F) oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and tin. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Slice to serve or place in an airtight plastic bag or container once it's thoroughly cooled.

red bean bun 3

red bean bun 4

Saturday, December 11, 2010

An Evening at Merlion Park

I happened to be at Merlion Park on Wednesday evening and it was a wonderfully cool evening as well. I could not resist joining the tourists who were there snapping their cameras away. I too had brought mine along with my tripod and snapped along with the crowd. I had not been there for a very long time and took this opportunity to take in the sights of the Marina Bay area.

The Merlion Park is located near Marina Bay, Singapore. This park is a popular tourist attraction. At the Merlion Park, a 40 tonne statute of a creature which is half lion and half fish sprouts an endless jet of water from its jaws. This creature has become the famous landmark of Singapore, the Merlion.

merlion 5

merlion 7

Just behind the Merlion, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore could be seen. The Fullerton Hotel Singapore is a five-star boutique hotel located near the mouth of the Singapore River, in the Downtown Core of Central Area, Singapore. It was originally known as The Fullerton Building, and also as the General Post Office Building before being refurnished to become a hotel.

merlion 3

merlion 6

The famous structure of the Singapore Esplanade (or fondly known by Singaporeans as "The Durian" due to its roof which resembles the spikes of a local well loved fruit) is also another tourist feature which is nearby, You definitely cannot miss this building when you are at the Merlion Park. The Singapore Esplanade is the melting pot of arts, music and drama, where overseas and local performances are staged. The Esplanade is probably as significant as the Sydney Opera House is to Australia.

merlion 1

Nearby you would be able to see a few hotels namely the Pan Pacific Hotel and the Marina Mandarin Hotel.

merlion 8

Right across the Marina Bay is Marina Bay Sands. Developed by Las Vegas Sands, it is billed as the world's most expensive standalone casino property at S$8 billion, including cost of the prime land. Marina Bay Sands features three 55-storey hotel towers which were topped out in July 2009. The three towers are connected by a 1 hectare sky terrace on the roof, named Sands SkyPark.

merlion 2

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sticky Asian Chicken Drumlets

There's something about chicken wings or drumlets that make such great finger food. And you really do have to use your fingers to tackle this meal. This particular dish is definitely a "finger licking" experience and after eating a drumlet you would want to lick all the sauces off each and every one of your fingers.

I can honestly say that I didn't follow any recipe. In fact I just grabbed whatever sauce I had either in my refrigerator or on my countertop to create this marinade. So if you are like me, just be creative, throw a few sauces together to experiment and who knows you may end up with a real winner of a recipe!

Chicken drumlet 4

Sticky Asian Chicken Drumlets
Serves 3 - 4


20 pieces chicken drumlets
4 Tbsp terriyaki sauce
3 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp sweet Thai chilli sauce
1/2 tsp 5 spice powder (or use mixed spice)
1/2 tsp white pepper (or you could use black pepper)


1) Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the chicken drumlets which you would have cleaned earlier and patted dry. Marinate the drumlets for at least 2 hours or better still overnight in the refrigerator.

2) Once marinated, remove from refrigerator and leave to near room temperature. Heat oven to 190C. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the drumlets on the sheet. Brush the drumlets with the marinate sauce and set the remaining sauce aside.

3) Place drumlets in oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked. Turn the pieces mid way to baking and brush again with the marinate sauce. Return to oven. Begin to check after about 15 minutes, making sure they are browned. Just 5 minutes before the drumlets are thoroughly cooked, you can pour the remaining marinate on top of the drumlets, turn them around to coat with the sauce and place it back in the oven for a final browning.

chicken drumlet 3

Chicken drumlet 1

chicken drumlet 4

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Chinese Carrot Cake

The name of this dish is Chinese Carrot Cake. However contrary to its name, "carrot cake", this particular dish does not contain any carrots at all and is not a cake in the usual sense of the word. The "carrot" in this recipe is actually white radish or "lobak" in Chinese. It is a savoury dish rather than a sweet and you can usually find this in most dim sum eateries. It is also sold in hawker stalls in Singapore and Malaysia. I love this dish a lot and to me the ideal Chinese Carrot Cake should have lots of ingredients, be moist and soft and served with a delicious sauce.

lobak 2

lobak 3

Chinese Carrot Cake
Recipe adapted from "Our Favourite Recipes"


1 kg white radish (white lobak), shredded finely
300g yambean (bangkuang), shredded finely
350g rice flour
3 Tbsp cornflour
3 1/3 cup water
40g Chinese dried mushroom, soaked for 15 minutes, steams removed and sliced finely
60g dried prawns, roughly chopped
90g Chinese sausage (lap cheung) diced
60g lean pork, boiled and diced
Vegetable oil

For Garnishing:
4 shallots, sliced adn fried until golden brown
1 sprig coriander leaves, chopped finely
2 chillies, chopped finely


1) Heat 2 Tbsp oil in wok until hot. Fry mushroom, dried prawns, sausage and pork until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add salt to taste, remove and set aside.

2) Then add the shredded radish and yambean into the wok and fry, stirring continously, till dry.

3) Add the ingredients from (1) to radish and yambean mixture. Mix well and set aside.

4) In a large mixing bowl, mix rice flour and cornflour. Gradually add water to the mixture and stir well to form a paste.

5) Add all the fried ingredients from (3) to the paste.

6) Oil a round 10" tin. Pour mixture into the tin and steam for 1 hour. Test with skewer. When ready, the skewer should come out clean.

7) Sprinkle crispy shallots. chopped chillies and coriander leaves on top of the cake. Garnish immediately whilst still hot to allow the garnishing to stick to the cake.

8) Allow cake to cool slightly before cutting into slices or cubes. Serve warm with either chilli sauce or a sweet sauce. The remaining cake can be wrapped and refrigerated. Cut out serving portions as required and steam before eating.

lobak 4

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers

When we think about vegetarian meals in the past, the first thing that would have come to our minds would be boring! If we think about it in today's context, we probably would not be using this word at all. Vegetarian meals have certainly come a long ways, both in Western and Asian cuisine.

As with any diet, the key to a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet is to eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes. As I was reading the internet, I found the below information extracted from to be very interesting. It lists down the different nutritions found in a vegetarian diet.

For Protein

Tofu, tempeh, beans and peas, seeds and nuts, as well as mycoprotein (from fungi) are some of the foods highest in protein. Pasta and whole wheat breads are also good sources. Essential for cellular growth and repair, proteins play a crucial role in virtually all biological processes in the body. Plant-based sources of protein are lower in saturated fats--and often lower in total fat--than animal protein.

For Calcium

Broccoli, some green leafy vegetables (collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, and bok choy), and almonds and brazil nuts are good sources of calcium. Tofu made with calcium sulfate is also a good source, as are dried figs. Calcium is essential to bone health.

For Iron

Good sources of iron are spinach and turnip greens, whole grains (including whole wheat bread), black-eyed peas, lentils, peas, and some dried fruits (dried apricots, prunes, and raisins). Eating iron-rich foods with foods containing vitamin C can increase iron absorption: a few slices of tomato with your spinach salad can make a difference. Iron is needed by the body for the formation of blood.

For Zinc

White beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas, as well as wheat germ and pumpkin seeds are all good plant sources of zinc. Zinc helps the immune system function properly, and is estimated to be in thousands of proteins in the human body

Vitamin B12

Eggs and dairy products are good sources of vitamin B12. Fermented soy products, seaweeds, and algae such as spirulina have all been cited as containing significant B12. However, the B12 present in plant foods may not be in a form usable to humans, and so these foods should not be relied upon as safe sources. For this reason, many vegan foods are supplemented with B12. This vitamin helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells. It is also needed to help make DNA, the genetic material in all cells.

Chickpea burger 2

Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers
Recipe adapted from "Everyday with Rachel Ray"
Serves 4

One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 - 2 chipolate chilli, diced finely (alternatively you can use 1 fresh chilli)
1/3 cup packed chilantro leaves, then rougly chopped
1/3 cup packed basil leaves, then roughly chopped
2/3 cup bread crumbs
Salt and black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 thin slices cheddar cheese
4 hamburger buns
Dijon mustard, ketchup or mayonnaise, for serving


1) In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the cilantro, basil, bread crumbs and seasoning. Mix to incorporate all the ingredients. Then stir in the egg and form the mixture into 4 patties, each about 2/3 inch thick.

2) In a large skillet or grill pan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Cook the burgers for 4 minutes, then flip and cook for 3 minutes more. Top the patties with the cheese slices for the last minute of cooking. Serve the cheeseburgers on the hamburger buns with mustard, ketchup or mayonnaise. Garnish with sliced tomatoes and cucumber.

Chickpea burger 1

Chickpea burger 3

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Spiced Fish with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

I am now on the look out for simple recipes that can be easily prepared after a hard day's work in the office. I think most of us who work and have no time to prepare meals would usually eat out (as this is relatively easy to do in Asia), grab a meal from a fast food restaurant or the easiest, instant cup noodles. However there are surely days when you just want something prepared at home!

So to kick start a series of quick after work recipes, I am posting here a spiced fish dish that can be prepared in 30 minutes. Simple and delicious, and of course absolutely healty too!


Spiced Fish with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
Serves 6
Recipe Adapted from "After Work Cookbook"

Ingredients for the Fish:

6 x 180g firm white fish fillets (I used red snapper)
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp groud coriander
2 tsp finely grated lime zest (or lemon zest)
2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely minced
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt (or to taste)

For the Cucumber Yogurt Sauce:

2 cucumber (remove center core and seeds),grated (squeezed out the juice)
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1 1/2 tsp lime juice (or lemon juice)


1) Clean and pat dry the fish fillets. Combine the seasoning with the exception of the oil and rub onto the fillets. Leave aside for about 10 minutes to marinate. Whilst waiting prepare the yogurt sauce.

2) Heat oil in non-stick frying pan and cook the fillets in batches until browned on both sides and cooked through. Serve with the yogurt sauce on the side.

3) To make the yogurt sauce, combine all the ingredients together. Serve fish hot with a side salad.

Spicy fish 1


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

Who can resist a good old fashion peanut butter cookie .... and with chocolate chips as well! Not everyone that's for sure, unless you are allergic to nuts.

When I decided to make a batch of these cookies, I decided on a Western recipe instead. You'll probably stumped at this point of time .. huh Western recipe! I honestly think there are two versions to a peanut butter cookie. The Asian recipe which most of us associate with Chinese New Year. This recipe calls for unsalted roasted peanuts to be ground finely and then added to the cookie dough. It definitely does not have chocolate chips in the recipe. The Western recipe on the other hand just uses peanut butter straight from the jar. However the end result is pretty close in taste but I do think that the Chinese recipe does result in a more fragrant cookie.

PB Cookie 3

PB Cookie 5

Peanut Butter Cookies


1 1/4 cups plain flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
113g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup chunky peanut butter (you can use smooth if you want)
1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top of the cookies


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and the salt. Set aside.

2) In another bowl, beat in the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Then add in the the peanut butter and beat until smooth. Add egg and mix well. Then add the milk and the vanilla.

3) Slowly add the dry mixture into the batter in 2 or 3 additions. Beat until just mixed thoroughly (do not overbeat).

4) Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls of the cookie dough onto baking sheet lined with parchment. Leave about 1 inch between each cookie. Using a fork, lightly indent with a criss cross pattern. Sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top of each cookie.

5) Bake in pre-heated oven of 180C for about 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

PB Cookie 2

PB cookie 1

PB Cookie 4

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Basic Butter Cake

Would you believe me if I told you that I've never baked a plain old basic butter cake before? Well it's true! So when my girlfriend asked me to bake two small cakes for her this coming weekend, I knew I had to hunt for a recipe that would give me a moist buttery cake. I tried two different recipes over the week which were from published cook books. I even bought french butter specifically for this particular cake. Unfortunately both recipes did not give me an end result which I had eagerly anticipated.

I decided to try again and when I came across this recipe I decided to give it a try. I adapted the recipe slightly and also halved the ingredients to bake a 6" cake. And guess what, I struck gold this time round and they do say that third time is lucky! The cake was moist and soft, just like what a good tasting butter cake should be.

butter cake 3

Basic Butter Cake
Makes one round 20cm cake


250g unsalted butter
100g Sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs (separate the egg yolks and egg whites in 2 clean, dry bowls)
1 1/2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp grated orange zest
200g cake flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
80g sugar (to be added to the egg white)


1) Beat the butter and 100g sugar until light and creamy.

2) Add in the egg yolks one at a time and beat until creamy. Then add in the vanilla extract, orange zest and milk and beat until incorporated.

3) Fold in seived cake flour, baking powder and salt. Leave aside.

4) Whisk egg white until foamy. Then add in all the 80g sugar and beat until soft peaks.

5) Add the egg white in 2 separate additions into the cake batter. Gently fold in the egg whites. Do not overbeat the egg whites as it will result in a dry cake.

6) Pour into a 20 cm round tin which has been buttered and lined with parchment paper. Bake in pre-heated oven at 175C for about 45 mins or until cake skewer comes out clean. Do not overbake as it will dry out the cake.

butter cake 2

butter cake 1

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Creamy Curry Prawns

Having too much seafood is not good for your cholesterol level! That's what we always read in any health magazines. Well I say having it once in a while should be fine. The thing about having seafood is that you really, really must buy the freshest. Any seafood that isn't, be it fish, prawns or crabs, will end up totally destroying your entire dish.

So before you go out to buy your next batch of prawns, you should be looking out for:

* The shell of the prawns should be firm and glossy and not broken or slippery

* There should be no discolouration of the heads or the shells, as this is an indication that the meat is starting to go bad

* They should smell fresh and salty. Avoid if there is any hint of a smell of ammonia

* The eyes should be prominent and shiny and not shrunken inwards or missing

* If you are buying raw prawns, do not be put off if they are translucent or a different colour then the typical pink prawn. Prawns and shrimp only turn this colour once they have been cooked

Curry prawns 2

Creamy Curry Prawns
Recipe Adapted from "Women's Weekly - July 2010" Edition
Serves 4


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
30g unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
1 red chilli, sliced
1 1/2 tsp seafood curry powder
500g medium sized prawns, shelled with tail intact and deveined
2 stalks spring onions, sliced (extra for garnishing)
300ml thickened cream
Salt to taste


1) Heat oil and butter together in a large fyring pan over high fire. When the butter starts to bubble, turn fire to medium.

2) Add in the garlic and chilli and fry for 2 minutes.

3) Stir in the curry powder and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add prawns and spring onion and cook for 3 mins until prawns change colour.

4) Pour in the cream and bring to a boil. Reduce fire and cook for 1 - 2 mins, until sauce has thickened and prawns are cooked through. Season to taste with salt.

4) Serve immediately with a bowl of steaming white rice.

Curry prawn 1

Curry prawns 3

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thai Fried Rice with Clams and Holy Basil

When it comes to left-over white rice, it is astonishing what type of ingredients you could add to it to turn this into a simple fried rice dish. I would usually cook a Chinese fried rice version using Chinese sausages, frozen mixed vegetables and eggs. However this time round I wanted to do something different and be a bit more adventurous.

I decided on a Thai version using fresh basil as one of the key ingredients. So when I happened to be at my local supermarket buying groceries, I came across fresh white clams. I thought to myself “heh, how about some clams to go with the Thai fried rice! I could add some long beans as well.” I must confess that I had concocting this recipe as I was walking through the aisle in the supermarket. So with this in mind, I started to throw packs of ingredients into my shopping basket. If you are not into clams, you can use prawns or even chicken meat as substitute. And again if long beans are not your “thing” substitute with frozen mixed vegetables, peas, carrots, corn … or just do your own thing! The dish will still come out delicious.

Basil fried rice 1

Basil fried rice 2

Thai Fried Rice with Clams and Holy Basil
Serves 2


2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, roughly minced
1 ½ Tbsp of Thai chillie paste (found in local Asian groceries. Vary the chilli paste according to your taste)
2 cups heaped cold cooked rice
200g - 250g white clams, shell intact and thoroughly cleaned
1 ½ Tbsp fish sauce, or more to taste
¾ cup of long beans, chopped to ¼” thick
1/2 cup loosely packed Thai holy basil (regular basil ok)
2 medium sized eggs, lightly beaten
Dash of white pepper
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro and extra sprigs for decoration


1) In a wok or large skillet over medium fire, heat up the oil. Add the garlic and fry until lightly browned

2) Then add in the chilli paste and stir fry for about a minute. Add in the clams and basil leaves, and fry for about 2 minutes. Add the long beans and fry until slightly soften (not too soft). Add the cold rice and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes.

3) Add fish sauce and pepper. Then drizzle the beaten egg onto the rice and stir to mix well. Fry for another 1 to 2 minutes.

4) Finally add in the chopped fresh cilantro. Dish out warm and serve with lime wedges, Thai chillie sauce and cilantro for decoration.

Basil fried rice 3

Basil fried rice 4

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Coconut Tart

Coconut tarts have always been a favourite of mine since I was young. I would eat all the coconut filing first before finishing up the tart pastry. Call me weird alright but don’t you have a particular method of eating a favourite dish or dessert of yours that would seem odd by other people’s standards. I could name you more than a handful of my peculiar eating habits when young. For example, have you never had Milo drizzled with condensed milk. Then mix it all up on the back of a spoon to resemble a huge chocolate ball and literally licking it slowly like a lolly pop!

I don’t actually eat coconut tarts like I used to when young. As I grew up I started to eat the normal way but I still enjoy it as much I did years ago. This particular recipe is ever so easy to make. No mixer is required at all. In fact the tart shells can be made way beforehand and just thrown into the freezer. Whenever I feel like having a coconut tart, or any other tart, I would just take out a empty tart shell and proceed to fill it with my choice of filings. I have reduced the sugar content (as with all my other tried recipes) from the original recipe and find my adapted version to be most suited for my palate. The tarts are absolutely delicious on the day of baking but keeps well in the fridge for about to 5 days (I kid you not). Just pop them into a warm oven to crisp up the pastry a bit before consuming. Definitely a keepsake recipe in my books!

Coconut tart 2

Coconut Tart

Recipe for the Tart Shell.

For the Coconut Filling:
Makes about 7 tarts


50g butter
50g sugar
1 egg
25g plain flour (sift)
25g desiccated coconut
1/2 tsp vanilla essence


1) Cream butter and sugar until light. Then add in the egg (one at a time, if you are doubling the recipe) and mix well. Add the vanilla essence and mix.

2) Add in sifted flour all at once. Mix until all flour has been incorporated into the batter. Then add in the desiccated coconut. Stir in to mix until incorporated only. No need to over-mix.

3) Scoop mixture into unbaked tart shells. Bake the tarts in a preheated oven at 180C for about 18 - 20 minutes (depending on the size of your tart).

Coconut tart 1

Coconut tart 3

Friday, October 29, 2010

Five Spice Braised Pork Belly

I hardly ever cook pork at all in my kitchen simply because my late dear LT never liked eating it. I remembered when I made this particular dish, he said the house had such a "porky" smell and he kept covering his nose. In a way the smell was kind of "porky" in the beginning but once the spices started to develop into the dish, it was really quite fragrant. I simmered the pork belly for about 3 and a half hours and by the end of it's cooking time, the sauce had become very dark and thick.The meat was also very soft and smooth. In fact when I started slicing the pork belly, the meat was practically falling apart.

I decided to serve the slices of pork belly with steamed Chinese buns. I also added thin slices of cucumber and green spring onions. The buns were bought from a local supermarket and I steamed them first before adding the pork slices in-between each bun. This particular dish is now very popular in Chinese restaurants and you can also find food kiosks at local shopping malls selling them as well.

pork belly 1

pork belly 3

Five Spice Braised Pork Belly
Recipe adapted from Chez Pim
Serves 5 - 6


1.5 kg of pork belly with skin on (If you can find the belly with the rib bones attached, use it (rinse well and pat dry)
2" long knob of ginger, peeled, sliced thinlyand but into thin slices, lengthwise
1 1/2 Tbsp Five Spice powder
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 Tbsp cooking oil
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce (You can substitute 2 Tbsp regular soy sauce plus 1/2 tbsp brown sugar)
3 Tbsp soy sauce (plus more to taste)
1 piece of cinnamon stick, 2" in length
3 star anise
5 cloves
A small bunch of cilantro leaves for garnish.


1) Use a large dutch oven or heavy pot big enough to lay the pork belly insside.

2) Heat up the oil, then add the ginger and garlic. Then add the five spice powder and other spices. Cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant.

3) Then add the pork, skin side down over the garlic and spices.Add enough water to completely cover the belly and a bit more. Add the dark and light soy sauce.

4) Put the lid on the pot and turn the heat up to high and bring the pot to a boil. Skim any foamy scum from the top. Then, open the lid slightly, and let simmer over low heat for at least 3 hours (skim occasionally) or until the pork is falling off the bone tender.

5) Once the belly is ready, remove it from the pot. Then reduce the sauceto a thick, caramel like consistency.

6) To serve, warm back the pork belly. Slice it thinly and lay on a plate. Drizzle the gravy and garnish with sprigs of cilantro. Alternatively you can serve the pork belly slices with steamed Chinese buns.

pork belly 2

pork belly 4
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