Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Roast Chicken with lemon grass

While tidy up my kitchen cabinet with all my old and new recipes books yesterday, I saw a recipe which I have not been cooking for a long , long time.  today I am going to share this roast chicken recipe with you out there.

The recipe call for 1 whole chicken, I have to modify it because I have only about 500 grams of chicken breast meat.

For the whole chicken,

1/2 tsp. salt,
1/2 tsp. pepper,
1 tbsp. chili powder,
1/2 cup chopped lemon grass,
2 tbsp. chopped garlic,
2 tbsp. chopped onions,
1 tsp. lemon juice,
1/2 tsp. lemon zest,
1 tbsp. chopped parsley, (I used dried parsley),
3 tbsp. cooking oil.

Wash and let the chicken dry.   Use a knife to cut a few lines on the thicker parts of the chicken.  Rub salt, pepper and chili powder inside and outside of the whole chicken.  Marinate for at least for 3 hours or overnight will be better.
I marinate the chicken breasts at about 11 am, leave in the fridge until 6 pm.

At 5.30 pm, I remove the marinated chicken breasts from the fridge.  Then get all the ingredients chopped and ready to roast the chicken.  In a bowl, mix the oil and all the chopped ingredients , pour onto the marinated chicken,  bake in preheated oven of 220 degree C for 35 to 40 minutes (whole chicken).  Remember to turn the chicken during half of the time of roasting.
As I use chicken breasts, I turn the meat onto the other side after 10 minutes of roasting, and continue roasting for another 10 minutes.

Ooop... what happen to the other pieces of meat?  Before I can take the picture, my son was so attracted by the wonderful smell of the lemon grass roast, he has taken the whole piece of the meat before I notice it,,he..he... Ya, the meat is so nice, juicy and tender.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Benne cookies / sesame seeds cookies

Chinese New Year is just around the corner, just exactly one more month to go.  Chinese New Year will falls on the 31st of Jan. 2014.  Everyone will be as usual, busy with spring cleaning and busy baking cookies to welcome the year of the horse.

Every year I have been baking most of the same types of cookies.  I wanted to bake something different from the normal cookies.  I like sesame cookies, I have baked black and white sesame cookies for 2013 Chinese New Year.  I wanted something different!  Finally I found this sesame recipe, Benne cookies.  These cookies are a desert served during Kwanza (African-American heritage and culture) seven-day celebration and they represent the African belief that eating sesame seeds yields good luck.  So I will have to bake more for my family members, relatives and friends so they will have good luck too.

I  modified the original recipe by reducing the sugar and added some chopped walnuts.  I like the crunchiness of the walnuts.

the ingredients,

3/4 cup butter(softened)
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar,
2 eggs,
1/4 tsp. baking powder,
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour,
1 cup toasted sesame seeds,
1 tsp. vanilla extract,
1 tsp. lemon juice.
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 160 degree F.  Prepare parchment paper on baking sheets.

Cream the butter and the sugar until soft by a mixer.  Beat in egg one at a time.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder.  Add the dry ingredients to the batter mixture and mix well.


Stir in the toasted sesame seeds and chopped walnuts, vanilla essence and lemon juice.

Drop by teaspoon of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets.  Leaving space in between.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown.

Oh my...toasted sesame seeds smell wonderful.

Remove from the oven.  Let cool on the sheets for 10 to 15 minutes before taking off to cool further on wire racks.  Keep in airtight containers. 




Saturday, December 28, 2013

Chocolate chips cookies

My nieces from Myanmar loves chocolate chips cookies.  They requested me to bake this cookies for their New Year party, my son will take the cookies back to Myanmar.  No choice, since they love my chocolate chips cookies, I have to satisfy their taste buds then. They like my chocolate chips cookies because my cookies are crispy on the outside but is soft inside, compare with the others, the whole cookie is hard .

My ingredients for the cookies are,

1 cup butter(softened)
1 cup sugar,
1 cup packed brown sugar,
2 eggs,
2 tsp. vanilla extract,
3 cups all purpose flour,
1 tsp. baking powder,
2 tsp. hot water,
1/2 tsp.salt,
2 cups chocolate chips,
1 cup chopped walnuts.

Preheat the oven to 175 degree C.
Cream the butter and both the sugar until smooth in electric mixer.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Stir in vanilla extract.  At this junction, dissolve the baking powder in the hot water, add into the batter along with the salt.  Stir in the flour, chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.

 Drop by large spoonful (or teaspoon) of batter onto ungreased baking sheets.


 Bake for 12  to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Keep the baked cookies on the baking sheets for at least 10 minutes before removing to cool further.
Keep in airtight containers, these cookies keep well for a long time in the freeze.

Lotus root with dried cuttle fish soup

My eldest son is back from Myanmar for a short break, Christmas holiday.  He missed lotus root with dried cuttlefish soup.  As mother, I will cook whatever he missed, children who are away from home will always missed home cooked food.

I gathered all the ingredients,

800 g lotus root(from China),
300 g of chicken or pork,(par -boiled),
100 g peanuts,
8 red dates,
3 medium dried cuttlefish,
1.5 ml water,
salt to taste.

Soak the cuttlefish and red dates. In a soup pot bring the water to boil.  Wash and use a knife to scrape off the thin layer of skin of the lotus roots.
Cut the lotus into small pieces.  Wash and clean the red dates and cuttlefish.

Put all the ingredients in to the boiling water except the salt.  Turn the fire to low and simmer for 2 hours. I like the aromatic smell of the boiling cuttlefish, smell so good.
Add salt to taste.  Serve hot with rice.  My son had 2 big bowls of the soup. He really enjoyed it.

Friday, December 27, 2013


One day my son wanted me to buy some baguette from the supermarket.  I was thinking why not I learn to bake it myself.  I never like this bread because it is too hard for me.  Since my son like this bread, I will try to bake it.

The next thing I do is to on my laptop to hunt for easiest recipe I can get.  I went through a few different recipes and finally I settled with a recipe that shown in u-tube with instructions.  No knead baguette.

The ingredients,

1/4 tsp. yeast,
1 1/2 cups water,
1 3/4 tsp. salt,
4 cups all purpose flour.

In a bowl, put in the yeast and water.  Mix well by using a wooden spoon.  Add in salt and lastly the flour.  Keep on stirring and mixing until the ingredients no longer stick to the side of the bowl and form a dough.

 cover the dough with plastic and then a kitchen tower.  Let rise for 9 to 10 hours or until  double in turn off oven.
I mixed the dough at 6.30am .  The dough rose to double at 3pm.
Remove the dough from the bowl onto floured surface.  It might be a bit sticky.  Have some flour on your hands before handling the dough.  Meanwhile  prepare the baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle some flour on it.

divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Roll and stretch out from the centre into shapes.

Put onto floured baking sheet and cover with another floured plastic for 1 to 11/2 hour or until double.

Preheat oven to 280 degree C, put a bowl of water on the lower rack to create steam while baking.
Use scissor to cut slits of 1/2 inches deep at 45 degree angle 2 inches apart on each loaf.  Spray water on the loaf and put into the heated oven to bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Spray water for the first 5th and 10 minutes of baking.  Turn the baking sheet 180 degree at the 10th minjutes and continue baking for the next 10 minutes or until golden brown.

My first time bake baguette .  Very crispy on the crest and soft inside. M y son was very happy to see my success too.  He enjoyed the bread very much with home made garlic spread,

Soy sauce Fresh Water Prawns

We have been eating fresh water prawns in Tanjung Taulang (town of fresh water prawn) for many years. My husband and me love fresh water prawns a lot because of the texture, the juicylicious and rich taste in the head,and the crunchiness of the flesh can come close to those of the lobsters.  The most popular style of cooking here is fried prawns in soy sauce. Today I manage to buy 8medium size fresh water prawns from the fish monger.  though they are not swimming alive but still very fresh.

I washed and trimmed the long whiskers and legs, halved all of them diagonally and drained.  Sprinkle a pinch  of salt and dash of corn flour over the prawns.

This is a delicious yet simple recipe.

6 to 8 medium size fresh water prawns,
2 tbs. oil,
2  tbs.  good taste soy sauce,
2 tbs. chopped garlic,
1/2 tsp. sugar,
1 tbs. cooking wine/ shaoxing wine,
some chopped spring onion(garnishing)

Heat up wok with the oil, saute the chopped garlic until light brown. Add in the prawns, let fry for a while, about 1 minute.  Turn up the other sides of the prawns.  Fry for about another minute.  Add in soy sauce, sugar and the wine.  Have a few quick stir and try to use the wok turner press down each of the prawns.
Fry the first sides of the prawns.

turn the other side of the prawns

Garnish with chopped spring onions and chili.

You can try this recipe with regular prawns. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tau yew bak (braised pork belly in soy sauce)

My daughter is back from Melbourne, Australia.  Just like most of the Malaysian who were away from home country would craze for Malaysian food once they come back for holiday or just for a short visit.  Malaysia has the name of food paradise country.  Due to our mixed cultures of Chinese, Malay and Indians and many other races, local people here served a great varieties of food from our local cooking as well as cosines from other parts of the world.  My daughter would like to go for local hawker food and some famous restaurants too.  the most important and her favourite, she requested me to cook are ( o.o bak) tau yew bak/ braised pork belly in soy sauce, sweet sour soup, spring rolls and many more. 

Why call o.o bak?  This is the nick name given by my mother when she used to cook this dish for my 3 young little children,  (she take care of them until they go to primary school).  They love this dish to go with rice with the black sauce.

The ingredients are very simple.

500 g pork belly ( cut into small pieces),
4 cups of water,
1 pulp of garlic(lightly smashed with skin intact),
4 hard boiled eggs,
4 tbs. light soy sauce( I got this special sauce for this dish from Penang),
1 tbs. rock sugar,
2 tbs. dark soy sauce, (or more),
1 stick cinnamon,
1 tbs. oil.

Heat up oil in a sauce pan, fry garlic and cinnamon stick until aromatic smell.  Add in pork belly pieces and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add in water. 

When the water is boiled, add in boiled eggs, rock sugar, and the sauces.  Cover and turn down the heat to low and braise the pork for 30 to 40  minutes or until the pork is soft and tender.  The whole house is full of the aromatic of the cinnamon and garlic, smell so good.

OK.. o.o bak is ready!    Dinner time!   4 of us manage to finish the whole dish. Usually I will boil some noodle to mix  with the left over the next morning for my breakfast if there is any.  Add in some chili sauce, yummy yum.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Jiu Hu Char (fried shredded cuttlefish and yam bean)

Today I am going to prepare fried shredded cuttlefish and yam bean or in Hokkian is called Jiu Hu Char.  This is a must dish during most of the Chinese festivals during our younger days, like Chinese New year, Chap Goh Meh, Cheng Beng, Tong chik and so on.  In fact I like this dish very much . I used to cook this dish whenever I can get hold of the yam bean.
The ingredients are,

500 g yam bean,
1 medium carrot,
80 g shredded cuttlefish,
50 g dried prawn, soaked.
5 dried mushrooms, soaked and shredded,
chicken fillet or pork. shredded,
1 tsp. chopped garlic,
3 tbs. cooking oil
1 tsp. salt or to taste,
1 tsp. sugar,
1 tbs. dark soy sauce,
1/4 tsp. pepper.
Heat up oil and saute garlic until fragrant, add dried prawn and cuttlefish and fry until both begin to pop.  Continue stir fry for a few minutes.  Dish out and set aside.
With the left over oil, fry the chicken/pork and mushrooms until heated through. Add in yam bean and carrot.  Fry until soft and dry.

Mix in seasoning and return the pre-fried dry prawns and cuttlefish to the wok.  Continue to fry until
dry.  Scoop up onto a plate.

Serve jiu hu char with sambal belacan together with some lettuce leaves.  We will put some of the jiu hu char on a leave, fold up and dip into the chili sauce.  Mme...taste like our younger day's jiu hu char, those were the days.....unforgettable.


Mini Apple Pie

I used to like apple pie and I will go and buy a slice from nearby cake shop.  I never bake any apple pie because I found that apple pie is usually quite a big portion for most of the recipes.  I was very delighted when my friend share with me a mini apple pie recipe.  This recipe can make only 8 to 10 mini apple pies.  I gathered all the necessary ingredients and I bake the apple pies this morning.

The ingredients that I need are,

For the dough,
1/2cup of butter (softened),
1/2 tsp. salt,
2 cups of all purpose flour,
1/4 cup ice water.
1 egg(beaten) combine with 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tbs. water, for brushing.

Fro the filling,
2 tbs. butter,
2 cups apple,
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar,
1/4 tsp. cinnamon,
1/2 tsp. lemon juice,
1/4 tsp. lemon zest,
2 tbs. raisins(optional)

Core and dice the apples, add in the lemon zest and pour the lemon juice over the dices apples.   Melt the butter in a sauce pan.  Add in cored and diced apple and cook until soften,  about 5 to 10 minutes.

Add brown sugar and the raisins.  Cook and stir until the sugar is dissolved and the juices from the apples begin to thicken,  about 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove apples from heat, add in cinnamon powder and stir well.  Set aside.

Now, prepare the dough.  Combine the flour, salt and butter in a mixing bowl.  Mix together until crumby.  Add in the ice water and mix until dough is formed.

Using rolling pin to roll out the dough.  Using pastry or cookie cutter to cut 10 round (4')
Place cut dough on the greased baking sheet.  Top half of each round with a tablespoon of filling.  Fold opposite side.
Cut a small slit on top of each pie to vent the steam.
Brush the top of each pie with the egg mixture.
Bake pies in preheated oven of 170 degree C for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
When cool, just loosen with a spatula and they just come right out.

Though the pies are not very pretty, but the taste is good.  I will try and bake this pie again.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Steamed chicken with dried mushrooms

Today I am suppose to cook chicken stew, but my son suggested and he wish to have steam chicken rather then the stew chicken.  I change my menu to steam chicken.  This is a very simple and olden way of steaming chicken.  I learned this recipe from my mom since I was young.  The ingredients are simple as well.  I need

500 grams of chicken, chopped into serving size,
1 tsp. salt,
1 tsp. pepper,
6 dried mushrooms (soaked and sliced),
1 piece of old ginger( 2 inches, sliced)
2 tbsp. rice wine /(shio heng)

Wash the chicken and drain.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper for at least 1/2 hour in a bowl.  Put in the freeze. The chickens will more tasty if I season for overnight.  For I am going to serve for dinner, I mange to season for 7 hours from the morning till evening 6pm.  I will remove the chicken from the freeze at 5.30pm before I steam it at 6 pm.

Boil some water in a steamer or a wok.  Meanwhile, put in the ginger, mushrooms and the wine into the seasoned chicken.  Steam the combined ingredients for 20 to 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.  Serve hot with rice.

The chicken meats are well cooked and tender, and the essence from the steaming of the ingredients really yummy!