Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Acar Timun Dengan Telur Puyuh, Spicy Pickled Vegetables With Quail Eggs

This is a wonderful vegetarian dish that I made to go with ayam masak kecap the previous night. Most Malaysians and Singaporeans should be quite familiar with one or more version of this pickled vegetables dish and this is one that I am partial to, it must be the quail eggs! This colourful dish is very addictive so do make a larger batch. You may serve it straight away or let it matures in sterilised jars for a few days.
P.S Perfect as a side dish for nasi lemak and it is wonderful to serve this with some prawn crackers.

serves 4 as part of a Malaysian meal
you'll need;
1 telegraph cucumber, peeled, seeded and thickly sliced at 3cm lengths
2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced at 3cm lengths
100 g of green/french beans, sliced at an angle to match the other two vegetables
20 quail eggs, hard boiled*
3 tbs of toasted sesame seeds
6 bird chillies, sliced lengthwise (optional)
6 tbs of white vinegar
5 tbs of sugar
salt to taste
* add a 2 tbs of white vinegar to boiling water for cooking the eggs, this will make peeling the eggs a whole lot easier.

for the spice paste;
5 shallots, chopped
6 long red chillies, chopped
15 candlenuts (macadamia nuts or brazilnuts are good substitute)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
5 cm piece of ginger, chopped
2 cm piece of turmeric or 3 tsp of turmeric powder
Blend everything till you get a rough paste

Shell the quail eggs and set aside.

Blanch green bean and set aside. Sprinkle 1 tbs of salt onto sliced cucumbers and carrots and leave for 15 minutes then squeeze out as much water as you can, set aside

Fry spice paste with peanut oil til oil separates. Add sugar and vinegar and mix well.

Add quail eggs and stir fry for a minute follow by the green beans.

Next add sliced cucumbers and carrots and warm through. Finally in go the sesame seeds and check for seasonings.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ayam Masak Kecap, Malay Soya Sauce Chicken

I have been missing home and craving for food from home despite just recently completed a Malaysian week at the tummies. I decided to cook another of my nanny Fatimah's family recipe and the aromas that perfumated the whole kitchen made me feel a whole lot better immediately. This is almost like a Malay version of the popular Chinese red cooked dishes, both are soy base with the addition of star anise and cassia bark. I have seen version with added peas, again I refused to alter the recipe since this is how it should look and taste to me.
P.S beef can be used but it will need to be braised til tender.

Serve 4 as part of a Malaysian meal
you'll need;
3 chicken maryland, cut into 4 pieces each
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
1 onion, cut into rounds
2 green chillies, sliced
2" piece of ginger, minced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 star anise
1 cassia bark or cinnamon stick
8 tbs of kecap manis (sweet soy)
6 tbs of light soy
2 tbs of ground black pepper
1 cup of chicken stock or water
salt to taste
juice of one lime

Marinate chicken pieces with dash of salt and turmeric powder for at least an hour.

Fry chicken til golden, set aside.

Fry minced onion til golden then add in the minced garlic and ginger, star anise and cassia bark. Continue to fry for a minute or two.

Add seasonings follow by stock or water, bring it to a boil.

Return chicken pieces to the wok and braise for 8 to 10 minutes. Add onion rounds and sliced chillies and continue to fry til onion rounds are soften and sauce has thicken. Add juice of a lime and check for seasonings.

Serve immediately as part of a Malaysian meal.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Khao Phat Kaphrao ข้าวผัดกะเพรา Thai Fried Rice With Holy Basil

A Thai street food week won't be complete without a good Thai fried rice. With all the remaining leftovers in the fridge, fried rice was the obvious choice for my Saturday night dinner. Being one of the most versatile dish, fried rice can look and taste very differently depending on the ingredients and seasoning one adds to it, so be creative and as long as you get a few crucial things right you'll be getting perfect fried rice time after time.
Here are a few other variations I have done before, please have a look;
P.S make sure you are using cold rice, if you are using freshly cooked rice spread it out on a plate and chill in the fridge for a little while. 

recipe per serve
you'll need;
1 cup of cooked rice (cold rice from the previous night is the best)
1/4 of an onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bird chillies, chopped
1/2 green chili, chopped
handful of sliced chillies
handful of holy basil 
4 prawns, shelled and chopped
a little meat of your choice
2 stalks of kailan, sliced at an angle 
dash of soy
dash of oyster sauce
dash of fish sauce
white pepper to taste

Saute chopped garlic and chillies follow by the prawns and meat of your choice.

Push the fried mixture to aside, when the wok heats up again add a little more oil and crack an egg in. Wait for it to set a little before scrambling it.

Add the rice and fry on high heat for a few minutes, add seasonings.

Next add kailan and sliced onion, continue to fry for a minute or til kailan is cook but remains crisp.

Finally chuck in the holy basil and the sliced chillies, cook for a further 30 seconds.

Serve immediately with cut chillies in fish sauce. 

If you are greedy like me, add an extra fried egg on top.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Kuaytiaw Raat Naa ก๋วยเตี๋ยวราดหน้า Stir Fried Rice Noodle With A Silky Sauce

How can I possibly go past some of my favourite noodle dishes if I were to claim this a successful Thai street food week? Kuaytiaw raat naa (stir fried rice noodle with a silky sauce) turned up on our table alongside Kuaytiaw phat si ew (stir fried rice noodle with soy) several times throughout the week, to read more about these dishes click HERE and HERE. You should realised by now how versatile the ingredients shown in the following photo really are, one can easily prepare the following dishes using the same basic ingredients;
1) Kuaytiaw raat naa - for those who love a saucy noodle dish.
2) Kuaytiaw phat si ew - for those prefer a dry and slightly charred noodle dish.
3) Kuaytiaw phat kee mao - for those who love a very spicy noodle dish.
All the dishes mentioned take less than 10 minutes to prepare and I hope these recipes will become handy the next time you want something quick, easy, economical and delicious!

recipe per serve
you'll need;
200 g of fresh rice noodles, loosen and mixed with a dash of dark sweet soy
100 g of kailan, sliced
100 g meat of your choice, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbs of fermented soy bean paste
dash of soy
dash of fish sauce
1/2 tbs of sugar
1 cup of chicken stock
white pepper to taste
corn flour solution

Char noodles on both sides in a hot wok, do not attempt to move the noodles too much. Place noodles in a plate/bowl.

Fry chopped garlic with a little oil follow by the meat of your choice.

Add kailan and fry for a minute before adding the seasonings.

Add stock and bring it to a simmer, check for seasonings before thicken the sauce with corn flour solution.

Serve immediately with cut chilies in vinegar.

A raat naa stall would offer you a dry version - phat si ew using identical ingredients which is equally delicious. Click HERE for recipe.

Last but not least of the trio - phat kee mao  if one of you decided on something spicy.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nuer Phat Kaphrao เนื้อผัดใบกะเพรา Beef Fried With Holy Basil

Due to the erratic dinner plans at the tummies' at the moment, my plan of bringing southern Thai cuisine to you failed miserably. Instead this has turned into a Thai street food week at the tummies' with many of the top ten favourite Thai simple meals making the cut. This might be another dish that you have seen locals eating at the street stalls but have never tasted since it is not often on restaurants menu. This de facto national dish of Thailand takes minutes to make and you'll soon understand its popularity. Thai holy basil (bai kaphrao) is the star here; if you can't get holy basil use normal Thai basil instead, it will still be delicious but it will be called phat haropha. For my chicken version click HERE. 
P.S You are more likely to be served phat haropha outside of Thailand as holy basil is rarer and more expensive but I think most people are happy to pay a little more for the real deal!

recipe per serve
you'll need;
150 g of minced meat of your choice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bird chillies, chopped (adjust the amount to suit your taste)
half a green chili, chopped
a handful sliced red and green chillies 
a handful of picked holy basil leaves and flowers
1/4 onion, sliced
dash of soy
dash of fish sauce
a sprinkle of sugar
Steamed jasmine rice

Saute chopped garlic and chillies for 30 seconds then add in the mince.

Break the mince up and add seasonings and sliced onion when the mince is no longer pink.

Chuck in the holy basil and extra sliced chillies.

Fry for another 30 seconds and you will have one of the most popular dishes in Thailand.

Serve immediately with a plate of steamed jasmine rice and say aroy maak!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gai Thod ไก่ ทอด, Thai Fried Chicken

While I was clearing up some of my belongings today I found an oily piece of paper with a recipe written on it. You might have smelt and eaten this at the roadside stalls and fell in love with it. You might have smelt and seen this but decided not to try it for health and safety reasons but dying to know what it tastes like. Good news to everyone as I'm about to share with you a delicious fried chicken recipe given to me by a very generous fried chicken vendor in Phuket, Thailand many years back. I became friendly with the vendor after many visits and once he found out my late grandfather hailed from the same province as his, he gave me the recipe on my last day there. Before you read on, you have to promise not to set up a fried chicken stall in Phuket! This is delicious as a beer snack as part of your Thai meal.
P.S Use any cut of chicken of your choice, serve with sweet chili sauce or my favourite Thai dipping sauce, click HERE.

serves 4 as part of a Thai meal
you'll need;
1 kg of chicken wings or cuts of your choice
5 coriander roots, clean and chopped
10 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbs of white peppercorns
1/2  tbs of salt
1 tbs of oyster sauce
dash of soy
dash of fish sauce
a sprinkle of chili flakes
3 tbs of water
1/4 cup of rice flour

Pound peppercorns, garlic, coriander roots and salt in a mortar and pestle to a paste.

Marinate chicken with the prepared paste and the rest of the ingredients for at least an hour or overnight.

Fry chicken pieces in batches til golden.

Drain well.

Serve hot with some sliced cucumber and a dipping sauce of your choice. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Phat Kee Mao ผัดขี้เมา Drunken Noodles

This innocent looking dish is not for the fainthearted. If you are a fan of very spicy food then this one is for you! Kee mao meaning 'shit drunk' in Thai might not be the most poetic name for a noodle dish but once you have tried this, you might be wondering how it got it's perculiar name. Here are a few theories;
1) It is so spicy that one would need to drink non-stop till he or she is 'shit drunk'
2) It can wake up the most 'shit drunk' person.
3) Invented by a 'shit drunk' person who happened to just chuck everything in the wok.
You may cut down on the amount of chillies used in your version, it will still be very delicious! 
P.S I am not really in the mood of cooking up a storm but my late grandma used to say "it is alright to eat very simple food but it mustn't be dull" and this one is surely not dull! For my late grandfather's original version, triple the amount of bird chillies :)

Serves 4 as a one dish meal
you'll need;
1 kg of fresh thick rice noodles (hor fun), loosen and mixed with 1 tbs of dark soy
150 g of kailan, sliced
a handful of bean sprouts
1 chicken breast, sliced, marinated with dash of soy, oyster sauce and white pepper
5 garlic cloves, chopped
6 bird chillies, chopped (do check the spiciness first as they vary from batch to batch)
2 green chillies, chopped
1 bunch of Thai holy basil (bai kraphrao), picked
1 tbs of soy
2 tbs of fish sauce
2 tbs of oyster sauce
* Try to do your stir frying in batches for a better result. 

Thai holy basil - bai kraphrao is crucial to the dish. If you can't find this use Thai sweet basil - bai haropa instead.

Place noodles in a hot wok and char the noodles on both sides, one can achieve the smokey flavour so desirable at a home kitchen this way. Set aside.

Saute chopped garlic and chillies for 30 seconds then add in the sliced chicken.

Next chuck in the kailan and continue to cook for a minute.

Return the noodles and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes, add seasonings and mix well. Finally add bean sprouts and holy basil, stir and mix well. 

Serve immediately with a cold beer or two! Just don't get 'shit drunk' !

Check out phat si ew  if you have to cook for others that dislike spicy food, the ingredients are pretty much the same.

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melbourne, victoria, Australia