Monday, October 31, 2011

Popiah Goreng 炸薄餅 Fried Popiah - "Malaysian Monday 58"

Popiah (薄餅 meaning thin biscuit in Hokkien, referring to the thin, soft crepe like wrapper) is the answer to the spring roll in Malaysia and Singapore. This is the ultimate party snack for many; although I have never been to one myself, a popiah party where a large selection of ingredients for filling and stacks of wrappers are laid out on the table and guests roll their own popiah D.I.Y style is extremely popular with homesick Malaysian and Singaporean expatriates.

For some time my friend M was telling me about some wonderful spring rolls made by a friend's mother, A at a party which I got to taste eventually. I was expecting the common Chinese spring roll filling but was surprised to find a simplified version of fillings reserved for the popiah which is never fried. 

I ended up making a small batch of the fried version after much pestering from my friend. With some modifications the result is nothing less than spectacular and I am glad I did take on this rather fiddly task. Feel free to add crab meat, prawns or Chinese sausage for a more extravagant version if you wish.

My next goal is to host a little D.I.Y popiah party in the near future, so stay tuned!

P.S the round up for this month's MMM is a week away so please send in all your entries to me before this coming Sunday.

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
makes 10 
you'll need;
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup of dried shrimp, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, drained and chopped (optional)
1.5 kg of jicama, peeled and shredded
2 tbs of oyster sauce
3 tbs of light soy
1.5 tbs of Thai palm sugar or brown sugar
dash of white pepper
5 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup of whole peanuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup of bean sprouts, scalded, refreshed and drained well
10 shop bought spring roll wrappers
egg white for sealing
oil for frying

Peel off the hard brown skin and you get the white juicy jicama flesh.

Finish all the shredding, chopping and cutting and you are one step closer to some really delicious snacks.

Saute garlic and dried shrimp with a little oil til fragrant (~30 seconds).

Add in the jicama and continue to cook for a minute. Add seasonings and mix well, cook for another minute or two or until the jicama is tender but still retains a little crunch. Remove and leave to cool, when it is cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess liquid (a dry filling will prevent the wrapper from breaking) and let the mixture cool completely before wrapping.

To wrap the popiah - loosen a piece of spring roll wrapper from the stack and place 2 heaped tbs of the fried jicama in the middle of the wrapper. Top with some bean sprouts, chopped egg and peanut.

While pressing down the filling, lift the corner closer to you over the filling, then fold in the two sides. Roll into cylinder about 1.5" wide and 5" long. Brush a little egg white on the upper corner to secure the roll. Repeat the rest.

Fry popiah in hot oil until golden and crispy. Drain well before serving.

Slice popiah at an angle and serve immediately. They are delicious plain with the very flavoursome filling but feel free to have some Lingham chili sauce on the side.

Layers of different ingredients with very different flavours and texture are encrusted in the crispy spring roll wrapper, one bite will have you come back for more.

I am hosting this month's event, please send all your entries to To find out more about MMM and on how to enter, simply click HERE

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fried Noodles With Char Siu And Flowering Chives 叉燒韭菜花炒麵

Wondering what to do with the last remaining piece of char siu in the fridge, here's the answer! If you still haven't made any, this long weekend might be the time to do otherwise shop bought one is absolutely fine.

I know there are many of my readers who simply can't be bothered to cook after a long day at work but do long for that elusive homemade meal no matter how simple it might be. This is very economical (total cost ~ A$8.50) and only a few easy to get ingredients are needed  for a large platter of delicious noodles enough to feed four. I can promise it will better than anything on offer from your local noodle bar not to mention how much cheaper it is.

serves 3 to 4 as a one dish meal
you'll need;
500 g of dried eggs noodles, cooked till al dente, rinsed with cold water and drained well
oil for cooking
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
a small knob of ginger, chopped
250 g of homemade or shop bought char siu, sliced into thin strips
1 bunch of flowering chives or garlic chives
3 tbs of oyster sauce
3 tbs of light soy
3 tbs of caramel sauce (晒油)
1/4 cup of stock
a dash of white pepper
1 packet of bean sprouts

Prepare the aromatics, char siu and noodles and we are ready to start cooking.

Heat up a wok and saute chopped garlic and ginger for 30 seconds before adding the char siu and flowering chives. Stir fry on high heat for about 30 seconds.

Add in the noodles and mix well before adding seasonings and stock. Cook on high heat for a minute, stirring constantly. A pair of chopsticks help mixing easy.

Check for seasonings before adding the bean sprouts, mix well and cook for a further 30 seconds before serving.

I love to have some homemade Cantonese chili oil on the side but feel free to serve it with the condiments of your choice

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ginger And Spring Onion Blue Swimmer Crab With Egg Noodles 薑蔥花蟹撈麵

I cook ginger and spring onion chicken with egg noodles all the time but using crab for the more popular and expensive restaurant dish was a first for me. I know this is not quite the real deal for some since blue swimmer crabs were used instead but at A$45/kg for the meatier mud crab I simply can't justify spending half of that on inedible hard shells.

While mud crab is pricey and seasonal, blue swimmer crab on the other hand is very affordable and is always in abundance year round. I personally prefer female crabs for their tasty roes which add wonders to the final dish but do make sure they are fresh and do not smell of ammonia.

P.S If you are using mud crab, the method is the same but one large mud crab (about 1.5 to 2 kg) will be more than sufficient.

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
serves 3 to 4 as a one dish meal or as part of a Chinese meal
you'll need;
3 blue swimmer crabs, scrubbed
corn flour for coating
oil for frying
5 cm piece of ginger, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 tbs of oyster sauce
3 tbs of light soy
dash of sesame oil
dash of Chinese cooking wine
1.5 cups of stock
6 spring onions, cut into 5 cm lengths
corn flour solution for thickening
fresh egg noodles (1.5/person)
homemade chili oil or condiments of your choice to serve

Prepare ginger, garlic and spring onions.

Scrub crabs clean then remove the carapace (hard shell), abdominal flab and the gills (also known as dead man's fingers). Cut each crabs into 4 pieces and crack the claws with a kitchen mallet.

Lightly coat the crab sections avoiding the legs and claws and set aside.

Fry crab sections and the canapace in batches with plenty of hot oil til golden (~ 5 to 8 minutes), remove and drain well.

Heat up a wok and saute ginger and garlic with a little oil before returning the crabs to the wok. Add seasonings and stir on high heat for 5 minutes.

Add stock and cook for a further minute before adding the spring onions. When it returns to a boil, push all solids to aside and thicken the sauce with some corn flour solution. To  prepare the noodles - first loosen each bundle then cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and rinse in a big pot of cold water. When the pot of water returns to a boil, return the noodles to the pot and cook for a further 15 seconds or until al dente. Drain and mix in a dash of sesame oil and place on a large platter.

Pour everything onto the awaiting platter with the noodles.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ayam Goreng Kak Timah, Kak Timah's Fried Chicken - "Malaysian Monday 57"

This is yet another recipe from my nanny Kak Timah that I crave quite frequently but thankfully all ingredients required can be sourced easily and the preparation can't be more simple and straightforward.

These addictive fried chicken is a must whenever we are making nasi lemak at home and it never failed to transport me back to my simple carefree days.

I prefer to use a whole chicken - this way everyone can enjoy their favourite part of the bird but feel free to use just thighs or wings if chopping up a whole chicken is not something you rather do.

recipe from Kak Timah
serves 6 to 8 as part of a Malaysian meal
you'll need;
1 free range chicken, cut into manageable pieces
2 lemon grass, chopped
1 thumb size piece of turmeric, peeled
1 thumb size piece of galangal, peeled and chopped
5 cm knob of ginger, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbs of ground black pepper
2 tbs of light soy
1 tbs of chicken powder
pinch of salt
oil for deep frying

Cut chicken into manageable pieces.

Blend or pound all chopped ingredients into a course paste.

Marinate chicken pieces with the spice mix, chicken powder and salt for at least 2 hours.

Fry chicken in batches until golden and crispy, drain well.

Serve as part of a Malaysian meal or as a side dish for nasi lemak.

I am hosting this month's event, please send all your entries to To find out more about MMM and on how to enter, simply click HERE

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Red Cooked Beef With Mandarin Peel 紅燒陳皮牛肉

Red braised (紅燒) is an ancient Chinese cooking technique where meat is braised with soy and aromatics until meltingly tender. Both the technique and ingredients used can't be more simple but the end result is nothing more than spectacular.
A little dried mandarin peel adds an extra dimension to an otherwise faultless dish, simply omit that all together. For non beef eater, pork shoulder can be used with equally stunning result.
P.S 3 hungry tummies turned 2 on the 3rd of October without me knowing..... I would like to thank everyone of you for your support for the last 2 fabulous years!

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
serves 8 people as part of a Chinese meal
you'll need;
2 kg of gravy/braising beef, cut into 4 cm cubes
oil for cooking
150 g of rock sugar, pounded
5 cm knob of ginger, sliced
1 dried mandarin peel* (陳皮), soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and drained
2 star anise
1 cassia bark
1 tsp of Sichuan peppercorn
1.5 l of stock
3 tbs of dark soy
a slush of Chinese cooking wine
corn flour solution for thickening the sauce
blanched broccoli to serve
*dried mandarin peel can be found at all good Asian grocers.

Cut beef into 4 cm cubes, removing excess fat and sinew. Soak mandarin peel with some boiling water for 10 minutes to remove any bitter taste.

Pound rock sugar into fine powder and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook beef for 10 minutes. Drain and wash under a running tap to remove any impurities.

Heat up some cooking oil in a large pot and add in the pounded rock sugar, stirring constantly until you get a honey like substance. Add in the beef and stir well, cook beef for a minute or 2 or until a light golden.

Add stock, seasonings, spices and aromatic and bring it to a boil. Remove any scum that might surface at this stage to ensure a clean tasting sauce. Lower the heat to a mere simmer, cover and cook until beef is tender (1.5 to 2 hours). 

Check for seasonings before thickening the sauce with some corn flour solution.

I prefer to serve the dish with some lightly blanched broccoli to cut down the richness of the beef.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nai You Xia 奶油蝦 Butter Prawns - Malaysian Monday 56"

Butter prawns, 奶油蝦 (nai you xia in Mandarin or nai yew har in Cantonese) is a relatively new Malaysian classic popularly believed to be invented by a Chinese restaurant cook in the Southern state of Johor some 25 years ago. The cooking technique is unmistakenly Chinese; but this little known culinary genius cleverly incorporated Chinese, Indian, Malay and European ingredients so successfully in one single dish - the result is a true Malaysian masterpiece.

The following recipe is enough to feed up to 8 people as part of a Malaysian meal so feel free to halve the quantity for a smaller group. 

serves 8 as part of a Malaysian meal
you'll need;
1 kg of medium size king prawns*, seasoned with a little salt and pepper
oil for frying
1/2 cup of desiccated coconut, toasted
200 g of butter
2 whole round garlic or about 12 garlic cloves, chopped
12 to 15 bird chillies, chopped
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt
2 bunches of curry leaves, picked
a pinch of sugar
a slush of light soy

Chop garlic and chillies; pick curry leaves from stems and leave aside.

Toast desiccated coconut in a wok until golden and set aside.

Add a little cooking oil to a hot wok and pour in the beaten egg yolks, use a folk to whisk into fine strands. Mine didn't quite turn up how it should be be but it didn't affect the end result I think. (If you are using very fresh eggs with very thick creamy yolks, make sure you add a little water to the beaten yolk)

Deep fry prawns in batches until just cooked, drain well and set aside.

Melt butter in a wok then add in the chopped ingredients and curry leaves, fry for a minute on medium heat.

Return prawns to the wok and mix well follow by the cooked egg yolk, desiccated coconut, light soy and sugar and stir fry everything on high heat for a further minute.

Serve as part of a Malaysian meal.

I am hosting this month's event, please send all your entries to To find out more about MMM and on how to enter, simply click HERE

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