Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Summery Roast Chicken Salad From The Tummies' Kitchen

A friend asked me casually over lunch if I still cook "white food" (aka non Asian food) at home since I have been posting nothing but Asian dishes of late.....well he was quite right, apart from the weekly pasta dishes and the odd burgers every now and then, I had been cooking mainly Asian fares.

That was until Tummy requested  for "a chicken salad" when I phoned to ask for dinner suggestions. This is what I came up with after a quick shopping trip to the supermarket. You may do without the mango or replace it with some boiled potato for a more substantial meal on a colder night.

If you want to spend even less time in the kitchen, half a shop bought roast chicken will do the trick. Haven't got any pomegranate molasses on hand? do not stress! A dressing with red wine vinegar, honey, mustard and olive oil will be an equally delicious substitute.

P.S I used mainly Middle Eastern seasonings in this recipe but feel free to do a Thai or Chinese version but simply altering some of the ingredients.

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
serve 2 to 3 as a one dish meal
you'll need;
3 chicken maryland
2 cloves of garlic, pounded with a pinch of salt*
1/2 tbs of smoked paprika*
1/2 tbs of cumin powder*
pinch of pepper*
juice from half a lemon*
3 tbs of olive oil*
1 head of lettuce, torn
1 mango, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
12 asparagus, trimmed of woody bits
3 eggs, boiled for 7 minutes, cooled and peeled
1 roasted pepper (homemade or from a jar), torn into large pieces

for the dressing;
3 tbs of pomegranate molasses
2 tbs of red wine vinegar
15 tbs of olive oil
2 tbs of sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Marinate chicken with ingredients marked * for 30 minutes and roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Rest and cool before tearing into large pieces.

Oil a griddle with a little oil and grill asparagus til slightly charred. Cool slightly before cutting into halves crosswise.

Prepare the mango, onion and the rest of the vegetables.

Place lettuce on a large platter then layer the rest of the ingredients over it. Drizzle with the dressing and serve with a chilled glass of reisling 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sambal Ikan Bilis 參巴江魚仔 Dried Anchovies In A Spicy Sauce - "Malaysian Monday 62"

What are the must have side dishes when serving nasi lemak? For me the most basic serving of nasi lemak should be served with all the following condiments or toppings; a good sambal, cucumber slices, egg (hard boiled or fried), fried peanuts and fried anchovies (crispy or in a sambal)

In our household, we are divided into 2 fractions when it comes to how the dried anchovies should be prepared. Some like the crispy anchovies serve alongside the sambal and the rest prefer the anchovies to be mixed into the spicy sambal. What is your preference?

I decided to make a small batch of this delicious side dish when my craving for nasi lemak was becoming too painful to bear. 

P.S a more detailed post on our recent nasi lemak meal will be posted in the coming days.

makes 2 cups
you'll need;
1 cup of dried anchovies, rinsed and drained very well
oil for frying
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup of sambal tumis
3 tbs of sugar
4 tbs of tamatind concentrate
1/4 cup of coconut milk

Rinse the dried anchovies to remove the excess salt, drain well and set aside. Slice onion into 3 mm thick slices.

Fill a frying pan with 1 cm of cooking oil and when the oil is hot enough, fry anchovies until golden and crispy, remove and drain well.

Saute onion with about 2 tbs of cooking oil until soften.

Add sambal tumis to the pan and continue to cook for 2 minutes on medium heat before adding sugar, tamarind concentrate and coconut milk. Mix well and cook for a further minute.

Turn off the heat and when the sauce has cooled down, return the fried anchovies to the pan and mix well.

Serve the spicy anchovies as part of a nasi lemak meal. 

My friend Sharon from Test With Skewer is hosting the November event. Please send all your entries to To find out more about the event and how to enter, please click HERE

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cold Soba Noodles Salad With Asparagus, Green Beans, Cucumber And Sesame Crusted Tuna

We were once huge fans of the Moonlight Cinema when it first started some 15 years ago. Tummy was living a stone throw away from the venue and many warm summer evenings were spent at the Royal Botanical Garden lawn together with hundreds of other moviegoers.

For us the entertainment started when the crowds (many of them in their pyjamas) arrived with their peculiar looking rugs, pillows, blankets and extra large soft toys... stylish cushions and rugs were quite a rare sight indeed. What followed was a mass picnic with all these strangers while waiting for the film to be screened at sundown.

A picnic of course can't be without good food (and wine) and I was more than happy to take charge of that. The weather here in Melbourne can be quite unforgiving during the height of summer and this is one of the many cold dishes I prepared for one of those enjoyable evening.

Please don't wait until you next picnic to try this out, it is the perfect meal on a warm afternoon or evening with a nicely chilled bottle of  riesling or rose'.

P.S smoked salmon is a wonderful substitute if sashimi fish is hard to come by in your area.

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
serves 3 to 4 as a one dish meal
you'll need;
3 x 200 g of sashimi grade tuna steaks
1 tsp of grated ginger
2 tbs of Japanese soy
wasabi for coating
1/2 cup of toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup of black sesame seeds
oil for frying

for the salad;
500 g of soba noodles, cook till al dente, refreshed, drained and mixed in a little sesame oil
200 g of green beans, sliced thinly lengthwise, blanched, refreshed and drained well
2 bunches of asparagus, thinly sliced at an angle, blanched, refreshed and drained well
1 continental cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise and thinly sliced
a small bunch of chives, cut into 3 cm lengths
toasted sesame seeds

for the dressing;
1 tsp of grated ginger
1/2 cup of mirin
1/3 cup of Japanese soy
1/2 cup of water with 2 tbs of instant dashi*
1 tsp of sesame oil
juice of half a lime
* instant dashi comes in granule or powder form, it can be found at all good Asian grocers.

For the dressing, place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Prepare the vegetables. Blanch both the beans and asparagus briefly and refresh under and running tap, drain well and set aside.

Marinate tuna steak with grated ginger and soy for 10 minutes.

Drain the tuna steaks well and brush on a thin layer of wasabi paste.

Coat tuna with sesame seeds, pressing the seeds tightly as you work one each piece of steak. Pan fry with a little oil until golden on both sides, drain well and cool slightly before slicing.

Just before serving, mix all salad ingredients in a large bowl together with half of the sesame seeds and add in the dressing.

Divide salad onto individual plates and top with the sliced tuna and sprinkles of extra sesame seeds.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"The Strange But Wonderful Food Of Kuching 3" Kacangma 益母草薑酒雞 Chicken Braised With Motherworth Herb, Ginger And Rice Wine

Many cultures in Asia have their own postnatal tradition to help a new mother recover from the (often traumatic and stressful) pregnancy, labour and birth of a child - such practice is generally known as confinement. The confinement period varies from culture to culture but generally lasted between 30 to 60 days.

In our modern age; many had ceased to observe the more old fashioned or superstitious aspects of the practice but continue to follow the rather strict diet during the confinement period and kacangma is such a dish eaten by new mothers in Sarawak, East Malaysia.

Traditionally a confinement dish for the Hakka women in the eastern state, it can be found in many restaurants and many do cook it regularly for the enjoyment of the whole family.

P.S Known as kacangma in Sarawak; motherworth herb (Leonurus cardiaca) or 益母草 (yi mu cao in Mandarin, meaning weed/herb that is beneficial to mothers)  can be found at all Chinese herbalist. To all homesick Sarawakians, go to your closest Chinese herbalist if your "smuggled" stock is over :)

serves 6 to 8 as part of a Chinese meal
you'll need;
sesame oil for cooking
1/2 kg of ginger, finely minced  in a food processor, juice extracted
1/2 cup of motherworth herb (益母草)
1.5 kg of chicken, chopped (or chicken thighs)
2 cups of rice wine (米酒)
salt to taste* (optional)
*traditionally no salt is added for women in confinement

Cut chicken into manageable pieces.

Extract as much juice from the minced ginger as you can, reserving the solids.

Dry fry the reserved ginger on medium heat until golden and crisp, remove and set aside.

Heat up the wok again and add in the sesame oil. Add chicken and sir fry till fragrant, cover the wok and allow the chicken pieces to stew in their own juices for 5 to 10 minutes.

Add ginger juice follow by the motherworth herb and let it cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Finally add rice wine and salt and cook with the lid on until chicken is tender. Check for seasonings.

Serve as part of a Chinese meal.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rice Noodles Soup With Soy Poached Chicken 豉油雞河粉湯 - A Leftover Special

Soy poached chicken was one of the dishes I made for my friend M when she was unwell; she has since become addicted to the wonderful dish, cooking it at least once a week if not more.

It was a pleasant surprise to find some leftover soy poached chicken in her fridge when I was looking for something to eat after helping her with some chores. Together with other ingredients I found, a delicious lunch was ready in less than 15 minutes.

P.S For a dry version with fresh egg noodles, please click HERE.

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
recipe per serve
you'll need;
1/4 of soy poached chicken, reheated slightly and chopped
250 to 300 g of fresh wide rice noodles or noodles of your choice
3 stalks of choysum or Asian greens of your choice
2 spring onions, chopped
1 red chili, sliced
1 stalk of coriander, chopped
garlic, lime and chili sauce to serve
*feel free to add fried garlic or shallots if your heart desires

for the broth;
1 cup of the poaching liquor
1 cup of chicken stock
dash of sesame oil
dash of white pepper

Prepare the choysum, spring onions and chili; warm up the chicken slightly and chopped.

Prepare the broth by combining all ingredients in a pot and bring it to a simmer. Check for seasonings.

Blanch choysum and rice noodles briefly and drain well.

Place rice noodles in a bowl, pour the hot broth over and top with chicken and all other toppings.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ayam Masak Kuah Bunga Kantan 酸辣薑花雞 Chicken In Spicy Torch Ginger Flower Sauce - "Malaysian Monday 61"

There is my interpretation  of a dish we often order at our local Malaysian restaurant. I used chicken instead of duck and the result was more than satisfactory. 

The waiting staff at the Malaysian restaurant was unable to tell me the origin of the dish but I am quite sure it is of Nyonya origin judging by the ingredients used. What do you think?

P.S Try your local florists for the exotic sounding, tasting and smelling fresh torch ginger flower buds,  otherwise they are available frozen from most good Asian grocers. I will be making the duck version soon, so please stay tuned!

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
serve 4 as part of a Malaysian meal
you'll need;
1.5 kg of chicken thighs, excess fat removed
1 tbs of turmeric powder
2 cloves of garlic, pounded
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying
1/2 cup of mint leaves, shredded
1/2 cup of Vietnamese mint leaves, shredded

for the torch ginger flower sauce;
1 torch ginger flower bud (bunga kantan), chopped
1 lemon grass (white part only), chopped
10 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 red onion or 10 shallots, chopped
thumb size piece of galangal, chopped
thumb size piece of ginger, chopped
3 red chillies, chopped
25 dried chillies, boiled for 10 minutes and drained well
1 tbs of toasted shrimp paste (belacan)
1/2 cup of tamarind concentrate
1/2 cup of plum sauce
salt to taste
oil for cooking

Marinate chicken with salt, pepper and turmeric powder for an hour.

Blend the spices in batches until smooth.

Saute spice mix with some cooking oil, stirring constantly on medium heat until oil separates (~15 to 20 minutes) then add in plum sauce and the rest of the ingredients. Check for seasonings, it should be spicy, sweet, sour and extremely fragrant.

Shallow fry chicken pieces in batches until golden and crispy. Drain well and set aside.

Add chicken to the pot and coat well with the delicious sauce.

Top chicken with shredded mint and Vietnamese mint and serve as part of a Malaysian meal.

We had it with a simple mixed vegetables stir fry and plenty of steamed rice to mop up the delicious sauce.

My friend Sharon from Test With Skewer is hosting the November event. Please send all your entries to To find out more about the event and how to enter, please click HERE

Friday, November 18, 2011

Aromatic Spicy Stir Fried Cockles 香辣炒鮮蚶

Friday is here again and where has the week gone to? If you are also playing hide and seek with time, this simple delicious stir fry might be what you are after.

I recently cooked for a dinner party hosted by my friend M and this is an extra dish I cooked using the hostess' recipe. A typical contemporary Malaysian dish that has ingredients sourced from different cultures and to me this is fusion food at its best.

P.S If you are unable to find cockles; pipis, clams or mussels will work equally well too.

serves 4 to 6 as part of a Malaysian or Chinese meal
you'll need;
1.5 kg of cockles, soaked in water for 30 minutes and cleaned well
4 shallots, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, sliced
3 large red chillies, sliced
2 lemon grass (white parts only), sliced finely
3 sprigs of curry leaves
5 tbs of oyster sauce
3 tbs of light soy
2 tbs of sugar
a dash of Chinese cooking wine
a dash of white pepper

Prepare the shallots, garlic, chillies and lemongrass.

Heat up a wok till smoking then saute shallots and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes with some cooking oil.

Add chillies, curry leaves and lemongrass and continue to stir fry for a minute or two.

Add cockles to the wok and mix well, in go the seasonings and stir fry on high heat for another minute. Make sure the cockles are not overcooked or they will turn out tough and rubbery.

Serve as part of a Malaysian or Chinese meal.

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