Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rohu Kalia, Fish Cooked In An Aromatic Turmeric And Yoghurt Sauce

It has been quite a week but alas! the much anticipated long weekend is finally here! As the day continues to heat up, lying in bed composing a blog post in my very cool room seems like the best thing to do at the time being. 

I have had a box of New Zealand deep sea cod fillets sitting idle in the freezer for months. There were many failed attempts and recipe ideas to use them up, I finally managed to do that last Sunday with a bit of planning and a will stronger than usual.

I came across this very simple Bengali specialty in The Food Of India - a beautiful cookbook that I often refer to whenever I want to try out some new Indian dishes at home. The end result didn't disappoint and this is certainly a recipe that I will go back to.

recipe adapted from The Food Of India
serves 4 as part of an Indian meal
you'll need;
600 g of cod or other film fresh fish fillets
oil for cooking
5 cm piece of cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
3 cloves
3 cassia leaves or bay leaves
1 small brown onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cm piece of ginger, grated
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
1 tsp of chili powder
400 ml of Greek yoghurt
3 green chilies, julienned 
salt and black pepper to taste

Prepare the aromatics and set aside.

Pan fry cod fillets in batches until golden on both sides, remove and set aside.

Add a little more oil to the pan, fry the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and cloves and bay leaves over a low heat for about a minute. Add the onion saute until golden (~5 minutes). Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin and chili powder and continue to saute for a further 30 seconds.

Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add in the yoghurt (this prevents the yoghurt from splitting and curdling). Return the pan to the stove, add chillies and bring it to a simmer, season with salt and return the fish to the pan. mix the fish gently with the sauce and simmer until the fish is cooked completely. 

We had this mild dish with Punjabi cabbage (recipe up next) and plenty of steamed basmati rice.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ayam Goreng Mamak, Mamak (Indian Muslim) Style Fried Chicken - "Malaysian Monday 100"

It was a stressful and frustrating end to the week hence the lack of activity at the 3 hungry tummies', I sincerely apologize for that. However, after an all too short but blissful Sunday, I am in the right frame of mind again to compose something for the blog.

I have been on a mamak (Indian Muslim) phase recently, cooking up all the classics whenever I have the opportunity and this delicious mamak style fried chicken is just one of them. Traditionally the chicken skin is removed but for me the chicken skin is the best part of any type of fried chicken, so it stayed. If you are a diehard traditionalist, by all means remove the skin.

This is a super simple recipe especially if are able to obtain some Malaysian meat curry powder, if all attempts to locate the curry powder failed, Madras curry powder is a good substitute.

P.S I would like to thank all my friends and loved ones who turned up at the restaurant last week to lend me some much needed moral support! 

serves 6 to 8 as part of a Malaysian meal
you'll need;
1 free range chicken, cut into 12 pieces
2 stalks of curry leaves, picked
oil for frying

for the marinade;
1 brown onion, sectioned*
4 cloves of garlic*
5 cm of ginger*
1 tbs of turmeric powder
1 tbs of chili powder
2 heaped tbs of Malaysian meat curry powder (burung nuri brand)
salt and black pepper to taste
* to be blended

Cut chicken into 10 to 12 pieces, cut a few slits on each chicken piece.

Place onion, garlic and ginger and blend until fine and set aside.

Place chicken pieces in a large bowl and marinate with the marinade for at least an hour.

Heat up about 2.5 cm of cooking oil in a frying pan, when the oil is hot enough, throw in the curry leaves (stand back as the oil may split), then fry chicken pieces in batches until golden and crispy.

Drain well and top with the delicious solids (curry leaves and crispy fried spice bits) from the frying pan.

Serve as part of a Malaysian meal.

The crazy season has started, we decided a combined Nov/Dec roundup should work better for everyone during the busiest period of the year. I will be hosting the next event, so please send all your entries to me at . To find out more about MMM and on how to enter please click here

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Siu Mai 燒賣 Steamed Pork Dumplings - Yum Cha Special 2

For many, a yum cha meal is incomplete without ordering both siu mai (燒賣, steamed pork dumplings) and har gau (蝦餃, steamed prawn dumplings), the two most popular dim sums (點心, yum cha dishes) classics on offer. Lucky for us the former also happened to be the easiest to replicate at home, so it is only fitting that I share this with you as my second installment of yum cha special.

This is not the dim sims served at your local fish and chips shops but rather one that inspired the creation of the supersize deep fried version so familiar to most Aussies. In contrast these healthy steamed dumplings are  dainty and won't have you feeling guilty afterwards.

I have some leftover filling which I will turn into some equally delicious fu  pi guen (腐皮卷, beancurd skin rolls) so please stay tuned!

makes about 20
for the filling you'll need;
500 g of minced pork
250 g of banana prawns, shelled, chopped
8 water chestnuts, chopped
2 spring onions (white parts only) minced
2 cm piece of ginger, grated
3 tbs of light soy
1 tsp of white pepper
2 tsp of sesame oil
a dash of Chinese cooking wine
1 egg white, lightly beaten
3 tbs of corn flour

you'll also need;
20 wonton wrappers
prawn roe

Place all ingredients for the filling in a bowl and mix well.

Place a heaped tbs of filling on a piece of wonton wrapper, gather the edges around the filling.

Hold the dumpling between your index finger and your thumb, gently squeeze it to form a barrel shape dumpling.

Flatten both the top and the base and you'll get something like this. Repeat with the rest of the wonton wrappers.

Line a bamboo steamer with a piece of grease proof paper that has been pieced with holes, arrange dumplings in the steamer and top each dumpling with a small piece of prawn roe. Cover and steam over simmering water for around 15 minutes.

Serve the delicious siu mai with some chili sauce on the side.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Char Swee, Stir Fried Prawns And Cucumber With Vinegar Sauce

I don't start work until 4.30pm on Saturdays, however I do start my day very early to make use of my precious time off from work. If I am diligent enough, I would make a quick shopping trip and cook a simple meal at home for myself.

This is another everyday Nyonya dish I cooked during one of those very productive Saturdays.  It resembles a much more colourful and vibrant version of stir fried cucumber with prawns, a favourite childhood dish of mine, needless to say this is now a new favourite.

This refreshing sweet and sour dish is a great accompaniment to the other Nyonya dishes with big and complex flavours. Some recipes asked for liver and gizzard as well, feel free to chuck a few in if you are an offal fan.

F.Y.I - char swee = (炒酸) sour stir fry in Hokkien, unlike Nyonya dishes from other parts of the country, those from Penang are often named in the Hokkien dialect rather than Malay.

recipe adapted from Nyonya Flavours
serves 4 as part of a Malaysian meal
you'll need;
oil for cooking
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
400 g of banana prawns, shelled (retaining the tails)
2 tsp of sugar
1/2 a continental cucumber, peeled and seeds removed
1/2 a red onion, peeled and sliced
1 red chili, halved lengthwise, removed seeds and diagonally sliced
1 green chili, halved lengthwise, removed seeds and diagonally sliced
1 carrot, peeled, halved lengthwise and diagonally sliced

for the sauce;
150 ml of stock
4 tbs of white vinegar
1.5 tbs of plum sauce
1 tbs of sugar
salt to taste
1 tsp of white pepper
2 tsp of corn flour

Remove heads and shell prawns (save them for other uses), butterfly and removed the veins. Marinate prawns with sugar, rinse prawns before adding to the wok.

Prepare the cucumber, carrot and the rest of the ingredients.

Place all sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well, check for seasonings and adjust accordingly.

Saute garlic with 2 tbs of cooking oil in a hot wok and stir fry until is fragrant.

Add cucumber and carrot and continue to stir fry for another minute, add sauce mix, mix well and continue to stir fry until the sauce thicken.

Add onion and chillies and mix well, cook a little longer or until the onion is soften. Check for seasonings, it should be sour, sweet and savoury.

Serve as a part of a Nyonya or Malaysian meal with plenty of steamed rice on the side.

The crazy season has started, we decided a combined Nov/Dec roundup should work better for everyone during the busiest period of the year. I will be hosting the next event, so please send all your entries to me at . To find out more about MMM and on how to enter please click here

Saturday, December 8, 2012

King Oyster Mushroom And Tofu In Black Bean Sauce On Crispy Rice Vermicelli

Having to deal with so much meat and poultry everyday at work means often a simple vegetarian meal is all I want when I get a chance to cook for myself. 

Though it doesn't fare too well in the look department, this simple noodle dish certainly is a winner in both the taste and texture department. As a carnivore, I am often not completely satisfied after a vegetarian meal and this is a rare exception. 

Have a great weekend and I shall see you on Monday for another Malaysian Monday post!

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
recipe per serve
you'll need;
oil for cooking
150 g of rice vermicelli, soften in warm water, drained well
2 garlic cloves, chopped
a small knob of ginger, chopped
2 bird chilies, chopped
1 king oyster mushroom, sliced lengthwise
1/4 block of fried tofu, sliced
10 snow peas, topped and tailed and sliced
3 Chinese cabbage leaves, sliced
a small handful of chives, halved crosswise
2 heaped tbs of black bean sauce
1 tbs of soy
1 tbs of sugar
1 tbs of vegetarian oyster sauce
a dash of sesame oil
a dash of Chinese cooking wine
3/4 cup of stock
corn flour solution

Prepare the mushroom, tofu and vegetables.

Prepare the aromatics and mix all the seasonings in a bowl and mix well.

Heat up the wok until smoking then add in a tbs of cooking oil and spread it evenly , loosen the drained rice vermicelli and spread across the wok, turn the heat down and allow the noodles to toast gently until golden at the bottom, flip over and repeat the same on the other side. Remove and keep warm.

Saute garlic, ginger and chili with a little oil for 30 seconds, add mushroom and tofu and continue to cook for a further 30 seconds, next in the vegetables (except for the chives) and mix well.

Add the sauce mixture when the the Chinese cabbage is slightly wilted, continue to stir fry for a further 45 seconds to a minute.

Add Chinese chives and mix well, finally check for seasonings before thickening the sauce with a little corn flour solution.

Pour the sauce over the crispy rice vermicelli and serve with some cut chili on the side.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Geong Chung Har Kok 薑蔥蝦角 Ginger, Spring Onion And Prawn Dumplings - Yum Cha Special 1

At last we had a relatively low key Sunday for a change. I spent a better part of the day catching up with my reading and  composing new posts for the blog. When it was time to plan for dinner, Tummy suggested a yum cha favourite of ours that we always order at yum cha.

If you are a big yum cha fan like we are, the chances are you might be familiar with this delicious dish too. Steaming with a light sauce after deep frying the dumplings might sound weird to some but such a process creates the most agreeable texture and mouthfeel so prized in Chinese cooking.

I will share with you our other yum cha favourites in the near future, hopefully you'll be able to have a cosy yum cha lunch at the comfort of your own home soon.

P.S Another of my lovely reader turned up the the restaurant last night. It was a very nice surprise indeed, thank you again!

makes 12
you'll need;
500 g of prawns, shelled and roughly chopped
6 water chestnuts, roughly chopped
2 spring onions (white parts only), minced
2 cm piece of ginger, grated
dash of Chinese cooking wine
1 tbs of light soy
1 tbs of oyster sauce
1tsp of sesame oil
1/2 tsp of white pepper
1 tbs of corn flour
12 wonton wanton wrappers
oil for frying
2 spring onions, julienned 
3 slices of ginger, julienned

for the sauce;
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of chicken stock
1 tbs of light soy
a dash of Chinese cooking wine
corn flour solution

Peel the prawns, reserving the heads and shells for curry laksa or prawn noodles.

Roughly chop the shelled prawns.

Place chopped prawns, water chestnuts, minced spring onion, grated ginger, seasonings and corn flour in a bowl and mix well.

Place ~ 1.5 tbs of the prawn filling in the middle of the wonton wrapper, gather all edges to form a plum dumpling. Repeat with the rest of the wrappers.

Fry dumplings in batches until golden.

To make the sauce - saute garlic with a little oil, add stock and soy and allow to come to a simmer, thicken with a little corn flour solution.

Place dumplings in a bowl that fit nicely in a steamer, pour the sauce over, top with julienned spring onion and ginger and steam over high heat for 5 minutes.

I served the dumplings as an appetizer with some Cantonese chili oil on the side. 

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melbourne, victoria, Australia