Monday, January 30, 2017

Dry Curry Prawns

A prawn dish is always included in our Chinese New Year family get together dinner . To the Chinese , prawn symbolize happiness and good fortune because the word for prawn or har is the Chinese word that is the sound of laughter. It will be cooked according to each families’ recipe to celebrate Chinese New Year.  This year , instead of cooking them in spicy butter style, I cooked them dry curry style .

I  used the fresh ground curry paste bought from the wet market for easy cooking, as making the paste from scratch will be tedious . With the bought paste, all it needs is just, serai,  cut shallots, garlic and curry leaves and the coconut milk to cook this mouth watering dish.  I am not the only happy one today but my Piggies are happy too, they get to savor homecooked dry curry prawns :) and there will be laughter in the house for sure :p

Dry Curry Prawns

1/2 kilo large sea prawns- deveined but keep the shell and head
fresh ground curry paste specially for dry curry from wet market
( I asked the lady to give me enough for 1/2 kilo prawns )
1 stalk serai - crushed
3 to 4 tbsp of olive oil 
2 twigs of curry leaves
6 shallots - sliced
1/2 cup of coconut milk
Heat up wok . Add 3 to 4 tbsp of olive oil , add in the fresh ground curry paste , sliced shallots, crushed serai and currry leaves....saute till olive oil rises to surface and aromatic.  Add in the prawns  and continue to stir fry till the prawns are cooked and the curry paste coats the shell.  Add in 1/2 cup of coconut milk and continue to cook till the gravy thickens and the prawns are coated with the paste. Remove from heat and dish up.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

CNY First Day Dinner

My son-in-law's parents invited us over for dinner on the 1st night of CNY and we had a great fellowship over delicious homecooked food.  This year I really had a relaxing CNY . No cooking and my job is to eat :p  Jo's father-in-law cooked the most delicious soup ( forgotten to take a picture )...abalone and sea cucumber in chinese slurpy .For dessert , we had cheesecake which yours truly baked .  The night ended with a round of whiskey for all....How does whiskey and cheesecake sounds to you? LOL...

Pic of food from top clockwise
Steamed Free Range Chicken , Steamed Dumplings, Braised Whole Pork Trotter, Braised Yam Pork Belly (Kow Yok) , Steamed Chinese Sausages With Napa Cabbage and Soup of the day- Abalone And Sea Cucumber With Goji and Tong Kwai. (top right, partly hidden )

We had a wonderful fellowship over dinner catching up with one another
and after which cheesecake for dessert
good dinner and great dessert..what more can I asked ?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Homemade Chinese Pork Jerky (Bak Kwa)

I can't believe I made these delectable meat jerky for the coming CNY! Seeing so many of my blogger friends making them, I was truly inspired and finally have the courage to try it out and Yay, I did it ! Bak Kwa or Chinese Pork Jerky are popular Chinese New Year snack that are normally served to friends and relatives that comes visiting during the CNY . 

Hubby loves these and this year, I decided to make some for him . I used Sonia's recipe and it turned out great.  So happy with the result. I never thought it could be that easy to make.  After this wonderful experience of making my own meat jerky, be rest assured that I will be making this often  :)   This is a great achievement for me in early 2017 :)   Thank you Sonia for sharing such an easy and delicious Bak Kwa.   I have KIV it since she shared the recipe in 2012 but I never had the courage to try it out till today.  So proud of myself and of course without Sonia's step by step guide, I would never have made such delectable meat jerky :)

 mix all the ingredients together and stir with a pair of chopsticks in one direction
 till the meat is gluey. cling wrap and leave overnight in fridge for a deeper flavor

 spread the minced meat thinly onto a baking pan that has been lined with
greaseproof paper

after the first grill of 20 mins at 160C, take out from oven and use a pizza cutter,
cut into desired size and grill again at 240C -10 mins on each side
look how luscious the meat jerky looks :)
 smell good too

 my first time making meat jerky and the end result is not too bad
I am happy with the thickness and the taste is really good

Homemade Chinese Pork Jerky  (Bak Kwa) - adapted from Sonia


450 gm minced pork ( at least with 10% fat )
100 gm  sugar - I use brown sugar
1/2 tbsp chinese rice wine
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp dark caramel soy sauce - can be replaced with dark soy sauce
1/8 tsp chinese five spice powder
a dash of pepper
3/4 tsp  salt or to taste
2 tbsp honey


1. Put all the ingredients in a big bowl and start mixing them with a pair of chopsticks. Blend and stir the mixture in one direction until the meat becomes gluey ( import to stir till gluey otherwise meat will break up. Store in the fridge for several hours or overnight for a deeper flavor.

2. Spread the marinated minced pork thinly onto the baking tray lined with greaseproof paper ( using fingers or spatula to spread )

3. Bake at pre-heated oven at 160C for 15-20 mins . Remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 240C.

4. When it is slightly cool, cut into your desired size and shape using scissor, knife or pizza cutter, place them in the same baking tray.

5. Grill ( top heat only ) one side at 240C for 10 mins, remove from oven, flip over the other side, and grill for 7 mins or until golden brown with slight burnt.

6. Once done, let it cool and store in air tight container.

Enjoy !

Monday, January 9, 2017

Nyonya Nasi Lemak With Dried Cuttlefish Sambal Tumis With A Twist

It is the start of 2017 and I have already started eating artery clogging goodness :p.  I had a sudden crave for homecooked Nasi Lemak.  Nasi Lemak is a Malay fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk together with screwpine leaves and served with anchovies sambal and hard boiled eggs and cucumber.  Nasi Lemak can be served in a variety of ways and is a popular breakfast dish for most Malaysians.  But for us, we had it for lunch and dinner :)

Hubby and I love nasi lemak served with dried cuttlefish sambal tumis and since I had this craving that won't go away, I cooked it for our lunch few days ago :) and guess what !  We had nasi lemak for lunch and dinner.  With the ready to cook soaked cuttlefish, cooking this sambal tumis is not difficult at all.   Anyway , a good homecooked meal to start the year.   Nyonya  nasi lemak/coconut milk rice recipe is from Sonia and the Cuttlefish sambal tumis is from Patsy'sKitchen with a twist.

I prepared the chilli paste the night before...pound together
dried chilli (soaked for an hour), garlic, onion, ginger and belacan

fry the chilli paste mixture in rice bran oil till fragrant,
once oil surface, add in the tamarind paste and brown sugar 

add in the red onion slices and the cuttlefish pieces 

fry  the anchovies in rice bran oil till crispy and crunchy
dish up and serve as a side dish for the nasi lemak

Nyonya Nasi Lemak With Dried Cuttlefish Sambal Tumis

Nasi Lemak /Coconut Rice

3 cups rice wash and change water 3 times, soak in water 30 mins
3 slices ginger, julienned
4 blades pandan leaves, knotted
2 cups water
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp salt

Add 2 cups water with rice, mix with ginger and pandan leaves, steam over medium heat for 20 mins. Add salt with coconut milk. Add 1/3 of coconut milk into rice, fluff rice with chopsticks. Continue to steam for 5 mins. Add in the balance coconut milk, continue to steam for 5 mins. Remove steamer from heat and set aside.

Deep Fried Anchovies
70 g anchovies - remove gut and wash and wipe dry with paper towel

Deep fry anchovies in rice bran oil till golden brown. Dish up and side aside.

Other side dishes
Hard Boiled Eggs - cut into halves
Blanch Lady Fingers or slice cucumber

Dried Cuttlefish Sambal Tumis

2 pieces of dried cuttlefish - refer to note on how to process dried cuttlefish * I bought ready to cook ones from Tesco
1 red onion sliced
30 g tamarind paste
1 tsp brown sugar / gula merah
1/4 cup rice bran oil
salt to taste

sambal paste - blend together
20 g dried chilli , cut into two, boiled in hot water for 5 mins
1 big onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 inch belacan ( shrimp paste )
2 slices of ginger


Heat up 1/4 cup oil in wok and once the oil is hot, add in chilli paste and saute till fragrant and oil and surface . Add in the tamarind paste and brown sugar . Add in the red onion slices and the cuttlefish pieces and continue to cook till the cuttlefish are cooked ( do not overcook the cuttlefish ,as the cuttlefish cook fast or it will be chewy ) The cuttlefish will release liquid so do not add water unless you want more gravy.  Add salt to taste. Dish up and serve with the nasi lemak ( coconut rice ) along side the hard boiled eggs and fried anchovies.

Serve nasi lemak with dried cuttlefish sambal tumis and half boiled eggs and deep fried anchovies

To process dried cuttlefish:

Soak cuttlefish with cold water preferably overnight until it has been reconstituted. Change the water(this water can be used as soup stock) and soak the cuttlefish with cold water which has 1 tbsp of potassium carbonate & sodium bi-carbonate solution(kan sui) added. The cuttlefish is ready when it is soft and double it's original size. At this stage the cuttlefish has to be soaked in plain cold water and change the water every 3 hours.


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