Tuesday, February 28, 2017


In Penang,  Chinese New Year to the Hokkiens of Taoist faith is incomplete without the ‘Pai Thni Kong’ [Jade Emperor God’s Birthday prayers].     At my paternal home, it has been 5  years, we did not celebrate this occasion because of the passing of my father [2011] and youngest brother [2013].   According to traditional, the family does not observe this practice for 3 years when someone in the family passed away.
It is only this year, the family celebrated this occasion in a rather elaborate way complete with almost all the necessary items as offerings to the God of Heaven.  One of the items was one whole roasted pig.  After prayers,  it was chopped up into pieces and distributed to relatives, friends and neighbours.  I asked my mum for the rib part [pai kut] which I like very much to make a stew or the popular Chai Boey.
This is the roasted ribs which I prepared.  It is aromatic and tasty, so good to go with rice or porridge. I can just say the flavor is something like canned stewed meat.

900 gm roasted pork ribs or trotter – cut into chunky pieces
500 ml water
5 cm piece cinnamon, 2 star anise, 2 cloves,2 bay leaves
1 big garlic – with skin
½ tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp each wine and oyster sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
30 gm rock sugar
½ tsp each of pepper and salt to taste

  1. Place all the ingredients in a heavy based pot.  Bring to boil for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Lower heat and continue to simmer for about 45 minutes or until meat is tender and sauce reduced to thick or consistency preferred.
  3. Dish up to serve.  You can thicken the sauce lightly with some cornstarch water before serving.

Monday, February 27, 2017


It is common that during festive season, most families especially the Nyonyas would prepare at least one curry chicken dish.  But, it wasn’t so at my mother in-law’s place during this year’s Chinese New Year. She has prepared a menu without curry chicken from the eve until after.  For me, it seems like something is missing or incomplete without a curry chicken.  Honestly, I do miss this dish then.  When I came back to my ‘nest’ after a week, this is the first curry I prepared in my kitchen. 
You may be wondering why I didn't cook a pot of it then.  The situation was, I couldn't as I was supposed to prepare dishes with ingredients that were bought by my in-law.  She didn't buy the ingredients for curry chicken. You may also be wondering why I'm sharing this post long after CNY. It's because I was so busy right after the CNY with company accounts to prepare for submission etc.  I'm back now, what a relief.
Coming back to this dish, there is no usual frying or  cooking over the stove.  This is curry chicken baked in an oven.  First, I prepared the paste which is then fried,  marinate the chicken pieces with it, place them in foil trays and just baked them for 30 minutes.  While baking, my kitchen was filled with the nice aroma of a yummy curry.
So this is it, aromatic, tasty and spicy baked curry chicken which I considered a rather healthy version as not too much oil is used to  sauté the curry paste.  Isn't this awesome.
Recipe adapted from Yum Yum Magazine No. 87 with modifications
[serves 3]
2 large chicken whole legs – skin removed and cut bite size pieces
1-2 blades pandan leaves – washed and cut into sections
1 tsp salt to taste
3 tbsp oil
Ingredients for Curry Paste [blend and mix]
4 shallots - peeled
2 stalks lemongrass – cut small pieces
3 candlenuts
4 red chillies – cut small pieces [I added some small chillies]
50 ml coconut milk
50 ml water
½  tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
  1. Season chicken with salt.  Set aside in the fridge.
  2. Blend the ingredients for curry paste until fine. 
  3. Heat up a non stick wok, sauté blended curry paste in oil until aromatic and oil separates.  Seasoned with salt and sugar, then add in the coconut milk and water.  Bring to boil until fragrant and paste is slightly thick.  Cool before marinating chicken with it. You can prepare until this stage and bake the chicken just before serving.
  4. Arrange chicken pieces in an aluminium foil tray, top with pandan leaves and cover with a piece of foil.  Seal the edges well.
  5. Heat oven to 200 degrees C, then baked chicken for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Remove and serve hot.
Cookbook Countdown

This post is linked to Cookbook Countdown Event #14  hosted by  Joyce and Emily of Kitchen Flavours and Emily's Cooking [Makan2] Forays

Friday, February 17, 2017


This dish needs a little extra effort to prepare.  First, you need to prepare the paste for the filling, then the frying followed by the braising.  But, it isn't difficult if it is done step by step at different times.
The paste filling can be used to make fish balls for soups or noodles.  It can be stuffed in various vegetables like brinjals, okra, chillies, bittergourd or in soft/firm beancurd.  
Of course, this is a tasty and aromatic dish which is savoury and sourish.  The fresh tofu skin is tasty when it soaks up the seasoning sauce and fragrant.   
Ingredients for Paste
100 gm fish paste
50 gm prawn paste
50 gm minced meat
some chopped spring onions
Seasoning [mixed together]
1 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sesame seed oil
2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp cornstarch
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine fish paste, prawn paste and minced meat with seasoning.
  2. Stir in a one direction into a sticky paste.  Add in the spring onions and mix well.  Shape into ball, place in a container and chill for at least 30 minutes or until required.
Other Ingredients
1 packet [10 pieces] fresh soya skin [tau pau] - defrost
some chopped garlic, ginger, red chilli and spring onions
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp wine
1 tbsp black vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar
2-3 tbsp water
  1. Separate the fresh tofu skin and press out excess water.
  2. Spread some prepared fish paste on a piece of taupau and top up with another piece.  Press lightly and set aside.  Finish doing the same for the rest.  Dust stuffed tofu skin with some cornflour before frying.
  3. Heat up a non stick pan with enough oil to pan fry or deep fry the tofu skin until golden brown.  Dish up and set aside.
  4. Remove excess oil from wok, saute ginger, garlic and red chilli until aromatic.  Add in seasoning sauce, bring to boil.  Return the fried  taupau pieces to the wok, braise until sauce is reduced slightly.
  5. Dish up and garnish with chopped spring onion.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


There seems to be lots of unending meat dishes served during the Chinese New Year and till now.  Rather tired of preparing meat and seafood dishes which I wasn't too keen to indulge.
This is a colourful, light, tasty and easy vegetable dish that tastes awesome came to my rescue. Given a choice, I would choose this instead of chicken, pork or prawns. It's suitable for the old and young,  good to serve this with rice or porridge.

The brinjals and tomatoes are soft, sweet and sourish.  The braised peanuts are tender and tasty.  If you like the peanuts to be crunchy, just replace the canned braised peanuts to crispy peanuts which is to be added just before dishing up.
The first time, I prepared this dish, I had no intention to post the recipe here as I thought it is nothing special.  But after tasting it, I changed my mind which prompted me to cook this again and here is the recipe.

300 gm brinjal – cut lengthwise and halved
1 tomato – cut wedges
1 stalk spring onions – cut into sections
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 small can braised peanuts – drained off the liquid
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking wine
½ tsp sugar
Salt to taste

  1. Deep fry brinjals in hot oil over high heat in a small saucepan until bright purple colour.  Drained and set aside.
  2. Using another wok, add ½ tbsp oil, sauté chopped garlic until aromatic, then add in tomatoes and seasoning.  Return the fried brinjals to the wok, toss well, add a little water and braised peanuts.
  3. Stir to mix well and bring the sauce to boil until thick.  Add in the spring onion.  Mix well, dish up to serve.