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Monday, April 24, 2017


This is a simple and easy salad with healthy food ingredients.  It’s very appetizing  and refreshing too.
The grapefruit flesh can be replaced by pamelo but I think, it is much easy to obtain grapefruit than pamelo.
It is a salad that tastes more savoury than sweet with the use of fish sauce for the dressing.  Basil leaves gives a sweet fragrance to this salad.

1 grapefruit – skinned to obtain the flesh
½ cucumber or 1 zuchini – shredded
1 small onion – peeled and thinly sliced
30 gm shredded carrot
1 red chill – seeded and cut thin strips
50 gm boiled and sliced prawn
1 piece ham [optional] – cut strips
Some toasted white sesame seeds
Some Basil leaves
Dressing [mixed] - depends on how much of the above ingredients used
1 tbsp fish sauce to taste
2-3 tbsp calamansi juice
1 tsp brown sugar to taste

  1. Prepare the above ingredients as stated.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, then pour in the dressing.  Toss well to mix.
  3. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds. 
  4. Serve immediately or chill until serving time.

Friday, April 21, 2017


Just trying to cut down the use of refined white sugar and switching to using jaggery sugar in my cooking and baking.  This is the first attempt using gula merah to make steamed baos.  
The pau dough is pliable, easy to handle and pleat.  It is a good pau skin dough which can be used to wrap any sweet pau filling of your choice.
These paus turned out well with a natural sugar colour.  The pau texture is good - soft, moist and fluffy.  It can be eaten plain but here I used the AKK mungbean paste as filling which is less sweet.  I have also tried using jaggery sugar for the mungbean paste and the sweetness is just nice for me and should be alright for my mum who is a diabetic.  Hope she can enjoy these paus without 'control'.

[makes 20-24 paus]
500 gm pau flour
1/2 tbsp double action baking powder
1/2 tbsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
100 gm jaggery sugar [gula merah]
250 - 280 ml water
1 tbsp vegetable shortening
  1. Bring water and sugar to boil in a sauce pan until sugar dissolve. Strain and set aside to cool.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add in all the ingredients except shortening.  Gradually, add in cooled syrup and knead until dough is soft, add in shortening.  If dough is too dry, add a little plain water.
  3. Continue to knead until soft, smooth and pliable.  Dust hands with flour, shape dough into a round ball.  Cover and leave in mixing bowl to rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Punch down dough to release the trapped air.  Divide into 20-24 equal portions and shape into round balls.
  5. Flatten each ball into circle to wrap any sweet or savoury pau filling of your choice.  Pleat into pau shape and place on parchment paper or flatten paper cases.
  6. Place paus in a steaming tray, cover to proof for 30 - 40 minutes.
  7. Bring water to boil in a steamer, steam paus over high heat for 12 minutes.  Off heat.
  8. Remove paus to cool on rack or serve immediately.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Read several articles on food ingredients and came across one article on refined sugar.  It is said that refined sugar is not a healthy food ingredient and should be used sparingly.  It also states that the best substitute is pure, natural sugar known as Jaggery Sugar [黑糖] .  I did some searching on this and finally found out that Jaggery sugar is actually Gula Merah which is a sugar ingredient I having been using for making kuih muih and some other sweet desserts not knowing it is jaggery sugar.  I thought this is the same as brown sugar.
The definition I got for Jaggery Sugar Powder – it is a natural sweetening substance made by concentrating sugar cane juice without any preservatives or colouring added.  It can be used for brewing coffee, tea, chocolate drinks and preparing cakes, kuih, syrups and desserts.

This steamed cake ‘huat kuih’ is made using jaggery sugar and less refined sugar.  I was happy to see them smiling so beautifully.  Next time I will use 75-100% jaggery sugar for this kuih as I prefer not too sweet desserts.  These huat kuihs are soft and moist after steaming and remains the same even on the next day.  The sweetness is acceptable but I believe can reduced the refined sugar portion to 1/3. 
[makes 12 huat kuihs]
60 gm jaggery sugar [gula merah] + 60 gm caster sugar
240 ml hot water
250 gm plain flour + 4 tsp baking powder
50 ml corn oil or melted butter
12 small/medium papercup cases

  1. Stir both sugars in hot water until dissolved, then strained.
  2. Sieve plain flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Gradually, stir cooled syrup into flour.  Mix until batter is smooth, then stir in the corn oil.  Mix well.
  4. Transfer batter into a plastic bag, tied up, make a slit at one corner.  Press batter into prepared paper cup cases until 90% full.
  5. Heat steamer over high heat, place batter in steaming tray and steam for 20 minutes [do not uncover steamer in between steaming].
  6. Remove and serve.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


This recipe looks difficult with a long list of ingredients but actually it is not.  There is only 3 main ingredients, the rest are marinades and seasoning.  I have no regrets trying out this recipe.  It does not only look refreshing and tempting but also tastes good.  I believe, it is suitable for all ages.  Moreover, it is a quick cook dish once you assemble the ingredients.

The meatballs and mushrooms are tasty, the winter melon are soft and also absorbs the flavours well.  It looks a presentable dish for  family dinners or gatherings.

Recipe adapted from Yum Yum Magazine No. 103 with modifications
[serves 3]
200 gm minced meat with some fats 
1/4 tsp each of salt, pepper and sesame seed oil
dash of msg or 1/4 tsp sugar [I prefer to use msg]
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
3/4 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tbsp oil
some slices of ginger
2 stalks spring onions - cut sections
6 dried mushrooms - soaked
150 gm winter melon - skinned and cut into chunks
some sliced red carrots
250 ml - 300 ml water
Seasoning [combined]
1 tsp each oyster sauce, light soy sauce and shaoxing wine
1/4 tsp salt to taste
dash of msg

  1. Meatballs - Put all the meatball ingredients into a mixing bowl [except cornstarch], stir in one direction until sticky.  Add in the cornstarch and stir again until sticky.  Gather up the minced meat paste and hit it against the base of the bowl for 3-4 times to firm up the mixture.  Rest mixture while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Heat up oil in a non stick wok, saute ginger and some spring onions until fragrant and slightly charred. 
  3. Add in mushrooms, carrots and winter melon.  Stir to mix well, then pour in the seasoning and water.  Bring to boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Put shaped meatballs to cook, cover and simmer till the meatballs are firm and cooked.  Meanwhile, heat up a claypot.  Stir in spring onions.
  5. Pour into claypot, serve hot.

    This post is linked to Cookbook Countdown Event #16 hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours and Emily of Emily's Cooking [Makan2] Foray

    Monday, April 17, 2017


    Homey, Chinese style dishes are simple and at times could be surprisingly good.   The use of some basic ingredients with a main ingredient can make each dish so unique,  apart from being tasty and delicious.
    This dish is an example of what I am trying to say. 
    The basic ingredients are some meat, ginger, chilli and preserved soy bean paste [taucheong].  These basic ingredients can be used to fry a variety of vegetables of your choice [from leafy greens to beans,  quash and gourd].

    Recipe inspired by Chinese TV Cook Show with modifications
    [serves 3]
    2 stalks of celery – peeled and cut thin slices
    ½ red chilli – seeded and shredded
    1 cm piece ginger – shredded
    2 tbsp preserved soy bean paste [taucheong]
    50 gm pork belly – shredded [you can use pork tenderloin]
    ½ tbsp oil
    1 tbsp cooking wine
    Dash of msg and pepper to taste

    1. Heat up a non-stick wok, fry shredded meat pork with oil until fragrant and oil oozes out [you may need more oil if using pork tenderloin].  Push aside and add in ginger and red chilli, sauté until aromatic.
    2. Add in taucheong and seasoning.  Stir to mix all ingredients, then add in some water.
    3. Bring to boil for several minutes, add in the vegetables.  Give it a good toss and stir well until vegetables are cooked. 
    4. Dish up to serve immediately.

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