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Girls' Best Friend

Bright and sparkly. Gemstones came to my mind when I was removing this Dragon Fruit and Orange jelly from the mould. Like a combination of gemstones...rubies, amber and diamonds, all in one!

Dragon's Eyes

The literal translation for the name of a small brown, juicy exotic fruit from the lands of Asia, known as Longan in Chinese, packed into these muffins


A taste from the humble beginnings, the Long Bean Rice brings back beautiful memories of the yesteryears

Light and Fluffy

Lemon, Yogurt and Cranberries~a nice blend of flavours in a light and fluffy chiffon cake

Bread Stories

Asian style buns ~ Popular as breakfast food or snack, sweet/savoury fillings wrapped in soft, cottony bread

Friday, 31 May 2013

Of Claypot and Mushrooms

I have always been fascinated by the burning charcoal stoves and the skills of the person manning them at claypot rice restaurants that continue making them the old fashion way.  Love the sight of  the glowing embers and the occasional outburst of sparks that sets them flying into the air.   The skills of those manning these stoves is just amazing.  They easily watch over 10-20 of these stoves.  Like a hawk, they keep a close eye on the rice making sure they are cooked just right while controlling the flames by fanning and adding/removing embers.

It is these stoves and the use of claypots that gives the rice a nice smokey flavor and a slightly charred crusty layer of rice at the bottom of the pot.   

Fascinations aside, I can't imagine myself sweating over a charcoal stove :)  I have always cooked a modernised version of claypot rice using the rice cooker although I do own a claypot.  I have no idea what struck me the other day and there was this nudge to try doing it with the claypot  (over a gas stove i mean, that's the furthest I can go).   It was like, come on, give it a try, why not?  Worst case scenario would be burning the entire pot of rice.  If the man at the restaurant can watch over so many pots, i should be able to cope with just one and that's over a stove that can be controlled by just a flick of  the knob.  Phew, glad my pot of rice made it and the cooking process was enjoyable.  It was happiness when I reached the little milestones along the way.  The finale had to be the moment I caught a whiff of the nice, smoky aroma, yeay :))

I had so much fun with my maiden attempt that I made another two variations after trying out the classic chicken one!  Since it is the Mushroom Galore month on Little Thumbs Up and today is the last day for me to catch this train, it will be this mushroom and beef variation for tonight :)

I spotted the recipe on Terri's of Hunger Hunger. She concocted the recipe based on what she saw on a  tv program on food of Southern China.   I thought it was interesting that mushroom was the star ingredient when most of time it played a side role in claypot dishes.  One can even make it vegan if preferred.

And the rice at the bottom...

And after everything is mixed up, not so pretty anymore (and too impatient to eat than to make it look prettier for pictures) but it was satisfactorily delicious especially if you are a mushroom lover.

Source : Hunger Hunger

  • A handful of 3 kinds of mushrooms (I used Bunashimeji, Bunapi and Eryngii)
  • 300g beef
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water with 1/2 cube chicken stock added into it
  • Sesame oil
  • Spring onions
  • 1 tbsp Shao Xing wine
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fine sugar
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 tbsp water
  • A few twist of freshly grounded black pepper

  1. Trim and give mushrooms a quick wash.  Tear bigger mushrooms into strips.  
  2. Cut meat into strips and season with marinade. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Put 1 1/2 tbsp oil into heated wok.  Put in beef and stir fry until half cooked. Remove and set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in wok.  Add in garlic, stir fry for 2 seconds then add a pinch of salt.  Add in mushroom and stir fry until mushrooms are just about to wilt.  Add in beef and toss for a few seconds.  Remove and set aside.  Don't overcook it as it will cook again in the claypot.
  5. Put washed rice into claypot.  Add in water.  Let water come to a boil then set flame to low to allow it to simmer until rice is 90% cook.  Water would have been absorbed by rice.
  6. Quickly add in the mushroom and beef on top of rice in one layer.  Cover and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Leave rice to sit in pot with lid covered for another 5 minutes.
  8. Fluff rice with wooden paddle to mix everything up.  Serve hot, garnished with spring onions and a drizzle of sesame oil.
I'm linking this post to Little Thumbs Up event, hosted by Joyce, kitchen flavours, organized by Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids and Doreen for my little favourite D.I.Y.


Saturday, 18 May 2013

From the Land Below the Wind

I love this other name that the state of Sabah has.  Land Below the Wind, a  name given by seafarers in the past simply because it's located south of the typhoon belt, thus setting it free from climate disturbance. Sabah is well known for its beautiful beaches and it is also home to the tallest peak in South East Asia.  

It's the month of Land Below the Wind on the Malaysian Food Fest blogging event.  Do hop over to A Pepper's Love for a better introduction on Sabah.

I first caught sight of this Burnt Bottom Rice Vermicelli, an All in One Meal at  Wendy's blog, Table for 2 or More.  To me this is one of the easier among many Sabah specialities that she has shared :)  I was also intrigued by the name.   After reading the post, I came to a conclusion that it sounded fairly similar to the Cantonese Style Fried Rice Vermicelli which we on the west side is more familiar with.  The difference is for this one the egg is fried like an omelette while for the other egg is added into the gravy.  I also did a quick search to find more reference on it, and found some on this blog called Foodiot KK by a Sabahan.  He mentioned that the gravy can be cooked either with meat or seafood.       From the clicks, it's obvious i went for the latter.   Oh, and I couldn't resist throwing in some greens to make it a balanced meal.  Now I am not sure if this is still the authentic Sabah Style Burnt Bottom Rice Vermicelli :)

I tried this on a day when I needed a quickie.  It was done pretty fast, around 30 minutes.  In a rush, 
the photos were taken with my Iphone.  

Verdict? We quite like it.  It's actually heavier than Cantonese style as there quite a bit of egg in it.  I find the portion quite big for one but my 14 year old son polished it clean.

Reference : Table for 2 or More

  • 50g rice vermicelli 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • A handful of mixed seafood (shrimps, baby octopus, clams, mussels etc), season with some salt and pepper
  • Some green mustards
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • Salt, soy sauce and pepper to taste

  1. Soak rice vermicelli in water until soften.  Drain and drip dry.
  2. Mix all ingredients for gravy.  
  3. Heat up a wok and add in 2 tbsp of oil.  Meanwhile, beat the eggs.
  4. Pour eggs into wok.
  5. Spread rice vermicelli over egg.
  6. Once the base is brown golden, flip it.
  7. Allow rice vermicelli to have some crisp and golden patches (i.e. to lift up to its name :)).  Dish up.
  8. Add some oil into wok.  Fry shallot and garlic until fragrant.
  9. Add in seafood and fry briefly.
  10. Add in gravy and seasonings.  Let it come to a boil and is slightly thicken.
  11. Throw in mustard greens.
  12. Pour onto rice vermicelli and enjoy!
I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest Sabah Month hosted by Mary Of a Pepper's Love

Monday, 13 May 2013

Slowly but Surely

Again, I have been playing the disappearing act for quite some time, can't help it magic seems to be one hot topic being talked about on home ground now.   For those who have been following stories on the 13th Malaysian General Election, you would know what i meant :)  Jokes aside,  my apologies for the absence.  Although personally I am disappointed with the results but judging from the voice of the people who are standing in unity for a better nation in a way I would never have imagined, I believe  there is hope still, we will get there, slowly but surely just like this post of mine :)

This story has been in the baking for quite sometime now...

I stumbled upon this recipe when I was looking for something simple to bake one evening.   Something that would be fast and easy and preferably a small recipe so that I don't need to do any downsizing.   Then i recalled Aspiring Bakers had a Cupcakes theme some time back.  These 2 words, One Bowl and Ultimate spoke to me while i was scrolling through all the lovely cupcakes.   The roundup for these events as really helpful when in need of inspirations, it's like a treasure chest out there waiting to be discovered. 

Thanks to Janine of Not the Kitchen Sink (now known as Un Pastiche) who shared this recipe for the event.  Janine rated this as one of the top three out of the many chocolate cupcake recipes that she has tried.  Do check out Janine's blog for a detail review of the recipe.  From there I also got to know that this recipe by Angela Nilsen was published on BBC Good Food way back in 2007.  It has a 5 star rating and to date there has been over 800 reviews for it.  Now, since the recipe is quite old, I am not sure if many have tried it out.  But for me, the raving reviews and simple steps, was convincing enough to make me give it a try.

It was close to dinner time when they were ready.  I told myself i will just have a tiny weeny bite to taste it.  But holy, i couldn't stop at one! Then came another and the other, I ended up almost finishing the entire thing!  Need I say more???

I didn't have any chocolate bakings bars at home at that time so I used Lindt Creation La Turf chocolate bar instead.  Close to half of a bar went into these cupcakes.    Apart from the excellent recipe, I really believe the chocolate made a difference.  Simply divine, it was so so moist, soft, fragrant, chocolaty creamy!

It really does lift up to its name, ultimate indeed!  Thanks Janine! 

Up close, topped with some chocolate shavings...

Source : Spotted on Un Pastiche who  very loosely adapted from BBC Good Food's Ultimate Chocolate Cake

  • 50g dark chocolate (at least 50% cocoa solids)
  • 50g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/4 tsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in 25ml water
  • 45g all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 35g soft brown sugar
  • 40g fine granulated sugar (reduced to 30g)
  • 7g cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 20ml buttermilk (substituted with 18ml milk, 5ml lemon juice)
  1. Preheat oven to 160C (I used 170C).
  2. Place coffee granules in a large metal bowl over pot of simmering water.  Add in cold water to dissolve coffee granules.  Add in chocolate pieces and butter.   Add in cocoa powder.  Stir gently until everything is melted and well combined.   Allow mixture to cool.
  3. Meanwhile combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  4. Stir in buttermilk  into melted chocolate mixture and mix well.  When mixture is still slightly warm, crack in egg and mix well (Make sure it's not hot otherwise egg will cook).
  5. Once egg is fully incorporated, add in dry ingredients and mix well.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared liners and baked for 20 minutes.


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