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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

Sunday 31 March 2013

A touch of Fuzhou

Fish maw is one of the delicacies that is typically eaten during Chinese New Year.   For those who are not familiar, it's an internal organ of the fish, also known as the swim or air bladder.  If you have ever wondered how a fish can stay put at a certain level so effortlessly, you have the answer now :)  And for the things that we Chinese eat...

Although fish maws is considered pricy, most of the times still cheaper than birds' nests or sea cucumbers.  Compared to the bird nest for its collagen quality and to sea cucumbers for its texture.   They are quite tasteless and odorless (except if you are unlucky enough to get one with fishy odors if they are not properly cleaned or rancid from oil used for deep frying).  They basically act like a sponge absorbing the flavors of soups or stews that they are cooked in.    

The different chinese clans have different ways of cooking fish maw.  In my Hokkien home, they are mostly added into soups, which i think is quite common with the Cantonese too (might be wrong, but as far as I know, the Cantonese in Hong Kong soaps love their Fa Kau (花胶) soups).   Quite some time ago, I had this opportunity to try out fish maw in a sweet and sour like stew in a town named Sitiawan where a majority of their Chinese are descendants of the Fuzhou clan.  A nice change compared to the taste that I am more used to.   Moreover I love sweet and sours, they are always very appetizing.

This was made sometime after the recent Chinese New Year and since it fits the theme for this month's Aspiring Bakers, here goes.

Since I am not from the Fuzhou clan, I made some references by looking up some recipes (among them Simply Beautiful and Healthy Living), and found that they were mostly quite similar.  With a rough idea of the key ingredients (fish maw, a protein (meat/prawns) plus tomato/chilli sauce) and memories of the one I had, I played by ear from there.   And I added some roast pork which I had on hand that particular day :) In short, this is not any heirloom recipe but i believe it does have a touch of Fuzhou in it!

Verdict? Delicious, the family loved it!

  • 300g ready fried fish maw (rinse, soak for 30 minutes, drain, squeeze out water and cut into smaller pieces)
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup minced meat (season with a pinch of salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of cornflour)
  • 200g roast pork
  • 4 shitake mushrooms (soak until soften then sliced)
  • 1 can button mushrooms (wash and sliced)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, julienned 
  • 800 ml water
  • Plum Sauce (3 tbsp)
  • Combination of tomato sauce (Around 1/2 cup) and tomato puree (Around 1/4 cup) or just tomato sauce 
  • Sweet chilli sauce (Around 1/3 cup)
  • Sugar (2 tbsp)
  • Soy sauce (1 tbsp)
  • Salt

  1. Heat up some oil in a flat and slightly wide based pot and saute garlic and ginger until fragrant.
  2. Add in carrot, minced meat and mushrooms.  Fry until meat is no longer reddish.
  3. Add in fish maw and mix well.
  4. Add in water and let simmer for around 30 minutes or until fish maw is soft.   Add in roast pork half way through so that it will not be too soft from all the simmering.
  5. Add in sauces and seasonings.  Taste to suit preference.

I am submitting this dish to Aspiring Bakers #29:Heirloom and Local Dialect Recipes 家传菜/籍贯菜 (March 2013) hosted by FHL of Faith Hope Love.

Sunday 24 March 2013

It was a Johor Night!

This is the story of Friday the 22nd... 
On Thursday, my sister was teasing me on whatsapp about what noodles I have in mind for tomorrow since I have recently declared to the world that I am into making noodles on Fridays.   I actually had Mee Jawa in mind but when it went across to her it became Mee Jaws! DYAC!  Huh? Mee Jaws, what?  Immediately the theme song from the movie JAWS played in our heads, if it rings a bell you are as old as I am :p  We were literally laughing tears over it.   I always get caught in blunders like this, thank god no damaging ones so far, most of the time end up rolling on the floor more than anything else :)  

Anyways, she suggested Mee Rebus which i think is quite similar to Mee Jaws(oops, i meant Jawa).  Actually I am not too sure if there are differences.  The ongoing Malaysian Food Fest (MFF)  came to mind so I look around for a Johor style Mee Rebus  I was very happy to land on a recipe that credited a Anak Johor (i.e. Johor state born and bred) and I also found that many have tried this recipe including Annie, the MFF host for this month. 

Mee Rebus is a Malay all in one noodle dish with yellow noodles being used most of the time.  Noodles are blanched then eaten with some condiments on top of a sweet and slightly spicy gravy which unique flavors come from spices, meat and sweet potatoes.

All nice and pretty until...

I spilled some gravy on the beancurd while pouring it over and I was lazee... But it does take a lot to make everything look nice and pretty, take photos, change pose, then continue taking more shots especially when you have something like this staring at you and begging you to eat it while it's piping hot!  So, pardon the blots on the photos!

And one final shot before digging in! Yum!

Source : Annielicious and Masam Manis, with original source from Iza Akma


  • 300g Minced Beef
  • 250g Orange Sweet Potatoes
  • 35g Dried Shrimp, washed, drained then finely ground
  • 2 stalks of Lemongrass, cut into 5 inch length, bruised
  • 8 pcs Star Anise
  • 5 tbsp Pre-Packed Chilli Paste (More/less per preference)
  • 2 tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 cube Beef Stock (or replaced with chicken stock powder)
  • ½ cup Tamarind Juice  (mix 1 tsp Tamarind Paste top up with ½ cup water)
  • 50g Grated Palm Sugar/Gula Melaka (More/less per preference)
  • Salt per preference
  • 1liter water
  • 4 tbsp cooking Oil

Spices for Gravy

  • 3 onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 3/4 inc galangal
  • 1 candlenut
Noodles and Condiments
  • 500g yellow noodles, wash, blanch in boiling water
  • 200g bean sprouts, wash, blanch in boiling water
  • 3 pieces fried tofu, sliced
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, cut into quarters
  • 4 calamansi, halfed
  • Parsley 
  • Red and Green Chillies (if preferred)
  • Fried Shallots (if preferred)
  1. Boil sweet potatoes (skin on) until soften, remove skin then mashed them.  Set aside.
  2. Prepare spices for gravy then grind everything together.  Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a wok, add in star anise and lemongrass, fry till fragrant.
  4. Add in ground spices, fry until fragrant.
  5. Add chilli paste and fry until aroma is present.
  6. Add ground dried shrimps and fry until aroma is present.
  7. Add in grounded minced beef. (I was greedy, I wanted to try the original recipe and some beef balls like what Annie I added half added in at this stage while the other were made into balls).
  8. Add curry powder and coriander powder, mix well.
  9. Add water, beef/chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  10. Add in meat balls (if made), and stir gently to prevent them from sticking together or breaking.
  11. Under medium low heat, add in mashed sweet potatoes, tamarind juice, palm sugar and salt. Continue to stir until the mashed sweet potatoes incorporated into gravy.  
  12. Let it simmer for awhile until gravy slightly thickened.  Slightly more water can be added if a more watery gravy is preferred.
  13. Prepare noodles and condiments.  Scoop gravy onto noodles, garnish with parsley, fried chillies and shallots.  Savour!

I am submitting this to Malaysian Food Fest Event ( Johor Month ) hosted by Annie of Annielicious Food

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Let's Talk about Fridays

I know it's a bit too early to talk about Friday when she's sitting dragging her feet :) But time flies, she will be here faster than we would have thought :) Friday is my favorite day, i love the prelude to the weekend more than the weekend itself! 

In recent weeks, I have consistently made all in one noodle dishes on Fridays.  Don't know how long this trend will last but it has been fun so far.  I guess it will be until someone in the family screams "Stop, no more noodles!" or until i run out of noodle ideas.  All in one noodle dishes are normally quite easy to prepare and the other thing that i love about it is the family gets to spend more quality time at the table instead of just concentrating on the food  (plus there are lesser dishes to wash)! All in one are no brainers, everything there is to eat is already on one's plate, so one can chat while eating, of course the no food in mouth when talking rule still applies here :)  Noodles Friday it shall be for now!

Mee Siam is common in Malaysia and Singapore as far as i know.  From what I read it was originally a Malay dish until the Nyonyas added their zest to it.  Simply put, it's vermicelli fried in a sweet, savory and tangy gravy.  Two  versions to it, the dry and the wet.    Over in Malaysia, it's the dry version that we are used to while it's the wet one for our neighbors down south.    So, it's the dry one that I am talking about here.  This recipe from a local daily was the one I referred to for my maiden attempt many many moons ago and it was love at first bite!  I don't refer to it anymore since getting mine more or less there.

Vermicelli fried with a combination of  prawns, tofu puffs, chives, bean sprouts and gravy made from a blend of chilli, shallots, preserved soybeans plus tamarind juice, topped with thinly sliced omelet plus a squeeze of calamansi juice and topped with some sambal belacan is simply divine.   Very interesting mix of flavors and how vermicelli does such a good job at soaking up these flavors makes this dish so appetising and difficult to stop at!  

Reference :

  • 500g rice vermicelli
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced 
  • 10 pieces tofu puff cut into slices
  • Calamansi cut into wedges
  • 300g prawns shelled
  • 3 tbsp dried shrimps soaked and minced
  • 200g bean sprouts
  • A handful of chives, cut into around 5 cm length

Gravy (mix all ingredients except tamarind juice together)
  • 10 dried chilli (replaced with 5 tbsp of store bought chilli paste to tone down spiciness for little one and is a cheat in way because handling chilli is no easy job)
  • 5 shallots, slice and minced
  • 2 tbsp minced preserved soybeans
  • 3 tbsp tamarind paste mixed with 60ml water (squeezed for tamarind juice)

  • Light soya sauce/Fish sauce
  • Sugar
  1. Soak rice vermicelli in water until soft.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Fry beaten eggs in a shallow pan with a little oil like making an omelet (without stirring).  Remove and cut into thin strips. Set aside.
  3. Fry sliced shallots in some oil until golden brown and crispy.  Set aside.
  4. Fry gravy ingredients with 2 tbsp oil until fragrant and oil separates.  Add in minced dried shrimps and fry until fragrant.
  5. Add in tamarind juice and bring to a boil.
  6. Add in prawns and tofu puffs.
  7. Add vermicelli and mix well with gravy.  Add in a little water if it's too dry.
  8. Add in bean sprouts and fry for 1-2 minutes.  Do not overfry or sprouts will turn out limpy. 
  9. Add in seasoning to taste.
  10. Add in chives and fry for another minute.
  11. Dish out and serve with omelette strips, fried shallot and calamansi wedges on the side.

Sunday 3 March 2013

Easy Dinner with Soy Sauce Chicken

Hello, there! To those who celebrated Chinese New Year, I hope all of you had great fun and had a wonderful time with loved ones.  Mine was awesome, one of the greatest in 10 years.  There's nothing like having everyone back home for the festival, only then will reunion dinners lift up to their true meanings.   The joy brought by their presence was enough to warm hearts like no other.   Priceless moments...a good start for the year.  May the Year of the Snake bloom into one with lots of joy, love and happiness for all of us! 

In the fun and festivities, this blog has definitely been neglected.   There were a lot of buzz in the kitchen no doubt, but I am going last in first out for this time while i figure and sort out those done over CNY.

We had this soy sauce chicken, a traditional chinese dish with some mee suah for dinner just a few nights ago.  Apparently I planned for it to be a light but looking at it now I am not too sure if light it was BUT we enjoyed it for sure.  Thanks to Esther for the inspiration and the recipe.  I love her fuss free recipes :)

Followed her recipe almost to a T except for some substitutions and omissions for those items that I didn't have in my kitchen.

Soy sauce chicken eaten with an egg plus some blanched chinese mustard leaves and a dollop of sambal belacan over mee suah drizzled with some leftover sauce.  Yummeh!

I am submitting this dish to Aspiring Bakers #28: Chicken Feast (February 2013) hosted by SSB of Small Small Baker.



  • 3 Chicken legs, about 800g (2 chicken legs, about 600g)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 100ml good quality light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 500ml water (+/- 650ml)
  • 60g rock sugar
  • 5 fat cloves of garlic
  • 2 stalks spring onion, cut into 2 inch strips (oops, i forgot this!) 
  • 2 inch ginger, smashed
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 1.5inch)
  • 10 white peppercorns
  • 1 large piece of dried orange peel (zest from 1 orange)
  • 1 small liquorice stick ("ganchao") (omitted)
  1. Rinse and pat dry chicken with kitchen towel.
  2. Using a heavy flat based stainless steel pot (big enough to fit chicken without overlapping), heat the oils and gently fry the aromatics until fragrant.  Pour all the liquid seasonings and bring to a boil.  Turn down the fire and let the sauce simmer gently for about 10min. 
  3. Add the chicken legs, make sure the sauce completely covers the chicken.  If there is not enough liquid, add more water.  Let it simmer as gently as possible for about 40min.  
  4. Remove the chicken and test for doneness. Let it rest for about 15min.  
  5. In the meantime, adjust the taste of the gravy to preference (I found it just right).
  6. Chop the chicken to smaller pieces.  I cut each leg to 3 pieces (Not going to risk breaking up the meat or causing bone splinters with my not so good chopping skill).

    Egg Preparation
    1. Put the preferred number of eggs in a small pot.  Fill pot with enough water to cover eggs by 1 or 2 inches.
    2. Let water in pot come to a rolling boil for 2-3 minutes.  Turn off heat and cover pot and leave eggs in hot water for 10 minutes.  
    3. Drain hot water and fill pot with cold water to stop cooking process.  
    4. When cooled, peel eggs.
    5. Simmer the eggs in the left over sauce for 20 minutes.

    Noodles Preparation
    1. Rinse mee suah in cold water.
    2. Blanch mee suah in boiling water to cook it.
    3. Drain then drizzle some leftover sauce on mee such.
    4. Serve with chicken, egg and blanched mustard leaves top with some sambal belacan.


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