Thursday, April 15, 2010

Beef with ginger and spring onion

This dish is added in response to requests for more beef dishes. I find that tenderloin is the best cut for this dish as it is more tender and also very tasty.


300 gm tenderloin beef
Young ginger
Spring onion

The marinate 
1/2 a beaten egg
1 tbsp oyster sauce
Sesame oil
Corn flour
A little sugar

Thinly slice the beef and add the marinate. Leave for an hour.

Deep fry the beef in hot oil. Remove from pan and keep aside. Leave 2 tbsp oil in the wok and fry the thinly sliced ginger until fragrant. Add the beef and spring onion. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine if desired and mix thoroughly. Dish up and serve.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas turkey


I know it is some time since I updated the blog but I am very busy with my book so have not had time to post new recipes. Still cooking but no time to put the photos together. Anyway I thought I'll share my turkey with you.

This is the turkey that we had for Christmas

Defrost and dry the turkey properly

Once you have put in the stuffing, sew up the hole so that the stuffing will not spill out during the cooking process

Cover the turkey with streaky bacon rashers. This will keep the breast meat moist and add flavour to the turkey. By the way, the little blue button is a timer which will pop up when the turkey is done.

Cover the turkey with kitchen foil to prevent the turkey becoming dry. Make sure that you do not cover the pop up timer otherwise you will not know that it is done.

If you cannot get a turkey with a pop up timer, you can use a meat timer instead. Just put it into the thickest part of the turkey.

Here you can see that the timer has popped up. Remove the bacon and put the turkey back in the oven for the skin to brown.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chicken kacangma

I was in Kuching recently and my local friend introduced me to a special Sarawakian dish called chicken kacangma. Apparently, this is a must have dish during the confinement period although it can be eaten any time.

This is what the chicken kacangma looks like. It is available for lunch in almost any local eatery.

The first mouthful

It is slightly bitter and is actually quite delicious

So what is kacangma?

It is a hairy annual herb with a single 4-angled stem of about 1 m high. There are 2 varieties of the plant, the pink flowered and white flowered kacangma.

I found these images on

The scientific name is Leonurus sibiricus L. and the common name is Chinese motherwort (Yi Mu Cao). The local name is Kacangma (Chinese) and Tebung aga, Seranting, Padang deman (Malay)

It apparently contains protein, carbohydrates and minerals like calcium, sodium, and potassium, vitamins A, B1, B2 and ascorbic acid. It is bitter, acrid and cool. It is said to improve blood circulation, regulate menses and has diuretic, anti-swelling, hypotensive, antimicrobial and anticancer properties. Eating this dish during the confinement period will help enhance the immune system and speed up post natal recovery.

The young leaves, shoots and stems are used to cook this dish. You can buy the herbs either in dried or paste form. I could not find the fried packages but managed to get a packet of the paste which I will try one of these days.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pak Cham Kai

Normally, pak cham kai is cooked by boiling the chicken but I prefer to steam it so that the taste and goodness are preserved. I like to use the chicken with yellowish coloured skin. I always believed that the colour was because the chicken was given corn based feed, but my chicken seller told me that the colour was because the chickens were fed turmeric. This is good news because its’ active ingredient, curcumin is found to help remove plaques from brain cells that could otherwise interfere with your brain's “wiring”. Curcumin therefore helps to reduce the risk of dementia. It is also good to eat curry frequently.


½ a chicken
1 large piece of ginger – sliced thickly and crushed
4 cloves of garlic – crushed
1 medium sized piece of ginger – cut into very fine strips
Sesame oil

For the marinade:
Shaoxing rice wine
Light soy sauce
Salt to taste

Wash and marinade the chicken.
Leave to stand for about an hour.
Place the chicken, crushed ginger and garlic in a steamer.
Every now and then spoon the chicken juices over the chicken so that it will be moist and tasty.

In the meantime, heat some of the sesame oil in a wok and fry the finely sliced ginger strips until brownish in colour.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan. Allow to cool and then rub some sesame oil all over the chicken. Cut into bite size pieces and pour the fried ginger strips over the chicken.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

How to peel a potato without a potato peeler

Dawn Wells, aka Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island, demonstrates a unique way to peel an Idaho potato...without the use of a potato peeler!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Penne with chicken sausage and bacon

This is another children’s favourite dish. It is very easy and quick to fix and wonderful for parties and picnics. It makes a nice change if you are tired of eating rice during confinement.

Boil the penne according to the instructions on the packet. When the pasta is almost cooked, add some salt so that it will not be so bland.

Boil and cut the chicken sausage into bite size pieces

Heat a frying pan and put in the bacon pieces. When the bacon is slightly brown, add in some chopped garlic. Stir until the garlic is brownish and fragrant. Add the chicken sausage and mix thoroughly.

Once the pasta is cooked, strain and quickly rinse with warm water to remove the starchiness of the pasta. Add the sausage, bacon, mixed herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper. mix thoroughly and leave to stand for about half an hour before serving.

Monday, March 9, 2009

3 ways to cook the sole fish

Sole is considered as the finest of all fish as it is a lean fish, easy to digest and always sweet and delicious. Sole is an excellent source of high-quality protein, rich in vitamin B, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, selenium, iodine and iron.

The most well known is the Dover sole that was only found in the coastal waters of England. Today, it is found in the Mediterranean and off the coasts of Norway. Nowadays, many flatfish are called soles which make it very confusing. Lemon sole is a fancy name for winter flounder, sometimes called witch flounder. Gray sole is a similar variety, known to fishermen as black back and is more commonly used in Chinese cuisine. Fluke is summer flounder. It is called ikan sebelah in Bahasa Malaysia.

All flatfish have both their eyes on the upper side of their bodies, and they often are identified by whether the eyes are on the right or the left. In other words when the fish is laid down with its dark side up and its dorsal fin on top, you can see whether the eyes are on the left or the right. Dover sole, which have extremely small, rounded heads, have their eyes on the right.

This is the dark top side of the sole.

This is the lighter other side of the sole.

Sole can be cooked whole or filleted and can be oven-baked, grilled, poached, steamed, prepared en papillote, pan-fried or seared, sautéed or deep-fried. Marinating in oil, lemon juice, white wine or soya sauce helps to bring out the full flavour of sole. Deep-drying or pan-frying in butter can increase the fat content of the cooked fish considerably. Steaming or poaching preserves the low fat content of the fish.

Fried whole sole
1 small whole sole fish, cleaned and gutted
Lemon juice
Soya sauce
Garlic powder
All-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
Garlic chips
Vegetable oil for frying

In a large bowl, mix lemon juice and soya sauce and marinate the fish for about 1 hour. During confinement, use Shaoxing wine instead of lemon juice.

Combine the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Coat the fish in the flour mixture immediately before frying to prevent the flour from becoming “gummy”.

Heat the oil in frying pan to around 350 F and gently slide in the floured fish. Fry, turning once, until both sides are golden brown and exterior skin is “crunchy”.

Place in serving platter. Sprinkle with fried garlic chips and garnish with lime slices, if desired. Serve with cooked vegetables or salad.

Pan fried sole

This is the fillet which is excellent for cooking baby’s porridge or pan fried for older children. The fillets are quite expensive therefore I find it cheaper to buy the whole fish and have it filleted for free. Remember to ask for the bones and the head.

Use the same marinate as for cooking the whole sole. Just before frying or grilling dust with a little flour.

Heat a little cooking oil and a knob of butter in the frying pan. Put in the fish and fry until slightly brown on both sides.

Serve with cooked vegetables or salad.

Sole fish soup

The bones can be used to make delicious soup or stock for porridge. Use a pair of scissors and cut the bones into fairly big pieces. Deep fry the bones and keep it aside.

Wash and soak the Sze chuan vegetable for about 10 minutes to remove the saltiness of the vegetable. Slice and put the vegetable and a few slices of ginger into the boiling stock. Simmer for about an hour. Add sliced tomatoes, bean curd and the fried fish. Simmer for another 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.