Friday, July 29, 2011

Daring Durian Endeavour

A very warm hello once again to all friends who are now reading this entry.  I must admit it has been quite some time since I last wrote an entry into this blog, not because of lack of materials to write, but merely because of the lack of time.

Now that I have some time to write, since today is going to be the start of a long weekend including Monday.  And before I forget, I would like to wish al my Muslim friends happy fasting and may you get all the barakah the month of Ramadhan has to offer, Insya Allah.

My entry today is about this rather peculiar Durian Cake which I made as a way of saying thanks to one of my colleague who gave my family a whole container of ready-peeled durians.  Pn Hajah Mariya knew very well that I don't eat raw durians, which she had incidentally brought earlier for the Form 6 teachers!  So, she brought this batch especially for my wife and for me, so that I can turn it into something I would eat!

Of course, in order for me to eat the durian, I turned it into a cake; a Durian cake nonetheless, some of which I gave to my colleague.  She did ask for the recipe and I told her that she could get a hold of it in my blog; just to get her to visit my blog!  Well, for you Kak Mariya, here's the recipe!

250g butter
250g castor sugar
200g self-raising flour
50g plain flour
4 eggs
125g durian flesh, mashed

As usual, cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.  After that gradually beat in the flour alternating with the durian flesh.  Pour into an 8-inch square baking tin which has already been greased and lined with greaseproof paper.  Bake in a 185 C oven for about 45 minutes.  Since temperatures of ovens vary, adjust oven temperature and cooking time according to yours.  Happy baking!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Masak Lemak Daging Salai dengan Pisang Muda!

The other day my school canteen operator accepting a catering job from one of the local residents and one of the dishes in the menu included one that used Smoked Beef.  I don't very much fancy beef because I have had some unpleasant experiences with those that are stringy and sometimes not very fresh.  But when I saw my canteen operator actually smoking the beef, I quickly bought some from her. 

The usual way of cooking Smoked Beef is in coconut milk with bamboo shoots or a type of local mango.  I however prefer to prepare it with some young bananas.  This dish is a favourite amongst people from the state of Negeri Sembilan and the ingredients may vary from one district to another.  Nevertheless, this is my version of Smoked Beef cooked with coconut milk and young bananas.

5 stalks lemon grass
5 shallots
2 thumb size fresh turmeric
20 birds eye chilies
6 cups coconut cream
15 young bananas ( I like to have more!)
1/2 kilo smoked beef, thinly sliced
2 pieces 'Asam Kandis'
salt to taste

Grind the first four ingredients in a blender together with two cups of plain water.  Pour this into a pot, add the smoked beef and simmer until the beef is tender.  Then add the young bananas and boil until half-cooked.  Add the coconut cream, 'asam kandis' and kandis.  Simmer slowly until the bananas are tender.  Yum!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Longings for Nasi Ayam Penyet

My son has been going to Johor Bharu quite often of late and his frequent visit to the state (at least I feel they are frequent!) has helped to widen his gastronomic endeavours.  I suppose that is a good thing whereby his list of favourite food has now grown bigger, and so has his waistline (but he works hard at getting that excess 'spare tyre' by frequent jogs!) 

Anyway, one of the food he has given rave review (and if he does that, you can be sure the food is good!) is the Nasi Ayam Penyet.  I have heard of the dish but have never made it myself.  So, after searching the net, I came across a from where I adapted the recipe.  My thanks to the blogger!  My adaptation of the recipe is as follows, begining with the chicken :

1 chicken cut into 4
1 tbs cumin, dry-roasted and pounded
1 tbs coriander seeds, dry roasted and pounded
2 stalks lemon grass, sliced and pounded
1 thumb-size ginger, pounded
2 thumb-size galangal, pounded
5 cloves garlic, pounded
5 shallors, pounded

Mix the chicken pieces with all the ingredients and season with salt.  Marinade for at least three hours.  (I managed 1 hour because my son couldn't wait to taste my version of Ayam Penyet!)  Brush away as much of the marinade as you can, and boil the chicken until cooked (the stock can be used to make a simple chicken soup to go with the rice!)  Let cool, then season with the marinade once again, roll in rice flour and fry until the skin crispens.  Put the chicken between two chopping boards and press using your body weight to flatten the chicken (hence the name, Ayam Penyet!)

The dish is also accompanied with a selection of fresh vegetables (or ulam!) like sliced cucumber, salad leaves, long beans and tomatoes.  I also included fried 'tempe' which I fried after seasoning with some of the chicken marinade plus some turmeric (in fact, I rather prefer the 'temper' to the chicken!).  These then are eaten together with some 'sambal'; recipe as follows :

5 red chilies
10 birds eye chilies
5 shallots
2 ripe tomatoes
some dried anchovies
some shrimp paste and salt to taste

Fry the first three ingredients ( I used the oil I used to fry the chicken and 'tempe'!)  Then blend them with the rest of the ingredients.

Serve immediately, with the vegetables, 'tempe', chicken and hot plain white rice; not forgetting the soup!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Second Take At Bread Pudding

Dense but soft and not too sweet

I remember making this some time back but it turned out a bit hard, presumably because I used too many eggs and too little milk.  I was encouraged to try this pudding again today, again because I had a request from my children and this time my wife suggested that I make it a bit softer.

And this time I also added a little bit more trimmings than the last time.  Once baked, the pudding turned out as I expected, soft and not too sweet, much to the delight of my children (and my wife too!)  So, here's the recipe.
  • 8 slices day-old bread
  • 5 medium sized eggs
  • 1 tin evaporated milk (I used the 400g tin Ideal Milk)
  • 6 tbs granulated sugar
  • 2 tbs muscovado sugar
  • 10 glace cherries, chopped
  • 80 g almond flakes
  • some butter

Right out of the oven!

Beat the sugar and eggs until the sugar dissolves then stir in the evaporated milk.  Cut the bread diagonally into quarters and spread some butter on each slice.  Arrange in a greased 8 x 8 inch baking tin then pour the egg mixture slowly evenly over the bread.  Scatter the glace cherries on top of the bread followed by the flaked almonds.  Dot some butter and leave to stand a while so that the milk steep into the bread.  Bake for 35 minutes at 180 C.  Serve warm. (If your children can wait that long!)

Friday, July 1, 2011

No Nonsense Noodle Soup

 It has been a sweltering past few days and any food that includes thick, oily coconut cream is definitely out of the menu (for now at least!)  During hot weathers like what we are having now, the best food to have is something simple with a lot of clear broth.  So, using her better judgement, my wife prepared our Flat Noodle Soup with Garlic-flavoured Pickled Chili.  Of course, one would need to leave the pickled chili aside for a while before consuming it to get the true flavour of the garlic.  I like to garnish my noodle soup with shallot crisps, sliced scallions and bean sprouts.

We always prepared two types of noodles to choose from when eating this dish, but sometimes I mix both the flat noodles and vermicelli.  For the stock or soup, you would need to first of all dry roast 2 tsp each of cumin and coriander, then crush lightly with pestle and mortar and put into a muslin bag. 

2 lemon grass, bruised
6 pips garlic, blended
10 shallots, blended
2 thumb size ginger, blended
2 chicken thighs, cut into small portions
About 20 fresh fishballs
3 pieces bean curd sheets, broken into small pieces

Heat some oil in a stock pot and saute the lemon grass, followed by the blended ingredients and the two spices.  Then mix in the chicken and fish balls followed by five liters of chicken stock.  Lastly add in the bean curd sheets and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes.   Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the garlic-flavoured pickled chili, you will need :
10 green chilies, sliced
5 pips garlic, lightly bruised
1 cup distilled rice vinegar
1 cup plain water
1/2 sugar

Boil the sugar, vinegar and water until the sugar dissolves and let cool.  Stir in the garlic and chilies and leave aside to steep for about five minutes.