Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spicy Onion Prawn / Sambal Udang

In my memory, this is one of the few spicy dishes that I start to take when I was young. I love the natural sweetness of the onion and juicy prawn. Whenever my mum prepared it, I would go for second helping of rice. Just add a few slices of freshly cut cucumber together with hot steamed rice make a perfect match of a complete meal for me!

600g Prawn (medium, shell removed)
200g Onion (sliced)
½ cup Oil
70g Tamarind Pulp
1 cup Water (for tamarind juice)
1 tsp Salt (or taste)
1 tsp Sugar (or taste)

Curry Paste (Pounded)
50g Dried Chilies (seed removed)
200g Shallot (peeled)
3 cloves Garlic
2 stalks (large) Lemongrass
1 Tbsp Turmeric Powder

1. Heat up oil, sauté curry paste at medium heat until lightly brown and fragrant.
2. Add sliced onion. Stir fry until soft.
3. Then add prawn, stir fry until well mixed with curry paste and aromatic.
3. Add tamarind juice and mix well with the prawn and curry paste.
4. Lastly add sugar and salt to taste and continue simmer to reduce curry to desired texture.
5. Serve well with hot steamed rice and slices of freshly cut cucumber.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cempedak Butter Cake

Every year around this time of the year, I enjoy baking Cempedak Butter Cake to share with friends. I love the flow of cempedak aroma with the mixed of butter, sugar, egg, and flour surrounding the entire house when the cake is baked.
Cempedak gives off a strong aroma which can even be compared to the aroma of durian, the king of fruit, when it becomes ripe. It is certainly unfair to call it the “ugly cousin” of the jackfruit.
I always choose the fruit which emits strong aroma, the skin appears light green/yellow in color with slight brown spots and also should be sticky due to the latex secretion. The trees bear fruit once or twice a year.

Cempedak is nice to eat raw, deep-fried with batter (even the seed can be eaten), and of course, make it to the tropical fruit cake…


220g Butter
100g Brown sugar (the color mixed well with cempedak flesh)
¼ tsp Salt
5 Egg yolks
3 Egg whites
50g Brown sugar
220g Plain flour or multi-purpose flour
2 tsp Baking powder
250g Cempedak (cut into cubes or strip)

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and Line 7”x 7” baking tray with baking paper.
2. Cream butter and brown sugar together for ~ 5minutes at medium speed.
3. Beat in egg yolks two at a time at low speed, allowing 1 minute beating. Scrape the mixing bowl when necessary.
4. Whisk egg whites until frothy and trickle in brown sugar. Whisk until soft peak formed (meringue).
5. Add flour and baking powder (sieve together 3 times) into batter at low speed and mixed well.
6. Fold in meringue.
7. Lastly, stir in cempedak.
8. Pour into lined baking tray and bake at 180°C for 20 minutes and 170°C for another 20 minutes or until done. Test with a skewer.

· Adjust the sugar amount base on the sweetness of the fruit.
· Use fresh cempedak, as its aroma may lost its peak if store overnight in the refrigerator.
· Butter cake is best to eat the next day.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Green Curry

Whenever I see the small and round eggplant/aubergine/brinjal in the market, and if time permits to cook, I would grasp it for Green Curry.

I describe Green Curry as a family curry, as it is not spicy though is called “curry” and children can enjoy this aromatic curry with steam rice or bread. I would normally add in the usual purple elongated-shape and my favorite small and round (green/white/purple) eggplant. In Nyonya food, we used this small and round eggplant for “perut ikan” (pickled fish stomach with finely cut vegetables cook with spicy gravy) as well.

Ingredient (Curry Paste):

2 Tbsp dried shrimp - optional (soaked in water till soft, pounded)

2 tsp cumin seeds, finely pounded
1 tsp black peppercorns, finely pounded

8 (large) fresh green chilies, removed seeds and cut to big pieces
200g shallots, cut to big pieces
6 cloves (large)garlic
~ 5cm fresh galangal, roughly pounded
~ 20g fresh coriander leaves and stems (Chinese parsley), coarsely chopped
6 leaves kaffir lime leaves, coarsely chopped
3 stems lemon grass
2 tsp grated lime rind (optional)

2 Tbsp coriander powder

Method (pounded):

1. Fry pounded dried shrimp till fragrance but not brown.
2. Process pounded spices and dried shrimp in food processor for ~5sec. Add the remaining ingredients and process until mixture forms a smooth paste. (add ~ 50ml water if too dry to process.)

3. Mixed well with coriander powder.

Ingredients (chicken curry):

3 Tbsp cooking oil
1 (medium) onion (sliced)
1.5kg chicken thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces
200-300g egg plant or long beans (cut into 1½ inch)
6 leaves kaffir lime leaves
2 stems lemon grass
250ml water
1 Tbsp Thai fish sauce (or to taste)
1 Tbsp lime juice (or to taste)
2 tsp brown sugar (or to taste)
250ml thick coconut milk
5g fresh coriander leaves


1. Heat up oil, sauté curry paste at medium heat until lightly brown and fragrant.
2. Add sliced onion. Stir fry until soft.
3. Then add chicken pieces and egg plant/long beans. Stir until coasted well with curry paste.
4. Add kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass and stir well with the mixture.
5. Add water and heat till boiled. Then reduced heat, simmer for ~ 20minutes or until chicken is tender.
6. Then add fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar to taste.
7. Lastly, add coconut milk. May sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves before serving.
8. Serve well with white rice or bread.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nyonya Acar - Spicy & Sour Pickled Mixed Vegetables

My sisters and I occasionally meet up at our mother’s house to prepare our favorite dishes together. This time, we decided to prepare Nyonya Acar. We have extra hands now, as my nieces are grown up and interested in cooking as well. As a typical Nyonya, my mum is very particular in how the vegetables are being cut, such as it must be same in length.

This is certainly a harmonious dish. It’s a colorful dish with variety of vegetables. And of course, while chit-chatting, we cut vegetables together and soon it was ready. The atmosphere was just like festive season where the adults were busy with the dish while the young ones running around.

Last Sunday we managed to get our “Nyonya Acar” ready for late lunch. No other dishes, the same colorful and very appetizing Acar was served during dinner. Everybody went home happily with some Acar too.


2 large Egg Plant (with skin, cut into 1½ inch length)
2 medium Cucumber (with skin and seed removed, cut into 1½ inch length)
3 medium Carrot (skin peeled, cut into 1½ inch length)
1 medium Pineapple (cut into 1½ inch length)
3 (large) Chilies (seed removed, cut into 1½ inch length)
1kg Long Beans (cut into 1½ inch length)
500g Water Chestnut (cut into 1 inch length)
500g Cauliflower (cut into big pieces)
1kg Cabbage (cut into big pieces)

To blanch the vegetables:
8 liters Water
300ml Vinegar

Spicy & Sour Paste (pounded/blended):
100g Dried Chilies (seed removed)

500g Shallot
3 stalks (large) Lemongrass

2 Tbsp Turmeric Powder

To sauté and flavored the paste:
500g Oil
4 Tbsp Vinegar (or to taste)
150g Sugar (or to taste)
1Tbsp Salt (or to taste)

200g Roasted Peanut (grounded)
50g Roasted White Sesame

1. Blanch the vegetables to preserve the color and flavor. Add vinegar into water and bring to boil. Add vegetables (carrot, cucumber, cauliflower, cabbage, long bean) and boil for ~ 2 minutes. Then, blanch the egg plant separately, as it would colored the water (brown). Remove and immerse vegetables in cold water.
2. Turn off the heat, add pineapple into the hot water and drain off. Chilies and water chestnut not required to blanch.

3. Heat up oil, sauté spicy & sour paste at medium heat until lightly brown and fragrant.
4. Add vinegar, sugar and salt to taste. Turn off the heat.

5. Then, add all the vegetables. Mixed well in the wok.

6. Lastly, add the ground roasted peanut and sesame.
7. Serve well with hot steam rice. Store well in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Local Basil Leave 九層塔

Am having bad cough and flu for the past 10 days. My lung is congested and there is too much phlegm. The usual medication given by doctor did not help to improve my conditions. I decided to walk to wet market this morning to look for an old man selling the homegrown vegetables and leaves.

I know he should have some traditional remedy to ease my cough. Well, without disappointment, Local Basil Leaves (九層塔) was recommended. Take a deep sniff on the leaves, I like it!

Without further delay, I washed the leaves (1 bundle, which cost only RM0.50), poured 3 liters of filtered water into a pot, dropped the leaves into the pot and bring to boil. Add sugar-cane rock sugar and boil till it melt.

I drank the water when its warm and it immediately soothed my throat. After awhile, I drank another 2 cups, and poured some into my Thermos Mug to bring with me to my class. It really helps, as my class was not interrupted by cough today, I stopped occasionally to drink the water.
Thanks to the nature for the wonderful leaves!