Friday, October 30, 2009

Caesar Salad with Roast Chicken

We decided to have 'light' lunches whenever possible, so here's one of my favourite salad. I used to really like the one they serve in Marche, but with the disappearance of the outlets, so did the opportunities for it.

The traditional salad dressing calls for a coddled egg, but I think half boiled eggs should only be taken on its own with a good dark soy sauce, so I opted for hard boiled eggs as toppings instead.

Ingredients for 2
Romaine salad leaves, washed and torn into chunks
1 hardboiled egg
2 slices of bacon, fry till crispy
Roast chicken slices
Rye bread croûton, or just tear up some bread you have, sprinkle with some salt and olive oil and pop it in the pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes.

3 anchovies fillets
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcester sauce
1 clove garlic, grated finely
fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Prepare the croûtons first, and while that is in the oven, fry up the bacon on a non-stick pan. You don't have to add any oil for that, the bacon can cook in its own fat.
  2. Prepare the dressing by first smashing the anchovies fillets till its mushy, add in the rest and mix thoroughly. It should be of a slightly thick consistency.
  3. Assemble by tossing the salad leaves in the dressing, top with the croûtons, crumbled bacon and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Add in the roast chicken slices and serve.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

SPAM crumbs Egg Mayo Alfalfa sandwich

This was the supersandwich I entered in for a blog contest under Anne's food, got 3 month's of bread as a prize! The idea came about course I like egg mayo sandwiches, but I also miss the breakfast my mom used to make us on a new school day (Luncheon meat slices with fried egg between two slices of bread). This is my version of it, abit  healthier but still delicious. If you like, you can try adding tuna flakes to the egg mayo mixture, go a little heavier on the pepper if you prefer.

Here's how you can do it too :)

- Hardboiled egg, crumbled and mix with home-made mayo
Dice the egg up and mix with the mayo and some pepper and salt to taste
- Alfalfa sprouts
-1 thin slice of SPAM or luncheon meat, put in microwave and blitz on high till crispy and crumble it when cooled
- Sandwich bread or Multigrain rye buns (or you can try making your own here, just shape them into square buns instead of a loaf)
- Slice of cheese, butter
For homemade mayo:
Mix 1 egg yolk with 1/2 teaspoon mustard, mix well together. Add about 75ml olive oil gradually drop by drop, then when it is thick, add 75ml sunflower oil drop by drop while constantly stirring the mixture. Add about 5ml of white wine vinegar or lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste towards the end.


  1. Butter the bread, place the egg mayo mixture, then SPAM crumbs. Layer with alfalfa sprouts and cheese slice.
  2. That's it! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pork Ribs with White Radish, Carrots and Corn

I am planning to make carrot cake, so finally found some daiko/white radish/white carrot or rättika as they call it in Swedish. They were selling for about 5 SGD/ I bought about a kg of it.

Had some pork ribs, carrots and corn in the house too, do decided to make a healthy soup out of this. One thing I remember my dad telling me is to fry the radish for a bit first, it helps to get rid of the slightly 'vegetable' taste of it. Another, of course is to blanch the pork ribs with hot water, before adding it to the soup.

300g white radish/white carrot/daiko
1 medium size red carrot
1 medium size corn
300g pork ribs
salt to taste


  1. Blanch the pork ribs in hot water for about 5 minutes, drain and set aside
  2. Peel and slice the carrots into 2cm slices. Chop up the corn into 4 portions.
  3. Heat up a tablespoon of oil in Le Creuset pot, and place the radish slices flat side down and fry for about 2 minutes each side. They should be slightly brown on the outer edges.
  4. Add in the pork ribs, and add hot water, enough to cover the ingredients.
  5. Throw in the red carrot slices and corn, cover and bring to boil. After that, let it simmer for about an hour.
  6. Before serving, add salt to taste. The corn and carrots should be sweet enough for the soup so you get a nice, light clear soup in the end. If your pork ribs are too fatty, remember to scoop off the scum and oil as you are cooking it. 
  7. Enjoy with rice!

Crabmeat Omelette with Spring Onions and Chili

Have been quite busy with the start of my Swedish lessons and our dog in Singapore went missing on Saturday. After 4 days of crying and praying, he is finally reunited with my family in Singapore and just in time to celebrate my sister's birthday and Whisky's (our dog) birthday on 30 October :)

So now I am in the mood to cook and put up blog postings again! This was for lunch today, quite easy to make but totally fragrant. I would suggest you boil up a crab and extract the meat yourself rather than buy ready-made crab meat, they are not that nice I think. Of course, extracting the crab meat takes time and skills, but you can just freeze them and use it whenever you need.

Crab meat (About 4 tablespoons)
Crab roe ( About 2 tablespoons, optional and only if you like them and manage to buy a female crab)
3 eggs, beaten
1 spring onion, sliced lengthwise
1 fresh chili, unseeded and sliced lengthwise
1 medium size onion, halved and sliced thinly
Soy sauce and pepper to taste


  1. Boil up the crab and extract the meat accordingly. Keep the roe if the crab comes with it, they add a nice fragrance to the omelet.
  2. Heat up about 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in a small/medium size frying pan until hot, add in the thinly sliced onions and chili. Stir fry it until the onions turn soft and you can smell the fragrance.
  3. Add in the spring onions, stir-fry for about 20 seconds, then add in the crab meat and roe and spread evenly in the pan.
  4. Beat up the eggs in a bowl, add in soy sauce and pepper to taste, then pour it over the mixture in the pan, ensuring it covers the mixture.
  5. Don't turn the omelet over too early, keep a close watch on it. Once you see the egg begins to set, turn the omelet over to fry the other side until it turns a nice golden brown. Serve hot, it can be one of the dish in your meal or just go with rice, it's delicious!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Condensed Milk Pound Cake

Milkmaid was THE condensed milk brand when I was growing up. Its a really strange thing to some, and even stranger combination. There was the time when I was dragonboat racing in Jakarta and the breakfast items were not that great- so we took the only vaguely appealing ingredients of white bread, condensed milk and chocolate rice toppings (I don't know why we have chocolate rice toppings at breakfast) and made it into our breakfast of the day. Met a Scotman who loved condensed milk so much that he has it drizzled over his white rice for lunch and dinner when we were working on a humanitarian project in Dongxiang, Lanzhou China.

They have populations of Middle-eastern in Sweden and apparently, condensed milk is quite popular with them too, that's why I can easily buy them at the supermarket here. Came across this recipe for quite a while ago and always wanted to try it. I normally bake with margarine but since this is kinda of like a butter pound cake, I used a real nice butter block for it. It turns out great, with just the faint sweet scent of condensed milk and not too sweet at all.

This recipe is as extracted from My Kitchen Snippets, she has quite a few good recipes :)


250g of butter
100 g of sugar
125ml of condensed milk
5 eggs
250g flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
½ tsp salt

1. Remember to have your ingredients at room temperature. Prepare a loaf pan and butter it well. Line it with parchment paper if desire and pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in egg, one at a time until well incorporated.
3. Add in the condensed milk, vanilla and mixed well.
4. Sift flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly add the flour into the batter. Mix well.

5. Pour the batter in to the baking pan, give the baking pan a few knocks on the working counter (take out the air bubbles) and bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Swedish Fall - Beef Stew with Le Creuset

The leaves seems to be set on fire with the colours of fall and I must say I really love fall's sunset. Seems like heaven and earth joined as one as the orangey red of the setting sun bleeds into the crowns of the soon-to-be-bare trees.

All these reminds me of my lovely Le Creuset pot and of beef stew! I just love having beef stew with rice, something about the thick gravy with potatoes, carrots and celery hits my cold spots just right. I forgot the recipe which I made beef stew before so I consulted a few sites and finally came out with this one, limited only by what is available in the house:

500 g beef chunks, floured lightly
400 ml hot meat stock
300ml red wine
5 strips of bacon
2 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, sliced thinly
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 carrots - peeled and cut into 3cm chunks
4-5 small size potatoes - peeled and halved
2 celery sticks
1 tablespoon black peppercorn - those used for stewing, they tend to be a bit larger otherwise you can also use the normal ones
Salt and ground black pepper


  1. Fry up the bacon till it is crispy, set it aside.
  2. Adding a knob of butter to the residue oil from the bacon, add in the chopped onions and sliced garlic, fry till soften.
  3. Add in the lightly floured beef chunks, stir fry for a few seconds and add in the hot meat stock.
  4. Add in the red wine and tomato puree.Bring it to a boil then turn the heat down to low.
  5. Throw in the carrots, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, black peppercorns and bay leaves. Leave it to simmer for 3-4 hours, depending on your cut of beef. 
  6. When it is about done, season with salt and ground black pepper according to taste. Serve with rice.

Dry Fried Chicken

Started my Swedish lessons on Tuesday and have been quite busy then, making sure I don't fall behind so much. If you are interested in my mastering of the Swedish language, please feel free to visit my other blog Swenglish. It's hosted by the local English-Swedish newspaper so read about what's happening in Sweden there too!

This is another of the dish I have come to love from Fushia's Dunlop book on Sze Chuan cooking. Besides the crispy spiciness you experience with this dish, the plus point is that the ingredients are quite easy to find in the local supermarket, especially when leeks are cheap. The original recipe calls for baby leeks, which we don't have here so I try to select the leeks which are not so thick and cut them in 'horse ear' shapes as thinly as possible. This was the first time I came across the term horse ear but I found it quite apt - you slice the leek and celery at a sharp angle, laying your knife angle very close to the cutting board. The results are crescent-shaped slices which quite look like the shape of horse ear (or cats or dogs - well certain breeds at least with perky ears).

Serves 2 -4, depending if you have other dishes with the meal


2 celery sticks
400g chicken thigh meat or about 2 chicken breasts
3 baby leeks or 1/2 leek
75ml cooking oil
6-8 dried chili
1 teaspoon whole Sichuan pepper
1.5 tablespoon Sichuan chili bean paste
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Destring the celery sticks and cut them at a steep angle into 1cm slices. Slice the leeks the same way and set them aside.
  2. Cut the chicken into 2cm chunks, heat up the wok and add the oil.
  3. When it is smoking hot, add the chicken and stir fry over high heat for about 4-5 minutes, until it has lost much of its water content.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium, add the dry chilies and Sichuan pepper and stir fry for a minute and you can smell the spiciness.
  5. Add in the chili bean paste and stir fry it until it releases its fragrance, splash in the Shaoxing wine, and stir in the dark soy sauce and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt to taste.
  6. Keep stirring over a medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is dry, toasty and fragrant.
  7. Add in the leeks and celery and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes or until they are tender to your liking.
  8. Add a bit more salt to taste, remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil before you serve.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Swedish Meatball Roti Prata

Johan had his exam yesterday and since it was a really long and tiring week for him, thought I will try making him something from Singapore he loves - Roti Prata! This is from a cookbook called Malaysian Delicacies - The Best of Patsie Cheong. Roti Prata is what we call Roti Canai in Singapore and I've tried making this before from an online recipe I found a year ago but it wasn't the greatest. This one - however is a gem, and it's like the real thing since it is only using four ingredients - flour, salt, water and margarine. We decided to put in some pre-cooked swedish meatballs, sorta like the murtabak u get at home. Verdict? You try it and let me know :P

600g plain flour
336ml water
1 teaspoon salt
25g margarine or as required

  1. Mix the salt with the flour well, then make a well in the middle and pour in the room temperature water gradually.
  2. Knead until you get a smooth dough, then divide them up into balls. I made about 12 portions from this.
  3. Knead the ball dough individually for about a minute again, and rub a small knob of margarine around each, covering it liberally. Place it back in the mixing bowl.
  4. Cover the mixing bowl with the balls of dough for at least 10 hours or overnight. The longer you rest the dough, the easier it is to stretch it out. It will be quite soft by the time you are ready to use it, and you will appreciate how liberal you have covered it with margarine.
  5. When you are ready to fry it, heat up the frying pan over high heat, then turn down the heat a bit, drizzle with about a tablespoon of oil.
  6. Meanwhile, if you don't have the skill of the coffeeshop roti man, then try like what I did, press the ball of dough flat on a chopping board, then stretch it out carefully to all four sides. It will be quite easy and shouldn't break too easily unless you are over-excited. Then fold in on all four sides till you get kinda of a square shape that will fit the width of your frying pan.

    Trying to stretch it out over my mixing bowl

  7. When you put it on the fying pan try to stretch it out and drizzle a bit more oil on the top side, before turning it over to fry on the other side.

    Johan's version, which is not too bad although it seemed like too 'holey' at first

  8. For the Swedish Meatball version, cut each meatball into half, and lay it in the middle as shown in picture. Wrap it up as the same, so it will look like a little parcel. There you go! Serve this with curry gravy or with some sugar for those who can't take spicy food or for children.

    Laying out the meatballs

    Wrapped up Swedish Meatball Roti Prata

    Swedish Meatball Roti Prata

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What I did with 400g of Crème Fraîche

The store at where we stay sometimes give really good bargains which I cannot resist, for example 5 packets of bacon for 25 kr (about 1 SGD per packet), and recently a tub of creme fraiche for only 10kr. Then comes my dilemma, how shall I use it?

As per Wikipedia, 'Crème fraîche (French pronunciation: [kʁɛm fʁɛʃ], "fresh cream") is a soured cream containing about 28% butterfat and with a pH of around 4.5. It issoured with bacterial culture, but is less sour and thicker than sour cream[citation needed].
Originally a French product, it is available in many countries. It is traditional to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia.'
In most recipe, sour cream and creme fraiche are interchangeable. However, I wanted to use up all the creme fraiche and fortunately, these two found on the web-blog and at one of my favorite baking site came through for me this time. The portions are kept mostly the same except for some changes and comments in italics.

Part 1 - Extracted from Joy Of Baking Graham Cracker Crumb Tart (which uses about 100g of creme fraiche)

This is one good non-bake version of tart. The filling is absolutely divine!
Tart Shell
5 - 6 tablespoons(70 - 85 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups (125 grams) graham cracker crumbs (I used digestive biscuits instead)
2 tablespoons(30 grams) granulated white sugar

Cream Filling:
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounces (113 grams) white chocolate, chopped and melted
1/4 cup (or 100g) sour cream or creme fraiche

Any combination of berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries) or other fruit such as slices of peaches, plums, bananas, or kiwi.
(If you are using frozen berries, put them on just about 10 minutes before you serve as they tend to bleed onto the tart as they thaw.)

  1. Crushed the digestive biscuits in a food processor till they are fine, then in a mixing bowl, add the melted butter and sugar. Press the biscuit mix onto the bottom and up the sides a tart pan with removable bottom. Place the tart shells in the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.

  2. Melt the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese (should be at room temperature) until fluffy and smooth (about 2 - 3 minutes). Add the melted white chocolate and then the creme fraiche, beating until you have a creamy smooth mixture. Evenly divide the cream in the tart shell smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Cover and refrigerate until firm.

  3. To serve: Top with fresh berries or cut up fruit.
    Note: You can make and refrigerate the the tart shell and filling a few days in advance but to prevent the crust from softening, do not assemble the tarts until the day they are being served.

Read more:

Part 2 - Extracted from Hungry Cravings Lemon Creme Fraiche Cake (which uses about 300g of creme fraiche)
This cake is really good! Its light and fluffy yet creamy, taste a bit like those Japanese Cotton cheese cake - will make this again the next time creme fraiche is available!

120g unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
300g cake flour (You can use 240g plain flour with 60g corn starch to replace if you can't find cake flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Grated zest of 1 lemon
5 large eggs, at room temperature
300g sugar
¾ cup or 300g crème fraîche, at room temperature
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree celsius. Butter a 9×3-inch round cake pan, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, and butter the parchment.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir the lemon zest into the flour mixture.
  3. In a mixer fitted with a whip attachment, mix the eggs and sugar on high for 4 to 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy and doubled in volume. 
  4. Add the crème fraîche and mix on low until just combined. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the butter, then 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the lemon juice, and then the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture, mixing on low for only a few seconds after each addition until just combined, and stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Do not overmix. 
  5. Transfer to the cake pan and spread evenly. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the edges of the cake start to shrink away from the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Invert onto a cooling rack and finish cooling completely.
  6. Dust with plenty of powdered sugar, cut into portions, and serve. (I didn't dust it with icing sugar as I find it sweet enough)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Of Char Siew and Char Siew Pau

Made char siew for Johan's favourite wanton mee and made some extra because I wanted to try making char siew bao for breakfast. Its one of my favourite breakfast item in Singapore, I normally go on weekend with my Dad at the Redhill market and had two with my morning cup of Teh-O.

Was searching the web for some good recipes, there's plenty out there but since this is my first attempt, I wanted something more reliable. Managed to find a video demonstration of it and also the recipe from here.

Here's the char siew recipe first:

500g pork fillet (I think its from the hind loin of the pig, over here they sell it in a long package of one whole long piece)
3 tablespoons of oyster sauce
13-fragrance seasoning powder (Got this from a Chinese friend, its a mixture of five spice powder, pepper, ginger etc. If you can't find it, use five-spice powder, pepper, onion, ginger and garlic powder)
A few drops of red colouring

Glaze (from Lily's blog)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon oil


  1. Cut up the pork fillet into long strips. I baked this by threading a wooden stick through one end of the fillet and hang it through the oven wire rack. So measure the distance between the highest level and lowest level of the oven racks to determine how long your pork fillets will be. Marinate them overnight in the fridge.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius, thread the pork fillet through the oven wire rack and put it on the highest oven rack level. Prepare the dripping tray placed at the lowest level of the oven lined with aluminium foil and pour in some hot water. Bake it for about 10 minutes and turn down the temperature to 200 degrees and bake it for another 20-30 minutes. 
  3. Five minutes before it is done, brush the glaze along the pork fillet, this will make it nice and sticky (yums :). You can make a big batch and store it in the freezer for whenever you need it.

Next, the char siew pau recipe, which I pretty much  followed to the letter. At first I was worried that I have to go with plain flour instead but to my pleasant surprise, I did get the right flours when I was shopping in Singapore the last time round.

Char Siew Pau (as extracted, I add in some comments from my first time attempts)

Ingredients for dough (makes 16 buns):

8g instant dry yeast (I used 25g of fresh yeast instead since it was a cheaper alternative here)
160ml lukewarm water
½ tsp white vinegar or lemon juice (optional) (I used lemon juice)

280g low-protein flour aka hong kong flour
100g wheat starch (or dim sum flour, the kind they use to make har kow)
90g icing sugar
30g shortening or vegetable oil

10g baking powder (it was kinda of fun to mix this with the cold water, it sizzles!..Ok...normally I just add it in the flour so I don't get to see the 'real action' :P )
10ml cold water

250g char siew, diced
½ tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp sugar*
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp oyster sauce*
1 tbsp soy sauce*
1 tsp. sesame oil
1-2 drops red food colouring (optional)

150 ml water
1½ tbsp corn flour
Salt to taste

*Some store-bought char siew comes with sauce, use it for preparing filling. Omit sugar, oyster sauce and soy sauce. (Also, try to make the filling not too wet. It should be mostly dry, with just the sauce coating it. I think I made mine a bit too wet so had a hard time wrapping the pau)


1. Heat oil in pan, sauté onion for 1 to 2 minutes. Add in all other ingredients A, stir fry for 1 minutes.
2. Mix together water with corn flour, add mixture into the pan and stir well. Simmer until gravy is thickened.

3. Transfer to plate and allow to cool.
4. Divide filling into 16 portions if desired, set aside for later use.

1. Sift together flours and icing sugar. Place sifted flour mixture in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle.
2. Fill well with lukewarm water, vinegar and yeast. Use a spatula, gently stir the water to dissolve the yeast then slowly bring together flour mixture. (since I used fresh yeast, I just crumbled and dissolve the yeast in  finger warm water first, add it to the flour mixture, then add in the lemon juice)
3. Add in shortening or oil and knead for 10-15 minutes until soft dough is formed. It should be smooth on the surface.

4. Cover dough with damp cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes or until it is doubled in size. I used bread maker’s dough mode to prepare my dough up to this step. (I didn't have any breadmaker so I did all manually)

5. Dissolve baking powder in cold water, sprinkle over dough and knead until well combined. Divide dough into 16 equal portions and flatten with a rolling pin to make a 3” circle. Then place a heap teaspoon of filling in the middle, wrap and pleat the dough to seal. Place it on a 1.5” square parchment paper, seal side up.

6. Arrange buns into a steamer, leave about 1” gab in between buns. Spray water mist over buns, and steam in a preheated steamer on high heat for 12 minutes. Remove buns from steamer and cool on rack to prevent soggy bottom. ( I didn't have a proper steamer, so I used my pasta pot, put in a microwave metal stand which provided enough distance from the bottom of the pot and the cover of the pot.)

These are the prettier looking ones


1. If bigger bun is desired, divide dough into 12 equal portions in step 5.
2. There is no need to rest the dough after adding in baking powder, but if time allowed, rest it for 10 minutes or so to get fluffier buns.
3. Adding a few drops of vinegar into steaming water will produce whiter buns, but this is optional.
4. Steamer must be preheated otherwise bun would not rise to the volume as it should be.
5. Spray the surface of bun with water mist helps to produce buns with smooth surface after steamed.
6. DO NOT open the lid during the steaming process.
7. If there are yellowish spots on the steamed buns, it means the baking powder is not fully dissolved.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Singlish Fish & Prawn Curry

Fish is quite expensive here and they don't have as much variety here. I used frozen pollock and prawns in this attempt after I found out they sell frozen lady's fingers  or okra here! They were all chopped up (ya sounds really weird I know haha) but still taste good!

The steps are about the same as the chicken curry, just a few variation here and there.

Preparation time for fish curry - around 30 minutes

Serves 2-3

1/4 portion of A1 Mountain Globe Brand Seafood Curry Mix (You can see the drawings of fish and prawn)
100g frozen lady's finger or okra
250g of frozen fish fillet and 150g frozen peeled tiger prawns
1-2 stalks of lemon grass
1 shallot
2 cm fresh ginger

2 tomatoes, quartered
Lime leaves

Curry leaves
eggplant, cut into long thick strips
150ml assam sauce mixed with water (this bottle from Woh Hup was given by a dear friend Debbie :), just before we left for Sweden)
Oil for frying the premix


  1. Fry the minced shallot and fresh ginger over medium heat till they are slightly brown. Add in the premix and stir fry for a few seconds till it's fragrant. Be careful not to burn the mix!
  2. Add in the assam sauce/water mix along with the lime leaves and curry leaves. Bring to a fast boil.
  3. Add in the lady's fingers, egg plant, tomatoes, prawns and sliced fish fillets.
  4. Once it boils and the ingredients are about to be done, adjust the taste with salt accordingly if necessary. For me, I like it a bit sourish, so I tend to add in more assam sauce instead. If you like it spicer, you can also add in fresh chili. Serve with pipping hot rice. :)

Singlish Chicken Curry

I remember when I was younger and had to help my mom prepare curry ingredients, including pounding the onions, garlic, turmeric etc, and spending a long time to fry the spice mix until its fragrant and done. The end result was superb though.

Nowadays, I think the easiest way to get good curry is by simply purchasing a good curry mix. This A1 Mountain Globe brand (product of Malaysia) has been tried and tested by my dad and quite a few friends and its quite good in that you don't need to add much seasoning. The Singapore/Malaysia curries taste quite different from the Thai ones served here in Sweden in that they are much spicier and not so sweet.

One trick to make premix more fragrant and tasty is by looking through the ingredients of the premix, and duplicating them with the fresh versions. We always add minced shallots & ginger, and lemon grass to our curries. This can be done for both the chicken or fish curry. If you want variation, you can also use pork for the meat curry mix or prawns or squid for the seafood mix. Just take note of the cooking time.

My dad gave me quite a few packets to bring to Sweden as Johan loves curries but since we are mostly cooking for two, one packet of premix can be used 4 times, just keep the rest in the fridge or freezer if you are not intending to use it up soon.

Preparation time for chicken curry - around 45 minutes

Serves 2

1/4 portion of A1 Mountain Globe Brand Meat Curry Mix (You can see the drawing of a chicken and lamb)
300g peeled and quartered potatoes
500g of chicken fillets or other chicken parts you might prefer
1-2 stalks of lemon grass
1 shallot
2 cm fresh ginger
150ml coconut milk
100ml water
Oil for frying the potatoes and about 3 tablespoons for the curry premix

  1. Heat up the oil and fry the potatoes till they are half-done. This is to keep the firmness of the potatoes and also decrease the cooking time with the meat.

  2. Meanwhile, rub the spice mix on the chicken pieces and set aside.
  3. Set aside the potatoes when they are done, leave about 3 tablespoons of oil in the pot

  4. Minced the shallot and ginger finely, and fry them over medium heat until they are slightly brown and fragrant.

  5. Add in the premix marinated chicken pieces and fry for a few minutes.

  6. Add in the water, and bring to a fast boil. Do not add too much water as that will dilute the taste and turn the curry flavor too watery. The water level should be just enough to cover the meat.
  7. Add in the potatoes and lemongrass, turn down the heat to low and let it simmer.

  8. When the meat and potatoes are about done in about 15-20 minutes, depending on the cut of meat, add in the coconut milk last and bring it to a boil. This will help enhance the fragrance of coconut milk. If you cannot find coconut milk for some reason, evaporated milk can also work. (Remember, its evaporated milk, not sweet condensed milk!). Season with salt according to taste and if necessary.

    Served with homemade sandwich bread :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Swenglish Stewed Pork Belly or Red-Braised Pork

The next cooking project for the new pot was this stewed pork belly. You can use just pork if you don't like the oily part of it, but have one or two in to lend some flavors. My dad likes to eat the skin when it just melts in your mouth and I'll be cooking this for him the next time I go back to visit him in Singapore.

This was adapted from the Sichuan cookbook by Fuschia Dunlop with the addition of dried chili and galangal. The subtle flavors work very well together and this is a must to try! The sauce goes very well with rice and it can be just a meal by itself.

Preparation time around 2.5 hours, or until the pork turns soft enough for your liking.

500g streaky pork belly with skin or pork fillets
30g fresh ginger, unpeeled
10g galangal unpeeled
2 spring onions
3 tablespoons groundnut oil
500ml stock
2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon soft brown sugar or rock sugar
1/2 a star anise(about 4 segments)
2-3 dried chili, reconstituted


  1. Blanch the pork for a couple of minutes in boiling water, then remove and rinse in clean water. Cut them into3-4cm chunks.

  2. Heat the oil in the saucepan until it begins to smoke, add the ginger, galangal, dried chili and spring onions. Stir fry for about 30 seconds, then add in the pork chunks.
  3. Add in the stock (should be hot) and the rest of the ingredients and seasoning, stir well and bring to a boil.

  4. Turn down the heat on low and let it simmer with the pot being half-covered for about 2 hours or until pork chunks has softened. Stir it from time to time.