Saturday, December 31, 2011


Singlish Swenglish Acar

I remembered this time last year I was slaving over the stove, preparing a really elaborate dinner of shrimp bisque, beef wellington with truffle mash and lemon fool. This year, however looks to be a quiet one with just me, hubby and dog when plans were changed but today we are blessed with Chef Yaqian who is coming over to cook us a Chinese new year's dinner :). Blaming it on the pregnancy, I can't contribute much except making a White Chocolate Blueberry Cheesecake and this - acar! 

Acar is something you get as a pickled side dish when you are at a Nonya resturant, or some chicken rice places serve it along with the rice. I wasn't a big fan of it until recently because I find them too sourish. Making it on my own however, I was able to balance the flavours until it is to my liking.  I adapted this from Rasa Malaysia's recipe of Acar Awak, adapted mostly because I just wanted to keep it simple and also due to lack of ingredients. This works fine though (I feel) and I've made it like three times already.

1 large carrot, julienned
1/2 cucumber, julienned
1/2 pineapple, skinned and cut into quarters 
2 chili padi
1-2 shallots
2 candle nuts
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2-3 teaspoons tamarind pulp

Singlish Swenglish Acar

  1. Add about a teaspoon of salt to the cucumber and let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then squeeze off the excess water and set aside.  This also helps to give them a bit of saltish taste, which I like.  You can omit this step otherwise.
  2. Pound/process the shallots, chili and candle nut until they are pretty mashed up. Don't worry if it's a bit coarse, it will still work.
  3. Using a small pot or a pan, add a little oil and fry the pounded ingredients and turmeric powder until it is fragrant, this should take about 5-10 minutes over medium heat. 
  4. Add about 100-150ml of water to the tamarind pulp and 'lather' the pulp until you get the tamarind water and add it to the pot/pan. Remember to sieve out the seeds and pulp!

    Singlish Swenglish Acar

  5. Season with sugar and salt according to your liking, it should be sourish-sweet with a tinge of saltiness.  I add about 3-4 teaspoons of sugar and 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt normally.  I like to taste my pineapples to see if they are sweet or sour and adjust the seasoning accordingly, and also remember if you have salted the cucumber, this will also come into play in balancing the flavors.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the cucumber, carrots and pineapples and mixed well.

    Singlish Swenglish Acar
  7. You can serve it immediately or let it cool and store in the fridge.  If you have ground peanuts, they add a nice touch when you topped it up when serving.

    And with that, the last post for 2011, I wish all readers a really blessed 2012 year ahead! 2011 has been really good for us and I know we are looking forward to new experiences, parenthood and abundant favor for the new year and I hope the same for each of you too!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

汤圆 Glutinous Rice Balls

汤圆 Glutinous Rice Balls Singlish Swenglish

I was reminded that its 冬至 (Dong Zhi/ winter solstice) today when I check Facebook and saw all the glutinous rice dumplings pictures posted by friends. Accordingly, it's to mark the arrival of winter, which didn't mean much while I was living in Singapore but now in Sweden where winter is declared if the average temperature falls below zero degrees Celsius for at least five consecutive days, the Chinese way seems better! ;)

There are plenty of ready-made frozen rice dumplings in Singapore filled with all kinds of sweetness around this time of the year, but making the traditional white and pink/red ones reminds me of how we used to do it with Mom. It wasn't a favorite dessert among the family, but it was a very important dessert we must eat no matter we like it or not because it symbolizes that the family who eats this together will stay together through the years.
Ingredients (makes about 24 small fish ball size rice balls)
1 cup glutinous rice flour (must be glutinous rice, not rice flour)
2 teaspoons fine sugar
100 - 150 ml water (to be used accordingly)
Food coloring (optional)

Sweet soup to serve rice dumplings in
2-3 Pandan leaves
1/2 cup sugar (or according to taste)
2 cups water

汤圆 Glutinous Rice Balls Singlish Swenglish

  1. Mix the glutinous rice flour, sugar, salt together in a bowl and add water gradually until you get a dough which should be pliable but not be sticky. The texture is a bit different from normal dough made with plain flour, which I quite enjoy.
  2. If you intend to color the dough, divide the dough accordingly to the number of colors you are going to use, but traditionally the dough is divided into half and only a little red coloring is used.
  3. Roll it out to a long sausage shape and pinch off dough portions big enough to form rice balls the size of small fish balls. You can start preparing the sweet soup by boiling up everything together, adjusting the sweetness level with the amount of sugar you use according to your taste.
  4. You can either boil the rice balls in the sweet soup itself until it floats up or separately in a pot of water before adding to the sweet soup while serving. The difference is that the clarity and starchiness will be affected if you boil it directly in the sweet soup. (I did it though because this is a small portion and I was lazy:)
    汤圆 Glutinous Rice Balls Singlish Swenglish
  5. Serve warm and enjoy eating this with your family!
    汤圆 Glutinous Rice Balls Singlish Swenglish

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Korean Spicy Stir-Fried Pork Doejibulgogi

Singlish Swenglish Korean Spicy Stir-Fried Pork Doejibulgogi

This is a super-easy Korean dish that goes very well with rice and the recipe is taken from She has recently done this Gapshida tour where she travelled around to meet her fans and she was actually in Copenhagen too. Too bad I wasn't able to make it but it was nice reading about the meet-ups and I really feel happy that a food blog has taken her this far :) Do check out her blog for more inspiring recipes.

I've used lean pork this time to make it but her recipe actually suggest using meat with some part of fats like pork belly or shoulder. I think this recipe is not only good for stir frying but if you are preparing to have a BBQ-steamboat at home over Chinese New Year, this would make a nice change from the usual marinade you would use for your BBQ meat.


600g pork, sliced thinly
1/3 cup hot pepper paste
1 onion sliced thinly
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
3 stalks green onions, chopped
1 green chili pepper, sliced
2 tablespoons hot pepper flakes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper
2 teaspoon sesame oil
Roasted sesame seeds

Singlish Swenglish Korean Spicy Stir-Fried Pork Doejibulgogi

  1. Place the pork slices at the bottom of a pan large enough to contain all the ingredients and allow you to stir fry.
  2. Add all the ingredients  and then set the pan on high heat and start stirring so everything mixes well together.

    Singlish Swenglish Korean Spicy Stir-Fried Pork Doejibulgogi
  3. Continuing stirring it for about ten minutes until the pork is cooked through and the spring onions and onions are softened.
  4. Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds before serving.

    Singlish Swenglish Korean Spicy Stir-Fried Pork Doejibulgogi

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Spicy and Sour Stir Fry Potatoes and Black Fungus

Singlish Swenglish Spicy and Sour Stir Fry Potatoes and Black Fungus

The nice thing about going for potluck is you get to try cuisines cooked by others and get inspired to try it because it taste so good! This is one of those dishes, I didn't get a chance to ask the exact process or amount, so made up one myself and it's just the right amount of sourness and spiciness to whet my appetite nowadays.

4 medium sized potatoes, peeled, cut into matchsticks sizes and soaked in cold water for about 15 minutes and drained
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 red paprika, sliced thinly
1 handful of black fungus, soaked and hard bits cut away
3-4 dried chili
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorn
2 tablespoons Light soy sauce
1 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
1 teaspoon Chicken stock powder

Singlish Swenglish Spicy and Sour Stir Fry Potatoes and Black Fungus

  1. Prepare all the ingredients first before heating up the wok with about 3 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium heat. Add in the peppercorns and dried chili and fry until it is fragrant, but be careful not to burn them.
  2. Add in the onions and paprika next and fry until it is soften before adding the potatoes sticks. Mix well before adding the seasonings, adjust it accordingly to your taste.
  3. Fry until the potatoes are cooked but still maintain a bite, serve with rice.

    Singlish Swenglish Spicy and Sour Stir Fry Potatoes and Black Fungus

Ekströms Dessert Testing

Creme Brulee, Chocolate Mousse, and Panacotta, what do they have in common?

They do take some time to make (trials and errors included!) I remember however the first panacotta I tasted was made by Johan, from this Ekströms ready-made dessert products in Sweden. They are actually quite good, all you need mostly are milk and/or whipped cream, do some heating up and let it set in the chiller.

They are going to be introducing the above-mentioned dessert and is inviting people to be testers (I got tipped off by Sylvia of Peaches and Donuts because it's only for those living in Sweden) and have put myself up test their creme brulee. Now I just wonder if I would be able to personalise it by adding lemon grass as per my previous made-from-scratch attempt of the lemon grass creme brulee. Vi får se or we shall see as they say it in Swedish, if I am being picked to be a tester.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Coconut Rice Pudding

 Coconut Rice Pudding Singlish Swenglish

When I spent my first Christmas in Sweden, I was introduced to their Christmas dessert called 'Risgrynsgröt', a rice pudding that's very creamy and some eat it with a dollop of jam or berry coulis. It takes some getting used to, especially in Singapore, rice based desserts are normally made with glutinous rice of sort and jasmine rice is kinda of reserved as an accompaniment for savory dishes. So when a dear Australian friend, Sally made this for one of the gatherings, it was reminiscent of Asian kueh but a little different. I finally got around asking her the recipe and here's my version with a little tweaks. You can serve this with vanilla ice cream like she does or on its own.

Ingredients (Makes one 15cm pie dish)
1 cup cooked loosely pack jasmine rice
2 large eggs
1/2 tin coconut milk (about 200 ml)
1 dl sugar
1 heaped teaspoon vanilla sugar (or vanilla essence)
Around 1/2 cup dessicated coconut or enough to cover the top of the pie dish

Coconut Rice Pudding Singlish Swenglish

  1. Place the cooked rice loosely in the pie dish
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, coconut milk, sugar and vanilla sugar until mixed well and pour over the rice in the pie dish.
  3. Sprinkle the dessicated coconut over the pie dish, this acts as a topping and will get toasted as you bake it for one hour at 190°C.
    Coconut Rice Pudding Singlish Swenglish
  4. Check on the pudding as it is almost done, it should be fragrant with a nicely browned topping. Let it cool before slicing.
    Coconut Rice Pudding Singlish Swenglish

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Chinese New Year Vegetarian Noodles

Chinese New Year Vegetarian Noodles Singlish Swenglish

I know, I know, Chinese New Year is still at least two months away, but when you have a craving, what should you do?:) This dish is a family tradition as its eaten on the first day of Chinese New Year. My sister is very good at making this and it has been her 'duty' to make it for many years now but here's my made-in-sweden version. It's quite simple actually, and I took the recipe for Nonya chap chye this time round. The noodles were bought in Singapore as I haven't seen it in Sweden, and they have a white and red version, and the saltiness level differs a bit.

Ingredients (serves 2-3)
Longevity noodles (red) half a packet
1 sheet of dried seaweed
4-5 shallots, sliced thinly
ml cooking oil
Chap Chye (you can make half the portion of this recipe)
Peanuts or roasted cashew nuts (optional)

Chinese New Year Vegetarian Noodles Singlish Swenglish

  1. Fry the shallots in the cooking oil over low-medium heat until they are golden brown, remove and set aside together with the oil which would be infused with the fried shallots' fragrance.

    Chinese New Year Vegetarian Noodles Singlish Swenglish

  2. Boil the noodles according to instructions and until al dente. Drain and mix with some shallot-infused oil so they don't stick together. Set aside.

    Chinese New Year Vegetarian Noodles Singlish Swenglish

  3. Using a frying pan over low heat, fry the the shredded seaweed with about 1 tablespoon of shallot-infused oil until they are crispy. Let it cool and if you are not using immediately, keep it in an air tight box.

    Chinese New Year Vegetarian Noodles Singlish Swenglish
  4. To eat, just assemble in this order: noodles at the bottom, chap chye with the gravy, roasted seaweed, fried shallots and top with nuts.

    Chinese New Year Vegetarian Noodles Singlish Swenglish

    Chinese New Year Vegetarian Noodles Singlish Swenglish

    Chinese New Year Vegetarian Noodles Singlish Swenglish

Saturday, November 19, 2011

五香/Ngoh Hiang/ Wuxiang / Fried Chinese Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin

Ngoh Hiang Fried Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin Wuxiang

My mother-in-grace loves spring roll, so while I was in Singapore, I told my Dad that I should make her some 'wuxiang' or ngoh hiang. It's a variation of spring roll except the skin is made from thin bean curd sheets, with a touch of saltiness. I managed to fulfill my promise and also my craving :)

1 large sheet of bean curd skin
1 can water chestnut, finely diced
5 dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted and finely diced
300-400g minced pork
10 medium size prawns, minced
A handful of woods ear mushroom, reconstituted and finely diced
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
1 teaspoon five spice powder
3 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoon sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder
salt to taste
1 spring onion, finely sliced
5 tablespoon of cooking oil, heated till smoking
1 egg, separated
Oil for deep frying

Ngoh Hiang Fried Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin Wuxiang

  1. Combine all the ingredients together, except the egg white and heated cooking oil and mixed well. Add in the heated oil when every thing is mixed well and combine it quickly, this was a trick my Chinese friend taught me to make the filling more fragrant. Leave to marinate for an hour so the flavors seep in. To test the saltiness of the filling, take a small amount and fry it and adjust the seasonings where necessary. It should not be too salty as the bean curd skin itself is salty to begin with.

    Ngoh Hiang Fried Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin Wuxiang

    Ngoh Hiang Fried Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin Wuxiang
  2. My way of rolling is probably not perfect, but it works! If you have a way you prefer, you can wrap it accordingly but be sure to seal it properly. Prepare a clean, slightly damp kitchen towel to wipe down the bean curd skin for a few purpose: to clean away any impurities, extra salt that might be left and to make it more pliable for the wrapping process. Don't make it too wet or the skin will be too soft to work with. Set aside the egg white in a bowl with a brush for sealing purposes.
  3. Unfold the bean curd skin, which is normally folded up, and take about two rectangular sections (vertically as shown in the picture) for each roll. You should be able to make about 8 rolls from one bean curd sheet. Use a pair of scissors to help you cut out the sheet and set aside, do not damp it yet.

    Ngoh Hiang Fried Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin Wuxiang
  4. Placing 1 cut sheet of bean curd skin, wipe the bean curd sheet once through with the damp kitchen towel.

    Ngoh Hiang Fried Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin Wuxiang
  5. Put about 2 heaped tablespoons of filling 1/3 of the way in the middle, shaping it somewhat in a cylinder manner. Brush some egg white along the two longer sides of the sheet.

    Ngoh Hiang Fried Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin Wuxiang
  6. Fold up the shorter edge over the filling, tucking in to seal in the filling so it is a firm, compact roll.

    Ngoh Hiang Fried Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin Wuxiang

  7. Roll it over once again, fold in the sides then brush all sides with some egg white again.

    Ngoh Hiang Fried Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin Wuxiang

    Ngoh Hiang Fried Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin Wuxiang
  8. Continue rolling until you come to the end of the sheet and seal it with some egg white again and set aside.

    Ngoh Hiang Fried Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin Wuxiang
  9. When you are about to finished wrapping, prepare your steamer to steam these rolls first for about 15-20 minutes.

    Ngoh Hiang Fried Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin Wuxiang
  10. When you remove it from the steamer plate, be careful you don't tear the skins and it is common to see liquid accumulating in the plate and the skin adheres to the filling. Just set it aside on a rack to drain and cool before you deep fry it one whole roll at a time before slicing them up. At this stage, you can also freeze the rolls if you wish to deep fry it another time.

    Ngoh Hiang Fried Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin Wuxiang
  11. Serve as a side dish or with some fried bee hoon or mee siam:)

    Ngoh Hiang Fried Meat Roll in Beancurd Skin Wuxiang

Friday, November 11, 2011

Churros with Nutella

Nigella's Churros with Nutella

It's 11/11/11 today, and everyone's Facebooking about it. I hate to say it but I was taking a nap at 11.11am because I had to wake up early and I'm simply not a morning person. I think I have a lot of adjusting to do when bb comes in 3 months' time! Good Johan is exactly the opposite :)

This was a gift from a dear friend Sylvia who host her blog at Peaches and Donuts, Nigella's Kitchen cookbook. She's a good gourmet cook and her food pics are very nice! I have had more inclination for Nutella-ish stuff a couple of months back and when I saw Nigella's recipe for Churros with chocolate dipping sauce, I just got lazy and decide to dip them in Nutella instead. A few tips though, if the churros are too thick, they may not cook in the middle so try to get a right balance between the cooking time and thickness of the churros.
Ingredients (about 16 churros)
50g caster sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
250ml freshly boiled water
Cooking oil for deep frying (use a small pot so you won't have to use so much oil, but in small batches)

  1. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a plate for coating the cooked churros later.
  2. In a deep bowl, stir the flour and baking powder together and then add the olive oil and the boiled water to make a warm sticky dough. Rest it for about ten minutes.

    Nigella's Churros with Nutella

    Nigella's Churros with Nutella
  3. Heat up the oil for deep frying and start loading up the dough in a piping cone with a large star shaped nozzle. 
  4. Test the temperature of the oil by piping a small piece of churro in first. It should be sizzling the moment you drop in in the oil. Pipe 4-5 cm lengths into the hot oil, snipping it off with a pair of scissors as you pipe. Do in small batches so it is not overcrowding the pot.

    Nigella's Churros with Nutella
  5. Once the churros turn golden brown, remove and drain on kitchen paper while you finish the rest of the dough.
  6. Toss the finished churros with the cinnamon sugar mix and serve with some warm Nutella :)

    Nigella's Churros with Nutella

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fried Mee Siam

Fried Mee Siam Singlish Swenglish

When we had gatherings in Singapore, I remember a friend brought this dish from a famous stall in Bedok. I never got to find out which one it was but when we had some fresh bean sprouts and I didn't feel like making the normal fried bee hoon, this was the dish I made. I think I took a bit of tips here and there from online recipes and put together this version that made enough for two. Of course, I'm the 'two' person that's eating it because it's not Johan's favorite.

1 panel of dried vermicelli (enough for two portions), blanched in hot water and drained
A handful of fresh bean sprouts
A handful of dried shrimps
1 shallot
1 garlic clove
2 chili padi
1.5 tablespoon bean paste
Chicken bullion powder to taste

Fried Mee Siam Singlish Swenglish

  1. Blend the shallot, garlic, dried shrimps, chilli and bean paste until there are no large bits.

    Fried Mee Siam Singlish Swenglish
  2. Heat up about 1 tablespoon cooking oil over medium heat and fry the mix until it is fragrant. It should turn a bit dark like dried shrimp paste.

    Fried Mee Siam Singlish Swenglish
  3. Add the vermicelli and beansprouts in and mix well. Add a little water and chicken bullion powder to taste. Serve hot:)

    Fried Dry Mee Siam Singlish Swenglish