Saturday, 30 April 2011

Super Duper Smelly Stinky Fried Tofu

I always thought no matter how you cook tofu it can't be wrong as tofu is naturally mild in taste. But once I was in Hong Kong when I finished high school.. I realized I have not seen the world enough. That was when I encountered stinky tofu or more commonly called 'Chow Tofu' (Cantonese pronunciation) in Hong Kong.

Stinky tofu is fermented friend tofu that smells sharply foul. It is a most popular and loved street snack mainly in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. You just need your nose to locate a stinky tofu vendor as you can probably smell it from meters away!

According the locals, there are many variation in making the stinky tofu but the rule of thumb is soaking regular tofus in brine of milk, rotten fish or shrimp and vegetables for days, weeks or months. Letting the bacteria doing the job and the tofu will be frozen until ready to fry!

So... the question is did I sample it? Yes! Stinky Fried Tofu is very crispy on the outer but smooth and juicy inside. When my teeth sunk into the tofu, it felt like a gush of sewer water rushed into my mouth! The taste lasted for hours in my mouth! OOOhhhhhhh my.... Try it if you haven't.

Tips: Try to eat  with the chili sauce as I will taste a little more palatable.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Speedy Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheese Salad

There are times that you feel like a light meal after weeks of carbs and meats. My mom brought over some really beautiful broccolis so why not a 5 minutes cheese broccoli salad? Here's the recipe to share.

1 small head of broccoli - cut into bite-size flowerets
1 small head of cauliflower - cut into bite-size flowerets
1 1/2 cups shredded any type cheese of your liking ( I used Cheddar )
2/3 cup mayonnaise (I used reduced fat mayonnaise) 
1/4 cup wine vinegar
2 tsp fine sugar
2 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 
Chives for garnishing.

1) Boil a pot of water until boiling then blanch broccoli for 2 minutes. Remove from bolling water and drain with colander. Cover broccoli with a clean tea towel and side aside to steam dry.
2) Prepare dressing in a medium microwave oven proof bowl by whisking together the cheese, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, pepper and lemon juice for a minute. Heat the mixture in the microwave on high for 40 seconds.
3) Remove dressing from microwave oven and stir till smooth.
4) Place broccoli on a salad bowl and pour the dressing over.
5) Garnish with chives  before serving.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Instant Baked Short Pasta

It's  late....  I am tried.... Desperately in need for comfort food and I want it instantly! Thank God that I always keep a bottle of instant pasta sauce in my pantry. Here is my shortcut to a satisfying bake pasta meal. Crispy cheesy on the top and deliciously satisfying inside.  Have fun!

Serves 3 person

1 large bottle (approx. 570g) of instant creamy pasta sauce of your choice - ( I used Creamy Tomato & Mozzarella)
400 grams minced beef
1 large onion - chopped
1 small capsicum (green pepper) - chopped1 tsp garlic powder (Optional)
1 tsp freshly grind black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups short pasta of your choice - cooked as per instructions ( I used tri-color Rotini)

1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Chives or flat parsley for garnishing.

1) Place large skillet on medium high heat. Add olive oil and fry onions and capsicum for 5 minutes.
2) Add minced beef, garlic powder and dried oregano leaves.  Cook for another 8 minutes.
3) Mix pasta sauce and cooked pasta into the beef.
4) Place half of the pasta mix into a large baking dish and layer with Mozzarella cheese.
5) Place  the remaining pasta mix into the baking dish and cover with Parmesan cheese.
6) Bake for 20 minutes at 200 degree Celsius. 
7) Remove baking dish from oven and let it stand for 5 minutes.5) Garnish with chives or parsley before serving.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Hearty Chicken Drumsticks Weekend Brunch

It's weekend and got off the bed late... It's too late for breakfast and too early for lunch - so let's do brunch instead! Super simple dish that I can place all the ingredients into a baking dish and start cooking in the oven till late noon.  Incrediblely frequent and healthy ... just great as brunch.  Try it!

Serve 2 person 

5 chicken drumsticks
1 large onion - sliced and separated into rings
2 medium ripe tomatoes - Cut into small cubes
1 large (approx. 14 oz) can stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tbsp freshly grind black pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
2 tbsp fresh chive for garnishing - minced

1) Place chicken into baking dish. Arrange onion rings over chicken. 
2) Pour stewed tomatoes and fresh tomatoes on top.
3) Combine chicken stock, oregano, basil, black pepper ad garlic salt. Pour mixture over onions.
4) Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 200 degrees C for 2 hours or until tender. 
5) Garnish with chives before serving.

>> Tips to note : 
Can always skip the salt entirely if you are health conscious .
I baked it for 3 hours as I like it really really tender :) 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Mangolicious Dinner Salad with Grilled Chicken

There are some lazy days after work that you just need a refreshing meal that only uses whatever that you have in your refrigerator. I found some semi ripen mangoes, some greens and chicken breasts... Tah Dah!!! I have invented this wonderful flavored salad with tangy lime mustard dressing. It only took me 10-15 minutes to put the meal on the table. Bon appetite!  

Serve 1 person 
For the Grilled Chicken
1  piece of skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
1/2 tsp freshly grind black pepper
1/2 tsp salt or to your taste
1 tsp lime juice
For the Mango Salad
1 semi ripe mango - peeled,  removed seed and cut into bite size.
1 head baby coarse salad
1 tomato - cut into bite size
2 sticks of celeries - thinly sliced
1/4 cup  walnuts - coarsely copped
For the Dressing
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard or horseradish sauce ( I used horseradish that I usually put in my sandwich!)
Juice of 1 lime   

1) Combine chicken with pepper, salt and lime juice. Put aside and prepare the salad mix in a salad bowl.
2) Combine dressing ingredients and stir well with a spoon until creamy. 
3) Heat large skillet on medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and cook for 3 minutes each side or until brown. Remove chicken from the skillet and place them on the salad.
4) Drizzle dressing on the the salad and its good to eat! 

>> Tips to note : 
Can always replace walnuts with other nuts such as chopped almonds or pecans.
Salad can be prepared up your preference of greens.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Fancy Some Exotic Snacks ? Crispy Star Fish

Always love starfish because of it distinctiveness - like stars in the ocean. Never thought of eating it like seafood until my visit to China. At first glance from far I was mistaken it as an ornament / souvenir / toy for sale but never a street snack!

When I was closer to the stall, there were actually people snacking on them. Its crunchy on the outer and soft inside - it taste like crab meat according to the man snacking on it. He also added smaller is tastier as the shell is thinner and crunchier.

Interested to know the recipe? The guy selling it claimed that what you need is just a couple of fresh starfish. Just add some salt, pepper and flour then dip in to the pipping hot oil until golden. It's that simple! Do you have the gut to try it? Enjoy!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Fragrant Baked Lemon Olive Chicken

My husband's Play Station 3 (PS3) Mate is a poultry lover and to celebrate his last day of exam I have decided to make him this sweet and savory  poultry supper. I got the base of this recipe from one of those magazines at my friend's place but have adapted it with my own style (since I can't really recall the exact ingredients). Thankfully it turns out just fine ... Juicy! Enjoy!

8 pieces of skinless chicken tights and drumsticks
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp cumin powder
3 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic - half portion coarsely chopped 
6 cloves whole garlic - with skin intact 
4 small onions - quartered with roots intact 
16 stuffed Kalamanta olives of your choice
6 sprigs lemon thyme
2 lemons - halved 

1 tsp freshly grind black pepper or peppercorn mix
1 tsp salt or to your taste

Combine chicken with orange juice, lemon juice, honey, cumin powder, pepper, salt, olive oil and chopped garlic in a baking dish. Marinate for 30 to 45 minutes. 

Heat large skillet on medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and cook for 3 minutes each side or until brown. Remove chicken from the skillet and place them back into the baking dish.

Use the same skillet to cook onions and  the whole garlics until brown then place them back in the baking dish.

Arrange olives, and lemon and lemon thyme into the baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 35 minutes then turn the chicken and bake for another 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Serves 4 person

>> Tips to note : 
Chicken pieces are bone- in.
If you wish to thicken the marinate juice. Just strain the juice and shimmer on high heat until thickens then bring back to the chicken.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Persian Caviar for Supper - An Indulgence In the Air

I always thought that Air Plane food is horrendous doesn't matter business class or economy (with the exception of First Class) . BUT my whole perception of air plane food changed when I was served Caviar as starter in a low key business class flight by Iran Air .

Caviar with scramble eggs, onions and toasted bread on the side was the starter I was served. Which open my eyes wide though  originally was planning to skip supper on my journey back to Malaysia from Iran.

While I was savoring the caviar the air steward asked politely if I wish to proceed with the following course of supper - an entree, 2 main course then end with dessert and coffee. I was no doubt impressed and voted Iran Air Business Class the  Most Elaborated and Sumptuous Supper in the category of Business Class Flight. A+++ 

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Faloodeh - Refreshing Persian Sorbet

Here comes Faloodeh with Saffron Ice Cream... sweet and sour coolness... the perfect combo during summer to refresh your senses under the hot afternoon sun. My favorite cold dessert from Iran.

Faloodeh is a Persian Sorbet made from delicate vermicelli or rice noodles frozen with corn starch combined with shaved ice infused with rose water. Served with lemon juice and saffron ice cream.  Some places serve their faloodeh with pomegranate juice instead of lemon juice then top with ground pistachios.
Faloodeh specialty shop can be found all around Iran and they also serve modern and traditional ice- creams.

DO YOU KNOW? Faloodeh is one of the earliest  from of frozen desserts, existed as early as 400! Ice was brought down from the high mountains and stored in a deep refrigerated hole on the ground called 'Yakhchal' functioned like modern days refregerator which kept cool by the 'windcatchers' - traditional Persian architecture device used for may centuries to create natural ventilation in buildings.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Crunchy Chicken Fingers with Speedy Coleslaw Side

Threat yourself with the a golden crunchy meal with a colorful coleslaw as a side. Easy to prepare and guarantee the tantalizingly crunchiness. To make it a little guilt free I have chosen lean boneless and skinless chicken breast for this recipe.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10  minutes

3 pieces of skinless & boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder (optional)
1 tsp paprika ( optional if you like it spicy)
1 tsp freshly grind black pepper or peppercorn mix
1 tsp of salt or to your taste
1 egg lightly beaten
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup Panko or breadcrumbs
Oil for frying
Tartar sauce for serving

Cut each chicken breasts into 3 long strips making a total of 6 chicken fingers and season well with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, pepper and salt. Coat seasoned chicken lightly with flour.

Egg lightly beaten in a medium saucer and place Panko in to a large plate.

Dip seasoned chicken into the egg then coat with the panko. Repeat until all chicken fingers are coated with panko. 

Fry Chicken in hot oil till both sides of the chicken fingers are golden brown. Drain with kitchen tower and serve hot with tartar sauce.

>> Tips to note : 
Panko is a type of Japanese breadcrumbs that you can find in most supermarket if unavailable breadcrum will do the job
Make sure oil is hot enough by testing it with a little of the breadcrumbs and see them frying immediately

For the Speedy 3 Colored Coleslaw side if desired~
1/3 head of medium green cabbage - shredded
1/3 head of medium purple cabbage - shredded
1 stick of carrot - shredded 
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp vineger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grind pepper

Combine all ingredients except the vegetables and mix well then add to the shredded vegetables.

Refrigerate for 1/2 hour if you like it light and crunchy or overnight  if you like it rich with flavor.

No Fuss Traditional Home Style Apple Pie


Applelicious Pie packed with juicy Granny Smith green apples is my hubby's all time favorite. The smell of freshly baked apples with cinnamon is intoxicating..... strangely therapeutic and calming as well.

My mom gave me the recipe when I was young but somehow forgotten after years passed by. Thankfully my dearest baking partner reignite my passion for baking apple pie and we have proven that I have not lost my talent of a quick fix whenever there is a dessert craving!

My recipe is the simpler version if those served in the cafes or sold in the bakery.  Lesser sugar and easier technique that almost fail-proof. So try it!


For the Pastry we need:
2.5 cups all purpose  / plain flour
220 grams frozen butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

8 tbsp cold water
1 Egg yolk for glazing

For the Filling we need:
12 small Granny Smith green apples or 8 if you have the larger ones - cored, skinned and sliced
Handful of raisins - black or golden
Handful of Pecans or Walnuts - coarsely chopped (optional)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp flour

Method :
Mix the flour, sugar and salt well then grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture with a grater (hand grater / box grater /  potato grater). Toss lightly with your fingers until they are all thoroughly combined.

Sprinkle the cold water to the crumbly mixture until you can form a nice dough ball. Divide the dough into 2 parts - one slightly larger then the other. Larger part will be the base of the pie and the smaller part will be used to top the pie.

Wrap them in a plastic wrap; flatten and leave it for min 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator. Resting will tenderize the pastry and make it easier to roll.

**This is great for pre-preparation before a party; make the dough and bake the next day!

Remove pastry from the refrigerator and let it to warm slightly. Flour the surface of the worktop, rolling pin, your hand  and the pastry. Roll out the larger pastry in to a disc that is a little larger then the 8-inch pie dish so that it over laps the edges. Place pastry onto the bottom of the dish by folding the pastry in to quarter and  unfolding it into the dish.

Poke some breathing holes on the bottom of the pastry with a fork.

Preheat the oven 375 degree Fahrenheit or Gas 6

Mix well all the filling  ingredients then place them into the dish with pastry lining. Roll out the rest of the pastry and cut then into 1-inch wide stripes then place them diagonally with 1-inch gap. Repeat the same horizontally to create a criss-cross basket top as pictured.

Beat up the egg yolk a little and brush it on the pie top so that it will be golden and nicely glazed once baked.

Place on the dish onto the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour until the crust is golden.

Rest for 10 minutes before served. You can serve it with vanilla ice-cream if you are into ultimate indulgence!

>> Tips to note : 
Make sure butter is frozen when grating or else you will be ended up with a pile of buttery mess!

Poke some breathing holes on the bottom of the pastry with a fork to let the air out when baking. This is to prevent bubbling of the pastry in the oven.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Bread Story of Persia - Taaftoon Bread

The final Iranian bread that I am going to introduce is my most  favorite bread of all - Taaftoon or 'Nan-e TAAF TOON'. Baked with simple white flour and whole meal flour in traditional clay oven until the surface is bubbly. I love it as its just hit all the right spot... where the texture is neither too thin or too thick and neither too soft or too chewy... just the right amount of sensation. Yum!

Since it's my favorite,  I will include the recipe of the bread. So Enjoy!

Ingredients :
3 Cups whole wheat flour
1 Cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 Cups warm water
1 1/2 Tsp salt
Standby some oil for handling the dough

Directions :
1) Place yeast in a small bowl and ad 1/4 Cup warm water and let it stand for 10 minutes. Add the salt into the remaining warm water.

2) Sift all the flours in a large mixing bowl then make a well in the center for the yeast water. Gently work in and knead it with hand for 30 minutes. Gradually adding the salt water during the knitting process.

3) Leave the dough in the bowl, cover it with a cloth and leave it at warm or room temperature for around an hour until the dough double its size.

4) Preheat oven to 450 Fahrenheit for 10 minutes then oil the griddle with oil spray or a cloth dipped with oil.

5) Turn the dough out on a oiled board /surface; oil your hands and divide dough into 10 balls.

6) Flatten the balls as thinly as possible with an oiled pin and prick the dough with a fork in vertical lines.

7) Stretch the dough a little with the back of our hand and place them into the hot griddle

8) Bake for 3 minutes until it bubbles then turn to bake fro another 2 minutes

9) Remove the bread from the oven and wrap in a towel.

You may want to do this in batches and remember to oil the griddle properly  start another when the oven is hot. Do not allow rolled dough to rest so only roll it before baking it.

Have fun !

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Bread Story of Persia - Barbari Bread

Barbari or 'NAN-E BARBARI' is another common bread in Iran. Barbari is a golden colored flat bread with much thicker texture as compared to the LAVASH bread that I have posted 2 days ago and usually topped with Poppy Seeds / Sesame Seeds / Black Sesame Seeds depending on the baker. Best if handmade and baked traditionally in a clay oven then served hot with some feta cheese and a cup of aromatic Iranian cardamom tea. .... Heavenly..

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Bread Story of Persia - Sangak Bread

Sangak Bread or 'NAN-E SANGAK' is the most common bread I had for breakfast during my stay in Iran. It is a large longish rectangular bread made with whole wheat sour dough.

My Iranian friend explained that the bread came from the East of Iran and the name Sangak means little stones. It is baked in traditional oven that filled with small stones that shaped the surface of the bread. I was also told that the armies of the Persian empire carry small amount of the stones during their journey and when night comes they gather all the stones to make an oven to bake the bread for dinner - Tah Dah... portable oven! Smart right?

The bread is delicious with either cream, cheese, butter with honey or walnut. Also known as the healthiest bread in Iran! Yummy!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Bread Story of Persia - Lavash Bread

This is "LA VASH" Bread one of my many favorite breads from Iran. They are thin with a slight chewy crispy texture and great with kebabs!

Not many from where I live (Malaysia) stepped into the ancient soil of one of the earliest civilizations - Persia. Their food is heart warming so are the people. Bread is the source of food that never parted with the Persians since hundreds years ago. Some still preparing the bread like the olden times keeping the authenticity as well as the great taste!