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Archive for January, 2011

 

Salsa
Salsa

I love salsa, whether it is made with fresh or canned tomatoes like this version. One good thing about this salsa is that you can make it any time even when the tomatoes are not in season. Thanks Gina for the recipe!

Mexican Salsa Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cans (16 oz each) of diced fired roasted tomatoes
1 can (16 oz) tomato sauce
6 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce– see note below
2 stalks green onion– chopped
2 cloves garlic– chopped
1/2 red onion– chopped
handful of cilantro– chopped
salt to taste

Method:

Blend tomato sauce and chipotle peppers until smooth. Add in diced roasted tomatoes and pause blend a few times (so the tomatoes still have a little chunky texture). Add in green onion, garlic, onion and cilantro and mix well. Add salt to taste. Served chilled or room temperature with tortilla chips.

Regina’s Note:

  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce-– it is packed in a can, and can be easily found in Mexican or American grocery stores. It gives the salsa a smoky hot flavor. Add more peppers for spicy salsa.
  • Salsa can be kept for several days in the fridge. Besides tortilla chips, we also like to serve salsa with breakfast burritos, or even omelets.

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Fried Indian Yellow Bean Cakes 'Masala Vadai'

Fried Indian Yellow Bean Cakes 'Masala Vadai'

Curry leaves is a must for this Indian snack as the leaves give a very aromatic scent and taste, and the the yellow split beans are very crunchy after frying. In my hometown Muar, Malaysia street vendors were selling this snack 4 pieces for RM 1.00 (less than 40 cents in US). I believe they use dhal beans. I can’t find dhal beans here but use a very similar type of dried bean– dried yellow split beans 马豆.

Fried Indian Yellow Bean Cakes ‘Masala Vadai’

Ingredients:
1 pack (14oz) dried yellow split beans 马豆– soaked in plenty of water for at least 4 hours
1 small onion– finely diced
5-8 red hot peppers– finely chopped
2 stalks curry leaves– remove leaves from stems and finely julienned
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cornstarch or tapioca flour

Method:

  1. Rinse soaked beans and drain. Grind in food processor until it resembles coarse sand. The beans should look slightly coarser than cornmeal.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Use fingers to ‘massage’ the mixture so it is a little sticky– this will help hold the shape during frying.
  3. Heat up enough oil in a frying pan on high until the oil is hot (if a wooden skewer/chopstick sticks into the oil and there are bubbles coming out of the skewer/chopstick, the oil is ready).  Scoop a heap tbsp of bean mixture and flatten it on your hand to form a 1/4 inch thick disc. Slowly and gently slide the patty into the oil. The cakes will sink to the bottom but will float to the surface later. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Turn down heat to medium high if brown too quickly. Drain on paper towel.

Regina’s Note:

  • Dried yellow split beans and curry leaves can be found in Asian or Indian grocery stores.
  • I always use my old 9″ pot for frying, it does help minimize oil splashing, and use less oil as to using a frying pan- takes a little longer though as you can only fry fewer pieces at a time.

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Thick Sambal Shrimps 'Sambal Tumis Udang'

Thick Sambal Shrimps 'Sambal Tumis Udang'

Sambal Tumis Udang Recipe– adapted from Salt & Turmeric’s Recipe

Ingredients:
12 medium to large size shrimps– deveined but leave shells intacted
1/2 onion, sliced into 1/4 inch wedges
2/3 cup of sambal tumis paste (recipe follows)

Sambal Tumis Recipe (makes 3-4 servings, can be frozen for future use)– see note below

Spice paste (cut into chunks then blend to paste):
1 small jar (8 oz) of sambal oelek
1 medium onion
6 shallots
5 inch ginger
2 stalks lemon grass
1 tsp roasted balachan (optional)
enough water to facilitate blending

1/4 cup cooking oil
1 small can of tomato paste
2 tbsp tamarind juice
1 tbsp salt
1/2 cup sugar

Method:

  1. Heat up a wok on medium high. Add in oil and spice paste. Keep stirring until the paste thickens, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add in tomato paste, tamarind juice, salt and sugar to  taste. Cook for a few more minutes. Reserve 2/3 of the paste in the wok, and dish out the remaining. Let cool and freeze for future use.
  3. Add sliced onions and shrimps into the wok and stir to combine. Cover and simmer until shrimps are just cooked. Served with steamed rice.

Regina’s Note:
Sambal Tumis: It takes a little time to cook sambal tumis but it’s worth the effort as the portion makes 3-4 servings. Freeze the extras for future use for with squid ‘sotong’, fried eggs, anchovies etc. It’s especially good served with steamed rice or coconut rice ‘nasi lemak’.

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Pinwheel Cookies

Pinwheel Cookies

I used red and green food coloring because I was making these cookies for Christmas, but feel free to use any color to create the two tone dramatic look on the cookies. Be sure to add more coloring for a vibrant look, or yours will end up pastel looking like mine.

Pinwheel Cookies Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter– softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 3/4 cups flour– sifted
few drops each of green and red food coloring

Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until well blended and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour, scraping down sides of bowl. The dough will be loose and crumbly.
  2. Turn dough out onto a work surface. Knead dough by pushing small amounts away from you with the heel of your hand for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Divide dough into half. Add red food coloring into one dough, use fingers to mix in coloring into the dough to blend well. Wash hands thoroughly(this is important before starting with a different coloring). Do the same with green coloring for the other dough, so you have one red dough and one green dough.
  4. Roll out each dough to a rectangle shape of roughly the same size, and slightly less than 1/4 inch thickness (I placed the doughs between sheets of plastic wraps so less mess to clean up). Stack up the doughs and roll up tightly like a jelly roll. Wrap up the dough tightly and chill in the fridge at least 1 hour before baking (cookie dough can be stored in  the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for months).
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice cookies into 1/4 inch thickness, lay on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. Cool cookies on the rack then store in air tight container. For the cookies that are not ready to bake, continue to chill in the fridge. Leaving sliced cookies dough in room temperature too long will melt the butter, thus creating cookies that are more spread out/flatter and lose their shape after baking.

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Asian Pear Salad

Asian Pear Salad

Asian Pear Salad

Ingredients:
2 Asian pears
2-3 kiffir lime leaves– finely shredded
3-4 mint leaves– finely shredded
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fresh lime juice

Method:

Remove core of the pears but leave the skin intact. Toss in all ingredients to coat well. Chill in the fridge.

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Before I forget, I better write down the kimchi recipe. I learned this kimchi from my neighbor Aunty Wang. The main difference from the normal kimchi is that this recipe uses green cabbage, the American type shaped like a ball and not the Taiwan cabbage which is flatter. The result is a much crunchier texture. As long as the cabbage (and other veggies like cucumber or daikon, if used)  is air dried long enough before marinating, the kimchi will remain crunchy for a couple of weeks.

Cabbage Kimchi

Cabbage Kimchi

Cabbage Kimchi Recipe

Ingredients:
1 small green cabbage (about 2 lbs)
1 small daikon
1 carrot
2-3 stalks green onion

Marinating sauce :
1-2 tbsp finely minced garlic
1 tbsp finely minced ginger
3-5 tbsp fish sauce
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Methods:

  1. Take out the core of cabbage and tear the leafs into big pieces, cut a slit at the thick stem if necessary for the sauce to penetrate through. Pour in good amount of salt and toss around. Set aside.
  2. Peel off the skin of daikon and cut into 2 inch strips. Pour in good amount of salt and toss around. Set aside.
  3. When the cabbage and daikon has soften and liquid drains out, rinse them under water a couple of times. Lay them evenly on a big tray and air dry for few hours– the longer the better because the kimchi will remain crunchy longer.
  4. While the cabbage and daikon are drying, peel and julienne carrot. Cut green onions into 1 inch long. Set aside.
  5. In a bowl combine all sauce ingredients and mix well. I like mine a bit garlicky and spicier but adjust the seasoning to suit your taste.
  6. Mix all veggies in a big container/bowl with the sauce. Use your hand to toss around to coat evenly. The sauce will look dry but over the marinating process a little more liquid will come out.  Transfer the marinated kimchi to a air tight container (glassware preferred), pat the veggies down tightly. Use plastic wrap before closing the lid to prevent the smell get to the lid. Let it sit on cool spot at room temperature for 1 1/2 days (no more than 2 days).
  7. Transfer kimchi to clean glass jars, pack tightly. Wrap the jar opening with plastic wrap before closing the lid so the smell won’t penetrate to the lid as much. Keep refrigerated. Kimchi is ready when chilled. Best to consume within 2-3 weeks. When taking kimchi out of the jar, always be sure the utensil is dry and clean.

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This is pretty much a basic muffin recipe, all I did was changing the fruits for different taste. The muffins are light and moist. The tangy refreshing raspberries make the muffins even lighter… before you know it you’ll have two in your tummy!

Raspberry Muffins

Raspberry Muffins

Raspberry Muffins (makes 10 muffins)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup milk, plus 2-3 tbsp
2 egg whites
1 cup raspberries– rinsed
chopped walnuts for topping– optional

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a muffin pan with 10 paper muffin cups or grease with cooking spray. Fill the 2 empty cups halfway with water.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Stir in 3 tbsp of sugar. In another bowl, hand whisk egg yolk, milk and melted butter until blended well. Pour the yolk mixture over the flour mixture and whisk until just combined (do not overmix– the batter will be slightly lumpy).
  3. Use a electric hand mixer, beat egg white until fluffy. Add in 1 tbsp sugar gradually and continue beating until soft peak appears as for meringue. Gently fold in whipped egg white into the batter until just blended, followed by folding in 2-3 tbsp milk.
  4. Add in raspberries and gently stir in just enough to combine.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffins cups. Sprinkle walnuts on top if using. Bake the muffins until golden, for about 20 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool on the rack.

Regina’s Note:

  • You can use combination of  different fruits (apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) to create different taste. Combine fresh fruits and dried fruits such as banana chips, apricots, raisin, pineapples… be creative and let it surprise your taste bud!

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