Monthly Archives: August 2014

Homemade Naan Bread with Yellow Lentil Dal

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Growing up in Malaysia, my childhood breakfast favourite is roti canai with dhal and sugar. It sounds weird but it is a favourite among many children and for some, their baby steps into the world of spices and curry. It is not surprising therefore that I occasionally still crave for something similar. Since getting my Kenwood Chef kitchen machine and the recipe book that came with it, I have been trying my hand with making bread with the recipe provided. The results have been very promising and confidence boosting. The other day, I saw that the Kenwood recipe book has a recipe for naan. Now, I love naan too, as much as I love my fluffy roti canais and capatis. So it was destined that we will be going to have naan that night. To serve naan, I needed something to go with it and I had immediately thought of dhal, a yellow lentil curry. With a bit of help from Google, I found a great recipe from the Food & Wine website.

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With much appreciation to Kenwood for empowering me in the kitchen and the Food & Wine webby for helping me along the way, I am going to write down the adapted recipes here. This blog has served as a wonderful recipe storage for me until now.

For the Naan Bread (Adapted from Kenwood Recipe Book for Kenwood Chef & Major, by Jennie Shapter)

This makes 6 pieces of naan bread

Ingredients
450g bread flour or Flour 1050 in Germany1 tsp salt, I used Himalayan pink salt
7g dried active yeast
5 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tbsp melted butter (about 15g)
Approximately 210ml warm water
4 tbsp melted butter, for brushing on naan later (about 60g)

Method
1.  Put in flour, salt, yeast in a large bowl. With a wooden spoon, stir in yogurt and melted butter (1 tbsp).  Slowly mix in water (not all but just enough, so do not pour everything in) to form a dough. If you are using a kitchen machine, use the dough hook to do this work.
2. Let the machine knead until the dough is smooth and springy. If you are kneading by hand, transfer the soft dough onto a floured surface and knead until you get the same consistency. Once done, place in bowl and cover with a kitchen cloth/cling film and place in a warm area. I left it to rise in my oven with the light switched on as it was 22 degrees Celsius. Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3. Preheat the grill to 200 degrees Celsius. If you plan on using the oven, preheat it to the same temperature but place it nearer to the heat element to get the char. Prepare baking sheets as required. Alternatively, once the naan as fluffed up, grill it on a very hot grill or pan.
4. Punch down the risen dough and knead it for few times. You can use the dough hook for this too, letting the machine knead for 30 seconds. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and divide the dough into 6 balls. Working quickly, roll out the balls one by one. Roll it out to a longish shape, about 0.5cm thick. Roll out the dough as you need it. Cover up the rest with a cloth or cling film. Brush melted butter on the dough before baking/grilling.
5. Transfer the dough into the grill or oven. If using an oven, then bake it on a lined baking sheet. Please do not cluster bake. One baking sheet at a time. Bake/grill till puffed up about 4-5 minutes. Flip it to get an even char on each side.
6. Serve immediately.
(Note: We have used our gas grill for cooking the naan bread and the results have been wonderful)

For the Yellow Lentil Dal (Adapted from Food & Wine. For original recipe, please click here)
Ingredients
1 cup toor dal, yellow split lentils
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 medium zucchini, unpeeled and cut into 3cm long pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled, halved and cut into 1cm thick slices
Salt, for seasoning
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, black if possible, I used yellow ones
1 small onion, thinly sliced and halved
2 pips garlic, thinly sliced and chopped
Sliced fresh chili of your choice, seeded or deseeded (Optional) – I have left this out as I am feeding a toddler
2 tsp cumin powder
5 dried curry leaves
Handful of cherry tomatoes or 1 large tomato, deseeded and chopped

Method
1. Boil lentil, 3 cups of chicken stock, minced ginger and turmeric together in a medium pot. Simmer for 20 minutes until lentils are soft, partially covered. Stir often as the lentils will stick to the bottom. 
2. Using an immersion blender, partially blend the lentils till the whole mixture is slightly thickened. Or blend 1 cup of the mixture in a blender and mix it back together after blending. Add in the remainder cup of the stock and the vegetables. Season with salt. Simmer for 15 mins.
3. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan till hot. Add in the oil and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to splutter, add in onions. Cook till softened. Add garlic and chilli (if using). Saute for 1 minute before adding in the cumin and curry leaves. Once fragrant, add in tomatoes and cook till tomatoes are soft.
4. Stir in the tomato mixture into the dal. Simmer for another 5 mins. Taste and season accordingly. Serve.

I am very happy to have discovered these two recipes as they are both favourites of mine. There will be many repeats of these in future 🙂

 

Video: Eggless Blueberry Muffins

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Since trying out the recipe on Eggless Blueberry Muffin, we (my husband and I) thought it would be funny to make a video of our toddler, Mika, in his baking element. For the recipe and complete instructions, please click here.

In this video, I have added a teaspoon of cream cheese mixture in the middle of every batter. To make the cream cheese mixture, just mix 3 tablespoon of cream cheese to 1 tablespoon of castor sugar. Mix it with spoon/whisk till incorporated. Set aside for use. Fill the muffin cup liner up to 1/2 way, add in a teaspoon of cream cheese mixture, and cover over with muffin batter. The muffin cupliners should be 3/4 full for baking. This is totally optional, especially if you want to keep it vegan!

We hope you enjoy our first ever video 🙂

Mint and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

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Summer is here for some weeks now. There are ice cream machines being sold everywhere and these are small ones. They make about a 1 litre to 1.5 litre of ice creams. Curious me bought one. Wee, one of the definite flavors I wanted to make is mint and chocolate chip. I used to love this flavor as a child and somehow I got sidelined and even forgot about the existence of this flavor. Until, our trip to London recently which had me eating mint and chocolate chip ice cream while waiting to look at the Crown Jewels. That was a very long queue! The jewels, not the ice cream. The ice cream stall had a queue but not as long 😉

A quick check on the internet had helped me narrowed down on a recipe. I followed Cooking Classy’s recipe and ended up with this! Yum!! No, it is not bright green or very green since I did not want to use any food coloring. It is, however, with a hint of green from the mint. The other substitution I made was to use whipping cream instead of heavy cream. Oh, I omitted the light corn syrup as well. What I ended up was still very delicious with just enough of sweetness without being overwhelming.

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Fuss-free Fish Pot Pie and Cheesy Sticks

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This is another of my quick lunches that I dished out while trying to entertain my toddler. This is very easy and very quick to assemble with a bit of planning ahead for the thawing, of course! I came to this idea while looking in my fridge and freezer on what I have on hand. And I love pies. Although that doesn’t mean I’m good at making them but I’m learning something new everyday…

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And of course, thank you very much for the invention of ready made puff pastry!

Ingredients
For the fish pot pie (Makes 2 ramekins):
1 fillet of any white fish (about 110g), thawed – Use more if you like
1 cup of chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 cup of cheese of your choice, (grana padano, parmesan etc)
Juice of half a lemon
Seasoning to taste (Salt and pepper)
Frozen puff pastry, prepare per direction on packaging (Try to buy puff pastry sheets that you do not need to roll out)

For the cheese sticks:
Puff pastry, cut to strips
Pizza herb mix or herb mix of your choice
Cheese, grated

Equipment
2 ramekins
1 baking tray with baking paper

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Cut the thawed fish into cubes. Squeeze water from spinach either using a sieve and a spoon or your bare hands. Divide fish, spinach and cheese between two ramekins.
2. Season with salt and pepper and a dash of lemon juice. Stir the contents of the ramekins to get the seasoning and lemon juice incorporated.
3. Cut puff pastry to required size so that you have a lid to put over each of the ramekins. Use a sharp knife and cut using clean cuts. Do not saw. Cover ramekins and use fingers to press down the pastry to the side of the ramekins to seal.
4. For the cheese sticks, cut the remainder of the puff pastry into strips. Transfer them to a baking tray that is prelined with baking paper. Sprinkle pizza herbs and cheese over. Place ramekins on to the baking tray, if there is still space.
5. Put both pot pie and cheesy sticks in oven to bake for 20 mins or till the pastries are all puffed up and golden. Remove from oven and serve.

Happy puffing 🙂

Chicken Char Siew (Chinese BBQ Meat) Noodles/ 鸡肉叉烧面

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I have been craving for this for a while now so this thing has been on my list for as long too. I had much hesitation over it as I am not good with meats and char siew sounds terribly daunting to make. This week, I finally buckled up the courage to attempt it. It was turned out to be the most delicious char siew I have for a long, long time. By the way, in case you are wondering why it isn’t red, it is because I did not use any red coloring. I think it is really not necessary despite it being tradition.

I am very glad to have discovered Lily’s Wai Sek Hong and her recipe for char siew. Without this recipe, I would not get to feast on these wonderfully yummy noodles with the most succulent and flavorful char siew.

IMG_2524.JPGFor this recipe, I used a whole chicken breast so there was plenty of char siew to go around for 2 adults and a toddler. The char siew recipe is adapted from Lily’s Wai Sek Hong. Click here for the original recipe.

Ingredients
For the Char Siew
500g chicken breast
Marinate with:
2 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce/hoisin sauce
2 tsp soya sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp wine, I used red wine
1/2 tsp chinese five spice powder
1/4 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
Glaze the char siew with:
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp oil
For the garlic oil vegetables
2 romaine lettuces or greens of your choice, washed and cut
2 pips garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
3 tbsp of oil
Water for boiling
For the noodles
Asian noodles of your choice, preferably wanton noodles or thin egg noodles
Sauce to go with noodles (per portion):
1 tbsp kecap manis
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Dash of white pepper

Method
1. Prepare marinate by putting all marinate ingredients in a bowl and stirring it with a spoon to mix well. Place chicken meat in a container or a bag and cover it with marinate. Refrigerate the meat and marinate overnight. I marinated mine for 2 nights.
2. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Place meat and marinate in a roasting pan and cover it with foil. Bake for 20 mins. Remove foil and continue baking untill the gravy has thickened and is coating the meat. Remove from oven and brush the glaze generously all over the char siew. Grill the char siew for 5 mins to give it a shine. Once done, remove from oven and let it sit for 5-10 mins before slicing.
3. While waiting for the char siew to cook, heat oil and fry garlic till golden and crispy in a saucepan. Pour everything into a bowl and set aside. Using the same saucepan, fill it up with water till 3/4 full. Bring water to boil and blanch cut lettuce for 1 min. Remove lettuce and set aside. You may season it if you prefer to. I do not as the lettuce will derive flavor from the noodles later.
4. When the char siew is done, prepare noodles per instructions on the package. I used the same saucepan with the water used for blanching lettuce. Prepare as much noodles as you need. While the noodles are cooking, prepare the sauce by putting all sauce ingredients into serving plates. The portion stated is enough sauce for 1 serving of noodles. If you have 2 persons eating, prepare the same sauce amount for every serving plate. Once noodles are done, scoop onto the prepared plates with sauce. Toss well to get the sauce coated in every strand of the noodles.
5. To plate up, arrange lettuce leaves at the side of noodles. Drizzle with garlic oil and get some of the crispy garlic on it too. Arrange sliced char siew on top and drizzle gravy from the roasting pan all over the char siew. You can also serve the remainder of the char siew gravy for those who would like an extra helping of the gravy.
6. Once done, grab your chopsticks and enjoy 🙂

Teriyaki Salmon with Butter Couscous and Pak Choy

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I always need ideas to prepare quick, easy and healthy lunches since we are usually hungry when we trudge home from the playground. So I have decided to write down all my successful “inventions” here as a record. By the way, I find that when I write down recipes they stay in my head longer too!

This, here, is a simple one that consists of the basic components that makes up a balanced meal, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, mineral and fiber. Oh and good fats as well 😉 You can probably chop up the pak choy and fish to mix it all up with the cous cous and end up with an oriental cous cous salad!

 

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This serves 1 adult (My bub eats from here too)
Ingredients
1 fillet of salmon, thawed to room temperature if using frozen fish
A bunch of pak choy or greens of your preference, washed and trimmed
150g couscous, prepared per instructions on the packaging
A dollop of butter
Water for boiling
1 tbsp oil for pan frying

For the teriyaki sauce (Adapted from The Daring Gourmet)
1/4 cup soya sauce1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp mirin
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Method
1. Put in all ingredients for the teriyaki sauce in a small saucepan and let it come to boil. Lower heat a notch down to bring it to a small simmer and let it simmer for 2-3 mins till the sauce thickens and lightly coats a spoon.
2. Fill a saucepan half full with water. Bring water to a boil and put in pak choy. Submerge the pak choy in the water and wait till the water starts boiling again. Quickly remove pak choy from the water. Alternatively for a more crunchy pak choy, just blanched it for 1 min.
3. Prepare cous cous per instruction on package. Here I used the water from cooking pak choy and added a dollop of butter before covering it up and waiting for 5 mins. Then I fluffed it up with a fork.
4. While waiting for the couscous, heat a frying pan on medium high. Make sure it is hot. Add in the oil. Sear the salmon. 2 mins on each side. Once you are sure the salmon is cooked and there is a golden brown sear on each side, dish up. Pour the teriyaki sauce over it. Serve.

Food is ready! Guten Appetit!

Banana Chocolate Chip Chia Seed Gugelhupf Cake

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I got myself a new pan! The Gugelhupf pan is the local bundt pan here. You can buy it everywhere and anywhere and the pattern outcome is the same. Classic. One can still find bundt pans of different designs here. It just costs more and are harder to come by in the shops. I had used my standard go-to banana cake recipe and added chocolate chips and chia seeds to it for a bit of the extras.

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This recipe yields approximately 8 cups of batter.

Ingredients
2.5 cups flour, sifted
4 large eggs
1.5-2 cups sugar (to your preference, I used 1.5 cups)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
6 medium bananas
226g butter, room temperature
100g chocolate chips
3 tsp chia seeds

Method
1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celcius. Grease cake pan. Make sure all corners and edges are greased.
2. Cream butter and sugar together till pale and fluffy. Peel and mash bananas and add in. Mix well.
3. Add in eggs, one by one, beating after each addition till incorporated before the next egg is added in.
4. In 2 additions, add in flour, baking powder and salt. Beat well after each addition.
5. Fold in chocolate chips and chia seeds. Alternatively, mix in using lowest speed of mixer till well incorporated.
6. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Bake at 190 degrees Celcius for 10 mins before turning it down to 170 degrees Celcius for 50 mins or till inserted skewer comes out clean. If at any point the top is looking darkened, cover with foil and continue baking. Once done, remove from oven and let rest for 5 mins before inverting onto cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy 🙂