Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Almond Biscotti 杏仁 脆饼

Biscotti, which basically means twice baked, had put me off for the longest time. I don't want to put in twice the effort to make a same recipe. The process involves first baking it whole and then slicing it thinly to be toasted in the oven. Whatever is initially daunting, however, became advantageous. I can now precook the batter and leave it in the freezer. I can slice the amount that is needed and toast it crispy whenever I want. I, therefore, have a fresh supply of biscotti whenever there is guest coming over or when the occasion arises. It is perfect dunked in your favourite cuppa or as a leisure afternoon snack. This is one snack that I do not have to hold myself out because it has more nutritional values and practically oil-less. So you can munch all you want. You might also want to double the recipe. It gets pretty addictive once the nibbling starts.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Simple Pulut Panggang/Rempah Udang

This Malaysian delicacy is basically grilled stuffed glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaf. The glutinous rice is stuffed with shredded coconut and dried shrimp chilli paste whereas the rice is parboiled in coconut milk. The wrapped glutinous rice is then grilled in charcoal (traditionally) for that sweet and smoky flavour, and at the same time, adding a little crisp to the rice.

This recipe is named Simple Pulut Panggang. Truth be told, making this dish is never simple with various steps to observe. However, with the use of my prepared Sambal Udang Kering/Hae Bee Hiam, a rice cooker and a stapler, making this is a breeze. The rice is cooked in a rice cooker and no soaking is necessary. The ends are stapled together instead of using bamboo sticks. Lastly and most importantly, the filling is easily taken cared of with the use of the prepared sambal.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas Tree Croquembouche/ Croquembouche de Noel 圣诞泡芙塔

The Informal Chef would like to wish everybody a blessed and fruitful Christmas!

Yes! I have finally done this. Croquembouche de noel. I have always been fascinated with this profiterole cone ever since I saw it on Kim Sam Soon (Korean drama). Traditionally, this is a French wedding cake but the shape of the cone makes it perfect for a Christmas tree, hence, Croquembouche de Noel. Nowadays, with my on-going home business, I hardly have time to update this blog. Today is different. It is Christmas and I am dying to do something different. With whatever free time that I had, I summoned my courage to try out this intriguing dessert.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Purple Sweet Potato Balls 炸紫薯球

I have been trying my best to update my blog these days. The opportunity comes when my mom actually had a disaster in the kitchen. Yes, she over-boiled her sweet potatoes making it too soft to be eaten or cooked. I was initially thinking of making sweet potato bread out of the pulp but she actually suggested something better. Potato balls...something that I haven't eaten for the longest time.

Normally, orange or white potato is used to make the balls. Purple sweet potatoes is considered better (and more expensive) as it is deemed to be more nutritious than its peers. Besides high in fiber, it has Vitamins A and C, Manganese and Anthocyanins (click here for more on purple sweet potato nutrients). I find the purple sweet potatoes to be the sweeter type and therefore I did not add as much sugar to it. If you are using the other types, do take this into consideration.

The making of sweet potato balls is relatively easy. Put some flour and knead it into a dough and then start pinching and rolling into smaller balls. Having said that, different places uses different flours for a variety of textures. In Thailand for example, plain flour and tapioca starch is used. In Malaysia, the Chinese like their balls a little chewy. Hence, the use of glutinous rice flour as part replacement. The more glutinous rice flour you put, the more chewy it would be. It is really up to your palate. I do not like my balls too chewy but remain fluffy and soft to the bite. Do play with your flour to get your desired texture. I added a little baking powder to make the ball puffed up as well. I like sweet potatoes balls best when it is still warm as the skin is crispy to the bite while the insides are soft and fluffy. A simple snack really, with basic ingredients and simple techniques but somehow it vows me everytime.

Fried Purple Sweet Potato Balls 炸紫薯球

Makes about 24 balls


300 g sweet potato, steamed and mashed
30 g glutinous rice flour (1/4 cup)
30 g cornstarch (1/4 cup)
2 tbsp sugar

Cooking Instruction

1. Mix all ingredients together to form a dough.

2. Pinch and roll with your palms to make a ball (approximately 15 g each).

3. Fry balls in pre-heated oil in medium heat, stirring constantly.

4. When balls starts to turn brown, remove from fire and strain. Best to serve hot.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Four Heavenly Kings (Stir-Fried Mixed Vegetables) 四大天王

It took me quite some time to find the name for this dish. This rather popular dish is no stranger in Malaysia. In fact, it is authentically Malaysian. As to why it was named Four Heavenly Kings, I believe it is the use of four types of vegetables usually brinjal, okra, long beans, and stink beans. The vegetables are interchangeable with others such as winged beans or snake beans. Plainly put, it is just stir-fried mixed vegetables. In true Malaysian style, this dish is usually served spicy with the use of chilli paste or sambal and dried shrimp. It has this unique pungent smell of the dried shrimp and the sting of the sambal. A truly flavour-filled dish indeed.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Sambal Prawns with Stink Beans/Sambal Udang Petai


1 cup stink beans
100 g prawns, shelled and deveined
1 onion, sliced
2-3 tbsp chilli paste/sambal tumis*
4 tbsp spicy dried shrimp paste/sambal udang kering 
1 tsp sugar or to taste
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
2 tbsp cooking oil

*sambal tumis can easily be bought in local grocery stores. Alternatively, omit this and add more sambal udang kering and some water.

Cooking Instruction

1. Saute onion in preheated oil in a wok. When onion becomes limp, add in sambal tumis and sambal udang kering. Saute until fragrant. 

2. Add in prawns and quickly stir-fry until it is half cooked. 

3. Throw in bitter beans and seasoning. When bitter beans are cooked, dish up and serve with rice.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Sambal Udang Kering/Dried Shrimp Sambal - The Product

It has been a while since I last blogged, almost a month to be exact. One must wonder what happened to this usually healthy blog. Well, here's the story....

It all started one fateful day when I took a step of faith to convert one of my recipes into an actual product, something that you could actually see, buy and eat. Praise God, I have never looked back since. The product sold so well that I have to mobilise my whole family including my aged mother for help. But all is well. Sales was impressive. Profit was satisfactory. But most of all, I get to work at home and spend time with my love one. Everybody was happy with the extra work albeit a little too tiring. This marks the beginning of my little cottage industry and I believe there would be more to come. Blogging, sadly and reluctantly, would have to take a back seat for the moment...but definitely not forgotten!

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