Monday 28 December 2015

Barbecue Ribs (Slow Cooker Method) 烤排骨

If you are a connoisseur of good barbecue ribs, you really ought to give this a go. These ribs are as good as those found in restaurants.The best part is, you don't have to barbecue or bake your ribs for hours to get that fall-off-the bones effect. All you need is a reliable slow cooker (also known as crock pot). It is totally stress-free and there is absolutely no need to babysit your ribs while it is cooking. As a busy mom, this method is a God's gift. You would need about 5 minutes to prep, then maybe another minute maximum for you to bring your ribs from the fridge to the slow cooker. By the time you get back from work in the evening, the ribs would be screaming, "eat me" to your hungry stomach. Just finish it off with a 15-minutes bake/grill. I guarantee you would be hearing rave reviews.

Thursday 24 December 2015

Simple Homemade Coleslaw 简单高丽菜沙拉

I had my first taste of coleslaw when I was about six when my father brought me to KFC. Nope. I didn't like it. Then again, how many children like to eat raw pickled cabbage? I acquired the taste of coleslaw a couple of years later. Those were the days when I thought having more veggies would be good for reducing weight, unbeknownst to me, the actual culprit were in the mayonnaise. Needless to say, nothing good came out of it.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Steamed Pork With Salted Fish 咸鱼蒸猪肉

Steamed Pork with Salted Fish is unique. It smells like dead fish but the Chinese love it. Definitely an acquired taste if you ask me. It is a common Chinese household dish that most Chinese home cooks would have known. The key to a good Steamed Pork with Salted Fish is its ingredients. You must get good mui heong salted fish (normally mackerel). Mui heong salted fish is prepared through a fermenting process for several days before curing. I normally find those that are brined in oil. They are soft and mushy but the smell is so pungent your whole house would smell like a dead rat. For the Chinese, this is a double thumbs-up.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Molten Lava Black Sesame Tang Yuan 流沙黑芝麻湯圓

I was so busy preparing for Christmas that I nearly forgotten about this year's Winter Solstice Festival. Winter Solstice Festival or Dong Zhi is supposed to be a huge day for the Chinese. To kick start this festival, I am planning to make black sesame tang yuan, or black sesame glutinous rice balls, this year. Tang yuan is served during this festival to signify reunion and wholeness in the family.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Baked Cornflakes Chicken Tenders 玉米片烤鸡

This is a simple straightforward dish. But the children love it. It is crunchy and crispy minus the greasy fats. I guess this is one healthier alternative that you don't have to impose on your children. The best thing is that I could just chuck it into the oven and go around doing other chores while waiting.

Monday 7 December 2015

Black Sesame Soup/Zhi Ma Hu 芝麻糊

This post is long overdue. I received a lot of requests for this recipe. Somehow, I procrastinated. I was given a big bag of black sesame seeds the other day and I immediately thought of making this long overdue black sesame soup. So here it is, my zhi ma hu.

Hu, when translated basically means paste. Therefore, it is no surprise that this dessert comes in a form of paste. Zhi ma hu is basically grounded black sesame seeds made into a sweet pasty dessert. Depending on where you come from and how you would like your dessert, this dessert can range from a very thick pasty cream to thin runny ones. I like mine not too thick but pasty enough to be called a hu, something like the consistency of a mushroom soup. The ultimate black sesame soup must be smooth to the throat, warm to the tummy and intensely fragrant when eaten.

Friday 4 December 2015

Chocolate Yule Log Cake 巧克力树桐蛋糕

I always wonder what is the fascination with a dressed-up Swiss roll. Well, today I have my answer. A Yule log cake symbolises the oldest tradition of burning a Yule log during Christmas. Mind you, this burning of Yule log is huge, spanning for days to weeks. And there would be a huge celebration during this time. That was as Christmassy as you could get at those times. Fast forward to today, this tradition of burning the Yule log is only represented by a meager chocolate cake - the Chocolate Yule Log Cake or Buche de Noel.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Baking Christmas Cake: Chocolate Swiss Roll 巧克力瑞士卷

Who doesn't love chocolates? Today, I am giving you a double dose - Chocolate Swiss Roll plus whipped chocolate ganache. Are you jumping with joy yet? Admittedly, I am not trained in ways of baking. I consider myself a rookie. There is good in this though, for I do not have to conform to learned rules and techniques. And this has worked wonderfully for me. Just look at this beautiful roll!

Friday 27 November 2015

Yong Tau Foo 酿豆腐

I didn't know making Yong Tau Foo nowadays is so convenient. I am not talking about instant fish pastes. Those are just too generic, not fresh and not flavourful enough. My mom went to the wet market this morning and she brought a little plastic of Spanish mackerel (tenggiri) back. Apparently the seller has fillet and deboned it for her already! All that was needed was to chop it up, add flavours and give those lovely mackerel a good slap (literally speaking la). The process was made even easier with a ready food processor. Just add everything into the machine and let the machine do all the labourous work. Within minutes, what used to be fish chunks turned into into fine flavourful sticky paste.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Christmas Surprise Cake 圣诞惊喜蛋糕

My first attempt at a Christmas surprise cake. Boy, what was I thinking? The number of steps needed was enough to make Santa proud of me. I felt like I was in a Masterchef competition! But all being said, the cake turned out fine and I do believe I would get better and faster with subsequent cakes. And it is also possible to make two of these at one go, thus saving work.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Christmas Shortbread Cookie Recipes: Nonpareils Shortbread Bites/Almond Snowballs

Now that we know the recipe for easy shortbread cookies, things are only going to get easier. Using the same recipe, I managed to dish out two different variations with a Christmas theme. This first one was easy. Just invest in some rainbow nonpareils and add it to your shortbread dough and make it into bite-size cookies. The nonpareils add colours and excitement to this cookie. It is colourful, it is festive, it is Christmassy. Surprisingly, it also add a beautiful seedy crunch to the otherwise soft cookies. These nonpareils shortbread bites are children magnet. The kids just adore the colours. Very suitable for parties or gatherings with children.

Christmas Shortbread Cookie Recipes: Nonpareils Shortbread Bites

Makes approx. 48 bites


1 portion shortbread dough (recipe here)
3 tbsp rainbow nonpareils (or red, green and white only)

Mix dough with nonpareils. Pinch a bit of dough to be shaped into little balls. Alternatively, you could also bake like you would a shortbread and then cut it into cubes. Bake at a preheated oven at 160C for 15-20 minutes or until the sides are slightly browned. Remove and cool completely before storing.

Christmas Shortbread Cookie Recipes: Almond Snowballs

These almond snowballs taste like snowballs. It pleasantly in the mouth. The almond nibs add crunch and additional flavour to these melt-in-your-mouth cookies. I thought these cookies would be too sweet for my palate since they are rolled in so much icing sugar. It was however beautifully balanced off by the additional almond. A sweet cookie it is but in an acceptable way. Perfect for those who has a sweet tooth.

Makes approx. 50 balls


1 portion shortbread dough (recipe here)
60 g almond flakes/nibs, toasted
3/4 cup of icing sugar

Mix almond flakes into shortbread dough. Pinch a little dough and form into a little ball. Repeat until all are done. Bake at a preheated oven at 160C for 15-20 minutes or until the sides are slightly browned. Remove to cool. Roll balls in icing sugar while still slightly warm. Roll again when serving or when completely cool.

Monday 16 November 2015

Easy Shortbread Cookies 英式奶油酥

It is that time of the year again. Christmas and New Year is just approximately one and a half months away. Time flies and it flies pretty quickly, doesn't it? If you are making your own edible gifts, you ought to get busy already. Today we will kick off the festive season with an easy bake - Easy Shortbread Cookies. This traditional Scottish cookie is so simple to make yet the taste is utterly delish. I would strongly suggest shortbread cookies if you want an easy to make recipe but at the same time, adding a personal touch to your gift.

Traditionally, this cookie follows the 1 to 2 to 3 ratio, that is, one part of sugar to two parts of butter to three parts of flour. Because of its simplicity, you would get the original taste of its buttery salty sweetness. For a little bit of variation, you could replace 1/5 part of the flour with rice flour or cornstarch to give it a different texture. Besides that, you could also alternate between icing sugar or castor sugar. When you have such basic ingredients, it is essential that you get good quality ingredients so that the flavours come out authentic and strong. Yes, invest in a good (and expensive!) butter and try your best to get your hands on that pure vanilla extract if you could. You wouldn't regret the effort.

This is the basic recipe for shortbread cookies. Not my best work, but I have to concur it tastes bloody good. This easy shortbread cookies that could be transformed into multiple variations. It is akin to a white canvas waiting to be painted with colours and textures. Therefore, I suggest you make a big batch of this cookie to be divided into a few different recipes, saving you tons of work. The best thing is, you could pre-make these various cookie doughs and keep it frozen until the very last minute when you are about to give this away. Bake it then and you would get fresh mouth-watering buttery shortbreads immediately. Very handy if you have guests over. And if you are all too lazy to even warm the oven, just wrap it nicely to be given away as cookie dough present!

Shortbread Cookies 奶英式奶油酥

Adapted from Joy of Baking


260 g flour
225 g salted butter, room temperature
60 g castor sugar (original recipe uses icing sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Cooking Instruction

1. Combine flour and salt and mix. Preheat oven to 150C.

2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and add in sugar. Whisk until butter turns pale and creamy in about two minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl.

3. Beat in vanilla extract.

4. Using a spatula, stir in flour until well combined.

5. Pour mixture into a lined baking pan. Level with spatula, score lines for the rectangles and make indents using a fork. Bake at 150C for 20 to 25 minutes or until cookies are slightly browned at the edges.

6. Remove from oven and cut along the lines into rectangles while it is still warm. Serve plain or dipped in chocolate.

Also check out my previous year's Christmas Butter Cookies here:

Or my Fudgy Chocolate Crinkles here:

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Easy Teriyaki Chicken Recipe 简单日式照烧鸡

Yes, I know I just posted a teriyaki sauce recipe...and it is not complete if I don't show you how to use it. This recipe is so simple yet so sapid, glazed with that sticky glossy potion. Teriyaki is a Japanese term used for cooking technique that involves grilling or broiling. However, with the advent of technology, we are now also cooking teriyaki dishes baked or pan-fried. Today I am going to pan-fry my chicken in teriyaki sauce. It is simpler and faster than grilling, perfect fit into today's busy lifestyles. Although pan-frying would lose some of that smoky flavour that is related to grilling, the chicken that is pan-fried is actually more moist and tender. This easy teriyaki chicken recipe is my one-pot (or pan) quick solution with only one pan to wash thereafter.

Monday 9 November 2015

Easy Teriyaki Sauce 日式照烧酱

Ah...teriyaki sauce. Vastly popular and many variations. I bet you have tried it at least once in this lifetime of yours. But hey, do you know that teriyaki sauce is one of the simplest sauce to make with only four (and some three) ingredients? And it only takes you 10 - 15 minutes to make.

The core ingredients for this teriyaki sauce are mirin, sake, shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) and sugar. Looks easy right? I have to admit I had trouble finding the ingredients. It took me to a few places before I got my hands on the sake and mirin. And mind you, I am living in an Asian country whereby Asian groceries are easily available. Even now, I am not sure if I got the correct sake and mirin because it is written in Japanese! I only have to trust the assistant who gave me these two precious bottles of condiment.

Thursday 5 November 2015

Key Lime Cheesecake 青檸芝士蛋糕

It this a pie? Is this a bar? No, it is actually key lime cheesecake in the form of a pie. How does that come about? I can assure you it is not intentional. The fact is, I have too little filling to fill up the whole crust; my only grouse for this trial. I have since rectified this in the ingredients section. You should be able to find the corrected amount if you follow this recipe.

Monday 2 November 2015

Sing Kong tofu 星光豆腐

I am surprised how little information is available for this dish. Maybe I just do not know where to find the info, maybe there is another name for this dish or maybe, it is just popular in my area. If I am not wrong, this is another made-in-Malaysia dish. This dish is basically tofu cooked in thickened egg gravy. The gravy is similar to that of a Cantonese-style fried flat noodle (wat tan hor).

Thursday 29 October 2015

Crispy crepe 香脆薄饼

I was a bit hesitant whether to post this or not. I was trying to reciprocate my mother's favourite crispy crepe snack. Have you ever heard of Hot and Roll? I am not surprised if you have not because it is a locally grown franchise selling wraps using crepes, paratha, pita etc. The crispy crepe with savoury filling is my mom's favourite. 

Monday 26 October 2015

Three Layer Tea

I had some leftover palm sugar from making Sagu Gula Melaka so I decided to make a drink of out it - the Three Layer Tea. I had my first try of this Three Layer Tea a couple of years ago when it was commercialised by F&N in West Malaysia. For a while, every restaurant and mamak stall have this drink in their menu. Ever wondered what happened now?

Thursday 22 October 2015

Palm Sugar Sago Pudding/Puding Sagu Gula Melaka 沙谷米椰糖布丁

This dessert is headed for extinction. I don't see this sold anymore. Perhaps it is too mundane a dessert. But if you "dress" it up a little, voila! Fabulicious! Oh my God, did I just created a new word? Either way, lets keep our tradition going.

Palm Sugar Sago Pudding or Puding Sagu Gula Melaka is a traditional Malay dessert. It is basically chilled sago drizzled in palm sugar and coconut milk. I first made this dessert when I was 15, as part of a home science lesson. At that age, I was happy I even managed to produce anything edible. Although not epic in looks, the taste was pleasant. I love this dessert because it is served cold; it is a pudding. The taste primarily comes from of the pandan infused palm sugar syrup (also known as gula melaka in Malay) and the creamy fragrant coconut milk. The sago alone is bland but it provides a cold chewy texture to the whole pudding. When the trio is combined, it exudes a balance of flavour that is just on the dot.

Monday 19 October 2015

Best Chicken Curry Recipe 加哩鸡

My mother makes the best curry in town. Therefore, I was dumbstruck when she said she liked my chicken curry better than hers. "Really?", I had to ask again. And she reaffirmed with another bite into that glorious piece of meat. I was pretty ecstatic and a bit befuddled at that moment. Hey, it is not often you get a praise from her.

Thursday 15 October 2015

How To Clean and Devein Shrimp (With Shell On)

Many of you would have liked your shrimp to be properly cleaned and shelled when served. Imagine biting into that succulent morsel without lifting a finger...heavenly! However, in many Chinese cooking, the shells are left on the shrimp to be peeled later while eating.

Monday 12 October 2015

Restaurant-Style "Kuai Fa" Fried Noodles/Osmanthus Fried Noodles 桂花炒面

Chinese restaurants love selling this. In Chinese, the name 桂花 means osmanthus and if directly translated, this would be Osmanthus Fried Noodles. But we know there is no osmanthus here. It is just a name to glorify what we normally called scambled eggs in noodles. It is supposedly called osmanthus because the eggs are fried in a way that bear resemblance to the osmanthus flower. But seriously, the only thing I find similar is the yellowish colour of the eggs.

Thursday 8 October 2015

Healthy Pasta Salad 健康沙拉

Fancy having your pasta cold? Some of you might not like cold pasta but I adore this to bits. This is something I absolutely like to dish up for myself. I normally make a big stash of this to be kept in the fridge. Although normally served as a side, I consume this as a quick meal as well. Why not? It has protein, carbohydrates and loads of vegetables! The tangy sweetness of the dressing suits my palate just fine. If I am not careful, I could easily polish off the whole bowl. This is how good the pasta is.

Sunday 4 October 2015

Sesame Balls/ Jin Dui 煎堆

For those of you who have not tasted one, you must think it is crispy from its puffy outlook. You are just half right. The outer layer is coated in sesame seeds which are crisped up by frying in hot oil. However, its uniqueness stemmed from its chewiness which is the main criterion for a good piece of sesame ball or jin dui. There should be a big hollow that is filled with fillings, traditionally red bean paste. Making jin dui is a pretty simple process. The technical part is to get the jin dui to be fried to perfection. It must not be oily, it must not lose its shape after it is cooled and it must not be burnt nor too pale.

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Red Velvet Cupcakes 红色天鹅绒杯形蛋糕

When I first chanced upon a red velvet cake, I did not like what I saw. The dramatic red freaked me out a little, what more when I found out it was all food colouring. I kept telling people it was just another chocolate cake that was added with red colouring for commercial purposes. Apparently, there is a difference. A chocolate cake is more rich, luscious and dense with more chocolaty flavour. Whereas, a red velvet, well, is velvety soft and very moist with just a hint of chocolate. It uses lesser butter, which I totally approve of. The star of the ingredients, buttermilk, gives the cake the moistness that is almost synonymous with a red velvet.

This cupcake recipe is an adaptation from my red velvet cake recipe. I am not into cupcakes. However, I do admit this is a convenient party munchie. As such, I bake cupcakes instead of the whole cake to gatherings. Just last Friday, I baked some red velvet cupcakes for my cell group meeting. I was, however, not very satisfied with the appearance as it has a nice beautiful dome to it. Nothing wrong with it really but I like my cupcakes flatter so that I could add on my delicious cream cheese frosting. I have since cut a little of the dome (the usual method) and apply my cream cheese frosting. But I am thirsty to find out how these people get that wonderfully raised, almost flat top.

My research came back with a few suggestions which I have since tried and tested on my red velvet cupcake recipe. There are a few suggestions here that are not uncommon so bear with me if you have already known:

1. Lower temperature
2. Reduce leavening agent
3. Bain marie method
4. Wrap a wet towel around the strip
5. Store bought cake strip

As I am perfectly satisfied with the moist, soft and fluffy texture of my cake, options 1 and 2 are out. Options 4 and 5 are meant for cakes therefore leaving me with just option 3, which is basically a water bath. And the result? Those lovely red velvet cupcakes rose to perfection! Now my red velvet cupcake recipe is complete and I could finally share this recipe with all of you.

This is just me being picky on the appearance. You could ignore the bain marie method and just apply your choice of frosting like I did the first time but it is always good to learn some new tricks that can be applied when the occasion arises. 

Red Velvet Cupcakes 红色天鹅绒杯形蛋糕
Makes 12 cupcakes


200 g flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp dutch processed cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
85 g butter, softened
110 g castor sugar
180 ml (3/4 cup) buttermilk (or add 3/4 tsp of vinegar to 3/4 cup of whole milk and rest for 10 mins)
1/2 tsp vinegar.
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp red colouring (I also added two drops of yellow colouring)
1 1/2 large eggs ( A grade)

Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe here

Cooking Instruction

1. Preheat oven to 170C.

2. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt into a bowl.

3. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs in two batches and then vanilla, buttermilk and vinegar. Mix until all are combined.

4. Add sifted dry ingredients in two batches into the wet mixture. Using the whisk, mix gently until well combined. Then use spatula to scrape the sides and bottom to thoroughly combine the batter.

5. Scoop batter into individual cupcake tins lined with cupcake liners. At this point, you could use a water bath like the above picture. Bake for 17 - 20 mins until skewer comes out clean when tested. Remove from oven and let cool. Pipe in cream cheese frosting.

Thursday 24 September 2015

Chilli Anchovies Bun/Sambal Ikan bilis bun 参巴江鱼仔餐包

If you have ever bought those round buns from Gardenia with chilli anchovies or sambal ikan bilis inside, then you know what I am talking about. Although modest in looks, these filled buns are quite celebrated here. You could see bakeries selling this type of buns with all sorts of fillings. It is suitable as a quick snack, or even a light meal for many on the go. This chilli anchovies bun has worked wonders for me whenever I am too busy to have a proper meal. You see, although I like buns with sweet fillings (which is what you normally get), I do get bored with the monotony of sweetness sometimes. I find the sambal filling much more satisfying as not only has it sweetness but saltiness and spiciness as well. And the sambal itself is just so aromatic and tasty, it complemented the whole bun so well.

Sunday 20 September 2015

Ginger and Scallion Fish Slices 姜葱鱼片

Some call it scallion, some call it spring onion, some call it green onion. It is all the same. The Chinese call it "chung"(葱) and when it is paired with ginger (姜), it makes a pretty decent dish. The combination of both ginger and scallion is aptly use to add flavour and smell to the otherwise mildly flavoured fish. The ginger is also use to stave off the fishy smell of the protein.

This is a common Chinese household dish. Well, maybe not so common now since the price of fish has gone up many folds compared the olden days. If you are looking at more quality sea fish such as a fresh grouper, the price could be as high as RM35 per kilo. However, this method of cooking is actually more flexible as the fish is first fried and later combined with other flavours (unlike steamed fish dishes whereby only certain types of fish is suitable).  Therefore, you could even use dory if you fancy.

Thursday 17 September 2015

Chinese Steamed Cake/Ma Lai Go 马来糕

Don't be fooled by the name. It didn't originate from 马来 or Malaysia (Ma Lai Go basically means Malay cake in Chinese). This is not one traditional Malay kuih but a Chinese invention made popular in dim sum restaurants. I am not sure why it is called Ma Lai Gou or Malay cake, but hearsay, it is because of its colour that resembles the skin of the Malays which is brownish in nature. 

There are generally two versions of Ma Lai Go - the easier non-yeasted version and the yeasted darkish version. I am sharing with you the yeasted version, which is also the dim sum restaurants' version. 

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