Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kurau Fish

This must a popular Malay / Chinese fish. It's Malay name is Kurau and in Chinese it is called "May Yau Yee". I found out that it is called treadfin in English but I have not seen this fish sold in the States. Maybe it has a different name..anyone knows? Infact, I thought that kurau is it's English name as it is commonly called in Malaysia.

This is a popular fish for the Chinese community as it is considered mid to top range fish. It is often used in porridge. It's meat is thick and juicy and the flesh is sweet.

I like this fish simply stir-fried with a little oil. You can smell the fragrance of this sweet juicy fish as it is in the oil. And it is yummylicious. Also it has little fish bones which is my main criteria when it comes to fish.

Simple ingredients -

5 tbsp oil for frying
1 sliced kurau fish (around 300gm), lightly seasoned with salt
Sliced ginger
Chopped garlic
Dip for fish- chopped raw garlic, red chillis, and soy or fish sauce.

Simple Steps -

1) Heat oil in wok. Ensure oil is not but not burning (no smoke). Pat fish dry before putting into oil. Fry one side about 5-8 minutes before turning over. Dish up when ready.

2) With remaining oil, stir-fry garlic and ginger till fragrant and put on top of fish. If desired, drop a few drops of fish sauce on fish and serve. Ready to dig in!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

KangKung Belacan

This is my favourite vegetable since young. KangKung or KangKong is also known as Water Spinach or Water Convolvulus in the Western world. Water convolvulus is a member of the Convolvulaceae (morningglory) family. Ah ha....Infact in Malaysia I usually called it "morning glory" when ordering in a bit upscale Chinese restaurants (the ones where the waiters don't speak Chinese). I remember my brother used to laughed at me for calling it "morning glory". His rationale, how can a cheap vegetable like KangKung have such a beautiful name. :)

Yup I always remember that this is a cheap vegetable as told by my grandma. This is because it can grow very easily in swamp areas as it grows fast when in contact with moist soil or water. Therefore to the older folks, this is a "longkang" (drain) vegetable meaning you can easily see it growing beside the drains.

Another myth that they used to scare me with is that if I ate too much KangKung, I will get arthritis on my legs. It is because the vegetable is a water plant and the stems are soaked in water all the time. It will also transfer to human legs causing arthritis. Any truth in this myth? I don't know but trust me, after eating too much KangKung when young, I did feel pain in my legs. Let me know if this is a fact or just a myth. :)

Other names. Kankon (Japanese); ung choi (Cantonese Chinese); toongsin tsai (Mandarin Chinese); ong choy, ungtsai, tung choy (China); kang kong (Filipino, Malaysian); kang kung, rau muong (Vietnamese); pak bung (Thai).

How to prepare? This dish can be easily stir-fried plain with garlic but it is most famous as KangKung Sambal Belacan whereby you use dried chilli prawn paste. I cook variations of this vegetable using actual "belacan" or just ready made sambal belacan or just plain with garlic.

Simple Ingredients :-

2 tbsp oil
1 red chilli,
500g kangkung
2 cloves of garlic, chopped

Seasoning -
2 tbsp belacan sambal (readily available in canned bottles at Chinese Supermarkets)
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar and salt

Simple Steps -

1. Heat up oil, sautè garlic until fragrant. Add in sambal belacan and stir-fry until aromatic.

2. Add in red chillis, kangkung and stir-fry at high heat until well mixed. Dish up.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Loh Mai Kai (Glutinous Rice with Chicken)

Loh Mai Kai or direct translation to mean Glutinous Rice with Chicken is a Chinese "dim sum" dish. It is usually eaten for breakfast and you can find it easily in any "dim sum" restaurants. It is also now widely available in normal coffeee shops in Malaysia and Singapore. It usually comes in a small sized foil/bowl and flipped over when served.

Loh Mai Kai as the name goes is a Cantonese dish. Glutinous rice is a starchy rice when cooked, and thus it can be very filling so usually you only eat half of the portion of usual rice intact. It goes well with hot Chinese tea as the tea will also ease bloating cause by the sticky rice. It is a yummy dish for breakfast enjoyed with other dim sum condiments.

When I was in Malaysia, I never thought of making it myself. It is so widely available that I will only have this when I am having dim sum or just at any coffee shop. However, when I came to the States, I decided I should try making it myself. Loh Mai Kai is sold is all Chinese dim sum restaurant but yet I am missing the Malaysian flavour so I decided to give it a try and I must say I was extremely pleased with the results.

My Hubby-D found it to be so delicious that he was very quickly ate 2 Loh Mai Kai. I had to stopped him if not he would have a very uncomfortable stomach the whole night. Oh yeah... be warned that sometimes it is hard to stop eating yummy glutinous rice but you must stop or else you will have a bloated stomach the whole night.

Simple ingredients :
1) Glutinous rice - 200gm
2) Chicken -10-15 medium cubes - Use chicken breast or chicken thigh
3) Mushroom - 5-8 small pieces
4) Marinate for chicken - soy sauce, dark soy sauce, ginger juice, oyster sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, sesame oil.
6) Seasoning for rice - 2 tbsp oil or lard, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, salt, pepper.
5) Optional - Chinese sausage or Char siu

For step by step instructions with photos - please click this link.
This will get you to my step by step recipe blog at

Please tell me what you think. It's easy so do try. I must say I am now used to my own Loh Mai Kai taste. When I came home to Malaysia and ate a simple loh mai kai in a coffee shop, I was like...errr...this does not taste that great. I think my homemade ones were better. :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fried Rice - How to cook the perfect fried rice at home?

Whenever I am pressed for time or have no idea what to cook and I don't want to eat yet another session of instant packet noodles, the other thing that comes in mind will be fried rice!

Fried rice is a common dish served in nearly all Chinese restaurants and definitely considered a Asian cuisine too. There are so many variations of fried rice - fried rice with salted fish, kampung (village) fried rice, Yongchow fried rice, thai fried rice, spicy fried rice, special fried rice etc etc.

To can put any ingredients into fried rice and then you can name it as your own! :)

But the most important aspect is perfecting the texture of the fried rice. Here are my tips on what I do whenever I am cooking this at home.

1) Rice - it must be overnight rice that is kept in the fridge. Therefore if you want to cook fried rice the next day, best to cook more the night before and leave the leftover rice in the fridge. Or if you have leftover rice, best to just dish up a simple and delicious fried rice.

2) Before you cook the rice, please make sure that you loosen the rice. If the rice is clumped together, it would take more effort and strength to break-up the rice when it is in the wok.

3) Ingredients - I always cook the ingredients first before frying the rice. This is so that my ingredients are ready and I can solely focus on ensuring I get the right texture for my fried rice. If I fry the rice first and then add ingredients, there is a chance that I may overcooked the rice while waiting for the ingredients to be ready. So I will first fry the ingredients, scoop them out, leave aside, then fry the rice and add the ready cooked ingredients and's perfect!

4) Ensure that wok is hot with oil. Turn up the fire to ensure a heated wok for fast distribution of heat to the rice.

5) Do some arm work-out before you start to cook the fried rice. :) You need the strong arms for fast stirring of the rice in the wok. Since you need big fire in wok, you will need to stir fast and hard to ensure that the rice does not burn.

Hope the above tips help. Let me know what other tips you have.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tribute to "Cili Padi"

I am dedicating my first food post to the hot fiery chilli padi.

Known as bird's eye chilli peppers in USA, these little fiery creature is a force to be reckon with and definitely not for the "light mouths". Going down the wrong nostril could sent firemen rushing to put off the fire which shoots from the mouth to the nose and then up to your ears and head.

It is a commonly found in Asia used in dishes and also as a dip or condiment. It is also known as cili padi (Malay), cabe rawit (Indonesian), phrik khii nuu (พริกขี้หนู, literally "mouse shit chili"), Thai Hot, Thai Dragon (due to its resemblance to claws), Siling Labuyo (Filipino), Ladâ, and Boonie pepper (the Anglicized name).

I have grown to love "cili padi". It just adds a kick to my taste buds and I love the way it gives my mouth a fiery feel. My love has transformed to a "must have". A must have whenever I am having noodles and even rice with dishes. There is something about these little chopped "cili padi" with a splash of soy sauce.

So when I moved to the States six months ago, one of my first gardening task was to grow a my own "cili padi" plant. I was amazed that the few seeds (taken from the insides of the chilli pepper) just thrown on the soil, sprouted many little baby plants. As they grew, I picked a few strong plants to be planted on my little vegetable plot. They grew and grew and one day it sprouted some flowers and my little baby chilli padi were borned.

I am now a proud mama of my chilli plants though my Hubby D is taking care of them now as I am back in Malaysia.

Trust me....a little hot fiery "cili padi" would give you a kick out of any meals you are having.


Isn't it exciting??!! I am now the proud owner of

Ever since I started blogging a few months back with, it has been a truly enjoyable journey to make a difference even with my humble and simple recipes. Thanks all for your support. I really appreciate all your feedbacks and comments.

My wonderful hubby-D has been encouraging me to get my own domain. We decided to give it a shot. I will be the author and he will be my technical support and the guinea pig for my cooking adventures. I could not get and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I then decided that I will start a new food blog and maintain 2 sites.

Therefore, will continue to be my first baby and I will continue to share my simple recipes with step by step photos and instructions on how it was prepared.

Updated July 2010 - In my on and off pursuit of blogging and trying to maintain 2 blogs is obviously not working out. Therefore will just be the solely showcasing the recipes of what has appeared on my new baby will capture all my passion for food, from restaurants that I visit, food that I eat, food from my simple garden and definitely simple dishes and recipes from my simple kitchen.

Looking forward to all your support!
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