Saturday, December 26, 2015

Chicken Chop/Batter-Fried Chicken With Onion Gravy

This is one of Malaysian favourites. It has many names but essentially it is chicken battered and fried. I made this the Southern way (well, as close as Southern American as I can get based on what I've seen on cooking shows) as I marinade the chicken pieces in milk first. I learned that this ensure the chicken to remain tender and moist after cooking. And it works! As per general knowledge, chicken breast can be really dry, so marinading the chicken in milk resulted in really tender fried chicken!


Anyway, I made this for dinner and I have to say, again, my Baba took a second helping! That is a sign that he loves it! Or he was too hungry. 


The condiments I made for this particular dish are fries and buttered boiled carrots. There are thousands of condiment alternatives such as mash potatoes (another recipe for another day!), smashed potatoes, baked potatoes, rice, coleslaw, salad and dressing, corn and others. You just need to be creative or if you are like me, use whatever you have in your pantry. 


I also have many recipes for many types of gravies but this is one of the easiest. And onions are my favourite ingredient. Before I share my recipe, pardon my lack of colour on the plate. I just couldn't find anything else in the kitchen so....Yeah. It's all orange and brown.


Chicken Chop/Batter-Fried Chicken With Onion Gravy

Actually, I made another batch today for my first sister and brother-in-law. And I added mushroom to the gravy and we ate it with salad. This particular batch is MUCH more attractive. Sadly, I'm too lazy to take a picture LOL. Bear with me on this one.

Serving: 2 persons

Chicken Chop/Batter-Fried Chicken Ingredients
  • 1 medium sized chicken breast (another option is using chicken drumstick)
  • 2 cups of milk (you can also use buttermilk or Greek/plain yogurt)
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1 medium sized egg
  • Black pepper to season
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to fry (you can use plenty of oil for deep frying or little oil for shallow frying)
Chicken Broth (for the gravy)
  • Leftover chicken bones 
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 medium sized carrot
  • 3 garlic
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion

Onion Gravy Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons of leftover oil from frying the chicken
  • 2 tablespoons of leftover flour from chicken chop 
  • 1 medium sized red onion (alternatively, this can be substituted with 1/4 of medium sized yellow onion. Both are delicious)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
  • Salt to taste
Cooking Method
  1. Debone the chicken breast and cut the meat into 2 equal sizes. Halve each portion so that the chicken meat will be thinner and slightly tenderize the chicken with the back of your knife. I cut my chicken until the end of one edge and spread the cut portion so that my chicken's surface area will be bigger. I think they call this the 'butterfly cut'. 
  2. Put the 2 portions of chicken breast into the milk and chill them in the refrigerator while you prepare your chicken broth. You can chill the chicken for a few hours but I chilled mine for 30 minutes while waiting for the broth to be ready as I am lazy that way.
  3. At this point, you can either make your own chicken broth or buy it. I made mine as I have the leftover chicken bone after deboning it. To make chicken broth, boil the leftover chicken bone, with water, roughly diced carrot, peeled garlic and yellow onion. You don't need to chop the garlic and onion. Boil under low/medium heat until you get a pale yellow broth. The fragrance of the broth will be very yummilicious. Don't add salt at this point.
  4. After the broth is ready, prepare your batter (not really a batter as you will dip the chicken breast into each section). Prepare an egg-wash by mixing the egg in one bowl. In another one, mix the plain flour with plenty of black pepper (I LOVE BLACK PEPPER) and salt to taste. So, you basically have 2 separate bowls of egg mixture and flour.
  5. Heat up your oil for deep frying (or shallow frying). It should be medium heat.
  6. After the oil has heated up, salt your chicken, dip it once on the egg-wash, then into the flour mix and then into the egg-wash again and finally into the flour mix before putting it into the heated oil. I double-batter because I happen to also love the batter.
  7. Turn the chicken once the bottom turns golden yellow. Take it out and repeat with the second portion of the chicken.
  8. After both chicken portions are fried, turn up the heat and put the chicken back again. Fry for 30 seconds (basically just to crisp up the batter, not to cook the chicken again) and take it out. This method is called double frying which will ensure your batter to be crispy and delicious!
  9. So, chicken is now done, lets move on to the gravy. Using the leftover oil and flour mix, make a roux. Then add the broth little by little, continually stirring to prevent from lump formation. Add the sliced onion once the sauce is smooth and salt to taste. The sauce is heavenly and you can add more black pepper if you want to. You can also add mushroom as this is the same base as mushroom gravy.
Your very own chicken chop/batter-fried chicken with onion gravy is now ready! It looks complicated but it is so very easy! Just try it and you will be super happy!


Friday, December 25, 2015

Levain Boulangerie & Patisserie

I rarely make a review of places to eat. Main reason is I am usually too lazy to note the key points such as location, menu, prices and service and take pictures. I am also not an avid foodie (aka go-out-and-eat) as I am a VERY indecisive person when it comes to ordering my meal. It is just easier to eat home as my Mama decides the menu or I cook food that I want to eat myself.


View of the outside terrace from my seat inside. The view is just lovely and the curtains are just beautiful. I need to mention the curtain somehow.


That said, Levain has to be one of my most favourite eatery ever. I love the ambiance and I love the food. I love the fact that it serves free cold/hot plain water and I love that it is fairly fuss-free with affordable food. 


The second floor looks so pretty! But I've never been able to get up there.


First of all, the introduction. Well, you can read the whole story of the place from the website. The sort of introduction I will give is my history with Levain and the landmark. I first found out about this place from Rini, a friend of mine. She brought me here about 5 years ago and it was an instant love. My first impression was that it is an expensive place as it looks fairly exclusive with valet parking, but to my surprise, the food is quite affordable. At least affordable for an ex-student like me.

The view of the restaurant from my front seat.


Anyhow, this is a few background information of Levain:


  • Valet parking: RM3.00 flat rate. If you come at non-peak hours like weekdays on non-lunch/dinner hour, you can park outside the restaurant without paying a cent (note this: outside as in the front of other buildings nearby). Careful of getting a ticket though or your car can potentially be towed.
  • Landmark: It is located on the first street on your left if you are coming from the direction of Prince Court Medical Centre (from Jalan Tun Razak). It is a bungalow house nestled between 2 buildings. It is on Jalan Delima.
  • Opening hours: It is opened daily from 7.30AM to 9.00PM.
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Take-away/pre-order/booking: Yes
  • Service: Top-notched. The staff is friendly and my order usually arrive relatively fast.
  • Particular points to note:
  1. The shop is divided into 4 sections. There is the bakery where the baked goods are, the counter where you order and pay for your food and the side-cake display as you can see from the picture above. I missed the side-cake display the first time I came here so I just bought the baked goods and order my dish from the counter. If you are coming at peak hours, going to order again at the counter for the cakes and pies from the side-cake-display at the counter is a bit of a hassle. So, remember to go to the side-cake display area first before you make your order at the counter. You may want that one a slice of cake or a macaroon to complete your delicious meal. The fourth section is obviously the seating areas (the inside seating area, the second floor seating area and the outside terrace seating area).
  2. The shop stops baking after 11AM so be sure to come early if you want to taste the baked goods. I usually come quite late so I have limited choices when it comes to baked goodies.
  3. You can order a cake earlier before pick-up time. The cake and pies are usually quite small but they are HEAVENLY. They have more options than most bakeries. 
  4. I usually order the chicken karaage curry rice and ask for extra-extra-extra spicy and it is DELICIOUS! The portion is relatively large so come with an empty stomach. The price of this is RM14.80 (including GST).
  5. Free hot/cold plain water is provided at the outside terrace. Small paper cups are provided. Last time, they used to provide beautiful glasses, but I guess those are difficult to deal with (aka clean) so now we have disposable cups. Not so pretty but they will do.
  6. Since it is a bungalow, it has a second floor but most of the time, the second floor is cordoned off. I guess they only open it when the restaurant is full downstairs. The interior is air-conditioned but they also have tables on the terrace. This area is not air-conditioned. However, ceiling fans are provided. 
  7. The place is family-friendly as I've seen a lot of families with small children coming.
  8. The staff are mostly foreigners so I usually speak English. I'm not sure if they understand local Malay or any other languages (like Chinese or Tamil).
  9. They have the partial self-serving concept whereby you choose your table (the tables are numbered) and go to the counter to order food and drinks (or you can choose your baked goods, pay and sit) and provide your table number. They will send your order to your table once it is ready.
The tables are numbered.


Bonus:

Did you see the huge chunks of crispy batter-fried chicken swimming in thick delicious Japanese curry sauce? The pink stuff is pickled ginger/radish (not sure which one). THIS IS MY MOST FAVOURITE DISH (when I come here).




Thursday, December 24, 2015

Simplified Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Icing

This one has a long title. Before I share this recipe, I need to make a quick note:

  • This is a VERY simplified carrot cake recipe. I didn't put ANY spices in it. My family HATES spices in dessert.
  • It is also fairly mild (aka not-so-sweet). Again, due to a dietary restriction, I made this as less sweet as I possibly can. If you are a sweet tooth and have a chronic addiction to everything sweet, add more sugar as you like.

Okay, my Mama LOVES carrot cake. I decided to make one without baking, so I steamed the batter instead. The top is not crusty but the cake is very moist and fluffy. I love it.


Simplified Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Icing



Serving: 12-15 people (depending on the size of each slice, the smaller each slice, it obviously means the more people can have a share)

Carrot Cake Ingredients
  • 3 large sized carrots (this will make up around 3-4 cups of shredded carrots)
  • 100g of walnuts (roughly diced)
  • 2 cups of flour (I used the plain type)
  • 2 teaspoons of dark cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/4 cups of brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs (beaten)
Additional note: You can use pecan or any other nuts in substitute of walnuts. If you like spices, you can add ground nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon (any or in combination). The usual will be around 1 teaspoon each but you can add or lessen the amount as you like. Other ingredients that can be added are raisins and sultanas and any dried fruit such as cherries.

Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients
  • 250g cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 100g unsalted butter (I'm too lazy to use unsalted one, I used a salted butter. I'm a rebel that way. This also needs to be in room temperature)
  • 1/4 cups of icing/confectioner sugar
Cooking Method
  1. Sift through the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, dark cocoa) and add brown sugar. Mix well.
  2. In another bowl, add chopped walnuts, grated carrots, vegetable oil and beaten eggs and mix well. This is the wet ingredients.
  3. Prepare the steamer. I steamed my cake on a large wok, so I waited until the water is boiling. Alternatively, you can bake the cake instead at 170 to 180 degrees Celcius for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient's bowl and mix well. The batter should be quite thick and not runny. Put the batter into a 9-inch dish.
  5. Put the cake dish onto the steamer and steam for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Ensure the boiling water is adequate. I added more boiling water at half time. Make sure to add boiling water and not cool tap water as this will drop the steamer's temperature. The stick/knife should come out clean with no sticky batter once the cake is fully steamed.
  6. Put the cake on a cooling rack to cool before icing it. This will take around 1 to 2 hours.
  7. While waiting for the cake to cool, prepare the icing by beating the cream cheese, butter and icing/confectioners sugar together. If you want the cream cheese icing to taste citrusy, you can add a few drops of lemon/lime/orange with a dash of their zest. You can also add 2 drops of vanilla essence.

As you can see from my cake slice, the cream cheese icing is melting. I couldn't wait so I immediately cut the cake and iced it. DO NOT DO THIS. The icing will melt. Pardon my impatience.


Anyway, this cake is pretty simple and it turns out soft and fluffy. I love the texture. My Mama, Baba and third sister seemed to enjoy the cake so I deemed this a success!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Thai Basil Chicken

I've been bitten by the travel bug. Well, the vlog of travels, to be precise. I was watching the travels of this guy, Mark Weins, who is based in Thailand and I saw that he made this delicious looking (and sounding) dish. I knew this dish from my favourite celebrity (SHOUT OUT TO MY BABY NICHKHUN OF 2PM!) as this is his most favourite Thai dish.


Thus, I decided to cook this. It's fairly simple if you ignore the preparation part (the tedious part is to peel the garlic. It's a LOT of garlic to peel!). You basically just chuck everything one at a time and it's done!


In Thailand, apparently this dish is one of the most popular dishes ever. It is usually eaten with rice and fried egg. Since my family LOVES spicy food, I used a lot of chillies. You can adjust the number of chillies based on your preference. It goes without saying, the more you add the chillies, the spicier the dish will be.



Thai Basil Chicken


Serving: 4-5 persons

Ingredients
  • 3 pieces of chicken breast/keel (I deboned and minced the chicken, it's a great stress reliever)
  • Thai/holy basil (the taste of Thai/holy basil is different from the basil we use in Italian cooking. I found this at a local Aeon supermarket. In Malay, it is called 'daun selasih' if I'm not mistaken)
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 15 birds eye chillies (yes, we like it as spicy as we can take it)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce (light soy sauce can be a good alternative)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 medium sized carrot (I julienned the carrot, but you can slice it any way you prefer)
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil (for frying)
Additional note: You can add more vegetables such as pepper. You can even add mushrooms. Another thing to note, I found the original recipe used sugar (around 1/2 tablespoon). However, my family despised (ABSOLUTELY HATE) sweet savory dishes, I decided to omit the sugar. If you like it, you can add it. Alternatively, you can use sweet soy sauce.


Cooking Method
  1. Mince or finely chop the garlic and birds eye chillies. I made it into a rough paste using my mortar and pastle.
  2. Debone and mince the chicken.
  3. Heat up the oil and saute the minced garlic and birds eye chillies until a nice fragrant appears (the oil will turn light reddish).
  4. Add the minced chicken and fry until chicken is cooked through. Since the chicken is already minced, it will cook fast (around 5 to 10 minutes). Chicken breast is a white meat, so it's dry. We LOVE white meat. If you prefer the red meat of chicken, then you can use chicken thigh or drumstick. The meat will be juicier.
  5. Add the sauces (dark soy sauce, oyster sauce and fish sauce) and mix well.
  6. Add the vegetables and stir until the vegetables are ready.
  7. Add Thai/holy basil before you turn off the heat.
  8. Finally, add salt if needed.


Voila! It's all done! This is so delicious and it has my Baba-approval. My dad has very limited palate and he usually likes fried food or curry best. He has a second serving so I take it he likes it. 


P/S: Do visit Mark Weins Youtube channel. It is awesome! I love his Langkawi series.





Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What Is Happening Right Now?

Cleaning. I have tonnes to boxes (okay, exaggeration alert, I have only 4) that need to be sorted out. A HUGE part of moving that I hate so much (I've been moving since I was 12, literally) is packing, shifting and unpacking. The packing and shifting parts are long over since early November but the unpacking part is the itty-bitty part that is left now.


And I am procrastinating. Yup. The boxes are still there. They are neatly stacked next to my wardrobe and they are still hurting my eyes (and the view). I have unpacked at least 70% of my stuff and the 30% is the part that is left to linger.


Most of the boxes are full of my clothes. I admit, I have lots of clothes. Not as many as majority of people, but enough to give me headache to sort. I know I should've thrown or donated most of it away, but every time I sort them out, I always feel that I still need this or that piece of clothing. Have you ever felt that way?


So, for now, I NEED to sort my boxes. 


Saturday, December 12, 2015

What To Expect In The First 6 Weeks

The title is actually quite misleading. My sister just gave birth about 6 weeks ago. As a *cough cough* now a fully certified medical practitioner, my sister has been asking me various of baby-health related questions even I couldn't answer. 


Why is that so? I've been taught what a normal birth and growth will be and what to expect if a child experiences out of ordinary things (aka illness). Whatever in between, such as heat rash, babies changing sleep pattern, fussy babies and babies who don't wake up for feeding after 2 hours are way beyond my scope of experience (or shall I say, non-experience, since I've YET to practice).


Here are my conclusions in the last few weeks I've been home (I first saw my adorable cutie-little-tiger baby niece when she was about 1 week old):
  1. She turns vermilion red when she cries.
  2. She has her own feeding schedule. She'll tell you when she is hungry. No force-feeding aka waking her up every 2 hours is necessary unless it is wayyyy beyond her feeding time. My sister and I realize that my cutie-little-tiger feeds around 2-4 hourly, unless she feeds too much or refuse to sleep for more than 6 hours previously. 
  3. Which brings me to my next observation. She usually sleeps after her regulated feeding and nappy-changing (very necessary since she poops after meal). However, she has her 'play-time' as my sister called it, as she has been known to refuse to sleep for hours (it can stretch up to 6 to 8 hours). That said, she usually wakes for around an hour and settle down quite well after feeding, nappy-changing and burping session.
  4. She has no concept of time. Of course. She can wake my sister up at 2AM and proceed for 'play-time' until 6AM. Such is the life of new mothers.
  5. She is utterly adorable. She makes all this cute sounds. So adorable, I tell you.
  6. She grows up without us realizing. She just got bigger and bigger in front of our very own eyes.
  7. My cutie-little-tiger will cry if she needs anything. Her main reasons for crying will be: Her nappy is getting wee bit full, her tummy needs some attention aka food aka milk or she is about to vomit.
  8. Bathing her is HARD. My very experienced Mama (Mama loves kids and she has 5 of her own, moi included) is solely responsible to her bathing since none of us are confident enough to bathe her until she was at least 3-4 weeks old.

This last point deserves an explanation of its own:


Yes, she vomits. A lot. We've been frantic and going to PRACTICING medical practitioners for consultation and a bunch of them kept on re-assuring us that is just normal for a newborn. I know, I know. Actually, I don't. To no one's surprise.


Newborns have yet to learn to gauge the correct amount of food they need. Many of them just feed and feed even after they are full. Which will lead them to vomit. This is not helping that they are mostly in lying position (food is not passing down easily horizontal) most of the time, their gut is short (hey little cutie pies) and in some cases, their gastrointestinal system is yet to mature fully. Thus, the vomit. This doesn't happen to all newborns. Some do, some don't. My Yaya didn't have this while my cutie-baby-tiger does. 


We learned to put my baby niece in vertical position and burping after feeding, elevating her pillows slightly and prepare soft tissues and plenty of towels and extra change of clothes and mittens in hand. The first 2 things I talked about in the last sentence are super duper important. Babies can easily aspirate the vomitus (inhale the vomitus) which is bad as we want their lungs to be clear of EVERYTHING other than air. 


After that my sister will continue to feed her after she vomits as she will be super hungry, poor baby. We also make sure to wipe her down with warm water after each vomiting session as she easily develop rash especially at her cheeks.


That said, not all vomiting episodes are normal, people. If your babies are having ANY one of these things with vomiting:
  • projectile vomiting
  • prolonged inactivity and passiveness
  • failure of gaining weight
  • consistently refusing feed
  • vomiting with weird vomitus (aka the colour is weird such as green, yellow, red, brown etc or the smell is funky)
  • vomiting with other weird things such as high fever, abnormal bloating or yellow discolouration
  • or if you are just plain unsure

GO AND CONSULT A DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY. 


Better be safe than sorry guys. 


My cutie-little-baby tiger is growing so well. She's gaining weight and she looks super cute. She eats, cry, poop and sleep well. All of us are content.


Lastly (didn't I just say the previous point was the last one? Well, I lied), we just couldn't do it without my Mama. She's our guiding light, the one that helps us (well, my sister) through the whole process. Seeing her and my sister, I realized my Mama sacrificed a lot for me. For that, I am eternally thankful. I love you Mama.


And I am missing my cutie-litle-tiger.


P/S: The reason why she is my cutie-little-tiger is because she makes these cute noises like a cute tiger cub. So ADORABLE!!!!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Chicken Potstickers

Okay, before I start, let me share a teeny-tiny confession. I've never ever eaten chicken potstickers before. In fact, I've never eaten ANY potstickers period. The essential of potstickers is wonton wrapping with any sort of filling, THAT, I've eaten. I've eaten fried wonton, wonton soup and lots of variants of cooking of dumplings. It is dumpling, in simpler English for the rest of us fellow wonton-virgin.


Dumplings have many name and different fillings. Depending on which part of the world you are from, it can be called 'gyoza' (Japan) or 'mandu' (Korea) or 'jiaozi' (China). The filling can be pure meat to vegetarian. Since I'm partial to chicken (period), I'm making chicken potstickers.


Since this is the first time I'm making it, please excuse the way I wrap the wonton. It's terrible-looking, I know. And, another confession here, I didn't make the wonton itself. It is purely store-bought and servicable. In fact, the chicken potstickers turned up DIVINE!

Chicken Potstickers


Serving: 2-3 persons

Potstickers Ingredients
  • 14 wonton wrappers (I read wonton-professionals recommending thicker wonton skin, but hey, I used what I found at the store)
  • Half chicken breast (minced, or you can buy pre-made chicken mince. I minced it myself)
  • 5g of ginger (or half teaspoon of ginger paste as I'll make a paste out of the ginger)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 stalks of cilantro/coriander
  • 1 large Napa cabbage leaf
  • 1/4 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • Salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste
  • Oil for pan frying
  • 1 cup of water for steaming
Dipping Sauce Ingredients 
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 3 birds eye chillies
Cooking Method
  1. Put wonton wrapper outside in room temperature.
  2. Mince the chicken breast.
  3. Chop the cilantro/coriander and Napa cabbage leaf finely. Add salt to chopped Napa cabbage leaf  and set it aside for at least 10 minutes. Then, squeeze out the excess water out of the chopped Napa cabbage.
  4. Make a paste out of the ginger and garlic.
  5. Mix the minced chicken, chopped vegetables, ginger-garlic paste, salt, white pepper and sesame oil.
  6. Fill in the wonton wrapper by putting a good amount of mixture in the middle of the wonton and seal the wonton. Again, I'm sorry, I can't tell you the best method of sealing the wonton since this is also my first time LOL. I just followed my instinct (and the multiple wonton-sealing method videos on Youtube).
  7. Coat a non-stick frying pan with a little oil. Arrange the filled wontons on the frying pan.
  8. Fry the wontons on medium heat until the bottom turns brown.
  9. Add 1 cup of water into the pan and cover the pan (you are basically steaming the potstickers so that the filling will be cooked to perfection). The wontons will be cooked in around 10 to 15 minutes, until the water evaporated. 
  10. In the meantime, make the dipping sauce by adding all the ingredients together! Remember to chop the chillies first! 

See, it is very easy! I'm making this again for dinner and eating them with steamed rice. So divine! Eat them while they are hot.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Baked Fish

Another day, another fish dish! I'm so in love with fish, I made another fish, this time, pan-baked. I marinade the fish pieces first so that the taste of the marinade will permeate the fish. This is best eaten with steamed rice but I ate this fish with fried vermicelli instead. Anyhow, this is my late grandmother's recipe.


Now the next question is, what is pan-baked? Pan-baked is basically baking the fish in a pan. Kind of like pan-grilling but covering the pan so it becomes baking instead. Why is it pan-baking? Just because. I just want to try new methods of cooking as I've never tried before.

Baked Fish



Serving: 3-4 persons

Marinade
  • 1/4 medium sized galangal 
  • 1/4 medium sized ginger
  • 1/4 medium sized tumeric
  • 1/2 lemon grass
  • 6 dried chillies (I added more for heat!)
  • 1 teaspoon of tamarind paste (I actually also added more as I LOVE sour food)
  • 6 small sized red onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 5 candle nuts
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Salt to tastte
Blend all marinade ingredients together until it forms a paste. Marinade the fishes and keep the marinated fishes in the fridge for at least 1 to 2 hours.

Ingredients
  • 5 pieces of fish (I used cut pieces of Spanish mackerel aka ikan tenggiri)
  • 6 tumeric leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
Cooking Method
  1. Marinade the fish for at least 1 to 2 hours. The longer you marinade, the tastier the fish meat will be. However, don't marinade for more than 12 hours as I assumed the fish will taste too sour due to the tamarind paste.
  2. Cover the fish pieces with tumeric leaves and pan-baked for 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked. By the time the fishes are cooked, the liquid produced by the marinade and fishes will evaporate, producing a moist baked fish dish. I waited until the bottom of the fishes and tumeric leaves to be slightly charred as I love the charred taste.
  3. Once the fishes are cooked, put a dab of butter on top of each fish. 
Enjoy!

Ginger Steamed Fish

Let me be frank here, this is the very first time I've ever steamed fish. In fact, this is the first time I've ever steamed anything, period. I cannot believe how delicious it turned out! It is slightly sweet and gingery-spicy. How does one describes ginger taste? It's just lovely! It is best eaten fresh out of the steamer.

Ginger Steamed Fish



Serving: 2-3 persons

Ingredients
  • 3 fish fillets (I used the frozen dory fillet and it still turned super soft and nice!)
  • Ginger (to be honest, used as many as you like, I used more than 30g to mask the fishy odour, just in case)
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet soy sauce (if you dislike the sweet part, you can just use dark soy sauce or normal soy sauce. I happened to only have this variety in hand so I just make do)
  • 2 teaspoons of fish sauce (I love this! This is also optional since we are cooking fish in the first place but the fish sauce enhances the whole dish's flavour)
  • Napa cabbage (I used 5 to 6 big leaves to wrap my beautiful fillet)
  • 4 birds eye chillies (this is entirely optional, but I want the chilly spicy taste)
  • 4 coriander/cilantro
  • Salt to taste
Cooking Method
  1. Prepare the steamer.
  2. Layer the Napa cabbage leaves (2-3 leaves) at the bottom of your steaming dish.
  3. Put chopped chillies, half of the chopped ginger and half of the chopped coriander/cilantro on top of the Napa cabbage leaves
  4. Layer the fish fillets on top of the chopped items and Napa cabbage leaves. 
  5. Slather (see, my vocabulary is SO good that I used the word slather *cries*) the mixture of fish sauce and sweet soy sauce on top of the fish fillet. 
  6. Salt to taste. If you use the soy sauce and fish sauce liberally, just sprinkle a small pinch of salt, or else your dish will be salty!
  7. Then layer the rest of chopped coriander/cilantro and ginger on top of the fish filler and finally cover the whole steaming dish with the rest of Napa cabbage leaves.
  8. Steam the ginger fish dish until the fish fillet turned white (in other words, cooked).

Your whole kitchen will be permeated with the lovely ginger-sweet soy sauce fragrance! Eat the steamed fish while it is hot. I guarantee you, you don't even want to get the steamed fish dish when you eat out because yours is SUPER DUPER DELICIOUS. Okay, that is an exaggeration.


There will be plenty of light sauce produced and my Baba poured at least half of it into his rice (I am assuming that he LOVED the sauce).


Enjoy!

Pegedil

....Or begedil. Honestly, I have no idea what its real original name is but I've heard of people calling it 'pegedil' or 'begedil'. It is one of the most SCRUMPTIOUS and unhealthiest food ever. It's fill with OIL but it is D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.


Moving on, my paternal grandmother used to make this a lot and it remains as one of my favourite food. It can be a snack or a dish accompanying a meal. It is basically a potato cake. This delicacy can be made in various ways but this is how I make it when I am terribly lazy. The other option is to fry the potatoes first, which I must admit, is labour intesive and I HATE frying.


Without further ado, here is my special pegedil (not that special, really).

Pegedil



Serving: 20-30 Kinder-egg sized pegedil (for 3-5 persons maximum as this deliciousness cannot be savoured just by eating 1 or even 2 pieces!)

Ingredients
  • 5 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 chicken breast (the skin removed) - Chicken can be substituted with any protein of your choice. I've used beef and fish before.
  • 10 stalks of fresh coriander/cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons of fried onion 
  • 2 grade A eggs
  • White pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Corn flour
  • Oil (for deep frying AND to add a few tablespoons into our patty)
  • Water (for boiling the potatoes)

Cooking Method

  1. Peel potatoes and boil them until they are softened.
  2. White waiting for the potatoes to boil, remove the skin and bones from the chicken breast and mince it. 
  3. Cook the minced chicken with salt and white pepper.
  4. Once boiled and softened, drain the boiling water and mash the potatoes, adding salt and white pepper to taste, 2 tablespoons of oil (any oil will do, I love to use my leftover fried chicken oil as it is DELICIOUS! And unhealthy *sigh*), white pepper, chopped cilantro, fried onions, cooked chicken and corn flour. 
  5. Add corn flour to ensure patty is sticking together and to prevent the patty from falling apart as we fry it. Usually I add corn flour until my patty is still mildly sticky with denser consistency than mash potatoes. It's trial and error as I add corn flour if I find my patty falls apart when I fry it or if the patty is absorbing too much oil.
  6. Make a round shape patty of the size of a Kinder egg (my preference as it is faster to fry with less oil being absorbed) and flattened it on your palm. Make sure your hands are clean (trim your nails people!) and lather a small portion of oil on your palm to prevent the patty from sticking.
  7. Beat the eggs and dip the patty into the egg mixture before frying in the deep fryer.
  8. Eat them while they are hot! Not really, as the potato cake will burn your tongue but yeah!

Enjoy!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Pasta Aglio Olio

I love to cook and these days, it seemed that Mama is letting me loose in her beloved kitchen. So, I decide on our daily menu. YES, full authority in the kitchen, baby! Today, by request, I made aglio olio. My younger sister, Gegel is CRAVING for it and this is probably the third time I made this in less than a few weeks.





And yes, I used my precious DSLR to take these photos. I'm a total camera-ignoramus, but they turned up well enough.


That said, I'm sharing my aglio olio recipe. Bear in mind, aglio olio belongs to the Italians and this may not be the original recipe as I've NEVER even set my foot in Italy. I've searched the definition of aglio olio and found out that it is basically garlic and oil. So, with these 2 ingredients in mind, you can go free with anything else that suits your palate (or in my case, whatever I have in my pantry).


Pasta Aglio Olio

Serving: 4-5 persons

Ingredients
  • Pasta 250g (any sort, my favourite is always spaghetti but I've used linguine and other sorts before)
  • Olive oil (olive oil is super duper delicious and healthy, but just in case you don't have it, just substitute with butter, margarine or any vegetable oil. That said, the taste will change as some oils have their own distinctive taste and some are quite neutral)
  • Garlic (LOTS of it, I've been known to use more than 20 cloves for 250g pasta, adjust to your liking)
  • Vegetables (my favourites are bell peppers, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower and shiitake mushroom. Okay mushroom is not a vegetable but who cares)
  • Protein of your choice (my most favourites are prawn and calamari, but I've used chicken, beef and beef pepperoni before)
  • Herbs (I use mixed herbs)
  • Chilli flakes/dried chillies
  • Cheese (parmesan is my poison of choice)
  • Salt 
  • Water

Cooking Method
  1. Boil your pasta. I put the pasta in after the water in boiling. Stir the pasta every now and then to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Add a tablespoon of salt into the boiling water.
  2. Once pasta is al dante (it is slightly firm but not mushy soft, or the colour of your pasta become a bit lighter), drain the water and immediately run tap water along the pasta to stop the cooking process. Add a pinch of salt to your pasta. Your pasta should be a bit firm and taste nice.
  3. Cut all your vegetable and protein into bite sized pieces.
  4. In low heat, add oil, chili flakes/diced-up dried chillies and garlic.
  5. Once the oil turn red and the garlic turns translucent (and a heavenly aroma is produced), add the meat (or you can cook your meat separately as I've done sometimes) and vegetables.
  6. Add mixed herbs and salt. At this point the vegetables and meat will smell beautiful (and taste beautiful too!).
  7. Finally add your pasta! Toss it around for a few minutes and we are done!
  8. Serve with cheese shavings.





Monday, December 7, 2015

Growing Up

Watching my baby nieces, Yaya and Nafisa, growing up is just a miracle. My beautiful babies grow up in a blink of an eye and I'm astounded. I always wonder, when do they grow up? From a little bundle of happiness into babyhood and toddlerhood, time just passes so rapidly. 


Yaya is 2-and-a-half years older than Nafisa. However, last time, whenever I see Yaya, I kept thinking, 'Yaya is so small and precious.' It seems like Yaya has never grow, even though she can speak full sentences and is very very very precocious. Just yesterday, she seems not to like me as her 'friend'. In fact, she just told her mother previously, just after she 'fought' with me, exactly how she 'fought' with me. She told her mother (my younger sister), 'Yaya cakap dengan Nana, sana Nana, sana'. Translated: 'Yaya told Nana (aka me), move Nana, move.' In other words, she told me not to be in her orbit *cries* She is smart and beautiful. And she is my precious girl. I always wonder where has all the time go.


Now here is Nafisa, my other younger sister's daughter. She is a small (not so small now as she grows up SO FAST) and super duper cute. This cutie pie is even called 'tapioca' by all of us as she is just so round and fluffy! I know, I know, tapioca does not sound cute at all, but in our language, 'keledek sebuku' is just so cute. I'm repeating the word cute for the upteenth times but that is the only word that best describes Nafisa.


Both of them are equally precious to me and I am still amazed at how rapid they are growing. I wish I can tell them to grow slowly and savour this innocence. However, time waits for no man. And we will all be here to help them through life, if time permits.



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Honey Garlic Chicken



I made honey garlic chicken today. It is my new favourite dish and I made it once for my friends in Sibu (shoutout to Ida and Mastura!). It's super simple, you just need to fry the chicken and make the sauce and mix both together!

The sauce is made up of water, vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar before and both tasted delicious!), honey (good quality one), garlic (LOTS) and salt.

Ingredients made simple (for 3-4 persons):

Sauce (for 3 pieces of chicken breasts)
  • Water - 3-4 cups 
  • Vinegar (apple cider vinegar is delicious too!) - 2-4 tablespoons
  • Garlic (the more the better, I even used 8-12 cloves at a time) - 8-12 cloves
  • Honey (good quality one) - 2-4 tablespoons
  • Salt - a pinch
Mix all the sauce's ingredients in a sauce pan and cook on low heat until the sour/sweet taste is blended well together. Usually, the garlic will turn golden-brownish and tastes deliciously sweet and sour at this point. The sauce will be reduced to a small fraction from the original mix (around 2-4 tablespoons in total).


 Fried chicken (3 pieces of chicken breasts)

  • Chicken breasts - 3 large pieces
  • Flour - 2-3 cups
  • Baking powder - 2-3 teaspoons
  • Salt
  • Cold water - 2 cups
  • Oil to deep fry
Cut chicken pieces pieces into bite sized pieces. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and cold water. Add bite-sized chicken pieces into the mixture. Heat up oil in deep fryer/pan under medium high heat. Double fry chicken pieces (I love double frying as the chicken will stay crunchy).

Then, mix both fried chicken and sauce. Voila! It is done!


P/S: Pardon my shitty photography skill.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Boys Foodtruck, Wangsa Maju

I was pretty excited to try out this new joint after a recommendation by my sister. My sister, in fact, has never tried this place. She saw it from a foodie show. That said, I researched online and found out that the name of the foodtruck is 'The Boys Food Truck'. Thus, I set out (with my parents) to Dataran Wangsa near KWSP and RHB to try out the food.


There were 2 trucks, one selling all the grilled stuff (burger, steak sandwich and hot dog) and the other one was selling spaghetti and drinks. The system was meticulous, you write down your order with your name and they will call you up once your order is ready.


The problem is mainly with the grilled truck. I came early, before 9.30pm (the opening time) and I was behind less than 10 people. My order SHOULD be less than number 10. Weirdly, after waiting more than 1 hour and seeing the previous people AND a few people who ordered AFTER me left, I was feeling iffy about this. I went and asked about my order, and voila, to my surprise, my order was behind about 5-6 people whom I saw came and order AFTER me. I was really really surprised. I mean, I honestly remember seeing the guy taking my order BEFORE a few of them and those patrons have long gotten their order and went off. So, I left. 


One good thing was the line for spaghetti truck was short. In my case, again, coz I arrived earlier, even before they opened up, so I managed to get my order fast. The thing is, my complain is not the waiting time. I get it. The line was long, all I can do is just wait. My complain is that they messed up the order of my order. How can my order was way behind a few people who came LATER than me? 


Next, and my last rant, the meatball has hair. Yes, human hair. Black and long. It's disgusting. It put me off the meatball.


Sadly, I'd love to give the food truck a great review but alas, it's really bad. Messing up my order and hair are a no-no, especially for patrons who come before opening time. Imagine those who come later already getting their order while you have to wait for your freaking turn. It is ridiculous.



Friday, September 18, 2015

Dear Friend

Dear Friend,

I know I am a selfish person. A cold person. A person no one will think of when you need a helping hand.

However, know this. You are my friend. Anytime you are in need, no matter what, you can come to me. I may not be able to help, but I can at least listen. In the smallest way, I hope I can be a friend to you. 

You are my friend. I may not be the best friend in the world, but I will always be your friend. Just reach out. I am blind and deaf to your suffering. The only way I can be aware is for you to come to me and share. 

Love,
Harley

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Primary School Teacher Of SK Taman Setiawangsa

I went to a primary school called Taman Setiawangsa from Standard 2 to Standard 6 (I think). What I remember well is not a rosy childhood school memory but one particular teacher. She never really taught me directly, but we have interactions as she was in-charge of all the prefects at the time. 

I remember, when I was in Standard 6, the 'best' classes were divided into 2 for some particular reasons. Best classes as in students who scored the highest marks in examination the year before. Somehow, this teacher was the class teacher of one of the best classes. 

I was in the other best class. The funniest shit is, the teacher looked very religious with her wide headscarf (you know, the one that reaches below your chest level). She wore a pair of spectacles and she was quite short and dark. She always speak as if she's very gentle and reasonable. This is not a story of how I like her.

This is a story how a teacher can be a bitch even though she is a teacher. You see, my impressions of a teacher is that a teacher SHOULD be a role model to youngsters. However, she left a sour taste in my mouth. She has a daughter my age, who has 'Ning' in her name and the daughter went into her class. 

What I particularly remember is how she always favoured students from her class, thinking that they were all superior than students from my class. Hello? If your stundets are so brilliant, why was my marks and standing is always way higher than them? I didn't even need to study or take extra class *smirks* She even gave all the high posts in the prefectdom to all her favoured students from her class. 

Guess what, you bitch, even though I was a prefect, that post is not all the shit. It's not real life and in a long run, it is not something that I can even be proud of. It's just part of my childhood memory, nothing more, nothing less. It's not brain science. It's not going to change the world, feed starving people or cure cancer.

My siblings who later all went to the same school complained the same thing. That she was such a bitch. I guess, not all teachers are good teachers. A bitch is always a bitch. If most students hate you, you should realize already that you are a bitch.

Actually there are more things, but those are going to take 1000000 more words to type out. Safe to say that her bitchdom is a done deal.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Productive

See, I can be a productive human being too, just like any other persons out there.


List of activities I did today:

  1. Typed 3 study notes
  2. Cleaned the kitchen (cleaned the counters, stove, sink, threw the rubbish and mopped the floor)
  3. Mopped my room
  4. Cleaned my shower (toilet, sink, floor and walls)
  5. Cleaned the stand fan
  6. Hand-washed my laundry
  7. Washed the mats
I feel proud of myself.



Saturday, August 15, 2015

Little Tricks In Flying AirAsia

I moved to Sibu about a year-and-a-half ago and I think I can fairly and safely say that I am quite experienced in AirAsia Sibu-KL flights (that is a short 2-hour flight, if any one of you is wondering). Here are a few little tricks I've learned in surviving a short 2-hour AirAsia flight. Bear in mind, I've accumulated these experiences with my almost-frequent, almost-monthly trip back to KL from Sibu. I may be inaccurate or wrong but I can 99% assure you that these are all based on my personal experience so far.

  • Buy your ticket during promotion period. AirAsia basically have 3-4 HUGE promotion periods each year. HUGE promotion as in 0 fare aka you-only-pay-for-airport-and-GST-taxes-which-are-cheap-enough. Once in a blue moon, AirAsia will have some fantastic sales such as the recent RM3 base fare promotion to celebrate certain things such as 300 million passengers. That said, grab this chance by registering as a member on AirAsia website and grab a Big Prepaid Mastercard (if I'm not mistaken it has this RM10-fee-but-refundable-once-you-topup). Why? Coz AirAsia usually send an email (yup, subscribe too) a day or a few days earlier informing you about an upcoming promotions and that is the perfect opportunity to grab a few flights for next-to-nothing. Plan your flights well and you can grab seats that are cheaper than your regular bus tickets.
  • Get AirAsia Mastercard and use it extensively. Use it to buy your flight tickets, to pay your electric and water bills, to pay for your petrol, food etc. Get points. Those points are valuable as you can exchange them for an almost-free flight (again, you just have to pay for the taxes). I've gotten a few return flight tickets (Sibu-KL) for RM20. Can you imagine that? Return 2-hour flights for RM20? I collected my points from my online shopping, paying my utilities and petrol using my AirAsia Mastercard. One thing I have to point out though, AirAsia has this super shitty rule that if you are not using your card within 30-day of your last use, they will charge you shitty RM2.50. So, make sure to use it at least once a month. It won't be a problem if you use it on petrol (as I do).
  • If you are an AirAsia frequent flyer, like me, get AirAsia ezpay card. Why do you need 2 different cards from AirAsia? Well, AirAsia Mastercard allows you to collect points which translates to almost-free flights while AirAsia ezpay allows you to get AirAsia flight without paying that bothersome payment fee. Yes, AirAsia collects payment fee aka you-pay-through-your-nose-for-every-little-thing-including-paying-for-your-own-freaking-flight. Imagine you have to pay an extra (the cheapest) RM4 for each flight every time you want to get one. So, by getting AirAsia ezpay card, you can wiggle out from paying any payment fee. That said, it also has the same shitty rule of RM2.50 fee for non-use of 30 days. Beware.
  • Check-in free online and check-in fast. Check-in 14 days prior to get a decent mid-way seat. If you check-in exactly 14 days before your flight, you will definitely get a row 16 seat. That is mid-way through the aircraft and that is decent enough for a free seat. Too far back is too annoying since you have to wait for people to slowly board out during arrival. I hate that. And there is a HUGE chance that you may not have a place to put your luggage in the overhead compartment since AirAsia passengers usually have tonnes of hand luggage.
  • To my next point. Line up early. Get into the flight early and place your luggage in the front overhead compartment (aka the overhead compartment for those paid seats in front) if you don't have much valuables in your hand luggage. Why? So that you can cruise easy when you disembark since your hefty luggage is in the front area and you can just grab it once you are nearing the front exit. Remember this, in a very full AirAsia flight, overhead compartment is a commodity that everyone fights for. Each person usually have at LEAST one luggage and a few will have 2-3 with super HUGE luggage. If you board in late, you will have to fight for a space for your luggage. I know, we are supposed to have only one standard hand luggage but hey, people are rule-breakers and AirAsia mostly ignore that rule for local flights so....Yeah.
  • Buy everything online. AirAsia prices are much cheaper online. So, get your meals, check-in luggage, bus etc online on AirAsia site. Get it early. AirAsia is all about early.
  • Lastly, this is a so-far-unsuccessful thing for me, but so-far-quite-successful-for-my-friends. Check-in at 12am at the day of your flight (provided it is at least 4 hours before your flight coz any later than that, you may not even check-in in the first place). This way, there is a chance that you will get the front seats. Front seats=Faster boarding and disembarking. A reminder though, so far, I've not been successful in this. For checking in at 12am the day of my flight, I always get the back seat aka seat in the row 26 or 27. So, it is a myth for me. However, a lot of my friends seem successful in getting great seats from doing this.


So. Good luck. It's all about planning well and doing things early. Early bird gets the worms and all that.



2015

What does this string of number means?


It is for me to know and for you to guess....



Hello

Time flew by so fast. Since starting this, my life has underwent a lot of changes. Some are good. Some are bad. That is life.


I never expected that I will reach this point of my life and for my life to turn up this way. While I want to say that I'm having the time of my life or I'm having a shitty life, it is not so. I can definitely say it is different and I am experiencing a spectrum of experiences I'd never thought I would go through when I was an optimistic 17-year old.


When people say that life is a journey, indeed it is. I've journeyed through a forked path that most people traditionally would choose the easier and much expected path. I took the other path. The one less traveled and full of uncertainties.


While I want to say I am strong, I am not. This is a choice I made by a cumulative of mistakes that, on a hindsight, I should've not make. In the process, I've involved many people in my mistakes. That said, I am relieved that in 2 months' time, this part of journey will end. Hopefully, it will end well. 


I will soon take another path and re-start again. I am again feeling my optimistic 17-year old self. 


This whole post is a mumbo-jumbo of very philosophical wanderings of my mind. I've reach this far by making a lot of different decisions.


I am thankful for my family. For my Mama, Baba, siblings and grandmother. They are here for me. Always here for me and will always be. I love you. Always.


 
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