Friday, December 18, 2009

Olive and Mustard Egg Salad Sandwich


¼ cup light mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp paprika (optional)
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and mashed
2 tbsp sliced green olives (about 7-8 medium olives)
2 tbsp finely chopped celery
1 tbsp fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Whole grain bread
Butter spread
Salad leaves


In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard and paprika. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Season to taste. Chill for at least an hour before serving to help flavours combine.

Butter the sliced bread with butter spread and place 2 tablespoons of filling on bread. Top with salad leaves and sandwich with another slice of bread.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Stir-fried Fragrant Sauce Clams (Kam Heong La La)


500g clams
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp dried Shrimps, soaked and chopped
2 stalks curry leaves
1 tbsp chopped lemon grass
5 chilli, finely sliced
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp preserved soya beans, minced


1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
A little thick soy sauce
¼ tsp chicken stock granules
½ tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
¾ tbsp water


Soak clams in salted water for at least 30 minutes. Remove and blanch in boiling water for a minute or less, then drain well in a plastic container.

Heat oil and sesame oil in a wok. Saute dried shrimps until fragrant.

Add curry leaves, lemon grass, garlic and chillies. Stir in minced soya beans and curry powder to mix.

Stir in seasoning and clams. Fry until heated through and dish out.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mid-Autumn Festival Moon Cakes

Mid-Autumn Festival is on 3rd October 2009, this coming Saturday. But moon cakes have already been available for sale since early July and this year, there are even more vendors selling the moon cakes. Besides the moon cakes from the famous brands like Tai Thong, Baker’s Cottage, Overseas and Tong Kee, this year, you can also find a selection of moon cakes from some of the bakery outlets like Bread Story and Breadtalk. And there are so many new and exotic flavours available like the Precious Black (dried longan with wolfberry lotus paste), Blueberry Blackcurrant Cheese, Jade Delights with Coconut Silk, Snow Skin Strawberry Apple, Snow Skin Coffee Chip Tiramisu and Snow Skin Chocolate Mint with Nut Pieces.

Pay a visit to Mid-Valley Megamall’s Mid-Autumn Festival Promotion and you will be able to see the variety of moon cakes created by the hotel chefs from Westin KL, Concorde, Shangri-la, Hilton, Renaissance and Nikko Hotel. And at the Jaya Jusco outlet there, you will also find the Doreamon moon cakes beside those from the tops brands and Baker’s Cottage has a chef making the Shanghai Mini Lotus moon cakes at their stall.

It is also interesting to see the various types of packaging for the moon cakes which include beautiful jewelry boxes, Japanese inspired bento boxes, Chess sets (the mini moon cakes are shaped like chess pieces); no wonder the moon cakes are getting so expensive!

At home, I have been eating moon cakes bought by my siblings for my parents. This year, they decided to bring the moon cakes over earlier as last year, everyone brought the moon cakes on the day of the festival and my mom ended up giving back the moon cakes to my sisters and brothers to take back. This year, eating the moon cakes earlier meant they are still fresh and we get to taste all the various flavours.

The moon cakes in my house came from Westin Hotel, Tong Kee, Baker’s Cottage and one box of homemade “Kam Tui” moon cakes given by my father’s friend. I had also bought a box of moon cakes from Fruit Story which has a stall at Mid-Valley’s Mid-Autumn Festival Promotion. Fruit Story moon cakes are less sweet and healthier as they use fruits for the filling instead of the salted egg yolk. The two flavours I bought were Mint Lotus with Strawberry and Dragon Fruit Lotus with Salted Mung Bean.

Enjoy your mooncakes with a pot of chinese tea and have a wonderful and Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Seafood and Turkey Bacon Paella


2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green capsicum, seeds removed, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
200g turkey bacon pieces
or rindless turkey bacon, cut into thin strips
1 large tomato, chopped or
200g canned chopped tomatoes
200g paella rice or arborio rice
½ tsp saffron threads, crushed
1.2 litres hot chicken or fish stock
400g mixed seafood (marinara mix)
lime wedges to serve (optional)


Heat oil in non-stick frying pan. Add onion, capsicum, garlic and turkey bacon and cook over low heat 5 minutes. Add tomato and cook 2 minutes.

Add rice and stir to coat in the oil. Add saffron threads and heat for a few seconds, then pour in hot stock. Bring to the boil, stir lightly and simmer 5 minutes.

Mix in seafood, return to a gentle simmer and cook 10 minutes or until rice in tender and liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Serve with lime wedges if you like.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tom Yam Bouillabaisse


½ kg Prawns (shells on, whiskers trimmed)
10 Mussels (shells on)
10 Large Squids (cut into large pieces)
1 can Pacific Clams (drained and keep the stock aside)
2 Large Onions (chopped)
100 g Baby Corns
2 Green Peppers (quartered)
8 abalone mushrooms (cut into 2)
3 tbsp Tom Yam Paste
2 Kaffir Lime Leaves
3 stalks Lemon Grass
½ cup Coconut Milk
6 tbsp Cooking Oil
2 Cups Water


Fry the chopped onions in hot oil till softened. Add the tom yam paste with the kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass. When fragrant, add the prawns, mussels, squids and toss to ensure an even distribution of spices.

Add 2 cups of water, stock from the can of pacific clams and coconut milk . When the broth begins to boil, add the baby corns, green peppers and abalone mushrooms and the drained pacific clams.

Switch off fire and leave the stew to complete cooking in its own heat. This also ensures the seafood is not over cooked.

Serve in large bowls with a basket of bread.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Stir-Fried Lo Shi Fun


1 kg Lo Shi Fun
600 gm Bean Sprouts
300 gm Minced Pork (marinate with a bit of soy sauce, pepper and sugar)
50 gm Dried Shrimp (pre-soaked)
3 pcs Dried Chinese Mushroom (pre-soaked and sliced)
3 cloves Garlic (minced)
3 slices Ginger
2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Cooking Oil
Salt and Sugar to taste
1 stalk Spring Onion (cut into slices)


1.Stir-fry the bean sprouts with the ginger slices until half-cooked. Dish up and keep aside.
2.Heat the cooking oil and fry the dried shrimp and minced garlic until fragrant before adding in the minced pork. Fry for 1 minute before adding in the sliced mushrooms
3.Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, salt, sugar and a little water and let the ingredients simmer for 1 minute before adding in the lo shi fun.
4.Continue frying until all the ingredients are well-mixed before adding in the bean sprouts and continue frying for 1 minute.
5.Garnish with spring onion and serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vegetarian Spaghetti Aglio e Olio


1/2 box spaghetti (or any other kind of pasta you prefer)
4-6 cloves garlic
2 tomatoes
1 large handful arugula or baby spinach
olive oil
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper


Start boiling water for the spaghetti.

Heat a generous pour of olive oil on low heat in a pan large enough to fit all the cooked spaghetti.

Chop the garlic and add to the olive oil. Cook over low heat until the garlic softens and turns a little translucent, then remove from heat.

Boil the spaghetti and drain.

Heat the garlic and oil up again slowly, then add the pasta to the saucepan. Lightly saute the spaghetti in the olive oil and garlic while adding the pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Once the spaghetti is fully coated with the garlic and oil mixture, remove from heat and toss with the arugula or baby spinach.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cantonese-Style Pickled Vegetables


1 chinese radish
1 carrot
3 cucumbers
1 large piece young ginger


4 tbsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar


Peel carrot, rinse radish, cucumbers and young ginger, cut all vegetables into a diamond shape.

Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar to make sweet and sour pickling stock and pour into a container.

Cooking Instructions:

Marinate radish and carrot with 2 tbsp salt for 1 hour. Flatten; rinse with cold water and drain.

Marinate cucumber and ginger with 1 tbsp salt for 20 minutes, rinse and drain.

Put all ingredients in the sweet and sour pickling stock and seal. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Ready to serve.

About this dish:

When eating, use a clean, dry utensil to remove the pickled vegetables to prevent spoilage.

The pickling stock may be reused when the vegetables are eaten up. If there is not enough stock, simply add sugar and vinegar in the ratio of one to one to replenish it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy Dumpling Festival

The Dumpling Festival (or Duan Wu Jie) is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month (May 28 this year), honours scholar-poet Qu Yuan who took his life by jumping into a river. He did so because he was greatly saddened when the King refused to take his advice, leading to a war. Fearing that fish would eat Qu’s body, his friends and supporters made dumplings and threw them into the river so that the fish would eat them instead of the body.

There are so many types of dumplings available for sale in the market now and you can even buy the dumplings at any time of the year, but for me, eating the dumpling on the day of the Festival has a lot of significance. When we were young, my mom would make the dumplings a few days before the festival and for the next few days, we would be eating the dumplings for breakfast and supper. Nowadays, we would just buy the dumplings from the market and eat them on the day of the festival.

Talking about the different types of dumplings, my favourite is still the ba chang (with pork) but I prefer the green bean filling to the white bean filling as I find them more fragrant. It is quite difficult to find them as those dumplings available for sale in the market are normally with the white bean filling. There is also the Baba-Nyonya dumpling and the gan-suei (non-meat glutinous rice) dumpling (plain or with red bean filling). The normal price of the dumplings can be between RM2.60 to RM3.20 depending on the type and size but since the price of the ingredients and bamboo leaves had gone up, it might be more expensive . Anyone know where I can get nice and reasonably priced dumplings in PJ?

Happy Dumpling Festival!

You can check out the recipes for the different types of dumplings here.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sliced Chicken With Pear


200g Chicken breast
1 Pear (150g)
15g Ham
20g Mushroom
1 Egg White
100g Peas
5g Scallion
2½ tbsp starch
1 tbsp cooking wine

Seasoning B:
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp starch water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt


Cut the chicken breast into pieces and marinate with the cooking wine. Coat the chicken pieces with starch and dip in egg white. Preheat the pan with oil, fry the chicken breast till golden, drain up.

Cut the pear, ham and mushroom into slices.

Mix seasoning B well to be the cooking sauce.

Fry scallion briefly and take it out, Fry pear, ham and mushroom for a while and then put in the chicken breast. Add the cooking sauce and mix all the ingredients together. Turn off heat and dish out.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


When braising meat, chop any leftover bones, such as those from a chicken carcass, and add them to the bed of chopped vegetables. The bones and vegetables are discarded after cooking, but they add extra flavour to the braising liquid and to the meat.

Cooked or raw cucumber can easily be made into a quick cold and refreshing soup. Process or blend it with a clove of garlic, thick yoghurt, cream or crème fraiche and mint or tarragon. Serve sprinkled with a tablespoon of the chopped herb and black pepper. A handful of chopped prawns adds colour and flavour.

Most sauces freeze very well and frozen blocks of sauce or gravy can be reheated in a saucepan straight from the freezer. Frozen sauces are good timesavers so it is worth making twice as much as the recipe calls for and freezing half.

Leftover satay sauce should be used within a day or two. It makes an excellent topping for grilled chicken or a dressing for gado gado; the Indonesian cucumber, bean sprouts, green beans and beancurd salad. It can also be used in vegetarian dishes, for instance mixed with rice, peas and carrots or as a dip for crudités.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Won Ton Dumplings


1 spring onion, green and white parts, finely chopped
5 water chestnuts, finely chopped
125 g prawns, shelled, deveined and minced
250 g finely minced pork
1 egg, lightly beaten
A pinch of black pepper
1tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornflour
30 won ton skins, each 5 cm square


Combine all of the ingredients except the won ton skins in a bowl.

Test the seasoning of the stuffing mixture by bringing a pan of water to the boil, dropping 1 teaspoon of the mixture into it and cooking it for just a minute. Taste the stuffing and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Take one won ton skin at a time and place 1 heaped teaspoon of the mixture in the centre of each. Then moisten the four edges of the won ton skin, gather up the corners and twist lightly to form a little pouch,

Place the won ton on a slightly oiled plate, twisted side up but not touching each other, and steam them in a wok for 10 minutes. Or deep-fry them for 15-20 minutes until crisp.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Making Batter

The batters that are used to make pancakes, waffles and such dishes are much the same. It is the exact proportions of all the ingredients that vary slightly.

Pancakes, waffles and baked batter puddings are all made with a basic pouring batter (see recipe below). To make crepes which are slightly lighter than pancakes, the batter is thinned with a few tablespoons of extra liquid.

Fritters and battered foods such as fish, shellfish and vegetables are made with coating batter. This used the same amount of flour, salt and egg as pouring batter, but only half of the liquid. Whisked eggs whites may be folded into a coating butter and sugar added for sweet fritters.

The type of liquid used in batters (whether milk, a mix of milk and water or beer) will influence the result. Water makes a light batter, milk helps to make it smoother and causes it to brown faster, while beer adds lightness and flavour.

Making Basic Batter

This basic batter will make 8-10 pancakes. Include 3 tablespoons of extra milk if making lighter crepes and half the liquid for making a thicker coating butter.

Sift 125g (1 cup) plain flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre, then break in 1 egg and beat with a balloon whisk or wooden spoon.

Beat in 300 ml milk, little by little, incorporating the surrounding floor gradually so the batter becomes very smooth.

The batter may be used at once, but it is much better if it is left in a cool place for about 30 minutes, allowing the starch grains to soften.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cooking for Health


Place the food in a container (such as a fish or egg poacher), add the poaching liquid, cover with foil or a close-fitting lid and cook in the oven or on the stove.

Poaching requires no extra fat. Eggs and fish such as salmons are popular foods for poaching.


You sear food quickly in the hot pan on both sides to form a crust and seal in the juices. You can add fresh herbs, spices, lemon or lime juice and balsamic vinegar.

You hardly need to use any oil or fat. Foods that can be griddle include vegetables, fish, poultry and various kinds of meat.


Put the food in a perforated pan or coriander and fit it over a pan of boiling water. Cover with a close fitting lid – the steam cooks the food. You can also use stacking can of stainless steel steamers or Chinese bamboo.

Steaming retains the nutrients in food. You can steam fish, poultry, puddings, sponges, custard and dumplings as well as vegetables.

En Papillote

Wrap foods loosely, but sealed, in greaseproof paper or foil, then bake or steam. Use moderate heat and a little liquid. No added oils or fats are used. This method keeps in the flavours, so you need just a few additions. Herbs, spices, vegetables and fruits all add flavour, also liquids such as stock, citrus juices, wine, Worcestershire and soya sauces and flavoured vinegars.

Seafood, poultry, vegetables and fruit can be cooked this way.

Monday, March 30, 2009

How to Serve Finger Food

Ease the mess for guests with these presentation tips for casual entertaining.

• Morsels should be small enough to be eaten in one mouthful.
• Check the temperature. Hot food doesn’t mean hot enough to burn your tongue.
•If you’re putting out communal food platters, such as antipasto or tapas, be sure to supply toothpicks or mini-forks. And provide an empty bowl for the used forks, olive stones or prawn tails.
•Don’t stack multilayered sandwiches in a continuous line, arrange them so that its easy to pick out an individual serve neatly.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Extend the Life of Your Knife

Use these tips from Bill Brown of to keep your knives in tip-top condition.

- Invest in quality. A good set of knives can be costly, but if looked after they will last a lifetime.

- Store away from other metal objects on a magnetic rack or in a block, to avoid nicks and scratches.

- Hone a little and often with a steel to realign the blade. Hold the steel on a board, start with the blade vertical with the end furthest away and pull towards you. Steels come in two versions, for Asian-style knives and European-style knives.

- Sharpen old knives. Some cook shops offer this service or you can buy an electric sharpener.

- Clean by hand. Harsh chemicals and stacking in the dishwasher can damage the knife. Dry straight away to avoid a watermark.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spices - How To Use Them

Star Anise
Has a flavour halfway between aniseed and liquorice. It is an ingredient of Chinese five-spice powder.

Coriander Seed
Has a warm, citrus-like flavour. Use it alone, or combined with other spices. It is always included in curry powder and garam masala.

Has tiny, highly aromatic black seeds inside the loose pod. Green cardamom is best, but brown or white are also good. It is used in India in curries and in the Middle East to perfume coffee.

Is delicate and mild and goes especially well with coriander. It is best bought as seeds and then gently toasted before use, whole or ground.

Usually sold ground, it is perhaps the easiest spice to recognize because of its bright yellow hue. Often used for its colour as a cheap substitute for saffron. Its flavour is actually fairly unremarkable and slightly bitter.

Is the inner bark of an evergreen tree, sold either in papery rolls that resemble quilts, or ground. Its fragrant sweetness can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes such as rice pilafs, hot cross buns and apple tarts.

Is best bought whole and grated when required. It is good used in cheese and vegetable dishes, milky sauces, junkets and rice puddings.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Kitchen Glossary

To spoon liquid or melted fat over food during cooking to prevent it drying out and add extra flavour.

A strong solution of salt and water that is used for pickling or preserving.

A clarified soup, usually made with meat.

Food seasoned with a spicy sauce, usually pepper, chilli and mustard.

Egg Wash
Beaten egg, sometimes mixed with a little water, brushed over pastry and bread before cooking, to give a shiny golden finish.

Chocolate and cream mixed together over heat to form a very rich filling used in truffles, or for coating or filling cakes.

Vegetables or citrus rind, that have been cut into very thin strips.

To soak food, usually fruit, in a syrup or liquid such as alcohol, to allow the flavour to mix.

To marinate and cook strips of oily fish in a pickling mixture containing vinegar, spices and flavouring.

To gently stew food, usually vegetables, in butter, oil or a little stock until very soft but not coloured.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Basil and Lime Sorbet

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
20 fresh basil leaves, minced


Make a sugar syrup by bringing the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan; allow to boil 1 minute; remove from heat.

Combine the syrup, lime juice, and basil in a blender; puree. Pour the mixture into a container and cover; store in freezer until completely frozen for about 2 hours.

Break the frozen mixture into pieces and place in the blender; blend until smooth. Return to the container and cover. Store in freezer until ready to serve.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Yam Cake


300g yam root
3 tbsp non-glutinous flour
½ tsp 5-spice powder
1 tsp sugar
½ salt
2 tbsp oil

Filling for yam cake:

100g lean pork (cut into cubes)
1 green pepper (sliced)
4 pcs black mushroom (sliced)
1 pc carrot(cut into cubes)
100g small prawns
50g green peas
½ can button mushrooms (cut into half)
1 tsp corn flour - mix with half bowl water
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic (smashed)
3 tbsp cooking oil


Remove skin of yam roots and cut yam into round pieces about 1 cm thick. Steam yam for 20-39 mins or until soft. Mash the steamed yam with 5-spice powder, sugar, salt and oil.

Pour boiling water into non-glutinous flour, mix well, then mix together with mashed yam and knead for about 5 mins. Shape into ring and deep fry until light brown on both sides. Keep aside.

Heat wok with oil, add garlic and fry until fragrant, add filling and stir fry for a minute. Add salt, soy sauce, oyster sauce. Stir fry until cooked, poor in the corn-starch to thicken and stir fry for another half minute. Pour ingredients into the yam ring and serve. Garnish the outer side of the yam ring with deep-fried rice vermicelli.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pasta with Tuna and Mayonnaise

(serving for 2)

200 gm Fusilli (corkscrew pasta)
1 can Tuna Flakes
1 bowl Cherry tomatoes (sliced)
1 cup Yellow Peas
3 tbsp Mayonnaise
Olive oil
Dried basil
Black Pepper to taste


Cook fusilli according to the directions in the packet; drain and cool. Pour a tbsp of olive oil into the fusilli and mix well.

Cook the peas until tender (the peas can be soaked overnight to cut cooking time), drain and cool.

In a bowl, place the fusilli, yellow peas, cherry tomatoes and tuna flakes. Sprinkle some dried basil leaves and some pepper. Add the mayonnaise and mix well.

Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winter Melon Soup


1 big Chinese melon
8 dried Chinese mushrooms, soak and remove stems
1 small carrot, sliced
20 button mushrooms
10 waterchestnuts, peeled
1 piece dried squid
6 dried red dates
8 pieces canned bamboo shoots
250 gm chicken pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley and spring onions (for garnishing)
1½ litres water


Cut melon top and scoop out seeds and some of the flesh leaving a smooth melon bowl. Take care not to puncture the melon or scoop out too much of the fresh which will make the melon bowl very flimsy when cooked.

Fill the melon bowl with all the ingredients and place in a fitted steamer. Cover and steam for two hours.

Garnish and serve hot.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sweet and Sour Sauce


½ cucumber
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp plum sauce
2 tbsp malt vinegar
1 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ large onion, sliced


Peel the cucumber, discarding the soft central side, then cut into slices 1 cm wide. Sprinkle it with salt and set aside for an hour. Squeeze the cucumber to remove as much moisture as you can, then set it aside for later use.

Place 150 ml of cold water in a saucepan with the plum sauce, vinegar, tomato sauce and sugar and bring the mixture to a simmer.

In a separate saucepan or wok, heat the oil and fry the sliced onions over a high heat until the edges begin to brown. Add the cucumber and stir rapidly for a minute or two.

Transfer the cucumber and onion to the simmering sauce and cook for a minute or two. The sauce can now be combined with other ingredients such as chicken, pork or seafood to make a superb sweet and sour dish.


Omit the tomato sauce but add a skinned and quartered tomato. Omit the cucumber and substitute a small can of drained pineapple chunks.

Use two stalks of spring onions, cut into 2.5 cm lengths, in the sauce instead of the large onion. Or omit the cucumber and add a green or red pepper cut into 2 cm cubes.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gong Xi Fa Cai

I would like to wish everyone "Happy Chinese New Year". May the Year of the Ox brings prosperity, good health, peace and happiness to everyone. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Nothing improves food so simply and dramatically as a leaf or two of fresh herbs. They offer every sort of flavour from grassy to peppery, aromatic to pungent.

Basil has a rich, peppery flavour and powerful aroma. Basil is particularly good with tomatoes and is frequently used in Italian dishes and other Mediterranean-style and Vietnamese recipes especially with vegetables.

Bay Leaf
Unlike most herbs, aromatic bay leaves are equally good fresh and dried. Bay forms part of the classic bouquet garni*, which is added to fish or meat stocks, soups and casseroles.

These bright-green stems have a fresh, oniony flavour and are delicious sprinkled on potato salad, baked potatoes and on vichyssoise soup. They provide a slightly hot contrast for bland creamy dishes.

A powerful flavoured herb that looks like flat-leaf parsley. Coriander has special affinity with chillies, garlic, ginger and spring onions and often adds its heat to exotic food such as Thai dishes, stir-fries and salsas.

The delicate flavour of dill means it goes splendidly with fish, shellfish boiled potatoes and cream cheese. It is also good in sauces and dips make with mustard or sour cream, and it is traditionally used when curing salmon.

This has a very pronounced flavour and should be used sparingly. It is best kept for roast or baked lamb, chicken and potato dishes.

There are tow types of parsley, curly and fat. Chinese curly parsley for dishes such as salmon fish cakes and parsley sauce, and for deep-frying to serve as a garnish with goujons of sole. Use the flat variety for Middle Eastern dishes, soups, salads and as a finish garnish.

Thyme is easy to grow and can be dried or frozen without any loss of flavour. It is best with meat or poultry casseroles and with tomatoes, cheese and mustard.

*Bouquet garni consists of three sprigs of parsley, two of thyme and a bay leaf, often tied up with a celery stalk or a section of leek and added to casseroles and stocks.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mango and Prawn Salad


1 cup snow peas
1 large ripe mango
16 large cooked prawns, peeled, deveined and halved lengthwise
4 spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally
2 cups mesclun (salad greens)

For the dressing:

1 slice garlic, crushed
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp palm or light brown sugar
1 tsp chopped coriander root
¼ cup fresh coriander leaves
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp peanut oil
¼ cup lime juice


To make the dressing, put all the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together.

Trim the snow peas and steam for 5 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Refresh in a bowl of chilled water, then drain and pat dry.

Peel and slice the mango. Arrange the prawns and mango on four individual plates, Sprinkle the snow peas and spring onion and mesclun evenly on top.

Spoon the dressing over the salads and serve immediately.


For a sweeter dressing, substitute orange juice for the lime juice and add peeled fresh orange segments to the salad.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How to Make a Perfect Omelette

Break two eggs into a bowl, add salt and black pepper to taste and beat lightly with a fork until the egg just passes through the prongs.

Place the pan over a brisk heat and add a little oil or some clarified butter. When the oil or butter is very hot, quickly pour in the beaten eggs.

Shake the pan to and fro and stir the eggs with the back of the fork until they start to thicken. Then tilt the pan, lifting the cooked egg at the side and allowing the uncooked egg to flow underneath. When the eggs have cooked enough so that only the centre is still moist (for about 1 - 2 minutes), draw the pan off the heat.

To transfer the omelette to the plate, fold a third of the egg from the side of the pan, sliding the omelette towards the edge of the pan. Fold the open third back towards the centre, forming a cigar shape. Press the ends together so that all the juice remains in the omelette and does not leaked when it is turned onto the plate.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chicken and Crab Meat Soup


1 pc Chicken breast
7 cups Cold Water
200 g Crab meat
1 can Aspaaragus spears
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Soy sauce
4 tbsp Cornflour dissolved in 3 tbsp water
4 Egss - lightly beaten


Place chicken breast in boiling water. Cook for 20 mins. Remove breast and shred. Keep aside.

Strain the chicken stock. Combine chicken meat, crab meat and asparagus spears into pot. Season with salt, soy sauce and bring to boil.

Thicken with dissolved cornflour. Bring to boil and pour int beaten eggs slowly into soup. Stir well and serve hot.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Duck Breast Salad


4 duck breast fillets
3 tbs dark soy sauce
Juice of 1 orange
5 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
125 g watercress sprigs
145g (1 cup) dry roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
2 oranges peeled and cut into segments


Juice of 1 orange
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper


Heat the grill to hot. Remove the skin and thick layer of fat from the duck fillets. Slice each breast into about 6 pieces. Place in a shallow gratin dish.

Mix together the soy sauce, orange juice and ginger and pour over the duck, turning the slices on the grill rack and grill for 5-7 minutes, turning once or twice, until cooked to your liking. Baste with the soy sauce mixture during cooking. Remove the cooked duck slices from under the grill.

Arrange the duck slices, watercress and orange segments in a serving dish. Put the dressing ingredients in a clean screw-top jar and shake to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the duck slices, watercress and orange segments and toss in the roasted hazelnuts.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Know Your Chinese Sauces

Bean sauce

or “tau pan cheong” is made from black or yellow soya beans that have been fermented with flour and salt. Black bean sauce is the saltier of the two and much darker.

Hoisin sauce

is made from soya bean puree, sugar, flour, maltose, salt and spices. This sauce is used to marinate Chinese roast or barbecued pork. It has a sweet flavour rather than the more pungent taste of Western barbecue sauce.

Chilli paste

is prepared from chillies, soya bean extract, salt, sugar and flour.

Sesame oil

is the pure thick extract of roasted sesame seeds and used as a seasoning or condiment rather than as a cooking oil. It is typically added to soups and stir-fried dishes at the last minute to give a nutty fragrance.

Lemon sauce

includes lemon extract, corn syrup, sugar, rice vinegar, spices and cornflour and is very good for use in chicken and seafood dishes.

Oyster sauce

is thick, aromatic and salty. Made from oyster-extract and soy sauce, it is used both as a complete seasoning and a stir-fry ingredient.

Plum sauce

is made from Chinese plums, corn syrup, sugar, rice vinegar, ginger, chillies, spices and cornflour. It is useful for sweet and sour dishes and as a table sauce for barbecued meat or poultry and cold appetizers.

Soy sauce

is a salting agent made from fermented soya beans and comes in a number of varieties, including light, dark, very dark and thick and salt-reduced. Light soy sauce are used to season almost every Chinese dish. Dark soy sauce are caramelised and sweeter in flavour, so are used more as dips and colouring for soups and stews.

Bean curd sauce

is a thick sauce made from fermented bean curd and salt that is used in rich Chinese stews. It comes in two varieties, white or red. There is no difference in flavour between the two, but the red bean curd sauce will make some dishes look much richer.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tofu Cutlets


300 g soft fresh white tofu, cubed
1 large boiled potato, chopped
4 green beans, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely grated carrot
1 spring onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
Cornflour, for dressing
Oil for deep-frying


Put the tofu in a mixing bowl and mash it finely with a fork. Mop off any liquid with paper towels.

Mix in all the other ingredients except the cornflour and frying oil. Mix well to a soft consistency, adding a tablespoon or two of water if the mixture is dry and crumbly.

Divide the mixture into four equal portions and press them to make lightly rounded, burger-liked patties. Dust the cutlets with cornflour. You can cook them immediately, but they will firm up a little if you chill them for 30 minutes beforehand.

Heat some oil in a deep fryer or wok and fry the cutlets until they are golden brown and crip. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sliced tomatoes and a chilli sauce dip.