Friday, September 10, 2010

'Bubur Taukwa' or Dried Bean Curd Porridge

I always find this porridge rather a little too plain and lacked of 'ummpph' but I am a fan of porridge so no matter how you cook it I am able to finish up more than a big bowl of porridge most of the times. Today I finished two big bowls and was so satisfied as I have discovered a new way of enjoying this food.

Previously I would add more light soy sauce to this dish as I really felt that it somehow lacked of something but I just didn't know how to describe it!! Even after adding msg and salt, I still didn't quite satisfied with the taste and felt that something was missing. Initially I thought perhaps it was due to the stock as it used just plain prawn stock as base without chicken or pork meat/bones.

Today I am so happy to have discovered a better way to enjoy this food and I have fall in love with it now!! This is a 'Peranakan' porridge and according to my mother-in-law it has to go along with lots of green onions, cilantro and chopped chillies with soy sauce. It happened that my kitchen has run out of soy sauce so we substituted it with dark soy sauce. That wasn't good enough .... I myself by chance added some bovril to the porridge and that made tremendous difference to this simple and humble food!

Bubur Taukwa (Recipe for 4 pax)


1.5 cup of rice
2 big pieces of taukwa (cut into cubes and briefly pan fried)
8 pieces of prawn (deshelled; keep the skin for stock, deveined and cut into small cubes)
1 cup of slice white fish
100g of minced meat (marinate with soy sauce, pepper and sesame oil; roll into small balls)
Aboutt 1.5 ltr of water for rice
About 3 cups of water for boiling the prawn shell


1. Briefly fry the skin of the prawn without oil in a pan and pound lightly to maximise the prawn essense. Boil it in the water for about 15 - 20 minutes. Drain and remove the shell.

2. Boil the rice in the water and prawn stock for about 20 minutes and switch of the gas. Close the lid and leave the rice aside for an hour. Reboil again for another half an hour or so.

3. Add prawn and minced meat and boil for another 10 minutes. Then add taukwa and fish and continue to boil for about 5 minutes or less.

4. Add seasoning.

5. Serve with green onions, cilantro, chopped chillies with a little soy sauce, black sauce, pepper and BOVRIL.


1. The most important ingredients for this porridge is prawn and taukwa. Meat ball and slice fish are optional.

2. The tip to shorten the boiling time in cooking porridge is to freeze the rice first beforehand. This step will eventually take you less than half an hour to cook a pot of porridge! I have tired this method before and I was so amazed by the result!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Husband's Rumbling in the Kitchen!

Today my husband insisted to spend some time in the kitchen reason being our dear girl kept on pestering the daddy to cook her favourite pork chop. He likes to do his rumbling in the kitchen once a while. If we are not in a rush to prepare a meal or the kids are napping or at least not cranky, we both do enjoy our cooking time together at the kitchen during weekends. Our daughter if were to know that we are doing a cooking project together, she would definitely try to stay awake and refuse to nap so that she could join in the fun too :). Sometimes we include her depending on what's in the menu and the plan!

We used a healthier method to cook the pork chop this time. No oil was used. We bake them instead. We marinated the pork with some soy sauce and pepper; coated it slight with whisked egg and cream crackers and baked in the oven for about 30 minutes at 180deg C. The pork wasn't as crunchy as I expected but it was so yummy to have it with the home-made tomato sauce that my husband made. He came up with the recipe and to me it is getting better and better each time.

Look at his attentive face and sometimes he looked too serious when he cooked:P.

He was busy with his pork chop while I was juggling between my egg tarts and salad. I will put up the post of the egg tarts next. This potato salad is rather easy to make. I chose to steam the potato with cauliflower, carrots and onions rather than baking them as we thought of going a little 'healthier' this weekend. Once the vegetables are soften, remove them from the steamer; drain away the residue of water; mix them with a touch of salt, pepper, cilantro, spring onions, thyme and olive oil.

We love it so much!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What should I call these soups?

My two kids and I are coughing. The kids started coughing about 3 weeks ago and still coughing a little here and there now. They passed the bugs to me and I really hope that the chain of spread will stop there. Unfortunately, we passed it to our closed friends and the whole family was down! I felt so so bad and regreted to have stayed over their place that weekend. We are recuperating and I do really hope that the kids and adults for both families will get well very soon.

Due to the illness, I search through the recipe books that I have and I found these two great soups recipes that are traditionally believed to be able to stop coughing and expelling phlegm.

Soup No 1

The recipe called it 'Eight Treasures soup' and called for lean meet. I customised the soup as I prefer to have desert rather than savoury soup. In another hand, I would really wish to use up the balance of some ingredients that I have and of course without compromising the health properties of the ingredients and the nutritional values of this sweet soup that I am going to make. I can't really tell how much of each ingredients that I used as I estimated the volume. But this is the rough guide that I can share with you.

I would like to call this soup Ten Treasures! This soup can be served as cold or warm desert. Enjoy!

Ten Treasures Sweet Soup
3 tbsp Sweet Almonds
Slightly less than 3 tbsp Bitter Almonds
6 Dried Figs
10 Dried Longans
2 tbsp Dried Lily Bulbs
2 tbsp Lotus Seeds
5 Honey Dates
2 Dried Chinese Pear
2 White Fungus
Half medium size Papaya (deseed)
Some rock sugar


1. Soak white fungus at least for 2 hours and changing the water a few times in between. Break the fungus into small pieces and remove the central hard stem of the fungus.

2. Soak and rinse all ingredients (except papaya and honey dates).

3. Put all the ingredients in a big pot (about 2.5 litre of water)

4. Boil the soup in high heat for 15 minutes and then turn the fire to slow heat and continue to boil for another 2 hours.


1. You may use fresh Chinese Pears

2. Buy those white fungus that are not so 'white' but yellowish a little as the latter is believed to have used less whitening agent.

3. Always used Bitter Almonds slight less that the Sweet ones.

Soup No 2

The second soup called for less ingredients and infact this soup is good for baby for who are coughing or having a lot of phlegm.

400g radish
5 red dates
3 slices of old ginger
Honey or rock sugar

1. Soak and wash the red dates. Remove the seeds.

2. Use a small pot and fill it with 800ml of water. Bring the water to boil and add all ingredients except honey or rock sugar.

3. Boil for 15 or 20 minutes.

4. Add honey and it is ready to serve. If you are giving it to baby under one year old replace the honey with rock sugar.


1. Do not overboil as the soup may turn spicy hot due to the ginger slices and may not be suitable for young baby and toddlers.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lauk Jawa

Yes.. this weekend we are fairly crazy with Peranakan cuisine. After all my husband and my in laws are Peranakan and we can't run away with chillies and spices in our cooking.

This is another simple dish cooked by my mother-in-law. In fact we cooked Lauk Jawa a day before the Assam Babi Masak Peria. Hence we have balance of spices and ingredients that could be rolled over for the latter. The spices used are quite similar for both dishes except that we didnt use lemongrass, tamarind juice and fermented soya beans for Lauk Jawa. These 3 ingredients to me were quite extinct in the sense that its simple combination is able to bring a dish to a total extreme of fragrant sourish and salty flavours that savour in your mouth. These flavours are total opposite of how Lauk Jawa can satisfy you. The later is creamily spicy.

Give it a try if you are keen!

(Some of the ingredients... forgot to take out the milk!! The chillies on the left have been combined with grinned shallots and candle nuts while the one on the left is sambal belacan.)


Long beans cut diagonally
3 Big onions (cut coarsely)
3 fresh red chillies (sliced)
3 fresh green chillies (sliced)
90ml coconut milk/ fresh milk

5 dried red chillies
2 fresh red chillies
a thumb size shrimp paste (belacan)
2 candle nuts


1. Blend the spices and fry them in low heat until oil seeps out.

2. Add the vegetables and continue to fry.

3. Add milk and a little water if too thick and continue to simmer until the vegetables turn soft. If you prefer crunchy vegetables reduce the cooking time.

4. Add salt and sugar to taste.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Assam Babi Masak Peria (Pork Ribs Cooked with Bitter Gourd in Tamarind Sauce)

We had this simple dish for dinner. This is one of my favourite Peranakan foods. I had this home-cooked dish five years ago. It was so yummy that I may forget the presentation of the dish but not the smell and taste at all! It was then cooked by my late beloved grandmother-in-law. I never planned to cook this tonight but I just kept thinking about it when my mother-in-law casually mentioned this dish yesterday. So I dug out all the Peranakan recipes books and magazine that I have and was so happy to have found the recipe!

This dish is fairly easy to cook and it did not call for complicated spices. You probably would have all the ingredients at hand most of the times. You may replace the pork ribs with pork belly or chicken if you wish. My husband and I are bitter gourd fans and we love the texture and taste of this not so likable green by many no matter how you cook it :>

1/2 kg pork ribs
1 bitter gourd (About one and half feet long)
One bowl of long beans
4 fresh green chillies (throw away the stalk and deseed)
2 fresh red chillies (throw away the stalk and deseed)
950ml of tamarind juice (use about 5 tablespoons of tamarind paste and squeeze the juice out)
2 stalks of lemongrass (Smash the head)

10 dried chillies
4 fresh red chillies
half inch thick and about 2" x 2" width square shrimp paste (belacan)
10 shallots
4 candle nuts (grinned until fairly fine)
2 tbsp mashed fermented soya beans (taucu)


1. Boil the pork ribs in boiling water for about 10 minutes, drain and put aside.

2. Cut the bitter gourd into rectangle about 3cm x 2cm each and boil them for about 10 minutes and set aside.

3. Cut the long bean about 3cm long each and set aside.

4. Blend all the ingredients for spices except the fermented soya beans.

5. Heat up the oil and fry the blended spices in slow fire until oil seeps out, about 20 minutes.

6. Add the fermented soya beans and lemongrass and continue to fry until fragrant, less than 5 minutes.

7. Add pork ribs and fry for about 10 minutes

8. Add tamarind juice and increase the fire and let the gravy boil in high heat for about 15 minutes. Transfer into a small pot at this stage. Reduce to low heat and simmer for about half an hour or more depending on how tender you prefer the pork ribs to be.

9. Add the long beans and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes

10. Add the bitter gourds, the balance of red and green chillies and continue to simmer until tender, about another 20 minutes

11. Add sugar and salt to taste.

I think everyone in the family had fairly more than a bowl of rice tonight. We had a good time enjoying this simple authentic Peranakan dish while watching the Singapore 45th National Day Parade on the TV!! I personally would give this dish 4 thumbs-up upon 5!

Notes :
1. I have blended the shallots separately with the chillies. I prefer to blend a lot of onions ahead of time and keep them in the fridge in an air tight container. This way, you may keep the blended shallots for later consumption for more than a week. I will just withdraw the required amount from the fridge whenever I need it.

2. You can do likewise for the chillies. In fact when you blend the dried chillies and red chillies, together with belacan, you are actually halfway making sambal belacan. To complete the recipe for making sambal belacan, just get a few lime leaves, shred them very finely, mix them together with the chillies paste and add a touch of lime juice. I had made this in advance also (without adding in the lime leaves and skin).

3. My late grandmother-in-law used to pound the lime leave and its skin until fairly fine and mix them together with the chillies. Do not use too much lime skin or it may cause the sambal belacan to taste bitter.

4. Cut down the spiciness of the chillies by adding some sugar. The tamarind juice will bring down the spiciness of the chillies as well. If you prefer a more spicy sambal belacan or assam babi, add chillies padi (small chillies.

5. We enjoy very tender bitter gourd and long bean for this dish rather than crunchy. So for that result, I have simmered the vegetables for quite a while.

6. My mother-in-law said that brinjal can be added in if wish, so I would think that lady fingers are suitable as well?!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fruity Cereals

This was just a very simple yet nutritious breakfast that I had had quite sometimes ago. I love fruits and there were some balances of fruits, too little for baking, therefore decided to consume all for my breakfast cereals! Perfectly well combined with super cold milk and a dash or two of cinnamon.... yummy!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Banana Bread

If you are looking for cakey banana cake recipe you will be fairly disappointed by how this recipe will turn out not to your wish but mysteriously and surprisingly yet it will not let you down at all! This is not a banana muffin, cake or any of that sorts but bread - a quick bread. I had baked this bread twice in a short span of two months. My whole family likes it so much except my daughter. She likes to eat bananas but doesn't quite like any banana flavoured cakes or pastry!

If you are a banana lover and like to bake, this recipe is a must try recipe and it is so simple to do as you don't need a mixer. The two bowls mixing method will be used instead of the creaming method.

Chocolate Banana Bread (I) - This is the variation added to the original recipe.

Chocolate Banana Bread (II)

Chocolate Banana Bread (III)
Banana Bread (I) - This is the original banana bread recipe. Banana Bread (II) This recipe was baked during one of the weekends and C was so proud with the end product! She was helping me to whisk the eggs, add sugar, flour and did most of the steps with my assistance. She was so excited when I told her that we were going to bake that morning. She leaped up high :) Though the kitchen was a little messy after that, it was worth the effort of cleaning up when you looked at her face beaming all the way!

1. I used soft brown sugar for the original banana recipe as I had run out of castor sugar at that time. The cake turned out good still and not so sweet.
2. The second time when I baked it I used castor sugar and added the chocolate chips in about a cup. All ingredients remained the same except that the sugar has to be reduced to 10 tablespoons. The bread was excellent!
3. I used slightly less than a cup of walnut since our local market sells the walnuts in a prepacked packet in small quantities. I really didn't wish to buy 2 packets which I couldn't use up all for one baking and have to keep the balance in the fridge. It didn't distort the texture and flavour much. I spread some walnuts on top of the batter for the original recipe.

Banana Bread (III)Overall, none of my family members and family friends complained about the texture or taste of the bread. Everybody (except my daughter) enjoys and loves it!! I am so sure that I will bake this recipe again and again and that I had baked it twice, I can recall the ingredients easily now. Practice makes things perfect!

(The recipe was extracted from :

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pumpkin Crumble Cake

My father in law bought me one half pumpkin and my initial intention was just to puree some of it for infant food and I had no idea of what to do with the balance of it. C has been pestering me to do a baking project with her. After having the second addition in the family, I will only bake during weekends when hubby helps to take care of P. I will try to spend half morning with C in the kitchen and have fun. If not, I will bake at night during weekends when both kids are asleep.

I did this impromptu project with C two days ago during night time. Yeah, I just wanted to get rid of the pumpkin in the fridge but the main reason was because I miss baking so so much that if I were not dead tired, I would love to spend some time in the kitchen trying out new recipes and having fun with C.

This recipe was taken from the book writen by Agnes Chang, entitled 'I can bake'. The recipe called for creaming method but I was really lazy to take out my hand mixer which I put in the store so I changed using the two mixing bowls method instead i.e to put all the dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another and mixed the dry to the wet later on. Not sure whether because of this that the cake turned out to be a little dense and not so fluffy!

Of all the ingredients needed, I totally forgot about the milk so I didn't use milk for the recipe. Surprisingly, it turned out quite well if not perfect. I like the natural yellowish colour of the cake and the walnuts crumble on top. The cake looked so gorgeous with simple nuts crumble on top by itself. Though I must admit that this cake is very sweet but I don't mind having it as a treat once a while.



300g self rising flour, sifted
200g butter
200g pumpkin
180g castor sugar
120ml milk
3 eggs
1 tbsp rum (optional)

For the crumble topping:
120g walnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon
75g butter
90g sugar
3 tbsp of plain flour

Method (Altered using two mixing bowls method)

1. Steam the pumpkin and mash with a masher or the back of a fork.

2. Melt butter and put aside to let cool.

3. Preheat oven to 180 deg C/350 deg F. Grease and baseline a 9inch cake pan.

4. Whisk eggs in one bowl and add in the sugar, rum, butter and milk. Add in the pumpkin and stir well.

5. In another bowl sift the flour. When finished, fold the flour in 3 batches into the wet ingredients.

6. As for the crumble, coarsely chopped the walnuts and slightly toast them for 5 to 10 minutes. Mixed the walnuts with 3 tbsp plain flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter.

7. Pour half the batter in the cake tin then add dollops of the walnut crumble to the batter. Save half of the crumble for the topping. Pour in the balance half of the batter and finish up with the walnuts crumble spread on top.

8. Put in the oven and bake for about 1 hour.

1. I used plain flour since I don't have self rising flour. Therefore, I added 1 tsp of baking powder to the flour.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo

My family loves pasta or any other types of Asian noodles. I find that pasta is an another easy to prepare dish that saves time. It is a staple that must have in my kitchen.

This is a family delight recipe and an easy to prepare one-dish-meal that kids will like too. The first time I cooked this meal was a failure since I underestimated the amount of sauce needed for one packet of linguine. I learnt my mistake. The second attempt was a success but this time I served it with shell pasta or/and macaroni. For this dish, the main ingredients used are cream of mushroom, Parmesan cheese, butter, milk, chicken and broccoli.

When it comes to baking, I will try to follow the measurement of the recipe but not so much for cooking. Cooking is fun in a way that i enjoy very much because there is no or little restriction of how much or many ingredients should be used. When you receive compliments from your family and friends and when it tastes good and to your likings, those are the guidelines and clues! :)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tofu Chicken Balls Porridge

This morning I was very tired as I was barely able to sleep for more than 3 hours yesterday night. I was sorting out some works for my husband's business accounts until late night. To make the matter worse, I was not able to catch my beauty sleep since my 2nd little boy still needs at least two night feeds at the moment. The 2nd feeding, which was towards the dawn, was really a challenge as he just seemed irritated and didn't manage to settle himself back to sleep. When he fell back to sleep it was morning and I need to get up to prepare my daughter for school :( Luckily hubby chipped in to help though he went to sleep at about 3am due to his work. Appreciate his effort so so much!! I told myself to whip up something quick, easy, healthy and yet tasty for our lunch. I decided to cook porridge with minced chicken which I mixed them with crushed Japanese tofu, cilantro, cornflour and a little garlic salt.

My daughter loves garlic, onions, cilantro very very much and always asks for more. Not many children acquire this taste at her age and I am of course happy because that will make my cooking easier without having to omit those in the dishes. She loves nuts too, especially preserved peanuts. I added some of those in the porridge and served them with oven toasted anchovies. When it comes to cooking, nothing is more important than whipping up something with all easily accessible local ingredients that my loved ones love most, in no time, yummy, tasty and above all healthy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chinese Confinement Food

Hello... wishing all my Chinese readers 'Kong Hee Fat Choy' & Happy Chinese New Year. Today is the 8th day of the first month of the Chinese Lunar calendar and the whole celebration is going to end soon on the 15th day. Kind of miss my family back home in Kuala Lumpur because normally on this day, we will gather at nite for preparation of some ritual worship. Though I am not the believer, i like the mood of preparation and the small gathering we had to catch up.

This Chinese New Year I am not baking any pastries as I have just given birth to a boy, the second addition to the family. I am coping to be a 'new mother' again to a new precious life :) That also explained the long silence of my blog that I have not been updating for months!! For those who follows my blogs, I am sorry. Nevertheless, I really wish to share with you some of the confinement foods that I was 'served' during the first month.

During the first week of the confinement, i took nothing but mainly black fungus, ginger, pork, chicken and some Chinese herbs; brewed into soup mainly to expel clog blood and wind. During this period it is pointless to take too much tonic drinks as the body is too weak and 'windy' to absorb the nutrients. Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, capsicums, snow peas were slowly introduced to the diet during second week. We believe that fish consumption should not be too early during confinement as this will cause a person to dislike fish when they grow older. My mum said that my grandmother was a good example of not heeding the advice that she hated fish when she grew old! Could this be just an old wife tales? I don't know but I insisted to consume some to boost up my breast milk supply. By third week onwards, the diet will include more nutritional foods with a good balance of tonic soups. I took quite a lot of different tonic soups like cordycep double boiled with chicken, ginseng black chicken soup, chicken double boiled with wine and 'tong kwai' etc. These were taken every night for supper. On top of these, I have been taking soups for both lunches and dinners for one full month! We also used different types of wine in the cookings such as ginger wine, red rice wine, yellow rice wine, black dates wine and blue dates wine.

I have been consuming plentiful of ginger ... about 13 kilo in just one month that I really could not believe it that I took that much! I have posted some photos of the confinement food that I have had. I love to eat them all and the best of the best is my favourite black vinegar pig trotters! Yum yum! Enjoy....

Threadfine cooked in a few types of rice wines, ginger and dates
Soy sauce chicken with onions
Dried Longan, Red dates and some herbal chicken soup for lunch
'Mui Choy' (A Type of Sweet Chinese Vegetables) stewed with pork
Simple ABC soup
Pork Liver with plenty of ginger
Forever Green Snowpeas with ginger and carrot
'Ka Char Ma'/'Yi Mu Choa' (A type of Chinese dried herbs) cooked with chicken and wine
Strictly red residue rice wine with chicken
Fried Chicken marinated with ginger and soy sauce
Pig Trotter with black Vinegar
Pig Stomach Organ Soup with lot of pepper
Chicken Chinese Herbal soup
Steamed Chicken with Black Fungus and Ginger
Steam Fish with Ginger, Red Dates and Black Fungus
Pig Liver Soup with Black Fungus and Pork
Ginger Fried Noodle
Chicken Lemongrass Soup
Fried Spinach with Ginger
Fried Threadfin with plentiful of Shredded Ginger on top...yum!

This is not a confinement food but the morning breakfast that my husband prepared for me before I went to give birth :)
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