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Weekend Cooking: Pressure Cooker Chicken with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Sausage

After having my morning coffee and having finished this week’s copy of The Edge, I wandered into the kitchen and saw Kak’mbang staring at the chicken she just cut up.  I asked her what was on her mind, and she said she had trouble figuring out what to do with it for lunch today.  I had one recipe sitting in the drafts folder of my blog, waiting to be tested, so I offered to take that problem off her hands.

This dish was hearty and flavorful, and a welcome change after a string of Middle Eastern dishes.  We had this with rice for lunch (and dinner), but I think it would’ve been excellent with crusty bread.  Definitely making this again.

Based on the recipe by Serious Eats.

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Weekend Cooking: Kak Seri’s Pan-fried Bananas

When I was way too young to remember, we had a lovely, stylish Indonesian lady named Seri who took care of our Highland Towers condo in KL.  Whenever my family visits KL we’d stay there, and nowadays Mummy would sometimes share stories of Seri and her antics.  One thing Mummy mentioned quite a few times was this simple yet amazing banana snack, which Seri used to make for afternoon tea.

Over the Hari Raya week Kak’mbang went back to our hometown Terengganu, and came back with a good-sized bunch of pisang awak, or pisang kelat siang as we call ’em in Terengganu.  This specific type of bananas is perfect for banana fritters, so Kak’mbang decided to use them for re-creating Seri’s recipe Mummy mentioned so often.  It’s really simple to make, yet so lovely and indulgent.  Love ’em.

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Ramadan Cooking: Lamb Makhtoom

It’s almost the end of Ramadan, and I was hoping to cook a few more dishes before I’m no longer allowed to leave work an hour earlier.  I found a YouTube channel called Saudi Food Eman, and I really liked her videos.  This lamb makhtoom looked simple enough to make, and I happened to have some lamb stashed in the freezer from my trip to the market last weekend.

The original recipe called for lamb ribs, but premium lamb French cutlets cost and arm an a leg at B.I.G. (RM200/kg! Ohmigosh!), and the ribs I saw at the market were just too skinny with barely any meat.  With ribs this dish would only need 10 minutes in the pressure cooker, but since I used lamb shoulder chunks, I had to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Another first was using Arabic gum.  In Eman’s video she called it “mystic gum,” but after Googling around I discovered that the word she meant was mastic gum, also known as Arabic gum or Yemen gum.  It is apparently *not* the same as gum Arabic (like, seriously), which is also known as Acacia gum.  I didn’t know this at the time, and I ended up getting both the Arabic and acacia gum.  I used the acacia gum when I made this dish, actually.  Will need to make this again with the Arabic gum proper, to see if there’s any difference in taste.

I loved this dish. The flavor of the tomatoes were nicely infused into the meat, and the cinnamon gave it a lovely sweet aroma.  The tomatoes I had on hand were really small and I had to adjust to what I think the amount should be, but in the end I think there wasn’t enough liquid and the dish turned out a little salty (I still could eat a lot of it though).  Need to make this again to get it right.

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Ramadan Cooking: Peri-peri Cornflakes Chicken

It was the last few days of Ramadan, and things were reaaaally slowing down at work.  As I was staring at my laptop screen wondering what work I should do for the day, an email came in from Nando’s with the subject line, “Take PERi-PERi sauce balik kampung this Hari Raya okay!” I clicked on it and found this recipe.  It looked simple enough, and B.I.G. is just right there to get groceries from, so I decided to make it when I got home from work.

I made mine using my air fryer instead of the oven.  I think I cut my chicken a bit too small, so that’s another thing I’d improve on next time.  Super simple and healthy.  Try it out!

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Ramadan Cooking: Chicken Kabsah with Rice

Usually during Ramadan I try to cook more often for my family.  Sometimes I make snacks and appetizers, and sometimes I try to make one-pot meals.  This year’s Ramadan, one of the first buka puasa dishes I made was this chicken kabsah.  My family loves Middle Eastern cuisine, but our favourite nasi Arab restaurant, Half Moon, is just too darn far for us to bother getting takeout from *and* still expect to be back home in time for tarawih prayers.  So, here I was, looking around for recipes on the Internet and finally choosing this one, with my own modifications.

Getting the rice to liquid ratio was a bit tricky for me.  During my first try making this, I underestimated how much liquid the vegetables and chicken would produce, and my rice ended up being soggy.  I also need to make sure I remember not to soak the rice like I usually do, which also would result in mushy rice.  I also prefer the chicken to be slightly crispier, so I browned the chicken first before adding the rice.

Overall I loved this dish, simple yet so comforting and delicious.  Something I’ll definitely make again and again.

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Ramadan Cooking: Chef Ammar’s Mandy Rice with Lamb Shank

Bought a few really nice lamb shanks (and a bunch of other things) from B.I.G. last Friday! They cost a lot more than from the TTDI wet market, but the quality looks top notch.  This weekend was quite busy for me to cook everything I bought, but at least I managed to make this lamb mandy by Chef Ammar.

Chef Ammar has made several iterations of this dish over the years; I even tried out a variation of his recipe a few years back.  This one was from his Ramadan cooking show last year and was a lot easier to follow, with clearer instructions and a more accurate list of ingredients.  I halved the recipe here because there’s only four of us, and modified the recipe a bit to suit my taste.  I also used my Philips HD2139 pressure cooker.

The lamb turned out super tender and flavorful, and the rice was delicious.  I noticed that the 3 lamb shanks fit quite snugly in my electric pressure cooker, so if I want to scale up this recipe for Aidilfitri celebrations, I’ll have to use my larger stovetop one.  In any case, good to know I did them lamb shanks justice!

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Ramadan Cooking: Potato Croquettes

Ever since Ramadan started, I’ve been taking my quick breaks walking through the aisles of Ben’s Independent Grocer (B.I.G.) almost every working day.  Sometimes (very rarely) I leave empty handed, but most of the time I would buy some fruit at half price or bread or some ingredient I could use to make something small for buka puasa.  So this time I bought a bag of panko breadcrumbs, and made another recipe from Chef Kamarul’s book.

These croquettes were lovely, and reminded me so much of the snack I love back in Japan.  I noticed that mixing the ingredients using the potato masher wasn’t so effective for me, so next time I’ll switch to a spatula or wooden spoon instead.  I’ll also stuff them with cheese or meat to make them more hearty.

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Ramadan Cooking: Murtabak Maggi

Back in boarding school, every year the Form 4 seniors would organize a food carnival to raise funds for their Graduation Night.  Every class would set up stalls selling all sorts of food, from the normal stuff like pasta or nasi goreng, to the more creative stuff like banana with Milo drizzle (my first time learning that chocolate and banana go super well together), and of course, murtabak Maggi.

I still remember standing there watching my seniors prepare my order.  Cooked plain Maggi instant noodles were tossed in a mixture of egg and burger patty meat.  I’ve never tasted anything like it, and it was awesome.  This was almost 20 years ago.

Over the years I tried making it a couple of times, but I just couldn’t get the ratio of the ingredients right.  The murtabak either came out too dry, or just didn’t come together at all and ending up being just a regular Maggi goreng.  

Since I’ve got some extra time to cook something for buka puasa, I tried making it again.  I used this recipe from the official Maggi website and gave it my own little twist, a tribute to that awesome version my seniors made.  Absolutely delicious!

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Ramadan Cooking: Air-Fried Banana Spring Rolls With Nutella Drizzle

I bought a bunch of pisang mas last weekend, and they were quite green then so I thought they would last a while.  By mid week they’ve started to become overripe, so Kak’mbang asked me to try out this recipe by Chef Kamarul from his book, Resepi 30 Minit Chef Kamarul.  Overall recipes from his book look super simple yet promising in terms of yumminess, and I really do need to use up those bananas, so I gave this a go, with a few small changes.

Mummy doesn’t really like deep fried foods, so I made mine using an air fryer.  I used red sugar instead of brown because it gives a richer flavor, although it does melt really fast and makes the bananas quite wet.  Here’s a tip – be sure to separate out the spring roll sheets upfront, so that you can quickly assemble the spring rolls and chuck ’em in the air fryer.  I made the mistake of (sloooowly) peeling the sheets as I went along, and because my bananas mixture was wet, the first few that I assembled became rather soggy and burst during the cooking process.  I also saved some time by using simple Nutella instead of making my chocolate sauce from scratch.

The results were lovely.  The spring roll skin crisped very nicely in the air fryer, and the sweetness of the filling was just nice, letting the natural flavor of the bananas do most of the talking.  A good snack ready to eat within 30 minutes!

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Tech Adventures: Thunderbolt 3 External Graphics

Our desktops at home, Alexstrasza and Keristrasza, have seen little use  in the past years. Firstly, because the room they’re in got messed up by our cats. Secondly, because we’ve primarily moved to mobile and console gaming. Lastly, because lounging on a sofa or bed is much more comfortable than sitting in an IKEA work chair. 😛

Seeing how we prefer working on laptops instead of desktops nowadays, I shifted our future PC landscape plan to replace the obsolete PCs with laptops and some accessories to help them out. One of these accessories is an external Thunderbolt 3 GPU enclosure, to give our slim laptops a boost when playing games or rendering video. Essentially, I wanted to have a single portable device that I’ll bring to work and everywhere, while having the ability to hook it up at home and play AAA games on it.

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