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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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Ramadan Cooking: Chef Ammar’s Chicken Mandy with Rice and Arabic Salsa

I’ve been quite good about making something for buka puasa almost every day now, usually appetizers and snacks on weekdays, and a full meal on weekends.  I had a giant whole chicken in the freezer waiting for me to do something with, so I decided to try out Chef Ammar’s chicken mandy with rice.

I saw Chef Ammar make this dish from one of his shows I found on YouTube.  As always the ingredients list they displayed on screen differred from what he actually used on set, which was strange, so I had to figure out a few things on my own.

I made adjustments to the recipe written below after my first attempt at making this.  Overall I thought the rice was delicious and didn’t change a thing, but the flavor of the chicken from the other recipe I’ve tried was better.  The salsa was the perfect accompaniment to this dish, and I highly recommend taking just that little bit of extra time to make it.  Give it a try!

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Ramadan Cooking: Shorbat el Ads (Middle Eastern Lentil Soup)

Ramadan mubarak, everyone!  Because of the fasting month, we get to leave work an hour early, and this has given me the opportunity to be home early enough to make something for buka puasa.

When Mummy went for her umrah earlier this year, the place she was staying at served a nice lentil soup that she liked very much.  I figured it’d be nice to make her something that she likes, and despite not having much to go by in terms of description (“It’s a nice smooth puree.”), I searched around for possible recipes.  I needed something simple enough which uses fairly common ingredients, so I decided on this highly rated one on BBC Good Food.

This took me two tries to get right.  My first time making this, I halved the recipe but otherwise followed it as written.  While the flavor was very nice, the lentils weren’t tender enough despite the recipe’s reassurance that no pre-soaking was necessary.  I made this again the next day, this time soaking the lentils beforehand and then cooking it using my Philips electric pressure cooker.  The results were wonderful, and Mummy cleaned her bowl with her bread.

A delicious, hearty soup which can be a meal of its own, and very authentic, as verified by my mom.  Give it a try!

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Travel Time: Niseko March 2017

 

 

Amongst the sea of cooking posts, comes a single travel/videography post. 😀

This was our 3rd time in Annupuri, Niseko. The first two times, weather wasn’t great, despite being closer to the peak periods. This time, I’d say the weather was perfect. 🙂 We hit our usual makan spots, and tried some new ones. Went all the way to Hirafu to try out Bang Bang, one of the best izakayas around. Hideo-san helped us make a reservation for dinner at Sobadokoro Rakuichi, but the boss lady lost our reservation so we got turned away. Needless to say, Hideo-san was pissed, and our eagerness to try the place has dropped quite a bit, so we might not bother trying to dine there ever again (in Hideo-san’s words, “never again”). On the flipside, we got to try Taj Mahal, which is an Indian restaurant close by. It can actually give our local Indian restaurants here a run for their money. We also managed a trip to Milk Kobo, which is a milk farm serving fresh milk products! Soft serve cone on a hot sunny winter day is the best!

As always, dining with Hideo-san at the villa causes us to meletop every- single- time. Please do not ask how many KGs we gained. 😛 In addition to the shabu-shabu or sukiyaki, he’d ply us with clams, scallops, kinki fish, yanagi no mai or yellow rockfish, sashimi, hairy crabs, rice. We always feel bad not being able to finish the food, but seriously-lah, Hideo-san! You know from our last visit we can’t each much. =.= Anyway, he pleasantly surprised us with a nice balcony BBQ for lunch on our last day, which was cold but awesome!

The video above is my first foray into video capture and editing with my new drone and action cam, so please forgive the rough edges. I’m quite proud of it though, and glad that I finally got around to doing it after so many months. I think I rely too much on the FDR-X3000’s optical stabilization though, as can be seen from the not so steady footage. Proper frame rate selection needs to improve too, as mixing 24fps and 60fps videos prolly isn’t a good idea. Post-processing was done with Davinci Resolve Lite, and in lazy mode: trim according to music and auto color the flat drone footage. Might try straight up 4K next time; thought the 60Mbps limit on the Mavic wouldn’t look nice, but Youtube seems to compress videos up to that level anyways.

Also, I crashed my drone on the 5th day. Yep, totally pilot error. Was trying out the POI function to do an orbit around the villa, but I didn’t check for clearance so it crashed into a low tree. Fortunately, it fell into soft ungroomed snow, so besides losing two propellers and introducing some looseness in the gimbal mount, it came back relatively unscathed.

Anyway, looking forward to our next trip back to this place. Love it!

Weekend Cooking: Breakfast Mac and Cheese

One day Khairil sent me a link on Facebook messenger to this really yummy looking recipe by Spicy Southern Kitchen.  It looked simple enough, and I just received a bag of shredded Cheddar from Merv, so I thought it’d be nice to make this over the weekend and invite Adik over for brunch.  So yesterday after work I decided to stop by B.I.G. to grab whatever additional ingredients needed, and even found jalapenos – that place is so awesome!  In the end I found out that Adik was going away with Mom and Ayin and family to KK for the weekend, but I decided to go ahead and make this anyway.

Making the biscuits from scratch really cut down the cost a lot; store-bought frozen biscuits here cost upwards of 20 ringgit per bag.  This lovely casserole makes a really hearty brunch, and also great for potlucks and gatherings.  Give it a try!

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