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Weekend Cooking: Prejean’s Potato Salad

I’m on a short break before starting a new job next month, and Kak’mbang has gone back to Terengganu and will only be back at the end of the week.  We’ve been eating leftovers and takeout for the past few days, so today I made Smoked Duck and Sausage Gumbo for dinner, for a change.  The gumbo recipe was based on the one made by a restaurant called Prejean, and it is often enjoyed together with their potato salad.

The first time I made the gumbo I didn’t bother with the potato salad, but since today I had more time I wanted to try it out.  The potato salad was great on its own, but when mixed with the gumbo the tangy flavor of the relish and mustard went so well with the gumbo’s rich, smoky flavor.  So so good!  Definitely a winning combination.

Based on the recipe from Saveur.

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Moroccan Chickpea Soup

Made a few more soups for Mummy to try.  A few ingredients I recently tried were tomato, which was yummy but too light, and corn which was too heavy.  Since Mummy liked the lentil soup I made I figured other types of beans would also make decent soups with the right amount of heartiness, and since I had canned chickpeas in the larder this became my next ingredient of choice.

This Moroccan Chickpea Soup turned out nicely.  I loved the spices which gave it a more ‘exotic’ Mediterranean flavor; cinnamon, cumin and paprika.  There’s also something about tender beans in rich tomato based broth which feels so comforting.  Mummy loved it, so this recipe is now in our soup rotation.

Based on the recipe by Dave Lieberman, with my own modifications.

Next experiment: minestrone, perhaps?

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RayaFest 2018: Kak’mbang’s Peanut Sauce (Kuah Kacang)

Kak’mbang seriously makes the best kuah kacang.  We love it so much, whenever we see kuah kacang sold by vendors out there we never gave them a second look.  Of course Kak’mbang thinks everything she makes is just so-so, which is downright ridiculous.

Anyway, since there was a lot we needed to prep for Hari Raya, I volunteered to help Kak’mbang make her amazing kuah kacang this year.  She started without me so I didn’t get a shot of the ingredients, but thankfully I got everything else.  I’m so happy I managed to document yet another one of Kak’mbang’s yummy creations.

Selamat Hari Raya, everyone!

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RayaFest 2018: Pulut Lepa Terengganu

Being from Terengganu, I grew up thinking fish is a natural, common ingredient in so many local favorites; nasi lemak with sambal ikan tongkol, karipap, pulut panggang (we call ’em pulut lepa)… but *of course* fish is the main ingredient!

Wait… you guys have nasi lemak with chicken rendang and *gasp* paru (beef lung)? Karipap kentang? What is this orange coconut nonsense in this pulut panggang?!! Well, imagine how shocked I was discovering what them West-coast folks are eating.  This was probably when I was about 7 or 8 years old.

Anyway, fast forward to today, I really miss the East-coast pulut panggang with fish filling.  On very rare occassions someone managed to find it here in KL and I would eagerly wolf them down, but they mostly turned out quite underwhelming.  But we compromised anyway, because it was better than nothing.

Finally I thought, why not make it myself and serve it for Hari Raya? I looked around for recipes online, and combined with Kak’mbang’s knowledge and experience we managed to make a decent Terengganu-syle pulut lepa which Mummy and my aunties (all Terengganu natives) accepted as truly authentic.

Here it is, if you ever feel like having some Terengganu fare.  Do note that this recipe makes a lot, so feel free halving it.  Leftover fish filling can also be used in yummy Terengganu-style karipap.

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Ramadan Cooking: Eman’s Chicken Mandy

It’s the last weekend of Ramadan. Gosh, time really flies.  I wanted to make Chef Wan’s briyani gam with chicken kuzi, but I was missing a few ingredients and I’ll only be going to the market tomorrow.  Since I’ll also be eating out tomorrow, if I wanted to make something, tonight was my only window of opportunity to do so.  I decided on Eman’s chicken mandy, which I’ve been meaning to try for quite some time now.

I fell behind schedule and ended up rushing to have it ready for buka puasa, so this time I skipped the smoking process and completely forgot the fried onion and cilantro garnish.  Flavour-wise I think this was great, and the rice to water ratio was pretty spot on.  The original recipe called for saffron coloring which was supposed to give the chicken a nice reddish tone, but since I don’t have any on hand and have no idea where to get it, I’m thinking of using smoked paprika next time.

Will definitely make this again.

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Ramadan Cooking: Karnataka-style Chicken Briyani

Last Ramadan I was binging on Middle Eastern recipes, but this year I stumbled upon this YouTube channel called Get Curried and was intrigued by their selection of Indian recipes.  At first I wanted to try their butter chicken, but it’s the weekend and I should do something fancier and Mom also suggested I try making briyani.

This isn’t like the briyani I’m used to here in Malaysia.  The video says this is a style specific to the Karnataka state of India, and even then looking at the comments there are a bunch of Karnatakans claiming that theirs is more authentic than the rest, so I can’t comment on that.  Nonetheless the mixture of flavors from the yoghurt, cilantro and mint, and the heat from the cili padi was really interesting and yummy, and I loved how the rice turned out nicely moist without being mushy.

I found the planning stage most exciting when making this.  I started off by mixing the saffron milk, then prepped the ingredients for the green paste.  After marinating the chicken I set a small pot of water on the stove, and prepped the rest of the ingredients while the potatoes were boiling.  I soaked the rice, then put the pot of water for the rice on the stove, and started on the gravy while waiting for the water come to a boil, which would take about as much time as required for soaking the rice.  By the time it was time to add the chicken to the pot, the chicken has been marinating for an hour as planned.  So all the tasks were timed quite nicely and the dish was ready 10 minutes before it was time to break fast.  It was a lot of fun for me.

Do try this out, whenever you’re feeling like a different style of briyani.

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Ramadan Cooking: Shuraba (Meat and Oat Soup)

Mummy has been losing weight of late, and I’ve been trying out various soup recipes for her to have some variety in her diet.  I wanted to keep things interesting enough for her to want to eat, while at the same time provide her with all the necessary nutrition to stay healthy.

Since it’s fasting month and she might get even skinnier, I tried out this wonderful oat soup recipe by the Queen of Sheba.  It’s a soup which is pretty much a meal on its own, with healthy oats and protein from the meat.  At the same time it is really easy to eat, making it the perfect dish for sahur.  It is a bit heavy to have as a starter before a main course, so my family and I would dish out only very very small bowls during buka puasa.  

Try it out!

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Ramadan Cooking: Shrimp Scampi Pasta

I found some really nice (albeit expensive) shrimp at B.I.G. recently, and at the same time was having such a craving for pasta.  I’ve mentioned previously that I really love the shrimp scampi at Tony Roma’s, although over the years they seemed to have modified the recipe or something and even that has lost its appeal to me.  I’ve tried making it myself once before, using Tyler Florence’s recipe, but I found it to be just so-so.  This time, I stumbled upon this recipe by Rasa Malaysia and decided to work from there.

This being an Italian dish, the original recipe called for white wine, so as always I subbed it with apple juice.  I sometimes would dilute apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar as a substitute for white wine in soups and pies, but I found that in pasta dishes vinegar might make it turn out too acidic.  I also like to use cilantro instead of parsley especially for seafood dishes.  I doubled the amount of cayenne for a bit more heat.

The results were fabulous! Everyone had seconds.  When attempting this recipe, be sure to have all your ingredients on hand, measured and ready to go.  Once your shrimp is in the pan work fast – as soon as the shrimp turns fully opaque remove the pan from heat, to make sure they don’t overcook.  Give it a try!

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Ramadan Cooking: Moroccan Lamb Soup

I bought some lamb cubes some time back and never got around to cooking them.  Since it’s Ramadan and the evenings have been so rainy of late, I wanted to make something comforting and soupy.  Besides, Mummy is watching her health more carefully and no longer eats any red meat, so even though she’ll avoid this dish, it is just one of the many dishes we served with rice for our buka puasa meal.

I loved the broth, so flavourful yet the spices are not overpowering.  I flooded my rice with it, and i imagine this soup would also be excellent with bread.

The original recipe was intended for lamb shanks, but since I wanted to use up the lamb cubes in the freezer I just used that.  The meat turned out a bit tough even after simmering for 1 1/2 hours, so I wonder if I’ll give it 30 minutes in the pressure cooker next time.   Because it was already time to break fast and the meat wasn’t as tender as I had hoped, I skipped the shredding step.  Will make this again, using a couple of good quality shanks I hope.  Yums!

Adapted from a recipe on taste.com.au.

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Ramadan Cooking: Peri-peri Sausage Rolls

Ramadan mubarak, everyone! I can’t believe a year went by so fast.  Since I get off work an hour early, again I try to make small dishes like appetisers and snacks for breaking fast.  I still have a few bottles of Nando’s PERi-PERi sauce in the larder, so I looked through their website for ideas.  These sausage rolls looked so yummy, so away I went to Ben’s Independent Grocer during my half-hour afternoon break to buy what I needed.

A few things I did for this recipe: I used chicken cheese sausages and breadcrumbs with Italian herbs, and I think this made the rolls “taste like pizza”.  I also used Italian flat-leaf parsley instead of English (I wasn’t sure which one I was supposed to use until I came back and watched the video), which had a stronger flavor I didn’t fancy too much, so I’ll use English parsley next time.  In the spirit of Ramadan I gave the dish a slight Middle Eastern twist and used habbatus sauda in place of black sesame seeds.

Mind you this recipe makes quite a lot of filling, and depending on how big your bread is you might end up with multiple rolls instead of just one as stated in the original recipe.  I used Massimo white sandwich loaf, and ended up with four rolls in total.

Overall this was a delicious snack, great for moreh and sahur, as well as for potlucks and afternoon tea.  Give it a try!

Based on the recipe by Nando’s UK.

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