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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: 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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Weekend Cooking: Pumpkin Soup

Mummy has her “seasons” of favorite foods.  Currently she’s into pumpkins, and every week we’d pick one up from the grocery store.  Kak’mbang has tried making all sorts of stuff with it, from sayur labu to pengat to bingka, and most recently delicious pumpkin pudding.  Mummy requested sayur labu every day, then got sick of it and moved on to pengat, and got sick of that one too.  She loves the bingka and the pudding, but these are desserts and Kak’mbang wanted more savoury options.  This was where I came in, and I offered to make pumpkin soup.

I looked through several options on the Internet, and found this one to be most interesting.  I’ve tweaked it here and there as always, using readily available ingredients and spices in my pantry.  The end result was a hearty, flavorful soup, a comforting dish which would have been excellent served with crusty bread.   I might use about 50% more chicken stock cubes next time and adjust the salt quantity accordingly, for even more oomph.  

Definitely making this again!

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GobbleFest 2017 Leftovers: Turkey Waldorf Salad

Happy New Year, everyone!  It’s a lazy New Year’s Day, and I wanted to put together a light snack.

The first few times I made this was way back in 2012, when I was still actively involved in the Repertory Theater Club (RTC).  I made this for a post-rehearsal gathering with the RTC gang, and it turned out to be one of those salads that my guests surprisingly liked and actually finished.  I used chicken back then, but since we had our GobbleFest recently, I decided to make this in its original intended form, using our leftover turkey.  I’ve also included my notes in case you don’t have any turkey on hand.  Try it out!

Based on the recipe on Food Network, with my own twists.

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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: 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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Weekend Cooking: Gambas al Ajillo

During one of our trips to Bali, one of the restaurants at the place we stayed in served very nice tapas.  That was the first time we tried Gambas al Ajillo, large succulent shrimp cooked with oil, garlic, and chili flakes.  The oil was so well infused with flavor that we soaked it all up with crusty chunks of bread, long after the shrimp was cleared off our plates.  Definitely a memorable dish.

I found some nice extra large shrimp at Tesco, so I decided to try making the dish myself.  This recipe by Serious Eats seems to take the dish very seriously, taking the time to infuse the oil using the shrimp shells.  The results were delicious, and we enjoyed it with slices of home-made bread.  This recipe uses a lot less chili flakes than the version we had in Bali, so here I upped the chili flakes a bit more for that extra kick.

Enjoy!

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Pressure-Cooked Chick Peas (Kacang Kuda Rebus)

Some of the yummiest snacks are the simplest, and one of my favorites is boiled chick peas.  For an afternoon snack (and anything in between), boiled chick peas are perhaps a healthier alternative, and I could keep munching on these all day while sipping yummy cups of coffee.  Before the advent of pressure cookers this used to take forever to make, but now we can have these munchies ready within a fraction of the time.  This is how Kak’mbang makes them, apparently based on my (mysterious) Nenek’s recipe.  Enjoy!

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Weekend Cooking: Roasted Herb Butter Parmesan Shrimp

One of Rudy’s colleagues went back to Kota Kinabalu over Christmas break, and she was very kind to help us get some amazing seafood her hometown is famed for.  We received 2 kilos of the biggest shrimp I’ve ever seen (10 to 12 a kilogram, aptly described as “extra colossal”), and I really wanted to do them justice and showcase their flavor.  This recipe used few ingredients from stuff I already have in my pantry, and did not disappoint, despite me messing it up a little.  After finishing the shrimp and soaking up the leftover sauce with our crusty bread, we were all left in a food coma.  Thank you so much, Daphne!

Based on the recipe from the blog How Sweet It Is.

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