Make Your Own Ingredients

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Make Your Own: Basic Pan Pizza Base

When making my Pull-apart Stuffing Rolls, I originally just wanted to use ready-made pizza dough, and bought some from the store.  I thought nothing of it, but when I finally took the dough out from the fridge, to my horror the stuff I bought turned out to be pre-baked pizza crust, and was therefore unusable.  Trying to find other store-bought options led to more disappointment, and finally I caved in and decided to make my own pizza dough.  This small crisis disrupted my cooking schedule a bit for that day, but luckily I discovered this problem in the morning, and so had enough time to still make things happen.

I’ve used this recipe for all my home-made pizzas, based on the recipe from the book, 500 Pizzas & Flatbreads.  This makes about 450 grams/1 pound of dough, enough for two 9-inch round pizzas, or one 11 by 15-inch rectangle pizza.

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For Your Spice Rack: Taco Seasoning

I mixed this a while back, so I don’t have pictures, but this is the taco seasoning I used in the Taco Salad I made recently.  You can always find the ready-made ones in grocers, but if you have the ingredients on hand, why not $ave$ome$ and make your own 🙂

To make enough just for the taco salad, use half the following recipe, based on the recipe by AllRecipes.

I usually keep my spice mixes in the freezer, especially the ones containing garlic or onion powder.  This humid Malaysian weather always makes my spice mixes all clumpy and gross.

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For your spice rack: Mandy spice mix

Am trying out Chef Ammar’s Lamb Mandy with Rice tonight, but I didn’t buy his Mandy Spice Mix when I got his Bukhari and Kabsah spice mixes the other day, so I had to make my own.  I found a few seemingly highly rated recipes online, and scaled it up to make 1 cup, with a few tweaks here and there.

Can’t wait to start cooking!

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For Your Spice Rack: Baby Bam

I’m trying out Emeril’s Perfect Roast Chicken today, which requires this Baby Bam spice mix.  Looks like this spice mix is used in quite a few more tasty looking recipes I wanted to try, so I decided it was worth the trouble to make a batch.  The only spice I didn’t have on hand was the celery salt, but I actually happened to have the ingredients required to make my own, so I did just that.  You can probably find celery salt in grocers such as Village Grocer, B.I.G., etc., but you can just simply substitute, since the amount needed is just too small to merit buying an entire bottle.

Recipe by Emeril Lagasse.

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Make Your Own: Ricotta Cheese

A good lasagne recipe usually calls for ricotta cheese.  The Manly Man Lasagne recipe I made needed almost 4 cups, and let’s face it – even if you can get it from the upmarket grocers in Kuala Lumpur, a 200-250 gm tub (about 1 cup) would cost at least RM 20, and I’ll need four tubs! Adoihh!

After weighing my options and doing some digging around on the Internet, I discovered that ricotta is one of those cheeses one can easily make at home, using common ingredients easily obtainable from hypermarkets. Booyah!

So try it out, and $ave$ome$ in the process!

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten.

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For Your Spice Rack: Seasoned Salt

Ree’s Chicken Spaghetti called for seasoned salt, which I now know is not the same as regular salt or Ajinomoto.  Lol.  Seems like in the States one can get these pre-made in a bottle, but I really didn’t feel like going out to some high-end grocer to buy something that may cost me something like RM15 or more just to use 1 teaspoon of it in a recipe I’m not sure I’ll be repeating, and this is assuming I can even find it here in KL.  So I searched around on the Internet and found an MSG-free copycat recipe.  Yay!

Based on the recipe I found here.

Updated on 24 Feb 2018 with new pictures.

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For your spice rack: Cajun Spice Mix

The Red Lobster biscuits copycat recipe called for Cajun seasoning, and after browsing around there seems to be several different variations of it.  I finally settled with the recipe from, since I had all the required ingredients on hand.


2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)


Put all the ingredients into an airtight container.  Close the lid and shake well to mix.

Make Your Own: Essence (Worth the trouble)

This is the recipe for Emeril’s Essence, a blend of spices used in most of his recipes.  Since most of my recipes in this blog are basically Emeril’s, I figured I’d post the recipe here.  I basically double the recipe and keep the whole thing in an airtight jar stashed in the freezer.  Some of the ingredients may not be available in places like Giant or Tesco, but it is definitely well worth the trouble.  The following recipe yields about 2/3 cup.

I saved some money by buying spices and herbs sold in packets (we have Meriah or Singlong here), instead of in those nifty jars (McCormick’s etc).  Onion powder is not as easily found in hypermarkets, so look for them in mid-range or upmarket grocers like B.I.G., Cold Storage or Village Grocer.

In our humid Malaysian weather, I noticed that spices just don’t keep well in my cabinets.  Stuff like garlic or onion powder absorb moisture and harden/masuk angin over time, while dried herbs like oregano and thyme, and even spices like cayenne pepper, have disgusting weevils in them.  While it’s really nice and purty to have identical jars of spices lined on your shelf or kitchen cabinet, better to store them in a way that will let them keep for as long as you can.

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