Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Greatest Chips (French Fries) on Earth

# 1 kg potato
# oil (for deep frying)

1 Fill a saucepan with plenty of water and bring up the water temperature to 62C (145F).

2 I found on my electric stove top that medium was a good temperature to start with and as it approached dropping back to low held it there.

3 Peel potato and cut into chips (French Fries). I think around 12mm (1/2") cross is a good size, the recipe wouldn't be well suited to thin ones.

4 Pre-cook in water at 62°C (145°F) for 30 minutes, drain well and allow to cool to room temperature (takes around 15 minutes).

5 Deep-fry in warm oil at 130°C (265°F) for 5 minutes, drain and allow to cool to room temperature (takes around 15 minutes).

6 Deep-fry in hot oil at 190°C (375°F) until golden and done to your liking, around 5 minutes. If doing a lot of chips either cook in small batches or crank up the burner if using a wok when adding so the temperature of the oil doesn't drop too much.


Chocolate Truffles


* 20 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces (or semisweet chocolate chips)
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
* 1 cup heavy cream


MAKE THE FILLING: Place 8 ounces of the chocolate pieces and the butter in a large bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour half the cream into the bowl.

As the chocolate melts, slowly whisk the mixture together until smooth. Then gradually add the remaining cream until it's completely incorporated and the ganache is thick and shiny.

FORM THE TRUFFLES: Pour the ganache into a 2-inch-deep baking pan, spread evenly, and place in the freezer for 30 minutes or until set (it should have the consistency of fudge). Using a melon baller or a small spoon, form rounds and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Let the truffles harden in the freezer for about 15 minutes. After removing from the freezer, roll truffles between your hands into marble-size spheres, squeezing slightly (try to do this quickly, otherwise they'll become too soft). You can now dust the truffles with cocoa and serve them as is, but they'll hold their shape better if you coat them with chocolate first.

MAKE THE COATING: Let the truffles rest in the freezer while you make the chocolate glaze. Place the remaining chocolate pieces in a large bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate starts to set at the edge of the bowl. Drop the truffles into the melted chocolate and retrieve them with a fork, allowing any excess chocolate to drip off. Garnish immediately or leave the truffles plain and proceed to step 5.

GARNISH: For a nut garnish, roll the freshly coated truffles in a shallow dish of chopped nuts. For a sugar or cocoa garnish, set the freshly coated truffles on a plate and sift the garnish over them. Turn the truffles and sift again to cover completely.

STORAGE: Place the truffles on the lined baking sheet and allow them to set in the refrigerator for 5 minutes. Truffles will keep for about 2 weeks, chilled or at room temperature, when stored in a tightly sealed container.

Yield: Makes 35 to 45 truffles

Recipe by: Real Simple

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Basic Curry Sauce


This is the basis for many of the restaurant-style curries you'll find here. The recipe makes between 8 and 9 fl oz of Sauce which is enough for 2 main course curries or a main course and some side dishes. The recipe doesn't work as well if you try to make a smaller portion. It will double nicely if you're making a number of curries but you will need to extend the cooking time a bit. If you have some sauce left over it will keep in good condition in the freezer but only for a few weeks. Even small amounts are useful for making a quick one-portion curry, it goes a long way. Remember to wrap it up well or your ice-cream may take on a strange taste!.

* 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter)
* 1 medium onion - finely chopped
* 4 cloves garlic - peeled and sliced
* 1.5 inch piece root ginger - peeled and thinly sliced (it should look about the same volume as the garlic)
* (optional) 2 mild fleshy green chillies - de-seeded and veined then chopped
* half teaspoon turmeric powder
* half teaspoon ground cumin seed
* half teaspoon ground coriander seed
* 5 tablespoons plain passata (smooth, thick, sieved tomatoes, US = purée) or 1 tablespoon concentrated tomato purée (US = paste) mixed with 4 tablespoons water


1. Heat the oil in a heavy pan then add the chopped onion and stir for a few minutes with the heat on high.

2. Add the ginger, garlic and green chilli (if using). Stir for 30 seconds then put the heat down to very low.

3. Cook for 15 minutes stirring from time to time making sure nothing browns or burns.

4. Add the turmeric, cumin and coriander and cook, still very gently, for a further 5 minutes. Don't burn the spices or the sauce will taste horrid - sprinkle on a few drops of water if you're worried.

5. Take off the heat and cool a little. Put 4 fl oz cold water in a blender, add the contents of the pan and whizz until very smooth. Add the passata and stir.

6. Put the puréed mixture back into the pan and cook for 20 - 30 minutes (the longer the better) over very low heat stirring occasionally. You can add a little hot water if it starts to catch on the pan but the idea is to gently "fry" the sauce which will darken in colour to an orangy brown. The final texture should be something like good tomato ketchup. Warning - it WILL gloop occasionally and splatter over your cooker, it's the price you have to pay!

Recipe by: David Smith

Masala Fish Cutlets


* 4 white fish cutlets
* 2 tbs ghee

Masala Marinade

* 1 cup loosely packed fresh coriander leaves
* 4 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
* 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
* 2 tsp garam masala
* 2 tsp ground turmeric
* 1/2 tsp chili powder
* 1 tsp salt
* 125ml lemon juice


Combine fish with Masala Marinade in large bowl, cover.

Leave it marinade for half an hour.

Heat ghee in grill pan.

Fry fish till browned both sides.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp fried rice is a great recipe for nights when you're looking for a quick way to use up leftovers. Feel free to experiment with using fresh mushrooms or other vegetables in place of the peas, and to double up on the ham if you don't have frozen shrimp.


* 4 ounces frozen uncooked shrimp, unshelled
* Marinade:
* 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, or to taste
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or to taste
* 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
* Pepper to taste
* 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons water
* Other:
* 4 ounces cooked ham
* 1 medium onion
* 2 green onions
* 2 eggs (more if desired)
* 1/2 cup peas
* 4 cups cold cooked rice
* 4 to 5 tablespoons oil for stir-frying, or as needed


Run the frozen shrimp under warm running water, pat dry with paper towels, shell and devein. Chop into small pieces. Add the marinade ingredients and marinate for 15 minutes.

Dice the ham, onion, and green onion.

Beat the eggs lightly with chopsticks, add a dash of salt, and mix.* Set aside.

Heat the wok and then add 1 tablespoon oil. When oil is ready, pour 1/2 of the egg mixture into the wok and cook over medium heat, turning over once.

Cook the other half the same way. Cut the egg into thin strips, and save for later.

Add 2 tablespoons oil, or as needed. When oil is hot, stir-fry the onion and shrimp on high heat for a few moments, remove and set aside. Do the same for the green peas, and then the diced ham.

Add 1 - 2 tablespoons oil, turn the heat down to medium and stir-fry the rice. Add a bit of soy and oyster sauce if desired. Add the other ingredients except the egg and green onion and combine thoroughly. Serve the fried rice with the strips of egg on top and the green onion as garnish.**

*You can also add a bit of oyster sauce if desired
**Alternately, you can mix the green onion and egg in with the other ingredients.

Recipe by: Rhonda Parkinson

Malaysian Nasi Lemak (Coconut Flavoured Rice)

SUBMITTED BY: flovourlicios PHOTO BY: Darryl

"Delicious Malaysian coconut rice, served with anchovy hot chile sauce, fried anchovies, fried peanut, sliced cucumber or tomato and hard-boiled egg. If you do not have tamarind juice, substitute with same amount of lemon juice."



For the rice:
* 2 cups coconut milk
* 2 cups water
* 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1 (1/2 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
* salt to taste
* 1 whole bay leaf
* 2 cups long grain rice, rinsed and drained

For the garnish:
* 4 eggs
* 1 cucumber
* 1 cup oil for frying
* 1 cup raw peanuts
* 1 (4 ounce) package white anchovies, washed

For the sauce:

* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 medium onion, sliced
* 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
* 3 shallots, thinly sliced
* 2 teaspoons chile paste
* 1 (4 ounce) package white anchovies, washed
* salt to taste
* 3 tablespoons white sugar
* 1/4 cup tamarind juice


1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together coconut milk, water, ground ginger, ginger root, salt, bay leaf, and rice. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until done.

2. Place eggs in a saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil, and immediately remove from heat. Cover, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove eggs from hot water, cool, peel and slice in half. Slice cucumber.

3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or wok, heat 1 cup vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Stir in peanuts and cook briefly, until lightly browned. Remove peanuts with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to soak up excess grease. Return skillet to stove. Stir in the contents of one package anchovies; cook briefly, turning, until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels. Discard oil. Wipe out skillet.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the skillet. Stir in the onion, garlic, and shallots; cook until fragrant, about 1 or 2 minutes. Mix in the chile paste, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the chile paste is too dry, add a small amount of water. Stir in remaining anchovies; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in salt, sugar, and tamarind juice; simmer until sauce is thick, about 5 minutes.

5. Serve the onion and garlic sauce over the warm rice, and top with peanuts, fried anchovies, cucumbers, and eggs.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fried Rice

I've always thought of fried rice as the quintessential comfort food. Think of it - a bowl of steaming white rice, cooked to just the right consistency, filled with bits of meat and vegetable. What could be more perfect?

Of course, producing the above-mentioned dish is sometimes easier said than done. Ideally, fried rice should be light, fluffy, and easy to pick up with chopsticks. For another, there is a philosophical debate over which is better - fresh cooked rice or leftovers from last night's meal. Personally, I prefer to use cold leftover rice, but I will cook a fresh pot if necessary.

The Chinese have been enjoying fried rice for centuries; that's hardly surprising when you consider that rice has been cultivated since around 4,000 BC. Yangzhou rice, a colorful Shanghai dish, can be traced back to the Sui dynasty (589 - 618). Of course, there are regional variations - a northern dish is more likely to contain ham and vegetables such as leeks and green onions, while Cantonese fried rice often features shrimp or barbecued pork. But the beauty of fried rice is that it is very adaptable. Like chow mein, it's a great dish to make on those nights when you're cleaning out the refrigerator and want to get rid of any leftover meat or vegetables.

Here is a basic recipe for fried rice that you can adapt depending on what vegetables you have on hand:

Fried Rice Recipe:
Serves 4 to 6
4 cups cold cooked rice
4 tablespoons oil
3 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1 scallion, chopped fine


1. Break rice apart with wet hands

2. Heat oil on high flame in wok. Stir-fry rice rapidly, turning spatula constantly until the rice is thoroughly heated.

3. Make a well in center of rice. Pour in beaten eggs. Stir eggs until they are scrambled. Then stir-fry eggs into the rice until thoroughly blended. Add salt and pepper. Stir-fry 30 seconds. Add scallion.

May be prepared in advance. May be frozen. Reheat before serving.

(This recipe is reprinted from Madame Wong's Long-Life Chinese Cookbook, courtesy of Sylvia Schulman)

In the upper right-hand corner, in the linkbox under "More of this Feature" you'll find several recipes that illustrate different ways of making fried rice. The first recipe - Fried rice with ham - uses thick soy sauce to give the rice a darker color. This is the way fried rice is often served in American restaurants and take-out establishments. The second recipe - Sun Ya Fried Rice - is a Cantonese dish made with shrimp, roast pork, and chicken. The third is an authentic recipe for Yangzhou or Yangchow fried rice.

Finally, here are a few basic tips for cooking rice:

* Always use long grain rice - short grain rice is used only for desserts and snacks in Chinese cooking.

* Rinse the rice in water to get rid of excess starch.

* Use 1 cup rice to 1 1/2 cups water. For example, when cooking 2 cups of rice you would use 3 cups of water.

* Bring the rice to a boil at medium heat (about 4 on the dial).

* When boiling, turn the heat down to medium low (about 3) and tilt the lid on the pot. This allows the steam to escape.

* Let the water evaporate. When you can see craters (holes) in the rice, put the lid on tight.

* Turn the heat to low, and simmer for another 15 minutes.

* Fluff up the rice, and serve.


How to make perfect steamed rice

Rice... that wonderful grain. The foundation of Asian cuisine. The neutral agent with which all flavours meld. What would we do without it?

Steamed rice is pretty simple to make. But it surprised me when I was teaching a cookery class a couple of months back and some people asked me how to make rice that wasn't sticky or overcooked or undercooked. Then I got a few queries on email about the same thing. And of course I promised in my article on fried rice that I would write a piece on how to steam rice properly. So here it is: the simple oil-free way to get nice, fragrant, separate rice that's perfectly cooked. All you need is rice, water, and a thick heavy-gauge pan with a tight-fitting lid.

What you need

Long-grain rice - 1 cup

Water - 1.5 cups
How to make it

First, you need to wash off the excess starch from the rice. This will prevent it from making a sticky mess. Put the rice in a deep bowl, and in your sink, run cold tap water over it. Once the bowl is full of water, use your fingers to swish the rice around. The water will start getting murky. Now gently pour this water out. Repeat this process till the water is mostly clear. This will take at least 4-5 washes.

Now fill it up one last time. Don't wash the rice again. Just leave it in there, covered with water, for about 30 minutes or so. Why am I doing this? I freely admit I'm still trying to figure out the science behind it, but it results in a much fuller, softer grain. After the soaking, you will notice that the rice grains have turned a nice milky white.

OK, let's drain the water out carefully again. Try and get as much water out of the bowl as you can without pouring out the rice grains as well. This takes patience.

(All this isn't as complicated as it's beginning to sound. I just like to ensure I've covered everything.)

On to cooking the rice...

Put the rice in a heavy-gauge pan that has a flat bottom. This bit is important. If your pan is made out of some thin flimsy metal, your rice will get nicely burnt at the bottom while the grains at the top may not cook properly. You also need one with a tight lid, or else the precious steam will leak and your rice won't cook right. Many Indian homes have vessels that have a concave bottom. These will just not work. The flat bottom is required.

Now put in the water. Normally, a long-grain rice recipe calls for twice the amount of water as rice. Why then are we using only 1.5 cups of water? Because our rice has already been sitting in some water for a while, and has absorbed a bit of it. Moreoever, there is still some leftover water after you drained it, because no one can drain it absolutely dry.

I like to add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the rice, but most Asian recipes don't salt the rice. This is your choice.

Put the pan on medium high heat. Wait till the water boils and starts bubbling. Now turn the heat down as low as you can, cover with the tight lid, and let it just sit there for about 15-20 minutes. Resist the urge to lift the lid and peek at the rice. No, I'm sorry, you can't have even one peek! If you do that, I will rap you on the knuckles with a cane, you hear?

After the 15-20 minutes is up, turn off the heat. No, you still can't lift the lid. Now you have to let it "stand" for another 10 minutes or so. This will help the rice to "settle" so you don't have dry grains on top and wet grains at the bottom.

After 10 minutes, lift the lid, admire the rice (yes, it will look that good), take a fork and fluff the rice. You will have nice separate grains without having used any oil, butter, or other fat in the cooking process.

Your rice is ready to serve with whatever you choose. I recommend a nice Thai red curry with chicken and some stir-fried veggies.

This method of cooking rice is known as the "absorption method".

Chef's notes

I also like to add a bruised stick of lemon grass to the rice while it's cooking. The subtle fragrance and flavour are amazing. Take the bottom piece (the last 6 inches) of a lemongrass stalk, bruise it with a heavy object (I use my stone pestle) and add it with the water.

Cooked rice will increase in volume by 300% of the original raw rice. So if you're cooking one cup of rice, make sure that your pot can hold at least four cups, preferably five. Otherwise you could end up with a mess as the water spills all over the kitchen top.

Did I mention how important that tight lid is? I did? Well, I'll say it again.

Leftover rice can be put in the fridge, and it will make splendid fried rice the next day.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lemon Chicken - Chinese Steaming Recipes

Brown sugar balances the tartness of the lemon in this popular dish.

Serves 2 to 4


* 4 -5 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
* 2 slices minced ginger
* 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* Marinade:
* 1 tablespoon dry sherry
* 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
* 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon brown sugar
* Garnish:
* Green Onion (Spring onions, scallions)
* Lemon wedges


Combine the marinade ingredients. Place the chicken in a bowl with the lemon juice. Add the marinade ingredients and sprinkle the ginger pieces over the chicken.

Marinate the chicken for about 20 minutes.

Steam the chicken. If using the wok to steam the chicken, place the chicken on a steamproof dish and pour the marinade ingredients over it. Steam the chicken for about 40 - 45 minutes (until the chicken turns white).

If using a commercial steamer, prepare according to the steamer directions. Depending on the type of steamer, you may not be able to pour the marinade over the chicken before steaming. If that is the case, reserve the marinade and steam the chicken according to the manufacturer's instructions. Bring the reserved marinade to a boil and pour over the chicken just before serving.

Serve hot with rice and stir-fried dried mushrooms. Garnish with green onion and
lemon wedges.

By Rhonda Parkinson,

Cooking with steam: A timeless technique

SEATTLE - I'm going to confess straight up that steaming hasn't been a favorite cooking technique of mine. The memory of cafeteria-style steam tables holding their cargo of limp broccoli stems has been hard to overcome.

Perhaps steamed food only suffers from a lack of good PR. It's been typecast as flavorless diet fare or food for tender palates. Admittedly, my own taste buds have become a bit cauterized by too many habanero-spiked salsas and spicy curries, and I'm often skeptical of delicately seasoned dishes.

But Middle Eastern and Asian cultures have cooked with steam for centuries. In those cuisines, vivid tastes - sweet, salty, sour, bitter and pungent - are layered through some of the world's greatest dishes.

n "The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore" (Simon & Schuster, 2004), author Grace Young says that steaming is an ancient Chinese cooking technique and one of the Eight Treasured Tastes. "The popularity of steaming is due in part to the invention of the wooden steamer and bamboo insert prior to the Sung dynasty," writes Young.

In Chinese culture, dim sum, whole fish, chicken, meat and vegetables are all steamed in a wok. The bamboo steamer is often lined with cabbage leaves, which not only prevents food from sticking to the basket but also lends a suggestion of flavor.

Another ingenious technique is to form an "X" with a pair of chopsticks. They are placed above a shallow pool of boiling water in the bottom of a wok, and a heat-proof dish or plate holding the food rests on top. The dish captures juices and flavorings such as soy or Thai fish sauce, slivers of ginger or minced chilies.

In North Africa, couscous is traditionally steamed in a distinctive two-tiered pot called a couscousiere. In the bottom, lamb or chicken are cooked with vegetables and spices, their moisture releasing fragrant steam that plumps tiny grains of couscous in the perforated upper tier. Often a small bowl of spicy harissa sauce is served on the side. It's a deliciously complex dish, well-flavored and hardly tame.

Sally Schneider, author of "A New Way to Cook" (Artisan, 2001), broadens the definition of steam cooking by overlapping contrasting techniques.

For instance, vegetables may be steam-roasted (baked in parchment paper or aluminum foil) with orange zest, minced shallots and chopped Kalamata olives. Curry-spiced fish fillets enveloped by lettuce leaves, and corn husks encasing chicken breasts dusted with smoky paprika are spirited renditions.

Schneider also varies her repertoire by pan-steaming vegetables, which actually intensify their flavors. For example, strips of bell peppers are briefly sauteed in a spare drizzle of olive oil, then covered and steamed until soft. The dish is uncovered and the peppers finish cooking in their caramelized juices.

And consider the nutritional benefits of steaming food, which are impressive. In a recent study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Nutrition, the level of flavonoids, an antioxidant compound, lost after steaming fresh broccoli was 11 percent. When compared with a 66 percent loss when broccoli was boiled, a 47 percent loss when pressure cooked, and a whopping 97 percent loss when microwaved, the advantages of cooking with this ancient technique in the contemporary kitchen are obvious. Even to a skeptic.


Passport to the World of Recipes

I live in Malaysia. Malaysians are food lovers. We love food and we have food outlets opened 24/7. That's the beauty of living here. If you do not know where is Malaysia... just Google it and put it on your vacation destination for your next trip. No kidding, you'll find it a food heaven.

Okay, the above stated why I love food... so, being a food lover, it leads me to starting the hobby of collecting cooking recipes... I like to keep it and share it with friends and people who has the same hobby or people who just want to cook something and was looking for a particular recipe.

This blog is a place where I am going to keep as my virtual recipes library where it is well cataloged and indexed. You are welcomed to share your recipes with me too. Just drop me an e-mail and I will put it up.

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