What’s For Dinner Today?

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Nothing grand. Just easy-to-cook chicken one -dish meal. The measurements are estimated. No right or wrong. Cook it and get out of the kitchen asap.

Kicap Manis Chicken Dish

3 boneless chicken leg quarters, marinate in 2 Tbsp kicap manis sauce and 1 tsp grated ginger for a few hours
1 carrot, cut into chunks

2 handfuls of peas

2 potatoes, cut into chunks

1 tbsp fried shallots

3 Tbsp kicap manis sauce

1. Fry the ready-made fried shallots in a bit of oil.

2. Put in chicken and pan fry until it’s half cooked.

3. Add everything else and let it simmer at low heat for about 1/2 h or until everything is cooked.

4. Serve with rice.

 

Agar-agar

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I have been making loads of agar agar jelly. It’s so refreshing on a hot day.

Usually people would buy a small sachet of agar agar powder that’s about 10g each. That will yield about 1 liter worth of agar agar jelly. 1 liter worth of agar agar really isn’t much. So look what I bought!

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That’s, erm, 700g. That’s like, erm, 70 sachets… To some, that sounds like a life time worth of agar agar. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Don’t judge. 😬

Anyhow, it’s not like I’m leaving it on the shelf to rot, so you can stop rolling your eyes, A. The expiry date is December 2020, so I have about 1.5 years to use it up. I have been making all kinds of flavor… soy milk, milk, coconut milk, strawberry, Milo, almond, lychee, longan…. the picture shows almond milk agar agar. Yum!

The recipe is very simple.

1 tsp agar agar powder

1 to 2.5 cups room temp water/liquid (more liquid yields a softer jelly)

1 Tbsp sugar per cup of water or to taste

Put the agar agar powder in a pot and pour the liquid in. Dissolves more easily this way. Add sugar. Bring to a boil. Doesn’t need to boil for long. I usually turn off the heat when it boils.

Pour into molds and leave to set. Agar agar sets without refrigeration but it’s nicer eaten cold. Not suitable for freezing though.

That’s it. So 700g? Easy.

Biscotti with coconut

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I am seriously addicted to these. Not even funny.

They are thinly sliced, crunchy, chock full of nuts and not too sweet. Simply great for hours of happy nibbling. This is already my 4th batch. 😖

Biscotti

1/4 cup coconut oil

2/3 cup sugar

2 tbsp desiccated coconut

2 large eggs

1  3/4 cup plain flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup pistachio nuts

1/2 cup whole almond nuts

Mix everything together in a large bowl. The dough  will be very sticky. Let it rest for a couple of hours and it will be less sticky. To combat this sticking issue, wet your hands before shaping the dough into 2-4 logs.

Then bake at 150c for about 35 min. Leave it to cool for at least an hour. Using a very sharp knife, slice them as thinly as you can. Spread out the pieces on a cookie sheet and bake at 135c for about 10 min. Turn off the oven and leave them in the oven for about half an hour for them to continue to crisp up.

Cool before storing in an airtight container.

To appreciate it fully, nibble and enjoy it slowly. It’s dainty food. No scarfing allowed. Coffee optional.

Enjoy.

 

Pot Stickers

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My daughter told me I have to blog about this for posterity. I know she’s right when I find myself checking my blog to look for my own recipe!

Pot stickers are also known as dumplings, aka gyoza aka wo tie, aka a hundred other names I haven’t even heard of I’m sure. We can boil it, steam it, pan fry, deep fry it. But I don’t think we can bake it.  I think it would turn out too dry.

It’s easy to make because I don’t have to do the skin. That is easily available in my grocery store. So if you can get it, your job is half done already.

I mix the filling in advance and store it in the fridge. I would use it up over the next few days. Just wrap a few and cook it right before eating. In fact, I have been making it for breakfast at 5.30 am. My friends gave me the status of Super Mom. It sounds so impressive but it’s actually quick and easy.

Pot Stickers

400g minced pork

4 leaves of napa cabbage (cook and squeeze out excess water)

4 mushrooms (diced)

drizzle of sesame oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp chopped garlic

2 tsp corn flour

pepper

Mix everything together. Wrap about 2 tsp of stuffing for each skin. There’s nothing to it. Just wrap it to the shape that you like. There’s no right or wrong.

Then pan fry them with a bit of oil for a few minutes, add about 1/4 cup water to the pan, cover the pan and let it cook for about 4-5 min.

That’s all.

You can totally do this at 5.30am.

 

 

 

Pumpkin Buns

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I only started watching Korean drama last month.  It was more like “companionship tv-watching”.  I watch it to keep my daily guests company.

There’s this particular series where a girl works for a grouchy baker who makes wonderful pumpkin bread.  After a few episodes, I felt like I needed to get my hands on some pumpkin bread!  And you know me.  Won’t occur to me to go out and search for pumpkin bread.  Instead I searched for pumpkins!

My foray into pumpkins ended about 20 years when I broke 2 knives trying to cut open an acorn squash.  Of course those were cheap knives.  But, you know, these days the grocery stores sell them in pieces.  It’s much easier to cut them when they are already cut open.  So I just peel it and cut it into smallish cubes just so that it will steam up faster.  It’s ready when it crumbles under my potato masher.  Then add it into my bread dough.  It’s not difficult.  Don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier.  Now I’m making up for lost time.

Oh ya, this is a no-knead bread recipe.

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Before baking

 

Butter Bomb Pumpkin Buns (updated)

300g fresh pumpkin (steamed and mashed)

1 cup water

1 tsp instant yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

about  3.5 cups plain flour

about 3 tbsp soft butter or oil

Topping: little bits of butter and sugar

extra butter to oil your hands

In a large mixing bowl, put in water, sugar, salt, yeast, mashed pumpkin.  Using your hands, mix in enough flour to get a soft and slighty tacky dough.  Next, add in the butter/oil and mix until the dough is slighty just about to get sticky.  Stop right there.  You should have a soft, pillowy dough now.  Cover and leave it in a warm place for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Divide into 15 pieces and roll into smooth balls and place on well-buttered cookie sheet.  If your dough is sticky, please don’t add more flour. Just Oil your hands with butter. 😋Using your thumb, make thumbprints on each dough.  Fill up the thumbprints with a little knob of butter and sugar.  Leave it to proof for another 15 to 30 min, depending on how warm your place is (my room temperature is about 29c).  Mine was almost ready to go when I was done filling up my thumbprints with butter and sugar.

No need to preheat the oven.  Bake at about 160c for about 20 min.

Please let it cool a bit before eating.  Although I can’t imagine why, it’s better when it’s not burning hot.

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Durian Smoothie

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Recently we happened upon a stall selling durian smoothie in Bangkok. I tell you, it’s BRILLIANT. SIMPLY BRILLIANT.

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All you need is durian (remove the seeds), plenty of ice cubes, a bit of condensed milk to sweeten it, and a little water or milk for blending.

You gotta try it.

BRILLIANT.

Browned Butter Banana Bake

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Sorry, I just had to alliterate that.  It’s actually just banana muffin. heheh.

This is the muffin which I bake for my mom almost every week.  There are variations, of course.  I always believe in variety.  Mostly I try to keep it as natural as possible.  That means no coloring, no artificial flavoring etc.  And I almost always sneak in some oats and/or flax seed meal.

It’s a quick, one pot, one whisk recipe.  Minimal washing.  Probably about 30 min from start to finish.  Great for those who need muffins in a hurry.  Like for when you have a muffin emergency.  My Coz said there’s no such thing as a muffin emergency.  Oh, my dear Coz, sometimes you just need cake.

Browned Butter Banana Bake (makes about 10 )

about 125g or 1 stick butter

less than 1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup mashed bananas (just mash it coarsely with the whisk)

1/2 tsp instant coffee (in lieu of artifical vanilla essence)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup plain flour

1/2 cup instant oatmeal

1/4 cup flax seed meal

less than 1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup nuts

1/2 chocolate chips

In a pot, melt the butter until slightly brown.  Take it off the heat.  Add in the bananas and mash it coarsely with a whisk.   Add in the sugar and eggs.  Mix it with the whisk.  Then add in the rest of the ingredients except chocolate chips. Make sure the batter is cool before adding choc chips.

Line muffin pan with paper cases.  It saves on washing.

Bake at 350F or about 180c for about 20 min.

 

30 min to cake.  About same time as going to the stores to get artificially-flavored cake.  I think it’s a good deal.

Carrot Cupcakes

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I like frosting more than most of my peers. But at the same time I always felt that frosting is used to cover up dry, bland cake. If a cake is good enough, it should be able to stand alone.  For example, brownies. If a brownie is dense, chewy, chocolatey, then frosting it is like *adding legs to a drawing of a snake.

What I am trying to say is that my carrot cake does not need any frosting coz it is yummy on its own.  8D

This is an easy recipe.  Except the grating of carrot part coz I hand grated them on an ancient grater.  I didn’t enjoy that part.  But the eating part, definitely!  It’s moist, tender, and not overly sweet.

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Carrot Cupcakes (makes about 15 cupcakes)

225 g melted butter or 225 ml oil

3 large eggs

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp rum essence

1.5 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup flaxseed meal

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2  1/4 tsp baking powder

9 oz grated carrot (about 2 medium size)

1 cup walnut bits

Mix everything together.

Heat up oven to 180c.  Bake in muffin cups for about 20 min.

 

* A Chinese story about a kid who after drawing a snake decided to add on some legs coz he didn’t know what else to draw.