Monday 29 April 2013

Pandan Soufle Cake

Last weekend, I had 3 baking disasters. The first one was the Ogura Cheesecake. The cake turned out alright but the top got stuck to the cooling rack and got torn off when I removed the cake. This was how it looked like :

What a mess!

And then I baked a marbled chiffon cake. The cake rose beautifully in the oven, but I noticed lots of cracks. It didn't bother me because the surface will be at the bottom anyway. When I removed the cake and inverted it on the cooling rack, the whole cake dislodged itself from the pan 5 minutes later. Aiks! What was that, I asked myself. 

The batter looked promising.

I lifted the chiffon pan and my God! My chiffon cake was all scrunched up in a heap. I touched it and it was dry and hard. I reckon the oven was too hot. You see, when the oven was ready, I was still struggling to alternate my batter. It was a good 15 minutes later when I put the cake into the oven. My auntie did tell me that I must not leave the oven on preheat mode for too long. My heart sank. And I felt really down. Don't worry, I told myself. It's just a cake! I can always try again. But I couldn't help feeling upset, that's the way that I am. I wanted to snap a photo of the failed chiffon but I was too depressed to get the camera. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Not bad looking but no pandan smell. Sigh.....

The next morning I baked this Pandan Soufle Cake. Everything was going along fine and as I was pouring the batter into the pan, I realized to my horror that I had forgotten to add pandan essence. Oh no, not again! Yaaaarrghhh!!!!!! Another baking disaster. I was so disappointed with myself. Whatever it was, I proceeded to bake the cake. I am sure it will still taste good, I comforted myself.

Cooling upside down. Hopefully the top won't get stuck.

The cake baked nicely and to avoid the top getting stuck to the cooling rack, I lined it with baking paper. My previous attempt to line the rack resulted in my Mango Yogurt Cottony Cake getting some of it's top torn off. That cake didn't stick to the cooling rack but got stuck to the baking paper and I wonder why.

Phew! The top is intact.

It worked and the top of the cake didn't get stuck. Phew! At least things were looking up for me. I sliced the cake and tasted a piece. Mmmmm!!! Nice! It was cottony soft and tasted pretty good even though I missed the pandan essence. I felt very much better. At least this cake looked alright and tasted good. And I decided to put it up here since you people won't be able to detect the absence of pandan :)

In the afternoon, I read Quay Po's post titled Bad Things Come in Clusters All at Once. I could definitely identify with the title. What a coincidence. Bad cakes come in clusters too, I thought, until I read what happened to Quay Po and Quay Lo. My cake disasters pale in comparison and I chided myself for being so silly. Baking is supposed to be fun and relaxing. And here I am making a big deal out of nothing. Quay Po, thank you for opening my eyes. Hope you and Quay Lo recover soon.

This Pandan Soufle Cake comes from Kimmy of Cooking Pleasure. I attempted this cake twice previously and both turned out well except that the top got stuck to the cooling rack. And I have adjusted the baking temperature and time to suit my oven. I also adjusted the amount of ingredients for a 9" pan. I love this cake a lot and it will be baked again and again. And I will not forget the pandan essence:)

Pandan Soufle Cake
Recipe source : Adapted from Cooking Pleasure

Ingredients :

Egg Yolk Batter :
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 80ml coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon pandan essence
- 65ml extra virgin coconut oil (or any neutral tasting vegetable oil)
- 65g superfine flour (or ordinary cake flour)

Egg White Batter
- 5 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 75g fine granulated sugar

- Green food colouring

Method :

For the egg yolk batter :
1. In a mixing bowl, add egg yolks, whole egg, coconut milk, pandan essence and oil. Whisk to mix well.
2. Add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Whisk to mix evenly. Set aside.

For the egg white batter :
1. Add cream of tartar to the egg whites and whisk using a cake mixer till frothy.
2. Add sugar gradually while whisking.
3. Continue to whisk until stiff peaks.

To complete the cake :
1. Take 1/3 of the egg white batter and fold into the egg yolk batter.
2. Then fold in the rest of the egg white batter in two additions.
3. Remove 1/3 of the batter to another bowl. Add a drop of green coloring and mix well.
4. Pour 1/3 of the plain batter into a 9" pan lined with parchment paper followed by all the green batter.
5. Pour in the rest of the plain batter on top of the green batter.
6. Smooth the top of the batter and tap the cake pan firmly on a work surface a few times to release trapped air bubbles.
7. Steam bake at 140C for 55 minutes (please adjust according to your oven).
8. Remove cake from oven and invert on cooling rack. Remove the cake pan immediately.
9. Carefully remove the baking paper and let cake cool completely.

Note : I folded the batter using my bare hand. After folding 1/3 of the egg white batter into the egg yolk batter, I poured the egg yolk batter into the remaining egg white batter and folded by hand until well mixed.

Friday 26 April 2013

Pajeri Nenas Stail Kelantan (Kelantan Style Pineapple Pajeri)

As far as I know, Pajeri Nenas or Paceri Nenas is more of a curry like dish with spice paste. I have only eaten it once or twice. According to Azie, this Kelantan version is simple, very much like acar. I like this Kelantan version very much because it has none of the heavy oily spice paste. Instead, it is very simple and refreshing, and cuts through the oiliness of Nasi Minyak and other accompanying dishes. If you are wondering how come my pineapples are extra golden yellow, well, it is because I had a small accident while cooking. 

When it was time to add the 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder, I tried to be clever. Or rather I was too lazy to get a teaspoon. I decided to tip the turmeric powder into the wok direct from my glass bottle. And you guessed it, whoomph! About 1 tablespoon (or maybe more) fell onto my pineapples. You should see me in action trying to remove the excess turmeric powder. I should have known better than to pull a stunt like that. 

I managed to remove most of it but the damage was already done. Although the Pajeri Nenas turned out well, the turmeric smell was a bit overpowering.

When determining how much vinegar and sugar to use, taste your pineapples first. If it is on the sweet side, use more vinegar and less sugar and vice versa. In my case, the pineapple was sour so I reduced the vinegar and increased the sugar.

Pajeri Nenas Stail Kelantan 
Recipe source : Adapted from Azie Kitchen

Ingredients : 
- 1 pineapple (I used the ready peeled Crystal Pineapple, 230g)
- 1 big onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 100ml distilled vinegar (adjust according to taste)
- 1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 red chilli, sliced (optional)
- Some water (I did not use any)

Method :
1. Cut pineapple into small pieces.
2. Heat some oil in wok and add mustard seeds until they pop.
3. Add sliced onions and garlic. Saute until onions are wilted.
3. Add a little bit of water, vinegar, sugar, salt and turmeric powder.
4. Bring to a boil and add pineapple and red chillies.
5. Bring to a simmer and adjust seasoning.
6. Dish out and serve.

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest Kelantan Month hosted by Gertrude of My Kitchen Snippets.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Nasi Minyak Kelantan (Kelantan Ghee Rice)

I was looking for the Kelantan version of Nasi Minyak and  I came across Nasi Minyak Mak Aji Kelantan. I love Nasi Minyak very much because it is so delicious. I think I can easily eat two plates of Nasi Minyak if it is served with Ayam Masak Merah, Ayam Masak Pedas or Kuzi Ayam :) And if there is Acar Timun Mentah or Pajeri Nenas, I say, you will see me fixed to the dining table hah! hah!

Plain without raisins and fried shallots.

Being a Nasi Minyak maniac, I have looked at many recipes and my observation is that the ingredients used are pretty much the same with only minor variations from state to state.  For example, this Kelantan version contains tomato sauce. 

The recipe doesn't mention using any coloring but I decided to use some yellow colouring after looking at Azie's Nasi Minyak. The original intention was for the Nasi Minyak to look like Azie's, i.e. only certain spots are deep yellow. But I don't know what happened and the rice all turned yellow with certain spot having a deeper colour. I followed the correct procedure but maybe I stirred the rice too soon. But it looked nice :)

I did not have lemongrass, so I did not use any.

Nasi Minyak is actually very easy to cook. You just need onions, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, pandan and the 4 essential spices. Saute these till fragrant, add rice and then transfer everything to the rice cooker. It is an impressive dish which will wow your guests.

How could anybody resist this delicious rice.

To saute the ingredients, I have used a mix of ordinary cooking oil and ghee because even though I appreciate the aroma of ghee, I can't tolerate too much of it as it can be overpowering. You can also omit ghee if you don't have it.

Acar Timun Mentah.

I served this Nasi Minyak with Ayam Masak Pedas, Pajeri Nenas and Acar Timun Mentah (recipe below). It was a heavenly meal :)

Nasi Minyak Kelantan
Recipe source : Adapted from Cik Ro at

Ingredients :
- 2 cups Basmati rice
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- Salt to taste (I did not add salt)

- 1 big onion (a small sized one, finely sliced)
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 inch ginger, finely minced
- 3 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 2 cardamom
- 1/2" cinnamon stick
- 1 pandan leaf, knotted
- 4 tablespoons tomato sauce

- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon ghee

- some yellow coloring (optional)

Garnishing (optional)
- some fried shallots, made from 5 shallots
- 2 tablespoons raisins, briefly fried in the oil used to fry shallots, to plump them up

Method :
- Wash and drain Basmati rice and set aside.
- Heat oil/ghee in wok and saute onions, garlic, ginger, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick and pandan until fragrant and onions are wilted.
- Add rice and stir to ensure rice is well coated with the sauteed ingredients and oil.
- Transfer to rice cooker and add water, milk, tomato sauce and salt.
- Cook the rice as you would normally do.
- If you wish to use colouring, pour colouring at 3 spots on surface of the rice the moment the rice is cooked. DO NOT STIR yet. Cover and leave for 10-15 minutes.
- Stir the rice to loosen the grains and to distribute the coloured grains evenly.
- Garnish with fried shallots and raisins if using.

Note : If using raisins, plump them up by frying them briefly in hot oil.

Acar Timun Mentah
Recipe source : Adapted from Azie Kitchen

Ingredients :
- 2 medium sized cucumbers.
- 1 big onions, finely sliced
- 1 red chilli, sliced
- 1 green chilli, sliced
- 1 cup vinegar (240 ml)
- 1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

Method :
1. Cut the cucumbers into 4 and remove the pith.
2. Cut into 1" strips.
3. Put cut cucumbers, onions and chillies into a mixing bowl.
4. Mix vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
5. Pour vinegar mixture into the mixing bowl and toss to mix.
6. Taste and adjust seasoning of necessary.

Note : It is not necessary to boil the vinegar. I did that to speed up the pickling process. I usually prepare this acar one day ahead before serving.

Served with Ayam Masak Pedas, Acar Timun Mentah and Pajeri Nenas.

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest Kelantan Month hosted by Gertrude of My Kitchen Snippets.

Monday 22 April 2013

Ayam Masak Pedas (Hot and Spicy Chicken)

When I saw this dish at Azie Kitchen, it reminded me of Ayam Masak Merah. It has the same red fiery appearance but looking at the ingredients, it is a little bit different as it does not contain cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. It is probably the Kelantan version of Ayam Masak Merah.

Since I wanted to cook Nasi Minyak Kelantan, I decided that Ayam Masak Pedas would complement the rice beautifully. I have always loved the combination of Nasi Minyak and Ayam Masak Merah. These are the dishes I look forwards to at Malay weddings.

Marinated chicken steamed over high heat for about 10 minutes.

The recipe requires the marinated chicken to be briefly boiled first before frying but I decided to steam the chicken instead. After the chicken was steamed to precook it, I deep fried it until it was slightly brown around the edges. I usually dread deep frying  (except when making fritters and frying keropok hah! hah!) because it uses up a lot of oil and it makes my kitchen oily. But if it is necessary, then of course I will gladly do it.

Deep fried chicken pieces.

The next process would be to saute the ground spice paste until aromatic and then tomato and chilli sauce is added together with sliced onions and green peas. Simmer the sauce until onions are slightly tender and then the fried chicken pieces are added. Once everything is well mixed, you are done.

Served with Nasi Minyak and accompanying goodies. 

So how did this dish fare? It was delicious, the garlic, ginger and onions made it aromatic while the tomato and chilli sauce made it sweet and tangy. However, I could not help  comparing it to Ayam Masak Merah and I missed the presence of cloves, cardamon and cinnamon. Having said that, these 3 spices in the Nasi Minyak more than made up for their absence in this dish and the pairing was excellent.

Ayam Masak Pedas
Recipe source : Adapted from Azie Kitchen

Ingredients : 

- 3 chicken legs, cut into 9 pieces.

Spice paste :
- 5 dried chillies, soaked to soften
- 2 big onions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2"' ginger

Sauce ingredients :
- 4 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 4 tablespoons chilli sauce
- Salt and sugar to taste

- 2 big onions, sliced
- 1 small can of green peas

Method :

To make the marinade and spice paste :
1. Blend the onions, garlic and ginger first.
2. Remove 2 tablespoons of the blended ingredients.
3. Then add dried chillies into the blender and continue to blend the spice paste.
4. To the 2 tablespoons of blended ingredients, add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Use this to rub all over the chicken pieces and let marinate for 1/2 hour.

To cook the chicken :
1. Steam marinated chicken over high heat for 10 minutes.
2. Heat oil in wok and deep fry the chicken pieces until slightly brown (need not brown all the way through)
3. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

To prepare the sauce :
1. Heat oil in wok and saute the spice paste until aromatic and slightly thick.
2. Add tomato and chilli sauce.
3. Season with salt and sugar.
4. Add the sliced onions and peas. Simmer until onions are slightly tender.
5. Lastly, add fried chicken pieces and stir to coat the chicken pieces with the sauce.

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest Kelantan Month hosted by Gertrude of My Kitchen Snippets.

Saturday 20 April 2013

Singgang Tulang Lembu (Kelantan Beef Ribs Soup)

I really did not know what to expect when I set out to cook Singgang Tulang Lembu. This recipe comes from Azie Kitchen and being a beef lover I figured that maybe, just maybe I might like this soup. Looking at the ingredients, there are some aromatics used such as lengkuas (galangal), ginger and corriander seeds. But still, as this is the first time I will be tasting Singgang Tulang, I was apprehensive but as they say, never try, never know.

Azie's recipe does not provide amounts of ingredients used and this is understandable. As home cooks, we rely on "agak-agak" (estimates) and it is really quite tedious if we set out to measure our ingredients. So what I did was use a bit of imagination when I cooked this soup.

The coriander seeds will sink to the bottom once the soup is cooked.

This is quite an easy soup to cook. Everything is put into the pot and boiled until the beef is tender. I should have put the coriander seeds into a muslin bag as it would make it easier to remove. But since most of the seeds sank to the bottom of the pot, I can just avoid scooping the last bits of the soup.

I couldn't get meaty beef ribs so I just made do with frozen beef bones. There's some meat on it and the amount is just nice. What I did was to boil the beef bones first to clean it from blood and scum. Then I rinsed it before boiling it together with the other ingredients.

I was a bit careless and scooped up the coriander seeds at the bottom of the pot.

As the soup simmered, the aroma of lengkuas, ginger and coriander wafted through my kitchen. It was a very pleasant smell and I was somewhat assured that this soup would be good.

Not an attractive looking soup but has very robust flavors.

It took about 2 and a half hours for the beef to become tender. When I tasted the soup, wow, very nice flavours! It reminded me of another soup which is Sup Bunjut. I kept some of the soup and reheated it the next day and the soup tasted even better. The aromas of the lengkuas, ginger and coriander had fully penetrated the meat and there was none of the usual beefy smell. I was very happy that the soup turned out very well. If I cook this again, I guess there is no harm if I added carrots and potatoes.

Singgang Tulang Lembu
Recipe source : Adapted from Azie Kitchen

- 1.2kb beef bones/beef ribs
- 10 shallots, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1.5 inch lengkuas/galangal, sliced
- 1.5 inch old ginger, sliced
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed (put in muslin cloth if preferred)
- 1 piece asam keping/asam gelugor
- 5 dried chillies, washed (no need to soak)
- 1 liter water or more
- Salt and seasoning to taste (I used Maggi all purpose seasoning only)

Method :
1. To clean the beef ribs, rinse and boil for about 10 minutes.
2. Drain and rinse the beef ribs.
3. Put the ribs and all other ingredients except salt/seasoning into pot.
4. Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer.
5. Simmer for about 2 to 3 hours until beef is tender.
6. Season to taste.

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest Kelantan Month hosted by Gertrude of My Kitchen Snippets.

Friday 19 April 2013

Chilli Bean Roasted Chicken Wings

It's income tax season in Malaysia! Yes, that time of year for hair pulling and face clawing, running helter skelter looking for your receipts and what not to make claims for reliefs and rebates. What fun! Actually, if you put in place a system to organize your receipts and whatever, it's not that bad. I hang a nice little organizer in my study and as and when I incur a claimable expense, I slot my receipts and any other relevant items in there.

Things like dividend vouchers, medical and life insurance statements, receipts for books etc. won't go missing again. Come March and April, I can easily retrieve my documents. But of course there are situations when you may have your documents in place, but motivation to actually start doing your returns is another matter. I always like to get my tax filing out of the way, pay my dues and get on with my life.

When the e-filing system opened on 1 March 2013, I was all revved up to get my returns in. Call me mad but beating deadlines is my only form of extreme sports and I didn't realize that I was that competitive. But alas, as well organized as I was, I missed out my Dad's medical bill which my Mum (from whom I inherited the genes for good organization) had put inside my Dad's medical folder.

The next day, 2 March 2013 (a Saturday), I sat in front of my computer and logged in. When I hit the send button, what I got was a  system error message. Alamak! The system was not ready for me. Hmmmph! No matter, this can wait. It's not as if the Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (Inland Revenue Board) was giving out prizes to the first tax return filed.

Come Monday morning, I filed my returns. The folks at the LHDN must be wondering who is this mad cow. If only we had more taxpayers like this one. Hee..hee....So what do chicken wings have to do with all this? A celebration of course! For getting my tax affairs sorted out early and fulfilling my responsibility as a taxpayer.

The marinade for the wings is the one I used for my Chilli Bean Roasted Chicken.

Chilli Bean Roasted Chicken Wings
Recipe source : Phong Hong

Ingredients :
- 10 chicken wings, cleaned and pat dry

Marinade :

- 5 cloves garlic, finely pounded
- 1" ginger, finely pounded
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons light soya sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon chilli bean sauce
- 1 tablespoon black vinegar
- 1 tablespoon oil

Method :
1. In a mixing bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients together.
2. Pat dry the chicken wings and put them in a freezer bag.
3. Pour marinade into the bag, seal and using your hands, move the wings around to coat evenly with the marinade.
4. Leave to marinate in the fridge at least 4 hours of overnight.
5. Before roasting, bring the wings out to come to room temperature.
6. Preheat oven to 180C.
7. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil.
8. Arrange chicken wings in a single layer and roast for 30-40 minutes or until wings are cooked and browned.
9. Baste with excess marinate every 10 minutes and turn the wings at half time.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Sweet Corn and Sago Dessert

Mmmmm.....I have forgotten the wonderful taste of santan, gula Melaka and pandan. And you can imagine my delight when I tucked into this Sweet Corn and Sago dessert. When I was thinking of what else I could do with corn, I suddenly remembered my Grandma's "pengat" and she has made a "pengat" with sweet corn, santan and eggs. I have never cooked this type of dessert before and as usual I would peep into K. Nor's kitchen for ideas and found a recipe for Bubur Jagung. Thank you my friend for this delicious dessert!

I know that my Mum will be very surprised to see me cooking Bubur Jagung because back home we never cooked stuff like this. Only at my Grandma's do we get to eat all this "pengat-pengat" and the truth be told, I never really appreciated it when I was a child. My Ee-Ee however cooks these type of desserts which in Cantonese is referred to as "thong sui" or loosely translated as "sugar water/sugar drink ???" (I think so lah, correct me if I am wrong). We all love her "thong sui" which she would serve after dinner.

I had some leftover corn from making Corn and Vegetable Fritters and the amount was just nice for me to make this dessert. It is so simple. Just boil the corn in water until it is tender, then add sugar, gula Melaka and santan. Simmer and then add the soaked sago and continue to simmer until the sago turns translucent. This dessert can be served warm but I cooled and chilled it in the fridge. I was too lazy to cook dinner and I just had this dessert instead :) And I really, really enjoyed it very much. Ah, the freedom to choose what to eat for dinner. Hee..hee...

I am reproducing K. Nor's recipe below with my modifications in red.

Sweet Corn and Sago Dessert (Bubur Jagung)
Recipe source : Secubit Garam

Ingredients :
- 3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels ( I used about 1.5 cups)
- 5-6 cups water (I used enough to cover the corn)
- 1 cup fresh santan/coconut milk (I used about 100ml of the packet santan)
- 1/2 cup sago, soaked (I used 2 tablespoons and soaked for about 15 minutes)
- 3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste (I used 1 tablespoon)
- Some gula Melaka/palm sugar (I used about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/2 an egg, beaten (I omitted)
- 2 pandan leaves, knotted (I used only 1)
- a pinch of salt or to taste

Method : 
1. Boil corn, pandan and water.
2. Once it is boiling, add sugar, gula Melaka, salt and santan.
3. Lower the flame and simmer until corn is tender, stirring constantly to prevent the santan from curdling.
4. Rinse the soaked sago and drain.
5. Bring the corn mixture to a boil and add sago and beaten egg. Stir so that the egg does not curdle.
6. Continue to simmer until sago is translucent.
7. Serve warm or chilled. 

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by Esther of Copycake Kitchen.