If you are in the mood for some exotic and rich flavors from South East Asia, do try my Chicken Rendang Recipe.
Rendang is a reduced, thickened meat stew, cooked in coconut milk and spices. Popular in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, you can find unique versions in the different territories.
The distinctness in flavors of each region is attributed to the unique rempah (spice paste) that is used. The different ingredients that go into the rempah, create varied flavors for this dish with a long history.
One thing is common. The use of the freshest ingredients, which include fresh turmeric root, ginger, and galangal. Lemongrass, garlic, shallots, kaffir lime leaves and fresh along with dried chilies are used. Spice powders are absent or seldom used in this dish. Coconut milk and/or roasted coconut paste (kerisik) is also used.
The trademark thick and fiber-rich gravy coats the meat pieces, which are slow-cooked until very tender. A wide wok or skillet is preferred to a deep pot or cooker. Constant stirring is required for a process that can be time-consuming.
A skillful hand is required to make a good rendang. You need to roast the coconut precisely, in order to create a good kerisik. And constant checking and stirring over low heat to ensure the gravy nor the meat is sticking to the pan. Even the slightest scorching os this spice paste can ruin the flavor. You also need some practice, to keep the thick coconut milk from curdling. Maintenance of low heat is of utmost importance.
As the gravy dries up and thickens and braises the meat in the process, the brilliantly tender meat is richly flavored with the rempah ingredients. Absolutely delicious, with steamed rice or Nasi Kunyit (Turmeric Rice), Ketupat (Steamed Pressed rice) or as an addition to Nasi Padang (Miniature banquet consisting of rice with many optional side dishes).
Rendang is believed to have originated in West Sumatra, Indonesia. It can be cooked with Buffalo meat, Beef or Chicken.
Ramadan Porridge | Ramadan Kanji
Ramadan is almost over this year, but I thought it would be good to add a recipe, since so many have mailed/ messaged me requisitioning it. Ramadan Porridge is made so often during the month of Ramadan. It is a warm and comforting porridge that you can enjoy some time after breaking your fast. It is also a good item for the suhr meals. I have a recipe for the basic Cumin Rice Porridge here : (Jeeraka Kanji). This recipe adds to that some vegetables, a little meat and stock. This Ramadan Porridge, makes it more savory and more filling, perfect for when you want to store that energy for the rest of the fasting period.
Here, I have added a little mutton that was removed from the precooked mutton for a Korma that I made. You need very little meat, so it’s a good idea to remove some when you are preparing for another dish, if you plan to make this. Chicken may be used as well.
Try my Salmon Curry!
What is it that makes Salmon, the fish of choice for so many! Apart from the obvious healthy oils and all, it’s truly hard to resist the moist, tender and flaky fish. Are there ‘still’ those out there who are hesitant to even try salmon?? I can’t for the life of me, understand why! Although long ago, even I was reluctant to eat Salmon, reason being; I tried it for the first time in a simple curry, and I must not have done a good job because I decided not to buy salmon again..
Then after some time, I ended up buying it again to try once again, and this time I baked it. It – was – just – amazing! I absolutely love the fact that you can make it into a complete meal over a salad too. Perfect for my low-carb days!
And yes, I finally made a curry that we all loved as well. It is a Salmon Curry with the exotic flavors of Thai ingredients. It comes together simply and tastily!
Mee Goreng Ayam | Malaysian Fried Noodles with Chicken.
Simple and Tasty street food or hawkers food that can be made in your kitchen TODAY! Very basic ingredients in an Asian kitchen. Translated, ‘Mee’ is noodles and ‘Goreng’ means fry. The stir fried noodles with chicken is extremely quick and easy to make as you can see when you watch my video.
Mee Goreng is popular in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. I love how Malaysian cooking balances sweet, spice and sour in so many dishes, so perfectly. I started to learn Malaysian Cooking when I first moved to Singapore over fifteen years ago. I had a few good Singaporean and Malaysian neighbours back then who introduced me to so many things. We would shop, market and cook together. It was so much fun. I have lost contact with them over the years and often hope they will find me through my blog someday. I wonder if they are still cooking the Middle eastern and Indian dishes that I taught them as I am still whipping up a lot of what I learned from them.
Chinese Style Steamed Egg | Steamed Water Egg is the perfect dish if you need to make something extra along with your rice and side dishes as a part of a yummy Asian meal. Silky smooth in texture, this savory set egg custard is absolute comfort! The texture is sometimes difficult to achieve, but after making this so very often for my kids after school meal, I have learned some do’s and dont’s. Today I am sharing them with you.
Later, I will post my recipe for Chawanmushi, which is the Japanese version of steamed egg. The Japanese version incorporates various fillings including, chicken and prawn. It can be had as an appetizer or a small meal by itself!
Back to the Chinese version though… sometimes simple is best. I mean it accompanies rice so well, and you dont need any extra sauces or gravy to moisten your rice so splendidly! The recipe also stretches the use of three eggs, to serve a family of four. Watch my video to make the perfect Chinese steamed egg.
Pisang Goreng or Goreng Pisang? Well the popular snack of deep fried banana is referred to by both of these names, but Goreng Pisang refers to the ‘action’ of cooking the banana while ‘Pisang Goreng’ actually means ‘Fried Banana’. Small sized bananas are fried whole, with a crispy coating enclosing the hot and soft banana filling. Perfect with some tea or an ‘ on the go’ snack. The most important part of Pisang Goreng, is the selection of Pisang (banana). Use firm small bananas that are not too fat. It is sometimes made with elongated slices of plantain as well.
This is one of Indonesia’s favorite snacks, but is very popular in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei and the Philippines.
Char Hor Fun is an absolutely delicious and comforting dish that personifies the essence of ‘Wok Lei’.
What is Wok Lei? ‘Wok Lei translated means ‘wok heat’ or ‘breath of the wok’. It is the intensely gratifying aroma as well as taste, that can only be imparted by a fiery hot wok and some good tossing skills. This is the signature essence of most of your favorite Chinese dishes, that you feel you just can’t replicate at home! While extreme heat is essential, it’s about more than heating your wok till it’s burning hot. It takes practice, but it is not impossible to achieve this irresistible smoky flavor at home.
Hainanese Chicken Rice – This Traditional Chinese preparation of Chicken with Rice is considered one of the national dishes of Singapore.
Here, the chicken and the rice share the spotlight. The chicken is prepared in accordance with traditional Hainanese methods, by poaching the entire chicken at sub-boiling temperatures. Ginger, garlic, spring onion and in some cases, pandan leaves are used to flavor the chicken and rice. The resulting rice is oily, flavorful, fragrant and sometimes known as “oily rice”.
In Singapore, Hainanese chicken rice is served everywhere from school canteens, hawker stalls to high-end restaurants. it is also one of the few local dishes served onboard Singapore Airlines.
The dish is served with a few common accompaniments. The chilli-ginger sauce, dark soya sauce, light soy sauce with a dash of sesame oil, fresh cucumber slices, braised dark soy hard boiled egg and sautéed baby bok choy.
The choice of white (steamed) or roasted chicken is commonly available at almost all eateries. The variants are honey roasted chicken and crispy chicken with lemon sauce.
Here, we take a look at the original white poached chicken, the chicken is silky smooth and oh so tender. Quite unique. If you love Asian food, you must try this one. Scroll down for video.
Beef Kare Kare is a rather unique way to cook beef. This Filipino dish combines stewed beef and yummy stir fried vegetables with a delicious, taste-bud friendly sauce made of peanut butter and ‘bagoong’ – a sautéed dried shrimp paste! Sounds interesting? If you are a serious foodie, this is one dish that you must try out. If you like peanut butter, you will love it.
‘ Bagoong Guisado ‘ is a sautéed shrimp paste. This condiment is really quite tasty! Unlike Thai or Malaysian shrimp paste, it is sautéed, and comes in small bottles. You can even have it as a condiment along with your rice.
My filipina friend, Lyn tells me that I must add enough peanut butter to be able to taste it. It isn’t supposed to be a hidden flavor. Two other special ingredients are used in Kare Kare. One being the Banana Blossom. Although I love it, I didn’t want that texture of the entire blossom affecting the smoothness of the dish so I used banana blossom flower that comes dried in packets. The second special ingredient, is Atsuete/ Annatto /Achiote Seeds. These seeds were introduced to Filipino cuisine by the Spanish and are often used as a natural coloring agent. The seeds have a mild peppery aroma, when fried, similar to sichuan pepper – I felt. They are also known as ‘Poor mans Saffron ‘ and can help to give rice a yellowish color similar to the color imparted by saffron, but much cheaper! When fried in oil, as in the Kare Kare, they give a nice reddish color. The seeds however must be removed after frying as they taste bitter.
Quite a unique sounding dish. Wouldn’t you say? It is quite yummy, I tell you .
Vegetable and Chicken Manchow Soup
Vegetable and Chicken Manchow Soup. A light soup with minced vegetables and cooked chicken. Beautifully flavored with garlic and topped with crisp noodle topping. This quick and simple soup, is a popular Indo-Chinese starter. Despite the name, this dish is not found in the North Eastern Countries. It is actually an adapted dish from Meghalaya, a state in North Eastern India where the cuisine has a high Chinese influence.
It has a soothing effect and is ridiculously simple to prepare. If you happen to be poaching chicken breast for another recipe, you could just remove the stock and a small portion of the cooked chicken for this recipe. I tend to do this very often and everyone is happy to have a bowl of soup before any meal!
Omit the chicken and use vegetable stock for the Vegetarian version.