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Devilled Curry Prawns

 

This is an interesting recipe from a friend, Mr. Viki who is a well known poet and hails from Sri Lanka.

He is known to be a great cook and I have eaten some of his creations such as his cutlets both fish as well as vegetarian, they were excellent. He brought it when we went for a retreat so it was like fabulous picnic food.

On another occasion, when we wanted to celebrate a mutual friend’s birthday, we threw a potluck party and this is the dish that he had cooked and brought. It was soo good!

I asked him to share his recipe and this is it!

His recipe seems to have many ingredients but I can tell you it is worth the effort of cooking this dish. I have done the dish with little changes and it came out fantastic. It is a good party dish and goes so well with wine as a starter.

For most of us a steaming plate of rice is enough accompaniment. But if you remove the shells of the prawns, or reduce the chilies then it can be rolled into breads etc. I had some leftovers, which I spread on pizza dough and baked quickly. Oh my goodness – so delicious!

The dish is very spicy with plenty of chilies and fresh peppers and I loved it with just wine alone.  The recipe given here is exactly as Mr. Viki had given me.

Thank you Viki for a wonderful recipe. Wish to learn from you more!  My dear friends – make this dish and taste for yourself the superb flavors in this delicious prawn dish.

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Sambal Belachan – So shiok!

Some years ago, I went to Janda Baik in Malaysia for a course on Awareness Before Change 

It was my Company that encouraged me to go for it. To go for this course was one of the best  decisions that I made – I should say. It changed my life, the way I think and what to do if I ever need to get what I want. I am not saying need. It is What I want!. I didn’t practise what I learnt because I don’t have any wants in life. If I had been the go getter probably I would be a multi millionaires now!

No! I was more intrigued by the lifestyle of the trainers, the Colonel and his beautiful petite wife and who they have become to be.

At Janda Baik, at lunch time, our long wooden table always carried a cane basket full of this winged beans which were plucked  from the garden or maybe from the jungle nearby.

I was not going to eat vegetables that were not cooked especially vegetables that I am not familiar with. But I was coersed by the Cooks that I should try as it is very good for health.  Decided to give a try and it was indeed very refreshing.  I was hooked!

Back in Singapore – I couldn’t find it for a long time. I wanted my girls to eat this vegetable because they enjoy raw food. And I got a friend to buy it at a local market. (now I can get it at the Kranji farm which has this organic vegetable and other varieties too). But to eat this raw one needs a sambal to go with it.

I notice most of our various cultures have some form of sambals/dips in the diet. Indians have their chutneys, pickles, Italians their various olive oil dips, Thais have their nam prik, nam pla and many more.

But I love a mean sambal belachan which can be eaten with raw vegetables, or stir fried or as an accompaniment to rice.

As a child in my grandma’s place in Bukit Timah, I have seen my Malay neighbours eating together as a group using one huge tray of food. They sit on the floor in a circle around the tray and enjoy their rice with boiled vegetables, sambal belachan and fried fish. It is a sight to behold. I remember allowing them into my grandma’s garden to pluck sweet potato leaves and tapioca and some other vegetables on a regular basis.

My grandma was a giver of food, just like my mum. I remember that almost daily, some people will come and ask for permission to pluck fruits and vegetables. We had plenty to eat and to give away too.

I remember too, when I was married and had my own place, there were just too many ladies fingers and brinjals in my backyard that I gave away daily. Sometimes I pack it and give to whoever I meet when I go for a walk or when I wanted to fetch my girls from school.

Somehow this habit of giving food has been instilled in me that I tend to cook more than necessary so that I can pack the leftovers for my guests to bring home too.

Now when I am teaching baking or cooking at my Potong Pasir Community Club, I also tend to cook extra and my student residents are just too happy to have more. And I do this teaching voluntarily too.   I remember my WEC Chairman, Ms Jenny Yong, telling me once when I initially started to teach about 5 ½ years ago, that we want happy residents.  I totally agree with her.

This joy of seeing others happy is just too great. Money definitely cannot buy that, right? (more…)

Ayam Belado

ayam belado 2

 

Ayam belado means tangy chicken sambal in the Indonesian language.

Sambal refers to any dish that contains ground chilli paste which is cooked with some other ingredients to make it very palatable and appetising.  Most people I know drool over a very good sambal. You will drool over this too as it is ridiculously easy and tasty to make.

This chicken dish has been a family favourite for some time.  Simple as it is and goes very well with rice or chappati or other staples. I have actually tweaked the recipe which I got from a  friend’s mother, and she learnt it from her mother! Some recipes are generations old and soo good!

I wrote the recipe while she verbally gave me the ‘hows’ to do it.  In her recipe she used fresh red chillies and chilli padi (Bird’s eye chilli). This will make this dish very very hot.  You may want to try it especially those of you who love extremely hot food.  Or you may substitute red chillies to fresh green chillies .

I have tried many versions but this version is very simple, tested and tried many times over.

 

ayam belado 1

 

You may want to grind the ingredients for the ground paste in double portions as you can freeze it to do other variations of this dish, using squid, prawns or fish.  So go ahead and cook it and give me comments or if you have any questions, I will gladly answer them.

 ayam belado 3

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Tauhu Sambal

tauhu sambal 2

 

There are many times when I prefer to eat non-meat meals at home. Inevitably it will be legumes. One such bean is the soya bean and when it is transformed to tauhu (beancurd) – it tastes wonderful.

Tauhu on its own is bland, it is nicer deep fried or added to curries and sambals.

 

tauhu sambal 1

 

The Chinese love their tauhu, so do the Malays, the Indians have their paneer (indian cheese) as the substitute but then tauhu is so readily available in the supermarkets and is also very economical.

Many people I know love tauhu sambal, it’s my family’s favourite too, hence this simple version. I have made it with very little oil. It is also a protein rich dish and can be eaten with my spinach pilaf, or just plain rice and chappati. The ground paste can be made ahead. It also freezes well.   Once you have the ground paste ready, you could make this dish in 15 to 20 minutes. So no excuse to say no time to cook!

 

spinach pilaf 2
Tauhu sambal, pictured with spinach pilaf (recipe for which is on the blog)

 

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Claypot Chicken Rice

claypot chicken rice

 

I have been making this one-dish rice recipe since my 2 girls were little. It is a complete dish with carbohydrates, proteins and vegetables. I can play around with the ratio of each depending on who will be eating on that day.  For me, I love more vegetables so I add extra cabbage, bak choy or even spinach.

Always use a whole chicken, bones and all, as it makes the rice very tasty.  I have made this rice dish using different varieties of rice such as basmati, jasmine, brown etc. Each time, the dish tastes fabulous. A great dish for celebrating birthdays with the young ones!

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chinchalok chicken

Chinchalok Chicken

chinchalok chicken

 

This is a dish that uses Chinchalok to give it a unique taste.

Chinchalok is a Malaccan food made from fermented baby shrimps or krill. You need to add fresh red chillies, lime juice and shallots to make it as a condiment. Usually, it is a sauce for steamed or barbecued seafood. It is considered a delicacy as I have seen most older folks enjoying steamed cockles with this condiment at open air food centres and coffee shops. Nowadays, though, you can get a bottle of chinchalok sauce in a supermarket and cook many dishes with it. I am using chicken today.

If you like food that is a little spicy, lemony, and salty, then this dish will definitely become one of your favourite chicken dishes. It goes very well with steamed rice or chappati. Importantly, it’s so quick and easy too. If you want to have more gravy, increase the amount of water, chinchalok and onions in the dish.

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