Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Salted Eggs (Kiam Neng)

The non-descript salted egg, yet so priceless when one lives abroad and is deprived of a product taken for granted back home.
I had never thought of making my own salted eggs as I am the only one, in the family here in Spain who eats them. The mindset was changed by the suggestion of Tiantianchi ( and the willingness of Bppw ( to share his precious recipe.
I was so grateful when Bppw's wife (BppwW) sent me the recipe via private message.
Eggs with white shells are hard to come by where I live, thus I am keen to make another batch when they are available.

This recipe is so simple and fuss free.

Friends have appreciated them as much as I do when I passed some eggs over to them.

1. Coarse salt (or if better Kosher salt) - 0.5 kg
2. Water - 1.5 litres
3. Grade A Fresh Eggs - 10
4. Glass Bottle large enough for the 10 eggs

1. Boil salt and water till salt is dissolved. Remove and set aside for
24 hours. (This is important as you need to cool the solution to make
sure that you don't accidentally "cook" the eggs if the solution is still
2. Strain the solution after 24 hours into the glass bottle and immerse
the eggs gently into it. Cover but leave a gap for air circulation.
3. Store in a cool place for about 21 days. (Test one egg after 18 days.
If not salty continue pickling).

Once again, Bppw and BppwW, thank you very much for sharing and I hope I have done justice to your recipe.

The quality of the yolks plays an important part in making a solid good salted egg.
The eggs used in this recipe were from corn fed chickens.
This is my fourth batch and I have said hello to the eggs each time I see them.
I am itching to have another salted egg.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Chicken and Lentil Cacciatore

This recipe is from Women's Weekly, Healthy Heart Cookbook
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4

Per serving: 17.3g fat; 1858KJ

Store: Recipe can be made a day a head and refrigerated, covered or frozen

1. Cooking-oil spray
2. 8 skinless chicken thigh fillets (880g), halved
3. 1 medium brown onion (150g), chopped finely
4. 300g button mushrooms, halved
5. 1 clove garlic, crushed
6. 2 x 440g cans no-added salt tomatoes
7. 1 tablespoon no added salt tomato paste
8. 1 cup chicken stock (250 ml)
9. 1/3 cup red lentils (65g)
10. ½ cup seeded black olives (60g)
11. 1 tablespoon drained capers
12. 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
13. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Lightly spray large non-stick saucepan with cooking oil spray. Cook chicken until browned all over, turning occasionally. Remove from pan.
2. Add onion, mushrooms and garlic to pan; cook, stirring, until onion is soft. Add unstrained crushed tomatoes, paste, stock and lentils.
3. Return chicken to pan simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Stir in olives, capers, oregano and parsley.

Note: Additional herbs and carrots in photos are my own additions to the recipe.
For correct reading of Per serving: 17.3g fat; 1858KJ, please adhere strictly to the recipe given.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Aubergine with Hoi Sin Sauce

It's obvious that I love aubergines, it is a great influence from mum.
Was wondering the best way to cook the balance piece in the fridge and was inspired at the sight of the bottle of Hoi Sin Sauce.

Aubergines/egg plants/brinjals soak up oil like a sponge thus I was wondering which would be the best way to remedy the problem. I decided to bake them in an oven which would also retain the texture.
There are no specific measurements as such to this recipe as I am just experimenting.

1. One large aubergine, sliced thickly in rings
2. Three tablespoons of Hoi Sin Sauce
3. One tablespoon of Vegetarian/ordinary oyster sauce
4. ½ teaspoon fish sauce
5. Pinch of freshly ground mixed pepper
6. Dash of sesame oil
7. Stalk of celery including leaves, and a spring onion - roughly sliced
8. One teaspoon chilli sauce of your choice (optional)
9. Two tablespoons of onion/vegetable/olive oil
10. 1/4 cup of warm water
11. Teaspoon of potato/corn flour, mixed well with a teaspoon of water (optional)
12. Sesame seed for garnish - amount, according to taste

1. Pre-heat oven on moderate heat, place aubergines in a single layer on an oven tray. Bake uncovered for ten minutes till lightly browned. Flip over and bake for a further ten minutes or more depending on the thickness of the aubergines. Turn the oven off but leave the aubergines in to keep warm. A good idea is to leave a serving dish in the oven to warm up too.
2. Moderate heat, two tablespoons of onion/vegetable/olive oil, fry the white parts of the spring onion together with a dash of ground mixed pepper till fragrant. Lower heat, add Hoi Sin, oyster, fish and chilli sauce, and fry gently for about a minute.
3. Increase heat to medium, add water, stir and mix well. If sauce is too watery, add solution of potato/corn flour mixture. Stir well. Add dash of sesame oil. Adjust seasoning. Add celery/spring onions.
4. Dredge aubergine pieces in the sauce and place on serving dish. Pour remaining sauce over aubergines.
5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving hot with plain rice.

1. Pre-heat oven first BEFORE slicing aubergines. Bake immediately without oil to prevent vegetable from discolouring.
2. Faster way, skip Method '4', simply pour sauce over assembled aubergines

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Runner Beans with Prawns

Isabella doesn't mind the sight of prawn heads in a dish and it would be a shame, in my opinion, to discard the prawn heads as they add an additional dimension to a dish.
Since I didn't cook her an aubergine dish this was what I substituted.

1. Half a kilo of runner beans, sliced according to your choice
2. One carrot, sliced according to your choice
3. Ten large fresh prawns, shelled, de-veined but keep the tails and heads intact
4. Half an onion, sliced
5. Four whole garlic cloves (or less, depending on preference), skinned and lightly bruised
6. One stalk of celery, sliced
7. Dash of sesame oil
8. Pinch of salt
9. 1/2 cup of chicken/vegetable stock with a teaspoon of potato/corn flour added, mix well
10. Five tablespoons of vegetable oil or oil or your choice

1. In a wok, very high heat, add oil, and when oil is smoking, add prawns. After a few seconds flip the prawns over and leave to cook for a few more seconds. Dish up and set aside.
2. In the same wok, (you may need to add more oil, depending on the amount of vegetables), reheat work to smoking, add garlic, stir quickly, add onions, stir for few seconds, and add carrots. Fry for less than a minute, add runner beans, dash of white pepper and pinch of salt.
3. Add chicken stock a bit at a time and stir fry on very high heat. When vegetables are just about done according to your taste, add juice from the prawns and prawns. Fry for less than half a minute, dish up and serve hot.

Do not overcook the prawns. Fresh prawns are very expensive in Spain and it would be a shame to over cook them.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Pork Ribs and Prawn Noodle Soup


We love prawn noodle soup so I save the prawn shells each time I use prawns for any dishes. They freeze very well. Mark the packet(s) for easier retrieval.
Shells from approximately two kilos of prawns yield a delicious soup, full of flavour and natural sweetness from the prawns.
The success of this dish is the stock, thus be patient and you will be appreciating every drop of the soup.

There are many ways to prepare this dish but this is my version.

1. Ten or more large prawns, rinsed and drained on colander
2. Frozen prawn shells and heads, rinsed and drained on colander
3. One rice bowl of fresh whole small shrimps
4. Four tablespoons of dried prawns (shake in sieve to remove grit and dust but do not rinse)
5. Six pieces of medium sized soft pork ribs, blanched
6. One medium sized piece of rock sugar
7. Pinch of salt
8. Noodles of your choice
9. Bean sprouts
10. One stalk of spring onions/celery leaves, finely sliced
11. Small bunch of Water Convolvulus/Kang Kong, pluck only the tender parts (if available)
12. Two tablespoons of vegetable/onion oil
13. Three cloves of whole garlic without skin
14. One slice of ginger
13. Pinch of white pepper
14. Crispy fried shallots/caramelized onions according to taste
15. Ten cups or more of chicken stock excluding stock from cooking raw prawns

Add some liquid and scrape bottom of pot before blending
Blended prawn mixtures
Pork ribs simmering in stock

1. Put just enough water in a small pot to cover raw prawns, bring to a boil. Add raw prawns (not the small fresh shrimp), lower heat to simmer till prawns are just cooked. Reserve liquid for stock. Ladle prawns out and rinse in cold water. Remove shells and de-vein. Save prawn heads and shells to make stock.
2. Wash pork ribs, blanch with hot water, re-rinse and wash well by removing blood and impurities. Set aside.
3. Heat pot (same pot for cooking the prawn stock) on a high heat, add oil and brown ginger and garlic till slightly brown. Add prawn heads, shells, small fresh shrimp, dried prawns, pinch of salt and white pepper. Fry till slightly crispy and aromatic. Add reserved liquid for cooking raw prawns into pot and scrape bottom of pot. The slightly burnt bits enhance the flavouring for the stock.
4. Pour prawn shells mixture into blender, blend till very smooth.
5. Pour mixture back into pot and add chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
6. Add pork ribs, and once water has re-boiled, lower heat to simmer. Remove scum from the surface. Add salt and rock sugar and continue to simmer uncovered until the pork ribs are tender. The stock should be reduced by about half. Add more stock if necessary.
7. Remove pork ribs and sieve the stock. Add pork ribs back to the pot and bring it back to a boil. Adjust seasoning according to taste.

To Serve:
1. In a separate pot, scald noodles for less than ¾ of a minute, add bean sprouts and kang kong (if used) and sieve on colander immediately, divided into individual serving bowls. Top with prawns and pork ribs, then ladle the hot soup over it, garnish with spring onions/celery leaves and/or crispy fried shallots/caramelized onions and serve hot.
2. Serve with sliced fresh red chillies in light soya sauce and fried pork lard if available.
3. Quicker way of cooking, skip under 'Method Step 4' and omit pork ribs. Substitute with pork tenderloin/belly pork or do not use any meat products.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Aubergine with Dried Prawns (Hae Bee Hiam)

My family loves aubergines in any form. My dear sister hand carried a bottle of the precious home cooked Hae Bee Hiam from Singapore to me in Spain. Thousand thanks, sister.

Isabella loves aubergines too and the initial plan was to cook and bring it over for her to eat after her eye operation. I was hesitant that she might be put off by the smell of belachan and dried prawns. Her first meal would be at least twelve hours after her operation. With this in mind, the indulging was mine by default. I shall cook another dish for her.

1. One medium sized aubergine, both ends removed and thinly sliced lengthwise. Brush very lightly with vegetable oil immediately to prevent the aubergines from browning. A brush is obviously ideal but use your fingertips if you do not have a brush.
2. Three tablespoons or more of Hae Bee Hiam
3. Two shallots, thinly sliced
4. One stalk spring onion/coriander, thinly sliced
5. One teaspoon of belachan (Dried shrimp paste)
6. Dash of sesame oil
7. Pinch of white pepper

1. On medium heat, grill or pan fry aubergines without any additional oil till just tender. Set aside.
2. Whilst grilling/pan frying the aubergines, heat another pan on medium low heat. When pan is heated, toast belachan without any oil till aromatic. Push to side of pan.
3. In the same pan on medium heat, add a teaspoon of oil and fry the shallots very gently without browning till aromatic.
4. Lower heat to lowest possible, add Hae Bee Hiam to heat up gently, add pinch of white pepper and mix well with the belachan. Fry gently for about five minutes.
5. Arrange cooked aubergines on a plate and top with Hae Bee Hiam.
6. Sprinkle with spring onions/coriander and serve hot with plain rice.

1. It's optional to use belachan.
2. Do not overcook the Hae Bee Hiam as you are just re-heating the cooked mixture.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Potato With Coarse Grain Mustard

With Broccoli

Without Broccoli

This potato salad is delicious served with grilled meat.

1. Five medium sized potatoes. Place in cold water, add salt, bring to the boil; then cook on medium heat for between 25 to 30 minutes or till it's tender. Drain, set aside to cool slightly, peel skin and slice to desired shapes and thickness.
2. One young celery stalk including leaves finely sliced
3. Small bunch of fresh coriander, finely sliced
4. One Spanish onion – finely sliced
5. Half bottle or canned mixed mushrooms – drain oil, rinse and pat dry
6. ¼ cup of raw broccoli florets (optional)
7. Fresh mint (optional)

1. Three tablespoons of coarse grain mustard
2. Five tablespoons EVO
3. Juice from one medium sized lemon
4. Pinch of salt
5. Dash of freshly ground mixed pepper
6. One teaspoon clear honey or castor sugar
7. Chilli flakes (optional)

1. Mix dressing well, taste and adjust seasoning.
2. Add all ingredients, toss lightly with hands.
3. If using fresh mint, scatter on top of potato, drizzle extra EVO before serving at room temperature.

1. Add potatoes to salad dressing whilst they are still warm to absorb the flavour better.
2. Can prepare overnight. Drizzle with extra EVO, toss lightly before serving at room temperature.

Saturday, 19 July 2008


“We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.” Mother Teresa

Friday, 18 July 2008

HBH's Pork Ribs Soup

When I got home from an outing, mentioned to HBH that I was not having dinner due to a heavy lunch with my friends from the Book Club.
I had prepared Chilli con Carne for his dinner. Feeling tired and lethargic due to the past few days activities, I decided to lie down for a while. My senses were awakening by the smell of cooking permeating upstairs from the kitchen. When I entered to the living room, I found the table was laid for my dinner, chopsticks and all, should I happen to fancy some soup.

The pork ribs soup was robust and delicious without feeling heavy and was a good marriage with the ingredients combined. When asked how he went about preparing it, following was what HBH had to say:

Last night at about 7 pm HB said that she was “just going to lie down for 15 minutes” and that she “did not want anything at all to eat.” From years of experience I knew immediately that I had plenty of time to cook something for her when she woke up.
Now when it comes to cooking I model myself on that Canadian guy on TV who cooks without recipes, and I work very much on the TLAR/TSAR/TTAR principle (That Looks About Right/That Smells About Right/That Tastes About Right).
So the following was what I cobbled together during the two hours that HB was lying down for 15 minutes.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 50 – 60 minutes

Serves: No idea. Depends on how hungry everybody is and the size of the bowls you serve it up in. However, as a guide the maximum number of servings should equal the number of pork ribs.

1. About four pints water
2. Pork ribs (in this case there were 6 in the packet but put in as many as you want)
3. Two potatoes, about the size of a man’s fist, cut into 1¼-1½ inch pieces
4. One white radish (about the size of a peach) cut into similar sizes as the potatoes
5. Two large onions cut into 12 portions each
6. 6 cloves of garlic cut into slices
7. Pinch each of salt, ground black pepper, dried chilli flakes and dried coriander
8. Tablespoon each of chilli oil, light soya sauce and EVO
9. Chicken stock cubes or powder (in this case powder).
10. Two carrots diced into approximately ½ inch pieces
11. Large tablespoon of caramelised onions
12. Couple of dried bay leaves (You can use fresh ones – we just have the dried variety)

1. Put water in a large saucepan on a high heat.
2. Add onions, garlic, bay leaves and pork ribs.
3. Bring to the boil and skim off the scum. It will probably be necessary to do this from time to time during the entire cooking process.
4. Turn heat down to a rapid simmer and add all the other ingredients.
5. After about 10 minutes taste the soup and add more salt/pepper/dried chillies/chicken stock according to taste.
6. Stir occasionally and remove any accumulated scum (although by now there should be very little).
7. Test the vegetables and when they are ready the soup is.

Note: I would have preferred to use chopped up fresh chillies instead of the dried ones. I know we have some in the freezer but I have a suspicion that HB has a secret compartment in it where she keeps all the things I need.

As an alternative to pork ribs, roasted chicken can be substituted. I prefer to take it off the bone but that is a matter of personal preference. It is a good way of using up the remains of a roast chicken dinner as the carcass will add flavour to the soup. When ready to serve remove any of the bones from the soup

The amount of any or all of the ingredients can be varied according to taste. We like to eat spicy food but if you don’t then omit the chillies and the chilli oil.

The only available photo I had was from lunch the next day.

Love .....

“A woman knows the face of the man she loves like a sailor knows the open sea.”

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Assam Curry Fish

My friend, Isabella loves fish, appreciates tangy flavours and also likes chillies. With this in mind, I was geared up to prepare Assam Fish Curry for her lunch today.

The following is not my recipe but I can’t remember where I got it from in the first place.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6-8

1½ lb/750g ikan tengiri/Spanish mackerel or ikan merah/red snapper
½ coconut milk and 1½ cups/375 ml water – mix together
½ inch/120 ml tamarind juice
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons cooking oil

Pounded Ingredients:
8 dried chillies
4 stalks serai/lemon grass
1 inch/2.5 cm kunyit/tumeric
6 cloves garlic
1 thumb size piece ginger

Wash fish in salt water and drain dry. Cut fish along the length into ½ in/1.3 cm slices.
Heat cooking oil in a pan. Fry fish till slightly brown on both sides. Remove
Put in more oil if necessary. Fry pounded ingredients until fragrant. Add santan (coconut milk), fish and salt to taste. Bring to the boil.
Add tamarind juice and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
Dish up and serve hot.

Note some changes I made to the recipe:
I have included red onions, kaffir lime leaves and two tablespoons of my own home cooked chilli sauce into the pounded ingredients. It's vital that oil seeps to the surface of rempah (pounded ingredients) before proceeding to add in the liquid components. This is instrumental to the success of any curry dishes.

Semi-skimmed milk was used as I did not have any coconut milk.
A pinch of sugar and tamarind juice was incorporated into the sauce, adjusted for seasoning BEFORE the fried fish was added.