Saturday, 29 January 2011

Din's college friend whom he has not met for 30 years, came from the United States and stayed with us over the weekend. I was thrilled to bits when he took over my kitchen and taught me how to make the perfect MoHinGha. You are amazing Min! Your MoHinGa is also amazing! Thank you!

Ingredients for broth:~
5 slices of Catfish
3 lemongrass, bruised

Ingredients to pound:~
6 cloves of garlic
1 inch of ginger
2 red chillies
2 bird's eye chillies

Condiments Ingredients :~
5 boiled eggs, halved
8 shallots, sliced thinly & washed
6 garlic, chopped, fried in 2 tbsp of hot oil and 1 tsp turmeric powder till golden brown & crunchy
1 bowl of crushed crunchy rice flour crispies (penderam/tempeyek)
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
2 stalks of coriander roots, sliced thinly
8 sliced bird's eye chillies, sliced & soaked in 4 tbsp fish sauce

Other ingredients:~
1 pack of Japanese rice flat noodles (boiled according to package instructions or for about 8 minutes with 1 tsp oil & 2 tsp salt)
1/4 cup oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
5 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp of fish paste
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp rice flour diluted in 2 tbsp water

~Method for the broth~
1. Boil about 6 cups of water in a pot.
2. Put the catfish slices into the boiling water.
3. Put in the lemongrass.
4. Boil the catfish & lemongrass for about 15 - 20 minutes
5. Remove the fish from the broth. Allow it to cool.
6. Debone the fish. Put the fish aside to be cooked later.
7. Put the bones back into the broth.
8. Allow the broth to continue roll boiling on low heat until ready for use.
9. When ready for use, drain and retain the broth.
10.Throw the bones & lemongrass away.

~Method for MoHinGa gravy~

1. Heat oil in a heavy based pot. Sautee' the pounded ingredients.
2.Throw in the chopped onions. Sautee' further.
3. Put in the turmeric.
4. Add the deboned fish. Chop the fish up while it is cooking in the pot.
5. Add the paprika.
6. Pour in the reserved strained fish broth.
7. Add the fish broth.
8. Put in the shrimp paste.
9. Add the black pepper.
10 Thicken the fish broth with the rice flour mixture.

To assemble:~
1. Put the noodle in a bowl.
2. Pour the thick catfish broth over the noodle.
3. Sprinkle with the shallots, fried chopped garlic, crunchy rice flour crispies and coriander roots.
4. Put in boiled egg in the bowl.
5. Squeeze with some lemon juice.
6. Extra amazing when eaten with bird eye's chillies in fish sauce.

I always like to cook a side dish that can be eaten together with white rice and a main. Ikan Bilis & Kacang Sira keeps well, tastes amazing....absolutely easy to cook if your technique is correct, and goes beautifully with any main dish. So, after cooking it, I bottled it up so we can eat it anytime, anywhere, with anything!

2 cups of crispy fried ikan bilis
2 cups of deep fried peanuts
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup chilli paste
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tsp salt

1. Heat oil in a heavy pan.
2. Put in the chilli paste. Cook for about 3 minutes on low fire.
3. Put in the sugar, vinegar & salt. Keep stirring & cook for another 6 minutes or until it bubbles & slightly caramelized.
4. Turn off the flame. Stir in the fried peanuts & anchovies. Coat it evenly.

Friday, 28 January 2011

My family loves flavoured rice much more than plain white rice. It could be due to our Johorean upbringing or simply because it's such a treat to have Beriani Gam, Nasi Tomato, Nasi Dhal or Nasi Minyak. These varieties of rice are normally eaten during festivities. So, my home seems like we have special occasions every week, as that's how often we have these flavoured rice!

3 cups of Basmathi rice, washed & drained
3 1/2 cups of water
2 inches of ginger blended with 1 cup of water
1/4 cup of oil
1 tbsp ghee
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
5 cardamom
2 screwpine leaves, knotted
5 cloves
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of evaporated milk combined with 2 tbsp lime juice

1. Put the rice in the rice-cooker pot.
2. Pour in the water and the ginger juice.
3. Put in the salt.
4. In a small pan, heat the oil & ghee.
5. Put in the cinnamon, star anise, cardamom & cloves. Add the screwpine leaves.
6. Sautee' the onions & garlic till it becomes transparent.
7. Pour everything in the small sautee' pan into the rice pot, over the rice.
8. Stir everything in and start the rice cooker.
9 As soon as the rice is ready, pour the milk & lime juice mixture over the rice.
10. Allow the rice to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

There are days when I love a simple, smooth plain scrambled eggs. Mostly though, I love my scrambled eggs with heaps & heaps of chopped onions! Crunch here & crunch there, in between the smooth silky eggs. Yummy!!!

3 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp milk
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

1. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add the milk.
2. Season with salt & pepper.
3. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a shallow, heavy based pan.
4. Sautee' the chopped onions till it becomes transparent.
5. Put the eggs into the pan.
6. Stir gently and continuously with a wooden spoon on low-medium heat.
7. It should take 3 minutes for the eggs to be ready.
8. Add a knob of butter and serve immediately.

* Sometimes, I just sprinkle a handful of grated cheese immediately after the scrambled eggs is done, instead of the butter.

I was first introduced to Fondue by my father some 30 years. After that first taste, I was totally hooked! Fondue boasts it's origins from the Swiss Mountains where many varieties of cheese were in abundance. Fondues are perfect dipped with day-old bread, sausages, dried meat & vegetables. There are so may variations of fondues. My favourite is this Tomato Fondue. The sourness of tomatoes balances so beautifully with the richness & creaminess of cheese.

1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup of swiss cheese, grated
1 tbsp chicken stock
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup milk
2 tomatoes, blended coarsely
1 onions, chopped & sauteed with butter till transparent
Day-old French Loaf, cut into large cubes
Continental sausages, cut into 1/2 inch lengths

1. Put the cheeses, tomato, stock, milk, onions & flour and worcestershire sauce in a fondue pot.
2. Mix everything together.
3. Put on low gentle heat.
4. Stir constantly until cheese is melted & mixture is creamy.
5. When fondue bubbles gently, dip with french bread or sausages.
6. The fondue needs to be constantly stirred whilst you are dipping it to prevent burning.

* I sometimes substitute the tomato, mushroom, seafood or chicken stock.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

As a kid, I have always loved my mum's Kicap Ayam. I remember so clearly desiring it very much when I studied overseas, but not knowing the exact recipe....and I was so miserable that I experimented on several versions, trying the get the exact taste of mum's Chicken in Soy Sauce. At that point, I made a decision never to take anything for granted again. This version of Kicap Ayam using tomatoes was my favourite when we were little.


  • 8 pieces of chicken, marinated with turmeric & salt, then deep fried till 3/4 done on high flame
  • 2 medium sized potatoes, peeled, cut into 6 and deep fried
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamoms
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 large onion, blended
  • 4 garlic, blended
  • 1 inch ginger, blended
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup sweet soy sauce (Kipas Udang brand is my choice)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1 tomato, cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 red chili, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 medium sized onions, cut into rings


  1. Heat oil in a pan. Sautee' all the blended items till fragrant.
  2. Put in the cinnamon, star anise, cardamoms & cloves.
  3. Pour in the soy sauce, tomato paste and water.
  4. Add the fried chicken & potatoes. Cook till the gravy boils for about 5-8 minutes or until the meat & potatoes are cooked through.
  5. Put in the tomatoes, red chili & onions. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Add in the salt and pepper.
  7. Serve with hot white rice.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Arabic food has long influenced the Malaysian food culture, especially in the southern state of Johore. Of late, with an influx of Arab tourists and students, the influence has been greater nationwide. Arab restaurants now are very common and popular in Malaysia. Baklava especially, has had an exceptionally favourable response as a delicacy. They are commonly eaten as well as given as gifts during festive season.

Ingredients for the baklava:~
2 cups of pistachio nuts, chopped
1/2 kg of phyllo pastry sheets, thawed, separated & halved (Cover with damp cloth to prevent drying)
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp ground cloves, cloves
3 tbsp finely ground pistachio, as garnish

Ingredients for the syrup:~
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick

~Method for baklava~
1. In a bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and pistachios.
2. Place a phyllo pastry sheet onto a 9"x 13" greased pan.
3. Brush the pastry all over with the melted butter quickly.
4. Sprinkle the pistachio mixture thinly over the buttered pastry.
5. Cover the nuts with 2 layers of the phyllo pastry, brushing thoroughly on top of each layer.
6. Continue this process of layering the nut layer in between 2 layers of phyllo pastry until all the pistachio mixture has been used up, spreading butter on every layer of pastry.
7. Cut layered baklava pastry intp 2" diamond shapes using a sharp knife.
8. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes or until brown & crisp.
9. Spoon the syrup evenly over the hot baklava.
10.Allow to cool for a minumum of 4 hours.
11. Garnish with crushed pistachios.

~Method for syrup~
1. In a saucepan, combine all the syrup ingredients.
2. Bring to a boil.
3. Reduce to medium heat & simmer for about 10-15 minutes until syrupy, stirring occasionally.
4. Remove the cinnamon stick.
5. Allow to cool before pouring over the baked baklava.


Monday, 3 January 2011

Sambal Hitam Belimbing most likely came about when there is an abundance of belimbing buluh. This recipe was created to utilize these fruits rather than have it put to waste. This sambal is specifically well known in a few regions in the state of Pahang, namely Temerloh, Jerantut, Raub & Kuala Lipis. The name is reflected by the colour of the belimbing after being boiled for a length of time. This is a favourite sambal of mine due to it's sourness, spiciness and the crunchiness of the anchovies.

5 cups of belimbing buluh, cleaned, boiled with lots of water till the belimbing feels tender and turns dark in colour , drain. Usually, the belimbing should be boiled for a few hours.
2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup anchovies, pound coarsely
15 shallots / bawang merah kecil, pounded coarsely
10 of birds-eye-chillies, pounded coarsely

~The right Method~
1. Heat the oil. Put all the ingredients into the hot oil.
2. Continue cooking on low fire till the sambal is very dry & very dark in colour.

***I personally like the sambal a little wet but the anchovies crispy, hence I altered the recipe a little to suit my tastebuds.

~My twist in the Method~

1. Heat the oil. Deep fry the anchovies whole till crispy. Drain from the oil.
2.Then pound the fried anchovies just to break it up.
3. Use the same oil to sautee' the shallots and chillies till fragrant.
4. Add the belimbing buluh. Continue cooking on low flame till the liquid has reduced.
5. Put in the anchovies and toss it around. Remove from the fire.
6. This sambal keeps well especially when kept in a sterilized bottle.
7. Wonderful with plain white rice.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

I've always wanted to bake bread regularly for my family. Creating a new simplified way of making Roti Naik but retaining the same original ingredients has always been my first mission. So, the first day of 2011 was spent, kneading & punching AND I did it!!! I did it!!! My Roti Naik was a success!!! Yahoo!!!!

4 cups of flour, sieved
1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 tsp dried yeast

2 large eggs, beaten
4 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup coconut juice
2 tbsp margarine, melted
1 tbsp ghee, melted

1. Put the dried yeast into 1/4 cup lukewarm milk.
2. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes before stirring it to dissolve the yeast into the milk.
3. Combine the flour and salt. Mix well.
4. Beat the room temperature eggs with sugar till the sugar dissolves. Add in the coconut juice. Mix in the yeast mixture.
5. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour.Knead the dough until well combined.
6. Then pour the margarine & ghee in, bit by bit while incorporating it into the flour. At this stage, the dough would be a little sticky.
7. Knead the dough for approximately 15-20 minutes or until it becomes springy and shiny.
8. Alternately, a dough hook could be used with a mixer, kneading it for 10 minutes.
9. Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover with a tea towel or a cling film. Place at a warm non-breezy area.
10.Allow to rest for 1 1/2 hours or until it is double in size.
11.Punch the dough down until it collapses. Leave it to rest for another 10 minutes.
12.Make golf ball-sized balls out of the dough. Arrange closely in a circular motion starting from the outer side going inwards in a greased 8" round baking tin.
13. When the baking tin is filled, cover again with the tea towel. Allow to rest another hour.
14. Bake in a preheated 175ºC oven for 20 minutes.
15. Once it's removed from the oven, brush the top of the bread with margarine.
16. Totally amazing eaten right out of the oven!

Every time we are in the midst of preparing for each of our weddings, my unassuming cousin Ramlah (we call her Kak Adib) will come with bunches of unusual looking leaves and start cooking them in humungus pots with ‘millions’ of eggs. This I finally understood, is how Telur Pindang is made! Telur Pindang is a Johorean trademark, enjoyed during auspicious occasions. Very special!

Ingredients to blend coarsely:~
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp chili paste
  • 10 bulbs shallots
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 stalks lemongrass
  • 2 inches galangal

Other ingredients:~

  • 20 medium sized eggs(size C)
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • a handful young guava leaves
  • a handful fresh tumeric leaves
  • a handful cashew nut leaves
  • a handful noni young leaves
  • a handful sekentut leaves
  • a handful coriander leaves
  • a handful mint leaves
  • a handful shallot skin
  • a handful garlic skin

  1. Prepare a large deep pot. Line all the leaves at the base of the pot.
  2. Place the eggs gently on top of the leaves.
  3. Place the blended ingredients on top of the eggs. Fill with water slowly & gently till it covers the eggs. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Boil on very very low fire for approximately 4 hours. Top with additional water as the water evaporates. Maintain the same level of water at all times.
  5. Even when the fire is off, let the eggs continue to soak in the water to allow the flavours from the water to fully absorb into the eggs.
  6. Continue boiling on & off for four days at your convenience at whatever time frame that suits you. Importantly the herbs & leaves must remain in the water.
  7. Remove & drain. A properly cooked Telur Pindang keeps very well.

** Please bear in mind though, there is no hard & fast rule to cooking Telur Pindang.
I sometimes just bruise the galangal & lemongrass.
I occasionally put in curry powder or kormak powder or beriani powder to replace the spices.
If you cannot obtain some ingredients, don't worry, just use whatever is available.
I sometimes even use items not in the list and add other things which are not.
The recipe above is a basic guideline....If you feel unsure, feel free to email me!

Frankly, I love this sambal much more than our regular sambal belachan. Pan frying the ingredients first, in oil and allowing the flavours to develop makes this Sambal Tomato much much more richer in taste and the tomatoes somehow makes it taste 'fresh'! Pounding it with the pestle & mortar combines all the flavours beautifully! This sambal is best dipped with long beans, deep fried aubergines, fresh julienne cucumbers, deep-fried tofu & tempe.... Simply delicious!

2 tbsp oil
1 whole ripe & firm tomato, quartered
a large handful of birds-eye chillies
10 shallots (bawang merah kecil)
a thumb sized shrimp paste, roasted
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Fry the shrimp paste, shallots, bird's-eye chillies and tomatoes till all the ingredients become soft & limp.
3. Remove from the pan and place everything in a mortar. Pound it gently with a pestle.
4. Flavour with salt & sugar. Combine all the flavours.
5. Serve in a little bowl and perfect eaten with white rice or dipped with vegetables!


authorMarina Mustafa. Author of ten cookbooks.

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