Kuih Kosui (Rice Cakes with Grated Coconut)

Kuih Kosui (Rice Cakes with Grated Coconut)

Hello Everyone! The Bruneian traditional kuih (or kueh) is similar to many traditional cakes from around the region, such as in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Nobody knows where the true origins of each traditional kuih came from in Brunei, but we know it all started from the water village – Kampong Ayer many decades ago. Back in the day, due to limited supply of resources, Bruneian cake makers would make use of natural elements and materials to prepare the cakes, such as wrapping with leaves, and making use of all parts of a coconut or palm tree.

Today, Bruneian kuih-kuih (plural for kuih) are still as popular as ever due to the nostalgia and historical heritage that it carries with every bite. Upon researching traditional kuih-kuih native to Brunei, I came across a website entitled ‘Brunei’s Traditional Sweet Treats You Must Try’. Kuih Kosui was amongst the list, but as it turns out, it is actually native to Malaysia, as most kuih-kuih are.

Kuih Kosui is a saucer-shaped rice cake that is flavoured with either pandan (screwpine leaves) juice or gula melaka (palm sugar). It is also known as Kue Lumpang in native Indonesian language, and is actually very similar to what we have closer to home here in the Philippines, known as kutsinta.

Kuih Kosui (Rice Cakes with Grated Coconut)

Kuih Kosui is very economical to make. The kuih is characterised by its ‘dimple’ in the middle of the cake, lightly sweet taste, soft, yet wobbly and slightly bouncy in texture. They are then topped with a slightly salted, grated coconut topping to give that extra layer of flavour with the classic sweet-salty combination.

Unlike with a traditional kutsinta recipe, the soft, wobbly, and bouncy texture of Kuih Kosui can be achieved without having to add any alkaline water. You just need the right combination of flours and you can still achieve its distinct chewy texture and dimples.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on What To Cook Today by Marvellina.

Kuih Kosui (Rice Cakes with Grated Coconut) Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 15-20 MINS | MAKES 14 CAKES

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp + 1 & 3/4 tsp rice flour
  • 2 tsp wheat starch
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For pandan flavour

  • 2/3 & 1/4 cup boiling water (cooled for 15 minutes)*
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup pandan-infused water**

For coconut sugar flavour

  • 1 & 1/4 cup boiling water (cooled for 15 minutes)*
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp white granulated sugar

For the topping

  • Freshly grated coconut
  • Pinch of salt

Notes:

  • *Bring water to a boil and let it cool down for 15 minutes so it should feel lukewarm after that. The warm water will stabilize the starch/flour and they won’t separate when you steam. Make sure not to use boiling hot water as this will cook the starch/flour into a dough.
  • **Place the pandan leaves and water into a blender. Blend until the leaves are chopped very finely. Pour contents through a fine sieve and press against it using a spoon to draw out any extra juice. Discard the leaves.
  • Flour and starch measurements are for one recipe per flavour. If you want to make both flavours at the same time, make sure to measure out another set of flour and starch ingredients.

METHOD

  1. Topping: Add the pinch of salt together with the grated coconut and give it a good mix. Steam over high heat for 10 minutes and set aside once done.
  2. Kuih Kosui: Bring the water in the steamer to a boil and place the empty cups in the steamer. Allow them to heat up for about 5 minutes while you are preparing the batter This step is important to prevent the starch/flour from separating when steaming your rice cakes.
  3. Add the three different types of flour and starches, together with the salt, into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Depending on your chosen flavour, add the sugars, (then the pandan-infused water if making pandan flavour Kuih Kosui), and then the lukewarm water. Stir into a smooth batter until the sugars have dissolved.
  4. Pour the batter into the preheated cups, about 3/4 of the wall full and steam over high heat for 12-15 minutes (18 minutes if your cups are larger).

If your steamer cannot fit all the cups/batter in at the same time, work in batches. Do not pour the mixture into the remaining cups ahead of time and let them sit. The flour and starch mixture tends to settle at the bottom after a while. This is important otherwise your Kuih Kosui won’t turn out right.

  1. After steaming, remove the cups from the steamer and let them cool down for about 5 minutes. They can be easily removed by running a small rubber spatula around the edges to lift them up.
  2. Repeat with the next batch of batter. Make sure the steaming water is back to a rolling boil before steaming. Stir the batter first before pouring into the preheated cups.
  3. Once done, sprinkle with the prepared grated coconut topping. Serve and enjoy as an afternoon snack! Should make around 14 kuih-kuih.

Kuih Kosui (Rice Cakes with Grated Coconut)

If you ever happen to find yourself travelling through Brunei on your next travel adventure, drop by any day or night markets and you’re bound to come across this kuih and many others. If you’re lucky enough, you can even catch the vendor making them fresh on the spot for you.

The best time to find all the local snacks and kuih-kuih in one place is during the holy month of Ramadhan at various food markets. You can find a plethora of local and traditional goodies for you to try. Alternatively, you can also get these at the Gadong Night Market or Tamu Kianggeh throughout the year and more often the vendors would be more than happy to describe each one to you!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago)

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago)

Hello Everyone and cheers to 2021! Wishing you and your families a safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year! May the upcoming year be a time for healing, recovery, and reconnection.

For the loyal followers of Amcarmen’s Kitchen, you’ll know that a new year means a new theme on the blog. And so to kick off 2021, we’ll be sharing dishes inspired by the Flavours of Southeast Asian Cuisine! If you have an Instagram account, make sure you’re following me over on @amcarmenskitchen as I will be launching a challenge related to the theme to get everyone’s creative juices flowing for the upcoming year ahead.

We’re opening the new year with a Southeast Asian country very close to my heart; a country that I was born in and raised for 26 years of my life before moving back to my motherland a few years ago. A country none other than the Abode of Peace, Negara Brunei Darussalam.

Negara Brunei Darussalam - Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

Brunei is a country located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, the country is completely surrounded by the insular Malaysian state of Sarawak. It is separated into two parts by the Sarawak district of Limbang. Brunei is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo; the remainder of the island’s territory is divided between the nations of Malaysia and Indonesia.

Bruneian cuisine is similar to, and heavily influenced by the cuisine of neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Additional influences from other countries such as India, China, Thailand, and Japan are also evident. As common in the region, staple dishes from Brunei are often spicy, and are eaten with either rice or noodles. Due to the predominance of the Islamic religion, the food is halal and pork is avoided. Alcohol is also banned in Brunei.

Because of the heavy influence of other cultures in Bruneian cuisine, it’s genuinely difficult to find dishes that are purely of Bruneian origin. Nevertheless, the recipe that I will be sharing today is known as the national dish of Brunei.

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago)

Ambuyat is a type of starch derived from the trunk of a sago palm and cooked as a delicacy in the country of Brunei. It is consumed with a two-pronged bamboo utensil known as chandas. Ambuyat is eaten with a variety of side dishes such as grilled prawns, fish, and an assortment of tropical sauces and vegetables. As the sago starch may be difficult to find outside of Brunei, it can be substituted with potato, tapioca, or cassava starch.

Before we dive into the recipe, there’s one more thing that I need to touch on. A popular tropical sauce dip that is always paired with Ambuyat is known as tempoyak, or in English, fermented durian. Now, if fresh durian is said to smell like putrid flesh, overripe armpits, and fermented gym socks, can you imagine what it smells like fermented? All I can say was that my kitchen was rancid. Imagine the smell of fermented durian, shrimp paste, and dried shrimp altogether…

Negara Brunei Darussalam - Fresh Durian

Nevertheless, it’s actually quite tasty for those with an acquired taste for durian. I’m probably 50-50 on this, and honestly leaning more towards the hate in this love-hate relationship. I never liked durian in the first place, but for the purpose of experimenting and experiencing the flavours of Brunei, I did it for the blog!

Fermented Durian Sauce (Tempoyak)

The flavour of tempoyak varies a lot and can be mildly sweet and sour or extremely pungent and a bit rank. You can alter the flavour by allowing the durian to ferment for different lengths of time and adding different amounts of salt. Less salt makes the tempoyak more sour, while more salt both makes the tempoyak more, well, salty, and allows it to keep for 3-6 months without being refrigerated.

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago) & Tempoyak Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the ambuyat

  • 3 cups cassava starch*
  • 2 & 1/2 cups water

For the tempoyak sauce

  • 50g fermented durian (tempoyak)**
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • Pinch of salt

*Preferably use sago starch if available, otherwise substitute with potato or tapioca starch.

**How you make your tempoyak is up to you. The most basic ratio to get you started is for every cup of fresh deseeded and mashed durian, add 1 tablespoon of salt. Mix well and seal in an air-tight container and keep at room temperature. It can be consumed after 2 days, or allowed to ferment for as long as 2 weeks, depending on your preference.

METHOD

  1. Tempoyak Sauce: Add the dried shrimp to a mortar together with the red chilli and pound using the pestle until well combined. Add the shrimp paste and mix using a spoon. Season with a touch of salt, to taste.
  2. Pour a little bit of hot water into the mixture and then add the durian. Mix until well combined and adjust the flavours to your liking. Once done, transfer to a small bowl and set aside until ready to serve.
  3. Ambuyat: Combine the tapioca starch with a half cup of room temperature water, in a medium-sized heat-proof bowl, and set aside for a few minutes.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 cups of water, either in a kettle or on the stove. Slowly pour the hot, boiling water into the bowl with the starch while whisking continuously with a wooden spoon. The starch will appear sticky in texture. Continue to whisk the ambuyat until it is firm and starchy.
  5. Serve with the tempoyak sauce and various side dishes and enjoy!

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago)

The side dishes that we paired our ambuyat with are fish curry, fried fish, garlic butter prawns, sautéed kangkung (water spinach) in garlic and oyster sauce, sambal eggplant, and fresh vegetables. We decided to keep ours pescatarian, but you can serve it with other choices of meat as well, whatever tickles your fancy.

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago) Side Dishes

Note: Prepare all your sauces and side dishes before preparing the ambuyat.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’

Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’

Hello Everyone! Here’s my last recipe for the year 2020! Well, technically this was scheduled to go up earlier towards the beginning of the month, but with other commitments, both personal and work, and the festive season, I haven’t had the time to write this post and prepare the other recipes that I had wanted to share with everyone on the blog. I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas despite the circumstances, and I wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’

Traditional hummus directly translates to chickpeas and is a dip, spread, or savoury dish made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. It is popular in the Middle East and in Middle Eastern cuisines around the globe. It can also be found in most grocery stores in North America and Europe.

Although multiple claims of its origins exist in various parts of the Middle East, the earliest known written recipes for a dish resembling hummus are recorded in cookbooks written in Cairo, Egypt, in the 13th century. The full name of the prepared spread in Arabic is ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna which means ‘chickpeas with tahini’.

But here’s a playful PURPLE alternative that’s perfect as a fun snack, appetizer, breakfast, or a light meal. This Purple Sweet Potato Hummus is a legume-free version of a traditional hummus for those who simply prefer it legume-free and/or because of allergies. Though chickpea-free, it still incorporates the flavours of tahini and spices in this ‘hummus’.

Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’

Tahini is a condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame. It is served by itself (as a dip) or as a major ingredient in hummus, baba ganoush, and halva. If you can’t find tahini in stores, don’t worry because you can easily make it at home, which is what I did. Even if you can find them on the shelves of your local grocer, I highly recommend making your own so that you won’t have a jar of tahini sitting in your fridge waiting for it to go off because you won’t ever use it again – maybe. Just make enough for a one-off recipe.

Also, have you ever tried sweet potato… on toast? Put a vibrant twist to your morning toast with this complex carbs on carbs combination! *cheeky grin* It’s one of those combinations that surprises you just how good it is, together. Aside from its vibrant colour, it’s gluten free, paleo, and comes together with less than ten ingredients you probably have on hand or have easy access to from your local grocer. You may also substitute the purple sweet potatoes for other colour variants such as orange, yellow, or white, whatever is available locally.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe where I drew my inspiration from over on Flora & Vino by Lauren.

Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’ Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the homemade tahini

  • 1 cup sesame seeds, hulled
  • 2 to 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt, optional

For the sweet potato hummus

  • 1 cup cooked and roughly mashed purple sweet potatoes*
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Filtered water or unsweetened almond milk, as needed
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Wholemeal bread slices
  • Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Ground paprika
  • Roasted pistachio nuts
  • Toasted cumin seeds

METHOD

  1. Homemade Tahini: Add the sesame seeds to a wide, dry saucepan over medium-low heat and toast, stirring constantly until the seeds become fragrant and lightly coloured (not brown), for 3 to 5 minutes. Sesame seeds can burn very quickly so keep an eye on them and be careful.
  2. Transfer the toasted sesame seeds to a baking sheet or large plate for them to cool down completely.
  3. Once cool, add the sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor then process until a crumbly paste forms, about a minute.
  4. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil then process for 2 to 3 minutes more, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor a couple times. Check the tahini’s consistency. It should be smooth, not gritty and should be pourable. You may need to process for another minute or add the additional tablespoon of oil.
  5. Taste the tahini for seasoning then add salt to taste. Process 5 to 10 seconds to mix it in. Set aside until ready to use.**
  6. Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’: Add the mashed purple sweet potato, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and cumin to a high speed blender or food processor and pulse until well-combined and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed to recombine.
  7. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to the mixture. Taste and adjust if needed, i.e. add more lemon for brightness, cumin for spice, and tahini for creaminess. If the mixture is too thick, add filtered water or unsweetened almond milk in 1 tablespoon increments to reach your desired consistency.
  8. Serve with toast and top with your choice of toppings. I went with pistachio nuts, ground paprika, a sprinkle of toasted cumin seeds, and fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’

Notes:

  • * To cook the sweet potatoes, scrub and peel them, then cut the flesh into large cubes. Fill a large pot with an inch of water and bring to a boil. Add the sweet potato cubes to a steamer basket and steam in the pot for about 7 to 10 minutes until the flesh is very tender when pierced with a fork. Drain, place the cooked sweet potato in a bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher.
  • ** Store any leftover tahini covered in the refrigerator for one month. You may notice that it separates over time, like a natural peanut butter would. If this happens, give the tahini a good stir before using.
  • Store leftover Purple Sweet Potato Hummus in the fridge for up to one week.

Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Purple Sweet Potato Rösti Eggs-in-a-Hole

Purple Sweet Potato Rösti Egg-in-a-Hole

Hello Everyone! How is it that we’re already more than half way through the last month of 2020? Where did the months in quarantine go by? Who would’ve thought that staying at home, isolated from the outside world, would actually fly by this quickly?

To be honest, never did I once feel a day go by so slowly. I’ve experienced slower days when actually in the office – the type where I’d look at the clock and it’d read 3pm. An hour later (or so I thought) and it would only read 3:05pm. At home, I’d look at the clock and it’d be 9am; 5 minutes later and it’s already 11am.

Firstly, I’d like to apologise for not uploading a new recipe on the blog for the past two weeks. I actually had this recipe ready to be posted in the first week of December, but at the last minute, I was invited to join two Noche Buena (Christmas Feast) Challenges. Here are my two entries for two separate challenges:

Christmas Noche Buena Challenges

Left: Christmas ‘Spaghetti’ with Meat-free Baubles for the #LODINGNocheBuena Challenge

The theme for this challenge was ‘Christmas Essence on a Plate’. We had to prepare a Pinoy Noche Buena dish, entailing the story behind it. I decided to take a Classic Pinoy Spaghetti and put my own healthy twist to it (you can read the full story on my Instagram account. This was a challenge set by The Official LODI LPG to the Food IG Community and I’m proud to say that I bagged the top spot and won a plus 3,000php cash!

Right: Potato ‘Wreath’ Salad for the #WVNocheBuenaCookOff2020

The theme for this cook off was ‘Christmas Like No Other’. We had to prepare a dish that’s always present on our Noche Buena table and describe how this year’s Noche Buena celebration will be different from the previous ones. This is a campaign spearheaded by World Vision Philippines to help provide Noche Buena packs to World Vision registered children and families in the Philippines. The winners for this cook off will be announced on December 22, 2020!

You can find the recipes to both my entries by clicking on the links that will direct you to my Instagram page.

So here’s a little insight first and foremost, I initially wanted to serve this dish with some smoked salmon to bulk up this brunch dish. However, since I couldn’t seem to source any from the various grocery stores I’ve been to over the course of a month, I then decided to make my own smoked salmon at home after coming across a video on how to DIY without a smoker. Of course, I got lazy and scraped the whole idea of adding smoked salmon to the dish and kept it ovo-vegetarian instead for a simple and light brunch.

Purple Sweet Potato Rösti Eggs-in-a-Hole

Rösti or rööschti is a Swiss dish that is made of potatoes in the style of a fritter. The potato, either parboiled or raw, is coarsely grated, and seasoned with salt and pepper. They are then shaped into rounds or patties and fried in either oil or butter. Rösti are most often pan-fried and shaped in the frying pan during cooking, but they can also be baked in the oven. Although the most basic of rösti consists of nothing but potato, various ingredients can be added, such as bacon, onion, cheese, apple, and/or fresh herbs. And that’s exactly what I did to put a little spin on a traditional potato rösti…

Keeping in line with our violet theme to end the year, I substituted regular potatoes for purple sweet potatoes instead and added an ‘egg-in-a-hole’ twist. An egg-in-a-hole is traditionally a piece of bread with an egg in the center, cooked with a little butter or oil. Serve with some pan-fried cherry tomatoes and asparagus on the side and you’ve got one heck of a brunch. Feel free to add any meat of choice to bulk up your brunch meal.

Newsflash! Breakfast just got a <em>hole</em> lot more interesting!

See what I did there? *cheeky wink*

Purple Sweet Potato Rösti Eggs-in-a-Hole

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the sweet potato rösti

  • 2 cups shredded purple sweet potatoes (about 4 small-sized sweet potatoes)
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • Asparagus
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Chives or parsley, chopped
  • Lemon slice

METHOD

  1. Wrap the shredded sweet potatoes in a clean cheesecloth and wring out any excess moisture from it until dry. Place in a large mixing bowl and add one egg, garlic, onion, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high and add oil. Add half a cup of the shredded sweet potato mixture in an even layer and cook for approximately 2 minutes or until golden and crisp. Flip and use a round cookie cutter to remove the center of the rösti.
  3. Drop an egg in the center of the rösti and cook until the whites are set. Remove the rösti from the pan and repeat with the remaining sweet potatoes until all are cooked.
  4. Top with fresh chives or parsley, and salt and pepper. Get creative at this point and serve with your choice of veggies; I went for some pan-fried asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!

Purple Sweet Potato Rösti Eggs-in-a-Hole

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ube Champorado

Ube Champorado

Hello Everyone! Everything is about ube these days; ube ice cream, cakes, and desserts and all that. ‘New’ recipes are being developed all the time – new meaning adding an ube twist to already classic favourites. The latest ube trend/craze to come out of this quarantine is of course none other than the overrated Ube Cheese Pandesal.

Ube Champorado

Like this Ube Champorado, it is as good as our favourite original chocolate version. Almost two years ago (just shy of a few days actually), I made the classic version of this champorado using tablea chocolate. In that post, I talked about pairing a sweet rice pudding with dried, salted fish. I remember getting messages from friends when I posted a photo of the dish on IG; all with the same “wow, that’s interesting!” reaction. There are a lot of desserts out there that embrace the salty-sweet combination; salted caramel and salted chocolate being the top two favourite bases to endless dessert options!

This Ube Champorado with dried salted fish is no exception. It adds pops of salty surprises to each spoonful of the sweet ube rice porridge that you take. If the combination is off putting for you, then you could get away with adding a pinch of rock salt into your champorado – but it won’t be the same. For all the ube lovers out there, this is an ideal breakfast, snack, or dessert for any occasion!

Ube Champorado Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup (250g) white glutinous rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup ube jam/halaya
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp ube extract
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Add the rinsed glutinous rice together with the water in a medium-sized stockpot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat down to a simmer. Cook until the rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes. Stir regularly to avoid scorching and sticking. Add more water if necessary to achieve your desired consistency.
  2. Stir in the ube jam/halaya, ube extract, coconut milk, and season with a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust if needed. Cook, still continuously stirring, until tender and the ube is mixed in well with the rice, a further 10 minutes or so.
  3. Once done, ladle the champorado into individual serving bowls and top with a swirl each of the ube condensada and coconut milk. You may also top them with fried boneless dilis if you’re feeling adventurous.
  4. Enjoy immediately while steaming hot on a chilly and crisp morning!

Ube Champorado

You may use fresh/raw ube for this recipe, however, so using store-bought ube jam/halaya, ube extract, or ube powder is just as good; quick and hassle free as how champorado should be. Having to work with fresh Ube will totally ruin that aspect of a no-fuss champorado for me.

Ube Champorado

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

Hello Everyone! Now this is a recipe I’ve been so eager to make since forever. I first came across this dish from a café across the road from my campus when I was still studying in Australia for my design degree. The café is known as Ampersand Café & Bookstore. I did a review of the café back in 2015, so if you have some free time up your sleeves, go and have a read, or just a look at the lovely ambiance of the café and the delicious food served there.

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

The one thing I would never fail to order off their blackboard menu? That’s right, their sweet potato crisps with aïoli. I even remember going there several times and not being able to order this dish because their deep fryer had been broken for a couple of months. At times I would even ask them “is your deep fryer still broken?” and then make a sad face later when they would unfortunately say yes.

The crisps from the café are made using orange sweet potatoes, and since we’re sharing violet recipes for this month, I decided to use purple sweet potatoes that I sourced from PruTazan. The sweet, crispy, and caramelised sweet potatoes pair really well with the slightly tangy, spicy, and garlicky aïoli. It’s a perfect side dish to your main meal, or even just a light snack on its own. Either way, it’s a whole new experience of enjoying sweet potatoes!

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS* | SERVES 4

* Plus additional 40 minutes for the roasted garlic (if not made in advance).

INGREDIENTS

For the sweet potato crisps

  • 2 small (100-200g) purple sweet potatoes, washed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the roasted garlic

  • 1 bulb garlic
  • Dried thyme leaves
  • Ground paprika
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the easy roasted garlic and chive aïoli

  • Roasted Garlic (see above)
  • 1 stalk chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Japanese mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper powder, plus more if needed (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Cooking oil, for deep frying

METHOD

  1. Roasted Garlic: Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6).
  2. Use your fingers to peel away all the loose, papery, outer layers around the head of the garlic. Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected.
  3. Trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves.
  4. Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and flavour with your favourite herbs and spices as well (optional).
  5. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, begin checking the garlic. The garlic is done when a center clove is completely soft when pierced with a knife.

Note: Even once soft, you can continue roasting until deeply golden for a more caramelised flavor — check the garlic every 10 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size of your garlic, the variety, and its age.

  1. Let the garlic cool slightly, and then press on the bottom of a clove to push it out of its paper.

Tip: Roasting a single bulb of garlic in an oven for 40 minutes sounds a bit excessive doesn’t it? Well, what I usually like to do is whenever I use my oven for something, be it baking a delicious sweet treat or roasting away some beautiful salmon portions, I always throw a couple of garlic heads wrapped in foil into the oven as well. That way I’m killing two birds with one stone. I then keep the roasted garlic in a jar together with olive oil to preserve and use it when I need to. Roasted garlic can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.

  1. Roasted Garlic and Chive Aïoli: Add all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix well. Add ground cayenne pepper if you want a bit of heat to your aïoli, otherwise you may omit. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Set aside to chill until ready to serve.
  2. Sweet Potato Crisps: Using a peeler, peel off the skins of the sweet potato. Continue peeling into the flesh of the sweet potato to make long and thin strips. Place on top of a kitchen towel and pat dry to remove any excess moisture from them.
  3. Pour cooking oil in a large, heavy pan to a depth of about 2 inches, and heat the oil to 165C/325F. Working in small batches, fry the sweet potatoes for about 45 seconds to a minute. Stir them a few times to keep them from sticking together. Using a metal slotted spoon, lift them out onto paper towels to remove excess oil.
  4. Season the crisps with a touch of salt and serve immediately while hot and crispy with the roasted garlic aïoli. Squeeze a touch of lemon juice onto the crisps before eating. Enjoy!

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

Hello Everyone and a Happy belated Birthday to me! I was supposed to get this recipe up on the day of my birthday, but only having baked this Ube Biscoff Cheesecake the night before, I didn’t have time to edit the photos and videos for uploading and for my Instagram posts. Nevertheless, to make up for that, I have a special announcement to make, which you can read at the end of this post!

If you had asked me where or how I would be spending my birthday this year at the start of our country-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine due to the on-going pandemic, I would’ve never guessed that 8 months later, we’d still be celebrating birthdays in quarantine. Nevertheless, I’m still super thankful that even with the virus still spreading, my family, friends, and myself included, are all safe and healthy.

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

So to be perfectly honest, this wasn’t the cake I had intended to make for my birthday. I only made the last minute decision (as in the morning before my actual birthday) to make an Ube Biscoff Cheesecake, inspired by an Instagram post I saw about a week or two ago. Well okay, the plan was to still push through with the cake I originally had in mind, and then bake mini Ube Biscoff Cheesecakes to share with my workmates, but baking two cakes in one day sounded daunting. I could already foresee the countless mishaps that are bound to happen juggling two recipes at the same time.

This Ube Biscoff Cheesecake is the perfect recipe for all the ube, biscoff, and cheesecake lovers. If you’ve never tried biscoff before, you should definitely try this dessert! This is utterly delicious and different to my other cheesecakes I’ve made in the past – the biscoff spread on top gives a nice rich addition to the cheesecake and creates a delicious spiced cookie flavour. The biscoff crust is buttery and sweet, and the cheesecake filling is thick and rich with ube that just melts-in-your-mouth with every bite. Honestly, it’s everything a cheesecake should be, and you may opt to do a no-bake or baked cheesecake with this recipe.

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the ube cheesecake mixture

  • 450g cream cheese
  • 250ml all purpose cream
  • 2 large free-range egg
  • 1 cup ube halaya (or ube jam)
  • 1/4 cup white or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ube extract

For the biscoff crumb base

  • 200g Lotus biscoff cookies, crushed
  • 75g unsalted margarine, melted
  • Pinch of salt

For the biscoff spread

  • 50g Lotus biscoff cookies, crushed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted margarine, melted
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 130C (250F or gas mark 1).
  2. Biscoff Crumb Base: Add the crushed biscoff cookies, salt, and melted butter together in a small mixing bowl. Mix together until well combined.
  3. Grease an 8” spring-form pan with a bit of margarine and line the bottom and sides it with parchment paper. Cover the outside of the pan with tin foil. Press the crumb into the base of the cake pan and set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes to set.
  4. Ube Cheesecake Mixture: Using an electric handheld mixer, beat, on medium speed, the cream cheese and sugar together in a medium-sized bowl until smooth.
  5. With the mixer running, add in the eggs, all purpose cream cream, ube halaya, and ube extract, mixing for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared spring-form cake pan, evenly covering the biscuit base.
  7. Place the cake pan in a water bath and bake for 1 hour, or until just set.
  8. Allow to cool down to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for about half an hour before serving.
  9. Biscoff Spread: While the cake is chilling in the fridge, add the crushed biscoff cookies, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and butter into an immersion blender cup. Blend until the ingredients are well incorporated.
  10. Add the water and blend further until you have a nice, smooth, and creamy spread. Set aside until ready to use.
  11. Assemble: Carefully remove the cheesecake from the spring-form pan. Top the cheesecake with the biscoff spread and a biscoff cookie. Serve a slice or two… maybe three, immediately! *cheeky grin* Enjoy!

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

And now, here’s the announcement that I promised to share with you guys. One of my Auguesters, known as Karina Pineda a.k.a. @wanderlittlegirl, partnered up for my birthday to launch our very first Instagram Giveaway! The giveaway was launched on Monday and will run through until November 20. Further details of the giveaway are specified on my Instagram post which you can find here on @amcarmenskitchen. The giveaway is only open to residents in Metro Manila, but if you have family or friends living in the area, feel free to share the giveaway with them. My goal is to help my lovely friend promote her smol home-grown business (@madebywanderlittlegirl) and also in return, treat two (2) lucky winners with some home-baked goodies!

#AMCxMADE Cookie Giveaway

#AMCxMADE Cookie Giveaway

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Parmesan Sauce, Danablu & Pistachios

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Parmesan Sauce, Danablu & Pistachios

Hello Everyone and a Happy November to all! I honestly didn’t think that I would be spending my birth month still under general community quarantine, but at least it means that we’re still taking safety precautions… Or are we really? I went grocery shopping over the weekend, and it seemed like people weren’t keeping their distances. I was queuing up at the pharmacy and though there were evident markings on the floors on where you should stand, this one lady behind me kept standing right behind me. The security guard had to tell her to follow the markings.

Mini introductory tangent aside, gnocchi (pronounced ni-yok-ee; singular gnocco) are a variety of pasta consisting of various thick, small, and pillow soft dough dumplings that are primarily made by combining potatoes, flour, and egg, but may also be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, breadcrumbs, cornmeal, or similar ingredients. The dough for gnocchi is most often rolled out before it is cut into small pieces about the size of a wine cork. The little dumplings are then pressed with a fork or a cheese grater to make ridges that can hold sauce. Alternatively, they are simply cut into little pillows.

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Parmesan Sauce, Danablu & Pistachios

Gnocchi are generally homemade in Italian and Italian-immigrant households. They may also be bought fresh from specialty stores. Packaged gnocchi are widely available either refrigerated, dried, or frozen, if industrially produced. Like many Italian dishes, gnocchi have considerable variation in recipes and names across different regions. Gnocchi are commonly cooked on their own in salted boiling water and then dressed with various sauces depending on the type of gnocchi and recipe used. Common accompaniments of gnocchi include melted butter with sage, and pesto.

For tonight’s recipe, I decided to put a little spin to it by using sweet potatoes instead or regular potatoes. In addition, since it’s a new month and therefore a new colour theme on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, I specifically used Japanese purple sweet potatoes that I sourced from PruTazan, for my last colours of the rainbow theme for the year! That’s right, for the month of November and December, I will be sharing violet recipes with you guys.

Also known as Murasaki Imo, which means “purple potato” in Japanese, contains dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. The flesh also contains anthocyanin, a naturally occurring antioxidant that gives the tuber its purple hue. They are used in a variety of culinary applications including desserts and snack foods and are valued for their sweet flavour and high antioxidant content. They are also commonly dried and turned into powder for use as a natural food colouring.

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Parmesan Sauce, Danablu & Pistachios Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the sweet potato gnocchi

  • 1 kg purple sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour, plus more if needed as well as for dusting
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the creamy parmesan sauce

  • 250ml all purpose cream
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Chives, finely chopped
  • Danablu Cheese, crumbled
  • Pistachios, roughly chopped

METHOD

  1. Sweet Potato Gnocchi: Bake the sweet potatoes in a preheated oven at 230C (450F or gas mark 8), for 45 minutes or until completely tender when pierce with a fork. Once done, set aside to cool.

Note: Japanese purple sweet potatoes are best steamed or roasted. When boiled, they will lose their purple hue. So to retain their vibrant colour, they should be roasted or steamed.

  1. Once cool enough to handle, peel the skins off the sweet potatoes and in a large mixing bowl, roughly mash them using a fork. Add the flour, egg and season with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring the mixture together to form a dough.
  2. Gently fold and press the dough a couple of times, adding flour as necessary if the dough feels sticky. Turn the dough out onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Cut the dough into four equal parts and form each quarter into a ½-inch diameter log using the palm of your hands.
  3. Cut each log into 1-inch pieces and then press over the tine of a fork to create ridges. Transfer to a baking sheet dusted with flour and repeat with the remaining dough. I managed to make about 76 pieces of gnocchi with this recipe, more or less depending on how you roll them out/cut them.

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi

  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Working in batches, add the gnocchi to the pot, gently stirring once or twice to prevent them from sticking. Cook until the gnocchi floats to the surface, about 3-5 minutes, and then cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove using a slotted spoon and transfer to a tray lightly drizzled with oil. Set aside.
  2. Creamy Parmesan Sauce: Heat about a tablespoon of cooking oil over medium-high, in a medium-sized pan. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Immediately add in the onions and continue to sauté until fragrant and slightly golden in colour and onions have softened and begin to go translucent, a further 45 seconds.
  3. Add the cream and season with a touch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix and bring to a gentle simmer. Once simmering, add in the parmesan cheese. Mix until the cheese has melted and then remove from the heat.
  4. Assemble: Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Working in batches again, add the gnocchi to the pan and lightly fry until golden brown in colour.
  5. Spread the creamy parmesan sauce on a serving dish, and place the pieces of fried gnocchi on top. Add crumbles of Danablu cheese* (or any other type of blue cheese) and top with roughly chopped pistachios, and chives.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Parmesan Sauce, Danablu & Pistachios

This recipe for Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi creates a vibrant and eye-catching dish that is as visually pleasing as it is delicious. You get the best of both worlds with the light, soft-pillowy interior and golden-crispy exterior in every mouthful. These gnocchi are a touch sweeter than those made from regular potatoes, and therefore are best complimented by salty and savoury flavours, like a Creamy Parmesan Sauce. Sharp, rich, and bold especially with the danablu cheese. Balance it out with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice to cut through the creaminess, and you’ve got yourself a killer dish!

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Parmesan Sauce, Danablu & Pistachios

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Magic Butterfly Pea Lemonade

Magic Butterfly Pea Lemonade

Hello Everyone! Tonight I’ll be sharing my last blue recipe for the year! I honestly thought that this would be a difficult colour to feature when I was first planning dishes for this theme, but I enjoyed cooking up the blue dishes that I shared with you guys over the past two months! I don’t think I ever talked about the butterfly pea flower and its many benefits in any of my posts so I thought I’d share them here to wrap up my blue theme.

Butterfly Pea Flower Health Benefits

Also known as Clitoria Ternatea, they have been consumed for centuries as a memory enhancer, brain booster, anti-stress and calmative agent. It is an amazing brain boosting herb native to tropical equatorial Asia. It is jam-packed with health promoting antioxidants, flavonoids, and peptides, and has shown considerable promise in studies as a natural remedy for a range of health complaints.

Butterfly Pea FlowerSource: Freepik

In studies to date, Butterfly Pea has shown to act on several key systems of the body:

  • The Nervous System – it has a calming effect on the brain.
  • The Digestive System – it is an antiemetic (anti-nausea), anti-dyspeptic (anti-indigestion), mild-laxative, and stimulates flow of bile from the liver.
  • The Circulatory System – it helps stop bleeding and is a blood purifier.
  • The Respiratory System – it acts as an expectorant and has shown to reduce the irritation of respiratory organs, and is useful in treating colds, coughs and even asthma.
  • The Urinary System – it is a diuretic, helping promote normal urination and can be used for difficulty in urinating.
  • The Reproductive System – it is reported to be spermatogenic, aiding in normal sperm production
  • The Integumentary System – pre-maturing ageing is often a problem of the skin. Flavonoids present in the butterfly pea flower haa been found to boost collagen production, increasing the skin elasticity…

…And that’s only just naming a few of its health benefits.

Butterfly Pea Flower in Food

Butterfly Pea FlowerSource: Freepik

Known for its luminous indigo colour, the butterfly pea flower is traditionally used as a vegetable in cooking, to colour desserts, or to make a strikingly vibrant coloured tea. In traditional Thai cooking, butterfly pea flowers are squeezed for their blue extract, which is then mixed with coconut milk and other base ingredients to naturally colour Thai desserts blue and purple.

Traditional butterfly pea flower tea is made from the ternatea flowers and dried lemongrass. One of the most distinctive characteristics of butterfly pea flower tea, and indeed other drinks that use the butterfly-pea flower extract, is that it will change color when the pH balance changes. A deep blue tea will turn purple with the addition of lemon juice, turning a deeper shade of purple the more lemon juice is added. If mixed with fuchsia roselle hibiscus leaves, the tea will turn a bright red colour.

Magic Butterfly Pea Lemonade

Similar to the recipe that I shared last week, the magic in this recipe comes from this little blue flower and the addition of lemon juice. Like most magic tricks, this one is based resoundingly on science. The magical colour changing effect comes when these two components are mixed: the blue tea turns purple and eventually magenta the more acid is added. I think we can all agree this is quite possibly the prettiest (and most entertaining) lemonade ever.

To make this magic lemonade, you’ll need to get your hands on some fresh or dried butterfly pea flowers. These are steeped along with sugar and hot water to make a vibrant blue sugar syrup, which makes up half the final lemonade. The other half is simply lemon juice and soda water. You may also use sparkling or just plain water.

Magic Butterfly Pea Lemonade Ingredients

PREP TIME <10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the blue sugar syrup

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried butterfly pea flowers
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 8-10 large lemons)
  • Ice cubes
  • Mint leaves (optional)
  • Sparkling soda water

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the blue sugar syrup in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a rapid simmer and then remove from heat.
  2. Cover and let it steep for about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, discarding solids, and then set aside to cool.
  3. Fill individual serving glasses with ice and pour the cooled butterfly pea flower sugar syrup, filling the glass to about a third of the way.
  4. Add the juice of about 1 lemon together with some mint leaves. At this point, you’ll start to see some colour changes happening.
  5. Pour the soda water and watch the magic happen! Enjoy!

Magic Butterfly Pea Lemonade

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

Hello Everyone! This bowl as a whole reminds me of a deconstructed version of Vietnamese spring rolls – vibrant in flavour as they are in colour, topped with poached prawns, fried tofu, snow peas, fresh carrots and mint leaves, and a sprinkle of crushed roasted peanuts.

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

In fact, the recipe for the sauce/dressing used for this dish is based off of a Vietnamese spring roll dipping sauce. It is made with lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar, and a bit of fresh garlic and chillies. The sauce is very acidic, which is exactly what you need to trigger the color changing properties of the butterfly pea flower. These striking blue and violet glass noodles, steeped in butterfly pea flowers to achieve their rich colour, transform before your eyes when mixed with the acidic sauce.

It’s cool, refreshing and perfect for the warmer days of spring and summer! But before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe where I drew my inspiration from over on Love and Olive Oil by Lindsay.

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the glass noodles

  • 3 packets (80g per pack) glass noodles
  • 1 & 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup dried butterfly pea flowers
  • Pinch of salt

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce (or more, to taste)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, finely minced

To assemble

  • Carrots, shredded
  • Firm tofu, fried
  • Mint leaves
  • Prawns, poached
  • Roasted peanuts, crushed
  • Snow peas, blanched

METHOD

  1. Dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a small to medium-sized bowl and mix well. Adjust taste to your liking by adding more fish sauce, lemon juice, or chillies. Set aside.
  2. Glass Noodles: Combine the dried butterfly pea flowers in a small saucepan together with the water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat off and leave to steep for about 10-15 minutes. Discard the flowers.
  3. Place the glass noodles in a large mixing bowl and pour the blue-infused water over the noodles. Give it a good mix, making sure that the noodles are covered with water. Place a clean tea towel over the bowl and set aside for the noodles to soak and cook, about 5 minutes.
  4. Once the noodles are cooked through, drain and separate into two batches in bowls. Drizzle half of the prepared dressing in one of the bowls and give it a good mix. You’ll see that the colour will change from blue to violet in a matter of seconds.
  5. Assemble: Place an equal amount of the blue and violet noodles into individual serving dishes and top with vegetables and meat of your choice. I kept mine pescatarian so went with poached shrimp and bulked it up with tofu as well. I added vegetables such as shredded carrots, snow peas, mint leaves, and topped it off with some roasted peanuts.
  6. Add more dressing as you wish and enjoy as a room temperature or cold dish on a hot summer’s day!

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com