Htamin Gyaw (Burmese-style Fried Rice)

Htamin Gyaw (Burmese-style Fried Rice)

Hello Everyone! It’s time to pack up our bags and head onto our next destination on our Flavours of Southeast Asia – to Myanmar! Myanmar (Burmese) cuisine is known for the simplicity of its recipes. Essentially, the building blocks to most dishes use shallots, turmeric, and peanut oil. Other ingredients to give a dish more complexity include ginger, garlic, tomatoes, lime, chillies, dried shrimp, and fish sauce.

Out of all the Southeast Asian cuisines, I would have to say that, alongside Cambodia and East Timor, Myanmar too is a cuisine that I am most unfamiliar with. Nevertheless, I’m up for the challenge to share with you some dishes that I have come across during my research.

Htamin Gyaw (Burmese-style Fried Rice)

Htamin Gyaw (Burmese-style Fried Rice)

Htamin Gyaw (don’t ask me how to pronounce it *cheeky grin*), or in English, Fried Rice with Boiled Peas is the traditional Burmese recipe for fried rice. Like with every cuisine, adaptations of this fried rice can be found in different households. A popular plain version consists of rice, boiled peas, onions, garlic, and dark soy sauce. The dish is a common breakfast meal in Myanmar, but it can also be served for lunch and/or dinner. The rice can optionally be topped with a fried egg and served with any leftovers you may have lying around from a meal the night before.

The version that I will be making to share with everyone tonight consists of fried red onions in place of shallots, peas, chillies, and turmeric. I also served it with a side of blanched bok choy, sunny side up egg, and drizzled some sriracha sauce on top. If you want to keep this meal vegetarian or vegan-friendly, then feel free to omit the egg.

Htamin Gyaw (Burmese-style Fried Rice) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 5-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups day old cooked rice
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 stalk spring onion (white and light green parts only), finely sliced
  • 1 long green chilli, sliced
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
  • Fried red onions
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Blanched bok choy
  • Fresh red and green chillies
  • Sunny side up egg
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Lemon or lime wedges

METHOD

  1. Add the sesame oil into a large pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until cooked through, about 3 minutes before adding the sliced spring onion and chillies. Cook for a further 30 seconds and then add in the turmeric powder.
  2. Add the cooked rice and mix well, breaking up any remaining clumps of rice. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste and cook for a further 5 minutes making sure to coat every single grain of rice in the turmeric evenly.
  3. Add the green peas along with the fried red onions and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust as you go.
  4. Once done, transfer the rice to individual serving bowls and serve with blanched bok choy, a sunny side up egg, and a lemon or lime wedge on the side. Top with extra chillies and fried red onion if you wish, and a drizzle of sriracha sauce. Enjoy!
  5. In Myanmar, this dish would also often be served with a condiment known as ngapi kyaw, which is fried fish paste with shredded fish flakes. Of course, if you want to keep the dish vegetarian/vegan-friendly, you can leave this out. Fresh cucumber strips mixed with chopped onions, green chillies, and vinegar can also be served with this fried rice.

Htamin Gyaw (Burmese-style Fried Rice)

Htamin Gyaw (Burmese-style Fried Rice)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

Hello Everyone! February is flying by so fast and I can’t believe that we’re already on our second last Cambodian recipe for the month! Tonight I will be sharing a Cambodian breakfast staple known as Num Banh Chok, or in English, Fish Noodle Soup. It’s a traditional breakfast dish that consists of rice noodles served with a fish gravy and freshly foraged wild grown Cambodian vegetables (some of which does not have an English name), and eaten with a few chilli peppers on the side.

In rural Cambodia, the rice vermicelli noodles used in this dish are all done and made by hand with a stone mill. They are then sold at the local markets where vendors would come early in the morning to purchase it, and then sold to the local residents. Rice is first boiled until soft and then grounded into a wet dough with a heavy stone mill. Once all the rice is ground, the wet dough is placed into a large cloth bag. Heavy mill parts are placed on top to squeeze out excess water. This is the beginning of the fermentation process. Once done, the result is a firm, dry but still sticky flour. To see just how labour intensive the noodle making process is, read this article here. Of course, ain’t nobody got time for that, so I just used store-bought rice vermicelli noodles from my local grocer.

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

Like many other Cambodian food recipes, Num Banh Chok’s main ingredient, besides mudfish, is the yellow kroeung paste. I covered this in my blog two weeks ago when I made Amok Trei (Steamed Fish Curry). Instead of mudfish though, again I used tilapia fish because that is what I am familiar with. The other main ingredient that is definitely not optional and irreplaceable – rhizome or finger-roots in English, khchiey in Cambodia. Unlike ginger, turmeric, and galangal which are commonly used throughout the world, khchiey is relatively obscure and is mostly used for medical purposes in some Asian countries. When fresh, khchiey has an earthy, peppery, and much milder flavour than ginger and galangal. However, since I could not source any here in the Philippines, I used ginger instead for this my ‘not so authentic’ version of Num Banh Chok.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on A Wandering Foodie.

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup) Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the soup base

  • 4L water
  • Heads and bones from the reserved tilapia fish filets
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2-3 large dried bay leaves
  • 1 small red onion, quartered
  • 1 small thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white ends crushed
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp salt

For the kroeung paste mixture

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup kroeung paste
  • 2 tbsp peanuts, roasted
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, chopped
  • 2 small turmeric, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
  • 6 tilapia filets, or any other firm white fish
  • 1 pack rice vermicelli noodles
  • Assortment of greens (I used mustard leaves, water spinach, and mint leaves)
  • Banana blossoms

METHOD

  1. Soup Base: In a large stockpot, bring the 4 litres of water to a boil, over high heat, together with all the other ingredients for the soup base, except for the shrimp paste. Once the stock comes to a rapid boil, turn the heat down to bring it to a slow simmer. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  2. Kroeung Mixture: Meanwhile, prepare the kroeung mixture. In a mortar and pestle, pound the kroeung paste together with the roasted peanuts, birds eye chillies, ginger, turmeric, and garlic. If you have a small-sized mortar, you can pound the mixture in batches and then combine them into a bowl.
  3. Add the fish sauce, sugar, and coconut milk into the bowl with the kroeung paste mixture, and mix thoroughly. Let it stand for at least 10 minutes to let all the flavour infuse together.
  4. Rice Vermicelli Noodles: Bring water to a boil in a separate pot. Add in the pack of rice vermicelli noodles and let it cook for about 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. While the noodles are cooking, prepare a large bowl filled with ice-cold water.
  6. Once the noodles are cooked and the texture is to your liking, strain and place the cooked noodles into the cold bowl of water to stop its cooking process. Start taking out equal handfuls of noodle and portion them into individual serving bowls and set aside.
  7. Num Bahn Chok: Once the soup base is done, strain and return the broth to the stockpot. Add the shrimp paste to the broth and let it come back to a boil over medium-high heat. It is important to add the paste first before any other flavouring ingredients in order to lessen its strong scent. Adjust the broth to taste with salt and sugar to your liking, if needed.
  8. Once boiled, turn the heat down and add the fish filets into the broth and cook for about 10 minutes. Once cooked through, remove from the broth and set aside.
  9. Cook the vegetables (mustard greens, water spinach, and banana blossoms) in the broth for a few minutes, then remove and set aside.
  10. Turn the heat back up and add the kroeung mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-8 minutes.
  11. Carefully ladle the hot soup into the prepared bowls with noodles. Top with the cooked fish filets, vegetables, mint leaves, and more sliced chillies if you wish.
  12. Serve immediately while hot and enjoy!

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

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

Auguest 2020: Jialing Mew

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad

“Waste not, want not.” — Jialing Mew

Short of blackened and burnt, I’ve learned from my many Auguest disasters that you can almost always save a dish on the brink of catastrophe! Just get creative, do a quick Google search, or go with your gut. I’m also a big believer of using up what you have, even if it means not quite following the recipe to a T (shoutout to anyone with random vegetable halves rotting away in their fridge!). In the same vein, ingredients can always go further than you think. Simmer bones for a flavoursome broth, that, when combined with your salvaged refrigerator produce, equals soup for supper! It’s kinder on your wallet and better for the environment.

Auguest 2020: Jialing Mew


So before we get started, I would like to explain that were it not for a HIGHLY misleading label at my local supermarket, this dish would have been much more on-theme (surely I can’t be the only one who didn’t know that ‘Purple Sweet Potato’ is in fact WHITE once peeled??). Also. Having never actually cooked with beetroot before, I was woefully unaware of how shockingly long it takes to roast in the oven, thereby obliterating whatever small amount of purple pigmentation my poor adjacent sweet potato had to begin with.

Anyway. Just your standard Auguest post featuring Food Fiascos by Jialing.

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad

Actually, though, apart from the frustrating lack of purple, I consider this to be one of my standout Auguest recipes, as it makes for a pretty fab morning meal. Feel free to skip the pomegranate if unavailable (if we’re being completely honest, that was mainly brought onboard in an effort to edge our way closer to the violet spectrum, though it did turn out to be a nice addition). I do highly recommend the candied walnuts and feta, though!

This dish comes together with fairly minimal effort, despite the lengthy roast-time. Plus, it’s warm and carb-y – the good kind of carbs, I’m told! – making it the perfect cure for your winter morning blues. P.S. keep reading until the end of the recipe for a sneaky vegan plot-twist #Auguest2016

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 2 HRS 30 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the roasted vegetables

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 3 beetroots, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 3 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 1 purple sweet potato, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt (or 1/2 tsp regular salt)
  • Pepper

For the candied walnuts

  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

For the balsamic glaze

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

To assemble

  • 50g baby rocket leaves
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1 pomegranate (arils only)

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad Ingredients

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan-forced), and line a baking tray with parchment (this is for the walnuts) plus a large roasting tray with parchment paper or aluminium foil (this is for the vegetables).
  2. First prepare the candied walnuts. Toss the walnuts with the 2 tbsp maple syrup until evenly coated. Spread out over your lined baking tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes (in the meantime you can begin to prepare your vegetables), then take out and turn pieces over to ensure even cooking. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes, then transfer from parchment onto a plate for cooling.
  3. To prepare the roasted vegetables, first combine the 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp thyme in a bowl and lightly whisk with a fork until emulsified.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the beetroot, red onion, and sweet potato with the balsamic mixture until evenly coated. Transfer to a roasting tray and season generously with pepper and 1 tsp flaky sea salt. Roast in the oven for 1 hour, then turn the vegetables to make sure they cook evenly, and return to the oven for another 1 hour.
  5. In the last 15 minutes or so of roasting, you can start to arrange your rocket leaves on a serving dish, and prepare the balsamic glaze by heating the 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup over low heat until it begins to bubble (about 2-5 minutes). Remove from heat after 10 seconds and let cool slightly (it will thicken as it cools).
  6. Arrange roasted vegetables on top of the rocket leaves, and top with crumbled feta and pomegranate arils. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, serve, and enjoy!

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad

Tips:

  • To make it vegan, simply omit the feta (or use a plant-based substitute).
  • To make this dish even better (but less vegan) serve on toasted sourdough bread topped with poached eggs for the ultimate Instagram-worthy brunch!

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Jialing Mew (@jialingmew)

BON APPÉTIT

– Jialing Mew

myTaste.com

Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and No Ham

Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and No Ham

Hello Everyone! I’ve been wanting to do my own take on Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham for Amcarmen’s Kitchen ever since last year. I was super excited when I realised that I could tackle this idea for this month, but then quickly questioned, what am I going to do about the ‘ham’ part of this recipe?

For those of you who don’t know me personally, or if you haven’t picked it up from the recipes I have been sharing since the beginning of the year, I’ve been slowly cutting meat out from my diet. Since the second half of last year, I’ve managed to cut both beef and pork from my diet (with very rare relapses – I can’t avoid a good beef kaldereta during work events). I tried cutting out chicken from my diet this year too and attempted a pescatarian diet, but that didn’t quite work out. Nonetheless, I’ve strictly kept the recipes I’ve been uploading on the blog to pescatarian, vegetarian, or vegan.

Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and No Ham

Mini tangent aside and back on to tonight’s recipe; after having spent countless hours on the Internet searching for how I could adapt Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham without the ham, I came across Jenny’s Green Eggs, No Ham over on Jenny Can Cook.

Breakfast can’t get any healthier than this! This recipe for Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and No Ham has three servings of green vegetables to boost your immune system, combined with the fluffiest, moist, flavorful, and evenly cooked scrambled eggs for protein – all in one single meal!

The best thing about this recipe is that you can get creative with the greens. Choose what’s cheap and local to your area; what’s in season and most importantly, your favourite greens to eat!

Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and No Ham Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large free-range eggs
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 cup kale leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. In a small bowl, beat the eggs together with the sesame oil and milk. Season with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper then set aside.
  2. In a large non-stick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high. Add the diced onion and cook until soft, about 1 minute. Then add in the broccoli and cook for a further minute or two. Season with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Add in the kale leaves and give it a good mix before adding the spinach leaves in. Reduce the heat down to low and cover for about a minute to allow the leaves to wilt. Once wilted, transfer the cooked vegetables to a plate or bowl.
  4. Bring the heat back up to medium* and in the same frying pan, add the remaining olive oil. Pour the eggs into the pan and using a rubber spatula, begin pulling the cooked outer edges in towards the centre of the eggs. Uncooked eggs will flood the area you just pulled back while the cooked scrambled eggs will gather at the centre of the pan.
  5. When the eggs are about halfway cooked through, add the cooked vegetables back to the pan and continue pulling the uncooked eggs to the center of the pan.
  6. Turn off the heat when the eggs are 90% cooked. And transfer to a serving plate immediately. Perfectly cooked scrambled eggs are moist but not runny, with no crisp or brown edges.
  7. Garnish with some sliced red chillies, freshly ground black pepper, and a sprinkle of ground smoked paprika. Serve immediately with some toasted bread on the side if you desire. Enjoy!

Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and No Ham

* It’s important to leave the heat somewhere between medium-low and medium, so that it warms up but doesn’t get too hot. If the pan is too hot, the eggs will cook too quickly and become rubbery.

** If you plan on adding cheese to your eggs, add it in at this point. This will allow ample time for the cheese to melt and integrate into the eggs. Make sure that the cheese is shredded/prepared and set aside so you can add it to the eggs quickly.

Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and No Ham

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kaya (Malaysian Pandan Coconut Egg Jam) with Fried Mantou

Nyonya-style Kaya (Malaysian Pandan Coconut Egg Jam)

Hello Everyone! Try something new on your morning toast! If you’re looking to change up your breakfast condiment selection from the everyday jams and jellies, try this Pandan Coconut Egg Jam. It will transport you to the tropics with its flavourful, rich, and sweet taste!

Kaya (Malaysian Pandan Coconut Egg Jam) with Fried Mantou

Kaya in the Malay language means “rich”, with reference to the texture of this jam. It is a sweet coconut egg jam that is rich, thick and custard-like in texture, and flavoured with pandan, giving it a fun green colour.

There are two well-known varieties of kaya:

  • Nyonya, which is green in colour
  • Hainanese, which is darker brown in colour and often sweetened with honey

The colour variation depends on the number of eggs, the caramelisation of the sugar, and the amount of pandan leaves used. In the Philippines, a variation of this jam is known as matamís sa báo, but it does not contain eggs and is less thick in texture. In Thailand, it is known as sangkhaya.

Kaya (Malaysian Pandan Coconut Egg Jam) with Fried Mantou

This version of kaya that I will be sharing with you guys tonight is the Nyonya-style one, which gets its aromatic fragrance and natural green colour from the pandan leaf. The idea of treating it as a dip rather than a spread or a filling was inspired from my trip to Thailand a couple years back, in 2013. We (my family and I) were at a roadside stall for dinner and on their menu they had steamed thick-sliced bread with a kaya and condensed milk dip. I decided to recreate this dish to share with you guys tonight, but instead of serving it with steamed bread, I fried some mantou buns for that extra-added crunch on the outer layer while still keeping the inside of the buns soft.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Curious Cuisiniere by Michelle Wong.

Kaya (Malaysian Pandan Coconut Egg Jam) Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | MAKES 1 SMALL JAR

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-5 pandan (screwpine) leaves
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar

Optional (to serve with)

  • Condensed milk
  • Fried mantou buns

METHOD

  1. Place the pandan leaves together with the coconut milk in a food processor or heavy-duty blender, and blitz/blend for a few minutes until the pandan leaves have been finely puréed.
  2. Pour the blended pandan-infused coconut milk over a fine sieve and into a large bowl. Strain the coconut milk from the pandan leaf pulp, pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon to extract all of the coconut milk from the pulp. Discard the pandan leaf pulp.
  3. In a separate heat-proof bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar, until frothy. Then, add the pandan-infused coconut milk to the egg and sugar mixture.
  4. Create a bain-marie (double-boiler) by pouring some water into a pot that is slightly larger than your heat-proof bowl. Very important, check to see if your bowl can sit on top of the pot without any water touching the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Heat your pot of water over low-medium and bring to a slight simmer. Once slightly simmering, place the bowl with the coconut milk and eggs over it and gently whisk for 10-15 minutes, ensuring no water escapes from the bottom pot. It’s important to keep a low simmer or else the eggs can curdle quickly (refer to notes).
  6. Once done, transfer the kaya to a small serving dish and add just a touch of condensed milk (just enough that it doesn’t become overly sweet) and serve with your choice of steamed or fried bread. Whatever tickles your fancy! Enjoy!

Kaya (Malaysian Pandan Coconut Egg Jam) with Fried Mantou

Transfer the remaining kaya into a sterilised and clean jar. Let it cool before storing in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Kaya is eaten as a condiment spread on bread or toast, usually as breakfast.

Kaya (Malaysian Pandan Coconut Egg Jam)

Notes:

  • If you don’t have access to fresh pandan leaves, you may be able to find pandan extract which comes in a small bottle or pandan leaf powder, which will work perfectly fine with the recipe.
  • If your eggs curdle during the cooking process, not to fret! Continue to cook for the full 15 minutes, and then transfer the mixture to a blender. Blend until the kaya is smooth.

Growing up in Brunei, Nyonya-style kaya was my go-to choice of spread (together with peanut butter or just butter) on the waffles that you’d get at the local supermarket (Hua Ho) in the snack corner. Their freshly made kaya-filled pancakes, or even the kaya buns on their shelves were also my go-to choice. Also not forgetting the Hainanese kaya-filled cakoi (Chinese youtiao fried dough) from a nearby roadside stall from my workplace that my then workmates and I used to drive to our lunch breaks, and the kaya-buttered toast from a popular Chinese kopitiam known as Chop Jing Chew. These are, if not all, then some of my fondest memories of kaya.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Super Green Shakshuka

Super Green Shakshuka

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that we’re already halfway through the year! Metro Manila has now shifted from Enhanced Community Quarantine to General Community Quarantine since the beginning of this week and I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen. We haven’t even started to flatten the curve, and here we are letting people out and go back to work with positive cases rising much higher than when we were under enhanced quarantine.

I’ll unfortunately be reporting back to the office starting this coming Monday and Tuesday, twice a week while the other 3 days will be to continue working from home. I honestly don’t see the point in risking my health and my life just to go into the office two times a week when there is still so much uncertainty with the on-going pandemic, especially when it’s ten times harder to get anywhere via public transport due to capacity limitations to comply with social distancing. It was hard enough to get a ride to and from work pre-pandemic times, what more now? I remember waiting almost an hour for a ride home on many occasions, now I’ll probably be waiting 2 or even more hours just to get home, exposed in the open to the virus. While there’s a shuttle service initiated by the company I’m working for to avoid this issue, I don’t know how long they’ll be able to keep up with a door-to-door pick-up/drop-off service.

Super Green Shakshuka

Anyway, mini tangent/rant aside, a new month means it’s time to move onto the next colour of the rainbow for this year’s theme on Amcarmen’s Kitchen! The recipe that I’ll be sharing with you tonight is inspired by a dish that I had way back when I was still living and studying in Australia. It was in fact a weekend farewell brunch for me as I left the country the following day for good after having completed my degree and graduated a couple months back before this weekend brunch gathering.

I first came across the idea of a green shakshuka at SHUK North Bondi. Green shakshuka puts a healthy green spin on the classic Middle Eastern shakshuka recipe. Traditionally, a shakshuka is a mixture of simmering tomato sauce and spices, topped with gently poached eggs. Within the tomato sauce there’s diced onions, garlic and bell peppers. Lastly, it’s garnished with freshly chopped herbs such as cilantro and parsley.

The great thing about a shakshuka is its versatility. Similar to how you can toss most ingredients from your fridge into a smoothie, the same can be said for a shakshuka. For this green shakshuka, I’ll be replacing the tomato sauce and bell peppers with an abundance of sautéed green vegetables.

Super Green Shakshuka Ingredients

Whatever veggies you’ve got lying around, just throw them in! For my improvised take on this recipe, I’m going with broccoli and asparagus for some bite, and leafy greens such as locally grown kale, spinach, chilli, and malunggay leaves. I also threw in some green chillies for a kick of heat and some fresh basil and green scallions for freshness.

Super Green Shakshuka Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 1 cup broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup kale leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup chilli leaves, stemmed
  • 1/2 cup asparagus, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup malunggay leaves, stemmed
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 large green chillies, sliced
  • 2 small red onions, finely diced
  • 2 small red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1 stalk green scallions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp black olives, sliced
  • 2 tsp capers
  • Handful basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Shaved parmesan cheese

Optional (to serve with)

  • 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced (optional)
  • Crusty bread, toasted

METHOD

  1. Heat olive oil in a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Be careful to not burn the garlic. Then add in the diced onions together with half of the sliced green chillies and the white parts of the scallions, cooking until they soften, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Next, add in the chopped broccoli and cook for about a minute before adding the chopped asparagus in. Season with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Give it a good mix and cook for a further minute or so until they start to soften a bit.
  3. Add in the chopped kale and spinach leaves with just a touch of water. Cover for about 30 to 45 seconds to allow the steam to wilt the leaves. Add in the chilli leaves followed by the malunggay leaves and give it a good mix. Cook, uncovered, for about a minute or two; turning the heat down to low at this point so that your veggies do not overcook.
  4. Flatten the veggie mixture with a spatula and create 3 small wells. Crack an egg into each well and season with a touch of salt freshly ground black pepper. Add the sliced black olives, capers, red and green chillies, and green scallions. Cook the eggs until done to your liking. You can also cover to steam and cook the eggs faster (about two minutes for cooked whites and a lovely runny yolk). Heat off, and sprinkle with the chopped basil leaves to garnish.
  5. Serve immediately with your choice of sliced avocado or crusty bread, or ever both for a heavy brunch. Enjoy!

Super Green Shakshuka

You can easily double this recipe to serve more hungry tummies. It’s an easy, one-pan dish filled with lots of green goodies and poached eggs. Whether you eat it for breakfast or dinner, it’s a hearty, nutrient-packed meal that will last you through any season!

Super Green Shakshuka

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

Hello Everyone! So somewhere around November time last year, I shared a recipe for a classic breakfast (or merienda) staple here in the Philippines – none other than the famous tahhoooooo that you hear from yodelling street vendors. I shared a recipe for homemade taho back then, and tonight I’m going to share a recipe for using store-bought silken tofu. Upon doing research, this approach was adapted by our kababayans living or residing overseas, who truly miss having street taho readily available at their doorstep.

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

The very basic and classic version would be warm bland silken tofu that is sweetened with a caramelised brown sugar syrup known as arnibal, and is topped with tiny sago (tapioca) pearls. Nowadays you can find other variants such as Strawberry Taho or even Ube Taho, commonly found in the province of Benguet, more specifically in and around Baguio. Instead of a brown sugar syrup, a strawberry or ube syrup is made to sweeten the bland silken tofu.

Taking that into mind, I had this light bulb moment: what if I made a dragon fruit version of the arnibal? That had been my original for many months, and it was only lately that I decided to pair it with lychees since the two together had a great flavour profile for when I tackled a recipe for Dragon & Lychee Pork just last week.

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINS | SERVES 2-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pack (500g) soft silken tofu, roughly cut

For the dragon fruit and lychee arnibal

  • 1 & 1/2 cups water
  • 1 medium-sized dragon fruit (about 600g), peeled and roughly chopped*
  • 1 can (255g) lychees in syrup, drained*
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup lychee syrup

For the tapioca pearls

  • 4-8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup large tapioca pearls, uncooked

*Reserve some of the fruits to garnish before serving

METHOD

  1. Tapioca Pearls: In a medium-sized pot, bring about 2 cups of water to a rapid boil before adding the tapioca pearls in. Leave to cook for about 15-20 minutes. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the pearls that you use.
  2. Strain the tapioca pearls and add another 2 cups of clean water back into the pot. Bring to a rapid boil before adding the tapioca pearls back to the pot. Cook for a further hour until they become completely translucent ensuring that there are no white spots at the core. Add more water when needed to keep the pearls submerged in water as it evaporates.

I know I have said this before in a previous post, but I’ll say it again for those just tuning in:

Tip: For better results, leave the pearls in the cooking pot until it reaches back to room temperature. One hour of boiling will completely cook the pearls, but the core will still be slightly opaque. Leaving the pearls in the cooking pot for several hours (with the heat turned off) gives them a chance to absorb more water. Which makes the core translucent overtime.

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

  1. Once the core is no longer opaque, strain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  2. Dragon Fruit & Lychee Arnibal: Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients (except for the lychee syrup) for the arnibal in a small pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally and simmer until it thickens into a syrup and until the fruits are soft enough to mash, about 15 minutes.
  3. Once done, strain the syrup into a bowl to rid of any chunks of fruits. Stir in the lychee syrup and then set aside to cool down.
  4. Assemble: Layer each element into a tall glass; taho, syrup, dragon fruit, lychee, and repeat. Of course you can do it in any order you wish. Serve chilled and enjoy! Makes 2 large servings or 4 smaller servings.

The result was absolutely amazing! The sweetness from the dragon fruit and lychee was subtle, but that’s only because I didn’t go overboard on sweetening the syrup, for health reasons. It was just enough to cater to my tolerance of sweet. Of course, feel free to add more sugar in the recipe to your level of liking. Just think, whenever I buy bubble milk tea, I always ask for 0% sugar, or if I’m feeling naughty, then slight sugar only!

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Puto Bumbong

Puto Bumbong

Hello Everyone! I’d like to start the last post for the year by wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a splendid eve celebrating, feasting, and continuing tradition with family and loved ones. What are some of your Christmas traditions? I’d love to know in the comments below! We had a simple and quiet Noche Buena at home, and of course watched some Christmas classics such as the Home Alone series. We’re not a family who gives gifts during the season of Christmas because we treat each other throughout the year – be in paying for the entire meal when we eat out as a family, or paying for the tickets and snacks when we go to the cinema together; gifts that allow us to spend time together as a family rather than materialistic things.

That aside, I mentioned in my last post that Christmas or Simbang Gabi would not be complete without this famous breakfast kakanin that is sold alongside Bibingka just outside the church. But, as all the other kakanins out there, you don’t have to wait until the Christmas season to roll around as you can find Puto Bumbong every day of the year at your local market, various street stalls, and in many restaurants and cafés nationwide.

Team Bibingka or Team Puto Bumbong

Puto Bumbong is a type of Filipino steamed rice cake that is traditionally made from a special variety of heirloom sticky (glutinous) rice known as pirurutong which has a distinct purple colour to it. Food colouring is not necessary for this. It is soaked in salted water and then dried overnight. It is then ground in a grinder made of solid stone before it is stuffed into a bamboo tube known as bumbong ng kawayan. It is then steamed until steam rises out of the bamboo tubes, placed onto a pre-cut banana leaf, and topped with margarine (or butter), grated coconut, and muscovado sugar to enhance its flavours.

And so for my last breakfast recipe of the year, I will share two ways in how you can make Puto Bumbong at home, with and without the bamboo tubes – depending if you have bamboo tubes readily available or not to be able to tackle this recipe. Before we dive in, be sure to check out the original recipe that I followed over on Panlasang Pinoy.

Puto Bumbong

PREP TIME 2 DAYS* | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 6

*Be sure to allot yourself 2 days before you plan on tackling this recipe, as the rice needs to soak.

INGREDIENTS

For the puto bumbong

  • 6 cups water at room temperature, for soaking the rice
  • 1 & 1/3 cup sticky purple rice
  • 1 & 1/3 cup white glutinous rice
  • 2/3 cup long grain purple rice

For the toppings

  • Freshly grated coconut
  • Muscovado sugar
  • Softened butter or margarine
  • Banana leaves
  • Bamboo tubes

METHOD

  1. Combine all the different types of rice in a large mixing bowl together with the room temperature water. Set aside and leave to soak for at least 2 days.
  2. Drain and place the soaked rice in a large food processor. Pulse and grind until the rice becomes very fine (takes about 8 to 10 minutes to achieve this consistency). If you only have a small food processor handy, then work the rice in batches.

Cooking with Bamboo Tubes

  1. Fill each bumbong (bamboo tube) with the powdered rice mixture, making sure not to compress the rice to allow the steam to pass easily.
  2. Prepare the steamer with enough water for steaming. Once the water has been brought to a boil, arrange each bamboo tube on the steamer. Cook until steam starts coming out of the tubes, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the tubes from the steamer, and carefully remove the puto bumbong from the tube and place over a piece of banana leaf.
  4. Spread with butter or margarine (I chose to leave this out of my serving) and top with freshly grated coconut and muscovado sugar. Serve, share, and enjoy with a hot cuppa!

Cooking without Bamboo Tubes

  1. Add about 2 cups of water to the powered rice mixture and mix together to form a dough. You may need less or more water, depending, so it’s best to add the water in gradually. Knead until smooth.
  2. Pinch off about 2 tablespoons of the dough and, using your hands, make a ball and then roll into a log, about 4 to 5 inches in length. Alternatively you can place the dough into a piping bag and using piping tip #807, pipe the dough onto a heat-proof plate greased with a bit of butter or margarine.
  3. Place the plate into a prepared steamer with a muslin-covered lid to prevent any droplets of water dripping onto the puto bumbong mixture. Steam for about 8 – 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from the steamer and place onto a banana leaf. Top with your preferred toppings and enjoy!

Puto Bumbong

A lot has happened this year, both in my personal and work life, which resulted in me having to put my attention to Amcarmen’s Kitchen on hold for a couple of months collectively. That being said, I’m going to try my best not to take as many breaks as possible for the upcoming year ahead, *fingers crossed*

I usually take the first month of the beginning of the year off to properly plan for the upcoming year ahead and to get a head start on experimenting in the kitchen for recipes to share with you guys. But since I haven’t been working since August of this year (still continuing to look for a job as I write this), I’ve had time to plan ahead and I’m excited to share with you what I have in store for the upcoming year! You’ll just have to wait until next week to find out the theme for the year ahead – which technically is in another week I just realised!

So for now, I would like to wish all my family, friends, and followers a Happy & Prosperous New Year! May the New Year bring you happiness, health, wealth, and peace!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com