Batar Da’an (Pumpkin, Corn, and Mung Bean Stew)

Batar Da’an (Pumpkin, Corn, and Mung Bean Stew)

Hello Everyone! With only 28 calendar days, February flew by so quickly and it’s already the 3rd day of the 3rd month of 2021! In 13 days it’ll be a year since we (the Philippines) went into Enhanced Community Quarantine because of the global pandemic. Last week we shared our last recipe for local Cambodian delicacies; our second stop on our road to discover the Flavours of Southeast Asia for Amcarmen’s Kitchen. Our next stop for this month is a small Southeast Asian nation that is rarely heard of, a country that only gained its full independence in 2002 – East Timor! After centuries of Portuguese colonization, the state became independent in 1975 before being invaded by Indonesia. The country was finally able to restore its sovereignty in 2002.

This is why East Timorese Cuisine is heavily influenced by other Southeast Asian foods, Indonesian cuisine to be specific, and Portuguese cuisine. Since agriculture is one of the most important sectors in the country, the cuisine uses mainly rice (since its largely homegrown), sweet potatoes, corn, cassava, and taro. To add up to the base of every dish there is usually a vegetable component, also with homegrown products such as black-eyed peas, onions, spinach, and cabbage. Meat such as pork, chicken, goat, and fish are also common in East Timorese dishes.

Batar Da’an (Pumpkin, Corn, and Mung Bean Stew)

The first dish that we’re going to tackle for this month is known as Batar Da’an, or in English, Pumpkin, Corn, and Mung Bean Stew. Mung beans are very popular in Asia, particularly in Southeast Asia. Though having said that East Timorese cuisine is heavily influenced by other cultures, Batar Da’an is actually one of the few dishes that are authentic to the country. It is a simple, yet hearty and humble vegan dish (gluten-free too!) that is prepared with a combination of diced pumpkin, corn, and mung beans that are sautéed in garlic and onions, seasoned with just salt and pepper. There are also other variations of this dish, where squash is used instead of pumpkin, and kidney beans are used as an alternative to mung beans.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on 196 Flavors by Vera and Mike. The original recipe uses water as the base for this stew. I replaced the water with my own homemade vegetable stock to really amplify the flavour of this dish. You may also use store-bought broth if you wish. Also, at the very last minute, I asked my maid to harvest some moringa (malunggay) leaves from our neighbour’s tree to not only add colour to the dish, but also an extra added nutrition!

Batar Da’an (Pumpkin, Corn, and Mung Bean Stew) Ingredients


*Allow for 6 hours to overnight to soak the mung beans.


For the vegetable broth

  • 6 cups water
  • Carrot
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Leek
  • Long Green Chilli
  • Dried Rosemary
  • Dried Bay Leaves
  • Salt
  • Whole Black Peppercorns

Note: When making a basic vegetable broth, you want vegetables with neutral, but savoury flavours. Onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms are the ideal starter vegetables for stock, but feel free to swap any of these for leeks, tomatoes or parsnips. Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes and turnips will make for a gummy, cloudy vegetable stock. Beets overpower their aromatic counterparts. Zucchini and green beans become bitter when slowly simmered for as long it takes to make this stock.

For the batar da’an

  • 600g pumpkin, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 4 & 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 3/4 cup dried mung beans, soaked for at least 6 hours to overnight
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Moringa (malunggay) leaves, optional


You can choose to make your vegetable broth the day before to save time when actually cooking the Batar Da’an.

  1. Vegetable Broth: Combine all the ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down low and leave to slowly simmer for an hour.

If you’re using your broth right away, skip ahead to step 3a.

  1. When done, turn the heat off and leave to cool down slightly for about half an hour.
  2. Strain the vegetables and spices from the broth, into a bowl and then:
    a) set aside until ready to use, or
    b) set aside to cool down completely before transferring into a jar/container to store in the fridge.
  3. Batar Da’an: Add the coconut oil to a large stockpot over medium-high heat and sauté the minced garlic until golden brown in colour and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Next, add the diced onions and cook until soft, a further 30 to 45 seconds.
  4. Add the pumpkin chunks and give it a good mix for about a minute and then add in the drained mun beans. Season with a touch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper and cook for about a minute to get some caramelisation happening.
  5. Pour in the vegetable broth, mix, and then turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
  6. In the last 5 minutes, stir in the thawed corn and give it a good mix. At this point, you may taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Turn the heat off after 5 minutes and then serve immediately while hot and enjoy!

Optional: Once the heat is turned off, you may stir in some moringa (malunggay) leaves, or other choice of leafy greens, and let the residual heat cook them.

This dish is traditionally enjoyed as a main course, usually accompanied by rice, but it can also serve as an excellent side dish when paired with other meat or fish dishes.

Batar Da’an (Pumpkin, Corn, and Mung Bean Stew)

Batar Da’an (Pumpkin, Corn, and Mung Bean Stew)


– Ally xx

Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream (No-churn)

Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream (No-churn)

Hello Everyone! Earlier on the beginning of this month we’ve been experiencing dangerously high heat indexes, to the high 40s and I think even 50 degrees celsius in some cities in the provinces. The scorching weather we’ve been experiencing has left me craving for something sweet and something cold to beat the heat! Something like Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream!

Central Coast, NSW (July 2011)

I remember when I was still studying in Australia for my Bachelor’s Degree in Design; I went on a weekend away trip up north to the country with my friend to visit her family. We stopped over… Somewhere (I can’t remember where) and ended up having Cold Stone Ice Cream at the beach in the dead winter. So there’s really no excuse to only have ice cream during the summery days! *cheeky grin* Also, I just realised that the photo above was taken almost 9 years ago (July 2011)!

Mini tangent aside, you can still whip this up even though we’re now entering the rainy season here in the Philippines; I mean we still have relatively hot and humid days in between the rainy days anyway.

This Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream is sweet, summery, and creamy with that perfect hint of salt for that classic sweet-and-salty buttered corn at the backyard cookout kind of flavour. Perfect for a quick quarantine dessert! The great thing about it is that you don’t need an ice cream churner for this recipe, and most may already be readily available in your pantry. If not, be sure to pick them up on your next grocery run.

Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream (No-churn)

It’s common for many to not associate or equate corn to something sweet, but rather used in savoury meals. But in Southeast Asia, specifically in Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines, corn is widely used in various desserts, most especially in ice cream.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on My Recipes by Stacey Ballis.

Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream (No-churn) Ingredients


*For freezing time, minimum 4 hours or up to 24 hours.


  • 1 bag (200g) frozen corn**, thawed, quickly blanched, and roughly chopped
  • 1 can (218g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup (250ml) all purpose cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Yellow food colouring (optional)

** Alternatively, you can use fresh corn or canned corn as well for this recipe. Whichever is readily available.


When selecting fresh corn, look for plump ears with tight, green husks that feel cool and a little bit moist in your hand. Note that the natural sugars in sweet corn start converting into starch the minute it’s picked so buy the freshest ears you can find and be sure to use them within a day or two of bringing them home.


  1. In a chilled medium-sized mixing bowl, whip the all purpose cream using an electrical hand-held mixer until soft peaks start to form.
  2. Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue to whip to soft peaks, it should be fluffy and mousse-like. Add the corn together with the vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Gently fold through and then, using a stick blender, blitz the mixture to break down the corn kernels.
  3. Pass the mixture through a sieve to get rid of the corn fibres to get a smooth-textured ice cream. Pour into an airtight container and freeze for 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Let sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before scooping and serving on a hot summer’s day!

It’s excellent garnished with caramel sauce (and/or caramel popcorn), nut of choice or cornflakes for an added element of crunch! Enjoy!

Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream (No-churn)

So before I end tonight’s post, I just want to share the little mishaps I had when making this ice cream. Firstly, I wanted to add just a hint of yellow food colouring to give a mixture a slight tint. I was slowly tipping the bottle over and nothing came out. I shook the bottle a bit, and only a tiny drop came out. I shook it again and then… boom. I think a teaspoon or more of it spilled out. Now it looks like the kind of ice cream you’d get from the stores that are 90% food colouring/flavouring *le sigh*.

Secondly, after freezing the ice cream mixture overnight, I was super excited to dig into it the next day. To my dismay, the ice cream was way too salty for my liking. It was really unpleasant to eat. On top of that, the ice cream tasted nothing like sweet corn at all. The corn kernels that were added to the mixture were hard and frozen. I was basically eating salty ice cream with cold chunks of corn that barely taste like corn. I was so disappointed.

I decided to try and fix this without having to throw out the first batch I made, all I needed was more cream, which I had to wait to get a week later on my fortnightly grocery run. I took the batch of ice cream out of the freezer and just let it sit on the countertop for about half an hour until it melted back into cream. Then I whipped the new all purpose cream in a chilled bowl until soft peaks started to form and then added the melted ice cream to the bowl. This definitely made the cream mixture less salty, but still hits just right. This also made the colour of the ice cream less intense.

Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream (No-churn)

After adding the cream and melted ice cream together, I whipped it further and then got my stick blender out to blitz the corn into the cream mixture. This basically ensures that the corn flavour is mixed into the cream and also solved the issue of having icy chunks of corn. And violà! Fixed.


– Ally xx

Cayenne Shrimp & Corn Chowder

Cayenne Shrimp & Corn Chowder

Hello Everyone! I’ll keep tonight’s introduction short as I haven’t got much to say really. This Cayenne Shrimp & Corn Chowder is the perfect comfort food for the wintry days, or even just those cold, rainy nights. It’s easy, hearty, spicy, sweet, slightly creamy, incredibly smoky, and packed with tons of flavour!

Cayenne Shrimp & Corn Chowder

Shrimp is a popular choice for any meal of the day. Be sure and get the right sized shrimp for your recipe Medium-size shrimp are best for soups, for example, because they are easier to eat with a spoon. The best part of this dish though is that you can control the heat levels by adding more or less cayenne and/or paprika, to taste. If you ask me though, I’d say the more the better because that smokiness is the true star in this chowder!

As I was cooking, I realised that the dish was turning out to be more on the orange side rather than yellow. Oops! Nevertheless, before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Gimmie Some Oven by Ali.

Cayenne Shrimp & Corn Chowder Ingredients



  • 500g shrimp, heads removed, peeled, and deveined

For the prawn head soup base

  • Shrimp heads and peels
  • 1.5L water
  • 5 garlic cloves, whole
  • 3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 2 small red onion, quartered
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp whole black peppercorns

For the chowder

  • Shrimp meat
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 bag (200g) frozen corn*, thawed
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into medium-sized cubes
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped spring onions, to garnish

* Alternatively, you can also use fresh corn or canned corn for this recipe; whichever is readily available for you.


  1. Prawn Head Soup Base: Add all the ingredients to a large heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a slow simmer. Make sure to press down on the heads and peels as it simmers away to extract as much flavour as you can. Leave it to simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  2. Once done, strain the soup base into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Chowder: In the same heavy-bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium-high. 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, cooking until they soften, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the sliced celery and potatoes to the pot, together with the spices, herbs and season with ground black pepper. Stir and cook for about a minute before adding in the prawn head soup base to the mixture. Bring to a rapid boil.
  5. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low so that the soup reduces to a slow simmer. Simmer away for 10 to 15 minutes, covered. Slowly add in half of the coconut milk and bring back to a slow simmer. Check and stir occasionally to avoid curdles from forming, cooking for a further 5 to 10 minutes. Taste to check if the chowder needs more seasoning or not.
  6. Add in the prawns and thawed sweet corn. If you’re using fresh corn, add them a little earlier to ensure that they are cooked all the way through. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add in the remaining coconut milk. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the chowder up to a rapid boil and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat off and equally divide the chowder into individual serving bowls. Top with some freshly chopped green onions and serve immediately while hot. Best with a crusty baguette on the side. Enjoy!

Cayenne Shrimp & Corn Chowder

Cayenne Shrimp & Corn Chowder


– Ally xx

Auguest 2016: Diandra Cappelut

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Hello Everyone! Diandra here. Just another third culture foodie.

A few months ago, I delved into the weird side of Youtube and somehow ended up watching a documentary about the cruelness of pig farming at three in the morning. From there, I watched a famous vegan Mukbang star, Mommy Tang, who talked about how she became vegan and how a plant-based diet has helped her lose weight, overall positively affecting her health. Intrigued by the idea of veganism, I watched more and more documentaries on the negative impact of animal farming on the environment and animal products on our health.

Mind-blown by the influx of information, I decided to cut down my consumption of animal byproducts overnight. Mind you, I was that girl who ate meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I LOVE MEAT. But, after educating myself on the many issues that come with consuming meat and other animal byproducts, I simply couldn’t live with myself if I continue eating meat mindlessly for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Could I let go of meat and dairy completely? No. Not right now. But maybe one day. However, currently I have drastically cut down my consumption of animal byproducts to the point where I eat a plant-based diet 6 days out of the week. I give myself one cheat day. Still, not bad for a girl who was pretty much a full-time carnivore.

I always encourage others to try and lessen their consumption of animal byproducts. You don’t have to give it up completely, but at least lessen. The secret of eating a plant-based diet without passing out halfway through the day is to fuel yourself with CARBS. This Quinoa Black Bean Taco recipe is the perfect filling and delicious vegan meal. Oh and it’s extremely high in protein 😉 Yes, you can find lots of protein in plants too, not just in meat! Hope you like it!

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos Ingredients



  • 2 cups Superlife Co. mixed quinoa, cooked
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 brown onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Jalapeños
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Taco Shells


  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt-free Mexican seasoning blend

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos Method


  1. Dice the tomatoes, onion and bell pepper. Mince the garlic.
  2. Add olive oil, garlic and onion into a heated pan. Sauté until the onions and garlic are nice and golden.
  3. Add the bell peppers and frozen corn, and continue sautéing until the peppers are soft and the corn is defrosted.
  4. Add the cooked quinoa into the pan, sprinkle in the taco seasoning and mix everything together.
  5. Taste the quinoa/black bean mixture. If you would like additional spice and seasoning, add in the cayenne pepper and Mexican blend seasoning. Note: Taco seasoning is normally already pretty salty, so additional salt is not necessary.
  6. Turn down the heat and add the tomatoes into the pan. Mix everything together.
  7. ASSEMBLING THE TACO: Take a warm taco shell and line the bottom with some spinach leaves.
  8. Add the quinoa/black bean mix into the taco shell.
  9. Lastly, top the taco off with some jalapeños and voila!

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Recipe Copyright © 2016 | diandracappelut //

Eat them all up! 😉


Cayenne Crab & Corn Bisque

Cayenne Crab & Corn Bisque

Hello Everyone! We’ve made it halfway through Winter Warmer Month and today I’ve got something for spicy and seafood lovers out there. Well, I mean maybe not all seafood lovers will fancy this just because I know some people who do love seafood, but can’t do crabs because of its taste/texture, or even prawns because of the way it looks. Anyway, if you like spicy, crab, and sweet corn in a nice creamy soup, then this recipe is for you!

Cayenne Crab & Corn Bisque Ingredients

A bisque is basically a soup of French origin from a crustacean-based broth (either from lobster, crab, shrimp, or crayfish) that is smooth, creamy, and highly seasoned. Traditionally, you would extract the flavour from imperfect crustaceans that are not good enough to sell at markets. In an authentic bisque, the shells are ground to a fine paste and added to thicken the soup. Seafood bisques are traditionally served in a low two-handled cup on a saucer or in a mug. However, not all bisques contain seafood. Bisque is also sometimes used to refer to cream-based soups in which pre-cooked ingredients such as squash, tomato, mushroom, and red pepper are puréed or processed in a food processor.

Anyway, two days ago I went to the Sydney Fish Markets with my roommate Marissa (from Maiyummy) and her friend Rachel to indulge in delectable seafood plates from the barbecue and grill place, as well as purchasing some fresh seafood for our own cooking. I bought some live flame clams and blue swimmer crabs for this particular recipe. Actually, I hadn’t planned on making a seafood bisque for Winter Warmer Month, but as soon as I knew that I was going to make a trip to the fish market, I had to do a seafood soup of some sort! Anyway, enough talk and let get to the menu shall we? You can find the original recipe over on All Recipes; I changed the order of the method and the seasonings but it still worked out fine.

Cayenne Crab & Corn Bisque Ingredients



  • 450g fresh crabmeat (I got mine from blue swimmer crabs)
  • 2 ears of corn, cut from the cob
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 small-sized onion, diced
  • 1 cup chicken broth*
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste

*I made my own by combining chicken carcasses, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and a bit of ginger in a pot of water and boiled it for about 45 minutes to an hour, otherwise store bought broth, or a chicken cube/powder with water will do the trick as well.


  1. Wash and clean the crabs thoroughly and place in a steamer and steam for about 20 minutes. Once done, remove from the steamer and set aside to cool. If you’ve purchased crab flesh in a jar, then you can skip this step altogether.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat, be careful as to not brown/burn the butter. Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute or two before adding the the onions and cooking them until soft.
  3. Add in the corn kernels followed by the bay leaves, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Mix around and cook for about a minute or two before adding the chicken broth in with the mixture.
  4. Bring the broth to a boil and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove 1 cup of the soup and set aside.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the thickened cream. Using a stick blender, blend the corn together with the liquid in the cooking pot until smooth. Turn the heat up to medium-high once again and return the unblended soup to the cooking pot and mix well.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together the flour and milk. Slowly and constantly stir the mixture into the simmering soup. Stir in crabmeat (leaving a few pieces behind to decorate with) and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  7. Divide the soup equally into serving bowls (4 large bowls, or 6 small bowls) and top with some crabmeat, corn, cayenne pepper, and fresh afro parsley.

Cayenne Crab & Corn Bisque

Cayenne Crab & Corn Bisque


– Ally xx


In Asia Restaurant & Bar

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! I think I will keep the introduction short today just because you’re about to dive into a 2200 word review below and I’m already tired of typing and spinning words out of my brain at this hour of the night. Seriously though, if university essays were this easy to write in less than 4 hours, I’d never hate writing essays (most probably)…

About three months or so, I actually don’t remember, I attended a talk organised by General Assembly on the Business of Food Blogging. It was there that I met Brendon D’Souza from brendonthesmilingchef, and he was indeed a happy smiling chap. Last week he invited me and a few other bloggers for an Instagram Meet Up at In Asia Restaurant and Bar in North Strathfield. He told an interesting story about how he came to know about this restaurant; basically he and his family were driving along looking for a place to hold his graduation dinner. They came across In Asia and I think he pretty much fell in love with the food here and even said that the Popular Popcorn Parfait dessert sold it for him. He met the owner of the restaurant and talked about organising a food blogger’s event to basically build up a social media presence of the restaurant. I’m really glad that Brendon organised this event because it was definitely a great experience for not just me, but for everyone else who was a part of the night. I met a lot of other food bloggers, and shared a few laughs over the night as we all started getting a bit tipsy from the drinks.

Let’s get straight into their menu and what I thought of their awesome dishes:

Vodka, fresh strawberries and limes, with candy floss ($16.00)

I remember seeing one of the blogger’s ordering this drink across the other table. Rachael and Angela, who were seated in front of me, bolted over to take a picture of this very photogenic drink that looked like a fluffy unicorn. I wasn’t bothered to get up, only because I was sitting on the inside of the booth(?), not sure what kind of seating it was, but it meant that I had to ask people to get up for me, slide over, and then get out. When the girls returned, we decided to all order a cocktail each and share so that we could get a taste of what In Asia had to offer. I really liked this drink, mainly for the fairy floss and vodka combination, but you can’t really go wrong with strawberry and lime.

Baileys, Frangelico, Kahlua, cream, chocolate syrup, and Toblerone shavings ($16.00)

This was something that I’ve not actually seen before elsewhere, but then again, I’ve only been to how many bars in my life? Yeah, not a lot. Anyway, this was by far my favourite cocktail of the night; alcohol and chocolate? Don’t mind if I do! I’m not a heavy drinker myself, but I’d definitely have 2 or 3 more glasses of this. For me, I couldn’t really taste the alcohol, but that’s okay because it tasted more like a chocolate drink to me, and I like that!

Bacardi, Soho Lychee Liqueur, fresh lychees, and lime ($16.00)

I am currently obsessing over lychees so this drink was also a favourite of mine that night. Loved the sweetness of the lychee paired with a tangy lime. I very much enjoyed this drink and would definitely come back for more of this… And the two above as well *cheeky grin*

with chilli purée and lime sauce, fresh pear ($15.00)

I love love love love LOVE scollops. Have I told you how much I really love scollops? Well, as you can tell for my love of scollops, it is without a doubt that this was my favourite entrée of the night. The scollops were cooked perfectly and surprised me with that great kick of heat. I say surprised because I wasn’t expecting it to be that big of a kick to my mouth. I found it quite spicy to my liking at first, but loved it as I had more of it. The pear was a nice touch of freshness to the dish as well.

with pickled papaya, fennel, cashew nuts, and crispy pork crackling ($15.00)

I honestly cannot remember what my tastebuds were going through when I had this dish. I mean, it was not a bad dish, but I feel like I didn’t have an overwhelming reaction towards the dish like I did with the other entrée dishes. The calamari was cooked well, and the salad was dressed nicely too. I like how they’ve added the crispy pork crackling in the dish for that added crispy element, but they were all gone before I could get any onto my plate (yes, most of the bloggers who I shared the dish with picked most of the crackling out)!

with roast coconut, crushed peanuts, ginger, chilli, lime, and caramel sauce: 2 pieces ($12.00)

As soon as this dish hit the tables, I was flabbergasted by its presentation. Loved the shot glasses. Moreover, I was impressed with the flavour combinations in such a little piece of betal leaf wrap. You’ve got the roast coconut, crushed peanuts, together with the ginger and caramel sauce I presume, that is topped with the tender, melt in the mouth poached prawn topped with roe and a tangy hit with a thinly sliced piece of lime, all wrapped in a peppery betal leaf that gave a nice fresh crunch to everything. It was a bit of a guessing game on how many bites you should take with this; it feels a bit big for one bite, but not big enough for two if you get what I mean. I tried two bites, but then you’re left with just the coconut and peanuts at the bottom without the prawn for your second bite. So I just went for it in one bite for my second serve. I find it quite expensive though because that means that one betal leaf wrap if $6.00; it’s quite a spectacular dish, but I don’t know if I’d pay that much for it.

with wasabi mayo and sweet chilli sauce

I had a look back at their main menu and didn’t see this dish so I can’t say how much it’d cost you to order this. There’s nothing much I can comment on this only just because it’s salt and pepper calamari; I mean you can practically get it anywhere you go. Nothing special, but I did like the tender calamari, however not a big fan of wasabi myself.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - SALAD: TEA SMOKED DUCK BREAST
with roasted rice, chilli, lemongrass, Vietnamese mint, and tamarind dressing ($22.00)

I felt like it’s quite similar to a Thai dish known as Nam Tok in terms of flavour, but anyway this was a very innovative dish and the flavours were a nice accompaniment to the duck. I actually wouldn’t have been able to tell that the duck was tea-smoked, but nonetheless, the duck was delicious and I wanted more!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - STIR FRY: WAGYU BEEF
with asparagus, shallots, and onion with hoisin sauce ($28.00)

Again, this was nothing special for me because I know how to make a mean beef stir-fry myself. I mean, it’s a good, simple, and humble dish, but nothing really as innovative as what I’ve already covered from this point on their menu.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: CRISPY SKIN SALMON
with IN ASIA’s spiced Kumara mash, cashew nuts, sweet potato chips ($27.00)

I wasn’t a fan of this dish for several reasons: firstly, I thought that it was a curry-based dish because of the ‘sauce’ and then I was surprised when I re-read the menu again at it was actually kumara mash. In my opinion, it was a bit thin for a mash. I like my mash creamy no doubt, but this felt like it took creamy to a whole other level. Secondly, though the salmon lived up to its crispy skin, it was however overcooked to my liking; it was a bit dry on the inside for me. The only thing I liked on this dish was probably the sweet potato chips. Sorry!

with tamarind sauce, pumpkin mash, and navel orange

This I liked better than the salmon dish, and I loved the pairing of the duck with the navel oranges. Though the skin wasn’t as crispy as I thought it would be, it was still a very good dish, and that’s also mainly because I love duck no matter how it’s cooked (just not overcooked of course). You may have noticed as well that there is no price – same what I mentioned above for another dish, I couldn’t find it on their actual menu so sorry to say I can’t make out how much this dish would cost if you want to order this dish.

with grilled pear, black sesame, pickled radish, and ginger ($28.00)

This dish wasn’t actually on the pre-planned menu that the restaurant had for us. One of the girls, as she called herself, “that annoying person who just doesn’t like seafood”, ordered this off the menu as the owner of In Asia suggested that she did as he felt bad for having pretty much a seafood-heavy planned menu for the night. I am actually glad that she got to order off their menu and shared a little bit of her food with everyone else because this was a really REALLY lovely dish. The wagyu beef was cooked perfectly and was very tender. The grilled pear, I mean, where do I even begin with this pear? It was so good and paired so well with the beef. It was a match made it heaven.

with crispy panko egg and sweet tamarind sauce ($23.00)

This was another dish that was ordered off the menu, and yet another great dish that made me happy that she doesn’t like seafood. This was actually my favourite main dish of the night. The pork belly was crispy and sweet, and that panko egg was just lovely. I honestly wanted more of this dish, but since we were only sharing, it made me sad that I could not have more that night. I would definitely recommend this dish if you’re ever thinking of dining here. It is a must! I would definitely go again if it weren’t so far from where I live!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: MONKEY SNICKER
with banana pudding, passionfruit curd, pandan foam, pandan granita, shredded coconut, and coconut ice cream ($12.00)

Finally on to dessert! This was probably not one of the best desserts of the night just because I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other dessert that you’ll see below, both in terms of presentation and flavour. This didn’t really wow me that much I’m sorry to say!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: MRS B'S FIRST KISS
with organic banana lightly battered in shredded coconut and fried, palm sugar caramel, tapioca sauce, and rice puffs, served with passionfruit sorbet ($14.00)

I apologise in advance because I cannot comment on the flavour of this dish, and I will tell you why. So when the desserts arrived at the table, everyone went nuts for this dessert, as well as the one below because of their spectacular presentation. It was almost too beautiful to eat! So I got my pictures, and then I had a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. I thought, okay I’ll go to the bathroom quickly since the other bloggers were still busy taking pictures of the desserts. Came back about 2 or 3 minutes later and this dish was completely demolished. Lesson of the night? Hold it in, no matter how urgent it is. It’s not worth it especially if dessert is concerned and you’re sharing one dish with about 12 other bloggers. I was so sad!

with IN ASIA’s crushed corn flakes, caramel popcorn, grilled sweet corn, and caramel jersey cream ($14.00)

Okay, at least there was a good quarter or so of this dessert left when I came back from nature’s calling. Thank goodness because this dessert was the absolute bomb. I loved the flavours and different textures that you got in each mouthful of the dessert, and I didn’t think that grilled corn would be such a great compliment to the overall dish. The presentation was on point as well. Well done In Asia for this dessert!

There were some ups and some downs with the dishes that we had over the night, but I can safely say that the positives overpowered the negatives greatly. There was really only one dish that was a let down for me, and the others that had minor issues based on just my personal opinion and palette is nothing major to say that it was a bad dish. I’d rate the food of the night a solid 9.5 out of 10; the food really blew me away and clearly the definition of modern (kind of, sort of fine dining) Asian cuisine. For me, it’s sort of somewhere in the middle like it’s not casual but not extreme fine dining either. Not only did the flavours and textures impress me, the presentation of some of the dishes, mainly the entrées and desserts, really blew me away. The service was great as well, though I wasn’t sure why it took quite possibly close to 30 to 45 minutes for the light menu (which were the tea smoked duck salad and the barbecued calamari salad) to come out to the table after entrées – I wasn’t complaining though because I had a pretty hefty entrée to begin with. I’d give the service an 8 or possibly 9 out of 10 anyway. Now, value for money – the dishes here are pretty pricey to be honest but I guess you can say that you actually do pay for what you’re getting. If you’ve got the money to spend, definitely spend it here, otherwise it’s not really a place you can just rock up to if you don’t have the money or for a casual dine.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar
181 Concord Road
North Strathfield, New South Wales
Australia, 2137

– Ally xx

Corn Salsa

Corn Salsa

Hello Everybody! Short post today as I have no long-winded back story for this dish. I just wanted something fresh on the plate to accompany my wings and this came into mind! Please do check out the original recipe here though by allrecipes once again.

Corn Salsa Ingredients



  • 1 can (420g) sweet corn kernels, drained
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • Handful of rocket leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste


  1. Add all the ingredients into a large bowl and toss together until well combined. Chill until ready to serve. Simple as that!

Corn Salsa


– Ally xx

Clam Corn Chowder

Clam Corn Chowder

Happy Hump Day Everyone! The weather has been nice and warm all week, which is a bit unusual since it’s nearing the end of fall and entering winter next month – I’m not complaining though! And yes, I know that Australian winters aren’t as cold as Northern American and European countries, it’s cold for me because coming from the tropics, it doesn’t get as cold as 24C. I love the heat! I’ve been planning on making this dish for a while now, as in a few weeks ago when the weather dropped to about 10-15C, but I never got around to. I had half a pack of vongole left from my spaghetti alle vongole in the freezer and I wanted to cook it. So yesterday for dinner I decided to make Clam Corn Chowder.

I made this dish once before last year when I went on holiday with my flatmate and two other friends. It was a great winter weekend away at Port Stephens – though it was in the middle of winter, we did very non-wintry activities: parasailing, camel riding and sand boarding. The evenings were a little chillier, and we also had a ‘Christmas in July’ dinner night, where I whipped up a nice pot of Clam Corn Chowder; full of sweet corn, smoky bacon, and delightfully briny clams.

Also, please check out the original recipe that I followed here: Epicurious.



  • 1kg NZ Westhaven Vongole
  • 3 hickory smoked bacon slices, diced
  • 1 can (400g) super sweet corn kernels, drained
  • 500g potatoes, wash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups fish stock (clam juice preferable if available)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 stalks scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, melt 1 tbsp of the butter and sauté bacon until lightly browned, but not crisp, over medium heat. Add in the scallions (pale white parts) and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add in the corn and potatoes, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add in the fish stock, water, and season with pepper. Bring to a boil, uncovered.
  2. Add the clams in and bring to a boil again, uncovered. Stir occasionally until the clams open (about 5-8 minutes). Discard any clams that remain unopened after 8 minutes.
  3. Add the milk and cream to the chowder, remaining butter, and season with salt. Cook until heated through but do not let it boil. Garnish with green scallions and serve with buttered bread roll.

Clam Corn Chowder


– Ally xx