Pad Krapow (Thai Basil Tofu)

Pad Krapow (Thai Basil Tofu)

Hello everyone! This will be the last recipe that I will be sharing for the year on our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey. I’ve had to cut our journey short as the holiday season syndrome took over; basically all I wanted to do was just relax and take twice as long to get the things I needed done, actually done – for example this post! I had it up and ready to go two weeks ago but I hadn’t gotten around to editing the video for this to upload on my TikTok account, not until just this afternoon *cheeky grin*. So yes, our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey for 2021 will be ending here in Thailand tonight. Maybe next year I’ll cover some Vietnamese dishes to make up for this.

Tonight’s recipe is actually something I’ve been wanting to share on the blog for a while after coming across a vegetarian/vegan-friendly version of it on Instagram several times. Pad Krapow is a dish that I have tried many times before, but with chicken or pork (this was way back when I used to eat meat), so when I came across a version of it using tofu to make it meat-free, I knew I had to try this out.

There are three main types of basil used in Thai cooking: Thai sweet basil (ใบโหระพา bai horapa), or just referred to as Thai basil, lemon basil (ใบแมงลัก bai maenglak), and holy basil (ใบกะเพรา bai kra prao). Unfortunately it can be challenging to find holy basil outside of Thailand. You can still make this recipe using other basil variants, just be weary that it won’t have the same vibrant peppery flavour that holy basil has to give this dish its authentic Thai flavour profile.

Pad Krapow (Thai Basil Tofu)

Pad Krapow is usually served with steamed rice, but if you want to make it a little fancier without the extra carbs, serve it in a lettuce leaf and top each with a fried quail egg instead. I’ve also seen versions of pad krapow as a spaghetti dish so feel free to get creative when serving this dish up!

Now, I can’t exactly make it 100% vegan because pad krapow isn’t what it is without a fried egg where the edges of the egg white are crispy and browned to give it an added nutty flavour, but the yolk is still runny and creamy. So here’s an ovo-vegetarian Pad Krapow for you!

Pad Krapow (Thai Basil Tofu) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 dried red chilli, chopped
  • 1 stalk scallion (white part only), chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sweet soy sauce

For the tofu

  • 500g firm tofu, mashed
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, chopped
  • 1 stalk scallion (white part only), chopped
  • 100g cremini mushrooms, diced
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch Thai basil leaves

To serve with

  • Crispy Thai basil leaves
  • Fried quail eggs
  • Lettuce leaves

METHOD

  1. Sauce: Add all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside.
  2. Pad Krapow: Add a tablespoon of the oil into a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook the mashed tofu until dry. Remove from the pan.
  3. Add the remaining oil and the sauté the red onion, chilli, and scallion until fragrant, about 30 seconds, before adding the cremini mushrooms and cooking for a further 30 to 45 seconds.
  4. Add the mashed tofu back into the pan and mix to combine.
  5. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and add the sauce mixture to the tofu. Mix until well combined into the tofu, and cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the Thai basil leaves and mix it into the tofu, then remove from the heat.
  7. Add about a tablespoon or more to a piece of lettuce, then top with a fried quail egg and some crispy-fried Thai basil leaves.
  8. Plate up, serve immediately, and enjoy!

Pad Krapow (Thai Basil Tofu)

Pad Krapow (Thai Basil Tofu)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

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Goong Ma Kham kab Yum Takrai (Crispy Tamarind Prawns with Spicy Lemongrass Salad)

Goong Ma Kham kab Yum Takrai (Crispy Tamarind Prawns with Spicy Lemongrass Salad)

Hello Everyone! We’re packing our bags and venturing to Thailand on our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey! I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this in one of my previous posts before when I last shared a Thai recipe; I have and aunt who is Thai and I remember when we all used to live back in Brunei, she would teach me how to make Thai dishes such as Som Tam, Tom Yum, Yum Woon Sen, and many more. I’ve also visited Thailand a couple of times and have been to many Thai restaurants in Brunei and Australia.

The dish that I will be making today isn’t actually something I have tried for myself before. I came across it in a Thai cookbook that I purchased when I was still living in Brunei. It was during a work event, where within it we had something called the ‘Thailand Grand Fair’. If I remember clearly, they hosted a Som Tam making competition and had a guest chef come over as a judge and to promote his very first cookbook.

The name of his cookbook was very familiar to me, and then I realised that it was also the name of a Thai restaurant that I used to go to when I was still studying in Australia. Such a small world when I found out that he is actually the owner of it! I had the chance to talk to him a couple of times and I mentioned that I had been to his restaurant a couple of times – I even brought my mom and my sisters to eat there when they visited for my graduation. He was very humble and thankful when I told him that the food was great.

Goong Ma Kham kab Yum Takrai (Crispy Tamarind Prawns with Spicy Lemongrass Salad)

I was browsing through his cookbook one day for inspiration beyond the Thai recipes that I knew how to cook, which are also published on my blog by the way. A recipe for Spicy Lemongrass Salad (Yum Takrai) stood out to me, so did another recipe for Prawns with Tamarind Sauce (Goong Ma Kham), and thus we have a marriage of Crispy Tamarind Prawns with Lemongrass Salad that’s loosely adapted from Sujet Saenkham’s cookbook titled Spice I Am.

According to Chef Sujet, you want to take the time in slicing the lemongrass as thinly as you can otherwise it won’t be all that pleasant to eat. The fragrant and citrusy flavour of the lemongrass pairs very well with the prawns, or with any other seafood as a matter of fact. The tamarind sauce provides a nice balance of sweet, salty, and sour that is absorbed into the flesh of the crispy prawns when topped with it. Put all three together and you’ve got a match made in heaven of flavours and textures! In Chef Sujet’s cookbook, he mentioned that you can also use fish such as red snapper to pair with the lemongrass salad and/or tamarind sauce. I loved this recipe so much with the prawns so I’m definitely going to try this again with fish!

Goong Ma Kham kab Yum Takrai (Crispy Tamarind Prawns with Spicy Lemongrass Salad) Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

For the tamarind sauce

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 dried red chilli, chopped
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

For the crispy prawns

  • 6 extra-large tiger prawn, peeled and deveined with tails intact
  • 4 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 4 tbsp rice flour
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

For the spicy lemongrass salad

  • 3-4 lemongrass stalks (white part only), finely sliced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, chopped
  • 1 bunch Thai basil leaves
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Juice of 1 lime or lemon

METHOD

  1. Tamarind Sauce: Heat the coconut oil in a small pan. Fry dried chillies, red chillies, and garlic together for about 15 to 20 seconds and then add in the onions. Continue to cook for another 15 to 20 seconds.
  2. Add the tamarind paste, followed by the fish sauce, salt, and coconut sugar. Mix and bring to a simmer.
  3. Once simmering, add the water and then bring it back up to a simmer. Remove from the heat and then set aside.
  4. Crispy Prawns: Combine the flours and season in a medium-sized bowl and mix to combine.
    Coat each prawn with the flour mixture and shallow fry for 3 minutes per side, over high heat.
    Once done, remove from the pan and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up the excess grease.
  5. Lemongrass Salad: Combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl and toss to combine.
  6. Transfer the salad to a serving dish and top with the crispy prawns.
  7. If needed, you can reheat the tamarind sauce before spooning it over the prawns. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Goong Ma Kham kab Yum Takrai (Crispy Tamarind Prawns with Spicy Lemongrass Salad)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

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Chai Tow Kway (Fried Carrot Cake)

Chai Tow Kway (Fried Carrot Cake)

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that the year went by so quickly – it’s already the third day of the last month of the year! Before we dive into tonight’s post, I would just like to mention that 5 out of my 6 recipe entries for the month-long King Chef 2021 Challenge over on TikTok that I participated in, made it on the Top 20 list of weekly winners! This was also one of the reasons why I hadn’t been posting on my blog as I was focused and occupied in developing creative and unique recipes for the challenge. I think next year (month), I’ll share those recipes on the blog. In the meantime, you can head on over to my TikTok and watch my video entries for those dishes!

Moving forward, tonight, I will be sharing one last dish from Singapore before we fly off to our second last destination on our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey. The dish is known as Chai Tow Kway, or in English, Fried Carrot Cake. Yes, I can see the looks of confusion for those who don’t actually know this dish – because I had the same confusion when I first heard of it. I imagined an actual carrot cake being fried. Au contraire, despite its name, this Singaporean street food favourite doesn’t contain any carrot at all. It is actually made of white radish (daikon), which is first steamed, and then fried, giving it a crisp exterior while still soft and chewy in the center. The reason why it is called carrot cake is because the word for daikon, can also refer to a carrot because of a loose English from Hokkien translation.

Chai Tow Kway (Fried Carrot Cake)

To make this dish, white radish is grated and then steamed with rice flour and water. It is then cubed and tossed in a wok with eggs, preserved radish, and other seasonings. I opted to add thick sweet/dark soy sauce but you can leave this out. It is a much-loved local comfort food, not only in Singapore, but also in Malaysia, and can be consumed at various times of the day; it goes from being a breakfast dish, to a side dish, to a late-night supper dish.

PREP TIME 25 MINS* | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 2-3

*Allow for additional time to cool the steamed radish and to cool the steamed radish cake in the fridge overnight.

INGREDIENTS

Steamed Radish Cake Ingredients

For the radish cake

  • 600g white radish (daikon), shredded or grated
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 & 1/3 rice flour
  • 1/3 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 cup water

Chai Tow Kway (Fried Carrot Cake)

For the chai tow kway

  • Radish cake, fried
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 red chillies, minced
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 stalk scallion (light green and white part only), finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp salted (preserved) radish
  • 1 tsp sambal paste
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce (optional)
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • Blanched bean sprouts
  • Scallion (green part), shredded

METHOD

  1. Steamed Radish Cake: Combine the shredded radish with 3 tablespoons of water in a medium-sized stainless steel (or heat proof) bowl. Steam until the radish turns translucent, about 25 to 30 minutes on low heat. Once done, remove from the steamer and set aside to cool down.
  2. Add the flours, salt and, and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and mix thoroughly to combine, to get rid of any lumps.
  3. Add the cooled radish to the flour mixture and mix well to combine.
  4. Pour the radish flour mixture into a 8-in square cake tin and steam for 30 to 35 minutes over medium-high heat. Once done, remove from the steamer and set aside to completely cool down for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. This will allow the cake to firmly set.
  5. Once the cake is firm, remove from the cake tin and cut into smaller chunks.

Steamed Radish Cake

Steamed Radish Cake

  1. Chai Tow Kway: Add cooking oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Fry the radish cake (in batches if needed), until the edges are brown and crispy-looking. Remove from the pan and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
  2. In the same pan, sauté the garlic and chillies until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and scallion, cooking until soft, before adding the salted radish. Cook for a further 45 to 60 seconds.
  3. Add the sambal paste, followed by the fish sauce, white pepper powder, and dark soy sauce (optional), mixing well to even coat the radish cake.
  4. Push the ingredients to one side of the pan. If your pan is feeling a little bit dry, and a bit more oil and add the eggs in. Stir to scramble and cook, about 30 seconds and then stir fry together with the other ingredients.
  5. With the heat off, add the blanched bean sprouts and shredded scallion. Toss to combine and the plate up.
  6. Top with extra bean sprouts, scallions, and red chillies. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Chai Tow Kway (Fried Carrot Cake)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

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Singapore Fish Head Curry

Singapore Fish Head Curry

Hello Everyone! It’s been a while since my last post here on the blog; I’ve been super busy with work since I moved to a new department in the beginning of October, and doing some freelance work on top of that. I’ve also been focusing on creating sponsored content for Instagram and participating in a TikTok Challenge this past month. Now that things have slowed down just a little bit, I finally found the time to sit down and write this post/recipe (just hours before this is going live), to share with everyone!

We still have three more countries to venture through on our Flavours of Southeast Asia before the year ends, so the coming weeks will just be quick stopovers – and first, we’re taking a stroll through the many hawker centers in Singapore for their famous Fish Head Curry!

Singapore Fish Head Curry

The dish is actually of South Indian origins, but has been popularised in countries such as Malaysia and Singapore where it was introduced by the Indian migrants when they moved to the region. Thus, this dish is more commonly found at many Indian eateries across Malaysia and Singapore, served typically as a main to steamed rice.

Of course, there’s no problem in using the whole fish, which is what I did, as opposed to just using the head. The main reason why the fish head is much sought after when making a curry is because the meat found at the jaws, below the gills, and at the back of the neck is the sweetest and most delicate. It is also where it absorbs the flavours of the curry best. The important thing is to use fresh fish, whether sea bream, sea bass, snapper, tilapia, or any other white-fleshed fish, and to not overcook it.

I’ve had this dish many times before during my travels to Singapore and have made it a couple of times before when I was still living in Brunei. This is the first time I am making it again at home after a couple of years. The curry is thick, creamy, aromatic, tangy, and spicy; best served with vegetables such as okra and eggplant to soak up all the gravy goodness.

Note that there are some ingredients that I could not source locally for this dish, eg. brown mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, fresh galangal, and fish curry paste. The seeds I just left out, and used crushed galangal from a jar, and red curry paste instead.

Singapore Fish Head Curry Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 kg red snapper fish, sliced
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 15 pcs dried curry leaves
  • 3 pcs dried long red chillies
  • 3 tbsp red curry powder (or fish curry powder)
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 200 ml coconut milk (or more if you want it creamier)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water (or fish stock)
  • 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
  • 1 bunch (5 pcs) okra, halved
  • 2 eggplants, halves lengthwise and then cut into 3 horizontally
  • Shredded scallion, to garnish

For the curry paste

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 3 pcs red bird’s eye chillies (more if you want it spicier, or vice versa)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (white part only), chopped
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1-inch sized ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1-inch sized turmeric, peeled and chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp crushed galangal paste
  • 1/4 cup water

METHOD

  1. Curry Paste: Pound all the ingredients together for the curry paste, except the water, using a mortar and pestle, until a smooth paste is formed. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes of elbow grease. Mix the water with the paste and then set aside until ready to use. Alternatively, you can place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz them into a smooth paste.
  2. Fish Head Curry: Heat 2 tablespoons of cook oil in a heavy-based pan over high heat. Fry the eggplant slices until browned and tender. Once done, set aside.
  3. Reduce the heat down to medium, and in the same pan toast the cumin seeds, curry leaves, and dried chillies. Cook until fragrant and be careful to not burn them.
  4. Add the curry paste and curry powder, cooking and stirring continuously for about 4 to 5 minutes or until the paste darkens in colour and the oils start to separate.
  5. Add the tamarind paste, coconut sugar, coconut milk, and season with salt. Stir and bring the mixture to a simmer before adding the water and tomato wedges. Bring to a boil.
  6. Once boiling, add the fish head (and fish slices) to the curry mixture. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 – 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. In the last minute or so, add the okra to the curry and cook until tender.
  7. Transfer the fish head curry to a serving dish, top with the fried eggplant, and garnish with some shredded scallions. Serve immediately with steamed rice and enjoy!

Singapore Fish Head Curry

Singapore Fish Head Curry

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

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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

Auguest 2021: Jialing Mew

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls

“Waste not, want not.” — Jialing Mew

Auguest 2021: Jialing Mew

Let me just preface this year’s recipe by saying that my goal was not to recreate an authentic or traditional Vietnamese dish. Despite having grown up in South East Asia, Vietnamese cuisine was not really something I’d experienced much of until I moved to Sydney (slightly ironic, yes, but Australia is truly a melting pot of cuisines and cultures!). And so, not wanting to butcher any of the already perfect Vietnamese favourites I’ve come to love in my twenties, I decided to instead draw inspiration from some Vietnamese-Australian fusion I’d eaten in Melbourne during one of the brief intermissions between lockdowns.

As with every other Auguest, it was definitely a… journey… for me to get to this recipe. The original game plan was to take advantage of popular local seafood, such as barramundi. But fate had other plans. Due to a highly traumatising incident while pet-sitting for tropical fish (who I now see as the vicious, carnivorous killers they truly are!), my stomach forced me to swear off all forms of fish flesh for the foreseeable future.

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls Ingredients

Also, having been under pretty strict lockdown for almost as long as I can remember, I’ve had fairly limited access to specialty Asian ingredients. Many servings of banh mi and bowls of bun cha later (you know, for research, and supporting local businesses), I came up with another idea – sausage rolls! Such an iconic Australian food, yet every bakery and home cook has their own special recipe. I dreamt up a great chicken sausage roll recipe packed with aromatics and fresh ingredients reminiscent of my experience with Vietnamese-Australian cuisine.

The recipe was right up my alley, and came together with hardly a hiccup. But then last week my brain decided to remind me that Allison’s blog is now actually kind of pescatarian/vegetarian/vegan – which chicken is not.

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls

And so I resorted to the last-minute brain scramble I thought I’d gotten past, frantically modifying the recipe I’d perfected at the beginning of the month. So much for preparedness, but it kind of worked out in the end, and to be honest I’m not mad at the vegetarian version (#sorrynotsorry to all the vegans, though).

My recipe is still chicken-based, but I’ve also included some modifications to make a pretty tasty tofu filling, so feel free to choose your own adventure with this recipe!

Unless it’s vegan.

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | MAKES 15 ROLLS

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the filling

  • 500g firm tofu (or 500g chicken mince)
  • 1 cup (65g) fried scallions
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, ends and outer leaves discarded, pale inner bulb finely minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander, about 1/4 cup finely chopped
  • 2 red bird’s eye chills, minced
  • 2-3 eggs (1 egg if using chicken)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
    3 tsp fish sauce (or soy sauce)

For the dipping sauce

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp sriracha

METHOD

  1. Press a 500g block of firm tofu between several layers of paper towels with a flat heavy object on top to remove excess water. Let it sit for about an hour, then use your hands, a large grater, or knife and cutting board to turn the tofu into small crumbled pieces.
  2. Separate 3 sheets of prepared puff pastry, and set aside to thaw. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180C (170C fan forced, 350F, or gas mark 4).
  3. In a blender, pulse the fried scallions until finely crushed – this will be a super flavourful replacement for the breadcrumbs traditionally used in sausage rolls for keeping the filling from shrinking.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the tofu with the fried scallion crumbs and remaining filling ingredients. Mix well. Add up to 3 eggs until mixture binds and holds.
  5. Working with one sheet at a time, use a sharp knife to carefully cut puff pastry into thirds from top to bottom, then left to right, creating 9 even squares. Each of these squares you’ve cut will be used to individually wrap the tofu rolls.
  6. Take approximately 2 tablespoons of the mixture and shape into a log, placing diagonally across each small square of pastry. Brush the entire surface of the mixture and pastry with the beaten egg. To seal the roll, take the exposed top corner and fold across the top of the mince mixture. Take the opposite bottom corner and gently fold and press on top of the first pastry corner. Repeat with remaining filling and puff pastry sheets and arrange folded pastry rolls onto lined baking sheets.
  7. Brush the tops of the pastry with the remaining egg and place into the oven, baking one sheet at a time for 30 minutes, or until the tops of the pastry are golden brown.
  8. Combine the ketchup with sriracha and mix well to create dipping sauce, and serve with the pastry rolls. Enjoy!

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2021 | Jialing Mew (@jialingmew)

BON APPÉTIT

– Jialing Mew

myTaste.com

Auguest 2021: Mhyre Virtudazo

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways

“If I can make it from scratch, I will make it from scratch. I also try to cook with whole foods as much as possible and eat more vegetables/plant-based meals at least once a week.” — Mhyre Virtudazo

Auguest 2021: Mhyre Virtudazo

Whenever I see or think of Vietnamese rice paper, Gỏi cuốn (fresh spring roll) and Chả giò (fried spring roll) immediately come to mind. I love these appetizers so much that I eat them as snacks or as my main dish for dinner.

My problem with spring rolls (including the Filipino version Lumpia), however, is the step that involves wrapping. I find it tedious and prone to errors (uneven shapes or rolls with holes). Haha! To prevent that from happening, I have two options: order from a restaurant or “solve the problem”. On extra lazy days, I would choose the former. However, if you know me really well, you’d know that I’d usually go for the latter. And so, I had to do different takes on rice paper and spring roll preparation.

I’ve categorised these into three levels (easy, medium, hard) and I’m hoping you’re up for the game to reach Level 3. Are you ready?

Level 1 – Easy

Rice Paper Puffs. Or Fried Rice Paper. This has become quite popular on TikTok. All you need to do is cut 3-4 pieces of rice paper into quarters and deep fry them in hot oil – that’s it! I think rice papers already have a mild sweet and salty taste to it so I prefer to eat them as it is. At the same time, I’ve seen videos where a little bit of salt and pepper, or instant ramen seasoning packets are added at the end. Try it plain first. If it’s too plain for you, then add seasoning.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Puffs

Level 2 – Medium

Rice Paper Nacho Salad. We’re following the same procedure with the Rice Paper Puff, except that you cut up the rice papers into smaller pieces. Serve with fresh herbs and julienned carrot and cucumber. How you eat it is like how you eat with nachos. Even if you cut up the rice paper into small triangles, it still puffs up large when fried so you don’t have to worry about falling pieces of vegetables when you eat it (but wouldn’t there always be falling pieces of filling or sauce whenever we eat nachos?). Again, I enjoy them without any seasoning so feel free to add salt and spices to your liking.

Bonus Round – Of course there’s a bonus round!
The salad makes the dish colourful enough but NOT ENOUGH for me. Lol. Why not add some colour to the rice paper? For yellow, mix turmeric powder in hot water. For pink, mix red beet slices and a teaspoon of vinegar in hot water. For violet, boil half a head of cabbage (shredded) in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes. Remove the shredded cabbage then add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Your liquid may turn blue which is great, but mine came out violet and I’m still happy with it. Allow for the three liquid colourings to cool before use.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Nachos

How to colour rice paper is just like how you paint with watercolor! Dip your silicone brush into your liquid colouring, then paint one side of rice paper. As soon as you’ve coated the entire surface, slap another rice paper onto it and hold them firmly until they stick together. Wait for it to dry. Once dry, follow the steps for Level 2.

Level 3 – Hard

Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups. This is a simple Vietnamese salad minus vermicelli noodles. The rice paper cups would replace them. The inspiration for this recipe came from YouTube videos I chanced upon last year. Surprisingly, these are Korean recipes that use Vietnamese rice paper. They are called 라이스페이퍼 꽃부각 (Rice Paper Flower) or 라이스페이퍼 튀김 (Fried Rice Paper).

To make rice paper cups, press on a teaspoon or 2 of cooked rice in the middle of the rice paper. Cut the rice paper into 4 up until you reach the center. Deep fry it in hot oil for 10 seconds and drain immediately. Adding cooked rice in the middle prevents the rice paper from curling too much and it will allow it to form a flower shape.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

You’ll use the same salad as in Level 2. For the dressing, I recommend the one from Allison’s Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad [https://amcarmenskitchen.com/2020/10/21/magic-vietnamese-style-glass-noodle-salad/] recipe (it’s sooo good!). What I did differently when I took photos for this recipe is that I used calamansi instead of lemon, garlic powder instead of minced garlic, and chili oil instead of minced chili (at that time, I didn’t feel like mincing garlic and chili and I ran out of lemon).

When ready to serve, scoop up some salad and place it in the middle of the rice paper cup. It’s very important that you consider this step. If you put the salad too early, your rice paper cup will be soggy from the moisture of the vegetables and herbs.

Bonus round – Fight!
The rice paper cups will be plain looking without any colour. Boooring! Prettify them by painting the edges with the same liquid coloring you used. Let it dry first before frying. You may also add colour to the rice using the same liquid coloring. I made the rice green by boiling the remaining cabbage liquid for another 15 minutes.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

They really look like flowers once deep fried! Let your family or friends marvel at the fried rice paper flowers first then impress them some more with the salad!

Step up your salad game by adding shredded rotisserie chicken and pickled jalapeño slices. You may replace the chicken with steamed or poached shrimp and the pickled jalapeño with a fresh one.

And that’s the end of your kitchen journey. For now! I’m sure you’ll have more adventures as you try all of Allison’s Auguest recipes. I hope you enjoy making and eating rice paper 3 ways!

Here are the main ingredients that you’ll need for the recipes below:

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways Main Ingredients


Rice Paper Puffs

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME <5 MINS | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 pcs rice paper
  • Oil, for deep frying
  • Salt and black pepper, or seasoning (optional)

METHOD

  1. Cut each rice paper into 4 equal pieces and deep fry in hot oil for about 10 seconds.
  2. Immediately remove from oil and drain in a strainer lined with a paper towel to soak up any extra grease.
  3. Serve and enjoy immediately. Season with salt and pepper or instant ramen seasoning, if you wish.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Puffs


Rice Paper Nacho Salad

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

6 pcs rice paper
Oil, for deep frying
3 cups carrot, julienned
3 cups cucumber, julienned
2 cups fresh herbs (sliced mint, basil, cilantro)

METHOD

  1. Cut each rice paper into 8 pieces and deep fry in hot oil for about 10 seconds.
  2. Immediately remove from oil and drain in a strainer lined with a paper towel to soak up any extra grease. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the carrots, cucumber, and fresh herbs together until well combined.
  4. Transfer the salad to a large serving dish and prop the fried rice paper slices around it.
  5. Serve and enjoy immediately. Season the fried rice paper slices with salt and pepper or instant ramen seasoning, if you wish.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Nacho Salad


Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pcs rice paper
  • 3 tsp cooked rice
  • Oil, for deep frying
  • 3 cups carrot, julienned
  • 3 cups cucumber, julienned
  • 2 cups fresh herbs (sliced mint, basil, cilantro)
  • 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 chilies, finely minced

METHOD

  1. Press a teaspoon of cooked rice in the middle of the rice paper.
  2. Cut the rice paper into 4 parts up until where the cooked rice is, and deep fry in hot oil for about 10 seconds.
  3. Immediately remove from oil and drain in a strainer lined with a paper towel to soak up any extra grease. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, toss the carrots, cucumber, and fresh herbs together until well combined. Set aside.
  5. Add the water, lemon juice, sugar, sesame oil, fish sauce, garlic cloves, and chilies in a jar. Secure the lid and shake vigorously until all ingredients are well combined.
  6. Scoop some salad and place it in the middle of the fried rice paper cups and serve with the dressing in a dipping sauce cup or small ramekin. Enjoy!

Optional: You can add your choice of protein and pickled jalapeño slices to the salad to bulk it up and make it a really filling meal.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

As a third time Au-guester, my goal is to not only keep up with the theme, but also share recipes that require less effort than the first 2 recipes I’ve submitted in the previous years. This is why I’ve decided to not include steps on creating the liquid colouring in the recipe method. I’m really into colourful dishes and I’m usually bound to outdo myself every time I create something new. If you did try to add color to your rice paper, please let me and Allison know how it was like for you. We’d be very interested to learn about your kitchen experience!

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2021 | Ferreli “Mhyre” Virtudazo (@acupofjasminerice)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ferreli “Mhyre” Virtudazo

myTaste.com

Auguest 2021: Chamaine

Spicy Purple Sweet Potato Soup

“Happiness is Homemade. Real cooking is more about following your heart than following recipes. Fresh is always better.” — Chamaine

Auguest 2021: Chamaine

Hello Everyone! Chamaine here taking over Amcarmen’s Kitchen tonight to bring you a Thai-inspired dish for the Flavours of Southeast Asia journey on this blog for this year’s Auguest theme. I am so grateful to be part of this series as, through this, I have learnt to explore other cuisines and dishes from countries outside of my home country and knowledge.

I believe that Happiness is Homemade. My favourite thing to do at home is COOK, and I season everything with LOVE. For me, cooking is an ART. I plate like an ARTIST and invent recipes like a SCIENTIST.

Spicy Purple Sweet Potato Soup

Thai cuisine has proven to be quite a challenge for me since I am not so familiar with it. Some ingredients are unusual to me, but since I am eager to learn something new, I accepted this challenge. Upon my research, I found this recipe for Sweet Potato Soup rather intriguing. All my life, I have known sweet potatoes to be used as a snack and finger food; I never thought that it could potentially be used to make a starter or appetizer in the form of a soup.

For this dish, I substituted some of the ingredients as I could not source some of them, but don’t worry, I have the best options in our pantry. If you do have these original ingredients readily available for you, then by all means stick to using them:

  • Kaffir lime leaves to bay leaves
  • Lime juice to calamansi juice
  • Coriander seeds to oregano
  • Red curry paste to red chillies

As a result, I can say this dish is absolutely appetizing. With its tangy, savoury, and creamy flavour, plus the slightly sour and sweet taste, everything complimented each other so well!

Spicy Purple Sweet Potato Soup

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 medium-sized purple sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 red chillies, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce*
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp calamansi juice
  • 1 stalk spring onion
    A pinch of oregano

*Replace with salt for a fully vegetarian/vegan alternative

METHOD

  1. In a large frying pan over medium-high, heat the olive and sauté the ginger and onions until lightly golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes, bay leaf, red chillies, fish sauce and toss, cooking for a few minutes.
  3. Pour in the coconut milk and water, and add a vegetable stock cube. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to bring it down to a simmer. Continue to cook until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  4. Once done, remove the bay leaf, and then transfer everything into a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
  5. Add the calamansi juice and gently mix into the soup.
  6. Transfer to individual serving dishes and garnish with more chopped chillies, spring onions, calamansi juice, and a sprinkle of oregano. Serve and enjoy!

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Spicy Purple Sweet Potato Soup

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2021 | Chamaine (@chamaine_homemade)

BON APPÉTIT

– Chamaine

myTaste.com

Auguest 2021: Brendon D'Souza

Banana Peel Curry with Coconut Rice & Pickled Red Onion

“When someone cooks with love, the meal deserves to be celebrated. You get dressed, choose a killer playlist, and pour a glass of wine then sit down to share the magic with your loved ones.” — Brendon D’Souza

Auguest 2021: Brendon D'Souza

Hello Everyone! How’s life? It’s Brendon D’Souza from CookWithBrendon.com here. By day I work in sales and around the clock I spend the countless hours we have in lockdown doing my favourite thing – cooking for my loved ones and developing recipes for my blog.

After 6 years at my former blog Brendon The Smiling Chef, I realised there might be a space for online cooking classes and social get-togethers for like-minded foodies. After running a number of free workshops with my colleagues and friends I’m so ready to take it to the next level and open up the classes to the world. Let me know if you would like to join in the fun!

Now more than ever is the perfect time to try and find clever little ways to use up leftover bits and pieces you find in the kitchen. This curry will allow you to do exactly that, and is inspired by the flavours of Laos, Thailand, India, and Australia altogether.

Banana Peel Curry

By no means do I claim to be the creator of this dish. As I’m sure you’ve seen over your socials it gained cult status recently when Nigella Lawson wrote about it in her 2020 TV series and cookbook Cook Eat Repeat. It’s such a great way to transform something that would otherwise be destined for the bin. I was surprised to learn that banana skins are packed full of potassium so I’m hoping it’s doing that extra bit of good for my insides too.

I’ve also taken the liberty to use up some leftovers for this dish including a batch of leftover marinara sauce and some roast sweet potatoes. So you can absolutely feel free to swap out some of the ingredients for others which you may have at hand. Don’t forget to tag #CookWithBrendon so I can see your creations. Let’s cook!

Banana Peel Curry Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp castor sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup basmati or jasmine rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet potato (or use regular potato)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (or any other fresh or frozen green veg)
  • 1 bunch coriander

METHOD

Start this recipe 1 hour before serving time.

  1. Banana Peel: Peel the bananas. Slice off the tops and tails.*
  2. Place the banana peels into a large heatproof bowl with 1/2 tbsp salt. Cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 30 mins. This helps to tenderise the skins and they will change in colour from yellow to brown which is totally fine.
  3. Pickled Onion: While the bananas are soaking. Finely slice 1 onion and place into a glass or ceramic bowl with the rice vinegar, castor sugar and 1/2 a tablespoon of salt. Give it a stir and then set aside. Repeat every 10 minutes or so while you’re making the curry and the onions will turn a vibrant pink and tenderise by the time you’re ready.

Banana Peel Curry with Coconut Rice & Pickled Onion

  1. Remove the banana peels from the soaking liquid** and pat dry with a paper towel. Slice the peels finely into batons.
  2. Coconut Rice: Place the rice into a medium heatproof saucepan. Cover with enough cold water to reach 2-cm above the level of the rice, then add the coconut milk. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil. When it is bubbling, immediately turn the heat off and pop on a tight fitting lid and let it sit there***. The rice will continue to absorb any liquid while you prepare the curry.
  3. Banana Peel Curry: Heat a medium saucepan over a low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil, the cumin, coriander powder, and turmeric. Cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes to toast the spices, and then add the marinara sauce****.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of crushed ginger and the banana skins, and cook, stirring over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Add 1/2 a cup of vegetable stock or water and bring to the boil. Cook for a further 5 minutes or until the banana peels are tender.
  6. Add the sweet potato, frozen peas, coconut milk, and chopped coriander stems, and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the veggies are cooked through. Finally, add the coconut milk and stir until combined.
  7. Serve with the coconut rice and pickled onion. Enjoy!

Banana Peel Curry with Coconut Rice & Pickled Onion

Notes:

  • *These can be composted. Save the banana flesh for another use (I’m thinking everyone’s favourite lockdown banana bread!).
  • **The minerals found in the banana peels such as potassium, phosphorus and calcium, will leach into the water. You can then use this liquid fertiliser for your plants.
  • ***I use my Mum’s absorption method trick to cook my rice and it works every time!
  • ****I’ve used 1/2 a cup of leftover marinara sauce with onion in it but you could easily substitute for 1 small onion and 1/2 a cup of crushed tomatoes.

Give this recipe a try and if you do be sure to tag #CookWithBrendon in your posts when you do!

I’m trying really hard to grow @cookwithbrendon on Instagram and now TikTok so if you have a second to visit and give both a follow I’d be so grateful.

Banana Peel Curry with Coconut Rice & Pickled Onion

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2021 | Brendon D’Souza (@cookwithbrendon)

BON APPÉTIT

– Brendon D’Souza

myTaste.com

Mee Goreng Mamak (Mamak-style Stir-Fried Noodles)

Mee Goreng Mamak (Mamak-style Stir-Fried Noodles)

Hello Everyone! We’re venturing forward on our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey through Malaysia with a dish that’s very close to my heart. Now, you probably already know that there are countless recipes for mee goreng (fried noodles), that vary depending on its country or region of origin, but tonight in particular, I will be sharing a Mamak-style mee goreng dish; a staple of ours that we would always order when my family and I were at our favourite roti canai eatery.

Mee Goreng Mamak (Mamak-style Stir-Fried Noodles)

Mamak is a local word used to describe people of Indian-Muslim origins in Malaysia; and thus with these two cultures merging together created a unique dish known as Mee Goreng Mamak, or in English, Mamak-style Stir-Fried Noodles. It is normally made with fresh egg noodles, boiled potatoes, fried tofu, and Chinese greens of choice that is tossed in a delicious sauce, but you can also bulk it up with other proteins such as chicken, squid, or seafood. Pork and beef are typically avoided for obvious reasons.

If you’re looking for a way to change up your weeknight noodle meals, then this is a recipe you should definitely try out. It’s quick, easy, and made with ingredients that you can easily source at your local market or grocer. Mee Goreng Mamak is a delicious blend of spicy, savoury, sweet, tangy, smoky (from all that wok hay), and sticky flavours in a single dish. The recipe that I will be sharing tonight is perfect for ovo-vegetarians.

Mee Goreng Mamak (Mamak-style Stir-Fried Noodles) Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sambal paste
  • 2 tsp white granulated sugar

For the noodles

  • 2 x 500g packs fresh yellow noodles, washed and drained*
  • 4 pcs firm tofu, fried and cut into chunks
  • 2 medium-sized cooked potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Spring onion
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • Handful of celery leaves
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • Oil, for cooking
  • Chinese cabbage, blanched
  • Red pepper, sliced
  • Lemon wedges, optional

*Fresh yellow noodles are usually oiled. Rinse it in cold water to loosen up the threads and remove part of the oil, or you can quickly blanch it in hot water and drain before using.

METHOD

  1. Sauce: In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Mee Goreng Mamak: Add oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the garlic and white/light green part of the spring onion and sauté until the garlic is lightly golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the yellow noodles and fry for about a minute or two. Push the noodles to the side and add the eggs. Let the eggs cook a little to set and then mix it into the noodles.
  4. Add the fried tofu, cooked potatoes, celery leaves, and the sauce mixture to the noodles. Toss until the noodles are evenly coated with the sauce, frying for about 3 to 4 minutes. Try not to mix too hard or it will break up the noodles into tiny threads.
  5. Add the remaining spring onion and bean sprouts. Give it another quick toss, about a minute or so for the bean sprouts to cook.
  6. Once done, transfer to individual serving plates and serve with red peppers and Chinese cabbage (or any greens of your choice). Garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and enjoy immediately while hot!

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BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com