Hello Everyone! It’s the last day of the month and also my last East Timorese recipe! I’m not going to lie, I did have a difficult time researching the country’s most popular dishes, but despite that, I enjoyed the dishes that I came across – easy, humble, yet delicious meals that you can add to your weekly meal plan!
As we all know, East Timor’s cuisine is heavily influenced by the countries that they were once colonized by. The dish that I will be sharing tonight, known as Ikan Sabuko, or in English, Grilled Tamarind Fish, draws on the flavours of Portugal. Along with other fish species, mackerel is a very common fish to eat in Portugal, sometimes on toast, for special occasions, or even a staple weeknight meal.
Ikan Sabuko is a specialty dish made of Spanish mackerel that is marinated in tamarind paste, grilled with basil and chillies for a kick of heat, and then optionally served with a budu sauce to tie all the flavours together. Budu is essentially a fermented anchovy sauce mixed with a squeeze of calamansi juice, red and green chillies, and some sliced red onions. You can add other ingredients as well such as mint leaves and cherry tomatoes for extra flavour.
This dish really only needs a few ingredients, but it’s packed with lots of strong and bold flavours. You don’t have to use mackerel fish in particular, use whatever fish is readily available at your local fish market. Add this to your list of dishes to try and I promise you, it won’t disappoint!
PREP TIME 45 MINS| COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS| SERVES 3
6 mackerel fish filets
2 tbsp tamarind paste
Juice of 3 small-sized calamansi
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red & green Thai chillies
In a medium-sized bowl, add the fish filets together with the salt, pepper, calamansi juice, and tamarind paste. Give it a good mix and set it aside to marinate for about 45 minutes.
Line a grill pan with aluminium foil (about twice the length of your grill pan) and the turmeric leaves. Place the fish filets on top of the leaves, skin side up, and fold the aluminium foil over the top of the fish to enclose it.
Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until done to your liking.
Once done, plate up and garnish with some freshly chopped basil leaves and some red and green chillies too (optional).
Serve with freshly cooked rice and a simple budu sauce on the side. Enjoy!
Hello Everyone! So, I’ve been told that I don’t write as much as I used to, and that’s only because there’s really nothing much to tell. Well okay, maybe a part of the reason is also that I’m always mentally tired by the end of the day when I get around to writing my blog posts. I try to write them in advance so that I could at least add some enthusiasm to my posts, but I always end up procrastinating – and I’m sorry for that! Just bare with me until the end of the year and hopefully my content will be much better when the New Year kicks in 🙂
Anyway, let’s get down to business for tonight’s post; the last week of Noodle Month! Again, the month just flew right by! December is just around the corner, and sooner or later it’ll be Christmas and then the New Year! Tonight, I am sharing with you a popular dish in Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia – Laksa! I wouldn’t say that this dish is at the top of my favourite noodle dish (only because there are many other noodle dishes that I prefer than laksa), but if I want it, I’ll have it!
The plan was to make my own laksa paste from scratch, and I know it’s no excuse, but time was short on my hands and I just made the decision to buy a ready-made, packeted paste from the stores. Also, if I made my own paste, we’d have a lot of left over ingredients (that is, if we didn’t end up using all of it), or a surplus of paste that would’ve ended up sitting in the freezer for a long time, and eventually in the trash since we don’t eat laksa that often at home. However, feel free to make your own paste and just follow the ingredients from the recipe below 🙂
Before I dive into the recipe, I’ll just talk a little bit about what Laksa is for those of you who don’t know what it is. Laksa is actually a combination of Chinese and Malaysian cuisine that consists of rice noodles/vermicelli served as a spicy soup dish with various meats such as chicken, prawn, or fish. The soup is either based on a rich and spicy curry with coconut milk, or a sour tamarind soup. The elements of a curry laksa can be distinguished by the following:
Coconut milk is used
Curry-like soup (includes curry as one of its ingredients)
Except for bean sprouts, no other vegetable is used
Bean curd puff is used
Served with thick or thin rice vermicelli (usually thick); occasionally served with yellow mee
Hard-boiled egg may be added
Slices of fish cake and either prawns or chicken is used
PREP TIME 10 MINS| COOKING TIME 30-45 MINS| SERVES 4-5
250g thick rice vermicelli noodles
200g coconut milk
100g prawns, peeled and deveined
4-5 cups chicken stock
3 pcs dried bay leaves
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large free range eggs, hard-boiled
1 chicken crown, breasts removed and sliced, bone reserved
1 packet (200g) Malaysian Curry Laksa Paste
1 pc firm tofu, deep fried and cut into chunks
1 pc fish cake, sliced diagonally
1 small brown onion, diced
Whole black peppercorns
Add the reserved chicken bone, chicken breast dried bay leaves, about a teaspoon or two of whole black peppercorns, and salt to a medium-sized pot filled with about 1.5L of hot/boiling water. Turn the heat up to high and leave to boil for about 30 minutes. After about 15 minutes, remove the chicken breast from the stock and set aside to rest and cool down before slicing into it.
While the stock is boiling away, quickly blanch the sliced fish cakes and prawns in the stock, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the rice vermicelli noodles in and cook according to packet instructions, about 15 minutes for mine.
Drain and then divide the noodles equally into 4-5 individual serving bowls. Top with the beansprouts, chicken slices, fish cake slices, fried tofu, hard-boiled egg slices, and prawns. Set aside.
Heat a bit of oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high. Sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown, and then add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes in total.
Add the laksa paste and fry for about a minute or two before adding the chicken stock in. Give it a goo mix and then bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a slow simmer and then add in the coconut milk. Leave to simmer for about 15 minutes.
Once the soup is done, ladle it into the prepared bowls and garnish with some spring onion. Serve immediately with some sambal and calamansi on the and enjoy!
Hello Everyone! I’ll keep this short only because I’ve had such a busy day today and I just want my brain to relax and not have to look at a computer screen any longer (since that’s what I have been doing all say today). Then again, who am I kidding, after I write this post I will most likely end up looking at my computer screen but instead of utilising my brain and trying to get words to flow, I’ll be watching shows or random videos on Youtube until it’s time to go to bed *cheeky grin*
Anyway, enough babbling, tonight’s recipe is a dish I first experienced during one of my many travels to Singapore. When I saw a picture of it on the menu boards at a hawker centre that I was at (can’t remember where exactly), it was different to the Hokkien Mee that I usually ate back in Brunei, which apparently I have only just learnt after doing a quick Google search, is Malaysian-styled braised in dark soy sauce. I actually quite like both, and though the ingredients are pretty much similar, I much prefer the Singapore-style Hokkien Mee.
The original recipe can be found over on Rasa Malaysia; I have tweaked the recipe slightly in terms of the order in which the ingredients go in and a few of the processes.
PREP TIME 10 MINS| COOKING TIME 45 MINS| SERVES 4-6
400g prawns, peeled and deveined
350g squid, cleaned and cut into rings
250g fresh yellow noodles
250g thin rice vermicelli noodles
200g pork shoulder
100g bean sprouts
3 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
3 pcs dried bay leaves
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pc fish cake, sliced diagonally
1 small red onion, diced
Whole black peppercorns
1/2 tbsp fish sauce, adjust quantity to taste
Dash of ground white pepper
Dash of sesame oil
Calamansi (or lemon wedge)
Add the pork shoulder, dried bay leaves, about a teaspoon or two of whole black peppercorns, and salt to a large pot filled with about 2L of hot/boiling water. Turn the heat up to high and leave to boil for about 30 minutes or until tender. Once done, remove the pork from the stock and set aside to cool before slicing into it.
Meanwhile, blanch the prawns and squid in the boiling stock, about 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from the stock and set aside. Then add in the rice vermicelli noodles and cook as per packet instructions or until just about tender. Once done, drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a large frying pan, or wok, over medium-high and sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2 minutes altogether.
Turn up the heat to high and then add in the yellow and rice vermicelli noodles, frying for a few minutes until the noodles just begin to sear. Add in about a third of the pork stock and seasoning, continuing to cook until most of the stock has been absorbed by the noodles. Add another third of the stock and then bring the heat down to medium-low to allow the noodles to braise over a slow simmer, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add in the egg and give it a good mix before adding in the bean sprouts, prawns, squid, and pork slices. Give it a good toss and fry for about a minute before adding in the remaining stock.
Plate up and garnish with some spring onions on top. Serve with a side of sambal and calamansi. Enjoy!
Hello Everyone! Tonight, I’ve got a very popular breakfast/brunch noodle dish to share. I remember when I was growing up, we’d travel at least 20 minutes to our favourite kolo mee place in Brunei for many years! It was kind of like our special Sunday breakfast routine with the whole family before we’d go about and do our grocery shoppings for the week. Since that place closed down a couple of years ago, we barely have kolo mee in our weekly meals – but now that I have my own way of making kolo mee, I can whip it up almost any time I crave for it!
“The secret to amazing kolo mee lies in the use of pork lard. I know this is not very healthy if eaten in large quantities but the reason why it’s used is because it coats each and every strand of the noodles with some seriously delicious meaty flavours.” — The Malay Mail Online, 2013
I guess you could say that my version of Kolo Mee is a little bit healthier (but not entirely) as I use vegetable oil instead of pork lard. Also, traditional kolo mee dishes, especially in restaurants, use quite a significant amount of MSG to enhance the flavour of the dish. The recipe that I will be sharing today doesn’t use MSG at all and is still very tasty! If you want a halal version of this dish, you can substitute the minced pork for minced chicken and just have a generous serving of fish cakes/balls instead of char is pork. You can also get creative and top it with your favourite breakfast must haves like some crispy bacon on the side or topped with a sunny-side up with the runny yolk and all that pizzaz!
PREP TIME 5 MINS| COOKING TIME 20 MINS| SERVES 6-8
450g fresh kolo mee noodles
250g lean minced pork
250g char siu pork (Chinese BBQ pork)*, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 small red onions, diced
1 bunch gai lan (Chinese broccoli), cut into 2″ lengths
1 fish cake, sliced diagonally
1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
Ground salt and black pepper to taste
Light soy sauce
*Apparently, it takes a considerate amount of time when you’re making your own char siu pork at home that is! If you can easily buy it at the shops, or even your local Chinese restaurant, then I do recommend that you just buy it if you want your kolo mee now and fast!
Add about a tablespoon of light soy sauce, and a teaspoon of chilli and sesame oil into about 6-8 individual bowls/deep dishes. Set aside.
In a small frying pan, heat about 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high. Add the diced onions and frying until browned and crispy. Set aside. In the same frying pan, fry off the fish cake slices, about a minute or two per side. Set aside.
Heat a medium-sized frying pan (or wok if you like) over medium-high. Add about a tablespoon of the oil used to fry the onions and fish cake to the pan and sauté the garlic and chillies until fragrant and golden brown, about a minute or two.
Then add in the minced pork, followed by the ground salt and black pepper. Give it a good mix and leave to cook for about 5 minutes. Add in about 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce and cook for a further five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, flash-boil the stalks of the gai lan first, then followed by the leaves until tender and wilted. Remove from the boiling water and set aside.
Flash-boil the kolo mee noodles, in batches if you wish, for about a minute or two. Once done, divide equally into your prepared bowls with the sauces and give it a good mix. Top with the minced meat, fish cakes, char siu pork, gai lan, fried onions, and spring onions. Serve immediately and enjoy!