Pulut Tai Tai (Blue Glutinous Rice Cakes)

Pulut Tai Tai (Blue Glutinous Rice Cakes)

Hello Everyone! Pulut Tai Tai is a Nyonya kuih made of fluffy glutinous rice that is steamed in coconut milk, and tinted with a beautiful natural blue colour from butterfly pea flowers. You can leave it out if you can’t find butterfly pea flowers, as it’s mostly for the colour, but it wouldn’t be as elegant-looking without it.

It is typically served with a coconut-pandan spread where the contrasting colours of green together with the vibrant blue and white of the glutinous rice makes the kuih all the more delightful and pleasing to the eyes of the beholder. In addition to colour, the slight tinge of saltiness of the glutinous rice coupled with the sweetness of the kaya makes this kuih a delight to savour.

Pulut Tai Tai (Blue Glutinous Rice Cakes)

Tai Tai refers to a rich man’s wife who enjoys a life of leisure. It is said that this specific kuih was only served to the wives of rich men back then. This kuih is also known as Pulut Tekan which literally translates to ‘pressed glutinous rice.’

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe for these Blue Glutinous Rice Cakes over on Bake with Paws by Yeanley.

Before I tackled this recipe, I read that soaking the glutinous rice with the addition of vinegar or lemon juice will reduce the phytic acid found in the grain. It also helps in breaking down the gluten and aids for better absorption of the blue colour from the butterfly pea flowers. Now, while I included lemon in the ingredients shot below, I in fact did not use the lemon at all for one main reason – the addition of acidity to the butterfly pea flower infused water would make it turn violet in colour. Since I am all about sharing blue recipes for this month, that’s definitely not what I want. I found that the glutinous rice absorbed the blue colour well anyway without the need for vinegar or lemon juice.

Pulut Tai Tai (Blue Glutinous Rice Cakes) Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS* | COOKING TIME 30-45 MINS | SERVES 4-6

* Additional 4 hours min. overnight max. for soaking time

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups white glutinous rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 25 pcs dried butterfly pea flowers
  • Banana leaves
  • Pandan (screwpine) leaves
  • Lemon juice (optional)

METHOD

  1. Bring a small saucepan of water and the dried butterfly pea flowers to a boil, over high heat. Let it simmer for a few minutes and then remove from the heat. Cover and leave to steep for 10 minutes before straining. Press down on the flowers to extract the blue colour from the flowers. Set aside to cool.
  2. Wash the glutinous rice until the water is clear. Soak 1/3 of the glutinous rice with the blue-infused water and the remaining 2/3 in water. Soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. After 4 hours or the next day, drain them both separately.
  3. Prepare your steamer by lining with clean banana leaves. Light grease with a touch of coconut oil and top with pandan leaves followed by the glutinous rice; blue rice on one side and white on the other.
  4. Mix the coconut milk and salt together. Pour half of the coconut milk mixture over the rice and mix well. Steam over high heat for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove from the steam and fluff the rice. Add the remaining coconut milk mixture and then return it to the steamer to cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Line a square pan with banana leaves and lightly grease with coconut oil. Transfer the cooked rice to the pan, alternating between the white and the blue rice. Level the surface and cover with more banana leaves. Place another pan on top of it and weigh it down with heavy objects to compress the rice. Set aside to cool.
  6. Cut into small rectangular pieces and serve with some homemade Nyonya-style kaya. Enjoy it as a mid-afternoon snack!

This kuih can be kept for a couple of days if stored in the refrigerator. Before consuming it again, steam or heat it in a preheated oven at 70C for 10 minutes to soften it.

Pulut Tai Tai (Blue Glutinous Rice Cakes)

PS: Before I end tonight’s post, let’s see if a particular someone actually reads my blog from start to finish *cheeky grin* I would like to take this opportunity to wish a special person in my life, a Happy Birthday! I hope you like the little gift I had sent to you earlier this afternoon. I wish you an abundance of happiness, good health, peace, and prosperity in life. To many more birthdays and hopefully I can spend them all with you by your side!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Stir-fried Handmade Noodles with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince

Stir-fried Handmade Noodles with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that it’s already October – how did the months in quarantine fly by so fast? I felt like March was just last week! I hope everyone is staying safe at home, and only going out when necessary, for work or essentials. I still haven’t reported back to the office since our country declared enhanced community quarantine, and I hope that I won’t have to go back until this pandemic is under control.

That aside, I will continue sharing blue-inspired dishes for the month of October, and what better way than to kick things off with this recipe for Stir-fried Handmade Noodle with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince. I initially drew my inspiration for this recipe by Blue Willow, a thematic bar and bistro located in Singapore that derives its inspiration from one of our favourite science-fiction movies of 2009 – Avatar.. Now, I haven’t been there myself, but when I was doing research earlier on this year to look for blue-inspired dishes, I came across Blue Willow’s Eywa Natural Blue Carbonara, where pasta dough is naturally coloured using butterfly pea flowers.

Chinese Handmade Noodles

My initial idea was to recreate this exactly as it is, a blue carbonara. As the months went by and drew closer to tackling this dish, paired with hours of research for new recipes (not necessarily just for this dish in particular), my idea shifted to making Chinese-style handmade noodles instead of pasta. To be honest, this was actually a recipe that I had initially planned for the third week of September, to serve with the Chinese Blue Tea Eggs (茶叶蛋) that I had also made earlier last month. However, I wasn’t happy with how the dish was put together, in terms of how I dressed the noodles. I didn’t want to share something that I wasn’t happy with, visually and taste wise, so it wasn’t until I did more research and tackled this dish once again towards the end of September – and finally something that I am happy to share with you guys!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe for Handmade Noodles over on The Woks of Life by Sarah, one of a family of four cooks. Also, check out the original recipe for Tofu and Mushroom Mince over on Scruff And Steph by Scruff.

The making of the noodles really tired me out for they were kneaded, rolled, and cut from scratch, and all by hand. If you have a mixer with a dough hook attachment, it’ll be a piece of cake! If not, you need a bit (lot) of elbow grease, and you’ll be making noodles the same way cooks have been making them in China for centuries.

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

Chinese Handmade Noodles Ingredients

For the handmade noodles

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp loose dried butterfly pea flowers
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Stir-fried Handmade Noodles with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince Ingredients

For the spicy tofu & mushroom mince

  • 250g firm tofu, mashed
  • 1/2 cup dried sliced shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated finely minced
  • 1/2 cup dried wood ear mushroom, rehydrated and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, julienned
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the stir-fried noodles

  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • Spring onion stalks, white part only

To serve with

  • Chinese greens of choice
  • Spring onions, for garnishing

METHOD

  1. Handmade Noodles: Combine the dried butterfly pea flowers in a small saucepan together with the water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat off and leave to steep for about 10-15 minutes. Discard the flowers and set aside to cool down completely.
  2. Add the all purpose flour to a large plate (or even directly onto your clean kitchen countertop). Create a well in the middle and bit by bit, pour the blue water into the flour, mixing with a pair of chopsticks, spatula, or even just your hand as you go. Once all the water is added, the dough should be in shaggy threads with little/no dry flour in the bowl.
  3. Begin pressing the dough together. Avoid the temptation to add additional water, as this will affect the texture of your noodles. If you find the dough is too dry and there’s still dry flour that’s hard to incorporate into the dough, drizzle just enough water until there’s no dry flour left. Knead the dough for about 15 minutes.
  4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for about 30 minutes. During this time, it will continue to absorb moisture, and become more pliable and elastic.
  5. Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince: While the dough is resting, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium. Add in the ginger together with the red bird’s eye chillies and sauté until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Immediately add in the garlic, continuing to sauté until fragrant and slightly golden in colour before adding the onions. Cook until the onions have softened and begin to go translucent, a further 45 seconds.
  6. Add the mashed tofu, shiitake and wood ear mushrooms. Continue to stir and cook for 5 minutes and then add in the light and sweet soy sauce. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir the tofu-mushroom mixture around for a further 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Set aside and cook your noodles.

Chinese Handmade Noodles

  1. Stir-fry Noodles: After the dough has rested, knead it a few more times to get any air bubbles out of it, about 2-3 minutes. Form into a ball and cut it in half.
  2. On a floured surface, roll one half of the dough into a thin sheet, about 2mm thick. Flour the surface of the sheet thoroughly, flip over, and thoroughly flour the other side. Once floured, fold the dough so you have 4 layers. Slice the noodles with a sharp knife to your desired thickness. As you’re cutting the noodles, gently separate them out with your hands and toss them in flour so they don’t stick.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness. Keep an eye on the noodles as they cook and taste them to determine when they’re cooked. There is a lot of variation depending on how thinly they were rolled and cut, so test in real time to determine when they’re done. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  4. Add sesame oil in a separate frying pan over high heat until smoking. Add the spring onion stalks together with the boiled noodles and fry for about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Transfer to individual serving dishes and top with the Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince. Garnish with spring onions and serve with Chinese Greens of your choice. Enjoy!

Stir-fried Handmade Noodles with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince

You can also follow the recipe for Chinese Handmade Noodles and basically make anything and everything with them! These deliciously chewy, springy noodles can be served in soup or mixed with whatever tasty sauces and toppings you can dream up for a delicious meal. Here are just some key tips for success:

  • Use bread flour (high gluten flour): The way to get a good chew in your noodles is to develop the gluten in the dough. Using flour with high gluten content makes a big difference. That being said though, all purpose flour works fine too.
  • Don’t add too much water: The dough will look rather dry and lumpy at first, but do resist the temptation to add additional water. Too much water will make the noodles gummy rather than springy. You just have to have faith and give the flour enough time to absorb moisture through kneading.
  • Use lots of flour when rolling and cutting: The action of cutting the noodles with a knife will press the layers of dough together. To prevent them from sticking, be sure to thoroughly flour both sides of the dough before folding and cutting. This is another reason to avoid using too much water in the dough – to prevent it from sticking.
  • Be mindful of thickness: The noodles will expand when cooked, so whatever thickness you see when cutting the raw dough, the cooked noodles will be significantly thicker. Keep this in mind when rolling and cutting. You may want to roll the dough out thinner and cut the noodles thinner than you initially think.

Storage Tips:

  • Cooked Noodles: If you plan on reheating, you can slightly undercook the noodles (to al dente) to create a better texture once reheated. Store the noodles in an airtight container or a ziplock bag in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Frozen Dough: Let the frozen dough thaw in the fridge overnight. Transfer the refrigerated dough to room temperature and let it rest for 2 hours. The dough will become super soft and can be gently shaped, rested for another 10 minutes or so, and rolled. Follow the method stated above to cook.

Stir-fried Handmade Noodles with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

Sushi Bake is one of the latest gastronomic trends to pop up during the community quarantine period. It is basically a deconstructed version of the original Japanese rolled sushi; a quick and easy way to make in a large batch.

Hand making sushi rolls requires special skills to do, but this sushi bake recipe takes the hard work and time out of rolling each piece individually. With sushi bake, all you have to do is scoop a portion of it and wrap it in a small sheet of roasted seaweed, and then eat; making it a great option for larger parties or gatherings.

The basic ingredients you need to make this dish is sushi rice (or short/medium-grained rice), Japanese mayonnaise, cream cheese, sriracha for heat, ebiko (shrimp roe), Furikake, and your choice of seafood from salmon, to kani (imitation crab sticks), to tuna, or even unagi (eel). Furikake is a mixture of dry ingredients that is used as seasoning and sprinkled on top of cooked rice, fish, and vegetables. Since the sushi bake wave hit, it’s relatively easy to find Furikake in stores, online, or from small local businesses. If you can’t seem to find Furikake, then you can easily make it at home with roasted sesame seeds, Korean roasted seaweed flakes, salt, and sugar.

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

Being a person who doesn’t immediately hop on the trendy bandwagon, here is my take on it four months later. For the sushi bake that I will be sharing tonight, I decided to add a little twist to it since this month is all about cooking with or showing off the colour blue. I threw in some dried butterfly pea flowers into the rice cooker to give the sushi rice a blue (almost violet) hue. Thus, my Magic Salmon Sushi Bake!

I sourced my salmon, Furikake bonito, ebiko (shrimp roe), and roasted nori sheets from seabites.ph. They basically have all the sushi bake needs including mirin and Japanese mayonnaise that you can get as a kit. I just happen to have the latter already in my pantry as well as the other ingredients to support my dish. Bottom line, go and support small local businesses especially during this pandemic!

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 40-55 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the sushi rice

  • 2 cups white sushi-grade rice (short or medium-grained rice will also do)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp loose dried butterfly pea flowers
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

For the creamy topping

  • 100g cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Japanese mayonnaise, plus extra
  • 1/2 cup sriracha, plus extra
  • 1 tbsp Furikake bonito

For the topping

  • 500g sashimi-grade salmon, sliced
  • Ebiko (shrimp roe)
  • Furikake bonito
  • Korean roasted nori sheets

METHOD

  1. Sushi Rice: Rinse the rice with cold water to wash away the excess starch, until the water runs clear, and then drain. Soak the rice in 2 cups of its cooking water for about 20-30 minutes. This is said to give the rice extra time to moisten and cook more evenly. Place it into your rice cooker and let it work its magic.
  2. Once done, set aside to cool down slightly. Remove the butterfly pea flowers and then season the rice with the red wine vinegar, salt, and sugar. Mix well and set aside until ready to use.
  3. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6).
  4. Creamy Topping: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, Japanese mayonnaise, sriracha, and the Furikake bonito. Optional: dice some of the salmon slices and then add them into the bowl too. Mix well and then set aside.
  5. Magic Salmon Sushi Bake: In a heat-proof rectangular baking dish, spread the sushi rice evenly then lightly press down. Sprinkle a thin layer of the Furikake bonito on top of rice until fully covered.
  6. Spread the creamy topping on top of the rice, and top with the sliced salmon. Top with more Furikake bonito, ebiko, extra Japanese mayonnaise, and extra sriracha.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top just starts to brown and bubble.
  8. Scoop and serve immediately with a sheet of roasted nori. Enjoy!

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

Notes:

  • How do I store sushi bake?
    If you happen to have leftovers it is best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • How long does sushi bake last?
    About 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • How can I reheat my leftover sushi bake?
    You can easily reheat your sushi bake in the microwave or oven until heated through.

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2020: Olive

Ube-glazed Doughnuts

“I’m a homecook and food photography enthusiast.
For me, it’s not just food, it’s my love language for family. I also believe that even if life isn’t perfect, having great food brings magic and creates good memories that makes life colorful.” — Olive

Auguest 2020: Olive

As I crave having sweet and indulgent doughnuts with my favorite flavor Ube, I thought, why not make them at home instead? Making homemade glazed doughnuts is easier than you think – with practice that is. I’m taking a deep dive into homemade doughnuts that taste like the ones you get from your favorite bakery – incredibly delicious and comforting.

Ube-glazed Doughnuts

Being able to make them from scratch without leaving the comforts of home is so much more fun. For my first attempt ever at making homemade doughnuts, they definitely aren’t the prettiest, but definitely delicious! Fried, sugary, old-fashioned, and comforting!

Ube-glazed Doughnuts Ingredients

PREP TIME 45-50 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | MAKES approx. 15 DOUGHNUTS

INGREDIENTS

For the doughnut batter

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup full-fat greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the ube-glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Ube flavouring
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

METHOD

  1. Doughnuts: Combine all the ingredients for the doughnut batter in a large mixing bowl. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it by hand for about 2 minutes.
  2. Lightly grease a large bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a relatively warm environment to let the dough rise/rest for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  3. When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air.Remove dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out and using a doughnut cutter, cut out about 15 doughnuts. If you can’t quite fit 15, re-roll the scraps and cut more out.
  4. Place the doughnuts and doughnut holes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Loosely cover and allow to rest as you heat the oil. They will rise a bit as they rest.
  5. Prepare and heat the vegetable oil for frying in a large heavy-duty pot set over medium heat.
  6. Fry the doughnuts for 1 minute each side. Once done, carefully place the fried doughnuts over a cooling rack.
  7. Ube-glaze: Combine all the ingredients needed for the glaze in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk together thoroughly.
  8. Dip each warm doughnut into the glaze. After 15 minutes the glaze will set and you can add any topping of your choice. A few examples to get you started are lemon zest, cocoa powder, choice of nuts, sprinkles, and so much more!
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Ube-glazed Doughnuts

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Olive (@whatoliveloves)

BON APPÉTIT

– Olive

myTaste.com

Auguest 2020: Azrina Hidup

Thai Green Curry Mussels

“Cooking feeds the soul, both the cook and the people who are eating. For me, cooking is an act of love, a gift, and a way of sharing. It puts a smile in my heart when I put a lot of thought and care into preparing a dish. At home, cooking symbolizes love and family.” — Azrina Hidup

Auguest 2020: Azrina Hidup

Hello everyone! My name is Azrina Hidup and I am half Filipina and half Bruneian. I would like to thank my beautiful friend, Allison, for the opportunity to be featured on her blog along with other amazing foodies and chefs.

I am always the happiest girl when I get to put my apron on. It was my dream to enter ‘Le Cordon Bleu’ Culinary School, but somehow I ended up doing Political Science. My passion for cooking though, doesn’t stop. Every weekend I will be on my #apronmodeon doing recipe testing and feeding my family with my cooking.

I love creating different dishes. I love travelling for food and what I usually love doing when I travel is to explore and try the local cuisine. I will always try to remember the taste and look of the food so I can recreate them back home for my loved ones to try.

Thai Green Curry Mussels

Most of all, I strongly believe that cooking is more than just an act to fill the empty stomach. Cooking for me is an act of love, a gift, and a way of sharing. It puts a smile in my heart when I put a lot of thought and care into preparing a dish. I grew up with home cooked food, and growing up with my mom’s cooking inspires me a lot to develop my passion for cooking. For me, cooking and home cooked meals symbolize family and love.

For Allison’s Auguest series, I will be sharing my favourite Thai dish which is green curry. Tonight I have made Thai Green Curry Mussels with Homemade Green Curry Paste. Thai green curry is absolutely delicious when served with steamed rice. Nyums!

Thai Green Curry Mussels Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-25 MINS | SERVES 4-5

INGREDIENTS

For the green curry paste

  • 15-20 Thai basil leaves
  • 6 Thai green chillies (remove the seeds if you prefer it to be less spicy)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 long green chillies
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, bottom part only, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 shallots
  • 1 & 1/2 inch size piece of galangal
  • 1 & 1/2 inch size piece of ginger
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp of coconut milk
  • 1-2 tsp of kaffir lime zest
  • 1-2 tsp of shrimp paste (belacan)
  • 1/2 tsp white peppercorns
  • Cilantro leaves and roots
  • Coriander seeds
  • Cumin powder
  • Salt, to taste

Homemade Thai Green Curry Paste

For the Green Curry Mussels

  • Mussels
  • 1 cup fresh coconut water
  • 1 cup seafood stock*
  • 1 can (approx. 440g) coconut milk
  • 3 pieces kaffir lime leaves (torn to smaller pieces)
  • Basil leaves (5-6)
  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Palm sugar, to taste
  • Squeeze 1-2 fresh limes
  • Thai eggplants
  • Cilantro and basil leaves for garnish (cut/torn to smaller pieces)

* For this recipe, I used homemade prawn stock. You may use any kind of stock as a substitute.

Thai Green Curry Mussels Ingredients

METHOD

  1. Thai Green Curry Paste: Toast coriander seeds simply by heating them in a skillet over medium-high heat. Then, finely grind using a mortar and pestle.
  2. In the same skillet, toast the shrimp paste/belacan and set aside.
  3. Slowly add the rest of the ingredients for the green curry paste to the mortar and pound until fine, adding liquid so that the mixture will become paste-like in texture. For this recipe, I used coconut milk as the liquid.
  4. Taste the curry paste and add season with salt to your preference and add a squeeze of lime juice.

Tip: You may also use an electric blender to speed up the process (and really make your life a little easier), if you prefer. For the coriander seeds, grind them first into a powder with the mortar and pestle. Then use the electric blender to grind all the remaining ingredients together. Similarly, add liquid to get the blender going. Since this will be used for a green curry dish, I highly suggest to use coconut milk as your liquid base.

  1. Thai Green Curry Mussels: Over medium heat, reduce half the can of the coconut milk in a heavy-bottomed pot until it becomes thick.
  2. Add the homemade green curry paste and sauté. Make sure to stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until fragrant/aromatic.
  3. Add the seafood stock, remaining half can of the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, and basil leaves. Leave to simmer gently for about 5-10 minutes, keeping the heat on medium.

Tip: You may also blend the basil leaves and some coconut milk into an electric blender to get nice green color soup.

  1. Add palm sugar and fish sauce to taste.
  2. Add coconut water and eggplants. Cover the pot until the eggplants are cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add in the mussels and cover until mussels are cooked, about 5 minutes.
  4. Garnish with chopped basil and cilantro. Add lime juice just before serving. Best to enjoy with steamed rice!

Thai Green Curry Mussels

Thai Green Curry Mussels

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Azrina Hidup (@azrinoh501)

BON APPÉTIT

– Azrina Hidup

myTaste.com

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

Hello Everyone! And just like that, another month in quarantine has passed and we’re two days away from the 8th month of the year. It’s crazy just thinking how we’ve gone through more than a third of a year (from mid-March to present day), here in the Philippines that is, in quarantine. I’m still lucky to be one of the few companies that still require a majority of their staff to work safely at home, but that may change in the next few days. There’s a high chance that it will be mandatory to report back to the office IF we do not go into another lockdown by August 1.

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

Moving on, I remember that this wasn’t a recipe I had originally planned to tackle for my blog. To be honest, I can’t even remember what I had initially wanted to share with you guys. I was scrolling through recipes one Friday evening after work, looking for new recipes to add to my weekly menu so that I could prepare my market/grocery list for my weekend shop. I came across this recipe and thought, wow! Garlic bread AND pasta, together, tossed in a salad? YES! Plus, the dish fits perfectly with the theme of green for Colours of the Rainbow.

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad ; Garlic Focaccia Bread

With crispy garlic bread croutons and a creamy homemade caesar dressing, this easy pasta salad will be a hit with family and friends over a summer backyard barbecue! I used store-bought olive focaccia bread for the croutons, but really you can just use plain bread such as white, wheat, sourdough, etc. for this. You can also get creative and use your favourite veggies for this dish, and even swap out the caesar dressing for a healthier or lighter option. I think a simple thyme, lemon, and olive oil dressing would do the trick too!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Taste Australia. Also, I have a little announcement for you guys at the end of this post so make sure to read it!

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 6-8*

* Can serve more as a small side dish

INGREDIENTS

For the pasta salad

  • 250g fusilli, or any other type of pasta
  • 100g green beans, trimmed
  • 100g baby asparagus, tough ends snapped off and cut to the same lengths of the french beans
  • 2 green chillies, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium-sized avocados, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch choice of leafy greens, trimmed and leaves separated
  • 2 tbsp sliced black olives
  • Handful of finely chopped malunggay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Shaved parmesan, to garnish

For the garlic bread

  • 200g day-old bread, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Handful of finely chopped malunggay leaves

For the caesar dressing

  • 1/3 cup free range egg mayonnaise
  • 4 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Handful of grated parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice

METHOD

  1. Caesar Dressing: Combine all the ingredients for the caesar dressing into a small bowl and whisk together. Taste and adjust as needed and then set aside in the fridge before using. You may make this a day ahead to allow the flavours to fully develop overnight, otherwise it’s also good on the same day.
  2. Garlic Bread: Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6) and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Heat butter and garlic in a small saucepan over medium and cook until the butter is foamy.
  4. Place the bread in a large mixing bowl and pour the butter mixture over the bread. Sprinkle with half of the chopped malunggay leaves. Toss until evenly combined and then transfer the bread mixture to your prepared baking tray.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toasted. Once done, sprinkle the remaining malunggay leaves and then set aside to cool.
  6. Pasta Salad: While the garlic bread is baking in the oven, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water,following packet directions or until al dente. Add the asparagus and green beans in the last 3 minutes of cooking of the pasta. Drain and refresh under cold running water, and then drain again before transferring to a large mixing bowl.
  7. Add three-quarters of the caesar dressing the pasta and veggies. Toss to combine and then add the avocado, black olives, shaved parmesan, and half of the garlic bread croutons. Toss again before transferring it onto a large serving dish.
  8. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, and top with the remaining garlic bread croutons and extra shaved parmesan. Serve and enjoy as a side salad with baked, grilled, or pan-fried salmon (or any other choice of meat that tickles your taste buds)!

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have a special announcement to make. For those of you who have been loyal followers of Amcarmen’s Kitchen since 2015, you’ll know that every year for the month of August, I gather my fellow foodie friends to feature their own recipe on my blog. With the theme of the year being Colours of the Rainbow each guest foodie, or also known as an  Auguester, has chosen a colour of the rainbow that they will translate into their dish. This year I’ve managed to round up 12 foodies, with some returning faces since I started the series 5 years ago, and some fresh new faces for this year. All I can say that it’s going to be an exciting month so stayed tuned for that! Our first Auguester will be live on the blog on Monday 3rd August!

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad with Pan-fried Salmon

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Buko Pandan Ice Cream (No-Churn)

Buko Pandan Ice Cream (No-Churn)

Hello Everyone! A traditional Buko Pandan Salad is made with gulaman (jelly) cubes, tropical palm fruits, and shredded young coconut in sweetened cream. It is rich, creamy, and loaded with pandan flavour – a classic Filipino dessert that is a definite crowd favourite. You can check out my very out-dated recipe for it that I tackled back in 2015 by clicking here.

Buko Pandan Ice Cream (No-Churn)

Tonight however, I won’t be sharing with you another Buko Pandan Salad recipe. I thought you might want to enjoy its delicious flavours with a twist. I’ll be turning the traditional salad into an ice cream that can be enjoyed as both a snack or dessert. It’s rich, creamy, full of coconut flavour, and with an intense pandan taste using fresh screwpine leaves. If you don’t have access to fresh pandan leaves, you may also use pandan extract for this – just skip ahead to step 3 in the recipe below!

The process of homemade, no-churn ice cream is super simple. It’s just a matter of whipping together heavy cream, condensed milk, and adding in your choice of flavour/s. Seriously, the hardest part is waiting for the mixture to freeze! The ice cream comes out rich, creamy, and so much better than store-bought with far fewer ingredients. Oh, and did I mention that it’s a lot cheaper too?

Seriously, you’ll be craving for this all year long, especially during the hot summer days!

Buko Pandan Ice Cream (No-Churn) Ingredients

PREP TIME 4 HOURS* | COOKING TIME | SERVES 4-6

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

INGREDIENTS

For the ice cream

  • 8-10 pandan leaves
  • 1 can (300g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup (250ml) all purpose cream
  • 3/4 cup (200ml) thick coconut milk/cream
  • Green buko pandan food colouring/flavouring (optional)

To serve with (optional)

  • Buko pandan jelly
  • Cornflakes
  • Lychees
  • Shredded coconut meat

METHOD

  1. Place the pandan leaves together with the all purpose cream and coconut milk in a food processor or heavy-duty blender, and blitz/blend for a few minutes until the pandan leaves have been finely puréed.
  2. Pour the blended pandan-infused cream and coconut milk over a fine sieve and into a chilled large mixing bowl. Strain the cream mixture from the pandan leaf pulp, pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon to extract all of the liquid from the pulp. Discard the pandan leaf pulp.
  3. Whip the pandan-infused cream using an electrical hand-held mixer until soft peaks start to form. Add the sweetened condensed milk. You may also add a dash of vanilla extract at this point. Continue to whip to soft peaks, it should be fluffy and mousse-like.
  4. Pour into an airtight container and freeze for 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Check the mixture every 30 minutes and mix (“churn”) using a spoon to avoid it turning into granita (coarse flavoured ice).
  5. Let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before scooping and serving as it is or with other elements such as fresh coconut meat, buko pandan jelly, other fruits of choice, and crushed cornflakes for that extra added crunch. Enjoy!

Buko Pandan Ice Cream (No-Churn)

Buko Pandan Ice Cream (No-Churn)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus

Hello Everyone! Potatoes and green beans are a classic combination; throw some asparagus and lettuce leaves or any other leafy greens into the mix and you’ve got yourself a great side dish that goes with almost anything. You can also bring it to a picnic, party, or barbecue.

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus

You’ll want to slice the baby potatoes (skin on) in half before cooking to help them cook faster. If you are using slightly bigger potatoes, you may want to quarter them. How long you cook them depends on their size, and you can check to see if they are tender by piercing a fork into the potatoes about 10 minutes into cooking. I prefer to steam my potatoes rather than boiling them because it takes a fraction of the time. Why? You’re only waiting for a small amount of water to boil, not a whole pot. In addition, unlike a big pot of boiling water, steam won’t dilute the flavour of the potatoes substantially.

This Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus works really well at either room temperature or served cold. It has a bold, tangy taste thanks to the vinaigrette – a simple combination of red wine vinegar, olive oil, minced red onion and garlic, and seasoned with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. You want to toss half the dressing over the warm potatoes to enhance their flavour. The remaining dressing is tossed over the whole salad at the end.

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the salad

  • 450g baby potatoes, thoroughly cleaned and cut in half (skin on)
  • 250g french beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off and cut to the same lengths of the french beans
  • 1 bunch leafy greens of choice, roughly chopped
  • Handful of chopped malunggay leaves
  • Handful of sliced almonds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the vinaigrette

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Fill a pot with about an inch of water and put a steamer basket inside. Place the potatoes in the steamer basket and bring the water to a boil. Cover and steam until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette into a small-sized jar. Put the lid on a shake vigorously to combine the ingredients together. You can make this ahead of time to ensure that all the flavours have time to develop.
  3. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add both the french beans and asparagus to the boiling water. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. While waiting, prepare an ice bath (large bowl with half ice and half water).
  4. When the french beans and asparagus are ready, drain and then plunge into the prepared ice bath. Let them sit in the ice bath until completely cool. Once cool, drain the french beans and asparagus and pat them dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
  5. Once the potatoes are done, transfer them into a large mixing bowl and add half of the vinaigrette. Toss to combine. Add the other vegetables together with the sliced almonds and remaining vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Give it a good toss and it’s ready to serve as a delicious side to your main! Enjoy!

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ondeh-Ondeh (Glutinous Rice Balls with Coconut Sugar Filling)

Ondeh-Ondeh (Glutinous Rice Balls with Coconut Sugar Filling)

Hello Everyone! In Singapore, Malaysia, and even in Brunei, Ondeh-Ondeh refers to a glutinous rice ball kuih (sweet snack or dessert). In Indonesia they call it Klepon. There are two versions of Ondeh-Ondeh. One is made with just plain glutinous rice flour and scented with pandan (screwpine) juice, while the other has a little sweet potato added to the dough.

Ondeh-Ondeh (Glutinous Rice Balls with Coconut Sugar Filling)

Ondeh-Ondeh is made with fresh pandan juice and glutinous rice flour rolled in freshly grated coconut with a little surprise on the inside. The surprise makes these balls of Ondeh-Ondeh oh so fun to eat! Its pandan-flavoured skin wraps semi-melted gula melaka (palm sugar) that would burst upon the first bite, like sweet little bombs as the sweetness explodes in the mouth. The slightly salted grated coconut further enhances the deliciousness of this kuih.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Rasa Malaysia by Bee.

Ondeh-Ondeh (Glutinous Rice Balls with Coconut Sugar Filling) Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 5-10 MINS | MAKES 12-14 BALLS

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 pandan leaves
  • 2 cups glutinous rice flour*
  • 1 cup water
  • 100g freshly grated coconut**
  • Coconut sugar***
  • Pinch of salt

* Using only glutinous rice flour will make the ondeh-ondeh rather soft in texture. Although some do enjoy such consistency, tapioca flour may be added to the dough to make it slightly firmer. You may also substitute tapioca flour with corn flour.

** If you are using desiccated coconut for this recipe, add 1 tablespoon of water and half a teaspoon of salt to half a cup of desiccated coconut. Mix well and steam the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes. The reason for steaming is because you want to achieve a fluffier/softer texture, similar to freshly grated coconut.

*** The amazing taste of ondeh-ondeh comes from the gula melaka, a special palm sugar which has a toffee taste to it. You may substitute this for brown sugar, coconut sugar, or other sweeteners if gula melaka isn’t available. That will, however, change the traditional taste of the ondeh-ondeh.

METHOD

  1. Pandan Juice: Place the pandan leaves together with the water in a food processor or heavy-duty blender, and blitz/blend for a few minutes until the pandan leaves have been finely puréed.
  2. Pour the blended pandan-infused water over a fine sieve and into a small bowl. Strain the liquid from the pandan leaf pulp, pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon to extract all of the juice from the pulp. Discard the pandan leaf pulp.
  3. Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the glutinous rice flour with the extracted pandan juice and lightly knead to form a smooth dough. Cover the dough and set aside for about 15 minutes to rest.
  4. Ondeh-Ondeh Balls: Bring a large pot of water to rolling boil. Pinch a thumb-sized piece of dough and flatten lightly and thinly. Fill the centre of the dough with about half a teaspoon of coconut sugar. Roll it in your palms to form a smooth ball and then place each ball on a baking tray lined with lightly greased cling film. Repeat until all the dough is used up.
  5. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Carefully drop each ball into the boiling water. Do not overcrowd the pot. You may need to work in batches depending on how many balls you managed to make with the dough.
  6. When they float to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon and shake off the excess water. Coat the ondeh-ondeh balls with the slightly salted grated coconut and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Ondeh-Ondeh (Glutinous Rice Balls with Coconut Sugar Filling)

Notes:

Why does the dough crack?
The dough is too dry. Add some water and knead the dough again. Work in batches and store the dough in a bowl with a piece of damp cloth over it to prevent it from getting dry.

Why does the Ondeh-Ondeh burst while boiling?
Sometimes, the dough may crack during the cooking process. This is due to the thinness of the dough. However, remember not to make the dough too thick either. Wrap it closely around the palm sugar to prevent air from getting in. Otherwise it will burst during the cooking process.

Why did the palm sugar not melt?
The ondeh-ondeh wasn’t cooked long enough. To ensure that the pal sugar has fully melted, simmer them over low heat for another 5 to 10 minutes once they start to float. Also, the trick is to shave the palm sugar with a knife or mandoline or simply chop them into small chunks. This way, they would melt faster. Larger chunks may not melt as quickly as smaller pieces.

How long can ondeh-ondeh last for?
Cooked ondeh-ondeh with grated coconut will only last a day because grated coconut spoils easily. If you would want to prepare them in advance, you may refrigerate shaped ondeh-ondeh for up to 5 days covered with plastic wrap. Shaped ondeh-ondeh can also be frozen for up to 6 months if kept in an airtight container or freezer bag. Simply boil refrigerated or frozen ondeh-ondeh before coating them with shredded coconut.

Ondeh-Ondeh (Glutinous Rice Balls with Coconut Sugar Filling)

Before tackling this recipe, I read up on a few different ones online and gathered that on average, these Ondeh-Ondeh Balls take about 10 minutes to cook. I made mine slightly bigger than those in the recipes I looked at, but no way did it take 15 or 30 minutes to fully cook through. It was already way past the 1-hour mark and the balls were still rock hard. At first, I didn’t know where I went wrong… and then it hit me. I was using rice flour instead of glutinous rice flour. What a rookie mistake *facepalm* Nonetheless, after I got around to picking up some glutinous rice flour from the grocers and tackled the recipe again, it was a success!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Herb & Caper-crusted Salmon

Herb & Caper-crusted Salmon

Hello Everyone and happy first of July! If you’re a little pressed for time when it comes to preparing and cooking, this should be one of your go-to, quick yet healthy and light weeknight dinner recipes. The salmon is full of fresh flavours, tang, and heat! It could not be any simpler to make and goes from fridge to table in 20 minutes, even including all the sides you need to make this a complete meal! Simply chop up your herbs and capers, slather it onto your salmon filets, then bake. Easy peasy lemon squeezy right?

Herb & Caper-crusted Salmon

Salmon is one of the most nutritious foods you can find. This popular fatty fish is loaded with nutrients and may reduce risk factors for several diseases. It’s also super tasty, versatile, and widely available. Salmon is rich in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and decrease risk factors for disease. Salmon is also rich in high-quality protein, which is needed to heal, protect bone health, and prevent muscle loss, among other benefits. The list goes on.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Iowa Girl Eats by Kristin. The original recipe crusts the salmon with a caper and dill-infused gremolata – which is just a fancy name for chopped parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. I used basil and green onions/scallions in place of the dill and parsley only because I could not find those herbs at the grocers. I think it worked well with the herb substitutes that I used, so don’t be afraid to mix up your herbs for the crust to what’s readily available at your local grocers.

Herb & Caper-crusted Salmon Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 7-9 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 salmon filets, about 150g per filet
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
  • 2 stalks green onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp capers, drained, rinsed, and roughly chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 4), and line a baking sheet with foil. Grease with a little bit of oil or butter and set aside.
  2. Mix the chopped/minced basil, green onions, chillies, capers, lemon zest, garlic, salt, and black pepper to the centre of a large plate. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice into the mixture to moisten.
  3. Rub the salmon filets with olive oil and then season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Press the top and sides of each filet into the herb and caper mixture to create an even crust.Place the filets onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 7-9 minutes. Be careful and do not over bake them!
  4. Once done, transfer the salmon filets to individual serving plates. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on the salmon fillets, and some creamy mashed potatoes on the side with blanched asparagus or any other greens of choice. Enjoy!

Herb & Caper-crusted Salmon

Herb & Caper-crusted Salmon

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com