Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

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

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

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

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

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

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup) Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the soup base

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

For the kroeung paste mixture

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

METHOD

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

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Amok Trei អាម៉ុកត្ (Steamed Fish Curry)

Amok Trei អាម៉ុកត្ (Steamed Fish Curry)

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that January went by so quickly, and it’s already the 3rd day of the 2nd month of 2021! Last week we shared our last recipe for local Bruneian eats; our first stop on our road to discover the Flavours of Southeast Asia for Amcarmen’s Kitchen. Our next stop for the month is Cambodia! Cambodian cuisine must be Southeast Asia’s most under-appreciated and most misunderstood cuisines amongst the others, and there’s a whole article about it that you can read if you have the time – Dispelling Cambodian Cuisine Myths.

Now, before I proceed, due to the limitations of sourcing certain ingredients, you may find the dishes shared here over the course of the month a little on the unauthentic side and I do apologise to any of my Cambodian readers or passersby. I tried my best to get as close to the original and traditional recipes.

Moving forward, Amok Trei អាម៉ុកត្, or in English, Steamed Fish Curry is Cambodia’s national dish; a classic Khmer dish traditionally served during the Water Festival in Cambodia as a way to thank the Mekong River for providing Cambodia with abundant fish and fertile land. It is a fragrant and spicy coconut fish curry that is tenderly steamed in banana leaves. The flavour of the dish is quite reminiscent of a mild Thai red curry. The fish is soaked in a rich Khmer kroeung paste and placed in little steamer cups made from banana leaves, imparting their specific flavour into the dish. When cooked, it should have a texture that has been described as a mousse, mousseline, soufflé, and custard.

Amok Trei អាម៉ុកត្ (Steamed Fish Curry)

Locals prefer cooking with goby fish, snakehead fish, or catfish – all freshwater fish from the Tonle Sap or Great Lake, when preparing Amok Trei. Most cookbooks written in the West suggest a firm white fish such as cod or snapper. In cooking classes in Siem Reap, cooking instructors tell participants they can use anything from barramundi to salmon. I used tilapia for my take on Amok Trei and it’s really up to you to decide what fish you want to cook with and most importantly what is readily available in your local market.

Khmer kroeung paste is the basic kroeung or freshly pounded herb and spice paste in Cambodian cooking. It gets its yellow colour from the turmeric and lemongrass stems. The yellow kroeung is used for many classic Khmer and Cambodian dishes, including Amok Trei. Now, a traditional kroeung paste would use kaffir lime zest, but since I could not source any from my local vegetable stall, I went ahead and used lemon zest instead. I also used bottled galangal for the same reason of being unable to source fresh ones.

Amok Trei អាម៉ុកត្ (Steamed Fish Curry)

Older generations of cooks believe that if it’s not properly steamed, it’s not Amok Trei. Amok means to steam in banana leaves in Khmer and it is thought that this refined dish is a Royal Khmer specialty dating back to the Khmer Empire. If it’s not steamed, it’s not amok, it’s curry. Despite its regal origins, Amok Trei is a dish that you’ll see sold in banana baskets on trays in markets and on the street.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Grantourismo by Lara and Terence.

Amok Trei អាម៉ុកត្ (Steamed Fish Curry) Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | MAKES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the kroeung paste

  • 5-6 lemongrass stalks, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small-sized turmeric, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp crushed galangal
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

For the amok trei

  • 750g tilapia fish filets, cut into medium-sized chunks
  • 3 dried red chillies
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk*
  • 3 tbsp kroeung paste
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp palm or coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • Pinch of salt

*I made my own coconut milk from grated mature coconut, but you can use store bought coconut milk if you wish.

To garnish

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, thinly sliced

For the banana leaf boats

  • Banana leaves
  • Toothpicks

METHOD

  1. Kroeung Paste: Using a mortar and pestle, pound the lemongrass until completely mashed and you can no longer see its rings. Add the galangal, turmeric, and lemon zest, and pound further until they’re incorporated into the mashed lemongrass. Lastly, add the garlic and onion, and continue to pound. Work in batches if needed. The finished paste will have some fibres from the lemongrass but should otherwise be quite smooth in texture.
  2. Amok Trei: In the same mortar, add the dried chillies and pound well into the kroeung paste.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the kroeung, fish chunks, and the other ingredients. Lightly combine to avoid breaking up the fish chunks. Adjust the seasoning by cooking a bit of the mixture to be able to taste. The Amok should be well balanced; a little fishy, a little salty, slightly sweet, a tad spicy, and rich and creamy. Adjust as necessary by adding a pinch of salt or sugar, fish sauce, or even a little chilli. Set aside to marinate for about half an hour before steaming.
  4. Banana Leaf Boats: Meanwhile, prepare the banana leaf boats. Wipe a fresh banana leaf with a damp towel to remove any dirt and debris. Cut out the centre stem from the leaf and cut further into smaller rectangular pieces, about 15cm x 20cm in size.
  5. Blanch the leaf pieces in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then dry and let it cool.
  6. Place the banana leaf piece with the shiny side down so it ends up on the outside. Fold the one of the short sides about an inch and a half over, do the same with the one of the longer sides. Pinch and fold the corner over onto the short side. Do the same with the other side and and fasten the folds with a toothpick. Repeat on the other side to form a banana leaf boat. For a picture guide, you can head on over to Table for 2 or More by WendyinKK.
  7. Steaming: Divide the fish amok mixture equally into 6 or 8 banana leaf boats, filling each boat almost to the top. Carefully place into the steamer basket and steam for 20 minutes. The fish amok should be cooked through and firm to touch but still retain moistness. It should not be dry.
  8. About 15 minutes into steaming, top each boat of fish amok with coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, and chillies. Continue to steam for another 5 minutes.
  9. Once done, serve immediately with freshly steamed white rice and a side of vegetables of your choice. Enjoy!

Amok Trei អាម៉ុកត្ (Steamed Fish Curry)

Notes:

  • If you do not have a mortar and pestle, you may use a food processor to make your kroeung paste.
  • Other proteins such as chicken, tofu, and snails can also be used as a substitute for the fish in this dish (but note horrifies older generations).

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

Hello Everyone! This bowl as a whole reminds me of a deconstructed version of Vietnamese spring rolls – vibrant in flavour as they are in colour, topped with poached prawns, fried tofu, snow peas, fresh carrots and mint leaves, and a sprinkle of crushed roasted peanuts.

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

In fact, the recipe for the sauce/dressing used for this dish is based off of a Vietnamese spring roll dipping sauce. It is made with lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar, and a bit of fresh garlic and chillies. The sauce is very acidic, which is exactly what you need to trigger the color changing properties of the butterfly pea flower. These striking blue and violet glass noodles, steeped in butterfly pea flowers to achieve their rich colour, transform before your eyes when mixed with the acidic sauce.

It’s cool, refreshing and perfect for the warmer days of spring and summer! But before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe where I drew my inspiration from over on Love and Olive Oil by Lindsay.

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the glass noodles

  • 3 packets (80g per pack) glass noodles
  • 1 & 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup dried butterfly pea flowers
  • Pinch of salt

For the dressing

  • 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 chillies, finely minced

To assemble

  • Carrots, shredded
  • Firm tofu, fried
  • Mint leaves
  • Prawns, poached
  • Roasted peanuts, crushed
  • Snow peas, blanched

METHOD

  1. Dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a small to medium-sized bowl and mix well. Adjust taste to your liking by adding more fish sauce, lemon juice, or chillies. Set aside.
  2. Glass 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.
  3. Place the glass noodles in a large mixing bowl and pour the blue-infused water over the noodles. Give it a good mix, making sure that the noodles are covered with water. Place a clean tea towel over the bowl and set aside for the noodles to soak and cook, about 5 minutes.
  4. Once the noodles are cooked through, drain and separate into two batches in bowls. Drizzle half of the prepared dressing in one of the bowls and give it a good mix. You’ll see that the colour will change from blue to violet in a matter of seconds.
  5. Assemble: Place an equal amount of the blue and violet noodles into individual serving dishes and top with vegetables and meat of your choice. I kept mine pescatarian so went with poached shrimp and bulked it up with tofu as well. I added vegetables such as shredded carrots, snow peas, mint leaves, and topped it off with some roasted peanuts.
  6. Add more dressing as you wish and enjoy as a room temperature or cold dish on a hot summer’s day!

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

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: Jiemei Sisters

Nasi Kerabu

“The kitchen is the heart of the home” — Jiemei Sisters

Auguest 2020: Jiemei Sisters

Looking back on my childhood, I am flooded with memories of the kitchen: our pantry in which we would sneak into to get little chewy sweets called sugus, sitting at the kitchen counter and having a cup of Milo and some biscuits after school, opening the fridge and exclaiming in disgust after sniffing an opened can of beer. As we grew older, we would stand in the kitchen and help our mom with menial tasks such as mincing garlic, chopping onions, cooking rice (ok, this one is not so menial) and other things.

Without fail, every night our family would have dinner together. Sitting around the dinner table, chatting about our day, what we did at school, and what we might want to do during the weekend – food was something that kept our family bond tight.

After I left home, it would take about 8 years before I would be reunited with my sisters in the same city. This time, while chatting about anything and everything in the kitchen, we started cooking dishes that are nostalgic to us.

We grew up partly in Brunei and partly in Malaysia. Our parents were well travelled and adventurous with food (a trait that they passed down to us). We like to try and cook everything from scratch (as much as we can), to try and replicate that taste of our childhood. That taste that brings back memories of our warm kitchen, with the black countertops and white cabinets, the pantry with the treasure trove of goodies, and the feeling of warm familial love.

Nasi Kerabu is a dish that we used to get only during Ramadan and Hari Raya. I don’t know if it was sold frequently at other times, but this was the time during the year where our mom would, after an exhausting day at work, pick us up from school and stop at a “gerai” (malay stall) on the way home. Nasi Kerabu was always a favourite. It reminds me of a salad. But, a good salad. None of that wilting leaves drenched in balsamic vinegar and oil. A good hearty salad with substance. The blue rice, fragrant herbs, refreshing vegetables, topped with the Kerisik Ikan (fish floss), accompanied by a good sambal sauce, along with keropok (fish crackers) – oh man. This dish is To. Die. For.

Last year, I moved away from the city I called home for the last 10 years. So, when my sisters came to visit, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to cook together. Because I live in the interior, we were not able to hunt down some of the Southeast Asian herbs that are essential to the dish, but we made do. And it was still so very good.

Nasi Kerabu Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

For the nasi kerabu

  • 10 pieces butterfly blue pea flower (this is to give the rice its beautiful blue hue)
  • 3 pandan leaves
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 2 cups Jasmine rice

For the kerisik ikan

  • 1 mackerel fillet (we used the salted fillets that are popular in Korean grocery stores)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup dried shrimp

For the kuah sambal

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp oil
  • 8 dried chilies (boiled in water for about 10 minutes)
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 large red chilies
  • 2 shallots
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp lemongrass
  • 2 tbsp tamarind juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Salt, to taste

For the grilled fish

  • Mackerel (we love mackerel in this household, but feel free to use whatever fish you like)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp oil
  • Salt, to taste

To garnish

  • Bean sprouts, cut in half
  • Cabbage, diced
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Keropok
  • Mint, finely sliced
  • Salted Egg
  • Snake beans, finely diced

Other garnishes, if available, kaffir lime leaves, torch ginger flower, banana flower, and daun kesum. These are more herbs that you can add. We had to omit them due to the lack of variety in the small town I live in.

METHOD

  1. Kerisik Ikan: Broil the mackerel fillet in the oven on high heat for 8 minutes. Let it cool down before removing the skin and bones.
  2. Toast coconut flakes in a pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until golden brown.
  3. Toast dried shrimp separate from the coconut flakes, in a pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until fragrant.
  4. Pound ingredients separately with a mortar and pestle until finely shredded. Mix everything in a bowl and set aside.
  5. Nasi Kerabu: Steep blue pea flowers in hot water for about 10 minutes.
  6. While waiting for the pea flower water to cool down, wash your rice. Clean the pandan leaves and tie it up in a bundle.
  7. When the pea flower water has cooled down, combine rice, pea flower water, and pandan leaves together and put it in the rice cooker and let it do its magic.
  8. Kuah Sambal: Blend shallots, garlic, chilies, lemongrass, 3 tbsp water and 1 tbsp of oil in a blender until it turns into a nice paste.
  9. Heat the 1/4 cup of oil in a pan and pour in the chili paste. Simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly for the first 3 minutes, and then every 2-3 minutes. Do this for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. The paste will start to pecah, which means “to break” in Malay. You’ll know it’s ready when the oil starts to separate from the paste. Sometimes it takes longer than 15 minutes. Your best indication to know when it’s ready is the separation of oil and paste.
  11. Add in the tamarind juice, sugar, and salt to taste. Then add in the coconut milk and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and set aside, in the pan, once done.
  12. Grilled Fish: Marinate the fish with oil, turmeric, and salt.
  13. Broil on high for about 8 minutes. Note: this timing is for a fillet of mackerel. You will need to adjust accordingly if you use a different type of fish.
  14. Plating: Scoop the rice onto the middle of the plate. Surround the rice mound with your garnishes and grilled fish and top rice with kuah sambah and kerisik ikan. Serve and enjoy!

Nasi Kerabu

Like I mentioned above, this dish reminds me of a salad. Mix your garnishes and rice together. Top your spoonful of “salad” with a piece of fish and a little bit of the salted egg, and take a bite of the fragrant, harmonious, refreshing dish that is Nasi Kerabu.

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Jiemei Sisters (@jiemei.sisters)

BON APPÉTIT

– Jiemei Sisters

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

Auguest 2020: JM de Guzman

Pinais na Hipon at Niyog na may Palapa (Shrimp wrapped in Banana Leaves with Coconut and Green Palapa)

“Food isn’t just something to eat to satisfy an empty stomach or a craving palate. One must know the story about every dish, and celebrate it as a work of art, culture, tradition, custom and beliefs of its creator, and by doing that, we don’t just let them know how we appreciate their food but also honour the people and the nation behind it.” — JM de Guzman

Auguest 2020: JM de Guzman

I’d like to thank Miss Allison, for inviting me once again to do an Auguest post on her blog. I’m also thrilled to share this recipe, which I personally developed for this year’s theme – Colours of Rainbow. The dish I’m about to share was inspired by a traditional Filipino dish ‘Pinais’ and pinais-like dishes (such as Bicol’s pinangat and kinagang). Therefore should I say that this is my take on pinais.

Pinais is a traditional dish from the Southern Tagalog region. While the name refers to the dish itself – it’s actually a cooking process wherein the ingredients (most commonly coconut meat and seafood) are wrapped in banana leaves before steaming. The method of pagpapais effectively seals in the juices and imparts a fresh aroma to the food.

What inspired me to make this take on pinais is my forever obsession about everything coconut and my interest to explore more regional Filipino foods, particularly the foods of the South (Mindanao or Moro Foods). So this dish is inspired by a multitude of cultures, from the flavours of Luzon and Mindanao.

Pinais na Hipon at Niyog na may Palapa

The usual components of pinais are seafood (fish or shellfish), coconut, and aromatics. For my recipe’s seafood component, I used prawns/shrimps. For the coconut, try to look for a matured one (we call it ‘ngalutin’ or chewey here in Bataan). It’s the stage between buko and niyog. However, since I cannot find the specific type of coconut, I just used matured niyog. For the aromatics or flavouring, I used my adaptation of Maranao Palapa, a spice paste mixture of pounded sakurab, ginger/turmeric, and chilies that stands as Maranao all-purpose seasoning. It can be used as a dip, condiment, marinade, or even an appetizer. However for my version, I used siling panigang to produce a greener palapa which is commonly reddish or yellowish from the red chilies and turmeric. I also used the whole sakurab including its green part, dahon ng kabuyaw (kaffir lime leaves), and langkawas (galangal) for a more herbal and aromatic flavour profile. It’s not traditional per se, but this is just my take which I’d like to call “Green Palapa”.

Langkawas and Kabuyaw rather are alien to many Filipinos, and most would have encountered these only with Thai or other Southeast Asian foods, but these are actually native to the Philippines, and in fact Filipino ingredients as well.

Pinais na Hipon at Niyog na may Palapa Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 45-60 MINS | SERVES 5

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g grated coconut meat
  • 500g prawns or large shrimp, peeled and deveined*
  • Banana leaves for wrapping

For the ‘green palapa’

  • 2 & 1/2 cups sakurab, chopped**
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup cooking oil, divided
  • 8 sprigs of kabuyaw (kaffir lime) leaves, torn***
  • 4 pcs long green chilies, chopped****
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, chopped
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 & 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp galangal powder or 2 tbsp fresh galangal, chopped*****
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Ingredient Notes:

* Don’t throw the prawn heads and shells. The flavour is there. Pound it to extract the juice.

** Substitute green onion or scallion if sakurab isn’t available. Sakurab is an allium native to Mindanao and while this is almost synonymous to scallion or green onions it actually isn’t. You can substitute it though but it won’t taste the same. Sakurab is more pungent and for me it has a taste of something in between shallots and garlic.

*** It might be hard to find the kaffir lime leaves, but it is essential for this recipe. I suggest using grated dayap rinds if you can’t find it.

**** Add more chilies if you want a spicier palapa, likewise, deseed the green chilies if you want the palapa less spicy, but I personally don’t mind it getting overly hot.

***** Omit galangal if not available and double the amount of ginger instead.

Not only can you use the “Green Palapa” for this pinais, but also as base for “Ginataans”

Pinais na Hipon at Niyog na may Palapa - Step-by-Step

METHOD

  1. Green Palapa: Add a quarter cup of the oil and all the chopped ingredients for the green palapa into a food processor or blender. Blend until you get a smooth consistency, kind of like pesto.
  2. Over very low heat, add the remaining oil to a pan together with the blended paste and stir continuously. Season with fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper to taste. You’ll know it’s cooked when the colour turns deep green, and the oil seeps out of the mixture. Set aside to cool down. You can remove some of the oil as it cools down.
  3. Pinais: In a large mixing bowl, combine the grated coconut meat, the green palapa, and the extracted prawn juice. You now have a green-coloured coconut meat mixture.
  4. Place a cup of coconut and palapa mixture in the center of a prepared sheet of banana leaf. Place as much prawns as you want on the top. Fold all sides to form a tight wrap.
  5. Line the bottom of a large wok or pan with banana leaf. Place all the wrapped pinais and add two cups of water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45-60 minutes.
  6. Transfer to individual serving plates, unfold the banana leaf and serve immediately while hot. Enjoy!

Pinais na Hipon at Niyog na may Palapa

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | JM de Guzman (@thecoconutdude)

BON APPÉTIT

– JM de Guzman

myTaste.com

Auguest 2020: Jenel Laureta

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya

“Learn as much as you can through reading cookbooks, watching cooking shows, attending short cooking classes, and from other people. Then try to incorporate all these in your daily cooking.” — Jenel Laureta

Auguest 2020: Jenel Laureta

I was greatly influenced by my paternal grandfather to love food and cooking! Hands down, he was a great cook because there was not a dish I didn’t like. All his dishes were simply delicious. His cooking was not by-the-book and he had no recipes to follow. He cooked by taste and with utmost passion.

In my Lolo Pepe’s kitchen, I began with peeling garlic and onions for homemade atchara. We were busiest in the kitchen during town fiestas. Lolo Pepe would whip up his specialties: Asadong Manok, Mechadong Baka, and Adobong Hito to name a few. I would linger in the kitchen to smell the bubbling sauces and of course to get a taste of each cooked dish.

From him, I also learned how to appreciate good food. We weren’t rich but he wouldn’t settle for less than the best. I remember that he would always buy our butter from a PX store and we would always travel to a nearby city to eat good food.

A great part of my childhood memory is about food and cooking, and this may be the reason why until now I love to eat and cook! In my kitchen now, I try to replicate Lolo Pepe’s cooking. Although I do not have any recipes to follow, I just try to remember the smell, the taste, and the look of a certain dish!

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a popular dish of West African, French (especially in Provençal cuisine), Spanish and Native American influence; similar to, but distinct from, other rice-and-meat dishes known in Louisiana cuisine.

An easy Jambalaya recipe is pure comfort food filled to the brim with flavor. A soffritto-like trinity of onion, bell peppers and celery are also included, along with rice, chilies, cajun spice, other seasonings, and broth. Jambalaya is a quintessential one pot recipe, usually cooked together until the rice is done, but since this is a recipe for a deconstructed Jambalaya, we’re going to need a pot/pan more or two.

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 1-2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pc river prawn
  • 1 pc blue swimmer crab
  • 1 pc crab claw
  • 3 pcs large prawns
  • 4 pcs mussels
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 whole green bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 medium-sized white onion, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 pcs red chili, diced (optional)
  • 1 & 1/2 to 2 cups seafood broth or water
  • 1 to 1 & 1/2 tbsp cajun spice
  • 1 can (approx. 400g) diced tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • Cherry tomatoes, lightly fried, for garnish

METHOD

  1. Jambalaya Stew: Add olive oil in a shallow pan and start sautéing in this order: green bell pepper, celery, white onion, and then garlic. Add cajun spice and continue cooking for a further 2 minutes.
  2. Pour the can of diced tomatoes and let it cook until softened before adding a cup of seafood broth or water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add assorted seafood and cover until cooked. Add more seafood broth or water as needed and leave to simmer, seasoning with salt according to your taste.
  4. Once the assorted seafood is cooked through, fish out into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Jambalaya Rice: In a separate pan, sauté the garlic until golden and fragrant.
  6. Ladle about a cup of the jambalaya stew and add it to the pan with sautéed garlic. Leave to simmer to allow the flavors to concentrate.
  7. Add the cooked rice and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and allow the rice to absorb all the stew.
  8. Jambalaya Soup: Add half a cup of seafood broth to the remaining jambalaya stew and simmer.
  9. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Optional, if you want an intense jambalaya flavor, you can add a half teaspoon more of cajun spice.
  10. Purée the stew in a blender and pass it through a fine sieve.
  11. Pour soup in a bottle and keep warm.
  12. Assembly: Arrange the assorted seafood in a large shallow plate and garnish with lightly fried cherry tomatoes.
  13. Pour the warm jambalaya soup over the assorted seafood and serve with jambalaya rice. Enjoy!

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Jenel Laureta (@jenel.laureta)

BON APPÉTIT

– Jenel Laureta

myTaste.com

Auguest 2020: Shazrinah Shazali

Roasted Garlic & Onion Tomato Tagliatelle with Butter Beans,Tuna, and a Chilli Balsamic Drizzle

“Cooking is an exploration of our own creativity. Always try out new flavour combinations, different cooking techniques, build on textbook recipes, and have fun!” — Shazrinah Shazali

Auguest 2020: Shazrinah Shazali

Hello Everyone! I am a neuroscientist and home-grown chef best known as ShefShaz. I started my entrepreneurial journey from home, supplying healthy lunch meal plans to offices and homes. I then ventured into collaboration with The Healthy Habit in January 2018 to develop menus and co-founded FUEL’D. Just this year I’ve also recently co-opened a cafe in the gardens to work with the garden’s nursery to develop menus and create delicious food from their produce.

Tonight I will be sharing a delicious and healthy dish that is packed with the flavours of roasted garlic, chilli, and balsamic vinegar. You can easily whip up for a quick weeknight dinner if you’re pressed for time!

Roasted Garlic & Onion Tomato Tagliatelle with Butter Beans,Tuna, and a Chilli Balsamic Drizzle Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the tagliatelle

  • 200g dried tagliatelle pasta
  • 1 can (approx 400g) butter beans, drained
  • 1 can (approx. 185g) tuna in olive oil
  • 1 can (approx. 400g) roasted garlic and onion tomato pasta sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
  • 1 tsp sweet ground paprika
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

For the chilli balsamic drizzle

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, minced
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, minced
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Chilli Balsamic Drizzle: In a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic, chilli, and parsley together. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust to your liking and set aside.
  2. Roasted Garlic & Onion Tomato Tagliatelle: In a large pot with boiling salted water, cook the tagliatelle pasta according to packet directions or until al dente. Drain and set aside, reserving about half a cup of the pasta water.
  3. In a separate pan over medium-high heat, sauté the minced garlic, shallots, and chilli until golden, fragrant, and translucent, about a minute or two.
  4. Add in the drained butter beans together with the tuna in olive oil and cooked until warmed through. Add the ground paprika and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir in the canned tomato pasta sauce plus the half cup of reserved pasta water. Bring to a rapid simmer before adding the cooked pasta. Once done, transfer to individual serving plates.
  6. Top with parmesan cheese if desired, fresh arugula or any other leafy greens you prefer, and drizzle with the chilli balsamic mixture. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Garlic & Onion Tomato Tagliatelle with Butter Beans,Tuna, and a Chilli Balsamic Drizzle

Roasted Garlic & Onion Tomato Tagliatelle with Butter Beans,Tuna, and a Chilli Balsamic Drizzle

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Shazrinah Shazali (@shefshaz // @fueld.bn // @glowcafebn)

BON APPÉTIT

– Shazrinah Shazali

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