Ikan Pepes (Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves)

Ikan Pepes (Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves)

Hello Everyone! Tonight’s recipe is actually also a national fish dish in East Timor. As we’ve covered back in March when we travelled through East Timor on our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey, the country was invaded and colonised by Indonesia after they gained their independence from Portugal. Therefore a lot of their cuisine is also inspired by Indonesian culture.

I’ve actually never had Ikan Pepes before; I guess the closest I’ve had that’s similar to this dish is Ikan Bakar, which in English literally means ‘burn fish’. The main difference between the two is how the banana leaves are used.

Pepes is an Indonesian cooking method using banana leaves as a food wrapping and secured with a fastener made from the central ribs of a coconut leaf (known as lidi seumat). The banana leaf package containing the food is then steamed or grilled over charcoal. Bakar on the other hand is a charcoal-grilling method where sometimes a sheet of banana leaf placed between the food and grill to prevent it from sticking to the grill and breaking into pieces.

Ikan Pepes (Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves)

Ikan Pepes is made by generously smothering the fish in a spice mixture. The mixture may vary among regions and places, but usually consists of a combination of shallots, garlic, chillies, coriander, tamarind paste, candlenuts, turmeric, galangal, and salt; all pounded together using a mortar and pestle, or blitzed in a food processor to create a paste. The fish is then wrapped in banana leaves to not only protect the fish from excessive charring, but also to add a subtle touch of fragrance to the dish as a whole. The fish is then typically eaten with rice for a complete meal.

You can use any type of fish for this dish as you prefer, such as snapper, perch, bream, or tilapia, and you may also opt to use fish fillets rather than cooking with a whole fish especially for those who don’t like struggling with fish bones. Likewise, while the method of pepes is commonly used to prepare fish, other ingredients such as shrimp, squid, chicken, beef, tofu, tempeh, mushrooms, or other vegetables are also available to be prepared using this method.

Ikan Pepes (Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves) Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 red snappers (about 500g each in weight), descaled, gutted, and cleaned
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

For the spice mixture

  • 3 red chillies, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (white part only), finely chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized turmeric, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp raw peanuts
  • 7 cherry tomatoes*, halved
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh banana leaves

To garnish

  • Lemon wedges
  • Red chillies, chopped
  • Spring onion (green parts), chopped

*Or use one small tomato and roughly chop. I used cherry tomatoes because I had some lying around that were getting soft.

METHOD

  1. Spice Mixture: Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, onion, lemongrass, turmeric, and peanuts together until it forms into a rough paste. Add the tomatoes and continue to pound until they start to break down.
  2. Add in the shrimp paste, coconut sugar, tamarind paste, and season with salt. Use a spoon to mix them all together until well combined.

If using a food processor, add all the ingredients together and blend into a rough paste.

  1. Ikan Pepes: Place the prepared fish, that has been seasoned with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, on top of a piece of banana leaf, on top of a piece of aluminium foil.
  2. Stuff the cavity of the snapper fish with the green parts of the lemongrass and white part of the spring onion. This is optional as I didn’t want to put these parts to waste so I decided to use them in the dish as well.
  3. Generously cover both sides of the fish with the spice mixture and enclose it in the banana leaf, and aluminium foil.
  4. Place the fish over a grill and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes on one side, and 10 minutes on the other; a total of 25 minutes, or until cooked through depending on the size of your fish or method of cooking.
  5. Once done, remove from the grill and transfer to a serving plate. Garnish with some spring onions, extra chillies, and lemon wedges on the side. Serve immediately while hot with rice. Enjoy!

1898

Ikan Pepes (Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Prawn Sinigang Orzo

Hello Everyone! Last week was a busy week for Amcarmen’s Kitchen; I uploaded three posts, two of which were recipes and the other was an exclusive interview to celebrate my blog turning seven years old last April 16! If you want to have a read of that interview, I’ve linked it above. Just a fair warning, it’s quite a long article and also contains a 6-minute video where I talked about one of the recent dishes I’ve shared on my blog.

Anyway, tonight I will be sharing a classic Filipino dish that is close to every Filipino’s heart. It’s a dish I grew up with and is always a regular on my meal plans. Even when I was living in Australia for my university studies, this was my go-to winter warmer dinner after a long day on campus and braving the cold, crisp winds on my walk back home.

That dish is none other than Sinigang. It is a Filipino soup or stew that is characterised by its sour and savoury taste. It is most commonly associated with sampalok (tamarind) as its souring agent, but other fruits such as bayabas (guava), kamias (bilimbi), calamansi (Philippine lime), and unripe mango to name a few can also be used to make the broth sour and acidic; similar to but differentiated from paksiw (which uses vinegar).

Prawn Sinigang Orzo

Other than the souring agent, the soup base is also made by stewing onions, tomatoes, ginger (if using seafood), and long green chillies to enhance the taste and add a little spicy kick to the soup base. Pork, beef, fish, and prawns are the main proteins used in the making of sinigang, accompanied by various vegetables such as, but not limited to, okra, taro, white radish, water spinach, yardlong beans, and eggplant.

Of course, I’m not just going to share another sinigang recipe as I already have two posts on my blog for it: Pork Spare Ribs Sinigang and Sinigang na Bangús. I’m putting a little twist to this sinigang dish by turning it into a risotto! Though this isn’t something particularly new, inventive, nor innovative on my side since the two words Sinigang and Risotto together already coexist – I just can’t remember where I had seen or heard the term before – I knew that this was a recipe that I wanted to try out for myself. I’m one to always drown my rice with the sinigang soup, and I’m sure most do the same too! So why not, instead of cooking the rice separately, cook it in the broth?

Just to make things a little different, I used risoni/orzo pasta instead of arborio rice. I tossed it in a pan with unsalted butter to toast before cooking it in the sinigang soup base to give it a nutty taste and a golden colour.

Prawn Sinigang Orzo Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 50-55 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the prawn sinigang broth

  • 500g medium to large-sized prawns
  • 100g prawn heads* (optional)
  • 8 cups (approx. 2L) water
  • 2 packets (2 x 11g) sinigang sa sampalok original mix
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 long green chillies, halved
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, quartered
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced

For the orzo

  • 300g risoni or orzo pasta
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • Sinigang broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the toppings

  • 1 bunch water spinach, leaves separated from the stems, and stems cut into short lengths
  • 1 medium-sized daikon (white radish), peeled and sliced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, pan-fried
  • Long green chilli, sliced and pan-fried

*I always have prawn heads and peels lying around in my freezer from a previous batch of prawns that I bought. The reason is so that I can make soup bases like this or use them for flavouring other dishes. If you don’t have any prawn heads readily available, you may substitute with a prawn (or seafood) bouillon cube.

METHOD

  1. Prawn Sinigang Broth: Fill a large stockpot with the water along with the red onion, tomatoes, chillies, ginger, and prawn heads. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and leave to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. After 10-15 minutes, turn the heat down to medium-low and remove the prawn heads with about half a cup of the broth. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the prawn heads together with the broth to extract the flavours from them. Strain and then return the extraction to the stockpot.
  3. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and add the sinigang sa sampalok mix. Give it a good stir and then season the broth with fish sauce. Add according to your taste buds; I added about 3 tablespoons in total.
  4. Next, add the sliced daikon and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes. Then add in the prawns and cook for a further 5 to 8 minutes. Once done, remove the prawns and daikon from the stockpot and set them aside.
  5. Add the water spinach stalks to the broth and cook until slightly tender, about a minute. Then add in the leaves and blanch for about 30 seconds. Remove from the broth and then set aside.
  6. Strain the sinigang broth and set aside as well.
  7. Prawn Sinigang Orzo: Melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once melted, add in the uncooked orzo pasta and toast until slightly golden brown in colour, about 5 to 7 minutes in total.
  8. Once toasted, lower the heat down to medium and then add about 4 cups of the broth to the pan. Season with freshly ground pepper, to taste.

I didn’t add any more salt since I already seasoned the broth with fish sauce, but feel free to do so according to your taste.

  1. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, constantly checking and stirring to ensure that the liquid doesn’t evaporate too quickly and to prevent the orzo sticking to the bottom of the pan. Make sure to reserve at least a cup of the sinigang broth for later.
  2. Add more liquid if needed until the pasta is thoroughly al dente and the liquid is absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes in total. Once done, remove from the heat.
  3. Reheat the prawns and vegetables in the reserved broth before plating up.
  4. Plate up accordingly and serve immediately while hot! Enjoy!

Prawn Sinigang Orzo

Prawn Sinigang Orzo

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ikan Sabuko (Grilled Tamarind Fish)

Ikan Sabuko (Grilled Tamarind Fish)

Hello Everyone! It’s the last day of the month and also my last East Timorese recipe! I’m not going to lie, I did have a difficult time researching the country’s most popular dishes, but despite that, I enjoyed the dishes that I came across – easy, humble, yet delicious meals that you can add to your weekly meal plan!

As we all know, East Timor’s cuisine is heavily influenced by the countries that they were once colonized by. The dish that I will be sharing tonight, known as Ikan Sabuko, or in English, Grilled Tamarind Fish, draws on the flavours of Portugal. Along with other fish species, mackerel is a very common fish to eat in Portugal, sometimes on toast, for special occasions, or even a staple weeknight meal.

Ikan Sabuko (Grilled Tamarind Fish)

Ikan Sabuko is a specialty dish made of Spanish mackerel that is marinated in tamarind paste, grilled with basil and chillies for a kick of heat, and then optionally served with a budu sauce to tie all the flavours together. Budu is essentially a fermented anchovy sauce mixed with a squeeze of calamansi juice, red and green chillies, and some sliced red onions. You can add other ingredients as well such as mint leaves and cherry tomatoes for extra flavour.

This dish really only needs a few ingredients, but it’s packed with lots of strong and bold flavours. You don’t have to use mackerel fish in particular, use whatever fish is readily available at your local fish market. Add this to your list of dishes to try and I promise you, it won’t disappoint!

Ikan Sabuko (Grilled Tamarind Fish) Ingredie

PREP TIME 45 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 mackerel fish filets
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • Juice of 3 small-sized calamansi
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Turmeric leaves
  • Basil leaves
  • Red & green Thai chillies

METHOD

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, add the fish filets together with the salt, pepper, calamansi juice, and tamarind paste. Give it a good mix and set it aside to marinate for about 45 minutes.
  2. Line a grill pan with aluminium foil (about twice the length of your grill pan) and the turmeric leaves. Place the fish filets on top of the leaves, skin side up, and fold the aluminium foil over the top of the fish to enclose it.
  3. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until done to your liking.
  4. Once done, plate up and garnish with some freshly chopped basil leaves and some red and green chillies too (optional).
  5. Serve with freshly cooked rice and a simple budu sauce on the side. Enjoy!

Ikan Sabuko (Grilled Tamarind Fish)

Ikan Sabuko (Grilled Tamarind Fish)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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

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