King Mackerel Halang Halang (Visayan Spicy Mackerel Stewed in Coconut Milk)

King Mackerel Halang Halang (Visayan Spicy Mackerel Stewed in Coconut Milk)

Hello Everyone! I remember the first time I came across this dish; I was on the phone with my Dad asking him what he would like to eat for the upcoming week before his trip back here to the Philippines. He doesn’t get to eat much home-cooked Filipino food in Indonesia so every time he’s back home, I make sure to include in our weekly menu the things that he wants to eat, even if it is against his diet *facepalm*

One of the dishes he mentioned was Chicken Halang Halang. “What?” I said in confusion as I have never heard of this dish before. The way my dad explained it to me was “it’s like the Visayan version of Chicken Adobo.” But it is actually far from that. This dish more closely represents a cross between Tinolang Manok and Ginataang Manok.

King Mackerel Halang Halang (Visayan Spicy Mackerel Stewed in Coconut Milk)

Halang Halang is a Visayan dish where your choice of meat is stewed in a spicy coconut milk sauce. The word halang when directly translated to English, means spicy because of the use of chillies as one of the main ingredients in this dish. So essentially, the dish is called, in English, “Spicy Spicy” *cheeky grin* The coconut milk maintains the creaminess and richness of the dish while it tempers the spiciness of the chillies. It also has a hint of lemongrass, making the dish amazingly aromatic and taste super fresh.

Like most dishes, there are endless possibilities in making Halang Halang. I decided to attempt this dish using fresh King Mackerel steaks that I bought at the markets before we went into Enhanced Community Quarantine. It is definitely an exceptional dish that you can serve at home on a regular basis.

Delicious, no fuss, and easy to make.

King Mackerel Halang Halang (Visayan Spicy Mackerel Stewed in Coconut Milk) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the king mackerel steaks

  • 6 large King Mackerel steaks
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp yellow curry powder

For the halang halang gravy

  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, lightly pounded
  • 2 small red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
  • 1 large green chilli, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, julienned
  • 1 thumb-sized turmeric, julienned
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • Handful of chilli leaves

METHOD

  1. Combine the seasonings and spices in a small bowl. Generously rub the spices into the fish steaks, making sure to cover all sides. Leave to sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium high. Make sure that the pan is scorching hot, but not smoking, before putting the fish in as this will prevent the steaks from sticking to the pan.
  3. Carefully place the steaks into the pan and fry for about 3 minutes per side, or until lightly browned to seal in all the flavours. Depending on the size of your frying pan, or the size of your steaks, you may need to work in batches. Once done, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess grease.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium. In the same frying pan, sauté the garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric, and chillies until golden and fragrant, about a minute or two.
  5. Slowly pour in half of the coconut milk into the pan and add the lemongrass stalks. Cover the pan and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes. Check and stir occasionally to avoid curdles from forming.
  6. Pour the remaining coconut milk into the pan and slowly return the king mackerel steaks to the pan. Cover and bring back up to a rapid simmer. Once simmering, turn the heat off and add the chilli leaves.
  7. Transfer to a serving plate and top with extra slices of red and green chillies for an extra kick of spice. Serve with hot steamed rice and enjoy!

King Mackerel Halang Halang (Visayan Spicy Mackerel Stewed in Coconut Milk)

This dish is guaranteed to tempt you to increase your rice intake. If you plan to stick with just a cup of rice – or just half like myself – make sure that you condition yourself beforehand because there’s a high chance that you’ll give in to the temptation. I know because I did. Oops.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

Hello Everyone! As I stated in my very first post for the year 2020, I mentioned that I would not be revealing the theme for the year as I want to give you guys a chance to guess. I also mentioned that it might not be obvious for the first few months. But as a new month dawns upon us, this means that it’s time to change it up a little bit; to make it start to look a little clearer on where the journey of Amcarmen’s Kitchen will take us this 2020.

Tonight’s recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight meal, yet also fancy enough to impress your guests on the weekend! What’s even better is that it’s ready in under 30 minutes! It’s full of vibrant orange flavour and pairs well with the fresh tarragon. Actually, a little side note – the recipe uses fresh rosemary to pair with the salmon. I had a hard time sourcing rosemary the weekend I wanted to whip this dish up and so I ended up using the next best thing I could find – tarragon!

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

This Orange-glazed Salmon is a hearty and filling dish packed with fresh flavours and healthy fats. Sear the salmon first so that you get that delicious and slightly crisped golden-brown exterior with a tender, fall-apart interior. As this dish makes quite a bit of sauce, it is best served with a side of rice or couscous to soak up all that yummy goodness. Don’t forget a side of veggies too for some added fibre to your diet!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please check out the original where I drew my inspiration from, another recipe from Jaclyn over on Cooking Classy.

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 salmon portions (1-inch thick, skin on)
  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 small Navel oranges)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 shrimp bouillon cube, dissolved in 5 tbsp of water
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp fresh tarragon, minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Tarragon sprigs, to serve

To serve

  • Blanched vegetables of choice
  • Navel orange wedges/slices
  • Steamed plain rice or couscous

METHOD

  1. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan or skillet over medium-high. Make sure that it is hot enough, but not too hot that it starts smoking.
  2. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and freshly ground black pepper before adding to the pan. Cook, skin side down first before flipping, about 3-4 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through. Once done, transfer the salmon to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess grease.
  3. With the same oil in the pan, add the garlic and minced tarragon. Sauté for about 20 seconds, taking care not to burn them, and then add 4 tablespoons of the shrimp bouillon cube dissolved in water. Simmer until mostly reduced. Stir in the orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, and honey.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining tablespoon of the shrimp bouillon cube dissolved in water with the cornstarch. Pour into the pan and whisk until thickened. Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Allow to simmer for about a minute while constantly whisking.
  5. Return the salmon to the pan and spoon the sauce over. Remove from the heat.
  6. Serve with vegetables of choice, in this case I used mustard leaves, on the side with extra slices of fresh oranges and steamed rice (optional). Enjoy!

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Singapore Chilli Crab with Fried Mantou

Singapore Chilli Crab with Fried Mantou

Hello Everyone! As I said in my very first post for the year, I wanted to see how many of you will be able to guess the theme for this year. As of now, you probably have enough information for an idea, and to be honest, it’ll only get clearer (maybe) in April. So for now, I’ll keep you guys guessing!

Chilli Crab is a Southeast Asian seafood dish, popularised and promoted in Singapore as its national dish. The dish dates back to 1956 where a husband and wife started selling an improvised recipe of stir-fried crabs mixed with bottled chilli and tomato sauce from a pushcart.

Despite its name, it is actually not a very spicy dish at all. It is a dish where mud crabs, or any other species of crab, are stir-fried in a semi-thick, sweet and savoury tomato and chilli based sauce. The sauce is described as sensuous, sweet yet savoury, and fluffy in texture.

Singapore Chilli Crab with Fried Mantou

When it comes to eating Chilli Crab, forget about cutlery. It is traditionally eaten with bare hands as a means to savour the juicy crab meat. Restaurants that serve this each often provide wet towels or a small washing bowl with lime for diners to clean their hands after their meal. Additionally, don’t be shy. Ask for a bib. Or wear a bib when eating at home. Seriously. It will keep your clothes free from stains and sauce drops.

Chilli Crab is commonly ordered with a side dish of plain or fried rice, vegetables, or other seafood dishes such as fish. Regardless of those, there’s one thing that can’t be left out when you order Chilli Crab that contrasts so deliciously with the sauce: Bright Golden Pillows. Or simply, fried mantou buns. These crispy and greasy little nuggets are used to soak up the sauce from the Chilli Crab. They are sweet, soft, and sinful.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, check out the original recipe over on Serious Eats by Yvonne Ruperti.

Singapore Chilli Crab Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 whole Mud or Dungeness Crabs (about 600g – 800g in weight for each)*
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
  • 1 half-inch knob ginger, grated
  • 1 large free-range egg, beaten
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 stalk green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 shrimp bouillon cube
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup hot-sweet chilli sauce
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with 2 tbsp of water to make a slurry
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To serve on the side

  • Steamed rice
  • Fried mantou (Chinese Buns)**

* Check out this YouTube video by Sydney Fish Market on how to choose, clean, and prepare your crabs; best to keep the fat and creamy part inside the top shell for the extra crab flavour that it’ll lend to the dish.
** You can make your own mantou buns by following this recipe over on China Sichuan Food. Alternatively, you may also find them at your local grocer or supermarket, if available.

Frozen Mantou Buns

METHOD

  1. In a large wok or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium until shimmering. Add in the garlic, onion, ginger, and chillies. Cook until lightly browned and fragrant for about a minute.
  2. Add the crab pieces, water, and shrimp bouillon cube. Increase the heat to medium-high, cover loosely, and bring to a gentle boil. Decrease the heat if necessary. Cook for about 6 minutes, until the crab has turned red and is nearly cooked through.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and chilli sauce. Simmer for about a minute and then season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and bring back to a boil for the sauce to thicken.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in beaten egg. Transfer to a serving dish and top with sliced green onions and fresh chillies.
  5. Serve with steamed rice and/or fried mantou buns. Take care when eating the sauce – it may have bits of shell in it from the crab. Enjoy!

Singapore Chilli Crab with Fried Mantou

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Seafood Thai Red Curry

Seafood Thai Red Curry

Hello Everyone! The secret to a great, vibrant, and spicy Seafood Thai Red Curry is of course the quality of the red curry paste, spices and aromatics, vegetables, and the freshest seafood you can find out there. The best thing about this dish is that it is pescatarian-friendly, dairy-free, and gluten-free!

Seafood Thai Red Curry

When it comes to a seafood-loaded curry, versatility is one of the things that I love about it. You can pretty much load it up with any type of fish, shellfish, and seafood of your choice. The same goes with the vegetables. Also, depending on the ingredients you choose to add to the dish, it can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.

For those who know me, I would normally tackle recipes like this by making my own paste. However, due to the limited availability of certain ingredients here in the Philippines, I thought long and hard before I opted to use store-bought paste. Just make sure that if you are using good-quality and authentic Thai Red Curry Paste. They can usually be found in the international aisle of any large supermarket chains.

Seafood Thai Red Curry Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g salmon belly, skin removed* and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 100g baby clams, de-grit and cleaned**
  • 100g baby mussels, cleaned and debearded***
  • 100g baby squid, cleaned
  • 50g snow peas
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2-3 bunch baby bok choy, halved
  • 2-3 red bird’s eye chillies, whole or sliced
  • 1 block firm tofu, cut into large cubes
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, sliced
  • 1 small piece ginger, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, halved then sliced
  • 3/4 cup fish stock (or 1 fish bouillon cube dissolved in 3/4 cup water)
  • 3/4 cup extra light olive oil
  • 200ml full cream coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp Authentic Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • Thai basil leaves or spring onion, to garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

* Do not discard the skin
** Find out how to de-grit and clean clams over on Just One Cookbook
*** Find out how to clean and debeard mussels over on Epicurious

METHOD

  1. Crispy Salmon Skin: Place the salmon skin into a bowl and toss with about 2 tablespoons of salt. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes. This is to draw out the moisture from the salmon skin to get it nice and crispy when fried. Pat the salmon skin dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a medium-sized frying pan, heat the 3/4 cup of extra light olive oil, or enough oil for shallow frying, over medium-high. The oil should be very hot, but not smoking or else the salmon skin will burn before fully crisping. Stir the skin around frequently to prevent it from sticking to the pan. The skin will look rubbery at first, so take your time as it can take a full 10 to 15 minutes for it to crisp up. Once crispy, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess grease. Set aside.
  3. Preparing the Tofu: Meanwhile, if using tofu from a package, drain and allow to sit on a clean tea towel or paper towel to get rid of any excess water. Set aside for about 15 to 20 minutes for it to fully extract moisture.
  4. In the same medium-sized frying pan, over medium-high heat, carefully add the tofu in and cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the pan and let it sit on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess grease. Cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes, and set aside.
  5. Seafood Thai Red Curry: In a soup pot or heavy duty Dutch oven, heat about 2 tablespoons of the extra light olive oil over medium-high and sauté the onions, ginger, lemongrass, and chillies until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the Thai red curry paste and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add the fish stock and cherry tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Season with salt and black pepper, as well as with the Thai fish sauce and brown sugar to get the balance of flavours up to your liking. Feel free to add more chillies in if you feel you need a bit more of a spicy punch to the soup base.
  7. Add the lemon juice for some tang, together with the tofu bites, and followed by the snow peas. Cook the snow peas for about a minute and then remove them from the pot. Transfer to a separate plate. Do the same with the baby bok choy. This is to prevent the vegetables from overcooking.
  8. Add the baby clams and mussels and cook for 2 minutes before adding the salmon belly and baby squid to the pot, together with the coconut milk. Cook for a further minute, or until the soup comes back up to a rapid simmer.
  9. Turn the heat off and transfer the curry to a serving dish. Garnish with the crispy salmon skin, Thai basil leaves or spring onions, and fresh chillies. Serve immediately with steamed rice and enjoy!

Seafood Thai Red Curry

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

Hello Everyone and a very Happy New Year to all! I’m pleased to let everyone know that Amcarmen’s Kitchen is officially back from its hiatus to bring you some exciting recipes and dishes for 2020! As you know, or I guess, as my loyal/long-time followers know, every year I set a new theme for the blog.

Last year was all about cooking with fruits, be it a savoury or sweet dish; and then every month I’d feature a different fruit. What I absolutely enjoyed about last year’s theme was discovering unique ways of cooking with fruit in savoury dishes. My favourite dish from last year would have to be the very latest post I shared: Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas. I just love the tang and sweetness the mangosteen fruit brought to the dish!

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

For now, I won’t reveal the overall theme for this year to you guys just yet, only because I want to see how many of you out there can guess it. I’m honestly not too sure if it will be that obvious, so I’ll give it a few months or so before I actually let you guys in, on the theme.

Tonight’s recipe is something that you can whip up in 30 minutes (or less really), which means that it’s great for a hearty and warm weeknight dinner at home if time isn’t on your side. It can be served over steamed rice or pasta – the choice is yours! But before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I adapted my take on this recipe by Rachael Ray over on Rachael Ray Mag.

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 tilapia fillets (about 150g per fillet)
  • 1 can (400g) diced tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
  • 1 large brown onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper (capsicum), thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp baby capers in brine, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp sliced black olives in brine, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (about half a lemon’s worth)
  • Parsley or spring onion, to garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Season the fish with salt, pepper, turmeric powder, and lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Be careful to not burn the garlic. Then add in the sliced onions, chillies, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes and its juices, together with the capers, olives, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper according to taste. Reduce the heat down to medium-low. Cover and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavours to meld. Check and stir occasionally.
  4. After about 15 minutes, nestle the seasoned fish fillets into the red pepper sauce. Cover and cook until the fish flakes easily, about 5 minutes. Once done, turn the heat off and serve immediately with rice or pasta.
  5. Garnish with fresh parsley or sliced spring onions. Enjoy!

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Hello Everyone! So once again, I’ve been feeling a little under the weather since towards the end of last week. I think it’s because I got rained (drizzled) on and just been feeling cold ever since. Started with an itchy throat, then a runny nose. I had a mild fever just two days ago but thank goodness I’m starting to feel a little better! Apologies in advance if this post contains a lot of typos or obvious grammatical errors – my brain is not fully functional at the moment.

But that aside, a new month can only mean one thing right? It’s time to experiment and play around with a new fruit on the blog! For the month of July, I’ll be featuring one of my favourite (well to be honest, almost everything is a favourite of mine *cheeky grin*) fruits of all time – Avocado! The last time I featured a month of avocado recipes was back in 2017 if not mistaken. You can click here to see what I got up to with avocados back then.

Avocados can be such an unpredictable b*tch at times – you can never win with them! If I knew I was going to cook/use the avocados on the same day I bought them, I would ask the lady who sells them if the ones I’ve picked are ripe and ready for that day. I still pick those that are slightly firm when gently squeezed. I never ever pick the soft ones! If I knew I was going to only use them the next day, she’d pick the ones that are a little less ripe for me – those that are still green, slightly browned. Here are some tips from Love One Today on how to check for the ripeness of avocados.

How to Differentiate the Ripeness of an Avocado

Besides being super unpredictable, avocados are known for several proven health benefits:

Avocados are Incredibly Nutritious

They contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals. Here is a list of some of the most abundant nutrients found in a single 100-gram serving:

  • Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value
  • Folate: 20% of the daily value
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the daily value
  • Potassium: 14% of the daily value
  • Vitamin B5: 14% of the daily value
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the daily value
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the daily value
  • Avocados also contain small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous, and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B3 (niacin).
  • Although avocados contain carbs, 78% of those are fibre. So basically only 22% are actually carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.
  • Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat.

Fat Content in Avocados may help you Absorb Nutrients from Plant Foods

When it comes to nutrients, your intake is not the only thing that matters. What’s also important is that you need to be able to absorb these nutrients into your body, where they can be used. Some nutrients are fat-soluble, meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilised.

So, not only are avocados highly nutritious, they can dramatically increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you eat. This is all the more a very good reason to always include a healthy fat source, such as the avocado (or avocado oil), when you eat your veggies. Without it, a lot of the beneficial plant nutrients will go to waste.

Avocados are Loaded with Powerful Antioxidants that can Protect your Eyes

Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves, two of which, namely carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, as incredibly important for our long term eye health.

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Eating Avocados may help you Lose Weight

Avocados are weight-loss friendly. They keep you full longer and may help you naturally eat fewer calories, making it easier for you to stick to healthy eating habits. As stated before, avocados are also high in fibre and very low in carbs, two attributes that should help promote healthy weight loss – if considering the context of a healthy, real-food-based diet.

And lastly for the #avocadohaters *cheeky grin*

Avocados are Delicious and Easy to Incorporate into your Diet!

Not only are they beneficial to our health, they’re also super delicious and go with many types of food. They have a creamy, rich, and fatty texture. You can easily add them to salads or pasta, spread them on toast, use as a dip for chips, or simply scoop them out with a spoon and eat them plain!

If you want to read up more on the many health benefits that avocados have to offer, you can head on over to Healthline.

But before you head on over to the recipe below, please check out the original recipe for Shrimp & Avocado Pasta by Kevin & Amanda.

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the avocado and Parmesan ‘sauce’

  • 1 medium-sized ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the spicy garlic prawns

  • 250g large tiger prawns, heads removed, deshelled, and deveined*
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 stalks scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground chilli, or more if you want it spicier
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 250g fettuccine pasta, uncooked**
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 small ripe avocado, diced
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

*A quarter kilo gave us 4 large tiger prawns, plus 1 extra because the lady who sells them was nice enough to add one in when my Mom asked for it *cheeky grin*. Save the heads and shells to use as a base for soups, broths, or sauces. If not using immediately, place in a zip-lock bag and pop it into the freezer. Keeps frozen for up to 3 months.

**Or you can use any type of pasta – whatever you have readily available in your pantry!

METHOD

  1. Avocado ‘Sauce’: Cut the medium-sized avocado in half, lengthwise. Remove the pit and discard – or if you have a green thumb, you’ll know what to do with it. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from both halves of the avocado from its skin, and place in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Add the Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and olive oil. Smash and mix together until well combined. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water with a teaspoon of sea salt to a boil. Add the fettuccine pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente.

Tip: In cases like these, I like to undercook my pasta by 2 to 3 minutes. The reason being is that I will then add the cooked pasta to the frying pan of garlic prawns, which will continue to cook the pasta. If I had pushed it to the max when boiling, I’ll end up with super soft pasta.

  1. Spicy Garlic Prawns: While the pasta is cooking away, add the butter and olive oil to a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until golden brown and fragrant.
  2. Add the prawns and cook until they turn pink, about 2 minutes per side, then add the chopped scallions and ground chilli. Mix to combine.
  3. Quickly add the pasta from the pot of boiling water, to the garlic prawns, followed by the avocado sauce. Give it a good mix and then throw in the sliced sun-dried tomatoes.
  4. Turn the heat off and let it cook for a further minute before plating up.
  5. Sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top and garnish with the diced avocados. Serve hot and enjoy!

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Tip: The nutrients in avocado can oxidise and turn brown soon after cutting into it and exposing its flesh. The trick to slowing down the oxidation process and preventing them from browning quickly is to add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Now, this may not be one of the prettiest dishes I’ve plated up for the year – I don’t know, I just don’t like how the colour of the diced avocados blended in with the colour of the pasta. The green didn’t quite pop out as much as I would’ve liked it to. Besides the prawns, everything else looked a bit monotonous in my opinion. Nonetheless, despite its look, it was a great tasting dish! I mean, you honestly can’t go wrong with the classic taste of garlicky and lemony prawns can you? What more when it’s paired with pasta and a creamy avocado and parmesan sauce? And that added kick of spice? BOOM!

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

Hello Everyone! Oh how it has been one heck of a super hectic and stressful week! So hectic that even until today I haven’t had the time to sit down and watch the second episode of the final season of Game of Thrones! *gasp* With that being said, I do have an important announcement to make which you can read about at the end of this post.

Moving on, we’re on our last Pineapple recipe for the month! How crazy is that?! It’ll be May already next week, and in another blink of an eye, we’ll be at the halfway mark of the year! Tonight I’ll be sharing a recipe that I first tried during my travels to Thailand – now I’ve been there a couple of times already so I can’t remember when exactly was the first time I had it there, whether 6, 10, or 15 years ago.

Cooking fried rice is fun as it is super quick to make and it allows you to get creative with the choice of proteins and vegetables that go into the mix. It can easily be a sort of clean-out-the-fridge. The end result, a tasty and satisfying weeknight meal to eat!

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice is a refreshing twist to a classic/normal fried rice. It is one of Thailand’s signature dishes, It is often platted in a carved-out pineapple bowl to make it, not only delectable, but even more gorgeous to look at! The slightly tangy and sweet taste of the fresh pineapple is so enticing and the combination of spices just takes it up a notch. Not only that, it is so much cheaper and healthier than take-out fried rice.

Feel free to get creative and use your favourite kind of protein in this dish, i.e. ham, chicken, pork, or prawns. You may even keep it vegetarian with just the pineapple or bulk it up with tofu! Of course, don’t forget to switch out the fish sauce with salt if you’re going vegetarian with the dish. The version that I will be sharing with you guys tonight is pescatarian-friendly. It’s a true crowd-pleaser and is sure to be a hit at the table.

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 to 4 cups cooked rice (preferably several days old)
  • 1 fresh, almost ripe pineapple (see method below on how to prepare)
  • 250g prawns, shelled with the tails left on and deveined
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large free range egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup frozen mixed vegetables (green peas, carrots, and corn kernels, thawed)
  • 1/4 cup roasted cashews or peanuts
  • 1 sprig afro parsley

For the sauce

  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp Thai curry powder (or regular yellow curry powder)
  • 1/2 tsp white granulated sugar

METHOD

  1. Preparing the Pineapple: Cut the pineapple lengthwise, crown included.
  2. Take one half of the pineapple and run a sharp knife around the border of the pineapple. Make sure to leave a couple of centimeteres from the edge for a firm border.
  3. Slice the pineapple into large cubes and then carve out the flesh. Repeat for the other half of the pineapple.
  4. Cut the carved out pineapple cubed into smaller bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  5. Dry out the carved out pineapple bowls in the oven at 160C (320F or gas mark 2) for about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Fried Rice: If using old rice, oil your fingers with about a tablespoon of cooking oil and work your way through the rice with you hands. Separate any chunks back into grains and then set aside.
  7. Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the curry powder and sugar, and then set aside.
  8. Heat a wok or a large frying pan over medium high. Add about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and swirl around. Add the minced garlic and sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the sliced chillies and diced onions. Cook for a further minute.
  9. Add in the prawns and stir-fry until they turn pink and plump, about 2 to 3 minutes. Push the ingredients to the side of the wok/pan and then pour in the lightly beaten egg. Quickly stir the egg to cook (like scrambled eggs).
  10. Now add in the rice, pineapple chunks, and thawed mixed vegetables. Drizzle the sauce mixture over the rice and gently stir-fry to combine all the ingredients together. You want to be able to hear the rice “dance” (make popping sounds) as it fries for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  11. As it cooks, taste and adjust the flavours to you liking, i.e. if it needs more salt, add more fish sauce. Towards the end of the cooking time, add in the roasted cashews or peanuts.
  12. Remove from the heat and serve into your prepared pineapple bowls. Top with the prawns, fresh chillies, and afro parsley. Serve and enjoy!

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

So yes, here’s the important update/notice I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I’m going to be taking a month off from Amcarmen’s Kitchen to plan better content for the upcoming months ahead. It has been quite a hectic month for me, as we’ll be moving houses this week. Thus, I haven’t had the time to really sit down and plan out dishes in advance for the month of May. Having said that, once we’ve settled into the new house by the end of the week, I can assure you that I will head straight back into planning and will be back again in June!

For now, TTFN – ta ta for now!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote

Hello Everyone! Before I begin with tonight’s post I would like to apologise for not getting this post up last week, I actually had it prepared and ready to go – I just needed to edit the pictures for the post. But this time last week I was rushing to get ready and out of the house in an hour after arriving home from work to pick up a few friends and then off to another friend’s house for Raya celebrations. So that night, I didn’t get to go home until about past 11pm and when I was finally ready for bed, it was just past midnight and I had work the next day. I was going to post the next day or at least before the new month but I never got around to doing it until it ended up being Wednesday again. Whoops! Anyway, before we push through, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all my Muslim family and friends in Brunei and around the world a belated Selmat Hari Raya! Maaf Zahir dan Batin. For those of you who don’t know on Monday (here in Brunei that is) marked the end of the fasting month, also known as Ramadhan.

Tonight’s recipe I will be sharing with you is simple yet flavourful. “En papillote” is French for in parchment, or if in Italian is known as al cartoccio where it is a method of cooking in which the food is put into a folded pouch or parcel of parchment paper and then baked. You can literally put anything into this parcel so feel free to get creative in mixing up flavour combinations that are to your liking. I decided to make a spring onion and ginger oil to serve with the fish just to enhance the flavours a little more, but feel free to omit this as well if you wish.

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the en papillote

  • 2 large tilapia fish, scaled and filleted
  • 4 x 10g unsalted butter
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-inch sized ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 4 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Pinch of ground sea salt, to taste

For the spring onion and ginger oil

  • 4 stalks spring onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Asparagus stalks, blanched in salted water
  • Touch of paprika, for garnish

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 230C (450F or gas mark 8). Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper, about 25cm in length (or bigger if needed depending on the size of your fillets).
  2. Line a few of the ginger slices on the parchment paper and place 1 fillet on top, adding all the other ingredients. Fold parchment over fish, making small overlapping folds along edges and sealing with a paper clip. Place on rimmed baking sheets. Roast until parchment puffs, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. While the fish is cooking away you can work on the spring onion and ginger oil. add the spring onions, ginger and salt to a heatproof mortar and pound lightly with the pestle. Heat the oil in a small frying pan until smoking and pour onto the mixture. Once the sizzling stops, combine lightly with the pestle and leave to infuse for a few minutes.
  4. One the fish are done, remove from the oven and transfer the parcels to Carefully cut packets, avoiding escaping steam, and serve.

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella)

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella)

Hello Everyone! Maligayang Pasko! Joyeux Noël! ¡Feliz Navidad! Vrolijk Kerstfeest! And a very Merry Christmas to my family, friends and followers from all around the world! It’s weird knowing that Christmas  Day is coming to an end, and that the New Year is just around the corner! The year definitely went by real quick! Anyway, tonight will by my last post for the year (maybe) and it is also the very last post for my Festive Filipino Foods series for the blog. Day 12 of 12 is finally here and I have definitely saved the best for last!

If you weren’t able to guess from the hints I dropped in yesterday’s post, tonight’s dish is a Valencian rice dish with ancient roots that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century near Albufera lagoon on the east coast of Spain adjacent to the city of Valencia. The dish is highly regarded as Spain’s National Dish with various types ranging from Vegetarian/Vegan Paella (Paella de Verduras), Seafood Paella (Paella de Marisco), Mixed Paella (Paella Mixta), and many, many more variants! From the name of this blog, you’ll already know what type of Paella I’ll be covering tonight, but now that I look back and think about my dish, it can actually be a Paella Mixta because what I will be sharing with you tonight is a free-style combination of land animals (well mainly processed pork in the form of a chorizo sausage), seafood, and vegetables.

According to tradition in Valencia, Paella is cooked over an open fire, fueled by orange and pine branches along with pine cones. This produces an aromatic smoke which infuses the Paella. It is cooked in a special wide-flat pan called a Paellera, and dinner guests traditionally eat directly out of the pan as well. Since paellera’s aren’t commonly found, or if you don’t have one handy, the recipe method below will show you how you can still make paella in a normal cooking pot. The last time I made Paella was back in 2012 if I’m not mistaken. I cooked it up together with my then housemate Vanessa and shared it with a friend of mine and her mother one cold wintery evening. We cooked it in a large frying pan and even served it up in that pan!

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella) Ingredients

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella) Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-40 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups plain medium-grain rice, washed and drained
  • 1 cup glutinous rice, washed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 300g fresh or frozen mussels
  • 200g fresh prawns, peeled and deveined, peels and heads reserved
  • 150g fresh or frozen baby clam meat
  • 100g squid, cleaned and cut into rings
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 chorizo sausage, sliced diagonally
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 yellow capsicum, sliced
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of Saffron threads
  • Whole black peppercorns

METHOD

  1. Start by making the broth to flavour your paella by adding the prawn heads and peels to a medium-sized pot and cover with about a litre and a half of water. Season with a bit of salt, bay leaves, and whole black peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat and then turn it down to a slow simmer. Make sure to press down on the heads and peels as it simmers away to extract as much flavour as you can. Leave it to simmer for about 30 minutes. Once done, turn the heat off and set aside.
  2. Heat about 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high, and panfry the chorizo slices until browned, about a minute per side. Remove and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
  3. In the same pot, sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes altogether. Follow with the diced tomatoes and cook until soft, a further 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add in the rice, paprika, saffron threads, and season with and bit of ground salt and black pepper. Give it a good mix before adding about 3 cups of the prawn stock. Cover and leave it to cook without stirring – at this point, you may want to turn your heat down to medium to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan. Leave it alone for about 15 minutes or once the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.
  5. Turn the heat down to low, and add the seafood (if you are going to serve it up in the pot you cooked it in, then I suggest that you arrange your seafood in a presentable way, if not, then you can just chuck them in and arrange it later when you transfer your paella to a serving dish). Cover and leave it to cook/bake for a further 15 minutes, or until the seafood is cooked through. Add the vegetables and chorizo slices and cook for a further 5 minutes, after which you can turn the heat off and leave it in the pot for a further 5-10 minutes before serving.
  6. Serve immediately with a fresh squeeze of lemon, and enjoy amongst family and friends!

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella)

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella)

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

ps: I may or may not actually post up two more festive recipes, depending if I have time to write them up from tomorrow onwards before the New Year kicks in.

myTaste.com

Rellenong Bangus (Stuffed Milkfish)

Rellenong Bangus (Stuffed Milkfish)

Hello Everyone! Hope everyone managed to get through their Monday blues and look forward to a short week followed by a long weekend of Christmas celebrations ahead! What are your plans for this Christmas? I’ve already told you guys mine if last night’s post – spending it quietly at home with family and food, and then looking forward to next week with the new year creeping up!

Tonight, I will be sharing a dish with you that is one of the most popular dish in the Philippines. On top of the delicious taste and unique process of preparation compared to other fish recipes, the amount of work involved is tedious. I guess it’s no wonder we don’t often eat this at home, and to be honest, I cannot remember the last time I had this dish, and if it was even made by my Mom or we had it at a restaurant. It is tedious because separating the skin from the meat and deboning and flaking of the milkfish meat requires a lot of patience. But after all the hard work of deboning, marinating the skin, cooking the meat with all the ingredients, stuffing the skin with the fish meat mixture and frying is the reward of eating a unique and delicious Filipino dish that will leave you craving for more. This is why I recommend that you work with 2-3 fishes in one go to save you all the trouble of having to repeat the whole process again in a few days/weeks time! You can stuff the fishes and freeze them for up to 3 months – just defrost before frying.

Rellenong Bangus (Stuffed Milkfish) Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large size bangus (about 650g each), scaled, gutted, and cleaned
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 brown onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 1 large free range egg, beaten
  • 1 yellow capsicum, diced
  • 1/2 bulb garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup frozen green peas
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Handful of raisins

METHOD

  1. Preparing the fish: Gently pound fish to loosen meat from the skin. Break the big bone at the nape (back of the neck) and on the tail, and gently pull the bone out. Insert a spoon through the neck of the fish neck and gently scrape out the meat. Scrape down to the tail, going around and on the other side of the fish, separating the the meat entirely from the skin. Be careful as to not cut the skin open while doing this. Marinate skin and head of fish with soy sauce and calamansi (lime) juice. Set aside.
  2. Boil the fish meat in a little water for about 5 minutes. Drain, pick out the remaining bones, and flake the meat.
  3. Preparing the stuffing: Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high and sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Then add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes altogether. Follow with the tomatoes and cook until soft, a further 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes and carrots, and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add in the boiled fish meat together with the ground black pepper and salt. Give it a good mix and then cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Finally, add in the peas, capsicum, and raisins. Give it another good mix and turn the heat off. Add the beaten egg and mix. Leave it in the pan, covered for about 5 minutes before setting it aside to cool down completely.
  5. Stuffing the fish: Stuff the fish through its neck, packing in as much of the filling as you can, without breaking the skin that is.
  6. Frying: Coat the skin of the fish with a bit of flour. Heat oil (enough to cover at leat half of the fish) in a large frying pan over high heat. Make sure that the oil is scorching hot before adding the fish in. Carefully lower the fish into the oil and fry until browned, about 4-5 minutes (or less depending on the size of your fish) per side. Once done, remove from the pan and transfer to a serving dish. Wait for it to cool down before slicing into it.
  7. Serve immediately with steamed rice and spicy hot banana catsup on top of your Rellenong Bangus. Enjoy!

Rellenong Bangus (Stuffed Milkfish)

Rellenong Bangus (Stuffed Milkfish)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com