Assam Pedas Ikan

Assam Pedas Ikan

Hello everyone! A new month means we’ve ventured onwards to our next Southeast Asian destination, and tonight we’re kicking off our journey through Malaysia! Having lived in Brunei for 26 years of my life, and Bruneian food being so heavily influenced by the cuisine of its neighbouring country, Malaysia, it’s no wonder that it’s a cuisine that’s very close to my heart and that I love so much on top of everything else that I seem to love when it comes to food *cheeky grin*

Assam Pedas Ikan

Assam Pedas Ikan, or literally translated as Sour Spicy Fish in English, is a classic Malaysian dish that’s undoubtedly sour, fiery hot, and super satisfying! Special ingredients such as tamarind peel, ginger torch flower, and Vietnamese coriander (laksa leaves) are key in achieving the flavour profile and aroma of Assam Pedas. However, while these ingredients may be difficult to source in certain countries, the sourness is the important component; and you can use tamarind pulp or paste for this. I guess that it’s also safe to say why everyone has their own take on this favourite Malaysian dish; the adaptations are endless! Ultimately, a good balance of sourness, saltiness, sweetness, and spiciness is all you need to make a good Assam Pedas dish.

Tonight, I’ll be sharing the way I remember how my Mom used to make it when we were still living in Brunei. It’s been a while since I’ve had this dish and I was actually surprised by how quick and easy it is to make, as well as how readily available all the ingredients are, for the version that I will be making of course. Instead of using water for my version, I used my own homemade fish broth from fish scraps to give the Assam Pedas more depth in flavour. Traditionally, locals would use ikan tenggiri (Spanish mackerel), or ikan pari (stingray), but my Mom and I prefer to use pomfret fish (pampano in Tagalog) for its delicate white flesh, subtle non-fishy and sweet taste, as well for its firm texture.

Assam Pedas Ikan Pedas

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the spice paste

  • 8-10 pcs dried red chillies, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (white part only), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp sambal belacan paste

For the assam pedas ikan

  • 2 large pomfret fish
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • Spice Paste
  • 1 tsp fish curry powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 cups fish broth
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small red onion, quartered
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced
  • Spring onion, white part
  • 10 pcs okra
  • Salt, to taste
  • Spring onion (green part), to garnish

METHOD

  1. Spice Paste: Using a mortar and pestle, pound all the ingredients for the spice paste together, or you may also use a food processor to do so. Set aside.
  2. Assam Pedas Ikan: Heat cooking oil to a large pot over medium-high. Add the spice paste and fry for about 2 minutes or until fragrant before adding the curry powder, coconut sugar, and tamarind paste. Fry for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Add the fish broth, followed by the tomatoes, red onion, ginger slices, and white parts of the spring onion, and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened.
  4. Add the pomfret fish and cook for 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Add the okra and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the okra is tender.
  5. Serve immediately while hot and enjoy with freshly steamed white rice!

Assam Pedas Ikan is best served with plain steamed white rice. You may also serve it with noodles, kind of like a laksa, if you’re using boneless fish. Rice noodles would be the go-to choice as they take on the flavour of the Assam Pedas best.

Assam Pedas Ikan

Assam Pedas Ikan

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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Graduation Day Lemon Curd Cupcakes

Graduation Day Lemon Curd Cupcakes

Hello Everyone! Today is the day! Today is the day that certifies that I am no longer a student, and I am officially unemployed! Today is the day that I receive a piece of paper worth AUD$110,000 of tuition fees to say that I have completed my 4-year Bachelor of Design degree! Today is Graduation Day!

It’s supposed to rain today – great. I have the last time slot which means that instead of a nice sunny graduation day, it’s gonna be dark and cold, if the rain decides to dawn upon my ceremony. Yesterday I kept sneezing, and I know that when that starts to happen, a fever, and eventually a cough and sore throat will follow. Not much luck today as far as I can see, and it’s only 8:45 in the morning as I am writing this paragraph. The good news is, I feel fine so at least I can stop worrying about getting sick – I just hope that the sun pops out for a while, while it’s still bright out in the afternoon before my ceremony at 6:30pm.

UNSW Graduation Day 2015


UNSW Graduation Day 2015

So anyway, it actually stopped raining when I arrived on campus at around 4:15pm – praise the Lord! The cloud didn’t clear up so it was still grey and gloomy. Oh well, at least we weren’t wet from the rain. It got dark really quick though and therefore photos were not as great 😦 All in all, a fun evening seeing friends, and graduating with fellow design mates; a little nerve-wrecking as I kept thinking that I was going to be THAT ONE student who would trip and fall flat on my face. Thank God I didn’t, and neither did anyone else who graduated tonight.

Graduation Day Lemon Curd Cupcakes

I picked to bake tonight’s recipe mainly because of the colours that represent the University of New South Wales, which is Black and Yellow/Gold. Enjoy!

Graduation Day Lemon Curd Cupcakes Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 18-20 MINS | MAKES 12 CUPCAKES

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup lemon curd
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  • Zest of one large lemon

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases and set aside.
  2. Whisk the plain flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium-sized bowl, and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant.
  4. Using a hand-held electrical mixer, beat the butter and sugar mixture together until light and fluffy, and lightened in colour (about 8 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula in between mixing.
  5. Add the eggs one at at time, beating after each addition. Then add in the vanilla extract.
  6. Add the flour mixture and milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until the flour is just incorporated and be careful as to not over mix the batter. Mix in the lemon juice.
  7. Divide batter evenly in prepared cupcake liners, filling each case 2/3 of the way full. Bake the cupcakes for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
  8. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled down, using a knife, cut out a small hole in the centre of the cupcake, about the size of a dime. Carefully remove the centre piece and set aside.
  9. Fill each hole with about 1 teaspoon of lemon curd and dust with a bit of icing sugar.
  10. Share with family and friends, and enjoy!

Graduation Day Lemon Curd Cupcakes Process

Graduation Day Lemon Curd Cupcakes

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Tom Yum Gài (ต้มยำไก่)

Tom Yum Gài (ต้มยำไก่)

Hey Everyone! Just letting you guys know that I’m currently in Victoria with my family for 9 days; staying in Cranbourne with a family friend. Anyway, yes, besides that, today’s recipe is based on what I uploaded on Tuesday; using the homemade tom yum paste to make a (yes) chicken feet tom yum soup. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Chicken feet, really? And gizzards as well? Ew!” – actually not ew, well in my opinion that is! When I first learnt this dish from my Auntie, she cooked this with these cuts of chicken. My mom even gives the chicken feet a little pedicure; scrubbing them clean and cutting off their nails on each toe – so much work that I myself wouldn’t even be bothered to do! If you’re not into chicken feet, this spicy and sour soup can be made with other meats varying from mixed seafood such as prawns, squid, and clams, or other cuts of chicken, pork, and fish.

Also, I didn’t know this until I did a bit of research, but tom yum is actually a Lao and Thai dish; all along I thought it was just Thai. Anyway, for those of you who don’t know what tom yum is, it is a clear, spicy, and sour soup served widely in many neighbouring countries such as Cambodia, Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore, but has also been popularised around the world. “Tom” actually refers to the boiling process while “yum” refers to a spicy and sour salad; and therefore “tom yum” is a hot and sour soup characterised by the fragrant herbs used to flavour the broth. The basic broth is made of stock and fresh ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce, and crushed fresh chillies. When I first learnt to cook this dish, I added coconut milk to the broth. Over time, we eliminated the coconut milk because my mom can’t eat, or more like, isn’t allowed to have anything with coconut in her diet.

Tom Yum Gài (ต้มยำไก่) Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 5-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg chicken feet, wash, cleaned, and nails cut off
  • 250g chicken gizzards, washed and cleaned
  • 2.5L boiling water
  • 1 heaped tbsp Homemade Tom Yum Paste (or more if you’ve deseeded your chillies before making it into a paste), likewise, you may use store-bought paste
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder
  • 4 pcs kaffir lime leaves
  • 3 inch galangal, sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 pcs red bird’s eye chillies
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Fish sauce to taste

METHOD

  1. Add the all the ingredients, except for the kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, lime juice, and tom yum paste, into a large pot. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Then add in the kaffir lime leaves, lime juice, and tom yum paste. Give it a good mix and then add in the fish sauce about a tablespoon at a time; taste until the seasoning and taste is to your liking. At this point, you may also add in straw mushrooms or oyster mushroom if you wish. Let it cook for a further 45 minutes, or until chicken feet and gizzards are tender.
  3. Serve with steamed rice and enjoy! Quite a nice dish actually for a cold winter night.

Tom Yum Gài (ต้มยำไก่)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream

Hello Everyone and Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there, and most especially to my mother. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know. Happy Mother’s Day to you Mumu; love you forever and always, even if we sometimes don’t see eye to eye.

Happy Mother's Day
There is nothing more sincere than a mother’s love for her children, and this picture clearly portrays your love for me while I care more about putting my hairband on for the picture (but really I’ve got my eye on the food).

Last week after my Mom’s birthday celebration (and that whole fiasco that I had with baking her cake), I asked her what she wanted me to bake for her for Mother’s Day, and I’m not gonna lie, but said aloud to her, “please not another cake” – the troubles of my mother being born a week before Mother’s Day. We both started thinking for a while, and then I remembered that I wanted to make this cake back when I was still in Sydney. Now I know I said no cakes, but this technically isn’t a massive layered cake, but instead, mini molten lava cakes.

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream

Somewhere back in July last year, I hosted a tea and scones party for some of my favourite ladies, and one male housemate. We had an assortment of tea of course, homemade scones, homemade strawberry jam, and homemade lemon curd. I had a lot of strawberry jam left over, but I had a way of finishing it by having it with toast in the mornings with a cup of tea. Lemon curd on the other hand I had no clue on how to consume it. I then searched for other recipes that used lemon curd, except for the obvious lemon meringue pie/tart since I am not a huge fan of meringue. I then came across this recipe and I instantly knew that this was the recipe that I was going attempt – but never got around to doing so. Reasons? I actually don’t remember. I think it was because the lemon curd had been sitting in the fridge for weeks and probably already off at the time I decided that I want to make these molten cakes. After that, I wasn’t bothered to make a whole new batch of lemon curd just for this dessert to happen. But now for Mother’s Day – I don’t see any better chance to have a go at these!

The original recipe can be found on The Gallery Gourmet and this recipe makes about 8 cakes but I guess differs on the size of your moulds/ramekins.

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 13-15 MINS | MAKES 4 CAKES

INGREDIENTS

  • 120g white baking chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Homemade Lemon Curd
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 large free range egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
Accompaniments
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
  • Whipped cream
  • Fresh raspberries

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C (425F or gas mark 7). Grease 8 ramekins with softened butter or non-stick baking spray.  Place them onto a baking tray and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and white chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 15 seconds (for a total of 60-90 seconds) until melted and smooth. Remove from the microwave and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the flour, sugar and salt; mix well. Then add in the eggs, egg yolks, lemon curd, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and whisk until well blended. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins.
  4. Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until the edges are just starting to to turn golden brown, and the centre is puffy and just beginning to set. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Run the tip of a paring knife around the edges of the cakes to loosen them and then invert the cakes onto small dessert plates or dishes.
  6. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar, garnish with fresh raspberries, and serve with whipped cream.
  7. Share with the family (or friends) and enjoy!

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream Process

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream

PS: I completely forgot about the whipped cream when I was photographing the cakes, and by the time I had the cream ready and whipped, I found out that my Mom and my sister had already dug into the perfect molten cake that I specifically set aside for my photograph (the other cakes weren’t as runny as the one I had opened for the photo). The whipped cream nicely balances out the sweetness and tartness of the cakes.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com