Tohu (Burmese Chickpea Tofu)

Tohu (Burmese Chickpea Tofu)

Hello Everyone! This is probably one of the best food discoveries that I have come across from the many years of researching for Amcarmen’s Kitchen and experimenting in the kitchen.

Tohu, or in English, Burmese Tofu, is made using chickpea (besan) flour, mixed with water, a little salt, and if you want, turmeric powder, mainly to give it a more vibrant yellow colour. The mixture is then heated and stirred constantly, until it reaches a thick and creamy consistency. It is then transferred into a tray and allowed to set.

The end result is matte yellow in colour, jelly-like but firm in consistency, therefore it does not crumble when cut or sliced. It is basically the best of both worlds between silken tofu and egg tofu – you get the silkiness of the silken tofu and firmness from the egg tofu in this Burmese tofu. The best part? It is dairy, egg, and soy-free; perfect for vegetarians, vegan, and/or anyone with soy allergies!

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Additionally, chickpea flour is high in protein, fiber, and micronutrients, while being low in carbohydrates and calories. Half a cup of chickpea flour contains an impressive 11 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and nutrients like folate, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Chickpea flour is also heart-healthy, making this Burmese tofu oh-so healthy!

In Myanmar, the tofu can be eaten fresh in a salad, deep fried to make tofu fritters, or sliced very thinly and dried to make crackers for deep frying. It is also used in curries as well for added protein if meat or poultry is unaffordable (especially amongst the poorer population).

I still have some besan flour on hand after making this recipe, so I can definitely say that I will be making more of these delicious Burmese tofu and experimenting them in certain dishes outside of Burmese cuisine!

Tohu (Burmese Chickpea Tofu)

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 8 MINS | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo bean flour or besan flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric (optional)
  • 3 cups water, divided
  • Oil

METHOD

  1. Lightly grease an 8-in x 8-in baking dish with a bit of neutral flavoured oil.
  2. Add the chickpea flour in a medium-sized mixing bowl together with the salt and, if using, the ground turmeric as well. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add 1 and a half cups of water to the flour and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the remaining 1 and a half cups of water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  5. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-high and slowly pour the chickpea flour mixture into the boiling water while continuing to whisk.
  6. Whisk over the heat until the mixture becomes really thick and glossy. This should take about 8 minutes in total.
  7. Once done, immediately pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and leave it to cool down at room temperature for at least an hour. The longer you let it sit, the more water will drain out of the tofu and therefore firmer in texture.
  8. Cut into your desired shapes and sizes, depending on how you will use it. Enjoy it as it is, deep fried, or use it as a source of protein for other dishes.

Tohu (Burmese Chickpea Tofu)

Stay tuned next week to see what Burmese dish I will make with this Burmese Tofu!

Note: You can store the tofu in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Tohu (Burmese Chickpea Tofu)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Htamin Gyaw (Burmese-style Fried Rice)

Htamin Gyaw (Burmese-style Fried Rice)

Hello Everyone! It’s time to pack up our bags and head onto our next destination on our Flavours of Southeast Asia – to Myanmar! Myanmar (Burmese) cuisine is known for the simplicity of its recipes. Essentially, the building blocks to most dishes use shallots, turmeric, and peanut oil. Other ingredients to give a dish more complexity include ginger, garlic, tomatoes, lime, chillies, dried shrimp, and fish sauce.

Out of all the Southeast Asian cuisines, I would have to say that, alongside Cambodia and East Timor, Myanmar too is a cuisine that I am most unfamiliar with. Nevertheless, I’m up for the challenge to share with you some dishes that I have come across during my research.

Htamin Gyaw (Burmese-style Fried Rice)

Htamin Gyaw (Burmese-style Fried Rice)

Htamin Gyaw (don’t ask me how to pronounce it *cheeky grin*), or in English, Fried Rice with Boiled Peas is the traditional Burmese recipe for fried rice. Like with every cuisine, adaptations of this fried rice can be found in different households. A popular plain version consists of rice, boiled peas, onions, garlic, and dark soy sauce. The dish is a common breakfast meal in Myanmar, but it can also be served for lunch and/or dinner. The rice can optionally be topped with a fried egg and served with any leftovers you may have lying around from a meal the night before.

The version that I will be making to share with everyone tonight consists of fried red onions in place of shallots, peas, chillies, and turmeric. I also served it with a side of blanched bok choy, sunny side up egg, and drizzled some sriracha sauce on top. If you want to keep this meal vegetarian or vegan-friendly, then feel free to omit the egg.

Htamin Gyaw (Burmese-style Fried Rice) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 5-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups day old cooked rice
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 stalk spring onion (white and light green parts only), finely sliced
  • 1 long green chilli, sliced
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
  • Fried red onions
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Blanched bok choy
  • Fresh red and green chillies
  • Sunny side up egg
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Lemon or lime wedges

METHOD

  1. Add the sesame oil into a large pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until cooked through, about 3 minutes before adding the sliced spring onion and chillies. Cook for a further 30 seconds and then add in the turmeric powder.
  2. Add the cooked rice and mix well, breaking up any remaining clumps of rice. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste and cook for a further 5 minutes making sure to coat every single grain of rice in the turmeric evenly.
  3. Add the green peas along with the fried red onions and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust as you go.
  4. Once done, transfer the rice to individual serving bowls and serve with blanched bok choy, a sunny side up egg, and a lemon or lime wedge on the side. Top with extra chillies and fried red onion if you wish, and a drizzle of sriracha sauce. Enjoy!
  5. In Myanmar, this dish would also often be served with a condiment known as ngapi kyaw, which is fried fish paste with shredded fish flakes. Of course, if you want to keep the dish vegetarian/vegan-friendly, you can leave this out. Fresh cucumber strips mixed with chopped onions, green chillies, and vinegar can also be served with this fried rice.

Htamin Gyaw (Burmese-style Fried Rice)

Htamin Gyaw (Burmese-style Fried Rice)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Karipap (Malay-style Curry Puffs)

Karipap (Malay-style Curry Puffs)

Hello Everyone! Before I proceed to tonight’s post and back to regular programming on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, I would just like to say a very special thank you to this year’s batch of Auguesters for sharing their creative and innovative takes on Southeast Asian cuisine. I know it’s already September, but I still have one more guest to feature when I get all the materials from them.

Pressing on, before we fly off into another country on our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey, I’ll be picking up from where I left off back in July when we were roaming around Malaysia. I had made these back then, but life got in the way as things started to get hectic at work. I didn’t want this to go in my archive bank and so I’m sharing this now.

I remember being obsessed with these curry puffs at one point in my life. It was a couple of years ago when I was still working in Brunei. Someone from the office would always bring a box of Old Klang Road curry puffs for everyone in our department to share. Shamelessly, I would always help myself to two or three of them in one go. I always thought that these curry puffs originated from Malaysia, but apparently they were local to Brunei. The man behind these curry puffs named his shop after a lane known as Old Klang Road which he really liked from his travels to Malaysia. Soon after, he wanted the locals to know that his curry puffs were Brunei made and rebranded his shop as ‘The Curry Puff Factory’.

Karipap (Malay-style Curry Puffs)

Nonetheless, the recipe that I will be sharing is for a Malaysian-style curry puff. In Malaysia, curry puffs are commonly known as Karipap and sold freshly fried at many Malay, Chinese, and Indian food stalls and even at trendy cafés. These curry puffs are filled with potatoes, onions, and other vegetables such as green peas, carrots, and corn. The sauce/gravy has to be thick in consistency. This is to prevent it from oozing out of the puffs and potentially burning your tongue and lips when biting into a piping hot curry puff.

Boiled eggs and chicken are also usually added for extra protein, and you can also find curry puffs with sardines in it too, but to keep this recipe vegetarian/vegan-friendly, I omitted the meat and used more potatoes instead.

Also, just a little disclaimer, this is the first time I’ve made curry puffs from scratch, so please excuse the terrible folds *cheeky grin*

Karipap (Malay-style Curry Puffs) Ingredients

PREP TIME 45 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | MAKES 20 PUFFS*

*Depending on the size of the curry puffs

INGREDIENTS

For the dough

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 113g margarine
  • 1/2 cup cold water

For the filling

  • 500g potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large brown onion, diced
  • 100g frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 cup water (or vegetable broth)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • Oil, for deep frying

METHOD

  1. Filling: Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high. Sauté the onions until cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the potatoes, followed by the mixed vegetables, curry powder, and chili powder. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste, and add the sugar. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the water (or vegetable broth) and the cover. Let it simmer on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Uncover and continue to cook the potato mixture until the liquid has mostly evaporated.
  4. Sprinkle the all purpose flour into the potato mixture and then continue to cook until the mixture ‘glues’ together. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  5. Remove from the heat and set aside to let it cool down completely before wrapping.
  6. Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the all purpose flour, salt, and margarine, mixing with a spatula until just combined. Slowly incorporate the water a little at a time and knead to form a soft, non-sticky dough (you may not need the full 1/2 cup of water).
  7. Tip the dough onto a clean work surface and continue to knead for about 3 to 4 minutes until smooth. Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl. Set aside, covered with a kitchen towel to allow it to rest, about 15 minutes.
  8. Tip the rested dough onto your clean, lightly floured work surface, and roll into a log. Cut the dough into 20 equal portions. Keep them covered and work with one dough at a time.
  9. Curry Puffs: Flatten a portion of the dough with the palm of your hands and then use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle that is about 5 to 6 inches in diameter.
  10. Place one portion (about a tablespoon) of the potato filling in the middle of the dough.
  11. Fold the dough into half to create a half circle and seal the edge by pinching and folding down. You can watch my TikTok video on how I did this (terribly).
  12. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling to make 20 curry puffs.
  13. In a large frying pan, add enough oil for deep frying over medium heat. Fry the curry puffs in small batches until they are golden brown in colour.
  14. Remove from the oil and transfer to a cooling rack lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. You can also keep them warm in the oven at 90C (or 200F) if you like. The fried curry puffs stay crispy for hours at room temperature too!
  15. Serve immediately while hot, and enjoy!

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Notes:

  • If you don’t want to fry a whole batch at one go, you can also keep them in the freezer and fry them in the succeeding days. You do not have to thaw them prior. You’ll just have to fry them for longer since it’s frozen. Control the heat so the outside won’t burn while the filling is still cold.
  • If you have some leftover filling, you can keep them in the fridge for 3-5 days. Either make more dough or make a potato curry out of them by adding some veggie stock to it. That’s what I did and then served it as a side with some crispy and flaky paratha for breakfast the next day!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2021: Brendon D'Souza

Banana Peel Curry with Coconut Rice & Pickled Red Onion

“When someone cooks with love, the meal deserves to be celebrated. You get dressed, choose a killer playlist, and pour a glass of wine then sit down to share the magic with your loved ones.” — Brendon D’Souza

Auguest 2021: Brendon D'Souza

Hello Everyone! How’s life? It’s Brendon D’Souza from CookWithBrendon.com here. By day I work in sales and around the clock I spend the countless hours we have in lockdown doing my favourite thing – cooking for my loved ones and developing recipes for my blog.

After 6 years at my former blog Brendon The Smiling Chef, I realised there might be a space for online cooking classes and social get-togethers for like-minded foodies. After running a number of free workshops with my colleagues and friends I’m so ready to take it to the next level and open up the classes to the world. Let me know if you would like to join in the fun!

Now more than ever is the perfect time to try and find clever little ways to use up leftover bits and pieces you find in the kitchen. This curry will allow you to do exactly that, and is inspired by the flavours of Laos, Thailand, India, and Australia altogether.

Banana Peel Curry

By no means do I claim to be the creator of this dish. As I’m sure you’ve seen over your socials it gained cult status recently when Nigella Lawson wrote about it in her 2020 TV series and cookbook Cook Eat Repeat. It’s such a great way to transform something that would otherwise be destined for the bin. I was surprised to learn that banana skins are packed full of potassium so I’m hoping it’s doing that extra bit of good for my insides too.

I’ve also taken the liberty to use up some leftovers for this dish including a batch of leftover marinara sauce and some roast sweet potatoes. So you can absolutely feel free to swap out some of the ingredients for others which you may have at hand. Don’t forget to tag #CookWithBrendon so I can see your creations. Let’s cook!

Banana Peel Curry Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp castor sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup basmati or jasmine rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet potato (or use regular potato)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (or any other fresh or frozen green veg)
  • 1 bunch coriander

METHOD

Start this recipe 1 hour before serving time.

  1. Banana Peel: Peel the bananas. Slice off the tops and tails.*
  2. Place the banana peels into a large heatproof bowl with 1/2 tbsp salt. Cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 30 mins. This helps to tenderise the skins and they will change in colour from yellow to brown which is totally fine.
  3. Pickled Onion: While the bananas are soaking. Finely slice 1 onion and place into a glass or ceramic bowl with the rice vinegar, castor sugar and 1/2 a tablespoon of salt. Give it a stir and then set aside. Repeat every 10 minutes or so while you’re making the curry and the onions will turn a vibrant pink and tenderise by the time you’re ready.

Banana Peel Curry with Coconut Rice & Pickled Onion

  1. Remove the banana peels from the soaking liquid** and pat dry with a paper towel. Slice the peels finely into batons.
  2. Coconut Rice: Place the rice into a medium heatproof saucepan. Cover with enough cold water to reach 2-cm above the level of the rice, then add the coconut milk. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil. When it is bubbling, immediately turn the heat off and pop on a tight fitting lid and let it sit there***. The rice will continue to absorb any liquid while you prepare the curry.
  3. Banana Peel Curry: Heat a medium saucepan over a low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil, the cumin, coriander powder, and turmeric. Cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes to toast the spices, and then add the marinara sauce****.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of crushed ginger and the banana skins, and cook, stirring over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Add 1/2 a cup of vegetable stock or water and bring to the boil. Cook for a further 5 minutes or until the banana peels are tender.
  6. Add the sweet potato, frozen peas, coconut milk, and chopped coriander stems, and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the veggies are cooked through. Finally, add the coconut milk and stir until combined.
  7. Serve with the coconut rice and pickled onion. Enjoy!

Banana Peel Curry with Coconut Rice & Pickled Onion

Notes:

  • *These can be composted. Save the banana flesh for another use (I’m thinking everyone’s favourite lockdown banana bread!).
  • **The minerals found in the banana peels such as potassium, phosphorus and calcium, will leach into the water. You can then use this liquid fertiliser for your plants.
  • ***I use my Mum’s absorption method trick to cook my rice and it works every time!
  • ****I’ve used 1/2 a cup of leftover marinara sauce with onion in it but you could easily substitute for 1 small onion and 1/2 a cup of crushed tomatoes.

Give this recipe a try and if you do be sure to tag #CookWithBrendon in your posts when you do!

I’m trying really hard to grow @cookwithbrendon on Instagram and now TikTok so if you have a second to visit and give both a follow I’d be so grateful.

Banana Peel Curry with Coconut Rice & Pickled Onion

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2021 | Brendon D’Souza (@cookwithbrendon)

BON APPÉTIT

– Brendon D’Souza

myTaste.com

Auguest 2021: Maria Reed

Pepes Ikan (Fish in Banana Leaves)

“Explore food beyond borders. Travel around the world, delve into different cultures, learn from people you cross paths with, and create recipes you’ve never tried before.” — Maria Reed

Auguest 2021: Maria Reed

Hello Everyone! I’m Maria. My love for food can be traced back to my roots. I inherited it from my family. My nanay, inang, mama, and aunts love to cook. Having a big family gives us reasons to celebrate and feast most of the time. I never learned how to cook until I got married and had to find my way around the kitchen on my own. I could still vividly remember when I started; I’d ask my mom for her recipes, watch a lot of videos, and read countless food blogs. I’ve travelled, tried new cuisines, and discovered my passion in recreating dishes I’ve had or never had before. I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone and became a junkie – learning, creating, and tweaking recipes.

I will be taking you on a trip to Indonesia on the Flavours of Southeast Asia journey here on Amcarmen’s Kitchen. The dish that I will be sharing with everyone is called Pepes Ikan. ‘Pepes’ is a cooking method where food (usually fish) is wrapped in banana leaves with its marinade. It is first steamed which gives it an earthy flavour and then grilled or baked for a smoky taste.

Pepes Ikan (Fish in Banana Leaves)

The spices are mashed together to a paste and then added with basil leaves, Indonesian bay leaves, tomatoes, and peppers with fish. All are wrapped in banana leaves and sealed with bamboo sticks at each end. Pepes Ikan is often thought of to be a Sundanese dish; favourite among the Sundanese people in the West Java, but it is also popular in other regions of Indonesia.

Pepes Ikan (Fish in Banana Leaves) Ingredients

Pepes Ikan (Fish in Banana Leaves) Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 2-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large tilapia fish
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 shallots, chopped
  • 1 pc fresh red chilli pepper
  • 10 pcs candlenuts, roasted
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste, toasted
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised and cut into 2 inches long
  • 10 pcs kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • Bunch of Thai basil leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 pc lime, sliced
  • 2 knobs fresh turmeric, chopped
  • 1 knob fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Banana leaf
  • Bamboo sticks

METHOD

  1. Pat dry the tilapia fish with a paper towel. Rub with the juice of half a lime and set aside.
  2. Paste: Add the chopped garlic, shallots, turmeric, chillies, and roasted candlenuts into a food processor, and blend into a smooth paste.
  3. Transfer the paste into a bowl, together with the fish, lemongrass, juice of half a lime, shrimp paste, ground cumin, sugar, salt, and bay leaves (if available).
  4. Place everything into a pan over medium high and add about half a cup of water so it won’t burn. Simmer for 15 minutes, flipping the fish halfway and season as needed. Turn the heat off and let it cool before wrapping.
  5. Once the fish has cooled down, lay some banana leaves with the bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves, lime slices, tomato wedges, and Thai basil leaves on top. Place the fish on top with the spice marinade, and top with more bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil leaves, and tomatoes.
  6. Seal the banana leaf with bamboo sticks on both ends and brush it with some oil. Place into a pan over medium high and grill, flipping until the banana leaf is wilted, for about 15 minutes or less. This process enhances the taste and aroma of the dish.
  7. Serve and plate with carrots and cucumber on the side. Enjoy!

Pepes Ikan (Fish in Banana Leaves)

Note: To make this dish more authentic, use bilimbi, also known as tree cucumbers and are known for their tart-tangy flesh, instead of lime and dahun salam, Indonesian bay leaves, instead of kaffir lime leaves.

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2021 | Maria Reed (@mariacocinera)

BON APPÉTIT

– Maria Reed

myTaste.com

Mee Goreng Mamak (Mamak-style Stir-Fried Noodles)

Mee Goreng Mamak (Mamak-style Stir-Fried Noodles)

Hello Everyone! We’re venturing forward on our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey through Malaysia with a dish that’s very close to my heart. Now, you probably already know that there are countless recipes for mee goreng (fried noodles), that vary depending on its country or region of origin, but tonight in particular, I will be sharing a Mamak-style mee goreng dish; a staple of ours that we would always order when my family and I were at our favourite roti canai eatery.

Mee Goreng Mamak (Mamak-style Stir-Fried Noodles)

Mamak is a local word used to describe people of Indian-Muslim origins in Malaysia; and thus with these two cultures merging together created a unique dish known as Mee Goreng Mamak, or in English, Mamak-style Stir-Fried Noodles. It is normally made with fresh egg noodles, boiled potatoes, fried tofu, and Chinese greens of choice that is tossed in a delicious sauce, but you can also bulk it up with other proteins such as chicken, squid, or seafood. Pork and beef are typically avoided for obvious reasons.

If you’re looking for a way to change up your weeknight noodle meals, then this is a recipe you should definitely try out. It’s quick, easy, and made with ingredients that you can easily source at your local market or grocer. Mee Goreng Mamak is a delicious blend of spicy, savoury, sweet, tangy, smoky (from all that wok hay), and sticky flavours in a single dish. The recipe that I will be sharing tonight is perfect for ovo-vegetarians.

Mee Goreng Mamak (Mamak-style Stir-Fried Noodles) Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sambal paste
  • 2 tsp white granulated sugar

For the noodles

  • 2 x 500g packs fresh yellow noodles, washed and drained*
  • 4 pcs firm tofu, fried and cut into chunks
  • 2 medium-sized cooked potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Spring onion
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • Handful of celery leaves
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • Oil, for cooking
  • Chinese cabbage, blanched
  • Red pepper, sliced
  • Lemon wedges, optional

*Fresh yellow noodles are usually oiled. Rinse it in cold water to loosen up the threads and remove part of the oil, or you can quickly blanch it in hot water and drain before using.

METHOD

  1. Sauce: In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Mee Goreng Mamak: Add oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the garlic and white/light green part of the spring onion and sauté until the garlic is lightly golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the yellow noodles and fry for about a minute or two. Push the noodles to the side and add the eggs. Let the eggs cook a little to set and then mix it into the noodles.
  4. Add the fried tofu, cooked potatoes, celery leaves, and the sauce mixture to the noodles. Toss until the noodles are evenly coated with the sauce, frying for about 3 to 4 minutes. Try not to mix too hard or it will break up the noodles into tiny threads.
  5. Add the remaining spring onion and bean sprouts. Give it another quick toss, about a minute or so for the bean sprouts to cook.
  6. Once done, transfer to individual serving plates and serve with red peppers and Chinese cabbage (or any greens of your choice). Garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and enjoy immediately while hot!

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BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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

Khua Mee (Fried & Caramelised Rice Noodles)

Khua Mee (Fried & Caramelised Rice Noodles)

Hello everyone! This will be the second and last dish that I will be sharing on our quick trip to Laos. As I mentioned in my previous post, I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to Lao cuisine and will only be sharing recipes that I am familiar with in terms of taste and similar dishes from their neighbouring countries.

Khua Mee, or in English, Fried & Caramelised Rice Noodles, is the Laotian cousin of what Pad Thai is in Thailand. Now, while I’ve never had Khua Mee before until I experimented for Amcarmen’s Kitchen, I’ve had plenty of Pad Thai before, from my trips to Thailand, or just a visit to an authentic Thai restaurant back home in Brunei, and when I was living in Australia. Khua Mee is actually more sweet than savoury, and has a more unique flavour to it. This flavour comes from caramelising the sugar at the start of the cooking process which is then accompanied by other savoury flavours such as oyster sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce. The sweet and savoury marriage of flavours is what sets this dish apart from other noodle dishes.

Khua Mee (Fried & Caramelised Rice Noodles)

The dish is fairly easy to put together. I guess the only tricky part would be the caramelisation of the sugar if you’re not used to it. You want to keep the heat on a medium-low temperature and watch it like a hawk so that the sugar does not burn. Traditionally, this noodle dish is topped with a fried egg omelette and bean sprouts. If you want to make this dish more substantial, you can also bulk it up with beef, pork, chicken, or prawns. To keep this ovo-vegetarian friendly though, my choice of protein was firm tofu. I also used mushroom sauce instead of oyster sauce, and omitted the fish sauce by adding more salt, as needed, instead. To add more flavour, I used homemade vegetable stock instead of water as the liquid base for the rice noodles to soak up.

Push the Pad Thai aside for now because once you take a bite and get a mouthful of these caramelised noodles, fried omelette, fresh herbs, and fried chillies, you will know why this is a much loved Laotian dish. It’s also a perfect potluck party dish as it tastes even better when served at room temperature.

Khua Mee (Fried & Caramelised Rice Noodles) Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the fried omelette

  • 4 large free range eggs
  • Spring onion, green part
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil

For the fried noodles

  • 1 packet (500g) rice noodles
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
  • 4 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 small red onions, halved then sliced thinly
  • 1 & 1/2 cup homemade vegetable stock*
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mushroom sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • Spring onion
  • Fried red chillies
  • Fried tofu
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Calamansi or lemon, to garnish

*You can use store-bought vegetable stock, or water instead.

METHOD

  1. Noodles: Soak the rice noodles in room temperature water for 30 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Fried Omelette: While the rice noodles are soaking, whisk the eggs in a medium-sized bowl, season with salt and cracked black pepper, and add the spring onion.
  3. Add cooking oil in a large pan over high heat. Pour in the egg mixture and cook until firm and slightly brown around the edges, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook for a further 1 minute then transfer to a plate and cut into long strips. Set aside.
  4. Fried Noodles: Add the 4 tablespoons of cooking oil in the same pan, and bring the heat down to medium-low. Add the sugar and caramelise until melted and lightly golden in colour.
  5. Add the minced garlic and onions, and cook for about 30 seconds. Don’t cook it for too long as the sugar will start to darken faster and most likely burn at this point.
  6. Immediately add in the vegetable broth to stop the caramelisation process of the sugar, followed by the light and dark soy sauce, mushroom sauce, white part of the spring onion, and season with a pinch of salt. Turn the heat up to medium, mix, and then leave to simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes for the flavours to develop.
  7. Add the soaked rice noodles and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed before adding the bean sprouts, fried tofu and fried omelette slices. Mix and cook until the liquid has been absorbed then add in the green part of the spring onion and the fried red chillies.
  8. Transfer to individual serving plates and add a squeeze of calamansi or lemon juice before eating. Enjoy!

Khua Mee (Fried & Caramelised Rice Noodles)

Khua Mee (Fried & Caramelised Rice Noodles)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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

Balado with Ai Manas (Fried Boiled Egg with Chilli Sauce)

Balado with Ai Manas (Fried Boiled Egg with Chilli Sauce)

Hello Everyone! Who here doesn’t love eggs? Eggs are probably one the the reasons why I don’t think I’d ever be able to go on a fully vegan diet. It’s amazing how many varieties of dishes we can make using the eggs as a side or main ingredient. So put your hands up if you love eggs!

To be perfectly honest, boiled eggs are my least favourite from all of the basic ways to cook eggs. Since I like a runny yolk, my absolute go-to would be sunny-side up eggs (with browned, crispy edge that gives a certain nutty flavour to the white) and/or poached eggs. I guess it’s now safe to say that the recipe that I will be sharing tonight has changed the way I see boiled eggs. Now, if you’re like me and this recipe doesn’t convert you, then I don’t know what will!

Balado with Ai Manas (Fried Boiled Egg with Chilli Sauce)

Here’s a great way to turn boring and plain-old boiled eggs into a spectacular appetizer or side dish at home. The East Timorese version of Balado is an adaptation of the original Indonesian Spicy Eggs, known as Telur Balado. Balado is a popular snack that you can find being sold, usually by children, all over the streets of East Timor. If you want a flavourful egg dish where the sauce penetrates all the way into the inside, then you really want to develop a fried and crispy skin to your eggs. Likewise, you can serve this dish with a fried egg or sunny-side up, but tradition calls for boiled eggs.

On the streets for just 25 cents, you get a fried, hard-boiled accompanied by a bold sour and spicy chilli sauce, called Ai Manas. Ai Manas is the heart of every East Timorese food. It’s very famous all over the country and comes with many regional varieties that vary according to taste. Green or red chillies often make up the bulk of the ingredients of the paste. The chilies are grounded along with lime or lemon rind and juice, ginger, onions, and several other local spices. Even a teaspoon of this sauce is enough to fire up any meal. Thai chillies are usually used for this sauce, which can be significantly hot for some. Use what you like and can tolerate.

Balado with Ai Manas (Fried Boiled Egg with Chilli Sauce) Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large free-range eggs

For the spicy chilli sauce

  • 8-10 pc red bird’s eye chillies, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 tsp white granulated sugar (optional)
  • Handful of Thai basil, roughly chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Small thumb-sized ginger, grated
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

METHOD

  1. Ai Manas: Using a mortar and pestle, pound the chillies, garlic, and red onion into a rough paste.
  2. Follow with the grated ginger, lemon zest, and a pinch of the basil leaves. Continue to pound and season with a touch of salt. Add in the lemon juice and give it a good mix. Taste and adjust to your liking.

I had to add about a teaspoon or two of white granulated sugar to balance the spice and tang of the sauce. You don’t have to add it if you’re alright with the level of sour and spice.

  1. Once done, add the rest of the chopped basil leaves to the sauce, mix, and then set aside.

Balado with Ai Manas (Fried Boiled Egg with Chilli Sauce)

  1. Balado: To boil the eggs, heat a medium-sized pot of water (enough to cover all the eggs) over high heat until boiling. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and carefully place the eggs in the pot using a ladle to prevent them from cracking.
  2. Depending on your preference, boil for 5 minutes for soft-boiled eggs, 7 minutes for medium eggs, or 10 minutes for hard-boiled eggs. Take note that you’ll be cooking the eggs again, so I would recommend you go for soft or medium eggs if you don’t like over-cooked boiled eggs as a result.
  3. While the eggs are cooking, prepare an ice bath* by combining ice and tap water in a large bowl. Once the eggs are cooked, immediately transfer them to the ice bath to cool for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Peel the eggs and make sure to pat them dry if you don’t want them to explode while frying.
  5. Heat oil, enough to submerge an egg for deep frying, in a medium-sized pot over medium high. Carefully lower the eggs into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess grease.
  7. Serve the fried boiled egg with the spicy chilli sauce and enjoy while hot!

Balado with Ai Manas (Fried Boiled Egg with Chilli Sauce)

*The ice bath will cool the eggs quickly and stop the cooking process. The ice water will also cause the egg to contract and pull away from the shell, which will make it easier to peel.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com