Friday, 31 August 2012

Buah Duku (Lanzones) And Health Benefits

Buah Duku is one of the favorite tropical fruits in South East Asia. Duku is a name in Malay and its botanical family is Meliaceae. It is sometimes loosely called buah luku. The duku is also known as Lanzones, botanical name is Lansium domesticum.

Lanzones are rich with different types of nutritional contents like protein, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin A, fiber, thiamine, vitamin C and E and other anti-oxidants.

Most people are confused between Langsat and Duku. Here are some tips on how to differentiate the Duku from Langsat.

Duku - The fruits are round like golf balls and have a very hard skin. They don’t bruise easily and an unripe fruit is super sour! If it is fresh and ripe, it tastes tangy and sweet and delicious!

Langsat – The fruit looks similar to the duku but are always sold on the stem. If they drop off, they are no longer fresh. The skin has a lot of latex if you don’t open it properly so eating it requires a technique not many have. The fruit is very sweet.
Langsat has thinner skin

To open the fruit, apply gentle pressure with the hands on both sides of the top of the fruit (where the stem was attached), the skin splits to reveal five segments of white flesh, some of which may contain small seeds. Avoid biting into these as they are bitter.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Recipe - Pan Fry Salmon With Teriyaki Sauce

Fish  is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. The omega-3 fatty acids helps blood flow in the veins and arteries. The omega-3 fatty acids aid brain cell connection. Better brain cell connection helps to avoid depression and improves learning capabilities. Vitamin D helps to maintain and strengthen the bones.

The Norwegian salmon is known to have lots of omega-3 fatty acids. More from the Norwegian Seafood Council website which also has a few recipes.

One popular way to cook the salmon is to pan fry the fish and glaze it with teriyaki sauce. The teriyaki sauce is essentially a mixture of light soy, dark soy, sugar and rice wine.

300 grams salmon tail
Dash of salt and pepper
1 tbs of corn flour
2 tbs of oil
3 tbs of teriyaki sauce

Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper
Dust it with corn flour
Heat the oil in a pan on medium till hot
Fry the fish on each side till brown, about 2 minutes on each side
Pour the teriyaki sauce over the fish and fry another minute.
Serve with a wedge of lemon

A nice 4 minute video on how to pan fry fish

A short video on pan fried salmon with teriyaki sauce

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Unusual Food From Around The World (III)

You may lose your appetite after looking at the pictures.

Whole Sheep head

This dish can be served with or without brains: the head, of course. It is considered to be a delicacy even in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe areas.

Bat soup

Even though bats are considered to be notorious disease carriers, they are still served in soups cooked mainly in Thailand and Guam, some parts of China even.

Ox penis

Cooked by steaming, deep frying or simply consumed raw, the ox penis is commonly eaten by humans in the Oriental countries. In the Western countries, ox penises are usually dried out and served as dog food.

Caterpillar fungus

This is a fungus, a parasitic one, that invades the body of the insect larvae, eventually killing and mummifying the caterpillars. Mostly used as a medicine or as an aphrodisiac, the Caterpillar Fungus can be also served in soups.

Human placenta

People who dare it this believe that it prevents postpartum depression and other pregnancy complications. There are various recipes to prepare it, even cocktails and it is found mostly in America and Europe, Mexico, Hawaii, China, and the Pacific Islands.


This is a rather gross drink, consisting in fermented mare milk. Because a female horse’s milk contains more sugars than the femented cow’s or goat’s milk, kumis has a higher, though still mild, alcohol content. It also has a strong laxative effect.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Unusual Food From Around The World (II)

You can lose your appetite after looking at these pictures.

Kopi Luwak

This is the rarest and most expensive coffee in the world, but still you might want to reconsider it, when someone politely invites you to sip from a mug full of it. Why? Because it is made out of the excrements of a creature that resembles a cat, called the Luwak.

Tuna eyeball

Usually served in Japan and China, the tuna eyeball is another weird dish that might not be for everyone’s taste. They say it tastes much better than it looks.

Rocky mountain oysters

One might be tempted to think that these oysters can’t be much different from the ones you find at the bottom of the ocean, while they are, in fact, something totally different. A buffalo’s fried testicles got this name because it sounds more fancy. Best way to cook: peel, boil, roll into flour mixture and fry.


The poisonous Puffer Fish is a great sensation in many restaurants of the world. The thing is that only very qualified and trained cooks are allowed to prepare it, because if something goes wrong…well, let’s say that it could be your last meal.


Insects make an old dish in many parts of the world, except Europe and North America. Served all crispy, they make perfect nutritious snacks!


This weird dish comes from Mexico, from giant black ants. They make their nests in the roots of some plants. Collecting these eggs is not the most pleasant job one can get, since their owners are venomous and creepy. The eggs taste like buttery, being slightly nutty.

Mongolian Boodog

This one is prepared by cooking the animal – usually a goat or a marmot from inside out. Yes, the WHOLE animal. Mongolians are the best cooks for this: the animal is cooked in its own skin, with the help of hot rocks.

Unusual Food From Around The World (I)

You can lose your appetite after looking at these pictures.

Itsy bitsy spider

In Cambodia the habit of eating fried tarantulas began during a period of starvation in history, but nowadays they are considered to be quite a delicacy.


Balut is a “snack” consisting in a half-fertilized duck or chicken egg, served with a little salt after being boiled. One can find it all over the streets and markets of Philippines, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and it is as popular as hotdogs are in the US.

Snake & Scorpion wine

This unusual type of liquor can be found in Asia mostly and it is made out of a dipping Cobra or scorpion into a rice wine bottle. After a few months of fermentation, the venom is dissolved and the drink is good to serve

Cobra heart

In Vietnam one can serve a live cobra’s heart: some eat it raw, along with a cobra blood chaser while others prefer to have it with some rice wine

Bird nest

The saliva of the birds give this soup its unicity. It is one of the most expensive products consumed by humans, because of the difficulty in getting it.

Baby mice wine
Traditional in China and Korea, baby mice wine is considered to be a “health tonic”. The confessed taste: raw gasoline. While still alive, newborn mice are thrown into bottles full of rice wine and left there to ferment.

Casu marzu

This is a type of cheese that few people would try, as it is stuffed with insect larva. Often referred to as “maggot cheese”. It is consumed while the living beings inside it are still alive, otherwise it is said to be toxic.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Recipe - Stir Fry Toman Fish Fillet With Salted Soya Bean Paste

The toman fish (snakehead fish) is prized for its wound healing properties, sought after as a diet for women during confinement period or for post-surgical patients. It's high albumin contents helps quick recovery and is also very suitable for growing children. Albumin provides the body with the protein to maintain growth and to repair tissues.

The toman fish fillet is available at the market and supermarket. It can be bought with or without skin. It can also be bought boneless.

The toman fillet is a versatile ingredient. They can be steamed, stir fry or made into a soup. They can also be added to a variety of dishes for protein.

In this recipe, the boneless and skinless toman fillet is stir fried with salted soya bean paste.

toman fish
300 grams toman fillet, skinless, boneless
3 slices of ginger, finely julienne
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp salted soya bean paste
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 spring onion, cut
1 tbs oil

In a wok or pan, heat oil till hot
Toss in the onion, ginger and garlic, fry till fragrant in a minute or so
Toss in the fish and gently stir
Add a teaspoon of salted soya bean paste
Mix well for another 3 to 4 minutes and it should be done.
Garnish with spring onion and serve

A nice way is to stir fry fish fillet with vegetables as shown in this 5 minute video

A 8 minute Taiwanese video (in a mixture of hokkien and mandarin) on cooking fish slices with a sweet and sour taste. The fish is marinated with egg white, fish sauce and corn flour and lightly deep fried. The fried fish is then added to a sauce of garlic, jiu niang, stock, fish sauce, corn starch and egg white. Jiu niang is fermented glutinous rice, something like a sweet rice wine in solid form.

A nice and east way to steam fish fillet with Thai style chilli sauce.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Recipe - Steam Salmon With Miso (Salted Soya Bean Paste)

The Norwegian salmon is a cultivated fish. Though not as good as the wild salmon, it is still a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which is good for the heart. The Norwegian Seafood Council website has a lot of information and recipes.

One popular way to cook the salmon is pairing it with miso paste (salted soya bean paste). The salmon with miso can be steamed, grilled or panfried. My favourite slamon recipe is to steam it and top it with crispy soya beans.

For this recipe, the salmon steak is simply steamed with miso. It is just as tasty and healthy.
salmon before steaming

300 grams of salmon, split into halves
1 tsp of miso
1 spring onion for garnishing

Clean the salmon of any residual scale
Rub a teaspoon of miso over the fish
Let it sit for about 15 minutes
Steam over medium heat for about 7 minutes
Serve with a sprinkle of spring onions.

You can add a dash of pepper if you like.


In this 7 minute video, the salmon is marinated with miso and pan fried. Nice way to prepare the salmon.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Rambutans And Health benefits

The name of this fruit comes from the Malay word for hair, rambut. It is a particularly apt description, for the rambutan looks like a bright red golf ball covered with flexible hair. The Chinese call it ang mo tan or red hair fruit.

The flavour of a good ripe rambutan is sweet with a mere hint of acid, and it is juicy and delicious.

Rambutan fruit is rich in sugar, mostly fructose and sucrose, but less calories, only around 60 in a fruit. Rambutan fruit is abundant with vitamin C and has potassium, iron, beta carotene or vitamin A, and a little calcium, magnesium zinc, sodium, niacin, fiber and protein.

The rambutan is rich in vitamin C. 10-12 rambutans provide 75-90 mg ascorbic acid, more than double the amount recommended to take daily. An essential antioxidant, vitamin C prevents body cells from being damaged by free radicals and helps the absorption of iron.

The fruit also has small quantities of copper, necessary for the creation of white and red blood cells, and also manganese, which our body needs to produce and activate some enzymes.

Additionally, you will obtain 4.3% of the daily recommended intake of phosphorus when you have a serving of rambutan. Phosphorus helps remove waste in your kidneys and is essential for the development, repair and maintenance of tissues and body cells. Rambutan also has a small amount of calcium; both phosphorus and calcium work together to fortify your teeth and bones.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Recipe - Braised Pork Shoulder Butt With Dark Soy Sauce

Braised pork is a very traditional Chinese recipe. Every part of the pig can be braised, even the intestines, large and small. Talking about braised pig intestines reminds me of kway chap, where flat rice noodles and everything is served braised. Typically, boiled eggs, tofu puffs (tau pok), chestnuts,bean curd (tau kwa) and mustard green are braised together with the pork for a complete meal.

For the health conscious, vegetables like mushrooms, carrots and daikon can also be added to make a one dish meal.

The Germans are also famous for their braised pork knuckles and they celebrate this dish in their yearly Oktober Fest or October Festivals.

For people who likes kway chap, one popular stall is Blanco Court Garden Street Kway Chap
Address: 49A Serangoon Gardens Way, #01-21 Serangoon Gardens Market And Food CentreSingapore
Open from 8 am to 3 pm. Closed on Mondays.

For this recipe, I use frozen pork shoulder butt. They come conveniently cut about 1 cm thick.

500 grams pork shoulder butt
1 tbs dark soy
cuts of pork
1 tbs black vinegar
2 tbs sugar

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic
5 slices of ginger
Half a stick of cinnamon
1 star anise
3 pieces of cloves

These condiments are meant to remove any porky smell.

Put all ingredients in a pot.
Add enough water to cover the ingredients
Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes.
(Note: the pot should be large enough to hold all ingredients and water, with reserve for the water to boil)


A 3 minute video on how to cook braised pork belly.

A 6 minute video on Tau Yu Bak or braised pork, Peranakan style

Another video on how to cook braised pork belly.

Nice video on how to cook braised pork belly

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Recipe - Braised Oyster Mushroom And Xiao Bai Chye In Oyster Sauce

Oyster mushrooms have a silvery grey or greyish brown colour. They have a subtle flavour. Oyster mushroom are rich in nutrients. They contain a good amount of zinc, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, vitamins B and C. They are known for their anti-cancer properties and also for lowering the bad cholesterol.

Xiao bai chye is a leafy green vegetable packed with vitamins A and C with lots of fibre to promote digestion. It also has lots of iron and calcium, good for the heart and helps to prevent osteoporosis.

In this recipe, the 2 vegetables are braised in oyster sauce to give a delicious and healthy dish. 

150 grams oyster mushrooms
100 grams xiao bai chye, cut
oyster mushrooms
1 tbs oyster sauce
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs of oil

I blanch the xiao bai chye first because the 2 vegetables may not have the same cooking time.

In a pot of boiling water, toss in the xiao bai chye.
It takes about 1 minute to blanch.
Set the xiao bai chye on a serving plate.

Heat the oil in a wok or pan till hot.
Fry the garlic till fragrant, about 1 minute
Add half a cup of water.
Add 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, mix well.
Check if the taste is to your liking (if it is not salty enough, add more oyster sauce. If it is too salty, add more water)
Toss in the oyster mushrooms and let them braise for about 2 minutes.
Dish out and place on top of the xiao bai chye.

A nice idea to eat mushrooms with bread, 2 minute video

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Recipe - Braised Napa Cabbage And Buna-shimeji Mushrooms

The bunashimeji mushroom is a popular mushroom in Japanese cuisine. In its raw form the taste is bitter but its bitterness disappears when cooked and morph into a pleasant nutty taste.

The mushroom is high in potassium, protein, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. It also contains beta-glucan polysaccharides, an immune-boosting compound.

Napa cabbage is packed with vitamins and minerals essential for health. It has vitamins A, C and B complex. (link) It is rich in potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium and traces of iron, copper, manganese and selenium.

In this recipe, the napa cabbage and shimeji mushrooms are braised in oyster sauce to give a mildly sweet and salty flavour.

200 grams (4 big leaves) napa cabbage, cut into bit size
150 grams (1 packet) buna-shimeji mushrooms, trim the base 
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs oyster sauce
buna-shimeji mushrooms
1 tbs oil

Heat the oil in a wok or pan till hot

Toss in garlic and saute till fragrant
Toss in cabbage and stir for 1 minute
Toss in mushrooms, give them a good stir
Add half cup of water and let the vegetables braised for about 2 minutes.
Dish out and serve.


In this video, the napa cabbage is stir fried with dried shrimps. Chicken stock is added for taste.