Sunday, 30 September 2012

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Recipe - Sutchi Fillet Otak Otak (Spicy Fish Cake)

Otak otak is another Peranakan dish, popular in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. It can be eaten as a snack on its own or as a side dish in a meal. Fish paste is used to make this dish. It got its name because the fish paste looks like the brain which is what otak otak literally means in Malay or Indonesian.

Sutchi fillet is perfect for this dish because the fillet is boneless. Let the frozen fillet thaw, then rub lightly with salt and rinse to get rid of the sea smell. I use an electric chopper to chop the fillet coarsely into a paste. Fish paste is also available at the supermarket.

The colour and the flavour come from the spice paste and the otak otak can be steam, grill or steam and grilled.

I use chicken cube instead of salt and sugar for flavouring. It is a short cut.

Ingredients for fish paste:
500 grams of sutchi fillet, coarsely blend into a paste.

Ingredients for spice paste
2 stalks lemon grass, finely chopped
chicken cube
2 large onions, coarsely chopped (or 6 shallots)
4 candle nuts
2 small red chillies (optional)
1 cm of fresh turmeric, finely chopped

Other Ingredients
1 egg
60 ml of coconut milk
1 chicken cube
2 banana leaves (if you do not have banana leaves, use a bowl for steaming or aluminium foil for grilling).

Blend the fish into a paste and put in a mixing bowl.
Blend the spice ingredients finely and put in the mixing bowl
Add the egg, coconut milk and chicken cube.
Mix all the ingredients well.
Spoon the mixture on the banana leaves.
Wrap the banana leaves, secure with a toothpick and steam for about 8 minutes.

Note: It is nicer to grill or pan fry the cooked otak otak for extra flavour. Pan frying or grilling will release the spice flavour.


This 5 minute video shows how to make otak otak

A 3 minute video cooking otak otak the traditional way

A nice video on making otak otak.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Recipe - Pan Fry Salmon Fillet With Mixed Vegetable Salad

This is a quick and easy recipe. It is delicious and healthy. It is a one-dish meal that gives you the protein and vitamins to see you through the day.

The salmon has lots of omega-3 fattt acids to help the blood circulation and aid brain cell connection. Better brain cell connection helps to avoid depression and improves learning capabilities. The salmon also has vitamin D to help maintain and strengthen strong bones.

The mixed vegetables of green and purple lettuce provide lots of vitamins A, C and K. The lettuce also has lots of minerals like potassium, manganese, zinc, copper and phosphorus. The colourful vegetables also make the dish looks appetizing.

80 grams salmon fillet, pat dry and lightly seasoned with salt and black pepper
Salad vegetables of purple lettuce, green butterhead lettuce, tomato and slice onions
Dressing - combine lemon juice, lemon zest, brown sugar, mustard, black pepper, salt and a little olive oil.

Mix the salad vegetables and the dressing well and set aside on a serving plate

Pan fry salmon in olive oil skin side down, till brown.
Turn over and fry the other side, abot 2 minutes on each side.

Once done, squeeze some lemon juice on the salmon and sprinkle with some lemon zest

Serve salmon on the bed of salad mix.

A short video on salmon with spinach salad.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Mother Teresa On God's Mercy And Forgiveness

"If we really want to love. We must learn how to forgive."

Love, in order to forgive; practice humility, to forget. In a simple and profound presentation, 

Mother Teresa shares about the necessity and benefit of these godly attributes. 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Recipe - Steam Batu Fish (Yellowtail Scad) With Pickled Mustard Green

The batu fish (yellowtail scad) lives in coastal waters and feed on algae and planktons. It is slightly bigger than its relative kunning (yellowstripe scad) which is usually deep fried and served with nasi lemak.

The fish has mild flavour. What I like about this fish is that the meat  is very sweet. The bones are also confined to the belly which makes it easy to eat. It is also cheap.

One set back is that you have to gut the fish yourself. This is not too difficult. To gut the fish, I use a pair of kitchen scissors and use the tips of the scissors to pull out the gut. Another way to is to cut off the head.

My favourite way of cooking this fish is to steam it. In this recipe, I use pickled mustard green, ginger and tomato to flavour the fish.
yellowtail scad or batu

To prepare this fish for steaming, clean the guts, rub the fish lightly with salt and rinse the fish.

Ingredients (serves 4)
8 batu fish, about 800 grams,
4 slices of ginger, julienne
10 thin slices of pickled (salted) mustard green
1 tomato, sliced thinly
1 spring onion, cut into inch length

Lay the fish on a steaming plate
Spread out the ginger, tomato, spring onion and mustard green over the fish
Pickled mustard green
Steam over medium heat for about 8 minutes.
Serve with a dipping sauce of light soy and cut chillies.

Trust the Japanese to eat this yellowtail scad raw in this 3 minute video.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Joke - Who Designed The Human Body

Three engineering students were gathered together discussing who 
must have designed the human body.

One said, "It was a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints."

Another said, "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has many thousands of electrical connections."

The last one said, "No, actually it had to have been a civil engineer.  Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Joke - Life Explained

Life Explained

God created the dog and said:

'Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past . For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.'

The dog said: 'That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?'


So God agreed.

God created the monkey and said:

'Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span.'

The monkey said: 'Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?'

And God agreed.

God created the cow and said:

'You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years.'

The cow said: 'That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?'
And God agreed again.

God created man and said:

'Eat, sleep, play , marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years.'

But man said: 'Only twenty years ? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?'

'Okay,' said God, 'You asked for it.'

So that is why for our first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained to you.

There is no need to thank me for this valuable information. I'm doing it as a public service.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Recipe - Minced Pork With Carrot, Potato And Mushrooms

Minced pork or ground pork is a versatile ingredient. It can be easily combined with vegetables to whip up a dish or it can be cooked on its own, as in meat balls or used to make won tons.

In this recipe the minced pork is given a quick stir fry with carrots, potatoes and fresh shitake mushrooms.

This dish is easy to prepare and takes minutes to cook.

250 grams minced pork
2 baby carrots, diced
1 potato, diced
5 shitake mushrooms, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs oil

1 tbs oyster sauce
1 tsp dark soy
Dash of pepper
1 tsp of sugar

Heat the oil in wok or pan on medium till hot
Toss in garlic and fry till fragrant, about 1 minute
Toss in potatoes, pork, carrot and mushrooms
Give them a stir and add in the seasoning sauce
Sprinkle with water if mixture is too dry
Saute till cook, about 5 minutes
A nice 7 minute video where mince pork is cooked with egg tofu

Friday, 21 September 2012

Recipe - Steam Silver Pomfret With Ginger And Tomato

Silver pomfret or white pomfret lives in coastal waters off Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. It is prized in the Indo-Pacific region for its taste.

The pomfret is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which is heart friendly. It is an excellent source of protein with low fat.  The protein contains an abundance of essential amino acids and is digestible for people of all ages. It is rich in vitamin D, good for bone building. It is also loaded with minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium.

The silver pomfret is a versatile ingredient. It has mild flavour and it can be steamed, grilled or made into a soup. In this recipe, I steam the fish in the traditional Teochew style. The fish is lightly salted and tomato and ginger slices are added to flavour the dish.

If you like it a more sour, add a salted preserved plum. It is also quite common to add slices of preserved mustard leaf (kiam chye) for added flavour.

I bought 4 pieces of small silver pomfret from the supermart. They came without head and tail and weigh about 600 grams, just nice for 4 persons.

silver pomfret
4 silver pomfrets, rub with salt and rinse
5 slices of ginger, julienne into thin strips
1 tomato cut into slices
1 tsp of light soy
2 small red chillies, diced
2 sprig of spring onions

Lay the pomfrets on a serving tray
Spoon the light soy over the fish
Spread the ginger, spring onion and tomato slices over the fish.
Steam over boiling water on medium heat for about 8 minutes.
Serve hot with dipping sauce of light soy and chillies

A short 2 minute showing an unusual way of steaming a silver pomfret.

Another 3 minute video on steaming golden pomfret


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Joke - He Is My Brother

Two young boys walked into a pharmacy one day, picked out a box of tampons and preceded to the checkout counter.

The man at the counter asked the older boy, "Son, how old are you?"
"Eight," the boy replied.

The man continued, "do you know what these are used for?"

The boy replied, "not exactly, but they aren't for me. They're for him. He's my brother. He's four. We saw on TV that if you use these you would be able to swim and ride a bike. Right now, he can't do either."

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Joke - Irish Blonde


An attractive blonde from Cork , Ireland arrived at the casino. She seemed a little intoxicated and bet twenty thousand dollars in a single roll of the dice.
She said, “I hope you don’t mind, but I feel much luckier when I’m completely nude.” With that, she stripped from the neck down, rolled the dice and with an Irish brogue yelled, “Come on, baby, Mama needs new clothes!”
As the dice came to a stop, she jumped up and down and squealed. “Yes! Yes! I won, I won!” She hugged each of the dealers, picked up her winnings and her clothes and quickly departed.
The dealers stared at each other dumbfounded. Finally, one of them asked, “What did she roll?” The other answered, “I don’t know – I thought you were watching.”
Not all Irish are drunks, not all blondes are dumb, ….. but all men… are men!
PS: Specially dedicated to agongkia who treasures all women.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Recipe - Steam Eggplant (Brinjal, Aubergine) With Chilli Paste

There are 3 varieties of eggplant, white, green and purple. Eggplant is prized for its beauty and unique taste and texture.It has a pleasant bitter taste and spongy texture.

Eggplant is rich in vitamins K, B3, B6 and C. It has lots of potassium, manganese, magnesium and molybdenum. Besides boosting the immune system and lowering bad cholesterol, eggplant is noted for a plant nutrient found on its skin called nasunin.

Nasunin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage. In animal studies, nasunin has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Cell membranes are almost entirely composed of lipids and are responsible for protecting the cell from free radicals, letting nutrients in and wastes out, and receiving instructions from messenger molecules that tell the cell which activities it should perform. In short, eggplant is good for brain health.

In this recipe, the eggplant is first cut into smaller strips and then steamed. A chilli paste is made separately and spooned as a topping.

2 small purple eggplants (about 300 grams), cut into one and half inch length.
Soak the cut eggplant in a bowl of water and add a teaspoon of salt.
The salt helps the eggplant to retain its purple colour when cooked.

Chilli paste ingredients
purple eggplant
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 cm of turmeric
2 cloves garlic, coarse chopped
1 tsp of shrimp paste
half tsp of salt
half tsp of sugar

Steam the eggplant on a serving plate on medium heat.
Steaming time is about 8 minutes.
Set aside.

For the paste:
Blend the chilli paste ingredients into a paste
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok or pan on medium till hot.
Toss in the paste and saute till fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Spoon the chilli paste over the eggplant and serve.


This 5 minute video shows how to stir fry eggplant. ( I fry the paste separately)

A 3 minute video on fried eggplant with cheese, salt and pepper.

This is Taiwanese style of cooking eggplant with spicy mince pork


A nice and simple way to steam eggplant.

 Some cute eggplants.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Recipe - Mince Pork Stir Fry With Sichuan Preserved Vegetable

There are many types of Chinese preserved vegetables. One of the most popular is Sichuan preserved vegetable, a specialty of Sichuan Province. This is the root of the mustard green preserved in salt and chillies. It gives a crunchy texture and spicy taste to dishes.

It is very salty. Cut into big slices and soak in water for at half an hour before using. Cut a thin slice to test the saltiness. If it is still too salty, soak one more time for another half hour. Typically, I have to let it soak in water 2 times to have the right amount of saltiness.

A popular way to cook this vegetable is to make a soup with pork or pork ribs. In this recipe, I stir fry it with mince pork.

1 Sichuan preserved vegetable, about 400 grams
100 grams mince pork
Sichuan preserved vegetable
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs oil

After soaking in water to get rid of excess salt, cut the vegetable into thin strips, about an inch length

Heat the oil in a pan or wok till hot
Toss in garlic and fry till fragrant
Toss in the mince pork and slices of vegetable
Stir fry till the pork is cooked, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle water if necessary to prevent burning.
Serve and enjoy with steamed rice or porridge

In this 6 minute video, the Sichuan preserved vegetable is used to flavour mince pork noodles, something similar to the Singapore bak chor mee.