Thursday, 20 December 2007

The Green Condiment

This is my favourite condiment. It is a must to go along with chinese food. Therefore, every chinese restaurant would have them served in the centre of each table.

Green Chilli Pickle

What do we need:

15 green chillies
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

How do we do it:

Wash and drain chillies well. Thinly slice the chillies. Place the sliced chillies in a jar.

Mix vinegar, water, salt and sugar, until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture into the jar onto the chillies.

The chillies will be ready the next day. It could be refrigerated for months.

Friday, 7 December 2007

The Seeds

Triple Seeds Muffin

What do we need:

1 cup wholemeal flour
1/3 cup plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground clove

1 cup milk
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup mixture of sunflower, melon and pumpkin seeds

How do we do it:

Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the spices together. Mix in the seeds and set aside.

Grease the muffin tray with butter or simply place paper cups into the muffin holes.

Mix milk, egg, sugar, vanilla extract and oil together. Stir until sugar dissolves. Combine the wet ingredients with the flour mixture stirring just until evenly moistened.

Fill muffin holes with three-quarter full. Bake in a preheated oven at 200° C for 15 minutes.

When baking muffins, always place a bowl of boiling water in the oven. If there are unused holes on the muffin tray, pour boiling water into it. The reason is that the steam from the boiling water creates moist in the oven to prevent warping.

Friday, 30 November 2007

WBB# 15 - Corn Flakes

One of the most popular breakfast cereals is corn flakes. They are made by a combination of coarse meal of hulled corn, sugar, salt and barley malt extract that are cooked slowly until they reach the correct temperature and humidity level. Then, they are rolled and toasted to golden-brown flakes which give the crispy characteristic and appearance to the corn flakes.

Corn Flakes Bread Pudding

How do we do it:

1 cup corn flakes
4 slices bread
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp butter (or more if required)
1 tbsp custard powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sweet corn extract
1/2 tsp salt

How do we do it:

Trim the edges of the bread. Generously butter each slice and tear up the bread slices. In a buttered baking dish, randomly place the teared bread and sprinkle corn flakes in between. Set aside.

Combine milk, egg, sugar, custard powder, the extracts and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour the mixture onto the bread and corn flakes. Sprinkle the remaining corn flakes on top.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180° C for about 20-30 minutes.

Serve warm with a drizzle of honey.

Also check out a healthy breakfast of cornflakes soaked in Banana Chocolate Milk

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Jihvā for Ingredients - Toor Dal

Toor dal or Thuvaram paruppu is the most popular and widely used lentil in India. This highly digestible South Indian staple has a thick gelatinous, meaty consistency. Toor dal looks very much like Chana dal but it is smaller. It has a mild and nutty flavour. With its skin on, it is greenish-brown in colour and without its skin, it is yellow.

Toor dal is usually sold and cooked skinned and split. Sometimes it is sold with an oily coating, which should be rinsed off before cooking. It takes a little longer to cook than masoor dal. Toor dal is often used in sambar, cooked as a side dish or ground into flour.

Lately, I have been craving for mutton briyani. Finally, found my way to cook it, after such a long time. I thought of cooking sambar to accompany the briyani. While preparing the ingredients, suddenly something struck me. Hey, why don't I cook both the briyani and sambar together as one meal???

Mutton and Toor Dal Briyani

What do we need:

2 cups basmati rice
1/2 kg mutton, cubed
1/4 cup toor dal
1 carrot
1 onion
1" ginger
1 bulb garlic
2 green chillies
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch mint leaves
1 bunch coriander leaves
1 cup yoghurt
1 cup milk
2 cups water
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp oil
1 bay leave
1 star anise
4 cloves
a pinch of saffron
2 tbsp cashew nuts, halved
2 tbsp sultanas
2 tbsp fried onion crisps
salt to taste

To grind:
2 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp fennel
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp poppy seed
1 tsp black pepper corns
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
3 cardamoms
3 dried chillies

How do we do it:

Marinade the mutton with half of the yoghurt, turmeric powder and salt. Set aside, preferably overnight in the refrigerator.

Soak the toor dal. Wash and soak the rice. Then, drain the water and set aside.

Soak the saffron strands in the milk. Set aside.

Dry fry the spices to be ground and grind them into powder form.

Thinly slice the onion. Half the chilli lengthwise. Grind the ginger and garlic into paste.

Heat the ghee. Fry the cashew nuts and sultanas. Set aside.

Add oil to the remaining ghee. Fry star anise, bay leaf and cloves. Add ginger and garlic paste. Then, onion and chilli. Sautè until aromatic. Add the chopped tomatoes. When the tomatoes turn pulpy, put in the marinated mutton. Add the ground spices, the remaining yoghurt and lime juice. Cook until the mutton is half cooked. Then, add the soaked toor dal. Cook until the mutton is well cooked. Then, put the rice and milk in. Sprinkle the chopped mint and coriander leaves. Season with salt. Cook until rice is fluffy and does not stick together.

Finally, sprinkle the fried cashew nuts, sultanas and the onion crisps. Serve hot.

This is the end product. It was wonderful. As usual, I cooked the biryani directly in rice cooker. I made sure that the toor dal does not over cook and becomes soggy. It was crunchy and just perfect. I am submitting it to JFI-Toor Dal event.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Think Spice...Think Ginger

Ginger is one of the most widespread culinary spices. It is also among the most important and valued spices. No one is sure how old ginger is but it is believed to be cultivated for more than 3000 years. Ginger seems to originate from Southern China. Today, it is cultivated all over tropic and subtropical Asia.

This noble condiment comes from a perennial creeping herbaceous plant that produces an erect stem of 30 to 100 cm in height. The stem is surrounded by the sheathing bases of the bright green lance-shaped two-ranked leaves of 15 to 20 cm long, with a prominent longitudinal rib, enclosing conical clusters of a small club-like spike of yellow-green purple-lipped flowers. The gnarled, bumpy root of the ginger plant is the source of this wonderful spice. Although often called “ginger root”, it is actually a rhizome. Rhizomes are knobby thick tuberous underground stems that have pungent and flavourful flesh. The large thick scaly ginger rhizome has a characteristic stag horn-like appearance. It branches with thick thumb-like protrusions, thus individual divisions of the rhizome are known as "hands".

Fresh ginger is available in two forms; young and mature. Young ginger, also known as spring ginger, has a pale, thin skin that does not require peeling. It is very tender and has a milder flavour than its mature form. Mature ginger has a tough tan to brown skin that has to be carefully peeled away to preserve the delicate flesh just beneath it. The flesh ranges from pale greenish yellow to ivory in colour. Ginger has a slightly biting and hot note along with peppery and slightly sweet flavour. Its aroma is rich, sweet, warm, pungent, spicy and woody. Whole raw ginger is generally referred to as fresh ginger. It provides the freshest taste. Ginger also comes in dried form. It is sold either ‘black’ with the skin left on, or ‘white’ with the skin peeled off. The dried ginger is available whole or sliced. Powdered ginger is the buff-coloured ground dried ginger. It has fiery and pungent flavour and has warm, sweet and pungent aroma.

When buying fresh ginger, look for mature plump rhizomes with smooth skin that are not wrinkled. Wrinkled skin indicates that the root is dry and past its prime. It should have a fresh and spicy fragrance. Tightly wrapped fresh unpeeled ginger could be refrigerated in the crisper for up to 3 weeks and frozen for up to 6 months. Dried and powdered ginger must be stored in airtight containers.

Ginger is truly a world domestic remedy. It is most commonly known for its effectiveness as a digestive aid. Ginger has been used in Asia for thousands of years for relief from arthritis, rheumatism, sprains, muscle spasms, catarrh, congestion, coughs, sinusitis, sore throats, diarrhea, colic, cramps, indigestion, loss of appetite, motion sickness, fever, flu, chills, and infectious disease. Its therapeutic properties effectively stimulate circulation of the blood, removing toxins from the body, cleansing the bowels and kidneys, and nourishing the skin. Ginger is also used to treat nausea related to both motion sickness and morning sickness. Other uses for ginger include the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems by loosening and expelling phlegm from the lungs.

Ginger is extremely versatile. It could be used in any type of food. Ginger is used as a spice throughout the world. In Asian cooking, ginger is almost always used fresh. In savoury dishes, it pairs beautifully with garlic. Dried ginger should be ‘bruised’ by beating it to open the fibres, and then infused in the cooking.

Ginger is my staple spice without which I can never even imagine of cooking. As my entry for the Think Spice Event, I have made one of my favourite Malaysian desserts. This dessert is apt for the climate as it is now continuously snowing in Bern. Originaly this dessert does not call for ginger but I have incorporated it to enhance the taste. I have used both fresh and dried ginger. Actually, both have noticeably different flavours. Therefore, I have used them together in the same dish for a layered flavour.

Gingery Mung Bean Dessert

What do we need:

1/2 cup mung beans
2 cups water
1 cup milk or coconut milk
1/3 cup sugar (or more if desired)
1/4 cup sago
1/2 inch knob ginger, sliced
1/2 tsp ginger powder
2 screw pine leaves, knotted

How do we do it:

Soak the mung beans for about 2 hours and drain.

Combine mung beans, knotted screw pine leaves, ginger and water. Bring to a boil for 20 minutes. Gradually stir in the sago and cook until it is transparent.

Add sugar, salt, ginger powder and milk. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until the beans are soft and the liquid has reduced to half. Remove from heat.

Serve Gingery Mung Bean Dessert warm. The ginger gives a delicate warm flavour to it.

Also check out an amazingly aromatic Ginger Rice.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Happy Deepavali

Wishing Hindus Throughout The World A Very Happy & Prosperous Deepavali

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Think Spice...Think Saffron

Saffron, the world's most precious spice, has been treasured from the remotest times. It is native to Near East and believed to be first appeared in Crete. Saffron has been cultivated for thousands of years.

The small fall-flowering crocus grows well in warm climates. It has thin long leaves and ornamental fragrant deep lavender, purple-veined flowers These flowers bloom for only two or three weeks in autumn. The flower contains three precious protruding yellow-orange to scarlet stigmas and adjacent part of the style yield the saffron. The intensive colour is caused by pigments of carotenoid type. These must be carefully hand-picked and then dried. Saffron is strongly perfumed, with very intensive earthy fragrant, reminiscent to iodoform but much more pleasant honey aroma. It has a unique pungent, slightly bitter-honey taste.

When I was pregnant, I used to drink milk with saffron. Its just incredible how only a tiny little pinch of saffron could transform the milk into a heavenly tasting beverage. I thought why not turn this concoction from something that I could drink to something that I could eat. Thus, came up with this.......

Saffron Milk Jelly

What do we need:

1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
3 tsp agar-agar powder
a generous pinch of saffron

How do we do it:

Mix saffron and milk. Set aside for at least 30 minutes for the saffron to steep.

Combine agar-agar powder, sugar and water and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolve. Pour in milk together with the saffron strands. Bring to a boil.

Pour the jelly mixture into a mould or little moulds. Chill the jelly until well set.

To ease unmoulding of the jelly, ensure that the moulds are wet before pouring the jelly mixture.

The Saffron Milk Jelly was lovely. Hubby′s verdict: "Sehr gut!", which means "very good". This is what I am going to submit for the Think Spice event at Sunita′s World.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

A Fruit A Month - Peach

Peaches have been grown since prehistoric times. Native to China, peaches are considered a symbol of long life and immortality. They are found in paintings, the decoration of porcelain, and poetry. Peach seeds were carried all over the world. As they grow best in warm temperate and subtropical regions, they were grown in Persia before being transported to Europe, hence its ancient appellation, Persian apple. The Romans thought that they originated from Persia and gave the botanical name prunus persica.

A peach tree may grow up to 30 feet tall and can live for 40 years. Belonging to the rose family, it is a low spreading freely branching tree that has lanceolate leaves and sessile pink flowers. The fruit is a delicately fragrant edible drupe. On one side of the fruit is a distinctive vertical indentation. The thin, velvety, fuzzy skin of the peach can range from pink-blushed creamy-white to red-blushed yellow. Beneath is a pulpy pinkish-white to yellow-gold flesh that is juicy with acidic tang coupled with sweetness. In the centre of the fruit is a hard stone that is covered with a fleshy substance that is juicy, melting, and of fine flavour when matured and mellowed.

There are hundreds of varieties that vary greatly in colour and flavour. The nectarine, which looks very much similar to the peach, is actually a variety of peach. The texture of the skin is the one that differentiates them. Peach has fuzzy and dull skin, while nectarine is smooth and shiny. Generally, peach is classified into two major types; freestone and clingstone. The pit or stone of the freestone peach separates easily away from the flesh. This type is more commonly found in markets. The pit in the clingstone peach adheres firmly to the fruit. This type of peach has firmer flesh and is widely used for commercial purposes such as tinned peaches. There is also some semi-freestone peach which is in between the other two types.

Though peach is available almost year-round, it is best and cheapest in the summer while the peach season is at its peak from June until the end of September. Peach is harvested when it is firm, mature, and have just enough sweetness. As it ripens, it becomes sweet, juicy and delicious with a sweet fragrance. Choose for intensely fragrant fruit that gives slightly to palm pressure. Select for peach that is colourful. Peach should be thoroughly perused for soft spots as it bruises easily. Also avoid those with signs of greening. To ripen unripe peach, simply place it in a pierced brown bag at room temperature for a day or so until it becomes softer. Adding an apple to the bag will speed up the ripening process. Ripe peaches could be refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to five to six days. Bring to room temperature before consuming.

After harvest, commercially grown peaches are mechanically brushed to de-fuzz the skin. This is because most people do not like it. It is also the reason why the skin is often peeled before eating. To do this, just blanch it in boiling water for a few seconds, then plunge into cold water until it is cool enough to handle. The skin will slip right off. The pit can be easily removed by slicing from top to bottom and giving a slight twist.

The peach is a good source of both vitamins A and C. It is fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free. It can be used in various ways. Peaches are tinned in sugar syrup as slices or halves, poached, dried, cooked, baked, frozen, juiced, made into jam or eaten as it is. It could also be distilled in brandy and liqueurs. The Chinese preserve peaches. As an entry for A Fruit A Month event, I have used peach as a main ingredient to marinade chicken.

Peach Chicken

What do we need:

4 chicken thighs
2 skinned fresh peaches or 4 pieces tinned peach halves
1 inch knob ginger
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp chilli powder (or more)
1 tsp mustard
1 tbsp tomatoe paste
1 tbsp honey (omit if using tinned peaches)
1/2 tbsp light soya sauce

How do we do it:

Wash and pat dry the chicken thighs with paper towels. Make 2 or 3 slits lengthwise on them. Place the thighs in a zip-loc bag.

Peach based marinade

In a food processor, process all the marinade ingredients until fine. Pour marinade into the zip-loc bag, over the chicken. Shake well to coat the chicken. Refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight.

Line a baking tray with aluminium foil to ease washing process. Arrange the chicken thighs on it. Roast in preheated oven at 250°C for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over halfway through the cooking time and baste with some marinade. Turn the chicken back to its original position, baste again with some marinade if necessary and continue to bake for another 5 minutes or until evenly browned.

Serve immediately while it is still hot.

While roasting, the sweet aroma of peach was lingering throughout my kitchen. The chicken tastes very fruity.

Also check out a lovely Peach Butter Cake that also uses peach as main ingredient.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

For Chikie

It is my sister’s birthday today. Though Suganthi is her name, I call her Chikie and she calls me Chumie. Well, the story behind these nicknames goes back to about more than 25 years ago. There was this Malay language puppet show on television called Chumie dan Chikie, which means Chumie and Chikie. We both were fans of this show. Hence, our father said that I am Chumie and my sister is Chikie. Since then, those names stuck. It’s just the both of us who call ourselves by those names. The rest of the family does not.

I thought of baking something for her. After a lot of thinking, I decided to bake mango cake. I have never baked this cake before but then, it turned out to be very soft, light and moist with a mild mango flavour. For the aroma, I have added mango essence. The reason is because the aroma of mango comes solely from the skin. The flesh does not have any aroma.

Mango Cake

What do we need:

1 cup plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup mango purée
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp mango essence

How do we do it:

Sift the flour, bicarbonate soda, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Stir in the mango purée, lemon juice and the essence. Add in the sifted flour mixture and milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour mixture.

Pour the mixture into a greased and flour or paper lined pan. Bake at 175° C for about 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Remove from oven and leave the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, cool completely on a wire rack.


Sunday, 7 October 2007

Sweetish Reddish Condiment

Recently, I made onion pickle to be served along with murtabak for my daughter’s 3rd birthday party. Traditionally, this pickle is red in colour. So, to keep up to the tradition, I also coloured it RED. Let me share the recipe of this very simple sweet and crunchy pickle.

Onion Pickle

What do we need:

1 large onion
4 tbsp vinegar
4 tsp sugar
1 drop red food colouring (optional)

How do we do it:

In a jar, mix vinegar, sugar and the red food colouring. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

Peel the onion, wash and pat dry. Cut it into half lengthwise and slice very thinly. Place the sliced onion into the vinegar mixture. Set aside.

Within 2 hours the pickle would be ready.

Serve Onion Pickle with murtabak or simply with sambar and rice.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Jihvā for Ingredients - Banana

Banana, the world's most popular and eaten tropical fruit is available at anytime of the year. It has been grown for over 1 million years; probably one of the first plants to be cultivated. Native to Malaysia, banana is also suspected to be the earth's first fruit.

Banana is actually the world’s largest plant without a woody stem. In other words, it is not a tree, rather a giant herb of the same family as lilies, orchids and palms. The stalks grow up to 25 feet high. The stem is made of tightly wrapped leaves and has a terminal crown of large, entire leaves and a hanging cluster or a bunch of fruits containing anywhere from 50 to 150 bananas. Individual fruits are tiered, also known as "hands", with up to 20 bananas or "fingers".

The banana fruit is elongated, pronouncedly 3-angled, curved, hornlike, oblong, cylindrical, blunt and/or crescent-shaped. Also referred as nature's fast food, it comes prepackaged in its own biodegradable protective jackets or outer layer that is commonly called as a peel or skin. Unripe skin turns from deep-green to yellow or red when ripened. The inner portion is ivory-white to yellow or salmon-yellow firm, astringent, creamy edible flesh. It has gummy latex when unripe and turns tender and slippery, or soft and mellow or rather dry and mealy or starchy when ripe. The banana has numerous strings known as phloem bundles which run between the skin and the flesh. They are usually removed individually after the skin is removed. The commonly cultivated bananas are generally seedless with just vestiges of ovules visible as brown specks in the slightly hollow or faintly pithy centre, especially when the fruit is overripe. Wild bananas may be nearly filled with black, hard, rounded or angled seeds and have scant flesh. Sometimes, a black dead flower remains at the end of the fruit.


Banana is wonderfully sweet, mild, sub acid with a distinct apple tone. Even for local consumption, banana is harvested green as it is the only fruit that never develops its best flavour if left to ripen on the plant. After they are picked, the sugar content increases from 2% to 20% because as banana ripe, the starch in the fruit turns to sugar. Therefore, the riper the banana the sweeter it will taste.

Choose plump, evenly coloured yellow bananas flecked with tiny brown specks, which is a sign of ripeness. Avoid those with blemishes that usually indicate bruising. Once exposed to air, a peeled banana will begin to darken. To avoid discolouration, brush with lemon juice. To keep ripe bananas from getting softy and mushy, just refrigerate it. Though the peel will darken, the fruit remains unchanged.

A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minutes workout. Banana is a rich source of potassium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and dietary fiber. Being low in protein and fats, banana contains more digestible carbohydrates than any other fruit. This enables the body to burn off calories from carbohydrates more quickly and easily than calories from protein or fat. Banana is definitely a natural remedy for many ills. The inside of a banana skin could be rubbed onto mosquito bites. The juice extract prepared from the tender core of the banana stem is used to treat kidney stones.

In Southeast Asia and India, banana flowers and stems are eaten. The Caribbean and Southeast Asians use the leaves for wrapping and packing food. In Mexico, Central and South America, the leaves are used in cooking. The Indians serve their food on the banana leaves. In Eastern Africa, beer is brewed from bananas. Banana is such a versatile fruit that could be used in any form of cooking and baking. I am a great fan of banana. I just love the aroma of banana being cooked or baked. I have used it in beverages, baking and some Malaysian desserts. This time I have tried banana in pancake that I am submitting for this month's Jihvā for Ingredients event.

Banana Pancake

What do we need:

1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 large banana, mashed
1 egg
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp grated coconut

1 tsp butter

How do we do it:

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt.

Mix the mashed banana, egg, coconut milk, sugar and the melted butter together. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Combine the banana mixture with the flour mixture. Gradually stir in the grated coconut. Cover and leave the batter to meld for about 30 minutes.

Lightly grease pan with a touch of butter. Drop a tablespoonful of batter. When the pancake is full of bubbles, flip over and cook for another 30 seconds.

Serve Banana Pancake warm with a drizzle of palm sugar syrup.

Also check out my other entries using banana as a main ingredient:

Energy boosters- Strawberry Smoothie and Banana Chocolate Milk

Baked goods- Banana Bread Pudding and my ever famous Banana Butter Cake

Saturday, 29 September 2007

WBB# 15 - Leftovers

I had some extra cooked macaroni from last night's dinner. As I highly value food, I did not have the heart to throw it away. I am a person who eats until my plate is clean. Hence, the pasta went to the fridge.

This morning, I opened the fridge and wondered of what to do with the pasta. My thinking bell rang and I came up with a super simple breakfast.

Macaroni Frittata

What do we need:

1/4 cup cooked macaroni
1/4 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tap oil
freshly milled black pepper

How do we do it:

Beat the eggs with milk and garam masala.

On a non stick frying pan, heat the oil and pour the egg mixture. Sprinkle the pasta and mixed vegetables onto the egg. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat to prevent burning. When the top is almost cooked, very carefully flip it over and cook for another 30 seconds.

Serve Macaroni Frittata hot with dash of ketchup or chilli sauce. Along with a glass of orange juice, it makes a great breakfast.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Showing You My Cookbooks

Participating in events is so fun packed. It enhances our creativity. This time, there is this event that does not need us to cook. Rather we just have to show our cookbooks. This is more like a game and hey, I am enjoying it.

Collecting cookbooks have always been a great passion of mine. Bought my very first cookbook at the age of 12. Since then, I was into baking. Everything paused when I entered college. Later, continued after started to work until to date.

I bought quite a number of cookbooks during my 6 months stay in Malaysia for my delivery. Managed to bring back just a few. Many are still lying there. Hopefully my dear little brother sends them soon.

Below are just part of my collections that I wish to share for the Show Me Your Cook Books Event.

These are a few of my cookbooks. Some are in English language and the rest are in German language.

A large number of recipes are filed this way.

These are recipes in magazines, handouts and brochures. All of them are in German language.

Previously, I had also shared a few of my cookbooks here.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Think Spice... Think Mustard

Mustard is one of the oldest, least expensive and most widely used spices. For centuries, it has been used in cooking and as a medicine. Originally, it was the condiment, not the plant that was called mustard.

Mustard is a seed grain. Generally, it is globular, dark brown and just about one mm in diameter. Though mustard does not have any aroma, it has a very sharp and fiery flavour, which is more relevant. Precisely, there are three different kinds of mustard. White mustard is a round hard seed, beige or straw coloured. It is milder in flavour and has good preservative qualities. Black mustard is a round hard seed, varying in colour from dark brown to black, smaller and much more pungent than the white. Brown mustard is the same size as the black mustard, vary in colour from light to dark brown and is more pungent than the white, less than the black.

Mustard Seeds

Mustard seeds are used whole, ground into powder or processed further into prepared mustard. The leaves are used mainly in Chinese and Southeast Asian cooking. Whole seeds are used in pickling. It especially adds piquancy to Sauerkraut and is sometimes used in marinades as well. Mustard is an important spice in Indian cooking for it is the main ingredient used for tempering; the whole seeds are fried until it pops, producing a milder nutty flavour. It is also ground with other spices to prepare curry powders. Mustard oil is piquant oil that may be used in cooking. Powdered mustard is simply finely ground mustard seed that acts as an emulsifier in the preparation of mayonnaise and salad dressings. Mustard seeds could be stored for up to a year in a cool and dry area, away from light. Powdered mustard stays for about 6 months.

Over 4000 years ago, the ancient Greeks believed mustard had been created by Asclepius, the god of healing, as a gift to mankind. Mustard oil is a powerful irritant. It could cause blistering of skin but then, when diluted as a liniment or poultice it soothes and creates a warm sensation. Mustard plasters are used to counter irritants. Mustard has been used for scorpion stings, snake bites, epilepsy, toothache, bruises, stiff neck, rheumatism, colic and respiratory troubles. It is used to induce vomiting and an irritant that draws the blood to the surface of the skin to warm and comfort stiff muscles. Mustard is also used for bathing.

I personally feel that mustard ought to be used more innovatively in cooking. Therefore, here goes my entry for the Think Spice Event.

Mustardy Sweet and Sour Chicken

What do we need:

3 pieces chicken breast

1/4 cup tomato ketchup
1 tbsp prepared mustard
1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sesame oil

1 carrot
1 celery stick
1/2 red capsicum
1 medium onion
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup water
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard powder
freshly milled pepper

1 tsp corn flour
1 tbsp water

How do we do it:

Combine the marinade ingredients. Cut each chicken breast into 6 pieces. Marinade the chicken pieces for at least 30 minutes.

Slice carrot into thin rings. Dice the celery in 1 cm thickness. Cut the capsicum into 1 inch size pieces and quarter the onion.

Fry the marinated chicken pieces in highly heated oil for 2 minutes. Add carrot, celery and water. Simmer until the chicken has cooked. Add capsicum, onion and pineapple chunks. Stir in the mustard powder and season well. Finally, combine the thickening ingredients and stir in. When the sauce starts to thicken, remove from heat.

Serve Mustardy Sweet and Sour Chicken with hot piping rice.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Mahisha Turns 3 Part II

Today was another busy day. Assembling and decorating another cake for Maylisha's birthday celebration at the Day Care Centre was today's task. Yesterday, I had already baked a very simple chocolate cake, prepared chocolate mousse filling and butter cream. I did not plan ahead of how to decorate the cake. Just simply wacked it. I came out like this.....

Also made a few party packs filled with some chocolates and sweets. Once a upon a time, making paper bags used to be a passion of mine.

Finally, all the tasks for Maylisha's birthday celebration has come to an end. I am now on with my normal routine.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Maylisha Turns 3 Part I

It seemed liked I just gave birth to her but my little princess has turned 3 already. Its unbelievable how fast time flies. At times it scares me as well. I has been a custom that I always bake the cake for her birthday. Her past 2 birthdays were also the same. Maylisha loves Spongebob Squarepants and never misses the cartoon show. Therefore, the father insisted to have the cartoon character on the birthday cake. We planned to hold a small birthday party. My hands were tied the whole week preparing for the party.

Being a food lover, I prepared quite a number of food items. Ya.... ya.... all by myself. I was so very tired and exhausted. "Though small, it was a grand birthday bash." That was what my guests said. It made my tiredness to eclipse. The work does not end just there. Today I am busy preparing another cake and some party packs for the Day Care Centre as they will be celebrating Maylisha's birthday on Monday evening.

Spongebob Squarepants Cake

Chocolate Sponge Cake with Chocolate Mouse Filling and Buttercream Icing

Clockwise from top: Vegetable Briyani, Sticky Chicken,
Cheesy Vege Murtabak, Acar, Pineapple Pajeri, Prawn Sambal, Zuchini Sambar
Middle: Onion Pickle

Clockwise from top: Kuih Lapis, Sweetcorn Pudding, Tiramisu and Chocolate Sponge Cake

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

A Caramelized Success

I love those little steamed buttery caramel cupcakes sold at the stalls in KL, Malaysia during teatime. I have always wanted to make them by myself. First time tried, it was not so successful. Now, after a year’s gap, tried making them again. This time, it was a great success. Hubby wouldn’t stop eating them. He told me to make another batch for Mahisha's nursery's potluck party the next day. Made them, and everybody liked the cakes as well.

Steamed Caramel Cupcakes

What do we need:

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup boiling water

1 1/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup milk

How do we do it:

Melt the sugar on very low heat. When the colour turns golden brown, immediately remove from heat and pour in the boiling water. Return to the heat and stir until the caramelized sugar dissolves in the water. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Mix cooled caramel syrup, egg, sugar, melted butter and milk. Stir well until sugar dissolves.

Combine the wet ingredients to the sifted flour mixture. Whisk gently until it is lump free. Pour the batter into greased little moulds until 3/4 full. Steam on high for 15 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Celebrating 50 Years of Nationhood

Today is a momentous day to all Malaysians as Malaysia celebrates her Golden Jubilee. Malaysia's 50th year of independence is the grandest celebration that marks a significant milestone in the history of the nation that has a unique multicultural populace living in peace and harmony.

It’s sad that I have missed the one month celebration of spectacular and colourful events throughout the nation in conjunction with the Independence Day. Whatever it is, may I take this great opportunity to wish Malaysia and Malaysians scattered around the globe a very happy Merdeka Day.

Merdeka!!! Merdeka!!! Merdeka!!!

More details on the National Day Celebration

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Think Spice...Think Cumin

Guess what the second most popular spice is after black pepper. The answer is, CUMIN, the ancient spice that dates back to the Old Testament.

Cumin is a small dried fruit of an annual plant in the parsley family. Yes, it is a fruit and not a seed as how we have been calling it; cumin seeds. It is also often confused with caraway seeds that are milder to the taste, darker in colour, and smaller in size. Cumin is yellowish-brown in colour, uniformly elliptical and deeply furrowed. It is crescent-shaped, tapering at each extremity and at times, with tiny stalks attached.


Cumin is an aromatic spice with a distinctive, pungent, powerful, sharp and a slightly bitter flavour. The flavour is accentuated by toasting. It has a strong, warm and a spicy-sweet aroma. This is due to its 2.5 to 4% essential oil content. By storing it in an airtight container and placing in a cool, dry area, away from light, the flavour and aroma can be retained for up to six months.

Cumin can be used whole or ground into powder. Though native to the Mediterranean, it is a must in Indian, Mexican, Asian, Northern African, Middle Eastern and Latin American cooking. Cumin is also a key component in chilli powder, curry powder and garam masala. It is even burned with woods to smoke cheeses and meats. Cumin should be used with restraint as it can exclude all the other flavours in a dish.

With its digestive properties, cumin is the best appetizer of all the condiments. It is valuable in dyspepsia diarrhoea and hoarseness, and may relieve flatulence and colic. Being a high source of iron, it increases lactation and reduce nausea in pregnancy. As a natural way, cumin is also believed to increase breast size. The Romans and the Greeks used it medicinally and cosmetically to induce a pallid complexion.

As my entry to the Think Spice Event, I am introducing cumin to the classic and easy Italian pesto sauce.

Cumin Spinach Pesto Pasta

What do we need:

1 cup pasta

1 bunch spinach
1/3 cup toasted almonds
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin


How do we do it:

Wash the spinach leaves thoroughly and drain the water. Set aside.

Boil a pot full of water with a generous amount of salt. Cook the pasta in the boiling water to al dente or until the time specified on the pasta package. When cooked, drain and set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and fry the cumin seeds for 10 seconds until aromatic. Add the spinach and sauté just until tender. Transfer the cooked spinach into a food processor. Add onion, garlic, toasted almonds and grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse a few times. Slowly pour the remaining olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor. Blend until thick paste forms.

Pour the pesto onto the pasta, toss and serve hot.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

The Return...........

I have now returned home in Switzerland. It has been 2 weeks already but I still have not well settled. Life is no more the same. I am now a mother of 2, a preschooler and a baby.

Minding 2 children and nursing a baby definately needs extra energy. I concocted an energy booster to start up my tough day.

Banana Chocolate Milk

What do we need:

1 cup chocolate milk, chilled
1 large banana
1/2 cup corn flakes

How do we do it:

Blend the banana with the chocolate milk until smooth and frothy. Fill a tall glass with corn flakes. Pour the banana chocolate milk onto it. Top with chocolate sauce if desired.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Boy Oh Boy

Dear friends,

Though it's late, it's never too late to announce that I have safely given birth to a baby boy named Dhiran on the 27th of April 2007. I will be blogging again in August when I go back to Switzerland. Till then, take care every.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

Home, Here I Come..............

Dear friends,

I am going back home to Malaysia today. Will resume blogging soon from Kuala Lumpur. Till then, take care everybody.

Monday, 15 January 2007

Ponggalo Ponggal!!!!!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Ponggal. Like what they say "Thai piranthal vazhi pirakkum", I hope that this ponggal brings all the luck and prosperity to everyone in the whole.

Iniya Ponggal Nal Vazhthukkal
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