Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.
Showing posts with label At the Dining Table. Show all posts
Showing posts with label At the Dining Table. Show all posts

Sunday, December 04, 2005

My Blog Went Up in Flames!

Oh no! I did not mean to burn my new beloved blog. It’s young, barely growing and I’m killing it! No, it’s just that I’m joining in a one off event, thought up by Rachael at Fresh Approach Cooking, to let the world know how bad a photographer I am. But I guess you already know that judging from my previous pictures. Nevertheless, lets pretend those are not as bad to be in this entry.

The following not-so-kind-to-the-eyes-or-appetite picture will be featuring one of the food that I whipped up in the kitchen on spur of the moment and from inspirations and ideas I mixed and matched from everywhere. This particular one is about the current crave of Hong Kong food mania in Malaysia. You can see how greatly these Hong Kong ‘Char Chan Teng’, which is kinda like bistro ala HK style, had stormed Malaysia. It is really popular in HK and now it had spread over to our side, with adaptation of course. Recently, Babe in KL had just featured them, there are also few more outlets reviewed by Swee San from JustHeavenly and also at Yummy Corner.

As for me, I had only managed to try out and frequented two of the popular ones in Petaling Jaya area which is Kim Gary (both outlets in Midvalley, yeah I know that’s in KL but it is real close to PJ and I considered it in ‘my area’ too and also The Curve, ah, this is definitely superbly near as my condominium is right opposite it) and also Wong Kok Char Chan Teng (both One Utama and the outlet in SS2). If you’re not from Malaysia, PJ is an urban outskirt next to the famous KL town, where it’s younger in development. You can get more information on this wonderful town that I stayed in over at Wikitravel. If you do go over and read, I so happened to live in the northern “chunk” Damansara, as mentioned in there. Anyway, these restaurants are famous for the milk tea and also my all time favourite “Yin Yong” which is actually coffee and tea with milk, plus of course, the cheese baked rice. It is basically rice, with either chicken chop or fish fillet, topped with either tomato or sweet cream corn sauce and baked with cheese sprinkled on the top. Therefore, it is a basically a really simple dish to whip up with whatever you have in the refrigerator.

Alright, I have slide way out of topic. As I mentioned, this is a burning-my-blog event to disgust my reader. As after I came up with my concoction, which was on the spur to feed a hungry guy who just woke up from a deep sleep, I promptly serve him on the newspaper he was reading (if you look closely it is in the background) and had a quick snap with my poor quality digital camera plus bad lighting from my dining area, you get the idea how this is going to turn out. Well, I did not fuss to take a better picture when I saw my dear boy with a spoon on one hand and a fork on the other, looking wild eyed at the food with saliva dripping from his mouth (alright I might be exaggerating a little, ok, maybe a lot), and so I chuck the PDA away and let him dig into the food.

Well, so here goes to the ugliest food picture I have ever taken but yet given thumbs-up by a hungry guy (well, when you’re hungry, your thumb is bound to come up eh), but trust me, I tasted it and it can well fight those out there, except maybe a tad too sweet. (I’m such a food critic, *roll eyes).

My Version of Cheese Baked Rice with Chicken Fillet and Omelette in Tomato Pineapple Sauce

Phew, what a name. Anyway, here goes a really rough ‘guesstimation’ of my concoction as I just cooked it on a whim. Try it out at your own risk. But I believe you cannot go wrong with these as it is perfectly adaptable in anyway.

A palm size chicken fillet (chopped into pieces)
2 eggs (beaten)

Dash of soy sauce
Dash of fish sauce
Dash of Chinese Rice Wine

1 medium onion (chopped)
1 tomato (chopped)
Bout 3tbsp of tomato sauce
2 tbsp of pineapple juice (leftover from my pineapple tarts)

Olive oil
2 cups of cooked rice
1/4 cup of shredded mature cheddar cheese (or any cheese you prefer)

First, marinate the chicken fillets with soy sauce and fish sauce for about 10 minutes.
Then heat up non-stick pan with some olive oil.
Put in the marinated chicken fillets and pan fried still seared on the outside but still tender inside, it will further cook more when you bake it.
When it is nearly done, give a few good dash of Chinese rice wine for good flavour. Trust me, this is important.
Add another dash of OO, and fried your omelette with another good dash of soy sauce. Remove from pan.
Next, reuse the pan, if it is oily still, you do not need to add oil, if it is dry do so, and put in the onion. Sauté if for sometime till it is soft and a little caramelize.
Then stir in tomatoes and cook for another minute.
Add in tomato sauce and pineapple juice. Adjust to taste.
To assemble, simply scoop rice into whatever pan that is right, I do not have so I had used the bread pan instead (oh such shame), lined with foil.
Then spread half the fried chicken fillets over the rice, top with half the sauce.
Spread out remaining chicken fillets and top with the omelette.
Drown the top with remaining sauce and sprinkled with shredded cheese.
Bake in preheated oven at 250 degrees until the cheese is bubbly, melted and slightly browned here and there.

Serve 1 really hungry guy

Update: Thought my picture had ruined your upcoming meal? Think again and head on to Fresh Aprroach Cooking for more to "unwet" your appetite!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Spicing Up My Life: Part 1

When I was young, I used to not able to stomach spicy food. In fact, as a kid, I’m pretty fussy bout food. I choose what to put into my mouth and what not. I also, terrible me, always refuse to finish my food. I would usually complaint I’m full, and then my nanny’s daughter (the one who usually feeds me), would urge me for three spoons more. The naughty I would keep count and at the third mouthful, I would declare “Finished!” she used to be amaze, at such tender age it is impossible to con me. Although, I could not eat much but the miracle thing is, I’m still as chubby and red as ever with a huge rounded tummy. My dad used to joke there must be air inside there.

Somehow, as I grew up, I learnt to stomach more and more spicy food. By the time I shifted over to live independently in KL, I even developed a liking towards spicy food. In fact thinking of spicy food makes me salivate. I love Indian curries, I love Malay rendang and sambal, and of course all the spicy Chinese cuisines. I also seek for various spicy foods from all over other than Malaysia.

Therefore, nowadays, I have been seeking out to cook something spicy at home. Had always been a dream of mine, thinking of what I could conjure up with spices and chilies available locally. I always crave for the long-gone authentic home cooked Indian food that I get to eat during Deepavali in my friends’ house.

Thanks to Kitchen Capers, I had been exposed to both authentic Singaporean and Malaysian food and its simplicity in the making. There were many spicy Asian dishes featured there and it opened up so many possibilities for me to spice up my life!

Chicken Korma

This version of curry is not so spicy but nonetheless a real treat to the taste buds. You can get the forum version here but I have added curry leaves for kick and omitted some ingredients I did not have in hands. This is a real tasty treat and how I wish I could have had it with my chapatti.

6 pcs chicken upper thigh (chopped into 2 sections)
2 onions (diced)
50 g butter
120g plain yoghurt
150 ml UHT milk
10 pcs cardamom seeds
Bunch of curry leaves
Salt and black pepper to taste


2 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 tbsp Cumin seeds

1. Pound the spices together with mortar and pestle (You can also use a grinder)
2. Heat up wok with butter and add onion to sauté till soft and slightly browned
3. Add cardamom seeds and curry leaves to fry till fragrant
4. Add spice mix and stir fry to mix evenly
5. Add chicken and yoghurt
6. Stir to mix and then add the milk
7. Cover the wok and simmer to cook over medium heat for 30 minutes

Serves 4-6 people

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Fast Food Malaysian Style

In Malaysia, one of the most common habits among youths is staying up late at night and then goes out seeking for food in the middle of the night. Luckily here, we can find food 24 hours a day.

When we mention supper or commonly known as “yum cha”, the first thing to struck our mind is mamak! Mamak is an Indian-Muslim community in Malaysia who are famous for its fast and good food, available 24 hours a day. It’s in a way our own version of fast food. Mamak is like grown mushrooms after the rain in Malaysia. You can simply find one nearby whenever you need it. There are all sorts of choices ranging from breads to noodles to soups to rice with various spicy dishes. Definitely a place for food indulgence.

When I first came up to KL to stay, I lived in Wangsa Maju. Many foodies should know that it’s a heaven for food. Right smacked in front of my condominium is the infamous mamak, BRJ. There they serve truly delicious and sinful Nasi Lemak. More on that next time if I ever have the chance to go back for my true Nasi Lemak. But the sad thing is they don’t serve one of my favourite Indian cuisines, which is chapatti. Chapatti is an Indian flatbread made from atta flour(South Asian whole grain durum wheat flour).

Everytime I go to mamak, if I’m hungry (I never have this habit anymore to eat late at night), I would order chapatti. It is one of my favorite healthier options for a midnight snack. Chapatti is usually served with dhal, another favourite curry accompaniment of mine.

But now, lucky me, I have a nearby mamak which serves chapatti with thick and rich dhal. I would keep on ordering refill for the dhal. Nowadays, the “yum cha” session had toned down considerably, and even if we do go out, I seldom eat. Therefore, it has been quite some time since I have my chapatti fix. The only solution I can think of is to make my own!

Chickpea Chapatti

I came across this recipe from Zu's Blog, to make simple and easy chapatti. The part I find most troublesome is the rolling out. I had quite a trouble because it kept on sticking to the table and to my rolling pin. Lessons I learn is, to use more flours to knead it after resting and then use hand to first flatten it. Our hands are the best tool to feel the right texture needed for the bread. After that, use the rolling pin to flatten it further. Each time turning it 90 degrees and flatten again, to achieve a better rounded shape. Careful not to roll to thin or you’ll end up with crispy biscuit like bread instead.

One more thing is, I had replaced recipes ½ cup plain flour to make it all atta flour, and regretted it. The chapatti was slightly on the tough texture, and later I learnt that the plain flour is to make it softer. Next time I would stick to the right flour ratio. To coarsely grind the spices, I had used my good ol’ pestle and mortar, courtesy from my dear nanny.

1 1/2 cups atta flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil)
1 cup warm water
1 cup chickpea, mashed (1/2 can)
1/2 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely grind
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds, coarsely grind

1. Mix the flours and salt together
2. Add oil and water slowly into the flours and knead till it forms into dough
3. Add mashed chickpea, coriander and cumin and mix well
4. Rest the dough covered with cling wrap for 1-2hrs
5. Shape the dough into palm size and roll it out thin
6. Place rolled dough onto non-stick pan and cook till bubble forms. Turn over and cook.

Makes 8-10 chapattis.

* Malaysia * Good Food * Recipes * Travel *Reviews * Asia *