When I was a kid, my late Dad used to buy Indian snack for our simple high tea. I have made cucur roday or masala vada(i) a few times aleady on my own. You can find the recipes on my blog: Masala Vada (Spiced Dhall Fritters): Hawkers’ Delight and Crispy Roday – a tribute to my late dad

The other savoury and crunchy snack which I LOVED and still do is Murukku. Murukku is the Tamil word for ‘twisted’ which appropriately described the shape of the snack, which is shaped in a spiked surface spiral form. 


Making Murukku is not difficult at all if you have the right mould or Murukku or Chakli press. I did not have one until last Summer when I was in Kuching with my family. I made sure I bought all the necessary moulds which could not be found in BE. I did not buy a specific Murukku mould or press but more so, a multi purpose mould, which can be used to make string hoppers or putumayam or idiyappam. The mould can also be used to make cendol. It’s a plastic mould with 8 templates of different patterns. It’s not the best mould, but it’s light weight and easy to assemble and to clean…. and its’cheap. Only RM 14 or 3 Euros!


Chakli or Murukku?

I have not heard of the word Chakli while growing up, since Murukku, which is the Tamil word was popularly used in Kuching or Malaysia and Singapore, for that matter. By the way, there is a slight difference in the ingredients used for making Chakli vs Murukku. Chakli has rice flour and besan or chickpea or gram flour while Murukku has rice flour and urad or mung dhal.

Since I am more familiar with the word Murukku, and that there’s a twist in ingredients between Chakli and Murukku and the fact that I never deep-fry my foods in my kitchen, I christened this recipe as “Baked Twisted Murukku

And guess what, I pulverised the organic  dried chickpeas into chickpea flour in my thermie. That was the first step. 


You could also make rice flour from soaked raw rice, but since I had a 1 kg bag of store-bought rice flour in my pantry, I wanted to finish that first.

The idea of baking the Murukku is adapated and improvised from Tarla Dalal’s recipe for Baked Chaklis which I have converted by using the Thermomix. Tarla Dalal used only rice flour, but I added freshly ground chickpea flour to the rice flour. And by the way, I like the idea of adding yoghurt instead of water to the dough mixture.

Ingredient A

  • 100 g organic dried chickpeas


Ingredients B

  • 100 g rice flour
  • 130 g Greek yoghurt
  • 10 g white sesame seeds
  • 5 g whole jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 5 g lovage seeds 
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 5 g chilli powder 
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sunflower (or corn) oil


Ingredient C

  • 1 tsp water (or eye-ball)


Method



  1. Pre-heat the oven at 180 deg C.
  2. Place A in TM bowl. Mill 1 min/ sp 10/ MC. Scrape the sides of the inner bowl and mill again for 30 sec/ sp 10/ MC. Scrape the sides of the inner bowl and the lid.
  3. Add B. Mix for 1 min/ sp 2. Slowly add C and knead for 5 mins. Eye-ball for dough consistency, which should be a semi-soft dough.
  4. Tip the dough onto a clean bowl and knead briefly. Put some dough mixture into a murukku press using the single star nozzle. Press and make swirls of 5 to 6 cm diameter murukku on a pizza crisper tray or a baking tray lined with silicone baking sheet.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for 16 to 17 mins. Do not over-bake as the murukku will be charred bitter.
  6. Cool and store the murukku in air-tight container.


My Verdict?

I LOVED it! The Murukku were super crispy. The flavours of the seeds – sesame, cumin and lovage transported me back to my childhood days. I felt the warmth in my tummy from the chilli flakes rather than in the mouth. It was a good feeling. The only drawback was, I was the only one eating the Murukku! My boys and hubby are not fans of the seeds. Sesame seeds were okay , but not the other Indian spices. Next time I will tweak the recipe and add ingredients that would appeal to their palates. Erm…. maybe the ingredients that go in making the Belgian Speculoos, without the sugar? Nope, don’t think so. Cinnamon and sugar go well. Cinnamon and salt? Nah!

Oh by the way, the addition of the natural yoghurt gave the Murukku just a bit of that tangy taste, which I actually liked. Tarla Dalal baked her chaklis for more than 30 mins which I thought was way too long. The Murukku came out perfect in my oven at just 15 to 16 mins baked on the pizza crisper and baking tray lined with silicone parchment sheet. I will definitely bake these again, on condition if I have a human helper in the kitchen to press the Murukku from the mould. That was the back-breaking and monotonous parts of the entire process, and the robotic Thermomix was no help at all (most unfortunately) *sigh*

 
Cheers! 

Watching our kids grow up is insanely, an amazing and stupendous experience. It started with the many hours of interrupted nights of breast-feeding or formula-feeding, diaper-changing and what-have-you. They say time flies, but having 2 sons of almost 5-year gap between them, I felt the years went by so slowly. I was practically there for them from infant to toddler to pre-schooler until they were 12. It was a BIG break for me when the older one turned 13 and started cycling to school on his own, but I had to wait for another 5 years before the younger one cycled to school on his own. Duh!

I work full-time and I could remember vividly when I had to rush from work to the crèche every single evening to fetch my boys. As a result, I had to forgo jobs that require travelling, meaning very limited job promotion (?) Was I unhappy? I didn’t think so, but I was completely stressed out from the hectic rushes in the evening to avoid the peak hours, and only to find out that I was the champion at arriving last at the crèche. To add salt to injury, I had to pay fines for picking up my boys after the closure hour. This routine went on until my boys graduated from grade school (or Primay school). Both the crèche and my boys’ Primary school had probably earned the most additional fees from poor me. There were not many me time then and hubby’s work place is even farther from the boys’ crèche and school, so what choice did I have? Sacrifice! Yup, a mother’s barmy sacrifice …😦

By the way, this loony phase has passed me by now, and a BIG sigh of relief for that! Although my boys are still in their teens, they are no longer dependent on their mama, or are they ….?

I couldn’t remember when exactly, but it was early this year, when my older son came to me holding a scruffy looking piece of paper.

Me: What’s that in your hand?

Son: Er….nothing

Me: Then why are you coming to me when there’s nothing?

Son: Ah…. actually there’s something I want to tell you…

Me: Yes, go on…. I’m listening

Son: Me and my besties are going for a holiday this summer… to the Balkans, at least 5 or 6 countries..?

Me: What?!! That’s still 7 months down the road and your final exam’s in June. Shouldn’t we be discussing that first?

Son: Well, we’re in a planning stage ….

Me: That’s a good plan, son, and who’s going to pay for your holidays?

Son: Erm…..that’s what I’m here for ….

Me: OH-KAY! Then I know what’s best for you. If you don’t get through your exams, there will be no hols for you. If you get through your papers, papa or mama will not pay your hols, but you have to earn it yourself. Get a summer job! Okay?

Son: Ok, mama *big smiles*

Now let’s see which condition did my son fulfill?

Well, he got through all his papers in June, and that meant….? Yup, getting a summer job!

And by the way, he got his summer student job at the company I work with. That’s brilliant, but wait until you hear this…. He has to work from 7pm to 3am! The timing of the shift is way too challenging. The 7pm is fine as he can get to work via public transportation. It’s just the end shift at 3am I was worried about. It’s just not doable, meaning there’s no public transportation at that wee hour at all.

And guess who came to the rescue?!!!

Well, his mama had to adapt her day-hour job to her son’s graveyard shift for the entire month of July! OMG!

Day 2 Night – A Vigil

I have never worked night shift before. I had to request for approval and informed the right people in my company about this temporary day to night shift hours before I actually went ahead with it. HR had to file my work insurance to include night work hours, in case of accidents et al. A few of my colleagues didn’t think I was serious. My boss was concerned about my health and well-being, while some others praised me for my dauntless and manic decision. I hadn’t the clue what I was getting into until I actually went through it for the first time on Monday, 4th July!

The first day was completely rotten. I could not concentrate at work. With all the deadlines to accomplish that week, I had to keep my mind focussed. My head was throbbing with pain and my back was aching. Fortunately, with my workload and deadlines, I did not keep tab of the time. In no time at all, it was 3 am. Time to go. It felt strange leaving the office at that hour. My son left at 15 minutes after 3. It was his first day and he had to go through all the security turnstiles, checks and screens.

To be honest, it was probably the best thing to drive at three something in the morning. There were hardly any vehicles on the roads. We were home by 3.45am. I went straight to the kitchen and made myself a mug of warm milk with honey and some grated nutmeg. Before hitting the sack, I washed my face and brushed my teeth. And then when my head hit the pillow, I started to hear birds chirping!! What?!! I looked at the clock, it was ten past four and it was the crack of dawn….. already! OMG!!! That’s madness! My sleep! I need my sleep!!!

I pulled my blanket over my head and literally slept under my blanket the first “night”. Luckily it was a cool night. I actually slept until 11’ish, so not too bad. That was the first day. Then I got myself a sleep mask or eye masks and a pair of disposable foam earplugs from Day 2 on…


 

The subsequent days were not very consistent. There were days I slept deeply and some days, I woke up like an insomnic zombie, like one morning for instance, I heard our neighbour pruning his garden hedges and mowing his lawn, eventhough I was wearing earplugs! For heaven’s sake, it was only 8.30am! I could not sleep after that. Arrrggghh!!!

I was truly sleep-deprived. 

The Right Food

Seriously, I found eating the right food made all the difference. My eating schedule had to change, too. I sleep from 4’ish to 11’ish (without any intruding noises).”Breakfast” is 12’ish noon and “Lunch” is 4’ish pm while “Dinner” is 10’ish pm. There were 2 evenings at work when free hamburger and fries were given to the employees, regardless of day or night shift. I had a hamburger one evening and THAT was lethal! I could not sleep a wink. I could hear my heartbeat and my breathing all “night”. Even though I was wearing my sleep mask, it was as if my eyes were wide open underneath it. Yup, THAT bad.

To be honest, the best food to eat is still homemade. You may think it’s a cliché, but there’s plenty of truth in this cliché.

Here’re what I have prepared for the past 2 weeks. About 80% of the meals were whipped up in my thermomix. Very easy and simple meals. These foods actually put me to sleep, literally speaking.


 

I was tempted to have the free fries at work, but skipped that completely. Discipline…. discipline… yes, discipline, please!

Two weeks down . Another two weeks to go! Yes, I’m counting the end of my night ‘ordeal’. LOL! Gosh, I admire my 3 Aunts (my Mum’s sisters) who were nurses and had gone through all the graveyard shifts until their retirements. Hats off to all who have gone through the hoot owl shift. As crazy as it may seem, I’m kinda glad I am experiencing it now, but I’m also looking forward to my regular day job. All this, because of a Mother’s insane sacrifice for her son.

By the way, son is doing great, but not a shift that he will want to end up with in the future. He’s working hard for his money *wink*

Oh yes, he also told me that he was very motivated to work because there was free hamburger the first week he was at the job and the second week, free fries with a choice of meat snack. He said, “Mama, are we getting free pizzas next week?” 

I told him, “Dream on!”

 

Blessed Sunday everyone !

 

Cheers

 

 

The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu Festival is a statutory holiday in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tibet. It commemorates the life and death of the famous scholar and China’s first poet, Qu Yuan (Chiu Yuan). The festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth month (Double Fifth) on the Chinese lunar calendar. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, hence, the date varies from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. This year, the festival falls on 9th June, 2016. Although it is not a public holiday in most parts of the world, most Chinese around the world celebrate the festival by preparing the most iconic food of the festival, the sticky rice dumpling. There’s no wonder the Dragon Boat Festival is also known as Dumpling Festival (Note: there’s a sad legend behind this Festival at the end of this post)



Journey of Love

Making the sticky rice dumpling, or most popularly known as Bak Chang (meat dumpling) in the lingo I am familiar with, has always been at the back of my mind since time immemorial.  

And since time immemorial, I have been drooling looking at photos of one of the dreamiest dumplings on my planet of food list. 

I have been telling myself for years, “I must make these dumplings“… BUT… Zilch!  To be honest, it’s not difficult  to make Bak Chang, but the laborious cum tedious process was the stumbling block. IF only I had kitchen helpers …

When my Mum and big sis came to visit me two summers ago, I was thrilled. I told them that we could dedicate an entire day making  my sought-after glutinous rice dumplings.  No probs, promised Mum and sis:-)

Labour of Love

There are many different varieties of Bak Chang ~ Teochew, Hokkien, Hakka, Taiwanese, Cantonese, Nyonya… gosh, I’m out of breath now … and the list goes on, still. Therefore, in my opinion, there is no one rigid way to making these dumplings. The filling for the dumpling varies, which can be customised to one’s preference. For instance, some people may like a bit of sweet in their savoury Bak Chang, using fatty pork belly instead of lean meat or some colour in their glutinous rice (from white to blue tip to black … Hmmm…sounds like the belt grading systems of Taekwondo or perhaps Tang Soo Do or Jiu Jitsu? Lol!). Well, I am not fastidious about all that. I don’t care! Just give me the Bak Chang, please.  

By the way, I was glad to observe Mum and big sis conjuring the magnificent Bak Chang live in my kitchen two summers ago *wink*

I showed them the ingredients for our Bak Chang. Both ladies nodded their heads, but Mum winced when she looked at the dried bamboo leaves. She was not use to using the flimsy-feel of the bamboo leaves. Mum used to wrap her Bak Chang with the sturdier and fragrant giant pandan leaves, which were in abundance in Sarawak and Kalimantan.  Big sis had no issues with using the bamboo leaves because she had made Bak Chang in KL and Batu Pahat. Phew

I captured the 2 sifus with the camera on my iPhone. While Mum chopped cloves after cloves of garlic and shallots, big sis did all the stir fries. Every single ingredient was treated individually and separately.

The dried bamboo leaves were soaked with several changes of water overnight. On the day of use, new water replaced the overnight water. Again, several changes of water took place until the water ran clear. Each leaf was dabbed dry with a towel. The cleaned bamboo leaves were then set aside until they were ready to be used.


The glutinous rice was washed and soaked for at least 2 hours. The shallots were fried first until crispy and were removed with a slotted spoon leaving the aromatic oil in the wok. Then my sis stir fried plenty of chopped garlic in the same oil  until fragrant and she added the pre-soaked glutinous rice. The rice was seasoned with salt, chicken granules, freshly-milled white (Sarawak) peppercorns, light soy sauce, mushroom oyster sauce, freshly-ground dry-roasted coriander seeds and 5-spice powder, all to taste. She then quickly mixed and stir-fried the glutinous rice and added half of the crispy shallots. Note, the rice must not be completely cooked.

In another pan, my sis added some cooking oil and fried some chopped garlic until fragrant. She then added the minced pork and diced pre-soaked shiitake and seasoned with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, mushroom oyster sauce, a little drizzle of sesame oil, freshly-ground coriander seeds, 5-spice powder, freshly-milled white pepper, salt and a dash of sugar, to taste. Finally, she added the remaining crispy fried shallots.



The dried shrimps were pre-soaked before they were quickly stir-fried. The peanuts were boiled. Then there were store-bought vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts and, yes… chickpeas, too!  That’s the beauty of homemade rustic Bak Chang :D

A Picture is worth a Thousand Words …

Thank you dearest Chefs for being the BEST kitchen helpers in the whole wide world. Love ya LOTS!


The journey of love continued with the boiling of the wrapped Bak Chang in a big pot of boiling water. A bit of salt was added to the water and a batch of Bak Chang was submerged in the boiled water. 

These Bak Chang were boiled for at least 3 hours and then hanged briefly to dry before consuming


The End of a Gruelling Journey: The Moment of Truth …
Tada!


Honestly speaking, it was beyond BombDiggity yummy inside AND out!


I wish to relive that journey of love on my own some day… Perhaps in my thermomix *wink*

Too bad, though, two years on, I’m still drooling at the photos of my Mum’s and sister’s glutinous rice meat dumplings!  *blush*

Pinch

Ouch!

Oh by the way, the Bak Chang froze brilliantly. You need to steam them for at least half an hour or more until they are warmed through. 

It made excellent wholesome breakfast or a quick lunch, high-tea or dinner. 

Mum and sis, thank you so much for taking my offer. You have succeeded in banishing my longstanding torments of craving for this thingie, here, in my very own kitchen! I’m sure you would have made the Bak Chang differently in your own kitchen, but with my simple and challenging bag of ingredients, we have managed to incorporate a bit of China in the tetrahedral-shaped glutinous rice savoury meat dumpling ~ Hakka (minced meat and boiled peanuts), Teochew (crispy fried shallots and 5-spice powder), Nyonya (ground coriander seeds), Hokkien (dark soy sauce and chestnuts). What more could I ask for:-)

Making Bak Chang is by no means an easy chore. It entails a string of well-thought and structured process.

I salute to all of you out there in making this annual repertoire of one of the most arduous and relentless products seemingly easy looking.

A Sad Legend Has It … 

(Adapted and modified from Beijing International “A Sad Story Of Qu Yuan” and the Wikipedia)

Have you ever wondered the connection between eating the glutinous rice dumpling with the Dragon Boat Festival? Well, I was one of the people who actually wondered about it, so I delved a bit further and read about the legend of the Chinese poet, Qu Yuan (or Chiu Yuan).

Qu Yuan was the number one advisor of the kingdom of Chu, however people were jealous of his position which also affected the King’s trust in him. The King unheeded his advice which resulted in the King’s death. The new King continued to enjoy the luxury life full of scandals and corruption. He thought Qu Yuan was a nuisance and a hindrance in his kingdom, so he was exiled. During that period, Qu Yuan wrote many patriotic poems.

One day, Qu Yuan met a fisherman, who never cared about the country and was quite satisfied with his life. The poet thought that the people only cared about themselves and not the future of the country. For the poet, it was meaningless to live, so he killed himself by drowning in the Miluo river.  The fishermen tried to rescue him but the body was never found.

In order to keep fish and evil spirits away from his body, they beat drums and splashed the water with their paddles.  They also threw rice into the water both as a food offering to Qu Yuan‘s spirit and also to distract the fish away from his body. However, the legend continues, that late one night, the spirit of Qu Yuan appeared before his friends and told them that he died because he had taken himself under the river. Then, he asked his friends to wrap their rice into three-cornered silk packages to ward off the dragon.

These packages became a traditional food known as zongzi (Bak Chang or glutinous rice dumpling). The lumps of rice are now wrapped in leaves instead of silk. The act of racing to search for his body in boats gradually became the cultural tradition of dragon boat racing, held on the anniversary of his death every year on the fifth day of the fifth month (equivalent to Thursday, 9th June, 2016 in the Gregorian calendar)

Happy Duanwu Festival !

Happy Dragon Boat Festival to all celebrating!


Enjoy your Bak Chang:-)

Cheers!

Larb is one of the iconic dishes of Laos and Isaan region of North Eastern Thailand. It is a warm salad of ground meat, with ground pork as the more common protein used, however chicken, beef, duck and fish make great substitutes.  

Little Thailand in Zaventem 

3 weeks ago, I was introduced to a little Thai takeaway by a colleague. He chanced upon the little takeaway joint when he was driving along the narrow street somewhere in Zaventem during lunch break. The tiny shoplot is not particularly an obvious sight unless you actually explore that street and pop your head in the shop to check.  The “Takeaway” sign is rather misleading as the tiny shoplot could miraculously accommodate 12 people at the most.  A business lunch dish is priced at Eur 9. Two types of dishes are prepared daily, spicy and non spicy. À la carte order is more expensive depending on the choice of protein – chicken, beef, pork, tofu, prawn or fish. 

In just 3 weeks, I have sampled their Panang Curry, Pad Grapao (holy basil stir-fry), Pad Thai, Pad See Ew (soy sauce stir-fry), Green Curry and Larb Gai (spicy chicken salad). I was completely Thai-away!

Oh by the way, the Larb Gai was not one of the dishes for business lunch, so I had to pay as per à la carte price. The portion was huge and came with steamed jasmine rice.


Fresh, Fast and Simple 

Methinks paying Eur 13.50 for the Larb Gai was daylight robbery because making Larb is not rocket science. It’s really simple to make.

I have made Larb several times but have not found the time to blog about it. Recently I made Larb again but with a twist. It’s a vegetarian Larb using minced Quorn. Quorn is gluten-free mycoprotein. I pan-fried the minced Quorn for 8-10 minutes with small amount of oil.

Looks like ground beef… well it’s vegetarian mock meat


The next ingredient is unique and a must-have in making Larb, ie toasted rice powder. Originally glutinous rice is used, however, jasmine rice is a great substitute. I used jasmine rice in this recipe.

The rice is dry-roasted on medium high heat until a deep golden brown colour is achieved. It is advisable to make as much as you need at a time.  I used about 2Tbsp jasmine rice for 200 g minced Quorn. 


Once the rice turned a ravishing brown colour, I transferred it to a stone mortar. The rice was ground to the consistency I wanted, not too powdery or flour-like but still fine with bits to bite on.  The smell of ‘popcorn’ emitting from the freshly pounded toasted rice was awesome.

Before assembling the Larb, I prepped the fresh herbs of mint, coriander and spring onion. Then I thinly sliced a shallot and a yellow chilli. For colour, I halved 8 cherry tomatoes.

Next I combined palm sugar, nam pla (fish sauce) and juice of 1 lime to configure the trinity of Thai marinade. Chilli flakes were sprinkled, all to taste. (Note, fish sauce can be substituted with light soy sauce to make this dish vegan)

Finally, the assembling of the dish!  My favourite part. After all, it’s an all-in-one-pot dish. Easy peasy!


And there you have it… My version of Vegetarian Larb. Scrumptious!


The extra sprinkle of the toasted jasmine rice powder was the pièce de résistance of an exquisite or almost authentic Larb dish. 

My Verdict?

I was glad I made good use of the 200 g minced Quorn. It was lying in my fridge for at least 2 weeks. I had wanted to make a vegetarian bolognese sauce for my boys after work in the evening but I never got round to making it. Well, my procrastination paid off. Hubs and the boys loved the refreshingly light vegetarian Larb. To be honest, Quorn is a rather dry ingredient, unlike chicken, pork, duck, prawn or beef when the technique of “Ruan” (cooking meat with water without a drop of oil) is used. I’m glad I added cherry tomatoes and the juice of 1 lime really perked up the dish and tantalised our palates. 

I’m linking this post to #CookBlogShare May 24-30 hosted by Hayley at Snap Happy Bakes

Have a great weekend!
Cheers!

Pisang goreng or kinchio kueh … These were the familiar outlandish words I grew up calling that moreish deep fried banana fritters.

Choice Enough

My late Dad seemed to know his banana fritters’ stalls absolutely well. He used to buy his favourite pisang tanduk (plantain) fritters and brought home generous quantities, much to everyones’ delight. The batter that coated each banana slice was lusciously crispy with the sweet and a hint of sour and succulent inner side. Dreamy!

Where I grew up, the choice of bananas were endless. The tastes and textures also differ from one type of banana to another.

Here in Belgium, I only know of one type of banana ~ the Chiquita Banana! It’s a good banana (no choice, really) which I have used in my bakes and of course, just eating as is.
 

By the way, I have never fried banana fritters here in BE, but have always longed to eat one. People who know me will know I never deep fry my foods in my kitchen. That’s why I tend to skip a recipe that calls for deep frying.  Which reminds me of my previous post which I experimented in my kitchen, Baked Crispy Snail Nibbles *wink*

And then I saw someone posted “Banana Fritters’ Batter” recipe on FB not too long ago. I read mostly positive comments of the result of using the recipe.



I was curious and thrilled, so to speak, so I jumped on the bandwagon! I caught the kinchio kueh fever. LOL!

My initial thought was to bake the banana fritters, but knowing that Chiquita bananas do not hold their form when cooked or baked too long, ie they become mushy, but very sweet, so still edible. Uh-uh, I scrapped the idea of baking and went for a milder form of frying. I pan-fried the bananas!! It may look paler than deep-fried, but I was blown away by the crispy batter.



The batter recipe is adapted from Ellin Chong‘s recipe posted on Thermomix Truly Asian group page on Facebook while I resorted to the method I am comfortable with, id est, while deep frying is the common mode of preparing banana fritters, I opted to pan-frying mine.

Ingredients A –

  • 150 g SRF
  • 100 g Rice Flour
  • 250 g Water
  • 20 g raw sugar (I used organic raw cane sugar)
  • 50 g Cooking Oil (I used Corn Oil)
  • A pinch of salt (I used fleur de sel)
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp sesame seeds (I did not use)

Ingredient B- 

  • 5 Chiquita Bananas

Ingredient C –

  • Oil for frying 

Method –


  1. Weigh ingredients A in the TM bowl. Mix for 30 sec/ Sp 4/ MC. Scrape the side of the inner bowl to mix the small amount of un-blended flour with a wooden spoon. Mix well.
  2. Pour the batter in a clean bowl. Set aside (in the fridge)
  3. Meanwhile, peel B and cut the bananas in any shape and form you fancy. 
  4. Heat some oil in a pan. Note I shallow fried the fritters, hence, not much oil was consumed.
  5. Coat each cut banana in the chilled batter. Pan-fry on medium high heat until golden brown.
  6. Remove the banana fritters with a slotted spoon and transfer them on absorbent papers.
  7. Done!

My Verdict?

I was pleasantly surprised with the result of my shallow-fried fritters. I thought it would take ages for the batter to crisp up but they did not take long at all, with the right heat, of course. Similarly, I thought the texture of the batter would be runnier, like pancake batter, but it was a bit thicker. The right amount of rice flour did a fantastic job in crisping the fritters. My boys loved the C*R*U*N*C*H*Y bits and so did I! I did not change the measurements of the ingredients one bit, except that I omitted using sesame seeds, because I had none that day. That’s not a big deal as I was used to plain banana fritters, anyway.

Will I use the recipe again? You bet! Oh yes, the next ‘victim’ will be the sweet potatoes in my cellar. Ha ha ha …

Ellin, thanks for sharing the recipe with us. I can conclude that the recipe is fully tried and tested in my kitchen as a foolproof recipe for that amazing crunchy result.


 
Happy Tuesday evening!

Cheers!

Like the Brazilian pão de queijo, these bite-sized crispy snail snack are super addictive.


Down Memory Lane …

When I was a kid, Mum used to concoct creative snacks for our afternoon tea. My siblings and I were always looking forward to 4 pm’s mystery nibbles made with love by Mum.

By the way, I have always loved the savoury snacks Mum made. I know I will not be able to replicate Mum’s kueh siput (snail cookie or snack or crisps), but I remembered most of the ingredients that went in there. While Mum always guesstimated the ingredients in her cookings, meaning she never had any exact measurements in the dishes she prepared, I tried my best to come up with some measurements, especially so when I started cooking with my Thermomix. With  the built-in weighing scale, I was forced to come up with a more or less precise measurement for the ingredients. 

Oh by the way, Mum deep fried her “snails” while I baked mine:-)

I was pleasantly surprised by the result!  

Ingredients-

Fermented Beancurd and Fresh Coriander

  • 110 g SRF 
  • 35 g tapioca flour
  • 35 g melted butter
  • 56 g egg
  • 15 g fermented beancurd
  • Half veg stock cube
  • A pinch of brown sugar
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Freshly milled white pepper
  • 20 g fresh coriander, finely chopped 

Method –

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 165 deg C
  2. Weigh all ingredients in the TM bowl. Mix for 20 sec/ sp 1.5
  3. Knead for 2 mins. The dough may or may not be too wet; if a bit wet to handle, add some SRF. Continue to knead for 1 min. The dough should not stick to the bowl or the blades. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl.
  4. Pinch a small portion of the dough and spread a thin layer on the teeth of the fork, the right side up. Press gently and roll upward to form a pattern of a snail
  5. Bake for 22 to 25 mins until golden brown. Note the timing of doneness depends on the type of oven you own. I baked mine for 24 mins.


My Verdict?

My sons had never eaten this snack before, hence, were the best guinea pigs in providing an honest feedback. I placed a bowl of the baked “snails” on the kitchen table. My younger son who was upstairs then, came down and said he smelled chicken soup, whilst my older son said he smelled baked banana cake. Hmmm… What an interesting and contrasting combos! When they both ate the kueh siput, they said it tasted like cheese crisps, BUT there was no cheese! They kept popping the “snail” in their mouths.  Yup… Very addictive nibbles, indeed. 

When I told my sons that there was no cheese, but fermented tofu, they couldn’t be bothered but kept taking one nibble after another. The “snails” were slowly diminishing. The only way to recuperate the volume was to make some more!! And I did exactly that, the following day …

Oh by the way, I used a pizza crisper tray and a baguette baking tray to bake the snails. They crisped perfectly.

To be honest, I loved my Mum’s deep fried kueh siput, but I’m glad I have found a healthier and ridiculously hassle-free alternative of indulgence😉

I’m linking this post to #CookBlogShare Week 19, hosted by Kirsty of Hijacked By Twins


Happy new week!

Cheers!

The weather has been amazing the past week. Mother’s Day was exceptionally SUN-TASTE-TIC! Perfect for any al fresco get-together. And that’s exactly what we did last Sunday at the restaurant. We opted to sit on the terrace, with parasols just to cover our heads from the scorching afternoon sun

The dishes we ordered were refreshingly light using fresh seasonal vegetables. We noticed a common ingredient on every plate. Asparagus!!

Hubby looked at me and I, him. Immediately, I read his mind… Okay, okay, we have not had asperges op vlaamse wijze or asperges à la flamande or (white) asparagus cooked the Flemish way in a LONG time. He’s actually right. The last time I made this dish was in 2012! Boy that was eons ago. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!

A Healthier Version

White asparagus is hugely popular in continental northwestern Europe ie BE, NL, FR, DE, AT, CH, TR, IT, ES and PL. It is a spring vegetable, hence is freshest from late April to June. Hubby was persistent to have the dish again and he actually bought a bunch of super fresh 1kg-pack of the herbaceous, perennial plant. Did I have a choice? Erm… Don’t think so… Duh!

By the way, I have posted a recipe of this dish on this post, Asperges op Vlaamse wijze following the recipe of one of my favourite Belgian TV chefs, Jeroen Meus. To be honest, I like the dish, BUT the amount of butter used in the recipe scares me LOTS! The original recipe for 4 pax calls for minimum 300 g farm butter and 6 hard-boiled eggs. In this recipe, I have reduced the butter to 120g with 4 hard-boiled eggs. A fairly huge reduction, but we all loved the end result. I have also tweaked Jeroen’s method slightly.

Here’s the out-turn…

How I did it …

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 kg white asparagus (ca 21 to 22 spears)
  • 120 g unsalted farm butter
  • 4 free-range eggs, hard-boiled 
  • Fleur de sel, to taste
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • A bunch of parsley 
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste 

Cooking asparagus is not difficult. The trick is to place the peeled asparagus (check out my recipe here on how to peel the asparagus correctly) in a large pot of cold water with a pinch of sea salt. It is important to use enough water to immerse and cover the asparagus completely. Heat the pot over medium heat and bring the water to a boil. Let the water simmer or bubble for a moment and immediately remove the pot from the heat. Allow the asparagus to rest for a few minutes in the warm water, depending on the quantity and size of the asparagus. I accounted for 10 minutes for 22 asparagus spears. Do the taste test to check for doneness. It should be crisp tender, cooked but not overly cooked. Remove the asparagus from the water and drain them on a clean kitchen towel.

Meanwhile, boil 4 eggs. Once boiled, immediately transfer the eggs to cold water. Peel the eggs and mash them lightly. Do not purée the eggs. Then mix finely chopped parsely while adding salt and pepper to taste. Grate some nutmeg and mix the egg mixture gently. Set aside.


Add 120g farm (unsalted) butter in a pan and let it gently melt over low heat. This Flemish dish requires using only clarified butter, meaning the white milk residue from the melted butter must be removed. Keep the clarified butter on a very low heat.

To serve, place 4 to 5 warm asparagus on a plate, then scoop a chunk of the egg mixture across the centre of the cooked asparagus and then drizzle some clarified butter over the egg mixture. 

Ta-dah!


My Verdict?

The original recipe says to add the egg mixture into the clarified butter and mix gently. I omitted this step. Instead, I drizzled the clarified butter over the egg mixture separately. That way, less butter was used and consumed per portion and the egg mixture was not a mushy mass. We could still see the eggs and the freshly chopped parsley with a light drizzle of the clarified butter. Sorry, Jeroen, I prefer my new-found method, and will stick with it. Without a doubt, thanks for the inspiration you have given me by unlocking the Belgian kitchen and putting big smileys on the faces of my other half and 2 boys.

I’m linking this post to #CookBlogShare week 19, hosted by Kirsty of Hijacked By Twins


This post is also linked to Tea Time Treats for the month of May 2016, hosted by The Hedgecombers and Lavender and Lovage


And to Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too

Happy Mid-Week!

Cheers!