MP just returned from Australia after an extended Christmas and New Year holidays in Singapore late last year until early this year. When she flew back to BE, she wanted to meet up with X and I. It used to be a yearly tradition – Hubs and I, X and hubs and MP and hubs, however, with the demise of MP‘s husband, we decided to meet ~ only us girls ~ without our other halves lately.

For X, weekends are near to impossible as she’s the biggest supporter and fan of her Professional footballer son, DJC. Football matches are usually scheduled on weekends and X has never missed a single match when her son’s playing or not playing. And weekdays are out of the question for X and I as we both work full time. Finally we came to a consensus and chose one Friday evening after work. I carpooled in X‘s car.

INSTANTly Charmed 

We arrived at MP’s apartment and were entertained with tidbits, nuts, vodka and coconut water. Mmm… Pretty weird concoction, but it was okay, meaning we were not tipsy:-)

MP confessed she’s not much of a cook. What she eats and cooks are instantaneous prepackaged meals.

While the 3 of us were chatting, she suddenly disappeared from the living room and came back with 3 packets of instant noodles!  Yay! We’re going to have instant noodles dinner!  

Uh-uh! MP was not going to cook. She was showing X and I and boasted how good the instant noodles were. The best, she said. I could not concur as I have not eaten instant noodles in a long time. 

By the way, I later googled that the 3 packets of instant ramens MP were showing us ranked Top 10 in the world, 2 of which ranked numbers 1 and 2 based on Ramen Rater’s Top Ten instant noodles for year 2013! Wow! I wasn’t even aware instant noodles were taken so seriously.

Nope! We did not meet to eat instant noodles – sorry to disappoint you😉 It was a special evening and we adjourned to a Thai restaurant in the vicinity.

   

Kuching Laksa with a Twist 

Three weeks after the 3 of us met, I stumbled upon the instant ramens at an Asian store in the city centre.

By the way, I have stopped buying or eating instant noodles but this one was different. I was enthralled by the word on the package. Laksa

I bought 3 packets, priced at Eur 2.45/ pkt, which were not cheap at all, however considering the size of the packet, I hoped it was a home run buy. 

Introducing Singapore Laksa La Mian.  It’s a huge packet with a net weight of 185 g, thus making it a main meal, and most importantly, No MSG added

 
  

Each packet consists of 2 sachets, (A) Laksa paste and (B) Laksa premix. The noodles or La Mian or ramen were pre-steamed and air dried. The “premix” is actually coconut milk powder (santan). 

I did not follow the instruction labelled at the back of the packet, instead I did it my way, which I was familiar with. I transformed the Singapore Laksa La Mian to Kuching Laksa *big smile

First, I made the prawn broth and the chicken broth; and then I cooked an omelette, blanched some bean sprouts briefly in hot water. I then cut a lime in wedges and finally there were fresh coriander leaves for garnishing.

 

I cooked 3 packets of the La Mian, but used only 1 sachet of coconut milk powder (Laksa Premix). It tasted rather odd if I used all 3 sachets. 1 sachet was plenty.

And here were the results!
  
  

With different lighting and camera angle, the colour of the laksa broth was creamier.

 

Verdict : In 2013, the Singapore Laksa La Mian ranked no 1 in the world and has been on the Top Ten on the Ramen Rater’s List ever since. With such elite ranking, the laksa must be good, right? Frankly speaking, I did not cook the laksa as it was, hence I could not judge the taste in its original recipe.  I have modified the broth with prawns and chicken. That could be the reason why the laksa tasted very homemade, however, the Laksa paste had a strong shrimpy flavour (hey bee). I’m absolutely okay with the extra umami flavour, however, the coconut milk powder was not my favourite ingredient. A little goes a long way. For 3 packets, I used only 1 sachet and added half a chicken stock cube and course sea salt to taste with 500 ml * 3 water proportion. All the condiments used to garnish my bowl of Singapore Laksa La Mian were revamped to that of  Kuching Laksa.  The la mian (ramen) was undoubtedly the best. I loved the al dente and chewy texture of the noodles. It was top notch. That’s what made the Laksa La Mian very satisfying. Will I buy this instant noodle again? Yes, why not? It was a good instant noodle. I’m just not sure if it was the best. I missed the sour component of the laksa.  I had to squeeze a few  wedges of lime to balance the flavours – spicy, salty, sweet, umami and sour.  THAT made my meal complete!

With quite a bit of broth leftover, I blanched some vermicelli and made a bento box of Kuching Laksa for me to bring to work the next day.  It was THE most satisfying and appetising lunchbox ever!

  
  

Nom… Nom… Nom!  It was YUMMEH!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Cheers!

There is a saying, “You can take a Sarawakian out of Sarawak, but you can’t take Sarawak out of a Sarawakian“. It’s a quaint way of saying that you are bound to remember your roots wherever you are:-)

This is so true in my case, where food is concerned, of course. I’m sure many people fall in the same boat as I do *wink*  

Moving to Belgium some two decades ago, revisiting and reminiscing childhood memories in any shapes and forms become a norm. The dish that I often re-visit time and time again is none other than the murky-looking green dish called Ka Chang Ma (KCM) where chicken meat is the main protein ingredient in the recipe. This dish is undisputably renowed (only) in Sarawak, especially in Kuching. It’s not everyone’s favourite dish, to be honest, because the dish has been stigmatised as a food for women in confinement. This conservative rationale no longer holds true today. KCM is cooked all year round.

Thermomix Cooking Defined

3 years ago, I posted a rather comprehensive write-up of this unique dish, with a story to tell. You can read it all here: Ka Chang Ma (The Mother of all Dishes)

While it was prepared the conventional way (with Mum’s recipe et al) then, I converted the recipe in the Thermomix jargon. Now, I have both methods on my blog which I can refer to anytime  :-)

  

KCM cooked the Conventional way (day light)

 

KCM cooked in TM5 (night light)

  

Cooking in either way had no influence on the taste (the end result), however, the cooking processes were obviously different. 

In a nutshell (metaphorically speaking): You want to go to Restaurant X. You have a choice of either taking the car which takes 5 mins OR on foot, which takes 15 mins. By either taking the car or going on foot, you will reach the same ultimate destination. The differences are the mode of transportation and the duration it takes from origin to destination. In this example the car was the Thermomix  way of cooking, whilst going on foot was the conventional  or traditional way of cooking. Got it?

Or simply, the Thermomix is just another collection of kitchen gadget in addition to a Slow Cooker, a Multi Cooker, a Pressure Cooker, etc that you might already have, only that it replaces at least 10 kitchen appliances: blender, grater, chopper, steamer, (slow)cooker, rice cooker, mixer, soup maker, dough kneading machine to name but a few.

Any conventional recipe can be converted to the TM method. There’s no secret. There’s no trick.  All you need to do is to decipher the logic.

  

How I cooked the KCM in my TM5

Ingredient A –

  • 10 g loose leaf KCM (Motherwort) dried herb 

Ingredients B –

  • 20 g sesame oil
  • 695 g chicken drumsticks 

Ingredients C –

  • 10 g ground KCM dried herb
  • 10 g ground ginger
  • 50 g whiskey 
  • 200 g water

Ingredients D –

  • 20 g whiskey 
  • 300 g water
  • 1/2 cube vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp ground ginger 
  • 5 g sesame oil

   
 How to prepare?

  1. Toast the loose leaf KCM in the TM bowl for 10 mins/ V/ sp1
  2. Grind the toasted herb when the temperature drops below 60 deg C. Mill for 1 min/ sp6 -> 10
  3. Tip ground KCM in a clean bowl. Set aside.
  4. Add B in TM bowl. Cook for 5 mins/ V/ R/ spoon.
  5. Add C and cook further for 22 mins/ V/ R/ spoon
  6. Adjust seasoning by adding D. Cook for a further 5 mins/ V/ R/ spoon
  7. Done!

 

Verdict : KCM is undeniably one of my favourite comfort foods. With its myriad of nutritional benefits, I could have this dish anytime I want, but like many things, there is always a limit. Moderation is key.  By the way, I have cooked several different dishes with or without using the Thermomix. There are some dishes that worked better the conventional way. For KCM, if given the choice, I would cook the dish in my TM5. Why? Because the cooking is 100% done in the Thermomix, from dry-roasting the herbs to grinding the herbs to braising the chicken. Et voilà, dinner’s served! Simply effortless.

The KCM Chicken dish (or braised Motherwort Chicken dish) is a local dish of Sarawak. For this I’m linking this post to April Tea Time Treats: Local & Regional Recipes hosted by Lavender and Lovage and The Hedgecombers

  
Ka Chang Ma is Motherwort, an herbaceous plant of the mint family. This recipe uses only the dried herb. I’m linking this post to Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs for Easter and Spring

  

Have a great week!

Cheers!

Of Red and Tortoises

My Mum and siblings know it!

Every trip to Kuching, Mum or one of my sisters would buy at least half a dozen of the red, soft, sticky and chewy Chinese pastry filled with mung bean paste for our brekkie. This is one of my must-haves whenever I am in Kuching. The cake (transcribed from the local dialect, ‘kueh‘ ) is moulded to resemble a tortoise shell. 

Remember Grand Master Oogway, one of the characters from DreamWorks animated film, Kung Fu Panda? His character is a tortoise and his name, “Oogway” is the English approximation of the Chinese word for ‘turtle’. In the film, Oogway is shown to be highly venerated for his wisdom, tenacity, knowledge and experience. He is considered a sage (a legendary icon with profound wisdom). 

Here’s one of my favourite quotes *wink*

  

And by the way, tortoises have one of the longest lifespans of any animal. They are known to have lived longer than 150 years, therefore, by equating Red + Tortoise, we arrived at the most powerful equation. In Chinese culture, the colour red symbolizes joy and happiness, whilst the tortoise is traditionally used as a symbol of longevity, power and diligence

Not Red but all-natural Orange Tortoise

Traditionally, Ang Ku Kuehs are prepared during Chinese New Year as offerings to the Chinese deities, as well as auspicious occasions such as a newborn baby’s first month (muah guek) or birthdays of the elderly to symbolize blessings for the child and good fortune and longevity for the elderly.

In modern times, the colour red is no longer restricted to special occasions. These sweet pastries are commercially available all year round in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Taiwan and Southern parts of Thailand. The two main components in Ang Ku Kueh (AKK) are the skin and the filling. The skin is made from both glutinous rice flour and sweet potato whereas the fillings are usually pre-cooked mung bean paste or grounded peanuts and sugar. The oval-shaped AKK is the result of the imprintment of the tortoise-shape mould used in shaping the sweet pastries.

Here were some photos I took during my last trip to Kuching in August last year. These were taken during the Annual Kuching Food Festival.
   
 

With the mass production of the AKK all year round, I am very certain food dyes are liberally used. I am not a fan of using food colouring in my kitchen, hence, my homemade Ang Ku Kueh will definitely not be Red.

Here’s the result of my all-natural Orange Tortoise Cakes. (Note the colour orange was the result of my using orange sweet potatoes)

  

This recipe is an adaptation of Nasi Lemak Lover’s AKK recipe with several modifications, as to the ratio of glutinous rice flour to sweet potato, reduced sugar and I added a pinch of salt and excluding food colouring. I did not use hot water as I was preparing the AKK in my Thermomix

Ingredient A

  • 180 g mung beans (rinsed with several changes of running water and soaked for 4 hours)

Ingredient B

  • 3 knotted pandan leaves

Ingredients C

  • 100 g sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 30 g corn oil

  

Ingredient D

  • 1,000 g water

Ingredient E

  • 220 g sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut in chunks 

Ingredients F

  • 170 g glutinous rice flour
  • 5 g rice flour
  • 15 g sugar
  • 20 g corn oil

Ingredient G

  • 80 g water

  

Ingredient H

  • 700 g water

Additional ingredients

  • Some corn oil
  • Some glutinous rice flour

How to prepare 

   

  1. Place A and B in the Simmering Basket (SB). Place E in the Varoma Dish (VD). Add D. Steam for 45 min/ V/ sp 2
  2. Remove SB and VD. Add the slightly cooled A without B into the TM Bowl. Add C. Blend for 45 sec/ sp 7.  Scrape the sides of the inner bowl and remove the dough into a clean bowl. Cover and set aside.
  3. Place the slightly cooled E into the TM Bowl. Blend for 5 sec/ sp 6. Add F and very slowly pour in G.   Mix for 30 sec/ sp 4. (Note, it is crucial at this stage to check the consistency of the dough. If it is too thick, add water; if too thin, add glutinous rice flour). Knead the dough further for 2 mins. Tip the dough out onto a clean bowl
  4. For the amount of ingredients I used in this recipe, I could make 18 AKK. Use your fantasy on how to put the mung bean filling in the sweet potato dough. I used a measuring spoon of a bit more than 1 Tbsp sweet potato dough and 1 Tbsp of mung bean paste. Try to form a ball and place the ball onto an AKK mould, which was pre-dusted with some glutinous rice flour. Press lightly with your hand and knock out the AKK on both of the long sides of the mould. Immediately sit the AKK on a greased banana leaf
  5. Repeat the process until the doughs are completely used up.  Pour H in the TM Bowl and set the dials to 30 mins/ V/ sp 2.  Once the temp reaches Varoma at approx 22 mins, reduce the temp to 100 deg C. Place the AKK on the Varoma set (Dish and Tray) and stack the Varoma set above the TM Bowl. Continue steaming until done.

   
  
 

Verdict: This was the first time I made Ang Ku Kueh which were not red but all-natural orange tortoise cakes! I have read several recipes, both conventional and thermomix way of preps on the net. Most of them sounded too good to be true. ” … cool the dough and shape in x balls …” or “… weigh each dough and shape in balls … ” or “… divide the dough into x balls …” . Balls? What balls? Honestly, I wished I could do that! Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) made her AKK for the first time and yet she could roll the skin dough into balls (yes, balls!) as well as the mung bean paste. Now, why couldn’t I do that? The sweet potato-glutinous rice flour dough was not easy to handle at all. I added a bit more GRF but dared not go overboard, lest the dough would be too hard and overly tough and chewy. I wanted a soft yet subtly chewy dough, so I ended up scooping the dough with a measuring spoon of 1 Tbsp and tried making a ball on a greased clean plate. Did it work? On the plate, yes, but not on my palm, so no balls. LOL!. Same thing for the mung bean paste. I had to add a bit more oil to make a ball. It was tedious task handlng the “balls” 36 times (skin and filling). I was so craving for AKK and when I finally made it, I was in 7th Heaven, but …..I would NOT suggest eating the AKK hot or warm, ie just coming out from the steamer (Varoma set). It was too soft and the skin was not at all chewy. It was like biting through a gelatinous pastry. Uh-uh! At that point, I was really disappointed and thought the recipe was a big, flat flop! And then I read on fatboo’s blog that the AKK can be kept without refrigeration for up to 3 days; and if they are refrigerated, to re-steam for 5 mins prior to serving. Did I follow the rule? Yes and No. I kept my orange tortoise cakes un-refrigerated for up to 24 hours only, not 3 days. Thanks to fatboo, the AKK tasted sublime the next day, like it should be – soft and chewy with the right balance at the same time. The glossy skin was absolutely fab! I did not even brush extra oil on my little orange tortoise cakes. Likewise, I was really glad I reduced the amount of sugar for the mung bean paste. It was bang on the money, not overly sweet. The subtle pandan flavour and the aroma from the banana leaf were undescribable. Just too nostalgic.

   
 

I had about 10 leftover pieces left. Since I am not used to leaving foods un-refrigerated for longer than 24 hours, I placed my precious orange tortoise cakes in the fridge. I did not re-steam the cakes because if I did, it would be a vicious circle. So I ate a piece of AKK in its cold refrigerated state. That was a BIG mistake! The skin was not chewy anymore. The sweet potato texture became more dominant. The filling was fantastic, though. In hindsight, I should have left the AKK un-refrigerated for 3 days. I guess that’s hinting me to make another batch of these Tortoise cakes, regardless the colour very soon *wink*

Ang Ku Kueh is Hokkien Chinese and is literally translated as Red Tortoise Cake. This sweet Chinese pastry is ubiquitous in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand all year round. For this, I’m linking up this local delicacy to April Tea Time Treats: Local & Regional Recipes hosted by Lavender and Lovage and The Hedgecombers

  

Have a great week!

Cheers!

I made my first foolproof steamed buns or paos 3 years ago. I’m glad I have gone through that pao-making journey the conventional way first before delving into the “mind” of an automated kitchen gadget early this year. This reminds me of learning to drive a manually-manoeuvred car first before going into an automatic-geared one.  

For the record, I am still a believer of manually operated cars. Call me old-fashioned, but isn’t that what we have to go through life first? Always learn and tackle the hard way first and everything else will be easy peasy? 😜

Three vs One

3 years ago, I went through the hurdles of getting the dough proofed 3 times before I could taste the fruit of my success. It was a long and winding process and the key word was ‘Patience’. My Kenwood did a fantastic job in kneading the dough to perfection…BUT it was the waiting time that consumed my day.

Here’s why …

First Proofing

Second Proofing


 

The pao on the right was proofed for the third time. The one on the left was proofed twice

With lots of patience, the paos turned out top notch in my books in terms of size and texture. 

L – R : Tau sar (red bean paste) bun and chicken bun

Then came the Thermomix.  My waiting time was reduced by two thirds as the buns required to be proofed only once for 30 mins.  That’s it!

And here’re the results…

Any difference?

    
 

Following my conventional pao recipe, I converted the method to that of the Thermomix way of cooking. Instead of vegetable shortening, I used corn oil.

Ingredients A

  • 120 g water
  • 20 g corn oil
  • 20 g sugar
  • 1 tsp instant dry yeast

Ingredients B –

  • 250 g Pao flour (note using plain flour is a healthier option but will not yield the white, soft and fluffy texture of a classic Chinese steamed buns)
  • A pinch of sea salt

Ingredient C –

  • 600 g water

How to prepare ?

  1. Place A in TM bowl: 30 sec/ 37 deg C/ sp 3
  2. Add B. Mix for 30 sec / sp 0 -> 6
  3. Knead for 2 mins
  4. Tip the dough on a work top and knead lightly to form a log shape. Cut 6 to 8 pieces from the dough.
  5. Flatten each ball into disc-shape and add char siew filling into each flattened disc.
  6. Proof the buns for 30 mins
  7. While waiting for the buns to rise, boil 600 g water @ 30 mins/ V/ spoon
  8. Place the proofed buns in the Varoma set (dish and tray). Steam for 25 mins/ V/ R/ sp 3. Rest for 5 mins before serving 

   
  

With homemade char siew filling

I would be lying if this was not yummy …

Verdict: The stark difference with using the TM was that, a huge proportion of my time has been saved as opposed to the conventional way. There appeared to be no difference in the texture of the pao immediately after it came out of the steamer (Varoma set), however, TM paos if left to cool too long would harden, unlike the traditional paos, which would remain soft and fluffy.  The only way to work around the TM paos was to freeze them as soon as they have cooled and steamed them when needed. Size-wise, TM paos were only slightly smaller (due to less proofing duration).  Both methods had no influence on the taste. They were equally yummy. Finally, use your imagination for the filling. It’s your pao, your call😜
I’m linking this post to Cook Blog Share Week 17 hosted by Sneaky Veg

Blessed Sunday!
Cheers

I must confess since owning the Thermomix, I have became somewhat analytical in the way I cook, and even trying to challenge why we can’t fry rice in the thermie the normal way? 

There are thermomix fried rice recipes on the net. Honestly ~ in my opinion ~ they should not be called “Fried Rice” (rather misleading, if you asked me …) but more appropriately, “Mixed Rice”, simply because cooked rice cannot be fried in the TM

Against all odds, the stubborn me decided to cook fried rice in the Thermomix, my TM5.  It was a DISASTER!  I ended up with a sticky and clumpy mass and felt like a downright despondent nincompoop …

By the way, the taste was great but there was absolutely no way I could fix it. I could transform that into a yucky looking porridge but that defeated the entire purpose. I wanted Fried Rice. Period !

   

Conclusion: Thermomix cannot fry (cooked) rice.

Thermomix , Noodles and Pastas 

To err is human.  I have learnt the grievous mistake in frying cooked rice in my Thermomix. That was my first and the last time I attempted such a stunt. 

Don’t get me wrong, though, the Thermomix cooks awesome rice and porridge, which my family has enjoyed immensely.

Here’s the verdict of awesome fluffy rice cooked in my thermie. I kept my rice warm by covering the simmering basket with an aluminium foil. 

  

And then came the question of whether we could fry noodles in the Thermomix…

That’s when my inquisitive mind became inquisitiver. Lol!

Here’s the result of cooking tagliatelle in my thermie. The pasta came out to perfection, ie with the right ‘al dente‘ texture.
 

Question: If we can cook pasta in the TM, why can’t we cook Asian-style noodles in there? 

Answer: Yes, we can!

Hint: Follow the logic of cooking the pasta (found in TM5 recipe book or chip) and you will end up with a foolproof Asian-style fried rice noodles cooked in your thermie. 

Here’s my first attempt and I LOVED it! My family loved it. 

  

Here’s how I cooked my foolproof Char Bee Hoon (Fried Rice Noodle/ Vermicelli). Note, you need to use thicker strands of vermicelli, not the fine ones to xerox my result.

By the way, the choice of ingredients and taste is up to you. These, you need not have to xerox mine at all.

Ingredients A

  • 30 g shallots
  • 15 g garlic

Ingredient B

  • 20 g cooking oil

Ingredients C

  • 355 g water
  • 2 Tbsp mushroom oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • A dash of ground white pepper

Ingredients D

  • 250 g ‘Go Tan‘ Rice noodles (Bee Hoon) – rinsed briefly with cold running water; do not soak 
  • 60 g white celery (stalk)
  • 60 g carrot
  • 60 g green bell pepper
  • 60 g red bell pepper
  • 60 g yellow bell pepper 
  • 1 stalk spring onion
  • 200 g fish cake, sliced 

   

  

How to prepare?

  1. Place A in TM bowl. Blend for 5 sec/ sp 5. Scrape the sides of the inner bowl
  2. Add B. Sauté for 3 mins/ V/ R/ sp 2
  3. Add C and cook for 4 min 30 sec/ V/ R/ spoon
  4. Add D. Cook further for 5 mins/ V/ R/ spoon. Leave the noodles in the TM bowl for 5 mins before serving. Note this last step is not necessary if you are using fine vermicelli sticks.

   

  

 

Verdict: With the right choice and type of rice noodle/ vermicelli, the texture and the amalgamation of flavours were accurately absorbed in the noodles without getting clumpy or sticky or cut-up. I kid you not. 

I wish I could have 2nd or 3rd helping but that was not meant to be. A 250g-packet of  Go Tan rice noodles was the right quantity to serve 4 people as a main meal. 

Using Finer Vermicelli Sticks

On the other hand ~ to give you an idea ~ using finer strands of vermicelli may result in the noodles getting cut-up whilst the blades were spinning, even at reverse/ spoon speed.

Here’s one I made earlier 😜

  
 

Verdict: As you can see, the strands of noodles were shorter, but definitely not a clustered clumpy mass. And hey, I wasn’t complaining. My guys were not complaining, either, so all’s well that ends well😋

Have a great week!

Cheers!

Let me walk the talk.  As promised in my previous post, Freshly-pressed Fragrant Pandan Kaya, I will walk you through how I extracted the juice from freshly-packed frozen pandan leaves on this post. 

Yup, frozen! 

And I’m not complaining! Infact I’m glad I could buy them here in Europe! Maybe I should start growing this herb in my garden😜

  
What is pandan leaf?

In Malaysia and Indonesia, pandan leaf is called ‘daun pandan‘. Screwpine leaf was the name coined by English traders who travelled to Asia.

Most people associate the use of pandan leaves only in South (East) Asian desserts, cakes and puddings, however, this sweet-scented leaf makes most savoury dishes appetisingly fragrant and aromatic. I have used knotted pandan leaves in my curries (Thereupatic Pandan Chicken Curry),  fragrant rice (nasi lemak) and glutinous rice (pulut panggang).  Absolutely bang on the money!

   

  

Green with Envy

If you’re wondering why most South (East) Asian desserts, cakes and puddings are green, it has nothing to do with St Patrick’s Day. The ‘culprit’ is the juice or extract of the pandan leaves! The juice or extract is used to flavour and colour the food. 

This brings me back to a Cookery program on BBC last year, presented by a popular Chef and Cookery Writer, Nigel Slater. He was pleasantly surprised by the delicious green custard dessert prepared by Helen Goh, a Malaysian residing in the UK. He thought custards were meant to be (only) yellow! Helen’s recipe can be found here. The dessert is commonly known in Malaysia as Seri Muka (beautiful face).  And this dessert is on my to-do list!  Honestly, my list is getting longer by the day.

Since owning the Thermomix, extracting the juice of fresh or freshly-packed frozen pandan leaves is a breeze! 

Note: I did not add a drop of water in the ‘first-press’ of the pandan extract. 

Here’s how I extracted the juice from 20 pandan leaves (washed and patted dry).

Then cut the leaves to desired even lengths (really up to you) with a pair of scissors.

Set the TM5 dials to 20 sec/ speed 10. Transfer the cut pandan leaves through the hole of the lid in 4 to 5 batches until all leaves have been blended. Scrape the sides of the inner bowl and the inner lid if necessary. 

Immediately transfer the pulp to a clean muslin cloth.

  

Squeeze the muslin cloth with your bare hands to extract the pandan juice into a measuring jug. 

 

As you can see, the first-pressed pandan extract from 20 leaves only yielded 50 ml of juice. Note, I did not add any water, hence, what you see above was the most concentrated juice extract!   This extract is recommended to be used to flavour and colour cakes, desserts and puddings.

For the record, I did a 2nd and 3rd ‘pressing’ with the addition of water of 50g*2 @ 15 sec/speed 10 (2 batches). Waste not want not😊
  
The less concentrated juice is used for making soupy desserts, like lek tau suan, bubur cha cha, ang tau t’ng, etc.

  
And by the way, the most concentrated pandan extract from 20 pandan leaves was used recently in my homemade fragrant pandan kaya.  Note, 20 leaves yielded 50 ml and I needed 40 g.

And here’s the result👍


 
Happy Days🤓

Cheers!

One beautiful Saturday afternoon, I hosted a potluck lunch for my girlfriends (without partners and kids), whom you have ‘met’ on these posts, here and here. One of the girls, C, just visited a farm near her place before coming to my house. She’s a great multi-tasker, conjuring 2 absolutely mouth-watering plates of stir-fried veggies a la minute in my kitchen! And not only that, she brought her fresh homemade pizza dough and baked 3 different toppings of pizzas that afternoon! Yup, in my kitchen. Thanks, C. All 3 dishes were absolutely DIVINE and went down our tummies effortlessly!  

  

Oh yes, the farm visit. C bought 3 dozens of super, super, SUPER fresh eggs. She must have waited for the chicken to lay the eggs at the farm as she was the last one to arrive that afternoon. Lol! Oh by the way, she also brought a Chiffon Cake pan, in the hope of using some of the eggs to bake a nice pandan Chiffon Cake in my kitchen, using my recipe, here.  

But alas, there was no baking of a Chiffon Cake because everyone was stuffed to the brim and was too tired to do anything “strenuous” that Saturday afternoon. 

Girls, thanks for bringing your “lucky” pot(s).  It was gluttony all the way. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!  😱

   

Before the girls left, C gave me 10 of the freshly laid free-range eggs. Boy, I felt so bad that I did not show her how to bake the Chiffon Cake. Sorry, C😦

Making Good Use of C‘s Fresh Eggs

I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the super fresh eggs I got from C. Making my childhood favourite toasted bread spread, called kaya, had always been on my to-do list since time immemorial. Kaya is a Malay word, meaning ‘rich’, because of the creamy and custardy texture from the coconut cream/ milk and eggs (chicken or duck) and sweetened with sugar. Then other flavours or colours come in. If the kaya is brown, palm sugar or gula Melaka or gula Apong is used, whilst the green-coloured kaya is flavoured with the sweet and fragrant herb called Pandanus (or Screwpine). 

  
I was lucky I had a packet of frozen pandan leaves in my freezer ~ not opened or used yet ~ but telepathically, waiting for me to conquer ’em. So yes, I was making the fragrant pandan coconut jam – FINALLY!

Great Helper

The most basic kaya recipe has only 3 ingredients ~ eggs, coconut cream/ milk and sugar, and yet most people shun from making it. Why? Because the task of standing hours on end stirring the mixture over the stovetop is immensely unexciting, dull and monotonous! It can take as long as 3 hours! It’s not like preparing slow-cooked meat stew that you can leave the cooking unattended, but you need to keep an eye on the kaya mixture, stirring constantly in order to end up with the texture you want, otherwise you have to start all over again! 

In my opinion, there is no one right homemade kaya consistency or texture. This is really subjective and very personal to one’s target preference.

By the way, I recently owned the latest model of the Thermomix, the TM5.  This kitchen gadget has been a great “helper”in my kitchen. Instead of me stirring the mixture, my thermie was doing the job. I could do 101 other things while waiting for my kaya to set. I was even watching the telly!

I know there are many shortcut recipes out there, that could churn the kaya in 10 to 15 minutes. But hey, I’m not the one who’s stirring, so time and energy are not the essence 😜

My objective was to make a decent kaya that I could enjoy and reminiscing my childhood days. Period.

As I have said earlier, the ingredients are pretty obvious in making kaya. Eggs (usually the yolks), sugar and coconut cream/ milk.  Since the eggs I got from C were super fresh, I decided to use 5 whole eggs!

Note: If you do not own a Thermomix, the ingredients remain the same, BUT you need to manually stir the mixture in a double boiler pot or a crock pot or a heavy bottom wok or pan. Eyeballing on the texture and consistency is key. Slow Cooker works well, too. You may want to refer to my pumpkin jam recipe, Slow-cooked Zesty Pumpkin Jam.

Ingredients

  •  5 fresh free-range whole eggs 
  • 140 g castor sugar (increase the quantity if you have sweet tooth, but 140 g is more than sweet)
  • 245 g coconut milk (if possible, get freshly squeezed coconut cream/milk, but there ain’t any here, so the best I could get hold of was 250 ml brik Chaokoh coconut milk)
  • A tiny pinch of sea salt (my secret ingredient)
  • 40 g freshly extracted first-pressed pandan juice (from 20 pandan leaves) ~ a post on how I extracted the pandan juice coming up next on my blog (here).

Preparation ( TM5 way) –

  1. Insert the butterfly attachment in the TM bowl and add sugar and eggs. Mix for 30 sec/ speed 3
  2. Add coconut milk, concentrated first-pressed pandan extract and a pinch of salt. Cook for 40 min/ 98C/speed 2 without MC
  3. Check the consistency of the texture by smearing a small portion of the cooked kaya with the spatula against the inner bowl of the TM. If the kaya mixture is still too runny, it’s not done yet, however, if the mixture takes a while to roll back to the bottom of the bowl, then it’s done. (Note: I had to do the ‘test’ twice as the consistency of my kaya was still a bit runny in the first 40 mins. I  added 2.5 mins * 2 at 90deg C.  Be warned that the texture and consistency of the kaya is subjective. If you prefer a runny kaya, then by all means, cook for a shorter time. I prefer a less runny kaya,  that’s all 😜)
  4. Once you have reached the texture you want, blend the mixture for 20 seconds from speed 0 to 4 for a smoother consistency (Note: you can blend above speed 4 if you don’t mind the mixture splattering to the lid and the sides of the inner bowl)
  5. Pour the kaya into sterilized jar(s). Refrigerate once cooled.
  6. Done!

   

  
My all-natural fragrant pandan coconut egg jam. 

How to eat Kaya ?

Imagine kaya as your Nutella spread, or peanut butter or jam or confituur. For me, I like to spread my kaya on white toasted bread with a layer of butter. The best brekkie or High-tea. Mmm… 

   
 

  

Oh by the way, with this recipe, I could only fill one jar, which is luckily bigger than the normal jam jars. It’s really quite addictive and Preciousss!! So you can imagine how miserly the consumption was. Lol!

This makes a great tea time treat anytime. For this, I am entering this post to the monthly Tea Time Treats Linky Party – March 2016 hosted by Karen of  Lavender and Lovage and  Jane of The Hedgecombers 

  
With such fresh eggs used in this recipe, I would not miss the boat this month on Dom’s Simply Eggcellent #13 – A Celebration of Eggs! over at Belleau Kitchen.

  
With the all-natural green colour from one of South East Asia’s most beloved herbs, the pandanus, I’m thrilled to link this post to Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs for Easter and Spring

  

A Blessed AND Peaceful Easter!

Shalom!