Sunday, 30 December 2012

Steamed Pomfret (Bawal Kukus)

Another blast from the past, this dish takes me back to childhood. Even though it was it was served on a rare few occasions, it is one of my more memorable favourites and is quite easy to make. You will need a big enough steamer to fit your fish- it can be bamboo or stainless steel or even just a large wok with a lid and a rack to hold up the plate of fish that is being steamed.

Bawal (in Malay), or pomfret is a warm sea fish which may prove difficult to obtain fresh in temperate climates. Its flesh is very soft and white, with a few chunky bones (easier to pick them out), making it ideal for many types of recipes. You can use frozen pomfret bought in oriental supermarkets or substitute it with other fishes with similarly soft flesh.

1 medium or large pomfret, gutted and cleaned (you could leave the head on if preferred)
Slices of ginger

Some cooking oil
Sesame oil
Chopped spring onions, optional

Soy sauce
Green chillies, chopped
Garlic, minced

Arrange slices of ginger on the fish after it has been cleaned. Place the fish on its serving dish and put it in the steamer. Add about 3 cups of water to the steamer, close the lid and set the heat on low/medium. Let the fish cook in the steam for about 30 minutes or so (depending on the size of the fish and how much heat is being applied to the steamer). Avoid opening the lid too many times-it will take extra cooking time to replace the escaped steam to cook the fish.

When it is done (use a knife to prod the flesh- if it is white throughout, the fish is cooked), remove the fish from the steamer. Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Add a few dashes of sesame oil to it. Wait until the oil is very hot before drizzling the oil over the fish- you should hear it sizzle the fish skin. Garnish the fish with spring onions.

Serve this steamed pomfret with some white rice, a small sauce dish of soy, chillies and garlic and a vegetable side dish if desired.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Tomyum Nabe

Nabe is a Japanese one-dish hotpot which can include any vegetables and meat in a good, hearty broth. In this recipe, I have attempted nabe with a twist by using tomyum flavour as the soup base.

This dish is perfect for the days when its cold outside
and want something fast and tasty! Cooked in a claypot dish, the hot pot will stay hot for longer as you sit around with friends and tuck in.

1 tomyum cube (or 1 tablespoon of bottled tomyum paste)
3 litres of water
1 carrot, sliced
1 chilli, whole (optional)
a quarter head of cauliflower, broken into florets
8 young corns
1 medium chicken breast, thinly sliced against the grain
4-5 mushrooms, quartered
50-70g of dried noodles per person

Bring the water to boil and melt the tomyum cube (or past) in it. Carefully arrange the ingredients in the pot and leave the lid on. Cook for 3-5 minutes and serve up. Condiments such as soy sauce and chilli sauce would go with this dish.

Tip: If you have a dish warmer, you can place this claypot on it and leave it warming over the tealights while you eat.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Kuih Gulung (Coconut Pancake Roll)

 ‘Green, spring roll-like snack filled with sweet, grated coconut’ pretty much sums up kuih gulung. Most kuih sellers in Malaysia will have them, but it’s something you can make at home with minimal ingredients, effort and time.

Normally, freshly grated coconut is used for this kuih. However, if that is not a readily available ingredient at your local shop, dried desiccated coconut will work just as well if cooked as mentioned below.

1 cup flour
180ml water
A pinch of salt
½ teaspoon green food colouring
¼ teaspoon pandan (screwpine leaves) flavouring
1 tablespoon oil

150g desiccated or grated coconut
2 heaped tablespoons of brown sugar, the darker the better
1 teaspoon water

Warm the sugar and water in a small pan over low heat. When it has dissolved, add the coconut and let it absorb most of the moister. When the mixture is nearly dry, remove from heat and leave aside to cool.

Whisk the flour and water to form a smooth batter without lumps. Add the salt, oil, food colour and flavour. The oil helps emulsify the ingredients together and allows the batter to cook into beautiful pancakes.

Spoon a ladle of batter onto a medium hot non-stick pan (add a drop of oil if using a regular pan), swirl it around to cover the base. Cook for a minute before flipping over and cook for another minute.

Place the pancake on a plate; add a spoonful of the coconut mixture in a line near the edge of the pancake. Fold in both sides and roll the rest up tightly. The kuih gulung is ready to be served. It can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Best enjoyed with your favourite hot drink!