Monday, 29 April 2013

Red Bean Porridge (Bubur Kacang Merah)

Bean porridge serves as a pudding in Malaysian fusion cuisine. Made from either mung beans (green, small ones) or red beans (both small and large Japanese Aduki type beans), they are sweet, creamy bowlfuls served warm, sometimes with char kuey.

150 g of red beans, soaked for 30 minutes
250 ml coconut milk
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon (white) sugar
1 tablespoon small sago
1 teaspoon pandan essence (or 2-3 fresh leaves if available)
pinch of salt

Boil the red beans in 2 bowlfuls of water (and the fresh pandan leaves if you're using them), seasoned with salt until they are cooked, topping up water if it dries out. This may take 30-60 minutes, depending on the type of beans used, so it may be advisable to do it in a pressure cooker if you have one.  Before the beans are overcooked, add the sago (and more water to allow the sago to re-hydrate and to reach your desired thickness of the porridge), sugar, pandan flavourings and bring to boil. When the beans are soft enough to mash with the back of the ladle, pour the coconut milk in and bring to simmer. Make sure the sago are translucent before serving the porridge.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Mackeral hot pot

This is one of the minimum effort dishes I came up with during my university days. It needs few ingredients, but still turns out an indulgent meal. Better still, this takes next to no effort to make!

Mackerels are definitely one of the healthier fish for consumption- they are not only high in omega 3 fatty acids, but also have low mercury content. They also have a rather meaty bite to them, which can make for a rather satisfying meal. Like most fish with strong fishy aroma, mackerel can be made more palatable with some fragrant ingredients like lime/lemon and ginger to take some of the fishiness away, as well as lending delicious tones to its flavour.

1 medium mackerel, gutted and cleaned
3-4 slices ginger
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green chilli (optional), cut lengthwise
1 block of tofu, cut into bit-size pieces
1 carrot, cut into about 3 mm slices
3-4 mushroom, sliced thick
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1/4 broccoli head, cut into small-medium florets
1 tablespoon thick, dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
dash of cracked black pepper and salt

Place the fish in an oven proof dish. Scatter the onion, tofu, carrots, mushrooms, tomato and cauliflower around and on the fish. The recommended sizes for the vegetables here (slices, florets etc.) are to ensure they are equally cooked at the end. Mix all the the soy sauces, sesame oil and seasoning in a bowl. Stir in the chilli, ginger and garlic into the sauce and allow them to impart their flavour into this mixture before pouring them over the fish and vegetables.

Let the flavours from chilli, garlic and ginger mingle with the sauces and oil before pouring onto the fish and vegetables.
Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake in the oven at gas mark 6 (180 °C) for 20-25 minutes. Part the fish flesh with a fork to check if it is cooked; naturally, larger fish may require longer cooking time, and when cooked the flesh should be white and flaky. Best served with freshly cooked rice and lime wedges.