Archive for Salad & Veggies

Kumquat Salsa Asian Style


Beautiful bright orange with soft even tone, smooth firm skin that looks so promisingly juicy and sweet inside. These fruit has always intrigued me since the first time I found it. But how do I eat it? I tried peeling that firm oval skin once, only to find a slippery pulp inside. Maybe I should squeeze it, I wondered. Hey, nothing comes out. Only later after a thorough search on the internet, I understand that one should eat kumquat whole – skin, pulp and seeds.

Having been familiarized with unique flavours of kumquat, I toyed with many ideas how to make this an interesting dish. It has interesting flavours after all. One day I put them in my hot ginger tea with honey. The flavours is just beautiful. I love it. This would go great with pan fried fish steak. Hmmmm…. Mike’s gonna love it for his lunch today.


Lucky me, the kitchen had some fresh fillet of weaver fish. Perfect! Can hardly wait to experiment with new menu. I went straight to work on the kumquat salsa. Then marinate the fish. By 1pm lunch is served. Just beautiful as I had in mind. The kumquat salsa complements the pan-fried fish fillet perfectly……

Pan Fried Weaver Fish
just marinate in salt, pepper & lemon. Leave about 1 hour.
Quickly pan fried in olive oil or butter until it turns nice brownish color. Ready to serve with the salsa


Then I saw some recipes of candied kumquat (will make that next week), kumquat cheesecake – sounds interesting, must try soon – lamb tagine with kumquat (instead of that bitter taste dried lemon) – a definite YES!

I am submitting this recipe for BloggerAid Cookbook Cuisine
supporting their vision of alleviating world famine.
If you’re interested to find out more about this event, click here

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Winter Comfort: Red Beans & Green Chilies Soup


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The weather is getting chillier now in IM. Although I stay indoors most of the time and have the grocery shopping delivered to the room, I went outside yesterday for a quick stroll to a bakery next door. They have great pastry selections that are just perfect for morning coffee and afternoon tea.  Well, I got the pastries, but came back feeling horrible. Sniffles, heavy head and chest. I think I’m getting a bad flu. Can’t believe it, over a 20 minute stroll?

Good thing that I made the soup right before the flu hit hard. It was quite easy and quick to prepare, unlike the Indonesian “soto” or soup that would usually mess up my kitchen.  A nice change in the menu. I love the flavours of green chilies blend in nicely with red beans. A few pieces of pork ribs also brings out a nice rich flavour to the soup. Oh, I oven-roasted the rest of the pork ribs with minimum barbecue seasonings.  Some slices of corn bread on the side.

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**Recipe from Mark Bittman – NYTimes

* 4 tablespoons butter, olive oil, lard or bacon drippings
* 1 1/2 cups medium-grind cornmeal
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup sugar
* 2 eggs1
* 1/4 cups milk, more if needed

Cooking Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Put fat in an 8-inch square baking pan.
     Place pan in oven.
2. Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
3. Mix eggs into milk, stir this mixture into dry ingredients, 
     If mixture seems dry, add a tablespoon or two of milk.
4. When fat and oven are hot, remove skillet or pan
      from oven, pour batter into it and smooth out top.
5. Return pan to oven. Bake about 30 minutes,
     until top is lightly browned
6. Serve warm


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* 2 cups of dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight
* 1/2 cup chopped green chili peppers
* 3 cloves minced garlic
* 1 pcs large onions, chopped
* 2 pcs bay leaves
* 3 pcs of pork ribs
* 1/2 cup diced carrots
*  3 tbs tomato pasta
*  1 stalk leeks – sliced
* some diced bacons
* 2 tbs Sherry
* salt, pepper & sugar to taste

Additional Seasoning:
* 3 tbs paprika  powder
* 2 tbs cayenne pepper powder
* dried leaf oregano
* dried thyme

Cooking Directions:

1.)  Cook chopped onions & garlic until transparent
2.)  Add chopped green chilies, bayleaves, bacon/pork, stir for 2 mnts
3.)  Add beans, water & additional seasonings.  Add tomato pasta
4.)  Let it cook until beans are tender. Add carrots
5.)  Remove about 1 cup of  beans & pureed. Add leeks
6.)  Add sherry & pureed beans. Simmer for about 5 mnts
7.)  Serve hot with corn bread


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Peking Cabbage Pillows

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I’m such a cabbage fan. I love it in my stir fries, stuffed, rolled, souped, ‘tongseng’ or simply served as fresh sundanese salad or ‘lalap’ dipped in fresh ground chilis. But you know what’s the best cabbage dish is? stuffed shumay with drizzles of spicy peanut sauce….  That, would take me back home instantly. Such effects food can do to people.

I was quite intrigued to experiment with Martin Yan’s version of stuffed cabbage though. After a three hour session of cooking class he hosted in Shenzhen last week, we were sent home smiling carrying two bulky cooking books he gave us. One of the recipe in his book is “Peking Cabbage Pillows” – another version of stuffed cabbage using tofu, carrots and ginger.

Although, instead of using vinegar chili dipping (chinese style) I use Indonesian spicy peanut sauce.

Verdict: Tofu can be a great subs instead of fish meat that is commonly used. It’s lighter and always works wonders when dipped in Indonesian peanut sauce.  *just a little note: Indonesian peanut sauce is less sweet and has more kicks than the Malaysian/Singaporean satay sauce.

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Recipe by Chef Martin Yan

*  2 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
*  1 large napa cabbage (green cabbage)
(at least 6-7 cabbage leaves for wrapping)
*  1/4 cup chopped carrots
*  3 cloves minced garlic
*  1 cup minced chicken/prawns (skip for vegetarian)
*  2 tbs oyster sauce
*  2 tsp rice wine or dry sherry
*  1 tsp sesame oil
*  1 tsp minced ginger
*  1 tsp chopped cilantro

Yummy Peanut Sauce:
** For sauce recipe, click here

1.)  Parboil cabbage in boiling water for 2-3 mnts
Drain & rinse. Shave thick ribs at stem ends
2.)  Mash tofu in a bowl, squeeze to extract moist
3.)  Cook garlic till fragrant, add minced chicken
4.)  Add mushrooms & garlic
5.)  Add oyster sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, carrot
6.)  Set aside, mix in mashed tofu. Add cilantro
7.)  Place 2 tbs of cooked tofu on cabbage leave
Roll the leave, tucked both sides in
8.)  Place ‘pillows’ in a steamer. Steam high for 10 mtns
Serve with dippings

Recipe from “Culinary Journey Through China” by Martin Yan

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I am submitting this posting to DMBLGIT January 2009.
For more information to participate please click ~  HERE

DMBLGIT - January 2009

Tasty Sicilian Eggplant Pasta

* featured in Photograzing Seriouseat *

I’ve kept this recipe for quite a while, waiting to have the right ingredients and the right mood to cook it. Just by reading the description line by line, I already know this one is going to be an unbelievably gorgeous pasta. Check the recipe HERE.

Strange how a woman’s tastebuds can change drastically while she’s pregnant. I’m more of a curry person – or anything with strong asian flavours food. Not so much of a pasta person. It’s so easy to cook them but I won’t enjoy it as much as other asian food. But lately, anything Italian sounds sooo good….  either the hormone or the baby’s talking. This is probably the first time I cook pasta and actually enjoy it to the last bite. *Ha, you should see Michael, still in his suit and tie, sneaked back into the kitchen to get the second helping*

The recipe is based on an original Sicilian eggplant pasta, signature dish of La Trattoria, a well known South Italian restaurant in Geneve. The secret is all the fresh ingredients – and that garlic oil. Original recipe uses minced meat, Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese. We’re trying to cut down those fatty intake and just stick to the fresh vegetables. You know what, we still end up with a really yummy pasta.

(recipe for lunch, enough for 2 pax)

* Italian pasta: penne or maccaroni
* 1 large eggplants, skinned, diced/cut finger size
* 1 bellpepper (oven or pan roasted)
* sundried tomatoes
* 5-8 garlic cloves, crushed
* 200 gr canned tomato pasta/fresh tomatoes
* fresh basil
* olive oil
* 1 pc large onion, diced

Cooking directions:
1.) Stir fry crushed garlic in olive oil until turning light yellow
     Don’t let it overcook & get burned. Set aside
2.) Cook eggplant in drizzles of garlic oil. Keep tossing
     till the moist is gone & turn to nice brownish color.
3.) Boil the pasta until soft enough, do not overcook
     Drain, sprinkle with garlic oil, set aside
4.) Cook onions until they tender & become transparent
5.) Add crushed tomatoes/canned tomato pasta + a cup of water
     Let it simmer for 15 mnts then add chopped fresh basil
6.) Roast bellpeppers until the skin blister. Peel & remove seeds
     Cut into finger size. Mix into tomato sauce
7.) Mix in cooked eggplants, add chopped sundried tomatoes,
     the lightly fried garlic and chopped basil
8.) Serve with drizzles of garlic oil

Verdict:  guarantee of the second helping. There won’t be any leftovers. Trust me  😀


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Reposting blog to participate in VEGAN VENTURES by TastyPalettes.
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Potato Carrot Casserole

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This was made as a side dish to roast pork dinner with friends on Sunday. Our friend Linda, came with her two boys and husband for a weekend away. On a dinner last week, her husband Stu mentioned about her absolutely gorgeous roast pork. Ha! Now she had to bring one over. An old friend of ours, who plays golf with Mike was also invited. 

Sunday Dinner’s Menu:
* Roast Pork ala Linda – crisp to the skin but succulent on the inside
* Potato Carrot Casserole (thanks to Wienda for the recipe)
* Baked Kumara with cream cheese
* Steamed Broccoli
* and something on the side “Bakwan Goreng dengan saus kacang”
  (Indonesian vegetable fritters doused in lime peanut sauce)

Sometimes I forgot that I can’t push myself like before. At the end of that night, I was completely exhausted. Phew! It was a good evening, though.

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Eggplant Koresh

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Eggplant Koresh or Khoresh-e Bademjan is a Persian dish,  another one of my favorite dish found in cookbook “A Taste of Persia” sent by my dear foodie buddy, Fitri. Thanks a looooottt, luv!!! I have certain fascination with eggplant dish, which I think absolutely yummy in stews and grilling. 

This one is quite easy to make. Although it would be even better if we had the right kind of bread, but that focaccia bread we had was not too bad either. Actually the dish itself is quite filling already with all the eggplants.


* 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
* 4 cloves garlic, crushed
* small strip boneless chicken
* 1 tsp cracked black pepper
* 1/2 tsp ground saffron threads
  dissolved in 4 tsp hot water
* 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
* 6 pcs tomatoes chopped
* 1 cup unripe grapes or 4tbs lime juice
* 3 medium eggplants, peeled & sliced
* egg whites, beaten
* cherry tomatoes, roasted for garnish
* green peppers, roasted for garnish

Cooking Directions:
1.) Stir fry onions + garlic until transluscent
2.) Add chicken strips, cook until golden brown
3.) Add salt, pepper, saffron & turmeric
4.) Stir in tomatoes, unripe grapes/lime juice. Simmer for 15 mnts
5.) In the mean time, fry eggplants slices in separate skillet
    dip into egg whites to reduce oil absorbed while frying
    set aside
7.) Roast/grilled cherry tomatoes & green peppers for garnish
8.) Preheat oven 350 F. Transfer chicken & sauce into a deep
    casserole dish/pan. Arrange eggplant.
9.) Cover & bake for 30 mnts. Remove cover, bake for 15 mnts
8.) Serve with roasted vegetables on top as garnish

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Simple Veggie Soup

I need a quick meal for lunch-dinner. Yeah, we’re trying to get into the habit of skipping lunch and having just a light dinner. I always love “soto” – various type of Indonesian soups altho the process of making some soto can be quite complicated. The simplest way, is getting packaged instant soup spices. Other option is to use all powdered spices.

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with Oxtail Soup spices

* 2 pcs carrots, cubed
* 2 pcs potato, peeled & cubed
* little bit of zucchini
* spring onions
* 2 pcs of medium tomato
* little bit of celery stalk
* 2 cups of beef broth

* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 3 pcs garlic, chopped
* sprinkle of nutmeg
* 1 pcs of cinnamon stick
* 4 pcs cloves
* 1 pc bay leave
* 3 pcs indian cardamoms
* salt, sugar, pepper to taste
* sprinkle of fried shallots upon serving

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