Thursday, 23 August 2012

Tokyo Itinery - Day 1

About a month ago, I went to Tokyo with my boyfriend and I had been postponing the blogging part of it until now. IMO, food there is mostly nyum at least where Japanese food is concerned and if you love ramen, soba, the rice bowls, and so on...but in terms of variety...I would say Malaysia still offers the best choices money can buy! I mean we have Chinese, Indian, Malay, Italian, Japanese, Korean and what-so-ever at much more affordable prices and they are easy-to-come-by at all hours. You are hungry and it's past midnight, so you just head to the nearest Mamak for a quick fix be it nasi campur, roti canai or even Maggi goreng! Plus a hot steaming cup of teh tarik. Or you can choose from the many fast food chains which are open 24-hour like McD, KFC, etc. In Tokyo, of course you have their 7-11 with a complete selection of all sorta Japanese snacks and "lunch boxes" where you can heat it up in their readily available microwave. Maybe it's just me but give me hot steaming roti canai any time! LOL. The first few days are heavenly for a Japanese-food lover. But a few days into munching your way through countless plates of sushi, ramen and soba...and also their Japanese rice sets where you have fish/pork/beef/prawns on rice etc I was pretty ready to get my dose of Malaysian food. Hahaha!

Of course, shopping is fun, but expensive. I even managed to find packets and packets of my fave fishy snacks from there! Walking and going around is...tiring...albeit confusing despite their fame for the excellent public transportation system...

At the Airport

Day 1 (1 July 2012)

Reach Haneda International Airport - Hotel (Hotel Horidome Villa)

As simple as it may sound, we were lost for an hour plus in the middle of the night on our first night in Tokyo. Yeap, we decided to forgo the initial plan of his (which he planned to the dot before our trip) to use a seemingly shorter way to reach the hotel as advised by a very *ahem* so-called native of Tokyo from the information kiosk. My advice is, check the operating times of the trains before you embark on the advice of some very helpful people and stick to the pre-made plans (cos the initial plan he made does consider the time of operation for the lines we were supposed to take).

NOTE: certain train lines operate until midnight only on weekends.

Anyway, we managed to find our hotel by 2am I think with the help of a part-time policeman. :S This hotel is definitely hard to find if you have to walk around cos all the buildings there look alike to me. @@ and with the rain, it is definitely not a very pleasant experience. :P

Just started walking, hence the grins :P

The hotel

Supper! (from 7-11)

Nyonya Udang Masak Lemak Recipe


1) 200g red chillies
2) 10 small shallots
3) 2 -3 stalks lemongrass
4) 4 cloves garlic
5) 5 pieces of limau purut leaves 
6) 3 x 3 cm belacan
7) 250ml coconut milk
8) 500g prawns
9) 1 small pineapple (cubed)
10) 100ml assam (tamarind) water
11) Sugar and salt to taste


1) Chop ingredients 1 to 4 and blend until they form a fine paste.
2) Using a little oil, fry the paste + belacan until fragrant.
3) Add in pineapple and fry for a while until they are all nicely combined.
4) Put the limau purut leaves and assam water and stir for a while.
5) Add in the prawns and then coconut milk.
6) Put sugar and salt to taste.
7) Simmer for a few minutes until prawns are nearly cooked and remove from stove. *They will continue to cook in the broth so once the prawns are pink, quickly remove them*

Note: This recipe is definitely on the not-spicy side. I would recommend adding 2-4 chilli padi to the paste OR some good chilli powder for more heat.

PS: photo was taken halfway through eating. :S forgot about taking pictures.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Savoury Beef Tartlets/Tarts

Next one up is my savoury beef tarts. I wanted to make pies at first but on second thoughts, that might be a little too much.

300g good quality minced beef
6 button mushrooms
1 small onion
A small dollop of butter
2 tbsp Worchester Sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of processed cheese
4 tbsp of tomato sauce

120g butter
160g all purpose flour/wheat flour
4 tbsp of ice water

* Marinate beef with Worchester sauce, salt and pepper and leave in the chiller*

1) Do the pastry first. Crumb the butter and flour together (I prefer hand but you can use food processor for a speedier way). Add in the ice water bit by bit i.e. tablespoon by tablespoon and you can adjust the amount accordingly. The consistency you are looking for is the dough-like smooth texture. Do be careful not to work the dough too much.
2) Keep in fridge until you wanted to roll them out. Keep chilled for at least an hour.
3) Roll into about 1/2 inches thick and cut them out in circles before tapping them into greased 9-hole muffin tin. Mine is about 4" in diameter and I get about 11 tart pastries when I'm done.
4) Poke holes into the bottom of the pastries when you're done before you bake them. If you don't plan on eating them yet, just leave them in the tin and keep them back in d fridge. :)
5) Bake for about 15 minutes or until brown at 200 degree Celsius. Pat them down using a spoon or fork in the middle of baking so the tarts maintain their shape.

6) Chop the onions finely.
7) Cube the button mushrooms.
8) Heat the skillet and drop in the butter.
9) Fry the onion until fragrant before adding in the mushrooms and continue stirring.
10) Add the beef and add the tomato sauce when the beef is browned.
11) Add in the oregano.
12) Switch off the fire and stir in the processed cheese.
13) Scoop about a tablespoon of filling for each tart and distribute the remaining amongst them.

Raisins Scones Recipe

Today I decided to do a sorta English tea spread, the kind usually served in three tiers in restaurants with scones, cakes, cookies or biscuits, pies/tarts, sandwiches and fresh fruits accompanied by the usual English Tea which will be either Earl Grey, Darjeeling or English Breakfast Tea. The more creative cafes now have like fusion flower tea with different taste and flavours like one in Penang, the Suffolk House serves a very very commendable version of English Tea spread :)

Anyway, I for one do not know how my family will be able to finish everything if I'm to do everything so I decided to stick with the classic cucumber sandwiches, scones and little savoury tarts (beef) - recipe here

For scones, I planned to shape them like the classic english scones at first, but in the end just decided to forgo the effort and drop them off straight off the ladle. :P
This said, my scones do not have the classic golden brown top and bottom and whitish belt in the middle. However, they tasted fine and crisp on the outside and fluffy in the inside. Yay!

My Version of SCONES! with raisins of course.

220g self raising flour
1 tsp double action baking powder
40g butter
40g sugar
2 small eggs
120ml milk ( I used HL milk but it gave a nice vanilla-ish smell to my scones)
1 tsp vanilla essence


(before starting, heat oven to 200 degree Celsius)

 1) Mix the flour, baking powder, and sugar together and add in the cold butter. Crumb them until you get breadcrumbs-like texture. Due to the low amount of butter, you will basically get back a mixture which looks like flour with the butter inside...somewhere...LOL (as opposed to those of tarts HERE)
2) Stir in the eggs and vanilla essence.
3) Add in the milk gradually until you get a rather sticky-ish mixture. I keep mine a little sticky but you can add in more flour or lessen the milk so you can shape it with sharp round biscuit/cookie cutter (This way you get the classic scones shape)
Do keep in mind that sticky batter=fluffier scones/softer in the inside...the more you dry them up with more flour, the easier they are to shape but they will be slightly harder...
4) Dollop onto greased baking pan (like me) or cut with cookie cutter as per mentioned.
*Remember to lightly dust the cutter with flour first*
5) I baked mine till golden brown about 20-25 mins (estimated).

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Jiu Hu Char Recipe

This Nyonya version of a vegetable medley is a favourite of my daddy so despite having to cut all the ingredients into tiny thin strips, I had a go at it again today. This dish is also quite easy to cook but the work that goes in the preparation can be quite tedious. In fact, I have already settled for a less-than-ideal cutting of the vege but they still took up about an hour or more just for prep work. *sigh* The things we do for love eh? ;P LOL goes... PS: I made no gurantee this is the authentic version that my grandmas (from both side of my parents who are really nyonyas) used to make but it's as close an imitation (technicalities aside). Haha. That is, the correct cutting of the vege has to be thinner than a matchstick (at least the version my grandma insisted on and the ones my mum used to make). Mine is ummm...about the size of a matchstick...I think..LOL. Oyeah, the portion using this recipe is about average, roughly 4-5 persons' portion?

*All the ingredients except shrimps are sliced thinly as per mentioned, yes, even the pork belly and cuttlefish)*  


One turnip (size varies according to how much you wanna make but the more time this dish is reheated, the better!)
One medium carrot 6-8 medium dried black mushrooms (soak them for about an hour before cutting)
2 dried cuttlefish (make sure you pull out the plastic-ish thing on their spine before you cut them up)
a small saucer (about half grab of a hand) of dried shrimps
100g pork belly (season in light soy sauce, pepper and corn flour before using)
3 cloves garlic (chopped finely)
1 small onion
2-3 tbsp of soy sauce
2 tbsp of oyster sauce

1) Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet, lightly brown the onion, then add in garlic and fry till fragrant.
2) Add in  pork belly, stir around a while and then add in cuttlefish and shrimps.
3) Brown them a little (check by making sure all the pork are more or less white with a little brown sides).
4) Add all the mushroom and stir up before adding turnip and carrot.
5) Next just add a little water to avoid the veges and meat from sticking (half glass of water) and add the sauces. Adjust the soy sauce and pepper accordingly.

Note: Make sure there's at least a little bit of water so the turnip and carrot can soften. I usually cook mine a little softer as I do not like too much liquid. Do consider the fact that not everyone like their vege wet and soggy so add the water slowly and roughly wait until the water has dried up a little before adding more. Also, turnip produces water, mushrooms too! So don't go overboard. Haha! (No matter how much faster you want your vege to cook)

*Garnish with thinly sliced fried shallots if there's any*

I made sambal belacan to go with this and washed up a small ball of lettuce to go with this dish or you can use the white thin popiah skin...not for spring rolls one...the white popiah like in penang popiah..

Picture is NOT mine. I goggled it for illustration purposes here. :)

Sambal belacan is basically ground fresh chilli (either using mortar or even food processor) and mixing it with lime, belacan, salt and sugar.

I used 4 chillies, 0.5 tsp of baked belacan (to dry them up), 1 small lime, sugar and salt to taste. :))))

Ayam Pongteh Recipe

It's been another lapse since my last post. Plenty has happened and I have finally graduated from my Masters! So it's time to find new jobs but in the time being, I'm back in my hometown and to fill my days, I've been cooking my heart out. Haha. So today's menu is ayam pongteh and jiu hu char, both being nyonya dishes. I will only share the ayam pongteh recipe here as the jiu hu char (basically turnip, mushrooms, carrots, pork, dried shrimps, dried cuttlefish etc is going to be shared in a separate post). This is a very very easy recipe which you could hardly go wrong with...unless you burnt some of the stuff :S

So here goes...

5 shallots
5 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp sweet bean paste (taucu)
1.5 tbsp of sugar (most people use brown sugar/the big slab of gula melaka where you need to cut them into chunks but since it's not available, I improvised :P)
1 tbsp light soya sauce
2-3 tbsp dark soya sauce
2-3 medium potatoes cut into quarters
5 drumsticks (just the drumsticks and not the thigh)
roughly 2-3 drinking cup of water  


1) Chop shallots and garlic roughly and then grind them into paste using mortar into some sort of paste.
 2) Mash the taucu a little till the beans are all just paste then mix in the sugar and dark soy sauce + light soy sauce.
3) Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet and brown the shallots+garlic paste before adding the taucu mixture.
*Be careful you don't burnt them*
4)Add in chicken and potatoes and stir till you get everything covered in the sauce/paste.
5) Add in the water and bring to boil before simmering for about 45minutes until the potatoes and chicken are tender.  

*Garnish with freshly chopped coriander*

NOTE: depending on the brand of soy sauce (dark/light) you use, some adjustments might have to be made. Basically the ayam pongteh that I used to have is more towards a lightly salty but sweet aftertaste in terms of the sauce... so yeah, adjust and tweak with this recipe.


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