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Call me crazy, but on a very hot and humid day in Melbourne, I craved a hot Indonesian or Malaysian style curry. Maybe because the hot and humid weather represents my homeland? So, I googled some recipes, and decided to settle with this curry recipe. It looks easy, doesn’t have a long list of ingredients, and the chicken can be easily replaced withtofu or tempe. The only problem was to find the same or similar curry powder they strongly suggested. With my fingers crossed tightly, I went to minh phat victoria market the next morning, and found it for a real bargain $2.30 a bag..! yaaayyy..!

I obviuosly replaced the chicken with fried bean curd, add some carrots to make it sound healthier, and cut the amount of oil, onion and garlic (come on, 2 large onion and 8 cloves of garlic!! you must be kidding..!!). I’m going to rewrite the recipe here, because I made quite a bit of changes.

The result? The fried bean curd acts like a sponge and soak up the creamy hot sauce really well. I personally like the texture of spongy and chewy bean curds, I don’t think I will get the same result with regular hard tofu. The sauce was thick, creamy and hot, not for the faint hearted. It really satisfied my craving though. 🙂 Next time, I would probably serve it with some roti. I heat some of the leftover for lunch the next day, and it tasted so much better. So far, this is my favourite malaysian hot curry recipe.

Ingredients :

  • 4 cubes fried tofu / bean curds, sliced
  • 3 small potatoes, diced
  • 1 large carrot
  • 4 tbsp Malaysian curry powder + 2-3 tbsp water, mix into a paste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 handful chopped coriander
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups of water

in a food processor, blend :

  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red chili (you can omit this if you don’t like spicy food)

boil the potato and the carrot to speed up the cooking process, because there is nothing more annoying than waiting for the potato to cook, while the other ingredients in the pot already done, even the rice.

heat oil, and stir fry onion mixture about 3 minutes, or until fragrant.

add curry powder, reduce the heat to low, stir fry until the oil started oozing out from it. (I didn’t bother, but it still turned out ok)

add the sliced tofu and vegies, stir to coat them with the curry paste.

add coconut milk, seasoned with salt and pepper, bring to a boil and reduce the heat, cover and simmer about 10 minutes.

stir occasionally, add some water until you satisfied with the consistency.

laddle to serving bowl, top with chopped coriander and serve with rice or roti.

sweet miso tofu & salad with sesame dressing

This recipe was inspired by vegan yumyum’s smokey miso tofu, I omitted the liquid smoke, because I don’t have any. I could have use smoked paprika, but I’m afraid it will ruin the whole batch of the delicate miso sauce. I also use white miso instead of red, I found red miso taste too strong, although it’s good for soup, but not so much for sauces and dressings. By the way,does anyone knows where to get liquid smoke in Melbourne?

On the side, we had green salad (cucumber, tomato, blanched broccoli) tossed with sesame dressing and dry roasted sesame seeds.

  • tofu with sweet miso sauce :
  • half block of tofu (300g)
  • mix together :
  • 2 tbsp white miso
  • 2 tbsp mirin / white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp hot water

preheat the oven 180C and sliced tofu 1/2 cm thick (I got 10 thin slices out of 300 g), arrange on baking tray lined with tin foil or silicone baking mat (I should get one of those)

brush both sides of tofu with miso, let it sit for 10 minutes

brush top sides, bake for 30 min, the sauce should appear darker and dry, and the tofu slices darkened around the edges.

sesame dressing (for the salad) :

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, dry roasted
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce (depends on the type of soy sauce you have, some are saltier than others)
  • 1 tsp sugar

for drinks, soda milk :

….and this is our current favourite summer drink, milk soda. 1tbsp condensed milk topped with soda water and ice cubes. Creamy and fizzy!

My housemate got a new heavy bottomed grill pan that weigh 1,000 kg, (well, not really). It look awesome, so I can’t wait to test the pan. I had 1/2 block of tofu in the fridge, so I decided to make tofu satay. Most recipe required marinating the tofu for at least 2 hrs. I just couldn’t be bothered to marinate, so I just make up the recipe myself. This recipe is so so simple, no marinating required (Life’s too short to marinate anyway). The smell of smoky caramelized kecap manis when I grilled these skewers were divine! The slightly charred bits was the best part of the tofu. On the side, I made some Suhana’s acar timun (pickled cucumber and carrot relish), as this is the ‘proper’ side dish for Indonesian  satay.I should’ve left the relish to sit for a few hours in the fridge to let the flavour develop, but, again, no time for that!

ingredients :

  • 250 g firm tofu (half a block), diced ~2cm
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis + 1 tbsp vegeteble oil (you can marinate the tofu in this mixture)
  • thin bamboo skewers

satay sauce :

  • 125 ml coconut milk (1 small can)
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp kecap manis
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan, stir fry the tofu around 2-3 min or until you sure they can hold their shape on grilling process, set aside to cool in a plate.

meanwhile, heat the grill pan

heat coconut milk and peanut butter in a small pot, mix, add soy sauce and kecap manis, stir thoroughly until slightly thicken and glossy, turn off the heat, add the sesame oil, taste ~yummm~ (try to resist the urge to eat them while waiting for the grilled tofu!)

thread the tofu cubes to the skewer 3-4 cubes per skewer, (I cut the skewer in half to fit the grill pan), brush the tofu skewers with kecap manis + veg oil mixture, and grill them, cook one side for 1 – 2 min, brush with some more sauce while grilling.

grill until the kecap manis caramelized and slightly charred.

serve with stemed jasmine rice and the relish.

drizzle,- or blob- (if the sauce is really thick) the satay sauce on top of the skewers.

I’m currently in love with these bombs, they go with everything! spaghetti, noodles, rice, couscous..you name it! All I need to do is make a little adjustments, If I want to eat them with pasta, I just use Italian herbs such as basil, or oregano. In this post, I have them with stir fried flat rice noodle and vegies, so I added chopped up coriander and rolled them in flour and sesame seeds before shallow frying them. We ended up eating the rest of the balls with sweet chilli sauce as a ‘dessert’.  Next time, I’m thinking to add some nori flakes, and have them with soba or udon noodles. 😉

snake beans

very easy. very-very quick. The type of dish when you feel I-can’t-be-bothered-to cook-but -I don’t-want-to eat-crap-either-and-I’m-too-broke-to-eat-out. we ended up waiting for the rice to cook after I finished cooking it. Snake beans tastes pretty much like green beans, but less sweet, and without annoying strings that stuck in between your teeth after dinner. The Asian basil gives the whole dish a lift in flavour, so I recommend you to not skip it. I imagine a squeeze of lime juice would be great, but I didn’t have any at that time.

ingredients :

  • 1 bunch of snake beans, trim ends, cut 4 cm lengths
  • 1 bunch of asian basil, chopped
  • 200 g firm tofu or half a block, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek (you can add more or less, depends on your love-ness to spicy food)
  • 1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

heat 1 tsp veg oil in the frying pan, fry the tofu for a few minutes, transfer into a plate

heat another tsp of vegetable oil, add sambal oelek, and garlic, stir fry until fragrant

add snake beans, if too dry, add 1 tbsp of water, add the fried tofu to the frying pan, cook until the beans turned bright green but still crunchy (around 2 – 3 min)

drizzle with vegetarian oyster sauce, and sesame oil, add the asian basil leaves, cook for another 30 seconds

serve with rice

29-10-09_1446

Don Don, 321 Swanston St Melbourne VIC 3000 – (03) 9662 3377

Today was a really warm and humid day, felt like summer is coming to Melbourne 🙂  After finished my clinic class, I felt like something cold and fresh, and quick.. cause I was starved to death… I was meant to eat at CJs lunch takeaway @ hardware lane (the laneway that runs between Lt Lonsdale and Lonsdale St), but unfortunately, they didn’t serve lunch special after 2.30 pm. So I decided to head to Dondon. They don’t have a long list of menu, but they always packed, esecially during lunch hours. The service was really fast.. I mean REALLY FAST!! I’ve got my food before I’ve even finish collecting my change!

I ordered a bowl of soba salad (I think it was $7.20 or 7.40?). Although they call it salad, it was pretty much a meal for me. The soba served with tofu, inari (sweet tofu), seaweed, mixed leaves, and some vegies (broccoli and tomato), and strangely, I’ve got a tiny piece of watermelon as well. The soba were served with sesame oil and soy sauce cold dressing (In the picture, you won’t be able to see the soba, it was covered with mountain of vegies). It was a perfect lunch for summer-y day. I wish I get more of the miso paste smeared on top of the tofu though. But, overall, it was a nice, quick, and cheap lunch.

Oh yeah, beware of the pigeons if you’re sitting outside, they won’t hesitate attacking your meal. The girl who sat next to me was a victim.

 

soba salad

I don’t have a specific measurement for this recipe, this is sort of a -last minute-use what in the cupboard -type of recipe. I packed this for lunch today so I don’t have buy take outs. Soba noodles usually packed in three individual serves, in this recipe, I used 1 serve of noodle. I served it with leftover standard stir fry vegies from dinner. You can tell it’s a leftover from the colour of the broccoli, they look a bit overcooked and tired, and already lost it’s vibrant green colour 🙂

Ingredients :

  • 1 serve soba noodles
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Japanese red chilli powder  (nanami togarashi)
  • 2 tbsp water to thin out the dressing

cook soba for 3 min. or according to the package instruction, drain, and rinse with cold water. if you have time, it will be better to chill the noodle in the fridge to stop the cooking process or to dump the noodle in iced water. Overcooked noodle will clumps and mushy. (I got this tip from my husband, he’s working in a fast food Japanese restaurant).

mix the dressing ingredient until smooth, taste, and add some more if you feel like it.

drizzle the dressing to the noodle, mix, and sprinkle a little chilli powder (optional)

I imagine this dressing will be better with grated ginger, but I was in a rush, and didn’t really have time to grate a ginger (yet, I still have time to take picture of the noodle..).

eggplant[1]
hmmm.. it may not be the most photogenic dish on earth, but the photo doesn’t do justice..
This dish is my favourite indonesian dish, a comfort food – on fire.. However, the original recipe calls for deep frying the eggplant, which I’m not really keen on doing it, so I just bake it in the oven.
Lebanese eggplant is the best type for this dish, it doesnt have as much water as the large eggplant. But if you couldn’t find lebanese eggplant, salt the sliced eggplant first, and place it in colander, let it stand for 30 min – 1hr, until you can see water drips from it.

So, I did several version of this dish, and this recipe is my 4th or 5th take, and I believe I have perfected it each time… 🙂 (at least for me..)

ingredients :

4 lebanese eggplants, sliced (any long thin eggplants will do)
1 – 2 tsp olive oil
2 bay leaves (dried is okay if you couldnt find the fresh leaves)
chilli paste :
2 large tomato
2 large red chilli
2 tsp tomato paste
1/2 large onion
1 clove garlic
1 cm ginger / galangal root
salt and pepper to taste

sliced the eggplants in slightly angled-long slices (5 cm)
spray or brush with olive oil on each side, season with salt and pepper
baked in 180 c oven for 30 – 40 min
make a cross with sharp knife on the bottom of the tomato, put the tomatoes in a bowl and pour boilong water from the kettle over the tomatoes, let it stand for 30 sec, and then peel the skin of
process the chilli paste ingredients in the food processor
take the eggplant out of the oven, it shoud be cooked thoroughly
heat oil in the heavy bottom pan with lid, sautee the chilli paste for 10 min, or until it reduced and thicken
add the eggplants and bay leaves, stir until the eggplant chunks are well coated
put the lid on, and cook on low to medium (if you’re in a hurry) heat for 20 – min
take the lid off, mush some of the eggplants (optional)
serve with steamed jasmine rice
enjoy 🙂

oh yeah, in this picture, you can see chunks of onion, this is because it’s an old photo, as i said before, I did several trials on this recipe, and found that processing the onion together with the chilli worked better.