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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. ūüôā 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.

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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!

A few days ago, my house mate cooked up butter chicken with her slow cooker, it looked yummy and smelt sooooooo good!! That night,unfortunately, I had to satisfied with my boring looking stir-fried vegies with boiled eggs.. ¬†The next day, I tried to recreate the vegetarian version of the creamy-orange looking curry. I searched for vegetarian butter – chicken recipe to find out what’s in the sauce. Most recipes seemed pretty simple, and I can pretty find all the ingredients in the pantry. In the end, I made up my own recipe, inspired by all recipes I found. The end result was a huge pot full of smooth-mild curry, not as sweet as butter chicken curry sauce, but waaay better than any other curries I made in the past.¬†That’s why I decided to post my recipe here.¬†On the side, was jasmine rice, (I know, it’s supposed to be basmati rice, but I didn’t have any) cooked with 4 – 5 crushed cardamom pods.

I reduced the amount of peanut butter (1/4 cup into 1 tbsp) because I simply run out of it, I think the curry would be much creamier if I add more. I also downsized the amount of butter in the recipe, I don’t know why, but I tend to reduce any butter in every recipes I found. One more thing, instead of heavy cream, I used light sour cream.

In food processor, blend until smooth:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp curry powder (I used keens)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and peper
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 medium potatoes (boiled, to shorten cooking process)
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch of green beans
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream / sour cream / coconut milk / soy cream
  • 3 tbsp butter / margarine
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (I used macro smooth peanut butter)
  • 1 tin diced tomatoes

melt 1 tbsp butter, and stir fry the onion mixture for 3-4 min

add tin tomatoes, stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to release some of the onion bits stuck on it, add peanut butter, bring to a boil.

throw in the vegies, add some hot water if its too thick, cook uncovered  for 10 min, season with salt and pepper.

turn of the stove, stir the rest of the butter / margarine, and stir in the cream.

Serve with rice or naan.

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 went to hispanic festival at Johnston street a few weeks ago, and sampled this corn pancake for the first time. I took a photo of them with my phone, but for some reason, it didn’t saved, so I couldn’t blog about it, as photo says a thousand words. They seemed to be fairly simple to make, so I googled the recipe. The pupusa itself¬† only has a short list of ingredients, masa harina (cornmeal), warm water and fillings. I bought the cornmeal dough at Casa Iberica (25 Johnston street fitzroy) for $5, I got 1 kg of cornmeal flour. (I need to figure out what to do with the res of them!).I stuffed the pupusas with refried beans (old el paso refried beans), and some¬† grated mozzarela cheese. I served them with simple salsa-ish salad (tomato, cucumber, and capsicum) and guacamole (mashed up 1/2 avocado with 2 tbsp light sour cream, and lemon juice). The pupusas were chewy, tasted kinda like tortila, very filling, and when I fried them, my house suddenly smelled like trippy taco. ūüôā¬† Contrary to my blog title, the dish doesn’t taste better the next day, they best served immediately, when the cheese still melting and oozing from the pupusas.

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (I used more than this amount-add water slowly, and adjust accordingly)
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 cup grated mozzarela cheese
  1. In a large bowl, mix  masa harina and water, knead well. Knead  to make a moist, yet firm dough. (It should not crack at the edges when you press down on it.) Cover and set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. (I skipped this)
  2. Roll the dough into a log and cut it into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Make a small bowl¬† shape from the balls, and put about 1 tablespoon of refried beans and cheese, and fold the dough over. Press the ball out with your palms to form a disc, taking care that that the filling doesn’t spill out.
  3. Coat a skillet with 1 tsp oil, heat on medium-high flame. Cook each pupusa for about 1-2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and blistered, or until the cheese melted.

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. ūüėČ

My husband has a tomato paste sensitivity, every time he eats something with tomato paste in it, he would have a sore and burning feeling on his tongue. Strangely, he’s not reacting to fresh tomato, tomato sauce, or sundried tomato.¬† Therefore, I tried to find a good lasagna recipe that has no tomato paste in the recipe. This tomato-less lasagna recipe is taken from vegie food cookbook, with a little changes. The original recipe was actually a free-form lasagna, meaning that you assemble the lasagna individually, I decided to bake it in the a baking dish, and I also add grated mozzarella cheese on top. Next time, I will mashed the pumpkin, and place it on the upper layer, cause what happened was, when I tried to slice and transfer a piece, it just disintegrate, which is not pretty, but still yummy though. I will not skimp on the mozzarella cheese either to glue the layers properly. I had the lasagna with some baked kipfler potato wedges, and broad beans salad with some ricotta, olive oil, and lemon juice dressing (oh my God,¬† peeling the broad beans shell was such a ‘fun’ chore!). The lasagna was alright, I will definitely perfecting it in the future. I’m still in search of a perfect vegie lasagna recipe, if anyone has one, please share.. ;). By the way, this is the recipe..

ingredients :

  • 4 fresh lasagna sheets
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach
  • 350 g pumpkin, diced
  • 500 g / 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

place pumpkin in baking dish, drizzle with olive oli and bake for 20 min in the oven or until tender

defrost the spinach in the microwave, and squeeze excess water

mix in ricotta and parmesan cheese to the spinach, season with salt and pepper

boil about 4 cups of water in a big pot

oil a baking dish

cook 1 lasagna sheets in boiling water for a few seconds until tender (don’t overcook, or the lasagna will rip, and that’s really annoying..!)

place in baking dish, spread with spinach mixture, sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese

cook another sheet of lasagna, and put no top of spinach

arrange the baked pumpkin on top of it, and add some more grated mozzarella

repeat with another sheet of lasagna, and top with the spinach mix, mozzarella, and the last sheet.

sprinkle with the remaining of grated cheese, or add some more mozzarella cheese to cover all surface.

bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and browning a little bit.

These soy bombs were awesomely delicious..! they were not bland at all, (which I thought thy would be), they surprisingly hold their shapes together while cooking, it is worth the effort. I’ve got the recipe from Cindy – where’s the beef? , and she got it from post punk kitchen, which they got it from..somewhere else.., well anyway, considering the long thread of comments, I decided to try this bombs. I actually made them twice this week.¬† My first attempt, some of them didn’t hold together, I think it was because I didn’t chop the onion properly.¬† We had them with spaghetti and tomato sauce. I changed the recipe a little bit, instead of peanut butter, I used free nut butter (sunflower seeds butter), I used 2 tbsp of soy sauce, and I leave out the basil leaves, just because I didn’t have any.

Two days later, I made the second batch. This time, I chopped the onion super finely, crumbled , and mix the tofu by hands, so the free nut butter mixed evenly. I served them with couscous, and grilled capsicum. I personally like them better with the couscous. Here’s the recipe for the smoked paprika couscous :

ingredients :

  • 1¬† 1/2¬† cups couscous
  • 1¬† 3/4 cup vegetable stock / water
  • 2 cups cauliflower, chopped, very small
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 red capsicum, halved
  • 1 green capsicum, halved

spices : (mix in small bowl)

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste

preheat the oven griller, lined a baking tray with tin foil, put the capsicum, cut side down, and grill until they charred, placed in glass bowl, cover, and let cool.

meanwhile stir fry the onion, cauliflower, and carrots until the cauliflower bits caramelized, add the spices, stir until all the vegies well coated, and fragrant.

add couscous, mix with the vegies, and add the stock / water (be careful, the couscous might splatter), cover, remove from heat, and let sit for 3 minutes.

remove the skin from the capsicum under running water, and sliced the capsicum lengthways.

fluff the couscous, stir in the grilled capsicum, transfer to plate or bowl, serve with soy bombs.

 

 

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

spanakopitaI called this my version of spanakopita, because it has broccoli in it (yes, I sneak broccoli in a lot of my cooking). I’m using frozen spinach because it cuts cooking time massively. I’ve tried¬† with fresh spinach in the past, I personally found it’s¬† too time consuming, and the result was a bit gritty, maybe i didn’t wash the spinach leaves properly. However, you can always replace it with fresh spinach if you prefer.

ingredients :

  • 1 package of filo pastry
  • 1 package frozen spinach thawed or microwaved 1.5 min, squeeze excess water (important!)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small – medium head of broccoli (chopped very finely)
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (or 1 small tub)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup melted butter / oil spray
  • salt & pepper to taste

saute onion until just cooked, add garlic broccoli and spinach, cook until the spinach dries up a little bit, transfer to a bowl

mix ricotta cheese into the spinach, add feta cheese, salt and pepper,¬† you don’t have to add lots of salt, feta cheese it’s quite salty as it is

melt butter in a microwave (~seconds), add 1 tbsp olive oil

brush pastry with butter, or spray with oil, top with another pastry, repeat until you have 3 – 4 (or more) layers

do another  3 Р4of filo Рbutter layers

oh yeah, don’t forget to cover the rest of the pastry AND the buttered pastry with tea towel, otherwise they will dry up, and believe me..you don’t want to have flakes of filo pastry storm in your kitchen

transfer 1 set of¬† filo layers to baking dish, if its overhang, that’s fine, spoon the filling in, and top with anther set of layers

tuck the hanging pastry, you dont have to do it neatly, just make sure you cover all the edges

brush the top with butter / spray with oil

bake in the oven 180 C for 20 min until the pastry turns golden (it varies, depends on the oven, just make sure you check it every 10 min or so)

let it cool for 10 – 15 min (if you can)

serve with mountain of salad