Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sambal Cincalok Sotong

When I was back in Pangkor for Ching Meng, my aunty froze fishes and sotong (squid) for my family to take home. It's been over a month or two that the sotongs are frozen in my freezer so I have decided to cook them today. My initial plan was to deep fry them coated with egg and grated coconut flesh, but that would be such a hassel cleaning up with all the oil and stuff. So I decided to make sambal sotong. Since my sister does not take spicy food, I have made cincalok sotong for her. (I forgot to take a picture of it though)

L-R: minced meat omelet, cucumber salad and sambal sotong

Here's how I cooked 2 sotong dishes at one go.

- 2 hands full of sotong (squid)
- cincalok
- 4 stalks of serai, sliced (lemon grass)
- 10 daun limau purut, chopped finely (wild lime leafs)
- 1 bunga kantan, sliced (wild ginger buds)
- 8 curry leafs, chopped finely
- pinches of sugar
- 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 5 shallots, chopped
- belacan
- few tablespoons of cincalok
- lime juice (can be replaced with asam jawa juice/paste)

1. Heat up a wok and stir fry squid until the squid curls. Place squid (and it's saice) in a separate bowl.
2. With a little oil, stir fry garlic and shallots until fragrant. Add serai, daun limau purut, bunga kantan and curry leafs and stir fry mix for 1 minute.
3. Add cincalok and the sotong. Stir until fragrant. (Add more cincalok sauce for more salty taste)
4. Scoop of a portion of the sotong. This is the cincalok sotong.
5. Add in sambal and continue to stir. For added 'umph', add in a few pieces of chili padi, sliced)
6. Add in lime juice and taste. Add in a little sugar if too sour, or add more sambal is not spicy enough, or salt.
7. Stir well and serve.

This is one of the best spicy dish I have cooked so far. Do try it out and let me know of your cooking out come =)

Also see (from left to right in the picture above) minced meat omelet, cucumber salad and sambal cincalok sotong. And pandan rice.

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Cucumber Salad

The original recipe of the cucumber salad actually came from one of my ex-colleagues. This is a very simple and quick dish that requires no cooking.

L-R: minced meat omelet, cucumber salad and sambal sotong

The original recipe of this cucumber salad is as follow;
- salt
- pepper
- sesame oil
- sugar
- ajinomoto

1. Slice cucumber.
2. Season with some salt, leave for a while for the water to come out, around 5-10 minutes.
3. Drain the water from the cucumber.
4. Add sugar, pepper, and sesame oil. Mix well

I have made some changes to the recipe to accommodate my taste.

- salt
- pepper
- sesame oil
- sugar
- parsley
- zucchini

1. Slice zucchini and chop parsley until fine.
2. Place zucchini in a container and add salt. Close lid and shake well. Let to rest for 15 minutes.
3. Add parsley, pepper and a few teaspoon of sesame oil for taste and fragrant. Close container lid and shake well.
4. Ready for serving.

I have used zucchini to replace the cucumber. This is because the seeds of the cucumber produced a lot of water when salted. You can also remove the seed area of the cucumber if you are using cucumber.

Since only having zucchini\cucumber is a little plain, I add the parsley for more testure and flavor. You can also try adding diced fresh raw button mushrooms, tomatoes, and capsicum.

Also see (from left to right in the picture above) minced meat omelet, cucumber salad and sambal cincalok sotong. And pandan rice.

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Minced Meat Omelet

The minced meat omelet is a very simple dish to cook. Here's how...

L-R: minced meat omelet, cucumber salad and sambal sotong

Main ingredients:
- minced meat (in the picture I used pork)
- ginger, diced (0.5cm of ginger for every 80g of meat)
- sugar and pepper (a pinch or two will do)
- soya sauce (go by table spoons)
- eggs (80g of meat, 1 extra large egg, beaten or whole)

Optional ingredients:
- long beans/parsley/peas, diced(in the picture, I used a local vegetable called the lengkalok leafs. The leafs are usually used to make a Nyonya dish called perut ikan)
- garlic, diced
- onion, diced

1. Mix ginger, sugar, pepper with minced meat. Mix well.
2. Add soya sauce table spoon at a time and mix well after each addition. The colour should turn darker a little, if it turns too dark, that means you have added too much soya sauce. Put aside.
3. Heat pan with some oil. Wait till oil heats up then add garlic and onion. Stir until fragrant. Go straight to next step if you don't use garlic and onion.
4. Add meat and stir fry until the meat is cooked.
5. Add long beans/parsley/peas. Stir fry until cooked.
5. Pour beaten eggs or crack the egg on to the meat. Make sure the eggs reach all part of the meat and the pan.
6. Flip the omelet after a few minutes.
7. Cook until omelet turn golden brown.

It is always a good idea to keep/add one or two extra eggs to the recipe. Remember that the eggs keep the omelet together. My omelet didn't stick together very well because I had too much meat. But if you prefer it that way.. well, less eggs then.

To clean your pan , just pour water on your pan and let the water boil for a few minutes. It will be easier to scrub off the layer or burnt eggs at the bottom of your pan.

Also see (from left to right in the picture above) minced meat omelet, cucumber salad and sambal cincalok sotong. And pandan rice.

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Pandan Rice

I tried cooking pandan rice today and it turned out to be a disaster! My 'lauk pauk' came out good though.

As you can see, the pandan rice came out really green. Here's a few pointers I have to remember when attempting to make pandan rice again.

- Use the smaller leaf pandan species. This species of pandan have shorter and slimmer leaf, but is twice as fragrant compared to the larger leaf types. Never use wild pandan leafs.
- Don't store pandan juice over night, even if it's kept in the fridge.
- More is less, and less is more when it comes to pandan juice. I got greedy and used too much juice.
- Must also remember to add salt to bring up the santan (coconut juice) taste.

My relative from Ipoh gave me 2 reallt big bunch of wild pandan leafs. One leaf is 3 times the size of the ordinary pandan leaf we find grown in (our) gardens. I was delighted but then learnt the 'pandan' lesson the hard way. I turned all the leafs in to juice using the blender and make some pandan cakes with it. The remaining was stored in the frigde. I was skeptical at first because knew it wasn't a good idea to keep the juice, but mom said ok, so... ok lor.

My pandan cakes didn't turn out as good compared when I used the normal pandan leaves. The wild pandan leaf have too much of chlorophyll smell in them. That masked the pandan, eggs and butter fragrant of my cake, making it like any ordinary cake.

Anyway, I used the remaining pandan juice to make pandan rice today. (Many recipes I see only involves pandan leafs and coconut I figured to try using pandan juice instead) My plan was to actually make a nasi lemak pandan... But the chrolophil smell was again too strong. The smell masked the santan (coconut milk) smell and my rice have a slightly bitter taste to it. I was too greedy as well, I shouldn't have used all the juice.

I think leaving the juice over night(s) killed the smell even more. I guess it's like leaving a peeled apple out in the air. The break down of the iron will darken the apple... I think same goes with the pandan.

I didn't want to throw the whole pot of rice I have to figure out how I could 'save' it. I cooked an extra cup of white rice and mixed it with the pandan rice. Then I added butter to bring out the fragrance of the pandan and santan. In the end it was still edible, but not delicious.

Below are the ingredients and steps for a (should be) more delicious pandan rice
- 2 to 3 pandan leafs crumpled and then knoted
- 150ml of pandan juice
- 250ml of santan (coconut milk)
- 2 cups of white rice

1. Wash rice and drain water.
2. Add pandan juice and santan.
3. Add water. (The mount of water added depends on the normal amount of water you use to cook the rice. Some rice requires more water to cook, some less)
4. Stir and rice pot can be switched on.

Also see (from left to right in the picture above) minced meat omelet, cucumber salad and sambal cincalok sotong.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Recipe searches

Have you ever spent your day thinking of what to cook for your family for dinner? Or that evening tea party that you are going to throw to celebrate your baby's fullmoon? Or the big feast that you have to cook because your husband's boss is coming for dinner? Or just too lazy to think of cooking because you are just too bogged up with homework and assignments?

Recipe Search was developed by students at the Stanford university using Google's search engine as it's base. What you would have to do is just to type in the ingredients and they search will return you recipes what you could use with those ingredients.

This search is quite useful when you tons of food stuff in your fridge but have no idea or no time to think of what to cook.

On a geeky note: I have noticed that what the search actually do is to actually append the word 'recipe' behind the search string. You actually get almost the same results if you search using <'recipe'> in

Since everything was actually from Google's engine it would be a better idea to use Google's recipe search at Google Base. There you can specify several search parameters to refine your recipe searches.

Do also take a look at the link on the left side of Eat First Think Later for more recipe and food portals and food related links.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Eating journey to the Mid North Malaysia.

I have been wanting to post\podcast this for a long time but could not find the time. Since I had some free time at work, I managed to complete part one of Journey to the Mid North Malaysia. This entry is all about the interesting and delicious food you can find along the coastal and towns from KL to Pangkor, Perak, and then back.

From the north south highway (PLUS), exit at the Bidor exit. Bidor is a small town, but a very small busy town. You can find a number of coffee shops, mamaks and road side stall that sells simple Malaysian food. Bidor is more famous for it's Chinese chicken biscuits (kai chai peng). And more recently... or not so recent, is a noodle stall serving duck noodles. See a review by xes on the duck noodles. There are also many shops and road side stalls selling fresh high quality fruits, 'petai' and water lily seeds at a reasonable price.

The packaging have changed from the old fashion red plastic package to attractive gold packaging. There two types of chicken biscuits. The crispy ones are a thin crispy cookie type biscuit. The one on the left has a crunchy outer layer with a chewy inner filling. I personally prefer this chicken biscuit compared to the flat ones.

Next stop after Bidor is Lekir. Along the costal road before the padi fields, there are many small huts\stalls selling Nira water. Nira is taken from the Nira flower that grows on the Nipah tree. The Nipah tree are found in a dry swampy land. Nipah is a type of palm tree that looks oil palm minus the trunk.

Nira flower in a whole.

Nira flower when all the petals drop off.

Nira flower petal flesh.

The Nira water is drank chilled and is naturally very sweet. Like the coconut water, it helps brings down the body temperature in a hot day. Very good for heaty people. The Nira flower flesh can also be eaten. It tasted like sea coconut. Very nice and chewy.

Continuing up north comes Kampung Koh. Kampung Koh is famous for it's chili. The garlic chili actually originated from here.

And something that you should not miss is the Hock Chiu Peah (Hock Chiu biscuit). I call it the Chinese burger though hehe. So far, I have only found Hock Chiu Peah in this area (Kampong Koh, Kampong Cina and Setiawan). Hock Chiu Peah is actually dough wrap with filling (either garlic, onion or pork or a combination of them) and then baked in a large clay jar (imagine the oil jar in Ali Baba and the 40 thieves). There are only a few shops selling them, just ask any local town people and they will point you to the locations.

I think I should quit work and learn how to make Hock Chiu biscuit. I could open a franchise in KL and make big bucks! Anyone willing to be my partner?

[Edit: 09 Sept 2006] Also see this and this on Hock Chiu Peah.

If you happen to drop by Kampung Koh for lunch or dinner, look for this nice (and very old) restaurant that serves the best Oh Chien (oyster omelet) I have eaten. The restaurant is located at one of the shops not facing the main Kampung Koh road.

Five minutes from Kampung Koh is Kampung Cina. This is one of the place where you still can get good seafood that is cheap and nice.

They are plenty of seafood restaurants around the area. Just visit one, you won't regret.

The Swa Chuie fish is one of the famous dishes that those restaurants serve. The whole fish is deep fried and can be eaten in a whole including the head.

My favorite blood noodles MUAHAHAHAHA. Hehehe actually it's not blood. This is called the Red Rice Wine Noodles aka Ang Chiu Mee Swa. It's made from fermented red rice cooked with spring onion, ginger and chicken with noodles. This Ang Chiu Mee Swa can be found in more of the seafood restaurant in Kampung Cina, but the restaurant that serves the best Ang Chiu Mee Swa was in Kampoung Koh actually, sadly the restaurant is no longer a restaurant. I think the owner passed away or something... sad... so sad.

Next up is Pangkor Island. You can actually buy a lot of dried sea goods including salted fish, salted dried squid, dries ikan bilis, dried shrimps, and all types of seafood snacks. There's also a lot available in Lumut (that's the place you take the ferry to the island) if you do not want to hop over to Pangkor.

The squid is actually marinated first then dried under the sun for a few days to a week. After that, they go thrugh a machine to flaten and stretch the dried sotong. The machine is something like a smaller but much more powerful version of the sugar cane maker that you see in the pasar malams.

On the way back down south using the coastal road when you reach Sungai Besar, you will see another stretch of huts along the road selling sweet corn, mango, sweet potato and yam. Here you can find some of the stalls selling mango juice.

The stall owners converts the unsold over wipe mango to juice. The mango juice taste absolutely wonderful. No added sugar, smooth with no trace of fiber. It's like drinking mango lassie without the yogurt taste.

Do also drop by Kuala Selangor for their prawn crackers on the way back down south. The shops also sells fish and sweet potato crackers, but I still find the prawn ones are the best.

They are shops selling freshly caught fish and seafood products.

This famous shop in Kuala Selangor was actually featured on TV3's Majalah Tiga for it's fish paste and Yoong ToFo ingredients. Just look for this restaurant (very easy to find as this restaurant is at the end of the road where all the seafood restaurants are located) and turn left. You will see the shop right away.

Well, that's all for this journey and do let me know what you think of the food I have mention if you have tried any of them. Hock Chiu Peah is a must to try!

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Green Tea Swiss roll

I have recently tried this green tea Swiss roll that one of my mom's friend's bought. It's from a bakery called Pastry House. I'm not sure about the location but I think in Taipan USJ or SS15 in Subang Jaya.

I know it's weird. It's green tea but the box has strawberries printed all over.

Handmade but machine baked I suppose.

I found this Swiss roll interesting because at the center of the roll has red beans. I have not eaten any Swiss rolls like this before.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

And the cookies goes to...

Wokie! The cookies goes to SJ and SY that are currently residing in Australia. I planned to send them the cookies but SJ said I can't because of nuts? So, the cookies will go to my auntie’s house. I guess both SJ and SY will just have to come back for them hehehe :p

Here's their comment on their favorite food.

SJ and SY with the chicken feet.

SY: I like Ferrero Rocher because its nice, with the chocolate n nuts. Chocolate gives me energy to work.

SJ: I like chicken feet because the sauce is simply..... *mouth watering*, and its nice to eat it when its still hot. some ppl might think its gross to eat chicken feet, but i think its really delicious.. Chinese should know how to value this dish.. ha ha. Yumcha dimsum !! yay yay!

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Eat First Think Later - Episode 017 - Salad

Episode : 017- Salad
File size : 4.5MB
Running duration : 9:31 minutes

Episode summary : Learn about the different types of dressing you can use for making salad.

Egg mayo salad. In this picture, I wrapped the egg mayo in a slice of cheddar cheese for decoration.

I have mixed Tarragon vinegar with black and white pepper and some oregano leaves for this salad dressing.

Kenny Roger's Caesar salad.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006


I tried making soft buns, bread and stuff a few weeks back. None of them turned out well... yikes! Well, that's what I get when I don't follow any recipes.

The buns were too hard. I have got to put more yeast to the flour next time and let it raise for a longer period of time. One thing I learnt, it's better to let the dough rise in a covered pot. The humidity let's the yeast to multiply faster.

The raisins that were exposed to the oven heat burnt. I think I either had the temperature on too high... or i just over baked them.

Still edible, but sucks. Taste better with jam.

I tried a few different styles on my second try. The bread and buns still were too dry and hard for my liking. I better follow a recipe next time ...hehehe

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Chopping up a whole roasted pig

This is a NON HALAL post and may offend Muslim readers.

I back at my Dad's home town last weekend for "Ching Ming". Like always, we ordered one whole roasted pig as meat offering to my grandpa. Here's 2 video showing how my aunty chop up the pig.

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