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Tomato Chicken

Earlier this year, I said that one of my goals this year is to explore and learn to cook more home style chinese dishes and curries. Tomato chicken is one that I remembered tasting it when I was younger but have never since cooked it or had it at home again. My hubby seem to think that it is more common in Malaysia than in Singapore-which could be the reason why.

I experimented and came up with this- hubby thinks it is more similar to what he remembers it to be. What do you think? I used a mixture of tinned and fresh tomato for the tangy taste. It did has some heat from the chili I added which I quite like.

The thing about learning about home cooking is that…. is there ever a wrong answer? :p However, if you have cooked this dish, let me know what can I do to improve it. OR do you think it’s more common in Malaysia than Singapore? (you can nearly hear the line of debate in my household don’t you?!)

Tomato Chicken (serves 4)
350 chicken thigh meat chopped
1 onion chopped
1 tsp of garlic
1 tinned tomatoes
2 fresh tomatoes chopped
2 chili padi chopped
1/2 cup of water
2 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tsp of dark soy sauce

Heat pan up and sauté onion, garlic and chili. Brown chicken and pour tomatoes (Fresh and tinned) in pan. Add water and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Season with soy and pepper.



Almond and Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms

I would call this a “work in progress” recipe. Since I have been trying to work with almond meal and not breadcrumbs, I decided to make a stuffing for mushrooms. Nutty flavours with some chives and garlic could do the trick I thought.

The result is “ok”. I like the texture of the crumbs, but wondered if I could put in maybe chill or even fresh chopped almonds to add another dimension to the texture.

I paired it with some grilled lamb chops and salad. Simple week night dinner.

You can tell that I’m still trying to work out in my head how can I better improve on this dish without the use of breadcrumbs or bacon. Any suggestions? 😉

Almond and Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms
6 mushrooms cups
1/2 cup of almond meal
1 tsp of garlic
small bunch of chives chopped
2 tsp of sesame oil
salt and pepper

Mix almond meal, chives, garlic, oil and seasoning together. Spoon into mushrooms and bake for 10-15 mins in a preheated oven.


Chicken with Ginger and Lemongrass

I’m not sure where I got the inspiration to make this dish from. But I love the flavours of ginger and lemongrass in this. All I wish is to have a clay pot and gas stove to cook this in!

I’m pleased to let you know that reducing in carbs for a few weeks has resulted in a stronger me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still eating carbs- just not every day and also, just realising how much carbs are there in natural occurring food anyway like fruit. It has also tested in my ability to think out of the box and cook with more protein!

Having chinese meals is actually not that difficult. The only thing that I need to not eat is rice. Other than that, it’s meals-as-usual in our household. My hubby on the other hand, is excited as he started to see more dishes like lamb, pork, salmon and beef presented to him for dinner.

I think Chicken with Ginger and lemongrass has a thai or even vietnamese feel to it. Nevertheless, I hope you will enjoy this as much as we did.

Chicken with Ginger and Lemongrass (serves 4)
500 grams chicken thigh chopped
1 small knob of ginger sliced
1 tablespoon of garlic
2 red chill padi chopped
2 stalk of lemon grass-white bit chopped
1/2 cup of water- or chicken stock
2 tsp of fish sauce
pinch of salt
squeeze of lime or lemon
fresh spring onions chopped

Saute ginger, garlic and chill. Cook lemon grass with it as well. Brown chicken in pan. Then add stock/water, fish sauce and pinch of salt. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve with lime/lemon juice and spring onions.


Quick and Easy Banana Apple and Cranberry Bread

I spotted this recipe at Kitchen Snippets and printed it out straight away. It’s one of those “one look and I will definitely love it recipe”. What not to love? With bananas, cranberries AND apple! I whipped this out for morning tea for my team at work and it was nearly gone.

I made some changes to the recipe, such as increasing the amount of banana, and decreased the amount of sugar. I find that cranberries can add a sweetness to it, so less sugar is more in this recipe. It stayed really moist and hubby commented that he could really taste the banana in this. I was tempted to add a handful of chocolate to it but I am glad I resisted. It’s great the way it is. With only using olive oil and fruits, it’s a healthy alternative to other cakes out there!

Quick and Easy Banana Apple and Cranberry Bread – Check out Kitchen Snippets for the original recipe
½ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup
4 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup dried cranberry
1 apple – grated or I chopped it finely 
4 large bananas – mashed

Preheat oven at 180C. Line loaf pan with baking paper. Combine milk, eggs, oil, vanilla, apple and mashed banana. 

Put all dry ingredients together. Pour wet to dry. Fold through. Add cranberries last. Pour into baking pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. 


San Choy Bow

San Choy Bow is one of those dishes that regularly appear in chinese restaurants in Perth. It’s considered as a staple- yet we have never tasted it at home before. It’s one of those dishes, that I wondered when Chinese restaurants decides on their menus, obtain inspiration from different parts of China, Singapore and Malaysia and call it “Chinese”. Nothing wrong with that, just my curiosity that’s all! 😉

Making it at home is fun. Wrapping the lettuce with hot pipping mince mixture, topping it with peanuts, crunching them up and biting into it. YuM! Cold and hot together.

I’m not sure if this is the authentic version- it’s one of those quick home cooked meals that I came up. I omitted water chestnuts but think they will be a good addition. Dried chopped shitake mushrooms were added and I do like the texture it creates.

What is your favourite Chinese order at a restaurant? In Singapore, it would be the yam ring basket filled with seafood and chicken! In Perth, probably yam duck (noticed my fondness for yam?!)

San Choy Bow (serves 4-5)
300 grams chicken mince
1 small red onion chopped
1 tablespoon garlic
2 red chill padi chopped
2 tablespoon of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1 tsp of minced ginger
2 tablespoon of hua tiao jiu
1 tsp of sesame oil
2 spring onions chopped

50 grams of roasted peanuts
ice berg lettuce- separated in cups.

Saute garlic, ginger, chili and onion till done. Cook chicken mince, breaking it as you go along. Add in all sauces and mix well. Cook for around 5-8 minutes. Then add the chinese cooking wine. Drizzle sesame oil and finish it with spring onions. Serve with lettuce cups and roasted peanuts.


Ayam Kecap

The beauty about growing up in Singapore, having a Chinese Malaysian father, and a Chinese-Indian Malaysian husband (yes, I followed my mother’s footsteps in marrying a malaysian!) is that I get expose to other kinds of food other than traditional Cantonese. Ayam stands for chicken, and Kecap means dark sweet soy sauce. It’s a marriage between chinese and malay cuisine really.

At first I thought it is a curry dish. But really, it’s more of a spiced stew, probably borderlining being a curry. It requires time to simmer which as you know is abit of a luxury for me these days but once I got into it, I really enjoyed the process.

The colour of the dish comes from the dark soy sauce. It has a generous chill hit and lovely texture to it. Yum!

Ayam Kecap (serves 4)
500 grams chicken thighs -or you can use drumsticks/chicken pieces
3 onions chopped
4 big red chill chopped
3 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg
6 whole cloves
1 tsp tamarind pulp soaked in around 3 tbsp warm water
2-3 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
pinch of salt

In a food processor, blitz chopped onions, garlic and chili. Heat paste in a pan. When warm and cooked, add chopped chicken thighs and cook till brown. Then add nutmeg and cloves. If it is a little dry, add some of the tamarind juice. Simmer for 3-4 minutes and add the rest of the tamarind juice with the soy sauce. If still dry, add some water (I didn’t see the need to do that). Taste, adjust seasoning and simmer chicken for another 20 minutes or so.


Miso Salmon with Brown Rice Chickpea Salad

The title of the post almost sounds like it is from an organic cafe restaurant isn’t it? In all honesty, I am surprised that I have taken so well in reducing and even at one point, cutting back all carbs (including fruits). The results so far, I can assure you, is worth it! Like what hubby once said “happy wife=happy life”

Coming back to this dish, I realised that my favourite way of prepping salmon is just to pan fried it. It’s simple, non complicated and retain great flavours. This time round, I had some miso paste on hand and used it to make a dressing.

This is also the first time that I cook brown rice at home. Again, hubby and I actually was surprised that we liked the nutty taste of it! My mother in law usually mix brown and white rice together when she cooks and now I know why!

Miso Salmon with Brown Rice Chickpea Salad (serves 4)
3-4 pieces of Salmon

1 cup of brown rice
1 can of chickpea
1/2 pun net of cherry tomatoes halved
1 shredded carrot
150 grams of snow pea sprouts

2 tsp of miso paste
1 tablespoon of mirin
2 tablespoon of water
1 red chill chopped
squeeze of lemon juice

Pan fry salmon till done. Meanwhile, cook brown rice with water (around 3 cm above rice).

Make dressing by heating miso paste,water and miring and chill in a saucepan. Taste and season. Squeeze lemon juice.

Assemble salad by tossing brown rice, chickpeas, all salad leaves together. Place on plates. Place salmon on top of salad, drizzle dressing over it.


Almond Chili Mushrooms Chicken Patties

 One of my fitness goals is to increase muscle mass and reduce fat percentage. Recently, I decided to go on a low carb meal plan (don’t worry, I have a cheat day in the week where i get to eat WHATEVER I want!) to help increase my strength and fitness.

With some chicken mince on hand, I decided to create some patties. The challenge is to not use breadcrumbs. Using some almond meal and an egg, I was surprised that the mixture actually bind together very well. Using some fresh shitake mushrooms, chill and spring onions as flavouring, the patties turned out moist and fresh.

I think it is a myth that one cannot enjoy food while on a meal plan. Every bite of the chicken patty was enjoyable and tasty. Food is still meant to be delicious and not plain I say!! 😉

(ps- hubby had his with bread! He had toasted chicken patty sandwiches the next day for lunch!)

Almond Chili Mushrooms Chicken Patties (serves 4) 
500 grams chicken mince
2 stalks spring onions chopped
2 chili chopped
1/3 cup of almond meal
1 egg
200 grams fresh shitake mushrooms chopped

Mixed everything together. Shape them into patties and pan fry. Easy!


Walnut Cinnamon Muffins

Were you ever invited to a morning tea event? One that you have to bring something?

I usually start of being excited and having grand plans on what to make and bring. Maybe sausage rolls or a nice baked cake with caramel icing? Or perhaps a nonya kueh?

Often, my “grand plans” have to be mellowed down when I realised that I have to bake/cook at 9pm to bring it to work next day. Then, I decided that simple is good.

So Nigella Lawson calls this Baklava muffins. Upon making them though, I think they resemble more like walnut and cinnamon muffins! The special thing about these muffins is that it has a layer of gorgeous chopped walnut/cinnamon sugar in it. With the drizzle of warm honey on the top when you serve it.

I prefer serving it warm because the walnuts and sugar turned all gooey and sticky which is lovely. Once cold however, I found these muffins a tad dry for me. 😉

Nevertheless, I love how it looks when the wrapper comes off! Look at the layers!

Walnut Cinnamon Muffins (Nigella Lawson)

Filling and topping
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
2-3 tablespoon of Demerara sugar
1.5 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoon butter melted

1 1/3 cup of plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 castor sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup yogurt and 1/3 milk/soy or plain

warm honey- around 2 tablespoon

Preheat oven to 200C. Line muffin tin with wrappers-around 10. In a small bowl mix the filling/topping ingredients together.

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder baking soda and sugar.

Meanwhile whisk egg, melted butter and yogurt/milk mixture. Make a well in dry ingredients and fold wet through dry.

Spoon batter in pan first, topped with some filling and batter again. Repeat for the rest of the muffins. Sprinkle remaining topping on muffins when done. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

When ready to serve, warm muffins up and honey. Drizzle honey over muffins.