Guest Chef : Cucur Udang by Cik. Zarfilla

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Zarfilla is a mouthful name to pronounce. She is more affectionally known to Agnes, Nona Sofi and I as “follylittlehead” or just Filla. We met in Twitterjaya, and later on shared many “virtual” togetherness on Instagram. The virtual world has brought many people together, whether it is through our common interest in politics, cats, food etc.

Months ago, Agnes made Filla long beans pancake, a popular hakkachan childhood snack food. She promised to cook us her specialty dishes but chose to start from the appetizer or snack food. Follow her on Instagram, you will understand why we truly look forward to the day she will cook us her Masakan Melayu.

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Knowing she is shy, she prefers to share with us her mom’s “agar-agak” or literally means “about” or “more or less” or “estimate” hand-me-down recipe, Prawn Fritters or Cucur Udang. I really welcome a homemade Cucur Udang because those served outside are laden with “alkaline” or “bicarbonate soda” that purportedly to rise in volume but leaves a funny taste to your tastebud. The trick is, always use fresh ingredients to yield great taste, great flavor.

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INGREDIENTS for CUCUR UDANG (8 persons)

  • 500 grams soft shelled shrimps
  • 1 cup asian chive
  • 4 cups bean sprouts
  • 6 shallots
  • 500 grams wheat flour
  • 50 grams rice flour (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • salt
  • water
  • oil

METHOD:-

  1. Clean the shrimps and shell it completely or you can choose the leave the head and tail intact.
  2. Cut chives into 2 inches strips.
  3. Cut shallots into thin slices.
  4. Pick, clean and drain the bean sprouts.
  5. In a big deep bowl, put in shrimps, chives, shallots, bean sprouts, turmeric powder, salt, flour and water to make batter.
  6. If you like a little more crisp in the fritter, add some rice flour.
  7. Heat wok with oil and fry batter into bite sizes

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Truly a very simple recipe. You can add more quantities to whichever ingredient you fancy. Feel free to replace the Asian Chive with cilantro or spring onions, shallots with garlic; fresh prawns with pounded dried shrimps or anchovies.

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I like spending the weekend afternoon at Agnes’s abode. You give yourself the little treats and enjoyment without having to spend too much money nor time. An awesome afternoon tea with family. Homemade prawn fritters or cucur udang served with a pot of hot English tea.

Live life joyously and simply.

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Guest Chef:- Chocolate Souffle by Miss Adriennely

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Introducing Adrienne, my little girl who left for Melbourne at 16. I wanted her to experience life and study abroad which I had missed when I was younger. Now this little girl just turned 20, having a ball “growing up” and “being in a relationship”.

Growing Up

Well, I wouldn’t say Adrienne isn’t exactly spoilt. Well, you have to know that she is firstly, a LEO and secondly, the only child. So that speaks a volume. Anyway, she grows up heavily reliant on her grandma or amah to get her room habitable  and stomach filled. Today, 4 years of living away, we made discovery that Adrienne is actually quite kitchen savvy. At least now I do not have to hear unsavoury remarks from her future in-laws, if storming out a feast is wife material.

She loves food, adventurous and has great palate for taste, go size her up on her blog, Miss Adriennely. However, I shall reserve my comments on the keeping of her house.

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In A Relationship

My princess, Adrienne took a holiday back to KL during her short winter break. That gave her a chance to spend time with the family, especially with my parents and her boyfriend Jose. I had bad experiences with long distance relationship, will try to understand why every little opportunity to meet up is precious, especially for new lovebirds like Adrienne and Jose.

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hakkachan

My princess baked us a Tropical Pavlova but it collapsed into an Eton Mass. Agnes and I thought it was as delicious though. The combination of mangoes, kiwi and passion fruits was heavenly. She made redemption by baking us Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes and it kind of turned out perfectly as Molten Chocolate too. Deliciously served warm, delectable chocolate oozing with every bite.

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hakkachan
Chocolate Souffle Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

INGREDIENTS:- makes about 9

  • 6 ounces (170 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) (86 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) espresso or instant coffee powder or chocolate powder
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons (97 grams) sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
METHOD:-
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9 standard-size (3-ounce) muffin cups with paper liners. In this case we used a cupcake tray and a few ceramic molds.
  2.  Stir chocolate, butter and cocoa powder together in heavy medium saucepan over low heat mostly melted, then remove from the heat and whisk until it is fully melted and smooth. Put the butter underneath the chocolate in the pan, so that it protects the chocolate from the direct heat. Cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.
  3. Using electric mixer  beat egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until mixture is very thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Briefly beat lukewarm chocolate mixture, then vanilla extract, into yolk mixture. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form.
  4. Gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and all of the salt, beating until medium-firm peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Divide batter among prepared cups, filling each three-fourths of the way.
  5. Bake cakes until tops are puffed and dry to the touch (some may crack, embrace it) and a tester inserted into the centers comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a cooling rack, where the cupcakes will almost immediately start to fall. It will be all the better to put your mint cream on them.
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hakkachan

Sweet as it is, I wish them a great journey of self discovery.

Guest Chef: Braised Pork Belly by Irene Ngoh

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Irene promised us her famous home recipe, Hokkien Braised Duck. Unfortunately, that particular Saturday Mr. Quaky was not seen at the Happy Garden market. As she had shared with me earlier, this very useful recipe is very adaptable for all kinds of meat like pork or even chicken; either whole or parts like wings or thighs. She adapted.

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She chose the best part of the pig, the secret pork belly. When choosing, one can either select the slim waist that consists very lean meat or the sinfully layered ones with more fats. The Chans prefer the slightly fatter part for braising. You can consume it with less guilt as the long braising over medium to low heat would have drawn most of the lard out. The result, a deliciously honeyed braised meat so tender it almost melt in your mouth.

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Irene’s recipe has very few ingredients and very simple steps. I am not a big fan of anise and 5 spice powder; like most kids. I just love the simple taste and I am certain children would welcome a braised chicken wings or drumsticks using this recipe.

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BRAISED PORK BELLY

INGREDIENTS:-

  • 1.5 kilogram of secret port belly of your choice
  • 8 tablespoon of sugar
  • 5 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 1 bulb of garlic, coarsely minced
  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • water
METHOD:-
  1. Wash and cut pork into strips of desired width. Wipe dry.
  2. In a wide deep wok, put in oil when wok is hot.
  3. Add in the sugar, cook till melted.
  4. When sugar starts to caramelise and bubble, put in the strips of pork belly.
  5. Stir and cook for about 10 minutes making sure that all pieces are properly coated.
  6. Pour in just enough water so that all meat is in a pool of it.
  7. Add light soy sauce and salt.
  8. On medium heat, cover the wok and cook for 30 minutes. Stirring and turning the strips.
  9. When stock is reduced into a thick golden honey gravy
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hakkachan
hakkachan

Guest Chef: Egg Benedict by Luke Ding

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Luke and Lisa, are the closest friends Stevie and I shared. Before we were married, we hung around most weekends watching a movie, out for a drink or simple dinner in the city. We married, a couple of months apart and soon to be neighbours. Am looking forward to the proximity, lots of feasting and chilling out again.

Luke, though born in Sitiawan, was brought up in Melbourne Australia since he was 9. A natural in the kitchen, learned culinary art and worked for several years in Atomica Caffe, Melbourne before coming back to Kuala Lumpur. Joint ventured with his brother James and opened Providore, a warm little restaurant tucked in Solaris serving the finest Mediterranean and Italian dishes. It has been a year or so since they have moved on full swing into distributing quality confectionery products in Malaysia.

          

This Saturday, we are opened to surprises. After cooking all weekdays, the Chan’s are eager to host a guest chef to display his culinary skills while we sit back and enjoy a little.

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Overjoyed when Luke disclosed that he was going to cook his signature dish, Egg Benedict. The idea of runny egg yolks served on warmly toasted Thomas English muffins, with a generous helping of hollandaise sauce, warmed our hearts. Luke came with the best ingredients so as not to compromise on the deliverance of a simple but great dish.

Each platter was served with a toasted muffin, cut into half, served open. A twirled, crispy and tasty bacon set on the muffins. Carefully, 2 poached eggs (yes, sinfully indulgent) were laid on top of the bacon. Our Egg Benedict came accompanied with Sautee Mushrooms and Asparagus Spearheads Wrapped in Serrano Ham. Before serving, each dish was drizzle with lots of creamy, eggy hollandaise sauce.

EGG BENEDICT

Recipe for 5 persons

INGREDIENTS:-

  • 10 poached eggs
  • 10 slices of streaky bacon or canadian ham
  • 5 English Muffins
  • Hollandaise Sauce
  • Sauteed Mushroom – optional
  • Serrano Ham Wrapped Asparagus – optional

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POACH EGGS

Method:-
  1. Boil a small pot of water and add in some white vinegar.
  2. Crack an egg a time into a small ball and gently drop into simmering water.
  3. When white is solidify, scoop it out with a ladle.
  4. Do not overcook, a perfect poach egg has runny yolk.

SAUTEE MUSHROOM

INGREDIENTS:-
  • button mushrooms
  • balsamic vinegar
  • rosemary
METHOD:-
  1. Use mushrooms whole or cut into desired size.
  2. After frying bacon, use leftover oil in pan to sautee mushrooms.
  3. Add rosemary and some balsamic vinegar for taste.
  

HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:-
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 stick or 250gm salted butter – melted
METHOD:-
  1. Over bain-marie, combine the egg yolks and white wine vinegar.
  2. Gentle whisk over the bain-marie.
  3. Pour in the melted butter, bit by bit and continue whisking till you get the favoured consistency.
  

SERRANO HAM WRAPPED ASPARAGUS

INGREDIENTS:-
  • serrano ham
  • asparagus spears
METHOD:-
  1. Blanch asparagus in boiling water for a quick one minute.
  2. Drain water and rinse with cold tap water.
  3. Transfer to a grill pan and drizzle some melted butter.
  4. Let cool a little and wrap with ham.
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hakkachan

A fan of english muffins, Agnes is seen hogging some.

  

A western comfort food eaten the kampong style here.

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Guest Chef:- Bread Pudding by Alzari Joey Mahshar

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Isn’t it true this phrase, ” Facebook is for reconnecting with old friends and Twitter is for making new ones”?

Stevie and I made many fabulous new friends in Twitter. Joey is one of my many favourites. He is such a sweet and caring guy. I don’t love him because he bought me half a dozen of “real” condensed milk from Singapore. I am not easily bought.

Anyway last Saturday, Agnes and I were struggling to upload apps into our iPads. Although we sat across each other, our minds were converging at the same thought. Who can help us computer idiots in distress?

Of course, Joey the IT savvy guy from Twitter Jaya. We decided to hijack him from Shah Alam since he is back in Malaysia to spend some time with his two sons, Danish and Danial.

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Joey obliged our invitation to our regular weekend hi-tea get-together for family friends and their children. Joey came with his youngest prince, Daniel.

Elaine was also present with her children Novia, Aaron and Erywna. They came for brunch and the children were all lazing around the living room after their morning swim and Chinese Pasta lunch.

While Joey, Agnes, Coco and I were spending the afternoon discussing parenthood and other stuffs, Danial and Erywna decided to get acquainted.

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Obviously, Daniel and Erywna did not click from the very start.

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Small in size, Erywna in reality is a BIG BULLY.

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Children being children, through fight and tussle they finally found comfort as they spent time together.

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hakkachan

Bread Butter Pudding

I was happy that Joey’s pudding came without a trace of cinnamon. I am not a big fan of  this spice.

The pudding was prettily arranged with the sesame laced crust at the top. Golden and generously tossed with raisins, the pudding looked so delicious. There was thought of a vanilla custard to go with it but lazy Mrs. Chan took a short cut. Instead, we finished the tray of pudding with freshly whipped cream. Heavenly.

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INGREDIENTS:-

  • 1 French loaf
  • 3 cans of full cream evaporated milk
  • 500 ml fresh milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Raisins
  • Vanilla essence
  • Fine & brown sugar

METHOD:-

  1. Beat eggs with sugar
  2. Mix evaporated sugar with fresh milk together with egg mix
  3. Add vanilla essence
  4. Slice loaf as desired size n butter the slices
  5. Soak slices and arrange in baking dish together with raisins
  6. Make sure baking dish is well buttered as well
  7. Bake in oven at 160*C for 45 mins
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GUEST CHEF:- French Crepe by Monsieur Florentin

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The Chan Clan celebrated Agnes’s birthday on the eve, at Bubu KL. It was a rare occasion for Agnes because Momsie and dad are here in KL. Besides our family, many friends were present to celebrate. When the festivities heightened with great food, drinks and company, you hate to see a party end.

We cannot even remember who initiated or proposed for another potluck birthday party at Agnes’s residence the following night. A potluck dinner, meant to be no fuss for everyone.

Everyone came with a dish or two. We took the shortcut by buying some dim sums and baked a few Delifrance part baked baguette to go with Wendy’s curry chicken.There were plentiful of food and of course alcohol to down them.

Monsieur Florentin came to the party with a Giant Grocery bag. I thought he was baking a pie or cake as dessert. Turned out, he was making us french crepes with individualised fillings. We get to choose whether we want those crepes sweet or savoury.

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Agnes kitchen is not fully equipped yet. Most stuff are still packed in boxes and locating them from various location can be a task. We searched high and low for a wide flat pan. Tried knocking our neighbour’s door to borrow but in the end settled to do these crepes on a normal stainless steel pan. A non-stick Tefal would have been ideal.

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Basic French Crepe Batter for 15 crepes

INGREDIENTS:-

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 1/2 cups Whole Milk
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp. Butter (melted)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Vegetable Oil (for pan)
METHOD:-
  1. Sift flour and mix with salt.
  2. Make a well and pour in eggs. Stir well.
  3. Slowly pour in milk while stirring. Keep stirring batter until small bubbles form on the surface.
  4. Stir in Butter.
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I requested for 2 versions, a savoury to start and a sweet to end as dessert.

We have to be creative with our concoction. I scoured the kitchen and decided I wanted a Cheese with Sausage. This savoury crepe, has generous amounts of grated Parmeson cheese with sliced smoked sausage. Every bite was so full of flavour and bite. Hearty and filling.

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I am a big fan of banana pancakes and the thought of a banana chocolate crepe, reminded me of the most delicious one I had eaten in Paris. Anyway, Monsieur Florentin’s  french crepe batter is so simple to make and versatile to use. We couldn’t finish all the batter that night and I used some of those to fry my banana pancakes the day after.

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Agnes, the birthday girl.

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Florentin, Gwen, Wendy and Ken feasting away.

          

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