Pork belly and Squash Burmese – Nonya Hybrid Curry

March 31, 2016

IMG_0700

Adapted from this Burmese pork and pumpkin curry recipe, I added fresh lemongrass, substituted ground turmeric with fresh, and parcooked the squash (roasting) to avoid chopping raw veg, saving time and preserving my delicate mitts.

Fresh lemongrass and turmeric are way better than fresh, freeze whatever’s not used. If fresh isn’t available, substitute dried ground turmeric, but I’m not sure if dried lemongrass would work as it would be difficult to rehydrate successfully to grind to a paste.

Tamarind brings sourness, coconut milk richness, but both could also be left out (neither are in the original recipe). Tomato makes it a bit sweet and mellow.

Ingredients

250-300g/ 0.5lb pork belly, diced
1/2 large squash
1 tomato
2tbsp vegetable oil
1tbsp shrimp paste (optional)
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp tamarind paste (optional)
200ml coconut milk – canned, or 2 tbsp/35g santan powder + water, or 50g creamed coconut + water (made up to 200ml)

Spice paste
1 small onion
2-5 cloves garlic
4 fresh green chillis
1 inch/thumb size piece fresh ginger
1 stalk fresh lemongrass
1 inch/2cm fresh turmeric
2tbsp ground coriander
1tsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp chilli powder/ dried chillis (optional)

IMG_0688

Method

Roast the squash cut side down in a roasting pan with 2tbsp water (to stop it drying out) 20-30 mins 200C, until the squash is soft enough to cut into chunks but still firm so it won’t disintegrate in the curry.

Grind ingredients for spice paste in a food processor/pestle and mortar (the latter will take heaps more time and elbow grease). If you’re a massive wimp, deseed the chillis.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan, fry the spice paste (rempah) until fragrant (a few minutes). Then add the tomato and fry a few minutes longer.

rempah

Brown the meat, then add the coconut milk and rest of the ingredients.

Simmmer for about 45 minutes or more, don’t let it boil too high or the meat will get dry.

Serve with white rice +++++

Kuih Bengka Ubi Kayu

February 28, 2016

kuihbengkaubikayu

“Kuih” is malay for cake, “bengka” means lard, in this case due to the appearance (kuihs are v dense, often chewy/ soft as tapioca/ glutinous rice/ rice flours are used); ubi kayu stands for tapioca.

In Malaysia, this would be made with fresh, grated tapioca, and cooked on a charcoal grill/ oven, so the top would be much more browned.

This kuih is one of the easiest to attempt outside of SE Asia if you have an oven, all ingredients are widely available from Asian/Chinese supermarkets.

Recipe adapted from this book; an incredible, compendium of Nonya recipes, thoroughly tried and tested by Straits Times food editors for modern and most Western kitchens.

Ingredients

500g grated tapioca (frozen pre grated is okay)
2tbsp tapioca flour
150 ml thick coconut milk
50-100g/ 1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp pandan essence (if you use extract, the colour will be a very (**ahem**) “vibrant”, likely radioactive, green

Method
Preheat oven to 180C/ Gasmark 5.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. It will be quite gloopy and liquidy, so just stir until evenly mixed.

kuihbengkaubikayu-ingredients.

Immediately, pour into a banana leaf/ grease proof paper lined 7″ baking tin (use a smaller/ bigger tin if you prefer a taller/ shorter kuih)

Bake for 40 minutes

kuihbengkaubikayu-prebaked

Remove kuih from oven, and turn heat to 250C.

When preheated, bake for a further 10 minutes or until the top turns darker brown/ slightly crisp.

Don’t bake too long, or the kuih body will be tough.

kuihbengkaubikayu-baked

Cool completely, then cut into small pieces approximately 1-2 inches in size, and serve.

Will keep for a couple of days, after that it becomes hard and cardboardy.

Jagung (Corn) Kuih

October 25, 2011
Jagung Hoon Kwee

Jagung Hoon Kwee

This kuih is made from Hoon Kwee (green or mung bean flour) which absorbs many times its own volume in water to set. It’s most likely the easiest kueh to make.

I used to make a banana version wrapped in banana leaves with family in Penang when I was little, then had the jagung version frequently in Singapore, and, for some reason, on Singapore Airlines flying between the two. These were slices wrapped in plastic wrap but they always had it every year.

Anyways, green bean flour is a bit difficult to come by but Tung Hing in Acton, West London, sells 100g packs for 50p each.

Recipe based on here. I did a half quantity as part of a variety I used to experiment on my family. Feedback was that they were delicious!

Amendments:
Did not use the pandan from the original recipe as I only had pandan paste and due to a big kueh month was a bit over having everything that I cook turn out lurid green.
As I did not have banana leaves, I used a mixture of Hello Kitty moulds and a mini muffin tin, to get small bite sized pieces. (Can use foil instead of banana leaves but this is not filling-friendly)
I added the jagung/ corn at the end as I wanted to avoid the corn breaking up in the mixture.
I cooked the final kueh mixture in a double boiler instead of over direct heat as I’m a pussy.

Ingredients:
Half pack (50g) Hoon Kwee (green bean flour)
250ml coconut cream (I reconstituted from Creamed Coconut)
250ml water
100g granulated sugar
3/8 tspn salt
1 small can corn, drained (use more if you like)

Method
Mix the coconut cream with the water.
Mix half of this with the hoon kwee and salt in a large heatproof bowl; set aside to soak.
Put the other half of the coconut cream/ water mixture in a pot. Add the sugar and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Add this to the coconut cream/ hoon kwee mixture, stirring whilst pouring.
Place this bowl over a pan of hot water and cook, whisking/ stirring pretty much all the time until it thickens. It will be like a thick custard.
Either mix the corn in at this point and pour into moulds or layer with the hoon kwee in the moulds/ fold into parcels using banana leaf/ foil.
Set in fridge (hour or so should be plenty), serve chilled.

Pisang Kuih
Tried to make the banana version but did not steam the bananas before putting in the kueh, just mixed it in. Colour is a very gross brown/ grey, but it was very delicious. So pre-steam the bananas or be patient enough to layer the hoon kwee mixture with the fruit. Otherwise Hello Kitty and her sisters look like they’ve just been in a fight…. init….

Cheat’s (Singapore) Laksa

September 23, 2011
Laksa
Laksa

Cheat's Laksa

Impromptu sibling supper making good use of a jar of Laksa mix…. (Note – this is Singapore style laksa, so similar to Curry Mee, not the Penang version)

V good buy from an Asian supermarket in Brixton – £9 per kg of ‘Number 3’ prawns. Bought £5 worth… which turns out to be a massive carrier bag of primo raw, shell-on prawns. I have little idea what Number 3 means but to me, now, it means DELICIOUS. Enough to make 2 servings each of laksa for 2 very greedy people and a stirfry.

Did not follow the guide for authentic laksa mix – mixed noodles with bee hoon, and kai lan instead of french beans. It was very yummy.

Apparently in Singapore some hawkers are serving beef laksa now so I feel no guilt for improvising **oink oink oink**