Mango Salad With Zesty Lime Vinaigrette

Mango salad:
3 mangoes ripe, Alphonso recommended, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
1/4 red onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped

Mango Salad Dressing:
Zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup lime juice freshly squeezed (about 2 limes)
2 tsp white sugar
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil or other neutral tasting oil
Freshly ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients for the Mango Salad in a large bowl. Toss to combine. *If making ahead, cover and refrigerate at this point, before adding the salad dressing.

Prepare the Mango Salad Dressing by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisking well to combine. Cover and refrigerate if making ahead or use immediately by drizzling over the salad and tossing to combine.

Asian Cucumber Salad

1 cucumber, about 8 oz
3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Korean chili powder or regular chili powder
1 teaspoon chili oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
sesame seeds for garnishing

Rinse the cucumber thoroughly and slice it into pieces. Add the salt to the cucumber, stir gently to combine well. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Combine the garlic, vinegar, sugar, chili powder, chili oil, and sesame oil together, stir to mix well. Make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.

Drain the salt water from the cucumber. Add the dressing to the cucumber, toss well. Top with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Smashed Cucumbers with Turmeric, Coconut, and Peanuts

4 Persian or mini seedless cucumbers, or 1 small English hothouse cucumber (about 12 ounces total)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Freshly ground black pepper

Smash the cucumbers with the bottom of a heavy pan, then tear into one- or two-bite pieces. Place in a medium bowl, add the lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss to combine. Set aside for at least 5 minutes or up to an hour, then drain and transfer to your serving plate or bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add the peanuts and cook until they turn slightly darker brown, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut, turmeric, and a generous few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring, until the coconut is lightly toasted, just 30 seconds. Immediately pour the peanut-coconut mixture on top of the cucumbers. Season generously with salt and pepper and serve right away.

Summer Mango Salad

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon palm sugar (or regular sugar)
1 fresh red chili pepper, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
3 ripe mangoes , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves , finely chopped
2 tablespoons shallots , fried (or French fried onion)

Prepare the dressing by combining the lime juice, palm sugar, chili, and salt in a small bowl. Stir to mix well and set aside.

Combine the mango and cilantro in a large bowl. Pour in the dressing and toss to mix well. If you plan to serve the dish later, you should transfer everything into a sealed container and store it in the fridge, up to 1 day.

Toss in the cashews and fried shallots. Mix well.

Pineapple Fried Rice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 lb (225 g) ground chicken (or ground turkey)
2 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
3 cups cooked rice, overnight rice works best, separated by hand (*Footnote)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup mixed veggies (snow peas, carrots, and/or corn)
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/3 cup roasted cashews
1 lime , cut into wedges
Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish (Optional)

Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet (or a wok, or a carbon steel skillet) until hot. Add the eggs. Let cook without touching, until the bottom is set. Stir and chop with your spatula to separate the eggs into small bits. Once the egg is just cooked (it’s OK if some parts are still a bit runny), transfer it to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon of oil and the ground chicken. Stir and chop with your spatula to separate it into small bits. Cook until the chicken turns mostly white.

Add the rice. Stir and chop to further separate it into single grains. Cook until the rice is heated up, 2 to 3 minutes. If you’re using a wok or a carbon steel skillet, the rice might stick to the pan. You can add a bit more oil and use your spatula to release the rice.

Add the soy sauce and curry powder. Stir to mix well.

Add the pineapple, bell pepper, frozen veggies, green onions, and sprinkle with salt. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add back the scrambled eggs and cashews and toss again. Carefully taste the rice. Sprinkle more salt and stir to mix well, if needed. Transfer everything to a big plate.

Serve hot as a main dish or side dish.

Fried Chili Paste

10 dried red chilies
3 red chilies (seeded and cut into pieces)
5 shallots (peeled)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (80ml)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Break dried chilies in half and squeeze out the seeds. Soak in hot water for 30 minutes to soften. Drain.

Blend dried chilies, red chilies, and shallots with ¼ cup (60ml) water until smooth.

Heat vegetable oil in a medium size saucepan over low heat. Add blended chili paste, salt, and sugar. Stir continuously until chili paste darkens and oil separates. This will take about 12 to 15 minutes.

Remove and store in a jar.

Sambal Udang (Shrimp Sambal)

4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb shrimps / prawns (peeled and deveined) (450g)
6 kaffir lime leaves
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
30 g asam jawa / tamarind paste ** (rinsed)

Spice Paste
6 red chilies (seeded and cut into small pieces)
8 dried chilies
6 shallots or 1 medium onion (peeled and cut into small pieces)
2 stalks lemongrass (sliced bottom third into rings)
1 inch lengkuas (peeled and sliced)
3 cloves garlic (peeled)
6 buah keras (candlenut) or macadamias
3/4 inch cube belacan (toasted)

Blend all spice paste ingredients with ? cup (80ml) water until smooth.

Place asam jawa in a small metal strainer over a bowl. Pour 1 cup (240ml) hot water over asam jawa. Stir and press down asam jawa with a spoon to dissolve.

In a medium sized pot, heat vegetable oil. Add ground spice paste and kaffir lime leaves. Stir fry for 8 to 10 minutes until fragrant.

Pour strained tamarind juice into the pot. Stir to combine. Place lid on the pot and allow sauce to come to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the lid. Add shrimps (prawns), sugar, and salt. Stir to get all ingredients well mixed.

Place lid back onto the pot and continue to simmer for 3 minutes.

Turn off stove. Dish into a serving bowl.

Stir-Fried Long Beans

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 inch ginger (minced) (30g)
2 red chilies (seeded and cut into pieces)
2 tbsp fermented soy beans (drained and minced)
1 tsp sugar
1 lb long beans (cut into 2 inch lengths) (450g)
1/4=cup water (60mL)

Heat a wok or large fry pan. Add vegetable oil and swirl it around to coat the wok or fry pan.

Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for 20 seconds. Then add red chilies and sauté for another 20 seconds.

Add fermented soy beans and sugar. Continue to stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.

Add prepared long beans and water. Stir fry for another 5 minutes or until long beans are tender and sauce has thicken.

Turn off stove and transfer vegetables to a serving dish.

Char Koay Kak (Fried Rice Cakes)

1 packet rice cake (32 oz/900g)
5 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 oz chai poh / pickled radish, chopped (30g)
2 tsp chili paste
6 oz shrimps (peeled and deveined) (170g)
2 tsp sweet soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large eggs
4 oz Chinese chives (cut into 1-inch lengths) (115g)
8 oz bean sprouts (trimmed) (225g)

Cut rice cake into 3/4 inch cubes.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in non-stick fry pan. Pan fry cubed rice cakes until lightly brown in color, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Heat a large wok on the stove. Add remaining 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil when wok is heated. Sauté garlic, chai poh (pickled radish), and chili paste for 30 seconds.

Add shrimps and continue to stir fry for 1 minute.

Then add pan fried rice cubes, sweet soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.

Create a well in the center of the wok. Crack in the eggs. Stir and toss rice cubes over eggs to get them coated.

Add chives and bean sprouts. Stir for another 30 seconds to one minute.

Remove and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes: Char Koay Kak is best stir fried in small batches. Ingredients may be halved to stir fry two servings at a time

Steamed Rice Cakes

1 1/2 cups rice flour (195g)
1/3 cup corn starch (43g)
4 cups water (960ml)

Combine rice flour, corn flour, and water in a medium non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Stir as it comes to a gentle boil. The mixture will begin to thicken to a paste like consistency. This will take about 5 minutes. Turn off stove.

Prepare a steamer. Transfer rice and corn flour paste to a greased bowl or tray. Place the bowl or tray in the steamer and allow it to steam for 1 hour. Top up water in steamer if necessary.8

Remove and allow rice cake to cool completely. Refrigerate overnight.

Cut rice cake into 3/4 inch cubes.

Curry Laksa

1/3 cup vegetable oil (80ml)
2 bone-in chicken breasts (skin removed)
3 pandan leaves (shredded and knotted)
12 oz bean sprouts (trimmed) (340g)
6 oz beehoon (dried rice vermicelli), soak in warm water for 30 minutes to soften (170g)
12 oz fresh yellow noodles or dried yellow noodles (225g)
8 oz shrimps (peeled and deveined) (225g)
1 can coconut milk (14 oz/400ml)
4 oz deep fried tofu (sliced) (113g)
Salt to taste

Spice Paste
5 shallots (peeled and halved)
3 cloves garlic (peeled, and halved)
3 dried chilies (seeded and soaked in hot water to soften)
1 stalk lemongrass (slice bottom third into rings)
1 1/2 inch ginger (peeled and thickly sliced)
1/2 cup curry powder (50g)

Garnish
1/2 cucumber (julienned)
3 to 4 sprigs mint leaves (stems removed)
1 lime (cut into wedges)
4 to 6 tsp fried chili paste

Blend all spice paste ingredients with ¼ cup (60ml) water until smooth. Pour mixture into a bowl. Mix with curry powder to form a thick paste.

Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir fry spice paste until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add chicken breasts and cook until opaque, about 3 minutes.

Pour in 6 cups (1.4 liters) water. Add pandan leaves. Cover and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, fill a separate pot half full of water. Bring to a boil. Scald bean sprouts for about 20 seconds. Remove with a metal strainer.

Add beehoon (dried rice vermicelli) and cook for 2 minutes. Remove with metal strainer.

Cook fresh yellow noodles in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes and dried yellow noodles for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove with metal strainer. Set aside.

Remove chicken breasts from curry soup with tongs. When cool enough to handle, shred meat and discard bones.

Lower shrimps into curry soup with a metal strainer. Allow shrimps to cook for 3 to 4 minutes until shrimps curl and turn pink. Remove and set aside.

Pour coconut milk into soup. Add deep fried tofu and season with salt. Bring it up to a boil and allow coconut milk to heat through. Turn off heat.

Place a portion of noodles, bean sprouts, some shredded chicken, and shrimps in a bowl. Pour curry soup over noodles and vegetables. Garnish with cucumber and mint leaves.

Serve Immediately with fried chili paste and lime wedges.

Fried Loh See Fun (Pin Noodles with Pork and Salty Radish)

6 oz ground pork / minced pork (225g)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 packet rice pin noodles (15oz/425g)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 packet salted spicy radish (3.5oz/100g)
1 tsp dark soy sauce
8 oz bean sprouts (trimmed) (225g)
2 green onions (finely sliced)

Combine ground pork with 1 tablespoon soy sauce and ground pepper. Set aside.

Place rice pin noodles in a microwavable dish. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove and loosen up noodles with a fork. Set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large fry pan. Add marinated ground pork and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add minced garlic, followed by salted spicy radish. Stir fry for another 2 minutes.

Add prepared rice pin noodles, remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and the dark soy sauce. Continue to stir fry until all ingredients are well mixed.

Finally, add bean sprouts and stir fry for 20 to 30 seconds. Turn off the stove.

Transfer to individual plates and sprinkle sliced green onions on the top. Serve immediately.

Pin Noodles with Chicken and Sprouts

6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 scallion, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch-long pieces
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 pound fresh silver pin noodles
1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts
6 tablespoons thin soy sauce
Fresh ground black pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok over high heat, and stir-fry a third of the scallions until wilted, about 1 minute.

Add a third of the chicken and continue to stir-fry until cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Add a third of the noodles and continue to stir-fry until the noodles are heated through and softened, about 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of the mung bean sprouts, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, and season with pepper to taste. Toss, cook for 1 minute, divide into 2 servings, and serve hot.

Repeat twice more, splitting each batch into 2 servings.

Stir-Fried Mee Tai Mak (Pin Noodles with Shrimp and Pork)

1 lb mee thai mak noodle/ Vietnamese Ban Bot Loc noodles
3 Tbsp cooking oil
8 oz large shrimp peeled and deveined
2 oz minced pork marinade with 1 Tbsp of soy sauce, pinch of sugar
2 eggs
3 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
3 to 4 small bunches of yu choy/A choy/Choy Sum trim large stalks into smaller pieces

SEASONINGS:
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/4 tsp white pepper powder

GARNISHES
1 stalk green onion finely chopped
Fried shallots crisp optional

The noodles are hard when it is cold or refrigerated but will soften when heated. Briefly blanch the noodles in a boiling water for about 1 minute or you can just microwave them for 30 seconds or so. Set aside.

Heat up the wok/skillet with oil. Add shrimp and cook until they turn pink and cooked through. Dish out. Add garlic and stir fry for 10 seconds. Add the minced pork and stir fry and kinda break them apart and cook until they just turn color, about 2 minutes.

Push the meat to the side and break in two eggs and let them cook for about 1 minute before breaking them up lightly with a spatula.

Add the vegetables and stir fry until they are started to wilt but still has that fresh green colors.

Add the rice pin noodles and seasonings and continue to stir-fry for another minute or so until the noodles pick up the dark brown color from the seasonings. Add the shrimp back in and stir everything to mix.

Have a taste and add soy sauce if needed. Turn off heat. Garnish with some chopped green onion and fried shallots crisp and served immediately.

Durian Ice Cream

3/4 cup durian pulp
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks

Mash the durian pulp through a mesh strainer to remove the strings.

In a small pan, stir the milk, cream and sugar and heat until hot but not boiling and the sugar is all melted.

In a separate bowl whisk egg yolks.

Pour a tiny bit of the hot milk/cream in to the eggs, stirring constantly. Add more hot milk mixture a little at a time, remembering to stir constantly, until half the mixture is in the eggs. Then pour the egg mixture into the pan with the rest of the hot milk/cream/sugar and stir. Heat over low heat, again stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Stir in durian juice and let the mixture cool down. Chill in fridge to prepare for making with your ice cream machine.

Shrimp (or Scallop) and Asparagus Sambal

12 oz. asparagus
4 oz. scallops or medium-size shrimps
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons sambal paste if you like spicy, use 2 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon fish sauce or to taste
1 teaspoon belacan breaks into small bits
2 tablespoons oil

Sambal (Chili Paste) Recipe:
20 dried chilies seeded and soaked to soften
10 fresh red chilies seeded and sliced
8 shallots peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
6 tablespoons cooking oil

Rinse the asparagus with water. Chop off 1 inch to 1.5 inches off the stems (depending on the toughness of the stems) and slice the stems into half. Cut the rest of the asparagus into 2-inch lengths. Set aside.

Heat up the wok with oil. Add the sambal (recipe below) and belacan. Stir well until you start smelling the pungent aroma of belacan. Add in scallops/shrimps and do a quick stir and then follow by the asparagus. Add fish sauce, sugar, and continue to stir fry until asparagus is cooked through (don’t overcook it). Dish out and serve hot.

Sambal (Chili Paste) Recipe:
Use a mortar and pestle to pound the sambal ingredients or use a mini food processor to blend well. Heat up a wok with oil. As soon as the oil is heated, transfer the sambal paste into the wok and stir-fry continuously for a few minutes or until you smell the heat from the sambal or the oil separates from the sambal. Dish out and set aside. Refrigerated for future use.

Recipe Notes
Traditionally, sambal is prepared fresh–or bought ready made from the wet market in Malaysia. It’s then used immediately to cook the dish. In the US, I always make my sambal into a chili paste so I can keep it in the refrigerator and use it on the go. I also use more dried chilies to make the sambal paste lasts longer in the refrigerator. The fresh chilies give a nice red color as dried red chilies look duller in color. I will show you the traditional way of making sambal from scratch and the proper method of making it soon!

Ideas for Egg Lunches: Malaysian Eggplant Sambal

6 oz. eggplant
1 1/2 tablespoons dried shrimps soaked in warm water and then rinsed
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons sambal paste if you like spicy, use 2 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon fish sauce or to taste
2 tablespoons oil

Use a mortar and pestle to pound the sambal ingredients or use a mini food processor to blend well.

Heat up a wok with oil. As soon as the oil is heated, transfer the sambal paste into the wok and stir-fry continuously for a few minutes or until you smell the heat from the sambal or the oil separates from the sambal.

Dish out and set aside. Refrigerate for future use.

Ideas for Egg Lunches: Malaysian Sambal Telur

4 hard boiled eggs
2 – 3 tablespoons sambal

Cooked Sambal:
6 oz. fresh red chilies (seeded and cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon toasted belacan Malaysian shrimp paste
4 oz. shallots
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar/palm sugar or to taste
4 tablespoons oil
1/2 onion cut into rings

Prepare the sambal by grinding chilies, shallots, and toasted belacan in a mini food processor. Make sure the sambal paste is well blended and smooth.

Heat up a wok with oil and “tumis” (sauté) the sambal paste and onion rings until aromatic or when the oil separates from the sambal paste.

Add the seasonings: salt, sugar/palm sugar, and fish sauce and do a quick stir, dish out and set aside.

To make sambal telur, add 2-3 tablespoons of sambal back into the wok plus peeled hard boiled eggs. Make sure the eggs are nicely coated with the sambal. Dish out and serve hot.

Daging Masak Kicap (Malaysian Soy Sauce Beef)

8 oz beef flap meat cut into pieces
2 shallots sliced thinly (or 1/4 onion, sliced)
2 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons kicap/kecap manis sweet soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce or to taste

Rinse the beef with water and cut it across the grain into pieces. Pat dry and set aside.

Heat up a wok with the oil. When the oil is heated, add the shallots and stir fry until aromatic or when the shallots turn light brown. Add the beef into the wok and stir for a few times. Add the sweet soy sauce and soy sauce and stir to blend well with the beef. Cook for a few minutes or until the beef is cooked through. Dish out and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes
You can add a few bird’s-eye chilies or some cut red chilies if you want it spicy. You can also add a lemongrass (white-part only, pounded) to make it extra aromatic.