Tiny Bok Choy in Vinegar and Oyster Sauce

1 1/2 pounds smallest baby bok choy
4 medium garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Totole chicken powder mixed with 4 tablespoons water or 4 tablespoons chicken broth
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Zhenjiang vinegar
1 tablespoon Chinese light soy sauce

Cut baby bok choy in half vertically, from top to bottom. Rinse and dry well (a salad spinner is good for this).

Heat wok over a high flame and add 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil. When the oil is hot, lower flame and add garlic slices. Stir-fry briefly to soften, but do not brown.

Add bok choy, increase flame, and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add the salt and chicken broth and cover pan. Steam for about 1 minute and check doneness. When cooked through but still crisp, plate bok choy.

Mix oyster sauce, vinegar and soy sauce in a bowl or measuring cup and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. Drizzle sauce over the bok choy and serve.

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.

Chinese Banged Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers (japanese or english type)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 clove garlic, smashed (optional)
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

Wash your cucumber thoroughly. Cut off the tips on each side. Holding one end, carefully bang on cucumber with the flat of your cleaver until the cucumber splits and flattens out. It will be a little mushed up which is what you want. Once the whole cucumber is flattened, chop into bit sized piece. (We like to chop at a diagonal.) Do the same to each cucumber.

Add 1/2 tsp salt, mix and place into colander. Let cucumber drip juices out for 15-20 mins in the fridge. Squeeze cucumber lightly to remove most of the juice.

Mix together the chopped cucumber, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. Taste. It should be equal parts salty, sour and sweet. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour, stirring once or twice, before serving. The longer the marination, the tastier.

Steamed Chinese Eggplant

3 chinese eggplants
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 small red chilis, chopped (optional)
3 tbsp of oil
2 tbsp spring onions

Marinade

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp of sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp rice vinegar

Wash and cut the eggplants to 2 1/2 inch lengths, discarding the stems. Place eggplants into steamer and steam for 25-30 minutes until really soft. Cut or tear each piece into bite sized shreds (I use a tong to grab the hot egglants and a knife to slice thru). Pile attractively into serving dish.

Mix soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and rice vinegar in a bowl. Heat oil in wok and fry the garlic and chilis (if using) over medium heat until garlic is a golden brown. Carefully pour the garlic/chili/hot oil into the marinade. Stir until well mixed. Pour sauce over the eggplants, sprinkle with spring onion and serve.

Cauliflower Stir Fry

1 small head Cauliflower, or 1/2 large head
2-3 Tbsp peanut oil
2 slices of ginger
1/4 Tsp sea salt
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup of spring onion, cut to rounds
1 Tbsp of sesame oil

You can see from the ingredient list that it is quite specific. This very simple dish has few factors, therefore the taste quality of each factor becomes important.

Wash and cut cauliflower into florets. Shake as much water as you can from the cauliflower.

Heat wok at medium high until it starts smoking, add oil and swirl to coat wok. Right away add ginger slices and stir briefly to infuse ginger essence into oil.

Add cauliflower (Careful here!: There will be a loud hissing and spitting of oil as any water left on the cauliflower hits the hot oil. Just tip the bowl containing cauliflower into the wok facing away from you and watch out for that spitting oil) and stir to coat all the cauliflower florets with oil.

Add salt. Keep stirring until the florets start to show some brown spots (about 2 minutes), turn down the heat to medium low, add the chicken stock and cover, stirring occassionally.

Let simmer for 2-3 minutes or until only a 1/4 cup of stock is left in wok (this will be the sauce). The cauliflower should be soft, not crisp.

Add spring onions, give everything a toss and turn off the heat. Add sesame oil, mix and serve.

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 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.

Malaysian Coconut and Chili Bean Sprout Salad (Kerabu)

1/2 red onion thinly sliced
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
1 red bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced
2 1/4 cups bean sprouts
1/2 red chili seeded and finely chopped
1 small handful mint leaves roughly chopped

FOR THE DRESSING:
4 tablespoons fish sauce
juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons sugar
1- inch piece gingerroot peeled

To make the dressing, whisk the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar together in a large bowl. Grate the gingerroot into the bowl, discarding the fibrous bits, and mix well.

Scatter the onion over the dressing and mix well, then set aside 5 to 10 minutes. This takes the rawness out of the onion.

Meanwhile, toast the coconut in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring continuously, ?30 to 40 seconds until the coconut turns a lovely golden brown. Tip it onto a plate and ?set aside.

To assemble the salad, add the red pepper, bean sprouts, red chili and mint to the ?onion mixture and toss until all the ingredients are well coated. Transfer to a serving bowl, scatter the roasted coconut over the top and serve immediately.

Asian Sweet and Sour Meatballs (Pork or Chicken)

12 oz ground pork or ground chicken
1/2- inch piece peeled ginger finely minced
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder optional
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 dashes ground white pepper
Pinch of salt
Oil for pan-frying
1/2 small onion quartered

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese rice vinegar or Apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Combine the ground pork or chicken with ginger, garlic, five-spice powder (if using), sesame oil, pepper and salt. Stir to combine well. Wet both hands with some water and shape into 24 meatballs. Set aside.

Heat up a wok or skillet with some oil, pan-fry the meatballs until they turn light to golden brown. Drained them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Clean the wok or skillet. Heat it up with a little bit oil. Add the onion and do a few quick stirs. Add the sweet and sour sauce and cook it until it’s thickened, then add the meatballs. Stir to coat well with the sauce. Dish out and serve immediately.

Chinese Greens with Oyster Sauce

Garlic Oil:
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 teaspoon oil

Your favorite Chinese greens (choy sum, kai lan [Chinese mustard greens], bok choy, baby bok choy, or any green leafy vegetables [recipe is based on 6 baby bok choy)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce Lee Kum Kee brand preferred
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 dashes of white pepper powder

Prepare the garlic oil first by heating up your wok and stir fry the minced garlic until they turn light brown. Dish out and set aside.

Heat up a pot of water and bring it to boil. Add two small drops of cooking oil into the water. Drop your vegetables into the boiling water and quickly blanch them for about 20-30 seconds (depends on the quantity). As soon as they turn slightly wilted, transfer them out and drain the excess water off the vegetables. Arrange the vegetables on a plate.
In a wok, heat up the cooking oil, and then add the oyster sauce, water, sugar, and white pepper powder. As soon as the sauce heats up and blends well, transfer and drench it over the blanced vegetables. Top the vegetables with the garlic oil and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes: For the garlic oil, the garlic will continue to cook in the oil so as soon as they turn light brown in the wok, you should dish it out. Eventually, they will turn golden brown.

Perfect Brown Rice

1 cup short, medium, or long-grain brown rice
Kosher salt, to taste

Rinse rice in a strainer under cold running water for 30 seconds. Bring 12 cups water to a boil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. Add the rice, stir it once, and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Pour the rice into a strainer over the sink.

Let the rice drain for 10 seconds, then return it to the pot, off the heat. Cover the pot and set it aside to allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes. Uncover the rice, fluff with a fork, and season with salt.

Pressed Rice Cakes with Chicken

2 Cups of glutinous rice
2 Cups of water
1 tsp salt
3 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 Cups of shredded cooked chicken meat
3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 stalk spring onion finely chopped
Salt to taste

Saute 3 tsp of minced garlic in vegetable oil until golden brown. Be careful not to burn them. Combine glutinous rice, salt, water and 1 tsp of the sauteed garlic. You can either cook your rice in a 2-quart pot for about 40 minutes until liquid is absorbed or your rice cooker. I used rice cooker ? Let them cool down after cooking.

Meanwhile, while the rice is cooking, combine the shredded chicken meat with the remaining of the sauteed garlic and 3/4 of the remaining garlic oil from no.1. Season with salt to taste. Mix well and set aside.

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and brush with some of the remaining garlic oil. Sprinkle with half of the toasted sesame seeds. Spoon half of the rice into the lined pan and work with wet hands to press the rice into an even layer. If the rice is still too warmed to handle, let it cool down.

Spread the chicken mixture evenly over the rice and cover with the remaining rice. Sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds and cover with more oiled plastic and weigh it down by placing few cans or something heavy on top of it.

Let stand for at least 20 minutes. Invert onto a cutting board, remove the plastic, and slice into 1 1/2 inch squares with a wet knife. You can slice them further diagonally to form triangles too if you want. Serve at room temperature or lightly pan-fry them until crisp

Rempeyek Kacang (Indonesian Peanut Fritters)

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups raw peanuts without skin
2 cups coconut milk if you are using canned, give it a good shake
2 1/2 oz of rice flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
Oil for deep frying
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbsp coriander powder

INGREDIENTS TO GRIND:
4 kaffir lime leaves
3 candlenuts
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of sugar

In a medium-size pan without oil, stir-fry the peanut on low heat for about 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Use a food processor to process the ingredients to grind into paste. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, coconut milk, and add in the paste, turmeric powder, and coriander powder. Stir to mix everything. It should be somewhat a thin batter.

In a small-size (deep enough for deep-frying) pot, preheat enough oil for deep-frying. Give the batter a stir each time before you drop them into the oil. Drop a tablespoon of the batter into the hot oil and let it fry until golden brown on both sides. Work with one at a time. Remove with slotted spoon and place on absorbent paper towel to drain. Let them cool down completely before storing in air-tight container.

Perkedel Jagung (Bakwan Jadung – Indonesian Corn Fritters)

500 gr sweet corn kernels
6 oz shrimps cleaned, deveined and finely minced
80 gr rice flour
1 large egg beaten
1 tsp salt
1 Thai chili
Oil for deep-frying

AROMATICS:
2 shallots peeled
2 garlic peeled
3 Tbsp chopped Chinese celery leaves

Place 1/2 of the corn in a food processor along with the shrimp, shallots and garlic and pulse few times until finely chopped.

Mix the chopped corn mixtures along with the other half of the corn kernels, eggs, chili, celery leaves, flour, salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix everything.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil for frying. Lower the heat to medium and then drop one or two spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. You may want to fry one first and then taste to see if you need to add more salt (as you can’t taste the “raw” mixture) and adjust by adding more salt if needed before frying more.

You can try to use egg rings if you have some to help hold the round shape, but you really don’t have to. If you use them, fill the ring with the corn mixture and then use the back of the spoon to kinda smooth it out to make sure there’s no “hole” so your bakwan jagung won’t fall apart later. Once the fritter is golden brown at the bottom, you can remove the ring and flip to the other side and cook until golden brown.

Continue with the rest of the mixture. You can serve with any of your favorite sweet chili sauce or just eat them as is.

Perkedel Kentang (Indonesian Potato Fritters

1 lb of potato (peeled and diced into 1/3 inch square)
4 oz of ground pork/chicken
1 tbsp of corn starch
1/2 cup chopped celery leaves
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 egg beaten
Cooking oil for frying

Deep fry the diced potato until cooked but not too brown or it will be hard to mash. Place them in a large mixing bowl and mashed with fork while still hot because it’s easier to do so
Add pork and the rest of the ingredients, except for oil and stir to mix everything.

Wet your hands to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands. Form the mixture into balls, then flatten with your palm to about 1 inch thickness.

Preheat a oil enough to deep-fry the perkedel. When the oil is hot enough, lower the heat to medium so the perkedel won’t get burn outside but with pork still uncooked inside. Deep fry until golden brown, it shouldn’t take long, about 1 minute on each side or so. Keep your eyes on them as they may brown faster if your perkedel is smaller in size. Place on absorbent paper towel and serve warm or room temperature on its own or with other dish.

Pressure Cooker Nasi Gurih (Coconut Milk Rice)

INGREDIENTS:
400 gr Jasmine rice
400 ml coconut milk 500 ml if cooking on stove-top
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 duan salam leaves (4 if you use dried leaves)

Wash the rice in several changes of water until the water is clear. Drain off water completely. Use a strainer to make sure you completely remove all water.

TO COOK WITH RICE COOKER:
Transfer the rice to inner pot of rice cooker. Pour in coconut milk. Add the salt. Give it a stir. Add bay leaves
Press the white rice setting or whatever setting on your rice cooker. It takes about 20 minutes or less on my rice cooker to cook.

Fluff the rice with rice paddle and nasi gurih is ready to be served.

TO COOK WITH INSTANT POT RICE COOKER FEATURE:
Pour coconut milk and salt to the rice cooker. Stir to mix. Sprinkle in the rice and then gently push the rice to make sure it’s covered by the liquid. I do it this way to prevent the IP from showing “burn” message later. It doesn’t always happen, but it might sometimes. Add leaves.

Close the lid. Turn the steam release valve to seal. Press “rice” and it will automatically set everything else for you and it will beep when it starts cooking and when it’s done cooking. Wait 10 minutes and then unlock the lid and fluff the rice.

TO COOK WITH INSTANT POT PRESSURE COOKER FEATURE:
Pour coconut milk and salt to the rice cooker. Stir to mix. Sprinkle in the rice and then gently push the rice to make sure it’s covered by the liquid. I do it this way to prevent the IP from showing “burn” message later. It doesn’t always happen, but it might sometimes. Add leaves.

Close the lid. Turn the steam release valve to seal. Press “pressure cooker” and then “high pressure”. Set the timer to 3 minutes. When it’s done cooking, wait for 10 minutes and then fully release pressure.

Unlock the lid and fluff the rice with the rice paddle.

TO COOK ON THE STOVE:
Pour the coconut milk and salt into the pot. Bring to a boil and then stir in the rice. Return to a boil and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for the next 20 minutes
After 20 minutes, uncover the lid, fork the rice lightly from around sides of the pot, mixing in any coconut milk that has not been absorbed, and replace the lid back for 5 more minutes. Now it’s ready to be served.

Acar Timun (Quick Cucumber Pickles)

2 medium size cucumber
4 tbsp hot water
4 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp white vinegar
3 red Thai chili cut into small pieces

Peel the cucumber and then cut into half vertically. Use a spoon with a sharp point, like grapefruit spoon for example, to scoop off the seeds. Regular spoon will work too, so don’t sweat it if you don’t have grapefruit spoon. It just makes the work a little easier.

Cut the cucumber into cubes or you can cut it into half-circle shape.

Place the hot water and sugar in a glass-jar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

Add the vinegar and chili. Add the cucumber. Close the lid of the jar and shake it. You can pickle this in a non-reactive bowl too. Whatever works for you.

Let it pickle for at least 1 hour in a refrigerator. You can store this in the refrigerator for up to 1 week

Stir Fried Bee Hoon (for Nasi Sayur Medan)

8 oz of rice stick noodles soak for 30 minutes and drain
2 Tbsp cooking oil
3 cloves garlic peeled and finely minced
1 Tbsp all-purpose chili sauce
2 Tbsp of soy sauce
Salt to taste
1 stalk green onions finely chopped

Preheat a large skillet or wok with some oil. When hot enough, add in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, add in the chili sauce and saute for another 30 seconds.

Add in 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.

Add in the rice noodles and drizzle in the soy sauce. Stir to mix everything and cook until the rice noodles are soft and absorb most of the water. Have a taste and add a pinch of salt to your taste. Cut the bee hoon into shorter strands with kitchen shears.

Sprinkle with some green onions and dish out into a serving platter

Potato Rendang (for Nasi Sayur Medan)

2 lbs of small round baby potatoes unpeeled and washed
2 – 3 oz long red chilis soaked in warm water until soft before blending (if you can’t find long red chilis, use red dried chilis)
1 red Thai chili for some heat if you like -optional
1 tsp of shrimp paste
2 cloves garlic peeled
3 shallots peeled
1/2 inch ginger root 1 cm, peeled
1- inch of turmeric root or about 3 tsp ground turmeric powder 2.5 cm
1 1/2 inches galangal root or 4 tsp of galangal powder 4 cm, peeled
Pinch of salt to taste
1 stalk of fresh lemon grass trim the stalky ends and cut into two and bruised
3 fresh kaffir lime leaves tear each leaf a bit to release flavor
1 turmeric leaf optional
2 fresh bay leaves
3 cardamom
1 cup coconut cream
2 Tbsp of cooking oil
Salt to taste

Place the chili and other ingredients all the way to galangal and blend them into a paste, you may need to add a little bit of the water in there to get it going.

Preheat a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add in the cooking oil. Stir fry the ground spices until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, turmeric leaf (if using), bay leaves, cardamom, and continue to stir fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add in the potatoes, bring to a gentle boil and reduce the heat to let it simmer gently, uncovered until all the liquid is almost gone and the coconut cream has reduced to oil, this may take about 20-30 minutes for the potatoes to be fork tender but not mushy. Have a taste towards the end of boiling to see if you need more salt.

When all the liquid is gone and you have nice looking orange-color oil left. Turn off the heat. Discard of the stems and leaves. The rendang tastes even better the day after. So you can definitely prepare one day ahead.