Archive for September, 2008

How To Remove The Skins Of Roasted Peanuts In a Jiffy

Good afternoon, dear friends 😀

There are many wonderful and delicious recipes that call for the use of roasted peanuts, for example, Peanut Cookies, Achar, Kok Chai (Peanut Puffs), Peanut Sauce or Kuah Kacang for ketupat or satay,  or Peanut Butter. Personally, I prefer to roast my own peanuts when I need to use them for the recipes as the ones sold in stores are not so fresh with a stale, oily smell. However, there is a hassle of removing the skins from them. 🙄

You won’t believe it but I learnt this method of removing the skins from roasted peanuts in a jiffy from my  12-year old son! 😆

Last year, I had baked a lot of cookies for the Chinese New Year and I needed 1 kilo of roasted peanuts for two types of cookies – Peanut Cookies and Kok Chai (recipe HERE ). You won’t believe it, but it took me a long time to remove the skins, not to mention my very sore thumb and forefinger from all the rubbing of the peanuts to remove the skins.

This job is much easier if you have a compound or garden where you can simply rub the roasted peanuts with your hand, while at the same time shake the tray or basket or colander that the peanuts are contained in and any breeze would lift the skins away to fall into the grass. But if you stay in an apartment or don’t want to mess up your compound, then you just have to make do with slowly rubbing the skins off with your thumb and forefinger. 🙄

Anyway, when I had a recipe that called for roasted peanuts later, I decided to ask my youngest son to help me remove the skins of the roasted peanuts while I concentrated on preparing the other ingredients for that recipe. Well, you know kids…..being kids, they will come up with any ingenious idea to make their chores as less time consuming as possible and as less painful as possible! 🙄 😆

So, this son of mine came up with the idea of using a plastic colander and a plastic cup for this task – and you know what, he finished the whole job in just 10 minutes, instead of 1 hour, minus the painful thumb and forefinger! : lol:

Here is his method 💡 –

1) place a few layers of old newspaper over a sink – (a) for the peanut skins to fall into and not make a big mess everywhere in your kitchen  (b) easy disposal of the skins, just wrap newspaper up and throw them away

2) place cooled roasted peanuts in a plastic colander (see picture above) – some of the skins will fall through the hole into the sink

3) to grip the plastic cup properly – place four fingers into the cup whilst the thumb is outside the cup. Gripping the cup firmly this way, roll or grind the bottom of the cup over the peanuts and you will see the skins coming off easily and quickly

4) at the same time, give the colander a few mild shakes, side to side, as this motion will help to lose some of the skins through the holes at the bottom

5) every minute or two, blow gently over the peanuts to blow the skins out of the colander. Alternatively, if you don’t find this too hygienic, just crush the skins more to make them finer so that they will fall through the holes of the colander

There you have it…easy, isn’t it? 😉 😀

Now I can look forward to cooking anything that calls for roasted peanuts without having to worry about the hassle of deskinning them! 😀


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Another Healthy, Cooling Red Cane, Candied Wintermelon, Water Chestnut Drink aka “Hung Jeh Sui”

A glass of delicious Hung Jeh Sui or Red Sugar Cane drink

Good evening, dear friends 😀

With hot weather all year round in Malaysia, spicy cuisine, heaty foods that are fried or roasted, sometimes our body can get out of balance from its yin and yang…usually becoming more heaty with symptoms like sore gums, sore throats, dry or yellowish phlegmy coughs, sore gums, tension headaches, restless sleep. To dispel this heatiness, one of the easiest and most delicious way is to drink the sugar cane drink because most kids and even adults simply love its taste!

The sugar canes used for this cooling drink are not those fat, green-yellowish canes that can be squeezed for its sugar cane juice to drink or to make into sugar, but the thinner and drier ones. There are mainly 2 types of the cane that is boiled as a cooling drink – the bamboo cane or “jook jeh” and the red cane or “hung jeh.” The red cane is also known as medicinal cane or “yeok jeh” and I prefer to use this type of cane just because of its medicinal properties….it is good for treating migraines (I get migraines very often last time but these days, its frequency is much less).

Chinese water chestnuts are held to be a good tonic and are credited with many curative and supplementing properties. Water chestnut is cold in nature and is excellent for clearing Heat. Ground water chestnut powder mixed with water can relieve cough. Boiling water chestnuts in water makes the best drink for measles patients and is appropriate for all measles patients from the third day till the ninth day of the cycle. It helps to speed up the measles cycle. Fever is usually associated with urination difficulty or pain. Water chestnut sweet soup significantly eases the pain and promotes urination.

I love wintermelon and sometimes, I would cook a savoury Wintermelon Soup to go with a meal. In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, wintermelon is considered being able to promote urination, reduce swelling, clear heat, remove toxic substances, and mitigate high blood pressure.

In fact, from nutrition perspective, the potassium content in winter melon is proved to be capable of facilitating the body to eliminate excess sodium, which helps reduce swelling and lower blood pressure. Moreover, because of its extremely high water content and 0% fat properties, winter melon is often used in dieting and has become an ideal weight-control food for dieters specially in hot summer months in China.



Ingredients in the large pot above –

10 sticks of 1-foot long red sugar cane

1 packet candied wintermelon (Tong Tung Kwa)

10 or more fresh water chestnuts

* optional – a small bunch of Hung Teen Wu (benefits of this plant can be read in this post HERE )

* other options – 2 cups of Chinese barley, some Mao Kan, or dried bamboo leaves

Real Easy Method –

1) I used my largest pot which can contain about 10 litres of water. Bring water to a boil.

2) Meanwhile, scrub sugar cane with a metal scrubber (the type we use to scrub our pots? This remove dirt easier compared to a vegetable brush). Chop cane into 2 parts so that they will fit into the pot. Smash with the flat side of a chopping knife or hammer or the stone from the pestle and mortar.

3) Scrub water chestnuts with a vegetable brush to remove dirt and mud. Leave skin on and smash lightly also with the flat side of a chopping knife.

4) Put all ingredients into the pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 4 hours with the lowest fire.

5) No sugar is necessary as the ingredients would have provided some sweetness but if you prefer your drink sweeter, just add in a cup of rock sugar.

6) I usually pour a large mug of this yummy drink for each of my family member and the leftover is kept in jugs in the refrigerator, It tastes even better cold. 💡

Hope you will make this drink for your family and I am very sure they will love its taste. It is certainly cheaper than buying it from those cooling herbal stalls and it only costs me about RM10 or US$3.50 to make such a large pot of red cane drink. My family would have it twice a month because it is good in preventing heatiness. wink:

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Yummy Spicy Noodle Soup – Laksa Lemak

Delicious Laksa Lemak with garnishings (clockwise from top) of bean sprouts, slices of fish cakes, fried beancurd puffs (taufoo pok), steamed chicken slices, prawns/shrimps, fish balls and a condiment of prawn sambal with a squeeze of calamansi lime. In the centre, there is a sprinkle of shredded assam leaves and some mint leaves 😀

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival (Mooncake Festival) today, dear friends 😀

As promised a couple of weeks ago when I showed a picture of Laksa Lemak in my Nasi Lemak post, here is the recipe for my version of Laksa Lemak. I have not really cooked a Curry Laksa or Laksa Lemak before and I was inspired to cook this because I was craving for some Laksa after having watch the Asian Food Channel which featured Singapore’s Famous Katong Laksa. 🙄

After going through some Laksa recipes available on the Internet, I came up with the following recipe. Please note that this is a guideline only and the ingredients can be adjusted to suit your preferred taste, okay? 😉

Laksa Lemak (serves 10 persons)

Ingredients & Method for Soup Stock/Base –

Enough chicken necks and bones to make a good stock – cleaned and boiled in a stock pot of approximately 7 litres of water. Simmer over low heat for as long as possible to get the most flavour. You can do the other stuff while this is simmering away. Here, I had used 2 free range chicken/ayam kampung’ breasts and bones.

Meanwhile, blend the following ingredients to make up the spicy flavour to the soup –

Ingredients to be blended with some water – to spice up the soup –

10 fresh red chilli – deseeded if you want to reduce the spicyness

10 dried red chilli – omit and replace with fresh red chilli to reduce spicyness.

25 shallots – peeled (they give a natural sweetness and fuller flavour to the soup)

2 inch knob of fresh turmeric, or 2 tbsps of turmeric powder

2 inch knob of lengkuas or galangal

2 inch knob of fresh ginger

2 tbsps of toasted belacan powder/shrimp paste

10 candlenuts or buah keras

1 cup of dried prawns/shrimps – rinsed and soaked in some water for 20 minutes. Thereafter, pour the liquid into the simmering soup stock

Other ingredients –

4 stalks lemon grass – use the bottom 5 inches, bruised or smashed to release the aromatic oils

Fresh Santan or Coconut from 3 coconuts, or 3 to 4 cans of packets of coconut milk – this depends on your preference but more santan means a thicker soup

2 Bunga Kantan or Torch Ginger Flower – stalks removed, flower bud halved

1.5 kg fresh Laksa Noodles, or cooked Meehoon/Rice Vermicelli, or cooked spaghetti, or cooked fresh mee

Ingredients for Garnishings/Toppings –

2 whole chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs), deboned and rubbed with salt and pepper

20 fish balls

3 large fishcakes

1/2 kg fresh prawns/shrimps – peeled, cleaned and seasoned with some salt and pepper. The shells are dropped into the soup stock to simmer with chicken bones

Some bean sprouts, blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes (personally, I love to eat them raw with my laksa for that added crunch and flavour)

20 fried beancurd puffs or taufoo pok – put into boiling water for 1 minute, remove from water and squeezed dry to remove the oil in them

Polygonum Leaves or Assam Leaves – cleaned and shredded finely

Mint Leaves

Method –

1) The first thing is to start you chicken soup stock and while that is simmering away, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2) Put the prawn shells into the soup once you have shelled the prawns.

3) Place the deboned chicken meat into the soup pot (over low heat) for 15 minutes, until just done. Remove and plunge into cold water for 3 minutes. This makes the chicken texture really smooth and enjoyable. 💡 Remove chicken and rub all over with 1 tbsp of sesame oil and 1 tsp salt. Cut into strips or slices. Set aside as garnish.

4) Cook fish balls and fishcakes in the soup stock for about 3 minutes. Remove and set aside as garnish. Remember to slice the fishcakes.

5) In a small pot, pour in about 3 cups of the hot soup stock and cook the prawns for about 2 minutes, until they are just done. Remove the cooked prawns and rub 1/2 tsp salt over them. Pour back the leftover soup into the chicken soup stock.

6) Leave the soup stock to continue simmering…

7) Next, heat up the 2 cups of oil in a wok and then fry the blended spices for about 10 to 15 minutes, until fragrant. Remember to keep stirring to avoid burning.

8 ) Now, remove all the chicken bones and prawn shells from the soup stock with a slotted spoon.

9) Bring up the fire to high for the soup pot and add in the fried blended spices.

10) Add in the bruised lemon grass and bunga kantan or torch ginger flower.

11) Bring the soup to a rolling boil and simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes.

12) Bring to high heat again and add in the coconut milk.

13) Add in about 4 tbsps of salt and 2 tbsps of sugar. Check the taste of the soup and adjust seasonings accordingly. The soup should be more salty than normal because it has to balance with the bland taste of the noodles.

14) Lastly, add in the fried beancurd puffs/taufoo poks.

15) To cook the laksa noodles (only this type of noodles are cooked this way) – place some laksa noodles into a serving bowl (for one person), pour some hot laksa soup over and swish the noodles in the soup. Pour back the soup into the pot and scoop out more hot soup over the laksa in the bowl. Repeat this 2 to 3 times to heat up the laksa noodles thoroughly.

16) To serve, pour some hot, spicy, yummy laksa soup over the noodles (or other cooked noodles/meehoon/spaghetti)…..garnish with the various available topping…and Voila! Your very own homecooked Laksa.

It goes very well with some Prawn Sambal (Chili Paste) and a squeeze of lime. Below is my recipe for the Dried Prawn Sambal –

Dried Prawn Sambal

Ingredients –

6 shallots, peeled and chopped finely

6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped finely

6 dried chillis, soaked in hot water and pounded or blended

1 tbsp of toasted belacan or shrimp paste

1/2 cup of dried prawns, soaked in water, then chopped finely. Liquid is to be used in the soup stock

salt and sugar to taste

1 cup oil

Method –

1) In a wok, heat up the oil and fry the chopped garlic and shallots until golden brown. Remove garlic and shallots only, leaving the oil behind.

2) Now add in the chopped dried shrimps and fry for about 2 minutes, until aromatic.

3) Add in the pounded or blended dried chilli and fry for about 2 minutes with the prawns.

4) Next add back the golden shallots and garlic, and the toasted belacan or shrimp paste.

5) Mix everything thoroughly, add in 2 tbsps of sugar and enough salt to taste. Remove and set aside in a bowl.

6) To serve this sambal, put some into a soy sauce plate, and squeeze some lime juice over it. Wow, this just whets the appetite! 😀

Bon Appetit! I hope you like this Laksa recipe. The recipe may look tedious but the taste is well worth it and once you get the hang of cooking the laksa one time, it will be a breeze the next time! 😉

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Yummy Homemade Nyonya Achar Awak With A Zing – Spicy Nyonya Pickled Vegetables

A small bowl of appetising, yummy Nyonya Achar to be savoured with some rice

Hello there, dear friends 😀

During hot and humid days, when appetites are poor and nothing seems to appeal to the taste buds, it is best to have something sour and spicy to get our appetites whetted. One of the best foods to have is the Nyonya Achar Awak or Nyonya Spicy Pickled Mixed Vegetables dish as its sourness, spicyness, sweetness, aroma and texture simply wake up the senses of our taste buds! 😆

Last week, I had made some Achar to go with Nasi Lemak and here is my recipe. Be warned that the Achar is really sour and spicy and you may need to tone things down if you prefer not to have so much “zing” in your Achar. 😉

Nyonya Achar Awak With A Zing

Ingredients to be washed and cut into 1 X 0.25 inch sticks –

4 medium cucumbers – unpeeled, quartered lengthwise, cut away the seed portion

3 carrots – unpeeled

5 long beans

10 french beans

1 small Beijing cabbage – cut into 1.5 inch squares (I prefer Beijing cabbage because the leaves are thicker and have more crunch, you can use the usual cabbage)

Ingredients to be blended together with enough water –

30 dried chili – washed and soaked in hot water for 20 minutes

10 chili padi or bird’s eye chili

5 fresh red chili

25 to 30 shallots, skin removed

6 to 8 cloves garlic, skin removed

10 candlenuts or buah keras

3 inch knob of fresh turmeric, skin removed, or 2 tbsp turmeric powder

2 inch knob of lengkuas or galangal or blue ginger

3 fat lemon grass or serai – use 1.5 inches of the bottom part only

3 tbsps toasted belacan or shrimp paste (**Tip – I usually buy 1 block of belacan and toast the whole thing in a non-stick pan until it becomes dry and grainy. Then I store the toasted belacan in a airtight bottle in the refrigerator, ready for use any time 😉 )

Other ingredients –

3 cups of white rice vinegar (I prefer Pearl River brand from China)

Juice of 5 key limes or 3 lemons (achar is more aromatic with this)

Sugar and Salt to taste

2 to 3 cups peanuts – toasted, skin removed and crunched with a rolling pin for rougher texture (don’t blend) (later, I’ll post about a simple method to de-skin toasted peanuts in a jiffy 😉 )

1 cup toasted sesame seeds

2 cups cooking or vegetable oil

Method –

1) Bring a pan containing about 1.5 litres of water, 1 cup vinegar, 2 tbsps salt and 2 sugar to a boil. Blanch for 1 minute the beans and cabbage, one type at a time. Remove with a slotted spoon, wipe away excess water with paper kitchen towels, and place in a baking tray. Dry under the fan or strong sunlight, about 1 hour or more.

2) Rub 3 tbsps of salt into the cucumber and carrot sticks in a large bowl. Set aside for about 2 hours. Rinse under tap water and wring vegetables dry with a clean tea towel.

3) Meanwhile, prepare the ingredients to be blended.

4) Fry the blended ingredients in oil in a large wok. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes for the spices to get aromatic, when it separates from the oil.


5) Add in 1 cup of vinegar, 2 tbsps salt and 2 tbsps sugar. Bring to a boil and turn off the fire immediately.

6) Add in the vegetables, starting with the carrots and beans and cabbage last. Mix thoroughly. Add in the lime or lemon juice.


7) Add in the toasted grounded panuts and sesame seeds. Don’t worry about the liquid coming out from the vegetables, the peanuts and sesame seeds will soak it up.




8 ) Mix achar thoroughly and adjust the taste to your preference by adding more vinegar, sugar and salt. I had used a total of 2 cups vinegar and an additional 5 tbsps of sugar in mine.

9) Place in a casserole or in clean bottles, and refrigerate. It tastes better overnight but if you were like me, impatient to taste it the same day, do wait for at least 2 hours or else, the beans will have no achar taste in them.

Bon Appetit! Let me know how your achar turns out if you do try this recipe, okay? 😀

With best wishes,

choesf 😀

 How To Remove The Skins Of

Roasted Peanuts In a Jiffy

Comments (33) »


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