Archive for October, 2008

Yummy Meatballs & Potatoes with Gravy, a la Swedish/Ikea Style

Beef Meatballs, Steamed Potatoes, Ikea Gravy, Steamed Broccolli, Buttered Brown Rice,  Lingonberry Preserve 

Yummy Konnyaku Jelly

Yummy Konnyaku Jelly

 Dessert was Konnyaku Jelly

Ikea Lingonberries

Ikea Lingonberries

Ikea Gravy Mix For Meatballs and Potatoes

Ikea Gravy Mix For Meatballs and Potatoes

Good evening, dear friends 😀

My children and I love going to the Ikea Furniture Store located in Mutiara Damansara just for the coffee and the Swedish food – especially  their really yummy Swedish Meatballs and Potatoes. However, Ikea is located quite far from where we stay and thus, we don’t often go there as much as we would like to. 😥

So, I decided to re-produce a little bit of “Ikea or Swedish flavour” for dinner in my home. 💡 😆

What I had stocked up from Ikea were 10 packets of Ikea Gravy Mix for potatoes (I put them in my freezer) and a bottle of Lingonberry Preserve. With a few packets of Marina brand of frozen beef meatballs, I was all set to cook this yummy meal in a jiffy. You can also do the same at home and this is much cheaper than eating at the Ikea restaurant.

All I needed to do was –

1) cooked some Butter Brown Rice (just add some butter, chopped shallots, a cup of frozen peas/carrots/corn), a pandan leaf, some chicken stock, and 1 tsp of salt. While this is cooking..

2) I scrubbed some potatoes and steamed them for 20 minutes, until a knife can be pierced through them easily. Set aside to keep warm.

3) Next, I  steamed the 50 meatballs (for 7 persons) for 10 minutes…reserving any liquid left there to make the gravy. Set this aside in a covered casserole to keep warm.

4) Then I steamed my brocolli and carrots for 5 minutes. While this was cooking…

5) I prepared the gravy according to the instructions on the Ikea packet. Just a word of caution – there is a lot of MSG contained in the mix, and therefore, I used only 2 packets of the gravy mix and added some water plus a beef (or chicken, if you like) stock boullion and then thicken the sauce a bit with a cornstarch mixture. I didn’t have any cream on hand to mix into the gravy as instructed and I added full cream milk instead…the gravy tasted great anyway!

Voila! This Ikea style dinner was ready in just 45 minutes! Well, except for the rice, which may take longer according to the cooking method. 😀

Happy Cooking! 😀

choesf 😀


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How To Make Kerisik (Toasted Cocunut) For Rendangs (Dry Curries)

Good afternoon, dear friends 😀

As I am typing this, it is raining dogs and cats here in Kuala Lumpur, a wonderful, cool change from the really hot and humid weather that we usually experience. Phew! 🙄

Here is the procedure on how to make toasted coconut or “kerisik” as it is known in the Malay language. Kerisik is a must-have in cooking traditional Malay Beef or Chicken Rendangs (dry curries) because it adds on a really fragrant and smoky taste to the curry, making it distinctive from all the other curries. Try cooking a rendang for yourself and enjoy its yummy taste! 😀


You will need 2 cups of shredded, fresh coconut. Choose the type of coconuts that are used to squeeze santan or coconut milk because they are older and contain more aromatic, coconut oil. The shredded coconut that looks very white and are used for coating kuih or desserts are obtained from  young coconuts.

(You can use canned dessicated coconut if fresh ones are not available in your area, but the cooking time will be shortened for this)

Toast the shredded coconut in a dry (no oil required), non-stick pan over medium heat, stirring frequently until the coconut is golden brown……


Pound the toasted coconut in a pestle or mortar to release the fragrance and oils. You can also blend it in a spice mill.

There you have it – homemade kerisik, to be used for cooking rendangs ===> 😀


Readymade kerisik is available for sale at the stalls selling coconut milk and shredded coconut, but I prefer to make my own as it is fresher and more hygienic. Personally, I normally make a double batch of kerisik each time and freeze half of it for use later. 💡

Happy Cooking!

choesf 😀

Comments (27) »

A Pictorial Recipe – Easy Homemade Malay Beef Rendang Recipe (Dry Beef Curry)

My Hari Raya Dinner consisting of a bowl of Kuah Kacang (Satay or Peanut Sauce), some Beef Rendang, Ketupat, and Chicken Satay 😀

Good afternoon, dear friends 😀

Here is a pictorial recipe for the Beef Rendang that I had cooked for my family’s Hari Raya 2008 feasting – I am hoping that the pictures below will be able to guide you slowly and make it easier for you to cook your very own homemade, delicious rendang for your loved ones to taste. 😉

We can also use this recipe for cooking Chicken Rendang, which is what I planned to do this coming Hari Raya Haji festival in December. Heheh, in case you are wondering, I am not a Muslim but with this coming festival, there will be ketupat casings on sale at the markets as the Muslims would be cooking their Ketupat & Beef Rendang and I will be able to improve on my ketupat recipe. 😆

This recipe is an adaptation from Makcik Sham’s Beef Rendang recipe which I had posted last year HERE .

Ingredients & Method-

1) 2 kg topside beef – cut into 1-inch cubes and marinated with 2 tbsps salt (optional -add a tbsp of papain tenderiser to cut down cooking time). Set this aside and go to the next step.


2) Blend with 1 cup water the ingredients in Pictures 1 & 2 below –

5 stalks Lemon Grass (use the bottom 1-inch), 20 fresh red chilis (add soaked dried chilis for more spicyness), 1 whole bulb garlic (skin removed, here I used smoked garlic), 1 large knob (about 1-1/2 inches) of fresh ginger, 1 large knob of galangal or lengkuas, 3-inch knob of fresh kunyit or turmeric…and 25 to 30 peeled shallots…..(below)..

3) Other ingredients to get ready (not blended) …

…another 4 stalks of Lemon Grass, smashed at the roots to release aromatic oils

…1 to 1-1/2 cups of KERISIK or toasted and pounded shredded or dessicated coconut. This imparts a very aromatic, smoked fragrance which is a very typical feature of Malay rendangs/dry curries 💡

1 Turmeric Leaf or Daun Kunyit, cleaned and cut into 2-inch strips

2 tbsps each of Cumin and Fennel Powder (can use Coriander Powder, also) – Serbuk Jintan Putih, Jintan Manis & Ketumbar

Thick Coconut Milk from 2 coconuts, or 500ml of coconut milk of the packaged or canned types

1 cup water

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 cup cooking oil (not olive oil)



4) Start cooking by pouring in the blended ingredients into a wok over high heat. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until most of the liquid has dried up.

5) Add in the cup of cooking oil – you will now be frying the blended ingredients to make it more aromatic – this takes about 10 minutes.

6) Add in the smashed Lemon Grass, Cumin & Fennel Powders, Turmeric Leaf strips, coconut nut milk and water and bring ingredients to a boil.

7) Add in the beef cubes. Once the curry has come to a boil, reduce heat to medium to stew the beef.

8 ) The beef curry will slowly dry up as the cooking process go…remember to stir often to prevent burning at the bottom (at the beginning the rendang will look like the picture below) –

9) After 20 minutes of simmering, add in the KERISIK as in above…and continue to simmer and stir the rendang….

…as you can see from the picture above, the curry liquid is drying up somewhat (sorry for the yellow tinge to the picture, I had used a flash when I shouldn’t have)

….the rendang is getting more dry….continue to cook and stir your rendang…

…and more dry…it is almost done…


10) Add in the salt and pepper now. We don’t want to add the salt earlier because that will cause the meat to be dry. Season to taste and please note that the taste should be more salty than normal because the beef rendang is going with some plain white rice, or ketupat, or bread. 😉

11) Some of you may prefer to have more gravy in your rendang and not have it so dry like the picture below, and therefore, you can stop the cooking now and dish out rendang.

Voila! You have cooked your very own homemade Beef Rendang!

The rendang tastes better over time…try tasting some now and then some on the next day to see for yourself. Keep the rendang refrigerated and warm up enough for serving at meals. Rendangs can keep well up to a week refrigerated.

I have seen beef rendang for sale and it is so expensive – good beef rendang costs about US$3 for 1 cup (about 200 gms, I think) but the cost of ingredients here  is about US$18 here in KL but it could serve my family of 6 over 3 days and we had the rendang at every meal! 😆

Hope you do give this recipe a try and I look forward to your comments on how your rendangs turn out! 😀

Bon Appetit!

choesf 😀

Comments (24) »

Chinese “Lemon” Leaves Drink For Lung Cleansing, Detoxification & Coughs

A bunch of “lemon” leaves, compared to a teaspoon for measure

A cup of healthy “lemon” leaves drink

Good morning, dear friends 😀

When I was a kid, my mom used to brew this drink and make everyone have a glass of it. Being young at that time, I never asked what exactly the drink does for health as my mom just said it was good for me.  We had these plants in a little pot as they grew easily with minimal care.

It was about 30 years later when a few weeks ago, my massage/healer friend gave me some of this to drink and it brought back fond memories of my childhood health drinks. I just collected the stems discarded by my friend and poked them into some soil in a pot behind my house. They grew very fast and in 2months’ time, I had enough of my very own “lemon” plants for harvesting.

I am sure these are not the leaves from the actual lemon fruit tree but its name in the Cantonese dialect is “Leng Mong Yip” or “Lemon Leaves”, literally. When you crush the leaves, there is a minty and lemony smell…hence, its name. The taste is quite refreshing and not at all difficult to drink.  I think I will add in the word “Chinese” to differentiate these leaves from the actual lemon tree leaves. 💡

The health benefits of these lemon leaves are –

1) to cleanse our lungs of toxins, i.e. it is a detoxifying drink. In Cantonese, it helps to “ching fai” or in English, “clear the lungs.”

2) this drink is a remedy for coughs, both phlegmy and dry coughs.

However, please note that this drink heaty or “yang” energy in nature and if we have an accompanying sore throat with a cough, it is best not to take it. I decided to brew this drink with some honey dates (which are “yin” in nature) to balance out and make this drink “safer” to consume. 😉

For me,  I like to make health drinks or cook some nutritious soups for my family as a preventive measure for health maintenance, so that the frequency of any of us falling ill is much reduced. So, last week, I made a small pot of lemon leaves drink and everyone got a cup of it to drink. For my husband who is a heavy smoker, I made him drink 2 cups. 😆

Chinese “Lemon” Leaves Drink

Method –

1) Have enough lemon leaves and stems (cleaned) to fill up 2/3s of a medium pot.

2) Fill up half the pot with water.

3) Add in 8 large honey dates or “mutt joe”.

4) Cover pot and bring to a boil.

5) Reduce heat to small and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

6) Refrigerate any leftover drink for consumption the next day.

Consumption –

1) Drink one cup per person per day for health maintenance purposes.

2) For someone who is having a cough, drink 2 cups daily of this for 2 to 3 days.

Here’s to good health always! Cheers!

choesf 😀

Comments (27) »

How To Cook Ketupat (Malay Style Rice In Coconut Leaf Casings)

Good morning, dear friends 😀

I remember when I was young, ketupat (rice cooked in coconut leaf casings) was usually served with satay at the satay stalls,  but these days, we can hardly find ketupat anymore and only nasi impit (compressed rice) is served in place of ketupat here in Kuala Lumpur. I missed the taste of ketupat so much that last year, I decided to join in the Hari Raya festivities and cooked a traditional Hari Raya feast with all the trimmings like ketupat, kuah kacang and beef rendang. 😀

However, last year’s ketupat didn’t turn out well because I had erroneously used fragrant rice (beras wangi) instead of normal rice and I ended up with very sticky ketupats. This year, I got the right type of rice but I think I filled up the ketupat casings with too much rice and next year, I should get it right…hopefully.. 🙄 😆

Empty ketupat casings – when selecting ketupats, choose those that are as green as possible without the brown edges

1) Wash empty ketupats casings and set aside to drain.

2) For 30 small ketupat casings, I used about 1-1/2 kilos of plain local rice (I used Kedah Beras Tempatan)

3) Wash rice and then set aside to dry. It is easier to fill up ketupats when rice is dry, or the rice will stick to your fingers.

4) Make the ketupat opening larger at the end where the longer leaves are and fill up to 45% full of the casings with rice.

5) Seal that opening by tightening the leaves with a pulling motion. Knot them twice.

6) At the opposite end of the ketupat casings where there are two short parts of the coconut leaves jutting out, tuck the loose ends into the ketupat to seal the hole.

7) Bring a large pot of water (add 3 tbsps of salt) with ketupats to a boil. Lower heat to small and simmer the filled ketupats for 5 hours, ensuring that they are covered with water at all times, i.e. refill water when the water level goes down. This makes the ketupat rice last longer and not go bad easily in a few days.

Cooked Ketupats

My Hari Raya 2008 Lunch


mini-Hari Raya 2009 Beef & Chicken Rendang 003

My Hari Raya 2009 Ketupat & Kuah Kacang


To serve, halve ketupat lengthwise and then cut into 9 sections to make rice cubes. Serve with Kuah Kacang, Beef Rendang and cucumber slices. Yummy! 😀

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My Family’s Hari Raya Feasting

Good morning, dear friends 😀

…and a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to my Muslim friends here, too! 😀

My family also enjoyed the Hari Raya festive spirit in a muhibbah way and I cooked up a storm with some yummy traditional Malay dishes. On the eve of Hari Raya, I had spent the whole day in the kitchen, cooking 40 Ketupat (rice in casings weaved from coconut leaves), 2 kilos of Beef Rendang (Dry Beef Curry) and a pot of Kuah Kacang (Peanut or Satay Sauce)…. they were to be had on the first day of Hari Raya but ……my hubby and children were already drooling over these Malay delicacies that in the end, because they couldn’t wait, we had them for dinner instead…on the eve of Hari Raya! 🙄 😆

My Hari Raya Eve’s dinner – a bowl of Kuah Kacang, some sliced cucumbers, Beef Rendang, and some cut-up Ketupat 😀

A large bowl of cooked Ketupat ( RECIPE HERE)


For our Hari Raya Brunch, I cooked a simple Nasi Lemak with Malaysian Fried Chicken, simple Potato & Cabbage curry (sort of like a Sayur Masak Lodeh) and Sambal and the Beef Rendang from the day before also complemented the Nasi Lemak.

My hubby’s plate of Hari Raya Brunch – Nasi Lemak (Fragrant Coconut Rice) with sliced cucumbers/tomatoes, Sambal, Beef Rendang, Malaysian Fried Chicken, Fried Ikan Bilis, Potato & Cabbage Curry 😀

Malaysian Style Crispy Fried Chicken

Potato & Cabbage Curry (similar to Sayur Masak Lodeh)

Spicy Sambal/Chili

Continuing on with our Hari Raya celebratory mood, I decided on the spur of the moment to cook some Chicken Satay for dinner, something I hadn’t done in 20 years because we always had satay bought from the Malay stalls…..but riding on the tide of Malay food, I thought having homemade satay was a fantastic idea. The only problem was my satay was grilled in the oven, instead of over some hot charcoals (which would have made the satay more authentic and flavourful) …. but luckily, my hubby and children loved the taste of my satay very much and I was much relieved! Phew! 😆

Chicken Satay (recipe at the bottom of page)

….and my family’s Hari Raya feasting came a full circle..for the Chicken Satay complemented the Ketupat and Kuah Kacang perfectly! Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri 2008! 😀

My dinner plate of homemade Kuah Kacang, Beef Rendang, Ketupat and Chicken Satay 😀

I will be posting the recipes and more pictures for each of the Malay food here and put their links here as well for easy finding! 😉

Added on 29 June, 2009 Easy Chicken Satay Recipe

500 gm of chicken breasts – cleaned and cut into cubes

1 tbsp salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

1 tbsp or more sugar (usually satay is a little sweet)

1 tbsp cumin powder

1 tbsp fennel powder

1 tbsp coriander powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

3 shallots and 2 cloves garlic, pounded

5 tbsps of thick coconut milk

Method :- Mix chicken with the rest of the ingredients. Set aside for an hour to marinate (overnight is better). Skewer with bamboo sticks. Brush a little oil before grilling in the oven. The satay  tastes best if grilled over some charcoals. You can adjust the amount of the spices in the marinade to suit your tastes. 😉

Note – soak the bamboo skewers in water for a few hours. This prevents them from burning. 💡

Bon Appetit! 😀

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