Archive for Malaysian food

What am I cooking for dinner tonight ?

My family’s favourite yummy Chinese Pork Chops with Potato Slices and Caramelised Onions

Hi there, dear friends 😀

I have a confession …. I have not been cooking much this year at all … 😳 .  Experiencing perimenopausal symptoms in our all year round hot, humid tropical weather is sheer torture! To cook in a situation like that is to be drenched in sweat from the hair down to the toes! 😆

That’s why my post title,  “What am I cooking for dinner today?” is a big deal to me. Today, I am prepared to get all hot and bothered to cook a delicious dinner as a treat for my family…. and … heheh, because  I am beginning to feel guilty! Those of you who have been following my blog all these years will know I have not posted many recipes lately. 😉

So, what am I cooking for dinner today

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My Best Ever, Delicious Beef & Chicken Rendang Recipe For Hari Raya 2009

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Chicken Rendang

(Click on picture for a more yummy view)

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Beef Rendang

(Click on picture for a more yummy view)

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Hi there, dear friends 😀

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri and Happy Id to all my Muslim friends from around the world! 😀

This is the third year that I had cooked a traditional Malay feast for Hari Raya. The first time, I made Rendang with Beef but for the second year, we had Chicken Rendang instead. This year, I couldn’t decide on which meat and so I had cooked both Chicken and Beef Rendang instead! 😆

Am I glad I did! Because the new recipe that I had followed this year turned out to be so delicious that all my rendang was finished in just 3 meals! We had it for lunch, dinner and for dinner the next day with Nasi Lemak.  When my husband first tasted this year’s Hari Raya feast, he was in absolute heaven and he said, “If I were to die right now, I will die a very happy man!”…and he continue to stuff himself with more Ketupat, Kuah Kacang and Rendang! 😆 🙄

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Ketupat (Rice in Coconut Casings) and Kuah Kacang (Satay or Peanut Sauce)

(Click on picture for a more yummy view)

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Somehow, this year, my Hari Raya cooking was perfect (IMHO) as even the Ketupat was of the right texture. The Ketupat was the main star of the meal as the coconut casings are NOT available throughout the year but only for the Hari Raya festival and the other Muslim festival in November/December…I forgot the name of that festival. 😳

READ HERE for my Kuah Kacang Recipe, and for instructions on how to cook the Ketupat, READ HERE.

For 2009, I cooked 1 1/2 kg of Beef Brisket and 1 large whole chicken (separately). Because I was also making Kuah Kacang, I made 3 portions of the ingredients for the Rendang recipe. This helps to cut down some of the cooking time and in one go, I had already cooked the Rendang/Kuah Kacang paste together. 💡

The Beef Rendang was simmered over 3 hours, with frequent stirring to prevent burning at the bottom of the wok, whilst the Chicken Rendang was slow cooked over 1 1/2 hours (chicken take a shorter time to get soft).

Although the recipe may seem like tedious, cooking rendangs is like that but its heavenly taste will more than make up the time and effort that you have put into cooking this. Best is when you see your family or friends tucking happily into your rendangs and you will be very proud of your achievement! 😉

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Here is the recipe for the Delicious & Fragrant Beef Rendang (for more meat, just increase the amount of ingredients accordingly) –

250 grated coconut, to make kerisik or toasted coconut (READ HERE for Kerisik recipe. You can make this in advance and refrigerate)

1 1/2  kg Beef Brisket, washed, cut into cubes  ( can use Beef Chuck also)

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(A) Ingredients to be dry roasted in a wok/pan over a small fire for about 5 minutes, cooled down, and then pounded or grinded :-

35 gm whole black peppercorns

35 gm coriander seeds

35 gm fennel seeds

35 gm cumin seeds

(the dry roasting makes these spices very aromatic)

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(B) Ingredients to be blended with a cup of water to make a spice paste :-

100 gm galangal

60 gm ginger, skin removed

60 gm fresh turmeric root, skin removed

1 whole bulb garlic, skin removed

60 gm dried red chili (soaked in hot water until soft. Can be replaced with 1 cup good Chili Boh)

300 gm shallots, skin removed

3 to 4 stalks serai or lemon grass (use bottom white part only)

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Other ingredients to be prepared and set aside :-

2 cinnamon sticks (about6 cm long each)

20 cloves

6 star anise

1 cup or 250 ml oil for frying rendang paste

Thick Santan or Milk from 3 coconuts, or 3 cans or 3  180ml packets

2 cups or 500 ml of water to be added to coconut milk

3 turmeric leaves, cut into 2 cm lengths

1 piece kaffir lime leaf, cut into 1 inch width

Salt & Sugar to taste (for me, I had put about 3 tbsps of sugar and 2 tbsp of salt, but it is better that you estimate your own amounts)

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Cooking Instructions :-

1) Heat up wok with oil and add in cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise. Fry for 1 minute.

2) Add in the blended ingredients/spice paste (B)  and fry until they are dry and aromatic… and the oil separates. Keep stirring frequently.

3) Add in the powdered spices (A) and mix thoroughly into spice paste.

4) Add in the beef cubes. Fry for about 5  minutes.

5) Add in the coconut milk and water.

6) Bring to a boil…..then lower heat to small and simmer for about 2 to 3 hours, depending on the cut of beef that you are using.

7) Add in the turmeric and kaffir lime leaves, and the kerisik and stir thoroughly….bring up the heat again to boil the rendang again, then lower heat to simmer until the oil separates at the top, from the kerisik.

8) Add salt and sugar to taste.

Tips

– if your rendang mixture gets too dry but your meat is still tough,  add in half cups of water at a time.

– if you don’t want your rendang to be too dry, you can add more water to it and simmer for at least another 20 minutes

– to make your rendang lasts longer over a few days, refrigerate immediately when cool and only take out enough portions for a meal

– you can also freeze some rendang for eating later. Just bring to a boil again over a small heat.

– my family all agree that the Beef Rendang tasted much better than the Chicken Rendang.


Hope you will give this recipe a try and do let me know how your rendang turns out, okay?

Happy Cooking!

With best wishes,

choesf 😀


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Steamboat Lunch For A Lazy, Rainy Day

Hi there, dear friends 😀

Yesterday, I was feeling kind of lazy and was not up to cooking at all 😳 , and yet, I wanted to do something special for my family. Seeing as it has been raining and the days are quite cool these days, I decided to do a “Steamboat Lunch” instead.

A “steamboat” is like a hot pot or Chinese fondue, where there is a pot of hot simmering soup placed at the centre of the table, and a wide array of meats and vegetables are available for selection and cooked by the individual diners.

Ah, how wonderful for me – the cooking is left to my family, who enjoy tremendously our steamboat meals. All I needed to do was just make a simple chicken stock out of chicken necks and bones and prepare the meats and vegetables before the meal. Then, I just sat back and let my husband and children did all the cooking for me! Easy! 😉

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A Steamboat with the soup simmering at the centre of my dining table, with meats to be cooked – from right:- fish balls, squid or sotong balls, Fu Zhou fishballs (stuffed with pork), crabsticks, tofu-fish squares. All these were purchased from the wet markets.

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On the other side – oyster mushrooms in a bowl, golden needle mushrooms or Enoki, marinated pork and chicken slices, shelled prawns

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Some soaked rice vermicelli, raw eggs, lettuce leaves…I also have on the other side some assortment of vegetables like sliced Napa Cabbage, kangkong…usually, the eggs and the noodles are to be eaten towards the end of the meal when the soup stock is really rich and tasty from cooking all those meats 😀

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Each person has his/her own dipping sauce consisting of “teem cheong” or a kind of sweet sauce (hoisin sauce can be used in place of this), some finely chopped garlic and bird-eye chili (cili padi), with a squeeze of lime juice

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We had this for lunch and I made double portions of the meats and vegetables – one half was eaten for lunch, and the other half was kept in the refrigerator for dinner. Dinner was a Thai spicy and sour soup noodle (Tomyam noodle). Yummy! 😀

Do have a wonderful week!

With peace and harmony,

choesf 😀


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My Deepavali & Hari Raya Haji Festival Food

Good evening, dear friends 😀

I have been feeling under the weather these few days and although I want to write here, my lethargy and “uncooperative brain” is not allowing me to do much. So, seeing as I have some photos taken earlier for you, I’ll just post them all here and add on the recipes later.

On the day of Deepavali (the Hindu Festival of Lights) in October, I cooked a full Indian meal for the first time and my hubby was very impressed. He loves Indian curries but somehow, I thought they were difficult to cook. But then, since I love to celebrate the various culture’s festivals with some unique feasts, I decided to take out my dusty “Malaysian Cookbook” and look up some Indian recipes.

I had also cooked some Rasam (sour soup) and made some cucumber achar, but I forgot to take pictures of them.

Here are pictures of my Deepavali feast –

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A creamy, delicious Mutton Curry with carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, coriander leaves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, cardamon, fennel and cumin

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Ayam Kurma, which is a very mild (almost non-spicy) Indian Chicken Curry

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deepavali-dinner-003-smallNasi Briyani – good quality Basmati Rice cooked with ghee (clarified butter), spices, mint leaves and garnished with crispy, golden fried shallots. Here, some Ayam Kurma gravy has already been poured onto the rice ..

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Then, for the Muslim festival called “Hari Raya Aidil Adha”, I cooked some Dried Chicken Curry (Chicken Rendang, Rendang Ayam), Peanut Sauce (Kuah Kacang) and made some Ketupat (Compressed Rice in Coconut Leaf Casings). I finally perfected my Ketupat recipe this time because the other two times, the ketupats were either too sticky or hard.

Here are the pictures for my Hari Raya Haji feast –

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Fresh, woven coconut leaf casings for making Ketupat – filled up to 55 % with long grain rice (I used good quality Kedah, a state in the northern region of Malaysia) grown rice, and boiled over low heat in salted water for 4 hours

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Cooked Ketupat, ready to be cut into cubes and eaten with Kuah Kacang, Chicken Rendang, some sliced cucumber and raw onion

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Kuah Kacang or Peanut Sauce to go with Ketupat or Satay

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chicken-rendang-smallMalay Dry Chicken Curry or Chicken Rendang

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For my Christmas Roast Turkey Dinner, I had cooked a 15-pound turkey, with mashed potatoes, broccolli, green peas, baby carrots, and a fresh button mushroom stirfry. However, I couldn’t show you their photos because they looked rather dodgy…… :oops:, anyway, I had photos of last year’s Christmas Eve Roast Turkey Dinner here. 😉

I wish you a Happy New Year! 😀

With peace and joy,

choesf 😀


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A Pictorial Recipe – Simple Delicious Onion Cinnamon Chicken Stew

Good morning, dear friends 😀

Ah, this is my husband’s favourite comfort food from his childhood – every time I cook this, he will rush home immediately from work for dinner and have one big serving of freshly, cooked rice to go with it. Just this one dish is enough for him and he doesn’t even go for the other dishes that I had cooked. 🙄 😆

For a slow-cooker version of this recipe, visit my dear blogger friend, sweetrosie’s, site HERE .

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Freshly cooked, hot, steamy Onion Cinnamon Chicken Stew – yummy! 😀

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Now, this dish is extremely easy to cook – it is the simplest of all my recipes – there are just a few ingredients required, but the chicken stew is so full of flavour and tender. Best is, there is only one pot to wash if you are cooking it in a Corningware casserole like I did. Usually on those days when I really don’t feel like spending a long time cooking in the kitchen, I would cook a large batch of this chicken stew and have a simple vegetable stirfry on the side, and of course, a bowl of nourishing soup. Fortunately, all my kids go crazy over this dish, too. 😆

This recipe is dedicated to Nic and her 2-year old son and I hope this yummy stew will whet her son’s appetite! 😉


Here is a pictorial recipe to make it easier for you to cook this dish.

Simple Delicious Onion Cinnamon Chicken Stew

Ingredients and Method –

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3 large, whole chicken legs (they are more tender, but you can use 1/2 a large chicken also) –

chopped into bite sizes….marinate with 2 tbsps of oyster sauce, 2 tbsps of soy sauce, 1 to 2 tbsps of black soy sauce, 1 tsp salt, a few shakes of white pepper

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1 large cinnamon stick (smashed into smaller pieces), 4 large potatoes (cut into wedges or chunks), 5 large onions (peeled and sliced). The more onions, the better! 😉

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I like to use a Corningware casserole to cook this dish so, there is one thing less to wash.

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Heat up about 2 tbsps of vegetable or olive oil. Pour in the chicken together with the marinate and ctir for about 3 minutes. This step is to seal in the chicken juices to make the chicken tender. There will be some browning at the edges of the casserole and you have to be careful to scrape the sides down to prevent burning.

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Tip in the plate of potatoes, onions and cinnamon stick. Add in 1 tbsp salt, 2 tbsp oyster sauce and mix all the ingredients thoroughly, about 3 minutes.

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Add in about 2 cups of water – until the water level reached half the chicken and potatoes….stir to mix thoroughly and bring to a boil.

Lower heat to low and simmer chicken stew for about 40 minutes….be sure to stir every few minutes for even cooking as the water does not cover everything.

At the end of the cooking time, check the gravy to see if it is thick enough. If not, then use a cornstarch-water mixture to thicken it further.

Check the taste of the stew and adjust with more salt or soy sauce to your preference.

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Voila! Your simple yummy onion cinnamon chicken stew is ready. If your family can hang on a bit longer before you serve this (because the smell of this stew is so aromatic and appetising while you are cooking it), let the stew stand for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, so that the flavours are all totally infused.

I hope your family will love this chicken stew as mine does! 😀

Bon Appetit! 😀

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Yummy Homemade Hainanese Chicken Rice

Good evening, dear friends 😀

On those days that I really don’t know what to cook, I would go for simple one-dish or one-pot type of meals. Hainanese Chicken Rice can be commonly found in almost every coffee shop and there is even a chain of restaurants specializing in selling Chicken Rice. So, I seldom cook this at home, unless I really ran out of ideas or motivation to plan a dinner menu.

Anyway, my kids love my home cooked version of Chicken Rice because mine is a bit different – they love the special black sauce and the green pea soup. I learned to cook this wonderful, yummy chicken rice from my late mother-in-law. 😀

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A plate of fragrant chicken rice with coriander leaves and green onion curls as garnishing, and some cucumber and tomato slices on the side

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A giant platter of perfectly cooked, moist “white cut chicken” or “pak cham gai” in Cantonese, garnished with some coriander leaves and green onion curls, and drizzled with ample fried golden shallot oil. Yummy! 😀

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…with some homemade dark sauce and pounded ginger-garlic chilli as dips

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… and a bowl of delicious green pea and chicken soup, with a sprinkle of chopped green onions and a few generous shakes of white pepper

The is a Chinese style of Chicken Rice that has its origins to a group of Hainanese migrants to South East Asia about 100 years ago. Hainan is an island located in the southern part of China. In Malaysia, most Hainanese ended up opening coffee shops which were popular due to their Hainanese style of brewing coffee and for their “yin-yeong” toasts. In addition to their famous Chicken Rice, Hainanese are very good cooks, often specializing in a fusion of Eastern and Western cuisine.

Here are the recipes to my version of Hainanese Chicken Rice. Please note that the portions here are huge as I like to cook ample servings of food. The leftovers can be eaten for lunch the following day. Alternative, the extra chicken pieces can be turned into “Salted Chicken” or “Harm Gai” for the next day. 💡

It is very tricky to get the timing just right for cooking the chicken for this dish. I have tried many methods such as steaming, boiling and in this recipe, I had used a combination of “dunking,” boiling and poaching to get the perfect texture and moistness of the chicken meat.

For this, you need a really fresh chicken (I bought mine from the wet market in the morning), the bird should be mature enough for full flavour (my chicken was about 2.3 kilos), and it should be at room temperature when cooking. 💡

Poached White Chicken or “White Cut Chicken” or “Pak Cham Gai” (serves 10 persons)

1 whole chicken & 3 whole chicken legs (cleaned and rubbed with 3 tbsps of salt)

Some chicken necks and bones (skin and fat removed) for stock

Enough water to immerse chicken in a fitting pot

* 2 tbsps salt

* 2 tbsps of sesame oil

5 tbsps of fried shallot oil

Some coriander leaves and green onion curls for garnishing

Method –

1) Boil the chicken bones in water to prepare the stock –  simmer over low heat for about 40 minutes long.

2) Meanwhile, tie a twine or thick string around the wings and body of the chicken.

3) Remove chicken bones, and bring heat back to high.

4) Holding the string, lower the chicken gently into the water, making sure that the whole chicken is well immersed into the stock.

5) After 1 minute, use the string to pull the chicken out of the chicken stock and wait for the stock to come to a boil again.

6) Repeat the chicken “dunking” steps 4 and 5 for 6 times. The reason this is done is to ensure that the inside cavity of the chicken gets heated up properly by the hot stock. Else, we will end up with the inner thigh and backbone area sill partially uncooked while the rest of the chicken gets overdone.

7) Place the whole chicken into the stock together with the 3 whole chicken legs. Cover the pot.

8 ) Wait for the stock to come to a boil again. Be sure to check frequently for this. We don’t want to boil the chicken.

9) Immediately turn off the fire.

10) Leave the chicken to poach for 1 hour.

11) After one hour, gently remove whole chicken and chicken legs and immerse them into a large bowl of cold water. This step will produce a very smooth and silky texture to the chicken skin and meat. Yummy! 😀

12) Remove chicken after 10 minutes. Let dry for 3 minutes.

13) Rub the sesame oil and salt all over chicken. Leave chicken for about 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on how long you can wait before wanting to eat it!) for it to cool down completely for easy chopping/cutting. Else, the meat will get “smashed up” or break apart.

14) Cut chicken up into bite sizes, drizzle with fried shallot oil and garnish with the coriander leaves and green onion curls.

Voila! Your very own homecooked “white cut” chicken, Hainese style! 😀

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How to cook Hainanese Chicken Rice (for 10 persons)

6 cups fragrant or jasmine rice, rinsed clean

2 tbsps salt

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp white pepper

3 pandan leaves, tied into a know (or 1/2 tsp of bottled pandan essence)

Enough chicken stock to cook rice (skim off the layer of oil in the chicken stock for use in cooking the rice – this makes the rice more yummy. I know, it is oily but just drink ample cups of Chinese tea after this meal to wash the fats away! 😉

Method –

1) Put all ingredients into an automatic rice cooker to cook.

2) Be sure to stir the ingredients at least 2 to 3 times during cooking.

3) Cook chicken rice while the chicken is poaching.

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Green Pea Chicken Soup

Using the leftover chicken stock (reserve 2 cups for making homemade black dipping sauce), add one can of Ayam brand canned Green Peas and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes. Season to taste and garnish with  chopped green onions and lots of white pepper. Yummy! 😀

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Homemade Black Sauce for dipping chicken

In a pan, heat up 2 tbsps of oil, and then fry 2 tbsps of chopped garlic. Add in the 2 cups of reserved chicken stock, 5 to 6 tbsps of thick black soy sauce and bring to a boil for about 2 minutes. Add in 2 tbsps of sugar (this sauce is sweetish) and then thicken with a cornstarch-water mixture.

Put into a bowl for serving. One of my kids love to pour this sauce over his rice. 😉

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Garlic-Ginger Chilli Sauce

10 red chilli

3-inch knob of fresh, young ginger, skin scrapped off

6 pips of garlic, skin removed

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp sugar

Juice of 6 to 8 calamansi limes (limau kasturi)

Pound chili, garlic and ginger in a peststle and mortar untul fine. Don’t blend – it just doesn’t taste as good as pounded chili. Add in salt, sugar and lime juice and you are now ready to eat your very own Hainanese Chicken Rice! 😀

Hope you will give this recipe a try and once you have tried your own homecooked Chicken Rice, you will find those sold outside somewhat lacking in taste!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking! 😀

choesf 😀

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A Pictorial Recipe – Yummy Yam Rice Kuih aka Woo Tau Koh

Two pieces of yummy Woo Tau Koh with some sweet sauce/teem cheong and chili on the side

Good afternoon, dear friends 😀

My hubby loves Yam Kuih or Woo Tau Koh in the Cantonese dialect, but thus far, my recipe for Yam Kuih was only mediocre. 😳 The last time I made some Woo Tau Koh for my family was on the Winter Solstice Festival or Tung Jit on 22 December, 2006. Yes, that sure was a long time ago! 🙄

A few years back, we had the best tasting and “melt in the mouth” Yam Kuih at a cousin’s house during Chinese New Year but she didn’t have the recipe. The kuih was given by someone from Penang. All she knew was that Yam Kuih had pork belly in it and that was why it tasted soooo good. Ever since, that particular taste of Woo Tau Koh has been “haunting” me and my hubby.

Last week, I had bought a recipe book specializing in traditional Malaysian desserts and kuih muih and I was so happy to find in there a Yam Rice Kuih recipe that has pork belly as an ingredient as the other recipes I had came across never did. So, I quickly bought all the necessary ingredients to test out this recipe on Saturday ……. and ……..

I am very happy that the Woo Tau Koh turned out sooo delicious! 😀

My family said it was the best they ever had – we enjoyed it so much that we had Yam Kuih for lunch and tea on the same day, and more on the next day for breakfast!  😆

So, here is my recipe which was slightly modified from the one in the book and you know me by now – I always cook a lot for my family and the recipe here makes one huge tray of Woo Tau Koh, measuring 18 inches in diameter and 2 1/2 inches high. You may like to cut down the ingredients by half for your family. 😉

Yam Kuih or Woo Tau Koh

Ingredients & Method –

Dried Shrimps, Rice Flour, Corn Flour, Yam

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800 gm pork belly or streaky pork – cleaned. Steam for 10 minutes over high heat. Then chop coarsely. Marinate with 1 tsp salt, 2 tbsps soy sauce, 1 tsp white pepper.

160 gm dried shrimps, rinsed clean and then soaked in half cup of water for 10 minutes. Remove shrimps from water and chop coarsely. Reserve liquid for flour mixture later.

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1 kg yam, peeled and diced

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2 rice bowls of homemade fried golden shallots – 1 bowl for mixing into the rice flour mixture, 1 bowl for garnishing the top of the kuih

(Reserve 10 tbsps of the fried shallot oil for cooking yam, shrimps and pork)

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To make this rice flour mixture, you need to mix the following in a bowl –

600 gm rice flour

100 gm corn flour

100 gm all purpose flour

10 cups water

Liquid left from soaking dried shrimps

2 ikan bilis or chicken stock cubes (or 4 tbsps of stock granules)

1 tbsp white pepper

1 tsp 5-spice powder (optional)

4 tbsp salt (or to taste

Method –

1) In a wok, heat up the 10 tbsps of shallot oil.

2) Put in the chopped pork and dried shrimps. Fry for about 2 minutes.

3) Tip in the diced yam and fried golden shallots, and stirfry everything until aromatic….about 5 minutes.

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5) Pour the rice flour mixture into the wok now. Stir thoroughly to mix the flours and water

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6) Keep stirring until the mixture gets thickened like in the picture above. Pour into a pre-oiled (using more fried shallot oil) metal tray.

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7) Smoothen the surface of the kuih and steam for 1 hour over high heat.

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8 ) Let cool, and then garnish with fried golden shallots, chopped green onions and red chili. Serve Yam Kuih with some sweet sauce (teem cheong) or hoisin sauce and chili sauce.

Because my tray of Woo Tau Koh was so huge, it took a long time for it to cool down completely (more than 45 minutes). My hubby was too hungry to wait and we had it while it was still warm, which was a mistake – the kuih was still too soft for cutting and was a bit gooey. So, the trick is to let the Yam Kuih cool down completely and let stand for at least an hour more to get the best texture. 💡

I hope this recipe works for you, too, and do let me know how your Woo Tau Koh turns out for this recipe. 😉

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!

choesf  😀

Comments (20) »

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