Monday, April 30, 2012


Kelapa (Coconut) Ice Cream

This is a recipe that came our way through serendipity.  One day while shooping at the local grocery store, the lights went off.  We were in the ice cream section and the girls were arguing over what flavour to choose.  In the confusion that followed I grabbed whatever came to my hand.  When we came home, we saw that it was Kelapa (Coconut Ice Cream).  And so we were accidentally introduced to the joys of this unique, wonderful, exotic Eastern Ice Cream!

The Recipe 3 cups coconut milk; a pinch of salt;3 tbsp corn syrup;1/2 tsp vanilla essence; 1/2 cup caster sugar; 2 Pandanus or screw pines leaves;¼ kg tender coconut blended in mixer (optional).

In a saucepan, combine salt, sugar, coconut milk, corn syrup, and Pandanus leaves and heat them over low flame.  Stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat. Cool, add the vanilla essence  and chill in the fridge overnight in an airtight container.Next day whisk everything together with an electric beater again having first removed the Pandanus leaves. Add  blended tender coconut.  Freeze again overnight.  Serve with chocolate wafers and a drizzle of honey.  This is a fabulous dessert and tastes good with or without the tender coconut.  Try both versions and judge for yourself.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spicy Malaysian Fish

Asam Pedas- Finger Licking Good

Eating out in Kuala Lumpur is a thrilling experience.  You never know what you’re going to find.  There are so many varieties of cuisine that one is spoilt for choice.  A few years ago a friend invited us to a small eatery off the highway.    Unimpressive, simple and practically bare,  the food we had there was simply divine.  The fish caught my fancy and after that we had it whenever we had the opportunity.  Learnt how to cook it  and don’t’ be surprised when you actually lick your fingers in the end. 
Asam Pedas is a typical Malaysian Dish.  Asam means sour and Pedas means spicy, so the dish is a classic hot and sour delight.  This is one of the most satisfying dishes I have had. 

The Recipe
1 whole pomfret clean, wash & drain; 6 small ladies finger cut diagonally into two each; 1 tomato , quartered; 1 tsp fish curry powder or more to taste; 2 sprigs of daun kesum (Vietnamese mint/Vietnamese coriander); 2 tbsp cooking oil; 1 tbsp brown sugar; salt to taste.
1 clove garlic; 1 stalk of lemon grass (white part only); 5 sambar onions;1 tsp chilly powder more or less to taste; 1/2 tbsp belacan (prawn paste).
Tamarind Pulp
Mix 3 tbsp tamarind pulp in  1 ½  cup of water.  Keep for 10 minutes and strain for use.

For Fish Curry Powder

Blend the following together
200 gm  coriander seeds
75 gm  aniseed (somph)
75 gm  cumin (jeera )
50 gm - black and white pepper corns
75 gm - chilli powder
35 gm turmeric powder

Blend Separately: 1  cinnamon stick, about 5 cm long; 5gm cardamoms, with pod;3 cloves; 3 star anise;
20gm fenugreek (methi seeds).

Mix both powders together and store in airtight container.

Blend the masala  and keep  aside.  Heat oil and fry the masala until fragrant (a few minutes).  Add the strained  tamarind, fish curry powder and bring to boil.  Next add the quartered tomato and ladies fingers and bring to boil.
Add the fish, salt, and brown sugar.  Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
Serve hot with white rice. 

NB:  Vietnamese Mint is also known as   Vietnamese Coriander.  It has a strong minty peppery flavour and is sold in small bunches with pointed leaves on the stem.   Substitute  with  Mint (Pudina) or equal parts of Mint & Coriander.

Belacan is nothing but shrimp paste.  Substitute with Anchovy fillets if desired.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Royal Dessert


I first had this in my Aunt’s house decades ago and the taste lingered on my tongue for years. I found the recipe while browsing through an ancient cookery book and it fast became a favourite with everyone who tasted it.
Rabri or Shahi Tukra as it is called is said to have its origins in Pakistan and a heritage of the rich cuisine prevalent during the Mughal Period. An exotic bread pudding with raisins, nuts and spices this is A Royal Dessert fit for kings and queens.

The Recipe

4 slices of bread cut into 4 triangles each; ghee for frying bread; sugar to taste; 2 cups milk; 2 tbsp almonds and raisins; 3 cardamoms powdered; ½ tsp almond essence; edible silver foil for garnish.

Heat ghee in a non stick pan and fry bread on both sides until golden brown. Arrange in a shallow glass dish in layers. Boil milk and sugar till thick and reduced. Remove from heat. Stir in essence and cardamom powder and pour over the fried bread. Scatter the raisins and almonds on top. Cool completely. Garnish with silver foil and refrigerate overnight. Serve cold. Indulge in and thoroughly enjoy A Royal Dessert!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Vegetable Medley

Appu's Mixed Mash

We loved visiting our great aunt during the summer holidays solely for one reason- she had a wonderful cook. He stayed on the premises and concocted amazing food. Her parties were one of a kind. Many of the recipes were painstakingly written and passed around the family and reproduced again and again. One such recipe is the mixed beetroot cutlets . Normally we children hated beetroots, but these patty’s coated with breadcrumbs and then fried in oil were very much desired. We gobbled them by the dozen and enjoyed licking our fingers afterwards. I’m too lazy to make cutlets, so just bake everything and serve it up. It’s as good as Appu’s!
The Recipe

1 medium beetroot, grated; 1 large carrot, grated; 1 medium white radish, grated (this is the only way I got my children to eat it); 2 tomatoes, chopped; 2 medium potatoes , boiled and mashed; 2 green chillies, minced; 1 large onion, minced; 2 flakes garlic, minced; 1 inch piece ginger minced; 2 eggs, beaten lightly; salt to taste; ½ cup breadcrumbs for the top and 1 tsp somph, roasted and powdered; 2 cloves and a small piece cinnamon roasted and powdered; 1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped;2tbsp oil.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan and sauté onion, ginger and garlic till a nice aroma fills the room. Add grated beetroot, carrot and white radish and stir fry till water evaporates. Stir in the green chillies and tomatoes and cook till fairly dry. Mix in the powdered somph and spices, mashed potatoes and coriander leaves combining well. Add salt to taste. Cool and stir in the lightly beaten eggs. Transfer to well greased pyrex dish. Top with breadcrumbs and bake for 15 minutes at 150C or till breadcrumbs turn golden brown. Serve hot with chappathis or dhal & rice during Lent.