Friday, August 27, 2010

Assam Prawns-2010 Merdeka Open House

Assam Prawns is one of my family’s favorite assam dishes. Great when enjoyed with just some steamed rice. One of the key ingredients in this mouth-watering dish is the fresh “bunga kantan” or torch ginger flower. Unfortunately, whenever I cook this dish in Vancouver, I had to substitute it with dried torch ginger flowers instead as it’s not available over there. I took the opportunity to cook-up this Assam Prawns using fresh torch ginger flowers which are available everywhere here in Kuala Lumpur. Simply fantastic!

This year Malaysia will be celebrating 53 years of independence from the British on August 31st 2010. Using a different theme every year, Babe in the City – KL organizes it’s popular virtual Merdeka Open House, a popular practice with Malaysians to share great food with friends and family. Food from Our Hearts was chosen as the theme this year. So, my contribution to this annual celebrations will be on Babe in the City – KL’s blog on August 31st 2010. Do check out the site for all the other scrumptious recipes and stories submitted by many talented Malaysian food bloggers. Have fun and Happy Merdeka Day Malaysia!

Assam Prawns
(Printable Recipe)

Spice Paste
20 g Dried Chilies, soaked in boiling water and drained
3 Fresh Red Chilies, seeded
100 g Shallots, peeled
15 g Fresh Turmeric, peeled
4 Candlenuts
2 tsp Shrimp Paste (Belacan)

4 to 5 Tbsp of Peanut Oil
80 g Polygonum Leaves
3 to 4 Fresh Ginger Torch Flowers (Bunga Kantan), halved
50 to 80 g Tamarind Pulp + 3 ½ Cups of water
2 to 3 Tbsp of Sugar
800 g Large Prawns
1 medium Red Onion, sliced
12 Okra (lady fingers)
2 Tomatoes, quartered
1 Cup Freshly cut Pineapples
Sea Salt to taste
15g Fresh Mint Leaves


Finely grind the spice paste ingredients with a little water in a blender or food processor.

In a large wok or saucepan, heat the peanut oil over low to moderate heat. Cook the spice ingredients until fragrant (about 5 minutes)

Then add the torch ginger and polygonum leaves. Cook the mixture for about 4-5 minutes. Turn the heat on high and mix in the tamarind water and sugar. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

Then add the prawns, onions, okra, tomatoes, and pineapple. Bring the mixture to a boil again and reduce the heat to simmer until the prawns and vegetables are cooked. Season the Assam prawns with sea salt and sugar, if necessary. Serve immediately with some fresh mint leaves.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Watermelon Limeade

Hello there, just in case you are wondering what had happened to Seasaltwithfood or yours truly? Well, I am pleased to report that I am very well and still on my long summer holidays. Anyway, I would like to apologize to all my readers for not updating my blog as frequent as I should have over the last few weeks, and also, for not being able to participate in many of the recipe contest invites. It would have been great to participate in some of them; but unfortunately, it’s just not possible at the moment. Thanks for all the invites and I can’t wait to find out who are the talented winners!

So, here is an easy peasy Watermelon Limeade recipe to quench your thirst throughout this sweltering summer. Only 7 ingredients needed, namely, frozen watermelon, freshly squeezed lime juice, sugar, water, cold soda water, mint leaves, and a good pinch of sea salt. There you have it! Enjoy: D

Watermelon Limeade
(Printable Recipe)


4 Cups (about 450 g) Frozen Watermelon Chunks
3 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
4 Tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
A Good Pinch of Sea Salt
¾ Cup (180 ml) Cold Water
1 Can (325 ml) Cold Soda Water
4 Sprigs of Fresh Mint Leaves


Combine the watermelon, sugar, lime juice, sea salt, and water in a blender and puree until smooth.

Pour the watermelon puree into 4 glasses, top with soda water, and garnish with a sprig of mint leaves. Stir, and serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Black Pepper Yaki-Udon

I guess most of you are familiar with the two most popular varieties of Japanese noodles. Udon, being the thick wheat type usually served hot with noodle soup in a mildly flavored broth and the other is Soba, which is a thin type made from buckwheat flour usually served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup as well. Anyway, Udon are also great for stir-frying and can be eaten hot or cold. Here, I have prepared a Black Pepper Yaki-Udon cooked with seafood. The noodles were full of flavor from the seafood, cabbage, carrot, black pepper, and dashi. Dashi is a Japanese soup stock that’s made from dried kelp and bonito flakes. The dashi used in this recipe is easily available at most Asian grocers. I urge you to try making this delicious Udon dish.

Black Pepper Yaki-Udon
(Printable Recipe)


3 Cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
350 g Chinese Cabbage, sliced
1 Carrot, peeled and sliced
400 ml Dashi Soup Stock
1 ½ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
600 g Fresh Japanese Udon Noodles
100 g Prawns, peeled, chopped
140 g Squid, diced
150 g Scallops, diced
½ tsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil


Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large wok over moderate heat. Cook the garlic until light golden in color. Turn the heat on high and add in the seafood. Give the seafood mixture a quick stir for about 45 to 50 seconds, remove and set aside.

Then add in the other Tbsp oil, and cook vegetables for about 1 minute, remove and set aside.

Add in the Dashi soup stock, black pepper, and bring to a boil.

Mix in the noodles, seafood, and vegetables. Bring the mixture to a boil again.

Stir-fry the noodles mixture until all the ingredients are well combine and the sauce has thickened. Then season with sesame oil and sea salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pulut Inti-Glutinous Rice With Sweet Coconut

These packets of Pulut Inti or Glutinous Rice With Sweet Coconut is one of my favorite Malaysian snacks. They are great snacks to be enjoyed over an afternoon tea or as a dessert, especially after a spicy meal. The steamed glutinous rice is infused with coconut milk and served with grated coconut that’s been cooked with palm sugar. This snack/dessert recipe was adapted from the Malaysian Cakes And Desserts cookbook by Rohani Jelani. Rohani is one of the best cooks in Malaysia and is well known for conducting sell-out unique cooking classes. So, if you plan to visit Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, you may want to check out her new “culinary retreat” Bayan Indah. A beautiful Malaysian House retreat that also offers guests’ options to learn to cook great Malaysian and other Asian cuisines at the same time, a nice combination I think. Check it out!

Recipe adapted from Malaysian Cakes And Desserts By Rohani Jelani

Pulut Inti-Glutinous Rice With Sweet Coconut


Coconut Filling
100 g Palm Sugar, roughly chopped
75 ml Water
1 Pandan Leaf, knotted
100 g Grated Coconut

Glutinous Rice
300 g Glutinous Rice, soaked overnight
½ tsp Sea Salt
150 ml Coconut Milk
1 Pandan Leaf, tied into a knot
Banana Leaves for wrapping


Coconut Filling: In a medium pan, combine the palm sugar and water. Bring it to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until liquid starts to thicken and become syrupy.

Add the pandan leaf and grated coconut and continue to cook over low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the coconut filling is thick and glossy.

Glutinous Rice: Rinse and strain the rice and place them onto a shallow baking tin or a heatproof dish. Stir in the salt and coconut milk together and pour over the rice and bury a pandan leaf. Steam the rice over high heat for about 30 minutes, fluffing the rice up with a fork halfway through. Remove the rice from the steamer.

Soften the banana leaves by dipping them very briefly in hot water. Wipe the banana leaves well and then cut into 12 small squares 4 x 4 cm (1 ½ x 1 ½ inches) and 12 rectangles 10 x 14 cm (4 x 5 1/2inches).

Place a Tbsp of cooked rice in the center of each rectangle and place a generous tsp of coconut filling on each little square banana leaf and place on top of the rice. Fold the leaf on either side and tuck both ends under, to enclose the rice. You should be able to see a little but of coconut filling from the top.

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