Healthy Kitchen Smells Fresh

August 20, 2010

Beef Kerutuk

Filed under: Allergy Free, Asians, Cooking, Gluten-Free, Malaysians, Side Dishes — nshahida @ 11:51 pm

Beef  Kerutuk ( serves 3-5 hungry people)

My little headnotesif you are running out of time and want to make this dish quick as possible, slice the beef  ½ inch thick. And in the cooking method, please skip method #5 and 6. proceed to method #7. Because when the beef is sliced a bit thinner, it won’t take long to tender. I just love the chunk one because I think it’s more flavorful and succulent.

As for kerisik, this is a bit of challenge because you have to make it yourself ( see my kerisik recipe). If you are in M’sia or easy access of kerisik , usually available in groc in M’sia.. then get a bulk or two. If otherwise and you don’t have time to make one.. ( I usually make kerisik ahead of time , store  in a container and refrigerate and ready whenever I need it )  just toast the grated coconut till slightly dark brownish and ready to use for this dish. Or Just add an extra cup of coconut milk. Then you are good to go.

Ingredients:

  • 1lbs beef  chunk, washed and drain excess liquid. ( see Notes)
  • 2-3 Tbsp chili paste (depending on how much heat you like in your food)
  • 1 Can thick Coconut milk (approximately 350mL)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Java sugar ( recommended ) or dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp medium sweet soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp coconut paste , Kerisik ( see Notes)
  • 3 small Asam Gelugur ( optional)

Spices and other ingredients:

  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 3 star anise ( bunga lawang)
  • 3 cloves ( bunga cengkih)

Into a blender:

  • 1 medium size yellow onion, roughly chopped ( if you can find shallots , that would be great . 3 Shallots is called for or  1 medium purple onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb size fresh ginger root
  • 3 Tbsp Korma spice
  • 1 Tbsp tumeric powder
  • 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper

- Blend these ingredients till smooth brownish paste is formed.

  • Salt , to taste
  • ¼ cup water ( if needed)
  • 2-3 Tbsp canola oil for sautéing .

Method:

1- Heat up a medium pot or cast iron on medium-high heat. Drizzle the oil and let it heated for sautéing .

2- Add in  cinnamon , cardamom , star anise and cloves. Sauté to fragrant.

3- Add the paste ( all ingredients that have been blended into a paste) , keep stirring and let it fragrant and the oil comes to the top. If it starts burning on the bottom, add some water and let it simmer.

4- Toss in the beef and Asam gelugur if using .

5- Add enough water to cover just right the top of the beef.. not too much water though. Cover the pot , reduce the heat to medium-low . This is to tenderize the meat slowly while absorbing the spices . it takes about 40 -60 minutes depending on how tough the meat is. ( See Notes)

6- When the meat becomes tender and the gravy has thicken, uncover the pot.

7-Add the coconut milk and continue to cook the meat and the coconut milk mixed well with the spices and come to thicken.

8- Add the salt, Java sugar, kerisik and soy sauce. Adjust the salt and sugar to your taste. Let it simmer about 8-15 minutes. Turn off the heat and ready to serve.

Serve with hot rice or sticky rice ( pulut) . Or may be you want to try something new… you are more than welcome to. :D

Storing : This dish lasts up to a week and a half in the fridge. It can last longer if you keep it in a clean air tight container and freeze it, I would say a month. Just let it defrost in the fridge for a couple hours ( this you need to plan ahead of time) , pop up in the oven or microwave and heat up on stove.. whatever you prefer. Then it’s ready.. isn’t that easy peasy?  I hope so :D

October 16, 2009

A Malaysian Wedding Cookie , Biskut Mazola

Filed under: Asians, Bakings, Cookies, Desserts, Snacks, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 11:35 pm

Biskut Mazola

Before baking

Biskut Mazola ( Makes 2 dozen (24 pieces) medium size cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup finely grounded toasted peanuts
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup white sugar ( preferably icing (superfine) sugar)
  • ¼ cup nonfat milk powder (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 200 L canola oil, extra 2-3 tablespoons if needed

For topping:

  • Egg wash (1 large egg yolk + 1 teaspoon fresh milk or water )
  • Toasted sesame seeds , for sprinkling (optional)

Methods:

1- Preheat the oven to 300 F / 150 Celcius. Grease a cookie baking sheet with oil or line parchment paper or silicon mate on.

step1

2- In a large mixing bowl, stir together grounded peanut, all purpose flour, cornstarch ,  milk powder ( if using) ,sugar,  baking soda, baking powder. Mix to well combine.

step2

3- Gradually stir the oil in bit by bit until a firm glossy dough is formed. If the dough is crumbly ( when packed in palm and it falls apart) , add more oil 1 teaspoon at a time.

4- Scope out 1 Tablespoon of the dough, roll into a ball. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place on a prepared baking sheet. You should get 20 – 24 balls . A dough ball should be 1 inch apart from the other balls, the cookie spread slightly.

5- Brush each top with egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on it, just before baking.

6- Bake them for 8- 10 minutes or until browned but not burned. The cookie will be slightly fragile to touch right after baked, that’s ok. It gets hardened as cooled completely. Enjoy with your tea or coffee.

Healthy Kitchen Rendang Tok

Filed under: Allergy Free, Asians, Cooking, Gluten-Free, Malaysians, Side Dishes — nshahida @ 10:46 pm

Healthy Rendang

Don’t be mad at me if I tell you this rendang recipe is a new twist for health conscious people. Please have a first bite.. then tell me what you think. I have been thinking of making a healthy version rendang for a very long time, after I tasted one that my friend made back then in Minnesota, when I was in college. I was surprised, I mean really really surprised when she said she didn’t throw even a drop coconut milk and oil in her rendang. I could not tell the difference at all. The recipe? I didn’t get.. but she has inspired me a lot.

But why  took me years to try myself?  To get the rendang flavorful , spicy as the original authentic one yet keeping the saturated fat lower, quite tricky  to me. A few trial and errors helped me a lot to figure out the do’s and don’ts .

The trick here is kerisik ( coconut paste) that keep this rendang slightly creamy with coconutty flavor that you get from a normal rendang . I know kerisik still fatty , use it in moderation plus kerisik adds fiber to the rendang. 2-3 tablespoons would do the trick. Another must is shallots. Please see the head notes for details.

Of course, I will take other suggestions too.. feel free to share if you don’t mind.

For now, I can enjoy my rendang, , healthy kitchen rendang to be exact, with less guilty feeling without having to scarify the flavor. My husband loved it so much.. another bonus to me.

Rendang Tok(Chicken) -(Serves 5-6 people)

Shallot has very mild oniony flavor, slightly sweet and aromatic too. Mostly used in southeast Asian cookings .It’s a must for this recipe. So for the Kerisk.. please do not skip both for best result.You can find shallots in Asian grocery stores.. sometimes regular grocs market carry it, look at the fresh produce section. Slow cooking is very important to makesure the meat and the spices are incorporated well.

IMG_7233

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup coconut paste (kerisik) ( See Notes)
  • 2 lbs ( approximately 1 kg) beef tenderloin, trim the fat and sliced ½ inch thick
  • 3 – 4 Tablespoons java brown sugar / palm sugar
  • 2 Asam gelugor
  • 5 kefir leaves or lime leaves (daun limau purut), torn
  • 2 tumeric leaves ( if available)
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, pounded
  • 2 Tablespoons match stick sliced fresh ginger
  • Salt to taste

Into a blender:

  • 15 dried red chili , soaked in hot water and drained or 2-3 Tablespoons chili paste
  • 8 shallots or 2 medium purple onion
  • 3 Tablespoons diced fresh ginger root
  • 4 stalks lemongrass
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced galangal
  • 2 fresh tumeric or 1 ½ teaspoon tumeric powder
  • 3 candlenuts ( buah keras) [optional]
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds }
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds }                            ground in a mortar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds}                             until fine
  • 1/2 Tablespoon black pepper seeds}
  • 2 star anise}
  • 3 cloves }

-Blend thoroughly to form a smooth paste.

Methods:

1. Pour  the beef chunks, the paste and enough water to cover the beef into a large wok. Let them cooked slowly on low heat until the meat gets tender but still firm, about an hour.

2. When the meat becomes tender at this point, the gravy starts to thicken,  toss in the remaining of the ingredients; brown sugar/palm sugar, salt , coconut paste (kerisik), kefir leaves (daun limau purut) , sliced ginger root and asam gelugur. Adjust sugar and salt to taste. Let them continue to slowly cook on low heat.

8. Keep stirring , every 2-3 minutes to avoid burning on the bottom.

9. Continue stirring until almost all liquid is vaporized ,meat and spices are well blended. Rendang will look dark brown and pasty when it’s done. If you like your rendang slightly saucy , stop at the point you like your rendang . Most importantly, the meat is tender and the spice is well cooked.

10. Ready to serve with rice, pulut kuning (steamed glutinous rice)etc .

September 16, 2009

Asian Chicken Meat Balls

Filed under: Allergy Free, Asians, Cooking, Gluten-Free, Malaysians, Savories, Side Dishes, Snacks — nshahida @ 10:58 pm

Meat Balls

This is definitely my comfort food, one of the kinds. I love this chicken meat ball recipe, very Asian-y and of course healthy. This recipe was created in order to fulfill  my crave toward a good chicken ball, the one that suits my taste buds and diet. I didn’t want to throw this and that and end up with unpleasant flavorless chicken balls. So there I went, scanning my kitchen pantry and some pondering I did . I knew I wanted to go differently this time – ginger and cardamom were in my head. Grated carrot as the add in to boost up my fiber intake, since I love veggies…why not!

The ending was a surprise in delightfulness to me,  at least.. with punch of bright gingery flavor and hints of  cardamom, the meat itself so moist, flavorful and light , absolutely what I after for, perfecto Alhamdulillah!. This is a keeper. A plus, this recipe is kids friendly, too, cause you can hide the vegetables in the meat while they enjoying it without noticing. My 18 month toddler loves it.

How do we serve it? Enjoy it as snack, or to go with salad or along with pasta or rice.  Oh..I have an idea.. how about sandwich it! What do you think?

The Ingredients

Asian Chicken Meat Balls ( Makes 8-12 medium size balls)

It really is the ginger that makes this recipe an Asian flare but If you do not like ginger and cardamom at all, create you own by omitting or replacing  any of your favorite spices or herbs  such as cinnamon, chopped parsley , oregano and the like. The key is be moderate in adding spices or herbs so it will not be overpowering.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs (about 2 Cups) minced chicken breast, if the meat is too wet, squeeze the juice slightly
  • ¾ cup grated carrots , the juice slightly squeezed ( about ¼ cup juice is obtained, set aside for other use.)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2-3 Tablespoons finely chopped scallions or green onion
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped cilantro (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper powder ( add more for more heat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch ( or all purpose flour)

Methods:

1- Toss everything together in a medium mixing bowl. Lightly mix them to well combined. Scoop out a tablespoon of the mixture, form into a ball to makesure the mixture is easy to handle, if it crumbles.. add 1 teaspoon of the carrot juice or if it’s too wet and fall apart.. add 1 teaspoon cornstarch at a time until the mixture is easy to form. Cover the bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

2- Scoop out 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture. Lightly roll it into a ball. ( be careful not to squeeze it or pack it up too much otherwise the chicken ball will lose it’s moist and tough in texture.. really.. we do not want that.) Place it on a big plate or baking sheet. Repeat the same thing with the remaining. You will finally get 8-12 balls depending on size actually.

3- Heat a medium pan or cast iron. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon canola oil ( do this each batch). Let the oil heated.

4- Place 3-4 balls each batch on the heated pan. ( Do not overcrowd the pan if you want them seared well and not overcooked.) Let them cooked for 4-5 minutes , no more than that. Turn them over , and let cook on the other side for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and repeat step 3 with the remaining batch.

5- Serve while it still warm.

 I served my chicken meat balls along with rice porridge

I served my chicken meat balls along with rice porridge

Storing: If you have some leftovers, place them in a dry and clean Ziploc bag or container and sit up to a week in the refrigerator or 2-3 weeks (approximately) in the freezer.

Notes:

1- Why we do not want to over cook them? To keep the meat tender , moist , sweet and flavorful.

2- If somehow you happen to notice your meat is undercooked, place it back on the pan, let cook for 1-2 minutes.

Lemon Curd

Filed under: Bakings, Cakes, Desserts, Snacks — nshahida @ 8:36 pm

Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is somewhat a bright citrusy yellow custard . To make this lemon curd needs some large amount of lemons and egg yolks, that’s why we call it custard.. the more yolks we add.. the more creamier it gets. No.. no milk required but butter. You can’t really think about health and diet for while if you want to indulge this. Should we consider skipping dinner just for this luscious custard? Hmm.. I sure would!

Lemon curd can be served as a topping to your dessert.. cheesecake like I did from the previous post, doughnut, may be cookies , cakes or anything you desire. According to Lori Longbotham, “ this spread is very popular in Great Britain, where it is eaten on toasted bread or cake, on scones fresh out of the oven, in tart fillings, and in triffle.”

Lemon Curd

Adaptation:Lori Longbotham , Luscious Lemon Dessert

Ingredients:

½ cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter

¾ cup sugar

½ cup fresh lemon juice

3 Tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

Pinch of salt ( if using salted butter, please skip this)

6 large egg yolks

Methods:

1- Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

2- Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, zest and salt. Whisk in the yolks until smooth.

3- Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickens and leaves a path on the back of a wooden spoon when a finger is drawn across it, do not allow the mixture to boil.

4- Immediately pour the lemon curd through a strainer into a bowl. Let cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally, refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Storing: If not using immediately, store in a dry and clean glass jar or plastic container . Refrigerate up to a month and up to 3 months in the freezer.

Note:If somehow your lemon curd gets unspreadable, warm on the stove on low heat or microwave it just until just smooth and slightly warm again.

Lemon Curd on top of my cheesecake

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