Healthy Kitchen Smells Fresh

November 19, 2008

Pan-Seared Potato Fries

Filed under: Allergy Free, Gluten-Free, Savories, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 3:21 pm

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Lunch is the best time to fill your daily protein requirements, along by a variety complex carbs. I love salad for lunch and try to make in variety with it. Salad doesn’t have to boring and plain. Play around with what you have in your pantry and make your salad more fun , easy and quick.

When I need some extra carbohydrate for more sustained energy and tired with bread or pasta, I serve my salad with baked potatoes or any kind of light potato dish. I usually made baked fries because it is easy and very fulfilling.It can be enjoyed as is for snacking too in replace for deep fried french fries or any kind of unhealthy stuff that make you sick.

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Pan Seared Potato Fries

Ingredients

3 medium potatoes ( unpeeled , slice 1/2-inch thick)

2 teaspoons chopped parsley

pinch of cayyene pepper or chili powder

Salt and pepper , to taste

1 1/2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil ( or other llight tasting oil)

Methods:

Heat a cast iron pan over medium high heat. Drizzle the oil on the pan.

Lay the slices of potatoes in the pan without overlapping, and sear, without stirring them. Let them seared for at least 7 minutes and until it’s browned.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of the potatoes.

Flip them over, cook for another 5 minutes, sprinkle with more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle the chopped parsley and Cayenne pepper. Remove from heat.

Read to serve.

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Kuih Serimuka Labu ( Malaysian Sweet Rice Layered Cake)

Filed under: Allergy Free, Asians, Bakings, Cakes, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Malaysians, Vegan, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 2:14 am

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I haven’t had this malaysian layered cake for years now . I had it once when my big ‘sister’ made it for one big event , it was 2 years ago.

This is basically a layered cake with glutinous rice on the bottom and custard on top. Usually in Malaysia, we make it with screw pine leaves concentrate to make the top green and of course it gives a wonderful flavor to the custard layer. Nowadays, people are more creative and make it with durian, yam, potato and etc for the custard layer and use combo of black sweet/glutinous rice and white sweet rice for the bottom. Of course, the traditional one is the best!

As for I only had only a couple screw pine leaves left in the freezer ,I went to the creative version. I made it with pumpkin . I need to finish the cooked pumpkin remained in the refrigerator for almost a month now. Alhamdulillah, it turned out very satisfyingly rich. The custard layer was velvetty and melt in your mouth.. alhamdulillah, at least I made a full use of  the left over pumpkin and wonderful to our taste. I made this based on my mother’s recipe who always made kuih serimuka when I was a kid. I made the whole batch because I am not too sure about halving the recipe noticing I didn’t have a smaller tray to fit the half batch . Now I wonder who is going to finish all these.. or may be wrap and freeze them up for later dessert? any suggestions?

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Serimuka Labu

Ingredients

For the top layer:

2 ½ cup thick coconut milk
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup diced cooked pumpkins
1/2 cup white rice flour

2 Tablespoons tapioca starch
1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup custard flour ( you can replace  with just cornstarch)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of cinnamon powder (optional)
1 teaspoon salt , to taste

For the bottom layer:

2 cups glutinous/sweet rice , (soaked for 3 to 4 hours)
1 cup thick coconut milk

1 ¼ cup water

Pinch of salt

2 Screw pine leaves

Methods:

  • Prepare 8 inch x 8 inch square tray. Cover the tray with aluminum foil. Line a 8×8 inches of greased banana leave in the tray . ( I just like to use banana leave for more exotic flavor. You can totally omit this )
  • Preheat the oven 300F or you can steam it in a steamer ( See Notes)
  • Making The bottom layer ( glutinous cake layer/white layer)– After soaking the rice for 3 hours, , drain the glutinous rice and put into a  medium pot.
  • Add in coconut milk, water , salt and screw pine leaves.
  • Cook on low medium heat until the rice fluff up and completely cooked. It looks a little bit starchy, mushy and moist..it’s perfect ,  that’s what we want.
  • While cooking/steaming the glutinous rice, prepare the custard layer/ top layer. (see below)
  • When the rice is cooked, while it is still hot, pour the cooked glutinous rice into the prepare tray, sprinkle with a tablespoon of tapioca starch ( See Notes). Press it with spatula or your plastic cover hands or layer of banana leave until firm ( See Notes)
  • Preparing The Top Layer – In the blender, put the cooked diced pumpkins, coconut milk, brown sugar. Blend them thoroughly until smooth.
  • Add the rice flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch , custard flour. Continue to blend them until smooth and well blended. Add the salt, vanilla extract and cinnamon powder. Blend until well combined.
  • Pour the mixture into a large pot. Pre-cook on medium-low heat ( keep stirring to avoid lumps and burn on the bottom) until bubbles appear on top and creates steam. The consistency should not be too thick or too runny by now. Remove from the heat.

Preparing The Serimuka – Slowly pour the precooked custard ( the prepared top layer) over the pressed glutinous rice layer ( the bottom layer).

Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes or until the top layer is no longer jiggling (only slightly in the middle ) when gently tilted and slight crust formed along the side.

Remove from the oven, let the layered cake completely cool at room temperature for at least 3hours and place in the refrigerator after that for further  cooling process. Make sure it is firm enough before cutting it. Cut it square or diamond. Ready to serve . ( Yields  about 16 cakes)

Shida’s 2 cents (Notes) :

  1. If steaming,  Prepare the steamer , make sure it’s hot. place the cake in the steamer and steam for 20 minutes or until cooked.
  2. Adding in a little bit of tapioca starch in the bottom layer mixture helps the top layer attached nicely on the bottom layer.
  3. It is important to press the rice while it’s hot because the starch is still active and acts as glue, if you wait until it’s cooled, the starch begin to firm up , this is not a good way to press the rice as it has no glue ( the starch) to get each rice attached to each other.
  4. Deep knife into cold water when cutting each time so the cut side edge will not stick to your knife.

November 14, 2008

Banana? Buckwheat? Coconut? All in one

Filed under: Allergy Free, Bakings, Cookies, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 9:37 am

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I realized I haven’t been using buckwheat flour for a while now. And it sitting in the freezer screaming to be picked up , used… in anything. I love buckwheat for the nutty and rich flavor in lands to my baked goods. Plus having that kind of mentality that I am eating healthy sweets because of you dear, buckwheat flour. Knowing the fact , It provides us with protein in addition it’s very high in fiber,iron and not to mention antioxidants. That’s what you need to look for in your diet instead of unsparingly higher carbs.

My ‘passion’ about cookies drove me into the appealing idea of making buckwheat cookies. Buckwheat and cookies. It sounded nasty at first to me .After a heavy heart I tried the first time… I started to love it. I finally use buckwheat flour almost every time except recently.

So I decided to make kind of cookies at which has everything in it. Off I went to the kitchen and did a pantry spot checked . I found overripen bananas need to go immediately and dried coconut that has become my top favorite. So why not making cookies?

The recipe I refered was from a basic chocolate chips cookies that can be found almost everywhere now. It’s from a cookbook named Ultimate Southern Cooking. Since I was planning to make use the buckwheat flour and all listed above, I have completely altered everything from A to Z except for measurement – that’s what I am looking for because I am no good at amounts. I then made up my mind to make it Allergy free, not soy free though but it’s surely opened for variation including soy free.

How it turned out?

Believe me… you too will love buckwheat, insyaAllah! the outcome was very pleasing to the deepest of my heart, I am so thankful.. alhamdulillah! It was rich, complex yet the taste is recognizable , you will get choc chips and coconut flakes on each bites. The banana and buckwheat really bring the flavor.You won’t notice even a bit that beany flavor from the soy flour, garbanzo(chickpea) flour. The texture is externally crispy , moist and tender in the middle. It tastes better after 1 day or 2.

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Banana Coconut Cookies (Yields about 24 cookies)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup soy flour ( or coconut flour, chickpea flour or more buckwheat flour)

2/3 cup white rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch

1/4 Tapioca starch

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

A couple pinch of salt

2/3 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

– Sift together in a large bowl

Other Ingredients:
1/2 cup grapeseed oil ( or any light tasting oil of your choice)

1 Tablespoons molasses  (for buttery flavor and moistness)

1/3 cup smoothly blended banana

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 or more Tablespoons coconut milk or milk of your choice( if the dough is too stiff)

– In a small bowl, add all wet ingredients and whisk vigorously till well incorporated.

Add ins:

1/3 Coconut flakes

1/2 Chocolate chips ( I used dairy free)


Methods:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pour in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. The dough should be not sticky or too stiff. Easy to shape.If the dough is crumbly, add in the milk of your choice one tablespoon at a time to soften. If the dough is too wet, add a little bit of rice flour, as needed, until it sets up better.

Stir in coconut flakes and chocolate chips to combine and form the dough into a ball.

Spoon the dough into a size of tablespoon full. Roll it into ball. The whole dough makes about 22-25 balls. Arrange the balls on baking sheets 2 inches apart.  Press them gently, not too much. Gluten free cookies spread well.

Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes until the cookies are firm to a light touch, and cracked a bit.  The cookies are soft to touch right after baking, let it cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes.

Remove them from the baking sheet to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

Ready to serve or keep in ziploc bag and place it in the refrigerator.

Notes Of The Day:

1- Gluten Free cookies , from my observation doesn’t stay firm and crispy if kept at room temperature.. it falls apart and end up crumbly. You can even wrap it with aluminium foil, place it in freezer/ziploc bag and freeze for later use.

2 – The cookies will dry out if baked too long. If you want it more crispy continue to bake for 2 minutes longer.. no more than that.

3 – The fat I use in this recipe can be substituted with any kind of oil. I would say coconut oil is the best, if you don’t have one just stick with your own cooking oil but makesure it’s heart healthy oil ( canola oil, light olive oil)

November 13, 2008

Ayam Madu

Filed under: Asians, Chinese, Cooking, Gluten-Free, Malaysians — nshahida @ 10:49 pm

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Back in the saddle.. I wasn’t in a good feeling the past few days and that left my kitchen’s blog abandoned. Not my kitchen tough, it steams around the clock for we have to eat, everyday. Due to that condition, I only cooked as simple as I could plus I was extremely lazy.. I admit. Simple yet it has to be nutritious.

I made Ayam madu or Honey chicken which is usually served with chicken rice. The gingery and sesame-ny taste isn’t really overpowering.. just nice. The soy, oyster and honey really add the sweetness and flavor of  Asia. Honey acts as the glaze makes this chicken dish looks depressingly appetizing.

Though, I didn’t make chicken rice , only regular white rice. Alhamdulillah, still..to my taste buds, It was delicious along with hot rice and steamed veggies.

If you, my dear friends, who loves simple chicken dish and not feeling well as I was.. you might want to give it a shot and insyaAllah you will feel a lot better .

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Ayam Madu

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken – cut into 6 -8 pieces

A pinch of salt

In the blender

1 inch fresh ginger

3 shallots

2-3 cloves garlic

-Blend together till well blended

Other Ingredients

3 Tablespoons honey

3 Tablespoons oyster sauce

3 Tablespoons soy sauce

1-2 Tablespoon sesame oil

Methods:

In a large pot, add in the chicken pieces , pour in water enough to cover the chicken. Turn the heat medium high and cook the chicken to half cooked. Add pinch of salt at the end. Remove from heat and drain the cooked chicken and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together honey, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir until well combined.

In a large bowl, add in chicken. Pour in the blended mixture and the sauces from the medium bowl. Stir everything together until completely combined . Makesure the sauce/marinate covers the meat.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it the refrigerator. Ready to marinate for at least 4 hours ; the longer the better.

After marinating ( 4 hours or so) , Turn the oven to 450F , arrange the chicken on a baking tray or oven griller, bake until the chicken look very glossy and of course, completely cooked. ( See Notes)

Sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional) . Serve it hot with rice and any kind of veggies.

Notes Of The Day:

1- Makesure the chicken is half cooked , Not thoroughly cooked otherwise you will miss the flavor and moistness of the chicken – which is very important.

2- You can use all chicken breast if you wish but the marinating period should be shortened too. Chicken breast is very tender and absorb flavor more easily. If it’s too long marinated, it will be too tender and fall apart after baking. Especially if marinated with acid.

3 – If using chicken breast, to keep the moistness of the meat, do not bake it too long as it will get ‘dehydrated’. Keep eye on it.

November 7, 2008

Cucur Udang With No Shrimp ( Allergy Free Version)

Filed under: Allergy Free, Gluten-Free, Malaysians, Savories, Vegan, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 12:13 pm

Don’t know what to do with left over cooked rice? Here is the idea I’d love to share with you, my dear friends..

Allergy Free 'Cucur Udang'

Allergy Free 'cucur udang'

This Allergy free suppose to be shrimp fritters is sooooo good and super crispy made by cooked rice. I love this version better than the normal one . Believe me or not, my husband asked for more and commented this is the best. I was surprised upon the result. I came up with allergy version cucur udang with no shrimp after I made the normal cucur udang and my aunt’s idea while ago suddenly swirled in my head.. thankfully. She said if you have lots of cooked rice sitting for long in the fridge.. don’t throw it, use it for fritters. I admit this is unhealthy but at least you eat them with no complain, am I right? If she occurred to read this post, I just want to say thank you for your cooking advise , tips and inspiration you have laid upon your niece… masyaAllah! thank you!!

I made these with the ingredients eyeballed  but I am so excited to try it again and report back with the exact amount… is that ok? for now, let’s enjoy the photos only.

Very Crispy and Tender

Very Crispy and Tender

Cucur ‘Udang’ (Allergy Free version) (Yields about 8 fritters)

Ingredients:

In the Blender

1 cup cooked rice ( See Notes)

1/2 teaspoon korma spice

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 tumeric powder

1/2 warm water plus 1 to 3 tablespoons cold water if the batter too thick

-Blend thoroughly all these together until completely smooth.

Then add:

1 Tablespoon rice flour or 1 to 2 teaspoons if the batter is too runny

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

– Continue mixing the batter until well combined.

-Pour the batter in a mediul bowl.

Add ins:

1/3 cup fresh shrimps ( if you can eat shrimp)

1 stalk Chinese celery or cilantro, chopped

1 stalk scallion (green onion) , chopped

1/3 cup diced sweet pepper

Mix it in the batter, stir with spatula until well incorporated. Let sit for 20 minutes before deep frying.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small frying pot until the oil is hot. (See Notes)

Deep a metal spoon in heated oil , remove it and spoon 11/2 tablespoon the batter out and drop it into the oil. Repeat the same step 3 to 4 times per batch ( See Notes). Let it fried until golden brown. Make sure to flip over the fritters half way through so the fritters cooked all evenly.

Remove them from oil , place on lined parchment paper so that the excess oil is absorbed and the fritters will not get too greasy. Before serving, let it cool for 10 -15 minutes to get the starch hold together . Serve it with hot chili sauce or sweet sour sauce.

Notes Of The Day:

1 – Use any kind of rice. Long grain rice would be perfect.. I haven’t used basmati rice but I guess it works great too. Brown rice also would do , try to blend the rice as smooth as possible. I have used jasmine rice and didn’t turn out as great as the one with long grain rice because cooked jasmine rice is more starchy than long grain rice/basmati rice . It holds more water , absorbs more oil while frying and resulting quite greasy fritter.

2 – Use amount of oil enough to cover the fritters while frying.

3 – The oil have to be hot hot before dropping the batter in .Otherwise the fritters won’t fluff up and will somehow absorb the not so hot oil. It will end up way too greasy and go to waste.

4 – Makesure to fry it on low medium heat to avoid browning quickly – only on the outside and the inside left uncooked. Slow frying process resulting your food cooked thoroughly.

5 – Overcrowding the pan (with fritters or anything) while frying will turn the oil temperature down and make your fritters soggy. 3 to 4 drops per batch is good enough. It may be time consuming but insyaAllah, worth the effort.

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