Healthy Kitchen Smells Fresh

January 26, 2009

Got Rice Milk?

Filed under: Allergy Free, Beverages, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 12:29 am

Rice Milk

Rice Milk ( makes 4 Cups)


  • 1 cup long grain brown rice or white rice
  • 1 Tablespoon rolled old fashion oat (optional, See Notes)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey or white sugar
  • Salt , to taste
  • 2 screw pine leaves ( Daun Pandan) ( See Notes)
  • 4 cups water


1- Soaking the rice: In a medium bowl, pour in rice and oats. Add enough water to cover the rice. Let the rice and oat soaked for at least 8 hours.

  • This is important to soften the rice , easy to break up the grain for making the milk.

2- First processing: Add the soaked rice and oat in a blender . Pour in 2 cups of water. Blend them all together until the rice turn into small bite, size of sand.Keep processing to get break up the rice as much as possible.

Prepare a strainer over a large bowl. Pour the blended rice mixture, let it all tiny bits of rice drained on the strainer and the milk into the bowl. Make sure all bits are discarded.

3- Making the milk:In a medium pot, pour the milk, add the remaining 2 cups of water, honey or sugar, salt to salt and knotted screw pine leaves. Stir to combine.  Cook on medium heat. Keep stirring to avoid lumps and burn on the bottom.

Turn the heat to medium low. Let the milk simmer. If the consistency is quite thick , add more water.. let’s say 1/4 cup at a time.

  • The consistency of the milk shouldn’t be too runny because we want to keep the richness of the milk. However, it doesn’t mean the milk suppose to be thick, thicker rice milk tastes a little bitter so adding bit by bit of water may help until you get the right taste of rich rice milk- just as you want.
  • Another tips- once your milk get just slightly starchy. Stop there.. that’s how rice milk should be.

4- Remove from heat. Discard with strainer. Ready to use. If not using immediately, let the milk completely cool. Keep it in a bottle/jar/pitcher and refrigerate for up to a week.

Shida’s Notes:

1- I use rolled oats to enhance the richness flavor and gives hints of creaminess to the milk – it does work for me, alhamdulillah.

2- If you can use tree nuts, replace oat with 1/4 cup of almonds or hazelnuts. You can also play around with sesame seeds or even hemp seeds.

3- Daun pandan can be replaced by vanilla extract for variation. Cocoa powder sounds great too! yumm..

Rich Rice Milk


January 8, 2009

Making Kerisik (Coconut Paste)

Filed under: Allergy Free, Asians, Cooking, Gluten-Free, Malaysians, Vegan, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 11:01 am


I spent my childhood mostly with my grandparents in the village. Had a grandparents pampered their little granddaughter with full of love, it has always been the best moment in my life . I didn’t have so many friends so my grandmother came up with the idea of teaching me some basic cooking lessons perhaps like any other grandmas would do. And that was a not-so-good idea to a kid who didn’t like kitchen. I admit! Because I love grandma, I had to pretend to the level that  I struggled to muster the passion to it! not being able to orchestrate the best reason possible to keep me miles away from the kitchen made me finally stucked,  forever. My grandma would call me all the way from her kitchen for another cooking adventure, I surrendered with no complaints.. surprisingly!

Most shockingly, After long, I happened to love cooking and trust me, it is rewarding especially being taught by a grandma who has shared thousands of old secret recipes and tips. I eventually appreciate her efforts.. I still do!

Making kerisik  or coconut paste is one of the lessons I have been taught from my beloved grandma and I hope it is not too much to say I have passed this lesson quite successfully, alhamdulillah. Now I see the needs especially I have never seen any Asian stores carry Kerisik , so far here. It makes me realize even more why grandma put too much work just to get me at least know what to do in the kitchen.

Kerisik is brown greasy paste made from second pressed grated coconut.- toast and pound  it in a mortar. Kerisik is seen mostly in Malaysian and Indonesian food recipes,  it  enhances the rich and coconutty flavor in  meat , chicken dish and the like ; for example, Rendang.

This nutty coconut paste isn’t really complicated to make. To show you how simple is that, even myself started making kerisik as young as 6 years old of age. A couple cups of grated coconut ( store bought or home grated) and a mortar are all you need .

As for me, I am glad to be part of my grandma’s kitchen and survived despite of being forced. Most importantly, being part of my grandparent’s household that is full with love.

Kerisik (makes approximately 1/3 Cup )


  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut , if home grated, make sure it is second pressed.
Fresh Grated Coconut

Fresh Grated Coconut


1- On medium-low heat, toast grated coconut on a medium pan or wok. Occasionally stirring until completely browned and fragrant. Remove from heat.

  • Toasting brings out a deeper, earthier flavor and aroma.
  • Toasting grated coconut using the oven is best done through lower temperature, lets say at 250F and frequent stirring.
  • The low temperatures keep it from browning too quickly and developing a bitter, ‘over done’ taste and stirring them around insures evenness.
Toasted Coconut

Toasted Coconut

2- While the toasted coconut is still warm, spoon 2-3 Tablespoons into a mortar. Do not put a large amount at time as it will get harder to handle and takes longer process.

  • The heat from the toasted coconut will aid in the processing and help develop the oil from the coconut quicker.
Toasted coconut in a mortar and the result

Toasted coconut in a mortar and the result

3- Ground the toasted coconut with mortar. It will first grind up into dry powder. Keep grinding, it may take about 10 minutes if working continuously. Grind continuously until dark brown paste is formed and oil developed and appeared on top. See the picture above.

4- At this stage, spoon out and pour in a container. Continue with the remaining batches.

5- Ready to use.

Kerisik / Coconut Paste

Kerisik / Coconut Paste

Shida’s Notes:

Kerisik can be made ahead of time. If not using immediately, Keep it in a clean and dry container, refrigerate for up to 4 weeks or freeze it for up to 6 months or so.

January 4, 2009

Oat-Coated Crispy Chicken ( Allergy Free Friendly)

Filed under: Allergy Free, Cooking, Gluten-Free, Savories, Side Dishes — nshahida @ 11:31 pm


Bringing back memory lane. When my siblings and I were kids, my father brought us to KFC for a special treat.When he announced a trip to that wonderful fast-food restaurant, we jumped with delight as if there is nothing else so special than fried chicken.It actually was for a kid like me especially it only happened every once in while. Who doesn’t like fried chicken!

That was long time ago and unsurprisingly I still love it. Deep fried chicken with the combination of hot and spicy Asian-y flavor. The crispiness of the external, moist and tender on the inside.. couldn’t do any better – perfect to my taste.

I hardly indulge those food again.The last time we had KFC fried chicken was the one when our best family friend generously shared the pieces to us. We appreciated it with joy and thankfulness.

Why we were so happy?

Living abroad, esp in a non-Muslim country, Halal Zabiha KFC is very limited to be found. In the US, to my knowledge there are Zabiha KFC in New York City and Chicago. However, to travel all the way to both cities only to satisfy our craving for their fried chicken is not an appealing idea.

Plus, overindulging of deep-fried stuff has become one big enemy to a person who needs to stay fit and healthy.It was a challenge to figure out to make it homemade with some changes for a healthier version but taste as good. Alhamdulillah.. I finally don’t have to miss anything about my childhood fave food, no more!If you are.. please don’t!

Here is the result of my trial and error if you don’t mind to give it a try.The twist I made:

  • Instead of deep frying it, I pan seared the chicken with small amount of oil. ( Canola Oil or Olive Oil or other heart healthy oil)
  • In the recipe, I replaced flour with Gluten free oatmeal or may be you can just go with regular oatmeal if you don’t have problem with gluten.
  • Egg isn’t required for this recipe, I used the mixture of cornstarch and rice milk. It does work.
  • Good news is ,this chicken dish is low carb and fat, Allergy free friendly, lower cholesterol , high protein . The taste and texture is still there, alhamdulillah. My personal food tester loved it.

Oat-Coated Crispy Chicken (makes 4 pieces)

Chicken leg can also be used in this recipe, it just the cooking time may be 1 to 2 minutes longer. If some of the spices are not the option, just leave it out or replace with any spices you desire. Regular rolled oat can be subbed if you can tolerate gluten.


4 pieces boneless chicken breast strips ( Skin removed)

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

– Season chicken with salt , both black and white pepper. Let marinated for 30 minutes.

The oat mixture

Oat Mixture

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup GF rolled oat

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 teaspoon mustard powder or ¼ teaspoon tumeric powder

2 Tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes or coconut milk powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon curry powder

– Combine well all these ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.

Other Ingrdients:

2 Tablespoons canola or olive oil (for pan searing)


1- Heat a medium skillet or pan on medium heat. Drizzle 1 Tablespoon of canola/olive oil. Let the oil heated.

2- Meanwhile, dip chicken in cornstarch mixture, and dredge in oat mixture (dry ingredients) , coating well. For extra coating, repeat the same method to each well coated chicken.

3- Gently, place 2 pieces per batch on the oiled heated skillet. Let it seared and crisped up, about 8 minutes or until golden. Turn on the other side , about 5 minutes or until golden.

4- Remove the chicken from heat. Drain chicken on paper towels. Repeat step 3 with another batch.

5- Serve with anything to your liking.

Serve as is or as sandwich

Serve as is or sandwich it

January 2, 2009

Whole Wheat Naan Style bread

Filed under: Bakings, Breads, Side Dishes, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 12:44 pm


I made bread almost every once per week until recently , it has been quite slow. I try whenever time permits in obey my ‘philosophy’ of ‘go all homemade’. Though, not everything in my kitchen pantry are all from scratch which is actually quite impossible to grind my own flour or plant my own veggies. I wish!

I try whatever I can , whenever time is plenty ; yes, enough energy to keep me hoping around the clock. I hope it’s not a dream..

As for bread, I love any kind of all sorts – from flat bread to french’s (Baguette), everything.

Whole wheat( whole meal for some region) is one new favorite of ours since the past 2 years. Actually the kind I grew up with after being dragged by a wonderful mother of mine, now I thank my mom for that! It’s  healthier and less process more fiber.  Another big plus! Alhamdulillah..

This bread recipe I am about to share you is adapted from one flat bread recipe or so-called pita bread. After being intendedly altered , the bread is not longer called flat bread. Naan? perhaps. It just bit thicker, moist and a lot more denser in texture wise – because of the whole wheat flour. Taste wise is across between pita and naan.Alhamdulillah, it was satisfying to us, at least!

Yes, what a quite a fulfilling moment.. to me!! alhamdulillah.. after months of having store bought whole wheat bread.


Whole Wheat Naan Style Bread (Makes 6 breads)


If whole wheat /whole meal flour is not in your kitchen pantry, just go all with all purpose flour.

  • 2 cups (240g) Whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups (240g) All purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (120mL) plain yogurt or 1/3 cup coconut milk or other milk alternatives)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil ( or canola oil/vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 cup luke warm water (plus 2-3 tablespoons if needed)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey ( or Sugar)
  • 1 egg white mix with 1 tablespoon of water (for brushing) – if you are vegan , you may omit this, replace with just water.
  • Enough Toasted sesame seeds (for sprinkling)
  • Sea salt or regular fine salt (for sprinkling)


1- In a large bowl, mix well whole wheat flour, all purpose flour , baking powder and salt. Make well in the center to fill in the wet ingredients. Set aside.

2- In a small bowl, mix dry yeast with luke warm water and sugar. Stir to well combined. Let it bubbles for 3 minutes .

  • This process activates the yeast , when the yeast is activated.. the bread dough rises a lot easier and half the time. Only do this if you don’t have plenty of time just for bread making. The more time it takes to risen the bread dough, the better.

3- Pour in the yeast in mixture , plain yogurt or milk alternative and Olive oil into the ‘well’ in the large bowl. Stir all the ingredients together to form a soft dough. If a soft dough is not obtained, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time until you get a soft pliable and smooth dough. 4- Lightly flour the flat surface ( your kneading table for example). Place the dough on it and hand kneading it for 10-12 minutes.

  • This is important to get all the ingredients are well combined.

5- Grease well a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Place the kneaded dough into the bowl. Turn to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place , free from draft , 1 hour or until double bulk.

6- Punch the dough down, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, knead for 4 times. Divide the dough into 6 balls.

7- Roll flat each balls into an oval shape. Cover and let it rise for another 15 minutes.

8- In the mean time, preheat the oven to 450 F, for at least 30 minutes.

9- Brush the shaped dough with egg white wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds and sea salt or just regular fine salt.

10- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until browned. Bake 2 pieces at a time. Ready to serve.

Enjoy with anything you please!

Serve it!

Serve it!

Shida’s Notes:

If you can’t do the baking, do it on your kitchen stove by heating a large pan. Place a rolled dough at a time, onto the heated pan on medium high heat. Let it browned and puffed up. Remove from the heat and repeat the same step for the remaining’s.

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