Healthy Kitchen Smells Fresh

February 25, 2009

Savory Bread Pudding

Filed under: Asians, Bakings, Breads, Malaysians, Savories, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 12:48 pm

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Haven’t had bread pudding for long and that made me started to imagine a good bread pudding on the table with a cup of tea? May be!

Thinking I’ve been indulging too much sweet all week long, the reason  I refused to even start lifting my whisk. But why not trying the old school one?…. Savory bread pudding came across my mind.. reminded me of my mom’s. She makes the best savory bread pudding in the family , I may say . Well.. it was when we were kids my mom used to make that bread pudding. InsyaAllah if we go home for a visit, I might ask her to make us one again.

I then asked hubby, which one would he eat if I happened to make bread pudding, the sweet one or the savory  though his response is quite predictable. Yes, I wasn’t wrong so there I went start scanning the kitchen pantry, looking for inspiration. “Let’s try with corn and green onions”.  I whispered to myself.

Alhamdulillah, it did turn out as expected and once again, alhamdulillah hubby loved it and we finally had our bread pudding since the last time, 4 years ago to be exact.

This recipe isn’t call for sugar since it’s savory. Still… you get the sweetness , naturally from the corn. The mild onion-y flavor was so comforting along with creamy coconut milk. If you are not tolerating lactose ( dairy products), this ‘d be great for you to give it a go.

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Savory Bread Pudding

If white bread is all available, just go with any kind of bread you have. Whole wheat bread is my choice for healthier version.

Ingredients:

  • 3 (approx. 150 grams) slices whole wheat bread , chunked
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups ( 500 mL) lite coconut milk or thick
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil or cooled melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Add ins:

  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup corn kernels
  • ¼  cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons fried shallots , for sprinkling
  • Enough very hot water , for bain-marie (water bath)

Methods:

1- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 8 x 4 x 4 inches baking pan with a little bit of canola oil, set aside.

2- In a large bowl, with a spatula or wire whisk, whisk egg, coconut milk and cornstarch to well combined. Stir in all purpose flour and continue whisking until there is no longer lumps in the batter.

3-Add the chunked breads to the batter and let them soaked for 30 minutes.

  • This soaking process helps the bread to absorb the liquids and soften the texture of the bread.. make a smooth and melt in your mouth pudding.

4- Stir the batter to make sure the bread is completely softened and well incorporated. Mix all the add ins , salt, black pepper and coconut oil / cooled melted butter into the batter. Mix well every thing together.

5- Pour enough very hot water in a large baking dish ( bigger than prepared baking pan for the batter). Make sure to fill the hot water enough to cover half of the grease baking pan (sea level) )

6. Pour the bread pudding batter into the greased baking pan. Slightly tilt and shake the pan to level out the batter. Sprinkle the fried shallots on top. Place the battered pan onto the bigger baking dish ( the one that is filled with hot water).

7- Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until lightly brown around the edge of your pudding ( tips: insert a cake tester , see if it come out clean.. if it does.. your pudding is ready)

8- The pudding may look undone right after baking, it firmed up later after cooling. Make sure it is completely cool before cutting.

bread pudding

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February 18, 2009

Curried Potato Oven Fries

Filed under: Allergy Free, Bakings, Gluten-Free, Savories, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 11:16 am

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Just exactly the way it is when I crave for deep fried potato chips ; crunchy, salty and flavor laden. I have to figure some alternatives out, something there is no brainer.. to make.

Here is one of them I’ve been making over the years.. oven fries potatoes, the only different I made each time is play around with herbs and spices available in my kitchen pantry. And alhamdulillah , they have never let my crave down. The matter fact is it tastes whole lot better than regular unhealthy chips.

This time I curried them. I questioned myself how it would turn out with cornstarch  , I tossed it in and alhamdulillah, it boosted the external crisp texture to the potatoes. We enjoyed them as much as we savored this pan fried potatoes.

Curry powder, salt and potatoes

Curried Potato Oven Fries (Makes 4-5 Cups)

To add fiber in any potato dishes, leave the skin on.

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium potatoes, unpeeled and slice lengthwise into 6 wedges
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder, optional
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder, optional
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch ( In Malaysia, we call it corn flour)
  • Pinch of black pepper, to taste, optional
  • Pinch of white pepper powder, optional
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons grapeseed oil ( or other light tasting oil i.e canola, vegetable , olive oil)

Methods:

1- Preheat the oven to 425F.

2- In a large bowl, toss all ingredients in and mix them to well combined.

3- Arrange the wedges on a large baking pan, cut side down and in the oven it goes.

4- Bake for 25-30 minutes or till brown and crispy. Don’t go too brown. Flip each wedges over. Continue to bake for another 8-10 minutes.

5- Turn off the oven and remove the perfectly baked potatoes.

6- Sprinkle with more salt if needed and ready to serve.

February 16, 2009

Homemade Graham Crakers or Digestive Biscuits

Filed under: Bakings, Cookies, Desserts, Vegan, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 2:22 pm

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Among friends, as I could remember, I was so known as a cookie monster . Yes, they hit the nail on the head, I agree for I was so busy munching cookies and crackers while others having their heavy meals – I wasn’t much for anything heavy like rice at that time. The unlogical reason I’d say exactly is because I didn’t want to get fat and stay healthy . Plus , I love cookies or anything like crackers.It’s fun to munch until you forget to stop, from breakfast to dinner. Oh, unfortunately that’s not right.. don’t know how to stop munching?…It can get to that far.

After long, I still love them. But, this time I consume sparingly just for snacking or sometimes dessert. Especially when you dunk it in hot tea or even milk, can’t get enough of it till you know you should stop.. by then.

When I came in realization that I actually can make it my own , I decided to give it a try. Eversince, I have never gone for store bought cookies and crackers. For cookies, yes I make my own most of the time. As of cracker.. hmmm.. not really until recently.

Graham cracker or sometimes people call it digestive biscuit is my top favorite when it comes to sweet-but-not-too-sweet snack.. It is because the grainy texture from the whole wheat or graham flour makes me feel like I am eating healthy, plus its crunchy munchable aspect is satisfyingly great subs for potato chips. The flavor can be found variety, but I prefer the traditional one. The one that has hint of cinnamon flavor with great combo of molasses and brown sugar – mild and not too sweet.

You see, how much I love it,  leads me in continuing my kitchen experiment. My first, second and thrice  trials were not a success. I tried the forth time inspired by this recipe. The idea for some changes to be made gushed through my mind, sounded fascinating and it was a why not. I am glad I did!

I made a few changes from this inspiring recipe because I was expecting in my head graham crackers – which means the texture, shape and flavor should be there. As a result, alhamdulillah.. I got what I had in mind and I am so happy to put up on my journal to be shared.

I replaced coconut oil and canola oil instead of butter without sacrificing the texture and flavor I expected. It is because I wanted low fat and non hydrogenated graham crackers just so I can enjoy it guiltlessly.  Bear in mind, it’s ok  in moderation.

After all, I still am a cookies monster but not to the extreme. Eating crackers or cookies instead of rice isn’t such a healthy idea for me and probably you who want to watch our diet and weight. Consuming carb alone is not enough especially unhealthy carb. This is a great reminder for me to finally realize eating rice won’t make me fat.

Graham Crackers

Homemade Graham Crackers / Digestive Biscuits (Yields 4 Large Crackers)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cups whole-wheat flour or graham flour or regular all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon rolled oat
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoons Vegetable shortening or coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses (honey or another 2 tbsp brown sugar)
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons cold milk or water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Methods:

1- Mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder,  salt, and cinnamon. Add shortening/ oil, stir and rub with tip of your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 30 seconds or so.

2- Add the molasses, water, and vanilla. Mix until the dough starts to come together in a ball, another 30 seconds. Scrape dough out.

  • Do not overmix the dough , we want them end up breakable flaky  and crispy texture , not teeth-breaking.

3- Between 2 sheets of waxed or parchment paper, roll the dough 1/8-inch thick. Chill for at least 1 hour, until firm – several hours.

4- Preheat oven to 350F. Retrieve dough and roll it a bit more if it is not yet 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, score into 4-inch squares. Leave the squares together, you can break them up after they’re baked. With a fork or toothpick, prick several holes in each cracker.

5- Bake for 20 minutes 0r until lightly browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan. Do not overbake them.

February 13, 2009

Sambal Udang ( Spicy Shrimp)

Filed under: Asians, Cooking, Gluten-Free, Malaysians — nshahida @ 11:36 pm

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Does red striking color of this dish scare you?  may be extremely hot by its look but it’s not. This sambal udang isn’t suppose to be super hot.. Perhaps mild. The one I made wasn’t hot at all for I was running out of chili paste. Adding extra fresh peppers and tomatoes really did a trick to this dish. The tanginess from tomato and sweetness from the peppers weren’t overpowering, the shrimp itself gave some sort of natural sweet and fresh flavor.. just be sure not to over cook them.

Sambal Udang ( Serves 4 people)

Ingredients:

In a blender:

  • 1 yellow onion (or 4 shallots)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon sliced fresh ginger
  • 1 whole large red sweet bell pepper ( or 5-6 fresh red peppers)
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon chili paste
  • 2 Tablespoons water

– Blend thoroughly into smooth paste.

Other ingredients:

  • 1 ½ Cup fresh shrimp, head and tail removed
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar ( or regular white sugar)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 Teaspoons white vinegar ( or lime juice)
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil (or other cooking oil)

Methods:

1- In a medium wok, pour the oil and let the oil heated on medium heat.

2- Pour in the blended ingredients, sauté until fragrant and cooked – you can see the oil come up on top.

3- Add the vinegar, sugar and salt. Adjust the salt if necessary . Let it simmer for 3-5 minutes.

4- Add the shrimp, let it cooked for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and serve.

Sambal Udang

February 11, 2009

Urap (Bean Sprout Salad)

Filed under: Asians, Cooking, Gluten-Free, Malaysians, Side Dishes — nshahida @ 10:15 pm

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Urap or sometimes kerabu , I love this Southeast Asian dish especially in Malaysia because everything is in here except for kitchen sink. The nutty flavor landed from toasted coconut, the saltiness from roasted anchovies .. you don’t even need to add salt to it. Adding ginger really kicks up the Asian flavor .

I can’t say anything else to prove how good this urap is.. if you are Malaysian and familiar with this vegetable salad, you will definitely understand what I am saying. For those who have yet to try this.. it’s just about time to have your first taste .

This vegetable dish is very simple to make. You can get it done with eyes closed , trust me! It doesn’t need any cooking process except for toasting. To show how simple it is, see the recipe below and you will nod your head.

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Urap ( makes 3 Cups)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup dried anchovies or dried shrimp or canned tuna, stir fry and ground into coarse meal
  • 1/2 Cup grated coconut,toasted (like making kerisik) , ground into coarse meal (see Notes)
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 thinly sliced fresh ginger, match stick size
  • 1 1/2 Cup fresh green beans, crosswise sliced, 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 Cup fresh bean sprout
  • salt, to taste

Method:

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and lightly toss them until well incorporated. Cover the bowl, let it stand for at least 1 hour.

Ready to serve with hot plain white rice or enjoy as is.

Shida’s Notes:

1- Ground the toasted coconut just into coarse meal. Stop before it starts become too oily and runny. It’s not like making kerisik.

2- Sliced baked beef can also be added in to add more texture and flavor.

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