August 28, 2008

Oven Baked Fried Chicken

I'm been craving fried chicken a lot lately but we all know it's full of grease and has tons of calories! I came up with this recipe by experimenting with my favorite spices and instead of frying it in grease, I opted on baking it on non-stick aluminum foil with some non-stick spray. Marinating chicken with milk before frying will make more tender and juicier, no one wants to eat a piece of dried chicken!

3 chicken breasts, cut into 3 pieces each

Ingredients (A) :
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 cup milk

1 egg
1 cup Bisquick Original Pancake and Baking Mix
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
non-stick aluminum foil
non-stick cooking spray
ziplock bag

Marinate chicken pieces with ingredient A in a ziplock bag for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight in the fridge.

Take chicken out of the fridge and let it stand until room temperature. Preheat oven to 450 °F.

Whisk egg and pour it into the ziplock. Mix well with chicken pieces. On a plate, combine Bisquick mix, salt and black pepper. Dredge chicken pieces on flour mixture.

Line a baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil. Spray enough non-stick cooking spray on top of the foil. Arrange chicken pieces on top of foil. Spray more cooking spray on chicken pieces so that it helps to brown and crisp the chicken pieces. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn chicken and bake for another 15 minutes. Check to see if chicken is cook, if not bake for another 5-10 minutes.

August 23, 2008

Banana Cake

Banana cake or kek pisang in Malay is one of my favorite cakes. It brings back memory of childhood where my aunt would bake banana cake for me. Banana cake is much moister than banana bread and best eaten with a cup of tea.

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
4 bananas, mashed
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornflour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
A pinch of salt

Cream sugar, butter and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Add one egg at a time into the mixture and beat for a few minutes. When mixture is light and fluffy, add flour, cornflour, baking powder, salt and bananas. Mix.

Preheat oven at 350 °F. Pour mixture into a lightly greased loaf pan. Bake for about an hour. Cake is done when skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

August 22, 2008

Ray's Chicken Curry

My mum loves this curry and it's sorta like stuff of legend in the family. Imagine how devastated she was when I turned vegetarian 3 years ago and would refuse to cook meat. Well good news, I'm not a vegetarian anymore (I can still remember my parents cheering in the background) and I decided to make her this curry for her birthday party since she's been deprived of it for years. This recipe was handed down to me from my grandmother (my mum is a lost cause, ha ha). The curry is much darker but the flash from my camera makes it almost whitish.

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces.
8 medium sized potatoes, cut into large chunks.
Oil, enough for frying.

1 medium sized onion, chopped.
1 tablespoon chopped garlic.
2 cinnamon sticks.
1 teaspoon cloves.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds.
Curry leaves, about 1/2 cup.
2 stalks lemongrass, cut into pieces and bruised.
1/2 cup oil (oil from frying potatoes and chicken).
2 cans coconut milk (480 mL).
1 cup water
Salt to taste

Mix into curry paste:
1 cup Mae Ploy Thai Panang curry paste.
1 cup curry powder.
1 tablespoon turmeric powder.
1 tablespoon red chili powder.
1/2 cup water.

Heat oil in a pot. Fry potatoes until slightly browned. Set aside. Fry chicken pieces in the same oil until slightly browned. Set aside. When oil cools, reserve 1/2 cup of oil and discard the rest.

Heat the reserved oil in a wok or pot on medium heat. Fry cinnamon sticks, cumin seeds and cloves for a few seconds. Add in curry leaves, onion, garlic and lemongrass. Fry until onions are brown. Add in curry paste. Lower the heat and fry curry paste for about 20 minutes until fragrant and oil starts coming out from the curry paste. In Malaysian cooking, this technique is call pecah minyak. If the paste is too dry, add a little bit of coconut milk. Stir constantly so you don't burn the paste.

Add potatoes, chicken, coconut milk and water into the wok or pot. Turn the heat up back to medium. Cover the wok or pot and cook the curry for an hour, stirring frequently so the bottom doesn't burn. Serve with rice, naan, roti canai or nasi kunyit.

August 21, 2008

Turmeric Rice (Nasi Kunyit)

This is one of the Malaysian favorites, usually serve with curry. It's brilliant yellow color comes from turmeric (where this dish's name comes from). I love nasi kunyit a lot when I was in Malaysia, and would eat it quite frequently. This "easier" version uses a rice cooker instead of a steamer. The most important thing to remember when making turmeric rice is not to add too much water or it will stick together like a huge blob.

5 cups glutinous rice (also called sweet rice)
Water (enough to soak the rice)
1 tablespoon turmeric powder

Water (enough to cover the rice)
4 pandan leaves, knotted
1 stalk lemongrass, cut and bruised
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon peppercorn
1 tablespoon salt

Wash and soak rice in water with turmeric powder in a large bowl. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Rinse rice and drain well. At this point, the rice should all be stained yellow from the turmeric powder. Add rice, oil, pandan leaves, lemongrass, peppercorn and salt into rice cooker. Add just enough water so that the water level is the same as the rice. Let rice cook. Remove from rice cooker when cooled and serve with curry.

August 20, 2008

Chocolate Frosting

This is one of the two frostings (the other one is Magnolia's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting ) Vance made for mum's birthday cupcakes. This recipe produce enough frosting for 1 dozen cupcakes.

(Magnolia's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and Chocolate Frosting)

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift sugar and cocoa into a large bowl. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, vanilla extract, 1 cup of the sugar cocoa mixture and 1 tablespoon heavy cream. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Add another cup of sugar cocoa mixture and heavy cream, beat well. Continue until all ingredients are combined and frosting is smooth and fluffy. Use and store icing in room temperature, it will set if chilled.

August 19, 2008

Magnolia's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

This is one of the two frostings (the other one is a Chocolate Frosting) Vance made for mum's birthday cupcakes. It is the same buttercream frosting used by the famous Magnolia Bakery here in New York City. This recipe produce enough frosting for 2 dozen cupcakes.

(Magnolia's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and Chocolate Frosting)

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
8 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
food coloring (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, add butter, milk, vanilla extract and 4 cups of confectioners' sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and creamy. Gradually add in the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time and beat for about 2 minutes every time you add sugar into the mixture. Beat until the icing is thick enough with a good spreading consistency. You might not need all 8 cups of confectioners' sugar. Add a few drops of food coloring if you like. Use and store icing in room temperature, it will set if chilled.

August 9, 2008

Grandma's Sweet Barley and Ginkgo Nut Soup

This is one of the quintessential Chinese sweet dessert soups or tong sui (meaning sugar water literally). I remember shelling and skinning these ginkgo nuts for my grandma before she would make me this dessert. Though I cherish the memories, I am glad that they now sell packaged shelled and skinned ginkgo nuts. Even though this is a Chinese sweet dessert soup, the use of pandan (screwpine) leaves makes it truly Malaysian. Not only is this dessert soup tasty it is actually good for your health as well. I remember my grandma telling me that the ginkgo nut, barley and bean curd sheet lower bad cholesterol, improve memories and rejuvenate skin. All the ingredients below are easily available in any Asian grocery stories.

6 quart water
1 1/2 cups ginkgo nut (shelled and skinned)
1 cup barley
14 oz. rock sugar or to taste
3 pandan leaves (knotted)
2 cups bean curd sheet (break into small pieces)

Soak bean curd sheet in water for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Wash barley and ginkgo nut until water runs clear. Set aside.

In a large pot, add water, ginkgo nut, barley, pandan leaves and bean curd sheet. When mixture boils, turn the flame down to low and cook for 2 hours. Add in rock sugar. Cook for another 30 minutes. Discard the pandan leaves. Serve hot or cold, depending on your preference. This dessert soup keeps for about a week in the fridge.

August 4, 2008

Spicy Chicken Cacciatore

I love Chicken Cacciatore and I remember making it for the first time when I was in Malaysia about 10 years ago. I jazzed the recipe up by adding red pepper flakes to make it spicy. Just omit the red pepper flakes if you don't want the stew to be spicy. This stew is even better a day or two after it's made. Add some sugar into the stew to cut the tomato's acidity down.

5 chicken thighs and 2 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoon oil

1 medium onion, sliced
2 green pepper, sliced
2 cups mushroom, sliced
2 cups baby carrot
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1 can tomato puree (29 oz.)
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Marinate chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Coat with flour. Heat oil. Brown chicken pieces and then set aside.

Saute onion and garlic in the same oil. Add red pepper flakes. When the oil turns red, add in basil, oregano, mushroom, green pepper and baby carrot. Saute for a few minutes. Stir in tomato puree, chicken stock and bay leaves. When sauce starts boiling, add in the browned chicken pieces. Cover and let it simmer on medium heat for about an hour. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Stir occasionally.

Serve warm with pasta and Parmesan cheese.

August 3, 2008


This is my first attempt to make Pflaumenkuchen, a German Plum Cake that is good with whipped cream and a cup of coffee. Pflaumen in German means "plums" and kuchen means 'cake". I have been wanting to make this cake for a very long time but weren't able to find the plums used in this recipe. It calls for "Italian plums" and it is usually in season around June. The cake is not too sweet and it highlights the plums tanginess and freshness. If your plums are too sour, you should sprinkle some powdered sugar on top of the cake before serving. Makes 10 servings, about 300 calories per serving. Here's the recipe:

1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 lbs Italian plums
1 cup walnut, chopped
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Cream butter with sugar. Add eggs and mix. Fold in milk, vanilla, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix evenly until it becomes a batter. The batter should look like a slightly thicker cake mix batter.

Preheat oven to 375 °F. Grease a jelly pan and spread batter evenly in the pan (You don't have to grease the pan if it's non stick).

Wash and pit the plums. Cut them in halves or quarters. Place plums skin down in close rows, pressing slightly into the batter. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the plums and then add in chopped walnuts. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is done.