Monday, 4 August 2014

Durian Delicacies : Durian Flower and Durian Soup

Durian is popularly known in Asia as 'King of All Fruits'. It does lived up to its name due to its pungent smell and thorny skins. In fact, in Malay durian means 'thorny'. There are various type of durian in Malaysia, from the infamous Musang King/Raja Kunyit (also known as Cat Mountain King), Red Prawn (D175), D24, Black Thorn and Durian Kampung (Village Durian). The priciest among the durians? I'd say it is either Black Thorn and Musang King as the price range is between RM20 - RM30/kg. An average durian fruit is weighted around 1.5-2kg per fruit, so be ready to fork out that amount for that special treat!

Dad proudly show-off his durian

Look at that yummers! For those who never tried it, oh my I have to warn you, not many can survived the pungent smell. Mostly Asian have no problems in digesting and savouring the fruit but based on experience, some Westerner may enjoy the taste by closing their nose (some say it smells like death, haha). So, it is only meant for people with exquisite taste (not all Asian are into durian though).

Personally, I loved Durian Kampung (Village Durian), as I like the surprises it brings. If you are lucky you score a sweet, soft flesh and creamy durian. But in the end, it all depends on your preferences as some like it bitter, sweet, creamy, fleshy, less sweet etc. 

Both my grandparents and parents own a small durian farm back in Kuching (location). So, whenever I'm back in town during the durian season, it is something that I look forward for. My mum even stored the durian flesh in  frozen refrigerator to retain the original taste (taste like ice-cream) especially the sweet & creamy type. This is to ensure all-year round supply of tasty durian for the families. The not-so-tasty batch will be stored in a jar, to be fermented into something that we called tempoyak. 

Fermentation of tempoyak will produce a sourly-version of durian flesh which often served uncooked together with sliced chilies as a side dish. However, in Borneo tempoyak is usually stir-fry with anchovies and sliced chilies (I'm salivating while writing this). The longer the tempoyak kept in the jar (room temperature) the more sourly it gets, unless it was kept refrigerated. 

For me, I'm a big fan of durian soup (Sup Tempoyak). It is a type of dish that I would make to remind me of home. Durian soup is often cooked together with chicken (thigh), fish (fish head/silver catfish) or pork (pork bone/ribs). The end result would be something made in heaven savory & sour, best served with rice. How to make durian soup? It is quite simple, pound 2 lemongrass stalk, 2 clove of garlic and ginger. Saute everything until fragrant, toss in the meat and continue stir-frying it until the meat is half-cooked. Pour in one bowl of water, put in 2-3 tbspn of tempoyak and simmer it until the meat is thoroughly cooked. 

Durian Soup (Sup Tempoyak)

Another thing to lookout for is durian flower. While durian flesh can be stored in frozen refrigerator for a long time, durian flower is a very rare treat. It is only available during flowering season and quite difficult to retain the freshness after refrigerate. Picking up the flower also can be a fun activity with family as it process of 'pollen cleansing' can be tedious. 

Durian flowering season

Durian flower, after cleaning

You can refer the step-by-step process to clean the flower from the pollen in this blog.

Due to its rarity and tedious cleaning process, people are selling it off as much as RM2-RM4 for a small plastic bag (my mum selling cleaned flower for RM2/bag). Don't worry though, the flower does not smell anything like the fruit, in fact a fresh durian flower smell a fairly sweet. Stir-fry with chilies and belacan (shrimp paste), makes a perfect companion to a hot plate of plain rice.

Durian Flower with Belacan (Shrimp Paste)

Lazy girl guide: Low Carb Eggplant Pizza

Today is a no carbs day.

Ok I lied. I did had a bowl (or two) of steam rice with stir-fry chicken with dry chilies and small portion of veggies. That is the third-world country problem; whenever you ordered an ala-carte menu, it always comes with 2 slice of raw cucumber and if you are lucky, they throw in one piece of romaine lettuce as garnish. That is why, I always make it a point to prepare my own food when I have the time.

If you are looking for something fast and easy to make, you can try this recipe. I love eggplant so much, always looking for it especially when I had dim sum for brunch. To make eggplant pizza you need these:

1. 1 large eggplant
2. 1 tbsp olive oil
3. Tomato puree
4.  Grated parmesan ( I used single slice cheddar cheese, because it's in my fridge)
5.  Salt

1. Minced sausages
2. Chopped green chilies

1. Slice eggplant thinly, about 10cm thick (not too thin, so it can hold the ingredients above it and not too thick to ensure it is evenly cooked)
2. Put the sliced eggplant inside a food container. Add on olive oil & salt. Shake vigorously
3. Preheat oven to 175c
4. Arrange eggplant in oven rack. Baked for 10mins
5. Remove the eggplant from oven. Now, topped it with tomato puree, small amount of minced sausages, green chilies and cheese
5. Baked for another 15mins

It's mine. ALL MINE.

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Sunday, 3 August 2014

Lazy girl guide : Stuffed Capsicum/Pepperbell

Imagine this. You wake up late. You are hungry. Since you are skipping breakfast and about to have lunch soon, you need to prepare something convenient, satisfying and  can be cooked while you are in the shower.

Well, this is not a fast food but it is definitely a menu for a lazy girl who wanted to stay away from carbohydrate. The original recipe does involved rice/rissotto but today my friend, lets just keep em' in the jar shall we?

Okay, here's what you need to prepare:

1. 3 capsicum/pepperbell
2. 100g minced beef (or chicken)
3. 1 tomato (diced)
4. 1 egg
5. 1/2 onion & 2 clove of garlic (diced)
6. 1tbsp oil

1. Cheese
2. Tomato puree

1. Pre-heat an oven in 180°C & marinate the beef with salt & pepper for 5 minutes.
2. Remove top of capsicum. You may retain the top and baked it together in the oven but I prefer to cut it off and diced up the remaining (except for the stem part & seeds clinging to it)
3. Heat oil/butter in a frying pan. Add in onion & garlic and saute until fragrant
4. Add minced beef and fry until browned then add in tomato & diced capsicum for 10 mins
5. Remove the meat mixture in a large bowl. Add in egg and mix well before filling it into the capsicum
6. Baked for 30-40mins. If you prefer, topped the stuffed capsicum with  tomato puree and cheese.

While the capsicum is doing it's 'thang' in the oven, you can enjoy your shower, make yourself a coffee and select a movie that you wanted to watched for quite sometime. I always prefer to cook something with oven. You have more time for yourself. Am such a lazy girl :-)

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Lazy girl guide : Crispy Roasted Pork Belly (Siu Yuk)

Krukk! Kruukkkk!

That is the sound you will be making while eating 'siu yuk', the crispy pork belly that you can find in nearly all non-halal Chinese restaurant and hawker stall. Sometime I get disappointed when I ordered a plate of pork rice and end up with a fraction of the pork and almost equivalent to two bowls of rice. Huh! And get charged for tiny weeny pork. Can I seek justice for this? Haha..

Anyway, I have seen lots of siu yuk recipes and it seems like a hard work. Until, I found out about this simple way to prepare your own version of siu yuk at home. I think it is because most of the recipes show how to prepare roast pork, big enough to feed a family of four (providing each and one of them are not greedy enough, like me). This recipe works great if you cut the pork belly into a size which is less thicker (refer picture below) horizontally. You can cut down the cooking time and it is easier to cut into small pieces for serving.

You can easily buy pork belly this size in major supermarket. In choosing the right kind of pork belly, please avoid the 'pork tits' as it can be a bit chewy (besides looking kind of gross, to me.sorry). Below are the ingredient in preparing your DIY siu yuk:

1. Pork belly (refer picture for sizing)
2. 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
3. 1 tbsp vinegar
4. Salt (based on your preference)
5. White pepper (based on your preference)

1. Tomatoes
2. Zucchini
3. Olive oil

1. Wash & dry pork with paper towel. Make sure it is really dry
2. Rub the meat side with 5-spice powder & salt, avoiding the skin. Marinate for 30mins
3. Cut tomatoes & zucchini into small pieces. Transfer in a food container. Add in olive oil & salt. Shake the container vigorously
4. Preheat oven at 180c
5. Place pork belly in the oven rack. Make sure the skin side is dry and free from any marinate. Arrange tomatoes & zucchini on the rack. Bake for 10-15mins
6. Meanwhile, mixed vinegar and a pinch of salt in a small bowl
7. After 10-15mins, remove the rack from oven. Prick the pork skin with fork (by this time the skin will become softer) and brush the vinegar mixture onto the skin before putting it back in the oven
8. Baked for another 30-44mins. You have to observe the progress of your meat to make sure the skin is turning into crispy form and not burnt.

If your oven have the option to choose roasting side, you can change it after the meat is well-cooked and to speed up the roasting process. After removing the meat from oven, allow it to rest for 10mins before cutting them for serving. Cutting the meat proved easier in this portion, you may have to use clover to chop pork belly in bigger size.

You can listened to the cracking sound while cutting the meat..oh, so heavenly :-)

Warning: The whole thing can disappear in less than 15mins.

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Saturday, 2 August 2014

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) : For sinusitis

To be honest, I used to be not a great fan of coconut. When I was a kid, coconut can be found abudantly in my dad's kampung (hometown). On a hot afternoon, my grandfather or uncle would open up the coconut for the family to enjoy. I only drank small cup of the coconut water due to the soury nutty taste.

After living in the city, I begin to appreciate all that. Sometime it is hard to find fresh coconut when I need it (or feel like drinking it). For those who didn't know, drinking coconut juice not only quench your thirst (to avoid those soda drink which is full of sugar and preservatives), but it also works whenever you are feeling 'heaty'. Some people even used it to cure dengue fever.

Anyway, recently there have been such hype about coconut. People are going nuts over its oil, especially virgin coconut oil. Just like the old folks said, coconut has 1001 uses, from the juice, husk, oil etc...every part of the coconut tree will be used up to make things. Coconut oil have been around for ages, and was used by people mainly from the tropical regions. It is used as part of the ayurvedic medicine and even in baby formula, sports drink and enery bar!

I've been reading a lot about VCO in the past year, however I never really put a serious thought about it. That is until I saw an article in local newspaper that VCO can alleviate nose congestion from sinus. It is said that due to the anti bacterial properties in VCO can 'cleanse' your body from accumulated toxin, mucous and bacteria in your nose.

 I have been suffering from chronic sinusitis for years now and I have tried several ways from popping on Clarinase and other types of anti-histamine pills (forgot the names), salt water (I haven't tried netipot though) and along the way suffered mild tinnitus, loss my sense of smell, migraine and itchy in facial areas.

So, from there I bought my first bottle of VCO ( Organic VCO by Biohealth, 125ml for RM38 at Watson). According to my research, there are three methods that you can do to solve sinusitis problems:

1. By consuming VCO, 2tbsp per day (in the morning after breakfast and at night before bedtime)
2. Dripping 1-2 drip of VCO directly into your nostril (you must be in sleeping position to make sure the oil drained back on your throat).
3. Through oil pulling, by 'push & pull' 1tbsp of oil in your mouth for 5-20mins. This method removes unwanted bacteria and mucous, leaving out healthy probiotic strain. Do not gargle, avoid throat area while 'swishing' and spit out the oil right after (you don't want to eat those yucky leftover right?). Best time to do in early morning.

After effect:

Its been 3 days after I consumed VCO, so far my nose is halfway clear. It helps because the brand that I bought smells like coconut candy and taste like one, minus the sweetness and the greasy feeling you get from consuming oil.

I also insert 2 drips of VCO in my nostril. It's not that bad, smells good, did not hurt a bit. You just got to relax and keep calm. Since I did not have any big needle syringe or a dripper, it gets a bit messy (using my finger). Nonetheless, I just rubbed of the remaining oil at my cracked heel.

Most people consuming VCO mentioned that there will be a healing crisis where your body will experience some side effect (such as fever, fatigue etc.). So far as for me, I felt some tingling sensation (itchy) in my ears, facial and scalp. Let's hope it will be over soon.

For full list of the benefit of VCO, you can refer to this link

1. To experience better after effect, kindly avoid dairy food and drink a LOT of water. You will feel you phlegm will be thinner and can easily breathe...something that I can't really stick to

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Friday, 1 August 2014

Lazy girl guide : Blender Banana Cake

Last Wednesday is my sister's birthday. How old? Forever 21. You can expect the same answer from me for my birthday until..err forever?

Anyway, I really suck at picking up presents for people that I cared about. I will end up thinking about it over and over, whether they are going to like it, whether it is usable, whether the gift give impact in their life (I know, I'm drama like that)..and the list goes on. For other people, easy peasy. them lunch/dinner; 2. Photo frame (I know, everybody goes digital but what the heck) 3. Buy the lunch/dinner

As usual, because my sister know me too well, she told me something that she wanted. Since it is a very simple request, nothing OTT,  I felt like, why not bake her a cake instead? She always have a soft spot for banana cake and my mixer is not functioning (bought it during sale, only used less than 5 times before malfunctioning.if I have the money I would invest in a good cake mixer *day dream*). I've heard something about blender cake but never got to try them so let's explore!


1. 2 banana (fresh or overipe), cut into small bits (I just pinched them)
2. 2 eggs
3. 2 tbsp milk
4. 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
5. 1 cup white sugar
6. 125g butter
7. 1 1/2 cup (185g) self raising flour (or used 2 teaspoon baking powder with 1/2 teaspoon salt mixed with plain flour)
8. 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonat soda

1. Cinnamon powder (1 teaspoon)
2. Choc chip
3. Chopped nuts (I used almond)


1. Creamed butter and sugar in a small hot pot
2. Mixed flour with bicarbonat soda (both sieved beforehand). Mixed it also with cinnamon (optional)
3. Blend item 1-4 for 2 mins
4. Add creamed butter and sugar into blender
5. Pour mixed flour into blender, in phases. Add in chopped nuts (optional)
6. Blend until smooth and creamy before pouring the batter into cake mould
7. Topped with choc chip (optional). Or prepared icing (best paired with cream cheese or peanut butter icing)
7. Bake for 30mins in 180deg Celcius

You can refer to the original recipe here : Recipe 1 & Recipe 2

I have tweaked the ingredient based on my gut feeling (and which one is the simplest of course). Ignore the choc chip as I knew it would be haywire once the cake is in tne oven. I'm too lazy to prepare icing, besides I personally think with the choc chip/almond bits/cinnamon, my cake is way too heavy/fancy for an additional topping.

Not bad for a blender cake.

Lazy girl guide : Fluffy buttermilk pancake

Feeling nostalgic.

When I was a kid, I day dreamed alot. A LOT. I always imagined myself living the luxurious life (who doesn't?) with a butler to attend to my every need. Now I still imagined the same thing, especially living alone everything I have to buy or prepared it for myself. I miss you mama!

To be honest, I'm not a morning person. Eventhough I love cooking, I can barely remember when was the last time I'm in the kitchen preparing something for brekkie. Since the waking up early part would not be a reality during working days, I took up the challenge to prepare myself breakfast during my off day (at 10am, nonetheless).

This is a no-fail recipe. First time whipping up my own pancake, was really happy with the result.

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancake

1. 3/4 cup of milk
2. 1 tbsp of white vinegar/ lemon
3. 1 cup all purpose flour (sieved)
4. 2 tbspwhite sugar
5. 1 teaspoon baking powder
6. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
8. 1 egg
9. 2tbsp butter, melted
10. Butter/cooking spray to grease pan

1. Choc chip (I opt for this)
2. Honey(I opt for this)
3. Whipped cream/ fresh fruits for serving

1. Preparing buttermilk: combine milk and vinegar/lemon, left for more than 10mins. Or you can buy buttermilk on its own (both is easy peasy, better diy)
2. Combine ingredient 3-7 in a small container
3. Whisk egg and butter into the soured milk/buttermilk
4. Pour flour into the wet mixture and whisk until lumps are gone
5. Pour batter into hot pan, cook until bubble appear on the surface. Flip the pancake and cook till browned on both side
6. Serve warm with honey

This recipe creates 3 humongous pancake. To adjust the ingredient you can refer to the original recipe here

I know you may be turn off by the look of it (was too hungry to be creative) but it taste exactly like the one they served at Nanny's Pancake, if not better. If you have time to get creative you can 'draw' a heart shape or cute bears on your pancake. Just don't end up with something like this: