Salmon Nasi Lemak

1 Sep final-dish-500

As I was sitting down to start a list of fusion places, I could not think of a place that I would mention and I decided to create something of my own. I recalled my mum’s tip on adding coconut oil into rice to make coconut rice! I was inspired to make Ikan Bakar (spicy grilled fish, popular in Malaysia and Singapore) with salmon. That’s how Salmon Nasi Lemak was born.

I first made this out of convenience and only added coconut oil into rice. The cooked rice smelled alot like the coconut rice from nasi lemak, with the coconut fragrance infused in the rice it tasted like a milder version of the nasi. I realised there is potential in creating a healthier nasi lemak by eliminating the coconut milk (saturated fat!) from the rice. I tweaked the rice on the second attempt and added pandan leaves, ginger and garlic to oomph up the rice. So, I guess I can call it low fat nasi lemak afterall

 

I have also simplified the dish further by using store bought chili. As Nigella Lawson has once said, there is no shame in using store bought if you are rushed for time.

This dish is so easy to prepare and it looks like is bought from “that famous nasi lemak place” when put together. Let’s now channel your inner Malaysian and have fun preparing the dish.

The Rice (nasi)

  1. Tie up 5 pandan leaves
  2. Slice about 5 cm thick of ginger
  3. Unpeel 4 garlic cloves
  4. Wash 2 cups of rice
  5. Add pandan leaves, ginger, garlic cloves and 5 tablespoons of coconut oil into rice
  6. Cook rice

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The peanuts and anchovies (kacang and ikan bilis)

  1. Dry roast peanuts, until it turned slightly brown and the skin starts peeling off. Put peanuts aside.
  2. Add oil into pan
  3. When oil is hot, add ikan bilis (anchovies) and fry until is crispy.
  4. Add sambal chili into anchovies and stir fry it for a minute, until the ikan bilis is evenly coated. Putikan bilis aside.

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The long beans

  1. Chop up the long beans to shorter strips
  2. Heat up 2 tablespoon of oil
  3. Add long beans into oil and stir fry
  4. Add half a glass of water and close the lid of the pan for about 5 minutes or when the long beans soften
  5. Open lid and put the long beans aside

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Salmon – the hero

  1. Rub tamarind and chili paste all over salmon
  2. Wrap salmon with aluminium foil tightly. (The aluminum foil keeps the moisture in)
  3. Place in a baking tray
  4. Bake at 200 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the salmon turns pink (salmon cooks quicker than chicken)

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Then assemble the ingredients together on a plate! Ta-da!

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Options

  1. Deep fried ikan billis without chili sambal or for healthier option, simply boil the long beans
  2. Instead of using sambal chili, be adventurous and try a different curry paste. There are ones that are made for fish curry, those would be interesting to try. There are also paste made specially for ikan bakar (barbecue fish)

Books about Food (not recipes books)

22 Mar

Recently, I’m in a reading craze. Since moving to Singapore, I am now working from home. It sounds really silly but I am afraid oflosing touch with the outside world. This is almost impossible when I have high speed internet at home and random facebook postings informing me the state of the world with the likes of Donald Drumpf (hehe), what horrible things you will catch if you have the packet of instant noodles made from a third world country etc

So anyway, I decided, yes – let’s start reading. I want to continue to grow and I want to feel inspired! Yes – I will get war and peace, only to realise… is over 1000 pages. Ok, maybe something… lighter. Over the weekend, I watched Anthony Bourdain latest series “The Layover”. He went to a bookshop in New York specialising on books about food. He shared a few of his favourite books and he has inspired me to compile my own list of books about food (that are not recipes!). So here goes…

I would start my gastronomy journey braving my way through the noise, stink and dirt of Les Halles in the late 1800s  with The Belly of Paris,  to experience the hustle and bustle and to view the amazing array of fresh produce from the french countryside.

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I would then begin my literary feast with Salt: A history of the world before sinking my teeth into Food in history.

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After all the savoury readings, I would quench my thirst with The Brewer’s tale: A history of the world according to Beer and slowly work my way through Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World’s Most Ancient Pleasures.

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I am curious what the world most expensive wine is like and I will find out in  The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine, then go light again with Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass.

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It’s time for me to sober up with Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World and finish up with a fun read of The Devil’s Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee.

 

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I think I’m full for now. .

 

My top 3 highlights for 2015

1 Jan

I have neglected writing for over a year because 2015 was a whirlwind of adventures for me. I didn’t spend as much time experimenting in the kitchen but is not all that bad. I took a backseat on the practical part and got tasted real food during my travels, exposing my palette to different flavours and ingredients.

The top 3 adventures in 2015 that will influence what I’m cooking and how I will cook for 2016 are:

  1. I got married in India (and then Melbourne). I saw Taj Mahal and ate real Indian food – chaats and home cooked Indian meals with farm fresh ingredients.

I’m really, really married. I had 2 beautiful weddings! (How much more married can you be?) I became part of an Indian family and I welcome this new addition to my identity . I’m finding the most practical way of incorporating this new part of my life, is to learn Indian cooking!

The past few times when I tried making Indian meals all by myself, I feel really accomplished when I saw Mr T’s satisfying grin on his face. I think I’m doing it right and I’m gradually getting used to the spices and remembering their taste.

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Wedding photography by Jon Low

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2. I had my honeymoon in Italy and we literally ate our way through

We had our long overdue honeymoon at September, just before we moved from our beloved Melbourne to Singapore. The trip was 3.5 weeks and we enjoyed Italy thoroughly. We love the architecture, the history, the art and the food. We love the food. We ate alot and we are extremely picky on where we ate. Even when we were exhausted, we will go the extra mile (literally) to find a place where they serve real/good food. We stayed away from tourist traps.

We had pizza at the oldest pizzeria in Naples, the best artisan gelato in Florence (I had them everyday), squid ink risotto in Venice, a wonderful Tuscan lunch at Chianti (of course, with a nice glass of Chanti Classico!), Bolognese in Bologna, another nice gelato in Milan (we were only in Milan for 1 day) We discovered a local coffee place in Rome, where we would visit every morning  (we name the barista Mario) and drank our coffee the italian way – standing up and zipped in and out of the place in 15 mins. There was no long, pretentious queue for good coffee like those in Melbourne. We ended the trip with a quiet, relaxing time at Lake Como, where I fell asleep after a glass of gin and tonic at the porch. Boy… do I miss Italy now.

I tasted real Italian cooking – not hard crust pizza, not soft pasta, real Italian tomatoes (there seems to taste more harmoniously in a dish than tomatoes elsewhere. Perhaps is the skilful used of it…) When in doubt, always go with the Basil + Tomato + buffalo mozzarella combo. I love the creamy, fresh Burrata I had in Tuscany and I would use that in place of mozzarella if I could get my hands on them.

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3. I move to Singapore, next to Johor Bahru, where I grew up.

Oh boy… my childhood favourite hawker food. hello! My tastebuds never mature, it simply remained 16 years old. The fancy food chains and the gimmicky taiwanese/japanese/korean snacks does not appeal to me. Anytime, I’m up for my traditional Malaysian kuehs.

This move also changed what I can make in the kitchen. The ingredients i’m used to are a premium here. On the other hand, the ingredients available in the supermarket are ingredients my mum would use, the yummy kueh people would use, which means is time to learn how to make food I like to eat as a child.

In 2016, I’m getting back to the kitchen. I would like to experiment with more spices in 2016,  try some kueh recipes, learn cooking from mum and start sharing my kitchen experiments again on the blog!

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