Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BloggerAid - Bloggers Uniting To Aid In The Alleviation of Hunger!

I'd been busy lately with my family and with the on going Chinese New Year celebration (which lasts for 15 days... yep, you read it right!) I'd been trying to find the right time to write about this wonderful BloggerAid which I'm one of the proud members.

So, what's this BloggerAid? It's a group of International Food Bloggers from different backgrounds who came together for the love of food (and eating too, of course :-P ) to raise funds to help the less fortunates in our societies today. With this main objective in mind, this unique community of food lovers determined to reach out as far as possible to create awareness locally and abroad to alleviate World Famine. Please click on the BloggerAid widget for more information and how you can help.

You may be wondering what's this got to do with me? I was exposed to Food Charity at early ages and even involved in small events like 'Canteen Day' (for Malaysians out there, you may recalled this yearly school events) in my local school. My most memorable food sold was my mom's Sambal Ikan Bilis for Nasi Lemak. If we had more of the Sambal Ikan Bilis, we could have more sales after the Nasi Lemak finished. I felt so happy when my stall was among the 1st to clean up and all food was wipe out! It really made my friends and I felt prouder when the amount collected was announced. It's quite an achievement for us to collect couple hundreds of dollars in 45 minutes! :-D When I'm not involve in such fund raising events, I bought tickets or coupons to participate in the event. See the link between BloggerAid and Me? :-P The love of food and cooking paved ways for me to help the less fortunates. We can use what we love to do, to hand out or raise funds to help the needy in our own communities. It may look small or meaningless effort but when we unite as one large team, it does make a difference!
In the aid of World Famine, BloggerAid took a step further to unveil an ambitious and wonderful BloggerAid Cookbook project! We need your contribution to this project. Yes... you can submit your original recipes even though you're not a member! For more information, please read further in BloggerAid on how to participate in this event. Of course, we would love to have you joining in our community! For this event, I'm going to let you in a sneak preview of my participation in this fabulous cookbook which is scheduled to be on sale on 2009 holiday season! One more thing, this dish is so easy to make and appeals to people of all ages. Even your vegetarian friends will find it difficult to refuse! To learn more about this recipe, you must get the cookbook! Together, we can make a difference!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chicken In Coriander Curry

I got a big bunch of fresh coriander leaves in the fridge that I don't know what to do from last cooking episode :-D Have you noticed that Coriander Leaves are sensitive plant? Seems that it doesn't like moisture when you keep it in fridge even in the vegetable compartment. In other words you can't wash it until you need it but how can you stand looking at the soil-stucked roots which going to make a mess at the bottom of the compartment. Yes, this bunch was bought at the fresh market unlike from the supermarket, cleaned and packed nicely. Mine was wrapped in a large outdated Chinese newspaper. My mom always told me that coriander, bean sprouts and probably other vegetables keep longer if you wrap them up in newspaper. I bet it's the ink that preserves these 'sensitive' vegetables :-)

This recipe I wanted to share is quite unique because even though there's some chilli powder used, it doesn't taste hot at all but the main ingredient I wanted to point out is the use of Evaporated Milk to cook this curry which has the marriage of Malay and Indian influences. So, a less fat curry, yet you still have that special creamy taste of coconut milk! Of course, if you want the coconut milk, no problem. Just replace the Evaporated Milk in the recipe for fresh (the best!), canned or powdered coconut milk (follow the manufacturer's instruction to dilute the powder before adding to the cooking.) At least, all my coriander stalks were used! More fresh ones soon after CNY! Oh yes... I take this opportunity to wish all World Foodies who celebrate Chinese New Year with great prosperity and wealth. Most importantly, I wished you great health and best wishes for the Year of Ox. Here's a link on how Malaysia-Chinese celebrated Chinese New Year with their friends and families... the Malaysian way. While you're at the site, look out for the video recipes and for those interested in Feng Shui, there are some forecasts by Feng Shui experts as well. Keong Hee Huat Chye... Selamat Tahun Baru Cina!
Chicken In Coriander Curry

600 g Chicken Meat

Ingredients to blend:
3 nos Shallots
2 cloves Garlic
30 g Galangal
20 g Palm Sugar
1 tsp Belacan

2 stalks Coriander leaves ~ roughly chopped (approx. 20 g - 40 g)
2 nos Red Chillies ~ cut into halves
2 nos Geen Chillies ~ cut into halves

1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp White Pepper
1 tsp Chilli Powder
3 pcs Kaffir Lime leaves
250 ml Evaporated Milk
A little bit of Tumeric Powder
Salt and sugar to taste
Oil for frying

1. Heat a little bit of oil in a wok or deep pot and add in the blended spices.
2.Add in the cumin, White pepper powder, cili, tumeric and kaffir lime leaves. Fry until fragrant.
3. Add in the chicken and stir until chicken meat are well coated with the spice mixture. Add a bit of water. Let it simmer until chicken meat are tender.
4. When chicken is cooked , add in the evaporated milk, chilli halves and chopped coriander leaves. Add in some salt and sugar to taste.
5. Remove from heat and serve.

Note: This dish is best overnight after the meat absorbed all the fragrant spices. You can eat with Naan, Rice, Bread, Noodles, Pita or even roll some meat and gravy in your favourite Tortillas!


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Soojunggwa (Dried Persimmons In Cinnamon & Ginger Tea)

A dessert that not only easy to cook but tastes delicious in cold winter but also a digestif, breath freshener and air-freshener??? Are you game enough??? Read on... :-P

I love persimmons but living in a tropical country, such delicious fruit is mostly imported with a quite a hefty sum to pay. Nevertheless, my solution to enjoy persimmons through out the year was in dried fruit which is far cheaper than fresh. Of course, if I chance upon promotional offer, you don't have to make me think twice! For those who are lucky to have persimmon trees and don't know what to do with them besides cooking or baking, here's a link on how to preserve or dried the lovely fruit. You can even oven-dried them if you don't have the facilities to do so.

First time I tasted this sweet Soojunggwa was in a Korean Restaurant. We arrived there quite late and other restaurants in the same block was either full or the menu wasn't interesting. We stumbled this Korean Restaurant because of the unique entrance door which looked like a traditional Korean gate or door in village. We peeked through the window and saw that there was no customers inside except a Korean lady behind the counter. Since we're willing to try something new and starving, we went inside to check with her if the kitchen was still opened. We're glad they were and were informed that most of their patrons came after the usual office hours or later. Indeed after half way through our dinner, a group of Korean men came in and the place was quite noisy with their chatters (I thought women supposed to be the most chatterbox) :-D

Now, Korean cuisine is very interesting and I was surprised the way they serve their food. I ordered Samgye Tang (stuffed young chicken with glutinous rice cooked in ginseng soup), Kimchi and Bori Cha. When my dish arrived, it was accompanied by several smaller dishes like radish pickles, soya bean sprouts and others which I never tasted before. There were 6 little bowls of this side dishes. The best part was... if I want extra of those side dishes, no problem with no extra costs :-D Well, I did asked for 2nd helping of the pickled Radish :-P At the end of our meals, this sweet Persimmon Tea was served as a digestif which also like mouth freshener with the addition of cinnamon and ginger. It's actual very good for cold Winter. Kind of warms up your body :-) At the restaurant it was served cold but I like it hot during winter... and you know what? Each time I cooked Soojunggwa, my whole home smelled so fragrant! Let's start cooking!
Persimmons In Cinnamon & Ginger Tea [Soojunggwa]
Serves 2-4

3 pcs Dried Persimmons
1 pc Cinnamon stick/bark~about 6 cm-8 cm long
5 g Fresh Ginger~ slice into several pieces
750 ml Water
30 g Raw Cane Sugar
Some pine nuts or more if you like.

1. In a pot, boil the water, cane sugar, cinnamon stick and ginger for 3-5 minutes. You will smell the combination of ginger and cinnamon filled up your kitchen... and whole house too!
2. Add the dried persimmons and let it boil for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it steep for 1-2 hours.
3. Remove the persimmons and sliced into several pieces. Set aside.
4. In individual serving bowls, add few pieces of the sliced persimmon and top it up with the sweet liquid. Garnish with pine nuts.

This tea can be serve Cold during hot summer months or Hot in the winter. For cold Persimmon Tea, after the liquid cools down, remove the persimmons and strain liquid into a jug. Put into the fridge for 2-3 days and before serving, add few sliced persimmons into chilled bowls. Garnish with pine nuts. You can omit the persimmons if you want but tell me who doesn't like to eat it! :-D

Note: Dried persimmons has a thin layer of whitish coating when you buy from Asian stores. It's actually natural fructose from the fruit itself when dried. If you like you can give a quick wash before cooking. You can also use Rock Sugar or usual White granulated sugar, which ever you have as sweetener. Don't forget to adjust the sweetness. If you like sweeter, add extra sugar or add more water if it's too sweet. The quantity in this recipe is just nice for me. I always start with less sugar and slowly add in more to taste.



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