Asian Dishes, Malay, Poultry

Lemak Ayam Chilli Padi (Chicken in Bird’s Eye Chilli Coconut Broth)

Chicken in Spicy Coconut Cream

I posted this many many years ago as one of the first few posts. This is Malay comfort food cooking because it has all the elements that we love – spicy, tangy and creamy.

I made this again recently because I had just bought these small bird’s eyes chillies that are actually quite hard to find here. These smaller versions are found easily in Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia, but the only kinds of bird’s eye chillies that we can find in supermarkets are the longish Thai ones.

These small ones pack a punch but the best part is you can eat them whole without realising as you put a spoonful of rice, chicken and gravy. 😅

Start by blending an onion, three cloves of garlic, a handful of bird’s eyes chilli and fresh turmeric till fine or semi-fine. For last night’s version, I chose Super fine.
Fry in oil till fragrant. Throw in two smashed lemongrass. Add water, and chicken pieces. Let it simmer till chicken is cooked.
Once chicken is cooked add a packet of coconut cream (200g) and aromatic leaves like kaffir lime leaves and turmeric leaves. Add assam pieces (tamarind fruit). Season with salt. And that is it.

The flavour is super hot, tangy (from the tamarind) and creamy (from the coconut). Eat with hot rice and a side of stir fried greens and you’re set to go. 😃

Asian Dishes, Malay, Poultry

Ayam Bul-Bul (Fried Chicken in Spicy Oil)

I posted this about ten years ago but without accompanying steps. This is my childhood favourite! And I’m going to make this the kids’ favourite too. It’s a dry chicken dish which is oh so fragrant! The only problem is I think my family is the only one who cooks this – as in my extended family. I scoured the net and save for one person who has the same name dish, it wasn’t exactly the same. So here goes!

Step 1: Deep fry wings that have been marinated in turmeric and salt. And yes, we love the wingtip here in Asia. I can never understand when overseas food programmes remove the tip. That’s like the best part! Crunchy!
Step 2: In a wok, gently fry finely diced onions, curry leaves and about two heaped teaspoons of fennel. If you have cumin seeds do half and half but I ran out of cumin seeds. Fry till onions are translucent and the whole oil mixture smells fragrant.
Step 3: Add cut dried chillies based on preference.
Step 4: Add the fried wings. Sprinkle some powdered chilli. I used smoked paprika here. Add a tablespoon or two (depends on how much wings you have in there) of brown sugar. Mix well.
Make sure to stir very well so that all the oily spice mixture is coated to the wings. Best eaten fresh and hot with rice or just on its own. We love to this so much, we always make a big batch so we could have it over and over throughout the day as a snack!
Ayam Bul-Bul
Asian Dishes, Malay, Rice

Bubur Lambok (Savoury Rice Porridge)

I don’t know the origins of this dish but once I came across an article that states this dish has been around for 200 years because apparently they found a recipe for it that dates that long ago.

Bubur lambok is a dish often served in Singapore and Malaysia, especially during the fasting month. I guess it’s the same concept as what the Pakistanis have – haleem, and well, other regions have their own porridge variants.

Since all mosques are closed here during our ‘lockdown’ (yes, it’s called a Circuit Breaker here because it’s not a complete shut down of the economy … I think. Whatever.) and we can’t visit people, even our family members who are not living in the same household, there’s no way to get my hands on this savoury porridge.

So, I have to learn how to make it myself. 😌

And I must say, the result was fantastic! Thanks to my trusty Philips pressure cooker, the porridge turned out beautiful!

Prep all the ingredients you need on the counter.
Sautéing then onions, garlic and ginger pasted with lemon grass. Later, frying all the spices till fragrant. I’ll list down the steps below.
Instead of carrots or corn, I added a cup of dhal.
After that The Boy ran away with my phone so I had no more pictures till the final outcome.
The bubur lambok in a serving platter.

Having a bowl of delicious warm bubur (porridge) as an appetiser before I attacked that plate of chicken wings there!

Ingredients

1. 2 large onions, 4 garlic cloves, 2 cm ginger blended till fine.

2. 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 5 cardamoms, 2 star anise

3. 300g of minced beef

4. 1/2 cup dhal

5. 2 cups rice (here, I used 1 cup Japanese white rice and 1 cup brown Thai rice. But any short to medium grain rice will do. DO NOT use long grain basmati like rice. It won’t work to make porridge)

6. 1/2 tbsp meat curry powder, 2 teaspoons cumin powder, 1 tbsp coriander powder, white and black ground pepper

7. Finely chopped cilantro and Chinese parsley (about one cup). 1 stalk of lemongrass, bruised.

8. 1/2 cup fried shallots (bawang goreng). I get the ready made ones that are easily available here.

9. Ghee or olive oil (I used ghee today) and water plus salt to taste

10. One packet of coconut cream (200g)

Pressure Cooker Method

1. Turn on the sauté Low function. When the pot is hot, add about two tablespoons of ghee.

2. Fry the blended onion, garlic, ginger paste still it’s nicely done (when you see it sort of separates itself and there’s oil) together with the bruised lemongrass, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick and star anise.

3. Add the dry spices: meat curry powder, cumin and coriander powder. Black pepper.

4. Add the minced beef and fry everything till it’s all nicely cooked, with the oil separating from the whole dish.

5. Add now the raw rice and dhal.

6. Add water till near the top of the pot. Stir. Add salt.

7. I covered the lid at this stage and let the whole thing cook on slow with high heat for 2 hours. When I opened the lid to check and stir, the rice has nicely plumped up but it’s still not porridge consistency yet.

8. Add one packet of coconut cream, stir well.

9. Add the fried shallots, stir well.

10. Add a bit more salt and then cover the lid and pressure cook under the ‘risotto’ setting for 14 min

11. When I opened the lid, and I stirred and stirred the mixture, it was a beautiful porridge consistency. Add now the chopped parsley and coriander and stir.

Asian Dishes, Malay, Snack

Epok-Epok

So I tried making epok-epok, or curry puffs again. This time I used another recipe and in smaller quantities I feel makes for a much better batch. Also, really, while being stuck at home, there’s only the five of us. And we get sick of eating the same foods so I try now to cook smaller portions.

The dough. I used 2 cups plain flour and 1 tsp of salt. Place them in a bowl. Then on the stove heat two heaped tablespoons of margarine. I used this cheap Planta brand which was a childhood staple back in the 80s before we began importing all the butter and margarine from Australia. Frankly, I didn’t like at all the smell of the melted vegetable margarine. Next time I’ll use real butter instead.

Anyway, into the bowl of flour goes the hot fat. Mix with a spoon till the liquid fat is thoroughly mixed. Add small amounts of water and mix to form a soft dough. By now you’ll need to use your hand. Knead till about smooth and then leave the dough to rest.

For the filling, the traditional way is to use potatoes. I had 5 potatoes cubed very small. Sautéed in oil blended garlic and onions. Add a tablespoon of meat curry powered mixes with water. Then add a tablespoon of ground cumin. Add the potatoes and cook till soft. Add water if the mixture becomes dry. I added also strips of meat that I had from the morning’s meat curry that we ate with roti prata (Indian fried bread). Make sure the mixture is not dry. Leave to cool.

Pinch small balls of dough, flatten and then roll out thin into a disc. Add the filling, fold and then fold in the edges.

Fry till golden brown in medium hot oil.

The dough as it is resting.
The filling as it is cooling.
The pastry after being filled, folded and trimmed. It’s not easy at first. But slowly we got the hang of it.
Fry in medium heat oil. Make sure the fire is not too hot.
It’s best served hot. Well, not too hot because you’ll burn your tongue. I was happy with the outcome, though appearance wise they don’t look pretty.
Asian Dishes, Malay, Meat

Rawon

When I first started this food blog ten years ago in 2010, it was to have a space to store all my recipes with pictures so my daughter and son could cook some of my favourite and eventually I’m hoping their favourite dishes too.

But work has always kept me from doing this up properly. Being a working mom is no joke. But the kids are now teens (or one of them is a tween) and I’m now officially under lockdown or over here it’s called a Circut Breaker (CB) (and for Westerners who can’t understand all the snickering and inside jokes whenever you see or hear CB uttered by us, go find out why 😂) I can finally cook more and record my recipes.

Today, I finally finally learned how to cook this classic Indonesian specialty that is much loved by Singapore Malays too. I don’t see this dish in Malaysia often. I wonder why. Maybe we Singaporeans are nearer to Indonesia? Anyway, I grew up eating this dish. And so did my husband’s family. Last weekend the mother in law cooked it and today, I saw my mom cook it.

Rawon is made using this poisonous black Nut called keluak. It is sold raw which the Peranakans cook whole in their dishes such as Ayam Buah Keluak (chicken in Keluak nut) it Babi Buah Keluak (pork in Keluak nut). The Malays/Javanese do not cook it whole.

Rawon is made from blending the processed safe to eat Keluak fruit with onions, ground dried chillies, garlic, and ginger. A thick paste is formed.

It is then sautéed and then beef brisket is boiled in the sautéed mixture. My mom used a pressure cooker for this. It’s fast and convenient.

The Keluak nut in a blender with onions. Later, we added the ground chilli paste, garlic and ginger slices.

Recipe (all approximations as with Malay/Asian cooking):

For the blended ingredients:

  • 2-3 medium sized 🧅
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 huge tablespoons of blended dried chillies (they sell ready made ones here but you can blend them yourself. Dried red chillies boiled full soft. Remove seeds. Blend till fine)
  • About an inch of fresh ginger
  • A packet of food ready made buah Keluak (this I am very sure you cannot get outside our region. For sure. But it’s something new to learn if you’ve never heard of it before!)

Method

  • Fry the blended ingredients in oil till fragrant and some oil separates from the mixtyre
  • Add 2 pieces of crushed lemon grass and 3 slices of galangal
  • Add the cubes beef brisket
  • if using the pressure cooker, then cover and pressure cook for 30 min
  • If not, add water to the beef and sautéed blended ingredients and boil till meat is tender
  • Once meat is tender, season with salt
  • Add two pieces of Assam gelugur (tamarind pieces) and one tablespoon of tamarind paste
  • Add fresh kaffir lime leaves and Bay leaves
  • If you’re using pressure cooker, there’ll be plenty of liquid. See if it’s sufficient for your liking.
  • Season again with salt
  • Some people add slices of Long beans and tomato wedges (like my mom). My MIL does not.
  • Add more water if you like more gravy and a thinner consistency

How to serve

Rawon here is served with other important accompaniments. They include:

  • Bergedil (fried potato patties)
  • Paru (marinated fried beef lungs)
  • Tempeh (fried tempeh)
  • Sambal belacan (fermented fish paste chilli)
  • Tahu (fried tofu)

Here is a plate of Rawon from when I visited my MIL. Her version and my mom’s are not far off at all. Both are tasty and delicious!

This is my plate from Mom’s version. I like it with loads of gravy. There’s the fried beef lung on the TOP left, the bergedil (potato patty) and tempeh. And a dolly of sambal belacan (fermented shrimp chilli ‘sauce’)

I’m keeping this recipe here so I can make it myself in future. The important thing is to buy the Keluak from a reliable seller who knows how to process this fruit well so it’s not that bitter but must importantly not poisonous!