Rice, Seafood

Prawn Paella

There’s a new store in town that’s easily becoming a favourite. Australian wholesome food brand – Scoop – just landed on our shores and their latest outlet happens to be near enough for me to hop down easily. So last week after work I took a short outing and got several things there, including paella rice. The next day, I made prawn paella.

I adapted from a recipe I got from here so if you want the original, click below:

https://www.google.com.sg/amp/s/www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/fish-and-seafood/quick-prawn-paella/amp/

For me, the first thing which I did was to marinade huge prawns that I got from the supermarket with sea salt and garlic powder. Then using good butter, I fried the prawns till done. The result was very good because the aroma from the butter will seep into the prawns. Delicious sweet buttery garlicky prawns! Set aside after frying them.

For the rice, I followed the recipe in the site but omitted the onions. I used 2 cups of rice and 500ml of organic vegetable stock. The rice, however, you need to keep a good look out for it. If the water dries out faster than the rice is cooked, then add more water. Season with salt when you add more water.

Sauté garlic and capsicum. I omitted onions but please add them.
Add the paella rice.
Add a big pinch of saffron threads and one teaspoon of smoked paprika.
Add salt and two teaspoons of salt. Lower heat and simmer till rice is done.
When rice is almost done, add frozen peas and cover.
Make sure to taste the rice for doneness.
Arrange cooked prawns on bed of rice and sprinkle coriander/cilantro leaves.
I served with a side of baked chicken wings.

And there you have it! The recipe works but you’ve also got to use your common sense and adapt as you cook. One thing the website did not state is that you’ve got to have that crispy bottom rice which you have to get by turning up the heat after it’s done and ensuring the bottom of the rice is crispy and toasty, not burnt. I just regularly checked the bottom and patted the mixture down as I’m heating it up. The toasty bottom bit makes it all worthwhile! End off with a round of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Delicioso!

Asian Dishes, 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, Poultry, Rice

Saffron Rice with Za’atar Chicken

Today’s simple dinner was inspired by sheer inertia. After staying home for several days cooking daily, I decided to create something simple yet delicious.

Saffron rice is really simple to make. This time round I used butter from an Indian store here. The butter is imported from India and it’s got a very strong flavour. Not good on bread or western type of cooking but for this rice, because it reminded me of ghee, I thought it made the rice more flavourful.

This is the brand of butter. I’ll never buy this again when this butter runs out because it’s just too strong for my daily use.

Add about 50g of butter together with a few swirls of olive oil into a saucepan. Add half a white onion finely chopped and a stick of cinnamon. Over low fire, cook the onions till very soft and translucent.
In a separate small bowl, add a pinch of saffron to some milk. In the saucepan with the softened onions now, add about 500 ml
of chicken stock (I used boxed ones) and two teaspoons of salt. Add the saffron milk mixture and stir well. Pour the liquid into two cups of washed basmati rice that have been sitting in a rice cooker. Close the rice cooker lid and press the ‘cook’ button. We Asians cannot live without a rice cooker! Hassle free staple every day!

For the za’atar chicken, marinade a small whole chicken with two tablespoons of za’atar spice blend, one whole lemon juice, salt and olive oil. Before roasting in the oven, marinade the chicken for a few hours.

And voila! The rice turned out perfect! It was flavourful and the chicken was tasty and juicy and crispy all at the same time.
I served this with a side of mesclun greens and a bowl of coriander, tomato, green chilli and lemon juice chutney made from scratch. Just blend one fresh tomato (roast them over a flame or in a pan first), two green chillies (depending on how hot you like), a bunch of coriander and one whole lemon juice. Season with some salt.

Asian Dishes, Rice

Nasi Lemak Rice

Nasi lemak, or coconut rice, is extremely popular here. In my home, it’s incomplete if it’s not served with fried kangkong, a type of green popular in Southeast Asia.

This is how you can make the rice easily in a rice cooker. If ever I have to move to the west for Long periods of time, the most important cooking appliance will definitely be a rice cooker. This is followed with a blender or chopper. 😅

Recipe:

1. 3 cups of jasmine or Long grained basmati rice. My family only eats basmati rice so I’ve used it here

2. One packet of coconut cream. About 200 ml.

3. About 3 cups of water. I use the traditional Asian method of measuring water for rice. It should not rise above the middle line of your middle finger from the surface of the rice grains in the pot

4. 1.5 tsp of fine salt.

5. 6-7 pandan leaves

6. 3-4 pieces of ginger slices

And then turn on the rice cooker. Before you know it, voila! Fragrant coconut rice!

Asian Dishes, Meat, Rice, Snack

Gimbap

Today’s light lunch of Korean gimbap. Easy to make and easy to eat!

First, prepare short grain Japanese rice. Pickled daikon strips, carrot strips and fried beef slices that had been marinated with soy sauce.

Place seaweed onto a rolling bamboo mat with rice and all the other ingredients. Then roll tight.

Once rolled, brush with a light layer of sesame oil.

With a sharp knife, cut into slices and enjoy! This was really good on a hot weekend. I’ll be making this for work lunches soon!