The Occasional Cook

~Pottering about in my Pink Kitchen

Nasi Lemak Rice — December 13, 2019

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. πŸ˜…


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!

Gimbap — October 19, 2019


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!

Nasi Goreng Kampong Hijau: Green Fried Rice — September 23, 2018

Nasi Goreng Kampong Hijau: Green Fried Rice

Nasi goreng kampong hijau or village green fried rice in its literal translation, is a typical Malay home cooked dish when you’re just too lazy to cook white rice with all its accompaniments. You know Malay cooking is tedious. You have the rice but you need a protein gravy dish. And if that’s not enough, it needs to be accompanied with a vegetable dish and sambals. So when tired or lazy, this one dish fried rice is a fixture once a week 😌

I love eating the green chilli version. It’s more fragrant.

In a chopper or blender, blend not too finely green chillies, some green chilli padi (for fiery heat), 3-4 garlic, onions (1 large) and a handful of ikan bilis or dried anchovies and a tablespoon of ground belacan (fermented shrimp ubiquitous is SEA cuisine).

Once the paste is done, the rest is easy. Fry paste in oil over medium heat till cooked and then add an egg in and rice. Mix well.

I use basmati rice hence the longer grains. And to serve, vegetables fried with beef and omelette. It’s usually served with keropok, or fish crackers but now is not the time for frying because of our busy work schedules.

Japanese and Salmon Furikake Rice Balls — July 25, 2018

Japanese and Salmon Furikake Rice Balls

I’ve been forced to cook now for my meals at work.

So last night I made a simple dish I learnt from my friend.

Cook Japanese rice. And then fry breaded salmon. The air fryer works perfectly! I used Louisiana Fish Fry crumbs (no need to add water) to my salmon pieces and then air fry till golden and cooked.

Then mix fish and rice together. Add furikake (one satchet) and one teaspoon of Japanese mayonnaise. Add salt to taste.

Shape into balls, but for me, I used the plastic star mold bought from Daiso years ago when the kids were little.

At work today, I ate it with the salmon spread which I should have mixed un with the rice. Next time, I will do this once I’ve purchased this delicious spread!

Ketupat and Rendang and more… — June 18, 2018

Ketupat and Rendang and more…

It’s Eid or what we call Hari Raya in this part of the world. And though none of my family members celebrate by making and eating ketupat or rice cakes, we always welcome them if anyone would pass them to us.

And someone did to me! A good Malay friend passed some of the ketupats her family makes together with all the trimmings.

Ketupat is usually served with beef rendang, sambal tumis sotong, sambal goreng or sambal godok. All these are traditional dishes that go so well together with the rice cake but also served a lot on a daily basis too! So I never understood why the longing for these dishes especially on Hari Raya!

Ketupat is made by making the casing first. My late father used to be able to weave them. The casings are made from coconut leaves. After the casing is made, rice is poured halfway into the casing and then boiled for hours and then hung to dry.

My goal is to share because I don’t really know how to weave the casings but there are many videos on YouTube by real Malays to show how it’s done.

Below are pictures of the wonderful food my friend passed to us the night before Hari Raya. Enjoy watching and maybe googling more about how the Malays celebrate Eid! ☺️

Saffronish Rice — November 29, 2017

Saffronish Rice

I realise you can make any flavoured rice if you have …flavours at hand. No measurements needed. I’ve turned into my mother!

So yesterday I made rice flavoured with onions, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, chicken stock and saffron. The result was great. I stirred in some good quality long raisins and served the rice with baked zaatar chicken. And voila! There were no leftovers! πŸ˜‚

Kabsah…sorta… — July 9, 2017


Today I made arabic rice. If the lemon rice was a tad salty, this rice was a tad bland. Man, how I loathe salting. It’s so hard to get it right!

And if yesterday I used Chef Wan’s recipe, today I used Chef Ammar’s spice mix. The mix is really fragrant!

I had a rack of lamb that had to be cleaned off and hence the little bits of meat were added to the rice mix for that added flavour. 

The only thing that would make this dish from normal to stellar would benif I ahd smoked the rice. I will need to buy instant charcoal pieces for this method. 

Overall, I think I did fairly OK with this dish. Will make it again, smoked next time. πŸ‘©πŸ½β€πŸ³

Lemon Rice and Friends —

Lemon Rice and Friends

On Saturday I invited famuly over and made some form of lemon rice…but not quite.

I wanted to follow Chef Wan’s recipe but as usual, didn’t follow to the T. So, no, I didn’t add any lemon juice nor mint but I added the zest of a lemon and saffron. The colour was perfectly golden, but alas, I was slightly enthusiastic in shaking the salt bottle and hence the rice was slightly salty.

The other sides I made was my rosemary garlic wings, capsicum in olive oil and The Girl made her tzatziki sauce. 

OK so the pictures came out backwards but if you’re a cook, no matter how occasional it is, you’d know that the last picture above comes first. πŸ˜‚

I’ll definitely make the rice again, if I have the chance with guests. The brilliance of the yellow and the all the little trimmings make this party perfect. Give it a go! And add the saffron! ☺️

Smoking rice — January 4, 2014

Smoking rice

Making any flavoured Arabic or Indian style rice, I discovered a few years ago that smoking them will give them an even more intense flavour and really bring life to it. I’ve tried one day cooking two batches of rice- the first smoked. The first batch received so many praises from my guests but when they were all gone, I had to serve the second batch. There was a marked difference. The taste of the rice mind you is the same. Same recipe same rice. But somehow when you smoke the rice…

Let me show you how to smoke the rice. It’s very simple. In a small bowl line it with aluminium foil. Heat a piece of charcoal till its flaming red. Place it in your aluminium bowl. Then, pour a small amount of ghee or butter on the coal and you will immediately see a big billow of smoke. Using thongs carefully place the bowl in your rice cooker. Cover the steam holes of your rice cooker so that the smoke do not escape. Leave for ten minutes and then remove. The rice will taste sensational. This only works for any Arabic or Indian type of rice; I strongly do not recommend Chinese rice like chicken rice for this πŸ™‚








Inarizushi — April 8, 2012


Still going strong on a Jap theme here, I made inarizushi this afternoon. It’s pretty simple to make. The way I was taught by a relative who lives in Japan is to use konbu water, Japanese soy sauce and a teaspoon of sugar added last. The mixture must be thick and syrupy and the longer you boil the tofus in, the nice it’ll be.

My version was boil water, add light and dark soy sauce, and a bit of Indonesian kicap manis, and then boil it till the mixture is evaporated. Squeeze to get rid of the excess sauce once the tofus are done. But before that, make sure you boil the tofus to ‘de-oil’ them, if that makes sense.