Asian Dishes, 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, 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!

Salads and Vegetables, Snack

Borek or Spanakopita

Ok once I learn to make something new and easy, I get completely obsessed. My latest obsession is with this spinach and cheese in phyllo pastry. It’s simple to make and everyone likes it. Well, most anyone.

I’ve made so many versions of it so I’m just going to post my latest one, and in my opinion the best version simply because using fresh spinach is so much more delicious than the frozen ones I’ve been using.

The concept is simple. A cheese and spinach filling. A custard topping. And phyllo pastry as the base and cover.

For this picture, I’ve moved on to the second layer. Many do it with only one layer but I find if you have the extra ingredients, making two layers makes it thicker and more moorish. So first spread cooked spinach.

And then add cheese. I’ve been using feta all along but for this particular day, my supermarket ran out of feta. So I used dollops of ricotta cheese and sharp cheddar. Season with lots of sea salt and black pepper.

Then the custard. For this custard, I what three whole eggs with one tub (125ml) of Greek yogurt. Season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of milk and that’s it.

Cover the dough. And because I learn from experience, I watched how some people would cut the pastry into squares first before baking. It helps! If you don’t, yes, it will look prettier but the process of cutting crispy phyllo in front of guests is a huge mess!

And then voila! It’s all ready to be served.

For the cheesy part, feel free to experiment. My aunt uses mozzarella, and I think next time I’ll do these pastries in individual portions. With mozzarella and pine nuts!

Enjoy trying! It’s an easy dish to whip up for last minute entertaining. 🙂

Meat, Snack

Ramly…of Sorts Burger

For those living in this region, the Ramly burger is like the epitome of street food burgers. Beef patties are grilled and encased in a thin layer of omelette. The sauce…that’s their secret. Lots and lots of brown sauce, mayonnaise, chilli sauce…. the perfect night stack in Malaysia.

The burger Ramly is banned in Singapore, but there are many stalls during bazaars selling these burgers under the Ramly banner. They used other patties but because the original patties are banned, I guess the manner how these burgers are made allowed the Singaporean vendors to use the Ramly name.

At home, I decided to make my own version. Well, for this one that The May made them. I used expensive Angus beef patties instead of the cheap unhealthy frozen kinds because I wanted the kids to eat healthily. But we followed the Ramly style, with an omelette encasing the juicy patties. And for The Son, a slice of cheese on the beef patties before it got wrapped in the golden eggy blanket.

It was a hit for dinner that night. Will definitely make it again!

Salads and Vegetables, Sides, Snack

Maakouda (Moroccan Potato Patty)

I am convinced that food unites people because there are many similar foods that every culture seems to call their own. I am pretty sure the interaction between communities has resulted in an exchange of wonderful ideas, and then adaptation.

When I first came across this, the first thought that came to my mind immediately was ‘bergedil’! ‘Begedil’ or ‘perkedil’ is a Malay/Indonesian potato patty made by frying and mashing these fried potatoes and then forming patties with the addition of fried minced meat and fried onions, is a favourite in this part of the world. Interestingly, ‘bergedil’ was introduced by the Dutch when they colonised Indonesia. The Dutch has a version of this called ‘frikadeller’. And now, I’m learning that the Moroccans also have their potato version, sans any meat.

I think the Moroccan version is much healthier. Instead of frying the potatoes, they boil them and mash them fine with spices and egg. Patties are larger and flatter. And they serve these maakouda in between bread (or eaten on its own).

 

I did not take a picture of the finished product on a plate because once they were off the pan, very quick hands snatched them and they were gone in seconds!

My version of the maakouda recipe

  1. 5 boiled large Russet potatoes
  2. 1 tsp smoked paprika
  3. 2 tsp ground cumin
  4. 1 tsp garlic
  5. 1 tsp French sea salt (just because)
  6. 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
  7. 1 egg

Form into patties, and then before frying, dust with plain flour and dip in beaten egg. Fry till brown and crispy.

Enjoy!