Sambal Kangkong

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Do you know that there's a connection between kangkong and the God of Fortune, aka 财神爷?

I'm guessing you don't, so here's the story:

3,000 years ago, China was ruled by an emperor who knew diddly squat about everything. As with all useless emperors, he had a wicked concubine, and his was called 妲己.

One day, 妲己 pretended to be ill and said she needed to eat 比干's heart to be cured. 比干 was the good guy who was trying to set the useless emperor on the right path, so the concubine – actually a 'fox spirit' in human form – wanted to get rid of him.

Marmite Ribs

Friday, 20 May 2011


I'd intended to buy a jar of Marmite to make Marmite Pork Ribs only after I finished some of the sauces and whatnots (which were threatening to spill out of the kitchen into the living room). But my self-discipline crumbled when I saw what a great sense of humour the makers of Marmite have, as the commercial shows.

Love it or hate it? I'd never had Marmite before, and I couldn't wait to find out. dldl dldld dldl ldl dldld

Baked Cod

Monday, 16 May 2011

In 1950, New York Times science editor Waldemar Kaempffert wrote an article about what miracles the world might see in 2000. At a time when modems hadn't been invented yet, he predicted that access to The New York Times would be possible 'in your home, in the streets, in the trains and cars that carry you to your work, in the bargain basement of every department store'. Video phone calls, TV via phone lines, and faxes that cost next to nothing were also predicted. As was hair removal cream, though it wasn't foreseen that said cream would become a taboo for men: they'd rather die before they let anyone know they use it!

Ayam Panggang (Grilled Chicken)

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The hallmark of a good roast chicken is crispy skin, right? Nah, not necessarily. Crispy skin requires hours of air-drying and I can't be bothered most of the time. It's good enough for me if the skin is nicely browned so that there's a 'roasty' aroma.

What? That's good but not very sexy? Ok, let's sex it up a bit.

Lather the tanned chook with lots of sambal that's full of spices and enriched with coconut milk, then stick it back in the oven. As the spicy paste bubbles away merrily in the heat, it caramelizes and forms a crust, transforming the ordinary roast chicken into – tadaa! – Ayam Panggang. How's that?

Black Pepper Crab

Sunday, 17 April 2011



Rule number one of crab handling: Make sure it's dead before cutting the string! Ask the crab politely, whilst tapping its legs with a knife or chopstick, 'Hello? Hello? Are you dead?' If it nods its head or says, 'Yes, I'm dead,' beware of the crafty crab! If there's no response and the legs aren't moving, then and only then should the string be cut. I never forget the rule so no, I wasn't bitten. I was just kidding!

Sambal Stingray (I)

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


I was in a restaurant somewhere in India. When the waiter came to set my place, a diner sitting nearby said something to him. It was all gibberish to me but I could tell that the tone wasn't too friendly. Next, the waiter trotted off with the banana leaf he had just laid on the table. And then he came trotting back with a stainless steel plate.

What the . . . ? Oi! Gimme back my banana leaf!

Herbal Mutton Soup

Thursday, 7 April 2011

My mother cooked just about everyday, and not once did she cook mutton, lamb or goat anything – not once. Hence, my knowledge of cooking anything that goes 'Meh-eh-heh!' or 'Baa-aaa!' is pretty paltry. I learn on the job which is, if you ask me, a fun way of learning.

I cooked some lamb chops once. Said chops were marinated with pineapple juice, fresh rosemary and salt, then pan-fried till medium-rare. The chops were delicious but I had a small problem. You know how lamb chops have bones that are curved? I couldn't brown the curved part which had no contact with the pan. Lamb chops served in restaurants are completely seared though, as far as I can remember. How do they do it? Grilling or roasting wouldn't work because the meat would be overcooked by the time the bit which curves inward is brown. The only way I can think of is with a blow torch! Or maybe frying with lots of oil, like almost deep-frying?