Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Marble Cake

Alright it is another Marble Cake recipe!  You have probably come across so many by now especially if you are not a novice baker. 

The first time I tried out this recipe I made a big boo-boo.  I missed out on adding the baking powder and thought that the cake would turn out tasting really horrible.  Surprisingly it did not.  I even took it to the office and my colleagues liked it. 


The second time I baked this again, I made sure I read the ingredients properly and ticked each one off as I assembled everything together.  The recipe has a few more steps than most usual marble cakes but I have to say that it taste really good.  I actually prefer it the day after as the oil from the butter seems to make the cake more moist and flavourful. 



Marble Cake
Recipe Adapted from Here


8 large eggs, separated
200g castor sugar
340g unsalted butter
255g all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp orange zest


1) Preheat oven at 180C (165C for convection fan) with a wire rack in the middle. Line an 8-inch round cake tin with parchment, butter and flour. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

2) Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment till light and fluffy.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar till light. Gradually add this into the butter and beat on medium speed till just incorporated.

4) In a separate bowl, with a hand mixer, whisk the egg whites till stiff peaks form. With a spatula, fold in the meringue into the egg yolk mixture in 3-4 batches.

5) Add in the dry ingredients gradually until just incorporated. Divide the batter into two, 3/4 in one batch and the rest in another bowl. Add the orange zest into the larger batch.  Then sieve cocoa powder over the lesser batch and fold to mix well. 

6) Pour batter into tin, alternating between the two mixtures, starting with the yellow batter and ending with the cocoa mixture. Rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles.

7) With a long skewer, swirl around the batter to create the marble effect. Bake for 40-55 minutes or until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake come out clean.




Sunday, September 16, 2012

Assam Pedas Fish (Sour and Spicy Fish)

Assam Pedas Fish, or literally "Sour Spicy" Fish is a classic Malaysian dish. Ask any home cooks in Malaysia--Malay, Chinese, or Indian--and you are bound to get a number of different recipes for Assam Pedas. Everyone has their own interpretation for this favorite dish and there are endless adaptations; suffice it to say, it's sour, fiery hot, and tastes extraordinarily satisfying.

It is an extremely easy dish to prepare and can be ready in an hour.  I love having this dish with rice.  In fact the gravy taste even better the next day


Assam Pedas Fish (Sour and Spicy Fish)
Recipe Adapted from Rasa Malaysia


1 spanish mackarel, pomfret or any firm white fleshed fish (1/2 pound to 1 pound)
8 small okras (ladies fingers)
1 medium tomato (cut into wedges)
1 teaspoon of fish curry powder
1/4 teaspoon tumeric powder
2 sprigs of daun kesum (or you can use Vietnamese coriander)
4 tablespoons of cooking oil
1 tablespoon of white sugar (you may need more depending on taste)
Salt to taste

Spice Paste:

3 clove garlic
1 stalk of lemon grass (white part only)
4 shallots
1/2" fresh ginger, sliced
2 fresh red chillies, de-seeded
6 dried chillies (more if you like it spicy)
1/2 tablespoon of belacan (prawn paste)

For the Tamarind Juice:

1 1/4 cup of water
Tamarind pulp (size of a small lime)


1) Pound the spice paste with mortar and pestle or grind them in a food processor. Set aside.

2) Soak the tamarind pulp in warm water for 15 minutes. Squeeze the tamarind pulp constantly to extract the flavor intto the water. Drain the pulp and save the tamarind juice.

3) Heat oil and fry the spice paste for 2 minutes or until fragrant.

4) Add the tamarind juice, fish curry powder/turmeric powder and bring to boil.

5) Add the tomato wedges and okras and bring to boil.

6) Add the fish, salt, and palm sugar/sugar.

7) Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked. Serve hot with white rice.




Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies must surely be an all-time favourite for both kids and adults.  I call this the "American" version as it uses peanut butter.  The other version which I call the "Chinese" version uses roasted peanuts which have been grounded and this is usually made during the Chinese New Year.


The first best part about the "American" version is that there is no roasting/grinding involved.  The second is that you can have two different types of cookies by swopping smooth peanut butter with the chunky version (for more texture).  These cookies are slightly crisp on the outside and chewy in the center.  Exactly how I love my cookies to be.  Guess the kids will probably ask for a glass of milk to go with a cookie!



Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (113g)
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (I used smooth version)
1/2 cup caster sugar (sugar has been reduced)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips (Reese version)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For rolling:: 2 tablespoon sugar, regular or superfine


1)  Preheat oven to 180C.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

2)  In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture in two portions and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips.

3) Place the sugar for rolling in a separate plate.  Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of the dough into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving about 3" between each for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent across the dough ball with a pattern but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.  (I baked mine for 12 minutes).

4) Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.




Friday, September 7, 2012

Soya Sauce Chicken

I have been meaning to make this dish for a long time now.  My mum used to make a similar version of this with chicken and also with beef.  However her beef version uses a lot more pepper ..... black pepper to be precise! 

There is a eatery shop directly opposite Hong Lim Market which is well-known for their delicious soya sauce chicken.  I used to frequent this shop when I was working around the corner many years ago.  It's not a fancy eatery and the shop front seems to have "stood still" in time.  The soya sauce chicken dish is either accompanied with white rice or egg noodles.   I was hoping that this recipe would come close to what this shop serves and how I remembered the dish's flavours.  And I was not disappointed at all ... it is really, really close!  Definitely a keeper's recipe and a dish that will be enjoyed by the whole family.



Soya Sauce Chicken
Serves 4 -5
Recipe Adapted from Rasa


1 medium size chicken (about 1.2kg), cleaned and cut into half 3-inch ginger, skin removed, sliced into thick pieces and lightly bruised
6 cloves garlic, peeled, whole and lightly bruised
2 stalks spring onions, tied into a knot
4 star anise
1 cinnamon stick (about 2-inch length)
1 cup light soya sauce (I used Lee Kum Kee’s less salted version)
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon brandy or cognac
1 teaspoon white pepper
100g rock sugar (can be found in Asian grocery shop)
4 cups water


Ginger and Spring Onion Dip


1 tablespoon ginger, minced finely and pounded
1 stalk spring onion, thinly sliced into rounds
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil

Method for the Dip:

To prepare the ginger and scallion dip, place the ginger, salt and spring onion into a small bowl. Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan until it becomes really hot and starts to smoke. Pour the oil into the small bowl and stir until everything is combined. Be careful as the oil may splatter slightly when it touches the ginger mix.

Method for the Chicken:

1)   Add all ingredients (except the chicken) into a deep pot and bring it to a boil on high heat for 15 minutes. Add the chicken halfs into the pot and boil over high heat for about 10 minutes. Lower the heat to simmer for 30 minutes.

2) Then turn off the heat and let the chicken soak in the sauce until it has completely cooled. Chop the chicken up into bite size serving pieces. Place onto plate. Pour the sauce into a separate bowl to be served together with the dip. This dish is usually served at room temperature together with hot steaming bowl of rice.

Any left over sauce can be kept for other dishes such as soya sauce eggs. Add a few hard-boiled eggs into the sauce and let it sit overnight in the fridge. Alternatively you can use it as a marinade over deep fried beancurd.



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