Friday, November 30, 2012

Black Pepper Chicken with Bell Peppers

A very appetising dish which will have you reaching out for more rice. Make an accompaniment of clear vegetable soup to wash down the heat from the black pepper.
Black Pepper Chicken with Bell Peppers
Flower: Hibiscus rosa sinensis

Black Pepper Chicken with Bell Peppers

400 g chicken fillet - Cut into bite-size pieces
1 each of Red, Yellow, or Green Bell Peppers - dice
1 large onion - sliced into six segments
1 stalk spring onions - cut into 1-inch lengths
3 cloves garlic - mince
1 tbsp black pepper or more as desired
2 tblsp oil

1 tblsp light soy sauce
1 tblsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp corn flour
1 tbsp water
Salt to taste

1. Heat the oil and when smoking, add garlic and fry until aromatic and slightly brown. Note that at this stage, garlic can burn easily.
2. Add chicken and black pepper. Stir for 2 minutes under high heat until just cooked or when meat change from translucent to white.
3. Add bell peppers and fry for another 2 minutes.
4. Combine soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, cornflour with water in a small bowl. Pour mixture over the whole ensemble. Add salt to taste.
5. Add sliced onion, continue to stir fry until gravy thickens and become sticky.
5. Toss in spring onions, stir fry briskly and dish out.


If you wish for a more spicy version, simply just add more black pepper.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Char Koay Teow

Char Koay Teow is a dish of Fried Flat Rice Noodles with Prawns and Cockles. It is one of Malaysia's iconic dishes and is extremely popular with the locals.

Char Koay Teow


  • 80g koay teow (fresh flat rice noodles)
  • 2 tblsp cooking oil 
  • 5 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1/2 kg cockles
  • 12 prawns, shelled and de-veined but with tail left on
  • 20g chives - chopped into 1 inch lengths
  • 30g bean sprouts
  • 2 egg  per serving
  • 2tblsp chilli paste* 

  •  1 tblsp light soy sauce
  •  1 tblsp dark soy sauce (a sweet and thick soy sauce)
  •  1 tblsp fish sauce (nam pla)
  •  1 tblsp oyster sauce
  •  1 tsp toasted shrimp paste (belacan)
  • pepper and sugar to taste

    1. Prepare the noodles; place in colander and wash off excess oil, then drain off water. Allow to air-dry for a while.
    2. Wash and scrub cockles clean, then place in a deep bowl. Pour boiling water over it. Leave for 10 mins before scrapping the meat off with a teaspoon. Any excess grit can be removed in the process.
    3. Make the sauce in a bowl by combining light and dark soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, shrimp paste, sugar and pepper. 
    4. Heat wok, add a little oil. Add noodles and stir quickly. Push to one side of the wok.
    5. Fry chopped garlic until fragrant then add chilli paste and sauce.
    6. Add prawns and stir fry briskly.
    7. Push the noodles over it and combine.
    8. Stir-fry well under high heat. Make a  hole in the centre of the mixture and break the eggs into the wok. Scramble it well before adding the cockles.
    9. Toss in chives and bean sprouts. Give it a quick stir to combine.
    10. Dish out onto a plate and shake pepper over it.  

    Makes about 2-3 servings. Sliced fish cake, squids and sliced Chinese sausages can be added. If banana leaves are available, serve the noodles over it to enhance its flavour.

    Some Char Koay Teow connoisseurs like to add a squeeze of lime to this dish for added zest. The flower is Heliconia rostrata aka Hanging Lobster Claw.

    chilli paste* - Grind dry fresh chillies and garlic into a paste. Keep aside and use whenever required

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    Cauliflower-Leek-Potato Soup

    This hearty and flavourful soup is simply delicious.  A dash of chilli flakes help to perk it up. For enhanced flavour, top it off with a swirl of melted butter. Garnish with split chilli and finely sliced saw-edged coriander or parsley. Flower: Tecoma stans.

    Cauliflower-Leek-Potato Soup 


    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 onion - sliced
    • 1 head garlic - sliced 
    • 1 large potato - peeled and diced
    • 2 stalks leek - chopped
    • 1 head of cauliflower - chopped
    • 5 cups chicken broth
    • 1/2 cup milk or light cream
    • 1 tsp chilli flakes or 1 bird's eye chilli - sliced
    • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
    • Salt to taste
    Garnish: 2 stalks saw-edged coriander or parsley - sliced


    1. Heat the butter in a large saucepan.
    2. Add the onions and garlic, fry till aromatic, then add potatoes.  Cook, stirring frequently for a few minutes before adding 2 cups chicken broth. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
    3. Uncover, add leek and cauliflower. Continue simmering for 10 minutes.
    4. Stir in the milk, chilli and pepper.
    5. Puree the mixture in blender or use hand-held blender. 
    6. Return the puréed soup to saucepan and add the remaining 3 cups chicken broth. Bring to boil.
    7. Add salt to taste.
    8. Garnish with saw-edged coriander or parsley.

    If no chicken broth is available, dissolve 1 cube chicken stock in 5 cups water. Alternately, anchovy cubes can be added. For vegetarians, vegetable broth can be substituted. Add more water or broth if a thinner soup is desired. Serve with butter-cheese toasts.

    Makes about 10-12 bowls.