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Life After Masterchef and Ibu’s Roti Boyan

It’s been a month since the season finale of Masterchef Singapore, and the start of a crazy end of the year. You see, prior to Masterchef Singapore, I was just a photographer specialising in weddings, portraits and food. My previous job started off with me doing a lot of cooking, but ended up with me doing a lot of eating instead. When I left after 4 years, I was lost and confused because I know I wanted food to be a part of my life, a part of who I am, and do it professionally somehow.

Food has always been my escape – both positively and negatively. I could delve deeper but I think that warrants another post. Dealing with the major problem I had with food made me love creating flavours and foods that were both appealing to the eye and delicious to the taste. More importantly though, I felt the need to immortalize my mother’s recipes, and any other makcik around me for that matter.

Since Masterchef Singapore, though, life has been a lot more interesting. Having little kids and makciks asking for a photo while I’m working has humbled me a lot. For one, I have these little kids looking up to me, and then I have a group of makciks who have years of experience in the kitchen complimenting me on my cooking. I’m far from being a chef, truly. All I do is make a mess in the kitchen and eat because the desire to eat is after all more than the desire to cook. I just want to make sure what goes in my mouth is what I would serve others.

Photo courtesy of Masterchef Singapore

I grew up not seeing my mother bring a cookbook, let alone an iPad, into the kitchen. There was a brief moment where she was baking a lot, and that legendary baking book (lemme find the title!!) was always by her side whenever she was making Kek Lapis. Each year during Hari Raya, I would see her whip up five or 6 dishes for a whole day straight. Mind you, she never lets me in the kitchen to help! On the other hand, I have a sister who cooks amazingly and swears by the recipes she finds from cookbooks, blogs, websites and other makciks. I reckon it’s her science background that makes it easy for her to follow instructions and ace the experiment.

Photo courtesy of Masterchef Singapore

And then you have me – the resident Perangai Budak Gemok who just wants to eat good food and makes sure she’s able to replicate foods she’s tasted from other countries, homes or restaurants. It’s frustrating to eat out with me, because if either my mum, my sis or I am able to cook it at home, it’s not worth my money.

So anyways, I’ve been living away from my mum since getting married, and I do miss her cooking. On some days, my mum would randomly be making Ayam Penyet based on a recipe she found on YouTube (her new found love) or kneading away making this favourite of mine – Roti Boyan. It’s basically a prata-like dough (with much less oil) with a filling of potatoes, eggs and onions. There’s many versions of it out there, but I do prefer Ibu’s Roti Boyan because she doesn’t deep fry it. All hell will break loose if I do that and serve it to her calling it Roti Boyan.

Being away from my mother also means being away from almost all of my kitchen gadgets and equipments which I’ve collected over the many years living with her. My trusted standing mixer is now away from me, which means I have to manually knead dough by hand whenever I feel like making bread, or using the hand mixer when I’m making cookies or bakes. The good thing about this is that I’m able to know for sure when the dough is ready, or when I can stop kneading and let the dough proof. Needless to say, my fear of making bread by hand is no longer there!

When I called Ibu asking for the recipe, she did the usual “Agak-agak je lah…” so naturally I had to be extra cautious and actually measure out the ingredients so that my future kids will not have a problem when they ask me for the recipe instead.

Ibu’s Roti Boyan

Makes 5 medium sized pies
Serves: 10
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 30 minutes

Dough

500g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
300ml water (plus more if need be)
20g unsalted butter

  1. In a big bowl, combine flour and salt together.
  2. Add water, 2 tablespoons at a time, and knead the dough until it comes together. Continue kneading until the dough is sticky to touch. Do not be alarmed if it’s too sticky.
  3. Add butter, and continue kneading until butter is well incorporated. Add a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky, but ensure that dough stays soft through out the entire kneading process.
  4. Form dough into a ball, then leave in the bowl covered with a cloth for an hour to rest.

Filling

5 medium sized waxy potatoes (you could use russet too)
5 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
100g Chinese parsley (daun sup), chopped
100g Spring onions (daun bawang), chopped

  1. Peel and cut potatoes into chunks.
  2. Boil potatoes till cooked.
  3. Drain potatoes and put them back in the same pot used to boil.
  4. In a separate bowl, crack eggs and beat till fluffy and well combined.
  5. Mash potatoes, add in eggs, parsley, spring onions, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.

Assembly

  1. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. You may weigh them if you prefer accuracy. Just eyeball the sizes if you’re lazy like me. Place the balls of dough on tray and keep them covered with the cloth while you are working on one.
  2. Prepare 2 serving plates about the size of your palm. Oil them with vegetable oil just enough to cover the entire plate.
  3. On your countertop, dust the surface with flour. Roll out a piece of dough to the size of the serving plates. Make sure to keep turning the dough when you roll it out so it doesn’t stick.
  4. Place the first piece of dough on the oiled serving plate. Stretch it out as much as possible so it comes to fit the plate.
  5. Add a ladle of the filling to the centre of the dough.
  6. Go back to your countertop and roll out a second piece of dough.
  7. Carefully place the second layer of dough on top of the filling.
  8. Press the sides so they stick together. Crimp the sides of the pie like epok-epok.
  9. Repeat and continue the process for the remaining dough and filling.

Cooking

  1. Heat a non-stick pan on the stove with a teaspoon of oil at medium heat.
  2. Slowly slide the pie onto the pan and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Flip the pie and cook for another 3 minutes.
  4. If you wish to freeze and keep the pies, this is where you remove it from the pan and let it cool before freezing.
  5. If you wish to serve it immediately, continue cooking each side for another 5 minutes on low heat, or until the crust comes to a nice deep brown colour to it.
  6. Serve with sambal tumis.
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Food, Recipes from the Heart

Sambal Belado

 

When it comes to food, my family would know best. I grew up with home cooked meals made with love by my mother and nanny. I would often come home from school being able to smell whatever my mother was cooking a level away from home. It still puzzles my mum how I can detect what she was cooking just from smelling the beautiful aromas of onion, garlic and a plethora of spices. I might have picked up cat genes from hanging out too much with my three furballs.

Sambal belado is a typical Minang sambal served often with fried fish or fried chicken. It’s something I would consider a cross between a chutney and a salsa – except that this sambal is not for the faint hearted. The combination of spicy, sweet, salty and sour creates a burst of umami flavours in your mouth. Well, to me that is what makes a sambal really syiok. I really hate it when I eat sambals that only look red but aren’t potent enough for my tastebuds. My mother thinks my tastebuds have gone haywire because my tolerance for spiciness is beyond crazy.

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The anatomy of a sambal.

Three weeks ago, my mother left for a holiday Down Under. I was left home alone with my cats. I thought I would rejoice at the thought of freedom and independence, but apparently my appetite and tastebuds were screaming for my mother. Missing Malay food – not wait – missing Malay food cooked by my mum proved that I was actually missing her. I rarely eat Malay food when I’m eating out unless there isn’t a choice. So I woke up one morning with a huge craving for ayam belado only to find out that the stash my mum freezes were all gone. I had no where to go. I had to pluck up the courage and cook myself some sambal belado. After cross-referring to a few recipes online and a god-sent phone call from my mother, this is my take on her famous sambal belado.

sambal-1

Ayam Goreng Sambal Belado

Ingredients:

500g fresh red chillies

200g fresh red bird’s eye chillies

2 medium sized red onions

1 bulb of garlic

1 inch of fresh ginger

2 stalks of lemongrass

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

Method:

  1. Wash and cute both types of chillies into chunks.
  2. In a food processor, blitz the chillies coarsely. You want them to be roughly chopped. Set aside.
  3. Peel and wash red onions. Blitz the onions in the food processor. Again, you want them to be roughly chopped. Set aside.
  4. Peel garlic and ginger. Cut them into chunks and blitz them into a fine paste using a food processor. You may add a bit of water into the mixture so that it blends into a smooth paste.
  5. In a wok, heat oil on a medium heat.
  6. Sauté roughly chopped onions until fragrant. Add in ginger and garlic paste and sauté until it has thicken a bit.
  7. Add in chillies and lemongrass and continue to fry.
  8. Add in salt, lemon juice and sugar and continue to fry until the sambal has thicken and the oil starts to get red. This pecah minyak process would take about 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. Do not leave the sambal unattended. Continue stir occasionally until it is cooked.
  10. Serve with freshly fried chicken or fish on a bed of white rice.
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Food, Recipes from the Heart

Ondeh-Ondeh Cupcakes

Lately, there has been a craze for kampung cupcakes in Singapore. Furthermore, since Halalfoodhunt has been running for the past six months, people have been coming to me to ask for such kampung cupcake recipes. Alright, let pause for a while and allow me to explain what kampung cupcakes are.

Kampung cupcakes are cupcakes inspired by flavours of traditional Malay kuih such as ondeh-ondeh, kuih talam, putri salad and many more.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

 

When I first discovered about kampung cupcakes, I was apprehensive about making them. As much as I appear to be modern and all, I still love my traditional Malay kuih the way they are. Then, I succumbed to peer pressure and relented. I had to try making this ondeh-ondeh cupcake, especially since Fluffbakery keeps having their sold out. I totally winged this recipe. I made minor adjustments to a vanilla cupcake recipe, and basically followed my gut. So before I forget the recipe (I have a habit of not taking note of my recipes), here it is.

Feedback from my friends is that the taste of coconut is not overpowering, and the infusion of gula melaka and real pandan extract makes you forget you’re eating a cupcake. I hope this recipe will work fine for you!

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Ondeh-Ondeh Cupcake

makes 12 cupcakes

Real Pandan Extract

1 huge bunch of pandan leaves, cut into smaller pieces

1/2 cup water

  • Blend the pandan leaves and water together in a blender.
  • Strain the pandan juice through a fine sieve, or a cheesecloth if you prefer.
  • Squeeze out as much juice as you possibly can.

Pandan Cupcake

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups caster sugar

125g unsalted butter at room temperature

2 tablespoons real pandan extract

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg.
  2. Sieve flour, baking powder and salt through a fine sieve. Set aside.
  3. Beat butter and sugar together until white and fluffy.
  4. Add in eggs, one at a time.
  5. Add flour mixture, alternating with milk and the pandan extract.
  6. Scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl and beat for another minute or two until the batter is well incorporated.
  7. Divide the batter equally into a muffin tin that has been lined with cupcake liners.
  8. Bake in the oven for 15 to 17 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  9. Ensure that the cupcakes are cooled down to room temperature before you core and fill them.

Pandan gula melaka filling

200g gula melaka, cut into smaller pieces

150ml water

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

  1. In a pan, add the water to the gula melaka and let it simmer on the stove for about 10 minutes, or until all the sugar has been dissolved and the sugar solution thickens.
  2. Let cool to room temperature before adding the desiccated coconut and mix it well.

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 cup desiccated coconut

  1. Beat whipping cream with sugar and vanilla on medium high until stiff peaks.
  2. Gently fold in the desiccated coconut into the cream.
  3. To assemble, core the cupcakes, then fill in with the filling and pipe the coconut whip cream on top as desired.
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Food, Recipes from the Heart

Kopi and Ondeh-Ondeh on a Sunday Afternoon

I went for a paintball session with some of my friends yesterday morning and somehow the paintball pellets remind me of ondeh-ondeh. Naturally, I had a sudden craving for them. I’m starting to like making traditional Malay food and sweets. As much as they are very tiring and troublesome to make, I realised that if I don’t start archiving traditional Malay recipes, I might not have anywhere to refer to. Okay there’s probably a lot of Malay cookbooks out there but for some reason I’m not motivated to make them unless I have a huge craving for them. My mother has been bugging me to learn her recipes because she fears the day she turns senile (god forbid) I wouldn’t be able to cook any of her specialties.

“Jangan nanti bila aku dah nyanyok, kau tak tahu masak rendang, roti boyan ni semua. Habislah menangis aku dua puluh empat jam!”

She pretty much worries for her stomach and tastebuds rather than her health as she get older. Oh mother.

So this was a simple afternoon tea snack we had yesterday. Little green balls of goodness.
ondehondeh-1

 

Ondeh-Ondeh

250g glutinous rice flour

200ml pandan juice (I extracted the juice from about 13 pandan leaves)

1 teaspoon salt

150g gula melaka

100g desiccated coconut

  1. Combine glutinous rice flour, salt and pandan juice together in a bowl
  2. Knead until dough comes together and is malleable. Add more water if necessary.
  3. Divide the dough into small balls.
  4. Cut gula melaka into small cubes.
  5. Roll the small balls and flatten them. Place gula melaka in the flattened dough and roll the dough back into balls.
  6. Repeat until you finish the dough.
  7. Boil salted water and drop the ondeh-ondeh into the pot. Cook for about 5-6 minutes before picking them out.
  8. Strain the balls before rolling them onto the desiccated coconuts.
  9. Serve!
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