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Pork and Coriander Meat Balls

Hi guys!  Tonight I made these really easy pork and coriander meatballs with bok choy served over jasmine rice.  I remember my grandmother used to make these for my me when I stayed over her house.  I miss those days - - running around the backyard, watching her making rice crackers (over a traditional steamer) and getting up to mischief :P. 

I used very minimal ingredients.  Here is the recipe.

Pork and Coriander Meat Balls
  • 2 tbs of brown sugar
  • 3 tbs of fish sauce
  • 2 tbs of oyster sauce
  • 500g of minced pork
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed 
  • pepper and salt to taste
  • cornflour 
  • half of bunch of coriander chopped roughly (about 1/2 cup)
  • cup of water

  1. In a saucepan add brown sugar, fish sauce and water to make a nice syrup.  Cool and then And add into the pork mixture.  Mix well.
  2. In a bowl, place pork in a bowl and mix in coriander, garlic, oyster sauce, cornflour and season with tiny bit of salt and black pepper.  ADD the ABOVE SYRUP MIXTURE.
  3. Now next roll the pork mixture in about 20 balls.  Roll into corn flour lightly and put balls onto a tray or a large plate.  Cover with cling wrap and chill in fridge for half an hour.
  4. In a large lightly oiled fry pan, place all the balls to fry each side for 3 to 4 minutes.  Add water and cover and let simmer for half an hour.   The juice should seep out of the balls and make a sauce with the water.  
  5. When done, serve over jasmine rice.  If you want to add some greens just cook them within the sauce for a couple of minutes and serve with the balls and rice.  You can also eat these balls with vermicelli noodles or even spaghetti!


Fried Teriyaki Chicken Drumsticks/Wings

My Japanese friend left yesterday and it was a sad yet a happy day.   I get a bit of time off to focus on other things and he gets to go home to see his loved ones again. He talks about his best friend a lot so I guess he was a bit homesick from the beginning when he stayed.

During the 2 weeks here in my home I have made pretty much Asian and Aussie Western style food for him. I only made Maki Sushi and I forgot to mention I did make Teriyaki Chicken last week.

 Fried Teriyaki Chicken

I remember 3 hungry tummies making this dish so I lurked (lol sounds bad) through their pages and tah dah...found it under Teriyaki Chicken on Rice .  Though I did not have all the ingredients they had the Japanese friend said I don't need the condiments....he said "I just like meat -_-".  It's just good with honey, some brown sugar, rice wine, sesame seeds, julienne ginger, rice wine vinegar and light soy sauce.    We just ate the teriyaki chicken wings and drum sticks without the condiments!   It would be nice if I had pickled ginger and radish but oh wells.  I fried it instead of baking it.

The ingredients are minimal and you probably have all the ingredients if you have an Asian pantry :). 

Fried Teriyaki Chicken Drumsticks/Wings


  • 20 pieces of chicken wings or drumsticks
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 TBS of honey (I did not measure I just squeezed as much as I wanted)
  • 3 TBS of brown sugar
  • piece of julienne ginger (maybe a 1 tbs?)
  • some sesame seeds (don't have to but I think it looks pretty :D)


  • Put all the ingredients together to make a marinade.  Whisk or mix well.  And pour over chicken in a big bowl.
  • Put in fridge to marinate 1 hour 

marinate chicken

  • Then take out and cook chicken on a lightly oiled large pan on medium high heat for about 10 minutes or until one side turns brown
Frying one side first and then the other side

  • Turn each chicken over, add marinate, add some water and cover with lid and cook for another 10 minutes or you can check but cutting a piece of chicken in the middle with a sharp knife.  If the juice comes out bloody then still needs to be cooked.  If the juice runs clear the chicken is definitely cooked!  Just don't over cook it.
  • The marinate should turn into a lovely sticky brown colour.
  • Serve the chicken over hot jasmine rice and pour teriyaki syrup over the dish.  Yum!


Maki Sushi (Rolled Sushi)

Last night my Japanese friend and I made maki sushi.  Well technically I did all the work and he just showed me how lol. Yeah, I will not go into it further >_<. This is my very first time making anything Japanese! I had a difficult time spreading the sushi rice onto the nori (roasted seaweed paper) and had a very difficult time rolling up the sushi with the mat. It was...pathetic! lol.

My Japanese friend calls it Maki Sushi...he doesn't say sushi but "maki sushi" which is just "rolled sushi" in English. Maki Sushi is so easy to make and you can pretty much put anything in the roll! It is similar to Vietnamese Rice rolls but instead of the rice paper and rice noodles, Japanese have the nori and sushi rice flavoured with sushi vinegar.


The ingredients I put in the roll were fried eggs, cucumber, cooked chicken, canned tuna and loads of mayonnaise. It tasted pretty alright for the first time even my Japanese friend agreed!

Here is a simple recipe of:

MAKI SUSHI (adapted from Pandaroo Brand)
  • 500g cooked sushi rice
  • 1 tbsp of sushi vinegar
  • 5 sheets of seaweed
  • wasabi
  • choice of filling:  I used cucumber, canned tuna, chicken, fried eggs and mayo.  You can also use prawns, avocado, lettuce ...whatever suits your fancy
I was suppose to leave 5cms free of rice at the end.  But hey it did turn out okay at the end :)


1.  Pour sushi vinegar over cooked sushi rice and mix thoroughly
2.  On a sushi mat, place the shiny seaweed part down
3.  Spread the vinegar flavoured rice evenly over the seaweed.  Leave 5 cms of one end of free rice.
4. Place fillings in a line
5. Starting from the end with fillings lift the bamboo mat and begin to roll the sheet.  Wet the strip end.  Apply gentle pressure to join edges of seaweed.
6. Slice with wet knife and enjoy!


Vanilla Swiss Roll

Hi guys!  I thought I would make some cake yesterday for my student that is staying with me from Japan.  He loves cake and I thought this was an easy plain yet tasty treat for him to munch on for lunch.   He hardly eats cake over in Japan since his mum is quite busy with working in the health field.  So he is munching lots here before he gets back!  I hoping for him to make sushi with me before he leaves this week!  That would be awesome!

Now I just used an easy sponge recipe you can find in my post earlier this year on Vanilla Pandan Mango Swiss Roll.  If you want to make 2 sponge rolls like I did...just double it up!  I added a bit of honey in it as well to make it a honey flavor and made an easy vanilla butter cream to top it off.  If I had fresh cream I would certainly have used it!

To make the butter cream (to thinly paste it on 2 sponge cakes) use about 200grams of chopped unsalted butter and add some icing sugar (according to your sweet tooth) and beat until all smooth and creamy like.  Then at the end add a drop of vanilla essence and beat well.  I got this tip off a online friend of mine named Jack who is a chef by trade (something like that lol).    Tasted very good too!

Then roll it up with a parchment paper carefully and slowly starting from the end of the cake and work up.  My sponge cake did not crack and it shouldn't crack.  If so there is something wrong with the way you folded the mixes in I think.   When finished rolling and looks intact....cut the cake into 2inch thick pieces!  And ENJOY!!

The Japanese student loved it and of course my partner!!  Swiss roll is always easy to make and very easy to please people with :).  And you can put your own kind of variety of fillings to suit your taste and budget too!  Now that's awesome :D

All packed for lunch boxes!


I like my Salmon Served Rare

I like my salmon cooked rare - just crispy outside, rare inside and have it with a fresh olive oil lemon dressing.  I also like it with a nice fresh salad and some mushrooms too.   It is so easy to make and so good for you too.  Sometimes I like smoked salmon tossed through a zesty salad.  Yum!

It is so hard to get a nice rarely cooked salmon because sometimes the salmon still cooks through when you take it off the heat.  I try to just cook it on  a hot fry pan on one side for about 5 to 6 minutes and serve it immediately with a zesty lemon dressing.  I hate dry salmon ...it doesn't taste that nice.

How do you like your salmon cooked and served?


Indonesian Beef Rendang

I remember I had Indonesian beef rendang late last year in November 2009.   It was part for a Muslim celebration my neighbour invited me to come a long. The food was different but fabulous. My favourite dish of course was the rendang. It is a very nice beef not very like curry that is slowly cooked through coconut milk and spices like turmeric, ginger, galangal, turmeric leaf, lemon grass and chillies. You can eat it over rice or with rice blocks.

I loved it so much that I had to make it myself.    So I searched for a simple recipe and turned out nearly the same :).

Here is an easy recipe I got off Indochef.com


  • 500 gr. Rump steak.
  • 2 Onions.
  • 4 Garlic cloves.
  • 3 Fresh red chillies.
  • 2½ cm Ginger root.
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric.
  • 1 tablespoon Paprika.
  • 1 stalk Lemon grass.
  • 3 Lime leaves.
  • 600 ml Coconut milk.
  • 75 ml water.

  • Put the Onions, Garlic, Chillies, Ginger, Paprika, Turmeric and Water in a food processor and make into a smooth paste.
  • Dice the meat and mix with half the paste. Set aside.
  • Put the other half of the paste into a heavy sauce pan and add the coconut milk, chopped lemon grass and lime leaves. Boil without the lid for about 30 min. until mixture is reduced to half. Add the meat mixture and return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring regularly, for a further hour till the steak is tender. Serve with boiled rice.
Read more: http://www.indochef.com/indo_06.shtml


Easy Banana Bread

I love Banana Bread with cream cheese frosting on top!!!   I have used this recipe for a while and I alternate it a bit from time to time when I want something different.  This is a very easy banana bread to make.  It is very fluffy, nice and moist.  It keeps fresh for about a week in an air tight container.

I usually bake 2 loaves/tins to take room up in the oven.    Double the ingredients to make 2 lots.

Banana Bread
  • 1.5C of self raising flour
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 1 TSP of bicarb soda
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 3 medium sized ripe bananas mashed
  • 1/2 cup of canola/vegetable oil (use any)
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • handful of chopped almonds
  • 1/2 TSP of vanilla essence

- preheat oven at 150C
- First grease a ring tin or a loaf tin
- sift all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl
- make a well in the centre and add all wet ingredients
- mix the ingredients together until smooth batter like consistency
- pour the mixture into the tin/s
- bake for 1 hour.  check if done by poking the loaf with skewer.  if it comes out clean then the cake should be done.  I usually bake for another 10 minutes just to make sure.
- cool for half an hour, cut and enjoy!!

Tip:  You can vary this  banana bread but adding your own ingredients in it like different kind of nuts or even chocolate chips, honey etc


Pandan Chiffon Cake

pandan chiffon

 Pandan Chiffon Cake is my favourite cake out of all cakes!  It's light and fluffy texture, the colour and the taste always want me going back to eat more of these!   Pandan Chiffon Cake is very popular in Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.  My mum used to buy me a piece of pandan cake at the local Asian market every morning.  It was a treat for me a long with sticky rice and sweet fried breads.

Pandan chiffon cake originates from Malaysia (everything so good originates from Malaysia :P) and is sometimes flavoured from the juice of the pandan leaf and sometimes added with green food colouring to make the colour for vibrant.  I think more these days when pandan leaves are not available the pandan paste or essence is substituted.   That is what I have used in this recipe.

This is my THIRD attempt making pandan chiffon cake.  And this third time I haven't really failed lol.   The cake turned out okay (it broke) but since I don't have chiffon tin (or angel cake tin) so it was hard to take it out.  I have a tin that has a hole in the middle.  I have no idea what to call it but it is not a chiffon tin.  It turned out nice and fluffy!

pandan chiffon
 folding the mixes together

The first 2 attempts both cakes rised up beautifully in the oven but when it was time to take it out and invert it..............it DEFLATED terribly!  It was so disappointing.   I think it was because when I folded the egg white mix into the egg yolk mix it lost air so that could be the problem.  Or maybe I had specks on yolk in the egg whites which ruined the whole recipe altogether!

pandan chiffon
 Broke on the side but hey still turned out great!

Here is the recipe.  I used a tin with a hole in the middle but really I should be using the CHIFFON TIN

Pandan Chiffon Cake
  • 100G of plain flour sifted
  • 1 TSP of baking powder
  • 90ML of coconut cream (don't shake use bottom milk part of coconut tin (scoop out with spoon))
  • 1/2 TSP of vanilla essence
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 TSP of pandan essence 
  • 70g of caster sugar (35g for egg yolk mixture / 35 g for egg white mixture)
  • 1/2 TSP cream of tartar
  • 2 TBS of vegetable oil 
  • pinch of salt


  1. Pre heat oven at 175C
  2. In a big bowl cream yolks, 35g of sugar, and vanilla til nice and thick
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, coconut, oil and pandan.  Beat til smooth
  4. In another CLEAN BOWL (has to be dry and not even damp) beat egg whites (with no spec of egg yolk), 35g of sugar and cream of tartar and pinch of salt.  Beat until STIFF PEAKS form.  Over beating is better than under beating the egg white mixture. 
  5. Now carefully and gradually, 1/3 at a time ...fold in the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture and fold til combined.  Repeat this until you finished the egg white mixture.
  6. Pour mixture carefully into pan (ungreased) and bake at 175C for 45 minutes or until done.  To check don't poke the cake otherwise the air will escape.  I just touch it and if it springs back properly...it is done - to me anyway. 
  7. Now when it is done ...immediately invert it.  Turn it upside down on a cooling rack so it will hold its shape.  Cool for 3 hours.  Then after that loosen the cake with a knife.  It should fall out easily.  With mine....it didn't cause I only let it cool for 1 hour.  I was very impatient :P.
  8. I hope your cake turns out !
pandan chiffon

update: Monday 15th February.   I tried making pandan chiffon cake again but it FAILED!! It came out all deflated and wet....????  I don't know what happened.  I think the one that I made for this post is my only ONE HIT wonder lol.


Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup  has got to be one of my favourite Italian dishes that are the most easiest to make and the most hearty to eat!!   There is no set ingredients for minestrone soups - just what vegetables there is available during the season.  I like my soup base as chicken stock but you can always have it just vegetarian or beef stocks.

The most common ingredients that you would find in this soup are carrots, potatoes, onion and tomatoes.  I love mine with lots of tomatoes!  To bulk it up a bit most people use pasta and some rice.  I love mine with small pasta shells and sometimes when I am out of pasta I just eat it with rice which is always available in my kitchen.  I like to use some beans as well like chickpeas, kidney beans, and those other 3 beans I have no idea what they are :P.

 I like to add some meats in the soup as well.  I love adding fried off bacon and chicken pieces in it.  And then eating the hot meal with crusty white bread.  I would make a huge 8 litre pot and finish it under a week (of course with my so :P)  I can have 3 bowls of soup at a time :).  Yes I eat much!

The good thing about this soup is that you can make heaps of it and can freeze it and eat it whenever you want to.  But the downside is the dicing up all the vegetables :(.

Minestrone Soup

For all my ingredients I make sure its equal amounts
  • 4 celery sticks sliced diagonally
  • 1 small sweet potato diced
  • 3 small potatoes diced
  • 2 medium carrots diced
  • 2 small onions diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 can of 5 beans rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans of italian herb diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of pasta shells
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • dashes of salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbs light soy sauce (yes I used soy sauce :) )
  • 5 slices of middle rasher bacon diced
  • 2 kg of chicken thighs cleaned and skin on
  • olive oil to saute the veges 
  • 2L of water

  1. First in a huge stock pot, add oil, oregano and saute onions and garlic til a bit brown.  Then add all the VEGETABLES and stir til well covered in the oil.  Cover for about 10 minutes.
  2. Then add 2L of water and cover.  Wait til it forms bubbles and boils.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and let cook for about 20 minutes or til tender and cooked through.  To check remove one chicken and cut through the thickest part of the meat and if the juices are red, it is not done.  If it is clear you know it is done.
  4. While the chicken is cooking, in another sauce pan fry the bacon pieces til the fat parts become crispy and then set aside.
  5. The chicken should be done.  Remove all of the chicken and in a big bowl run the chicken under water.  I always do this so it will stop the cooking process.  Set aside and let cool.  Strip chicken pieces and set aside.
  6. Add the beans, tomatoes and stir.   Wait til boil again and add in the pasta and stir through.  Cook for another 8 minutes or til the pasta is ready.
  7. Stir in salt, pepper and soy sauce to taste. 
  8. Ladle the hot soup over medium sized bowls and add strips of chicken pieces on top.  Serve with crusty bread.
**** you can also add sliced button mushrooms at well at the end of the cooking process and use other kind of beans if you like.


Chinese New Year Peanut Cookies / 花生饼

Nearly every year for Chinese New Year (or in my case Vietnamese/Chinese New year) my family would get little gifts from yum cha tea sets, sweets (coconut strips, winter melon strips, dried fruit candy, ginger candy etc) and banh chung (traditional Vietnamese cake consisting of glutinous rice, pork, mung beans etc) and most of all we get tins of these yummy Chinese cookies.

My favourite would be the peanut cookies that has the sesame seeds on top.  It's soft but when you put it into your mouth - it crumbles and you get this sweet and salty taste at the same time.   This peanut cookie is VERY easy to make and I think most of you will find the ingredients right in your pantry!  All you need is flour, some oil, ground peanuts, a pinch of salt and baking powder!  Yes that is right!  That is all you need!  No milk and no butter!  So this is so great for vegetarians :).

I initially got this peanut cookie recipe from Bake Cook Eat but I made some alternations to suit my taste (I just added sesame seeds and added coarser peanuts).  Instead of using the small cap that she has used to shape the cookies, I used a bigger one hence the less cookies I baked.   Traditionally, you will find the cookies will have an indent in the middle and just glazed with a egg yolk wash but I liked it with the sesame seeds. I baked around 30 small cookies!  It looked good and it smelled great.  It was even better when I tasted it.   The first batch turned out very well so I guess for my second batch it is going to be bigger since I am going to share it around with my Vietnamese family and my Chinese family (my partner's side).  I hope they like it.  I feel a bit of pressure here lol.

So here is the recipe from Bake Cook Eat  with a bit of my version in it :)

Chinese New Year Peanut Cookies or 花生饼
Ingredients (makes around 40ish)
  • 3/4 roasted peanuts and grounded
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 3/4 cup of icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • some canola oil 
  • sesame seeds
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1 egg yolk + dash of water (for egg wash)


Firstly, roast the peanuts in a fry pan until golden and until aroma hits your nose :).  Then let cool.  Grind the peanuts in a food processor until finely grounded.  You can leave some bits coarse.
Then a big mixing bowl sift the flour, baking powder, icing sugar, salt and mix with some oil.  Blend the mixture with clean finger tips until the mixture turns into a crumbly short bread dough or like bread crumbs.  When squeezed together in your hand it should be compressed.  That is how you want it.

The consistency you want

If the mixture is too oily or too floury just add more flour or more oil until you get it right.  You do not want it too greasy or too dry.

Now to the fun part - Shaping the cookie.  I thought this was a really neat idea to shape cute cookies (thanks Bake Cook Eat for the tip!).   Just get any good sized cap for a cute cookie shape and all you have to do is place some cling wrap over inside the cap and then press the dough in tightly.  Then pull the cling wrap to release the cookie shape.  Place the cookie onto a lined baking sheet.

Now to glaze the the cookies.  Mix one egg yolk and a dash of water.  Mix and with a back of a spoon brush with egg wash.  I just used an actual brush to brush it over.  I found it more simple...well for me.

Next sprinkle some sesame seeds over each cookie dough :).

Finally bake the cookies at about to 200°C for about 16 minutes or until golden brown

Let cool.  Share and enjoy!!!

Gung Hay Fat Choy!


Chicken Stock

Rice is the most basic in Asian cooking.  We have to all agree on that!  So what is the next basic?  Well I believe it is the "stock".   Stock is basically flavoured water.  It forms the foundation of many good dishes which is well prepared for a very good sauce, soup and stew.  Stock is often used for blanching, poaching and steaming as well.  We can all agree on that the stock or broth deepens the flavour of any dish.

There are a few stocks that are used for individual flavours and my favourite stock would be chicken stock made for soup.  Here is my way of making chicken stock.  Everyone  has their own variations.  This is my way.

Note:  i make chicken stock with chicken bone with the meat on so I can eat the chicken later on for other things.  

makes about 6 litres

  • 6L of water
  • 1 of thighs
  • 1 kg chicken wings
  • 3 knobs of ginger unpeeled, cut into 4 equal pieces and smashed lightly
  • 5 whole garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 bunch of scallions cut into thirds acrss
  • 1 onion
  • fresh coriander sprigs
  • 1/2 cup of fried onion
  • 2 tbs of salt

1. In a large stock pot, bring 6 L of water to boil. Add chicken pieces and allow water to return to boil.  Boil for 2 to 3 minutes.  This will allow all the blood and juices to top.  Cook until you see the chicken floats.  This usually means that the chicken is ready but I really recommend you to do a test - cut in the middle of the fattest part of the chicken to see if any blood rise onto the top.  If so the chicken is not done yet.  If juice runs clear then its ready.  Scoop out the chicken and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process.

2.  Add the remaining ingredients and cover the pot and bring to boil on high heat.  Reduce the heat to simmer adjusting the lid so slightly cracked.  Simmer for about 2 to 3 hours.  When scum or residue forms scoop it out with a ladle as the stock simmers.

3. Lastly turn off the heat and let the stock cool.  Then strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer into containers for later use.  You can put these in the fridge to 4 days or you can freeze up to 3 months.