Monday 31 October 2011

Talam Suji

            I  made   Talam Suji last Saturday. Love eating Talam Suji but made it only once before. Recently,  when I saw it on Yatie's Sinar Kehidupanku,   I was tempted to make it once again. This recipe was shared by  Bdaria from  Jurnal resepi bdaria. which she got from a class conducted by the famous Malaysian Chef Asmah.

            Unfortunately, as you can see, my Talam Suji does not look as tempting as the ones made by Yatie & Bdaria. Mind is rather pale. When I added yellow colouring to the bottom mixture, I thought it looked bright enough but when it's cooked, it looked pale. Then, I wanted to add brown colouring for the top layer but when I tried to pour the colouring, I realized it had hardened!
           This kuih is quite easy to cut as it is not too soft. It's not hard either. The sweetness  level is just nice.... I like it. However, I find the kuih not rich enough. So, the next time I make this & if  I'm using fresh coconut milk, I need to increase it & adjust the water level accordingly. One more thing, I used the Prima brand of semolina. I realize it is too fine. As a result, the bottom level of the kuih lacks the granular texture. Apparently, there are other brands that carry coarser I need to bear that in mind.

I'm submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #12: Traditional Kueh (October 2011) hosted by SSB of Small Small Baker.

Talam Suji
( makes 10 x 10 x 2 or 3 inch pan)
Bottom layer
180g semolina
450g water

220g castor sugar
2 eggs
200ml coconut milk (Bdariah used M&S coconut milk  in a box, I used fresh coconut milk.)
250ml water
yellow colouring (I used egg yellow.)
1/2 tsp salt (I added.)

  1. Soak A for 30 minutes in a pot.
  2. Combine B in a bowl. Mix well & strain into the pot that contains A.
  3. Heat the mixture over medium fire, stirring continuously using a wooden spoon until it thickens slightly.
  4. Grease pan with cooking oil &  layer with plastic so that it's easy to remove kuih from pan.
  5. Pour mixture into pan & steam for 25 minutes.
Top layer
300 gula merah (I used gula melaka.)
50g castor sugar
500ml water
2 pandan leaves (I added.)

150 plain flour
3 whole eggs
250ml coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt


  1. Combine A & soak or boil  until sugar dissolves (I boiled it & left to cool.)
  2. Combine B & mix thoroughly.
  3. Combine A & B, mix untill well blend. Then strain into a pot.
  4. Heat the mixture over medium fire, stirring continuously using a wooden spoon until it thickens slightly. Turn off fire & whisk mixture thoroughly using a hand whisk.
  5. Pour onto the bottom layer & steam for 30 minutes.
  6. Once cooked, remove pan from steamer &  leave to cool completely before cutting kuih using a plastic knife.

Sunday 30 October 2011

Vegetarian Korma

           I used the Vegetarian Korma recipe from Zarina's Home Cooking, Recipes from Singapore & Malaysia. I bought this book just after I got married, about 21 years ago. I have another book of hers, Zarina's Easy Cooking. That was a wedding gift presented to me by my schoolmate. If you are looking for  cooking books that have recipes of  common daily dishes, especially Malay & Indian dishes, I highly recommend these books!

Vegetarian Korma

Source: Zarina's Easy Cooking
            Recipes from Singapore & Malaysia

300g small potatoes  - cut into halves
1 carrot (about 200g) -  I used mixed frozen vegetables.
200g cauliflower
100g french beans - I didn't use.

2 onions
4 medium tomatoes
4 sprigs mint leaves
3 green chillies
2 cloves garlic


6 cloves
4-5 cardamons
2 pcs (4cm lengh) cinnamon stick

2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp tumeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp black pepper

1 cup water
30 cashew nuts- roast or fry till brown
10 cherry tomatoes or 3 tomatoes (sliced into 8 parts)
juice of 1 lemon
2 sprigs coriander leaves]chopped
2 sprigs mint leaves        ]
6 tbsp oil

  1. Boil salted water & half cook each of the vegetables. Strain & set aside.
  2. Grind B in liquidiser until fine.
  3. Heat oil & fry C until fragrant.
  4. Add in B & D until fragrant.
  5. Then add in water, potatoes & salt.
  6. Then add carrot & cauliflower & cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Then add corn, beans, lemon juice, cashew nuts & tomatoes. Mix well.
  8. Finally, add chopped coriander & mint leaves.
  9. Serve with rice, chapati or naan.

Saturday 29 October 2011

Tandoori Chicken

          Tandoori Chicken goes very well with naans. So I made these Tandoori Chicken. I used the recipe from the same book I took the naan recipe from. Everyone agreed the chicken was very delicious but Amirah asked me, "Why is your Tandoori Chicken not red.......???" That's because I didn't use any colouring because I didn't have any. Nevertheless, the taste was still authentic.

Chicken Tandoori

Source: The Complete Book of Indian Cooking
             by Shehzad Husin & Rafi Fernandez

4 chicken quarters
175 ml (3/4 cup) natural (plain) low-fat yogurt
1 tsp garam marsala
1 tsp ginger pulp
1 tsp garlic pulp
1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
few drops red food colouring (I didn't use.)
2 tbsp corn oil

  1. Skin, rinse & pat dry the chicken quarters. Make 2 slits into the flesh of each piece, place in a dish & set aside.
  2. Mix together the yogurt, garam marsala, ginger, garlic, chilli powder, turmeric, ground coriander, lemon juice, salt, red colouring & oil & beat so that all the ingredients are well mixed.
  3. Cover the chicken quarters with the spice mixture & leave to marinate for about 3 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 240 deg C (475 deg F). Transfer the chicken pieces to an ovenproof dish.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked right through & browned on top.
  6. Remove from the oven, transfer onto a serving dish & garnish with salad leaves, lime & tomato.


           As promised, I'm posting the recipe of  the Naans I made on Deepavali. I haven't made this for a very looooong time. Everyone in my family loves this flat bread, including my picky no 4! It's so easy to make, so I think I'll be making this more often.

          Traditionally, Naans are baked in a tandoor or clay oven. I used my Napoli Pizza Express oven to bake the naans. This oven has a baking stone base & its temperature can go as high as 470 deg C! You can learn more about the Napoli Pizza Express here. If you have a baking stone, you should use it in your oven. Otherwise, bake the naan (or any bread) on an inverted baking sheet. I learnt this tip from Peter Reinhart's book.
           Told you making this bread was easy.....  Even my 7-year-old could make it! In fact, he helped me rolled out & shaped all the dough! He's so proud that he couldn't stop telling everyone that he made all the naans. Good job Maisur!


Source: The Complete Book of Indian Cooking
             by Shehzad Husin & Rafi Fernandez

2 tsp dried (active dry) yeast - I used instant yeast
4 tbsp warm milk
2 tsp sugar

450g (4 cups plain)  plain (all- purpose) flour
1 tsp baking powder (I used double-acting.)
1/2 tsp salt

150ml (2/3 cup) milk
150ml (2/3 cup) natural (plain) yogurt, beaten
1 egg (beaten)

2 tbsp ghee (melted)

E (Topping)
chopped fresh coriander leaves (aka cilantro)
onion seeds (I didn't use.)

  1. Combine A & leave to become frothy.
  2. Sift B in a bowl. Make a well & pour in A & C. Mix thoroughly. (I used my mixer with dough hook.)
  3. Add D & continue mixing to form a dough.
  4. Tightly cover bowl & keep in a warm place until the dough doubles in size. To test, push a finger into the dough - it should spring back. Divide dough into small portions.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200 deg C (400 deg F).
  6. Take a portion of dough & roll out  on a floured surface. (Make each naan slipper-shaped.)
  7. Sprinkle with coriander & onion seeds.
  8. Place on greased trays & bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven & brush surface with ghee.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Happy Deepavali.....

            To all my Hindu readers, I would like to wish you a Happy Deepavali! Hope you had a  joyous celebration today.  It sure was a beautiful Deepavali morning. I was at East Coast Park with my husband & the boys. The weather was beautiful.......sunny & breezy,  just perfect for an outdoor activity. 

              We were there at about nine, so there was no problem finding a good spot to park our stuff. While the boys swam & played for almost 2 hours, I just relaxed on the mat..... I read, played with my phone, snapped some pictures & most of the time, just did people watching....  The crowd became thicker as the clock past 10. One thing I noticed was, there was visibly more very young kids with their parents. They were noisy but, strangely, pleasant. It's not the kind of noise often made by rowdy youngsters..... The beach was colourful too as there were many brightly coloured beach toys!

           We had lunch at home. Rested for a while & then I was up & about again...... went to the market to get some ingredients for dinner, came back & started preparing dinner.

           It's Deepavali, so dinner was naan, chicken tandoori & vegetarian korma! Recipes coming soon..... not tonight.... I'm dead tired. Have a good night.

Monday 24 October 2011

Tapioca Bluder Cake

          I baked Tapioca Bluder Cake yesterday. You may be wondering what bluder is .... I was too when I first saw the recipe. The recipe also caught my eye because of the tapioca.  Yes...I've eaten kuih with tapioca in it but  never tried a tapioca cake before. As I scanned through the recipe, I became very curious what it would taste like. It's a cake but has yeast in it! So I did some research..... There is no clear explanation of what  a bluder is but from the bits of information I gathered, bluder is a bread, a very rich bread, something like brioche. It also seems to be an Indonesian delicacy. Apparently, there are two types of bluder - the bread & the cake type. The one I made is definitely the latter.


          As you can see, my cake turned out very well, simply beautiful...... The freshly baked cakes were very fragrant, I couldn't wait to cut them up! After slicing, the cake really looks like a pound cake, dense & slightly crumbly. The taste, I must say it's unique & delicious! My tasters, i.e. my  family & colleagues, would second that! It has the sour taste of  a bread & at the same time, the sweet & rich taste of a cake. If you can't figure that out, I suggest you try baking it. This recipe is a keeper!

Tapioca Bluder Cake

Source:  Sedap (No 41 / Vol 4, 2011)

1/2 tbsp (5g) instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
50g warm water

225g margarine (I used butter.)
250g granulated sugar
5 whole eggs
200g grated tapioca - squeeze out 50g of the water & throw it (I managed to squeeze out only 20g.) 
300g plain flour (Divide into two parts.)
1 tbsp baking powder (I used double acting.)
50g coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla paste (I added.)

25g grated cheddar cheese (I didn't weigh, grated just enough on the batter.)

  1. Grease a bundt pan (diameter 24cm, height 7cm) & sprinkle flour. ( I used Nodicware Bundt  Quartet Pan.)
  2. Combine A & mix thoroughly. Leave to rise for 15 minutes.
  3. Cream butter & sugar until soft & creamy for about 7 minutes.
  4. Add in tapioca. Continue mixing.
  5. Add in eggs, one at a time, alternating it with 1 part of flour.
  6. Add in yeast mixture. Mix well.
  7. Add in the remaining flour & baking powder, alternating it with coconut milk. Mix until well blended.
  8. Pour batter into pan & leave to rise for 1 hour.
  9. Sprinkle grated cheese & bake at 180 deg C for 45 minutes. (I baked for 35 minutes.)

Thursday 20 October 2011

Talam Ubi

           On Tuesday,  I made a trip to Larkin Market in JB with my parents & the boys. My mum loves going to the wet market because of the wide variety of products & the attractive prices. Honestly, I was nervous to drive there that day because of the recent reports of carjackings involving Singapore cars. But I had already promised  her that we'd go there this week. So I just prayed, more than usual, that we had a safe journey. Alhamdulillah, everything went well....

         As I was waiting for my mum at  the frozen food stall, a neighbouring stallholder was arranging his freshly-harvested tapioca. I guessed they were freshly harvested as the soil was still wet, unlike the ones I normally see in our markets where the tapioca look dry. I walked to the stall & selected some. Barely minutes later, my mum followed suit. She too couldn't resist it!

           With tapioca & freshly-squeezed coconut milk (I also bought at Larkin market & froze it) at hand, I made Talam Ubi, a traditional Malay kuih, this morning. Talam refers to a 2-layered steamed kuih & ubi is actually ubi kayu which refers to tapioca. I used the recipe used by Ayu of Curlybabesatisfaction. This recipe is originally from Kak Fida at I'm very happy with the outcome. It's delicious & I like the texture too!

I'm submitting this post to  Aspiring Bakers #12, Traditional Kueh (October 2011) hosted by Small Small Baker.

Talam Ubi
{makes a 9 inch square pan ( I used an 8 inch round pan)}

Bottom layer:
550g grated fresh tapioca} (I  chopped the tapioca, combined with water & blend using blender)
150ml water                    }

170g palm sugar (gula melaka)
100g fine sugar
135ml water
1 pandan leave

1/2 cup (55g) fresh grated coconut
1/2 tsp salt
brown colouring (I didn't use)

  1. Combine A & strain. Leave water aside for few minutes to allow starch to sink at bottom of container. Slowly pour water out, leaving starch residue at bottom. Then combine drained tapioca & starch residue.
  2. Combine B  in a pot & boil to make syrup. Strain & set aside.
  3. Combine all ingredients (A,B & C).
  4. Grease pan with cooking oil & heat up empty pan in a steamer.
  5. Pour & spread mixture into pan. Steam for 20 minutes.

Top Layer
580ml thick coconut milk OR 200ml KARA + water [I used 250ml freshly-squeezed coconut milk (from 1 coconut) + water]
60g rice flour
20g tapioca flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot & cook over medium fire, stirring continuously until steam can be seen coming out & mixture is slightly thick. Turn off fire.
  2. When bottom layer is cooked, scrape surface gently with  folk. Then pour mixture for top layer slowly & steam for about 25 minutes.
  3. Once cooked, remove pan from steamer & leave to cool completely. Cut kuih using a plastic knife.

    Sunday 16 October 2011

    Now I know........

              Banana fritters (jemput-jemput pisang in Malay) is one traditional kuih I've made many times.  I always made them without referring to any recipes. I'm sure many of you do that too. The fritters I normally made  are the type that have lots of banana, sometimes contains too much sugar so much so the fritters stick to the frying pan and they also puff up when they are hot but flatten once they've cooled down. That's the home-made version. I also like the ones sold at the food stalls. The problem with them is they are often very hard & lack the banana taste. Obviously too much flour & too little banana are added. So I've developed my own version of the stall-bought jemput-jemput pisang.

              But as I was typing the recipe, I realized I had a problem. One of the ingredients used is 'potas',  a leavening agent. But if anyone were to ask me what it is, I wouldn't know what to say except that it is a raising agent & you can buy it from the provision shop. I once asked my cousin who runs a provision shop what potas was & if it was baking soda. He couldn't tell me exactly what it was but was sure it was not baking soda. His argument was that potas is the essential ingredient for making jeneket but replacing it with baking soda will not produce the authentic jeneket texture.

              So I did some research on the internet. Potash or pearlash, not potas, is actually potassium carbonate used as a leavening agent mainly in Asia & when making German gingerbread. However, the major use of potash is in the production of fertilizer. Now I know........ In Singapore, you may buy potash from our neighbourhood provision shops & ask for 'potas', not 'potash' with American or English accent because the shopkeeper may not understand you. Of course, you can use baking soda instead.

    I'm submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #12: Traditional Kueh (October 2011) hosted by SSB of Small Small Baker.

    Jemput-jemput Pisang

    Ingredients:3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (I used 4 medium-sized pisang berangan.)
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/2 tsp potash
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp vanilla paste
    1 cup fresh/UHT milk
    1 & 3/4 cup plain flour
    vegetable oil for deep frying

    1. Combine banana, brown sugar, potash, salt, vanilla & milk in a bowl & mix thoroughly.
    2. Add flour in 3 parts & mix until well blended.
    3. Heat oil & drop batter by spoonfuls in batches.
    4. Once fritters float, keep turning them until they turn golden brown. Drain on paper towel.
    Note: The batter is not very thick. But once you drop it into the oil, the fritter will puff up into a ball.

      Bread & Butter Pudding

                 Since reflecting on my collection of books, I've looked through some of them, bookmarked some recipes & will do my best to use them. Today I've chosen a recipe from Classic Essential Puddings from the Family Circle Promise of Success series.

                 I made the classic Bread & Butter Pudding using  pandan bread. However. the strong flavour of the vanilla & cinnamon kind of kills the pandan flavour. Still, this pudding is very delicious & I like it better when chilled. Please try baking's really worth it! Besides, it's really easy!

      Bread & Butter Pudding
      (makes a 1-litre shallow baking pan)

      1/2 cup (60g) mixed raisins & sultanas
      2 tbsp brandy or rum ( I used grape juice.)

      30g butter, softend
      4 slices good-quality white bread or brioche loaf (I used pandan bread.)

      3 eggs
      1/4 cup (60g) castor sugar
      3 cups ( 750 ml) milk
      1/4 cup (60ml) cream
      1/4 tsp vanilla essence (I used vanilla paste.)
      1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

      D( for sprinkling)
      1 tbsp demerara sugar - this gives crunch topping (I didn't use.)

      1. Combine A & leave aside for 30 minutes.
      2. Butter the slices of bread or brioche & cut each piece into 8 triangles. Arrange the bread in a 1 litre shallow ovenproof dish.
      3. Beat C in a large jug. Add A (including the liquid) & mix well.
      4. Pour the custard over the bread. Make sure the fruit is spread out evenly. Cover & refrigerate for 1 hour.
      5. Preheat the oven to moderate 180 deg C (350 deg F). Sprinkle the pudding with the demerara sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the custard is set & the top is crunchy & golden.
      Source: Family Circle Classic Essential Puddings

        Sunday 9 October 2011

        I need to slow down...........or maybe, just stop...

                    As I was looking through my recently rearranged bookshelf, I was overcome with guilt. I just have too many cooking/baking books, more than a hundred of them! That don't include the magazines bought over the counter &  food magazines & cards I used to subscribe. And of the thousands of recipes in the books & magazines, I've probably only tried about 10% of them. Still, it's so hard to stop buying.....

                      I'm not supposed to judge a book by its cover but it's always the book cover that attracts me first. Then as I flip through the pages & admire the beautiful pictures, I feel an overwhelming desire to replicate the products & I'm often confident I can do it......That's when  I normally decide to buy the book. Unfortunately, most often, the desire remains a desire up till after a few days after purchasing the book, after which I'll forget about it as it stands in between the other books on my bookshelf.

                  I must say I've improved quite a bit. I've not been buying baking / cooking books as often as I used to. I still  go to the food section of the bookstore.... I still  browse through the books & admire the pictures.... I still have the desire to replicate the products.... But, after I'm done admiring them, I will close the book, put it back on the shelf & walk away. It's very painful, especially at the  beginning, but it's getting  easier..... 

                     One of the books in my collection is Resipi Pesta Perut 2002. It is part of a series of 3 books  produced by Mediacorp's Malay radio station, Warna 94.2FM. These books consist of recipes contributed by listeners of the station. This morning, I made Kasui Lapis Serimuka which is actually Kuih Kasui topped with kaya, like the top of  Kuih Seri Muka.          

                  I only made 1/3 of the original recipe. Good thing I did that. Managed to make about 30 pieces of Kuih Kasui Lapis Serimuka & there was leftover kasui mixture (bottom layer), so I steamed some Kuih Kasui & topped them with fresh grated coconut.

        I'm submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #12: Traditional Kueh (October 2011) hosted by SSB  of  Small Small Baker.

        Kaswi Lapis Serikaya
        (recipe by Hazizah Ghani from Resipi Pesta Perut 2002)

        ** I only made 1/3 of original recipe, the amount I used is in red.)
        Botom layer:
        400g (140g) palm sugar (gula Melaka)
        200g (60g) castor sugar
        600ml (200ml) water
        3 (1) pandan leaves

        500g (170g) plain flour
        125g (40g) tapioca flour
        1 tsp (1/3 tsp) lime/ lye water (air kapur sirih)
        400ml (300ml) water (I added 500ml more to the original amt, so 900ml altogether.)
        1. Combine A in  a pot & cook over medium fire until syrup is thick. Remove from fire & strain. Set aside & let cool.
        2. Combine B in a bowl. Add in sugar syrup & mix until well blend. Strain.
        3. Pour into greased small moulds, half full. (I used small silicone cupcake moulds & Chinese tea cups)
        4. Steam until cooked. (I steamed for 15 minutes.)
        Top layer:
        6 (2)eggs
        400g (135g) sugar
        2 Tbsp (2/3 Tbsp) rice flour (I used plain flour)
        2 1/2 cup (200ml) thick coconut milk
        salt (I used 1/2 tsp)
        vanilla (I replaced this with 3 cardamoms, a pinch fennel (both crushed) & 3 pandan leaves)
        yellow colouring (I used egg yellow colour)

        1. *Combine eggs & sugar & whisk until sugar dissolves.
        2. *Add rice flour & blend well.
        3. *Add coconut milk, salt, vanilla & colouring.
        4. Strain mixture into a pot & cook over low fire until mixture is warm & steam can be seen. Remove from fire.
        5. Pour mixture onto cooked bottom layer & continue steaming until cooked.(I steamed for 15 minutes)
        6. Remove from steamer & leave to cool. Remove kuih from moulds & serve.
        *I combined all ingredients & blend using a blender.
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