How To Make Teh Tarik or 'Pulled Tea'

Teh Tarik which literally means 'Pulled Tea' in English is a very popular drink in Malaysia. The reason why it is called teh tarik is because the drink is achieved by 'pulling' the tea from a big container into another until it is foamy and frosty (see picture). Once the tea is mixed, one has to pour the tea, from as high as possible, and put it into another glass. This has to be done a few times until you find the desired texture. The process of pulling and pouring will eventually make the tea frosty and foamy, hence the name teh tarik. Tarik, means pull in English and Teh is simply tea.

Teh tarik must be mixed with milk, or it will not be called teh tarik. The trademark of teh tarik is, it is served in a clear glass instead of a cup. The rich taste of the tea and milk definitely meet one's satisfaction. It is widely found in almost any restaurant in Malaysia, and if you happen to be away from this country, here is a recipe for you to try at home.

Teh Tarik
2 (250 ml) mugs
500ml mixing pot
4 table spoon powdered tea (any type)
2 tea spoon sugar
4 table spoon condensed milk or as desired
boiling water

1. Put 4 tbsp of powdered tea into a large mixing pot.
2. Add hot water and leave the tea to mix for about five minutes.
3. Sieve and transfer the tea into another glass. Add sugar and milk. Stir well.
4. Take two big glasses, and start pouring the tea from one glass to the other, ensuring that you pull it from as high as you can.
5. Stop when you have achieved the desired foamy texture.
6. Serve in a glass or mug while still hot and foamy.

*Serves 2

Note: Make sure the tea is as thick as possible if you want to achieve the best result. Too little tea will not produce the desired taste and will be too plain and bland.

*photo credit by


A Feast to Celebrate!

The Malaysian food scenes. Where can you get arrays and rows and rows of good food if not in buffet, family gatherings or wedding ceremonies. The colours and smells can make your tummy rumbles...yum...yum...
The last time I was in a family gathering was last month, in my sister's house in Sungai Buloh. After four hours of travel down south, we finally arrived at her new home. It was already middle of the night, but hey...sis, mom and nieces were coming, so my sis, her hubby and daughter were waiting patiently for us to appear. Finally, after midnight, we knocked on the door. They greeted us with a smile. Hands shakings were exchanged. Ahh...
Our visit was to perform an Aqiqah for my daughters and my sis's newly born daughter, Khaleesa Jaida. We slaughtered three goats and distributed the meat to the poor, family members and neighbours. It cost RM 600 for each goat for each daughter. So I had spent RM 1 200 on the goat alone. The goat's price used to be cheaper, but it seems everything has gone up in pricings. The Aqiqah was long overdue. We were suppossed to have it when they were still new borns. Now my eldest is already five years old and her sis is almost four. It just so happen my sis just got a new baby, we therefore decided to combine the feast and celebration. Hence, the Aqiqah at her place.
Back to the preparation,...there was nothing much to prepare by the way because everything was already planned. The tables and chairs, the guests, food and canopy...All had been sorted out. So my visit was more of 'sit and do nothing' guest...(I hope I was not a pest!).
The next morning, we had breakfast. Another day to wait for the big day. So, I had nothing to do than munching and putting food in my mouth. Roti canai, nasi lemak,fried noodles and some sweet desserts, or kuih like we call it here. My mom was sitting on the sofa reading newspapers, the children were upstairs, all by themselves. In the evening, my sis called. What's for dinner? ha? Dinner? Oh...we have masak lemak ikan merah...and fried eggplants...What? What to buy for dinner? Hmm...since you asked....get us fried koay teow and koay teow kung fu for us all here. Hungry? The children were...they have been playing with too little food in their stomach. The adults...hmm...we were the ones with less activities but too much food. Makan lagi...
Anyway, that night, me and my sis made ourselves busy. We decided to give the guests some gifts, so we were spending quarter of the nights putting sweets and chocolates in an organza pouch and tied them nicely and arranged them in a basket. For the children, we had two badges and chocolates in decorated plastic pouches tied with strings. They loved it!
The next morning started a bit slow. Mom cooked pulut kuning or yellow sticky rice. I had cooked besamah daging or beef styled curry the night earlier. These two dishes are best eaten together. Besides besamah daging, we also eat our pulut with rendang...yum...yum...(the recipes...later). Anyway, the guests would only arrive after 2pm, so we had plenty of time. My sis hubby was the cook. He hired a few people to help him cook the dishes...briyani rice, chicken curry, black pepper lamb, cucumber and pineapple salads, spicy fried chicken. The drinks...teh tarik and a mixture of orange and syrup. Yum...yum...The food were fantastic. I could taste the herbs and spices and the briyani rice was superb! I noticed many had second servings. My uncle had five glasses of teh tarik!
The small feast was merry and full of kindred spirits. We had our relatives, friends and neighbours coming to join in the celebration. It made us all closer and in the end, with a huge sigh of relief, I felt that my duty has completed. I have done my requirement as what I should do as a parent, that was to perform an Aqiqah. Although it was a bit late, I thank God that all went well.


Asam Fish Curry

Locally known as Asam Pedas, this sweet,sour and hot dish comes from the Peranakan or Baba and Nyonya generation. Peranakan is a term used for families of mixed Malay and Chinese origins mostly coming from Malacca. It's very easy to make,considering the time span in preparing the dish. Some prefer to fry the basic ingredients first, but some prefer to put all ingredients in a pot and let them simmer until cooked. Personally, I prefer to fry the basic ingredients first as this will add extra aroma and taste to the dish. Happy Trying!

1kg mackerel or tenggiri
250g ladies fingers
1 tomato, quartered
3 sprigs polygonum leaves (daun kesum)
4 tbsp tamarind paste (asam jawa) mixed with 500ml water
1 wild ginger bud (bunga kantan) halve and smash stem
2 pieces dried tamarind skin
5 tbsp oil

Pounded/Blended ingredients
12 shallots
8 fresh red chillies
4 slices galangal
1cm piece fresh turmeric
2cm square belacan, toasted
2 stalks lemon grass

¾-1 tsp salt or to taste
½-1 tsp sugar or to taste

1. Heat oil in a deep saucepan and sauté pounded/blended ingredients and wild ginger bud halves and polygonum leaves until aromatic and the oil rises.
2. Add asam jawa juice and bring to the boil.
3. Add ladies fingers, dried tamarind skin and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
4. Put in mackerel and cook for 10 minutes.
5. Add tomato and adjust seasoning to taste.
6. Dish out and serve with hot plain rice immediately.

*Serve 2-4 people


Rose Flavoured Syrup & Bandung Syrup

This drink is not from Bandung. I don't know why it's called Bandung, but it seems Mee Bandung also does not exist in Bandung. How about Nasi Padang? Go to Padang in Indonesia, you can't find any! 

Hmm... Weird hah? Anyway, it does not matter where the origin is, these drinks are very popular here in Malaysia and my kids love them as well as me. They are also very easy to mix. You just need lots of sugar and rose flavoured culourings plus a few other things. I have a simple recipe below for those who prefer to make homemade syrup. Do try!

Rose Syrup

10 ml of rose flavoured colourings
1 kg sugar
2 screwpine leaves, tied together
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamon pods

1. Boil 3-4 litres of water in a pot.

2. When it is boiling, add red colouring, sugar, screwpine leaves, cloves, cinnamon stick and cardamons.

3. Cook until the sugar is dissolved and until the water has thicken a little bit.

4. Let it cool before putting it in a jar and keep refrigerated.

5. To serve, add one portion of the syrup to five portions of water, or as desired.

To make Bandung Syrup - just add a portion of rose syrup in a glass, add 3 portions of condensed milk and finish off with water and ice.

*picture from Google search


Mango Chutney Recipe from Aapplemint

I found this great mango chutney recipe that I have been searching for from Aapplemint Food Blog. I will try this soon! Yummy!

Aapplemint: Mango Chutney

Buttered Prawns

Buttered Prawns are as rich and flavourful as it sounds. A very popular Chinese dish you need a fast hand to complete this dish beautifully. For first handers, you might need a few practices before you can master the trickiest part, that is the stirring of the egg yolks. But hey, if the egg yolks do not turn as thinly as they should, it's still a great meal to sample! Try!


800 gm prawns, cleaned
9 tbsp butter
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 stalk curry leaves
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
6 thinly sliced cili padi (optinal)


1. Heat 3 tbsp of butter and fry the prawns. Put aside to cool.
2. In the same wok, add 6 tbsp of butter in the remainings, heat the wok up
3. Stir in curry leaves and cili padi until aromatic, then add minced garlic
4. Pour in egg yolks slowly and consistently, and with another hand, stir the yolk vigurously until they form into tiny stripes.
5. Add in the prawns and mix all well. Serve in a serving plate.

*Serve 4-6 people


Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables

Crunchy. Tasty. Colourful. This is perhaps one of the best vegetable dishes that you can serve on the plate, for friends and family or for unexpected guests. Serve mixed vegetables anywhere, I will be one of the first to sample the dish. You can mix as many vegetables as you can, but don't forget to add mixture of contrasting colours and texture as well. What attracts your eyes will definitely fill your stomach later on. Colours and smell can stimulate your brain to enjoy the dish more. In this recipe, I have a few favourite vegetables that mix together very well. Do try!


3 garlic, finely choped
1 big onion, finely chopped
200 gm cauliflower, cut into small pieces
200 gm brocolli, cut into small pieces
1 carrot, cut into cubes
200 gm green beans, cut into 1 inch long
1/2 red capsicum, cut into small cubes
1/2 yellow capsicum, cut into small cubes
1 can button mushroom, wash thoroughly
200 oyster mushroom
6 shitake mushroom, cut into small pieces
300 gm prawns, skin peeled
1 chicken breast fillet, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp corn flour, mixed well with 1/2 cup of water


1. In a heated pan, pour oil. When the oil is hot, put chopped onions and garlic. Stir until slightly brown.
2. Add prawns and chicken breast. Stir well for 30 seconds.
3. When the prawns and chicken are half cooked, add oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well for 30 seconds.
4. Then, add carrots, green beans, cauliflower and brocolli. Stir for 30 seconds.
5. Add button mushroom, oyster mushroom and shitake mushroom. Stir for one minute.
6. Then add capsicum and stir for 30 seconds.
7. Finally, add corn flour which has been mixed with 1/2 cup of water, to thicken the vegetable.
8. Mix well and serve while still hot.

*Serve 3-4 people
*You can add or reduce the amount of the vegetables according to the number of your family or guests


Stuffed Tofu with Chilli Sauce Dippings

Tired of eating the same thing everyday? Why not try this easy to make tofu stuffed with vegetables that you can dip in a mild chilli sauce. Tofu is made of soya beans and very nutritious for our body. It is linked often with the brain, those who eat tofu regularly will have more thinking power than those who are not...Well, I am not sure if the claim has been proven or not, but Tofu is very popular among the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans, and is of Chinese origin. It is made from coagulating soy milk, which then pressed into squares.

There are many different varieties of tofu, including fresh tofu and tofu that has been processed in some way. Tofu has very little flavor or smell, so it can be used either in savory or sweet dishes, and is often seasoned or marinated to suit the dish.

The production of tofu from soy milk is similar to the production of cheesee from milk, although some tofu is made by processing non-soy products, such as almonds or black beans. The by product of the process is soy pulp (also called okara in Japanese).

Although tofu is said to be originated from ancient China, but less is known about the origins of tofu and its method of production. It is believed that tofu and its production technique were subsequently introduced into Korea, then Japan during the Nara period (late eighth century). It also spread into other parts of East Asia including Malaysia. This is much likely coincided with the spread of Buddhism and the immigration of the Chinese to this part of Asia. Since tofu is an important source of proteins in the religion's vegetarian diet, the food was introduced together with the emigration.

Tofu is low in caloriess, contains beneficial amounts of iron (especially important for women of child-bearing age) and has no saturated fat or cholesterol. Depending on the coagulant used in manufacturing, the tofu may also be high in calcium (important for bone development and maintenance), and magnesium (especially important for athletes). Tofu also contains soy isoflavones, which can mimic natural human estrogens and may have some beneficial effects when eaten in sufficient quantities. (source from wikipedia)

Tofu can be prepared in many ways. But today's recipe is made of square white tofu that is fried into hot oil before we stuff them. Enjoy!


4 square white tofu,cut into half

1 grated carrot
200 gm bean sprouts (taugeh),blanched into hot water

Chilli Sauce
6 fresh red chillies
2 garlic
2tbsp sugar
1tsp salt
2 tbsp vinegar
*All ingredients to be blended finely

1. Fry the tofu until golden brown. Transfer to a plate.
2. With a knife, make an insertion in the middle of the tofu for the stuffings.
3. Mix the carrot and bean sprouts with a pinch of salt and pepper for taste.
4. When ready, stuff the tofu with grated carrot and bean sprouts.
5. Serve the tofu with the chilli sauce dipping.

Suggestion: You can put the chilli sauce on top of the stuffings for more ommmph, or you can dip it into the sauce for milder taste. The choice is yours!

*Serve 2-4 people


Hot,Sweet and Sour Chilli Crab

There are a few ways to cook crab. We can simply fry, boil, steam or grill them with simple marinades, or cook them with herbs and spices. In Malay cooking, we like to cook our crab with chillies. Some even put coconut milk to add extra smooth texture and flavour to the crabs. Some add a few spoonful of curry paste and curry leaves to give the dish a more kick. There are many ways you can cook or add flavours to your cooking. But today, I will share with you a simple recipe that is easy to make but yet very fulfilling, which we normally eat with rice. Here we go!


1/2 kg crabs
8 fresh red chillies, pounded (can substituted with dry chillies)
5 cloves garlic, pounded
3 tbsp cooking oil
Coriander for garnishing
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp of sugar, or according to taste
Salt, according to taste
1 tbsp soya bean paste
1 cup water
1 tbsp corn flour
1 tsp lime juice
Coriander leaves


1. Pound garlic and chilli.
2. Heat the oil in a wok, and fry the garlic and chilli till fragrant. Then add in crab and stir-fry for a minute or two.
3. In another bowl, mix the tomato ketchup, salt, sugar, soya bean paste, water and corn flour to make the sauce.
4. Add the sauce mixture to the crabs, and stir well for two minutes. Cover the wok and simmer over high heat for five to seven minutes till the crab shell turns bright red.
5. Remove cover, and add in the lime juice. Garnish with coriander leaves and chilli slices.
6. Serve with rice while still hot.

*Serve 1-2 people


Quick Cooking Tips For Moms On The Go!

Moms out there! Have you ever felt that you do not have enough hands and feet to juggle the day's daily routines! Sending children to school, shopping for groceries, making ready three big meals that must be on the table everyday, cleaning, washing, mopping, and anyhing that comes in between that. By the time we retire, we are too lethargic to even care to eat!
Don't do that anymore! For moms who have limited time to get ready a good meal or would like to try out quick, simple recipes, I have a few suggestions for you. The recipes below are simple and quick to make, a combination of asian and western ingredients that are perfect for a family's meal.

BBQ Chicken Kebabs

Add flavour to barbecued chicken kebabs by marinating them in a Korean-style mix of toasted sesame seeds, sesame oil, a good pinch of sugar, lots of garlic, fresh ginger and some dark soy sauce. Thread the chunks of breast on to kebab sticks, interspersed with whole spring onions, and cook until stickily charred, basting with the marinade during the process.

Tuna Salad

For a summer fish dish, try tuna tartare Caribbean style which, like the Mexican ceviche, uses raw fish ‘cooked’ in citric juices. Buy a thick slice of tuna and chop into very small pieces. Then marinate in lime juice with salt, chopped shallot, green chilli and fresh thyme. Leave for an hour in the fridge, turning once, before serving with a tomato and red onion salad.

Chicken Salad

Egg and herb vinaigrette will liven up a cold chicken salad. Boil two large eggs for 10 minutes while you chop up some fresh tarragon and chives. Beat together some Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, olive oil and white wine vinegar, as for a standard French dressing. Peel and chop the eggs and add them and the herbs to the dressing before pouring over the chicken.

Prawns Peri-Peri and Rice

Prepare peeled prawns in West African peri-peri style by quickly frying with chopped garlic, red chillies and diced fresh tomato. Finish with a squeeze of lime juice and serve with plain, boiled white rice.

Grilled Duck

Slash duck breasts across the fat side and smear with a mixture of honey, powdered ginger, lemon juice and salt. After half an hour, cook on the preheated grill pan, fat side down for 20 minutes - longer if you don’t like your duck pink. Turn in the last five minutes of cooking and leave to stand for another 5 minutes before carving into thick slices.

Grilled Chicken Wings

Marinate chicken wings in olive oil, lemon juice, chopped garlic and paprika for 30 minutes before grilling, until sticky and tinged with brown. Turn several times during the cooking process.

Salmon and Rice

Spice up cooked cold salmon by flaking it and mixing with chopped fresh ginger and spring onion. Add a couple of peeled chopped pears, of a crisp variety. Make a dressing with dark soy sauce, sugar, white wine vinegar and sesame oil, pour over the salmon and fruit and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Top with toasted sesame seeds and eat with boiled rice.

Fried Fish and Rice

Marinate fillets of trout and serve in the Oriental fashion. Mix together some soy sauce, sesame oil, grated fresh ginger, a pinch of sugar and a shake of chilli sauce. Lay the fillets in this mixture for 15 minutes, before quickly frying them in the marinade. Serve with plain boiled rice and a cucumber salad, seasoned with white wine vinegar.

Poached Duck Eggs

The secret to poaching an egg lies in adding plenty of white wine vinegar to the water, which should be at a rolling boil (gently bubbling). The eggs also need to be very fresh; duck eggs work especially well. Simply break them into the water and, once the white has coagulated around the yolk, lift out with a slotted spoon before serving on brown toast.

Home made Veal or Lamb Burgers

Watching rugby calls for meat, but it doesn’t need to be beef. Make your own veal or lamb burgers spiced up with Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and lots of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with hamburger rolls and a garnish of gherkins and tomato ketchup.

Roast Chicken and Rice

Liven up chicken thighs in the Turkish style by roasting them in a hot oven with whole garlic cloves and the juice of a couple of fresh pomegranates. Serve with boiled white rice into which you have stirred some dried raisins, and a salad of finely sliced red cabbage, dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.


Iced Minty Lime Drink

The sun is blazing right through your window. The rain has been scarce. The throat dry and coarse. What a perfect way to quench the thirst by drinking a cold iced minty lime juice that will soothe down that dry throat. For someone more adventurous, you can add asam boi or dried plums to add that extra punch in your drink!
This sweet and sour drink can be made ready a day's ahead. If you have guests coming in the afternoon you can prepare it beforehand and put it in a fridge to let it cold. Or simply you can make a big jug for yourself and family and stock it in your fridge just in case the cravings come again. You can drink it again and again in a hot day!
2 limes
2-4 mint leaves,shredded coarsely
asam boi or dried plums (optional)
sugar, to taste
ice cubes
1. In a glass, squeeze 2 lime juice.
2. Add water and sugar to taste.
3. Add shredded mint leaves (and asam boi - optional)
4. Add ice cubes and stir well until all contents are mixed together.
5. Drink while still cold.
*serve 1 person


Hot Beef Fried Rice

I woke up this morning with a 'dreamy illussion' that I had to take something full for breakfast. Going to bed with an empty stomach gave me a very moody dreamy like feeling...that anytime my legs will become like jellies. The rattlings and rumblings of the empty stomach were a warning that it should be filled soon. I could hear the sound of the acidic counterparts somewhere in my middle area, fighting to say, "Hey...fill me up!". Not good for a woman in her late thirties who is depending on tons of fibres,vitamins and supplements to boost her weaning energy. She needs real food. Real food! Real food that can make her feel fit until the middle of the day.
So...with dreamy eyes, hair tied in a pony tail I headed towards the kitchen. What has to come first? I wanted something fast to cook and simply delicious and fulfilling at the same time. This is the only way I can feel 'kenyang' or full. I peeped inside the refrigerator. Hmm...chicken, fish, prawns, every little tiny bits and pieces of each of them. eyes roved to the right..a small bundle of red frozen meat captured my eyes. Walla! Meat...The last time I had a bite was maybe a month ago, so I knew this would be it. I knew I had rice leftovers the night before, and voila...this would be great for my fried rice!
And oh yes...I wanted something hot...and I took out a packet of cili padi to boost my rice. If you would like to try this spicy fried rice with beef, well you can reduce the heat by cutting off the chilli...but that will not give you an ommpphh! Enjoy!
Hot Beef fried Rice
3 cups of cooked rice,leftovers would be okay
3 garlic,finely chopped
1 big onion,finely chopped
8 cili padi,finely pounded
1 handful of ikan bilis,finely pounded
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
300 gm beef, very thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
dried onion, for garnishing
spring onions, for garnishing (finely sliced)
1. Put oil in a heated pan. When the pan is hot, put in chopped onion and garlic. Stir for 30 seconds.
2. Add in pounded ikan bilis, cili padi and beef. Stir until all are mixed and cooked.
3. Add oyster sauce,soy sauce,pepper and salt. Stir well.
4. Add in the rice, reduce the heat, and mix all ingredients until all are well mixed together.
5. Make a well in the middle and add beaten eggs.
6. Cook and mix the eggs with the rice. Increase the heat once all ingredients are well mixed.
7. For another minute, mix well or until the rice becomes a bit dry.
8. Serve with sliced cucumber,tomatoes and sambal belacan.
*Serve 3-4 people
*To make a milder version, reduce the cili padi or cut it off altogether, or substitute it with chilli paste. But the taste will be different!


How to Make Onde-Onde that Melts in Your Mouth

ONDE-ONDE...or Buah Melaka is a traditional Malay dessert. It is sweet and full of contrasting flavours. Spongy on the outside, sweet on the inside. When you bite onde-onde, the first impression you get is a spongy,rubbery-like texture that is fighting to settle in your mouth. Then...POP! Once your teeth bite deeper, the sweet, melting gula melaka or palm sugar will start oozing, filling your tastebuds with sweet sensation. Once you have your first taste, you will guarantee crave for more Onde-Onde. Take this simple recipe for your tea time sensation.


240 gm glutinous flour
3/4 cup hot water
1 tbsp screwpine (pandan) essence
120 gm gula melaka or palm sugar, diced into small squares (can be substituted with brown sugar)
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
a few drops of green colouring (optional - the colouring is meant to enhance the green colour)
a pinch of salt


1. Sieve glutinous flour into a bowl. Add hot water, screwpine essence and a few drops of green colouring (optional)
2. Combine the ingredients and make a dough.
3. Once the dough is ready, make a round pingpong sized dough. Make a hole in the middle and insert palm sugar. Cover the dough balls well.
4. Repeat untill finishes.
5. In another pot, boil some water. Add 2 screwpine leaves (tied together) and some salt.
6. Put the ready made dough balls into the hot water. Cook untill the dough balls emerge from the water.
7. Take out the dough balls and mix them with fresh grated coconut mixed with a pinch of salt.
8. Now the Onde-Onde is ready to be served!


Chicken Tagine Recipe

I read with a great interest an article about Rebecca Davis' cooking experience in Morocco from the Telegraph UK, Like her, I also have a strong inclination towards mediterranean cuisine. I have been looking for a chicken tagine recipe and happy that I read this one. Although this is not a Malaysian food recipe, I hope I can share it with you.

How to cook an authentic Moroccan tagine by Rebecca Davis (Rebecca Davies travels to the 'Red City' of Marrakech to learn how to create a colourful Moroccan dish)

There are few countries in the world with a cuisine as colourful as Morocco’s. The vibrant fusion of bright yellow saffron, lush green parsley, juicy red tomatoes, terracotta earthenware and cooking vessels painted in every shade of azure and aquamarine make any Moroccan dish a feast for the eyes before you have even tasted a mouthful.

But despite its visual complexity, Moroccan food is also surprisingly easy to cook. And where better to learn to do so than in Morocco’s colourfully-named cultural capital, the ‘Red City’ of Marrakech.

The Maison Arabe hotel runs cookery courses on the outskirts of the city so, as a long-time fan of Moroccan food but a hopeless cook, I eagerly signed up for an afternoon's group lesson in the hope of learning to recreate some of my favourite dishes and convince my friends that I’m not a lost cause in the kitchen after all. A variety of courses are on offer for both amateurs and professionals, and guests are tutored in the preparation of traditional Moroccan dishes either on their own or in groups of up to eight people.

Our mentor was a short, stout, local woman called Aziza. It was impossible to determine precisely how old she was – anything between 60 and 80, at a guess - but she had a distinct matriarchal air about her. Her cookery skills have been handed down from mother to daughter over generations and perfected while preparing for countless weddings, baby naming ceremonies, circumcision parties and other family celebrations. In short, Aziza is the real deal. In fact, she’s so authentic that she doesn’t speak any English or even French, which is spoken by over half the country’s population, only Arabic. Thankfully a translator by the name of Mohammed was on hand to interpret her wisdom for the rest of us. Mohammed is a part-time professor of English and, it turns out, a dab hand at chopping coriander as well.
After a brief introduction to some of the basic principles and ingredients of Moroccan cookery (including the fact that, in Morocco, rosemary is used as shrubbery rather than seasoning) each member of the group was given a fetching striped apron to wear, and set to work in their own little preparation area.

The dish du jour was chicken tagine which, I quickly realised, would force me to confront my phobia of handling raw meat. As a recent convert from vegetarianism to carnivorism, I am an avid supporter of meat once it’s tenderised, char-grilled and on my plate, but the slimy viscerality of dead animal is still too much for my delicate constitution to take.
After some rather cack-handed herb and vegetable chopping on my part (I blame the knives) followed by some slightly more successful mixing of olive oil, spices and ghee (the clarified butter used in lots of Indian cooking), it was time to marinate the chicken. Aziza and the boldest of my fellow students picked up the bits of bird on the bone and coated them in the sauce that we had just prepared. I stood and stared at the bowl of pink flesh.

I think Mohammed must have spotted the desperation on my face, as he kindly stepped in and suggested that I use two spoons to manoeuvre the chicken, thus avoiding any contact with my hands. This proved to be easier said than done, but after a few mishaps on the counter, the chicken was marinated, my hands were meat-free and my tagine was in its special cone-lidded pot and ready for cooking.

Ideally a tagine should be stewed very slowly over a charcoal fire for several hours. This preserves more of the flavour, as less water needs to be added into the mix. However, as we didn’t have several hours to spare, we instead opted to cook over the hobs at the back of the kitchen, inserting a small, metal diffuser plate between the heat and the pot to prevent it from cracking.

Few people in the western world are likely to keep a tagine pot alongside their pressure cooker and Tupperware, but you could easily prepare this dish in a conventional pot, or even a saucepan, as long as it has a lid. The conical lid of the Moroccan pot is designed to aid condensation, but unless you’re a tagine connoisseur (or Aziza), you’ll hardly be able to tell the difference. And if you’re a stickler for tradition, you can even cook it over a low heat on a barbecue in the back garden.

After just over an hour of simmering with occasional stirring and adding of water, the tagine was ready and we had reached my favourite part of the cooking process: the eating. The course is held in an upstairs room overlooking a beautiful leafy courtyard full of exotic birds and flowers. A large dining table was set by the window at one end of the room, and our tagines were served up with Moroccan flat bread for dipping. The results? Delicious, if slightly artery-clogging on account of all the melted butter.

The most heartening thing about the whole experience was that, dead bird aside, it really wasn’t that difficult. After the first 10 minutes, most of the preparation time involved simply waiting for the tagine to cook. Yet it still looks very impressive, especially if you do happen to own some attractive Moroccan crockery to serve it in. And you could easily vary the dish by substituting the chicken with lamb, beef or even fish. I know what I’ll be cooking for my next four dinner parties…


½ a preserved lemon (lemon soaked in a jar in 1 part salt to 3 parts water for two months)
4 pieces of chicken of the bone
1 small red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp fresh coriander and parsley
1 tsp black pepper
1¼ tsp ginger
1 heaped tsp turmeric
Pinch of saffron
1tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
8-10 olives

1. Cut the preserved lemon in half and scoop out and chop the flesh and add it to the tagine pot. Set the peel aside for later.

2. Chop and crush the garlic and add it to the lemon. Add all the spices, the olive oil and the ghee, and mix.

3. Coat the chicken in the mixture and leave to marinade, preferably overnight.

4. Chop and add the onion and cook on a medium heat for 20 minutes, turning twice during this time.

5. Add 250ml water to the sauce and leave to simmer on a low heat for another 45 minutes.

6. Chop the lemon skin into ‘hand-shaped’ fans (representing 'the hand of Fatima', a superstitious symbol that is believed to ward off evil) and use them to decorate the dish along with the olives.

The Moroccan cookery course can be booked through La Maison Arabe or Cadogan Holidays (0845 615 6793).

Prices start from £118 per person for three half days.
Rebecca travelled with Cadogan Holidays from Heathrow, using the scheduled services of
Royal Air Maroc.


Malaysian Spicy Fried Chicken

We have many methods to marinade and fry our chicken. From the very basic ingredients like salt and tumeric powder, we use our herbs and spices as a marinade to add a lot of zest and character to our dish. Here is one of our fried chicken recipes that you can try.


Item A

1 whole chicken, cleaned and cut into 8-12 pieces

Item B

To be blended or pounded finely

5 garlic
3 inch ginger
1 big onion
2 lemongrass
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 cm tumeric root (can be substitued with tumeric powder)
1 cm galangal
10 dried chillies (soak in hot water, washed and drained first)
salt to taste


1. In a big bowl, marinade all the blended items (Item B) with the chicken.
2. Keep refrigerated overnight or at least 2 hours before deep frying them.
3. Serve with rice.

* Serve 4-5 people


Learn To Cook Nasi Lemak and Sambal Ikan Bilis

Generally, Malaysian can't live without nasi lemak. We can eat nasi lemak for breakfast, lunch or dinner. In other words, nasi lemak is all time favourite among us all. Like I said in my earlier post, this is the recipe for nasi lemak or rice cooked in coconut milk for you to try. 

Nasi lemak has a nice, fragrant aroma. This is because you cook the rice with coconut milk, screwpine leaves and ginger. Half way of cooking, you will smell the fragrance that come from your rice cooker that can tantalize your cravings.  

To add the ommph!, serve the rice with mild sambal ikan bilis, or anchovies cooked with chilli paste. If you do not prefer ikan bilis, you can serve it with prawns or squids sambal, which are equally good. To add more punch! you can put petai in your sambal, and I think you will die smiling! And hopefully rise to heaven!

Here we go!

Ingredients for Nasi lemak

3 cups of rice, washed thoroughly and drain to dry
2 inch ginger, chopped coarsely
6 shallots, chopped finely
2 screwpine leaves, tie them together
5 cups thick coconut milk (thin milk will not produce fluffy texture and rich flavour)
salt to taste


1. Put the rice and all the rest of the ingredients in a rice cooker and cook until rice is tender.

2. Don't forget to add salt to taste.

3. Stir occasionally to ensure all ingredients are mixed well.

4. When it's cooked, serve with sambal ikan bilis, sliced cucumber and roasted peanuts.


Ingredients for Sambal Ikan Bilis

300 gm ikan bilis, fry until crisp (if you don't prefer ikan bilis, substitute with prawns or squids)
2 tbsp dried chilli paste
3 garlic, pounded finely
1 big onion, pounded finely
1/2 cup tamarind juice
1 tbsp sugar
1cm belacan (dried shrimp paste)


1. In a heated pan, add oil. Put in pounded onion and garlic. Cook until aromatic or turning slightly brown.

2. Add chilli paste. If you prefer hotter dish, you can add more chilli paste.

3. Add sugar and salt. Cook and stir until the ingredients are mixed well.

4. When the oil emerge around the mixture, add belacan and tamarind juice. Stir for a few minutes.

5. If the mixture becomes a bit dry, you can add some water. The thickness of your sambal will be determined by how much water you put.

6. When you are satisfied with the thickness of your sambal, add fried and crispy ikan bilis and mix the ingredients together.

7. If you prefer, add some petai for extra flavour (optional)

8. Serve with a hot plate of nasi lemak. Garnish with sliced cucumber, hard boiled egg and roasted peanuts.

9. To add more choices, you can eat nasi lemak and sambal with dried fish or rendang.

* Serves 3-4 people

One Nasi Lemak Please!

"Nasi Lemak....nasi lemak....20 sen satu!"

A glimpse of a boy carrying a basket selling nasi lemak from door to door flashed to my eyes. He put his biscycle againt the wall and took out a few folds of nasi lemak and put them in a plastic bag.

"Jual ya kak!" he took the money and pulled his bicycle away in haste, cycling and making rounds to ensure that his nasi lemak would be sold before noon.

As I drove my car this morning after sending my daughter to her school, the reminiscene of that little boy and his bicycle and nasi lemak brought back old times to mind. While his image was still flashing in my mind, I stopped by a roadstall almost knocking a sign post that was too near the road. I watched. A few stalls stood erect alongside one another. A few people were choosing and looking. Some gushed inside their car with a few plastic bags. Hungry perhaps. Or maybe there were visitors at the house.

Hesitantly, I picked the nearest stall to me. I got out of the car. A woman greeeted me with a smile.

"Nasi lemak, kak?" she asked without hesitation. A few drops or perspirations were trickling down her forehead. She flipped a row of plastic covers and exposed varieties of delicacies to choose from. One by one, I stretched my eyes covering from the nearest to the farthest that I can see. The woman waited patiently. I was still hesitant. Hmm...No, not today. No kuih for today. No sweet desserts....Just simply nasi lemak.

"Nasi lemak 4." I opened my purse.

"Ya kak," the woman quickly put the folded nasi lemak into a plastic bag.

I took the bag.

"Empat Ringgit kak," the woman flashed her teeth.

"Eh...dah naik lagi harga?" I was not amused.

"Beras dah mahal kak," the woman explained.

"Yalah," I paid the new price.

My thoughts were flying everywhere. Everything has changed. The oil price. The political scenarios. The crime levels. The good and the bandits. The cements. The food. And now the rice. My eyes flashed back to that little boy and his nasi lemak. Cycling peacefully. Only God knew what was in his mind at that time. But I was sure it was not about the hike in pricings. Maybe to him, what matter was he sold his nasi lemak and made his mom happy. The whole family can eat and live at peace.

Now, we buy our nasi lemak sparingly. Eventhough RM1 or RM 1.20 for one folded nasi lemak is still reasonable, still the price is hike. To reduce some spendings on nasi lemak bungkus, why not cook some at home for all to enjoy. Share mom's secret recipes above!


Crispy Springrolls

Crispy in the outside and soft in the inside. Once you bite the crispy outer layer of the fried springroll skin, you thought that it will stay like that forever. But once you have reached the fillings inside, the softness of the mixed vegetables simply melt in your mouth. Springrolls or Popiah Goreng can be taken for breakfast or tea time. They normally come in two sizes, small or medium. The smaller they are, the crispier they will be. Best served with a chilli sauce dip. Easy to make and prepare. Fast to eat!
Item A
A packet of springroll skin (you can get this in any frozen department)
Item B
3 garlic, finely chopped
1 big onion, finely chopped
200 gm dried shrimps, pounded (can be substituted with fresh ones)
2 carrots, thinly grated
1 sengkuang, thinly grated
200 gm taugeh, boil in hot water until tender
salt to taste
How to make the springroll fillings:
1. In a heated pan, add oil and stir in garlic and onion.
2. When golden brown, add dried shrimps.
3. When the shrimps are cooked, add carrots and sengkuang.
4. When the vegetables are half tender, add taugeh, pepper and salt.
5. Stir until all ingredients are tender and all the juices have been absorbed.
6. Transfer fillings into a bowl.
How to make the springroll:
1. In a flat surface, lay down the first thin layer of the springroll skin.
2. Scoop a tbsp of the fillings and put in at the outer age of the skin, diagonally.
3. Fold the edges to the left or right and fold over until it reaches the end.
4. Finish folding one by one.
5. In a heated pan, deep fry the springrolls until golden brown.
6. Serve while hot with a chilli sauce dip.
How to make a good chilli sauce:
1. Pound or blend 3 garlic with 6 red fresh chillies until fine.
2. Transfer the pounded items into a bowl.
3. Add 2 tbsp sugar, 2tbsp vinegar and salt to taste. Stir until all are blended well.
4. Serve with the springrolls.


Malaysian Food Scenes

Sights. Smell. Smoke. Sweat. Savour.
These are apt to describe Malaysian food scenes. Scenarios you can see along the streets, lonely or busy streets, short or long roads. In kampungs, towns, big cities and highways. This unique trademark about Malaysia has win the local hearts. Eventhough big cafes and restaurants are mushrooming left and right, street food however will bring more excitement, choices, flavours, colours, varieties and smell. Don't be surprised that most good and cheap food can be purchased here. Mostly favourites and popular among Malaysians.
In towns and smaller cities, you can walk along any roads, and you can see people selling foodstuff by the roadside. From pisang goreng, jemput-jemput pisang, cucur udang to cendul and ais kacang (fried bananas, banana patties, prawn patties, cold coconut milk with palm sugar and sweet grated ice). You name it, you can get it all here.
In the morning, you can see people selling breakfast. Nasi lemak, roti canai, can get your local favourite breakfast so the roadside! No need to grate and squeeze your own coconut milk or kneading your own roti canai dough. No need to dirty your hands and do the odd jobs! It's soooo easy. Just drive your car, or if you are lucky, you can just walk to get them instantly!
At night, our pasar malam or night market will add more excitement, buzz and what else, eating activities. Turn everywhere and you can see people looking, oozing, watching, choosing, picking and tasting the food. For those who can't wait they will eat standing. On your left and right, food sellers will scream their signature dish and gosh...the choices are unbelievable. If you live just by the roadside where they erect this pasar malam tents, you don't even have to have a kitchen in your house! It will be spick and span, polished and fragrant! Even your cats like to sleep on the counter because it's sooo shiny! You too can do that!
What can you get in pasar malam? Almost everything! Cheap! From ayam percik or grilled chicken to noodles, all sorts of cooked rice, savoury cakes, sweet cakes, soups, fresh vegetables, fresh poultry and fish, all sorts of drinks like sugar cane, cincau, coffee, lime drinks to attire and home needs!
Wow! That's why I love this country very much.
Eventhough big, fine, air conditioned cafes and restaurants provide all the comforts, street stalls and pasar malam will provide the best and true Malaysian lifestyle at its humblest!

Cucumber and Carrot Salad

This is a must side dish for nasi minyak, nasi briyani or nasi dagang. I personally like to eat them on their own, crunching the crunchy cucumber and carrots in between my teeth. The sweet and sour tangy taste that they produce with the pungent garlicky taste, give an ummphh! to this traditional favourite salad. Very good for health. It is easy and fast to make. Tasty and keep you on the go. Take and save the recipe below!


2 cucumber, cut into an inch long and 1cm thick
2 carrots, cut into an inch long and 1 cm thick
2 red chillies, thinly sliced
3 garlic, thinly sliced
1 inch ginger, thinly sliced
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp vinegar
salt to taste


1. Combine all ingredients and keep refrigerated for at least 2 hours before serving.


Watermelon Juice

If I eat out, this is what I normally drink. I like the sweet fragrant taste of the watermelon that sips down your throat. It is very easy to make. All you need is a blender and you can drink this anytime of the day. Here is a very simple recipe for you to try at home.


1/2 Watermelon flesh, deseeded and cut into small pieces
Sugar syrup
1 lime juice
1/2 cup water
Mint leaf
5-6 ice cubes


1. Put the watermelon pieces, sugar syrup, water and ice cubes into a blender.
2. Blend all ingredients until the ice become smooth.
3. Transfer the juice into a glass.
4. Squeeze 1 lime juice into the juice.
5. Garnish with mint leaf.
6. Serve.

Beef Potato Patties

Beef Potato Patties or Begedil Daging are served on its own, with rice or soto (a malaysian rice cake soup with shredded chicken). One of the popular dishes, Begedil Daging is soft and melts in your mouth once its eaten. I like to eat my Begedil on its own. The potatoes give a full feeling once you have completed your meals. Besides beef, it can be substituted with chicken, fish or crab meat. It's simple and very easy to make. Suitable for those who need fast recipes to catch the busy lifestyle. Try!


Item A

500 gm of minced beef
6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 4 pieces, fry until brown
1 big onion, finely chopped
3 strands coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp pepper
salt to taste

Item B

2 eggs, beaten


1. In a bowl, mix minced beef with potatoes (mash the potatoes with the beef) and the rest of Item A.
2. Mix well. After all ingredients are mixed together, form a small patty.
3. Flatten the patty to make them less round.
4. Once the patties are ready, heat oil in a pan.
5. Before frying, dip the patties into the beaten eggs and quickly fry it one by one.
6. Cook until golden brown.
7. Serve while still hot.