Natural Coloring Tang Yuan 汤圆

Chinese had long been determining the winter solstice festival, or dong zhi, by observing the movement of the sun. Being a day with shortest day and longest night of the year, this is a day well celebrated, not only by the Chinese but also in other cultures. On this day, the daylight is at its shortest and it will give way to more light and warmth for the days to come. For the Chinese, this is being viewed as a good sign, as day is a symbol of yang, a musculine and positive energy. With the days grows longer, the positive energy is believed to increase.

On this day, it is common for a family to gather together and pay homage for a good year. A bowl of tangyuan - glutinous rice balls, is usually served alongside. Tangyuan symbolise reunion and wholeness, often time colorful and brightly colored. Perhaps, that is how our life should be! My mom always tells me that,' After eat tang yuan, you are now one year older and you should be more well behaved from now on!'. This festive food is always a reminder that the celebrators are now 'one year older', and should be more mature in the year to come.

Natural Coloring Tang Yuan
Makes 1 small bowl of tang yuan


Tang Yuan
  • 60g glutinous rice flour
  • 51g water / juice*
  • 1 cup water
  • 20g sugar
  • 1 pandan leaf
  • 2 slices ginger
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix glutinous rice flour with water / juice.
  2. Knead well and set aside for 1 hour.
  3. Divide the glutinous rice to small portion and roll round like balls.
  4. In a pot, boil 1 cup water. Add ginger, pandan leaf and sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. In another pot, boil enough water and throw in glutinous rice balls.
  6. The glutinous rice ball is cooked when it float on the water.
  7. Serve tang yuan hot with the broth.
* I used plain water for white color balls, pandan juice for green color balls, and berries juice for red color balls.

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Originated from Milan, Italy, panettone is a festive bread typically enjoyed during Christmas. The classic pannetone usually weigh around a kilo, packed in oversized and elegant box, and is great to be given as gift or brought to be shared. Bursting with citrus flavour and lavished with generous allotment of mixed fruits. this bread is considered a must during Christmas for Italian family. Some believe that the name Panettone derived from the word 'Pan del ton' in Milanese which means 'cake of luxury'.

This is the first time I made a Panettone and also the first time I had tried one. The reason being that pannetone is rich in mixed fruits, and I kind of detest those overly sweetened, medicinal taste-alike mixed fruits sold in the market. Just as I am about to skip Panettone from my "Christmas to-make list", I stumbled across this recipe - which someone diligently raved about how tasty the result is compared to those commercially sold one. The recipe get you to mix your own mixed fruits, which means that I can skip those artificially flavoured pre-mixed mixed fruits sold in the market.

Ends up... for the first time ever, I was really tempted to try it. And of course, I made them in their 'mini' size.


The result? I love it!

(Recipe adapted from The World of Bread by Alex Goh)
Makes 6


Sponge Starter Dough
  • 210g bread flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 120ml water
Main Dough
  • all starter dough
  • 90g bread flour
  • 10g milk powder
  • 3g salt
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 60g butter
Fruits Mixture
  • 100g raisin
  • 40g orange peel
  • 25g red cherries
  • 1/2 orange zest
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp rum
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix together the fruits mixture and keep in the fridge overnight.
  2. Mix together starter dough and let it ferment 2-3 hours.
  3. Pour flour into the starter dough and mix well. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except butter) and knead.
  4. Add in butter and mix until incorporated.
  5. Add in the mixed fruit and mix well.
  6. Divide the panettone to 6 and let it proof in a panettone cup for an hour.
  7. Egg wash.
  8. Bake in preheated oven at 175C for 15 minutes, then 150C for another 10 minutes.
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  • 210克面粉
  • 1小匙即食酵母粉
  • 120毫升水
  • 所有海绵种
  • 90克面粉
  • 10克奶粉
  • 3克盐
  • 50克糖
  • 1个鸡蛋
  • 60克牛油
  • 100克葡萄干
  • 40克橘皮
  • 25克红樱桃
  • 1/2橙皮削
  • 1汤匙橙汁
  • 2汤匙朗姆酒
  1. 杂果混合在一起,在冰箱里放过夜。
  2. 海绵种混合在一起,让它发酵2-3小时。
  3. 面粉倒入海绵种。揉好。加入其余的材料(牛油除外)揉好。
  4. 加入黄油,揉到混合。
  5. 加入杂果,拌均。
  6. 面团分成6份,分别放入容器里发酵1个小时。
  7. 涂上蛋液。
  8. 在已预热烘箱中以175℃烤 15分钟,然后150℃烤10分钟。

This post is also linked to Cook and Celebrate: Christmas 2014 organised by Yen from Eat your heart out, Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.

Lo Mai Kai 糯米鸡

Lo mai kai, literally translated to glutinous rice chicken, is a classic dum sim dish commonly served in Chinese restaurant for breakfast. Usually, it is kept in a aluminum bowl, with chicken chunks, lap cheong (Chinese sausage), and mushroom at the bottom. To serve, simply overturn the bowl and tadah! Those delicious ingredients now become the topping. Arrange your ingredients nicely and you got some artistic pieces there!

I didn't really like to use aluminum bowl, so instead, I used my remekins and some small borosilicate glass bowls which I bought from Lock & Lock. No disposables are used, absolutely environmental and palate friendly.   

Lo Mai Kai
Makes 8

  • 400g glutinous rice
  • 250g chicken (deboned), cut into 16 chunks
  • 8 mushroom (small size), soaked
  • 1 chinese sausage, sliced
  • 2 tbsp dried shrimp, washed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 8 tbsp ABC kecap manis
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • few dashes pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. In a frying pan, heat oil and stir fry dried shrimp and garlic until fragrant.
  2. Add chicken, mushroom, chinese sausage and all the seasonings. Stir to coat and let it simmers for a few minutes.
  3. Remove chicken, mushroom and chinese sausage, set aside.
  4. With the remaining sauces in the frying pan, add in glutinous rice. Stir to coat well.
  5. Distribute chicken, mushroom and chinese sausage to the bottom of 8 small bowls. Top up with glutinous rice.
  6. Fill in water until just level with the glutinous rice.
  7. Steam for 45 minutes.

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  • 400克糯米
  • 250克鸡肉(去骨),切成16块
  • 8朵香菇(小),泡软
  • 1条中国香肠,切片
  • 2汤匙虾米,洗净
  • 4瓣大蒜
  • 2汤匙香油


  • 2汤匙蚝油
  • 8汤匙ABC Kecap Manis
  • 2汤匙酱油
  • 少许胡椒粉


  1. 在一个炒锅,热油炒香虾米和大蒜。
  2. 加入鸡肉,蘑菇,中国腊肠和所有的调味料。搅拌均匀,略略翻抄几分钟。
  3. 将鸡肉,香菇和中国香肠盛出,待用。
  4. 把糯米加入煎锅中剩余的酱汁,搅拌均匀。
  5. 分别将鸡肉,蘑菇和中国香肠分放到8个小碗的底部。用糯米盖满。
  6. 在碗里装水,装到糯米的水平线就好。
  7. 蒸45分钟。

With the Christmas songs playing in the air and the Christmas decorations being set up almost everywhere, it is hard for one not to notice that Christmas is just around the corner!
This is the first log cake that I had ever made, something memorable, so I hope I got the picture nicely taken. I have not done that before because whenever I stared at those beautiful piece of art, it somehow occurred to me that this is not something easy to achieve. Turn, out, it is in fact pretty straightforward; those artistic looking wooden feel that once daunted me, can be achieved effortlessly by simply using a fork! Needless to mention, a homemade log cake is surely much much cheaper than buying from a bakery. 

Have I convince you enough to make one for your own yet? If not, another tip for you is that you could sprinkle some icing sugar on top. It does not only create a snowy dreamy effect, but also easily conceal any imperfection on the surface, making the cake look more professionally made!

Yule Log Cake


  • 120ml whipping cream
  • 2 heaping tablespoons nutella spread
  • 3 egg yolk
  • 20g sugar
  • 34g vegetable oil
  • 34g water
  • 50g cake flour
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • 3g egg white
  • 40g sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. Beat the chilled whipping cream until soft peak. Add in nutella spread and mix well. (Chill the mixer bowl and whisk if weather is hot)
  1. Beat egg yolk with 20g of sugar until thick and pale in color.
  2. Add water, sift in flour and cocoa powder. Mix well.
  3. Add in vegetable oil, Mix well.
  4. Beat egg white until frothy, add in 1/3 of the sugar and continue to beat. When the bubbles getting smaller, add another 1/3 of the sugar, continue to beat. When the whisk leave a trail behind, add the remaining sugar. Beat until stiff peak.
  5. Fold in 1/3 of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture. Mix well.
  6. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the meringue and fold gently.
  7. Bake in preheated oven at 180C for 15 minutes.
  8. Leave the cake to cool.
  1. Spread whipped cream over and roll the cake like swiss roll.
  2. Trim off the sides and cut a small piece from the end of the cake and place it on top of the 'log'.
  3. Spread the cream over the cake.
  4. Use a fork to create the effect of a log.
  5. Decorate the cake as you like.

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This post is also linked to Cook and Celebrate: Christmas 2014 organised by Yen from Eat your heart out, Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.

Braised Chicken Feet 凤爪

'Like it', 'hate it'-which group do you belongs to? 

Some people couldn't stand the sight of it, others swore by it. In case you haven't tried it, those are chicken feet being deep fried, cooked in the water until soft and the skin become puffy, then steamed in spicy bean sauce until the seasoning goes deep into the bones. To me, it taste fantastic. A fear factor or not, you got to decide yourself!

Braised Chicken Feet

  • 500g chicken feet
  • 4g salt
  • 18g sugar
  • 1 heaping tbsp spicy bean sauce
  • 1 tbsp ABC Kecap Manis
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 2.5 tbsp water
  • 11g corn starch
  • 70g vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp 5 spice powder
  • maltose
  • cut chillies (optional)
Cooking Directions (you may skip step (1) - (3) if buying ready fried chicken feet)
  1. Clean chicken feet, put in boiling water for a minute and drain.
  2. Coat chicken with some maltose.
  3. Deep fry until golden brown.
  4. Cook chicken feet in water (water enough to cover chicken feet) with 1 tsp 5-spice powder until soft, around 1 - 1.5 hour.
  5. Drain the chicken.
  6. Combine ingredients for sauce, drizzle over chicken and steam for 10 minutes.

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  • 500克鸡爪
  • 4克盐
  • 18克糖
  • 1大汤匙辣豆瓣酱
  • 1汤匙ABC Kecap Manis
  • 1汤匙料酒
  • 1/2汤匙蜂蜜
  • 2.5汤匙水
  • 11克玉米淀粉
  • 70克植物油
  • 1茶匙5五香粉
  • 麦芽糖
  • 切辣椒(可选)
做法(如果买现成炸鸡爪,可以跳过步骤(1) - (3))
  1. 洗净鸡爪,飞水,沥干。
  2. 鸡爪裹上一些麦芽糖。
  3. 炸至金黄色。
  4. 另取一个锅,放入鸡爪,装水直足以覆盖鸡爪,加入1茶匙5香料粉,煮直鸡爪变软,大约1 - 1.5小时。
  5. 取出鸡爪。
  6. 混合酱料,淋在鸡爪上,隔水蒸10分钟。
I realize that many franchises couldn't maintain a similar quality, especially  across different countries. In Singapore, we are lucky to have tons of nice food, restaurants here are really blooming, many with long queues lining up at the front door especially during dining hours.

I have tried many franchises in Singapore, and left with happy stomach; but not so in other countries. Nandos in Malaysia is one of the exception, and with the Ringgit at its low this moment, shopping and eating in Malaydia does make it much more enjoyable, and of course, pocket friendly! 

Nando's chickens are marinated in their secret sauce for 24 hours, and then flame-grilled and basted with the Nando's Peri-Peri sauce, with few levels of spiciness to choose from.

We took the two extreme - lemon garlic and the extra hot. 

I was getting pretty proud of myself when I find that I could gulp down the extra hot chicken without any swear. Extra hot? Piece of cake, or so I thought. It is only till the night, right before the journey back to Singapore, that I found myself struggling in the toilet. Apparently, my stomach couldn't handle the heat just as much as my palate could. Gosh, perhaps I shouldn't go further into that... 

Not so brave? Probably that suit me more...

Nandos @ City Square
MB-07, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, 
80000 Johor Bahru, 
Johor, Malaysia

Laksa Johor 柔佛叻沙

Being borned in Johor, this is a dish that I really enjoy and miss. With the name 'laksa Johor', you would have thought that it is a very popular dish in Johor and can be found everywhere. Well, it is not the case. In fact, it is not easy to come by even in Johor itself!  I used to frequent a laksa-specialised chain restaurant called Laksa Shack, which offered a good varieties of laksa, and some pretty good ones too. However, it didn't last long. Soon, it was replaced by some Japanese style hotpot restaurant and my laksa go-to place had since long gone...

Good thing that now I can make it myself, I no longer need to search high and low for the laksa whenever the craving strikes!

Unlike most other types of laksa, this laksa uses coconut milk and fish based gravy, and spaghetti was used instead of laksa noodle. The addition of many fresh vegetables render tasty refreshing crunch in every bites. I have tried many types of laksa, but none have this distinct fresh crunch that you can find in laksa Johor. 

The history of Laksa Johor can be traced back to the 1800s. It was said that one of the Sultan of Johor fell in love with spaghetti during his visit to Italy. Upon returned, he ordered the chef to concoct a fusion dish - by combining the local style laksa gravy with the Italian style spaghetti, hence the birth of this delicious dish.

Laksa Johor 柔佛叻沙

Laksa Johor
Serves 4


Sambal belacan
  • 3 fresh chillies
  • 4g belacan, toasted
  • 1 lime/ green lemon
Spice Paste
  • 5 chillies
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 8 shallots
  • 3 garlic
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 50g dried prawn, washed, blended and toasted
  • 2 tbsp fish curry powder
  • 65ml thick coconut cream
  • 3 lemongrass, bruised
  • 200g mackarel fillet, steamed and flaked
  • 35g desiccated coconut. toasted 150C 10 minutes
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste in 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • 8 sprigs laksa leaves, chopped roughly
  • 100g bean sprout, washed
  • 2 shallot, sliced
  • 100g long beans, sliced
  • 300g spaghetti
Cooking Directions
  1. For sambal belacan, blend 3 chillies and toasted belacan together. Serve with cut lime.
  2. For spice paste, blend 5 chillies, ginger, shallots and garlic together.
  3. Heat oil, stir fry spice paste until fragrant, add in toasted dried prawn, curry powder and lemongrass.
  4. Add 3 - 3.5 cups water, bring to boil.
  5. Add fish, coconut cream, tamarind and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add toasted desiccated coconut and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  7. Cook spaghetti as per the instruction on the package.
  8. Serve spaghetti on plate, top with garnish, ladle gravy over and add sambal.

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  • 3条新鲜辣椒
  • 4克马来栈,烤香
  • 1粒青柠檬
  • 5条辣椒
  • 1/2英寸生姜
  • 8粒葱头
  • 3粒大蒜
  • 2汤匙植物油
  • 50克虾米,洗净,绞碎和烤香
  • 2汤匙咖喱鱼粉
  • 65毫升厚椰浆
  • 3棵香茅,压扁
  • 200克马鲛鱼片,蒸过,去骨,捣碎
  • 35克椰丝,烤150C 10分钟
  • 2汤匙罗望子糊溶解在1/4杯水
  • 2茶匙盐
  • 1条黄瓜,切丝
  • 8小枝叻沙叶,切碎
  • 100克豆芽洗净
  • 2粒葱头,切片
  • 100克长豆,切粒
  • 300克意大利面条
  1. 叁峇马来栈辣椒:3条辣椒和烤过的马来栈用搅拌器搅碎。配上切好的青柠檬。
  2. 香料酱:5条辣椒,姜,葱,蒜用搅拌器搅碎。
  3. 热油,爆香香料酱,加入虾米,咖喱粉和香茅, 炒香。
  4. 加入3 - 3.5杯的水,煮沸。
  5. 加入鱼,椰浆和罗望子,煮20分钟。
  6. 加入烤椰丝再煮3-5分钟。
  7. 面条按包装上的指令煮熟。
  8. 将意大利面盛在盘上,随意加入配菜,舀入酱汁和三巴叁峇马来栈辣椒。
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