Learning become easier when someone show you face to face or hand held you when you are making a dish for the first time. I was lucky to have my mother-in-law to teach me this toppa lada.

Toppa Lada

Toppa lada is an Indonesian dish. Despite its simple ingredients, this dish is nothing short of mouth-watering. The fragrance from bay leaves, sweetness from beef shin, sourness from assam, and spiciness from chillies - all existed so well and in harmony with each other.  I bet you won't believe that it is so simple to make - I for one, didn't.

Toppa Lada

I might have cooked the sauce a tad too thick, now the sauce was the first to finish - all poured on our rice. Just a note, my mil told me that this dish is perfect to go with some yellow rice... Yum yum... Ayo makan!

toppa lada

  • 400g beef shin, cut into 1cm thickness
  • 8 shallot skin removed
  • 8 fresh red chillies, each cut into 3
  • 1/2 tomato, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp assam paste, dissolved in 1/4 cup water, seed discarded.
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
Cooking Directions
  1. In a pot, bring 2 cups of water to boil.
  2. Add beef, assam juice, chillies, garlic, and shallot. Simmer over medium low heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Transfer chillies, garlic and shallot to a blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. In a frying pan, heat up 4 tbsp cooking oil, stir fry the chilli paste in (3) until the water slightly dried up and fragrant.
  5. Pour the paste back to the pot with the beef, together with tomato cubes, simmer for another 1 hour or until you achieve the softness that you desire.

Turmeric Chicken 黄姜鸡

Some like turmeric for its taste, others the color, and some for the medicinal properties. For many centuries, the Indian had been using turmeric as spice and for medicinal purposes. It used to be a knowledge passed down from ancestors to the next generations. Now with the advancement in science, it came into light that turmeric indeed has beneficial effects on health. Curcumin, a natural anti-inflammatory compound, and a potent antioxidant, is found in turmeric. It is believed that Curcumin can help to prevent some brain diseases, heart disease, cancer, and even fight depression.

Turmeric used to be a rare guest on our dining table. Once I bought some and totally forgotten about it. Then one day,  I found a recipe with turmeric and was really excited to try it. Imagine my joy when I found that there were still turmeric left in the shelf. When I opened the bottle and tried to dash out some powder, something was not right, the turmeric didn't came right out and seems to be clumped together. I hold it close to take a good look. Oh my! The bottle was full chubby snowy white worms that was wiggling all around. ( I consider myself lucky though because the worms were too fat to come out from the hole, or else I might be ended up with many ninja flying worms when I tried to dash the powder out.)

Turmeric Chicken 黄姜鸡

What could I say? Hmm the worms looked really well-nourished I think. So I guess it must be right that turmeric is good! 

Who says delicious food is always unhealthy? I challenge you to make this dish that packed with loads of health benefits! 

Turmeric Chicken

  • 1/2 chicken, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic, chopped
  • 5 kaffir lime leaf
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, pounded
  • 5 shallot, deep fried
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat oil, stir fry garlic until fragrant
  2. Add lemongrass and shallot, stir fry until fragrant.
  3. Add chicken, kaffir lime leaf and turmeric powder, stir fry until chicken is cooked. Season with salt and sugar.
  • 半只鸡,切块 
  • 1大蒜,剁碎
  • 5叶青柠檬叶
  • 1汤匙黄姜粉 
  • 4支香茅,捣烂 
  • 5粒葱头,切片,爆香
  • 盐少许 
  • 1茶匙糖 
  1. 油烧热,爆香蒜 
  2. 加入香茅和葱,煸炒至香。 
  3. 加入鸡肉,青柠檬叶和黄姜粉,翻炒至鸡肉熟。加入盐和糖调味。

Coffee Almond Cookies 咖啡杏仁饼

I have tried coffee almond cookies a couple of times, they are crunchy, fragrant, and was a hit in my family. Even a non regular coffee drinker like me enjoy these cookies too. 

It is not that cheap from where I bought it from, almost $20 for a medium size container of 'em. The cost of making? Well below $5. What's more, you don't even need a mixer for this. It is fuss free and almost no special technique required.

When the cookies were being baked in the oven, the smell was almost addictive. If you are a coffee lover, you can surely appreciate the coffee aroma that wakes you up in an instant (or sleepy, perhaps?).

Some warm crunchy coffee cookies, paired with a cup of dark black coffee. Aaaaah~~~

Recipe adapted from Classic Cookies

Coffee Almond Cookies

  • 180g butter, softened
  • 160g brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 20g coffee powder
  • 320g plain flour
  • 100g almond slices
Cooking Directions
  1. In a bowl, add butter and sugar, slowly add in egg and mix well.
  2. Sift in coffee powder and plain flour, mix well.
  3. Add almond slices, mix well.
  4. Shape the dough into rectangular shape. If you have a rectangle form, it will come in handy. If not, just use whatever tools you have to shape it.
  5. Cover the dough (you can place it in a container or wrap with clingwrap) and freeze for around 1.5 hours or until the dough is hard enough to maintain the shape but still soft enough to be cut.
  6. Cut the dough into 0.5cm thickness.
  7. Bake in preheated oven at 170C for 20 minutes, turn off the lower heat and continue to bake for another 5 minutes.

  • 180克黄油,软化 
  • 160克红糖 
  • 1个鸡蛋 
  • 20克咖啡粉 
  • 320克面粉 
  • 100克杏仁片 

  1. 在一个碗里,放入黄油和糖,然后慢慢地加入鸡蛋拌匀。 
  2. 筛入咖啡粉和面粉,拌匀。 
  3. 加入杏仁片,拌匀。 
  4. 将面团塑造成长方形。如果你有长方形的模型,可以使用。如果没有,就随意使用任何工具或用手也可以。 
  5. 用保鲜膜盖住面团(可以放在一个容器里或用保鲜膜包裹),放入冰箱冷冻大约1.5小时或直到面团定型,但依然能切得下。 
  6. 将面团切成大约0.5厘米厚片。 
  7. 放入焗炉以上下火烤170℃20分钟,熄掉下火,继续烘烤5分钟。
Copycat Pepperidge Farm Brussel Cookies 布鲁塞尔饼干

Brussel cookie is one of my favourites among the Pepperidge Farm Cookies series. Those cookies are baked to crisp, with semi sweet chocolate sandwiched in between. It tasted so good I can easily finish up a packet on my own, let alone the two little cookie monsters in my house!

However, it is such a luxury because it is not cheap in Singapore. So why not make your own? 

I am now happily munching the cookies while writing this for you. The chocolate is still warm from the melting process, and the cookies crumbled away in the pool of chocolate with every bites. Can you hear the crackling sound yet?

Don't get envy, these cookies are not difficult to make, try make some to pamper yourself and lets enjoy the cookies together!

Copycat Pepperidge Farm Brussel Cookies

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup oats bran
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp fresh milk
  • 5 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Mix all ingredients (except chocolate chips). Stir to combine well.
  3. Spoon around 1/2 tsp of dough, lightly flatten it on lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven at 150C for 15 minutes or until the cookies turn golden brown.
  5. In a pan, melt chocolate chips over low heat.
  6. Spread chocolate on cookies and sandwich with another cookies.

  • 半杯面粉 
  • 半杯燕麦麸 
  • 1/4茶匙发酵粉 
  • 半杯红糖 
  • 100克牛油 
  • 1茶匙香草精 
  • 2汤匙枫糖浆 
  • 3大匙鲜奶 
  • 5oz半甜巧克力豆

  1. 将黄油和糖打到轻和蓬松。 
  2. 混合所有的原料(除巧克力豆)。搅拌均匀。 
  3. 面团勺约半小勺,在烤盘上轻轻压平。 
  4. 在150℃预热烘箱中烘烤15分钟,或直到曲奇饼转金黄色。 
  5. 在平底锅,用慢火融化巧克力豆。 
  6. 将适量巧克力夹在两片饼干中间。
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