Nian Gao Puff (酥脆烘年糕)



Last year I did not issue this post but friends are requesting for recipes. It is not a recipe actually, it is just a way to serve nian gao or Chinese glutinous rice cake and I have to say that this is not my invention, it is a trend especially among the English speaking members of Facebook Group for the past few years.


In recent years, nian gao wrapped in commercial puff pastry had become very popular after Chinese New Year. Prior to this trend, most families will deep fry the nian gao or re-steamed it and served it with shredded coconut.


I have decided to prepare this because I wanted to try out my homemade nian gao that I have prepared about a week ago. Overall conclusion is that the nian gao with gula melaka definitely taste as good as the traditional nian gao. If you are interested in homemade nian gao, you can refer to this post: Baked or Steamed,You Decide Yourself–Glutinous Rice Cake, Nian Gao (年糕)


For this illustration, i have used commercial puff pastry. However, if you are game enough to have some homemade puff pastry, you can refer to my croissant posts : Home Made Croissants (家居自制牛角包) It is the same type of puff pastry that were sold by the supermarkets.


As my in built oven broke down and waiting for repair , I have resorted to the use of oven toaster with no temperature control. As such, the pictures are not as appealing as it should be because there are some signs of under baking. Do not worry, any puff pastry will come with a baking instruction, do follow the packaging instruction and it will be fine.  Should i re-prepare again, I will have another session of photo taking.




  • A few sheets of store bought puff pastry
  • Some nian gao
  • Some sesame seeds
  • One egg yolk for egg washing



  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degree Celsius or as per packaging instructions.


  • Lay some nian gao on top of the puff pastry. Wrap it in your desired pattern and seal the edges. Egg washed the pastry, sprinkled with sesame seeds and bake in the pre-heat oven of 200 degree Celsius for 20-25 minutes (or according to the packaging instructions).



  • I am using freshly homemade nian gao, as such it is slightly softer than commercially sold. If your nian gao turns hard, it will have a much better shape than those illustrated here.

  • For egg washing, crack one egg yolk with one tablespoons of water, mixed well, sift and brushed.

  • You can have put your desired nuts be it macadamia, walnuts, peanuts etc. to the nian gao before wrapping to provide some crunchy to the nian gao puff.

  • Nian gao, when baked will expand. Do not wrap it overly tight. You can also use a scissor to cut some holes on top of the puff pastry prior to the baking.

  • For oven toaster, I have baked for about 20 minutes without temperature control. Therefore, some parts looked slightly under cooked.



This way of serving is extremely easy. Whether or not it is healthier as compared to deep frying is up to individual to decide. .. Once you baked any commercial puff pastry, you will know the answer.. Haha. Possibly the healthiest way of serving the nian gao is to re-steam the nian gao and served with shredded coconut.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.



I’m submitting this post to Best Recipes for Everyone Jan & Feb 2015 Event Theme: My Homemade Cookies organized by Fion of XuanHom’s Mom and co-hosted by Victoria Bakes




Basic Golden Fried Rice (黄金炒饭)



Every time when I posted my fried rice, members of Facebook Groups and friends will ask why my rice is grainy and evenly coated with eggs and that reminded them of the famous Chenfuji fried rice in Singapore. This Singapore restaurant is famous for its crab meat egg coated fried rice and that prompted me wanted to share my fried rice techniques with readers.


Fried rice is not difficult at all but there are some simple pointers of stir  frying rice and I hoped that via these simple pointers, readers can come out with his or her favourable version of fried rice. The pictures below depicts the difference between golden fried rice and white rice.


Fried rice is very common among Asians since rice is a staple food. I  believed that it is so common that most will not expect Wiki has a write up on this . However, Wikipedia do have a write up on fried rice. As per Wikipedia:


“Fried rice is a dish of steamed rice stir-fried in a wok, often mixed with other ingredients, such as eggs, vegetables, and meat. It is sometimes served as the penultimate dish in Chinese banquets, just before dessert. As a homemade dish, fried rice is typically made with leftover ingredients (including vegetables, meat) from other dishes, leading to countless variations.Many popular varieties of fried rice have their own specific list of ingredients. In Asia, the more famous varieties include Yangzhou and Fujian fried rice. Elsewhere, most restaurants catering to vegetarian or Muslim clientele have invented their own varieties of fried rice including egg fried rice and the Indonesian spicy nasi goreng (fried rice).(Source:


For this illustration, in order to illustrate the effect of egg coated fried rice, I have selected simple ingredients using salted fish, bean sprouts and eggs as the main ingredients. Of course you can choose any ingredients that you liked..



Servings: About 4-5 adults


  • 3 cups of cooked rice
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • Some bean sprouts (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of cooked salted fish (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped spring onion
  • Pinches of salt
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • Sugar or seasonings to taste




  • Crack the eggs to the cooled rice. Add salt, dashes of pepper and other seasonings. Use hand to stir the rice until the rice are coated with raw eggs as evenly as possible.

  • In a big frying pan, add the oil, sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown, add in the salted fish and stir fry for an additional one minute.


  • Add in the rice, stir fry until the eggs dries up. If desired, add more seasonings. Add in the chopped spring onion and bean sprouts, stir fry for another 2-3 minutes and dish up. Best to serve warm .


  • Usually for one cup of rice, one egg and one tablespoon of oil is used.

  • If you want very yellowish colour egg coated fried rice, you have to use all egg yolks (about 50 grams of egg yolks for one cup of rice)

  • Overnight rice is ideal but freshly cooked rice is acceptable. However, the rice have to be cooled completely.

  • If your rice grains requires say 1 cup of water for 1 cup of rice, reduce the water by 10 per cent to 0.9 cup of water for one cup of rice. This is to avoid the rice from becoming too soggy for stir frying.

  • Throughout the whole process of stir frying, high heat shall be used.



Some members of Facebook Group have tried this method of frying rice and are very pleased with the results. I hope these pointers will help new house chefs.  Feel free to add in anything that you like such as sausages, barbecue pork, prawns and etc.. Of course, with crab meat, it will transform the common fried rice into a very presentable dish..


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.







Chocolate Coated Almond Shortbread Cookies aka London Almond Cookies (伦敦杏仁饼)



Last year when I issued my Chinese New Year recipes, readers are asking me for London Almond Cookies recipe. This year, I will share with all this recipe of mine ..


As I really can’t trace the how the place London was associated with the cookie, I find that it is rather funny and amusing to use the name, as such, I will name the recipe as Almond Shortbread Cookies… However, feel free to change it to London Almond Cookies if you feel that is more convenience for your purpose.


Preparation is not difficult but taste is rather good. Whether sweet or not will depend on your cooking chocolate. I have toned down the sugar level in the cookie so as to compensate the sweetness of the chocolate.


There is nothing much to write about the cookie  and it is really en easy bake… Shaping is not that difficult as it will be coated with melted chocolate should there be any imperfections. Pardon me for my less than smooth coating as I have used much less chocolate that what I have indicated in the recipe for the illustration.



Servings: About 30 cookies


  • 150 grams of top flour or plain flour
  • 75 grams of butter
  • 40 grams of icing or castor sugar
  • 1 egg


  • 150 grams of semi sweet cooking chocolate
  • 30 toasted whole almonds
  • Some sprinkles (or chopped nuts)



  • Pre-heat the oven to 150 degree Celsius (You can preheat the oven towards the end of your preparation as the preparation can be rather time consuming).


  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the beaten eggs. Sift in the flour and stir until well mixed.


  • Pinch some dough (about 10 grams), shape round, wrap an almond in the centre. Shape it oval and bake in the pre-heated oven of 150 degree Celsius for 8-10 minutes or when the bottom turn slightly brownish. Cool completely before the next step.


  • Melt the chocolate in a microwave oven for about 1-2 minutes (you can also melt the chocolate over the stove via baine marie, i.e. placing a bowl on top of a  pot of hot boiling water). Dip the baked cookies in the melted chocolate and coat the entire cookie as smooth as possible. Transfer the cookies to paper cups, dust with some coloured sprinkles (or chopped nuts) and let it set at the room temperature. Once set, store in an air tight container.



A rather simple cookies which is well liked by all races. Feel free to call whatever name you like but I shall call this as Almond shortbread cookies.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.




Coconut Become Butter ?–Kerisik (椰子酱)



I issued my Rendang Ayam (马来仁当鸡) post yesterday and I have a lengthy discussion about kerisik or coconut butter. Yesterday, I try to pound toasted shredded coconut very hard and I can’t get the paste like the oily kerisik and I gave up eventually…


Members of the Facebook Group assured me that it can be done..I have to be frank that I do not really believed the ability of changing some shredded coconut into coconut oil by manual pounding but I promised them that I will try again when I managed to get hold of some freshly grated coconut. This morning, I purposely went to Geylang Serai market, among other things, bought half a kilo of freshly shredded coconut for the purposes of preparing kerisik.


The preparation process was rather amazing and shocking that a paste can really be formed by pounding the toasted coconut and it gradually become an oily emulsion..I have used both the food processor and manual pounding to get the oily kerisik.


Preparation is actually not tough with the availability of of new kitchen equipment such as food processor. Since my food processor is rather large, i have to transfer it to the traditional mortal and pastel for the final grinding to force out the oil.. Overall, it took me about 15 minutes or slightly more for processing and grinding.


I put some into the gulai nangka or nangka vegetable curry and my conclusion is that it is an acquired taste… It tasted like some coconut oil with some burnt coconut bits. That flavour is familiar in the rendang prepared in West Malaysia but slightly different from those that I have tasted in Sarawak and Singapore.. Since it is an acquired taste, I believed some readers who are familiar with kerisik must be looking for such a recipe  Another reason of sharing is that the freshly made kerisik taste really different from the store bought especially in Singapore . These kerisik are imported from Malaysia may be months ago. It have an unpleasant “oily” smell that irks me..


Kerisik was termed as a wonder ingredient for rendang, beside rendang, it can be used for nasi ulam, kerabu salads or curries. Per Wikipedia, it was mentioned that:

“Kerisik is used in Malaysian and Singaporean cooking. Coconut is grated, toasted, then ground to a paste. It is sometimes referred to as coconut butter. It can be made at home or bought ready made. It is used in dishes such as kerabu salads and rendang. It is not easily found outside Malaysia and Singapore, and will be most likely only found in Asian specialty food shops outside of these countries. However, pre-made kerisik can develop an unpleasant smell. Fresh kerisik can be easily made from fresh coconut which is grated and fried, then ground in a mortar and pestle. Dried grated coconut can also be used, however the resulting paste is not as fragrant.” (source:


Though Wikipedia said that Kerisik cannot be found outside Singapore and Malaysia, I have to disagree that it was found in Indonesia. When I posted in an Indonesia Facebook Group, many members knew about this coconut butter.and is of the names koya, kelapa gongseng, bumbu rendang, blondo etc. Some members even uses this to prepare cake,  mee soto etc. .


Apparently, my “failed” kerisik as in the picture above is also called kerisik by the  Peranakan community and used in the preparation of nasi ulam, a type of herbs rice…and I am rather confused as to what is actually kerisik and I will leave it to readers to decide on the definition of kerisik. Is both oily and dry version all can be termed as kerisik?



  • Some freshly grated coconut




  • Put the freshly grated coconut in a big wok or frying pan. Stir frying under medium heat until dry, crispy and brownish. While it is hot, transfer the toasted coconut to a food processor, blend it for about 5 minutes. In this process, you will witness oil starts to excrete from the coconut and the toasted coconut become moist and stick to to the sides of the food processor. Transfer the blended coconut to the mortar and pound cum grind until oil starts to excrete out. It is considered as done when the paste become very shinny and coconut oil can be seen.. Overall, it took me about 15 minutes of continuous  blending and pounding.



I have never planned to blog this recipe. I believed this recipe will benefit those who want some homemade kerisik. All this while, I thought that kerisik is coarsely toasted shredded coconut (used in Nasi Ulam of Peranakan cuisines). But since Wikipedia’s defined it as coconut butter and with Facebook Group’s members assurance, I take a bold move to prepare this oily kerisik.  I am amazed and shocked  by the entire process but as to the taste, for the oily kerisik, in my humble opinion, it is an acquired taste.. Those who are familiar with it will love it and it is definitely much better than those sold in the stores. However, personally, I  preferred drier kerisik.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.



A Dish That Existed In The 15th Century Or Earlier?–Rendang Ayam (马来仁当鸡)



If you asked me to choose one representative dish of our Malay brothers and sisters, I will definitely choose rendang  For me, most Malay households will have their very own unique recipe and everyone will claims theirs is the best. It is not uncommon for me to hop house by house during Hari Raya Aidilfiltri open house to taste their rendang chickens.


I can totally understand such claims as this is a dish with long historical background and it was mentioned in a Malay literature Hikayat Amir Hamzah in 1550’s. It was a dish of Minangkabau origin, an ethnic race in Sumatra, Indonesia and traditionally such cooking was done as a meat preservation cooking especially for beefs. 


As per Wikipedia, it was written:

“Rendang is a spicy meat dish which originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia,and is now commonly served across the country. One of the characteristic foods of Minangkabau culture, it is served at ceremonial occasions and to honour guests. Rendang is also served among the Malay community in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and also in Southern Philippines. Rendang is traditionally prepared by the Minangkabau community during festive occasions such as traditional ceremonies, wedding feasts, and Hari Raya (Eid al-Fitr). Culinary experts often describe rendang as: ‘West Sumatran caramelized beef curry  In 2011 an online poll by 35,000 people held by CNN International chose Rendang as the number one dish of their ‘World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods (Readers’ Pick)’ list.


The cooking technique flourished because of its role in preserving meat in a tropical climate. Prior to refrigeration technology, this style of cooking enabled preservation of the large amount of meat. Rendang is rich in spices. Along with the main meat ingredient, rendang uses coconut milk (Minangkabau: karambia) and a paste of mixed ground spices, which includes ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves, lemon grass, garlic, shallot, chillies and other spices. This spice mixture is called pemasak in Minangkabau. The spices, garlic, shallot, ginger and galangal used in rendang have antimicrobial properties and serve as natural organic preservatives. If cooked properly, dry rendang can last for as long as four weeks. (Source:


One of the unique ingredients of this dish in Malaysia and Singapore recipes is kerisik or so called coconut butter but tis was not used in Indonesia recipes.  I have to be frank that I have failed in the preparation of the kerisik as I can’t get the paste i want. I will try again and therefore, in this post, I will not share the recipe of Kerisik in this post.  The picture below is my pounded kerisik but no oil was excreted.


For kerisik, I was told that it is possible to toast the coconut, pound it while it is hot until the coconut oil is excreted. A paste is then formed.  I did not manage to get to that stage and I gave up.. In fact, I prefer my rendang to have some coconut bits to bite rather similar with Indonesia recipes that uses shredded coconut. . Members of Facebook Group told me that with the coconut butter,  it will give me an extra “oomph” in the dish.. I am unsure what extra oomph is this but what i knew is my rendang tastes like what I used to eat during Hari Raya visiting or what i bought from the Malay food stores.  I am totally unsure whether or not these families or stores have prepared using homemade coconut butter as described above.


Of course, new house chefs, don’t be deter by this, you can always buy ready made kerisik from the wet market stalls that sell curry rempah or spice mix. But, package kerisik that are not fresh will ruin your whole pot of your rendang.

Updated Post on 7 January 2015


Today, I have successfully prepared the kerisik. The taste is totally different from the package kerisik. You can refer to the recipes here: Coconut Become Butter ?–Kerisik (椰子酱)


I especially love this dish as most of the herbs can be obtained freshly in the markets or planted at home. These are herbs that are very familiar to me since young – from galangal to turmeric to lemon grass to chilli… Unlike other Malay dishes, the spice mix did not include other middle eastern spices like jintan manis, jintan putih, curry powder and etc.. Therefore, the taste is very local with a very familiar fragrance mixed with strong coconut aroma.


The meat are supposed to cook until it falls of the bone and the same recipe can be used for beef or lamb.


Ideally, three type of leaves shall be used: turmeric leaves, bay leaves (daun salam) and kafir lime leaves. As I can’t find turmeric fresh leaves and bay leaves, I have omitted the usage of these leaves and only kafir lime leaves are used. The picture was updated on 7-1-2015 subsequent to the issuance of this report.



Recipe adapted from : Resepi Rendang Ayam Chef Wan Yang Istimewa |

Servings: 5-6 adults


  • 1 medium size chicken cut into big chunks

For blending together

  • 10 red chilli
  • 15 shallots
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 3 stalks of lemon grass
  • 5 cm galangal
  • 6 cm of ginger


  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder or 2 cm of fresh turmeric
  • 1 piece of turmeric leaves (daun kunyit) – shredded – not in picture
  • 3 pieces of kafir lime leaves – shredded (optional)
  • 5 pieces of bay leaves – shredded (optional) – not in picture
  • 2 tablespoons of kerisik (not in picture and please ignore the fresh coconut) or 4 big tablespoons of fresh coconut or toasted coconuts
  • 300 ml of concentrated coconut milk
  • 1 cup of tamarind water (assam jawa)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar or gula Melaka
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • Salt to taste

For recipe of kerisik, please refer to: Coconut Become Butter ?–Kerisik (椰子酱)




  • Blend all the herbs together until fine to become the spice mix.or herbs mix.

  • In a big wok, put the cooking oil, sauté the spice mix, turmeric powder under medium heat until fragrant and oil starts to separate from the herbs mix. In this stage, you will witness loss of water vapour, colour become darker and the herbs mix become drier.


  • Add in the chicken chunks, stir fry until well mixed and the chicken starts to get drier. Add the tamarind water, bring to boil, let it simmer until almost dry. Add in the coconut milk and the shredded turmeric leaves, bay leaves and kaffir lime leaves, bring to boil, change to low heat and let it simmer until the meat is soft and the gravy is thick and concentrated. In this process, for every 10 minutes, give the meat a stir. Once ready, add the sugar, salt to taste, kerisik or toasted coconut or freshly grated coconut. Stir fry until well mixed. Off the heat  For this illustration, it took me about 1 hour to cook to my desired meat texture and consistency. Rendang is best served warm with white rice, lemang and ketupat.


The same recipe can be used for lamb or beef but the cooking hours will be much longer to get that melt in the mouth texture. Pressure cooker can be considered to expedite the cooking process.



I hoped that this recipe will help readers who are looking for rendang recipe. Though most of the Malaysia rendang recipes called for the use of kerisik, in my humble opinion, this is optional as the recipe are using a lot of coconut milk and shredded/toasted coconut. The coconut aroma is already very strong and the meat is very smooth since at the final stage of cooking, the coconut milk will become coconut oil after long hours of cooking. In addition, most Indonesian recipes (country where rendang originates) also never use kerisik at all… Well, that is my humble opinion and I will leave it to readers to decide.  If you are buying ready packet of kerisik, ensure that it is very fresh, otherwise, it will spoil your whole dish…Though no real kerisik is used, I did not find  any magnificent difference in taste with the rendang that I have eaten before. Sorry for this less than humble way of describing my dish.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.













No Bake Peanut Butter Cornflake Cookies (免烤酥脆玉米片曲奇)



All these while, i am blogging traditional cookies and never really blog a trendy cookie.. In order to diversify my cookies recipe, I have decided to blog this rather trendy cookies commonly served during Chinese New Year..


Most kids will like this cookie as it is prepared using corn flakes. As contrast to other melt in the mouth cookies, is a crispy cookies full of cereal flavour.


I am not new to this cookies as my nieces like to prepare this during Chinese New Year. Most of the recipes in the net need to bake this simple cookies for about 10 minutes and I have purposely chosen one recipe that is no-bake version. It was prepared using peanut butter instead of normal butter.. It is a real simple easy to remember recipe. Variations are many including the nuts and the type of breakfast cereals to be used. I have added some sunflower seeds to the cookies and I loved the crunchiness of both the nuts and the corn flakes.


For those who do not have oven at home, this is one cookie that you can try.. Trust me, not only kids love the cookies, even adults like my wife love it very much .. lol.



Servings: About 24 cookies


  • 45 –60 grams of corn flake 
  • 45 grams of peanut butter
  • 45 grams of castor sugar
  • 45 grams of honey or corn syrup
  • Some small paper cups




  • In a non stick pan, melt the peanut butter, honey or syrup and castor sugar. Bring to boil under low heat. Let it simmer for 1-2 minutes until all the sugar dissolved. Off the heat, add in the corn flakes, stir until well mixed. While it is hot, put a teaspoon of corn flakes on the paper cups. Let it rest in the room temperature until it hardens. Once hardened, store in a air tight container.  (Note, if the cornflake is too big pieces, you can crush it into big pieces before using)



The family have finished the whole bottle of cookies within one day. It is easy to prepare and rather addictive. If you are concern about the sweetness, you can either use more corn flakes or reduce the castor sugar by 10%. Remember that you can always add in some nuts to the recipes, be it walnut, sunflower seeds, pine seeds, almond or others..


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

This recipe was included in Page 24 and Page 25 of the following E-book. 

For more Chinese New Year related cookies, snack and steamed cake recipes, you can have a copy of Easy Chinese New Year Recipes – A step by step guide” that was packed with 30 recipes, 60 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD3.50. The recipes covered various recipes from auspicious radish cake to nian gao to traditional kuih bangkit to trendy London almond cookies. Of course not forgetting both type of pineapple tarts. You can purchase by clicking the link above. You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at and separate arrangement can be made.




Braised Peanuts (卤花生)



Today’s post is a simple post on braised peanuts .. Whether Teochew or not I am rather unsure but it was always in the menu of Bakuteh stores, Kuih Chap stores and pig organ soup stores…


Before I start, I will like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers “A happy 2015 and may all your wishes comes true”..


While I was shopping in the supermarket, I bought a bag of “fresh” peanuts imported from China. Prices was very reasonable but I am unsure how is the taste. I have therefore decided to cook this dish using fresh peanuts.


Yes, the peanuts did not disappoint me. It is of a rather big grain and really sweet. In fact, I was surprised by the sweetness of the peanuts without any seasoning.  Therefore, this recipe starts with fresh peanuts but of course you can used package raw peanuts.


I love these braised peanuts for its flavour and melt in the mouth texture. Depending on your preference, I like mine to be on a sweet side and I have added rock sugar to the braise broth..


I have prepared these braised peanuts as part of my Teochew porridge meals. There is actually no much to write about as the recipe is very simple.. 



Servings: 5-6 adult servings


  • 500 grams raw peanuts, shelled and cleaned.
  • 1 teaspoon of 5 spice powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons of dark soya sauce
  • 2 small pieces of rock sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch (optional)

Optional ingredients if you use 5 spice powder

  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 star anises




  • Put all the ingredients in a pressure cooker. Add enough water to cover the peanuts (about 1 cm above the peanuts). Pressure cook the peanut for 15minutes –30 minutes depending on your desired texture. I have cooked for about 20 minutes. If you like the peanut to be smoother, add the corn starch solution and cooked for another 5 minutes. For corn starch solution, add one tablespoon of corn starch to 3 tablespoons of water, stir well and add to the cooked peanut. For better tasting, let it rest a few hours before serving.



This is a simple recipe and nothing to shout about. i have always thought that it is very difficult to braise the peanut until very soft. However, with the use of pressure cooker, it is fast and easy. Of course if you do not have the pressure cooker, you can always braised using a slow cooker or crockpot or rice cooker or over the stoves. The timing will vary but you have the options to check it as and when you like it..


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.