Ingredients

Kombu (Kelp)

Kombu (Kelp)

Kelp, or known as kombu/ konbu in Japanese, is a type of seaweed. Its widely used in Japan to make a soup base called dashi (Recipe: Japanese Dashi Stock). Taste & smell Seaweed has the basic salty-savoury taste thanks to concentrated minerals and amino acid, […]

Flower Crab (Ketam Bunga/ 花蟹)

Flower Crab (Ketam Bunga/ 花蟹)

Flower crab are not as fleshy as mud crab. However, I find that the flesh in larger flower crab is tolerable; I can still find substantial meat. I buy this crab a lot more than mud crab  because it’s not alive when sold, making it […]

Dried Chinese Mushrooms (Shittake Mushrooms)

Dried Chinese Mushrooms (Shittake Mushrooms)

Mushroom is considered a traditional medicine as medicinal food. The dried mushrooms are hard as a rock, and need to be soaked in water to soften before use. When I first started cooking, I rarely use this mushroom as it takes too long to prepare […]

Salted Egg (Ham Dan/ 咸蛋)

Salted Egg (Ham Dan/ 咸蛋)

Salted egg is a  popular preserved Chinese food. Fresh duck eggs are soaked in brine (salty water) for about 20 to 30 days, or packing each egg in damp, salted charcoal. This method draws water out of bacteria and mold, hence stop their growth. It […]

Pandan leaves

Pandan leaves

Pandan leaves is Malaysian favourite natural flavouring. It is used to impart fragrance into dessert and rice. Other names English name: Pandan leaves Malay name: Daun pandan Chinese name: Pan Dan Yip (班兰叶)/ 七葉蘭 How to use Tear the leaves to allow more aroma to be released […]

Salted Dried Sour Plum (Asam boi/ 酸梅)

Salted Dried Sour Plum (Asam boi/ 酸梅)

I always have a stash of sour plum in my kitchen. It’s like a habit; my mother always have a stash hidden in the kitchen and I felt it’s something I must keep. It’s much like a Firstaid kit; a must-have at home. She would […]

Passion fruit

Passion fruit

Passionfruit are rather small. When cut open, it reveal only small amount of pulpy seeds. But despite its small size, the fruit is concentrated in flavour and too sour to eat it on its own. I love to make juices with it and top it […]

Taro Root/ Yam (Wu Tau/  芋头)

Taro Root/ Yam (Wu Tau/ 芋头)

Taro are tuber vegetables. There are two types of taros, big and small ones. The bigger ones are used for making stew (and for me my favourite Hakka Yam Abacus). Whereas the small yam with more delicate texture is used for sweet soups. Other names […]

Caul Fat (Chu Mong Yau/ 猪网油)

Caul Fat (Chu Mong Yau/ 猪网油)

Caul fat is a thin membrane that surround the stomach of animals like cows and pigs. It’s normally used as casing for sausages. Other names English name: Caul fat Chinese name: Chu Mong Yau (猪网油) Where to buy Caul fat is not easily available as it […]

Red Fermented Bean Curd (Nam Yu/ 南乳)

Red Fermented Bean Curd (Nam Yu/ 南乳)

Red fermented bean curd is made from soybeans, salt, rice wine, sesame oil and vinegar. However, unlike common fermented bean curd, it is distinctively red thanks to the use of red yeast rice. Taste & smell In Malaysia and Singapore, fermented bean curd is sold […]

Limau Nipis (Key lime) & Limau Kasturi (Calamansi lime)

Limau Nipis (Key lime) & Limau Kasturi (Calamansi lime)

In Malaysia and Singapore, there are two types of limes that are commonly used. On the left of the photo above is key lime (limau nipis) and on the right is calamansi lime (limau kasturi). Difference between limau nipis & kasturi Limau nipis is slightly […]

Fennel seeds (Jintan manis) & Cumin (Jintan putih)

Fennel seeds (Jintan manis) & Cumin (Jintan putih)

I had trouble differentiating between fennel seeds (jintan manis) and cumin (jintan putih). It doesn’t help that in Malaysia, these spices are commonly referred to in Malay and both of them sound rather similar. Cumin (jintan putih) is a more popular herb which is used […]

Masoor Dhal (Red lentils)

Masoor Dhal (Red lentils)

There are plenty of lentils in the market, which I knew nothing of until I was invited for dinner at Aunty Clara’s. As an Indian, dhal curry is her staple food. She keeps many types of dhal of all colours (red, yellow, green, etc) and […]

Black Glutinous Rice (Pulut Hitam)

Black Glutinous Rice (Pulut Hitam)

I don’t give much thought to black glutinous rice. The word ‘rice’ immediately make me think of a hot bowl of white or brown rice to eat with side dishes. But there are so many types of rice grains out there with interesting flavours and […]

Fish Maw (Yu Piu / 魚鰾 or Fa Gau / 花膠)

Fish Maw (Yu Piu / 魚鰾 or Fa Gau / 花膠)

Fish maw is dried swim bladders of large fishes like sturgeon. Despite being seemingly an inferior fish product to many, fish maw is exalted in the Chinese community as a delicacy. Besides, it is a good source of collagen used in food industry to create […]