Restaurant Reviews: Malaysian, Dim Sum and South Indian

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Lots of good options in the tri-state area. And ok… this list has grown to types of cuisine.

New Malaysia: Chinatown NYC. Excellent spot tucked away in a little alley. Recently expanded. Nasi lemak is nice and spicy. Roti canai is better elsewhere. Don’t think they have teh tarik. Continue reading

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Fried Turnip Cake: Char Kueh Kak

Fried Turnip Cake

It’s one of my fave Malaysian dishes but I’ve never seen it on a restaurant menu in the States. You really can’t replicate the magic of a street-side hawker stall with their scorching propane and seasoned woks but today’s attempt came acceptably close. (Beautiful pix of a Penang hawker at work here.) I made the “turnip”/radish/daikon cake from scratch (recipe below) since Asian store options all had MSG. Continue reading

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Nasi Lemak

The secret to nasi lemak is the sambal chile paste. Using dried chiles helps to give it a mellower caramelized flavor. “Tumis-ing it the right amount of time (or stir-frying) is a challenge too.. must get the raw flavor out, but not cook out all the moisture. I’ve made this several times again since returning from Malaysia… with good-but-still-working-on-perfection results. Continue reading

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Mee Siam

Returned from a big Malaysia trip recently… so I’m craving the flavors. I’d love to perfect the sweet, sour and spicy flavors of Mee Siam. I’ve attempted the dish four times of late… it’s still not just right.

Rasa Malaysia has a nice, cooking-abroad recipe here. Continue reading

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Favorite Cookbooks

What’s on my bookshelf? Here’s a starter list of some of my faves…

Malaysian: Some resources to begin navigating the vast and varied world of Southeast Asian cooking. Continue reading

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Almond and Apricot Tart: Recipe Review

Go to the Recipe

What a glutton. I saw this awesome, butter-laden tart recipe in the New York Times dining section last week and HAD TO make it. Continue reading

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Make Your Own Jam and Preserves

Peach Preserves Recipe by Bon Appetit

Photo by Ditte Isager. Courtesy of Bon Appetit.

I’ve been all about jams and marmalades this year.

It all began with Melissa Clark’s Blood Orange and Meyer Lemon Marmalade from the New York Times in Feb. I’d also done a bit of jam making with my rhubarb harvest last summer.

Jam feature in Bon Appetit
So, I was pleased to see that Bon Appetit’s latest issue includes an article on preserves by Kevin West. I can’t find the whole article online but all his recipes are available by searching on his name. (also on… didn’t even know they had their own website.)

I’m tempted by the peach preserve and tomato jam recipes. We’ll see if there’s time.

Here are links to my experiments with jam (in order of preference):

Grandma’s Rhubarb Jam (it’s grandma’s recipe so it has to go at the top of the list)
Triple-Berry Jam
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Meyer Lemon Marmalade

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Blueberry Rasperry Jam: Recipe Review

 Go to the SURE-JELL recipe

I’ve had homemade jam on the brain these days and thought it would be the perfect use for some frozen berries that had been languishing in my freezer–a blueberry, raspberry, and marionberry mix. (I love Costco, but sometimes I go a little overboard!)

Homemade jam in a jiffy
With the frozen fruit and a packet of SURE-JELL pectin, the whole process was surprisingly easy. I defrosted the berries, drained the excess juice, and then mashed them down a bit then followed the recipe on the SURE-JELL package. Here’s the recipe on their website. Though for some reason the quantities are different than on the package. Here are the quantities I used: 3 cups defrosted crushed berries, 5-1/4 cups sugar, 1 package SURE-JELL.

End result = delish!

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Recipe: Basic Whole Wheat Bread

Baked a childhood whole wheat bread recipe recently… my parents normally made loaves though I made them as buns this time.

The recipe

1 cup warm water (105 -115 F)
2 pkg yeast or 4 tsp granulated yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 T honey
2 cups milk
¼ cup butter or oil
1-1/2 T salt
5 cups whole wheat flour
3 + cups white flour (more needed for kneading)
¼ cup wheat germ (optional)

Dissolve yeast in warm water and stir in 1 T honey. Let sit 10 minutes to proof.

In a saucepan, combine milk, butter, salt, and 1/3 cup honey. Heat until lukewarm.

Pour warm milk mixture and yeast mixture into a large mixing bowl.

Add the whole wheat flour one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add wheat germ if desired. Add enough white flour to make a soft yet malleable tough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic about 8-10 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, turning greased side to the top.

Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk. (Try putting the dough in the oven with a pan of hot water.)

Punch down and divide in half. Knead each half about 30 seconds. Shape into loaves and place in two loaf pans (makes large loaves, put in three pans for smaller ones). Cover and let rise again until doubled in bulk about 45 minutes.

Bake in a 350 F oven for about 40 minutes until tops are browned and if you tap on the bottom of a loaf it has a hollow sound.

This bread freezes well and doesn’t crumble.

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Recipe: Overnight Buns

Go to the recipe, skip the talk

Will post pictures later!

This “Grandma Bun” recipe is a family heirloom: no breakfast, lunch or dinner was ever complete without some of these at the table—usually slathered with peanut butter and homemade rhubarb jam. With ten kids, Grandma needed a whole bunch of carb to keep all those growing bodies fed.

This base recipe got turned into cinnamon rolls or even a “bun tree” at Christmas time when they were lined up in tree shape and covered with green frosting and sprinkles.

Grandma’s baking day was Tuesday when the kids were growing up. Who knows how she did it all.

The recipe

2 cups water plus ½ cup warm water
1 T salt
½ cup sugar
1 package dry yeast (2.5 tsp if it comes from a jar)
2 eggs beaten
8 cups flour (use 3 cups whole wheat if desired)
½ cup oil or melted butter

Start at about 3 p.m.

Boil water, salt, and sugar together and then cool.

Soak yeast in the ½ cup warm water mixture.

Mix together the eggs with the two other water mixtures.

Whisk two cups of flour into the water mixture. Then add the oil. Then knead in the rest of the four. Knead for 10 min. Then place in an oiled bowl covered by a damp towel.

Let rise until doubled, by about 6 p.m.

Knead down and set aside to rise again until about 9 p.m.

Shape into rolls and place on a greased pans. Cover again with damp towels and let stand overnight.

In the morning, bake at 375 until brown (about 15 minutes.) Buns should have a hollow sound if the bottom is tapped on.


Daytime baking: You can bake these rolls during the day too. Start in the morning and use double the amount of yeast.

Loaves: This recipe can be made into loaves as well but make them during the daytime since they rise too much overnight.

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