Durian Seeds, Anyone?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

PhotobucketWhilst browsing David Lebovitz's blog, I chanced on his comment that he had eaten durian seeds before. He didn't say whether the durian seeds were good though, not that I would trust him even if he had. I mean, what would an ang moh know about durians? According to him, durians – the pulp or, if you want to be technical, the aril – taste like "a ripe, almost rotting coconut". See? Told you!

Durians don't taste anything like coconuts, rotting, green or whatever. All durian experts – like me, ahem! – know that durians taste like . . . well, durians. Nothing else in the world that comes close.

I totally respect David's expertise in cakes and such. He used to be a pastry chef after all. But when it comes to durians, step aside, David!

Durian with Sticky Rice

Sunday, 5 September 2010

PhotobucketIf I were a durian, I would hide in a corner and cry my eyes out. All those hurtful comments! The king of fruits may be revered in Asia but elsewhere, it has been compared to public lavatories, human pee, bat pee, sulphur compounds, gas from a thousand asses, French kissing dead grandmothers, rotting cats, rotting onions, rotting fish, rotting pineapples in sewers, rotting flesh in custard, dirty socks, turpentine . . . .

Did I miss anything?

Oh yes, rotten eggs, clogged drains, garbage, cow dung and pig dung. Maybe that's why durians have a thick, spiky husk? To protect themselves from the cruel world?

Assam Prawns

Saturday, 28 August 2010

I love prawns every which way. All the way from live (!), to raw, steamed, poached, stir fried, pan fried, deep fried, grilled and baked. Not forgetting dried prawns, which I can't live without. Stinky and fermented shrimp paste? Pickled cincalok? Bring it on!

Honestly, there's no such thing as bad prawns, so long as they're fresh and not overcooked. Yup, even dried, fermented and pickled prawns must be made with the freshest catch if you want quality stuff.

Roast Chicken

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

"Spatchcock?" I said, a bit warily. I was talking to the chicken guy at the market, who was asking me how I wanted my chicken cut up. The young chap – a mainland Chinese – didn't understand the word 'spatchcock'. I tried again, this time in my limited Chinese, 'Er, make it look like a butterfly?' He stared at me like I was insane. "Frog? Make it look like a frog?"

Pork Belly Braised with Red Fermented Beancurd

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

If you like strong flavours, you'd like the Hakka way of cooking pork belly.

The fatty cut is marinated with red fermented beancurd and Shaoxing wine, deep-fried, then braised in the marinade along with fried ginger, shallots and ginger and wood ear fungus.

Don't forget to cook more rice when you make this Hakka dish!

Chicken with Rice Wine Dregs

Thursday, 12 August 2010

I was wandering round my favourite hangout in the neighbourhood – aka supermart – when I noticed some cookbooks in the fruits and vegetables section. Instead of being tucked away in some obscure corner, they were occupying prime real estate, right under my nose.

If you want the customer to buy something, put it where he's bound to walk past, at eye-level. This is one of the oldest tricks of supermarkets.

True enough, I stood amidst the apples, oranges and Russet potatoes and started browsing the cookbooks.

Ginger Cake

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Imagine a soft, tender cake that's filled with the spiciness of fresh ginger, mixed with the slight bitterness of treacle.

The cake is not too sweet, so you can taste the trace of cinnamon, cloves and black pepper in the background.

The colour is a dark, gorgeous mahogany that looks rich but, when you take a bite, the cake is quite light.

Mmmmm . . . what could be better than a slice of ginger cake on a rainy day? Let me see . . . . A slice of ginger cake on a sunny day! Or cloudy day. Or any day  regardless of the weather!

The recipe I use is from David Lebovitz. It's a stir and mix cake that requires no beating or creaming at all. It's dead easy and done in a jiffy. Absolutely nothing can go wrong if you measure the ingredients correctly, set the timer, and a meteor doesn't hit your house.