It has been, what seems to me, like a million years since I last posted on my beloved blog. Let’s just say that life has been a bit eventful.We had a baby! (who is now almost a toddler), and we bought a house, then we sold the house, and then we moved across the ocean :D. A change can do you good, they say. So we, the three of us, huddle, stick together, and embrace this adventure with open arms.
Our future house is still in the works. So I am sharing a kitchen at my mom’s house. After months of eating out, I started missing cooking. Now, I have been returning to it little by little. It feels good to cook, to create, to produce again. I hope to resume and sustain this good habit here in our new world.
Last night, I cooked up a storm. But of course, I forgot to take pictures of the main dishes. I did remember to take pictures of the desserts. Oh well, let this post and the next be about sweet stuff.
Mung Beans is pretty popular in the South East Asian countries. I love having it cooked in coconut milk mixed with palm sugar. You can have it hot or cold. Either way is delightful. So here is my simple recipe for 4 people:
- 2 cups of mung beans
- 1 cup of palm sugar
- 1 cup of coconut milk (if using the light coconut milk, you can use the whole can)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 or 2 inches of ginger
- 6 cups of water
- In a medium size pot, bring water to a rolling boil
- Add mung beans and ginger. Let it cook for 5 minutes
- Turn off the stove and cover the pot.
- Let the mung beans sit for an hour in that covered pot
- After an hour, see if it needs a bit of water. If so, add enough to immerse the beans
- Turn on the stove again and add sugar. Stir well
- While stirring, add the coconut milk. Keep stirring until it starts to come to simmer again
- Turn off the stove, let it cool down, and enjoy
- Refrigerate the rest and try it cold for the next day
“Make me sweet again, fragrant, fresh and wild, and thankful for any small gesture.” -Rumi-
Speaking of sweet, fragrant, fresh and wild, here’s another easy side dish recipe. Thought I’d share before 2013 ends. Happy 2014 to all, may our new year be sweet and filled with gratitude.
The fresh, cute, and candy-like grape tomatoes always make wonderful salad and snack. A recent eat-out at, an oldie but goody, Italian restaurant gave me a delicious alternative on how to enjoy them: roast and drizzle them with balsamic! Oh, how they became even sweeter!
Here’s how I did it:
- 10 oz. of grape tomatoes (halved)
- 4 garlic (whole or minced doesn’t matter)
- 2 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (add more if you want)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Place the halved tomatoes and garlic on a baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle a little bit of salt, and mix with both hands
- Roast for 15 minutes
- Let them cool down for a five minutes
- Place them in a bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar
- Optional: Make it peppery by adding arugula!
- Great to serve together with Spaghetti ala Puttanesca and Roasted Portobello with Breadcrumbs
Thanks for stopping by…
Other source of recipe idea: Roasted Grape Tomatoes Recipe by Claire Robinson
Looking for an easy way to cook vegetables and make them more flavorful? Sauteing is my answer. My mom does it a lot with a variety of veggies like bean sprouts, bitter melon, Napa cabbage, etc. She taught me to cook them with garlic, chili peppers, salt, and a little bit of water. Quick, easy, and tasty.
Napa cabbage has been one of my faves to saute. This crunchy and mild cabbage absorbs flavors nicely. It makes a wonderful side to beef, chicken, or fish dishes. (Optional: we could also make the dish more colorful by adding red bell peppers and/or mushrooms.)
Here’s my recipe to serve two:
- 1 Napa cabbage, cleaned and sliced (I usually pick a small one, just enough for two)
- 4 garlic, chopped
- 4 Thai peppers, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil
- ¼ cup of water
- 1 bell pepper, cored and chopped (optional)
- 1–2 cups of Shiitake mushroom, stemmed and chopped (optional)
- Heat up a medium pan, add oil (over medium heat)
- Cook garlic and peppers for two minutes
- Add slices of Napa cabbage and mix with the garlic and chili peppers (add bell peppers and mushroom here too, if using)
- Add salt, mix. Then add water and cover the pan with a lid.
- Let it cook for five minutes until the it simmers. (The cabbage will release its moisture and wilt. But, it will still be a bit crunchy even after cooking.) Taste and add salt if necessary.
- Serve while it’s still hot
Thanks for reading!
I know that a recipe is a good one when I get the approval of my friend’s 10 year-old little girl with selective food preferences. (I am a former picky eater myself, by the way.) This dessert, dear readers, got hers (and her mom’s and other tasters’ too). She didn’t notice the presence of beets and avocado in the cake until I told her. All she tasted was this chocolaty and soft cake with just the right level of sweetness, which I did too. Once I revealed the ingredients, this little girl told me that she wanted to make it and asked me for the recipe. Ha! This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thank you, fellow blogger Poppy’s Patisserie Bunny Kitchen!
Here’s my slightly adapted recipe (I didn’t do the chocolate glaze or almond toppings. Maybe next time. I thought that the cake was great by itself.)
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 cup of ground pecan (I think almonds, walnuts, or cashews would work nicely too.)
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 2 tsp of baking soda
- 4 tsp of cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups of mashed cooked beetroot (I used three small beets that I boiled for about 30—40 minutes, peeled, and ran in a food processor)
- 1 cup of honey (The original recipe asked for half agave and half date syrups. I went with honey instead.)
- 1 cup of mashed avocado
- 1/4 cup of canola oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup of dark chocolate chips, melted
Steps (I pretty much follow the original recipe):
- Preheat the oven to 320 degrees Fahrenheit
- Mix the dry ingredients (flour, pecan, baking powder, baking soda, salt) in a bowl
- Mix the wet ingredients (mashed beetroot, honey, mashed avocado, canola oil, vanilla extract, melted dark chocolate) in a separate bowl
- Combine the dry and the wet ingredients. Whisk, beat, mix it really well.
- Pour the batter into a 9-inch round baking pan and bake it for an hour to an hour and a half. Make sure a cake tester (I use a skewer) comes out clean once inserted into the cake.
Hope you like it!
Have a good day
For Nana Banana
Original recipe: Possibly the Worlds Healthiest Chocolate Cake: Beetroot and Avocado Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze and Toasted Almond Gold Dust by Poppy’s Patisserie Bunny Kitchen
I like cooking vegetables. Their wide variety gives out many different taste and menu possibilities. That, and most of the time I find a lot of the veggie recipes to be easy to make. Here’s one to prove my point: sautéed cabbage and carrots, another childhood dish I grew up with in Indonesia. Originally called, orak-arik, this recipe has to be one of the easiest things to make. With shredded cabbage, carrots, a little bit of vegetable oil, salt, black pepper, and garlic, I get a delicious plate in no time. Do you notice how sweet carrots become after being sautéed? That sweetness goes real nice with the black pepper and crunchy cabbage. In its traditional form, the recipe includes scrambled eggs in the mix. But I am making that optional here.
Things that we’ll need:
- 1 small (or half of a large) cabbage head (cut into thin shreds)
- 3–4 carrots (cleaned and chopped in a food processor)
- 3 garlic (chopped)
- Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- Heat up a medium size pan (over medium heat)
- Add oil and then garlic. Let it sizzle for two minutes
- Add carrots, cabbage, salt, and black pepper. Stir to mix everything together (I use two cooking spoons to mix them up).
- Cover the pan and let the veggies cook for five minutes or until everything wilts
- Move it away from the heat
Ideal to serve as a side to a beef or chicken dish. Don’t forget the rice :D.
Hope you like it and happy cooking!
One recipe for two dishes is possible here. This collard greens dish uses the same ingredients as my Smoked Salmon in Spicy Coconut Milk Sauce. Serve both over hot jasmine rice, with a cup of hot tea. Let’s nourish ourselves and be content.
- 1 bunch of collard greens (Discard the stems and center ribs. Cut the leaves into thin strips)
- 3 garlic
- 3 shallots
- 5 Thai peppers (or other type of chili peppers that you prefer)
- 7 fl oz of light coconut milk (1/2 can of the regular 14 fl oz—Use the rest of the milk for Smoked Salmon in Spicy Coconut Sauce, see previous blog post)
- 1 inch cut of galangal root, smashed (No galangal root? Substitute with zest from one lemon or lime)
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable/canola oil
- Chop garlic, shallots, and Thai peppers in a food processor
- Heat up a medium size pan over medium heat and add oil
- Sweat garlic, shallots, and peppers for about one to two minutes
- Add coconut milk, salt, and galangal root to the pan. Stir until it starts to bubble.
- Add collard greens into the sauce, mix, and cover the pan for five minutes or until the greens wilt. Move it away from the heat and let it sit for a while to absorb the sauce.
- Discard galangal root
- Serve with hot jasmine rice
Hope you like it and thank you for stopping by!
Got a chance to catch up with an old roommate a couple of weekends ago. Jeff and I joined her and her family at a lake house that we rented. We got lucky. October was being kind, sunny, and warm that week. Fall painted earthy colors all around us. We spent most of the time talking, eating, and running around outside.
We covered a wide range of topics that weekend. Food was one of them. In addition to exchanging cooking ideas, we also made a few dishes. Eating well was one of the activities we planned to do at this lake house reunion. My friend made red cabbage coleslaw one night to accompany her grilled lamb chops. I’ve always loved crunchy and tangy slaw but had never made it before. When I saw hers, I made notes in my mind: make coleslaw, use red cabbage and green onions, make it colorful! It was delicious. Thanks, Lal.
Feeling inspired and intrigued, I slightly adapted the recipe the other day. Here’s my version with horseradish punch:
- 1/2 of small red cabbage head (sliced into very thin shreds)
- 4 green onions (chopped)
- 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of prepared horseradish
- Black pepper
I mixed and whisked the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, horseradish, black pepper, and salt in a big bowl. Tasted and adjusted the flavors. Then I added the cabbage and green onions, tasted and adjusted again. Mixed them up, covered, and refrigerated it for an hour/overnight before serving. Let the vegetables absorb the flavors. Great to serve alongside steak or lamb chops.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
Baked Tempeh. My parents would probably chuckle when they read this post’s title. You see, tempeh is one of Indonesia’s staple food and a favorite of mine. Typically, we’d just sprinkle salt on it and brown it in a pan with a little bit of oil. It is delicious, simple, and humble. Now, as much as I love having tempeh, I loathe getting oil splatter all over my stove, kitchen, skin, and clothes. So, my solution to avoid such a mess: bake them in the oven. Why not, right?
Tempeh absorbs seasonings and marinades quite well. So, we could just salt it OR add more flavors to it. I like to do a dry rub with a few spices for mine. Here’s how I prepare the baked tempeh:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- I slice tempeh into thin rectangular cuts
- Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on the tempeh cuts and brush to coat evenly
- Sprinkle a little bit of salt, cayenne pepper powder, turmeric powder, and coriander powder
- Mix these spices with the tempeh cuts and make sure each is well coated
- Bake for 15 minutes or until they turn golden brown
They are still that delicious, simple, and humble tempeh that I like so much, even with the added ingredients and steps.
Great to serve alongside a vegetable dish and rice
Hope you like it.
This entry was originally titled Kale Braised in Coconut Milk and was published back on January 26, 2012. Since then I have tweaked the recipe and arrived at a point where I could say, “This is even better!” So here it is, dear readers. Let’s turn the hardy green leaves into a tender and flavorful dish.
Almost a decade ago, a good friend introduced me to kale. Originally, we wanted to cook braised cassava leaves in spices and coconut milk (gulai daun singkong), a native dish to the West Sumatrans, but could not find the vegetable in Michigan. My friend believed Kale’s texture and taste would work for the dish we wanted to make. And OH WOW, did it work great! Since then on this super vegetable has been one of my regular side dish menus.
Both Jeff and I love this dish. It is spicy but yet there’s also a little sweetness that comes from the mixture of red bell pepper, shallots, and coconut milk.
Here’s a list of things we will need:
- 2 bundle of kale (remove the stem, wash, and chop the leaves)
- 4 shallots (finely chopped)
- 4 garlic (chopped)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 10 hot finger peppers (finely chopped)
- Light coconut milk (one can)
- One cup of water
Chicken stock (use half a cup)
- One inch cut of galangal root (for aroma)
- A pinch of turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon of canola oil
- Heat up the canola oil in a medium pot
- In a food processor, chop and mix garlic, shallots, and all peppers.
Add shallots and garlic into the pot and let them turn to light brown
- Sweat the garlic, shallots, and peppers mix in the medium pot for 2 minutes
- Add salt and turmeric powder
- Add water and bring to boil
Mix the leaves with shallots and garlic
- Add coconut milk, stir, and bring to boil one more time
chicken stock and peppers. Cover the pot with its lid and let the dish boil
- Add kale, bring to boil, and then remove pot from the heat immediately (to avoid overcooking the vegetable)
Add coconut milk, stir and mix well, and let it cook for another 20 minutes until the vegetable becomes tender
Uncover the pot to reduce the liquid for no more than 2 minutes
Add salt to taste
Great with rice and a grilled chicken or a beef dish.
Hope you like it!