Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Fish ball Noodles

One of the more famous Malaysian hawker food dishes that seems to slip through the cracks would be Fish ball Noodles. You might find it strange and ask what fish balls really are. It is in actual fact, fish meat blended into a paste, mixed with some other ingredients and then formed into balls. A staple dish amongst the Chinese Hawkers in Malaysia, you would see different versions of this dish in various parts of Malaysia. Here is my version of it:



8                   whole fish balls
1 tbsp           dried prawns - soaked in hot water
1 - 2             medium sized bunch of pak choy or mustard leaves
1/2 cube       instant vegetable stock
1 serving       crispy egg noodle - softened
1 round        chilli oil
1 round        soy sauce
a dash of      white pepper
1 bowl         water


  1. Bring out a sizable soup pot. Place soaked dried prawns into pot and stir till water dries up. Then add in a tbsp of vegetable oil. Fry till fragrant before adding in the water. Bring to boil.
  2. When water is reaching boiling point, add the instant vegetable stock cube. Make sure cube breaks down into water before adding in fish balls. Continue boiling. Bring to a simmer when water starts boiling.
  3. In a separate pot, boil some water, add in some oil and salt. When water is boiling, add in portion of egg noodles to soften. Cook for about 2 - 3 minutes or until soft, remove and strain through a sieve. Wash under cold water to stop the cooking process. Place in bowl.
  4. Wash vegetables to remove any excess dirt. Drain excess water. Then precook vegetables by blanching them in the soup. Remove and place on top of noodles.
  5. Before serving, add in soy sauce, pepper and the chilli oil to add colour.
  6. Ladle out fish balls onto noodles and then add soup to desired amount.
  7. Serve with either sliced chillies in soy sauce or home made sambal belacan.
If you don't have fish balls, you can use sliced fish cake, precooked chicken breast or even sliced pork. The recipe is mighty flexible. If don't want to have the chilli oil, omit it. If you want it spicier, then add in the chilli during the frying process.

It served my soup craving as well as taking me back to having a hawker food back home,
The Innovative Baker

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Goulash: The Asian Way

I was asked by a friend, Chuang Yik, to experiment cooking Hungarian Goulash but with Asian ingredients. Needless to say, when I checked out what actually went in to cook a goulash, it was actually very similar to that of a tomato sauce based stew, but with Paprika... So I set off looking for what can be replaced in the goulash to make it more Asian. Here's my version of the Goulash:


500 gms                   sliced beef for stewing (ask your local butcher which cuts are best for stews)
2                              whole red peppers (sliced into large cubes)
2                              yellow onions - sliced similar to the red peppers
1 can                        sliced tomatoes
1 - 1 1/2 tbsp           mild chilli powder
                                freshly ground black pepper
                                some corn starch (optional)

Marinade for beef:
1 1/2 tsp                  corn flour
1 round                    soy sauce
1 tsp                        sugar


  1. Firstly, marinade the beef and set aside. Should beef slices be too big, then slice to smaller bite size pieces.
  2. Heat up a pot, with some vegetable oil, some salt and wait till oil is heated up. Then add in the onions, stir until onions begin to turn colour and soft to the stir.
  3. Next add in your beef and continue to stir. When beefs looks half cooked, add in the canned tomatoes including the juices. Using the can as a measurement, add in another can of water and bring to boil. When boiling, lower the heat, and let it simmer. After 10 minutes, add in the chilli powder, stir and let it simmer.
  4. When water has reduced to 1/3 of the original portion, then add in the red peppers. Stir and continue to let it simmer. Check to make sure the bottom of the pot is not burnt.
  5. After 15 minutes or so, check the thickness of the sauce. If you feel that it should be thickened further, then add in the cornstarch that has already been premixed with some water. The sauce will radically thicken. You should see a layer of red oil on top of the sauce. Almost similar to what a bolognese sauce may have. If you like a sauce that is slightly more watery, then forget about the cornstarch.
  6. Serve with a portion of white rice (basmati or jasmine is fine). Alternatively, boil up some pasta and serve or freshly baked bread.
Relatively simple in terms of cooking. If you want to make it even more spicy, add in sliced red chillies. To make it mild, replace the chilli powder with paprika powder. 

Feeling all Hungarian after a hearty meal,

The Innovative Baker

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Vegetarian Parcels, an alternative to spring rolls!

When having to cook for vegetarians, my mind works extra hard to make sure, I don't accidentally include meat into the dishes. I also was thinking of making spring rolls but lo and behold, the asian grocery stores were closed for the holidays. I had however romainne lettuce, a load of different mushrooms, morsels (wood ears) and of course paprikas. So, I came up with Vegetarian Parcels:


250 gms                      white button mushrooms - diced
4 - 5 pieces                 dried shiitake mushrooms - soaked in hot water and then diced
4 - 5 pieces                 dried morsel (wood ears) - soaked in hot water and then diced
2                                 paprikas - red and yellow for colour - diced
1 stalk                         leek - washed and diced
1 whole                       romainne lettuce - leaves washed and set aside
2 rounds                      sesame oil
1 tbsp                          oyster sauce
2 dashes                      dark soy sauce
2 dashes                      soy sauce
1/2                              red onion - diced
1 tbsp                         cornstarch (with 1 1/2 tbsp water)
                                   Pepper to taste


  1. First prepare all the ingredients for chopping. 
  2. Heat up a medium pot, add in vegetable oil. Add in diced red onion and stir till fragrant. Then add in shiitake mushrooms and leek. Cook for about 2 minutes then add in morsels. Continue stirring. Pour in the mushroom water as stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and let simmer.
  3. After 10 minutes, add in button mushrooms. When button mushrooms blend in with the rest, add in oyster sauce, dark and light soy sauce. Stir until mixture is covered with the sauces. 
  4. Finally add in paprikas. Continue stirring. Then add in cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce. Add in pepper to taste and finally sesame oil. Stir and switch off the gas. Let it seat.
  5. Lay out romainne lettuce around the plate. Dish out vegetables on to the romainne lettuce. It can be eaten cold or warm.
If you want some kick, then, when cooking, add in diced red chillies. If you wish to serve with a dip, then pour a side of sweet chilli sauce for your guests to enjoy. I know I enjoyed it. My vege friends loved it!

Cooking for the vegetarian at heart,
The Innovative Baker

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Stir fried pork belly with shallots, ginger and chilli

Single people love simple food when it comes to cooking. When in Germany, I always looked for the simplest way to cook a dish. This time around I was at Hendrik's place for dinner and this time I made him cook the dish. We had leftover ingredients from the last party we had, so we whipped out all the leftover ingredients and thought what we could do with them. I brought pork belly from my fridge as I had to start getting rid of groceries by then. So this was what we came up with, Stir Fried pork belly with shallots, ginger and chilli.


500 gms                        pork belly (sliced to bite sized pieces)
10                                 shallots - skin removed and sliced thinly
A thumb sized               ginger - julienned
3                                   red chillies - seeds removed and julienned

A dollop of                   oyster sauce (that would be about 2 tbsps)
2 rounds of                   sesame oil
2 rounds of                   soy sauce
A dash of                      freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp                           flour (alternate with cornstarch if you have it)


  1. Marinade pork belly with marinade and set aside for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, prepare ground ingredients (shallots, ginger and chilli).
  2. Heat up wok, add some vegetable oil. When oil has heated up, not til the point where you see smoke coming out of the wok, then the oil is too hot, add in ground ingredients. Stir fry till fragrant. Then add in marinated pork including the juices together and continue stir frying. When pork is turning colour, add some water for it to simmer in.
  3. Let pork simmer for about 5 minutes. On the side, prepare a tbsp of cornstarch / flour with water and stir. When you see pork is fully cooked, pour in flour mixture into wok to thicken the sauce. Stir the pork until you see the sauce has thickened. Dish out onto rice and serve piping hot!
Hendrik and I enjoyed the meal tremendously. Simple yet tasty. And it only took 1/2 hour to cook.

Simple dishes definitely goes a long way,
The Innovative Baker

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