I love salted fish. It is pungent and it is really you-love-it-or-you-don’t kinda food ingredients. It is also considered as the poor man’s dish. Back in the days, people with not much money can only afford seafood this way. With only a small piece, a whole family could down their meals satisfactorily. We have some really good home-cooked meals with these salted fish. When shop for salted fish, look for the clean looking piece. Thick and clean would be what I would go for. Also get the one that doesn’t smell too bad. One of the best dishes to cook salted fish with is bean sprouts stir-fry. Easy and quick.

Prep the ingredients, fresh bean sprouts, slices of chili, salted fish and minced garlic. I have the pet peeve of eating bean sprouts with the tails on. I have to get rid of them. I just have to.

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Homemade Kaya, Coconut Jam

I am a kaya snob. We have been spoiled by our grandmothers, aunties and mothers that we only enjoy homemade kaya. Every family has their own version of homemade kaya, some thick, some runny, some yellow, some brown caramel-ish, some pandan green-ish.

It is strange that kaya is only popular on this side of island. My husband from Java has never tried it before until he moved here. I asked him what they have with their toast. He looked at me with a blank face. He doesn’t get it.

Our method of making kaya results in runny, yellow-to-brown hue spread, minus the grain. I remembered my kaya making sessions to be painful ones. I was on my feet for hours only to see the whole batch gone to the bin. It was better that way than to get the frown from people who were coming over for breakfast. When I finally got it right, it was very rewarding to see every drop gone in the matter of hours. The downside is that I am becoming more of a snob. Our kaya needs to be smoothly grainless and almost transparent, a little on the yellow-ish brown color. Without refrigeration, the spread needs to be consumed within days.

Only three ingredients are needed. Egg yolks, coconut milk and castor sugar. The quality of the kaya depends on the quality of coconut milk and egg yolks. The more intense colored yolks will result in beautiful golden colored kaya. The red yolks are usually from organic egg. The coconut milk used usually are from freshly squeezed coconut. Prepackaged coconut milk can be used as substitute. I have no experience using powdered instant form of coconut milk, so I can’t say much about it.

Combine them all in a mixing bowl.

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It is terrifying how time flies. It is now November already and I haven’t felt that much has been done this year. Except that baby who has been getting louder by the day. Another positive note is that Christmas is coming and all the shops are going to be so pretty.

One of the quick and easy dish to make to accompany steamed rice for lunch at our home is carrot, jicama and beans stir-fry. The color of the dish is vibrant. White, orange and green are making the dish colorful and refreshing to the eyes. Of course it would do just fine if you are missing the beans. The Buddhist vegetarian version is prepared without minced garlic.

We usually couldn’t finish the dish in one lunch. I would use the stir-fry as filling for the sweet bread buns during my night time bread making session. They would be perfect for breakfast the next morning. Did I just sound too frugal? This is the recipe for the bun and just replace the filling with this. If you want to be as frugal as me.

Slice green beans diagonally, about 0.5cm thickness.

Grate carrot and jicama. Rinse them after grating using cold runny water and drain.

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Powdered Sugar Doughnut

Our childhood memories do include powdered sugar doughnuts bought from street vendor. We consumed them vicariously not caring about calorie and sugar content and what it would do to our waistlines. Those were good days.

As more and more modern eateries scattered around town, these are quite hard to come by. Do not worry. They are easy to make. The only culprit is the frying oil. Use only clean and healthy oil. Grind your own powdered sugar using kitchen castor sugar if you wish.

It is great to spend Sunday afternoon with a huge plate of warm powdered doughnuts and some iced tea or coffee. If you plan on doing what we did last weekend, start working on the dough right after lunch. The sweet round treats will be ready by tea time.

Combine flour, salt, sugar, yeast, baking powder, egg yolk and milk in a mixing bowl.

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Pork Noodle Soup

One of the simpler and humble dishes we enjoy at home, like any other Chinese families out there, is the pork and mee suah soup. Mee suah is Chinese wheat noodle. It is white in color, sold in dried bundle form. It is always prepared in soup dishes and very fragile. When left too long in soup, it would become too mushy. The noodle has to be serve as soon as possible.

The pork is prepared into meat balls. It is seasoned as little as possible. Mother would add Chinese preserved cabbage into the minced pork. The broth is lightly seasoned with soy sauce and sesame sauce.

Our mee suah (wheat noodles) are bought in triangle shaped red paper container.

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