Monday 16 September 2013

Merdeka Open House 2013: Treasures From Sabah & Sarawak Round Up

This year Malaysia celebrated her 56th Independence Day but the establishment of Malaysian Federation was only marked on 16 September 1963. This day commemorates the day where Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore joined together to form Malaysia. This was the main reason why I've pushed the 8th Merdeka Open House to today in celebration of the union with the theme Treasures From Sabah & Sarawak. It's a pity as I did not push hard enough to email past participants to invite them to take part hence there is really just a handful of entries.

Just wished this could have been a real open house rather than a virtual one as I imagine how delicious it would be to taste dishes from Sabah and Sarawak as I've never been to that part of the country personally. I've heard so much of the cuisine from friends and relatives who have been there. For this open house, participants need to cook a special dish from Sabah or Sarawak and post up the recipe and a bit of write up about the dish.

So here's the round up:

My utmost supportive friends, Nate and Annie, from House of Annie, who were based in Kuching for a while but now back home in San Jose, California, USA. Nate mentioned that a friend had shown them how to make this Dabai Paste while they were still in Kuching. This "Sibu olives" is technically not a true olive but is only grown in central Sarawak around the town of Sibu. It's a pity that we might be able to taste this only in Sarawak as I was told these dabai doesn't last long when fresh hence it can never get travel out of the state. I know one day, yes one day, I will get to try some of these babies.

Ardent cook cum masterchef, Wendy (Table for 2 or... More) had submitted Fish with Iban Eggplant. The special eggplant was sent to her by a fellow blogger who resides in Sarawak. It is always great to see something new, what more than cooking something new and learn to love it too.

Ayam Likku

On my front end, I did 3 Borneo dishes for dinner in one shot and had a great time exploring the dishes and getting to know the dishes as well. The first is Ayam Likku which is literally galangal chicken, famous in Tawau. Surprisingly it turned out very delicious and I supposed if bake the chicken after cooking ala ayam percik would render a crispy skin :p but that would have been bastardising the recipe already!

Sambal Bawang Kampu

Another surprisingly delish dish was this Sambal Bawang Kampu. Totally different from our usual sambal as this sambal does not have any chillies except for the fresh green chillies to be stirred fried with the spring onions. This recipe is a keeper.

Stir Fried Manicai with Egg

Next, a recipe loved by Sarawakians using manicai. Simple and pretty straightforward, Stir Fried Manicai with Egg but absolutely tasted amazing.

Well, that's all for the round up for this edition of Merdeka Open House. Thank you for all the participants for submitting your entries for this virtual open house.

Check out the different themes from our previous round ups:

2006 - Malaysian Recipe Long Forgotten
2007 - Muhibbah
2008 - Mee and My Malaysia
2009 - My Sweet Malaysia
2010 - Food From Our Heart
2011 - Makan Through Malaysia
2012 - Uniquely Malaysia

Selamat Hari Merdeka & Selamat Hari Malaysia!

Friday 13 September 2013

Merdeka Open House 2013: Stir-Fried Manicai with Eggs

Was first introduced to this Stir-Fried Manicai with Eggs in my earlier days of blogging when I used to stalk blogs belonged to Sarawakians. They were literally crazy over manicai which in Cantonese is shue tzai choy or in Malay cekur manis. One of them, Eddie who lives in USA literally have a box of these plants growing in his living room and he really took care of the plants like babies :p

I've never got around to cooking this dish cos preparing the vegetable is ermmm quite time consuming. The plucking and picking the leaves that is. I do love manicai in soups and especially so in pan meen. Hates it when they serve pan meen soup using substitute vegetables.

And so I did a bit of search and what more from a pretty lass with beautiful voice, Kelly Siew, who is a native of Bintulu. She had carefully listed down the steps to do with the leaves which I would never have known to salt the leaves to squeeze out the liquid before using. The reason for doing so is to get rid of the certain bitterness from the leaves.

Being the ever careless cook, I tend to forget to add ingredients hehe yeah even at work. Can you imagine the amount of times my boss would roll her eyes over this carelessness! And so I did the same with this dish which was so simple to make hahahaha... sighhh I've forgotten to add the water even though I've measured and place next to the pan, can you believe it? Darn fail!

Anyway the verdict from Capt'n Hook was good and I thought so too. I think I like my manicai slightly crunchy with a bite but would have gone if I had added the water. So in my recipe, I would say water is optional. You can even use chicken stock if you wish. I've also omitted chicken powder nor MSG since I don't use them in my cookings.

Stir Fried Manicai with Egg

Stir-Fried Manicai with Eggs
Serves 2 - 4

200 g manicai (plucked weight)
1 Tbsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
50 ml water (optional)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp soy sauce

Pluck manicai leaves, wash and soak like the usual way you would do it. Drain and mix in the salt, tearing some of the leaves in between. Set aside for 10 minutes. Squeeze out the liquid from the manicai. Rinse out the leaves with a few washes of water and squeeze them dry another round. Set aside.

In a hot pan, heat up the oil. Add garlic and fry till fragrant. Stir in the manicai leaves. Add in water now if using. When it's quite dry, make a well in the centre and pour in the eggs. Let the eggs set before stirring them all together. Stir in soy sauce and mix evenly before dishing up.

This is my third entry for 8th Merdeka Open House 2013 Date & Theme: Treasures from Sabah & Sarawak.

Merdeka Open House 2013: Sambal Bawang Kampu

Sambal Bawang Kampu

Out of the three dishes I've made for 8th Merdeka Open House 2013 Date & Theme: Treasures from Sabah & Sarawak, this Sambal Bawang Kampu came out unexpectedly delicious! Just that they're a tad salty so I've adjusted the recipe a little. This recipe also came from Her World CookBook Vol 78.

This sambal has no red chillies but aromatics like shallots, garlic and galangal. What's so unique is the sambal is stir fried with loads of spring onions (that's where the bawang name comes from) and green chillies! Kampu is actually Kampung!!!

I've used much less green chillies than I should but I really think the freshness of the green chillies add a whole lot more dimension to the dish. So essentially the spring onions and green chillies are the star of the dish together with the sambal. This is something that I will make again and again as Capt'n Hook seems to agree with me, other than too salty because of the sheer amount of dried shrimp, this dish is a winner.

Sambal Bawang Kampu
Serves 3 - 4

200 g spring onions, cut into 5 cm lengths
3 green chillies, slice thinly at an angle
50 g dried shrimp, wash and rinse until water is clear then soak for 30 mins
4 shallots (40 g), thinly sliced
1 cm galangal, minced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cm piece belacan (10 g), roasted
2 Tbsp tamarind water
1 tsp palm sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Heat oil in a pan and fry dried shrimps will lightly golden brown. Stir in galangal, garlic and shallots. Fry until fragrant. Crumble in the belacan and stir. Add tamarind water and palm sugar.

Add in green chillies and spring onion, stir to mix well quickly. Dish up and serve with rice immediately.

Thursday 12 September 2013

Merdeka Open House 2013: Ayam Likku

Ayam Likku

My first entry for 8th Merdeka Open House 2013 Date & Theme: Treasures from Sabah & Sarawak would be this Ayam Likku which is actually Galangal Chicken. I've first discovered this recipe in Her World Cook Book Vol 78 which has the theme Food Journey Across Malaysia.

This was introduced by Amber Chia who says that this Ayam Likku is a very famous dish from Tawau, Sabah. It's a traditional Bugis dish where the main ingredient is galangal (likku).

As I browsed through the ingredients, sounds simple enough to prepare. However, I was a bit concerned when it need to cook coconut milk with the chicken for 45 minutes... won't it split? As I was cooking, then I realised that the coconut milk was merely the liquid to get the chicken cooking and as it cooks, it actually turn into oil which in turns will saute the aromatics as it continues to cook. Brilliant I would say!

Capt'n Hook said this chicken was really delicious which is quite rare lol when it comes to my cooking as my low salt nature really turns him off! He loves how aromatic the gravy was. Anyway, I've reduced the recipe size using 2 chicken legs instead of 4. So the recipe is my take with observations and whatever not.

Ayam Likku (Galangal Chicken)
Serves 2 - 3

(A) Finely minced:
5 cm galangal
1 stalk lemongrass
2 cloves garlic
4 shallots (40 g)

2 chicken legs
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
125 ml thick coconut milk
1/2 Tbsp turmeric powder
Sugar & salt to taste

In a hot pan with lid, heat up the oil and saute (A) on medium high heat until the aromatics are properly fried through and smells fragrant (takes about 15 - 20 mins).

Pour in coconut milk and turmeric powder, mix in well. Season with salt and sugar (remember to taste). Slip in the chicken legs and coat them evenly with the mixture in the pan. Cover the pan and simmer on low heat.

You'll need to stir and scrape the aromatics at the bottom of the pan to prevent burning and sticking every now and then. To add a little colour to the chicken skin, do cook them skin down and turn them around when done.

I've used free range chicken so the cooking time was about 25 minutes. Serve hot with rice. Yums!

Last Day of Submission for 8th Merdeka Open House 2013

Just a gentle reminder that today is the last day of submission for The 8th Merdeka Open House 2013 Date & Theme: Treasures from Sabah & Sarawak. Dead line is midnight but as usual late comers are welcome as well, will slot in when I can.

Thank you ;-)

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Announcing The 8th Merdeka Open House 2013 Date & Theme: Treasures from Sabah & Sarawak

My apologies for the long silence after the intense posts on Zespri 14-Days Challenge. Not only need to recharge but it was school holidays which is usually the busiest time for me. Also for the absolute silence on this year's Merdeka Open House. Nope, I did not forget nor neglect this yearly virtual open house held in conjunction with the Independence Day in Malaysia.

Map sourced from Wikipedia

We are celebrating 56 years of independence this year and I was thinking what theme we have not explored. We have done long forgotten recipes, Muhibbah themed dishes, noodles, sweets, food from our hearts, eating thru Malaysia and uniquely Malaysia. So what's next? As I was pondering over this... it just suddenly strikes my mind, why not something to do with our Eastern sisters from the Borneo Island. How about celebrating this Merdeka Open House on Malaysia Day which falls on 16th September with the theme Treasures from Sabah & Sarawak???
From wikipedia:

Malaysia Day is held on September 16 every year to commemorate the establishment of the Malaysian federation on the same date in 1963. It marked the joining together of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore to form Malaysia. The formation of the new federation was planned to occur on June 1, 1963, but was later postponed to August 31, 1963, in order to coincide with the sixth Hari Merdeka. Several issues related to the Indonesian and the Filipino objection to the formation of Malaysia delayed the declaration to September 16 of the same year. The postponement was also done to allow the United Nations team time to conduct referendums in North Borneo (now Sabah) and Sarawak regarding the two states participation in a new federation.

I think will be great honour to do this year's Merdeka Open House on Malaysia Day. I was really worried like goshhh what am I going to cook up, where the heck to get sago worms? hahaha freaking out a little but it's all good. There are many dishes from Sabah & Sarawak ranging from Sarawak Laksa, Kek Lapis, Umai, Ambuyat, Hinava, Konpia, Pansoh Manok, Pinasakan, Kolok Mee etc. So there are many dishes we people in West Malaysia will get to play masak-masak with.

We would like to hear why did you choose the dish, give a little introduction of the dish (well whatever research you can rake up online but make sure it's at least trustable). You'll need to post up the recipe as well to share with us and the rest of the world and as usual photo(s) is a must! 

All Malaysians, local and abroad, are eligible to participate. Spouses married to Malaysians are encouraged too submit their entries too ;-)

What you need to do:
  1. For this theme, you will need to cook a local dish uniquely found in East Malaysia. We would love you to introduce the dish to the world by telling us about the dish, and why did you pick this dish. We do not just want recipes and photos BUT would love to hear a beautiful story.
  2. Take a picture of your dish, type in your write-up and the recipe (if you have one, otherwise your ingredients and method would suffice if you're the guesstimate/agak-agak type). Do stick to traditional recipe without any shortcuts or replacement of ingredients to make it modern or fusion but it is all right for overseas participants due to limited ingredients. This open house is something for us to cherish our wonderful roots and we hope we could preserve the recipes that our ancestors have hand down.
  3. Post it up in your blog between 6th - 12th September 2013 to ease me in rounding up by 16th September.
  4. All entries must reach me by 12th September 2013, midnight Malaysian time at babe_kl(@)yahoo(dot)com. Our virtual party will be on 16th September 2013 (Monday). In your email, attach a picture of your dish (minimum 500x375 pixels) and please state the following details:

    Name or nick
    Permalink/URL of your post
    Name of the dish

If you do not own a blog but wish to participate, kindly do your write up and send it together with the picture to me. I’ll post it up for you.

I can't wait for your submissions and participation. Do help to spread the word around so that we have more Malaysians taking part in this event. Thank you :D

I guess I would also need to kick my lazy bump to start off my Facebook Page so that there will be a special round out in there which could be fun with interactive comments.

A recap of our previous years' themes:
2007 - Muhibbah

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Day 14: Mid-Autumn Festival Chewy Mooncake Biscuit With Zespri® Kiwifruit Filling

Day 14th of  Zespri® 14-Day Daily Scoop of Amazing Challenge, is the final day of our challenge. The past 2 weeks have been an amazing journey of discovering for myself how much Zespri® Kiwifruits have helped me in terms of giving me the vitamins, nutrients, fibres and enzymes to nourish my body. I have been sleeping pretty late during the start of the challenge and waking early but did not feel sluggish at all nor there were signs of fatigue nor sickly feeling. Must be the work of the high levels of Vitamin C in kiwifruits which is twice the amount as compared with oranges.

Day 14

Kiwifruits have low fat natural source of Vitamin E, which is well known for its heart health and antioxidant properties. It also have high content of bioavailable antioxidants (Vitamins C & E, polyphenols, carotenoids, etc) to help fight damage caused by free radicals in the body. It was great to my digestive system too as I've mentioned before in length.

As for the mind and soul, nothing beat therapeutic time spent in the kitchen creating recipes that I've laid out here in the blog. Best part was getting the family involve was a small brain storming session we have over coffee and cake on what kinda dishes that we can create using kiwifruits.

To close off this  Zespri® 14-Day Daily Scoop of Amazing Challenge, I've decided to make some Mooncake Biscuits since Mid-Autumn Festival is approaching.

Day 14 Mid-Autumn Festival Chewy Mooncake Biscuit With Zespri Kiwifruit Filling

I'm not a big fan of mooncake cos I always find it too sweet for my liking with the exceptional of Teo Chew Mooncake which is flat with flaky pastry. I did like the traditional Jue Tzai Pheng (Cantonese or piglet biscuit) or also known as Jue Loong Pheng (Cantonese or pig cage biscuit cos the piglet are usually sold in a red plastic cage). They are usually without any fillings but I like to put some fillings in there. I never knew it's rather easy to make these biscuits cos I remember my ex-colleague told me that his wife had paid to learn them up. Hers was so good that I've placed orders for them. Well that was those days before I got married heh.

For this challenge, I've tried one batch filled with Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruit Jam hehehe. Just need to cook the jam slightly longer till it's really thick plus oh yeah add more sugar to it. I've used 120g but still find the jam a little on the sour side for this biscuit. For the amount of dough, I think you'll need 3 times of the jam recipe. Keep jam in the fridge, weigh and shape them into rounds before returning to the fridge so that they remain firm.

Day 14 Mid-Autumn Festival Chewy Mooncake Biscuit With Zespri Kiwifruit Filling 02

I have to say the first bite is a little weird since my traditionalist tongue tells me it's just not all right but after a while, it'll sink in and actually tasted in a nice way where the biscuit is sweet whilst the kiwifruit jam is sourish. Like I've mentioned earlier, do add more sugar in the jam.

Mid-Autumn Festival Chewy Mooncake Biscuit

600g low protein flour/plain flour
600g golden syrup
1 1/2 tbsp alkaline/lye water
100g peanut oil

Topping (beaten):
1 egg + 1 egg yolk


Mix golden syrup with peanut oil and alkaline water, gradually add in flour, mix well till combined and soft in a mixing bowl.

Cover the mixing bowl with cling wrap and leave at room temperature overnight. You'll need that as time is needed for the oil to meld into the flour mixture.

Divide dough into many portions, form into rounds. Flatten the dough and wrap it around the jam round making sure it's sealed properly. Dust some plain flour into the biscuit and mould, then press dough into mould. Next, invert onto baking tray.

Bake in preheated oven at 180ºC for 10 mins. Remove from oven, leave to cool, and brush some beaten egg on the surface, and continue baking for another 10 mins until golden in colour. Leave to cool before serving but I prefer to store the biscuit in containers and let them soften further overnight before eating. It's not nice to be eaten when it first comes out of the oven hahaha unlike other biscuits cos it is hard.

Ref: Famous Cuisine Vol. 51 July-Aug 2008, page 7


To know how much dough and filling, fill up the mould with just the dough, then remove and weigh it.  Say if your mould fills 70 g of dough, you'll need 50 g dough and 20 g filling or could be 30 g dough with 20 g fillings. Depends how much ratio of biscuit to filling that you love, after a few attempts you'll know ;-)

If your mould is longish, you may want to shape your jam filling and dough into oval/oblong shape rather than rounds so that it's easier to press and shape into the mould.

Brush the egg wash evenly to achieve even colouring of the biscuits. Otherwise, it will look patchy.

Do not over bake, watch the biscuits in the oven after the egg wash. Remove from oven immediately once it's golden in colour which may be less than 10 mins stated in the recipe depending on your oven. Else, the biscuits will crack or streaks will form on the egg wash (looks like stretch marks).

With regards to oil, it is quite difficult to get 100% peanut oil. You can still get them at Chinese sundry shops. I've tried with sunflower oil but it just doesn't taste the same, like something is missing. I'm using Knife brand oil for this as I've read the label that it contains a blend of palm and peanut oil, so far so good. It still gives the biscuit some peanut aroma as compared to sunflower oil.

Don't forget to visit to check up on all the information on nutrients, benefits, tips, FAQs and recipes. Did you know that using uncooked kiwifruits in jellies and cheesecake will not be set firm? It's because of the actinidin, which can splits and dissolves protein. So do read up the informative write ups there.

Thank you Zespri Malaysia and the Kiwifruit Fairies over at Edelman Malaysia for the fantabulous 14 days of Zespri Kiwifruits goodness! Also thank you to the test bunnies Capt'n Hook and BoiBoi for enduring the amount of test recipes in the short span of 14 days.

Ok a little disclaimer here. When I was approached for this challenge, I did voiced out my concern since I'm working at Bayan Indah with Chef Rohani Jelani who developed a series of recipes for Zespri Malaysia. Some might think it could be judged in a bias manner because of my work involvement. I was assured that points will be awarded based on a series of exercise. That was then I decided to take part in this challenge. I would also like to state here that the recipes I've created were crafted by the little family brainstorming session, cooked and tested by myself without any consultation with the boss :p It's Hari Raya anyway, boss is off duty heh.

Day 11.1: Zespri® Kiwifruits Platter

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Day 13.1: Zespri® Kiwifruit, Banana & Pecan Muffin

Day 13.1: Zespri® Kiwifruit, Banana & Pecan Muffin

I think I over did a little, experimenting with Zespri® Kiwifruits for this Zespri® 14-Day Daily Scoop of Amazing Challenge that I have a couple more recipes to spare :p. I guess I'll just share out even though kiwifruits in cupcakes and muffins are pretty common. I liked this one, with very minimal items to wash and since it's school holidays, get the children to help out.

I've gotten BoiBoi to measure the ingredients and squashing up the banana and kiwifruit with his hand, much easier than a fork. It gives children a great sense of pleasure to be able to touch and feel the food they're eating instead of feeling squirmish about it.

The result is a dense but moist cake and love the crunch from the crushed pecans! Perfect for breakfast ;-) To make this low fat, just use low fat milk.

Zespri® Kiwifruit, Banana & Pecan Muffin
(Makes 12 using 3.25oz muffin cups)

(A) 225 g all purpose flour
25 g wholemeal flour
3/4 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

150 g brown sugar
2 Tbsp rolled oats
80 g chopped pecans
50 g cranberries (feel free to use raisins)

(C) Mash together:
3 medium sized banana (I've used quite ripe pisang emas)
1 - 2 Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruit (good way to use up over ripe ones)

(D) Mix together:
225 ml milk, mix with 2 tsp apple cider vinegar and leave to thicken
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 Tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence

3 Tbsp Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruit Jam
60 g toasted chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 180ºC and line muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

Sift (A) into a large bowl. If there are remaining wholemeal and salt in the sieve, just topple everything into the flour. Stir in (B) and make a well in the centre. Pour (C) and (D) into the well and gently stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Do not over mix otherwise it will become tough.

Spoon into muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes or so depending on your oven, until golden brown or well risen or check with a skewer which should come out clean. Leave to cool in tin for 5 minutes before removing to cool on wire rack.

Warm jam up a little and brush it on top of the muffins while muffins are still hot. Sprinkle pecans on top and serve warm.

Day 13.1:  Zespri® Kiwifruit, Banana & Pecan Muffin 02

Don't forget, there are more recipes available at

Day 13: Stir-Fried Chicken With Zespri® Kiwifruit

I used to have irregular bowel movement many years back to the point that I've to check with my doctor if it's normal. According to her, a majority of women do not have daily bowel movements because their colons did not absorb enough water to produce soft stools. She said it's nothing serious unless one is constantly constipated. She was nice enough to tell me that she had the same issue too and gave me a bottle of Duphalac which is a lactulose syrup. This lactulose is broken down in the colon into products that pull water from the body into the colon to soften the stools. Just one tablespoon a day was the order of the day. I didn't need to take it for long, just a mere couple of weeks before my colon went on a proper working order.

You know, bowel movement is not a regular subject that could be easily brought up but when we did, I realised that I was not alone in my earlier predicament. Say out of 10 of my girl friends, at least 3 of them have similar problem of irregular movement. I introduced them to Duphalac and they were grateful of that.

A lot of people tend to eat banana when they have constipation but did you know that eating banana in bulk will cause further harm than good. You'll need to drink a whole lot more water with the banana in order to have a smooth bowel movement. As far as I know, the other 2 items that will help, papaya and prune (dried or juice).

It was not until last year when I was educated about Zespri® kiwifruits that it contains an enzyme and enough dietary fibres to keep a healthy digestive system. Just 2 kiwifruits a day could do the same job! So forget about synthetic lactulose and head on to some juicy kiwifruits.

Kiwifruits contains actinidin which is a unique protease enzyme known for its ability to break down proteins ie. dairy, meat and legume, which promote increased digestion and digestive comfort. Zespri® Green Kiwifruit contains active actinidin. By eating more kiwifruits you can rely on it for a better digestive comfort and improved laxation as a result which I can attest to that having eaten so much kiwifruits for the past 12 days in Zespri® 14-Day Daily Scoop of Amazing Challenge. If I only knew back then, I would have load myself with kiwifruits and advice my friends the same too!!!

So rather than waiting for disaster to happen (as in being constipated), it's best to keep our digestive system healthy by eating at least 2 kiwifruits a day, just that easy. You can find out more details backed by scientific researches at

Enough of bowel movement stories as some people might find this being TMI (too much info) :p

Let's see what other savoury dish I have came up with... since the kiwifruits profile are slightly on a sour note, including them in a sweet and sour dish or assam pedas would be nice. However, I did an experiment by just using them in my normal stir-fry chicken dish, who knew it ended up so delicious that my BoiBoi kept telling me "Hmmm this chicken dish is sooo nice" during lunch.

Day 13 Stir-fried Chicken with Kiwi ingredients

Stir-Fried Chicken With Zespri® Kiwifruit
(Serves 4)

Marinade together:
250 g chicken fillet, cut into 2 cm chunks
1 tsp light soy sauce
A dash of sesame oil
1/2 tsp cornflour
1/8 tsp sugar

1 Zespri® Green Kiwifruit, sliced into chunks
1 Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruit, sliced into chunks
25 g yellow capsicum, sliced into chunks about size of kiwifruits
25 g red capsicum, sliced into chunks about size of kiwifruits
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Sauce (mix together):
4 Tbsp water
1/2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cornflour

In a pan or wok, heat up the oil and fry garlic in medium heat until fragrant or until become light brown in colour. Add in chicken fillet and stir. Cook fillet until light golden brown on both sides before adding both the capsicum chunks. Stir the sauce mixture before pouring into the chicken. Let sauce some to a boil before turning off the fire. Stir in the kiwifruit chunks while still hot. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Day 13 Stir-fried Chicken with Kiwi 02

Day 11.1: Zespri® Kiwifruits Platter

Monday 12 August 2013

Day 12: Prawn and Zespri® Green Kiwifruit Aglio Olio Pasta

To be frank, I've never consumed so much of Zespri® Kiwifruits in such a short period but in the past 11 days, you can see that we have certainly have a fair dosage of kiwifruits in this Zespri® 14-Day Daily Scoop of Amazing Challenge. I know very well the benefit that my body had gained by simply reading all the nutrients information stated on

I don't have any qualms with Zespri® Green Kiwifruit but many I knew, complaint that it's very sour. However, if you have ripen a green kiwifruit fully, you would be surprise how sweet it can be! Use unripe green kiwifruits in your cooking, it's excellent in tom yum, green sambal, chutney or sweet and sour dish.

If you find ripening green kiwifruit is a task, try Zespri® Gold Kiwifruit. It's really 100% sweet and I love that fresh sweetness that it gives. However, I love my fruits to be sweet with a hint of tang, so I like to believed that the latest Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruit variety is designed and developed for me :p Other than tasting great fresh, I'm rather surprised that SunGold can be so versatile in many dishes I've created.

I've always heard that people shun buying kiwifruits because, one - they don't know how to pick or choose kiwifruits and two - they're sour. I'm going to repeat myself on these 2, hoping that I don't sound like a broken record.

How to pick kiwifruits:

Zespri® Kiwifruits are sold in plastic containers# to prevent them from being squashed. Open up the container and use your eyes to judge that the fruits are all nice without any blemished or squashed sign. Try not to poke or squeeze them as you wouldn't like other people to do the same to your fruits that you would want to purchase.

# do collect the barcodes to enter the contest to win a trip to New Zealand!!!

How to identify ripe kiwifruits:

Once you're back home, open the container and place one kiwifruit on your palm. While cradling it, using gentle pressure, press the kiwifruit with your fingers. If they're rock hard, means it's not ripe yet. For the Green kiwifruits, this stage would be suitable for cooking as they could be hard and sour. As for the Gold and Sungold, it's still not suitable for eating yet.

If the kiwifruit is slightly soft, you could eat them but if kept for another day or two, you'll be able to taste the sweetness even though if it's a Green kiwifruit but if they're Gold or Sungold, go for it!

How to ripen kiwifruits:

Place them together with apples or bananas in a cool dry place (or in the fridge) and they'll ripen hastily. You would be surprised that in our Malaysian weather, read hot and humid, when left with bananas and apples, the ripening process is not as quick we thought it would be! Yup, tried and tested :D 

I usually keep those foil bags that came with large pack of milk powder, Milo, instant coffee etc and use them to store fruits and vege which can last so much longer in the fridge. I did the same with my Green Kiwifruits that came rock hard from my Kiwifruits Fairies.

Day 12 How to ripen kiwifruits

The next dish came up when I wanted to cook a quick lunch for BoiBoi and myself. I did think of a Minestrone which I think Green Kiwifruit could go so well in it but I do not have that many ingredients in my fridge. Next up, I had wanted to do a Seafood Marinara but BoiBoi doesn't really fancy seafood but a few prawns is ok o.O

The next best bet was a really simple aglio olio, something that can be racked up from a basic larder. Who knows that Green Kiwifruits can go so well in a pasta dish?!! BoiBoi and I cleaned our plates up in a jiffy!

Day 12 Prawn and Zespri® Green Kiwifruit Aglio Olio Pasta

Prawn and Zespri® Green Kiwifruit Aglio Olio Pasta
(Serves 2)

Zespri® Green Kiwifruit, slice into thickish chunks
120 g medium sized prawns, shelled with sand track removed
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tsp chopped red chillies
Salt & freshly grounded black pepper to taste
150 g fusili pasta (usually spaghetti or angel hair is used)

In a large pot of boiling water with lots of salt, cook pasta till al dente according to package instruction. Drain pasta when cooked and reserve some pasta cooking water.

Fry prawns in 1/2 Tbsp of oil in a frying pan, on both sides until they're cooked. Remove to a plate and set aside. In the same pan, pour in remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp oil and fry the garlic till fragrant BUT not brown. Toss in the red chillies and stir. Add in the prawns and cooked pasta. Mix well and Turn off the heat. Add in kiwifruits, salt, black pepper and parsley and toss evenly. If it's a little dry, add in a little of the pasta cooking water.

Serve hot with more freshly grounded black pepper.

Day 11.1: Zespri® Kiwifruits Platter

Sunday 11 August 2013

Day 11.2: Lemony Sponge with Zespri® Kiwifruits

Day 11 Lemon Sponge with Zespri Kiwifruits 01

Did you know that citrusy lemon pairs fabulously with Zespri® Kiwifruits? We have made a version of deep fried chicken chop laced with a lemony kiwifruit sauce at work and it went down so well with many people. We have also done a cupcake with kiwifruit jam centre topped with kiwifruit slices which is a crowd favourite too!

So based on that, I've made a lemon sponge cake which is sooo simple to make, then slater on some whipped cream and lay out kiwifruit slices. I've interlay two types of kiwifruits ie. Zespri® Green and SunGold. Made the cake looked super nice and so apt as Hari Raya celebratory cake!

Hahaha I'm a late bloomer when it comes to sponge cake. I have this fear that it will turn out rock hard or deflate when it comes out of the oven. I've done a couple of times of late and now I can say it's so simple tsk tsk!

Day 11 Lemon Sponge with Zespri Kiwifruits 02

Lemony Sponge with Zespri® Kiwifruits
(Serves 8 - 12)

100 g plain/all purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
110 g caster sugar
50 g butter, melted or vegetable oil such as corn/sunflower/canola

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease 2 x 20 cm (8") diameter round tin and line base with non-stick baking paper.

Sift flour and baking powder two times and set aside.

Place eggs and sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until thick and pale for about 8 - 10 minutes. It should have tripled the volume. Fold in flour mixture gently with a metal spoon. (Since I'm using Kitchen Aid, I've used the balloon whisk after beating the eggs to fold in the flour :D) Then fold through the melted butter. (If using the balloon whisk like what I did, remember to use a spatula to dig right down to fold up the last few folds as the bottom bit might not get mixed through.)

Pour batter evenly into the 2 prepare tin. If you're not good in judging, just place the tin on an electric weighing scale to measure out equal amount of batter.

Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched and another good indicator is the cake has come away from the sides of the tin. Remove and using a flat metal spatula, gently go round the edge and tumble upside down on a wire rack. Cake will come off, remove baking paper and let them cool down.

To assemble:

Juice from 2 passionfruits, sieve out the seeds (you can use orange juice)
250 ml cold whipping cream, beat mixture with a couple drops of vanilla essence until light and fluffy*
3 - 4 Zespri® Green and SunGold Kiwifruits, sliced into rounds

* you may add in 1 - 2 Tbsp sugar if you like sweetened cream

Spoon or brush juice on both the cakes to moisten them.

Place one cake on a flat serving platter, spread half of the whipped cream evenly all over. Place one even layer of kiwifruits on top of the cream. Next, careful lay the next cake on top. Spread whipped cream over evenly and top with more kiwifruit slices. Voila!

Serve immediately or if you feel the whipped cream has soften, keep in the fridge for 15 - 20 minutes before serving. 

Day 11 Lemon Sponge with Zespri Kiwifruits 03

More fabulous recipes can be found at

Day 11: Pandan Zespri® Kiwifruits Cooler

Day 11.1: Zespri® Kiwifruits Platter

In my previous post, as promised I'll show a couple of videos on how to peel a Zespri® kiwifruit easily without any fuss. This way you can serve up kiwifruits in a fruit platter rather than just simply serving kiwifruit halves with teaspoons on the side.

Day 11 Zespri Kiwifruits platter 01

I've captured these videos demonstrated by Rohani Jelani :p since I was the one holding the camera. We did it to show to the assistants how to handle kiwifruits last year. Yeah we tend to document these up as reference.

Do note that, please wash the kiwifruits before cutting and not after. Otherwise you'll wash away the juice and sweetness.

Day 11 Zespri Kiwifruit platter 02

In the next video, Rohani shows how to cut a kiwifruit in a zig zag manner. When you open up the kiwifruit, it looked like a pair of flowers. Ensure you use a sharp knife.

Serve up a platter of Zespri® kiwifruit filled with loads of vitamins, minerals and fibres today. Check out the details on

Day 11: Pandan Zespri® Kiwifruits Cooler

Day 11: Pandan Zespri® Kiwifruits Cooler

Wow, day 11 of the Zespri® 14-Day Daily Scoop of Amazing Challenge already, time really flies when one is having fun. As it's Raya, the festivities continues with more open houses and merry makings. Just don't forget that one can incorporate Zespri® Kiwifruits to share the love and nutrients with your friends and family. Don't forget to check out the benefit and nutrient details on

You can pack in a homemade Frangipane Zespri® Golden Drops together with some Zespri® Kiwifruits in a small little hamper as buah tangan when visiting your friends or family. Surprise visiting friends by serving up something new and delicious Zespri® Kiwifruit Sambal Lada with Prawn Lemongrass Skewers apart from the signature rendang and lemang! See the delight on their faces ;-)

Other than that, serve freshly cut Zespri® Kiwifruits on a nice platter. I'll show in another post how to peel kiwifruits and cut them into pretty flowers.

Day 11 Kiwifruits Platter

Why not make a cake decorated with Zespri® Kiwifruit slices to end the meal in a rather spectacular way? This Zespri® Kiwifruit Lemon Sponge is so easy to make and assemble with minimum fuss. Will post up the recipe in another post for easy reference and search ;-)

Day 11 Lemon Sponge with Zespri Kiwifruits 01

As for now, when guests arrive serve this Pandan Zespri® Kiwifruits Cooler, a refreshing change from the usual air sirap ros or sirap bandung. Can make ahead the few components and store in the fridge, just assemble in a jug before serving.

Day 11 Pandan Zespri Kiwi Cooler

Pandan Infused Water

Pandan leaves
Hot Boiling Water

Shred pandan leaves and smash up gently with a pestle. Place in a pot with lid. Pour in boiling hot water and infuse for about 30 minutes or so with the lid on. There is no need to boil these as I find the flavour is not as fresh and clear. Strain into a bottle when cooled and keep in the fridge. Easy as that!

Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Boil sugar in water until sugar melted. Cool and store in refrigerator.

Zespri® Kiwifruits Ice Cubes

Cube some kiwifruits and place them in ice cube trays. Pour water and freeze them.

Pandan Zespri® Kiwifruits Cooler

Pandan Infused Water
Zespri® Kiwifruits Ice Cubes
Zespri® Kiwifruits Slices (try to use different types of kiwifruits so that you'll get different colour effect to make the drink prettier)
Cold water or aerated water such as Spritzer Sparkling Water or even soda water (I didn't cos BoiBoi doesn't like carbonated drinks)
Basil seeds (biji selasih) wash and soak in water, once plump up, strain

Sounds like a lot eh but it's really not. Sorry no measurement as this goes with your taste, just add more of Pandan Infused Water for stronger pandan flavour and more sugar if you prefer a sweeter drink. Add more basil seeds if you like more. No hard or fast rule here ;-)

In a jug, add in all the ingredients. Adjust to taste!

Saturday 10 August 2013

Day 10: Zespri® Kiwifruit Sambal Lada with Prawn Lemongrass Skewers

On the 10th day of the Zespri® 14-Day Daily Scoop of Amazing Challenge, I can feel the enormous changes on how my body had responded to the amount of Zespri® Kiwifruits I have ingested. The most prominent one being the smoother bowel movements. The feeling of bloated has gone since Zespri® Kiwifruits have actinidin, an enzyme that helps breaking down protein. Even though I have been sleeping very late these few days and waking up as usual, I didn't really feel lethargic nor my skin has suffered. Facial skin is still supple :p feeling the Vitamin C and E radiating all over. Do check out for more information on the benefit and goodness of kiwifruits in our diet.

Since it's Hari Raya, perhaps a festive dish like a grill prawns skewers served with a sambal containing Zespri® Green Kiwifruit would be deem special enough to serve to guests. I've used lemongrass stalk as a skewer and it's not as easy to thread the prawns through as some of the lemongrass stalks are kinda thick. If you can find skinny lemongrass stalks, it would be so much better. Otherwise, do consider using bamboo skewers or like myself after patience ran out :p simply pan fry the prawns and kiwifruits. The sambal is kinda of Minang style which calls for either red or green chillies but I've used both! I feel some bird chillies would add some kick but since BoiBoi is eating together I did not use any.

Day 10 Zespri Kiwifruit Sambal

Zespri® Kiwifruit Sambal Lada

2 red chillies, sliced
2 green chillies, sliced
2 - 4 bird chillies, sliced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
5 shallots (50 g), sliced
1 cm piece belacan (shrimp paste), toasted

Zespri® Green Kiwifruit, diced
1 large tomato, diced
Salt and sugar to taste
1 Tbsp oil

Pound (A) into a rough paste or like me pressing for time, just used a mini chopper :p Seriously I would have preferred a pounded paste texture.

Heat oil in a wok and add in the pounded paste. Fry till fragrant and till the chillies smelt cooked. Add in tomato and kiwifruits. Saute until oil surfaces. Season with salt and sugar.

Serve this with an ulam platter, fried fish, fried mee hoon (hehe yes I did that) and in this case, with prawns skewers.

Day 10 Kiwi Sambal with Grilled Prawns

Prawn & Zespri® Green Kiwifruit Lemongrass Skewers
(Serves 4)

400 g medium or large prawns
Zespri® Green Kiwifruit, sliced into thick chunks
Skinny lemongrass stalks (number depends on how big are your prawns)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & grounded black pepper

Marinade prawns with salt and black pepper. Thread prawns and kiwifruit chunks alternately on a lemongrass stalk. You can cook it on a BBQ, grill pan or even frying pan. No sweat on that. Just drizzle with some oil before cooking. Be careful though is you're using a frying pan as the prawns and kiwifruits might not be level, so cooking on certain parts may take longer. Keep checking. Prawns will turn pink when cooked. Serve with Zespri® Kiwifruit Sambal Lada.

Day 9: Frangipane Zespri® Golden Drops

Friday 9 August 2013

Day 9: Frangipane Zespri® Golden Drops

On this day of the Zespri® 14-Day Daily Scoop of Amazing Challenge, we'll have to celebrate Hari Raya by dressing up all in green... clothes, make up, manicure, accessories... you get the gist? Since we have BoiBoi, we try not to expose ourselves in the public errmm well for security reason. I've been in the IT industry for 20 years, it still creeps me up on the nasty things that people can do. So no faces but we were game just to show our sizes in green tops hahaha

Day 9 Challenge

We're still good on having our daily dose of Zespri® kiwifruits since they're packed with nutrients and fibres that our body need. Head on to for the detailed information of the nutrients and benefits.
For today, I'm making ahead some delicious and cute cookies so that I can pack in inside a Raya hamper. These are like Jam Drops but the lux version since it uses almond meals and filled up with Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruit Jam. Capt'n Hook likes it a lot and said it should go well with a cup of Earl Grey tea.

Day 9 Frangipane Zespri® Golden Drops

First, I've made a jam with 3 of my over ripe Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruits. Just a little note on the amount sugar needed. Since SunGold is sweet but could be slightly sour but again sourness is quite subjective. What I did was started off with 70g sugar and add in gradually in 10g until it has reached the sweetness I liked. So in total, I've needed 100g but could go on till 120g if you prefer the jam to be sweet.

Day 9 Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit Jam

Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruit Jam

3 Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruits (about 240 g), sliced
2 Tbsp lemon juice
100 g caster sugar

Cook all ingredients in a small pan on medium heat. Stirring every now and then until mixture is thickened. It took me about 20 minutes. Cool and store in fridge or use it for the jam drop.

Day 9 Frangipane Zespri® Golden Drops Up Close

Frangipane Zespri® Golden Drops
(Makes about 30)

120 g butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla extract110 g caster sugar120 g almond meal

1 egg
100 g plain flour
2 Tbsp  Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruit Jam

Preheat oven to 160ºC. Grease baking tray and line with baking paper.

Beat ingredients (A) with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add in egg and beat until combined. Stir in the flour and mix thoroughly.

Drop heap teaspoon of mixture on tray with room for cookies to spread. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to make a small hole on top of each cookies. Fill with kiwifruit jam. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on cooling rack and store in air tight container.

Day 8: Lovin' Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruit Steamed Prawns

Blog Revamping

Hello... I'm in the midst of revamping my blog to make my life a little easier. So do not be alarmed as work is still under construction.

16 Oct 2012