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Cooking notes on some TFC Cookbook recipes

I am not cooking as much as I used to and even when I do, I will be cooking recipes which I have already blogged about or published in the cookbook.

Some recipes for home-cooking should evolve. It can involve variations or simply just improvements.

The following cooking notes can be helpful if you have been following some of these recipes in may cookbook:

Hae Mee or “Penang Prawn Noodles” (p 177) 

This remains our favourite noodle recipe and as I have said, it is among some of the top noodles recipes in the world when prepared well.

I have modified my Mum’s recipe as I will normally buy pork soup bones and use it as a base. This will result in a milkier soup and I avoid using any chicken stock or granule powder. Slowly simmer the bones for at least two hours.

The rest of the ingredients remain and of course, prawns heads and shells are very important for a good Hae Mee stock. I have a few posts on Hae Mee here. Check them up. This is a great recipe to work with and feel free to improvised to suit your taste.  

Assam Laksa  – Kembung fish (p 179)



Kembung fish remain the fish of choice for Assam Laksa. I have grown in confidence in cooking this well. The fish carcasses are the key to a good stock. Deboning it is troublesome but with experience, you will know how to use your hands to detect and remove them. Pull the flesh gently from the tail’s end. The small bones in the middle of the fish can be tricky. If you gently break apart the flesh, the bones will be visible. Use a blender to blend the carcasses very finely. When you strain the stock later, you can remove whatever that is sieved.

Like strong tasting foods like durians, you will either love or hate this amazing bowl of Malaysian goodness. I have met some Assam Laksa lovers who are addicted to it. I can understand why.

I have a series of posts here on this wonderful recipe.

Ikan Sumbat or Chilli Fish (p 144)
I am now convinced that the best fish to use for this recipe is Kembung fish. Selar and Saba can also be used but kembung brings the taste and texture closest to how my Mum used to make. Remember to fry it gently in medium fire and let the fish gently bubble and cook away.

I have recipe here which uses Ikan Selar. The technique remain the same.

Curry Puff (p 216)

Diced prawns
Frying the filling
Gorgeous filling – don’t stinge with the diced chicken and prawns

Along with the Food Ministry team from my church, we made a batch of 700 puffs recently. Undoubtedly, the best way to enjoy it is to eat it while it is still warm. Don’t eat it when it is just fried unless you enjoy burning your mouth. Let it rest for half and hour.

For the filling, I was generous with the chicken and prawns. Diced it to the size of the tip of your last finger. Home-made curry puffs are amazing and 2020 should see me making them more regularly.

I have blogged the recipe here.

Nonya Curry Chicken (p 40)

If I want my curry chicken to taste like the ones my Mum made, the coriander and cumin seeds (in my book’s recipe) should not be used. If you are using curry powder, use the lighter ones which do not have the usual spices that are used for Indian curries. Don’t get me wrong. I love Indian curries. But for Nonya ones, let the herbs shine (i.e. tumeric, lemon grass). And yes, make as many variation of chicken curries as you wish. Just observe some of the basic principles of good curry making. Check out this link.  

And yes, come to think of it, the recipes in the cookbook do need their own table of content list. The next cookbook will have that.

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