How to make a simple but tasty Stir Fried Tri Coloured Pasta

Stir Fried Tri Coloured Pasta

I had too many things on lately and  I decided to have it easy today; no rice and side dishes. I remembered that I still had some of the pasta that my daughter had brought with her on her trip home.  She wanted me to try the different varieties and I found that some were slightly different from the ordinary pasta and tasted like "Koeyteau" (Chinese rice noodles) that was fried with eggs.

You can also find others in the market like beetroot which is used to give a red  colour while the black ones are from the ink sacs of squids.  However, pasta can be easily made at home with semolina, high protein flour or all purpose flour.  In fact, "pan mee" (flat noodle) which has its origin in Chinese cooking especially the Hakka community is made the the same way but only by using all purpose flour.

So, I checked on what I had left in my refrigerator.  Oops, I only had some meat and vegetables left and had to make a note on what to get to stock up the next day!  Now, with the meat and vegetables thrown in with my remaining pasta, I whipped up a simple but tasty all-in-one meal quickly.  The pasta that I used is shown in the image below.  It is made from durum wheat semolina and the colours are derived from spinach and tomatoes forming the tri colour with the plain ones.

150g pasta
100g pork or chicken
10g flat leaf parsley
1 tsp light soya sauce
2 pips garlic
1 shallot
1 small onion
50g celery
200g bok choy or other vegetables
2 tbsp light olive oil
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper (opt)

  • Boil pasta (half cooked) and drain.  
  • Mince meat and parsley and mix with soya sauce.  Set aside.
  • Mince garlic and shallot.
  • Slice thinly onion.
  • Slice celery diagonally.
  • Slice bok choy lengthwise.

How to cook
  1. Heat light olive oil and saute garlic and shallot until lightly browned and is fragrant.
  2. Mix in meat mixture, celery,  saute until meat is almost cooked.  Add hot water and give it a few stirs. 
  3. Add vegetables, onions, pasta and stir fry over high heat.  Season with salt and gently fry until cooked.  The pasta should be al dente and vegetables cooked but crunchy.
  4. Turn off heat, add extra virgin olive oil and serve.

** If you want to maintain the form of the pasta, give it a gentle stir fry but it tastes just as good in smaller pieces.  Use spaghetti or other types of pasta if preferred.

~ Kim~

Food Mystique: Pulut Nasi Kunyit (Turmeric Glutinous Rice)

Pulut Nasi Kunyit (Turmeric Glutinous Rice)
I enjoy everything glutinous, be it rice, sweet / savoury rice cakes or desserts. Therefore, I have to constantly remind myself to eat only as much as I should.  This recipe is usually accompanied by the traditional rich chicken curry with coconut milk.  I still take that once in a while but I prefer something non rich since the glutinous rice is already rich and filling and uses coconut milk too.  I have posted Sambal Chicken and  Sambal Sotong (Spicy Chicken and Squids) recipes earlier and they taste great with the rice.

Here's the recipe:

300g glutinous rice
300ml water
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 small piece tamarind peel
12 white peppercorns - crushed finely
A big pinch of salt
6 slices fresh turmeric
150ml coconut milk
2 pandanus leaves
Banana leaves (opt)

** Tamarind peel can be substituted with 1 tsp lime juice.

How to make

  1. Mix rice, turmeric powder, water and tamarind peel and soak for 5-6 hours.
  2. Line a steaming tray with banana leaves.
  3. Shred each pandanus leaf lengthwise into three, tie into knots and place in tray with turmeric slices.
  4. Drain rice, mix with peppercorns, salt and spread evenly in tray.
  5. Pour 100ml coconut milk over rice, place tray in steamer of boiling water and steam over high heat for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove tray, add remaining 50ml coconut milk and mix the rice together gently with chopsticks or fork.  
  7. Place back in steamer and continue steaming for 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat until cooked and fluffy.
  8. Discard pandanus leaves and turmeric slices and serve with curry or sambal.

**  Turmeric has healing properties and aids in alleviating inflammation and pains.
Caution: May react to certain medication. Avoid excessive consumption.

                                                                       ~ Kim ~

Food Mystique: Sambal Sotong (Spicy Squid)

Sambal Sotong (Spicy Squid)

I was passing by a neighbourhood and noticed a small tree with a few clusters of small green fruit on its trunk and branches.  It looked familiar and I immediately recognised it.  "Hello, Bilimbi!   I am so pleased to see you!"  Yes, that's right.  It was a Bilimbi tree and I never thought that I would find it growing in a public urban area.  
I excitedly plucked a few of the fruit (I love plucking fruits from trees, by the way) and I know where to get it for cooking in future. It is not only used as a souring agent but also gives body to a dish and can be pickled. If the tree grows more fruit, I will harvest and pickle them.

Initially, I had decided to cook prawns but when I saw these fresh and chubby squids, I could not resist buying them.  

Here's the Sambal Sotong Recipe

4 big squids - 560g
100g fresh red chillies
10g dried chillies - soak in hot water to soften
200g shallots
2 pips garlic
5g Kunyit / fresh turmeric
2 serai / lemongrass stalks 
50g bilimbi
10g belachan / shrimp paste
3/4 cup hot water
3 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 tsp salt

  • Remove skin, cuttlebone, eyes, beaks, entrails and ink sac from squids.  Wash thoroughly and squeeze excess water.  Slice each squid into four rings.
  • Slice fresh chillies, shallots, garlic and turmeric into small pieces and blend together with dried chillies and some water in a food processor or blender until fine.
  • Remove dried outer layers of lemongrass and trim away the top and ends of the stalks leaving behind 12cm of the bulbous part.  Crush with the flat side of a cleaver or rolling pin.
  • Slice bilimbi into 1cm width.
** If bilimbi is unavailable, substitute with lime juice.  Shrimp paste can be omitted or substituted with fish sauce but flavour will be slightly different.

How to cook
  1. Heat oil and saute blended ingredients for a few minutes.  Then add lemongrass, shrimp paste and continue to fry over medium low heat until a little oil breaks through and is fragrant.
  2. Mix in squids, bilimbi and stir for two minutes over medium high heat.
  3. Add hot water, cover and simmer until cooked.
  4. Uncover and season with salt.
  5. Discard lemongrass and serve.

Serve with any type of rice.  Goes very well with turmeric glutinous rice. Usually, it is accompanied by a traditional rich curry but believe me, this lightly sweet, sour and spicy squid recipe tastes great with the the rich and filling glutinous rice.  My recipe will be on another page.

                                                                      ~ Kim ~

Nyonya Sambal Ayam / Chinese Malaysian Spicy Chicken

                    Nyonya Chicken Sambal (Chinese Malaysian Spicy Chicken)

1.3kg drumsticks or whole chicken
400g ripe tomatoes
260g fresh red chillies
350g shallots
40g lengkuas / galangal
20g fresh turmeric
4 stalks serai / lemon grass bulbous stalks
40g belachan / shrimp paste (opt)
2 tbsp tamarind pulp or lime juice
2 cups water
3 tbsp coconut or peanut oil
Salt to taste

  • Skin, wash and cut chicken into pieces.  If using drumsticks, leave whole.
  • Quarter the tomatoes.
  • Peel and slice shallots, galangal and turmeric into small pieces.  Slice chillies and blend together in food processor or blender with a little water until fine.
  • Remove the dried outer layer of the lemongrass stalks, slice 12cm from the bulbous ends and crush them with flat part of cleaver or rolling pin.
  • Extract the juice from tamarind pulp with half of the water and repeat with remaining half.

How to cook
  1. Heat a stainless steel wok or curry pot and drizzle oil over the bottom part. Gently pour in blended mix and add the lemongrass and shrimp paste.  Stir fry until a little oil separates and fragrant.
  2. Add chicken and continue to stir fry for a few minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, tamarind juice and bring to boil.
  4. Lower heat and simmer until chicken is cooked and sauce thickened.
  5. Season with salt and remove the lemongrass.

** Serve with rice or bread.

                                                                       ~ Kim ~



This is one of my favourites.  A traditional dish usually made during Chinese New Year and other religious festivities but I do not observe that and cook it often.  I am sure others do too.  I remember that I used to make extra to freeze and on a busy day, I would take out a batch to reheat and mix together with rice, sambal, shredded iceberg lettuce and sometimes with fried eggs. It is even more tasty overnight and reheated.

220g bangkwang / jicama
200g cabbage
60g carrot
80g onion
30g garlic
1 shallot
2-3 dried Shitake mushrooms
100g pork belly
10g thinly shredded dried cuttlefish
1 tbsp or more vegetable or peanut  oil
1/4 tsp salt or more to taste

Soak mushrooms in water until softened, gently squeeze excess water and 
shred thinly.
Slice and shred pork, jicama and carrot into narrow strips.
Thinly slice cabbage and onion.
Mince garlic and shallot.

How to cook
1. Heat oil in wok and stir pork for one minute. 
2. Push to the side, add garlic and shallot and saute until lightly brown.
3. Mix back the pork, add mushrooms, cuttlefish and stir until fragrant over medium heat.
4. Add onion, jicama, carrot and cabbage. Mix well, cover and cook over medium low heat for a few minutes.
5. Uncover, season with salt and continue cooking and stirring at intervals until vegetables are cooked but not mushy.

** Traditionally, the pork is boiled first before cutting but I prefer not to because I want to preserve the nutrients and sweetness.  However, if fresh pork is not easily available, please do so.

JIU HU CHAR- eat it with a difference.

Lately, I have taken to eating mix whole grain rice.  I tried making fragrant blue coloured rice to mix with Jiu Hu Cha and it was lovely!
For fragrance, I use pandan leaves (pandanus) and pea flowers for color. Both are naturally sweet and lend some sweetness to the rice.

How to make fragrant blue rice
2 cups mix whole grain rice
2 1/2 cups water
Handful of pea flowers
4 pandan leaves

1. Bring water to boil and stir in flowers. Remove from heat and allow to steep.
2. Meanwhile, tear pandan leaves lengthwise into two or three strips and tie into a knot. Place in a steaming tray.
3. Wash and spread rice evenly in tray.
4. Remove the flowers and pour the water (blue coloured from flowers) over rice.
5. Place tray into a steamer of boiling water and steam over high heat for 20 minutes.
6. Continue steaming for 15 minutes over medium heat.
7. Uncover, stir and check for doneness.  Add extra water if needed and continue steaming until cooked and fluffy.

** Can be cooked in rice cooker. Adjust water accordingly.


                                                                              ~ Kim ~

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