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Shana Shameer
A bit of sugar today, A hint of spice tomorrow. Life is delicious! Wouldn't you agree?
A bit of sugar today, A hint of spice tomorrow. Life is delicious! Wouldn't you agree?

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Thai Mango Salad with Paneer
Foodies+ Fusion Month

The ever popular Thai Mango Salad gets a simple Indian makeover here ! This lovely Sweet and tangy salad gets a twist with some gorgeous golden paneer (or cottage cheese) that absorbs the tangy sauce to provide a sublime sensation . This was one of the first recipes on my blog. Always made it for gatherings and was pretty popular. I hadn't made it in a long time. The Fusion Food Month on Foodies+ reminded me that my husband loves this salad.


Ingredients :

2 green mangoes or use 1 green mango and 1 semi ripe mango for added flavor - 'Julienned'
½ cup beansprouts
¼ cup spring onion greens julienned
1cup fresh Paneer/Cottage cheese cubes
½ cup salted peanuts or cashews
Thai red chillies, chopped to taste
3 Tbsp Olive oil

For the sauce :

1 - 2 Tbsp light soy sauce
2 - 3 Tbsp good quality thai fish sauce
1 - 2 tsp chilli sauce
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
Juice of 1 small yellow lime (approx 1 Tbsp)
optional: 1 tsp ginger juice ( juice from crushed ginger)

Method :

Stir together all the ingredients for the sauce. Do a taste test. It should be a good balance of sweet, sour and spiciness.
Pan fry the paneer/cottage cheese in olive oil till light golden and set aside.
Toss together all the ingredients and add sauce little at  time, testing the flavor.
The paneer/ cheese should absorb just the desired amount of tanginess from the sauce.

Notes :

Simple variations:
Use diced cucumber and green capsicum instead of beansprouts and cut the mango into larger bits. Add chopped cabbage.
Or use ripened mango only, diced carrots , cashew and shredded lettuce.


Taken from my blog:

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Foodies+ Weekly Roundup
Happy Easter to everyone!
Hope you are all having a peaceful Easter get together with your loved ones and hope to see some of the delicious spreads here on foodies+ over the next week!

Our past week had some great recipes, perfect for Easter brunch too..time to recap.


Vegetable Lasagne With Ricotta Tomato Sauce
+Helen Chin shares her recipe for Mixed Vegetable Lasagne, gotta be delicious with ricotta cheese.

Masala Mac and Cheese
Newbie +Nazia Siddiqua, shares a fusion recipe here. Foodies are mad for fusion recipes..

Mutton Stir fry Easy and delicious!
Another Foodies Newbie, +ZOAAA Classy Flavours shares this mouthwatering preparation here:

Vegetarian Shoyu Ramen (Vegan option available)
+FrenchTouch serves up this bowl of Ramen of Japanese Wednesday. Those marinated eggs look beautiful :)

Helen's Croque-Monsieur LAB:
+Helen Chin gets into her own experimental Lab, for this Foodies +Lab of the recipe by +FrenchTouch "What has she added to the recipe"? Check out the post!
SIDES, Soups, Salads, and Appetizers :

Armenian Chicken Kebab
+Paul Binns discovers his Armenian vibes, with this ‘easy to make’ and ‘easier to devour’ kebabs.

I simply love this fresh and vibrant salad, so I thought I would share my version with my favorite foodies!

Assortment of stuffed cherry tomatoes
These make a brilliant platter to feed your guests at any gathering.
Love the idea by +Patricia Warnon

Desserts and Sweets

Rich Fudgy Brownies
Our newbie +Nazia Siddiqua shares her go-to recipe for the lovely looking brownies.

We got two wonderful recipes for our Foodies + Challenge - Unusual Chocolate Pairings

Chocolate And Potato Chips Cookies -
+Joy Stewart joined the unusual chocolate pairings event, and made potato chip cookies with chocolate!! This was inspired by dipping fries into chocolate milkshake :)


White Chocolate & Basil Mousse
A gorgeous looking Silky Mousse, with the herbal twist by +FrenchTouch

Easy Chocolate Braid Bites
+Eating Cheating shares a delicious looking finger food made with puff pastry.. so easy, you should definitely try it!

Easy Hot Cross Buns
+Lisa Watson gives us an easy Easter fix up with her Mom in Law’s recipe for the hot cross buns. :) Quick to make too.

Baileys Tiramisu
+Azlin Bloor shows us how to serve the perfect Easter Dessert. Looks so beautiful

Semolina cake with Orange Zest
+Patricia Warnon continues the sweet fest with this Turkish recipe.. I would love to try it.

Semolina and Lemon Curd Cake with Rosemary and Lemon Syrup
And yet another delicious and beautiful citrus- semolina cake from +Azlin Bloor :)
Don’t you just love the pic??

Strawberries Chantilly
+Giangi's Kitchen shares this pretty springtime dessert. Looks lovely on any day!

Food Culture

* Traditional Savory Turkish flatbread - Gözleme*
+Patricia Warnon, ​shares this handy recipe for the Turkish​ bread and promises to bring us the recipe for the ’Stuffed Gözleme’ soon.


Foodies+ Food photography 101
Chapter 3 Summary: Composition and Styling
If you haven’t read through the detailed but simple classes to make your food more “picture perfect” - do check out the courses.. by +Rita Dolce..

In this post, +Lisa Watson, gives us her usual RECAP collage for all the pictures taken by all of you… Great to see these pics.

What's Cooking?
Join in the fun of this weekly game… Did you guess this weeks post by +Balvinder Ubi yet?

Community Notifications (new feature) on G+
+Azlin Bloor's post on these settings might prove to be very helpful. Please check it out.
Congrat to Lin, for picture of the week as well :)
That was a busy week.. Thank you all!
Hope to have another tasty week ahead!


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Fattoush is one of my favorite salads to whip up as a quick side or many
times in fact, as a healthy snack.  It is known as the Peasant Salad, because farmers of north Lebanon, used to throw in whatever was the harvest of that season and made large amounts to feed large families. Fattoush makes good use of leftover Khubz, which is the staple bread of the Middle East. We see many salad type meals that make use of stale or day-old flatbreads in this manner across the region. Fattoush is my favorite. The toasted Khubz (Pita) acts like croutons and absorbs the flavors of the salad pleasantly while satisfying the need for some carbs.

Fattoush if a fresh tasting and zingy salad. I have listed some of the common ingredients. 

Greens of some sort. (Purslane, is traditionally used. This grows wild in many parts of the US as well as in Asia). Watercress or your favorite mixed greens may be used instead.
Pomegranate Molasses and Sumac are often used for the highlighted sour flavor. My recipe, however, uses only fresh pomegranate, as I find it more appealing personally.
Onions, Cucumber, Tomato, Radish ( in small amounts) and mint are also often used.
The vegetables are sliced or chopped roughly and all the ingredients are tossed together very quickly. Put the bread in the oven to toast, while you start making the salad. Here is how I make Fattoush. Feel free to add seasonal vegetables in moderation.
Prep and Bake time: 20 min
Yield: ( Large Salad Bowl )

Ingredients :

150 gms salad greens ( purslane/watercress / mixed  greens)
50 gms lettuce
1 large red onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
½ cup pomegranate seeds
2 organic cucumbers, sliced
½ cup green capsicum ( bell pepper), chopped
¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
3 tsp Za'atar ( dried herb mix consisting of thyme, oregano, marjoram and sesame seeds)
2 tsp dried crushed mint
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lime juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced or passed through a garlic press
(Optional - 1/4 cups thin slices of radish, a pinch of sumac, 1 tsp of pomegranate molasses)

3-4 medium sized pita breads

Method :

- Wash all the vegetables and keep in a colander to drain.
- Cut each pita (khubz) into large squares. Spread on a baking tray and bake in a 180 C preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, till they become slightly golden and crunchy. (Keep an eye on them, as oven baking times can vary).
- Slice the vegetables evenly. (Not to be finely chopped).
- Toss them together in a large bowl.
- In a small mug, prepare the dressing, by mixing the olive oil with garlic, lime juice, zaatar and crushed dried mint and salt to taste. Add pomegranate syrup, if using. (I omit because I am using fresh pomegranate instead). Whisk well and set aside for 5 minutes. 
- Pour over the salad and toss once again.
- Add walnuts before serving. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Top with the crunchy pita squares.

You might also like to check out this recipe for Fattoush, shared by +Azlin Bloor

And here +rick van elswijk posted about Purslane ( the traditional greens used for fattoush)

On My Blog:


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What's Cooking ?

Thanks so much +Azlin Bloor for tagging me.. A little late but let’s keep the game going!

Very Simple Dish.. not very common.. but still easy to guess? I have only shown some of the key ingredients here. It cooks in around 12 minutes. My hint? Back to my ancestral roots..

Hope it's not too easy!

+Balvinder Ubi you're tagged for next week. :)


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White Sauce Pasta - Creamy Penne Pasta with Vegetables

Another one of those Indo-European fusion recipes.  ' White sauce pasta ' is extremely popular in India. The white sauce is a basic bechamel, the classic French sauce, which is added to a simple mixture of sauteed vegetables. The texture of penne pasta is especially pleasing in this dish. A dash of Italian seasoning, a pinch of red chilli flakes, a hint of cream and cheese. All said and done, it's perfect for when you are craving something hot, creamy and delicious. And it's so simple and quick! Often served with soup. At our place, we also have a spicy fried chicken on the side.
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 30 min
Yield: ( 2-3 servings)
Ingredients :
• 2 cups ( 125 gms) penne pasta
• 1 tsp salt
• 6 cups water
• 1 Tbsp olive oil; for drizzling over cooked pasta
For White Sauce :
• 1½ Tbsp unsalted butter
• ¹/8 cup plain flour
• 2 cups milk
• ¹/8 tsp cayenne pepper powder
• ¹/8 tsp nutmeg powder (freshly grated)
• ¹/8 tsp salt
For sauteed vegetables :
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• ¹/8 tsp minced garlic
• 2 Tbsp red onion, diced
• 2 Tbsp carrot, diced
• 5-6 small florets of broccoli
• 2 Tbsp red bell pepper (red capsicum), diced
• 2 Tbsp green bell pepper (green capsicum), diced
• 2 Tbsp frozen corn kernels, thawed
• ¹/8 tsp red chilli/pepper flakes - only if you like it a little spicy
• ¹/8 tsp Italian mixed herbs
• ¼ cup fresh pouring cream
• ¹/8 tsp -¼ cup grated cheese ( mild cheddar or mozzarella)

Method :
1. Add the water (6 cups) to a large enough pot, for cooking the pasta. Add salt and bring to a boil.
2. Tip in the pasta. Give it a stir. Cook until al dente (softened but retaining a chewy bite - nothing worse than overcooked pasta!) .
3. Drain using a colander. Drizzle olive oil ( 1 Tbsp) over the pasta and toss lightly so that the pasta doesn't stick together. Set aside.
4. To make the 'White Sauce'. Add the butter to a saucepan and melt.
5. Once melted, add flour and stir briskly to make the 'roux'. It should become smooth and foamy, but not turn brown in color. We need a light colored roux, here. Maintain a medium heat.
6. Pour in the milk and whisk so that there are no lumps.
7. On a low to medium heat, keep whisking for 8-10 minutes. The sauce should thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon.
8. Now add the cayenne/ chilli powder , ground nutmeg and salt. Remove from heat and set aside.
9. In a non-stick pan or skillet, heat the olive oil.
10. Add minced garlic and just when turning golden, add the diced onion.
11. Saute until the onions are soft. Remove any bits of garlic that become very dark.
12. Next, add the diced carrot, saute briefly, then add the broccoli florets.
13. After stirring briefly, add the red and green bell peppers as well as the thawed corn kernels. Stir through.
14. Add the prepared white sauce to the pan and stir well. Bring to a simmer.
15. Add chilli flakes(if using) and mixed herbs.
16. Now, return the cooked (oiled) pasta and toss through the sauce to coat uniformly.
17. You can always add some more bell peppers or frozen corn for a pop of fresh color, at this stage.
18. Once the pasta is nice and creamy, add the grated cheese. Wait for 10 seconds, then stir through till the cheese melts into the pasta beautifully.
19. Serve warm. Enjoy! ( serving suggestions, soup, and spicy fried chicken)

Visit my blog for the recipe Video and so much more...


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Hey peeps, Chapter 4 (a free photography lesson) in Composition and Styling is out on foodies+ please check it out!! I am so excited to use all the hints provided!
Foodies+ Food photography 101
Chapter 4: Composition and styling
In previous chapters, we studied light, angles, rules of thirds and camera settings. Comprehension of all these topics will help you immensely to have a better grasp of composition and styling in food photography.

Composition and styling are intertwined and many consider that styling is a subset of composition.

Composition refers to the process with which you create an image that will capture the viewers’ eyes. In other words, composition is the way you compose your photo and how you put all of its elements in place.

Styling, on the other hand, is more concerned with the choice of props, colors, backgrounds, textures and with the overall beautification of your food.

Before you compose and style, pause for a moment and think about the story you want your picture to convey. This process will help you to create more compelling and attractive pictures.
Storytelling through photography begins by asking some of the following questions:
- What mood do you want the viewer to see and feel? Will it be cozy, relaxed, refreshing, dreamy…?
- What feelings and emotions do you want to project?
- What stage in the process would you like to show? (Preparation, ready to dig in, finished product, eating the prepared food, etc.).
Once you have an idea of what you want to capture, let the creative process begin.
Your idea may not be clear when you start working but do not let this stifle you. As you begin to work things will get clearer and you will manage to express what you had in mind without too much hassle.

Here are some general composition guidelines to conside:
Choice of angle. Do you remember chapter two? Your choice of the angle depends on your food type. Initially, the choice of angle will be tricky, but with some practice, it will become like second nature.
Lock your camera. Once you decide on your winning angle for the particular dish you’re photographing, place your camera on the tripod and lock it.
Check what you compose. The way your eyes see the elements of your picture will not be reflected exactly on your screen. Instead of composing then pointing your lens, start the opposite way. Point your camera to the surface where you will place your dish then start arranging the various elements of the picture. Check the screen of your camera to see if the elements are falling in place as you intended. It helps if you can connect your camera to a monitor.
Apply the rules of thirds. Do you remember that famous rule we talked about in chapter 2? It consists of dividing the image with 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines, creating 9 equal parts, with 4 intersections between the lines.
This rule is important to create a well-balanced and composed picture where the main object you are photographing is ideally placed in one of the intersections or along the lines of these intersections.
Try to apply this rule to the extent possible, and place your elements in one of the intersections or distribute them, in a balanced way, between several intersections.
Invest in the negative space. While the object you are photographing is referred to as the positive space, the negative space is the empty space that surrounds it. The negative space helps to emphasize and highlight the object of your picture. It is not always empty and it can be filled with some props on the condition that the focus of your picture is on the positive space and the rest is out of focus. The props you may add in the negative space can help to set the tone or the mood of your picture.
Try to frame your object. This can be done by aligning cutleries, using fabric, or any other element that helps in leading and drawing the eye of the viewer to your star object.
Avoid centering. Finally yet importantly, avoid placing your object in the exact center of your frame as it makes your photo look staged and you do not want that. The whole composition should look natural, casual and somewhat effortless.

Food styling:
As mentioned before, styling and composing are closely related. Once you decide on the story you want to tell, you need to start thinking about the elements you need to compose your picture.
Here are some tips to create a beautifully styled photo:
Pick the right props to set the mood you desire. Soft and dark colors work better for dark mood pictures whereas bright colors provide more festive and refreshing effects. Woody elements, on the other hand, give more warmth to the picture. The choice of elements and combinations of elements/colors/textures is unlimited.
Use smaller dishes and bowls. Whenever possible, the use of smaller recipients gives you the chance to display more space and play around with your composition.
Play with contrasts. Choose carefully your backdrop and background: darker ones for brighter dishes and brighter ones for darker dishes.
Be adventurous from time to time. Go for white on white or dark on dark food and backgrounds. Playing with the lighting will produce interesting pictures.
Don´t go overboard with colors. Using too many colors in one picture might unbalance the composition and be a source of distraction. Find the right balance. You can do some online search on suitable color combinations to pick the one that suits your composition. When in doubt, white or any other soft or neutral color will work.
Props are just props. They will help you to compose and style your story but don´t make them the star of your shot, it should always be about the food you are photographing. Choose the props that go well with your idea. For example, a picture of soup served in a wooden bowl will convey more warmth than if served in a plastic one.
Create textures and layers. A combination of two or three textures will aid your picture and story. Textures can be added to the dish itself, like throwing in some croutons on a bowl of soup, dusting cookies or brownies with powdered sugar, or placing flavored foam next to a steak and so on. You can also use fabric to create a beautiful and textured surrounding to your dish.
Your object should always stand out. Don´t put a brighter or higher object next to your dish; it will steal its stardom. It helps to remember that, quite often, less is more.

Some of the concepts we talked about are illustrated in the following pictures:

Picture 1: Baileys Tiramisu cake.
Positive space (cake) is placed on the left intersections (rule of thirds) using a 45 degrees angle to show the layers and the decorated top. Few props are added, leaving enough negative space to surround the cake.

Picture 2: Maarouk (sweet bread from Aleppo).
Once again, you can see the importance of the negative space “centralizing” the positive one. The used props not only create textures and layers (fabric and cutting board) but also help to frame the bread (knife and small plate).
Note how the colors, ranging from black to light brown, match. However, it is always possible to play with colors to match your taste.

Picture 3: Shakchoukeh.
Another simple styling and composition. Some of the ingredients that went into the recipe and bread are used to embellish the picture and to complement its story that speaks of the simplicity and beauty of this traditional recipe.

Picture 4: Sunday pancakes.
It´s all about the coziness and simplicity you look for in a breakfast or brunch on a lazy Sunday. The pancakes are highlighted by the contrasting colors of the background. The only other element used in this composition is a hot cup of coffee that everyone longs for on a Sunday morning.

Picture 5: Homemade Limoncello. In this picture, I played around a bit with shadows and colors to create the feel of a hot summery afternoon when one would escape the outside heat to enjoy a cold and refreshing drink. I don´t know about you, but this picture takes me straight to Capri.

Picture 6: Christmas cookies (Vanillekipferl). A white and bright picture that evokes the Christmas spirit. The white background is given more warmth by the faint and out of focus lights. Few props are used to complement the intended festive effect.

• Pick your object, food or dish
• Think about the story you want to tell with the photography
• Choose your props.
• Create and compose your image
• Create different moods if you want
• Share your best picture/s and explain what you intended to achieve.


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Foodies+ Weekly Roundup

Hi everybody! We just love how foodies+ inspires us to make different delicious dishes - every week. Ideas, feedback and food culture is shared here. You will always have loads of ideas for that next meal. Thanks to all those who share their lovely recipes with us. And those of you who are our silent watchers, please join in on the fun, we love to hear from all of you!

Chorizo and vegetables spaghetti cake
Break out that pack of spaghetti and do something different with it this week! +Helen Chin shares this pan baked savory spaghetti cake recipe! Yum.

+Diana Brown shares a Vegan and Healthy option to this childhood favorite! Delicious and Simple breakfast.

Bucatini Cacio e Pepe
+Giangi's Kitchen had us drooling over this simple but absolutely delicious Roman recipe, reminiscent of vacations in Italy
This quick cheese and pepper pasta is a must try!

Meatloaf with Greek pasta and vegetables
+Patricia Warnon shares this absolutely mouth-watering meatloaf with vegetable and pasta combo. How can you say no a to a big slice of this? Perfect for the colder climates.

Chicken Rendang
Curry never got more aromatic!
I hope you will drop by to take a look at my favorite dry curry from South East Asia. There is a link my detailed video as well.

Khoresh Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew)
+Azlin Bloor shares this tongue and tummy tickling all star Persian dish, with the Vegan version as well. With the Persian New Year around the corner, this dish is very popular, indeed.

Sides, Salads, Starters

Achari Aloo
New Foodie +Neelam Khalid, shares the perfect vegetarian dish of potatoes cooked in pickling spices… A simple , humble but satisfying side !

Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup
+Balvinder Ubi knows that there is nothing like a hot soup on cold cold nights… This is a super healthy and unique soup . Please take a look at the special ingredients that go into this recipe. An awesome combination of flavors!

Desserts and Sweets

Creamy No-bake Blackberry Cheesecake
Just when we thought we were all cheesecaked out , +Eating Cheating delivered this colorful, layered no-bake cheesecake, that had everyone intrigued.

Chocolate Liégeois Mousse
+French Touch , familiarizes us with this popular Dessert from Belgium that enjoys popularity in France, with a Canadian Twist! Chocolate Mousse lovers, check it out!

Fun flavored, Non- Dairy Homemade Icecreams
+Ellie Kennard shares two super fun cream flavors to make at home :Sweet black cherry n'ice-cream And Chocolate hazelnut ('nutella') crunch n'ice-cream
Freeze some bananas, now to make these non dairy icecream treats for your family! They will love you for it!

Oatmeal and apple cake
+Patricia Warnon whips up a quick and rustic cake. Apple cakes never fail to please. One for your recipe books!

Food Culture

Oil Free Melty Vegan Turmeric Pepper 'Cheddar’
+Ellie Kennard shares this adapted recipe for cheese substitute. Its melts into sauces nicely and a great vegan alternative! I am sure this will end up on our Foodies+ ’Labs’ List!

Shaggy Mane Mushroom - Have you heard of it?
New Foodies+ member +Scott Stokes shares some info on this funky looking mushroom, and tips on how to prepare it. Do check out the post.

Time to sow those seeds
When we can’t find our fresh green produce in the market, we GROW EM! +Azlin Bloor wants to know what you are growing this year. Leave a comment and keep the discussion going.

Unusual Chocolate Pairings

A Foodies+ challenge for ALL MEMBERS
Do check out this post by +Azlin Bloor , inviting you to put the thinking caps on and come up with unusual and unique pairings with chocolate. This should be interesting and fun, so FOLKS, do not miss!

Congratulations to +Ellie Kennard on her photo being selected this week!

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Foodies+ Food photography 101Course :
Class 3 - Camera settings

I spent a good 2 hours learning about ISO, Aperture, and Shutter speed. I kept referring to the foodies+ chapter 3 and since I still need to wrap my head around the workings, I just followed +rita dolce image settings to see if I could get the same effects. Strangely, I still need to understand some settings on my camera and had trouble getting the right ISO. (I set one ISO but my results showed another) Here are my pics.. will keep working at it.

Pic 1: f6.3 1/80s ISO-1600: Large aperture and high ISO for a bright picture and blurred background, slow shutter speed to balance the brightness

Pic 2: f11 1/40s ISO-1600: background is deeper

Pic 3: f5 1/100s ISO-1600: faster shutter speed and larger aperture, the picture is brighter than the previous 2 but with a blurred background

Pic 4: f5 1/100s ISO-1600: same as above..

Pic 5: f16 1/13s ISO-1600: small aperture and fast shutter speed high ISO

Pic 6: f4.5 1/40s ISO-500: large aperture and rather slow speed shutter to produce a blurred background and a brighter picture

pic 7: : f4.5 1/40s ISO- 640 same as above slightly higher ISO.

I will certainly keep applying these basics and build from there:) Thanks so much +Rita Dolce
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Chicken Rendang

If you are in the mood for some exotic and rich flavors from South East Asia !

Rendang is a reduced, thickened meat stew, cooked in coconut milk and spices. Popular in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, you can find unique versions in the different territories.

The distinctness in flavors of each region is attributed to the unique rempah (spice paste) that is used. The different ingredients that go into the rempah, create varied flavors for this dish with a long history.
One thing is common. The use of the freshest ingredients, which include fresh turmeric root, ginger, and galangal. Lemongrass, garlic, shallots, kaffir lime leaves and fresh along with dried chilies are used. Spice powders are absent or seldom used in this dish. Coconut milk and/or roasted coconut paste (kerisik) is also used.
Please visit the link at the bottom, for a look at the various ingredients and also video on how to make this awesome dish !

Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 35 min
Total time:1 hour
Yield: ( 6 servings)

Ingredients :
• 1 kg medium to large chicken pieces (skinless and with bone)
• 1 tsp salt for marinating plus salt to taste
• 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
• 1 tsp coriander powder
• 1 turmeric leaf, midvein  removed and torn to pieces
• 1/2 turmeric leaf, midvein removed and chiffonaded (rolled and cut into very thin strips for garnish)
• 2 kaffir lime leaves, midvein removed and crushed using hands
• 1 kaffir lime leaf, midvein removed and chiffonaded (rolled and cut into very thin strips for garnish) 
• 1 lemongrass stalk (only the tender white-inner portion. Omit if you don't want a stronger scent, as this is also an ingredient in the ground spice paste)
• 1/2 tsp gula melaka (palm sugar)
• 1 1/2 cups coconut milk of medium consistency.
For Rempah (spice paste) :
• 12 shallots
• 5-6 large cloves of garlic
• thumb-sized piece of ginger
• thumb-sized piece of galangal
• a smaller thumb-sized piece of turmeric
• 2-3 stalks of lemongrass (only the tender white-inner portion : use only 2 if you don't want a stronger scent).
• 4 long red fresh red chillies, deseeded.
• 1/4 cup oil
• 1 Tbsp dried red chilli paste.
For Kerisik (Roasted coconut paste) :
• 5 Tbsp grated coconut
• 1 Tbsp oil (optional)
For garnish (Any of the following) :
• 1/2 turmeric leaf, midvein removed / 1 kaffir lime leaf, midvein removed cut - 'chiffonade' (rolled and cut into very thin strips for garnish)
• Or scallions

Method :
• Wash, clean and drain the chicken thoroughly.
• Marinate the chicken with salt, turmeric powder, and coriander powder.  Set aside while preparing all the other ingredients.
•  Peel and rinse all ingredients for the rempah. Chop them up coarsely.
• First, you need to grind just the shallots to a paste. Use the small jar of a strong mixer-grinder. No need to add any water.
•  Set this aside and then grind the remaining ingredients to a smooth paste as well. Here, you can add 1-2 tablespoons to help it along, no more.
•  Traditionally, pestle and mortar are used. This enhances the flavor too but is time-consuming to get a smooth paste. My mixer is extremely powerful and I get a rich smooth paste each time, so I prefer this method.
• Heat the oil in a well-seasoned wok. The rempeh does require this amount of oil to cook properly.
• As the oil heats up, add the shallot paste first. Stir-fry continuously for about 5 minutes, on low-medium heat till the mixture turns golden in color.
• Once the onion paste is golden, add the remaining Rempeh 'spice paste' and continue to stir fry for a minute.
• Next, add the dried red chilli paste and continue to stir fry till you see that the oil has separated and the pastes turns richer in color.
• To further enhance the aroma of the rendang gravy, now add the crushed lemongrass as well as crushed/torn kaffir lime leaves. Allow to heat up in the spice paste, so that the aromas are released. These may be removed and discarded when you feel they have added enough aroma to the gravy.
• Now,  add the marinated chicken and toss well with the fried rempah (spice paste). We need to sear the pieces and allow each piece to be sealed with a layer of spice paste. To achieve this, continuously toss the chicken in the spice paste for about 3 minutes on medium-high heat.
• Add the torn turmeric leaf (daun kunyit) and some salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp should be sufficient). Toss well to allow the leaves to wilt.
• Pour in the coconut milk and stir continuously on medium heat till the spice paste is evenly mixed into it. Stir quickly to prevent any curdling. Using a wide flat spatula and stirring from the bottom of the wok. Using a lifting and turning action also ensures that the coconut milk does not curdle.
• Once the spice paste is evenly distributed, add the gula melaka and stir once again.
• Lower heat to a gentle simmer and cover the wok. Simmer for 15- 20 minutes till the coconut milk reduces and produces a thick saucy coating over the chicken. You will need to open and stir occasionally to prevent the spice paste from sticking to the bottom of the wok.
• Meanwhile, prepare the kerisik: (For very fresh grated coconut with a good creamy quality, oil is not needed to roast the coconut, However, if your grated coconut is pre-packaged, adding a Tbsp coconut oil, really helps to make a fresher, ground paste) Add the grated coconut and stir fry continuously for 10 to 15 minutes on a medium heat. We want the coconut to turn golden brown. Do not step away from the wok as this can cause the coconut to turn black on the bottom and will not give good results. As soon as the golden brown color is achieved, remove the coconut to a plate as it can continue to darken if left in the hot wok.
• Now we need to pound the roasted coconut using a pestle and mortar. Yes, that is the traditional method. It gives good results but requires a good amount of elbow grease. I often use my trusted mixer jar to grind the coconut to a smooth paste as well, with very good results. Kerisik can be grainy or smooth, depending on your preference.. I like mine to be as smooth as possible.  Pound the roasted coconut for a good 10 minutes, to achieve a paste-like texture. The color also changes as it becomes more paste-like.
• Make sure you remember to stir the chicken and sauce occasionally while you are pounding the kerisik.
• Once the gravy has reduced and thickened, we can add the kerisik and continue to cook for another 10 minutes on low-medium heat.
• Now, you can always adjust the thickness of the rendang to your liking. Add hot water or dilute coconut milk , if you would like a looser gravy.
• Finally, our delicious Chicken Rendang is ready to be served. Remove the leaves and crushed lemongrass.
• Garnish with the chiffonaded leaves.
• Serve with steamed white rice or Nasi Kunyit.

Ingredients and Video on my blog:

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Quick Thai Noodles

This is my 'go to' Breakfast on late weekend mornings.   For those who like Asian for breakfast, you must give this a go. It makes a super easy weeknight dinner as well.

I am so into the Red Rice Noodles that are available everywhere these days. The distinct bite associated with brown or red rice is very pleasing. More pasta-like. And great for those who like to go gluten-free.
Prep time:   15 min
Cook time:  10 min
Total time:   min plus 30 minute soaking of the gluten-free noodles
Yield: ( 2-3 servings)
Ingredients :

220- 250 gms gluten-free red rice noodles
8-10 large shrimp / prawns
¾ Tbsp fresh ginger, chopped finely
1 generous Tbsp garlic, chopped finely
1 tsp dried chilli paste
3-4 Tbsp Peanut Oil
1 small carrot, julienned
¼ cup cabbage, shredded
1 cup bok choy, roughly chopped ( or similar greens)

Shrimp Marinade :

1 Tbsp cornflour, 
¼ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp salt

For the Sauce Mixture :

2 tsp light soy sauce (I combine light soy sauce of two different brands - I get a better flavor this way. You can experiment in this way since all brands taste different).
1 tsp dark soy sauce (thick)
1 Tbsp Thai chilli sauce
1 tsp fish sauce ( increase to taste)
1 tsp lime juice

Method :

•Soak the noodles according to package instruction. Gluten-free, red rice noodles, requires a slightly longer time. Around 30 minutes in room temperature water.
•Drain the noodles before you start cooking.
•Clean and devein the shrimp, prawns. Add all ingredients listed under the marinade and rub well into the shrimp. Set aside while you prep the remaining ingredients.
•Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and set aside. (Always taste and add a bit of this or that to suit your personal preference, if needed - but this amount of sauce is perfect for the weight of noodles in the recipe).
•Add oil to a well seasoned ( cool ) wok. •Bring to smoking heat, but slowly ( on low flame).
•Turn up the heat. Add the marinated shrimp and toss briefly till the shrimp changes in color ( slightly opaque and white).
•Now, add the finely chopped ginger and garlic and toss well, till fragrant.
Also stir in the dried chilli paste now, and cook briefly.
•Add the drained noodles and toss well to fry and coat the noodles thoroughly with the oil.
•Once the noodles are coated, add the veggies, maintaining a high heat, and toss in the wok for 30 seconds.
•For a pop of color and some heat, add a mild long red 🌶 ( sliced) a- if you like.
•Stir the sauce ingredients once, and pour over the noodles. Quickly toss to incorporate the sauce through the noodles and heat through. Don't stir too much to avoid breaking up the noodles too much.
Do visit my blog where I share my passion for Indian, Asian and Middle Eastern flavors as well as my take on flavors from across the world.
And to learn how to make home made chilli paste: watch my video
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