Puiyin’s Thai Green Curry

According to friends, I tend to make the most delicious Thai green curry. Whether it’s true or not, I have no idea. But they have been asking for the recipe. There are a few ways of making the Thai green curry. With the traditional Thai version, bamboo shoot is put in the curry, which gives it a really strong exotic ‘kick’. The ‘kick’ itself is like a marmite thing. Either you like it or you don’t. As for me, I prefer not to have it as the taste and the smell is quite strong. And with other versions, the sauce is thicker, whereas some have a slightly ‘soupier’ texture. It really depends on how you want the curry and what you want in it, so as long as it tastes like Thai green curry. In this post, I will share with you my version of the curry, also known as PY LAB’s Thai Green Curry, or Puiyin’s green curry amongst my friends.

Get ready onion(s), lemongrass, potatoes and chillies. It’s up to you how much of the ingredients mentioned you want to use. Traditionally, potatoes are not used in the green curry. But because I am a potato freak (I love my potatoes), I always use them in the curry. I have more potatoes in the curry than anything else. I’m not sure if lemongrass is used in the traditional green curry, but I love the ‘kick’ it gives, so I tend to put a lot in. Sometimes I like to use Thai basil as well. 15078720_10154038899998202_206636651525844298_n

As far as I know, chicken is the main meat used in the Thai green curry. In Thai restaurants, there are other options such as beef, pork, prawns and vegetables. For me, I always use chicken or king prawns.15134786_10154038905978202_6677827460711957242_n

Chop the ingredients to your size choice and wash them. It’s best not to chop the potatoes too small as they might break up easily during the boiling process later on. And as for the onions, I tend to chop them in big chunks as I don’t want to ‘cry’.  15094413_10154038906638202_6018731592218905806_n

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Make sure you have the coconut powder and Thai green curry paste. It’s up to you which brand you use, but bear in mind sometimes it does make a difference to which brand you use. One time I used African coconut bar and the entire curry turned out funny. It tasted nothing like Thai green curry. I always use the Maggi coconut powder as I like the brand itself. You can also use the coconut milk. But if so, it’s best to use the Thai brands. 15073573_10154038902798202_5967606796669707357_n

It’s best to use a pot to cook the curry.15085494_10154039264518202_1007339773389597103_n

Heat the pot and then add in the oil after it’s hot enough. 15085632_10154038912908202_2389539767607022929_n

Then add in the onions. You can choose to use red or white onions. 15134648_10154038914163202_4974267654206179857_n

After the onions are half cooked, add in the chicken.15192599_10154038915378202_1539537297310981917_n

Cook until the chicken looks cooked enough. 15095455_10154038916783202_3468618695726872139_n

Then add in some hot water. Just add about no more than 3-4 inch of water level. This is because the more water there is, it’ll be harder to get the curry sauce to become creamy, which is the way I like it. But it’s up to you how much water you want to add in. 15078676_10154038918228202_7998432021892127464_n

It’s now time to add in the coconut powder. There are two ways of doing it. You can pour some powder in a bowl and add in hot water and then stir it before pouring it into the pot. This way, you can make the coconut powder (into coconut milk) and determine the texture, whether you want it creamy, soupy etc. But it does take time as you would need to repeat the step a few times. Alternatively, my way is to pour in the coconut powder directly into the pot and I will determine the texture as I go along by adding water if needed. Remember to keep stirring if you are choosing to follow my method.  15135756_10154038919388202_2164422509123153845_n

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Now it’s time to add in the chilli paste. It is not cheating to use the ready-made chilli paste. Most Thai restaurants use the ready-made paste as it would take A LOT of time, work and ingredients to make the paste from scratch. Most of the ingredients must be traditionally Thai-based if you were to make the paste from scratch, and as far as I know, it includes fresh basil, cilantro, and coriander, as well as Thai green chillies, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, kaffir lime zest, fish sauce, shrimp paste, cumin and coconut milk. Also, you would need to get the taste and texture of the paste right. So it is not cheating to use the ready-made paste as it saves time. It’s perfectly normal. 15056441_10154038924463202_4236231259649998297_n

How much of the paste you use is up to you. Obviously the more you put in, the more spicier the curry is going to be. The lighter the ‘green’, the milder it is. And the stronger the ‘green’ the spicier it is. Don’t forget to keep stirring as you put in the paste and keep tasting the sauce with a spoon as you go along. 15094870_10154038923163202_8541769207283440889_n

For the last part, add in the lemongrass, potatoes and chillies.15037323_10154038929238202_7759132110882359899_n

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Cover the pot with its lid and leave it to boil in medium-low heat for about thirty minutes or so. 13532833_10154038930508202_62908490821058191_n

While you are waiting for the curry to boil, you might want to cook some Jasmine rice to eat with the curry. It is usually best eaten with Thai Jasmine rice, which is my choice. But it’s down to you how you would like it eaten. 15109432_10154038932228202_8465197200346015432_n

Your curry is now ready.15094473_10154038933403202_8626746228534859828_n

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Aroi mak mak!!! (Very delicious in Thai)

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Happy Chinese New Year – The story of Nian

Happy Chinese New Year 2015 to all. cny12cny157As many know, Chinese New Year is a time where majority of those of Chinese descendants, come together with their family and friends to celebrate. It is a festive period involving lots of good company, food, money giving, traditional entertainments, and lots of laughter.cny158And of course, we cannot forget about the Chinese rice balls, which is eaten during festive seasons like Chinese New Year, New Year, and for some, during the Christmas season as well. cny153cny154cny152cny155cny156cyn15110996581_10152697485545662_7816092254273855384_nThe colour red have always been a symbolic colour for Chinese New Year. According to an old Chinese myth that I know, there was once a beast with the body of a bull and the head of a lion called, Nian. Every beginning of the year, Nian would come out from the mountains where it was living and terrorize a village. It would eat their crops, and if there were any villagers in the way, it would eat them too. One day, a strange man came to visit the village and told the villagers that the beast can be defeated by loud noises, bright firelights, and the colour red. So the villagers would hang and display bright red lanterns and fire crackers everywhere. In the end, Nian was terrified that it returned to the mountains and was never seen or heard of again. That is why Chinese New Year is filled with loud noises and firecrackers. And in memory of Nian, there is the symbolic and well known lion dance.

There are several versions of the Nian myth, but they are all similar in a way with how it ends.   cny150cny15

Photo credits to Suzanne Yeang and Irene Soo. Thank you, Ladies, for the wonderful photos, as usual. And special thanks to Irene for always taking mouth-watering photos of the rice balls. I know nobody who can make rice balls as perfect as she can. Looking forward for more to come.

Gong Hie Fatt Choi to everybody.

Other posts on past Chinese New Year and rice balls:

https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/happy-new-year-first-post-of-2013/

https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/chinese-new-year-2014/

https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/how-to-make-chinese-rice-balls/

 

 

A Penang Story – Part 1

So it all began with this photo I saw posted by a friend on Facebook.

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To most of you, this might seem like an ordinary photo. But for me, it’s so much more. It reminds me of my other home, Penang, in Malaysia. The photo is recent, and the location of where it was taken was at a famous shopping mall nearby where I used to live when I was residing in Penang. It was where I used to go almost everyday to have my meals, meet up with friends, and do my shopping. It’s been 11 years since I was last there. When I saw this photo, I immediately became homesick. It sure hit me hard.

There are 13 states and 3 federal territories in Malaysia. But out of them, Penang is the most different state. The people, the community, the lifestyle, the environment, is somehow different from the other states/territories. If you live in one state and then move to Penang, you will automatically feel the difference. A good difference. After being magnetized by the photo, I decided that I wanted to share with you my tour of Penang via my personal thoughts, views, knowledge, and experience, with also the help of some of my Penang friends with the visuals. Instead of presenting everything in one post, I am going to divide them into categories. My tour will include some of my favourite local food where you can’t find ANYWHERE else in the world, famous streets, art, stories and gossips (both local and personal), a haunted hill and war museum, and a history of an Englishman.

Enough said. Let the tour begin.

Malaysia is a multicultural country. There is Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sikh, and Eurasian. Therefore, the food in Malaysia is also multicultural. Some have a combination of Malay and Chinese, while others may have a combination of Chinese and Portuguese. But in the end, no matter how many cultures there are, in food and people, it all comes together as one, Malaysia.

msia24The Penang flag.

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I lived in one of those tall condominiums by the seafront back when I was residing in Penang from the beginning of 2003 till end of that year.

msia6msia20komtar Penang’s iconic tall building.

What I miss the most is the food. Sure, there are Malaysian restaurants around the world. But it is never the same as home. I’ve tried many Malaysian dishes in London (where I am living), and the food never tastes the same. The food isn’t bad either, but it just doesn’t taste like home. It’s not as authentic, even though they say it is. In some restaurants, they even have the names of the food wrong. I don’t know how I’ve survived 11 years of no home food. I’ve even tried cooking some of the dishes, but they just don’t taste the same. I guess I just have to wait for some of my Malaysian friends to come and visit so that they can teach me the authentic way. Below are some of the food that are so authentic that it’s hard to find anywhere else in the world except for home.

msia12Char Kuey Teow, a noodle dish cooked in light and dark soy sauce, with egg and seafood.

msia11Noodle dish with meat or seafood dumplings. Most Malaysians like to have their dishes with iced/hot tea or coffee with milk.

msia22msia8Noodle dish in soup. This is an extremely rare dish to find in any western countries. The closest I’ll ever get to tasting the real deal is a pot noodle version from London Chinatown 😦msia14A typical noodle cafe. msia15A noodle stand.

msia7Not just is this dish rare to find in western countries, but so is the fish. I call this fish the white fish.

msia13When I saw this photo while looking through a friend’s Facebook album, I almost cried. This is my all time favourite Malaysian dessert. It is made out of rice flour and thick coconut milk. It is layered, and I have a way of eating it. I don’t like eating it as it is, or taking a bite off it. There has only been ONE way I would eat it, and that is by layers. I would gently peel off each layer and eat it. I don’t know why. It’s the only way I will eat it. There’s no other way. Every time I see this dessert, I would immediately think of my childhood. msia17Another all time favourite. Biscuit with dried coloured icing on top.

msia16Of course, how can I forget about the rice balls.

My other posts on rice balls:

https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/tag/how-to-make-chinese-rice-balls/

https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/happy-new-year-first-post-of-2013/

https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/chinese-rice-balls/

msia1A typical Malaysian breakfast. It is a very simple dish. Bread with butter and sugar spread on top. Bread can be toasted or not, up to you. I prefer it toasted.

msia3Roti Canai, flat bread with spicy sauce.

msia21Traditional prawn curry in deliciously thick sauce. My goodness.

msia23A typical stall selling traditional desserts.

msia10Durians, also known as the smelly fruit to some. Like marmite, either you like it or you don’t. msia5Inside the durian. It does leave a strong odor on your hands afterwards. They are very expensive here in London Chinatown. Crazy expensive.

msia9Chinese buns. It is usually used for celebrations or prayers.

That’s it for the first part. To be continued.

A huge thank you to Irene Soo and Suzanne Yeang for the wonderful photos.

Chinese New Year 2014

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It is Chinese New Year 2014, the year of the horse. Many Chinese, including those of other nationalities from around the world, will be celebrating the lively, colourful, and joyous festival. It is also the time to be with family and friends. Where I am, in London-town, every year, the festival is celebrated in Chinatown and Trafalgar Square, London’s famous landmarks. Roads between Chinatown and Trafalgar Square will be closed for Chinese entertainment to take place, such as parades, acrobatics, traditional dance, singing, martial arts, Chinese celebrities appearances, and not to forget the dragon/lion dance.

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Chinese New Year delicacies. cyn5  cyn2 cyn3

My favourite part of Chinese New Year is eating the Chinese rice balls. Here’s the link as a reminder for those who have forgotten about Chinese rice balls https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/happy-new-year-first-post-of-2013/ 

https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/how-to-make-chinese-rice-balls/

My best friend’s mother in Malaysia recently entered a rice ball competition where she had to be creative with using rice balls in the form of art.1491268_428654217262698_1698682218_o

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I would like to thank Irene Soo and Chunkha Phen for the photos.

Happy Chinese New Year to my dearest fellow bloggers 🙂

How to make Chinese rice balls

Hello all. Firstly, I do apologize for my absence. Anyways, I’m back. I’m going to show you how to make rice balls. It’s simple, as long as you have the ingredients right. So let’s get started.

First, you will need the following ingredients, glutinous rice flour, ginger, and pandan leaves. You can get the ginger at any stores or supermarkets. But as for the glutinous rice flour and pandan leaves, you will probably need to get it in Chinatown or in Asian stores (Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese stores).

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Pour the glutinous rice flour in a medium or large bowl. The amount of flour you want to pour in the bowl is up to you.

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Now, this is the tricky bit. Slowly add a small amount of tap water (or bottled or tap water, it’s up to you) onto the glutinous rice flour, and as you do, mix the flour and water together with your hand. Stop adding water when the flour feels not too dry or not too sticky, but more like soft play dough.

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Take a pinch of the ‘dough’ and start rolling it with the palms of your hands until they are the shape of a ball. Depending on the size of the rice balls that you want, you can add more of the dough as you are rolling it.

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If you want to add colours to your rice balls, you can do so by adding the colours when you have made the flour into the dough. It’s up to you how much of the colourings you want to add. As for me, I wanted to make my rice balls look like marbles, so I just added two to three small drops of the colourings.

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Once you have finished rolling, boil some water in a pot. When the water starts to boil, put all the rice balls in and let it boil for 5 minutes. Do not put the rice balls in the water when it is not boiling, or else they will stick to one another. After 5 minutes, take the rice balls out of the water and put them in a bowl of cold tap water. The purpose of boiling the rice balls is to give them a wash. And then by putting them in a bowl of cold tap water prevents them from sticking together as the texture has become quite sticky. Meanwhile, boil another pot of water. This time, add in the ginger (don’t forget to peel off the skin) and a few pandan leaves and let it boil. After then, put in the rice balls and let it boil for about 15 to 20 minutes. Also, add in some sugar or rock sugars into the boiling water. It’s up to you how much sugar you want to add in.

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And then you are ready to eat the rice balls. Enjoy!

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Chinese rice balls

I noticed that quite a number of people liked my ‘Mooncake’ post, so here is another one on Chinese rice balls.

(Photo by my friend, Irene Soo)

Chinese rice balls, also pronounced as ‘Tangyuen’ or ‘Tongyuen’, is a Chinese dish that is usually eaten during Chinese New Year. However, many people would still have the dish during every other days. The rice balls are made from glutinous rice flour, and the food colourings are added onto it. But it’s optional. The rice balls can be made into any sizes. The common fillings include sesame, peanuts, and sweet bean paste. Some people also prefer no fillings. The rice balls are then served in boiled rock sugar water.  

(Photo by my friend, Irene Soo)

I love rice balls. And I love mines without any fillings in it. When I used to make rice balls with my mother, she always made sure that I make the shape of the balls as round as possible. If not, she would sigh loudly and in frustration as she picks up the ones that are not round and re-do them again. It didn’t matter if she had to re-do one hundred or a thousand rice balls. She always made sure that they all looked perfectly round. As for me, I didn’t have the kind of patience to make it perfectly round, because I just wanted to eat them. My mother did not like colourful rice balls, therefore, our rice balls would be coloured pink and white. According to my mother, rice balls should be perfectly round, because it symbolizes ‘togetherness’ amongst friends and family coming together. There is also another saying that people should eat the number of rice balls according to their age. So for instance, if you are ten years old, you should eat ten rice balls. But for me, I would end up eating a thousand of it.  

The photo above with the smiley rice balls is made by my friend, Wewe. Her rice balls are served in chocolate syrup, which is new to me.

The photo above are my rice balls. I like to play and experiment with the colours.