Monday, 28 September 2015

Whacked (smashed) fried okras

Every child is special. They are unique even if they come from the same gene pool which is a good thing because that's what makes us "I" and "you". However there is a downside to this and the beauty of it ends at the dinner table.

I would have to run a restaurant if I were to please every person's request at home. I don't usually entertain these varied requests but I do try my best.

Today's recipe, fried okra isn't a vegetable that children are particularly fond of. "It's slimy and sticky and everything not nice". That's how my child describes it. She, who is usually eager to help me in the kitchen, hates slicing okras because it is slimy and makes everything it touches, gooey.

When time permits, I like to dry fry these slimy okras until they are not slimy and sticky before I cook them my usual style; stir fried with chopped onions and garlic, turmeric and egg but today we're going to try out a new recipe. One that requires no cutting. 

My daughter enjoyed preparing this very much because she got to use a rolling pin and smashed these little green pods to her heart's content. I should have intervened because some were smashed beyond recognition but it was fun watching her whacking them. Quite therapeutic I must say if you have some pent up energy to release.

You can only do this with fresh okras. Old pods will be too chewy. They are supposed to come out crispy, like tempura vegetables served in Japanese restaurants. Pick medium sized okras that will easily crack when you bend it.

It is a simple assembly process and if you own an Air-fryer, your child can easily fry these for your. You'll need two bowls. One with wet ingredients and the other dry ingredients. Simply dip smashed pods into wet ingredients and then cover it with the dry ingredients before throwing them into your hot oil for deep frying or in my case I arranged them in my Air-fryer basket and spray a mist of oil before putting the basket back into my preheated Air-fryer. Drain these fried okras on kitchen towel and serve immediately.

My girl named it Vege Chips because they looked liked homemade potato fries.
Dry ingredients


About 300gm fresh okras, cleaned and gently smashed. You can cut off the tip after smashing it to allow it to open up.
dry ingredients:
A sleeve of saltine crackers (biskut tawar), crushed to powder 
1 cup all purpose flour 
1 tablespoon (TBS) paprika, cayenne/black pepper 
1 teaspoon (tsp) turmeric & salt 
wet ingredients:
1 cup buttermilk (to make your own buttermilk add a TBS lemon/white vinegar to just about a cup of milk, mix two and let it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes) 
1 egg goes into buttermilk 

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another. Dip each okra pod into wet mixture and then cover it with dry ingredients. If you plan to deep fry these, gently transfer them into hot oil in a wok until they turned golden brown and drain on kitchen towel.

You could also bake these but the results are not as good as deep frying. The other alternative is to air-fry in an Air-fryer at 200'C for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are golden and crispy.

For more recipes, head over to my Recipe Page 

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Friday, 25 September 2015

We more than just an all girls football team

If you have been following the Supergirls on their newly created Facebook, you would see how these girls have been progressing. You would see their dedication; showing up for training week after week and courage, playing against all boys team. To top that, they have been triumphing at many of these tournaments. Call it sheer luck or not, the taste of Sweet victory has caught on like a bug and they play with one goal in mind, to win.

These girls have been giving it their 100% and have bagged more than a couple of medals. Their most recent being at Merdeka Cup Junior Football tournament. Where they won third placing.
Players at Merdeka Tournament, secured third place
Back (from left): Thurga, Alya, Sabrina, Jade, Lakeisha
Front (from left): Yasmin, Ilyssa, Sandra, Rania, Adriana

Supergirls isn't just an all girls football team, they are more than that. They are like this one mixed family that seem to gel well. A family that really loves food. Give them any reason to have a get-together and you will be spoilt for choice.

Since Supergirls has been winning almost every match they played these last couple of months, we decided to have a celebration. To celebrate Supergirls' players, their coaches and every parent that has been contributing. After all, we are a team that is fully run on volunteer basis; by football enthusiast parents for their children.

It was beautiful watching how these parents and children got along, enjoying each others company. I can't speak for other football team but what I saw here truly amazed me. The togetherness and closeness was genuine.

Supergirls is a special team not because they are an all girls team but because they play for the love of the game and truly enjoy playing it. They don't mind it when someone says to them "you play like a girl". They are definitely not trying to change people's perception. They are just like any other team and enjoy the challenge they get on the field. They play with courage and gender is not an issue.
To date we have close to 20 players and will introduce these players over the next few postings. So keep your eyes peeled for our next issue on Supergirls.

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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Chronicles of a sleep deprived mom.

Five hours, 36 minutes and still counting.
Beeline at the immigration still bustling.
Kids are getting cranky and annoying.

Wishing I hadn't hit the snooze button will not change this reality.
 No amount of regret can alter the course of this actuality.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Cursorial predator

Dogs were predators in their evolutionary past. It is a disturbing realisation that dawned upon me only today. I know their closest living relative, the wolf, is a highly accomplished and skilled predator that hunts in packs but domestication would have surely made dogs ineffective hunters, right? So learning that my pet dog had playfully killed a kitten was quite unexpected.

I know my dog is no angel. He has always tried to give chase (from behind my car porch gates) to cats that arrogantly walked past my gates, taunting him with the freedom they possessed over him. It's in his system to react to these taunts because dogs are highly attuned to detecting movement and the slightest motion often triggers them to give chase. They are territorial too.

At first I was furious and shaking with anger after learning my pet dog had killed a poor little kitten. Watching my tweens crying didn't help either but there was nothing I could have done. What had happened was not right or wrong. I bet my dog must have been surprised he caught a cat because cats are too quick and nimble. They always seem to escape their predator.

After close inspection, we realised the kitten was frail. It looked like it hadn't eaten in days. It didn't even try to run away when my dog bolted towards it, pulling us behind him with force. He was too quick and nearly pulled my daughter's arm out at the speed he went bolting. Perhaps it was blind too. It was just sitting in the middle of a road. I assured them it was not their fault the kitten died.

After a simple burial ceremony, it seemed like my kids had forgotten the whole incident. They weren't upset any longer with the dog and were cuddling him to show him that they were sorry for being angry at him over the whole incident.

It wasn't until bed time and during their nightly prayer they broke down. They were feeling utterly guilty that they could not stop an innocent life taken. They kept playing it over and over in their head, what if I had stepped out with my dog a couple of minutes later, maybe the kitten would not have died. What if I had taken a different route, maybe the kitten would have survived.
So many alternative solution they came up with but towards the end nothing mattered because they knew the kitten was dead. It was an emotional night for all of us and nothing my husband and I said gave much peace. 

I guess sometimes all someone needs is a shoulder to cry on. They cried themselves to sleep but their compassion touched my husband and I rather deeply. A beautiful lesson learned on the power and guilt of innocent life taken.

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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

A colouful society (through Play doh)

Today was a beautiful day and a lot to be thankful for. The skies were clear, the sun was out from hiding behind a heavy blanket of haze these past couple of days and it was a public holiday. 

After being in a lockdown in my own home thanks to the haze, going out for breakfast under the clear blue sky was something we had to do and we are very happy we did just that because it was no ordinary morning.

A hearty breakfast under a huge shady tree followed by an opportunity to deliver some nasi lemak packets to our neighbour's children (whose parents had to work despite it being a public holiday), was a good start to our morning. 

Then while shopping for some essentials at a neighbourhood mall, a total stranger offered my daughter his son's drink as they started eating at the same table we shared with. My daughter declined with a smile and he strikes out a conversation with me, as friendly as any I've met before. We were then suddenly offered another drink from the table next to ours, the lady saying she didn't want to waste her untouched drink. 

We were all of three different races. It shouldn't matter what race we were anyway because we were comfortable. We were comfortable sharing a common space despite not knowing each other. We were comfortable because we are Malaysian. 

How apt this happened on the morning of Malaysia Day? Was it karma teaching my children a good deed is always paid? Possible but I am glad they witnessed these kind and caring gestures which still exist in our beautiful and diverse society.

I could not have asked for a better introduction than this. 
It was the perfect experience to describe what Malaysia and its people are all about because it is us, the people, who shape and colour our own society.

Armed with a brand new pack of 10 coloured play doh tubs, we decided to showcase our master pieces.

Malaysian are colourful. It is showcased in our diverse traditional wear, food and even language. We are a special breed because despite being different, we are united. We gel well together which makes our food, one of the best fusion food; semua ada

We are able to speak in different languages and it would still make sense to all of us; 
"Wei macha, you want to makan here or tapau?"

My daughter used different coloured play doh stick men to depict Malaysian's diverse background and holding hands to signify how comfortable we are to share a common space with each other just like what she saw at the local mall.

The globe depicts how Malaysian are seen everywhere around the world and still thrive to be part of a community without losing much of their own identity.   
You can take a Malaysian out of Malaysia but you can never take Malaysia out of a Malaysian.

The rainbow and shining sun suggests Malaysians are warm and vibrant. It represents the different celebrations, languages, traditional costumes and food that are amicably celebrated together regardless of race. 

Every Malaysian gets in a festive mood during a holiday season like Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Divali and more. We join in the festivity and celebrate like its our own celebration. Just like a rainbow, we come together despite having different shades of colour and  display a beautiful sight.

Hope you enjoyed and understood what makes Malaysian a colourful society through our Play Doh sculptures and don't forget to get down to 1 Utama on the 26 September, for a chance to showcase your work of art for every Malaysian to admire and win some cool Play-Doh prizes!

In conjunction with Malaysia Day which is celebrated this month (September), Hasbro is launching its first ever Play-Doh Month Celebration. From September 21 to 27 at Ground Floor Highstreet, 1 Utama, you and your kiddos are invited to get your hands dirty in a fun and imaginative way using Play Doh. You get to squish and squash, create a new colour by blending the Play Doh and sculpt your own Malaysian inspired master piece showcasing what a colourful society is to you. Your sculptures made on September 26 would become part of The Malaysian Book of Records attempt. You could also win some awesome Play-Doh prizes!

Disclosure: I was not paid nor is this post sponsored by Hasbro. 
I did receive some small tubs of Play Doh.

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Friday, 11 September 2015

Something minty

I confess, I hate making Punjabi food. I hate preparing any dish that requires me to stand by the stove stirring and mixing and adding ingredients bit by bit but something somewhere in my brain that controls my culinary skills has had a change of heart. Has it anything to do with my short stint at Masterchef Asia, I cannot say but my family is enjoying this new dietary chapter because in my house Punjabi food is a luxury and rarely seen.

Today I took a leap of faith and prepared a never tried before dish, mint chicken curry (although this isn't a Punjabi dish but it is cooked Indian style). I have not even prepared chicken curry so making this for some guests was a big deal. "What if they didn't like?" "What if I didn't like it because I have never tasted it before?" were some nagging questions I had to push aside.

I love mint and everything that it is added to (you'll find mint in my omelette, pineapple, infused water and so much more). So I was rather confident of this recipe which I bagged from an social media groupie's page.

Seriously, who doesn't like mint? The aromatic and vibrant green leaves energises my soul every time I sniff it. I love it so much that I have it growing in my own backyard.

In case you are wondering how it tastes like? It was very refreshing. Something about the mint that made this curry unlike your usual chicken curry which leaves a very oily and curry'ish after taste in my mouth.

Not to blow my own trumpet but my family and guests enjoyed it very much. Even my non spice eater children loved it! My guest, an Aussie could also handle the heat and said it was something he has never had before. Now can I blow my trumpet?

So this recipe is a keeper hence it is being logged into my blog.

Now lets get down to business if you are ready for this wonderfully aromatic and fresh tasting Mint Chicken Curry.


The Recipe

To make this, you'll need whole loads of mint and flat parsley leaves. I am talking about a bag full of it and advance prepping because the chicken needs to be marinated for half hour or longer.
The ingredients
for the marinade (to be blended);
1 kg organic chicken or any good quality and healthy chicken you can find
1 1/2 cup mint leaves
1 cup flat parsley
3 small Indian shallots or 1 big red onion
Half bulb garlic which is about 5 to 6 cloves
A good thumb sized ginger
and (drumroll please....) 6 green cili padi (today marks the first day I am using more than 2 bird's eye chili) 
Pour this paste into a ziplock bag together with chicken and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least half hour. I made mine at lunch hour and only cooked it about 6pm.

for the curry;
Cooking oil about 1/4 to 1/2 cup (what!!! I know it is A LOT but hey that what makes Indian curry so devilishly delicious) or you can use 4 TBS of ghee (a better alternative)
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
3 cardamon pods
1 TBS of mixed Indian spices usually used for curry (coriander, fenugreek, fennel and mustard seeds)
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 curry leaflet
4 dried chili stalk
1 TBS ground cumin
1 TBS meat curry powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 bay leaves 
1/2 cup mint leaves
for those seeking heat in their curry, add a heaping tablespoon of chili powder, not only will this give more depth to you curry but a beautiful colour too.


Blend marinade ingredients and massage it to the chicken and let it sit for half hour or longer.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed shallow pot and add the first four ingredients from the list above. Quickly cover the pot to avoid mustard seeds shooting out all over your face and body. I suggest you use an oil splatter to safeguard yourself and spare you the mess, frying these buggers can create.

Then, add curry leaves, onion, red chili (I dare you to add some whole bird's eye chili here, I think 5 will do) and let it fry for a couple of minutes (or till the aroma starts travelling through your kitchen and tingle the noses of your kids in the living room, either causing them to sneeze or rushing to the kitchen to see what's mummy cooking).

Add marinated chicken along with the marinade sauce. Stir it well and let it cook for half hour over low flame but do keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't dry up and burn. 

Finally add ground spices, bay leaf, mint leaves and some water. Mix it well and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes or until chicken is tender, on low heat.

Serve it up with some lemon rice, raita, fried french beans & carrots and wholemeal roti (chapati)

This may not be my 30 minutes meal i strive to make on a daily basis but it is good to have variation. For some of my 30 minutes meal, do check out my Recipe Page 

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