Archive for the ‘Nyonya’ Category

* Chai Boey – Nyonya Mustard Green Stew

Posted on February 2nd, 2018 by Linda. Filed under Braise, Chinese, Cuisine, Malaysian, Nyonya, Singaporean.

There is really no real recipe for kiam chai boey.  It’s literally take any leftover meats and stew it with a few heads of Chinese mustard greens – which is really all stems, hardly any leave mustard leaves.  Add some assam keping, which is not truly a tamarind but a sour fruit for acid, and a dried chili or two for heat.

In the “olden” days, we would make this dish after a big feast where there will be plenty of leftover meats.  Those wings and necks of roast chicken and pig trotters from a wedding ceremony.   I love this dish so much that whenever I see Chinese mustard greens in the store, my mouth starts to water at the thought of making this dish.   These days, I don’t get to go to many wedding ceremonies, so I would just stop by my favorite roast pork / duck store and buy some meat and cook it with the roasted meats.  My favorite “siem mei” store in SF is of course, Kam Hoong (I think that’s the name) on Powell and Broadway.  Though the soup nazi butcher isn’t exactly my favorite person.

1 lb roast pork, cut into pieces
1/2 roast duck, cut into pieces
2 heads Chinese mustard
5 slices assam keping/ sour fruit (substitute with acid of choice)
2 pieces dried chile
Salt to taste

Place all in a pot, top with water to cover and braise 1 -2 hours.  That’s it.

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* Pulut Tekan with Kaya Curd

Posted on February 7th, 2015 by Linda. Filed under Cooking Method, Course, Cuisine, Dessert, Malaysian, Nyonya, Steam.


Pulut Tekan sometimes referred to Pulut Tai Tai is a classic Malaysian dessert cake or in Malay called kuih.   The blue pea flower is really a natural food coloring and if you can;t find it, use a food coloring instead or go without.  This kaya recipe below is more a modern “curd” twist to the traditional version (recipe here), which takes more time.

2 cups sweet glutinous rice
2 Tablespoons dried bunga telang / blue pea flower
2 pieces pandan, tied into knots each
2 cups coconut milk
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Banana leaves

Preparing the rice.
Wash the rice. Place rice into two separate bowls and add water till it covers the rice by 1 inch.  Wrap the bunga telang in a cheesecloth, tie tightly and place in 1 bowl of the rice. Squeeze it several times to release the color.  Let rice soak at least 6 hours to overnight.

Cooking the rice.  Drain rice. Place the white rice evenly on a cheesecloth.   Place in a steamer rack. Repeat with the blue rice.   Add a knot of pandan to each of the rice. Steam for about 20 minutes separately. Test for doneness i.e., the rice is tender and cooked through.

In the meantime, combine sugar and salt with the coconut milk and bring to boil until sugar is dissolved. Make sure you don’t over boil the mixture.

When rice is done, remove the pandan, transfer the rice to two small bowls, still keeping the two rices separate. Pour enough of the hot coconut mixture into rice mixture to cover the rice.   Cover with more plastic wrap and leave to stand 10-15 minutes. When the rice has fully absorbed the milk, transfer the rice into a slightly oiled/banana-leave lined square baking pan. Layer the rice to create a marbled blue and white effect. Gently press it down with the palms of your hand with some foil or banana leaves.   Take a piece of cardboard the same size as the pan, cover it with foil and place it on top of the compressed rice. Weight down the rice with some weights like a few cans of beans. Let it cool.

To serve, cut into 1 inch thick slices. Serve with kaya.

Serves: 8

1¼ cups coconut sugar
1 1/2 cups coconut milk

8 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 pieces pandan

In a double boiler, heat the coconut milk with the sugar until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Using a ladle, stream in the hot coconut milk into the egg mixture, while whisking continuously. Add one ladle at a time. It is very important to whisk continuously and pour the hot liquid in a stream while tempering eggs so that the eggs won’t cook and curdle.

When done tempering the eggs, return mixture into the double boiler, add pandan leaves (tie into a knot) and cook under a simmering boil. Continuously stir until the liquid has thickened, do not let the eggs curdle. Remove pandan leaves, and strain the curd.

Makes: 2 cups

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* Fish Otak-Otak

Posted on February 16th, 2014 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Cooking Method, Course, Cuisine, Fish, Grill, Kaffir lime leaves, Malaysian, Nyonya, Snack, Steam, Street Foods, Tumeric.

I got this recipe from my grandmother, whom I only recently found out is part Indonesian.   That’s the grandmother who made curry powder as a trade.  My grandfather’s mother, Ah Chor, used to wear sarong kebayas, and cooked great curries.  I don’t have ancestry proof for sure, but I can swear my family is probably part Nyonya.  My grandmother’s recipe was from the 1970’s and it was written in the economies of those days.  Instead of oz ad grams, it was 10 cents of this, 5 cents of that.

Chef’s tip: Daun Kadok (wild betelnut leaves) grows wild in Malaysia.  It is getting harder and harder to find them.  When we were growing up, we would stop the car mid traffic if we spotted a bunch of daun kadok and jump out of the car to pick them.  I guess that’s what you call “foraging”? It gives a minty, distinctively otak-otak flavor to the dish.


6 pieces banana leaves, spine removed, blanched, 5 X 8 inches, long edge along the grain
Sharp toothpicks or staple

Spice paste:

3 dried long Asian chilies, rehydrated in water or fresh Fresno chilies, seeded
1 stalk lemon grass, white parts only, sliced thinly
3 slices fresh galangal, peeled
4 medium shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 piece fresh turmeric, about 1 Tablespoon
3 candlenuts
1 Tablespoon belachan


1/4 cup coconut milk
1 egg
2 Tablespoons rice flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar

1 lb white fish fillet (turbot, mackerel, cod..)
3 pieces of kaffir lime leaves, chiffonade

2 cups wild betel leaves (daun kadok, la lot), optional


Prepare the banana leaves: Bring a big pot of water to boil, with steamer rack.  Removed spine of banana leaves.  Blanched leaves in hot water.  Pat dry.  Set aside.

In a food processor or blender, grind chilies, lemongrass and galangal till fine.  Add remaining spice paste ingredients and process till smooth.   Next add custard ingredients and pulse to mix.

Filet fish and give it a few rough chops to cut into small pieces, transfer to a bowl.  Pour in the spice mix, kaffir and betelnut leaves and toss to combine.  On a work surface, place a sheet of banana leaf.   Place 3 Tablespoons of the fish mixture along the middle part of the leave, leaving about 1.5 inch on the left and right edge.  Fold the two long edge of the leave over the fish mixture and secure edge with a toothpick.

Heat a grill pan and grill for 15 mins, or place in 450F oven and  bake 10-12  mins.  You can also steam 10 minutes over medium boiling water.

Serves: 8

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