Home-made Mee Hoon Kueh (Pinched Noodles)


I love noodles. Don't you?

If you are a follower of this blog, you would have noticed that my Mum was big on noodle recipes. Some of these recipes (sans curry laksa) have already been blogged in great detail and my coming cookbook will also feature them. They are indeed worth learning and mastering.

Another of her favourite recipes which she only cooked regularly for those of us at home is "Mee Hoon Kueh." It is sometimes called "Pinched Noodles" or Pan Mee.  I have many memories of enjoying these bowls of homemade goodness. The noodles are pinched, flattened and randomly shaped by hand (fingers rather) with varying thickness, which makes the texture interesting. This is the character of this dish, as opposed to uniform machine-made noodles.

The garnish of crunchy fried ikan bills and fried shallots adds more flavour and variation in texture.

A Cookbook Diary: Food Photography (Part 3)

I love to take something ordinary and make it really special. - Ina Garten
The photos on my blog were often snapped in haste. 

The dishes were not cooked for photography but for some hungry diners. I shoot them to keep cooking notes. Sometimes, it is for blogging purposes. How long did I take to snap those photos? In seconds and if time permits, minutes.  

I thought I could get away with that kind of photography when it came to the cookbook. That would have been the case if I had my way. As long as the dish is authentic, it give a visual indication of the result and tastes as nice as it looks, that should be enough. 

However, my publisher (Goh Eck Kheng) had a different approach. When it comes to a cookbook, the dishes deserve the best shots. Creatively taken, they can tell a story of their own. 

A Cookbook Diary: Of Blogs and Books (Part 2)


I have mentioned  that I thought that this cookbook would be easy to do since it is a matter of going from print to screen.

The fact is I had to rewrite most - if not all - of the recipes. There will be good number that is not on the blog or at least not yet. It has taken a lot longer than I had earlier envisaged.

One reason why I had to do some rewriting is because of some difference in expectations when it comes to print and screen.

For one, my blog started out on a very casual and sometimes silly tone. Some of you who visit the blog to be entertained and not just get recipes will be amused by some of these posts, largely satirical, which I categorised under "just-for-smiles." Even some recipes here are long because they tell stories.

A Cookbook Diary: Har Jie (Part 1)

Auntie "Har Jie" (extreme left) teaching my friends how to make curry puffs
The upcoming cookbook will be the first book I have authored. I thought I should jot down some notes about the process involved and this may inspire those of you who hope to publish someday.

It was an interesting experience.  It has encouraged me to consider writing more, either for cooking or issues relating to my work as a pastor.

Since I already have a cooking blog, one should think that it should be easy enough to do a "screen to print" thing. And so I thought. The effort needed was far more intense than I anticipated.

Firstly, I made a decision to restrict the recipes to "Aunty Ruby's classics." This means that a whole swathe of recipes which I have worked on myself, including those using modern techniques like Sous Vide will not find their way into the book. My Mum never made Roast Pork (Siu Bak) or any of the Thai recipes. These recipes could not be included. I had to work on a few more of her recipes to meet the target needed. But I have practically cooked up every  written recipe that I could lay my hands on. So what else could I do? I do have palate memories but is it possible to work backwards from there?

Assam Fish Curry


Assam Fish is a sourish, spicy and appetizing dish which my Mum made regularly.

This curry is not creamy and coconut milk is not added. The sour taste comes from the assam keeping and tamarind paste.

This recipe is versatile and can be used for various types of firm-fleshed fish like black pomfret, snapper, buttermilk fillets, cencaru or stingray.

As fish cooks quickly, it is important that you do not overcook it. This means you only need a short time-window. It can be assembled a la minute and this recipe is about doing that. For better control of the texture, I prefer to cook the vegetables separately.

Pickled Cucumber with Red Onions

I have been slower in putting up recipes since my life has gotten busier with a shift in my work place.

I have also been focusing on getting the cookbook out, which involves focused work and discipline. I have to dedicate my off days to do this and we are aiming to release the cookbook in October.

I want to talk about pickling today.

I am always amazed how the humble cucumber is transformed in flavour and texture through some simple pickling process.

Pickling typically involves immersion in vinegar. The adding of salt dehydrates the vegetables further, resulting in a more intense flavour. A popular local pickled recipe is Acar, a recipe which I hope to put up one day soon on this blog.