Super Awesome Tuna Melt

In a disguised bid to encourage local economic growth by demonstrating support for homegrown group-buying businesses, I splurged on a RM88 (after discount) 3-in-1 electric grill with detachable plates for for sandwich + waffle + BBQ. I’ll just call it the toastie maker. Why splurge? Come on, no one really needs a toastie maker.

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - toastie maker

Having received and inspected the product, I think I’d overpaid for the product. But never mind for now.

Anyway it’s still new thus I’m excited about it. So I made super awesome tuna melt for dinner.

You can’t make tuna melt without tuna. To say it’s a very important ingredient for this recipe is a gross understatement. So, buy tuna. Canned is easier. Canned tuna is possibly the second best thing since sliced bread. Then you put the two together, the combination is the best thing ever since sliced bread and canned tuna.

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - canned tuna in water

I bought TC Boy’s tuna in water because it contains only 2 ingredients:

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - canned tuna in water ingredients

Drain the water from tuna, a strainer comes in handy for this. Chop up the onion to your preferred level of chunkiness.

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - onions

Try to keep your thumb out of the way else it’d end up like this:

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - cut finger

Curse at nobody in particular. Clean yourself up. Clean knife, onion and chopping board. Proceed to chop up the rest of the onion.

Add a generous dollop of mayonnaise:

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - a dollop of mayonnaise

Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice, or obtain from real fresh lemons if you could be arsed:

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - lemon juice

Add salt and pepper:

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - salt and pepper

Add additional seasoning if you desire, especially something like this if you’d bought it at Ace Hardware on discount:

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - seasoning

Mix everything well. Resist eating the whole lot before toasting.

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - mixing things up

Layer up some tuna mix onto 2 pieces of bread. Then put cheese slices on top, non-processed cheddar if you are loaded. Then put some tomatoes on top. If you do not include tomatoes, you would not get super awesome tuna melt.

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - layering

Some people butter the bread but I couldn’t be bothered.

Spray a very small amount of cooking oil to the toastie plates. Almost like a dab, really.

Then top the bread slices with another piece of bread on top. Move to toastie maker.

Talk about the obvious? Noooooo…. Really??????

Super Awesome Tuna Melt - in toaster

Then close the lid and wait for the thing to grill. Melt. Heated. Toasted. Whatever. My toastie maker was supposed to come with a temperature control. Yeah right it did.

But I think 5 minutes should be a decent time for it to grill. Melt. Heated. Toasted. Whatever.

Remove toastie from toastie maker, cut into half, serve with salad (‘cos I did) and ta-dahhhhhhh!

Super Awesome Tuna Melt

Super awesome tuna melt. Super yummy. Super easy to make. Super Suanie.

Eating in, eating out – food updates

… because it’s the easiest thing to blog about when you’ve been MIA.

1. Home cooked tau yu bak (braised pork belly)

Home cooked tau yew bak

This is a childhood favourite. It’s called something else in Johor but I can’t remember it now. Braised pork belly in soy sauce with tofu and egg, mmm who can resist?? So I tried making it using NoobCook’s recipe. Not bad except that it could have been slightly saltier… and less dark soy sauce. I think the next time I make it, it would be better.

I rock.

2. Quinoa with sides

Quinoa with duck, vegetables

In a pseudo attempt to eat healthier, I bought a packet of red quinoa to replace white rice (because I was lost at the selection of brown rice). So I cooked it according to instructions on the packet, it turned out great. Subsequent attempts didn’t work as well until I used the rice cooker but that’s another story. I steamed some vegetables, pan grilled mushrooms and heated up leftover duck. Think I might be bored of quinoa soon.

3. Nasi campur @ Restoran A.J. , Damansara Utama

Restoran AJ - nasi campur

Marcky introduced me to Restoran A.J. in Uptown, end lot in the same row as TM. We had late breakfast and stayed long enough for lunch nasi campur delights to come out. Great accidental decision! The 2 owners are Johorean and Japanese, and the asam pedas is VERY FRESH, recipe decidedly from the south region. Excellent for weekend lunch! They will have Ramadhan buffet soon, don’t recall the exact price but I remember it being most reasonable. Go check it out.

4. Hyderabadi Dhum Biryani @ Fierce Curry House, Bangsar

Fierce Curry House Bangsar - Hyderabadi Dhum Biryani

Finally had the chance to try this as I’ve been reading lots of good things about it. I’ve not shut up telling everyone about it either. The rice, spices and meat are cooked overnight in a metal pot, sealed with a layer of dough to keep the moisture in. Really good, even my housemate Kerol who’s a discerning diner (and can be terribly unforgiving in her judgment of food – most Penangnites are like that) admitted that it was pretty good. So there. It’s near the Bangsar LRT station, google for its exact location just like I did.

5. Pig’s intestine soup @ Ming Tien, Taman Megah

Ming Tien Taman Megah - pig intestine soup

After a late night messing about with my hair, my hairdresser took me to Ming Tien for the most delicious supper of pig’s intestine soup. They have a selection of porky goodies, just take what you want (and of course pay for it later in more ways than one). Pork belly, soft ribs, big and small intestines, liver, stomach, skin, assorted pork balls, vegetables etc. They boil it all up and serve to you in a peppery soup with bits of bittergourd.

O.M.G.. porky heaven! It’s the stall at the same row as the one selling Italian pizza/pasta. Can’t miss.

Udon + bolognese sauce = happiness

Suanie's udon bolognese

A dish of udon with bolognese is possibly an atrocity to Italians. They’ll just have to live with it as the end result is delicious and deceptively healthier than pasta. But this is just one meal so we shall not think too much of it. Bleachted noodles, what?

I had made bolognese sauce using NoobCook’s recipe. That means it’s a very rich, tasty sauce involving beef, pork, bacon, root vegetables, wine, milk, tomatoes and herbs. You should try it sometime and you’ll never go back to ready-made tomato sauce.

Except that this recipe will take you about 1.5 hours (if you’re fast and efficient in prepping ingredients) so maybe the ready-made sauces are good if you don’t have the luxury of time.

Then you eat it and you freeze the rest of it in single packs for the single person.

Why udon? Because I have a fresh packet that I had curry plans for. That didn’t happen and neither did a lot of other things in life. So we make do with what we have, what we can.

Familiar tastes

Green bean and barley soup

I’d never appreciated the combination of green bean and barley soup until a couple of years ago when I was served a bowl at my uncle’s funeral. As the norm for Chinese funerals, a caterer is hired and she would cook simple food items for mourners and guests. A Chinese dessert – tong sui is usually included. It can be anything from green or red bean soup to fu chuk yee mai (barley with beancurd skin); could be that something soupy, warm and sweet would take away the pain. Or that food is the solution to everything under the sky.

Now I love it and it’s the only tong sui I’d make. Ok well it’s the only tong sui I know how to make… for now. Some pearl barley, green beans, pandan leaves and rock sugar boiled and simmered in harmony. Simple comforts to help go through all uncertainties in life.

Recipe: Quick Chinese Lemon Chicken

I was shown a really quick, easy way to make this Chinese lemon chicken so I thought I’d share 😀

Quick Chinese lemon chicken collage

The ‘secret’ ingredient of the lemon chicken sauce is one of those instant stuff, this from Lee Kum Kee. Not bad especially if you don’t have the time, knowledge nor ingredients to make the sauce from scratch.

There are instructions on the back of the packet on how to use it. But as with everything, you’ve to add some of your own kung-fu to make it a pow wow dish. Here’s how:

Ingredients: (serves 4 – 6)
– 2 chicken legs/ drumstick, deboned, approx 200g each
– soy sauce
– sesame oil
– oyster sauce
– white pepper
– 1 egg, beaten
– corn flour
– cooking oil
– 1 packet instant lemon chicken sauce

Quick Chinese lemon chicken - method 01

1) Clean and remove excess fat from chicken

2) Cut chicken into small bite size pieces

3) Add a DASH of soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce and white pepper to the chicken. I mean a very small dash, possibly half a teaspoon each. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

4) Add 2 tbsp egg to the chicken to coat. Mix well.

Quick Chinese lemon chicken - method 02

5) Heat up enough oil for pan or deep frying. The reason why it’s pan-fried here is to save on cooking oil. You’ll just have to flip the chicken to make sure they fry properly.

6) Dredge chicken with corn flour, make sure they are well-coated.

7) Put chicken to hot oil to fry. Turn occasionally until chicken is golden brown.

8 ) .. to look like this!

Quick Chinese lemon chicken - method 03

9) Open store-bought instant sauce. The photo here is for orange fish fillet, it should be for lemon chicken. Anyway this is just to show you what the box looks like.

10) Add 1 tbsp oil to clean frying pan. This is the same photo as above, it’s more than 1 tbsp but I’m too lazy to change it. Just use 1 tbsp ok.

11) Add a few tbsp of the sauce (or more, depending on how much sauce you want with your dish) to the oil, mix well. Let it sizzle for a bit, then add the cooked chicken to the pan. Stir to coat the chicken with the sauce.

12) Remove from pan and serve. Eat with a bowl of piping hot white rice, mmm…

Quick Chinese lemon chicken

Fanfriggintastic :)

Roasted Pumpkin Salad: easy, yummy & versatile!

I felt like eating pumpkin. Correction: I felt like eating a pumpkin dish that I’d made. So I googled for pumpkin-related recipes and found this roasted pumpkin salad with honey and balsamic dressing recipe. Looks simple enough and I have most of the ingredients. Just had to buy myself some pumpkin because it’s not something that one would happen to have in the fridge.

Something like the Japanese pumpkin slice below costs something like RM6.00. The organic version would have been RM11++. Why Japanese pumpkins? ‘Cos Jaya Grocer sells them, that’s why.

Roasted pumpkin salad with honey balsamic dressing - Japanese pumpkin

So you remove the seeds and skin, and cut it up to small pieces. Then add a splash of olive oil, some black pepper and salt to ze pumpkin. Use your god-given fingers and mix everything.

Roasted pumpkin salad with honey balsamic dressing - cut and seasoned

Line a baking tray with baking paper, arrange the pumpkin onto the tray. Pop into pre-heated oven at 200°C for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the rest of the stuff!

For dressing: Combine 1/2 tsp honey + 1/2 tbsp olive oil +1 tbsp balsamic vinegar into a bottle. Shake shake shake, take off the lid and pop it into the microwave for 10 secons or so. Take it out, shake shake shake again until everything’s well combined.

Roasted pumpkin salad with honey balsamic dressing - dressing ingredients

For nuts: heat a pan with small heat. Add pine nuts. Cook and stir for a couple minutes or until they’re golden. Be careful not to overcook, they burn easily. I had to throw away my first batch ‘cos my stove-top fire was too much :( Wasted my precious pine nuts :(

Roasted pumpkin salad with honey balsamic dressing - pine nuts

The original recipe calls for spinach. But I don’t know how to eat Western-style spinach. Plus they’re not cheap so I didn’t buy them. I had kidney beans in can, so I used that instead.

Roasted pumpkin salad with honey balsamic dressing - kidney beans

Actually you can substitute the pine nuts for almond or walnuts (but pine nuts tastes better, sorry), and the spinach for any other items that you have. Grilled zucchini, rocket leaves, feta cheese… everything tastes great with roasted pumpkins! 😀 My kidney beans was a good pairing as well. Go wild 😉

Once the roasted pumpkin has been removed from oven and cooled down a bit, mix all your ingredients together and add the dressing to your liking.

Roasted pumpkin salad with honey balsamic dressing - mix

Then serve with roast chicken! Or with whatever you’re eating, or just eat it on its own.

Roasted pumpkin salad with honey balsamic dressing - final

It’s delicious, I’m so happy with it! :) I’m going to try this again with other ingredients.

The Breaded and Baked Chicken ‘cos it’s healthier than fried

I breaded and baked chicken. It’s so mind-numbingly easy, you can do it too!

Ingredients:
– 1 cup dry breadcrumbs. Or Panko if you’re super fancy
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp black pepper
– 1/2 tsp herbs, whatever you like
– 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
– 2 tbs olive oil
– 2 cloves minced garlic
– 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
(I buy 2 chicken breasts and cut to half)

1 – Preheat the oven to 190°C for 10 mins.

The Breaded and Baked Chicken - flattening the chicken The Breaded and Baked Chicken - breadcrumbs

2 – Pound and flatten the chicken breasts a little with a meat hammer. I got mine from IKEA, it’s the most useful thing ever as we also utilise it to break ice.

3 – Mix breadcrumbs with salt, black pepper, dried herbs and cayenne pepper.

The Breaded and Baked Chicken - breadcrumbs seasoning

4 – Mix olive oil with minced garlic.
5 – Lightly grease a baking pan/ baking paper placed on a baking pan.
6 – Dip the chicken breasts into the oil+garlic mix then into the breadcrumb mix.

The Breaded and Baked Chicken - preparing to bake

7 – Arrange the meat in the baking tray. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes.

The Breaded and Baked Chicken - out of the oven

8 – Serve however way you want, mmmmmmmmmmm.

The Breaded and Baked Chicken

I had mine with Neapolitan sauce on warm tortilla bread.

The Breaded and Baked Chicken - with tomato sauce and tortilla bread

Fanfriggintastic!