Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fish and Veggie

Easy to prepare and just use what you have at home - that's how sometimes I come up with dishes for lunch. Makes me sound pretty laid back. But hey! Cooking has its flexibilities and allows creativity. Long ago, mothers simply 'agak'( estimated)the ingredients when it came to cooking. I believe that there are still many mums doing that. I find it quite cumbersome having to weigh everything just to cook a dish. Of course when it comes to baking, it's totally different. The result of your cakes depends on the exact weight of the ingredients required.

I decided to do a fish, a veggie and of course beef rendang which I froze some when I cooked for CNY(a habit to cook extra and stash some away in the freezer for later use).

Ingredients for the fish dish:

A white pomfret, medium-sized, cut into 3 (can be whole fish)
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
1 red and 1 green chilli, sliced
A few slices of lemon (happened to find it in the fridge)
Lemon juice from 1 lemon
3 tablespoons Buah keluak paste*
About 100ml coconut milk (packet)
Salt and sugar to taste


1. Marinate fish with some salt and pepper, put aside for half and hour.
2. Pat dry fish and deep fry till crispy. (You can eat the bones of white pomfret when fried to a
3. Heat enough oil in a pan and stir fry onion, garlic and buah keluak paste for a minute or so.
4. Add in lemon juice, coconut milk, salt and sugar. If the gravy is too thick, add a little water.
5. Add in the sliced chilli and lemon slices and bring to boil for a few seconds.
6. Pour gravy over the fish and serve immediately if you want the crispiness of the fish.
Otherwise, you can put in the fish at step 5.

Ingredients for Veggie Omelette:

I small bowl of shredded cabbage
Half a carrot, shredded
1 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
Some sliced red chilli
2 eggs, beaten with some salt
Salt to taste


1. Stir fry onion and garlic for a while.
2. Add carrot and cabbage and some salt and fry for a minute.
3. Add a little water to fry the veggies.
4. Add the chilli and then the egg.
5. Turn over the omelette once to cook the other side.
6. Serve hot.

You can substitute cabbage with bayam (spinach) or chinese leek.
There you have it, 2 simple dishes for a meal.

As for the buah keluak paste*, I stock up on this whenever I cook Buah keluak for CNY. This dish is a favourite with my daughters and nephew. I only cook it for CNY dinner. That's why I always prepare extra because I can use the paste to cook different types of dishes as in the case of the fish dish. Even though the same paste is used, the taste and flavour can be different.
eg. I can use tamarind water and laksa leaves with some chilli padi to cook a another fish dish or use coconut milk and limau purut leaves (lime leaves) to cook chicken. The options are plenty. Just dare to try and be creative!

This is my version of Buah Keluak paste which I tweaked a little from my Mum-in-law's.

Ingredients: (does not include other ingredients that are not to be ground with)
This amount is good for about one and a half kg of meat.

Spices to be ground:

450g peeled onions
4 cloves garlic
70g sliced galangal (lengkwas)
50g sliced turmeric (kunyit)
2 pieces 6cm long lemon grass (serai), sliced
40g candlenuts (buah keras)
1 piece belachan (4x4x1cm)

I did not grind the chilli together because I can use the paste to cook non-spicy dishes.

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