nyonya, recipe, easy, Chinese, Straits born


Here are a list things and ingredients that I normally use – as I would do at home in Malaysia, and now in the UK.

Kenwood Chef

This is my work horse. I use it to whisk egg whites, perfect for the chiffon cakes! I use it to shred vegetables to make soup, like French onion soup, lentil soup, etc. I also use it to shred vegetables for my crystal dumplings.

I have a number of attachments, the shredder, as described above, the mincer for minced meat, and the blender as well.

I recently hurt my wrist, and this thing is a blessing!

There are many models. I have chef major, with attachments.

Rice cooker

My rice cooker is a basic rice cooker. A basic rice cooker can cook rice, porridge, make soup, steam food and can be used as a bain marie.

As I am a Malaysian Chinese, my family consume a lot of rice. Even though my girls eat all sorts of food as we are a fusion family, ie, a combination of Malaysian and Scottish heritage, we have rice practically everyday. One of my daughters love some Malaysian food, and more of western food, the other one likes some western food, and more of Malaysian food.

I am used to having a basic  rice cooker. I might invest in a more complex one when I next change my rice cooker.  I have a bamboo steamer for my rice cooker. I fit this on top of the rice cooker and steam small amounts of food, and also for heating up buns and dumplings. It saves me bring out the steamer, cleaning them after use and putting it back again. So having a steaming basket on top of the rice cooker is great.

Some rice cookers come with many functions, like steam, bake, slow cook, etc.  How you want your rice cooker to work depends very much on what you want to use it for, and what equipment you already have in your kitchen. And of course your budget. Remember, the taste of your food is not determined by the cost of the equipment. Rather, it depends on your love and passion for cooking and food.

Click  rice cookers for more details and to check out what is suitable for you.
Mortar and Pestle

I use this for small amounts of food that I have to crush our pound.

For example, I usually use this to crush a bit of peanuts, make belachan ( a Malaysian sambal) and to crush say, ginger or garlic,to put in soups. For larger  amounts, I use the blender or chopper.

Hand / Stick Blender

I find this very convenient in blending small amounts of fruits and nuts ( but more than the amount the mortal and pestle can manage). I also find this useful in blending soups like pumpkin soup, mushroom soup and leek and potato soup. It is also good for anything you need to blend in a cup or bowl. Since there are only 2 pieces of the equipment, there is not much washing up. That is what I like about a stick blender.

Bamboo Steaming Tray

Bamboo steaming trays are a traditional Chinese cooking equipment. It is made entire of bamboo and some bamboo strings. It is perforated at the bottom and on the cover. Traditionally we have this tray that we can put over a wok, and there is no need to put an extra ‘stand’ to use it. Since it is circular and the wok is smaller at the bottom than the top, we just put it over the wok and fill the space below with water and steam our food.

Nowadays there a many type of wok or saute pans. So it may not be so convenient to use.

I  bought mine to fit on the top of my old / basic rice cooker and use it for steaming small amounts of food, like heating up boas, steaming my crystal dumplings, etc.

It is useful as then I do not have to heat up my wok or sauce-pan or my steamer. I just place it over the rice cooker. The beauty of using a rice cooker is that the rice cooker doesn’t overheat and run out of water when steaming. This is because the rice cooker switches itself off when the water runs dry. No more overheated steamers!