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Panang Curry

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I got to know more about the Thai cuisine after I came over to United States and I was fortunate enough to work as an assistant chef in a local Thai restaurant when I was in college for a summer. It was pleasant by learning to cook a lot of typical Thai food especially Thai curries! Talk about curries, I heart them. I grew up by eating a lot of curries in Malaysia – Chinese, Nyonya, Malay and Indian.

Panang curry is my big time favorite whenever I dine at the Thai restaurants. I love its flavor for being not too spicy with the aromatic coconut taste. Cooking the Panang curry isn’t as complicated as you think. In fact it’s simple! A variety of imported Panang curry pastes can be found in the Asian markets, which save you a lot of times and work. So you don’t need to make the paste from scratch.

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Steamed Tofu with Pork Ribs (豆腐蒸排骨)

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I was looking for some easy recipes that don’t require a lot of efforts and works, maybe even some magical spells will make the food ready by itself in no time. Enough of imagination. The truth is it’s summer and fun time, I just got lazy to cook :p.  But I found some recipes that would help out — steaming using a rice cooker or on the stove.  Bah, this is just an easy way to cook the food and you can be off to do your stuff. In fact there are many recipes that can be cooked by using the rice cooker, which it is an efficient cooking style for more nutritious and healthy meals.

Steamed tofu with pork ribs provides you an excellent source of calcium and protein. Plus steaming makes it less oily and super fresh, the sweet broth absorbs the nature juiciness from the pork.  You can steam it with your rice cooker, or on stove top. Preferably for 30 up to 40 minutes, then the pork ribs will be much softer and tender.

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Sambal Cuttlefish / Sotong

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We went to the market and wanted to get some fresh fishes, somehow the fresh cuttlefish laying on the seafood ice counter looked so tempting that attracted us so much to get it. I picked up a whole nice and big cuttlefish. So it was for the dinner, Sambal Cuttlefish or so called  Sambal Sotong.

The Sambal Sotong is usually served with Nasi Lemak (Malay Style Coconut fragrant steamed rice) or Nasi Bungkus (Pre-packed Coconut Rice) you can find in any Malay stalls. As previously mentioned, Sambal is a chili based paste used widely in cooking for Malay cuisine. Sambal is prepared from scratch with dried chilies, fresh chilies, garlic, ginger, shallots and other ingredients, grounded into paste. One important cooking tip is to cook the chili paste with oil on low heat until the oil oozes from the paste, or separated from each others.  The chili will turn into deep red in color, add some seasoning to taste.

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Braised Pork with Soy Sauce (Tau Yew Bak)

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The braised pork with soy sauce (or Tau Yew Bak in Hokkien) was one of my pleasant foods that my mom used to cook and yes, my mom is Hokkien. She makes luscious Tau Yew Bak as she sold this at her stall when she was a mixed rice food hawker. Tau Yew Bak is a typical Hokkien dish that is very popular in Penang, Malaysia and it had been popularized throughout the nation as well. Consequently, there are many variations of this dish based on individual or family’s recipe. However, all of them are almost similar.

Pork belly is the best meat to be used in this recipe. Although it’s a fattier meat, the fat in the belly makes Tau Yew Bak so good. I love pork belly especially when it is braised as this dish. The pork rind and the fat inside the meat will be tendered during braising. You will be totally amazed after trying on this savory dish. It goes tremendously well with steamed white rice. I did eat it with two bowls of steamed white rice. Yum…

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Stir-fried Kangkung with Fermented Bean Curd

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Kangkung is a popular vegetable in my home country and most of Southeast Asia countries. Kangkung or Kang Kong, is also called Water Spinach or Hollow Spinach, or known as Ong Choy in Chinese. It is an Asian leafy vegetable,  inexpensive and nutritious. We usually eat it at home or in the restaurants. There is always an old saying that eating too much of Kangkung will make your legs go weak. Funny, I think this is because the Kangkung has long hallow stems that are empty like straws, which similar to weak legs that have no strength.

Previously I cooked the infamous Malaysian Style Stir Fry Kangkung Belacan (馬來風光), which is a very well-known dish in Malaysia, please check it out. This time I’ve cooked the Kangkung with fermented bean curd (腐乳), so called the Stir-fried Kangkung with Fermented Bean Curd or  Fuyu Kangkung (腐乳炒空心菜). Cooking with fermented bean curd is a popular Chinese cooking style, you can actually substitute with other vegetables such as You-Choy, A-Choy etc. The bean curd has been stored and fermented so it has a slight nice wine fragrant and the natural soy bean saltiness, so no extra salt is needed for this dish.

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Lama Kitchen is a food and cooking blog fills with savory food with great cooking recipes and ideas for those of you who love food and home cooked meals. Read more