Thursday, 29 January 2015

Rain's Kitchen: Spicy Tomato Soup

Perhaps the cold air-conditioning in the office made me crave for some hot soups.  So I decided to look it up online for easy to do recipes and came across Jamie Oliver's tomato soup.

It was relatively easy to make and so I decided to make it for my dinner the next day on 14.01.15.  Did some modifications to the recipe and made my own spicy version of tomato soup.  It somehow resembles Soup Spoon's Tangy Tomato with Basil but of course, this is the home cook version.

(makes 6 bowls or serves 3 person)
3cups organic vegetable broth
1 medium carrot
1 celery stick
(bought pre-washed and pre-cut ones so they were shorter. I used 2 sticks to make 1)
1 medium white onion
1 large garlic clove
1-2 small chilli padi
(depending on own preference on spice level)
3 large tomatoes with vine
(if there's no vine, its alright too)
1 can of tomatoes (approx. 400g)
some olive oil
basil leaves*, sea salt and black pepper

*could not find fresh basil leaves and so I used the dried ones as substitute


1. Wash: carrots, celery and tomatoes.  Proceed to roughly slice: onion, garlic, carrot and celery.  No need to spend to much time on slicing, just cut it down to smaller pieces for it to cook faster.  Remove the stem and seeds of the red chilli as well.
2. In a pot over medium heat, heat olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic and chilli until the aroma is released.  Add in the carrots and celery and stir fry a few minutes and cover with lid for it to cook.
3.  When the carrot softens or when the onions are turning transparent and slightly golden, add in the broth and tomatoes (including the vines if there is) and bring it to a boil.  In the meanwhile, toast some garlic bread slices.
4.  When it comes to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 10-15mins.  Be careful not to let it spill over.  Leave a small gap when placing the lid.  I did a taste test and added salt, pepper and dry basil leaves accordingly.
5.  Turn the heat off and stir to mix carefully.  Tomatoes at this point breaks apart quite easily.  Using the hand held blender, I blitz the contents till its smooth.  Alternatively, you could put everything in the blender. 
6.  Serve hot with garlic bread as sides. 
(taken with my galaxy note 1: no filter with just normal lighting)


Hope you enjoyed it! 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Rain's Kitchen: Kueh Tako (Kuih Tako) + Corn Variation

Over the weekends few months ago, I attempted another kueh which is Kueh Tako.  This kueh is possibly the easiest kueh I had made.  The only difficult part was in making the pandan casing (it actually works fine in a small serving cup too).
To be honest, this is not my favourite kueh as I have not eaten it since the last time I made it which is about 15years ago.  Yes! 15years ago.  I suddenly thought of this kueh because of all the pandan leaves I had been handling the past months in the kitchen.  I only remember doing this kueh back in home economics classes in secondary school once.  Thou not the process per se but my mum doing the pandan casing the day before because I suck at it (was not nimble with my hands then).

Does not take me long to do the pandan casing now and yes, my skills have improved over the years... HAHAHAH... k, that aside.  I got to credit Wendy for detailing the steps of doing the pandan casing which made it relatively easier to do.  The only problem face was the size of the pandan leave itself.  Cannot seem to fine broader base leaves in cold storage or ntuc most of the time but thank the heavens I manage to find wide pandan leaves for my first attempt on 11/10/14.
Anyway, it does not matter much coz it is not a fix rule to serve it in the casing.  Serving cups does the job too although it would be best to get those transparent ones for better presentation purpose.  Moving on, this recipe is from Wendy and I have tried it twice and made some minor changes to it.

For the second attempt, I did not make the pandan casing but just served them in the dessert cups.  I will combine pictures of both attempts in this post.

Bottom layer:
25g green bean flour (mung bean flour)
150ml pandan juice
(10 pandan leaves blended with 150ml water)
100ml water
70g sugar
2 water chestnuts - diced into bits

Top layer:
15g green bean flour (mung bean flour)
125ml water
125ml fresh coconut milk
50g sugar
pinch of salt


1. Dice the water chestnut into small pieces and place them in the pandan casing.

2. In a saucepan, boil the rest of the ingredients for the bottom layer over low heat.  Stir it to break up the lumps of flour.  As it boils, it will thicken.  When it does, turn the heat off.  No idea why mine was not as translucent.

3. Scoop the mixture into the casings.  It will harden as it cools.  Or if you wish, you could cook the chestnuts in the mixture and scoop into casing in one shot.  I think my pandan juice was too concentrated and so it did not look as transparent as it should be.

4. Wash the saucepan and cook the top layer ingredients in the same manner.  When done, scoop it over the cooled green layer in the pandan casing and leave to cool down for few minutes before chilling in the fridge.

 5. Done!

DONE~! and the pic spam begins
(taken with my galaxy note 1: no filter with just natural sun light and lighting) 


After 11/10/14:
I find that my pandan juice was too concentrated and so the bottom layer tasted slightly bitter.  Although it was not too bad when eaten together with the top layer as a whole as the top part was pretty sweet.

2nd attempt on 26.01.15: (only corn) - just enough to half-fill 3 dessert cups
15g green bean flour (mung bean flour)
125ml water
125ml fresh coconut milk
40g sugar
pinch of salt
50g canned corn

1) Just boiled all the other ingredients except corn in the pan and stir constantly.  If you leave it to boil and stir occasionally, you will get lumps of starch like the grey spots you see in the 2nd picture.  Does not affect the end results thou.  To get a smoother pudding like texture perhaps its best to just keep stirring.

2) As it starts to thicken, add in corn bits and keep stiring.

3) Once it is thick enough, turn off the heat and let it cool slightly before transferring them to the dessert cups.  It is still 'watery' at this stage.  Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.

 4) It becomes pudding/jelly like texture. Best served chilled.

After 26/01/15:
I follow the recipe above and adjust the sugar amount.  When it was still in liquid form, I thought it tasted very sweet but after chilling in the fridge, the sweetness was actually just nice.  It is strange that my aunt thinks it is sweet still.  I guess this up to personal preference.  Either way, this is a simple and quick to do dessert.
 Hope you enjoyed it!