Updates: 338 recipes added!


Ingredients (serves 4):
2 tbsp oil
1 packet ready-made laksa chilli
200g dried shrimps, soaked in water for 20 mins and pounded until fine
2 cups coconut milk
3-4 cups water
300ml fresh milk
Salt and sugar, to taste
600g rice noodles, blanched
200g prawns, cooked and shelled
3 pieces fish cake, fried and sliced
4 pieces tau pok
200g cockles
Beansprouts, blanched
Basil or laksa leaves

1. Heat oil over a medium fire and stir-fry laksa chilli till fragrant. Add dried shrimps and fry till fragrant. Add coconut milk and stir. Add water and stir. Add fresh milk. Season with salt and sugar. Once it comes to a gentle boil and thickens slightly, the gravy is ready.
2. Place noodles in bowls and garnish with prawns, fish cake, tau pok, beansprouts and cockles. Pour gravy over and garnish with basil.

Recipe source: Women's Weekly magazine

Heh bee soft-shell crab

Ingredients (serves 4):
2 cups oil
400g soft-shell crab, cut into bite-sized pieces
Cornflour for coating crab
100g margarine or butter
40g dried shrimps or heh bee, rinsed and pat dry
10g curry leaves
4 chilli padi, sliced thinly
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp sugar (optional)
Red chilli, spring onions and Chinese parsley for garnishing

1. Heat oil in a pan over a medium fire. Meanwhile roll crab pieces in cornflour. Shake off excess flour. When the oil is smoking hot, deep-fry the crab for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside on a strainer to drain excess oil. Discard oil.
2. Using another clean frying pan, add margarine and turn fire to low. Once margarine or butter has melted, add the dried shrimps. Gently stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant.
3. Add curry leaves and chilli padi. Stir-fry the mixture for another 30 seconds, making sure it doesn't stick to the pan. Keep fire on medium. Slowly pour in evaporated milk and stir continuously for about 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture turns golden brown and smells fragrant.
4. Add the deep-fried crab pieces and turn the fire to low. Lightly stir-fry the mixture until the crab pieces are well-coated. Remove to a serving plate and serve topped with red chilli, sliced spring onions and sprigs of Chinese parsley.

If you use butter for this recipe, you get a richer, tastier flavour. However, you can use vegetable oil for a healthier alternative.

Recipe source: Women's Weekly magazine

Bean and vegetable salad

Ingredients (serves 5 to 6):
Lemon garlic dressing:
6 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp light soy sauce or 1 tsp miso paste

60g French beans, sliced thinly
60g long beans, sliced thinly
50g fresh button mushrooms, sliced
50g red, green and yellow capsicum, sliced thinly
50g carrot, cut into strips
50g purple cabbage, shredded
50g cabbage, shredded

1. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
2. Put the sliced vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Pour dressing over and toss. Serve immediately.

Recipe source: Women's Weekly magazine

Ginger fruit salad

Ingredients (serves 5 to 6):
1 orange, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 apple, cored and cubed
200g honeydew, skinned and cubed
200g rock melon, skinned and cubed
200g mango, skinned, stoned and cubed
200g rambutan or grapes, seeded
200ml orange juice
2 tsp finely grated ginger
4 tbsp honey
4 mint leaves, chopped

1. Put fruits in a salad bowl.
2. Mix the orange juice, ginger and honey together.
3. Pour into the salad bowl and toss to mix well.
4. Keep chilled in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Garnish with mint leaves before serving.

Recipe source: Women's Weekly magazine

Shepherd's pie

Ingredients (serves 3-4):
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onions, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
500g minced beef
1/2 cup red wine
500ml soup stock
2 sprigs rosemary
2-3 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 1/2 tbsp butter
3-4 tbsp milk
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1. Heat oil and fry onion till soft. Then add carrots and cook for 5 minutes more.
2. Add beef, quickly stirring so the meat gets seared.
3. Pour wine over, add rosemary and tomato paste with some salt and pepper.
4. Add half the soup stock and stir over low heat. Cook for about 15 minutes, adding more stock as necessary. The consistency should be moist, rich and glossy.
5. Place potatoes in saucepan with enough water to cover potatoes. Add salt and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Remove, mash potatoes with butter, milk and pepper. Add cheese, reserve some.
6. Place meat in an ovenproof dish and spoon mashed potatoes over the top evenly. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Place at the top of a hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is brown or crispy.

Recipe source: Women's Weekly magazine

Bready bacon salmon

Ingredients (serves 4):
2 salmon fillets
1-2 cups breadcrumbs
1-1 1/2 cups bacon bits
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper

1. Place salmon on a baking tray. For extra flavour, place sliced pieces of lemon grass, spring onions and carrots below the fish.
2. Gently rub soy sauce and salt into the fish. Scatter breadcrumbs over fish (the amount of breadcrumbs you use depends on your preference but make sure the crumbs cover the top of the fish entirely).
3. Top off with a generous sprinkle of bacon bits. Grind black pepper over the fish.
4. Bake at 200 to 220 deg C for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve.

Recipe source: Women's Weekly magazine

Baked curry puffs

Ingredients (makes 16):
3 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp ginger, chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp meat curry powder
150g chicken fillet, diced
2 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced
125ml water
4 sheets of frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed
2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into eighths
1 egg, beaten and mixed with 1 tbsp water

1. Heat oil and fry onion, garlic, ginger, salt, sugar, curry powder and chicken together.
2. When chicken is cooked, put diced potatoes in, adding water to prevent burning. Cool filling.
3. Use the rim of a small bowl (about 12.5cm in diameter), press and cut circles in the shortcrust pastry.
4. Place 1 heaped tbsp of filling and a piece of hard-boiled egg in each circle.
5. Twist edges shut.
6. Place on a greased baking tray, brush tops with beaten egg and bake in a pre-heated 230 deg C oven for 20 minutes until golden brown and crisp.

If you want your curry puffs flakier and lighter, substitute shortcrust pastry with frozen puff pastry.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine

Prawn porridge

Ingredients (serves 4):
2 cups rice
1 litre chicken stock
1 tub silken tofu, diced
3 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp preserved soya beans, mashed
1 kg medium-sized prawns, shelled and diced
coriander leaves, to garnish

1. For porridge, boil rice in chicken stock.
2. While porridge is cooking, fry diced tofu in vegetable oil until golden brown. Remove from oil with slotted spoon.
3. Use the same oil, fry garlic with mashed soya beans until fragrant.
4. Add diced prawns and stir-fry until pink and cooked. Mix in fried tofu.
5. Serve porridge in individual bowls topped with prawns and tofu. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

For added spice, stir in a teaspoonful of chopped fresh chillies into each bowl of porridge.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine

Minced pork with mushroom

Ingredients (serves 6):
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
500g minced pork
pepper and salt to taste
4-5 small tomatoes, cut into wedges
3-4 tbsp dark soya sauce
1 can (425g) button mushrooms, sliced

1. Fry chopped garlic until fragrant.
2. Add minced pork. Sprinkle with pepper and fry until half-cooked. Add tomatoes and continue to fry until meat is cooked.
3. Add enough dark soya sauce to turn the mixture dark.
4. Add mushrooms. Season to taste and simmer uncovered until sauce thickens.
5. Serve with hot rice and some green vegetables.

Use fresh button mushrooms for a more robust flavour.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine

Teriyaki tau kwa burger

Ingredients (serves 1):
3 tbsp thick teriyaki marinade sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
3 slices brinjal, diagonally cut
3 slices zucchini, diagonally cut
2 slices sweet potato, peeled and diagonally cut
2 slices carrot, diagonally cut
4 tbsp cooking oil
1 large tau kwa (firm tofu), horizontally cut
1 iceberg lettuce leaf, shredded thinly
Small handful of golden mushrooms, washed and stemmed
1/2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix teriyaki marinade, balsamic vinegar and salt.
2. Marinate the 4 vegetables in the mix.
3. Heat oil in a large pan. Over medium heat, shallow fry half of tau kwa and marinated vegetables till soft and brown. Drain well on kitchen towel.
4. Assemble the burger in this order: tau kwa, salad leaves, vegetables, golden mushrooms and the other half of tau kwa.
5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Go healthy: roast the tau kwa and vegetables for 20 minutes.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine

Steamed tau kwa with minced chicken

Ingredients (serves 2):
40g chicken, minced
1 tsp light soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Chinese cooking wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
3 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked till soft and chopped finely
1/2 carrot, finely chopped
1 large tau kwa (firm tofu)
2 tbsp dark sweet sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
1 stalk spring onion, cut into 3cm strips

1. Mix the first 8 ingredients together and set aside for 20 minutes.
2. Place tau kwa on dish, spread chicken mixture on top and flatten. Steam for 15 minutes.
3. Mix dark sweet sauce, oyster sauce and water in a bowl, stir well.
4. Heat oil in frying pan, fry garlic, shallots and red chilli for about 4 minutes, until fragrant.
5. Add the sauce mixture and fry until it thickens a little, about 2 minutes.
6. When the tau kwa is cooked, pour sauce on top and garnish with spring onions. Serve immediately.

Make this dish with silken tofu for a softer texture.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine

Stuffed white button mushrooms

These petite stuffed mushrooms will make a popular canape at your party.

Ingredients (serves 10):
150ml light sour cream
2 to 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
2 slices streaky bacon
2 tbsp olive oil, for brushing
250g The Pasar white button mushrooms, rinsed and stemmed
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp chopped spring onions

1. Mix sour cream with breadcrumbs in a bowl. Season with garlic powder and herbs. Set aside.
2. Fry streaky bacon in a pan over medium-high heat until browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels and cut into tiny pieces.
3. Brush oil over the mushrooms and stuff them with the sour cream and breadcrumbs mixture. Place stuffed mushrooms on a roasting tray.
4. Sprinkle each with parmesan cheese and top with bacon bits. Place under the grill (medium heat) for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts and turns golden brown.
5. Remove from heat, top with spring onions and serve.

You may substitute sour cream with cream cheese.

To clean mushrooms, first remove the stems, then gently wipe the caps with a damp cloth or rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Do not soak mushrooms as they absorb water and turn mushy when heated.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Tau kwa kebab

An excellent option at barbecues.

Ingredients (makes 8 sticks):
1 green capsicum, deseeded
2 small tau kwa (firm tofu)
1 red onion, cut into large wedges
8 long bamboo skewers
8 cherry tomatoes
4 tbsp light olive oil
1 tsp salt
Thai sweet chilli sauce

1. Cut capsicum and tau kwa (cut into 9 pieces) into cubes.
2. Separate the onion wedges.
3. Alternate the capsicum, tau kwa and onion on the skewer, using 2 wedges each, and place a cherry tomato at the tip.
4. Mix olive oil and salt in a small bowl.
5. Heat a large non-stick frying pan, and baste skewers with olive-oil mixture.
6. Lightly fry kebabs, 5 to 8 minutes on each side. Serve with Thai sweet chilli sauce.

Alternatively, thread tiger prawns with vegetables and baste with butter.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine

Chicken stew with celery and apple

Ingredients (serves 4):
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
500g chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
4 stalks US celery, peeled and diced
1 red apple, peeled and diced
125ml chicken stock
125ml apple juice
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp bread crumbs (optional)

1. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Brown onion and garlic for 2 minutes.
2. Add chicken to the pan and brown for 5 minutes. Then add celery and apple, and saute for 2 minutes.
3. Pour in chicken stock and apple juice. Lower heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Stir in balsamic vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste. (If you want to thicken the sauce, add 1 tbsp of bread crumbs and stir well.) Remove from heat and serve hot.

Do not overcook the celery as the quality of its texture will suffer.

For a more fuss-free alternative, you may make a salad by combining chopped celery and apple with Dijon mustard and mayonnaise, or mix them together for a blended drink.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Spiced pumpkin christmas cupcakes

Ingredients (makes 20 to 24):
200g cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon powder
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup corn oil
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup milk, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake holders and pre-heat oven to 180 deg C.
2. Sift cake flour, baking soda, cinnamon powder, ground ginger, nutmeg and salt into a medium bowl.
3. In a bigger bowl, whisk the eggs and both sugars until pale.
4. Add the oil, pumpkin puree, milk and vanilla, then mix until blended.
5. Add the flour in 3 parts, mixing until just blended.
6. Stir in the walnuts.
7. Using an ice-cream scoop, portion the batter into the cupcake holders, filling them only to 3/4 of the way up. This will leave space for the cakes to rise as they bake.
8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of each cake comes out clean.
9. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
10. Frost the cupcakes with Spiced cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle with decorations.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Mie goreng with stir-fried black pepper beef

Ingredients (serves 2):
2 packets Fairprice Mie Goreng
150g Banksia stir-frying beef (at Fairprice)
100g choy sum, washed
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp corn flour
2 tbsp oil
1 to 2 tbsp black pepper sauce (buy bottled sauce)
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped spring onions
1 tbsp deep-fried shallots (buy ready-made crispy shallots)

1. Season beef with soy sauce, sesame oil and corn flour for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Fry onions until slightly brown. Stir-fry beef for 4 to 5 minutes. Add black pepper sauce and toss well for 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
3. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch choy sum for 1 minute. Set aside.
4. To prepare noodles, follow the instructions on the packet.
5. To serve, top noodles with beef, choy sum, spring onions and deep-fried shallots.

For a more balanced meal, you can toss in more vegetables such as cabbage or shredded carrots, and top it off with a fried egg.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Spiced cream cheese frosting

Ingredients (makes about 1 1/2 cups):
170g cream cheese, softened
42g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or essence
1/8 tsp cinnamon powder
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg powder
A pinch of salt
100g icing sugar, sifted

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, use the paddle attachment to beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed until smooth.
2. Add the vanilla, spices and salt, then reduce the speed to low and add the icing sugar. Beat well until blended.
3. Raise the speed to high and beat until light and creamy, which should take about 1 minute.
4. Frost the cupcakes only when they are completely cool.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Trifle with strawberries and kiwi fruits

Simple dessert for a Christmas party.

Ingredients (serves 2):
2 tbsp custard powder
2 tbsp sugar
570ml milk
2 slices pound cake (2cm thick)
2 tbsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier
8 strawberries, diced
2 green kiwi fruits, peeled and diced
2 golden kiwi fruits, peeled and diced
Grated chocolate for garnishing
1 tbsp icing sugar for garnishing

1. Make the custard by mixing custard powder and sugar with 2 tbsp milk in a bowl. Bring the remaining milk to almost boiling point, then pour it into the custard mixture, and stir well. Return the custard into the pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until smooth. Set custard aside to cool down.
2. Fill bottom of glass with the pound cake base. Drizzle with 1 tbsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier. Top with strawberries and kiwi fruits.
3. Drizzle 1 tbsp Cointreau over the fruits (optional).
4. Pour custard over the fruits to form a layer. Top with more fruits, then another layer of custard.
5. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
6. Before serving, garnish trifle with more fruits, chocolate shavings and dust with icing sugar.

1. You can substitute strawberries and kiwi fruits with raspberries, blueberries or canned fruits such as peaches, apircots and mandarins.
2. You may use any type and amount of liqueur such as sherry, rum, Amaretto, Frangelico, Kirsch.
3. You can incorporate layers of mascarpone cheese or chocolate mousse if you like.
4. You can add other toppings such as fruits, crushed almond cookies, nuts and cocoa powder.
5. Serve in martini glasses or cocktail glasses.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Seafood with white wine sauce

A simple and healthy meal for Christmas.

Ingredients (serves 4):
2 to 3 tbsp olive oil or butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
250ml chicken or fish stock (dilute 1 stock cube in 250ml water)
250ml white wine
150ml cream
250g threadfin, cut into cubes
250g salmon, cut into cubes
300g prawns, shelled and deveined
300g scallops
200g squid, cleaned, internal shell removed and sliced
8 green olives
A pinch of thyme
1 sprig coriander (for garnishing)

1. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Fry garlic and onions until lightly browned.
2. Pour stock into pan and bring to a boil. Add white wine and reduce until it thickens slightly, then stir in the cream.
3. Add fish and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add prawns, scallops and squid. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add green olives and thyme, stir to mix.
4. Dish out and garnish with coriander leaves.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Baked cod fish steak

Ingredients (serves 2):
400g cod steaks
2 potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1 cup canned tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup white wine
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dried Herbs de Provence
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Season cod with salt and pepper.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook potato slices for 3 to 4 minutes and drain.
3. Arrange a layer of potatoes in an oven-proof dish. Season with some salt and pepper, and drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil.
4. Spoon tomatoes over potatoes, and place the cod on top. Drizzle the remaining olive oil, white wine and lemon juice over the cod.
5. Spread breadcrumbs on top of the cod and sprinkle some herbs over the dish. Place the dish into a pre-heated oven at 200 deg C and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
6. Serve hot with bread or rice.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Pan-fried fillet of fish with tom yam sauce

A Thai cuisine.

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 fish fillets (about 125g each)
30g flour, mixed with 1 tsp ground white pepper and 1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp oil
2 stalks lemongrass, sliced finely
1 inch galangal (blue ginger), chopped finely
2 kaffir lime leaves (limau purut), sliced finely

Tom Yam sauce:
2 tbsp oil
2 stalks lemongrass, sliced
1 inch galangal (blue ginger), sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves (limau purut)
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
125ml chicken stock
125ml cream

Pan-frying fish:
1. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves on low heat until crisp. Lift and drain oil on paper towel.
2. Dredge fish fillets in flour and pan fry in remaining oil over medium heat until golden brown. Drain oil on paper towel.

Tom Yam sauce:
1. Heat oil in a saucepan and saute lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and chilli flakes.
2. Add fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, switch off the fire and add in cream and lime juice. Pour sauce over pan-fried fish fillets and sprinkle pre-fried lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Prawns with tom yam sauce

Tom Yam is a spicy and sour Thai soup.

1.5 litre water
210g NTUC Tom Yam sauce (1 bottle)
50g lemongrass (remove the outer layers and use the lower 5cm portion), thinly sliced
300g tiger prawns, peeled and deveined, leaving tails intact
200g fish (threadfin or any white fish fillet), cut into cubes
100g shimeji mushrooms, washed and drained
1 sprig coriander, for garnishing

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Stir in tom yam sauce and add lemongrass.
2. Add prawns and fish. Lower heat and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add mushrooms and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Dish out and garnish with coriander. Serve with rice.

1. You can replace fish with squid, clams or other seafood if you like.
2. You may sprinkle some shredded lime leaves for a distinctive taste. To add more zest, squeeze some lime into the soup before serving.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Thai mango salad

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 large green mango
100g dried shrimps
10 bird's eye chilli, chopped
10 small red onions (shallots)
1 large red tomato
1 bunch coriander, chopped
Juice of 4 large limes
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Sugar to taste

1. Peel mango and cut into thin strips.
2. Wash and dry the dried shrimps well. Dry-toss shrimps in an unoiled pan until aroma rises and shrimps are slightly crisp. Cool and set aside.
3. Peel and slice shallots, separate into thin rings. Cut tomato in half and remove pulp and seeds. Cut into thin strips.
4. Mix lime juice, fish sauce and sesame oil, and add sugar to taste.
5. Pile shredded mango, shallots, tomatoes and chopped coriander onto a large platter. Pour fish sauce and lime juice dressing over and top with toasted dried shrimps and chopped bird's eye chilli. Serve chilled.

Try to choose very firm, almost hard, green mangoes.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Mushrooms on olive ciabatta toast

Ingredients (serves 4 to 6):
1 punnet button mushrooms
1 packet fresh lemon thyme
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp butter
1 olive ciabatta loaf
Butter for toast
Salt and pepper

Prepare toast:
1. Slice the ciabatta into thick slices.
2. Generously butter the ciabatta slices on both sides.
3. Toast or grill until golden and crisp (about 10 minutes if using the oven).
4. Keep toast warm while your prepare the mushrooms.

Prepare mushrooms:
1. Wipe each mushroom to get rid of any stray dirt. Cut into thick slices.
2. Heat up a frying pan and add the butter.
3. Add minced garlic and fry until fragrant but not too browned.
4. Turn up heat and add the sliced mushrooms. Add salt and pepper and keep tossing the mushrooms so they sear but do not stew in their juices. That will give you a dry mixture and the mushrooms will not "sweat".
5. Arrange ciabatta toasts on individual plates and divide the mushrooms mixture on top of the toasts.
6. Chop up the lemon thyme and sprinkle on mushrooms. Serve immediately.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Christmas snowman cookies

3 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp clove powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 1/2 cups fine sugar
1 cup softened margarine or butter (250g)
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
red, white and green Royal Icing

Home Made Royal icing:
2 egg whites
12 tbsp icing sugar, sifted

1. Mix dry ingredients together except for the sugar.
2. Cream the softened butter or margarine with the sugar in a large bowl for about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla essence and beat well. Mix in the dry ingredients, knead well and put into a bowl. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and leave in the fridge for up to 4 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 200 deg C. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper and lightly grease the paper.
4. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4cm thickness. With a cookie cutter, cut into star and snowman shapes. If you do not have a cookie cutter, just cut into round shapes.
5. Bake for 15 minutes till lightly coloured and cooked. Remove to wire rack and cool before decorating with Royal Icing.

Royal icing:
1. Put the egg whites in a bowl and pour the icing sugar over, stirring well to form a homogenous mixture, not too runny and not too dry. It should be like a soft and slightly runny dough. Add more egg whites or sugar, according to the texture of the mixture.
2. Divide into 3 and colour 1 portion red, 1 portion green and leave 1 portion white. Use a thin piping nozzle and pipe patterns on to the cookies.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Organic lotus leaf brown rice

A vegetarian recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 tbsp organic black eye peas
4 tbsp organic dark red kidney beans
4 tbsp lotus seeds
4 tbsp Chinese chestnuts
500g organic brown rice
1 medium organic carrot (diced into cubes)
10 pieces dry shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp organic olive oil
1 small root ginger (smashed)
1 tbsp organic soy sauce
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp organic pepper
1 piece lotus leaf

1. Soak the black-eye peas, kidney beans, lotus seeds and chestnuts for 5 hours.
2. Put rice, salt, olive oil and ginger in an electric rice cooker and cook the rice.
3. On a medium fire, stir-fry the remaining ingredients (including the soaked beans and seeds) with the seasonings for 10 minutes.
4. Mix the cooked rice with the contents of the frying pan and stir-fry for 10 minutes.
5. Place the contents onto the clean lotus leaf which has been soaked in warm water, wrap it up and steam for 20 minutes.
6. Add garnish (optional). Serve.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Mushroom spaghetti

A vegetarian recipe.

500g spaghetti
30g dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced
30g button mushrooms, sliced
30g straw mushrooms, sliced
200g carrots, sliced
150g vegetarian mutton, chopped
1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
2 tbsp black soy sauce
A pinch of salt, sugar to taste
5ml oil
5g tapioca flour
500ml water
20g mozzarella cheese
Oregano and lettuce to garnish

1. Cook the spaghetti in boiling water with a pinch of salt and a little oil till it is done.
2. Place the mushrooms, carrot, vegetarian mutton and water in a pot. Bring to boil and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Add vegetarian oyster sauce, black soy sauce, salt and sugar.
4. In a separate container, mix the tapioca flour with 20ml of water. Pour the mixture into the pot and stir.
5. Spread some grated mozzarella cheese on top, ladle on the mushroom sauce and sprinkle the garnish. Serve.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Sticky rice with mango

A Thai-style glutinous rice dessert.

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 1/2 cup glutinous rice, washed and soaked overnight in water
1 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup water (optional - add water if the coconut cream is too thick)
1/2 cup gula melaka, chopped (or palm sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
1 mango, peeled and diced
2 strawberries, diced for garnishing

1. Drain the glutinous rice and place into a bamboo or metal steamer over boiling water. Cover and steam the rice over medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes or until it is cooked.
2. Heat the coconut cream and water over medium-low heat until hot. Make sure it doesn't boil. Add gula melaka and salt, and stir until sugar dissolves.
3. When glutinous rice is ready, pour half of the coconut milk over the rice. Use a fork to fluff up the rice. Set aside, covered with a tea towel, for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to absorb.
4. To serve, spoon the rice into individual serving plates. Drizzle the remaining sweetened coconut milk over the rice and garnish with mango and strawberries.

1. After steaming the glutinous rice, it must be immediately tossed with the sweetened cream so that so that the flavour can be absorbed by the rice.
2. To add more fragrance to the rice, add pandan leaves when steaming it.
3. Steamed sticky rice must be kept covered with a cloth to prevent it from hardening and drying out.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Spicy orange prawns

500g fresh prawns
1 tbsp rice wine

2 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Chili Bean Sauce (辣豆瓣酱)
125ml freshly-squeezed orange juice
2 tsp sugar, or to taste
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and very finely chopped
2 shallots, peeled and very finely chopped
1/2 red chilli, finely shredded
1 tbsp grated orange zest
fresh coriander leaves

1. With scissors, cut along the back of each prawn shell and remove the vein. Leave shells and heads on. Rinse prawns and pat dry, then mix with wine and let stand 10 minutes, covered and refrigerated.
2. Mix all sauce ingredients together and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a wok over high heat. When very hot, add garlic and shallots and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add prawns and fry for 30 seconds more, then add sauce mixture. Cook, stirring vigorously. When prawns are cooked and sauce is thick and glossy, let them cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
4. Dish up and sprinkle with chilli, orange zest and coriander. Serve immediately.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Oat and cranberry cookies

Ingredients (makes 24):
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g brown sugar
4 tbsp instant oats
100g cold butter, cut into small pieces
50g cranberry, soaked in hot water

1. Sift flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add sugar and oats, and mix well.
2. Add butter and rub in the mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles rough bread crumbs. Add cranberries, then form a dough with the mixture. The dough should not be too sticky or soft. If it is too dry, add a few drops of cold water.
3. To make the cookies, roll the dough into small balls and place them about 3cm apart on a greased baking tray. The cookies will spread and become flat when baked.
4. Place tray in pre-heated oven at 200 deg C for about 25 minutes until they turn golden brown.
5. Remove from oven and place the cookies on a wire rack to cool before serving.

1. These cookies are the crispy version. If you want them to be even crispier, try substituting brown sugar with white sugar.
2. If you prefer your cookies to hold their shape instead of spreading out, refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours before baking.
3. Store the cookies in air-tight container. They can be kept for about 3 to 4 weeks.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Vegetarian bee hoon

Ingredients (serves 4):
Half a packet of bee hoon (rice vermicelli)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp dark soy sauce
4 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
A handful of coriander, torn
4 sprigs spring onions, chopped
2 red chillies, sliced
1 can FairPrice Chai Charng (斋肠)
1 packet bok choy (or any leafy vegetable), washed
A handful of bean sprouts, tailed and washed
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Soak the bee hoon in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and then add the garlic and fry till fragrant.
3. Add the bee hoon and fry for 3 minutes; add some water if it starts to get too dry.
4. When the bee hoon starts to get soft, add the dark and light soy sauce and fish sauce. Stir well to combine.
5. Add another cupful of water and fry till the noodles are soft.
6. Taste and add salt and pepper, or more soy sauce if you like.
7. Add the bok choy and fry for 1 minute or until it just wilts.
8. Turn off the flame.
9. Open the can of Chai Charng and pour some of its braising liquid into the noodles. Taste and add more if desired.
10. When ready to eat, transfer the noodles to a plate and arrange the Chai Charng on top. Garnish with coriander, spring onions, bean sprouts and chillies.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Broccoli and cauliflower gratin

1 small cauliflower (about 250g)
1 small head broccoli (about 250g)
1/2 cup plain low fat yoghurt
75g grated low fat cheddar cheese
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp wholemeal breadcrumbs
Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Break the cauliflower and broccoli into florets and cook in lightly salted, boiling water for 8-10 minutes, until just tender.
2. Drain well and transfer to a flameproof dish.
3. Mix together the yoghurt, grated cheese and mustard, then season the mixture with pepper.
4. Spoon over the cauliflower and broccoli.
5. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top.
6. Place under a grill until golden brown.
7. Serve hot with rice or pasta.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Seafood casserole

Perfect dish for Christmas.

Ingredients (serves 2 to 3):
200g Prantalay Seafood Mix (from NTUC, to thaw, follow instructions on the packet)
125g parmesan or cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
500ml milk
4 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a pan. Fry onions until lightly browned. Add celery and carrots and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add seafood mix and fry for 2 minutes. Set aside.
2. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix in the flour and butter with a whisk until well blended. Gradually blend the cheese into the mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Place celery, carrots and seafood into a medium baking dish. Spoon the cheese sauce into the dish and toss with the rest of the seafood mixture. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over.
4. Without covering the dish, bake it in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or grill under medium heat until the surface is brown. Serve hot with bread.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Blueberry-buttermilk pancakes with orange sauce

Ingredients (makes 4 to 5 servings, 2 pancakes and 2 tbsp of sauce per serving):
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 slightly beaten egg white
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp cooking oil
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Orange wedges and/or fresh blueberries (optional)

1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. In another mixing bowl, stir together the egg white, buttermilk, cooking oil and vanilla. Add all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined but still slightly lumpy. Gently add the blueberries.
3. For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto a non-stick griddle or pan. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side or until pancakes are golden brown, turning to cook second sides when pancakes have bubbly surfaces and slightly dry edges.
4. Serve with orange sauce. If desired, garnish with orange wedges and/or additional blueberries. Cover and chill any remaining orange sauce.

Orange sauce:
In a small saucepan, stir together 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate, 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp cornstarch. Add 1 cup water. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir sauce for 2 minutes more. Serve warm.

Recipe source: Health magazine

Cheesy vegetable pie

An eggless recipe.

Ingredients (makes 12.5cm pie):
60g butter
40g plain flour
500ml milk
800g mixed vegetables, diced and steamed
180g frozen peas
100g grated cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper

Pie crust:
300g plain flour
1.5 tsp ground cumin (阿拉伯茴香)
1/2 tsp ground chilli
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
160g butter
Enough cold water to knead dough

1. Heat butter. Add flour. Stir over heat until bubbling. Remove from heat and add the milk gradually.
2. Return to heat and boil until the mixture thickens. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Pie crust:
1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Rub in butter till mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough water to make the ingredients cling together.
2. Wrap pastry in cling wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Divide dough into portions. Roll out 1 portion on floured surface to fit the greased pie dish. Prick all over with a fork and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
3. Spoon in the prepared filling. Roll out the remaining pastry to cover the pie dish. Trim and seal the edges. Bake until golden brown.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Finger buns

An eggless recipe.

Ingredients (makes 14 to 16):
600g plain flour
4 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp vanilla essence
100g sultanas or raisins
80g mixed peel
50g shredded coconut or mixed nuts
400ml milk or water
80g butter
50ml extra milk, for glazing
Icing sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 200 deg C. Put all ingredients, except the extra milk and icing sugar into a mixing bowl.
2. Mix and knead to form a smooth pliable dough. Cover bowl and leave aside for about 45 minutes, or until dough doubles in size. Knead dough for about 5 minutes. Divide into 14 to 16 portions. Roll and shape each portion into a 12cm long piece.
3. Place the buns on prepared baking trays, leaving space for the dough to rise. Leave aside for 10 minutes or until the dough has risen. Bake buns in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Brush with milk immediately and leave to cool on wire rack. Sprinkle with icing sugar when cool.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Strawberry tart

An eggless recipe.

Ingredients (26cm flan tin):
250g butter
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
125g caster sugar
60g rice flour
140g self-raising flour
190g plain flour
250g strawberries, halved
125g strawberry jam

1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Beat butter, lemond rind and juice and sugar until creamy. Sift rice, self-raising and plain flours together. Stir into lemon mixture in 2 batches.
2. Press together gently and knead lightly until smooth. Press evenly into greased tin.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in the tin. Turn the shortcake onto a serving plate. Arrange strawberries. Warm jam in a pan, strain and brush over strawberries.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Sweet potato dumplings

Ingredients (serves 8):
600g sweet potato
1 cup glutinous rice flour
1-2 tbsp sugar
2-3 tbsp palm sugar
5 pandan leaves, knotted
1 coconut, grated

1. Skin and cut sweet potatoes into pieces. Add enough water to just cover the sweet potatoes. Boil until soft. Mash hot sweet potatoes until smooth.
2. Mix a half portion of mashed sweet potato with glutinous rice flour. Mix slowly to form a smooth dough. Pinch dough and roll in between palms to form small balls. Drop dumplings into boiling water. Remove dumplings when they float and leave in a bowl of water.
3. Squeeze grated coconut for first milk. Add a pinch of salt and simmer until almost thickened. Set aside.
4. Add about 3 cups of water to grated coconut and squeeze for second milk.
5. In a pot, combine both sugars, knotted pandan leaves, coconut milk and remaining half portion of mashed sweet potato. Bring to simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally.
6. Add the cooked dumplings. Turn off heat when it boils again. Serve sweet potato dumplings, either hot or warm, with the coconut cream.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Gingered papaya with ice cream

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 firm-ripe papaya slices, peeled and seeded (about 170g each slice)
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp slivered crystallized ginger
2 tsp brown sugar
4 scoops vanilla ice cream

1. Cut papaya into 2-3cm pieces.
2. Melt butter in a wide frying pan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, slivered crystallized ginger and papaya. Toss gently for about 3 minutes.
3. Stir in lime juice. Serve hot or cool over ice cream.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Papaya soya milk shake

Ingredients (serves 4 x 200ml each):
2 ripe papaya slices, peeled and seeded (about 170g each slice)
2 packets x 250ml each soya bean milk
16 ice cubes

1. Cut papaya into 2cm cubes and put into a blender. Add 1 packet of soya milk and puree papaya.
2. Mix in the other packet of soya milk and ice cubes.
3. Stir and pour into 4 serving glasses. Serve chilled.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

8-treasure fragrant tea

Ingredients (serves 10):
80g rock sugar
15 dried longans, rinse
15 dried red dates, soak for 10 minutes
20 rose buds
15 dried chrysanthemums
1 tbsp dried lily stigma (金银花)
1 tbsp wolfberries (枸杞)
1 tbsp jasmine tea leaves

1. Bring 8 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add rock sugar, rinsed dried longans, red dates, chrysanthemums and dried lily stigmas. Reduce heat to medium high and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Add rose buds and wolfberries. Turn off heat when water boils again.
3. Add jasmine tea leaves. Stir mixture, cover pot and leave to steep for 3-5 minutes.
4. Divide into 10 serving cups. Serve hot.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Cultured milk with watermelon

Ingredients (serves 10):
5 x 125ml Vitagen Less Sugar cultured milk drink, original flavour
2 or 3 slices watermelon
45 standard-sized ice cubes

1. Cut watermelon into 0.5cm thick slices and then into squares or chop coarsely to make about 2 1/2 cups.
2. Pour Vitagen into a large pitcher or fruit punch bowl.
3. Add ice cubes and chopped watermelon. Serve chilled.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Fragrant apple mix

Ingredients (serves 10):
1 Marigold Peel Fresh Apple & Aloe Vera juice
3 stalks x 12cm long lemongrass, crushed
50g rock sugar or 2 tbsp sugar (optional)
10 stalks lemongrass stalks as "stirrers", must be 5-6cm taller than serving glass
30 standard-sized ice cubes

1. Boil crushed lemongrass and rock sugar or sugar in 3 cups of water for 20 minutes.
2. Strain lemongrass and leave to cool or keep chilled in refrigerator.
3 Pour Marigold Peel Fresh Apple & Aloe Vera juice into a fruit punch bowl.
4. Add lemongrass water and ice cubes. Serve chilled.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Iced green tea milk and jelly

Ingredients (serves 4 to 5):
40g sugar
2 tsp agar-agar powder
6 tbsp condensed milk
2 1/4 tbsp good quality green tea powder

1. In a pot, add 2 cups water and sugar. Sprinkle agar-agar powder over water. Stir until it's dissolved.
2. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat. Allow mixture to cool slightly for 5 minutes.
3. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp green tea powder over agar-agar. Stir to mix thoroughly. Pour into an 18cm x 13.5cm tray. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour until firm.
4. Mix condensed milk with 4 cups of freshly boiled water. Stir in the remaining green tea powder and mix thoroughly. Cool and chill the green tea-milk drink in a covered container or bottle for at least 1 hour.
5. Shred set green tea agar-agar. Shake bottle or container and divide green tea-milk drink into 4 or 5 serving glasses or bowls. Serve garnished with the shredded green tea agar-agar.

For easy drinking, serve with the fat straw used for bubble tea.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Traditional longan red date tea

Ingredients (serves 10):
50g seeded red dates, soak in water for 10 minutes
75g dried longan, rinse before use
30g fresh ginger, crushed
80g rock sugar or more to taste
3 pandan leaves, knotted

1. Bring 8 cups water to a rolling boil.
2. Add knotted pandan leaves, softened red dates, rinsed dried longan, crushed fresh ginger and rock sugar. Simmer for 15-20 minutes on moderate heat.
3. Adjust sweetness according to taste. Can be served hot, at room temperature, or chilled.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Rich chocolate drink

Ingredients (makes 2 cups x 250ml each):
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (Cadbury's or Van Houten)
1/4 cup Milo
2 tbsp or slightly less condensed milk
thinly sliced biscotti or almond wafers

1. Mix and stir cocoa powder into 1/2 cup freshly boiled water until smooth.
2. Add 1 1/2 cups of freshly boiled water, condensed milk and Milo. Stir and mix thoroughly until mixture is smooth.
3. Either whip chocolate drink with a whisk for 2 minutes until frothy or pour into a blender to whip for 30 seconds. Divide into 2 cups.
4. Serve drink topped with a marshmallow and either a piece of biscotti or almond wafer on the saucer.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Dried scallop & winter melon soup

The combination of winter melon and water chestnut makes this high in fibre, good for cleaning out the intestines and also in soothing sore throats.

Ingredients (serves 4):
600g winter melon
20g dried scallop
150g chicken meat
4 Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked in water until soft
50g carrot
4 water chestnuts
3 tbsp green peas
6 bowls stock

1. Soak dried scallop in half a bowl of water until soft.
2. Cut chicken meat into small cubes and season with 1/2 tsp cornflour.
3. Cut winter melon into cubes.
4. Pour stock into a pot. Add dried scallop, winter melon, water chestnut and mushrooms, and boil over low heat for about 45 minutes.
5. Add chicken and carrots and parboil for another 10 minutes. Add the peas and salt to taste.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine (Aug 2006)

Papaya and snow fungus sweet soup

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 almost ripe papaya, about 1kg
2 tbsp sweet almond kernel
1/2 tsp bitter almond kernel
1 palm size dried snow fungus, about 40g
100g rock sugar

1. Soak dried snow fungus in water for 30 minutes until soft. Trim the thick yellowish base and tear softened snow fungus into little florets. Rinse again to remove grit. Drain in colander.
2. Rinse both sweet and bitter almond kernels. Put in a medium crock pot. Add snow fungus and 9 cups of boiling water. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours.
3. Skin and discard seeds of papaya. Cut into 2cm cubes. Add rock sugar and cubed papaya to simmering snow fungus.
4. Cook for another hour. Taste, adding more rock sugar if desired.
5. Serve either hot or chilled.

For stove cooking: Bring water to boil in a medium sized deep pot. Add snow fungus and both sweet and bitter almond kernels and simmer, over moderate heat, for 1 hour. Add rock sugar and papaya cubes and continue to cook for 1/2 hour.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Kampong chicken soup

1 lean chicken (or kampong chicken if you can get it)
100g Yunnan ham, or salted pork shoulder
1 packet dried lotus seeds
1 small piece ginger

1. Cut the chicken into 4 large pieces. Remove all fat and skin.
2. Cut up the Yunnan ham into large pieces. If you are using salted pork shoulder, chop it up into large pieces.
3. Place lotus seeds in a microwaveable container and cover with water. Microwave on high for 10 minutes. Let cool.
4. Remove all the bitter green shoots inside the lotus seeds and discard any bad nuts.
5. Bring 2 litres of water to a boil in a large pot and add the chicken pieces, ham or salted pork shoulder. Add lotus seeds and ginger.
6. Bring soup to a rolling boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook at least 1 hour for flavours to develop. Serve hot. (There is no need to add salt because the ham is savoury enough to season the soup.)

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Peanut soup with chicken feet

10 to 12 chicken feet, claws trimmed
2 large pork bones, fat trimmed
10 Chinese red dates or jujubes
100g large peanuts with skin
Salt to taste

1. Heat up a large pot of water and when it's boiling, blanch the pork bones in it to remove the blood and scum. Rinse and set aside.
2. In a large soup pot, heat up 2 litres of water. When water boils, add chicken feet, pork bones, peanuts and red dates. Bring back to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
3. Let soup simmer for at least 1 hour; longer if you have the time. Salt the soup to taste only before you are ready to serve.
4. Serve soup and the chicken legs separately if you like to chew on the bones and peanuts. Otherwise, discard the meat.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Har Cheong Kai (虾酱鸡)

Har Cheong Kai is chicken marinated in shrimp sauce and other aromatic seasonings and fried to a beautiful golden-red hue.

Ingredients (serves 4 to 6):
5 tbsp chopped ginger
3 1/2 tbsp Chinese rose wine (玫瑰露酒)
2 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Fine Shrimp Sauce (幼滑虾酱)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp sugar or honey
A pinch of white pepper
1 chicken, cleaned and chopped into small pieces
150g tapioca flour
Oil for deep-frying
Cut calamansi limes, sliced cucumber and tomato, chilli sauce as garnish

1. Pound ginger to extract about 2 tablespoons of ginger juice. Stir well with rose wine, shrimp paste, cornstarch, sugar and pepper in a large bowl.
2. Add chicken, mix well. Cover, refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
3. Heat oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. Roll chicken pieces in tapioca flour to coat, shaking off the excess to leave a thin, but even, coat.
4. Fry a few pieces of chicken at a time for about 5 to 6 minutes until they turn pale golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
5. Reheat oil until very hot, then fry chicken again for 1 to 2 minutes, till they turn a deep golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve with garnishes.

For convenience and good results, mix the meat with the marinade in the morning and fry it for dinner the same night.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Sweet garlic prawns

Ingredients (serves 3 to 4):
10 large fresh prawns
3 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Char Siu Sauce (Chinese barbecue sauce)
125ml water
1 tsp rice wine
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp oil
6 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
3 thin slices ginger
chopped spring onion, for garnish

1. Remove prawn shells, heads and veins, leaving tails intact. Wash prawns and pat dry.
2. Add in 2 teaspoons of Char Siu Sauce and mix well. Set aside, covered and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
3. Mix remaining Char Siu Sauce with water, wine, sugar and cornstarch, and set aside.
4. Heat oil in a wok over medium-low heat. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry gently for 3 to 4 minutes until garlic is pale golden brown. Scoop on to a plate, leaving oil in wok.
5. Increase heat to high. When oil is very hot, put prawns in and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add in sauce mixture, stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes more until prawns are cooked and sauce has thickened to a sticky glaze.
6. Stir in garlic, then dish up. Garnish with chopped spring onion and serve hot.

Instead of prawns, you could use chunks of chicken meat or thin slices of beef tenderloin, both of which should be left to marinate a little longer.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Prawn and seaweed spaghetti

Ingredients (serves 4):
400g spaghetti
1 tsp salt
300g medium prawns, shelled
24 snow peas, tops and tails removed
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp bottled sweet garlic chilli sauce
2 sheets nori (roasted seaweed)
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add spaghetti and salt. Stir to loosen the strands of pasta.
2. Put the prawns in a wire ladle and lower it into the boiling pasta water. Remove when their colour changes. Put aside in a large bowl.
3. Put the snow peas in the wire ladle and lower it into the boiling water. Remove after a minute when their colour turns a bright green. Put into the bowl of prawns.
4. When pasta is al dente, drain off water and add to the same bowl.
5. Add olive oil and chilli sauce to pasta and toss well.
6. Crumble nori over the pasta, toss lightly and serve hot with freshly ground black pepper.

To make this recipe suitable for a strict vegetarian, simply omit the prawns and use a vegetarian chilli sauce. Increase the amount of nori and smow peas.

Recipe source: Streats newspaper

Cheesy corn cakes

Ingredients (makes 12):
175g plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
125ml fresh milk
200g sweet corn kernel
5 slices of cheese, cut into small pieces
2 tsp canola oil
2 tbsp chopped spring onion (optional)

1. In a mixing bowl, add eggs and milk to flour. Mix well until smooth.
2. Stir in corn, cheese and spring onions.
3. Heat half the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add 6 spoonfuls of the mixture in 6 dollops to the pan. Flatten each out slightly with the back of a spoon, keeping them separate. Cook over medium heat until golden brown (about 1 1/2 minutes each side).
4. Remove from the pan and repeat the same process with the rest of the mixture.

Goes well with tomato ketchup.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Low-fat chicken and mushroom pie

Ingredients (serves 4):
340g chicken breast, without skin
1 large onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
115g white button mushroom
115g white Japanese mushroon (optional)
55g green peas
1 tbsp chopped pasley (香芹)
1 tbsp plain flour
15g butter
300ml skimmed milk

Pie crust:
185g self-raising flour
20g butter
80ml skimmed milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Melt butter in a pot and put in 1 tablespoon of plain flour. Mix well. Add milk bit by bit, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth.
2. Put in chicken breast, mushrooms, onion, carrot, green peas and parsley and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a deep baking dish.

Pie crust:
1. In a large mixing bowl, rub butter into self-raising flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add milk bit by bit until it forms a soft dough.
2. Roll out to fit the top of the baking dish, seal edges, and brush on beaten egg. Set oven to 180 deg C with upper/lower function.
3. Bake on lower shelf for 30 minutes until crust is golden brown.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Brown rice paradise

Ingredients (serves 4):
2 cups brown rice, washed and soaked
50g almonds, blanched and sliced
50g raisins
3 cardamom pods (豆蔻), 1 cinnamon stick (桂皮)
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1. Brown the cardamom pods and cinnamon in a lightly-oiled pan. Add brown rice and stir fry.
2. Add flavoured stock to rice and spices and start in a rice cooker. Allow to cool slightly.
3. While rice cooks, toast almond slices.
4. Serve cooked brown rice in a platter and top with toasted almonds and raisins.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Chicken flavoured rice

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 small chicken, skinned and cut into bite-sizes
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 water chestnut, peeled and sliced
6 dried mushrooms, soaked and sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups fragrant rice

1. Mix chopped chicken pieces with all ingredients except the rice. Leave to marinate.
2. Wash rice until water runs clear and drain. Add 2 cups water and start the rice cooker.
3. When the water has reduced to rice level, carefully add chicken pieces on top of rice.
4. Finish cooking the rice and leave covered for at least 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Healthy bread pudding

4 slices plain or wholemeal bread
1 cup low fat milk
1 egg, beaten
50g raisins or dried cranberries
2 tbsp soft brown sugar

1. Cut bread slices into cubes, keeping crusts on. Butter or oil a square sandwich tin lightly.
2. Slowly stir beaten egg into low fat milk and whisk gently to combine. Add one tablespoon soft brown sugar and stir till dissolved.
3. Combine milk and egg mixture and bread cubes in a large mixing bowl and leave to soak until bread has soaked up the mixture completely.
4. Mix in raisins or dried cranberries into the bread mixture. Stir lightly to combine but without breaking bread cubes up.
5. Sprinkle remaining spoonful of sugar over bread cubes. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Sugarcane prawn kebabs

Ingredients (serves 6):
12 sticks of sugarcane, each 15cm long
750g prawns, peeled
1 clove of garlic
1 1/2cm piece of ginger, peeled
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg white
1 tbsp cornflour
oil for basting

1. Pare away the skin of the sugarcane.
2. Trim the middle section a little thinner.
3. Place prawns, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, sugar and pepper into the food processor and pulse into a smooth paste.
4. Add egg white and cornflour to paste. Mix well.
5. With wet hands, mould the prawn paste around the thin section of each sugarcane skewer and smooth into a sausage shape.
6 Brush with oil and grill in a pre-heated oven at 200 deg C for 20 minutes until prawn mixture turns pink.

No sugarcane? Just pat the prawn mixture into round or sausage-shaped patties, grill and serve wrapped in fresh lettuce leaves.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine (Mar 2007)

Chocolate chips and walnut cookies

Ingredients (makes 18):
110g unsalted butter, softened
70g soft brown sugar
70g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
140g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
120g chopped walnut
180g chocolate chips

1. Beat butter with both types of sugar in a mixing bowl until creamy. Add egg and beat until smooth. Then add vanilla essence and mix thoroughly.
2. Add flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda to the mixture, a little at a time, and stir everything together well.
3. Stir in chopped walnuts and chocolate chips.
4. Spoon small mounds of cookie mixture onto greased baking trays, leaving wide spaces between the mounds.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 190 deg C for 10-12 minutes, until they are evenly brown.
6. Remove cookies with a palette knife and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Pineapple & almond mini cupcakes

Ingredients (serves 12 to 15):
60g butter, softened
75g sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp milk
100g self raising flour, sifted
2 rings canned pineapple, finely chopped
1 tbsp almonds, broken into small bits

1. Combine butter and sugar and blend with a mixer until it's creamy and light.
2. Add egg, vanilla essence and milk, and blend again briefly.
3. Put in the flour and combine well with the mixture. Then stir in the pineapples and almonds.
4. Line the cupcake moulds with muffin liners and fill half with the mixture.
5. Bake at 180 deg C for 20 minutes.

To make a large cake, pour the batter in a round 21cm cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine (Mar 2007)

Spicy pasta

300g pasta
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 green capsicum, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
1 tbsp chilli paste
1 tsp salt
200ml Kara coconut cream

1. Cook pasta in boiling water until tender, drain then toss in 1 tbsp cooking oil and put aside.
2. Heat remaining oil in separate saucepan, fry onions until golden and add all the capsicums. Stir well.
3. Add chilli paste, Kara coconut cream, tomato and salt to taste. Allow to boil.
4. Toss in pasta and serve immediately.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Spareribs curry

500g AIRPORK spareribs, already chopped into bite sized chunks
40-50g curry powder for meat
15 shallots, sliced
3 onions, sliced thinly
6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2cm piece of ginger, cut into fine strips
5 medium sized potatoes, halved
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup coconut milk or evaporated milk
3 cups water
4 tbsp vegetable oil

1. Mix AIRPORK spareribs with 3 tablespoons of the curry powder and marinate for 1 hour.
2. Blend remaining curry powder with enough water to form a paste.
3. Heat a wok, add the oil and when it is hot, add the sliced shallots, onions, garlic and ginger. When it is fragrant, add the curry paste and stir fry till fragrant. Add the spareribs and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the water.
4. Bring to a boil and simmer the spareribs gently for 30 minutes. Add the coconut milk and potatoes and simmer till the spareribs is tender and the gravy is thick. Add the salt, taste and serve.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Homemade Char Siew

Char Siew is barbecued pork, a popular pork dish in Cantonese cuisine. This is a simplified method, suitable for homecooking.

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 kg pork
200g sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp golden brown colouring powder

1. Cut pork into thick 5cm strips.
2. Marinate pork with sugar, salt, and light and dark soy sauces. Add colouring powder and mix pork thoroughly in a bowl with all the other ingredients. Leave to marinate for 4 hours.
3. Heat wok or pan and add seasoned pork strips. Fry until slightly brown.
4. Add 1 cup of water and lower heat to simmer until the char siew is cooked.
5. Cook leftover char siew marinade over slow heat until it boils. Add a little water and thicken with cornflour for char siew sauce.
6. Cut the char siew diagonally into 1cm slices. Serve the slices with some plain rice and cucumber salad.

For the health-conscious, keep marinade to a minimum.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine (Aug 2006)

Oyako Donburi (chicken & egg over rice)

Ingredients (serves 4):
200g chicken meat, sliced into 1cm pieces
1 onion, cubed
4 fresh eggs
1 stalk spring onion, chopped
1 sheet sushi nori (seaweed), shredded
4 bowls hot cooked short-grain rice
corn oil

1 tsp stock granules (chicken or ikan bilis)
1 cup water
1 and 1/2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp cooking sherry (mirin)

1. Bring sauce to a boil to dissolve sugar. Add onion and sliced chicken. Simmer until meat is done.
2. Lightly scramble the eggs in a little heated corn oil and pour over mixture in pan. Turn off heat as soon as eggs are about to set.
3. Cover rice with the chicken and egg mixture. Garnish with shredded spring onion and sushi nori.
4. Serve immediately, with pickles and a clear soup.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Teriyaki rice burger

Ingredients (makes 12):
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
200g minced beef/pork or chicken
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
3 cups short grain rice
1/4 tsp salt
12 leaves butter lettuce
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1. In a pan, combine minced meat with sugar, teriyaki sauce and sunflower oil. Stir and cook over moderate heat until almost dry.
2. Wash rice and cook in 3 and 3/4 cups of water with salt.
3. Use a triangular Japanese rice mould or 2 small cereal bowls to form rice "buns". Dampen a spoon and scoop about 2 tablespoons of hot rice into mould. Fill centre with the teriyaki minced meat and a pinch of toasted sesame seeds. Cover with another 2 tablespoons of rice. Press rice gently with back of spoon to level rice. Knock pressed rice out of mould. Coat each rice burger with a little teriyaki sauce and garnish with more toasted sesame seeds.
4. Place a leaf of butter lettuce. Put a teriyaki rice burger on butter lettuce and wrap lightly.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Cheese crusted spicy chicken wings

A hit with both young and old.

Ingredients (makes 12 chicken wings):
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 sprigs curry leaves, finely shredded
2 tbsp finely chopped spring onion
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
150ml mayonnaise
125g Parmesan shredded cheese
12 chicken wings
200g crushed cornflakes

1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
2. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Spread this mixture all over the chicken wings. Roll the chicken wings in the crushed cornflakes.
4. Arrange chicken on baking tray and bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly golden and tender.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Orange chocolate cheesecake

For a little indulgence, try this orange chocolate cheesecake.

Ingredients (serves 8 to 10):
150g digestive biscuits
50g castor sugar
80g butter, melted
3 packets (226g each) cream cheese, softened
225g sugar
5 eggs
3 tbsp orange juice (extract juice from about half a Barnfield orange)
1 tsp orange zest
100g semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Orange glaze:
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
1 cup icing sugar, sifted

1. Place biscuits in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin until they become fine crumbs.
2. Combine biscuit crumbs, sugar and butter. Place mixture in a 22cm springform pan and press to form a biscuit base. Bake at 180 deg C for 10 minutes.
3. Place cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition, until blended. Blend in orange juice and zest.
4. Meanwhile, to melt the chocolate, put it in a heat-proof bowl, and place over a pot of boiling water (medium-low heat).
5. Place 375ml (1 and 1/2 cups) of cheese batter in a bowl and stir in melted chocolate. Pour the rest of the plain cheese batter over the biscuit base.
6. Drop a few tablespoonfuls of chocolate batter onto the plain cheese batter. Use a knife to carefully swirl the batter to create a marble effect.
7. Bake at 160 deg C for about 1 hour or until the top is slightly browned and centre is almost set.
8. When ready, use a butter knife to run around the rim of the cake. Allow to cool, and then chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours before serving.
9. Optional: To make the orange glaze, blend orange juice and zest with icing sugar in a food processor until well combined. The glaze should be quite runny. Add more orange juice if necessary. Brush the glaze on top of the cheese cake and garnish with thinly sliced oranges.

1. To melt the chocolate, placed the chopped pieces in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water and stir until melted - make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water, otherwise it will get too hot and ruin the texture of the chocolate.
2. After you take the cake out of the oven, run a butter knife around the cake tin to ensure that the centre does not crack. It is important to chill the cheese cake before serving, or it might become soft.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Strawberry muffins

These are great for breakfast, teatime or as a snack for kids and adults.

Ingredients (makes 12):
375g flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 small eggs
150g sugar
125ml milk
65ml plain yoghurt
125ml butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g strawberries, cut into cubes and frozen

1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Line muffin tin with paper cups.
2. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.
3. In another mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until well combined. Gently whisk in milk, yoghurt, butter and vanilla extract.
4. Quickly add the flour into this mixture and stir till they start to blend. Gently fold in strawberries. The batter should be rather lumpy at this stage.
5. Fill the paper cups with the batter until about 3/4 full. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or till the top is nicely browned. Cool muffins on a wire rack.

If you prefer the muffins to be less sweet, simply cut down the amount of sugar.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Coke chicken

A favourite with students abroad as it's easy to cook and suits most tastes.

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 kg chicken drummettes (part of the wing)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 shallots, crushed
2 knobs 1.5cm ginger, crushed
3 leeks, 3cm lengths
2 cans x 330ml Coca-Cola
3/4 tsp black soya sauce
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
2 and 1/2 tbsp cooking oil

1. Heat cooking oil in a medium pot until hot. Reduce heat to medium and saute crushed garlic, shallots and ginger until fragrant. Add leeks and stir for another 2 minutes.
2. Add chicken drummettes, toss and mix for 2 minutes or so. Pour Coca-Cola over chicken and boil for 10 minutes, uncovered.
3. Stir chicken, add black soya sauce and salt. Cover pot and boil until gravy is reduced to a quarter. Stir occasionally.

You can use chicken wings or other parts of the chicken too.

Recipe source: Lifestyle magazine

Three cups chicken (三杯鸡)

Three cups chicken (sanbei ji) - the name of the dish comes straight from the ingredients - one cup each of wine, soya sauce and sesame oil.

This is a warming dish, and best eaten in cooling weather. It is also a popular dish for confinement for new mothers. The wine and sesame warm the blood, and the gingers will expel "wind" in the body.

Ingredients (serves 4 or more):
1 chicken, chopped into bite size pieces (skin the chicken to cut back the oiliness)
1 cup or 6 soup spoons Chinese wine (shaoxing)
1 cup or 6 soup spoons soya sauce
1 small cup or 3 soup spoons sesame oil
10 slices of old ginger
10 slices of young ginger
Chopped spring onions, to garnish

1. Heat up sesame oil in a wok. When haze rises, drop the old ginger slices in the oil and slowly fry till ginger turns a dark golden brown. Remove from heat and discard ginger.
2. Place pan on fire again, and heat to smoking, adding the chicken pieces. Sear chicken pieces and brown on all sides. Add the young ginger slices, followed by the soya sauce. Turn down heat to simmer 5 minutes.
3. Turn heat up again and when the sauce is bubbling, add the Chinese wine.
4. Cook until chicken is done and sauce has reduced.
5. Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve with hot rice.

When adding the Chinese wine, do not drizzle directly on the cooking chicken. Instead, slowly pour the wine on to the sides of the pan, allowing the heated metal to evaporate the alcohol content. This way, only the fragrance of the wine is retained.

Recipe source: Today newspaper

Tea-flavoured soy sauce eggs (茶叶蛋)

Also known as "Tea eggs" or "Tea leaf eggs".

Ingredients (serves 4 to 6):
200ml or 2 cups prime quality light soy sauce
4 cinnamon quills (桂皮)
4 five-star aniseed pods (八角)
10 cloves (丁香)
50g rock sugar
30g Chinese tea leaves
6 eggs, hard-boiled
10 quail eggs, hard-boiled

Prepare eggs:
1. Place eggs into a pot of water, making sure there is enough liquid to cover the eggs by at least a finger-nail's depth.
2. Bring to a boil for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and run cold water over the eggs to stop them cooking. Cool in a pan of cold water.
3. Crack the eggs, but DO NOT peel the shells. You want the sauce to seep through the cracks and make a marbled pattern.
4. Repeat process for quail's eggs, only boil in simmering water for 5 minutes.

Prepare soy stock:
1. Heat 4 cups water in a large pot. When water is boiling, add the tea leaves. Switch off fire and leave tea to steep for 10 minutes.
2. Add soy sauce and spices to tea liquid in pot and bring to a boil.
3. Add rock sugar and stir until it is all dissolved. Bring back to a boil and reduce the soy sauce stock until it is shiny and slightly syrupy.
4. Switch off the fire, add the cracked eggs and quail's eggs and leave to steep for half a day at least, preferably overnight.
5. To serve hot, reheat. Remove from shells from eggs and serve.

For Chinese tea leaves, you can use longjing (dragon well tea) . If you prefer stronger tea flavours, subtitute it with tie guanyin (iron buddha) or pu erh.

Recipe source: Today newspaper