Archive for category: Recipes

Kopi Tiam Pork Tenderloin in Black Pepper Sauce

Kopi Tiam Pork Tenderloin in Black Pepper Sauce

Kopi Tiam Pork Tenderloin -Hainan cuisine made its way to British Malaya in the late 1800s through cooks who ventured to this colony in search of greener pastures. Working in expatriate homes, camps and for wealthy Europeans, they soon mastered the culinary skills to make familiar European food such as roasts, soups and bread. Over time, the inevitable fusion of European and Chinese came to be known as Hainanese cuisine. You may still find some of these cooks, although advanced in age, still working in western steakhouse establishments churning out excellent dishes to satisfy Malaysian tastes.

Among the more popular Hainanese recipes is chicken chop in thick black pepper gravy, a customary specialty of many well-known restaurants. Today, Kopi Tiam or old brick coffee shops still serve this specialty and at lunchtime these restaurants are packed with a crowd outside the door waiting for an open seat to enjoy this dish. For this recipe, I have replaced chicken with pork tenderloin instead to vary the taste experience. Try it and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

(Serves 4)


4 tablespoons clarified butter or peanut oil

1 small onion, peeled and sliced

1½ pounds pork tenderloin, sliced 2-inch-thick across the grain

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

½ cup chicken stock

½ teaspoon salt, or to taste


1. Heat clarified butter or peanut oil in a medium cast iron pan over medium heat. When the butter is fully melted, add the onions and sauté until golden, about 2 minutes.


2. Add the meat and allow to seat undisturbed until brown on the bottom, then turn oven and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side.


3. Add the black pepper, garlic powder, rice vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce tomato ketchup, chicken stock and salt then mix well. Bring the ingredients to a simmer to reduce the sauces. Taste the sauce, add more salt if needed, remember Asian sauces develops its saltiness and concentrated flavors when sauce is warm. Remove and serve warm, paring with wok-fried Bok Choy with bacon and garlic.

Baked Ratatouille in Dutch Oven

Baked Ratatouille


2 medium yellow onions, about 2 cups chopped

3 bell peppers, preferably 1 each of yellow, green, and red

6 cloves garlic

6 small zucchini, about 2 lbs total

2 small-to-medium eggplants, about 2 lbs total

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more as needed

Sea salt

Freshly ground white pepper

1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

3 beefsteak tomatoes, about 2 lbs total; may substitute Roma

Ice cubes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 sprig basil

1 sprig thyme

1 sprig rosemary

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs basil, leaves only


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a simmer over high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare vegetables:
  3. Peel and trim onions, then cut in half from top to bottom. Cut each half into 4 wedges, then cut into a large dice. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Trim and core the peppers; discard stems and cores. Cut in half, then remove and discard seeds and veins. Slice into 1-inch strips, then cut into a large dice. Place in the bowl with the onions and set aside.
  5. Peel and slice garlic cloves in half. Remove and discard any green germs inside, then finely mince. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  6. Trim zucchini and cut into quarters, lengthwise; then cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  7. Trim eggplants, then cut in half. Cut each half into 3 or 4 wedges lengthwise, then cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  8. Sauté vegetables: In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, followed by onions and peppers. Stirring occasionally, gently sweat the vegetables until they are soft but have taken on no color, 4–5 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat, heat a generous tablespoon olive oil. Add zucchini, a pinch of salt, and a few turns of the pepper mill. Stirring occasionally, sauté until zucchini has taken on a golden color, 5–6 minutes. Season onion-pepper mixture with a few pinches of salt and the red pepper flakes.
  10. Blanch tomatoes: When the large pot of water is simmering, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Use a paring knife to cut out the tomato stems and discard.
  11. Score an “x” into the bottom of each tomato, for easy peeling after blanching. Place tomatoes in simmering water for 30 seconds. Use a strainer to immediately transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath; allow to cool completely. Use a paring knife to peel away the tomato skin and discard.
  12. When onion-pepper mixture has been sweating for 4–5 minutes, turn heat to low and cook for another 2–3 minutes. Remove zucchini from skillet, leaving some oil behind, and set aside.
  13. In the same skillet over medium-high heat, add another tablespoon olive oil, followed by eggplant, a pinch of salt, and a few turns of pepper. Stirring occasionally, sauté until eggplant has taken on a golden color, 5–6 minutes. Try to keep the eggplant pieces intact. (If the eggplant sticks, add up to another tablespoon or so of olive oil, as needed.)
  14. Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes in half horizontally. Use your hands to remove most of the seeds, then gently squeeze to remove excess juice. Halve the tomatoes horizontally again, then cut into 1-inch chunks and set aside. Remove eggplant from heat and set aside; the volume of the eggplant should be reduced by about half.
  15. By now, the onions should be soft and translucent; stir garlic and tomato paste into onion-pepper mixture. Add zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes; gently stir to combine. Season with 2 pinches of salt and bring to a low simmer, 2–3 minutes.
  16. While the ratatouille is simmering, make a bouquet garni:
  17. Gather the basil, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf into a small bundle, using the basil to contain the other herbs. Wrap securely with butcher’s twine and tie with a double knot. Trim the ends of the bouquet garni, then submerge it in the middle of the ratatouille.
  18. Next, make a parchment paper lid, or “cartouche,” for the Dutch oven: Fold a large sheet of parchment paper into quarters. Fold in half twice diagonally to make a flat wedge; then trim the outer edge so that the wedge is as long as the radius of the pot. Finally, snip off the point of the wedge to create a steam vent. Unfold the parchment: you should have a cartouche that is about the same size and shape as the Dutch oven, with a small hole in the center. Lay the cartouche directly on the surface of the ratatouille.
  19. Place in the oven and bake, 45–60 minutes.
  20. After 45 minutes, remove ratatouille from oven; the vegetables should be soft and the sauce thickened. (If the ratatouille is watery, continue cooking for up to 15 more minutes.) Discard cartouche. Tear half the basil leaves and gently stir them into the ratatouille. Remove and discard the bouquet garni.
  21. Transfer the vegetables and most of the liquid to a serving platter. Garnish with whole basil leaves and baste the top of the ratatouille with remaining liquid. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed before serving, hot or cold.

The Perfect Butter Pie Dough

The Perfect Butter Pie Dough


6 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp. granulated sugar

3/8 tsp. table salt

4 oz. (8 Tbs.) cold unsalted European butter, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

3 to 4 Tbs. ice water

Pie Pastry


               Make the dough

    1. Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a rubber spatula or a fork to combine.
    2. Add the butter to the bowl. Rub the cold chunks of butter between your fingertips, smearing the butter into the flour to create small (roughly 1/4-inch) flakes of fat.
    3. Drizzle 3 Tbs. ice water over the flour mixture. Stir with the spatula or fork, adding 1 Tbs. more water if necessary, until the mixture forms a shaggy dough that’s moist enough to hold together when pressed between your fingers.
    4. With well-floured hands, gently gather and press the dough together, and then form it into a disk with smooth edges. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour, but preferably 2 to 4 hours, before rolling.

Roll the dough

  1. Let the chilled dough sit at room temperature to soften slightly—it should be cold and firm but not rock hard.
  2. Depending on how long the dough was chilled, this could take 5 to 20 minutes. When ready to roll, lightly flour the countertop or other surface (a pastry cloth, silicone rolling mat, or parchment on a counter also works great) and position the rolling pin in the center of the dough disk.
  3. Roll away from you toward 12 o’clock, easing the pressure as you near the edge to keep the edge from becoming too thin.
  4. Return to the center and roll toward 6 o’clock. Repeat toward 3 and then 9 o’clock, always easing the pressure at the edges and picking up the pin rather than rolling it back to the center.
  5. Continue to “roll around the clock,” aiming for different “times” on each pass until the dough is 13 to 14 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick.
  6. Try to use as few passes of the rolling pin as possible. After every few passes, check that the dough isn’t sticking by lifting it with a bench knife (dough scraper). Re-flour only as needed—excess flour makes a drier, tougher crust.
  7. Each time you lift the dough, give it a quarter turn to help even out the thickness.

Line the pie plate

  1. Gently transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, preferably metal, by folding it in half and unfolding it into the plate. Do not stretch the dough as you line the pan, or it will spring back when baked.
  2. Gently lift the outer edges of the dough to give you enough slack to line the sides of the pan without stretching the dough.
  3. Trim the overhanging dough to 1 inch from the edge of the pan. Roll the dough under itself into a cylinder that rests on the edge of the pan.

Crimp the edge

  1. To crimp the edge, have one hand on the inside of the edge, and one hand on the outside, and use the index finger of the inside hand to push the dough between the thumb and index finger of the outside hand to form a U or V shape.
  2. Repeat around the edge of the pie plate, creating a crimped edge whose individual flutes are about an inch apart. As you are going along, if you notice that the edge is not perfectly symmetrical and that the amount of dough, you’ll have to crimp seems sparse in places, take a bit of trimmed scrap, wet it with a drop or two of water, and attach it to the sparse area by pressing it firmly into place.
  3. Prick the sides and bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or overnight. This will relax the dough and help prevent the edges from caving in.

Blind bake the crust

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Line the chilled piecrust with foil and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes; remove the foil and the beans or weights.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.
  4. Bake until the bottom looks dry but is not quite done and the edges are light golden, 5 to 7 minutes more. Let cool.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry Puffs

(Makes 22 curry puffs)

Chicken and Sweet Potatoes Curry Puffs


1 cup frozen petite peas

1 pound frozen puff pastry

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 medium sweet potato, peeled, and diced

1 small red or Yukon gold potato, peeled, and diced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 sprigs curry leaves, finely chopped

1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

8 ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced

2 tablespoons curry powder

3 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water


  1. Thaw the peas in a medium bowl filled with warm water for 10 minutes. Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and set aside to thaw. Preheat the oven to 400 F.


  1. Meanwhile, set up a steamer by bringing a couple of inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Place carrots, sweet potato, potato and peas in the steamer insert and set the insert over the boiling water. Cover and steam for 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Set aside.


  1. Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the curry leaf, ginger and garlic and fry until the garlic is golden and the spices release a fragrant scent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken and curry powder and cook, stirring as needed until the meat is no longer pink, about 7 minutes.


  1. Add the steamed vegetables, season with the sugar and salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the ingredients are well combined. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.


  1. When you are ready to make the curry puffs, lay one pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough to increase by about 1 inch all around and thin it slightly. Cut the puff pastry sheet into 3-inch discs’ circles. Repeat with the remaining pastry. You will need about 22 circles.


  1. Lightly brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg. Place 1 tablespoon of the cooled filling in the center of each circle and then fold over the dough to form a semicircle. Gently seal the edges with a fork and place the curry puffs on a baking sheet. Brush each pastry with egg and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

(Malaysian Laksa)

Penang Laksa



Laksa Paste

2 stems lemon lemongrass, thinly sliced

1 medium onion or 6 shallots, peeled and chopped

4 garlic cloves

1 inch galangal, chopped

1 inch fresh ginger, sliced

1 tablespoons chili paste or sambal olek

6 macadamia nuts or 2 tablespoons cashew nuts

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground turmeric


Other ingredients

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 cups coconut milk

3 cups good quality chicken stock

1 ½ pound chicken breast fillet, cut into 2 inch pieces

1 pound fettuccine

2 small zucchini, chopped

1 cup chopped butternut squash

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt to taste

1 lime, cut into wedges

Sambal olek for garnish


1. Begin by preparing the spice paste: add the lemongrass, onion, garlic cloves, galangal, ginger, chili paste, macadamia or cashews if using, cumin and turmeric into a blender with 1 cup of water to keep the blades moving and blend until smooth.

2. Heat oil in a deep stock pan, when hot add the paste and stir-fry on medium heat until aromatic, about 15 minutes or until the oil separates on the surface. Slowly add the coconut milk and chicken stock, stirring. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add chicken, zucchini and butternut squash and simmer on low until the chicken is cooked, about 10 minutes. Add salt and sugar to taste.

4. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the fettuccine until just al dente. Drain the fettuccine.

5. To serve, divide the fettuccine into serving bowls. Top with chicken, vegetables and pour the sauce over the fettuccine. Garnish each bowl with fresh limes and a dash of sambal olek.

Coconut Rice with Sambal, Anchovy, Egg, Peanuts and Cucumber

(Nasi Lemak )

Coconut Nasi Lemak recipes

It’s hard not to love nasi (rice) lemak (coconut), so popular that its greatest advocates insist on calling it the country’s national dish. Growing up, I would savor nasi lemak wrapped in green banana leaves, bundled, and lined with plastic at least three times a week throughout my school years. Inside the bundle comprised warm coconut rice infused with the vanilla-like aroma of pandan leaves and citrusy ginger accompanied by a hardboiled egg, crispy fried anchovies and peanuts, a few slices of cucumber and a dollop of sambal. The flavors are still etched in my mind: every sublime spoonful was warm, creamy, crunchy, spicy-sweet and with just the right amount of sambal.

In this recipe all the side condiments can be served at room temperature and made well in advance. For instance, you can fry the peanuts and anchovies and store them in an airtight container or canning bottle. I always prepare more of these side condiments than I need as it saves time to enjoy this dish whenever I want. They bring complexity and crunch to the dish. The sambal, the key player can also be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator or freezer, then heat the portion you need in a microwave.

When all of the main preparations are done ahead of time, you are only left with cooking the coconut rice. This is important because the dish works best when the rice is served piping hot along with warm hard boiled eggs and fresh slices of cucumber. The assortment of these dishes coming together on a plate for a palate of flavor makes an evocative nasi lemak, that is sure to become a favorite.


(Serves 6)



For Coconut Rice

3 cups basmati rice

1 tablespoon salt

4 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

 2 pandan leaves, tied in knot

3 cups coconut milk

1½ cups water

2/3 cup peanut or canola oil

1 cup raw peanuts with skin on

1 ½ cups dried anchovies, washed and drained


For Anchovy Sambal (Sambal Ikan Bilis)

6 tablespoons sambal ulek

4 cloves of garlic

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

4 shallots, peeled and cut into half

6 tablespoons peanut oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

½ medium onion, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons tamarind water (page 000) or 2 tablespoons tamarind liquid concentrate



½ small cucumber, washed and sliced

4 hard boiled eggs, cut into half

6 (12″ x 9″) banana leaves, cleaned


1. Wash the rice by gently rubbing it with your fingers in a bowl filled with water. When the water becomes cloudy, drain the water and repeat the process until the water is clear.


2. Place the rice in a large saucepan then add salt, garlic, ginger, pandan leaf, coconut milk and water over medium heat. Let the rice boil uncovered until steam holes appear in the rice and the surface look dry, 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight fitting lid, and cook without stirring, for 20 minutes, or until all the coconut milk is absorbed and the grains are tender and fluffy. Alternatively put all the ingredients into a rice cooker and cook until done. When the rice is done, discard the garlic, ginger and pandan leaves and stir the rice. Meanwhile prepare the peanuts.


3. Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium-low heat. When the oil shimmers, add the raw peanuts and cook until the peanuts turn brown, for about 5 minutes. Drain the peanuts with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel. Set aside.


4. Next carefully add the dried anchovies into the same wok or skillet and stir-fry moving the anchovies back and forth until golden brown and crispy, about 7 minutes. Drain the anchovies with a slotted spoon and place on a piece of paper towel. Set aside. Discard the oil. Keep half aside for serving with rice and half will go into the sambal.


5. Prepare the sambal by blending the sambal olek, garlic, ginger, and shallots with ¼ cup water in a blender into a smooth paste resembling the consistency of apple sauce. Set aside.


6. Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the sambal paste, salt and sugar and stir fry the sambal until fragrant and the oils separate on the surface, about 10 minutes. Add in the sliced onion and cook for another 5 minutes until the onions become soft.


7. Add the tamarind water and half cup of water and mix well to combine with the paste. Now add in only half the crispy anchovies (keep half for serving with rice) and allow to cook for 5 minutes in the sambal. Taste the sambal, add more sugar and salt if needed to balance a sweet salty taste. Turn off the heat.


8. To serve, line each person’s plate with a banana leaf. Place about 1 cup of the cooked coconut rice in the middle of the leaf. Put about three tablespoons of the anchovy sambal mixture on top of the rice. Place a few sliced cucumbers, half of a hard-boiled egg on the side and finally one tablespoon of the peanuts and fried anchovies around the rice. Serve warm.

Pineapple Fried Rice with Cashews

(Serves 4)

Pineapple Fried Rice


4 tablespoons peanut oil

4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 green jalapeño, chopped

1½ cup fresh pineapple, cut into small bite size cubes

½ cup raisins

¼ cup roasted unsalted cashews

4 cups cooked jasmine rice (preferably leftovers rice)

2 tablespoons tomato ketchup

2 tablespoons fish sauce or to taste

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 eggs, beaten

Fresh basil leaves to garnish


1. Heat a wok or a large deep skillet over medium heat for 40 seconds. Add the oil around the perimeter of the wok so that it coats the sides and bottom. When the surface shimmers slightly, add the shallots and stir fry until light golden, about 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and green chili and continue to stir-fry bringing the ingredients to the sides of the wok where it is hottest, cook stirring until fragrant and the garlic appears golden, about 5 minutes.


2. Add the pineapple and raisins and stir fry back until the raisins plump up, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cashews and mix well.


3. Now add in the rice, ketchup, fish sauce and the soy sauce and stir fry using the spatula to break up any clumps of rice in the wok and until the ingredients are well combined. Cook tossing the rice for about 5 minutes.


4. Move the rice to the side and add the beaten eggs. Immediately cover the eggs with the rice and allow the eggs to set and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Then raise the heat to medium high and gently mix the rice and eggs as the rice grain is tender at this point. Taste add more fish sauce if needed and continue to stir fry moving the rice back and forth for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately.



Eggplant Sambal Malacca Style

Eggplant Sambal Malacca

The Eggplant Sambal Malacca style dish is my version of ‘nonya sambal terung’ the famous Malaccan eggplant dish. Sambal dishes always begin with an aromatic spice paste that must be cooked properly until the oils separate from the paste, otherwise the chili will taste raw and unpalatable. Sweet seasoning sauces, such as kicap manis, are added to the sambal for unique sweetness and ground cumin for prolonged flavor. The long thin Asian eggplant is preferred for sambal dishes. Unlike the large oval eggplant, which need to be salted to cook down and to remove its bitter taste, the long, slender and light purple variety does not need salting to cook down, and when cooked it renders a sweet and mellow flavor. This type of eggplant is now widely available. The success of maintaining the texture of this dish is not to stir the eggplant while it slowly simmers in the sambal sauce, otherwise the dish will end up mushy. This delicious eggplant is an excellent side dish that goes well with Malaysian Potato Sambal, lamb chops, baked chicken or even as a topping over flat breads.

(Serves 4)



Spice Paste

1 Ginger, peeled and chopped, 2″ piece

3 Shallots, chopped

4 Garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

3 Roma tomatoes, cut in half

5 Red jalapeno chilies, cut in half or 1.5 Tbsp. Sambal Ulek

1 tsp – Cumin, ground

1/4 cup – Water


1/4 cup Peanut oil or canola oil

6 Tbsp Kicap manis (Sweet soy sauce) ***use ABC brand*** 

To Taste – Salt


1. Begin with the spice paste by placing ginger, shallots, garlic, tomatoes, chilies, cumin and 1/4 cup water in a blender and blend until you have a fragrant and smooth bright reddish orange paste.

2. Heat the oil in a saucepan or 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Carefully add the spice paste to the side of the pan to prevent splattering then gently move the paste to the middle and stir to incorporate the spice paste into the oil. Allow the paste to cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the paste from sticking to the pan and until the oils separate and appear on the surface, about 15 minutes.

3. Now add the kicap manis and stir well. Next gently place the eggplant slices on the top of the sambal and do not stir. Cover the pot, lower the heat and allow the eggplant to cook until soften, about 15 minutes. When the eggplant is soft, gently fold the eggplant into the sambal. Taste; add a pinch of salt if needed. Serve the Eggplant Sambal Malacca style dish warm with brown or white rice.


Sweet Potato Doughnuts with Palm Sugar

(Kuih Keria)

Sweet Potato Donuts

For me, one of the most exciting culinary adventures is visiting a residential market or roadside vendor who sells kuih keria at 4 pm daily. These delightful Malaysian doughnuts are delicious served as a tea time or as a mid-afternoon snack. Resembling a mini-donut, they are much easier to make at home than the wheat-based donut, which needs to be yeasted. These charming snacks are basically steamed sweet potatoes that are mashed with flour, then formed by hand into plump rings and fried until golden brown. Their subtle sweetness is enhanced when dipped in palm sugar caramel which gives them a beautiful shade of cinnamon. These doughnuts are best eaten on the same day. You can make them gluten free by substituting all-purpose flour with rice flour.


(Serves 6)


400 grams’ yellow or orange-fleshed sweet potatoes

1 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 cups of canola oil for frying

8-ounce palm sugar, chopped

½ cup water


1. Scrub sweet potatoes clean under running water. Place the sweet potatoes in a pan and fill to cover generously with water. Boil on medium heat until tender, test by inserting a bamboo skewer into the thickest part of the potato, it should go through without resistance, about 20 minutes. Remove sweet potatoes from water and leave to cool.


2. Meanwhile, combine flour and baking powder in a large bowl and mix well.


3. When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the skins. Pick out any tough fiber and discard. Use a potato masher and mash until free of lumps and smooth.


4. Add the mashed sweet potatoes to the flour and knead into a smooth dough. Dust some flour on your hands (this will prevent the dough from sticking) take a small piece of dough (the size of a lime) and roll into smooth ball using both your palms. Flatten the ball slightly and make a hole in the center with your finger or a floured wooden spoon handle. Using your fingers, lightly pat the outer edges and the edges around the hole to form a smooth round doughnut. Place the doughnuts on a clean cloth over a cutting board or a tray until ready to fry. Repeat until all the dough is used up.


5. Heat oil in a small wok or pan over medium heat. Carefully place three doughnuts at a time into the wok, reduce the heat to medium low and fry until golden underneath then flip and fry until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all the doughnuts are cooked on medium low heat. Allow to cool.


6. Bring palm sugar and half cup of water to a rapid boil in a small wok or saucepan over in medium heat for 10 minutes or until the sugar is completely melted. Then continue to simmer until the sugar thickens to a caramel like consistency.


7. Add the cooled doughnuts (if the doughnuts are not cool they won’t coat well) and dip them into to palm syrup, tossing them working quickly to coat before the sugar hardens. Serve immediately.

My mother was celebrated for her roasted chicken, which was tender and flavorful right to the bone. She first made this recipe for one of our regular customers at our spice stall and soon enough could hardly keep up with the orders. I enjoyed standing beside her as she would make it, watching the palm sugar, butter, and tamarind as they caramelized. In this recipe, we never used the reserved juices from the pan as the tamarind sauce was so delicious on its own. However, you may serve the reserved sauce on the side you wish. Just before serving, she would sprinkle in a handful of fried chilies for an extra kiss of flavor.