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Posted by crizlai On October - 20 - 2012

Many Asians love to have some stir fried rice vermicelli as not only would the dish be cheap and good but also quite filling. It has been known as the “Poor Man’s Sharks Fin” to many. However, what I’m going to share today would be something out of this world as this dish would not be available for sale anywhere on the streets. It’s FRIED VERMICELLI WITH FERMENTED SOY BEANS AND BEAN CURDS. This dish would taste nice either hot from the wok or even cold from your chiller.


250g rice vermicelli/bee hoon (soak in water until 70% soft)
1 small carrot (remove skin & julienne)
1/2 cabbage (slice thinly)
10 Chinese mushrooms (soak & slice thinly. Retain juice. Marinated with some soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and pepper)

Frying sauce:
2 tbsp grounded fermented black bean paste (tao cheong)
2pcs fermented red bean curd (tao joo/nam joo)
2pcs fermented bean curd in chili & sesame oil
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water

Note: Smash the fermented bean curds into paste and mix the rest of ingredients above thoroughly. Lastly, add the water to make it into a sauce for frying later.

• Heat up about 2 tablespoon of oil and sauté the sliced mushrooms until fragrant. Scoop and leave aside.
• Add in another 3 tablespoons of oil and pour in the “frying sauce” combination and sauté for about 5 minutes until fragrant.
• Add in one cup of the retained mushroom juice. If not enough, you can add in some hot water to make it up to a cup. Once boils, switch your fire to LOW.
• Add in the julienned carrot and sliced cabbage and let it cook about 2 minutes.
• Add in the soaked rice vermicelli and sauteed mushrooms.
• Stir evenly until the rice vermicelli softened to the texture you prefer.
• Scoop out and serve with some vegetarian sambal belacan. If you can’t buy it, you can make some with my vegetarian sambal belacan recipe here.

Note: You can chill any remaining of the dish in your chiller. It tastes great being chilled too.

(Serves: 3-4)




Posted by crizlai On October - 19 - 2012

Many Chinese restaurants would serve this ingredient in the menu but not many diners are aware of its versatility as it can be used in many ways depending on how it’s been prepared. Some would just deep fry it as a snack and serve with chili sauce. Some would use it as another ingredient in their vegetarian dishes which would consist of mainly of vegetables and mushroom. This special ingredient is fresh bean curd sheet and sometimes known as yuba. Today, I’m going to share with you how to cook VEGETARIAN SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH GINGER IN SESAME OIL. It’s so simple that you can just stir it up within minutes without any skills.


10pcs fresh bean curd sheets (tao bor/yuba/腐皮卷 – Cut into 5mm length)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sesame oil
200g young ginger (scrap off skin, fine julienne)
Pinch of salt and sugar
Some pepper
Soy sauce to taste

• Heat up both the vegetable and sesame oil in a wok and sauté the julienned young ginger until fragrant.
• Add in just a light pinch of salt and sugar. Stir evenly.
• Add in the sliced fresh bean curd sheets and stir thoroughly.
• Sprinkle some grounded pepper and soy sauce to taste.
• Scoop out while straining out all the remaining oil and serve with hot steaming rice.

(Serves: 5-6)

You might wonder what fresh bean curd sheets are? Here’s a photo on this wonderful ingredient.





Posted by crizlai On October - 18 - 2012

From a Nyonya dish yesterday, let’s head on for something Indonesian today with the use of tempeh (pronounced as tem-pay). Tempeh which uses soybeans would undergo a fermentation process. The fermented soybeans would form a cake like block and normally would be wrapped in banana leaves to be sold at the wet market. Though bland in taste in raw form, this delicious staple food of the Indonesian, either as snack or used in cooking, had become the alternative ingredient for vegans as meat substitution. The best part is that you would have no cholesterol worries at all. This nutty rich flavored, chunky textured and chewy consistency tempeh has a high source of protein, dietary fiber and vitamins. So for today, it’s just a simple SPICY STIR FRY YARDLONG BEANS WITH TEMPEH recipe.


300g yardlong beans (cut into 1.5”/4cm length, blanch semi cook, drain)
20-30 pc tempeh (bite sizes)
4 tbsp olive oil/vegetable oil
2-3 tbsp vegan sambal belacan (cultured soy beans, sea salt & chili paste)
1/2 cup vegetable stock/1tbsp Vegeta with 1/2 cup hot water
Salt & sugar to taste

Note: If you can’t get vegan sambal belacan at your local vegan grocery store, you can use my recipe below.

Vegan Sambal Belacan Recipe:
12 red chilies (remove seeds)
5 bird’s eye chilies (cili padi)
2” galangal
3” lemongrass stalk (slice thinly)
2-3 Kaffir lime leaves
1 small tomato (remove skin and seeds)
1 tbsp ginger flower (bunga kantan, thinly slice)
2 tbsp miso paste/blended fermented black beans
3 tbsp toasted mushroom stems (coarsely blended/pounded)
A bit of water (for easier blending)

Preparations: Just blend all the ingredients above in a food processor. Add a light pinch of organic sugar and some sea salt to taste. Heat up 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the above until semi dry. Add in some lime juice when needed to serve with fried items.

A handful of toasted cashew nuts/peanuts
French beans (substitute)
Four angled beans (substitute)

• Heat up the olive oil in a wok and sauté the vegan sambal belacan until fragrant.
• Add in the tempeh and stir evenly.
• Add in 1/2 cup of vegetable stock and let it simmer until the gravy thickens under LOW FIRE.
• Add salt and sugar to taste.
• Add in the blanched yardlong beans (sometimes known as snake beans with a rougher surface) and stir evenly until cooked.
• Scoop out and serve with hot steaming rice.

(Serves: 3-4)




Posted by crizlai On October - 17 - 2012

Who does not like curry dishes, especially with the frequent chilly weather? As the Indian Ayurvedic medicine records had mentioned that a bit of spices in your diet occasionally would strengthen your body even more. All the spices used here have at least some medicinal properties against some ailments. Well, the statement would be quite true unless you are a person with a weak stomach issue. Since it’s still the vegetarian food period for most Chinese Buddhist, two main ingredients such as shallots and garlic have been removed from the recipe due to their beliefs. Alternatively, salted fish bones had been replaced with deep fried bean curd sticks and other seafood had been omitted. As for today, I’ll be sharing my VEGETARIAN SALTED FISH BONE CURRY recipe, a Nyonya style cuisine which we had loved for generations. As some of my friends who had tasted this dish had said, “You can’t get enough of it even though it was cooked to suit vegans.”


300g bean curd stick (cut into 1” length and deep fry)
20-30 tofu puff (cut in diagonal halves)
1 stalk lemongrass (wash, cut into two, roughly smashed)
20 long beans (wash, cut into 1.5”/4cm length)
100g cabbage (wash, cut into 2cm x 5cm wedges)
1 carrot (remove skin & diagonally cut into 10mm thickness)
2 tbsp chili paste (add more for extra spiciness)
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1.5” young ginger (grated)
2 cups vegetables stock/1-2 tbsp Vegeta with 2 cups of hot water
1/2 cup thick coconut milk (you can add another 1/4 cup for a creamier version)
Salt & sugar to taste

1 long eggplant
Some mustard seeds
Some curry leaves
Pineapple slices
10 shallots and 4 cloves garlic (blended – for non-vegetarian)
Salted threadfin fish bones (tan au kiam hoo kut – cut into chunks, soak, drain & deep fry – for non-vegetarian)
Prawns and/or cockles

• Heat up about 3 tablespoons of oil and add in the grated young ginger, chili paste, curry powder, turmeric powder, smashed lemongrass and saute until fragrant.
• Add in the vegetable stock and bring to boil under MEDIUM FIRE.
• Add in 1/4 cup of coconut milk, sliced carrots, long beans and cabbage and let them simmer under LOW FIRE for about 10 minutes or until the carrots are cooked.
• Add the deep fried bean curd sticks, tofu puff, salt and sugar to taste. Let them simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
• Add in the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut milk. Bring to a quick boil and off the stove.
• Dispose the lemongrass.
• Let the cooked dish sit in the wok for 10-15 minutes to absorb more flavors before serving with hot steaming rice.

(Serves: 5-6)




Posted by crizlai On October - 16 - 2012

Here’s another simple and healthy vegetarian recipe for this season. My STIR FRY LOTUS ROOTS WITH CEREAL would surely keep you filling up that plate of rice. Lotus root is said to melt mucus accumulation in the body, especially in the respiratory system. On the other hand, cereal is a great food source for energy. As for vegan butter/margarine for this dish, it might not be easily available in some countries. Alternatively, you can replace this ingredient with olive oil or tahini but the taste might differ extensively.


1 lotus root (about a foot/30cm, remove skin and cut into 5mm thickness)
10 cili padi/5 green chilies (bird’s eye chilies – cut into small slices)
3 stalks curry leaves (wash well and pluck all the leaves)
5 tbsp vegan butter/margarine
40g/8 tbsp Cereal (Using Nestum brand here)
Salt & sugar to taste

• Heat up some oil in a wok and deep fry the cut lotus roots until cook. Scoop and drain excess oil on kitchen towel.
• Empty the wok and heat up the vegan butter/margarine under LOW FIRE until melted.
• Add in the cereal, cili padi, curry leaves and stir fry until fragrant.
• Add the deep fried lotus roots and stir thoroughly.
• Add in salt and sugar to taste.
• Serve immediately with hot steaming rice.

(Serves: 5-6)




Posted by crizlai On October - 15 - 2012

At times, I would love to have some simple stir fry greens to go with my meal. Let me share with you my STIR FRY BABY SPINACH WITH GINGER AND WOLFBERRIES recipe which is ideal for a meatless meal as well as for kids. Garlic won’t be added in as it would also suit those undergoing vegetarian diet during these few days of meatless retreat. Spinach has many healing properties and is rich in minerals and vitamins. Regular consumption would be great for the maintenance of healthy eyes, cardiovascular system and nervous system. Wolfberries on the other hand are nutrient-dense superfood which has high antioxidant contents. They are believed to enhance the immune system, improve eyesight, protect the liver and improve the blood circulation. The usage of the powerful antioxidant ginger here would also benefit the body as it enhances the body’s internal production of antioxidants. Thus, less diseases and slower aging process for the consumers.


1kg baby spinach (pluck leaves & young stems, clean & drain)
1 thumb size young ginger (finely julienne)
150g dried Chinese wolfberries/Goji berries (wash & drain)
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

100g baby anchovies (deep fried)
Some sliced Shitake mushrooms

• Heat up some olive oil in a wok.
• Add in the julienned young ginger and sauté until fragrant.
• Add in the baby spinach and stir fry until almost cook.
• Add the wolfberries and stir thoroughly until the baby spinach leaves are cooked.
• Add in salt to taste.
• Serve immediately with hot steaming rice.

Note: No water is added as the baby spinach would release some juice in the process of cooking.

(Serves: 4-5)




Posted by Criz Lai On October - 14 - 2012
As the Nine Emperor Gods’ Birthday is nearing this coming Monday, 15 October 2012 (first day of the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar), most of the Chinese Buddhist would undergo a 9-10 days of meatless diets. There will be many vegetarian food stalls set up all over town, especially in Penang, where the devotees would flock around the temples to welcome the return of the gods from heaven to earth. Although the buying of the food would be easy, I still prefer to cook up something on my own. One of the dishes which I love to make would be the CRISPY VEGETARIAN DUCK. It’s easy to make and yet delicious enough to be shared on the dining table. Let me share with you the traditional recipe that has been in my family for generations.


INGREDIENTS (Make 6 pieces)
6 sheets of dried tofu skin (31” x 23”)
3 pieces of red fermented beancurd (ang tao joo)
1½ glass water (450ml)
1½ Porcelain spoon fine sugar
1½ Porcelain spoon corn flour
1½ teaspoon sesame oil
¾ teaspoon Five Spice Powder
2 teaspoon pepper
3 Porcelain spoon soy sauce
100gms sesame seed (slightly fry roast to golden brown in wok without oil)
6 medium Chinese Mushrooms (Soak, sliced and marinate with some ginger juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and pinch of sugar)
1. Take a large bowl, mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Add in the roasted sesame seed last.
2. Place the tofu skin on a large tray or a clean table top length wise.
3. Dampen the right half of the skin (approximately a small ladle full or less depending on your ladle size) and fold into two fron left to right (as per diagram below – click on it to enlarge further).
4. Dampen slightly the folded skin. Fold 1/3 downwards and 1/3 upwards (as per diagram).
5. Dampen slightly again and fold 1/4 inwards on both sides (as per diagram).
6. Fold into half and secure with two long bamboo sticks upwards (as per diagram).
7. Heat up a wok with water. When boil, lower fire and place the ready vegetarian duck on a plate and for 10 minutes until bloated up. DO NOT over steam. You might have to steam many times as the “duck” has to be separated apart when steaming and your wok might not be big enough to fit all.
8. Leave aside to cool down. Make sure they are TOTALLY cool down before frying to ensure the fluffiness.
9. Fry in a wok of hot oil and cut according to your preference.(Serves: 5-6)



Most people would just serve this with chili sauce but I prefer the traditional way of eating the vegetarian duck with homemade pickle. Just place the pickle in an air tight jar and keep it refrigerated. It would last you more than a week if you are careful enough to use an extremely dry chopsticks to take them out when serving. You can even take them with Pork Roll (Lor Bak) or Liver Roll (Too Kua Kean). Here’s the recipe for the pickle. Marinate it for half a day would be good enough before serving with your dishes.

500gms radish
100gms carrot
1 thumb size young ginger
4 Porcelain spoon fine sugar
3 Porcelain spoon lime juice (about 4-5 lime)
1 teaspoon salt

1. Remove the skin of the carrot and radish. Cut half the carrot and a quarter the radish. Use a kitchen helper to slice them thinly. You can cut some decorations on the vegetables if you want to.
2. Scrape off the skin of the young ginger. Slice thinly and cut into strips.
3. Mixed the vegetables with the rest of the ingredients. Bottle it up.
4. Best served with your dishes when chilled.If you feel that there is too much work involved in coming up with the pickle, here is another sauce recipe. I called it The Lazy Man’s Sauce… LOL!

Some tomato ketchup
Some pounded peanut candy (khong th’ng / kacang tumbuk)
Some roasted sesame seed

Mix all in a bowl. Best served with any fried meat or fried tofu end products.




Posted by crizlai On September - 1 - 2012

I always love to have trotters as they are naturally rich in collagen and gelatin. Collagen makes up connective tissue like tendons and ligaments, all of which you are able to consume by braising the trotters with the right preparation. It’s good for your joint health. On the other hand, gelatin is another substance found in the tissue of animals, especially a very high concentration in pigs. This easily digested form of protein helps the human body in growth and tissue repairs, thus giving you a great protection against sickness. What I’m going to share today is a traditional recipe named BLACK VINEGAR TROTTERS WITH GINGER. Not only is the dish good for general health, it’s also great for post-labor women to cleanse the body of blood clots and so called “wind”. Most of the Chinese women in Malaysia would have this dish on the 12th day during their confinement period.


3-4 pork trotters (about 2.5kg – front legs as hinds have more fat)
600g lean meat
1.5L sweetened black rice vinegar
1.5L hot water
500-600g old ginger (remove skin and smash lightly)
4 tbsp sesame oil
Salt to taste (about 1 tbsp)
Rock sugar to taste (about 150g)

Hard boiled eggs
250g roasted black beans
4-5 cloves garlic

• Rub the chopped pork trotters and lean meat with salt and wash to rid of meat odor. Scald with hot boiling water to remove scum and rinse well.
• In a non aluminum wok (vinegar’s acidic reaction to aluminum), pour in the sesame oil and sauté the smashed ginger pieces until fragrant.
• Add in the rinsed meat piece and sauté until the meat firmed up. This is to ensure that the meat won’t easily dissolve in the process of cooking.
• Add the black rice vinegar, hot water, some salt and rock sugar.
• When the soup boils, lower the fire to LOW and let it simmer for 1-1.5 hours or until meat is soft.
• Taste the gravy for saltiness and sweetness. If not enough, add in more salt and rock sugar to adjust to your personal taste bud.
• Let the meat stand in the wok for 4-5 hours to absorb the flavors before serving with hot steaming rice.

Note: You can also use a pressure cooker for a faster cooking time. Add in the black rice vinegar, hot water, some salt and rock sugar in your pressure cooker. Bring to boil. Add in the sauteed meat and ginger. Close lid and let it pressure cook under MEDIUM-LOW fire for 10-12 minutes. Let the meat stand in the pot for 4-5 hours to absorb the flavors before serving with hot steaming rice.

(Serves: 6-8)




Posted by crizlai On August - 26 - 2012

I love roasted duck, especially those that have been prepared perfectly without the intrusive and overpowering ducky taste. The usage of duck meat can be quite versatile. You can have the duck meat served as an appetizer, a main course, a topping for your grain byproducts such as pasta, noodles or even rice and lastly as snacks for your breakfast, tea or supper. Since I could hardly find any snacks around my region with duck meat, I had decided to create my own and it was a hit amongst my family members and friends. Thus, I now share with you my recipe for ROASTED DUCK PUFF. Do enjoy~ 🙂


Basically the filling for the puff consisted of my own version of mushroom gravy which I had shared earlier, together with other ingredients of my choice. As for the puff pastry, you can use Gordan Ramsey’s Rough Puff Pastry recipe but this time I’ve decided to use the prepacked version since it was the fastest way to come out with some delicious snacks within the shortest period. I’ve a long line of hungry people waiting my creations you know? 😛

2 packs of frozen puff pastry (40g x 10 x 2, 4” x 4”)
3 roasted duck/chicken drumsticks (remove bones & slice to bite sizes. You can substitute with smoked duck breast meat but it can be a bit more oily and chewy)
1 cup mushroom gravy (please refer to my earlier recipe, just use a scissor to dice the mushroom slices evenly)
1 big onion (finely dice)
1 small carrot (finely dice & blanch – 2mm x 2mm)
2 potatoes (finely dice & blanch – 5mm x 5mm)
2 tbsp parsley (finely chop)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & black pepper to taste
Some meat stock
Brandy/red wine (optional)
Softened butter
1 egg yolk (beaten)

• Blanch the carrot and potatoes dices separately until 75% cooked (approximately about 4-5 minutes each). Drain well.
• Heat up 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and sauté the onion dices until translucent.
• Add in the mushroom gravy, carrot and potatoes dices and stir until cooked. You may add in some meat stock if it becomes too dry.
• Add in the roasted duck meat and chopped parsley. Stir fry evenly for about 5 minutes.
• Add salt and black pepper to taste. You may add in more brandy/red wine for that extra boost.
• Scoop out onto a bowl and leave to cool before wrapping. (Note: Please ensure that the filling is cooked very dry to avoid excess fluid from oozing out while baking)
• Place the square puff pastry on your palm with the pointed corners facing up. Fill up about 2 tablespoons of the filling. (Note: Try to avoid letting the edges touch any of the filling as it would not seal properly)


• Join the top and bottom corners while pressing hard and holding it up like a bag.
• Press the left and right sides firmly and accordingly to seal the filling properly.
• Place the pastry on a flat surface and use a fork to press on all the sides to secure the filling even more.
• Use your fork to make 3-4 punches on the top.
• Brush your baking tray with some butter and place the pastry on it.
• When you have arranged your pastries with an allowance of 1” apart, slightly brush the pastries with some softened butter and then some beaten egg yolk.


• Preheat your oven on 200°C for 5 minutes.
• Place your baking tray inside and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
• When the pastries are baked, take out and place on some kitchen towel to soak any excess oil.
• Serve hot.

(Makes: 16-20 pieces)





Posted by crizlai On August - 23 - 2012

Sometimes we have leftovers of roasted duck or chicken in our chiller and we do not know what to do with them. Most Asian families I know would just stir fry those pieces of meat with some chopped garlic, soy sauce, dark sauce with a pinch of sugar. For me, it got sort of boring now. Instead of that, I always love to apply the East Meets West concept in my cooking. Thus, I came out with my own recipe for my ORIENTAL STYLE ROASTED DUCK FETTUCCINE. It’s another great way to enjoy your pasta too. 🙂


1 pkt fettuccine pasta (or any pasta weighing about 500g)
1/2 roasted duck/chicken (remove bones & tear to bite sizes. Roast them a bit if required. Leave some for garnishing)
1 cup meat stock (boiling 3 cups of water with the duck bones and 300gm chopped jicama until left about 2 cup)
1” ginger (finely julienne)
1 tbsp garlic (finely chop)
300g young spinach (use leaves only)
30-40 cherry tomatoes (slit a bit and roast for 5-6 minutes or you can use sundried tomatoes if available)
5-6 tbsp oyster/mushroom sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp Shao Xing wine/red wine
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & black pepper to taste

Chinese parsley (optional)
Roasted duck (optional)

• Heat up a pot of water with one tablespoon of salt and cook the pasta to the al dente required. It would take about 10-12 minutes. Drain well and fold in some extra virgin oil to avoid the pasta sticking together.
• Heat up the extra virgin olive oil and sesame oil. Sauté the chopped garlic and julienned ginger until fragrant.
• Add in the meat stock and oyster/mushroom sauce. Cook until thickened like gravy.
• Add in the wine and stir evenly.
• Add salt and black pepper to taste.
• Pour in the pasta and spinach leaves. Stir evenly with a pair of chopsticks.
• Pour in the shredded roasted duck meat and roasted cherry tomatoes. Mix thoroughly.
• Scoop out onto a serving plate and garnish with some roasted duck meat and chopped Chinese parsley.
• Serve hot.

(Serves: 5-6)





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About Me

Howdy from the Isle of delicious Asian food and the UNESCO Heritage City of Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. Just call me Criz Lai and I am here to share with you on what’s the best food you can get in town as well as from many other parts of Malaysia.

By the way, you might not notice it but CRIZ BON APPETITE is iPhone/Mobile Compatible. Please do feel free to hop over to to get the latest updates! If you want to contact me for any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at crizlai [at] hotmail [dot] com. Spamming would not be tolerated – you are being tracked here!



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