Saturday, 6 July 2013

Salted Fish and Pork Belly Claypot (Ham Yue Fah Lam Poh)

Malaysian Chinese food has always been one of the great loves of my life. I’m talking fresh ingredients, tossed in hot wok with ginger, onions and garlic (the good stuff), and seasoned to perfection with soy sauce/oyster sauce/sesame oil, all ready in less than ten minutes.  

Going out for Chinese food is a weekly affair however when we do eat out, we tend to gravitate to the same dishes; Stir-fry Kai Lan (Chinese broccoli), Kam Heong Lala (clams), Egg Fu Yong and Ham Yue Fah Lam Poh (Salted Fish and Pork Belly Claypot). 

I was introduced to the Salted Fish and Pork Belly Claypot dish a few months ago, and haven’t looked back since! It sounds like an odd combination, salted fish and pork belly, but it works. Cooked in a claypot, the pork belly remains tender, juicy and flavourful. The addition of fresh ginger, onions, dried chillies and spring onions adds freshness and colour. The rice wine is a key ingredient as it really amalgamates the flavours together creating a lovely dish, worthy of restaurant standards.


This dish takes about 15 minutes to put together and is best served with rice. Perfect weekday meal! 

Salted Fish and Pork Belly Claypot (Ham Yue Fah Lam Poh)

Recipe adapted from Amy Beh


150g pork belly, thinly sliced

70g boneless salted fish, fried till crispy
6 slices of fresh ginger
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
3 dried red chilles, cut into 3cm sections, de-seeded (I left the seeds in for the extra kick)
2 stalks spring onions, cut into 4cm lenghts

Seasoning A
1.5 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
0.5 tsp sugar
0.25 tsp pepper
0.5 tsp chicken stock granules

Seasoning B
1 tbsp Hua Tiau wine (chinese rice wine)
2-3 tbsp fresh chicken stock
1 tbsp thick soy sauce 


  1. Marinate pork with seasoning A for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat claypot over a high heat. Add the marinated pork, ginger and onions. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the cover and add seasoning B, dried chillies and salted fish pieces. 
  4. Stir well to combine then cover the claypot once more. 
  5. The dish is done when you see smoke escaping through the hole in the lid, or if using a wok, after 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat. Add the spring onions and serve immediately.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Black Forest Cupcakes

After the previous diabetes inducing post, I figured I better take it down a notch on the sweetness Richter scale. And so here you have… Black Forest Cupcakes! Not exactly sin-free but these are incredibly delectable. You only live once so what the heck, right?

 These cupcakes are a combination of soft chocolate cake which is drizzled with cherry syrup (or cherry liquor if you prefer), topped with cherry buttercream and decorated with a single cherry. These cupcakes really do taste like a bite size version of a Black Forest Cake. However if you’re a purist and insist that the frosting should involve some form of cream, then by all means go ahead. The only reason why I chose to use buttercream was due to its durability. I needed these cupcakes to remain in perfect condition for at least 24 hours as they were made for order. Having done some research, it became clear that whipping cream based icing without the addition of a stabilizer wouldn’t last for more than a few hours. *I have included a recipe for both versions of frosting, so it really is your choice!

Black Forest Cupcakes

Adapted from BBC Food

Cupcake Ingredients

125g butter, softened
160g caster sugar
2 eggs
200g self raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa power
125ml milk
100g dark chocolate, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 170C. Prepare and line a muffin tray.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, one at a time, until combined.
  3. Sift in flour and cocoa powder and mix until incorporated.
  4. Fold in milk and melted chocolate.
  5. Spoon mixture into liners and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until well risen.
  6. Remove and cool before icing.

Cherry Buttercream Icing Ingredients (Option I)

Tinned cherries, pitted

150g unsalted butter, softened
200g-250g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp corn flour + a little water to make a smooth paste
Chocolate sprinkles

  1. Drain cherries in a sieve, collecting the syrup in a bowl below. 
  2. Pierce each cake numerous times with a skewer and carefully pour about a teaspoon of cherry syrup over each cake.
  3. To make the cherry drizzle, heat remaining syrup with the cornflour paste in a small saucepan until just boiling. Remove from heat and beat to thicken. Set aside.
  4. To make buttercream, beat butter until really soft. Gradually add the icing sugar and cherry syrup.
  5. * The cherry syrup will give the buttercream a light pink/purple tinge. If you prefer a more vibrant colour, add a couple of drops of a food colouring of your choice.
  6. Pipe buttercream onto cupcakes.
  7. Top each cupcake with a cherry and decorate each cupcake with some cherry drizzle and chocolate sprinkles.
Whipping Cream Frosting (Option II)

Lightly whip 300ml double cream and pipe onto cakes. Decorate as desired.