SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

July 17, 2010

Ayam masak merah – looks like Afritada ya?

Filed under: Food,Philippines,Recipe — Alex @ 7:46 pm

When I was a kid, I have a lot of Malay friends. Even when I was a young boy, I am always curious to see other people’s culture. Even though we are from the same country, but our mother tongue is totally different and also the food that we consume. After all the Chinese are the migrants so this does not come as a big surprise. I was hooked to Malay food because of my Malay neighbor. This Malay lady that is my neighbor that I call “Makcik” is really a good cook. In English, Makcik would be known as Auntie.

Back in the days, life was so much simpler. You don’t need to go to nursery or attend kindergarten till you are 6 years old. Since my mom and dad goes to work, I will simply just go hang out in my neighbor’s house. Makcik is a full time housewife and she will find the time to hang out with me while doing her daily chores in between. She would play Dam Haji ( checkers ), Snake and Ladder and my personal favorite LUDO! That game made me obsessed with the number 6 and I always beat her in all the games at a very young age. ( I have the suspicion now that she purposely let me win all the games ).

So life was good especially when it comes to lunch time. I would be joining Makcik and her two kids (who are much older than me ) after they come back from school. This is where I learn how to eat with my hands and developed my love for spicy food. After lunch, it would be the turn of Makcik’s 2 sons to entertain me. We normally play caroms but my fingers were not strong enough back then. I was probably like 4 or 5 years old.

Ayam masak merah is one of my favorite dishes when cooked by Makcik. If you translate it directly, it would be Chicken Cook Red. The dish is sweet and spicy and it goes well with Nasi Minyak or Briyani. I will try to feature this two rice dish that I just mentioned in the future post. For now, let me share my version of Ayam Masak Merah.


  • Half chicken cut to bite size or slightly bigger
  • 2 cloves garlic ( crushed )
  • One onion ( sliced into half moon shape )
  • Tamarind juice ( 5 spoonful )
  • Chili paste ( made from Chili powder added with water ) – 2 spoonful added with water
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomatoes Sauce
  • half stick cinnamon
  • two star anise
  • turmeric powder
  • sugar¬† ( 2 spoonful ) and salt ( to your taste )
  • small cut ginger
  • 1 lime ( kalamansi )


  • marinated chicken with turmeric powder for an hour ( can add a bit of salt and pepper if you really like salty )
  • After one hour, deep fry chicken to 3/4 cook and set aside
  • heat up 5 spoonful oil ( can use the same oil that fried the chicken )
  • put in clove and star anise
  • when fragrant, add in garlic and onion
  • add in ginger
  • add in chili paste
  • add in tomatoes sauce
  • add in tamarind juice
  • add in sugar and salt
  • when gravy a slightly thick, add in the fried chicken and tomatoes
  • mixed the chicken and the gravy
  • continue till chicken is cooked
  • once cook, squeeze kalamansi juice on the dish
  • ready to serve with plain rice

Note :- If you pretty spicier, you can add chili labuyo ( bird’s eye chili )

My Filipino friends when saw this dish, they thought it was chicken afritada. But I think the taste is different but has some similarities as it is a tomatoes base cooking for the gravy after all.

This chicken dish is very popular during Malay weddings in kampung. I love going to Malay weddings as they serve really good food. Is normally server with Nasi Minyak, Nenas Pacari , Acar Timun and Beef Rendang. When my Filipino friends asked me some meaning of a certain Malay words, I got the feeling they must be watching the cartoon of Upin and Ipin from Disney channel. I like that cartoon as the stories are really like blast from the past. That’s how the culture and living in a Malay kampung back in the days are.

July 12, 2010

Nasi Goreng Kampung

Filed under: Food,Philippines,Recipe — Alex @ 12:19 pm

Nasi Goreng Kampung if translate directly to English literally means ” Barrio Fried Rice”.¬† In Malay language, Kampung means provincial or barrio. The city folks used to have this saying “balik kampung lar” to mock their friends whenever you can’t do certain things right. We always make fun of the kampung folks but actually most of us are from kampung and we migrate to the city right after we graduate for a better future.

Is quite similar here in Manila, where people making fun of the provincial folks to be “baduy” ( unfashionable or uncouth ). So when I told my Pinoy friends about the balik kampung expression, they can relate it very well. Whenever someone fails in the city, In Malaysia, we will tell them to “balik kampung tanam jagung” . This simply means go back to barrio and plant corn as a profession as it is less stressful.

But we as polite people never once tell that to someone who is actually from the province. Is only poking fun at our closest friends who are actually born and bred in the city or those who has been in the city for a long time.

So with that being said, you know I don’t look down upon the provincial ways in fact being an old school, I love the provincial mentality. They are mostly simple and complicated. Same goes with their dishes, simple yet delicious. Nasi Goreng Kampung is one of those dishes that’s originated from kampung and now being very popular with the city folks in Malaysia and Singapore.

Here is my version of Nasi Goreng Kampung.


  • Left over rice 2 plates ( rice from yesterday )
  • dried anchovies ( fried till crispy set aside )
  • chicken meat ( bite size )
  • chicken egg
  • kangkung ( morning glory )
  • cabbage
  • minced garlic
  • onions slice thinly
  • some belacan paste ( Malaysian bagoong ) – 2cm x 1cm
  • carrots ( optional )
  • fish sauce
  • sweet soy sauce
  • chili ( minced or made into paste ) – if you like it spicy you can put more
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • heat up 5 spoonful of cooking oil
  • sauteed the minced garlic and follow with onion
  • add in chili paste
  • add in belacan ( Malaysian bagoong )
  • add in chicken meat and continue to mix well
  • add in sweet soy sauce, fish sauce and salt
  • add in cabbage and carrots
  • add in rice and mixed well
  • make a hole in the center of the wok by putting rice a side and break the egg
  • add in kangkung ( morning glory )
  • fried till rice is evenly mixed with ingredients
  • make sure rice is not lumpy and can see grain by grain
  • add some pepper and garnish the fried anchovies on top of the rice

Fried rice is really a dish that is so versatile. Have so many different version but the method is almost the same. I’m sure you heard of pineapple fried rice, salted fish fried rice or fried rice with crab meat. What makes fried rice difference is the ingredients being used. So the thing that makes this version of fried rice Nasi Goreng Kampung is the used of anchovies and kangkung. The original version does not even have meat but since I am right now in the city, I’ll just indulge myself with a little bit of chicken meat in my Nasi Goreng Kampung.

July 9, 2010

Chop Suey my style

Filed under: Food,Philippines,Recipe — Alex @ 1:47 pm

I have not been posting much lately because am helping a friend with some work. Am still waiting for some pictures from King Chef opening ceremony event. So in the meantime, let me post some dish that I cooked recently.

This dish is probably one of the most simplest vegetable dish and I could add is one of the more popular Chinese food. Chop Suey is one of the most ordered Chinese dishes around the world. The taste is kinda foreign friendly and it is easily accepted by the masses. I think the taste really lies on the fresh vegetables with the right cooking technique and not on the ingredient used. Ingredients that is being used are just garlic, sesame oil, oyster sauce and a tiny bit of light soy sauce.

So here is version of Chop Suey.


  • 1 stalk of broccoli
  • 1/2 cabbage
  • 1 carrot
  • some Baguio beans
  • chicken meat of pork meat
  • some shrimps that is 100% shelled and cleaned
  • button mushroom
  • 2 table spoon oyster sauce
  • one teaspoon of light soy sauce
  • few drops of sesame oil
  • 3 spoonful of corn starch mixed with half cup of water
  • one full cup of chicken stock or water, if use water can add chicken cube
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • salt and pepper


  • All vegetables are chop to bite sizes, or whatever way you prefer as long as it is bite size
  • Heat up 3 table spoon of oil
  • add in crushed garlic cloves
  • sauteed to a bit brownish and add in meat
  • add some salt to taste
  • add in soy sauce and oyster sauce
  • add in shrimps and vegetables
  • add in button mushroom
  • add in few drops of sesame oil
  • add in water or chicken stock
  • cook in really high heat
  • when vegetables are slightly cook and still crunchy, add in corn starch and pepper
  • mix well till gravy thickens
  • put in a bowl and ready to serve with hot rice

Great thing about this mixed vegetables dish is that you can put ADT ( Any Damn Thing ) into it. It can be any kind of vegetables and it still taste good. You can add all sort of mushrooms too. The Filipino version like putting quail eggs into their chop suey which I think is really cool too. How can not one enjoy this high cholesterol food. Tiny and yet super tasty.

Like all Chinese style of stir fry vegetables dish, I think most important is the technique of “wokking” with really high heat. This will ensure the vegetables are cook fast and not becoming soft. No matter how many times I cook my Chop Suey, I still can’t emulate the taste of some good Chop Suey dish in my favorite Chinese restaurant in Singapore. I sincerely think is his high heat wok that makes the difference. Even if I am given a high heat wok with big flames, I think I still need to master the “wokking” techniques to make it really taste good. But hey, since this is just home cook meal, I can’t really complain.

June 30, 2010

Beef curry – my mom’s version

Filed under: Food,Philippines,Recipe — Alex @ 4:32 am

When we hear the word curry, we tend to associate the word curry with Indian. I think I read it somewhere before that curry is actually invented by the English. The real Indian dish was too spicy for the British when they were in India. So the British decided to make something slightly mild and named it Curry. Don’t quote me on this but I think I really did read it somewhere.

So my next dish is Beef Curry and I call it my mom’s version rather than calling it Indian Beef Curry. First of all, cow is a sacred animal to the Indian and no way you will find Indian Beef Curry dish. Here’s my mom’s version of beef curry.


  • half kilo of beef
  • 2 potato
  • some long bean
  • Baba’s curry meat powder ( 2-3 spoonful )
  • 6 cloves garlic grind to paste
  • 2 onion grind to paste
  • 2 star anise
  • 5 cloves
  • one cinnamon stick
  • one packet coconut milk
  • salt


  • heat up 6 spoonful of oil
  • add in star anise, cinnamon and cloves
  • add in grind garlic and onion
  • add in beef and mixed well
  • add in potatoes
  • add in curry powder and continue to stir fry and mixed well
  • when is fragrant, add in water and cook in low heat to soften beef
  • add in coconut milk
  • add in long beans and cook till beef is really soft and oil emerge on top
  • serve it with hot rice

Beef Curry with Papadam

I fried some papadam to go with the beef curry and rice. Papadam is some sort of spiced Indian chips. Is really tasty and normally in Singapore, any Indian rice dish they would give you papadam for free. You can top it up as many times as you can for free.

June 29, 2010

This is call Jemput Jemput in Malay

Filed under: Food,Philippines,Recipe — Alex @ 3:48 am

On Sunday suddenly I felt like having some mirienda. Went out to the local sari sari store and got myself a bottle of Mountain Dew. I already had some idea in mind of what to make. There’s some anchovies, onion and flour, that’s all I need to make this simple Malay snack call Jemput Jemput. I had a blast eating this snack while gulping down ice cold Mountain Dew.

Here is how we can make this simple, cheap and delicious snack.


  • 200 gm of multi purpose flour
  • one onion chopped fine
  • 50 gm anchovies
  • salt
  • water
  • one egg
  • turmeric powder ( optional )
  • pepper


  • Put flour in a bowl
  • Break an egg
  • Add onion
  • Add water and mixed it really well
  • add in onion
  • add in anchovies that are slightly fried ( can be raw )
  • add in turmeric, salt and pepper
  • mixed it really well till the dough is gooey like and sticky
  • heat up oil in wok
  • when oil is hot, use a big spoon and put flour into wok
  • fry till golden brown
  • serve it with Maggi Chili sauce

I remember my mom used to make this a lot for tea time snack. She normally made us hot milk tea when the weather is not so hot and if the weather is hot, she will make us cold ice Milo to go with the Jemput Jemput. When I was really young, I remember I normally dip it with Maggi Tomato sauce. When I was 6 years old, I start to eat it with the Chili sauce and never looked back.


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