Amy Beh

Three dishes using fish, chicken and prawns that don’t take long to prepare and have tantalising flavours full of Malaysian spices.


Spice paste (A)
6 shallots
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp chilli paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 stalks lemongrass, use only the white portion, sliced
2 slices galangal
1 tsp grated kaffir lime skin
3 dried chillies, soaked to soften
2 fresh red chillies, seeded
1 tbsp sliced torch ginger (bunga kantan)
100ml oil

Ingredients (B)
2 tbsp chilli sauce
100ml water
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tsp L&P sauce

Ingredients (C)
700g black pomfret
2 tbsp tapioca flour

Seasoning (D)
1 tsp sugar or to taste
1/2 tsp anchovy stock powder
1 tbsp fish sauce or to taste

Shredded torch ginger, shredded kaffir lime leaves and diced red chillies.

Combine all ingredients for spice paste (A) in a food processor and blend into a fine paste.

Pour all the paste into a deep saucepan and saute till oil rises and is aromatic. Add ingredients (B) over low heat and continue to fry well to combine. Adjust with seasoning (D) to taste.

In the meantime, clean fish well and cut into 3 sections. Rub a little salt over the fish and sprinkle with tapioca flour to coat the fish.

Heat enough oil in a wok till hot and deep-fry pomfret till golden brown. Dish out and arrange fish on a serving plate.

Ladle some sauce over the dish and add garnishing.

saucy dinner dishes, amy beh


350g medium large prawns

Adequate cornflour for dusting prawns

Honey sauce (A)
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp castor sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp lemon juice

Pickle (B)
4 bird’s eye chillies, diced finely
1/2 big purple onion, finely shredded
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
1 tsp finely shredded lemongrass
1 lime, squeeze for juice
1-2 tbsp castor sugar or to taste
1/4 tsp salt or to taste

Trim prawns well and drain in a plastic colander. Pat dry completely and dust with cornflour.

Deep-fry prawns in hot oil for 2-3 minutes or till crispy. Dish out and drain from oil.

Pour combined sauce (A) into a saucepan. Cook to a boil until sauce is quite thick. Add the pre-fried prawns and toss until prawns are coated with the sauce. Once done, dish out and serve with the pickle.

Mix all pickle ingredients well together and serve immediately.

saucy dinner dishes, amy beh


10 pieces chicken wings
4 slices ginger
2 stalks spring onion, cut into 5cm lengths

Seasoning (A)
A pinch of salt
A dash of pepper
1 tbsp sesame oil

Sauce ingredients (B)
2 stalks coriander, cut into small sections
1/2 tomato, seeds removed then diced
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 shallots, sliced thinly
3 bird’s eye chillies, sliced or chopped

Seasoning (C)
2 tbsp sugar or to taste
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 limes, squeezed for juice
2 calamansi limes, squeezed for juice
1 tbsp sesame oil

Cut the tips off the chicken wings. Keep these for use in stocks.

Clean the main part of the wings well and marinate with seasoning (A). Place them in a nonstick pot. Add the ginger slices and spring onion. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes till cooked through. Dish out and arrange on a serving plate.

Combine sauce ingredients (B) and seasoning (C). Stir to mix well. Pour over the chicken wings and serve.

Bake these cakes at your convenience and keep them for those times when you need a little sweet bite.


250g butter
220g caster sugar
4 eggs (Grade B)
100ml fresh milk
350g self-raising flour
180g dried cranberries
40g coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
30g cocoa powder

Lightly grease a Kugelhopf pan (fluted ring mould) and preheat oven at 175°C.

Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Mix in milk. Fold in flour in three batches. Stir in cranberries and macadamia nuts to combine into a batter.

Transfer 1 cup of the batter to another mixing bowl. Sift in cocoa powder and stir until evenly combined.

Spoon one-third of plain batter into the Kugelhopf pan. In between, drop 3-4 tablespoons of cocoa-flavoured batter, then top with another one-third of plain batter. Spoon the remaining cocoa batter over the top and add the rest of the plain batter. Use a satay skewer to swirl the batter to create a marble effect.

Bake for about 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove Kugelhopf pan from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool for 5-10 minutes. Turn over the pan to allow the cake to drop down. Remove pan.

Banana Cake


80g caster sugar
60g soft brown sugar
100ml canola oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 eggs (B grade)
200g ripe bananas (pisang rastali)
1 tbsp lime juice
100ml fresh milk
25g walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

Dry ingredients – sifted together
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt

Grease and line a loaf pan (20cm x 10cm) and preheat oven at 180°C.

Cream both types of sugars and canola oil with an electric mixer until well combined.

Beat in eggs, one at a time and add in vanilla essence.

Mash bananas and lime juice together with a fork until soft. Stir into the egg mixture and beat over medium low speed until evenly mixed. Beat in milk to combine.

Stir the sifted dry ingredients in batches into the wet ingredients. Cream over low speed. Fold in walnuts, if using.

Spoon batter into prepared cake pan. Bake for 70 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Oats and Orange Butter Cake by Amy Beh


210g butter
160g caster sugar
1 tbsp grated orange rind
3 eggs (Grade B)
1 tsp vanilla essence
60ml orange juice
80g raisins

Ingredients A – combined
150g plain flour
35g quick cooking oats
1½ tsp baking powder

Grease sides and line the base of a 21cm cake pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven at 160°C.

Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Cream for 1-2 minutes then add sugar and orange rind. Continue beating thoroughly for 3-4 minutes.

Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add in a tablespoon of the flour mixture. If mixture begins to curdle, beat in essence to mix.

Add orange juice until well combined. Fold in the rest of the combined flour and oat mixture, followed by the raisins.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Cockles taste great and can be cooked in a variety of ways to entice the palate.

Click the link for more recipes from Cook’s Nook


400g cockles
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp dried prawns, soaked and chopped
1 sprig curry leaves
1 stalk lemongrass, sliced thinly
1/2 tsp belacan powder
3 bird’s eye’s chillies, diced

1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
Pinch of salt or to taste
Adequate sugar to taste
2-3 tbsp water

1 tbsp chopped spring onion and coriander leaves

Wash cockles in several rinses of water, then soak them for an hour in a basin of clean water with 1/2 teaspoon salt. (This is to remove any sand and grit.)

Once cockles are clean, blanch in boiling water briefly for 2-3 minutes. Remove cockles from the hot water and strain well.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons oil in a wok and sauté garlic, dried prawns, curry leaves and lemongrass until fragrant. Add belacan powder and stir-fry till fragrant again. Add bird’s eye chillies and cockles. Stir-fry briskly.

Add seasoning to mix. Toss and fry well. Dish up and serve at once with garnishing.


Cockles with Fragrant Shao Hsing Wine Sauce


500g cockles
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1tbsp sliced shallots
3-4 tbsp Shao Hsing Hua Tiew wine
3 bird’s eye chillies, diced
2 long beans, diced
1 tbsp diced tomato
2 stalks spring onion, diced
1 red chilli, seeded and sliced

1 tbsp sugar or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp fish sauce

Put cockles in a basin of water with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Soak for 1 hour until all grit and dirt is removed.

Blanch cockles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until cockles are just semi-cooked. Dish out into a basin of iced water. Remove and strain the excess water.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a wok till hot. Saute garlic and shallots till fragrant. Stir in Shao Hsing Hua Tiew wine and allow to sizzle briskly. Add bird’s eye chillies. Dish out into a bowl and toss in long beans, tomato, spring onion and red chilli to mix.

Prise open the cockles with the half shell taken off. Arrange the cockles with the shells on a serving plate. Spoon the fragrant wine sauce ingredients over and serve at once.


Poached Cockles Tossed in Vinaigrette Dressing


500g cockles

Vinaigrette sauce
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
3 bird’s eye chilies, diced
5-6 kasturi limes, juiced
1 tbsp grated lime rind
4 tbsp castor sugar or to taste
1 tbsp fish sauce

Wash cockles in several rinses of running tap water till all mud and grit is removed. Soak cockles in water with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Leave aside for 1 hour. Drain cockles well.

Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil. Turn off the heat and add the cockles.

Cover the pot and allow to poach for 1-2 minutes. Strain the cockles on a wire strainer to remove excess water. Put aside.

Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a glass container. Stir till sugar dissolves and set aside.

Serve cockles in individual serving small bowls tossed with the sweet tangy vinaigrette dressing at once.

Here are three variations of the perennial Malaysian favourite that always makes great tea-time snacks.


1 small can sardines in tomato sauce, well drained
1 sprig curry leaves, sliced thinly
25g onion, diced
2 tbsp meat curry powder
150g potatoes, diced and steamed till soft
50g California raisins
3 hard-boiled eggs, cut each egg into 8 slices

1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tbsp lime juice

Water dough
225g all-purpose flour
2 tbsp castor sugar
1 tbsp shortening
160ml water
1 tbsp lime juice

Oil dough
140g all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
100g margarine

Drain sardines from the sauce. Mash with a fork. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a saucepan. Saute curry leaves till fragrant. Add onion and curry powder. Fry briefly then add potatoes, sardines and seasoning. Add raisins and toss until well combined. Dish out and leave aside to cool completely.

To prepare water dough: Sift flour into a bowl. Stir in sugar and add shortening. Combine water and lime juice and add to the bowl. Knead into a soft dough. Cover dough with a clean tea towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

To prepare oil dough: Sift flour into a clean bowl. Stir in salt then add margarine. Knead into a dough. Rest for 10 minutes.

Divide each dough into 3 portions. Wrap a portion of oil dough inside a portion of water dough. Roll out into a rectangle. Roll up swiss roll style then flatten and roll swiss roll style again (repeat these steps two more times). Slice each portion into 7 equal discs.

Flatten out each small disc into a thin circle (you will see spirals once you roll out the dough). Spoon a small portion of filling into the centre of each pastry circle and add 1 slice of hard-boiled egg. Fold the pastry over into a half moon. Secure the filling by pinching the edges together. Repeat until all the pastry and filling is used.

Heat enough oil in a wok over medium heat. Deep-fry the puffs till golden brown. Drain on crushed paper towels.

Serve immediately.

Curry Puff

Tuna Puffs


1 sprig curry leaves
40 g potatoes, steamed till soft and diced
25 g onion, thinly shredded
1 can tuna flakes, well drained
1 tbsp finely chopped red chilli
1 tsp cornflour or just enough

1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
2 tbsp chili sauce

Water dough
200g all-purpose flour
40g margarine
25g shortening
1 tbsp castor sugar
50ml water
1 tbsp lime juice

Oil dough
170g all-purpose flour
100g margarine
1/2 tsp salt

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok. Fry curry leaves, potatoes and onion till fragrant. Add tuna and stir in seasoning to mix. Fry until mixture is dry. Add red chilli and sprinkle in cornflour to bind the mixture well. Dish out and put aside to cool.

To prepare water dough: Sift flour into a mixing bowl. Add in the rest of the ingredients and knead into a smooth dough. Cover dough with a damp tea towel and leave aside to rest for 25 minutes.

To prepare oil dough: Combine all ingredients together and mix into a soft dough. Divide the dough into equal portions.

Divide water dough into the same number of portions as the oil dough. Roll out each portion into a large round piece and place a portion of oil dough in the centre. Wrap water dough completely around the oil dough. Roll out into an oval then into a swiss roll. Do this again one more time. Next, roll out into a rectangle and cut each portion into 2 equal circles with a fluted cutter.

Spoon 1 tablespoon filling into the centre of a pastry round. Top with the other pastry round. Dip a fork in flour and press down the edges to secure. Repeat until all ingredients are used up.

Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the puffs over medium heat until golden brown and crispy. Drain the puffs well and serve immediately.

Curry Puff

Spicy Pumpkin Puffs


100g sweet potatoes, cubed
60g potato, cubed
150g pumpkin, cubed
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
25g onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp chicken stock powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt + sugar to taste

Pastry skin
250g low-protein flour
1/4 tsp salt
60g margarine
1 tbsp beaten egg
70ml water or enough to bind

Steam sweet potato and potato for 10 minutes. Add pumpkin and continue to steam for 10 minutes. Dish out the steamed ingredients and put aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a nonstick saucepan. Add cumin seeds and fry till fragrant. Add onion and stir in chilli powder. Fry till fragrant. Add the steamed vegetables, then the seasoning. Stir-fry till mixture is dry and well mixed. Dish out and set aside.

Sift flour into a mixing bowl. Stir in salt and rub in margarine until it forms a sandy mixture. Add egg and water; knead into a dough. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Divide dough into equal portions. Flatten each portion into a round. Spoon in enough filling. Fold into a half moon. Pinch the edges to seal the filling.

Deep-fry the puffs in medium hot oil till golden brown.

We’re full of beans for bean curd. The Cook’s Nook columnist makes three special dishes using soft bean curd, knots and sheets.


1 piece unsalted bean curd sheet, cut into 23cm by 33cm rectangle
Sesame seeds

200g shelled medium small prawns
50g minced pork/chicken
2 tbsp chopped spring onions
2 water chestnuts, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp minced ginger

Adequate salt, sugar and pepper
1 tbsp light soy sauce
½ tsp five spice powder
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp egg white
2 tbsp corn flour
Potato starch paste
1 tbsp potato starch + 1 tbsp water

Place shelled prawns on a chopping board. Use a chopper knife to smash the prawns flat (one at a time) then gather all the smashed prawns together and chop the prawns finely.

Put the chopped prawns and minced meat into a mixing bowl. Add adequate salt, sugar and pepper. Stir well to mix. Add chopped spring onion, water chestnuts and ginger.

Next, stir in the rest of the seasoning. Scoop up the mixture and slap it vigorously against the side of the mixing bowl until it is springy and well combined. Divide filling into 2 portions.

Place bean curd skin on a clean table. Spoon the filling on the edge. Cover and roll up the filling inside the bean curd skin.

At the end of the roll seal with potato starch paste to secure the roll. Use a piece of raffia string to tie up the ends and at 3cm intervals along the length to form several balls.

Place the prepared rolls on a lightly greased steaming plate. Steam over high heat for 4-5 minutes, remove and set aside to cool completely.

Cut off the raffia strings and separate the balls. Toss each piece into sesame seeds to coat liberally.

Heat oil in a wok for deep-frying until hot. Reduce the heat to medium low and deep-fry till golden. Drain from oil and serve at once with any desired chilli dipping sauce.

bean curd

Stir-fried French Beans with Beancurd and Stink Beans


2 pieces soft bean curd, cut into thin strips
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sliced shallots
1 tbsp shredded ginger
25g belly pork, cut into thin strips
50g carrot, cut into thin strips
100g young French beans
100g stink beans (petai)
1 tbsp Shao Hsing Hua Tiau wine

Seasoning (A) – combined
Adequate salt and pepper
½ tsp five-spice powder
2 tbsp potato starch

Seasoning (B)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp pepper
3 tbsp water

Lightly marinate bean curd strips with combined seasoning (A) then deep fry in hot oil till lightly golden. Dish out and put aside.

Leave 1 tablespoon hot oil in the wok. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil and sauté shallots and ginger till fragrant.

Add in belly pork, carrot and French beans. Toss and fry briefly over high heat. Sprinkle in a little water in the midst of frying.

Add seasoning (B) and stink beans and cook to a quick mix. Sprinkle in Shao Hsing Hua Tiau wine then transfer to a serving dish.

bean curd

Braised Bean Curd Knots with Mushrooms and Roast Pork


3 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked until soft
100g bitter gourd, cut into squares
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 slices ginger
1 stalk spring onion, cut into 3cm sections
50g carrot, cut into wedges
80g dried bean curd knots
100g roast pork, cut into bite-sized pieces
½ tsp roasted dried sole powder (peen yee)

Marinade (A)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp Shao Hsing Hua Tiau wine

Sauce ingredients (B)
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp sugar
1 tbsp chicken stock powder
1 tbsp Shao Hsing Hua Tiau wine

Thickening (combined)
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp water

Season mushrooms with marinade (A) for 10-15 minutes.

Place bitter gourd pieces in a mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to mix for 1-2 minutes then rinse under running tap water to remove the bitterness. Drain well.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil and sesame oil, sauté ginger and spring onion till fragrant. Add mushrooms, carrot and bitter gourd. Stir-fry briefly.

Pour in sauce (B) and add enough water to cover the ingredients. Add bean curd knots and braise over low heat for 30 minutes. Add roasted pork pieces and dried sole powder, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Adjust with thickening. Serve at once.

Minced meat is an excellent addition to many dishes. Make these creative bite-sized dishes with chicken, pork and prawns.


2 Japanese cucumbers

30g green capsicum
30g red capsicum
30g yellow capsicum
3 eggs, beaten
70g minced chicken fillet
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp coriander leaves
pea sprouts, to garnish

1 tsp chicken powder
Dash of pepper
Dash of salt
1 tsp cornstarch

To make

Slice the whole cucumber into long thin strips and soak in salted water to soften.

After 20 minutes remove the cucumber strips and wipe dry with paper kitchen towels.

Dice capsicums and add to beaten egg, then mix in all the seasoning ingredients.

Heat both oils in a wok and saute minced chicken briefly. Pour in egg mixture. Toss and fry briefly until fragrant. Dish out and leave to cool completely. Mix in coriander leaves.

Roll each slice of cucumber into a cylinder, stuff with the filling and garnish with pea sprouts.

Crispy Tofu Pok. minced meat recipes


8 pieces tofu pok, cut into half
35g shelled prawns, finely diced
125g luncheon meat
35g finely diced carrot
1 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp diced red chilli
1 tbsp chopped spring onion

1 tbsp light soy sauce
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp beaten egg

Dipping sauce (combined)
4 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp Sriracha chilli sauce
1 tbsp mustard sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

To make

Mince the prawns and set aside.

Next mince luncheon meat and combine with the prawns.

Add carrot, coriander, chilli and spring onion. Stir in seasoning and slap the mixture against the sides of a mixing bowl until sticky.

Make a slit in each half piece of tofu pok and stuff with a tablespoon of mixture.

Heat enough oil in a wok over medium heat and deep-fry tofu pok pieces until lightly golden and crispy.

Dish up and drain from oil. Serve at once with dipping sauce.

minced meat recipes, Stir-fried Soy Bean Sprouts with Minced Pork and Water Chestnuts.


100 g soy bean sprouts, remove roots
60g minced pork
1 tbsp diced young ginger
50g carrot, diced
80g water chestnuts, minced

Marinade (combined)
1 tsp light soy sauce
½ tsp Maggi seasoning
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tbsp oil
1 tsp corn starch

1 tsp light soy sauce

Some chopped spring onion
Lettuce, leaves separated

To make

Chop bean sprouts coarsely and set aside.

Season minced pork in marinade for 20 minutes. Saute ginger briefly in a hot wok until fragrant. Add marinated minced pork and fry briskly. Add carrot and water chestnuts to combine.

Toss and stir-fry briefly, then adjust taste with light soy sauce and add in soy bean sprouts. Drizzle some oil around the side of the wok. Turn to high heat and quick-fry until dry and fragrant. Garnish with spring onion.

Serve on lettuce cups.

Sweet treats are often reserved for sweet moments of Chap Goh Meh. Serve these delightful soups for your family or guests on this blissful day.


30g dried Roselle calyx (luo shen hua), rinsed
1.5 litres water
150 g honey rock sugar
5g dried hawthorn fruits, rinsed
150g lotus roots, sliced
6 big organic red dates
2 honey dates (mat choe)

Place roselle calyx, water, sugar and dried hawthorn fruits in a stock pot. Cook to a boil for 15 minutes.

Dish out the roselle calyx and hawthorn fruits from the stock and add lotus roots. Boil till lotus roots are just tender to the bite.

Serve this refreshing drink with ice-cubes or have it warm.

sweet soups Refreshing White Ginseng Delight by Amy Beh


1.5 litres water
50g white ginseng (pak pau som)
15g yuk chuk
10g bitter apricot almonds
10g sweet apricot almonds
130g honey rock sugar
120g fresh huai shan, cut into desired shapes

Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add all the ingredients except fresh huai shan.

Double boil for 1½-2 hours. In the last 30 minutes, add huai shan and continue to double boil till the end of cooking time. Dish out and serve the dessert soup warm.

sweet soups Healthy Herbal Sweet Soup by Amy Beh


40g pak hup (dried lily bulb)
125g rock sugar
20g sar som (Chinese ginseng roots)
1.5 litres water
6 big organic red dates
1 piece kat paeng (candied mandarin peel)

Soak dried lily bulbs in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain and put into a small bowl. Put in 50g rock sugar and 20ml water, and steam for 20 minutes.

Put Chinese ginseng roots in a saucepot with 1.5 litres of water. Cook at a boil for 30 minutes.

Add red dates, candied mandarin peel and the remaining rock sugar. Continue to cook for 20 minutes till the flavour of the soup is enhanced. Add the prepared dried lily bulbs into the soup and serve hot.