Tuesday, 30 April 2013


Yes, I know I was all excited naming this blog "femminello" in my first post after my favourite food item which happened to be lemon and it is still my favourite. 

But like I mentioned in my earlier post, my imagination skills are rather limited and the name "femminello" failed to inspire me. I thought I would get the hang of it and end up liking it. Sadly, I didn't and that's why I've decided to rename it to "DELECTABLE CUISINE". I can't really argue with you that the new name for this blog is a marvelous and brilliant one, but it is a name/title nonetheless and it aptly describes the contents of this blog which is FOOD!

Another factor that urged me to rename this blog is that "femminello" doesn't exactly roll of one's tongue easily. Then I thought I better ditch the idea of using some fancy schmany name for this blog and chose a more realistic name which adequately and precisely describes the nature of this blog.

As the saying goes, "don't judge a book by its cover", lets not worry too much about the name/title of this blog as long as the content is good. To ensure that the quality of the content of this blog is up to par, I will try my very best to frequently update it with posts which may and hopefully pique your interest.

Till then cheers and hope you guys enjoy reading my previous and upcoming posts! 

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Masala Tea

masala tea
To wash down the seeyams, I made some masala tea. I'm not a very big fan of tea, but I make an exception when it comes to masala tea. I love masala tea for the strong flavour of spices in it. This is my take on masala tea and if you guys have any suggestions on how to enhance the flavour of the masala tea, please do share it with me.

teabags, ginger & cardamom
Place the teabags, sliced ginger and slightly crushed cardamoms into a pot with water and bring it to a boil.

Continue boiling for about a couple of minutes. Then, remove from heat and let the tea steep for about another couple of minutes.

Reheat if necessary. Strain the tea. Stir in evaporated milk and sugar and serve hot.



3 teabags/2 tbsp tea leaves
1 inch of ginger, peeled and sliced
10-14 cardamom, slightly crushed.
3 cups water
4-5 tbsp evaporated milk


1) Place the teabags, ginger and cardamom with 3 cups of water in a pot and bring it to a boil.

2) Continue boiling for 2 minutes and remove from heat.

3) Steep the tea for another two minutes. Reheat if necessary.

4) Strain tea. Stir in evaporated milk and desired amount of sugar and serve hot.

Note: Evaporated milk can be substituted with fresh milk or creamer.



Since I made some mothagams the other day, I had some leftover of the the pooranam/sweet filling and I wanted to use it up. In my attempt to find ways, or rather recipes which incorporate the leftover filling, I stumbled upon this recipe and decided to give it a try, albeit with some minor alteration of my own.

Start by shaping the leftover filling into balls. Size may depend on your preference. I did mine small since it was just bite size any easy to eat.

roll the pooranam into balls

Then go on to prepare the batter. To do some mix rice flour and a pinch of salt with some water. Dip the balls into the batter and fry.



For the filling:

See here for the ingredients and directions.

For the batter:

3 tbsp rice flour
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp water


1) Roll the filling into balls and keep aside.
2) Combine the rice flour, salt and water to make a batter.
3) Heat some oil in a pan.
4) Dip the balls into the batter and fry then for about a minute.
5) Remove the seeyams and place it on some kitchen rolls to absorb the excess oil. 

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Gula Melaka Mothagam

Mothagam/modak is a type of Indian dessert made from rice flour and has a filling made from kadala parapu/bengal gram dhal, shredded coconut and jaggery. You can read about this Indian delicacy here

Like I said, mothagam, or more precisely the outer layer/skin of the mothagam is made from rice flour. However, lately while going through some recipes, it was recommended to use ready made idiyappam flour instead of plain rice flour for a much softer mothagam. I decided to give this a try since the last time I made mothagam using plain rice flour, it resulted in a slightly tough mothagam. Plus, instead of using jaggery for the filling, I tried experimenting with gula melaka (palm sugar).

First, I started by making the skin for the mothagam. To do this I boiled some water with oil and mixed the boiled water into the flour.

the mixed dough

Once you have brought together the dough, be mindful to cover it with a wet tea towel to prevent it from drying out.

After that, you can start on your pooranam/filling for the mothagams. To do this I started off with by cooking the dhal using a pressure cooker and then made it into a paste using a grinder.

kadala parapu paste

Then, I went on to work on the gula melaka which I acquired from my last trip to Melaka. This is pure gula melaka with no sugar added. Crushed it with a pestle before dissolving it.

block of gula melaka

crushed gula melaka

dissolve gula melaka with water in low heat

After the gula melaka has dissolved completely, strain it to remove impurities, if any. Reheat the strained gula melaka until frothy and subsequently add in the kadala parapu paste and the shredded coconut.

boil the gula melaka till frothy

stir in the dhal paste

stir in the shredded coconut

Then, stir in some powdered cardamom. I do this by taking a few cardamom and slightly crushing it using a mortar and pestle. Once the pod is open, remove the seeds inside and continue crushing the seeds until powdered.

crush cardamom to open the pod

powdered cardamom

Continue stirring the mixture till it becomes like a thick paste.


Start making balls from the dough and filling about the size of a lime.

Flatten the dough into a bowl like shape and place the filling in the middle and seal it at the top.

seal the top like this
Go on to steam the mothagams in a idli plate or steamer for about 10 minutes.

Be careful not to steam the mothagams to long to prevent it from drying out. Once cooked the skin of the mothagam would look shiny and slightly translucent.

cooked mothagams



For the outer layer/skin:

1 cup idiyapam flour/rice flour 
1 1/3 cup water
2 tsp oil
salt (if needed)

For pooranam/sweet filling:

1 cup kadala parapu/bengal gram dhal
1 cup gula melaka/jagerry
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder


1) Cook the dhal with about a cup of water in a pressure cooker till soft. I cooked it for about 15 minutes in an electrical pressure cooker. If you don't have a pressure cooker, soak the dhal for about 2 hours and boil it in a pan with water until its soft, but not mushy.

2) Make the cooked dhal into a paste using a blender or food processor. If you prefer a little texture in you filling, coarse grind the cooked dhal. Keep aside.

3) Boil 1 1/3 cup of water with oil and a bit of salt if needed. I didn't add any salt since the ready made idiyapam flour I used had salt added in it.

4) Add the boiled water to the flour and stir to make dough. Wait for a moment till the dough cools down a little and you can handle it with your hands. Grease your hands and knead the dough. Keep it aside, covered with a wet tea towel.

5) Start crushing the block of gula melaka into smaller pieces. Mine measured up to a little less than a cup. If you prefer much sweeter mothagams, you may increase the amount of gula melaka or jaggery you add.

6) Place the pieces of gula melaka in a pan and add water till the pieces are slightly immersed. Continue to heat the gula melaka till it is dissolved.

7) Once the gula melaka has completely dissolved, remove from heat and strain it to remove any impurities, if any.

8) Reheat the strained gula melaka syrup until it boils and becomes frothy. 

9) Once the syrup becomes frothy, add in the dhal paste, shredded coconut and cardamom powder and stir well without any lumps.

10)Keep stirring till the mixtures becomes like a paste like consistency. Remove from heat and let it cool till you can handle it with your hands.

11) Grease your hand with oil and make lime sized balls of the sweet filling and keep aside.

12) Now make lime sized balls of the dough. Make sure your hands are well greased.

13) Flatten the dough into a bowl like shape and place the filling inside and seal it at the top.

14) Steam the mothagams using a idli plate or steamer for about 10 minutes.


(a) Make sure your hand are greased well for every step to ensure smooth and soft mothagams.

(b) This recipe yield about 14 medium sized mothagams.

(c) If there is any leftover filling, refrigerate it in an airtight container.

(d) You make some seeyam/suzhiyan with those leftover filling.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Stir Fried Pak Choy

To accompany the honey lemon fish for tonight's dinner, I made some stir fried pak choy.

This is a easy peasy stir fry since it only requires four ingredients, including the pak choy! And this is my go to method when cooking green leafy vegetables.

fry garlic till fragrant
When I make stir fried veggies, especially the green leafy ones, I make it a point to add lots of garlic.

toss in the pak choy

simple stir fried pak choy



Pak choy (about 3 cups)
Garlic 4 cloves
1 tbsp oil
A pinch of salt 


1) Rinse they pak choy well.
2) Finely mince the garlic.
3) Heat up oil in a wok/pan and add the garlic. Fry till fragrant and soft.
4) Toss in the rinsed pak choy and fry for about a minute. Do not overcook it to ensure the pak choy is still crunchy. 

Honey Lemon Fish

Since I baked the lemon cake last weekend, I had a few leftover lemons and wanted to us them up. So, I decided to make some honey lemon fish with the fish fillets which has been sitting in my freezer for a couple of weeks.

This recipe is very much similar to the lemon chicken which you usually get at Chinese restaurants, but instead of chicken I used fish and also piled on the ginger. That said, frankly, this recipe is a little time consuming, but it is worth the time and effort and it turned out really yummy!

The sauce for this dish requires finely shredded lemon rind. The way I do it is first I peel off the rind in strips using a vegetable peeler and then cut it into thin strips.

finely shredded lemon rind

Make sure to combine the ingredients required for the sauce and keep it aside before frying the fish fillets. This is to ensure that the fried fish fillet does not get soggy and stays crispy.

combined sauce ingredients

coat fish fillet with the beaten egg

then coat it with rice flour
After coating with the beaten egg and rice flour, shallow fry the fish fillets in a pan until golden brown

shallow fry coated fish fillets in a pan
Remove excess oil from fried fish fillets using kitchen roll and keep it aside.

Crispy fried fish fillets

Heat up the sauce mixture stir in the cornstarch.

heating up the sauce mixture
Once the sauce mixture reaches desired consistency, toss in the fried fish fillet and evenly coat it with the thickened sauce.

yummy honey lemon fish



2 dory fish fillets (approx. 300g)
3 tbsp rice flour
1 egg (beaten)
Oil for frying

For Sauce:

4 tbsp lemon juice (more if desired)
1 tbsp finely shredded lemon rind (1 medium lemon)
1 tbsp grated ginger (less if not a fan of ginger)
3 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp sweet thai chilli sauce
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp water
1 tsp cornflour/cornstartch


1) Combine sauce ingredients except cornflour in a bowl and keep aside.
2) Mix cornflour with about 1 tbsp of water and keep aside.
3) Cut fish fillets into desired size.
4) Heat oil in a pan.
5) Coat fillets with beaten egg first and then with rice flour. If you don't have rice flour, plain flour or cornflour will do.
5) Once the oil in the pan is hot enough, shallow fry the coated fish fillets.
6) Remove fillets from oil once they turn golden brown and place them on kitchen roll to remove excess oil.
7) Heat up combined sauce ingredients and add in the mixed cornflour. Stir until desired consistency.
8) Toss in fried fish fillets and coat evenly.

I added quite a bit of ginger in this recipe since I love ginger in my cooking. But those who don't like very strong ginger flavour in their food, may reduce the amount used by half. You can even substitute the fish for chicken. 

Friday, 19 April 2013

Moist Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Wanted to kick start my blog featuring something prepared by me and of course centered around the lemon theme and started working on it right away. While looking around the net for some inspiring lemon cake recipes, I stumbled upon The Alchemist where she had posted a really moist lemon cupcake recipe. Those babies looked marvelous and I was convinced to give it a go and plus you can just mix all the ingredients in a pan, pour it into a tin and bake it. Less washing up!

I'm planning to bake it for a family gathering this coming weekend, cupcakes are not going to satisfy the crowd. Since we are expecting quite a number of guests, I don't think so I could pull of a large batch of cupcakes, even more so on a work day! Thus, I thought I will bake a cake instead but with the cupcake recipe.

L-R Finely grated lemon zest, squeezed lemons, home made vanilla extract and melted butter with lemon juice

I was rather skeptical whether my cake will turn out well, but it did!! I'm very much happy with the outcome and the cake was super moist.  

Since we will be celebrating my uncle and aunt's anniversary this weekend, I thought why not make this an anniversary cake. Didn't do anything much, just fancied up the decoration a little.


Ingredients for the cake

1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp fresh lemon zest
2 cups plain flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda


1) Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
2) Sift together flour, baking soda and salt and keep aside.
3) Melt butter with lemon juice and water. Once butter has melted and the mixture starts to boil remove from heat.
4) Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
5) Add in the yogurt, beaten eggs, vanilla extract and lemon zest.
6) Whisk in the sifted dry ingredients into the batter. If possible do use a whisk to prevent getting clumps in your cake batter.
7) Pour it in a baking tin and bake it for approximately 40 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Ingredients for Lemon Buttercream

1 cup unsalted butter
3 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp lemon zest
2-3 tbsp lemon juice


1) Beat the butter till fluffy and pale.
2) Add half of the icing sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest and juice and beat well.
3) Add rest of the icing sugar.
4) You could add more icing sugar if you prefer your buttercream more stiff or add milk to thin it out.

Lemon Buttercream

Cut the cake in half using a serrated knife

Spread some of the lemon buttercream between the two layers

Once you have spread a layer of the lemon buttercream, place the other layer on top and continue icing the whole cake.

The final product! (sorry for the bad lighting)

I'm aware that the icing is not prefect and I need to work on my icing skill. But please do cut me some slack since I did the the icing in a rush before getting to work this morning. That aside, hope the cake tastes good!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

First post!

A big HI to anyone who has ended in this blog by accident (just hoping that someone will stumble upon my blog). This is my first attempt at blogging although the idea of starting up a blog has been on the back burner for quite sometime. So, please don't be too harsh with your criticisms. Thanks!

Well, first and foremost, what the hell is femminello?! To tell the truth, I struggled a little trying to name this blog (too bad that I don't have sky rocketing imagination). Then it occurred to me that i should name it after something that i really love. Since I've decided that this is going to be a food blog, I wanted to name it after my favourite food. Guess what, my favourite food happens to be lemon! Maybe it isn't exactly food....but still I think lemons make most food taste better. Hence, I wanted to name this blog lemons or somewhere along that line (warned you about my lack of imagination!). Sadly, it was not available and thus I named it "femminello" after some research. Femminello actually forms a group of several lemon selections each with its own characteristics. You can read about it here

mmmm....lemons! (Image: www.wellicious.com via Google Image)

I am going to dedicate this blog solely for my culinary adventures (perhaps a few misadventures along the way). Hope my future posts could tempt you to follow my blog. Will try my best to keep you guys interested. Cheers till then!!