Fast forward to about 7-8 years ago, I actually learned to make my pizza bases from scratch. After a whole lot of trial and error, I finally found a combination that worked well for me. And I’ve stuck to that ever since. And its safe to say, that since then, I have never bought a store bought pizza base. It is quite easy to make, once you know what your doing. Coupled with this, I’m also going to share my no-cook pizza sauce recipe with you. This recipe is probably older than my pizza dough recipe. As far as the toppings go, we’ve tried a lot of combinations. Once you have the basics in place, you can switch up you toppings to suit your tastes.
I’m going to whip up 2 pizzas today, one is a pepperoni pizza and the other is a mixed vegetable pizza. While, we’re tried a few topping options, these two have got to be strong favorites in my house.
So let’s get on to the recipe, shall we?
For the pizza dough –
2 cups all purpose flour (maida)
1 tsp instant dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
150ml luke warm water (approx.) (use as needed)
2 spoons olive oil
Salt, to taste
In a little bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and a couple of tablespoons of warm water. Set the bowl aside for about 5-10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
After 5-10 minutes, the yeast will turn frothy and is now activated.
In a large mixing bowl, take 2 cups flour and add the salt (I use about 3/4 tsp salt). Using your fingers, mix the salt through the flour.
Make a well in the middle of the mound of flour and add the yeast mix.
Start combining the flour with the yeast and gradually add warm water, as needed to form a soft dough.
The dough will be tacky at first, but will eventually be much more manageable and smooth.
Stretch the dough while kneading and continue this process for about 5 minutes. (See video above, for method). Halfway through the process, add the oil in 2 stages and continue working the dough.
Shape into a ball, and place in a greased bowl. Drizzle a little olive oil on the dough and lightly coat the top of the dough, so that it doesn’t dry out. Cover the bowl with some cling film or a clean, damp towel and leave the bowl in a warm place for the dough to rise. Leave to prove (rise) for about an hour, or till the dough doubles in volume. (It might take a little longer during cooler months.)
For the sauce –
1-1 1/4 cup passata, tomato puree or canned tomatoes (If using canned tomatoes, process them to a puree before using)
2-3 small cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
A little less than 1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp red chilly flakes
Add all the ingredients into a bowl. Stir to mix thoroughly.
The sauce is now ready to use.
To make the pizzas –
Preheat the oven to 250 deg C.
Divide the dough into 2 portions.
Stretch the dough to form the base. (See the video above for method)
Spread the sauce over the base, leaving a little margin from the edges.
Add toppings of your choice and cheese. (I use a combination of mozzarella and colby / cheddar).
Bake for 10-12 minutes or till the dough (pizza base) is cooked through and the cheese has melted.
1) Remember to use warm water, not hot water. Hot water will kill your yeast and your dough will not rise.
Early last month, Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes, who happens to be our SRC boss lady 😉 called out to all the club members and announced an SRC reunion event. Of course, I signed up for it and for this event, I was assigned Micha’s blog, Cooking Mimi. Micha’s blog is packed with great recipes. I had an absolute blast going through her blog and picking a recipe for today. After a lot of looking around I narrowed my choices down to this Hawaiian Pork, Potstickers (she even makes her own potsticker wrappers), Quick and Crispy Pork Cutlets and her Sweet Chili Pork. Have you spotted the trend here? I somehow happened to be zeroing in on Pork recipes. So this much was clear, I knew I was making Pork. When I saw her recipe for Sweet Chili Pork my mind was made up. This is what I was going to make.
Before we move on to the recipe, let’s talk about this Sweet Chili Pork, shall we? This dish has it all with juicy little pieces of pork tossed in a sweet sauce with mild heat from the Sweet Chili sauce and the crunch of the onion and capsicum just rounds it off beautifully. I could not believe how easy this recipe was. I wanted to try it just to see if a recipe this minimal would hit the spot. And hit the spot it did. I am so glad I tried this out. My husband is not a fussy eater but he is my biggest critic and helps me work on recipes and tweak them. He was floored by this recipe. And I agree with him 100%. This recipe is very similar to the kind of takeaway meals we got back in Bombay, albeit not with pork, but with chicken. Thank you Micha, for an absolute stunner.
I only made a couple of minor additions to the original recipe. I added some finely chopped ginger and garlic and some pieces of capsicum (green peppers) to the recipe. We served this up with some fried rice, but this would work very well with some noodles too.
Sweet Chili Pork
1/4 kg boneless pork
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, cut into cubes
1 /2 green capsicum, cut into cubes (similar in size to the onion cubes)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2″ ginger, finely chopped
1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp lime juice
Heat 1/2 cup of oil in a skillet over moderate heat.
Crack the egg into a small bowl, whisk it and set it aside.
In another bowl, mix the flour and cornstarch.
Cut the pork into bite sized pieces. Toss the pieces in a little salt and lime juice. Toss the pork pieces in the flour mix. Then dip them in the egg and in the flour mix again .
Fry the pieces of pork in batches for about 3-4 minutes a side or until golden brown and crispy. Drain and set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in another pan.
When the oil is hot, add the onion and capsicum and stir fry till the pieces have just started to soften. I like mine a little crunchy. Cook it to your desired level of doneness.
Add the finely chopped ginger and garlic and stir it around.
Add the sweet chilly sauce and the fried pork pieces. Stir to coat everything in the sweet chili sauce. At this point, if you want a little more sauce in the dish, add some more. Toss well.
Don’t forget to see what the others have whipped up for our 2018 reunion –
So, a while ago, when I saw this episode of Poh & Co, where Poh (one of my favorite TV chefs) whipped up a Nonya (a type of Malaysian) Chicken Curry, both, my husband and I knew we had to try the recipe out. The recipe does call for a few specialty ingredients, but the first time I made this curry, I didn’t have them and so I left them out. Even then the curry was a great one. But I knew I wanted to try the recipe with all of the ingredients. So I picked up the Pandan leaves and the Shrimp Belachan at a local Asian grocery store and made the curry again. This time with all the ingredients. The result was a mind-blowing curry. Now I don’t often refer to a curry as mind-blowing. A cake, maybe, but never a curry. But this curry is all that, and then some. It is one of my favorite chicken curries. And today I’m going to show you how I make mine. I have altered the method a tiny bit, to make the recipe more convenient and I hope you try this out the next time you want to make a chicken curry.
If you’ve never made a curry before, don’t let the idea scare you. It is easier than you think. I’ve put together a video to walk you through the process.
Let’s move on the the detailed recipe for this Nonya Chicken Curry.
Nonya Chicken Curry
Recipe from: Poh Ling Yeow
3 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Fennel seeds
15 dried red chillies
2 onions, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
20g toasted Belachan
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
8-10 curry leaves
2 tbsp oil (I use olive oil for all my cooking. You can use whatever oil you normally cook with.)
1 star anise
1 inch cinnamon
1 1/2 kilo chicken pieces
2 potatoes, cut into large cubes
2 birdseye chillies, slit lengthways
1 can coconut cream (400 ml can)
2 pandan leaves
Take the skin off the chicken, cut into pieces, trim the fat off and set aside.
Deseed the dried chillies and soak them in hot water till they’ve rehydrated and softened.
In a dry pan, on medium heat, roast the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds till fragrant. Take them off the pan and set aside to cool.
Using a blender or food processor (you can also use a mortar and pestle if you dont have one), grind the roasted coriander-fennel-cumin seeds mix, drained red chillies, onion, garlic, belachan and turmeric to a fine paste, adding a little water as needed.
Heat oil in a large pot / pan over medium heat. Add the star anise, cinnamon and cloves and let them fry till fragrant about 20-30 seconds.
Add the spice paste (rempah) to the pan and saute for 6-8 minutes till the sauce is very fragrant.
Tear the pandan leaves into 3 strips lengthways and knot them together. Add the pandan and curry leaves to the spice mix.
Add the chicken to the pan and stir to coat with the spice paste. Saute for 1-2 minutes or till the chicken pieces start to look opaque.
Add the coconut cream and stir well.
Add the potatoes, salt and sugar. Add a little water to thin down the sauce a little to reach the desired consistency. Let it come to a boil.
Add the slit birdseye chillies, lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer till tender. Check after 5-7 minutes, add more water if needed, stir to make sure the curry doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Cover the pot and continue cooking till the chicken and potatoes are cooked.
Serve hot with rice. I tried to serve it up like a Nasi Lemak, but with plain rice instead of coconut rice. I added some fried baby anchovies, peanuts, boiled egg and some cucumber slices.
This curry also goes really well with roti or even bread. If you can get on hands on some Roti Canai, even better.
These Beef cutlets have got to be one of my favorite recipes. When we were kids, my brother and I would wait for Mum to make a batch of these cutlets at home. It wasn’t made very often, but when it was, it was a real treat. I have, for the most part, stuck to my Mum’s recipe, with just a few tweaks.
These cutlets are very versatile. Make them smaller in size and serve them up with some tomato ketchup or Barbecue Sauce as starters or Finger food, make them larger and use them as patties in Burgers or make a medium size and serve it up with some Mashed potatoes / Roasted potatoes / Fries and a salad .
I have posted a beef cutlet recipe before, but that was a really long time ago. This recipe is the same, with just the addition of some Worcestershire sauce. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to take some new pictures. After all, its been a long journey from ‘My Hobbie Lobbie’ to ‘The Aspiring Home Cook’. I’ve also filmed a little video with some handy dandy tips too. I will link the video at the end of this post.
Goan Beef Cutlets
(Makes about 14-15)
500g ground beef (beef mince)
1 large or 2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 birdseye chillies, finely chopped (optional)
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2″ ginger, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1/4-1/3 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt, to taste
2 slices of bread
Bread crumbs, to coat the cutlets
Olive oil, for frying (You can use whatever cooking oil you have on hand)
Soak the slices of bread in water for a few seconds, drain out all the liquid and crumble. Mix together all the ingredients except the bread crumbs and vegetable oil.
Make sure all the ingredients are well mixed and evenly distributed.
Shape into cutlets.
Coat with bread crumbs.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Carefully place the cutlets in the pan and let it cook on a medium heat till its done to your liking. Turn over and cook the other side as well.
Repeat till you’re done with the meat mix, adding more oil to the pan as and when you need to.
Here’s the video –
After a lot of searching, high and low, I found a recipe, that I tweaked to try and replicate the flavors I so vividly remember. Since I cook for just my husband and I, this recipe is scaled down. I also just use my favorite veggies from that day – okra (bhindi) and potatoes (aloo). I found that these are also some of the easy ones to work with. I don’t make this recipe very often, because the veggies start off by getting deep fried and are then tossed with a spice mix (tava masala), and the deep frying tips this to the slightly indulgent side.
The spice mix, or my version of the tava masala is hot a very hot mix. The spices used are warm and flavorful. The chaat masala is an integral part of this recipe. If you haven’t tried it before, it is a blend of a few spices like cumin, pepper and a few others with some powdered mango. So it has a unique flavor profile, you get a slight hit of salt, tang from the mango and delicious flavor from the blend of other spices. You can easily find this at any Indian grocery store. (This chaat masala also works well with other chaat recipes you find on my blog.)
So try this easy stir fry recipe. This is best enjoyed served hot with some chapatis, rotis, naan or other flatbread of your choice. It would also work well as a side dish to some hearty Dal & Rice.
Tava Style Aloo Bhindi
3 medium potatoes
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 – 1 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder (or any other mild chilly powder)
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp chaat masala
Salt, to taste
1 1/2 – 2 tbsp oil, plus oil for deep frying
Place a pan with the oil for deep frying on medium high heat.
Wash and peel the potatoes and cut into evenly sized fries / chips.
Wash the okra and pat dry. Chop the stalks off the okra and discard. Try and use okra that is similar in size, if not, cut them down to about the same size as the potato pieces.
By now, the oil should be hot. Carefully, and in batches, add the potatoes to the oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan or the oil will froth over and spill.
Deep fry the potatoes on medium heat till they’ve cooked through. Drain using a slotted spoon and set aside on some kitchen paper to get rid of any excess oil.
Deep fry the okra on medium heat till they have start getting a little darker in color and have started crisping up.
Drain using a slotted spoon and set aside on some kitchen paper to get rid of any excess oil, like you did the potatoes.
Take the oil for deep frying off the heat.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan on medium heat. When the oil is warm, NOT hot, add in the turmeric powder first and then add the rest of the spice powders.
Stir that through for about 20-30 seconds or till the spices get aromatic.
Add the okra to the pan and toss well. Lastly add the potatoes and toss to coat the veggies with the spices evenly.
Check for seasoning and add salt, to taste. Toss well.
You can watch the video recipe here –
In my house, we love veggies. Whether it is steamed, in a curry, stir fried or straight up in a salad, we love it all. We are trying to include more veggies in diet as much as we can, because it is healthier for you. And when you eat what’s in season, it tends to be a lot easier on the pocket too. I try to eat local produce as much as I can and always go for what’s in season.
When I came across a recipe for a vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie, I knew I had to try it. It calls for a bunch of veggies, which most of us usually have on hand, and lentils. We eat a lot of lentils, pulses, legumes, so I knew this would be an interesting way to switch things up. There are a few processes involved in the recipe, but they are all really simple and I loved that there were leftovers.
This Veggie Shepherd’s Pie is chock full of veggies and lentils and is the perfect meal for a cold, wet day. And my secret ingredient is a little Vegemite. This adds amazing depth of flavour and that umami quality that most recipes reach for. The veggies and lentils are full of flavor and are topped with mashed potatoes.And who doesn’t love mashed potatoes?
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
1 cup cooked lentils
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery
Handful of button mushrooms, sliced
Salt, to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp vegemite
1 tbsp flour
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup frozen peas
6-8 potatoes, depending on size (You need enough to make about 4 cups worth of mashed potatoes)
A small splash of milk, if needed
A knob of butter (optional)
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the onions and garlic and saute till the onions have softened.
While the onions are cooking, dice the carrots and celery to ‘more or less’ resemble the size of the peas and lentils.
Once the onions have softened, add the diced carrots and celery to the pan and cook till the celery has started to soften.
Now add the sliced mushrooms, salt, thyme, mixed herbs, smoked paprika and pepper to the pan. Stir well to let the spices incorporate. Continue cooking till the mushrooms have fully softened.
Add the vegemite, tomato paste and the flour to the pot. Stir and continue to cook the veggies till they’re coated and the pasty mix starts to coat the bottom of the pan. This should take about 2 minutes.
Add the vegetable broth to the pan. Stir to dissolve the flour and tomato paste that has coated the bottom of the pan.
Bring the broth to a simmer. It will have started thickening. Add in the cooked lentils and peas and let them all heat through.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed, stir through and take the pot of the heat.
Preheat your oven to 200ºC.
Wash and peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes to cut down on cooking time.
Boil them in salted water till tender. Drain and mash the potatoes with the milk and butter (if you are using) till no lumps are left. Taste and add more salt, if needed.
Add the vegetables to a large casserole dish (I used my 9 inch ceramic pie dish). Top with the mashed potatoes. It is easier to handle the mashed potato when it is still warm. I used the back of a spoon to flatten the mashed potatoes. You can choose to use a fork or a spoon to create a decorative pattern if you’d like.
Bake for around 15 minutes till everything has heated through. If you want the mashed potatoes to brown some more, place it closer to the top heating element of your oven, or turn your broiler on (if your oven has that function) and bake for a few more minutes. Watch closely and when it has browned to your liking, take it out of the oven.
Sprinkle some more freshly cracked black pepper over the top and serve hot.
Enjoy your veggies!!!
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