Kuih Cara Berlauk & A Free Cookbook Giveaway!
Gosh time really flies and we are into the last two months of 2016 already! What and eventful year it had been so far! Just around this time last year, I was still working out the recipes for a joint collaboration with nine other recipe bloggers from Singapore and Malaysia in a cookbook kindly sponsored by Kwong Cheong Thye and published by InfoMedia. It was a crazy period for all of us, cooking and cooking and cooking to fine tune the recipes, the eventual photo shoot when we took turns to slog in the kitchen the whole day and work around the clock to churn out 40 dishes and bakes to put in front of the lens over two frantic days. The adrenaline rush was overwhelming, both stressful and fun at the same time!
The bilingual cookbook 爱做菜的网路红人 “Flip, Don’t Click: 50 Offline Recipes” brought together 10 of us food bloggers and recipe activists from all walks of life to showcase some of our dishes. Despite our common love for cooking, our specific cuisines and genres which we are most familiar with are actually quite different. So the book is really diverse in the presentation of recipes, from classic Peranakan dishes, to traditional Cantonese soups, to creative and fusion bakes that stretches one’s imagination.
Through this project, I finally gotten to meet in person some food bloggers and activists whom I’d known over social media for sometime. like Ann, Ah Tee, 河马妈妈. I also made some new cooking friends over the production, like with Wai Fong, Diana，Wei Lee etc. It was heartening to have all these like-minded folks who are also so passionate about cooking and baking to be involved in this project together.
Through the project, I’d also learnt quite a bit on food styling and food photography from the awesome folks of Audrey & Mok Photography who took such lovely photos of our food, creating the various moods and ambience to suit the theme of the dishes presented through the clever use of professional lighting and their wide array of props. I brought my own collection of antique nyonyaware for the photoshoot of course but choosing the piece of the correct size and correct colour scheme can be quite a pain so some brain cells were spent in the careful deliberation over the pieces to use.
Kuih Cara Berlauk is one of the dishes I’d presented in the cookbook. It is a Malay snack which many of us grew up eating and loving, but regrettably is not so commonly seen sold outside nowadays. I love these bitesize nuggets for their smokey charred bottoms with the savory and spicy filling of curried minced meat in the middle.
They are aesthetically very appealing as well, green, red and brown against the yellow backdrop. And did I mention that they are highly addictive too? Making a couple of dozens is sometimes not enough as one would keep poppin’ them into the mouth one after the other and before you know it, all gone!
The ingredients for the making of kuih cara berlauk is pretty straightforward. The choice of meat for the filling can vary between whites and reds. I tend to use minced chicken as they cook really easily but if a more robust flavour is desired, go with minced beef or even lamb, though do note that they take a longer time to cook! To save one’s trouble of concocting a blend from individual spices, I’d used curry powder and chili powder， otherwise a garam masala blend would work very well too! Adjust the levels of spiciness with the amount of chili powder used. We like to add coconut milk during the filling frying process instead of water to get that “curried” flavour which I love. For the batter, tumeric powder is used to colour the kuih naturally.
Our version of kuih cara berluak is made over the stove top with an old brass mould (acuan tembaga) that is customarily used to make small like sponge cakes called Kuih Bahulu for most of the larger Malay community or simply Kueh Bolu by the Peranakans. Though my old mould is already very well seasoned, I don’t take precautions and usually would make sure by cooking little plain omelettes in each cavity first to make sure the latter won’t stick.
The traditional kuih cara berlauk is cooked over a charcoal stove, with the brass cover also laden with cindering charcoal to ensure that both bottom and top receive uniform heating for the top of the kueh to cook as fast as the bottom.
300g minced meat, either chicken, beef or lamb
2 medium bombay onions, peeled and diced
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 red chilies, diced
2 tbsp meat curry powder or garam masala powder
1 tbsp chili powder (adjust to one’s preference for heat)
1 tsp chicken powder
1/2 tbsp sugar
salt to taste
2-3 tbsp coconut milk
water as required
2 tbsp cooking oil
250g plain flour
500g thin coconut milk
2 medium eggs
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 tsp salt
oil for greasing mould cavities
Finely chopped red chilies
Finely chopped spring onion
First prepare the batter by mixing all the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Strain the batter into another bowl to remove any unbeaten egg or dislodge any flour lumps.
Set aside the batter for the flour to reconstitute for later use.
Meanwhile prepare the filling by adding oil into a heated wok.
Add diced onions and saute until soft and translucent.
Add minced garlic and saute until fragrant.
Add minced meat and stir fry until they start to brown slightly.
Add diced chili, curry powder, cili powder, chicken powder, sugar and salt.
Mix all the ingredients well.
Add coconut milk and some water.
Stir fry under medium low heat until the filling is well cooked and dries up considerably.
Set aside for later use.
To make kuih cara berlauk, first heat up the mould over a stove over medium low heat
When the mould is sufficiently hot, grease the cavities and then ladle enough batter to fill them up halfway.
Spoon dollops of cooked filling over the partially filled cavities and proceed to fill up each cavity with more batter until 90%.
Place the brass lid which had been preheated using another hob ring over the brass mould.
Cook for around 2 min.
When the kuehs are cooked and nicely browned on the sides and bottoms, remove them from the mould cavities with a toothpick.
Repeat until all the batter and/or filling are used up.
Garnish with chopped red chilies, spring onions and shallots.
I’m doing a GIVEAWAY for 2 copies of the cookbook to 2 recipients residing in Singapore. To stand a chance to win for yourself a copy each of the cookbook, simply follow the instructions below!
(1) Write a comment below telling us what you love to cook for your friends and family, and what other dishes you would love to learn how to cook on this blog!
(2) “Like and Follow” my FB Blog Page (http://www.facebook.com/travellingfoodiesblog/)
（3） Share my FB Blog recipe link (https://www.facebook.com/travellingfoodiesblog/photos/a.586104488207932.1073741831.583425731809141/702974263187620/?type=3&theater ) on your own FB wall and tag 3 friends along!
It is as simple as that!
This giveaway will run until 7th November, after which the 2 lucky recipients will be randomly picked and notified via email or FB messaging. The results will also be announced on my FB Blog Page so be sure to “Like and Follow” to know it firsthand when you win and stay updated on more new recipes and other exciting news from my blog!