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Sydney Table - March 2010

It would appear Amy and I are tuned in together today. After weeks of being busy and getting my new computer and concentrating on Salty Popcorn and being sick and having the parental units staying with me I finally made the decision today that the recipe for the main course of my Megafeast Dinner had to go up. Click on Megafeast Dinner for the menu and first course of Halloumi in Chilli Sauce - YUMMY.

For an extensive history on Malaysia and how its food became so diverse head on over to THIS WEBSITE

But the main for me was my grand affair - the meal I had to create that could show all my extremely judgemental school friends that I could cook and deserve the right to hassle them constantly to read more of my websites - including Sydney Table. So today is Sydney Table's Malaysian Day - Amy has given us a superb restaurant to visit that I most definitely will - I do believe the small restaurants can produce the best meals - less pretension and more food cooking - YUMMY. And I am giving you Malaysian Seafood Stew - this takes between an hour or two to prepare and about half an hour to cook - it is authentic and the best part is the freshness mixed with your own made paste - hope you enjoy - do yourself the favour and spend a day making this divine meal. If you are a coriander you can also throw in a bunch of coriander - all finely chopped - for me it would have ruined everything

This serves between 6 & 10 people depending on the size of your servings - it would be ideal with the Halloumi as an entree above and while Helen's Grape and Chardonnay was immensely loved I would next time like to serve a lemon myrtle or green tea ice cream as the dessert.

Malaysian Seafood Stew Recipe

* 4 medium to hot fresh red chillies, seeded
* 8 garlic cloves
* 2tsp paprika
* 4tsp shrimp paste - preferably fermented but not absolutely necessary
* 3Tbsp chopped fresh root ginger
* 500gms small shallots - red is preferable but I could not find them so used the standard
* 6Tbsp peanut oil
* 2tsp crushed fennel seeds
* 4 fennel bulbs cut into thin wedges
* 1.5 litres of fish stock - (I just bought the Campbell's giant popper sized ones)
* 500gms of thin vermicelli rice noodles
* 900mls coconut milk (I bought lite)
* juice of 3 limes
* 80mls of Thai fish sauce
* 900gms of white fish fillets, monkfish, halibut, snapper or similiar - cut into think chunks
* 900gms of large raw prawns (then shelled and deveined)
* a bunch of fresh basil
* 4 spring onions thinly sliced

It is very easy to prep nearly everything during the morning or day and then it makes it much easier to cook at night. Prep your paste and your seafood so all ready to cook - the rest should be simple.

Malaysian Seafood Stew Recipe

1) Process the chillies, garlic, paprika, shrimp paste, ginger, and four shallots to a paste in a food processor, blender or spice grinder - I used a Bar Mix Add 2tsp of the peanut oil to the paste and process again until fairly smooth.
2) Heat the remaining oil in a large pan. Add the remaining shallots, the fennel seeds and the fennel wedges. Cook until lightly browned, then add 6Tbsp of the paste and stir fry for about 2mins.
3) Pour in the fish stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 9mins.
4) While this is happening prepare the vermicelli noodles by the instructions on the side of the pack - mine stated to place the noodles in cold or warm water for 2mins and then to drain, set aside.
5) Pour the coconut milk in to the pan of shallots, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, then add the juice of 2 limes, with 4 Tbsp of fish sauce (you may want to block your nose ) Stir thoroughly to combine. Bring to a simmer and taste, adding more curry paste, lime juice or fish sauce as you think necessary - I did not add any more to mine.
6) Place the fish in the pan and cook for about 4mins, then add the prawns and cook until they turn pink. Chop up most of the basil and add to the pan.
7) Divide the noodles evenly among the plates and then ladle over the stew. Sprinkle with the spring onions and remaining basil leaves and get ready for plenty of compliments

I recommend a nice sweet red wine with this and a great bunch of friends.


Sorry Jason - I had to hijack this one coz I think anyone who likes South East Asian food and loves a good spice should try this place out!

Malacca Straits serves traditional Malaysian cuisine. I am sure in my travel blog that I've mentioned I like Malaysian food. Well, in Sydney, I have found a couple of really good authentic Malaysian places that actually make me feel like I am in Malaysia - and this is one of them.

The place is tiny - but is always packed. From curries to stir frys to excellent desserts, there haven't been any dish that I did not like!

Highly recommended are: the Chicken Kapitan Curry, the Crying Tiger, Sambal Udang and 'Butter Chicken' (I think this one is only available through the specials board in store)

Now - things are going to be spicy, and I generally don't like chilli - however it's a funny thing. The Malaysians must have some sort of aromatic spice that makes the chilli actually taste good, and not just spicy. Be ready with a glass of soy milk if you are not spice tolerant.

Check their website for other yummy stuff on the menu:

When I go again I'll take some photos

It is good to know that my friends are actually reading Sydney Table. I had drinks a few weeks ago with long time school friend, Michelle, who decided it was time I put my money where my mouth is and cook for a group of friends for nothing other than to get together and feast on food and each other's company. She also came up with the awesome suggestion that everyone can pay for their meal so I was not cooking a dish that I could afford for everyone and actually cook whatever I chose. Brilliant idea and thanks Michelle.

As my place is fairly small I had to limit guests and invited Michelle, or live in her eternal wrath, Tony & Renee and my uber cool neighbor Karin, she cooks for me all the time and hand delivers food samples she is cooking every other day. Karin thought it would be much nicer to serve it on her outside deck downstairs - it is much larger and heaps nicer for entertaining. As I refused to take money for Karin she also insisted on cooking one of the four courses for the evening, and hopefully I will post her recipe for the various flavours of dumplings she cooked - these were INSANELY delicious. Tony & Renee could not get a sitter so brought their little one Ava who spent the night hanging out with Karin's little Princess Stella. I also had a very cool assistant for the night, Finn - thanks for all the help Finn, you rock.

Menu for the Evening:
4 types of dumplings with Dipping Sauce
Nigella's Halloumi With Chilli
Malaysian Fish Stew
Helen (from Rough Cooking)'s Chardonnay and Grape cake - with my Grand Marnier Cream

All up for all four dishes the cost of ingredients was about $200- but it was worth it!!!

Karin will hopefully be giving me lessons on dumplings and I will share with you in coming weeks.

Nigella's Halloumi with Chilli

BUT - course one is:
Nigella's Halloumi With Chilli, and this dish is so easy I have no idea why I don't have it for one meal every week. This was also the very first time I had cooked with Halloumi that I will now be using it many more times. Poor Finn had to put up with me daring him to eat everything I cooked so he could experience new things - I am pretty sure this was the only thing he did not like

This made 32 little squares.


2 tablespoons chopped de-seeded fresh red chili (about 2 medium chillies)

60 ml extra virgin olive oil

2 (250 g) packets halloumi cheese, sliced medium-thin ( just under half a cm)

juice of quarter lemon

Nigella's Halloumi with Chilli


1 - Mix the chopped chilli and olive oil in a small bowl or cup and leave the flavours to deepen while you cook the cheese.
2 - Put the slices in a non-stick frying pan for this, without any oil, and just give the cheese slices about 2 minutes a side until they're golden-brown in parts.
3 - When all the slices of halloumi are cooked, transfer them to a couple of small plates. Give the chilli oil a stir, spoon it over the cheese, then give a spritz of lemon.

YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!

Besides the smell of mint I have never been a huge fan. When I tried to grow it it went completely out of control, like a weed, and killed everything else in its battle of dominance. And when I have cooked with it in the past I am unsure if I had used to much of it but its flavour also always seemed to dominate.

lamb with mint and chilli

[ Click here to read more ]

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