Kai Yum (egg salad)

3 eggs, hard boiled
1 tbls lemongrass, sliced
1 Asian shallot, sliced
3 red birds eye chillies, seeded & sliced
1/2 tomato, sliced
1 tbls coriander leaves
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp sugar

Combine all ingredients, except eggs,
in a mortar and pestle – crush lightly.
Allow flavours to combine, add halved
eggs and mix well.

Recipe from nameless outdoor eatery – Narathiwat.

Malaysian kaya toast and half-cooked eggs

4 soft white bread rolls
4 tbls kaya
4 thick slices of cold butter
4 eggs
soy sauce
ground white pepper
2 glasses teh tarik or Malaysian coffee

Place eggs in a heat proof vessel,
pour half a litre of boiling hot water over them
and allow to stand 6 minutes – remove from water.
Meanwhile lightly toast the buns on both sides,
add a slab of butter and a dollop of kaya to each
and slam shut so it starts to melt.
Serve eggs with a splash of soy sauce and
a shake of pepper.

Inspired by breakfast at city bus stand food court, Kuantan

Kacang Hijau (Mamak-style stir-fried beans)

1 bunch (150g) snake beans
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp rice flour
pinch salt
1 tbls coconut oil
1 sprig curry leaves

Cut beans into 4cm lengths – mix with chilli,
turmeric, rice flour and salt – set aside 15 minutes.
Heat 1 tbls coconut oil, sizzle curry leaves,
Add beans and stir-fry until crispy,
adding 1 or 2 tbls water to prevent sticking.

Inspired by Line Clear Nasi Kandar, Jalan Penang – Georgetown

Tomato Curry

500g small ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 onion
1/2 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 stalks curry leaves

Combine tomatoes, turmeric, chilli and
1/2 cup water – simmer 3 minutes.
Puree together 1/2 of the onion, coconut,
salt and 1/2 cup water – add to tomatoes
and simmer 2 minutes.
Heat 1 tbls coconut oil, sizzle mustard seeds,
add curry leaves and remaining 1/2 sliced onion
– fry until browned then add to tomatoes.

Inspired by thali at Maharaja Hotel, CN Krishna Rd – Chennai

Ikan Bakar Berempah (spicy barbequed fish)

450g whole bonito/mackerel
1 shallot
1 stalk lemongrass
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp galangal
1 tsp turmeric (or 1/2 tsp powder)
1-2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbls lime juice
1/2 tsp belacan powder
1/2 tsp sugar

Splay fish. Puree together all remaining
ingredients and marinate fish in paste 2 hours.
Remove excess paste and barbeque fish with a
generous splash of oil until just cooked and crispy.

Inspired by Gerak 21 food court, Kampung Bahru – KL

Beetroot Poriyal

750g raw beetroots
2 tsp mustard seeds
4 dried red chillies, halved
3 tsp urid dal
3 tsp chana dal
2 stalks curry leaves
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut
1 tbls coriander powder

Peel and dice beetroot into 1cm cubes.
Heat 3 tbls coconut oil and sizzle mustard seeds,
dried chillies, urid dal, chana dal and curry leaves.
Add onion, then turmeric and chilli powder –
mix well and saute until soft.
Add beetroot, cover and cook 25 minutes adding
a few tablespoons water as needed.
Add coconut and coriander powder to finish.

Inspired by thali meals at Maharaja Hotel, CN Krishna Rd – Chennai

Weekend with Atlas

This week we launched our house sitting adventures
with a lovable Great Dane in Lane Cove.
It was an easy and comfortable sit, the only nervous
moment being when we first arrived, coming face to face with
our drooling fifty kilogram charge – the owners had already
left home for the weekend and we had never met Atlas before…
But it turned out that he wasn’t at all bothered by the arrival
of two strangers in his territory and he welcomed us with his loud
inhalations, sniffing and looking at us nonchalantly like we
weren’t quite who he was expecting. Adorable on a large scale!
His favourite thing was to go to the nearby park where he could
bound off leash with his doggy friends, play fetch and do
herculean poos in the shrubbery – two stomach churning
handfuls in each evacuation.
At home afterwards he would syphon down a bucket of water,
politely request a belly rub and fall asleep on the living room floor.
He was well-trained and obedient, showing affection not just toward
us, but also to Albus, his companion cat.
The weekend passed by in a furry flash, and saying goodbye was
sooooo sad…

Persian omelette

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbls tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tomato, chopped
2 eggs

Heat 1 tbls oil and sizzle garlic.
Add tomato paste and stir 2 minutes.
Add spices and stir.
Add tomato – cover 1-2 minutes.
Add eggs and stir gently until cooked.
Serve with barberi bread and other
accompaniments as desired.

Inspired by chai khaneh in South Saadi Street – Tehran

Sobhune (Persian breakfast)

A typical Iranian breakfast includes as many
or few of the below items as you please…
In order of importance –
bread – barberi or sangak
jams – carrot, mulberry, bergamot, apricot, sour cherry….
eggs – hard-boiled, omelette or kuku
cheese – feta or soft cheese
tea – sweet black or with saffron sugar
fresh seasonal fruits – melon, oranges, grapes…
honeycomb and clotted cream

Inspired by numerous breakfasts across Iran

Keralan Rasam

1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 stalk curry leaves
1 dried red chilli, torn
1/4 tsp asafoetida
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tomatoes, cubed
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp tamarind, soaked in a little water
2 tbls coriander leaves

Heat 1 tbls coconut oil and sizzle mustard and cumin seeds,
dried red chilli, curry leaves and asafoetida.
Add garlic, tomatoes and salt – fry 2 minutes.
Add turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, pepper,
tamarind liquid and 1/2 cup water – simmer 5 minutes.
Add 1 to 2 cups water, return to boil, add coriander leaves
and remove from heat. Serve at room temperature over hot rice.

Inspired by meals at Hotel Ariya Bhavan, Kumily – Kerala