Tamarind (Asam) Prawns with Squid and Petai Beans

Yesterday, my mum wanted to have lunch cooked by me and she pointed excitedly at the recipe of Tamarind Prawns found in this Malay cookbook. It particularly intrigued me as I have never cooked Malay cuisine before and judging from the recipe it was fairly simple.

Now one thing to note that Malay dishes are commonly believed to be fattening (maybe it is so), but I believe that has mainly to do with the coconut milk frequently added in a number of their curry and spice dishes. The Tamarind Prawns dish is by far what I believe to be almost all natural ingredients using natural herbs and spices. A very interesting concoction to whip up.

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Left - Herbs and Spices ; Right - Mr. Squid 

I went to the market and of course, couldn't resist adding more ingredients and shaping the recipe to my taste. I bought a squid and Petai beans as part of my now unique creation. (Of course some of you may have cooked this way before, but its always good to experiment without reference from anything. Intuition I always say=)

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Left - Petai Beans ; Right - Prawns

After cooking the dish, I very much enjoyed the sourness of the tamarind, plus the fresh seafood taste of the prawns and squid all mixed together in one fine gravy. The addition of the petai beans added that unique taste (though not all may like it because it resembles...er...ah hum...flatulence) Serve it hot with steamed white rice, and I believe a satisfying, quick and easy lunch is made =) Yummy.

Interested in serving this to your guests and family?

Recipe : Tamarind Prawns with Squid and Petai Beans


  • 300grams prawns. (Shelled or whole, up to you. But keep the heads please if you shell them)
  • 20grams ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass (serai)
  • 2 pieces bird's eye chilli (chilli padi)
  • 3 tablespoons of tamarind paste
  • 1 medium sized red onion
  • 1 squid, cleaned and sliced. 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • salt to taste
  • water 
  • Tumeric (Kunyit) Powder (optional)
  1. If you shelled the prawns, keep the heads and with 1 cup of water, place them in a frying pan to make the stock. Remove prawn heads and keep the liquid left.
  2. Mix half cup water with the tamarind paste to create the tamarind juice. Note you might want to use your fingers to press out the juice from the flesh. Once done, remove the tamarind seeds and keep the flesh and juice.
  3. Slice ginger, garlic, lemon grass, chilli and red onion. Add to a blender and top it with 1 tablespoon of water. Blend till fine to form a spice paste.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in pan. Stir fry the spice paste till fragrant. Be careful not to burn the paste. Add in the tamarind juice and flesh. Stir fry for 1 minute.
  5. If you have the prawn stock, add it now, otherwise Add in 1/2 cup of water. Let the tamarind gravy simmer a little.
  6. Add in the tumeric powder. 
  7. Now add in the petai beans and squid. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add in the sugar.
  8. Once you are certain you are happy with the consistency of the gravy and the saltiness, stir in the prawns. Cover and leave to simmer for 1 minute. Top the gravy with more water if needed or simmer for a less watery gravy.
  9. Serve hot with steamed white rice. Enjoy.

Voila you have now created Tamarind Prawns with Squid and Petai Beans!



Steamed Coconut with Milk and Egg White

I chanced upon this interesting dessert at the Crystal Jade Restaurant. It had to be good otherwise my family and I wouldn't have gone back to eat it twice. The dessert is perhaps a remarkable idea by the chef and all credit goes to him or her, but I simply had to recreate the dish at home.

I have to admit that it didn't turn out restaurant style but I have got most of the recipe for this dessert down to pat. The texture of this dish served hot is very smooth, almost fine. Couple that together with the sweetness of the coconut and the softness of the egg white, mmmmm...I am sure you can imagine that savoury taste.

Click the link below for the recipe!


Its very easy to prepare and serve your guests and definitely a step away from the traditional fruits and jelly.

Steamed Coconut served with Milk and Egg Whites

  • 1 coconut
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  1. Prepare steamer. Make sure your coconut can fit into the steamer.
  2. Drain the coconut juice into a bowl. Keep the whole husk.
  3. In the bowl, add in the egg white, milk and sugar. With a whisk or fork, beat the mix until everything is like..well mixed.
  4. Pour back the mix into the coconut husk and steam for 45 minutes. Serve hot!

Have fun cooking!


Hakka Abacus Seeds

I always felt that Hakka cuisine tended to be more on the healthy side haha judging by the lack of 'taste' I tasted in this particular food court's dish, I thought even more so too.

Well, the Hakka Abacus Seeds (looks like the abacus seeds from a real abacus, hence the name) is said to bring about fortune and prosperity. I expected the dish to be crunchy and savoury with a little meat inside, but lo and behold it was soft and mushy. The chopped olives (I presume) added a tinge of savoury flavour to the seeds but apart from that, it was ok for me.


Hakka Eight Treasures

Now, as supposedly one of the main highlights of the traditional cuisine, the Hakka Eight Treasures really stands for its name in simplicity. Nothing too elaborate but the delicate natural flavour of the food. There is a meatball, beancurd with meat stuffing, mushroom with stuffing, bean sauce and a fried beancurd skin.

Still, I am looking for true authentic Hakka food, so any good place to recommend?

Deep down, my stomach is grumbling for the taste of tradition.


My maternal grandma's birthday was celebrated about two weeks ago on the 28th of September and the family went to Asia Grand Restaurant to partake in her joyous feast. Located at Odeon Towers, just opposite the Raffles Hotel, Asia Grand supposedly offers some of the best Peking Duck you have ever tasted. Not surprisingly, with all regards to its rich name and grandeur that exudes from it, it is a dining room of top-notch service leaving you at ease and at comfort.


Chinese Character "Shou" signifying longevity for my Grandma.

As in tradition for Chinese Birthdays, red eggs is a dish of significant importance and not to be missed especially for the seniors. (My second aunt made them, looks good eh=). Steamed lotus longevity buns - a sign of longevity (did you guess from the name?) were also served upon our request at the birthday banquet. And I must agree, they were tasty as well.

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Left - Red Eggs. Right - Steamed Lotus Longevity Buns


The main highlight of the dinner is arguably the Peking Duck. Presented Crispy Golden Brown, the duck looked like it worth any long wait. I particularly like the way Peking Duck is eaten. The crisp skin, garnished with a teaspoon full of gravy, sprinkled with some light garnish and then wrapped in a beautiful yellow pancake. It is a dish of simple, royal delight.

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Asia Grand's Peking Duck I must say presents itself very well. Nothing beats settling down to dinner with a light and crispy dish. The thin layer of fat just under the skin complements with the smooth texture of the pancake and by placing everything on the prawn cracker served, ahhh what delight.

Rating for Peking Duck : 4.5/5


Winter Melon Soup with Seafood 

DSCF3819 An inspiring melon soup with a loving seafood stock served in the melon husk itself.

The broth was deliciously hearty and very heartwarming such that it leaves a sense of satisfaction after each sip. Somehow, it just reminds you of the soup Grandma always makes.

Serving size was very generous too with a handsome offering of fresh seafood in it.

A definite must try if you ever visit Asia Grand.

Rating for : 4.5/5



Steamed Live Prawns with Garlic 

DSCF3825-1 The steamed live prawns with garlic is the sweetest seafood dish I have tried. No no, its not the sugar but rather the authentic freshness of the prawns itself that gives rise to its aromatic taste.

Tantalizing and fragrant, the garlic sprinkled generously on each half piece of prawn added remarkably well to the juiciness of the shellfish.

Though I did find the light sauce broth a tad too salty for my liking, but overall an excellent dish if you would like to marvel in seafood freshness.
Rating for : 4/5


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Apart from all the traditional dishes served, I was particularly impressed by the Green Tea Braised Egg Tofu. It was enjoyable biting through the soft pieces while savouring the refreshing light taste of Green Tea. The light braised sauce that was ladled over it also served to add to the flavour of the tofu, bringing out the simplicity yet exquisiteness of the dish. Three Cheers for this dish!

Rating for Green Tea Braised Egg Tofu : 4.5/5

The Chicken, symbolism of the dragon and the phoenix and the coming together of families. Perhaps the most common dish in the entire dinner, yet still lovingly prepared with a roasted skin and tender meat. The taro chips at the side did not disappoint as well :)

Rating for Roasted Chicken : 3.5/5


In Chinese customs, noodles are a symbol of longevity. They are usually served long and whole without it being cut up. Remember that Peking Duck from before? Well, it was cut up and the meat deliciously whipped up with the noodles. Eat a bowl of Longevity Noodles and live a long life for the future.

Rating for Longevity Noodles with Shredded Duck Meat : 3/5

Grandma's banquet doesn't end here though. There were other dishes such as fish, mushroom and dessert being served, which I did not feature. Still, Asia Grand Restaurant provides some of the better quality Asian Cuisine around and with its not too expensive price, it certainly is a nice place to visit occasionally with your family.

Rating for Service : 4/5

Overall Rating for Asia Grand Restaurant : 4/5 

No. 331, North Bridge Road. #01-02 Odeon Towers, Singapore 188720. Tel : 68870010 & Fax : 68870020