Thursday, February 5, 2015

Grissini ( Italian Breadsticks )




Grissini, also known as Italian breadsticks is our present bake along theme. I have tried grissini once at a buffet breakfast and they were crunchy type, just like crackers. I am not exactly sure if there are also the soft types of grissini because i do see some soft grissini recipes out there. The ones that i made here are the crunchy ones. Before i had my first grissini, apart from its unusual cute long sticks, i had the impression that they might be a little bland to eat, they were just plain looking sticks to me, ..i mean the ones that i had at the buffet. But it wasnt, somehow they had the kind of fragrant aroma of some herbs and also accompanied with some soft cheese which were nice to eat!


Here in this recipe, i have incorporated some italian herbs into the dough, if you want a stronger taste, you can add another half tablespoon more. No cheese but i have made a dip to go with these breadsticks, almost similar dip that i have made last time , Smoked Salmon Avocado Spread  but without the smoked salmon! Just as good!!


On the other hand, even wihout any dips or spread, i do think that these breadsticks are still much enjoyable to eat. Apart from the light flavour of the italian herbs which we get to taste in the sticks, there is also a good aroma of sesame seeds, i would think this is something fun to snack too!

Recipe ( from kingarthurflour.com )
makes around 20 sticks
Ingredients
1 tsp instant yeast
1tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp milk powder
1/2 tbsp pizza dough flavour ( i used italian herbs )
95g bread flour
95gm OO flour*
95ml lukewarmwater ( i needed about 130ml water )
1tbsp olive oil

egg whites ( just little, less than 1 )
black and white sesame seeds

* can use all bread flour


Directions
In the bowl of an electric mixer, put in all flour, sugar, salt, milk powder, italian herbs, instant yeast and mix them using a fork or dough hook. On low speed, pour in half the water, then the olive oil and slowly add in the rest of the water till a dough is formed. Run the machine to knead the dough into a soft dough, approx 5-6 mins. Remove the dough onto a lightly oiled bowl, cover with kitchen towel and let it proof for an hour.

Lightly knead the dough and shape into a rectangle about 9in x 13 in. If you find it difficult to roll, you may rest the dough for a few minutes before proceeding. After shaping into rectangle, brush the surface with some egg whites and sprinkle the sesame seeds all over. Using a pizza roller, cut into about 1cm ( or thinner ) width strips. Twist the strip or roll ( both ends in opposite direction) and lay them on the prepared baking tray, do the same for all strips  and let it proof for about 40 mins. Bake them in a preheated oven at  215C for about 12-14 mins till they are brown ( i used 2 trays, upper and lower rack, rotate the trays half way between the baking time and i hv baked them on 190C fan forced )






Cream Cheese Avocado Spread
1/2 piece of small ripe avocado
110g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 small onion, chopped
juice from 1/2 lemon
some chopped parsley or spring onions
some salt to taste

Blend them all together using a food processor.




Feel free to join me, Joyce and Zoe making these Italian Breadsticks from today up till Feb14, 2015. Happy Baking!





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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hot Milk Cake with Peaches and Cream


The cake gets its name as hot milk is one of the ingredients for making this. Heating up the milk and butter together is the key step that what makes it called a hot milk cake. There are also different, but quite similar recipes which we can find in the internet on hot milk cakes and in this bake along, me, Joyce and Zoe are trying out the recipe from the book, Bon Appetit. Infact, last year i had made Tish Boyle's Hot Milk Sponge Cake so i was expecting the cake to be the same, sort of.



This recipe has suggested us to bake them in custard cups, i have used my muffin pan instead and
instead of serving them in cups with cream and strawberries, i just left it as it is and filled with sliced peaches and cream. The little cakes turned out fine but less fluffier if compared to the hot milk sponge cake which i had made last year. Both are quite similar recipes but then again, at times we might not know there might be something we have not done good enough such as creaming or beating of the eggs and so on. Anyway, the peaches and cream made up for it :D

Recipe ( from the book , Bon Appetit )
makes 9
Ingredients
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp self raising flour
2/3 cup whole milk
70gm unsalted butter
3-4 peach halves, from the can, sliced
1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
1 tbsp icing sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 210C. Using electric mixer, beat eggs in medium bowl at high speed until thick, about 3 minutes. Gradually add 2/3 cup sugar, beating until thick and pale yellow, about 1 min longer. Beat in 1/2 tsp vanilla. Add flour and beat 30 seconds. Bring milk and butter just to boil in small saucepan, stirring until butter melts. Beta hot milk mixture into batter. Continue to beat for 30seconds and pour the batter into a non stick muffin tin.

Bake cakes until firm to touch and pale golden, and tops form rounded peak in center, about 16mins. Let cool before filling in the cream. Cakes can be made 8 hours ahead , cover and let stand at room temperature.

For filling, just combined the chilled whipping cream and icing sugar and whisk till soft peak . Cut the cake into half, put in 2-3 slices of peach and a dollop of whipping cream and cover with the cake top.



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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mille Feuille ( with custard cream )




Happy New Year 2015!

I had made this simple mille feuille or also known as Napoleon on the 2nd day of new year and by the way, i have no idea how to actually pronounce " mille feuille " :) ..and so it says mille feuille is made up of 3 layers of pastry which is filled with pastry cream, whipped cream or any filling that we like in between the layers . I have made the same custard cream that i made for my Swan Cream Puffs, only that this time i cooked it so that it becomes a little thicker.There are some napoleons i see that comes with a thicker pastry layer and some with a thinner layer. I personally like mine with a thinner layer and if you have not tried making this and like it thin, the key thing is to a put a baking tray on top of the puff pastry while baking it so that it wont puff up so much.

Start by putting a parchment paper on the tray and then lay down the puff pastry onto the paper.


Then put another piece of parchment paper on top of the pastry and followed by another baking tray and this is how it looks like when it goes into the oven . Bake at 200C on middle rack for 25minutes.


After 25 minutes, remove the tray and the parchment paper( the one which is on top of the pastry ) and continue to bake for another 5 minutes.


after baking ..
Cut the pastry sheet into 3 equal strips and spread one layer of cream onto the first layer, top with a second layer and another layer of cream and finally the 3rd layer. So 2 layers of cream in between the layers.






Use a very sharp knife to cut into pieces as this gets quite messy..




Dust with icing sugar to cover up imperfections...:D




Recipe for custard cream filling
enough to use for 3 puff pastry sheets
1 cup milk
1 egg, well beaten
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of half an orange

Directions
Mix together the egg, sugar, flour and salt and using a hand whisk, beat well. In a small pot, bring the milk to just boiling and slowly pour in a thin stream to the egg mixture and stir vigorously as to not to cook the eggs mixture. Return the mixture to the pot and cook on low heat till it thickens , keep stirring all the time. Please watch this carefully as it gets thick rather fast, less than a minute. Remove from heat and let cool down. Cover with cling wrap and stick it directly to the custard. Can keep in the fridge after it has cooled down .



Joyce, Zoe  and myself welcome everyone who wish to join us in our first bake along for the year! You can use any of your favourite cream or filling and fruits. Also here wishing everyone who dropping by here a healthy and a wonderful 2015!

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Gingerbread Cake



I havent really been cooking and baking much this holidays season but i thought i wanted to make a spiced cake for this christmas week.... It always seem to me a spiced cake sounds kinda like a classic christmas flavour ..and so gingerbread cake comes to mind ...afterall i have not tried it myself.  I thought i have ground cloves in my house but none and i have substituted it with ground nutmeg, In fact many of the recipes i see online have both .


For a first attempt in making a gingerbread cake,  i would say i am happy with how the flavour turned out. I am not sure if most people would love a heavily or deeply spiced cake. In this recipe, the spices are not overpowering, we can still find the flavour with much presence here. Nicely moist cake too! Joy of Baking has included a lemon icing to go with the cake but i have opted to use a simple cream cheese icing cos that block of cream cheese has been sitting in my fridge for.. i dont know how long! Anyway, Merry Christmas to all !



Recipe ( from Joy of Baking )
makes one 8" cake
Ingredients
250gm all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1.5 tsp ground ginger
1/4tsp ground cloves ( i used ground nutmeg )
zest of 1 lemon ( omitted )
1tbsp finely chopped ginger or 1/4 finely chopped crystallised ginger ( optional)
115gm butter, slightly softened
120gm brown sugar
50gm white sugar ( omitted )
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup milk

Directions
Preheat oven to 180C and place rack in center of oven. Line and butter a 8"by 8" baking pan.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves or nutmeg, lemon zest and grated ginger ( if using )

In the bowl of an electric mixer ( or with a hand mixer ), beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy ( takes abt 2-3 mins). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the molasses and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the dry ingredients ( in 3 additions ) and milk ( in 2 additions ) alternately, begining and ending with the dry ingredients and beat just until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 mins or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wiring rack. Let cool completely before frosting the cake.( i baked mine for about 50mins in total, covering the top of the cake with foil after 30 mins )

Cream cheese icing
1 block /225 g cream cheese, at room teperature
1.5 to 2 cup of icing sugar
a little milk

Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together till smooth. Add milk by tablespoon until desired consistency for frosting.



I am submitting this post to Cook and Celebrate Christmas 2014 hosted by Zoe of Bake for Happy KidsDiana of The Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cranberry Orange Biscotti




Although biscottis are enjoyed all year round, i tend to associate them with Christmas. It gives me kind of festive feel, they are like christmas cookies to me! and so i was quite excited when Zoe has made her choice of baking biscottis for our bake along christmas theme. Our biscotti christmas theme will run up till Dec22, 2014, so if you have a biscotti recipe to share, come join me, Joyce and Zoe!


Originated from Italy, biscottis are 'twice baked cookies' meaning the dough is cooked twice till dry in order to have a longer shelf life. Initial baking is almost like in a flat log or cakeform and then after that, it is sliced into pieces for second baking which determines how dry and hard the biscottis are going to be. I have chosen to make mine with some dried cranberries which i also believe it is a popular ingredient in making biscottis, added some dried apricots( well, just for some colour ) and flaked almonds. This recipe also contains some orange zest and orange juice which i find it fabulous. It adds flavour to them ,refreshing flavour and you can already catch the aroma when you take them out from the oven! The only one thing i would do next time making these will be bake them a little longer more so that they stay more crunchier :D

after the 1st baking, slice and bake them again




Recipe ( adapted from laura in the kitchen )
makes just a dozen, recipe can easily be tripled
Ingredients
110gm all purpose/ plain flour
80gm sugar ( reduced )
1/4tsp salt
1/2tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract ( omitted )
zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup flaked almonds
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 pieces of dried apricots, cut into small pieces ( i added this )
1.5 tbsp orange juice
1 egg, lightly beaten
1.5 tbsp vegetable oil

Directions
Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl. In another separate small bowl, put in 1 tbsp of plain flour and mix in the orange zest so that the zest dont clump together. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment,  pour in the orange juice, egg and oil and mix to combine well. Add in the flour mixture and also the zest flour mixture. Mix well. Throw in the dried cranberries, almonds and also the dried apricots if using. Mix well . Do not over mix.

Remove from the bowl onto a floured surface . The dough will be quite sticky. Shape the dough into a log, about 12 inches in length and transfer it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Using your fingers or scrapper, pat the dough flat about 2 inches in width . Bake in a preheated oven at 177C for 25 minutes.

Let it cool down for a few minutes and using a serrated knife, slice them diagonally about 1/2inch thick. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet and bake for 7minutes. Flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes until golden and lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.


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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wu Pao-Chun Champion Toast 吴宝春金牌土司



After seeing all the excitement and the wonderful reviews among my blogger friends who have baked this popular bread recipe that originally comes from Master Wu Pao-Chun, his Champion Toast Bread, now i'm finally trying it. I cant agree more that this is indeed a very good white bread recipe, the soft type of bread that many of us will like. I do not know how long will it keep soft , on the second day it is still as good and on the third day i have to keep in the fridge as i have to be away from home. The best thing about baking this bread is of course you dont need any bread starters that needs extra time to make it and yet it yields a very tender loaf of bread, that's brilliant.

The crust turned out to be lighter than usual which i realised i hv baked in the lowest rack of the oven.
Guess that's the reason why.



I cant remember where exactly did i first come across this bread recipe but here i am referring to ccm's blog for the original recipe , you can proportion it out if you want to bake a bigger or smaller loaf or rolls. If you like this kind of white bread, this would be ideal for a everyday bread. Thanks to everyone who have shared this recipe.


Here is the original full recipe taken from ccm2poco.blogspot.com 

hi protein flour 1000gm
sugar 80gm
salt 18gm
butter 50gm
instant yeast 10gm
milk 230gm

my scaled down recipe baked in a pullman tin 20cmx 10cm x10 cm
hi protein flour 330gm
sugar 2 tbsps
salt 2 tsps
butter 15gm
water 148gm
yeast 3gm
milk 75gm

Direction
Using a fork, mix flour, sugar, salt and instant yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Attach dough hook and gradually add in milk and water. Beat till it becomes a rough dough. Add in the butter and continue to beat for about 15mins till the dough is smooth. ( mine on speed 2 KA mixer )

Remove the dough and shape into ball . Let it proof in a large bowl, covered with kitchen towel or cling wrap and let proof till its double its size. Once it has doubled its size, remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead the dough. Shape into a ball and let it rest for 10 mins.

Using a roller pin, flatten the dough and roll out to a rectangle with its shorter length almost matching the length of the pullman tin but shorter ( as it needs space to expand further ). Roll it up and let it proof in the pullman tin till it fills up almost 90% of the tin, about 50 mins. Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for about 25-30mins. ( I baked mine at 190c for 30mins )

I am linking this post to Best Recipe for Everyone November 2014 Event Theme : Fresh form Oven - My Bread Story hosted by Fion of XuanHom's Mom Kitchen Diary

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Jam Doughnut Muffins




Taste like doughnuts, shape like muffins?

okay, be it a half doughnut or half muffin , i find this recipe from Nigella Lawson is incredibly good. Each doughnut muffin here is filled with some jam and once the baking it's done while it's still warm, roll them over some melted butter and some sugar. Delicious! There is no need to take your piping bag and tip out to pipe in the jam on the cooked muffin, here we fill  the muffin case with some batter, follow by the jam and again top with more batter and bake .


I have baked kind of similar muffins couple of months back, Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins , a different recipe. I would think this Nigella's doughnut muffins are fluffier and tender in texture compared to the those cinnamon sugar muffins. Yes, they are quite like doughnuts but so much easier to make !

As i was typing this,post,  i just received a message from Joyce reminding of today's post. Gosh! I thought it's tomorrow! Sorry if some of you have followed the date written on the side bar of the blog. My mistake, sorry! So here it is, my bake along post with Joyce and Zoe!




Recipe ( from How to be a Domestic Goddess )
made about 20 mini muffin
1/2 cup milk
scant 7 tbsp corn/ vegetable oil, plus more for greasing ( i used 5 )
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract ( omitted )
11/3 cups/ 160gm  self raising flour
12tsps strawberry jam
1/3 cup superfine sugar
scant 1/2 cup unsalted butter ( i reduced to 50gm)
1/2 cup sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.

With a fork, beat together milk, oil, egg and vanilla extract. Stir this into the flour and 1/3 cup sugar
until just combined ( can use hand whisk) .  The lumps dont matter and if you overbeat the muffins will be tough. Spoon th emixture into eacah muffin cup so that it's just under a third full. Then with a teaspoon add a dollop of strawberry jam, then top with more muffin mix so that the cases are just about full.

Put them in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 mins or until the tops feel springy and have puffed up into little toadstools. ( I baked mine for 16 mins )Meanwhile, melt the butter slowly in a thick bottomed pan and lay tge remaining sugar out in a wide shallow bowl or plate. As soon as the muffins are ready, remove the from the pan, dip them in the butter and roll them in the sugar. Eat warm.




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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Chocolate Macarons


My decent macarons. Of course i would love to make something of lovely pink or purple..hmm..next time, i just stick with doing something simple first. I do not have much experience baking macarons, this is my second time doing it and even the first time i did was not entirely on full hands, here.



I followed the recipe very closely from Joy of Baking, only scaled down the recipe and watched the video as well. I must say that watching the video helps a lot especially the folding part and the beating of the meringue. But of course if you are an expert in making macarons, you dont hv to watch the video, you can even do it with one eye closed...hehe..

There were however 2 things that i did not follow thru the recipe . First is the duration of resting and drying the macarons. I have rested my macarons for about 1.5hrs  before baking them. I was still unsure whether should i waited a little more, they were still a little tacky. Secondly was the baking time. I have baked mine for almost 25mins as i find that they were still not properly baked yet at 15mins. I am glad, phew! that it turned out more than fine for me and surely there are still lots of room for improvement.  There are plenty videos to watch and troubleshooting tips on making macarons all over the internet, so do watch if you are still a newbie like me making macarons.


Recipefrom Joy Of Baking )
Ingredients
Macaron Shell
50gms ground almonds
85gm icing sugar
8gms cocoa powder
50gm aged egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
17gm castor sugar

Directions
Place the ground almonds, icing sugar and cocoa powder in the food processor and process till they are mixed together, about 30 secs. ( since the quantity i was using was rather little, i had used a mill to process it in 2 batches ). Then sift the mixture to remove any lumps.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or hand mixer)beat egg whites and cream of tartaron medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat on medium high speed until the meringue just hold stiff peaks( when you raise the whisk the meringue stands straight up, no drooping). Then in 3 additions, sift the ground almond mixture into the meringue.When folding, cut through the meringue and then fold up and over, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Once the almond mixture is completely folded into the meringue , it is time to pipe the macarons.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper and fill a pastry bag, fitted with a 1cm plain tip and pipe about 4cm rounds onto the parchment paper. Gently tap the baking sheet on the counter to break any air bubbles and let macarons sit at room temperature for about 30-60mins ( depending on the temperature and humidity of kitchen ) or until the tops of macarons are no longer tacky when lightly touched.

Preheat oven to 160C and bake the cookies about 14-16 minutes, rotating front to back halfway thru baking. They are done when they just barely separate from the parchment paper. ( i hv baked mine for about 25 mins in total and had reduced the temp slightly after 15mins ) Remove from oven and let macarons cool completely on the baking sheet placed on a wire rack. To assemble the macarons, take 2 cookies and sandwich them with chocolate ganache. It is better to let the macarons sit for a day or 2 in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Ganache
60gms bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut into pieces
60ml whipping cream
3gm butter

Place the chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan until just boiling and pour over the chocolate pieces.Allow to stand for a few minutes.Stir gently until smooth. Let sit at room temperature until thickened and of piping consistency. Can make ahead.




So here i am posting French macarons together with Joyce and Zoe, our bake along theme and the linky will be opened up till Nov16, 2014.  Macarons, any flavour. Happy baking!


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chinese Fried Pumpkin Pancake ( 南瓜烧饼 )



This is very much like our Chinese Nian Gao (年糕 ). It is soft, chewy and sweet and a little crispy too when it's still hot. A very nice snack anytime and apt for Chinese new Year too . They are quite simple to prepare , you will however need to judge if more mashed pumpkin is required, as in my case i have used a little bit more as i find that the dough is a little dry. I have mixed my dough quite similar to the dough consistency of  raw glutinous balls mixture ( tong yuen, 汤圆) and not sticky to touch. Even though it's not chinese new year yet, i feel like it is that i'm eating a piece of fried nian gao :) Remember to use low heat when pan frying them as they may get burnt easily.



Recipe ( from the book Granny's Nostalgic Recipes )
Makes 8
Ingredients
180gm peeled pumpkin flesh ( i hv used  210gm mashed pumpkin in total )*
60gm castor sugar
100gm glutinous flour

Method
1. Cut the pumpkin into slices and steam over medium heat for about 10 minutes until soften. Add sugar and mix well while still hot and mash into puree, set aside.
2. Sift glutinous flour into a tray, add in the pumpkin sugar mixture and rub into a smooth but not sticky dough. Divide into 8 portions and shape into balls. Gently press the ball into about 8mm thick pancake. ( not necessary to measure but press them thin to cook faster )
3. Heat up some oil in pan and pan fry the pancakes on low heat until both sides golden brown, crispy outside and tender inside.

* i would suggest you steam a little bit more of pumpkin . In my case, i have used more than needed as i find that the dough is a little dry.


I am linking this post to Little Thumbs Up event ( theme : Pumpkin ) organised by Bake for Happy Kids and My Little Favourite DIY, hosted by Eileen of Eileen's Diary


Linking this too to Cook Your Book #17 hosted by kitchen flavours

also My Treasured Recipes #3 - Taste of Autumn (Oct/Nov 2014) hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders and co hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House

Monday, October 20, 2014

Prawn Masala Curry





The first time i tried this was probably more than a year ago and since then, i have been cooking this several times. This is simply delicious and good. Although there is a whole bunch of  ingredients needed, nevertheless it is easy to put together and cook. I have been wanting to try this masala curry with squids or sotong but i havent got to try it yet but i believe it is just as good. I hope those who loves curry will give this a try too.





Recipe ( from Nasi Lemak Lover, adapted from Love2Cook Malaysia )
Ingredients
600g medium prawns
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tomato, cubed
1tbsp tamarind juice
1 cup water, more or less
3/4 cup coconut milk
1tsp salt or to taste
2tsp sugar or to taste

Ingredients A
1/4tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2tsp cumin powder
1tbsp chilli powder
1.5tbsp curry powder
1tsp coriander powder
1tsp garam masala
a handful of curry leaves

Ingredients B
8 shallots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 inch ginger, sliced
3 green small chillies ( optional)
2 red chilli ( optional )

Method
1. In a wok, dry toast ingredient A until fragrant. Remove and set aside.
2.Add some oil into the wok and fry ingredients B for 2 minutes . Remove from fire.
3. Grind A and B together using a food processor.
4. Deep fry prawns in a wok and set aside.
5. Pour some oil into the wok and saute onions till aromatic and add the grounded ingredients (no3 ). Keep stirring for a few minutes.
6.Add tomatoes, tamarind juice, coconut milk, water, sugar and salt and bring to a boil. Let it boil for several minutes. Put in the fried prawns, mix well and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes till gravy slightly thicken. Taste and adjust seasoning or water if necessary.