Friday, March 16, 2018

Devil Curry

Debal Curry, a quintessential *Eurasian dish is The Hubs' favourite curry. It is also my favourite recipe to bring to a potluck 'cos I always come home with an empty bowl and lots of compliments! It's like bringing a rum cake to an AA meeting! There's nothing sorrier than leaving a potluck with a plate that is still three-quarters full, don't you agree?
Debal curry is unique to Malaysia and Singapore and is usually made on Boxing day with the leftover meats from the previous day's Christmas feast.  In Creole-Portugese, Debal means  leftovers.  I am guessing that this dish might have been coined Devil Curry because it is laden with chilies and therefore fiery hot.

*Eurasian - A person of mixed European and Asian ancestry.

Many Eurasians in  Malaysia and Singapore  trace their roots to the sixteenth century when Portugal conquered Malacca. Marriages between the Portuguese men and the local women of Chinese, Malay and Indian descent led to a thriving Eurasian community.

Sharing my late Godma's recipe.


600 gm chicken/pork cut into bite-size pieces
1 onion, quartered
1 tomato, quartered
1 green chili, seeded (optional)

6 dried chilies
10 shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 thumb-size ginger
2-3 thin slices fresh turmeric
1 tsp mustard seeds
3-4 tbsp vinegar
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp prepared mustard
2 tbsp sugar
salt to taste
1/2 cup water

Heat oil in pan. Fry ground ingredients until oil separates. Add meat, carrot, onion and seasonings. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25-30 mins or until meat is tender. Set aside for 30 mins before serving. Better still, refrigerate overnight if you can resist eating the curry right away as this will allow the flavours to mellow. Devil curry always tastes better the next day!

Have you ever brought a dish to a potluck that nobody ate??

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Pregnant Deer

Ever heard of the pregnant deer story? It resonates deeply with me. Time and time again, I draw great inspiration from that very scenario  whenever I feel that I am inundated with negativity and adversities around me. I think of myself as the pregnant deer with the happy ending. The allegory is so very symbolic of life. Negative thoughts are toxic. They can destroy your morale and oftentimes be overpowering enough to be incapacitating.

The story goes like this.
A pregnant deer is about to give birth. She finds a secluded spot in the forest near a swift flowing river. Just then, dark clouds gather in the sky above and lightning starts a forest fire. She looks to her left and sees a hunter aiming to shoot her with an arrow. She looks to her right and sees a hungry lion waiting to pounce on her. What is she to do in a desperate situation like this?

1. There is a forest fire
2. There is a swift flowing river
3. There is a hunter on her left
4. There is a hungry lion on her right

It seems like she is doomed and there's no way out in such a hopeless situation,

But the deer knows there is only one thing she can do so she decides to focus on the one thing she can focus on - giving birth. And as she gives her full attention to the process of just giving birth, a sequence of events happens.

There is a bolt of lightning.
The hunter gets disorientated and  releases the arrow.
The arrow zips past the deer and strikes the lion.
The lion flees.
Rain pours down heavily and puts the fire out.

And at that very moment, the deer delivers a healthy fawn.

The moral of the story? We should stop worrying about things that are beyond our control and just  give our full attention to what is most important at the moment and focus on giving our best.  In the midst of a storm, do not lose faith.  Surrender to God and He will guide us through the puddles and remove the obstacles in our path.

Watch this video. It is life changing!
Let this be our motivation for 2018

image source - Returning To Oneness

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Friday, March 2, 2018

Dog Yu Shang

Canine-inspired Yu Shang seems to be trending this Chinese Lunar Year of The Dog.
For the clueless, Yu Shang is explained here.

I scoured the net and found these.
image source - instagram  @logeswaran_vadiappan
image source - instagram @lovefoodlove3
image source -  twitter @mytownpharmacy
image source -

image source - instagram @michelecheong
image credit - instagram @trinston_lee
image source -
The above Yu Shang costs a whopping S$999.00 (USD756.93)!  It is a limited edition masterpiece created by the chefs at the Singapore Fullerton Hotel. Inspired by Pekingese dogs and their resemblance to Chinese Fu Dogs, the intricately assembled showpiece looks like a cross between the two. Orders are made three days in advance.

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Why The Cat Is Not In the Chinese Zodiac Calendar

My cute shiba door stickers
2018  is the Year of the Dog. According to Chinese zodiac, an animal is assigned to your birth year and impacts on your personality traits and fortune. The dog is one of the 12 animals associated with each year in a repeating 12-year cycle. In order, the 12 animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

What? No Cat? Don't Chinese people love cats, you wonder. Yes we do! So why isn't Cat in the cycle?

image credit -
There are many versions of the folktale behind the missing cat in the Chinese zodiac.
Here's the one I grew up on.

The Great Race

The Jade Emperor wanted to devise a way to measure time so he decreed a race between all the animals in his kingdom. The first 12 animals to make it across a river would earn a spot on the zodiac calendar in the order they arrived.
Rat knew he was no match against the other bigger and stronger animals so he hopped onto Ox’s back. Cat, who disliked getting wet, also hitched a ride on Ox. When the three were almost ashore, Rat pushed Cat off  Ox's back, jumped ahead and was the first to arrive. Ox lumbered right behind and came in second. Tiger was third. Leaping from boulder to boulder to keep dry was Rabbit  but halfway across the river he slipped and tumbled into the water. Rabbit grabbed onto a floating log nearby that would later take him to shore. He was the fourth animal to arrive. In fifth place was the flying Dragon. The Jade Emperor wondered why a swift airborne creature such as Dragon should fail to reach first place. Dragon explained that he was held back as he had to stop and make rain for a village suffering from a drought. Then, on his way to the finishing line, he saw Rabbit clinging onto a log, drifting helplessly so he again, stopped to let out a huff of wind to push Rabbit to shore. Horse galloped up next but unbeknownst to him, a snake that had been coiled around his leg slithered out in front. Horse reared back in fright, giving Snake the sixth spot, while  Horse placed seventh.
Coming right behind were the Goat,  Monkey and Rooster. The trio had been working together as a team to paddle a raft across the river. When they pulled the raft to shore, they marched to the feet of the Emperor in the same order they had been seated, thus coming in eighth, ninth and tenth place. Finishing eleventh was Dog followed by Pig.

Cat eventually drowned and therefore, never  made it in the zodiac

Watch this super cute video that tells the story.

Good news! Cat didn't die in the video.

Haha! Rat was, after all,  a rat!

Cute dog videos to share.


So what is your Chinese zodiac animal? I am a Tiger. Roarrrrrrrrr!

Run Jump Scrap

Sunday, February 11, 2018

God of Prosperity

Me and The God of Prosperity
You are at the mall, browsing through clothes on a rack and someone behind you taps you on the shoulder. You turn around and see this big guy in a red dress with an enormous head. Don't freak out!  You've just been blessed by The God of Prosperity and wealth will be upon you soon!

"Hogwash!", you say. Well, that was what I thought too. Then you go home, check your e-mail and scrolling down your inbox, you see the words, "Congrats. You've won..." on not one, but two subject lines. You win one $250 Paypal cash giveaway and another $100 Amazon Gift Card giveaway all on the same day, right after you've been touched by The God of Prosperity?! Fluke or what?
image source -
According to Chinese mythology, Caishen aka God of Prosperity is a powerful deity, usually depicted  in red clothes, riding a black tiger and holding a Ruyi (a scepter with the power to turn rock, some say iron, into gold). He also has magic pearls that would explode as grenades. He's one cool dude! Caishen is also heaven's accountant and he guards all the treasures above. More than that, he has the power to bestow fortune and wealth to humans on earth. Zeus has nothing on Caishen!

Once a mortal, Caishen was the uncle and  minister to Emperor Zhou of the Shang Dynasty. An honest and successful merchant, Caishen was loved and revered by many as he was benevolent to fellow merchants and the needy. He would fund the failing businesses of his merchant pallies with no obligations  and share his riches with those in need.

Soon his increasing popularity invoked the jealousy of Emperor Zhou and his family.
Daji, Emperor Zhou’s most favored concubine killed Caishen by digging out his heart. But legend has it that he did not die. He was given a magical panacea by a hermit that saved his life. Caishen fled to the woods with his wife, children and fortune. He would continually emerge from the woods to distribute his wealth to the peasants. The magical panacea gave him immortality and he ultimately ascended to heaven as The God of Prosperity.

While Caishen is worshipped in temples and homes all-year round, the deity is a popular icon during the Chinese New Year season. You would see mascots like the one above in many malls in Malaysia. Think Santa Claus! Instead of gifts, The God of Prosperity hands out candies, faux gold ingots and ang-pows (red packets with money inside) as symbols of wealth and good luck.

My cookified God of Prosperity God of Prosperity
2018 is the Year of The Dog, pallies!


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Swan Taro Puffs and Piggy Baos

Look what we found when The Hubs and I were having breakfast at a new yum cha joint in our neck of the woods!

I've seen dumplings and baos in the shapes of Minions, pandas, Disney characters, etc. on Instagram but these swans are my first.

I don't usually photograph my food before I devour them but these are just too cute to pass!

Guess who was waiting impatiently and rolling his eyes while I took the pictures!

Do you get annoyed when a meal is served and your Instagram-obsessed friends yell for you to stop just as you are about to dig into your favorite food so they can shoot every dish on the table?

Run Jump Scrap

Sunday, January 28, 2018

In Memory of Oreo

Oreo crossed  The Rainbow Bridge at 12:30 AM on July 9th 2016

Our beloved guinea pig, Oreo, crossed the Rainbow Bridge 2 years ago but the pain was too raw and fresh then and I couldn't share about her passing. Now that the pain has dulled just a little, I want to blog about my little buddy. I want to remember every detail before my memory fails me.

She was 8 years old (144 human years) when she died. A couple of months prior to her death, we found an abscess on her body and took her to see Dr. J, a darling lady vet . Oreo adored her.

Dr. J drained  Oreo's abscess. I remember a lot of shrieking, squeezing, flushing and ... cottage cheese. Yep, the foul smelling pus looked like runny cottage cheese! I didn't know a guinea pig could shriek so loudly!

After cleaning the wound,  Dr. J sent us on our way. We were overjoyed that we weren't going home empty-handed.

Oreo's wound healed completely and for the next few months she was eating well and back to her old happy self.

Late one night, I noticed she was unusually quiet and listless. Her fur was all puffed up and her breathing seemed laboured.  I searched the guinea pig forums on the net and learned that a puffed up coat was usually symptomatic  of a cavy in pain.

It was close to midnight and everyone else was asleep. As I was about  to go to my son's room to awaken him so he could drive us to the vet, I heard Oreo suddenly dashing round and round her pigloo in a frenzy. My first thought was that she must be getting better or else she wouldn't be darting maniacally in circles like that.

When I went to check on her, she was lying very still on her side, gasping for air. I assumed that she was merely exhausted after all that crazy running.  I stroked her gently and thought that a session of cuddling and petting would probably fix her. Just as I was lifting her out of her cage, her head flopped to the side, her breathing stopped and her body went limp. I stared at her lifeless body in disbelief! Her death was too sudden. There wasn't even  time  to realize what was happening. A minute ago, she was so lively and now she was gone in the blink of an eye. I didn't even have the chance to cuddle her or say goodbye. I just couldn't bring myself to put her down in her cage and I held her in my arms and petted her until  her body grew cold.

Looking back, I believe there is a reason for her strange behavior before she collapsed. Despite her pain and difficulty breathing, she had managed to summon up whatever strength she had left in her frail body for that final surge of energy that enabled her to bolt like that. She was trying to get my attention so I would go to her. She had known that her time was up and she wanted to say goodbye to me before she crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Goodbye, my little buddy. *Popcorn in that grand  meadow across the sky.  Know that you are forever loved and cherished.

Missing you, my little piggy.

*Popcorning is a name for those crazy leaps a guinea pig does in the air when it is happy

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Sunday, January 21, 2018

100 Truths Blogger Tag

I am not usually a big fan of blogger tags but it's a fun way of getting to know your blogger pallies. I found this tag on the lovely Dot Makes 4 blog. Created by Debbie from My Random Musings,  100  questions are designed to help you get to know your blogger pallies.

So to all my new awesome readers, I am sharing  random truths  about  myself with you. I skipped some of the questions though.

Here goes.


1. What’s your name?

2. Any nicknames or aliases?
I have several given by my aunts and uncles

3. Your gender?

4. Your star sign?
Taurus. Tiger according to Chinese zodiac.

5. How old are you?
Going to be 56

6. Your relationship status?
Married. And to the same wonderful man for 25 years.

7. Any children?
2,  Josh and Rodney

8. Any pets?
None currently. My guinea pig  died  last year and I  am still pining for her.

9. Any tattoos or piercings?
None, not even my ears.

10. What do you like about yourself?
I am fun, I think!

11. What do you dislike about yourself?
The list is too long! #1 on  the list is my inability to drive a car. I am spatially challenged.

12. Righty or lefty?


13. The last thing you drank:
Green tea

14. The last thing you ate:
Prawn ramen

15. Your last phone call:

16. Your last text message:
My son informing me that he was not coming home for dinner

17. Your last email:
Spam offering to enlarge body parts I don't have.

18, The last song you listened to:
Havana,  the squeaky chicken version

19. The last book you read:
Tail & Trouble by Victor Catano

20.  The last time you cried:
When our guinea pig died.

21. The last blog you read:
Dot Makes 4

22. The last person you spoke to:
My son Rodney

23. The last place you visited:
My hometown

24. Your last holiday abroad:
UK in 2011.


28. Have you ever lost someone special to you?
Yes. More than a handful and mostly to cancer.

29. Have you ever been so drunk you threw up?
I don't drink

31. Have you ever met someone who changed you?
The Hubs.

39.  Have you ever been arrested?

41. Have you ever done something you regret?
I might have but I am more regretful of the things I haven't done

43. Have you ever embarrassed yourself in public?
I had stage fright when I was singing at a company dinner and made a fool of myself. I still shudder at the memory!

44. Have you ever misjudged someone?
Many times. I am a poor judge of character.


45. Do you believe in God?

46. Do you believe in yourself?
Not as much as I should.

47. Do you believe in Santa Claus?
No. I think he gives people the wrong message about Christmas. Christmas should be all about Christ's birth.

48. Do you believe in ghosts?
Yes. Had a couple of encounters!

49. Do you believe in aliens?

50. Do you believe in miracles?
Yes. My son Josh was a miracle baby.

51. Do you believe in the power of positive thinking?
Sounds clich├ęd

52. Do you believe in love at first sight?

53. Can money make you happy?

54. Would you describe yourself as a feminist?
......Er... While I believe all genders are entitled to the same social and political rights, I am not opposed to chivalry. I certainly will not stop my male companion from paying for dinner if he insists!

55. Are you pro-life or pro-choice?
Depends on the circumstances.

56. Do you have strong political beliefs?
Not really

57. Do you have strong religious beliefs?
I was brought up by very strict Catholic parents and studied in a convent school.

58. What do you think the most important thing you can give a child is?
Unconditional love?


59.  Are you eating anything right now?

60. Are you drinking anything right now?

61. What are you listening to right now?
My son practising his violin

62. What are you thinking about right now?
Whether or not I should continue with this tag.

63. What are you waiting for right now?
Dinner. We are eating out tonight.

64. What are you most excited about right now?

65. What’s your pet hate right now?
Inconsiderate neighbours

66. What’s your favourite thing right now?
Cookie decorating
My latest project  - a cookified logo of Hubby's cousin's restaurant, Amelio Desa Parkcity

67. If you weren’t answering these questions, what would you be doing right now?
Attending to a  more PRESSING matter. I have a pile of clothes to iron! Haha!


68. Your first best friend:
Maggie. We were classmates in Secondary School

70. Your first celebrity crush:
Lee Majors!  He was the Six Million Dollar Man. Haha! Most of you were either not born yet or in diapers when the show was running!

71. Your first holiday:
A family trip to my aunt's in Kuala Lumpur when I was about 10 years old.

72. Your first pet:
A cat. Her name was Pussy.

74. Your first regret:
Not studying harder in school.

74. Your first job:
Computer programmer

75: Your first childhood memory:
Grandma's old wooden house. Back then, the whole clan was around and we had many cousins to play with.

Which would you choose?
76. Love or money?
Tough one. Love?

77. Twitter or Facebook?

78. Hook up or relationship?
Definitely a relationship.

79. Dogs or cats?
I am totally a cat person

80. Coffee or tea?
Depends on my mood

81, Beer or wine?

82. Sweet or savoury?
Savoury. I don't have a sweet tooth.

83. Introvert or extrovert?
A bit of both

84. Vampires or werewolves?
Vampires if they look like Ian Somerhalder!

85. Seaside or countryside?

86. Summer or winter?
Summer hands-down. I get depressed when it is cold and dark

87. Books or movies
Movies. But if there is a book version, I would prefer to read the book first and watch the movie later.

88. Horror or comedy
Depends on my mood


89. Do you wish you could change your past?
Not really. I think everything happened for a reason.

90. What’s your dream job?
I had always wanted a job that would take me places.

91. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Fish crackers. Once I get started, I can't stop.

92. What are you afraid of?
Cockroaches. Eeeekkk!

93. What was the first thing you wanted to be when you grew up?
A pilot!

94. If you could have any super power, what would it be?

95. If you could change anything about your life what would it be?
I wish I had traveled more when I was younger.

96. Would you want immortality?

97. If you could interview anyone alive or dead who would you choose?
My great grandfather who died when my dad was only six. He was the first of our clan to migrate to Malaysia. My dad still regales us with many interesting and fascinating stories about him.

98. Would you say you are happy?
Isn't happiness transient? Right now, yes.

99. What one piece of advice would you give to yourself at age eighteen?
That it is ok to say no. I have been a doormat most of my life.

100. Where would you like to be in five years’ time
I would like to experience living in a different country, not as a tourist but as a local.

Phew! That took really long.

Here's where I am supposed to tag some bloggers but I do understand that some of us hate being tagged so I shall skip that part. Tag yourself if you wanna play along. Let me know so I can visit your blog.

Grab all the 100 questions @

More durian stories here

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

The King of Fruits

Durians aka The King of Fruits
The Hubs and I were on our way to the mall exit when we walked past a popsicle cart. The Hubs had a hankering for something cold and he bought a durian flavored ice pop. The Hubs happily lapped his icy treat as we walked towards a swanky hotel. The hotel lobby and mall shared the same exit to the basement car park.

There was already a small crowd awaiting the elevators as we were approaching the hotel lobby. Suddenly, a lady in the crowd exclaimed,  "I smell durian!" The Hubs quickly stuffed the popsicle into a pocket of his trousers. Ding! The elevator doors opened and everyone got on board. As the doors closed, the pungent durian smell was even more intense. "Eeew! I wonder where it is coming from?", the same lady complained, sniffing exaggeratedly like a hound dog, her eyes scanning around for the culprit.

Feigning disgust, I covered my nose with a piece of tissue paper so no one would suspect we were the offenders. After a few seconds that seemed like an eternity, the elevator doors finally opened and everyone rushed out save for The Hubs and me, an old man and a young couple. The old man looked at The Hubs and said cheekily,"I know it's you!"  The Hubs sheepishly fished out the offensive item from his pocket and protested, "But it's only a popsicle!" Just then, the doors opened and as the old man was stepping out, he winked, "Don't worry, I won't tell!"

Ooops!  It just didn't strike us  that durian popsicle  was....well....durian! :smack: Honest mistake!

This sign at the Singapore Airport prohibits the transportation of durians.
 Penalty: SGD500
In case you are wondering what I am ranting about, durians are prohibited in public transportation, hospitals, taxis and hotels in our country and most parts of South East Asia because of their overpowering pong.

Interestingly, did  you know that in 2013, Sydney officials had to evacuate an entire floor of an office building after smelling what they thought was a gas leak.?!  It was only much later that they discovered it was durian! The odour  had wafted up through the vents from a neighboring warehouse where Malaysian agricultural staff were unloading a shipment of the pungent fruit!

The Star reports

Malaysia's Sydney Consulate agriculture director Muhammad Rudy Khairudin Mohd Nor said the 'gas' alert followed Agriculture Malaysia staff opening 10 packs of 'Musang King' and 'D24' durians at 2 pm for lab tests in their Sydney CBD office.

The strong, pungent smell of the durians went into the ventilation system and reached the next office on the 15th floor of the Market St building.

"The staff in the adjoining office, all Caucasians, panicked because they thought there was a gas leak ... they summoned the emergency services. The whole floor was evacuated within minutes," he said.

Muhammad Rudy said security and emergency staff arrived at the 15th floor to investigate and, sniffing out evidence, ended up at the consulate seeking answers.

"We explained that the smell came from the durians. The officers were amazed and puzzled how similar the smell was to gas, although they were convinced after we showed them the fruit and how it smells," he added.

Durian, anyone?

More durian stories here

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Salted Egg Molten Lava Croissant

*Salted egg meets croissant. The combo? An eruption of perfectly balanced sweet and savoury flavours that send your tastebuds to salted egg heaven! It's the best thing since cronuts!
And if that didn't pique your interest, watch this video!

 Food porn at its best!

My love affair with this divine pastry started when my dear friend Val acquainted us when we met up for tea a couple of weeks ago. I had always thought that Kringels were the best tea-time treats ever but now I'm a convert!
Thanks, Val!  Muaahhhhhhh!

So enamored was I of this luscious pastry, l scoured the internet for info regarding its origins. Surprisingly, there is little history and no official wiki write-up on these babies. All I have learnt is that they debuted in Hong Kong and only hit Malaysian shores about a  year ago and the mania has since swept neighbouring countries like Singapore, Indonesia, The Philippines, etc. It was reported that when the frenzy first hit Malaysia, Singaporeans would cross over to neighbouring Johor and brave the long queues just to bag a couple of these home!

There is a right way of eating these beauties. You slice the croissant right in the middle and let all that golden yellow gooey goodness ooze out slowly before you cut up the rest of  the pastry. Sop up the lava and nom, nom, nom, nom!The messier, the better!

It's hard to describe the taste. It's a chockfull of all things wonderful - buttery, creamy, gritty, sweet, savoury.....  kinda like a cousin to Hollandaise, only better! The umami element from the salted egg yolk complements the sweet filling really well.

*For the uninitiated, salted eggs are brined duck eggs that are ubiquitous in most Asian cuisines. In Asian supermarkets, these eggs are sometimes sold covered in a thick layer of salted charcoal paste

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