Thursday, March 31, 2011

Korean Potato Pancakes, Gamja Jeon


When I saw Lilyannette's gamja jeon or Korean potato pancakes, I knew I had to make them for breakfast asap. Breakfasts are testy meals in our home because Wey is always too sleepy/grumpy to eat. He prefers savory brekkies and since he eats in the car on the way to school (a not-so-uncommon practice here given the early start of school), I have to make sure the food doesn't spill easily.

I've only ever eaten and cooked pa jeon, a veg pancake with seafood that my Korean neighbor had taught me years ago. I love potatoes and a friend whose sons are six-footers has this theory that kids are taller when fed on potatoes so I'm desperately adding potatoes to my 16 year-old's diet. The truth is, I think, other than genes, easy eaters like my older son are tall because they eat everything and get a better range of nutrients. Anyway, I googled gamja jeon and stumbled upon a fantastic site for Korean recipes. Aeri's blog has very authentic Korean recipes and I like that like me, she posts what she cooks for her family. From what she has posted, you can make just about any kind of jeons so I used whatever I had in the fridge--bacon and leftover canned tuna. I added chives from my garden and half a chili and a couple of shiitake mushrooms that were drying up. Jeons are great for using up veggies and meat that you otherwise wouldn't know what to do with and also good for kids who otherwise won't eat veggies. It makes so much sense to feed my family savory pancakes stuffed with carbs, protein and vitamins than pancakes of carbs, sugar and fat (read: pancakes with maple syrup and butter--the Canadians won't be pleased). Really, if you think about it, a lot of sweet stuff like cakes and desserts are plain unhealthy food that makes us fat and sick. That's why I have stopped stocking my fridge with juices and sweet snacks and cakes are only for birthdays and special occasions.

Lilyannette's gamja jeons look light and crisp, almost like tempura. I didn't measure the ingredients and my gamja jeons didn't turn out as light but were still crisp outside and soft inside. And tasty. I think pancakes are versatile and you can test and try until you get the texture you like. For lighter pancakes, use less flour or use Korean pancake flour from Asian grocers. A bit more oil will make crispier pancakes. Be creative and throw in any veggie you have or like and come up with your own signature jeons. If making jeons for breakfast, you can cut the veggies and meat the night before. Grate potatoes when needed because they oxidize and brown easily.

Korean Potato Pancakes, Gamja Jeon
3/4 cup meat (bacon/tuna/crabsticks)
1 cup mixture of finely-cut veg such as carrots/chives/spring oions/bell peps/long beans/zucchini etc
2/3 cup onion, chopped finely
2 medium-sized potatoes (about 400 gm unpeeled), grated finely
1 red chili, thinly sliced
1/2 cup plain flour (or Korean pancake flour, which makes lighter & crispier pancakes)
2 large eggs
1/8 t salt (or to taste but remember the dip is salty) 
pinch of white or black pepper

Choganjang dip : 3 t light soy sauce and 1 t white rice vinegar but I like to substitute 1 teaspoon of the light soy sauce with dark soy sauce (Lee Kum Kee's) for a slightly sweetish taste. 

1. Grate the potatoes finely but not so fine that they turn mushy. I don't squeeze out the nutritious liquid.


2. Mix everything together in a bowl. The batter should be very thick. If using bacon, fry it until fat is transparent or better still, until golden brown~btw, canned tuna tastes great but Wey prefers bacon~

2. Heat up a non-stick frying pan. Grease lightly (for crispy pancakes, use more oil) with veg oil. Drop a large spoonful of the batter and flatten it out into a circle about 10 cm/4" diameter for eating with your hands, smaller if serving with chopsticks. Another way is to make a big pancake (saves time) and cut into wedges. When the bottom side is golden brown, turn over.

3. Serve hot with the dip.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coconut Creme Caramel

Coconut creme caramel

The first (and last) time I made creme caramel, which is custard flan, it was a spongy and holey flop. I ate a very good flan last week and that challenged me back into the kitchen, after a 2-week break during which the family ate mostly noodles and leftovers.

Creme brulee, similar to creme caramel but has a hard caramel crust, is the more flashy-looking of the two custards. I prefer creme caramel because the molten caramel blends well with every spoonful of the custard, giving a smooth silky feel in the mouth. The crisp caramel of creme brulee is impressive but takes too much attention from the custard and tends to be too sweet. It's also the more troublesome of the two custards to make because you need a strong blow torch to caramelize the sugar without melting the custard.

This recipe, from an old issue of The Australian Women's Weekly, was copied into my recipes book but like  a hundred other recipes that I've copied while at the hairdressers and doctor's clinics, I never got around to testing it. Btw, these days I don't scribble recipes on paper napkins and ATM slips because my phone camera does the job. Bob's right, the times they have changed.

I didn't want to run out to get coconut cream so I mixed powdered coconut with dairy cream and milk instead. The result was excellent although I think fresh coconut milk is always infinitely better than canned. For plain flans, use milk, cream and pure vanilla extract instead of coconut cream. You can use individual ramekins or a large round pan to make a large single flan for a big party. Remember that flans will spread out a bit when they are turned out so make them a little higher. Height does matter when it comes to looks.


Coconut Flans
1/3 cup caster sugar (or 1/2 cup, if you want more caramel syrup)
1/3 cup water (or 1/2 cup)
180 ml milk
300 ml thick coconut milk or cream
4 eggs
6 t caster sugar (or double the amount if you like it sweeter)

If powdered coconut is handier, whisk 25 to 50 g into the cream. For plain flans, use a milk-dairy cream mixture and add 1 t pure vanilla extract.

1. Put 8 ramekins of 8 cm/3" diameter (or use one 8" round pan) in a baking pan. Pour water into the baking pan until it is halfway up the sides of the ramekins/pan. Preheat oven to 170 C.

2. Put the 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water into a small pot and let simmer without stirring (swirl the liquid) until it thickens and bubbles and turns golden. Remove. If the sugar browns too much, the caramel will taste bitter.

3. Pour the caramel while it's still hot (careful, because hot caramel sugar is VERY hot) into the round pan or divide among the ramekins. It's okay if the caramel hardens and doesn't cover the whole surface of the bottom of the ramekins. The caramel will liquefy and spread out evenly after baking.

4. Put the eggs and 6 teaspoons of sugar into a large bowl and whisk well until sugar is dissolved.

5. Put the milk and cream into a small pot and heat until hot but not boiling. I remove the pot when I see the first bubbles beginning to form at the side of the pot. Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking the egg mixture rapidly as you pour.

6. You can either sieve the hot custard into a measuring jug so that you can divide it equally or you can sieve the custard directly into the ramekins. I like a flan of at least 1"/2.5 cm high. A 1" -deep uncooked custard will spread out to 3/4" high when turned out so start with 1 1/4"-deep custard to get a turned-out flan of 1". Bake for 45 minutes. For the single custard, bake longer, depending on the height of the custard. The centre will still be jiggly but firm up upon chilling. It's best to chill the custard overnight so this is a good dessert to make ahead of a party.

7. To serve, run a blade around the inside of the ramekins/pan and turn over onto serving plates. Serve very cold.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Clay Pot Crabs With Glass Noodles


This is a dish that we always order whenever we eat Thai food anywhere but KK. That's because there are hardly any Thai restaurants in KK and the few that claim to be never have this dish on their menu. Wey, who doesn't like seafood, loves this dish after tasting it in Bangkok but that's because he only wants the fatty pork strips at the bottom of the pot.

I've made this dish several times but the flavor and taste somehow just didn't measure up to what I've tasted in Awana Hotel Singapore. Recently Wey asked for the dish again and I spent an hour searching for the recipe on the net, weeding out the ones that didn't read tasty enough. I finally settled on the recipe from here. I'm glad I did because the whole family gave two thumbs up for the dish. I've made some changes to the ingredients (used Maggi sauce as recommended by Apponpounded the coriander stems into a paste for stronger flavor) but the biggest change is in the cooking of the crabs. Instead of frying the crabs in the clay pot, I stir-fried them separately in a wok because I find that unless you get your clay pot heated very well, the crabs don't get that stir-fried flavor. I think that's why many restaurants in Thailand use thin metal pans rather than clay pots for this dish. Frying the crabs also shrinks them so that they fit better into my clay pot.

This dish, btw, is called poo ob woon senPoo (that's right, poo, not phoo) is crabs in Thai, ob is to simmer and fry (sort of) and woon sen is glass noodles, so-called because they are clear as glass. Russell Peters was right. Asian languages are hilarious.

Teamed with a soup, poo ob woon sen can make a substantial meal.  Squeeze some lime juice and sprinkle on some bird's eyes chilies on the noodles and tackle the crabs with your fingers. Yum.




Clay Pot Crabs With Glass Noodles
1 kg live crabs (or lobster or prawns)
1 T butter
7 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
4 slices bacon
5 to 6 fresh whole coriander/cilantro plants, roots intact
3 slices ginger
1 t (1/2 t if you don't like the heat) white peppercorns, pounded coarsely
250 g glass noodles* (mung bean noodles), soaked in cold water at least 15 minutes
1 T light soy sauce
2 T fish sauce

2 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 T oyster sauce
1 T Maggi soy sauce
1 T fish sauce
2 t sesame oil
1 (or 2) t brandy or whiskey
1 1/2 t caster sugar

garnish: coriander leaves, spring onions and lime wedges

*get the type that doesn't break easily upon cooking. In KK, myXo Green Bean Vermicelli from wet markets is the best.

1. Mix all the stock ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. Separate the coriander into 3: the roots hairs, the main root and stems, and the leaves. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the main roots and stems into a paste. Scrub the crabs well, cut into big pieces, drain very well and toss with 1 T of the fish sauce.

2. Put the bacon into the unheated clay pot and then turn the heat on, medium low.

3. Meantime, heat up a wok or frying pan. Add the butter and fry the garlic until golden. Add the coriander root hairs, coriander stem-root paste, ginger and peppercorns and fry a couple of seconds before adding the crabs. Add 1/4 cup of water, 1 T light soy sauce and the remaining 1 T of fish sauce. Cover the wok and simmer a couple of minutes until crabs are cooked & the liquid has dried up. Transfer the crabs into the pot.

Alternatively, you can do step 3 in the clay pot. This is how it's normally done but I prefer to give the crabs a good fry to get a better flavor.

4. Add the glass noodles to the pot and pour the sauce over, stirring well to mix. Do not disturb the bacon though; leave them in the bottom of the pot. Cover and let simmer about 5 minutes. Taste and season. Switch off the heat. I find that this lets the noodles soak up the liquid and flavor better.

If you add the uncooked crabs to the clay pot, let it cook until it's almost done before adding the noodles.

5. When ready to serve, heat up the pot and add a little bit more stock or water if necessary. Garnish with coriander leaves and spring onions.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kudat 2

We drove to a water village and it was so idyllic, I wished I had a house there. Then I can fish from my kitchen window and read all the books I haven't read, or enjoy the sun like this ginger cat. My kids can swim to the neighbor's and we can open our house to visitors. I can teach cooking to the tourists and Hub can forget about working.

This was near the water village. The sign said to maintain the cleanliness of the environment. The word 'juxtapose' comes to mind.

I thought this was so green, unspoilt and pretty. Walked towards it and saw rubbish and debris floating under the house.

One of the boys shouted "Ambil gambar saya!" (take my photo) and swung himself up the tree. I was reminded of my own tree-climbing days and felt sorry for my boys (my girl had her share of tree-climbing) whose activities are computer games and TV.

Just outside of Kudat, a village has opened itself to visitors. You can stay here, meals provided, for RM50/USD17 per day. Write your memiors here. "A ------(fill in the blank) In The Longhouse".

A typical longhouse with a family in one room each and there can be a dozen families in one long house. With the decline of extended families and modernization,  long houses are now maintained for show.

We asked if we could eat lunch there and this was the spread on the table. It was delicious and definitely nutritious. There was bamboo, fern shoots and banana flowers from the jungle, pumpkin, sayur manis and chicken from the yard. All that for RM10/USD3.30, but we paid them RM20.



Kudat's main income is seafood and some crops such as coconut and groundnuts. Oil palm cultivation (and pollution by pesticides and fertilizers) is taking over most of the arable land. I came away feeling frustrated and sorry that such a beautiful part of Sabah is so--what's the word here--unrealized. The water village can be spruced up and houses opened to visitors such as those in the ancient towns of China where tourists visit and spend money on home-made crafts. So much can be done, so much.

Kudat 1

Hi. I'm back. I haven't been in the kitchen for a while and seem to have lost my passion for cooking and eating. In the meantime, for those who wrote expressing concern, here's a post on a trip Hub and I made to Kudat last year.

The ride to Kudat takes about 3 hours, passing fields of padi (rice). I've always loved the Crocker Mountain Range, which makes a beautiful backdrop for the north-west coast of Sabah. Depending on the weather, the mountain range varies in intensity of different shades of blue and grey.

Kudat is at the left tip of the 'ears' of Borneo, the 3rd largest island in the world. This is the very end of the tip. The South China Sea and the Sulu Sea meet right there, beyond the rocks. On a different occasion when I was there, the sea was a bright deep blue.

The Tip Of Borneo was only explored as a vista point about 10 years ago. I was there for the first time 8 years ago and it was breathtakingly beautiful. Now, the place is a sad example of how inept planners and bad taste can mess up a naturally beautiful place. They cut and levelled the slopes, built a road up (we used to hike up the slope; why couldn't they just keep it natural by making steps up?) and put up ugly structures like a huge globe to tell you where you are. Like you didn't know.

The beach from the Tip is still beautiful (although it was even more when the slope was higher) but again, structures are beginning to come up to scar the picture.

We were in Kota Marudu, a town about 1 hour before Kudat, to teach English to the native kids who lived in a hostel set up by our church. The kids of the hostel are from surrounding villages and they had to walk for 3 hours to (starting out at 4 am!) and another 3 hours back from the school located in the town. With the hostel, the kids study in comfort as school is less than 30 minutes by walking.

This drawing of an emblem,done with the help of a visiting group of young Scots, caught my eye and I thought it was very encouraging: Impossible Is Nothing.

Parts of Kudat are still unchanged. I love these old shoplots. Quaint and nostalgic-looking, they remind me of the photos of Kota Kinabalu when it was a colony of the British. The good days when administration was run by people qualified for the jobs, not by their connection or other considerations.

When in Kudat, the only edible food is Hakka nyong, veg and tofu products stuffed with fish paste. Nothing particularly outstanding. Avoid their mixed beef soup by all means.

Most Hakka migrants from China first settled in Kudat.

Houses built during the colonial days. I hope they don't demolish them.

There's a golf course if you have nothing to do, which is guaranteed, because there's really nothing much in Kudat, given that the young people have all left town for the city. This golf course looks rather flat and boring.

Kudat's seafood is much sought after, for the freshness and the quality.

These sand crabs were kicking and screaming.


It's a shame that they are eating the beautiful coral fish too. In the past, these fish were never caught for consumption.

part 2 coming up...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sandstorm/Windsand Chicken

ss chick
Sandstorm chicken, two years ago.

Two years ago, I posted this recipe based on a dish I ate in a restaurant. Since then, I've improved on the recipe and so I'm posting it again, totally fine-tuned.

Here's my version of Moon Bell's sandstorm chicken. Behind the dramatic name, it's basically deep-fried cumin-flavored chicken. My China Chinese friends have not heard of sandstorm or storm sand chicken so I am not sure if this is a common Xinjiang dish or if it's a variation of another Chinese dish called wind sand chicken. I've been replicating Moon Bell's dishes recently and I think my sand storm chicken now tastes as good as the restaurant's although to be honest the restaurant's chicken seems crispier. One way to get crispier chicken skin is to re-fry it but I don't bother with that. Btw, Karen the proprietor is  the most friendly restaurant owner you'll ever meet. I have told her that the pieces of chicken have shrunk and the cumin is hardly detectable and I hope she does something about that.  Even the chili powder garnish around the plate that represents red desert sand is now missing, because "some of our customers don't want too spicy a dish".

The cumin gives a wonderful flavor to the chicken. I eat at least 3 pieces each time I cook this. If you don't have wine, a beer will be the perfect companion. Don't forget to sprinkle some chili powder or paprika (if kids are eating) over the fried chicken and around the plate. Sit back and bask in compliments.

Instead of garlic bits, I sometimes use garlic powder. Less work and makes dish look more sandy.

Sandstorm Chicken
2 whole chicken legs (drumsticks n thigh)
1 t salt
some white pepper
1 t cumin (jintan putih) powder
1/4 t chicken stock granules
1/4 t sugar
1 egg

Garnish: crispy garlic bits (chopped garlic fried in oil until crispy)
chili powder or paprika

1. Chop the drumsticks into two each and the thighs into three.

2. 'Massage' the above ingredients into the chicken pieces with your fingers and leave them covered in the fridge to marinade at least 1 hour.

3. Put the following into a clean plastic bag:

1/4 cup corn flour*
1/4 cup plain flour* (or potato flour)
2 t cumin powder (freshly ground is best)
a large pinch of salt
1/8 t chicken granules, grounded finely or a pinch of msg (optional)

* I got even better results using Korean ready-mix 'KFC' flour instead of the corn flour and plain flour mixture. Just add the salt, msg and cumin for the flavor.

*also, as pointed out by a reader, potato flour makes very crispy chicken. The Japanese use a mix of potato and cornflour to make crispy chicken called karaage chicken.

4. Put about 5 cups or more of oil into a small pot or wok. When it is hot, throw in a very small bit of garlic. If it sizzles and rises immediately to the surface of the oil, the oil is ready. Throw in the chopped garlic. Let it fry for a few seconds and when it just begins to color, scoop it out with a fine sieve. Remember that the garlic will still cook after you take it out so don't let it brown or it'll be bitter. Drain garlic bits on a piece of kitchen paper.

5. Drop a piece of chicken into the seasoned flour in the plastic bag and shake bag to coat chicken all over. If you like a thicker coating, press chicken firmly into the flour. Take the piece of chicken out and shake excess flour off. Carefully drop chicken piece into the oil. Add another few pieces more to the oil but do not overcrowd the oil because the temperature will drop too much. About 4-6 pieces at a time is good, depending on the amount of oil. After frying 2 minutes at high heat, turn heat down to medium. Fry the chicken until well-cooked through so that the skin is very crisp. After all the chicken pieces are fried, you can re-fry the chicken pieces ('second frying') to make them even crispier. I usually don't bother.

6. Arrange chicken pieces on a plate, scatter fried garlic on top and throw a pinch of chili powder or paprika across chicken and plate.

I tasted msg on the plate at Moon Bell (dragged my finger across the plate to pick up the paprika), so you can sprinkle a pinch of Chinese msg powder called ve tsin or some aji no moto (grind it finely) over the chicken. I don't bother with this because the chicken is excellent enough as it is.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spicy Potato Sticks

Spicy potato sticks. I've added leftover Sichuan sausages (YUM!) so the dish was greasier than usual.

I've been back to Moon Bell, the only Xinjiang restaurant in town, twice in the last 3 weeks, seeking a different taste for my jaded mouth. While I like the food in Moon Bell, I find their portions very stingy. Looking at the photos of Moon Bell's dishes in my review and comparing them to the same dishes I had at lunch today, I see that portions have shrunk even more although prices have gone up.

A plate of spicy potato sticks in Moon Bell is RM10/USD3.30. I cooked a similar dish using two potatoes and it cost less than RM2/USD0.65, other costs like rental and gas not included.

So, here's my clone of the restaurant's spicy potato sticks. I've added Sichuan peppercorns and I think the clone is as good as, if not better than, the original.

Spicy Potato Sticks
2 potatoes ("Holland" or Kipfler are good)
5 to 6 small dried chilies
1/2 t Sichuan peppercorns (optional but worth it)
1 small stalk of leek, washed well
1 fresh red chili (optional)
a generous dash of cumin powder
pinch of salt
1/8 t caster sugar
pinch of msg (it's a cloned dish remember)
oil for frying

1. Peel and cut the potatoes into thin julienne sticks--not too thin or there's no bite but not thick either or you'll stand there frying all night. Slice the red chili and the leek (always soak the sliced leek briefly to get rid of any sand) into small diagonal pieces.

2. Heat 2 T veg oil and add the dried chilies (do not wait until wok or pan is smoking because the chili'll char) and Sichuan peps, fry for 5 seconds and add the potato sticks. Stir fry in medium heat, turning and flipping the potatoes to get even cooking.

3. Add the remaining ingrdients and season to taste. Do not over-fry because the potatoes should be crunchy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sushi Tei--Dinner


Assorted sushi

Soft-shell crab rolls

Chawan mushi

Eel don

Tempura don

Beef shabu shabu

Beef noodles

Noodles with wild mushrooms

All in, a rather reasonable meal for RM170+, after 10% discount. I just hope that the quality doesn't dip after a few months because that's a common ailment among restaurants in this town. We've noticed that the amount of ikura (salmon roe) topping on their fried rice has shrunk by about 1/3 compared to the first plate we had only a month ago. If you still haven't been to Sushi Tei, better do so before the quality drops.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lana's Chocolate Fudge Cake

The Lana Choc Fudge Cake came in a white box tied with a peach-colored ribbon. Very minimalist and simple, nice.

Many many thanks to L (and wife GP) who hand-carried a Lana Chocolate Fudge Cake all the way from Singapore for us. I'm told that Lana Cakes is a legendary Singaporean cake shop started by a Mrs Violet Kwan 4 or 5 decades ago. The lady'll be 80 or 90 by now. From what I hear, Singaporeans have fond memories of Lana's Cakes which were the 'it' cakes for birthdays and special occasions. The most popular Lana cake is the Chocolate Fudge Cake, CFC. Apparently, Awfully Chocolate's choc cake and others are newbies and copycats inspired by Lana's Cakes. Just like Awfully Chocolate (or Awfully Chocolate is like them), Lana's Cakeshop (at 36 Greenwood Avenue, Singapore) offers few choices but the cakes fly off the shelves because their customers are willing to pay for quality cakes.

The cake was minimalist too, with no embellishments yet looked elegant, just the way I prefer my cakes thank you. It looked so simple that I thought hey, I can make it too.


The texture of the cake was perfect, a 10/10. Moist, delicate, soft, heavenly. I wish I could get my cakes right like that. Then, just as I opened my mouth to say it, both Hub and Yi said "Salty". We were confused. Like how I was confused when eating desserts in Bangkok because apparently the Thais like their desserts very sweet and salty. We weren't sure if it was our lack of sophistication regarding chocolate fudge cakes because this one was distinctly salty. The choc fudge melted silkily on the tongue and was very delicious, smooth, rich  and not too heavy or sticky. Another wish that I could make fudge such as that. However, the chocolate flavor didn't hit me like Awfully Chocolate's choc cake did. I ate another piece of the cake the next day, after it was well-chilled and again, the texture and moistness outshone the flavor. I am puzzled that such a famous cake is not more chocolaty in flavor. If the cake is not as salty and the chocolate flavor better, I'd say Lana's CFC is a fantastic cake.

Still, we all (including my in-laws) cherished the cake, keeping half of it so that we could go home (we were eating at Sushi Tei) and have coffee with it.

The next time I visit Singapore, I will eat the Lana CFC and the Awfully Chocolate choc cake at the same time and decide which is better.

What about you, if you've eaten Lana's CFC before?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Avocado Potato Prawn Salad

Avocado Potato Prawn Salad

I bought the Dec 2010 issue of Australian Good Food just for this recipe. I love the beautiful photo of green avocado, butter-yellow potatoes, golden brown toasts and black sesame specks on the large white oval plate.

It's avocado season here and although I do prefer local avocados because they are fresher and cheaper than imported ones, I find them trickier to buy than the Californian and Oz avocados because many times they don't ripen even if their seeds rattle when shaken. Buying avocados when they are half-ripened is the best bet so I have to remember (which I don't) to buy them a couple of days before I need them.

Salads to me are a bunch of leaves and maybe a fruit, dried or fresh, and a good dressing. This recipe called for boiling some crabs for their flesh (the amount of work!), roasting one bulb of garlic for 45 minutes and boiling the potatoes for 15 minutes. It was too much work for a salad, especially for lunch. I cut the prep time by using prawns and boiled the garlic with the potatoes and then fried it in olive oil--do I feel clever about that-- to get the toasted flavor. I'd be crazy to have my oven on for nearly an hour (including pre-heating time) just to roast one bulb of garlic.

This is an impressive and delicious salad for a party, so keep it for such occasions. I'd throw in some mangoes too and have extra croutons separately. I enjoyed the croutons. So tasty.

I have given the original recipe and my adapted version below. Enjoy.


Avocado Potato Salad
1 garlic bulb
2 T olive oil (I used EVOO)
12 (I'd use more, much more) slices ficelle or thin sourdough baguette (I used ordinary baguette sliced about 3/4 cm thick)
1 kg uncooked blue swimmer crabs (I used unshelled prawns)
500 kg kipfler potatoes (what we call 'Holland' potatoes)
2 ripe avocados
100 g micro greens or baby greens (I used micro pea sprouts)

finely grated rind of 1 lemon and 2 T lemon juice
1 t honey (I used 2 t)
1 t Dijon mustard (I used 2 t Grey Poupon but Maille is good too)
1/3 cup EVOO
2 T olive oil (didn't use; EVOO above good enough)
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt for seasoning
2 t black sesame seeds (I only had white ones but black seeds would be more dramatic)
--Whisk together using a small whisk. Add seeds last. Season to taste.

note: This dressing is so good I recommend you make 1 1/2 to 2 times this amount but it's up to you.

1. Scrub the potatoes.  Boil potatoes (I cut large ones into 1/2 lengthwise after 7 or 8 minutes of boiling to reduce cooking time. If cut early and boiled, they will 'fray' at the cut sides) and the bulb of garlic in salted water. The garlic will get done first so remove them first. Boil the potatoes until just tender, about 12 to 15 minutes depending on their size. I like to switch off the fire when the potatoes are just tender and still firm but a skewer can go thru, and then leave them covered in the pot for another 10 minutes. If you use heavy-based pots, always do that with pasta, potatoes and long-cooking items to save gas. Drain, cool and peel the potatoes. Cut into thick slices. Chill.

Put a tablespoon (or less) olive oil in a frying pan and fry the boiled garlic until browned. Remove.

2. Remove dirt veins from the prawns, boil until just cooked and shell them. Cool, then chill. If using crabs, boil and remove the meat.

3. Peel avocados and cut into large chunks and chill.

4. Lastly (do this last, so the croutons stay crisp), brush the baguette slices with the remaining olive oil and toast in oven for 5 to 6 minutes, until golden and crisp. Press the garlic pulp out into a small bowl and mash them. Spread garlic mash onto the croutons or press them onto the croutons to spread.

5. Arrange the potato, avocado, crab meat/prawns and micro greens on a serving platter. Place the croutons/toasted bread slices around the salad and drizzle dressing over.

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