Practical Tips For A Relaxed Balik Kampung Trip

11

June, 2018

Practical Tips For A Relaxed Balik Kampung Trip

Holiday season is approaching fast and we want to make sure we’re all set to balik kampung with peace of mind – well, at least as much of it as we can muster. Having a peaceful journey simply requires putting a few precautions in place, so that we’re better primed for external stresses such as standstill traffic, excessive honking and rebarbative drivers (for your own safety, try not to brake fast on the road! *wink). Here’s a checklist for a smoother journey back home to your kampung!: .

1. Be Car-eful

Having your car in tip top condition will help a great deal to prevent any unfortunate incidents on the road. Check if all water and oil levels are adequate, and if unsure don’t hesitate to bring your car to your mechanic for a thorough examination – this may also include checking the functionality of brake pads, steering fluid, gearbox, etc. Inspect your tyres (including the spare tyre) to see if there is enough air and there are no cracks or splinters embedded into them. Tyres that are in good condition ensure a smooth drive and will save petrol cost as well. For more info on car safety, check out this infographic from Carput.My

2. House Things

There are simple yet practical things you can do to ensure you come back home to a neat and welcoming house. Before you leave, unplug all electrical appliances and extension units, and make sure the gas stove is turned off fully. Double check that all windows and doors are locked properly, and inform neighbours that you will be away but contactable (provide reliable contact details).

Don’t forget to empty all rubbish bins in the house, because it won’t do to have rotting leftovers or mouldy waste greet you when you return. Foods that may expire soon such as bread and fruits should be kept in the fridge, or you could turn them into bites for the road – check out FreshOffTheGrid.com for easy road trip sandwich ideas.

3. Return Of The Hangry King

You’ve probably realised from previous trips that storing ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat food is a very good idea, as long trips tend to  leave us tired and in need of a quick meal fix. Head on over to B.I.G. and stock up on our ready-to-cook range of foods at Barn Butchery, as well as our festive foods on display which can be stored and eaten when you’re back home. You’ll also want to have instant tea or coffee handy, because nothing welcomes you home like sipping on a hot drink with your feet up.

4. Snack Petrol

Having munchables in the car almost goes without saying, but proper planning is required to ensure no last-minute let downs from not buying the right snacks, as most of us are fussy about having our favourites. At least a week before go time, get a shopping list ready with specific requests from your fellow roadtrippers. Dry snacks are best to avoid any spillage and stickiness on car seats. Head on over to B.I.G. to fill your basket, and remember to buy some for the journey home too!

5. Main Games

Playing car games is such a fun way to keep your mind occupied, especially in standstill traffic. Games such as ‘Name A Country / Capital City’ beginning with a chosen alphabet work well to keep everyone engaged and wishing the journey was longer. It’s not very often that you get all family members huddled together in a small space for hours, so take this opportunity to bond through whoops of joy and laughter. Check out more car game ideas at Buzzfeed.com

 
 

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4 Recipes For A B.I.G. Tasty Raya

7

June, 2018

4 Recipes for a B.I.G. tasty Raya!

The spirit of feasting together is ever- present during Ramadan, where everyone puts in a little more effort to buka puasa (break fast) at home with family. This makes cooking up a feast all the more worthwhile because it is shared with the people we love! Here are our renditions of 4 traditional Raya recipes that’ll bring some bold flavour to the table:


SOTONG SUMBAT WITH KUAH KACANG

Fresh squid boasts a sweetish taste and firm texture when cooked right, and in this case complemented by the soft sticky texture of glutinous rice stuffed into the squid. Couple this with tangy peanut sauce and you’ll find every bite is a scrumptious delight.

Yield: 4 pax

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

QUANTITY

Whole squid, cleaned

1

Glutinous rice, washed and soaked in warm water for 2 hours

400g

Peanut Sauce

Peanuts, ground until fine

200g

Shallots, peeled

10

Garlic, peeled

3 cloves

Galangal, peeled and slice into thin pieces

½ inch

Lemongrass

3 stalks

Dried chilies, soaked in warm water until soften

8 stalks

Tamarind pulp

2 tablespoons

Water

2 cups + ½ cups

Cooking oil

½ cup

Salt

As needed

Gula Melaka

As needed

Method:

1. Using a colander, drain the glutinous rice until most of the water is out.

2. Pat the cleaned squid dry with a kitchen towel. Spoon glutinous rice loosely into each squid tube and close with a toothpick. Do not over-stuff because the squid will shrink during cooking. Set aside.

3. Place shallots, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, soaked dried chilies and ½ cup of water in a blender and blend until you get a fine mixture.

4. Heat up cooking oil in a pot and sauté the paste until the oil has separate from the paste and the paste has turn darker.

5. Add in ground peanuts and let it cook for a few minutes.

6. Mix tamarind pulp with water and pour it into the pot. Bring the heat to simmer and let the sauce cook for 10 minutes.

7. Add in stuffed squid into the sauce and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for further 20 minutes, until the glutinous rice has cooked.

8. Once done, season with salt and Gula Melaka accordingly.

SAMBAL JAWA

This protein rich spicy noodle dish is a classic favourite cooked mostly during celebratory occasions. The beauty of Sambal Jawa is that there is no correct way to prepare it, which is why the taste differs according to region. Try this version and prepare for a spicy sensory-overload!

Yield: 6 pax

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

QUANTITY

Onion, sliced thinly

1

Garlic, chopped

2 cloves

Ginger, julienne

1 inch

Dried chilies, sliced

3

Red chilies, sliced

2

French bean, cut into 2 inches long

200g

Glass noodle, soaked in warm water until softened

100g

Foo chuk, soaked  in warm water until softened

50g

Potato, cubed

3

Tempeh

50g

Dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon

Salt

As needed

Cooking oil

As needed

Method:

1. Heat up 2 cups of oil in a pot. Deep fry tempeh and potatoes, until it has turn light brown and cooked through. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok and sauté onion, garlic and ginger until fragrant.

3. Add dried and red chilies, French bean, glass noodle and foo chuk into the pan and cook it for 4 minutes. Add in fried tempeh and potato.

4. Season the sambal with dark soy sauce and salt. Toss it well.

5. Serve the sambal immediately.

PULLED DUCK RENDANG GYOZA

Gyoza is the Japanese name for the semi-circular dumplings stuffed with meat and vegetables, most commonly served as a side dish in gourmet Chinese restaurants. We’ve put our very own flavoursome spin to this recipe that uses duck rendang as stuffing – yummy!

Yield: 6 pax

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cooking Time: 3 Hours

INGREDIENTS

QUANTITY

Duck breast, cut into small chunks

1 kg

Red onion, peeled

6 bulbs

Garlic, peeled

3 bulbs

Lemongrass, chopped

4 stalks

Ginger, peeled and chopped

3 cm piece

Galangal, peeled and chopped

2 inches piece

Turmeric, peeled

1 ½ inches piece

Bird’s eye chilies

7

Fresh coconut milk

3 cups

Water

1 cup

Gula Melaka

1 teaspoon

Turmeric Leaf, knotted

1

Kaffir Lime Leaves

4

Asam keping / tamarind

3 pieces

Kerisik / toasted desiccated coconut

1 tablespoon

Vegetable Oil

1-2 cups

Salt

As needed

For the gyoza:

Gyoza skin, water, & chopped spring onion for garnishing

Method:

  • 1. Blend red onions, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, galangal, turmeric and bird’s eye chilies until fine.

  • 2. Heat oil in a pot. Sauté the blended ingredients until fragrant and thick for about 30 minutes. Be sure to constantly stir the paste to avoid it from sticking at the bottom of the pot.

  • 3. Add in duck breast, turmeric leaf, kaffir lime leaves and asam Keping. Stir well.

  • 4. Stir in coconut milk and water. Season with salt and gula Melaka.

  • 5. Simmer for 3-4 hours, until the meat is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Leave to cool and once cooled, shred the meat.

  • 6. Take 1 teaspoon of the filling and place at the center of gyoza skin and seal.

  • 7. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil on a non-stick pan. Place the bottom of gyoza on the pan and let it brown and crisp for 3 minutes. Add a dash of water and cover the pan. Once the water has completely evaporated, remove gyoza from the pan. Garnish with chopped spring onion and serve warm.

  • 8. To make the dipping sauce, combine soy sauce, white distilled vinegar and few dashes of sesame oil.

LONTONG GORENG

Lontong is a compressed rice cake that is normally served alongside gadogado or satay. Sometimes referred to as ketupat, the rice in lontong is wrapped in banana leaves, while ketupat rice is wrapped in coconut leaves. This recipe uses leftover lontong to make a delicious spicy stir-fry that’ll have your guests demanding for more, so you might want to keep an extra batch handy!

Yield: 6 pax

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cooking Time: 30 Minutes

INGREDIENTS

QUANTITY

“Ketupat”, pre cooked and cubed

700 g

Chicken breast, poached and shredded

1/2 cup

Chinese chives, cut into 2 inch lengths

1/4 cup

Red onion, sliced thinly

1

Garlic, minced

2 cloves

Chili sauce

1 tablespoon

Thick soy sauce

1 tablespoon

Light soy sauce

1 tablespoon

Sesame oil

1 tablespoon

Fresh chili paste

3 tablespoons

Eggs, beaten

2

Prawns, de-shelled and deveined

70g

Oil

As needed

Garnish:

1 tablespoon

Fried Onions

As needed

Red chilli

As needed

Method:

1. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a work over medium heat.

2. Sauté chili paste for a few minutes until it darkens in color. Add in garlic and red onion. Keep sautéing to avoid garlic from getting burnt.

3. Toss in shredded chicken meat and add in chili sauce, light soy sauce and sesame oil. Place ‘ketupat’ into wok and mix to combine.

4. Make a well in the centre and add more oil if needed. Pour in beaten egg and allow the sides to cook. As the eggs cook, stir it carefully to mix with ‘ketupat’ to avoid breaking it. Once done, transfer the dish to a warm serving bowl and garnish with fried onion and red chilies.

Put your chef hats on and have fun preparing these festive treats – call us over to share also ok? You’ll find more festive recipes at http://bit.ly/BIGRecipes, so get your masakmasak on. Remember to stock up on your ingredients at a Ben’s Independent Grocer near you, and do join us from 15th May to 24th June for our Raya ‘Ramadan Dihayati, Syawal Dirai’ Fair. Click the following link for info on all the in-store happenings you don’t want to miss: www.big.com.my/latest.

 
 

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5 Date-licious Recipes To Try This Ramadan

24

May, 2018

5 Date-licious Recipes To Try This Ramadan

Ramadan season is here along with teeming stocks of fresh dates and kurma in supermarkets and retail stores. There’s nothing quite like biting into the succulent, creamy texture of a nutrient-rich date, a fruit so complete it can be enjoyed as a meal substitute. It is quite common to buka puasa (break fast) with simply a date and a glass of water, however there are many other ways to appreciate their unique taste – here are five mouth-watering recipes for you to try during Ramadan:

1. Cashew Date Shake

Cool down with the natural sweetness of this scrumptious cashew date shake! We’ve used the almighty Medjool dates in this recipe, but you can use any other variety of dates you have on hand.

Yield: 2 pax

Prep Time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

QUANTITY

Cashew, soaked in warm water for 2 hours  

1 cup

Medjool dates, de-seeded and soaked in warm water until softened

1 cup

Frozen banana

1 no

Almond milk

1 cup

Cinnamon

A pinch

Salt

A pinch

Maple syrup

As needed

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until you have a thick and smooth consistency. You may add ice to your shake according to preference.

2. Coconut Date Ice Cream

Image source from: http://www.healingandeating.com/2015/01/coconut-date-ice-cream.html

Perfect as a dessert to enjoy after Iftar, we hope you’ll have as much fun making this satisfyingly simple recipe as we did!

Yield: 6 pax

Prep Time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

QUANTITY

Whipping cream  

2 cups

Condensed milk

250 ml

Coconut milk

1 ½ cup

Dates, de-seeded and coarsely chopped

1 cup

Salt

1/8 teaspoon

Method:

1. Using mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the whipping cream until it the peaks have a stiff consistency.Add in condensed milk, coconut milk and salt to the cream.

2. Continue to mix it until well integrated. 

3. Fold in dates and transfer to a freezer-safe bowl, and let freeze for 4 hours before serving.

3. Banana Ginger Medjool Dates Loaf

It may be hard to resist popping a few Medjool dates into your mouth while making this recipe, but remember to leave enough for your delicious loaf! For those unfamiliar with streusel, it is simply the crumbly topping you often find on muffins, breads, and certain cakes.

 

Yield: 6 pax

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Baking Time: 8 minutes

INGREDIENTS

QUANTITY

Unsalted butter, melted  

43g

Brown sugar

1 cup

Ripe banana, mashed

3 nos

Egg

1 no

Ginger, grated

½ teaspoon

Vanilla extract

1 teaspoon

All-purpose flour

1 ½ cups

Baking soda, sifted

1 teaspoon

Salt

A pinch

Medjool dates, de-seeded and chopped into smaller pieces

Streusel

Castor sugar

1/3 cup

Cinnamon powder

½ teaspoon

Unsalted butter, softened

¼ cup

All-purpose flour

½ cup

 

Method:

1. For the streusel: In a bowl, place all the ingredients together. Using your fingertips, mix it well until its consistency resembles wet sand. Cover and place it in the fridge.

2. Preheat oven to 180°C and line loaf pan with parchment paper.

3. Using mixer with a whisk attachment, beat melted butter with brown sugar for 3 minutes.

4. Add in mashed banana, egg, grated ginger, and vanilla extract. Continue mixing until it all ingredients are incorporated well.

5. Fold in dry ingredients and medjool dates into the batter.

6. Transfer mixture to a loaf pan and top with the streusel mix. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, and use a toothpick to test when ready – insert a toothpick into the center of the bread and it should come out clean. Let the loaf cool before slicing to serve.


4. Pistachio & Date Cookies

The pistachios in this recipe tastefully complement the flavour of the dates, yielding a batch of delicious cookie balls that will keep you reaching for the next one – do stop yourself from finishing them all because your family will be pist-at-chio.

Yield: 6 pax

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Baking Time: 8 minutes

INGREDIENTS

QUANTITY

Unsalted butter, softened  

113g

Castor sugar

2/4 cup

Brown sugar

¼ cup

Egg

1 no

Baking soda, sifted

½ teaspoon

All-purpose flour

1 cup

Coco powder, sifted

1/3 cup

Dates, deseed and chop into small pieces

¼ cup

Toasted pistachio, ground

1 cup

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 160°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

2. In a mixer, beat unsalted butter with sugar using the paddle attachment until it turns fluffy and pale yellow in colour.

3. Add in egg and continue mixing for another minute.

4. Fold in dry ingredients and dates into the batter using a spatula.

5. Using a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop some of the dough and roll it into round balls.  Coat the ball with ground pistachio and place it onto baking tray.

6. Bake for 7 – 8 minutes and remove from oven. The cookies will be quite soft at the moment but once it has cooled down, it will harden.

5. Roasted Cumin Lamb Leg with Biryani Date Rice

Biryani rice is normally decorated with raisins and dried fruits, but we’re excited about this version using luscious chopped dates – truly a Ramadan special!

Yield: 6 pax

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cooking Time: 3 hours

INGREDIENTS

QUANTITY

Lamb Leg

Lamb leg

3 kg

Onion, sliced thinly

2 nos

Garlic, chopped

3 cloves

Ginger, julienne

2 inches

Cinnamon stick

1 stick

Cloves

¼ teaspoon

Cardamom pods

¼ teaspoon

Star anise

1 no

Coriander powder

2 tablespoons

Cumin, whole

1 tablespoon

Salt

As needed

Sugar

As needed

Cooking oil

1 cup

Biryani Date Rice

Basmati rice, washed and drained

4 cups

Ghee

¼ cup

Onion, sliced thinly

4 nos

Garlic, chopped

4 cloves

Ginger, julienne

3 inches

Cinnamon stick

2 sticks

Clove

¼ teaspoon

Cardamom pods

¼ teaspoon

Star anise

3 nos

Coriander powder

3 tablespoons

Evaporated milk

3 cups

Water

5 cups

Salt

As needed

Dates, de-seeded and cut into smaller pieces

2 cups

Mint leaves, chopped

½ cup

Coriander leaf, chopped

½ cup

Fried onion

1 cup

Cashew nut, fried

1 cup

Kurma Gravy

Cooking oil

3 tablespoons

Onion, thinly sliced

1 no

Garlic, julienne  

2 cloves

Ginger, thinly sliced

½ inch

Cinnamon stick

1 stick

Cardamom pods

¼ teaspoon

Cloves

¼ teaspoon

Star anise

1 no

Biryani powder

1 tablespoon

Coriander powder

1 teaspoon

Evaporated milk

½ cup

Water

1 cup

Salt

As needed

Method:

Lamb Leg:

1. Heat up cooking oil in a pan. Sauté sliced onion, garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add in cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods, and star anise, and stir for a few minutes.

2. Once the onion has turned light golden brown, add in cumin and coriander powder. Stir until the oil floats on the surface, which will be roughly around 3 minutes. Season with salt and sugar and leave the paste aside to cool.

3. Place lamb leg in a baking tray and rub the cooled paste all over it. Cover with cling wrap and let it marinade in the fridge overnight.

4. Allow the lamb leg drop to room temperature before roasting it. Preheat oven to 130°C and loosely cover the lamb leg with aluminium foil. Put to roast for 2 hours while covered, and roast it uncovered for another hour. Once done, remove from oven and set aside.

Biryani Date Rice:

1. Melt ghee in a pot. Sauté sliced onion, garlic and ginger until fragrant.

2. Add in cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom pods and star anise, and stir for another minute.

3. Add coriander powder and salt into the pot and continue stirring, until the paste has released oil.

4. Transfer the paste into rice cooker pot and add in washed basmati rice. Pour in water and evaporated milk. Cook the rice following the instructions according to your rice cooker.

5. Once cooked, transfer the rice into big bowl and leave to cool for a short while. Toss in coriander and mint leaves, chopped dates, fried onion and cashew nuts.

Kurma Gravy:

1. Heat up oil in a pot and sauté sliced onion, garlic, and ginger for a few minutes. Add in cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, star anise and cloves and sauté for a minute.

2. Add in biryani and coriander powder. Once the oil has floated to the surface, stir in water and evaporated milk. Let it boil for a few minutes until the gravy thickens and season with salt to taste.

We hope you’ll relish in preparing and sharing these recipes with your friends & family this Ramadan (For more fun & easy recipes, head to http://bit.ly/BIGRecipes. Find everything you need for the above at Ben’s Independent Grocer, and do join us from 15th May to 24th June for our Raya ‘Ramadan Dihayati, Syawal Dirai’ Fair! We’ve got duit Raya packets, Raya hampers and so much more! Click here [link here] for more info on what’s happening in-store.

 
 

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Nutrition Tips For A Healthy Ramadan

21

May, 2018

Nutrition Tips For A Healthy Ramadan

 

 

While our Muslim brothers and sisters observe fasting during Ramadan, Malaysians of all religions and races are getting ready to join their friends for both pre-fast (Sahur) and buka puasa (Iftar) meals – not forgetting a leisurely stroll through the nearest Ramadan Bazaar to buy freshly-prepared satay, lemang, kuih, and many other tasty delights. Adjusting to the new hours of daily food intake will require informed dietary habits, so read on for some pointers on getting the proper nutrition.

Developing Healthy Eating Habits

According to the British Nutrition Foundation, your body replenishes energy during the daily hours of fasting by utilizing carbohydrates that are stored in the liver and muscles, followed by the fats obtained from the foods consumed the night before and during Sahur. Developing healthy eating habits will ensure your body utilizes quality nutrients to keep you in the pink of health during Ramadan.

Even more important is your body’s level of hydration. It is quite common to experience tiredness, slight dehydration, and a drop in concentration levels due to lack of water – which highlights the importance of consuming lots of fluids to replace those lost during the day. When it’s time to buka puasa, concentrate on fluid replenishment first and emulate the habit of eating slowly, in order to ease your body into the upcoming Iftar meal.

Foods To Consume

Healthy Fluids – The optimal fluid is of course water, as it quenches your thirst and hydrates the body without any additional calories. Fruit juices are also ideal as they are high in natural sugars and vitamins. For a quick and convenient option, drop by our grocer and grab a fresh juice to go from Juicebox!

Healthy Fibres – You’ll want to consume foods that are fibre-rich to reload your body’s energy reserves while aiding digestion. Dates and other dried fruits such as apricots, prunes, or figs are best eaten before your main buka puasa meal, as they provide natural sugars and an abundance of nutrients that are easily digestible by your body.


Other examples of healthy fibres are found in beans, pasta, fruits, green vegetables, as well as nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and pecans. Fill your grocery basket with vibrant fruits such as apples, bananas, mangoes, and oranges for a nourishing dose of energy and natural fluids.

High Protein Foods – Protein is essential to keep your strength up as it releases energy slowly throughout the day, a great advantage when fasting for long hours. Plan your meals and Ramadan Bazaar food trips around foods that contain eggs, yoghurt, plant-based protein and lean meat.

Healthy Fats – Eating foods that contain fat is vital to build body tissue and regulate the immune system, particularly as fasting renders you more susceptible to illness. Natural options are avocados, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nut & seed butters, chia seeds, and free range lean meats. Not only will they keep your body burning fat for energy, but they also reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood!

Foods To Avoid

An article by Health24 advocates eating thoughtfully during the relatively short time you have between Iftar and Sahur, in order to maintain optimal health for the fasting season.

Deep fried & fatty foods – avoid foods such as fried chicken, fried curry puffs or samosa, pastry-based foods, and greasy curries.


High sugar foods and drinks – avoid sugary & carbonated drinks, candy bars, chocolates, and traditional sweets such as baklava, badam halwa, or barfi.

Caffeinated drinks – drinks with high caffeine content provide little hydration and lead to states of restlessness and insomnia.


Salty food and drinks –  a high level of salt stimulates thirst as the sodium levels in the body are out of balance, therefore avoid consuming salted nuts and snacks.

Stay Physically Active

Emulate the habit of light exercise throughout the day, particularly right before Sahur which will do wonders to build concentration and stamina for the day ahead. Simple activities such as climbing stairs and walking around the neighbourhood are also recommended after dinner. As indicated by the World Food Programme, it’s best to refrain from working out during fasting hours to avoid over-exerting the body. If you do choose to hit the gym however, allow 2-3 hours after food is consumed to ensure proper digestion and stay hydrated throughout the your session.

We hope these tips will help you keep your spirits up during this fasting season. Drop by our grocer for all the ingredients you need to cook a healthy meal for the family. For those short of time, check out our pre-marinated meats from the ready-to-cook range at Barn Butchery, and you’re always welcome you to buka puasa with us over a hot meal at The Grocer’s Kitchen – click here to see our Ramadan Set Menu!  


Wishing all our Muslim friends Ramadan Kareem! Be sure to join us at Ben’s Independent Grocer for our Raya ‘Ramadan Dihayati Syawal Dirai’ Fair (15 May – 24 June). Check out what’s happening in our stores during the Ramadan season here: http://bit.ly/BIGLatest

 
 

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