Food intro

I like to cook. A lot. It lets me be creative (literally and figuratively) and connects me to my food. And most importantly, I end up with something yummy to eat (most of the time!).
Lots of people who’ve sampled my culinary experiments have asked for recipes, so I thought I’d start blogging on food. The problem is I don’t tend to follow recipes – I look at them to get ideas and inspiration, but most of the time I get an idea then just make something up (usually cos I don’t like, haven’t got or can’t be bothered to get a particular ingredient). My approach is probably best described as ‘cincai’ (a wonderfully Manglish word meaning ‘casually’ I guess). Chuck a bit of this, bit of that, see what it looks/tastes/smells like – you know, cincai lah! This makes it kinda tricky, cos I never remember what I did!
But I thought I’d give it a go and both share my experiments/accidents and keep them for my own record.

Boxing Day Udon

The perennial question of what to do with all the left over meat from Christmas Day. In my family, it tends to get turned into a turkey curry or turkey muay (sort of Teochew rice porridge, also known as congee). But this year, I thought I’d try something different. Given that I’m heading off to Japan soon, I’ve been learning how to make my favourite Japanese foods, one of which is udon (fat, wheat noodles). Udon, like most noodles, are quite versatile, chuck ’em in soups, stir-fry them, put them in salads or the Japanese like to have them cold with a dressing. You don’t have to make your noodles from scratch, you can buy them from most asian stores and a few English supermarkets, but I’m on a quest to learn how to make grain based staples, so I made my own – more on that another time.


  • 250g flour
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tsp of salt
  1. Dissolve the salt in the water. Sift the flour into a big bowl and slowly stir the salt water in.
  2. As the dough comes together, start using your fingers to roll it in the remaining loose flour and squeeze it. Once it’s picked up all the flour and is a consistent lump, knead it for a few minutes on a floured surface until it feels elastic.
  3. Flatten it slightly and let it rest for a few hours in some clingfilm – this lets the gluten do something or other and makes it more elastic. I like to sandwich it between a large piece of folded clingfilm. Go make your soup. Chop chop.
  4. Bring a big pot of water to the boil while you roll your noodles out.
  5. Once the dough has rested, it’s time to roll it out – the fun part. Now because the dough will be quite firm, the traditional Japanese way of rolling it out is to tread on it! The warmth of your feet and your weight make life a lot easier. I keep it between a piece of folded clingfilm (give it lots of room!) and put it in a clean plastic bag, drop it on the floor and start walking!
  6. Once you’ve got it quite spread out (and before it squeezes out all over your feet and the floor!), unwrap it and lay it out on a floured surface. Dust a bit of flour on it and roll it out so that it’s even and about 5mm thick (or however thick you want your noodles).
  7. Flour the dough well so it doesn’t stick to itself and fold the top 1/3 towards you and the bottom 1/3 away from you so it gives you 3 layers. Using a sharp knife, through the layers thinly (or as fat as you want your noodles). I usually go for about 3-5mms.
  8. Separate your noodles carefully and lob them into the boiling water for a few minutes to cook. Once they’re cooked, drain them and rinse them in cold water to stop them sticking – magic!


  • 1/2 onion or some shallots
  • 1 chilli (optional)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (optional)
  • Chicken stock
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil

This is quite a generic soup recipe, it changes everytime I make it, but this time I wanted a bit of a kick, so put chilli in. If you’re in a rush, or not keen on strong flavours, then you can just use chicken stock (but that’s boring!!).

To serve

  • Udon noodles
  • Soup base
  • Leftover meat
  • Pak choi or other leafy veg (spinach, lettuce, choi sum, etc)
  • Garnishings e.g. spring onions, bawang goreng (crispy fried shallots – yum), coriander, dash of sesame oil
  1. Bring the soup to the boil, add noodles and veg. I like a bit of bite to my veg, so I don’t cook it for long.
  2. Cut up the meat and add it to the soup to heat up (you don’t want to cook it so that it’s chewy).
  3. Serve it into bowls and add some garnish. Enjoy!