Vietnamese ‘Bo Kho’ Minced Meat Noodles


One of the most amazing trips I have ever been on was to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, when I was 24. My best friend and I travelled together—two girls without a lot of money and nary a sense of fear or awareness. I remember one night when we wanted to go to a hip district with all the nice bars, cafes and specialty shops. We took a taxi. ‘It says 15 minutes max with no traffic.’

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18. December 2014 by
Categories: Noodles, One-dish Meals, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

WORLDFOODS International Fusion Recipe Swap Challenge: Spicy Beef Cobbler!

Spicy beef cobbler3


Today we have a guest writer on budgetpantry! Thank you WORLDFOODS for inviting me to take part in your International Fusion Recipe Swap Challenge. I think this is very interesting! My partner is Vanesther from Bangers & Mash (a family food blog from the UK) and I have to say, that Spicy Beef Cobbler surely looks delicious!

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When the weather turns nippy here in the UK (and the temperature really has plummeted in the last week), my thoughts instantly turn to hearty comfort food. Thick soups and rich stews, creamy macaroni cheese, fruit crumbles and stodgy sponge puds with lashings of hot, sweet custard… The kind of grub that sticks to your ribs and warms you from the inside out.

This is the kind of mood I was in when I decided to cook the family a Beef Cobbler the other day. It’s essentially a beef casserole with a crumbly scone topping, kind of like American biscuits. It’s properly satisfying food, and a touch healthier than stew and dumplings.

Then it occurred to me I could warm things up a little more by adding a touch of spice to the proceedings. The good people at WORLDFOODS had recently invited me to take part in their International Fusion Recipe Swap, challenging me to feature one of their Asian sauces in a traditional British recipe. What could be more quintessentially British than an old fashioned Beef Cobbler?

Spicy beef cobbler

WORLDFOODS had sent me a selection of their delicious sauces to play with and, since I was cooking with beef, I was drawn to their Malaysian Rendang Curry Paste, which includes no less than 16 different herbs and spices, including chilli, galangal, lemon grass, tamarind and ginger. Beef Rendang is one of my favourite Malaysian curries and, as my mother is Malaysian, it seemed right to bring together the two sides of my own heritage for this fusion recipe challenge.

Rendang Curry Paste is hot but not too hot. Even so, I was a little concerned my children would find the end result a tad too fiery. I needn’t have worried. Both my girls absolutely loved the spicy cobbler (and my husband too) and gobbled it up with gusto.

The cobbler topping, flavoured with coriander instead of the more traditional parsley, was just as I like it – crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside – and was the perfect partner to the rich, meaty stew. The curry paste brought a beautiful rich warmth and depth to the sauce without overpowering the flavour of the tender beef.

It would seem I’ve discovered a new family favourite. I really hope Chris at Budget Pantry and all her blog readers enjoy it too!

Spicy beef cobbler2

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About Vanesther Rees:
Based in Somerset in South West England, Vanesther is a working mum and serious food junkie. She loves experimenting with recipes from around the world, determined to challenge her family’s taste buds and take them on a taste adventure, without breaking the bank. Vanesther shares her more successful experiments on her family food blog, Bangers & Mash.

Find out more at and follow on Twitter @BangerMashChat.

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WORLDFOODS sauces are available worldwide, with a different selection available in each country. To find out the selection of sauces available in your country along with stockist details please visit:

Spicy Beef Cobbler
Serves: 4-6

What you need:
500g beef braising steak, cut into large chunks
25g butter
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp corn flour
1 litre beef stock
3 tbsp WORLDFOODS Malaysian Rendang Curry Paste
half a celeriac, peeled and diced
half a butternut squash, peeled, seeds scooped out and diced
salt and pepper

For the cobbler topping

165g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
90g cold butter, diced
small bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 egg
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
100ml milk

1. Preheat oven to 180°C / gas mark 4.
2. Heat the butter and 1 tbsp of the oil in a flameproof casserole over a medium-high heat and brown the beef in batches. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat to a plate when it has reached a good colour.
3. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry the onion, stirring regularly, for around 15 minutes until sticky and caramelised. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.
4. Stir in the corn flour, followed by the beef stock and curry paste. Return the beef to the pan, along with the celeriac and butternut squash, and give it all a good stir. Season to taste.
5. Bring to a simmer, pop on the lid and cook in the oven for 1½ to 2 hours, stirring every now and again.
6. To make the cobbler topping, sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Add the cold butter and rub together with the tips of your fingers until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the chopped coriander.
7. Break the egg into a jug and combine with the yoghurt and milk. Stir this into the dry ingredients.
8. When the stew is cooked and the meat is tender, use a large tablespoon to plop large round mounds of the topping around the edge of the casserole.
9. Bake in the oven for another 30-40 minutes until the cobbles have risen and are golden and crispy on top. Serve immediately.

16. December 2014 by
Categories: Baking, Beef | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Stewed Pork Noodle Soup with Philips Noodlemaker

Stewed Pork Noodle Soup

I’ve been feeling under the weather ever since coming back from Spain. I finally succumbed and took two days MC yesterday and today. When I woke up, the first thing I thought of doing was play with my new noodle machine!

Yes, the people at Philips sent me their latest Avance Collection Noodle Maker a few days ago. I was excited to try it out! My 75-year-old aunt was even more excited than me. She kept eyeing it but was scared to spoil it, so she waited til today for me to demo while jotting down notes. So cute! Basically, her notes went like this:

Step 1: Pour in the plain flour (250g for 2-3 people). Close the cover.
Step 2: On the machine.
Step 3: Pour in the tomato juice (85ml).
Step 4: Get a plate ready.

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05. December 2014 by
Categories: Noodles, One-dish Meals, Pork, Product Review, Soup, Stew, Under $3 | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rice Cooker Tomato Rice

Nov 30- Rice cooker tomato rice

We’re back from Spain! It has been an eventful (read: drama-mama) trip starting from taking off– or not! Our plane was scheduled for 0200h but when we went to the gate at 0130h and I saw that there was no boarding, I thought ok, maybe late inbound. But ten minutes later when I noticed that the CREW was still sitting in the gate hold room, I knew something was really wrong!

Five minutes later, the entire crew left the gate. And another five minutes later, the gate staff announced that we would be given an update 15 minutes later.

15 minutes later, we were told that the flight would be delayed til 0300h. 0300h came and went. Nothing happened. The crew did not come back. Another announcement was made at 0315h saying that the new ETD was 0400h. By then people were out of patience and started screaming at the ground staff. Please don’t scream at the ground staff. They wish harder than you do that the plane would take off. You have no idea. And how do I know? The airport was once my playground.

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30. November 2014 by
Categories: One-dish Meals, Rice, Under $1 | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Airfried Rosemary Spring Chicken


I guess it is time to admit that despite owning (and loving!) my airfryer for the longest time, I have NEVER cooked a whole chicken in it before. (I use the normal size 1st generation 9220 Philips Airfryer if you wish to know.)

I always roast chicken using the oven because although it take a long time (at least an hour even for spring chickens), it is quite idiot proof and I don’t have to worry about it burning/turning out uncooked/unedible because I cook it in there ALL THE TIME. Old habits die hard, I guess, and I am resistant to change in this sense (or am just lazy to figure out another way, really). “Why take chance?” I say to myself each time < -- this isn't really me too. I don't know who's taking over my keyboard. There's also supposed to be a full stop there after "time" and I just don't feel like placing it there today. Maybe I just feel like rebelling against my day job as an editor. I'm gonna write run-ons and make no sense at all in all my other writing. Like now. (p/s- any spelling and punctuation mistakes you see in this post are uh, totally intentional.)

I "don't usually" break rules as you can tell, or if you know me well.

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13. November 2014 by
Categories: Airfryer (Philips Airfryer!), Chicken, One-dish Meals, Roast, Under $2 | Tags: , , , , | 3 comments

Introducing premium meats without the price tag!


I don’t know about you, but when my siblings and I have a steamboat and grill gathering, this is what the table usually looks like:

pic 3
This is an old photo from our steamboat session two months ago.

You see, all four boys (yes, I have four brothers) + a sister-in-law (who’s a damn good cook) are MEAT EATERS. For me, I particularly love shabu shabu slices (they make me feel invincible and that I can eat a lot). Before each of our steamboat sessions, one of us is given the honourable task of getting the meats from Isetan supermarket or sometimes Meidi-ya, when we’re in the area (very far for us at Daimaru Liang Court). And even if we’re there, the supermarket sometimes doesn’t even have the selection that we want or they are simply left with a few pathetic trays that can’t feed the bottomless pits at home. It’s heart breaking.

So imagine how stoked I was when I got to know we now have another choice: ASIAN CUTZ, a new online butchery which has been around for just a few months. They are a local startup made up of Singaporean foodies just like you and me. I think they were as pek chek as me that there’s no other decent places to get good quality meats (especially shabu shabu!) that they started this online meat store. I really like their concept:

1) Shop Online (their website here)
2) Check Out (pay by Paypal, credit cards, or even IB transfer!)
3) Get your meats delivered to your doorstep! (within 3 days or even earlier)

And what else can I say but, support our local brands! Here’s what their online store looks like (click on the pictures to see for yourself!):

Main site 0

Main site 3

Main site 1

Being a Shabu Shabu fan, it is a no-brainer which section I clicked first. Look at some of their selections!

Miyazaki A4 Wagyu Ribeye Shabu Shabu Slice:Miyazaki A4 Wagyu Sirloin Shabu Shabu Slice (150g)

Australian Darling Downs Wagyu Ribeye Shabu Shabu Slice:shabu-usda

Momoiro Pork Loin Shabu Shabu Slice:Momoiro Pork Loin Shabu-shabu Slice

US Kurobuta Pork Belly Shabu Shabu Slice:

Insane or what? I have seen different cuts and types and marbling on steaks, but I haven’t seen so much variety for Shabu Shabu! Asian Cutz‘s Shabu Shabu slices are cut to 1.2 mm – 1.5 mm thickness instead of the 2 mm typically available in the market. Because they are so thinly sliced, the texture is really tender and melt-in-your-mouth. And in case you’re wondering, the meat is sold by weight, so it doesn’t mean that the thinner it’s cut, the less value you get. You actually almost double the enjoyment cos there’s more portions! I know how most of your brains are programmed!

And so! Because I was so excited, once I got the meats, I called my sister-in-law (she’s on my speed dial) to arrange a steamboat and grill session like IMMEDIATELY. And being the coolest sister-in-law ever, she agreed, also immediately! Alex (eldest bro), Slimer (second bro) and Cheng Wu (the youngest) quickly agreed. Cheng Lip (the fourth), as usual, was nowhere to be found but we didn’t have a problem with that BECAUSE WE COULD EAT MORE BEEF and we choose wagyu over him anytime anyway. We fixed Saturday for THE DAY that NOBODY could have any other dates because steamboat is so important you know? Yeah, we really mean it when we say we need to spend quality siblings time ok?

Because we were only having a “small gathering”, this was what we had prepared that day:


Not much la, just a few normal steamboat stuff, a few wagyu steaks here and there, and of course Asian Cutz‘s selection of Wagyu Shabu Shabu (we tried Australian, Japanese and US Shabu Shabu!) and beautiful steaks (Australian Darling Downs Wagyu Ribeye, Australian 45-day Dry-aged Bone-in Sirloin and New Zealand Grassfed Ribeye– all amazing!).

We started off with the steaks. Once the grill was hot enough, we were ready to sizzle our first steak!

Australian Darling Downs Wagyu Ribeye Steak (Marble Score 6) 250g
All that this outstanding steak needed was some salt and pepper, and just a little bit. One of the best steaks I’ve ever tasted. We even went crazy enough to wanna BLOW TORCH it so that the meat + fat got slightly charred. WE DID NOT REGRET IT. The fat exploded against the meat ON THE SPOT and brought the flavour to the next level. Absolutely delicious. Cheng Wu kept hovering around me as I was preparing the meat. Cannot wait ah?! Must feed Slimer first ok? Who ask his daughter so cute?DSCF4758

Australian 45-Day Dry Aged Angus Striploin Steak 300g
I gotta confess I didn’t think I would like this as I assumed a 45-day dry aged steak was gonna be too much for me, but this is the steak that I can’t take my mind off til now! My sister-in-law described it as having the characteristics of cheese.. the intensity increases with time. I’m not a fan of aged cheese, but I do like this steak. Incidentally, Slimer was also asking about it today, days after the steamboat session. Very interesting and unforgettable.

New Zealand Grassfed Ribeye Steak 250g
Whenever I go to steakhouses, I always order a ribeye steak over sirloin. It has significant marbling and isn’t as lean. I love this! Can you believe that this will just cost you $11 on Asian Cutz?!

And we move on to the Shabu Shabu! All it takes is a few swishes in boiling hot stock. Absolutely nothing else needed.

Australian Tajima Wagyu Sirloin Shabu Shabu Slices(Marble Score 6)
THIS Australian Tajima Wagyu Sirloin Shabu is one of the most beautiful slices of meat I have ever seen. This almost looks like art please. The meat to fat ratio is just right.. excellent if you’re someone who prefers just a little more “bite”. Slimer loved this!

Miyazaki A4 Wagyu Sirloin Shabu Shabu Slices
See the marbling? This was my favourite! I don’t know what kind of magic was done to the beef, but the meat was absolutely, intensely flavourful.. like nothing I have tried before. This Wagyu Sirloin Shabu Shabu comes from Japan’s Miyazaki prefecture, famed for producing one of the highest quality Wagyu beef anywhere in the world.

US Kurobuta Pork Collar Shabu Shabu Slices
I have a thing for Kurobuta pork. I love the texture of this premium meat, especially when it is sliced to just 1.5 mm thin. Look at how beautifully pink it is when swished just 3-4 times in boiling hot stock! I am sooo tempted to make pulled pork sandwiches with this.

We really, really enjoyed our steamboat and grill with the excellent meats. I especially loved their Australian Darling Downs Wagyu Ribeye (a wagyu-angus cross originating from Queensland and usually supplied only to restaurants) and Miyazaki Wagyu Sirloin Shabu Shabu. And no wonder, these are two of their top sellers! Check out Asian Cutz’s website if you have any questions on delivery, or if you are looking for certain types of meat not listed on their website, contact them or give them a call at 87260682. I promise they will do what they can to help!

And specially for budgetpantry’s readers, get 5% off your total order with a minimum spend of $50. Simple enter coupon code “budgetptry” to enjoy the discount when checking out. And if you haven’t, “LIKE” them on Facebook for the latest news, offers and promotions!

Asian Cutz – Wagyu-ably the Best! Order from them for your next steamboat + grill session!

09. November 2014 by
Categories: Advertorial, Beef, Pork, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Airfried Salmon in Lemon-Butter Sauce


The husband has been having really late nights in the office that I had to think out of the box to entice him to come home early:


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05. November 2014 by
Categories: Airfryer (Philips Airfryer!), Fish, Western Food | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Instant Korean Air Fried Chicken Wings


This is one of the easiest dishes I’ve ever made. I don’t want to call this a recipe because it really isn’t. ALL I did was fry up some processed frozen chicken wings and coat with ready-made Korean sauce.

You could of course marinate and fry your own chicken wings, which is what I usually do anyway. But sometimes you just want an easy way out. I tried these spiced and battered fried chicken wings from CP Food once at a house warming gathering and fell in love instantly.
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02. November 2014 by
Categories: Airfryer (Philips Airfryer!), Chicken | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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