U for udang for #AtoZChallenge: udang tim DOM (steamed DOM prawns)

Hello seafood lovers! Spending my early years in Indonesia – an archipelago with 18,307 islands*, I grew up loving seafood greatly. We had them fresh and relatively inexpensive as compared to landlocked regions.

* according to a 2002 survey by National Institute of Aeronautics and Space of Indonesia (LAPAN).

Udang is an Indonesian name for prawn. Initially, I wanted to prepare wasabi prawn but changed my mind as its recipe requires deep frying. Our little kitchen has no separation from our living room, so I agree not to deep-fry anything, as it will cause the couch and living room floor turning oily.

Quoting Plato, “necessity is the mother of invention,” I am motivated to think of ways to prepare delicious prawn dish without deep frying.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 24 Thu, I lovingly present a recipe of udang tim DOM / 法国廊酒蒸 / steamed DOM prawns.

steamed DOM prawns by ServicefromHeart


DOM Bénédictine (法国廊酒) is a Made-in-France medicinal herbal liqueur beverage (1) developed in 1510 in a Benedictine monastery in Abbey of Fécamp, Normandy, France, and later (2) rediscovered by Alexandre Le Grand in 1863. 

DOM stands for “Deo Optimo Maximo” (“To God, most good, most great”) and is a commonly used abbreviation at the beginning of documents of the Benedictine Order. Aspiring like the highly dedicated manual & intellectual work of the Benedictine monks for God, we sincerely hope to produce delicious and nutritious meals with optimum and maximum love for our loved ones.

While the exact recipe of this 40%-alcohol liqueur is a closely guarded secret hitherto, we know that it is distilled in antique hammered copper pot stills and aged in oak barrels for four months.

Nowadays, the ingredients include 27 ingredients. The list includes herbs and spices such as angelica, hyssop, juniper, myrrh, saffron, aloe, arnica & cinnamon.

When I just delivered baby Ren, I was given several bottles of DOM. The generations of our parents and grandparents believe that luxurious DOM helps mothers to recover from childbirth, especially during confinement. Thank you for such a gift with over 500 years of tradition!


Servings: 2

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes or until prawns are cooked


♥ 6 large prawns (known as shrimps in US)

♥ 3 cloves garlic (蒜头), minced OR 1 small knob ginger (), sliced

♥ 1 tbsp sesame oil (麻油)

♥ 1 tsp DOM Bénédictine (法国廊酒)

♥ 1 tsp salt ()

Below are optional:

♥ 1 tsp wolfberries / Goji berries (枸杞子), washed & soaked

♥ 1 tsp light soy sauce (kecap asin)

♥ 1 tsp coriander / cilantro (胡荽叶) / parsley (香菜), finely chopped


1. Trim the head and tail end of the prawns using a pair of scissors.

2. Devein both back & under sides using a tooth pick.

3. Soak deveined prawns in salted water (to enhance the texture) for 10 minutes, drain & rinse.

4. Place ginger / garlic at the bottom of bowl, prawns on top of ginger.

5. Sprinkle DOM and sesame oil on top of prawns.

6. Steam at high heat until prawns cooked & turn orange (check once in a while to prevent overcooking). Cover bowl with aluminum foil.

steamed DOM prawns by ServicefromHeart

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

T for tomato for #AtoZChallenge: chopped tomato salad recipe by ServicefromHeart

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 23 Wed, I prepare an easy chopped tomato salad recipe. Hope you enjoy it!

Tomato is rich in lycopene, a powerful natural antioxidant, which is good for our health. Tomato consumption is potentially beneficial to reduce cardiovascular risk associated with type 2 diabetes.

Servings: 2
Preparation time: < 5 minutes

♥ 6 ripe plum tomatoes, diced
♥ 2 scallions, cut into rings
♥ 2 tbsp sesame oil
♥ 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
♥ 1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Mix vinegar, sesame oil, black pepper in a bowl.
2. Chop tomatoes and scallions. Mix with the dressing.

This simple and light healthy salad recipe is inspired by the recipe of chopped tomato salad with scallions from the book 500 salads by Susannah Blake (page 68). Thank you!

♥ Try also variations by substituting scallions (daun bawang) with basil leaves (daun kemanggi).
♥ Serve this salad with garlic bread or a bowl of hot soup.
♥ Always use ripe tomatoes to avoid any potential plant toxicity. Normally, I discard the green leaves.

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipe.

With love,

S for strawberry for #AtoZChallenge: strawberry macaroni salad recipe

Strawberries — succulent and sweet — are one of baby Ren’s favorite. Adorned with only less than 8 front baby teeth, he has enjoyed strawberries since he turned 8 months old. We introduced a little piece of his finger size, then two little pieces, then a strawberry, which is cut into little pieces, few days later 2 strawberries and he always wants more! Since strawberries are an excellent choice for getting vitamin C, flavonoids, folate and fibers, we are happy that he appreciates strawberries.

strawberry macaroni pasta salad ServicefromHeart

I love preparing baby tomatoes, also known as cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, as one of our salad ingredients. They come handy for little fingers, who love practicing pincer movements in a path of becoming future prolific guitarists or mechanics or surgeons. We also love salad as a warm meal, all rich colors, tastes and textures mixed in a bowl or a plate.

Coriander, also known as cilantro, Chinese Parsley, contains antioxidants and anti-bacterial chemicals. Coriander is stronger than parsley in fragrance, and I love it with Hainanese chicken rice in Singapore. This meal will be the first one in which I introduced coriander to baby Ren. It is funny to see a finely-chopped coriander piece on his cheek, while he points indicating he wants more of his meal.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 22 Tue, I lovingly present a recipe of strawberry macaroni pasta salad by ServicefromHeart. This recipe is inspired by a strawberry aficionado-in-making, baby Ren!

strawberry macaroni salad recipe by ServicefromHeart

Servings: 2 (2 adults + 1 toddler)

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 5-8 minutes


♥ 175 g dried macaroni pasta

♥ 1/2 tsp salt

♥ 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

♥ 1 water apple

♥ 1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped

♥ 1 tbsp sesame oil

♥ 1 tbsp olive oil

♥ 1 tbsp sesame seed

♥ 1/4 tsp pepper

♥ 1 clove garlic, minced

♥ 1 lettuce


1. Gently whisk dressing of garlic, pepper, oil, coriander, sesame seed. Stir until smooth.

2. Cook macaroni pasta in boiling salted water according to package instructions*.

3. Meanwhile, wash thoroughly lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, water apple. Cut them into bite chunks (toddler-size).

4. When macaroni pasta is ready, drain and immediately combine with dressing.

* It takes 5 minutes to reach al dente, but I cooked longer so the macaroni would be softer for toddlers.

♥ For better fragrance, lightly toast sesame seeds over medium heat. For toddler recipe, I skip this stem to minimize too much heat in the meal.
♥ Since this recipe is intended for a toddler, the taste is mild. If you want stronger taste, you can use higher quantity for dressing ingredients.
♥  Some people may be allergic to strawberries, check with doctors if white-fruited strawberry cultivars (without Fra a1 allergen) are okay for them.

strawberry macaroni salad recipe by ServicefromHeart

Other recipes that I love:
♥ Bridget’s sweet strawberry pasta (Bake at 350)
♥ Kevin Lynch’s strawberry and avocado spinach salad in raspberry balsamic vinaigrette at Closet Cooking
♥ Ali Ebright’s avocado strawberry spinach salad with poppy seed dressing at Gimme Some Oven

For faster-to-ready meals, see also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

R for rice for #AtoZChallenge: steamed rice with peas wolfberries cheese recipe

Since my childhood, I have paid special respect to farmers worldwide, they are my heroes and heroines. My kiddy picture of farmers are grown-ups who brave the hot suns and cold rains, endlessly bending their bodies to plant paddies so that we can have a bowl of rice on our dining table for every meal. I love drawing such a scene for my drawing class assignments, with a backdrop of blue mountains, dancing coconut tree and the yellow orange sun. Not to forget a little hut (pondok) where the farmers can take a rest.

 steamed rice with peas wolfberries cheese recipe by ServicefromHeart

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 21 Mon, I lovingly present a recipe of steamed rice with peas wolfberries cheese by ServicefromHeart.
 steamed rice with peas wolfberries cheese recipe by ServicefromHeart

Serving: 2

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes (depends on your rice cooker)

♥ 3/4 cup white rice grain
♥ 3/4 cup frozen garden peas
♥ 1/4 cup wolfberries
♥ 1 slice cheese

Note: use rice cooker cup for measurement.


1. Rinse garden peas and wolfberries. Soak to thaw and makes puffy, respectively.

2. Rinse and gently rub rice grains.

3. Add rice grains and water in 1:2 ratio into rice cooker pot. Add peas and wolfberries.

4. Once rice is cooked, quickly transfer the rice cooker pot out.*

5. Add a slice of cheese. Quickly cover the pot lid to melt the cheese. After 1 minute, gently stir the rice.

* I am using an antique rice cooker, this step is to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.


Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

Q for quinoa for #AtoZChallenge: warm nutty quinoa recipe with avocado and tomato

Quinoa is high in protein and lacks gluten, which makes it a wonderful choice for vegetarians, vegans and people with gluten intolerance.

warm nutty quinoa recipe with avocado and tomato by ServicefromHeart

The quinoa that we eat are actually quinoa seeds. They appear in red, black or commonly yellowish white (ivory). They are also high in magnesium, iron, phosphorus & dietary fiber. Every 100 g of cooked quinoa contains relatively high amount of (0.24 g) of amino acid lysine (Lys / K), with positively charged (basic) side chain in its biochemical structure. Lys is essential for tissue growth and repair.

Quinoa is also a source of vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and B9 (folate). Riboflavin may help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks through improving the cellular metabolism. Folate is essential for formation and development of new and normal body tissue.

Quinoa – affectionately referred to as the gold of Incas – originates from the Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, in Latin America. The Incas referred to quinoa as mother of all grains.

In 2013 International Year of Quinoa, The United Nations General Assembly paid special recognition to Andean people of Peru who have prepared “a future sown thousands of years ago” through knowledge and practices of living in sync with mother nature. Harmonious living is one of our values, and I am happy to support such an ancient superfood. Yes, quinoa is listed as one of the superfoods for brains in the book 365 ways to boost your brain power by Carolyn Dean, Valentine Dmitriev, and Donna Raskin. It appears that quinoa is potentially good for our children to learn better, our parents and grandparents to minimize risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases, and ourselves to do better work.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 19 Sat, I lovingly present a recipe of warm nutty quinoa meal with avocado and tomato by ServicefromHeart. While you prepare this meal or enjoy it, listen to El Condor Pasa (If I could).
Our favorite versions include the one by Simon & Garfunkel.

Servings: 4
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

♥ 1 cup quinoa
♥ 2 cups water
♥ 1/4 tsp salt
♥ 1 avocado
♥ 2 ripe tomatoes
♥ 2 tbsp nuts (almond / pistachio / cashew / walnut)
♥ 2 tbsp fresh herbs of basil / parsley
♥ 2 tbsp sesame oil
♥ 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
♥ 1 tsp honey
♥ 1/2 tsp pepper
♥ 1 clove garlic, minced

1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly to remove any toxic saponin.
2. Boil quinoa in salted water over medium heat for  5 minutes. Lower heat and simmer until water is absorbed.
3. Meanwhile, mince garlic, cut avocado and tomatoes into bite chunks. Quickly coat avocado chunks with balsamic vinegar to prevent them from turning dark.
4. After quinoa is cooked, fluff it.
5. Mix warm quinoa with sesame oil, honey, pepper, garlic.
6. Toss the mixture with avocado and tomatoes.
7. Garnish with nuts & herbs.

♥ For better flavor, (1) if you have extra time, before boiling, lightly toast quinoa and nuts separately, until fragrant and (2) boil quinoa in broth instead of water.
♥ Toast over medium or low heat and stir constantly.
♥ Besides using balsamic vinegar, you can also coat avocado chunks with lemon juice.
♥ To fluff quinoa, I prefer using chopsticks – delicate extensions of human fingers. Fork is okay to fluff them too.

Other recipes that I love:
♥ Heidi Swanson’s warm and nutty cinnamon quinoa- for breakfast- at 101 Cookbooks
♥ Susan Voisin’s quinoa vegetable paella at FatFree Vegan Kitchen
♥ Lydia Walshin’s  quinoa salad with tomatoes, feta and parsley at Perfect Pantry
♥ Tara Austen Weaver’s China Forbes quinoa  at Tea and Cookies

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.
With love,

P for potato for #AtoZChallenge: potato salad with yogurt dressing recipe by ServicefromHeart

Potato is starchy tuberous food that we often enjoy, from french fries to potato soup. Being versatile, potatoes have been used in a wide variety of recipes worldwide. After maize, wheat and rice, potato comes forth as the world’s largest food crop.

P for potato for #AtoZChallenge: potato salad with yogurt dressing recipe by ServicefromHeart

The starch of potato is a source of carbohydrate, that fuels our body. For variations in rice-dominating Asian diets, consider serving potatoes as a meal. 

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 18 Fri, I lovingly present a recipe of potato salad with yogurt dressing by ServicefromHeart. Classic potato salad uses mayonnaise and herein we substitute the
mayonnaise with nutritious yogurt, especially good for growing

Serving: 2 as a main course, 4 as an appetizer
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

♥ 500 g potatoes (土豆 / kentang)
♥ 1 egg (鸡蛋 / telor)
♥ 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (香醋 / cuka balsamic)
♥ 5 tbsp plain / Greek yogurt (酸奶)
♥ fresh chives (韭菜 / kucai), chopped
♥ 1 scallions (葱 / daun bawang), cut into thin rings

1. Wash potatoes thoroughly. Cook in boiling, salted water for 25-30 minutes or until tender when pierced.
2. Hard boil egg.
3. Meanwhile, wash and cut scallions and chives.
4. Mix vinegar, yogurt, pepper for dressing.
5. Drain cooked potatoes, leave to steam dry.
6. Peel dried cooked potatoes and egg. Cut into bite-size chunks.
7. Gently toss potatoes with dressing.
8. Garnish with scallions and chives.

♥ For variations, substitute scallion with parsley.
♥ Store potatoes in dry and dark place. Do not use the potatoes if sprouts have grown because the sprouts contain toxic compounds known as glycoalkaloids.

If this recipe takes too long to prepare, how is about our other #5minutemeal recipes?

Other recipes that I love:
♥ Danielle Tsi’s scallop and potato salad at Beyond The Plate
♥ Luisa Weiss’s Ottolenghi’s potato salad with yogurt and horseradish at The Wednesday Chef based in Berlin; How is about substituting horseradish with wasabi?
♥  potato battercake of of Xiaomei Pig (小媚猪) at Weekjoy (in Chinese)

With love,

O for orange for #AtoZChallenge: orange olive recipe

Mandarin oranges (aka mandarines) are sweet, juicy and rich in Vitamin C. Often, during the period of Lunar New Year, we have given and received (exchanged sounds more appropriate here) pairs of Mandarin Oranges or tangerines. They are symbols of abundance and good fortune.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

We love simply eating the Mandarin oranges by peeling its relatively easy-to-peel skin or squeezing them into thirst-quenching 100% orange juice. Besides these options, how to make the bright enthusiastically orange-colored Mandarin oranges more appealing to our taste buds?

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

Black olives are pickled at full maturity. Since fresh olives are naturally very bitter and unpalatable to many people, olives are fermented with lye, brine or packed in salt to remove oleuropein.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

My first encounter with black olives was at Pizza Hut in Jakarta. In my childhood, pizza was considered as a treat in my family because it is relatively expensive. Our Daddy and Sister* who are meat lovers, loved our pizza to be topped with more meats, while I appreciated the extra flavors that sliced olives and pineapples added to our pizza.

* She shared some interesting recipes at her Youtube Channel: LukSunshine. When I miss her, I would enjoy watching her videos.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 17 Thu, I lovingly present a recipe of orange olive, that can be served as a snack or a side dish, gently fusing the East and Mediterranean flavors.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

Let our family member(s) or friend(s), who normally skip fruits, especially sour oranges, enjoy the nutritious and anti-oxidant-rich oranges.

Serving: 2
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

♥ 2 oranges / Mandarin oranges, diced
♥ 4 black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
♥ 2 stalks celery, sliced and diced
♥ 1 tbsp sesame oil
♥ 3 tbsp plain / Greek yogurt
♥ 1/4 tbsp pepper
♥ 2 tbsp nuts, finely chopped

1. Blanch celery in salted boiling water for about 2 minutes. Refresh in cold water. Drain.
2. Mix oil, yogurt, pepper in a bowl.
3. Peel,pith and dice Mandarin oranges.
4. Toss oranges and celery in yogurt mixture bowl.
5. Garnish with olives and nuts.
orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

We can use a type or a variety of nuts for this recipe, and I recommend pistachio for the sweet memory of pistachio gelato in Italy!

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,