Cooking with… Laureen of Eat and Be Happy

I’m thrilled to welcome Laureen of the gorgeous blog Eat and Be Happy to notabilia! Laureen’s blog holds a collection of the recipes she’s tried, her thoughts on them, and, refreshingly, “the occasional culinary misses.” She says, “Pizza, ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate, and alfalfa are my top five favourite foods, in that order. Conversely, you can’t pay me enough to eat raw, whole tomatoes, ginseng, and anything herbal. I will however, at a very modest fee, polish your plate of vegetables (sans said tomatoes) off for you.”

Bread is by far her absolute favourite thing to make. “I love how unhurried the whole bread making process is and the magic that happens in turning some yeast, flour, water, and sugar into a much loved food staple around the world,” she says. “Simply nothing beats the aroma of a freshly baked, toasty warm loaf of bread wafting through the house.”

And now, over to Laureen …

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Muah Chee

If you had known me as a kid, one of the things you would no doubt be surprised by is how much time I spend in the kitchen these days.

You see, I was somewhat of a really finicky eater as a kid.

I didn’t like tomatoes or fish (still don’t, although I might be turning a corner with fish). Throw me anything that sounded remotely weird and gross and chances are I would turn my little nose up at it quicker than you could say ‘Fussy, much?’

So given my pick-and-choose attitude towards food, it should come as no surprise that I barely spent any time in the kitchen as a child.

In fact, the kitchen was, to me, the place I went to for instant hunger gratification. Except when it came to my favourite, muah chee.

Muah Chee II

Essentially morsels of soft, chewy glutinous rice cake coated in sweetened crunchy, crushed peanuts, the odds were stacked against me and my very selective young tastebuds.

For everything I wouldn’t touch with a six feet pole, I pretty much took to muah chee like a bee to nectar with my very first bite.

So when notabilia first approached me to do a guest post, it seemed like the perfectly opportunity to go back in time and do a little tribute to my favourite snack as a kid that I had long forgotten about.

I don’t quite remember when or how my mum taught me to make this incredibly easy snack but I do remember reaching into our pantry (tiptoeing, even), pulling out (all three) ingredients I needed and making muah chee like it was the easiest thing in the world to do as a kid.

Making it for the first time as a grown up felt like act of making muah chee has always been buried at the back of my mind, just waiting to drawn upon.

But eating the muah chee I completely adored as a kid for the first time as a grown up? It sure brought me back home and feeling like I was a kid all over again.

Muah Chee

Note: Most recipes I’ve seen calls for the glutinous rice paste to be boiled, but my mum’s recipe involves frying the paste which gives the cakes a slightly crispy texture. I used sesame oil instead of garlic oil and it worked perfectly fine. Oh, just in case you were wondering what ‘Heat to 1 ‘o clock’ means? It was part of instructions written for a pot that had a dial on the top to indicate how hot the pot was. I’ve translated it into regular-pan human-speak to mean ‘Heat until set and slightly crisped.’

1 cup glutinous rice flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup crushed/ground peanuts
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

1. Whisk the rice flour and water together in a small bowl.
2. Heat the sesame oil in a medium pan on medium heat, swirling the oil around to coat the base of the pan. Pour the mixture into the pan and let the mixture cook for about three minutes or until the mixture looks set. Flip the cake over and let it cook for another three more minutes or until the cake is lightly brown and crisp.
3. Combine the crushed peanuts and caster sugar in a wide dish. Remove the cake from the pan and snip the cake into bite-sized pieces. Toss the cake pieces with the crushed peanut mixture until they are well coated and dig in. Serves 4 for a light snack.

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I welcome recipes from Singapore and beyond for Cooking with…. Priority is given to original recipes that have not yet appeared online. Please indicate if your recipe has already appeared online or has been submitted elsewhere. Please email all recipes, including high-quality .jpgs, to me with the subject line ‘Recipes.’

(Additional credits: Photograph by Laureen of Eat and Be Happy; geometric watercolor pattern via August Empress.)

5 responses

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to guest post on your always inspiring site (I’m learning things I honestly never knew about this island despite living here for most of my twenty five years!). It was so much fun to go back in time and make a recipe I had long forgotten about.

    I certainly hope that Singapore has been treating you well the last couple of months and that this post gives you and your readers a little more insight to the kind of food Singaporeans love and grew up with. Thanks once again!

  2. This recipe sounds yummy.

    Oh, and I hate tomatoes too. But absolutely love pizza sauce and ketchup. I think it’s a texture thing.

  3. I completely feel you, Flora– hate raw tomatoes but can’t get enough of pizza sauce and salsa!

    Thanks, bookjunkie! Give making it a go–it’s seriously so much easier than it looks or sounds!