Friday, 31 July 2015

Someone Has Stolen the Sam Tan's Kitchen Logo! :(

Dear Ollivander, or whoever owns Ollivander's Kitchen in Singapore,

It has just been brought to my attention that you've stolen my logo and are using Mini Cartoon Me as a sign for your hawker stall in the May Hua food court in Raffles Place.  By sheer luck, a friend happened to stop there today for lunch and sent me this photo:

This is all very surreal.

I hold no ill feelings towards you, in fact I am very flattered that you like my doodle of my own likeness so much that you would co-opt it without my permission. I'm sure you are a well-meaning small business owner that simply settled on my image after innocently Googling "cute food logos", but as I announced on 29 October 2014 with this post, I created her literally from scratch with color pens and spent many hours self-teaching Adobe Illustrator before I perfected "something simple and personal to capture the essence of me".  I specifically parted the hair the way I usually wear it, put lines where my collarbones stick out, added the loop earrings I frequently wear and drew the plate to look like both my favorite dish of all time, Hainanese Chicken Rice, as well as Malaysia's national dish Nasi Lemak. In other words, my logo truly is a carefully crafted and very precious Digital Mini Me, so I hope you in turn will bear no ill feelings when I implore you to please take it down now

I'm sorry if printing that big sign cost you some money, and I hope it won't make too much of a dent for you to reprint a new one with my logo removed.

If you, Ollivander, are reading this, I would appreciate it very much if you would drop me a line at so we can resolve this amicably without any legal wrangling. 

In the meantime, if any Singaporeans out there are reading this and happen to pop by May Hua food court, please mention to the stall owner that I am trying to get in touch and get me a phone number or email address if you can.

Thank you.

Samantha Tan
Sam Tan's Kitchen  

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Louiza's Bridal Shower Tea Party

Sam Tan's Kitchen caters home-cooked food made from scratch for just about anything, from intimate romantic dinners to low-budget film shoots to canapĂ©-style receptions. To enquire for your next event, drop me a line at :)

A few weeks ago my actress friend Ri got in touch to ask if I would cater a bridal shower she was in charge of organizing for her friend. We traded ideas on the phone, and I scribbled down thematic keywords including "pretty", "nibbles", and "cute", which then helped me draw up a suggested menu of 26 appropriate bitesize options and a range of centerpiece cakes to choose from.

After some discussion, I'm glad to say Ri and her fellow bridesmaids settled on some excellent sweet and savory selections, as well as my signature rose buttercream cake :)

And so behold, the "cute pretty nibbles" presented today at Sam Tan's Kitchen's first bridal shower tea party! Thank you Ri for hiring me and congratulations again to the beautiful bride-to-be Louiza! 

The menu (clockwise from top right): 
Chocolate fudge cake with vanilla buttercream roses, London Almond truffles, Malaysian coconut crepes, assorted sandwiches (roast vegetable and Swiss cheese, tuna scallion, black forest ham and muenster), mini butter shortbread hearts, bitesize sausage rolls.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes Callejeros)

Grilled Mexican-street style corn-on-the-cob, slathered in heaps of butter, mayonnaise, lime, cojita cheese and spices, easily made in your own kitchen in less than 20 minutes. 

What else do you need to know?

Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes Callejeros)
Technically serves 4 (I can eat 3 in one sitting, so...) 

The stuff you need (measurements don't need to be exact): 
4 ears of corn, husks removed (keep the ends on as handles)
Bit of oil (for brushing)
Some mayonnaise, say about 1/4 cup (some people like to mix in sour cream or Mexican crema too, do it if you like)
Some butter
1/2 cup grated Cotija cheese (if you can't find Cotija, substitute with grated Parmesan or feta)
A lime, cut into wedges
Ground smoked paprika and cayenne powder, or whatever Mexican chilli powders you have on hand (ancho, guajillo or chile pequin are highly recommended)

Brush the corn with a bit of vegetable oil. Grill in a heavy pan (or you can BBQ or roast in the oven) over medium-high heat for 15 minutes, turning frequently, until charred and golden.

Brush generously with butter, then mayonnaise. A pastry brush helps, but if not the back of a spoon will do just fine.

 Sprinkle generously with cheese and smoked paprika/cayenne/ your choice of chilli powders. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze all over.

Admire the sheer beauty of what you just made. Take close-ups, put them on Instagram #nom, excitedly tease your friends.


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Now Open Again for Chinese New Year Orders!

Every year for the past 5 years, Chinese New Year has meant three things: sleep deprivation, loss of sanity and an odd warm thrill of satisfaction and accomplishment when the last order is shipped. Handmaking hundreds of intricate bitesize cookies from scratch, one by one, in a small home kitchen not built for such purposes is simultaneously fulfilling and ridiculously stressful.

So why do I do it? 

Because I know that if like me, you're far away from home, family and any decent Malaysian bakery able to replicate local flavours accurately, then CNY goodies that actually taste authentic can mean the world this time of year. You may not have endless relatives to visit or red cards to decorate the home with or angpow to collect/give out, but by golly you can still eat festively!:)

This year, because I'm feeling exceptionally enthusiastic, I've decided to add a much awaited classic that will be especially significant to Malaysians and Singaporeans: Yee Sang/Yu Sheng, for those who want to usher in prosperity with the classic lou hei tradition! 

Some nitty-gritty: for Angelenos who don't want to pay shipping, cash upon receipt or Venmo is best and collection in person can easily be arranged (I am based in Koreatown). For everyone else (including outside the US), feel free to drop me a line at to discuss shipping and Paypal payment details. 

Please get your orders in by Monday February 9th in order to guarantee receipt by February 19th 2015.

All cookies come in clear plastic deli-style tubs, either small or large depending on the type of cookie. Like so:

Gong Hei Fatt Choy to all my readers, and wishing you a prosperous Year of the Goat ahead! :)


Kuih Nastar (Rolled Pineapple Jam Tarts)- $20 per tub of 22 pcs
Homemade jam slow-cooked from fresh whole pineapples and aromatic spices, encased in a hand-shaped all butter crumbly pastry

Fah Sang Peng (Peanut Cookies)- $20 per tub of 30 pcs
Extremely addictive, be warned! Fragrant, crumbly and deliciously nutty, made the
proper way with ground whole peanuts (none of this peanut butter business)

Kuih Bangkit (Tapioca Coconut Cookies)- $20 per tub of 32 pcs
Handmade traditionally shaped little cookies with a crisp bite and powdery melt-in-the-mouth texture. Aromatic and tasty with the definitive flavours of tapioca, pandan and coconut.

Open-Faced Pineapple Jam Tarts- $28 per tub of 35 pcs
Made with the same blobs of scrumptious homemade jam as the Kuih Nastar,
only sunny side up with a patterned pastry base

Almond London- $28 per tub of 34 pcs
One for the chocoholics- a whole roasted almond encased in a butter cookie, topped
with melted dark chocolate and chopped nuts

Kuih Ros/ Kuih Loyang (Crispy Beehive Cookies)- $15 per tub of 15 pcs
Large and pretty honeycomb/rosette shaped crunchies, deep-fried until satisfyingly crisp
from a batter of coconut milk and rice flour. Fragrant, lightly sweet, very addictive.

Buttery Coconut Cornflake Crunchies- $15 per tub of 25 pcs
A version of the family favourite Mum taught me growing up! :) A crunchy and
fragrant blend of dessicated coconut and crushed cornflakes
with the added bite of sweet raisins

Mini Honey Cornflake Cups- $15 per tub of 30 pcs
Delectable little bitesize bundles of cornflakes coated in a buttery honey caramel, then baked
until crunchy. Exceedingly moreish- expect to eat a whole box in one sitting.

Bakkwa/Rougan (Chinese Dried Pork Jerky)- sold by weight, $39/lb
Free of the colouring and preservatives usually present in mass-produced versions, 
this delicious favourite of Malaysians (also known in Cantonese as "yoke gon" or "long yoke") is home-marinated
 and grilled until the perfect sticky-sweet-salty flavour and texture is achieved. 
A Chinese New Year staple!

Fresh Prosperity Yee Sang/Yu Sheng (Chinese New Year Raw Fish Salad)
The fresh, mouthwatering real deal, complete with a dazzling array of hand-grated ingredients, homemade "pok chui" (crunchy crackers) and all condiments and toppings. Not your dried up boxed variety.
*Please contact for pricing details. Not available for shipping, sorry!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Homemade British Sausage Rolls

This season we craved a taste of London, so I am proud to share a successful experiment in The Classic British Sausage Roll: herby meaty bits of porky deliciousness, encased in a flaky buttery puff pastry!

It sounds unusual, but some grated lemon zest really turned out to be the secret ingredient to lift and lighten what can sometimes be an overly stodgy treat. I learned the trick online, and I can't recommend it enough. Herbwise I stuck with the classic combo of sage and thyme (and the household highly approved), but feel free to play around with whatever aromatics you see fit. You can also use store bought puff pastry if you're too lazy to make the dough from scratch. Both the filling and pastry can be made a day or two ahead of time.

They're rich, hearty, and quite possibly the best savoury party bites ever. Merry Christmas and happy eating this holiday season everyone! :)

Homemade British Sausage Rolls
Makes about 40 bitesize pieces (*Feel free to make large individual portions if you like. Adjust cooking times accordingly and bear in mind the pastry will puff up.)

  • Filling (you can make this several days in advance for the flavours to intensify):
Stir together in a bowl or mush in a ziplock bag to marinate:
1 1/2 lbs minced pork (*I asked my butcher to grind up a piece of pork loin. You can also use shoulder or ready-bought sausagemeat. Some recipes suggest pork belly or adding some streaky bacon... personally I think this would be too fatty)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp fresh chopped sage leaves (roughly a handful)
Roughly 2 tbsp fresh thyme (about 16 sprigs- I usually just run my hand down the stem and pull the leaves off instead of chopping)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and black pepper to taste

Like herby pork Play Doh :)
  • Puff pastry
Toss together in a large bowl (*the colder all your ingredients are, the better. It can help to put this whole bowl into the freezer briefly):
2 sticks (230g) very cold butter, diced into cubes
2 cups plain flour
Pinch of salt

Gradually add 1/2 cup ice cold water bit by bit, stirring slowly with a butter knife until incorporated and kneadable (not too sticky). Press with your hands into a rough dough ball (the butter cubes will still be visible) and cling wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 mins or overnight.

To bake:

Have 1 beaten egg and some flour on standby. Preheat your oven to 425 F (220 C).

Place the rested dough ball on a well-floured surface, dust the top with more flour (I like to cover it with a sheet of cling wrap to ease clean up) and roll out slightly into a disc. Fold in the edges to form a square, flip it over and roll out into a large rectangle about 0.5 cm thin.

Cut the dough into 4 strips. Working with one piece at a time, roll each dough strip out longer and thinner if necessary. Squeeze a quarter of the meat into a long log with your hands (beware sexual innuendoes from cheeky roommates) and place in the centre of the pastry. Brush one edge with some water or egg wash, and roll it up snugly. 

Cut into about 10 pieces. Arrange on a baking tray.  Repeat with the other 3 strips of pastry and the rest of the meat.

Make a slit or several on top of each piece with a knife (to allow steam to escape). You can also prick with a fork.

Brush each piece with some egg wash.

Bake at 425 F (220C) for 25-30 mins until golden brown and crisp. The oil from the pork may ooze and bubble- don't worry, it's meant to happen :)

Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Serve warm, with some good ol' HP brown sauce if you wanna be really pukka :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Presenting: Me, Plus Food :) Sam Tan's Kitchen finally has a logo!

Hello foodie friends!

So, you may have noticed that the culinary shenanigans on my blog have come to a sudden halt these past few months.

After the big conclusion of my Actors Studio Drama School adventure in New York, my fiance Ari and I jumped ship and swapped coasts to Los Angeles in July. I haven't been cooking because we haven't had our own kitchen (we've been crashing on our lovely friends Sue and Sean's couch since arrival), but FINALLY this weekend we will move into our own apartment and hopefully, resume foodie activities!

Not one to like wasting a moment, I have in the meantime taken the opportunity to develop something I've wanted for Sam Tan's Kitchen for a long while: a logo. Something simple and personal to capture the essence of me, something fun and unpretentious to celebrate the joyous nature of food and the sheer happiness a hearty meal can bring.

So here: after many hours of doodling and figuring out Adobe Illustrator, I am proud to present Digital Mini Me, brandishing - yes, what else but a plate piled with food :)

Quite unintentionally (though perhaps subconsciously- I did draw it after all), the plate has been interpreted by most people to either be Hainanese Chicken Rice (my death row meal) or Malaysia's national dish Nasi Lemak. What does it look like to you? :)

I am also steadily working on revamping this site- watch this space for when the new will go live :) 

Thank you all for your continued support. Until next time, happy eating!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Sunflower Seed and Coconut Cookies

A riff on my own fah sang peng recipe, using sunflower seeds and dessicated coconut instead of peanuts. Little adorable melt-in-the-mouth bites of fragrant high fibre goodness! :)

Sunflower Seed and Coconut Cookies
Makes about 70 bitesize pieces

Blitz 200g (approx 1 1/2 cups) roasted salted sunflower seeds (I like Trader Joe's) in a blender/spice mill until finely ground. You can leave some coarse bits for texture if you like.

Chuck in and blitz until well-combined:
50 g (approx 1/2 cup) unsweetened dessicated coconut (I use the super dry powdery kind from my Asian grocery store pictured below, NOT sweetened coconut flakes)
200g (approx. 1 1/2 cups) plain flour
100g (approx. 3/4 cup) icing sugar (essential for the fine texture. Do not substitute with normal sugar)
1/2 tsp baking powder

Add a good glug of vegetable oil (any mild variety like corn, soya, sunflower, rapeseed or groundnut will do) and blitz at high speed, adding more oil if necessary until a soft rollable dough is formed. Be sure not to pour in too much oil at one go.

My unsweetened dessicated coconut of choice

Roll into equal sized little balls (about a teaspoonful of dough each) with your hands.

Poke the top with a chopstick to make an indentation. 
*This step is primarily for cuteness. Skip altogether if you don't really care.

Bake at 320 F/160 C fan-assisted (or 350 F/180 C for non-convection ovens) for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Let cool before popping into your mouth one at at time. Exercise self-control.