Friday, 15 January 2016

Now Open Again for Chinese New Year Orders!

Happy New Year folks!

I've been away on an epic 5-week trip to Malaysia so this is coming a little later than usual, but I'm happy to say I am now taking Chinese New Year orders again!

Every year for the past 6 years, CNY has meant mountains of butchered pineapple husks, scatterings of runaway peanuts on the floor and a snowy white dusting of tapioca starch all over my counters. My little home kitchen turns into a mini war zone, as I stir jam by the gallon, sift copious amounts of flour, knead huge balls of dough and make thousands of intricate bitesize cookies from scratch, one by one.

It's back-breakingly labor intensive, and essentially turns me into a slightly deranged, sleep deprived baking monster. So why do I do it? 

Because I know that if like me, you're far away from family and any decent Malaysian bakery able to replicate local flavors accurately, then authentic CNY goodies 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 shall still eat festively! :)


Simply email me at with:

1) Your name, or the name of the person you are gifting to
2) Your list of items
3) Mailing address that the order should be shipped to, including zipcode
4) Your note (if you are ordering as a gift)

I will then give you your exact total including shipping, and Paypal/Venmo instructions. Once payment is made, please allow 3-5 days for your order to be baked fresh. It will then be shipped via USPS 2-Day Priority Mail and you will be provided with the tracking number.

For local Angelenos who don't want to pay shipping, pickup can be arranged (I am based in Koreatown).

Please get your orders in by Sunday January 31st in order to guarantee receipt by February 8th 2016.

All cookies come in clear plastic 16oz or 32 oz deli-style tubs. Like so:

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


Kuih Nastar (Rolled Pineapple Jam Tarts)- $22 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

Open-Faced Pineapple Jam Tarts- $35 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

Fah Sang Peng (Peanut Cookies)- $22 per tub of 30 pcs
Extremely addictive, be warned! Fragrant, crumbly and deliciously nutty, made the
proper way with roasted whole peanuts (none of this peanut butter business)

Bakkwa/Rougan/Long Yoke (Chinese Dried Pork Jerky)- $48/lb
Free of the coloring and preservatives usually present in mass-produced versions, 
this Chinese New Year staple is home-marinated and grilled until the perfect charred sticky-sweet-salty flavor and texture is achieved

Kuih Bangkit (Tapioca Coconut Cookies)- $22 per tub of 32 pcs
Handmade traditionally shaped little cookies with a crisp bite and powdery melt-in-the-mouth texture. Aromatic with the definitive flavors of toasted tapioca, pandan and coconut.

Almond London- $30 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 Rosette Cookies)- $15 per tub of 15 pcs
Crunchy coconut milk and rice flour rosettes, deep-fried until shatteringly crisp. Fragrant, lightly sweet, very addictive.

Buttery Coconut Cornflake Crunchies- $15 per tub of 25 pcs
A family favorite Mum taught me growing up! :) Crunchy crushed cornflakes
with the fragrance of dessicated coconut and 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.

Fresh Prosperity Yee Sang/Yu Sheng (Chinese New Year Salad)- $38 (feeds 6-8)
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. 
*Does not include raw fish. Not available for shipping, sorry!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Good News: You Can Now Order My Homecooked Meals on MyTable!

An exciting Sam Tan's Kitchen announcement: Angelenos can now order homecooked meals from me using the new MyTable app!

I will be offering three different dishes on rotation on select days: 
  • The heavyweight fan favorite Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice) with some killer Malaysian Fried Chicken and Homemade Sambal (pictured above)
  • My personal death row meal Hainanese Chicken Rice, with homemade chilli garlic and ginger condiments
  • The light yet satisfying classic Bihun Goreng (Fried Rice Noodles), loaded with chicken and vegetables. 

Hainanese Chicken Rice, with homemade garlic chilli sauce and ginger dip. NOM.

Download the MyTable app at,  and get your first meal totally free with my code SAMANTHACX!

Unfortunately, only those living within 4.5 miles of me (I'm based in Koreatown) will be able to select the delivery option, but fret not further-awayers: drop me a line at and I'll be happy to tell you how we can arrange pickup :)

Bihun Goreng- Malaysian stir fried rice vermicelli, with chicken, vegetables and egg

See you on MyTable soon, and I hope you'll enjoy eating my meals as much as I enjoy cooking them for you!:)

Happy feasting,
Sam Tan

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Nasi Lemak (Malaysian Coconut Rice)

I can't believe I've had this blog for over 6 years and am only now posting this recipe (how dare I call myself a Malaysian home cook?!) Thank you Alex for asking for it today and prodding me into action!

If you don't know what Malaysia's explosively delicious default national dish of Nasi Lemak is, with its crazy good combination of spicy-salty-sweet-crunchy-aromatic flavors and textures, not to mention its burst of gorgeous colors, good old Wikipedia has a great rundown here. 

My picture above shows it not only with its traditional sides of crispy anchovies, roasted redskin peanuts, cucumber slices, egg and of course the crucial sambal by which all Nasi Lemak is judged, but also with two pieces of my Malay spiced fried chicken, which is this household's idea of the perfect protein accompaniment. You can, of course, choose instead to do a chicken curry, beef rendangvegetable pickle or any other spicy seafood or meat you want. The links above take you to my own personal recipes, but of course you can do whatever you wish.

Nasi Lemak tastes amazing in all its variations, so don't be afraid to go all out and serve four dishes with it, or enjoy just its basic form like the little banana-leaf wrapped bundles we find on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. 

Selamat makan as we say in Malaysia!

Nasi Lemak (Malaysian Coconut Rice)
Serves 4

2 cups white rice, washed and drained
1 cup coconut milk
2 or 3 pandan leaves, knotted
A few slices of ginger
A stick of lemongrass, cut into 1-inch lengths and smashed
A tiny sprinkle of fenugreek seeds
Salt to taste
Some water

Combine all the ingredients above in a rice cooker. Add just enough water to the 2 cup marker, or until the water level is 1/2 inch above the rice (a helpful guide if you're making rice on the stove). Cook as usual, and fluff up with a paddle or fork before serving.

The Accompaniments
  • Ikan bilis (anchovies): Deep fry some dried anchovies over medium-high heat until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels. 
  • Peanuts: Toast some redskin peanuts in a sauce pan (or in the oven if you prefer) with a tiny bit of oil, until fragrant and deeper red. Sprinkle with salt and a bit of sugar.
  • Cucumber slices: Self-explanatory:)
  • Sambal: See my recipe here, or if you're too lazy you can order it from me here.

 Arrange prettily on a plate and enjoy!

Friday, 28 August 2015

Film Set Catering: The Odd Essay

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 :)

These past two weeks, Sam Tan's Kitchen was happy to provide hot lunches and basic craft services for the USC feature-length thesis The Odd Essay. It was my first time catering on a film set for more than a few days, and it proved to be a fun challenge planning, shopping for and cooking completely different menus each day to feed an average of thirty people (including three vegetarians and two vegans with gluten and nut allergies), as well as making night-time deliveries to different locations every night for two weeks.

Below is a rundown of the entire menu, with pictures when I remembered to take them. Thank you to producer Shardul Sharma for trusting me to feed your crew, and I'm thrilled to hear you all liked the food!

The Odd Essay 12-Day Menu
(V) denotes vegetarian, (v/gf) denotes vegan and gluten-free

 The daily provision of basic craft services: an assortment of fruit, granola bars and chips (plus cookies on select days)

Day 1: Roasted peppers and zucchini (V, v/gf), creamy cheesy ziti bake with chicken, creamy cheesy ziti bake with mushroom (V), olio mushroom brown rice penne (v/gf)
Dessert: Belgian chocolate brownies

Day 2: 
Green bean salad with sesame and red onion (V, v/gf)
Chicken fried rice with shredded egg and green onions
Tofu fried rice with shredded egg and green onions (V)
Tofu fried rice with green onions (v/gf)

Day 3:
Garlic toasts (V)
Three cheese vegetable ragu lasagne (V)
Gluten-free brown rice penne with vege ragu and mushroom (v/gf)

Day 4:
Cucumber and tomato salad with green onion and olive oil dressing (V, v/gf)
Roast chicken legs with lemon, honey, mustard and sage
Steamed rice with mixed vegetables (V, v/gf)
Roast root vegetables (V, v/gf)

Day 5:
Oven roasted corn-on-the-cob (V, v/gf)
Creamy potato salad with green onions and egg (V)
Potato salad with apple cider vinaigrette (v/gf)
Chicken penne bake
Mushroom penne bake (V)
Mushroom olio brown rice penne (v/gf)

Day 6:
Red onion, tomato and cucumber salad (V, v/gf)
Penne arrabiata with chicken
Penne arrabiata with green peppers (V)
Brown rice fusili with green peppers (v/gf)
Moist carrot banana cake (V)

Day 7:
Yellow rice with mixed vegetables (V, v/gf)
Homemade chicken meatballs with lime and cilantro
Homemade vegan mushroom potato meatballs (V, v/gf)

Day 8: Asian green pepper and cucumber salad, chicken pad thai, tofu pad thai with eggs(V), tofu pad thai (v/gf)

Day 9: Ranch rolls (V), corn tortilla chips (v/gf), chicken and three-bean chili with cheese, three-bean chili with peppers and mushrooms (V)
Dessert: Crunchy top lemon cake

Day 10: Mixed leaf and tomato salad with balsamic vinaigrette (V, v/gf), creamy chicken and potato bake with cheesy breadcrumb topping, creamy leek and potato bake with cheesy breadcrumb topping (V), potatoes, leeks and mixed vegetables (v/gf). 
Dessert: peanut butter chocolate cookies and oat coconut cookies

Day 11Homemade beef and chicken burgers, turkey burgers, veggie burgers (V), vegan burgers (v/gf), oven baked fries, condiments and toppings for self-assembly (burger buns, tomatoes, lettuce, red onion, pickles, cheese singles mustard and ketchup).
Dessert: Zesty bread and butter pudding

Day 12: Homemade vegetable spring rolls with Sriracha-lime-vinegar dipping sauce (V), Asian-style chicken fried rice with shredded egg, fried and green onions, mixed vegetable fried rice with egg, fried and green onions (V), mixed vegetable fried rice with green onions (v/gf)
Dessert: Moist chocolate cake with Belgian chocolate ganache


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Hearty Three-Bean Chicken Stew

Bacon, chicken chunks and three different beans, cooked to a rich tomato stew with a ton of different spices, and made creamy by a cheeky handful of cheese stirred in at the end. What's not to like? :)

I improvised this on the fly last night with leftover ingredients, so measurements are totally approximate. Feel free to add or omit anything on the list- I think carrots, zucchini or any chunky vegetables of your choice would make a great addition too.

Hearty Three-Bean Chicken Stew
Serves 8

*If you prefer not to use canned beans, just soak 3/4 cup of dried beans for each kind listed (so 2 1/4 cups dried beans total) overnight in water. Bring to a boil the next day and simmer for about 90 mins-2 hrs until cooked. You can use the water from cooking the beans in your stew.

Snip 200g streaky bacon into bits with some kitchen shears- I like to use Trader Joe's Bacon Ends and Pieces for cooking, and I much prefer kitchen scissors to a knife so I can cut it straight into the pot without getting a chopping board greasy.

Add a touch of olive oil and saute over medium-high heat until the fat from the bacon melts.

Add in and cook for a few minutes:
1 large cooking onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
A few dried chillies, crushed

Cut 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs into small chunks ( far prefer dark meat to white, but you can use chicken breast if preferred). Add to the pot and saute briefly until seared.

Pour in:
1 can (28 oz) chopped tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) each of pinto beans, red kidney beans and white canellini beans, drained (you can use just one type or other varieties if you prefer)
About 1 cup water (or the stock from cooking your dried beans if you did that)
1 tsp each of ground cumin and ground coriander
A generous sprinkling of dried oregano, basil, thyme, smoked paprika and cayenne (or any other herbs you want)
Lots of freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
1 bay leaf

Bring to a boil, then simmer on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 30-45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened.

Right at the end, stir in a tiny handful of grated cheese to make creamy (I had a Mexican blend of asadero, sharp cheddar, queso blanco and Monterey Jack lying around).

Let cool slightly before serving. Eat on its own, with rice or with bread.

Tastes even better as leftovers the next day!

Friday, 31 July 2015

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

Update 12 Aug 2015: The sign has been replaced and this issue is now resolved. Thank you to everyone who helped me get in touch with the family running this business, and thank you Ollivander's Kitchen for cooperating swiftly.

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.