What's Cooking


Agar-agar powder

Agar-agar powder is a processed gelatine-like product that is primarily obtained from seaweed. It is made into odourless, transparent strands or shaved into fine flakes or powdered. Agar-agar is fast-setting and gives a rather hard and crunchy texture.

Ah-lu-lu Powder

Tepung ah-lu-lu is the local translation of arrowroot powder.

Al dente cooking

To cook till "Al dente" is an Italian cooking term for ingredients to be cooked until tender but still firm to the bite. This is usually applied to the cooking of pasta.

Alkaline Water

Alkaline water or lye water is made by lixiviation of vegetable ashes. It is usually added in a very small quantity to the making of kuih. Alkaline water improves the texture of the kuih by making it smooth and ?bouncy?. Alkaline water is kan sui in Chinese.

Almond meal

Almond meal is ground dried sweet almonds. It is used as an alternative to flour to thicken savoury sauces. It can also be used to coat fish or meat to be fried. It is also used in many types of cakes, pastries, dessert and confectionery including marzipan. There is, however, no substitute for it.

Ammonia powder

Ammonia powder is chow fun in Cantonese. Ammonia is a pungent gas that has a strong alkaline reaction. It is often used to make yau char kwai crisp and light.


Aniseed is an aromatic condiment and is a seasoning that was used even in ancient times. It has an agreeable and strong liquorice-like taste and odour. The seeds are widely used in curries, stews and soups. Aniseed can be replaced with star anise and fennel. It can also be a substitute for caraway, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Arrowroot flour

Arrowroot flour is kot fun in Cantonese and ah lulu hoon in Hokkien.

Asam jawa

Asam jawa is tamarind.


Aspartame is an artificial sweetener. It has no aftertaste but cannot be used for cooking because it loses all of its sweetening power when heated.

Atta flour

Atta flour is fine wholemeal flour that is milled from wheat kernels. It is also known as chapati flour. Atta flour is low in gluten.

Avoset cream

Avoset is a brand, and Avoset cream is available both as a single and a double cream.