What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 30-5-2013

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On 30-May 2013,

White rice served with:

 

1. Sarawak Laksa Chicken 砂朥越辣沙酱鸡
2. Pak Choi with Oyster Sauce 耗油上海青
3. Three mushrooms chicken soup 三菇鸡汤
4. Seaweed chickens 海带鸡片

Today, I have tried to use the home cooked Sarawak laksa paste to cook the chicken. Overall, the result is satisfactory. It is very much similar to the curry chicken except there were no turmeric in the dish. I have used a lot of coconut milk to cook this dish.

Because the kids don’t really eat the laksa chicken, therefore, I have prepare some seaweed chicken (in a way is a form of “compensation” for them.

The soup is called three mushroom soups because I have used 3 types of mushrooms namely enoki mushroom, shimeji mushrooms and oyster mushroom. As all these mushrooms are very easy to cook, I have used chicken instead of pork rib for the soup based. As usual, the kids are fighting for the mushrooms. Beside egg fanatics, they are mushroom fanatics also, all type of mushrooms…


Yesterday is quite a sad day for me because I have spend lots of time to summarize my dishes and it ended up that what I see is not what I get making the whole post quite “unreadable”. Obviously, I have to constantly remind myself that a lot of excel formats cannot work in HTML. I am still studying it how to best present myself in the internet. However, you can still download  an excel file in the here.

As promised in the post yesterday, I have posted all my dishes cooked in Pinterest http://pinterest.com/kengls under the following boards:

I hope all of you are able to benefit from these summary. Thanks and have a nice day.

Blogger Labels: White,Sarawak,Laksa,Chicken,砂朥越辣沙酱鸡,Choi,Oyster,Sauce,耗油上海青,Three,soup,三菇鸡汤,chickens,海带鸡片,Overall,dish,compensation,soups,pork,Beside,fanatics,dishes,HTML,Pinterest,Meat,hawker,foods,Thanks,rice,vege

WordPress Tags: Sarawak,Laksa,Chicken,砂朥越辣沙酱鸡,Choi,Oyster,Sauce,耗油上海青,Three,soup,三菇鸡汤,chickens,海带鸡片,Overall,dish,compensation,soups,pork,Beside,fanatics,dishes,HTML,Pinterest,Meat,hawker,foods,Thanks,vege,rice

 

Irregularity is also such a beauty!

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What is this series – Series 21?

You will be surprised that there are no photographic effects. It is just some form of rearranging. I am really de-stressed when I completed this puzzle. It lights me up! Some natural things.

Series 20  answer can be found here.


Answer posted on 1-June-2013:

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This is Rhoeo Discolor leaves when I washed it in the water before I brew the Rhoeo Drink. You can learned more about it here.

Are You Crazy? You Performed Month End Closing of “Home Dishes Cooked” Accounts?

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While my ex-colleagues or classmates may have month end closing of accounts these few days, I too have the monthly closing of my meal plans. It is 30 days since I started this series and I am determined to continue no matter no many dishes have been repeated and just take your sweet time to come here to look at what I have cooked.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Being an accountant by background, I have the tendency to summarize data and analyzed the data. The raw data does not mean anything to the reader and a summary, in my humble opinion is deemed necessary for reader’s benefits.

Before I proceed, I have to highlight the following points which you have to take into consideration when referring to my meal plan.

  • My meal plan basically caters for 2 adults and 2 children aged 7 and 9.
  • My cooking objectives is to provide nutritious meals to the children since they are at their growing stage.
  • Usually, I will try to cook dishes that were liked by all the 4 family members.
  • All members in the family are supposed to eat the same dish, meaning, I would not cook a special dish just for any particular members of the family.
  • I will try to rotate the meals as long as possible as I do not want my children to be too picky in their food.
  • We have no special diet as to the type of food but I will ensure that what we have eaten are all in moderation. However, very soon I will start a one month vegetarian diet !
  • We seldom throw away food and we ate leftover foods. Perishable items will usually be consumed within the day and meaty items, if cannot finish will be kept for next meals. Usually, yesterday left over dishes will be “transform in another new dish” in the next day to avoid boredom. However, these overnight dishes were not included in my analysis below.
  • Spicy food is generally not cooked because of the children. I missed all those spicy food such as curry, belachan kangkong and etc. It is a pity that when my kid ate the curry, they have to dip the curry into some plain water before they put it in their mouth.
  • I preferred to dine in rather than dine out as my kids are quite a big eater and they generally preferred home cook food.
  • Generally, every meal shall include one soup, two fish, meat or tofu dish, one vegetable dish.
  • Meat dish and soup will usually cook in the morning and shared between lunch and dinner. Vegetable dish will be cooked prior to the dinner.
  • We don’t have a maid and all the work from dish preparation, cooking and cleaning was done by either my wife or myself.
  • Marketing were usually done once a week on Saturday to Sunday.

I HAVE PREPARED SOME NICE EXCEL WORKSHEET IN HTML FORMAT BUT IT DID NOT WORK FOR SOME CATEGORY. I AM RATHER UPSET OVER THIS. THEREFORE, I HAVE ATTACHED AN EXCEL SPREADSHEET FOR YOU TO DOWNLOAD AND READ (WHAT I COOKED TODAY SUMMARY). I also have the difficulty to write any more thing as it is a big post and I cannot name the dish that I posted here, I therefore apologize for that also.


DISH CATEGORIZATION

I have categorized my dish into the following broad categories

  • Soup dish – Soup is a must in my family. if the soup is to last for 2 meals, it will be cooked in the morning and if only one meal, I  will usually choose some quick soup made with fresh leafy vegetable.
  • Meat dish – This shall include pork, chicken and fish.
  • Tofu and egg dish – All the tofu relatives be it taukwa, tofu, taupok and etc. Egg dish is included in tofu dish since it’s nutritional value is quite the same. May also include dishes such as fish cakes, fish balls if it is a dish on its own. A good way to visualize this categorization is the items that you bought in the stalls that sell bean sprouts ……
  • Vegetable dish – This is another must have dish unless there are too many dishes.

Whether a dish is classified as a vegetable dish or a meat dish will depends on the portion of the raw ingredient in the dish. For example, for chicken braised with bamboo shoot, if I cooked the entire chicken and I use the bamboo shoot as a side ingredient, it will be considered as a meat dish. However, if I cooked the whole packet of bamboo shoot with some chicken slices, it will consider as a vegetable dish.

SOUP DISH

A must in the family. Soups were usually cooked in the morning for two meals. Sources of vegetables to cook soup can be:

  • All sorts of melons, gourds and those that will not turn “ugly” after you cooked for about 45 minutes and able to keep it for the next meals. Eg. Radish, sweet corns, bitter gourds etc.;
  • Most green leafy vegetables and usually these were quick soups which was prepared just before the meals for one meal. E.g. Chinese spinach, water cress, Bok Choy etc.
  • Beans and roots and soya bean products . It can be peanuts, black turtle beans. Roots can include lotus roots. Soya products include bean curd stick, bean curd, taupo etc..
  • Canned products – usually we used canned mushrooms and canned kernel corns.

The soup base can either be from pork or from chicken. As my kid do not like to eat the pork rib and I have to finish all the pork ribs, I have sort to buy the “big bones” – bones with no meat and boil the soup. Usually these soups will have other side ingredients like red dates (红枣), goof berry (枸杞),dried squid (鱿鱼干),dried scallop (干贝),anchovies (小鱼), honey dates (蜜枣) to make it tastier and provide more minerals and vitamins.


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The picture are not that attractive. Please refer the number to the table as I have difficulty of typing the name


MEAT DISHES

I don’t really cooked meat dishes on a daily basis as both my wife and my daughter are not keen to have meat (especially pork). For my son, he likes to eat meat but he is “extremely prosperous” now. As such, meat to us is secondary. As long as there are something that can be munch, that will be okay. Meat usually is alternated between pork, chicken and fish. As meat preparation can be quite time consuming and is difficult to cook a small quantity, we sometimes buy some ready made meat dishes like Yakitori satay etc. to add as the dish.

The proteins that the kids are getting are mostly from soup and other soya bean related products. If you looked at the fish that I cooked, I have intentionally include “commoner’s fish “ like ikan selat kuning, types of fish for nasi lemak. The main purpose is to expose my kids to have as many types of fish as possible and “train” them how to eat fish with bones. Believed it or not, they can;t even handled fish like fried black pomfret! For me, these fish are cheap and protein amount is almost the same. They can’t continue like a baby where we only use kurau, white pomfret, codfish(鳕鱼), salmon, black and red grouper etc..

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What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 29-5-2013

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On 29 May 2013,

White rice served with:

1. Old Cucumber Pork Rib Soup 老黄瓜排骨汤
2. Taukwa fried with Chinese celery 芹菜炒豆干
3. Bitter gourd braised with Chinese fermented bean 豆瓣酱炆苦瓜
4. Chinese spinach cooked with goof berry 枸杞子炒苋菜

Dish no. 3 is a vegetarian dish. This is the dish I used to cook when I am having my yearly vegetarian meals. It is bitter gourd braised with ginger and fermented beans, dark soya sauce and vegetarian oyster sauce. The aroma of ginger mixed with fermented beans is more than adequate to offset the bitterness of bitter gourd!

Dish no. 2 is a simple dish using Chinese celery to stir fry with taukwa (another version of bean curd but with lesser moisture contents). I have put some sweet sauce and dark soya sauce and it is just a nice dish to eat with white rice.

I have been posting what I cooked for exactly a month (from April 30 to May 29). In fact, it is quite a fun thing. Every time I looked at the food pictures that I took, I will feel hungry myself and my daughter have joked with me that may be in one of the meals, just print out some pictures and eat with the white rice!!

Do stay “tuned” as a summary of all the dishes will be released soon and I hope to receive feedbacks and comments from all readers.

Happy reading!

What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 28-5-2013

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On 28-May 2013,

White rice served with

1. Steamed white pomfret 清蒸白鲳鱼
2. Fresh Matrimony vine leaves meatball soup 枸杞菜肉丸汤
3. Fresh corns fried with pork slice 肉丝炒新鲜玉米
4. Blanched baby Pak Choy with minced pork 肉碎拌小奶白

Fresh matrimony vine leaves is also called Chinese goof berries leaves. It is a bit bitter and it is believed to be good for the eye sight.

The Plights of Kuey Neng Ko…The Traditional Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake…

IMG_3949 Chicken + egg + cake = Steamed Sponge Cake

Scenario 1

“Mimi, let’s have some “kuey neng ko” (“jidangao ( in Mandarin) or “Chicken egg cake” literally translated into English”) for breakfast! Yesterday is Chin Ming, your grandmother prepared a lot and gave one to us.”

Mimi replied, “Yuk! mum, you know that is not my cup of tea, don’t “hassle” me anymore! By the way, I am not hungry now and if I am hungry, I can buy some Swiss roll in Polar Cake Shop  or Ma La Gao in Tau Kee Pao Shop near my office!”

Scenario 2

In the office, “Mimi, I have bought some nice  mini cupcakes from a Japanese bakery shop in Vivo City. You want to try?’. “Of course. Um, it is nice, do you have another piece to spare me?”

Scenario 3

In a posh French Restaurant in Ann Siang Road, Mimi’s boyfriend Kaka asked, “Mimi, today is Christmas day, shall we have a slice of Bûche de Noël as dessert?’” Mimi nodded her head shyly and that was her nicest dessert she have ever had in years.


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INTRODUCTION

Kueh Neng Ko or “Jidangao (鸡蛋糕)” are traditional cakes prepared by the Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese for prayers usually to the ancestors or gods. In my childhood years, before any big festivals where offering to the ancestors or deities were required, my aunt would make this kuey neng ko, ang ku kueh and my mum will make another type of steamed rice cake called “huat kueh”. They will share with each other for the prayer sessions.

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The picture shows the traditional egg beater, an old woman preparing the traditional cake; the traditional kuey non ko.

(Courtesy of : http://zuzu88.blog.sohu.com, http://frognme.blogspot.com, www.cookingvoyeur.com)

Mimi’s adverse reaction to Kuey Neng Ko is typical of many Malaysian teenagers where such traditional cakes were ignored and belittled. What Mimi did not know is that the famous Ma La Gao (commonly sold in Hong Kong Dim Sum restaurant) or Swiss Roll or Japanese cupcakes and the French Buche de Noel essentially have the same ingredients except slight differences in the ratios between the ingredients and its method of preparation.

IMG_3961       IMG_3966Cousins” of kuey non ko belonging to his uncle “Oven”

Swiss rolls, Buche de Noel and Japanese Cupcakes utilize the baking method, whereas kuey neng ko uses steamed method. Though both Ma La Gao and Kuey Neng Ko used the steamed method but Ma La Gao recipes uses fats (vegetable shortening, oils or butter) in the preparation but Kuey Neng Go have none.

Theoretically, Kuey Neng Ko should be a healthier choice than Ma La Gao and Swiss Roll but why is it outdated and failed to win the heart of youngsters nowadays?


WHAT IS KUEY NENG KO?

Kuey neng ko is synonymous to “Sponge cake” in bakery terms and the best equivalent will “Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake”. Eggs  is omitted in the name because it is implicit in the word sponge cake. In Western Countries, steamed method of cooking are mostly limited to vegetables (of course there are some steamed cakes like steamed fruit cakes and puddings) but the Chinese have used this versatile method in preparation of its cuisines ranging from steamed meats (fish), dumplings, rice and the famous dim sum.

IS KUEY NENG KO A SPONGE CAKE?

According to Wikipedia, sponge cake is defined as follows;

“Sponge cake is a cake based on flour (usually wheat flour), sugar, and eggs, sometimes leavened with baking powder which has a firm, yet well aerated structure, similar to a sea sponge.  …….

Making of a sponge cake. Using the weight of 3 eggs, weigh the fat, sugar and flour. A typical sponge cake is made by beating the eggs with sugar until they are light and creamy, then carefully sieving and folding in the flour (depending on the recipe, the flour may be mixed with a small amount of baking powder, though some recipes use only the air incorporated into the egg mixture, relying on the denaturing of the egg proteins and the thermal expansion of the air to provide leavening). Sometimes, the yolks are beaten with the sugar first while the whites are beaten separately to a meringue-like foam, to be gently folded in later.The mixture is then poured into the chosen cake tin and baked. Both methods take great care to incorporate air in the beating, whisking and sieving stages. This makes a very light product, but it is easy to lose the air by removing the cake before it has finished in the oven.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sponge_cake

Based on the above definition and descriptions, Kuey Neng Ko clearly is  a sponge cake. It has eggs, sugar and flour. It is firm and a rather well aerated structure.  In fact, the recipes stated in the above quotes are the same as what I have used to make the cakes.  I will not dwell into the details of the above definition until I finish sharing with you how to make the Chinese steamed sponge cakes below. Thereafter, we will go into detail analysis of the failure of our traditional cakes.


WHAT YOU NEED?

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The ingredients are minimal as stated below:

  1. Eggs (1 cup – about 3 whole eggs);
  2. Self raising flour or just plain flour (1 cup);
  3. Granulated sugar (1 cup).
  4. Some coloring or flavoring- You can select strawberry essence for red color and the pandan paste or essence for green color. Of course, color is optional but in order to make the cake have a new look, I have decided to play with the colors of the cake.

Note that the ratio of eggs to flour to sugar is 1:1:1. It will speed up your preparation as you can use the same container to do all the measurements.

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This picture shows certain cooking equipment that you have to get ready but all are substitutable.

  1. Some small cupcake cups;
  2. 3 glasses with a plastic bag each – If you do not want to color your cupcakes, you can omit this.
  3. A steamer – An electric steamer is not a must but the advantage of using it is you can ensure that your heat are consistent throughout the steaming process, just use the traditional bamboo steaming method.
  4. Some form of sieves to sieve the flour.

STEPS OF PREPARATION

BEATING THE EGGS……

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  • Crack 3 eggs into the mixing bowl (here 3 eggs is equivalent to one cup).
  • Pour in I cup of sugar and beat the eggs using high speed until the mixture is light, creamy and glossy. As this recipe did not call for separate beating of egg whites and egg yolks, the beaten mixture will be slightly yellowish and not as light as you beat the egg white alone. During the process, you will start to notice the volume will start to increase resulting from the air introduced to the eggs mixture during the process of beating. Use a spatula to slightly scrap some beaten eggs and see if it fall down. If it fall down, it means that you need further beating. If it just stick at the spatula, it means it is ready and you can stop the machine. On high speed, it take me only 5-10 minutes of beating to get such form. Alternative is to use the hand beaters and traditional they are using a coil to beat the eggs. (look at the 3rd picture)

FOLDING THE FLOURS…

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  • Sieve the flour lightly into the beaten eggs and fold it gently using a spoon or a spatula. For me I have used the mixer of the mixing machine.
  • This process have to be done gently. You want your steam sponge cake to be soft that means that you are saying you want as many air as possible in your steamed sponge cake. Folding gently will ensure the air will continue be trapped in the beaten eggs until it was steamed. Too rough handling will push all the air out and your end products will be something like a pan cake.

GETTING READY TO PUMP THE BATTERS…

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  • Separate the batter into 3 equal portions. I have put the batter into a cup with a plastic bag on it. This is because I need  to pump it into the small cups without the bags, it is rather difficult unless you are very meticulous and or other type of pumps.

  • Coloring is optional. If you are not keen to put in the coloring or flavoring, you can go directly to the next step.
  • I have used the red/strawberry flavor for one portion and the other portion, I have use the pandan paste. Use a spoon to mix it gently until the color is even. I have decided to use coloring because I want these delicacies to look different from its traditional looks.

PUMPING THE BATTERS…

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  • In the steaming tray, line up all the cups nicely.
  • Take one portion and cut a small hole at one of the corners.
  • Pump in the cup at the design you desired.

In this illustration, I have used the smallest cupcake cups. When the batter is pumped into the cup, it will push it towards the side and that simply means that your batter is very soft and will lots of air and expect the final product to be slightly fluffy.

STEAMING THE MINI SPONGE CAKES

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Steamed for about 10 minutes and your steam sponge cakes will be ready. Note as this is a very small cup cakes, therefore, it is rather fast to cook.


ANALYSIS OF THE CUP CAKES

I have intentionally choose this size for the cupcakes as they are one bite size with attractive colors. As you can see, the small cutie is full of holes meaning it is very spongy. Of course this can be further modified by adding little bit of fats (like butter, vegetable oil), using flours with high gluten such as bread flours and shorten the beating process such that less air is incorporated. It is rather addictive and within about 2 hours of steaming it, we have eaten half of the cakes.

In another attempt to make sponge cakes, I have use 2 cups of flour, I cup of egg, 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of tonic water and the result are like this.

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Therefore, The shapes looks much nicer but the texture is less spongy and compared to the 1st one. In a muffin size tin, the output resembles a muffin but is a healthier choice as it contains no fats.


THE FAILURE OF TRADITIONAL KUEY NENG KO TO BECOME POPULAR…

In my humble opinion, the traditional Kuey Neng Ko is not attractive to a foodie because of the following reasons;

  • The quantity of flour in the batter. The Chinese believed that in order to pray to the God, the cake must “smile ‘meaning with some cracks in the shape of one cross shape. Only with this shape, the God will be happy and bring good luck to the prayers. However, in order to achieve this shape, the flour volume will accordingly be  bigger in order to support the structure. This in turns means that less air will be trapped in the cake making the cake denser.
  • No fats in the cake. As there are no fats in the cake, eaters will feel that the cake is rather dry and something will choke them if without a cup of drinks. Unlike Ma La Go, eaters feel the smoother feelings when they eat it. For Swiss roll, the combination of cream and various toppings have help to moisten the cake.
  • As the traditional Kuey Neng Ko have only eggs as the main ingredients, its fragrance is very monotonous. For other sponge cakes, the incorporation of fats such as butter will give the cake some buttery aroma whereas the usage of cream and other flavor enhancers such as vanilla will cover most of the eggy flavor.

CONCLUSIONS

  • Kuey Neng Ko is definitely a much healthier snacks as compared to all other cakes that I have mentioned here as it is non fat and utilizing the steam method of preparation.
  • In order to make this cake more acceptable to the taste of present society, one can consider to make the cake smaller and decorate it until it looks more appetizing.
  • Lowering the volume of the flour used and incorporation of fats will greatly enhance the texture of the cakes.

Lastly, it is hoped that readers will try to prepare this cake as it is relatively easy to prepare, healthier, tastier and more nutritional. The benefits of this recipe are:

  • The ratio of eggs:flour:sugar is 1:1:1 which make it easier to remember and assembling the ingredients;
  • Eggs:flour ratio of 1:1 will mean that the texture of steamed sponge cake will be softer than the traditional kuey neng ko;
  • No additional ingredients were required which saves you time and money;
  • Use of whole eggs instead of beating egg yolks and egg whites separately will shorten the preparation time;
  • Use of mini cup will shorten the steaming time;
  • Use of alternative colorings and flavors will make the cake more appetizing when compared to the traditional steamed sponge cake.

Let me know of what you think about our traditional cakes. Happy reading

Upadate on 15 August 2013

I have posted another steamed sponge cake recipe in  https://kwgls.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/my-steamed-sponge-cake-kuey-neng-ko-is-full-of-gas-%E6%B1%BD%E6%B0%B4%E9%B8%A1%E8%9B%8B%E7%B3%95%EF%BC%89/. You can follow the link to understand another way of making this steamed sponge cake.

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I insist that I am beautiful even you want to chase me out of this house!

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What is this Series ? – Series 20

No photographic adjustments of any kind is used to day. This item will be throw away after the photo taking. That’s why, they are complaining. Not that tough at all.

Series 19’s answer can be found HERE.


Answer posted on: 29 May 2013

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These were the cupcakes cups that I used for making the mini Chinese Steamed Sponge Cakes as mentioned in the post “THE PLIGHTS OF THE KUEY NENG KO” HERE.