A Good Party Snack To Try… Coconut Delights

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INTRODUCTION

This recipe came as a surprise. It is not my recipe nor a recipe  that I obtained from books or internet. It is a recipe that my Facebook friend from Athens had given me via private message in the mid night. She said that she loves these snacks very much and none of her friends have ever rejected her offer of this delicious snack. Her reason of giving me the recipe is very simple. She wanted me to try and share with more people and I have to thank her for her self less sharing of her recipe.

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On the next morning,  I read the ingredients and I knew immediately that it will be a very nice snack. There are only 3 ingredients in the recipe – sugar, desiccated coconuts and eggs.  Any combinations of these 3 ingredients will definitely be superb. It is just like Kaya (coconut jam) or traditional coconut tarts. Putting these 3 ingredients in another shape will not alter the taste.

IMG_67051 Prepared using fresh shredded coconuts

I have decided to try the recipe and on the next day, I happily rushed to the market to get hold of some freshly grated coconuts. I went home and tried the recipe. I found that something is funny, it is shapeless as the batter was very watery. I private message her and told her the scenario and she “screamed” – Did you read the recipe, it is desiccated coconut and not fresh coconut…… It was a blunder that I made…. Ha-ha. Well, the end product was also very nice.

IMG_69071 Prepared using desiccated coconuts

I told myself how can I issue a recipe that is not her original recipe. I hold on the post until yesterday. I went to the bakery shop and requested for the designated “desiccated coconut” and prepare another batch. Therefore, in this post there are two recipes, one is using fresh shredded coconuts and the other is using desiccated coconuts. Which is better? I should say both are equally delicious. But using the fresh shredded coconuts will yields very fragrant coconut aroma but the texture is slight chewy and almost shapeless. In fact, I like the rugged shape of the snack. On the other hand, the recipe using desiccated coconuts yields a much better shape, crispy on the outside and slight chewy in the middle but not wet. Frankly speaking, I loved both…

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RECIPE 1 – COCONUT DELIGHTS – USING FRESHLY GRATED COCONUTS


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Depending on size about 30 snacks

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  • 320 grams of sugar
  • 420 grams of shredded fresh coconuts
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of corn starch (not in picture)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence or lemon zest or orange zest (not in picture)
  • Some nuts for decorating (It can be any nuts – pistachios, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia, cashew nuts)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat oven to 175 degree Celsius
  • Lightly greased a baking tray.

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  • Mix all ingredients (fresh shredded coconut, eggs, sugar, vanilla essence/lemon zest and corn starch) together. Stir until well mixed. Take a spoonful of batter and put it in the baking sheet.Place on baking tray with about 1 finger apart. lightly press it and put on top your desired nuts. Bake in the preheated oven of 170 degree Celsius and bake for 15 minutes or until the surface is lightly golden brown.

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RECIPE 2 – COCONUT DELIGHTS – USING DESICCATED COCONUTS


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Depending on size about 30 snacks

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  • 320 grams of sugar
  • 420 grams of desiccated coconuts
  • 4 eggs (disregard picture of 2 eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence or lemon zest or orange zest (not in picture)
  • Some nuts for decorating (It can be any nuts – pistachios, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia, cashew nuts) – not in picture

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat oven to 175 degree Celsius and lightly greased a baking tray.

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  • Mix all ingredients (fresh shredded coconut, eggs, sugar and vanilla essence/lemon zest) together. Stir until well mixed. Shape the coconut into a small balls and put it in the baking sheet.Place on baking tray with about 1 finger apart. lightly press it and put on top your desired nuts. Bake in the preheated oven of 170 degree Celsius and bake for 15 minutes or until the surface is lightly golden brown.

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CONCLUSION

It is true that the snack is very fragrant full of coconut aromas. It is a rather addictive cookie and one is definitely not enough. I have to thank my Facebook friend, Ms.

Lianlian Loh Gliptis for her willingness to share recipes with reader and I concur with her that it is a good party snack to be served at party or small house gatherings.

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .  

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If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 1000 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD. You can also join the Food Bloggers and Foodies United Group Facebook Group to see more recipes.

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Homesick Buns? Yes, I am homesick of Sarawak Style Butter Buns..

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UPDATED POST ON 11-10-2014

Craving for the buns that I can get hold in Singapore, and I have decided to prepare these buns to surprise my wife. We usually bought back from Sarawak if we visited our home town. There is no change in the recipe but I have decided to use the BASIC BREAD DOUGH RECIPE instead of the tangzhong dough recipe here.  Please refer here for the BASIC BREAD DOUGH RECIPE. I find that the basic dough is much faster without compromise quality of the buns.

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INTRODUCTION

This is a rather simple basic bun of which I am yet to trace the history. The uniqueness of this bun is its filling. The filling is made of butter, sugar and flour. Throughout my years overseas, I have yet to find buns that have this filling. The nearest that I have came across is butter milk buns where milk powder is used used instead of pure butter.

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I came from Sarawak, Malaysia. Sarawak is located in the island of Borneo. Since young, I have been eating these buns for breakfasts and snacks.

I missed the buns. The fillings are aromatic. It is sweet and buttery in flavour. When I made the first batch 2 days ago, I posted my pictures in the Google plus certain baking communities and my Facebook timeline, I was surprised that there are a number of readers and my friends are requesting for the recipe. What shocked me is that most of them in Google plus communities have never seen or eaten the buns before. Apparently, they are either curious about the fillings based on my descriptions.

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As for the first batch, I did not take any measurements, I have decided to do the second batch so as to share the recipe with the readers.

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SARAWAK STYLE BUTTER BUNS

Sarawak style butter buns shall not be confused with the butter soft buns that are mentioned in other recipe books. The so called butter buns in recipe books are mostly refer to buns with no filling. It shall also not to be confused with the Hong Kong cocktail buns where the fillings are shredded coconuts and butters. In addition, they are also different from the so called “butter buns” whereby a butter cube is wrapped by the dough and when baked, the butter melts into the bread. Since there are possibilities of misunderstanding, I shall call these special buns as “Sarawak Style Butter Buns”.

Butter Buns – Normal buttery buns with no filling. (pic courtesy:  http://en.christinesrecipes.com)

Hong Kong Cocktail Buns – Fillings are shredded coconut and butter http://cornercafe.wordpress.com

Buttery Buns – Butter in the centre of the bun and melted when baked. This is also the type of buns commonly found in the famous Malaysian chain store called “Rotiboy” .http://thenewartofbaking.blogspot.sg

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Sarawak Style Butter Buns – Butter fillings. Found in Sarawak only.

   


THE PROCESS OF MAKING SARAWAK STYLE BUTTER BUNS

This illustration will use the Tangzhong method of bread making and it involved 5 stages in the following orders:

Part 1 – Making the Tanzhong (Water Roux) ..– Best to prepare the night before

Part 2 – Preparing the Dough for the 1st Proofing

Part 3 – Preparing the Butter Fillings

Part 4 – Preparing the Dough – Wrapping the Fillings and 2nd Proofing

Part 5 – The Baking Process

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TANZHONG METHOD OF BREAD MAKING

Tangzhong (汤种)is a relatively new method of bread making and the main advantages of it is because bread made using tangzhong were usually soft and fluffy and  able to keep longer. Previously, bread improver were used to make the bread softer for a longer period of time. However, this method have used all natural ingredients without any chemicals  to get the same effect.

According to Cookipedia:

“Tang zhong (also known as a ‘water roux‘) is a method used in bread making to create soft and fluffy bread which was originated by the Japanese. However, it was popularised throughout south-east Asia in the 1990s by a Chinese woman called Yvonne Chen who wrote a book called The 65° Bread Doctor. Using this method also allows bread to stay fresh for longer without needing to use artificial preservatives.

To make the tang zhong, you mix together one part flour with five parts liquid (by weight) to make a smooth paste. This is usually water, but can be milk or a mixture of both. The mixture is then heated in a saucepan until it reaches exactly 65°C (149°F), removed from the hob, covered and left to cool until it is down to room temperature, when it will be ready to use. It would be useful have a digital thermometer with a probe when making this as other types of thermometer tend to be too large. If you are not making your bread immediately, the tang zhong will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, but will need to be brought up to room temperature before use. The tang zhong is added to the main flour with the liquid and mixed in and kneaded as normal.

The amount of tang zhong used should be about 35% of the weight of the main flour. It is best to make a little extra, because the liquid will evaporate slightly during heating. To make a loaf weighing about 1kg, I would suggest using 480g flour, 200g liquid and 170g tang zhong (made with 30g flour and 150g liquid), which will give a hydration of about 68%. You can of course adjust the amount of liquid either side of the 200g, but the tang zhong proportions should not be adjusted. “

(http://www.cookipedia.co.uk/recipes_wiki/Tang_zhong)

You will note that my recipe for Tang zhong (that are detailed below) are different from what is mentioned above. You can either use my recipe or the recipe as mentioned above.

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PROCESS OF MAKING THE SARAWAK STYLE BUTTER BUNS

PART 1 – MAKING THE TANG ZHONG (WATER ROUX) …..

What is required

  • 50g bread flour
  • 50g boiling water (water should be boiling hot, otherwise you have to put it over the stove to cook it)

Steps of preparation

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  • Get ready the bread flour in a mixing bowl. Pour the boiling hot water into the flour, mixed well and shaped into a ball.
  • Let the ball cooled down at room temperature. Once cooled, covered bowl with a cling wrap and keep it in the fridge overnight.
  • This recipe will make about 90 g of tanzhong. If you cannot finish tanzhong, you can put it in a container and keep it in the fridge for future use.

Update:

The picture below is from my second batch whereby I have used the method specified in the Cookipedia above and is append here for your reference.

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What is required

  • 25 g of bread flour
  • 125 g of cold water

Steps of preparation

  • In a metal mixing bowl, mixed the water with the cold water. Stirred until well mixed.
  • Place the flour mixture under medium to low heat until the mixture boils.
  • Continue to stir until it resembles some types of glue or when the mixtures start to dissociate itself from the wall of the bowl. Cool and keep it in the refrigerator for the portion that was not used.

PART 2 – PREPARING THE DOUGH – 1st Proofing

What is required

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  • 180 g of bread flour (you can substitute 5 g of bread flour with milk powder, in that case you need only 175 g of bread flour)
  • 30 g of sugar
  • 4 g of instant dry yeast
  • Pinches of Salt
  • 35 g of beaten egg (the above picture is for illustration. 35 g of eggs is equivalent to about 1 egg)

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  • 55 ml of fresh milk
  • 20 g of butter – soften
  • 45 g of tangzhong, refer to recipe above (about half of the tangzhong made above)

 


Steps of preparation (dough)

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  • Mix all ingredients except softened butter and beat at slow speed for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the softened butter and continue kneading at medium high-speed for about 20-30 minutes or when the dough did not stick to the wall of your mixing bowl and do not break when you pull the dough.
  • In the flat surface dusted with normal or bread flour, take out the dough from the mixing bowl and slightly knead it using hand for 1-2 minutes and shape it into a ball.
  • lightly oil you mixing bowl and place the ball in the bowl. Cover with damp cloth or cling wrap (to prevent moisture loss).

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  • Leave it to proof until almost double in size. This should be about 30-45 minutes depending on the day’s temperature.
  • If you are using a metal mixing bowl which are slightly cold when touched, put it in your oven at temperature of about 30 degree Celsius for about 10 minutes or when your bowl feel warm when touched.

 


PART 3 – PREPARING THE BUTTER FILLINGS

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What is required

  • 150 g of butter
  • 150 g of sugar
  • 180 g of flour

Steps of preparation

  • Melt the butter in the microwavable bowl (1 minute). Alternatively, you can also melt it over the smallest heat directly under the fire.
  • Add the sugar to the hot melted butter, stirred until dissolved.
  • Add in the sifted flour gradually and used a spoon to stir until well mixed.
  • Let the flour mixture cooled down and let it rest for at least 5-10 minutes (note that the flour need sometime to absorb the liquid and don’t worry if it is too watery. After 5 minutes, the flour will also expand and you can see a slight increase in volume.
  • Once cool, shaped it into 10 small balls of about 40 g each. Set aside for later use.

 


PART 4 – PREPARING THE DOUGH – Wrapping the fillings and 2nd Proofing

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  • Take the dough out, punch into the dough to let any trapped air escaped. Knead for one minute and divide into 10 equal size round ball.

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  • Wrap the dough around the butter filling ball as even as possible. Put it in a baking tray and cover with the same damp cloth.
  • Let it proof for another 30 minutes or when balls were almost double in size.

 


PART 5 – THE BAKING PROCESS

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  • Set the oven to temperature 190 degree Celsius.
  • Put  in the oven and bake at 10-15 minutes. After 10 minutes of baking, egg wash (please see below) the buns quickly and continue baking for about 5 minutes or when the top start to turn slightly golden brown. Alternatively, you can egg wash first before you send into the oven. I prefer to egg wash at the latter stage as I can control the colour better.
  • Egg wash – Crack one egg and mixed with 3 teaspoons of water and 2 drops of oil, slightly beat and sift into a small box, use the brush to brush on top of the surface. The purpose is to let the buns looks shinny and golden brown. 

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  • Take out from the oven and transfer to a rack for cooling.

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MODIFICATIONS AND VARIATIONS

  • For the butter fillings, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of milk powder to the flour. Personally, I do not prefer to have milk powder added since it will negate the butter aroma. However, commercially, they do add milk powder to this and in fact, my kids loved the fillings that have milk powder.
  • For the dough, you can add 1 teaspoon of milk powder as well. However, both this modification are not traditional methods of preparation.

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CONCLUSIONS

  • This is a traditional bun that is very popular among the Sarawakians.  The history has yet to be traced. However, this bun is usually prepared by Hainanese “kopitiam” (coffee shops) and most of the good bakers are Hainanese. Hainanese are the descendants of immigrants from the Island of Hainan in People’s Republic of China. It is also a Chinese dialect group and they are very good chefs and pastry chiefs. This is because they arrived South East Asia later than other Chinese dialect groups (like Cantonese, Hokkien, Foochow) and they were employed as chefs in the then British families and well to do local and nonya families. They were trained by the British in baking and when the colonial era ceased, they started to set up coffee shops cater for the Chinese immigrants in from China. The consumption and usage of butter in pastry were mostly influenced by the British administration. Though unconfirmed, however , it appeared to be logical because Chinese traditional cooking did not use its butter in its delicacies.
  • The Sarawak Style butter buns have a nice buttery fragrance and taken a bit resembles taking a teaspoon of butter and sugar in the mouth….It is divine especially eaten with a cup of tea or coffee. It is ideal as a breakfast item or afternoon snacks.
  • The use of tanzhong in this recipe made the bread softer even after a day or two. This newly developed baking method is widely used by bakers in the Asian region and that is one of the reasons that sweet buns and soft buns were popular in Asian region. The texture will definitely different from the traditional method of bread baking.

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Hope you take a move in trying out this new recipe. For my readers who are in other countries and never tasted this bun, just take a bowl, add equal amounts of melted butter, sugar and flours, stirred and put in the microwave for 2 minutes. Have a small scoop of filling and tell me if this is your cup of teas.

Thanks for reading and have a nice day. Cheers. 

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 8 June 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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Nothing To Shout About–A Simple Walnut Butter Cake

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INTRODUCTION

I loved the cake very much. The cake is tasty, very moist and soft though it was not as fluffy as what I wanted it to be. However, I believed that it is my fault because of my hurry folding of meringues (egg whites).

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That morning, I was extremely busy and rushing to send my kids to school. I am rather impatience when I folded the egg whites and I forgot to knock the baking tin against the table, therefore, some meringues were trapped in the batter causing the cake becoming dense and have holes on the top part of the cake.. That is my mistake and not the recipes fault. I am still very pleased with the cake..

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One member in the Facebook Group asked me whether I have a walnut cake recipe. I said I did not but will be in my to do list. When I Googled the walnut butter cake recipes that morning, I found a few recipes and  decided to select this recipe :Indonesia Walnut Butter Cake”. I have selected this recipe because it looked like the walnut cake that I used to eat. As to why the name was associated to Indonesia still puzzled me. However, in Singapore, there is a famous bakery – Begawan Solo  (a bakery that sells a lot Indonesian cakes and cookies) have this cake as one of their popular cakes.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipes adapted from: Indonesia Walnut Butter Cake

Servings: One 9” x 9” cake

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  • 250 grams of butter
  • 200 grams sugar (divided into two 100 grams portion)
  • 200 grams of plain flour
  • 100 grams of fresh milk (not in picture)
  • 4 grams of baking powder
  • 200 grams of toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 4 eggs – separated into egg whites and egg yolks

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Lightly greased a 9’’ x 9’ square baking tin  or line the baking tin with parchment paper.

  • Preheat the oven to 160 degree Celsius.

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  • Blend the lightly toasted walnut using a food processor until as fine as possible. Set aside for later use.

  • In a big mixing bowl, cream half of the sugar (100 grams) with butter until light and fluffy. Add one egg yolk at a time, beat until well mixed. Repeat the same for the other 3 egg yolks. Scrap the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl ensure there is no unmixed egg yolk settled at the bottom of the mixing bowl.

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  • Sift in the plain flour and baking powder. Add the chopped walnuts. Use the mixer’s slowest speed to stir the batter until well combined. Add the fresh milk and fold until well mixed. Scope out to another mixing bowl for later use.

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  • In another clean mixing bowl, place your egg whites and beat using the machine whisk to whisk the egg whites until soft peak. Note that the bowl have to be extremely clean, dry and free of any oils. When the volume expands, add in the sugar (100g) gradually, beat until thick and glossy and until all the sugars dissolved (firm peak). Spoon the egg whites into the batter.

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  • Fold in the egg whites as swiftly and lightly possible until all the ingredients are well combined. Transfer the batter to the lightly greased baking tin or baking tin lined with baking paper. Knock the baking tin on the table a few time to ensure there is no trapped egg whites in the batter. Level and bake at 160 degree Celsius for about 45-50 minutes or when a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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  • Rest the cake for at least 1.5 hour in the cooling rack before cutting. It is best to leave the cake overnight before serving if time permits.

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CONCLUSION

Don’t judge this cake by the images you have seen in this post. It is a nice cake and I have to apologize that the dense look is because of my hurried folding of the egg whites. Trust me, by following the procedures above, you will definitely be able to come out a much better cake than I do. Taste wise is full of walnut flavour, moist and buttery.

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 28 July 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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Four Seasons Blog Hop #32 (January 9 2014)

Four Seasons Blog Hop - Easy Life Meal & Party PlanningWelcome to the Four Seasons Blog Hop

A party where we can celebrate the greatness that each season brings to our lives.

So Let’s Get This Party Started!!Let's Get this Party Started Share your  food creations, gardening, clever projects, tablescapes, decorations, party themes, and inspirational knowledge … Ok, you get the point.  Join us every Thursday (opens Wednesday evening at 6:00 pm). Please stay for awhile and show some love to the guests, join us in the fun and grab a button. Four Seasons Blog Button

We will share your posts in a variety of ways on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.  We will also have features of the week! Be sure to follow our Four Seasons Board on Pinterest!

By participating in this linky party, you agree to have your posts shared on social media and Pinterest and to receive email and Google notifications for reminders about the party. If you don’t want to receive notifications, please let us know. If you are sharing on this party and have a linky party that you host or co-host, we would love to have you link it at the end of this post (after the Four Seasons Blog Hop)!  Your linky party will show up on the Four Seasons Blog Hop for the next month – just a small way in which we can show our appreciation and support to you!

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My Childhood Cake–Bee Hive Cake/Malaysian Honey Comb Cake or Kueh Sarang Semut (蜂巢蛋糕)

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Please take note that there is an updated recipe of using golden syrup instead of caramelizing the sugar. So Recipe 1 is the traditional method of caramelizing the sugar and Recipe 2 towards the end of the post is using golden syrup. You can choose either one of the recipes.

INTRODUCTION

I have repeatedly said this many times, in the 1970’s and 1980’s, all traditional cakes and cookies recipes  in this region are rather simple, using simple ingredients, simple cooking method  and baking equipment.

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This is a childhood cake. I remember very clearly that my I first tasted the cake 35 years ago prepared by my eldest sister in law. Then, she just “befriended” with my eldest brother. We did not have any oven, no mixer or even measuring cups. What she did was using the simplest mixed and steamed method to prepare the cake. I can only recalled it as a moist, dark colour, spongy cake. 

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The cake is called honey comb cake or bee hive cake or kek sarang semut (literally translated as ant’s nest in Malay Language). Some may misunderstood the cake as Bingka Ambun, another Indonesian cake that have a bee hive cake structure. However, they are different. In fact, I have suspected another Chinese cake, white sugar steamed cake (白糖糕)is also related. I honestly believed that these 3 cakes are interrelated, at least from the aspect of food histories. All the 3 cakes have  some common cake characteristics, an “airy” bee hive like structure and spongy cake texture.

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A brief analysis on the differences is provided as follows:

 
Kek Sarang Semut/ Bee Hive Cake Bingka Ambun White Sugar Steamed Cake
Caramelization of sugar Yes No No
Flour used Wheat Flour Tapioca Flour Rice Flour
Leavener Baking Soda Yeast Yeast
Fats Butter Butter None
Eggs Yes Yes No
Method Baked/steamed Baked/grilled Steamed
Colour of cake Dark brownish Light Yellowish/Green
White

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I like the cake, so is my wife who is also from Sarawak. She told me that she craved for the cake a while ago and we cannot buy it from Singapore bakeries as it is definitely not a common cake. Months ago, I have tried one recipe from the internet but failed terribly. Since then, I have not tried any other recipes until the New Year Eve 2013. On that day, I invited my brother’s family to have dinner with us. After the dinner,  my sister in law and I talked about the bee hive cake that she prepared about 35 years ago. Based on her memories and what she had described, we managed to come out this bee hive cake. All are using simple measurements such as 1 can of condensed milk, 2 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 2 cups water, 8 eggs , 1 teaspoon of baking soda etc. I am very happy to have successfully bake this cake even though it is slightly burnt on the top as she can’t really recall the correct temperature (note that at her time, she is using the simplest movable oven or steaming).

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RECIPE 1 – USING CASTOR SUGAR AND CARAMELIZE


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: an 8” x 8” cake

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  • 180 grams of butter at room temperature
  • 1 can of condensed milk or sweeten beverage creamer (380 grams)
  • 2 cups of self raising flours
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of castor sugar (note: if you are using golden syrup, please refer to recipe 2 at end of the post)
  • 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 8 eggs

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Lightly grease a baking tin and pre-heat the oven to 160 degree Celsius.

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  • In a sauce pan, heat the sugar under medium to low heat. Continue stirring until all the sugars have melted. You have to be patience. If you use high heat, the sugar will be burnt and you have to throw away as it will be very bitter. It will take about 10 minutes but that very much depends on your heat. As long as the syrup have turn light brown, you can off the heat.

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  • Add 2 cups of water to the melted sugar CAREFULLY. As this is hot melted sugar, it may splash out.  Let the syrup cool at room temperature. If you can’t wait, put the syrup in a pool of cold water to release the heat.

  • In a mixing bowl, cream the butter slightly. Add in 1 can of condensed milk, beat until well combined. Add in one egg at a time and beat using slow speed until well combined. Repeat the same until all the 8 eggs are added.

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  • Sift in the flour, use slow speed to stir until well mixed. Add in the COOLED syrup and baking soda to the batter, stir until well combined.

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  • Transfer to the baking tin and bake in the pre-heated oven at 160 degree Celsius for 45-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let it cool completely before cutting into desired sizes.

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CONCLUSION

This is another traditional verbal recipe that turned out to be a success. I have been looking for this recipe for a long time but none is as easy as what my sister in law had shared with me. I appreciated traditional verbal recipe and I must document down and keep it as a record before every body forget about it again. Sponginess, soft, moist, buttery with mild caramel aromas are the characteristics of this simple cake. Trust me, it is not as sweet as you think it should be. The sweetness is just nice for an average sweet tooth.

Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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UPDATED ON 13 JANUARY 2013

RECIPE 2 – PREPARING BEE HIVECAKE USING GOLDEN SYRUP


Subsequent to my issuance of this report, a number of readers are trying out the cake. Some of them are getting the beautiful patterns and some of them only get minimal holes and one reader is complaining about the bitter taste of the cakes that she prepared every time. The bitter taste is most likely due to the burnt syrup in the cake. Note that in the above method, as long as the syrup is lightly brownish, you have to off heat immediately, otherwise it will be burnt and become very bitter.

Because of this, I have decided to bake another cake on 12 January 2013. by using ready made golden syrup instead of caramelizing the sugar our self. In fact, I have to admit for the preparation of this cake, I hate the syrup preparation process as it is quite time consuming and it will splash if not careful. With the use of golden syrup, the procedures,  the water amount and other measurements have to be amended accordingly.

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  • 180 grams of butter (melted)
  • 1 can of condensed milk or sweeten beverage creamer (380 grams) – not in picture
  • 2 cups of self raising flours
  • 400 grams of water (about 2 cups minus 4 tablespoons of water)
  • 1.5 cups of golden syrup
  • 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 8 eggs

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  • Mix the golden syrups with the water. Stir until dissolved. Add in condensed milk, melted butter and eggs, stir until well mixed. You can add in stages. Sift in the flour and baking soda, stir until well mix. Transfer to the baking tin and bake in the pre-heated oven at 160 degree Celsius for 45-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let it cool completely before cutting into desired sizes.

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For more recipes, you can refer to myRECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTERESTor visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .  

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I Love Hainanese Chicken Rice–Hainanese Chicken Rice (海南鸡饭)

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INTRODUCTION

Updated on 20-9-2014 : The post was updated with the chilli sauce recipe. Please scroll down towards the end of chilli sauce recipe.

This is one of my most satisfied posts and it went unnoticed because of the inexperience picture taking and poor formatting when I just started my blogs. I have decided to add in new pictures for this post. The post was originally written for Mother’s day 2013. However, it is equally applicable to any occasion.

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IMG_64951 Rice flavoured with chicken broth

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IMG_64751 Some soup from the chicken stock

IMG_64881 Condiments required (for chilli sauce, please scroll down towards the end for recipe)

 


 

ORIGINAL POST (11 May 2013)

WHY NOT COOK YOUR MOTHER A MEAL OF CHICKEN RICE THIS COMING MOTHER’S DAY?

 


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Hainanese chicken rice is a dish of Chinese origin, and is most commonly associated with Hainanese, Malaysian and Singaporean cuisines, although it is also commonly sold in Thailand. It is based on the well-known Hainanese dish called Wenchang chicken (文昌雞), due to its roots in Hainan cuisine and its adoption by the Hainanese overseas Chinese population in the Nanyang area (present-day Southeast Asia). Hainanese chicken also appears as a specialty in Vietnamese cuisine. Mother’s day is approaching and it would be a bad idea to prepare some dishes for her and why not consider Chicken Rice. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hainanese_chicken_rice)

As explained above, chicken rice is a common household dish and hawker’s saleable item. It is welcomed by population of all age groups in Singapore and Malaysia, be it children, teens or adults and all levels from workers to top executives. Singapore is famous for its chicken rice (actually, I am not sure about the reasons behind this since places like Ipoh, Malaysia are also famous for their chicken rice) and is deemed to be a “national dish”. It is also one of the items served by Singapore Airlines for its business class and first class customers.

My kids loved chicken rice and I decided to cook chicken rice yesterday since they have been mentioning it for quite a while. In fact, they are having chicken rice at least one to twice a week at the school canteen.

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IS CHICKEN RICE DIFFICULT TO PREPARE? – Simplified version of chicken rice preparation

Chicken rice is basically “chicken” plus “rice”. If you are not fussy and able to forgo a lot of minute details in the dish preparations, you will score may be a pass in your preparation.

If I am not having meals at home, my mother in law can cook a pot of chicken rice serving the whole family (2 adults and 2 kids; 2 women, 1 girl, 1 boy) with just two drumsticks. This was how she did it. She cleaned the drumsticks; mixed the uncooked rice with a few spoons of chicken rice sauces sold in the supermarket; added a few sticks of pandan leaves; put it in the rice cooker; put the drumstick on top of the rice and on the rice cooker. This is a super quick way to cook, my mother in law was using the steam generated from cooking the rice to cook the chicken and let the juices dripped into the rice. It took her only 20 minutes to cook. There was no complains from her daughters and grand children as the three females family members don’t really like to consume meat. They just want “chicken-rice flavoured white rice”  and they are more than happy to give all the drumsticks to my son. HOW BRILLIANT IS MY MOTHER IN LAW!

However, if you and your family members are food critics, then you may take a while for you to prepare an entire dish until the level acceptable by the foodie. The next question would logically be what differentiates a plate of delicious chicken rice from the “yucky” one.

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WHAT CONSTITUTES A GOOD PLATE OF CHICKEN RICE ?

Usually, chicken rice was assessed based on the following criteria:

RICE  
Fragrance Should emit a nice aroma which basically is a mixture of fragrances from pandan leaves, gingers and garlics
Texture The rice should be soft but still maintain the original grain shape. It should not be soggy (meaning too much water added) and greasy.
Colour Colour should be slightly yellowish that and not plain white. Yellowish colour make the rice looks more presentable and appetizing.
CHICKEN  
Texture Should be soft and juicy. Therefore, simmering/poaching of chicken is one of the critical processes in this dish preparation.
Appearance A bit glazy, skin should not be broken. However, most household will throw away the skin and debone the chicken before serving it.
Fragrance As original as possible
   
CONDIMENTS  
Chilli sauce Beside spicy, chilli sauce must also have the fragrance of sesame oil, ginger, garlic and lime.
Special made soya sauce The soya sauce should be thick and slightly sweet
Ginger sauce Gingers were freshly ground and overall sauce must be tasty enough
   

Before I proceed, I have to caution that my recipe is the healthy version but the outputs resemble those chicken rice sold in hawker centres or posh hotels or restaurants. You got the hint? Smile  If you found my ingredients are not that healthy, just substitute with what you usually use. Of course, not  the chicken and rice!!! I will justify the usage of my ingredients.

 

PREPARATION PROCESS

 Getting Ready….  
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  • One medium sized chicken.  – When you buy the chicken, you have to ensure that you have a pot big enough to submerge the whole chicken. I have used a smaller chicken because I only have 4 persons for the meals.  For your reference, I have paid SGD 4.80 for chicken, therefore, it is rather small. I do not recommend to use frozen chicken as the taste would not be the same.

  • Additional chicken feet for preparation of chicken stock (may be SGD 1 for 10 chicken feet) and keep the chicken fats for frying the garlics and gingers.

  • One cube of ready made chicken stock (optional).

  • Lots of garlics, gingers and bits of fresh turmeric (optional).

 

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  • 2 bundles of pandan leaves. It is definitely recommended if you are in Malaysia and Singapore but if you cannot get it in your countries, you can go without it but use more gingers and garlics instead.

  • Some coriander leaves, tomatoes and cucumbers for garnishing.

  • Light soya sauce, thick dark soya sauce, cooking oil, sesame oil for condiments. If you can’t get the thick dark soya sauce, you can use the normal dark soya sauce and add in some rock sugar

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Preparing the ingredients…. 

 

  • Pound the garlics and gingers as fine as possible. Add in a bit of tumeric if desired. Set aside of future use.Note that I have included a small slices of tumeric for the purpose of colour the rice. Tumeric is a good colouring agent and in fact, it blends quite well with ginger and garlic. You can see from the second picture that the pounded mixture is a big yellowish. But do not add too much until it covers up the fragrance of garlic and ginger.
  • In a bowl, get ready some chicken stock cubes, dissolved in hot water and set aside for later use.This step is optional but I opt to do it because I need not to add a lot of condiments such as light soya sauce, salt etc. to the chicken rice later. Sliced some cucumbers and tomatoes and set aside for later use.
  • Personally, I would think that a plate of chicken rice is incomplete without slices of cucumber in it. The role of cucumbers and tomatoes is to negate the greasiness of the rice and chickens since it is just “chicken plus rice” without any vegetables. Size and shape of cucumber are up to individual and here, I have sliced it into funny shapes for future garnishing. Tomatoes are optional but I love the colour and it blends well with the chicken rice.

 

Preparing the chicken ….

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  • Clean the chickens and pluck off any feathers and hairs found. Chop off the heads and legs. The legs can be used for preparing the chicken stocks. If any chicken fats were found, wash and keep these fats for future use. You may consider to use coarse sea salts to rub on the chicken skin such that you have a smooth polished chicken skin. I did not perform this step as I did not have any coarse salts with me.

  • I have purposely bought some additional legs for the preparation of chicken stock as I found that one chicken is just not adequate to bring out the fragrance of the chicken rice.

  • The garlics and gingers quantities in this picture were for reference only.

 

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  • Get ready a pot of water. Throw some garlics, gingers, pandan leaves and bring to boil on high heat.

  • When the water is boiling , submerge the whole chicken into the water with its back facing up. Add in the chicken bones and feet. You can also consider to stuff the chicken with the garlics, pandan leaves and some spring onions before you poached the chicken.

  • The reason letting the chicken having its back facing up is because chicken breast takes longer time to cook  and positioning chicken this way will ensure that breast are fully cooked.

  • Lower heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

 

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  • After 30 minutes, get ready a big pot of cooked cold water (icy water preferred). Take the chicken out and put it in the cold water. Let it soak in the cold water for about 15 minutes. The most important reason for doing this is to preserve the meat juices in the chicken from drying out and prevent the skin from breaking.

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Cooking the rice….. 

  • Use some type of measuring cups (be it the cooking measuring cups or your rice cooker cups)  and  pour adequate quantities chicken stocks (from simmering/poaching  the chicken earlier) to the rice and ensure that it is just adequate to cover the rice. Add in the pounded ginger garlic paste and turmeric and stir until well mixed.

  • Note: How much liquid (in this case chicken stock) is needed to cook the rice is very much depends on the types of rice you have. Some rice may need more water to cook than the others.

  • On the rice cooker and when cooked, fluff rice gently with chopsticks (while loosening rice and avoid rice burnt at the bottom of the rice cooker. Leave at “keep warm” settings for about 10-15 minutes and a plate of chicken rice is ready.

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Serving your chicken rice… 

  • Get ready a bowl, add some light soya sauce, sesame oils, and a bit of leftover chicken stocks and mix well, set aside.

  • Cut your chicken into parts, arrange on platter over a bed of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.

  • Pour sesame soya sauce oil over the chicken and garnish with coriander leaves. In this picture, I have deboned the chicken and the whole plate of chicken are boneless

  • In separate condiments bowls, serve chilli sauce, ginger sauce and thick soya sauce as dips.

  • Serve with warm rice and some chicken soups. There should be some chicken stocks left after you used it to cook the rice. I just throw in some tomatoes, chye shim, and tofu to make some soups for my kids to eat along with the rice.

 

Here is the chicken rice and does it look appealing to you? Overall, I think I spent less than SGD 10 for the entire dish for a meal of 4. This price is not adequate for you to have a plate of chicken rice at a posh restaurants outlet. At a local food court, if we order one whole chicken plus four plates of rice, one plate of vegetables, plain chicken soup, you will need at least SGD 20 to have that.  We can’t really finished the meals and we still have half a pot of rice left and about one third of chicken left.

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The “aftermaths”…..….CHICKEN PORRIDGE

I used the left over chicken “stock” from submerging the poached chicken in the ice water, throw the chicken rice, the meat into the water and boil for about 15 minutes. Add condiments and garnished with fried onion, coriander leaves and chopped onion and a bowl of chicken porridge is ready for breakfast.

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WHY NOT COOK SOME CHICKEN RICE FOR YOUR MOTHER THIS MOTHER DAY? IF YOU CANNOT COOKED FOR HER, WHY NOT FORWARD THIS POST TO HER AND SAY.

“ MUMMY, HAPPY MOTHERS DAY,

Mom, You’ve cooked for me with love all this while and how I wish I could prepare this dish for you this Sunday to assure you that your kid have grown up and able to take care of themselves.  However, since I am not free to cook this Sunday,  why not we  have the most famous Chicken Rice  in Singapore  at the famous Mandar…. Hotel  in Orchard Road instead? Mom, I love you….. “  Just joking!!!

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL MOTHERS;

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO MY  WIFE – MY KID’S MOTHER ; AND

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO MY WIFE’S MOTHER – MY MOTHER IN LAW………

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UPDATED POST ON 20-9-2014

The post was updated with incorporation of some new pictures and preparation of chicken rice chilli recipe. This chicken rice recipe is the one we usually prepared at home and if this is served, no separate ginger sauce will be prepared. All quantities are estimated quantities for reference only. Feel free to change to your liking.

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Ingredients

  • 100 grams of ginger
  • 100 grams of garlics
  • 5 calamansi
  • 50 grams of chilli.

Steps of preparation

  • Squeeze the juice of the calamansi and keep the calamansi skin.
  • In a food processor, blend the gingers and garlics until fine. Add calamansi skin and chilli, blend until as fine as possible.

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  • Transfer the blended mixture to a glass bottle. Add the calamansi juices, some white vinegar, salt, sesame oil, sugar, light soya sauce and chicken stock. Stir until well mix. Since this is a savoury sauce, feel free to adjust the quantities to your liking. Add more vinegar or calamansi juices when served in a small bowl.

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 28 July 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  


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Another Savoury Cookies For Chinese New Year–Chilli Shrimp Floss Cookie

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INTRODUCTION

When I was shopping on Sunday, I saw the supermarket selling the Chilli Shrimp Floss or haebeehiam in Hokkien (a Chinese Dialect). It was rather economical and 180 gram bottle cost only SGD 3.50. When I was young, we used to prepare this our self. It will need a lot of dry shrimps, shrimp paste, lemon grass, shallots, garlics, chilli and etc. It can be rather costly because of the price of dry shrimps. I have not prepared this for a long time. Immediately when I saw this, I told my wife I want to give it a try and bought a bottle. Immediately when I reached home, I opened the bottle and took some to taste. The taste was good, very aromatic and free of any fishy smell.

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I got the inspiration to make this cookie from a Facebook Group where some members were posting their laksa cookies, another type of savoury cookies.  I thought I might as well use this to give it a try. I know the taste will definitely blend with the cookie.

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I didn’t look for any recipe but modified from my Yin Yang Macadamia Chocolate Biscuits. Since this is my own creation, I will have to modify the recipe and transform it from a sweet cookie to a savoury cookie. I have many ideas but I can’t try it all. Some of my ideas include minced the chilli and include in the batter, add lemon grass to the cookies and etc.. If you are adventurous enough, you should try.

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When I posted up this cookie in a Facebook Group, a lot of members like the cookie. That surprised me. I would never expect the response to be good. But I believed it is not my cookie that capture their hearts, it is the haebeehiam that they loved. So, they will try haebeehiam in any form. Well, I believe that this cookie will definitely not disappoint them. It is savoury, crispy and aromatic. It will be another special cookie in the coming Chinese New Year.

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But for this cookie, I would like readers to trial and error. What is provided in this recipe is those that suit my taste buds. Prior to shaping, readers should take a bit of raw batter and taste, add additional seasonings if required. This is the way how the elders cooked their meal without recipe. Another way, like me, is not only to taste the batter, I test bake a piece of cookie in my oven toaster and adjust until it suit my taste buds. Readers are advise to do the same. This is a practical advise and it is always my sincere hope that readers will be able to modify the recipes that I issued and come out with one that they like.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: About  70 2.5cm x 2.5 cm x 0.5 cm cookies

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  • 250 grams butter (soften at room temperature)
  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 0.5 cup of corn starch
  • 2 eggs (not in picture)
  • 1 cup of chilli shrimp floss
  • 1 tablespoon of chicken stock or seafood stock (e.g Knorr or Maggie Seasoning)
  • 1 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon of light soya sauce (not in picture)

  • 1-2 bird eye chilli for decoration (optional)
  • 2 egg yolks for egg washing (optional)
  • Some clingy wrap

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Line 1-2 baking trays with parchment/baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.

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  • Cream the butter until light and pale. Add in one egg at a time, beat until well mixed. Sift in the corn starch, plain flour, white pepper and chicken stock. Use the mixer to mix at slow speed until well combined.

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  • Add light soya sauce and chilli shrimp floss. Use the mixer to mix again until well combined. Transfer out and divide the dough equally, say 100 gram per dough. Put one portion of the dough on the clingy wrap and roll it into a rectangular shape. Tighten both ends.

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  • Put the dough in the freezer and let it harden. It will require about 15 minutes. When hardened, use a knife to cut into smaller pieces.

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  • Cut a the bird eye chilli into small pieces. Press one piece into the cookie (note: you must press it down the cake otherwise the chilli will get burnt). Baked in the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes or when it started to turn golden brown. Egg wash the cookie if preferred. For egg washing, crack 2 eggs and mix the egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of milk.

  • Please be prepared that some parts of cookies may looked burnt because of the shrimp floss. Any shrimp floss that was exposed will be burnt. So your cookies may have some black dots and that to me, is acceptable.

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CONCLUSION

It is not a difficult cookie to prepare except the shaping. As for the shaping, feel free to design your own shape. You can use cookie cutter, make it into a rectangular shape like the kaasstengels cookies or others.

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Remember to either test bake a piece or taste the raw batter before you shape the whole tray. Then, you can add additional seasonings that you like.  You can always just take some batter and bake in the oven toaster. This basic recipe have used less seasonings as it is intentional for readers to adjust to suit their taste buds. If too high  amount of seasonings were recommended, there will be no way for readers to reverse the batter if they are not savoury cookie persons.

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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This recipe was included in Page 41 and Page 42 of the following E-book. No changes except no egg washing and shape changes.

For more Chinese New Year related cookies, snack and steamed cake recipes, you can have a copy of Easy Chinese New Year Recipes – A step by step guide” that was packed with 30 recipes, 60 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD3.50. The recipes covered various recipes from auspicious radish cake to nian gao to traditional kuih bangkit to trendy London almond cookies. Of course not forgetting both type of pineapple tarts. You can purchase by clicking the link above. You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at kengls@singnet.com.sg and separate arrangement can be made.

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Baked or Steamed,You Decide Yourself–Glutinous Rice Cake, Nian Gao (年糕)

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INTRODUCTION

I have been holding this post for a while because I am waiting for my steamed glutinous rice cake to harden so that I can cut and show readers how to prepare this sticky rice cake. Somehow, this is the fourth day, it is still rather soft, I have decided not to wait any more and share with readers the preparation of the cake itself.

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Very frankly, I have a lot to write about this special glutinous rice cake, Nian Gao. A lot of fond memories and a cake that is a must during the Chinese New Year. This is one of the cakes that was offered to ancestors beside the steamed rice flour cake (huat kueh) and steamed sponge cake (kuey neng ko). As this is Chinese New Year season, I am really running out of time and members in the Facebook Group is waiting for the recipes, therefore, I have to share these recipes as soon as possible before the festival is over. I do not intend to write about what I know about Nian Gao, instead, I will refer readers to Wikipedia that have a very good write up about this cake.

“Nian Gao (nin gou in Cantonese), sometimes translated as year cake or Chinese New Year’s cake, is a food prepared from glutinous rice and consumed in Chinese cuisine. It is available in Asian supermarkets and from health food stores. While it can be eaten all year round, traditionally it is most popular during Chinese New Year. It is considered good luck to eat Nian Gao during this time, because “Nian Gao” is a homonym for “higher year.” The Chinese word 粘 (nián), meaning “sticky”, is identical in sound to 年, meaning “year”, and the word 糕 (gāo), meaning “cake” is identical in sound to 高, meaning “high or tall”. As such, eating Nian Gao has the symbolism of raising oneself taller in each coming year (年年高升 niánnián gāoshēng). Also known as rice cake. This sticky sweet snack was believed to be an offering to the Kitchen God, with the aim that his mouth will be stuck with the sticky cake, so that he can’t badmouth the human family in front of the Jade Emperor. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nian_gao)”

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– BAKED NIAN GAO (烤年糕)-


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Baked Nian Gao is definitely not common among the Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia. What is common is the steamed Nian Gao. However, it had become popular for overseas’ Chinese. Pardon me if I am wrong, in order to meet the taste buds of non-Chinese, butters, eggs and flavouring (such as almond,  coconut etc.) were added and baked in the oven instead of steaming. It is a rather common dessert during Chinese New Year in China Town restaurants.  Last year, I baked one Nian Gao and I loved it very much. This year, I have decided to bake it again and share with readers.


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: Baked Nian Gao

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  • 3 cups of glutinous rice flour
  • 1 cup of thick coconut milk (about 1 small packet – 200 ml)
  • 2 cups of plain water
  • 2 cups of castor sugar
  • 100 grams of coconut sugar (gula melaka)
  • 100 grams of melted butter (about 1/2 cup)   or 50 grams (see notes below)
  • 4 eggs (not in picture)
  • pinches of salt

(Amended on 9 January 2013 – Because some of the Singaporean readers are indicating that the recipe is too oily (though it is acceptable to me), in view of the current trends of less fat consumption, you can adjust to using 50 grams of butter instead of 100 grams of butter as indicated in the recipe)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Line a 8” x 8” square tin with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.

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  • In a sauce pan, heat the gula melaka (coconut sugar), melted butter, coconut milk, salt and water under low to medium heat until all the coconut sugar and sugar have dissolved. (Note: if you are not using coconut sugar, you can just mix all the liquid ingredients without heating the liquid). Let it cool at room temperature. Transfer the liquid to a big mixing bowl. Add the eggs and mix well.

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  • Add the glutinous rice flour, use an egg whisker or spatula to stir until well combine. Sift the flour mixture into the baking tin.

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  • Bake in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for 30-45 minutes or until the cake is set. Cool completely for at least one hour before transfer out for cutting into desired size.

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– STEAMED NIAN GAO (蒸年糕)-


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Steamed Nian Gao is the type of Nian Gao that we prepared for offerings. It is vegetarian and I can’t recall in my whole life, I have any year that I did not have a Nian Gao with me if I am at home. It is supposed to be an auspicious cake and in the olden days, there were many taboos associated with the preparation of Nian Gao. It can be fried with eggs the same way as French toast, re-steamed, or deep fried by sandwiching between sweet potatoes and yams.

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I only use about 1 hour to steam this cake though most recipes called for a rather long time from 2-10 hours. I honestly believed that this is due to the bamboo basket that I have used to steam the cake. Bamboo basket has many holes and heat can penetrate and cook the cake more easily. In addition, the brown or black sugar used have the effect of browning the cake. Traditionally, the 10 hours used is waiting for the sugar to caramelize in the steaming process. It is possible if you have the time. I have not tried as I am concerned about my gas bills.. Ha-ha but I have witnessed my auntie who prepared this in a very traditional way using castor sugar and it needs at least 7-8 hours steaming using a very big wok.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 2 cups of glutinous rice flour (2 杯糯米粉)
  • 2 cups of water (2杯水)
  • 1.5 cups of castor sugar (1.5 杯白糖)
  • 0.5 cups of black or brown sugar (半杯赤或者黑糖)

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STEPS OF PREAPARATION

  • Get ready a steamer, put water and bring to boil under high heat.

  • Put a cellophane plastic sheet on a 6 inches bamboo basket. You can refer here on how to put the cellophane tape on the bamboo basket. For Singapore readers, both cellophane sheet and bamboo basket can be obtained from Bake King at Haig Road.  If you are interested to learn how to line the basket professionally using banana leaves, you can refer to my Group’s post : https://www.facebook.com/groups/Bloggerfoodies/permalink/763707907051879/ prepared by Ms. Kim Choo Ooi. I have purposely asked her to demonstrate to my members step by step pictures. As this is her property, I can’t posted in my blog.

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  • Put the white sugar and brown sugar in a sauce pan, heat under medium heat until all the sugar have melted. Add in the water carefully. Be careful as the water can splash out when added to the hot syrup. Let the syrup cool at room temperature. (Note that you can by pass this step and  just mix sugar, water and flour together, see below).

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  • Put the syrup in a big mixing bowl, add glutinous rice flour, stir until as well combined as possible.

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  • Sift the flour mixture into the wooden basket. Steam in the steamer for 1-2 hour or when the rice cake is set. Set means when you push the basket, there is no wavy pattern in the flour mixture. Since there is no need to wait for caramelization,  as long as it is set, it is considered as cooked. If you prefer, you can put a red date (jujube) on the centre of the cake. However, I have use the old method of putting  a piece of red paper in the centre. (Note that for praying purposes, every cake must have some tinges of red)

  • Remember that the rice cake can be sticky when hot or even at room temperature. It will only harden in the room temperature for as long as in 1 week time. So don’t worry that it is not cooked.  When hardened, cut into small pieces and fried in the same way of French Toast.

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Updated on 14 January 2014

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This year I have decided to steam Nian Gao for my neighbour and relatives. There is no changes in the ingredients except that I by pass the caramelization of sugar. I mixed sugar, water and glutinous rice flour together,stirred until well combined, sift and steamed. This will save some time. To further save the timing, I have fully utilized both my bamboo steamer and my aluminium steamer using 3 tiers. As a general rule, the large Nian Gao should be at the deepest layer and the smallest one should be on top as it is easier to cook. For this batch, I used about 1.5 hours from preparation to steam.

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As for the taste, it is quite similar but of course not as fragrant as the traditional method of steaming 10 hours to let castor sugar caramelize from white to brown. I can definitely take it as I know exactly what is in my Nian Gao as compared to the counter bought Nian Gao.

Remember, as long as it is not watery, it is considered done. It will take weeks to get it harden. The one without basket is the Nian Gao of my earlier illustration and is just 90% hard after almost 2 weeks. If you are afraid of mould grows on the Nian Gao, once it is slightly harden, lightly greased a layer of cooking oil on top of the Nian Gao.

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CONCLUSION

Baked or steamed, you decide. For me, I must have a Nian Gao in my house during Chinese New Year. I usually put it in my dining table until Chinese New Year is over. If you are concerned about the growing of moulds,  just spread a layer of cooking oil on top of the hard surface. Even if the mould have grown without your notice,  you will wash it with clean water, cut off the top surface and continue to cook the cake. Am I gross? Ha-ha. May be, but food is precious in olden days and this cake can only be eaten once a year.

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Do try the baked version. You wouldn’t regret it. Neighbour who tasted the baked Nian Gao asked me what “kueh” – or local cake it is. It is full of coconut aroma and I can eat a quite a number of pieces  after I started cutting the cake. Putting the deliciousness of the cake aside, do consume in moderation as glutinous rice is rather unfriendly to the gastro-intestinal system.

Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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Another Short Bread Biscuits For This Chinese New Year – Nan Khatai or Indian Short Bread Cookies (杏仁酥油饼)

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This is not a new post. It is a post that I have issued last year and I promised to bake this for Chinese New Year. There are two recipes, the first recipes uses ghee entirely where as the second modified recipes uses a mixture of butter and ghee and some corn flour to better the shape of the cookies.

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You can either use recipe 1 or recipe 2 and that very much depends on your needs. Personally, I preferred to have recipe 1 for home consumption whereas for gifts as friends or relatives, recipe 2 is preferred.

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ORIGINAL POST

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INTRODUCTION

Looking at these cookies, how shall you describe them? Probably, you will reply that the cookies appear to be flat, thin, rusky, fragile and very light.

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What can you infer from these characteristics? These characteristics just indicate to foodies that the cookies are buttery and melt in the mouth!

Yes, these cookies really melt in your mouth meaning you do not even need to use your teeth during your ingestion. You can just put one cookie in your mouth, your tongue and saliva (description a bit gross) will help you to do the job, it melts and send it directly down to your palate. 

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This is definitely not a trendy cookie and its ingredients are rather uncommon in Singapore and Malaysia’s pastry.  It is a cookie with long history and it has a proper name called “NAN KHATAI” or “Indian Short Bread”. Ghee, a type of clarified butter was used instead of normal butter. Semolina flour were added to the cookies and therefore at times it is also called “sugee cookies” though the name ”sugee cookies” can be overly general.

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I have had this recipe for years, meaning more than 10 years. I have never take a step out to prepare this cookie. I remember one of my brothers loved sugee cakes and sugee cookies and that is the reason why I have this recipe with me. Yesterday, I have decided to bake this cookie.

I managed to get this recipe when I searched for another cookie called “melting moments”.  This cookie were also prepared using ghee, shape into a small ball and dusted with powdered icing sugar. It is one of my favourite Chinese New Year cookie. Years ago, when I searched for melting moments recipe, Nan Khatai’s recipes appeared. Immediately, I am attracted to this cookie because of its light yellowish colour. Analysing the ingredient, I knew it will be a very tasty recipe. I printed out and kept it until today. I am very happy that the recipe is still on the internet and you can locate the original recipe here.



GHEE AND SEMOLINA FLOUR 

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The two most unique ingredients for the recipe were ghee and semolina flour. Both ingredients were used abundantly in South Asia Continent’s cuisines. Ghee is  a type of clarified butter with a slightly higher fat content. Ghee is no simple fat, for me, it smells much more aromatic than butter, in fact it is more expensive than butter. A 150 g tin of ghee will  cost SGD3.50 whereas a 250 g of butter will cost only SGD3-4 depending on the brands.

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In my humble opinion, if you have tasted ghee, you may not like butter or margarine. I would attribute that the “melt in your mouth” properties of this cookie is due to the usage of ghee. Though the original recipe called for butter but I have insisted of using ghee and I can immediately tell that butter would not be able to produce this light texture after I took my first bite. It will be good if readers can read more about ghee in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghee.

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Malaysia and Singapore’s Eurasian communities like to use semolina flour in their pastry. One of the most famous Eurasian festival cake is sugee cake and semolina flour was used. You can get it rather easily in most supermarkets that sell various types of flours.

According to “The Food Encyclopaedia” published by Robert Rose Inc. 2006, it was written:

“ Semolina – a coarsely ground durum wheat flour where the bran and germ have been sifted out, very light in colour and texture, used for making pasta, gnocchi, cereals, couscous, puddings and soups. From the Italian semolina, a diminutive of semola, meaning “bran”, and similia, meaning very fine wheat flour”

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: Nan Khatai by Diana Desserts (servings: about 50 pieces of 2-3 cm diameter cookies)

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  • 150 grams of self raising flour

  • 50 grams of semolina flour

  • 75 grams of castor sugar

  • 150 grams of ghee or butter

  • 1 egg beaten

  • half a teaspoon of vanilla essence

  • Adequate almond flakes or whole almonds for the cookies.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat your oven to 185 degree Celsius.

  • Have 2 baking trays ready and line with parchment or baking paper.

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  • In a big mixing bowl, beat the ghee and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until well mixed.

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  • Add in semolina flour and self raising flour, use hand to fold in or continue using machine to “stir” until well mixed.

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  • Put your batter in a piping bag and pipe the  batter in the baking tray of your desired size. Leave adequate space for expansion. Put some almond flakes or almond chunks or whole almonds on top of the pastry.

  • Baked in the oven at 185 degree Celsius for about 15 minutes.

  • Cool the cookies completely before store in an air tight container,

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CONCLUSION

This is an extremely nice cookie and in my humble opinion, it is even better than the traditional English short bread that I have prepared earlier.

It is able to melt in the mouth because of ghee which is a clarified butter but with a slightly higher fat content. If you look at the flat cookies, you will know this is a hard core version using ghee (not butter or margarine) and it will be very light. In fact, I have weighed the cookies and one cookie weigh about 6 grams. This is extremely light!

If you Google Nan Khatai, if the shape of the Nan Khatai is flat and like what I have prepared in this post, it is definitely made with ghee. If it had a very nice shape and all are of the same size, the cookies are most likely to be made from butter. I am quite insistent that readers used ghee instead of butter.

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This is the cookie I strongly recommend and if there is any cookie  that I want to sell  during  Chinese New Year or other festivals, this will definitely my top priority.

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UPDATED ON 4 JANUARY 2013

This is the second batch of nan khatai cookies I made on 4 January 2014 and made minor adjustments as highlighted in red as follows:

  • 150 grams of self raising flour
  • 50 grams of semolina flour
  • 75 grams of castor sugar
  • 100 grams of ghee
  • 50 grams of butter
  • 2 teaspoon of corn flour
  • 1 egg beaten
  • half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • Adequate almond flakes or whole almonds for the cookies.

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OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENTS OF THE SECOND BATCH

For home consumption, it is still better to use the first recipe as it is more aromatic and really melt in the mouth. However, shape is compromised and it may break rather easily due to its light texture. However it is extremely delicious.

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For gifts for friend or relatives, the second modified recipe is recommended as it is more presentable and the taste wouldn’t compromise much at all. But, a sincere advise is not to use whole almond or cashew nuts as the texture of the nuts does not blend well with the melt in the mouth texture. Almond flakes is still recommended.

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This recipe was included in Page 10 and Page 11 of the following E-book. 

For more Chinese New Year related cookies, snack and steamed cake recipes, you can have a copy of Easy Chinese New Year Recipes – A step by step guide” that was packed with 30 recipes, 60 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD3.50. The recipes covered various recipes from auspicious radish cake to nian gao to traditional kuih bangkit to trendy London almond cookies. Of course not forgetting both type of pineapple tarts. You can purchase by clicking the link above. You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at kengls@singnet.com.sg and separate arrangement can be made.

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A Childhood Cookie That I Loved… Kueh Momo or Kueh Makmur or Ghee Cookies

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INTRODUCTION

This is the third attempt of preparing this cookie since I started blogging last year. I am still reluctant to issue the post because it looked  rather unsightly. I told myself, if I issued this post, it will be one of my ugliest cookies that I have ever prepared. However, I have finally decided to issue this post because it is a very successful cookie, with the texture that I am looking for, really melt in the mouth full of buttery flavour.

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In my first attempt of making this childhood cookie, the cookie is almost shapeless possibly due to too much ghee and too little flour were used. When baked, it is not a ball but it flattened and became a biscuit shape.

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In my second attempt, I get a very nice shape but the cookies were very hard. That is possibly because of the inclusion of sugar powder in the batter. I shelved the issuance of that adventure until I met my wife’s cousin during the Winter Solstice festival.

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My wife’s cousin assured me that the cookies were very easy to prepare and I tend to believe what she said because it is a traditional cookie. All traditional cookies are very easy to prepare due to limitations in ingredients, baking equipment or even measuring equipment.

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She told me that it is made using 2 ingredients, ghee and flour, mix and then bake. No sugar shall be added as it will make the cookie hard. Since I am still searching for a recipe for this childhood cookie, I have decided to try her verbal recipe and in fact, I always trusted verbal recipes from the elders.

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Yes, what she said is correct, the result is the type of melt in the mouth buttery cookies that I am looking for. Because it melt in the mouth (meaning using your tongue to eat rather than using your teeth), it is very unlikely to have a shape.. This is a true and frank statement that I have always shared with my friends.  I honestly believed that there is always a trade off between shape and texture of cookies. Sorry for being gross of asking to show what it meant by melt in the mouth!! ha-ha

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The name of this cookie are many, at home, we called it ghee cookie or kueh momo. But in the internet, there were also called Kueh Arab or Kueh Makmur and if semolina flour were used, it is called sugee cookie. Obviously, this is a Middle Eastern cookie that have passed down to Malaysian Muslims especially in the Eastern States of Malay Peninsular (Terengganu and Kelantan). It was named Kueh Makmur literally translated as prosperous cookies. Wikipedia have a write up on this cookie and you may want to have a look at it. (http://ms.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuih_makmur)

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There are many recipes in the net, some called for use of egg yolks, some use egg whites, some put sugar in batter, some use semolina flour and some use plain flour.. and this recipe is one of the most basic traditional recipes using only 5 ingredients : ghee, milk powder, plain flour,salt and icing sugar..



WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings : Make about 50 cookies of 1.5 cm diameter balls

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  • 150 grams of ghee
  • 200 grams of plain flour
  • 150     grams of milk powder
  • pinches of salt
  • Adequate icing sugar for rolling the balls

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 160 degree Celsius.
  • Stir fry the flour in a pan for about 5 minutes under medium heat. Cool and set aside. The main purpose of this step is to pre-cook the flour and make the flour lighter. However this step is optional.

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  • In a mixing bowl with ghee, sift in plain flour, milk powder and salt. Use your hand to lightly knead until the dough is well combined. Let in rest/chill for half an hour before shaping in the refrigerator. If you can handle the soft dough, this step is optional.

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  • After half an hour, shape the dough into a long cylindrical shape and cut into about 10 gram per dough ball. Shape into a round ball. If it is too soft, chill it again. Place the ball in the baking tray.

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  • Bake in the preheated oven at 160 degree Celsius for 8-10 minutes. When it is out of the oven, roll the cookie in a bowl of sugar powder. You have to be careful as the balls are very hot and fragile. Transfer the sugar dusted balls to a wire rack for complete cooling. When cooled, transfer to a container. Can keep in an airtight container at room temperature for at least 2-3 weeks.

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CONCLUSION

I am blogging cookies that I have eaten during Chinese New Year when I was young. This is one of them. I like it so much because of its creamy, buttery and milky melt in the mouth texture. If you want a nice shape, you can consider adding 1 teaspoon of egg white to the batter. The cookie will be beautiful but become crispy! If you want to melt in the mouth, follow this traditional recipe and this is definitely a recipe keeper..

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I have to thank my wife’s cousin, Ms. Beatrice K. this recipe and some of my friends who have generously shared  with me their recipes including May L, Nor Norzela and Zahrah J.  I didn’t have a chance to try all recipes as yet but I believed it will be as good as this simple recipe.

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTERESTor visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .  

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If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 1000 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD. You can also join the Food Bloggers and Foodies United Group Facebook Group to see more recipes.

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Here i am baking Chinese New Year cookies along with LenaJoyce and zoe, the linky will be opened till Jan27.

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