Coconut Pandanus Custard Glutinous Rice Cake – Kueh Salat or Kueh Seri Muka (香兰椰香糯米蒸糕)

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INTRODUCTION

If you asked me whether it is easy to prepare this traditional steamed glutinous rice cake 20 years ago, I can tell you it is laborious. In fact you need patience to soak the glutinous rice, steam it, pound the Pandanus leaves, squeeze the juice, beat the egg, make the coconut custard and steamed it again..It is quite impossible for me to think that it is possible to prepare this snack within 1.5 hours.

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However, yesterday, while I was shopping for my weekly groceries in a shopping centre, I have this sudden urge to eat something sweet and with coconut milk, It just suddenly struck my mind that I wanted to prepare some Kueh Salat or Kueh Seri Muka. When I reached home, with a bit of planning, I get my kueh done within 1.5 hours. Thanks to rice cooker and juice blender.. Yes, I have did the short cut method bypassed the traditional ways of preparing it. With the availability of new kitchen equipment, all this is possible without compromising much the taste..

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As per Wikipedia,

“Seri Muka (also Kuih Seri Muka or Sri Muka (Malay: Pretty face) or Kuih Salat ) is a two-layered dessert with steamed glutinous rice forming the bottom half and a green custard layer made with pandan juice (hence the green colour). Coconut milk is a key ingredient in making this kuih. It is used to impart creamy taste when cooking the glutinous rice and making the custard layer. It is an example of a Nyonya / Malay kuih. In 2009 the Malaysian Department of National Heritage declared Seri Muka as one of the 100 Malaysian heritage foods and drinks.”. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seri_Muka)

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Though I have prepared it in a rather fast manner, but I have to say that I am pleased with the results of my experiment. In fact, it is addictive especially the green custard layer. I confessed that I did use some Wilton colouring to get this colour. But that is optional. Without the use of permitted food colouring, the colour shall be a bit dull but equally delicious. I did think of trying to use “spinach” as a colouring agent, however, since I can’t find any spinach in my refrigerator, I have shelved the idea of experimenting this.

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The texture of glutinous rice is just nice for my liking since I do not like the overly cooked sticky glutinous rice grain, However,  if you prefer softer glutinous rice grain, you can either add a bit (additional 1/4 cup) more water to the rice or steamed it for a longer time before the custard layers are poured into the glutinous rice.

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I intended to use pea flowers to colour the rice into blue colour, but I can only find a handful of miserable pea flowers  some of which had already dries up. As a result, the blue shade in the glutinous rice were not obvious. Therefore, if you need a darker blue shade in the glutinous rice, you have to use at least 30-40 flowers for the juice extraction. Again, this is optional, the addition is purely for decoration only.. Only Nonya version of Kueh Salat use blue pea flowers whereas the Malay version usually do not use the flowers.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: Kueh Salat Recipe from Kitchen Tigress

Servings: Prepare an 8” diameter baking tin of Kueh Salat

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For glutinous rice portion

  • 300 grams of glutinous rice (washed)
  • 30-40 blue peas flowers (optional)
  • 200 ml of package coconut milk
  • 100 ml of water
  • 5-6 pandanus leaves cut into smaller pieces
  • Pinches of salt to taste

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  • 200 ml of package coconut milk (not in picture)
  • 40 grams of sago flours
  • 150 grams of sugar
  • 100 grams of water
  • 6 eggs
  • Pinches of salt
  • at least 10 pieces of pandanus leaves, wash and cut into smaller pieces.
  • Some green permitted food colouring (optional)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Lightly grease an 8” diameter baking tin and ensure that the tin can be placed in your steamer.

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  • Wash the glutinous rice and put in the rice cooker pot. Pound the blue pea flower (bungar terang), and add the 100 ml of fresh water to the pounded blue pea flower. Sift the blue colour water into the rice cooker pot. Add in the 200 ml of thick coconut milk and pinches of salt.

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  • Add in the pandanus leaves. Stir until well mix and cook in the rice cooker using the “sticky rice” or “glutinous” rice function. If your rice cooker do not have this function, just cook it like white rice. However, you may need to cook for another cycle or until the desired texture. If water dries up too quickly, just add additional water. Let it cool and set aside.

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  • In a blender, add in the cut pandanus leaves. Add in all the ingredients (sago flour, water, sugar, eggs, coconut milk, permitted food colouring and salt) and use a blender to blend until fine.

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  • Sift the mixture into a pot suitable for cooking the custard. Set aside and proceed to the next step.

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  • Lightly grease a baking tin for steaming. Transfer the cooked glutinous rice into the tin and pressed it hard against the bottom. Let the glutinous rice become as compact as possible. Meanwhile, get ready a steamer and put some water for steaming. Place the baking tin in the steamer and start steaming while you are cooking your coconut custard. Actually, pre-steaming is not necessary now since the rice is at least 90% cooked. However, as you want to continue the steaming when your coconut custard is cooked, you might as well start the steaming now.

  • While the glutinous rice is steamed, cook the coconut custard under medium heat (I have bypassed the step of cooking the custard over the hot water as I found that a slight curdling is acceptable since it will be fully cooked in the steaming process). But do not use high heat as the curdling process can be rather fast and uncontrollable.

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  • Constantly stir the coconut custard.. When you witness a lot of bubbles and the custard is SLIGHTLY difficult to stir (especially at the bottom of the sauce pot), transfer the half cooked custard to the steaming glutinous rice. Continue steaming under high heat until the custard is set which takes about 15-20 minutes. As an indication, you can see the custard layer starts to pull away from the greased tin if it is set. Use a skewer to insert in the centre of the cake and ensure that the skewer comes out clean. Cooled completely before cutting into smaller pieces using a sharp knife.

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CONCLUSION

With the availability of newer kitchen equipment, it is not difficult to prepare at all. Do try and see if you like this traditional steamed glutinous rice cake.

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

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Another Simpler Healthier Breakfast Item–Chinese Style Vegetarian Steamed Buns (素菜包)

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UPDATED POST ON 3-SEPTEMBER 2014

As  I am now on a vegetarian diet, therefore, I have decided to prepare this steamed buns again and have another session of photo taking. There are no major changes except I have shredded my jicama to smaller pieces and used Hong Kong Pao Flour. Happy with result after preparing so many steamed buns in between this period of half year.

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INTRODUCTION

I have prepared Sarawak version of dry spring rolls a few days ago and I have some julienned jicama left in the fridge. Suddenly, I thought of preparing a type of vegetarian bun that my mother in law loves to eat. It is a Chinese style of jicama fillings. A rather common type of non-meaty buns among all the steamed buns sold in the steamed buns shop.

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Since I am very satisfied with the dough of my red bean paste steamed buns, I have resorted to the use of the same dough of that steamed buns. I just change the shape of buns prepared. As this is the vegetarian version (by religion), no garlics or dry shrimps were used for the buns. Seasonings are also rather simple. Feel free to change to suit your family’s taste buds.

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The buns is not perfect as yet. Due to my big hands and big fingers, the buns I prepared are big and looked rather ugly.. However, “shaping” into beautiful buns do really need practises. I believed in my next attempt, with the experiences accumulated from this attempt, my buns will be better shaped.

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Cravings suddenly starts and I do not have the commonly used Hong Kong Pao flour (a type of low protein bleached flour specially used for making buns), therefore I just used normal top flour, the results is that the buns become a bit yellowish (which to me is okay for home consumption). 

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My first batch of buns is not as smooth as what I wanted it to be.because I am short proofing of the dough by about  10 minutes… Patience is the key, let it proof until smooth enough, spray will a thin mist of water will be able to make your buns skin looks much better.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings : Make 15 steamed buns

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Dry Ingredients (A)

  • 550 grams of pao flour (包粉) or Hong Kong flour or low protein flour (for this demonstration, I have used top flour as I have not adequate pao flour)
  • 100 grams of corn starch (玉米粉)
  • 100 grams of castor sugar (白糖)
  • Pinches of salt (not in picture) (盐巴)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder (自发面粉)
  • 10 grams of instant dry yeast (即时酵母)

Wet Ingredients (B)

  • 350 grams of lukewarm water (温水)
  • 30 grams of vegetable shortening (植物白油)(pictures show melted vegetable shortening, it is not necessary)

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Fillings and others

  • 750 grams of julienned jicama or yam bean or bangkuang (沙葛丝)
  • 200 grams of julienned red carrots (红萝卜丝)
  • Few winter mushrooms, soaked and julienned (not in picture) (冬菇)
  • 3 stalks of fresh coriander freshly chopped (芫茜)
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil (not in picture) (麻油)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of vegetarian oyster sauce (素耗油)
  • 3 tablespoons of light soya sauce (not in picture) (酱清)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar (not in picture) (白糖)
  • 3 teaspoons of white pepper (not in picture) (胡椒粉)
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (not in picture) (食用油)
  • Pinches of salt (not in picture) (少许盐巴)

  • 12 pieces of waterproof parchment paper cut into square size of about 6cm x 6 cm (not in picture).

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparation

  • Cut some waterproof parchment paper into 6cm x 6cm for placing the steamed buns. I prefer to use the knife to cut rather than to use the scissors.

Preparing the Dough

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  • Put all dry ingredients (A) in a whisking bowl. Use a spoon to stir the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Add in the lukewarm water.  Use the same spoon to roughly stir it until it form a sticky dough. Use the machine dough hook to knead the dough for 10 minutes at medium speed. Add in the vegetable shortening, beat at high speed for another 15-20 minutes or until the dough leaves the side of the whisking bowl. If the dough is too wet for the kneading, add 1-2 tablespoon of flour to continue. You can also do this manually if you don’t prefer to use the machine kneading.

  • In a flat surface, dust with some flour, transfer the dough to the flat surface and knead for 3-5 minutes until the dough does not stick to your hand. Shape it into a ball, put it in a bowl. Cover with a wet towel or clingy wrap and let it prove for 30 minutes (or double in size whenever is earlier.

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Preparing the Fillings

If you have time, you can prepare the fillings first. Stir fry and let it cooled before proceed to the the wrapping process. This step have a lot of variations and depending on your own cooking method of savoury dishes. This is my way for your references. There is no right or wrong. Feel free to proceed using your way of stir frying jicama .

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  • Marinate your julienned jicama with some vegetarian oyster sauce, light soya sauces, sesame oil and salt for 5-10 minutes.

  • Heat up 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, add in julienned carrots (note that this is vegetarian version, therefore, you can’t sauté garlics or dry shrimps. However, feel free to add this if you are not preparing it in a vegetarian manner). Stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add in the marinated julienned yam bean/jicama and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.

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  • Add about 1/3 cups of water and bring to boil. Once boiled, let it simmer until soft. Just before offing the heat, add in additional seasonings such as salt, white pepper, sugar. You have to be slightly high handled in adding the seasonings because it will be eaten with the steamed buns skin which is rather plain.

  • Get ready some container, put a bowl or any other kitchen ware at the bottom of the container. Transfer your cooked fillings to the container. Let it cool and set aside. The main purpose of put a bowl at the bottom is to let the gravy drip down to the bottom of the container and to facilitate the wrapping of the buns with drier fillings.

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Wrapping the Buns

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  • After the first proofing, take out the dough, knead in a lightly floured surface for 1-2 minutes. Divide the dough into 15 equal portions. Mine is approximately 75 grams each. Shape the dough into round shape. If prefer, you can roughly use a rolling pin to flatten the dough but that is not necessary, you can just use you palm to flatten the dough ball. Put a dough on your hand (or on top of the table) and on the top of the dough, put 1-2 tablespoons of jicama fillings. Pull up the sides of dough and seal off the edges it with your fingers. Well, sealing needs a bit f practise and don’t be disheartened if you can’t seal it properly for your first buns. By the time you wrapped the third bun, you will be the expert.

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  • Put the buns on top of the square baking paper on top of the steamer rack. Leave space of about 1.5cm between the dough for expansion. Proof the dough for another 30 minutes or almost double in size. By the end of the second proofing, you will note that the dough skin become smoother as compared to before proofing. If you want, you can spray a thin mist of water to the proofed buns before steaming.

  • After second proofing, get ready a steamer with some water. Bring to boil. The water should not be too much until it had a chance of touching the base of the steamed buns when steaming. It should not be too little as you may need to add water during the steaming. Therefore, some own judgement is needed. If prefer, you can lightly greased the cover with some oil to prevent water condensation. But that is optional..

  • When the water boils, steamed the buns under high heat (throughout the entire process) for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, off the heat and let the buns sit in the steamer (without opening the lids) for at least 5-10 minutes before you formally transfer the buns out of the steamer. Put the buns in a rack for cooling. (Note that the bottom of the steamer plate may have water condensation and therefore it is important that you transfer the buns in an airy place for cooling.) The process of letting the buns sitting in the steamer is to prevent wrinkles and rough surface  appearing in the buns.

  • Best served warm as breakfast or snack items. Re-steaming the buns for 1-2 minutes will make the buns soft as if they are freshly prepared.

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CONCLUSION

I loved the buns. In fact, Since I prepared yesterday, I have eaten 5 buns already.. I love the bun “skins”. I found that it is very fulfilling after drowned in my throats…This is the vegetarian version that you can use this for praying ceremony, however, feel free to change you fillings if you are vegetarian by religion.

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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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Lets Have Something Different–Steamed Cream Cheese Layered Cake

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INTRODUCTION

I just steamed the cake this morning and I am issuing the post today, which is rather unusual. I usually have the picture taking after at least 8-10 hours of resting. However, I have decided to post it today because some members of a Facebook Group is requesting for the recipe to try out (possibly for their Valentine’s day tomorrow)..

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it is a simple cake to prepare though it looked a bit complicated. It is a nice and moist cake since it is steamed. I can tell you very frankly, I like this steamed version of layered cake when compared to the baked version of layered cake. For baked version of layered cake, it was long hours of baking in an oven causing  the cake lost in moisture. In general, what make an oven cake “moist” and fluffy in effect is the butter content in the cake, the higher it is, the “moister” it is..

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This is not a new recipe at all, it is the modified, steamed version of my Chocolate Cream Cheese Lapis Cake earlier. I have always wanted to try the steamed version of baked cakes.. Being born and raised in Malaysia, I have been exposed to Malay steamed cakes.. Most traditional cakes are steamed as majority of the families do not have the oven until rather recently. I like the Malay version of steamed cakes because it is very moist.. Unlike traditional Chinese steamed cakes like sponge cake (kuey neng ko) and huat kueh which is rather dry as there were no fats (oils) used,  Malay steamed cakes, on the other hand usually are rich with butter and eggs, so it is moist and a sinful indulgence.

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For my photo taking purposes, I need to use some colour to show the effect. However, if you are not fancy of food colouring, just omit it, Instead of putting colouring in one portion of the batter, you can always use cocoa powder or coffee paste.. Colouring is totally optional, For the topping, I have sprinkled some edible rose petals. That is optional too… It is purely for decoration and it wouldn’t seriously affect the taste. As I was preparing in a rush, I have made a mistake of using an 10 inches diameter round baking tin. Making it slightly thinner. However, if you used an 8 inches diameter round baking tin, it should have 2-3 layers more.

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How does it taste like? It tastes like a moist but dense butter cake with cheesy flavour.. If you use cocoa powder or coffee paste, it will become chocolate or coffee flavoured layered cake.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Serving: 8 inches diameter round baking tin or baking tin of your choice

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  • 150 grams of butter (牛油)– softened at room temperature
  • 200 grams of cream cheese (奶酪)
  • 4 whole eggs (鸡蛋)
  • 300 grams of self raising flour (自发面粉)
  • 300 grams of icing/powdered sugar (not in picture) (糖霜/糖粉)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence (optional) (香精)
  • 200 grams of fresh milk (新鲜牛奶)
  • Some permitted colouring (optional) (食用色素)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • A lightly greased 8” diameter cake tin or any other types of baking cake tin .

  • A steamer with adequate hot boiling water for steaming about 30 minutes.

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  • Cream the cream cheese, butter and sugar until light and pale. Add in vanilla essence, followed by one egg at a time and ensure that the egg and cream cheese mixture are well mixed.

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  • Take out the mixing bowl and fold in 1/3 of the flours followed by 1/3 of the milk.. Repeat for the other 2/3 portion. Divide the batter into 2 equal portions. For one portion, add in some permitted food colouring and stir until well mixed.

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  • Heat the greased baking tin for about 1 minute in the steamer. Put 2 ladles of red batter in the tin and ensure that it is equally distributed in the tin. Steam for 4-5 minutes or until the surface has dries up.  If you note of some bubbling, use a toothpick to poke the hole and let the trapped air escape. 

  • Put another 2 ladles of beige batter, steam until dry. Repeat the same procedures until all the batters are finished. After all the batter have finished, for the last layer,  you can sprinkled some edible rose petals if desired or create some pattern of your choice. Cooled completely  before cutting into smaller pieces. Can keep in refrigerator for at least up to 2 weeks in an air tight container. If it turns hard, just re-steamed for a few minutes before serving.

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CONCLUSION

No beautiful pictures in this post as I was posting in a rush. In fact, if I cut the cake after resting for one day, there should be no debris and the cutting should be smooth since the cake has set.  Do pardon me for this. All the basic complaints of cakes of being too dry, no butter aroma etc. had been addressed in this cake.. If you have not try a steamed cake, you may wish to give it a go. Chances of failure are low as there are no complicated procedures. In addition, since it is cooked layer by layer, it do not have the problem of uncooked cake and cake shrinkage etc.…

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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 10th February 2014)  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 1500 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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Four Seasons Blog Hop #37 (February 13 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.
Meet Our Hosts:

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.

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Simple Chiffon For Newbie– Basic Orange Chiffon

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INTRODUCTION

This is the simplest basic traditional verbal recipe of an orange chiffon cake recipe from my mother in law. Nothing to shout about, a basic recipe.

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I am a chiffon newbie and definitely not an expert, I failed many times as I have high expectations on chiffon after reading many good posts of chiffon cakes from a Facebook Group. My initial high expectations are no shrinkages and no cracks. Out of the numerous times I attempted, some shrunk and cracked, some cracked but not shrink or some shrunk but not crack.. I am rather not confidence about this delicate cake and therefore did not issue any  post on my adventure on chiffon cakes.

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Last week, my girl aged 10 stuck a sticker in front of my writing desk and told me don’t bake anything else except chiffon. Since I seldom baked or bought a chiffon, one may ask where she acquired the liking of chiffon…. She have eaten chiffon at her grandmother’s house.. My mother in law baked nothing more than chiffon that she learned decades ago in certain cookware workshop. She liked to bake chiffon bake occasionally when she is free at home.. When my girl visited her during school holiday last year, she tasted twice and she liked it very much.. She started to pester me to bake chiffon cake when her holiday ended. Acknowledging my own weaknesses and many failures, I did not promise her anything. Both my kids are very persistent in what they wanted, the girl thought of way to remind me gently with a sticker.

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I told myself that I wanted to accept the challenge after successfully prepared my Rose Angel Food Cake (玫瑰天使蛋糕)- Egg White Cake and Traditional Steamed Sponge Cake (古早味鸡蛋糕). All these cakes do have certain similarities in terms of preparation process, beating eggs until the right condition with swift and correct folding of flour… On the next day, I called my mother in law for the recipe and she verbally told me the simple recipe and I successfully baked a chiffon cake.

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It is a very basic chiffon cake recipe with easy to remember quantities. It still cracked but my baking friends assured me that most chiffons do crack and that is why it was usually served upside down.  So I have lowered down my  expectation on a perfect chiffon to as long as it is a spongy no shrinkage, it is considered as an successful attempt, and hence I issue this post.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Prepared a 19 cm chiffon tube pan chiffon cake

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Ingredient A – For egg yolk batter portion

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 75 grams of granulated sugar
  • 150 grams  of sifted self raising flour
  • 5 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • Juices extracted from a large orange.
  • 2 teaspoons of orange rind

Ingredients B – For egg white beating

  • 5 egg whites
  • 75 grams of granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp of cream of tartar

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Get ready a 19cm chiffon tube pan. PLEASE DO NOT GREASE THE CHIFFON TUBE PAN.
  • Pre heat the oven to 160 degree Celsius.

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  • Squeeze the orange juice and set aside. Prepare some orange rind from the orange skin. Remember not to include the white colour membrane as it will make the cake bitter.

  • In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar, one portion (75 grams) of sugar until creamy and smooth. Add oil gradually and continue beating until pale and well combined.

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  • Add in the orange rind and sift in the self raising flour gradually. It is more correct to sift the flour earlier and add in the flour in 3 stages together with the orange juices as illustrated below.

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  • Add in 1/3 of the orange juice and use a spatula to fold in the flour until well combined. Repeat the same for the other 2/3 of the orange juice. Fold until well combine and set aside.

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  • In a new mixing bowl that are clean and greaseless, put in the egg white, whisk until the soft peak form. Add in cream of tartar and gradually add in the sugar (in 3 stages). Beat until firm peak form. Set aside for later use. Firm peak means when you inverted your mixing bowl, the meringue (beaten egg white) stay put in the container and will not drip down.

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  • Gently fold in 1/3 of egg whites into the batter using a spatula. Mixed well and poured the remaining 2/3 of the egg whites (meringues) and mixed well. The actions have to be light and swift.

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  • Poured into a 19cm ungreased chiffon tube pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until when a skewer inserted comes out clean. In the event that the top starts to turn brown, you can lower the temperature to 150 degree Celsius and continue the baking.

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  • Take out from the oven, invert upside down over a wire rack and let it cool completely. To unmould, use a sharp knife to scrap the sides or use hands to slightly “peel” the chiffon cake. A successful and properly baked chiffon cake should be spongy enough for you to “peel” from the tin without breaking the cake. Cut using a serrated knife when completely cooled.

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CONCLUSION

This is a simple verbal recipe from my mother in law. Again, I have to stress that I am no baking expert of chiffon cakes. If you are a newbie, you may want to try this simple recipe. What is most important is the beating of egg white to the stiff peak and the quick folding of egg whites to the egg yolk batter. This will give you a springy and moist chiffon cake. With this success, do expect more chiffon cake post soon.. I am determined to make it better..This cake though not entirely perfect, however,  it is good enough for me to satisfy my girl’s wish of having an orange chiffon cake baked by me.

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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 10th February 2014)  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 1500 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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After CNY Feasting, A Simple Sweet Dessert For Body Detoxification–Winter Melon Dried Longan Sweet Soup (冬瓜桂圆糖水)

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INTRODUCTION

While I was cooking my winter melon soup for my Chinese meal yesterday, I found that the winter melon is rather big for my soup purposes and I have reserved part of the winter melon and cooked a Chinese style dessert sweet soup.

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I paired it with other common Chinese sweet soup ingredients like dry longan, lotus seeds, gingko nuts, jujube, goof berries, rock sugar and flavoured with the fragrant Pandanus leaves. I usually cooked this is in a big pot and keep some in the fridge so that I can have some cold dessert drinks in the next few days. You can either serve it hot or cold but I love it cold as it is very thirst quenching.

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The 2 most important ingredients in this post is fresh winter melon and dry longan. If you do not have the fresh winter melon, you can always used candied winter melon (冬瓜条/冬瓜糖)。All the ingredients used were believed to have the properties of body  detoxification. Cooking instructions were simple with only one image to illustrations and variations are many..

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In fact you can omit most of the above ingredients to come out with a delicious sweet soup which most guests will not be able to object. Only quantities of major ingredients were stated and all side ingredients were optional and purposely omitted depending on your liking.

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As usual, lets learned a bit about the two main ingredients from Wikipedia

The winter melon, also called white gourd, winter gourd, or ash gourd, is a vine grown for its very large fruit, eaten as a vegetable when mature. It is the only member of the genus Benincasa. The fruit is fuzzy when young. The immature melon has thick white flesh that is sweet when eaten. By maturity, the fruit loses its hairs and develops a waxy coating, giving rise to the name wax gourd, and providing a long shelf life.

In Chinese cuisine the melons are used in stir fry or usually combined with pork or pork/beef bones to make winter melon soup, often served in the scooped out melon, carved by scraping off the waxy coating. It is also chopped and candied[1] as wintermelon candy (táng dōng guā) to be commonly eaten at New Year festivals, or as filling for Sweetheart cake (lǎopó bǐng). It has also been used as the base filling in Chinese and Taiwanese mooncakes for the Moon Festival.

Occasionally, it is used to produce a fruit drink which has a very distinctive taste. It is usually sweetened with caramelized sugar, which enhances the taste. In Southeast Asia, the drink is widely marketed as winter melon tea. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_melon)

Winter melon is famous for its properties for body cooling and if you are interested to learn more about winter melon medicinal properties, you can refer to HEALTH BENEFITS OF WINTER MELON.

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The longan (龍眼 Lóng Yǎn, lit. “Dragon Eye”), is so named because it resembles an eyeball when its fruit is shelled (the black seed shows through the translucent flesh like a pupil/iris). The seed is small, round and hard, and of an enamel-like, lacquered black. The fully ripened, freshly harvested shell is bark-like, thin, and firm, making the fruit easy to shell by squeezing the fruit out as if one is “cracking” a sunflower seed. When the shell has more moisture content and is more tender, the fruit becomes less convenient to shell. The tenderness of the shell varies due to either premature harvest, variety, weather conditions, or transport/storage conditions. In China, it is also called 桂圆 Guì Yuán and in Myanmar, it is called Deer’s Eyes.

Dried longan, called guìyuán (桂圆) in Chinese, are often used in Chinese cuisine and Chinese sweet dessert soups. In Chinese food therapy and herbal medicine, it is believed to have an effect on relaxation. In contrast with the fresh fruit, which is juicy and white, the flesh of dried longans is dark brown to almost black. In Chinese medicine, the longan, much like the lychee, is thought to give internal “heat” (上火). (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longan)

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: About 6-8 Chinese dessert bowls

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  • 1 cup of fresh winter melon (冬瓜) (cut into cubes) – or 1/2 cup of candied winter melon (冬瓜条/糖冬瓜)
  • 1/2 cup of dried longan (桂圆/龙眼干)
  • Some jujube (红枣)
  • Some lotus seeds (莲子)
  • Some gingko nuts (白果)
  • Some goof berries (枸杞)
  • Few leaves of Pandanus (香兰叶)
  • Rock sugar to your taste (冰糖)
  • 10 cups of water (flexible depending on how strong of taste you like)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Put the water to a big pot. Add in all the ingredients except rock sugar (in fact, if you wish, you can also add in at this juncture). Bring to boil under high heat. Once it boiled, turn to medium to small heat until winter melon cubes are soft and transparent. It should take about 25-30 minutes. If you have time, you can let it simmer longer and the longer the time you simmer, the more flavourful your soup will be.  Before you off the heat, add the rock sugar (if you haven’t add earlier). You may want to take this opportunity to taste the sweet soup and assess whether it is sweet enough or if there is a need to dilute or additional rock sugar.

  • Once the rock sugar dissolves, off the heat and depending on your liking, it can be served hot or cold.

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CONCLUSION

The recipe is so simple that it had only one image for illustration. Nothing to shout about but this is a rather nice combo. Since my family liked the flavoured watery soup (instead of the side ingredients), so my version is without much ingredients. However, you can easily adjust the quantity to suit your taste buds. In this hot weather, I would believed this a healthier, cooling dessert after the heavy Chinese New Year Feast.

Hope you like the post today. Cheers.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 10th February 2014) 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 1500 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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Lots Of Chinese New Year Goodies At Home And Don’t Know What To Do With It?–Cookies and Cakes Puddings

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Reproduced from my post dated 30-4-2013

For Malaysian and Singapore Chinese, it is a tradition that during Chinese New Year, cookies and other delicacies were being prepared for purposes of entertaining visitors. Families either bought ready made cookies, or as gifts from friends and relatives or prepare themselves. Usually, after the festival, lots of cookies were left untouched. For most family, it is practically impossible to finish all these cookies within a reasonable period of time and before the qualities were compromised. Most families resort to throwing away the cookies.

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Looking at the cookies that are sitting in my shelves and realizing it wouldn’t take long before it turns bad, I have decided to try baking the cookie pudding based on the principles of preparing the bread pudding.

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I started by layering my cookies (actually, everything that I found from marshmallow to titbits of my kids). I then prepare a liquid mixture of sugar, eggs, butter, and fresh milk . Pouring the liquid mixture over the biscuits or cookies layer by layer. I let it soaked for a while and used forks to press the mixtures until I am convinced that all the cookies were fully soaked. It should then be moist and soft. I then steamed baked the mixtures until set which took approximately 1 hour (Note: for this illustration, I did not use steam bake). Finally, I have my cookie puddings that resemble the bread puddings.

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There is no exact recipe, it is of full flexibility. Due to the high fats and high sugars content of the cookies and cakes being served, generally, I did not add additional sugar and only a small quantity of melted butter (about 50 grams but it is optional) for smoothening the puddings. The taste will very much depends on the cake and cookies that you used. Cookies and cakes may be staled but not turning bad yet. They may not be crispy anymore. Chinese New Year seasons is over and your family is tired of having the same cookies for the past few weeks… Either you throw away and you put a small investment and turned it into another bake.

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The small investment is some eggs. Even that, you can use some unused egg whites from making certain cakes before Chinese New Year and don’t know what to do with it… As long as there are eggs and milk (substitutable with plain water) and you can prepare this pudding. Eggs are necessary to make it a pudding like structure and act as a binding agent among the various materials. This is nothing new, it is just a simple concept applied to bread puddings. It is simpler than bread puddings as stale bread is tasteless but the cookies and cakes are already well flavoured. Remember, rubbish in rubbish out, quality  staled cakes and cookies used (which I am sure most of your cookies and cakes at home are still edible), a quality cookies pudding will be produced..

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This is what I did for 2014 Chinese new year cookies and cakes to make the puddings.

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I have lots of cookies and cakes left.. including some that were not included here such as my Steamed sponge cake and strawberry egg white cake.

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I started greasing the tin and layer the pudding. Usually the first layer is cakes or bread for shaping purposes.

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More variety of cakes and cookies were being added and filled the tin until full. (advisable to fill 90% full and I am too greedy in this illustration. It will expand when bake and shrink down after the eggs are set).

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I used some egg whites from the making of Kek Lapis before Chinese new year, another 2 additional eggs and add in a bit (about 50 grams) of melted butter and some milks.. I poured on to the cakes and let it fill the entire tin. You need to wait for a while for the cakes and cookies to absorb the milk. Please refer to this post for detail instructions of filling. Who Said Bread Puddings Must Be Prepared As Such…..Bread Puddings “Reinvented”

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I topped with additional red velvet cookies crumbles  and some yellow colour ghee cookies (kueh momo) crumble. I  then baked in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for about 30 minutes or until the puddings become set. Set means the egg mixture starts to solidify and no wavy pattern in the mixture when you pushed the tin.

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I served with some  fresh strawberry and strawberry sauce and I prefer to serve it cold. At times I served with milk or even ice creams.


CONCLUSION

I can tell you very frankly, I dare and I love to eat this cookies and cakes puddings. However, whether or not readers feel comfortable to eat such type of food combinations is up to individual. ….I do this with bread, cookies and cakes and it is a good way of get rid of these stale items at home. This is a simple post, but I would advise you to read this bread puddings for the concept and detail methods of making a bread pudding. Who Said Bread Puddings Must Be Prepared As Such…..Bread Puddings “Reinvented” . You can also read what I did to my 2003 Chinese New Year cookies. In fact, it was the first post of this blog posted on 30th April, 2013. –  Creative Food Series – Cookie Puddings 1  and Cookie Puddings – 2

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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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Back To Traditional Recipe of 1egg:1sugar:1flour- Traditional Steamed Sponge Cake (古早味鸡蛋糕)

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INTRODUCTION

For modified recipe for breakfast, please scroll towards the end.

I promised it will be  a short post as I have nothing much to say about this steamed sponge cake (kuey neng ko) – the fourth in my series of steamed sponge cake.

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However, this is prepared with due respect to our elders who prepared it based on simple ratio and simple method. The recipe is just as simple 1 cup of plain flour, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of eggs. No artificial ingredient being used. No artificial ingredients being used means that there should be no:

  1. Gassy drinks (ice cream soda, carbonated water, seven up etc.)
  2. Ovalette or other types of emulsifier or sponge stabilizer
  3. No leavening agents including self raising powder, baking powder, baking soda, double acting baking powder
  4. No other emulsifiers alternatives such as condensed milk..
  5. No flavour enhancer such as vanilla essence

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Without using all this, It comes back to the traditional easy to remember recipe of Kuey neng Ko which yields a soft and full of egg aroma steamed sponge cake.

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It take me about 2 days to decide whether or not to issue this report, therefore, I do not have any beautiful pictures to show you. I only took pictures when I am reheating/re-steaming these sponge cakes for today’s breakfast. As you can see from the picture, it is still soft and nice. I have decided to issue this  post to serve as a record of my steamed sponge cake adventures..For those readers who know Mandarin, you can read what I have written in my Facebook Timeline with regard to the my opinion on this simple traditional recipe.


鸡蛋糕的实验 (English – scroll down)
今天,我做了一个实验。 我根据传统的口诉食谱做了一个鸡蛋糕。要是问老人家她们以前是怎样做鸡蛋糕的,她们会说一碗粉,一碗蛋,一碗糖。。把蛋打到发白,加粉,就蒸。蒸的时候不可以闲言闲语,不可以偷看,出来一定笑哈哈。

我们阿嫲的年代,当然什么都是最基本的。。所用的面粉一定是基本的面粉,而非自发面粉等。当然没有其他偷工减料的现代产品如 ovalette ,蛋黄稳定剂, 汽水,发粉,苏打粉等等。为什么她们的年代可以做得到而我们不能呢?再问下去,老人家多数也讲不出一个虽然。。

就凭我70几岁丈母娘跟我讲的几个要点,我用了一杯蛋,一杯糖打到量至少增大两倍,把蛋液拿起来时,蛋液慢慢的滴下。然后就加进面粉, 搅拌至少心算50下到均匀。倒进已经预热的竹篮子,然后用白糖做个“十”字,下锅用大火蒸20分钟。

结论:一半成功。白糖十字架放的不够多所以列的不够大,竹篮偏大,火候不够大,所以不够高。。
老人家的口述食谱是有可靠性的只是他们的成功都是用他们的苦力和经验来完成的。。 还有一点,由于什么都没有加,鸡蛋味非常的浓,而且很软。。有空的话,我还是会再尝试的。。

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Kuey Neng Ko Experiment

I swore I did not do any hanky panky things to this traditional recipe of steamed sponge cake though I have two posts on kuey neng ko prepared using gassy drinks. I used 1 cup of plain flour, 1 cup of eggs and 1 cup of sugar without the use of gassy drinks, ovalette, emulsifiers, condensed milk, baking powder, self-raising flour, baking soda etc. This is what my mother in law told me what she did when she was a girl. I experimented and come out this version of kuey neng ko, soft and full of egg aroma. It is not 100% successful because the crack is not that obvious as yet but the texture and taste is getting very close to what we used to have last time. Cracking can be improved with the use of more sugar in the sugar cross.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

  • Servings: A 7-8 inch diameter steamed sponge cake

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  • 1 cup of egg (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup of castor sugar
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • Preferably a bamboo basket lined with Cellophane sheets.


STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Beat the eggs using a stand mixer (under high speed) until light and pale. Add in sugar tablespoons by tablespoons. You will witness the beaten egg volume gradually increase and become even lighter in colour. Beat until the eggs volume increase at least 2-3 times, thick and glossy. Thick means when you take out the whisker, the eggs will drip down slowly from the whisker.

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  • Quickly sift in the plain flour and use a spatula to fold in the flour. I have this habit of self counting 50 times when I fold my flour. You have to ensure that the folding is fast (not to deflate the eggs) and the flour and eggs mixture are well combined.

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  • Transfer the batter to a PRE-HEATED bamboo basket lined with cellophane sheet. make a sugar cross on top of the batter, and steamed in a steamer at high heat for at least 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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CONCLUSION

This traditional recipe looks easy but it is quite a difficult cake to prepare. The water temperature, the degree of eggs being beaten, the folding method all have an implication on the texture of the cake prepared. If shouldn’t be rubbery if you eggs have been beaten to the right condition and whether it will crack or not will very much depends on your sugar cross and the heat used for the steaming. However, it will provide you with the traditional flavour or 古早味。

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Do try and you may want to read the following post on steamed sponge cake for pointers that I may have forgotten to cover here.

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

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UPDATED: ON  2-3-2014


MODIFIED TRADITIONAL RECIPES FOR BREAKFAST PURPOSES

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As the above recipe is slightly dry for breakfast purposes, I have modified the recipe to include some oil and some mixed fruits. However, as the batter is very light, the mixed fruits sank to the bottom of the cake. Therefore, I would not advise readers to add mixed fruits. instead, it is advisable to use almond flakes or mixed nuts instead if you want some changes. Alternatively, you can just add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to transform it into a simple chocolate steamed cake.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

  • 1 cup of egg (at room temperature) 鸡蛋·
  • 1 cup of castor sugar 白糖
  • 1 cup of plain flour 普通面粉
  • 1/3 cup of cooking oil 食用油
  • A square baking tin (8’x8”)
  • Some almond flakes  (杏仁片)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Beat the eggs using a stand mixer (under high speed) until light and pale. Add in sugar tablespoons by tablespoons. You will witness the beaten egg volume gradually increase and become even lighter in colour. Beat until the eggs volume increase at least 2-3 times, thick and glossy. Thick means when you take out the whisker, the eggs will drip down slowly from the whisker. Slowly add in the cooking oil and beat until well combined.

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  • Quickly sift in the plain flour and use a spatula to fold in the flour. Meanwhile add in almond flakes or other dry nuts (dry fruits is a bit dense, it will not support unless the flour is increased 1.5 cups, therefore, it is advise to use almond flakes instead.  I have this habit of self counting 50 times when I fold my flour. You have to ensure that the folding is fast (not to deflate the eggs) and the flour and eggs mixture are well combined. Steamed in the steamer for 25-30 minutes or when a skewer inserted comes out cleaned.

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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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Why Not Use Your Mandarin Oranges To Prepare Some Breakfast? –Mandarin Orange Steamed Sponge Cake (芦柑鸡蛋糕)

 

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UPDATED POST ON 24-10-2014
Decided to use 2 eggs to prepare some steamed cake for the family after many days of eating cakes and breads.  Have use this recipe but substituted mandarin oranges with oranges. In addition, use the cuppies to prepare.. A less oilier choice. If you are interested, you can refer to the recipe below.

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INTRODUCTION

I told myself I must get rid off some mandarin oranges at home. During Chinese New Year, most Chinese families will have lots of mandarin oranges as it is considered as an auspicious fruit bringing luck to the families. Same with my families, usually, we will have purchased at least 20-30 mandarin oranges for prayers, for decorations even for gifts to the elders when we went visiting.

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It suddenly come across my mind that why don’t I used this to prepare some steamed sponge cake. Chinese New Year is usually a feasting season with lots of high calorific cuisines being served. Be it cakes, cookies or dishes, they are all generally of high fat content. Therefore, to balance the excess calories intake in the past week, it is time to have simpler food and steamed cakes is one of the most suitable choice.

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I have to admit that in this illustration, the mandarin orange flavour were not obvious as I used the wrong type of mandarin oranges. Jiao Gan (蕉柑) (Citrus reticulata Blanco cv. Tankan) is a better choice than the Lu Gan (芦柑)(Citrus aurantium L). that I am using in this illustration. Jiao Gan have thicker skin, less juicy but have a stronger citrus aroma. On the contrary, Lu Gan have more juices, sweet but very plain in taste. Both are Mandarin oranges but Jiao Gan will definitely give you a better citrus aroma. Having said that, if you do not concern much about the flavour, you can just use any type of mandarin oranges juices that you have. It is equally delicious. Even plain oranges are good alternatives.

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In this illustration, you will note of a piece of orange flesh in the cake. After tasting the cake, I found that it is not advisable to have the oranges as the steaming process make the mandarin oranges too soft and taste have changed to slightly bitter. Therefore, I will not share how to put the mandarin orange flesh inside the cake. Just omit this is a better alternative.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: A 9” chiffon tube pan cake

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  • 4 large eggs (preferably at room temperature)  (鸡蛋)
  • 50 grams of melted butter
  • 400 grams of self raising flours – sifted (自发面粉)
  • 200 gram of fine sugar (细砂糖)
  • 200 ml of freshly squeeze mandarin orange juice (橙汁)
  • 4 tablespoons of condensed milk (炼奶) 
  • 2 teaspoons of mandarin orange zest (蕉柑皮削) (optional)
  • Additional mandarin oranges for decoration.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • A lightly greased 9” diameter chiffon cake tin or any other types of baking cake tin .

  • A steamer with adequate hot boiling water for steaming about 30 minutes.

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  • Beat the egg, condensed milk and sugar until light and frothy. Gradually add in the melted butter. Beat until well combined or when the colour turned pale.

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  • Sift in the self raising flour. Quickly fold the flour with a spatula and add the mandarin orange juices gradually. I have this habit of counting 50 times in my folding of flour. Fold as fast as possible and ensure all is well combined and smooth. Dust with additional mandarin oranges flesh if desired.

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  • Transfer into a baking tin of your choice and steam under high heat for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. The steaming time is very much depends on the the type and size of baking tin. I have used a 9” chiffon cake tin and it took me about half an hour to steam.

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CONCLUSION

Unlike other traditional steamed sponge cake, I do not have the pressure whether the cake will smile/crack happily or not. It is just a cake designed for breakfast and tea time. With the use of more juices and some butter, the cakes become soft, moist and aromatic. Of course it can be more aromatic if I used the right type of mandarin oranges or even oranges itself. It is definitely a healthier alternative as compare with other cakes served during Chinese New Year. Variations are many, if you don’t like orange flavour, just substitute with mandarin orange juice with milk. Raisins can be added if you prefer.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: You can always use this recipe and steamed using a muffin cup or cupcakes cup. It will be faster and easier for your servings.

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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 15 October 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 #36 (February 6 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.
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Four Seasons Blog Hop - Hosts: Easy Life Meal & Party Planning, Losing Your Gut While Gaining Your Insanity, Gaui Shu Shu, Turnips2Tangerines, Scrumptilious 4 You

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