Crispy Roast Pork Or Sio Bak (脆皮烧肉)

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UPDATED POST 17-11-2014

Two days after my previous attempt, I decided to prepare another piece of roast pork.. As usual, I get a piece of “fattest” pork belly that the butcher had.. Apparently, this piece is thicker and have slightly more fats.

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I have decided to test my theory of hole poking.. I did change a bit of my procedures. After I clean the pork, I pat dry (without scoring the skin) and air dry under the hot sun for about 1-2 hours. I then leave it in the fridge uncovered for about 3 hours until I was free. The skin was rather dry then.

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I baked in the oven for about 15 minutes for the skin to get cooked. Once the skin get cooked, I used safety pin to start poking holes. It is rather fast because cooked skin are very tender. Even a needle can easily pierce the skin as compare to uncooked skin. For every 10 minutes, I took out and pierce until I can’t poke any more. Can’t pierce is because the skin have been cooked and become crispy.

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Readers must remember that as long as you can still use the needle or safety pin to poke, the pork is not ready. If you are concerned about the meat under the skin is not cooked, you can insert a thermometer inside the meat. As long as it reaches 80 degree Celsius, the meat is cooked. This attempt is rather fast, about 1 hour for such a big piece of meat.

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If your skin is chewy, your skin is not ready and as what I explained above, you should still be able to poke. You must poke until the needle can’t go any further. If part of the skin is chewy, it is likely that particular part is lower than the other.. If that is the case, you have to ensure that your roast pork is of the same level. Think of way to raise that part (usually in the middle of that piece of the meat). Otherwise, either one part is not crispy or all are crispy but some are burnt.

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Lastly, remember again this few pointer: “dry skin, poke many small holes, poke again during the baking for increase the number of holes, poke until the skin is so hard that you cannot poke”

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INTRODUCTION

My wife and son love roast pork. though I do not really like the commercially sold roast pork as it is rather salty and expensive..

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One year ago, I had an attempt to roast some pork belly but it created a phobia in me to have further attempts. Unsure of the reason of the failure of that attempt, while roasting the pork belly, there are lot of cracker like “pip – pop” sound  in the oven. Not only that, the whole oven was sprinkled with lard and it start to burn and smokes were rushing out of the oven… On the next day, I have the difficulty of cleaning the entire oven and since then I am not courageous enough to try. Until today, I am still unsure of the reasons for the previous failure..Well, let it be a mystery then..

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Roast pork is rather common among members of Facebook Group.. Most of them have some nicely roast pork with skin that looked very crispy. I told myself that I must give it a try again to complete my recipe list.

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I went to the wet market and requested for a piece of pork belly for the preparation of roast pork… I explicitly told the butcher that I needed a piece of meat with more fats for this purpose  …. He gave me a piece and told me that is the best he can offer me…

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In fact, I do not have much choices at all… all other stores are selling the same thing.. Trust me.. this is not the first time I encountered such a problem,  I am unable to secure pork of reasonable fatness to prepare some authentic Chinese cuisines like Dongbo meat and I was told that pork with more fats were reserved by restaurants and hawker stores . As far as I am concern, It is a joke to ask the butcher to reserve a piece of “fatty” meat!!! I gave up!

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As the pork is rather lean, this roast pork may not look as attractive as it should be.. Hope you can understand my situation in Singapore and bear with me this less than satisfactory lean roast pork.. By the way, it was all finished within one meal and what I can ensure readers is that the skin is very crispy.

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There are essentially no recipe for roast pork. as it was only marinated with salt, five spice powder and some Chinese cooking wine. However, they are some pointers that need to be noted when roasting the pork.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • Some pork belly
  • Salt to taste
  • Some five spice powder
  • Some Chinese cooking wine

Note: No quantity was listed as it will depend on the size of meat you used and your family’s taste bud. 

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STEPS OF PREAPARATION

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  • Wash the pork belly, scrub off any dirt and hair on the skin using a sharp knife. Use a knife with a sharp end, score the skin with as many holes as possible. You can also use a sharp pin or needle to do the task. Make sure that the pin or needle do not go beyond the whitish fat and go into the flesh. If it is too deep, juices from the meat will sip out from the holes and make it less crispy. (do not worry if you can’t score or poke many holes in the meat now, you can continue to poke the hole during the baking process) (Please refer to the beginning of the post for an updated faster procedure)

  • Season the underside of the pork belly with some salt, five spice powder and Chinese cooking wine. Use a kitchen towel to pat dry the skin and air dry the pork belly in the fridge or dry under the sun. It will take 3-4 hours or best overnight. Before roasting, the skin of the pork belly shall be very very dry..

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  • Pre-heat the oven to 190 degree Celsius. Place the pork in a tray lined with aluminium foil. Roast the pork for at least one hour or when the skin become crispy. You can test the crispiness of the skin by inserting a needle into the skin. If you can pierce through, the skin is not ready yet and it will yield a hard and chewy skin.. A crispy skin is one that you can’t pierce through.. it will be very hard and crispy.  During the baking, you will see oil starts to sip out from the holes those “frying” the skin… Look out for area of skin that no oil flows out. Use the needle to pierce the skin again.

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Note:

  • When baked, the fats of the meat will sip out from the skin. It will “fry” the skin and force out the water in the skin. The result is a piece of crispy pork skin. The more holes you have, the better it is.. Feel free to open the oven door to poke holes in the skin at any time you feel like it and it will be much easier to poke when the skin is cooked.

  • Timing of the cooking will depend on the piece of meat you have.. It took me about 1 hours 15 minutes to get to my desired crispiness. Temperature can be lower if there are sign of burning, reduce the temperature turn on the grill mode to proceed. Keep an eye on the process .

  • I am using the big safety pin to poke the skin. There are certain kitchen needles that you can use to poke the skin.

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CONCLUSION

Essentially, there is no recipe for this famous roast pork.. All the ingredients are flexible and up to readers to tailor to meet your taste buds. Just remember these few words “dry skin, poke many small holes, poke again during the baking for increase the number of holes, poke until the skin is so hard that you cannot poke”….and you should come out a nice piece of crispy roast pork..

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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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Quick And Easy Christmas Puddings With Brandy Sauce (圣诞布丁)

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INTRODUCTION

“Christmas, Christmas time is near, time for “food” and time for cheer, We’ve been good, but we can’t last……..”

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Yes, Christmas is around the corner though Thanksgiving 2014 is not over yet.. This year I will have 3-4 new Christmas recipes to add to my list of recipes last year….

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I shall start with this simple Christmas Pudding and it is time for reader to get ready NOW and let it “mature” until the day of Christmas…By then, you will have a tasty and aromatic Christmas Pudding at your Christmas dinner table…

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Per Wikipedia:

“Christmas pudding is a type of pudding traditionally served as part of the Christmas dinner. It has its origins in medieval England, and is sometimes known as plum pudding or Christmas Pudding or just “pud”, though this can also refer to other kinds of boiled pudding involving dried fruit. Despite the name “plum pudding,” the pudding contains no actual plums due to the pre-Victorian use of the word “plums” as a term for raisins. The pudding is composed of many dried fruits held together by egg and suet, sometimes moistened by treacle or molasses and flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and other spices. The pudding is aged for a month or even a year; the high alcohol content of the pudding prevents it from spoiling during this time.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_pudding)

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Traditionally, preparing Christmas Pudding is no easy matter, many ingredients will need to be assembled and it was usually steamed over the stove for 4-5 hours to get cooked..Many special precautions need to be done including covering the puddings with cloth during the steaming.

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But this recipe that I am sharing today is a fast and easy recipe…. If you are running of time, you may want to try microwave version of Christmas pudding. It took only 5 minutes to microwave the pudding …Of course if you do not have a microwave oven, you can always steamed the pudding until it is cooked…

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Traditionally, Christmas pudding usually served with sauces such as custard sauces and in recent year, some have served the pudding with ice cream. But the sauces that I have selected in this illustration is brandy sauce. I found that it blends especially well with the Christmas pudding..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: The perfect Christmas Pudding

Servings : About 4 

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  • 250 grams of mixed fruits (Note a)
  • 25 grams of butter
  • 25 grams of plain flour
  • 40 grams of fresh bread crumbs or biscuit crumbs
  • 12 grams of chopped lemon peel or orange peel
  • 50 grams of castor sugar or brown sugar
  • 50 grams of cherry wine or orange juices
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of treacle or molasses
  • 1/2 tablespoon of golden syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice

Note a – You can use equal weight of sultanas, dates, raisins, cherries and currants.

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  • 20 grams of butter
  • 20 grams of plain flour
  • 20 grams of castor sugar (not in picture)
  • 200 grams of ml of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of brandy or cognac or rum

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Lightly greased a microwaveable container of about 500 ml volume of your choice.

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  • Melt the butter in the microwave oven or over the stove. When cooled, add the egg, molasses, golden syrup, orange juice or cherry wine. Stir until well mixed.  In another mixing bowl, put all the dry ingredients on the bowl (mixed spices, sugar, mixed fruits, orange peel, plain flour and bread crumbs or biscuit crumbs). Stir until well mixed.

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  • Add the liquid mixture and stir the ingredients until well combined. Remember to make a wish when you make your first stir… Transfer the ingredients to the greased microwave container, cover with the container lid or loosely with some clingy wrap and cook in the microwave container for 4-5 minutes. Please do not over microwave the pudding as it will make the pudding very dry and you must position the pudding in the centre of the microwave oven to ensure even cooking. (It is considered as cooked when a skewer inserted comes out clean)

  • Leave it in the container for at least 10 minutes before dislodge from the container. You can sprinkle brandy or other preferred alcohol periodically (say once a week) to moisten the pudding and the pudding will develop a lovely flavour after a few weeks. Reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes before serving.

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  • Melt the butter in a pan over the stove. Add the plain flour and stir until it form a thick paste. Gradually add the milk and use a hand whisk to whisk until it form a sticky sauce. Add the alcohol and sugar, stir until the sugar have dissolved. Pour on top of the Christmas Pudding before before serving.

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CONCLUSION

If you run out of time, this will be a suitable recipe for you… I have not prepared Christmas puddings in previous year because of the timing of traditional method of steaming that need special care and long hours of steaming. This simple recipe will also yield a reasonable impressive pudding. The brandy sauce is definitely delicious and feel free to add more alcohol to suit your taste bud. Remember that you can prepare the pudding now and sprinkle the pudding with alcohol once a week to let it “ mature” and become tastier.. Lastly, don’t forget to make a Christmas wish when you first stir the batter.. Ha-ha

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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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What? Having Rice As A Dessert?–The nutritious black glutinous rice porridge

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Yes, having rice as a dessert. This rice is even more nutritious than the white rice. It is black in colour, it is sweet and it is sticky. The rice dessert is black glutinous rice porridge which is a popular dessert among the all races in Malaysia and Singapore. In Malay, it is called “Bubur Pulut Hitam”.

BLACK RICE AND BLACK GLUTINOUS RICE DEFINED…

“Black rice is cultivated in Asia and is considered to be heirloom rice. The rice is unprocessed and appears black in its raw state. After it is cooked, it changes in colour to a deep purple. Black glutinous rice or sweet black rice is a type of black rice which is short grained and viscous when cooked. Studies show that black rice health benefits even exceed that of brown rice.” (Source: http://www.diethealthclub.com/health-food/black-rice.html)

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INTRODUCTION

Black glutinous rice porridge (hereinafter refer to as “black glutinous porridge”) is a dessert that I loved since young. In Singapore, I don’t usually cook this dessert as the black glutinous rice that were sold here are mainly from China and Thailand of which its fragrance were different from the glutinous rice from Sarawak.

Not many people may know that Sarawak do produce rice and in fact, Sarawak aims to be rice self-sufficient in year 2020. These rice were cultivated mostly by the Iban or Bidayuh tribes in Sarawak. When I was a kid, we were told that the harvest was from the shifting cultivation where forests were burnt in order to plant the rice. However, nowadays, most padi was planted on fixed plot of lands. Beside the black glutinous rice, Sarawak locally produce rice also include brown rice, red rice, white glutinous rice and not forget the famous Bario rice. In recent years, as the Sarawakian became more affluent and health conscious, the shift and focus now is on Sarawak  locally pesticide-free produce rice.

Two days ago, my mother in law who flew from Kuching gave me 1 kg of the black glutinous rice and I have decided to cook this traditional desserts for my guests and family members yesterday.


WHAT IS REQUIRED?

Black glutinous rice porridge is rather easy to cook and the ingredients are minimal. As usual, all the measurement units here are for reference and you can adjust it accordingly to suit your taste.

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You will need:

  • Black Glutinous Rice (2 cups) – Most groceries shops or supermarket would have sold and usually in the dry goods section.
  • Coconut milk (200 ml) – Coconut milk is optional. If you are very health conscious, you can substitute it with evaporated creamer or don’t put any coconut milk at all. The role of coconut milk is to make the porridge creamier. By the same logic, of course cream can also be used.
  • Palm Sugar or White Granulated Sugar (1 cup) – Adjust to suit your personal preference
  • Sago balls (0.25-0.5 cups) –Optional again. Depending on the type of glutinous rice you bought. Some of the rice when cooked are not that sticky of vicious, therefore, adding some sago balls will help to make your dessert smoother. Just soak the sago balls in a cup for one two minutes and you will see that all the balls disappeared.
  • Pandan Leaves (1 bundle) – Optional. Personally, I strongly insisted on putting the Pandan. Pandan and coconut milk are two local ingredients that differentiate our (Malaysian and Singaporean or rather South East Asian Countries’) dessert from others parts of the world.

PREPARATION STEPS

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Well, the pictures are rather dull and let’s start cooking.

  • Wash your black glutinous rice in a pot of water. The water should be quite clear but the colour will be dark and become purplish black.. The amount of water should be about 5 times your glutinous rice volume. Well this is an estimated volume and if it too liquid after you complete the cooking, add in more sago balls. If in the process of cooking, you noted that it is overly sticky and difficult to stir, add in more water.
  • Add in pandan leaves and bring to boil over high heat. Once it start to boil, you can switch to medium heat and let it boil for at least 30-45 minutes until the rice are cooked, soft and sticky. At this juncture, you can  add in the sago balls and sugar and let it boil for another 15 minutes.
  • If the texture are to  your satisfaction (meaning resembles the one that you have ever eaten before), add in coconut milk, pinches of salt and bring to boil and off the fire immediately.
  • Served when hot or cold. Drizzle a few table spoon of coconut milk before serving, if necessary.

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FRESH COCONUT MILK VS COOKED COCONUT MILK….

Note that I have added the coconut milks before I off the fire and I let it boil for a while. This is the way my mothers used to cook. Most recipes would advised you to drizzle your fresh coconut milk over the cooked dessert. The same applies when you have  the dessert in the hawker stalls or posh restaurants.

I have to defend my ground that cooked coconut milk are more friendly to your gastro intestinal system and actually, a lot of people are not able to consume raw coconut milk. Secondly, when cooked, the coconut milk blends well with the dessert and easier to keep in the event you can’t finished the dessert. It is rather hard to keep a container of fresh coconut milk in Malaysia and Singapore’s hot weathers. For these two reasons, I will always have my coconut milk cooked in the black glutinous rice dessert and you can see the small bubbles in the dessert.


WHY PINCHES OF SALT….?

It is funny that you add pinches of salt to a sweet dessert. Do you  feel very bloated after you have a bowl of coconut creamed based dessert, be it this dessert or other desserts such as Bubur Chacha and rather reluctant to have the second bowl? Well the reason is simple, added pinches of salt will reduce the greasiness and bloated feeling of coconut oil (coconut cream will be come oil when cooked).


COOKING METHODS …ANY ALTERNATIVES?

Glutinous rice are rather difficult to cook. There are three ways you can try. One is the one using open fire as mentioned in my recipe above.

Option 2 is using a rice cooker, . For those rice cookers where there are digital menu, select the “glutinous rice” or “porridge” options. In fact, in the picture above, I have selected the porridge option and let it cooked for one round (about 45 minutes also). Well, as not all raw ingredients are the same, in the event that after one round of cooking, your porridge is still not the texture that you are looking for, continue to cook for the second round. Always “visit” them and see how they transformed. You can just off the electricity in the middle of the second round as long as you feel it has been cooked to your preferences.

Option 3 is using the slow cooker and let it “slowly cooked” over the night. But look out for the hardening of the top portion, just scope it away before serving.

Another way to shorten the cooking time is to soak the glutinous rice in advance for say 2-3 hours and you will be able to shorten the overall cooking by about half. But don’t throw away the water that you soaked, all the vitamins and minerals are there. Just use the same pot that you soak the glutinous rice for the cooking.

Option 4 is using thermal pot

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This way of cooking will shorten the timing significantly. Wash your rice, add adequate water, transfer to the thermal pot. Heat the stainless steel inner pot on the stove, bring the porridge to boil (depending on size of pot – about 10-15 minutes), close the inner lid, transfer immediately to the thermal pot. Close the outer lid and let it sit in the pot for at least 5-6 hours. For this illustration, I cooked this at 8pm and serve my glutinous rice at 7 am the next morning. In the morning, add sugar and coconut milk before serving.

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One of the main advantage of this method is the pot is very easy to wash as there are no boiling required. Unless other method, it can be quite a mess to wash the utensils.

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INGREDIENTS… ANY ALTERNATIVES?

Almost all ingredients have substitutes and no two recipes are exactly the same, be it for steps of preparation or ingredients. This mean that there are no fix and fast rule on this dessert.  Therefore, just go ahead to cook it and when your guests comment, just say it is your own style..LOL

Main Ingredients

Variants  or substitutes

Black glutinous rice -quantity can be adjusted by varying the sago balls used
  – Can be cooked with red beans or longan, both have high level of iron content
Sugar – brown sugar, rock sugar (too wasted), coconut sugar (gula melaka) or palm sugar (sugar atap?)
Coconut milk – Fresh Cream, evaporated milk or not milk based at all like in China restaurants that serves eight treasure porridge


BENEFITS OF BLACK RICE

It is not my intention that you come here solely looking for the recipe. We shall learn together and know what we eat. Do you know that black rice (in general) have the following health benefits:

  • Black rice contain numerous vitamins and minerals that are essential to the bodies. It contain high iron content and therefore it is good for those with anaemia. Chinese called this blood glutinous rice (血糯米)and believed that this dessert (without coconut milk) are especially beneficial to women who have monthly menstrual affairs. Some recipes have added dried longan (龙眼干)or red bean (红豆) to the dessert and believed that  it is extremely nutritious (很補!)
  • Black rice contain high level of antioxidants anthocyanin and is even higher than blueberries!
  • Black rice assists in weight loss!  Black rice is low in calorie content and made up of mostly of carbohydrates. One may questioned is it not these two statements are contradictory. Food high in carbohydrates are easier to make you full and does not mean that it is high in calorie content. Therefore eating a small bowl of black rice will make you full faster rather than eating a bowl of ice cream!
  • Black rice for diabetics. Black rice contains low quantities of sugar and also contains beneficial plant compounds and fibre which are known to protect the body from diabetes and cancers.

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CONCLUSIONS

Black glutinous rice pudding is an easy but time consuming dessert to prepare. It is high in nutritional value and there is no fix and fast rule that the dessert will have to prepared in a certain prescribed manner.  So, you should be proud of your own version and share with us.

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The purpose of this post is not only sharing with readers my style of preparing this dessert, but more importantly, to create an awareness of its nutritional values and share some “tips” that it might be of interest to you.

No matter how delicious  and delicious this dessert is to you, moderation is still the key! Consideration has to be taken about its high sugar level content and the fact that glutinous rice is rather unfriendly to our gastro intestinal system, Therefore, eat moderately with caution!

For readers who are not residing in the South East Asia Region, you should be able to enjoy it in Malaysian, Singaporean or Indonesian restaurants. But keep it in your notes as a “must try” dessert when you visit the region!

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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.  

Double Chocolate Banana Quick Bread (巧克力香蕉快速面包)

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INTRODUCTION

Though the name of this recipe is a quick bread, it is more of a simple mix and bake type of cake…. It is quick because of its simple preparation..Mixing of dry and wet ingredients..If you want to read more about quick bread, you can refer to this post: A Healthier Alternative Than Cake – Passion Fruit Quick Bread

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I have never bake anything with chocolate and banana combo… But apparently it is very popular among members of Facebook Groups.  I am also rather curious about the taste of this combo..

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When I typed the chocolate and banana in the search engine, there are lots of recipes for this combo and I have choose one that is sinfully enough.. Double chocolate banana quick bread recipe…

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I cut a piece and gave the rest to my relative… Not that I do not like the quick bread but I have intention to prepare it as a gift… It is a very moist cake as both banana and chocolate are moisture retainer.. The small pieces of nuts give the entire piece of quick bread something to chew… The quick bread have both strong aroma of chocolate and banana..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: double chocolate banana bread | smitten kitchen

Servings: A loaf of 9” x 4” x 3” cake

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  • 200 grams (about 3-4 medium or 2 large over-ripe bananas), mashed
  • 120 grams of butter, melted
  • 120 grams of brown sugar or castor sugar (brown sugar preferred)
  • 150 grams of self raising flour
  • 120 grams of semi-sweet chocolate
  • 60 grams of cocoa powder
  • 50 grams of nuts of choice (optional and can be pumpkin seeds or walnuts)
  • 2 eggs
  • 30 grams of milk (optional only if batter too thick)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat the oven to 165 degree Celsius. and lightly greased a 9”x4”x4” pull man tin or baking tin of your choice.

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  • Melt the butter in a microwave for about 1 minute and the chocolate for 30 seconds. Stir until well mixed. You can also heat the butter and chocolate over the stove under low heat until both melt.  Mash the banana, add egg, the butter and chocolate mixture, stir until well combined. Add sugar, nuts and sift in the baking soda and self raising flour. Use a spatula to fold until well combined. Transfer the batter to the greased baking tin and bake in the pre-heated oven of 165 degree Celsius for about 45minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before cut for serving.

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CONCLUSION

Do give it a try. An easy peasy recipe with great taste.. It is a piece of moist and aromatic quick bread.

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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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Homemade Flour Tortilla (墨西哥面粉烙饼)

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INTRODUCTION

Even though my flour tortilla is not as beautiful as what is sold in stores, but I am extremely happy with this adventure..

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I swore that this is not on my list to blog…It is rather unprecedented… I thought of preparing some simple tortilla wraps for my family but I have everything except tortilla….

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I am lazy and do not have time to drive all the way to the supermarket and get a pack of flour tortilla… I have therefore decided to goggle for a recipe of flour tortilla … I am rather unsure if it is possible to homemade and whether it is difficult to prepare.. If it is difficult, I will shelf the idea of serving them tortilla wraps…

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I goggled and found many recipes on flour tortillas… almost all recipe are the same.. Ingredients are as simple as ABC… just flour, water and some oil.. No hard kneading required, just knead until it form a pliable dough.. No long waiting time or baking time required, immediate after they are  prepared, they are pan fried and the tortillas are ready..

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For the first piece of the tortilla, I am doubtful as to whether I am successful in the preparation… It is rather dry  and some did not have any “bubbles” or air cavity between the tortilla.. By the end of the preparation, most have huge bubbles or air cavity in between and when cooled, they were really soft..

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I am happy because the preparation is so easy and the output is more than satisfactory… I then proceed to prepare the wraps and for the recipe of crispy fried chicken and the wraps recipe, you will have to refer to this post : Another Copycat? – Mexicana Wrap With Fried Chicken

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Per Wikipedia:

“A tortilla /tɔrtˈiə/ (or flour tortilla to differentiate it from other uses of the word “tortilla”) is a type of soft, thin flatbread made from finely ground wheat flour. Originally derived from the corn tortilla (tortilla in Spanish means “small torta“, or “small cake”), a bread of maize which predates the arrival of Europeans to the Americas, the wheat flour tortilla was an innovation after wheat was brought to the New World from Spain while this region was the colony of New Spain. It is made with an unleavened, water based dough, pressed and cooked like corn tortillas. Flour tortillas are commonly prepared with meat, mashed potatoes, cheese and other ingredients to make dishes such as tacos, quesadillas and burritos (a dish originating in northern Mexico). In appearance and use tortillas are rather similar to the South Asian chapati. Tortillas are also very similar to the unleavened bread popular in Arab, eastern Mediterranean and southern Asian countries, though thinner and smaller in diameter. “

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Prepare about 8 flour tortillas

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  • 250 grams (2 cups) of plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 180 grams or ml (3/4 cup) of water
  • Pinches of salt

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl of a standing mixer, knead the dough until it form a pliable dough and do not stick to the size of the mixing bowl. If you do not have a mixer, you can knead using hand until the flour did not stick to your hand.

  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for another 1-2 minutes and if you have time, let it rest for 10 minutes before dividing the dough into 8 equal portions.

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  • Take a dough ball and use a rolling pin to roll it as flat and as large as possible  (in this illustration was about 15 cm in diameter).

  • Heat up a non stick pan (or a lightly greased normal pan) under medium to high heat. Place the rolled dough on top of the pan and pan fried the first side for about 1 minute or until the tortilla have dried up and have some brown spots of burnt. Turn to cook the other side for another 1 minute. You will witness bubbles in between the dough start to puff up. After one minute, dish out the tortilla and store in an air tight container if it is not consume immediately.

CONCLUSION

This is a simple recipe and comes handy when you need to use it… Remember that if you want the recipe for the spicy chicken wraps, you can refer to Another Copycat? – Mexicana Wrap With Fried Chicken and you can also use this tortilla to prepare a snack called tortilla cups. The recipe for tortilla cups are here ; Need To Go To A Party? Try Preparing This Party Snack : Bacon/Tuna Tortilla Cups

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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 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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Banana Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting (香蕉蛋糕)

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INTRODUCTION

I baked a cake.. rather perfect as there are no cracks, moist and tall.. but it was slightly burnt on the top! I have therefore decided to cover it with some cream cheese frosting..

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The burnt is not the recipe fault, but a fault on my own.. I was deep frying something else when I am baking the cake.. I did not hear the timer rang and I over baked the cake by almost 10 minutes and hence the burnt….

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I have lots of butter cake recipe but I have never blog a banana cake as I seldom prepare such a cake… One of the reasons is because my wife do not really like banana cake especially those with banana essence in it… In order to complete my cake recipe, I have decided prepare one since I have some over ripe banana sitting on my kitchen table..

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This is an extension of the basic pound cake recipe. Don’t worry that the cake is dense. It is slightly denser than cakes prepared using egg separation method but not as dense as a pound cake.

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It is a very moist cake since banana is a moisture retainer… The texture is fluffy and I should say that this is one of my most satisfied cakes…

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The only regret i have is not adding chopped walnuts to the cake. It will be perfect with the addition of chopped walnut and I have listed in the recipe as optional but I strongly encourage readers to try adding walnuts to the cake.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Prepare a 8” diameter cake

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  • 220 grams of butter
  • 220 grams of brown sugar
  • 220 grams of self raising flour
  • 220 grams of mashed banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of banana essence or vanilla essence (optional)
  • 100 grams of chopped walnuts (optional and not in picture)

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  • 250 grams of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 50 grams of butter, at room temperature
  • 250 grams of icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice

  • Additional 1-2 bananas for decorating
  • 1/2 lemon juice for cut banana

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170 degree Celsius and lightly grease a 8” diameter round baking tin.

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  • Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg one at a time. Beat until well combined. Add the banana/vanilla essence followed by the mashed banana. Beat until well combined.

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  • Sift in  the self raising flour and baking soda. Fold quickly and swiftly until well mixed. Transfer to the baking tin and bake in the pre-heat oven of 170 degree Celsius for about 45 minutes or when a skewer inserted comes out clean. If you wish, you can wrap a wet towel or newspaper around the side of the baking tin to ensure even rising. But you will have to take away the towel or newspaper after 30 minutes of baking. Otherwise, the sides will be difficult to get cooked. After taking out from the oven, let the cake rest in the tin for at least 5 minutes before dislodge from the baking tin. Let it cool completely in a wire rack before frosting (Best to chill 1-2 hours). 

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  • Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add softened butter, beat until well combined. Add icing sugar follow by the milk and lemon juice. Beat for 2-3 minutes until well mixed.

  • Cut the banana for decoration and brush it will lemon juice. Set aside for later decoration.

  • Take out the cake and apply generously the cream cheese frosting on top and the side of the cake. Arrange the banana on top of the cake and let it chilled for 1 hour before serving.

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CONCLUSION

This is a simple recipe and I am very pleased with the cake with or without the frosting. The cream cheese frosting will heighten the palate to another level of enjoyment. Don’t worry too much about the sweetness. It is not overly sweet be it the frosting or the cake..

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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 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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What Is The Dish That Have The Savoury White Or Sweet Black Version of Stir Frying–Char Kuih or Char Kuih Kak or Fried Carrot Cake (炒粿, 炒菜头粿, 炒萝卜糕, 炒粿角, 炒糕粿)

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INTRODUCTION

This is a very common hawker delicacy in Singapore and Malaysia. I only know it was called as Char Kuih (炒粿) in Kuching, Sarawak…But in Singapore it is also common in food court or hawker centre by stores selling it under the name of Char Cai Tow Kuih  or Fried radish cake (炒菜头粿 or 炒萝卜糕). In Facebook Group, Penangites called it Char Kuih Kak (炒粿角) and in Shantou area, Peoples’ Republic of China, it is called Char ko Kuih (炒糕粿)。。。

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All have one similarity, either the savoury white colour version of frying or the sweet black colour version of frying.  The most basic version of the dish will be stir frying the rice cake, eggs with seasoning and soya sauce (for black version). But there are some variants in between the areas.  Some have added chives and beansprout and some have also added prawns and meats due to the affluence of income over the years and localization of regional ingredients.

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But in Malaysia and Singaporean version, there is one common ingredient that all variants are using. It  is the preserved radish.. and surprising, this is not found in traditional Chinese recipe.. It was believed that in earlier years, Chinese immigrants in Singapore and Malaysia are rather poor and they have used preserved radish to flavour the fried rice cake and come out a unique flavour on its own..

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After readers digesting the recipe, readers will know that this rice cake is a very humble recipe comprising only flour and water.. It was called Char Kuih in Kuching because we are frying a tray of steamed kuih or rice cake. Penang called it Kuih Kak possibly because it was cut into small cubes that have many corners before the stir frying. 

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But why Singapore and Southern Peninsular Malaysia called it Char Cai Tow Kuih or fried radish cake since there is no radish in it?  Or Singapore hawkers really used radish in the kuih? I was rather confused too. I also thought that Singaporean version may have radish since it was called as such. I knew that I was wrong when a Chinese article explained that it was called as such because it was fried with cai poh or preserved radish. Hence it was called fried radish cake …Even if the cake have radish, the quantity will also very minimal.. Hmmm, is it not food history very interesting and now I am totally convinced that whatever name it was called, they were all the same rice cake and the rice cake may not have any radish at all.

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This is a recipe that requires steaming of the rice cake.. However, as steaming will take a long time , I have decided to prepare the rice cake using microwave.. Trust me, it only took about 3 minutes (depending on the height of the rice cake and how big is your container) and the texture will not be compromised. Of course, those  who do not have an microwave oven can use steaming as a cooking method.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: 大马潮洲人美食《QQ炒粿角》的做法 – 家常菜谱大全

Servings: 3-4 adult servings

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Rice cake

  • 1 cup of rice flour (粘米粉)
  • 1/2 cup of tapioca flour (木薯粉)
  • 2 cups of lukewarm water
  • Pinches of salt

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Savoury version of stir frying

  • Rice cake from the above recipe
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1 cup of beansprouts
  • Few stalks of Chinese chives (optional) – cut into 3 cm length
  • Few stalks of spring onion – chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of preserved radish
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil or lard

Sweet Version of stir frying (no picture)

  • Rice cake from the above recipe
  • 1-2 eggs (optional)
  • Few stalks of spring onion – chopped
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoon of dark sticky soya sauce (or dark coloured sweet soya sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon of preserved radish
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • Pinches of salt
  • 1-2 tablespoon of cooking oil

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Mix all the ingredients for rice cake in a greased microwavable container. Stir until well mixed. Heat in the microwave oven for about 3 minutes. Depending on the size of your container and the height of the rice cake, the timing is for your reference. It is considered as done when a toothpick inserted into a rice cake comes out clean. Even a bit of stickiness is acceptable as it will set when cooled. Do not over microwave as the rice cake can become chewy if too much water is lost. Cool completely (about 1 hour) before cutting into about 1 cm cube.

  • If you do not have a microwave oven, you will need to cook the rice flour solution over the stove until sticky like glue. Transfer the paste into a greased container. Steam under high heat until the rice cake is set. Cool completely before cutting. You can refer to the source recipe for how to steam the rice cake. 

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  • In a frying pan, heat up some cooking oil or lard, sauté the preserved radish and minced garlic until fragrant and the garlic turn slightly brownish.  Add the rice cake cubes, stir fry until the rice cake cubes is a bit golden brown…Push the rice cake cubes to one side of the frying pan, add the eggs. stir fry until the egg is set. Stir fry the eggs and rice cake cubes until well mixed. Add the beansprouts and spring onion (and chives, if any), follow by seasonings (white pepper, fish sauce and sugar), stir fry until well mixed. Dished up and served when hot.. Garnish with additional chopped spring onion if desired. (note: Stir frying shall be done under high heat for the entire cooking process)

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  • In a frying pan, heat up some cooking oil or lard, sauté the preserved radish and minced garlic until fragrant and the garlic turn slightly brownish.  Add the rice cake cubes, stir fry until the rice cake cubes is a bit golden brown…Add the sticky dark soya sauce and sugar, stir fry until well combined. (note: if the dark soya sauce is sweet soya sauce, no sugar need to be added. You can also use dark palm sugar for the stir frying in place of castor sugar). Dish up and garnish with chopped spring onion before serving. (note: Stir frying shall be done under high heat for the entire cooking process).

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CONCLUSION

I will let reader to decide the name of this Singapore and Malaysia delicacy. Whether the Singapore and Southern Peninsular version of so called “fried carrot or radish” cake have any radish in it is up to every one’s guess and I certainly feel that it taste different from the dim sum radish cake  that i used to have.. This rice cake is very plain and tasteless and appropriate stir frying will bring out the flavour of the cake.. Having said that, I will still leave to readers to make your own judgement… However, if you are interested to use radish cake to prepare this dish, you can refer to this recipe: It Is Better To Be Late Than Never–Radish/Turnip/Carrot/Daikon Cake (腊味萝卜糕)

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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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Pumpkin Fried Bee Hoon (金瓜米粉, 南瓜米粉)

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INTRODUCTION

This way of frying rice vermicelli is not what my late mum had taught me though fried rice vermicelli is a common menu item when I was a kid.

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The way she fried bee hoon is totally different, she will sauté the shallots until fragrant, add the rice vermicelli, add seasonings until the rice vermicelli is aromatic. She then dished up the plain rice vermicelli. She put some more oil, sauté the shallots again but this time with meat, prawns and vegetable etc..Once this is ready, she will put the stir fried bee hoon earlier, stir until well mixed and dished up..

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Throughout the entire stir frying process, no water was added.. As such, her fried bee hoon though aromatic and delicious, but was rather dry. Hmmm, I have to admit that when I was a kid, I never like fried bee hoon

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Years ago, when I watched a Taiwanese television food show, the host was demonstrating how he stir fried the famous Taiwanese snack – Pumpkin Bee hoon… Instead of using the word stir frying, soaking may be a more appropriate word of describing the process.  In fact, he is soaking the bee hoon in some meat stock until all the flavourful stock were absorbed by the bee hoon.

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Since then, I have changed my way of frying my bee hoon. I have used his approach in stir frying many types of bee hoon recipes and it all works well. Well, this way of cooking can only be applicable to bee hoon and not other type of noodles be it flat rice noodles (kuay tiao), normal egg noodles and etc.. As bee hoon is very dry and tough to get cooked, soaking them in flavourful stock possibly will be the best method of cooking bee hoon.

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This is a famous Taiwanese noodle dish… There are two ways with regards to the preparation of the pumpkin, one way is to julienne the pumpkin into small strips and stir fry together with the Bee Hoon. At the end of the day, you can see the pumpkin strips on the plate of bee hoon. Another way is the method I am going to share in this illustration, steam and prepare the pumpkin puree, let the bee hoon soaked in the thick pumpkin “soup” and the end result is every strand of bee hoon was coated with pumpkin puree.. Asked me which do I prefer, the pumpkin puree version as the pumpkin puree can sip into the bee hoon more easily.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: About 4-5 adult servings

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  • 250 grams of pumpkin – de-skinned and cut into small chunks.
  • 150 grams of rice vermicelli (bee hoon) – soaked
  • 100 grams of prawns (optional)
  • 150 grams of minced pork or pork belly strips
  • 50 grams of bean sprouts
  • 30 grams of dry shrimps or squid stripes
  • 4 shallots – slice thinly
  • 3 winter mushrooms – soaked and slice thinly
  • 3 sprigs of spring onion
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (optional)
  • Some vegetables such as cai xin or cabbages (optional)

Seasonings (Not in picture)

  • Pinches of salt
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • 1  Chicken stock cube or other preferred seasonings or some sugar to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of light soya sauce

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Rinse and soak the bee hoon until soft.

  • Steam the pumpkin until soft. Either use fork to mash or transfer to a food processor to blend until puree form. Set aside for later use. (note that this step is optional if you prefer to slice your pumpkin into thin strips.

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  • In a frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Add the spring onions, sliced shallots and winter mushrooms, sauté until fragrant and the shallots are slightly brown. Add the dry shrimps or dry squid strips (鱿鱼丝)。 Stir fry for a minute of two. Add dashes of white pepper followed by the minced meat or pork belly strips. Add about 2-3 cups of water and the chicken stock cubes, bring to boil and let it simmer for about 10 minutes to get the meat stock. Add the pumpkin puree and stir until well mixed.

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  • Add the bee hoon and stir until well mix. Reduce the heat to low and braised the bee hoon until your desired texture. Don’t worry that if the soup stock is too much, it will gradually absorbed by the bee hoon . If the soup dries up too fast, add more water. The longer you braised, the softer and flavourful  is the bee hoon.  Once it reaches your desired texture, add the bean sprouts and prawns, increase the heat to medium and stir fry until the prawns are cooked. Add in additional spring onion or deep fried shallots before dishing up. Prior to servings, sprinkle with deep fried shallots if desired.

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CONCLUSION

I hope readers do give this recipe a chance. The method of cooking is rather controversial but trust me, it will yields a delicious plate of fried bee hoon.

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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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Baileys Chocolate Cheese Tarts (巧克力芝士挞)

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INTRODUCTION

This is a slightly healthier cheese recipe.. It is a gluten free recipe designed for those who are have gluten intolerance..

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Wait, having said that, it is equally delicious for every body… After you read through the recipe, I am sure you will concur with me it is a delicious piece of chocolate tart..

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For the base, I have used the gluten free biscuits that I have prepared yesterday. The biscuit prepared wholly using almond meal is not only gluten free, it is also diary free, fatless and egg less.. If you are interested, you can refer to recipe 2 of  How About An Eggless, Butter Less, Milk Less Chocolate Almond Cup Cakes?

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If you are not interested in using this as the base, you can refer to the this post for a normal biscuit base using short crust pastry- Thanksgiving 2013 is approaching–How About A Zebra Pattern Baked New York Cheesecake

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Unlike other cheesecake that have some flour in the cheese batter, I have omitted the plain flour for the sake of this recipe.

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As for the creaminess, instead of using heavy cream or normal cream, plain yoghurt was used.. This will  substantially cut down the calories.  To enhance the flavour of the chocolate, Baileys  Irish Cream was added.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Prepare a 9” round cheese tart

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  • 250 grams of cream cheese (soften at room temperature)
  • 150 grams of plain yoghurt
  • 80 grams of brown sugar or castor sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder (not in picture)
  • 1/4 cup of Baileys Irish Cream (optional)

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Normal biscuit or short  crust pastry

  • 60 grams of self raising flour
  • 130 grams of plain flour
  • 60 grams of castor sugar
  • 80 grams of unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 egg

Gluten Free Biscuit Crust (no picture)

  • 2 cups of almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160 degree Celsius and lightly greased a tart tin.

Crust preparation

  • For gluten free biscuit base, mixed the almond meal, water, sugar and cocoa powder until a thick paste is form. Press the thick paste into the greased tart tin following the shape of the tin. Pre-bake the tart shell for about 12-15 minutes until the tart shell starts to harden.

Preparing the filling

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  • Cream the soften cheese and brown sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the yoghurt and egg. Beat until well combined. Add the cocoa powder and Baileys’ cream. Beat until well combined. Pour the batter over the pre-baked shell and bake in the pre-heated oven of 160 degree Celsius for about 20-25 minutes or until the tart has set. Off the heat and leave the tart in the oven with the door ajar for at least 15 minutes for completely cooking. Chill for another 1-2 hours before slice for serving.

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CONCLUSION

I am sorry that the pictorial illustration is not complete as I am preparing 3 recipes in one morning. I hope it is clear and if you have any doubts, do let me know . This is a nice cheese tart. Do give it a try and let me know if this is what you are looking for. Finally, I hoped that this recipe who benefit those readers who are on a gluten free diet for need a cheesy indulgence.

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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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Deep Frying Your Potato Patties ?–Begedil (炸马铃薯饼)

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INTRODUCTION

I loved begedil or perkedel,  the Malay deep fried potatoes patties with a unique taste on its own… It is good to go with mee soto ayam and a must have when I frequented our Malay brother’s store if it was sold..

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As per Mycitycuisine.org

“Begedil is a cutlet made of mashed potato. It is found everywhere at Hawker stalls in Malaysia and Singapore. The name of the dish comes from the Malay word “potato patty”. The traditional ingredients for Begedil are: boiled and mashed potatoes, chopped onion, tapioca flour, egg and chopped chillies. All the ingredients are mixed and blended well, seasoned, and shaped into balls. Then a wok with oil is put on a high fire; potato balls are dusted with flour, coated with beaten egg, and put into wok to fry until golden brown. The ready cutlets are drained on paper and usually served hot alongside Mee Soto.” (Source: http://www.mycitycuisine.org/wiki/Begedil)

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In fact, I have prepared three times for this post. The first two post I made mistakes of adding the eggs to the batter..and I was puzzling as to why it looked different from what is sold…

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I did not investigate further until my third attempt.. I only realized that the beaten eggs is to wrap the begedil during deep frying rather than enhance the cohesiveness of the patty..

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I rushed to the kitchen to prepare for the third time and happy that it looked quite similar with what is sold in the stores. The taste of all the 3 attempts are awesome … close to what I have eaten. Kids gobbled up the whole plate in minutes.

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For this recipe, you can always add minced beef the patty. Since I do not take beef, this recipe is meatless and can be eaten by vegan who are not religion bound.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: Begedil | The Straits Times SoShiok

Servings : 3-4 adult servings as snack

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  • 500 grams of local potatoes
  • 50 grams of deep fried shallots
  • 2-3 stalks of Chinese celery, chopped
  • 1/2 egg, beaten
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coriander powder (not in picture)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin powder (not in picture)
  • Pinches of salt (not in picture)
  • Sugar to taste

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Boil the potatoes in a pot of hot water with pinches of salt until soft . Transfer the potatoes, deep fried shallots, Chinese celery, seasonings and spices to a food processor and blend until your desired coarseness. It is advisable not to be over fine as it can become very soft. Alternatively, just use a fork to mash the potatoes and add the other ingredients.

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  • Take about 2 tablespoons of the mashed potatoes, shape it like a ball and lightly flatten it until it resembles a patties. Coat with beaten eggs and deep fried in medium to low heat until the exterior is golden brown. Dish out and drain the oil in a piece of oil absorbing paper. Best served with Mee soto or as a snack on its own.

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CONCLUSION

A simple recipe with awesome taste.. It took me about 30 minutes to get all this done.. Are you willing to give it a try.

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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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