Cheesy Bacon Bread Bites (培根芝士小面包)

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INTRODUCTION

This is a very easy recipe.. Easy to prepare, easy to shape, fast to bake with an awesome texture and taste…Of course taste wise will depend on the types of ingredients you used.

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All these are easy because of its small size… Any shape will do, proofing time is shorter and baking time is even shorter depending on size of your bread..

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I can’t claim this is my original idea and I have obtain the inspiration from the internet. This bake of bite size cheesy buns are rather common especially in Chinese speaking Facebook food groups. ..However, I never read their recipes and unsure what have been used. The common shape is cubical shape..

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This recipe is entirely from my own crazy ideas.. I modified the recipe from the basic bread dough .. Since this is a cheesy bread, most the ingredients I used are diary based.. Cheese never goes wrong with bacon. Since I have some chicken “bacon” at home, I have decided  to pair them up. To enhance the flavour, I have used Italian mixed herb comprising of oregano and etc..

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I am more than happy with this adventure.. The bread is soft and very aromatic …I loved especially the cheesy herbs flavour.  The only disappointment is that I have forgotten to add in pinches of salt.. As such the bread is slightly bland.. Well I have already adjusted in the recipe.. Be it savoury or sweet, this bread is addictive .. It will be a very good snack when you are picnicking, gathering etc..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: about 50 bread bites depending on size.

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  • 250 grams of bread flour
  • 100 grams of fresh milk, lukewarm
  • 50 grams of condensed milk
  • 50 grams of cheddar cheese
  • 50 grams of bacon *, cut into small pieces
  • 30 grams of milk powder
  • 20 grams of butter, softened
  • 6 grams of instant yeast
  • 2 grams of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian herbs (optional)
  • 1 egg

* Luncheon meat, bak kwa or sausage bits can also be considered.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Add bread flour, milk, condensed milk, salt, eggs and yeast in a standing mixer’s mixing bowl. Use a spoon to slightly stir it until it form a sticky dough. Use the dough hook in the machine to beat the dough at medium to low speed (speed 2 in Kenwood Chef or Kitchen Aid) for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, put the butter and cheddar cheese, change from medium to high speed (speed 4 kin Kenwood Chef or Kitchen Aid) for about 7 minutes until the dough is smooth and leaves the side of the mixing bowl. Take a small piece of dough and lightly stretch the dough. If it can form a thin film of dough without breaking, the kneading is considered as adequate.. This is called windowpane test.

  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, add the bacon bits. Use hand to lightly knead the dough until all the bacon bits are well incorporated. Shape round and let it proof until double in size. Cover with a clingy wrap or wet towel. If the dough is too sticky, flour your hand and continue the kneading.

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  • Pre-heat the oven to 160 degree Celsius

  • When the dough double in size, punch the dough and roll the dough evenly into a 1 cm thickness . Use a cookie mould or any other desired mould to mould out the dough and transfer to a lightly greased baking tray. Gather the sides, roll flat and mould until all its done. Let it proof until at least double in size.

  • Bake in the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown. Store in a covered container once the bread bites had completely cooled.

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Note:

  • While kneading the dough, if your dough is too wet, add bread flour tablespoon to tablespoon until it form a pliable dough. If it is too dry, add milk or water teaspoon by teaspoon until it forms a pliable dough. There are many factors that may affect the dough condition, condition of flour, how wet is your puree can significantly affect the amount of liquid required. As such, you have to exercise judgment. A bit more or less is acceptable in bread making. 

  • The timing of the baking is relatively shorter and very much depend on your size. As long as the bottom of the bread is slightly brownish, it is considered as cooked. If you want to brown the top, you may need to monitor until it reach your desired colour tone. Over baking, however will make your tiny bread hard.

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CONCLUSION

This is a simple recipe with many variations. I believed it is suitable for new bakers. With its tiny size, any imperfection will not be obvious. If you want it to be sweet version, just add 2 tablespoons of sugar .. Otherwise, it will a savoury version as in the recipe. Feel free to change the bacon to bak kwa or even sausages..  As for cheese, if you like very strong cheesy flavour which does not suit my taste buds, you can use 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese powder to substitute the cheddar cheese.. If you do not like oregano, why not change to chopped spring onion or even coriander?

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

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Teriyaki Chicken (照り焼きチキン,日式照烧鸡肉)

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INTRODUCTION

I have said many times that when I frequented Japanese restaurants, I have less choices to order because I only eat cooked food… Besides Katsudon, karaage, the next most common dish is teriyaki chicken..Teriyaki chicken is extremely easy to prepare especially with the ready made teriyaki marinate that can be commonly found in Singapore and Malaysia supermarket.

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I loves anything that goes with teriyaki sauce.. It is slightly sweet and the glossiness of the cooked meat make the dish so delish looking.. Not only I liked this, my kids also loved this much which is expected since its flavour combinations is very much like Chinese cuisines..

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In fact, teriyaki sauce ingredients are Japanese rice wine (mirin), Japanese light soya sauce and some brown sugar. All these were common cooking ingredients in Chinese recipes..

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“Teriyaki (kanji: き; hiragana: てりやき) is a cooking technique used in Japanese cuisine in which foods are broiled or grilled with a glaze of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.[It also refers to a type of sauce put on meat in America which uses neither soy sauce, mirin, nor sugar.The word teriyaki derives from the noun teri (照り?), which refers to a shine or luster given by the sugar content in the tare (タレ?), and yaki (焼き?), which refers to the cooking method of grilling or broiling. Traditionally the meat is dipped in or brushed with sauce several times during cooking. The tare (タレ?) is traditionally made by mixing and heating soy sauce, sake, or mirin; and sugar or honey. The sauce is boiled and reduced to the desired thickness, then used to marinate meat which is then grilled or broiled. Sometimes ginger is added and the final dish may be garnished with spring onions.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teriyaki)

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In this recipe, what I am sharing is the recipe without the use of ready made teriyaki sauce. It is a very simple marinating and for cooking, instead of grilling in the oven, I have opted to use the pan fry method..Though some of the ingredients listed are Japanese cooking ingredients such as sake and mirin and Japanese light soya sauce, you can always use Chinese cooking wine or light soya sauce and the taste will not be very far off.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: Chicken Teriyaki Recipe (Pan-fried) – No Recipes

Servings : About 4-5 adult servings

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  • 500 grams of deboned chicken
  • 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of Japanese light soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Mirin or Japanese rice wine.
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of minced ginger (optional)

Sauce

  • Marinate from the above meat
  • 2 tablespoons of Japanese light soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of maltose or honey
  • 1 tablespoon of Mirin or Sake

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Clean and marinate the chicken with light brown sugar, Japanese soya sauce and Japanese rice wine (mirin) in a plastic bag. Let it marinate for at least 1 hour. If you want, you can add some minced ginger and garlic to the marinate to enhance the flavour.

  • In a frying pan, put 1-2 tablespoons of oil, pan fry the marinated chicken under medium heat for at least 5-10 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cooked. The timing will very much depends on the thickness of the chicken meat. To test the readiness, use a tooth pick to poke the thickest part of the meat, if it is cooked, the meat will be very easy to be pierced through and there will be no blood water coming out. Dish up the meat and set aside.

  • In a bowl, stir maltose or honey, Japanese light soya sauce, mirin and the chicken marinate left from marinating the chicken (as captured in the plastic bag)  until well combined. Add to the frying pan. Bring to boil until the sauce thickens or  until the consistency that you are looking for. The consistency shall be thick and glossy. In this process, you will witness colour changes  from light to dark and the boiling bubbles will gradually turn from small bubbles to big bubbles.

  • Cut the chicken and drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

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CONCLUSION

This is a very simple recipe that you can easily prepare at home.. If you do not have all the specialized Japanese cooking ingredients, you can use Chinese cooking wine, and soya sauce. The taste will not be extremely far off. Of course, to make it authentic, Japanese cooking ingredients are still preferred.

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

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Nonya Acar Awak (娘惹泡菜)

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INTRODUCTION

I have a post on Acar Timun Sarawak (Sarawak preserved cucumber) usually served together with prawn crackers during Chinese New Year… And that Acar is slightly different from the Nonya Acar Awak that I will share in this post.

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The major difference is that Nonya Acar Awak can be eaten after freshly prepare as a side dish or appetizer whereas the Acar Sarawak usually need to marinate for a few days before the desired texture is developed (soft but crunchy). Beside the ingredients that were used in Acar Sarawak (cucumber and carrot), Acar Awak usually have long beans, cabbage, pineapples, cauliflowers etc.. and some even have radishes..

If you want to know about Acar Sarawak and Wikipedia’s definition of Acar, you can refer to this post: Sarawak Pickled Cucumber – Acar Timum Sarawak

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I am pleased with this batch of Acar which I have modified from  my Acar Timum Sarawak recipe..It is sour and sweet and very refreshing. I have prepared this as a side dish for my dinner today. I am also not worried if I can’t finish the Acar as it can be kept in fridge for at least on a week. The Acar will be  more flavourful after 1-2 days.

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Preparation is not difficult except it was slightly laborious.. But most of the things can done in separate stages. Just a bit of planning is required for churning out this dish .. Every efforts is worth after you took the first bite.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 8 Adult servings

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  • 300 grams of cucumber – Julienned into 1 inch long
  • 150 grams of carrots – Julienned into 1 inch long
  • 150 grams of long beans – cut into 1 cm long
  • 150 grams of pineapple – cut into small pieces
  • 150 grams of cauliflower – cut into small pieces
  • 50 grams of cabbage  – cut into small pieces

Rempah (spice mix)

  • 5 shallots
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 bird eye chilli or 2 big chilli
  • 1 inch of ginger
  • 5 candlenuts (buah keras) (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of dry prawns, soaked
  • 1.5 inches of fresh turmeric or 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass (optional)
  • 1 inch of galangal (optional)

Others

  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oils
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1/4 cup  of sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup of coarsely grinded peanuts
  • Salt to taste
  • Additional sugar, salt and vinegar for blanching liquid

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Cut the cucumber in about 1 inch long and throw away the centre of the cucumber. Dust about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar on the julienned cucumber. Toss until evenly coated. Put under the sun for sun dry or in the fridge to air dry for at least one hour. After one hour, you will witness lots of cucumber juices secreted. Squeeze dry the cucumber and set aside. You can either put the cucumber in a muslin cloth and squeeze or use hand to squeeze manually.

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  • In a pot with some water, add about 3-4 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of sugar and bring to boil. Add in the cabbage, long bean, cauliflower and carrot sticks. Blanch the vegetable until soft which took me about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

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  • In a blender, put all the rempah ingredients and some water adequate to cover the ingredients. Blend until fine.

  • In a wok, put 2-3 tablespoons of oil, put the blended spice mix, use medium heat to stir fry until the colour of the spice mix darkens and oils start to separate from the rempah. Add 1 cup of vinegar, 1/2 cup of sugar, salt to taste. Bring to boil. Once boiled, off the heat. 

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  • Add the pineapples, marinated cucumber, blanched vegetables followed by sesame seeds and grinded peanuts. Stir until well mixed. It can be served after it was well mixed. However, it is advisable to let it soak for at least one-two hours before serving. If time permits, soaking overnight will yield a more flavourful Acar Awak. Best served as a side dish or appetiser in a Nonya meal.

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CONCLUSION

I loved this dish as it is very appetizing that will wake up my appetite. As this is a savoury recipe and there are many flexibilities. Ingredients quantity listed is a guideline. Feel free to adjust to one that suits your family’s taste bud. Remember that overnight resting is preferred though not necessary. If you cannot finish, just store in the fridge. Provided it was not contaminated with dirty spoons, it can keep up to at least a week in refrigerator since this is a recipe of preserved vegetables.

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

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Potatoes Buns (马铃薯餐包)

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INTRODUCTION

How I wish I can scrap off the custard toppings.. It is a total disaster as I have selected the wrong recipe. It is not smooth and hard and I regretted that I should have  used back my trusted bread baking book recipe on the custard toppings .. Well, that was over, though potatoes buns that were sold in the bakery always have some custard being piped on top of the buns but I will not share the recipe on custard toppings.. (Updated post on 27-4-2015: Please scroll down for the new custard topping recipes)

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But this is definitely a bun recipe that I liked. Potatoes, pumpkin or sweet potatoes are very good moister retainers. Any bread or traditional kuih made with these 3 ingredients will be soft for days. It is indeed a very soft bread.

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I first eaten these type of breads in Malaysia. To be very frank, potatoes do not have any flavour. As such, the bread is just like normal buns with enhanced texture.  It is very soft if you kneaded and proofed properly.. It will remain soft at least for 2 days if you store it in a covered container minimizing the lost of moisture vapour.

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This is a small recipe that yields only 9 buns. As such, it is very suitable for a small family of four. If you have bread machine, you can use it to knead the bread as the dough volume is quite small..It is a recipe that I have modified from various recipes of mine.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Prepare 9 buns of about 60 grams each

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  • 250 grams of bread flour
  • 125 grams of mashed potatoes puree
  • 80-100 grams of lukewarm water
  • 50 grams of white castor sugar
  • 30 grams of milk powder (optional)
  • 30 grams of butter
  • 8 grams of instant yeast
  • 1 egg
  • Pinches of salt

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Custard toppings

  • 250 grams of fresh milk
  • 10 grams of butter
  • 50 grams of bread flour
  • 60 grams of castor sugar
  • 1 egg

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Boil the potatoes until soft. Either use a fork to mash it or transfer the boiled potatoes to a blender, add the about 80 grams of water, blend until as fine as possible . (Note that it is optional to use blender to get the potatoes puree. If your potatoes are very easy to mash, fork mashing will do. As my potatoes is very hard to get cooked, I have resorted to the use of blender to get the puree)

  • Transfer the mashed potatoes or puree to a mixing bowl. Add bread flour, eggs, yeast and sugar. Use a spoon to slightly stir it until it form a sticky dough. Use the dough hook in the machine to beat the dough at medium to low speed (speed 2 in Kenwood Chef or Kitchen Aid) for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, put the butter, change from medium to high speed (speed 4 kin Kenwood Chef or Kitchen Aid) for about 7 minutes until the dough is smooth and leaves the side of the mixing bowl.

  • Take a small piece of dough and lightly stretch the dough. If it can form a thin film of dough without breaking, the kneading is considered as adequate.. This is called windowpane test.

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  • Transfer the dough out to a lightly flour surface. Shape round and let it proof for about double in size. Cover with a clingy wrap or wet towel during proofing.

  • After first proofing, punch the dough, lightly knead for 1-2 minutes and divide into 9 pieces of about 60 grams each. Take one dough, shape round  and transfer it to a lightly greased baking tray. Let it proof until double in size and cover with a clingy wrap or wet towel.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.

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  • Put all the ingredients in the pot. Stir until well combined. Cook under medium to low heat until the custard had set. In this process, constant stirring is required and the custard can harden rather quickly.

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  • Egg wash the dough when the buns have double in size, pump the custard on top and bake in the preheated oven of 180 degree Celsius for about 15-20 minutes or until the top have turned golden brown. For egg washing, crack one egg yolk, add one tablespoons of water, sift and brush evenly on the buns surface. (There will be no sharing of the custard topping. The post will be updated if I have found a suitable topping recipe).

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Note:

  • While kneading the dough, if your dough is too wet, add bread flour tablespoon to tablespoon until it form a pliable dough. If it is too dry, add milk or water teaspoon by teaspoon until it forms a pliable dough. There are many factors that may affect the dough condition, condition of flour, how wet is your puree can significantly affect the amount of liquid required. As such, you have to exercise judgment. A bit more or less is acceptable in bread making. 

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CONCLUSION

Not a very difficult recipe but  it yields a soft bun. Remember that if your bun is properly kneaded, proofed and baked, it will give you a soft and fluffy buns. Do remember to store your cooled buns in air tight container to avoid moisture lost.. Homemade buns do not have any additives such as bread improvers and hence cannot be compared with what is sold in the bakery.

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

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Butter Prawns With Egg Floss (蛋丝牛油虾)

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INTRODUCTION

My mind is very “blank” when I am writing this post.. I  do not what to write about the dish except the recipe..

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This is a recipe that I stumbled across when I searched for prawn recipe.. I can’t recall if I have tasted it before. Probably no because though it looked delicious with the egg floss, I do not think i have ever eaten unshelled prawns cooked in butter. The one that I have tasted is without shell and without egg floss.

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I studied a few recipes and come out with this simple recipe of mine, The adventure did not disappoint me at all, it is creamy and tasty .. I especially loved the mixture of curry and buttery aroma and smooth texture of the prawns.

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However, I do regret of not using fresh curry leaves since I am running out. Instead, I have to use the dried curry leaves stock up for emergency purposes. No difference in flavours except the colour is not as appealing as using the fresh type.

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Preparation is rather easy. Some recipes call for deep frying the prawns for 1-2 minutes but I shelved the idea as it will be too troublesome for house chef just to prepare a whole pot of oil for deep frying 1-2 minutes. Instead, I opted for another easier version of stir frying the prawns until cooked. I do not believe the taste will be compromised a lot but I think it is slightly healthier and much faster way to prepare the dish, not to mention less kitchen utensils to wash…

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: About 4-6 adult servings

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Egg floss

  • 2-3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil

Stir frying

  • 1/2 kilograms of prawns
  • 2 cloves of garlic cut into big pieces
  • 20 grams or ml of evaporated milk or fresh milk
  • Some cut chillies or bird eye chillies
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves (preferably fresh curry leaves)
  • Pinches of salt
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • Sugar to taste

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a wok or frying pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of cooking oil under high heat. Drizzle the beaten egg yolk onto the hot oil, stir fry or deep fry the egg yolk until golden brown. Dish up and drain  Use a tablespoon to press the oil back to the wok or frying pan. Place the deep fried egg floss in a piece of kitchen towel. Set aside for cooling.

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  • Use the same oil in the wok to pan fry the prawns for 1-2 minutes, add the chilli, garlic and curry leaves. Stir fry for one minute. Add the evaporated milk and continue to stir fry until it starts to dry. Add dashes of white pepper, salt and sugar to taste. Have a quick stir and dish up. Sprinkle with egg floss prepared earlier and best serve hot as a side dish of a standard Chinese meal.

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CONCLUSION

I have decided to simplify the steps to suit the needs of new house chefs. Trust me, taste will not be of that much difference…Just remember to stir fry all this using high heat and remember to put the cooking oil as it will make the oil hotter and hence your egg floss will be crispier…

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

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(updated as at 13 March 2015)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts. Also follow me at INSTAGRAM or TSU, a new social network for some more personal sharing other than recipes.

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Ferrero Rocher Layered Cheese Cake (金莎千层奶酪蛋糕)

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INTRODUCTION

I do not know who started this recipe but it is a very simple, delicious recipe which is versatile.. Apparently it is very common in Sarawak and many household knows how to do it…

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During Chinese New Year when I was back to Sarawak, the family visited one of my relatives who served us this delicious cheese cake… My kids kept eating the cheesecake and I scolded them for lacking of manners… My relative knew that the kids like it, have told me verbally how it was prepared (not the exact recipe) and gave me 2 packets of cheese biscuits. She asked me to prepare for them..

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The cheese biscuit is from Khong Guan, Indonesia and I am not sure if it is available in Singapore and some friends said that they have seen in Geylang Serai. …  But do not be discouraged by this special ingredient and as far as I am concerned, any cheesy biscuits from any brand (for example Julie or Nabisco) or non cheesy biscuits such as soda crackers, Marie biscuits were all acceptable. Wafer is another good alternative…

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Though this recipe is ultra simple, but I have decided to blog this because it suits my taste bud. I honestly believed Singaporean and West Malaysians will like this biscuit layered cheese cake for 2 simple reasons: Simple and delicious. Though Sarawak is part of Malaysia and very close to Singapore, I found that there are a lot of simple unique recipes that have not been shared to West Malaysia and Singapore.. Possibly this recipe originates from Indonesia? I am equally puzzled..

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Based on what my relative have told me, I have decided to design my own recipe after taking into consideration the taste buds of my Singaporean and West Malaysian readers.. Ferreror Rocher were added to enhance the taste and give the cheese cakes some bits to bite.. Unbelievably, my family finished the entire cheesecake within an hour as this recipe yields a small cheesecake suitable to a family of 4 or 5. With the leftover cream cheese, I have prepared another box of cheese cake. It set beautifully within about 3 hours 

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: One tray of 5”x5” x 1.5 “ cheesecake

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  • 250 grams of cream cheese – softened at room temperature
  • 200 grams of condensed milk
  • 25 grams of butter –softened at room temperature
  • 100 grams (half pack) of Saltcheese crackers (can be replaced by any type of crackers or wafers) – Estimated depending on size of your biscuit
  • 6 pieces of Ferreror Rocher chocolates (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Lightly greased a plastic container (with cover) of 5”x5” with some butter or lined the containers with some aluminium foil or baking paper.

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  • Cream the butter, cream cheese, condensed milk and lemon juice until light and creamy.

  • Place a layer of the biscuit into the greased or lined container.

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  • Spread  3-4 tablespoons of the cream cheese evenly on the biscuits . Crack two Ferrero Rocher on the cream cheese and place another layer of biscuits.  Spread 3-4 tablespoons of cream cheese on the biscuits. Perform the same procedures until all the cream cheese are used up. For this illustration, I have 3 layers of biscuits in the cheese cake. Level the cream cheese, cover the container and chill the cheesecake until set (about 4 hours).

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Note:

  • Instead of using the biscuits as suggested, you can use any other type of biscuits. As a general rule of thumb, it should be a biscuit of lighter texture.

  • Some recipes called for soaking of biscuits in the milk. I do not intend to perform the step as the biscuits will become mushy. In addition, the water will hinder the setting of the cream cheese. For this recipe, the moisture in the cream cheese will moisten the biscuits.

  • Ferrero Rocher will transform this simple cheesecake into a classy cake.. But this is optional. You can always totally omit it or substitute with Nestum  cereal or even cookies crumbs. My second container used cookies crumbs which goes very well with the cheesecake.

  • If you want to expedite the chilling process, you can put the cheesecake in the freezer.

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CONCLUSION

As all can see, this is a very versatile and simple recipe but yields a great taste.…  In essence you are eating sweetened pure cream cheese.. Who can say no to such a piece of creamy cheesy cheesecake and do play around with your creativity to design one that suits your family’s taste bud.

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

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No Cudweed, I Used Mugwort–Teochew Chi Kak Kuih (潮州鼠麹糕)- Mugwort version

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INTRODUCTION

The steamed cake in this post is called “chi kak kuih” or “鼠麹粿“, a type of steamed glutinous rice cake that are common in the coastal province of People’s Republic of China especially in the the province of Guangdong and Fujian. Traditionally, in China, for this rice cake, a type of special herb called Gnaphalium affine or Jersey cudweed is needed. It is what is look like as in the picture below.

As per Wikipedia:

“Gnaphalium affine, also known as Jersey cudweed, is a species of plants belonging to the genus Gnaphalium. The species grows extensively in East Asia including temperate regions of China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan as well as some high altitude tropical regions of India, Nepal, and Thailand.The plant is biennial, with stems 15–40 cm long, the surface of the plant is covered with fine woolly hair and the leaves are small and rounded. The flowers appear as small florets with petal around 2 mm long. In Chinese this plant is known as shǔqúcǎo (, lit. “mouse yeast grass”); it is sometimes used to flavor the caozai guo consumed on Taiwan on Tomb Sweeping Day in the spring. In Japanese, it is known as hahagohusa or houkogousa ( or ハハコグサ, lit. “mother grass”).” (Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnaphalium_affine)

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However, In Singapore and Malaysia, apparently, this herb is not sold in the market possibly because the weather is not suitable for the plant.  I have asked around from elders, herbs sellers in the wet market, Chinese medicinal hall etc., they gave me the answer that this herb is not available in Singapore. Instead, traditionally kuih seller have resorted to the use of mugwort instead, another type of herb in the family of Asteraceae (菊科)。

All these while, I know mugwort are used to prepare black tortoise or orh ku kuih (黑龟糕)for my dialect Chawan and such statements are probable. But I am puzzling that the “chi kak kuih” sold in Singapore never had any aroma of mugwort (or “hia” in Teochew and Chawan dialects). Well, don’t ask me what they used for the preparation of the kuih sold in the stores.. I am equally puzzled also..

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I do have quite a detailed write up on mugwort leaves used in the preparation of black tortoise kuih and if you are interested you can read it at: A Steamed Cake That Brings Fond Memories–Black Tortoise Cake or O Ku Kueh (黑龟粿)

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Therefore, for this illustration, I have decided to use the mugwort leaves that I am familiar with. If readers can get the correct cudweed (chi kak cao) from China or other sources, the same recipe shall apply. Just substitute the mugwort with cudweed. As for the fillings, you can either use this sweet mung bean paste filling (甜馅) or the sweet savoury mung bean paste filling (咸甜馅) in the above Black tortoise Cake post. In fact, for Chawan, black tortoise is always associated with sweet savoury mung bean filling.

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Chi kak kuih of Teochew dialect and Orh Ku Kuih of Chawan dialect in essence is the same steamed rice cake except the mould is different, Chawan being influenced by Hokkien dialect in Fujian province are using tortoise mould as opposed to the peach mould that is well liked by Teochew dialects. Traditionally, Orh Ku kuih in Zhao An (诏安) is also prepared using cudweed instead of mugwort. However, when my parents relocated to Sarawak, as there is no such cudweed available, mugwort were therefore used..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: About 30 Chi Kak Kueh steamed rice cakes

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  • 200 grams of split mung beans (豆瓣 ) – soaked overnight
  • 100 grams of sugar (白糖)
  • 1 tablespoons of sweet potatoes starch or wheat starch (雪粉 或 澄粉)
  • 4 tablespoons of cooking oil (食用油)
  • Few pieces of pandan leaves (optional) (香兰叶)

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  • 400 grams of glutinous rice flour (糯米粉)
  • 200 grams of water (白水)
  • 100 grams of sweet potatoes (番薯)
  • 100 grams of mugwort (艾叶) or cudweed (鼠麹草)
  • 50 grams of sugar (白糖)
  • 3 tablespoons of cooking oil (食用油)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Steam the soaked mung beans and pandan leaves under high heat until soft. It took me about 25 minutes. Throw away the pandan leaves and transfer the steamed mung beans to a food processor, blend until fine. Add the sugar and starches, continue to blend until it form sticky paste.  Transfer out and set aside.

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  • Blend the cudweed or mugwort leaves in a blender with the 200 ml of water. Blend until as fine as possible. Transfer to a pot, add sugar and cooking oil, bring to boil. Let it boil for at least 10 minutes and set aside for cooling.

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  • Steam the sweet potatoes until soft. Once steamed, transfer to a food processor, blend until fine. Add the glutinous flour and add the mugwort mixture gradually. Blend until it form a pliable dough. Note that the use of food processor is optional and you can do this manually if you do not have a food processor. Depending on the water absorbing of the flour, you may not need to use up all the mugwort mixtures. As such, you have to add gradually. If your dough is too dry, add “HOT WATER” tablespoon by tablespoon. If your dough is too wet, add additional glutinous rice tablespoon by tablespoon until the dough is pliable.

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  • Divide the dough and mung bean fillings into about 30 grams each. This is for my mould and it is advisable that you try wrapping and moulding one to find the optimum dough and filling weight. Every mould is different. If you are not confident of your wrapping, you can increase the dough : filling ratio from 1:1 to say 35grams of dough to 30 grams of fillings.

  • Take a dough, shape round, lightly press flat, put a filling on the centre, seal the edges and shape triangular. Press the rice cake onto the mould following the shape of the mould. Press down firmly and dislodge the rice cake by knocking the mould on the table. Practically, the  dough should not stick to your mould. However, if it happens, just dust the mould with some glutinous rice flour before proceeding.

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  • Get ready a steamer with adequate water to steam at least 10-15 minutes under high heat. Place the rice cake in a piece of lightly greased banana leave and transfer to the steamer. Steam the rice cake for 10-12 minutes under high heat. Before transferring out from the steamer for cooling, lightly brush the rice cake with some cooking oil.

  • Store the rice cake in an air tight container when they are completely cooled. If the rice cake turns hard on the next day, re-steam the rice cake for another 5 minutes will bring back the freshly prepared texture.

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CONCLUSION

This is a rather long recipe. Don’t be discouraged.. It is not that difficult if it was prepared with a bit of planning. Once again, if you are able to get hold of the fresh or dried cudweed, please used that. Otherwise, you can use mugwort to substitute..

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

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Glutinous Rice Flour Red Bean Pancake (豆沙烧饼-糯米皮)

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INTRODUCTION

While i was goggling the red bean paste pancake (豆沙烧饼) this morning, I stumbled across this recipe.. This is actually not the recipe that I am looking for…

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The recipe that I was looking for is  the yeasted with plain flour type of crust… But this is the type that is made with glutinous rice flour… Looking at the images, I feel the urge to prepare it since it is easy to prepare and looks delish.. The exterior looks crispy but it is soft because of the use of glutinous rice flour..

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If you have never tried this and are curious about the texture, just imagine that you are having an overnight angku kuih that are pan fried on the next day… but with red bean paste.. Most grannies do that as a traditional way of heating up the steamed glutinous rice cake. Yes the texture is exactly like the pan fried angku kuih..

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I am pleased with this attempt and the only disappointment is the sweetness of the ready made red bean paste purchased from the store.. As my filling to dough ratio is 1:1 , therefore, it is too sweet overall. For the recipe, I have already toned town the fillings ratio such that it will not be overly sweet..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from : 豆沙燒餅[超簡單食譜]

Servings: About 10 red bean pancakes

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  • 150 grams of glutinous rice flour (糯米粉)
  • 150 grams of plain water (白水)
  • 30 grams of rice flour (粘米粉)- optional
  • 30 grams of white castor sugar (白糖)
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (食用油)
  • 180 grams of red bean paste (红豆蓉)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds (芝麻) – optional

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a pot, add water, sugar and cooking oil. Bring to boil. When the water boils, add the glutinous rice flour and rice flour, stir until well mixed. Stir out and knead until it forms a pliable smooth dough. Divide into 10 equal pieces.

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  • Divide the red bean paste into 10 equal pieces. Take a dough, shape round, use hand to press it, put a red bean paste, seal the edges and use a rolling pin to roll it flat with about 1 cm thick. If you prefer, wet the top with a bit of water and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of the  pancake.

  • In a non-stick pan, lightly grease the pan with some cooking oil.  Use medium heat to pan fry the pancake until the side is slightly golden brown. Turn it on the side and pan fry until golden brown. Best served when the pancake is hot.

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CONCLUSION

This is a very simple recipe and a rather good item to be served either as snack or breakfast item. Chances or succeed are great. I will continue to search for a relevant recipe with the type of crusts that uses plain flour and yeast. Do give it a try and let me know if this is suitable for you.

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

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Hot Cross Buns (十字餐包)

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INTRODUCTION

 Picture courtesy from: Hot Cross Buns Nursery Rhyme Printable

I have been singing this song to my girl when she just arrived in this world… and this is one of the limited traditional nursery rhymes that I can only sing..However, having sang for 1-2 years, I have never tasted a hot cross bun before and I have never prepared one either.

These buns were usually prepared for Good Friday and for 2005, it is approaching falling on April 3, 2015.. I did not prepare this last year but this year, I have decided to share with reader this recipe found in my favourite cook book.. This cook book never failed me so far and I have full confidence on the recipes provided..

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As this is a traditional bake with long historical significance, I have decided to follow the recipe as much as I can including the special glaze and sugar cross recipe.. The only major difference that I did not follow is the use of currants or raisins, As I do not have the time to buy these, I have used my leftover fruit mix for the buns instead..

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The buns did not disappoint me. They were soft and aromatic and it definitely goes well with a thick slab of butter and a cup of steaming hot coffee..

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As per Wikipedia:

“A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top, traditionally eaten on Good Friday in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, South Africa, India, and Canada, and now available all year round in some places. Hot cross buns may go on sale in Australia as early as New Years Day, or after Christmas.

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English folklore includes many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. One of them says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or grow mouldy during the subsequent year. Another encourages keeping such a bun for medicinal purposes. A piece of it given to someone ill is said to help them recover.Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be” is said at the time, so some say they should only be cooked one at a time. Because there is a cross on the buns, some say they should be kissed before being eaten.If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck. If hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year”. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_cross_bun)

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adopted from: The Essential Baking Cookbook Page 262., Murdoch Books 2000

Servings: 12 hot cross buns of about 50 grams each

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Dough

  • 250 grams of bread flour
  • 150 grams of lukewarm water
  • 100 grams of raisins or currants or mixed fruits
  • 20 grams of butter at room temperature
  • 7 grams of instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of white castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice (or cinnamon plus nutmeg powder)

Paste for crosses

  • 15 grams of plain flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon of white castor sugar
  • 20 grams of plain water

Glaze

  • 1.5 tablespoons of castor sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of plain water
  • 1 teaspoon of gelatine powder

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a mixing  bowl, mixed all the ingredients (except butter and currants) together. Use a spoon to slightly stir it until it form a sticky dough. Use the dough hook in the machine to beat the dough at medium to low speed (speed 2 in Kenwood Chef or Kitchen Aid) for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, put the butter and currants, change from medium to high speed (speed 4 kin Kenwood Chef or Kitchen Aid) for about 7 minutes until the dough is smooth and leaves the side of the mixing bowl. Transfer the dough out to a lightly flour surface. Shape round and let it proof for about double in size. Cover with a clingy wrap or wet towel during proofing.

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  • After first proofing, punch the dough, lightly knead for 1-2 minutes and divide into 12 pieces of about 50-60 grams each. Take one dough, shape round and transfer it to a lightly greased baking tray. Let it proof until double in size and cover with a clingy wrap or wet towel

  • Pre-heat the oven to 190 degree Celsius.

  • In a bowl, put all the ingredients for pastry crosses. Stir until well mixed. Transfer to a piping bag and set aside.

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  • When the proofing is done, pipe across the pastry on top of the proofed buns.  Baked in the pre-heated oven of 190 degree Celsius for 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

  • While the bread is baking, mix the ingredients of glaze together, stir until the mixture on top of a pool of hot water until the gelatine and sugar have dissolved. Set aside for cooling. Brush the glaze on top of the buns when the buns are baked.

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CONCLUSION

Not a tough recipe and in fact most traditional recipe are straightforward… Don’t be discouraged by the use of stand mixer, if you have a bread maker, you can use it to knead the dough. If you don’t, you can easily hand knead the dough. It is a small dough, just knead until it is smooth will do. As it is a small bun, any imperfections will not be obvious and the recipe is rather ideal for bread beginners.. Do give it a try and see if it suits you.

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

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Garlic Chives Steamed Rice Cake–Teochew Ku Chai Kuih (潮州韭菜粿)

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INTRODUCTION

In Singapore Teochew kuih stalls, there are a few type of kuihs that are always sold by the same stalls. One is rice peach (bao png to) and it can either be in white or pink. Recipe – Rice Cake In A Peach Form?… Png Tao (饭桃, 米包米, 饭粿, 潮州红桃粿)

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Another one that is common is jicama dumplings  Soon Kuih Or Chai Kuih? Teochew Soon Kuih (笋粿)

And garlic chives steamed rice cake or ku chai kuih is another one that is common sold.

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For both soon kuih or ku chai kuih, the crust or “skin” can either be transparent or white. If it is white, it is likely to have more rice flour than starches. As for those that were called crystal bao (水晶包) with transparent “skin”, it is likely that more starches were used than rice flour. In one extreme, it can be 100% starches being used but this will yield one that is chewy and can turn hard when it is cold. Starches here refer to tapioca starch, sweet potatoes starch, corn starch or wheat starch..

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Today, when I am searching for a recipe, I stumbled one rather simple Chinese recipe that do not have beautiful pictures. But it convinced me that it is workable.. It is a cooked dough method, meaning using hot to boiling water to cook the flour such that the flour is slightly sticky and elastic for the wrapping. I read the recipe with great interest since I recalled hearing someone saying this method before. I have therefore decided to give it a try.

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The recipes did not disappoint me. It is a balance of chewy and soft… I believed that my flour have very good water absorbing property, therefore, the dough is on a dry side. For the recipe, I have adjusted for readers.. It is quite an easy dough to handle. and it did not break easily.

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As for the fillings, most store bought  ku chai kuih do not have much ingredients except chives and dry shrimps. However, for family consumption, I have decided to add in yellow firm bean curd, dried shitake mushrooms and some minced meat. All these are optional but this is my preference as I can’t stand too much garlic chives in the kuih.

For the benefits of my Western readers who may not know this oriental vegetable, it was written in Cookipedia that:

“Garlic chives (Chinese chives, Chinese leek, ku chai, jiu cai, Oriental garlic chives)) have a distinctive growth habit with strap-shaped leaves unlike either onion or garlic, and straight thin white-flowering stalks that are much taller than the leaves. It grows in slowly expanding perennial clumps, but also readily sprouts from seed. Besides its use as vegetable, it also has attractive flowers. The cultivated form is Allium tuberosum while the wild form is placed as Allium ramosum. A relatively new vegetable in the English-speaking world but well-known in Asian cuisine, the flavour of garlic chives is more like garlic than chives, though much milder. Both leaves and the stalks of the flowers are used as a flavouring similarly to chives, green onions or garlic and are used as a stir fry ingredient. In China, they are often used to make dumplings with a combination of egg, shrimp and pork.” (source: https://www.cookipedia.co.uk/recipes_wiki/File:Garlic_chives.jpg)

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adopted from: 韭菜粿 – 美食家 – 美食天下

Servings: about 20 medium size chives dumpling

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Dough:

  • 250 grams of rice flour (粘米粉)
  • 150 grams of sweet potatoes starch (雪粉或地瓜粉)
  • 500 grams or ml of hot boiling water (滚水)
  • 3 tablespoons of cooking oil (食用油)
  • Pinches of salt (盐巴)

Fillings

  • 500 grams of chives – cleaned and cut into small pieces
  • 200 grams of yellow firm bean curd – cut into small pieces – optional
  • 100 grams of minced meat – optional
  • 3 dried mushrooms –soaked and cut into small pieces – optional
  • 1 tablespoon of dried shrimps
  • Salt to taste
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • Seasonings to taste (e.g mushroom stock or chicken stock)
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a frying pan, sauté mushrooms and dried shrimps until fragrant. Add in minced meat, stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add firm bean curd and chives, followed by dashes of white pepper, salt and seasonings. Stir fried until well mixed and the chives are slightly wilted. Dish up and set aside for cooling.

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  • In another pot, add water, oil and bring to boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce to medium heat and add in the rice flour, sweet potatoes starch, dashes of white pepper and salt to taste. Use a chop stick to stir until lumps are form. Transfer to the mixing bowl of a standing mixer. Use the machine to knead the dough until it forms a pliable dough.  Traditionally, these was done by hand by manual kneading, as I find it too hot too handle, I have resorted to the use of a mixer. Mixer is optional and you can always use your hand to knead if you are able to withstand the heat.

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  • Transfer the dough out in a lightly floured surface. Divide into dough of about 30 grams each. Take a dough, shape round, use a rolling pin to roll it flat . Put a tablespoon of the filling on the dough, sealed the edges and put the flat side as top of the cake.

  • Transfer it to a lightly oiled steamer tray, steam under high heat for about 10 minutes or when the skin looks slightly transparent. Best served hot when out of the steamer.

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Note

  • To avoid the steamed cake from getting hard when cooled, after cooling, the steamed cake have to be kept in an airtight container. Otherwise, due to the loss of moisture vapour, the skin can easily turn hard. If it turns hard, re-steamed again and it will be soft again.

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CONCLUSION

Do give it a try and remember that for the fillings, only chives and dried shrimps are necessary. All other ingredients are optional.

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

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