It Taste Like Brioche–Sally Lunn (莎莉露圓麵包)

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INTRODUCTION

Many people know focaccia, brioche,  challah,  baguette, and other famous bread but not many know about this bread that was named after a lady. Sally Lunn.

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It is very British though it is now become common in United States and France. It is a rich bread like brioche and when I compared the recipe of brioche and Sally Lunn, Sally Lunn only uses slightly less butter and eggs the brioche…

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I am happy with this adventure with no regrets at all. It is very buttery and rather soft in my humble opinion.  Preparation are so easy, much easier than brioche. It is a no knead bread and without very long proofing period.

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Traditional shape of Sally Lunn is round bun or cake shape. Since I saw Martha Stewart was using a loaf tin, I have decided to follow suit. The reason is very simple, just easier to cut for servings.

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There are many recipes in the internet, as usual, I routed back to my trustable cook book especially for famous recipes. The book never failed me, measurement all in grams and the steps are clear and precise. The book also recommended short cut methods which is more suitable for the present busy lifestyle.

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As per the above book, it was written:

“One of the many tales of the origins of Sally Lunn has it that the name comes from a baker in the late 18th century name Sally Lunn who had a bakery in Bath. Another more romantic variation of the story is that a well known baker and musician bought the bakery and wrote a song about Sally Lunn and name the bun after her. Sally Lunn is a term used for a variety of yeast and soda breads and can be made as sweet large buns or teacakes.” (Source: Page 260, Sally Lun“The Essential Baking Cook Book” published by Murdoch Books in 2000)

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Prepare a loaf of 3.5” x 3” x 8”

Recipe adapted from: Page 260, Sally Lun“The Essential Baking Cook Book” published by Murdoch Books in 2000

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  • 250 grams of plain flour
  • 60 grams of butter, melted
  • 60 grams or ml of lukewarm fresh milk
  • 60 grams of honey
  • 4 grams of instant yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Glazing

  • 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of milk

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Lightly grease a baking tin of 3.5” x 3” x 8”

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  • Beat the eggs, add the melted butter, lukewarm milk and honey, stir until well combined. Set aside.

  • Sift the flour in a big mixing bowl , add the yeast, stir until well mixed and make a well in the centre.. Add the egg mixture and use a big spoon or spatula to stir until it forms a thick batter. Cover loosely with a clingy wrap and let it proved for 1-1.5 hours.

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  • After the first proofing, spoon the bread to the lightly greased baking tin. Pat hand with oil or flour to level it as flat as possible. Cover loosely with clingy wrap and let it proof for another hour or until batter reaches the top of the baking tin.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.

  • For glazing, mix the sugar and milk. Stir until sugar dissolved. Brush the top of the loaf with the glaze mixture and bake in the pre-heated oven of 180 degree Celsius for about 25-30 minutes or when a skewer inserts into the centre of the bread comes out clean. Best served warm with a thick slab of butter in the afternoon.

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CONCLUSION

This cake–liked bread is very tasty and much simpler to prepare as compared to Brioche.  It is ideal for tea gathering  as a tea cake substitute. Be it round or loaf shape, I will leave it to the readers.

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

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Gluten Vegetarian Char Siu (素叉烧)

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INTRODUCTION

Vegetarians like all other human beings need protein to grow.. There are a few sources of protein in Chinese vegetarian foods including those  from the soy protein, wheat glutens , nuts and etc..

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An Indonesian member once shared her experience of her kid whom unfortunately is allergy to meat and diary products. She is seriously under weight and doctors diagnosed her as malnutrition. Her kid is two years old and she had learnt by herself to make wheat gluten so as to supplement her kid’s protein requirement. She successfully churn out a lot of Indonesian gluten dishes and help her kid to grow healthily.. I hope this example will serve to convince why wheat gluten is important in a vegetarian diet..

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Vegetarian meat alike dishes are mostly prepared from 2-3 main sources. One is wheat gluten, another is soy based products and others like konnyaku. Assuming for wheat gluten products, all are presented in its simplest form, it will just be a round chewy ball of gluten being served every meal and every where be it in restaurant or household.

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However, if it was cooked differently, seasoned differently, shaped differently, the original wheat gluten will need a name to differentiate them. In my humble opinion, one of the easiest way to name  different wheat gluten is to follow the name of non vegetarian meat dishes. When a non vegetarian consumer read the label, they can roughly imagine the taste of these mock meats. I am explaining this because many friends are criticizing and trying to understand why should these gluten used names such as mock char siu, mock duck, mock chicken etc.… Reasons are simple, different seasoning, different shape and different taste shall be called in  different name to facilitate food identification.

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I believed gluten char siu is one of the most common mock meat in the market and I have therefore decided to try out and share the recipes with readers. If there is no compulsory obligation to eat gluten char siu, I will advise you to eat the real char siu instead. lol.

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Mock char siu does not really resemble real char siu though the taste is pretty close but without the meat taste. The texture can be more chewy than meat because it is made of gluten.. I do not think most vegetarian eat mock char siu perceived it as a piece of meat or it looked like the real char siu, they are happy to eat it because of its unique texture and flavourful gluten. It give them another choice of dishes in the dinner table.

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Preparation of this char siu are not difficult if you get the seasonings correct. To prepare this char siu, you will need to learn the making of wheat gluten which you can learn from this post: Wheat Gluten (Mian Jin, 面筋, Seitan, Mi Chiya).

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I am happy with this adventure though the shaping need to be improved. The wheat gluten strip are too thin and hence when it was cut, it become too small a piece. I will leave this to the reader to improve. on it.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: 素叉烧

Servings : About 300 grams of gluten char siu

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Seasonings

  • 2 tablespoons of sugar (白糖)
  • 2 tablespoons of light soya sauce (酱清)
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetarian hoisin sauce (I have omitted as I can’t get hold of it) 
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetarian oyster sauce (素耗油)
  • 1 teaspoon of dark soya sauce (黑酱油)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce (番茄酱)
  • 1 tablespoon of red yeast rice powder (红曲粉)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of five spice powder (五香粉)
  • Dashes of white pepper (胡椒粉)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Cut the wheat gluten into 3 big stripes with about 100 grams each.  For homemade wheat gluten, please refer here: Wheat Gluten (Mian Jin, 面筋, Seitan, Mi Chiya). . Plait the wheat gluten like hair plating and seal both ends. The main purpose of this step is to shape the wheat gluten such that it look like lean meat.

  • Get ready a pot of hot boiling water, boil the gluten for about 25-30 minutes until the gluten is cooked or floated upwards.  Let is cooled completely or soaked in some cold water before proceeding to the next step. Prior to the marinating, open up the wheat gluten . If the wheat gluten stuck together, use a scissor to cut following the plaiting pattern.

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  • Mix all the seasoning ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Add the wheat gluten and let it marinate preferably overnight in the fridge.

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  • Heat up a pot of hot oil, deep fry the marinated wheat gluten for 5-10 minutes or until the external is set. Deep frying is use to enhance the flavour of the gluten. Air fryer can also be used. Drain and cool completely before cutting into desired sizes.

  • For the marinating liquid, heat up a frying pan and add a tablespoon of oil. Add the marinating sauce, bring to boil and use high heat to boil until the sauce thickens. The sauce can be used in Chee Cheong Fun or drizzle over the char siu or use for noodle dishes.

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CONCLUSION

Please do not get me wrong that i am trying to propagate certain religious beliefs. I am having a temporary vegetarian diet, I like to eat this and therefore I blogged this as simple as that. I found there are very few English recipes on Chinese vegetarian dishes and that is also one of the prime reason that prompted me to share with readers. Whether or not there are readers who try is irrelevant and unimportant.  Such recipe are precious and I will need to keep a record in my blog for those who may be interested. :Lastly, remember that vegetarian Char siu can also be prepared from soy bean products , therefore, in your first attempt, do not place too high emphasis on the outcome.. I don’t and I am happy and let’s learn together to cook more  delicious and healthier vegetarian dishes.

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

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Shanghai Braised Meat (上海本帮菜红烧肉)

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INTRODUCTION

When I told readers that I will be on vegetarian diets for 45 days, one of the readers was worried that I will not issue any meaty recipe… Don’t worry, I still have some meat recipes with me and I will gradually issue over this period. My vegetarian diet is temporary and is my yearly ritual..

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Some readers may know that I have stayed in Shanghai for a few years as I have said it a few times in other post. While in Shanghai, I have a helper and one of the most common household dishes besides braising fish as in this post: Braised Ribbon Fish (红烧带鱼)is braising pork belly meat.

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She cooked this pork belly dish at least once a week and I have never get tired of it. This is not a very difficult recipe and every household’s granny will have its own version. 

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I missed this dish and I have located a few recipes and finally decided to try one recipe . I am very happy that the taste is rather close to what I had in Shanghai. The meat for this dish are supposed to be glossy and it should be braised until it melt in the mouth. It is on a sweet side as compared to other savoury style of braised meat.

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However, there is one important ingredient that is missing in this household dish, the quail eggs. I searched high and low from a few supermarkets and I can’t get hold of the quail eggs. Therefore, I have decided to omit it in this illustration.

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Members of Facebook group are asking me if Dong Bo Rou is the same as Hong Shao Rou as in this post. I am sorry that I am technically incompetent to give the answer. I believed that there are many similarities with minute differences.

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One of the main differences is the size of the meat and the different method of preparation but I do not rule out that they are all originating from the same source. If you are interested , you can refer to this post: A Cuisine With A Long Chinese History– Dongpo Meat (东波肉)

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As per Wikipedia:

Hong shao rou (also “Red Braised Pork”; Chinese: 红烧肉) is a classic pork dish from mainland China, cooked using pork belly and a combination of ginger, garlic, aromatic spices, chilli peppers, sugar, light and dark soy, and rice wine. The pork belly is cooked until the fat and skin are gelatinous and melt easily in the mouth, while the sauce is usually thick, sweet and fairly sticky. As the English name suggests, the melt in the mouth texture is formed as a result of a long braising process, using relatively little liquid.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hongshao_rou)

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: 【外婆红烧肉】浓油赤酱别具上海特色的红烧肉

Servings: 4-6 adult servings

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  • 500 grams of pork belly (cut into about 1 inch x 1 inch x 2 inch size)
  • 15-20 quail eggs (cooked, shelled and deep fried)
  • 400 ml or grams of Chinese cooking wine like Hua Tiao
  • 80 grams of rock sugar
  • 25 ml or grams of dark soya sauce
  • 5 slices of ginger
  • 2-3 sprigs of spring onion, cut into big pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anises
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinches of salt


STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Boil a pot of hot water and blanch the pork belly until the external is set and there is no blood water. Drain and while it is hot, add the dark soya sauce and let it marinate for 5-10 minutes. This will help to colour the meat.

  • In a pressure cooker pot, layer the bottom with spring onion, bay leaves, ginger, star anises and cinnamon stick, On top of the herbs, add rock sugar and the blanched pork belly meat.

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  • Add the wine and adequate water such that the water cover about 1/2 of the meat. Pressure cook the meat in accordance to the pressure cooker instruction. I have used the “meat function” in the pressure cooker and it pressure cooks for about 30 minutes. After the pressure cooking, release the gas and you will see there are lot of meat juices remain in the pressure cooker. (Note that you can also cook over the stove)

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  • If you are adding quail eggs, boil the quail eggs, shelled and deep fried the quail eggs until golden brown. Set aside for later use.

  • Transfer the meat and juices from the pressure cooker to another pan over the stove. Add the quail eggs, bring to boil. Once it  boils, let it simmer at high to medium heat until the sauce thicken, glossy and coated the meat.  Sprinkle with chopped spring onion and great to serve with steaming white rice. The timing will depend of the quantity of sauces. I found it rather fast with high heat but I did keep an eye on the process.

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CONCLUSION

I am happy with the recipe and I hoped that readers will give it a try. The use of pressure cooker is to expedite the preparation. If you do not have  pressure cooker, you can always boil the meat over the stove though the time may be considerably longer like 45-50 minutes to reach your desired texture and you will have to keep an eye on the water level . Add additional water if necessary.

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

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Wheat Gluten (Mian Jin, 面筋, Seitan, Mi Chiya)

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INTRODUCTION

This post is about wheat gluten or seitan or mian jin (面筋)- an important cooking ingredient in Mahayana Buddhism as a substitute of meat. With this main ingredient, wheat gluten can be churned into different delicious vegetarian cooking ingredients.

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If you have been the vegetarian restaurant, you may have eaten some type of chewy texture ingredients that was usually presented in the form of mock meat.. This chewy elastic substance is called mian jin or wheat gluten.

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“Wheat gluten, also called seitan (Japanese: セイタン), wheat meat, gluten meat, or simply gluten, is a food made from gluten, the main protein of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch granules have been removed, leaving the sticky insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.Wheat gluten is an alternative to soybean-based foods such as tofu, which are sometimes used as meat substitutes. Some types of wheat gluten have a chewy or stringy texture that resembles meat more than other substitutes. Wheat gluten is often used instead of meat in Asian, vegetarian, Buddhist, and macrobiotic cuisines. Mock duck is a common use for wheat gluten. Wheat gluten has been documented in China since the 6th century. It was widely consumed by the Chinese as a substitute for meat, especially among adherents of Buddhism. Since the mid-20th century, wheat gluten (generally known by its macrobiotic name, seitan) has been increasingly adopted by vegetarians in Western nations as a meat alternative.It is sold in block, strip and shaped forms in North America, where it can be found in some supermarkets, Asian food markets, health food stores and cooperatives. Some companies also sell powdered gluten (marketed under the names “vital wheat gluten” or “gluten flour”), for those who wish to make their own gluten from scratch. It is important to distinguish the two; vital wheat gluten is the product used for making seitan, but it can be mislabelled as gluten flour.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheat_gluten_(food))

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I am now on a vegetarian diet and I take this opportunity to introduce this important ingredient in Chinese vegetarian recipes. To prepare this is definitely not difficult but the recovery rate are very low, about only 30%. Meaning 1 kg of flour will only yields about 300 grams of wheat gluten. The wheat gluten can either be steamed, boiled or deep fried.  The boiled version is called 水面筋 whereas the deep fried version is called 油 面筋。

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The water from washing the gluten is essential wheat starch (澄粉), the type of starch that were used in the preparation of shrimp dumpling (虾饺)。 If these starches were steamed, it will become an appetizer common in China (粉皮 or 凉粉)

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As this is a rather long post, I will minimize the write up and go straight to the preparation with the hope that it will help readers who are in need of this recipe since store bought wheat gluten can be rather costly and we are unsure if any impurities have been added.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Prepare 300 grams of wheat gluten

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  • 1 kilogram of plain flour
  • 550 grams of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparation of basic dough

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  • Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and use the machine knead for 15-20 minutes until it is smooth and does not stick to the side of the mixing bowl. Theoretically, the longer you knead, the more developed will be the gluten structure. Put the dough to rest at room temperature for about an hour. If you do not have the mixer, you can use hand knead until you feel the elasticity of the dough and do not stick to your hands.

Preparation of basic mian jin

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  • Transfer the dough to a basin for washing. Get ready another big pot. Put adequate water to cover the dough and use your hand to “wash” the dough as if you are washing your clothes, you will start to witness the water getting cloudier and cloudier. When you feel that the water is very cloudy, transfer the cloudy water to the big pot. Add new water to the gluten, continue to wash until the water becomes clear. You may need to wash 5-6 times . Collect the water after washing and add to the big pot.

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  • What is left is called the water wheat gluten (水面筋) or the original form of mian jin. It is supposed to be very elastic as in the picture.

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  • Put the wheat gluten in a plastic bag and let it rest in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours before proceeding to the next step.

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Preparation of mock meat

  • Get ready a pot of hot boiling water.

  • Cut half of the wheat gluten above. Cut using a knife or pull using the hand and throw into the boiling water. Boil until the wheat gluten floated upwards. Drained and set aside.

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  • The result of this is called mock meat and it can be transformed in many other type of mock meat with different seasonings.

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  • This mock meat can be used for many vegetarian cuisines and I will share more detail recipes in other posts.

Deep frying the wheat gluten

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  • In a pot of hot oil, pluck some of the mian jin put inside the oil. Deep fried until it floats upwards. You will witness the gluten expands . Turn the balls and make sure both sides are  deep fried. Deep fried both sides until golden brown and there are no bubbles emitted. Drained and when cooled completely, keep in an air tight container.

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  • This is used deep fried mian jin (油面筋) and get be used to cook a lot dishes such as sweet and sour mock meat and ideal for braising over a long period of time.

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Preparation of Wheat Starch Cake

  • From the pot of water from the washing of the dough, let it rest until all the starch deposited at the bottom of the pot. Throw away all the clear water on top of the deposited starch. Transfer the deposited starches to a oily greased pan, steamed under high heat until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. This is called wheat starch cake (凉皮)

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  • Cooled completely before take out from the mould and cut into small noodle sizes for the preparation of Chinese cold noodles. (凉拌粉皮)

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CONCLUSION

This is a long winded post and I am happy with this adventures. The mian jin or wheat gluten prepared are much chewy than the store bought. With this, I may churn out more recipes of common mock meat being sold in the supermarket.

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

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food bloggers[4]

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  • If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 2600 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD.

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Stir Fried Mantou (炒馒头)

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INTRODUCTION

I believed not many members will appreciate this dish but what I am sharing is a rather traditional snack, not in this region but in China and Taiwan. It was classified as a cuisine in Chinese Henan province or 豫菜系

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It is definitely not my creation and a Google of this recipe name will yield lots of recipes. Even English website have such recipes being captured.

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I have prepared these for at 4least  times and all the family members like this snack very much.. It is aromatic, additive and easily tailored to one’s taste buds.

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If you have never eaten this before and cannot imagine the taste… Try to think that it is a Chinese style French Toast. In fact, the way of preparation is very similar except Chinese ingredients were used.. French toast is sweet flavoured by butter but this is savoury flavoured by spring onion or vegetable. Texture is the same except it was cut in cubes. Similarly, if you do not have mantou or Chinese steamed bread, normal stale bread can be used too..

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Every time I posted this in Facebook Group, there are many members who are curious about this recipe and therefore I have decided to blog this for records since I have a lot of mantou at home from my “experiment” of modifying my recipes.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 3-4 adult servings

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  • 4-5 stale mantou or bread
  • 2 sprigs of spring onion
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil

Seasonings

  • Dashes of white pepper
  • Pinches of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of light soya sauce or fish sauce
  • Sugar to taste

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Chop the onion and cut the mantou or bread in small cubes of about 1 cm x 1 cm x 1 cm. Set aside.

  • Crack 2-3 eggs, beat well and add the cut mantou. Coat the mantou fully with eggs.

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  • In a stir frying pan, put some cooking oil, sauté the white part of spring onion until fragrant. Add the egg coated mantou, use medium heat to pan fry the mantou until the eggs are set and turn golden brown. Add dashes of white pepper, chopped spring onion,  pinches of salt, sugar to taste and the fish sauce or light soya sauce. Stir fry until well combined. Served hot as a snack.

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Note:

  • Capsicum , carrot cubes can be added to enhance flavour. Other spices such as fennel powder can be used too. If preferred, minced meat can be added.

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CONCLUSION

Preparation is easy, ingredients are simple but taste is great.. Don’t doubt, do give it a try and let me know if it suits your taste buds. Remember that you can always used stale bread for the snack..

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

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  • If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 2600 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD.
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Pecan Brownies (胡桃布朗尼)

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INTRODUCTION

I bought a bar of chocolate from a bakery shop and by hook and by crook, I must finish this bar of chocolate as soon as possible..One of the reasons is that I myself do not really like chocolate and I also do not want kids to indulge in chocolate overloaded cuisines…

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I have always wanted to blog brownie but it was being hold back because I do not have baking chocolate at home.. Since i have this bar of chocolate, the first recipe that come to my mind is brownie.. a type of desserts that is pretty common in this region especially during High Tea..  It is a dessert slice, slightly crispy on the outside, gooey and dense on the inside. In addition, it is chocolaty and a rather addictive dessert. For me, brownie must be sweet and goes well with plain tea or coffee such that a piece or two is enough to satisfy one’s craving.

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There are many many recipes of brownies in the website. All major website and western bloggers will have a recipe of brownies.. For this type of common recipe, I usually do not search further but goes back to my favourite baking cookbook. This cookbook captures recipes of all common sweets and desserts and so far, the book has never failed me in any of the recipes..I have full trust and confidence on the book.

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Yes, I was not disappointed with this adventure. This is the type of brownie that I am looking for, slightly gooey and chewy on the inside and crispy on the external.  Pecan was added to provide some bit pieces in the piece of chocolate overloaded desserts.. It will goes well with ice cream but I would prefer to have it with my plain earl grey tea.

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The original recipe yields quite a big piece of brownie. Therefore I have decided to half the recipes and made necessary adjustment to the cooking time.  Preparation is easy peasy, no complicated equipment, no strange ingredients, just mix and bake and it yields delicious brownies..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: Page 136, Chocolate Brownies “The Essential Baking Cook Book” published by Murdoch Books in 2000

Servings: Prepare a  tray of 6” x 6” of Pecan Brownies

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  • 20 grams of plain flour
  • 30 grams of cocoa powder
  • 200 grams of castor sugar
  • 100 grams of chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 125 grams of good quality dark chocolate
  • 125 grams of butter, melted
  • 2 eggs

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.

  • Lightly grease a 6”x6” baking tin and line with grease proof baking paper leaving the paper hanging over on the two long sides.

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  • Chopped the pecan or walnuts coarsely. Set aside.

  • In a microwavable bowl , put the chocolate and butter and microwave for about 1 – 1.5 minutes. Stir until well combined. Add the beaten eggs and stir again until well mixed. If there is not microwave, you can always melt the chocolate using Bain-Marie method using water bath. This involves put a bowl over a pot of hot boiling water, stir until the chocolate and butter melts.

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  • In another bowl, sift the cocoa powder and plain flour. Add the sugar and the nuts. Stir until well mixed.  Pour the batter into the dry ingredients and stir until well mixed. Transfer the batter to the lined baking tin and baked in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before lifting out using the paper and handles. Cut into relevant sizes before servings.

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CONCLUSION

Brownies are tasty yet they are so easy to prepare. There is no need to pay a price premium to have it in hotels or buy from bakeries. There are many types of brownies. Some are fudgier cake like structure and some and denser and gooier as in this recipe. While I cannot guarantee this is the best brownie available but it really suit my taste buds.

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

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food bloggers[4]

Food paradize[8]

pinterest[4]

  • If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 2600 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD.

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Century Egg Pork Congee (皮蛋瘦肉粥)

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INTRODUCTION

I have to be frank that I do not really want to issue this type of simple home recipe..One reader PM me asking me if i have porridge recipe.. After pondering a while, i have decided to issue a porridge recipe which is commonly sold in the stores and I hope it will benefit those readers who are really in need of such recipes..

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This recipe is rather famous with minced meat and century egg as 2 main ingredients. It is very commonly sold in Hong Kong Porridge stores and obviously is a famous Cantonese cuisines. As per Wikipedia:

“Century egg or pidan (Chinese: 皮蛋; pinyin: pídàn), also known as preserved egg, hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg,thousand-year-old egg, and millennium egg, is a Chinese delicacy made by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture ofclay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing. Some Chinese households cut them up into small chunks and cook them with rice porridge to create “century egg and lean pork congee” (Chinese: 皮蛋瘦肉粥; pinyin: pídàn shòuròu zhōu). This is sometimes served in dim sum restaurants. Rice congee, lean pork, and century egg are the main ingredients. Peeled century eggs are cut into quarters or eighths and simmered with the seasoned marinated lean slivers of pork until both ingredients are cooked into the rice congee. Fried dough sticks known as youtiao are commonly eaten with century egg congee.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_egg)

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Cooking porridge is nothing more than boiling  raw rice in water and water quantities used is usually more than the rice quantities. As a guideline, one cup of rice needs one cup of water, therefore, for porridge or congee, it is one cup of rice may requires 3-4 cups of water depending on how fluid you want your porridge to be.

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Boiling porridge is simple and the challenge is to boil the porridge as fast as possible and as mushy as it can..There are many ways of boiling porridge and I believed most households will have their own ways of boiling the porridge.. Some said that freeze the washed raw rice in the freezer and it took 1o minutes to boil into very fine and mushy porridge. Some said put a porcelain spoon in the process of boiling. There is no right and wrong, how about blending your rice becoming the porridge like those prepared to nurse the baby? What about pressure cooking the rice and I can guarantee that within 15 minutes, the porridge is like those sold in the store..

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What I am sharing is what I usually did for my family.. It is not my mother’s way of preparation as there is no such kitchen gadget available. This recipe shall be for your reference and you can always refer to the aforementioned paragraph for better porridge preparation.

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My rice cooker has a quick cook function facilitating busy parents who have no time to prepare the rice. It took about 10-15 minutes to cook the rice. While cooking the rice, using this 10-15 minutes, I started to boil the meat broth for the porridge, by the time the rice is ready, dump in and boil for another 10-15 minutes, the thick mushy porridge is ready.. It is rather fast and easy too. .

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings : 3-4 adults

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  • 1 cup of cooked rice
  • 4-5 cups of plain water
  • 100 grams of minced meat
  • 3-4 pork ribs (optional)
  • 2-3 sprigs of spring onion
  • 4 cm young ginger
  • 1-2 century egg
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil or cooking oil
  • Pinches of salt
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • 1 Chinese cullers (youtiao) (optional)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Shred the ginger until fine , chopped the spring onion and cut the century egg until fine pieces. Set aside.

  • Cook the rice using rice cooker using “QUICK COOK” function if available.  Once it done, add the sesame oil and pinches of salt, stir until well mixed.

  • While the rice is cooking, have a pot of water, boil the pork ribs for as long as you can affordable. Pork rib is optional and serve the role of taste enhancing. For this illustration, I have boiled for about 15 minutes. Blanch the minced meat using the same pot of water and dish out the blanched minced meat.

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  • Add the cooked rice and use high heat, without lids on, boil for another 10 minutes. Occasionally give it a quick stir. After 10 minutes, add the blanched minced meat, ginger and century egg, let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes or until your desired texture. In this 5-10 minutes, constant stirring is required to avoid the porridge stick to the bottom of the pot. While doing the stirring, you may want to use the big spoon to “grind” the porridge also.

  • Before off the heat, taste the porridge, add additional seasoning such as sesame oil, mushroom concentrate or salt. Stir until well combined. Let the porridge rest in the pot for another 10 minutes before serving. Add additional water if necessary.   Add you tiao and dust with additional chopped century eggs, white pepper, sesame oil and chopped onion before serving.

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Notes:

  • There should not be a fixed and fast recipe for cooking porridge or congee. Variations are many, you can always add or delete certain ingredients or increase or reduce the quantities stated.

  • When preparing porridge, never ever put on the lid of the pot. Always open the lid to avoid over flow.

  • For the first 10 minutes, no stirring is required, stirring is only required at the last 5-10 minutes.

  • If porridge too dry, add more water. If too watery, boil longer. Even when you stop cooking, cooked rice will continue absorb the water and expand. Less water will expedite the process. But you have to gradually add water for the cooked rice to absorb.

  • New rice and old rice will have different water absorbing properties. Jasmine and basmati rice will have different water absorbing properties too. Always refer to the rice packaging for a rough guideline. Chef discretion is needed in the preparation. If you are unsure, add water cautiously and gradually ..

  • If by the end of cooking, the rice is still grainy, use the big spoon to grind it slightly, it will help to turn mushy.

  • I always planned in advance. If I want to cook congee on the next day, I will cook extra rice for dinner tonight. I always used leftover rice to boil porridge.

  • If you have kids, you may want to consider not adding century eggs to the porridge. You can only add the eggs during serving.

  • The same method can be used to cook shredded chicken. As for fish porridge, add the fish slices 5 minutes before you off the heat and the fish have to be sliced a bit thicker and preferably coat with some corn flour.

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CONCLUSION

As what I said before, there are million ways of cooking porridge. Each dialect will have different expectations on their porridge. Like Teochew, they may prefer the watery grainy type of porridge. This recipe is a traditional Cantonese style that is commonly served in Hong Kong porridge stores.. Whatever method you used, as long as you can get what you desired, it is considered as the correct method. I seriously hope that this post will give inspiration to new house chefs who are struggling to cook porridges.

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

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