Nian Gao Puff (酥脆烘年糕)

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INTRODUCTION

Last year I did not issue this post but friends are requesting for recipes. It is not a recipe actually, it is just a way to serve nian gao or Chinese glutinous rice cake and I have to say that this is not my invention, it is a trend especially among the English speaking members of Facebook Group for the past few years.

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In recent years, nian gao wrapped in commercial puff pastry had become very popular after Chinese New Year. Prior to this trend, most families will deep fry the nian gao or re-steamed it and served it with shredded coconut.

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I have decided to prepare this because I wanted to try out my homemade nian gao that I have prepared about a week ago. Overall conclusion is that the nian gao with gula melaka definitely taste as good as the traditional nian gao. If you are interested in homemade nian gao, you can refer to this post: Baked or Steamed,You Decide Yourself–Glutinous Rice Cake, Nian Gao (年糕)

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For this illustration, i have used commercial puff pastry. However, if you are game enough to have some homemade puff pastry, you can refer to my croissant posts : Home Made Croissants (家居自制牛角包) It is the same type of puff pastry that were sold by the supermarkets.

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As my in built oven broke down and waiting for repair , I have resorted to the use of oven toaster with no temperature control. As such, the pictures are not as appealing as it should be because there are some signs of under baking. Do not worry, any puff pastry will come with a baking instruction, do follow the packaging instruction and it will be fine.  Should i re-prepare again, I will have another session of photo taking.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • A few sheets of store bought puff pastry
  • Some nian gao
  • Some sesame seeds
  • One egg yolk for egg washing

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degree Celsius or as per packaging instructions.

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  • Lay some nian gao on top of the puff pastry. Wrap it in your desired pattern and seal the edges. Egg washed the pastry, sprinkled with sesame seeds and bake in the pre-heat oven of 200 degree Celsius for 20-25 minutes (or according to the packaging instructions).

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Note:

  • I am using freshly homemade nian gao, as such it is slightly softer than commercially sold. If your nian gao turns hard, it will have a much better shape than those illustrated here.

  • For egg washing, crack one egg yolk with one tablespoons of water, mixed well, sift and brushed.

  • You can have put your desired nuts be it macadamia, walnuts, peanuts etc. to the nian gao before wrapping to provide some crunchy to the nian gao puff.

  • Nian gao, when baked will expand. Do not wrap it overly tight. You can also use a scissor to cut some holes on top of the puff pastry prior to the baking.

  • For oven toaster, I have baked for about 20 minutes without temperature control. Therefore, some parts looked slightly under cooked.

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CONCLUSION

This way of serving is extremely easy. Whether or not it is healthier as compared to deep frying is up to individual to decide. .. Once you baked any commercial puff pastry, you will know the answer.. Haha. Possibly the healthiest way of serving the nian gao is to re-steam the nian gao and served with shredded coconut.

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

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I’m submitting this post to Best Recipes for Everyone Jan & Feb 2015 Event Theme: My Homemade Cookies organized by Fion of XuanHom’s Mom and co-hosted by Victoria Bakes

 

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Asian “Potato” Chips–Arrowhead Chips (香脆慈姑片,茨菇片)

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INTRODUCTION

While western countries have potatoes chips, in Singapore and Malaysia, we have arrowhead chips which is as crispy and tasty. In recent years, this snack have become a very common Chinese New Year item to serve visiting house guest and commercially, it was sold at quite a steep price.

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There is actually no recipe for this snack, it is just deep frying some thinly sliced arrowhead and what I am sharing will be some pointers during the preparation of this snack.

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As this is a rather uncommon root during the year round, it will be interesting to know a bit more about arrowhead. As per Wikipedia:

“Sagittaria sagittifolia (also called arrowhead due to the shape of its leaves) is a flowering plant in the family Alismataceae, native towetlands most of Europe from Ireland and Portugal to Finland and Bulgaria, as and in Russia, Ukraine, Siberia, Turkey, China, Australia,Vietnam and the Caucasus. It is also cultivated as a food crop in some other countries. The round tuber is edible. In China, it is known as cigu (Chinese: 慈菇; pinyin: cígū; literally: “benevolent mushroom”), and its tuber is eaten particularly on the Chinese New Year. It tastes bland, with a starchy texture, similar to a potato but somewhat crunchier, even when cooked. ”(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittaria_sagittifolia

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As per Chinese Baidu Baike, it was written that:

“茨菰 – 慈姑属(Sagittaria)淡水植物,约20种,广布全球。多年生,草本生长于浅湖、池塘溪流。叶似头,有肉质球茎,可食。花有3枚圆形花瓣北美常见种是宽叶慈姑(S. latifolia),叶箭形至禾草状,被广泛引种以扩大禽类食源。慈姑(S. sagittifolia)分布欧洲部分地区,在中国则栽培以食用其球茎。一年生植物本草纲目》说:“慈姑一株多产十二子,如慈姑之乳诸子,故以名之。燕尾,其叶之象燕尾分叉,故有此名也”。《本草纲目》称其“达肾气、健脾胃、止泻痢、化痰、润皮毛”,是无公害绿色保健食品中的上等珍品。中医认为茨菇性味甘平、生津润肺、补中益气,对劳伤、咳喘等病有独特疗效。茨菇每年处暑开始种植,元旦春节期间收获上市,为冬春补缺蔬菜种类之一,其营养价值较高,主要成份为淀粉蛋白质和多种维生素,富含铁、钙、锌、、硼等多种活性物所需的微量元素,对人体肌能有调节促进作用,具有较好的药用价值。” (Source: http://baike.baidu.com/view/1421405.htm?fromtitle=%E6%85%88%E5%A7%91&fromid=1128865&type=syn)

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From Chinese definition, it was written that this root was planted during summer and was harvested usually during winter those provide a source of vegetable during Spring festival. That possibly explains for the common consumption of this root during Chinese New Year.

I have to be frank that this is the first year I am preparing it and I am still not good at slicing using the mandolin. So pardon me for the big and small pieces of the chips..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • Some arrowhead bulbs
  • Some cooking oil for deep frying
  • Some salt for tossing.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Peel the arrowhead bulb. Clean and slice using a mandolin or a knife with even thickness. Place the sliced arrowhead on top of some kitchen towel to absorb the moisture. However, this is optional.

  • Heat a pot of cooking oil under medium heat. The oil is considered as ready when the tip of a chopstick is placed in the hot oil, bubbles starts to come out. Put the sliced arrowheads, use a chopstick to stir the arrowheads to avoid sticking. Use low to medium heat to deep fry the chips until golden brown and there is no visible bubbles emitted from the chips. 1-2 minutes before dishing up for draining, turn the heat to high.  Drain and toss with some salt if desired. Once completely cooled, stored in an air tight container.

Notes:

  • If your chips become burnt but not crispy, your heat is too high. Only medium to low heat is needed in the earlier part such that the interior part of the arrowhead can be cooked properly and it is very important that before dishing up, the heat has to be as strong as possible to avoid oil chips.

  • If you chips are oily, it is likely that you did not turn the heat to high for the last few minutes before dishing up for draining.

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  • If your chips have brown colour rings at the outermost part, you have not peel deep enough and any skin component remain will show up dark brownish colour. In addition, arrowhead that are not fresh will also have this dark brownish colour.

  • The thickness of each chip will have to be as even as possible. Otherwise, some chips may be ready whereas some are not, some are burnt but some are soggy.
  • You can also directly peel or slice the arrowhead into the hot oil without pre-cutting in this example . If you are interested of how other are doing, you can refer to: Frying arrowhead corms chips – YouTube

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ONCLUSION

The cost of this illustration is SGD1.oo and what I get is a medium bottle of arrowhead chips that is fresh and crispy. If you are concerned about deep frying, I honestly believed that it can be deep fried using air fryer. However, it may lack the aroma of   deep drying using hot oil. As what I said earlier, I am still new in this preparation, let’s learn together to prepare this. Why not invest S$1 and find out the best way to do the snack?

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

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This recipe was included in Page 50 and Page 51 of the above E-book. 

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

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Japanese Strawberry Mochi – Ichigo Daifuku (いちご大福, 草莓大福)

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INTRODUCTION

Sticky rice or glutinous rice are very common in Asian cuisines. The rice was grinded into flour to make varieties of cakes and sweets.. Chinese have cakes that made from glutinous rice flour like Hainanese E-bua, tortoise longevity cake, tang yuans and etc.; Malay have kuih koci, ondeh ondeh etc. and Japanese have its own mochi.

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All these cakes have one common similarity. Some sweet filling wrapped with glutinous rice flour dough.  I have always liked mochi as it is soft sweet and slightly chewy.

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As per Wikipedia, 

“Daifukumochi (大福餅?), or Daifuku (大福?) (literally “great luck”), is a Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi (glutinous rice cake) stuffed with sweet filling, most commonly anko, sweetened red bean paste made from azuki beans. Daifuku comes in many varieties. The most common is white-, pale green-, or pale pink-colored mochi filled with anko.   Nearly all daifuku are covered in a fine layer of corn or potato starch to keep them from sticking to each other, or to the fingers. Some are covered with confectioner’s sugar or cocoa powder.Though mochitsuki is the traditional method of making mochi and daifuku, they can also be cooked in the microwave..  A variation containing strawberry and sweet filling (Ichigo Daifuku), most commonly anko, inside a small round mochi. Creams are sometimes used for sweet filling. Because it contains strawberry, it is usually eaten during the springtime. It was invented in the 1980s. Many patisseries claim to have invented the confection, so its exact origin is vague. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daifuku)

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What i am sharing today is the Ichigo Daifuku, some strawberry wrapped with red bean paste and glutinous rice flour dough. For this illustration , I did not go until the extent of preparing my anko (red bean paste) using the Japanese method but instead use the ready made red bean paste available in the stores. I also did not  go to the Japanese supermarket to by the Japanese glutinous rice flour (mochiko), instead, I used the normal glutinous rice flour from Thailand..

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Preparation is not difficult at all if you are using microwave. If you do not have the microwave, you can either steam the batter or cooked it in a non stick pan until a soft dough is formed.. Don’t worry, the outcome will be the same.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 5 Ichigo Daifuku

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  • 100 grams of Mochiko flour or glutinous rice flour
  • 100 grams of Anko or red bean paste
  • 100 grams of water
  • 20 grams of castor sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of potatoes starch or corn starch
  • Drops of red permitted food colouring

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Clean the strawberry, pat dry and cut off the part attached to the green leaves. Take about 20 grams of red bean paste, shape round, slightly flatten by palm, place a strawberry on top, seal the edges and make it as round as possible. Set aside for later use. If your strawberry is big, you may need a bit more red bean paste to wrap the strawberry.

  • In a microwavable bowl, put the glutinous rice flour, water, sugar and food colouring. Stir and until well mixed.

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  • Heat the batter in the microwave oven for 1.5-2 minutes. After one minute, give it a stir.

  • Dust the working surface with some potato starch. Transfer the cooked dough to the flour surface. Use a scissor to divide the dough into 5 pieces. Take one dough, shape round, lightly flatten, put a red bean paste on top of the flatten dough, seal the edges and roll on the potatoes starch again.. The dough can be rather sticky and hot to handle but you have to do it quickly. When the dough is cooled, it will not be sticky and cannot form a ball. Pat your hand with potatoes starch before shaping.

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CONCLUSION

Is it not this is a simple recipe to try? Remember that if you do not have a microwave, pan fried the batter over the stove using non stick pan or steamed it in a greased pan.  It may take you 5-10 minutes slightly longer. Feel free to add flavour to your mochi such as green tea powder, pandan essence, milo flavour etc..

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

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Steamed Sweet Corn Snack (香甜蒸玉米)

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INTRODUCTION

When we go Singapore Expo, kids always wanted to buy these steamed sweet corns …

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After struggling for quite a while, I have decided to blog this simplest recipe which I think many parents are facing the same problem of paying a high price for a small cup of sweet corns … 

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Homemade version may not be as beautiful as what is sold out there but you can control the oiliness and saltiness of the snack… Actually, it can be as beautiful as what is sold if you have the time to pluck the individual corn kernels from the body. If you are interested in knowing a good way of peeling beautiful sweet corn kernel, you can refer to this video: How to peel Sweet Corn fast and easy – YouTube

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All these as you seen in this illustration cost about SGD2.50 and what you paid is about SGD3 per small cup. This recipes can yield about 4 cups that will be sold at SGD8.00..

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If you think preparation is difficult, it is not.. Not at all and it involved only 2 processes, taking out the corn kernel and steaming. If you used a knife like what I did in this illustration, it will took 5 minutes and another 5 minutes of steaming… And the sweet corn can be ready in 10 minutes..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • Some sweet corns
  • Some butter or margarine
  • Salt to taste

* No detail quantities are listed here as it will depend on individual taste buds. Feel free to add a bit more or less. The quantities in this illustration is made up of 4 normal sized  sweet corns.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Peel the sweet corns, and in a big bowl, place a small bowl in the big bowl. Put the sweet corn vertically on top of the small bowl, use a sharp knife to cut the corn kernels. Gather the sweet corns and steamed in the steamer for about 5 minutes under high heat. After steaming, add pinches of salt and the butter, stir until well mixed and the snack is ready.

Notes

  • Alternatives of fresh sweet corn is canned corn kernel.  Please refer to the above for YouTube video of how to pluck corn kernel in whole.

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CONCLUSION

Personally, I like this sweet corn snack.. Simple and easy. Butter and salt are actually optional.. I wouldn’t mind to have a cup of this plain snack without adding anything.. Trust me, sweet corn is extremely sweet. Do give it a try and pardon me to share this simple recipe which I think some new house chefs may be looking for such recipe.

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

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 26 November 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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Crispy Crabstick Snack (酥脆蟹肉小吃)

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INTRODUCTION

My family members except me loves this crab sticks commonly sold in Singapore and Malaysia supermarket. It was usually sold in the frozen department and they were used to cook with vegetable dish or noodle dish…

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My East Malaysian relatives visited me last week and gave me a plastic bottles of these crispy crab meat that she bought from her Malay colleagues.. It was RM 3 per bottle, kids loved them and can’t have enough of them… They are fighting for the very last piece they have.. I gave it a try and promised them that I will replicate this for them..

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I knew that their version is the deep fried version, in fact slightly more fragrant that what I have prepared. However, I have chose to use oven baked in view of the current trend of healthier life style… I presumed air fryer will work extremely well for this snack too…

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • One packet of crabsticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder (optional)
  • Few curry leaves (fresh or dried) (optional)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat the oven to 100 degree Celsius

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  • Cut the crab sticks into about 2 cm length..Roll it out and use a knife to slice it as thinly and as EVENLY as you can. (Uneven crabstick will make some of the crabstick become crispy but some are chewy). Put it in a plastic box, add the curry powder and add in chopped curry leaves. Close the lid of the plastic box and shake until the chopped crabstick are evenly coated with curry powder. Transfer to the baking tray as evenly as possible. Bake in the pre-heat oven of 100 degree Celsius until your desired crispiness. Occasionally, give it a stir to ensure even baking. Baking time will depend on the size of the chopped crabstick. For this illustration, it took about 30 minutes.  Store in an air tight container when cooled completely.

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CONCLUSION

This is a nice snack and I will endorse an occasional indulgence. It is especially good to serve to house guest during Chinese New Year or other major festivals. Remember that you can always do it using air fryer but I can assure all that deep frying using low to medium heat is the fastest and the most aromatic.. It is up to readers to decide base on your health objectives.

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This recipe was included in Page 45 and Page 46 of the following E-book. 

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

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

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 15 October 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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

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INTRODUCTION

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

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As per Mycitycuisine.org

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

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

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

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

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

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: Begedil | The Straits Times SoShiok

Servings : 3-4 adult servings as snack

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

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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

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

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CONCLUSION

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

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

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 15 October 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

 

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Twisted Your Pretzels?–Chinese Twisted Fried Pretzel or Twisted Bread Dough (麻花–hemp flower)

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INTRODUCTION

Frankly speaking, I do not know how many readers will fancy this recipe.. A very old traditional snack called ma hua (麻花)or literally translated as hemp flower. I am unsure why it is called as such and I did not see any similarities between the snack and a flower.

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It is a simple twisted Chinese bread dough that are deep fried. It is crispy and usually comes with or without sugar coating. Some translated it as Chinese twisted pretzel and again, I am unsure why it is called as such possibly because the ingredients are almost the same as pretzel.

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I loved to munch these crispy to hard type of snack when I was kid. It has its own unique attractiveness, the more you munch, the more fragrant it is. In fact, it is not easy to find these snacks nowadays.

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Since I saw a recipe in the internet, I thought it might be fun to try it out.. Instead of using normal plain flour, I have used self raising flour to enhance the fluffiness of the dough. Therefore, this version will not be as hard as the traditional version.

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I have made a wrong decision to add some black sesame seeds to the sugar coating, though it blends well with the taste, but it does not look as beautiful as I wanted it to be..

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As for the shape, I have purposely made it into this short twisted size resembling those commonly sold in Singapore and Malaysia.. Unlike the shape found in People’s Republic of China, it is much longer and thinner as compare those found here. However, the difference will just only one step in difference

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from : 炸麻花

Servings : About 8-10 ma hua

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  • 240 grams of plain flour or self raising flour (depending on your desired texture)
  • 50 grams of water
  • 35 grams of castor sugar
  • 10 grams of cooking oil
  • 2 grams of salt
  • 1 egg

For the Sugar Coating (optional and not in the picture)

  • 100 grams of castor sugar
  • 25 grams of water
  • 1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds (optional)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Put all the ingredients in the mixing bowl and knead until it form a pliable dough. You can also knead by hand if preferred. Transfer the dough out to a lightly floured surface. Lightly knead and divide into 8 –10 equal pieces. Take a piece and roll the dough thin using your hands such that the dough is about 50-60 cm long.

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  • Take one end of the dough and lightly seal the ends. Fixed one side of the dough in the table and twist it as fine as you like. You can stop here and your ma hua will have two braids. If preferred, seal the ends again and start twisting for another one more round, your ma hua will be much shorter and have four braids. In this illustration it is a four braids ma hua.

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  • Heat up a pot of oil and deep fried the ma hua under LOW-MEDIUM heat until the exterior is golden brown. Set aside for later sugar coating.

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  • Put the sugar and water in a pan and bring the sugar solution to boil. The sugar solution will gradually get thicker and when you use a tablespoon to a bit of solution out, if it turns whitish in the spoon, the sugar solution is ready for coating. Add the sesame seeds follow by the ma hua. Off the heat and stir until the ma hua are well coated. When cooled, the ma hua will have a whitish sugar coating.  Cool completely before serving and store in an air tight container to preserve crispiness.

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CONCLUSION

For those readers who have tasted this and liked this snack, chances are you are probably the same age group as mine.. Please do not tell me that the snack is hard to chew for your age now… Well, making the dough thinner and longer will make it less hard as compared to a big mass of dough. Do try this recipe and tell me if it is still as hard as the type  that you used to eat! Ha-ha.

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

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 15 October 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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Yam Paste With Gingko Nuts (Orh Nee 银杏芋泥)

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INTRODUCTION

I prepared some Hakka Abacus Seeds yesterday and I have some left over yam paste. I therefore decided to use these yam pastes to prepare the Teochew famous dessert – Or Nee.

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I don’t actually intended to issue this recipe as it was captured in my Facebook Page already. However, when I posted the pictures in Facebook Groups, members of the Group are requesting for the recipe. I have therefore decided to transfer the previous recipe to this main blog. Because the recipe was written earlier in a different format, therefore, the method of writing in this post will be slightly different from the recent post.

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Or Nee is an authentic traditional Teochew desserts  using yam or taro as the main ingredient. Almost all Teochew restaurants will have this dessert.

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Though in Singapore and Malaysia, it was related to be a Teochew dessert, however as per Chinese Wikipedia alike Baike, it was written that in People’s Republic of China, this dessert was common in the Fujian province especially in the Fuzhou city. (Note that Chaozhou (or Teochew) is situated in the Guangdong province near the boarder with Fujian)

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“芋泥是闽菜中的传统甜食之一,其中又尤以福鼎的八宝芋泥最为地道。用芋头烹制的芋泥,以独特的味道而脍炙人口。原料可选:竹芋、红芋、猴头芋等,但以槟榔芋最佳。将芋头蒸熟,去皮碾压为泥,拌上猪油、白糖、香料、芝麻等在旺火热锅上翻搅均匀后装入盆中,并用红枣、山揸熟莲子、冬瓜糖等在芋泥面上装饰太极图案,淋上一层熟猪油,上笼用旺火蒸熟透即可上席。芋泥中的上品称为“太极芋泥”和“八宝芋泥”。由于猪油蒙盖,制成后貌似冷食,实则热食。在酒宴上常在收席前做为甜点推出。福建东部沿海地区皆有做芋泥的习俗。其中尤以福州芋泥最为有名,是福州地区典型的甜食。此菜香郁甜润,细腻可后,是闽菜的传统甜食之一。每当宴席接近尾声时,上的最后一道“压轴”菜,通常都是芋泥。” (Source: http://www.baike.com/wiki/%E8%8A%8B%E6%B3%A5)

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This is not a difficult dessert to make except a bit laborious. Chinese have a saying: “做芋泥没功夫,糖油做师傅” and literally translated as “No kungfu is needed in the preparation of yam paste, but oil and sugar are the shifus”.. It means that the preparation of yam paste is very simple, but what constituted a good bowl of yam paste is the quality of sugar and oils used. Traditionally, yam paste was prepared using lard and in this illustration, lards were used as well. Of course, besides oil and sugar, the quality of yam is also very important.

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Generally, in Singapore’s and Malaysia’s restaurant, Orh Nee was served either in a thick paste form or creamy form. They are essentially the same except for the creamy form, some coconut milk or fresh milk were added to thin the thick paste.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: About 8 adult servings

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  • 500 grams of taro or yam (weight after de-skinned)
  • 100 grams of pumpkin (weight after de-skinned)

Not in picture

  • Few sprigs of spring onion (the white part)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of lard or other cooking oil
  • 100 grams of castor sugar
  • Some gingko nuts
  • 100 grams of coconut milk or fresh milk (if creamy yam paste is preferred)

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STEPS OF PREPARATON

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  • Slice the yam and pumpkin into small pieces and place in a steamer. Steam the taros and pumpkins until soft. It will take about 20-25 minutes (depending on the heat). Pumpkins will be cooked much faster. You can use a fork to scratch the yam. As long as you can scratch it easily, it is considered as cooked.

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Mashing the yam – Method 1 (using the fork)

  • Use the fork to mash the hot yam until fine. You can also use the potatoes masher to mash the yam. All these need to be done when the yam is hot. Depending on the type of yam used, some may not be easy to mash until smooth. As an added measure, you may want to sieve the mashed yam such that the yam paste will be smooth. If the yam is too difficult to mash or sieve, you can add a few tablespoons of water.

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Mashing the yam – Method 2 (using the rolling pin)

  • When the yam is hot, transfer to a plastic bag. Seal the opening and use a rolling pin to roll or “hit” until fine. For this method, sieving may also be needed if the mashed yam are too coarse.

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Mashing the yam – Method 3 (using the food processor)

  • When the yam is hot, transfer the yam to the food processor and blend until as fine as possible. Generally, you will be able to get a higher recovery rates from this method (meaning most yam can be used) and the mashed yam is more finer too.

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  • In a frying pan, have some lard  or cooking oil and put in the chopped spring onions. Stir fry until it is slightly brownish and aroma start to spread to the house. Add in the yam paste and sugar. Stir fry until well mixed. If it is overly sticky to stir fry, add a few tablespoon of water.

  • Transfer the stir fried yam paste to a greased bowl, level it and add additional 1 tablespoon of lard or shallot oil on top of the yam paste. Steam under high heat for about 10 minutes. Off the heat, place on top of the yam paste some gingko nuts and steamed pumpkins before serving.

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  • Preparing creamy yam paste – If you prefer your yam paste to be creamy, put the cooled yam paste, add some milk or coconut milk in a blender and blend until smooth. As for the amount of liquid to be added, it will be about 20% of the weight of your yam paste. Depending on the consistency that you are looking for, you are advised to add the milk gradually. As the milk will dilute the sweetness, additional sugar may be needed.

Note:

  • The stir frying stage is a rather traditional method and is optional.. I personally prefer this step because as a result of stir frying the paste with fragrant shallot oil, the fragrance of yam paste will be much more aromatic.   If you don’t prefer the stir frying, you can just add in castor sugar and proceed to the steaming step)

  • For this illustration, the net yam paste is 500 g and I have added 100 g of sugar. It is just right for me but you can gradually add the sugar until it suits your taste buds.

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CONCLUSION

This is an old recipe and rewriting the recipe is actually tougher. Remember that a good yam paste depends very much on the type of yam that you can get hold of and the oils used to cook the yam paste. If you are health conscious, after blending the yam paste, add sugar and proceed to steam for 10 minutes… Drizzle with coconut milk before serving. Is it not the preparation was easy?

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

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(updated as at 15 October 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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Happy Mid Autumn Festival 2014 (中秋节 2014 贺词)

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Good morning readers,have a great Happy Mid Autumn Festival.

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First of all, I have to apologize for the mistake in my Chinese wordings as it will take too much time to amend the word and I only discovered it when I wanted to post these pictures. It should be 顺心顺意。。。。Haha

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2014 mooncake preparation spree have come to the end and this year I have concentrated on blogging traditional mooncakes and you can find all the recipes in this post: Special Compilation of 10 common Mooncake Recipes (10 种月饼食谱特别汇编)

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However,  I felt sorry for those overseas Chinese readers who have difficulty to get the mould, raw materials such as alkaline water or Chinese golden syrup etc..

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This morning, I have decided to prepare a specially designed mooncake for them and I will share the recipe in 2015 if I continue to blog next year. I am sorry that I should have share earlier but it just struck my mind when I woke up this morning..

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The recipe have been overhauled taking into consideration of the overseas’ availability of ingredients.. It is coffee fillings made with condensed milk, butter, instant coffee, flour and milk.. As for the crust, it is made with light corn syrup, butter and plain flour without the use of alkaline water. This was put in a cupcake cup ..

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Next year, my emphasis on mooncake series will be preparation of traditional fillings, creative fillings, vegetarian mooncakes .. Append is the red colour mooncake prepared from the red yeast rice..

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

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大家早上好,祝贺大家中秋节快乐。

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首先,我必须道歉,我在华语贺词有错误, 应该是“顺心顺意”….由于更改时间太多,就请大家原谅。哈哈

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回想今年的食谱, 我觉得对不起海外读者及朋友尤其是在一些没有原料及模型的国家。 今天早上起床,我决定准备一个特别月饼给予这些海外朋友。若明年我部落格还有在,食谱将会在 2015年分享。 因为今天已经太晚。

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这是用杯子蛋糕模型烘出来的咖啡月饼。馅料是用炼乳,奶油,速溶咖啡,面粉和牛奶..而皮是玉米糖浆,牛油和粉并不使用碱水。模型是杯子蛋糕的模型。

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明年的重点将会是家里自制馅料,创意馅料,素月饼等。图中的红色月饼是用红曲米所准备的。

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希望大家会喜欢。谢谢。

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


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A Healthier Alternative For This Mooncake Festival–Osmanthus Steamed Sponge Cake (桂花蒸糕)

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INTRODUCTION

Mid autumn festival and mooncake festival will be few days away and I thought besides mooncakes, it might be a good idea to have some osmanthus steamed sponge cake to join the “celebration”. For those who can’t eat mooncake, may be you can consider as a substitute..

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Does osmanthus have anything to do with this important Chinese festival? In fact, yes and it is a very important flower as you can inferred from the following description common found in Chinese writings.

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During Mid Autumn Festival, Chinese are celebrating by sitting under the osmanthus trees (桂花树下), appreciate the osmanthus flower (赏桂花), drinking osmanthus wine or cassia wine(喝桂花东或蜜酒)and osmanthus tea ( 饮桂花茶). In addition, osmanthus blossom in Autumn together with many other beautiful flowers such as chrysanthemum.

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Pic Courtesy of: http://www.i-china.org/ewebeditor/uploadfile/20121008113614489.jpg

Of course, we shall not  forget an old legend relating to the moon -Wu Gang felling the osmanthus tree (吴刚伐桂. In the moon palace (月宫)where Chang E (嫦娥)stay together with the jade rabbit (玉兔), Wu Gang  was punished by the God to cut a self healing osmanthus  tree in the moon palace and whenever he chop the tree, the tree will heal  itself. This  soon become a phrase in modern Chinese to describe an endless toil with a futile effort.

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From the above, one will know the importance of osmanthus flower to the Chinese during the Mid Autumn Festival. What is Osmanthus then? As per Wikipedia,

“Osmanthus /ɒzˈmænθəs/ is a genus of about 30 species of flowering plants in the family Oleaceae Osmanthus range in size from shrubs to small trees, 2–12 m (7–39 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite, evergreen, and simple, with an entire, serrated or coarsely toothed margin. The flowers are produced in spring, summer or autumn, each flower being about 1 cm long, white, with a four-lobed tubular-based corolla (‘petals’). The flowers grow in small panicles, and in several species have a strong fragrance.  The flowers of O. fragrans are used throughout East Asia for their scent and flavor, which is likened to apricot and peach.

In China, osmanthus tea (桂花茶, guìhuāchá) combines sweet osmanthus flowers with black or green tea leaves. Osmanthus wine flavors huangjiu or other rice wines with full osmanthus blossoms and is traditionally consumed during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Traditional Chinese medicine claims that osmanthus tea improves complexion and helps rid the body of excess nitric oxide, a compound linked to the formation of cancer, diabetes, and renal disease “ (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osmanthus)

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This is a creation of my own and in fact, a simple steamed sponge cake. I have created this recipe purely for the sake of Osmanthus role in Chinese Mid Autumn Festival and also as an alternative for those who can’t take mooncake for a particular reason. Of course, you can always have prepare this cake as a snack.

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I have to admit that the flavour is rather weak even though I have put about 2 tablespoons of osmanthus dried flower. I have amended the recipe to steep the osmanthus flower to become osmanthus tea and make the flavour more obvious. However, with or without osmanthus flowers,  it is definitely a nice spongy cake for tea snack.。

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Prepare 10-12 small cupcake size steamed cakes

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  • 180 grams of self raising flour
  • 50 grams of milk
  • 115 grams of castor sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of condensed milk (optional)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons of dried osmanthus flower soaked in 25ml of hot water

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Steep 2 tablespoon of dried osmanthus with 25 ml of hot water. Set aside for later use. (in this illustration, I did not steep the flower and hence the fragrance is not obvious).

  • Beat the egg until foamy, add sugar tablespoon by tablespoon until pale and volume expands. Add the  osmanthus tea gradually followed by the condensed milk.  

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  • Add the cooking oil (optional) and beat until well combined. Sift in the self raising flour and alternate with milk in 3 stages. Fold until well mixed.

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  • Pour the batter in the cupcake cups and transfer to the steamer tray. Steam the cake under high heat for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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CONCLUSION

Besides eating mooncakes, why not try having some of these healthier osmanthus steamed sponge cake? Before I forget, you can get these dried osmanthus flower rather easily in traditional Chinese medicine stores, bakery shops or shops that sell the tea leaves.

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

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

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