Soft Chewy or Crispy,You Choose Yourself! – Baby Cereal Oatmeal Cranberry Biscuits (麦片饼干)

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UPDATED POST ON 2-10-2014

A biscuit that I like very much but went unnoticed because I did not like the initial pictures taken.. Since I have some cereal at home, I decided to prepare this for my relatives as a hand gift. Nothing change except that I substitute the oats portion with instant cereal since I do not have it at home. In addition, instead of cranberry, I have used raisin instead. It is crispy outside and chewy in the middle. You can make it totally crispy if you make it a smaller size and extend the baking time at a lower temperature. A rather addictive cookie and I really love the cereal flavouring.

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INTRODUCTION

One number baking ratio now extends it to biscuit and of course it had to be slightly amended. In this recipe, one portion of milk was being substituted by a portion of flour to make it a cookie liked structure.  This biscuits can be a soft chewy type of biscuit that is crispy on the outside but slightly soft in the middle. It can also be a crispy type of biscuits it you prefer it to be crunchy.

This is not the first time I prepared these biscuits. I prepared these biscuits a few months back. I loved it for its chewy texture and the baby cereal fragrance.

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WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN INSTANT OATS “MEET” QUAKER OATS

I like to blend my instant Quaker Oats with the Nestum Baby Cereals and make it into a breakfast cereal drink. I usually put 50% of instant oats and 50% of baby cereals and use a food processor to blend these two items. The breakfast cereal drinks will have instant oats “stickiness” but with baby cereals fragrance. I usually sweetened it by some condensed milk and if it was too “sticky”, I will add in some fresh milk. Bananas and nuts were added when I craved for it. May be I shall have another post on this wonderful breakfast drinks and you wouldn’t be disappointed with this cereal drink..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 100 grams of butter

  • 100 grams of plain flour

  • 50 grams of instant oat

  • 50 grams of instant baby cereals

  • 100 grams of sugar

  • 100 grams of eggs

  • 50 grams of cranberry (optional and substitutable with raisins or other dry fruits)

  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

  • 0.5 teaspoon of baking soda

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparing the instant oat baby cereal mixture

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  • Blend 50 grams of instant oats and instant baby cereal each using a food processor until your desired textures.


Preparation

  • Get ready 2 baking trays lined with parchment paper or baking paper.

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degree Celsius.

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Preparation the batter and baking

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  • Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and followed by the mixture of oats/baby cereals. Stir and mix well.

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  • Add in the sifted flour, baking powder and baking soda, mix until just combined. Stir in cranberries or raisins and mix well.

  • Place one teaspoon/tablespoon full of soft dough (depending on the size you want) on the parchment or baking paper.  Give adequate space for the dough to expand when cooked.

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  • Bake in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for 15-20 minutes or until the colour starts to turn golden brown on the edges but still soft in the centre.

  • Cooled completely in a rack before store in an air tight container.

  • Best served with hot tea and coffee and as a snack.

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VARIATIONS

  • If you preferred the crunchy version, after the 20 minutes baking at 180 degree Celsius, reduce your temperature to 150 degree Celsius and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Note that the cookies will not be hardened until you take it out from the oven. Let it cool and see if that is your desired texture. In the event you prefer to be even crispier, put back to the oven and baked for another 5 minutes. The longer you baked, the more moisture will be lost making it to be crispier. However, do watch out for the colour of cookies. If it is too brown, you can turn off the top heat and use the bottom heat to continue the baking.


CONCLUSION

From preparing the biscuits until I finished this posting, it took me about 2 hours. Therefore, readers should comprehend how easy this biscuit was. If you like baby cereal like I do, you will like it. If you like soft chewy type of biscuits where the edges are crispy and soft in the inside, you will like it. Take a step to make this, tailor to your family taste buds, it definitely wouldn’t disappoint yourself and your family members.

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Join me to have some of these cookies as breakfast and of course, not forgetting a cup of hot Earl Grey tea.

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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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My Steamed Sponge Cake (Kuey Neng Ko) Is Full Of Gas。。。。 (汽水鸡蛋糕)

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It was 5 am in the morning. I told myself that I must wake up early to write this post and share with readers about this extremely simple recipe. This is rather a  special post to me because it is my 200th post since I started my blog 3.5 months ago in late April 2013.

Yesterday evening, I made a traditional Chinese steamed sponge cake (鸡蛋糕)and posted in certain Facebook Group and surprisingly these 2 eggs sponge cake caught a lot of readers’ attention requesting for the recipe. In fact, I am rather happy that this Chinese steamed sponge cake turned out so well.

Those who come from a traditional Chinese family will know that this cake is a delicate cake to make. As contrast to Western cakes, this cake should have “cracks” or “smiley face”  in its top, the bigger the better. In Chinese, such cracks will signify prosperity and brings good fortunes when the cake was offered to the ancestors, 

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Traditionally, while making this cake, there were lots of “taboos” or “pantang larang”. Only the person who are making the cakes were allowed to enter the kitchen freely. Those who entered should not be talking anything that could possibly “resulted” in a crack less cake or  a “bald” head! And housewives are trying all sorts of ways to make the cake “laugh” as “happily” as possible. She will generally be respected, admired and pampered for her ability to make a “laughing” steamed sponge cake for offering to the ancestors.


WHY THIS CAKE?

Tracking my readership statistics, I found that during the last two weeks, quite a lot of readers were visiting one of my post The Plights of Kuey Neng KoThe Traditional Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake…. This is a post whereby I  analysed why younger Chinese generations are not fond of having this traditional Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake and  tweaked it into a cute party snack.

I also knew that as one of the big Chinese religious festivals – Hungry Ghost Festivals is approaching, a lot of people are looking for recipes to prepare this cake for religious offerings. Another possible reason is because bloggers in certain hop in group is having an “egg” events whereby bloggers are searching for eggs related recipes.

Knowing those who visited my earlier post of party snack Chinese steamed sponge cake may get disappointed as that cannot be used for ancestor offerings, therefore, I feel obliged to share a recipe that can prepare a cake for praying purposes.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED?

Recipe adapted from : Xinshipu.

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  • 2 large eggs (preferably at room temperature) (鸡蛋)

  • 300 grams of self raising flours – sifted (自发面粉)

  • 150 gram of fine sugar (细砂糖)

  • Sprite or 7-up or ice cream soda about 200ml (汽水)

  • 2 tablespoons of condensed milk (炼奶) or 2 teaspoons or ovallete

  • One 6” bamboo basket (竹篮) that are 4” deep or round baking tin (烤盘)

Note:

It is rather common in Malaysia and Singapore or even the original recipe uses ovallete. As I do not have ovallete with me, I have searched for ovallete substitute and I came across this blog http://www.thelittleteochew.com/2009/09/what-is-ovalette.html which have list out his/her preference of not using ovalette. I tends to concur with her that as long as the egg is adequately beaten, there is no need to have ovallete or condensed milk. My mother in law also disclosed to me that they have never used any ovallete in her many years of making this cake.


STEPS OF PREPARATION

Pre-preparation

  • Get ready a 6 inches diameter baking tin and lined it with baking paper. Ideally, use a bamboo basket and lined with cellophane plastic sheet (竹篮玻璃纸). As I do not have the bamboo basket, I used a baking tin instead. Baking tin are more difficult to steam.

  • Get ready a big pot or wok for steaming and make sure that the cover is tall enough for your cake rise. One of the reasons that this cake as in the illustration did not rise as high as desired because it was constrained by the height of my steamer.

  • Boiled the water under high heat and put the empty baking tin in the steamer to warm the baking tin.

Making the cakes

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  • Crack two eggs in a big mixing bowl. Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons of condensed milks or 2 teaspoons of ovalette.

  • Beat at high speed until the eggs turns light and fluffy. (Note that as a result of adding condensed milks, you may not be able to obtain the soft peak form from egg beating).

  • Fold in the sifted flour as quickly as possible.

  • Add in the gassy drinks and, stir lightly and quickly until well mixed.

  • Transfer the batter quickly to the heated baking tin/wooden basket. Put some some sugar on top of the batter in a cross shape (this is an important step to make it crack). 在鸡蛋面糊上面上,跟着十字的形状,撒下2条直线的白糖。

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  • Steamed under high heat for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in and comes out clean. Put in additional hot water if the water dries up. Do not open the steamer cover for the first 15 minutes.

  • Once your remove the cake from the steamer, immediately remove it from the baking tin or bamboo basket. Place in a wiring rack and let it cool completely. It is important that you took out the baking tin or bamboo basket immediately to prevent water condensation around the side of the baking tin that will make the cake become soggy.

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  • Cut into pieces before serving. Re-steamed the cake before serving if you find the cake hardens after two to three days.

I have purposely to decorate this cake with a red ribbon and some red colouring on top of the cake. This is the traditional way of decorating the cake before offering sessions.

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Analysis On Textures of The Cake

The texture of the cake is slightly different from the traditional cake due to the addition of gassy drinks and condensed milk. It is moister and I do not even need to have some drinks after taking three to four pieces. Traditionally, as it is very light and fluffy, I tend to get choke as the cake debris will irritate my throats. Therefore, do not compare with the traditional cake texture. So far, family members preferred this newer texture than the traditional types as it is easy to eat!

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CONCLUSIONS

This is a simple cake. This is a traditional cake that not many blog writers would want to write about. However, to make it to “laugh” or crack to the way that you desired, it needs delicate handlings. As a traditional old man, I respect the cake and give the cake full attention and the cake is happy to give me back a big smile… Haha.

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Have a nice day and hope that this post will help those readers who are seeking for Chinese steamed sponge cake recipe.

Hope you like the post. Cheers

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I am submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up “Eggs” event organized by organized by Bake for Happy Kids, my little favourite DIY and hosted by (Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out). You can link your egg recipes here.

Blanching Vegetables in Chinese Cooking – 利用汆烫准备可口的中式的”菜”肴

 

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INTRODUCTION

Traditional Chinese cooking don’t usually use the blanching method for cooking its vegetables. Usually, they stir fried with oil in a hot wok or frying pan. 

My mum will usually take out a frying pan, put in some oil, stir fry the garlic or shallots until golden brown, throw in the vegetables, add seasonings, stir fried for another 1-2 minutes and scope in the plate for serving. That is rather traditional and applicable to almost all types of vegetables. The disadvantages of using oil for stir flying vegetables are that the vegetable’s will lose its color and some vitamins will lose in this process.

In most restaurants, realizing that the color of the vegetables will turn less appealing and that the texture will be compromised, the chef will usually blanched the vegetable before stir frying the vegetables. This will  cut short the stir frying time so as to preserve its greenish appearance and some of the vitamins.

In this post, I will share with you the various combinations that you can prepare your vegetable dish using the water blanching method without stir frying but the dishes are equally tasty. 


WHY THIS POST

My son, aged 7 have a slightly high body mass index and was requested by the school authority to participate in the weight reduction program. Knowing that the school is concerning about his weight issue, I have decided to alter my methods of cooking and one of which is by blanching the vegetables instead of stir frying the vegetables. The first meal (blanched kailan with oyster sauce)  was well received by my family members and the whole plate of vegetables were being snatched by my son, daughter and wife within 5 minutes of putting in the table. Seeing such a good response from the family members, I have decided to explore more vegetables and with as many types of dressing as possible..In the next 9 meals that I prepared, I have created different dressings with different vegetables and to my delight, they don’t really notice the difference and my son have requested for more vegetables..


 

BLANCHING METHOD DEFINED..

According to http://chinesefood.about.com,

“Blanching is a process whereby the food is briefly plunged in boiling water for a moment. Sometimes it is then immediately transferred to ice water to stop the cooking process. This technique is commonly used with Chinese vegetables prior to stir-frying. The goal is to bring out the color and flavor of the vegetable without overcooking.source: (http://chinesefood.about.com/od/glossary/g/blanch.htm)”


BLANCHING OF CHRYSANTHEMUM GREEN ILLUSTRATED

In this post, I will share with readers one vegetable dish that I have prepared for my dinner today – Chrysanthemum green with Chinese black vinegar dressing (春菊拌浙醋)。Measurements were intentionally omitted as it is just vegetables plus seasonings all of which can be adjusted to individual tastes.

Chrysanthemum green is a type of vegetables that are quite common in Korean, Japanese , Taiwanese and Cantonese Cuisines. It can be eaten raw but the stems can be slightly tough. It can be stir fried, blanched or cooked in soup or appeared as a garnish in some Chinese dishes like Taiwanese oyster pancake.

 

WHAT YOU NEED

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  • Some chrysanthemum greens (you can chopped the stems into smaller pieces)
  • Some cherry tomatoes
  • Some sesame seeds, fried onion for garnishing
  • Some light soya sauce, black vinegar or lime juice, sesame oils (onion oil), salt, sugar

 

STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Wash the vegetables and set aside. As this preparation only deal with blanching, you may wish to soak the vegetables in the water for a longer while to clear all unseen particles and chemicals..
  • Take out a container or salad bowl and put in your condiments. In the above picture, I have included some shredded chili, fried onions, Chinese black vinegar, salt, pepper and sesame oil.
  • In a frying pan, put in some water. Add in pinches of salt (as you can see the white patch next to the red color patch) and a few drops of onion oil (cooking oil also can be used). This feel drop of oils are very important to preserve the color of your blanched vegetables and to keep the juices in the vegetables.
  • When the water is boiling, throw in the chrysanthemum green and let it boiled for about 3 minutes.


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  • Add in the cherry tomatoes and blanched for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Sieve the blanched vegetables and transfer to the salad bowl or the mixing container. Note that I have by passed the step of blanching the vegetable in some ice water as the dish will be served immediately after it is prepared. However, if you prefer, you can dip the blanched vegetable in ice water of about 1 minutes to preserve its crunchiness (not necessary depending on type of vegetables) and color.
  • Stir until well mix and transfer to another plate. Sprinkle with sesame seed and best served hot with rice.

The dish is simple and as chrysanthemum greens are a bit tough, you can blanch it longer and cut into smaller pieces. This dish is full of vitamins and the Chinese black vinegar dressing is just like the French dressing in French cuisines. Of course there are oriental elements such as sesame oil and black vinegar that make it taste like Chinese cuisines. Should I have lime (kalamansi with me), I will use it instead of black vinegar. It is fully flexible be it type of dressings, toppings and vegetables.


VARIATIONS

For the sake of oil less cooking, there are many Chinese vegetable dishes which can use the blanching method instead of traditional stir frying method.

Blanching method of Chinese vegetable dishes like the Western cuisine’s salad preparation is a matter of finding the right combination of vegetables and dressings. Chinese are less prone to eating the vegetables freshly picked (raw), therefore in order to promote healthier eating habitat with minimal amount of fats possible, an intermediary step is to blanch the vegetables .

The following table shows different types of Chinese vegetables that I have ever cooked using the blanching method and different dressings used. Both the list of vegetables and dressings are endless and are open to all types of combinations depending on the chef’s creativities.

Vegetables Meat  (protein)
Kailan
Minced pork
Pak Choy Meat slices/strips
Choy Sim Chicken breast
Broccoli Prawns
White Stem Pak Choy Shredded chickens
Chrysanthemum Greens Pork /chicken floss
Capsicum Baby Shrimps
Celery

Anchovies
Tomatoes Egg omelet strips
etc., etc., etc.  (endless) etc., etc., etc.  (endless)
   
Something to bite Seasonings
Sesame seeds Black Vinegar
crunched nuts Lime/kalamansi juice
Japanese rice seasoning sprinkle Mayonnaise+Tomato sauce (‘000 island)
Macadamia Salt
Chopped chili Sugar
Chopped fresh garlic MSG (if you preferred)
Fried garlics or shallots Onion Oil
Pine seeds Pepper
Dry mushrooms stripes Belachan (shrimp paste)
Shredded century eggs Oyster sauce
etc., etc., etc.  (endless) etc., etc., etc.  (endless)

SAMPLE DISHES

The pictures below are some of the dishes that I have prepared for my family as detailed in “what I have cooked today series”. The preparation are basically the same, blanching and mixed. You can also see more in the linked – PINTEREST BOARD-VEGETABLE DISHES HERE

Blanched mix vegetables with prawns (杂菜虾球)

 

Blanched Baby Kailan with Oyster Sauce (

耗油小芥兰)

Blanched White Stem Pak Choy with anchovies (

小银鱼白菜)

Blanched Broccoli with Minced Pork (

肉碎西兰花)

 

 

 

 

 

Blanch Tri-color Capsicum with Chicken Breast (

三色柿子椒拌鸡柳)

Blanched baby Pak Choy with minced pork (

肉碎拌小奶白)

Pak Choi with Oyster Sauce (

耗油上海青)

Blanched Chye Sim with meat floss (菜心拌肉松)


CONCLUSIONS

In traditional Chinese cooking, blanching of vegetables is generally not common. The exposure of Western Cuisines have made me come out with this fusion which I believed will be acceptable by both Asians and non-Asians. Without stir frying, the vegetables can be equally tasty.

While this resembles salad in western cuisines’ term but it have elements of oriental cooking due to the type of condiments used. It will definitely healthier because fats intake will be limited and more vitamins will be retain in the vegetable resulting from shorter cooking time. It will also eliminate the fear of eating raw vegetables which is supposed to be even more nutritious.

My favorite dressing is a type of dip for my fried fish (light soya sauce + chili + lime juice + shredded garlics + bit of sugar). For me , it blends equally well when I used it for my blanched vegetables. I like to prepare this if I want to lose weight and of course this is an acquired taste. You can invent your own dressing and you will be surprised that how well received blanched vegetables are if the dressings are right!

Why don’t you try my favorite dressing and let me know what you think?