Healthy Vegetables Muffins (健康蔬菜小松饼 (素))

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UPDATED POST ON 23-11-2014

Have not prepared this for a year and in this attempt, I have transformed the muffin into a savoury muffins and reduce the olive oil used. Please refer to recipe 2 highlighted in red .

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If you are not a vegetarian, you can always add in cheeses and bacon or ham.

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INTRODUCTION

My post is getting shorter and shorter because my recipe is getting easier and easier. I have a number of muffin/cupcake posts and I am not tired of creating more based on my one number baking ratio theory. The theory is to promote the use of same ratio in the baking of cakes or muffins. It is based on the basic pound cake ratio with some modifications. It is easy to practise and in essence, it is just the manipulation of 4 basic baking ingredients: fats (butter, peanut butter, cooking oil, olive oil), liquids (eggs and milk), flour (wholemeal or plain flour or even semolina flour) and sugar (brown sugar, white sugar, icing sugar and etc.). Because of using this ratio in the baking, the muffins/cupcakes are usually very moist.  If you are interested in my other muffins/cupcakes series, these are the few that you can consider:

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This is a healthier version of muffins. No complicated creaming of butter, folding of flours and etc. It is just a simple mix and bake muffins. In addition, to further testing the “simple” principle behind the theory, I have started with 100 grams of fats and all remaining volumes will be 100 grams. The muffin uses olive oil and the inclusion of some vegetables – mushrooms and broccoli. Is the results satisfactory? Yes, definitely yes. Not only the pattern insides the muffin looks pretty, the taste is awesome as well. 

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Make 5-6 medium sized muffins

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  • 100 grams of self raising flour (or wholemeal flour+1/2 teaspoon of baking powder)
  • 100 grams of olive oil (or cooking oil or melted butter)
  • 100 grams of eggs (about 2 eggs)
  • 100 grams of sugars
  • Some cauliflower and mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoons of baking soda

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Recipe 2

  • 100 grams of self raising flour (or wholemeal flour+1/2 teaspoon of baking powder)
  • 50 grams of olive oil (or cooking oil or melted butter)
  • 100 grams of eggs (about 2 eggs)
  • 10 grams of sugar or any flavour enhancer that your are using now such as mushroom concentrate granules etc..
  • 20 grams of fresh milk
  • Some cauliflower and mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoons of baking soda
  • Pinches of salt
  • Some cheddar cheeses, bacons or hams (if preferred)

 

  • Please disregard ‘!!” in the picture as it is my mistake to include in the picture.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparation:

  • Lightly grease some muffin tins or get ready 5-6 muffin cups and put in the muffin tins.

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius

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  • Shift the flour and add in the sugar. Stir until well mix. Make a well in the centre and put in eggs and olive oil. Stir lightly until it is “mix” and slight lumpy is okay for muffins. Filled up 1/3 of the muffins cup with batter, put  one small size broccoli and ensure that it is surrounded by the batter. Continue to fill until the batter is 85% full. Top with additional broccoli and mushrooms.

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  • Bake in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for 15 to 20 minutes or when the skewer inserted comes out clean.

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  • Note that the shape of your muffins will depend on the positioning of your vegetables. If you put the mushrooms too close to the muffin cups, you will have a funny shape muffins like the above picture. Of course, the taste is still awesome and edible. Try not to put big pieces of broccoli in the centre of the muffin batter as it will hinder the rise of the muffin.

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CONCLUSION

A simple, quick and easy recipe. It can be as healthy as you want it to be. Try to substitute the self raising flour with wholemeal flour and you can get a wholemeal broccoli mushroom muffin. Run out of breakfast tomorrow? Why not making it today as it utilizes mostly common household ingredients. In addition, it is fast and easy.

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

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(updated as at 20 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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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?

What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 23-5-2013

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On 23-May-2013

White rice served with:

1. Sweet Corn Pork Rib Soup* 玉米排骨汤*
2. Mustard Leaf and Bitter Gourd Braised With Pork Rib 芥菜苦瓜焖排骨
3. Blanched Broccoli with Minced Pork 肉碎西兰花
4. Taukwa (dried tofu) Omelet 豆干煎蛋
  • Sweet Corn Pork Rib Soup is the first dish that I have cooked for the second time within a period of about one months. In future, any dish that have repeated will be denoted with an asterisk (*).
  • Dish 2 is the dish that we created our self. Don’t try this dish unless you like the bitter taste. My wife loves bitter dishes especially bitter gourd. Mustard leaf by itself is also very bitter, therefore, with two bitter vegetables within a dish, it will be a dish with an acquired taste. You may ask whether my kids like it or not. It very much depends on how bitter it is. If I blanched my bitter gourd and mustard leaf with salt before I cooked, it will not be that bitter and they will love you. However, like to day, I do not have the time to blanch it before hand, it is rather bitter. Usually, I will add a can of canned mushrooms and they will start to look for the mushrooms. They are brave enough to take the soup and actually, it is one of my way to let the kids try new dishes. Putting something that they like  and they will gradually get use to the taste over time.
  • This is the third continuous day that I blanched by vegetables and today is the broccoli and apparently they like it and I will continue to cook my vegetables this way which Is healthier. The first day, I blanched my baby kailan and served with oyster sauce. In the second day, it is blanching of white stem pak choy and served with fried ikan billis. Today, it is blanched broccoli served with blanched minced pork!
  • Any body tried Dish 4 before? It was a dish taught by my mother in law. Fried the dried bean curd and followed by putting some eggs on top of it. It is another dish that my kids will fight for.

I am contemplating  and in the process of exploring whether I should set up a system for readers to search the dish by vegetables. If successful, when readers have raw ingredients but no idea how to proceed with the cooking , they can look up for the database.

Happy Vesak Day and have a nice day.