Homesick Buns? Yes, I am homesick of Sarawak Style Butter Buns..

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UPDATED POST ON 11-10-2014

Craving for the buns that I can get hold in Singapore, and I have decided to prepare these buns to surprise my wife. We usually bought back from Sarawak if we visited our home town. There is no change in the recipe but I have decided to use the BASIC BREAD DOUGH RECIPE instead of the tangzhong dough recipe here.  Please refer here for the BASIC BREAD DOUGH RECIPE. I find that the basic dough is much faster without compromise quality of the buns.

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INTRODUCTION

This is a rather simple basic bun of which I am yet to trace the history. The uniqueness of this bun is its filling. The filling is made of butter, sugar and flour. Throughout my years overseas, I have yet to find buns that have this filling. The nearest that I have came across is butter milk buns where milk powder is used used instead of pure butter.

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I came from Sarawak, Malaysia. Sarawak is located in the island of Borneo. Since young, I have been eating these buns for breakfasts and snacks.

I missed the buns. The fillings are aromatic. It is sweet and buttery in flavour. When I made the first batch 2 days ago, I posted my pictures in the Google plus certain baking communities and my Facebook timeline, I was surprised that there are a number of readers and my friends are requesting for the recipe. What shocked me is that most of them in Google plus communities have never seen or eaten the buns before. Apparently, they are either curious about the fillings based on my descriptions.

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As for the first batch, I did not take any measurements, I have decided to do the second batch so as to share the recipe with the readers.

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SARAWAK STYLE BUTTER BUNS

Sarawak style butter buns shall not be confused with the butter soft buns that are mentioned in other recipe books. The so called butter buns in recipe books are mostly refer to buns with no filling. It shall also not to be confused with the Hong Kong cocktail buns where the fillings are shredded coconuts and butters. In addition, they are also different from the so called “butter buns” whereby a butter cube is wrapped by the dough and when baked, the butter melts into the bread. Since there are possibilities of misunderstanding, I shall call these special buns as “Sarawak Style Butter Buns”.

Butter Buns – Normal buttery buns with no filling. (pic courtesy:  http://en.christinesrecipes.com)

Hong Kong Cocktail Buns – Fillings are shredded coconut and butter http://cornercafe.wordpress.com

Buttery Buns – Butter in the centre of the bun and melted when baked. This is also the type of buns commonly found in the famous Malaysian chain store called “Rotiboy” .http://thenewartofbaking.blogspot.sg

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Sarawak Style Butter Buns – Butter fillings. Found in Sarawak only.

   


THE PROCESS OF MAKING SARAWAK STYLE BUTTER BUNS

This illustration will use the Tangzhong method of bread making and it involved 5 stages in the following orders:

Part 1 – Making the Tanzhong (Water Roux) ..– Best to prepare the night before

Part 2 – Preparing the Dough for the 1st Proofing

Part 3 – Preparing the Butter Fillings

Part 4 – Preparing the Dough – Wrapping the Fillings and 2nd Proofing

Part 5 – The Baking Process

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TANZHONG METHOD OF BREAD MAKING

Tangzhong (汤种)is a relatively new method of bread making and the main advantages of it is because bread made using tangzhong were usually soft and fluffy and  able to keep longer. Previously, bread improver were used to make the bread softer for a longer period of time. However, this method have used all natural ingredients without any chemicals  to get the same effect.

According to Cookipedia:

“Tang zhong (also known as a ‘water roux‘) is a method used in bread making to create soft and fluffy bread which was originated by the Japanese. However, it was popularised throughout south-east Asia in the 1990s by a Chinese woman called Yvonne Chen who wrote a book called The 65° Bread Doctor. Using this method also allows bread to stay fresh for longer without needing to use artificial preservatives.

To make the tang zhong, you mix together one part flour with five parts liquid (by weight) to make a smooth paste. This is usually water, but can be milk or a mixture of both. The mixture is then heated in a saucepan until it reaches exactly 65°C (149°F), removed from the hob, covered and left to cool until it is down to room temperature, when it will be ready to use. It would be useful have a digital thermometer with a probe when making this as other types of thermometer tend to be too large. If you are not making your bread immediately, the tang zhong will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, but will need to be brought up to room temperature before use. The tang zhong is added to the main flour with the liquid and mixed in and kneaded as normal.

The amount of tang zhong used should be about 35% of the weight of the main flour. It is best to make a little extra, because the liquid will evaporate slightly during heating. To make a loaf weighing about 1kg, I would suggest using 480g flour, 200g liquid and 170g tang zhong (made with 30g flour and 150g liquid), which will give a hydration of about 68%. You can of course adjust the amount of liquid either side of the 200g, but the tang zhong proportions should not be adjusted. “

(http://www.cookipedia.co.uk/recipes_wiki/Tang_zhong)

You will note that my recipe for Tang zhong (that are detailed below) are different from what is mentioned above. You can either use my recipe or the recipe as mentioned above.

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PROCESS OF MAKING THE SARAWAK STYLE BUTTER BUNS

PART 1 – MAKING THE TANG ZHONG (WATER ROUX) …..

What is required

  • 50g bread flour
  • 50g boiling water (water should be boiling hot, otherwise you have to put it over the stove to cook it)

Steps of preparation

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  • Get ready the bread flour in a mixing bowl. Pour the boiling hot water into the flour, mixed well and shaped into a ball.
  • Let the ball cooled down at room temperature. Once cooled, covered bowl with a cling wrap and keep it in the fridge overnight.
  • This recipe will make about 90 g of tanzhong. If you cannot finish tanzhong, you can put it in a container and keep it in the fridge for future use.

Update:

The picture below is from my second batch whereby I have used the method specified in the Cookipedia above and is append here for your reference.

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What is required

  • 25 g of bread flour
  • 125 g of cold water

Steps of preparation

  • In a metal mixing bowl, mixed the water with the cold water. Stirred until well mixed.
  • Place the flour mixture under medium to low heat until the mixture boils.
  • Continue to stir until it resembles some types of glue or when the mixtures start to dissociate itself from the wall of the bowl. Cool and keep it in the refrigerator for the portion that was not used.

PART 2 – PREPARING THE DOUGH – 1st Proofing

What is required

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  • 180 g of bread flour (you can substitute 5 g of bread flour with milk powder, in that case you need only 175 g of bread flour)
  • 30 g of sugar
  • 4 g of instant dry yeast
  • Pinches of Salt
  • 35 g of beaten egg (the above picture is for illustration. 35 g of eggs is equivalent to about 1 egg)

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  • 55 ml of fresh milk
  • 20 g of butter – soften
  • 45 g of tangzhong, refer to recipe above (about half of the tangzhong made above)

 


Steps of preparation (dough)

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  • Mix all ingredients except softened butter and beat at slow speed for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the softened butter and continue kneading at medium high-speed for about 20-30 minutes or when the dough did not stick to the wall of your mixing bowl and do not break when you pull the dough.
  • In the flat surface dusted with normal or bread flour, take out the dough from the mixing bowl and slightly knead it using hand for 1-2 minutes and shape it into a ball.
  • lightly oil you mixing bowl and place the ball in the bowl. Cover with damp cloth or cling wrap (to prevent moisture loss).

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  • Leave it to proof until almost double in size. This should be about 30-45 minutes depending on the day’s temperature.
  • If you are using a metal mixing bowl which are slightly cold when touched, put it in your oven at temperature of about 30 degree Celsius for about 10 minutes or when your bowl feel warm when touched.

 


PART 3 – PREPARING THE BUTTER FILLINGS

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What is required

  • 150 g of butter
  • 150 g of sugar
  • 180 g of flour

Steps of preparation

  • Melt the butter in the microwavable bowl (1 minute). Alternatively, you can also melt it over the smallest heat directly under the fire.
  • Add the sugar to the hot melted butter, stirred until dissolved.
  • Add in the sifted flour gradually and used a spoon to stir until well mixed.
  • Let the flour mixture cooled down and let it rest for at least 5-10 minutes (note that the flour need sometime to absorb the liquid and don’t worry if it is too watery. After 5 minutes, the flour will also expand and you can see a slight increase in volume.
  • Once cool, shaped it into 10 small balls of about 40 g each. Set aside for later use.

 


PART 4 – PREPARING THE DOUGH – Wrapping the fillings and 2nd Proofing

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  • Take the dough out, punch into the dough to let any trapped air escaped. Knead for one minute and divide into 10 equal size round ball.

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  • Wrap the dough around the butter filling ball as even as possible. Put it in a baking tray and cover with the same damp cloth.
  • Let it proof for another 30 minutes or when balls were almost double in size.

 


PART 5 – THE BAKING PROCESS

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  • Set the oven to temperature 190 degree Celsius.
  • Put  in the oven and bake at 10-15 minutes. After 10 minutes of baking, egg wash (please see below) the buns quickly and continue baking for about 5 minutes or when the top start to turn slightly golden brown. Alternatively, you can egg wash first before you send into the oven. I prefer to egg wash at the latter stage as I can control the colour better.
  • Egg wash – Crack one egg and mixed with 3 teaspoons of water and 2 drops of oil, slightly beat and sift into a small box, use the brush to brush on top of the surface. The purpose is to let the buns looks shinny and golden brown. 

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  • Take out from the oven and transfer to a rack for cooling.

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MODIFICATIONS AND VARIATIONS

  • For the butter fillings, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of milk powder to the flour. Personally, I do not prefer to have milk powder added since it will negate the butter aroma. However, commercially, they do add milk powder to this and in fact, my kids loved the fillings that have milk powder.
  • For the dough, you can add 1 teaspoon of milk powder as well. However, both this modification are not traditional methods of preparation.

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CONCLUSIONS

  • This is a traditional bun that is very popular among the Sarawakians.  The history has yet to be traced. However, this bun is usually prepared by Hainanese “kopitiam” (coffee shops) and most of the good bakers are Hainanese. Hainanese are the descendants of immigrants from the Island of Hainan in People’s Republic of China. It is also a Chinese dialect group and they are very good chefs and pastry chiefs. This is because they arrived South East Asia later than other Chinese dialect groups (like Cantonese, Hokkien, Foochow) and they were employed as chefs in the then British families and well to do local and nonya families. They were trained by the British in baking and when the colonial era ceased, they started to set up coffee shops cater for the Chinese immigrants in from China. The consumption and usage of butter in pastry were mostly influenced by the British administration. Though unconfirmed, however , it appeared to be logical because Chinese traditional cooking did not use its butter in its delicacies.
  • The Sarawak Style butter buns have a nice buttery fragrance and taken a bit resembles taking a teaspoon of butter and sugar in the mouth….It is divine especially eaten with a cup of tea or coffee. It is ideal as a breakfast item or afternoon snacks.
  • The use of tanzhong in this recipe made the bread softer even after a day or two. This newly developed baking method is widely used by bakers in the Asian region and that is one of the reasons that sweet buns and soft buns were popular in Asian region. The texture will definitely different from the traditional method of bread baking.

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Hope you take a move in trying out this new recipe. For my readers who are in other countries and never tasted this bun, just take a bowl, add equal amounts of melted butter, sugar and flours, stirred and put in the microwave for 2 minutes. Have a small scoop of filling and tell me if this is your cup of teas.

Thanks for reading and have a nice day. Cheers. 

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 8 June 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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Small Appetite Foodie’s Apple Pie

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INTRODUCTION

Being a business analyst before I become a food blogger, I like to do research if times permit. Therefore, readers who read my blog may be wondering why I like to quote Wikipedia’s definition. Seriously, I like Wikipedia’s concise definition on the food that I blogged about and at times I will use it as a benchmark against the food that I made. The same applies for today’s pastry, apple pie.

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Per Wikipedia’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_pie,

“An apple pie is a fruit pie (or tart) in which the principal filling ingredient is apples. It is sometimes served with whipped cream or ice cream on top, or alongside cheddar cheese. Pastry is generally used top-and-bottom, making it a double-crust pie, the upper crust of which may be a circular shaped crust or a pastry lattice woven of strips; exceptions are deep-dish apple pie with a top crust only, and open-face Tarte Tatin.”

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I have made an apple pie yesterday. When I was chatting with a friend in Google plus about my red dragon fruit cheesecake, he was asking me if I know how to make an apple pie. I told him that I have not prepared before as apples are rather expensive. Unlike Western countries, most apples were imported from temperate countries. However, I have tasted apple pies before and it should not be a big problem for me to replicate the apple pie that I have eaten before.

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Actually, the apple pie that I am most familiar with are those sold in McDonalds. However, those pies were deep fried and what I am going to share in this post is the modified version of baked apple pie to suit Asian Foodies’ smaller appetite for sweet desserts… Pardon me if I am wrong..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Dough – make one 8 inch pie without  top pastry

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  • 35 grams egg (lightly beaten)

  • 150 grams plain flour (sifted)

  • 30 grams of icing sugar (sifted)

  • 75 grams of chilled butter cut into cubes

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

Note: If you want to cover the entire pie with top pastry, you will have to multiply by 1.5 times the above volume. The above volume did not intend to have a upper pie crust like American style apple pie.

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Apple Fillings

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  • 4 large apples (de-skin, pitted and cut into 0.5 cm slices)

  • half cup of brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg powder

Note:

  • Selection of apples – Apples selected shall be those that are crunchy in texture such as Fuji Apple or Granny’s green apple.

  • Quantity of apples – The apples stated here are for the preparation of a flat thin pie of about 1.5 cm height. If you like the American version of apple pie, you may want to consider to increase your apples to at least 6 large apples (or even 8 depending on how deep your baking glass dish can take)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big mixing bowl, put butter cubes and sifted plain flour together. Use the finger tips to rub the butter cubes and flours together until it become crumby. Add in sifted icing sugars and continue to rub until well mix.

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  • Add lightly beaten eggs and vanilla essence, mix slowly until it become a dough. Put it in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes. Note that if you are able to handle soft dough, you can by pass this step.

  • Have a clinging wrap on the table, take the dough from the fridge and place on top of it. Put another clinging wrap on top of the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll it into a flat sheet with about 0.5 cm thickness. Transfer the dough to the pie tin and use you hand to press the dough against the sides and make it as even as possible. Use a fork to make some holes in the dough (optional). Set aside for later use. If you have some left over dough, just keep it to put on top of the apple fillings.

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  • In another big mixing bowl, add the sugar and spices to the apple slices. Mix well and pour on top of the pie pastry.  Level it. If you have additional pastry left from the making of bottom pastry, your can put on top of the apple fillings.

Note: If you have opt to cover the apple pie with top pastry, cover the pastry on top the apple and make some hole to the let the water vapour escape when the apple is cooked.

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  • Bake in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for about 25-30 minutes or when the pie crust turn golden yellow. (Note that this is a thin pie therefore, cooking time is relatively short). Egg wash the top pastry if desired.

  • Can be served either hot or cold with sour cream, ice cream or even custards.

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CONCLUSIONS

There are many variations of apple pies. Some have top pastry like the American style version. It were usually prepared using a deep glass dish. Some are without top pastry but substituted with bread crumbles and rolled oats as in the Swedish version of apple pies. The French have another version called Tarte Tatin.

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Knowing Asian’s small appetite for Western desserts, I have prepared this pie in a form of thin slice. Both pastry and apple filling are rather thin as compared to the Western version. And if the diner is of big appetite, he can just opt to have 2 slices at the same time……

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GUAI SHU SHU | Guai Shu Shu is a “shu shu” that is “guai”….


  • 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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Traditional Batik Cake or Hedgehog Cake

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Updated post on 10-10-2014

Have not prepare this cake for one year. A sudden craving made me wanted to prepare this rich and sinful cake to curb the sugar cravings. However, I have added 3 eggs to the recipe and using the boiling method.

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The simplified method are:

  • Melt the butter, add in condensed milk, beaten eggs and milo, cooked under medium heat until it starts to thicken. Transfer the mixture to the baking tin lined with Marie biscuits. Cover the base layer of Marie biscuits with the mixture. Put another layer of Marie biscuit on top and follow by another year of mixture. 

The shape is better and it wouldn’t melt in the hot weather. Of course, it will not be that creamy like the chilled version since it had been cooked. Happy trying.

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INTRODUCTION

Don’t bombard me this controversial version of batik cake or “hedgehog” cake. It is simplified by Guaishushu as he had omitted the cooking steps.

Guaishushu like traditional cakes for its simple to follow ratio. Due to lack of precise measuring equipment in the early days, most household cakes recipes are simple such as pound cakes.

Today, Guaishushu is not promoting the one number baking ratio. Instead, he is making a cake that truly reflects the lifestyles of the people living in Malaysia in the early 70’s to 80’s. This cake is a simple cake that Guaishushu’s have made a long long time ago, may be 30 years back. Then, there was no oven in the house and his family just have a very simple fridge.

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This was one of the easiest cake that he can make because it required no oven, no mixer and just need a fork and a spoon. In addition, the ingredients were household common breakfast items such as Milo beverage drink and Marie biscuits. There was no internet then and most recipes were by words of mouth. He can’t recall which relative gave him the recipe, what he could remember very clearly was the nice pattern in the cake.

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In Malaysia, the cake was called BATIK CAKE. Batik is a cloth that is traditionally made using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. It is a beautiful cloth and usually wore by Malay in the Malay Peninsular.

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batik)

Guaishushu had long wanted to make the cake but he did not have the recipe. He had in fact bought the Marie biscuits but did not have the time to search for a recipe. Coincidentally, one of the members in a Google Plus communities disclosed that her week end adventure was preparing a batik cake, Guaishushu immediately felt extremely happy and asked her for the recipe. The member was very kind to share her recipe and uploaded a picture. Guaishushu showed his wife the picture and his wife concurred that she have missed the cake too as she had not eaten this for ages.. With her recipe, Guaishushu started his preparation and within one hour, everything was done and send to the fridge for chilling.

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This recipe is a bit different from the original recipe in that Guaishushu do not cook the mixture. No cooking is actually required because all the ingredients are cooked ingredients. He opted just to mix and chilled to simplify the preparation. Of course, without cooking, the texture will be much softer and it can be treated as a type of chocolate sauce.

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The cooked version will have  a better shape but the texture is slightly chewy . Non cooked version will have a totally different texture, soft and smooth and rich in chocolate flavour.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 1 can of condensed milk (385 grams)
  • 385 grams of milo (breakfast beverage drink)
  • 385 grams of melted butter
  • 1 packet of Marie biscuits (about 250 grams) – a bit more or less is okay.
  • 3 eggs (optional) – If eggs are added, you will have to use the cooked version.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

There are two methods of preparation. Either you melt the butter, milo, eggs  and condensed milk in a sauce pan and cooked under low heat until it thickens. In this case, you cake will be chewy and more shapely (Please refer to the update post for procedures)  For better presentation, it is advised that you follow this method such that it had a nicely cut cake. But for taste wise, it is advise that you follow the second method below.

The second method is as in this illustration where no cooking is required, therefore, you final products will become very creamy, soft as if you are having some rich chocolate sauce with biscuits.

Chilled Version

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  • In a big mixing bowl, place melted butter and condensed milk together, use hand or machine whisk until texture is consistent.

  • Add in milo powder and mix until it is well mix.

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  • Arrange your Marie biscuits in the tin and pour some chocolate sauce over the biscuits. Add another layer and repeat the same procedures until all biscuits and batter are used up.

  • Freeze it in the freezer for 1 hour or until temporary set. Cut into the desired size and served immediately out from the fridge. The sauce will gradually melt in the room temperature and therefore you shouldn’t put in the serving plate too early especially in hot weather like Malaysia and Singapore.

  • Best serve cold as a form of dessert.

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Cooked Version

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  • Melt the butter, add in condensed milk, beaten eggs and milo, cooked under medium heat until it starts to thicken. Transfer the mixture to the baking tin lined with Marie biscuits. Cover the base layer of Marie biscuits with the mixture. Put another layer of Marie biscuit on top and follow by another year of mixture. 

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CONCLUSIONS

This is a twist of the traditional Batik Cake. I have purposely not to cook the batter since all ingredients are cooked ingredients. The texture and the level of enjoyment is totally different. While the traditional method of cooking the batter will provide you with better shaping but to me, its texture is compromised. I would prefer something soft, silky, rich and creamy full of chocolaty flavour to go with this simple plain biscuit. Whether or not this can still called a batik cake is irrelevant to me. The texture and taste will definitely a better alternative for me.

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The cake is made with simple ingredients, no complicating beating using expensive equipment, why not making one today and try. You can add nuts if you want to, can add some Nescafé if you prefer, change to some other types of biscuits if this suit your taste buds.  Remember, boiling method can give you a better shape but the texture is slightly harder. Chilling method is very creamy but a bit messy. If you asked me which do I prefer? For small gathering at home, chilling method. As gift or buffet style, boiling method…. Last but not least, I forgot to say that this taste like Asian Kit Kat.. Ha-ha.

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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 8 June 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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Agar Agar is not the same as Agak Agak… Agar Agar is Red Algae !!

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INTRODUCTION

Agar Agar is a Malay word for red algae, apparently it has been accepted as an English word. It is hard for a lay man like me to explain agar agar, so  as usual, I will quote Wikipedia’s explanation of agar agar for reader’s understanding.

Per Wikipedia:

“The word “agar” comes from agar-agar, the Malay name for red algae (Gigartina, Gracilaria) from which the jelly is produced. It is also known as kanten, China grass, Japanese isinglass, Ceylon moss or Jaffna moss. 

Agar-agar is a natural vegetable gelatin counterpart. White and semi-translucent, it is sold in packages as washed and dried strips or in powdered form. It can be used to make jellies, puddings, and custards. For making jelly, it is boiled in water until the solids dissolve. Sweetener, flavouring, colouring, fruit or vegetables are then added and the liquid is poured into moulds to be served as desserts and vegetable aspics, or incorporated with other desserts, such as a jelly layer in a cake. “ (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agar)

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Agar agar is one type of traditional dessert commonly found in Singapore and Malaysia. It is easy to prepare and is a common item being served during Chinese New Year and other festivals. To make it requires no complicated kitchen utensils, just need to boil and mould. Traditionally, households used dried agar agar as shown in this illustration as the raw ingredient. However, in recent years, most households have started to use agar agar powder instead of dried agar agar.

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Traditionally, due to the lack of weighing scales, sophisticated kitchen utensils and written recipes, housewives usually prepare agar agar based on words of mouth using common kitchen items such as cups as the unit of measurement.

I was told that previously, the recipe is 1 cup of soaked agar agar will requires 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. I liked this type of simple ratio recipe, however, when I tried out, it just turned out to be extremely sweet and tough.

Well, that type of recipe may not be acceptable nowadays since we have so many resources available. In olden days, the challenge to make a good agar agar is to get hold of the correct ratio of water to agar agar. The end product shall be slightly chewy and not to soft like the current jelly. In order to achieve such texture, housewives some times dried their agar agar under the sun. They believed that the less water content in the agar agar, the better it is. In fact, some house hold cut it into one bite size, dried it under the sun until it is very chewy, store in a container and eat it as a snacks or sweets!

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In recent years. preparation of agar agar is not entirely based on texture since all ingredients can be measure rather accurately. It is rather easy but the challenge had shifted to the colour combination and moulding. If you have the relevant mould, you can create your own design based on your creativities. One of the most trendy agar agar moulding will be agar agar moon cake where the agar agar were mould into a moon cake shape. Inside the agar agar moon cake, there is a yellow colour balls resembling the egg yolk.

Again that is deal with planning, making and moulding. It can be rather stressful if there are no prior planning on the colour selection and mould selection. Of course, it can be as simple as just a single colour one flat piece of agar agar. The taste will definitely be the same but of course it is less impressive to your guest.

This illustration will only provide you with the simplest layered agar agar procedures. You can chose your own colour and shape of your mould. I have use some heart shape mould and the colour is purely selected for this illustration only. At home, we will not go until this extent and usually have one to two colours plus 2-3 layers of agar agars.

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NATURAL COLOUR SELECTION

There are a lot of natural colour available and you can totally throw away the artificial colouring, if you wish. Suggested colours are:

  • White and milky – condense milk, coconut milk, fresh milk
  • Chocolate – instant coffee paste, chocolate  paste or powder
  • Red colour – red colour dragon fruits paste
  • Yellow – mango paste
  • Green – pandanus paste
  • Violet or blue – pea flowers
  • Purple –black currant drink
  • Red – strawberry paste
  • Dots in the agar agar –  dragon fruits

Besides the above colours, many varieties of cut fruits can also be included. For example, yam cubes with coconut milk is a good combination. Coffee with milk is another welcoming combination to make into agar agar. Canned Longan or lychee with black currant flavoured agar agar is also a presentable dessert. All this is very much depend on reader’s creativities to prepare one that is acceptable to the guest or family members.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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I have intentionally left out the quantities as it is best that you follow the instruction on the the package of agar agar that you bought. Be it dried agar agar strips as shown above or agar agar powders, they will have detail instructions on the quantity of water required. It is best that you follow these instruction as every brands of agar agar will requires different liquid to reach the desired textures.

  • 1 package of agar agar strip (about 38g)
  • Some water (refer package)

  • Some sugar (refer package)

  • Some permitted food colouring of your choice or the type of natural colouring ingredients as mentioned above.

  • Some moulds of your preference

  • Few leaves of Pandanus leaves – bundled (optional)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Wash the dried agar agar by soaking in clean water for 1-2 minutes.

  • In a pot, put in the water as stated in the package and add dried agar agar. Use medium heat to bring the water to boil. Continue stirring until all the agar agar are dissolved.

  • Add in the required sugar into the agar agar solution and stirred until dissolve. Turn the heat to the minimal. You just need the heat to prevent the agar agar from solidifying while you do the layering. Alternatively, you can put your agar agar in a big basin of hot water.

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  • Take out some container of your choice, add in your preferred colouring and  pour into the mould.

  • Once done, put it in the freezer or chiller or under the fan and once it is set on the top, you can pour the second layer. How long will it take will depends on your room temperature, the concentration of your agar agar and the types of you container. For my today’s illustration, it is rather fast because the container is very small and my agar agar is quite concentrated.

  • Repeat the same for different layers until all the agar agar were used up.

  • Put in the fridge for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove from the mould, cut into your desired size and shape and put in your preferred serving plate.
  • Best served cold as a dessert.

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CONCLUSIONS

This is extremely simple. It is best that you based on what is stated in the package label to prepare the agar agar. Different brands will have different instructions.

Though this illustration is using traditional dried agar agar, you can use agar agar powder instead. The price for both dried agar agar and agar agar powder is rather economical and in my humble opinion, it is still a good choice of snacks or desserts. Variations are many and you have full flexibility to choose your desired flavour, colour and moulding. You guest will surely be impressed by your creativities.

Try this traditional Asian dessert and I am sure you wouldn’t regret preparing it. Hope you like the post today. Have a nice day and cheers.

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You Stingy Old Man, You Ruined My Mexican Coffee Buns–Polo Buns and Mexican Coffee Buns

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INTRODUCTION

Please scroll down for the updated posts

Guaishushu is seriously regretting for his “creativities” and “stinginess”. He made a batch of Polo buns and Mexican Coffee Buns. However, as the final proofing of his bun is less than his desired diameter, he was left with some coffee pastry dough. Instead of throwing it away, half way when he baked the buns, he just took out the buns and pumped in the left over coffee pastry dough thinking it will melt and become a coffee buns with double dose of crusty coffee toppings… And the end, he found that instead of making it more beautiful, he made a bunch of ugly buns… Well, he still decided to share the recipe here as readers can just follow the recipe and get some good quality buns…… Don’t be misled by Guaishushu’s pictures.

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POLO BUNS AND MEXICAN COFFEE BUNS

Polo bun or pineapple bun is a type of soft, sweet bun commonly found in Asia. The word “Polo” in Mandarin literally translated to pineapple. In another word, it is supposed to be a soft bun that have skin that resembles the skin of pineapples. Usually what is being sold in the market is with fillings such as barbecue pork. However, as I am on a vegetarian diet, I have opted to make it into a plain bun for breakfast. The buns were wrapped with a soft cookie liked dough on top of the buns, when it proved for the second time, the plain dough will start to make the soft cookie liked dough to break and those resembling the skin of a pineapple. Some have used a knife to cut into a pattern of a pineapple skin.

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Mexican coffee buns is popularized by Rotiboy in Malaysia and it is a type of sweet bun with coffee flavoured crusty toppings. Usually, inside the buns, there is  a slice of butter which will melt when the buns are baked. Therefore the buns is full of buttery flavour.

THIS IS DEFINTELY A WORKABLE RECIPE AND IF YOU LOOK AT MY WORK IN PROGRESS PICTURES, YOU WILL SEE THE IT IS OKAY UNTIL THE VERY LAST MOMENT WHEN GUAISHUSHU IS GREEDY TO ADD ADDITIONAL COFFEE TOPPINGS.

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This post is a rather long post and have the following sections

Section A: Preparing the Buns

Section B: Preparing the Polo Buns Crusty Toppings

Section C: Preparing the Mexico Buns Crusty Toppings

Section D: Preparing Polo Buns for Baking

Section E: Preparing the Mexico Buns for Baking


SECTION A: PREPARING OF BUNS

What is required

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  • 500 g bread flour

  • 100 g castor sugar

  • Yeast one packet (about 11 grams)

  • 30 grams of butter (at room temperature)

  • Pinches of salt

  • 50 grams eggs (about 1 egg)

  • 240 grams of water


STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Mix all ingredients except softened butter and beat at slow speed for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the softened butter and continue kneading at medium high-speed for about 20-30 minutes or when the dough did not stick to the wall of your mixing bowl and do not break when you pull the dough.
  • In the flat surface dusted with normal or bread flour, take out the dough from the mixing bowl and slightly knead it using hand for 1-2 minutes and shape it into a ball.
  • lightly oil you mixing bowl and place the ball in the bowl. Cover with damp cloth or cling wrap (to prevent moisture loss).

  • Leave it to proof until almost double in size. This should be about 30-45 minutes depending on the day’s temperature.

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SECTION B: PREPARING THE POLO BUNS CRUSTY TOPPINGS

What is required

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  • 75 grams butter, melted

  • 110 grams of bread flour self raising flour, sifted

  • 50 grams of icing sugar, sifted

  • 25  40 grams of eggs, lightly beaten

  • 30 grams of milk powder
  • One egg yolk for egg washing
  • Some sugar for sprinkling


Steps of preparation

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  • Melt the butter in an microwave oven for 1 minute.

  • Add in beaten eggs, sifted icing sugar, milk powder and sifted bread flours self raising flour. Mixed well until it form a soft dough.

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  • Divide the dough into 8 equal portions.

  • Shape in round shape and set aside for later use.


Section C: Preparing the Mexico Buns Crusty Toppings

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What is required

  • 100 grams of butter, melted

  • 100 grams of flour, sifted

  • 80 grams of icing sugar, sifted

  • 50 grams of eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened instant coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water.

  • 8 pieces of 1 cm x 3cm x 0.2 cm cold cut butter (sizes is just for reference and you can just cut the butter in a small piece) – for usage in Section E. Store the butter in the fridge.


Steps of preparation

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  • Melt the butter in an microwave oven for 1 minute.

  • Add in beaten eggs, sifted icing sugar, instant coffee paste and sifted bread flours. Mixed well until it form a soft sticky dough and set aside.

Note that in the above illustration pictures, I only add in the instant coffee paste at a later stage.


SECTION D: PREPARING POLO BUNS FOR BAKING

* For newer detail instruction of preparing it from frozen dough, please scroll towards the end for the updated post

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  • Take the dough out, punch into the dough to let any trapped air escaped. Knead for one minute and divide into 2 portions. Set aside one portion for Mexico Coffee Buns in Section E.

  • Divide the dough equally into 8 portions and shape it into a round ball.

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  • Use a roller to flatten the “cookie liked dough” as prepared in Section B.

  • Use a brush to lightly brush some water on the plain dough so that it is easier for the cookie dough to cling on the plain dough.

  • Wrap around the plain dough and let it prove until double in size.

  • As the dough proves, you will see the cookies dough started to break. If you find you cookies dough have the tendency to drop from plain dough, spray or brush with additional water to let them stick together.

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  • When double in size, baked in the oven at 190 degree Celsius for about 15 minutes.

* For newer detail instruction of preparing it from frozen dough, please scroll towards the end for the updated post

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SECTION E: PREPARING MEXICO COFFEE BUNS FOR BAKING

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  • Lightly knead the other half of the dough as mentioned in Section D.

  • Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and shape into a sound ball.

  • Use a roller to roll the ball into a flat dough, place a piece of cold butter on top of the dough. Use the dough to wrap a butter and make it into a round ball.

  • Put it in the baking tray and proved until double in size.

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  • Put the coffee soft dough into a piping bag. Cut a small hole in the bottom.

  • Pipe the coffee soft dough on top of the proved buns in the pattern as in the above images.

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  • After finished piping, bake in the oven for 190 degree Celsius for about 15 minutes.

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CONCLUSIONS

In this post, I have shared two types of common sweet buns. If you have some baking basics, it is definitely not a difficult bun to prepare. The crispy toppings of both buns are rather similar except the proportion of each ingredient is different. These toppings can actually be prepared in advance to shorten the preparation time. Remember that you can always wrapped barbecue pork in the Polo buns and you can refer Guaishushu’s Facebook Page post P1 – Roast Meat Bun (烧肉餐包).

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Sincerely, honestly, faithfully hope you like the post today and don’t get discourage by the ugly pictures today. Guaishushu’s promise to be less stingy (at least for photo taking purposes, ha-ha) in my coming illustrations..

Have a nice day and cheers….

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UPDATED ON 2 AUGUST 2014


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I have prepared some Mexican Buns on today and I have decided to take some picture and update the post.

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As the above dough recipes uses tangzhong is rather time consuming, I have decided to use another faster dough as in my Blueberry Sweet Bread. It is definitely a faster and easier straight dough method that yields a fluffier bread.. As for the toppings, it is the same as the recipe above.

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UPDATED POST ON 12 SEPTEMBER 2014

With the frozen dough that I have in the fridge, I have decided to prepare some polo buns for the breakfast.

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There are some changes to the recipe as indicated in “red” as above as I found that this recipe for the topping is better. In addition, I have used another way of preparing the buns.

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  • Pre-heat the oven to 190 degree Celsius.

  • Weigh the  topping and divide into 10 equal balls. Take one topping, shape it like a ball, place a dough ball on top of the crust ball, wrap the topping around the dough ball. Use a knife to cut some lines on on top of the toppings.

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  • Let the dough proof until double in size, egg wash with the egg yolk followed by sprinkling some sugar on top of the crust. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes or when the breads turn golden brown.

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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.

Vege Vege Vegetable Fritters–Indonesian’s Bakwan Sayuran

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INTRODUCTION

Vegetable fritter is  rather international. Almost all international cuisines will have some form of vegetable fritters. It is a  very common food item in South East Asian countries. Be it called bakwan sayuran (Indonesia), vegetable tempura (Japan), parkosa (India) or just vegetable fritters. Packed with vegetables, it can be as healthy as you want it. You can oven baked, pan fried or deep fried. Depending on which cuisine’s vegetable fritters, the dips can also be significantly different.

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WHY THIS DISH

I am having my yearly vegetarian 1-1.5 months and I am looking for some vegetarian dishes. In addition, I am preparing this dish in response to the monthly challenge organized by a Google plus food community.

This recipe is not my household recipe but an Indonesian vegetable fritter recipe obtained from Ms Karin’s blog on bakwan sayuran However, I have modified to suit my family’s taste buds.

I concurred with Ms Karin that vegetable fritter recipe has lots of flexibility especially the choice of vegetables. Ms Karin had written in Google communities that “We can make fritters out of everything. Sometimes with something as lame as cabbage and a bunch of leftover vegetables (just avoid wet ones like tomatoes)”.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipes adopted from  Ms. Karin’s blog on bakwan sayuran.

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  • 150 g of jicama (shredded)
  • 150 g of French beans (cut into small pieces)
  • 100 g of bean sprouts
  • 50 g of red carrots (shredded)
  • 50 g of peanuts

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  • 2 tablespoons of coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoons of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of salts
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 125 g of rice flour
  • 125 g of wheat flour
  • 200 ml of plain water
  • 5 cups of cooking oil for frying


STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big bowl, assemble all ingredients together;
  • Add in coriander powder, sugar, salt, white pepper. Stir until well mixed.
  • Add in flour (rice flour and wheat flour) and water. Stir until all the ingredients are coated with the batter.

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  • In a big pan, heat the cooking oil. The oil is considered as ready when you insert a chopstick or other wooden object into the hot oil, bubbles started to emit.
  • Put few tablespoons of batter at a time and deep fried until golden brown. You will have to keep a close eye during your frying process to ensure that your batter is not too big (otherwise it will be difficult to get cooked) and your oil temperature should not be overly hot (meaning exterior to start to get burnt and inside may not be cooked). In that case, you have to turn the heat to medium or small, it make take a bit longer but once you note that the colour start to turn golden, switched to high heat for high heat and immediately take it out. This will prevent the oil from going back to the batter!
  • Drain the fritters in oil absorbing paper.

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  • Let it cool and serve with your preferred dips.

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VARIATIONS

There are many variations to this dish. You can add in any vegetables of your choice such as Entoki mushrooms, cauliflowers and the list is endless.

Method of cooking, beside deep frying, can also be pan fried or oven baked. Though oven baked and pan fried version will not be that crispy, it is healthier and equally delicious.

Spices used can also change to include cardamom, cumin seeds, turmeric powder if you preferred.

Dips and garnishes have lots of flexibility. For my kids, I have some mayonnaise and tomato sauces which become thousand island dressings. For adults we have like to home made chilli sauce. Original Indonesian fried fritters like to go with fresh chilli or cabit as they called it. You can also garnish with cucumber or tomato slices to negate the slight greasiness of the dish!

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CONCLUSIONS

  • A simple and easy to do dish that is packed with vegetables and can be as healthy as you want it to be . It is a vegetarian dish suitable for all age groups.
  • A full flexibility dish that can be tailored to meet your family taste buds including types of vegetables, spices used, method of cooking dips and garnishes.

Hope you like the post today. Cheers.



I am submitting this post to the Monthly Challenge organized by Google Plus Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia – Cuisine Communities in response of Ms. Karin’s Bakwan Sayuran (Vegetable Fritters)  post in her Karin’s Recipe blog. 

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTERESTor visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .

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