Hey, This is not Italian Meat Rolls, It Is Chinese Meat Rolls Called Ngoh Hiang

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INTRODUCTION

This post is sharing the Chinese version of meat rolls or Ngoh Hiang. It is different from the meat roll in Western cuisines such as the Italian meat rolls. Usually, minced meat (usually pork) and prawns were used and wrapped in a dry bean curd sheet.

Meat roll is an extremely popular dish for Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese households. The number of recipes available are the same with the numbers of Chinese grandmothers meaning every household have their unique recipe and all claims that theirs is the best. Depending on the dialect groups, meat rolls can be also be called ngoh hiang (five spices or 五香) or lok bak (卤肉)or hay g’ng (虾卷)

This recipe of mine, again is based on my recollection of what my late mother have prepared and the various meat rolls that I have tasted throughout the years.  I have purposely prepared this  meat roll for the noodle dish Lor Mee, a common Hokkien dish in Penang.

Usually, we prepared more meat rolls than required and stored in the refrigerators. When we wanted to serve the meat rolls, we will re-heat it.  Chinese meat rolls traditionally are commonly prepared for religious ceremonies or important house gatherings. The process  of preparation can be slightly laborious and usually ladies in the house were called to help with the preparation.

 


MEAT ROLLS OR NGOH HIANG DEFINED

As per Wikipedia: 

Ngo hiang (Chinese: 五香; pinyin: wǔxiāng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ngó͘-hiong), also known as heh gerng (Chinese: 虾卷; pinyin: xiājuàn; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: hê-kǹg) or lor bak (Chinese: 五香滷肉; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ngó͘-hiong-ló͘-bah) is a unique Hokkien and Teochew dish served in many of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore’s hawker centres and in Cebú in the Philippines, in addition to its place of origin in eastern China. In parts of Malaysia the dish is known as loh bak or lor bak.

It is essentially a composition of various meats and vegetables and other ingredients, such as a sausage-esque roll consisting of minced pork and prawn (or fish) seasoned with five-spice powder (Hokkien: 五香粉, ngó͘-hiong-hún) after which it is named, rolled inside a beancurd skin and deep-fried, lup cheong, cucumber, century egg, ginger, deep-fried egg, deep-fried beancurd, fishball and many others. It is usually served with chili sauce and a house-special sweet sauce. Many stalls in Singaporean food courts and hawker centres sell fried bee hoon with ngo hiang; this combination is common for breakfast and lunch. In Indonesia, people enjoy ngo hiang with sambal sauce. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ngo_hiang)

 


WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 1 kg of minced meat – In this illustration, I have used minced pork. However, minced chicken breast can also be used.
  • 250 g of prawns cut into small chunks – you can also mince the prawns. I have opted to use chunked prawns instead of minced prawns as  I would like to have some prawns being seen in my meat rolls.
  • 200 g of fish paste (optional). I have used this to enhance the seafood fragrance and improve the binding properties of all materials inside the meat rolls.
  • 4-5 spring onions chopped into small pieces
  • 1 big onion chopped into small pieces
  • 10 water chestnuts peeled and cut into small pieces. The purpose of water chestnuts is to let the meat rolls have some feel of crunchiness when eaten.

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  • half cup of corn flour – purpose is to enhance the springiness of the meat roll;
  • 1 cup of wheat flour – purpose is to enhance the stickiness of the ingredients. Without wheat flour, the meat rolls can be rather loose.
  • 1 egg – purpose to increase the stickiness and fragrance of the meat rolls.
  • 1 tablespoon of salt 
  • 3 tablespoons of light soya sauce to taste
  • 2 teaspoons of five spices powder (optional). Though the name is called Ngoh Hiang (five spices), my family seldom put these spices as our family members do not really like the aroma. However, most of the meat rolls that I have tasted do put these spices.
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oils
  • 5 teaspoons of white pepper
  • 5 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 12 sheets of bean curd sheets of 6 inches x 6 inches big

 


STEPS OF PREPARATION

Mixing the ingredients…….

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  • In a big mixing bowl, place all ingredients together. Use a big spoon to stir until all ingredients are well mixed. As some of the ingredients can be very fine (such as five spice powders, white peppers and etc.), you can also add the ingredients in stages if you find that it is difficult to mix well by putting all the ingredients all at once.
  • The final picture is the well mixed minced meats and it is considered as well mixed when the colour is even and consistent. The minced meat can be rather sticky due to the addition of egg and wheat flour.

 


Rolling the minced meats…

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  • In a flat surface, place a dried bean curd sheet. Use a wet hand to lightly pat the bean curd sheets. The purpose is to make it more flexible as too dry the bean curd sheets can be easily broken.
  • Placed about 150 grams of minced meats on top of the dry bean curd sheets.
  • Make a small roll, fold in the sides, used some of the minced meats or water to apply to the sides and corners of the bean curd sheets. Roll the minced meat until the end of the bean curd sheets. With the minced meat or water at the sides, it will help to  bind the bean curd sheets together.
  • If you runs out of bean curd sheets, you can shape the remaining into a ball and deep frying it. Please refer to the section below “When you runs of bean curd sheets”.

 


Steaming the meat rolls….


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  • In a steamer, place some water and bring to boil.
  • Transfer the meat rolls to the steamer and steamed for 15 minutes. Use a skewer/toothpick to penetrate one of the rolls and ensure that the skewer/toothpick  comes out clean.

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Deep frying the meat rolls……..

This step will involve frying the meat rolls. However, if you do not want the meat roll to be deep fried, you can also served it after steaming by cutting into small slices. Traditional ways of preparation will require the meat rolls to be deep fried such that the bean curd sheets will become crispy and golden brown.

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  • In a deep pot, have some oil until smoking hot. As a test of whether the oil is adequately hot for frying, place a wooden chopstick into the hot oil. If bubbles start to come out, it means that oil is ready for frying.
  • Place the meat rolls into the hot oil and deep fried until golden brown. Note that as the whole roll is already cooked, therefore the purpose of this step is just to ensure that bean curd sheets are crispy and the color is golden brown, therefore, the timing of the deep frying is rather fast usually less than  5 minutes.
  • Take out the meat rolls and place it in a plate with an oil absorbing paper on the plate.
  • Cut into small pieces when serving. Condiments can include sweet chilli sauce or plum sauce.

 


 

 

 

 

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What would happens if you runs out of bean curd sheets….

It is rather difficult to estimate the exact quantity of bean curd sheets that you need. At times, you may run of bean curd sheets as not all rolls are of the same sizes. In that case, you can shape the minced meats into small balls and roll it in the biscuit crumbs before deep frying (steps as above).

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  • Have some biscuits and grind it as fine as possible. Add some corn flour to the biscuit crumbs.
  • Shaped the minced meats into small balls and roll the balls in the biscuit crumbs.
  • Placed in the hot oil until the skin of the balls turns golden brown. Take out and place in an oil absorbing paper.

 


CONCLUSIONS

Meat rolls are a common household dish among Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese.  There are many recipes and each family will claim their is the best. Making meat rolls can be laborious but the moment you put it in your mouth, the taste is worth every efforts preparing it. Meat rolls are usually prepared for religious ceremonies and is served in restaurants as one of the cold dish. It is also used for noodle dishes such as lor mee. A detail post on the preparation of lor mee will be released soon. Preparation of lor mee will require  the use of these meat rolls  and meat balls as the ingredients.

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Hope you LIKE the post to day. Have a nice day and cheers.

 

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CCC – Cheesy Cassava Cake–A Modified Version of The Traditional Nonya Kuih Bengka Ubi

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INTRODUCTION

Tapioca or cassava is a staple root widely consumed in regions like Africa, Asia, Oceania and etc. It is easily propagated and commonly found in South East Asian countries. Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia are the top three exporter of tapioca in the world.

Tapioca or cassava cake is a very common household cake of any races (be in Chinese, Malay, Indian or other races) in Singapore and Malaysia. However, in the Peranakan cooking, Kueh Bengka Ubi is one the most famous items in its cuisines.

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There are generally two methods of making cassava cake, by steaming or baking. Chinese preferred to have its cassava cake steamed, as soft as possible and served with shredded coconut (at times this is needed as the cake are so soft and smooth that it is shapeless). On the other hand, the Nonya preferred to bake the cake using charcoal stoves or ovens. Usually, the baked cassava cake have a slightly burnt crusty top and the body is yellowish in colour and texture is rather “elastic”. It is very aromatic with a mixture of fragrances from pandanus leaves, coconut milks and eggs.

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CHEESEY CASSAVA CAKE

This recipe is my own without making reference to any recipes in the internet. As usual, I have prepared based on what I think is workable, memories on the cake that I have tasted before and one or two attempts a few months back.

This cake is different in its texture and its taste. Besides the normal fragrance of the traditional cassava cake, the  cake have a rich and cheesy fragrance. In addition, as you can infer from the pictures above, the texture is moist but not soggy or sticky. In fact, you can cut it into any shape that you want.

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The incorporation of cream cheese had made the cassava cake smoother and creamier. It helps to heighten the flavour of the eggs, coconut milk, butter and the cassava original flavour.

I have used small sago balls to enhance the texture. Grated cassava, under high heat can turn very sticky and subsequently become very chewy. The additions of sago balls somehow will help to sooth the texture making it even smoother.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 100 g of sago balls – soaked in water (Volume of water should be about 2 times of the sago ball and note that the balls will expand)
  • 150 g of butter
  • 200 g of cream cheese
  • 250 g of granulated sugar

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  • 4 eggs
  • 200 ml of thick coconut milks
  • 1 kg of finely grated tapioca or cassava. You can buy in the market and grate it yourself. If you want to grate it yourself, you will have to use the food processor to chop it as finely as possible, and then you can proceed to use  a blender (instead of an cake mixer) to perform the following steps. You will need to put in your chopped cassavas, eggs, coconut milks and blend it to as smooth as possible).
  • Red and green (pandanus) colouring (optional) – I have resorted to the use of red and green colouring this illustration as I find that the traditional cake are rather dull in colour and I want my cake to look more colourful and appetizing.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Pre-heat your oven to 180 degree Celsius.
  • Get ready a 8 inch x 8 inch baking tin. Slightly grease the tin with either butter or cooking oil. Dust some wheat flour if necessary.
  • In the mixing bowl, beat your butter, cream cheese and sugar using medium speed until evenly mixed. Note that the purpose of this step is not to let you have a fluffy cake like other cake recipes. The beating here is mainly a mixing step, a step to ensure that the butter and cream cheese are evenly mixed.

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  • Once well mixed, add in your eggs one at a time and followed by the coconut milk. You should only use low speed for this simple mixing purpose. Scrap out the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl to ensure that there are not cheeses sticking to the bowl.
  • At this stage, you will notice that the mixture become more and more watery which is normal and hence SPEED SHOULD BE LOW as long as mixing can be performed.

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  • Add in the grated cassava and soaked sago balls. “Beat” at the lowest speed possible. You will see that after 1-2 minutes of slow mixing, the liquid start to disappear as it was further absorbed by the sago balls.
  • Separate into approximately 4 equal portions. One portion with red colouring, one portion with green colouring and the other two portions maintain the original colour.

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  • Pour the uncoloured portion of the batter to the tin, followed by green and red portion. It is entirely up to readers as to what design you want your cake to cook like. For me , I have opted to have some simple big stripes design. As the batter is not very watery, it is rather easy for you to design your pattern.
  • Baked using 190 degree Celsius for about 30-45 minutes or until set. Until set means when you push the baking tin, the centre of the cake does not “vibrate”. Another test is that you insert a skewer in the centre of the cake, the skewer come out clean. However, as this is a cassava cake, cassava when hot can be slightly slimy and as long as you taste it is not raw, the cake is consider as cooked.
  • Leave the cake in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Cutting of cake is  best done 3-4 hours after baking to ensure that centre of the cake is completely cool. As long as when you cut the cake, there are some cake stick to the knife, your cake is considered as not cool completely.

  • Serving suggestions – you can serve with shredded coconut with white sugar and hot tea or coffee.
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CONCLUSIONS

  • This is a modified recipe by incorporating cream cheese and sago balls to the traditional cassava cake. The main aim is to smoothen the cake texture and make the cake creamier along with the fragrance of eggs, coconut milk and cassava.
  • Resulting from the modification, this will be totally different from the traditional cassava cake that you may have tried. It is soft, slightly springy and with cheesy coconut fragrance.  The shredded sugar coconut with heighten the palate and reach another higher dimensions.
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  • It is easy to cut into your desired sizes and looks presentable in tea party as a snack items.
  • If you think that you are a professional Nonya cake baker, you should try and tell me what is your opinion. If you are new to pastry making, this is one item that will not ruin your confidence.

Hope you LIKE it and have a nice day. Cheers

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

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Microwaved Mug Cakes, Another Quick Alternative to Baked and Steamed Cakes…

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Updated Post on 16-10-2014

Last night, wife was asking what is for breakfast today? I told her I do not know and worst came to the worst, some biscuits.. Ha-ha. This morning, while I was cracking  my head what to prepare  muffins and scones that are fast and easy… It suddenly come across my mind to prepare some microwave butter cakes. It is very easy and moist and it took me about 15 minutes to prepare a 2 eggs cake- 10 minutes preparation and 5 minutes microwaving… I save my electricity, dishing, energy and time…

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The texture of microwave cake is always very moist and like the preparation of muffins, I gather the wet ingredients and dry ingredients, stir until well mixed and microwave…Happy trying.

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INTRODUCTION

This is another post in my simple pastry making series, a cup cake or mug, a cake baked in a cup. It is baked in a cup or a mug cake in the microwave oven. It is fast, utilizing about 5 minutes. No electrical beaters, just mix using your choice of utensils and you will be able to get a cake like above. Scale down all the ingredients, putting in a microwavable cup, you can even prepare one for your kids breakfast. This post will share with you a one man breakfast chocolate cake, a coffee log cake and a cheesy buttery log cake.


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Chocolate Cake
(1 man serving)
Coffee Log Cake
(6 inches log)
Cheesy Butter Cake
(6 inches log)
Container 1 microwavable cup of about 250 ml 1 microwavable cup of 600 ml 1 microwavable cup of 600 ml
Sugar 2 tbsp 80 g 80 g
Butter (melted) 2 tbsp 80 g 80 g
Cream cheese (room temperature) 80 g
Fresh milk 2-3 tbsp 80 g 120 g
Coffee liquid 80 g
Eggs 1 egg 80 g 80 g
Self raising flours 2 tbsp 160 g 160 g
Cocoa powder 2 tbsp
Sodium Bicarbonate (optional) 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp
Microwavable time 3 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes

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STEPS OF PREPARTION

The steps of preparation is the same be it for a small cup or a 3 inches diameter cup. The illustration below is for a small cup one man personal chocolate cake.

Chocolate cake (serving for one)

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  • In a 250ml microwavable cup (one normal coffee cup), put sugar, self raising flour and slightly stir it until well mixed.
  • Add fresh milk, melted butters and eggs and use a spoon stir it until well mixed or when colour is even and there are no lumps.
  • This step is rather important and make sure any flour stick in the bottom will be scraped up and mixed and there are no air in the mixture. Lightly tap your cup in the table to see if there is any air trapped in the mixture.

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  • Place your cup in the microwave oven and heat it for 3 minutes under high power.
  • You will start to see the cake start to rise after 1 1/2 minutes and by the sides will start to contract. If your cup is smaller, you may see the batter started to rise even higher and possibly 1-2 cm above the cup level. That is ok since the cooked batter (now becoming cakes) are able to withstand the weight any uncooked batter that subsequently rise to the top.
  • Wait for 1-2 minutes before you take it out from the cup. Theoretically, it should not stick to  the sides or bottom of the cup if your batter are mixed thoroughly with no lumps of unmixed flour.
  • Be careful when you handle the cakes as it can be quite hot especially the inside of the cake.
  • If you can’t finish your cake and on your next serving, just heat up your cakes for 10-15 seconds and your cake will become soft again.

For the coffee log cake and cheesy butter cake, the steps of preparation is the same except the measurements as mentioned above and the incorporation of cheese in the above batter. The follow steps will apply for both cakes.

Coffee Log Cakes and Cheesy Butter Cakes

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  • In a 600ml microwavable cup, put sugar, sifted self raising flour, sodium bicarbonate and slightly stir it until well mixed. You can also melt the butter in the microwave using the same cup for about 1 minute.
  • For coffee log cake, have 80 g of hot water and add 2-3 table spoons of instant coffee powder until it is fully dissolved. You can also use hot milk instead. Add melted butters, coffee liquids, butters and eggs and use a spoon to sir it until well mixed or when colour is even and there are no more lumps. This is the batter of coffee log cake.
  • For cheesy butter cake, after you melted the butter, put the cream cheese into the hot melted butter and stir until almost well mixed. Add fresh milks and eggs and use a spoon to stir it until well mixed or when colour is even and there are no more lumps. This the batter mixture of the cheesy butter cake.
  • Again, this step is rather important and make sure to scrap any flours on the sides and bottom of the microwavable cup, mixed and ensure that there are no air in the mixture. Lightly tap your cup on the table to see if there is any air trapped in the mixture.

 

  • Place your cup in the microwave oven and heat it for 5 minutes under high power.
  • You will start to see the cake start to rise after 3 minutes and by the sides will start to contract. If your cup is smaller, you may see the batter started to rise even higher and possibly a few cm above the cup level (as in the picture). That is ok since the cooked batter (now becoming cakes) are able to withstand the weight of any uncooked batter that subsequently rise to the top.
  • Wait for 1-2 minutes before you take it out from the cup. Theoretically, it should not stick to  the sides or bottom of the cup if your batter are mixed thoroughly with no lumps of unmixed flour.

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IMG_0400  Cheesy Butter Cake

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Serving suggestions

  • Best served when hot with glass of tea or coffee.
  • Reheat in microwave for 10-15 seconds if necessary.
  • Add some cream cheese or fresh cream if desired.

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CONCLUSIONS

  • This post introduced the use of microwave to prepare a cake, if you do not want be your cake in the cup or mug size, you can used other microwavable kitchen utensils of your liking.  Most microwaves nowadays have a detail function for each cooking methods, select baking functions if available. Otherwise, use the high power function.
  • The use of microwave in the “baking” of a cake have cut short its preparation time considerably. Making a cake within 5 minutes were unthinkable in the olden times. It is obviously a good alternative to the traditional baking and steaming of preparing a cake,
  • The texture of the cake is unique as it is soft and moist. That make the cake easy to cut into any sizes desired.
  • It is an good alternative as a traditional tea cake but offer advantages of quick and fast preparation as compared to traditional tea cakes.
  • There are many possibility of using this simple preparation methods to “invent” cakes that you want.. Try to explore, may be banana cakes, carrot cakes, blueberry muffins…… and the list is never ending. The point to note is that you can use the traditional recipes but the batter must be well mixed and make sure no air is trapped in your batter!

 

Lastly, take a cup and a spoon, walk towards the kitchen, put in 2 tbsp of flours, chocolate powder (milo/horlicks), sugar, melted butter (cooking oil acceptable), fresh milks and 1 egg, Stir well, put it in the microwave and tell me what it look like.

Hope you LIKE it and have a nice day.

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

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