Adzuki beans Lotus Seeds Soup (莲子百合红豆沙)

IMG_1742

INTRODUCTION

I have to be frank that I do not like to issue this type of dessert sweet soup recipes.. The main reason is that I have to do a lot of researches before I can issue my post..

IMG_1746

I do think I will issue a simple recipe without providing readers any information.. I believed readers should always understand what they are consuming or at least, in Chinese dessert sweet soup, why ingredients A is paired with B and etc. or benefits of having such desserts. All these traditional recipes have been prepared for many years and there must be reason of its benefits and  behind such pairing.. 

IMG_1744

What I am sharing to day is a very common dessert prepared be it in restaurants or households. Again, it is a Cantonese cuisine and I presumed most household will now how to prepare. Depending on your dialects, Cantonese  believed that for a good bowl of this dessert, the red beans must be cooked until very soft and resembling  the paste form..For other dialects, soft but still grainy is considered as acceptable.

IMG_1736

The recipe basically involved boiling the red beans in water until the red beans are very soft and mushy. Add sugar and it can be served. The challenge is to achieve this effect as fast as possible. There are many ways of cooking but I believed using pressure cooker is the fastest among all. Other cooking methods that can be considered are:

  • boiling over the stove with a porcelain spoon ;
  • Slow cooker over night boiling
  • Rice cooker soup function
  • Thermal flask cooking by bring the red bean to boil and keep in the thermal flask overnight

IMG_1722

The main ingredients in this recipes are dried lily bulbs (百合), red or adzuki beans (红豆), lotus seeds (莲子) and dried tangerine peel.(橘皮) 。 At times when the ingredients are a lot, I will only share the benefits of the two most important ingredients. Per http://chinese.herbs.webs-sg.com/articles_9.html, the main functions of lily bulbs as per Chinese medicine are:

  • For treating of ulcer of the stomach.
  • For treatment of pain in solar plexus because of spleen deficient.
  • For treatment of Dengue Fever during frequent urination period.
  • For treatment of neurasthenia.
  • For treatment of boils.

IMG_1732

As per http://www.pingminghealth.com/article/259/red-bean/, red beans have the following benefits :

  • Reduce Fluid Retention as in oedema cases
  • Aids in weight loss due to excess fluid retention
  • Avoid effects of external pathogenic dampness
  • Reduce heat and toxin in the blood that causes rashes, pimples and boils

IMG_1728

“莲子百合红豆沙 – 红豆有清心养神、健脾益肾功效,加入莲子、百合更有固精益气、止血、强健筋骨等作用,能治肺燥、干咳,提升内脏活力,增强体力。莲子有养心安祥的功效,中老年人特别是脑力劳动者经常食用,可以健脑,增强记忆力,提高工作效率。百合具有养心安神,润肺止咳的功效,是著名的保健食品,也是老少皆宜的食物。莲子百合红豆沙具有补脾、和胃、清肺功效,老少皆宜。养生也是护肤的重要的一部分,外调加上内养,才能造就一个水灵灵的女人。” (http://www.baike.com/wiki/%E8%8E%B2%E5%AD%90%E7%99%BE%E5%90%88%E7%BA%A2%E8%B1%86%E6%B2%99)

IMG_1740


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 4-6 adult servings

IMG_1708

  • 300 grams of adzuki red beans (红豆),soaked for 1-2 hours
  • 250 grams of rock sugar (冰糖)
  • 25 grams of dried lily bulbs (百合) , soaked until soft
  • 50 grams of lotus seeds (莲子), soaked until soft
  • Some tangerine peels (陈皮)
  • Few pandan leaves (香兰叶)

IMG_1726


STEPS OF PREPARATION

PicMonkey Collage1

  • Wash the red beans, add sugar and pandan leaves. Add water until it is about 2 cm above the red beans. Pressure cook the beans for 30 minutes.

  • Add the soaked lily bulbs, lotus seeds, rock sugar and tangerine peel. Add additional water such that it about 2cm all the ingredients. Pressure cook again the beans for another 30 minutes. Use the ladle and move in a circular motion and grind the the red beans for a few minutes. While doing this action, avoid breaking the lily bulbs and lotus seeds which should be rather soft now. Best served warm with additional tangerine peel.

IMG_1724


CONCLUSION

To conclude, this dessert aids to improve the spleen function (and hence blood production and transportation 补脾 leads to less easy to become tired), strengthen  the stomach (and hence better intestinal digestion system  和胃  leads to better appetite) and lungs clearing (reduce chronic cloth and etc. 清肺)。It is also beneficial to ladies as it contained lots of iron in adzuki beans and good in blood replenishment。Lastly, it is good for skin conditions resulted from damp heat as per Chinese Tradition Medicine.  I hoped I am clear and I know I am not as I am as new as you are.. lol . I hope to learn together with all of you.. Whatever it is, this is bowl of delicious traditional dessert that is believed to benefit our bodies.

IMG_1734

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

IMG_1730


  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 13 March 2015)  here and you can follow me at 

PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts. Also follow me at INSTAGRAM or TSU, a new social network for some more personal sharing other than recipes.

food bloggers[4]

Food paradize[8]

pinterest[4]

  • If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 2600 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD.
IMG_1718


15 Selected Asian Desserts

desserts collection 

INTRODUCTION

As my blog index is quite in a mess, I have decided to summarize my blog entries for reader’s easier reference. These are the Chinese or Asian desserts that I have prepared captured both from this blog and from Guaishushu’s Facebook Page and you may want to take a quick look. Click on the link or the pictures to get the recipes.


Mango Puddings (芒果布丁)

img_67491

Winter Melon Dried Longan Sweet Soup (冬瓜桂圆糖水)

img_85541_thumb

Aloe Vera Sweet Soup (芦荟水果甜汤)

IMG_9568

Poached Bosc Pears & Dragon Fruits (博斯克梨龙珠果炖冰糖)

1000217_516883395049412_1853807840_n

Barley Peanut Soup (薏米花生汤)

img_2272-2_thumb

Black Glutinous Rice (黑糯米)

img_7460

Sweet Potato Soup (番薯糖水)

sweet potatoes sweet soup

Barley/Black Glutinous Rice(黑糯米薏米糖水)

img_1819

Bubur Cha Cha (摩摩喳喳) 

549554_527490427322042_1122694018_n

Fruits Soup (水果牛奶)- Soup Buah

598444_531903710214047_687072965_n

Mung Bean Sweet Soup (绿豆爽)Tau Suan

1234832_534477789956639_1901682014_n

Sugar Coated Yam and Sweet Potatoes Sticks (反沙芋头地瓜条)

1098417_534853123252439_1417092672_n

Yam and Pumpkin Paste Desserts With Gingko (白果金瓜芋泥)

1150934_535877229816695_1272497758_n

Hoen Kwe – Mung Bean Flour Dessert(粉糕)

1148869_537524669651951_1925647470_n

Agar Agar(燕菜) 

img_5348_thumb


If you are interested to get Chinese recipes, just copy the blog address, select translate from English to Chinese, paste it in Google Translate and you will be translated into Chinese language

Capture


For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 3 March 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .  

group-board-picture72222222222222222[1]

If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 1500 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD. You can also join the Food Bloggers and Foodies United Group Facebook Group to see more recipes.

desserts collection

Small Appetite Foodie’s Apple Pie

Processed with MoldivIMG_6806

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.

Processed with Moldiv

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.”

Processed with Moldiv

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.

Processed with Moldiv

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..

IMG_6788

 

IMG_6800


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Dough – make one 8 inch pie without  top pastry

IMG_6846

  • 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.

Processed with Moldiv


Apple Fillings

IMG_6847

  • 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)

IMG_6794


STEPS OF PREPARATION

IMG_5683

  • 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.

 IMG_6843

  • 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.

IMG_6844 

  • 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.

IMG_6845

  • 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.

Processed with Moldiv


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.

IMG_6808

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……

Processed with Moldiv

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.  

 

IMG_68231

 Processed with Moldiv

Light Yet Sophisticated And Delicious Mango Puddings

 IMG_67491

INTRODUCTION

I remembered I first have my mango pudding when I stayed in Hong Kong in 1995. It was rather popular be it in the hotel restaurants or in the fast food chains. For commercially packed mango puddings, it can be easily bought in the supermarkets. The dessert is light and can be served with a variety of regional fresh fruits. It is especially soothing and comforting after a heavy meal of oily or spicy foods. I loved its rich and creamy texture.

IMG_6754



MANGO PUDDINGS DEFINED

As per Wikipedia:

“Mango pudding is a Chinese dessert usually served cold. It is very popular in Hong Kong, where pudding is eaten as a traditional British food. Mango pudding originated in India and the recipe was introduced from the British in the 19th century. There is very little variation between the regional mango pudding’s preparation. The dessert is also found in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Macau and is often served as dim sum in Chinese restaurants.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mango_pudding)

IMG_67371



WHAT IS REQUIRED

Make 6 desserts cups

IMG_6713

  • 200 ml of coconut milks

  • 200 ml of full cream evaporated milks

  • 250 ml of fresh milks

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 150 grams of sugar

  • 1 large mango (pitted and pureed)

  • 9 gelatine sheets (about 1.5 tablespoon gelatine powder)

As for the liquids, you can change between coconut milks, evaporated milks and fresh milks  but ensure that the total volumes add up to 750 ml. This means that you can use 750 ml of fresh coconut milks if you prefer. I usually like to dilute my coconut milk as I do not want the dessert to be overly creamy and for health conscious reasons.

Note that the colour of the final mango puddings will vary depends on the types of mango that you have. If evaporated milk were added, the colour will be creamy colour.

IMG_6762

 


STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparing the mango purees

IMG_6718

  • De-skin and pitted (stoned) one large mango. Put the mango flesh in a food processor, blend it until puree form and set aside for later use.

IMG_6756



Preparing the puddings

IMG_6723

  • In a sauce pan, place all the liquids and sugar and heat it under medium heat until it boils. Once boiled, turn to lowest heat available.

  • Soak your gelatine sheets for 1 minutes and place the sheets into the sauce pan. Keep stirring until all the gelatine are dissolved. Off the heat but put on top of the stove to minimize the heat loss.

IMG_6728

  • In a big mixing bowl, use a whisk to whisk you egg yolk until light. Add the mango puree and whisk until well mixed. Sift the hot milk onto the mango puree and stir until well mixed.

  • Spoon the mixture into lightly oil pudding moulds or dessert cups and leave to cool. Chill the mango puddings in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (or until set), preferably overnight.

IMG_67521



CONCLUSION

Easy to do and tasty desserts. Classic yet sophisticated. You can serve with fresh fruits or on its own. Additions of extra evaporated milks will make it creamier. Best to present to your guest after a heavy, oily and spicy meal.

IMG_6747

Hope you like the post today. Cheers.

IMG_67431

Let Try Something New–Red Dragon Fruits Pie Bar And Blueberry Pie Bar

IMG_2700

UPDATED POST ON 5-12-2014

Saw some blueberry in the supermarket and I have decided to update this post with some new pictures. Decided to prepare blueberry pie pars.. I have always loved pie bars especially its crumbly top.. Unlike normal pie, pie bars have more short crust pastry than its fillings. If you like short crust pastry of any sort, you shall try this..No major changes in the recipe, just torn down the sugar content to suit Asian taste buds..Changes are highlighted in red.

IMG_2696

INTRODUCTION

I have been challenged that most of my recipes that I have written are very “colourful”. If you think that I like permitted food colouring, that is not entirely true. You may have seen a few post that uses food colouring, but that essentially was because I am doing it more for illustration and picture taking purposes. If you read my post on Rainbow Loaf, you will understand how I justified the usage of permitted food colouring and struggling whether such a post should be issued. While I don’t encourage the use of food colouring, but we have to be realistic in our daily lives. I strongly believed the usage of permitted food colouring are all over the food outlets. What about Angkukueh? Do you think all mango puddings are consistently as yellow as what you saw every time your bought it? How about various type of tapioca pearls, milk teas, pasta sauces or even moon cakes? Well that is up to individual and I tend to choose to believe that NOT all the green colour in the Pandan Kaya or Kueh Srimuka/Salat that are sold in eating outlets  are all from the Pandanus leaves….

IMG_6254

This post is  using a natural colour. A colour that I am very hesitant to touch. I even hate it when it stained my cloth! It is one of the very strong natural colour – Purplish Red dragon fruits. There is an influx of purplish red dragon fruits in Singapore supermarkets in current year. Though I do not really like to touch the colour by itself, but I do believed it will help to create a visual effect in pastry’s presentation.

IMG_6250

In last week’s marketing, these dragon fruits were on sale and I managed to get 2 big red dragon fruits for S$2.50.. I think that it is a deal and I think I should made use of its natural colour to make some pastries. Then it reminded me of some blueberries pie bar that I read while browsing the internet. therefore, I have decided to use these dragon fruits to prepare some dragon fruits pie bars..

IMG_2692

Pie bar is a type of short crust pastry usually loaded with seasonal fruits and served as desserts. Fruits that are usually used include strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.

IMG_6305


WHAT IS NEEDED

IMG_6292

Pie Pastry for crust and toppings

  • 400 grams of plain flour

  • 330 grams of butter (cold and cut into cubes)

  • 300200) grams of sugar

  • Pinches of salt

IMG_6293

Dragon Fruit Fillings

  • 4 eggs (about 200 grams)

  • 400 (250 ) grams of sugar

  • 100 grams of plain flour

  • 150 grams of sour cream or whipped cream

  • Pinches of salt

  • 200 grams of dragon fruit (meshed) or mashed blueberries

IMG_2694


STEPS OF PREPARATION

Meshing Of Dragon Fruits

IMG_6301

  • Use some kitchen utensils or sharp objects such as forks or knifes or potatoes mashers to mesh the dragon fruits.

IMG_6252


Preparing the short crust pastry

  • Get ready a baking tray of 12” x 15” baking tray.

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius

IMG_6300

  • In the big mixing bowl, put cold cut butter, flour and sugar. Use finger tips to rub the butter and flours mixtures together until resemble some crumbs.

  • Divide the crumbs into two portion, one for the bottom layer and another portion for the toppings.

  • Press half of the pastry against the bottoms of the baking tray. Use a fork to make a few holes in the pastry and set aside for later use. 

IMG_2690


Preparing the fillings

IMG_6298

  • In another mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and cream together. Add flour and followed by mesh dragon fruits and mixed well.


Assembling And Baking The Pastry

IMG_6295

  • Pour the dragon fruits fillings on top of the pastry. Sprinkle the remaining flour mixture evenly over the fillings.

  • Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes at 180 degree Celsius.

  • Cool at least one hour before cutting your desired sizes.

  • Best served with some whipped creams, ice creams, additional fresh fruits or on its own.

IMG_6255


CONCLUSION

  • It is a dessert that is not that tough to prepare. I believed it is still relatively uncommon in Singapore and Malaysia. For a person with sweet tooth like me, I definitely wouldn’t object such a treat. The crispy and crunchy toppings resembles a bit of the biscuits with some mild fruity flavour of the red dragon fruits.

IMG_2702

  • I have hold up this post for one day as I am unsure about the colour combination and the acceptability of this desserts in this area of the world. When I posted up to one international communities in Google Plus, I was being encourage to proceed with the post as the pie bars looks appetizing.. Thanks to those members who have encouraged me to have this post.

IMG_6253

  • I have quite a number of posts in the past one month, this is due to the assistance from my mother in law who is visiting me and able to help me to “nag” my kids performs some household chores. In addition, Singapore was having a school holiday last week.  In the next few days, as my mother in law will be back to her home town, I will have to slow down my posting as I need my energies to nag and cooked for normal household meals. She has been a great helper in the house and I really appreciate and thankful for her presence and I know I am going to miss her like her grandsons and grand daughters…

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

IMG_2698


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

IMG_2688

Is Pavlova Originated From Australia, Russia or New Zealand?–Strawberry and Blueberry Pavlova

IMG_5533

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday is really a busy day for me. I have been making mayonnaise, baking pizza and this Pavlova. By the time  I have to take picture of this Pavlova, I was feeling extremely tired and after I ate one slice and kept 3 slices for other families members, I gave away the rest to my neighbour who were having some sort of house gathering. I hoped I have adequate pictures to share with readers.

IMG_5529

Pavlova actually sounds familiar to me. Just like Vladimir, Sergei, Liana and Nathasia, the name sounds so Russian. I have spent some times in Russian before and one of my ex-colleagues do carry the name Pavlova. In fact, I do not know it is the name of one of the famous desserts until very recently when I did a read up on meringue, macaroons and other egg whites based pastry items.

IMG_5535

WHAT IS PAVLOVA?

Per Wikipedia:

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. It is a meringue dessert with a crisp crust and soft, light inside.

The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the source.

The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and with its simple recipe, is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals. It is a dessert most identified with the summer time, but is eaten all year round in many Australian and New Zealand homes.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlova_(food))

Meringue based dessert will mean this dessert only utilizes egg whites and some sugar. It is not really a common dessert in Singapore and Malaysia. The challenge is to prepare a Pavlova that had a crispy outside of soft cotton liked inside. Preparation is not really that tough but patience is needed in the baking of this simple meringue.

IMG_55331



WHAT IS NEEDED

IMG_5468

  • 4 egg whites (at room temperature)

  • 1 1/4 cups of icing sugar or castor sugar

  • 2 teaspoon of potatoes starch/corn starch

  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • Fresh fruits of your choice. In this illustration, I have used fresh strawberry and blueberry.

IMG_5522

Note:

  • The egg whites have to be at room temperature. Colder egg whites are more difficult to beat to peak condition.

  • I have substituted the castor sugar with icing sugar as it will be easier for it to dissolve in the egg whites. If it is difficult for you to get icing sugar, just blend the castor sugar using a food processor.

  • Usually, corn starch is used. However, as I did not have corn starch with me, I have used potatoes starch. By the same logic, sweet potatoes starch and tapioca starch can also be used. What is needed is a small quantity of flour that is light and smooth to help holding the Pavlova structure.


STEPS OF PREPARATION

IMG_5572

  • In a baking tray. have a piece of baking/parchment paper. Use a 8” round baking tin and draw a big circle on the baking sheet. Set aside for later use.

  • In a mixing bowl, Add egg white and beat until soft peak form. Add in icing sugar spoon by spoon and continue to beat until the egg white is thick and glossy.

IMG_5573

  • To check if all sugars have been dissolved, rub a bit of the beaten egg whites (meringues) between the thumb and index fingers. If it is smooth, it means that the sugars have been dissolved. If it feels sandy, it means that the sugar has yet to be dissolved. Continue beating for another 1-2 minutes and test again.

  • Add in vanilla essence and continue beating until it is well mixed.

  • Off the machine if the meringue is glossy and in its stiff peak form. Stiff peak form means when you hold up the beater, the meringue can point upwards as shown in picture number 4.

IMG_5574

  • Take out the mixing bowl. Add/sprinkled the lemon juices. Sift in the potatoes/corn flours.

  • Use a spatula to fold in the flour and lemon juice quickly. Handle lightly until all the lemon juice and flour are well mixed.

IMG_5575

  • Place the meringue on top of the baking paper within the circle drawn. Smoothing the edges.

  • Baked in the oven at low temperature of 130 degree Celsius for about 60-90 minutes or until the outer crust are dry and pale cream colour.

IMG_5576

  • IMPORTANT: Leave the Pavlova inside the oven with the door ajar and let it cool inside the oven until it is completely cool. It is generally okay if the middle part of the Pavlova collapsed as we will be decorating with whipped cream.

  • PRIOR TO SERVING, beat about 200 ml of whipping cream until top peak and placed on top of the Pavlova. Place your fresh fruits on top of the Pavlova.

IMG_5526



CONCLUSION

Pavlova is good to be served as a dessert. It’s sweet crusty tops and sides goes well with most fruits. One can also consider using fruits such as Kiwi and mangos. The Pavlova can be prepared in advance and keep for 3-4 days in an air tight container. Of course, the size of Pavlova have to be reduced accordingly for it to store in the container. It can also be made into a one bite size.

IMG_55391

If you are health conscious, you can substitute the whipped cream to low fat whipped cream and slightly reduce the amount of icing sugar used. Remember whipped cream and fruit toppings shall only be used prior to serving as the whipped cream and fruit juices will make the meringue soggy if not consume on time.

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

newmarvelousmondays-button 9VwhltV

 IMG_5524

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

IMG_5342 

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)

IMG_5320

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.

IMG_5355

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!

IMG_5328

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.

IMG_5363


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.

IMG_5353


WHAT IS REQUIRED

IMG_5301

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)

IMG_5346


STEPS OF PREPARATION

IMG_5371

  • 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.

IMG_5372

  • 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.

IMG_5361


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.

IMG_5348