Can I Have A Moon Cake That Is Not Round? Hmmm.. Try Short Crust Pastry Moon Cake

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Chinese Mooncake Festival or Mid Autumn Festival is arriving soon on 19-9-2013 (or Chinese Lunar Calendar August 15) and I think most bloggers will blog about moon cakes. There are many many moon cake recipes in the internet and there is no way for me to blog something that I am rather unfamiliar due to my poor shaping skills of moon cakes .

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This year I have a few attempts to shape the moon cake but not really successful. It cracked terribly and I have told members in my Facebook Group“Food Bloggers and Foodies United” that I am not going to issue a post on moon cake I totally do not have any confidence to share with readers about the making of moon cakes.

The next day after I issued the post, one of my relatives gave us a pack of moon cake from Kluang, Johor Malaysia. In the box, it was written clearly Shanghai Moon Cake, and what shocked me is that the shape is elongated and some called it a mouse shape.

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Sorry for my limited knowledge, I never seen Shanghai moon cake in this shape. I posted in my timeline and asked my friends what is that. Surprisingly a number of friends from Southern Peninsular Malaysia knew about this shop and ever tasted this special moon cake before.

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The next day, I cut it and ate a slice, I felt that the taste was very familiar. It resembles the short crust biscuits with the normal moon cake fillings. Therefore, I told my friends that I wanted to pursue another baking adventure based on what I tasted and I wanted to try to “reproduce” the moon cake that I received.

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That morning, there is no body in my house except myself. I just simply pick a short crust pastry recipe and start my adventures. Actually, the short crust pastry resembles the pineapples tart pastry. However, in this illustration, I made a mistake by including sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in the dough. I shouldn’t need to include this as the fillings will expand when heated and the baking soda make the crack bigger that I do not want to see.

Putting that aside,  I would say that this pastry, or pardon me formally called it “SHORT CRUST PASTRY MOONCAKE” , is definitely worth trying. The soft filling blends extremely well with the melt in the mouth pastry wrapping it. Unlike other moon cake,  it is buttery in flavour and that make me wanted to share with readers this “funny” pastry aims at those who are adventurous to try out new ideas.

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But I have to highlight that, it is just like any pastry, it can’t keep for long. It is best to consume it within two to three days of making it. The wet fillings will make the short crust slightly soggy if you do not consume on time. Well, that is my frankest opinion and I do hope that readers have some confidences on me by baking this short crust pastry moon cake and share with me if it is up to your expectations.


WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 80 grams of salted butter, cut into cubes and keep in fridge waiting for later use.

  • 2 eggs lightly beaten

  • 400 grams of self raising flour (sifted)

  • 80 grams of sugar powder

  • 600 grams of moon cake fillings of your choice (in this illustration, I have used both the green tea paste and red bean paste).

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Pre Preparation

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree.

  • Get ready a baking tray with a piece of baking sheet.

  • Divide the moon cake fillings into 3 portions and roll it into an cylindrical shape of about 6 inches long.

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  • In a big mixing bowl, put in your sifted self raising flour, sugar powder. Add the butter cubes from the fridge. Use finger tips to lightly rub the butter until butter and flour are well mixed resembling crumbs. Rubbing should be light and fast. This resembles the preparation of scones and your can refer HERE.

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  • Make a whole in the centre put in the beaten eggs.

  • Use a fork or a knife to slightly mix the batter. Once the eggs and the flour have form a dough, transfer the dough to a table and knead for 1-2 minutes to ensure it is well mixed.

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  • Divide the dough into 3 portions. In my illustration, my dough weighed about 220 grams per portion.

  • Use a rolling pin to roll the dough in a floured surface into rectangular shape of about 10 inches x 5 inches.

  • Place your moon cake filling on top of the pastry, close the longer ends and roll follow the shape of the fillings.

  • Close the other two ends and ensure the edges are closed.

  • You can reshape to any shape that you want. However, I have opted to use the shape as shown above. Alternative shape is round shape. However, round shape is difficult for serving. So I opted for the oblong shape.

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  • Place the dough in the baking tray. Use a sharp knife to lightly cut lines on top of the dough.

  • Have the first egg wash and send to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

  • After 15 minutes, take out and have a second egg wash. Baked for another minutes 10 and the moon cake is done.

  • For egg wash, hand beaten 1 egg yolks and add 2 big table spoons of water and 2 drops of oil. Sift and put in a container. Use a brush to lightly brush the dough.

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CONCLUSION

This is another way of serving the moon cake though traditionally, moon cake must be round resemble the moon. Whether this can be called moon cake or other name is up the discretion of the readers.

This moon cake was prepared using short crust pastries and the buttery taste of the pastry is totally different from traditional moon cake but it blends well with the traditional moon cake fillings. It is good to be served as a tea time snack item.

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I hope you enjoy my baking adventures for making this special shape moon cake inspired from the famous Kluang moon cake shop in Malaysia.

This recipe was included in Page 15-17 of the “Easy Mooncake Recipes E-book”. For more mooncake recipes, you can have a copy of Easy mooncake recipes  – A step by step guide” that was packed with 20 recipes, 45 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD4.00. The recipes covered various recipes from durian mooncake, traditional baked mooncake and also the less common Teochew mooncake . You can purchase by clicking the link above.You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at kengls@singnet.com.sg and separate arrangement can be made.

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Hope you like the post today and do join me in the baking adventures. Bake one for yourself and tell me if it suits your taste buds. Have a nice day and cheers


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Dates Fruit Cake (黑枣蛋糕)

Processed with Moldiv

INTRODUCTION

This is the 5th cake in a series of my baking adventures utilizing the “one number baking ratio”. Previously I have written about basic pound cake, zebra patterned pound cake, layered pound cake, grapefruit cognac pound cake and this post, I am going to share a simple fruit cake like dates pound cake. It is going to be a short post as most background have been explained in the previous posts.

The taste of this pound cake is very much like the fruit cake. The dates have been soaked in cognac before it is added to the cake. Of course for Muslim readers, you can always soaked in milk or orange juices. Therefore, the cakes is full of dates and cognac fragrance.

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As contrast to the traditional fruit cake, the cake texture will be much softer due to the insistence of using one number baking ratio that include one portion of milk. You can understand one number baking ratio here. In summary, the ratio means flour: egg: sugar: butter: milk (or liquid mixtures) is  1:1:1:1:1:1.

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This time, I have purposely not using the egg separation method! Therefore this recipe is even easier than the previous recipes. It have cut less at least half of the time of preparation.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 250 grams of self raising flour (sifted)
  • 250 grams of brown sugar
  • 250 grams of butters
  • 5 eggs or 250 grams of eggs
  • 220 grams of milk (balancing figures subject to the weight of your eggs used)
  • 250 grams of dates (soaked in water or alcohol such as rum)
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
  • 30 grams of rum/cognac or other alcohol or other liquids
  • Some almond flakes (optional)

Calculation of milk if you are using 5 whole eggs instead of using 250grams of eggs

Milk volume is the balancing figures and subject to the volume of liquid ingredients and size of eggs. In this illustration, my eggs weigh a total of 310 grams. Therefore actual milk used = 500 grams (milk + eggs theoretical volume) – 290 grams (weigh of eggs) – 30 grams (weigh of cognac) = 180 grams.

Alternatively, you can just fixed the eggs volume to be 250 grams therefore, you need not to recalculate the milk volume and purely follow the recipe above.

Processed with Moldiv



STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparation…

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius

  • Lightly grease an 8” x 8” diameter baking tin preferably with a detachable base. (In this illustration, as I want to give some of the cakes to my friends, I have decided to use one 6” x 6” diameter and two small loaf tins therefore cutting time have been cut short considerably).

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  • In a big mixing bowl, add in butter and brown sugar, beat until light and fluffy.

  • Add in vanilla essence and one egg at a time. Beat until eggs are well blend with the beaten butter.

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  • Add in the soaked dates and mixed at low speed until the dates are well mix with the butter batter.

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  • Take out the mixing bowl and fold in 1/3 of the flours followed by 1/3 of the milk and 1/3 of the cognac. Repeat for the other 2/3 portion. 

  • Pour into the light greased baking tin  and baked in the oven at 180 degree Celsius from the first 30 minutes.

  • Reduce the temperature to 150 degree Celsius and bake for another 15 minutes or until the top turn yellowish brown and until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool for at least 1 hour before cutting the cake. It is best to let it rest overnight if time permits.

Note that the above baking time is for an 8”  x 8” baking tin. If you are using 6” x 6” and 2 loaf tins, you will have to bake at 180 degree for the first 20 minutes and reduce the temperature to 150 degree Celsius and bake for another 15 minutes.

Processed with Moldiv



CONCLUSION

This is a very short post by applying the one number baking ratio to the dates fruit cakes. The cakes are definitely moister than traditional fruit cakes. It is definitely a cake worth trying. One number baking ratio can definitely be extend to the baking of more cakes and next in the list will be cup cake or muffins..It is late and really tired after baking 3 products and rushing out 3 posts today. 

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

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Processed with Moldiv

How I Wish This World Is As Colourful As A Rainbow–Cranberries Raisins Rainbow Loaf

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INTRODUCTION

Guaishushu told himself, once in a while playing with colouring is okay since he did not have a chance to colour since after schooling.

Two months ago, he “accidentally’ brought a full set of colouring intended for icing decoration for about SGD 30 and he thought that it’s only SGD3. By hook and by crook, he wanted to use up some of his colouring and he knew that the only colour that he really needed and always used is the red colour for the preparation of red eggs during his kids’ Lunar calendar birthday celebration. Besides making the red eggs, he really don’t know what to do with these colourings!

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One day, when he was browsing his Flipboard application in iPhone, he saw some rainbow loaf which is extremely beautiful but he is hesitant whether or not he should proceed to prepare this since it will need a lot of colourings.

Though it is generally not encouraged to consume too much food with colouring, but there should be government regulations that governed the import of permitted food colourings. If it is hazardous to health, he shouldn’t be able to get it in this “efficiently administered” country, Singapore. He searched the manufacturer Wilton LLC, apparently, it is an USA well established company set up in 1929. He told himself he is just a commoner, if this company had been established for so many years, their products must have been used by many people in the world and he should not casting doubt on its product reliability! In this thinking process, he gradually convinced himself that it is acceptable for him to prepare the bread!

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He knew that if he bake the bread, he will have nothing to worry about the “marketability” of his rainbow loaf as his kids will definitely fight for the bread. While he was struggling to make a decision, he certainly thought of a blog “Bake for Happy Kids” by Ms. Zoe. Her blog title is correct, he should bake to make his kids happy!

This post is about rainbow raisin and cranberry loaf. Guaishushu aims are to share about the making of rainbow loaf and raisin loaf. Therefore if readers are not fond of making the rainbow loaf, he can just make the raisin loaf instead.



WHAT IS REQUIRED

This recipe was adopted from the Sarawak buns recipe here and some of the picture are in the above mentioned post.

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  • 360 g of bread flour (you can substitute 10 g of bread flour with milk powder, in that case you need only 350 g of bread flour)

  • 70 g of beaten egg

  • 60 g of sugar

  • 40 g of butter – soften

  • 90 g of tangzhong (refer below)

  • 110 ml of fresh milk

  • 11 g of instant dry yeast ( 1 package)

  • 7 different types of colour gel or colouring (refer below)

  • 100 g of raisins and/or cranberry soaked in water/rum.

  • Pinches of salt

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THE PROCESS OF MAKING RAISIN AND CRANBERRY RAINBOW LOAF

This illustration will use the Tangzhong method of bread making and it involved 4 stages in the following orders:

Part 1 – Making the Tanzhong (Water Roux)

Part 2 – Preparing and Colouring the Dough for the 1st Proofing

Part 3 – Wrapping of Cranberries and Raisins and 2nd Proofing

Part 4 – The Baking Process



Part 1 – Making the Tanzhong (Water Roux)

PLEASE REFER TO THIS POST for the making of Tanzhong and reasons and history of Tanzhong.



Part 2 – Preparing and Colouring the Dough for the 1st Proofing

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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.

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  • In a 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.
  • Weigh the ball and divide into 7 equal portions.

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  • Take one dough and place some colour gel and knead until all the colour are even. Keep in a lightly greased bowl and covered with lightly greased cling wrap to prevent moisture loss.
  • Do the same for the remaining 6 dough with your desired colours.
  • Leave it to proof until almost double in size. This should be about 30-45 minutes depending on the day’s weather.

Colour Selection

For this pictorial illustration, the colours that I have selected was in this order (from left to right and eventually from the top level to the bottom level):

Lemon YellowGolden yellowPink”No-taste” RedKelly GreenRoyal BlueViolet

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Part 3 – Wrapping of Cranberries and Raisins and 2nd Proofing

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  • Lightly grease a loaf tin with a cover.

  • Get ready a small bowl of water and the raisins and/or cranberries to be wrapped in the dough.

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  • Start with the lowest layer, take out the violet dough and use a roller to roll into roughly the size of the loaf tin.

  • Brush slightly with some water on the surface and place your raisins/cranberries.

  • Get the royal blue dough (second bottom layer) and use the roller to roll into roughly the size of the loaf tin.

  • Place the royal blue dough on top of the violet dough. Press the sides and ensure that the royal blue dough and the violet dough stick together.

  • Brush slightly with some water on the surface and place some raisins and/or cranberries.

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  • Get the Kelly green dough (third bottom layer) and use the roller to roll into roughly the size of the loaf tin.

  • Place the Kelly green dough on top of the royal blue dough. Press the sides and ensure that the Kelly green dough and the royal blue dough stick together on the sides.

  • Repeat the same for all the other layers and finished with the lemon yellow dough on the top.


Part 4 – The Baking Process

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  • Place the dough into the lightly greased loaf tin and let it proof until it is double in size. How long it will take depend very much on the weather and today, it took me another 45 minutes to reach the desired size I want.

  • Set the oven temperature to 200 degree Celsius

  • When the second proofing is done, i.e when the dough have double the size, bake in the oven for 30 –45 minutes..

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  • At about 35 minutes or when you start to smell the aroma of the bread, use an oven thermometer and insert into the bread and see if the temperature inside the loaf is more than 90 degrees Celsius. If it is less than 90 degrees Celsius, your bread will not be cooked and it is likely that when you take out the thermometer, there will be some wet dough stick with your thermometer. In this case, continue baking until when you inserted again the oven thermometer, the thermometer shows at least 90 degrees Celsius. If you find that the top starts to turn brownish, you can lower the temperature by 10 degree Celsius. General rule of thumb is that if you are unsure, rather bake slightly longer than under cooked.

  • If you don’t have an oven thermometer, one way of testing is after about 45 minutes (which is a reasonable timing for this size of loaf), take out the loaf from the loaf tin and try to use your finger to knock the bottom of the loaf. If it is a hollow sound, your loaf is cooked, otherwise, the loaf is uncooked. Put it back into the loaf tin and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes until you are certain that the dough is cooked. Again, if the top layer has signs of getting burnt, lower the temperature slightly.

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Note that the LOAF IS NOT BURNT. The dark brown color is the color of the violet dough on the side of the loaf.

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CONCLUSION

While too much food colouring is not advisable, I choose to believe the Government’s stand on permitted food colouring. As long as consumption is not too often, such colouring shall not post a/any serious health hazard to our body.

While I am making this loaf, the kids were schooling. When they were back, I asked them to close their eyes and show it to them, “wow” are their reactions! They can’t believe that I am baking this loaf. They have requested to eat a piece of the bread but rejected by me because dinner is to start in 10 minutes time. In their mind, the loaf will definitely much tastier! Once in a while, why not bake your kids something “extraordinary” and joined them for a rainbow breakfast! Trust me, it will definitely a “colourful” and “fruitful” breakfast!

Hope you like this post on Cranberries and Raisins Rainbow Loaf. Have a nice day ahead and cheers.

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I am submitting this to Welcome To All My Bloggy Friends and #Recipeoftheweek

8646468202_0880f459d1   Link up your recipe of the week

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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.

What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 11-8-2013

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On 7 August 2013, white rice served with :

1.      Braised Bitter Gourd With Chinese Mustard                                                 苦瓜焖苦瓜

2.     Salted Turnip Omelette                                                                                    菜脯蛋饼

3.     Vegetarian Winter Melon Soup                                                                       素冬瓜汤

First of all, I have to be frank that I will be a vegetarian (by religion) for a period of about 1.5 months and being the only member in the family, I am pretty easy going with my meals. Since my relatives are in my house, they can cook what they like and I usually give them the free hand so that I can concentrate on my other food posts.

However, when I have things to share, I will post here and there summarizing what I have made the last few days. As mentioned before, short recipes will be captured in Guaishushu’s Facebook Page, therefore, I will let you know the dishes published and if you are interested, you can go there for some pictorial illustration. Liking the Page (not the individual posts) will ensure that you will be briefed of all future recipes when Guaishushu issue a pictorial illustration.



Salted Turnip Omelette (菜脯蛋饼)

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This is a very common Chinese household dish especially for the Hokkien and the Teochew dialects. It is basically preserved turnips (either sweet or salty) fried with eggs. When I was young, we used to have this dish with white porridge as its very tasty. Previously, this dish was considered as a commoner’s dish because eggs and preserved turnip or radish are two of the cheapest cooking ingredients. It is tasty and a slice of  egg omelette with a bowl of white rice or porridge can be a meal for the poorer families. However, time have changed, this traditional dish has become so well known that it started to appear in the restaurant menu especially Minan/Hokkien/Taiwan restaurant and Teochew porridge restaurant. Preparation is simple and you may want refer here for detail pictorial illustration.



Braised Bitter Gourd with Chinese Mustard (苦菜焖苦瓜)  

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This is a vegetable dish “invented” by myself many years ago. Initially, it was just bitter gourd and subsequently, as per my wife’s request, Chinese mustard was added. Both Chinese mustard and bitter gourd were very bitter and if you are a bitter taste lover, you will like it definitely. At times, I have added a can of canned button mushrooms and my kids will eat together with us. This is one way of letting them getting used to the taste of bitter gourd and Chinese mustard.

Both these vegetables were beneficial to the body as per Traditional Chinese Medicine, these are “cooling” vegetables that will help to release the “heat” on your body. For those who are not familiar with TCM, body that have too much “heat “ will have lots of symptoms that can range from loss of voice, acnes in your face, sore throat etc. and you have to have food that are “cooling” in nature to balance your Yin and Yang.

My mother in law is very particular about vegetable combination in a meal and she will casually remarked “we have some “heat” prone vegetable today and today we shall have some cooling vegetables.. So under her, her vegetable choices will take into consideration this factor plus “colour” of the vegetable (green vs. white vs. colourful), leafy vs beans….. Most of time, I “failed” her test under her supervision but I am learning from her gradually as this takes time!


Vegetarian Winter Melon Soup (素冬瓜汤)

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Nothing much to say about this dish as it is just another version of winter melon soup without pork ribs. As there is no meat broth, I have use more sweet dates and add in some vegetarian bean curd sheets. My boy did not complain about no meat and my girls, who is soup fanatic, will definitely say nice especially winter melon is one of her favourites.



Banana Cake (香蕉蛋糕)

Beside the savoury dishes, my baking adventures continue. I have made a banana cake using two ripe bananas. Taste is fabulous and texture is superb (soft and moist). Uniqueness about this cake is that it is prepared using a food processor rather than the normal mixer. No creaming of butter, just mixed and blend, a batter will come out that give a delicious butter cake. Cake preparation timing is less than 20 minutes. This is a comfort food that is suitable for those who want a simple way of cake making.

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In between these few days, I have prepared many cakes and savory dishes and among them were:

Oven baked honey tempeh and Sweet and Spicy Tempeh



Vegetable Fritters or Bakwan Sayuran

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Grapefruit Chiffon Cake with Grapefruit Citrus Glaze

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Bubur Cha Cha (Sweet Soup) 

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers

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Salted Vegetable Duck Soup (咸菜鸭)– A Quick and Easy Way to Prepare This Traditional Soup Dish

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INTRODUCTION

This is a soup dish that I have always craved for it。 It is rather extraordinary as not many Fujian Chinese soup dish are as sour as this dish。 However, it is a well liked dish that most Chinese households would have their own recipe for this soup and every household will claim that theirs is the best. Though it is commonly thought of a Hokkien/Teochew/Peranakan (dialects) cuisines. however, to be more precise, it  is a Fujian province soup and even in People’s Republic of China, they have recipe for this soup.

When I was young, the soup were only prepared when they were big festivals or religious prayers. The main reasons were that ducks were relatively expensive and will only be served at big festivals. In addition, during religious festivals, lots of food were cooked and it is unlikely to finish all the foods in one day, this soup which is sour was less prone of turning bad if keep for a day or two as most households do not have refrigerators in the 1960’s. Thirdly, duck is very difficult to cook, traditional way will need braising of duck until the meat are soft and tender and the flavour of the salted vegetable starts to penetrate into the duck meat. Therefore, it is cooked only occasionally.

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Traditionally, the duck meat were braised for hours before it can be served. It is also a common belief that the soup be left overnight to become even tastier. However, with the introduction of new cooking equipment, the cooking time have cut short considerably. I have used one hour to cook this dish and get the same taste that my mum would have prepared for at least half a day. For this illustration, I have used pressure cooker that cut short the time considerably. However, previously, I have also use rice cooker (soup function) to cook the soup and slow cooker to boil overnight. However, the best equipment is still the usage of pressure cooker followed by rice cooker and finally slow cooker.

The most basic ingredients of this soup are ducks, salted vegetables, Chinese preserved sour plums and gingers. Ginger is a must because it will counter effect the cooling effect brought by the consumption of salted vegetables.  Chinese generally discouraged consumption of preserved vegetables as it will introduce “wind” to the body. All other ingredients are side ingredients which in my humble opinion are optional.

To make it even more sour, cooks are using tomatoes (which appeared to be an essential ingredient now), asam kulit (tamarind slices), vinegar, lemon and marinated lemon. Other more common ingredients are dried mushrooms, garlics and red carrots. There are also recipes in the internet that have  chilli, brandy as their ingredients!!!!!

For me, a good bowl of soup should be sweet (from the meat broth) and sour (not extremely sour) with a blend aroma of ginger and salted vegetables. Meat must be tender and soft.



WHAT IS REQUIRED ….

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  • 500 g of salty preserved Chinese Mustard
  • 1 kg of duck meat  (about half a whole duck  and de-skinned if preferred).

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  • 50 g of red carrots cut in small pieces
  • 10 small dried mushrooms soaked in water
  • 3 big whole garlics
  • 100 g of gingers (peel off the skin)
  • 100 g of tomatoes cut into big pieces
  • 2 slices of ginger
  • 3 sour plums that can easily get from Chinese provision shops.
  • 6-8 cups of water (estimation)

Note:

Only the salted vegetables, duck, gingers and sour plum are the main ingredients. All other ingredients are side ingredients which are optional and a matter of personal preferences. Volume listed here are also for reference only as it is rather hard for you to get an exact 1 kg duck.. so full flexibility here.

It is advisable that you soak the preserved vegetable first before you cook the soup. I would rather soaked the salted vegetable for a longer time to reduce the saltiness and if the final soup is not salty enough, I will add salt to the dish. I usually soak the vegetable for at least half an hour.



STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Layer your ingredients (except tomatoes)  between salted vegetables and meat and other ingredients . Why it is not a must but I have the habits of layering the ingredients to ensure the meat were well seasoned by the ingredients)
  • Add 6-8 cups of water or about 1.5 times the height of your ingredients. Note: if you are using pressure cooker, you can use this amount of water. However, if you are using rice cooker or stove to boil the soup, you may need at least 10 cups of water until the meat get tender and soft. It is ok to start with this volume of water and if the volume of water is not enough, you can add water along the way.
  • For pressure cooker, select “meat function” and it will took approximately 25-30 minutes. After cooking, let it rest in the pot for at least 15-30 minutes as it will continue to cook. BE CAREFUL WHEN HANDLING PRESSURE COOKER.  For rice cooker, select “soup function” and if after the first cooking, the meat is still or tender, you can select another round of soup function and stop when the meat have your required tenderness.  I usually cooked this before I went to bed and the next day, every thing is perfect.
  • When done, add in the fresh tomato and close the lid and rest for another 10 minutes before serving.

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  • Preferably served hot with rice .

 


CONCLUSION

  • This is a rather short post on one of the traditional Chinese soup dishes – Salted Vegetable Duck Soup. The reasons for the exact combinations of these two main ingredients are unknown. Possibly duck needs time to braise and salted vegetable can withstand long hour of braising. Ginger is a must, in my humble opinion to get rid of the meat raw smell and also have to role of preventing gas formation when consuming preserved vegetables. Sour plum is the traditional ingredient to make this soup sour though the present method have resort to the use of tomatoes, lemons, tamarind slices and etc. All other ingredients are optional and quantity can varies according to your own preferences.
  • Traditionally, the soup was cooked over charcoal stoves where you need at least 2 to 3 hours or longer to get the desire meat texture and soup flavour. However, with the pressure cooker as in this illustration, the cooking time have cut down considerably and it is easier to control the quality of the soup. Rice cooker soup function is another alternatives than can be considered.
  • While the soup is tasty and nice, excess consumption is not  recommended as this soup is consider as cooling according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. In addition, those with stomach acidity will also need to watch out the volume of consumption.

Hope you like it. It is not as difficult as what it is thought. It is a bowl of soup that I could never resists and you should be proud to modify the recipe to suit your families taste buds. Happy trying. Cheers.

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What A Golf Ball Have To Do With A Pineapple? Well, It Is The Famous South East Asian Pineapple Tarts (凤梨酥)

This post is updated  on 9th January 2014 with the inclusion of a VEGETARIAN RECIPE. This recipe is egg less, milk less and butter less. Please scroll down towards the end of the post for vegetarian recipe. Both recipes share the same steps of illustration.

Second updates on 20 July 2014 : New Picture Taking

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INTRODUCTION

I told myself, I must set aside my time to write this post. I have lost my recipe twice. Once, accidentally thrown away by my wife as she thought it is my kids recycle paper and in another incident, I have typed down in a notepad in my old computer but I just can’t locate it when I switched to my new computer. So this time, I told myself that I must publish in my blog so that I have multiple copies and if I lost it, maybe I can still get a copy from my readers ! Ha-ha

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PINEAPPLE TARTS DEFINED

As usual, I will give some standard definition of the food that I am going to post so as to give readers a better understanding on what they are going to prepare! As per Wikipedia:

“Pineapple tarts refer to small, bite-size pastries filled with or topped with pineapple jam found in different parts of Asia. In South East Asia exists one form of Pineapple tart.  The pastry consists of a large proportion of butter and egg yolk, besides using corn starch, giving it a rich, buttery, tender and melt-in-the-mouth texture. The pineapple jam is usually made by slowly reducing and caramelizing grated fresh pineapple that has been mixed with sugar and spices – usually cinnamon, star anise and cloves. Typical shapes include a flat, open tart topped with pineapple jam under a lattice of pastry, rolls filled with jam that are open at the ends and jam-filled spheres. Considered a “festive cookie”, pineapple tarts are usually consumed during Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and Deepavali periods in Singapore and Malaysia.[However, they are sold all year round by commercial bakeries and by souvenir stores serving tourists.” Source: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineapple_tart)

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MAJOR TYPES OF PINEAPPLE TARTS

There are many types of pineapple tarts and the basic types are:

1) The golf ball types or enclosed version. It is also called melt in the mouth types of pineapple tarts. This shall be the recipe that I will share with readers today.

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2) The opened version whereby the pineapple jams sits on a flower like pastry.

Source : http://happyhomebaking.blogspot.sg

3) The half enclosed type or Nastar version whereby part of the jams were wrapped with two ends opened.It is also called pineapple rolls

Source: http://www.tastespotting.com


PREPARATION OF PINEAPPLE TARTS

Preparation of pineapple tarts will involve the following two main parts:

  • Preparation of pineapple jam – I will not cover this part in this post. I have made my pineapple jam before but as I did not capture the images here, therefore, I will not share with readers here. Instead, if you are interested to make your own pineapple jam, you can visit this blogger’s video http://.bigheadmagicmad.com on how he makes the pineapple jam. For this illustration, I have opted to use the ready-made jam sold over the counter which can be easily bought in most supermarkets or cake specialty stores in Singapore and Malaysia.
  • Shaping of Jams;
  • Preparation of Doughs;
  • Wrapping of Jams; and
  • Baking the Pastry

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The steps that I am going to detail here are rather unconventional and “unusual”. This is a method that I have used and found to be the easiest and fruitful method.  If you follow this recipe and preparation illustration strictly, you will get a melt in the mouth buttery pastry. Unlike other posts, I am rather insistent on the method and ingredients used to achieve that quality of tarts made. It is via many trial and error that I have come out with this recipe. There are no corn flours or cream cheeses as in other recipes. The pastry is just using extremely simple ingredients low gluten wheat flours or normal wheat flours, butter, sugar and egg. The recipe uses creaming method as opposed to the rubbing method but provide equally light pastry that melts in your mouth.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 1 kg  of pineapple jam.
  • 500g of plain flour
  • 350g of salted butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 50g of icing sugar
  • 4 egg yolks (note that in the picture there are some egg whites which is not supposed to be there)
  • 4 tablespoons of icy cold water. You can have 3 tablespoons of water from the fridge and one ice cubes.
  • Pinches of salt
  • 2 egg yolks (for egg washing)

Pineapple Jams – Personally, I prefer the pineapple jam that are made with the pulps included. It will be slightly sour and fibrous. There are some category labelled  as “premium quantity” (which is made purely from the flesh) but in my humble opinion, the jams will are too sweet and too soft for this golf shape pineapple tarts

Salted Butter – I am rather insistent that it must be pure butter. No vegetable oil and mixture of vegetable oil and animal fats. Put aside the health issues, the fats selected must have high fat content!

Icy cold water – It is very important to have ice-cold water to incorporate air into the dough. When it is ice-cold, butter will not melt that soon and therefore, it is less likely to have a sticky dough.

Icing sugar – It must be icing sugar as the sugar must be extremely fine so that you don’t have any sugars that are not dissolved in the pastry due to the special handling of this dough.

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SHAPING OF JAMS

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  • Cut over the jam package. Use your best estimation to divide the jam equally. I am making about 1oo jam balls for 1 kg of pineapple jams. About 10 g per balls.
  • When shaping the balls, you may find it extremely sticky. Pat your hands with some clean water. the balls that you made will become very smooth. If you have excessive water in your hands, your balls will become very slippery and it will drop.
  • Get ready a plastic container, arranged it nicely layer by layer. In between the layer, add a piece of plastic sheet to separate the balls. This step is also deemed to be a must if you are following my methods later.
  • Once you have shaped all the jams, stored in the freezer for 3-4 hours. Don’t worry if your jam looks like an iron ball, that is ideal if you can constantly keep it in that way. Well this is a rather controversial step.

Notes

This step is preferably done the day before. Even not, should be at least 3-4 hours before. Unless you are an expert, you can wrap with immediately shaped balls, otherwise, 3-4 hours preparation, in my humble opinion is a must. You will know the reasons why very soon.


PREPARING THE DOUGHS…..

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  • Sift your flours, if possible two times in a container. Set aside for later use.
  • In  a mixing bowl, placed your butter and sugar. Beat until creamy.
  • Add in the egg yolks one by one, reduce your speed to slow and beat until the yolk were well mixed

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  • Take out the mixing bowl and fold in the flours using a big metal spoon as lightly as possible.
  • Alternate with icy cold water until all the flours and water have been added and well mixed.
  • Scope into a plastic container and put inside the refrigerator and let it cool for at least 1/2 to 1 hour.

Notes:

The harder it is, the easier for you to wrap. If you know how to handle this type of soft dough, you can wrap directly. However, for my wrapping method to be shared below, it is advisable for you to cool your dough until the butter start to solidify a bit.

If you are making a big batch of pineapple tarts, to save your electricity and effort, you can make the dough all at once at keeping it in the fridge. It can keep for a long period of time (at least more than a week) provided you only take the portion that you want for that session and keep all the rest in the fridge until you need it for the next session.

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WRAPPING THE DOUGHS AND ….

Here is the fun and controversial part.

I will show you the traditional way of wrapping and then show you my own way of wrapping to increase your productivities.

My unique way of wrapping was discovered by me during one of the nights just before Chinese New Year when I have to rush out the orders for my customers. The time is already very late, almost 11:00 pm. Nobody is helping me as my wife and my kids have to sleep early as they have to attend the school next day. I have to make at least 2 kg  jam equivalent of pineapple tarts (about 240 pineapple tarts). I am tired as nobody was helping me, I suddenly felt the urge to discontinue the making of the tarts. I threw all the balls into the dough, walked to the balcony and take a rest. After 15 minutes when I cooled down, I tried to salvage the situation and that I discovered this method was the best method so far. Subsequent testing confirmed that this was the easiest and with the thinnest dough. However, there are a few requisites that you must follow strictly as what I have described above and subsequently.

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  • Shape your dough into 10 grams each.
  • Flattened the dough, take a jam ball and put on top of it. Wrap it and shaped into a round ball.

You can use this method but since the objective is to have a mouthful pineapple tart. The pastry must be light and melt in your mouth. The flattening of dough may result in over handling of dough that yields harder crust eventually.  

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  • Pre-heat your oven to  180 degree Celsius.
  • Take out your dough, and use a spoon to slightly loosen the dough.
  • Take the jam balls from the freezer and throw, say, the first layers of the hard jam balls into the dough container. Put the rest back to the freezer.
  • Put some dough on top of the balls and rolled the balls on top of the hard dough.

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  • Shape the dough following the shape of the round hard jam balls and put in the baking trays.

Note:

This is a very important step, the harder the balls, the better it is for you to shape. The cold temperature of the balls will help to make the butter in the dough in solid form and resulting in light pastry crust.

As long as the dough covers the balls, you can start shaping it. Hard balls made your shaping very easy and give your final pineapple tarts an identical shape.

You need to time to make the tarts and at the same time, your balls will start to defrost. Therefore it is a must that you put it back into the freezer for it to get hard again. Rubbing the balls against the dough is very fast and quickly enclosed your jam balls.

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  • First egg wash before you  send the tarts into the oven. For egg wash, hand beaten 2 egg yolks and add 2 big tablespoons of water and 2 drops of oil. Sift and put in a container. Use a brush to lightly brush the tarts.
  • Put the tarts into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. 
  • 15 minutes after baking, take out the tray and have the second egg wash. By now, your tarts will start to take shape and firmer, so you can apply the egg wash more liberally. But care still have to be taken because it is “melt in your mouth”, when it is hot, it is still very “fragile”. so handle with care!!
  • After 5 minutes, take out the tarts and your mission is completed.

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Updated picture

Pineapple tarts prepared on January 2014

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CONCLUSIONS

  • This is a rather controversial way of making the tarts. However, the tarts that you made will really melt in your mouth.
  • It is unusual for me to say that you have to follow my exact steps but for this pastry, you have to follow very closely. Even 1 tablespoon less icy water may make your final products very floury.

  • The order of procedures have to be adhered very closely. Too high the temperature will make your dough sticky and finally your products become very hard. In addition, it will be rather difficult to handle if both the jam and the dough become sticky.
  • The selection of the ingredients are very important. I personally prefer animal fats with high fat content with no compromise. In addition, the jam preferably will include some pulp as it will not be too sweet and too sticky.

  • Practice made perfect! It is not tough but you must have that feeling of touch so if you fail your first attempt, you should not be deter to try the second time.

 

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

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UPDATED ON 9 JANUARY 2014 WITH INCLUSION OF VEGETARIAN PINEAPPLE TARTS


Every year I have to prepare two types of pineapple tarts: normal pineapple tarts and vegetarian pineapple tarts. Vegetarian pineapple tarts means that there are NO EGGS, NO BUTTER AND NO MILK. Therefore, it is acceptable for vegetarian by religion – particularly Buddhism.

Eggs have the ability to provide fragrance and binding effect of the tarts. These are substitute by corn flour. For egg wash purposes, honey is used instead of egg yolks. Of course the results will be less shinny like those egg washed by egg yolks. As for butter, it is substituted with margarine or other vegetable fats. In this recipe, it was 50% of margarine and 50% of olive oil bread spread. The end products will have some fragrance of olive oil. No detail illustration will be provided except the recipe. It is nice and slightly crispier than traditional pineapple tarts minus the butter aroma. It is definitely acceptable to me when I am on a vegetarian diet.

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VEGETARIAN PINEAPPLE TARTS RECIPES

  • 1 kg  of pineapple jam.(凤梨酱)

Dough

  • 400g of plain flour (面粉)
  • 200g of corn flour (玉米粉)
  • 175g margarine (Planta) (植物油)
  • 175g olive oil spread (can be substitute with margarine) (橄榄油-涂面包所用)
  • 50 g of icing sugar (糖粉)
  • Pinches of salt (少许盐)

“Egg Washing”

  • 1 tablespoon of honey with 1.5 tablespoon of water/soya milk – mixed well (1汤匙蜂蜜+1.5 汤匙的水或豆奶)

It is hoped that with this recipe, more people will be able to enjoy the South East Asian famous pineapple tarts. If you are on a gluten free diet, you can try to substitute the plain flour with gluten free flour

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pineapple tarts collage11

 

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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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What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 25-7-2013

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On 25-7-2013, white rice served with:

Miso Pork Belly 味增五花
Tofu, Meatballs and Glass Noodles Soup 豆腐鱼丸冬粉汤
Ginger and Chinese Fermented Bean Braised Fish 姜丝豆酱焖鱼
Blanched Choy Shym with Prawns 虾球菜心

Oh! It is time for me to submit my daily report card! Haha! Tired as I have a lot of “projects” today.

As for the dish, all are rather common dish except the miso pork belly which is a new dish “invented” by me.


Miso Pork Belly

The inspiration of this dish is from a famous Chinese dish fermented bean curd fried meat(南乳炸肉). While the fermented bean curd (腐乳)belong to Chinese and Miso is the fermented bean sauce of the Japanese. Therefore, I have decided to “invent” this dish purely using Japanese condiments. Unlike the Chinese fermented bean curd meat dish, the miso paste is much tastier and therefore this dish did not use additional condiments except some sugar to enhance the flavor. Miso is quite salty and the sugar will helps to negate its saltiness to a more balance taste. This newly created dish is a dish that utilizes Japanese ingredients but prepared using the Chinese cooking method! Therefore, shall I called it a fusion dish?

Frankly speaking, a rather unhealthy dish and I do not think I will cook it that often. I will in my next attempt try to use chicken cubes or fish slices or even prawns. I strongly believed the taste will definitely blend.

If you want to know how to prepare, you can follow this link to Guaishushu’s page’s for pictorial illustration.

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Pineapple Tarts

Besides that, today, I have made a batch of closed version of pineapple tarts. The intention is actually for the celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, a Muslim festival. I always think that as a Malaysian or a Singaporean PR, I shall play my part to contribute something for this celebration.

I am not entirely satisfied with this batch because the skin have a slight crack. However, I know that the reason is because I am too “greedy”. I have used too little dough for my filling causing my tarts to crack when the pineapple jams expand. That is not a great deal and I am still likely to share the recipe with readers soon. Again, the method of preparation is totally different from what you may find in the internet as I have discovered this method unintentionally during my Chinese New Year preparation.

 

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Steamed Sugar Cake (Pak Tong Koh) or 白糖糕

I have a recipe book in the balcony where i sit and when my boy looked inside the book, he found the type of Chinese steamed cake that he liked. He immediately asked me to prepare. I have hold up this “assignment” for more than a month and as I was clearing my kitchen shelves, I found some rice flours that have been with me for quite a while. I thought why not I just prepare for him so that he will not pester me any more. I cooked the rice flour, let it fermented for 8 hours and after cooking the dinner, I steamed it and this is what i get!

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I have yet to cut it as  I want to leave it overnight and completely cooled. It looks ok and who know what is inside like. Hope everything is okay.


Okay, that is what I cooked today. For those readers who are new, I have to reiterate that this series was created with the intention for people to “peep” into my kitchen and see how I rotate my dish, create my dish and it is best that readers take this as a casual reading. Pick up something that you don’t know and share with me things that I may have done wrong. Again, long recipes will be posted in this blog and short recipes will be posted in the Guaishushu’s Facebook Page.


Hope you like the post today. Have a nice day and cheers.

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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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