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

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UPDATED POST ON 11-10-2014

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

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INTRODUCTION

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

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

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

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

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SARAWAK STYLE BUTTER BUNS

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

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

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

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

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

   


THE PROCESS OF MAKING SARAWAK STYLE BUTTER BUNS

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

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

Part 2 – Preparing the Dough for the 1st Proofing

Part 3 – Preparing the Butter Fillings

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

Part 5 – The Baking Process

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TANZHONG METHOD OF BREAD MAKING

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

According to Cookipedia:

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

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

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

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

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

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PROCESS OF MAKING THE SARAWAK STYLE BUTTER BUNS

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

What is required

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

Steps of preparation

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

Update:

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

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What is required

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

Steps of preparation

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

PART 2 – PREPARING THE DOUGH – 1st Proofing

What is required

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

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

 


Steps of preparation (dough)

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

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

 


PART 3 – PREPARING THE BUTTER FILLINGS

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What is required

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

Steps of preparation

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

 


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

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

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

 


PART 5 – THE BAKING PROCESS

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

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

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MODIFICATIONS AND VARIATIONS

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

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CONCLUSIONS

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

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

Thanks for reading and have a nice day. Cheers. 

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 8 June 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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Fish Paste + Bean Curd = Presentable Seafood Tofu Dishes!

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INTRODUCTION

This is a simple dish without much history or anything to introduce. It is quite a common dish in Malaysia restaurants. It is just combining a few ingredients and make it a presentable dish to serve your house guest. It is tofu or bean curd mixed with fish paste and become “SEAFOOD TOFU”……

Tofu or bean curd is one of the most nutritious food in Asian cuisines. Not only nutritious, it is healthy.. It is made from soya beans and there are tons of soya bean based products in Asian cuisines. I am sharing this simple recipe which I hope readers will like….

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It is rather easy to buy fish paste in Singapore. Households and chefs used fish paste to make a variety of cuisines such as fish balls, meat rolls,stuffed into vegetables and etc. to make Yong tau foo.. However, in countries where this is not common, you can just follow the following simple steps to prepare your own fish paste:

  • Have some fish fillet (e.g mackerel) that have little bones or very big bones that you can take it out easily;

  • Put all the fish meat into a food processor, add some corn flour (about 200 grams of fish meat with 1 tablespoon of corn flour), some black or white pepper, some salt and other seasonings of your choice.

  • Blend until fine, scoop out and keep it in the fridge.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 2 packets of tofu (about 600 grams)

  • 1 stick of egg tofu (optional)

  • 300 grams of fish paste

  • Some seasonings to taste

  • 2 tablespoons of corn flours *

  • Adequate corn flours for coating *

  • Adequate cooking oil for deep frying *

Optional ingredients

  • 1 egg*

  • Some coriander leaves or spring onions or Chinese celery (for green colour)

  • Some red cut chilli (for red colour)

  • Some mushrooms (for black colour)

  • 2 tablespoons of rice flour for coating*

* Not in picture

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Lightly grease a 6” or 8” baking tin or dish with some cooking oil. Set aside for later use.

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  • Put all the coriander leaves and/or spring onions and/or Chinese celery, red chilli, mushroom into the food processor, and slightly blend it a few time.

  • Add in 2 tablespoons of corn flours, fish paste, egg tofu, normal tofu, seasonings of your choice (light soya sauce, white pepper, sugar, salt etc.) into the food processor.

  • Blend the ingredients until very fine and transfer to the greased baking tin. Level the mixture.

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  • Cover the top with clingy wrap. Steamed under high heat for 15-20 minutes or until the seafood tofu is set. Let it cool or if you have time, chill it in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Chilling is to make the tofu slightly harder and easier to cut and handle for later deep frying.

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  • Cut the tofu into desire size.

  • In a plastic container, put some corn flour and some rice flour in the ratio of 4:1. This basically means if you use 80 grams of corn flour, mixed with 20 grams of rice flour. You can use 100% corn flour if desired. The rice flour have the ability to keep the fritters in shape when cold but it is optional.

  • If desired, you can dust the flour with some white pepper.

  • Coat the seafood tofu with the flour mixture as evenly as possible. Be careful with the seafood tofu as it is soft and can break easily.

  • In a big pan, put about 5 cm high of oil and heat the oil using high heat. Put a wooden chopstick to assess if the rice temperature  is hot enough for frying. It is considered as hot enough if bubbles start to emit from the wooden chopstick.

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  • Fry the seafood tofu in the hot oil until the outside is crispy and golden brown. Take out the tofu, drained and put on a piece of oil absorbing paper in an airy area before transfer to the serving plate.

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  • Best served hot as one of the dishes for a Chinese meal. Suggested dip is Thailand sweet chilli sauce.


CONCLUSION

Simple dish, nothing much to conclude. Serving guests with tofu and fish cake appeared to be a disgrace to one’s household cooking.. Well, combining the two simple, cheap ingredients and put in a bit of effort to “process” it will make it become a presentable restaurant dish …. 

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

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

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This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Mich of Piece of Cake at this post.

An International Pie That Will Suit Everybody’s Taste Buds–Japanese Curry Flavoured Potato Pie

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INTRODUCTION 

As a Malaysian, I loved curry but I can’t cook curry that is spicy because I have to consider the palate of my kids. Beside curry, I loved curry puffs but I do not really like the filo type of pastry or pastry that requires deep frying… and… I like the type of pastry that is usually used to make apple pies or chicken pies.  Therefore, I have decided to make “curry pie” using Japanese curry cubes. 

When I first travelled  overseas donkey years back, I always craved for Malay or Nonya curries. However, most restaurants overseas did not sell these curries. The more popular curries was the Japanese curries. Initially, I never like Japanese curries because it was sweet and not spicy hot.

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I did not “touch” these curries for many years until very recently because of my kids. My kids liked curries but they can’t take the spiciness. When we cooked curry, they will fight for the potatoes. When they know there was a curry dish, before their meals, they would take a cup of cold water with them. During the meal, they would dip the curried potatoes in the cold water and ate them. At times, they would run around the dining table because the washed curried potatoes were still too spicy hot for them.

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Two three month’s ago, my kind neighbour gave us some Japanese curries that she cooked and I am very happy to see that my kids were eating happily and requesting for more. Since then, it was quite common for us to cook Japanese curries at home and personally, I have get used to the taste and fell in love with it. Bear with me, the next post will also be another Japanese curry post and I am sure you will like it.

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This recipe incorporated both the Western and Asian cuisines ingredients. It is a normal pie crust and you have full flexibility to shape the pie crust topping to your desired pattern. It is cooked with Japanese curry cubes which was not spicy such that it will be more acceptable to Western readers. To make it creamier like Western pie, I have added fresh cream and some parmesan cheeses. The potatoes and curry should be well liked by the Asian readers as it is very common that potatoes are used curry cuisines.

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WHAT IS REQURIED

For Potatoes Fillings (Make 8 tarts)

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  • 3-4 potatoes (boiled and cut into cubes)

  • 100 grams of cauliflowers

  • 60 grams of Japanese curry cubes (about 3 curry cubes depending on brand)

  • 1/4 cups of parmesan cheese (optional)

  • 1/2 cups of double cream or whipping creams (optional)

  • Pinches of salt and sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups of water

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For Pie Pastry

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  • 50 grams egg yolks (lightly beaten)

  • 250 grams plain flour (sifted)

  • 20 grams of icing sugar (optional)

  • 125 grams of chilled butter cut into cubes

  • 50 grams of icy cold water

  • 1 egg yolk for egg washing

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STEPS OF PREPARTION

Preparation of Potato Filling

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  • In a pot, put the water and curry cubes and bring to boil under high heat. Once boiled, turn to medium heat. Add cauliflowers and let it boil for 1-2 minutes. Add in potatoes cubes and boil for 2-3 minutes. Add in cream, salt, sugar and parmesan cheese. Boil for another one minute before off the heat. Let it cool and set aside for later use.

  • It is wise that you take some cooked curried potatoes and taste whether the fillings suits your taste buds. It have to be slightly high handed with your seasonings because this pie crust is not very sweet.

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Preparation of Pie Pastry and Baking The Pastry

  • Preheat your to 180 degree Celsius.

  • Beat together one egg yolk, few drops of cooking oil and 2 tablespoon of water. Stir well and sift into a container. Set aside for later egg washing.

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

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  • Have a clinging wrap on the table, place the dough on top of the clinging wrap. 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 your hand to press the dough against the sides and make it as even as possible.

  • Roll the remaining pie pastry into a flat piece, cut to small strips and set aside for later use.

  • Fill the pie tins with the curried potatoes. Place the dough strips on top of the curried potatoes in your desired pattern. (Initially, as I am unsure whether I have adequate dough to made a net pattern, therefore I have started the pie with this pattern. Subsequently, since I have some dough left, I have put additional strips to make it into a net pattern.)

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  • Use a brush to brush pie crust evenly and baked in the oven for 15 minutes .

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  • Take the pie out and perform the second egg washing. Wash thoroughly and bake for another 5 minutes.  Note that this step is optional but I like to do this for all my pastries. Should the pie have signs of burnt, lower the temperature by about 20 degrees and continue baking.

  • Transfer to the wire rack for cooling. Let it cool completely before take the pies out from the pie tins. 

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CONCLUSION

If you like curry puff, you will like this. The pies were prepared after taking into consideration the needs of both Asian and Westerner’s taste buds. Of course, if you like to make the curried potatoes using the local curry paste, it is definitely acceptable. If you like it spicy hot, add in some chilli paste… But I preferred the sweet Japanese curried potatoes with a mild taste of cheeses and creams.

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Hope you like the post today and cheers.

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

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Nostalgic Soup Than Can’t Erase From My Mind–Chinese Style Potatoes Soup

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Updated Post on 9-10-2014

I have prepared the soup again today and have some new picture taking. However, today when I prepared the soup, as I am running out of time, I have decided to by pass the sautéing of the starch and onion. I put everything in the wok, boil until the meat is soft and add the starches. Of course, it was not as fragrant as what my father have prepared but it saves some times.. Kids start to like this starchy soup. Personally, I prefer the yam or taro version but shelve the idea as kids still dislike the taro.

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INTRODUCTION

I seldom have soup recipe in this blog except salted vegetable duck soup, a well known traditional Chinese soup for Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese.  Of course I have many other soup preparation illustrations such as bitter gourd and pineapple pork rib soup, double mushroom chicken soup, sweet corn pork rib soup and many more at Guaishushu’s Facebook Page under the index start with “S”.

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Today, I will share this special soup which is a comfort food with nostalgic and sentimental feelings for me.  I am still in doubt its origins and totally unsure if other families are cooking this soup, not at least my circles of friends. It is hope that via this post, some readers will be able to tell me the origin of this soup!

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This is a “strange” soup cooked by my late father. Not even my late mother cook this soup as she said it is a bit laborious to cook this soup.

In fact, the ingredients and cooking method have influences of both oriental and western method of cooking. Talking about this soup, I am sure my brothers and sister in laws can recall about the soup. It can either be cooked with taro or  potatoes. What we usually cooked is with yam or taro and I knew my sister in laws still cook the taro version of this soup as at today.

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The potato version of soup what is always in my mind. When I told my mother in law that I wanted to cook this soup, she looked at me unbelievably and she thought that I am cooking ABC soup, a soup that were cooked using carrot, potatoes and onions. I told her no, it is a pure potatoes soup!

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 250 g of potatoes cut into big chunks

  • 250 g of onion cut into a quarter

  • 250 g of pork ribs

  • 6 cups of water

Thickening starch

  • 50 g of sweet potatoes flour

  • 400 g of water

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big soup pot that can accommodate at least 10 cups of water, put some water adequate to cover the pork ribs.

  • Blanch the pork ribs until the outer layers is slight cooked. Throw away the water.

  • Wash the pork ribs under running water to get rid of any blood clots and add in the cut potatoes. Add in 6 cups of water and bring to boil under high heat. Once boiled, turn to medium heat and continue boiling until the potatoes and meats are soft. This will take 15-20 minutes. You can just let it boil until your next step is ready. Change to low heat if necessary.

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  • In another sauce pan, add in 1 tablespoon of oil, add in the cut onions and fried until the fragrance of onion start to spread.

  • Put in the sweet potatoes starch and cook under low heat, Stir fry until the flour turned into a lump and become colourless. Note that the main reason of cooking this way is to give the flour some flavour of onions. If you add directly to the soup, you will find the flour in the soup is flavourless. Well that is how my late father cooked and I do agree to it.

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  • Transfer your cooked starch to the soup and continue boiling until the meat and potatoes of your desired textures.

  • Add seasonings of your choice (flavour enhancer such as mushroom concentrate, pepper, salt, light soya sauce etc.).

  • Bring to boil and once boiled, off the heat and garnish with herbs of your choice. Preferably served hot with rice.

WHY THIS SOUP IS UNIQUE?

The soup has the oriental elements because it is cooked with normal cooking oils used by Chinese home cooking (instead of butter or olive oils) and pork ribs and flavour using the Chinese condiments. In addition, the thickening is using Chinese cooking ingredients sweet potatoes starch. It is definitely more watery and less creamy than Western soup! The final soup still maintain the shape of the potatoes, pork ribs and even onions. It complements the dryness of the white rice.

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On the other hand, it is unusual for Chinese to use potatoes to cook soup. Besides ABC soup, most Chinese households do not use potatoes to cook soup. Besides this unusual ingredient, Chinese soups usually do not use thickening agents in soup with the exception of some special soups such as shark fin soups and sweet and sour soups. The soups, in traditional sense should be watery and clear (or whitish colour due to the meat essence in the both). Thickening agents are used in many Chinese dishes including braised dishes, noodle dishes , vegetables dishes, egg dishes, bean curd dishes but not in soup dishes.

For purposes of further illustrating this soup may have Western influences, I have took out portion of the soup and added plain flour (wheat flour as you used for making cakes) and some creams.

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This is what the end product looked like and in fact, my kids do not mind this soup after adding of cream and wheat flour. My boy says that the soup is very creamy like cream of mushroom soup that he used to have in Western restaurant.

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CONCLUSION

Having a post on this particular soup brings me  lots of fond memories and sentimental feelings, making me wanted to know more about my late father. We did not really communicate much due to very traditional Chinese family upbringings whereby we were not encouraged to ask about what the adults are doing. Communication was always unidirectional. However, if he was still available, I would know how to tackle the issue and “fished” out his thoughts!

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It is a soup that none of friends knew. It is neither Western or Oriental style of soup. It is a mixture of both. Where my late father learned the cooking of this soup was really a mystery (in my humble opinion). He hailed from China and could not read or spoke ABC not to mention exposure to Western cuisines. The only remote reason that I could think of was due the influence of British colonization of Sarawak until late 1940’s  and at that time, he was a teen.

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Hopefully by having this post, some of my readers from any  parts of the world can share with me, if you have ever tasted exactly soup cooked in this manner and what do you think is the origin of the soup. It is also hope that my readers will try out this soup and let me know if it suits your taste buds. Thanks and have a nice day.

 

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 8 June 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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What? Baked Your Rice? Yes, Try Carbonara Cheesy Bacon Baked Rice

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INTRODUCTION

The main staple food for Asians are rice. We have porridges, fried rice, plain white rice, steamed rice, braised rice ….. But we seldom have baked rice.

Bake is usually associated with oven which is rather uncommon to Asians until the last 5 decades (pardon me if I am wrong)….Baking rice is still something not really common especially in Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese household cooking. One could easily have baked rice especially in Portuguese restaurants particularly in Malacca, Malaysia and Macau SAR in Peoples Republic of China.

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Is baked rice nice? If you are a generation who get use to Western cuisines, I presumed you will concur with me that it is another good way of appreciating cooked rice! Children who are exposed to Western numerous fast food chains such as Kentucky, McDonalds, Pizza Huts etc. will definitely like this simple comfort food that is packed with milks and cheeses.

Creamy, cheesy and soft are the words to describe the textures of this baked rice.

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Of course there are many different types of baked rice, as an Asian, I will definitely prepare using ingredients that are well liked by the kids here.

This post is  about CARBONARA CHEESY BACON BAKED RICE. It is prepared using Carbonara sauce with lots of bacons, kernel corns, canned button mushrooms and etc.… In addition, sensing not many households may have a conventional oven, this recipe called for a mini oven that is movable .. Of course you can used an oven if you wish to!


WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 500 grams of cooked rice (overnight rice is acceptable)
  • 50 grams of bacon – small pieces
  • 100 grams of onion– chopped
  • 100 grams of canned button mushrooms – slices
  • 100 grams of canned creamy sweet corns
  • 30 grams of Japanese “crab meat” (optional)
  • 200 ml of cream + fresh milk (preferred 50% cream : 50% fresh milk)
  • 150 grams of mozzarella cheeses
  • 2 teaspoons of dried/fresh herbs (basil, dill, oregano etc.) (Optional)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil/butter

Note:

This is a good way to get rid of your overnight rice. Of course you can cook with fresh rice for the dish.

This is a dish with full flexibility, except rice, cream+milk and cheeses, almost other ingredients can be substituted.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Get ready an 8”x8” inches baking tin or any casserole that are able to withstand high heat.

  • Put the rice in a big mixing bowl and set aside for later use.

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  • In a sauce pan, put in the olive oil and bacon and stir fry until the bacon were fully fried and the aroma of bacon starts to emit.

  • Add in the chopped onion, stir fried until the onion is soft.

  • Add in 1 cup of water, add in chopped mushrooms, creamy sweet corns and bring to boil under medium heat.

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  • Once boiled, add in the cream and herbs and off the heat. Stir and mixed well.

  • Pour on top of the rice and use spoon to mix well.

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  • Transfer the well mixed rice to the baking tin. Add in more milk if possible.
  • Place in more creamy sweet corns or other side ingredients such as crab sticks if desired.

  • Sprinkled sparingly with mozzarella cheeses and more herbs.

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  • Bake the rice in the mini oven for about 30 minutes or until all the cheeses have become soft and melted. It should be noted all ingredients are cooked ingredients. Therefore, baking the rice is only to ensure that all the cheeses have melted and  speed up the process of sauces absorbed by the rice.

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VARIATIONS

Of course, if you want to cut short the preparation process, you can used the ready made carbonara sauces or cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken soup. The end results will be equally tasty.

You can also substituted with fresh corns, baby corns, even Asian fish cake if your kids like it and anything that will wake up your families palates!

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CONCLUSION

An easy to make comfort food good when you runs out of time to cook a decent meal. It’s full flexibility make it easy to tailor your family taste buds. Try this way to get rid of your overnight rice.

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

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I am submitting this to Welcome To All My Bloggy Friends and Recipe of the Week.

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What I “Ate” Today (家常便饭系列)…. 17 August 2013- Special

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You may be surprised about this title! In fact, the title is not correct either. What I am going to post is not “what I cooked today” or “what I ate today”. It was a gathering at one of my relative’s house and she had cooked some Chinese dishes that are not common among Fujian or Guangdong Province.

My relative is from Jiangxi Province and therefore the food that she cooked were rather different! As you all know, Singaporean and Malaysian Chinese are descendants of immigrants mainly from the South Eastern Coastal Fujian and Guangdong Province.


JIANGXI CUISINES

Per Wikipedia:

Jiangxi (Chinese: 江西; pinyin: Jiāngxī; Wade–Giles: Chiang-hsi; Postal map spelling: Kiangsi, Gan: Kongsi) is a province in the People’s Republic of China, located in the southeast of the country. Spanning from the banks of the Yangtze River in the north into hillier areas in the south and east, it shares a border with Anhui to the north, Zhejiang to the northeast, Fujian to the east, Guangdong to the south, Hunan to the west, and Hubei to the northwest. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiangxi)

As compared to Nanyang Chinese (Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese), in a household meal, they are more dishes but with a smaller portion. For us, we will usually serve 3 dishes and 1 soup, for them the dishes can be as many as 6-12 dishes. Today, the host is kind enough to cook us 7 dishes (excluding desserts and sweet soups). Jiangxi dishes were rather spicy (chilli hot) and as my kids were having meals with us, for some dishes, they have to prepare both the spicy and non spicy version.

Note than I am currently on a vegetarian  diet and since I did not told them in advance, I have taken my meals before joining them.  Therefore, I did not join them for meals.


SPICY AND SOUR SHREDDED POTATOES (酸辣土豆丝)

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Yes, this is my favourite. Potatoes were julienned into thin strips. There were then soaked in cold water until all the starch were gone. This will make the potatoes “crunchy” and water have to be changed regularly. Look at the thin strips, these were all manually done. They were then stir fried with spring onions, black vinegars and chilli. This is something that I have yet to share the cooking illustrations with readers but I can assure you it is something simple yet the taste is superb. Kids are fighting for this.


BRAISED BEEF (酱牛肉)

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I do not know if there is any translation of this dish. It is basically beef braised in dark soya sauce (and herbs and spices). It was then air dried. If it was kiln dried, it will become smoked beef. This is a form of meat preservation that can be commonly found in many parts of China. My relatives have prepared these meat in China and brought it over.

I still remembered  when I was stationed in Changchun, China about 10 years ago, one of the past time is to buy some braised chicken drumsticks and ate it in the hotel. It is delicious and thinking about it make me drooling. Depending on the regions, the preservations can be sugar based or salt based.


TOMATOES FRIED WITH EGGS (番茄炒蛋)

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A common household dish in China. Besides stir frying, another way of cooking this combination is making it into a soup.

Tomato is not a common vegetable in my  traditional house cooking. Tomatoes are considered vegetables imported from other countries (though this may not be true any more). This is evidenced in its Chinese name literately translated as Western Persimmon (西红柿)or Foreign brinjal (番茄)。In Hokkien dialects, it was called Caucasian Brinjal (angmokio)!  Therefore, my mom seldom cooked tomatoes in the house.

As my girl is a tomato fanatic, this will definitely her top choice. However, as my boy is tomato phobia, this is definitely a good dish to make my boy eating tomato.  Though he is a tomato phobia but he is an egg fanatic. I usually requested that if he wanted to eat 2 tablespoons of eggs, he will need to finish 1 tablespoon of tomatoes. Haha


STEAMED CHINESE SAUSAGE WITH CHINESE BLACK FERMENTED BEANS (腊肠蒸豆豉)

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The Chinese sausages were prepared by my relatives in China and brought it over. You can hardly find any fats in the Chinese sausages. Before I am on my vegetarian diet, I have tried the sausages before and it is delicious.

The Chinese sausages were cut into slices, steamed with Chinese black fermented beans and chopped garlics. May be after my vegetarian diets end, I shall cook this. Good thing about having this post is that it can remind me of what I should cooked when I run out of ideas.


PIGTAILS PORK BELLIES SOUP (猪尾猪肚汤)

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I never have this combination before, pork bellies plus pigtails. The reason is because both meats have different cooking times. You know pork bellies are rather difficult to cook until soft. So, it is not easy to cook this soup. Even if you used pressure cooker, both items will have to be cooked separately. There is no vegetables or white peppers. It is pure meat broth!

If you ask me whether it is yummy or not, of course, I can’t tell you directly because I did not taste it. However, from my years of cooking experience, I can tell you that it is a good soup because the soup had turn milky meaning all the gelatine from the meat have been dissolved in the soup/broth.

Don’t believe me, freeze it and you will see that it become jellish and you can use a knife to cut it into small pieces. Teochew dialect group also have a dish that after braising certain meat for a long time, they cut the meat into very small pieces, freeze the broth and become a jelly. The jelly was then cut into small pieces and served as cold dish (猪头粽)


STIR FRIED CHINESE WATER CRESS (清炒西洋菜)

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I remembered when I told my mother in law and wife to stir fry water cress previously, they are against it as they always used water cress to cook soup. It is generally true that most Chinese dialect groups like to boil soup with this vegetable. However, when I travelled to China, I always have stir fried water cress in restaurants. Usually, this vegetable were stir fried using garlic without any other ingredients.

Try and tell me whether it is nice or not! Remember that you have to stir fry the vegetables using high heat, otherwise, it may be bitter.


STEAMED KUDZU FLOUR COATED PORK WITH PUMPKIN (南瓜米粉肉)

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When I asked for the name of the dish, I was told  “namguamifenrou”. However, I can’t find any rice vermicelli or Beehoon. Later she explained the 米粉 is not rice vermicelli, it means “rice flour”. Though the name is called rice flour, the coating of the meat can be any types of flour. It can be corn flour, sweet potato flour, potato flour and etc.…But today the flour that she used is kudzu flour (葛根粉). Again this is brought from Jiangxi and she disclosed that this was made from wild kudzu roots.

Kudzu has many health benefits and among them are relief symptoms of postmenopausal women, reducing alcohol intake, alleviating cluster headaches, managed metabolic syndromes etc. etc. etc. In Singapore, we do have a type of Chinese instant flu medicine called Kudzu soup (葛根汤) that you consumed when you have a fever and it is believed that it will help to reduce your body temperature. You may want to know more about kudzu from here.

Coming back to the dish. Meat were seasoned and coated with kudzu flour. The meat was then placed on top of the pumpkins and steamed under high heat until the pumpkins were soft. The purpose of the flour is to retain the meat juiciness in the process of steaming. Any meat juices that escaped will dripped into the pumpkins those flavoured the pumpkins.

Lastly, I want to convey my sincere thanks to my relatives who cooked us a sumptuous meal and we really appreciate that.

Hope you like the post today and I find this post is meaningful to share with readers about other different types of Chinese cuisines.

Have a nice day and cheers.

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.