Homemade Filo Pastry–Curry Pie With Filo Pastry and Sausage Puff Snack (家居酥皮)

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INTRODUCTION

It is such a challenge to prepare some homemade puff or filo (phyllo) pastry and Per Wikipedia:

“Filo or filo pastry is a dough of paper-thin sheets of unleavened flour dough separated by a thin film of butter. It is used for making pastries inn Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisine. The name derives from Greek: φύλλο filo, “leaf”,and may also be spelt phyllo or fillo. Filo dough is made with flour, water, and a small amount of oil and rakı or white vinegar, though some dessert recipes also call for egg yolks. Homemade filo takes time and skill, requiring progressive rolling and stretching to a single thin and very large sheet. A very big table and a long roller are used, with continual flouring between layers to prevent tearing.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filo)

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This is a Greek recipe provided by my friend, Sis Lianlian Loh Gliptis who is now residing in Greece. I saw her prepared some homemade puff pastry and asked her to share with me the recipe. She gladly did so and PM me with a simple recipe. Yes, the recipe is simple with only 3 ingredients.

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I am rather inexperience in the rolling of the pastry and when I told her,  she said she will bring me a long wooden stick for rolling the pastry during her next trip back to Singapore. I immediately declined as I may not have that big a space to roll my pastry using a long stick like what they did in Greece. In Singapore, kitchen space is limited, and therefore, what I am illustrating today is only making the puff pastry of a size of my rolling pin… Warn you, it is hard work but rewarding. It is definitely an achievement to try making filo pastry at least once. Whether or not you will decide to prepare another time is up to readers since it can be sourced rather easily at the supermarket. But readers will not be able to control the fat content of the filo pastry purchased outside…

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Sis Lillian Gliptis in her PM to me written as follow:

“Phyllo is very simple n cheap to make. u don’t use butter or ghee etc. when u make yrself. Flour, veg oil, little salt n warm water that is all. Some add little vinegar to make it crispy but I don’t. I dust the table with corn flour when rolling. Old Greek village ah ma taught me to use corn flour not vinegar. Phyllo needs a very long rolling stick 1mtr diameter 1cm to open the phyllo as thin as possible also as big as possible to cover baking tin. I think there’s a YouTube on phyllo making n need many practices. When u get it right its actually very simple. Greek grandma phyllo use lots of oil coz the sheets will be crispy after baked. I don’t use that much. 1kg of flour, 1 coffee mug of corn oil but I use 3/4. Water 1 mug but u may not need so much. Flour + oil in a bowl then slowly add water till hands not sticky. Those frozen phyllo not good cos very dry n u hv to brush it with tons of oil to make it crispy. My homemade one no need to brush with oil.

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I have decided to take the challenge and prepared it after she gave me the recipe. I have to thank Sis Lillian Gliptis for her guidance and her sharing on the recipe. I think it is not a bad idea to watch a Youtube video on how professionals prepared homemade filo pastry.

HOW TO ROLL FILO PASTRY

 


SAUSAGE PUFF SNACK


WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 1/2 kg of plain flour
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • Adequate corn flour for dusting the surface
  • Some sausages

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Mix all the ingredients together. Either use hand or machine to knead the dough until smooth. Transfer to a flat surface dust with corn flour. If the batter is too wet, add flour tablespoon by tablespoon. If too dry, add plain water teaspoon by teaspoon.

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  • Divide the dough into about 30 grams dough portion (note that this is estimated and very much depend on the size of of your puff pastry you required). In a flat surface dusted with corn flour, use a rolling pin to roll the dough as thin as possible (almost transparent). Dust with some corn flour and put a sausage on top the dough.

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  • Roll the pastry with the dough. Cut into desired sizes.

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  • Egg wash the filo pastry (egg wash – 1 egg yolk slightly beaten plus few drops of oil and 1 teaspoon of water) and dust with sesame seeds. Baked in the oven at 175 degree for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is crispy.

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CURRY PIE USING FILO PASTRY


Servings : A 6 inches diameter curry pie

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This recipe is the simplest recipe and full of variations and feel free to increase or decrease the quantity stated here.

  • 2 onions – diced into small pieces
  • 2 potatoes – diced into small pieces
  • Some curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of curry powder or Garam Masala
  • 1 small cane of tuna (not in picture – optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (not in picture)
  • 1/2 cup of water (not in picture)
  • Seasonings to taste
  • 6 inches round casserole


STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a sauce pan under medium heat, put some cooking oil and stir fry the diced onion, curry leaves and curry powder until fragrant and onion are soft. Add in diced potatoes, stir fry until well combined. Add 1/2 cup of water.

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  • Let it simmer until the potatoes are soft and water dries up , add canned tuna (you can add earlier if you want) and seasonings to taste (e.g sugar, pinches of salt, pepper). Set aside for later use.

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  • Preheat the oven to 175 degree Celsius.

  • Take a piece a dough and roll it as thin as possible almost the size of your casserole. Place one sheet on top of the casserole. Press down until it touch the bottom and side of the casserole. Prepare the second sheet and place on top of the first sheet. Repeat the same until there are 5 sheets on the casserole. In between the sheets, you can dust with some corn flour. Transfer the curry potatoes fillings to the casserole. Press as compact as possible.  Prepare another 5 more sheets of filo pastry and place on top of the curry potatoes fillings.

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  • Seal the edges by folding in the sides. Egg wash (as above) and bake in the oven at 175 degree Celsius for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is crispy and turn golden brown.

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CONCLUSION

While it may not be necessary cheaper to have homemade filo pastry, but it is definitely an experience and achievement after preparing some filo pastry for yourself. It may not be as thin as machine prepared but it is healthier as much less fats were used in the preparation. If you have ever prepared filo pastry for baklava, you will understand the amount of butter or ghee used in the preparation and how messy it will be in this type of hot weather.

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Why not have a day of family activity by requesting your spouse and kids to “play” and participate in the preparation. Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sis Lianlian Loh Gliptis again for her guidance and recipe. Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 21 March 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .  

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If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 1800 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD. You can also join the Food Bloggers and Foodies United Group Facebook Group to see more recipes.

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I Have No Patience And I Prepared My Instant Bak Kwa–Instant Chinese Pork Jerky

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INTRODUCTION

I am busy baking my cookies and in between my oven slots, I have prepared some Chinese pork jerky or “Bak Kwa”. As long as I can remember, we always have Bak Kwa during Chinese New Year. When I was a kid, it is once in a year delicacy served during Chinese New Year. Then, most Bak Kwa were imported from China and were mostly air dried. It is hard, chewy and difficult to bite. As years went by, there are more and more varieties and what is the most common type of Bak Kwa nowadays is the sweetened and soft type of Bak Kwa mostly made from minced pork. 

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I loved Bak Kwa for its sweet and soft texture. It is essentially barbecue sliced or minced pork. In Singapore, one kilogram of Bak Kwa during Chinese New Year can fetch as high as SGD40-50. It is quite costly but presentable gift to relatives and friends.

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Since I am lazy and I knew Wikipedia will have a detailed write up on Bak Kwa, therefore, for the sake of my international readers, I have reproduced it here for information.

Bak kwa is the Hokkien translation for Rou gan (肉干). It is a Chinese salty-sweet dried meat product similar to jerky. It originated from the Fujian province in China where it is considered a Hokkien delicacy. Bak kwa is made with a meat preservation and preparation technique originating from ancient China. The general method for production have remained virtually unchanged throughout the centuries, but the techniques have been gradually improved. It is often made with beef, pork, or mutton, which are prepared with spices, sugar, salt, and soy sauce, while dried on racks at around 50 °C to 60 °C 

Bak kwa is immensely popular in Singapore and Malaysia where it is usually eaten during Chinese New Year. When Chinese immigrants brought this delicacy over to Singapore and Malaysia, it began to take on local characteristics. A notable example lies in the preparation of Bak kwa, where the meat once still being air-dried is instead grilled over charcoal.[1] This imparts a more smokier flavour to the meat. The Singapore and Malaysia versions of Bak kwa are also sweeter than its mainland China counterpart with many different variations adapted to suit the local palette such as chilli bak kwa.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakkwa)

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Preparing Bak Kwa has been in my to do list for quite a while. It came across my mind after I issued my Chinese Barbecue Pork in October 2013. I did not take a step to prepare it as most recipe will call for long hours (or at least overnight) of marinating, some even called for air drying or sun drying before the grilling. I knew I did not have the patience and with an oven slot available 2 days ago, I have experimented to see if there is an easy way to prepare this delicious pork jerky.

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Frankly, I did not follow any recipe. I browsed through a few recipes in Mandarin and looking at the marinating agent. Apparently, each recipe have its own marinating agent and therefore I have decided to use my Chinese barbecue pork marinating agent plus a new ingredient (maltose) to prepare the pork jerky. Since this is an experiment (that turns out to be very satisfactory), I just add the marinating agents to my minced meat, use a food processor to mince it again, and test grilled a small portion of the minced pork in the toaster oven (mini oven). I found that the result were satisfactory and I continue to grill all the minced meat in my oven. I started the preparation at 5:00 pm and I have my Bak Kwa ready at 7:00 pm.

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I am pleased with the results. My trial was based on my beliefs that since it is “double minced pork”, all the spices and marinating agents can penetrate the pork very easily. Instant grilling will definitely take longer timing since it is wetter. As long as we can force the water out of the meat – it will become a piece of meat with spices and seasonings that we like. Therefore, the temperature and timing of grilling will be rather different. Since I can prepare Bak Kwa within 2 hours, it means that I can have Bak Kwa as one of the household dishes to go with rice or porridges at any time I want.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 1 kg of minced pork belly (五花肉碎)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar (白糖)
  • 3 tablespoons of dark soya sauce (黑酱油)
  • 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce (耗油)
  • 1 teaspoon of five spice powder (五香粉)
  • 3 tablespoons of maltose  or honey (麦芽糖或蜜糖)
  • 5 tablespoons of Chinese cooking wines (烹饪白或红糟酒)
  • 2 tablespoons of red fermented bean curd (红腐乳) juice (not in picture) please refer Chinese Barbecue Pork for pictures.
  • 2 tablespoons of maltose (during day of roasting) – Plus 2 tablespoon of water

Note that this recipe is very flexible. It is advisable to test grill or test pan fried a small portion of the minced meat before you start grilling the whole batch. Feel free to adjust the quantities and suggested ingredients to suit your taste buds.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Preheat the oven to 150 degree Celsius and line 2 large baking trays with baking paper

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  • Put the minced meat and all the ingredients into the food processor. Minced until fine. As I like my Bak Kwa to be a bit chewy, therefore, I did not minced until very fine. Ensure that all the seasonings are well combined.

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  • Remember to test bake a small portion before you follow the following steps. Add additional seasonings if preferred.

  • Divide the minced meat into 2 portions for the 2 baking trays. Put a piece of clingy wrap and use a rolling pin to spread as evenly as possible and the thickness should be about 0.5 cm. Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. During this process, you will start to witness the minced meats start to shrink and water starts to secret out. As long as the meat transform into a big piece of meat without breaking, proceed to the next step.

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  • Take out the baking tray out and throw away the baking paper. Transfer the semi grilled pork out and put it in plate. Meanwhile, put a cooling rack in the baking tray. Put the meat on the cooling rack (with baking tray). Brush the meat with the additional maltose (2 tablespoons of maltose or honey with 2 tablespoons of water. If too sticky, add another tablespoon of water. ) evenly. Send back to the oven. Turn on the top grilled heat at 180 degree Celsius. Grilled for about 5 minutes or until it reach the desired colour tone and dries up. Take out the baking tray, turn the Bak Kwa, brush and baked again for another 5 minutes or until it reach the desired colour tone and dries up.

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  • Immediate after you take out from the oven, it will be rather dry and slightly crispy because of the maltose effect, if you rest it for second day in the room temperature, it will be softer.

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CONCLUSION

A simple fast (almost instant) recipe of Bak Kwa for you try out. It is full of flexibilities. Let me know if this is what you like. Remember to test grill a small piece prior to grilling the entire kilogram of minced meats.

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

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This recipe was included in Page 54 and Page 55 of the following E-book. 

For more Chinese New Year related cookies, snack and steamed cake recipes, you can have a copy of Easy Chinese New Year Recipes – A step by step guide” that was packed with 30 recipes, 60 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD3.50. The recipes covered various recipes from auspicious radish cake to nian gao to traditional kuih bangkit to trendy London almond cookies. Of course not forgetting both type of pineapple tarts. 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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Another One Number Baking Ratio Adventures (7).. Sugee Almond Cake

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UPDATED POST ON 4-11-2014

I have not bake this cake for almost one year and start to crave for this cake with unique texture.. I told my friends, I loved this cake, not a bit but a lot. It is slightly chewy and it is not as oily as those normal butter cake. I have decided to change my recipe to substitute plain flour with almond flour or almond meal. Therefore, this cake have no plain flour. Depending on the type of semolina flour that you used, if it is a product from buckwheat, this cake can be considered as gluten free.. If the semolina flour is produced from durum wheat, it will not be gluten free.

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I also did not use baking powder for this cake, purely leavened by eggs . I love the dense and chewy unique texture. It is a cake good for festivals and you can use this as a festival cake by gradually infusing alcohol to enhance the moistness and flavour.. For kids consumption, I did not do intend to add in any alcoholic drink..

Please scroll down for the new Recipe 2 (without plain flour version).

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INTRODUCTION

In Singapore, usually one package of semolina flour will weigh 500 g and costs less than SGD2 depending on the brands. However, being a Chinese, there are not many cuisines that use semolina flour as the ingredients. I have issued a post of Indian Short Bread Cookies – Nan Khatai that uses semolina flour and ghee, it was quite well received and a number of readers who tried the recipes still have lots of semolina flour left. They are asking what shall they do with the semolina flour? That recipe only called for 50 grams of semolina flour and effectively, they still have 45o grams of semolina flour left in their kitchen shelf. I have promised those readers that I will provide a recipe of SUGEE ALMOND CAKE, a traditional Malaysian Singaporean Eurasian festival cake that also uses semolina flour …

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SUGEE CAKES DEFINED

Rather surprisingly, Sugee cake is included in Wikipedia’s explanation of Singapore’s cuisines, it was written:

“Sugee cake, a soft cake made with semolina flour and a high concentration of egg yolks; served in Eurasian, Malay, and Chinese cuisine.” (Source: Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singaporean_cuisine)

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Sugee cake is traditionally treated as a festival cake usually served in Kristang families both as a happy occasion cake (Christmas, birthdays, weddings) and sombre occasion such as funerals.  In fact, it is also a type of cake for the Christmas. Kristang are local Portuguese descendent Eurasians in Singapore and West Malaysia. The popularity of this cake however has extended to other races such as Chinese, Malay and Indian households.

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Effectively, this is a type of butter cakes made using semolina flour and large quantity of egg yolks. It had a special texture, a big chewy and unlike cakes that uses the normal flour, it is denser. Though dense, it is easy to down the throat and in fact, both my wife and me have concurred that it is another way of appreciating the butter cake. Chewy, buttery, aromatic and moist.

There are many recipes of sugee cakes in the internet, some called for pan frying the semolina flour or soaking of semolina flour in butter, some called for use of brandy or other fruits alcohol, some used less eggs and some used lot of egg yolks.. However, I have adapted the recipe from http://sg.theasianparent.com/sugee-cake-recipe-award-winning/.

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Since this recipe do not vary very much from my proposed “one baking number ratio”, I have made slight modifications so that it conform with my believes of using just one number in preparing the ingredients. If you are interested to read more about my “one number baking ratio” adventures, you can refer to the following posts – Basic Pound Cake, Peanut Butter Muffins, Fruits Dates Cakes, Zebra Patterned Pound Cake and Grapefruit Cognac Pound Cake. 

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RECIPE 1 (PLAIN FOUR VERSION) – please scroll down for recipe 2 (without plain flour version)

WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted  from:  AWARD WINNING SUGEE CAKE RECIPE from http;//sg.theasianparent.com

Make an 8’ square baking tin

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  • 250 grams of semolina flour

  • 250 grams of plain flour (sift and set aside)

  • 250 grams of castor sugar

  • 250 grams of butter (at room temperature)

  • 250 grams of eggs (use 6 eggs – see calculation below) – separated into egg yolks and egg whites)

  • 250 grams of milk or less subject to eggs volume  (balancing – see calculation below)

  • half cups of grounded almond

  • 3 teaspoons of baking power (sift together with plain flour and set aside)

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence OR 1-2 teaspoons of brandy or whisky

Calculation of milks required based actual weight of this illustration:

In this illustration, 6 eggs weighed about 318 grams 

Milk volume = 250 g of milk – Excess volume of eggs = 250 g  – (318g – 250g) = 182 g of milk

Alternatively, you can use 6 eggs and 120ml of milk as in the original recipes. This recipe have about 60 g more milk which it moister.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparation

  • Pre-heat oven to 150 degree Celsius

  • Line a 8” square baking tin with parchment paper


Preparing the meringue (Beating of egg whites)

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  • In a big mixing bowl, place your egg whites and beat using the machine whisk to whisk the egg whites until firm peak. Note that the bowl have to be extremely clean, dry and free of any oils.

  • When the volume expands, add in about 5 tablespoons of sugar gradually, beat until thick and glossy and until all the sugars dissolved. Spoon the filling into a clean bowl and set aside for later use.

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Preparing the batters and folding of flours

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  • Change your whisk to a K beater (look at the second picture for the shape). Place your remaining sugar and butter, beat until light and creamy. Add in the vanilla essence and eggs yolks and use slow speed to “mix” until well mixed. Eggs yolk should be added one by one and scrap the bottom of the bowl to ensure no unmixed egg yolk settled at the bottom of the mixing bowl.

  • Once well mixed, put 1/3 of plain flours, semolina flours, ground almonds and fresh milk and use the slowest speed to let it “stir” for 2-3 cycles.

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  • Repeat the same for the remaining two third dry ingredients and milks. Once well mixed, take the mixing bowl out.

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Folding of egg whites

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  • Once well mixed, use a big spoon or spatula and  fold in the egg white swiftly and lightly until the batter are smooth.

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Baking the Cake

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  • Bake in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for the first 15 minutes and turn down the temperature to 150 degree Celsius for the remaining 45-60 minutes or when the skewer inserted come out clean. When you note signs of burnt, just use some metal to cover the cake tin.

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Recipe 2 (Without Plain Flour Version)

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  • 250 grams of melted butter
  • 250 grams of semolina flour
  • 250 grams of almond meal or almond flour
  • 250 grams of castor sugar
  • 50 grams of milk (optional)
  • 6 eggs (separated into egg white and egg yolks)
  • 2-3 teaspoons of brandy or whisky (optional)


STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Mixed the semolina flour with the melted butter. Let it soaked for at least 4 hours .

  • Pre-heat the oven to 150 degree Celsius.

  • In a whisking bowl, whisk the sugar (leave 2 tablespoons for egg white) and egg yolk until light and pale. Add the brandy, milk, soaked semolina flour followed by almond meal. Stir until well combine and resemble a sticky paste.

  • Beat the egg white until soft peak with the 2 tablespoons of sugar.

  • Fold the egg white to the thick yolk batter in 3 phases. Transfer the batter to a greased 8” inches square tin and bake in the pre-heated oven of 150 degree Celsius for about 45 minutes or when a skewer inserted comes out clean.

  • Best serve after resting one night as the cake will start to get moister. If preferred, can further infuse more alcohol and can be used as a festival cake.

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CONCLUSION

As it is a very dense cake (about 1.8 kg), a crack may be inevitable… Some international members have commented that a crack signifies that it is a “cake” with character…. It is such a consolation statement to me. The crack do become smaller after 8 hours of resting. Personally, to me that is rather irrelevant to me since the cake is very tasty. It is moist because semolina can better absorb more liquids and butters than plain flour. It goes well with icing or cream or just plain with  a cup of coffee.

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

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

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An Indian Style British Traditional Breakfast Item –Kedgeree or Kitchari

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INTRODUCTION

This is the first time I cooked this dish and I do not know much about the dish. However, after assessing its ingredients, I have decided to give it a try. Surprisingly, the taste of the dish was awesome and if you like Biryani Rice (Nasi Biryani in Malay), you will like it. In my humble opinion, the taste is very very similar to fish Biryani.

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Since I have limited knowledge on the dish, lets learn together from Wikipedia:

Kedgeree (or occasionally kitcherie, kitchari, kidgeree, kedgaree, or kitchiri) is a dish consisting of cooked, flaked fish (sometimes smoked haddock), boiled rice, parsley, hard-boiled eggs, curry powder, butter or cream and occasionally sultanas.

Kedgeree is thought to have originated with an Indian rice-and-bean or rice-and-lentil dish Khichri (or Pongal), traced back to 1340 or earlier.It is widely believed that the dish was brought to the United Kingdom by returning British colonials who had enjoyed it in India and introduced it to the UK as a breakfast dish in Victorian times, part of the then fashionable Anglo-Indian cuisine. It is one of many breakfast dishes that, in the days before refrigeration, converted yesterday’s leftovers into hearty and appealing breakfast dishes.”

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WHY THIS DISH

I am the moderator of a Google Plus Communities, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia – All About Food and one of the members Ms. Elly Yustina Ibrahim have posted this dish, Kichuri and I am very interested in her recipe. I told her that I am going to try her recipe since I have some Basmati rice at home. Basmati rice is a special long grain rice with lower glycemic index and is commonly used in the cooking of famous Biryani rice. You may want to know more about Basmati rice HERE.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from : Kichuri Rice from Ms. Elly Yustina

Serving : 4-6 adults

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  • 2 cups of Basmati rice

  • Half cup of lentil dhal ( I used split mung beans)

  • 500 grams of fresh fish fillet ( I used batang fish)

  • 10 cherry tomatoes or 2 big tomatoes cut into chunk

  • 4 boiled eggs (de-shelled) and cut into 1/4

  • 1-2 big onions (cut into small pieces)

  • 1 branch of curry leaves or 2 to 3 bay leaves

  • 1 small cinnamon stick

  • 2 tablespoons of curry (turmeric) powder

  • some chopped corianders leaves (chopped)

  • 1 small cups of plain yoghurt

  • 2-3 tablespoons of ghee or butter

  • Salt to taste

  • Sugar to taste

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STEPS OF PREPARATION  

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  • Marinate the fish fillet with some curry powder, some curry leaves, salt for about one hour.

  • In a frying pan, put half of the ghee and pan fry the fish fillet under medium heat until the fish is cooked. Take out the fish, cool and set aside for next step.

  • Cut the boiled eggs into one quarter and use the same oil to pan fry the eggs until slightly golden brown. Scoop out and drained the oil.

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  • Use the same frying pan, put the remaining half of the ghee and stir fry the onion, curry leaves (or bay leaves) until the aroma of onion start to spread. Add in curry powder, cinnamon stick and stir fry for another one minute. Add in dhal, Basmati rice and stir until well mixed. Off the heat, add cherry tomatoes and transfer the rice to the rice cooker. Add in adequate water according the instructions come with the rice. For me I have added 2 cups of water for 2 cups of rice. Cook the rice per rice cooker’s instruction.

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  • While the rice is cooking, flake the fish and take away all the bones. Set aside for later use.

  • Pour the plain yoghurt into a small serving bowl and add in the chopped coriander. Stir well and set aside.

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  • When the rice is cooked, add in the eggs and flaked fish meat on top of the rice and stir to mix well. Add in additional curry leaves if desired. If you like it hot, you can add in some chilli powder or red cut chilli.

  • Best served hot with the yoghurt dressing.

Note that as a side dish, I have prepare some tamarind prawns which I will share in another post.

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CONCLUSION

If you like Biryani rice, you will like this dish. The taste is very much like fish biryani rice. My kids were having it without any complaints and that surprised me as they have never being exposed to Indian cuisines except Korma chicken that I have cooked. The rice is buttery aromatic because of the ghee and it goes extremely well with yoghurt dressing.

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Hope you like the post today and I would not hesitate to cook this again since it is within my jurisdiction to add or minus the spices that were used and I am able to tailor it to suit my families taste buds. Cheers and have a nice week ahead.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 21 March 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .

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

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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.

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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.

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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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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.