I Am Short Of Time And Craved For A Cookie.. So I Made..–Microwave Cookies

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INTRODUCTION

Previously, I have a post on Microwave Mug Cake and yesterday when I browsed through the internet, a recipe in this Facebook Page – I love showing my personality in my cooking, caught my attention. I have always loved this Facebook Page because of its simple, unusual and daring recipes. In his/her post FOR THOSE DAYS WHEN YOU JUST WANT TO MAKE ONE COOKIE!, the Page owner was using microwave to prepare some cookies. Analysing at the ingredients, I was amazed how simple were the ingredients. Looking at the number of Likes in the post, at that time, there were 110 Likes and 736 re-shares. I thought I might as well give it a try.

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This morning, I am toying with his/her recipes. I started to try the original recipe and followed by additional recipes modified by me including 2 eggless recipes. Prior to this, I do know there are some eggless cookies recipes and I thought I might as well try to make these eggless cookies using microwave. My previous post of Eggless, Butter Less and Milk Less Cup Cakes was quite well received and I believed there will be some readers who are interested in microwave eggless cookies too.

Altogether, I have prepared 5 cookies:

  1. Butter Cookies with Caramel Chocolate Chips – As per the original recipe except substitute chocolate chips with caramel chocolate chips;
  2. Chocolate Cookies with Almond Chunks
  3. Eggless Strawberry Cookies with Strawberry Slices
  4. Eggless Blueberry Cookies with Fresh blueberries
  5. Strawberry Cookies with Strawberry Slices

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For eggless cookies, the eggs were substituted with equivalent volumes of strawberry milks or fresh milks. For this post, I will only list out the recipe of the  first cookie and highlight the changes in ingredients for the other cookies.


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: FOR THOSE DAYS WHEN YOU JUST WANT TO MAKE ONE COOKIE by I love showing my personality in my cooking

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  • 1/4 cup of plain flour

  • 1 tablespoon of butter (melted)

  • 1 tablespoon of white sugar

  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons of caramel chocolate chips (optional)

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

  • Pinches of salt

STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a bowl with melted butter, add in white and brown sugars, stir until well mixed. Add in egg yolks and followed by plain flour. Stir until combined and followed by addition of caramel chocolate chips.

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  • Place the cookie batter in the lightly greased  microwavable plate or bowl. Microwave 45-60 seconds or until the centre of the batter is set.

NOTE:

Just like ovens, every microwave oven will have some differences in terms of heat released. Like the microwave oven I have in my house, it is a very simple basic microwave oven with no function to adjust the heat. As such, you can start using medium heat (if there is any) and see how is the result. If at the end of 60 seconds, the cookie still does not look set, add additional 10-20 seconds to the cooking time. It is considered as cooked when the centre of the cookie is set or not runny.

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CHANGES IN OTHER COOKIES’ RECIPES

For other cookies, the changes are as follows:

  • Chocolate Cookies with Almond Chunks – Addition of 1 teaspoon of chocolate powder to the batter and replace chocolate chips with almond chunks; 
  • Eggless Strawberry Cookies with Strawberry Slices – Replacement of egg yolk with 20 grams of strawberry milks and substituting chocolate chips with one fresh strawberry (cut in slices)

  • Eggless Blueberry Cookies with Fresh blueberries – Replacement of egg yolk with 20 grams of  fresh milks and replacing chocolate chips with 10 fresh blueberries (mashed)

  • Strawberry Cookies with Strawberry Slices – Replacement of almond chunks with one fresh strawberries (cut in slices).


OUTCOME OF THE EXPERIMENTS

Butter Cookies with Caramel Chocolate Chips 

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The texture of the cookie is definitely satisfactory. It is rather light and a chewy type of cookie. It is quite fragile and if you view the original website, you will see that the Page Owner is using a fork to eat the cookie. However, given adequate time to cool, the cookie can be cut into neat pieces and definitely worth a try.

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Chocolate Cookies with Almond Chunks

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As expected, since it is a change of dry ingredients (from chocolate chips to almond chunks) and addition of chocolate powder, the texture is the same as the first cookie. Definitely recommendable even though it is not as crispy as the traditional cookie.

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Eggless Strawberry Cookies with Strawberry Slices

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Well, for this cookie, there was a rather major modification to the ingredients. So, what is the impact of the substitution of egg yolk with strawberry milks and the addition of freshly cut strawberry slices to the cookie? As expected, as there is no egg, it become a very dense “cookie” or “cake” if you  want to call it.

As I have explained earlier in my Eggless, Butter Less and Milk Less Cup Cakes post, eggs have the role to support the structure of any baked products. Without eggs, the rise of any baked products (cookies included) will have to be solely depend on the leavening agents (baking soda or baking powders).

Since we are using plain flour (without any baking soda or baking powders), will the cookies rise? The answer is quite certain, NO.

How about if we substitute the plain flour with self raising flours? It may or may not since the milk have much more moisture content than the eggs and it may not be able to support the flours.

Taste wise, it is acceptable. It is moist and full of strawberry flavour. Having one full cookie with some strawberry ice cream will definitely be welcomed by your guest…For Asian taste, this resembles a steamed dense cake..

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Eggless Blueberry Cookies with Fresh blueberries

 

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I then continued my adventure with the blueberry cookie by substituting the yolk with fresh milk and addition of blueberries. The outcome is the same as the eggless strawberry cookie, dense but chewy and edible.

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Strawberry Cookies with Strawberry Slices 

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Looking at the dense eggless “cookie” that I have made, I have decided to revert back to the usage of yolk in the cookies. For this cookie,  I have only substituted the chocolate chips with one strawberry fresh slices.

The texture is slightly better than the eggless cookies but it is too moist. The reason was simple, the juices from the fresh strawberry slices have negate part of the structure supporting effects of eggs  in the cookie.  If strawberry is to be added, I personally think that some baking powder and more flour will be needed to make it less dense.

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CONCLUSION

Depending on individual tastes, I would strongly recommended making the first two cookies (butter cookie with caramel chocolate chips and chocolate cookie with almond chunks). These two cookies are very delicious and light. However, if you do not mind to have dense “cookies”, you can try eggless strawberries and blueberries cookies. It was moist and very tasty.

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Hope you like my adventure today and do take a step out to prepare this one minute cookie for yourself or share with your family members. Is it not baking and cooking is fun with endless possibilities to try?

Have a nice day and cheers.

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How About An Eggless, Butter Less, Milk Less Chocolate Almond Cup Cakes?

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UPDATED POST ON 5-11-2014

I will include in this post another recipe that I have developed this morning, it is gluten free, dairy free, egg less and fatless. It is a rather healthy moist and aromatic snack.  I hope this post will benefit those who are on a certain diet.

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It is the same recipe for both cookies and cupcakes. For cookies just make it in smaller size and bake slightly longer.. It can be crispy or chewy. It will not be as crispy as those using flour.

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Taste wise is satisfactory. You can imagine taking some almond meal, add some cocoa powder, water and sugar.. It is definitely acceptable to most. Please scroll down for the second recipe.

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INTRODUCTION

Seriously, when I looked at the recipe, I was curious how it would turn out to be. When I prepared the batter and baking, I am even more doubtful about its outcome.. I did not have any picture to compare and I did not know whether what I have prepared and baked was correct or not. Not until I took the first bite this morning that I am confident to issue this post…

This is an eggless, butter less and milk less cup cake that I have adapted from a 2003 recipe. I have printed out this recipe as early as year 2005 when I just started to have interest in doing some baking. Then, I have been cracking my head to look for recipes that were suitable for niche markets like health conscious people or people that are less fortunate like diabetes . While flipping my recipe file yesterday, I saw this piece of printed paper and I thought I might wanted to give it a try.

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While I am writing this post, I try searching this recipe in All Recipes Cake Recipes website, I am rather happy that the recipe is still there but with no picture, that proves that it is a very old recipe. The recipe was submitted by Ms. Kathy Thurston and some body named Ms. Bernadette Beaupre had gave some explanation of this cake:

“This cake comes in handy when all you have left in the cupboard is the tin soups just before shopping day. It really was a treat served warm when we came in from the cold. And it was c-o-l-l-l-d-d-d, North of 53′. Sprinkle brown sugar or dust confectioner’s sugar over the top.” — Bernadette Beaupre (Source: All Recipes Cake Recipes website,)

Since it is an eggless, butter less and milk less, what should be the structure liked. If you looked at the recipe in detail in later part of the post, you will note that there are some shortening and water. Butter less can be substituted with cooking oil or vegetable shortening (as in this recipe) and milk less can be substituted with any liquids (be it eggs or water). Therefore, the crucial element that determine the outcome of the cup cake will be eggs.

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Eggs have the role of supporting the structure of the cup cake or in general any baked products. They are binder which help to hold the ingredients together. In addition, it contributed to the liquid component in a cake recipe. Therefore, it is expected that without eggs, the cake will be dense and the rising of the cake will depend entirely with the leavening agents such as baking powder and baking soda. 

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I am worry about whether the dense cake will be dry and difficult to swallow. The conclusion is not, as the recipe have minimal vegetable shortenings and some liquids which is adequate to make the cake moist.

In this recipe, I have increased the amount of water, addition of cocoa powder and some almonds chunks. The final baked products were well beyond my expectations and I concurred it was some form of good snacks. As I was experimenting with this recipe, I have reduced the volumes and managed to make 4 small cup cakes. As with any other cakes, serving with additional sauces and whipped cream will heighten the palate to another level.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipes adapted from: Eggless, Butter less and Milk less Recipe by Kathy Thurston (make 8 cup cakes)

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  • 2 cups plain four

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 1 cup almond chunks

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius and get ready some cup cake moulds.

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  • In a sauce pan under medium heat, bring  the vegetable shortenings, water and sugar to boil and continue boiling for about 2 minutes.

  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda together into the liquid.

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  • Use a spatula to stir the batter until it is well mixed.

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  • Stir in the almond chunks and ensure it is well mixed.

  • Scoop into the paper cups for cup cakes and baked in the oven for about 20 minutes or when the skewer inserted come out clean.

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CONCLUSION

This is a rather unusual cake. So who should prepare this? In fact this cake is very suitable for people who are vegetarian in accordance with Buddhist principles.

In my circle of friends, I have a few friends who are vegetarians. However, though all are  vegetarians, there are certain ingredients that fell into “grey area” and subject to arguments.

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One of the ingredients is eggs. Some of my vegetarian friends do not eat eggs as they believed there may be an embryo attached to the eggs. However, other Buddhist vegetarians believed that current eggs are commercially “produced”, therefore , it is impossible to have any embryos in the eggs.  Even if you hatch the eggs, no chicks will be born,

Another two special ingredients are two diary products, milks and butters. Some vegetarian will not touch any food “produced” by an animals, therefore milks and butters were excluded in their diets. Whereas some choose to believe that as there is no need to kill a cow to get milks and butters, therefore, these can be included in the vegetarian diets.

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These belies have an impact in pastry terms. Every year, when I baked my pineapple tarts for my relatives and friends, I will have to bake two types, the normal with milk, eggs and butter and another version, which is rather hard to prepare that is eggless, milk less and butter less! Of course the onus will lie on me to find relevant substitute for the ingredients.

Hope you like this rather strange post today. But, I have to admit that looking at the picture, you may not be convinced until you take a bite of it. Have a nice day and cheers.

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RECIPE 2 – GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, EGG LESS AND FATLESS CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE AND COOKIES

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

  • 1 cup of almond meal or almond flour
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160 degree Celsius
  • Mix all the ingredients above until well combined
  • Transfer to cup cakes cup .
  • Baked in the pre-heated oven at 160 degree Celsius for about 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean

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  • For cookies, add about 1/8 teaspoon of baking powder to the batter, bake at 160 degree Celsius for about 20 minutes. Let it sit in the tray for 5 minutes before transfer to the rack for cooling. If you want it to be crispier, can extend baking time by another 5-10 minutes.

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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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Snake Tongue Tea? Gosh.. I Am Going Away……白花蛇舌草罗汉果茶

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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that the body is in its best condition when the Yin and Yang is balanced. I am no expert in this field but being  a Chinese, I was “brainwashed” about the need to cleanse /balance your body with some foods and drinks such that your body is in the top notch condition.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_Chinese_medicine

One of cheapest way of “self medication” or “self balancing” about your body’s Yin and Yang is preparing some herbal drinks at home. There are many many herbs that sometimes i seriously doubt that the grass/weeds that I stepped under my feet are edible and are types of herbs.

In fact, today, one of the herb that I wanted to share with all is a common grass that can be found in many countries. But don’t simply pluck from the streets and cook it unless you are 100% sure of that is exact the plant. Eating plants that have toxins can be disastrous to your body!


WHY THIS DRINK?

Last week, I am eating a lot of baked pastry, according to TCM, it brought heat to your body. I am having a bit of sore throat and today when I am doing the marketing,  I saw these plants. It is in a store selling all sort of herbs in a wet market. Beside selling this herb, they also sell other types of “body cooling” herbs such as purple cane, rhoeo tricolour and other general cooking herbs such as Thai basil, mint leaves and etc..

I WAS TOLD THAT IT IS A COMMON ITEM AND IF YOU CAN GET THIS HERB IN ITS RAW/FRESH FORM, YOU CAN TRY THE DRIED VERSION IN THE TRADITIONAL CHINESE VERSION MEDICAL SHOP.

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This herb is called Hedyotis Diffusa (白花蛇舌草)scientifically and literally translated from Chinese language as White Flower Snake Tongue Grass! Don’t asked me why this name, Ha-ha.

As Hedyotis Diffusa sound so alien to most readers, shall we have a simpler name Snake Tongue Grass? So, from this point onwards, Hedyotis Diffusa and snake tongue grass shall be used interchangeably.

As per Wikipedia on Heydotis Diffusa, it was written that

Hedyotis diffusa (Chinese: 白花蛇舌草; pinyin: báihuā shéshécǎo; literally “white flower snake-tongue grass”, sometimes abbreviated to 蛇舌草 shéshécǎo) is a kind of herb used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is sometimes combined with Siraitia grosvenorii (simplified Chinese: 罗汉果; traditional Chinese: 羅漢果; pinyin: luóhànguǒ) to make hot drinks like Lohoguo of Guongsei (simplified Chinese: 罗汉果蛇舌草精; traditional Chinese: 羅漢果蛇舌草精; pinyin: luóhànguǒ shéshécǎo jīng) or Luohanguo Pearl and Sheshecao Beverage.

Therefore, in this illustration, I have combined with Siritia Grosvenorii (罗汉果), hereinafter refer to as Lohanguo), another common traditional Chinese medicine ingredient.  It is a natural sweetener and is used to treat diabetes in TCM. This combination is nothing raw, you can see it in Chinese Provision shops that sell in instant form.

Source: http://www.fjzzyy.cn/product.asp


BENEFITS OF SNAKE TOUNGE GRASS (HEDYOTIS DIFFUSA)

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Snake tongue grass is believed to have inflammation properties and ability to prevent tumour growth. In addition, it is used to clear heat, counteract toxins, remove damp, treatment of boils and abscesses, snake bite, sore throat etc..

If you goggled heydyotis diffusa, you will note that there are lots of research relating to studies on its role on cancer prevention. The articles below list out the major health benefits of snake tongue grass which includes mostly inhibit cancerous growth of many types of cancer- Chinese herbs in Western View – Baihuasheshecao – health benefits and side effects.

 Sourcehttp://www.baike.com/wiki/白花蛇舌草

In another study to study the anticancer properties of Oldenlandia Diffusa published by US National Library of Medicines in 2004, it was concluded that:

“Oldenlandia diffusa extract effectively inhibited the growth of all the eight cancer cell lines and induced significant increase of apoptosis. The extract exhibited minimum toxic effect on normal pancreatic cells. Furthermore, there was a significant inhibition of lung metastases in the animal model with no noticeable adverse effects. The herb extract could be a potential anticancer agent.”(Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15273074)

As with other herbals, it is advisable that PREGRNANT WOMEN SHALL REFRAINED FROM DRINKING THE TEA UNLESS WITH ADVISE FROM MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS.


As with my other drink series, since this is a Chinese herbs, for the benefits of my readers who are Chinese speaking, I have specifically include this excerpt. Note that the Chinese and English versions are not the same as they are from the different source.

  • 痈肿疮毒,咽喉肿痛,毒蛇咬伤。本品苦寒,有较强的清热解毒作用,用治热毒所致诸证,内服外用均可。如单用鲜品捣烂外敷,治疗痈肿疮毒,也可以本品与金银花、连翘、野菊花等药同用;用治肠痈腹痛,常与红藤、败酱草、牡丹皮等药同用;若治咽喉肿痛,多与黄芩、玄参、板蓝根等药同用;若用治毒蛇咬伤,可单用鲜品捣烂绞汁内服或水煎服,渣敷伤口,疗效较好,亦可与半枝莲、紫花地丁、蚤休等药配伍应用。近年利用本品清热解毒消肿之功,已广泛用于各种癌证的治疗
  • 热淋涩痛。本品甘寒,有清热利湿通淋之效,单用本品治疗膀胱湿热,小便淋沥涩痛,亦常与白茅根、车前草、石韦等同用。” (Source:中医e百网页)


BENEFITS OF ARHAT FRUIT OR LUOHANGUO (SIRITIA GROSVENORII)

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Luohanguo is also called arhat fruit or monk fruits. The plant is cultivated for its fruit, whose extract is nearly 300 times sweeter than sugar and has been used in China as a natural low-calorie sweetener for cooling drinks, and in traditional Chinese medicine to treat diabetes and obesity. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siraitia_grosvenorii). It is very common and you can easily purchased it in any Chinese herbal shops at a very reasonable price.


WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • One bunch of fresh snake tongue grass of about 500 g. Usually it comes with root and cost about SGD1.20 for it (this price is for estimating the quantity of your fresh snake tongue grass)

  • 6 dried lohanguo

  • 400 gram of rock sugar (can be adjusted according to individual preference)

  • 4 litres of water.

STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Soak your snake tongue grass in clean water for 15 minutes

  • Clean thoroughly the grass and watch out for the root portion which may have some soils stuck to the plants.

  • Use clean water to rinse the cleaned snake tongue grass.

The soaking of the snake tongue grass is requested by my mother in law which i think it make sense. Be it commercially cultivated or “plucking” from the wild, we will never know if there are any pesticides, therefore like other vegetables, it is a precautionary steps to wash away the pesticides (if any) by soaking in the water.

You may need quite a lot of water to clean the natural herbs. It is my usual habit to recycle  these water for watering my plants! These are just muddy water and throwing away is a waste. If you do have a lot of plants at home, I would encourage to use this to water your plant or flush your toilet, if you want. You know, I am just a stingy old man! Ha-ha

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  • Break open the lohanguo and look out for any mould in the shell!

 

NOTE

Note that it is not necessary for you to break your lohanguo like the picture above. I do have the habit to break it and see what is inside. There are a few experiences that I saw mold settling insides the seeds. If it is dry with small patches, i will just wash with cold water. Otherwise, I will throw away. The usual ways of cooking this is just use some hard object to break but not open the lohanguo, throw it in the herbs that you are cooking.

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  • Put 4 litres of water in a big pot. Add in snake tongue grass and lohanguo and bring to boil under high heat!

  • Once boiled, turned to medium heat and boiled for another 15-20 minutes.

  • Add in rock sugar and let it boiled for another 5 minutes.

NOTE:

The preparation of this drink is rather flexible, be it the use of main ingredients (snake tongue grass and lohanguo) or side ingredients (rock sugar) and water, You can always adjust to suit your family’s taste buds. Personally, I will start with less water and some rock sugar. If i find it too sweet or concentrated, i will just dilute with water.

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  • Strain the herbal teas and store in a glass bottle (preferred if you have). Though it is not advisable to keep this overnight according to TCM, however, if needed, store in fridge in a clean (preferred if sterilized with hot water) bottle.


VARIATIONS

  • As the drink can be slightly bland, you can add in a small quantity of dry longan to add flavour to it. I have added this to make my kids drinking this tea.


CONCLUSION

I am eating a piece of my zebra patterned pound cake with a glass of this tea as a snack this morning. Chinese believed that all oven baked pastries are “heaty” to your body. There is a constant need to have some drinks to “cool” your body. Too much “heat” in your body will cause acne, sore throat, boils, abscesses and etc.. (In Western terms : inflammation). This is pleasant drink and is a choice among many body cooling drinks that are cooked by Chinese households. You may also interested in my other drink series here:

Have a nice day and don’t forget to cleanse your body! Hope you like the post and cheers.

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

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INTRODUCTION

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

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

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

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

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

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



WHAT IS REQUIRED ….

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

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

Note:

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

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



STEPS OF PREPARATION

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

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  • Preferably served hot with rice .

 


CONCLUSION

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

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

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Bachelor’s Tomyam Noodles–Quick And Nice…

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INTRODUCTION

I am struggling whether I should post this simple noodle preparation. It is just that simple and up to your own creativities. I am thinking, will putting up this post insult my reader’s intelligence? Will it qualify as a professional blog post? Is this consider as an recipe? Well, after struggling for 10 minutes, I have decided to post this dish to gauge what is my reader’s reactions. Due to this impromptu decision, therefore, unlike other post, some pictures were not available.

This is a super fast dish that I cooked for myself today.  From cooking to eating to cleaning, it took me less than half an hour.  It is ideal for those who just want a simple, quick and nutritious meal.

 

WHY THIS DISH

I am alone by myself at home and I don’t feel like cooking for myself. Usually,  I would just eat the breakfast leftover items for lunch. But I have been eating breakfasts as lunches for the last 3 days and my body tells me that I need something that don’t taste like “breakfast”.

Cooking a dish for myself is never a problem, I just search my kitchen cabinet and my refrigerator and see what I have at home. As my kids were away on holiday and we will not be cooking these few days, therefore, my perishable stocks were very limited and this is what I found, a packet of Tom yam instant noodles.

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As I have never fancy any instant noodles, this packet of instant noodles is not attractive to me at all especially if it is plain (meaning water plus instant noodles). But suddenly, it come across my mind and asked myself, why not cook myself some Tom Yam noodles. So I take out a pot and cooked my superfast Tom Yam noodles.


WHAT YOU NEED

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As far as I am concerned, there is nothing that you can’t put it. I usually cooked based on what I have especially the side vegetables. What I used this time:

  • One pieces or dry egg noodles – this is exactly the same as your instant noodles except it is slightly firmer;
  • Some cherry tomatoes – supposingly to be eaten as fruits but since I have some in the fridge, I just dump it in.
  • Some chicken breast meat (optional) cut into small chunks – I had this in the fridge for quite a while and since I will not be cooking for the these 2 weeks, I have to “get rid” of it. But frankly speaking, it taste better with some meaty flavor;
  • Few pieces of chili (optional) – These chili were specially flown from China given by one of my guest who stay in Guangxi China. It is supposingly very spicy but for me, it is slightly more spicy than the red chili but not as spicy as chili padi.
  • Tom Yam paste – It is good to keep some ready made tom yam paste at home for making quick soups, fried noodles and etc. My wife have bought this vegetarian tom yam paste which I don’t think there is much differences. The only difference in ingredients that I can think off is the shallots and garlics since Buddhist vegetarian were not allowed to consume any shallots and garlics.

STEPS OF PERPARTION

I have no picture to show as this post was rather impromptu and only decided half way when I was cooking. In fact, it is such a simple dish that there are only 2-3 steps and further elaboration will “insult” my reader’s intelligence. If you really can’t understand what I am trying to say, just imagine you are cooking some instant noodles in a pot.

  • Take out a pot and pour in some plain water. Put a few table spoon of tom yam paste (depending on taste) and bring to boil. Throw in other ingredients in these orders – meat, chili, tomato, egg noodles. 

  • As I am using chicken breast and cut into small chunks, it is rather quick to cook. The smaller your meat is, the easier it is to cook! You can use some sweet potato flour or corn flour to slightly cover your meat before you put them in the pot. The role of these flours is to keep the juice inside the meat and also make its texture smoother. For me, as I want it to be quick, I have not perform this step, I just put my meat in without adding any corn flour.
  • Boil for 1-2 minutes until your noodles have soften.
  • I prefer to rest it for a while until the noodles absorbed all the soup and this will make it tastier and softer.
  • Variations – There are many variations that you can have. You may want to add some eggs. or sausages. some cabbage, red carrots, celery, etc. and the lists are endless. These are all up to your imaginations and creativities.

FINAL OUTPUT

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In the picture, does it look appetizing to you?

To make it look better you can consider using mushrooms for black color, red chili for red color, baby corns for yellow color and carrot for orange color.

Compare to the 1st picture and the last picture, you can see that noodles is softer as it had absorbed the gravy.

Taste wise, if you want it more sour, you can squeeze some lime juice. For me that is just nice. It is essentially tom yam cooked with chicken stock and if you like tom yam, this is a suitable meal for you!


CONCLUSIONS

  • Not all foods need to be elaborately prepared before it is considered as tasty. Simple meal like this is ideal for those who are kitchen phobia or short of time to prepare a nutritious meal;
  • It is nutritious because the ingredients that were used are simple (like my post on Nasi Aruk here) but packed with proteins and vitamins. Tom yam paste itself is full of herbs and spices that is beneficial to the body.
  • It is healthier because no oil and further seasonings were used. IT IS DEFINITELY HEALTHIER THAN INSTANT NOODLE AS NO MSG WAS USED。When you ate plain instant noodles, most people will craved for stronger flavor as the taste is very monotonous and you need seasonings to make your palate “happy”. With slight additions of meat and vegetables, your attention will gear towards your meats and vegetables. The soups will have some meaty flavor and you don’t feel the need to add any more seasonings. Is it not healthier?
  • It is fast to prepare, full flexibility and you can substitute any ingredients with what you have at home.

Because it is so flexible, it essentially means there is no recipe. So, do you like this type of simple dish or you think reading my post is wasting your precious time?

I treasure your feedback and let me know how you feel about it.

Happy reading and cheers.


I have recently open a Facebook community page ‘AUTHENTIC SARAWAK FOOD AND HISTORY” and I hoped you can support the page by visiting the page. If you find the page benefits you in some way, please give it a “LIKE”.

The page is intended to become a center of collection of unique Sarawak Cuisines. For those who don’t know where is Sarawak, Sarawak is one of states belong to Malaysia and in the Island of Borneo. It is famous of its eco-tourism and multi racial society. Its unique cuisine are cuisines like Sarawak Laksa, Kolo mee and scarce vegetables such as jungle fern shoot, hairy eggplant etc. PLEASE COME  AND UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT SARAWAK CUISINES HERE.

 

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Thousand apologies.  I have to put this picture here due to technical error. Otherwise it will mess up my Tumblr. accounts posting and my Facebook posting.