Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Singapore (Part I)

This is a very special post for me.  First, as you can see, I have made some National Day Cookies here as a pre-National Day celebration.  Tomorrow, I will be going down to Marina Bay to watch the NDP preview.   And I am equally thrilled to be sharing this post with one of my favorite food bloggers, Ellena, at Cuisine Paradise. 

With about a week more to our National Day, I decided to make these cookies for my little girl and her pre-school classmates.  I zoom in on two colours - red and white, the colours of our National Flag.  And, what's better way to pack these cookies than having them in this NDP Fun Box!  For those who have attended last year's NDP ("National Day Parade") celebration, you might remember having this Fun Box inside the goodies bag.  

I thought this is also a great time for me, as a Singaporean and a young parent, to engage our little ones in some National Education.  I design a simple quiz of 20 questions on Singapore, from "what is our National Anthem", " What does the crescent moon on our flag represents" to "Name 5 MRT stations on the East West Line".  These questions are printed and glued on small little tags and taped behind each cookie pack.  I hope while the children are enjoying the cookies, they will also get to learn something about Singapore.  

Updated on 10 August
Received this powerpoint slide from the class teacher:

Glad the kids have a good time!

For Part II of my National Day bakes, I made a chocolate brownies National Day cake for their school celebration

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Roast Chicken with Glutinous Rice

I saw a small segment of the repeat telecast of  "Ladies' Nite", where the hosts and the guest chef were preparing  (... already eating their) roast chicken with glutinous rice stuffing.  It looks very delicious and I thought this will make a wonderful one-dish meal for a weekend lunch.  

Since I missed out most of the show, I went online and found the recipe here.  I made some changes to the recipe, for instance, the recipe calls for 1/3 cup of glutinous rice (soaked in water overnight).  "Mmmm.... 1/3 cup only .... dun know fill which part of my stomach ...?"  After all the time, efforts and ingredients that you spent, it makes sense to prepare a bigger portion and save the extra for another day's breakfast.  I have also added some carrots and sweet potatoes to be roasted together with the chicken.  

1 chicken, about 1.4 - 1.5kg, clean thoroughly and remove innards

Marinate for chicken:
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil 
1 tbsp grated ginger & its juice
Pinch of salt

1 to 2 tbsp melted butter + 1 tsp dried mixed herbs (to rub all over chicken before roasting)

Glutinous rice stuffing
1 and 1/3 cup glutinous rice, soak in water for 5 hours and drain (or cook more and keep the excess for breakfast)
1 Chinese sausage, sliced 
3 Chinese mushrooms, 
soak in water, squeezed out liquid, finely sliced
2 tbsp dried shrimp, soak in water, chopped
3 to 4 cloves shallots, sliced 
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
Pinch of salt to taste 

Roast vegetables:
Parboiled vegetables: 1 carrot, 1 sweet potato (cut into chunks and boil briefly to soften)
Other vegetables:  1 onion, cut in big chunks ; 3 cloves of garlic, whole

Side vegetables: Blanched Shanghai greens (stem portion only)

1) Marinate the chicken for at least 4 to 5 hours, or overnight (chill in the fridge).

2) Heat some oil in the wok and fry the shallots till golden brown.  Drain and set aside.

3) With remaining oil in wok, fry the sausage to "expel" some oil from the sausage.  Push the sausage to one side, add in the mushrooms and fry till fragrant.  Push to one side together with the sausage.  Add the dried shrimp and garlic and fry till fragrant.  Add in the glutinous rice, soy sauce, pinch of salt and stir well to combine.  Add just enough liquid (from the water used for soaking the mushrooms/shrimps) to ensure the rice is damp.  Stir in the fried shallots.
4) Transfer the glutinous rice filling to a steamer and steam on moderate-high heat for about 20 to 30 minutes (check after 20 minutes, if rice grain is still hard, sprinkle a little water on the rice and steam for another 10 to 15 minutes).

5) Let the glutinous rice filling cool down before stuffing it into the chicken.  Seal the chicken cavity with some toothpicks. Rub the melted butter & dried herbs all over the chicken. 

6) Toss the parboiled vegetables, onions and garlic together with 1/2 tbsp oil and a dash of pepper.  Arrange them on the roasting pan.  Place the stuffed chicken on top of the vegetables (breast side up).

7) Roast the chicken and vegetables in a preheated oven of 220C for about 30 minutes.  Remove, turn the chicken to the other side (breast side down), baste with some of its juice, and roast again at reduce temperature of 200C for 15 minutes.  Remove, turn the chicken again (breast side up), baste and roast for a further 15 minutes.

8) Remove the chicken, let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Steamed Fish Head with Chopped Chillies (剁椒鱼头)

The weather is hot, and so is this fiery-looking steamed fish head, all covered in chopped red chillies!  剁椒鱼头 is a Hunan signature dish.  You might have heard of this popular Chinese phrase "江西人 不怕辣, 湖南人 辣不怕, 四川人怕不辣" - referring to the increasing threshold level for spicy food.  For me, I belong to the "moderate-level" - not too spicy, but a little will be nice.  Hence, do not be fooled by the appearance of this dish.  It just looks spicy, but that's all .... since I can even drizzle the sauce over my rice and eat without sweating.

For this dish, I used about 8 to 9 red chillies.  Chop it up coarsely, combine with 2 to 3 tbsp of cooking wine and leave it to sit for a few hours.  Thereafter, discard the liquid.  I'm doing this to extract the spiciness out from the red chillies.  If you love your food to be super hot & spicy, you may want to omit this step.  

1/2 fish head
8 to 9 red chillies, remove seeds, coarsely chopped
2 to 3 tbsp cooking wine
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp salted black beans
3 stalks of spring onion, chopped

Seasoning sauce:
2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
3/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

2 to 3 tbsp hot cooking oil

1) Combine chopped chillies with 2 to 3 tbsp cooking wine.  Leave it for few hours.  Discard liquid.
2) Combine together the chillies (from step 1), garlic, ginger, salted black beans and the seasoning sauce.
3) Rub a small pinch of salt all over the fish head, place it on the steaming plate.  Pour the combined seasoning sauce over the fish head and steam on high for about 10 minutes.
4) Heat up 2 to 3 tbsp cooking oil till very hot.  Add chopped spring onion to the steamed fish head and pour the hot oil over.  Serve immediately.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Spicy Seafood Salad

Here is another quick and easy salad, perfect for the current hot weather.  As usual, I took whatever that's available in my fridge and put them together.  So, instead of using prawns and squids, you can replace them with shredded roast chicken or roast duck.  For more greens, serve the salad on a bed of shredded lettuce.  Better still, add some fresh basil leaves for that wonderful aroma.  

6 medium-sized prawns
2 medium-sized squids
1 cucumber, cut into thin shreds
1 piece pineapple, cut into thin shreds
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 lemon grass (use the bulb portion only), thinly sliced
1 red chili, sliced
1 stalk parsley, cut
1 tomato, thinly sliced (garnish)

1 to 2 tbsp cooked chili paste (note)
1 tsp brown sugar
2 small limes (for its juice)
Fish sauce to taste
[Note: I used the same chili paste as the fried mee siam.  Alternatively, replace with some Thai sweet chili sauce]

1) Mix the seasonings together, stir in sliced red chili, lemon grass and onion.  Add the shredded pineapple, cucumber and some parsley.  Toss well to combine.  Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.  

2) Clean, remove shell and devein the prawns.  Clean squid, remove skin and cut into rings.  Boil the prawns and squid rings in a small pot of water for 1 to 2 minutes.  Drain and let it cool slightly.  Slice the prawns into halves.

3) Add the cooked prawns and squid into step 1.  Mix well, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cranberry Swiss Roll & Stabilised Whipped Cream

Thanks to this month's Aspiring Bakers, I have been trying out Swiss rolls with various fillings - from dairy whipped cream, butter cream, agar agar to mayonnaise with pork floss.  For a sweet filling, I prefer the dairy whipped cream for its light, smooth and airy texture.  It goes well with almost any fillings and flavourings.  Due to its light and airy texture, you can spread more whipped cream on the cake sponge and roll up to a nice round Swiss roll.  Butter cream on the other hand, is much heavier and the texture is slightly hard after storing in the fridge.  You need to thaw the Swiss rolls for at least 15 minutes to bring it back to room temperature before serving.  An alternative to dairy whipped cream will be non-dairy whipping cream (or topping cream).  After being whipped, the cream will double its volume.  The advantage of using the topping cream is it is much stable and hold its shape well, compared to the dairy cream.  It is also much easier to whip, without having to worry that the cream will break down when it is over-whipped.  But somehow, topping cream has that artificial taste that I dislike, so I try not to use topping cream, unless for cake decoration purpose.

While I love the taste of the diary whipped cream filling, transporting the Swiss roll is quite tricky.  We know how fast the whipped cream will melt away in our hot weather (especially the current period!).  I searched online and tried a recipe for stabilised whipped cream.  With some leftover whipped cream, next day I test to see how long it can stays in room temperature before melting away.  By right, I should have another controlled item, i.e. normal whipped cream, to test along with the stabilised whipped cream, so we can tell if the stabilised cream can indeed last longer.  Next time perhaps .... cos I run out of whipped cream!

Test object: One-day old stabilised whipped cream
Time of test:  Noon time
Weather:  Scorching hot sun outside
Place:  Kitchen (with morning sun facing)

The gelatin does not seem to work, as the cream waters out after about 30 minutes at room temperature.  Then I tested again with a slice of Swiss roll:

With the sponge cake acting as a protective layer, the whipped cream last slightly longer in room temperature.  While the cream starts melting away after 60 minutes in room temperature, it still tastes quite good.  I'm not sure if the whipped cream will last longer at room temperature, if I had tested it on the same day that I whipped it.  Also, I found on this link, that by adding more gelatin to the whipped cream, it helps to hold the cream better, but beyond a certain amount of gelatin, the taste & texture of the whipped cream will be compromised.  I have only used 1/2 tsp gelatin in my whipped cream, shall try 1 tsp next time.  I have also read somewhere that adding melted marshmallow to the whipped cream can also help to stabilise it.  It should works since marshmallow contains cornstarch and gelatin.  

Sponge cake - same recipe as here, except:
a) use all top flour, i.e. 45g
b) replace milk with 25ml cranberry tea (immersed tea bag in 1/2 cup hot water)
c) add 2 tbsp dried cranberries and 1 tsp cranberry tea leaves into the cake batter

125ml dairy whipping cream
15g caster sugar
1/2 tsp gelatin powder
1 tbsp cold water

1) Prepare the sponge as per recipe, steps 1 to 4.
2) Sprinkle the gelatin powder over the water and leave it aside for 3 to 5 minutes.  Melt the gelatin by microwaving it or double-boiling.  Remove and leave it to cool slightly.
3) Place your mixing bowl, beater inside the fridge for 15 minutes before whipping.  Get ready some iced water or iced cubes.  Pour the whipping cream into the cold mixing bowl.  Sit the mixing bowl in a bigger bowl, filled with some iced water or iced cubes.  Whisk the cream and sugar till the cream starts to leave soft marks.  Pour in the gelatin mixture and whip to stiff peak (Note: the gelatin mixture must not be hot).
4) Spread the cream on the sponge cake and roll up.  Chill in fridge for an hour before slicing it.

Maybe some of you have better methods to stabilise your whipped cream.  Do drop me your comments!  

I will be sharing this post with Aspiring Bakers #9: Swiss Rolling Good Timeshosted by {L} of Obsessedly Involved with Food.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mango Pudding

This must be the best time to make mango pudding, with the aplenty supply of sweet Taiwan mangoes in the market.  And who can resist a nice chilling dessert on these super hot days ...

(makes about 6 to 7 small cups)

200ml water
50g sugar
4 gelatin sheets
50ml milk
200g vanilla ice-cream (or mango-flavoured ice-cream)
200g mango puree
1/2 tsp mango essence
Fresh mango cubes

1) Combine water and sugar in a small pot.  Boil content till sugar dissolves completely.  

2) Meanwhile, soak gelatin sheets in a bowl of water (I used tap water) till the sheets soften.  Gently squeeze out excess water and add to the sugar syrup.  Stir till gelatin dissolves completely.  Set aside to cool slightly.

3) Add milk, vanilla ice-cream, mango puree and mango essence into step 2.  Stir till well-combined.  Pour into cups and let it set in the fridge for 3 hours.

4) Garnish with fresh mango cubes and serve chill.

More mango desserts over here ...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Baked Mini Donuts

(makes about 18 donuts)

100g plain flour
50g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
50g sugar
A pinch of salt

100ml milk + 1.5 tbsp white vinegar (set aside for 10 minutes)
1 egg
3 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

2 tbsp melted butter, for greasing the pan

Melted chocolate to decorate the donuts

1) Mix (A) together.  Mix (B) together and add into (A), mix to combine.  Let the batter rest for 20 minutes and pour batter into piping bag.
2) Grease pan with melted butter and pipe the batter into the mould to almost full.
3) Bake in preheated oven at 190C for 10 minutes.
4) Remove and transfer to rack to cool.  Decorate the donuts with melted chocolate and sprinkles.

[Recipe: Adapted from Cook.Bake.Love]

Friday, July 15, 2011

Black Sesame Green Tea Roll

I love this combination of green tea butter cream in a black sesame cake roll.  It certainly makes for an elegant afternoon tea treat!


Sponge (for 30cm x 20cm baking tray)
4 egg yolks + 15g caster sugar
3 egg whites + 45g caster sugar + a pinch of salt
15g black sesame powder
1 tbsp toasted black sesame seeds
35g top flour, sifted
15ml melted butter
25ml coconut milk

Green Tea Butter Cream Filling:
40g caster sugar
20ml water
1 egg white + a small pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter 
1/2 tsp green tea powder

1) Whisk egg yolks and sugar over a pot of hot water till thicken and pale in color.  

2) In another bowl, whisk egg whites, salt and sugar on high speed till peak form; reduce to low speed to whisk for another minute.  Take 1/3 of whites to mix with the yolks; then fold into the remaining whites till combined.  

3) Combine black sesame seeds, black sesame powder and sifted flour.  Gently fold this mixture into the batter from step 2 (in 2 to 3 batches).

4) Combine melted butter with coconut milk.  Take 1/4 mixture in step (3) and mix with the melted butter/coconut milk.  Pour the mixture back into the batter and gently mix to combine.

5) Pour the batter into baking tray, lined with baking paper.  Use a spatula to spread out the batter evenly.  Gently knock the tray on table-top to remove air bubbles trapped in the batter.  Bake in preheated oven at 190C for around 12 minutes.  

6) Remove sponge cake from baking tray immediately and place it on a rack to cool.  After about 5 minutes, flip the sponge onto a clean sheet of baking paper, peel away the backing paper from the sponge and let it cool completely. 

7) To prepare the filling:  Place caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring it to boil over medium heat.  When the syrup starts bubbling, whisk the egg whites and salt till peak.  When the syrup thickens and the bubbles starts to become smaller, carefully pour the hot syrup into the egg whites.  Continue to whisk the egg whites till the mixture cools down slightly.  Gradually add in the butter and whisk for another 2 to 3 minutes.  Add in the green tea powder and whisk to combine.

8) Place the sponge (skin side up) on a piece of baking paper.  Use a spatula to spread a layer of green tea butter cream onto the sponge cake and roll it up (reserved some butter cream for applying on the roll).  Wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour.  Apply a thin layer of butter cream on the roll.  Dust some green tea powder  on top and serve chill.

I would like to share this post with Aspiring Bakers #9: Swiss Rolling Good Timeshosted by {L} of Obsessedly Involved with Food.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pandan Roll & The 3 Little Snails


Sponge (for 30cm x 20cm baking tray)
3 egg yolks + 15g caster sugar
1/2 tsp pandan paste
3 egg whites + 45g caster sugar + a pinch of salt
50g top flour, sifted
50ml coconut milk
A little green food colouring (optional)

Pandan filling:
50g sugar
200ml water
3g agar agar powder
25g hoon kueh flour (green bean flour)
150ml coconut milk
1/2 tsp pandan paste
Pinch of salt

1) Whisk egg yolks and sugar over a pot of hot water till thicken and pale in color.  Add in the pandan paste and mix well.  

2) In another bowl, whisk egg whites, salt and sugar on high speed till peak form; reduce to low speed to whisk for another minute.  Take 1/3 of whites to mix with the yolks; then fold into the remaining whites till combined.  Gently fold the sifted flour (in 2 to 3 batches) into the batter.  

3) Take 1/4 mixture in step (2) and mix with the coconut milk.  Pour the mixture back into the batter and gently mix to combine.

4) Take a small amount of batter and mix in 2 to 3 drops of green food colouring (this is for the green polka dots on the swiss roll).  Pour this into a small piping bag and pipe small dots on baking tray (lined with baking paper).  Pour the remaining batter into the baking tray.  Use a spatula to spread out the batter evenly.  Gently knock the tray on table-top to remove air bubbles trapped in the batter.  Bake in preheated oven at 190C for around 12 minutes.  

5) Remove sponge cake from baking tray immediately and place it on a rack to cool.  After about 5 minutes, flip the sponge onto a clean sheet of baking paper, peel away the backing paper from the sponge and let it cool completely. 

6) To prepare the filling:  Boil water and sugar in a small pot on medium heat till the sugar dissolves.  Mix together the agar agar powder, hoon kueh flour, coconut milk, 
pandan paste and salt.  Pour this mixture into the pot and keep stirring till the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and continue to stir the mixture for another minute to cool down the filling.  Let it cool slightly before using.

7) Place the sponge (skin side up) on a piece of baking paper.  Use a spatula to spread a thin layer of pandan filling onto the sponge cake and roll it up.  Wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour before slicing.  

And since I have some banana leaves at home, I decided to "dress up" the pandan rolls for an Asian touch.  While looking through the pictures, I thought they looked like little snails ^_^ and hence, I would like to share these three little snails with Aspiring Bakers #9: Swiss Rolling Good Timeshosted by {L} of Obsessedly Involved with Food.

Once upon a time, there were three little snails ......

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Durian Green Bean Soup - one bowl is not enough

After our hearty 5 plus 1 dinner last weekend, we went on to have durian for our dessert (after a short interval ^_^).   My sis-in-law brought over some durians ....not a few, but 10 durians!  Of course, we have leftover durians.  If you have seen my earlier post on durian swiss roll, I mentioned that while I enjoy durian, I hate dislike chilled durians.  To add on, I simply hate the smell that it "lends" to the fridge, very much like the smell of leaked gas.  When it comes to storing durian in fridge, I adopt the "triple-action" method:  keep in air-tight container (if available), wrap in plastic bag , then seal in a ziplock bag!     

Back to my leftover durians.  I was pondering over what to do with this batch of durian flesh - another durian swiss roll or some more durian puffs?  My mother-in-law offers a better idea - Durian Green Bean Soup!  I have never tasted green bean soup with durian in it!  But since I have a packet of green beans in my kitchen pantry, I am quite excited to try out this new recipe.  

It was surprising good!  The durian does not overpower the taste of the green bean soup.  Instead, it adds a mild durian fragrance and a creamy texture to the green bean soup.  If you are a durian-lover, you will most likely enjoy this dessert.  I'm not sure how this dessert came about, but it must have been passed down from the older generations, where thriftiness is a common practice in every household.  While I would usually discard the few hard and rubbery durian seeds (we called it “蕃薯" in Cantonese), my MIL used them to cook with green bean soup!  It's quite common back in the olden days, when they do not have "branded" durians or guaranteed good durians at affordable prices, like what we get to enjoy now.  

(serves 3 to 4)

150g green beans
A few pandan leaves
About 800ml to 1000ml water (adjust accordingly whether you like to have a thick or thin soup)
Rock sugar or sugar to taste (not too much cos durian is sweet too).
150ml coconut milk 
A tiny pinch of salt
5 heaped tbsp durian flesh, stir with a fork to break down the fibre a little

1) Wash and soak the green beans with some water (enough to fully cover the beans) for 2 to 3 hours.  
2) Combine the soaked green beans, pandan leaves and water in a pot.  Bring to boil and cook over medium-low heat for an hour or more, till the beans are soft.  Discard the pandan leaves and add in the rock sugar (or sugar) and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes.
3) Stir in the coconut milk, salt and 3 heaped tablespoons of durian flesh (or more if you like it).  Bring it to a gentle boil and remove from heat.
4) Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with a small dollop of durian flesh.

You can serve this dessert hot or cold, but I prefer this nice and warm!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pork Floss Mayo Prawns

My initial plan was to stir fry these prawns with kailan.  But, after making my pork floss swiss roll, I have some leftover pork floss and about 2 tablespoons of mayo spread.  Hee.... that gave me an idea to prepare this pork floss mayo prawns.  I added an extra squeeze of lemon juice to the leftover mayo spread, about one teaspoon of finely chopped garlic and a small dot of wasabi paste.

(serves 3)

8 to 10 medium-sized prawns
A little egg white (this was also leftover from making the swiss roll ^_^)
2 to 3 tsp cornstarch + 1 tsp custard powder (mix together)
Garlic mayo sauce: Mix together some mayonnaise, lemon juice, finely chopped garlic and wasabi paste
Marinate for prawns: Pinch of salt, 1 tsp cooking wine and a dash of pepper
Pork floss (mix with some roasted sesame seeds and shredded seaweed)

1) Deshell the prawns, devein, clean and make a cut at the back of the prawns.
2) Marinate the prawns with salt, cooking wine and pepper for a few minutes.  Add in a little beaten egg whites (about 1 tbsp is enough).  Coat the prawns with cornstarch/custard powder - shake off excess flour.  Set it aside for 3 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat up some oil for deep frying the prawns.
3) When the hot is moderately hot, deep fry the prawns till golden brown (about 1 to 2 minutes).  Place the fried prawns on kitchen paper to drain off excess oil.
4) Toss the prawns and garlic mayo sauce together to lightly coat the prawns with a thin layer of mayo sauce.
5) Spread some pork floss on the serving plate.  Serve the mayo prawns on top of the pork floss and garnish with some chopped spring onion.  If you like it, you can also coat the mayo prawns with pork floss or sprinkle more pork floss on top.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pork Floss Swiss Roll (肉松蛋糕卷)

If you like pork floss, you will fall in love with this pork floss swiss roll.  It may sound strange to you if you have never tried a savory swiss roll.  But, you got to trust me, this is ABSOLUTELY TASTY.  The combination of lemony mayonnaise + roasted sesame seeds + pork floss + seaweed + soft spongy cake is surprisingly good!  


Sponge - same recipe as here 
(except I used all top flour, reduce sugar to 30g for whisking with egg whites and sprinkle some chopped spring onion onto baking paper before pouring in the batter)

Pork Floss Fillings
Mix together: 
  -  Approx 1 cup pork floss
  -  2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  -  Some shredded seaweed

Whisk together:
  -  4 to 5 tbsp mayonnaise (I used Japanese mayo)
  -  1 tbsp lemon juice
  -  1/2 tsp caster sugar

1) Prepare sponge as here, steps 1 to 4 (note: sprinkle chopped spring onion onto baking paper before pouring in the cake batter).

2) To assemble, place the sponge on a piece of baking paper (skin side up).  Spread a thin layer of lemony mayonnaise on the sponge.  Sprinkle pork floss mixture over the mayonnaise and roll up the cake.  Wrap in baking paper or cling wrap and chill in fridge for an hour before slicing.

I would like to share this post with Aspiring Bakers #9: Swiss Rolling Good Timeshosted by {L} of Obsessedly Involved with Food.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

5 plus 1 weekend menu

Prepared a 5-dish plus soup menu for my weekend family dinner:
 - Steamed Brinjal with Sambal Chili  (清蒸茄子叄岜辣椒)
 - Stewed Bittergourd Pork Ribs  (苦瓜焖排骨)
 - Blanched Kailan with Garlic Sauce (蒜香芥兰)
 - Chinese Chives & Pork Floss Omelette  (韭菜肉松烘蛋)
 - Steamed Yellow Croaker  (清蒸黄花鱼)
 - Chayote Black Eye Beans Soup (佛手瓜眉豆汤

Preparation of the weekend dinner is usually quite rush, as there are more dishes to cook.  Hence, I have only taken pictures of the first four dishes, while the fish was still steaming in the wok.  

Bought a white bitter gourd (白玉苦瓜) from our local supermarket.  I was too lazy to think of what special dishes to cook using this white bitter gourd, so stick to the all-time favorite - stewed bitter gourd with pork ribs.  

800g prime ribs
1 bitter gourd, cut into bite-sized
Ginger slices, coarsely chopped garlic
Seasoning: bean paste (豆酱), oyster sauce, cooking wine a little sugar

Fry ginger and pork ribs till fragrant in wok, add garlic, bean paste and oyster sauce.  Add a dash of cooking wine, add water and simmer till pork ribs are tender (about an hour and half).  Stir-fry the bitter gourd and add to the pork ribs and simmer for another half an hour till bitter gourd is soft and flavourful.

This is a very simple home-cooked dish.  

80g minced pork, seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper
1/2 onion, chopped 
1.5 cup chopped Chinese chives (seasoned with a little salt & sugar for 30 minutes; squeezed out excess liquid)
3 eggs, beaten (add a pinch of salt)
Some seaweed pork floss
Chopped spring onion (garnish)

Pan-fry the chopped onion and minced pork and add to the beaten eggs.  Stir in the seasoned chives.  Pour the egg mixture back to pan and fry till golden brown.  Slide the omelette onto an oven-safe dish and bake in oven till the top is cooked and golden brown.  Sprinkle pork floss and chopped spring onion over the omelette.

Another quick and easy, and SUPER appetising dish.

3 to 4 pearl brinjal (or 2 medium-sized brinjal), cut into thin strips
Cooked sambal chili paste + juice from 2 small limes (酸柑) + 2 tbsp stock , mix well
3 tbsp oil 
Chopped spring onion (garnish)

Cut the brinjal when about to cook.  Briefly soak the cut brinjal in water (with 1/2 tsp salt) to prevent them from turning brown.  Drain away water, place on plate and steam on high for about 5 minutes.  Transfer to clean serving plate, drizzle sambal chili mixture over the brinjal.  Heat the oil in frying pan till very hot and carefully pour the hot oil over the dish.  Garnish with chopped spring onion.

For more menu ideas, check out the page here. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Double Raspberry Chocolate Swiss Roll


Sponge - same recipe as here

Chocolate stripes
15g butter, soften to room temperature
10g icing sugar
15g egg white
10g cocoa powder* 
* I think 5g top flour + 3g cocoa powder will yield a better consistency

Raspberry chocolate jam filling
75g raspberries
50g caster sugar
15g bittersweet chocolate chips

Whipping cream filling - whip together till peak:
120g whipping cream
13g caster sugar

Fresh raspberries - for filling and garnish

1) For the chocolate stripes:  Mix all ingredients to a paste and fill into a piping bag.  Line a baking tray with baking paper and pipe straight lines across the tray.  

2) Prepare the sponge batter and pour over the chocolate lines.  Bake in preheated oven at 185C for 15 minutes.

3) Raspberry jam filling:  Place the raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for about 8 minutes.  Stir constantly to prevent burning.  Remove from heat when the jam has thickened (it will thicken further when cool).  Stir in the chocolate chips, mix well to combine with the jam.  Set aside to cool.

4) To assemble:  Place the sponge, skin side up, on a piece of baking paper.  Spread a layer of whipped cream on the sponge.  Place a row of raspberries on the cream (about 2" from the beginning point of rolling).  Spread more cream to cover the raspberries.  

5) Pipe lines of raspberry jam on the cream.  Roll up the sponge, wrap it in the baking paper and keep chill in fridge for an hour to set the swiss roll.  Garnish with more fresh raspberries and serve chill.

[Recipe: Adapted from 孟老师 “美味蛋糕卷”]

I added the chocolate stripes pattern to match with the raspberry chocolate jam filling.  But, I think taste-wise, I prefer a drizzle of melted chocolate over the swiss roll (after chilling in the fridge to set) or perhaps a chocolate marbling effect when preparing the sponge (i.e. 1/3 cocoa batter + 2/3 plain batter).  

I would like to share this post with Aspiring Bakers #9: Swiss Rolling Good Timeshosted by {L} of Obsessedly Involved with Food.  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pan-Fried Steamed Buns (韭菜猪肉水煎包)

Made these pan-fried steamed buns for weekend lunch.  The buns are first pan-fry in an lightly-oiled pan for that signature crispy golden brown skin.  Pour in some water, cover and steam cook till done.  While the buns are steaming hot, drizzle a little sesame oil around the edge of the pan and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and chopped spring onion over the buns.

(makes around 12 buns)

200g minced pork (with some fats)
3 to 4 leaves of Chinese cabbage
1 handful of Chinese chives, chopped (plus 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 sugar)
2 stalks spring onion, chopped
A small piece of ginger, grated
Some stock, about 1/2 cup
Seasoning: Oyster sauce, pepper, sugar, sesame oil to taste

250g plain flour (about 2 cups)
1 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp caster sugar
A pinch of salt
125ml water (approximately)
2 tbsp cooking oil

Flour solution: 
1 tsp plain flour  +  1 cup water

Sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds
Chopped spring onion

1) Prepare the filling:  Blanch the cabbage in boiling water for 2 minutes to soften the leaves.  Drain off excess water and chop into small pieces.  Place the chives in a mixing bowl, mix in 1/2 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp sugar and let it sit for 30 minutes.  Squeeze out the excess liquid from the chives.

2) Place the minced pork in a mixing bowl.  Add grated ginger and chopped onion.  With a pair of chopsticks, stir the minced pork in one direction for 2 to 3 minutes.  While stirring, add the stock, a little at a time, to incorporate into the minced pork.  Add in chopped cabbages, chives and the other seasonings.  Stir well to combine all the ingredients together.  Cover and chill in fridge for an hour before use.

3) Dough:  Place all the dough ingredients in a mixing bowl, except for water and cooking oil.  Mix in 3/4 of the water and slowly add in the remaining water to knead into a dough (this takes around 8 to 10 minutes by hand).  Gradually add in the cooking oil and knead for a further 3 to 4 minutes till you have a smooth and round dough.  Cover and let it rest for about 45 minutes or till it doubled in size.

4) Punch out the air from the dough and divide into 12 portions.  Round each portion.  Using a rolling pin, roll each portion into a round disc, i.e. the dough wrapper.

5) Fill each wrapper with a generous tablespoon of filling and fold the edges together to seal the bun.  

6) Place the buns in a lightly-oiled frying pan (preferably non-stick), leaving a small gap in-between the buns.  Turn the heat on medium and pan fry the buns lightly.  When the bottom skin has a light golden brown colour, pour in the flour solution till it reaches about half the height of the buns.  Cover and let it steam cook over medium-low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes.  

7) When the water starts to dry up, drizzle a little sesame oil around the edge of the pan and sprinkle over some toasted sesame seeds and chopped spring onion.  Cover for another minute and serve hot immediately.

I prepared a bowl of hot & sour soup to go along with the pan-fried buns.  

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