Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Deep Fried Nam Yu Chicken Wings (南乳鸡翼)

Deep-fried prawn paste chicken wings (虾酱鸡) is a common menu item for most ju-chao stalls (煮炒档) in Singapore.  In comparison, deep fried nam yu chicken wings is not usually on the menu.  Prawn paste and nam yu (南乳) are both strong-smelling condiments.  But personally, I prefer nam yu, which is fantastic for preparing Vegetable Stew (南乳焖斋), braised pork  or beef.  

Here is a picture of the nam yu that I used:


8 pieces of mid-joint chicken wings

3/4 piece of nam yu + 1 tbsp red sauce from the bottle (mashed)
2 tsp finely minced garlic
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking wine
Dash of pepper

Just before frying:
1/2 egg
Some corn flour/potato flour (I used tempura flour as I happen to have an opened packet)

1) Marinate chicken wings for at least 3 hours.  Keep chill in fridge.

2) Add 1/2 beaten egg to the chicken wings and lightly dust with corn flour.  Shake off excess flour.  Leave aside for 5 minutes (Note: Do not fry the chicken wings immediately after coating with flour.  The rest time allows the flour to coat tightly on the wings and not fall off during frying in the oil.  

3) Meanwhile, heat up sufficient oil for deep-frying.  Fry the chicken wings in moderately hot oil, both sides till light golden brown.  Turn up the heat and fry the wings for another minute till golden brown.  Remove from hot oil and drain on kitchen paper.

4) Serve hot immediately.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sweet Potato * Steamed Buns * Tang Yuen


I made these steamed buns on the same day as the pork floss layered buns.  The basic dough is enough for making 10 to 12 buns (depending on the size).  I used about half the dough for making these sweet potato steamed buns, and the other half for the pork floss buns.

Prepare the sweet potato filling before kneading the dough, as you need to cool the filling before wrapping it in the dough.  I used purple sweet potato for these steamed buns.  Peel and cut the sweet potato (about 200g) into thin slices of 1 cm thickness.  Steam on high till soft and mash while hot.  Add about 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 egg yolk and 80ml coconut milk into the mashed sweet potato.  Cook the mixture for a few minutes till it is slightly dry (consistency like kaya spread).  

To make the buns:

1) Take a portion of the prepared dough (after 1st proofing) and roll into a round disc.  Wrap about 1 heaped teaspoon of prepared sweet potato filling into the dough.  

2) Flatten the dough and roll into a long strip (see picture above).

3) Make a few cuts on the dough and roll it up.  Turn the dough till you form a round shape and tuck the end portion underneath.

4) Place each bun on lightly-greased baking paper.  Cover and let it rest for 40 to 45 minutes.

5) Steam on high heat for about 12 minutes.  Reduce to low heat for another 1 minute and turn off heat.  Keep cover for another minute before removing the buns from the steamer.

Sweet potato filling

Had some leftover sweet potato fillings after making the buns.  Then an idea came to my mind:

Sweet Potato Tang Yuen with Ginger Almond Milk

Glutinous Rice Balls (汤圆):
(makes about 14 rice balls)

100g glutinous rice flour
100ml water (keep a little water, about 1 tbsp)
Food colouring (optional)

1) Mix the flour and the water together.  Hold back about 1 tbsp water.  If the dough looks dry, add the remaining tbsp water.  Cover the dough for 3 minutes.  

2) Pinch small portion of dough, flatten it and wrap with sweet potato fillings. Roll into round ball.  Repeat till dough is used up.

3) Cook rice balls in boiling water.  Rice balls are ready when they float to the top.  Serve with ginger almond milk. 

I used instant almond powder.  Prepare as per instructions on package, replacing a portion of water with milk.  When almond milk is ready, squeeze in about 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger juice.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pork Floss Layered Steamed Buns (肉松青葱千层糕)

I have not prepared any steamed buns for several months, ever since the start of my weekend baking class.  With so much time and energy spent on baking cakes and breads, who have spare time for steaming buns?  Moreover, I really dislike keeping many different packets of flour in the kitchen .... bread flour, plain flour, rice flour, top flour, corn flour, glutinous rice flour, tapioca flour etc.... and now for making this steamed bun.... another packet of Hong Kong flour!  

Bought a packet Bee Cheng Hiang's pork floss recently.  Other than eating it as a snack, I love to add some pork floss as toppings for steamed eggs, omelettes, steamed tofu;  as fillings for sandwiches,bread rolls etc.  For this recipe, I used my favorite combination of pork floss with chopped spring onion.


(A) Mix together and set aside for 5 minutes:
3g instant dried yeast
1 tsp plain flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp water

130g plain flour
120g Hong Kong flour
30g sugar
130ml to 150ml water
1 tbsp cooking oil (or can use 15g shortening)

* I used half the dough portion for this layered bun and the other half portion for making another bun.

(C) Filling:
3/4 cup pork floss
1/2 cup chopped spring onion

1) Combine (A) and (B) together, except for cooking oil,  in a mixer.  Knead for about 5 minutes.  Add cooking oil and knead for another 10 minutes to a smooth dough.  Cover and let it rest for about 30 to 40 minutes.

2) Roll out the dough into a rectangular shape (about 1/2cm thick) and divide into two portions.  Sprinkle pork floss/chopped spring onion on one portion and place the other dough sheet on top.

3) Gently roll out the dough again and divide into two portions.  Again, sprinkle filling on one and cover with the other piece.  Repeat process for another time, then sprinkle some black sesame seeds on top.

4) Place the layered dough on a steamed plate, lined with lightly-greased baking paper.  Cover and let it rest for another 40 to 45 minutes.

5) Steam on high heat for about 12 minutes.  Reduce to low heat for another minute, turn off heat and keep cover for another minute.  Remove bun from steamer and let it cool.

6) Cut into smaller portions for serving.

1) Though I have used quite a handful of pork floss, the buns still taste rather bland.  I thought of squeezing some Japanese mayo and/or condensed milk in-between layers to enhance the flavour.  But this might not work well for this layered buns, cos the grease from the mayo/condensed milk may prevent the dough layers from sticking together!  

2) Alternatively, season the chopped spring onion with a little salt, sugar and pepper.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fried Garoupa with Mango Salsa

To prepare: Marinate the fish with soy sauce and ground pepper for a few minutes.  Add in 1/2 beaten egg and lightly dust the fish with some corn flour or plain flour.  Set aside for 2 to 3 minutes.

Heat up some oil (for shallow frying) till moderately hot.  Fry the fish till golden brown on both sides.  Drain away excess oil and set aside.

For mango salsa - Mix together:
 - One mango, shredded (unripe one is better, mine in the pic above is too ripe for this dish)
 - Shredded carrots and cucumber 
 - Red chilies, sliced
 - Spring onion, cut into 2" sections
 - 2 shallots, thinly sliced
 - lemon juice or lime juice (amount to use depends on how tangy is the mango and personal preferences)
 - about 1 tbsp gula melaka (break into small pieces)
 - fish sauce, pepper to taste

Prepare the mango salsa just before serving and pour over the fried fish.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mixed Fruits Cinnamon Rolls

I could still remember the sweet fragrance of caramelised sugar and cinnamon, once you stepped out from Orchard MRT station.  St. Cinnamon, a small little shop at the basement of Wisma Atria, sold really good cinnamon rolls.  My favorite was the original roll, was around a dollar ???, was considered a treat for me then as a student.  There were always people queuing up for their freshly baked cinnamon rolls ..... but still, a few years later, the shop was closed for good  :(  not easy to run a business in Singapore .....

(makes about 12 rolls)

40g bread flour
10g milk powder
1 sachet instant dry yeast (11g)
1 tsp sugar
80g eggs (about 1.5 eggs)
170g water

200g bread flour
140g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
65g fine sugar
65g butter

(C) Filling:
80g dark brown sugar (I used molasses sugar)
80g butter, cut into small cubes
Ground cinnamon powder (I just sprinkled from the container, amount as desired)
4 to 5 tbsp mixed dried fruits (soaked in a little rum or orange juice)

1) In a mixer bowl, whisk ingredients (A) together on medium speed for about 3 minutes.  Cover and leave it aside for about 20 minutes.

2) Change to dough hook.  Add ingredients (B), except for butter, into step (1) above and knead on medium speed for about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add butter and continue to knead on medium speed for about 10 minutes till you get a smooth dough.  Rest the dough for another 20 to 25 minutes till the dough doubled in size.

3) Roll dough into a rectangular shape about 1/2 cm thick.  The length is about 18" (as each roll is about 1.5" wide).  Sprinkle dark brown sugar, ground cinnamon and soaked fruits onto the dough sheet.  Place butter cubes uniformly on the dough sheet (see picture above)

4) Brush the edge (length-wise opposite) with water.  Roll up the dough (starting from length-wise nearest to you).  Pinch and seal the dough.  Cut rolls into approximately 1.5" wide slices and place flat down in greased pan(s) lined with baking paper.  Allow room for proofing (see picture above)

5)  Rest the dough for about 30 to 40 minutes till rolls are doubled in size.  Brush a little beaten egg over the dough and bake in preheated oven at 180C for about 20 to 25 minutes till golden brown (for my oven, I need to cover with foil after 10 minutes to prevent burning).

6) Remove from oven, flip the rolls over baking rack.  Peel off the baking paper and let the rolls cool.

Freshly-baked cinnamon rolls

Friday, February 17, 2012

Raspberry & Mango Mousse Cake

My Valentine's Day bake this year -  a mango mouse cake with raspberries topping.  The cake consists 2 layers of sponge cake, 2 layers of mango mousse (with fresh mango slices) and a top layer of raspberries & cream.

Method for sponge same as here (optional: add 1 tsp mango flavour to sponge).  After experimenting with baking sponge cakes, I find that a mixture of melted butter and corn oil gives better texture and flavour.  To yield a lighter cake texture, replace a small portion of butter/oil with milk.  After bake and cool, slice the cake into 3 or 4 layers (8" cake).  I only need 2 slices for one cake.

Experimenting with camera setting... and this is the best picture I had :p oops!

For the mango mousse filling:
(for 8" round cake)

150g mango puree - blend fresh mango into puree
15g gelatin + 3 tbsp water (or mango juice) - melted together
120g fresh cream - whipped till stiff
100g dairy cream - whipped till stiff
1/2 tsp mango flavour (optional)

1) Mix mango puree, melted gelatin, mango flavour and about 3/4 of the fresh whipped cream together till well-combined (reserved some fresh whipped cream for decoration)

2) Carefully fold the dairy whipped cream into step 1.

To assemble:
2 slices of sponge
Mango mousse filling
Fresh mango slices
Fresh raspberries
Fresh whipped cream
A little apricot gel + water (glaze the raspberries) - optional

1) Place a slice of sponge into a loose-bottom cake pan or cake ring.

2) Pour 1/4 mousse filling onto sponge, place mango slices and pour another 1/4 mousse over the mango slices.  

3) Repeat steps with sponge and the remaining mousse and mango slices.  Place in fridge for about an hour to set the cake.

4) Remove cake from pan or cake ring.  Decorate the cake with fresh raspberries and whipped cream.  Keep in fridge till ready to serve.

Make little mango mousse cups with leftover mousse filling and cake

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bite-Sized Mousse Cakes

This is my version of the lightweight semi-circle sponge cakes, commonly found in the neighbourhood cake shops.  They are usually 4" to 5" in diameter, fold into half and fill with blueberries/strawberry jam and non-dairy whipped cream.  Quite a delicious treat for tea-break.

I like these sponge cakes to be smaller, so I made them into mini cakes, about 5cm to 6cm width.  Instead of folding the cakes into semi-circles, I just need to sandwich two mini cakes with prepared fillings.  

Initially, I planned to have mango with strawberry mousse; and raspberries to go with chocolate ganache.  I like sweet and sour combination .... sweet mango with slight tangy strawberry mousse; tangy raspberries with semi-sweet chocolate.  But, I had prepared too much strawberry mousse, so I used the same mousse filling for the raspberries.  

(makes about 30 halves or 15 cakes@ 6cm each)

4 yolks
40g fine sugar or caster sugar
Small pinch of salt

4 egg whites
40g fine sugar or caster sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

70g plain flour 
30g corn flour
50g corn oil
1 tsp vanilla, rum or any flavourings (optional)

1) Whisk (A) together at high speed till pale, thick and creamy.  Set aside.

2) In a clean bowl and mixer, whisk (B) at high speed till stiff.  Fold (1) and (2) together in batches till well-combined.

3) Sift plain flour and corn flour together.  Fold the sifted flour into the batter in three batches.  Add in the corn oil, flavouring and fold till well-combined.

4) Pour batter into piping bag.  Pipe batter onto ungreased baking paper (I draw circles on baking paper and flip it over, so that the cakes will be the same size).

5) Bake in preheated oven at 190C for about 5 to 8 mins, till top is light golden brown.

6) Remove from oven, peel off baking paper and let the cakes cool completely.

7) Fill one circle with your favorite fruits/cream/mousse and place another circle on top.

8) Chill in fridge before serving.

[Source: Recipe adapted from Richard Goh's baking class]

To prepare the mousse:  In a chilled mixing bowl, whisk 100g cold dairy cream with about 1 to 2 tsp sugar.  When the cream is getting stiff, pour in melted gelatin (1 tsp gelatin mixed with 1 to 2 tbsp water, melt and let it cool) and whisk till stiff.  Fold in 3 to 4 tbsp strawberry jam into the whipped cream and mix to combine.  

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Breakfast time!

Other than the usual sandwiches, here's what I prepared for breakfast recently:

* Pan-fried radish cake - this is my favorite!

* Zucchini and Cranberry tea-bread - my second attempt of this recipe.  I like the soft & moist texture of this tea-bread.

* Corn & oats pancake - this is a "rojak" version and surprisingly turns out quite nice.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Luv You Beary Much

Wedding Cake for the final cake lesson

Cake Decorating Lesson 8: Wedding Cake
Our final cake decorating lesson is to make a two-tier wedding cake.  A wedding cake sounds very challenging and exciting, right?  Prior to the lesson, our teacher gave us a detailed list of instructions, what to prepare and bring for class.  For very elaborated wedding cakes, we will need cake stands, boards etc.  Since we are beginners and leisure bakers, the basic things we need to bring are just two sponge cakes (different sizes), flowers/fruits etc to decorate the cake, decorating tools and of course, bring along our fabulous ideas!

First, let's do a quick recap ....
Here are the cakes that I have done for my cake decorating lessons (tag with label: cake decorating class).  As a home-baker with no professional training in baking, I'm really proud of my achievement!  Even though this is a leisure baking class, I have spent hours to research, plan and prepare for these lessons.  I wanted each lesson to be different, so I experimented with different fillings, flavours for the cakes.  There are also many "first-times" - first time to learn how to cream a cake properly; first time to pipe a basket weaving design on a cake;  first time to make royal icing roses that left my hands aching for 2 days; first time to bake finger sponge; first time to make a cut-out cake.  I felt like a school-going student again!  

A big THANK YOU to our instructor, Mr Richard Goh, for your sincerity and willingness to share your knowledge on baking.  It is a blessing to meet and learn from you.

Lesson 1: Green Tea Strawberry Cake
Lesson 2: Rose Basket Lemon Cake

Lesson 3: Blueberry Fresh Cream Cake
Lesson 4: Butterfly Strawberry Yogurt Cake


Lesson 5: Barbie Doll Cake (Licca)

Lesson 7: Longevity Peach Cake

Preparation for the final lesson ...
I have been baking sponge cakes for my cake decorating lessons.  Since this is the last lesson, I decided to attempt something different ..... rum-marinated dried fruits butter cake and decorated with marshmallow fondant (MMF).  We learnt how to wrap marzipan for the longevity peach cake, so covering the butter cake with fondant is basically an extension of what I had learnt in the earlier lesson.

Things to get ready:
* Two butter cakes (8" and 6" cakes) - you can use 9"/7", 6"/4" or any other sizes.  
* 700g MMF (you will have some leftovers)
* Some butter cream or you can use jam (act as a glue to stick the fondant on the cakes)
* 3 to 4 bubble-tea straws
* Cake board (same size or slightly smaller than the smaller 6" cake that I'm using - I DIY the cake board by wrapping aluminium foil over a thick cardboard)

Rum-marinated Dried Fruits Butter cake

Rum-marinated Dried Fruits Cake

I marinated 300g mixed dried fruits & chopped dried apricots with about 100g of rum and 3 tbsp rum flavour.  Cover the marinated fruits and leave it at room temperature for a few days before using.  I kept it in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

I used the same butter cake recipe for making the walnut butter cake, but made the following changes:

* Reduce sugar at (A) to 50g fine sugar + 50g molasses sugar.
* Reduce sugar at (B) to 70g fine sugar + 50g molasses sugar
* Reduce sugar at (C) to 80g fine sugar
* Replace 170g Nestle cream with 1.5 tbsp condensed milk.
* Replace the chopped walnut and chocolate chips with the marinated dried fruits.

Same preparation method, except to increase the baking time to about 90 - 100 minutes at 160C preheated oven, as I baked the cakes in 8" and 6" round pans, instead of making one 10" cake as the recipe is meant for.  My cakes are very tall, about 3" height each.  This recipe should also work for making a 9" cake and a 7" cake.

Leave the cakes to cool completely before covering with fondant.

Marshmallow Fondant
(yields about 700g MMF)

250g plain marshmallows (use the mini ones, easier to melt)
2 tbsp water
About 450g to 600g icing sugar (if it's not a newly-opened pack, sift the icing sugar before using)
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
Few drops of food colouring or gel (I added a little pink food gel for a pale pink coloured fondant)
Some Criso shortening (to grease your hands to prevent the fondant from sticking onto your hands)

1) Place the marshmallows and water in a microwavable bowl.  Heat on high for 30 seconds.  Remove and stir.  Heat for another 15 to 20 seconds if the marshmallows have not melted completely.

2) Stir the melted marshmallow to a smooth paste (I stirred with a pair of wooden chopsticks) and add in the vanilla essence.  If you intend to have only one colour for the fondant, add the colouring now (easier than having to knead the colour to the dough later). 

3) Add about 1/3 of the icing sugar and stir.  Continue to add icing sugar and stir until it looks like a dough.

4) Grease your hands with Criso and knead the dough.  Continue to add icing sugar and knead till the dough is pliable.  

5) Wrap the fondant with cling wrap and leave it for at least 2 to 3 hours before rolling out. 

Making the fondant cake

To assemble the cake:

1) Level the cakes for a flat, even surface.  Turn the cakes upside down.  

2) Cover the cakes with a thin layer of butter cream or jam, and leave it in the fridge for the cream to harden a little.

3) Dust your hands, table-top and rolling pin with icing sugar.  Take about 2/3 of the fondant dough and gently knead and roll it out into a thin sheet (about 2 to 3 mm thick).  Move and dust the fondant sheet with icing sugar as you roll it, to prevent the sheet from sticking on the table-top.  The fondant sheet must be big enough to cover the whole cake with extra allowance.  

4) Take out the bigger 8" cake from the fridge and carefully place the fondant sheet over the cake.  Smooth the top and sides with your hands.  Trim the excess fondant and tuck the fondant underneath the cake.  Set aside.

5) Roll out the remaining fondant and cover the smaller cake.  Set aside.

6) Insert the bubble-tea straws into the centre of the bigger 8" cake.  Note the height and cut off the excess straws so that they are of the same height as the cake (these straws act as support pillars, to prevent the top-layered cake from sinking into the bottom-layered cake).

7) Place a cardboard on top of the bigger cake and sit the smaller cake on top of the cardboard (cardboard size to be the same or smaller than the top-layered cake)

8) Decorate the cake as desired.  

Happy Valentine's Day

I lined the cakes with ribbons (use a little butter cream to stick the ends together), made some fondant ribbon roses with the remaining fondant, placed a pair of wedding bears on top of the cake and inserted a big paper-heart topper at the top.  I think this cake is good for Valentine's Day too... with just a week to Feb 14.

And to my fellow classmates at the cake decorating class, it's really nice to meet all of you.  Keep in touch, ok (you know who you are ^_^).  And here are the pictures of some of the wedding cakes that we decorated in class:

I will be submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #16: Fun with Fondant! (February 2012), hosted by Yvonne of iceamericanos.  

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