Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bunny Steamed Buns

This is my second attempt with bunny steamed buns.  I used the same dough recipe as I did previously over here.

The fillings for the steamed buns were actually leftovers for making some Chinese dumplings (饺子) for my dinner the previous night.  I like my dumpling fillings with lots of vegetables.  Over here, I have approximately 200g of chopped garlic chives (韭菜), 100g minced pork, a handful each of chopped water chestnut, finely minced dried prawns and chopped black fungus, a heaped tablespoon of minced ginger.  

Seasonings include oyster sauce, sesame oil, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.  Mix all ingredients and seasonings together and you will have the fillings as shown in the picture below.  Do not use the fillings straight away.  Keep the prepared fillings in the fridge for at least one hour.  It firms up the fillings for easier wrapping and it is also tastier to eat.

So, with the leftover fillings, I made these steamed buns.  Since today is Easter Sunday, I shaped these buns into a bunny shape, complete with carrot eyes :)

For quick reference of dough recipe:

(a): 1 tsp instant dry yeast + 1 tsp flour + 1 tsp sugar + 1 tbsp water (mix together, rest for 5 minutes)
(b): 125g plain flour + 125g Hong Kong flour + 30g fine sugar
(c): 145ml water (or 70ml milk + 75ml water)
(d): 1 tbsp cooking oil

1) Mix all ingredients together, except (d).  Knead well.  Slowly add in the cooking oil and knead to a smooth dough.  Cover and rest the dough for approximately 30 minutes or till doubled in size.

2) Divide dough into 10 to 12 portions.  Rest the dough again for 5 mins for easier rolling.

3) Flatten each dough into a round disc and wrap in the prepared fillings.  Pinch the dough together to seal the fillings.  Shape each bun into oval shape.  Use a pair of scissor to make 2 cuts on top for the rabbit ears. Insert two small pieces of carrot for the eyes.

4) Place the bunny buns on steamed rack, lined with greaseproof paper.  Place the buns inside a closed-door oven/microwave or covered wok.  Rest the buns for another 30 minutes.

5) Steam the buns in a steamer or wok over high heat for 10 minutes.  Switch off the fire and keep the cover on for another 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully lift up the cover and remove the steamed buns.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Homemade Popiah

Popiah is one of my favorite local snacks.  I love to have it with a little chilli sauce and lots of minced garlic!  The choice of ingredients for the vegetable fillings is really up to you.  The two main ingredients will be carrot and turnips (or some uses bamboo shoots).  The other secondary ingredients may include Chinese mushrooms and dried prawns, which add natural good flavours to the dish, instead of adding MSG.  

The additional toppings, is again based on your personal preference.  This time, I used imitation crab legs, fried tofu, Chinese sausages, imitation abalone, spring onion, blanched bean sprouts, fish floss, toasted crushed peanuts and sesame seeds.  The sauce to go along:  sweetened black sauce, chilli paste and lots of minced garlic :)

What is popiah without the popiah skin?  The traditional popiah skin is paper-thin and requires many years of experience (and probably burnt palm too!) to master it.  The easiest way to get your popiah skin is to buy it from the wet market stalls.   I can't get hold of fresh popiah skin, so just had to make my own.  I don't think it is worth burning my hands for making the traditional popiah skin.  Instead, I adapted the popiah skin recipe from here.  This skin is very light and soft, yet strong enough to hold and wrap up the popiah fillings.  

Popiah skin 
(makes about 9 to 10 pieces, each about 8" circle)

100g plain flour + 20g soon kueh flour (or use wheat starch flour)
3 medium-sized eggs
200ml water
1 tbsp corn oil
1/2 tsp salt

1) Beat the eggs and gradually add in the combined flour and salt.  Mix well before adding in the water, follow with oil.  Stir well till you have a light and thin batter.  Set aside for about 20 minutes before using.

2) Heat up a non-stick pan over medium low heat.  Add a few drops of oil and lightly wipe away the excess oil with kitchen paper. Pour a ladle of batter into the pan and quickly swirl the pan to spread the batter to form a thin skin (or crepe).

3) When the edge of the crepe starts to curl away from the side, gently lift the crepe with a spatula and flip it over to the other side.  Wait for another 30 seconds, then gently transfer the crepe onto a plate.  It takes about 2 minutes to cook each crepe.  Repeat steps (2) and (3) for each crepe till you used up all the batter.

4) Separate each crepe with a small piece of kitchen paper or baking paper to prevent them from sticking together.  

Recipe for the turnip and carrot fillings can be found here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cute Handcraft Cookies

I can't believe that I can make these cute little cookies too!  Fong loves to cook and bake, but never good with making kawaii things.  Somehow, I lacked the patience.  About 6 months back, I bought a cookies book by 小本。  She is the writer and popular blogger creating these cute little cookies.  

These cookies are not just cute-looking, they are tasty too.  Store them in air-tight container and they remain crispy for at least one week (could be kept longer, but we finished them all!).  

For all the cookie designs in her book, you will start with a basic dough recipe.  The recipe will yield around 20 to 25 cookies, depending on how thinly you slice the cookie dough.

Basic dough (makes about 270g dough)
(a) 70g butter (soften at room temperature) + 50g icing sugar
(b) 1/2 beaten egg (25g) + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
(c) 130g plain flour + 10g milk powder + 1/2 tsp baking powder (sift together)

1) Cream (a) together till pale white.
2) Slowly add in beaten egg, beat well and add in vanilla extract.
3) Add in (c) and just mix well to incorporate into a dough.  Do not over mix.  
4) Cover the dough with cling wrap and keep in fridge for an hour.

Once you have the basic dough ready and chilled, the rest will be Play-dough time!  

Lady Bug Cookies

Divide the basic dough into:
60g plain dough + black food colouring (or use food charcoal powder) = black dough
90g plain dough + red food colouring = red dough
Remaining plain dough (about 100g to 120g)

Method of rolling:
1) Divide black dough into 2 blocks: 10g and 50g.  Roll the 15g dough into a thin sheet, measuring 2cm x 15cm.  Roll the 50g dough into a log, 15cm long.  Keep chill in fridge.

2) Divide red dough equally into 2 blocks, i.e. 45g each.  Roll each dough into a log, 15cm long.  Keep in fridge.

3) Roll the plain dough into a sheet, measuring 14cm x 15cm.  Keep in fridge.

At this stage, you have:
(a) black dough sheet, 2cm x 15cm
(b) black dough log, 15cm long
(c) red dough log, 15 cm long (2 pieces)
(d) plain dough sheet, 14cm x 15cm

4) Remove the red and black dough pieces from the fridge. 
  - Sandwich the black dough sheet between the  red dough logs.  
  - Stack the other black dough log on top to form the shape of a lady bug (see picture above).  Cover with cling wrap, gently roll the dough together to form a round tube.  Keep in fridge to firm up slightly (I place in freezer for 5 minutes).

5) Wrap step (4) with plain dough sheet from step (3).  Cover with cling wrap and chill again in fridge to firm up.  Slice the dough into 0.5cm thickness disc and place on baking tray.

6) Dot the cookies with egg yolk solution* for the spots on the lady bug and add the antenna on the head.  Bake the cookies in preheated oven of 180C for 15 to 20 minutes.  

7) Cool the cookies on baking rack completely before storing in air-tight containers.

* beaten egg yolk + food charcoal powder (or 1 to 2 drops of black food colouring)

Similar method is used for making the brown bear cookies.

Brown Bear Cookies

Divide the basic dough into:
* 130g plain dough + 1 tsp cocoa powder (or coffee paste) = brown dough
* Remaining plain dough of 120g to 140g

Divide the brown dough into 100g (face), 2 x 15g pieces (ears)
Divide the plain dough into 20g (mouth) and remaining dough for wrap around.

1) Start with rolling the 20g plain dough into 15cm long. Keep chill in fridge.
2) Roll the brown dough 100g into a sheet, 10cm x 15cm.
3) Wrap (1) in brown dough sheet.  Cover and keep in fridge.
4) Roll the 2 x 15 pieces brown dough into two thin logs, 15 cm long.  Stick them on step (3) as the ears.  Keep in fridge to firm up before next step.
5) Roll the remaining plain dough into a sheet, 14cm x 15cm.
6) Wrap (4) in plain dough sheet.  Keep in fridge to firm up before slicing into 0.5cm thick disc.
7) Add the eyes, nose and mouth using eye yolk solution.  Bake in preheated oven of 180C for about 15 to 20 minutes.

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