Thursday, March 31, 2016

Alkaline Dumpling @ Kee Zhang 鹼水粽

Chinese dumplings is often made or serve during 'Duan Wu Jie' or Dragon Boat Festival. However, nowadays you can easily get them all year round and some even brings it to pay respect to their ancestors during 'qing ming' festival. And alkaline dumpling is my favourite dumpling of all  Unlike the rest, this 'kee zhang' turns out looking waxy & shinny and the texture is chewy and springy without any fillings in it. And it is normally eaten with plain sugar, jaggery sugar syrup or kaya jam. The yellowish colour of the dumpling is NO artificial colour. The colour is actually came from the lye or borax rock. Lye rock (鹼水头) is easily available at any grocery shops or even supermarket during dumpling festivals. It cost about RM1.00 each and it comes in standard size. Click for more info regarding the food grade borax or lye rock here. However, you may use the bottle lye water but the result is less satisfying compare to borax rock. And here's what I did.

Ingredients : (45-50 pcs small size)
1 kg   glutinous rice
1 pce  yellow borax or lye rock, pounded
60 pcs bamboo leaves (need extra)
dumpling strings or plastic raffia, about 36 inches long
(fold string into half and make a big round knot where you can use it for hanging)

Method :
(1) pound borax or lye rock into small chunks then soak with one cup of water for an hour or till dissolved.
(2) wash and rinse the rice thoroughly then cover rice with enough water. Add in borax or lye water and mix well.
(3) let rice soak in borax or lye water for about 8 hours, preferably overnight (but mine is only 4 hours) then drained.
(4) boil bamboo leaves for 20 minutes or till soft. Off the heat, then soak in the strings till water cooled down. It took about an hour or so.
(5)  rinse bamboo leaves with clean water then wipe clean with wet cloth.

(6) now, drain the rice and its all ready for wrapping. Take a bamboo leaf and make it into cone shape with one side of the leaf longer (as picture shown below), place in the rice then wrap the rice as follow.

**Cover rice with both side of leaf and pressing it with one finger.

**Now, fold in the longer side of the leaf to cover the sealing.

**By holding the sealing with two fingers, now, press the excess leaf down to one side to complete the sealing.

It will look something like this ! Next, tide dumpling with prepared strings by just loop around the dumpling then make one or two knots to end it. It is advised not to tide it too tight, otherwise the rice will spit out after boiling sometime.

And here it has all done and ready for boiling..... Boil dumpling for at least two (2) hours, with a big pot and enough water to cover everything plus mixing with 1/2 cup of cooking oil. Add in extra water if possible after every 30 minutes.

Finally, cool dumpling for about one to two hours before consumed. It is best to enjoy the dumpling with plain sugar, kaya jam @ coconut egg jam or vegetarian kaya jam or jaggery sugar syrup. Its my first attempt and it turns out perfect ! Clap...clap... clap.... 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Flaounes @ The Cypriot Easter Bread

Flaounces is also called as flaounca which is a special Easter and Ramadhan food eaten during those special day in Cyprus, an Island which located at Eastern Mediterranean Sea (off the coasts of Syria and Turkey). Cyprus is the third largest and most popular island in the Mediterranean. For me, its a brand new discovery and still google around searching the famous eatery around that island.  Not much luck though ! Anyway, this little flaounca is all ready for the trial.

Ingredients for dough :
500gm  all purpose flour
1 TB  yeast
1 TB  sugar
60gm  butter, melted
150ml  water
90ml  milk
1 tspn  salt

Method :
(1) combine flour, yeast, sugar and salt into a big mixing bowl then stir in water, milk & melted butter till soft dough is formed.
(2) knead till smooth then set aside to rest for an hour or till double in size.
(3) now, punch dough to release air and again knead till smooth.
(4) place dough to working table and divide into 2 portions.
(5) next, divide each into 8 portions.
Ingredients for cheese fillings :
250gm   cream cheese
250gm   cheddar cheese
1 tspn  salt
2 TB  sugar
70gm  all purpose flour
90gm   semolina flour
1/2 tspn  yeast
1 tspn  baking powder
120gm   raisins
3 eggs, beatened
1 lemon rinsed
some mint leaves, chopped (omitted)

Method :
(1) combine both cheese, sugar, both flour, baking powder, raisins & lemon zest into a big mixing bowl then stir to well mixed.
(2) now, add in yeast and eggs then stir till well cooperated.
(3) keep refrigerated for 30 minutes before used.

Ingredients :
1 cup   sesame seeds (for coating)
1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tspn  milk (for glazing)

(1) flatten each dough with rolling pin to form a disk like sheet then place on a big scoop of cheese fillings at the center.
(2) fold two sides of sheet facing inward then following on the other side as well to form an open parcel, as picture shown.
(3) brush surface with egg glazing and coat each with sesame seed.

And its all ready to go into the oven ! Finally, bake at preheated oven 180'C for about 25 minutes or till golden brown.

The result of a perfect expansion on the fillings is satisfying but not the crust. Need more improvement on that one though ! Anyway, the bread is so tasty that I almost forgot about the imperfection..... LOL. Hope this will be something new on your Easter Day. Enjoy !

Monday, March 7, 2016

Deep Fried Banh Bao @ Vietnamese Wrapping Cake 越南炸包子

A friend's wife made us some deep fried baozi for tea break last week, just before my camping trip. Thank you Chan & Diane for your lovely buns.(Everyone loves it!) It was so delicious and has successfully inspired me to start this little project soon after. Banh bao is actually quite similar to the common old fashion Chinese meaty steamed bun, where you will have juicy flavoured meat, hard boiled egg or may be some preserved veggie & Chinese sausage.inside it. However, to make it simple I decided to use leftover cooked meat for the fillings, which is just perfect to help you clearing off everything. Isn't that sounds great !

And of course, you need about 7 hard boiled eggs ready before starting up this little project.

Ingredients for meat fillings :
400-500gm  any minced meat as desired, chopped into chunks
3 large onion, sliced
3 green chilies, seeded and chopped into chunks
4 TB  curry powder
1/2 TB  red chili powder
2-1/2 TB  light soy sauce (or to your taste)
1-1/2 TB  sugar (I prefer sweet base)
pepper to taste

* thickening : 2/3 cup water mixed with 1 tspn tapioca starch or corn starch
(you will need more liquid for cooked meat compare to fresh juicy meat, kindly adjust according to the ingredients used)

Method :
(1) preheat frying pan with 1/2 cup cooking oil then stir in onion and saute till fragrant.
(2) add in meat, sugar, pepper powder and green chili, continue saute till brown & fragrant.
(3) now, add in red chili powder, curry powder & soy sauce and continue cooking over medium heat till fragrant.
(4) once its ready, stir in thickening and immediately switch off the heat. Continue stirring till became sticky gravy. Then leave cool completely before used.

Ingredients for bao dough :
500gm  all purpose flour
2 tspn  yeast
2 TB  sugar
260ml  water
2 TB  shortening

Method :
(1) combine flour, yeast, sugar and water into a big mixing bowl then stir to form soft dough.
(2) add in shortening and continue kneading till smooth, then let to rest for an hour or till double in size.
(3) now, punch to release air and knead to smooth.
(4) place dough to working table and divide into 14 portions, about 59gm each.
(5) flatten each to fill in meat filling and half hard boiled eggs, then wrap to seal carefully.
(6) preheat frying pot or wok with enough cooking oil to cover the bun when frying.
(7) once its ready, place in buns one or two at a time and fry with low heat. Discharged buns from hot oil immediately once it turns golden brown.
(8) repeat till everything completed.

These deep fried buns are really scrumptious especially when its still warm.

Now, what we have here is a crispy dough skin bao with delicious & moist meaty sweet curry flavour fillings in between. I polish off two straight away. LOL.... Simply irresistible ! Hope you will like it too.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Pineapple Shortbread Cookies 凤梨奶油酥饼

Just came back from a 4 days 3 nights camping trip a few days ago and only managed to get this post up today. I made this just one day before my camping trip. I was in a hurry back then. Glad these cookies turned out wonderfully. Actually, I still have some leftover pineapple fillings..... even after making a few batches of pineapple tart already. Still planning one last batch of goodies.....  This is an easy eggless recipe which is perfect for all vegetarian taking friends. And hope you will like it too.

Here's what I did.
Ingredients for cookie dough :
2 cups  all purpose flour
pinch of salt
230gm   butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup  icing sugar

*300gm  pineapple fillings (about 8gm each)

Method :
(1) cream butter, salt and sugar till fluffy then stir in flour to form soft dough.
(2)  keep dough refrigerated for an hour.
(3)  place dough to a slightly floured working table then roll out flat about 2/3 mm thick.
(4)  now, shape dough with mould as desired and place on pineapple filling.
(5) finally, at preheated oven at 175'C for about 12-15 minutes or till slight brown.
(6) when done, set aside to cool completed before decorated with melted chocolate.

You need 100gm  white chocolate & 100gm dark chocolate to decorate the top separately. Just preheat a small pot of water then place a stainless steel bowl on top of it to melt the chocolate. Fill pipping bag with white chocolate and drizzle over the cookies then follow by dark chocolate. Finally, leave to set completely before storage

Superb combination and looks really classy as well, aren't they ! >o< Enjoy.

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