Monday, September 29, 2014

Soon Kueh ( 笋粿 )


I was told that this soon kueh is a quite a popular snack in Singapore. I am not sure about this, i probably never eaten the real soon kueh but looking at it, it looks very much like the vegetable dumpling ( chai kueh ) that is more commonly found here . Their fillings are similar that is consists of turnip ( jicama ) , carrot, dried shrimps, mushrooms and from what i read, the traditional soon kueh consists of bamboo shoots, in chinese which they call " soon" ( 笋), hence the name. Unlike the normal vegetable dumplings which the dumplings are kinda pleated, these soon kueh appear like a half moon shape,with no pleats. woohoo! I'm hopeless with pleating so making this saves me the struggle to pleat. Also, its skin is not really translucent or transparent as compared to the chai kueh but more white in colour.


The process of making the dough is still a bit intimidating but luckily it wasnt too difficult to handle. Just spare some extra flour for dusting, it should be fine. For those of you who are very experienced in making dumplings, you can opt to use whatever method you find it easier to cut out the thin circles for each dumpling. For me , i have divided the dough into portions and roll each portion out flat and thin and use a bowl to cut out the circles. Usually i dont have much luck with making the skin, at times they will turn hard after they cool down  but I am happy with this as it still remains soft for several hours. The unfinished ones i have kept in the fridge.


Recipe ( makes 20 pieces )
Filling
400gms turnip, cut into shreds
1/2 a carrot, cut into shreds
50gm dried shrimps, coarsely chopped
2 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp water
bit of dark soya sauce

* you can add in mushrooms to the filling to enhance the taste.
Method
Heat up enough oil to saute the dried shrimps until fragrant and sizzled. Add in the chopped garlic and shallots and saute till aromatic. Add in the turnip and carrot. Fry and keep tossing it. Add in the salt and dark soya sauce and continue frying till the turnip turns soft. Fry on low medium heat . Add in the water and let cook for a while till the turnip becomes crunchy soft. Remove from heat and leave aside to cool.

For the Dough ( adapted from www.feasttotheworld.com )
250gm rice flour, plus extra for dusting
80gm tapioca flour
550ml boiling water
3tbsp oil

Method
In a large bowl, put the rice flour and the tapioca flour and mix them using a fork. Pour in the boiling water slowly and stir well with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed. Use your hands to knead the dough till smooth. Be cautious as the dough is hot. You can use a plastic glove if you want. Cover the dough in a pot and let rest for 10 mins.

Divide the dough into 3 or 4 portions . Work on one portion at a time and leave the rest portions covered in the pot. If the dough is sticky, dust a little flour on it. On a plastic sheet or floured surface, roll out the dough flat . Using a round cutter or a bowl ( i used a bowl, 4 " diameter ) ,  press and cut each out individual dough. Dust your hands with a little flour  for easier handling. Put some filling on the dough, fold over and seal by pressing the edges. Repeat the same steps for all the remaining dough. Put on a steamer that is lined with a baking paper or oiled and steam on high heat for about 12 minutes. Brush some oil once removed from steamer to prevent sticking. You can work on batches, while one batch is steaming you can work on the remaining dough portions.



I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest ( Singapore ) hosted by Grace of Life Can Be Simple

Friday, September 26, 2014

Easy Apple Strudel


I was so delighted to see puff pastry sheets selling here in my place. Can you believe it? If i am not wrong, they are only just available not long ago here in my decent little town :) With this store bought puff pastry sheet, making the not so traditional apple strudel couldnt be much easier. This is an easy apple strudel recipe with no cooking involved, just mix everything together and lay the apples over it or whichever way comes first and bake. Just a little note , i would suggest when rolling out the pastry sheet ( so that they are thinner ) , roll it on a plastic sheet or a towel. I rolled my first roll ona floured surface and yet it find it difficult to pick them up from rolling. They tend to stick still to the floured surface. I used a towel on my 2nd roll and it makes rolling a breeze.



Recipe ( with some reference from here )
Ingredients
2 puff pastry sheets
2 small green apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 pcs digestive biscuits, crushed
1/2tsp cinnamon plus 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup raisins

Directions
Thaw the frozen puff pastry sheet for about 15 minutes. Mix the chopped walnuts, biscuits crumbs, cinnamon sugar and raisins in a bowl.

On a plastic sheet or a towel, roll out the puff pastry about an inch or more if you can from the edges. The original measurement of the the pastry sheet i am using is 10" by 9.5". Along the longer end of the sheet, sprinkle the nuts raisin cinnamon sugar mixture , then lay the sliced apples over the nuts mixture ( or lay the apples first then nuts ). Roll up from the long edge and place them in the baking pan, seam side down. Make diagonal slits on the surface of the rolls. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C for about 35 mins or till golden brown.



See the rough surface on the top roll? that's the one that i had difficulty lifting up from the floured counter. 


I am linking this post to Little Thumbs Up event organised by Bake for Happy Kids and My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by Kit of I-Lost in Austen with the theme "Apples"

Monday, September 15, 2014

Popovers


I am glad that popovers can be made using a muffin pan. I once saw a popover pan selling here for about RM80 ( USD25), well that's rather expensive for a pan, unless i am baking popovers quite regularly then i might consider getting one. I've never made popovers before, i have looked at the pictures of some popovers in the internet and i was like kind of excited to see how tall they were going to rise in the oven when i make them and according to wikipedia, popover is a light,  hollow roll made from an egg batter, similar to Yorkshire Pudding, typically baked in a dedicated popover pan or muffin tins. I am also not sure myself what is a Yorkshire Pudding but after making these, i think they are quite like plain profiteroles to me.




2nd batch

 I am also glad that popovers need just very basic ingredients to make them; eggs, flour and milk. However to me, i find them a little tricky too making them. My first batch came out a little pale and not as crispy as i would have expected them. Good to know that the process of making popovers are simple enough , i made another batch the next day. It came out very much better with some adjustment made on the baking temperature and warming the milk.


3rd batch...i noticed that the browning is different fom the 2nd batch ..perhaps due to the warm milk that i used in the 2nd batch

Yesterday morning when i woke up, i just suddenly have the urge to make popovers again. I wanted to try another recipe so i just made a small batch. You will also realise that all if not,  most recipes will have an equal proportion of milk and flour. The batter was thinner this time , they were quite like the second batch but these i find them more airy, remember the 'hollow' thing describing the popovers...


Some i spreaded with jam and some on poached egg. I suggest not making a big recipe if you cant finish eating all at once, have our mouths ready because if we are going to leave the popovers sit around, they will lose its crispiness and also deflate fairly quickly.




Recipe ( from kingarthurflour.com)
recipe has been scaled down
Ingredients
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 plus 1/4 cup milk
1/4tsp salt
95gm flour
1tbsp melted butter

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 450F/230C. Position rack on lower shel
f. Use a standard 12 cup or 6 cup metal muffin pan, one swhose cups are close to 2.5" wide and 1.5" deep. Grease the pan throughly. Make sure the oven is up to temperature before begin making the popover batter.
2. Use a wire whisk to beat the milk, egg and salt. Whisk till the egg and milk is well combined, with no streaks of the yolks showing.
3. Add the flour all at once, beat with a wire whisk till frothy, there shouldnt be any large lumps in the batter, small lumps are okay OR if using a stand mixer, whisk on high speed for 20 seconds . Stop, scrape the sides of the bowl, and whisk for further 20 or 30 seconds at high speed, till frothy. Stir in the melted butter, combining quickly.
4.Pour the batter into the muffin cup , filling them about 3/4 or 2/3 full. Make sure oven is at 450F/230C. Place the pan on the lower shelf of the oven and bake for 20 minutes without opening the door of the oven. Reduce the 350F/177C  and bake for additional 10-15mins until they are deep, golden brown. If the popovers seems to be browning too quickly, position an oven rack at the very top of the oven, and pt a cookie sheet on it, to shield the popovers from the direct heat.
5. If plan to serve the popovers immediately, remove them from oven and stick the tip of the popovers with a knife to release steam to prevent sogginess.
6.If we want the popovers to hold their shape longer without deflating , we can bake for additional 5 more minutes ( total 40 mins ) if we can do so without them becoming too dark.




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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Fish Shaped Mooncake Biscuit ( 公仔饼 )




Initially i did not have intention of baking any mooncakes but seeing so many of my blogger friends baking so many different varieties of mooncakes, i cant help but to make some myself. The moncake baking is getting so hot around my baking friends community here! So many types, so many flavours, i sure have a good collection of mooncake recipes when i want to make them again but as for now, just a simple one, mooncake biscuit aka doll biscuit. Thanks to everyone who has shared this recipe around.

I wish all chinese and my friends here, Happy Mid Autumn Festival, have a nice warm celebration with your friends and loved ones, 中秋节快乐!






Recipe ( as seen in Cooking Pleasure , Aunty Young, adapted from Butter, Flour & Me )
Ingredients
350gm plain flour, sifted
230gm golden syrup
100gm peanut oil ( i used canola oil )
5gm/1tsp alkaline water
150gm lotus seed paste

Egg Wash
1 egg yolk plus 1 tbsp milk, mix and strain

Method:
1. In a mixing bowl, add in syrup, oil, alkaline water , stir and add in the lotus seed paste. Using a hand whisk, stir and mix till well combined.
2.Add in sifted flour and mix to form a dough.. Cover the dough and let it rest for 2-3 hours
3. Pinch some dough and fit to your mould to determine the weight of each dough then divide the dough accordingly. Dust some flour onto the mould . Roll each dough into a ball and press the dough into the mould. Tap or knock lightly to unmould and place it on the baking tray. Repeat the same for the rest of the doughs.
4. Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for 10mins, remove fom oven and let cool down for about 10 mins. Apply egg wash and bake it the oven again for another 15 mins or until golden brown, ( i baked mine at 170C )
5. Let cool on the wiring rack and store in container.

*  my each dough weighs 95gm and make around 8 pieces

Some tips shared by Joceline (Butter, Flour & Me )
a) for egg wash, adding milk to the egg yolk makes it less concentrated, thus easier to apply.
b) Let the mooncakes cool down before applying egg wash to get more even colouring
c) Should the mooncakes be done correctly, it wont stick to your teeth and can be eaten the next day.
d) It can be kept for weeks if it's baked dry enough.



I am linking this post to Best Recipes for Everyone's Event ( Mooncake ) organised by XuanHom's Mom Kitchen Diary