Thursday, March 30, 2006

Chinese Pastries II

This post is about chinese pastries again. I have a bad habit. Whenever I start on one thing, I will continue with it for a while before I 'change track'. Just like when I was learning to bake chiffon cakes, I was practising so frequently to get the correct texture that I must have thrown away at least a dozen failed attempts. This time round I'm 'into' 酥餅.

This type of spiral pastries have always fascinated me because of the layers. I have always wondered how the layers are achieved. So after going through a few recipes, I began my venture in making these Spiral Yam Pastry - 芋頭酥. Here is the result

Here's a closer look from the top.

I find the color of the purple later too light. I guess I will be doing this again very soon as this pastry is very flaky and light, which I like very much.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Busy Bee in My Kitchen

As usual, Saturday I would be busy in the kitchen cooking lunch. As I don't usually cook on weekdays, I would try and whip up some nice dishes for the only home-cooked meal of the week. Here's what I cooked last Saturday:

This is the second time I'm using this recipe (see below) for sweet and sour pork, only this time I used chicken in place of pork.
The lotus root soup below is cooked using the slow cooker. I just put all the ingredients into the pot, and let it boil overnight. The next morning I'm greeted with a pot of delicious home-cooked soup. I've always been a soup person, especially Cantonese-styled soups like this lotus root soup, 'old cucumber' soup etc. Maybe it has to do with my Cantonese heritage?
I like to 'multi-task' on Saturday mornings, meaning while preparing the main dishes, I would also bake a loaf of bread, for breakfast the following week. This time I made Giselle's Pai Pau. I've also made this before a while back, just that this time round I replaced 20% of the flour with wholemeal flour (healthier breads, remember?). The bread is soft and fluffy, thanks again Giselle!

Recipe for Sweet & Sour Pork(updated 5 July 2015)

This recipe is taken from the book Hawkers’ Fare Simplified, but I’ve modified it based on the first try some time back.

Ingredients A:
500g pork, with fat like pork belly or shoulder (this time I used boneless chicken thigh)
1 capsicum(green, yellow or red all works), cubed
1/2 a Japanese cucumber, cubed
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1 onion, cut into wedges
100g pineapple, cubed

Ingredients B(marinade):
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tbsp oyster sauce
½ tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
½ egg(beat, then measure)

Ingredients C(sauce):
2 tbsp plum sauce
6 tbsp tomato ketchup
1½ tbsp sweet chili sauce
1½ tbsp white rice vinegar
1 tsp worcestershire sauce(Lea & Perrins)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt(or more to taste)
75 ml water

Potato starch for coating
Oil for deep frying


1) Cut pork into 1-inch thick cubes and marinate with Ingredients B for at least 5 hours (I marinate overnight).
2) Coat pork cubes with corn flour and deep fry until golden brown. Drain.
3) Leave one tbsp of oil in the wok, stir-fry capsicum, onion, tomato and pineapple until fragrant. Pour in Ingredients C and bring to a boil to let it thicken slightly.
4) Add in pork cubes from (2) and mix well. Dish up and enjoy.

The sauce may seem watery when cooking, but once the pork cubes are added, the sauce coats the pork nicely. If you like more sauce, adjust Ingredients C to suit your taste.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Chinese Pastries

I must admit, I have a soft spot for pastries. Not the 'western' kind of pastries like chicken pies or danish pastries, rather it's the Chinese 點心(Dian Xin) types, like 蛋黃酥(pastry with salted egg yolk), 豆沙餅(puffs with mung bean filling), 老婆餅("Wives' Biscuit") etc.

However, Chinese puff pastries are traditionally made using lard, rendering it that 0h-so-flaky skin texture. Nowadays I believe a lot of people uses vegetable fat or shortening to achieve the same effect. As for myself, I'm trying to avoid foodstuff that uses shortening, and that also means cutting back on my favourite pastries right? Well, not really ;p

I have never thought of making my own chinese pastry until I chanced upon this recipe in KC. This 豆沙餅 recipe uses oil in place of solid fats. Sounds like I could give it a try. I have actually made this some time last year, and the result? Flaky exterior paired with a delicious savoury mung bean filling.

These are the ones made last year.

Made these a few days back, but I was a little lazy to prepare the mung bean filling, so mashed some cooked pumpkin instead. Just as delicious.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A 'Consolidated' Post

I've been baking some stuff over the past week, but have not posted them until today. It's not so much I didn't have the time, but I had some things on my mind. Nonetheless, here are what I made.

I visit Nic's blog regularly to check out her recipes. These are two which I've made.

Yogurt Panna Cotta, tangy and refreshing.

Cocoa Fudge Cookies, decadent and very very chocolaty. Best of all, the method is really simple.

I had a 'field day' in the kitchen today.

First up, this Min Jiang Kueh (Peanut Pancake) recipe is from Lee Lee, a forum member KC. Min Jiang Kueh is one of favourite breakfast foods, but a good one is sometimes difficult to find. To me a well-done Min Jiang Kueh must have a nice honeycomb structure, be soft but at the same time slightly chewy, not a floury mass. This recipe is really good, I managed to get a crispy edge and chewy centre, yum!

Also made a creamy mushroom soup today using a recipe from another KC member, Stefanie. I guess I used the wrong type of mushrooms, rendering a weird grey color to the soup. But taste-wise, it's thick and creamy (although no cream was added), just the way I liked it.

Lastly, pizza for lunch. Knowing what a bread lover I am, you might expect the crust to be thick. That's right, a pan pizza with home-made dough and pizza sauce, something which I've been wanting to do for a long time.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Full of Goodness

Thanks to Edith, I managed to make this mango dessert 楊枝甘露 a few days ago. I first had this in a dessert shop in Chinatown and found it very refreshing. It has mango and pomelo in it, but I could not figure out what else is inside to make it so smooth and almost creamy. It was only later that I found out this is a popular dessert in Hong Kong. When I saw the recipe in Edith's blog, I knew I had to make this. It is indeed very delicious and cooling for the hot weather these few days. We polished off 3 bowls between the two of us.

As I couldn't get pomelo, I used grapefruit instead, which explains the pinkish bits.

And of course, I was experimenting with my bread. I am attempting to bake 'healthier' breads and got this recipe from a member of KC. So with this loaf, I added in some wholemeal flour. Texture-wise, it's soft, but not as soft as white bread (as expected). So I would be doing more experimentations.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Touch of Reminiscence

Since I had some free time on hands these few days, I wanted to prepare some home-cooked meals for my hubby. I was thinking of what I could cook and suddenly something came to my mind. 'Ngor Hiang', or meat rolls, is something that my late mum used to make whenever chinese festivals such as Chinese New Year is around the corner. Normally she would prepare the filling, and then leave me and my sister to do the wrapping while she continued to busy herself with the preparation of other dishes. As I sat down to wrap the rolls, it occured to me that so much has changed since and it has been such a long time I last made these. As for the taste, although I could not replicate exactly what my mum used to get, I am still quite pleased as I feel it's getting pretty close to that.

This herbal chicken is really easy to prepare, as I bought a packet of pre-mixed herbs. I just had to get a chicken and then steam it. Fuss free and sufficient for two meals.

Last but not least, I baked this pumpkin bread as well. Using the recipe for Sesame Sweet Bun Ring, I added in some mashed pumpkin. Although I adjusted the water and flour ratio accordingly, the pumpkin made the dough extremely soft and difficult to shape. In the end I could only use the tube pan to give it the flower shape, again. Really like this recipe dough, the bread comes out nice and soft, even after three days.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Ha ha, not really toothless, just that I had two of my wisdom tooth extracted on Tuesday, now I'm on 7 days medical leave, hooray! (so naughty right?). Today is the third day of recovery, and I'm so glad it's getting better, the pain has subsided, though my cheek is still a bit swollen. I was so happy that I could eat bread again just now, though I had to dip small pieces in Milo to soften it. But better than no bread at all!

Yesterday I made some semi-solid meals as I didn't want to exert too much from all the biting. Hence this Fruity Smoothie for my snack, made from bananas, kiwis and strawberries with yogurt and orange juice.

As well as this Healthy Creamy Vegetable Soup bursting with the goodness of broccoli, potatoes, leek and onions, all thanks to Stefanie of KC.

It is no doubt a nutritious, complete and delicious meal. It's a versatile recipe which will stay on my 'Favourites' list! Thanks Stef!

Before I forget, here is something I made on Monday.

Orange Yogurt Cake, served wth fresh berries.