Saturday, May 8, 2010
Some information about my ingredients and tools that I use in my recipes.
All measurements are done with standard measuring tools. Measurements are all leveled, except when stated as heaped.
1 Tbsp = 15ml
1 tsp = 5ml
1 cup = 250ml
Even when it comes to cooking, I do not use those tablespoons for eating rice to measure. One rice spoon is only 5ml, so you can see 3 rice tablespoons is equivalent to 1 measuring Tablespoon. Your dish may turn out bland just because you used the wrong spoon to measure the soy sauce.
When it comes to flour or sugar, I always prefer weight measurements. Should you need conversion to cups, there are a lot of conversion tools online. I am not a conversion tool.
2. Oven and Baking Temperatures
Before May 2011, I used a Microwave Convection Oven that is more 15 years old.
If there are 2 temperatures stated in my recipe, I use the lower one, because my oven is a convection oven.
For conventional ovens, please use the 2nd temperature. If there is only 1 temperature stated, please jack up the temperature by 20C if you are using conventional ovens, as the stated temperature was the one I used.
Convection: Ovens with powerful fans
Conventional: Ovens with regular top and bottom heating elements
Why does the convection oven uses a lower temperature?
-If you have the air-cond on... then u have the fan on, do you feel cooler or no changes? Definately cooler cos the cold air hits your skin more. So, if your oven has a fan, you will feel a more intense heat.
After May 2011, I began using a built-in Bosch oven. Still temperature specs in blog remain the same, Convection/conventional.
3. Egg Size
All eggs used are large unless stated otherwise.
Large eggs weigh about 65gm shells on. Locally known as Grade A.
If no specific flour is stated, then it is all purpose flour. Local brands like Cap Sauh, or Tesco house brand flours are all purpose flours. Even those that you buy by weight at the sundry shops are all purpose. And yes, all purpose flour is the same as plain flour.
What I use interchangably
For Cakes: Cake flour or superfine flour or low protein flour or Hi-Ratio flour, or substitute with 1 cup flour, take out 2 Tbsp of it and replace with 2 Tbsp cornstarch. I rarely use Self Raising Flour.
For Bread : Bread flour is also called as Hi Protein flour
For Pau/Steamed buns : Pau flour can be substituted with all purpose. Just that you will have a slightly coarser texture. They have about the same gluten level, just that pau flour is finer. Hong Kong flour is also suitable, the only difference is it will be whiter and more expensive to use. Hong Kong flour is a highly bleached flour, therefore I try not to use it too much.
Starches: For cooking, cornstarch, potato starch and tapioca starch an be used interchangebly. For making kuih or traditional cakes, please ask me if you are unable to find the type of starch stated and they may yield different textures.
5. Butter and Fats
I only use pure butter. No margarine, no dairy spreads (Buttercup, Farmcows). Unless I cannot change the ingredient to butter, only then I will use margarine.
For recipes calling for shortening, I don't have any specific brand of preference.
For cake recipes calling for vegetable oil, I will use corn oil.
For cooking or frying, I only use Malaysian Palm Oil.
6. Milk products, Creams and Coconut
Buttermilk: Buttermilk is rare in Malaysia. I substitute this with either plain yogurt or 1 cup of full cream milk soured with 1 tbsp lemon/lime juice.
Milk: Whenever a recipe calls for milk, I always use Full Cream milk or unless stated. Substituting with low fat milk shouldn't be a problem unless the recipe says no to low fat.
Dairy cream: For whipping purposes I use 35% and above. For cooking I use whipping cream as well, as that is the only type of cream that is easily available.
Non Dairy Topping Cream (Fresh Cream, as commonly refered to for Malaysian bekeries) : I try not to use this after I discovered that it was made with palm kernel oil. Palm kernel oil is not the same as palm oil. I only use this for decorative purposes. Although this is easier to whip and manage than dairy creams, it is far inferior in taste when compared to dairy creams.
Coconut Milk : I only use freshly squeezed coconut milk, undiluted with water, unless stated to make up for a certain amount. Not all places sell fresh coconut milk in the same amount. If you ask for 1 coconut, they might give you 180ml, some places 200ml and some 250ml. So, if I say 300ml coconut milk from 1 coconut +water, it means, whatever your coconut milk sells you as 1 coconut, just add extra water to make up 300ml. If boxed coconut milk, 200ml is equivalent to 1 coconut's milk.
7. Sugar and Seasonings (Please use seasonings by own discretion, as different brands may yield different levels of saltiness and intensity of flavour)
For baking, I use fine granulated sugar. You may use Castor sugar and castor sugar is finer than fine granulated. But do not use granulated sugar, unless stated, like the Castella Cake.
For cooking or making syrups, any sugar(except icing sugar) will be fine
For cooking: I use sea salt. Those cheapo RM1/kg bought from sundry shops.
For baking: I use fine salt.
Light Soy Sauce:
I regularly use Lee Kum Kee (this has a sweeter end), Knife brand or any other Chinese style soy sauce. I do not use Japanese soy sauce like Kikkoman.
Dark Soy Sauce:
I regularly use Lee Kum Kee. Those thick caramel soy sauce like Bidor Kwong Heng may also be used, but it is less salty and much much darker.
I only use Lee Kum Kee.
Ketchup and chilli sauce:
No brand loyalty unless stated, but I only buy reputable brands.
I only use red label Ghee Hiang brand. Knife, Ajinomoto or Lee Tsun Hing are also ok, but I do not recommend any "blended sesame oils".
Belacan: Dried Shrimp Paste
I only use Choong Kim Chuan brand, blue or gold label will be fine.
Chinese Cooking Wine
Rose Wine - There is no substitute for this fragrant wine.
Shao Xing Wine - I only buy those aged 5 years. It cost around RM18 above per bottle, depending on the brand.
Just in case you need to know, I use a Canon 350D, with stock lens (the lens that comes with it). Don't ask me about photography, I don't know much. I just put it on auto focus and click away.
When I photograph indoors, I use an external flash, bounced off the wall and ceiling.
When I want to photograph with natural light, I put my subject in a well litted area, and turn off the flash before I click away.
I use PhotoImpact to do some minor editing. I do not know much about this software too. Me tech idiot.
9. Cake mixer
I own a Philips handheld mixer, bought for RM59. Since May 2011, I've got myself a Kitchen Aid to knead breads, but cakes are still mostly made with the Philips handmixer. The model I use is as shown below. I bought mine in US, and used it with a suitable transformer.
10. Amount of ingredients
Please adhere with the amount I state. If the recipe calls for 500gm of chicken and you decide to cook 1kg, please increase everything else accordingly.
I measure my ingredients with a weighing scale, measuring cups and measuring spoons. If you find it bland, add more salt, if too salty, either discard some gravy and add more water to dilute the remaining gravy. Just adjust it before it lands on your dinner table.
When it comes to soups, do not use way more water than stated(+20% is still acceptable) and then find the soup being tasteless. How much ingredients used affects the amount of salt needed. The quality of the soup ingredient also affect the taste of the soup.
Feedbacks of tastelessness or blandness weren't stated in the blog, not that I deleted them, but these were made to me by mouth or other forms of personal written communication, and after a short troubleshooting disscussion, I found that these people didn't follow the recipe as much as they should have. Should you ever need to adjust the recipe, please do so with proper consideration and calculation.
For more information about my kitchen, kitchen tools and toys, baking utensils and whatever... check out
I do hope that my readers will enjoy my recipes as much as I enjoyed preparing them for my family.