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Happy Birthday Lyanne

Friday, December 31, 2010

Dear Lyanne,

Every calendar year is another year for you.
Born on the last day of the year, you will always the baby of the class.
I have always been worried about you entering 4 year old pre-school when you will only be barely 3. The baby of the class, always, forever.

Have been worried you won't be able to be toilet trained by school time.
Have been worried that you won't catch up intellectually due to late birth date in the year, you have to grow up faster

But this year,
You've been kissing me non stop at every opportunity
You've learnt to call me, papa, popo, Lydia and Ah-Mah
You've been welcoming me for every thankyou said
You've been recognising 1-10 by 21 months, even 1 and 10
You've been stacking stuff to everybody's astonishment, including the paedatrician's. It shows the concentration that you can give and the determination that you have.
You've been showing me you have good memory by finding your favourite page in a 200 page book, knowing whether you are too far ahead or too far behind
You've been singing songs on tune (very accurate!!, with just one or twice of singing), and it makes me want to start you on music class ASAP
You've been showing me how courageous you can be when you insisted to swim without the float!!
You've been showing me your social skills when you jumped into to join the crowd in Sunday School, not disturbing others, but following instructions and followed suit with the 5 year and above kids.
You've been telling me you want to ease yourself, not accurate every time, but at least you are trying
You've been sitting on the adult toilet and not feeling scared of it. Very brave!!!


I guess I shouldn't worry about you anymore
I know you can do it, even though you may be disadvantaged due to your late birthdate,
but I'm glad God has blesed you tremendously and reassuring me that you'd be well,
Young you may be, but I'm sure, you'd be able to make it.

Happy Birthday
God Bless You always my dearie


From Mommy




Happy New Year 2011
See you on Monday!

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Pork Caul Rolls

Friday, December 24, 2010



Christmas has been celebrated in my home dating as far back to my great great grandpa's days. They were converts even while their feet were still in China.

In the yonder years, my grandpa would have an open house on this day. Inviting non believing friends and family over for a meal. They'd cook and cook non stop for a day. The whole house was filled with people.
And the tableware and utensils in the house is enough to open up a small scale restaurant.
According to my aunts, Christmas was celebrated on a much larger scale than Chinese New Year. Very lively and a very much anticipated event by relatives each year. I've never been to one, as he passed away not long after my parents got married. Even my eldest brother has never seen grandpa.

Ever since my grandpa went back to heaven,  it was no longer done on such a scale, but more on a family basis only. We'd go to church in the morning, then it will be followed by a lunch at a local restaurant. We are Chinese and we eat like Chinese do, with fish, prawns, chicken and pork, as hams, cakes and pies are of Western origin, and the real meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with snow, santa or reindeers. The meal was just a get together for the family to celebrate God's goodness to the whole family.

When Swee San organized her giveaway, I was struck for a while. I don't have a favourite Christmas dish, nor a favourite bake. As Christmas has never been about turkey, cookies or pies at home. Not even now.  Until I thought of Grandpa's Christmas Banquets. There must have been some special dishes.
So, I called up my aunts, both Big and Small. Sadly, the memory of the banquets have faded away. They could only tell me, the food is like Chinese wedding banquets, with fish, chicken, prawns and stuff. Big Aunt recalled her favourite dish from the banquet, the pork caul rolls and Small Aunt recalled cabbage soup. Big Aunt only has faint memory of the rolls, saying it was made with pork caul (猪网油) and crispy and nice. Tasted very "Sin 鲜" with some waterchestnuts.She told me, during those times, eating deep fried foods is a treat and on usual days, there are rarely deep fried foods at home. She could recall no further, so I had to come up with a replica on my own.

How? How?

I had no idea so, I tried to make it with just a simple description of pork caul, might have prawns, might have waterchestnuts, deep fried and crunchy. That's all the hint I got!!! And I've never eaten one! That's the problem.

I called up mom asking her to help me get her butcher to reserve some pork caul for me.
And I went back home to my family's house, where the banquets were held and dug out those plates that were used to serve guests on Christmas that time. Let's try to be as close to that time as possible, memorable food with memorable plates. No joke, the serving plates you see on this post today were my grandpa's.


What's pork caul? Here's a pic. It's 猪网油 in Chinese. It's the fat lining of the pic's stomach. Fat!!! Cholesterol!!!! But then, it's festive food, so, chuck that aside for a day. To prepare the pork caul, wash and squeeze them dry. Discard thick tough bits and use only the pretty netting. Spread it out on your cutting board and cut into sizes enough to wrap up the filling. I cut them about 6X10 inch each. About that size.

Then I made up the filling

1 cup minced pork
2/3 tsp salt
dash of pepper
3 water chestnuts, chopped
3 Tbsp chopped carrots
3 Tbsp sliced green onions
3 Tbsp chopped Chinese mushrooms
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 egg

Mix and marinate everything together
and then, the prawns

1 cup coarsely chopped prawns
small pinch of baking soda
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

Marinate the prawns separately for half an hour and combine with pork mixture.
Put in 2 heaped Tbsp of filling onto each piece of cut pork cault and wrap it up like rolls.



Then heat up a wok of oil and deep fry until golden.

Wait................ something seems not right. Big Aunt says it's crispy. How come the whole thing looks like sausage? Not crispy at all!!! It's not like what Big Aunt says it is.

 

Something's not right!!!!! Then my sister in law brought some to her mom to try. Her mom is another kitchen guru, and she told me, I should've rolled up in lesser pork caul, then dredge in egg and lastly dust with tapioca flour before deep frying!!!!

URGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

What can I do? Do another batch? I don't think so, it's so cholesterol laden that once is enough for this month. It may not be an exact replica of Grandpa's Christmas specialty, but I made it with grandpa in heart.
May not be pretty, may not be as tasty, but sigh....................... broke my heart. Wasted. Not only the ingredients for this dish, but whatever great dishes that our forefathers have done, it's no longer remembered and done the way it should've been. Lost and gone with time. I really wished I could just recreate whatever that was described by Big Aunt.

Well, whatever the outcome, this is a so called failed replica of my Big Aunt's favourite Christmas dish, pork caul rolls. I'm still submitting this to Swee San.





Here, I share with you one of my favourite Christmas Carols,
O Holy Night




O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!




Happy Holidays and I won't be blogging for more than a week!!!
Need a break.
See you in 2011 but I'll still be checking for comments


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Grand Marnier Orange Fruit Cake

Thursday, December 23, 2010


My mom loves fruit cakes. It's her favourite bake of the season. Well, actually she loves everything I bake, period.

Is it now that I'm preggers that I'm not baking a storm for Christmas? Frankly, I don't and never do. I practise giving gifts, as Christmas is about God's gift to us. I don't bake just because it's Christmas, but my bakes makes personal gifts that my friends look forward to. And I usually bake something that can't be bought. In 2007, I made lots of Moist Chocolate Cakes for Church friends, 2008 I made three Sarawak Layered Cakes, cut and divided for a selected few(was heavily pregnant with Lyanne at 36 weeks), 2009 I made Surprise Eggs for Church friends and alcohol free orange fruit cake for neighbours. Do my church friends give me bakes as gifts too? Nah, but they do try to give me edible gifts like chocolates, candies for my kids or cute teddy bear pastas. I'm the only one who give bakes as gifts.

One cake that is strongly related to Christmas is fruit cake. Somehow I do not understand, why make fruitcake during Christmas season? Is it due to it being colourful, like the ornaments on a Christmas tree? But then again, I think it must be due to winter where only dried fruits are available and hence, Mince Pies and Fruit Cakes were baked for the occasion. It's more like a Western thingy rather than something with religious meaning. But then, it's good excuse now to bake it.


I made 2 fruit cakes this year to clear lots of dried fruits from my fridge. That's the best excuse to make fruit cakes, clear fridge, LOL. One was with liquor, and one without. The one without liquor will be cut, wrapped and given to my left and right neighbours who are my regular customers and to a few church friends. Scroogy hoh? One cake, divided for so many people! It's just a festive gesture. Here, it's usual practice to give some (doesn't need to be a whole cake) away, just for taste. Unless it's a gift for a specific purpose, like housewarming, then it's nice to give a whole cake. But then again, one whole fruit cake is like so much. And if I really do give the whole fruit cake, I think the recipient will be like, "Woah, how to finish this????" Fruit cakes are unlike other cakes where it can be easily "cleaned up".

** Yow Lin, Chiew Yoong, Susan and the Lee family who might be reading, guess you oredi knew what I'm giving u guys this year, kekekeke**

The cake above is with liquor and the one below is without.


Finally, I'm being not too scroogy. Still am, but not as bad. Well, I used half liquor half juice for the liquor infused cake, hahaha. Not full liquor. I'm not that generous, even if it's for personal consumption.
But still, no nuts and no candied peels. I still prefer fresh orange zest and it to be all fruits.

And this time, I let Lydia use the knife for the first time. A dinner knife it was, and I watched over her all the time. She was happy that I let her help out. She still doesn't know how to put her finger in a safe position and how to use the pushing motion to cut, instead she was just forcing the knife down. Sometimes using both hands just to cut a cherry. Needs practice.


Grand Marnier Orange Fruit Cake
Recipe source: Wendyywy

150gm cherries (red and green), coarsely chopped
100gm currants
100gm golden raisins
100gm black raisins
100ml fresh orange juice
100ml Grand Marnier
Zest from the oranges that you juiced from

Combine everything except the cherries (I was worried that soaking in alcohol might release the colours) and cover. Let it soak overnight in the fridge. The next day, combine with coarsely chopped cherries while you soften the butter.

250gm butter
150gm sugar
4 eggs
225gm all purpose flour
100ml Grand Marnier

1. Preheat oven to 130/150C. Line a 8 inch square pan.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy.
3. Put in eggs one by one, beating well after each addition.
4. Sift flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until no clumps are seen.
5. Fold soaked fruits and all the remaining liquid into the batter.
6. Pour batter into pan, level and bake for 1.5hours.
7. Remove cake from oven and immediately drizzle Grand Marnier over hot cake. Pull down the side liners. Let it the cake air and when cake has totally cooled, wrap and keep for a week before comsuming.
(I kept the cake wrapped at room temperature of 29-35C, I find chilled butter based cakes do not taste as nice after chilling, the cake looks very good with no mould and fungus due to the presence of liquor.)


Verdict: Compared to the non liquor version, of course this is nicer. And slightly sweeter too, due to the liquor. But less orangy that the non liquor version because it used less zest. It is soft and moist, unlike traditional Western fruitcakes which are a lot lot sweeter and a lot lot denser. Just imagine it being a butter cake, but with fruits.

I'm sure most of you have read about Swee San's Christmas giveaway. I'm submitting this for that event.
She asked to include this excerpt, so I better do it, since she said it's a "MUST".

"This is my entry for the Christmas Giveaway hosted by Swee San of The Sweet Spot"

And I'm submitting this to Aspiring Bakers Dec 2010 challenge

I still have another Christmas post coming up tomorrow.

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Stir Fried Red Cabbage with Apples

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I did another version or red cabbage with apples, and this time, no wine, no jam, which makes this more economical. And if you are thinking of what to serve for your Christmas dinner together with your main dish, this can be considered.

Frankly I prefer this version. Taste wise and cooking time. This version is a lot faster and easier.
And I retained the crunch in it. All it took was just 15 minutes from preparation to finish cooking, compared to almost an hour for the previous recipe.

Stir Fried Red Cabbage with Apples.
Recipe Source: Wendyywy
Serves 4-6.

550-600gm red cabbage, rinsed and thinly sliced
2 small green apples, peeled, julienned (comes to about 1 heaped cup)
1 small red onion, sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil or cooking oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
¾ tsp salt and some black pepper
1 ½ Tbsp brown sugar or more
20gm butter (1 heaped Tbsp)

1. Heat a heavy based pot(wok will be fine too, but make sure you have a lid) on medium heat and put in oil. Cook onions until soft and translucent.
2. Put in apples and stir. Cook for about 30 seconds. Turn heat to high
3. Then put in sliced red cabbage. Immediately put in vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Then stir.
4. Make sure everything is well mixed, cook for about 1-2 minutes until you see the cabbage start to wilt. Put on the lid and turn heat to low. The cabbage will sweat and there is no need of adding water.
5. Stir it from time to time and replace lid. Let it cook until desired level of texture:-, crunchy and wilted, or soft.
6. Then turn heat to high and put in salt, pepper and sugar and butter. Cook until butter has melted. Turn off heat and transfer to plate to serve.

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Salted Egg White Tofu

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Why waste the salted egg whites? Salted eggs are no longer as salty as yonder years. I remember when I was a kid, I’d squince when I eat the salted egg whites and would only take yolks.
But the salted eggs nowadays seem to have lost their salt. Not that salty, but still salty.

Many months back, some time around Chinese New Year, I was trying to use up 30 egg whites after making a Prune Layered Cake. A blogger friend, SK Fong suggested I make tofu with egg whites. Yeah, rather than making yellowish tofu, egg whites are perfect to retain the whiteness of the soy milk.

So, what I did with the 3 salted egg whites from the salted egg yolk chicken, is to make this into a steamed tofu dish. But then again, please taste the egg whites before you embark on this. Add additional regular eggs if your egg whites are salty and add more soy milk. Just keep the ratio of egg to soy milk, 1:2 and you’ll be fine.


Salted Egg White Tofu
Recipe source: Wendyywy, inspired by SKFong

3 salted egg whites, about ½ cup
1 cup unsweetened soy milk (actually can use 300ml, 250ml is quite firm)
1 sprig spring onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp cooking oil
2 drops of sesame oil

1. Prepare steamer and bring water to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, combine egg whites with soy milk, whisk to combine.
3. Put cooking oil and sesame oil in steaming dish. Rub with fingers or brush so that the dish will be well oiled.
4. Pour the egg white mixture into prepared dish and sprinkle sliced spring onions onto the egg.
5. Steam on medium low heat(lid on) for 10 minutes or until set. Touch the center of the tofu, if it has turned solid and nothing sticks to your fingers, it’s done.

Verdict: Somehow this steamed tofu is much firmer than my other homemade egg tofu. But it's slightly crunchy, like egg whites usually are. It could be due to the eggs being just egg whites and not whole eggs. Egg whites have better coagulating effect than yolks. The spring onions added a wonderful aroma to the tofu. Delicious!

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Salted Egg Yolk Chicken

Monday, December 20, 2010


A very sinful chicken. 3 salted duck egg yolks and butter and deep fried chicken!!!! Prepare less sinful dishes to go with this to balance up your meal.

You may think, what is this woman cooking such unhealthy stuff to her family??? Well, I don’t cook this everyday!!!! So what??? I don’t believe in cutting off everything totally. I believe in moderation.
I may eat KFC today and salad tomorrow. It’s when you eat rich and oily foods everyday that’s going to put a burden on your body. But depriving the body totally of such GOOOOOD stuff is so evil.

But then again, I’m not referring to those who have health problems. So don’t bombard me with comments scolding me. What you put on your plate and in your mouth is your own choice. It’s me being evil to deprive myself.

You may also think 3 salted egg yolks???? Gosh!!!! The salted egg taste is just nice. I’ve seen on cooking shows that restaurants use 6 egg yolks for one plate of crab. SIX!!!!!!!!
So, 3 yolks is just nice here.


Salted Egg Yolk Chicken
Recipe Source: Wendyywy

(A)
350gm boneless whole chicken leg, cut into 1 inch thick large slices
1/3 tsp salt
Pepper
1 egg white
1 cup tapioca starch
Oil for deep frying

Dry chicken properly. Mix chicken with salt and pepper. Then put in egg white. Marinate for half an hour, at least. Coat whole pieces of chicken with tapioca starch. Dust off extra starch.
Deep fry chicken pieces until golden and crispy.

2 Tbsp butter
2 sprigs curry leaves, remove from stem, leaves only
1 or 2 bird’s eye chilli, sliced
3 salted egg yolks, steamed and mashed
2 Tbsp evaporated milk
1 tsp oil
1/3 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar

In wok, on medium heat , put in oil and butter. When butter has melted, put in sliced chilli and curry leaves. When they are fragrant, put in mashed egg yolks, with spatula, try to flatten the yolks into the oil and cook until it look bubbly and fragrant (won’t take long). Turn heat to low and put in milk, salt and sugar. Turn heat to high and and cook until very bubbly. Put in chicken and toss until well coated.


So, what did I do with the balance of salted egg whites?? Check out my next post tomorrow :)

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Noodle Pancake

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Another recipe taught to me by Ainur, my Malay Minang housemate back in JB. I wonder when will I do a version of her masak lemak cili api.

She told me her mom always makes this for breakfast when she was still schooling. You can put anything you like in it, no rules!!! Just one rule, be patient when you do this. No high heat, if not the center won’t be cooked when the base is golden. And when you slowly cook it, the pancake will be very crispy.



Noodles Pancake Recipe
2 packs Instant noodles of choice
100gm bacon or sausage
1 small carrot, grated
2 sprigs of spring onion, sliced
4 eggs
2 slices of cheddar cheese, chopped
1 pack of noodle seasonings(from the pack)
Cooking oil or butter

1. Boil a saucepan of water and cook noodles until they just loosen up, no need to be soft. Drain. Snip noodles to shorter lengths (just chop the noodles a few times, or use scissors and snip snip snip)
2. In a pan, fry bacon on medium heat until golden. Dish up.
3. Divide bacon, carrot and spring onions into 2 parts.
4. Combine one piece of noodle with half the bacon, carrots and spring onion. Put in chopped cheese, ½ tsp of seasoning and 2 eggs. Mix it all around.
5. Heat pan and put in oil or butter.
6. Pour the noodle mixture into pan and cook on medium low heat. Cover the lid.
7. When the egg in the middle looks cooked and the sides are golden, flip noodle pancake and cover and cook again until golden.
8. Repeat step 4-7 with the other piece of noodle
9. Serve warm with sweet chili sauce or any other sauces you prefer. I could just eat it like that.



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Candied Coconut - White sugar version

Friday, December 17, 2010


I made candied coconut with gula melaka (palm sugar) way back in 2008. I was very very satisfied with the result. So, with another blogger meet-up coming up (I'm the last to blog about it, so I'll not go into the details, you can read about it at Sonia's, Swee San's, Reese's and Pei Lin's), it's a good chance for me to make this again, since making too little is a bit too wasteful and too much for personal comsumption is not a good idea :)
Good things are meant to be shared, HAHAHAHAH!! Don't ever get fat alone, LOL.



So, you must be wondering, where did I get my coconut flesh.
From the wet market!!

*
Long ago(20 yrs ago), we could only buy grated coconut from the market.
*
Sometime back then (about 15 yrs ago) , we could buy freshly squeezed coconut milk from the market, and it's made with coconuts that were halved and grated by holding the coconut halves against the electric grater, then the grated coconut is poured into a machine to get the milk out.
*
The latest : You won't find the electric grater with a sharp ball and a upright basin at the wet market.
What you will see is a grater that works like a paper shredder. Put the whole pieces of flesh in the upright feeding hole, and what comes out is finely grated coconut. Then the grated coconut is then poured into the extrator and milk comes out :) The latest method is a lot lot faster!
*

So, what does this has to do with where to get the coconut flesh pieces???
The answer is, get your coconut flesh pieces from the coconut milk vendor before they turn it into grated coconut. LOL. Sorry just being a bad joker here.



This time, I made 2 versions, the old palm sugar version and I tried out the old fashioned white sugar version.



Recipe is pretty easy

Just keep the ratio of sugar to coconut, 1: 2 and you'll be fine. Means, if you used 1kg coconut flesh, use 500gm sugar. And I mean cleaned peeled coconut. Not the initial weight that you bought from the market. Last time I used the weight I bought and ended up with too much sugar in the pot, a bit wasted.

So, here's how





Cook on medium heat until the whole pot of coconut looks watery and reduce to low heat to cook until totally dry. Stir and toss with chopsticks not spoon. Stirring is only needed occasionally until it looks almost dry, then it has to be all the time.

So, here's how the white one looks like immediately after cooking. Pretty dry right? And nope, the base is not burnt.

Not too difficult right?


And one thing, I want to share with you.
If you think that you want to buy the purest and best gula melaka to make this snack, DO NOT DO THAT!

The one above is the latest and the one below was done in 2008

Can you see the difference of my latest attempt with the old one?
One looks dry and one looks clumpy with sugar.
Last time, I used those light coloured palm sugar (light brown not Thai milky coloured ones), which are a lot less pure(made with added white sugar) and are harder.
Pure ones are soft and moist, crumbly when pressed and definately needs refrigeration, if not it'll sweat.
Using pure ones is a bad decision.
I forgot that raw sugars like this are acidic, and when it's acidic, the sugar won't dry properly and stayed in clumps. So in times like these, better buy the less pure stuff so that you can have dry dry coconut, not clumpy ones.


And if you're wondering what am I wearing in that pic? Looks frumpy... Well, it's a maternity dress.
Yes, I am almost 4 month preggers now and the baby's due early June.
I haven't been cooking or baking since early October (unless I have no choice), up until 2 days before the lastest blogger meet (just last week), and yeah, the blog is running with no baking and cooking in my kitchen and it could still run with daily posts until March, yes it's that crazy.
Baking and cooking mojo has been on super low gear during the 1st trimester and I'm glad it's back now.

But I won't be on high gear til very much later, I'm busy busy busy now, and hopefully by Jan, I'll be moving into my new house with a new oven and a few more new toys.

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Chocolate Hidden Banana Cake

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I made this cake based on a few recipes,  the cake was Rose Levy Beranbaum's, the idea of the hidden banana was Sonia's and the outlook was inspired by joyofbaking.

Creams made with dairy cream are always lighter than buttercreams, and how I wish that I can use dairy creams on "non sponge cakes", and in our weather, dairy creams just can't be kept out from the fridge for long. If you use when cakes made with butter or oil(in the usual way) and deco with dairy whipped cream, the cake will defiantely turn hard when kept in the fridge, but if you bring the cake out to soften up a bit, the cream starts to weep and melt in our over 32C weather..

Such headache,
hard cake-soft cream
soft cake-runny cream.
Pathetic.

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Tub Tim Grob, Rubies in Coconut Milk Dessert

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

 


This is one dessert that you can use to wow your guest. The look of the water chestnuts look spectacular and when served in fancy glasses, they really do look nice. A red dessert looks good if you’re wearing black. Accessorizing!!! Hahaha. Red rubies they may be, but not wearable.

This is not my maiden attempt with the famous Thai dessert. I first tried making this a decade ago when I was staying with my chummies. They loved it, but I wasn’t all that successful cos the starch wasn’t sticking well to the water chestnuts. Then lately I read from the net that it’s spraying that makes the 2nd layer of starch adhere well and that’s how you make the starch really thick.I had some water chestnuts in the fridge, originally intended for a soup, but heck, what was I waiting for? Waiting for the day I could get jackfruit!!! Finally Saturday came, and I could get some from the local farmer’s market. This dessert will taste weird to me without jackfruit, cos it’s this sweet yellow flesh fruit that gives the dessert the super aroma.

Actually, in Ipoh, one can easily get this from the main wet market. It’s called “pomegranate seeds, 石榴子” instead. And it doesn’t come cheap. More than 15 years ago, I knew it was RM3/pack, about 1 cup’s amount with water!!! So, why not make this yourself. The instructions I give may seem long, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy peasy.



If you are serving this at a party, you can make this in advance, so, no rushing here and there on the day itself. You can make the coconut smoothie and freeze, and the red rubies can be made 1-2 days in advance (those sold can be kept for 2-3 days in the fridge)

Tub Tim Grob
Recipe source : Wendyywy
Serves 6-8

(A)
6 water chestnuts
½ tsp red food colouring (I prefer artificial cochineal here, which is slightly pinkish purplish, rather than red) or some beet root juice
1 tsp water (no need if beet root juice)
1 cup or more tapioca starch (Cornstarch will not be suitable)
Few pieces of jackfruit flesh, thinly sliced

(B)
125gm sugar
125gm water
1 pandan leaf, shredded and knotted

(C )
200ml thick coconut milk
750gm ice cubes

Method
1. To make syrup, bring B to a boil on medium heat, let it simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the fire and let it cool down.
2. While waiting for the syrup to cool down, peel and cut the water chestnuts into 5mm cubes.
3. Mix food colouring with water and mix food colouring to the cut water chestnuts.


4. Put tapioca starch into a large bowl/basin. Pour all the dyed water chestnuts onto the starch.
5. Toss the basin/bowl so that the chestnuts will be evenly coated with the starch. Do not use a spoon to do this, but toss the whole basin.
6. Prepare a colander (not sieve) in another basin/plate. Pour all the water chestnuts and starch into colander and sift to separate extra starch from the coated water chestnuts. Remember to use the basin to collect extra starch.

7. Pour water chestnuts into a plate. Spread it out and lightly spray with water to moisten the water chestnuts. Toss and spray again. Repeat until you see the surface looks moistened but not wet.
8. Pour water chestnuts back into collected starch and toss and sift again. If you want a thicker layer of starch, repeat the spraying and tossing in flour again.

9. Let starch coated water chestnuts sit for half an hour. (So that the outer layer of starch may absorb moisture from the water chestnuts, it will stick better**)
10. Meanwhile, prepare coconut smoothie. Pour half the ice, half the syrup and half the coconut milk into a blender, and whizz til fine. Pour coconut smoothie into a freezable container. Repeat whizzing with balance of ice, syrup and coconut milk. Put coconut smoothie into freezer while you do the rest.

11. Bring a pot of water to boil. Prepare a big bowl of ice water.
12. Pour in all the coated water chestnuts, stir gently immediately for a while so that the chestnuts will not clump together and let it boil on high heat for 1 minute.
13. Remove water chestnuts from boiling water by using a slotted skimmer and put into ice water immediately.

14. Let it sit in the ice water for 10 minutes or longer.*** Stirring gently once a while to break up the "rubies"
15. Meanwhile, slice the jack fruit.
16. To serve, put some coconut smoothie into serving bowl, top with sliced jackfruit and "rubies". Serve immediately.



** I made this twice in a day. The first trial, by the time I wanted to boil the chestnuts, the gas ran out. So I called for gas and it arrived half an hour later. My 2nd batch, coated with starch 3 times were boiled immediately after the 3rd sifting. Comparatively, the 1st batch had a nicer starch coating, although it was only floured twice. Then I came to think of it, yeah, letting it sit for a while will make the moisture seep out and make the tapioca starch stick better to the water chestnut.

*** I also found that by letting it sit longer in ice water, the starch expands to wrap the chestnut better. No wonder those sold in Ipoh looked so thick with starch. They were sold in water filled packs, like cendol.

 

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Chinese Roasted Pork 脆皮烧肉

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I did this baby 3 times before posting. These whitish pics are from my 3rd attempt. Took the whole piece of pork to Kampar to chop and feed my roast pork hungry brothers and everybody else who was anticipating this golden crackling pork to arrive. I brought along my camera but I left the memory card behind. I screamed when I found out about my dumbness. This was my nicest layered piece of pork!!!!!! So, in the end, the phone took the pleasure of capturing this prettily layered belly, rind-fat-meat-fat-meat-fat-meat. A special piece from my butcher.

Pork is not cheap. So is electricity. And when I want to do this, I want to make sure nothing is missing.
There are a few roast pork stalls and shops in Kampar, and at the old wet market area, there are 3 shops. One is quiet, one is popular and the other was so so, cos the pork comes out later in the day and they sell rice with dishes too.

Sometimes I buy from the quiet shop, only when I want to do stir fries with that roast pork, cos it's not really that important when the roast pork becomes the supporting actor. But when I want to make the roast pork the main actor for dinner, it's always those from the popular shop. Why such a difference? It's in the taste. The quiet one seems to have something missing. And the popular one seems to have something extra.

But actually my all time favourite is the one from USJ Taipan, Nam King restaurant's Chicken Rice stall. It's got even more flavour than the popular shop in Kampar.

Which is why when I made this, I made sure nothing is missing. And I sought the recipe with the most ingredients used, cos I don't want mine to be missing something somewhere. Indeed, this is my perfect recipe. I won so much approval from everybody who ate it and they raved and raved about it. I did tweak from the source of recipe by adding in garlic and this is the magic ingredient (and by halving the marinade for 2kg of meat, too salty already!!), cos I think it'll add a nice touch to it, overall, it's still pretty similiar.

The 1st time, I was elated to see it becoming pretty roast pork, but my chopping skills made them look less pretty. Maybe I was impatient and the pork was a bit too warm when I laid my cleaver onto it. Made the amount of marinade, but used only 2kg of pork, too salty!!!! And I didn’t clean my tray after the 1st baking, the 2nd baking with elevated temperature boiled the oil of the pork and made my kitchen into heaven when I opened the door, it was “misty” all over!!!! My house smelt like “urrgghhh” roast pork. My oven was splattered with lard!!! Everybody complained the meat part was too too salty.


2nd time, was Chinese New Year 2010 and I was in rush to bring the big piece of pork back to Kampar, cos there’re hoards of Siu Yoke fans there and that is after chopping off a small part of it for Mike’s relatives in KK, which are more of Cha Siew fans. This time used the same amount of marinade, and doubled the pork to 4kg, and it was just nice. And because I couldn’t use the same rack I used before,this huge amount cannot turn around on the turntable in my Microwave Convection Oven. I used the grilling rack. I roasted the pork meat side up first for 30 minutes. Turned skin side up for another 30 minutes. (my oven don’t have bottom heat function, it’s either convection or grill, and with the grilling pan, there’s no way the air can circulate, so I had to turn the meat to face the heat.)Then another 40 mins for the skin to char on high temp. My house and oven was clean this time… due to the use grilling rack. Hah.. see, things were there for a reason. The grilling rack was designed that the oil drippings won’t be exposed, but the meat will remain dry. Hence clean oven, clean house.



3rd time, now… the butcher purposely prepared a nicely layered piece for me when I told him I want to make pretty Siu Yoke. So nice of him, well, I go to his wife’s shop almost daily for lunch for almost 2 years.. Halved the marinade recipe and made 2kg of pork :). Small enough to go on the turntable, and I used the same method of roasting like my 1st attempt, on an elevated rack, but I cleaned the tray after the 1st baking. Did my kitchen turned into heaven again.. hahaha… I was in a little bit of heaven, but not as bad. It’s the juices (when mixed with oil at high temp) from the 1st baking that will send up the smoke, and the 2nd baking will release oil, lots of it and with no juice, the smoking effect is not that bad. So, if you cleaned or changed the dripping tray, it will be fine. So, will I use grilling pan or DIY elevated pan next time??? Dunno… see how big portion I’m doing the next time :)

So, here’s the recipe for 2kg of pork, tried and tested 3 times ;)
The skin remained crispy for hours, yes you heard me. Hours. I roasted the pork late morning and by dinner time, the skin is still crunchy, meat juicy. (and it was kept in a plastic bag) But please be patient and not chop it until it's totally cooled. Cos when it's warm, when you chop it, the hot juices will definately moisten the crispy skin and make it soggy. You definately won't want your effort to go wasted. Soggy crackling is just urghh!!!!

The instruction pics here were from my 1st time

Chinese Roasted Pork recipe

Ingredients
2kg pork belly, skin on with no bones.
2 Tbsp salt

Bottom marinade
1/2 Tbsp seasoned pepper (Ajishio)
1/2 Tbsp salt
1/2 Tbsp 5 spice powder
1 large clove of garlic (smashed to a paste with some salt from the above allocated 1/2Tbsp)
1.5 cubes of Chinese Red Fermented Beancurd (Nam Yue), come to about 1/2 Tbsp
1 Tbsp Chinese cooking wine or Shao Xing wine

To brush on pork (later during roasting)
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar



Method:

1. Mix bottom marinade together. Rub the underbelly with marinate, massage into every nook and cranny.



2. Overturn pork and put on salt. Rub and rub, only on the skin.


3. Place pork into the fridge, skin side up, uncovered. Yes, uncovered so that the skin will dry up.


4. The next day, preheat oven at 200C/220C. (Top and bottom heat or with convection on)
5. Prepare an elevated roasting rack, with a pan underneath. Or just use whatever grilling pan that comes with your oven.



6. Roast pork for 40 minutes (if doing 4kg, you may need longer)
7. Remove pork from oven, and turn up the temperature to 250C (grill or top heat only).
8. Prick holes all over pork skin with a sharp knife or a bunch of needles (see pic),as much as you can


9. Brush vinegar over pork skin. Change the tray underneath or clean the tray.
10. Return pork(on elevated rack) to oven and bake for another 40 minutes or until the skin is slightly charred.



11. Scrape off the charred bits and leave it to cool down totally before chopping.




And if you're thinking of using this (fish scaler) to prick the skin,

Forget about it. The pic on the right is how it became after one whack on the skin. The nails were pushed out and the pork skin went unharmed!!!!! That's now how I want it. I want to prick that skin, skin deep!!!!


Recipe adapted from: Happy Homemaker88

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