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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Toothless Delight

Some call this Kuih Sago, some call this Kuih Telur Katak(frog eggs kuih)…. but when I learnt to make this 17 years ago, I was taught by Auntie Siew Wah that this was called Toothless Delight.

This is one of my eldest brother’s favourite thing from me, so is to Bernice, and maybe others that I do not remember (soweeeee..)

Ever since I learnt to make this, I’ve never had exact measurements, I just cook it by feel and taste.
This time, I got the exact proportions, and it’s actually very easy, 4 parts water, 2 parts sago and 1 part sugar.

4 cups water
2 cups small sago (or some call them tapioca pearls)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
Some red/pink colouring
Freshly grated flesh of 1 coconut
Pinch of fine salt

Put water into a heavy based pot and bring water to a boil. Put in sago. Stir gently until mixture thickens on med low heat. You should see no more excess water in the pot. Put in sugar and stir. Continue to stir until sago pearls are half transparent. Put in food colouring and vanilla essence and stir well. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Leave aside to cool down a bit. While sago is cooling down, mix grated coconut with salt and keep aside until ready to use. When sago is warm, spoon teaspoonsful of sago mixture on to prepared grated coconut. Roll sago in coconut and shake off excess coconut.

When kuih has totally cooled to room temperature, the sago is fully set.

If u want to put sago into moulds to shape it, do it while it’s still hot. Remember to wet the moulds.

*** this makes quite a lot, unless u want to feed a party, cut the amount by half.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sweet Bread & Buns

I've been trying to make sweet buns with sweet and savoury fillings lately.

I knead by hand.... and it takes me more than 30 sweating minutes to knead 500 gm flour.
I don't have the guts to use my hand held mixer to knead the bread... I'm scared it'll explode while I'm holding to it. It's tough work!
Anyone out there wanting to give me an early Christmas gift???

I adapted the recipe from Aunty Yochana's butter buns, and I added more sugar, yeast and slightly more butter to her dough recipe. These buns are made without softeners and improvers, therefore do not expect it to be super pillowy soft(retail bakery breads). But they are soft, even for 3 days. And on the funny side, they taste better the next day. Maybe it could be due to my fan oven, the surface sort of dries up a bit, and keeping it allows the moisture from within to seep up and moistens the bread.

And I found that egg white is my favourite glaze. Milk and whole eggs burns too easily, pure egg yolk is too golden for my taste. Egg white is the best!

500gm bread flour/high protein flour
100gm sugar
50gm milk powder

11gm yeast (1 sachet)
220ml water
1 big pinch of sugar
1 egg

85gm butter
1/2 tsp salt

1. Proof yeast with water and pinch of sugar until mixture turns frothy.
2. Mix bread flour, sugar and milk powder together. Make a well in the centre.
3. When (1) is ready, beat in 1 egg and pour into (2).
4. Knead dough for 10 minutes (15 by hand)Dough should be smooth by now.
5. Knead in butter and salt. It feels very oily..Continue to knead for another 10 minutes (15 by hand)or until dough is very stretchable.
6. Shape dough into a ball and cover with cling wrap, leaving a small hole by the side. Or u can place it in a pot and cover with a lid.
7. Leave to proof for 45 mins or until almost triple (I won't call it double, look at the pic), or until u can make a dent in the dough that doesn't spring back.
8. Punch down and knead for 1 minute. Divide into desired sizes and shape. Do not put toppings at this stage.
9. After shaping let proof for another hour or until more than double. Brush with egg white. Put on desired topppings.
10. Preheat oven. Bake buns at 160C for 12 minutes, or loaves at 150C for 20 minutes.(My oven)

**** Maybe ur oven needs to bake at higher temperatures. Most recipes I see call for breads to be baked at 200C or 180C. My oven burns my bread at this temperature. U have to experiment a bit here.

And here's a collection of my bread making. You can do whatever patterns or use whatever fillings u fancy.

Sweet Raisin Bun Ring
-just added moistened raisins to the dough, made into 6 80gm buns and put in a tube pan. Egg white glaze

Ham and Cheese Twist-just ham and cheese folded and twisted. egg white glaze.

Chilli Sausage Bun
-Mushroom jumbo sausages rolled into a piece of 60gm dough, cut into 4 pieces, laid out and garnished with chilli sauce and grated cheddar before baking. This was glazed with milk and whole egg. A bit too golden hoh???

Ham and Cheese Spiral Loaf-Ham and cheese laid out on a rectagular piece of dough, rolled up swiss roll style. Laid in a tube pan to proof and bake at 150C for 20 mins. Egg white glaze.

Double Cheese Buns
-Cheddar on top, cream cheese in the middle

Cheese Plaits
-Grated cheddar mixed with some egg and sugar. Spread on top of plaited 60gm buns.

Cheese Buns
-Filled with Cheddar cheese, it makes a cave inside as it bakes

Sweet Cheddar Cheese Bun
-Cheddar cave inside, cheddar and sugar topping.

Sausage roll
Roll 60gm dough into long strips and wind around thawed sausages.

I'm not going to bake anymore of these sweet buns in near future.. been baking too much of these lately, a bit sick of it oredi. Hahahahaha!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Samuel and Zoe's Cakes

These 2 cakes were for Zoe and Samuel, children of my cousin Eileen or some of u may know her as Sook Yen.

Flower Garden Cake for Zoe

Aquarium Cake For Samuel

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Assam Laksa 阿三拉沙粉

Assam Laksa.... how we northerners love this! It's like coccaine, marijuana, heroin....
Here we just go by the name, laksa. But to make things clearer, I better call it Assam Laksa here to avoid any confusion.

I wonder, how come there is this brand of instant noodles from our neighbour that offers "Laksa Flavour". Laksa is definately Malay in origin. And there are many laksas in Malaysia. All rice noodles. Be it the Terengganu Laksam, or Kelantan Laksae, or Sarawak Laksa, all surrounds rice noodles, except Johor laksa, that goes with errr... spaghetti. And Kuala Kangsar laksa that goes with wheat flour home made noodles.

Assam Laksa : Noodles with sour gravy
Curry Laksa : Noodles in curry gravy
Nyonya Laksa : Noodles, nyonya style

Laksa in malay language means noodles, so how come there can be noodles with noodles flavour??? just my 2 cents..

I've bought this large grouper at the wet market. The fish monger was selling it at half price than the cut up fillets, so I bought it whole, more than 4kg! My own recipe calls for the aromatics be fried until fragrant, a difference than regular assam laksa recipes that just puts everything into the pot and boil, and boil and boil.

To Kamparians.... it taste similiar to "Ah Na Laksa". Just that I din put in blended pineapple, I think he did. Did he???

So here's how I did it:-
1 large fish head abt 1kg, I used Grouper (Kerapu, Sek Pan Yue). If u’re using small fishes, buy about 600gms. Selar, Kembung or sardines will be a good choice.
30gm assam gelugor or more, lightly rinsed
3L water

Sambal paste
100gm shallots
2 cloves garlic
1 thumb sized quality belacan (amount is crucial to end product, too little will not be nice, too much will be overpowering. And it depends on brand and the producer to assume the amount. I used Penang’s famous, Choong Kim Chuan)
1/3 cup oil
20gm chilli powder (1 small packet of Baba’s, u can grind ur own if u like, 20gm dry chili, soak til soft)

2 torch ginger flower, the whole bud plus 1 inch of the stalk
3 lemon grass (white part, 5 inches from the base)
10 bird’s eye chilli
1 cup water

5 sprigs of daun kesum (laksa leaves)
60 gm sugar, or more
3 tsp salt, or more

1. Bring 3L of water to a boil and put in assam gelugor and fish.
2. Simmer for half an hour or until soup turns whitish. .

3. While the fish broth is simmering, do the sambal paste. Puree shallots, garlic and belacan in a food processor. If using dry chili, puree together too.
4. Fry in oil until fragrant, add in chilli powder and continue to fry until dry. Becareful that u don’t burn it.

5. Remove fish from soup and put the sambal paste into the soup and continue to simmer. Let the fish cool down.
6. Slice the torch ginger flower and lemon grass finely and blend them and the bird’s eye chilli with 1 cup of water. Pour this into the simmering soup.
7. Put in daun kesum, the whole sprigs. Continue to simmer.
8. While the broth is simmering, separate the flesh of the fish from the bones.

9. Put the flesh back into the simmering soup. Bring back to a boil. If soup is greatly reduced, add in water. You should have 3L to 3.5L of soup. If u don’t how much of that is in ur pot, before u start to cook the soup, measure 3.5L water into ur pot and roughly measure the level from the rim of ur pot.

10. Season with sugar and salt. Taste. If the desired taste is achieved, remove from heat. Prepare noodles and other condiments.

Cucumber, julienned
Red Onion, thinly sliced
Lettuce, cut into thin shreds
Red Chilli or bird’s eye chilli, thinly sliced
Mint leaves
Har Kou (prawn paste)
Fu Pei.. it’s Kampar style (fried beancurd skins stuffed with fish paste)


Lai Fun or whatever u prefer, 2kg in total.
Each bowl 200gm of noodles, blanched in hot water.

To serve:
Place blanched noodles into bowl. Pour 3 ladles of hot soup over noodles and top with preferred condiments.

Adjusting the taste:
If not sour enough, add in 5 assam gelugor pieces, not sour enough another 5, and 5 and 5 and 5, until desired sourness is achieved. Boiling the assam for 10 minutes before adding another 5 to make sure the flavor is fully released. It’s hard to tell how much to add, because it depends on the quality of the assam fruit. The darker it is, the more mature and the more sour it is. The lighter coloured the younger and the less sour it is. Rinsing it also lightens the sourness, but rinse it u must!!! The way they dry it is errrmmm… Come to my house and see. There’s an assam dryer living behind my house.
If not hot enough, either blend some birds eye chilli or add them in when u serve the laksa.
If not sweet enough, add in sugar by the teaspoonsful, and taste after each addition.
If not salty enough, add salt by ½ tsp each time and taste after each addition.
The soup has to be hot, sour, well balanced with sugar and salt. If it tastes just nice before the noodles are added, fat chances it is under seasoned. It has to be slightly oversalted sour and hot(spicy).

Monday, June 8, 2009

Longan Tofu

Days are hot now!!! Why not cool down a bit with some longan tofu.. Why isn't this called Longan Soybean Jelly?? Well, it's because the texture is as soft as tofu. Soft, slippery, destructs at the slightest pressure in the mouth.

I learnt to make this after eating some at my friend, Alyssa's home. Her mom made this from scratch,.... as in extracting the soy milk from the beans to the end product. I did it that way too.... 15 years ago. And wringing the milk from the finely blended soy beans is so tedious that it tore the skin of my palms, my brother's palms and my mother's palms.. Why so, cos we had to hold on so tight to the slippery muslin bag, and when u wring it with such strength, it just tore our skins.. just like what happens in a tug of war.

I changed the recipe a bit from what I was taught. I prefer the milk less pronounced and the texture to be softer, almost like tofufah. Now, I just use bought soy milk.. no more soaking, blending and wringing. Some tofu sellers sell thick soy milk, or u can buy the hot milk from soy milk hawkers. The iced one is watered down.

1 level Tbsp Agar-agar powder (8gm)
1L water
250gm sugar
2 blades pandan leaf, tied into a knot
1L thick unsweetened soy milk
150ml evaporated milk
150ml canned longan syrup (from the longan can)
Canned longans

****Makes abut 10 cups of tofu

1. Prepare containers / jelly cups. Place 2 longans or more into each container.
2. Cook sugar, 750ml water and pandan leaf until water boils.
3. Mix agar-agar powder with 250ml water and pour into (2). Bring to a boil again, simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat.
4. Put in soy milk, evaporated milk and longan syrup. Mix well.
5. Pour soy mixture into prepared containers.
6. Let them cool down and set. Chill in fridge before serving.

*** the longans in the pics are put on top for deco. There're longans in the tofu/jelly.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Roasted Lemongrass Chicken

I had the idea of making some roasted chicken that taste something like satay chicken.

And the end result was.... similiar and yummylicious!
It may not taste like the satay u tasted, as there's no fixed satay recipe. Satay in Perak taste different than satay in Kajang,.... somewhat sweeter in Perak. And Balinese satay is the sweetest I've ever come across. So, if this doesn't taste like what u tasted, don't come running after me with a parang.

800gm chicken pieces(I used 5 drumsticks, and 2 thighs)
1 heaped tsp salt
2 heaped Tbsp sugar
2 lemongrass (4 inches from the base)
30gm shallots
1 inch ginger
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 Tbsp coconut milk
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil

1. Score few slits on chicken pieces.
2. Marinate chicken pieces with salt, sugar and turmeric.
3. Blend lemongrass, shallots and ginger to a paste. Mix with coconut milk.
4. Put (3) onto marinated chicken and rub it onto chicken pieces and into the slits or whatever crevaces.
5. Marinate for 1-2 hours. Don't marinate too long, the ginger will soften the chicken too much.
6. Rub oil and butter onto chicken before baking. Place chicken pieces onto a baking tray.
7. Bake in preheated oven at 200C for 30-40 minutes or until golden.


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