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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Arrowhead Chips or Fried Ngaku 炸芽菇饼

Some call it Chiku 慈菇, some call it NgaKu 芽菇... As to why some call male offsprings Chikuting...haha, solve it urself. These are only available around Chinese New Year, so it's a goodie. If u don't eat them now, it's hard to get them later on in the year.

Arrowhead used to cost a lot years back then.. before Tesco came to our shores. Back when I first learnt to make this, it could cost RM10/kg at wet markets. Then many years went on (I no longer frequent wet markets), supermarts or other hypermarts will go for RM6 something. Then Tesco came and played it bad, they sold it for RM3 something. Oh well, that year Giant, Carrefour and Jusco quickly reduced their price too, and I could remember how people grabbed the ngakus at Tesco. The following year, Tesco became even badder, going to RM2 something/kg. Me and my sis in law will be waiting for the Tesco workers to replenish the basket, with plastic bags in our hands, ever ready. And when they do refill, we couldn't even see our own hands or what we took, we could just take and put whatever into the bags cos there will be so many hands. I saw a man among the women,, he wasn't shy, and he shoved his arms thru the women's armpits and grabbed the arowheads by the handsful. If u felt groped, I'm so sorry that u won't know who did it cos there were so many arms. FYI, the wet markets at that time are still selling them at around RM6/kg, which explains the rush to grab.

These few years, there are no more arrowhead rushes.. as every hypermart is going for less than RM3/kg. So, u can take ur own sweet time to select and select and select. No need to grab under armpits or over shoulders.

I first tasted this fabulous oh so tasty, tastier than any Lays or Pringles chips way back in 1988. My friend, Siew Ping gave me some chips, fried by her Taiwanese mom. They tasted so different. They were ngaku chips, she told me. Well, I knew her mom, Mrs Loh as well, I always go to her house for some dough shaping sessions with her mom, especially during Siew Ping's birthdays, her mom always make us shape our own guotie. Mrs Loh taught me to peel, slice and pat the arrowhead slices on kitchen towels before frying. To me, pat all the slices????? That's super tedious!!! And super wasteful. I ignored that part of the instruction and just fried them right after slicing. And they turned out alright. Now I know why Mrs Loh only makes a small canister of it.

I know that most people know how to make this, but I'm not surprised that there are some who do not know. When I went to Jusco lately to get my arrowheads, a lady asked me, "What are these?"

"Ngaku lor" I answered.

"Oh.. so they look like this. How to select them?"

"Just get those with nice smooth butts, no cracks, then they'll be good"

"What else to do with them besides frying?"

"Lots..... bla bla bla bla bla.............."

**I'll try to post what we can do with arrowheads besides frying them into chips some other time.

Ok, so let me show you why buy those with no cracks...
In the cracks are dirt, and I'm sure u don't want to eat dirt. The deeper the crack the more dirt it'll have. Even if there's no dirt, the crevace will not give u a round flat chip, u'll still need to cut right up until u get a nice smooth surface. Wastage.

In this picture, u need to slice off 4 pieces to get a smooth clean surface. If for every ngaku u need to slice off few pieces, u'll lose a lot of chips. 4 pieces here is almost 30% of this bulb.

Now, how to fry the ngakus?

First, peel the ngakus, don't break off the stem. Use the stem as a handle when u slice it. Wash them clean of dirt and drain them. Slice them thinly. Do not wash after this. Water is the last thing the arrowhead slices ever need
U can use a food processor fitted with a slicing blade, but make sure u buy those that are smaller so that the bulbs can fit through the mouth of the feeder tube. If u use a food processor, u can cut off the stem.
Then heat a big wok of oil on medium heat. Throw in some salt (I prefer it this way, or u can salt them when fried). Add in sliced ngakus, piece by piece, vertically into the deepest part of the wok. Don't put too much. Make sure they don't overlap. If they do overlap, u must separate them fast.

Fry until there are no visible bubbles coming from the ngaku slice. (U can click on the pic to see an enlarged version)

Remove that piece to drain on paper. The ngakus won't be ready after putting in the ngakus slice by slice, get ready ur chopstick and strainer ladle to pick up whichever piece that no longer has bubbles.

**Prepare ur draining trays with newspaper on the bottom, and top with disposable kitchen towels.

U can salt them at this point when they are still hot, or if u're like me (put salt in oil), u need not salt them.
Let them cool down totally, then u can pack them into canisters or air tight tupperwares.

Chips not crunchy: U didn't fry until all the bubble are gone. No bubble means no more water in chips
Oily chips: Heat too low
Outer chip is brown but inside still fair and soft: Too high heat
Brown ends or brown spots on chips(as shown on right): Skin not peeled properly or bulb was bruised or not in good condition.

Pic: See the brown ends?? This slice was near the tip where I couldn't peel properly w/o breaking the stem, so there were bits of skin left.

U know what, I only bought 2kgs of ngakus at a RM2.90/kg. And I made enough to be sold for more RM60. Market price for fried chips are RM12/red cap plastic canister. This amount that I made can be put into more than 5 canisters. So.... u want to buy or make them urself????

I'm saving them for CNY, so Mike u can only eat whatever balance that I can't fit into these 2 large Enfagrow cans. Neh.. those at the back of the cans... see???? I fed those to him. :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Chocolate Custard Cream Puffs

Neighbour Maria fell in love with my cream puffs.
This time, I offered her new flavours, Chocolate Custard and regular fresh cream (she used to order only vanilla custard cream)

For the chocolate custard, I tweaked my usual recipe to be like this. Still using whole eggs rather than just egg yolks… I will avoid pure yolks recipes unless I have a pure egg white recipe coming up.

Chocolate Custard Filling
2 eggs
500ml chocolate milk
120gm sugar
2 level Tbsp all purpose flour
2 level Tbsp cornstarch
60gm bittersweet chocolate
½ tsp vanilla extract

1. Bring chocolate milk to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, beat eggs with sugar until pale coloured. Mix in flour and cornstarch until well combined.
3. Pour some boiling milk into the egg mixture while stirring with a balloon whisk. Adding more as u stir. When u've added more than half of the milk, u can pour in all the milk. Stir well.
4. Pour custard mixture back into saucepan and on low heat, cook custard until it simmers and no longer taste floury.
5. Remove from heat. Add in vanilla. Put in chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute. Stir until chocolate melts and remove to a container to chill.
This amount of custard is enough to fill one portion of my choux recipe

Monday, January 25, 2010

Orange Bread Pudding

I've always thought that bread puddings were just soggy breads.... Until I tasted one few months back at Delicious cafe Midvalley Megamall. It was a croissant topped one, with hints of orange marmalade, served with I forgot what sauce. It was lovely. Actually that was my first bread pudding :)

So, I came back, tried to search online for a proper orange bread pudding recipe... I don't want to use marmalade, but orange juice.
But none!!! I found none!!!!

I came up with the recipe, and Mike says "Thumbs up". Better than Delicious. :) *Disclaimer: It's a matter of personal taste, u may think that Delicious is better*

Here are a few shots of them in different containers... Sometimes my pics are so good(IMO) that I don't know which one to take...

And here's one... naked :)

Here the recipe goes

300gm bread, crust removed, cubed (I bought one English loaf from Baker’s Cottage, was 380gm before removing crust)
70gm butter, melted
1 heaped Tbsp orange zest
180ml orange juice
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites (it’s ok if it’s got yolk streaks in it)
200ml whipping cream
2 cups milk
130gm sugar
10 mini croissants (U can get them from King’s bakery)

1. Prepare ten 6-oz ramekins. Lightly brush them with melted butter.
2. Pour remaining melted butter gradually over cubed bread and toss. Sprinkle in orange zest and toss lightly. Set aside
3. Heat milk with sugar until sugar melts. Remove from heat and stir in cream.
4. Combine egg yolks with orange juice. Stir. Combine with egg whites. Pour egg mixture into warm milk mixture.
5. Place one layer of bread cubes into ramekins. Sprinkle on some cranberries .

6. Pour custard mixture (4) into ramekins until it covers the bread. Let it sit for a minute. Pour more until it covers the bread again.

7. Put another layer of bread cubes and put on more custard mixture until it totally covers the bread cubes. Let it sit for a minute. The custard mixture should’ve been absorbed by now.

8. Put in some more custard mixture until it covers the bread .

9. Snip mini croissants and arrange them over the bread cubes. Lightly press them. Let the croissants sit for 2 minutes, adding more custard mixture through any crevices if u see it getting dry. Let it soak soak soak.

10. When the croissants don’t seem to be absorbing any more liquid, bake it in a preheated oven at 160C for 30-40 minutes in a waterbath.

Serve the warm bread puddings with yummy orange ice cream made from the remaining custard mixture. Just cook the custard until it coats the back of ur spoon, leave to cool down and freeze til firm.

The Bountiful Bake, and it wasn't enough to go around.

Keep them chilled if not consumed immediately. Warm up in preheated oven to get a nice crunchy top, or serve cold if u prefer.

Friday, January 22, 2010

My First Award

Wow, I've been nominated for this award twice in a week. Thanks to TracieMoo of Bittersweet Flavours and Pearlyn of A Full-Timed Housefly. Hehe, it feels like a chain letter. But it seems that I don't have that much of fellow blogger friends to pass to, since these 2 are already part of my constant readers.
So I'll pass this award to readers to have commented a few times on my blog. Sorry to all those who read constantly but since u never left a word for me, I wouldn't know who u are.

 Having the picture of the award posted onto your blog, one should
  • Share the 10 things in life that make you happy with your readers
  • Pass on the award to 10 other bloggers who brighten up your day
  • Share the links to the 10 bloggers', as mentioned above, on your blog
  • Get the 10 bloggers informed about the award
  • Ask the 10 award recipients to relink their blogs to yours.
10 things in life that make me happy

1. A morning kiss from hubby.
2. When my all my food gets cleaned up from their dishes in no time.
3. Perfect bakes and perfect dishes. How I hate it when the time and money spent is wasted.
4. Flowers... easy huh.. but I am rather old fashioned
5. A long night's sleep.. 8 hours undisturbed by calls for milk. Sometimes Lydia calls for milk at 6am, then Lyanne at 7am... sigh... :(
6. Lydia dancing and singing. She can really follow children concert's dance moves, Barney action songs...Her Nanny even brings her to her ballroom dancing class.
7. Lyanne doing baby talk. Her first word, "No more" and until now.. her other word is "Open", and she'll shove me a bag of biscuits.
8. Lots of hits and comments on my blog. See.... u can make me please comment.
9. When people try out my recipes, give feedback, post my recipes and link them back to me.
10. Calls or smses from old time buddies. Chat chat chat.....

I'd like to pass this award to
1. Galronni
2. Blessed Homemaker
3. Shirley of Kokken69
4. J of J's Kitchen
5. Anne from Simply Anne's
6. Sweetiepie from What's for Dessert Today
7. DG from Test and Tested
8. CHVoon from Life 2009
9. Sonia from Nasi Lemak Lover
10. Cheng Yee Lee, a friend of mine.

Rainbow Yogurt Layer Cake

I had this idea of making, something not so usual, not adorned with cream, not as filling as a butter cake, a light cake, but not too bare like a plain sponge cake. So came this idea of a multilayer colourful yogurt filled cake. I wanted to name it Rainbow Yogurt Cake, but the layers don’t look much of a rainbow huh. But duh..rainbow seems nice.kekekeke.

The moment I cut the cake.. it looked so pretty. The moment I bit into it, I loved it. Tangy with yogurt, and so light. I passed some to my neighbours and those who didn’t like yogurt found this too sour. But to yogurt lovers, it’s good stuff. My siblings love this too :)

Actually, these are very old pictures, almost 7 months ago, I guess.  I don’t know whether I should post them, cos the pictures weren’t so nicely focused and so overexposed, because at that time I was really just beginning to use Mike’s DSLR. Totally *zip* of whatever functions. I was anxious to take the pics because the layers were so pretty and I just can’t wait for him to to come and help me. But nonetheless…. Here they are. I’m still not good with DSLR, just learnt how to use aperture and a few more buttons compared to the time of these pics  And Mike’s considering getting me a point and shoot camera with macro function, cos I’m always complaining abt the pictures having too much of depth of feel, I want the whole pic to be clear, rather than that teeny weeny spot. Frankly I do not know the uses of the lens in his collection.  It’s like gambling each time I take pictures. Sometimes I win with superb pics, sometimes I lose with out of focus pics, or too much depth of feel, or whatever problems that even photo editing cannot aid me at all. Plus I am not that good with photo editing (am using Ulead, cos it’s more for a dungu like me).
Photoshop seems too complicated, too many things that can be clicked..:)

Sponge recipe:
Refer to my strawberry yogurt cake (Rainbow yogurt layer cake is actually even older….. kekeke)
Bake in a 9 inch square pan
When cake has cooled, slice cake into 4 layers and place them into a square removable bottom pan, or u can find a plastic container (I use a 8.5inch Tupperware, I prefer to use this cos I can cover it up to avoid drying out) that is about the same size of the cake, or smaller(container should not be bigger than cake, if not all the fillings will drip out from the sides. If the cake is slightly too big, trim it to fit snugly. Line the whole plastic container with baking paper. I folded the baking paper like a basket so that I can lift the whole thing out of the Tupperware.

2 cups (140gm) Dutch Lady Strawberry Yogurt
2 cups (140gm) Dutch Lady Blueberry Yogurt
2 cups (140gm) Dutch Lady Citrus Mix Yogurt
¾ Tbsp gelatin + ¾ Tbsp gelatin + ¾ Tbsp gelatin
50ml water + 50ml water + 50ml water

1. Prepare 3 microwavable containers and put in ¾ tbsp gelatin each + 50ml water each. Stir lightly with a toothpick. Let it sit for 2 minutes until gelatin blooms. Microwave on high for 10 seconds. Remove from microwave and give it a light stir with toothpick, Check whether gelatin has dissolved, if not, zap on high for another 6 seconds.
2. Pour same flavours of each yogurt into 3 individual bowls.
3. When gelatin has turned warm, with a balloon whisk, stir in one portion of gelatin mixture into 1st yogurt. Immediately pour over 1st layer of sponge. Top with a layer of sponge.
4. Repeat step 3 with yogurt of another flavour.
5. Repeat step 3 with last yogurt.
6. Chill overnight or at least 5 hours before serving

If u like things to be sweeter, try adding 1 tablespoon of sugar into each hot gelatin mixture. Stir to dissolve.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Umbra Juice with Sour Plum

Umbra, amra or kedondong, it's the same fruit. In Perak, few years back, umbra juice fad came on. It was so popular. If u drink this at a food court or Chinese eateries, it is much greener and taste more concentrated, simply because the fruit is juiced whole, skin and seed on. I never knew they were done this way until the lady at my daily lunch place told me so. I initially thought colouring was added. :)  Then I asked the lady again how could it be done since the seed is so hard. She told me that those currently in the market are new varieties with smaller less fibrous softer seeds.

This fruit reminded me much of my primary school life. It's 10sen per portion. The canteen lady will put a few pieces of this cut up fruit onto a piece of plastic and drizzle it with chilli sweet soy sauce. Sweet, sour, hot, salty... yummy. And it's not a daily treat, the canteen only sells this once a blue moon, so when they do, my friends and I will be joining the queue to buy our 10sen portion. Actually, my favourite part of the fruit is the seed. I'll eat up the flesh parts quickly and save the seed for the last. It looks like a fuzzy alien. Spiky fibres and hard. Not like a peach seed, but reallly like a medusa head. I like chewing on the spikes, the pain I get when it massages my gums is addictive. Makes my saliva flow and flow.

Recently during one of my weekly Jusco trips, I saw these fruits for sale. RM2/kg. Every bag was almost 1.5kg. I chose the bag with the greenest fruits. Well, these fruits tend to have the ugly skin cos they were exposed to grow, just like local mangoes. So many, what to do except to juice them. The skins are not smooth and green, so I can't make myself to juice them whole. Do what u think suits u.

To make the umbra juice taste better, I added in sour plums from China. I am quite particular to the quality of sour plums. Inferior ones from neighbouring country makes me want to puke the moment it comes near my lips. Infuse the sour plums in hot water before use to have full release of flavour. This is not a juicy fruit, so u have to juice it with some liquid,and the sour plum infusion is just the right thing to use. 1 large soup plum is enough for 1 glass of juice.Sweeten with sugar syrup.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mung Bean Soup

Mung beans, or some call it green beans here, the direct ranslation from Kacang hijau or 禄豆.
Being Malaysians… we love our desserts laced with the fragrance of pandan… which differs it from our pre-migration ancestors.

My brother is one of those who can’t take mung beans. It evokes his asthma. Chinese says the mung bean is cooling to the body, and one of my friend, Candy Soo, told me, to boil this for 7 hours if u want to get rid of the cooling effect. 7 hours! Kill me, but do that if u want, in a slow cooker.

This mung bean soup uses palm sugar as one of its sweeteners….
Palm sugar + coconut milk = heavenly
And u may substitute the coconut milk here with evaporated milk/creamer, if u have probs with that nutty white extract.

I’m trying to stop all the guesstimation when cooking now….especially when it comes to desserts.
I’ve found that to make 1L of this soup, I need 100gm. Today I used 200gm, so I made 2L of it. Mung beans cook much faster than red beans, so it need not be soaked.
You may substitute the pandan fragrance by using 1 or 2 drops of vanilla.

200gm mung beans
2L water
Few blades of pandan, washed , torn into shreds, and tied into a knot.
100gm palm sugar
120gm sugar
½ cup thick coconut extract (abt ½ coconut)

My Pandan leaves are all wrinkled,
dried out in the fridge, but it's still usable

1. Bing water to a boil, rinse mung beans and put them together with pandan knot into the boiling water.
2. Cover pot and simmer on low heat for 2 hours.
3. Bring it to high heat for 15 minutes, pot uncovered. Be there to watch. You might need to add some water if the water is greatly reduced.
4. Put in palm sugar and cook until it is completed melted. Taste and adjust with sugar according to preference.
5. Turn off heat and leave pot uncovered for 5 minutes. Put in coconut milk and stir.
6. Serve chilled or warm.

Bringing it to high heat for the last 15 minutes will bring out the starch in the bean, thus making the soup thicker w/o having too much beans in it.
You may put in tapioca/sago pearls in it if u want it even thicker. 2 Tablespoons is sufficient. But I find that when chilled, this soup will be way too thick with tapioca pearls. Don’t forget that mung beans contains starch of their own, unlike red beans/adzuki.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If U Want to Use My stuff

Many of us learn from the internet. We learn from each other in the blogosphere and whatever internet sources out there.
How many of us really create all our recipes from scratch?
How many of us begin baking or cooking without a given written recipe or verbal recipe?
How many of us can really come out with something that nobody has ever done? Wow!!

I don't believe that there could be anyone that started to cook and bake with nothing but only intuition. There must be a source. I state my source of recipe in my post labels, Personal Creations, Tasted and Recreated, From the net, From Friends and Family, From Books  or Ideas From TV.

The rules below apply strictly to Personal Creations, Tasted and Recreated and From Friends and Family.
Personal Creations: My brainchild, therefore I guard them zealously.
Tasted and Recreated: I might not have invented them, but what I decided to put in to recreate them came from my brain juices.
From Friends and Family: Ideas derived from people around me, recipes taught to me verbally. So, u must not use them in a wrong way.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. "
Please link back if you got a recipe from my site. Link back means put my blog post's link in your post to show you took the recipe from my site

Should u want to post a recipe that I adapted from another site or book, please credit the original author, not me. Only that seems fair.
Altho the recipes are permitted to be copied under the stated circumstances, do not copy and paste my write ups. They are my experiences, not urs. U don't have the same life and exact situations like me.

I hope u understand what I meant.

Happy reading and happy blogging!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Steamed Brownies

Steamed brownies.... ha!

Frankly never liked brownies as I found them to be too dense and crumbly for my liking, some even taste dry. But this one... is steamed. So it's better.

The recipe uses emulsifier, so it's pretty easy to make. I might try another time w/o the ovalette, change the method and see how it goes.

Mike loves this, but people who are not crazy for chocolates will find this way too chocolatey. I adapted the recipe from Pennylane's Kitchen but u may still follow the original recipe exactly.

5 eggs
2 egg yolks
180gr caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
10 gr emulsifier (ovalette)
1 Tbsp baking rhum (I omitted this)
150 gr flour, sifted
10 gr cornstarch
50 gr cocoa powder (dutch processed), sifted
150 gr butter
220 gr milk cooking chocolate ( I used Cadbury milk chocolate, which is a eating chocolate, and I didn't half the amount, used the whole big bar, therefore I reduced some sugar and some butter amount from the original recipe . The original recipe also called for chocolate paste, which I omitted, so I took up the courage to replace that with more chocolate)
Rice chocolate/chopped dark cooking chocolate, for filling.(I used choc rice, somehow I regretted it. Maybe dark cooking choc will be a better choice)


1. Line 8 inch round pan with baking paper. Prepare your steamer(it’s gotta be bigger than the pan ). Fill it with sufficient water and bring it to boil on high heat.
2. Melt butter, and milk cooking chocolate. Let cool.
3. Beat egg yolks, egg whites, sugar, salt, emulsifier, baking rhum (I omitted this), flour and cornstarch at high speed until pale and thick.
4. Fold cocoa powder into egg batter with spatula until well blended. Fold in the butter-chocolate mixture, mix well. Make sure there are no butter left at the bottom of your bowl.
5. Divide the batter into 3 equal parts (weigh it if you’re not sure). Make sure the water is steaming hot now. Pour 1 part of the batter into prepared pan, steam for about 10 minutes or until the surface sets.
6. Open your steamer, sprinkle rice chocolate/chopped dark cooking chocolate evenly on the first layer, then pour the second part of the batter. Steam for about 10 minutes or until the surface sets.
7. Open your steamer, sprinkle rice chocolate/chopped dark cooking chocolate evenly on the second layer, then pour the third part of the batter. Steam for about 20 minutes or until the whole cake is done (do the toothpick test, if necessary).
8. Take the pan out of the steamer, let cool down totally on a rack. Turn the cake into cake board. Slice it nicely, serve.

Oh ya one thing, I found that after I changed my wok lid from aluminium to stainless steel, steamed cakes seem to have taken the waves. So to my readers who tried my steamed cupcakes and had waves, is the cover u used stainless steel? My friend who made my seri muka also confirmed my point. Test first, it's just my assumption. If ur steamer cover is stainless steel, try high heat for the first layer, if it's wavy, steam the 2nd layer with medium high. If it's still wavy, use medium. I used medium high for my last layer and it had less waves than my first 2 layers.
I cut this brownie way too sooon...... See how the gooey chocolate flowed down like a waterfall????

I waited longer, let it cool down further and it was much better.


Patience is a virtue..something that I lack :)

Care for a slice?
Yum yum!!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Not so pretty Pandan Mantous this time

I did it again ... but this time not as pretty as the previous attempt.
I know where I went wrong, I didn't let the rolled out dough relax before I rolled it up, therefore, after I rolled it up, and the dough strip relaxed, it actually squeezed the inner rings upwards, creating leaning towers of mantous... After being steamed they were even more protruding and some pieces looked obscene, as commented by Mike.

This time, the pandan juice separated in just 18 hours!!! Good eh!!
Actually this is the usual time, but I don't know why for this post, it took me 4 days.. sigh!!

And I shaped some dough to be like these.....

The final result!!!

The colour's more toned down after steaming.


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