Monday, January 9, 2012
Last year, I did a cookie week for CNY, this year and Fried-Up week. Hopefully next year when CNY lands on end of February, I'll be doing a Dried Up week for CNY, because the sky is blue and air is dry when January begins.. right up until end of February.
To start the ball, rolling... It's honeycomb cookies. Actually, this is not a Chinese thingy, you won't find this made by our China counterparts. In India these are called called Achappam. Or why it's called kuih Ros, it's because in English, it's called rosettes. European countries make these too, Swedish, Polish, Italian (Crispelle). Iranian (nan panjara), Turks (Demir talisi) and Mexicans (Bunuelos) also make these! And these cookies are actually Scandinavian in origin. You can read more about this in Wikipedia with the part about it being called in Malaysia being absolutely incorrect.
Now, I am aiming to get some moulds made in other forms, snowflakey, daisy or even butterfly. Haha.. collection!
I have a confession to make. I used to think of these cookies are overpriced. Well, of course some are of good quality, and some are just so so. I used to think that these are just dipped in a low cost batter and fried, how hard can these be to fetch such a price?
This first attempt in making these truly changed my opinion on this. It's not really that easy!!!
Long story cut short, my first attempt almost made me cried buckets. I couldn't sleep that night. It was that bad. Used a copper mould and the batter will either not stick or got burnt. I couldn't handle the temperature well.
The next day, I got myself some more coconut milk and tried again with the same recipe. And Reese (the traditional tid-bits queen, LOL, she'll kill me for writing this) adviced me to use medium heat. Still it wasn't that good. I could get it done, but not as well as I hoped it is, let's say 30% decent, and not even pretty at all. I'm just not satisfied. I must make at least 90% decent ones. I'm not asking for perfect, at least decent.
I told my husband, I really needed to go out and he took care of the 3 kids for me. I went to the crockery shop and got myself 2 brass moulds instead. Heavier and thicker! And surely these will retain heat better, thus make the batter stick the mould. (Reese's mom used brass too! She told me) Indeed! They worked like a charm. Even on medium low heat, I could fry these beautifully. The batter stuck to the brass mould like how my kids will cling to me.. tight and all around. Beautiful. And the cookies are fairer, oil is still light coloured, unlike the oil with the copper ones. The oil of that batch turned brown after frying. Weird.
The cookies are not as "brittle" as I hoped they will be. Still a bit hard for my liking, but generally nice. But it's very user friendly, provided, you use a brass mould. I hope to try more recipes and find my golden ratio, but time does not permit.
Honeycomb Cookies / Rosettes
Recipe referred from Kuali.com with personal adaptations
125gm rice flour
125gm all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
180gm coconut milk (pure)
1 cup sesame seeds
Oil for frying
1. Combine all batter ingredients and leave it for 30 minutes.
2. Heat a wok and put in cooking oil.
3. Put in 2 brass rosette moulds and heat up together with the oil. (medium heat)
4. Pour some of the batter into a separate cup/bowl and stir in some sesame seeds. (You might need to top up the sesame seeds from time to time because each dipping will decrease the amount of sesame seeds in batter)
5. Remove one mould from the hot oil and dip it into the batter for 2 seconds, You will hear a light sizzle. (Take care not to fully dip. Make sure the top doesn't touch the batter, if not the cookie will not release itself from the mould)
6. Place mould back into the hot oil and try to push the mould as far into the oil as possible, w/o touching the base so that the heat will push the "sides" up and it won't fall down (do it and u will know what I mean)
7. Fry the mould for about 15-20 seconds, the only start to jiggle the mould to release the cookie. (jiggle too soon and you have a cookie with no structure, all flat or spread apart)
8. Flip cookie to have even frying on both sides. Lift cookie up to drain off the oil.
9. Let the mould go back into the oil and use the other mould to do step 5-8. Alternate the moulds so that each will be properly heated through.
10. When cookies have cooled, store in air tight container.
See the difference? Same batter, but different looks and colour. I could never get the ones made with copper to look like the ones made with the brass mould. Can anyone gimme an explanation??? Please. Chemistry experts out there????? Anyone?
These were made yesterday, with another recipe. Mouthfeel yes very delicious, looks very pretty. BUT........it is very temperamental. This recipe's batter cooks too easily and will just drop off a hot mould. Needs a not too hot mould to make. And needs a lower heat to cook. So, not all recipes work the same way.... I won't be posting this recipe because I actually dropped 30% of my uncooked cookies off the mould back into the batter just because the mould was too hot. After the first one dropped, immediately I put the mould back into the batter and it stuck nicely when it was actually cooler. It only needed a very faint sizzling sound unlike the recipe above that needs to hear a proper sizzle to get it adhered. So, not all recipes work the same, not the same experience applies to all recipes. Work with the one you are most familiar with.