Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Quick and easy homemade spring roll wrappers

I haven't come across anyone who does not like Chinese spring rolls.

Spring roll wrappers have different names:

chun gen pe 春捲皮 (the commonly known name, translated as 'spring roll skin')
Ruen bing pe 潤餅皮 (as in Taiwan and some part of Northern China)
egg roll wrapper (as in America/Canada)
Popiah (in Malaysia or Singapore, translated as 'thin skin' in Hokkien)
Lumpia (a Malay word used in Malaysia or Indonesia)

We can buy the wrappers anywhere now even at the regular supermarkets. These square wrappers are made with machine.

Have you ever seen how traditional handmade spring roll wrappers are made? Here is a video. Isn't it amazing how the dough seems to be alive dancing about. This skilled people can just swing a springy wet dough about and swipe it on a hot pan, and voila a thin film of the dough sticks on the pan and forms the superthin wrapper. This method must be made with bare hand and no other alternatives. If you've seen people doing it professionally for hours on the street in S E Asia hygiene can be problem, like hand sweat and dead skin cells, errhhh.... that put you off now hmmm........

I love to make it the traditional way but it is not that easy. The dough is the crucial part it needs to be very springy, stretchy and quite wet. I have tried several times the result wasn't very good.

Here is a quick and easy method anyone can do at home, inspired by my friend Gillthepainter on this post. This method I am using is like making pancakes, the batter is brushed on the pan. Non stick pan is a crucial tool. Temperature of the pan is also very important, too hot the batter will cook right away and lifted away from the pan the second you brush it, too low the batter will not set and stick. The temperature got to be just right so you can brush the batter on easily, will stick on the pan and evenly spread without much lumps and bumps. To control the temperature a bowl of water and piece of kitchen towel is the secret. Wiping the pan with a wet towel also helps to clean the pan if there are any bits of cooked batter.


Essential tools:

1 perfect non stick frying pan (without any scratches or peeling at all), for smaller wrapper use a small pan or large wrapper use a large pan. I used a pancake pan
1 pastry brush (preferably silicon, never use nylon)
1 silicon spatula (only for correcting imperfections)
a bowl with water and a piece of kitchen towel and chopsticks or tong (for temperature control)


The batter mix:

This will make about 20 pieces of 8 inch wrappers.

150g strong white flour (bread flour)
400 ml water
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

Mix everything together by hand or electric mixer till no lumps at all. I used a stick blender.


Method:
  1. Make the batter and leave to rest for about 15 minutes.
  2. Have a bowl ready with some water, a piece of kitchen towel and a pair of chopsticks (or tong). Heat the pan till hot then take the pan away from the heat. Squeeze out some of the water from the kitchen towel so it is not dripping wet, wipe this on the hot pan you will hear it sizzles keep wiping till the sizzling sound just about to stop. Then brush the batter on the pan. If the batter easily sticks on the pan without lifting (too hot) or not setting in globules (too cold) then you've just got it right. Practise a few times you will soon get the hang of it.
  3. When you brush the batter on the pan just go over once quickly covering the pan, a little patchy does not really matter, come back and brush all over a second time till you get a evenly spread batter.
  4. Put the pan back on medium high heat and heat it till you see the skin beginning to turn white and the top surface beginning to dry up. You will see air pockets forming underneath around the centre, at the same time the edge of the skin will curl up away from the pan. Then lift it up, turn over and heat the other side for few seconds. Voila one skin wrapper is made. Total cooking time is around 15 - 20 seconds.
  5. Cover the wrapper to keep it warm and the moisture will soften it.

Imperfections:
  1. Patching up: If you brushing skill is not that perfect and you see some holes during cooking just brush with a little batter over.
  2. Uneven lumps: if there are any uneven lumps or thicker areas on the skin, wait till the skin is just about done and has dried on top then gently press the lumpy areas down flat using the silicon spatula.

Here is a slide show



The wrappers are very thin, look very similar to shop bought spring roll wrappers. It is quite stretching and springy. If you get it just right, you can see your hand through it.

When the wrapper just come out of the hot pan, it is quite dry around the edge. Once you have stack the lot together and cover with cloth they will soften. When you are ready to use just gently peel leaf by leaf.

If you use straight away when fresh you can just wrap anything you like, wrap and eat without frying or baking, just like Vietnamese summer rolls or Malaysian popiah.

Not suitable for keeping in fridge longer than one day, wrappers will become brittle. Also not suitable for freezing either.

These wrappers are suitable as duck pancakes.

Or you can wrap with any filling you like, seal with water paste, then deep fry. To bake spring rolls brush with oil/butter then bake at moderately hight temperature.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Southern Taiwanese stewed pork rice 滷肉飯


Stewed pork with rice (lu rou fun 滷肉飯) is very popular anywhere in Taiwan from the market street food stalls to restaurants. Taiwanese stewed pork (滷肉 read as 'lu rou' in Mandarin or 'lor bak' in Hokkien) can be minced pork or pork cubes depending on which area of Taiwan you have this. In the north lu rou is always with minced pork while in the south cubes of pork is preferred.

This stewed pork cubes posted today is similar to any Chinese hong shao rou (紅燒肉) with a few twists here and there. The flavour is much stronger than this hong shao rou due to the added dried shrimps and large amount of fried shallots.

It is better to use pork with a bit of fat and skin like belly or shoulder. I always make a big pot whenever I cook this so I can save some for the freezer and for other recipes which I will post later.

Hard boiled eggs cooked in the same sauce is something that goes so well with the pork. I love eggs stewed this way, it's quite flavourful.

For this recipe, this will feed at least 6 people. You can put some in the freezer like I do or half the recipe.


Recipe for the Stewed pork and eggs.

Ingredients:

about 1 - 1.2 kg pork belly or shoulder (with skin and fat), cut into small cubes around 1.5cm
a handful of dried shitake mushrooms about 40 - 45g, soaked and cut into small pieces. Save the soaking liquid
2 - 3 tbsp dried shrimps, rinsed (optional, if you don't like dried shrimps can leave out)
2 - 3 tbsp cooking oil or oil from frying the crispy shallot
about 6 tbsp light soy sauce (to your taste)
3 tbsp dark soy, mushroom soy or Taiwanese extra thick soy sauce (醬油膏, if you can find this)
1 heap tsp 5 spice powder
few crushed peppercorns
5 - 6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 thumb size ginger chopped
3 star anise
1 small piece cassia bark or cinnamon
about 1/4 cup any Chinese cooking wine or rice wine
1 chunk of Chinese rock sugar about 30g or 2 tbsp of normal sugar
3/4 cup crispy fried shallot (bought or homemade see recipe ), crushed

6 -8 hardboiled eggs, shelled

Method:
  1. Heat the oil then add garlic and ginger, stir for about a minute then add pork. Heat high and keep stirring slowly but continuously for about 5 minutes till pork has turned colour and some browning bits here and there. If the heat is not high the pork will stew and you will get lots of juice flooding the meat.
  2. Add mushroom, dried shrimps, 5 spice, peppercorns, light and dark soy, star anise, cinnamon and sugar. Keep stirring for another minute or two then add cooking wine and about 2 cups of water (some of this water can be from the mushroom soaking water), or enough water just about covering all the meat. Let this liquid come to the boil.
  3. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 30 - 40 minutes. Then add in hard boiled eggs, try to bury them in the sauce. Continue simmering for another 20 minutes or so till meat is tender, turning the eggs once or twice to evenly absorb the sauce.
  4. Finally add in the crushed fried shallots. Simmer for another 5 minutes then this stew is done. Have a taste if you like a bit more salty add more soy and more sugar if you like a bit sweeter.
There may be quite a bit of fat floating on top of the sauce, you can skim if you want to. I always leave it in the fat has lots of flavour.

This can be served right away or it is better to leave this meat and eggs for few hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge then reheat before serving.


To serve:

Plain rice
One egg per person and as much meat as you like.
Some Chinese green like pak choi, choi sum, kai lan or spinach.
I was going to serve this with a light pickled cucumber but the plan did not work out because I missed it out on my shopping list.
Yellow pickled Japanese/Korean daikon also goes well with this meat and rice.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

The basic - how to make crispy fried shallot


I use a lot of crispy shallot both in Chinese and S E Asian cooking.

These are some of the dishes I add fried shallots:

- sprinkling on any Chinese.Thai/Vietnamese noodle soups or Malay noodle soups like laksa or ayam soto etc..
- Chinese mix and stir noodles (kon low mein 干撈麵)
- cooked Chinese green (yaw choi 油菜) like choi sum or pak choi with oyster sauce and sprinkling of fried shallot and fried shallot oil.
- Chinese fish balls and glass noodles soup
- Taiwanese soy braised pork (lu rou 滷肉)
- Vietnamese rice sheet rolls (banh cuon)
- Malay spicy rice
- sprinkle on Indian Briyani is also very very nice

If you are too lazy and hate deep frying you can get ready fried shallots from most oriental supermarket like this. I never bought this and has always made my own using fresh shallots.

In England oriental shallots from the Chinese supermarkets are expensive, it's about £8 - £9 for a kg!! I normally buy English shallots from local supermarkets. The cheapest and best shallots I have found is from Waitrose, it's loose so you can buy as much as you want, it's about £3/kg.

To make crispy shallots, first you have to peel and slice the fresh shallots very thin. If the shallot is large, cut into half then slice. Wear goggles if you have to if you are teary. To make the fried shallot very crispy, mix with 1 - 1.5 tbsp of plain flour (per 250g shallot) thorougly at the same time loosen the shallots into rings or half rings.

To fry the shallot, use about 3/4 cup of oil per 250g of shallots.

Yield: 250g peeled shallots will make about 100g fried shallots.

Heat the oil in a wok or large deep frying pan till moderately hot, then add in the shallots, the oil should sizzle. The fresh shallot will lower the temperature of oil very quickly, so turn the heat to medium high so to increase the oil temperature very quickly so the oil will remain hot, sizzling with lots of bubbles. Stir the shallots slowly and continuously to prevent uneven cooking and browning too quickly around the rim of the pan. Once the oil is quite hot, turn the heat down to medium low and continue stirring. To test the oil is at the right temperature, put you hand few inches above the oil, if it feels burning hot, the oil is far too hot. Continue frying till the shallot has become light brown, then you need to watch very closely the shallot will burn very quickly from now. Turn the heat down to very low, continue stirring till the shallot has become golden brown. Heat off and take them out very quickly using a slotted spoon and straight onto a metal sieve to drain with a bowl underneath to catch any excess oil. Let this cool then store in air tight container. The fried shallot will become a bit more browner as it cooled.

Storage time: Can leave at room temperature for about a week or few weeks in fridge. The longer you keep, the fried shallot may loose its crispiness.

The oil left from frying the shallot is full of flavour, do not throw away. It is excellent to use for any cooking or add some to noodles, dried or with soup replacing sesame oil.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Ayam Kalasan with spicy yellow rice


Ayam Kalasan is Javanese spicy fried chicken. The chicken is cooked twice; i.e. first simmer in liquid then deep fry or shallow fry. The boiling liquid is rather unusual using the clear juice inside the coconut not coconut milk. I change the second cooking stage by grilling rather than deep frying, which is easier, healtier and less messy. The result is equally good, chicken is tender and full of flavour. To go with this chicken is a sauce made with the remaining cooking spices (see recipe) and a fragrant spicy yellow rice.

This recipe will serve 4 people.

A The chicken and the sauce


Ingredients:

4 chicken legs
about 175ml coconut juice* (not milk or cream, if not available use water with 2 tsp of sugar)
2 - 3 salam leaves** (optional if you can find some)

spice paste:
about 80 -90g (about 3 whole) shallots
2 - 3 cloves garlic
2 - 3 large red chillies
30 - 35g galangal
about 15g (pinky finger size) fresh turmeric (if not available use 3/4 tsp turmeric powder)
3 candlenuts
1 tsp salt

1/2 cup or 2 tomatoes, chopped
salt to taste if required

* Coconut juice is the clear water inside the coconut. To get this juice crack a fresh coconut and collect the juice. Young coconut juice is better and tastier. If not available use standard mature coconut. Or if you can find coconut juice in a tin/can use one which is unsweetened.
** Salam leaf is Indonesian bay leaf (not the same as English bay), I have never seen this in England so I leave it out.

Method:
  1. First prepare the spice paste, put all in a mini blender and ground to a paste.
  2. Put the chicken, salam leaves and spice paste in plastic bag and mix well. Leave to marinate for few hours or over night in the fridge.
  3. In a large saucepan or wok, heat the coconut juice till boiling then add chicken and all the spice paste, gently simmer without the lid for about 25 minutes, turning once or twice till the liquid has almost all dried out. Don't worry if the chicken is not cooked through yet.
  4. Take a roasting tray line with foil and put on a rack, put the chicken on and grill on high heat for about 12 - 15 minutes each side till the chicken is golden brown.
  5. There are still few tbsp of spice paste left on the pot/wok after cooking the chicken, add tomato to it and cook for about 10 minutes till the tomato is reduced to mush and the sauce is thickened, season with salt if required. Serve this sauce with the rice and chicken.

B. Spicy yellow rice

Ingredients:

375g basmati rice
700 ml water
1 tsp of vegetable stock bouillon or stock powder
1 tsp salt

1 onion about 150 - 160g, chopped
25g (about index finger size) fresh turmeric***, grated (or 1 rounded tsp of dried turmeric powder)
2 star anise
1 small piece cinnamon
4 -5 cloves****
1/2 - 1 tsp chilli powder
2 medium carrot, diced
2 - 3 tbsp cooking oil

3/4 - 1 cup frozen peas, rinsed


***Fresh turmeric gives a better flavour and colour. I grate the turmeric (without peeling the skin) straight from frozen using a Microplane grater.


Method:
  1. Rinse the rice and drain off water.
  2. Using a large saucepan with a lid, heat the oil and fry onion, carrot, turmeric, chilli powder, star anise, cinnamon and clove for few minutes till fragrant and vegetables are softened.
  3. Add water, vegetable bouillon, salt and rice. Cover and bring this to the boil. Then turn the heat to low and simmer till all the liquid is absorbed. Continue simmer at lowest heat for another 5 minutes. Put the peas on top. Lid back on and simmer for another 5 minutes. Heat off and leave for another 12 - 15 minutes before serving. Then loosen and mix the peas into the rice. Ready to serve.
Can also add some sultanas/raisins to the rice if you like. For a more fancy way to serve this yellow rice on its own, pile the rice on a large plate, sprinkle/garnish with any of these additional ingredients likes deep fried shallot rings, dry roasted grated coconuts (kerisik), toasted almonds, finely shredded thin omelette, hard boiled egg (sliced or quartered), cooked prawns, more peas, sultana and chillies, cucumber slices etc..

**** If you hate biting into a hidden clove in the rice, look for them when loosening the rice before serving.

As the the picture shown above, serve chicken with rice, sauce, sliced cucumber and a wedge or lime (optional).

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Assam babi (Tamarind pork)



Assam babi is Chinese-Malay fusion, speciality of Nyonya cooking. The pork has a lovely tangy taste of tamarind combined with spice mix and fermented yellow beans is quite tasty with plain rice, comfort food for the cooler weather. This braised pork is similar to this Burmese pork curry or a Chinesey rendang.

This recipe is enough for 3 people or over 4 - 5 people as part of meal with other dishes.


Ingredients:

about 800g pork* belly or shoulder (with skin if you like the gelatinous texture, skin also helps to thicken the sauce), cut into chunks
2 lemongrass, trimmed and bruised
2 tbsp fermented yellow or soy beans (I always use Yeo's for this recipe, if not available can use normal yellow bean sauce)
50g (about golf ball size) wet tamarind with seeds + 1 cup of boiling water
2 - 3 tbsp palm sugar or normal sugar (more if you like sweeter taste)
2 - 3 tsp dark soy sauce
salt to taste (optional), normally not required

spice paste
about 3 shallots (about 80 -90g)
1 large chunk of galangal (about 50g)
4 - 5 candle nuts
2 tsp shrimp paste (belacan)
1 large red chilli
few tbsp water
about 3 tbsp of cooking oil

some chopped green and red chillies (optional)


Method:

  1. Cut galangal and shallot into small pieces. Put all the spice paste ingredients into a mini blender with few tbsp of water and blend to a smooth paste.
  2. Soak the tamarind with boiling water, let it cool for a bit then squeeze with fingers to release the pulp then strain.
  3. Stir and cook the spice paste with oil for 2 - 3 minutes, then add the yellow beans lightly crushed the beans with the back of the cooking spoon or spatula. Add lemongrass continue stirring for a little bit longer till fragrant.
  4. Add pork and stir for few minutes, add soy sauce and tamarind juice. Let the liquid boil then turn the heat to lowest, cover and simmer till the pork is tender, about 1 hour. Add sugar and salt to taste.
  5. If the sauce is too runny, raise the heat uncover and reduce to the thickness you like. Don't reduce the sauce too thick, as it cools the sauce will get thicker.
  6. If you like spicy add some green and red chilli. Fresh chilli gives a nice flavour to the finished dish.

*Can also use chicken (breast or thigh meat) for this recipe. Use 1/2 cup of water to make the tamarind juice and cooking time is about 20 - 30 minutes.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Hong Kong Cafe style breakfast 港式茶餐廳早餐

Hong Kong is a food paradise. When I was working there few years ago, I hardly ever cook. Dim sum with friends was the routine every Sunday. During the working week Cafe restaurants were probably where I went for breakfast, lunch and sometime dinner most of the time. I love HK cafe restaurants or 'cha chaan tian' 茶餐廳, they serve food and drinks all day long from egg and bacon sandwich, french toast, Portugese egg tart to stir fried noodles/rice etc....

One of my favourite cafe breakfast is 'chaan dan tung' 餐蛋通 to wash down with 'yin yan lai cha' 鴛鴦奶茶. Chaan dan tung is macaroni soup with fried spam and fried egg, while yin yan lai cha is a milky tea with coffee. Both sound very strange but really quite tasty and reasonably cheap.

Here is what I do to recreate this at home occasionally for weekend late breakfast.


For the chaan dan tung 餐蛋通, all you need are these ingredients then assemble together

some tasty chicken or pork stock
cooked macaroni
one fried egg per person
2 slices of fried spam or Chinese luncheon meat per person
some blanched Chinese green (like choi sum) or iceburg lettuce
light soy and ground pepper to taste

Heat the stock add cooked macaroni and seasoned to taste then top with fried spam, fried egg and some veg.


For the yin yan milky tea coffee 鴛鴦奶茶

Blew some tea, preferably Lipton, Ceylon red tea or any far east brand English tea. If not use normal Tetley or other English tea.
Blew some light fragrant coffee like Arabica or Columbian, freshly ground is better but can also use instant if you like
Some hot milk or evaporated milk
some sugar (optional)

Mix 50:50 brewed hot tea with coffee add plenty of hot milk or some evaporated milk. Evaporated milk gives a distinctive S E Asian tea/coffee taste. I don't normally add sugar to tea or coffee but yin yan tea coffee is nice with some sugar.

Yin Yang tea coffee is nice too cold with plenty of ice. If you fancy you can add crushed iced, black pearls to make bubble tea 珍珠鴛鴦奶茶, serve in a tall glass with extra wide straws.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Pork floss 肉鬆


Pork floss (yuk sung 肉鬆) is not something I can buy easily from the Chinese supermarkets over here in England. I love it, it's one of those snacks once you start you can't stop. This brownish dried pork snack is the same sort of thing you find on English-Chinese 'crispy seaweed' at the restaurant. There are various type meat floss, pork being the commonest and there are some made with fish, chicken or beef.

Making this meat floss at home is not that difficult, it takes a bit of effort with plenty of hand and shoulder exercise. You will know what I mean when you read the instruction.


Ingredients:

Use either pork leg or shoulder, trim off all the skin and most of the fat etc... For this recipe the piece of meat I used was about 1.3kg (trimmed) which makes about 4 cups.

For every 1kg lean meat
5 tbsp light soy sauce
5 tbsp sugar
2 tsp five spice powder
3/4 tsp chicken stock powder (optional)

If you like spicy you can add some chilli powder

If the meat is very lean like leg or butt meat add 1.5 tbsp cooking oil, this shoulder meat was quite fatty so I omit the oil.

2 stalks of spring onion, leave whole
1 chunk of ginger, sliced
3 tbsp Chinese cooking wine

Optional:
some seasoned nori sheets (available in all oriental supermarkets like this)
some dry roasted sesame seeds



Cooking instruction:
  1. Cut the meat into large chunk about 500g pieces. Put the meat in a saucepan or stockpot, cover with boiling water and briskly boil for about 2 minutes. Discard the water and rinse the meat to remove any scum and also scrub the pan.
  2. Put the meat back into the pan or pot. Add boiling water just enough to cover the meat and add the spring onion, ginger and cooking wine. Bring this to the boil then very gently simmer for about 1.5 hours till the meat is tender and can be flaked with fingers.
  3. Take the meat out to cool completely. The cooking liquid or stock can be used for other purposes like noodle soup, congee etc...
  4. Flake or shred the meat with fingers. Another less messy method is put the meat into a zip lock bag, press or punch with hand to loosen the meat fibres. The end result is finely shredded meat.
  5. Mix soy, sugar, five spice, stock powder, chilli powder and oil together then mix with the meat thoroughly.
  6. Heat the wok to medium hot, add the meat and stir fry. This will take quite a long time and plenty or hand and shoulder exercise. Keep pressing and teasing the meat with the tip of the wooden spatula to loosen the meat fibres (especially those lumpy not finely shreded meat), at the same time turning or stirring to prevent the bottom getting brown too quickly. At first this may seem impossible the meat could be lumpy and wet or not thoroughly shredded. After a while you will see the meat beginning to loosen and the fibres getting finer and finer. Use low heat, if the meat is turning brown too quickly can use a heat diffuser. This will take about 1 hour till the meat is brown evenly and getting very dry. Do not stop stirring. If you are tired get someone to help. The longer you stir the crispier the meat floss which will melt in the mouth.
  7. When done leave in the wok to cool completely. The meat floss will get even more crispier once cooled. Then store in airtight jar.
  8. If you fancy you can mix in some shredded seasoned nori sheets and sesame seeds.

This pork floss is great to eat as a snack on its own or eaten with plain congee (rice soup), or use as sandwich filling, or maybe sprinkle on your DIY 'Chinese crispy seaweed'.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Kimchijeon (kimchi pancake)



I am a pancake fiend. You may have seen quite a few of my other recipes.

Here is another pancake recipe with kimchi and prawn. Yummy as a snack or light lunch with some salad.

Dead easy recipe.


Ingredients:

150g plain flour
about 150ml milk or water
1 large egg
1 cup (about 180 - 200g) kimchi with some of the juice (homemade or bought)
3 - 4 stalks spring onion
about 100g peeled prawns (raw or cooked)
dash of sesame oil
pinch of salt (optional)
some cooking oil for frying


Garnish:
chopped spring onion and sesame seeds.


Method:

  1. If using homemade kimchi better use old kimchi for better flavour. Roughly chopped.
  2. Slice spring onion diagonally into 1 inch strips.
  3. If prawns are large cut into smaller pieces.
  4. Mix flour with milk/water and egg to form a batter, add in kimchi with some of the juice about 2 - 3 tbsp. Then add spring onion. Have a taste if not salty enough add a pinch of salt. Then add prawns and a dash of sesame oil. Let the mixture rest for about 15 minutes. If the mixture looks a bit thick add a bit more milk or water.
  5. You can make mini pancakes or large one like I did. For this mixture, I made 2 dinner plate size pancakes with a 30cm frying pan. Heat the pan till hot, brush with oil then add batter, spread it out evenly, let this set and brown then flip over. For large pancake once the underside is done, slide the pancake onto a plate, brush the pan with more oil and flip the pancake back into the pan to brown the other side. When done slide onto a plate or chopping board for cutting.

Cut large pancake into wedges or squares.

Serve pancake with dipping sauce.


Dipping sauce:

A mixture of Japanese/Korean soy, some Japanese rice vinegar mix with enough sugar to taste. Dilute with a little water and sprinkle with a pinch of Korean coarse chilli powder (or any other chilli powder) and some dry roasted sesame seeds.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Epok Epok


Epok epok is Malay style semosa. Some people called them karipap. Epok epok is similar to Chinese-Malay style flaky curry puff, the only difference is the pastry. Epok epok is usually deep fried.

For the filling, some like sardine which I am not too keen. Some people used chopped hard boiled egg with potato. Chinese yam is also a common filling. Vegetarian version includes potato and vegetables like carrot and peas. I like curried flavoured potato with meat.

The pastry is much simpler than flaky curry puff. This pastry is soft yet very forgiving. If there is mistake or hole made can be easily patched up.




Ingredients:
This recipe makes about 30 pieces.

Pastry:
500g plain flour
175g butter or margarine
1 tsp salt
3 tsp sugar
about 250ml water

Filling:
about 450g potato
300g minced beef, chicken or turkey
2 onion, about 300g
3 - 4 tbsp Malaysian meat curry powder (or any curry powder you have at home)
1/2 - 1 tsp chilli powder (optional if you like spicy)
1 heap tbsp sambal tumis or sambal oelek (optional if you have some)
1/2 - 1 tsp salt, to taste
1 tsp chicken stock powder (optional)
3 tbsp cooking oil

Method:
  1. Finely diced the potato. Rinse to remove starch then drain thoroughly. Chop the onion.
  2. Heat oil and fry onion till softened, add curry powder, chilli powder and sambal. Stir fry till fragrant. Add beef continue stir frying till beef turned brown. Then add in the potato and stir fry for about 5 - 6 minutes at medium heat till potato is almost cooked. Season with salt and chicken stock powder. Remove and leave to cool completely.
  3. Make the dough. First rub the fat into the flour. Then mix in the salt and sugar. Slowly add enough water and mix with a fork or chopstick till the dough is formed to a lump. No need to knead. Just leave the dough to rest for 20 - 30 minutes.
  4. Cut the dough into half and roll into a 1 inch thick sausage shape and cut equally into 30 pieces +/- 1 altogether.
  5. Coat the dough with flour, then roll it out into an oval shape, add filling, pinch to seal the edge. If needed a touch of water can be used to dampen the edge helping it to seal. Then crimp the edge.
  6. Continue doing step 5 till all the dough pieces are wrapped.
  7. Heat about 700ml of cooking oil till hot, turn the heat to medium low. Gently add the epok epok into the hot oil. Deep fry 8 - 10 pieces at a time till golden, turning a few times during frying. If the oil is too hot turn the heat down a bit. When browned the pastry becomes quite hard and crispy.
  8. Serve hot or warm.
If there are any left over can keep in the fridge for few days or frozen. Reheat in oven.

Beef stir fry with pickled mustard green


Pickled mustard green (hum choi ) is one of my favourite Chinese pickle. It's quite versatile, can be used for soup like this duck soup, braising with meat or stir fries. There are various types; some salty, some with a tangy taste, some sweet and sour, some with leaves, some without (like half a cabbage), some with chilli. I don't use those in a tin for cooking, they are nice with plain rice congee.

Beef stir fry with pickled mustard green is quite tasty. Recipe is quite easy.

Ingredients:

250 g Sirloin or rump steak
2 tsp of light soy
1 heap tsp of cornflour
1 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine
pinch of ground pepper
dash of sesame oil


300 -350g pickled mustard green (any type), this is one I used
3 medium tomatoes
1 small piece of ginger
2 cloves garlic
3 stalks of spring onion
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 - 1 tsp sugar
dash of Chinese cooking wine
1 heap tsp cornflour mixed with about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of water (depending on how much sauce you like)
some cooking oil

Method:
  1. Remove fat from the meat, cut into thin slices against the grain. Mix with marinade and leave for 15 - 20 minutes.
  2. Cut pickled mustard green into thin strips. Taste if salty, if yes soak for a while then squeeze dry.
  3. Cut tomatoes into wedges. Chop ginger and garlic. Sliced spring onion into 1 inch long.
  4. In a hot wok add about 1.5 tbsp and half the garlic and ginger, stir till fragrant, heat high and add in the beef and stir till colour change. Remove to one side.
  5. Add a bit more oil and remaining ginger and garlic, stir till fragrant add in the pickled mustard green stir fry till hot follow by tomatoes, stir fry for a little while. Add a dash of cooking wine and sugar to taste. Heat turn on highest, add in the beef and slackened cornflour and oyster sauce. Stir till thickened then add in spring onion.