Saturday, 11 December 2010

Pickled (fermented) chopped chilli 剁椒


Duò jiāo 剁椒 is a pickled/fermented chopped chilli popular in Hunan and Sichuan. It does not contain any vinegar but lactic acid is produced during fermentation. This pickle is easy to make at home and ready to eat after few days but if you like it tastes sour best keep it for 2 - 3 weeks before use. This pickled/fermented chilli is a popular ingredient for steamed fish especially fish head. Take a look at these pictures don't they look appetising.

Here is the recipe if you like to try at home. I preferred to use red chillies you can use green if you like the flavour is different or a mixture of red and green. Green chillies will lose its vibrant green colour to olive green.

Recipe for every 100g of chillies,

Ingredients:
100g (stalks removed) chillies*, chopped no need to de-seed**
1 - 2 tbsp chopped garlic
2 - 3 tsp chopped ginger
10g (about 2 level tsp) salt
1.5 - 2 tsp sugar
1.5 - 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine, clear or brown like Shaoshing, you can also use Vodka if you preferred

* For the chillies I used a mixture of large red chillies easily available in supermarkets and some hot small red Thai chillies. You can use any chillies you like, mild to super hot to your taste. Good to use up any home grown chillies.

** If you don't like too much seeds, put the chopped chillies in a small colander few tbsp at a time, give it a good shake the seeds will fall out. Best do this in the kitchen sink, so the seed can be removed easily.

Do wear gloves when handling large amount of chillies. Chop the chilli chunky or fine. I chopped the chillies by hand you can chop in the food processor use the pulse button and do not blend the chillies into paste.


Method:
  • Mix all the ingredients together. 
  • Pack the mixture into a clean dry jar leave some space for expansion during fermentation. Smooth the top surface of the chilli mixture with a spoon.
  • Wipe clean the neck of the jar.
  • Put on the jar lid (not too tight to let gas to escape during fermentation) or covered with cling flim.
  • Leave the chilli at at room temperature to ferment. If the room temperature is very warm about 24 - 36hours or cold room up to 3 - 4 days. 
  • Then keep in the fridge up to 6 - 8 weeks, so long as it is not mouldy.
This pickled/fermented chillies is ready to eat from 4 - 5 days. The longer you keep it the chillies will become softer, more mellow in flavour and more sour.


For this batch I used about 470g of chillies, filled up 2 x 1lb jars. I left it on the worktop for 3 days before putting in the fridge.

Uses: Steamed fish, steamed tofu with pork, fish paste or prawn paste, steamed ribs with black beans. Can use in any other cooking you wish. Good as a condiment too eaten with jiaozi dumplings.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Pandan coconut pound cake with frosting

Life have been a bit hectic lately and I had neglected the blog for a while.

To welcome me back I presented you with a sweet treat. It's a pandan and coconut pound cake with butter frosting. This recipe is something I made up with ingredients I thought nice together.



Cake

Ingredients:
50ml pandan juice (extracted from 10 - 12 pandan leaves + 2-3 tbsp water)
4 medium size eggs
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
200g softened butter
150 - 180g sugar (I used 150g because the frosting is sweet enough)
75g coconut powder
100g desiccated coconut

Method:
  1. Rinse the pandan leaves and cut into small pieces then blitz in a mini blender or food processor with some water till pulverised. Squeeze out as much juice as you can. You will get around 50ml. Sieve and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 160deg C fan assisted oven or 170 deg C non fan assisted. 
  3. Cream the butter and sugar.
  4. Mix plain flour, coconut powder and baking powder together. Sieve.
  5. Add one egg at a time blend till combined, add a little of the flour mix in between. When all eggs are added pour in the pandan juice. Mix then add remaining flour and desiccated coconut. 
  6. Pour into a lined or greased 2 lb loaf tin. 
  7. Bake for around 60 - 70 min till cooked. Test with skewer for doneness. 
  8. Leave to cool

Frosting:

200g softened butter
200g icing sugar (powder sugar), sifted
75g coconut powder, sifted

handful of dried shredded coconut or desiccated coconut for topping.

Method:
  1. Mix the icing sugar, coconut powder and icing by hand first with a spoon till no powder left. Do not blend with electric whisk without mixing the powder into the butter or you will get powder flying all over your kitchen. 
  2. Whisk till frosting is light and creamy. 
  3. This frosting has a lot less icing sugar than normal frosting. I don't like too sweet. The icing can be soft straight after blending. Check the consistency of the frosting. If too soft leave in the fridge for a while till thick enough to spread without being runny.
  4. Put the shredded coconut or desiccated on a oven tray, bake at medium heat for few minutes till light brown. Leave to cool.



To ice the cake
  1. Cut the cake into half. 
  2. Spread the frosting on the bottom half and top of cake. 
  3. Sandwich the cake together. 
  4. Sprinkle on shredded or desiccated coconut. 

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Rendang Daging (Beef rendang)


Beef rendang is probably one of the most popular Malay curry. I haven't met anyone who does not like this fragrant spicy dried beef curry. Nearly every Malay festive celebrations, there is always rendang of some sort, beef, chicken, lamb, dried or wet rendang.

Preparing the rempah or spice paste is important to give maximum flavour. Usiing a mini blender it only takes less than a minute to ground the spices to a smooth paste, so much easier than using pestle and mortar.

There are quite a few versions of beef rendang. This recipe is one of common type.

One of the common ingredient for rendang I can't get over here to make it as authentic as possible is turmeric leaf. Shame but without it, the rendang is still very tasty.

Kerisik or ground roasted coconut is essential for most dried rendang, it thickens the sauce and gives a nice caramelised flavour.

I have already posted this recipe on BBC food message board ages ago. I have several requests to post it on the blog so here it is.

Beef Rendang

Ingredients:


Rempah or Spice paste:
8 -10 shallots about 125 - 150g, peeled
5 - 6 cloves of garlic. peeled
about 30 - 40g galangal, roughly chopped, cut iinto small chunks/slices
about 20 - 30g fresh ginger, cut into small chunks/ slices
about 2 – 4 fresh large red chillies, deseeded and cut into pieces. Use less if you don’t like spicy
About 10 – 12 large dried chilles, deseeded and soaked, or less if you don’t like spicy
5 – 6 candle nuts (if not, use about 10 cashew nuts)
1.5 tbsp cumin powder (freshly roasted and ground for best flavour)
2 tbsp coriander powder (freshly roasted and ground for best flavour)
2 tsp cinnamon powder

whole spices (use as whole)
4 - 5 green cardamom pods
3 star anise
4 - 5 lemongrass, topped, tailed and bruised

other ingredients:
few tbsp tamarind juice (extracted from 1 golf ball size wet tamarind with some boiling water), if using tamarind paste use around the same amount if watery, if thick use one heap tsp
about 1-1/2 tbsp palm sugar or normal sugar
salt
cooking oil

1 - 1.25kg of beef (tougher and/or fatty cut like shin, braising steak, brisket), cut into large chunks
few tbsp of plain flour for dusting
1 –1/2 cup coconut milk ( I am using tin)
enough water for braising, about 1 cup or more

1/2 cup loosely packed kerisik (ground roasted coconut), see this post how to make this. If fresh coconut is not available  can used frozen or dessicated coconut. With dessicated coconut, dampen it slightly with couple tbsp of water before dry roasting. Dry roast using a small pan till golden brown and blitz in a blender till very fine. Kerisik is the essential ingredient for dried rendang, don’t leave it out.

Extra coconut cream if needed (see note on bottom)

Method:

  • Ground shallots, garlic, galangal, fresh ginger, candle nuts and chillies using a mini blender till as smooth as possible. Add a touch of water if the paste is dry and difficult to blend. Mix wet spice with dry spice powder.
  • Dust beef pieces with a little flour and fry with some oil at high heat very quickly till lightly golden. Remove into a dish.
  • Stir fry the spice paste with 3 - 6 tbsp cooking oil at medium heat for about 10 - 15 minutes till the spice is very fragrant. Keep stirring to prevent paste burning and sticking to pan or wok. 
  • Add in all the whole spices. Stir
  • Add coconut milk, beef, tamarind, palm sugar and about 1 cups of water and bring to a boil, lid on and gently simmer for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours or till the meat is tender. Seasoned with enough salt.
  • Remove cardamom, star anise and lemon grass if needed. I don't really bother. 
  • Add in the kerisik. If there is still a lot of sauce in the pan/wok, take the meat out using a slotted spoon and reduce the sauce before adding kerisik. 
  • After adding the kerisik, continue simmering/ stir frying till oil is separating and beef rendang is quite dry. 


If you like rendang very rich and creamy, reserve a tbsp or two of a top cream from a tin of coconut milk (don’t shake the tin before open) and stir this coconut cream into the curry before serving.

The finish product should be quite dry without much runny gravy. There may be a lot of oil floating on the meat after cooking, skimmed if you prefer. This oil is very good to flavour other curry.

Serve with plain rice, Malay lacy pancakes (roti jala) or rice cake (lontong)

** Candle nuts is available from most chinese or Thai supermarket. They look like macadamia nuts but larger.

** 4 – 5 Srewpipe leaves (pandan), twist into a knot can be added during simmering to add extra flavour.

** Traditional rendang also has turmeric leaf added but I left it out in the recipe because it's not available.

**some people like to add few kefir lime leaves to rendang, I never have, but if you preferred add some shredded lime leaves at the end of cooking.



Friday, 8 October 2010

Copycat fried 'dace' fish with black beans 自制豆豉魚

I was talking with Josh of Cooking The Book the other day about canned fried dace with black bean 'dou si lian yue 豆豉鯪魚' and how difficult to find them these days due to limited import because of suspected contaminated fish used for manufacturing. I have a craving since for this salty chewy leathery fish with yummy black beans. 

Couple of days ago I was shopping in Lidl and they had frozen pollork fish fillets* on offer. I then had an idea I could use this to make fried fish with black beans like the can stuff. Not knowing if this will work I have to try now I have the idea stuck in my head.

Pollock fish fillets are very thin, not very tasty fish IMO but I think will work for this recipe. If you don't use Pollock, other fish fillet is ok too as long as they are quite thin, no thicker than 1cm thick.

I defrosted the fish around 800g slowly in the fridge. Then lightly dust the fish with plain flour. Heat about 1.5 cup of oil in a wok till hot and fry the fish in several batches till browned, dried and crisp. Remove oil and clean wok. The fried fish shrunk quite a lot to nearly half its original weight. Be careful not to break up the fish too much during frying, do not flip it too often let one side gets crisp before turning.

I chopped 2 large cloves garlic, one 1" chunk of ginger, l large red chillies and 2 stalks of spring onion.

Then put 2/3 cup loosely packed black beans (dousi) in a sieve and rinse them, drain thoroughly.

Next heat about 1/4 cup of oil in wok till medium hot, then fry the black beans in oil medium high heat for around 1 minute till fragrant. Then throw in the chopped ginger, garlic and chillies, continue frying for another minute till fragrant.

Add 1/4 cup light soy sauce, 1/3 cup Chinese cooking wine and 1 heap tbsp of sugar, stir for a little while. Then add in the fish give it a quick stir.

Now pour in enough water to cover the fried fish, around 1.5 cup water. Let the liquid come to a boil. Cover and let simmer for around 15 - 20 minutes, take a piece of fish and check if it is soft enough (not too dry and chewy) if not simmer for a little longer, then high heat to reduce the sauce to nearly dry.

That is it. My copycat fried 'dace' with black beans is done. Ready to plate up. I then sprinkled a little spring onion on top.

The result was surprising impressive, I honestly think it's pretty close to the real McCoy. The flavour was good. Next time I think I will add more black beans.

Here are some pictures to show you the result.

 Does look like the real thing I dare say.

Closer look

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Korean spicy chicken stew


This stew is so easy to make. One of those recipes I have repeated time after time when I crave for a warm hearty stew but could not be bother or too tired to hang around long in the kitchen. All I have to do is cut the vegetables and chicken, then just add water and boil till just about tender then add spicy sauce. That is it. Couldn't be simpler, grease free cooking. It does look good with a bight red soupy sauce, lovely strong peppery flavoured but doesn't blow your head off.

The essential ingredients for this stew are Korean chilli powder and Korean fermented chilli paste called gochujang.

Korean chilli powder does look very red but it's quite mild - medim hot. Essential ingredient for making kimchi. I can find it easily at most oriental supermarkets.

Gochujang is a mild - medium hot sticky fermented chilli paste, quite sweet. It is  is available in most oriental supermarkets, usually in a rectangular red plastic box, like this



For this chicken stew here is what I did.

Ingredients:
about 650 - 800g chicken with bone (or 500g boneless chicken), leg or breast or any part of chicken
few potatoes, around 400g
2 - 3 medium carrot
about 300g daikon or mooli (I usually put this but this time I don't have any)
1 large onion around 180g peeled

Chicken marinate
1 tbsp light soy
2 tbsp Korean wine or Japanese cooking wine or sake
1 - 2 tsp sesame oil
** If I am too lazy I will leave out the marinate, just add plain chicken to the stew.

Sauce
2 - 5 tbsp Korean chilli paste, much as you dare/ I normally use about 3 - 4 tbsp
1/2 to 2 tbsp Korean chilli powder, much as you dare. I normally use about 1 tbsp
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 - 3 tsp sugar
2 tbsp light soy


Chopped spring onion for garnish
salt if needed


Method:

  • Cut chicken into chunks. Mix with marinate and leave for about 15 - 20 minutes
  • Peel and cut vegetable into bite size or chunks.
  • Mix all the sauce ingredients together
  • Put vegetables in a pot, add about 1.5 -2 cups of water. Boil/simmer till vegetables are almost tender. 
  • Stir in the chicken. Simmer for few minutes then add sauce. Continue simmering till chicken is cooked. For boneless chicken in small chunks this will take about 10 - 15 minutes after adding the chicken. Chicken with  bone with take longer, from 15 - 25 minutes depending on size.    
  • When chicken is cooked. taste to see if you need more chilli paste, chilli powder, salt or soy to taste. 
  • Its now ready to eat, If you are not in a hurry and the sauce is a bit too runny leave it for a while the potato will absorb some of the liquid. I find the stew actually tastes better sitting around for a while, potato and chicken will absorb the flavour much better. 
  • Before serving sprinkle on some chopped spring onion. 
  • Serve with rice. 

For a change, you can add tofu pieces and kimchi, just as nice. This will make it more like a chigae or jiigae.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Fish fragrant aubergine jiaozi-wartip 魚香茄子味餃子鍋貼


This recipe is inspired by two of my favourites, fish fragrant aubergine and jiaozi dumplings. This isn't a classic recipe but a tasty combination. If you don't believe me give it a try you will be addicted. The dumplings are tasty with a nice spicy flavour. Tasty enough without needing any dipping sauce, but I still make a ginger spicy vinegar to go with.

Unlike standard fish fragrant aubergine, i.e. deep frying the aubergine then braise in a spicy sauce with minced pork, these dumplings' filling used all the ingredients as in the standard fish fragrant aubergine recipe but method is different.

Here is the recipe. This recipe will make about 50 - 55 dumplings. Can half or make1/3 if you want to make less. I can eat 10 dumplings in one go.

Ingredients:

A. Filling

1 large or 2 medium small aubergines, about 500 - 600g with the stem on

450 - 500g minced pork (ground pork), or can sub with beef, chicken or turkey
2 tbsp chilli bean sauce or douban jiang (I used Pixian)
4 - 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
small chunk of ginger, grated or finely chopped
1 tsp ground Sichuan pepper
0.5 - 1  tbsp chilli oil with some of the solid, how much chilli oil depending of how hot you like it, recipe of chilli oil can follow this or this
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
1tbsp light soy sauce
0.5 tsp chicken bullion powder, if you don't like to use this, can leave out or add 1/4 tsp salt or extra tsp soy
1.5 tbsp Chinkiang black rice winegar
2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1.5tbsp cornflour

4 - 5 stalks spring onion (scallion), chopped

Method:
  • Score the aubergine skin into fine thin strips. Remove stem and cut aubergine into quarters. Place on a steamer and steam on high heat for about 8 minutes or till just tender but not mushy soft. Leave to cool, drain off any liquid. Shred or roughly chop the aubergine. 
  • Put aubergine in a large mixing bowl, add in pork and the rest of the ingredients, except spring onion. Mix thoroughly together. Best mix by hand. Finally add spring onion, lightly mixed together. 

B. Dumpling dough

Ingredients:
about 300g white bread flour*
about 150+ ml (g)water (about 50 - 55ml (g) of water per 100g of flour)
extra flour for dusting and coating dough pieces

* Can also use plain flour or all purpose, I find bread flour dough is more elastic, easy to wrap and won't split during wrapping and steaming. Most of all I like the texture better.
* I don't add salt to this dough because the filling is salty enough. You can add some salt if you want to.

Method:
  • Add water slowly into flour, mix and gently knead till no more dry flour left. Amount of water needed depends on type of flour, use your own judgement.
  • At this time the dough can be a bit lumpy. Don't worry. 
  • Cover and leave it to rest for about 15 - 20 minutes. Then knead till smooth. 
  • Rest for few minutes to relax the dough. Cut into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a long sausage about 2 cm thick. Cut into small pieces about 8 - 9g each. You should get about 50 - 55 pieces of dough. If the dough sticks to the working surface dust with a little flour before cutting.
  • Coat the small pieces with some dry flour. Cover with dry clean cloth to prevent drying. 

To wrap dumplings


  • Take a piece of dough, roll it out very thin into a round disc about 5 - 6cm wide. Dust dough and rolling pin with flour is dough is sticky.  
  • Put the disk on your hand put on some filling. Fold over into a half moon but do not seal. Pinch the centre part of the folding edge together.
  • Then start pleating. I normally pleat from centre to end on one half side then pleat the other half from centre to end again. Pleating is only on one side of the wrapper facing you or backside whichever way you pleat. One side pleated the other side is flat. By the time you finish pleating pinch the edge so it seal properly. 
** The wrapping method is up to you. There are many methods how to pleat or wrap this type of dumplings. Do what you know best and quickest if you like. Don't spend half a day shaping the dumplings perfect, this is home cooking. If you can't be bother to pleat or don't know how to just fold over and seal without any pleats like a half moon, wrap them like wontons or you can shape the dumplings like in this recipe

Dust a tray or couple of plates with flour then place the dumplings on, do not let dumplings touch each other or they will stick together, cover with clean dry cloth prevent drying. Continue making the rest.

You can wrap what you need. Cook and eat. Keep the remaining dough and filling in the fridge, wrap and cook with 1 - 2 days. Best cook and eat straight after wrapping.


Dipping sauce
Make a dipping sauce by mixing about 2 - 3 tbsp finely shredded or grated ginger, 2 - 2.5 tbsp Chinking vinegar, 1 tbsp light soy sauce and about 2 tsp chilli oil. I like more ginger and I like them shredded more then grated.


I finished wrapping the whole lot of the dumplings per this recipe, half of them I fried making pot stickers dumplings or wartip and the other half I simply boiled like normal jiaozi. One recipe two ways of eating.


To fry dumplings like war tip 
Need some cooking oil, water and a frying pan with lid (best use non stick pan)

Add oil and water and steam fry dumplings

Cooked dumplings ready to flip over onto a plate

F
Fried war tip with dipping sauce
  • Add some oil to the pan. Heat till warm. Heat on low. Then arrange dumplings anyway you like I like to arrange them circular like a flower pattern. Prettier to tip out when cooked. When done turn the heat up a notch. Fry till base of dumplings is light brown, check by take one or two out to check colour. 
  • Then add about 5 - 6 mm deep of water surrounding the dumplings. (If you use a 30cm pan like I did, you need about 1/2 cup water). Heat on medium high and cover with lid. Let the water boils with the lid on, the steam will cook the dumplings. 
  • When you can hear pan is lightly sizzling when all the water is boiling off. Remove the lid and let the dumplings fry a little longer till the base is golden and crisp. 
  • Now ready to remove onto serving plate. You may need a spatula to loosen the base of dumplings if the pan is not completely non stick. Place a plate on top of the dumplings then tip the pan upside down and all the dumpling will drop onto the plate with golden side facing up.
  • Ready to eat. Best eaten while hot on their own, with dippinig sauce as suggested above or with light soy, chilli oil or sweet chilli sauce. 

To boil dumplings
Optional, for a better taste need some sesame oil and chopped spring onions to dress the dumplings after cooking. Sesame oil also helps to separate the dumplings.

  • Boil a large pan/wok of water till rapidly boiling. Continue on high heat, drop in the dumplings one by one, do not crowd the pan. After about a minute or two, you may need to lift the dumplings with a spatula if they stick to the bottom of the pan. Continue boiling till all the dumpling floats onto the top. Then they are cooked. 
  • Remove and sprinkle on few drops of sesame oil and some chopped spring onion.  Ready to eat with or without sauce. I like it with the ginger vinegar sauce as suggested on this recipe. You can use any dipping sauce you like. 
I am sorry about the quality of some of the pictures, not realizing I got too close to the steaming pan and the lens has a condensation spot affecting some of the final shots.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Sweet corn juk (rice soup) 玉米粥


Sweet corn is in season again. One of the simplest way I like with fresh sweet corn is to make juk for breakfast/brunch. It's so simple just two ingredients plus lots of water. This juk is similar to Cantonese sweet corn soup without the chicken bits, meat stock etc..., very simple but refreshing with a lovely sweet flavour.

Take about 3/4 cup of glutinous rice. Rinse and soak with 1 cup of water for about 1 hour or you can soak this overnight for next morning breakfast. With the water still in it. Rub with your hand to break up the rice grains as fine as you can.

Take 2 - 3 ears of decent size sweet corns. Grate with a coarse or cheese grater. You will get about 1 1/2 - 2 cups grated sweet corn. If you are like me who do not like the skins too much sieve it with an extra coarse sieve or small colander, press the grated corn through with a spoon. Squeeze out juice from remaining skins by hand. Discard skins.

Measure about 5 cups of water, add glutinous rice mixture and boil for about 15 minutes till mixture is thickened. Stir and scrape the pan bottom few times, rice may stick to the pan.
Then add grated sweet corn, boil for another 5 - 8 minutes till liquid is rapidly boiling. Check for thickness if too thick add some more water, if too thin thicken with a little slackened cornflour. Thickness of juk is to your liking. I like it not too thick.

Heat off and ready to serve. I like it plain as it is. You can add some salt if you like and little chopped spring onion or chopped coriander. If you have some goji berries sprinkle few on top this will make it looks pretty and good for you too. If you have some Chinese fried bread stick (you char kway) this goes really well with this corn juk, best use fresh bread sticks or reheated in oven to make sure they are crispy.


**If you have the time before boiling the juk, you can make a stock with the remaining corn sticks after grating. Chop them into small chunks and boil with about 6 cups of water for about 15 minutes. Then strain the liquid. This stock has lots of flavour. Use this stock to replace water to boil the juk.

** If you don't have glutinous rice you can sub jasmine rice or any plain white rice. The texture of the juk will be less sticky and less smooth.

** Can grate and sieve the corn night before and store in the fridge ready for next morning.


Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Kuih Momo (Kuih Makmur)


It's still Ramadan at the moment. Hari Raya or Eid is coming soon. When I was still living in the Far East, one of the sweet cookies I remembered popular during Hari Raya is Kuih Momo. In Brunei and East Malaysia, these cookies are commonly known as Kuih Momo and in West Malaysia I think they are more commonly known as Kuih Makmur.

Other than Hari Raya, we also make these cookies for Chinese New year. Thus they are some kind of celebration cookies.

These cookies are very rich with ghee with a strong milky flavour. The icing sugar (confectioner sugar) coating makes them look like snow balls. The characteristic of kuih momo is it should melt/crumble as soon as you pop one into your mouth. Thus they are very fragile to handle.

For the recipe there is one unusual traditional step not known in western baking. It's to dry roast (stir fry) the flour prior to mixing the dough. Strange but it works to ensure the cookies melt/crumble easily. I have seen recipes heating the flour in microwave, I find this method unreliable because microwave can lead to uneven heating and burning spot.

Here is the recipe I have been following since I knew how to bake in my young teen. Years ago we never follow an exact quantity recipe, the mix was always by eye or feel only.


Kuih Momo

Ingredients:


250g plain flour or all purpose flour
40g icing sugar (if you like a sweeter taste, add up to 75g icing sugar)
75g full cream milk powder*
150g ghee (clarified butter)
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg yolk

about 1/2 cup sifted icing sugar (confectioner sugar)

*Full cream milk powder is not common in UK. It is available in some big supermarkets like Sainos at the Asian products shelf, or in most Asian, Chinese or Middle Eastern grocery stores. If you prefer not to use or cannot find full cream milk powder, can sub with skimmed milk powder granules. Granules need to ground to powder using a coffee grinder or mini blender.


Method:
  • Add flour to wok or frying pan. Dry fry at medium low heat for about 5 - 6 minutes. Keep stirring the flour to avoid burning till flour becomes very hot and smells lightly nutty. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
  • Ground salt with 1 tsp of the dry roasted flour using pestle and mortar to a fine powder. Add this to flour.
  • Add milk powder and icing sugar.
  • Mix dry ingredients together then sieve, break up any large lumps with fingers, remove any remaining gritty grains.
  • Melt ghee in microwave for about 20 - 30 sec. Beat in the egg yolk.
  • Pour ghee and yolk mixture into the dry mixture. Mix with a folk or spoon then finish by rubbing with fingers till dough is evenly mixed.
  • The dough is crumbly but should form a lump when squeeze together.
  • Take a handful of dough, squeeze with hand to form a lump then break it up into smaller pieces. Squeeze each small piece again into a rough lump. Continue forming these little lumps.
  • Lightly roll each lump between palms into a ball without pressure or it will crumble. Size of the momo balls is up to you. I like them quite small about 1.5 - 2cm diameter.
  • Place balls on baking tray (pan) lined with parchment paper, arrange balls with some space for expansion.
  • Preheat oven to 160deg C. Put the tray of cookies in the oven, lower heat to 140 deg C fan oven (or 150 deg non fan oven), bake for about 12 - 15 minutes till light golden. Momo balls will expand slightly after baking.
  • Leave to cool for few minutes till cool enough to pick up by fingers. Then coat generously with icing powder. They are very fragile, be gentle and don't crowd the bowl.


These kuih momo will keep fresh for couple of weeks in airtight container.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Korean ice cold soy milk noodles - Kongguksu


Kongguksu is an interesting bowl of noodle soup. It is icy cold great for the warm weather. It has an unsual cold soy milk broth with added nuts for more flavour. The broth is mild, nutty, delicious and healthy. If you like strong flavoured noodle soup this recipe is not for you.

This soy milk broth is not the normal soy milk. Soaked soy beans are boiled then blended with water to a creamy thick milk, seasoned and strained without further cooking.

The recipe is quite easy, essential tool is a liquidiser.


Ingredients (for 2 servings)

Part A - Soy milk broth

80 - 90g soy beans
4 - 5 tbsp dry roasted peanuts (no added flavouring)
2 tbsp dry roasted sesame seeds
about 1 tsp salt (to your taste)
pinch of ground pepper
water
ice cubes

Methods:
  • Soak beans overnight or 8 - 10 hrs. Rinse and boil with water. After the water is boiling rapidly, turn the heat down and simmer for about 12 - 15 minutes.
  • Rinse the boiled beans with cold water. Rub beans to remove skins. Add enough water the skins will float on top, remove skins with water. Repeat with more water till all the skins are removed.
  • Put beans, peanuts and sesame seeds in liquidiser. Add about 750ml cold water, some salt. ground pepper and few ice cubes. Blend for about 1 minute.
  • Strain milk with fine sieve.

Part 2 - soy milk noodle soup (for 2)

about 700 - 750ml soy milk broth
about 150 - 180g fine wheat noodle ( I used Korean dried noodles)
some shredded cucumber
some shredded carrot
2 boiled eggs (shelled)
some ice cubes

Method:
  • Boil noodles per instruction. Rinse with cold water and drain.
  • Put noodles in bowl.
  • Pour in enough soy milk.
  • Add cucumber, carrot, boiled eggs and ice cubes.

My boiled eggs were a little underdone with running centre. Not a pretty picture but tasty .

Suitable for vegetarian, just leave out boiled egg.

Nice eaten with some kimchi or other vegetable pickles.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Hakka steamed dumpliings 客家茶粿


Chinese name: Hakka chai guo 客家茶粿 or Hakka chai bao 客家菜包

In Brunei we called these dumplings chai kuih. I remembered in our family we used to have them for breakfast nearly every weekend, we buy them from the kuih lady in the market. Eventually we learnt how to make them and have them as and when we feel like making some. I have never seen these dumplings in UK restaurants, the only way I can have them is make my own.

The dumplings pastry has a soft chewy texture. Nice eaten hot, freshly steamed or reheated in the steamer. Reheating in the microwave is ok but sometime the pastry can be a bit dry.

My pastry recipe use rices flour and tapioca flour. I have seen some Taiwanese recipes use rice flour and glutinous flour.

Here is the recipe if you like to give it a try.


Ingredients:

A. Dough (makes about 50 dumplings, a big plateful)

Part 1
250g oriental rice flour
150g tapioca flour
700ml(g) water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cooking oil

Part 2
about 100g rice flour
some cooking oil

Method:



  1. Mix all ingredients in Part 1 together till no lumps. Pour this into a pan, heat at medium heat and stir continuously till the mixture become a very thick paste. Cover and leave to cool. This will take over 1 hour till the paste is cool enough to handle.
  2. Sprinkle the working area with some rice flour from Part 2. Scrape the paste onto the dusted flour. Sprinkle more flour on top of paste. Knead and fold in rest of the the rice flour. This is very messy job will stick to all your hands and fingers. Knead till the dough is smooth without lumps and all flour is incorporated. Scrap the sticky dough off your hands with a spatula. Clean hands.
  3. Put some cooking oil in a small bowl. Now brush/dip the spatula with oil and scrape the dough to a rounded lump. Grease both hands with oil then lightly knead the dough and form into a smooth round lump.
  4. Divide the dough into few pieces. Roll each into a sausage about 2.5cm thick. Then cut with a oil greased spatula or knife into small pieces, each about 22 - 25g each.
  5. Roll each piece with oil greased hands then put aside.

Filling
Make this filling while the dough paste is cooling.

Ingredients:
about 600g peeled mooli (daikon) or jicama (mungkuang)
about 200g pickle mustard (hum choi)
about 250 minced (ground) pork
about 50g dried shrimps
about 10 cloves garlic
2 tsp sugar
2 - 3 tbsp light soy
salt to taste
ground pepper to taste
about 2 - 3 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp cornflour mix with a little water
4 - 5 stalks of spring onion (scallion), chopped

* I much preferred jicama but this vegetable is not something I can get locally. So I used mooli.

Method:
  • Shred mooli or jicama with a cheese grater. Sqeeze out excess water to about 450 - 480g.
  • Cut/shred pickle mustard into very fine strips. Have a taste if pickle is salty soak with water for few minutes then squeeze out excess water.
  • Soak dried shrimps for about 10 - 15minutes then chop.
  • Chop garlic.
  • In a wok, add few tbsp oil. Heat and add 1/4 of the garlic. Fry till till fragrant add dried shrimps and pork. Mash the pork till no large lumps. Stir fry till the meat has turned brown and any liquid is drying. Add in some light soy, sugar and pepper to taste.
  • Add shredded mooli (or jicama) and pickled mustard. Stir fry till vegetables are softened and heated through. Have a taste see if you need more light soy or salt to taste. Finally drizzle in slackened cornflour. Stir till thickened then add remaining chopped garlic and spring onion. Remove onto a plate, spread it out and leave to cool.

Now time to wrap dumplings

Put about 1/2 cup of rice flour in a container or bowl. This is for dusting to prevent dough sticking.

Take a piece of parchment paper. Cut it to fit the steamer tray. Then punch many holes with a sharp skewer to let steam flow and prevent condensation logging in between dumplings during steaming.

  • Take a piece dough. Lightly coat with dry rice flour. Coat fingers with some flour too to prevent dough sticking to hand and fingers..
  • Then roll it out quite thin about 1.5mm thick.
  • Take the dough onto one hand. Put some filling on one side of dough.
  • Fold the dough into half moon shape. Pinch and seal the edge
  • Then place the dumpling with the seal edge facing up in the middle like in picture.
  • Place dumplings on paper lined steamer tray. Continue wrapping the dumplings till the tray is full. Can also place any extra dumplings on a greased tray to steam for later. Cover dumplings with tea towels to prevent drying.
  • Heat steamer till water is boiling. Steam dumplings for about 4 -5 minutes on high heat till dumplings are cooked and pastry looks semi translucent.
  • Brush cooked dumplings with a little oil to prevent drying and sticking to other dumplings when piling up on a plate.

Plateful of dumplings


Eat them while hot or reheat, on their own or with some light soy, chilli sauce or chilli oil.

Great for breakfast, brunch or snack anytime of the day and night.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Nyonya kuih lapis - nine layers cake 九層糕


This colourful steamed cake is a Chinese Nyonya fusion, soft and slightly chewy. I love this since I was a kid. I like to peel the layers one by one and eat it that way.

This cake is more like a pudding than a western cake. It is normally called nine layers cake due to the number of layers. It is not essential to have nine layers but that has been a tradition passed down from generation to generation, mother to daughters recipe. Nine is an auspicious word to signify long lasting and long life. There are so many different ways to make this cake, different colours, different flavours and different flour mixture to give various degree of softness and chewiness. Rice flour is the base of this cake mix, tapioca and wheat starch are added to give a more bouncy and chewier texture, some recipes use mung bean starch.

I like to add coconut to give nice rich flavour. With the colours, I am not keen to add artificial colours. I sometime use two colours sometime three. I love the flavour of pandan it goes well with coconut so green has always been the obvious choice, using juice extracted from pandan leaves not artificial flavoured paste. Red is a nice colour too the one ingredient I like to use and to give colour is grenadine syrup, rose syrup is ok too. Strawberry or other acidic juice does not really go well with coconut, better use something with a nice fragrance but low acid.

This cake is quite easy to make if you can manage to find a big enough steamer (or pan) and a bit of time standing by the stove. My steamer is not big enough to fit the glass dish I like to use, so I used a large pan with a high doom lid, filling the pan with about 2 - 3cm high with water and sit the glass dish on top for steaming. Can use any dish or cake tin you like as long as it does not have a loose bottom or the mixture will leak. If you don't have a large steamer can make small individual portions using small pudding cups or even heat resistant disposal plastic cups. It's fun to see the layers building up.

Here is how I make this cake.

Ingredients:

Part 1
200g rice flour
100g tapioca starch
100g wheat starch (tang mien, or har gau flour), if not available use cornstarch (cornflour)
1 x 400ml (or 450ml) tin of coconut milk
about 400ml water


Part 2

a. White layer
80g sugar
150ml water

b. Green layer
80g sugar
150ml pandan juice* (see below how to extract this juice)

c. Red layer
30 - 40g sugar
150ml grenadine syrup (or rose syrup)


* to extract pandan juice, take 50 - 60g of fresh pandan leaves, rinse and cut into small pieces, then put in a mini blender with 150ml water. Blend to a pulp, squeeze out juice with hands then strain with fine sieve. Need 150ml juice.

1 glass dish or cake tin that will hold about 1600 ml of water and with about 4.5 - 5.5 cm high

a few drops of cooking oil to grease the dish or tin


Method:

  • Warm coconut milk if solidified. Mix with all flours. Put this mixture on a scale then slowly add enough water to make up to 1200g in total. Mix till no lumps.
  • Stir the mixture just before dividing into 3 equal portions, each weighing 400g into 3 easy to pour containers or mixing cups.
  • To make white part just add sugar and water. Stir to dissolve sugar. This portion will weight about 600g. This is to be divided into 3 portions. See next step.
  • To make green part add sugar and pandan juice. Stir to dissolve sugar. This portion will weigh. This is to be divided into 3 portions. See next step.
  • To make red/pink layer, add sugar and syrup. Stir to dissolve sugar. Less sugar because syrup is already sweet. This portion will weigh about 600g. This is to be divided into 3 portions. See next step.
  • Take 3 smaller cups. Take each of the colour mixture, weigh and fill cup with about 200g mixture. If the glass dish or cake tin does not have a equal size from bottom to top (straight edge), divide the mixture according to size of dish or tin.
  • Grease the glass dish or tin lightly with oil.
  • Heat water in steamer, when boiling. Add container. Heat till container is hot. Wipe off any condensation inside container with clean tea towel.
  • Pour in first portion from small cup. Any colour you wish.
  • Steam for about 4 - 5 minutes or till the layer is set, check centre always the latest to set.
  • Then pour in second colour from small cup, steam and pour in the next colour.
  • Once the small cup is empty, fill up again with next portion.
  • Continue building up the layers.
  • After the last layer, continue steaming for another 12 - 15 minutes to ensure the whole cake is cooked through.
Things to avoid and do:
  1. at each stage of the process, flour will settle to the bottom of the cup/container. Before dividing the mixture into cups/containers or pouring mixture to steam, make sure to stir the mixture first.
  2. sometime a little colour mixing can happen during pouring and steaming. Just make sure the last layer is cooked and set before pouring on next layer.
  3. avoid too much water condensation dropping on the layer, if so wipe or absorb with paper towel.
  4. if steaming water is drying out, make sure to top up.
  5. make sure the glass dish or cake tin is level so the layer is evenly spread.

After the cake is cooked. Take it out, loosely cover (or condensation will build up on top of cake) with foil or tea towel without touching the cake and leave to cool completely before cutting or eating. Any left over must put in fridge. Will keep for few days.


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Chongqing hot & sour noodles 重慶酸辣粉


重慶酸辣粉 Chongqing suan la fen

Chongqing hot and sour noodle soup is one of the world favourite Chinese noodles, popular not only in Chongqing but also in Sichuan. I love it, it's spicy, salty, sour, garlicy and the noodles are soft and slippery. A bowl of red hot slurping goodness. This noodle soup can be a fast food, can prepare in minutes if all the components/ingredients are prepared in advance.


A. Soup base (stock)
Make soup base with pork bones or chicken bones. Boil bones with few slices of ginger and one/two stalks of spring onion. Do not add salt. Have the soup base heated to boiling before serving.


B. Spicy minced pork with Sichuan pickle

Ingredients:
200g minced (ground) pork
3 - 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
about 1/4 cup (chopped) Sichuan pickled vegetable, ya chai or preserved vegetables zha chai, I couldn't find ya chai so used zha chai
2 tbsp Chilli bean sauce (Pixian douban jiang)
1 tbsp light soy
2 - 3 tsp sugar
2 - 3 tbsp cooking oil

Method:
  • Heat oil add garlic. Stir fry till fragrant. Add chilli bean sauce, stir till oil is turning red.
  • Add pork stir fry till pork is brown and any liquid is drying up.
  • Add pickled vegetable. Stir
  • Add soy and sugar to taste.

C. Chilli oil

Can use bought or homemade chilli oil. Chilli oil is very easy to make at home and taste far better than bought. This is a recipe posted previously. And here is another simple way to make some.

Ingedients:
4 tbsp chilli powder* (coarse or fine powder)
2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 tbsp black rice vinegar
1/2 cup cooking oil

*level of spiciness depends of type of chilli powder used. Redder the powder redder the oil made.

Method:
  • Rinse Sichuan peppercorns and drain. (wetting the peppercorns help to release the flavour easier and delay burning in hot oil).
  • Mix chilli powder with vinegar in a medium size soup bowl.
  • Heat oil till warm. Add peppercorns. The oil will gradually get hot and sizzle due to the moisture in peppercorns. Fry peppercorns till oil is fragrant and peppercorns are turning brown.
  • Pour oil through a metal sieve directly into chilli paste. The oil will boil rapidly hitting the chilli paste with lots of bubbles. Stir and leave to cool.


D. Spicy sauce

Mix together 3 tbsp chilli oil with chilli solid, 1 tbsp roasted sesame oil, 3 tbsp Chinkiang black rice vinegar, 1 - 2 tbsp light soy, 1 tsp salt or Chicken bullion powder, 1/2 tsp ground Sichuan pepper, 1/2 tsp ground pepper, 2 - 3 tsp sugar.



E. Deep fried soy beans or dry roasted peanuts

Deep fried crunchy soy beans
Soak some soy beans overnight. Drain. Rub dry with clean tea towel. Deep fried at medium heat till golden brown. Remove and leave to cool.

Dry roasted peanuts
Dry roast peanuts with skin using a dry pan or wok. Stir continuously for about 8 - 10 minutes till peanut is medium golden brown. Remove and spread out to cool. Put peanuts in a colander, rub peanuts with hand and/or against the colander to remove skin, the skin will fall out of the colander. Best do this in the sink or outdoor to prevent mess.
You can also use bought roasted peanuts.

*Crunchy soy beans are the traditional condiments used. I am not too keen with them so I used peanuts.


F. Noodles

Use sweet potato noodles/vermicelli where possible. If you can't find sweet potato noodles use thick mung bean noodles or rice noodles. Here is one I used.


Soak the noodles for about 30 minutes or till softened. Cook with rapidly boiling water briefly till soft. Cook noodles just before serving.


Other ingredients:

Few leaves of green vegetables like choi sum or pak choi per bowl of noodles, blanched
some chopped ginger
some chopped garlic
some chopped spring onion (scallion)
some chopped coriander (cilantro)


To assemble the noodle soup:
  1. Put noodles in bowl.
  2. Add vegetables, ginger, garlic, spring onion and coriander
  3. Add peanuts or crunchy soy beans
  4. Add minced pork with pickle
  5. Pour in enough boiling soup base
  6. Add few tbsp of spicy sauce, much as you like. Taste before adding too much, or it can be too salty and spicy.

Here is another version Hot & Sour noodles Hunan style.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Cha Traop Dot - Cambodian aubergine with pork and prawn


This is yet another lovely aubergine (eggplant) recipe. This is a Cambodian recipe. I don't know much about Cambodian cooking. I got this recipe from a friend.

I like the way the aubergine is first chargrilled whole then shredded, the aubergine is sweet and has lovely smoky flavour. I don't have a charcoal grill. I chargrilled the aubergine with direct flame.

Here is what I did.

Chargrill the aubergine on direct flame. Low flame. I do have a perforated griller pan.


** Can also roast the aubergine in the oven if not chargrilled.


Prick skin of aubergine. Skin of aubergine will turn brown when heated. Turning aubergine every few minutes


Skin will turn wrinkly


When aubergine turning soft and collapses somewhat, about 15 minutes. Test with skewer if it can piece through easily it's done. Don't cook till aubergine is mushy soft.


Cover with foil and leave to cool.


Peel the skin and shred the aubergine into pieces.


The aubergine is now ready for the stir fry.

Ingredients:

about 500g (with stalk) fresh aubergine, 1 very large aubergine or 2 medium aubergines, chargrilled. peeled and shredded.

about 125g minced pork (ground pork)

about 125g peeled raw prawns (shrimps), cut into small pieces

2 - 4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 - 2 red chillies, chopped

about 2 - 3 stalks spring onion (scallion), chopped

a little coriander (cilantro), chopped

about 1.5 - 2 tbsp fish sauce

few drops of dark soy

2 - 3 tsp sugar

few tbsp crushed roasted peanuts

about 4 - 5 tbsp cooking oil


Method:

  • Heat oil, stir fry garlic. Add minced pork and fry till brown and any liquid from pork is drying. Add dash of fish sauce. Stir.
  • Add prawns. Stir fry till prawns changed colour.
  • Add some of spring onion and chilli. Stir
  • Add aubergine. Stir fry till aubergine is heated through.
  • Season with enough fish sauce, dash of dark soy (for colour) and little sugar to taste.
  • Ready to plate up. Sprinkle on remaining spring onion, chilli and coriander. And finally some crushed peanuts.



Tuesday, 17 August 2010

A plateful of Malay goodness


My dinner last night,
- sambal tumis telur, cut into halves
- nasi minyak serai (lemongrass oily rice) with crispy shallot
- keropok (prawn crackers)
- cucumber slices


Here is the recipe for the rice. I use 50:50 basmati and red rice. This red rice is Thai, bought from oriental supermarket.


Nasi Minyak Serai (Lemongrass Oily Rice)

Ingredients: (enough for 4), cup size 250ml

1 cup basmati rice
1 cup red rice or brown basmati rice or just plain basmati rice
water
5 - 6 lemongrass (serai)
1 thumb size chunk ginger
3 walnut size shallots
1.5 tsp cumin seeds (jintan putih)
2 star anise
2 tbsp ghee* or cooking oil
1.5 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar


* ghee gives a nicer flavour to the rice
Red rice or brown rice is more fibrous better pre-soaked before cooking or else can be a bit tough and longer to cook


Method:
  • Soak red rice or brown basmati for 1 - 2 hours. Drain. If using all plain basmati no need to soak.
  • Rinse plain basmati. Drain
  • Trim the lemongrass, remove the woodier leaves leaving a tender centre.
  • Take all the woodier part of lemongrass and 2 star anise, boil with 3.5 cups of water. When water is boiling. Turn heat off, let infuse for about 20 - 30 minutes. Remove lemongrass , leave star anise to be added to rice later.
  • Slice the tender part of lemongrass as thin as possible.
  • Finely chop shallots and ginger.
  • Heat ghee or oil in a medium size pan or pot enough to hold 6 - 7cups, fry the cumin seeds till they pop a bit.
  • Add shallot and fry till fragrant.
  • Add ginger and tender lemongrass. Stir a little while.
  • Add both rice and stir to coat with fragrant oil.
  • Add 3 cups of the spice infused water. Also add in the star anise too.
  • Season with enough salt and sugar.
  • Cover and let the liquid come to a boil. Do not let the water boiled over. Turn heat down and gently simmer till all moisture is absorbed and rice is cooked. Leave to rest for 10 minutes, loosen before serving.

Can add some roasted cashew nuts, toasted almonds or raisins to rice.

Sambal Tumis Telur (sambal eggs)

Born and breed in Brunei Malay food and cooking play an important part in my foodie life. Authentic Malay food is not easy to find in the Western world. I am so glad I have learnt enough to cook myself some decent Malay food before hopping on a plane over here to England many years ago.

Clearing the cupboard yesterday I found a jar of sambal tumis I made a while ago. Sambal tumis is very versatile can transform a plateful of vegetables, eggs, tofu, tempeh etc... into something spicy and savoury instantly. I made this sambal in large batch whenever needed and stored them in clean sealed jam jars and no refrigeration, will last me for months and months.

With this jar of sambal tumis I made some sambal tumis telur (sambal eggs). It's 'cepat, senang dan sedap' fast, easy and delicious like the Malay saying. Here is the bowlful of red and delicious eggs.


Ingredients:

6 - 7 shelled hard boiled eggs
1 medium-large onion
2 medium tomatoes, cut into quarters
5 tbsp sambal tumis**
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt (if required)
a little sugar

about 1/2 - 1 cup oil for frying eggs*

*You don't have to fry the eggs if you don't want to. Fried egg tastes better and will coat the sauce much better.

Method:
  • Wipe the eggs with paper towel to remove excess surface water. Water will make oil spit. Heat oil till hot fry eggs at medium high heat, turning and browning evenly. Egg surface will blister a bit and light golden brown. Don't fry too long or the egg white will become tough. if you don't want to fry the eggs leave this step out.
  • Tip the sambal into a clean wok or pan. There is enough oil in the sambal no need to add extra oil to cook onion. Add tomato paste and onion and fry at medium heat till onion is softened. Don't let sambal burn, if heat too hot turn heat down or add a touch of water.
  • Add eggs and stir to coat with sauce evenly and warming the eggs. Add some water if sauce is too thick.
  • Add tomato pieces cook till slightly softened.
  • Taste to see if you need some sugar and a touch of salt to season.
Serve sambal tumis telur with rice, soft bread or flat bread.


**If you don't have a jar of sambal tumis you can make the spice paste with:

about 5 dried large chillies, de-seeded and soaked then cut into small pieces
3 walnut size shallots, cut into small pieces
1 large clove of garlic
1 tsp shrimp paste
l - 2 tbsp of tamarind juice extracted from a very small lump of wet tamrind and few tbsp hot water

Blend or pound the above to a fine paste. Cook with 2 - 3 tbsp of cooking oil till oil turning red and paste is fragrant, then add some salt to taste.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Sesame, spring onion and chicken flavoured crackers 芝麻蔥香雞汁餅


This morning I suddenly have a craving for some Pop Pan spring onion crackers, I was too lazy to go down to the shop. I thought of making something similar. I had a tub of chicken stock jelly with fat collected from roasting a chicken. Thought it might be a good idea to use that to flavour these crackers. No sure how this concoction would turn up I just mixed the dough, rolled it out and baked it. To my pleasant surprise the crackers are rather nice. So here is to share with you the recipe. I am still munching some as I write this.


Ingredients:

200g self raising flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1-1/4 tsp chicken stock powder (if chicken stock jelly is salted use less chicken powder)
2 tsp sugar
pinch of ground pepper
40g chicken fat (chilled)
30g butter
about 1/2 cup loosely packed and finely chopped spring onion (scallion)
about 2 tbsp chicken stock jelly
about 3 tbsp sesame seeds
more flour for dusting and rolling
a little water

Method:
  • Dry roast the sesame seeds with a dry frying pan till light golden brown. Leave aside to cool.
  • Mix plain flour, baking powder, chicken stock powder and ground pepper together.
  • Rub chicken fat and butter into the dry ingredients evenly.
  • Mix in chopped spring onion. Leave for a little while to let the dry ingredient to absorb the moisture from the spring onion.
  • Then add chicken stock jelly a little at a time into the mixture till crumbs bind together forming a dough. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Dust working areas with flour. Roll the dough to a square or rectangle to about 4 cm thick.
  • Brush the dough surface very very lightly with water. Must not be too wet.
  • Then sprinkle the surface generously with sesame seeds. Press the seeds down with fingers avoiding sesame seeds sticking back on fingers.
  • Then roll and press dough with rolling pin so sesame seeds are ingrained into the dough and dough becomes quite thin about 2 - 2.5mm thick.
  • Cut into any shape and size you like. I cut it into 3 x 7cm strips.
  • Carefully lift up pastry and place on baking sheet (pan).
  • Bake at preheated oven (200 deg C fan oven) for about 12 minutes or till golden brown and crisp.
  • Cool and store in container or stuff your face with them :-)