Showing posts with label dim sum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dim sum. Show all posts

Monday, 7 February 2011

Golden pumpkin cake

Golden Pumpkin Cake 黄金南瓜糕

One of Cantonese favourite Chinese New Year's cake is lo bak goh (turnip or mooli cake). This year I subbed mooli with pumpkin. The cake has a mild sweetness and lovely pumpkin flavour. It has a nice golden colour. Gold or golden colour is auspicious during CNY to symbolise wealth and prosperity. So why not try this to celebrate with friends and family. I know it's a bit late but CNY is not ended till 17th Feb.

The recipe is almost identical to my previous lo bak goh recipe

Pumpkin Cake 南瓜糕


3 sticks lap cheong (chinese sausage)
125 - 150g minced pork
2 tbsp dried shrimps or shredded dried scallop , soaked (optional)
handful of dried shitake mushrooms without stalks (about 20g), soaked
2 - 3 walnut size shallots
2 fat cloves garlic
pinch of ground pepper
0.5 - 1 tsp salt or to taste
1 - 2 tbsp light soy sauce to taste
some ground pepper
1 - 1.5 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp sesame oil

about 750 - 800g peeled pumpkin (choose pumpkin with firm and sweet flavour), can sub with butternut squash

about 1/2 cup water

280g rice flour
75g tapioca starch or potato starch
500ml water or room temp. homemade diluted chicken stock (or water with added chicken stock granules about 1 heap tsp)

Garnish (optional)
2 tbsp chopped spring onion (scallion)
1 tbsp chopped red chilli
2 tbsp chopped preserved radish (chai bo)

2 - 3 foil cake tins (round or oblong) or takeaway containers

  1. Soak the lap cheong in boiling liquid for few minutes till soften then finely chopped.
  2. Finely chopped garlic, shallot, soaked mushrooms and dried shrimps.
  3. Grate pumpkin using a cheese grater or grate with food processor coarse grater attachment.
  4. Mix rice flour and stock (or water) together.
  5. Heat wok, add cooking oil and sesame oil and fry shallot and garlic till golden. Then add lap cheong, minced pork, mushroom and dried shrimps or scallop (if using). Stir fry till fragrant and make sure meat does not clump together then add remaining seasoning ingredients. 
  6. Add grated pumpkin stir briefly then add 1/2 cup water. Continue stirring for few minutes till the mixture is thoroughly heated through. 
  7. Stir in the flour mixture. Heat off. Continue stirring there should be enough heat to partially cook the mixture to a thick paste. Taste to check if more seasoning is needed 
  8. Grease 2 - 3 aluminium foil baking tins (round or oblong). Spoon cake mixture into containers, press firmly to ensure no air pockets in the cake mixture. Smooth the top with dampen fingers lightly touching the surface. 
  9. Ready for steaming. Preheat steamer till very hot. Put cake in steamer loosely covered with baking paper, steam at medium heat for about 1 - 1.5 hours depending on thickness of cake. Cake less than 1.5 inches thick will take about 1 hour, cake about 2 - 2.5 inches thick will take about 1.5 hours. Test with a skewer around the centre to see there is no whitish paste to ensure it is thoroughly cooked through. Covering cake with baking paper is to prevent condensation collected on top of cake and making it soggy wet.
  10. Once cooked, take the cake out, lightly brush with oil and cover loosely then leave to cool.  Brushing with oil is to prevent surface drying. This cake is too soft to cut when hot. Better put in fridge after cooling. 
  11. Turn the cake out. Garnish with chopped spring onion, chilli and preserved turnip. This salted turnip gives a salty taste and a bit of crunch.
  12. Cake can be eaten while warm better still cut into slices after cooling (chilling) and fry with a little oil till golden. 
* If without a large enough steamer can cook the cake in the oven using a water bath (large roasting tray filled with some boiling water) covered with foil.

This cake is suitable for freezing. Defrost before cutting and frying.

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.


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


  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.

Make this filling while the dough paste is cooling.

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.

  • 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.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Stuffed pancakes with garlic chives 韭菜盒子

A simple dough and some tasty garlic chives filling make really good stuffed pancakes or pasties. This is a classic Chinese snack called jiu chai hur zi 韭菜盒子. In Chinese it means garlic chive box, box being the pastry. This snack is one I like to make for weekend brunch, simple and filling.

What is garlic chive or jiu chai 韭菜? It's a vegetable similar to spring onion (scallion) but the green 'leaf' part is flat not hollow like spring onion. Here is a picture if you have never seen it before. This herb/vegetable has strong smell (especially when cut) between a garlic and spring onion. I have tried growing them in the garden but they never grow as tall as those bought. The young flower shoots are edible sweeter and more tender. Most Chinese grocery stores will stock garlic chives. Koreans love it a lot too. One tip for anyone buying and storing this vegetable, if the leafy part looks bruised and damp don't buy, it will rot very quickly, or if you have forgotten it in the fridge and it is rotting away, it will stink of high heaven. Another thing many of you may not know, if you have flies around your house, these little buggers will hover around your kitchen once you start cutting garlic chives. The strong smell will attract lots of them from nowhere.

Here is the recipe how to make this tasty pastry snack.

Ingredients: (will make 16 large crescents or round filled pancakes, or 32 pcs half size crescents)


500g plain flour (all purpose)+ a little extra if required + some for dusting and rolling
1 tsp salt
250ml boiling water
1 tbsp cooking oil
about 50 - 60ml cold water


about 250g minced pork (ground pork), or chicken or turkey
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
2 - 3 tsp light soy
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder (optional)
pinch of ground pepper

3 large or 4 small eggs, beaten

1 small bundle (about 40 - 50g) of glass noodles or mung bean thread

250 - 300g garlic chives, if you cannot find garlic chives you can sub with spring onion

some cooking oil for filling and frying the stuffed pancakes

* many traditional recipes also add dried baby shrimps called sia pee or shrimp skin 蝦皮. Similar to dried shrimps but made from dried newly born shrimps with shell and head on. Like this. I could not find this at the grocery store, so I just leave it out.

  • Put the plain flour in a large mixing bowl. Measure one cup (250ml) of boiling water stir in the salt and oil. Then pour this hot liquid all over the flour while stirring with a pair of chopstick or spoon. The dough will become lumpy with some dry flour left. Then gradually pour some cold water little at a time while stirring to evenly mix the dry flour into the dough. When you see little or no more dry flour left, stop adding more cold water. No need to knead, cover and leave the dough to cool down for about 15 minutes. Then knead till smooth, if the dough is sticky add some more dry flour to bind. Leave the dough to rest for another 5 - 10 minutes.
  • To make the filling. Soak the glass noodles till softened, drain off water and chop. Add some oil to wok/pan heat till smoking, pour in the beaten egg. Stir, scramble and chop the egg till dry and separated. Remove and leave aside. Add a bit more oil, fry the garlic then add minced pork, stir till cooked through. Seasoned with light soy, salt, chicken stock powder and pinch of pepper. Leave egg and pork to cool. Rinse the garlic chives, shake off any excess water then chopped into 0.5cm wide bits. When the pork and egg are cooled mix in the garlic chives and glass noodles.
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal halves. Roll into a 1" sausage shape. Cut into 8 equal pieces. Repeat the division with the other half of the dough. Total 16 pcs. You can also cut each small piece into halves for smaller or round stuffed pancakes or pasties. You can make big stuffed pancakes about the size of your palm or small dainty ones.
  • Coat the dough pieces generously with dry flour. Set aside and cover to prevent drying out.
  • Dust the working area with flour. Take a piece of dough, flatten it then roll into a thin round disc about 11 - 12 cm diameter. Put some filling on one side and fold the empty side over to make a crescent. You can lightly dampen the edge with water if required. Using fingers press the edges together. You can use a fork to press the edge to seal. To crimp the edge , gentle lift up the filled pancakes onto your palm. pinch the edge to seal then crimp.
  • You can also make them into round shapes. Take two pieces of same size dough roll them into two equal round discs. Put filling on one. Put the other piece on top. Press to seal the edge. Then either seal with a fork or lift it up and crimp the edge.
  • Fry the pancakes using a griddle pan or a large fying pan. You can fry without any oil or brush the pan with oil or add few tbsp of oil to pan or I like to brush the pancakes with oil first not the pan, less oily smoke during frying. To brush the stuffed pancakes with oil, put one on you hand brush one side lightly with oil lower this onto the hot pan with oily side down. Prick the top (with cocktail stick) a few tiny holes to let out any trapped air. Brush the top with a little oil. When the bottom is golden brown, flip over and fry the other side.
  • Continue frying the other pieces. Can either cover the cooked ones with clean tea towel or keep in a cool warm to keep warm.
** If you don't mind the greasiness use more oil to fry, the pastry will be more crunchy.

Eaten as a snack on its own or dip with some chilli oil or chill sauce. Nice when hot or warm . If you have any left over can keep in the fridge, lightly dampen with water and reheat in a dry frying pan or reheat in the microwave.

Here is another similar stuffed pancake recipe.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Char siu bao using water roux

I made these char siu bao (bbq meat steamed buns) with a simple yeast dough. This is not the traditional smiling (cracked top) bao recipe which takes about 2 days to prepare. Traditional smiling bao also needs super white bleached fine milled flour (Hong Kong flour) which is not easy to find even from Chinese supermarkets in London. I used standard non bleached plain flour, the buns are not snowy white but beige in colour. Bleached plain flour is not sold in any standard supermarket in UK. I also added water roux to the dough which works quite well.

Here is the recipe if anyone like to try. I made double the quantity.


a. water roux
20g plain flour
100ml water

Whisk the water and flour together, sieve and gently cook (stirring all the time) till thicken like pouring custard. Cover and leave to cool.

c. Dough

0.75 tsp quick (instant) yeast
75 - 100ml water

1 portion of water roux as above
300g plain flour, all purpose or HK flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
15g cooking oil or melted lard
50 - 60g sugar
0.5 tsp salt

extra flour for dusting

  1. Mix the yeast with water and leave aside for about 10 - 15 minutes while the roux is cooling.
  2. Mix the water roux with yeast liquid, sugar, salt and oil.
  3. Sieve the flour and baking powder together.
  4. Either using a bread machine or mix by hand, mix the liquid with the dry ingredients together till combined. Add the last few tbsp of the liquid bit by bit, stop when a soft but not sticky dough is formed. Do not knead. Leave for 10 - 15 minutes. Then give it a quick knead till the dough is smooth, do not over knead. If the dough is very sticky add a bit more extra flour.
  5. Cover and leave to rise for about 1.5 - 2 hours at room temperature till dough is about 1.5 in size.


1 heap tbsp cornflour
200ml water
1 tbsp hoi sin sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
0.5 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking wine
2 - 3tsp sugar
pinch of ground pepper

about 175g char siu (bbq pork), diced
2 -3 shallots, chopped
a little cooking oil

  1. Mix cornflour with water then add the rest of the flavouring ingredients.
  2. Heat oil then fry the shallot till softened. Then add in the mixed liquid. Cook till thickened.
  3. Add in char siu and heat off.
  4. Leave the filling to cool.

To wrap the buns

greaseproof paper, cut into 9 - 10 pcs about 5 - 6cm squares

prepared dough
Prepared filling

a little vinegar for steamer

  1. When the dough has risen. Put it on a flour dusted worktop or board. Give it a quick fold or knead.
  2. Divide equally into 9 - 10 pieces. Roll into a balls and cover with clean cloth to prevent drying.
  3. Dust hands with flour, take a piece of dough and flatten it.
  4. Put on some filling. Then start gathering and pleating the edge of the dough into a ball/bun.
  5. Put the bun pleated side up on paper.
  6. Lay buns on steamer basket or rack. Leave them to rest and rise for about 15 minutes.
  7. Heat the steamer on high heat. Add about 1 - 1.5tbsp of vinegar to the steaming water. I was told vinegar helps the buns to expand bigger and whiter in colour. No sure if true I tried it, even if it doesn't help the buns it gives less build up on the steamer by the hard water here.
  8. Steam the buns on high heat for about 9 - 10 minutes till the buns double in size.
  9. Eat while hot.
  10. Any leftover either freeze or put in the fridge, reheat by steaming again.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Mooli and pork wrapped in flaky pastry 蘿蔔絲酥餅

These are nice little dim sum pastry balls great with a cup of Chinese tea. I am using traditional Chinese flaky pastry for this recipe but if you can't be bothered you can use bought puff pastry. Chinese flaky pastry is made up of two type of pastries layered together. Here is how to make this yummy dim sum.

For the filing:

500g peeled mooli or daikon, shredded/grated into shreds by cheese grater or a mandolin
200g minced pork (ground pork)
30g dried shrimps, rinsed and soaked for few minutes then chopped
about 50g spring onion (scallion), chopped
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt (to your taste)
2 - 3 tsp light soy
about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground pepper (to your taste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
a little cooking oil
1 tbsp cornflour (corn starch) slackened with some water

  1. Heat oil then add garlic, stir fry till fragrant then add dried shrimps and stir fry for couple of minutes then add pork, continue stir frying till pork is cooked through and no sign of liquid left. Add soy and pepper to taste.
  2. Then stir in the mooli, stir fry for few minutes till the vegetable is soften, add enough salt to taste and stir in slackened cornflour. Heat off and add spring onion.
  3. Leave this to cool while you make the pastry.

For the flaky pastry:

This pastry is versatile can be used in many pastry type dim sums , savoury or sweet, baked, pan fried or deep fried.

a. Water pastry
225g plain flour (all purpose)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
40g lard or vegetable shortening, melted
20g cooking oil (or you can use melted lard or shortening)
about 100ml lukewarm water

b. oily pastry
150g plain flour (all purpose)
50g lard or vegetable shortening, softened
40g cooking oil (or softened lard/shortening)

*If you don't like lard or vegetable shortening, you can try using butter for both pastries. It's not traditionally Chinese but will be tasty too.

  1. To make the water pastry a, mix all ingredients (except flour) together stir till sugar and salt is melted. Add this liquid gradually into the flour while mixing. Mix till all dried flour is absorbed. Depending on the type of flour you have and room temperature, you may need more all less the total liquid. If the dough is still a bit dry after adding all the liquid, add a touch more water. No need to knead. Leave the dough to rest for about 20 minutes. After resting give it a quick knead till smooth and leave aside for 10 minutes before dividing.
  2. To make pastry b, just mix fat and flour together till you get a lump of greasy dough.
  3. Divide the both doughs equally into 19 - 20 parts each.
  4. Take a piece of water dough, flatten this and put on a lump of the greasy dough. Wrap this up. Flatten and roll out into a long strip. Roll this strip up like a cigar. Turn 90 deg., and roll out this little log into a long strip again, roll up like a cigar again. This is how to create multi layers combining these two pastries.
  5. The pastry is ready to use. I normally repeat step 4 till all other bits of dough (water and oily) are combined before wrapping with filling. Cover to avoid drying. If using lard and working in a cool or cold kitchen, lard can harden the pastry quickly, so better cover with a towel wetted with hot water and wring out dry.

To assemble the pastry balls.

You need 1 portion of the filling as above, ready to use flaky pastries (19 - 20 pieces), 1 beaten egg for brushing and about 1/4 cup sesame seeds

  1. Take a piece of flaky pasty dough (see above), try and roll it out as round as you can to about 2 - 2.5 mm thick. Wet the rim of the pastry with water. Spoon on some filling. Then start gathering the edge together and wrap like a Chinese bao bun (see slide show). Then when sealed, lightly wet the surface and smooth the rough edges, shaped into a ball with the base slightly flatten. Continue wrapping all other pieces of dough till all done.
  2. Brush the pastry balls with beaten egg then roll with sesame seeds. Place balls on a baking tray/pan. If using no non-stick tray, grease the tray/pan with a little oil.
  3. Preheat oven to 200 - 210 deg C.
  4. Bake the pastry balls for about 20 minutes till golden.
  5. Serve hot.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Pan fried red bean paste cakes 豆沙煎軟餅

I have another portion of this lo mai chee dough and some red bean paste sitting in the fridge need using. I made some fried soft cakes (dou sa jin yuen bing 豆沙煎軟餅) . If you like jin dui 煎堆 you probably like these little soft and chewy cakes. It has the same taste as jin dui only softer and less oily.

Very very simple to make when I have the dough and bean paste all ready. Use the same quantity of dough and bean paste as the lo mai chee. Makes 12 small cakes

Follow the same recipe for lo mai chee up to wrapping and forming the ball. Then gently press the ball to a flat cake, sandwich between both hands. Be careful not the split the edge, try to use gentle fingers pressure from the centre and outwards. Coat one side of each cake with raw sesame seeds.

Pan fried with a little oil, fry the sesame seeds side first for few minutes on medium low heat till golden, flip over and fry the other side to golden and crisp.

Serve hot.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Lo Mai Chee with red bean paste 豆沙糯米糍

Chinese New Year is approaching, I am warming my engine up making some favourite CNY cakes, biscuits, dumplings and not forgetting a meal on CNY eve. My first CNY related recipe this year is Lo Mai chee.

Lo Mai Chee 糯米糍 is Cantonese style mochi, some people called lo mai chee as snow balls. Anyone who does not know what a lo mai chee or mochi is, it's a soft and chewy dough ball normally filled with a sweet paste or filling. This is a favourite snack for CNY because it is sweet and sticky, to symbolise a sweet and close family or relationship.

Authentic Japanese mochi is really hard work to make which sticky rice is steamed then pounded with a large wooden stick, usually men's job for pounding the rice dough and the cakes are only made for special occasions. You may find some Japanese mochi mixing green tea powder into the dough. Cantonese lo mai chee and some some short cut Japanese mochi are made with glutinous rice flour or sweet flour.

Here are some lo mai chee I've made with a red bean (aduki bean) sweet paste. I love them they are sweet to look at and I like the soft and chewy texture. I don't put too much sugar in the dough so not too sweet.

You may come across some messy recipes of which the dough is steamed till cooked which makes it very sticky and messy to deal with, then it is divided and filled. I find this too messy and hard work.

This recipe I am showing you is far easier. I have added wheat starch to the recipe, so the dough is firmer and less sticky to the teeth. This dough recipe is very versatile, can be steamed like this recipe, pan fried or deep fried to make various other sweet and savoury dim sum/cake. I will show you some other recipes in later posts.

For fillings you can use sweetened red bean paste, lotus seed paste, ground peanut with sesame etc. If you like a east meets west combination, you can use chocolate for the filling. I have also seen people using chocolate coated strawberry as filling, perfect dessert to celebrate both Valentine's and CNY together. So be creative if you like. For the coating, you may use dessicated coconut, roasted sesame seeds and toasted glutinous /soy flour.

Here is the classic Cantonese Lo mai chee with red bean paste 豆沙糯米糍 recipe.

Makes about 12x 4cm wide balls


25 -30g wheat starch (tung mein fun) 澄面粉, this is the brand I used
1/4 cup of boiling water

130 -140g glutinous rice (sticky rice or sweet rice) flour
a little bit over 1/3 cup water (room temp. or tap water)
25g sugar
2.5 tbsp cooking oil

about 3/4 cup or around 175g of sweetened red bean (aduki bean) paste 豆沙, homemade like this or bought

about 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
few glace cherries (optional)

about 12 cup cake cases, paper or silicone

* I normally make double portion of this dough and use the other half for another recipe.

  1. Put wheat starch in a medium large mixing bowl. Pour in the boiling water. Give it a good stir till you cannot see dry flour. Can be a bit lumpy but that is ok. Leave to cool for couple of minutes.
  2. Add in the glutinous rice flour, sugar and oil. Start to add water, put about 1/2 of the cold water first give it a good stir with a spoon, then add 1 tbsp of water one at a time and start mixing with your hand. You may need just 1/3 cup in total or a bit more. What you need to look for is the all the dry flour is thoroughly mixed and the dough is not sticky to your hand. Mix by squeezing and kneading the dough till very smooth. Leave to rest for about 15 minutes.
  3. For the sweet bean paste, take about 2 tsp spoon each (about 15g) and roll into a ball. Make about 12 balls. Normally bean paste is very thick and can be shaped, if you get a very sticky soft bean paste, forget about rolling into balls just scope a small dollop when wrapping into the dough.
  4. Wash you hands after handling the bean paste before you touch the dough or you will end up staining the dough. Also make sure you clean the work area.
  5. Take the dough out and roll into a uniform long sausage about 35 - 40cm long. Divide equally into half, then half again into 4, finally cut each quarters into 3 pieces. Each piece of dough is about 28 - 30g. Roll the dough into a round ball.
  6. Flatten each ball and spread it out as shown in the slideshow below. Try to make the inside thickness thicken than the edge.
  7. Put the bean paste ball on (or scoop some on) then wrap it up. Smooth the surface and roll between palms to a round ball. After making one ball make sure you wipe the thumb or fingers that has touched the bean paste to avoid staining the next ball.
  8. Line a steamer with parchment paper (which has been pricked to allow steam to pass through). At the meantime preheat the steamer.
  9. Put the balls on the steamer and steam for about 8 - 9 minute on high heat.
  10. Just before the balls are cooked, put some dessicated coconut in a bowl and get ready a cup/bowl filled with some water.
  11. When the balls are cooked and still steaming hot, wet hand and scoop balls straight out of steamer and roll with coconut.
  12. Then put the balls on paper/silicone cupcake cases. If you use paper cases, wait till the balls are cooled before you put on the paper, if not steam/heat from the ball will flatten the cupcake case shape.
  13. If you like you can top each ball with a small piece of glace cherry.
  14. Serve warm or at room temperature. Best eaten on the day. If you leave them for too long at room temperature or in the fridge they will harden up. Can refresh using the microwave for 10 - 15 seconds.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Gao Lic Dou Sa 高力豆沙

Whenever we go to a Beijingnese restaurant, we always had Peking duck and Gao Lic Dou Sa 高力豆沙.

These golden puff balls are rarely found in Cantonese restaurants. They are probably my favourite of all Chinese desserts. It's deep fried meringue with sweetened red bean paste or dou sa 豆沙. You can use homemade bean paste using this recipe or bought bean paste. There is no sugar added to the meringue, so not so sweet or fattening. Once the meringue is fried it has a lovely eggy nutty taste and slightly crunchy on the skin. Biting into it is a puff of airy meringue with soft, warm and sweet bean paste. Yum yum!

Not too difficult to make unless you hate deep frying at home.

Recipe as below. This will make about 8 - 10 balls. Allow for 2 - 3 per person. I am a piggy, I can eat up to 4 - 5 easily.

If you can get a helper it's easier. One person in charge of making and shaping the meringue balls and other look after the deep frying. If not you can fry one ball at a time. I normally use about 2 cups of oil and follow step 10 below.


about 3/4 cup sweetened red bean paste (aduki beans paste)
a little cornflour for dusting

4 large egg white
1 rounded tbsp plain flour
1 rounded tbsp cornflour

oil for deep frying about 2 - 5 cups

some fine or caster sugar for dusting

  1. Take a tbsp of bean paste and shape it to a ball. Make about 10.
  2. Dust lightly with a little cornflour and shake off excess.
  3. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl till stiff.
  4. Sift in plain flour and cornflour directly onto the meringue, best if you can fold at the same time so the flour will not settle on the top too much. Fold gently to mix. If the meringue looks a little bit lumpy don't worry.
  5. Heat the oil to medium hot, you can test it with a bread cube if it sizzles rapidly and browns very quickly it's too hot.
  6. Take a small ladle or large serving spoon, pile on some meringue.
  7. Pop a bean paste ball on top.
  8. Cover the bean paste ball with more meringue. Smooth the edges slightly to form a ball. The meringue ball is roughly bigger than a large egg.
  9. Gently ease this meringue ball into the hot oil. Do not deep fry too many balls at a time, 2 - 3 maximum unless you use a lots of oil and plenty of room for the balls to move around. If you use a deep fat fryer or with plenty of oil in a wok to cover the balls, then the next step (10) is not required.
  10. If the frying oil does not cover the whole ball it is better you follow this step. If not when you turn the balls the uncooked/browned meringue will flatten and you won't get the lightest and airy puff balls. This is what you need to do. As soon as a ball is in the hot oil, use a large metal ladle, scoop hot oil and continuously pouring over the ball to cook and brown it. Be gentle at first not to disintegrate the meringue.
  11. When the top part of the ball is slightly brown, then turn lightly few times till all sides are light golden brown.
  12. Take out and drain on kitchen paper.
  13. Put puff balls on a serving dish and sprinkle with sugar.
  14. Serve hot.

If you don't have red bean paste you can use banana, fresh strawberries or a cube of ripe mango. I think chunk of chocolate will also work. Experiment and be brave. Does not have to be authentic Chinese if you don't want to.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Ma Lai Goh 馬來糕

Been away for a while hope you did not miss me too much. I have a request from a reader asking for Ma Lai Goh 馬來糕, a steamed sponge cake available in most HK style dim sum restaurants. My recipe is really simple no whisking the eggs till moussy. Just mix everything together and steam.

There are few unusual ingredients used one is custard powder to give the cake a rich yellow colour and flavour and few drops of dark soy sauce for the additional colour. I can assure you the soy sauce will not make the cake taste awful. Normally this cake only use vegetable oil, I like the flavour of butter so I use 50:50 butter and vegetable oil.

Here is the recipe


120ml (or 120g) full cream milk (or 50:50 evaporated milk and water)
60g butter
60g any flavourless vegetable cooking oil
1/2 - 1 tsp dark soy sauce (more if you like the cake darker)

180g plain flour (all purpose flour)
40g custard powder
2 tsp baking powder (make sure it is fresh or the cake will not rise very high)
1/4 tsp bicarb

4 large eggs (each weighing around 65 -68g with the shell)
150g soft light brown sugar
50g plain white sugar

  1. Line a 7 - 8" round bamboo steamer/cake tin, or 7 - 8" square plastic container/colander with parchment paper. Some metal cake tin can go rusty if steamed so beware. I normally use a bamboo steamer or a plastic container/colander.
  2. Heat the milk, soy sauce, butter and oil together till butter melted. I put it in the microwave for 1 minute on high.
  3. Sieve the flour, custard powder, baking powder and bicarb together.
  4. Beat the egg and sugar together with a hand whisk for about 1 minute. Pour in the liquid (if still warm it's ok) and stir. Add in the dry ingredient. Mix till no lumps.
  5. Pour into the lined container. Steam for 30 minutes.
  6. The cake may drop a little but that is ok. Leave to cool till warm before cutting and serving.

Here is a picture of the mixture before steaming.

You will need a large steamer at least 30cm to steam this cake. If you have a wok with a domed lid you can use this for steaming as long as you have a steaming rack and the cake container will fit.

During steaming condensation (water droplets) will build up on the inside of the lid and can drip on the cake making it wet and unappetising. To avoid this, before you put the cake in for steaming, heat the lid till hot take it out wipe the inside of the lid dry. Then add 1 tsp of vinegar and 2 drops of washing up liquid, wipe the whole area of the inside lid with kitchen towel till completely dried then ready for steaming the cake.

Here is the test I can show you the lid is almost 100% clear with no condensation during steaming.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Spring Rolls

This is a follow up to the wrappers made on this post. I have made these wrappers many times now and they still work. Last week I ran out strong white flour so I used plain flour, it wasn't as good the wrappers were easier to break. I can now confirm the stronger (higher protein contain) the flour the better. The other thing I also found out was they are not very good to wrap after in the fridge for few days, the wrappers become brittle and split easily. I will amend the wrapper making post saying they are good to keep in fridge.

I will now show you a standard way to fill and wrap spring rolls.

You can use any fillings you like. I find raw meat is so much easier to wrap than bits of loose filling. Do not use anything with very high water content, the rolls will split and spit during frying.

Here is a standard recipe I do use frequently.

Filling: (This will make about 20 rolls using the homemade wrappers)

450g (1 lb) of minced pork
1 medium egg
about 12 - 15g Wood ears or tree ear 木耳
2 small carrot
about 3 - 4 sprigs of spring onion
about 2 tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp of fried crispy shallot (if you have some)
2 tbsp light soy sauce
pinch of freshly ground pepper
small pinch of salt
about 1 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp cornflour (corn starch), more cornflour is needed if the mixture is wet.
if you like spicy you can add some chopped chillies
if you have some fresh or canned water chestnuts, you can add some just chopped roughly

  1. Soak the wood ear till softened and expanded 3 - 4 times. Clean and finely shredded. Easier way to shred wood ear is too roll it up then shred.
  2. Grate the carrot using a cheese grater. (about 1 cup loosely packed)
  3. Rinse the spring onion and squeeze out any excess water then chop. (about 1/3 cup chopped)
  4. Now put all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Best way is to use your hand, keep squeezing and mixing till all combined and the mixture is quite firm. If you don't like the touch of raw meat use gloves.

Now make a flour and water paste for sealing the spring rolls. Use about 1 heap tbsp plain flour mix with water. The mixture should be runny.

To deep fry the spring rolls, I normally use a wok which uses less oil. Or you can use an electric deep fat fryer. Heat the oil till hot before adding the spring rolls. If using wok need to keep turning the spring rolls till done.

Once fried serve immediately.

If you are frying a big batch or serving these rolls at a later time, after frying keep the rolls in single layer in the oven around 120 - 130deg C.

How to wrap spring rolls. See slide show.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Cantonese Lo Bak Goh 蘿蔔糕

I have posted the recipe for Malaysian/Singaporean style stir fried lo bak goh or commonly known as chai tow kway, here is a similar recipe for Cantonese style with added meat and other ingredients to make it more savoury and flavoursome.

Lo bak goh 蘿蔔糕 is also called turnip cake, daikon cake or radish cake. It is a steamed stodgy cake made with rice flour and mooli/daikon. Usually seen or served pan fried in slices. This cake is a Cantonese favourite for Chinese new year and is available in all Cantonese dim sum restaurants all year round. This fried cake in dim sum restaurant normally looks pure white and quite plain with few minute pieces of Chinese sausage etc, the seasoning is usually msg, salt and some sugar. Homemade lo bak goh usually without msg and contains more 料 'lieu' or added ingredients, also the adding of soy sauce can make the cake looks not as white as those in restaurant. Chinese 'wax' meat or preserved meat like lap cheong (sausage) or lap yuk (bacon), minced pork, dried shrimps or dried scallops are common ingredients added for flavour and texture.

Here is how I normally make this savoury cake.


2 - 2.5 stick lap cheong (chinese sausage)
100g skinless lap yuk (chinese bacon) or 100 -125g minced pork
2 tbsp dried shrimps, soaked
about 3 dried shitake mushroom (about 10g), soaked removed stalk
2 dried scallop, soaked and shredded (optional)
2 - 3 walnut size shallots
2 decent size clove garlic
pinch of ground pepper
0.5 - 1 tsp salt or to taste
1 - 2 tsp light soy sauce

about 750 - 800g peeled mooli or daikon
about 250ml water (can use the soaking water for dried shrimps and dried scallop to replace this water)

280g rice flour
50g tapioca starch or potato starch
300ml room temp. homemade chicken stock (or water with added chicken stock granules about 1 heap tsp)
1 tsp sesame oil

cooking oil

  1. Soak the lap cheong and lap yuk (if using) in boiling liquid for few minutes till soften then finely chopped.
  2. Finely chopped garlic, shallot, soaked mushrooms and dried shrimps.
  3. Grate mooli/daikon. I used the food processor grater, saves a lot of work. For a very fine cake texture and save cooking time can also puree the mooli using the food processor.
  4. Mix rice flour, starch, sesame oil and stock together.
  5. Heat wok with few tbsp oil and fry shallot and garlic till soften. Then add sausage, bacon (or minced pork), dried shrimps, mushroom and scallop (if using). Fry till fragrant, and make sure meat does not clump together then add remaining seasoning ingredients. Remove to one side. Check if the wok has any brown sticky bits, if yes wash before proceeding to next step. Browning bits can make the cake looks greyish or brownish.
  6. Stir fry mooli with a little oil for about 2 minutes then add 250ml water and cook for few minutes till the mooli is softened.
  7. Stir in flour mixture, taste to check if more seasoning is needed and cook at low heat stirring all the time for till the mixture started to thicken like runny porridge before it gets too thick heat off.
  8. Grease a large casserole dish or non loose base aluminium baking tin or 2 - 3 disposable foil oblong/round containers. Pour cake mixture into dish/container, smooth the top with dampen fingers lightly touching the surface. Ready for steaming. For one large cake this will take about 1.5 hour, for a smaller cake about 1 hour. Test with a skewer into the centre to see there is no whitish paste to ensure it is thoroughly cooked through. Once cooked, take the cake out cover loosely and leave to cool. If without a large enough steamer can cook the cake in the oven using a water bath (large roasting tray filled with some boiling water) covered with foil.
  9. Can be eaten while warm as it is or cut into slices when cooled and fry with a little oil till both sides are golden brown. It is much easier to slice if the cake is cooled in the fridge for few hours or overnight.

Serve the cake with or without frying with Cantonese chilli oil, XO sauce, soy sauce or any favourite chilli sauce.

This cake will keep in the fridge for 4 - 5 days or frozen in chunk. If frozen, defrost before frying.

17 Feb 2010

Attached is a picture from PlumLeaf who has followed this recipe. She got it wrong using hot stock to mix the dry flour but the cakes did turn out looking good.

If you like this type of cake you may also like taro cake.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Lo Mai Gai 糯米雞 (lotus leaf wrapped chicken rice)

I love anything with glutinous rice. One of my favourite dim sum is lo mai gai 糯米雞 which is a steamed glutinous rice parcel with assorted filling.

It's very easy to make, essential item is lotus leaf which is available in many Chinese supermarkets which looks like brownish green paper and fan shape. Lotus leaf is not expensive, one pack lasts a long time. Lotus leaf gives a unique flavour to the rice parcel no other wrapper can be substituted.

This recipe will make 5 parcels.

A. Rice
500g glutinous rice, soaked
2 tsp light soy
pinch of salt
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup of water

B. Filling
400 - 450g chicken (better use leg meat more flavour)
2 sticks lapcheong (Chinese dried sausage)

5 - 6 large shitake mushroom (over 1" wide)
2 tsp of cooking oil

1 tbsp of light soy
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tsp cornflour
pinch of pepper
2 tsp sesame oil

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
a little cooking oil
3 tbsp shaoshing wine
2 tbsp oyster sauce
a little slackened cornflour

3 lotus leaves (select leaves without too much damage)

  1. Soak rice for 4 - 5 hours. Drain.
  2. Line a steamer with parchment paper. Put the rice on and steam for about 15 - 18 minutes till rice looks translucent.
  3. Take the rice out. Mix the rest of the ingredients for rice together and mix into the hot rice till all the liquid is absorbed. Cover and leave to cool.
  4. Cut the chicken into chunks, with or without bone. Marinate with soy, sesame oil, ginger, pepper and cornflour. Leave to marinate for about 20 -30 minutes.
  5. Soak the mushrooms with hot water till softened, cut into smaller pieces. Clean and mix with 2 tsp of cooking oil. Steam for about 20 minutes. (steaming with oil will soften the mushrooms more than without). You can leave the steaming if you can't be bother.
  6. Cut the sausage into 1 cm thick slices diagonally.
  7. Heat the wok, add a little oil and fry the garlic then add the chicken, mushroom and sausage, stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add shaoshing wine and oyster sauce, stir and add a little splash of water then finally thicken with slackened cornflour. Remove and leave to cool down a bit.
  8. Heat a large pan or wok with water. Add the lotus leaf one at a time, slowly pushing it into the water, careful dried leaves are brittle. Boil for about 10 minutes till the leaves are soft and supple. Rinse and clean the leaves. Cut off the hard centre stem. and cut the leave into half with scissors, each piece looks like a large fan.
  9. To wrap the parcel. Lay a piece of leaf, smooth side on top, on the woktop. Put on a lump of rice, spread it out a bit, then put on the filling and a little of the sauce. Then add another lump of rice on top to cover the filling. Wrap the rice like a parcel, trim of excess leaf if necessary. If there are big holes on the leave, making the rice sticking out, just patch them up with another small piece of leaf. If the rice sticks to your fingers and spoon too much just dampen with a little water.
  10. Put the parcel in a steamer with opening side facing down and steam for about 20 minutes on high heat.
  11. Ready to eat on its own, or with some chilli sauce/chilli oil and maybe a dash of soy.

This parcel can be frozen after steaming. Defrost and re-steam for 15 -20 minutes till heated through.

** If you have some char siu (chinese bbq pork) or soaked dried scallop, these can also use as filling.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Savoury stuffed pancakes

I bought similar stuffed pancakes for breakfast in Hong Kong and China hawker stall. They are simple to make great for breakfast or brunch. I think this is popular in Northern China rather than a Cantonese recipe. You can use any filling you like meat and veg, potato and vegetables (vegetarian) or even cheese and onion english style, great to use up any leftovers. You can make them ahead and warm in the oven, great for fingerfood party or packed lunch.

Recipe - make about 1 dozen*

For the dough:
300g plain flour
1 tbsp oil
200ml boiling water
pinch of salt
more flour for dusting or kneading

For the filling:
some cooking oil
2 -3 cloves of garlic, chopped
about 1-1/2 cup roughly chopped pak choi (Shanghainese), choy sum, other vegetables like spinach or cabbage, carrot or cooked potato (you can use any mixture of vegetables you like)
150 of pork of chicken (cooked or raw, cut into small pieces) or small prawns
handful of bamboo shoot, roughly chopped
about 8 - 9 strips of chinese pickled radish or choi bo (see picture on left)
2 eggs beaten
dash of light soy (to your taste)
pinch of ground pepper
dash of sesame oil
2 - 3 stalks of spring onion, chopped
about 2 - 3 tbsp of chopped coriander/ cilantro

  1. In a mixing bowl add the flour and mix in the oil. Pour boiling water in a cup add salt to dissolve. Pour all the water into the bowl. Mix the dough with chopsticks or spoon. It is quite lumpy at this stage. Cover and leave aside for about 30min.
  2. For the beaten egg, add a little oil heat till smoking hot and fry egg as omelette, brown on both sides then chopped into small pieces.
  3. Add some oil in pan/wok stir fry the garlic, add meat and cook till lightly brown, then add vegetables and chopped up omelette, stir fry for about 1 minute or till vegetables are tender but still crunchy. Seasoned with light soy (don't add too much the pickled radish can be salty), pinch of pepper and dash of sesame oil. Heat off, add spring onion and coriander. Leave to cool.
  4. Dust flour on working area and knead the dough till smooth, add in more dry flour if needed till the dough is not sticky. Roll into a long sausage and cut into 12 equal pieces, each piece about 40g. Put aside
  5. Dust with flour and roll each piece of dough into a thin pancake about 15cm diameter. Keep turning or rotate the dough when rolling making it easier to roll it out to a perfect round shape.
  6. Fill half of the rolled out dough with few tbsp of filling, dampen half the edge with some water. Fold the unfilled side over to form a crescent shape. Press gently to seal then trim off any uneven edge with a small knife. The pancake is ready of frying.
  7. To fry the pancake, brush the frying pan with oil then fry till golden brown on both sides.

* You can make dainty little ones if you like. use less dough and less filling each

** If you like the pancake to be more crispy add more oil when frying.

***Suitable for vegetarian: use any vegetables mix you like, IMO the pickled radish is essential as it gives a salty and savoury taste.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Shanghai Bean Paste Pancake

Chinese: 豆沙鍋餅 (do sa war bin)

This stuffed bean paste pancake is typical of Shanghainese snack or dim sum. Very easy to make and nice to go with a cup of tea.

Recipe - Serve about 4

For the pancake:
1 egg
110g flour (about 1 cup)
1 cup of water
1 tbsp of oil

1 tsp of oil for greasing the pan

about 250g of red bean paste 豆沙 (homemade as recipe or in a tin from supermarket)

2 tbsp of flour paste (mix about 1 - 2 tsp water with about 2 tsp plain flour to make a paste or can use some of the leftover pancake batter)

6 - 8 tbsp of cooking oil

Method: (see slide show)
  1. Mix the pancake batter ingredients together.
  2. Grease a 30cm frying pan lightly with oil and make about 4 -5 pieces of 20 - 21 cm round thin pancakes/crepe. Only fry the pancake on one side, when the top is dry it is ready to take out.
  3. Leave the pancakes to cool slightly.
  4. Spread about 40 - 60g of bean paste (about 3 - 4 tbsp) in the centre of the pancake, evenly to a rectangular shape. (You can stuff as much bean paste as you like)
  5. Spread the flour paste around the edges, and fold the pancake to a rectangular parcel.
  6. In a frying pan, add about 6 - 8 tbsp of oil and fry the pancakes maybe 2 at a time till crispy and brown on both side.
** other than red bean paste, other typical fillings include lotus seed paste 蓮蓉 or chinese dates paste 棗泥.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Donkey Roly Poly

Chinese: 驢打滾 (Re da Kun)

When you read the title you probably think what the hell am I talking about?

Ever seen a donkey doing a roly poly on dusty yellow sand? That is how the name of this sweet cake came from. I think the name is really cute and sweet.

Basically this is a sweet rice roll with aduki bean paste filling and rolled in toasted soya flour. A bit like sushi with a sweet bean filling. A popular sweet cake in Beijing.

Many recipes use glutinous flour pastry but I like this one with cooked sticky rice.


200g of glutinous or sticky rice

2 tbsp of sugar

150g of red bean paste (recipe see here)

50 - 60 of toasted soya flour* (see instruction below how to make this) + icing sugar** or sesame seeds*** (optional)

Method: (slide show click here)
  1. Wash and soak the rice for few hours. Put the rice in a container, water level should be just on the top of the rice, add sugar and stir. Steam for about 30 - 35 minutes or till cooked through. Leave to cool.
  2. Divide the bean paste into two equal portion and roll it into a long thin sausage.
  3. Line the working area with a piece of cling film, put half the rice on. Spread it out a bit, then fold the cling film over and spread with fingers till you get a smooth long rectangular block of rice.
  4. Put the rolled out bean paste in the middle and roll it up with the help of cling film and shape it like sushi. Press to firm up the roll.
  5. Put the roll onto the toasted soy bean flour. Roll and coated then cut the cake into pieces. This cake is best eaten within 1 day or it may be a bit hard.

* Toasted soy bean flour:
Traditional method is to roast the beans till golden brown then ground to powder.
The cheat method I used in the recipe is soya flour, available in Tesco or many other places. Roast the flour in a dry pan in medium low heat, stirring all the time for about 15 minutes till light golden brown, the flour should taste a bit sweet and nutty. See the slide show the colour of unroasted to roasted flour. IMO soya flour is less tasty than the traditional way using roasted beans then ground.

**Soya flour has a light sweetness if you like the flour to be sweeter add in some icing sugar after the mixture is cooled.

** If you like the coating to be even more nutty, add in some toasted sesame seeds and blitz with the flour using a mini blender.

Toasted soya flour may be an aquired taste if you are not used to it. If you don't like soya flour, you can use finely ground roasted peanut with or without sesame seeds.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Fried chicken buns

I find fried buns much easier to make and cook then the steam type. Here I am again making another batch fried buns, this time with chicken. Can also make this as flat buns, same as the beef buns posted earlier.

For the bread dough:
200g white bread flour
100g plain flour
2 tbsp sugar
¾ tsp of salt
¾ tsp of quick acting yeast
2 tbsp of cooking oil
160 – 175 ml of water

For the filling:
350g chicken breast cut into small pieces
1 ½ tbsp of grated ginger
2 tbsp light soy
1 ½ tbsp of Shaoshing wine
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
2 – 3 tsp of sesame oil
1 heap tsp of cornflour
2 stalks of spring onion chopped
Few sprigs of coriander (about the same qty as spring onion) chopped
Small handful of bamboo shoots (optional), cut into small piece
Few woodears, soaked and cut into fine strips – optional

some water and little oil for cooking


Slide show click here

  1. to make the bread dough, mix dry ingredients together, then add in oil and gradually add in the water till you get a soft dough. Mix well and knead (machine or by hand) for about 5 minutes. Leave to rise for about 1 hour till double in size.
  2. While the dough is rising, mix the chicken filling together.
  3. When the dough has double in size, tip onto a floured surface and give it a quick knead by folding. Then leave to relax for few minutes and stretch the dough to a rod shape and cut into 12 – 13 equal pieces. Then shape each piece of dough into a ball. With hand dusted with flour, stretch the dough ball into a disc about 8cm round then put on a lump of filling. Gather the edge together, keep going round till you have sealed the bun. Give it a final pinch to seal. See slide show. Coat the bottom of the bun with flour then place on a tray to rise for about 20 minutes.
  4. In a large frying pan with lid, heat on (medium low heat) and brush a little oil evenly. Carefully lift up the buns with a spatula and place onto the heated pan, cover and cook for about 1 – 2 minutes (lift one buns up, check if it is light golden) if yes, drizzle about 4 tbsp of water around the buns, the pan will sizzle, lid on and let it steam fried. Check about after 2 minutes, if all the water has evaporated, add another tbsp or two of water and continue steam frying. After about 6 minutes steam frying the buns should be ready, all the moisture should disappear. The bottom of the buns will brown and crispy. If they are burnt the heat was too strong.
  5. Serve immediately.
  6. If there are buns left over, can keep in fridge, can be reheated using the same method by steam frying.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Beef fried buns

I am in dim sum mood lately. Today lunch was some fried beef buns. Easy to make, soft and crunchy at the same time while they are still hot, very tasty. Cooking method is very similar to war tip dumplings. I have made enough for work lunch in the next couple of days.

Chinese: 牛肉煎包
Slide show, click here


For the bread dough
150g strong white flour
150g plain flour
about 160 - 170 ml water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp yeast (quick or instant)
1 tbsp cooking oil
For the meat filling
300g lean minced beef
about 3 spring onions (about ½ cup chopped)
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1 heap tsp cornflour
pinch of ground pepper
2 tsp sesame oil
1 ½ tbsp brandy or Chinese cooking wine

  1. Mix the bread dough till you get a soft dough. Knead for 2 -3 minutes in a bread machine of by hand. Leave aside to rise till double in size (about 1 hour).
  2. While the dough is rising, mix the meat filling and set aside.
  3. When the dough has risen, tip it onto a flour dusted working area. Give it a quick knead, leave for 2 – 3 minutes to rest. Then roll it out to a rod shape about 3 cm thick and cut equally to about 15 pieces +/- 1. For 15 pieces, each will weigh around 33 – 34g per piece. Roll each piece into a ball with hand dusted with flour, cover dough balls with cloth.
  4. With hand dusted with flour, stretch each ball like in the slide show till you get a disc around 6 -7 cm wide, fill it will a lump of meat. Then gather the edge together, pinch and seal it. Flatten the bun with fingers. Coat the sealed end side with plenty of flour, then place the floured side onto a tray (if not enough flour, the buns will stick and difficult to take out later).
  5. Leave to rise for about 20 – 30 minutes.
  6. Take a large frying pan brush with about 1 tsp of oil, heat till medium hot, pick up the buns carefully with a spatula and place them on the frying pan. Fry at medium heat for a minute or two or till the underside is golden brown. Flip the buns over, drizzle on 2 – 3 tbsp of water around the buns. The water will sizzle, cover the pan and let it steam and fry for about 3 - 4 minutes, checking about 3 minutes to make sure the underside is not too brown. Once all the water has gone and the underside is golden, flip them over again, cover and cook for another 30 second – 1 minute.
  7. Ready to eat while hot on its own or dipped with sweet chilli sauce, soy, or a ginger black vinegar sauce.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Breaded Prawn

Prawn toasts are so tasty but really bad for the waistline. I don’t make them as often as I like. Don’t use fancy bread, cheap white bread is fine. You can either use medium or thick slices.

The prawn paste I use has very little egg white and some spring onion for flavour.

200g of raw prawn, minced

50 g of pork fat meat, chopped very fine (optional if you don’t like it. Pork fat keeps the prawn paste moist)

2 stalks of spring onion, finely chopped

1 tsp of light soy

Small pinch of salt

Pinch of ground pepper

1 heap tbsp of cornflour

1 tbsp of egg white

1 tsp of sesame oil

Mix everything together and leave in the fridge for couple of hours before using.

I made 3 different breaded prawn.

1. Normal prawn toast with a twist. I add one whole medium prawn on top of the mince (the prawn is peeled but leaving the tail and make a slit on the back so it will lie flat on the mince). Cut the crust off the bread. Spread a thick layer of prawn paste about 0.5 - 0.6 cm thick (I like lots of prawn not just a mean smidgin like in some Chinese buffets). Cut the bread into triangles. Then put the whole prawn on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Deep fried till golden brown.

2. Second are prawn balls using the same paste, coated with diced bread. Deep fried.

3. Third is a prawn roll. Take a piece of bread, cut the crust off. Then roll with a rolling pin till flat. Pile on some prawn paste, spread it out but leave a bit of space at the end brush with beaten egg, then lay a few coriander leaves on the paste and a piece of lap cheong (Chinese sausage) cut into half. Trim off the edge to fit the size of the bread. Roll it up like a sushi. Press firm to seal. Deep fried for about 4 minutes. With a sharp knife trim off both ends and cut the log into 3 – 4 pieces.

Har Gau (prawn dumplings)

Har Gau is probably the most common dim sum beside siu mai all over the world. The translucent pastry and yummy prawn filling are so inviting and absolutely lovely to eat. Not too difficult to make all you need is the right flours, both available from any chinese supermarkets. See first picture on the following link.

Chinese: 蝦餃

Method of wrapping click here to view slide show


80g wheat starch (粉 or read in Cantonese as 'dung mein fun')

20g tapioca starch or oriental potato starch

¼ tsp salt

140 ml boiling water

2 tsp lard (melted) or cooking oil

a little cooking oil for greasing


200g raw prawns, roughly chopped

50g pork fat meat, cut into very fine dices (optional)

50g chopped bamboo shoot or water chestnut, chopped (optional)

1 stalk of spring onion, finely chopped (about 4 - 5 tbsp)

1 tsp of light soy

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

½ tsp sesame oil

This makes 16 - 18 pieces


  1. Mix all the ingredients for the filling, leave in the fridge for 1 – 2 hours.
  2. Mix the two flours and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well and pour in the boiling water, mix. Then mix in the lard or oil. The pastry should be quite lumpy, don’t worry. Leave it to cool a little.
  3. Rub a thin film of oil on the working board. Scrape the pastry onto the greased area. Rub hand with a little oil too. Knead the dough till smooth.
  4. Roll into a rod shape about 2 cm thick, mark equally and cut into 16 – 18 pieces. Each piece around 13 – 14g. Put pieces into a bowl cover with cloth.
  5. If there is any dough sticking on the working area, scrape that off.
  6. Grease a small area of the working area with a very thin film of oil.
  7. Take a piece of dough roll into a ball between your palms. Then press into a disc and roll it out on the greased area. See picture for the wrapping technique.
  8. Cover the completed dumplings till you are ready to steam. Can leave in fridge for few hours if you are not ready to eat.
  9. Steam at high heat for 4 minutes. Eat while hot on its own or with soy sauce or chilli oil.