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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Salted caramel cocoa buns



Recently, I read about some things that people enjoy doing unconciously : breaking the bubbles on the bubble pack, cracking your knuckles, pulling a tissue paper out of the box and so on. I have to add that this one is for bakers only – misting the interior of a hot oven and hearing the water sizzle to steam.

Which brings me back to these buns.

A friend gifted me with a tub of salted caramel chocolate flakes from Copenhagen recently. I enjoyed the rich taste of the salted caramel chocolate as a drink and thought it would be wonderful to have it in my breakfast buns as well.

Unlike most bun recipes, I mist spray the buns and oven just before baking. This is not an artisanal bread but since the signature flavor comes from a faraway land, I thought it should be accorded some special treatment.

Besides, the water sizzling in the hot oven is a lovely sound that only a select few will hear.

Makes 12 small buns.

Ingredients :

Water roux :

Mix 25g bread flour in 125g water ( 5 parts water : 1 part flour )  till it reaches 65C. Alternatively, keep  stirring the flour liquid  until it  thickens, forming 'lines' or ridges  when stirred with a whisk.

Remove from heat . Cover roux  to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature for further use.

The rest of the bread :

(A) 230g bread flour / 36g plain flour /40g sugar / 1/4 teaspoon salt / 11g instant yeast or 1 satchet / 2 Tbsp salted caramel powder / 1 Tbsp cooca powder
(B) 1 small egg  beaten / 85g water / 84g water roux  
(C) 30g butter, softened
(D) softened butter for glazing

1.            Knead 10 min, proof 40min until dough triples in bulk.
2.            Knead and make out 12 buns. Shape and arrange on a tray. Rest buns for 15 minutes.
3.            Preheat the oven to 200C.
4.            Mist the buns with a water spray. Just before baking , mist spray the oven.
5.            Bake the buns in a preheated oven for 13 minutes.
6.            Remove the buns from the oven. While still hot, brush softened butter on every bun.
7.            Cool well before storing.

Verdict :
It is a cliché for water roux buns but yup, they are all fluffy soft and delicate in texture. The taste is mild and pairs well with a strong spread such as nutella or lotus spread.  They go into the fridge after the 2nd day and taste as fresh as day 1 after 20 seconds on microwave power high ( in a paper bag ).


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Steamed promfet with sour plums



We normally prepare the fish last so as to eat it hot off the stove. I steamed it over a cold steamer so this dish was cooking as I prepare the rest of the dishes.

There is no salt or pepper involved but the taste was amazing. A fresh fish is its best seasoning.  Go for the parsley for extra color but any of your favorite garnishes will do just fine.

Ingredients :
1 small promfet, scored on the thickest part on both sides
4 sour plums
4 flower mushrooms, soaked overnight in chrysanthemum tea and cut to 1 cm thick
2 Tbsp ginger, julienned
1 Tbsp shaoxing wine

Method :
Place 2 plums and ½ of the sliced mushrooms on a steamed/serving plate.
Stuff the ginger in the stomach cavity of the fish.
Rest the fish on the ingredients.
Put the remainder of the plums and mushrooms on the fish. 
Pour the wine over the fish.
Place the fish in a cold steamer. Steam for 10 minutes or until the fish eye turns opaque white.
Serve warm.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Black pepper snow crab


This is the first time I am preparing crab for the Chinese New Year feast and it was a pleasure to see the end result licked up by everyone, including the garlic and basil. The KCT black pepper sauce was accidental but it did dress the crab without overpowering the overall taste.

Another good outcome that is easy to reproduce – hurray !

For 3.

Ingredients :
12 pieces of black pepper snow crab, washed and defrosted
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 handful of basil leaves
1 small cup of Kwong Cheong Thye black pepper crab sauce

Method :
In a wok, heat canola followed by butter.
Fry the garlic and basil in medium heat until it is browned.
Toss and fry the crab, allowing any liquid to dry out.
Add the black pepper sauce and toss to coat.

Serve warm.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

No deep- fry cereal prawn

Crispy, savory, sweet - all on a plate
With bigger crustaceans, pan frying may not produce the super crispy shells that one desires but it definitely saved me a pot of oil. I am not sure which is more popular, the prawns or the crispy curry leaves because the latter were devoured before anything else. Part of the magic lies in the cereal, which balances savory with sweet and impart an added richness to the dish.

It looks so deceptively sophisticated and complicated it has all at the table oohing and ahhing at my genius.

For 3.

Ingredients :
6 big prawns, heads and legs removed, deveined.
2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp of garlic
½ cup of curry leaves
2 sackets of instant ( low sugar ) cereals

Method :
In a pot, heat the oil and butter until the butter is just melted.
Fry the garlic and curry leaves until the leaves appear crispy, medium heat.
Add the prawns and pan fry in the aromatic oil on medium high until both sides of the prawns are seared.
Turn off the heat.
Add the cereal and toss to coat the contents.

Garnish with cut chilli ( optional ) and serve warm.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Hakka yong tofu, almost



As a kid, I learned this dish by watching my parents make it year after year. The first time I actually made this on my own was decades later when I already have my own family and kid. It was painstaking work scrapping flesh off the ribbon fish, mince the meat with a cleaver and then blending salted fish, meat and fish with the old fashion cast iron meat grinder clamped over the dining/work table.

Like a good modern person, I did all these things myself with ready made fish past from Chinatown and minced meat from any supermarket. I ditched the controversial salted fish and added water chestnut for crunch. It was so convenient, I only made it 3 hours ahead of the dinner. If there is one thing that was time consuming, it would be deseeding the chilli instead.

I have no special ratios here. I like more crunch in the meat filling, so I mix the meat with water chestnuts that are bashed into coarse bits in a plastic bag. No mortar, no flying objects and no knives. It is anger management with an edible outcome.

Away with nostalgia. Here comes the recipe for my almost Hakka yong tofu :

Ingredients :

For soup base :
1 cup of soy bean, soaked overnight.
1 handful of ikan bilis
breast of a skinned chicken.
1 litre of hot water

Meat filling :
2 portions of fish paste or minced flesh of ribbon fish
1 portion of minced pork
2 handful of fresh peeled waterchestnut

Misc :
10 bean puffs, halved and hollowed out.
1 block of tofu, divided to 2 triangle portions and hollowed out with a spoon.
3 red chillies, cut longitudinally and then deseeded
3 green chillies, cut longitudinally and then deseeded


Method :

8 hours before the dinner, combine all the soup base ingredient in a slow cooker  and cook on high.

Just before eating, place the waterchestnut in a thick plastic bag. Seal it.
Bash the waterchestnut with a meat mallet to coarse bits.
Combine this with the meat filling.
(I did not season this tasty filling but nothing should stop you from personalizing your creation.)

Transfer the meat filling to another big plastic bag. Seal.
Cut the corner of the bag to allow the biggest bit of chestnut to flow through.
Pipe the filling to the bean puff, tofu, chillies.

Transfer the soup base to a open faced pot.
Cook the ingredients steamboat style. If it is to be served straight from the pot, cook the tofu last to prevent it from breaking up.
Garnish with chives. Dip with sauce of your preference.