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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Steamed Yam Cake

So good even without garnish
I have made many steam yam cakes but this recipe beats all !  The first batch was a trial run for a cookout and I could not stop snitching it from the moment it was cooked, even in its hot, oozy state.

This is the real McCoy but the secret lies mostly in the stock used, as kitchentigress has pointed out. Use water instead and it will just be, meh.

I  deviate a wee bit from the original recipe. Even so, this abridged version is delicious!

With adaptations from KitchTigress

For 10.

Ingredients :

40g dried shrimps + 30g shitake dried mushroom – soaked overnight / microwaved for 5 minutes
300g yam cubes, about peanut size
50g shallots, either stored bought or fried until crispy
salt, 5 spice, pepper, light soya sauce – for seasoning
oil reserved from frying shallots

Rice water gruel -
200g rice flour
240 ml water from soaking dried shrimps and mushrooms
600 ml chicken stock

Method :

Soak the dried shrimps and mushrooms overnight. Reserve the water.
Alternatively microwave the dried shrimps and mushrooms in a deep microwavable bowl. Drain and reserve the water.

Chop the shrimps and mushrooms finely. I used very small shrimps and did away with the chopping.
Cut the yam to peanut sized cubes.

If making shallots from scratch, fry in oil until the shallots are crispy. Set aside. Reserve the oil. Otherwise, use ready to eat shallots.

Use the oil and fry the yam cubes until soft but not yet brown on medium heat. Set aside.

Fry the shrimps and mushrooms with seasoning until fragrant, on medium heat.

Combine the shallots, yam, shrimps and mushrooms. Set aside.

Mix the rice flour with the reserved shrimp/mushroom liquid.

Pour the flour mixture to the pot. Add the chicken stock.

Cook the mixture over medium high heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Turn off the heat and tip in the combined ingredients. Mix well.

Transfer the batter to a medium sized aluminum tray. Steam for 40 minutes.

Cool well before cutting the cake with a pastry cutter.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lean madeleines

If the madeleines do not impress, there is always the pretty recycled box.

Makes 20 madeleines.

I made these madeleines without realizing that I was running  out of butter. Horror ! Even with 30% less than the usual amount of butter, these turned out quite decently. The proof ? The entire box of 15 was eaten up in less than 20 minutes.

Good thing I saved 5 for myself. One can never overplan.

Ingredients :

100 grams unsalted butter, melted
130 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 medium eggs, at room temperature
90 grams granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
powered sugar for dusting

Method :
Melt butter and leave to cool.
Mix flour, baking powder, salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine.
Beat eggs until volume triples.
Sift dry ingredients over eggs, in 3 batches, folding in the flour with every batch.
Scoop a spoonful of batter and mix with the melted butter. In 3 batches, pour butter mix into the mixing bowl, folding in with every batch.
Chill for an hour or more, to firm up batter.

Preheat oven to 190C
Grease madeleine pans and dust with flour. Shake off excess flour.
Scoop batter into pan, 2/3 full for every madeleine.
Bake at 190C for 10 minutes until madeleine are light tan.
Invert the pan and tap out the madeleines. Cool .
Dust with a layer of powdered sugar.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Bell pepper rice well

No washing for dinner tonight
Tired of washing bowls? This recipe allows you to have the bowl and eat it. No mess, no washing. Great for busy days.

Ingredients :

1 cup of leftover rice
1 big bell pepper, carefully hollowed out and seeds discarded
1 tablespoon of shredded cheese

Method :

Fill the pepper with rice.
Zap it in the microwave for 4 minutes.
Top it with cheese.
Grill for 5 minutes.

Voila ! Gourmet food under 10 minutes.

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 ).