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Archive for June, 2009

Chinese Steamed Savory Cake

Chinese Steamed Savory Cake

This is a traditional Chinese steamed cake, but with ground pork and fried shallots makes it taste totally different. It is very easy to make, and the result is never disappointing every time I made it. One of the best part of this recipe is that unlike all other Chinese steamed cakes that typically take at least 45 minutes for steaming, this cake takes 16 minutes to steam (see recipe below)– which means it takes no more than 1 hour from start to finish! The flavor is very acceptable among Asian (unless one doesn’t like fried shallots); even my ‘guai low’ husband likes it too. Every time I make it for potluck, at first people are hesitated to try it because it’s not common, and the cake doesn’t look pretty, but after they have it they want the recipe :)…

Steamed Savory Cake Recipe (makes 1 square cake)

Ingredients:
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 flour
2-3 tbsp fried shallots– drained oil
3/4 rice bowl of ground pork
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar

8″ x 8″ glass baking dish– lined with plastic wrap (see note #3 below)

Methods:

  1. Season ground pork with some salt, ground white pepper, sesame oil, cornstarch and little water (it’s just like regular seasoning before you cook it). Fry ground pork with some oil in a heated pan. Keep stirring and breakdown the meat with spatula so the pork is loose. Add sugar and soy sauce, continue frying until pork starts to brown. Dish out and cool.
  2. Add eggs and sugar in a medium bowl. Beat using a electric hand mixer until increase in volume and pale in color, 10 minutes. Scrapping the bowl 1-2 times with a rubber spatula. To have a fluffy cake texture, you have to use electric mixer and beat at medium/high speed for 10 minutes.
  3. Sift in 1/2 of flour to the batter, use a rubber spatula to gently mix the flour on the top then gently fold in to mix together. Repeat with remaining half of the flour.
  4. Pour 1/2 of batter into square glass dish, smooth the batter and steam for 8 minutes on high heat. Take the cake out of steamer and sprinkle 1/2 portion of ground pork and 1/2 portion of fried shallots evenly on the top. Pour in remaining 1/2 batter, smooth the top and sprinkle remaining 1/2 portions of ground pork and fried shallots. Back to steamer and steam for another 8 minutes until cooked.

Notes:

  1. Use good homemade fried shallots as it is the soul of this yummy cake. Store bought prefried shallots usually doesn’t have a nice aroma as homemade ones but still ok to use.
  2. To save time, turn on steamer when you start beating the eggs– the steamer will be ready when you’re done with the batter.
  3. I like to use plastic wrap because the it makes cleaning the pan easy. However, plastic wrap will stick on glass pan but not on plastic or non-stick cookware. Also, be sure to push out any air bubbles trap in between wrap and cookware when lining, or your cake will look distorted after steaming.
  4. Other variation: spicy ‘hae bee hiam’ flavor, XO sauce or sambal flavor, five-spice & nam yee flavor…

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Baked Curry Puffs

Baked Curry Puffs

I made curry puffs and Chinese steamed savory cake for my son’s year-end potluck party at his Chinese school, and both of them were big hits! This is a baked version of curry puff. I’m not sure if it’s any healthier than the fried version, but at least it’s convenient as the puff pastry dough is available in American grocery stores, in frozen foods section. So all I do is just cook the filling, assemble and bake!

Curry Puffs: before baking

Curry Puffs: before baking

Curry Puffs after baking: all puffed up nicely!

Curry Puffs after baking: all puffed up nicely!

Baked Curry Puffs Recipe (makes 36 puffs)

Ingredients:
2 packs of frozen Pepperidge Farm ready-to-bake puff pastry (4 sheets total)
1 1/2 lb potatoes
1/2 small yellow onion– diced into pea size
1 chicken breast– diced into pea size, seasoned with salt, pepper and sesame oil

Seasoning to taste:
curry powder and/or curry paste
chicken essence powder
chili powder (optional– for extra kick in flavor)
salt

egg wash (optional)

Method:

  1. Thaw puff pastry according to package instructions. Cut each sheet of pastry into 9 small squares, for a total of 36 squares. Roll out each square to size of 4″ x 3.5″. Cover and chill all pastry dough in the fridge until ready to wrap in the filling.
  2. In a big pot boil potatoes (skin on) until just cooked. Drained and cool. Remove the skin and dice into pea size.
  3. Heat up pan, fry onion with some oil until fragrant. Add chicken and stir until chicken is cooked. Add potatoes and seasoning to taste. Cook until all seasoned evenly, adding a little water if it gets too dry. Dish out and cool.
  4. To assemble: Scoop a heap tablespoon of the filling and place along the short side of pastry. Fold the dough over, use a fork to press along 3 edges to seal. Pastry dough contains lots of butter so it can’t be at room  temperature for a long time. Chill all the puffs until you’re ready to bake.
  5. Make 1-2 slits on top of the puff to let the air out, brush with egg wash and bake at preheated 400°F oven until they puff up and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Cool on the rack.

Notes:

  1. Since the puffs are not very big, I have to cut  ingredients into pea size to make wrapping easier.
  2. You can substitute chicken with ground beef and make it beef curry puffs, or skip the meat for a vegetarian version.

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Zebra Cake

The first time I saw Zebra Cake on Baking Bites, the pattern is so beautiful that I told myself I want to bake one too. And so I did, with some changes– I added in some more oil because the cake batter was not as liquidy thin like what I read on some comments. Originally the cake batter is supposed to spread out on its own, but I used a spoon to “help” spread out the batter :). Oh, I also added some grated orange peel to the batter. For some reason the cake took me a lot longer time to bake than suggested in the recipe. The top was cracked but the center was still not cooked. Finally when the cake was done, I couldn’t wait to slice a piece to reveal the zebra pattern– it was beautiful wasn’t it? However,  my cake was greasy as a result of more oil used in the batter. Flavor wise, I find the cake kind of bland (hmm, could it be lack of almond flavor as I didn’t add almond extract??…) other than the hint of orange, so I poured some orange syrup (heat up fresh OJ with sugar till sugar dissolves) onto the cake (while the cake was still warm), and it tasted better.

Overall I’m happy with the look but not with the taste… will try the zebra pattern again, maybe with sponge cake or chiffon cake for a lighter texture. Wish me luck!

Zebra Cake -- before baking

Zebra Cake -- before baking

Zebra Cake

Zebra Cake

Zebra Cake recipe from Baking Bites.

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I got the idea from Chinese stewed duck ‘Lor Ark’ posted by pablopabla in his blog Hochiak! Delicious Asian Food. I made the stewed duck before and it turned out delicious, so I did it with chicken wings this time. I also added some chili powder for a little kick in flavor. Overall this dish turned out delicious too, and with the leftover sauce and some tofu and hard boiled eggs, I got another yummy simple dish– stewed eggs and tofu.

Stewed Chicken Wings

Stewed Chicken Wings

Stewed Chicken Wings Recipe

Ingredients:
15-20 chicken wings (mid joints)
1 inch ginger
1/2 inch galangal
4 cloves of garlic
8 shallots
1 tsp five-spice powder
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
salt to taste
chili powder (optional)
4-5 cups hot water

Methods:

  1. Clean chicken wings and season with five spice powder for 30 minutes.
  2. Blend ginger, galangal, garlic and shallots in a blender, adding just enough water to facilitate blending.
  3. Heat up a wok and add some oil. Fry the blended paste until fragrant, add dark soy sauce and sugar, stir well.
  4. Add chicken wings and stir until the skin is cooked and shrink slightly. Add hot water and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium and cook until the wings are done and sauce thicken slightly. Turning occasionally so the wings won’t stick to the bottom. Add salt and chili powder to taste. (if the wings are done and the sauce is still watery, remove the wings and continue cooking the sauce, until it thicken slightly).

Note:

I didn’t have fresh shallots this time so I used fried shallots in my pantry, just added it after I added the chicken wings to the wok.

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