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Archive for March, 2011

 

Steamed Taro Cake 芋头糕-- without use of dark soy sauce

Steamed Taro Cake 芋头糕-- without use of dark soy sauce

Steamed Taro Cake 芋头糕-- without use of dark soy sauce

Steamed Taro Cake 芋头糕-- without use of dark soy sauce

This is my family’s version of taro cake 芋头糕. It tastes much better than those store bought bland mushy ones. The secret here is not about the big dried shrimps or big pieces of taro you put in it. The trick is to saute all ingredients until aromatic before adding the flour mixture. I like my taro cake full of flavor so I season it well, especially ground white pepper. The cake is very yummy eaten just by itself, no dipping sauce of any kind is needed. In Malaysia, there is  also a “brown” version of taro cakes if dark soy sauce is used. You can skip the dark soy sauce if you prefer.

Steamed Taro Cake 芋头糕--oh no! I forgot to dress up the cake (garnish)!

Steamed Taro Cake 芋头糕 before garnish-- This one is made using dark soy sauce.

Steamed Taro Cake 芋头糕 Recipe (makes 2 round 11-inch glass pan, cakes are about 2 inches tall)

Ingredients:

Flour mixture:
1 pack (1 lb) rice flour
1 tbsp wheat starch flour 澄面粉 (optional)– see note below
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp dark caramel sauce 黑酱油 (optional)– see note below
4 1/2 cup water
1 tsp cooking oil

2 cloves garlic– finely chopped
2 tbsp dried shrimp– rinsed and roughly chopped
4 medium dried mushrooms– soaked until soft then thinly sliced
3 Chinese sausages (Cantonese style)– chop into small pieces
2 lbs taro– trim off skin and cut into 1cm cubes

Seasoning:
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp dark caramel sauce 黑酱油 (optional)– see note below
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1 tbsp fried shallot

Garnish:
Chopped green
Chopped cilantro
Fried shallots
Fresh red pepper (optional)– thinly sliced

Method:

  1. For flour mixture: mix all ingredients to blend well and set aside for at least 30 minutes for the flour to soak up the moisture (put in the fridge overnight if desired).
  2. Heat up a shallow pan/wok with 3 tbsp oil. Saute garlic and dried shrimp until aromatic. Add in mushroom and sausages and taro cubes, continue saute until aromatic and the taro flavor comes out. Add in seasoning and stir to combine well.
  3. Pour in flour mixture (stir mixture again before pouring in) and stir constantly to distribute evenly. Turn down heat to medium and keep stirring until the mixture resembles of thick paste. Remove from heat and scoop the half-cooked mixture into 2 glass pans evenly. Smooth the top.
  4. Steam taro cakes on high heat for 45-50 minutes. If you use 1 steamer and stack 2 trays of cakes on top of each other, be sure to switch the trays half way through steaming. Let the cakes cool slightly (remove any excess water on top of the cake) before sprinkling green onion, cilantro, fried shallots and red pepper on top of the cake.

Regina’s Note:

  • wheat starch flour 澄面粉: Adding wheat starch will make the cake to have a slightly firm texture instead of the normal soft and slightly mushy texture. But, only adding a little is enough or else the taro cake will be too firm.
  • Dark caramel sauce 黑酱油: This is a thick molasses sauce that is black in color. Please not to be confused it with Taiwan style thick soy sauce 酱油膏, as one is sweet and the latter one is salty in flavor. Also, it is different from the Indonesian style dark molasses sauce, as the latter has a much sweeter taste. Skip this ingredient if you can’t find it.
  • This is Malaysian style taro cake 芋头糕, with lots of ground white pepper added and use dark soy sauce. It’s darker and more peppery than the usual Cantonese style.
  • Leftover taro cakes tastes super delicious pan fried with a little oil– crispy on the outside! If desired, add an egg too… you’ll love it!

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Green Onion Buns 香葱包

Green Onion Buns 香葱包

There is this bakery/dim sum to-go place in Chinatown, San Francisco (name of store is 好望角)that sells big green onion buns for only 80 cents each (used to be 60 cents!). I love their baked green onion buns and will go there whenever we go to SF. Nowadays with 3 kids, and Richard hates driving to the city, we hardly go to SF anymore.

Recently I was craving for their green onion buns, so I decided to make it myself. I rested the buns overnight in the fridge, so I could have the baking done first thing next morning rather than late afternoon after I finished all my daily chores. Here’s what I found out: the buns turned out fluffier than normal because of slow rising time in the fridge. I love it!

Green Onion Buns Recipe (makes 18 buns, 9x13x2 inch glass pan)

Ingredients:

for Dough:
2 1/4 cup bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp dry milk powder
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp dry yeast
1 egg
125- 150 ml warm water
2 1/2 tbsp butter

for Filling:
1/2 tbsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/8 tsp five spice powder
1/2 cup chopped green onion (4-8 stalks depending on size)
1/2 tbsp fried shallots– optional

1 egg– beaten, for glaze
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds– for sprinkle

Method:

  1. In the mixing bowl mix well the first 5 ingredients then add in egg. With dough hook attached and starts kneading, slowing add water to form a dough. Add a little more water if necessary. Drop in butter and continue to knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to the bowl and pass the “membrane” test. (pull a small piece of the dough, use two hand to stretch the dough to a very thin layer– if the layer doesn’t tear then the dough is ready to proof. Otherwise, continue kneading until it passes the test).
  2. Transfer the dough to a big bowl. Wrap the bowl and leave it on a warm spot to rest/proof until double in size.  (To speed up the resting time a little you can sit the bowl on a moist hot towel, or sit the bowl on top of a pot of hot water).
  3. Lightly knead the dough on a board a few times to punch out big air pockets trapped inside. Roll out to a 9×13 inch rectangle of 1/2 inch thickness. Spread cooking oil evenly all over, followed by salt, ground white pepper, five spice powder, and fried shallot (if using). Sprinkle green onion evenly then roll the dough up like a jelly roll/Swiss roll. Pinch to seal the edge. Cut rolls into 18 even pieces. Place each piece (cut side up) on greased glass pan, leaving a little space between each. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge overnight (see note below).
  4. Let the chilled dough sit in room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking. Preheat oven to 375°F. Apply egg wash on the top of the buns and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds. Bake in preheated 375°f oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.

Regina’s Note:

  • Dough resting time: for 2nd resting time, 45 minutes to 1 hour is adequate. But I found resting the dough in the fridge overnight yields a much fluffier texture to the buns.

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Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Have you ever had cheddar bay biscuits at Red Lobster? They are addicting, aren’t they?

Cheddar bay biscuit was on my baking list for a very long time, and I decided today is the day to bake it, to go with our steak dinner. I searched everywhere on internet for recipes, but only found all recipes use Bisquick (a biscuit premix). I don’t have Bisquick and don’t intend to buy one, so I turned to King Arthur Flour for some inspirations.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Well I don’t think my biscuits taste like ones from Red Lobster, they are yummy for sure! When the biscuits came out of the oven they are crispy on the outside, fluffy and tender inside. This is the best time to eat them, as the biscuits are not as fluffy and tender when they’re cooled.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Cheddar Bay Biscuits Recipe (makes 12 pieces)

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 tbsp dry milk powder– optional
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
4 tbsp cold butter– cut into cubes
4 oz (1/2 cup) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tbsp fresh parsley– finely chopped
1 1/4 cup cold milk

2 tbsp melted butter

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, dry milk powder, baking powder, salt and garlic powder in a big bowl. Use your fingers rub in cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (it’s okay if some of the butter pieces are big like pea size). Add cheese and parley to combine well. Pour in cold milk, stir with a spatula until the mixture is evenly moistened. The dough will be wet and sticky. Do not over mix the dough.
  3. Use an ice cream scooper, scoop dough onto baking pan 2 inches apart, about 12 biscuits. Bake for 8 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the biscuits sit in the oven for another 5 minutes until the top is golden brown. Brush the top with melted butter, and cool on the rack.

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Chocolate Cherry Scones

Chocolate Cherry Scones

Chocolate Cherry Scones(makes 12 small scones)

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter– cut into pieces
1/2 cup toasted walnut– chopped
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup dried tart cherries
2 eggs
2/3 cup whole milk or heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, stir flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine. Rub in butter until the mixture resembles of coarse crumbs. Add walnut, chocolate chip and cherries. Toss to mix well.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla extract and milk (or cream) in a small bowl, whisk to combine. Scoop out 2 tbsp to reserve for glaze. Pour the egg mixture all at once into the flour mixture. Use a spatula gently stir until the dough comes together. Do not over mix or the scones will be tough.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently 4-6 times, then divide the dough in half. Pat each half into 6 inch circle, then cut into 6 small wedges, for a total of 12 wedges.
  4. Place scones on a lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart, and chill in freezer for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 400°F.
  5. Brush scones with reserved egg wash and bake for 15-18 minutes, until the center is baked through and golden brown on the edge. Serve immediately.

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Stewed Duck Wings 卤鸭翼

Stewed Duck Wings 卤鸭翼

Stewed Duck Wings 卤鸭翼 Recipe

Ingredients:
10 duck wings

Stew Sauce:
3 inch ginger– crushed
3 cloves garlic– crushed
3 stalks green onion
2 star anise 八角
1 cinnamon stick 桂皮
1 honey date 蜜枣
2 sticks rock sugar 冰片糖
3 tbsp rice wine
3 dashes ground white pepper
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce 黑酱油
1-2 hot peppers (optional)
4-5 cups water

Method:

  1. Clean duck wings and remove any feather tips. Separate drummets, mid-joints and tips.
  2. Add all stew sauce ingredients in a pot. Cover and boil on high heat for 15 minutes to bring out the flavor and thicken the sauce a little.
  3. Add in duck wings, stir to coat the sauce evenly. Cover and bring to a boil. Continue cooking on medium high for 10 minutes, then partially covered and simmer on medium low for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat, cover the pot, and let the wings bath in the sauce to soak up the flavor.

Regina’s Note:

  • Since duck wings don’t hold a lot of meat and don’t require long stewing time, I cook down to thicken the stew sauce so the flavor is more concentrated.
  • When the wings are bathing in the sauce, it’s also a good idea to add a few boiled eggs to make soy sauce steeped eggs.
  • The stew sauce can be kept frozen and used over and over again. Just strain the sauce and remove the fat before freezing. Each time before stewing, just add partial amount of the stew sauce ingredients plus the previous利用 used sauce.

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