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Archive for May, 2011

Ever since my first attempt with braided bread I have been wanting to make it again, but this time I decided to change the fillings to savory one. In this case, it’s preserved mustard green 咸酸菜. I want to create a filling with complex flavor– spicy, slightly salty and yet hint of sweetness of the filling, balanced with the slightly sweet bread– a bite of it will wake up your palate and ask for more. I bought a pack (about 10 oz.) of preserved mustard green, but found out it was not enough to be the main ingredient. Instead of running to the store to buy more, I decided to substitute with a pack of pickled mustard 榨菜.

Pickled Mustard Green Braided Bread 酸菜榨菜包

Pickled Mustard Green Braided Bread 酸菜榨菜包

By the time I finished cooking the filling, I thought it wasn’t the type of spiciness that I was looking for. Since my bread dough was all ready to break through the plastic wrap covering it, I don’t have time to recook the filling and wait for it to cool– so, I found some extra siracha  hot sauce from one of the to-gos from Vietnamese restaurant. Mixed it in and tasted– a little spicier but it’s still missing some thing. Then I saw the tom yum paste my sister left while she was here. Stir that in and tasted– STILL didn’t taste quite right to me! At this point, I knew I had to leave it alone or else it will taste worse, and so I did. All in all, it is still a wonderful bread with delicious filling, but just not the flavor I’m shooting for. Oh well, maybe next time…

Pickled Mustard Green Braided Bread 酸菜榨菜包

Pickled Mustard Green Braided Bread 酸菜榨菜包

Pickled Mustard Green Braided Bread 酸菜榨菜包 (makes 2 loaves)

Ingredients:

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

Filling:
pickled mustard green filling– recipe follows

egg wash for glazing
sesame seeds for sprinkling

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. Cut the dough into 2 equal portions. Roll out each dough to a 8×11 inch rectangle/oval of 1/2 inch thickness. Scoop some filling on the middle 1/3 of the dough. Make diagonal 1-inch strips on the other 2/3 of the dough. First fold one ends over the filling. Then pull strips, alternating, to the other side crossing over the filling. Before pulling the last two strips, fold in the end piece over the filling first. For the last strips, just tuck in at the bottom (see pictures below). Place on a large baking pan (greased or lined with parchment paper). Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise slightly again (it takes from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on room temperature).
  4. Apply egg wash on the bread then sprinkle sesame seeds on the top. Bake in preheated 350°f oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.

Pickled Mustard Green Filling Recipe:

Ingredients:
1 pack preserved mustard green 咸酸菜 (about 10 oz.)
1 pack pickled mustard 榨菜 (about 10 oz.)
1/2 lb ground pork– seasoned with the usual seasoning (salt, pepper, sesame seed oil and cornstarch water)
3 cloves garlic– chopped
3 red hot peppers– chopped
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder

Method:

  1. Prepare preserved mustard green 咸酸菜: Rinse off the marinade from the package then chop. Wash chopped preserved mustard green in a bowl, squeezing a couple of times during washing. Repeat washing and squeeze dry. Set aside.
  2. Prepare pickled mustard 榨菜 same as above.
  3. Heat up 3 tbsp oil in a hot wok, add in garlic and hot peppers, saute until aromatic. Add in ground pork, keep stirring to loosen up the meat.
  4. Add in both types of mustard, saute for a few minutes. Add sugar and chicken bouillon powder (I didn’t add salt as the mustard are salty already, sugar was added to balance the saltiness). Saute for another couple of minutes. Let it cool and it’s ready for use.

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Braised Garlic Chicken蒜头干烧鸡

Braised Garlic Chicken蒜头干烧鸡

My friend and neighbor Angela gave me some garlic chicken last week and it was very tasty. This is similar to a chicken dish I had in my family growing up in Malaysia, but Angela’s chicken is much more flavorful. I decided to make it my own, add in some dried red chilies of course to spice it up a little. I chose chicken wings but you can use chopped whole chicken, drumsticks etc. Just be sure the chicken pieces are about the same size. The tricky part is don’t add too much water all at once– or else you’ll have watery sauce, or the chicken maybe be overcooked.

Braised Garlic Chicken 蒜头干烧鸡 Recipe

Ingredients:
10 whole chicken wings
2 bulks garlic– skin off and lightly crushed
5 shallots– lightly crushed
1 inch ginger– lightly crushed
10 dried red chilies– soak in hot water then drain
4 stalks green onion– chopped into 1 inch length

seasoning:
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
5 tbsp rice cooking wine
1 tbsp sugar
2 dashes of ground white pepper
1 cup hot water

drizzle: 1 tsp sesame seed oil

Method:

  1. Cut wings into drummets, mid-joints and wing-tips. Use only drummets and mid-joints, discard wing-tips or save for other use.
  2. Heat up 2 tbsp oil in a hot wok, saute garlic and shallots until aromatic. Dish out. Maintain the heat.
  3. Saute ginger and dried chilies until aromatic, add drummets and mid-joints to the wok and saute until the surface is cooked. Stir continuously. Add all seasoning,water, garlic and shallots. Stir until the chicken is cooked and there is only a little liquid left (the liquid should be thicken slightly at this point). Add in green onion and drizzle in sesame seed oil. Make a few quick stirs and dish out. Serve hot.

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Mochi Puff Trial #2-- NO puffs! =(

Mochi Puff Trial #2-- NO puffs! =(

Mochi Puff Trial #2-- NO puffs! =(

Mochi Puff Trial #2-- NO puffs! =(

Mochi Puff Trial #2

Ingredients:
1 cup tapioca flour
2 tbsp bread flour
2 tbsp dry whole milk powder
3 tbsp sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp butter– melted and cooled
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds– toasted

Method:

Preheat oven t 350°F. Add all ingredients (except sesame seeds) in a mixing bowl and beat for 5 minutes. Stir in black sesame seeds. Pour batter evenly each of 24 non-stick mini muffin molds. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the mochi comes out not wet. Remove from the muffin molds and cool on the rack. Serve while they are warm.

Verdict:

The flavor is mild with milky taste and sesame seeds add nutty flavor to it. It tastes (a little firm) chewy like mochi, but still NOT puffed up and NO hollow interior!! What went wrong?  Can anyone help?

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I was trying to make Korean style mochi bread from scratch, as it has very good review from almost everyone who has tried it. But all the recipes I searched online use Korean mochi bread premix, and I don’t have access to such luxury. So, here I am, pulling the ingredient list from all sources, trying to create something similar. I made some cheese puffs before, and I remembered they puffed up pretty good and chewy (except they were too salty and cheesy– another story!), so I thought why not modify the ingredients and their proportion, hoping to create some sort of mochi puffs. I forgot to take a picture of this trial, but you can read  the verdict at the end of this post.

Mochi Puff Trial #1

Ingredients:
2/3 cup tapioca flour, plus 6 tbsp– see note below
1/3 cup bread flour
2 tbsp dry whole milk powder
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp butter– melted and cooled
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds– toasted

Method:

Preheat oven t 400°F. Add all ingredients (except sesame seeds) in a mixing bowl and beat until the batter is smooth. Stir in black sesame seeds. Pour batter evenly each of 24 non-stick mini muffin molds. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the mochi comes out not wet. Remove from the muffin molds and cool on the rack. Serve while they are warm.

Regina’s Note:

  • tapioca flour: After I added in water the batter looked very runny, so I added in 6 more tbsp of tapioca flour to thicken up the batter a little.

Verdict:

The flavor is good to what I have in mind– mild with milky taste and sesame seeds add nutty flavor to it, just like the pearl buns 珍珠包 selling at the local Sogo Bakery. But, no puff! I think my oven temperature is too high, as the bottom of the “puffs” are pretty brown and crunchy like crackers. Could it because I used too much of bread flour, as I could only taste a very slightly chewiness out of it?…

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Chinese BBQ Pork

Chinese BBQ Pork

In the past, I always had problem with store bought Chinese BBQ pork– the leftover meat always has that dark color that makes you think it is spoiled, totally not appetizing! Now I can say bye-bye to those “red meat” as I can make my own Chinese BBQ pork at home. It is actually pretty easy, and the flavor is way better than those store bought colored meat. There are many recipes on the web, just pick one and fine tuning the flavor of the BBQ sauce yourself. I got my recipe from Rasa Malaysia, but modified the ingredients proportions to cook 3 pounds of meat.

Chinese BBQ Pork 叉烧 Recipe– adapted from Rasa Malaysia

Ingredients:
3 lbs pork butt 梅头肉
5 cloves garlic– finely chopped — see note below
1/2  tbsp salt

Marinade Sauce:
12 tbsp honey– see note below
6 tbsp hoisin sauce 海鲜酱
6 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rose wine 玫瑰露酒
1/8 tsp ground white white pepper
1 tsp five spice powder
2 tsp sesame seed oil
1/2 tsp paprika powder for coloring (optional)

Method:

  1. Prepare marinade sauce: combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan, cook on medium low heat until all combined and the sauce slightly thicken. Stir constantly. Set aside to cool.
  2. Cut pork butt into 3/4– 1 inch thick pieces. Rub chopped garlic, shallots and salt all over. Pour in 1/2 of marinade and coat well. Marinate the meat overnight in the fridge. Save remaining 1/2 of marinade in the fridge for basting.
  3. Preheat oven to400°F. Remove excess marinade and roast meat on a rack in shallow pan for 30 minutes, until the meat is cooked. Transfer to the grill to char the surface, basting marinade sauce while grilling. Slice into small pieces. If you have extra sauce, brush over the sliced meat. Serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Garlic: If you have shallots on hand, you can also partially substitute a few chopped shallots for more flavor.
  • Honey: The original recipe uses equal amount of  maltose 麦芽糖 and honey, but since I ran out maltose, I doubled up the honey portion.

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Tropical Fruit Scones

Tropical Fruit Scones

You may use different dried tropical fruits you like to create different taste to the scones. I happened to have some dried pineapples and dried mango from making orange mango nut bread, so that’s what I used. I also added some dried cranberries for some color.

Tropical Fruit Cream Scones (makes 12 small scones)

Ingredients:
2 cup all purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling
3 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter– cut into pieces
1/2 cup of chopped dried tropical fruit(s)– I used pineapple and mango combination
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
2 eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, stir flour, sugar, salt and baking powder to combine, rub in butter until the mixture resembles of coarse crumbs. Mix in dried fruits and nuts.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, cream and vanilla extract. Reserve 2 tbsp of egg mixture and pour the remaining 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, and cut into 6 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 mixture and bake for 15-18 minutes, until the center is baked through and golden brown on the edge. Serve warm.

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