Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August, 2011

Blueberry Scones

Blueberry Scones

Blueberry Scones Recipe (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
2/3 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
zest of 1 large orange or 2 lemon
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, nuts and zest.
  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, 2 inches apart,  on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and chill in freezer for 30 minutes (see note below). 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 immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Freezing scones: According to King Arthur’s Flour website, chilling scones for 30 minutes before baking help relax the gluten in the flour, and thus producing  flakier scones. My view is that if you have time and room in your freezer, go for it. If not, pop in the oven right away is okay too, just be sure to preheat the oven before prepping.

Read Full Post »

Fried crispy shallots is a common condiment in South East Asia cuisine– we add it to soups, rice and all kinds of dishes, and it instantly makes the dish a lot tastier. Frying shallots is a skill, from choosing the right type of shallots, slicing and to the frying. I love how the whole house smells after I fried shallots– it is just so incredibly aromatic. For those who are afraid of frying shallots at home, luckily it is becoming common in Asian grocery stores. Although the store bought ones are not as fragrant as home made ones, at least they are crispy.

Fried Shallots & Cheese Scones

Fried Shallots & Cheese Scones

Fried Shallots & Cheese Scones Recipe (makes 12 small scones)

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tbsp sugar– see note below
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter– cut into cubes
1/2 cup toasted walnuts– chopped
2/3 cup grated Asiago cheese– see note below
3 tbsp fried shallots– drain the oil
1/3 cup plus 3 tbsp heavy cream
2 eggs

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine. Rub in cold butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles crumbles. Add in walnuts, cheese and fried shallots, mix well. Make a well in the center.
  2. Whisk cream and eggs in a small bowl to combine. Scoop out 2 tbsp of the egg mixture for glazing. Pour the remaining egg mixture into the flour mixture. Using a spatula, mix until the dough just combined.
  3. Transfer dough to a floured surface. Gently knead the dough a couple of times, then pat into a disc. Divide the dough in half, then shape each half into a disc of  6-inch diameter. Cut each disc into 6 equal small wedges.
  4. Place the scones on a floured non-stick baking pan and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes (see note below). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F.
  5. Glaze the egg mixture on chilled scones, and bake for 20 minutes. Cool scones slightly on a rack. Served warm with butter.

Regina’s Note:

  • Sugar: since this is savory scones, I used less sugar.
  • Cheese: I like to use Asiago cheese, but you can use parmesan, cheddar or strong flavor hard cheese.
  • Freezing scones: According to King Arthur’s Flour website, chilling scones for 30 minutes before baking help relax the gluten in the flour, and thus producing  flakier scones. My view is that if you have time and room in your freezer, go for it. If not, pop in the oven right away is okay too, just be sure to preheat the oven before prepping.
  • Flavor: the flavor of the scones is pretty much like the garlic shallot cookies that I made, but without the heat. If you want to spice it up, feel free to add in some crushed red chili flakes or fresh chopped jalapeno peppers.

Read Full Post »

With my first trial of otak-otak, I baked it in the oven. The flavor was good but it was missing the charcoal flavor with traditional otak-otak. So, when I made otak-otak this time, I decided to use banana leave,  and grill my otak-otak in my wok over the stove. The result is that the otak-otak is much better this time– burned banana leaves give it a nice grilled flavor. I also added more water and oil so the texture of otak-otak is much softer, but still no sheen of oil…hmm, I think I have to add more oil on my next trial.

Muar Style "Otak-Otak" Trial #2 麻坡乌达

Muar Style "Otak-Otak" Trial #2 麻坡乌达

Muar “Otak-Otak” Trial #2 麻坡乌达 Recipe

Ingredients:
1 container (12 oz) fish paste
1 cup coarsely chopped Sierra Mackerel fish (boneless)
1 cloves garlic– minced
1 shallot– minced

Seasoning:
2 tbsp sambal or chili paste
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp turmeric  powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika powder (optional– for more brilliant color)
2 tbsp oil– see note below
4 tbsp water

150 ml (about 2/3 cup) thick coconut milk

2 pieces of banana leaves (11″x 11″ each piece)

Method:

  1. Blanch banana leaves in boiling water to soften it. Rinse and drain.
  2. Mix together fish paste, fish meat, garlic, shallot and seasoning. Add in coconut milk and mix to combine.
  3. Coat the bottom of a large wok or frying pan with a little oil. Lay down 2 pieces of banana leaves. Coat the top of banana leaves with a little more oil. Spoon otak-otak mixture on the top of the leaves, spread to form a even layer as big as possible, and smooth the top. Cover the wok/pan with a lid, cook on medium high heat until otak-otak is cooked through. As the bottom of banana leaves burns, it will give otak-otak a nice grill flavor.

Regina’s Note:

  • Oil: I added 4 tbsp of oil but there’s still no sheen of oil on my otak-otak. Maybe I should add another 2-3 tbsp oil/chili oil?…
This is the brand of frozen fish paste that I used for making otak-otak.

This is the brand of frozen fish paste that I used for making otak-otak.

Read Full Post »

Finally! I made some corn pancakes while corns are still in season. My next corn affair will probably be corn and bacon scones, sweet corn fritters… hmm, can’t decide…

Fresh Corn Pancakes

Fresh Corn Pancakes

Fresh Corn Pancakes Recipe (makes 17 pieces of 4-inch pancakes)

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup flour
2-3 tbsp sugar– see note below
5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 ears of fresh corn, or enough to yield 2 cups corn kennels
1 1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp butter– melted and cooled
2 eggs

Method:

  1. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a big bowl.
  2. Cut corns kennels from the cob, enough to yield 2 cups of corn kennels. Set aside. Then use the back of a knife, scrap down any remaining corn pulps and corn juice.
  3. Add 3/4 cup of corn kennels, corn pulps and juice from the cob, and milk in a blender. Blend until fine. Pour milk mixture into a bowl, add in melted butter and eggs, whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the wet mixture and remaining corn kennels to the flour mixture all at once. Mix with a balloon whisk until the batter is just combined. The batter will be lumpy.
  5. Cook as you will with regular pancakes. Serve hot with butter, maple syrup and whipped cream.

Regina’s Note:

  • Sugar: if less sugar is the corns are sweet or if you use more maple syrup.
  • Canned corn can be substituted if fresh corn is not available– check for sugar content though, as some canned corn/cream of corn is already sweetened. Adjust sugar amount accordingly.
  • These pancakes can be served sweet with maple syrup and butter, or savory style with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.
Fresh Corn Pancakes. Can you see the corn kennels?

Fresh Corn Pancakes. Can you see the corn kennels?

 

Read Full Post »

“Otak-otak” is a Malaysian food that is made of spicy minced fish paste (usually mackerel fish), wrapped between coconut leave fronds then charcoal grilled. In my hometown Muar, “otak-otak” can often be found in Chinese traditional coffee shops, where people always eat it along with some noodle dishes they order from other vendors selling food inside the coffee shops. There is even a bakery in Muar selling bake buns with “otak-otak” filling and the buns sold out fast. My family likes to serve it with steam rice as part of a meal, or make “otak-otak”sandwiches as a breakfast or tea-time snack.

The typical fish for making “otak-otak” is mackerel. Years ago, I made my first “otak-otak” using mackerel but it didn’t turn out good. Back then I didn’t follow any recipe– it was really an experiment for me. This time I saw this recipe online and decided to give it a try because the picture of “otak-otak” looks just like the ones from my hometown. I happened to have some grouper fish leftover so I used it instead of mackerel. Actually this is quite an easy dish to prepare especially I always have sambal chili on hand– all I did was mixing chopped grouper fish, store bought fish paste, coconut milk and some spicy seasoning, then bake in the oven. Easy enough?

The outcome? The flavor is very closed to the ones found in Muar. But my “otak-otak” is a bit firm and dry. Next time, I should add more liquid (water, oil and maybe more coconut milk?), and I shall cover the baking pan with foil to keep in some moist during baking. There will be next trial for sure…

Muar Style "Otak-Otak" Trial #1 麻坡乌达

Muar Style "Otak-Otak" Trial #1 麻坡乌达

Muar Style “Otak-Otak” Trial #1 麻坡乌达 Recipe– original recipe from Y3K Free Recipes

Ingredients:
1 lb fish paste– see note below
1/2 lb minced sierra mackerel or grouper fish– see note below
1/2 tsp salt
150 ml coconut milk

Seasoning:
2 tbsp wheat flour 澄面粉– see note below
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp chili paste or sambal
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp chili powder– see note below
1 clove garlic– minced
1 shallot– minced

Method:

  1. Season minced fish with 1/2 tsp of salt, then mix with fish paste to combine. Add in seasoning and coconut milk, stir to combine well.
  2. Pour mixture into a shallow baking pan, smooth the top. Bake at preheated 400°F oven for 12-15 minutes.

Regina’s Note:

  • Fish paste: different brand of fish paste has different taste and texture (mushy soft or “bouncy” firm). The one I used is a frozen fish paste sold in a plastic container brand 佳发鱼浆. This brand can be found in Foodnet Supermarket in San Leandro, CA or Marina Foods in Union City, CA.
  • Minced fish: mackerel fish is typically used here. Or, you can use chopped small shrimps and make it shrimp “otak-otak”.
  • Wheat flour: wheat flour is used to produce a little firm texture to “otak-otak”. If a softer, mushy texture is preferred then use corn flour or tapioca flour instead. Taste the texture of fish paste first, then decide if wheat flour or corn flour should be used and adjust accordingly.
  • Chili powder: chili powder is used to make it more spicy, and also gives a more vibrant color to “otak-otak”. Next time I should use “BABA” brand chili powder. If you want the color but without the heat, use paprika powder instead.
  • My “otak-otak” was dry and no sheen layer of oil on the surface– should try add may be 1 tbsp water and 1/2 tbsp oil to the mixture, and cover with foil before baking?
Muar Style "Otak-Otak" Trial #1 麻坡乌达

Muar Style "Otak-Otak" Trial #1 麻坡乌达

Read Full Post »

Western cheesecakes are usually very rich and creamy in flavor, and dense in texture. But Japanese cheesecakes, on the other hand are creamy and lighter, and it suits Asians’ taste better. Years ago, when I made Japanese cheesecake it was a disaster– the top half of the cake is like a cake, but the bottom half is so moist and wet like a pudding! Since then it has been out of my mind, until recently I have all ingredients on hand, and decided to give it another try.

Well, this time around my cheesecake turned out pretty good. I couldn’t wait for it to cool and chill, so I sliced a piece while it was still a little warm. I was kind of disappointed after the first bite– the cake is still a bit moist (at least it wasn’t like pudding moist this time!) compare to the store bought ones, but drier than the souffle cheesecake that I made before. I chilled the rest of the cake in the fridge and had some the next day. Guess what– the texture of the cheesecake turns out surprising differently! It is soft, light and yet a bit creamier than freshly baked– tastes just like those individually packed Japanese cheesecakes I bought at the Chinese grocery stores! Yes, finally I did it!

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake-- To leave a smooth edge after slicing, a serrated knife is needed.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake– To leave a smooth edge after slicing, a serrated knife is needed.

Japanese Cotton Soft Cheesecake– adapted from Diana’s Desserts (makes one ???  size round pan plus a loaf pan)

Ingredients:

Egg yolk mixture:
8 oz (1 block) cream cheese
4 tbsp unsalted butter
100 ml heavy cream
1/3 cup cake flour
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
6 egg yolks

Egg white mixture:
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 cup sugar

Method:

  1. Position oven rack on the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease cake pans. Prepare a deep roasting pan, and boil a pot of water.
  2. Melt cream cheese, butter and cream over a double boiler. Whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. Sift in cake flour and tapioca starch to cream cheese mixture, whisk to combine. Mix in lemon juice ,grated lemon zest and egg yolks, one at a time. Stir to combine.
  4. In a different medium mixing bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add in cream of tartar and whip until the mixture resembles of very fine bubbles. While the mixer is on and turning, gradually pour in sugar. Whip on high speed until soft peak (curl tip when lifted) forms.
  5. Add 1/3 of whipped egg whites to yolk mixture. Use a balloon whisk to gently mix well. Then FOLD IN remaining whipped egg whites in 2-3 batches.
  6. Pour batter to greased cake pans (about 70-80 percent full). Then place cake pans in a deep roasting pan. Carefully pour in boiling water into roasting pan. Water level should be about half the height of cake pans.
  7. Lower oven temperature to 300°F. Steam bake cheesecake at the lower third of the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour. Cheesecake will shrink. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Chill the fridge before serving. The flavor and texture is at the best when it is chilled. To leave a smooth edge on the cake, use a serrated knife to slice the cake, wiping the knife clean after each slicing.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake-- melting cream cheese, butter and cream over double boiler.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake– melting cream cheese, butter and cream over double boiler.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake-- cheesecake batter after folding in whipped egg white. See how fluffy the batter turns out?
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake– cheesecake batter after folding in whipped egg white. See how fluffy the batter turns out?
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake-- the cakes shrink after cooling in the oven.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake– the cakes shrink after cooling in the oven.

Read Full Post »