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Archive for January, 2019

I don’t use jam often because I find all store bought jam are way too sweet. One day my husband Richard brought home a jar of blackberry jam made by his coworker. It was semisweet and yet tangy. I loved it and asked for the recipe. This was the start of my jam making journey– blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, peach, apple… they were all delicious, except I had problem with the consistency. Sometimes the jam was too hard, other times too runny… I used SureJell pectin and followed the recipes on the package. Even their low sugar recipes were too sweet to my taste. I tried to cut down sugar further but the jam wouldn’t set properly… all those jam making were really trial and error process.

Just as I was experimenting and finding the balance of sugar amount versus setting point, I came across Pomona’s Universal Pectin on Amazon. It uses a totally different approach to set the jam without tons of sugar, and thus producing jam that has more true fruit flavor. I decided to give it a try based on its raved reviews.

The results? Very happy jam! I can taste the real fruit flavor instead of sugar! Although the price of Pomona’s Universal Pectin more expensive (compared to SureJell), but one package lasts a very long time. I didn’t realize this so I bought 6 packs all at once… It’s going to last my whole life!

Low Sugar Blackberry Jam

Low Sugar Blackberry Jam

Low Sugar Blackberry Jam

Low Sugar Blackberry Jam

Pomona’s Universal Pectin

Pomona’s Universal Pectin

Blackberry Jam (Low Sugar)– please note this recipe uses Pomona’s Universal Pectin (makes 4- 8oz. jars)

Ingredients:

3 cups mashed sweet blackberries (5 cups fruit)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 tsp calcium water (from Pomona’s Universal Pectin)– shake well before use– see note below
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp pectin powder (from Pomona’s Universal Pectin)– see note below

Method:

  1. Prepare jars, lids and rings– wash them and rinse. Boil glass jar in hot water, add lids and rings to simmer. Turn off heat and let stand in hot water until ready to use.
  2. Combine sugar and pectin in a bowl, mix well.
  3. Combine mashed fruits lemon juice in a heavy sauce pan. Add calcium water to mix well. Bring fruits to a full boil on high or medium high heat. Stir well.
  4. Add pectin sugar mixture. Stir vigorously 1-2 minutes to dissolve pectin while mixture returns to full boil. Remove from heat. Skim off foams on the top.
  5. Carefully remove jars, lids and rings from hot water and drain. Fill jam to 1/2 inch of jar top. Wipe clean any spills on the rim. Place lids and screw the rings to loosely fit.
  6. Canning jam– put filled jars in boiling water. Water level must at least 1 inch above top of jars. Cover and boil for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool on a rack for 24 hours to set. If the canning process is successful the jars will produce a ‘popping’ sound during cooling, which means the lid is sucked down and sealed tight. If not then repeat canning process. After 24 hour cooling time, screw the lid rings tight. Store in cool dry pantry for up to 1 year. For failed canning jams, store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Regina’s Note:

  • Calcium water: it’s the mixture of calcium powder and water as instructed from Pomona’s Universal Pectin. You mix it and keep in a glass jar. Since not much is needed each time for jam making, there will be extras which can be kept in freezer until next use.
  • Pectin powder: be sure to mix pectin powder thoroughly with sugar before adding to fruit mixture.
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Indian Lamb Soup ‘Sup Kambing’ 印度羊肉湯

Indian Lamb Soup ‘Sup Kambing’ 印度羊肉湯

In my hometown Muar, Malaysia, there is a famous Indian lamb soup restaurant. All these times I went back to Muar I actually didn’t get to taste the delicious soup because the weather was too hot to have this rich heaty nourishing soup. After all, I didn’t want to take the chance of a bleeding nose after taking lamb soup. This soup to Indian people is just like chicken soup to Americans when someone in the family gets sick.

But here in U.S., this soup is perfect for a cold rainy winter day. For those of you who are hesitated to taste lamb because of its smell, it has all kinds of spices that you can barely taste the ‘lamb-y’ flavor.

A side note– Malaysian lamb soup is different from Singapore lamb soup. While I searched online for recipes I found Singapore version uses more turmeric powder and soup has a more yellowish color. I tried Singapore version before but it was overpowering in certain flavors but lacked other spice… just not quite the taste I remember from that soup place in my hometown…

Indian Lamb Soup ‘Sup Kambing’ (serves 8-10 people)

Ingredients:

To grind (using coffee bean grinder):
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds

To blender (using blender, adding just enough water to facilitate blending):
3 cloves garlic
3 serrano peppers
1 lemon grass– se only whitish part, chopped before blending
1 inch galangal– cut into small pieces before blending
1 inch ginger– cut into small pieces before blending

3 bay leaves
4 star anises
3 cinnamon sticks
12 green cardamoms
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 large onions– slice
1 boneless leg of lamb– trim off excess fat, cut into pieces
2 lamb shanks– see note below
enough water to cover the meat
salt to taste

Garnish:
Cilantro leaves

Method:

  1. Grind dried spices until very fine. Blend fresh spices. Cut lamb into pieces (except lamb shanks), then rinse under the water several times. Drain the meat.
  2. Heat a stock pot on medium heat, add in 2 tbsp of oil. Add ground dried spices, bay leaves, star anises, cinnamon sticks, cardamoms and turmeric powder. Stir until aromatic (add a little more oil if needed).
  3. Add in blended fresh spices, stir until the flavor comes out. Add sliced onions, cook until onions are soft.
  4. Add meat to the pot. Stir to mix well. Add water– water level should be 2 inches above the meat. Cover, and turn heat to medium high.
  5. When it boils again, skim off the impurities floating on the top. Continue boiling for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 2 hours. At this point the meat should be tender and falls apart from the bones. Add salt to taste. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve hot with fresh baguette.

Regina’s Note:

  • Lamb shanks: I used lamb shanks mainly for its bones because it’s the bones that gives the richness of the soup base. You can use other lamb parts as long as it contains bones.

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