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My neighbor Auntie Wang gave me this recipe, and it turns out to be my favorite recipe for oil dough/water dough pastry because the dough is very soft and so easy to work with. I don’t know about you, but I always have problem rolling up the dough (after oil dough was wrapped in water dough), and also hates it when I put in fillings and try to pinch to seal tight– many times the dough just keep shrinking back, and the edges keep opening up… argh!! frustrations!!

With this recipe, I NEVER have the dough problem. Because the water dough was so soft, it was so easy to work on on every step– wrapping oil dough, rolling, sealing the edges tight. It really helps making this long pastry process a lot less painful, especially if you are making 2-3 dozens pastries at one time. Another I like about this recipe: it uses cooking oil which is much healthier than shortening or lard.

Auntie Wang’s Pastry Recipe (makes 24 pieces)

Ingredients:

for oil dough:
2 1/2 cup cake flour
about 2/3 cup oil

for water dough:
3 cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt– optional
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil

Method:

  1. Prepare oil dough: Mix cake flour and oil in a bowl to form a dough (do not knead), until the dough doesn’t stick to the bowl. Wrap it up with a plastic wrap and set aside. Use the same to prepare water dough.
  2. Prepare water dough: Mix water and oil to blend well. Combine flour, sugar and salt in the bowl. Gradually pour in water/oil mixture to the flour. Use fingers to combine to form a dough, until the dough doesn’t stick to the bowl. The dough will be very soft. Add more water/oil mixture (equal part in each) or flour if necessary. Transfer dough to a flat surface, knead for a couple of times (do not over knead).
  3. Divide oil dough into 12 pieces, and water dough into 12 pieces as well. Roll each piece into a ball. Take a piece of water dough, flatten with your palm. Wrap in a piece of oil dough (avoid air pocket between two pieces of dough). Pinch to seal tight. With the sealed side facing up, flatten the dough with your palm again.
  4. Use a rolling pin, roll the dough out (away from your body) to a thin long oval shape. Then roll it up like a jelly roll using your fingers (the dough will be “laying on the side”, looks like ” = “). Turn the dough 90 degree (the dough will be in “standing” position, looks like ” || “). With the end side facing up, roll it out to a thin long oval shape then roll up like a jelly roll again. Repeat this process with the remaining water dough and oil dough.
  5. Take a piece of dough, make a cut in the middle on the long side of the dough. With the cut side facing up, flatten each piece with you palm, then roll out to a thin circle, for a total of 24 thin pieces of dough. Be sure the dough center is thicker than the edges. Flip the dough over (so the cut side faces down– this will be the outside of the pastry), scoop in 2 heap tablespoons of shredded daikon filling. Pleat (or pinch) and  then twist tightly to seal the edge. Slightly shape into a ball or oval. You should see the thin layering on the surface. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  6. Place pastry on a baking pan lined with parchment paper (sealed side facing down), bake at preheated 375°F oven for 30 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on rack. Alternatively, unbaked pastries can be kept frozen. When it’s ready to bake, defrost pastries 30 minutes or 1 hour before baking. Adjust baking time accordingly (after 30 minutes, check every 10 minutes for golden color). It’s okay if the pastries appear wet while defrosting, it will dry out during baking.

Shredded Daikon Filling (can be prepared ahead):

Ingredients:
6 lbs daikon– shredded
3 tbsp dried shrimps– soaked to soften slightly, then chopped
3 cloves garlic– chopped
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1/2 tsp ground white pepper

Method:

  1. In a big bowl, rub in some salt (about 1-2 tbsp) to daikon. Set aside to let it soften and for the liquid to draw out. Then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set aside.
  2. Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in a wok on high heat. Saute garlic and dried shrimps until aromatic. Add in daikon and cook until the flavor comes out. Add seasoning to taste (adjust amount of salt accordingly as daikon tastes slightly salty already). Continue cooking until shredded daikon shrinks and look dry.

Regina’s Note:

  • Guideline for buying daikon: About 6 lbs fresh daikon yields fillings for 20-24 pieces pastries. Buy daikon when it’s in season to avoid bitter daikon or old daikon that is hollow in the center. Always choose daikon that feels heavy when you hold it in your hand.
  • Daikon fillings can be prepared ahead of time, and it should taste slightly peppery and hint of sweetness. I sometimes add in some home made XO sauce for a spicy version.
  • When wrapping oil dough into water dough, take care not to trap in any air pockets. Otherwise you might have problem when rolling out and rolling up the dough, as the air might poke through the dough and cause oil dough to leak out.
  • Unbaked pastries can be made and kept frozen. Defrost unbaked pastries in room temperature for 30 minutes– 1 hour, depending on temperature. Adjust baking time accordingly (30 minutes, then check every 10 minutes until pastries turn light golden brown). It’s okay if the pastries appear wet while defrosting, it will dry out during baking.
  • DO NOT apply egg wash– it will seal the layers!
Making stripped pastry dough: wrap in oil dough into water dough.

Making stripped pastry dough: wrap in oil dough into water dough.

Steps for making stripped pastry dough (from left to right)-- (1) wrap oil dough into water dough, pinch to seal tight. (2) flatten dough with hand. (3) roll the dough out to a thin long oval shape. (4) roll it up like a jelly roll.

Steps for making stripped pastry dough (from left to right)– (1) wrap oil dough into water dough, pinch to seal tight. (2) flatten dough with hand. (3) roll the dough out to a thin long oval shape. (4) roll it up like a jelly roll.

Steps for making stripped pastry dough (left to right)-- (5) turn the dough to a "standing" position. (6) roll it out to a thin long oval shape again. (7) roll it up like a jelly roll again.

Steps for making stripped pastry dough (left to right)– (5) turn the dough to a “standing” position. (6) roll it out to a thin long oval shape again. (7) roll it up like a jelly roll again.

Making stripped pastry dough: (8)make a cut in the middle on the long side of the dough. Then flatten with hand, roll out to a disk or oval shape with center thicker than the edges.

Making stripped pastry dough: (8)make a cut in the middle on the long side of the dough. Then flatten with hand, roll out to a disk or oval shape with center thicker than the edges.

 

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This is one of the easily found local breakfast food selling at the Malay street vendors or coffee shops. It is pretty much doughnut made of sweet potato dough coated with crystallized sugar. Because it doesn’t use yeast like American donuts, kuih keria takes a lot less time to make, and it doesn’t taste awfully sweet like American donuts. When I was a kid, these donuts, along with assorted curry puffs and other kuih-muih (assorted Malay cakes), were selling RM0.10 each (about 3 US pennies). Just 1 US dollars will filled your tummy with all kinds of hand made local cakes, be it sweet or savory.

Back to kuih keria, it’s very easy to make, with very few ingredients and steps. One thing though about choosing sweet potato: I prefer yellow-flesh Japanese yam– the flesh is drier and has more flavor. Avoid using the orange-flesh yam because its flesh has more moisture and mushy, requires more flour in making which could make kuih keria taste hard on the texture.

Malaysian Sweet Potato Doughnuts 'Kuih Keria'

Malaysian Sweet Potato Doughnuts ‘Kuih Keria’

Malaysian Sweet Potato Donuts ‘Kuih Keria’ Recipe (makes 20-22 pieces)

Ingredients:
1 lb Japanese sweet potatoes (about 4-5 small ones)
1/2 cup flour
oil for frying

Crystallized sugar coating:
1/2 cup sugar
3-4 tbsp water

Method:

  1. Wash and steam sweet potatoes, skin on, on high heat until cooked and the flesh turns just soft. Peel of skins easily with hands and mash.
  2. Add flour to mashed sweet potatoes, mix and knead to form a dough. The dough should be slightly sticky. Add a little more flour if the dough is too soft or wet (but not too much as it will make kuih keria hard).
  3. Roll the dough to a log on a floured surface. Cut into small pieces and roughly roll into balls (golf ball size), make a hole in the center with a finger (flour hand and finger to avoid dough from sticking). Set kuih keria aside on a lightly floured surface.
  4. Heat up oil in a wok or deep sauce pan until very hot. Carefully drop kuih keria into oil and fry for a few minutes until golden browned, flipping kuih keria half way for even browning. Do not overcrowd the wok/pan with too much kuih keria at a time. Drain on paper towels.
  5. Put sugar and water in a sauce pan, cook on medium heat until sugar becomes clear syrup and thick. Add fried kuih keria and keep stirring until all are well coated and eventually crystallized.
Malaysian Sweet Potato Doughnuts 'Kuih Keria'

Malaysian Sweet Potato Doughnuts ‘Kuih Keria’– the dough should be slightly sticky.

Malaysian Sweet Potato Doughnuts 'Kuih Keria'

Malaysian Sweet Potato Doughnuts ‘Kuih Keria’

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“Rojak” is a Malaysian style salad mixed with a special sauce that made with shrimp paste and among other stuff. The ingredients for the salad itself are usually a combination of sliced fruits and vegetables. Because of added shrimp paste in the rojak sauce, some people may find rojak stinky and fishy, while others like myself think it’s delicious and addicting!

Malaysian Style Salad 'Rojak'

Malaysian Style Salad ‘Rojak’

Rojak Recipe– please note the following is only for ONE serving

Rojak Ingredients:
4-5 thin slices of fresh pineapple
4-5 thin slices of Asian pear/jicama
4-5 thin slices of cucumber
4-5 thin slices of tofu puff
4-5 thin slices of Chinese donut
a few blanched bean sprouts
a few cooked water spinach– cut into 1 inch length

Ground roasted peanuts for sprinkle on top

Rojak Sause (mix well, warm up slightly in microwave to help mixing if necessary):
1 tbsp shrimp paste– see picture below. Available in Asian grocery stores, under South East Asia food section
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1/2 tbsp honey
1 tsp sambal chili (optional)
5 tbsp water

Method:

Toss all ingredients (except peanut sprinkles) in rojak sauce to coat well. Sprinkle ground peanuts and serve immediately.

Shrimp paste for the Malaysian Rojak sauce

Shrimp paste for the Malaysian Rojak sauce

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I realized that I have made steamed taro cake many times, but never have I made a daikon cake before! So, with daikon in the season, and daikon cake being a popular Chinese New Year cake, I decided to roll up my sleeves and gave it a try.

Steamed Daikon/Turnip Cake

Steamed Daikon/Turnip Cake

Steamed Daikon/Turnip Cake Recipe (makes one 9″ x 3″ round cake pan)

Ingredients:
Flour mixture:
1 lb (1 package) rice flour
900 ml water
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oil

3 lbs daikons (about 2-3 medium size daikons)– see note below
1 tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp dried shrimp– wash and soak briefly
4 Chinese sausages– diced
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1  tsp salt

Method:

  1. Prepere flour mixture: mix all ingredients to blend well, cover and let it sit at least 2-3 hours or even overnight.
  2. Prepare daikon: remove the stem part, peel off the skin. Use a cheese shredder or mandoline slicer shred daikon into 1/4 inch thickness. Save the daikon juice. Meanwhile, prepare a steamer. Line the cake pan with parchment paper.
  3. Heat oil in a wok on high heat, fry garlic and dried shrimps briefly until aromatic. Add in sausages, stir fry for a few more minutes.
  4. Add in shredded daikon and juice and remaining seasoning. Stir to mix well. Pour in flour mixture (stir mixture well before pouring in). Turn down heat to medium high, and keep stirring until the mixture is half cooked. At this point the flour mixture will thicken and becoming like a thick paste. Remove from heat.
  5. Scoop the daikon mixture into cake pan, smooth the top. Steam on high heat for 1 hour, until the toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Regina’s Note:

  • Daikon: Always purchase daikon when it’s in season. Daikon that are at the end of the season may taste bitter and hollow in the center. When choosing daikon, always pick ones that feel heavy in your hand.
  • For daikon cake that aren’t so appealing after several days: 1)Dim sum style: slice and slightly pan fry, dipped with soy sauce and chili sauce, 2)Malaysian hawker style: saute with chopped garlic, chopped preserved daikon, chili sambal and egg, drizzle sweet caramel sauce on the top before serving.

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This is my second year making mixed nut moon cakes. I fine tuned the recipe and improved my wrapping skill after watching some youtube videos. Last year my moon cakes pastry was too thick, but this year the pastry is thinner and more even all around. Flavor comes out great too this time!

Mixed Nut Moon Cakes 伍仁月饼 #2-- without broiling, the moon cakes look a little pale.

Mixed Nut Moon Cakes 伍仁月饼 #2– without broiling, the moon cakes look a little pale.

Mixed Nut Moon Cakes 伍仁月饼 #2-- this batch were broiled during baking, so the moon cakes are looking very nice!

Mixed Nut Moon Cakes 伍仁月饼 #2– this batch were broiled during baking, so the moon cakes are looking very nice!

Mixed Nut Moon Cakes 伍仁月饼 #2

Mixed Nut Moon Cakes 伍仁月饼 #2

Mixed Nut Moon Cakes II 伍仁月饼 Recipe (makes 9 pieces)

Ingredients:

for Pastry:
2 cups cake flour + 1-2 tbsp more if necessary
2 tbsp tapioca starch 菱粉
1/4 salt
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp alkaline water 碱水
75 ml oil

for Filling (combine together, except pork floss):
1/2 cup whole almonds– lightly toasted
3/4 cup walnut– lightly toasted
2/3 cup sesame seeds– lightly toasted
3/4 cup raw melon seeds/pepitas seeds/pumpkin seeds– lightly toasted
1 1/4 cup candied winter melon 糖冬瓜– finely chopped
1 1/2 pieces candied mandarin orange 桔饼 — remove seeds and finely chopped
3 kiffir lime leaves– cut into very fine shreds
3/4 cup cooked glutinous flour 加工糕粉
9 tsp pork floss 肉鬆

Seasoning for the Filling (mix until salt and sugar dissolves):
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp rose wine 玫瑰露酒
1 tbsp golden rum
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp oil
10 tbsp water

1 beaten egg for egg wash

Method:

  1. To make the pastry: combine all pastry ingredients in a bowl and mix well to form a dough (the texture will be like play dough). Cover and rest for 1 hours. Then divide into 9 equal portions.
  2. While the pastry dough is resting, prepare the filling: combine the seasoning and filling ingredients and mix well (you can use a stand mixer or hand mix). Divide the filling into 9 portions. Use both hands, loosely form each portion into a ball. Scoop in one  tsp of pork floss in the center of the filling, then tightly pack and roll to a ball again.
  3. Take a piece of pastry dough, flatten with your palm. Carefully wrap a piece of pastry dough around one ball of the fillings. You might want to roll out the pastry dough to a thin layer before wrapping. Also, it’s easier to wrap the filling while you turning it around at the same time.
  4. Dust wooden moon cake mold generously with some flour, then knock out excess flour. Carefully put in moon cake and press against the mold. Tap the wooden mold several times (left side, right side, bottom and top side) on a hard surface to invert the moon cake. Repeat step (3) and (4) for the remaining pastry dough and fillings.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Before popping the moon cakes into the oven, spray some water on the moon cakes (this is to remove the flour dusted on the surface so when moon cakes are baked they won’t have a powdery look, and also to prevent cracks on the top). Bake for 25 minutes, remove and apply egg wash, then bake for another 5 minutes until the moon cakes are browned nicely. Then turn on top broiler, and broil for 1 minute. Turn off broiler and let moon cakes sit in the oven for 1 more minute.
  6. Remove and cool on the rack completely. Store in air-tight container for 3-4 days before serving. Unlike typical baked goods that calls for freshness, moon cakes are best served several days after baking. This is because when moon cakes “age”, the oil from the fillings and pastry slowly penetrate to the surface, soften the pastry and enhance the flavor even more.

Regina’s Note:

  • Before molding the first mooncake, dust the mold with flour generously to prevent mooncake from sticking to the mold. If the mooncake stuck, keep tapping the mold and gently remove as much as possible. Scrap off as much pastry dough as possible and patch it back to the mooncake and reshape to a ball again. If the mold has residual pastry dough then it will affect the marks and the look of the mooncake. To remove pastry dough residual, add in some flour and scrape off with the use of the tip of a knife.

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My Chinese drawing classmate Jane inspired me to try out this dim sum dish. Why are they called pearl meatballs? This is because after steaming, the rice coating makes the meatballs look like giant pearls from a distant. The first time I made it, the meatballs were gigantic, and way too salty. This time around, they all turned out pretty good. I’m happy with the result, so… time to enjoy my pearls!

Pearl Meatballs 珍珠丸子

Pearl Meatballs 珍珠丸子

Pearl Meatballs 珍珠丸子

Pearl Meatballs 珍珠丸子

Pearl Meatball Recipe 珍珠丸子 (makes about 50 pieces, fish ball size)

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup glutinous rice– soaked at least 4 hours
1 1/2 lbs ground pork
1 tbsp dried shrimp– minced– see note below
2 cloves garlic– finely chopped
1 egg white

meat seasoning:
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp cooking wine
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp tapioca starch
2 tbsp water

Method:

  1. After soaking glutinous rice, drain out as much water as possible. Transfer to a deep dish plate.
  2. In a deep bowl, season the pork with the meat seasoning, then add in remaining ingredients(except egg white) to mix well. Use a pair of chopsticks/wooden spoon/flat rice scooper, stir the meat in a circular motion(same direction), until it binds and turns sticky. Add in egg white and continue stirring motion, until it mixes well and sticky again.
  3. Scoop some ground pork , lightly shape to a small ball of fish ball size or US quarter(25 cents) size. Roll the meatball in the rice so the rice coats the surface, press to stick the rice. Shape it to a ball again if necessary. Repeat until all meat are finished.
  4. Gently transfer coated meatballs to a steam tray with hole (do not place meatballs on a plate–see note below). Steam on high heat for 10 minutes per batch. Do not put too many meatballs in one tray, as there must be room for the steam to come up. Transfer pearl meatballs to a plate. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce (chili sauce, venegar, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce etc..)

Regina’s Note:

  • Optional ingredients: Personally, I would love adding some chopped shrimps, dried mushrooms (soaked to soften of course), water chestnut, green onion for more flavor and texture. However, since my kids are picky about these stuff so I just skip all the goodies 😦
  • Dried shrimps and salt: Since dried shrimps add saltiness to the meat, take care not to add in too much salt– I added too much dried shrimps in my first trial, ended up with pretty salty pearls…
  • Steam tray: In my first trial, I steamed pearl meatballs in a greased metal plate, but because there’s no hole on the plate for the liquid to drain during steaming, the bottom of my pearls were all mushy rice. So, I thought of steaming the pearls directly on the steam tray with holes, this way the liquid can drip back to the boiling water below, keeping the rice from getting mushy.
Pearl Meatballs 珍珠丸子-- before steaming

Pearl Meatballs 珍珠丸子-- before steaming

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I made steamed “kueh”, or dumpling, a long while back using glutinous rice flour but the skin of the kueh turn out too soft. This time around, I got this recipe from my friend and neighbor Angela, as she gave me some steamed kueh and I found her kueh has a slightly chewy skin that I prefer. Needless to say, I quickly asked her for the skin dough recipe.

Things I do differently this time: I placed the kueh on cut-out parchemnt paper, instead of greased cut-out banana leaves– and the kueh don’t stick to the bottom paper at all. Also, I don’t brush kueh skin with oil after steaming. For the filling, you can make anything you want, as long as it is cooked.  I have tried on shredded daikon and jicama, and both times turn out pretty good.

Steamed "Kueh" Dumplings with Shredded Daikon filling

Steamed “Kueh” Dumplings with Shredded Daikon filling

Steamed "Kueh" Dumplings with Shredded Daikon filling. I used banana leave as liners for this batch.

Steamed “Kueh” Dumplings with Shredded Daikon filling. I used banana leave as liners for this batch.

Steamed “Kueh” Dumplings with Shredded Daikon filling (makes about 30 pieces)

Ingredients:

For the skin:
4 cup glutinous rice flour
3/4 cup wheat starch 澄面粉– see picture below
1 1/2 — 2 cup hot water
6 tbsp oil

shredded daikon filling or jicama filling– recipes follow
30 pieces parchment paper (4″ x 4″) or blanched banana leaves

Method:

  1. Mix flour and wheat starch together in a big bowl. Add in hot water and oil to form a dough. Knead the dough until it is smooth. Add more hot water, little at a time, if the dough is too dry. Divide into 20 pieces. Divide filling into 20 portions as well.
  2. Roll out each piece of dough to about 4-inch circle. Spoon in one portion of shredded daikon filling, fold up dough skin and pinch to seal the edge. Place the kueh/dumpling on a piece of parchment paper (sealed side facing up), or lightly greased banana leaves. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  3. Place several kueh/dumplings inside a steamer, and steam on high heat for 8-10 minutes. Be sure not to put too many dumplings in one batch, so there is room for the steam to come up from the water boiling at the bottom.

For shredded daikon filling:

Ingredients:
1.5 lb daikon– peel and shred
4 tbsp dried shrimps– finely chopped
3 cloves garlic– chopped
3 dried mushroom– soak to soften, slice thin
2 stalk green onion– chopped
1 cup hot water

Seasoning:
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp sesame oil

Method:

  1. Put shredded daikon in a bowl and pour in generous amount of salt. Toss and squeeze daikon. Set aside for 15-20 minutes so daikon softened and liquid draws out. Rinse daikon a couple times. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  2. Put 3 tbsp of oil into a wok over high heat. When the wok is ready, saute garlic and dried shrimps until aromatic.
  3. Add in mushrooms, saute for a couple of minutes before adding in daikon. Keep stirring until it is aromatic. Add seasoning, adjust to taste.
  4. Stir and cook until daikon softens, adding some hot water, little by little, if necessary to cook daikon further to soften. Put in chopped green onion. Stir a few more times then dish out and cool.

For Jicama Filling:
1.5 lb jicama– peel and cut into thin strips– see note below
2 inch carrot– cut into thin strips
5 dried mushroom– soak to soften, slice thin
3 tbsp dried shrimps– finely chopped
2 cloves garlic– finely chopped
2 stalk green onion– chopped
1 cup hot water

seasoning:
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp chicken bouillon powder
dashes ground white pepper
1/4 tsp sesame oil

Method:

  1. Put 3 tbsp of oil into a wok over high heat. When the wok is ready, saute garlic and dried shrimps until aromatic.
  2. Add in mushrooms and carrots, saute for a couple of minutes before adding in jicama. Keep stirring until it is aromatic. Add seasoning, adjust to taste.
  3. Stir and cook until jicama turns soft but still taste slightly crunchy, adding some hot water, little by little, if necessary to cook jicama further to soften. Put in chopped green onion, stir a few more times then dish out and cool.

Regina’s Note:

  • Jicama strips: Unlike dough made from flour, glutinous dough is not very elastic– it crumbs and break apart easily. So it’s better to cut jicama to very thin and shorter strips, so the filling won’t poke through the dough.
Wheat Starch

Wheat Starch

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