Chiffon Cake (Without The Chiffon Cake Tin)

October 31, 2012

Pandan Chiffon

I love chiffon cakes! The softness and fluffiness of it just makes you want to eat piece after piece! Chiffon cakes are not so common here in Bangkok though, but that day, when I was at Isetan Central World, I saw it in their Sun Moulin bakery, and I bought it right away! And after eating it, I told myself I need to learn how to make this! And when my friend Amy came to visit me and my baby that day, she gave me this site that has the recipe for making healthy pandan chiffon, so I decided to give it a go! So I went to look for the chiffon tin, but I could not find it though, so I decided to just use the cake tin at home.

I got the recipe from Honey and Soy’s Culinary Adventures but I made some variations to the way the cake was made. I also made my panda chiffon without any coloring except from the pandan leaves.

Ingredients A:

4 Large Egg Yolks, 1/4 Spoon Salt, 70g Sugar

Ingredients B:

85ml Mild Flavoured Oil (I Used Rice Bran Oil), 115ml Pandan Juice*

Ingredients C:

150g Plain Flour, 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

Ingredients D:

4 Large Egg Whites, 70g Sugar, 1/2 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven at 179 Degrees Celsius.

1. Cream ingredients A with a whisk till the mixture is slightly lighter.

2. Then add in ingredients B (Oil first, mix with whisk, then pandan juice)

3. Mix Ingredients C together, then sift twice. Then fold the flour into the egg and pandan mixture above.

4. Mix sugar and cream of tartar in Ingredients D together. In a mixer (I use kitchenaid), use speed 3 to whisk egg whites till it is slightly frothy, then add in 1/3 of the sugar mixture and increase speed to 5. Then add in the second 1/3 of the sugar, mix again and the last 1/3 of the sugar. If you put a whisk in the egg white and take it out, the meringue should look like the shape of a bird’s peak. Then you know that the consistency of the meringue is correct.

5. Mix half of the meringue into the flour mixture, fold, then mix the other half and fold. But don’t fold too much else the cake won’t be airy anymore. Then put in a normal cake tin. Mine was a 12cm cake tin.

6. Bake for 45 minutes. Then invert the cake tin to let it cool on a rack. I used 4 small soy sauce dipping plate to make the cake tin ‘stand’ while it is inverted.

Invert The Cake Tin While Cooling the Cake

The result of this was definitely not as good as the one with the chiffon tin as the centre collapsed a bit after baking, and my cake was also slightly undercooked. But tasted ok though for a first attempt. Will definitely improve on this next time!

Slightly Undercooked Pandan Chiffon

* For pandan juice, take 5 pandan leaves. Wash, then cut off the tip, the white parts and use scissors to cut into small pieces, then mix with 115ml of water and blend in the blender. You can either use your hand to squeeze out the liquid with the help of a strainer, or for me, i put the mixture through a coffee filter to get the juice. I got this method from Wendy’s site.


Homemade Yellow Wine

August 30, 2012

Homemade Yellow Wine

Yellow wine, also known as Huangjiu in chinese, is an important ingredient especially during the confinement period. Confinement is the time where a mother has just delivered her baby and since her body is still weak, she will rest at home for about a month on average and will be given nutritious food so that she will regain her strength as soon as possible. One of the very popular confinement dishes is wine chicken, and in order to cook that, one of the ingredients used will be yellow wine.

I am going to have a baby girl soon and since I am in Thailand with hubby, I am not sure where I can get good yellow wine. Hence, I decided to make the yellow wine on my own for my confinement. It was an interesting experience to learn how to make this wine, and frustrating sometimes as it did not work out the first few times. But once I have adjusted the methods a bit here and there, it finally worked, and the end result was a nice and golden yellow wine or Huangjiu!

Here are the steps to make Huangjiu:

Ingredients and Tools/Apparatus:

1. One 2 Litres Jar to soak the wine(This depends on how much you want to make) – Choose a jar with a narrow top as the wine will be brewed here.
2. One muslin cloth or cheese cloth or plenty of coffee filters (To strain the wine)
3. Wine biscuit – 3-5 Pieces (This can be purchased from any chinese medical hall)
4. One bottle of rice wine or rose wine (Rose wine will make the final product more fragrant)
5. Glutinous Rice 1kg
6. Flat tray to dry the glutinous rice.

Instructions:

1. Make sure all apparatus especially the jar is clean and dry.
2. Cook the glutinous rice in a rice cooker just like any normal rice. The glutinous rice does not need to be soaked overnight.
3. After rice is cooked, lay the rice out on a flat tray to cool. Make sure there is only one layer of glutinous rice on the tray. A few trays might be needed.     It is important to ensure that the glutinous rice is totally cooled before brewing.
4. Cool the rice. It took me about 1 hour for the rice to completely cool on a flat tray.
5. While waiting for the rice to cool, crush the rice wine biscuit with a mortar or pestel. Put in a bowl.
6. After the rice has cooled down, spread the wine biscuit on top of the rice. By now the rice should be easily taken out in pieces. Make sure that all the outer layer of the rice piece is covered with the crushed wine biscuits. Then layer the rice piece into the jar piece by piece. Do not press.
7. You can layer the rice up to almost the top, as the volume will shrink after a few days.
8. Cover the top of the jar with muslin cloth first, then with the cover of the jar.
9. Leave the jar in a very dark place (I also cover it with a cloth) just in case. Leave it till the 5th day from the day the wine is first made. The wine will start to ferment now. (If you do not have so much time, it is also ok to leave it only for 3 days). It is vital not to open the jar in these 5 days as the wine might become moldy. Once the wine becomes moldy, it is not advisable to continue brewing it.
10. On the 5th day, use a dry spatula to stir the glutinous rice. Do not stir too hard as it will make the wine cloudy.
11. Pour a bottle of the rice wine or rose wine and stir a bit more. Then remove the muslin cloth and cover with the jar cover. Put it back into the dark place and wait till the 30th day (starting from the day the wine was initially made).
12. For bottling, get a clean and dry bottle, and put a funnel on top.
13. Filter the mixture to separate the rice and the wine first, then put the liquid through the funnel and let it drip. (Yes this takes quite a long time – took about 8 hours for everything to drip through). I will do a few batches and then let the final mixture drip overnight. Keep changing the coffee filter as the residue of the wine will make the filtering slower as it gets stuck to the filter. You can also use muslin cloth – just put everything in the muslin cloth and let it drip overnight. But I have never tried this though, I find that the filters are quite effective to make golden and clear wine.
14. For the rice residual, let it slowly drip through a sift so that the liquid will drip out.
15. Pour the wine into a pot, and boil till you see the first bubble come out, then turn the stove off.
16. Cool and store in a dark place. This can be stored for a very long time. (Up to a year)


Nyonya Kueh Lapis

November 17, 2010

The Nyonya Kueh Lapis has always been one of my favourite Nyonya Kuehs! I am always amazed by how this nine layer Kueh is made! Everytime I eat it, I will just peel the layers off one by one and eat the whole kueh separately. The kueh lapis in Singapore is also very different from the ones we get in Malaysia. Most of the Singapore ones used Tapioca starch I think so the cake is extremely chewy and I don’t like that! So that’s another reason why I am so eager to make this at home. 

This is the second time I attempted this kueh. The first time was quite a disaster I would say. Even though the kueh tasted ok, but the layers were too thick, so after making it, I didn’t even have the appetite to eat it because it just look ugly and a bit bulky. I also didn’t mix the colours well (I only bought red colouring the last time) so you can imagine how the kueh lapis looked like.

This time I was more careful. And I bought the orange colouring just for the top layer! Well the colouring part is definitely one of the not so good aspect of this kueh. But of course you don’t have to put so much. For the red part I just put one drop basically. But for the top I put 3 drops.

My conclusion is in making this kueh is, all you need is time and patience. Without patience (like the first time I attempted this), this kueh just will not come out nice! Here is the recipe. I adapted this from fad about food. Recipe is the same but the instructions are slightly different.  

Flour Mixture:

160g rice flour
20g green bean flour (hoen kwe flour)
150ml water

For the Syrup:
190g castor sugar
300ml water
2–3 screwpine leaves (pandan leaves), knotted
200ml thick coconut milk
1/4 tsp. salt
A few drops red and orange colouring

Instructions:

1. Prepare the syrup. Boil the sugar with water and pandan leaves and leave it to cool.

2. Mix the rice flour and hoen kwe flour together with the water and leave it for approximately one hour (It is ok to leave this for longer than 1 hour, but not shorter than that). To get rid of the rice flour smell after the kueh is done, I take the pandan leave that was used to boil the syrup and put it in together with this flour mixture. But make sure that the pandan leave knot is totally cooled down.

3. After the hour is up, stir the mixture again until all the flour is dissolved. Add in the salt, coconut milk, then the syrup, stirring the mixture in the process.

4. Separate the mixture into a total of 3 bowls. 1 bowl will be slightly lesser – that will be the one with the orange mixture for the top. Drop one drop of red colouring into one of the bowl. You can add more if you want the kueh to be more red. The second bowl will have no colouring. Then three drops of orange coluring into the smaller bowl. It is ok if the colour of the mixture looks like milky orange, or milky red, because the colour will turn slightly transluscent after it is cooked.

5. Heat up a steamer. Grease a tin (20cm) with vegetable oil or any light oil. But not heavily scented oil like peanut oil. I used a slightly smaller tin for this time as I don’t have such a big tin.

6. Once the steamer is heated up, use a ladle and pour one ladle of mixture onto the tin. How I measure the thickness is the mixture has to cover at least the whole surface. Once it has the surface covered, I don’t put in anymore. But of course if you want to have a thicker layer, you can add in a bit more. Close the steamer cover and let it steam until that layer is set. For mine it takes about 2 minutes. If you are unsure if you can pour in the next layer, just wait a bit longer. Because if the layer is not set, then the two layers will ‘mix’ together.

7. Once the layer is set, remove the steamer cover again. Everytime the cover is removed, make sure that you wipe the steam off the cover so that the condensation water will not drip onto the kueh. THIS IS CRUCIAL!

8. Repeat the same for alternating colours and orange for the top layer. After the top layer, cover and steam for 10 minutes. Remove the cover midway to let the steam out and continue steaming. The rule for this is it is ok to steam it longer but not shorter as the flour may not be totally cooked.

9. Let the kueh cool down totally before cutting. This is another crucial step. If it is cut when it is really hot, the kueh will be a bit sticky.

10. Cut into diamond shapes and enjoy!


Sambal Ikan Bilis / Anchovies

September 16, 2010

Living in Australia has helped me experiment on lots of food, particularly Malaysian. There was an occasion when I brought my nasi lemak with curry chicken, sambal ikan bilis, hard boiled eggs and cucumber to work. It was yummy (I noticed my colleagues salivating). Felt bad for the Aussies, as I stinked the office when I microwaved my lunch. Huuuaaaah. Here’s my Sambal Ikan Bilis Recipe.

Ingredients:-

  • 1 cup of dried Ikan Bilis
  • 1 large brown onion (sliced into rings)
  • 8 shallots
  • 2 garlic
  • 16 dried chillies (soaked until rehydrated)
  • a small piece belacan/shrimp paste (toasted)
  • tamarind juice
  • Salt and sugar to taste

Method:-

  1. Wash ikan bilis, drain and dap with absorbent paper (kitchen towel) until dry. Lightly fry ikan bilis in oil until golden brown and crisp. Set aside.
  2. Blend dried chillies, garlic, shallots and belacan to a paste. If it’s too thick, add some tamarind juice.
  3. Add some oil into a wok, and lightly stir fry chilli paste until fragrant.
  4. Add tamarind juice but do not add till it’s watery. Stir in ikan bilis and onion rings.
  5. Season with salt and sugar to taste. You may not want to add salt depending on preference because the belacan and ikan bilis are already salty.
  6. If the sambal is too thick, add more tamarind juice. Remove from heat when the onion is limp.
Sambal Ikan Bilis

Sambal Ikan Bilis

Yee Ling


Pickled Ambarella (Kedondong)

September 16, 2010

My house is surrounded by just a small plot of land and the only fruit tree we have that’s fruiting is the ambarella plant. Ambarella’s normally quite sour if eaten raw but it has this fragrant taste that I just love. I also love pickled fruits especially mangoes…yum. So here’s how I picked the ambarella fruit. I do not have the right proportion, as most of the time I just add ingredients by estimate.

Ingredients:-

  • Ambarella fruit (approximately 50)
  • Salt
  • Sugar

Method:-

  1. Peel the ambarella fruit.
  2. Coat the ambarella with salt in a large bowl/basin. Let it sit in the fridge for about 4-5 hours. Drain the salt water.
  3. Mix approximately 2-3 handfuls of sugar evenly with the ambarella. Keep in fridge.
  4. The pickled ambarella should be ready in about 2-3 days. Stir the fruit once a day so it will coat with the sugar syrup.

Note:

No water or vinegar is required, as the sugar will turn into liquid.

Pickled Ambarella

Pickled Ambarella

Yee Ling


Simple Spaghetti Aglio Olio

August 7, 2010

I’m a firm believer in the motto ‘less is more’. I like everything simple, so here’s a simple recipe for Spaghetti Aglio Olio that can be whipped up in under 10 minutes.

Ingredients (Serves 2):-

  • 125g Spaghetti (or a grip full)
  • 4 cloves garlic (grated)
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • Salt & pepper
  • Parmesan to serve

Method:-

  1. Cook spaghetti in salted boiling water for 7 minutes or till al dente.
  2. Drain spaghetti and reserve about 2-3 tablespoons of salted spaghetti water. Leave spaghetti aside.
  3. Heat oil and butter in a pan and add garlic and chilli flakes. Lightly stir the garlic until fragrant but not brown.
  4. Add spaghetti and the reserved salted water to the pan. Mix and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with parmesan.

Spaghetti Aglio Olio

Yee Ling


My First Breadmaking Class

July 19, 2010

I have always been fascinated by bread making, but every time I tried making the bread, it is always nice and soft in the beginning, but very hard the next day. So after procrastinating for a long time, I finally decided to take the breadmaking foundation class at Creative Culinaire. The 4 days, 5 hours each course doesn’t come cheap (which explains the procrastination), but what I was hoping to get from this class is to enhance what I already know on bread making and see how I can produce those bakery like soft breads!

The class started with Chef Judy, the ‘boss’ at Creative Culinaire explaining to us about the bread ingredients and how a lot of love and patience is needed when making bread. I was quite amazed by the passion that she had, considering that she has already done quite a lot of these classes. Her explanation is clear and she adds in her past experience as well. I liked the part she was talking about her work experience in Sri Lanka (I think) where the guys take off their shoes and start kneading bread with their bare feet. And of course no salt needs to be added to that bread.

So lessons learnt yesterday was two ways to make bread. The direct method and indirect method. The direct method is fast, but not so healthy, but the indirect method has lesser fats and sugar but requires making a sponge dough first before mixing it into the main dough. This means longer time to make bread!

During the class, there were four people to a table (and 8 tables) and we do the hands-on thing in pairs. For this class, we made Pandan an pan bread, cheese and herb twist and some bread with almonds and crystal sugars on top. We did make quite a lot of shapes with the bread and it was fun trying to make those shapes because it looks so easy when she does it, but not so when you do it yourself.

I felt so tired after the first class. And here is my take on the pros and cons of the class. On the pros, I think Chef Judy is really a passionate chef, and it reflects in her teaching as well! Its like she can feel the bread and she just love what she does so much! And of course its good that we get to be hands-on. I think that if a class is not hands-on, you just can’t get much out of it because you wouldn’t be able to remember all the steps. Also, in that one class, you really get to learn how to make a lot of breads (at least 3 methods) and about 5 kinds of shaping.

The cons, on the other hand, is that there are too many students in the class. This means that it is quite hard for Chef Judy to pay attention to everyone. Also, some tables are so way at the back that you can’t really see clearly what she does. Also, the class is slightly disorganized after a while because once some groups have finished, Judy will start teaching the next steps right away, so it was a bit hard to catch up at some point. Also, I think the utensils and tables are not extremely clean, so you will need to do a wash of the utensils and wiping of the table before each bake.

But overall, I will give the lesson a 4 out of 5 stars! I did learn a lot from Chef Judy and stay tuned for the details of the second lesson!

The Giant Kitchen Aid!

Pandan Anpan (Before)

Pandan Anpan (After)


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