Sunday, December 30, 2007

Har Kow /Shrimp Dumplings.

Living here in US ,I sometime do crave for good dim sum. I find the dim sum here doesn't taste as good as the one back home. One of my favorite is “har kow’. The translucent skin and the sweetness of the shrimps are just delicious. Making ‘har kow’ is really easy especially over here you can get those ready pack flour to make the skin. All you have to do is mixed the flour with some hot water and you are good to go. Of course is easier just to buy it but I think food taste better when you make it yourself and is also much healthier as you know what ingredient you put into this little gems.

The key to perfect har kow is the skin must not be too thick and the shrimps have to be really fresh.

Ingredients :

1 packet of the shrimp dumplings flour
3/4 cup of hot water - more or less
1/2 salt

Filling :

1/2 pound of fresh shrimps - clean, shelled and roughly chopped
1 cloves of garlic - minced
2 spring onions - chopped
1/2 tsp of finely chopped ginger
a small bunch of cilantro (optional)
1 egg white
1 tbsp of cornstarch
1 tsp of cooking wine
1/2 tsp of sesame oil
salt and white pepper to taste

1) Mixed all the filling ingredients and set aside in the fridge for at least an hour.
2) Reserved about 3 tbsp of the flour. Combined the rest of the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Pour hot water in and mix it with a wooden spoon. Stir it until it became doughy.
3) If is too floury add a bit more hot water to it until it comes together and workable by hand. Pour the dough out on a working surface and knead until smooth.
4) Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 20 min.

5) Flour the work surface and roll out the dough into a log and cut it into small pieces.
6) Flatten the dough with a rolling pin and cut it round with a cookies cutter.

7) Put some filling into the center of the dough and wrap it up like how you fold a potstickers.
8) Grease a plate for steaming and steam the 'har kow' for 10 min in boiling water.
9) Serve warm.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fruit Tarts II

I used to sell my bake goods back in Malaysia and one of the most requested items is fruit tarts. There are times when I have ordered over 100 pieces at a time and my sisters and Diana have to come to my apartment to help me with it. Making small individual fruit tarts is a lot of works and very tedious jobs but I consider all the effort totally worth it especially seeing people enjoying it. Fruits tarts are one of our family favourite desserts too.

I learned making these tarts from my baking teacher Shanti many years ago. This recipe is a bit different. Instead of using rubbing method for the dough it used the creaming method like cookies dough. The dough is easy to handle and you just have to press it into the little tart shells or large tart pan.

Overall the crust is buttery, slightly sweet and crispy almost like a cookie. This is good because is sturdy enough to hold the pastry cream and fruits without getting soggy.

Ingredients for tart shell

2 stick (1 cup of butter)
2 1/2 cups of flour
1/4 cup of sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of vanilla
2 tbsp of cold water (optional)

In a mixer cream butter, sugar until creamy. Add in egg yolk, vanilla and salt. Mixed till well combined. On low speed add in flour to form into a dough. If the dough is too dry add some cold water.

Pinch some dough and press into the little tarts mould. Prick the tart shells all over with a fork and bake in a pre-heated 350 F oven for 20-25 min or until lightly brown. Cool the shells before filling it up with custard cream and fruits.

Ingredients for Custard Cream

6 eggs yolk
3/4 cups of sugar
3 tbsp of custard powder
2 1/2 cups of milk
2 tbsp of butter
1 tsp of lemon zest

Mix all the above ingredients except for butter in a mixing bowl. Pour mixture into a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thicken and bubbly.
Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Place a plastic directly over the custard and chill before using it on the tarts.
To assemble the tarts

Some fresh fruits - cut small
Custard cream

For Glaze :

3 tbsp apricot jam
4 tbsp of hot water

Put some custard cream into the shells and top it with some fresh fruits.
Mix the jam and hot water and then brush it over the fruits.

Note : You might not need to use the cold water for the pastry. If the pastry is too soft chill it in the refrigerator for an hour before using it. You can make this into a large tart rather than small ones.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007

Christmas for us is family spending time together. So we normally don't go visiting or invites anyone over. We will get up around 9.00am and then have our coffee and read the newspaper and then open our presents. Then I will prepare something simple just for the 3 of us. This year menu is quite similar to last year as I am too lazy to get into anything too elaborate. This is what we had.

Fruit Tarts
Spring Rolls
Mini Meat Puffs
Seafood Pockets
Cookies

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

I made some fruit cakes again a few days ago to give away as gifts. Kept one for ourselves and put some simple decorations to it. You can find the recipe here : Fruit Cake

Diana can't wait to cut into the cake but it she has to wait till Christmas Day


Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!!

Tong Yuen (glutinious rice balls)

Today is Dongzhi or Winter Solstice Festival. Diana and I made some Tong Yuen to celebration the festival. Eating Tong Yuen symbolize family unity and prosperity. I remember when we were young we used to help our grandmother to make this early in the morning and my grandmother used to tell us that the amount of tong yuen to eat will go according to our aged. Then we also asked her " Ah Mah (grandmother) since you are 78 years old so you have to eat the whole pot of tong yuan lor :-) :-)" This is the time where my whole family will gather together to have a dinner. The last time I had Dongzhi dinner with the family was more 8 years ago. I really miss home :(

Diana helping me makes tong yuen.

Diana enjoying her bowl of tong yuen.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Kueh Bakar

This Malay kueh also known as Kueh Kemboja is our family favourite. My brother used to buy it from a Malay shop near the Kajang wet market. This is the second time I made this and I was surprised that Carlos likes it. Normally I can't even get him to try any kueh I made. Since he likes it I will make this more often for him.

Ingredients :

1 1/4 cups of sugar
2 cups of flour
1 cup of pandan juice (6 pandan leaves + 1 cup of water - blended)
2 1/4 cups of coconut milk
4 large eggs
2 tbsp of melted butter
1 tsp of pandan paste
few drops of green food coloring (optional)
1 tbsp of sesame seeds (optional)

1) Pre-heat oven to 325 degree F and greased a baking pan.
2) Mix all the above ingredients except sesame seeds until well combined.
3) Pour mixture into baking pan and sprinkle with some sesame seeds and bake until golden brown or skewer comes out clean when tested. It should take an hour.
4) Cool it down before cutting.

Note : Pandan leaves or screwpine leaves are widely used in South East Asia cooking to add distinct aroma to rice, curry or desserts. If you can't find the leaves you can used Pandan paste which can be found at Asian store.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fragrant Chicken with Lemongrass

I saw this very interesting dish at Jun's blog the other day and I just have to cook it. I made minor changes to the ingredients since I don't have it in my pantry.

Ingredients :

1 chicken - cut to bit side pieces
1 tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsp of salt
Juice of one lemon
3 tbsp of flour - for coating the chicken

Blended ingredients :

3 shallots
5 cloves of garlic
1" of ginger
2 stalk of lemon grass - used the tender part

3 tbsp of sambal olek
2 tbsp of dark soy sauce
3 green chilies - sliced
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

1) Marinate the chicken with turmeric powder, salt and lemon juice for an hour.
2) Coat the chicken with flour and then fry till golden brown. Drain the oil.
3) Leave about 2 tbsp of oil in the pan and then saute the blended ingredients until lightly brown and fragrant.
4) Add in the sambal olek, soy sauce and seasonings and cook for 1 min.
5) Add in the chicken, chilies and stir-fry till the sauce is well coated with the chicken.
6) Serve with warm rice.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thumbprint Cookies

Oh...no... another cookie posting :) This will be the last one for this year. I promised. I made this with Choy when came to visit me last week. This cookies is really buttery, soft and melt-in-your-mouth. You can put any kind of jam on it. You can even fill it up with Nutella but you have to bake the cookies first and then only fill it up with Nutella.

Ingredients :
(recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa of Food Network)
3 stick of unsalted butter (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
3 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp of salt
Some strawberry and/or apricot jam

1. In a mixer cream butter and sugar until well combined.
2. Add in vanilla and slow down the speed of the mixer. Add in flour and salt to the butter mixture.
3. Mix until the dough come together and well combined.
4. Roll out cookies dough into small balls and place cookies on cookie sheet pan.
5. Press a light indentation on the top of each cookies with your finger.
6. Drop 1/4 tsp of jam on each indentation.
7. Bake cookies on a preheated 325 degree F oven for 20- 25 min or until lightly brown.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Savoury Pinwheels

This is a really easy appetizer to make and is good for a party or light snack for your family.

Ingredients :

1 packet of store bought puff pastry
1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes - drained from oil and chopped
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
4 slices of ham or any type of cold cuts - finely sliced
1/2 cup of chopped olives
some chopped parsley
1 egg - beaten (for glazing)

1) Roll out the pastry thinly into a large rectangle.
2) Spread sun-dried tomatoes, both cheeses, cold cuts, olives, parsley evenly on the roll out pastry leaving about 1/2" gap on the edges.
3) Brush the long ends on the opposite for the pastry with beaten egg and roll the pastry up like a long sausage.
4) Put the roll up pastry in the fridge for an hour to makes it easier to cut.
5) Brush the roll with beaten egg and with sharp knife cut into thin slices.

6) Arrange on a baking tray, space apart and brush them with a little more of the beaten egg.

7) Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for 20 min or until they are golden brown.

I made another variation by using frozen spinach, ricotta cheese and the rest of the ingredients are the same as the above.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Chocolate Chips Cookies

I've been using this same recipe for years and my nieces and nephew seems to like this cookies a lot. We like our cookies to be crunchy but some of them like their cookies chewy. If you like it crunchy just bake it a bit longer and if you like it chewy just bakes it for 12-15 min.

Ingredients :

1 cup (2 stick) of room temperature butter
1 1/2 cup of sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp of vanilla
3 cups of flour
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup of chopped macadamia nuts (or any other nuts)


1) Preheat oven to 325 F
2) Cream butter and sugar until well combined and creamy. Add in eggs one at a time.
3) Stir in vanilla. Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl.
4) Add in the flour into the butter mixture and then nuts and chocolate chips.
5) Drop a spoonful of dough into a greased baking pan and bake the cookies for 15-18 min or until the edges are lightly browned.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Russian Tea Cakes

I am pretty much done with my Christmas baking. Of all the cookies I've baked over the years this cookies by far is my favorite. They are called Russian Tea Cakes/cookies or also known as Mexican Wedding Cakes. I am not sure why they call it cakes when it is a cookie. It can make from toasted nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts, almond, macadamia nuts, etc. The dough is fairly un-sweet, make into small balls and then rolled it in powdered sugar. They just melt in your mouth and you can't stop by just eating one.

Ingredients :

1 cup (2 stick) of butter - room temperature
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
2 tsp of vanilla extract
2 cups of flour
1 cup of walnuts or other nuts - toasted and finely ground

For Tossing :

1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

1) Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and creamy. Stir in vanilla.
2) Add in toasted nuts and flour until well combined.
3) Roll dough into a small balls and arrange the cookies into a baking tray about 1/2" apart.
4) Bake cookies in a pre-heated 325 F until golden brown on the bottom and just lightly brown on top. It might take about 20 min (depend on your oven).
5) Cool cookies completely and then roll it in powdered sugar.

Note : If the dough is too soft, chill it in the fridge for an hour before forming it into balls. You can form the cookies into crescent shape.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ma Lai Koh

I used to buy this spongy cake from Taman Segar pasar malam every Friday. I think this guy Ma Lai Koh is the best. I like to eat it by spreading some kaya on top of it and with a hot cup of Milo. I used regular sugar for this cake but the next time I make this again I am going to try it with palm or brown sugar. I am sure it will taste so much better like the one BBO did.
Ingredients :

(A)
200 grm of sugar
5 eggs

(B)
100 ml vegetable oil
130 ml fresh milk

(c) - sift together
280 grm flour
4 tbsp of custard powder
2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt

1) Whisk (a) until light and creamy.
2) Fold in (B) and then (C) until well combined.
3) Pour batter into a well greased baking pan and steam on high heat for 30 min or until skewer comes out clean when tested.
4) Cool complete before cutting.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Toffee Almond Sandies

Is the time of the year again to bake some cookies. I got this recipe from 'Taste of Home' Cookies & bars recipe book.

Ingredients :

1 cup of butter - softened
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of powder sugar
2 eggs
4 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp of almond extract
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of cream of tartar
1 tsp of salt
2 cups of sliced almonds
1 packet of English toffee bits (you can replace it with caramel bits)

1) In a mixing bowl, cream butter, oil and sugars until well mixed and creamy.
2) Add in eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Add in almond extract
3) Combine flour, baking soda,baking powder, cream of tarted and salt.
4) Gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in almonds and toffee bits.
5) Drop a teaspoonful of cookie dough about 2" apart onto baking sheets.
6) Bake in a pre-heated 350 F oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
7) Remove from wire racks to cool.

Note : I added some caramel and chocolate chips these recipe.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Shrimp Pasta in Creamy Sauce

This is such an easy dish to make and you'll be surprise at how gourmet it looks and taste. With the hint of lemon juice really brighten up the flavor of this dish without feeling too heavy after eating it.

Ingredients :

Pasta of your choice - 2 serving
1/2 pound of shrimp - peeled and deveined
2 plum tomatoes - roughly chopped
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
3/4 cup of heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Some pepper flakes - optional
Some chopped parsley for garnish

1) Cook pasta according to the package instructions, drain and set aside.
2) Heat up some olive oil and saute garlic until lightly brown.
3) Add in the tomatoes, shrimp, lemon zest and juice. Simmer until shrimp are cooked and sauce is fragrant.
4) Add in cream and continue to cook for a minute. Add, pepper flakes, salt and pepper and then toss in the pasta.
5) Dish out and garnish with some chopped parsley and tomatoes.

Note : I add in some can clams too since I had some leftover in my fridge.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Chicken Curry

I like using the ready made curry paste from Thailand for some of my curry dishes. The brand the I like to used is Mae-Ploy and they have serveral kind paste like Green Curry, Panang Curry, Yellow Curry, Masman Curry. For this dish I used Masman Curry paste and it has all the ingredient like shallots,garlic, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, ginger and other spices in it. So it safe me the hassle of pounding or grinding those ingredients.

Ingredients :

4 pieces of chicken thigh - cut into bite size pieces
2 tbsp of curry paste
2 tbsp of curry powder
1 tsp of chili powder
1 1/2 cup of coconut milk (more or less)
3 potatoes - cut small
a small bunch of Thai basil
1 tsp of sugar
salt and pepper to taste

1) Mix the curry paste, curry powder and chili powder into paste with a little bit of water.
2) Heat up some oil in a pan and stir-fry the paste until fragrant.
3) Add in the chicken and stir fry until the chicken changes color.
4) Add in the coconut milk and bring to boil. Turn down the heat to simmer.
5) Add in potatoes, stir and cover and simmer till the potatoes and chicken are fully cooked.
6) Add in sugar, salt and pepper. Turn off the flame and add in the basil.
7) Serve with warm rice.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Butter Cake

This is a very easy cake to make and I got this recipe from Donna Hay cookbook. You can have the cake plain or frost it with different flavors icing. You can even add some other spices or extracts to it or even jazz it up with some fresh fruits to the batter to change it to another type of butter cake.

Ingredients :
(adapted from Donna Hay Classic II)

1 stick (4 oz) of butter
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup of flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 cup of milk


1) Pre-heat oven to 300 F. Grease baking pan.
2) Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat on low speed until combined.
3) Increase to high speed and beat until smooth.
4) Pour into greased pan and bake for an hour or until cooked when tested with skewer.
5) Allow to cool briefly and then turn out onto a wire rack.