Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Evy's Birthday Cake: Marshmallow Cake

I asked Evy what cake she wants for her birthday, a store-bought cake or a cake mommy made for her, at first she said she wanted a store-bought cake but later changed her mind to a marshmallow cake. So I said okay and since the strawberry was in season again, large and sweet, why not make a strawberry chiffon cake again and decorated it with whipped cream. Just like a cake I made for her last year except this time will have some marshmallow on the cake. When I started to decorate the cake, she said she wanted a smiley face marshmallow cake, so here's her smiley face marshmallow cake for her 5th year old birthday.

Another look of my tall chiffon cake. Can you see the smiley face?

This time I made it three layers with two layers of whipped cream with strawberry bits.

I definitely added too much red coloring as this cake is redder compared to my previous one. This time I also used 2 cups of fresh whipped cream plus 1/3 cup of confectioner sugar to ice the cake. Remember to place the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator before you whip the cream. The whipped cream beats best when the bowl and beaters are cold.

Note: The marshmallow turned soft the next day but nevertheless still delicious.

I realized I haven't shared the pictures of my girls for quite some time, so here are the most updated pictures of them saying Hi.

Evy with her birthday cake saying cheese.

Edda saying cheese without looking at the camera.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy

Baby Bok Choy has been a regular vegetable in my household. All Asian grocery stores have it, even WalMart and the grocery stores here have it. It is one of the common Asian vegetable and most people know what it is. I buy my Baby Bok Choy at the Asian market here because it is cheaper. Sometimes the Asian grocery store here doesn't carry much vegetable choices, but they always have the Baby Boy Choy and regular Boy Choy (darker green) available and looking fresh. That's why this vegetable is a staple in my house. Sharing with you an easy and delicious recipe.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Chinese Steamed Mantau (饅頭) with Red Bean Paste & Mung Bean Paste

Assorted steamed buns or Mantau with filling. I used the breadmaker mantau recipe I posted earlier. The ones at the back with pleats were with mung bean paste filling. And the round ones were red bean paste filling. I made these and freeze individually in the freezer before putting them all in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. Each time I just take out whatever I needed for breakfast or afternoon snack and reheat it in the microwave. Those were the store-bought pastes that I brought back from Malaysia, need to use it before it expired.

Steamed mantau (饅頭) with mung bean paste.

Steamed mantau (饅頭) with red bean paste.

Since this is made using the mantau recipe instead of the bao recipe, the texture is soft and slightly chewy. We can use this recipe to stuff filling but for best result mantau recipe is still a mantau recipe, leave it plain, or brush it with sesame oil and add green onion, or make flavor mantau like yam, black sesame seeds, green tea, chocolate, etc. I saw some duo colors mantau before.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ground Pork Patties

I had some ground pork at home and was wondering what to make of it because I just used some to stir-fry tofu the previous night. Was thinking of making deep-fry wontan but my girl was having sore throat so that was a bad idea. Then, probably baked meat balls but was too lazy to make a sauce for it. Then, why not pan-fry some pork patties as this would be easier. So, I started seasoning my meat and let it marinated. Wow, this turned out to be so delicious! It's slightly crispy on the edges, moist inside and so flavorful. It will be suitable as a hamburger patties too. Next time try this Asian fusion pork patties for your Summer grilling party ya. It was really good that I quickly pen down my marinade ingredients. I will give an estimate recipe so that you would know which one to put more or less. I will certainly make this again.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Vietnamese Summer Rolls and Best Peanut Dipping Sauce

We love Vietnamese summer rolls, spring rolls or fresh rolls. We used to frequent one Vietnamese restaurant which served "Nuoc Cham" with the summer rolls and we loved it. And then we started to be more adventurous and tried out other new Vietnamese restaurants around town and discovered a new dipping sauce that was made of Peanut butter and Hoisin sauce. My girls totally loved this dipping sauce and would just lick it off from the spoon. And we started to like this too and would rather prefer this dipping sauce than "Nuoc Cham".

The version of the peanut dipping sauce here are thick and non-spicy. I think they made it non-spicy to suit the American taste buds. Also you can always add the Vietnamese chili sauce if you like it spicy. Because of this peanut sauce, Evy had two summer rolls in one setting for her afternoon snack. Frankly I was surprised because she never had one before and she didn't really like the skin texture of the summer roll. But she said she loved my peanut sauce and thus the summer rolls. My version of the peanut sauce was a hit and both my girls had lots of summer rolls and my hubby didn't touch the "Nuoc Cham" at all. Another surprise because he used to like this sauce with his summer rolls. I guess from now on, I only need to make the peanut hoisin dipping sauce.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chicken with Chilli Paste with Sweet Basil Leaves

I always liked Lee brand, I have been using the Tom Yam paste from this brand. So, when aunty Lily said this paste is good and bought me a bottle to try, I was glad. Want to know my verdict? I loved this paste, it's better than the chilli paste with holy basil leaves that I tried earlier. Recently while shopping at the new Asian market here, I actually spotted this paste, but more expensive, so will see if I can get it at PO or VH Asian markets at Denver. Anyone knows?

This is how the paste looks like, I strongly recommend it.

I don't think you need me to provide a recipe for this dish. It's quite straight forward but in addition of adding the paste, I also added a little fish sauce and sugar. One thing though, you need to stir and mix the basil leaves with the chili paste before using. Hope you can find this product at your local Asian markets.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Braised Pork in 5-spice Powder and Mantau

I served my Chinese steamed buns/Mantau 饅頭 with braised pork. This is a recipe shared by Josh (Gan55) in 2005. You can read more from my other link here.

Still in the pot waiting for dinner time to arrive. Imagine my mantau soaking up this deliciously thick gravy.

I will share his recipe here with you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Malaysian Chinese Cookware 101

Anyone with a decent amount of experience in the kitchen understands how the material, size, and shape of the cookware sets used have a strong influence over how your final dish will come out. This is especially important with traditional dishes that rely on specific flavors and textures that are associated with a particular country’s culture. In the case of cooking traditional Malaysian Chinese dishes, there are a number of fundamental cookware items that will give the delicious and satisfying results you’re looking for to serve to your friends and family. Since Malaysian Chinese dishes use a number of different vegetables and meat options, it’s important to take notice of the many ways in which you can prepare a delicious meal for your family.

One of the basic cookware items to have around your kitchen is a bamboo steamer that is perfect for steaming vegetables or making the traditional Yum Cha dish. In addition, a wok set of varying sizes serve as a great tool to use when cooking all of your meal’s ingredients together. The bowl-shaped pan distributes heat evenly throughout the depth of the pan and will allow you to toss both vegetables and meat together to create the stir fry dish you’re looking for. Clay pot cooking for Malaysian dishes is a reliable cookware piece to use for putting together soups and stews or steaming a side of vegetables. They are also versatile in design as they can be used in the oven or on a stovetop surface for slow-cooking meats or creating a delicious casserole.

In addition to the main cookware items used for traditional Malaysian cooking, it’s a great idea to consider adding smaller cooking utensils to your collection in order to make the cooking process easier. Such items include ladles, copper wire strainers, and steam racks that can be used while you’re cooking various meat and vegetable meals. Wok turners and ladles will allow you to handle the ingredients cooking in the wok more easily while wire strainers and skimmers will help separate any components of the meal you need to put more attention on.

The above article was written by a guest writter, Suzanne, an expert at cookware.com.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Steamed Mantau (Chinese steamed bun, 饅頭) using a Breadmaker

My assorted shapes of steamed buns or 饅頭. Can you tell I was playing with the shapes and failed miserably? Haha... I was trying to follow the pictures guidance from a Chinese cookbook that I have and I was totally sucked at it. Later I just simply shaped it however I liked. Do you see some scallions on some of the steamed buns? Those are my variation mantau listed below. I also tried some with black sesame seeds but didn't get much taste out of it.

This is a recipe shared by Gina few years ago. I copied it down because I loved the idea of using a bread maker to make mantau (as you know I am lazy). I think I told her I am going to try her recipe but I never did until now (see, now you know how lazy I am). I wanted to make this to eat with my soy 5-spice powder braised pork (coming up), so that was the motivation I needed. So glad I did, the steamed bun/mantau was indeed very soft and fluffy when warm. My girls couldn't stop popping it into their mouths too. Thanks Gina for sharing her tried and tested recipe! She got the recipe from a Taiwanese cookbook called "Zhong Dian Zhi Zuo".

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chinese Peanut Soup Dessert (花生糊)

This is one of the desserts serving in the Chinese restaurants. I vaguely remember this dessert until I was served this while dining at a Chinese restaurant in Denver two years ago. Yeah, it was a while back as recently I have no luck in getting this as a free dessert anymore, usually it was either green bean with sago or red bean soup. In case you were wondering, few Chinese restaurants in Denver give free tea and dessert at dinner and free tea, soup and sometimes jelly/oranges for lunch. Not bad yeah?

That one time seem to be embedded deep in my memory as I couldn't forget this delectable dessert. I remembered I used to have this dessert at the wedding banquet in Malaysia ages ago. Not sure whether they still serve this as one of the wedding banquet desserts today or the more fancy kind? Anyway, because I wanted to eat it again so I have to make it. I just made a batch of toasted ground peanuts for my Vietnamese sauces earlier and kept it ready in the freezer. So, I thought I can used that to make my peanut soup. Thus, I made it my short cut way and it was really good, not too sweet, just nice. Of course if you like it sweeter just add more sugar to taste.

Monday, March 09, 2009

“Mala Hot Pot” (麻辣火鍋)

I received a packet of "Mala" (麻辣) paste from a friend from China. Frankly I never had "Mala" steamboat before, all I know was from watching the food show on Chinese TV. It is called "Mala" because it is made with Sichuan peppercorns which tends to give a numbing effect and lots of chili peppers which gave the hot/spicy effect. I precooked the paste in a big pot of water as the soup base for our hot pot/steamboat.

Getting the table ready for the steamboat of three adults and two kids. Yeah my non-traditional steamboat pot, whatever works right? ;-)

I just prepared some basic such as marinated chicken breasts, marinated pork slices, shrimps, fish fillets, napa cabbage and baby bok choy.

This side we have canned enoki mushrooms, canned button mushrooms, baby corns, cut regular tofu, tofu fish cake, fried fish balls, fish balls and bee hoon (noodle).

The “Mala Hot Pot” (麻辣火鍋) in action. When the "Mala" soup is boiling, just add the ingredients to cook. Let it boiled for few minutes before dishing it out to individual bowls to enjoy. Normally people eat a few rounds of this and chit-chat until late at night. My hubby and guest had Bailey and cold beer with their steamboat. I had lots of water because it was real spicy for me. Imagine whatever you took out from the pot coated with a layer of the numbing and extremely hot chili oil. You would probably scream for milk to cool it down instead of water. Haha... Oh, my kids had the chicken soup version if you are wondering.

The "Mala" (麻辣) soup base. The soup is really oily with a layer of chili oil and very hot/spicy! I prepared a big pot and we ended up having hot pot for two days in a row, with the leftover soup and leftover ingredients.

The Chili sauce that I made, but was too spicy to eat with the already spicy "Mala" soup. We only used the soup base to cook the ingredients, according to our Chinese friend, the soup is not supposed to be consumed, they only used it to cook the ingredients. First I heard of it because we Malaysian Chinese drink the soup, but not sure people drink the "Mala" soup or not because it's really hot. My hubby ate it anyway, but it was too spicy and oily for me.

The vinegar soy sauce that I liked. I added some thinly sliced gingers and it went well as dipping sauce.

Free flow of crispy fried shallots to add in the broth while cooking or in your own bowl.

In conclusion, “Mala Hot Pot” (麻辣火鍋) is really HOT/SPICY and oily. I actually dished out the layer of chili oil for our hot pot the next day. Without the layer of oil it was actually not bad at all, at least it was not that hot anymore. Next time I want to try the herbal soup base version.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Fried Rice with Asian Mustard Green (Gai Choy) and Shrimps

Once I discovered a veggie, I went crazy with it. If you are my avid reader, you should have noticed that a new veggie in my blog has surfaced. That's right, that's Asian mustard green or gai choy. I have been in love with this veggie and have been buying it and thus have been cooking it and thus the sprout of gai choy recipes in my blog. A dear reader of mine provided me with this great idea. She left in my comment that her mom used it to fry rice and the thought of fried rice with gai choy hasn't left my mind ever since. I could have tasted it in my mind how delicious it is going to be and determine to make my own.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Stir-fried Flat Rice Noodle (kway teow/ hor fun) with Black Pepper Sauce

Bought some flat rice noodle (kway teow/ hor fun) and decided to cook something different with it. Instead of the usual Penang fried kway teow or the Chinese style beef hor fun, I wanted something unusual. Since I alway have a bottle of LKK black pepper sauce in my refrigerator, I thought the combination would be great. So, I stir-fried my first kway teow in black pepper sauce.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Crunchy Chocolate Mint Cookie with Candy Cane

As I prefer crispy and crunchy cookies, I played around with the recipe again. This time I added the crushed candy cane into the cookie dough and baked it together. I liked this version better, it's hard and crunchy with the burst of mint each time you bite into it. Me and my girls loved it. Of course if you don't have any candy cane on hand, you can omit it. It is optional since pure peppermint extract is added. If you are brave enough to try this, feedback to me ya. :-)