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Girls' Best Friend

Bright and sparkly. Gemstones came to my mind when I was removing this Dragon Fruit and Orange jelly from the mould. Like a combination of gemstones...rubies, amber and diamonds, all in one!

Dragon's Eyes

The literal translation for the name of a small brown, juicy exotic fruit from the lands of Asia, known as Longan in Chinese, packed into these muffins


A taste from the humble beginnings, the Long Bean Rice brings back beautiful memories of the yesteryears

Light and Fluffy

Lemon, Yogurt and Cranberries~a nice blend of flavours in a light and fluffy chiffon cake

Bread Stories

Asian style buns ~ Popular as breakfast food or snack, sweet/savoury fillings wrapped in soft, cottony bread

Friday, 29 July 2011

Finally...One Humble Roll

Visits to Aspiring Bakers posts (a collection of creations based on a theme) have always been literally jaw-dropping! I am completely bowled over by the level of mastery and creativity displayed by fellow bloggers. Although I would very much like to join in the fun, I never gathered enough courage to make the step with my novice skills. I promised myself, I will give it an attempt the next one...and here I am after many next ones :)

I contemplated if I should skip this one and wait for the next one as the theme for this month , Swiss Rolls is one huge challenge for me! More so when I saw rolls and rolls of amazingly beautiful swiss rolls that came rolling in as fellow bloggers continue to post them in conjunction with the theme. Eye-opener indeed, never occurred to me that swiss rolls could be made that way!

My first attempt on the Swiss Roll was some time back, at the very early stages of my baking journey. I thought it sounded fairly easy. It turned out to be a disaster; like a piece of chewy rubber! How it went so wrong was indeed baffling!

With memories of that piece of rubber still dancing vividly in my mind, I shall stay clear from anything complicated.

This is the second roll in my attempt this round. The first one broke when I rolled it; ended up looking like a lopsided layer cake. This one looks more decent.

The recipe is simple, no egg separation, just beat until light and fluffy. And the cake turned out as it is, soft, light and fluffy. A little too soft if you asked me, it was difficult getting them to stand for a shot. Maybe it needs a little more time in the fridge. The other problem was dropping skin! It was just so fragile. I wonder why? For the skinless ones, I used chocolate rice to cover the them, think foundation and makeup or concealer perhaps :)

Did I get it wrong? Frankly, I am not sure! It tasted good though :)

So, with thick skin, I submit this humble beginner roll of mine to Aspiring Bakers #9 - Swiss Rolling Good Times ( July 2011 ) hosted by Obsessedly Involved with Food. Do drop by to see for yourself the amazing compilation that would be available on 1 Aug 2011.

Source : Aunty Yochana with adaptations

  • The original recipe was for 5 eggs, as I did not have a pan of that size, I downsized the recipe to 3 eggs (my pan size was 23 * 28 cm)
  • Organic molasses sugar instead of castor sugar
  • Pecans instead of walnuts
  • Whipped Cream instead of Butter Cream


  • 3 nos. eggs (Large)
  • 50 gm. organic molasses sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. instant coffee (Nescafe) powder mix with 1 Tbsp. hot water
  • 60 gm. Plain flour
  • 35 gm. canola oil
  • 200 gm. dairy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp. castor sugar
  • 1 Tbsp instant coffee powder mix with 1 Tbsp. hot water
  • 50 gm. chopped roasted pecans


  1. Whisk eggs and sugar together till light and fluffy.
  2. Add in coffee mixture and gently fold in sifted plain flour,
  3. Add in corn oil and mix well until combined.
  4. Pour into a rectangular tray and bake at 200C for about 8 - 10 mins.
  5. Remove from oven and leave on wire rack to cool completely.

  1. Whip whipping cream until fluffy.
  2. Add sugar and coffee mixture.
  3. Leave to cool in refrigerator.

  1. Turn sponge cake onto a piece of greaseproof paper, spread whipping cream on top and then sprinkle chopped roasted pecans on top.
  2. Roll gently from the wide end into a swiss roll using paper as a guide to lift cake.
  3. Put into the refrigerator to let it set before slicing.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Chicken Rice Malaysian Style

Of late, our country has been attracting some attention, unfortunately of the wrong kind. Nothing that has left us feeling proud except for the bit on Penang's Assam Laksa getting the No. 7 spot on the world's Top 50 delicious food, based on CNN International food survey (The Sunday Star, 24 July 2011). Way to go Penang!

A lot of us (myself included) are sadden and disappointed by the state of many events that have happened. It is even worse when racial or religious sentiments are played when in fact these issues are in no relation to it at all. On the contrary, we live among each other in gracious harmony, more so if emotions along racial/religious lines are left unstirred.

Most of us were brought up to respect each other irregardless of races. We got to know each other, learn each other's culture, appreciate each other's delicacies and sometimes adapt each other's ways into our lives without even realising it.

Food is definitely one thing that brought the many races of Malaysia together. We enjoy Malay food as much as they do, we love their Rendangs, Roti Jala, Dodol, Lemang and so much more. Like wise, the Malays love our Hainanese Chicken Rice, Yong Tow Foo, Paus etc, etc. Our Indian friends' Banana Leaf Rice, Roti Canai, Putumayams , Curries etc etc are food to die for.

I hope I have not confused anyone with the title of this post. By no means is this officially recognised as Malaysian style Chicken Rice. It is just me twigging around with some recipes but I would very much like to think that it is reflective of our Malaysian spirit. Typically, I would prepare Chicken Rice the Chinese way where the chicken is steamed. Instead, I chose to grill some chicken wings with spices following the Malay style.

Some greens were prepared in a style common to the Chinese where the greens are blanched in hot water and then seasoned with some oyster and soy sauce.

As for the rice, I substituted it with butter rice instead of the rice cooked with chicken stock as per Chinese Chicken rice. Butter Rice reminds me of my Indian friends' ghee rice.

The taste blended well with each other, just like how we live peacefully among each other. So, who says we are not Malaysians first?? I believe most of us already are ...

Fellow Malaysians, let's pray and do whatever we can for this motherland that we love!

Grilled Chicken Wings Malay Style ~ Dapurku Sayang
Butter Rice ~ Nasi Lemak Lover

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Battle of the East

Steamed dishes, they pop up on our dinner table at least twice a week . I guess most of us know the many benefits of steaming our food pretty well. Less oily, retains nutrients, colors and smell, most of all our body will love us for it. Added to that, there's this big fat bonus of it being the easiest, fastest and cleanest method. No greasy kitchen to clean up after. Simply put, the return is high, little effort, huge benefits in terms of healthy eating, time, effort and cost! So, steam, steam and steam we must! Steam anything from fish, prawns, cuttlefish, chicken, meat to vegetables and fruits!

Being a Chinese, I steamed pork ribs quite often. I learnt two new ways of steaming pork ribs recently. One with the Korean Kimchi and the other with the Japanese Miso. Fresh new ways of steaming pork ribs provided one is able to embrace these two gems from the East. I think, the love for them is something that needs to be acquired. Not everyone takes an instant liking (some never) to them (am not sure for those who grew up with it).

The taste of ribs steamed with Miso is closer to the Chinese style of steaming with fermented yellow soybeans.

Steaming with Kimchi, is rather unique. It has a little spiciness to it and eating it together with the meat makes the meat juicier.

Which one is better? Again, I have supporters on both side of the fence (with myself sitting on it)! They are delicious served piping hot with rice. Maybe it's not fair to compare them as their taste are quite unique in their own ways. Now, the next time I do pork ribs, I will need to decide whether it's going to be Chinese (Yellow Soybeans), Korean (Kimchi) or Japanese(Miso), talk about giving yourself headaches!

Steamed Miso Pork Ribs
Source : Assorted Lunch Boxes by Jamie Jong

  • 300g pork ribs
  • 2 tbsp miso
  • 1tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and chopped (omitted)
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp cornflour
  1. Mix ingredients for marinade.
  2. Mix marinade with pork ribs.
  3. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
  4. Steam over high heat for 20 minutes until pork ribs are cooked through.

Steamed Kimchi Pork Ribs
Source : Steamed Cuisine by Hoe Yee

  • 300g pork ribs
  • 100g kimchi
  • 1/2 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tbsp cooking oil
  1. Mix ingredients for marinade.
  2. Mix marinade with pork ribs.
  3. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
  4. Mix Kimchi with marinated pork ribs.
  5. Steam over high heat for 20 minutes until pork ribs are cooked through.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Jelly Good Cake

Coffee, i never get bored of it. I wish i could say the same for a lot more things, life would be a lot easier, or wouldn't it? Never mind :)

I was craving for something with coffee aroma, yes again. I stumbled on this one at Aunty Yochana while I was contemplating whether to make a coffee chiffon. This looks fairly light compared to a full blown cake, something that would be delightful in the current hot weather.

A wee bit smarter this time, I am no longer confused or despair when I don't have any lying around when I see the word Kaya. Typically, the word Kaya refers to a spread made from coconut milk and eggs that we Malaysians love on our bread. However, I have learned from previous recipes that there is a tendency to use this word when the combination of ingredients are similar to those used for making Kaya, it does not by all means Kaya as in the end product is used. And it applied to this one too, the green layer was made from coconut milk, sugar and pandan juice without any eggs though.

The first layer was coffee jelly, the second was Kaya (i.e. coconut milk, sugar, pandan juice, jelly and corn flour) while the last layer was vanilla sponge.

Light and refreshing. Nice combination. Yummy! Good as dessert. I think I didn't do a good job on the sponge. There are some parts that looked dense. Otherwise, this cake would have been just perfect.

Source : Aunty Yochana

Ingredients for Sponge Cake
  • 2 eggs
  • 60 gm. caster sugar
  • 70 gm. cake flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Water
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Essence
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Ovalette emulsifier
  • 50 ml. cornoil

Ingredients for Coffee jelly layer
  • 1 1/2 tsp. agar-agar powder
  • 50 gm. sugar
  • 1 tsp. Instant coffee granules (Nescafe)
  • 1/2 tsp. coffee paste (optional)
  • 300 ml. water

Ingredients for Kaya Layer

  • 2 tsp. agar-agar powder
  • 30 gm. cornflour
  • 60 gm. caster sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 150 ml. thick coconut milk
  • 300 ml. pandan water (blend 5 pandan leaves with water, sieve it and then weigh 300 ml)


For cake
  1. Whisk all the ingredients for sponge cake at high speed except corn oil until it becomes thick and creamy.
  2. Pour in cornoil and let it mix for awhile.
  3. Pour mixture into a lined 10" square tray and bake at 180C for about 20 mins. or until cooked.
  4. When cooked, remove from oven and leave it to cool on a wire rack.
For Jelly Layer (Coffee & Kaya)
  1. Boil all the ingredients for coffee jelly in a pot until agar agar and sugar dissolves. When set, use a fork to scratch the surface.
  2. Pour coffee jelly mixture into a 9" square tray and let it set.
  3. Cook the agar-agar powder and sugar in pandan water for kaya layer until boiling and dissolve. Turn down fire. Pour in coconut milk (mix corn flour into it) until boiling.
  4. Pour on top of set coffee layer jelly.
  1. Place the baked sponge on top of the jelly layer.
  2. Put in the refrigerator to let it set.
  3. Slice and serve chilled.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Carrots for the Rabbit in the House

"Carrots for the rabbit in the house", that's what I told little one when he asked what was in his lunch box. He gave me that "Oh no, my mum has gone crazy! Wonder what has she been up to?" look. I like it when he does that, feels like the tables have been turned around, my turn to be naughty :) He knows too well that he's my guinea pig. I am thankful that he bears with me most of the time. After all, it's not like I burn food or create disasters to the extent that there's no dinner on the table, just that it can be less tasty, or taste a little funny, look a little ugly...(warning.. potentially understated!)

What's this? I think they look pretty. Potato croquettes shaped to look like carrots. Mashed potatoes with meat and vegetable fillings, coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried.

Sadly, little one didn't like it, he agreed that it looked cute though (some consolation). I beg to differ here, I think they were delicious. Crispy on the outside but soft and buttery inside. The savoury fillings blended well with the potatoes. Hmm, one man's meat is another's poison, i guess...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Monkeying Around

Monkeying around to make some Monkey bread. Heard of them but never got to try them. It was curiosity about its name that attracted me to it. Common sense tells me there's no monkey in it, so what's the monkey about it then??

According to Wiki, this is an American bread. However, the origin of its name is uncertain. Possibly because it resembles the monkey puzzle tree or the act of people pulling at the bread when eating it is reminiscent of monkey behaviour. The bread is made by baking little balls of dough coated with butter and sugar in a cake pan.

I chose this recipe to follow mainly because I wanted to use up some cream cheese and needed to make some bread for breakfast, tomorrow. I knew most monkey breads are sweet breads, in fact very sweet bread, in some cases, sticky and gooey too. But this one didn't look too sweet, sticky nor gooey. However, I started feeling a little uneasy while making it, the amount of sugar was very high by my standards. There was no backing out at this point, i ended up reducing it all the way. I didn't reduce the amount used for the dough, for the coating, i used only 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup for fillings and the toppings 3 tablespoons.

I didn't have a bundt pan, make do with my chiffon pan instead. Glad that it still turned out looking pretty. The lemon coating added a nice touch to its already rustic look, like cobblestones to me. I was contemplating whether to go without the topping, but glad that i didn't omit it. Apart from making it pretty, it played an important role in the overall taste.

Tasted good. Glad that I reduced the amount of sugar, it was at an acceptable level for the family. It maybe because of this that it's not sticky which i do not mind at all. The combination of the lemon coating and the cream cheese filling gave it a nice flavour and breakaway from an overly sweet taste. It was soft, tasted more like cake than bread to me, though I am not too sure if it should be so :)

Friday, 8 July 2011

Gemstone Jelly

Doesn't it look pretty? It's jelly but gemstones came to my mind when I was removing it from the mould. It's like a combination of gemstones! Rubies, amber and diamonds, all in one! Imagine having gemstones as big as these, nice... Unfortunately, my photo may not do it justice. A little overboard maybe, but it won't hurt to let one's imagination go wild, at least once in awhile. Well, don't they say nothing happens without a dream??

Normally i would just make dragon fruit jelly but these had a combination of 3 types of fruits. The top layer got its red (the "Ruby") from the dragon fruit, orangy hue ( the "Amber") at the bottom came from orange juice while the lychees hidden inside were like sparkling Diamonds!

Now, let's talk about the taste, honestly, i am not too sure about it. Another case of don't be deceived by its look? The orange flavour was so dominant that it overpowered the other two. Of course, one will not forget the presence of the dragon fruit with the crunching of the little black seeds but there was not much rescue for the lychee, it was kinda like there but not there, because the taste and scent of lychee was missing.

I am not sure if I am gonna make this again. Yes would be the most likely answer but I will omit lychee, might try longans (I have tried longan and dragon fruit and it was a good combination). Longans instead of lychees for diamonds, after all Diamonds are Girls' Best Friends, how can we live without them :))

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Yam Cake ~ More Inspirations from Ah Mah

The recent post on Long Bean Rice which was a tribute to my Ah Mah (meaning Grandma), inspired a cousin to start a blog of her own dedicating it to our Ah Mah. The thoughts of having a collection of stories about Ah Mah, just like having a memoir for our family to cherish and share with our generations to come was elating. Although tears would start rolling when memories of our times with her become crystal clear once again as we recall and write, for those who are reading as well, I am pretty sure Ah Mah will be so touched and smiling while watching us from up above :)

This is another of Ah Mah's specialties. It is not uncommon but somehow one misses the taste of home. It is known as Or Ker in our dialect, meaning Yam Cake. Steamed cake made from yam cubes, dried shrimps and rice flour. Ah Mah made them during festivals. As usual during festivals there would be so much food, enough for everyone to feast on and bring home, Ah Mah would always asked Mum to pack extra home because she knew I love them. Today, there's no more Or Ker from Ah Mah. l have learned how to make them to fill that void but how I wished I had taken the time to learn her recipe, how I wish she was still here so that I can make some for her instead. At last this would remain wishful ...but regret I would not because I am pretty sure Ah Mah will be proud to know that I can make my own now!

I adapted the recipe from this one. A simple formula was provided, which I think is the key to a good cake, not too soft nor hard. Furthermore this is her Ah Mah's recipe, I have a feeling Ah Mah made her measurements in this way too.

Ratio of Water:Rice Flour:Yam (in chinese rice bowl) = 2 : 1 : 1 1/2


  • 3 bowls of yam, diced into 1-2cm cubes
  • 2 bowl rice flour
  • 4 tablespoons wheat/corn starch
  • 4 bowls water
  • 1 bowl dried shrimps
  • 8 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper


  • 3 shallots, deep fried
  • 2 stalks spring onions, sliced finely
  • 1 red chilli, sliced finely
  • 1/2 bowl dried shrimps, fried


  1. Heat a pan over medium high heat, and fry the onions and dried shrimps until aromatic.
  2. Add cubed yam to the pan, fry with onion and dried shrimp mixture until slightly brown.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the rice flour, wheat starch and water, and stir until it forms a smooth paste. Take care to ensure there are no lumps in the mixture.
  4. Add the flour mixture into the pan slowly, and stir until everything forms a thick paste.
  5. Add the salt, pepper and five spice powder, and mix well.
  6. Pour the mixture into a heatproof pan and steam over high heat for 45 minutes, or until cooked.
  7. When cake is slightly cooled, sprinkle with deep fried shallots, chopped spring onions, sliced chillies and fried dried shrimps.
  8. Serve with some chilli/sweet sauce.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Savoury Buns

Our breakfast this morning. Savoury ones, this time. Made two varieties, namely Ham and Cheese and the other was a simple Spring Onions with Cheese.

The bread dough was based on a tang zhong method shared by fellow blogger. In fact, this is not the first time I made buns using her recipe and that's simply because i like the outcome. The bread is soft and it stays soft over the next 2 days. The other reason is personally i think , tang zhong is in between the straight dough and pre-fermented method. Straight dough doesn't give you bread that stays soft for long while for pre-fermented you have to start hours ahead to get soft bread which just doesn't allow you to make bread impromptu. So, I will stick with tang zhong for awhile, simple and fast :)

This is my version of the recipe, please hop over to her blog for the original recipe. I always used my bread machine to knead, too lazy to knead with hands.

Source: Honey Bee Sweets

Tang Zhong:
100ml water 20g bread flour
  1. Mix bread flour into water in a heat proof saucepan and whisk till no lumps. Place saucepan over heat and cook mixture over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Once the mixture thickens and leaves ribbons when the whisk is lifted from the batter, remove from the heat and let it cool completely before use.
  • 60g whole beaten egg (1 Grade A)
  • 65ml fresh milk
  • 6g salt
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 45g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 195g bread flour
  • 90g cake flour
  • 6g instant active yeast
  • 75g tang zhong mixture (all of earlier prepared tang zhong)

  1. Place all ingredients in the bread pan of the bread machine (according to the recommended sequence stated in the instruction manual of the bread machine).
  2. Select Dough function of the bread machine.
  3. Once the cycle complete, remove dough from the bread pan. Shape the dough into a smooth round and place in a bowl. Cover and let it rise till double in volume.
  4. Punch out trapped air using knuckles.
  5. Divide into equal portions and shape into balls, around 50g each (should get around 12). Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Fill the dough with desired fillings.
  7. Bake @ 175C in a preheated oven for 15 to 18minutes till golden brown.
Ham and Cheese
  • Flatten dough into a rectangular shape.
  • Place a piece of ham followed by a slice of cheese on top of dough.
  • Roll it up.
  • Make a cut in the centre (but not cutting through). Let dough stand upright.
  • Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Egg wash and sprinkle some bonito flakes.

Spring Onions with Cheese
  • Chop some spring onions.
  • Flatten dough into a long triangular shape.
  • Egg wash and squirt some mayonnaise.
  • Sprinkle some spring onions and grated cheese.
  • Roll up, starting from the broad end.
  • Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Egg wash and sprinkle some spring onions and sesame seeds.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Light and Fluffy...Again

Chiffons! Yes, I am still loving them. After a few successful attempts, I have gathered the courage to try many more interesting flavours. I am going to declare this as the apple of my eye for now. It tasted really good. It soared above expectations, the flavours blended into each other so well. A good blending of some sweetness, sourish and saltiness, all in one. The cranberries gave some chewiness instead of an all soft texture.

Good, really good. I got the recipe from here. After this attempt, I made another based on the same recipe, this time I replaced the cranberries with fresh apricots (which are in season, albeit elsewhere). It was another yummy one. I forgot to take pictures though :( The basic formula presented in this recipe is full proved and I am going to use this as a base for more variations.

Basic Formula shared by All That Matters.
  • 4 yolks, 5 whites recipe
  • Amount of Flour - 120g
  • Amount of Liquid (Oil/Juice/Yoghurt) - 180g
- Flour over liquid ratio - 120 : 180 (i.e. 2 parts to 3 parts or 66.67%). This ratio is to be maintained when playing with variations.
- I found that this formula works for me and the amount of sugar, comparatively lower than many other recipes gave a sweetness that is to the liking of our family.

Lemon Yoghurt Cranberries Chiffon Cake
4 egg yolks
40g fine sugar
1/4 tsp salt
40g corn oil
120g plain yoghurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
80g dried cranberries
Zest of 1 lemon

120g Cake flour
1/2 tbsp Baking powder

*Sift 2x

5 egg whites
50g fine sugar
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar

  1. Whisk yolks and sugar till sugar dissolves.
  2. Add oil and salt, whisk. Add yoghurt, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir well.
  3. Fold in sifted flour, cranberries and mix well.
  4. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat till the whites are frothy. Add in Cream of Tartar and beat till soft peaks.
  5. Add in sugar gradually (3 additions) and beat till stiff peaks.
  6. Fold in 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture using a rubber spatula till incorporated.
  7. Pour the mixture to the remaining egg whites and fold in gently till incorporated.
  8. Pour the batter into a 21/22 cm chiffon tube pan. Give slight bangs to the pan on the table to get rid of bubbles.
  9. Bake at 170 deg.C in preheated oven for 50mins.
  10. At 30 minutes, if top of cake is browned, cover with a piece of aluminium foil (Do it quickly, without taking cake out of the oven)
  11. Remove from the oven and invert the pan. Remove the cake from pan when it's completely cooled.
Variation for Lemon Yoghurt Apricot Chiffon
1. Replace Cranberries with Apricot (use dried or fresh)
2. Use Apricot flavour yoghurt for a stronger apricot taste.


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