Monthly Archives: July 2014

Thai Minced Pork Stir Fry with Holy Basil (Krapow Moo)

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Ever since stepping foot on Thai soil back in 2006, I fell in deep love with this dish. I could remember eating it for days in a row for breakfast at a small bakery cafe in Krabi. This is also the dish my husband and I would order every time, in Thailand or in Thai restaurants wherever we are. Thanks to Leela from She Simmers, I have finally been able to recreate it to the way we love it.

Here, I’ve plated it the way we get them in Thailand or authentic Thai restaurants.

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The only problem I had was not having enough sauce, which is a fault of mine rather than the recipe. I would pay more attention and retain more sauce next round. I’ve also added chopped French beans to the mince. Just add them in after the meat and continue with the recipe. The French beans should be cooked yet crunchy. For the recipe please click here.

It brought me back to the wonderful country of Thailand and one of my favourite restaurants in Singapore. I hope this dish will do the same for you too 🙂

Lime Chiffon Cake

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Chiffon cake is one of my all time favorite cakes. They are a delight to eat, flavorful yet so light. Back in Singapore and Malaysia, chiffon cakes can be bought very easily, but in a very localized flavor, pandan (flavoring and coloring from screw pine leaves). Here in Germany, chiffon cakes are absolutely difficult to come by. So I decided to attempt it. I chose lime as I imagine the citrusy flavor will cut through the egginess and of course, it is a more available flavor than pandan.

I followed this recipe from the Taste of Home website. I made the cake, no filling not frosting. It is just as it is. I grew up eating these “O” shape cakes, unadorned 🙂

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See how airy and spongey it is? Fantastic slice to have for tea I would say!

By the way, don’t mind the soft toys. They just wanted to be part of the yumminess 🙂

Eggless Blueberry Muffins

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My not yet 2 year old baked this! With my (a lot) of my help, of course. We are not vegans, and, most likely will remain status quo. However, I am really appreciative of those who are and those who came up with such a wonderful recipe.

Two events happened that led us to the path of egglessness that day. One was there was simply no eggs at home. Second one was it was a gloomy day and we wanted to do something indoors. The end result was the most unbelievable fluffy, moist and delectable muffins that was all cleared out by the end of the day.

This recipe is adapted from the Joy of Vegan Baking, shared at Eggless Cooking.

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Makes 8 regular sized muffins
Ingredients
1 cup plain flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk of your choice
1/6 cup of vegetable oil
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups blueberries
Coarse brown sprinkling sugar

Method
1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celcius or 374 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare muffin tin by lining with paper muffin/cupcake cups.
2. Combine ingredients from starting from flour to lemon zest in a bowl.
3. Combine ingredients from sugar to apple cider vinegar in a bigger bowl. Whisk in the ingredients from step 2. Mix until just combined.
4. Using a rubber spatula or a regular spoon, fold in the blueberries.
5. Fill up the cups to 3/4 full. Sprinkle some coarse sugar granules on top of each cup of batter to ensure a crunchy crust.
6. Put in oven and bake for 5 minutes before turning down the heat to 180 degrees Celcius or 365 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue baking for 10-15 minutes till golden brown and skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

These are amazing. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did!

Pan-fried Jiaozi (Chinese Dumplings)

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Dumplings are the best things ever. Every culture have their versions of dumplings. This proves that they are unanimously the most perfect invention of enjoying mouthfuls of flavours and textures delivered conveniently in a wrapped package from plate to mouth. The problem is the ones that we have came to love are not easily available here. That aside, I am no dumpling sifu. I am very bad with rolling out dough and wrapping the dumplings. I blame it on bad motor skills and fat fingers.

However, I heard about this jiaozi recipe from Chubby Hubby from a lady who had tried it. She claimed that they are not only doable but yields the yummiest of dumplings. So I decided to give it a go. This below was the result of my wrapping and cooking efforts and my husband’s dough rolling and cutting efforts.

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Notice the uneven sizing? This is due to us trying out different methods to achive a piece of round dough skin for wrapping. We tried rolling out the pieces with a dowel, pushing it from the middle towards the edge, per the original recipe. Then, we tried rolling it out real thin with the help of lots of extra flour and cutting the skins out with a circular cutter. Haha, obviously the method with the cutter was the easiest and we stuck to that for the rest of the dough. I also changed the method of cooking the dumplings as we fancy something with more texture instead of plain boiling them.

The recipe below is adapted from Chubby Hubby.

Ingredients

For the dumpling skin dough
250g plain flour
125ml cold water

For the dumpling filling
450g minced pork
50g bacon, finely chopped
125ml water
2 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp red wine/Shao Xing wine/sherry
1 egg
1 tbsp sesame oil, toasted*
1 tbsp minced ginger, peeled
500g chinese cabbage, blanched, squeezed and chopped
5 stalks spring onion, chopped
Salt and white pepper to taste

Bowl of water, to seal the dumplings
For the dip
Finely julienned ginger strips
Vinegar (Rice or even balsamic vinegar)
Soya sauce

Method

For the dumpling skin dough
1. Using a medium bowl, add in the flour and make a well in the middle. Pour in water gradually. Mixing with a wooden spoon to form a shaggy dough mixture.
2. Transfer dough and leftover flour to a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth. Add some flour if dough is too sticky or sprinkle in water if dough is too dry. Form the dough into a ball before wrapping it with clear wrap. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in room temperature.

For the dumpling filling
1. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, add in some of the water into minced meat and bacon. Stir the mass with a spoon. Add in soya sauce, wine and somemore water, if needed, to form a sticky mixture. Use only as much water as necessary to form the sticky mixture.
2. Add in egg, sesame oil, minced ginger, chinese cabbage and spring onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Once mixed, one can make a test taste by frying a teaspoon of the filling in a hot pan. Make sure the filling is slightly on the salty side as the skin is unsalted.

To complete the dumplings
1. Knead rested dough on a floured surface for another 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
2. Quarter the dough and cover the rest with clear wrap or in a bowl with a piece of cloth. Roll out one quarter of the dough to as thin as possible. If it is too much dough to handle, one can always adjust the amount of dough that is being rolled out. Cut dough with circular cutter of about 7cm. Use flour as necessary.
3. Wrap dumplings by placing one piece of skin on the palm of your hand. Scoop in about 1.5 teaspoons of filling on the skin and fold the dumpling skin to form a crescent. If the dumplings are not sealing easily, wet finger in a bowl of water and run finger along the edge of the crescent (inner side) of the dumpling skin. Moistening just one side before sealing both sides together with your fingers. Place the assembled dumpling on a lined tray. Keep tray covered with cloth as the rest of the dumplings are being assembled.
4. The dumplings can also be frozen at this point. Place tray in freezer. Once the dumplings are individually frozen, you can transfer them into a storage container or ziplock bag. Just cook them with the steps below, without defrosting.

To cook the dumplings
1. Heat a frying pan in medium high heat. Drizzle in oil. Once hot, place in dumplings and pan-fry till the bottom has a sear of golden brown color. Pour in water to cover the base of the pan and cover the frying pan. Let the dumplings steam until the water is nearly all evaporated. Uncover and flip the dumplings. Pan-fry the dumplings till both sides are golden brown and crispy, about another 2 minutes after removal of the cover. Dish up and serve with dipping sauce.
2. To make dipping sauce, combine vinegar and soya sauce in a ratio of 2:1 and add in julienned ginger.

*: I have noticed that sesame oil come in toasted or untoasted forms. For Asian cooking, we use only toasted ones.

Happy dumpling days.

Cheers,
Berenice

Sweet and Sour Chicken

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Sweet and sour chicken/pork has such a universal appeal. I think it is the flavors and textures exploding in one’s mouth that makes it such an instant hit. The meat is first battered and deep fried till crispy before being coated in a sweet and sour sauce with cubes of cucumber/bell pepper and very usually, pineapple. Crunchy, fruity yet luscious is the end result of a well-made sweet and sour dish.

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This dish has since become one of our dishes. I used apple instead of pineapple as apple is easily available here. The recipe is adapted from here, Rasa Malaysia.

Ingredients
400-500g chicken breast, cut in cubes
1 apple, peeled, cored and cubed (Substitute with fresh pineapple, if you like)
1 red bell pepper, cut to rough squares
2 stalks scallions/spring onions, chopped to 2cm lengths (for the thick white part, halve it on the long side)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Corn flour to coat cubed chicken meat
Salt and pepper to season
Oil for deep frying/shallow frying plus stir frying

Sweet and sour sauce
1 1/2 tbsp ketchup
1 1/2 tsp plum sauce
1/8 tsp rice wine vinegar/sushi rice vinegar
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp water

Method
1. Season the cubed chicken meat with salt and pepper. Coat with corn flour.
2. Prepare the sweet and sour sauce by mixing all the ingredients for the sauce together in a bowl and set aside.
3. Heat enough oil to shallow fry or to deep fry. When the oil is hot, fry the meat until golden. Make sure to pat off excess corn flour before putting in for frying. Once golden brown, remove and drain either on paper towels or on a sieve.
4. Heat up a wok/large frying pan. Drizzle in cooking oil and fry garlic till golden brown. Add in the bell peppers and apples. When the aroma of the bell pepper can be smelled, add in the sauce. Once the sauce thickens, add in the fried meat and coat thoroughly. Add in scallions and stir through to mix. Serve.

Enjoy!

Khao Niaow Ma Muang (Thai Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango)

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I miss Thai food terribly. While I have not lived in Thailand, I have visited quite a number of times. Plus there are some places that serve great Thai food back in Singapore. The addiction fixes used to come quick and easy. It is much harder now.

The idea of attempting coconut sticky rice with mango (a great favorite of mine since I was a child) came when I was looking at a couple of mangos that I acquired. Sure, it wasn’t not the same sort of mangos. But it was worth a shot. Here was what I ended up with.

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I was extremely pleased with the end result. Needless to say, dessert was a hit and pure enjoyment. For the original recipe that I followed, please click on Leela’s page “She Simmers”. She even has a post explaining what sticky rice is as well as how to peel mangos! 🙂

Note: I only have a regular WMF vegetable steamer on hand. What I did was to place the rice, which I soaked for 1 hour, in the middle of a piece of baking paper and place that on the steamer to steam. It turned out quite well!

Happy mango days to everyone 🙂

Victoria Sponge Cake

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I’ve seen them in bakeries. I’ve heard of them and I’ve tried it a couple of times. Those attempts were not that successful, sadly. They just didn’t turn out to be as fluffy and spongey like how they are called. Since then, I’ve stayed away from considering trying to bake one. It was all good until the day I came across this recipe from Felicity Cloake, writing for the Guardian. It tempted me and I gave in. And this was the end result.
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Instead of a jam, I had used a mixed berries compote. And no cream as my husband reminded me that we are watching our weights. It was lovely. We didn’t miss the cream. Light, fluffy with the compote giving that burst of extra flavor. I felt very grateful to Ms Felicity Cloake for coming out with this recipe with every bite I had.

This recipe below is adapted from Felicity Cloake’s Perfect Victorian Sponge Cake recipe.

Ingredients
3 large eggs, with their weight taken whole
Of the same weight, equivalent amounts of sugar, salted butter in room temperature and self raising flour*
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp milk
Powder sugar for topping
Jam or compote for filling (Raspberry is the traditional flavor for the jam)

Method
1. Grease and line bottom of round cake pan/pans if you have 2 of 21cm. I used a 23cm pan. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Weigh your mixing bowl before using to achieve accurate division of the batter later.
2. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy using a mixer. It will take about 2 minutes to reach the fluffiness needed.
3. Beat in the eggs one at a time making sure that each addition is well incorporated before the other. With a silicon/rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix the batter to make sure everything is well incorporated.
4. Fold in the dry ingredients. Once folded in, add just enough milk to achieve the texture where it drops easily from the spatula but not runny.
5. Divide the batter in 2 equal amounts. Use a weighing scale, if preferred.
6. Pour the batter in and bake until it is risen and golden. The inserted skewer should come out dry and clean.
7. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. After which remove and let cool on cooling rack. The flat side down. Repeat step 6 if using only 1 pan.
8. Once both cakes are cooled and ready, assemble cake by placing the least desired layer on a plate. Cover the top with jam or compote of your choice. Top with the remaining layer of cake. The domed side facing up. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the cake. Enjoy!

By the way, I love a cup of Earl Grey tea with my cake. What is the drink of your choice?