Steamed pandan coconut cakes (Kuih Puteri Ayu)

Steamed pandan coconut cake

The flavour combination of pandan and coconut never fails. Just think of kaya, pandan cake, and so many other kuih kuih that uses this combination. It’s almost always perfect. I found these moulds at Phoon Huat recently, and decided to try my hand at making some of these small dainty steamed cakes. Surprisingly, they are really easy to make! My little one prefers the cake without the coconut, but I like the sweet and slightly salty touch that the shredded coconut adds. If you have the time, use freshly squeezed coconut milk and grated coconut for that extra fragrant touch.

Steamed pandan coconut cakes (Kuih Putri Ayu)
 
Serves: 20-22 pcs
Ingredients
  • 120 ml coconut milk
  • 10 pandan leaves, cut into small pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 80g granulated sugar
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50g shredded coconut
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp corn flour
Instructions
  1. Grease cake moulds with a small amount of oil.
  2. Blend pandan leaves with coconut milk. Sieve to obtain pandan milk. Measure out 120ml and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer (or with a hand mixer), whisk eggs with sugar till thick and foamy.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  5. Add 120ml of pandan coconut milk to the egg/sugar mixture and mix on low speed.
  6. Add in flour in two to three portions and mix on low speed till combined. Do not overmix or the batter will deflate.
  7. Mix shredded coconut, salt and corn flour together.
  8. Add a small portion to each mould and press to flatten. (I simply place another mould over it to compress the coconut).
  9. Fill the moulds with batter till it is almost full.
  10. Steam over high heat for 15 minutes.
  11. Remove and cool slightly on a cooling rack before serving.

 

Walnut Mooncakes (Improved)

Walnut mooncakes

Walnut mooncakes are one of our family’s favourites and I bake them every year. This year, I modified my usual recipe as I found it a little too crumbly. The pastry of the previous recipe doesn’t quite hold up when it’s cut. Besides some slight tweaks to the amount of butter and flour, I’ve also replaced baking soda with baking powder as baking powder yields a more neutral tasting product (since there aren’t any acidic ingredients). I’m very satisfied with the results and my hubby, little one and mum loves it.

Walnut mooncakes

I’ve added melon seeds and salted egg yolks (my favouite) to the mooncake but you can choose to omit these if you like. As for the amount of walnuts to use, it really depends on your preference. I like walnuts so I use large fresh walnuts. Make sure that the walnuts you use are raw ones and not salted/toasted ones though.

walnut dinosaur mooncakes

My hubby decided to join in the fun and made these dinosaur walnut mooncakes. I think he calls them dino-wal-saurus. I think they are totally adorable, though they are very time-consuming to make. He used black beans for the eyes, melon seeds for their teeth and walnuts for their scales. Check out their side profile below. He thinks that there’s a market for these lovely dino-wal-saurus and all dino loving boys would love to have one. I would love to hear your thoughts on his creation!

walnut dinosaur mooncakes

Walnut Mooncakes (Improved)
 
Serves: 30 - 32
Ingredients
Pastry
  • 350g Plain flour
  • 30g Custard Powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50g Icing sugar
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
Filling
  • 30g toasted melon seeds
  • 750g White Lotus Paste
  • 6-7 salted egg yolks (each cut into 6 pieces)
Before baking
  • 1 Egg yolk + 1 tbsp water (for glazing)
  • Walnut for decoration
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, sift flour, custard powder, salt and baking powder together. Whisk ingredients together and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer set to medium high speed, cream sugar and butter together until slightly pale and fluffy.
  3. Gradually add in egg and vanilla and beat on medium high speed till fluffy and light.
  4. Fold in flour mixture in two parts. Refrigerate dough overnight.
  5. Bake salted egg yolks for 5 minutes at 160ºC. Set aside to cool. Cut each yolk into 6 pieces.
  6. Mix melon seeds with lotus paste. Divide fillings into about 25g each.
  7. Wrap a piece of salted egg yolk in each ball of filling.
  8. Take out dough from fridge and divide into portions of 20g each.
  9. Wrap fillings into dough and decorate with walnut.
  10. Apply egg wash on mooncakes and bake at 160ºC for 10 mins.
  11. Remove from oven and allow mooncakes to rest for 10 mins. Re-apply egg wash and return to oven and bake for another 20 mins or till golden.

 

Claypot Chicken Rice

claypot chicken rice | Delicacious

Dinner at home is typically 三菜一汤 (three dishes and one soup) on weekdays but lately, with the addition of an infant, we have been trying to simplify dinner. One dish meals seem to be the way to go and this claypot chicken rice is one of our favourite Chinese one dish meals. It uses simple ingredients, is fast to prepare (start to finish is just slightly more than an hour) and is definitely satisfying. Of course, it can’t beat claypot rice that is cooked over charcoal fire but this definitely comes close. My hubby loves scraping up the slightly charred crispy rice bits at the bottom of the claypot!

Here are some tips for preparing claypot chicken rice. Firstly, cooking times with a claypot would vary with the size of claypot and the fire used. I’ve given guidelines that work for my claypot in my recipe but you may wish to adjust the timing after you’ve tried the recipe for the first time. For the claypot, I’ve used a Tanyu flat bottom claypot, but you can use any seasoned claypot. Noobcook has some good advice on preparing a claypot for its first use here. I’ve adjusted the liquid amount for this recipe so that the rice is moist but not soggy. If you prefer the rice to be drier, you may wish to reduce the liquid amount further. Lastly, whenever possible, use a low sodium chicken stock. If using chicken stock cubes/packaged chicken stock, it would be advisable to use half water and half stock as the stock is usually rather salty.

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Pandan Snow Skin Mooncakes

Pandan snow skin mooncakes

Mid-autumn festival is approaching and I’m back on the blog after a 2 months hiatus. I gave birth to my 2nd baby girl two months ago (she’s such a cutie) and have had my hands rather full. Now that she is slightly older, hopefully I’d have more time to blog (fingers very crossed). But I digress. Let’s go back to mooncakes.

I have fond memories of mini pandan snow skin mooncakes that my mom would buy from this old fashioned bakery near Alexandra during Mid-autumn festival. I was probably in my teens then and to me, those were really delicious snow skin mooncakes. They were freshly made, had a strong pandan flavour and the snow skin was very soft. Unfortunately, the bakery closed down a couple of years later and I couldn’t find similar mooncakes. So a couple of years ago, I decided to start making my own. One of the more popular mooncakes I’ve made are these Red Wine Berry Snow Skin Mooncakes.

Pandan Snow Skin Mooncakes

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Steamed Clams with Sake and Soy

steamed clams with sake and soy

Doesn’t this photo of these succulent clams make you hungry? If you cannot resist ordering vongole everytime you see it on the menu, you must check out the very simple recipe on The Best Blog Recipes. That’s right! I’m a guest contributor to the blog from February to July. While you are there, check out the other fantastic recipes too!

Kong Ba Pau (Braised pork belly bun)

kong ba pau

Pork Belly. One of my husband’s greatest loves. He loves them served up on the Korean BBQ, in thin strips in steamboat and definitely, he loves them served up this way, in a bun. There are few people I know, who would willingly turn away Kong Ba Pau. There may be the initial hesitation over the layers of fats but the aroma of the braised pork belly will soon win you over. If it makes you feel better, pick the least fatty piece of pork belly and add an extra serving of lettuce. Now that should ease your guilty conscience a little, doesn’t it?

I do not naturally gravitate towards pork belly, but I do enjoy Kong Ba Pau occasionally. In the last two weeks, I’ve prepared this dish not once, but twice for gatherings with family and friends. The first time preparing it, the pork belly was a little drier than I would have liked it, because dear hubby kept the pork braising for 40 minutes (YES 40 minutes) longer than I asked him to. He felt that it was not “braised enough”. He quickly learnt that in cooking, longer does not neccessarily mean better. The second time round, the pork belly was perfectly braised and judging from the response at the dinner table that night, it was well received.

Even though the dish may sound tricky to prepare, it is really very simple. The only trick is to marinate the pork belly well. By well, I mean marinate it for a good 20 to 24 hours. That will ensure that all the flavourings are thoroughly absorbed into the pork belly. Most people preparing this dish will choose to use a large slab of pork belly, braise it and then slice it up for the buns. That works fine. For me, I used frozen sliced pork belly (because that was available readily), braised it for a slightly shorter time than I would a slab of pork belly and saved myself the trouble of slicing. The sliced pork belly also absorbs the marinate better. Both methods work fine – just do whichever works better for you.

Kong Ba Pau (Braised pork belly bun)
 
Serves: 15
Ingredients
  • 2 pieces of pork belly or about 500g of sliced pork belly
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 2 star anise
  • 15 cloves
  • 10 pieces of garlic, smashed with its skin
  • 10 pieces of shallots, skin removed
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp shao xing cooking wine
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 2-3 pieces of small rock sugar
To serve
  • Coral lettuce
  • Leaf bun
Instructions
  1. Wash, clean and dry pork belly.
  2. In a large bowl, marinate pork belly with all the remaining ingredients except the oil and rock sugar.
  3. Cover and keep refrigerated for 18 -24 hours.
  4. In a large claypot with a flat bottom, heat 2 tbsp of oil.
  5. Add the rock sugar and saute the pork belly for about a minute on each side. (If using sliced pork belly, you can skip this step.)
  6. Add in the marinate and 4 - 5 tbsp of water.
  7. Allow the pork belly to simmer in the marinate for about 30 - 40 minutes.
  8. Remove when meat is tender.
  9. Slice and serve hot with lettuce and bun.

Mee Hoon Kueh (Homemade Pulled Noodles)

mee hoon kueh

When does one crave for a bowl of piping hot mee hoon kueh? On cold days, I’d say, or when one is sick. The latter is what has been happening lately. The whole family has been down and out. I’ve had it really bad – I’m down with my second bout of flu in two weeks. I caught the first bout of flu from my little one, and the second bout from goodness knows where. Office perhaps. While my little one is up and bouncing even though she’s sick, I just want to bury myself under the covers and sleep (which is, by the way, what I’ve been doing almost the whole day.)

So one sickly day, I decided that I would definitely feel better if I had some mee hoon kueh. It would be easy enough to pop down to the coffee shop and buy a bowl, but since I had to feed the sick bub and the not-so-sick husband, I figured I might as well make some. Mee Hoon Kueh brings back memories from my childhood. When I was young, my grandma used to make mee hoon kueh. She made hers a little differently. She would make a thick floury mixture and drop spoons of batter into boiling soup. Saves one the hassle of pulling pieces of dough I guess. The texture of that mee hoon kueh is very different from what I made/is sold outside. The texture of that is somewhat fluffy on the outside and dense on the inside. Not all may like that version of mee hoon kueh.

Mee Hoon Kueh

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