Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ginger Snack

Ginger needs no introduction to Asians, it can be condsidered as one of 'The Ancient Chinese Secret' for it's Medicinal Properties.  To those who do not cook or use as much Ginger and would like to know more about it, this is worth reading The Epicentre - Ginger

I grew up with these type of dried, cured snacks and ginger is still my favorite.   

In my younger years, these snacks will be sold only at the corner stall but now, there is a whole shop selling all sorts of which the choice is endless,  some of them are not even recognizable as to what fruit or vegetable they are made from but they all tasted so good.  I don't know why we as kids could not come up with nicer names for these snacks but always associated them with something unpleasant.  I am sure many will know - Yeong mare see or Ngau see thoi which is in cantonese and for those who don't understand cantonese, you won't want to know.
Ginger snacks come in different tastes, there is a sweet or a salty type and both of these types will be colored red,  They will be in bits or chunks and slices are normally soaked in vinegared syrup, like the ones served with Sushi.  This Ginger snack which i made is from very thin slices and it is easy, so give this recipe a try.


Fresh ginger preferably younger ones - they are less spicy
1 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
More sugar for coating
Scrape the skin off the ginger knobs and slice thinly using the mandoline.
Cook sugar and water until sugar dissolves.
Add in the ginger slices and cook for a minute or two.  The longer you cook the ginger slices, the less spicy they will be.
Remove ginger slices from the syrup and drain. The syrup can be diluted with iced/warm water to make a delicious drink or added to your cup of tea.
Coat the ginger slices in sugar and lay them in single layer on a cake rack and put to dry in the sun.
When dried, ginger slices are ready to be enjoyed.
Store in air-tight container.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ginger Milk Curd

I have heard of this Ginger Milk Curd but did not have a chance to taste it until i managed to buy a ready mixed in the asian store here.  It was so easy to make, like making a cup of 3 in 1 coffee and i like the texture and taste very much.  In fact i love anything that has ginger.  Ginger has been my savior when digestion is concerned.  It has helped to rid of the huge bubble of gas build-up which has caused me alot of pain.  I decided to make this curd from scratch and after going through many recipes and know how from the net,  went ahead to make one bowl for myself.  At first, i doubted that it will set, how can just ginger juice and milk set? but it did.  The crucial part in this recipe is to have the milk in the correct temperature - 176f  - 165 f. This recipe is only for 1 small bowl, double or triple if you have to.


150 ml whole milk
1 tbsp ginger juice
1 tsp sugar/sugar substitute


Grate ginger with a microplane grater and squeeze the juice through a strainer.  Measure 1 tbsp and leave in a small bowl.

Measure 150 ml of whole milk and add in 1 tsp of sugar or sugar substitute.

Microwave on high for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes to obtain the temperature of 176f - 186f.  Cooking time differs as microwave oven differs in wattage - know your microwave wattage.

Stir the ginger juice, then pour the hot milk into the ginger juice and allow it to set.  Curd should set in 10 minutes.  A spoon rested on top of curd will not sink, then you know that the curd has set.


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Monday, July 26, 2010

Alexander's 5th Birthday = R2D2 Cake

Today is Alexander's 5th Birthday - Happy Birthday Buddy!!!  We had a birthday party for him on Saturday and i don't know if the guests had fun, i did and the important thing was, Alexander had the most fun.  With this posting, i would like to thank all the guests for their presence and presents and hope you all enjoyed yourself.  Thank you too to all your food contributions which made the party a success.  This year's theme, Alexander chose 'The Star Wars'  and i made him this R2D2 cake  - he sure was grinning happily at his cake - look at that smile, it melted my heart.


Chocolate Cake:

3 1/2 cup bleached all-purpose cake
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups milk
2 recipes of Buttercream


Grease and line the base of 2 - 9 inch by 13 inch cake pan.

Preheat oven to 350f.

Sieve flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Put sugar and eggs in the food processor and pulse till sugar has dissolved.

With food processor, add in the oil in a steady stream.

Stop the food processor and add in the sieved flour, pulse until well combined. Scrape the sides if you must.

With the food processor on, add in the milk and process until cake batter is well combined.

Pour into the 2 prepared cake pans  in equal portions and bake for 15 minutes at 350f, then reduce oven heat to 325f and bake further for 20 - 25 minutes.  Check for doneness.

Leave to cool before icing with buttercream
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Sarawak Serikaya Cake

This cake is so rich and moist, no wonder the recipe is so closely guarded.  I was able to make this cake for my dear friends, nellie and juliana's birthday, due to the generousity of Florence, who gave me the 'Gula Hitam'.  Thank you, Florence, my friends really loved this cake.  You should see the expression in their faces at the first bite, with eyes close, savouring the richness of this cake and on opening their eyes, expressed - umm, this is delicious, can i have another piece.?  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Nellie and Juliana.



Follow The Secretive Cake and replace the Queen's Browning Sauce with the Original Gula Hitam from Sarawak.

Using a stencil, sprinkle 'snow powder' on top of cake.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pennywort/Pegaga Drink - The Secret Fountain of Youth

"A hundred, oh Mothers, are your natures and a thousand are your growths. May you of a hundred powers make whole what has been hurt. Where the herbs are gathered together like a thing is an assembly there the doctor is called a sage, who destroys evil, and averts diseases.” - Hymn to the Plants, Rig Veda X, 97

Mother Nature has so perfectly planned her pharmacy so that it is is within everyone’s access.  It is there to nourish and supply us with abundant energy, as well as nurture us when we have some illness, we need only to become aware of its use for us

Pegaga is a polymorphous, creeping plant, rooting at nodes, with sometimes significant tap root, cylindrical and glabrous stems. Other names of pegaga including Centella asiatica (L.), Hydrocotyle asiatica, gotu kola, Indian pennywort (English), Mandukaparni (India), pegaga (Malaysia), and Ping Da Wan (崩大碗), Di Qien Cao (地錢草), Zhi Xue Cao(积雪草), 雷公根, 蚶殼草, 地堂草, 銅錢草, or 落得打, rau ma (vietnamese)

Read about it's medical benefits from factOdiz bite-sized knowledge


2 handfuls pennywort, with stems pinched off
200ml boiling water
180g sugar or honey to taste

If using sugar, make a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in the boiling water the allow to cool completely.

Add all the ingredients to a blender along with 5 or 6 ice cubes and water(as concentrated as you'd like), blend at high speed.

Then using a fine-mesh colander, strain out the leafy sludge. Taste and add syrup/honey or water if necessary.

Serve poured over ice.

Store the remainder in the fridge.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Oil Pound Cake

A very dear friend's son cannot have any milk products and he loves cake, i found this recipe from Alice Medrich’s book “Pure Dessert”, I have changed the ingredients to what i have in hand .  This cake was very rich, moist and not heavy, a perfect characteristics  of a pound cake,

2 cups all purpose flour
1+1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup cooking oil
2 tbsp orange zest
3 large eggs
1 cup orange juice + 2 tbsp lemon/lime juice


Preheat oven to   350 F (180 degrees C). Grease, line and flour a bundt pan or a 12 x 4 inch loaf pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.

Beat eggs, zest and sugar in the food processor until fluffy.  Then add in the oil.  Pulse to combine.

Add in the sieved flour and pulse.

Lastly add in the juice, pulse a few times until batter is well combined.  Scrap the sides of bowl now and then.

Pour batter into prepared bundt/ loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for 40 -50 minutes. Check for doneness.

Remove and leave on rack to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing cake from pan.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

If Yan Can Cook, Do You Think I can?

Last saturday was a very exciting day for me.  Fancy me, meeting Chef Martin Yan in person.  He was  in town giving a cooking demo and i get to go to see him cook live.  I really enjoyed the demo as he was so good with the knife, a real pro, I think i will have to be reincarnated several times before i can come to his level - especially how he garnished a dish.  I tried and here were my results - what do you all think, can i garnish or cook like Yan?


Pan Fried Pork

1/2 lb of pork loin  - sliced thin
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp soya sauce
1/2 tsp dark soya sauce
2 tbsp shaoxing wine
1/4 tsp 5 spice powder
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder


Place a slice of pork in between a plastic wrap, sprinkle some water on to the pork and pound the pork to make it thinner and tenderizing it at the same time.  Repeat with all the slices.

Marinate the pounded pork with the rest of the ingredients for at least 1/2 hour.

Heat a pan with enough oil just to coat the pan.  When oil is hot, put in 3 slices to pan fry, do not overcrowd..  Fry until both sides are nicely browned and crispy.  Repeat with the rest of the marinated pork.

Leave fried pork to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into bite sizes.

Garnish the platter with a tomato rose and cucumber slices(Martin Yan demostrated how they were done)  This Pan Fried Pork was my dinner last night.


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