Monday, May 31, 2010

Hong Kong Egg Tarts

I love Dim Sum and would love to go 'Yum Cha' which is our term for having a meal in the Dim Sum Restaurant, in any cities i visit.  Egg Tarts are one of the favorites to order.  The Egg Tarts served in most Dim Sum Restaurants are made with flaky pastry and they are so well baked with perfection, the pastry so light and flaky, the custard is smooth and sweet..  I have tried baking them but found it very challenging.  Have not been happy with my results and am still trying.  And, until i make some good flaky pastry egg tarts,  these Hong Kong  Egg Tarts which has shortcrust pastry, were accepted with glee by Renee,  she ate these in Hong Kong and loved them.



8 ozs all-purpose flour
2 ozs powdered/confectioner's sugar
a pinch of salt
4 1/2 ozs chilled butter - cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Custard Filling:
3 large eggs
4 ozs fine granulated sugar (take away 1 tbsp for lesser sweetness)
225 ml  hot water
3 fl ozs evaporated milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 drops of yellow yolk food coloring

To Make The Crust:
Put all-purpose flour, powdered sugar and salt into the food processor and pulse to mix.
Add in chilled cubed butter and pulse until fine breadcrumb like.
Add vanilla extract to beaten egg and then add into flour mixture with the machine running and stop machine as soon as the dough is formed.  Do not overmixed.
Remove and wrap dough with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using.
To Make the Filling:
Put sugar and water in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for 1 to 1/2 minutes and stir until sugar dissolves.
Add in evaporated milk, food coloring and vainlla, stir well.
Beat eggs lightly and add in to the above.
Pass through a very fine sieve, then fold a piece of kitchen towel into a strip and then run it over the top of the egg mixture to remove the bubbles.
Leave aside while you prepare the tarts.
To prepare the tarts:
Grease the tart moulds lightly.
Remove chilled dough, knead lightly and divide into small pieces(for my tart moulds, i use 3/4 oz).
Form dough into a tiny disk that will fit the base of the mould, then using the thumb, press dough so that it comes up the side of the mould.  Dough can be slightly higher than the mould but not too much - higher will allow more room for more filling but if too high, it will form a lip as this dough recipe is very soft.)
Repeat until all the tart moulds are formed.  Formed tart moulds can be kept in the fridge well wrapped until you need to bake them.
Preheat oven to 450 f and put the rack to the lowest rung of the oven.(Friends at sea-level can bake @ 400f)
Fill the formed tart moulds with egg filling to slightly lower than the rim, do not overfill.
Bake @ 450f for 10 mins and then lower the lower the heat to 400 f(sea-level @ 375 f) for another 15 minutes.  Baking time differs from the size of the tart moulds, so visual monitoring is important.  The crust has to be browned and the custard should not be overcooked.  The custard will puff slightly - yes slightly, then it is a sign for doneness,  you might have to remove some of the tarts which will cook faster than the rest as there are hot spots in most oven.  If  the custard puffs up and the crust is not brown enough, the oven door can be opened and left ajar for a while to lower the temperature in the oven, then it can be closed to finish the baking) 
Good luck and enjoy.
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Friday, May 28, 2010

Round Crimped Loaf Bread

I don't know if this bread is still available in Malaysia as this bread was my favorite.  It was there way before sliced sandwich bread and the crimp gave guide to slicing into very thin slices,  Bread of yesteryears was from cottage industry and mostly made by Hainanese (yes, the same clan who introduced the famous - Chicken Rice and Kopi(coffee)).  The bread made was white bread , tall with a lovely rounded brown top.  These bread was fantastic for making 'roti kiap' but the only set back is that this bread can taste very sour sometimes - not very consistent with the oven, which was wood fired.  Ah!  'roti kiap'  - how i miss it!!  =  2 slices of soft white bread cut into about 1 inch thick, squished(not really squished) with a grill basket and put over the charcoal stove.  Gone are the days of charcoal grilling, the bread toaster has conquered the kitchen. Oops, off track, sorry, now back to the round crimped bread -  this style of bread must be a legacy of the British and i found in the net that the moulds for this bread could be from 1800's.


1 egg plus water to make 1 cup
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp powdered milk
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole meal flour
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast


Put in egg and water into bread machine bowl, then follow by the other ingredients ending with the instant yeast on top.

Select the 'dough' function and press start.

When bread is ready, remove from bowl and shape into a log - length to fit the size of the bread mould.  Lock the mould and leave bread to proof.  It will take 1 - 2 hrs depending on the weather.  To check if the bread has packed the mould, give a tap on the top of mould and it should not sound hollow.

Bake in preheated 375 f oven for 45 mins.

Remove and let it rest for 10 minutes before opening the mould.

Cool bread before slicing.


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Monday, May 24, 2010

Banana Cake

How lucky Malaysians are with so many types of bananas to choose from.  The unforgetable Rastali and Pisang Emas are a must to eat when you are in Malaysia.  Pisang Emas is more friendly than Rastali, which is best eaten when it is perfectly ripened.  Here in the States, bananas in the regular supermarkets are of the 'Sweet William/Cavendish' variety - one and only - no choice.  But, now and then, Baby Bananas which is Pisang Emas is being sold.  When i see them on the shelf, i will not hesitate to get a bunch, no matter how much it will cost.  The asian stores in Chinatown Denver, do sell Baby Bananas, but they don't seem to look good at all.  I have always wondered if there is a difference in the taste of the cake made with Cavendish bananas compared to a cake made with Baby Bananas/Piisang Emars.  Since i have several baby bananas which were over-riped, i decided to try out this recipe of  Florence from Do What I like, and thank you Florence, this recipe is a keeper and the pisang emas does make a difference to the taste of the cake.


200g cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2  tsp baking soda)Friends from sea-level, use 3/4 tsp)
50g unsalted butter at room temperature
25ml corn oil
80g - 100g sugar(i use 80 g and it is just the right sweetness)
2 eggs lightly beaten
210g banana puree with 10ml lemon juice
60ml milk
A pinch of salt
A drop of banana essence
60g walnuts (optional)


Sieve flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Cream butter, corn oil and sugar till smooth and creamy.

 Add in the lightly beaten eggs 1/4 at a time till well blended.

Add in the banana puree and the essence.

Add in the 1/3 of the sieved flour and half the milk.  Repeat and end with the last third of the sieved flour..

Stir in the walnuts if you are using.
Bake in a lined loaf pan or 2 small lined loaf pans at a preheated oven of 350f for 45 - 60 minutes

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Horse's Hoof/Mah Keok

This is another spin-off from Hum Cheem Paeng.  This is a cousin of The Butterfly and Ox Tongue.  I have always thought that Horse's Hoof and Ox Tongue is the same but looking at the recipes for Ox Tongue,  i can see a difference.  Al;though the shape is the same, Ox Tongue has a sweet filling.  When i was back home last month, my dearest friend, Nancy, who still resides in Seremban, took me to the best YCK stall there and i stood there watching how YCK, Hum Cheem Paeng, Kap Chong and a new shape which i shall call = Seremban Butterfly were formed.  Forming all these were so easy for the stall owner and i would never imagine that they were done this way, if i had not watched him rolling, dusting and frying away.  I will have to do a batch of Seremban Butterfly before i forget how it is formed


1 recipe of Hum Cheem Paeng II
Sesame seeds


1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp cornflour
3 tbsp sugar
60 ml water


Roll Hum Cheem Paeng dough into a 1/2 inch thickness rectangle with one side which is 8 inches.

Spread the glaze all over the rectangle and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.  Cover with cling-wrap and roll lightly over the sesame seeds so that it will adhere to the dough.

Fold the rectangle into half making a 4 inch side rectangle.

Cut into 1 inch slices and pinch the two ends to look like the Horse's Hoof.

Deep fry in moderately hot oil until golden brown.
Remove and place to drain on a  cake rack which is on top of a lined baking sheet.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chinese Doughnut With Glutinious Rice

I love glutinious rice and also Hum Cheem Paeng/Chinese Doughnut, so a combination of these two satisfy my craving at one go, how wonderful.  But, what are they called in chinese?  I thought it is called 'Kap Sum Choong'  but my dear friend, Peng, said it is called ' Kap Choong'.  I know that someone out there knows the name.  Help!!!!!


1/2 recipe of Hum Cheem Paeng II
1 cup glutinious rice - soaked
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt


Put the soaked glutinious rice, sugar, salt and enough water to come to just above the rice, in the rice cooker and cook rice until done.

Remove and let cool slightly.  While still warm, form into a log.

Roll the hum cheem paeng dough out into a rectangular shape, the length of the glutinious rice log, the width should be just enough to wrap up the glutionious log.  Pinch the seames tightly to seal.

Cut into 3/4  - 1 inch pieces and roll each piece out slightly and form them back into shape.

Dust away as much bench flour as possible before deep frying.

Deep fry on medium heat and keep turning hum cheem paeng for even browning.


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Monday, May 17, 2010

Sesame Balls

It is the most delightful moment when a recipe is successful and i can't wait to share.  This will not be possible if i do not have generous friends who have shared many of their tested recipes and tt from Playing With My Food is my 'sifu' who so graciously emailed me this recipe.  Thank you, tt, they were the best, with all the tips provided by you, these balls puffed up so well and they tasted umpteen times better than the dim sum restaurants.  The family prefers the red bean filling and the restaurants strangely make them with either lotus or mung bean paste, so i had to make red bean filling.


454 g glutinious rice flour
3 tbsp rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
200 g sugar
450 g water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup potato flakes (the kind used to make mashed potatoes)


1 cup red bean
1 - 1 1/2 cups sugar
a pinch of salt


To prepare the filling:

Wash the red beans and put in the pressure cooker with enough water to cover the beans.

Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, then drain away the water.
Put the drained parboiled red beans back into the pressure cooker and add in 3 cups water.

Close the lid and pressurized for 30 minutes.  Release pressure before opening the lid.

Using a sieve or a slotted spoon, remove the beans into a large microwave-safe bowl.

Add sugar and cook in the microwave on high until mixture is paste.  Start with 5 mins at a time, stirring after every interval.  Reduce the time as the mixture gets drier.

Cool before using.

To prepare the dough:

Mix together glutinious flour, rice flour and baking powder.

Bring water  with sugar, oil  and  salt to the boil, add potato flakes. Stir to dissolve the potato. Immediately pour the hot mixture into the flour and mix until the flour absorbs all of the water.

Rest dough until it's cool enough to handle, then knead to make a smooth dough.(Dough is less pliable if it is kept for later use, perhaps it is only a problem for me cos of where i am - no humidity and i would advice that all the dough should be wrapped)

To make the balls:

wet your hands with water and take a piece of dough.

Wrap the filling and roll in sesame seeds.

Fry until golden,  The frying time should take at least 15-20 mins, if it cooks faster then that the oil is too hot and your balls will not be hollow and will be soft as soon as you take it out of the oil. Press the balls against the wok with the ladle and it will puff up and keep stirring the balls for even browning.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Steamed Ground Pork With Cuttlefish/Yau Yee Cheng Gee Yoke

Before i proceed further with this text, i would like to apologise for my absence and would like to thank all the well wishes and prayers for my mom.  My Mom is now resting in peace and my daughter and me are glad that we get to spend a few days with her before she passed on.  My Mom was such a considerate person and she had never ever wanted to 'mah fan' her children especially me.  She must have wanted me to know that she is now in peace.  Thank you Mom for being such a lovely mother and bringing us up to be meaningful human beings, may you rest in peace.  I would like to thank all my siblings, their better half and children, and relatives who came from far and near and giving me an opportunity to connect to you all. Although we may be thousand of miles away, you all are always in my thoughts and have a special place in my heart.

This dish is one of the dish that my mom would cook and i would like to share this simple and yet so delicious served with white rice.  In the good old days before meat grinder or food processor, my mom would chop the pork with her cleaver, the one and only knife in the kitchen. Somehow pork chopped with a chinese cleaver tasted so much better when steamed, perhaps it is the love put in.


1/2 lb/8 ozs ground pork
1 piece of cuttlefish(tieu pean) - washed, soaked until soft and then shred.
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp tapioca starch/cornstarch
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
2 - 3 slices of ginger - shredded


Mix all the ingredients in  ceramic dish/plate which can fit in your rice cooker and put the shredded ginger on top.. Alternatively, you can use a regular steamer or a wok to steam this dish.

Put in this prepared dish on top of the rice when the rice is  not cooked totally and the rice cooker's cooked function is not done. You must put this dish in time so that the residue heat from the rice will cook the pork.

Remove from rice cooker and serve hot.

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