Mini Egg Cakes 鸡蛋糕

 

IMG_0117Without a drop of oil/a bit of fat added, these old-styled Chinese egg cakes are light, healthy and just delicious. They also bring back a lot of childhood memory. At that time, cakes were a novelty because nobody owned an oven to make them at home. They were only available at a few shops in the town. Everyday my sister and I could not wait for our mum coming back home from work because we could always happily find these yummy cakes in her purse. I tweaked the traditional recipe by adding dried cranberry and a handful of nuts.

Makes 12 egg cakes,

  • 75g                   cake flour 低筋面粉 (all-purpose or plain flour works it just doesn’t produce a cupcake as soft as cake flour)
  • 3                        large eggs   room temperature
  • 60g                    caster sugar白砂糖
  • 2 tablespoons  dried cranberry蔓越莓干
  • 1 tablespoon    corn flour生粉
  • 1 tablespoon     pine nuts or sunflower nuts (optional)松子或瓜子仁IMG_0118

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170℃ or340°F.  Line a cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Dust dried cranberry with corn flour.IMG_0107
  3. Place eggs into a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk the eggs on medium speed (30 seconds). Gradually add into sugar and beat on high speed until the eggs have tripled in volume. This takes about 8-10 minutes. This is the most important step of the whole process. You will need beat the eggs until really light, silky and white without bubbles at all.IMG_0109
  4. Sift flour into the beaten eggs. Gently fold flour in until you can’t see flour anymore, then fold in dried cranberry.IMG_0111
  5. Now pour the batter into a lined cupcake pan. I use a level ice cream scoop for even measuring. Fill liners to about 2/3 full (do not over-fill). Sprinkle with  8-10 pine nuts. Place the cupcake pan into the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. You can insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. The cupcake is done if the toothpick comes out clean.IMG_0114
  6. Remove the pan from oven and place it on the cooling rack for about 10 minutes.IMG_0116

Chinese Peanut Cookies 花生酥huā shēng sū

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I’ve made these Chinese cookies trying to get my 5-year-old daughter to continue taking the crunchy and delicious peanuts at home. She has recently refused to take peanuts or any nuts after being brainwashed at school. “Nuts free” – you can’t get away with the slogan whenever you step in the classroom/campus (which is totally understandable). What a pity if you would have to miss these beautiful nuts because they are enriched with so many health-benefiting nutrients essential for optimum health and wellness.

Makes 60 pieces   

Recipe adapted from Mykitchen101

  •  350g                    raw blanched peanuts, 去皮生花生
  • 300g                     plain flour, 中筋面粉
  • 100g                    icing sugar, 糖粉
  • 1/4 teaspoon     salt
  • 150g                     peanut oil (or any cooking oil)

 For egg yolk wash

  • 1 egg yolk            room temperature
  • ½ tablespoon     water in room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons     blanched peanuts, halved (for decoration)ingrdients

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170℃. Spread the blanched peanuts in a baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes or till golden brown. Set aside to cool. Use a food processor to process into finely ground peanut. Place it in a mixing bowl.
  2. Combine plain flour, icing sugar and salt in another mixing bowl and sieve into ground peanut and mix well.sieve flour
  3. Add into oil. Use your hand to mix them well to make a dough.mixing flour
  4. Preheat the oven to 170℃. Take out 15g of dough, use your two palms to press it firmly and shape gently into a ball then place it on a lined baking tray. Do the same with rest of the dough. Use your index finger to gently press down the ball to create a ‘well’. shape ball
  5. Mix together water and egg yolk. Brush the dough top with some egg yolk wash. Place halved-peanut on the top.egg yolk wash
  6. Place the baking tray in the middle deck of the oven. Bake at 170℃ for 20 minutes or till they become golden brown. Cool completely on a cooling rack before enjoying.baking

Shanghai Pork and Vegetable Wontons 菜肉大馄饨

coverThis is one of my family’s staple food. It is perfect for a breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are perhaps a dozen of ways to wrap the filling – but I care for the golden ingot (Lucky Yuan Bao 元宝) fold (like Tortellini.). The Italians perhaps got the fold from the Chinese. Now we are borrowing back their stuffed-noodle fold.

 Yields 50 wontons,

Wrappers (in square shape)

I think you can buy the square wonton wrappers from any Asia markets in the world. In Singapore, they are available at Cold Storage, Fairprice and Giant.

Filling

  • 250g           ground pork
  • 100g           minced shrimp (shrimp needs to be peeled); or use equal amount of ground pork if shrimp is not available
  • 100g           Bok Choy or spinach (leaves only), minced,上海青菜或者菠菜
  • 1 teaspoon       ginger, minced, 姜末
  • 1 tablespoon    spring onions, minced,葱末
  • 1/2 teaspoon    salt, 盐
  • 2 teaspoons      corn flour,生粉
  • 1 tablespoon    light soy sauce, 生抽
  • 1 teaspoon       caster sugar, 白糖
  • 1 teaspoon       sesame oil,香油

Make the sauce (per serving for 6-8 wontons)

  • ½ tablespoon        spring onions, minced
  • ½ tablespoon        light soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon            sesame oil

ingredientsMethod

  1. In a large bowl, combine ground pork (minced shrimp), minced greens and rest of the filling ingredients. Mix well.filling
  2. Now let’s wrap – the Italians may get the tortellini fold from the Chinese. Now we’re borrowing back their stuffed-noodle fold. So just take out one wrapper, add a half tablespoon of fillings. Fold it into half size from the middle, press the two sides of the wrapper together to seal. Dab a little water on the two corners, then fold one side toward the center. Fold the other side to the center. Press the two ends together to seal. The filled center will plump up like a belly with the edges framing it like a golden ingot (lucky Yuan Bao,元宝).wraplots of wontons
  3. Bring a pot of water to boil, add in 6-8 wontons and cook for 5 minutes till they float on the water. In the meantime, prepare a serving bowl, combine a ½ tablespoons of minced spring onion and light soy sauce, a ½ teaspoon of sesame oil with 2-3 tablespoons of boiled water from the pot. Mix well. Drain the wontons and place them in the bowl. Gently toss till the wontons are well-coated.cooking

Tips:

  1. You can always make a large quantity of wontons then freeze them in the freezer. In 3-4 hours later, pack them in a sealed plastic bag. No need to defrost them when cooking, just take desired quantity out of the plastic bag then place them straight into the boiling water – the same way you cook fresh wontons. Just allow 1-2 more minutes cooking time.

Wife’s Cake 老婆饼

FullSizeRenderthere are many legends that attempt to explain the origins of this ‘Bing’. The flaky pastry with a sweet filling is popular in Singapore, Hong Kong and Mainland China. Many professional chefs also bake modern variants. Now you can make your version at home.

Makes 10 pieces  

Filling

  • 25g            unsalted butter
  • 50g            caster sugar 白砂糖
  • 85g            water (room temperature)
  • 2g               salt (细盐)
  • 45g             glutinous rice flour 糯米粉
  • 8g              white sesame seeds 白芝麻
  • 5g            desiccated coconut 椰丝

Water Dough 水油皮  (for wrappers)

  • 100g            cake flour 低筋面粉
  • 10g              caster sugar 白砂糖
  • 30g              unsalted butter (softened)
  • 45g              water (room temperature)
  • 1 egg yolk to make the egg wash

Oil Dough 油酥 (for wrappers)

  • 70g                 cake flour 低筋面粉
  • 40g                 unsalted butter

Method

Step 1   make the sticky rice filling

  1. Place unsalted butter, salt, water and sugar in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until sugar disolved. Add the rest of the ingredients, turn to low medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients together and keep it from burning on the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from the stove. Let the mixture cool off then wrap it in clingy film. Set aside in the fridge for about 30 minutes.IMG_8319 

Step 2   make the wrappers

  1. For the water dough 水油皮 – sift the flour. 面粉过筛. Combine the flour, water, butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and knead it for 3-4 minutes into s soft dough. Wrap it in clingy film then set aside.IMG_8320
  2. For the oil dough油酥 – sift the flour into a separate bowl. 面粉过筛. Add into the butter and mix it well with the flour. Knead it for 2-3 minutes into s ball. Wrap it in clingy film then set aside.IMG_8321
  3. Divide the water dough and oil dough into 10 portions respectively. To do this, just weigh the total dough and divide it into 10 so you will know each portion has how much weight (grams) in it.IMG_8324
  4. Take a portion of the water dough and use your rolling pin to flatten it then put a portion of the oil dough. Make sure your water dough covers the whole oil dough. Then use your rolling pin to roll it into a long thin strip vertically. From the shorter end at the top, slowly roll the dough downwards tightly to make a mini swiss roll.IMG_8325IMG_8326
  5. Turn the rolled dough 90 degrees. Roll out the dough again. Roll up Swiss-roll style again.IMG_8327
  6. Once you are done with all 10 portions, cover the rolls in clingy film and let the dough rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, divide the filling into 10 equal portions.IMG_8277

Step 3   Assemble

  1. Preheat your oven to 200℃.
  2. Roll 1 portion of the combined pastry wrapper (made from step 5-7) into circular shape with rolling pin. Put the filling in the middle and pinch the edges together and seal the pastry. Place the pastry with the sealed edges face down. Use your hands to press the pastry gently to flatten it and if you feel it’s not flattened enough, you may use your rolling pin to flatten it more to a disc shape of 9cm in diameter. Do the same for all 9 other portions.IMG_8329IMG_8330.JPG
  3. Place the pastry in a baking tray. Brush the pastry with beaten egg yolk. Sprinkle with the white sesame seeds (optional). Use a sharp knife to cut three parallel lines on the cake.IMG_8331.JPG
  4. Move the baking tray into the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.FullSizeRender
  5. Remove the tray from the oven. Let it cool off for 10 minutes then enjoy!IMG_8304

Sticky Rice Siu Mai 糯米烧麦

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These dumplings are so easy. You don’t even need to fold them.

Yields about 30-35 sticky rice Siu Mai

Fillings

  • 150g                          white glutinous (sticky) rice白糯米, cooked
  • 100g                          bamboo shoots, minced, 冬笋切小丁
  • 200g                           ham, ground pork or any cured meat, minced and cooked,  火腿、腊肉、腊肠以及猪肉馅任何一种,剁碎
  • 80g                          dried shiitake mushroom (soaked with hot water), 香菇泡发再切碎
  • 80g                            egg skin, 蛋皮 (optional), minced
  • 10g                             ginger, minced, 姜末
  • 15g                              spring onions, minced, 香葱切碎
  • 2 tablespoons          cooking oil
  • ½ teaspoon             salt
  • 1 teaspoon                 light soy sauce生抽酱油
  • 1 teaspoon                 sesame oil

Wrappers

  • 300g    plain flour or all purpose flour  中筋面粉
  • 90g     hot water (in 80℃)
  • 90g     water in room temperature

Method 

  1. Soak the glutinous rice with clean water for 2-3 hours. Move out and drain. Place parchment paper in a steamer basket, transfer rice into the basket and steam for around 20 minutes until the rice is almost transparent. Rinse the cooked rice in a running water to cool it off. This process also helps keep the rice from sticking to each other.photo-14-2-17-10-42-52-pm
  2. While rice is steaming, start making wrappers. Place the plain four in a mixing bowl, gradually add 90g hot water and mix by using chopsticks. Then add the 90g room temperature water, use your hand to mix the dough well. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes till it becomes smooth. Cover the mixing bowl with cling film or a plastic bag. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.Photo 14-2-17, 10 44 18 PM.jpg
  3. Now continue working on the fillings. Heat up the cooking oil on a wok or a pan, over medium heat, fry the ginger for one minute, add any of your meat options (ham, ground pork or cured meat) and cook for another 1 minute. Add bamboo shoots and cook for 2 more minutes. Add into salt, soy sauce and sesame oil. Now place the sticky rice in the wok and mix well. Stir well to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the wok. Add spring onions right before you turn off the heat. Does it look like we are making ‘fried rice’? Yes, it does! Remove the ‘fried rice’ from wok and place it in a bowl.photo-14-2-17-10-45-44-pmphoto-14-2-17-10-46-27-pm
  4. Now let’s make the wrappers. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Pick one piece and cut it into 10-12 pieces. Simply use your hand to pick up each piece and pound in into the floured surface to make a small disc. Then use a rolling pin to smooth out each disc until it’s about 10cm in diameter with edges thinner than the center.photo-14-2-17-10-47-38-pm
  5. Now let’s assemble. Place 1 tablespoon of the fillings in the center of a wrapper. Use your big thumb to press down the filling. Gather up the wrapper around the filling, pleating it as you go to form an open-topped pouch. Carefully squeeze the sides of the dumpling about half way up to give the dumpling a ‘waist’. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.photo-14-2-17-10-48-59-pmphoto-14-2-17-10-52-09-pm
  6. Pour enough water into a steamer and bring to a boil. Place the parchment paper in the steamer basket. Place as many dumplings as you can. Leave a little space between the dumplings. Steam over high heat for about 10-15 minutes. Serve with soy sauce and/or chili oil.photo-14-2-17-11-00-04-pm

Chinese Glutinous Rice Dumplings (Yuan Xiao Dumplings) 元宵

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Let’s have a couple of these soft, chewy dumplings filled with a sweet black sesame seed mixture to wrap up the 15-day celebrations of the Lunar Chinese New Year. The glutinous rice ball, orYuanxiao 元宵 in Chinese, is actually the name for the Lantern Festival that occurs on the fifteenth day of the lunar new year. Eating the sweet delicacy together with family, you and your loved ones will have a sweet life throughout the year!

Yields about 35 Yuan Xiao Dumplings

Fillings

  • 100g          black sesame seeds 黑芝麻
  • 40g           caster sugar白砂糖
  • 20g           unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoon    peanut butter (optional) 花生酱

Wrappers

  • 250g    glutinous rice flour 糯米粉
  • 180g    water in room temperature

Method

  1. In a small skillet, toast the sesame seeds over low heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan and stirring continuously to keep the seeds from burning. Use a small food processor. Add toasted sesame seeds and sugar and grind to a fine, sandy mixture. Melt the butter over low heat and cool it off. In a mixing bowl, place the ‘sandy mixture’ and add melted butter. I would like to add peanut butter as it makes easier to bring the mixture together. You can replace it with extra butter then let it cool off in the fridge for 1 hour if you are allergic to peanuts. photo-10-2-17-10-43-01-am
  2. Form the mixture into small balls with your hands. Each sesame ball weights about 6 gram.photo-9-2-17-5-19-18-pm
  3. In another mixing bowl, place the glutinous flour. Add the water, a small amount at a time, working and shaping the dough until it has a texture similar to playdough – not too soft, but smooth and easy to manipulate.If you find the dough is too dry and it is hard to bring bits of dough together, simply place a piece of dough (1/6 of the mixture) to a boiling water over high heat. Cook until the small dough float to the top of the water. Take the piece out and combine it with remainder in the mixing bowl. The ‘cooked’ dough piece plays the role of ‘glue’ to bring the dry bits of dough pieces together.photo-10-2-17-10-46-04-am
  4. Roll the dough into a log of about 2cm diameter then divide it into small equal pieces. Each piece weighs about 10 gram to 12 gram. Roll the piece into a ball. Use your thumb to make a deep indentation in the dough, and place a sesame ball into the hole. Close it up. It is important to make sure the sesame ball is completely covered with the dough. Gently roll the dumpling between your two hands to a perfect round shape. Continue with the remainder of the dough. Sprinkle some dry glutinous rice flour over the dumplings to keep them from sticking to each other.photo-10-2-17-10-51-57-am
  5. To cook the dumplings, bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat and gently drop the dumplings in. Use a wooden spoon to gently nudge the dumplings and make sure they’re not sticking to the bottom of the pot. When the dumplings float to the top of the water, add 1 cup of cold water (this will keep the skins from splitting), cover the pot and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the dumplings from the pot with a slotted spoon and scoop a couple spoonfuls of the cooking water over them to keep them from sticking to each other.photo-9-2-17-5-53-10-pm
  6. To serve, place 3 to 4 dumplings into a small bowl for each person and add a couple of the remaining cooking water.photo-10-2-17-10-56-25-am

Pineapple Tarts 黄梨挞

photo-11-1-17-3-17-20-pmWith the Chinese New Year around the corner, you can find pineapple tarts just about everywhere in Singapore or Malaysia . Every bakery that churns them out is claiming that it’s tarts are the best. But I found out today these melt-in-mouth homemade tarts with buttery crumbly pastry and fresh homemade pineapple jam are the BEST I’ve had so far. It calls for simple and fresh ingredients with minimized use of sugar. No preservatives added at all.

Makes 90-100 pieces  

Wrappers

  • 510g                    plain flour/all purpose flour 中筋面粉
  • 350g                   unsalted butter
  • 100g                    condensed milk 炼乳
  • 2 egg yolks       room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon milk to make the egg wash

Homemade pineapple filling (pineapple jam)

  • 3             ripe pineapples
  • 250g      granulated sugar 白砂糖

Method

Step 1  make pineapple filling/jam

  1. Peel the pineapples. Cut away some of the core but not totally remove it (By leaving small part of core so the jam has some bites in.) Cut into small cubes.
  2. Put 1/4 of the pineapples into a blender till it becomes puree (do not add water). Do the same with the rest of pineapple cubes.
  3. Sift the pineapple puree so to remove some of the juices. Don’t throw the juices away – the byproduct makes a couple of glasses of good fruit juice.photo-11-1-17-6-19-32-pm
  4. Cook sifted the pineapple puree in a wok or sauce pan over medium heat for about 10 minutes till juice almost evaporates.
  5. Now add in sugar. The mixture will turn watery again after sugar added. Continue stirring with a wooden spatula for about 15 minutes till it becomes a thick paste.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 60 minutes. Stir from time to time to avoid burning. It is ready when the jam is able to stick on the wooden spatula.
  7. Scoop out the pineapple jam into to bowl and let it cool completely.photo-11-1-17-9-39-22-pmStep 2   make the wrappers
  1. Sift the flour. 面粉过筛
  2. Cut the butter into small cubes. Use your fingertips to rub butter in the flour till the mixture resembles bread crumb.
  3. Add into the mixture the egg yolks and condensed milk. Use your hand to combine them together till it becomes a soft dough. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes.photo-11-1-17-9-41-01-pmStep 3   Assemble
  1. Divide the pineapple filling/jam into 100 portions (7-8g each) and roll them into a small ball
  2. Roll the dough into 100 portions balls (10-12g each) and roll them into a small ball
  3. Flatten a piece of the dough ball, place a pineapple jam ball in the middle. Bring the edges together and press tightly to seal. Roll it in between your palms to shape it into a ball.
  4. Use a paring knife, cut the criss-cross shape on the top to create pineapple pattern. Or use any fun or desired small-size cookie cutter or pastry cutter that you happen to have at home.photo-11-1-17-6-21-24-pm
  5. Place all the little pastries on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  6. Apply egg wash with a brush. Try to brush the entire pastry ball including top and sides.
  7. Preheat the oven to 165℃. Place the baking try in the upper deck of the oven. Bake for 24 minutes or till they become golden brown.photo-11-1-17-9-54-22-pm
  8. Cool completely before enjoying.photo-11-1-17-9-53-19-pm