Sunday, 1 March 2015

Fried Nian Gao Balls

Another option to use up the balance of your Chinese New Year Cake.  The dough is made up of equal quantity of three types of flour, sugar and milk powder.  As filling, Nian Gao cubes are used. Remember to refrigerate overnight before cutting them into cubes.

Ingredients (yields about 45 balls):
250 g Nian Gao, to be cut into 1.5 cm cubes)
180 g plain flour
180 g glutinous rice flour
180 g cornflour
100 g sugar
5 tbsp milk powder
1 tsp salt
about 450 ml hot water
oil for deep frying

After refrigerating, cut Nian Gao into 1.5 cm cubes.

In a large mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients and mix together.  Then, add hot water a little at a time and knead to a pliable dough.  I suggest that you use your cake making machine.

Take a small portion of dough (about 25 g) and flatten it on your palm.  Place a Nian Gao cube in the centre and form dough into a ball.  Ensure that the Nian Gao is not exposed.  Repeat procedure until dough is used up.

In a wok, heat enough oil for deep-frying over medium heat.  Add Nian Gao balls and deep-fry over medium heat until golden brown.  Once done, remove to a tray which is lined with baking paper.

Serve warm or cold!

Bon Appetit!

Pan-Fried Nian Gao

Make this delicious snack to use up the balance of your Chinese New Year Cake.  It is quick and easy to prepare.  Before slicing the Nian Gao, it is advisable to refrigerate it overnight.

250 g Nian Gao, to be thinly sliced
2 large eggs
6 tbsp flour
1 tbsp cornflour
a pinch of salt
1 to 2 tbsp cold water
oil for shallow frying

In a small mixing bowl, whisk eggs lightly.  Then, add flour, cornflour and salt.  Lastly, add enough cold water to form an almost thick batter.  Whisk batter well until smooth.

In a pan, heat enough oil for shallow frying over medium heat.  Dip Nian Gao slices into egg batter and add to pan.  Shallow-fry until golden brown.  Remove to a plate which is lined with kitchen paper.

Serve warm or cold!

Bon Appetit!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Nian Gao (Kuih Bakul)

A traditional steamed cake which is also known as Kuih Bakul or Glutinous Rice Cake or New Year Cake.  It is believed that by eating a piece of it, your luck will improve during the new year.  What about making your own Nian Gao and give it away as a gift?  You only need 3 main ingredients, namely brown sugar, glutinous rice flour and water.  Some recipes use coconut milk but I prefer to use only water.  The steaming time depends on the capacity of your containers.  Use small containers if you prefer less steaming time.  It is advisable to keep the Nian Gao for about 3 days before consuming.

This is my last CNY goodie post and I would like to take the opportunity to wish all my blog readers a prosperous Year of the Goat!  Gong Xi Fa Cai!!!

255 g brown sugar
350 ml water
300 g glutinous rice flour
a small pinch of salt

Lightly oil the containers of your choice.  Instead of oiling them, you may line them with banana leaves.  I chose not to line them with the latter because I would like to use my pretty glass containers (250 ml capacity) from Weck.

Sift glutinous rice flour into a bowl and add a small pinch of salt.  Mix well and set aside.

In a clean pot, add brown sugar and water.  Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove pot from heat and leave to cool down completely.

Add sifted glutinous rice flour a little at a time into brown sugar/water mixture and whisk until well mixed. Then, strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl twice in order that all lumps are removed.

Pour mixture into your preferred containers.  Do NOT fill to the brim but just 3/4 full or just below the brim.

Cover containers with a piece of cloth in order that they are free from water drops during steaming. Steam over medium heat for about 5 to 6 hours.  I used my Miele electric steamer which did a great job and I steamed them for exactly 5 hours.

Once done, remove from steamer and leave aside to cool down completely.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Kek Lapis Legit

Another popular cake which is served during Chinese New Year and Eid Mubarak celebrations.  I used to be crazy of Bengawan Solo's Kek Lapis and always carried one cake on our return flight home, but I have stopped doing so since 3 years ago.

Kek Lapis is known to be one of the most leceh (troublesome) cake because of its multiple layers. I took slightly more than 2 hours to bake all 18 layers and I enjoyed every minute or I should say, every layer of it.  This cake is rich in taste, just look at the number of eggs which I added!  If you decide to bake this cake, please read the recipe carefully, especially the preparation method.

500 g butter
100 g condensed milk (thick)

30 egg yolks
220 g fine sugar
1 tbsp ovalette (optional)

100 g cake flour
30 g milk powder
1 tsp rempah kuih or spekkeok powder (mixed spices)

extra condensed milk
150 g melted butter

an 8"x8" baking pan

Sift cake flour, milk powder and rempah kuih into a bowl and mix well.  Set aside. Grease the bottom of baking pan with butter and line with baking paper.  Make sure that the baking paper fits the pan exactly!  There is no need to grease the sides of baking pan.

In a small bowl, mix a little condensed milk with 2 tbsp of melted butter.  You need to prepare this mixture again whenever needed.  This mixture is used to grease between the layers of batter.

In a mixing bowl, whisk butter and condensed milk until light and pale in colour.

In another mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks, fine sugar and ovalette together at high speed until thick and creamy.  Important note:  Ensure that bowl and whisk are CLEAN and FREE of butter or oil!!! Or else, your egg yolks mixture would not triple in volume!

Add butter mixture to egg yolks mixture and whisk at low speed until well mixed.  Do NOT overmix! Your batter should not curdle.  If it starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of the flour mixture.

Lastly, fold in flour mixture carefully, a tablespoon at a time, until well mixed.  Take about 80 g of batter and transfer to a small bowl.

Preheat conventional oven (with top & bottom heat) to a temperature of 170° C with the empty baking pan inside the oven.  Do NOT use convectional (fan) oven!  Once required temperature is achieved, remove baking pan from oven.  Immediately change your oven setting to TOP HEAT ONLY (small grill) and adjust the temperature by taking the lowest possible temperature available. My Miele oven has a lowest temperature of 200° C for grilling.  Place your oven grate on the second rack from bottom. 

Add 80 g of batter in baking pan and by using the back of a tablespoon, spread batter evenly to cover the base.

Bake in oven for about 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown.  Kindly note that your baking time might differ from mine.  So, please stay by the oven and observe!  Once ready, remove from oven. By using the kek lapis presser, press evenly all over.  If there are bubbles on the surface, poke them with a toothpick before pressing it with the presser.

Then, brush evenly with the condensed milk/butter mixture by using a pastry brush.

Once done, add 80 g of batter and spread evenly on the baked layer.  The hot baking pan will melt your batter and spread it evenly.

Repeat procedure until all batter is used up.  Once the last layer is baked, brush evenly with condensed milk/butter mixture.  From my baking experience, I will get either 17 or 18 layers from this recipe.  Invert baking pan over a wire rack and remove pan. Leave kek lapis to cool down completely.

Remove baking paper and place kek lapis on a cake tray.

Happy Baking!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sambal Belacan

A traditional spicy condiment which never fails in a malay home.  It consists of red chillies, roasted belacan (shrimp paste) and salt.  Some add sugar to get that extra taste which is optional.  The juice of a calamansi lime is squeezed over it before serving.  If you are a sambal belacan fan, just double the quantity and freeze them.

The thought of roasting the belacan will scare away some of you!  No worries!  What I did was to take the required quantity of belacan and pack it in an aluminium foil with the shining side facing inside. "Fry" the aluminium packet in a small pan without oil over low-medium heat for about 20 minutes. VoilĂ , your roasted belacan is ready!

8 stalks red chillies, to be washed, dried & coarsely cut
15 g belacan (shrimp paste), to be roasted (note:  you can add more belacan if you prefer)
salt to taste
calamansi limes for garnishing

To roast the belacan, take the required quantity of belacan and pack it in an aluminium foil with the shining side facing inside.  "Fry" the aluminium packet in a small pan without oil over low-medium heat for about 20 minutes.  Or if you prefer the belacan smell in your kitchen, just roast it over open fire!

Pound or blend the cut chillies, roasted belacan and salt to taste.  I am too lazy to pound the chillies in the mortar.  Instead, my favourite toy, the Braun Multiquick is deployed.  I love my Braun mixer to bits because it chops or blends without any addition of water, compared to the blender.

This condiment tastes great with any dishes which are eaten with rice.

Bon Appetit!