PAPAYA, SNOW FUNGUS AND ALMONDS SWEET SOUP

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This pair of birds, aren’t they beautiful? Our doggie Abbey alerted us to them when we went for a walk to a nearby park recently. White Crested Laughing Thrust, we were told. Although we went quite near with our camera, they seemed undeterred and trusting. A pity we didn’t get to hear them sing.

The weather recently has been rather erratic. It’s either hot and humid or wet and humid. Either condition, it makes one feels lazy and lethargic. This sweet refreshing dessert soup is just right for such days. Said to be good for nourishing and strengthening our respiratory system as well as improving complexion, it is refreshing and tastes good both cold or warm.

PAPAYA,SNOW FUNGUS AMD ALMONDS SWEET SOUP

Ingredients
(serves 8)

(A)
1 dried white fungus (about 30gm) – soaked, washed & cut into bite-size

(B)
1 heaped tablespoon sweet almonds (南杏), washed
1 heaped tablespoons bitter almonds (北杏), washed
several pandam leaves – washed & cut or knotted
1.5 litres water

(C)
1 ripe & firm medium-size papaya

(D)
60gm rock sugar (reduce or increase according to taste)

Method

1) Soak white fungus in water until soft. Trim away the hard yellow stem and cut fungus into bite size pieces. Rinse several times and drain.

2) Put (B) together in a pot and bring to boil and then simmer for 20mins, covered.
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3) Remove skin and seeds from papaya and cut into bite size pieces.
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4) Add papaya to soup and simmer for a further 10 mins. Lastly add rock sugar and stir until dissolved.
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5) Serve hot or cold as desire.

A yummy nice treat to perk up a lousy day!

A yummy nice treat to perk up a humid day!

THAI PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE

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Like this classic Thai pineapple fried rice? Why not cook it yourself? It’s as good, if not better, as that you get in Thai restaurants. It’s really flavourful and it’s such a joy to the sight with its brightly coloured ingredients.

THAI PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE
(serves 3-4 persons)

Ingredients

(A) Pre-cook overnight and refrigerate:
2 cups jasmine rice
2 cups water
1 teaspoon tumeric powder
2 pandan leaves

(B)
1 pineapple, about 1 to 1.2kg
– cut lengthwise and hollow out flesh without cutting through the skin; reserve the shell
– dice 150gm pineapples and set aside for cooking

(C)
2 tablespoon cooking oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic, minced
1 teaspoon shrimp paste or 1 tsp thai curry powder (optional – I didnt add this)

(D)
100gm shrimps, remove shell except tail and devine

(E)
100gm chicken breast or thigh meat
– dice and season with 1 tsp light soya sauce, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, some pepper and 1/4 tsp cornstarch

(F)
2 beaten eggs

(G)
1-2 red & green chilli, seeded and diced (reduce or omit according to preference or substitute with red and green bell peppers)
1 large tomato, diced (or use several cherry tomatoes, halves)
80gms roasted unsalted cashew nuts
50gms black raisins

(H) – mix together the sauce in a bowl
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp chicken or anchovy granules
2 tbsp pineapple juice or chicken stock
some pepper

(I)
2 tablespoon pork floss
1 tablespoon fried shallots
Some chopped spring onions & coriander

Method

1) Precook (A) 1 day ahead or at least 1/2 day ahead. When cool, refrigerate for later use.
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2) Prepare the pineapple. Cut lengthwise and hollow out flesh without cutting through the skin. Reserve the shell and dice 150gm pineapples and set it aside for cooking later.
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3) Heat oil in a frying pan and stir-fry onions and garlic until fragrant. Add shrimp paste (optional) and continue to stir fry until shrimp paste is pungent. Add diced chicken and cook for 1 min, followed by shrimps and tomatoes.
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4) Push the ingredients aside in the pan, add a little oil and pour in the beaten egg. Scramble it slightly.
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5) Add rice, cashew nuts, raisins, pineapples and sauce. Stir-fry until chicken and shrimps are thoroughly cooked and ingredients are well combined.
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6) Serve immediately in pineapple shell and garnish with (G).

Yummy !

Yummy !

CHAR SIU BAO (CHINESE BBQ BUNS)

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With the same light and fluffy basic chinese dough recipe, I made these steamed chinese char siu buns using homemade bbq pork. However, if you find it too tedious to make your own bbq pork, simply get them from your favourite roast meat store.

CHAR SIU BAO (CHINESE BBQ BUNS)

Ingredients
(makes 26 baos)

(A) – The Stuffing
500gm pork belly – season with :
1 tablespon light soya sauce
1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon huatiao wine
1 tablespoon cooking oil
300ml water

(B)
300gm spring onions, chopped
2 tablespoon cooking oil

(C) – The Dough (Basic Chinese Dough Recipe)
600gm HongKong flour
10gm Instant Yeast
10gm Baking Powder
120gm Sugar
280ml Water (room temperature)
10gm shortening

Method

1) Season (A) overnight and cook in a claypot (covered) for 45mins or until tender. When done, remove the pork and thicken the sauce with some cornstarch. Reserve the sauce and cut the bbq pork into small cubes.

2) Heat oil in frying pan and stir-fry spring onions for 1 min until fragrant. Add the bbq pork and mix well. Add the reserved sauce and combine well. Set aside to cool.
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3) Before you start with the dough, prepare a large steamer and cut 26pcs of 3″x3″ squares from a greaseproof paper.

4) To make the dough, put all of ingredients in (C) into a mixer with a dough hook. Process until a smooth and elastic dough is formed.
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5) Transfer dough to a work surface and knead dough into a long stripe. Divide into 26 equal portions (approx 35gm each). Shape each portion into a mould and cover with a damp cloth to keep dough from drying out.
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4) Flatten each mould into a flat sheet by hand or with a rolling pin (whichever way you find most convenient). Put a spoonful of filling and pleat the edges into a bun shape (see pic below). Put bun onto a piece of 3″x3″ greasproof paper and arrange in a steam tray. Leave sufficient space in between each bun to allow for expansion.
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5) Wet buns with a water spray and leave to proof for 30 mins in a warm place until double in size (I place them in my oven).
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6) Bring water in steamer to boil and steam buns on high for 10mins.
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7) Best served warm with a cup of your favourite chinese tea.
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STEAMED GULA MELAKA CAKE

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This palm sugar (gula melaka) cake is awesome. My sister was the one who found it online at mymindpatch.blogspot.sg. Almost everyone whom I have shared the cake with asked for the recipe. With just few simple steps, it is so easy to make and it tastes really good!

STEAMED GULA MELAKA CAKE

Ingredients

(A)
300gm gula melaka (I reduce to 280gm)
200gm fresh milk

(B)
6 large eggs

(C) – Sift together
300gm self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

(D)
160ml corn oil (I use soyabean oil; may also use sunflower oil)

Method

Prepare :
– 1×10″ round cake pan (line bottom with parchment), or
– 1 x 9″ square cake pan (line bottom with parchment), or
– 13×3″ muffin cups

1) Melt the gula melaka in the milk over slow flame. Strain and set aside to cool.
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2) Bring water in a steamer to boil.

3) In a mixer, whisk the eggs at full speed until thick and creamy.
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4) Lower the speed and add flour gradually, alternating with gula melaka mixture and blend well.
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5) Lastly, add corn/sunflower/soyabean oil and combine well.
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6) Pour batter into a large round or square pan (or fill muffin cups 2/3 full). 7) For large pan, steam for 40mins until done. For muffin cups, steam for 20 mins until done). Do not open the cover while cake is steaming.

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7) When done, remove parchment from cake and leave it to cool on rack.
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8) Enjoy with your favourite cup of beverage😀

Soft & springy on the inside!

Soft & springy on the inside!

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Go ahead and sprinkle some sunflower seeds, almond bits, etc. on top just before steaming. Makes a great snack any time of the day!

JAPANESE SWEET POTATO CUPCAKES

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This recipe is by Japanese patissier Keiko Ishida who once lived and worked in Singapore from 2003-2009. According to her, these homey cupcakes are a favourite treat in Japanese households. The cupcakes do not contain butter and egg; a treat surely my 85 year-old mum would love as she dislikes food with butter. Thumbs up for the clever use of chinese yam, wholemeal flour and soyabean milk – a combination that makes the cupcakes really lovely and healthy. Don’t expect it to taste like a typical “cupcake” as the texture resembles that of steamed chinese savoury yam or radish cake (except that this cake is sweet). Nevertheless, it’s surprisingly tasty and is great as an any-time-of-the-day snack. Delicious, I must say!

P/S: These do not keep well. Best eaten on the day that it is made.

JAPANESE SWEET POTATO CUPCAKES
(makes 7 cupcakes)

Ingredients

170gm Japanese sweet potato, cubed (I use a combi of yellow/orange/purple sweet potatoes)
50gm beet sugar plus 2 tablespoons (I use fine sugar)
90gm unbleached plain flour, sifted (I use self-raising flour)
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder (I omit this)
40gm wholemeal (whole wheat) flour
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
60gm chinese yam, grated
120gm soyabean milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
20gm safflower or grapeseed oil (I use corn oil)
30gm dried raisins

Method

1) Line muffin or pudding cups with muffin paper liners and set aside.

2) Cut sweet potato into small cubes. Place ina small saucepan and add 2 tablespoon beet sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover. Simmer until sweet potatoes soften, then drain and set aside. (**I simply sprinkle some sugar over the sweet potato cubes and put them to steam until done).
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3) Sift both flours and baking powder once. (**If using self-raising flour, omit the baking powder)

4) Place remaining beet sugar, sea salt and yam in a bowl and beat well.

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The chinese yam will cause the batter to be sticky

5) Add soyabean milk, vanilla extract and safflower or grapeseed oil and mix well.
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6) Add both flours and fold in well.

Reduce speed of mixer and add flour gradually until well combined

Reduce speed of mixer and add flour gradually until well combined

7) Add half of cooked sweet potatoes and dried raisins to batter and combine well.

Use a spatula to fold in the ingredients

Use a spatula to fold in the ingredients

8) Pour batter into prepared muffin or pudding cups. Top each muffin with remaining pieces of sweet potato. Heat water in steamer until boiling, then steam cupcakes over high heat for 20mins or until they rise. Remove from steamer and leave to cool on a wire rack.
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9) Serve cupcakes warm or at room temperature.

The diffent sweet potatoes add a nice burst of kaleidoscope colours to the cake!

Using different types of sweet potatoes add a nice burst of kaleidoscope colours to the cake