Wednesday 28 November 2012

Mango Yogurt Cottony Cake

This is a really light and soft cake. The texture, as it's name suggests, is cottony soft. This recipe comes from Kimmy of Cooking Pleasure with slight adaptation of her Mango Yogurt Cottony Cake recipe. I have been a follower of Kimmy's blog and I love her souffle cakes and home style recipes. She also has quite a number of bread and bun recipes which I am very eager to try.

I was quiet impressed with this recipe as it is so simple and  yet it yields a really light and delicious cake. The sweetness is just nice and takes into account the sweetness that comes from the fruit yogurt.
All the ingredients.
The first time I attempted this cake, I used peach flavoured yogurt. After 45 minutes of baking time, I checked and the top had already browned. I tested the cake with a skewer and noted that my cake was already done. Kimmy's baking time is 70 minutes so it is best to check and adjust as our ovens behave differently.

I left the cake in the pan a bit to long after it was inverted and the bottom became a bit wet. I felt that an 8 inch pan is a bit too small, the batter rose up quiet high and the centre of the cake  really bulged up in the oven.
Cake pan lined with parchment paper.
I loved this cake so much that I baked another one the following week. This time round, I used a 9 inch deep cake pan. I also lined the pan with parchment paper for easy removal. The cake was done in 45 minutes and the top was slightly over browned. And like the first time, the cake was so soft and fluffy that if I had my way, I would have eaten at least another 4 slices hee..hee...

Cake inverted on cooling rack. The middle part
does sink a bit.
Last weekend I attempted this cake again, this time using mango yogurt just like Kimmy's original recipe. I decided to reduce the oven temperature as I think my oven is too hot. I baked the cake at 140C and it was done in 55 minutes. The top was nicely browned and this time I lined the cooling rack with parchment paper before inverting the cake. Bad idea. 

Some spots peeled off with the parchment
paper. So don't line the cooling rack.

Some parts of the cake got stuck to the parchment paper and peeled off together with the paper after the cake was cooled.  After inverting the cake, let it cool for about 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper. If not, you will end up peeling off some of the cake like I did :( And be patient, slice the cake after it has cooled completely. I was too quick to cut the cake and did not get neat clean cuts :(

This cake has to be steam baked and I used the method that Kimmy mentioned in this post.

Put hot water in a tray and place rack over 
the tray.
Place cake tin on the rack. This photo was
taken after cake was baked.

I highly recommend this cake and it is now on my regular baking list. I am reproducing Kimmy's recipe below with my adaptations in red. 

Mango Yogurt Cottony Cake
Recipe from : Cooking Pleasure

Ingredients :
Egg Yolk Mixture
- 65g superfine flour (sifted)
- 1/4 tsp salt (I omitted)
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 45 ml corn oil
- 80ml mango yogurt (I used the whole tub of 135ml)
- 1 tsp lemon juice (I omitted)

Egg White Mixture
- 5 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (I used 1/4tsp)
- 65gm castor sugar

Method :
For egg yolk mixture :
- Place the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Add in eggs, corn oil, lemon juice and yogurt.
- Using a paddle hook, beat ingredients until creamy and well combined.
- Set aside.
- Preheat oven at 160C for 10 minutes.
I mixed eggs, corn oil and yogurt using a whisk. When combined, I add sifted flour and mixed until just combined. I preheated my oven to 140C.

For egg white mixture :
- Using an electric mixer, whisk egg white until frothy, add in cream of tartar until slightly foamy.
- Add sugar in 3 batches. Whisk until soft to stiff peaks form. (I beat until stiff peaks)
 - Using a spatula, fold in 1/2 of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture. Lift and fold until well combined, then add in the rest of the meringue. Fold again until well mixed.
- Pour into a 8" square tin (line base with baking paper at the bottom only). Smooth the surface with a spatula and steam bake in oven at 160C for 70 minutes.
- Invert the cake after baking and let it cool before removing the baking paper.
- Cool cake before slicing to serve.

This is what I did :
- I folded 1/3 of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it.
- Then I poured the egg yolk mixture into the balance of the meringue and folded using the only way I know how, my bare hand.
- I lined a 9" deep square baking pan and poured the batter in and smoothed the top.
- I baked for 55 minutes at 140C.

I have always mixed my egg white and egg yolk mixture  using my hand as it works best for me. I can never get it right using a spatula or whisk. If you are curious how it is done, you can check out the video below :

My egg yolk mixture, done using a whisk.
Egg white and egg yolk mixture.
Both mixtures mixed using my hand.
Pour batter into lined baking pan
I sliced the cake into thick squares.
Love the soft cottony texture. One or two slices is simply not enough.

Friday 23 November 2012

Korma Daging Perlis (Perlis Beef Korma)

This is not a visually appealing dish. Looks like something that came up from the swamp. Hence the impromptu carved chillies. Trying to sex it up a bit didn't help much. It was all grey and blah. The picture in the cookbook was pretty though, a nice orangey and warm colour. I wonder where did I go wrong. But taste wise, was anything but dull. It was aromatic and tasty. The sort of dish that would pair well with Nasi Minyak or Nasi Tomato. Or just plain white rice. And a nice tangy acar.

The only deviation from the recipe was I omitted the grated coconut from the blended spice paste. This was simply because I couldn't get grated coconut from Jusco (It's actually  now known as Aeon but I like the old name). And I must gripe about something here. Jusco, not the recipe. I noted that when I walk in just after 10:00am (they open at 10:00am) on Saturday or Sunday (I like to shop early to avoid the crowd), the perishable section is not fully stocked up yet.

At 10:20am, that's the time when the staff would start wheeling out the huge carts to replenish the stock. By 10:30 to 10:45am the crowd would have built up and we would be jostling with fellow shoppers and the stock carts. It can get really clumsy and uncomfortable. And I would imagine it would be uncomfortable for the staff too, trying to do their job while customers keep poking in and out grabbing stuff. If you want to ensure that the shelves are properly stocked up, don't go too early. Go after 11:00am when it is so crowded and uncomfortable to shop. This is what I can't understand. Aren't the shelves supposed to be stocked up before they open for business? Malaysia Boleh!

Back to the beef korma. Not a difficult dish to cook. Just marinate the beef slices with the spice paste, then saute shallots, garlic and ginger with the dry spices. When fragrant, add marinated beef, coconut milk and simmer away.

Korma Daging Perlis (Perlis Beef Korma)
Recipe source : Rasa Malaysia by Betty Saw (page 241)(Bahasa Malaysia Edition)

Ingredients :
- 600g beef
- 3 tablespoons korma powder
- 125ml cooking oil
- 250ml thick santan
- 1 liter thin santan
- 1 piece asam gelugur
- 2 big onions, peeled and cut onto quarters
- 1.5 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Blended Spice Paste :
- 10 shallots
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2.5cm lengkuas
- 2.5cm ginger
- 1.25cm tumeric
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 4 tablespoons grated coconut

Ingredients to be sauteed :
- 4 shallots, finely sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 2.5cm ginger, finely sliced

Dry spices :
- 3 star anise
- 3 cloves
- 1.25cm cinnamon 

Method :
- Slice beef thinly.
- Marinate beef with korma powder and blended ingredients for 15 minutes.
- Heat oil in a pan and saute sliced shallots, garlic, ginger and dry spices until fragrant.
- Add marinated beef and fry for a few minutes.
- Add thin santan and asam gelugur.
- Simmer until beef is tender.
- Add big onions and salt.
- Add thick santan and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Beef marinated in blended spice paste.
Ingredients to saute.
Fry the beef before adding coconut milk.

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, Kedah and Perlis Month hosted by WendyinKK of Table for 2.....or More.

Monday 19 November 2012

Kedah Beef Dalca (Dalca Daging Kedah)

I murdered this recipe. In cold blood. My apologies to Ms Betty Saw and the good people of Kedah. But I digress. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever wondered if a recipe in a cookbook is complete? I mean, was it properly edited and there are no errors or omissions? Do I sound like an auditor?

Turned out good after tweaking.
Looking at the Dalca Daging Kedah recipe in Betty Saw's Rasa Malaysia, I felt that something was amiss. No onions, no garlic, no ginger. The spice mix was made up of dried chillies and dry spices. Did the typist accidentally leave out a section of the recipe? I could not google for verification against other dalca recipes as my new home computer was not installed yet (the old one died 3 weeks ago). And to go through my other cookbooks would take forever.

Spice mix as per recipe.
Going against my better judgement, I went ahead. I sauteed the blended ingredients and as expected, it did not smell as good as it should have as it was missing onions, garlic and ginger.

Blended spice mix.

The recipe also calls for marinating the beef ribs with kerisik (pounded dessicated coconut). I put too much and the gravy had a strong coconut smell.

Beef ribs marinated with kerisik. I put way too much.
Well, I had to do something. I could have sauteed some onions, garlic and ginger and plonked it into the dalca. But I didn't. Instead, I added a packet of curry powder. And at the end of the cooking, I fried some dried chillies and cumin and added that to the dalca. And that rescued my dish.

My gravy smelled too strongly of kerisik.

This morning at the office, I googled for other dalca recipes and sure enough, they had onions, garlic and ginger and curry powder. I am reproducing Betty Saw's recipe below and I have added (my own estimate) onions, garlic, ginger and curry powder. Will I repeat this dish? Oh yes, it was a good dish and I had always wanted to cook dalca. But of course my next attempt will be better when I add the missing ingredients :)

Kedah Beef Dalca (Dalca Daging Kedah)
Recipe from : Rasa Malaysia by Betty Saw (page 232)(Bahasa Malaysia Edition)
Note : Ingredients and notes in blue are what I think is inadvertently missing from the original recipe.

Ingredients :
- 300g beef with or without bones, cut into 2.5cm pieces
- Grated coconut from 1/2 coconut for kerisik
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 750ml thin santan
- 1 brinjal, cut diagonally into 2.5cm pieces
- 5 longbeans, cut into 5cm pieces
- 2 red chillies, deseeded and cut into halves
- 4 belimbing, cut into halves
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes and fried
- 2 tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)

Blended ingredients :
- 15 dried chillies, soaked
- 2 teaspoons corriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
- 0.6cm cinnamon stick
- 1 clove
- 1 star anise

Ingredients to saute :
- 2 big onions, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, pounded 
- 1 inch ginger, pounded
- 1 packet meat curry powder, mixed with a bot of water to form a paste.

Method :
- Marinate beef with kerisik and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Heat oil in a pot and saute onions till it softens and turns translucent.
- Add garlic, ginger, curry paste and blended ingredients and fry until fragrant and oil rises to the top.
- Add beef and fry for 5 minutes.
- Add santan and bring to a boil until beef is tender.
- Add brinjals, longbeans, chillies, belimbing and potatoes.
- Simmer until vegetables are cooked.
- Add tomatoes and salt to taste.

More notes : 
1. It would be best to dry fry the coriander, fennel and cumin seeds for better aroma before blending.
2. The cinnamon stick, clove and star anise can be left whole.
3. For added flavours, fry some sliced onions until golden brown to garnish the dalca.

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, Kedah and Perlis Month hosted by WendyinKK of Table for 2.....or More.

Friday 16 November 2012

Mummy's Chicken Oyster Sauce

My mum's chicken oyster sauce is a regular on our menu back home. It is my mum's version of Kung Pao Chicken and it is a dish from her modest repertoire of dishes. My mum is a very good cook but she is not very adventurous when it comes to cooking (I take after her in this respect, the not adventurous part). She has a good collection of cookbooks though, which prompted my dad to quip "Your Mummy has 100 cookbooks but we always eat the same old thing". Well, mum's emphasis is quality and not quantity. Better to stick to the tried and tested rather than risk a disaster. Right, Mummy? Hee..hee...

The aroma and flavours that come from the fried cashew nuts and dried chillies is what makes this dish so tasty. My mum also likes to add shitake mushrooms to add more bite to the dish. I forgot about the mushrooms and didn't put any in mine.

Although this dish does not have much gravy, still we all love to scoop whatever little there is at the bottom of the dish to mix with rice. Or better still, the last person at the table will put some rice into the almost empty dish, stir and experience a little bit of joy!

I love to eat the dried chillies and whenever I cook this dish, I am always generous with the chillies. This dish goes well with our family's all time favourite soya sauce vinegar condiment. It is  made by mixing soya sauce and vinegar with a bit of sugar and we add lots of minced garlic and sliced chillies. 

Mummy's Chicken Oyster Sauce

Ingredients :
(To marinate chicken)
- 3 chicken legs, cut into bite sized pieces
- 3 cloves of garlic, pounded or minced
- 1 tablespoon of light soya sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- a dash of pepper

(for cooking)
- 6 dried chillies, rinsed and pat dry
- 15 cashew nuts
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 slices ginger
- 2 big onions, cut into quarters
- 2 stalks spring onions (Cut off the white part to stir fry and reserve the green part for garnishing)

(for sauce)
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon light soya sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with a little water

Method :
- Marinate the chicken pieces with garlic, soya sauce, sesame oil and pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in wok.
- Fry cashew nuts until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
- Fry dried chillies until crispy. Remove and set aside.
- In the same oil, stir fry ginger until fragrant.
- Add garlic and spring onion stalks and stir fry for a few seconds.
- Add chicken and fry until chicken turns opaque.
- Add sauce (except cornstarch mixture) and mix to coat chicken.
- Add a little water, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Add big onions, stir and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
- Add the fried cashew nuts and dried chillies.
- Stir and add cornstarch to thicken the gravy.
- Garnish with spring onions.
- Serve hot with white rice.

Friday 9 November 2012

Kiwifruit Kerabu

Another kerabu? Yup, I love kerabu! And I guess I'm not done yet with kiwifruit. Still very much in love with the sweet sourish taste and I reckon it would be great in a kerabu. 

For a simple kerabu without sambal belacan, I like to use just lime juice and fish sauce. And I add some plum sauce for the sweetness. In addition, I was feeling a tad extravagant and decided to add some anchovies too. Very similar to the dressing I used for Kerabu Pelam.

Anchovies, lime and plum sauce. Notice the expiry date? Just as well.

And too further enhance the dressing, I bruised a lemongrass and let it infuse into the dressing. I also added some finely sliced shallots.

Lemongrass and shallots enhance the flavour.
My kerabu consisted of kiwifruit, young papaya, mango and cucumber. 

I added cherry tomatoes to make it more colourful.
I also fried some dried prawns (heh bee) until crispy as a garnish.

Crispy dried prawns.
Feel free to add or substitute any fruits of your choice. I think green apples would also be a nice addition.

Kiwifruit Kerabu

For the salad :
- Kiwifruits, sliced
- Young mango, grated
- Young papaya, grated
- Cherry tomatoes, halved
- Cucumber, thinly sliced
- Mint
- Daun kesum (laksa leaves, finely sliced)
- Daun selasih (basil, finely sliced)

For the dressing :
- Lime juice from 2 or 3 limes
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon plum sauce
- 2 anchovy fillets (mashed)
- 1 lemongrass (bruised)
- 1 shallot, finely sliced

For garnishing :
- 1 tablespoon dried prawns, fried until crispy

Method :

For the dressing (prepare this ahead of time to allow flavours to infuse):
- Mix lime juice, fish sauce, plum sauce and anchovy fillet. Adjust to taste.
- Add shallots and bruised lemongrass.
- you can also add a little bit of the oil from the anchovy fillet for extra flavour.

To assemble kerabu :
- Put all fruits and vegetables in a bowl together with mint, daun kesum and basil
- Remove lemongrass, pour in dressing and toss.
- Sprinkle the crispy dried prawns over the kerabu.

Colourful and delicious.

Best way to get your fibre, minerals and vitamins.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Mee Kedah (Kedah Noodles)

Finally, I am trying a recipe from Betty Saw's cookbook, Rasa Malaysia. I bought this book more than a year ago and as usual, all I ever did since then was flip the pages. And what a blessing this book has been as it features recipes from all the states in Malaysia.

Gravy, noodles and condiments
As I looked through dishes featured in the Kedah section, I decided to try the Mee Kedah. There are not many photographs featured in this book and I had to use my imagination to conjure images of this noodle dish. From what I could gather from the ingredients, the gravy derives it's main flavours from dried prawns.

Pounded dried prawns and spice paste

And this is the first time I am cooking a dish that I have never eaten before. The spice paste used is pretty simple. It is made of dried chillies, shallots and garlic. These are blended and then sauteed until fragrant before adding the pounded dried prawns. I must say that at this stage, my kitchen was exuding a heavenly aroma. I wonder if my neighbours were suddenly hit by pangs of hunger due to the wonderful smell. Hee..hee...

Beef slices and prawns in the red gravy. Yummy!

Once the dried prawns are sufficiently fried (garing), beef broth is added. And when I tasted the soup, it very much reminded me of prawn noodle soup (har mee). Instead of prawn heads and shells, this Mee Kedah gets it's robust prawn flavours from the pounded dried prawns.

I was very pleased with the outcome and I enjoyed the Mee Kedah very much. Imagine prawn mee with slices of beef, that's what Mee Kedah is like. Highly recommended!

Mee Kedah (Kedah Noodles)
Recipe from : Rasa Malaysia by Betty Saw (Page 229). My adaptations in red.

Ingredients :
- 600g Yellow noodles
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil (to oil the noodles)
- 300g beef, thinly sliced
- 1.5 liter water
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- 120g dried prawns, pounded
- 300g fresh prawns, shells removed
- 1/2 can (285g) tomato soup (I substituted with 2 tablespoons of tomato puree added with 250ml water)
- 1 teaspoon seasoning powder (I used 3 cubes of chicken stock)
- Salt to taste
- 300g mustard greens (sawi hijau)

Blended ingredients :
- 20 dried chillies, soaked
- 8 shallots
- 3 cloves garlic

Garnishing :
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 2 pieces beancurd, fried and cut into strips
- 300g beansprouts
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 5 red chillies, sliced
- Fried shallots
- Spring onions
- Chinese parsley (daun sup)

Method :
- Blanch noodles in boiling water and drain.
- Toss noodles with 1 tablespoon cooking oil to avoiding them from clumping together.
- Boil beef until tender. 
- Heat 4 tablespoons oil and saute blended ingredients for a few minutes.
- Add dried prawns and continue to fry until fragrant.
- Add beef together with the water it was boiled in. Bring to a boil.
- Add fresh prawns, tomato soup, seasoning and salt.
- Add greens.

To serve :
- Put noodles in serving bowl.
- Pour soup over the noodles and garnish accordingly.

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, Kedah and Perlis Month hosted by WendyinKK of Table for 2.....or More.

Saturday 3 November 2012

Eggs Baked in Avocado

A while back, Extra Virgin Chef posted an egg avocado dish called Avo-egg-cado. Being an egg lover, that caught my attention. Now, avocados are alien to me. I had never bought any before and my only exposure to avocado is guacamole. I had always thought avocados strange and was never motivated to try some until now.

If you have visited Extra Virgin Chef, you will appreciate that Luan is very sophisticated and her cooking style leans more towards western fine dining dishes. Check out her Duck Leg Confit Salad and you'll know what I am talking about. Thanks to her, this auntie from Kuala Terengganu is acquainted with this wonderful fruit.

So on my next supermarket trip (this was a few months back), I bought myself a box of avocados. There are 3 in a box and on the label it shows the 3 stages of ripening. The next morning I was pretty excited to cut the avocado just like how it is done on TV. Cut around the fruit, twist and the two halves come apart. Then strike the stone with a knife and twist it out. Simple enough.

My first attempt was a disaster. I used a large egg and all the whites spilled out. But in terms of taste, wow, I never knew avocados were so tasty. It was creamy and had a slight smoky flavour. And it went so well with the egg yolks.

First attempt. Not so pretty.

I posted the above photo on Facebook and Luan kindly advised me as follows :

1. Scrape off some avocado to create more space to contain one egg.
2. Crack egg in a separate bowl rather than directly onto the avocado. This way you can control how much of the whites to pour in.

I tried again but wanted to use the whole egg, so some whites spilled out onto my baking dish. I scraped off some avocado and just left it on the dish. I know Luan is shaking her head right now and going tsk, tsk, tsk....

I baked it in the oven at 180C for about 15 minutes. Before serving, I sprinkled some French sea salt (see Terengganu Auntie becoming more sophisticated) and cracked black pepper over the eggs.

Ok,ok, salt and pepper not evenly distributed. 
 And I proceed to scoop the egg and avocado. Oh, yummmy!

This is so, so good!
One down, one to go.
I am now an avocado fan and I'll be sure to grab a few boxes when I see them in season.