Fragrant Pork with Garlic Sauce 蒜泥白肉 - AFF Taiwan Aug 2014

I'm sure many people are familiar with Din Tai Fung restaurant 鼎泰豐 from Taiwan, famous for its Xiao Long Bao soup dumpling 小笼包. Most of the time people would focus mainly on the Xiao Long Bao, handmade noodles, fried rice etc, but there's one dish listed under "Appetizers" called 蒜泥白肉 (Fragrant Pork with Garlic Sauce) which I quite enjoy probably coz I love pork belly. 蒜泥 is minced garlic sauce and 白肉 is plain pork.

The garlic sauce is the main star here else it would not be called 蒜泥白肉. There are many variations to the preparation of this sauce; so I experimented by putting together quite an extensive list of ingredients and came up with my own sauce. Feel free to omit or add on any ingredients.

As for the meat, instead of just cooking/boiling the pork belly for 30 mins directly, I used a more tedious method of boiling the meat, off heat and then boil again, total of 5 times or till meat is cooked. I learnt from a cooking show that this method of cooking makes the meat more succulent.


At Din Tai Fung, the pork belly is sliced very thinly and wrapped around a cucumber stick and drizzled with the garlic sauce. Since my knife skill isn't up to par, I tried to slice the meat as thin as I could, around 2-3mm. Instead of simply serving with normal cucumber sticks, I sliced the cucumber into wafer-thin strips using a fruit peeler and rolled them up. Same goes for the carrot.


I chilled the meat and cucumber/carrot relish to make the dish more refreshing. The meat was moist and bouncy and oh-so-tasty with the sauce. The rolled-up cucumber/carrots were surprisingly refreshing and crisp, much tastier than if I were to cut them into slices or sticks. I must say the relish is an important enhancement to the whole dish as the meat and sauce itself is quite overwhelming to the palate.

Overall, quite an easy dish to prepare at home, this recipe is a keeper :)


Fragrant Pork with Garlic Sauce 蒜泥白肉

Ingredients
  • 550g pork belly
  • 3 slices young ginger
  • 1 stalk spring onion
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 2L water (or enough water to cover 2 inches above pork belly)
  • Cucumber and carrot relish (slice thinly using fruit peeler)
Steps
  1. Place pork belly, ginger, spring onion, cooking wine and water in a pot (covered). Bring to boil.
  2. Off heat for 5 mins.
  3. On heat and bring to boil again.
  4. Repeat steps (2) and (3) for 5 times.
  5. The pork belly should be fully cooked. To check, poke a chopstick into the centre of the meat, if juice runs clear, the pork is cooked. Else, repeat steps (2) and (3) one or two more times.
  6. Slice pork into 2mm thin slices and serve with garlic sauce. The dish could be served chilled or room temperature.
  7. Unused pork belly should be soaked in the brine water until ready to use to avoid drying.


Homemade Garlic Sauce 蒜泥醬汁

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp premium dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp chilli oil
  • 1 tsp Gochugaru Korean red chilli pepper flakes or Sichuan red chilli pepper
  • 1 stalk spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery root (root part only, finely minced)
  • Parsley for garnish
Steps
  1. Heat up 2 tbsp of chicken stock in a small pan. Remove pan from heat once hot.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, chilli oil and chilli pepper flakes and mix well till sugar is fully dissolved.
  3. Stir in spring onion and celery root. Garnish with parsley.


I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #10 Aug 2014 : Taiwan hosted by travelling-foodies.


Taiwanese Street Snack Deep Fried Oyster Cake 台灣小吃炸蚵嗲 - AFF Taiwan Aug 2014

The Taiwanese Street Snack, Deep Fried Oyster Cake (台灣小吃炸蚵嗲) bears a resemblance to one of our local snack - Fuzhou Hao Bing (福州蚝饼). However, other than the use of oysters as filling and the "UFO" shape, there are some differences between the two.

First, the batter. The Taiwanese version uses all-purpose flour with rice flour or corn starch, whereas the Fuzhou Hao Bing batter uses ground rice with soya bean (couldn't find much info about the exact recipe). And the fillings (besides oysters), the Taiwanese oyster cake uses mainly chinese chives, cabbage and spring onion, whereas the Fuzhou Hao Bing includes minced pork, chinese celery and some peanuts as topping.

I love to eat Fuzhou Hao Bing, there's a stall at Maxwell Market which sells quite decent ones and I would usually grab one piece when I go there. So for Asian Food Fest Taiwan, I thought of attempting the Taiwanese version just to taste the difference.

After searching on the net for recipes, I narrowed to two recipes by Taiwan Duck which has a video demo, and another on Xinshipu. Basic ingredients are pretty much similar except for the proportion. The video demo was really useful because the success of the oyster cake lies in the technique during deep-frying.



It took me eight tries before I could produce a decent oyster cake, almost wanted to give up! The technique seemed easy enough, coat a medium size ladle with some oil, add 2-3 tbsp of batter, add 1 tbsp of vegetables, add 2-3 oysters, cover with 2-3 tbsp of batter, dip the the ladle into very hot oil, once the oyster cake turns slightly brown, dislodge it into the oil and deep fry till golden brown. The thing was, I couldn't manage to dislodge the oyster cake from the ladle. The batter was totally stuck, total mess when I tried to pry the cake open!

Initially I used half recipe from Taiwan Duck, after five tries (used up all the batter), I thought perhaps the batter was too watery/thin. So I switched to the recipe on Xinshipu which has a thicker batter which was easily to manage. After two more tries, I finally managed to dislodge the oyster cake into the oil on the eighth try. Realised that if I coat the ladle with more oil, in fact not just coat but leave about half teaspoon of oil in the ladle before adding the batter and ingredients, the whole oyster cake could be dislodged into the oil much easily. In addition, had to reduce the amount of fillings so that it's much easier to handle.

But the problem with the oyster cake with the thicker batter, the texture was too hard and turned rubbery after a while. Yucks, no good. So I went back to the Taiwan Duck recipe, and with the newly mastered technique, yes, managed to produce six decent pieces of oyster cakes!

The oyster cakes were crispy on the outside and a bit chewy inside, I could taste the ocean with the oysters complemented by the aroma of the chives, cabbage and spring onion. Surprisingly quite bland. Good eaten on its own and equally nice with a sauce concocted of ketchup, oyster sauce, chilli and sugar.

It's really quite different from the Fuzhou Haobing which is much more flavourful, crispy and heavy. I could eat a few pieces of this Taiwanese oyster cake at one go but one piece of the Fuzhou Haobing is already quite overwhelming on the palate.

That said, the deep frying work was tedious, and the aftermath of it all, an oily and smelly kitchen :(
Gah, there were a lot of oil splatters especially when I added too much filling or didn't cover the filling properly with the batter. Perhaps once is enough.

Ingredients are simple - a batter of all purpose/plain flour, rice flour, finely chopped cabbage, chinese chives and spring onion and oysters (I bought frozen ones).

Like I mentioned, the key to successful oyster cake (at least to me), was having sufficient oil on the ladle to begin with. See the picture below, there must be enough oil on the ladle such that the oil surrounded the batter beneath and around. In this way, the whole cake could be dislodged easily into the hot oil after frying till slight brown.


Taiwanese Street Snack Deep Fried Oyster Cake 台灣小吃炸蚵嗲
(recipe from Taiwan Duck, yields about 6 oyster cakes with 3.5" ladle)

Ingredients
  • 12-18 pieces oyster (I use frozen, 2-3 oysters per cake)
  • 30g chinese chives
  • 60g cabbage
  • 25g spring onion
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Dipping sauce: 2 tbsp ketchup, 1 tsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp garlic chilli, 1 tsp thai sweet chilli, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp sugar
Steps
  1. Rinse the oysters and thaw them in water added with 1 tsp salt. Set aside.
  2. Finely chop the chives, cabbage and spring onion, toss with 1 tsp salt. Set aside.
  3. Mix plain flour, rice flour, water and oil and stir till well-blended.
  4. Heat up cooking oil (sufficient to cover a ladle full of batter) in a deep pot till very hot (more than 160 degree celsius).
  5. Dip the ladle into the oil and remove, leaving about 1 tsp of oil in the ladle.
  6. Add 2 tbsp of batter into the ladle, spreading a bit, then add 2 tsp of the vegetables, spreading and pressing down. Next add  2-3 oysters. Finally cover the top with 2-3 tbsp of batter, make sure that the batter covers all the ingredients.
  7. Dip the entire ladle into the hot oil, make sure the batter is fully submerged. Swirl the ladle around.
  8. Once the oyster cake turns slightly brown, dislodge the cake into the oil with the help of a thin knife (I use butter knife).
  9. Deep fry till golden brown. Drain on kitchen towel.
  10. Best eaten hot, on its own or with dipping sauce.


I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #10 Aug 2014 : Taiwan hosted by travelling-foodies.


This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up organised by Bake for Happy Kids and My Little Favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from the Domestic Goddess Wannabe
 
 

Taiwanese braised pork on rice (滷肉飯 Lor Bak Png) - AFF Taiwan Aug 2014

It's August! And the country for Asian Food Fest (AFF) is "Taiwan". We all know that Taiwan boasts of many colourful and varied cuisine/food choices and most people would visit the night markets to try different street snacks like 炸鸡排 deep fried chicken cutlet, 大肠包小肠 taiwan sausage, 珍珠奶茶 pearl bubble tea, 蚵仔麵線 oyster vermicelli, 甜不辣 tempura etc etc.
 
Personally I have mixed feelings towards Taiwan. Went there with hubby many years ago but somehow didn't enjoy ourselves as much as our Japan trips. Blamed it on the weather, should have gone during late Dec/early Jan where it's much colder but we chose Nov and it was still quite warm. Nevertheless, we tried many of the local dishes and certainly enjoyed eating through our holiday. Anyways, we've been talking about returning to Taiwan for the longest time, hopefully could materialise soon :p

I digress. The first dish that I'm attempting is the Braised Pork Rice Bowl, 滷肉飯 (Lu Rou Fan) or Lor Bak Png ( 福建/闽南 Fukien/Hokkien language) which is a comfort food among Taiwanese for its homely mum's taste. As my dialect is Hokkien, this dish bears a nostalgic resemblance to the 扣肉 kong bak or Pork Belly Slices in Dark Sauce that we grew up eating.

Ingredients used are quite similar as well, except for the addition of dried shrimps, fried garlic and fried shallots. But I must say the addition of these three ingredients indeed heightened the fragrance and taste of this dish! The gravy was so savory that I couldn't resist eating more rice! The meat glistering in oil and sauce was very flavourful and I'm one who couldn't resist the skin, fats and all. As the gravy and meat were quite salty, it's good to have some greens and pickled radish to help relieve the taste bud. It also seemed imperative to add hard boiled eggs and indeed, the eggs provided a different texture which complemented the dish really well.

When I told hubby that I was cooking this dish, he wasn't very keen, but after tasting it, he gave thumbs up! This recipe is certainly a keeper and I believe I will be cooking this dish from time to time :)


Taiwanese braised pork on rice (滷肉飯 Lor Bak Png)
(recipe reference: Taiwan Duck)

Ingredients
  • 500g pork belly, cut into 4-5mm thin pieces
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked for at least 30 mins and coarsely chopped
  • 25g rock sugar (I use brown sugar in pieces 冰片糖)
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 pinch five spice powder
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fried garlic
  • 1/4 cup fried shallots
  • 1/4 cup rice wine (I use Shaoxing cooking wine)
  • 4 hard-boil eggs
  • Water (enough to cover all the ingredients by more than 1 inch)
  • Salt, to taste
  • steamed short-grain rice, blanched xiaobai cai (or any veggies of choice), Japanese pickled radish
Steps
  1. Heat a cooking pot on medium fire, dry fry the pork till slightly browned.
  2. Add the dried shrimps and stir fry for 1 min.
  3. Add the rock sugar, star anise and five spice powder, and stir fry for 1 min.
  4. Add the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, fried garlic, fried shallots, and half portion of the rice wine.
  5. Cover the pot and cook the food for 4-5 mins.
  6. Remove cover, add enough water to cover the ingredients by more than 1 inch.
  7. Add the eggs, cover the pot and cook for 30 mins on low heat, turning the eggs occasionally so that they absorb the flavours.
  8. Remove cover, add the other half portion of rice wine, cover and cook for 2 more mins.
  9. Serve warm with steamed rice, blanched vegetables and Japanese pickled radish.


I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #10 Aug 2014 : Taiwan hosted by travelling-foodies.


Portobello Mushroom Burger & Yuzu Mint Soda

| 6 comments
There are some days I crave for comfort food like burgers but don't feel like eating meat or heavy stuff. The portobello mushroom burger comes into rescue! I love the meaty and juicy texture of portobello mushroom, how satisfying it feels to the bite, yet not overwhelming or sinful.

This burger is in fact inspired by the one I had at Grub Bistro at Bishan Park. Ate the burger there once and feel in love with it. Grub Bistro's serving comes in a regular size, whereas mine is a mini version because I prefer mini burgers which look so dainty and cute. Anyways, I ate 2 mini burgers at one go, so the calorie still added up -_-


Since I wanted mini burgers, the porbello mushroom I bought was medium size (about 2.5"), not those huge ones (4") or mini ones (1.5"). Got them at Sheng Siong supermarket; noticed that only Sheng Siong carries this particular size I wanted which matches the size of a tomato slice.

I also made my own burger bun in mini-size (using 65°C tangzhong method) so everything was matchy-matchy. If you don't want to make your own burger buns, can also buy those mini butter rolls or whole-meal buns by Gardenia and Sunshine. Those are about the same mini size too.



Needless to say, I love these mini portobello mushroom burgers so much! Love the combination of soft, fluffy bread with meaty, juicy portobello mushroom and the crunchy and refreshing vegetables. The taste of vinegar-based marinate with feta cheese and Japanese mayonnaise also complemented each other perfectly. After chomping 2 burgers at one go, I felt like eating more :p Good news is, I can always make them at home easily, without having to travel all the way to Bishan Park to satisfy my craving :)


Homemade mini burger buns
(recipe from 65°C汤种面包 by Yvonne C.)

Ingredients

Tangzhong
  • 100g bread flour
  • 500g water
  1. In a heavy bottom pot, combine bread flour with water until well-mixed.
  2. Heat the mixture over medium-small fire, stirring continuously.
  3. Cook the mixture till 65°C (mixture will become thicker and gluey and visible lines will appear).
  4. Remove pot from heat, cover the top of the tangzhong mixture with clingwrap (to prevent drying out) and let the mixture cool completely before use.
Burger buns
  • 210g bread flour
  • 56g plain flour or cake flour
  • 20g milk powder
  • 42g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6g instant dry yeast
  • 30g egg
  • 85g water
  • 84g tangzhong
  • 22g unsalted butter
  • Egg wash, sesame seeds, melted salted butter
  1. Combine bread flour, plain flour, milk powder, caster sugar, salt and dry yeast into a mixer bowl. Avoid putting the yeast together with the sugar and salt.
  2. Add egg, water and tangzhong into the mixer bowl. Start mixing the ingredients on low speed (using the dough hook).
  3. Once ingredients are combined, increase mixer speed to medium.
  4. Once gluten forms, add the butter.
  5. Knead the dough at medium speed until dough is elastic and smooth. (dough will leave the sides and bottom of bowl). To test if dough is ready, take a small piece of dough, stretch outwards into a rectangle. Dough will be elastic and translucent. When the dough breaks, the hole will be jagged.
  6. Tuck the dough neatly into a ball and place the dough into a large well-oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with clingwrap and leave to proof at room temperature for 40-60 mins or till dough doubles in size (in Singapore, room temperature is about 28 to 30 degree celsius with 70-80% humidity).
  7. To check if dough is proofed, coat forefinger with flour and stick into middle of dough and remove, if the hole remains, the dough is sufficiently proofed.
  8. Cut and weigh dough into desired sizes (Dough weight is about 540g. I made 4 mini burger buns about 38g each and the remaining dough made into sausage buns). Let dough rest for about 10 mins.
  9. Shape the dough into desired shapes (ball for burger/add filling and close for other buns) and let dough proof for another 40-60 mins.
  10. About 20 mins before dough is ready, preheat oven (top and bottom heat) at 180 degree celsius.
  11. Brush the buns with egg wash, sprinkle with some sesame seeds and bake the buns for about 12 to 15 mins at 180 degree celsius.
  12. When buns are baked, remove from oven and brush lightly with melted salted butter.


Portobello mushroom burger
(recipe reference: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/recipes/grilled-portobello-mushroom-burgers/RCP-20049669)

Ingredients
  • 2 portobello mushroom (medium size)
  • 2 mini burger buns (homemade or store-bought)
  • 4 cubes feta cheese
  • Coral lettuce, Japanese cucumber, tomato
  • Japanese mayonnaise
Marinate for mushroom
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/8 tsp parika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Steps
  1. Clean mushrooms with a damp cloth and remove the stems. Place on a dish bowl, gill side up.
  2. Combine the ingredients for the marinate and drizzle the marinate over the mushrooms.
  3. Cover the bowl and marinate the mushroom in the fridge for 1 hour, turning the mushrooms once.
  4. Lay a piece of aluminum foil over the wire mesh of Air Fryer, and fry the mushrooms for 10 mins at 180 degree celsius, turning over once. When turning, baste the mushroom with marinate to prevent drying out.
  5. Alternatively, place the mushrooms in a Happy Call frying pan and fry over small heat for about 6-8 mins, turning over once. When turning, baste the mushroom with marinate to prevent drying out. *** The mushrooms cooked using direct fire (HCP) will shrink a little, whereas using Air Fryer retains the size.
  6. To combine, half the 2 burger burns and lightly toast them in Air Fryer for 2-3 mins at 160 degree celsius. Once ready, spread some salted butter over the burger buns.
  7. Place 1-2 leaves of coral lettuce on the bottom halves of the buns, top with cucumber and tomato slices. Next, crumble the feta cheese on top of the tomato slices, follow by the portobello mushroom, gill side down. Drizzle some Japanese mayonnaise over the mushroom. Top with burger bun. Serve immediately.

Plate the burgers nicely and tadah! Atas-looking gourmet burgers in the house =D

I also made Yuzu Mint Soda to go with the burger. This drink is also inspired by the one sold at Grub Bistro :p

In a glass combine Japanese yuzu honey (or Korean Citron tea) with soda water, lots of ice cubes and 5-6 mint leaves. A refreshing drink, so quick and easy and absolutely perfect for our hot and humid weather :)



This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up organised by Bake for Happy Kids and My Little Favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from the Domestic Goddess Wannabe

Star Baker Challenge 4-Star Challenge Voting

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Like I mentioned in my previous post on my submission for the SCS Dairy Singapore Star Baker 4-Star Challenge, this is the semi-final round where 25 semi-finalists are selected by SCS Dairy Singapore to create something based on the theme "PIES" and thereafter the top 4 entries would be chosen based on online voting contest via Facebook. At the end of this voting round, the 4 finalists would then enter the finals for a live bake-off competition!

My creation:

"My Singapore Pie 我的新加坡派"
A retro-fusion style chicken curry pie (with homemade rough puff pastry and chicken curry) inspired by Xinyao 新谣 song 梁文福 《新加坡派》 and traditional chinese celebration pastry (tau sar piah/喜喜饼).
This is also my dedication to Singapore's 49th Birthday, and wishing everyone good fortune, HUAT ah!
恭贺新加坡建国49之喜, 祝愿大家福气满满, 發發發! 

If you like my creation, please vote for me!! Voting period is from 30 July to 8 August 2014 2359hr.




Thank you!


My Singapore Pie 我的新加坡派 - A retro-fusion style chicken curry pie

| 2 comments
When I learnt that I was selected for the SCS Star Baker Challenge 4-Star Level, I was both elated and surprised because there were so many good entries and I seriously thought I had no chance. Then came the theme for the 4-Star Challenge, "Pie". I was at a loss of what to do because I'm not very familiar with pie, it's kind of America/British? I grew up in a typical chinese family and the only pies I knew were Chicken Pie and Apple Pie. Now that I bake, I slowly learn more about different types of pastry but I'm not really a pie person so didn't bake or ate much pie.

Well, I could in fact take this opportunity to bake sweet pies like lemon meringue pie, key lime pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate banana pie etc etc. But deep down in my heart I wanted something retro and infused with some modernity, which is in line with what I had done for my 2-Star and 3-Star Challenges.

After pondering for 2 days, this concept hit me. I was listening to some Xinyao 新谣 songs and 梁文福 《新加坡派》 came up. I like this song very much, feels so nostalgic. Since Singapore's National Day is approaching, how about creating a retro-fusion style pie that I can call "My Singapore Pie 我的新加坡派"?

Decided to make chicken curry pie because most Singaporeans so lovingly embraced chicken curry and since we are celebrating National Day, I could shape the pie into something like the traditional chinese pastry that we used to gift/receive during festivals and celebrations like birthdays and weddings.



I thought this concept was a pretty wild idea and I was actually doubting whether I could pull this off :p

I'm glad I pushed myself for this personal challenge. I thought the pies looked quite cool :p Haha, so paiseh to self-praise. They may not looked perfect but I did my best.

Seriously, it's not about the SCS Star Challenge anymore, it's about having a dream, this idea that lingered in my mind and seeing the concept came to fruition.

I cooked the chicken curry from scratch and made the pie using rough puff pastry (instead of short crust pastry) to make the pie flaky and crispy. It was a tough and tedious job and during the process I was wondering what I had gotten myself into :p

I planned the work process like this:
1) Weigh and cut the butter into cubes then chill for at least 30 mins. Weigh and sift the flour then chill for at least 30 mins.
2) Start making the rough puff pastry first. Make the first 2 turns and chill for 30 mins. *method illustrated below.
3) While waiting, prepare the chicken curry ingredients and set aside.
4) Make the next 2 turns for the rough puff pastry and chill for 30 mins.
5) While waiting, cook the chicken curry.
6) By the time the chicken curry is cooked, it's time for the last 2 turns of the rough puff pastry.
7) Chill the pastry for at least 1hr. Let the chicken curry cool down for 1hr.
8) Ready to assemble.


I cooked the curry with thicker and less gravy instead of the usual soupy type, so that it's easier to wrap in the pie. I think there was too much potato, could cut down the quantity.

Chicken Curry
(recipe with reference from Christoper Tan - Shiok!)

Ingredients
  • Spice paste:
  • 8 tbsp Chicken curry powder
  • 10 tbsp Water
  • 3 Purple onion, finely chopped
  • 10 cloves Garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp Ginger, grated
  • 40 Curry leaves
  •  3 stalk Lemongrass, bottom white portion only, bruised
  • 140g Unsalted butter
  • 260g Chicken fillet, cut into bite size pieces
  • 250g Chicken thigh, cut into bite size pieces
  • 5pc Holland potato, cut into cubes
  • 1 pc Carrot, cut into cubes
  • 300g Coconut cream
  • 200g Water
  • 1 tsp Salt, or to taste
Steps
  1. Mix the chicken curry powder with water and stir into a thick paste.
  2. In a large pot on medium heat, add the butter and cook till very hot. Add the onion and stir fry for a few mins until they are slightly browned.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, curry leaves and lemongrass, and stir fry for a few mins.
  4. Add the chicken pieces, stir fry for 1 min, then add the potato and carrot cubes. 
  5. Add the coconut cream and water, stir and bring the ingredients to boil.
  6. Turn heat to low and cook the curry for 20-25 mins, stirring often to prevent burnt ingredients at bottom of pot.
  7. Once potato are tender, season with salt and off heat. Divide the curry into 2 portions, 1 for the big pie and remaining for mini pies. Let curry cool completely before use.
For the rough puff pastry:
First, add salt to the chilled flour and mix well. Then add the cubed butter into the flour, and press/mix them lightly into the flour. Add lemon juice and water, little by little and stir the dough gently. They will look crumbly. Turn the rough dough onto a well-floured pastry mat.

Bring the dough together using a scrapper to shape the dough. Dust the rolling pin and roll the dough into rectangle shape about 30cm by 20cm. Fold the bottom 1/3 of the dough up towards the centre. Fold the top 1/3 of the dough down towards the centre. This is turn 1. Rotate the dough 90 degree. And repeat the rolling and folding to complete turn 2. If the dough feels sticky at any point, dust with some flour. Clingwrap the dough and chill in fridge for at least 30 mins. To me, turn 1 and 2 is the toughest because the butter melts really quickly while bringing in the dough together and rolling/folding, as my kitchen is very warm.

After 30 mins, bring the dough out and once again roll the dough to about 30cm by 20cm. Fold 1/3 up and 1/3 down. This is turn 3. Repeat for turn 4. Clingwrap and chill for another 30 mins.

After 30 mins, once again repeat the steps for turn 5 and 6. Now chill the dough for least 1 hr.

After 1 hr, dough is ready to use. Divide the dough into 2 portions (625g for the big pie and remaining for the mini pies). While working on the big pie, leave the remaining dough in the fridge. Further divide the 625g into 2 portions, roll one portion of dough to about 2-3mm thickness and cut a circle slightly larger than the pie pan. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and unwrap on top of the pie pan. Mould and shape the dough into the pan.

Scoop the chicken curry into the pie crust. Next, roll the other piece of dough into 2-3mm thickness, cut into circle slightly larger than pie pan. Wrap dough around rolling pan and unwrap dough on top of pan. Cover and wrap the top pie crust over the bottom pie crust, and tuck in the edges. Cut a vent in the middle of the large pie, brush with egg wash and bake the pie at 190 degree celsius (top and bottom heat) for 25-30 mins.

Similarly repeat the steps for the mini pies. I did 2 mini sizes, 5cm and 6cm. Cut small portions (about 100g) for working each time, leaving the remaining dough in the fridge. Use 8cm and 9cm cookie cutters to cut pie dough for both sizes of mini pies respectively. Mould the pie dough into the cases, scoop a heap tablespoon of chicken curry into the dough, fold in the edges of the dough, then cover with another piece of dough and tuck down and inwards. Repeat until no more pie dough or chicken curry. Brush the top of pie with some egg wash. Bake the mini pies at 190 degree celsius for 20 mins.

And tadah, the baked pies! The pies are ready to be eaten, painting characters on the pies is optional.

Prepare some red food colouring (diluting red food powder with some water to make a thick paste) and use a paintbrush to draw the chinese characters onto the pies.

Rough Puff Pastry
(recipe yields 1163g of dough - 625g for big pie and 538g for mini pies, reference from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients
  • 454g Unsalted butter (2 blocks of SCS Butter)
  • 450g Plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 180g Ice cold water
  • 1 Egg (for egg wash)
Steps
  1. Cut the butter into cubes and chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
  2. Sift the flour and chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
  3. After 30 mins, add salt to the chilled flour and mix well.
  4. Add the cubed butter into the flour, and press/mix them lightly into the flour.
  5. Add lemon juice and water, little by little and stir the dough gently. They will look crumbly.
  6. Turn the rough dough onto a well-floured pastry mat. Bring the dough together, using a scrapper to fold and shape the dough.
  7. Dust the rolling pin and roll the dough into rectangle shape about 30cm by 20cm.
  8. Fold the bottom 1/3 of the dough up towards the centre.
  9. Fold the top 1/3 of the dough down towards the centre. This is turn 1.
  10. Rotate the dough 90 degree. Repeat Steps 7-9 to complete turn 2. If the dough feels sticky at any point, dust with some flour.
  11. Clingwrap the dough and chill in fridge for at least 30 mins.
  12. After 30 mins, bring the dough out and repeat Steps 7-9 two times to complete turn 3 and 4. Clingwrap and chill for another 30 mins.
  13. After 30 mins, bring the dough out and repeat Steps 7-9 two times to complete turn 5 and 6. This is the end. Clingwrap and chill for another 1hr.
  14. After 1hr, dough is ready to use.
Chicken Curry Pie
(Yields one 18cm large pie, seven 5cm mini pies, seven 6cm mini pies)

Ingredients
  • 1 recipe Rough Puff Pastry (625g for large pie, 538g for mini pies)
  • 1 recipe Chicken Curry
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
  • Red food color powder & water *optional
  1. Divide the dough into 2 portions (625g for the big pie and remaining for the mini pies). While working on the big pie, leave the remaining dough in the fridge.
  2. Further divide the 625g into 2 portions, roll one portion of dough to about 2-3mm thickness and cut a circle slightly larger than the pie pan.
  3. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and unwrap on top of the pie pan. Mould and shape the dough into the pan.
  4. Scoop the chicken curry onto the pie crust.
  5. Next, roll another piece of dough into 2-3mm thickness, cut into circle slightly larger than pie pan.
  6. Wrap dough around rolling pan and unwrap dough on top of pan. Cover and wrap the top pie crust over the bottom pie crust, and tuck in the edges.
  7. Cut a vent in the middle of the large pie, brush with egg wash and bake the pie at 190 degree celsius (top and bottom heat) for 25-30 mins. Once ready, remove from oven and cool on rack.
  8. Similarly repeat the steps for the mini pies. Cut small portions (about 100g) for working each time, leaving the remaining dough in the fridge.
  9. Use 8cm cutter for the 5cm pie and 9cm cutter for the 6cm pie.
  10. Mould the pie dough into the mini cases, scoop a heap tablespoon of chicken curry into the dough, fold in the edges of the dough, then cover with another piece of dough and tuck down and inwards. Repeat until no more pie dough or chicken curry. Brush the pies with egg wash.
  11. Bake the mini pies at 190 degree celsius for 20 mins. Once ready, remove from oven and cool on rack.
  12. To decorate the pies, dilute some red food colour powder with water into a thick paste and paint the characters onto the pies using a fine paintbrush. *optional step
  13. The pies are best eaten warm.

Love this big pie, so rustic looking.

The mini pies were quite cute as well :p

The pies were delicious, the crust was flaky, crispy and full of buttery fragrance and the chicken curry filling was aromatic with the coconut cream and spices. The chicken curry filling in the mini pies were slightly dry, probably coz of the size. But the large pie was ok, filling was creamy and thick.


I'm submitting this entry for the SCS Star Baker Challenge 4-star level. It doesn't matter whether I get into the final round or not, because I know I did my best here already. It was a tiring but enjoyable and fun process, I completed what I set out to do and that's what matters to me :)

Here, I'm dedicating "My Singapore Pie 我的新加坡派" to Singapore's 49th Birthday, and wishing everyone good fortune, HUAT ah! 恭贺新加坡建国49之喜, 祝愿大家福气满满, 發發發!

Boracay Calamansi Muffin - AFF Philippines Jul 2014

When reading the introduction by Swee San (The Sweet Spot) who is the host for this month's Asian Food Fest, she mentioned this Calamansi Muffin which is very famous in Boracay, Philippines.

I have not been to Boracay but it's definitely on my to-go vacation places list. I'm intrigued by this muffin, wondering how it would taste like, whether similar to lemon cake? Couldn't be flying all the way to Boracay eh? The best is to bake it myself to find out :)


Since I wasn't sure if I would like it, I halved the recipe and also reduced the amount of sugar. The method was pretty straightforward, creaming butter with sugar, followed by egg, then flour and milk/calamansi juice mixture alternately.


Boracay Calamansi Muffin
(makes 9 pieces small size muffins, recipe from pepper.ph)

Ingredients
  • 95g Plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh milk
  • 2 Tbsp Calamansi juice
  • 55g Unsalted butter, softened
  • 80g Caster sugar
  • 1 Egg (60g egg with shell)
Steps
  1. Preheat oven (top/bottom heat) at 175 degree celsius. Line muffin pan with paper cases. Set aside.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Mix milk and calamansi juice together. Set aside.
  4. Cream butter and sugar till pale and fluffy, about 2-3 mins.
  5. Add egg and mix till incorporated.
  6. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk/calamansi mixture.
  7. Fold to incorporate, do not overmix.
  8. Scoop batter into paper cases about 2/3 filled.
  9. Bake at 175 degree celsius for about 20 mins.
  10. Best serve warm

The muffin turned out pretty tender and yes I could taste a mild citrusy taste as I bit into it. Just as I was thinking, nothing spectacular, a sudden strong zing hit my taste bud. Oh hey, this was interesting, the zing came only after I swallowed the cake and not when I was chomping. I offered half a muffin to the kiddo and he had this weird expression after eating it and rejected my offer for more cake. But I must say, it was pretty addictive, this sudden zing. Well, if you are curious about this muffin, give it a try since it's so easy to bake and ingredients are very simple.



I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest – Philippines hosted by The Sweet Spot.

Meg's Pastry Studio - new namecards & 2nd Q orders

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Before I realised it, it's also July, the second quarter of the year has gone by in a flash once again! So, it's timely to share some of my cake orders in the 2Q (April to June). Didn't take as many orders as I could and had to turn down a few requests as I was busy and travelling a fair bit in June.

Anyways, before I begin, here are my new name cards that I made in May and only started giving out during the more recent orders. Initially I thought of doing a simple design and mass print the name cards but on second thoughts, I wanted something more personalised. Therefore, each and every piece is handmade :)

Basically there are 3 components to the name card. I made crochet hearts and flowers so that the name card could be used as a bookmark. I have some yarn left over from my crochet projects, this is a good way to use them up.

On one side of the card is a photo of one of my bakes.

And on the other side is a hand-drawn logo with my website and email. So hopefully those who receive my name cards cum bookmark will keep and use it.

On to my bakes. Yes, mostly sponge, ombre or rainbow cakes :)

This was an order from a dear friend, C, who has been ever so supportive of my cakes. Looked simple and elegant on the outside, but inside were 5-layers of rainbow :)

This was an order from a friend I got to know from my yoga class. The cake was celebrating her daughter's birthday.

This was an order from hubby's former classmate. She wanted something simple for her son's birthday. So I made a 3-layer sponge cake and helped her get a batman topper which his son likes.


Made this for my yoga teacher's birthday. A slightly different design with 2 orange-pink ombre sponge layers and sandwiched with chantilly cream and strawberries, decorated with blueberries.

This was quite a large cake for a lady's 21st birthday. The theme for her birthday was blue so she requested for blue ombre shades for the cake. I also made a cake bunting for her. Usually I'm very reluctant to do blue shades because the cake batter doesn't take blue colouring very well. In fact, I re-did 2 layers because the colours didn't come out well.

Another lychee ombre cake order. I like the top view of this cake, the piped frosting looked like lace scallop here.

This was an order for a lady celebrating her son's birthday. I made a cake bunting for her as well. As the Korea strawberry season was long over, I could only get USA strawberries which were big and not so pretty. These few were the nicer of the lot. I should have gotten Japanese strawberries or raspberries instead.

A big thank you to all my friends and customers who placed their orders with me and trusted me :)