14 September 2018

Khanom Chor Muang & Khanom Jeab Nok (Thai Steamed Flower & Bird Dumplings)

Recent months, I've been intrigued by Thai desserts, especially the traditional ones that are served to the Thai Royalty since ancient times. I had wanted to go to BKK to attend classes but couldn't find the time.

Then, last weekend I happened to be at northern Chonburi and took the opportunity to visit a Thai Traditional Dessert Cafe called Hom's House at the Bang Saen area. Totally fell in love with the cafe, as well as the desserts served there!

My desire to make these intricate and pretty looking desserts was so strong and after watching several YouTube videos and researching in online recipes, I thought I would start with this Khanom Chor Muang as out of all the desserts I tried, I love this the most, as it's both sweet and savoury. It's basically a chicken dumpling but palm sugar is added to the chicken filling so it's sweet. I thought it's more apt as an appetiser but the Thais categorised it as a dessert.

Anyways, bought ingredients, tools and even similar serve ware (as the cafe) and this whole week I'm basically eating and breathing Chor Muang!! LOL!!


Proudly presenting my Khanom Chor Muang which is Thai Steamed Flower Dumplings and Khanom Jeab Nok which is Bird Dumplings. For the flower dumpling, anchan or butterfly bluepea flower is used as colouring; I wanted to get a pink flower so used beetroot but the colour turned out white -_-

A crimping tool (the thais call it Chor Muang tweezer) is used to shape the flower petals, yes petal by petal. It's quite therapeutic I must say. The Bird is much harder to shape and crimp!


All in all, I made three batches (five actually but threw out two - problems with cooking the dough and a particular recipe). So why three? The first batch (above picture), I used beetroot to colour the flowers pink but they turned out white. In addition, the texture of the dumpling is slightly different from what I ate, it's a bit hard and less soft and chewy.

The second batch (below picture), I intensified the beetroot water and the colour turned out more visible but it's more orangey than pink -__-. I also experimented with a different flour to try to get better texture but failed.

As for the third & final batch (same picture below - in blue), I changed the proportion of the flours used and hey, the texture turned out slightly closer to the one I tried! Yippeee! In addition, I used another crimping tweezer to create a different flower. Can see the difference? There are 2 videos below that show both crimping.


Anyways, I'm pleased that I managed to make this dessert! It's definitely not 100% yet, but I'm satisfied for now. Hopefully will make more improvements along the way. Let me rest from Chor Muang for some time first :p

Here's sharing my process of making Chor Muang. Like I said, this is not a perfect recipe yet yah. The full recipe will be after the brief explanations.

First step, cooking the chicken filling. Ingredients are simple, minced chicken, onion, coriander root, garlic, palm sugar, salt, white pepper, fish sauce and oil.


First of all, pound the coriander root with garlic and white pepper into a paste. In a frying pan, add the cooking oil, saute the paste till fragrant, then add onion and chicken. Finally season with palm sugar, fish sauce and salt (to taste). The filling shouldn't be too wet else difficult to wrap into the dough later.


Second step, will be the dough. Ingredients include rice flour, tapioca starch, arrowroot starch (or mung bean starch), glutinous rice flour, coconut milk, water (which can be coloured according to preference).


I use butterfly bluepea flower for blue, beetroot for pink and just water for white (the bird).


Mix all the ingredients together to form a runny batter. If necessary use your hand to do the mixing as there might be bits of undissolved flour. Alternatively, sieve the batter after mixing. I use my hand LOL!


Next comes the cooking of the batter into dough. Pour the batter into a COLD, NON-STICK pan, it's important! If the pan is hot, it will cook the batter to a rubbery dough (yes I tried it, it's one of a batch I threw out). Cook the batter using low heat (I'm using electric induction cooker, temperature is 60 degree celsius), stir constantly. It will get thicker and sticky and eventually come together in a dough. It took around 8-10 mins per batch colour. Non-stick pan is very useful here, makes it easier to cook the dough. And the pan is clean after each batch, no need to clean the pan between batches.


Now, the dough will still be very sticky, sprinkle some tapioca starch on a mat and knead the dough till smooth and not so sticky (it will still be a little tacky like soft play dough, when pull apart it stretches a little). Basically the dough will be slightly hot to touch initially and knead till it's barely warm.


Third step, wrapping the filling into the dough and crimp into shape! Please refer to the pictures below and a short video on the steps. Each dough ball is around 10.5g-11g. Filling is about half teaspoon.

For this particular flower design, the crimping tweezer is like a leaf shape. A bit tough initially, but after practising a few, it became manageable. Remember to dust with some tapioca starch in between crimps, otherwise the dough will stick onto the tweezer.




Fourth and final step, steaming the dumplings. Prepare a steamer on medium high heat. Place a banana leaf onto the steamer, brush with some cooking oil to prevent the dumplings from sticking to the leaf. Place the dumplings onto the leaf, using a spray bottle to spray some water onto the dumplings to prevent them from drying. Steam for 10 mins, after they are done, brush the surface of the dumplings with oil to give a little shine and prevent them from drying. 


Here are the before steaming pictures of the "pink" flower and the birdies, so cute right? But seriously they look nice but difficult to shape and too much dough :p


Yep, the "pink" flowers became white.


And so I made a second batch! For the first batch, I merely soak cubes of beetroot into cold water, probably that's why the colour wasn't intensed enough. This batch, I blended the beetroot and soak it in hot water for a longer amount of time. The colour turned out much better and I was quite happy!
 

BUT, after steaming, the colour turned out orangey rather than pink pink! Oh well -_- maybe next time try another type of natural colour or just use food colouring? Hmmm....


For the second batch, I also replaced arrowroot starch with mung bean starch to see if the texture of the dumpling would improve. Nope, didn't make much difference. 

And so I made my third batch! Increased the amount of tapioca starch and reduced rice flour, and also used a different crimping tweezer, which is more squarish shape. Below is another video of how the crimping looks like.


 

Hope that the explanations above are useful! Here's the full recipe.

**************************************************
 
Khanom Chor Muang ~ Thai Steamed Flower Dumpling
(each batch of dough weighs about 130g, makes 11-12 flower dumplings or 8-9 bird dumplings )

(A) Chicken Filling (enough to make 3 batches of dumplings)
  • 150g chicken thigh, minced
  • 70g onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 coriander root
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 25g palm sugar
  • 1.5-2 tbsp fish sauce, to taste
  • Pinch salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  1. Pound the garlic, coriander root and white pepper into a paste.
  2. In a frying pan, add cooking oil on medium heat.
  3. Add paste (from 1) and saute till fragrant. 
  4. Add onion and fry till slightly translucent.
  5. Add minced chicken and fry till cooked. Use spatula and break up the minced chicken into smaller pieces during frying.
  6. Season with palm sugar, fish sauce and salt, to taste.
  7. If filling is too wet, turn up heat and simmer till sauce dries up. The filling is just a little moist.
  8. Dish and set aside.

(B) Dough (quantity is for one batch, repeat to get 3 batches)
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 2 tsp arrowroot starch or mung bean starch
  • 2 tsp glutinous rice flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp butterfly bluepea water or beetroot water or just water
  • Butterfly pea flower water - soak 10g bluepea flower in 50g hot water for at least 30 mins.
  • Beetroot water - blend 15-20g beetroot and soak in 50g hot water for at least 30 mins.
  1.  Mix the 4 types of flour/starch together.
  2. Add coconut milk and mix well till no bits of flour.
  3. Add bluepea water/beetroot water/water and mix well.
  4. Sieve the batter to get rid of fine bits of flour (or use hand to mix the batter).
  5. Add the batter into COLD frying pan on very low heat. Stir the batter till it thickens and eventually comes together into a dough. Each batch takes 8-10 mins. Repeat for 3 batches. The dough will be sticky.
  6. Sprinkle tapicoa starch onto a mat, knead the dough till barely warm, and texture less sticky.
  7. Dough weight is around 125-130g. *For the flower dumpling, divide dough into 11-12 pcs, each piece around 10.5g to 11g. For the bird dumpling, divide dough into 8-9 pcs, each around 14-15g)
  8. Shape dough to circle/bowl, scoop half teaspoon of chicken filling into the centre, close up the dough and roll into a ball. *for the bird dumpling, after closing the dough, pinch some excess dough to form the head and neck of the bird.
  9. Use crimping tweezer to crimp the ball into flowers. *For the bird, crimp lines for the bird's body. 
  10. For the bird's beak, cut carrot into small triangles and stick the carrot into the head. For the eyes, stick black sesame seeds.
  11. Prepare a steamer on high heat, place banana leaves into the steamer. Once water boils, brush the banana leaves with oil and place the dumplings onto the leaves. Spray the dumplings with water.
  12. Steam the dumplings for 10 mins. Once done, brush the surface of the dumplings with some oil.
  13. Scoop the dumplings into serving plate and serve with fried garlic, lettuce, coriander and chilli.
  14. Best eaten warm and on the same day.

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Hope the recipe and videos would be useful! Below are more food porn LOL!
Enjoy!







It has been an exciting week for me to make these dumplings. Hope to find time to attempt more Thai desserts, stay tuned!

29 August 2018

Cream Cheese Bun & Burger Bun using Japanese Yudane method

I have not baked these Cream Cheese Buns for ages! In Singapore they are known as "Ah Bian" originating from the homegrown bakery chain BreadTalk. I often wonder why these cream cheese buns are baked flat instead of other shapes like round or longish? Vaguely recall that it was introduced many years back during the Taiwan Presidential Elections and the bun was named after former President Chen Shui-Bian (who is affectionately called Ah Bian by her people). My memory might be wrong.

I digress.

Anyways, 4 years ago, I baked the Cranberry Cream Cheese version which is the original version using the Tangzhong (water-roux) method. This time I tried the Yudane method which is a method created by Japanese bakers to achieve super fluffy bread texture and remains soft even the next few days. In fact I've been baking buns with filling all along using this method or a similar Yukone method. Frankly I'm not so sure what's the difference between the two (didn't have time or rather lazy to find out). Basically the method is using boiling water to scald bread flour to form a "rough dough" known as gelatinized starch. Chill this starch overnight in fridge and add it to the main dough the next day.

If I have time or plan my bakes in advance, I would prefer this Yudane method over the 65C Tangzhong method because firstly due to the method, there's always leftover tangzhong (which I ended up discarding) and secondly somehow the bread doesn't turn out as fluffy as the Yudane method.


This time I baked the cream cheese bun without cranberry because the boy specifically told me he didn't want cranberries! Grrr, he used to like cranberries -_-

I also used part of the dough to make burger buns because I was planning for homemade beef burger and disliked store-bought burger buns. I prefer my burger buns to be soft and fluffy with tinge of sweetness and buttery flavour; and they go with my homemade beef patties very well.

In fact, this dough is really versatile, can be used to make buns with filling, burger buns, hotdog buns and even loaf bread.


As mentioned, make the Yudane one day in advance or the night before and chill in the fridge (forgot to take photo of the Yudane). The next day, simply add all the dough ingredients with the Yudane into the mixer and let the mixer knead the dough (I use KitchenAid and knead at Speed 4 for around 10-12 mins). The dough tends to be very soft and slightly sticky so I usually oil my hands before picking up the dough. Let the dough rise for about 45 mins till double in size.


After 45 mins of first proof, I divided the dough into individual portions. The dough weight was about 500g; 3 portions of dough 70g each were reserved for the burger buns and remaining 8 dough portions 36g each for the cream cheese buns. Slightly round the dough portions and cover the dough portions with clingwrap and let them rest for 10 mins.

The 3 burger buns were then shaped and rounded first so that they could finish their second proofing before the cream cheese buns and baked first.

For the remaining 8 portions, flatten and scoop the cream cheese filling in the middle, close into a ball, pitch the dough tightly before flattening the dough into shape.

Cream cheese filling is very simple, just mix cream cheese, icing sugar, fresh milk and vanilla extract till light and creamy, and chill in freezer till ready to use. 


The second proofing for the cream cheese buns is slightly more tricky. They have to be proofed and baked flattened in order to retain the shape, and preferably using dark-coloured trays for the buns to "darken". I haven't tried using normal aluminum trays, maybe the buns will not be as browned.

What I did was to have a large baking tray at the bottom, place a baking mat or paper on the bottom tray, place the buns on the mat/paper. Cover the buns with another baking mat/paper, then cover them with another baking tray. I only have 1 dark-color tray, so I used 2 smaller trays which worked too. Let the buns proof for 45-60 mins, and send the whole set-up into the oven to bake. That's it! Actually not that difficult after all.



Cream Cheese Bun
[dough weight is about 500g, makes 8 cream cheese bun (36g each) & 3 burger buns (70g each)]

Japanese Yudane
(prepare night before)
  • 50g bread flour
  • 50g boiling water
  1. Place the bread flour in a heat-proof bowl. Add boiling water and quickly mix the flour with the water using a spatula. Keep pressing and bring the
  2. Initially the dough will be bits and pieces but keep pressing and bring the dough together, a rough dough will form.
  3. Cover the bowl with clingwrap and once the dough cool to room temperature, transfer the bowl to chill in fridge till next day.

Cream cheese filling
(prepare during first proof)
  • 150g cream cheese, cubed and softened
  • 40g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp fresh milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Place the cream cheese and icing sugar in a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed (Speed 4-6) till well blended.
  2. Add fresh milk and vanilla extract and mix till filling is light and creamy.
  3. Scrap the cream cheese filling into a container and store in the freezer till ready to use.  
Dough
  • Yeast mixture: 20g lukewarm water, 6g instant dry yeast, 5g caster sugar
  • 200g bread flour
  • 1 recipe Japanese Yudane
  • 1 recipe yeast mixture
  • 50g water
  • 45g caster sugar
  • 2g fine sea salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 egg white (reserve remaining half for brushing on burger bun)
  • 40g unsalted butter, cubed and slightly softened
  1.  In a small bowl, mix water, yeast and sugar and let the mixture rest for a few minutes to turn frothy.
  2. Add bread flour, Yudane, yeast mixture, water, sugar, salt, egg yolk and egg white into a mixing bowl. Using a dough hook, mix the dough ingredients on low speed (speed 1 KitchenAid) for a minute, then switch to medium low speed (speed 2) and knead the dough till rough dough forms. 
  3. Add the butter, piece by piece into the dough. Once all the butter cubes are added, turn up mixer speed to medium (Speed 4) and knead the dough for about 10-12 mins. The dough is ready when it leaves the bottom of the bowl and "rides up" to the top of the dough hook. Or use the window pane method by stretching a piece of dough, it will be stretchy and almost translucent without breaking.
  4. The dough is quite soft and slightly sticky, oil both hands and take out the dough from the mixing bowl. Lightly knead for a minute, round the dough and place the dough into a well-oiled bowl for first proof. Cover the bowl with clingwrap and let the dough proof for about 30-45 mins or till dough doubles in size. *based on summer weather, hot & humid
  5. After 30-45 mins, take out the dough and knead lightly to press out the gas. Divide the dough into desired portions. Dough weight is about 500g, I divided the dough into 3 pieces of 70g each and 8 pieces of 36g each. Slightly round the dough portions, cover them with clingwrap and rest for 10 mins.
  6. Start with the burger buns, tighten and round the dough (by cupping the dough in the middle of your palm), and place the dough on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover loosely with clingwrap and proof for 45 mins. *Preheat the oven at 200 degree celsius after 30 mins.
  7. For the cream cheese buns, take a piece of dough, flatten using rolling pin into a disc. Scoop about 1 - 1.5 spoon of cream cheese filling into the centre of the disc. Close up the dough into a ball and pinch tightly. Turn the dough over, roll it into a ball by cupping the dough in the middle of your palm, then flatten the dough once again using the palm. Repeat till all the dough used up.
  8. Prepare 2 large dark-coloured baking trays and 2 baking mats or paper. Start with a large baking tray at the bottom, place a baking mat or paper on the bottom tray, place the flattened dough pieces on the mat/paper. Cover them with another baking mat/paper, and finally cover with another baking tray. Proof for 45-60 mins.
  9. First bake burger buns: 200 degree celsius for 10-12 mins. *turn down temperature to 180 or 190 degree celsius, and cover buns with aluminum foil if the buns browned too fast.
  10. Second bake cream cheese buns: Send the whole set-up (step 8) into the oven, 200 degree celsius for 10-12 mins.
  11. Let the buns cool on a wire rack. If keeping till next day, cool completely before storing in an airtight box.

19 August 2018

Chwee Kueh 水粿

My kiddo and hb love Chwee Kueh very much and the kiddo has been bugging me to make it for him. Both of them used to eat it at the hawker centres at least once or twice a week! We used to go to Ghim Moh market for the chwee kueh; the kueh is excellent, but my kiddo doesn't like their savoury type of chai poh. Alternatively, we would go to Clementi or West Coast markets where their chai poh are the sweet type. Well, now they can only get to eat this when they request and if I feel like making it :p


Frankly I've never make this in SG before because it's simply too convenient and much quicker if we were to eat it at hawker centres. For a batch like this, it took me around 1.5hrs! But now that we are in Thailand, cravings could only be satisfied by homemade I guess, which means OT for me in the kitchen -_-"

I like to make my chwee kueh mini size because I can literally put the whole piece in the mouth and munch away without the chai poh falling all over the place =D

The size of the mini chwee kueh is around 4.5cm and the chai poh topping is around 1 heap teaspoon, it's like a golden proportion to me ;p


I started off with cooking the chai poh or preserved radish first. I like my chai poh to have some crunch, not too oily and well-balanced between sweet and savoury. In Thailand, I can only find the sweet type of chai poh; it's actually not very sweet after rinsing and soaking in water for 15 mins.

Basically add some cooking oil to a pot, sautee minced dried shrimps, garlic and shallot till fragrant, then add the preserved radish and stir-fry on medium heat for about 10 mins. Thereafter add seasonings like light soy sauce, fish sauce, white pepper and sugar to taste; add a little bit of dark soy sauce for the colour, and also some toasted sesame seeds for the fragrance. Continue to simmer for about 10 mins on medium low heat and the chai poh is ready.


The chwee kueh or "water cake" is the trickier one to make as it's not easy to get the correct texture and consistency. The batter mixture of rice flour, wheat starch, corn flour, salt and water (room temp & boiling) might seem so simple but I realised that following proper steps are actually quite important. 

After mixing the flours and water (first room temp then boiling) together to form the batter, it's crucial to stir the batter each time you want to use it, otherwise the flours tend to settle at the bottom with the top being more diluted. As a result, chances are the initial batches of kueh will be very soft, and towards the end very hard.

Hence it's also important to work fast when filling the batter into the moulds, otherwise by the time all the moulds are filled, once again the flours settle at the bottom. Hence to overcome this, I oil the moulds and place them in the wok steamer as the water is boiling. Then using a jug/measuring cup with spout, I quickly pour the batter into the moulds (water is still boiling at the bottom of the steamer) and stirring the batter after a few pours to ensure it remains homogeneous.
And after the chwee kueh are done steaming, it's important exercise some patience and let the chwee kueh cool down slightly and set before unmoulding because otherwise the whole piece of kueh is too mushy and will break!

I learnt all these through trial and error. Actually I wonder how the hawkers do it as they prepare such large batches of chwee kueh daily!


Anyways, I'm glad that I could satisfy my family's cravings for this quintessential hawker food of Singapore from time to time.

Chwee Kueh 水粿
*reference from Bear Naked Food, Eat What Tonight
(makes 50 pieces, using mini moulds measuring 5cm top, 2.5cm bottom)


Ingredients
Chai Poh
  • 200g sweet preserved radish, rinsed and soak for 15 mins.
  • 2 tbsp dried shrimp, soak in hot water till softened then minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pcs shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil (I used 1/4 cup shallot oil, 1/4 cup coconut oil)
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce, for colour, adjust according to preference
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  1. In a pot, heat cooking oil on medium heat. Add minced dried shrimp and stir-fry till fragrant for a minute. 
  2. Add garlic and shallot and stir-fry for a minute.
  3. Drain the preserved radish and add into the pot. Stir fry on medium low heat for about 10 mins.
  4. Add the seasonings and adjust according to taste. Add the toasted sesame seeds. Mix well.
  5. Let the mixture simmer for about 10 mins on medium low heat, stirring occasionally.
  6. The chai poh is ready to use.
Kueh
  • 135g rice flour
  • 4 tsp wheat starch
  • 4 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400ml room temperature water
  • 400ml boiling water
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, starches and salt and mix well.
  2. Add the tepid water and whisk till the dry ingredients are dissolved.
  3. Add boiling water in a steady stream, whisking the mixture at the same time, till batter is well-mixed.
  4. Prepare a steamer and bring water to boil (I'm using a wok with steamer insert). Wrap the cover of the steamer with a piece of towel/cloth to prevent water from dripping into the chwee kueh.
  5. Brush the mini moulds thoroughly with oil, and place the moulds into the steamer with the water boiling.
  6. Pour the batter into a jug with spout (stirring constantly to make sure batter consistency is homogeneous). Then quickly pour the batter into the mini moulds (with the water still boiling), stirring batter after every few pours. Repeat until all batter used up.
  7. Cover and steam the chwee kueh for about 15 mins. *if mould is larger, steam for 3-5 mins more.
  8. After 15 mins, remove the steamer insert from heat and let the chwee kueh cool down slightly and set. 
  9. Use a mini spatula or butter knife, insert in into the sides of the mould and lift the chwee kueh out of the mould. The chwee kueh should be able to be removed easily.
  10. Top the chwee kueh with about 1 heap tsp of chai poh each.
  11. Enjoy by popping one whole piece of chwee kueh with chai poh into the mouth!

02 August 2018

Curry Puff | Karipap

[ Collaboration with Dancing Chef and Singapore Home Cooks ]
Dish 1 - Laksa Yong Tau Foo
Dish 2 - Curry Puff / Karipap

"Curry pok! Curry pok!"
I remember during the 80s when I was in Primary School, every afternoon around 3pm, a Malay boy would carry a basket of freshly fried karipap and make his rounds in my block peddling his wares. There were two flavours, curry potato and sardine, differentiated with a red dot.

This is one of my favourite Malay kuih and needless to say, I would buy one of each flavour as my afternoon snack every other day. I cannot remember how much it cost, I think one piece was 10 cents? I recall savouring the puffs while they were still warm, eating the rounded part with filling first and the crispy edges to the last or sometimes I would do the other way round :p It's a very simple snack, but it's one of those simple pleasures we enjoyed in our childhood, isn't it?


This type of homemade karipap has a very nostalgic old-school taste, with a fragrant and thin crispy blistered crust and an aromatic curry potato filling, or sweet spicy and tangy sardine filling. These days, some Malay stalls at hawker centres or coffee shops still sell such karipap but somehow they don't taste as nice as they used to be.


Nowadays, there are many variations of curry puff, from the buttery flaky ones to thick chunky ones to super crispy spiral ones and many types of fillings as well, such as chilli crab, otah otah, black pepper and more. But the old-school one still holds a special place in my heart.

When I was researching on recipes, there are also many variations to achieve different results. Some recipes use hot oil which apparently makes the pastry super flaky; some recipes use more butter and less water which makes the pastry smoother, more buttery and a bit flaky; some recipes use separate oil and water dough to get the super flaky spiral effect; the recipe I'm using uses less butter and more water, resulting in a slightly blistered pastry skin, which is similar to the old-school curry puff I grew up with.


I made only chicken potato curry filling this time, using Dancing Chef Indian Curry Paste, which has No MSG, No Preservatives, No Artificial Colouring, and super convenient and easy to use! The curry paste has all the aromatics and spices already so no messy chopping, grinding or frying work to do.

I just have to prepare some chicken breast meat, potato, onion, garlic and coconut milk (and water). I simmered the chicken curry potato till the potato is soft but not mushy and with just a little gravy left. The taste is so good without being overwhelming, really suitable as filling for curry puff or pies.


Now to the pastry part, which is trickier. Frankly this is my first proper attempt in making curry puff! I think many many years ago, I tried making it but failed miserably at the dough. Not sure what happened but I simply couldn't close the dough properly and did such a horrible job at pleating the edges that most of my puff opened up before or during deep-frying resulting in a horrible mess.

I guess with more experience in the kitchen, I did a much better job this time round \(^o^)/ The first few pleating were super ugly and my puffs were totally out of shape, but subsequently I got the hang of the pleating technique and managed to get pretty decent looking ones! But somehow I find it easier to roll the dough into an oval shape and make the puff round and fat. I think I need more practice to make the conventional long and slim one :p


Curry Puff | Karipap
(makes 18-20 pcs)

Filling
  • 1 packet Dancing Chef Indian Curry Paste
  • 300g potato, cubed
  • 200g chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  1. Marinate cubed chicken breast with 2 tbsp of curry paste for about 30 mins.
  2. In a frying pan on medium heat, add 2 tbsp of cooking oil, stir-fry diced onion and garlic till fragrant and translucent.
  3. Add the marinated chicken breast and stir-fry till the meat turns opaque/slightly cooked. 
  4. Add potato and remaining curry paste and stir-fry till all ingredients are well-coated with paste.
  5. Add water and coconut milk, and bring to boil.
  6. Lower heat,  cover and simmer till potato is soft, and gravy is reduced and the filling is moist (do not let the gravy dry up).
  7. Set aside to cool completely.

Dough
  • 375g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 75g butter (I use Golden Churn canned butter)
  • 200ml water (could be slightly more or less)
  1. Add flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, stir till well-mixed for about a minute.
  2. Add butter and water (bit by bit) into the flour mixture, use a spatula to fold and mix the ingredients together. 
  3. Once the ingredients are mixed and a rough dough is formed, use the hand to knead the dough till smooth and non-sticky. 
  4. Cover the bowl with clingwrap or towel and let the dough rest for 15-20 mins.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured mat. Roll the dough to about 4mm thickness, use a 9cm round pastry cutter to cut out as many circles as possible. Knead the leftover dough into a ball, and repeat till all the dough is used up.
Wrapping
  1. Take a piece of round dough, roll the dough to oval shape, place the dough onto the palm, scoop about 1 tbsp of chicken potato curry onto the dough and fold the dough to close.
  2. Seal the edges by pressing the dough using finger tips. Pleat the edges together starting from right to left, by pressing a small piece of dough using finger tip into scallop, then push the scalloped piece of dough downwards. Repeat till the whole puff is pleated.
  3. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling till all ingredients are used up.
  4. The curry puffs are best eaten freshly fried. If a big batch is made, at this point, the curry puffs can be stored in freezer. Lay each piece on a lined tray single layer and cover tray with cling wrap or aluminium foil. Place the tray into the freezer. Once the puffs are frozen, they can be transferred to a ziplock bag or box and stacked.
 Deep-frying
  1. Heat a pot of cooking oil to medium heat. Make sure the depth of cooking oil is able to fully cover the curry puff.
  2. Deep-fry the curry puffs till they turn golden brown on both sides. 
  3. Drain the curry puff with kitchen towel or metal strainer.
  4. Best eaten warm.


I must say I'm quite pleased with how the curry puffs turned out :) The HB also gave thumbs up!

They are not perfect yet, but better than nothing right? This is not readily available at where I stay, and can't recall whether I see them in BKK or not. Anyways, I'm happy that I can now make a big batch and freeze them so that I can satisfy my cravings anytime!

I'm gonna explore other fillings next time round, like sardine and even Thai flavours like Tom Yum or green curry!

Meanwhile, let me enjoy a few more shiokalicious curry puffs with a nice warm cuppa Teh Tarik and reminisce the good old days!

Happy National Day in advance to all Singaporeans!


From 1 to 31 August 2018, purchase 3 packets of Dancing Chef™’s pastes or sauces at just S$7.85 (UP: S$2.85/packet), and stand a chance to win a pair of passes to a cooking workshop helmed by local celebrity chef Lisa Leong on 16 Sep 2017. There are 30 pairs of passes to be won.

Dancing Chef promotion is available at FairPrice supermarkets exclusively.

#dancingchef #dancing chefs

31 July 2018

Laksa Yong Tau Foo

[ Collaboration with Dancing Chef and Singapore Home Cooks ]
Dish 1 - Laksa Yong Tau Foo

How time flies, next week is already Singapore's National Day and my family has been away for almost 8 months! As true blue Singaporeans who love to makan, we tend to miss local food from time to time.

Premix pastes like Dancing Chef really comes in handy whenever we have cravings. Sometimes it's too much hassle to cook from scratch or there are certain ingredients not readily available. I always stock up on our favourite pastes whenever we return to SG for visits; it's great that the packs are small and doesn't take up too much luggage space.


One of the SG local dish that we miss is Yong Tau Foo! Here in Thailand, there's no YTF stall where you can pick and choose the various ingredients like beancurd, bitter gourd, vegetables, fishballs etc...
Back in SG, we used to eat YTF at least once a week, and we always ended up ordering laksa gravy as the pairing is simply shiokalicious!

Using Dancing Chef Laksa paste, all I have to do is to prepare the YTF ingredients, cook the gravy and viola, a piping hot bowl of Laksa Yong Tau Foo!!


Laksa Yong Tau Foo
(makes 3-4 servings)

Minced fish & pork filling
  • 200g fish meat (I use spanish mackerel/batang), chop into small pieces
  • 200g minced pork
  • 10g salted fish
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp corn flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 stalk spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk coriander, finely chopped
  1. Add fish meat, minced pork, salted fish, water, corn flour and sea salt into a food processor or electric chopper. Grind/chop the ingredients into a paste.
  2. Transfer the paste into a large solid bowl, add in the finely chopped spring onion and coriander. 
  3. Wear a plastic disposable glove, pick up small portions of the mixture/paste and slap it back into the bowl. Do this several times until the paste turns into very soft and smooth texture. Set aside.

Yong Tau Foo
(filling above is enough for the listed ingredients)
  • 2 small or 1 big brinjal, cut into 6 pcs about 1" thick with slit inbetween
  • 1/4 bittergourd, cut into 6 rings about 1cm thick and hollow out the middle seed portion
  • 2 blocks tau kwa/firm beancurd, cut diagonally into 4 pcs
  • 3 pcs tau pok/fried beancurd, cut diagonally into 6 pcs
  • 1 big red chilli, cut a slit inbetween and scrap away the seeds
  • 4 pcs ladyfinger, cut a slit inbetween and scrap away the seeds
  • Pot of cooking oil
  1. Wash, pat fry and prepare the ingredients accordingly.
  2. Using a small butter knife, stuff and spread the fish/pork filling into the prepared Yong Tau Foo ingredients.
  3. Heat up a pot of cooking oil to medium heat and deep fry the yong tau food until cooked and golden brown. Drain using kitchen towel. Set aside. 

Laksa Yong Tau Foo
  • 1 packet Dancing Chef Laksa paste
  • 450ml water
  • 250ml coconut milk
  • 400g thick rice vermicelli (laksa noodles)
  • 2 bunches kang kong (water spinach)
  1. In a cooking pot, add laksa paste and water and bring to boil on medium heat.
  2. Lower heat to simmer and stir in coconut milk. Simmer for another 5 mins and the laksa gravy is ready.
  3. In a separate pot, blanch rice vermicelli for 15-20s, drain and scoop into individual bowls.
  4. Blanch vegetables for 10-15s, drain and add into the individual bowls.
  5. Top the bowls with desired pieces of Yong Tau Foo and finally ladle laksa gravy into the bowls.
  6. Best serve hot.



Yum yum yum! This bowl of Laksa Yong Tau Foo was so satisfying! The HB also gave thumbs up! How I wish I could have more, but alas I ran out of the Laksa paste already :( Time to go back to SG to stock up?


From 1 to 31 August 2018, purchase 3 packets of Dancing Chef™’s pastes or sauces at just S$7.85 (UP: S$2.85/packet), and stand a chance to win a pair of passes to a cooking workshop helmed by local celebrity chef Lisa Leong on 16 Sep 2017. There are 30 pairs of passes to be won.

Dancing Chef promotion is available at FairPrice supermarkets exclusively.

#dancingchef #dancing chefs

21 June 2018

Guay Tiew Reua Thai Boat Noodles

Boat noodles is a very popular street food in Thailand 🇹🇭 In fact, noodles is a very big part of the food culture. I learnt that all types of noodles (whether rice noodles, glass noodles, egg noodles), they are all called Guay Tiew (same pronunciation) unlike in SG where Kuay Tiao means thick rice noodles. I still remember when I ordered my very first bowl of Guay Tiew, thinking that it's thick rice noodles, the hawker gave me "Sen Lek" which is very thin and slightly chewy. Sen Lek is somewhat like the default type of noodle hawkers would serve if you don't specify, or some stalls just serve "Sen Lek" only. Anyways, there's a whole lot of jargon to learn about ordering noodles, such as the type of noodles, soup or dry, type of broth, and we're not even talking about the fried ones. Well, I guess the same goes for SG where we have so many type of noodles as well.

I digress.

Anyways, Guay Tiew means noodles and Reua means Boat, so literally translates to Boat Noodles, I think because it's traditionally cooked and served on a boat, and hence the name. I love Boat Noodles as the broth is very aromatic and flavourful, plus I get to eat pig's blood which is no longer available in SG. I used to enjoy pig's organ soup during my teens because of the pig's blood. LOL! Nowadays, friends around my age who loves pig's blood still talk about it fondly and I guess we could only satisfy our craving or rather, relive the fond memories in Hong Kong or Thailand.

I digress again.

Back to the Thai Boat Noodles. And so, the very authentic stalls would use the liquid from pig's blood to thicken and flavour the soup broth  but sometimes they can be a little overwhelming on the palate. Some hawker stalls may also add MSG to the broth making the soup a tad too salty for my liking. That got me to think whether it's feasible to make the noodles soup at home. After searching on the internet for recipes, I found there are many variations to making the broth; some use beef bones and some use pork bones and different aromatics are used to season the soup. I decided to adapt from Hot Thai Kitchen's recipe as I find her youtube videos very informative and recipes easy to pick up.


Have tried cooking this a few times already, and I must say I love how my Boat Noodles turned out. So as mentioned, the broth is a key component, and homemade is even better because no MSG is added.

The recipe by Hot Thai Kitchen is such that the pig's blood is optional, that is it's not necessary to use the liquid to thicken the soup. The broth is already very aromatic and flavourful as it is. Trust me my soup tasted equally nice without the pig’s blood :p.

To serve, besides noodles of your choice, I included ingredients such as fishball, fishcake, marinated pork slices, bean sprouts and water spinach (kang kong), along with condiments like cilantro, spring onion, Thai basil, fried shallot & garlic, and finally a chilli vinegar dipping sauce.


Let's start with the soup broth preparation, which I usually cook one day in advance and let the flavours develop overnight.

Soup Broth
(makes 8 servings)

Ingredients

  • 4 pcs pork bones (about 950g)
  • 4 pcs chicken leg bones (optional, I use because I happen to have them)
  • 1 pc onion
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, lower white portion only
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 10 slices galangal
  • 1 pc star anise
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 pc cilantro roots
  • 2 pc pandan leaves
  • 9 cups water
  • 3 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Golden Mountain thai soy sauce (if don't have, just use light soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp tao jiew (yellow soy bean paste)
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 15g rock sugar
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • Sea salt, to taste (I didn't add)

Steps

  1. Blanch the pork and chicken bones to get rid of blood and dirt. Rinse and place them in a large stock pot. 
  2. Add onion, lemongrass, coriander seeds, garlic, galangal, star anise, cinnamon, cilantro roots, pandan leaves, water and chicken stock. Bring the pot of stock to boil then lower heat, cover and let it simmer for 2hrs. Use a fine sieve to remove any scums that float to the top of the stock from time to time.
  3. After 2hrs, add the seasonings - soy sauce, dark soy sauce, tao jiew, white vinegar, rock sugar and white pepper and simmer for another 1 hr. 
  4. After 1hr, taste the soup and add sea salt if required.
  5. Leave the soup stock in the pot overnight. *if stock is prepared early in the day, at night bring it to boil first, off heat and cover.
  6. The next day, strain and discard the ingredients. Boil the soup broth again and it's ready to use.



Now that the soup broth is ready, it's time to cook Boat Noodles!

Personally I prefer Sen Yai which is thick rice noodles like the hor fun we have in SG, my son likes Sen Yai as well, but a thinner version of it. As for the HB, he likes Sen Lek which is the thin noodles which is slightly chewy (not glass noodles). Luckily I can get all these at one hawker stall at the wet market I frequent.

Typical ingredients include marinated pork slices, fishball, fishcake, pig's blood (optional), bean sprout, water spinach (kang kong).

To serve, I have two separate pots, one is the soup broth and the other is water to cook the noodles and vegetables.

(1) Bring the soup broth to boil and cook the fishball, fishcake, marinated pork and pig's blood.
(2) Bring the other pot of water to boil, blanch the bean sprouts, water spinach till just cooked, drain and place them in individual bowls. Next cook the noodles briefly till just cooked, drain and add them on top of the vegetables.
(3) Scoop the fishball, fishcake, pork and pig's blood from the soup broth and arrange on the top of the noodles.
(4) Finally, scoop the soup broth into the bowl of noodles till the soup just cover the ingredients. Best serve hot!

Not forgetting condiments, the noodles are typically served with cilantro, spring onion, fried garlic, fried shallot, Thai basil and not forgetting, chilli vinegar dipping sauce which will add much kick to the Boat Noodles!

Chilli Vinegar Dipping Sauce - blend all the ingredients together. Start with minimal amount of chilli and add more according to preference.

  • 1-2 red chilli and thai chilli, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar




    Look at my bowl of noodles loaded with ingredients. LOL! That's the beauty of home cooked dishes. I think I cannot be a noodle seller; there's too much preparation work involved and I load my noodle soup with too much ingredients!

    Usually I will make a large pot of soup broth and eat it for a few meals (mainly because the ingredients are sold in large quantity and cannot use up within one meal). LOL! Anyway we don't mind since we enjoy this noodle soup a lot. Aroi Mak Mak!

    15 June 2018

    Bak Chang 肉粽 ~ Glutinous Rice Dumpling

    The Chinese Duan Wu Festival (端午节)or commonly known as Dragon Boat Festival is upcoming next Monday! There's a story behind how this festival came about (to commemorate a patriotic poet/exiled official by the name of Qu Yuan in the warring states period of China (just google to find out more).

    In Singapore, the festival is typically celebrated with dragon boat race and eating Bak Chang aka glutinous rice dumplings (it could be more elaborate in China). Nowadays, many people have long forgotten about the significance of this festival and affectionately call this day Rice Dumpling Day without knowing the true meaning behind it.

    My knowledge of rice dumpling is very limited, I only know a few variations or flavours, such as Hokkien savoury rice dumpling which typically includes pork belly, mushroom, dried shrimp and chestnut; Nyonya sweet rice dumpling which includes minced pork and candied winter melon; Kee Chang or Alkaline rice dumpling which is basically tasteless and eaten with coconut palm sugar syrup. These days, there are of course more flavours and additional ingredients such as salted egg yolk, abalone, scallop and sweet ones with red beans etc etc.


    My mum learnt to wrap the Hokkien-style bak chang from my paternal grandmother and auntie, and from there she adapted her own taste for the ingredients and texture of the glutinous rice. My mum's bak chang is lighter on the palate; the glutinous rice is softer in texture and less salty so I can still taste the aroma from the bamboo leaf. Each ingredient is pre-cooked separately so each has its own flavour/aroma yet complement one another in the dumpling.

    That said, every household has their own recipes and personal flavours but since young I grew up with my mum's bak chang so I'm very used to this particular taste and texture. So much so that I'm quite picky when it comes to bak chang. Usually commercial ones don't impress me much as they tend to be overwhelming in taste and heavy on the palate. I like my bak chang small, less seasonings, less rice and more ingredients.

    Anyways, all these years I have not bothered to learn how to make bak chang as my mum would wrap a few dozens for giveaways. However she has stopped in the recent years. So I reckoned I ought to pick up the skill from her, else this heritage cuisine might be lost in my family! Haha. Sounds so serious.

    So last year during the Duan Wu Festival period, I asked my mum to teach me how to make bak chang from scratch. She already prepared most of the ingredients, and showed me how to fry the glutinous rice and wrap the bak chang the proper way. As with folks of her generation, everything was done with estimation, so I simply asked her for the ingredients and method and try to figure out the quantity on another day. Frankly cooking is the easier part, the tough part is the wrapping and I'm lousy at wrapping! I remembered I took like 10 mins to wrap one bak chang, as I was trying to figure out how to shape and secure it properly. I even asked my mum to buy a full set of ingredients for me to practise (and figure out the recipes). As usual I procrastinated till late November (before my shift to Thailand) and I think I only wrapped 18 pieces, and some of the bak chang turned out quite ugly. But at least I figured out the quantity of ingredients and noted the proper steps.


    Few weeks ago I was back in SG and the shops were beginning to sell bak chang materials/ingredients, just the right time! Ok, yep I brought back the key stuff and did my wrapping two days ago! My second solo attempt in wrapping bak chang \(".)/

    My target this time is 3 dozens as I intend to gift them to my girlfriends here (if the bak chang turns out good). Preparation work started on Tuesday night, where I soaked some of the ingredients first. Spent Wednesday morning pre-cooking all the ingredients and finally started wrapping and cooking in the afternoon. By the time I completed 30 pieces of bak chang, it was evening. Underestimated the quantity of glutinous rice and I still had some leftover ingredients. Was in a dilemma whether to prepare an additional batch of glutinous rice as I was very tired already and my kitchen was like a war zone. In the end, I decided to push ahead and made another 9 pieces. So it's literally a full day's work and I managed to wrap 39 pieces of bak chang in total!

    I'm quite happy with my attempt this time, most of the bak chang turn out well and resemble the triangular shapes. LOL! However, I was a little inconsistent, the first batch had slightly more rice than ingredients and as I progressed, managed to adjust such that there were more ingredients or at least balanced amount.


    Here are the key ingredients for bak chang.

    Dried mushroom (Japanese shiitake) - I bought the smaller ones (from SG) so that I can wrap the whole piece in each dumpling without cutting. Wash and soak them overnight.

    Dried shrimp - These were bought from Laem Chabang, a coastal port north of Pattaya. I chose the large ones to have more bite. Wash and soak in hot water for 15-20 mins.

    Pork belly - I bought them from the supermarket here, they came in long strips of about 1.5 inches width. Remove the skin (else too tough) and bones (if any). Cook the strips in a broth water (recipe below) till just cooked (able to poke through meat with chopsticks), remove and cut into bite-size pieces. *Strain and reserve the broth water for later use.

    Dried chestnut - These were bought in whole pieces from SG, imported from Italy. My mum bought Canadian ones last year but I couldn't find. Boil the dried chestnut and soak overnight, the next day remove the tough brownish membrane bits from the chestnut.

    Glutinous rice - If possible buy a special breed called Rat Tooth (鼠牙)only available during this period. It's more refined and softer in texture. Otherwise, any good grade of glutinous rice is fine. Wash and soak for 2-3hrs.


    Pre-cooking for the ingredients (detail recipes below):

    Pork belly - stir-fry the pork belly pieces with shallot oil, five-spice powder, coriander powder, white pepper, salt and broth, till fragrant.

    Dried chestnut - braise the chestnut in broth water (used to cook pork belly strips) till soft (not mushy).

    Dried mushroom - Stir-fry the mushroom with shallot oil, coriander powder, five spice powder, pepper, dark soy sauce, sugar and salt and braise in broth water.

    Dried shrimp - Stir-fry the shrimp in shallot oil, coriander powder and white pepper till fragrant.

    Glutinous rice - stir-fry the rice in shallot oil, season with salt, white pepper and dar soy sauce (for colour), to taste. Fry till fragrant and slightly sticky.

    Bamboo leaf and string - wash and soak in water till ready to use. Choose the mid-size ones, trim edges if necessary.

    Once the mise en place is done, the wrapping which is the tough part begins!

    Here are three videos I took last year, my mum giving tutorial on how to wrap the bak chang. They are now my previous go-to guide!






    Bak Chang 肉粽 ~ Glutinous Rice Dumpling
    (makes around 39-40 pieces)

    (A) Pork Belly

    • 6 strips pork belly (about 880g after removing skin & some fats, 1.5 inches in width)
    • Broth water: 5 cloves garlic, 1 spring onion, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1.25L water
    • Seasonings: 2 tbsp shallot oil, 1/2 tsp five spice powder, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/4 tsp white pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 8 tbsp broth water
    1. Wash the pork belly, remove skin and bottom bone layer (if any).
    2. Place pork belly into a pot, add the broth water ingredients, bring to boil and cook till chopstick is able to go through the meat (just cooked).
    3. Remove from broth water and cut the pork into bite-size pieces (about 45 pcs)
    4. Strain the broth water and set aside for use later.
    5. In a frying pan, add shallot oil and stir-fry the pork bites till slightly browned. Add five spice powder, coriander powder, white pepper and salt and stir till well-mixed. Add broth water and simmer for 5 mins. Dish and set aside.

    (B) Chestnut 

    • 250g dried chestnut (around 45 pcs)
    • 2 cups broth water (from cooking the pork belly)
    1. Wash and place chestnut into a small pot. Add enough water to cover more than 1 inch of the chestnut. Bring the water to boil. Off heat, cover and let the chestnut soak overnight.
    2. The next day, remove the tough bits of brownish membrane in the chestnut.
    3. Place the chestnut in a small pot, add broth water and cook till the chestnut turns soft (not too soft). Dish and set aside.
    (C) Dried Shrimp
    • 70g dried shrimp (around 90 pcs)
    • Seasonings: 2 tsp shallot oil, pinch of coriander powder and white pepper
    1. Wash the dried shrimp a few times. Soak in hot water for 15-20 mins. Clean throughly and drain.
    2. In a frying pan, add shallot oil and stir-fry the shrimp with the coriander powder and white pepper till fragrant. Dish and set aside.
    (D) Mushroom
    • 45pcs dried mushroom
    • Seasonings: 1 tbsp shallot oil, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp five-spice powder, 1/4 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp dark soy sauce, 1 cup broth water
    1. Wash and soak mushroom in water overnight.
    2. The next day, drain water and squeeze dry the mushroom slightly.
    3. In a pot, add shallot oil and stir-fry the mushroom with the seasonings till fragrant. Add broth water and braise for 15 mins (or liquid almost becomes dry). Dish and set aside.

    (E) Glutinous Rice

    • 1.85kg glutinous rice
    • Seasonings: 10 tbsp shallot oil, salt, white pepper, dark soy sauce (to taste)
    1. Wash and soak the rice for 2-3 hrs. Drain.
    2. In a large wok or frying pan, add shallot oil and drained rice. Stir-fry till rice is shiny and coated with oil. Season with salt, white pepper and dark soy sauce. Stir-fry till seasonings well-mixed and rice is slightly sticky.
    3. ***Salt and pepper is to taste (take a few grains of rice to try, I added around 5-6 tsp of salt). Dark soy sauce is for colour, add tsp by tsp till desired colour tone. My wok is not big enough, I had to fry in 2-3 batches. After frying the batches, I mix all the rice together in an extra large mixing bowl and mix them well. Set aside.
    (F) Bamboo leaf and string
    • 90-100 pcs bamboo leaves
    • 40-50 string (not sure what string they are, they come together in the pack, maybe banana string)
    1. Wash and soak the bamboo leaves and string till ready to use.
    2. Tie the string in bundles of 10 for easy counting and cooking. Hang the bundle using hook at height level for ease of tying the bak chang.
    Assembly and cooking
    1. Take 2 bamboo leaves, place them opposite sides of each other.
    2. Twist the leaves to become a "cup". Add about 1 tbsp of glutinous rice into the cup, add pork, mushroom, dried shrimp and chestnut. Add another 1+ tbsp of glutinous rice to cover the ingredients, drizzle 1-2 tsp of chestnut water.
    3. Wrap up the rice dumpling and securely it tightly using the string. 
    4. Once 10 pieces of dumping per bundle is completed, they can be sent for cooking. To cook, add  water to a large pot (around 2/3 depth), bring to boil and add 1 tbsp of salt. Lower the bundle of dumplings into the pot and boil on medium heat for about 1 hour (make sure the water covers all the rice dumplings). Once done remove from water and hang to cool slightly (optional) before eating.
    5. *** My cooking pot is small, can only boil 10 pieces of dumplings at one time. For bigger pots, may be able to cook larger quantity, but avoid overcrowding the pot to ensure dumplings are properly cooked.
    6. *** Rice dumplings are best eaten warm. Steam for 10-15 mins before eating. They can be stored in freezer for up to 1 month or fridge for a week. Thaw before steaming.
    *Shallot Oil
    Shallot oil is a key ingredient in bak chang making. It's available at supermarkets but quite easy to prepare at home. 
    • 150g shallot, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup cooking oil
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    1. Add cooking oil and salt to small pot on medium low heat, add sliced shallots and fry till shallot turns golden brown. Watch closely towards the last few minutes as the shallots can get burnt easily.
    2. Drain and set aside oil for use. For the crispy shallot, it can be enjoyed as a condiment for stir-fried vegetables, fried rice, noodles etc etc.


    My very first batch of bak chang fresh from the pot two days ago. Quite pleased that they turned out reasonably well =D


    Gifted half of the bak chang to my girlfriends and they loved it! The hb and I have also been having bak chang for breakfast for the past two days. LOL! The rest are kept in the freezer and we will eat them whenever there's a craving!

    Overall, really happy with how my bak chang turns out, most of them look reasonably nice =D Although it's a lot of hard work and effort involved, the satisfaction is immense. Hopefully I will be able to practise making bak chang at least once a year! Or maybe next year I should learn to make Nyonya Chang?