21 September 2011

Mini Fluffy Pancakes

I'm constantly looking out for different ideas for dear son's daily afternoon tea snack. I try to give him variety so that he doesn't get bored of his snack. And as far as possible I try to make the snacks (such as muffins, egg tarts, french toast, yogurt with fruits), rather than give him store bought ones. But of course there are times when convenience over-rule :p. Dear son can be quite picky when it comes to his food, if the taste and texture isn't right or to his liking, he won't eat them, certainly becoming a discerning eater (just like daddy and mummy)! Poor mummy has to make sure his food is yummy yet healthy (or at least not junk food) all the time. 

Recently I came across a Mini Fluffy Pancake recipe by LK of Food 4 Tots and it's just what I'm looking for :) I have tried other recipes of pancakes before and they always turn out too "cakey". So this recipe which promises soft and fluffy is perfect! The key is to whip the egg whites separately (till soft peak) so that the pancakes would puff up when cooked. This technique and theory is similar to the concept of chiffon cakes which yield soft and fluffy texture as well. Another great tip is the use of refillable plastic ketchup bottle to control the flow of batter so as to achieve these cute mini size pancakes.
My pancakes turned out ok, not as pretty as the ones by LK, not as round as they should be and the colour not really uniform. Nevertheless they tasted great, soft and fluffy even when turned cold. Dear son was naturally attracted to the cute mini pancakes which were just nice for his little hands, and ate several pieces at one go :) (I ate the rest :p).

I halved the recipe based on LK's and the batter was just nice to fill one plastic bottle. If you are interested, check out her recipe which gave specific details and great tips too. http://food-4tots.com/2011/09/03/mini-fluffy-pancakes/2/

16 September 2011

Home-made Char Siew

Pardon for the long absence. I was busy catching all the episodes of Shining Inheritance/Brilliant Legacy that's currently airing on Channel U. The show time is from 7 to 8pm which coincides with dear son's bath time and bed time preparation, so usually I have to miss the full episode. But I really like the show a lot so hubby rented the full DVD for me. So yep, have been "k-ing" the episodes whenever I have free time and at night :p

I digressed; back to my topic - Home-made Char Siew. Since attending Chef Chris's workshop on Sauces & Seasonings two weeks ago, I have been wanting to make the Char Siew using the tub of Home-made Plum Sauce which I brought home from the class. After procrastinating for so long, I finally made the Char Siew today!

As the recipe is under copyright of the cooking school and chef, I'm not at liberty to share it here. Nevertheless, many versions of home-made char siew recipes can be found in various cook books and other internet sites.
The original recipe calls for 1kg of meat which is too much for my family. Moreover, this is my first time doing it so I cut down the recipe by half; at least it won't be too much of a waste if it turns out inedible :p
I used pork shoulder meat (五花肉) bought from my usual butcher store at the wet market and marinade the meat overnight using a blended mixture of garlic, rose rice wine, maltose, sugar, light soy sauce, taucheo, dark soy sauce and nam yee.

The next morning, first roasted the meat in the oven for 15 mins at 220 degree celsius. Then reduced temperature to 200 degree celsius and glazed the meat with a mixture of the home-made plum sauce, honey and dark soy sauce. Thereafter, baked for another 15 to 20 mins, brushing the meat with glaze repeatedly every 5 mins.

Was actually quite surprised by how simple the whole process was. The end product - delicious, succulent, juicy and chewy char siew! The sauce was slightly sweet and salty and more than that, a special umami taste to it. Hubby liked it too.

Really pleased with my first-ever home-made char siew. I guess will be making it from time to time. But the next time, I need to make the home-made plum sauce first. Ok, another recipe to add to my to-do list! Till then :)

01 September 2011

Our Food Heritage: Sauces & Seasonings Workshop

Sauces and seasonings are a very important part of my life. Seasonings are definitely a must, especially in Chinese cooking, and sauces are like complementary to food, most often to bring out or enhance the taste. I almost always have to have some sauces to go with my food, be it chilli sauce, sweet & sour sauce or sambal, so when I saw Chef Christoper Tan offering a demo class in Sauces and Seasonings at Shermay's Cooking School, I signed up immediately.

Recipes that were demo-ed in class included chilli sauce base, plum sauce, char siew marinade, char siew, fragrant chilli oil, char siew mein and nyonya salad with plum dressing. The recipe pack also included bonus recipes of sweet soy-sauce, tomato sambal and aromatic infused soy sauce.

 Nyonya salad with home-made plum dressing. The plum sauce is quite easy to make albeit a little time consuming. But hey, it beats using commercial sauce which has added preservatives. This is made with real plums and boasts of a rich fruity and tangy flavour with a vibrant red-purplish colour. Goes very well with salad! I think I could use this sauce with Yusheng as well :)

Home-made Char Siew with home-made Char Siew Marinade and special glaze. Oh, just look at the gorgeously baked Char Siew, which could be achieved using our home oven. Patience is needed here as the Char Siew needs to be glazed a few times in between baking. The marinate could also be used for chicken wings, pork chops and such.
 Home-made Fragrant Chilli Oil or "Lat Jiu Yao". Everyone was raving about this chilli oil as it was so robust and fragrant. Only a quarter left from a full bowl after the food tasting. This was the vegetarian version, for a more luxe version, I thought of adding some dried scallops or shrimps :p

 Home-made Char Siew Mein, with home-made chilli sauce base, topped with home-made char siew and some fragrant chilli oil. Oh My Goodness, I would patronise the stall everyday if anyone were to sell Char Siew Mein like this! But then again, with this much hard work put into each and every component, I doubt not many hawkers these days would be willing to sell it, and certainly not for $3 a bowl.

The home-made chilli sauce tasted very special, it was spicy, yet a tad fruity and tangy, gave the noodles an unique umami taste. The char siew was sooooo succulent and bouncy and very well marinated and well grilled with just the right bits of charred meat and also the fatty parts (I like!). Tip of the ice-berg, the fragrant chilli oil, just enhanced all the flavours altogether. Yum!

Each participant brought home a small tub of plum sauce and chilli sauce. I'm thinking of using the plum sauce for salad. For the chilli sauce, thinking of replicating the Char Siew Mein, but oh, so much work to do for the char siew and fragrant chilli oil! Well, the sauce should be able to keep for 2-3 more weeks, I must find time for the Char Siew Mein.