29 January 2015

Spicy Dried Shrimp Sambal (Hae Bee Hiam) Cookies with homemade hae bee hiam

I first learnt about Hae Bee Hiam cookie from a dear friend WH last CNY; he told me that it's very yummy and addictive. He tried it at this shop called The Cookie Museum. Was quite curious about the taste since I like salty sweet type of cookies and so when I chanced upon The Cookie Museum's stall at Takashimaya basement food hall, I definitely had to try it. The sampling cookie was about 20 cents size stored in little glass jars and I quite liked such pop size cookies. It was crunchy, spicy and salty. Not bad. Initially wanted to buy a jar, but those were for sampling only! The actual size of the cookies for sale is big and comes in a large tin. Nay, not buying because I know I won't be able to finish the whole lot. Probably I could try baking them myself? So I researched the internet for recipes on both hae bee hiam and cookies and bookmarked a few to try.

Then last August, Chef Joycelyn Shu conducted a demo class on Heirloom Snacks at Shermay's Cooking School and one of the recipes featured was Hae Bee Hiam cookies. I jumped at the opportunity to attend the class and learnt many tips from Chef Joycelyn.

The first part to the cookie was cooking the hae bee hiam. Well, I could buy ready-made ones from grocery stores and supermarkets but nothing beats homemade right? I will share more about hae bee hiam below, after the cookie recipe.

Next part is the cookie dough; some recipes on the internet use a straightforward butter cookie method, and as for Chef Joycelyn, hers was more of shortbread texture by adding corn flour and icing sugar. Her cookies were very nice at first bite, but a tad too salty and overwhelming, I found myself eating one piece and couldn't eat anymore. So I adapted the recipe with references from various sources, tested it a few times with taste-tests from some friends as well. For the past versions, friends commented that it was not spicy enough, some said it's interesting and special. Haha. WH tried and he liked it. Yay!

Anyways, the current version is an improved version, both the cookie dough (slightly shortbread texture which I prefer) and hae bee hiam. I quite like it, but I guess will continue to tweak the recipe here and there based on feedback. When I was baking the cookie, the entire house was filled with the combined aroma of hae bee hiam and butter! Intoxicating! And the cookie is addictive, kept popping one after another. They turned soft fairly quickly when I left them on the baking tray for too long, probably due to our humid weather. Got to keep them in airtight container as soon as they are cooled. Probably reduce the corn flour, or use caster sugar instead of icing sugar. Will try for the next batch.

Spicy Dried Shrimp Sambal (Hae Bee Hiam) Cookies
(yields about 138-140 pcs, using 3cm diameter fluted cutter)

  • 160g Plain flour
  • 50g Corn flour
  • 160g Unsalted butter, cubed and slightly softened
  • 50g Icing sugar
  • 200g Hae Bee Hiam (see recipe below)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp Fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli flakes/powder or Korean Gochugaru
  • 1/2 tsp Fine shrimp sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Fine salt
  • Zest of 1 thai lime and 2 small lime
  1. Sift plain flour and corn flour together. Set aside.
  2. If hae bee hiam is too chunky, take about 3/4 portion and use a food chopper to blend till flossy. 
  3. In a mixing bowl, add butter and icing sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy about 3-4 mins, stopping to scrap bowl as necessary.
  4. Add hae bee hiam, fish sauce, chilli powder, shrimp sauce, salt and lime zest. Mix until well-combined.
  5. Add flour mixture in 2-3 additions, till just combined.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 portions. Place each portion between 2 sheets of cut-up clear plastic bags. Use a rolling pin to roll and flatten the dough into 6mm even thickness dough sheet.
  7. Place the dough sheets in the fridge to chill for an hour or freezer for 30 mins so that the dough will be firm enough to stamp.
  8. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 160 degree celsius on fan mode. Line baking tray with Silpat mat or parchment paper.
  9. Work on 1 sheet of dough each time. Open the top plastic sheet, stamp dough using 3cm flutter cookie cutter and place cookie onto the baking tray. For the scraps, gather into dough again and repeat step 6-7. Repeat till all dough used up.
  10. Bake the cookies at 160 degree celsius for 12 mins. Once done, let the cookies cool completely and store them in air-tight container, for up to 2 weeks.

Ahhh, Hae Bee Hiam or Spicy Dried Shrimp Sambal. I didn't think much of this condiment which is easily taken for granted because it's so common here in Asian. While store-bought ones are readily available, many households choose to cook their own and each holds their personal concoction passed down from mums to mums. We ate them with steamed rice, nasi lemak, stir fry it with vegetables and during CNY, wrap it in mini spring roll wrappers and deep fry them. I love munching on hae bee hiam rolls!

While searching on the internet for recipes, I saw many that used dried shrimp, dried/fresh chilli, shallots and garlic which is the typical recipe. Then I found some recipes which are nonya style, with the addition of more spices like belachan, lemongrass, candlenut, tumeric, kaffir lime leaves... I love the use of aromatic spices especially lemongrass so decided to use the nonya version. Actually I dislike frying rempah at home, it's a tedious and tiring job! But what to do, I want to try everything from scratch (was so tempted to just buy a bottle from supermarket to make the cookies!).

The ingredients include dried shrimp (partly ground), belachan, gula melaka, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, candlenut, small red chilli, kaffir lime leaves, ground tumeric and tamarind water.

For the frying part, oil, tamarind water (tamarind pulp + water), shaved gula melaka and the rempah spice paste (belachan, chilli, garlic, shallot, lemongrass, candlenut, kaffir lime leaves, ground tumeric),

Spicy Dried Shrimp Sambal (Hae Bee Hiam)
(Yields about 615g)

  • 300g Dried shrimp, rinsed and drained
Tamarind water
  • 50g Tamarind pulp
  • 80ml Water
Rempah spice paste
  • 3/4 tsp Belachan, slightly toasted
  • 30 cloves Garlic
  • 15 Shallots
  • 15 Small red chilli (discard seeds if prefer less spicy)
  • 3 stalks Lemongrass, inner tender sections, last 8cm
  • 3 Candlenut
  • 3/4 Tbsp Ground tumeric
  • 3 Kaffir lime leaves, cut into tiny pieces
  • 160ml Cooking oil
  • 80 Gula Melaka, shaved
  1. Grind the dried shrimp using a food processor or electric chopper till partly chunky and partly flossy. Then pan-fry (without oil) for a few mins until aromatic. Set aside.
  2. Add water to the tamarind pulp, rub the pulp to extract more flavour. Then strain to get tamarind water (squeeze pulp to get as much juice as possible). Set aside.
  3. Using food processor or electric chopper, grind the garlic, shallots, chilli, lemongrass, candlenut and belachan until they turn into a paste. Add ground tumeric and kaffir lime leaves, mix till well-blended.
  4. Add cooking oil in a large wok over medium low heat. Once oil is heated, add the rempah paste, fry and stir constantly, until rempah changes colour, from orange to reddish and aroma from raw to fragrant.
  5. Add the tamarind water, mix well. Then add the dried shrimp and gula melaka. Stir and cook till gula melaka is melted. The hae bee hiam remains quite moist.
  6. Cool the hae bee hiam completely before storing in containers, for up to 3 weeks in fridge or up to 2 months in freezer.

I divided the hae bee hiam into three portions, each tub about 200g for the hae bee hiam cookie recipe. This batch was a bit chunky and nice to snack on its own but I had to further grind them for the cookies. Couldn't resist stealing spoonfuls of it :p So addictive! Hubby commented that the tumeric taste was too strong but I thought it was ok, would probably reduce the quantity next batch.

I guess will be making more batches of hae bee hiam and cookies in the upcoming few weeks, will provide updates if any!

24 January 2015

Ipoh/Cameron Highlands Jun 2014 (Day 3)

Continued from Day 1 and Day 2.

All of us woke up bright and early, had a quick breakfast and headed towards EQ Strawberry Farm which we had confirmed that strawberry picking was available.

The boy was happy that he finally got to pick his own strawberries.

We were the first customers :p
First, we were shown the method of picking strawberries, that is to pick from the stem, and then shown to a section of the farm. As we were the only ones there, had the pleasure of snapping lots of photos and taking our time to choose the biggest strawberries.

This is how a strawberry flower looks like.

Look at our tray of giant strawberries, they were so sweet and juicy!

After we had our fun, we went back to the hotel to pack our stuff before checking out and driving back to Ipoh.
Since it was still early, we dropped by Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple.

The temple is one of the many limestone cave temples in Ipoh.

Walked through the temple, discovered that there's actually an opening to a big scenic garden.

Strolled a bit and decided to proceed to check-in at our hotel for the remaining two days, the Ibis Styles Hotel.

The double room is quite compact with a queen-size bed which was a squeeze for the three of us -_-"

Space is pretty tight for my comfort but for the budget price, it's good enough already. Most importantly, everything seemed quite new and clean.

Compact bathroom, with adjoining shower and toilet cubicles.

Small wardrobe, even comes with iron and ironing board.

View from our room.

The first stop I insisted on going was Bake with Yen! It's basically a baking supplies shop, like Phoon Huat of Singapore but mega-size!

I was totally overwhelmed by the size of the shop and amount of goodies available. Needless to say, bought a bag of stuff :p

After the fruitful shopping, we drove around the old town to hunt for some old-school coffee shops but found most shops closed. So headed to Jalan Yau Tet Shin for an early dinner.

Here are two famous competing restaurants selling Ipoh hor fun with chicken and soy bean sprout. Couldn't decide which shop to go to.
Finally decided on Lou Wong.

Steamed chicken drizzled with a soy-based sauce. The chicken was quite chewy and succulent and the sauce quite fragrant. Not bad.

The soy bean sprout was very sweet and crunchy, I like.

The braised chicken feet was so-so only.

Come Ipoh must definitely try their famous Ipoh Hor Fun right? Yummy, the hor fun had a very smooth texture indeed.
The rascal opted for chicken rice which was kind of mediocre.

After dinner, we walked around the area to buy some local products. Then we chanced upon this Purple Cane Tea House and decided to pop in for some drinks.

Very nicely furnished tea house. Wonder why there isn't such tea house in SG?

Besides tea, the tea house also served food that's prepared/incorporated with tea. Too bad we had our dinner already.

Hubby and I ordered an Iced Honey Pu-er tea which was very nice! Both mums opted for Iced Lemon Celery as they didn't want to drink tea at night.

I also ordered a Jasmine Jelly which was yummy!

And the rascal wanted a bun and I ordered a wholegrain bun for him. Ended up I ate most of it as he didn't like it -_-". Thereafter we headed back to hotel for an early night rest.

Stay tune for the next entry, where I would shared about Foh San Dim Sum Restaurant and Lost World of Tambun Theme Park!

13 January 2015

Yuzu Marmalade/Korean Citron Tea Chicken Wings

Ever since I made my Yuzu Marmalade, I've been eating it sparingly, enjoying it with toast most of the time. Then yesterday I was going to cook chicken wings for dinner and deciding over the method and a thought came to my mind about using yuzu marmalade. Lemon or orange chicken is a popular Cze Char dish so most probably yuzu chicken could work as well.

It's actually very simple, I marinated the wings with yuzu marmalade or Korean Citron Tea, soy sauce, salt, cooking wine and pepper for at least an hour. Then I air-fried the wings for about 9-10 mins, turning over 2-3 times and glazing with more yuzu marmalade (can also oven-bake). Instead of air-frying, could also deep-fry the wings and glaze with yuzu marmalade after that. Or coat the wings with some corn starch, deep-fry then drizzle a yuzu sauce.

The yuzu wings tasted so yummy with the tangy and fragrant yuzu marmalade! I think up next I may try deep-frying chicken chop coated with corn starch then drizzle with a yuzu sauce =D

Yuzu Marmalade/Korean Citron Tea Chicken Wings

  • 10 mid-joint wings
  • 1 tbsp yuzu marmalade or Korean Citron Tea
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp mirin or chinese cooking wine
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp yuzu marmalade for glazing
  1. Wash and pat dry the wings using kitchen towel.
  2. Marinate the wings with yuzu marmalade, soy sauce, cooking wine, salt and pepper, for at least 1 hour.
  3. Air-fry the wings in air-fryer at 160 degree celsius for 9-10 mins. Turn over the wings after 5 mins, glaze. Then at the last min, turn over the wings again and glaze.
  4. Place the wings on serving plate, glaze one more time, topping with a bit of yuzu peel. 
  5. Best serve hot. 

07 January 2015

Ipoh/Cameron Highlands Jun 2014 (Day 2)

Continued from Day 1.

The next day, all of us woke up bright and early for breakfast (actually we were awakened by the kiddo). Breakfast was served at Brasserie'85 restaurant, it was quite crowded and we had to wait for about 10 mins before we were ushered to our table. Nothing to shout about, spread was reasonable enough for a fulfilling breakfast.

Stations serving freshly prepared roti canai, eggs and noodles.

Porridge and condiments.

Bread and pastry section.

Salad section. Surprised that the selection of vegetables was limited since Cameron Highlands is a haven for fresh vegetables?

The usual hot food section like sausages, hash brown, baked beans, nasi lemak etc.

Cereal and milk.

Fresh and canned fruits.

After breakfast, we explored the grounds of the resort for a while.

Found a playground and the kiddo immediately took to it.

We had to stop him as it rained the night before and the slides were all wet.

 We then set off for our highlight of the trip, strawberry picking!

Alas, all the strawberry farms were closed for picking! We went to about 4 to 5 farms and all told us that due to peak period and poor weather, there weren't enough for self-picking. Some of them would be opened in a few days' time but we were leaving the next day! The kiddo was super disappointed. Managed to find a farm that would be opened the next day so we promised to bring him there the first thing in the morning before we check-out.

We then proceeded to a few vegetable farms and bought some vegetables at the Kea Farm Market.

Lots of fresh vegetables at the Kea Farm Market that we couldn't resist! Could only get those hardy root vegetables since we still have 3 more days of holiday.

Found many stalls selling sea coconut drink (both at the Kea Farm Market and night market). Curious, I thought sea coconut is found at the seaside area, or does it also grow in the mountains??

Next we proceeded to Lavender Garden, which is the newest attraction at Cameron Highlands.

And most popular as well, judging from the continuous large number of visitors. There was an admission charge of RM5 per adult and RM3 per child.

Upon entrance, we could see a large plot of colourful flowers but they were not lavenders. Looked like lavender but not :( Probably not the season?

Never mind, bought lavender soft-serve to console myself. Tasted so-so.

 Besides flowers, many novelty things for photo-taking like this car.
Not sure what those box-houses are for, each is labelled with different themes like health, friendship etc.

Love-locks for couples to pronounce their love for each other?

Quite a number of quaint looking decor.

Not sure if the teddy bear is part of the signage or somebody dropped it and it was conveniently placed there?

Saw a glimpse of hope for strawberry picking and we quickly made our way towards the area.

Unfortunately, the strawberry self-pick area was closed too.

We did see some ripened strawberries but I guessed not enough for the crowd.

There's also an area for self-pick gerbera.

By the time we were done with Lavender Garden, it was lunch time. Since the farm is near Tringkap and we really enjoyed our lunch there the previous day, decided to lunch there again.

Besides roast meats, many other dishes were available too.

Pork rib and peanut soup, very tasty!

Roast chicken as the kiddo requested for it.

Sweet and sour pork, not bad.

Ordered the same vegetable as all of us liked it, think it's called local mountain vegetables.

Deep fried bitter gourd with salted egg yolk. Totally love this dish, the bitter gourd was light and crispy; not bitter at all, slightly salty and fragrant with the salted egg yolk. Must cooking this one of these days.

Ordered the stir-fried watercress again as we couldn't get enough of it. Local watercress is very tender and sweet but not exported as it's highly perishable.

After the sumptuous lunch, we visited a few other farms and shops and returned to the resort to rest in the late afternoon.

I decided to check-out the Mandrayu Spa while hubby took a nap and kiddo went to the playground with both grandmas.

Had a soothing massage at the outdoor pavilion. Love the experience as the air was cool and crispy, and it felt so serene hearing birds chirping as I enjoyed the massage.

This was the indoor massage room.

Returned to the room and enjoyed some fresh strawberries and tomatoes. Bliss!

For dinner, we decided to try the western grill at the resort. The meats were cooked using this smoke cooker.

Had to wait for a very long time :( Luckily the weather was quite nice and we were seating alfresco.

Hubby and I had tenderloin, both mums had chicken chop and the kiddo had fish. Quite tasty.

After dinner, we went to the night market again since didn't manage to stay long. But the kiddo fell asleep, so hubby and I stayed in the car with him while both mums went ahead for their shopping. They returned after 45 mins and we returned to the resort for the night.

Stay tuned for Day 3 of our trip.