Thursday, 28 February 2013

Guess where?


Guess where i just came back from? The next post will be a review about this mystery place! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Happy Chinese New Year!


Lim and I would like to wish all readers a very HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! May the year of the snake bring you joy and happiness!

Speaking of chinese new year, Lim, where is my ang bao?

Friday, 1 February 2013

Arrowroot Chips


I also made Arrowroot Chips for Chinese New Year. It's too good to be missed! The ones outside are selling at ridiculously high price! You might as well spend some time to make fresh ones for your family and friends. Although it is easy to make, the deep frying part is kind of tricky. I'll explain it below.

Arrowroot chips

Arrowroot (as many as you want)
Oil for deep frying
You will need a mandoline. I don't see a way around it at the moment.

1. Remove the skin of the arrowroot with a peeler. Leave the top of the root (with the new shoot is) so that you can hold onto it while slicing the arrowroot against the mandoline. Be sure to peel away the bottom of the arrowroot to make it smooth. (sorry no pictures)

2. Slice the arrowroot with a mandoline.

3. Wash all sliced arrowroots in a pot of water. Try to remove as much starch from the arrowroot as possible by gently rubbing the surface area with water. The water will turn chalky. Repeat this as many times as it takes until the water is much clearer. This step is crucial as it will prevent the arrowroot from sticking together when they are being fried. Drain away the water as thoroughly as possible.

4. Deep fry the arrowroots in a shallow wide surface area pan. It it important not to overcrowd the pan with arrowroots as it will cause them to curl and fold due to the limited space. I put them into the oil slice by slice (in quick succession) to ensure they have enough space and to prevent them from sticking together.

5. Turn each piece of arrowroot while frying to ensure they are cooked evenly.

6. Remove the chips when they are light yellow in colour. Drain the chips on kitchen towels to remove excessive oil.

7. Taste the chips! If its not completely crispy, it means you should try them longer. If they start to turn brown, it is burnt! Becareful! Repeat step 4 - 6 until you are done.

8. Enjoy the fruits of your labour.

年糕 - Nian Gao


Look what i learned at my Chinese New Year goodies cooking class! This 年糕 (nian gao) is surprisingly easy to do but it is a little time consuming.

This is what i got for Wikipedia about 年糕 (nian gao) - "A food prepared from glutinous rice and consumed in Chinese cuisine. It is available in Asian supermarkets and from health food stores. While it can be eaten all year round, traditionally it is most popular during Chinese New Year. It is considered good luck to eat nian gao during this time, because "nian gao" is a homonym for "higher year." The Chinese word 粘 (nián), meaning "sticky", is identical in sound to 年, meaning "year", and the word 糕 (gāo), meaning "cake" is identical in sound to 高, meaning "high or tall". As such, eating nian gao has the symbolism of raising oneself taller in each coming year (年年高升 niánnián gāoshēng). Also known as rice cake. This sticky sweet snack was believed to be an offering to the Kitchen God, with the aim that his mouth will be stuck with the sticky cake, so that he can't badmouth the human's family to the God of all Gods (Yu Huang Da Di)."

Without further do, let's look at the ingredients and method to make this!

Ingredients (make 2 medium size ones):

600g glutinous rice flour
700ml water
600g brown candy in pieces (see below for picture)
some pandan leaves
1 tbsp oil
banana leaves or plastic wrap

1. Boil the water, pandan leaves and brown candy until the candy is totally dissolved. Leave it to cool down.
2. Mix the sugar syrup with the glutinous rice flour until all the lumps are gone. Using a whisk helps alot.
3. Add 1 tbsp of oil to the mixture. Mix well.
4. Sieve the mixture to remove lumps.
5. Pour the mixture into the moulds you desire. Fill only 3/4 of the mould as the mixture will expand when cooked. You can line the moulds with banana leaves or the plastic wrap (can be bought at Phoon Huat). To sure to use extra banana leaves to line the mould to prevent leakage. (Yes mine leaked abit!)
6. Use a heat resistance cling wrap (those microwavable type) to cover the the mould. This will prevent water from landing on top of the 年糕 (nian gao). One of mine got water on top. See what happens below! 
7. Steam on high for 20 minutes. Turn down the heat and continue steaming for at least 2 hours. I steamed mine for 4 hours. The longer you steam, the darker the colour. The colour will continue to darken over the next 2 days too!

Brown Candy in pieces

年糕 (nian gao)
The one on the left did not have a smooth top due to water droplets landing on it!
The one on the right is absolutely beautiful!