Sunday, April 5, 2015

TeowChew Png Kueh / TeowChew Glutinous Rice Dumpling (潮州饭粿 / 潮州红桃粄 )

Beautiful pink hue rice flour skin wrapped with flavorful glutinous rice. Pressed on a nicely designed peach shaped wooden mould, and then steam the dumpling to perfection. You can eat it freshly steamed, or pan-fried. It's up to you.

I have a long list of kuehs' and dumplings to make. But first, I wanna make TeowChew Png Kueh.

Max told me that he doesn't really fancy Png Kueh. He felt that it is a super thick skinned tasteless kueh. I frowned when I heard how he described it. But I just braved myself to do it, even though I knew he probably won't appreciate it.

In Tradition, almost every TeowChew family will make Png Kueh for festive season and also part of the religious offering. There are white and pink version of peach dumpling. White is commonly used as offering to the ancestors, pink is used during religious praying session. In Malaysia, there's still certain TeowChew family practicing the Png Kueh's color differentiation for different purpose. But in Singapore, white colored Png Kueh almost doesn't exist anymore unless they are making it on their own at home.

This lovely pink peach shaped dumpling has two versions, differentiating different clans.

The TeowChew version's pink peach shaped dumpling is wrapped with flavorful glutinous rice filling, called 潮州饭粿 / 潮州红桃粄. The HorPor Clan (河婆) version's pink peach shaped dumpling is wrapped with crushed toasted peanuts with sugar, and this sweet dumpling is identified it as 桃粄.

Max like it pan-fried. The crusty layer of skin gives aroma, served with sweet dark soy sauce, some toasted sesame, I personally preferred to add some chopped coriander and chillies for richer in flavor. Yummm!!!

It's quite a challenge for the first time, without anyone guiding me. I need to factor in the overall taste of the Png Kueh as a whole. The skin is almost tasteless. The glutinous rice filling is savory. Both skin and filling will be eaten and chewed together in my mouth. And so, the filling must be more salty than the savory glutinous rice that we usually cook for plain eating. And this is how we balance the overall taste.

I also imagined that the Png Kueh to be pan-fried, serve with sweet black soy sauce and chilli. Sweet black soy sauce has slight saltiness, and so does chilli sauce. Hence, the saltiness of the Png Kueh itself cannot be over-powered, but at the same time, it must be flavorful, robust and aromatic. In Singapore, yes, we eat it this way. But in other places, maybe they eat it plain. If you love it in plainly steamed Png Kueh rather than pan-frying, I'd suggest you to add another half tsp of salt on your glutinous rice seasoning.

This Png Kueh is lightly pan-fried. The skin is not as thick as those selling out there. The filling is firmly pressed during wrapping, and hence, filling is fully packed, to ensure every chew gives mouthful of flavored glutinous rice. Max is totally sold by my Png Kueh. He says he'd changed the way he feels about Png Kueh. Hahaha...

You want a bite?

For Png Kueh, you need to plan ahead. Glutinous rice and chinese dried mushrooms need to be soaked overnight. So, here, I will tell you my preparation process to shorten your actual day's chore.

DO NOT get freaked out by my long writings. I'm just trying to give you as much details as you probably need. This recipe makes 20 to 22 dumplings. But it also depends on the size of your dumplings, and how thick or how thin your dumpling skin is. My dumpling skin is 45 grams each dough, and wrapped up 40 grams of glutinous rice filling.

(Source : Authentic Chinese Dumplings published by Famous Cuisine Publishers, with modification) 

The Skin Dough
  • 400g Rice Flour
  • 80g Tapioca Flour
  • 1 tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 560ml Boiling Water
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
The Glutinous Rice Filling
  • 360g Glutinous Rice, soaked overnight
  • 60g Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked overnight
  • 25g Dried Shrimps
  • 12 Shallots
  • 1 can of Canned Braised Peanuts
  • 1 heaped tbsp Premium Oyster Sauce
  • ½ tsp Sesame Oil
  • 3 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1½ tsp Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1½ tsp White Pepper
  • 6 tbsp Water
Serving Suggestions
  • Sweet Dark Soy Sauce
  • some toasted sesame seeds
  • some chopped coriander
  • some chilli sauce or sambal or whatever chilli you prefer
Note : The original recipe ask for 600g Rice Flour and 100g Tapioca Flour. But at the end of the day, I have 20% dough leftover, and no more filling left. So, I discarded the remaining dough. And so, if you are like me, prefer thinner skin and thicker filling, this recipe above gives you the right amount of dough with the right amount of filling. But if you prefer thicker skin just like those store-bought dumpling, do add 20% of everything for your dough recipe.

Preparation (The night before) 
  1. Walk to the supermarket and get everything I need. 
  2. Wash and soak glutinous rice. Do the same to the chinese dried mushrooms. 
  3. Peel shallots, rinse, pat dry with kitchen towel, pack it in a plastic bag. Throw it in the fridge. 
Preparation (Actual Day) 
  1. Rinse and soak dried shrimps for 10mins. Chop up dried shrimps using chopper.
  2. Snip away mushrooms stems, discard. Cut mushrooms into small pieces. 
  3. Chop up peeled shallots using chopper. 
  4. Open up a can of braised peanuts. Discard the braised sauce. We only need the peanuts. 
  5. In a bowl, mix all the seasoning together. 
  6. Drain soaked glutinous rice, place it on a large plate, steam it for 25 minutes. Uncover the lid and splash some water on the glutinous rice every 10 mins steaming interim. Set aside.

To cook the Filling
  1. In a pre-heated wok, 4 tbsp cooking oil, saute shallots and dried shrimps over low heat until fragrant. 
  2. Add in mushrooms, stir fry briskly over until well combined and heat through. 
  3. Add the steamed glutinous rice, turn to low heat. With your spatula, break the lumpy glutinous rice.
  4. Pour in seasoning, stir and toss well. Ensure all glutinous rice is well coated with the seasoning. Stir in braised peanuts. Stir well.
  5. Dish out. Transfer the glutinous rice to the steamer and steam another 10mins.
  6. Remove from steamer and leave to cool. Cover it up with a wet towel to prevent the top layer of the glutinous rice from drying out.     
Steaming, stir-frying, and steaming... This process is to ensure glutinous rice is evenly flavored, evenly cooked, bouncy, chewy, and yet not overly cooked. I don't like mushy glutinous rice. It is easy to over cooked it. But it is not easy to cook it just right. Some people choose to let the rice cooker to do the job. I'm anal quite particular. So, do it the way my mother taught me, and it never fails me so far, although there are more steps to follow.

You can get braised peanuts from supermarket. I used Narcissus brand. I think it taste pretty good.

To prepare the Dough
  1. In a mixer, add in rice flour, tapioca flour, sugar and salt. Mix well. 
  2. While the mixer is still moving, add in boiling water and cooking oil in the flour mixture in two intervals. Half boiling water, mix, half cooking oil, mix. And then, half boiling water, mix, half cooking oil, mix. And when I said boiling water, use boiling water. Don't give me warm water and expect it to work. You need boiled water to "pre-cook" the dough here. 
  3. Add a drop of red coloring, mix. Observe the change in color for your dough while mixer is doing the job. Is that the pink hue you want? If yes, continue to let the mixer to mix. If no, add more coloring. Do remember to add coloring abit at a time. You don't want to over-power the color. 
  4. Continue to let the mixer mix until the dough turned entirely pink. 
  5. Transfer the pink dough into a big bowl, and this is where you need to do it manually. Knead the dough with both palm until dough is smooth. 
  6. Evenly divide the dough into small portions, cover it with wet cloth to prevent dough from drying. My individual dough is about 45g each.

To wrap and form the dumpling
  1. Form the dough into ball shape, then, make a hole, flatten it with your fingers, to create a "bowl" shape. 
  2. Spoon in some glutinous rice filling, wrap well. My filling is about 40g for each dumpling. Firmly press the rice filling abit, so that they are packed together and you will be able to do the wrapping easier. If there's holes here and there, patch it with some extra dough pieces. It's fine. Patches would be hardly seen because it is steamed dumplings. Do it the way you prefer.
  3. Dust the mould with a little tapioca flour, knock the excess tapioca flour out of the mould. Dust the wrapped dumpling with a little tapioca flour too if you want. Dusting the mould is tedious. I only dust the wrapped dumpling. It works also. 
  4. Put the wrapped dumpling into the mould, press it firmly with your palm and invert the dumpling. 

To steam and serve
  1. Arrange dumplings on a greased steaming tray or a plate.
  2. Steam the dumpling under medium heat for 10mins or until it is cooked. If your dumpling is bigger in size, steam it for another 1 or 2 minutes. 
  3. Transfer steamed dumpling into a plate and leave it cool abit, then, grease the dumpling with some cooking oil on top to prevent them from sticking to each other. 
  4. Serve the dumpling hot from the steamer or slowly pan-fry it to achieve crust on the skin, accompanied with sweet dark soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds, and some chilli sauce if you prefer.  

The recipe request it to be steamed under high heat. And yes, usually, some people do that. But I realized that steaming the dumpling over high heat will probably over-steamed it and eventually, the dumpling will somehow disfigured. The beautiful flowery pattern on the dumpling will "melt-away". I believe you've seen disfigured store-bought ang ku kueh before don't ya?

This is my peach shaped wooden mould. I got it from taobao, the china shopping website. I love it and it is probably one of the nicest peach shaped mould I've found so far.

Look at the result. Isn't it lovely? It has nice round sexy butt! Max says ... "我的饭粿有屁股的!!!" Hahaha..

The medium heat steaming gives good result in retaining the nice flowery pattern on the dumpling. Absolutely lovely! However, the skin will turn abit hardened when dumpling is cooled. Just re-steam it before serving, and the skin will turn soft again.

For this first attempt, the result was satisfactory, although I do prefer the skin to be slightly softer. But again, it depends on what's your expectations on the end result. I'm quite happy with it for now. But I will continue to seek improvement. When it comes to cooking, imaginations do comes in.

TeowChew, Hor Por, Hakka, GuangDong and HuiZhou. They are so near to each other. That probably explains why there's a similarity in their traditions and cuisines. Not only the peach shaped dumpling. For example, Hor Por style Mochi 河婆客糍粑 and Hui Zhou style Mochi. They are the same. But in different shape. In Singapore, we identified it as "Muah Chee" 麻糍, in Japan, it is Mochi.

There are so many types of kuehs, dumplings and small eats to learn and explore. I'm quite into it. Are you one of them?

Monday, March 23, 2015

客家板麺 Malaysian Hakka Pan Mee

Do you prefer Pan Mee or Mee-Hoon-Kuay?

Some says they are the same. Some argues that they are different, but that's due to the shape of the noodles. Pan Mee (
板麺pronounced as Ban Mian in mandarin) is a Hakka-Style noodle, originating from Malaysia. Some translate it as "flat flour noodle", while some, translate it as "board noodle".

Flour hand-kneaded into dough traditionally torn into smaller pieces of dough by hand, but such laborious work is conveniently replaced by machine that can produce variety of shapes. Pan Mee typically served in soup, together with dried anchovies, minced pork, mushrooms and leafy vegetables. In my hometown, 树仔菜 (aka pucuk manis / manicai 马尼菜) is used.

My grandmother used to cook this delicious noodles for us. Usually she will let us have our choices of Pan Mee or mee-hoon-kway, and she will prepare the dough accordingly. That's one of the sweetest childhood memory. All she need is pack of flour, some anchovies and vegetables. She can cook up a comforting bowl of soup dish for everyone in the house. My grandmother has 12 child. My mom is the youngest, the last amongst the 12th. I haven't even tell you the number of grandchild she have. You can imagine that now. My grandmother is a wonder woman!

Because this is a very simple noodle soup dish, the soup plays a very important role in the preparation of Pan Mee. I've seen variations in soup base preparations. But for my grandmother, she use only dried anchovies and soya bean for the soup. Yes. Only two ingredients, but it makes great and flavorful soup base. Sometimes, the simpler it is, the better it taste.

I'm very straightforward and I'm not afraid to tell you. I don't have my grandma's exact recipe. I only vaguely remember what are the main ingredients my grandma use. I found Alan's recipe is the closest to my grandma's simplicity. So, I just followed, but with minor modifications.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
(Source : Alan, with slight modification)

for Soup
  • 65g Dried Anchovies (aka Ikan Bilis 江鱼仔)
  • 180g Soya Beans (黄豆)
  • 10 cups of water
  • 1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
for Noodles
  • 250g Plain Flour or All-Purpose Flour 
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 5-7 tbsp water, adjust according to dough texture
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil 
  • flour for dusting
for Minced Meat Sauce
  • 300g Minced Pork (绞肉), preferably ground pork belly
  • 4 Chinese Mushrooms (香菇), soaked till soft, cut into strips
  • 2 Black Wood Ear Fungus (黑木耳), soaked till soft, cut into strips
  • 4 cloves Garlic, peeled, chopped finely
  • 5 Shallots, peeled, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 2 tbsp Dark Soya Sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp Oyster Sauce, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp Sugar, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Corn Flour, to be mixed with mushroom soaking water
other ingredients
  • a bunch of 树仔菜 (aka pucuk manis) or Choy Sum 菜心 or any of your favorite green leafy vegetables that serves 4 sharing. 
  • 4 Eggs
  • Fried crispy anchovies 
  • Fried crispy shallots (optional)

  1. For the soup, there are some Pan Mee sellers likes to add pork bones into the soup to create extra sweetness. Some uses soya beans, some don't. But the general rule is... dried anchovies should be there.
  2. My grandma will only provide minced meat sauce and eggs when her budget allows. Eggs are usually cracked onto the soup and cook together with the noodles. It would be too costly for her to add eggs on every serving. 
  3. I personally prefers 树仔菜 (aka pucuk manis), but when first preference is not available, I shall go for my alternative Choy Sum 菜心.
  4. Fried crispy shallots is optional. But most Pan Mee stalls provide this topping. 

Method (for the soup)
  1. Give dried anchovies and soya beans a quick rinse.
  2. Soak soya bean in hot water for 20mins. Using both finger tips, rub away the skin from the soya beans. This is quite tedious. You can choose to skip this step if you are feeling lazy. 
  3. In a large soup pot, add 2 tbsp of cooking oil, add in anchovies, stir fry anchovies till fragrant. 
  4. Add in water and prepared soya beans, and bring to a boil. Lower flame to simmer with lid on for 20mins. Season with salt, turn off flame and leave to steep. 

Using both finger tips rub away the skin from the soya beans.

Stir fry anchovies till fragrant before adding in water. Fried anchovies will give you more flavorful soup.

Method (for the noodles)
  1. Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Form a 'well' in the middle and crack in the eggs.
  2. Add cooking oil and begin to combine everything together, adding water slowly by individual tablespoons until a non-sticky dough is obtained
  3. Dough needs to be kneaded repeatedly until smooth and uniform in color. 
  4. Cover dough with cloth and set aside to rest for 30 to 40 mins to relax the gluten. 
  5. After resting the dough long enough, go back to the dough by first dividing the dough into 4 portions. 
  6. Using pasta machine, process individual dough portions by repeatedly laminating and thinning the dough into elongated flat sheets before cutting into taligatelle-like strands. Dust some flour on the noodles to prevent noodles from sticking together. If pasta machine is not available, simply roll dough with rolling pin, on a flat surface dusted with flour, into elongated sheets before folded the dusted sheets slightly and cutting into strips. 
  7. If you are making mee-hoon-kuay, simply hand stretch the flat sheets dough into desired free-style shapes accordingly.

Method (for the meat sauce)
  1. In a saucepan, heat up 2 tbsp cooking oil. Add chopped garlic and shallots, stir-fry until shallots turned translucent and aromatic. 
  2. Add minced pork followed by all seasoning and stir-fry until meat is cooked and uniform in color. 
  3. Add in mushrooms strips, black wood ear fungus strips, and some mushroom soaking water. Stir well and cover with lid. Leave to simmer over medium low heat for 10mins. 
  4. Add some corn starch mixed with some mushrooms soaking water to thicken the sauce. 
  5. Dish up, covered, and set aside. 

Everything is prepared for the meat sauce.

Meat sauce is well cooked and in uniform color.

Method (to cook pan mee)
  1. Prepare two heavy saucepan. One side is 2 ladle cups of boiled water, another side is 2 ladle cups of soup base. Bring both to a boil
  2. Add a serving of noodles into the boiling water saucepan, cook noodles for a minute. Transfer half-cooked noodles into the soup base saucepan, and add a serving of vegetables. Adjust your cooking time accordingly.
  3. When noodles are cooked, crack an egg into the middle of the pot and leave it with lid on briefly for about 20 secs for the white to cook slightly.
  4. Ladle everything into a serving bowl, try not to break the yolk. Garnish generously with one portion of meat sauce, fried crispy anchovies, fried crispy shallots and serve!
You can, of course skip the part of using boiling water saucepan. You can just throw in your noodels and just cook it in the soup straightaway. However, the noodles will make your soup broth looked cloudy and thickened a little. I personally prefers to half-cook the noodles in boiling water first, as this step allows me to have nicer and clearer broth.

Pan Mee... Long, flat striped noodles.

While mee-hoon-kuay is free-style shaped flat dough by simply hand stretch the flat sheets dough in organic forms. There's no rocket science. Everyone can do this. To me. it should look homely and comforting. There's no rules here.

Look at my Pan Mee soup. The soup is quite clear and less cloudy compared to those selling outside. Although there's extra effort in cooking process, but this will make your noodles taste better in overall.

In Kuala Lumpur, Klang Valley, there's a popular version of Pan Mee that is prepared dry version. Everything is the same, just that they are without the soup, fiery dry chillies flakes are added, topped with some spring onions and stirred into noodles. That's another great way of enjoying Pan Mee.

Maybe next time I will try making dried version of Pan Mee.

I love this soup noodles. I think everyone should make this at home at least once. This just involves a few ingredients, and I guarantee you that this is a great bowl of comfort food, and something easy to prepare for weekend lunch for family.

So.... do you prefer pan mee? or mee-hoon-kuay?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Annielicious Food Blogspot is 3 now!!!

Dear Readers, 

Today marked the 3rd year anniversary ever since I started writing Annielicious Food Blogspot.

For those who know me, you will know how hard I'd been trying to find work / life balance all along. For those who doesn't know me, for your info, I have a full-time job, and blogging recipes will only happen over the weekend. The intention of writing this blog is for my personal record, my way of penning down some of my tried and tested recipes, hoping to share knowledge with my future children (if I'd ever have one). If I'd grow old one day, I would worry that I'd forgotten what I've added into the dish and I'm not able to do knowledge transfer to my child.

And so, I never thought my recipes could go any further. But, I started to feel the change in society. Modern women's doesn't walk into the kitchen as much as our parent's era do. Eating out is so convenient nowadays. But I'm a person who always believes in... as long as there's food on the dining table, your family members will come home for you. 

I asked myself how much I could do to change it? At least some little effort from me? How I could encourage fellow young women's in this modern society to cook and bring some joy to their family? I thought, maybe improve my way of writing my blog to ensure every details are recorded down? I don't know. But this might be one possible or better way to encourage readers to start cooking. But at the same time, things are getting tougher when my I set expectations on myself in writing recipes. I read more, I learn more, and I'm still learning. And you guys are the one who gave me the reason to do this. 

My writing is not detailed enough is something I worry always. I don't know why. But if you wonder what I did in order to come up with a recipe post? Read this :
  1. Finding the right weekend schedule to cook (I'm not a full-time blogger)
  2. The right time to go to the right place or market to get the fresh ingredients (Sometimes I need to run a few places just to gather all the specific ingredients I wanted), 
  3. The right amount of food to prepare for the total hungry tummies,
  4. The right cooking or baking heat and time (Especially first attempt on new dishes or bakes),
  5. Penning down every possible details in the kitchen to ensure nothing is forgotten later,
  6. Take photos of every preparation and cooking steps, while ensuring my food is not over-cooked (I have poor memory sometimes),
  7. Wishing for the best natural light to take better photos (If the sunlight is not good on that day, it kills the photo taking, and it's as good as killing me!), 
  8. Photo taking must be quick, so as to ensure hungry tummies doesn't eat cold dishes, 
  9. Time spent on photo editing and writing every details on the blog (It's quite time-consuming actually).
  10. Proof-reading before hitting the "Publish" button, so as to ensure no wrong information is written (although I admit that I didn't do proof-reading during busy times)
  11. Did I left out anything?
The road is never easy, but till now, I'm still learning.... 

I'm surprised that I'd actually able to persevere until now, and still, continue blogging recipes. But looking back, I don't think this blog is possible without these people :

My Husband, Max - He is the driver who drives me around to source for ingredients without even complain once until today. He is the supporter, the encouragement, the guinea pig, the audience, the judge, and my biggest fan! He would finish all the left-over food that I cooked. He spoilt me with lots of kitchen toys, wash all the dishes after I messed the kitchen (this is unconditional love!). He can even go all way out to buy good ingredients for me wherever he go. The time when he lugged 1kg of Prosciutto Di Parma from Germany. Ohh... I love this man more than my life!

My Mother, Mdm Chai - She gave me lots of classic recipes, cooking tips that doesn't teach on cookbooks and online. Her recipe always appear on my blog if you noticed. She taught me lots of lessons in life that can never be found in textbooks. She's my absolute inspiration and aspiration!

My Mother-In-Law, Mdm Leong - She always loves promoting my cooks and bakes to her friends. Although sometimes I couldn't understand why she'd want to give-away my failed bakes (yes, I do fail sometimes, I'm not afraid to tell you.), but I know she'd probably feels proud of her daughter-in-law who bake, cook, and write. 

Alan, Travelling Foodies - This guy is the best (male) cook that I've ever met in SG so far. Very detailed and precise person in cooking and baking. I've learnt alot from him. And not to mention, he'd probably the one who's there to listen to most of my nonsensicality and ranting through the entire 3 years of blogging. Developing a strong friendship is never easy and it takes alot of effort. Thank you for being with me through good and bad times, my friend. I love you man! 

Wendy, Wendyinkk Blogspot - This woman is amazing! She's my most respected recipe blogger ever! If I were to nominate someone to go for Master Chef competition, she would be the one. We have complicated relationship here. She is my school-mate, my senior in Secondary School Girl's Brigade. Her mom knows some of my family member during our young days. Back in 2012, we found each other on Facebook, we reunite, and she is the one who encourage me to start writing down my recipe on blogspot. She taught me alot along the way. She seems to know everything that I can't even find it online! She pushed me hard to learn even more! I love you Wendy!

All Readers - Thank you for loving my recipe. Knowing that my recipe may not be the best, but you guys choose to believe me and give it a try. Everytime when I receive feedback from you guys, telling me how much your family members enjoyed the food, it makes me smile, and all the tough times (being a recipe blogger) is all gone. With both palms pressed together, I thank every one of you. 

Coming forward, I wish I would have more time to come up with more recipes and many more years to come. It is about how much I could do to encourage women in the society to cook and bring joy to their family. Thank you everyone for loving me. 

Lots of Love, 
Annie Mok

Friday, February 13, 2015

Kueh Bangkit (Melt-In-Mouth Coconut Cookies)

Max asked for Kueh Bangkit this year. When I asked him to describe what kind of specific bangkit he wants, he says "You know? That sweet-powdery softness and warms your mouth with the fragrance of pandan and packed with coconut flavor?"

Ohh,,, he has a specific request!

Ever since I started learning baking, Kueh Bangkit was never on my to-bake list. Not until Max asked me to do so. Kueh Bangkit is one of his favorite Chinese New Year cookies. Obviously (refer to above on how he describe that)

In my childhood memory, my faint recall was that Kueh Bangkit is sweet, chalky, packed with coconut flavor, and melt-in-mouth. When I said melt, it really melts IMMEDIATELY in the mouth. The moment the cookies touches the tongue, it melts. Yes. That's the one! 

When I grew up, moved to Singapore for work, everything has turned commercialized. Unlike my home-town Kampar that sells home-made cookies during my childhood times. They do, still have some in Singapore, but really good ones? You've got to be lucky to find one. I started to dislike Kueh Bangkit ever since store-bought bangkits invaded the market. Bangkits displayed on the supermarket or neighbourhood bakeries didn't attract me at all. This is where I stopped having interest on Bangkit. 

I tell myself, if I want to make, I will make the one that makes me find back at least 70% of my faint childhood feel (probably). If not, I won't consider my bangkit a success. So, this post is to share with you my experience on my attempts on Kueh Bangkit.  

As usual, before I start experimenting something, I will make sure I do some reading. I flipped through some cookbooks, check out the online recipes. Comparing the liquid and dry ingredients ratio, I finally settled with fatboo's recipe that sounds really convincing. 

Some people tells me that Kueh Bangkit is easy to make. But mind you, they are easy to fail too. So, becareful on that. To ensure my first attempt a success, I followed the recipe obediently without tweaking it. This also means, I followed the particular ingredients (and the brand) mentioned on the recipe. Only on the 2nd and 3rd attempt, I then tweaked the recipe abit. So, please... be good. For best chances of success, just follow as I said. 

This recipe ask for Ayam Brand Premium Coconut Cream and Sago Flour. Max hunt these two ingredients up and down for me and it is not avail. We managed to found Sago Flour at Sheng Siong Clementi. For the coconut cream, he is so smart enough to call Ayam Brand Singapore to ask for it. Later, we learnt that Ayam Brand Premium Coconut Cream is named as Pure Coconut Cream in Singapore. So, same content, different name I guess. According to Ayam Brand staff, this particular Coconut Cream gives the most similar quality as the freshly squeezed coconut milk in the market. It contains nothing else except coconut cream (no stabilizer).  

DISCLAIMER : This is NOT a sponsored post. Because this Coconut Cream really brings out its good flavor. I feel that I should credit and recommend this coconut cream to you guys to ensure higher chances of success in attempt. And please remember, this recipe ask for coconut CREAM, not coconut milk. Becareful. 

(Source : Fatboo, with modification after my 3rd attempt)
  • 800g Sago Flour (2 packs of 400gm)
  • 10 to 12 Pandan Leaves (Screwpine Leaves)
  • 240gm Ayam Brand Pure Coconut Cream
  • 300gm Icing Sugar (Originally ask for 200gm) *See Note
  • 3 Egg yolks (medium sized eggs 50 - 55g)
  • Drops of Red coloring (optional)
Note : 
  1. I increased Icing sugar from 200g to 300g Icing Sugar on my 2nd and 3rd attempt, and I swear that it does taste better! The existence of Sugar enhances the coconut flavor.   
  2. This recipe makes approx. 330 Bangkits, depends on the cookies thickness. I've got 220 out of this recipe. So, I assume that my cookies is thicker than Fatboo's one. 
  3. The existence of red coloring is to add some festive feel to the overall look of the bangkit. It's absolutely optional.  

Flour Preparation

10 - 12 Pandan Leaves : Wash and wipe with paper towels till dry. Cut into desired lengths. 

800g Sago Flour : In a big wok, fry sago flour over low heat for 10 mins. Stirring all the time to ensure the flour is not burnt. The initial frying stage would be lumpy and hard to stir. 

Cut Pandan Leaves : Add it into the flour and continue to fry another 10mins till flour is light and the pandan leaves are dried and crinkled. The flour will become dry and flies up when stirred. This indicates that the flour is ready. 

Note : 
  1. You may not be able to finish the Sago Flour at the end of the baking process. But it's better to prepare more as some will be used for managing the dough, flouring the pastry board and so on. Read on, experience it, and you will know. 
  2. You can prepare the flour one day in advance (or upto 5 days in advance), as the flour needs to cool down completely before you can use them. 
  3. It is highly advisable to leave the fried sago flour overnight to ensure that it is completely cooled. Once it is cooled, sift and store the prepared flour in air-tight container.

Pastry Preparation

1) In one bowl, stir 240gm Coconut Cream and 200gm Icing Sugar with hand whisk till sugar dissolved and mixture turned semi-greyish thick sugary solution.

2) In another bowl, whisk 3 Egg Yolks and the remaining 100gm Icing Sugar under high speed till creamy white and sugar is dissolved.

3) Lower speed, add in (3) coconut sugar solution and whisk till well mixed.

4) With a wooden spatula, add in 560gm Fried Sago Flour, still till well mixed. *See Photo

5) Cover the dough with a piece of wet cloth to prevent pastry from drying out, let the dough rest awhile.

You only need to mix 560gm Fried Sago Flour into the wet mixture. The rest of the fried sago flour is for you to dust the working top, adding more flour to the sticky dough, dust the rolling pin, and everything else. The pastry is VERY STICKY. In my first attempt, I thought somewhere went wrong, I was worried through the entire experiment as it's not easy to handle.

Rolling and Cutting the Pastry

1) Line pastry board with a piece of clingwrap to prevent it from sticking.

2) Working with a cake scrapper, cut out 1/3 portion of the sticky pastry, sprinkle some fried sago flour over, knead in. You need to add in flour bit by bit till pastry is smooth, soft and pliable.

3) Flour worktop, place pastry on it, roll dough out to to your desired thickness. For all my 3 attempts, I conclude that 6mm thickness is ideal for my personal preference.

4) With cookie cutter, cut out the bangkit, place it on a lined baking tray.

5) Using a skewer or a toothpick, put a tiny dot of red color on the bangkit to give this cookies an overall festive feel.


Bake in pre-heated oven at 160 degree for 10mins. This initial 10mins is to allow the bangkit to set the design.
Then, reduce the temperature to 130 degree, and continue to bake for a further 10 to 15 mins or till Bangkit is very light beige in color. Keep an eye on it. Gauge it yourself. Your oven and my oven temperament might not be the same.

In the original recipe, it mentioned 160 degree for 10mins and 130 degree for 20mins. I tried, but I think 10mins + 10mins is sufficient. So, always feel it yourself. Because your bangkit thickness might be different from mine.

And this is how it looked when it is out of the oven, The hairline cracks on top of the cookies looked quite nice tho. And the little red dot makes the whole bangkit looked nice. I like!

It takes me 3 attempts to understand certain tricks. I learn new things in every baking experiment. For this bangkit, here's my sharing ...

My 1st attempt : Followed the original recipe obediently. Taste and smells good, but not sweet enough to my liking. Fragile cookies, definitely need alot of tender-loving-care. And it does melt-in-the-mouth very quickly as promised. I'm satisfied, and I consider this a success. Max says this gives him childhood feel. I don't know how true.

My 2nd attempt : I tried tweaking the recipe by using 80% sago flour and 20% tapioca flour, and increased sugar from 200g to 300g. The result, taste and smells better with the enhancement in sweetness. But cookies texture is not what I expected. The cookies is 'crunchy'! And yes, it does melt-in-the-mouth, but it melts VERY slowly... Duh! I don't know why, but I consider this is a failure because the cookies texture is not what I wanted. My MIL literally 'promote' it to her friends who came to our house. And I also don't know why this failed bangkit is a crowd pleaser. *face-palm*

My 3rd attempt : This is the recipe written as above. 100% sago flour, 300g sugar. Result was satisfactory. Cukup lemak, cukup wangi, cukup manis (literally means enough of coconuty, enough of sweetness, and nice fragrance in Malay). Although the cookies is still on the fragile side, they are better than the 1st attempt. But to be honest, you can't expect tough cookies to give you melt-in-the-mouth feel. Usually fragile cookies does. That's the logic I guess. I found the 'feel' on my 3rd attempt. And also, I'd say this is a success!

Kudos to this recipe. These cookies are good and well received. Definitely better than store-bought. I guarantee you this for sure. And yes, I repeat myself again, it does melt-in-the-mouth quicky! I have to say, I love this recipe, I really do.

But is this the perfect recipe? Maybe yes to me, but maybe no to others. I will continue to search for a perfect ones. If you do have one, please do share with me. Ok?

And a quick tips for you. When you arrange the cookies into the container, use chopsticks to do the work, With my clumsy fingers, I just couldn't control it well, I damaged a few cookies during the process. And I quickly use chopsticks to do the rest of the cookies arrangements.

I hope you like this recipe. And if you do, please go ahead and share this recipe with your friends and relatives.

In this New Year, may good luck and prosperity follow everyone of you. Happy New Year everyone!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Salmon Fish Bone Tofu Soup (三文鱼骨豆腐汤)

Milky and light brown fish soup, full of flavor and packed with nutritious goodness. This is what I cooked for my family for dinner tonight. Not only the fish head, there's alot of fish bones in it too! Especially my skinny Mother-In-Law needs alot of nutrients now. Like Calcium, Omega and other goodness. All in this pot of soup.

On a side note... This soup is NOT FISHY all. It depends on how you cook it.

This soup is indeed nutritious, delicious and versatile. You may replace with your favorite vegetables in this recipe. Besides, having a warm fish soup is so comforting especially during the cold season.

I spotted some really fresh Salmon fish head and bones at Chinatown wet market today. Fish monger packed them into a big pack and selling it to me at S$8.00. There's quite alot of meat in the heads and the bones actually. For those who often cook fish soup will know fish bones and head has lots of flavor.

And this is how I prepare this soup....

To prepare :

1. Gently, give the fish head and bones a quick wash. Drain them using kitchen towel. Yes, you will need quite alot of kitchen towels to do the work. But if you did it well, it would make pan-frying easier. Wet fish will makes your pan-frying fish experience turned disaster.

2. Heat up some oil in a wok, add in few slices of ginger, sprinkle some salt. Under medium fire, pan fry the fish head and bones until lightly browned. You don't have to put too much oil. Salmon itself is oily. It will release oil on its own.

3. Let the fish rest on the paper towel to drain up some excess oil.

S$8.00 for all above fish bones and head is definitely too much for today. I divided them into two portion. 1 portion eat fresh, another portion wrap well and freeze away for next week. This means I only paid S$4.00 fish bones and head for 1 recipe.

(Source : Annielicious Food)

  • Some Salmon fish head and fish bones, about S$4.00
  • 2 thumb sized ginger, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed 
  • 1 block of firm tofu
  • 6 stalks of dried mushrooms, soaked till soft
  • 1 stalk of leek
  • slices of daikon
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorn, crushed
  • 1 bird's eye chilli
  • a kettle of hot boiling water... This is important
  • thumb sized rock sugar... This is important
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp Shao Xing Wine (Chinese cooking wine)
  • dashes of pepper
  • Salt to taste
for garnishing
  • some Spring onions
  • some Coriander

As I mentioned earlier, you may replace with your preferred vegetables. If you don't like Salmon, you can use Threadfin bones too. Add in more ginger if your tolerance of fishy smell is low. But as I said right at the beginning, this fish soup is not fishy at all. But that's provided you follow my instructions.

But I have to confess that pan-frying the salmon fish bones do makes your kitchen  smells fishy. It's unavoidable. If you pan-frying fish at home before,  you will know what I mean. So, your kitchen do smells fishy after pan-frying the fish bones. But the soup won't taste fishy. Is that clear now?

Method :

  1. Boil a pot of water. We need hot BOILING water. Don't use room temperature water. 
  2. In a pot or a casserole, heat up a tsp oil, fry the ginger and garlic till fragrant. Add in pan-fried fish bones and head. Cover up with lid, let it fry for 5 to 7 minutes or until the fish bones and head is well heated up. Keep an eye on it, and don't burnt them.
  3. Add in the hot boiling water until the water covers the fish head and bones. This is important. You have to follow this if you wants milky looking fish soup.
  4. Add chinese mushrooms and black peppercorn. Turn fire to high heat and let it boil for 10mins. And then, add tofu, turn to medium low heat, and boil for another 10mins. 
  5. Remove any scums and oil floated on top of the soup during boiling process. Don't be lazy. Try to keep as little oil as you can in the soup.  
  6. Add shao xing wine, rock sugar, fish sauce, and salt. Give it a stir. Taste.
  7. Add in daikon slices and bird's eye chilli, cover lid, continue to boil for another 10mins. Taste the soup, add more salt if needed. Once it is okay, heat off, and leave it there. 
  8. Until you are ready for the meal, reheat the soup, garnish with spring onions and coriander.

Add in the hot boiling water into the the pan-fried bones gives milky looking fish soup base. If you use room temperature water, you might not be able to achieve what you want. I need to re-emphasize, it is HOT BOILING WATER. Don't give me lukewarm water or whatever nots.

Boil the fish head and bones under high heat at the first 10 minutes is also part of the trick that gives milky appearance soup result.

Ooohhh,.. Look at the milky and light brown color! Is this what you want to achieve? If yes, please DO NOT skip any steps that I mentioned earlier. My soup looked clean and very little oil.

Flavorful fish bones soup and some vegetables. Yes, this is simple, economical and absolutely delicious. You don't have to dry up your wallet to eat well.

I still remember how my mother-in-law complaint to me about the fishy smell on her salmon fish bones soup that she tried cooking months ago while I'm away from home. Today, she's actually savoring every last drop of broth in her bowl. I'm glad.

I hope you like it.

Comin' up... I will come up with some Chinese New Year dish. Stay tuned!

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