Archive for the ‘Meat’ Category

1st November this year fell on a Tuesday. I could have made a bridge for a longer “weekend”, but could not due to my workload at work 😦

I was glad to break off work for that one day that week for a yearly family reunion, hosted by one of my SIL’s. While driving to my SIL’s, we stopped at a friend’s house. I received a text message from F that she was giving away some of her ‘harvests’ in her garden. 

Guess what? I hand-picked the chillies in her garden. They were so, very, very fresh! She wanted only the red ones, so I helped myself to the green chillies. I didn’t mind the ‘raw version’ at all, because I knew if I left the chillies wrapped in absorbent paper in the lower drawer of the fridge, the chillies would ripen. 

And I was right!

10 days later, some of the birds’ eye chillies had turned to a lovely bright orange-crimson colour. And I knew exactly where some of the chillies would end up into 😉

Thai Chef vs Me

There was one Wednesday that I took a day off and brought my 2 sons out for lunch (Note, both boys had half-day school / Univ on a Wednesday). We went to a Thai resto near our place. 

For starter, I ordered Tom Yum Goong (TYG) for us. It was a good TYG, but I missed that Oomph in their soup. It was a wee bit too lame. 

Saturday came, and TYG was in the pipeline for our lunch menu.

So here it was, my version vs the Thai Chef’s. 


And not only that, I made my TYG in my thermomix! 


To be honest, I could eat my TYG all day without anything else that day, because it had been a while since I last made the soup! I looked back at a post I wrote; it was in March this year when I had friends over. You can read it all … Here 🙂

Because I love bold-tasting soups, I thought of a way to totally infuse the aromatics in the soup first before proceeding further. Be warned! It’s a highly seasoned soup that hits the palate and warms the heart without burning, if you know what I meant 😉

(Note: This is my own recipe using my preferred method – tried and tested – after a few trials and errors).  

Please be aware that some measurements are not given as only you will know how much or how little you want to put in the dish. Remember, “Ut quod ali cibus est aliis fuat acre venenum” or what is food for one man may be bitter poison to others. 

Ingredients A

  • 2 cm piece galangal
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 lemongrass
  • 2 coriander roots

Ingredient B

  • 5 g cooking oil / coconut oil

Ingredient C

  • 1,500 g water

Ingredients D

  • Lemongrass, bruised and halved
  • Shallots, halved 
  • Galangal, sliced
  • Bird’s eye chillies, lightly bruised
  • Kaffir lime leaves, lightly bruised with the fingers

Ingredients E

  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Homemade chilli paste, eyeball for colour, taste and flavour
  • Salt, to taste 

Ingredients F

  • Prawns, shelled 
  • Mushrooms, sliced 

Ingredient G

  • Lime juice, to taste
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved or whole

Ingredient H

  • Fresh coriander 

Steps –

  • Place A in the TM bowl. Grind 5 sec/ sp 10  * 2

  • Add B. Sauté for 3 mins/100C/ sp 2 
  • Place D in SB and add C. Cook for 15 mins/ 120C/ sp1


  • Remove the SB and tip the aromatics in a bowl. Set aside for garnish later.

  • Transfer F in the SB. Cook for 4 mins/120C/ sp 1 or until the prawns are cooked. 

  • Remove the SB and set aside the cooked prawns, mushrooms, etc
  • Add E. Cook further for 5 mins/ 120C/ sp 2


  • Add G. Stir for 1 min/ R/ spoon
  • Assemble a serving bowl with prawns, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, some slices of galangal, bird’s eye chillies, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Garnish with H.
  • Done!


Happy 1st Anniversary!

I made the TYG to go with my Nasi Ulam and baked spiced chicken. Our Saturday lunch was the bomb, by the way, with full-blown explosion of flavours. Yup, my kind of food 🙂


There’s no better way to celebrate my first year anniversary of owning the thermomix than sharing with you some of the dishes I have conjured the past 12 months using my most used kitchen gadget today!

And as they say, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words‘ …


IMPORTANT NOTICE : Please be aware that I’m neither a Consultant/ Advisor nor an employee of Thermomix.  I am NOT paid anything from any parties. I just happened to own a thermomix and love doing what I’m doing and will continue doing so. 

Happy Mid-Week ya’ll!

Cheers!

I made my first foolproof steamed buns or paos 3 years ago. I’m glad I have gone through that pao-making journey the conventional way first before delving into the “mind” of an automated kitchen gadget early this year. This reminds me of learning to drive a manually-manoeuvred car first before going into an automatic-geared one.  

For the record, I am still a believer of manually operated cars. Call me old-fashioned, but isn’t that what we have to go through life first? Always learn and tackle the hard way first and everything else will be easy peasy? 😜

Three vs One

3 years ago, I went through the hurdles of getting the dough proofed 3 times before I could taste the fruit of my success. It was a long and winding process and the key word was ‘Patience’. My Kenwood did a fantastic job in kneading the dough to perfection…BUT it was the waiting time that consumed my day.

Here’s why …

First Proofing

Second Proofing


 

The pao on the right was proofed for the third time. The one on the left was proofed twice

With lots of patience, the paos turned out top notch in my books in terms of size and texture. 

L – R : Tau sar (red bean paste) bun and chicken bun

Then came the Thermomix.  My waiting time was reduced by two thirds as the buns required to be proofed only once for 30 mins.  That’s it!

And here’re the results…

Any difference?

    
 

Following my conventional pao recipe, I converted the method to that of the Thermomix way of cooking. Instead of vegetable shortening, I used corn oil.

Ingredients A

  • 120 g water
  • 20 g corn oil
  • 20 g sugar
  • 1 tsp instant dry yeast

Ingredients B –

  • 250 g Pao flour (note using plain flour is a healthier option but will not yield the white, soft and fluffy texture of a classic Chinese steamed buns)
  • A pinch of sea salt

Ingredient C –

  • 600 g water

How to prepare ?

  1. Place A in TM bowl: 30 sec/ 37 deg C/ sp 3
  2. Add B. Mix for 30 sec / sp 0 -> 6
  3. Knead for 2 mins
  4. Tip the dough on a work top and knead lightly to form a log shape. Cut 6 to 8 pieces from the dough.
  5. Flatten each ball into disc-shape and add char siew filling into each flattened disc.
  6. Proof the buns for 30 mins
  7. While waiting for the buns to rise, boil 600 g water @ 30 mins/ V/ spoon
  8. Place the proofed buns in the Varoma set (dish and tray). Steam for 25 mins/ V/ R/ sp 3. Rest for 5 mins before serving 

   
  

With homemade char siew filling

I would be lying if this was not yummy …

Verdict: The stark difference with using the TM was that, a huge proportion of my time has been saved as opposed to the conventional way. There appeared to be no difference in the texture of the pao immediately after it came out of the steamer (Varoma set), however, TM paos if left to cool too long would harden, unlike the traditional paos, which would remain soft and fluffy.  The only way to work around the TM paos was to freeze them as soon as they have cooled and steamed them when needed. Size-wise, TM paos were only slightly smaller (due to less proofing duration).  Both methods had no influence on the taste. They were equally yummy. Finally, use your imagination for the filling. It’s your pao, your call😜
I’m linking this post to Cook Blog Share Week 17 hosted by Sneaky Veg

Blessed Sunday!
Cheers

It was only quite recently that I found the perfect recipe for baby potatoes (‘Krielaardappelen” in Dutch), as far as the palates of my and my 3 guys are concerned. I will share the recipe in a later post, so stay tuned 😉

The fact that I had a 2kg bag of baby potatoes and a great recipe to boot for a perfect summer meal, I made sure the protein to complement the carbohydrate was right, too. I knew exactly what I wanted to cook for one of our Sunday lunches. On Saturday, I included on the shopping list, 5 pieces of Tournedos (nottornado“the destructive and violent rotating winds, please. LOL!), but small round pieces of lean cut of meat from the end portion of beef tenderloin. It is sometimes called, filet mignon.

In my fridge were a stack of uncooked rashers of streaky pork belly bacon ready to be used to wrap the tournedos

Hubby went shopping, but – alas – he came home with something else, escalope de veau or kalfslapjes or veal cutlets/ filets! No tournedos! No filet mignon! Yikes! What to do next??!!

Plan B – A Challenge!

Okay, no tournedos or filet mignon. No worries! I eyeballed my kitchen cupboards and fridge to double and triple check what ingredients I had in order to come up with a decent meal, completely unplanned at the eleventh hour!

My brain was gear-wheeling for the right mix and match of the available ingredients. For Heaven’s sake, its Summer and my summer chord was harping this tune for me. And here, folks, was the result!

  
This was probably one of my most perfectly executed dishes, and I loved every single moment assembling this dish together *big smile*

Ingredients

  • 5 pieces escalope de veau or kalfslapes (Note an escalope is a piece of boneless meat, usually veal, that has been thinned out)
  • 20 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 10 green asparagus, par-boiled
  • Some cooking oil
  • Some water
  • Fleur de Sel and freshly milled black peppercorns, to taste

For the filling –

  • Some fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
  • Emmentaler Cheese, finely chopped (I used Emmentaler since that was the only cheese I had that day. You may want to use any of your favourite cheeses but not the strong types)
  • Freshly-milled black peppercorns

Kitchen “gadgets” 

  1.  A pan
  2. Electrical grill-teppanyaki-hot plate 
  3. Some Toothpicks

How to assemble

  
  

  1. Prepare the cheesy-herby filling and scoop a tablespoon of the filling to each escalope.
  2. Roll the escalope tightly and neatly, making sure the filling remains intact
  3. Lay 4 rashers of bacon under each escalope and place 2 par-cooked green asparagus on top of the rolled escalope
  4. Roll the bacon around the escalope and asparagus neatly and tightly. Seal with some toothpicks. Do all 5.
  5. Place each bundle of bacon-wrapped escalope to a slightly greased electric grill-teppanyaki-hot plate to brown and sear the outer layer (Note, at this point, the meat is not fully cooked)
  6. To cook the escalope further, transfer the rolled meats to a pan, with a little cooking oil. Add some water and season to taste. (Note the “seasoned water” will transform into a nice gravy)
  7. Before serving, I transferred the bundle to the grill which enhanced the BBQ-flavour
  8. Serve the escalope with your favourite carbs and greens. 

  
  
Notes: The thinned out escalopes cooked really fast and retained quite a bit of moisture. Beware of the seasoning! Make sure not to exaggerate too much on strong herbs and spices when cooking veal steaks because veal has a very mild flavour. This unplanned dish turned out to be a keeper!  It had very interesting flavours – the mild escalope sandwiched between the smokiness and saltiness from the bacon and a light herby flavour of the rosemary and creamy Emmentaler as you cut through the piece. Mmmmm…. Simply divine!

Oh by the way, I would like to thank Jasline @Foodie Baker for nominating me with “The Versatile Blogger Award” which I’m proud to keep and share the badge on my blog 🙂

Do hop over at Jasline’s blog. She has an amazingly neat blog. Love her step by step instructions and her photography skills. Well done, Jasline! 
 

I’m linking this post over at  Cooking with Herbs for July: BBQ with Rosemary and Thyme, hosted by Karen of Lavender & Lovage

  
 

This post is also linked to Tea Time Treats with the July’s theme “BBQ Fodder’ hosted by Janie of The Hedgecombers 

 

I’m also linking this post over at #CookBlogShare, hosted for the last time by Lucy at  Supergolden Bakes

 

  
Have a fantastic weekend!

Cheers!

 

I was in London recently with my family. With the 2-week Easter school break, I thought, why not kill two birds with one stone? The main purpose of our trip was to have my Malaysian passport renewed at the Malaysian High Commission in London.

By the way, if you are wondering why I had not had my passport renewed in Belgium, well, the answer is “yes, I could do that”, but it would take at least 4 weeks! The Malaysian Embassy in Belgium would do exactly the same thing, ie, sending the entire necessary original documents to London for checking purposes and having them printed out with the special printing machine. Unfortunately, the special printer is not available in Belgium. Furthermore, I would not want to risk losing all my original documents in the post.

At the Malaysian High Commission in London, the passport was ready on the same day. How convenient was that! A write-up on this topic will come in a later post 😉

Mind the Gap!

1. Mind the Gap 

Mind the Gap between the train and the platform”.

This is really a catch phrase – very mesmeric, indeed – that you would hear over and over again from the public address system on the London Underground Rapid Transit System. It was introduced in 1969 as a warning to train passengers to remind them of the gap between the train door and the station platform or where platforms are of uneven heights with the train doors.

1. Underground

Some places of interest

We have been to London a few times already, mostly for shopping and sightseeing. We never failed to visit Knightsbridge where the famous Harrods stands regally.

2a. Harrods by day

2b. Harrods by night

Taking pictures inside Harrods was an absolute no-no. There were security guards in every nook and cranny of each hall; however, I could not resist taking this 1 meter high exclusive Belgian handcrafted chocolate Easter Egg. Just look at the price tag!

3. Easter EggI wanted to take another picture of an eye-popping display of a Roger Dubuis watch with a price tag of GBP 223,000!! I dared not click my camera because a beady-eyed guard was standing right behind me. Well, I approached the guard and asked – politely – his permission for a “little” snapshot. As expected, ‘Permission Denied’! Ouch!

Gerrard Street does not sound Chinese, but this street is as Chinese or Asian as can be. It’s of course London’s very own Chinatown! You would think that you’re in Asia somewhere 🙂

4. Gerrard Street

I love going to periodic Markets. If you are in London and it’s a Friday, don’t forget to go to Borough Market. According to the London Official Visitor Guide, Borough Market is one of the top 10 to-go-to markets in London and is described as “gourmet’s paradise”. The nearest Underground is the London Bridge. I could spend the whole day there, but we did not have a lot of time. There were a million and one other places to visit and things to do elsewhere…

Borough Market through the keyhole of a tourist …

 5a. Borough Market

5b. Borough Market

5c. Borough Market

Eating Out

We have heard Indian foods outside of India are the best in the UK. Well, we were tempted by the display of the delicious and aromatic vegetarian thali prepared by chefs from Gujarati Rasoi at the Borough Market. That became our lunch. We practically ate out of lunchboxes in London! There were other stopovers that enticed us for try outs out of lunchboxes that we became overly stuffed and were not able to eat a proper and decent meal.

6. Gujarati Rasoi Thali 

Probably, the only decent sit-down meal we had in London was at Wagamama near Leicester Square

7. Wagamama

As a matter of fact, we had earlier wanted to lunch at our favourite Malaysia Kopi Tiam (coffee shop/ house) on Charing Cross Road. We enjoyed many delicious platters served there in the past and were not disappointed – dishes that I was familiar with, of course. The following pictures were taken during our last trip to London in the summer of 2010.

8a. Kopitiam8c. Kopitiam

8b. Kopitiam8e. Kopitiam

8d. Kopitiam8f. Kopitiam 

Almost four years later, Malaysia Kopi Tiam was no longer in her former glory. What happened??!! I sincerely hope that the restaurant is under renovation or perhaps has moved to another location? I hope it’s the former…

9b. Kopitiam2

9a. Kopitiam1

Charing Cross Road = Shopping + Bookstores!

If you are on Charing Cross Road, the most logical thing to do is to shop! For me, Charing Cross Road is synonymous to the innumerable mega bookstores. We stopped at the two most well known bookstores – Foyles and Waterstone’s. I could spend my entire day there flipping through all kinds of genres of books.

It was at Foyles that I bought Martha Stewart’s Everyday Light cookbook. After eating out of takeaway lunchboxes for three days, I made sure that we had a proper Sunday lunch after our London trip.

Martha Stewart’s Leg of Lamb with Mint Sauce was my definite choice as Lamb is a special animal appropriately associated with Easter. Likewise, Lamb and Mint sauce go so well together. I have used Martha Stewart’s recipe with my modifications indicated in blue font.

Ingredients –

  • 1 whole bone-in leg of lamb, trimmed off excess fat and membrane (I bought a 2-kg leg of lamb)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper (I used Himalayan coarse salt and mixed Szechuan pepper, ground with a pestle and mortar)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, cut into 20 slivers total
  • Fresh sprigs of rosemary – this is not in the recipe

 1. Lamb prep_collage 

Method –

  1. Preheat oven to circa 230 deg Celsius (450 deg F)
  2. Rub lamb with a generous amount of freshly ground coarse salt and mixed pepper, and then rub with oil. With the tip of a sharp paring knife, cut twenty circa 1.5 cm (½ -inch) deep slits all over the lamb.
  3. Insert a garlic sliver and some of the fresh sprigs of rosemary into each opening
  4. Place the lamb on a roasting rack set on a baking or roasting pan. You may want to line the roasting pan with an aluminium foil or baking sheet. I skipped that.
  5. Transfer to oven and immediately reduce oven to ca 165 C (325 F). I do not have an instant-read thermometer, but if you owned one, then Martha Stewart recommended that the reading must register 52 C (125 F) to 57 C (135 F) for rare; or 57 C (135 F) to 60 C (140 F) for medium, 1¼ to 1¾ hours. Note the thermometer needs to be inserted in the thickest part (avoiding the bone). Since I do not have an instant-read thermometer, my acid test is based on the insertion of a metal skewer into the thickest part of the leg, and then I immediately place the skewer on my lower lip. If it’s still cold, the lambs goes right back in the oven. If the skewer feels hot on my lip, then the lamb is ready. The roasting time is between 1½ to 1¾ hours, depending on the weight and size of the leg of lamb
  6. Remove from the oven; tent with a tin foil and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
  7. Serve with mint sauce

 2. Lamb_roasted whole + carved

3. Lamb_roasted_whole

4. Lamb_roasted_carved1

4. Lamb_roasted_carved2

Mint Sauce

Ingredients –

  • ½ cup white-wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar (Sorry, but this was way too much! I used ½ cup raw cane sugar and even then, the mint sauce was too sweet for my liking. I will seriously reduce the amount of sugar the next time)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • A pinch of Himalayan coarse salt for balance of taste – this is not in the recipe

 Method –

  1. In a small saucepan, bring vinegar, sugar, salt and water to a boil. I did not stir, but rather, swirl the saucepan around over the stovetop
  2. Lower heat and simmer until liquid is syrupy and reduced in amount, for about 15 to 20 minutes
  3. Remove from heat, stir in mint and let cool completely

 1. Mint sauce_prep_collage

According to Martha Stewart, the sauce can be refrigerated up to 1 week in an airtight container.

2. Mint sauce_cookbook

3. Lamb + Mint sauce_collage

4. Lamb + Mint sauce

I am most happy to link this post to Cooking with Herbs Challenge for April, hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage with the April theme of using Mint as the selected cooking herb.

Cooking with Herbs

This post is also linked to Cook like a Star – ALL Stars Anniversary with my choice of Star Chef, Martha Stewart. This event which runs between March to April is organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Mich from Piece of Cake

Cook Like A Star! 

Because I have picked a Cookbook to refer to for this special meal, I am linking this post to Cook-Your-Books #11 hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours

Cook Your Books 

With another week passing us by, I am linking this special post meal of Lamb coinciding with the Holy Week to Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/ Luv’s Made with Love Mondays: Week 14th April

 Made with Love Mondays

Because this post has a hint of random thoughts and cookbook-related, I thought a link up to Beth Fish Reads’ Weekend Cooking: The Kitchen Journals: A Week in the Life is most appropriate.

 Weekend Cooking

 

Enjoy the rest of the week!

 

Cheers!

Nope, this is not the bird’s nest done the Chinese way. It has nothing to do with swallows’ nest, which is synonymous to the bird’s nest soup we are akin to as the medicinal delicacy made from the salivary excretions of the cave swift(lets).

I was introduced to this dish in Belgium by my late Mother-in-law (MIL) in 1995. The classic Flemish bird’s nest is actually the encasing of a hardboiled egg in minced meat.  Sounds familiar?  I guess you would call it by Scotch eggs (in the UK) or Nargisi Kofta (Moghul kitchen).  In the Netherlands and Belgium, these are called “Vogelnestje”, literally translated as “little bird’s nest”

1. Bird's Nest1

A frugal meal

People may have associated Scotch eggs as an invention by the Scots, but there are many legends and history that have proven otherwise. Let’s just say that the Scotch eggs’ origins are rather obscure. You can check this out on the web.

If you don’t already know, “scotch” also means avoiding waste, hence would match the definition of an “economical meal”. Scotch eggs, a frugal meal make more sense 😀

My Scotch egg or better known in Flanders as “little bird’s nest” is based on Jeroen Meus’ recipe.  Jeroen is a very popular TV chef in Flanders. At the same time he runs his own restaurant called, Luzine in Wilsele and he also whipped up 4 recipe books ‘Dagelijkse Kost 1, 2, 3 and 4.  The 5th book will be on the shelf very soon.

By the way, I am the proud owner of all his 4 recipe books and will gladly buy his 5th. His recipes are no-nonsense, easy to follow and very honest and straightforward.

The “Vogelnestje” is from his 2nd book.  I have adapted the recipe with some modifications.

Ingredients –

(Makes 6 “bird’s nests”)

  • 600g minced meat (I used 1 kg)
  • 4 eggs + 1 extra egg (I used 6 eggs + 1 extra egg for binding)
  • 2 Tbsp breadcrumbs (I used a bit more than 2 Tbsp)
  • 1 knob of butter (I used olive oil)
  • Nutmeg
  • Pepper (freshly milled black pepper)
  • Salt to taste

2. Bird's Nest_ingredients1

The Tomato Sauce (Own version)

  • 2 onions (I used 1 large onion)
  • Olive oil
  • 800g tomatoes (I used 2 big tomatoes, skinned and diced finely)
  • 80g of concentrated tomato paste (I used supercirio tomato paste)
  • 1 tsp sambal, to taste (I used 1 tsp of Mae Ploy chilli shrimp paste + 1/2 tsp Mae Pranom shrimp flavoured crushed chilli)
  • 1 tsp sugar (I omitted sugar but used about 1/3 chicken stock cube)
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh thyme (I used dried thyme)
  • Fresh oregano (I used dried oregano)
  • 5 cl red wine (I used a dash of Sandeman Ruby Porto)
  • Mushrooms, thinly sliced (these are not on the recipe)

Mashed potatoes or fries (I made wedged herbed potatoes)

3. Bird's Nest_ingredients2

Method –

The bird’s nest –

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the 6 eggs and count 9 to 10 minutes.
  • Cool the eggs under cold running water and peel them.  Set aside.
  • Take a large bowl and add the ground meat with a pinch of salt and freshly milled black pepper.
  • Add the extra egg and combine this to the meat mixture.
  • Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the meat and grate some fresh nutmeg, to taste.
  • Wash your hands and knead the meat to a firm but not too dry mixture
  • Divide the meat mixture to 6 meatballs
  • Put the ball in your hand, flatten each meatball and push the centre to form a well and place a hard-boiled egg into the well. Cover the entire egg with the meat, rolling the meat with your hands until you get a smooth meatball surface.
  • Place the bird’s nests in an oven dish

4. Bird's Nest_egg shaped minced

  • Preheat the oven to 180° C
  • Put a frying pan over medium heat, melt a knob of butter (Note: I omitted this step.  I baked my bird’s nests in the oven with some olive oil, turning once or twice until the crusts turned golden brown)
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Check if the meat is cooked by inserting a toothpick in the meatball. If the toothpick comes out dry, the meat is cooked.5. Bird's Nest_oven baked1

Method –

The sauce –

  • Place a casserole over medium high heat and drizzle some olive oil.
  • Peel and chop the onion coarsely
  • Sauté the onion and stir frequently
  • Add a spoonful of sugar (I replaced sugar with some chicken stock cube), the concentrated tomato paste and the chilli shrimp paste.
  • Keep stirring and then pour the ruby porto (in lieu of red wine) until the alcohol evaporates.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and the sliced mushrooms.
  • Sprinkle the herbs in the pot and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.
  • Taste the sauce for seasoning before serving.

How to serve –

  • Cut each meatball in half and place the halves on a serving plate.

I served my bird’s nest with homemade baked potato wedges and braised Belgian endives (witloof) with the special sambal and porto sauce.  It was scrumptious!

6a. Bird's Nest3

6b. Bird's Nest4

6c. Bird's Nest5

I’m quite sure I’ve done justice to Jeroen’s “Vogelnestje” 😉

I am submitting this post to the Little Thumbs up event with the August theme “EGGS”, hosted by Yen from Eat your heart out organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids

th_littlethumbups1-1

As well as to –

Cook-Your-Books #3  organized by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours

Cook Your Books

Ciao and enjoy the rest of the week!

After getting a stamp of approval from my three guys for steaming my very first foolproof baos / buns – with success – there was no stopping me.  I steamed some more buns last weekend!

Did I not impart in my endnote, here, that I was a happy BUN-ny? 😀

I made the chicken-filled buns – again – last weekend on the request of my sons.  I thought the equation of steaming more buns meant requiring the consumption of a gigantic portion of chicken meat, hence, I bought a whole rotisserie chicken (kip aan’t spit).  Duh!

Chix pao_Kip aan 't spitWhen I saw how much meat I could fork out from the bird, well, maybe a bit too much for my chicken-filled paos, I had to put Plan B in action. Waste not, want not 😀

2. Curry puffs_ meat removed

I knew immediately what I wanted to make from the balance of the chicken mixture. Yep, curry puffs!!  This is one snack that brings me down memory lane.  I LURVE curry puffs 😀

2z. Curry puffs_curry puffs

Short cut to success

Curry Puff = Curry + Puff

Didn’t I say it’s easy peasy (breezy)?

Okay, I’m cheating here, because I bought two store bought puff pastries, one called ‘bladerdeeg met boter’ (puff pastry with butter) and the other, simply, ‘bladerdeeg’ (puff pastry).  By the way, isn’t butter one of the key ingredients in making puff pastries?  Erm…double dose of Duh’s… LOL!

I bought two different types of puff pastries because I was not sure which of the two puff pastries would engage well with my curry puff recipe.  If one fails, I would not be left in the lurch.

Now, the curry – I used Yeo’s Malaysian Curry Powder. Oh by the way, this was a gift from Chris – all the way from Ohio, USA!   Thank you, my friend.  The crinkled look on the packet means that the curry has not been deserted.  It was used to the fullest 😀

3. Curry puffs_curry powder

Ingredients:-

2 packets store bought puff pastries (makes 20 curry puffs)

Curry powder, to taste – honestly speaking, I used quite a lot, as I love curries 😛

I will omit the measurements in this post because it doesn’t make sense as the curry chicken filling was the leftover of the chicken-mix for my steamed buns. Please hop over here where the more precise ingredients and method can be found prior to adding the curry powderI added dried shiitake mushrooms this time.

Rotisserie chicken (pre-grilled/ pre-roasted/ pre-baked chicken meat or any of your favourite cooked meat!) – Believe you me; pre-cooked meat is a savior to this dish as it cuts a chunk of your cooking time. This statement concurs the ‘hassle-free’ part 😉

Carrot, grated

Spring Onion – cut in small rings

Ginger (I used one whole young ginger, grated)

Garlic, minced with some coarse sea salt

Roots of fresh coriander, minced

Dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes until plumped up

Sesame Oil

Soy sauce (I used Kikkoman soy sauce)

Shaohsing wine (optional – this was used for the steamed buns. Please omit, if you must)

Oyster sauce

White pepper (I added freshly milled black peper)

Sugar – taste for balance

Water and cornflour to thicken the sauce

Vegetable Oil

1egg, beaten – brushed on coating  

4a. Curry puffs_ingredients14b. Curry puffs_ingredients2

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Once the chicken mixture is combined, add the curry powder. Stir well; making sure that the chicken mixture is coated completely with the curry powder. Refrigerate until you are ready to handle the puff pastries.

5a. Curry puffs_ingredients35b. Curry puffs_ingredients4

Scoop 1 tea-spoonful of the curry chicken filling onto each dough circle. I used a drinking glass of 8 cm in diameter to mould the circles from the puff pastry.

6. Curry puffs_chix filling

Fold the chicken-filled pastry in half moon and start crimping or pleating the crust. I used the fork crust crimp method. Easy peasy! No hassle.

Finally, bake the curry puffs for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  My kitchen smelled exquisite that Sunday afternoon 😉

By the way, the rope crust crimp method would be really stylish and elegant looking. I tried doing that but most did not turn out with that rope crust crimped effect at all.  I did, however, manage to crimp one which turned out to be one big ugly blob!  I just gave up *sigh*

This was one monster curry puff! My sons said this looked like a dead chicken. LOL!

7. Curry puffs_monster puff

‘Dead chicken’ aside, I did pull some good lookers 😉

Et voilà!

My easy peasy hassle-free curry puffs for any busy full-time working or stay-at-home Mums. Yummilicious!

Curry puffs made with puff pastry with butter

Curry puffs made with puff pastry with butter

The fork crust crimped curry puffs were made with the 'normal' puff pastry

The fork crust crimped curry puffs were made with the ‘normal’ puff pastry

Closed up of the freshly baked curry puffs :-D

Closed up of the freshly baked curry puffs 😀

My Monday morning breakfast.  YUMMY!

My Monday morning breakfast. YUMMY!

By the way, do you remember these?

9a, Curry puffs_cross-section19b. Curry puffs_cross-section2

That’s the cross-section of the once-upon-a-time ugly blob!  As a saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”…

I rest my case  😉 

I am submitting this entry to the Little Thumbs Up event with the theme ,”CURRY”, hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders, organized by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite D.I.Y

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As well as to the September 2013 Cooking With Herbs Blog Challenge hosted by Lavender and Lovage

Cooking-with-Herbs-300x252

Cheers and carry on curry-ing!

I thought I could take a longer break from steaming more buns.  I had not the clue when I posted my last post Bakpao in Mini Cupcake Cases when Miss B from Everybody eats well in Flanders came ‘knocking’ at my blog wall and invited me to take up yet another challenge in the world of steaming hot buns!!  The last challenge I took up was here.

In my last post, I left you with a promise that I would invest on time and patience to make steamed buns the way they should be.  No more ready mix flour, but just pure patience and time management 😀

The real McCoy?

Actually I bought a bag of 1 kg Bapao Wheat Starch (Bapaomeel) Double Rings Brand. I bought the flour because of the word “bapao”; however, there were no instructions on how to use the flour.  Furthermore, I was blurred and blinded by the Chinese scripts all over the bag. It’s all Greek to me 😦  To add salt to injury (yep, that bad, really), there’s no picture of steamed buns on the label, BUT, pak choy (Chinese cabbage)!  And I thought I just hit the nail and bought a bag of the real McCoy!!

Then help came.  I am so grateful to Miss B. She came buzzing my way, sending me links and recipes, AND, the most unforgettable moment was meeting Miss B face-to-face last Saturday at our housewarming!  So good to meet you and your family, Miss B 😀

I got, among others, a bag of Red Lotus special flour and a tin of all-vegetable shortening (CRISCO) from Miss B. She also brought her delicious rice-cooker steamed moist banana cake, pandan kaya butter cake and homemade kaya coconut egg jam.  I was really pampered that day.  Thanks ever so much.

Steamed chicken pao_flourSteamed chicken pao_label for paos

Being a rather visual person, I was so glad to see graphics of steamed buns on the bag of the flour.  Yay, the real McCoy, at last!   But was it?  The instructions were in Thai script (sunskrit) and I was completely lost.   The quest continued. Then I remembered seeing this bag of flour sold at an Asian store, owned by a Taiwanese couple. I did not buy the flour, but took a snapshot of the label at the back of the flour bag. LOL!

What’s she up to now, you may ask?

Because, it’s not Thai or Chinese or Greek, but a language I could decipher 😉

1. Steamed chicken pao_label at back of pao flour

The recipe at the back of the flour bag – with a few moderations – became the basis of my journey to steaming more hot buns!

2. Steamed chicken pao_cool rack

Ingredients (Pao Dough)

400 g flour
210 ml water (I used lukewarm water)
100 g sugar (I used 14 tsp, which is about 50 g)
50 g shortening (I used 2 Tbsp CRISCO all-vegetable shortening)
13 g instant dry yeast (I used 1 sachet of 7 g instant yeast from Dr. Oetker)
8 g baking powder (I used 3 tsp of normal baking powder, following Miss B’s simulation and equation of 2 tsp DABP)
1 g improver (I did not use this)
A pinch of salt (this was not on the recipe label)

Method

1. Sift the flour and baking powder directly into the mixing bowl of the electric mixer. Place the pinch of salt on one side of the flour and the sugar on another side. Add the instant yeast in the centre followed by the lukewarm water and gradually combine together with a wooden spoon.  Add the shortening and knead the dough using the dough hook, first on minimum speed and gradually increasing to “1” (Kenwood Major).  Mix the dough for 12 minutes or until a smooth and non-stick dough is formed.

Steamed chicken pao_hook doughSteamed chicken pao_min to speed 1

2. Remove the dough from the electric mixer and place the dough in a slightly greased large bowl.  Cover the dough with a cling film and proof for 30 minutes or more.  I placed the bowl just above our slightly warm radiator and covered the bowl with a clean kitchen towel.

3. While waiting for the dough to rise, start your steamer.  I used my multi-purpose soup pot with the 3 steamer inserts I bought at IKEA.

4. After the first proofing, I divided the dough into 16 balls.  At this point, I had wanted to add the fillings, but I kept murmuring to myself “Patience! Patience!”.  I rested the 16 pieces of dough balls for another 15 minutes, covering them with a cling film over my warm radiator.

Steamed chicken pao_first proofingSteamed chicken pao_2nd proofing

Steamed chicken pao_2nd proofing2Steamed chicke pao_second proofing

5. Flatten each ball into a disc-like shape and fill the dough with the filling.  Some pieces were proofed and some not.  You will see the difference later, hence, read on…  The ones I proofed, I let the buns rise for about 15 minutes or more.

6. Steam the buns for 15 minutes on high.

Ingredients and method (Chicken filling with a twist)  – own recipe

8 rotisserie chicken drumsticks – yes, the ready-cooked ones!
(Remove as much meat from the bones, diced)
In a bowl, add the following and mix to combine –
1 Tbsp (Kikkoman) soy sauce
1 Tbsp Oyster sauce
1 Tbsp Shaohsing rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
White pepper
4 cm ginger, grated
3 coriander roots, minced 

Add 2 Tbsp corn oil in a pan and sauté 2 cloves garlic, minced with some coarse sea salt until fragrant. Add the above mixed ingredients and sauté further for a few seconds.  Thicken the sauce with 2 Tbsp water and 1 tsp cornflour. Once the sauce has thickened slightly, add the diced cooked chicken, 1 grated carrot and 2 spring onions (cut diagonally).  Stir and combine the mixture, making sure that the chicken meat is coated completely with the sauce. Refrigerate to cool before scooping 2 tea-spoonful of the chicken filling onto each dough piece.

3a. Steamed chicken pao_drumsticks3b. Steamed chicken pao_coriander roots

3c. Steamed chicken pao_filling3d. Steamed chicken pao_filling in dough

Kenwood and me

By the way, my brand new Kenwood Major has been standing in the corner of our kitchen since New Year’s Day 2013!  I got this as a gift from my other half.  I have been procrastinating with all the bakes. I’m glad I’ve found a useful task for my Kenwood – finally 😉

4. Steamed chicken pao_Kenwood Major

David and Goliath

I wanted to show you the difference of the end result of my steamed chicken buns. The one on the left was not proofed and the one on the right was left to rise for the last time for 15 minutes before going to the Steamer.  A picture is worth a thousand words.

5. Steamed chicken pao_comparison

I am submitting this entry to Aspiring Bakers #31 – Bao Ho-Chiak (May 2013) hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders

Small Small Baker/Aspiring Baker

Miss B, it was definitely “bao ho chiak”.  Breakfast was never the same again!

6a. Steamed chicken pao_high tea6b. Steamed chicken pao_high tea2

Oh by the way, I have a little surprise next post…. so stay tuned.

Cheers!