Archive for the ‘Rice Cooker Challenge’ Category

I wanted one whole chicken, but hubby came back with 8 pieces of chicken breasts! 

 

I was planning to try out my new Philips Multi Cooker (PMC) by cooking the entire bird in there, after Miss B from EEWIF showed me a photo of her cooked bird in her PMC not too long ago. Hmmm… yummy! 

 

With 8 chicken breasts, it’s another story.  I definitely had to put on my thinking cap and think of Plan B. So I ended up making this in my Philips Multi Cooker😄

  

 

Just one of my Kitchen Gadgets …

 

The PMC was one of my latest additions of kitchen gadgets.  I had wanted to buy a new Rice Cooker to kinda  “replace” my 20-year old National Rice Cooker.  It’s not that my “grand dame” was not working. On the contrary.  She’s been fighting tooth and nail, winning every battle by providing us with nicely cooked rice and porridge and cakes! The new RC was thought of under the condition of “what if..”

 

I bought my PMC during the Big Sale month of January this year, by the way. Miss B already bought hers in December. It’s good to have someone giving a review for the same product. Thanks, Miss B for “pushing” me into buying this new toy.  Ha ha …

 

I’m glad the PMC came with a recipe book in 2 languages (Dutch and French).  I was turning the pages looking for a chicken recipe.  There were a few – chicken curry, chicken tagine, basque chicken, however, the one that caught my eye was chicken legs with honey and soy sauce.  I did not follow the recipe completely as there were too few ingredients used; only 4. I wanted more flavours which I’m used to in my cooking, however, what I was interested in was the method of cooking the chicken with the PMC. To me, the steps are more important than the ingredients that went in the chicken. Well, that’s just me 😜


The following are the ingredients I used a lot in my kitchen, not necessarily the same, but ingredients that are available in my kitchen pantry, hence it can be any “mystery” item😄


Main item

8 pieces chicken breast meat

Marinade ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp Sushi & Sashimi Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp runny honey (I used Borneo Wild Honey)
  • 1 Tbsp ABC Kecap Manis (dark sweet soy)
  • 1 Tbsp Shaohsing wine
  • 1 fat clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon grass, minced
  • 3 cm piece ginger, finely grated
  • Fresh coriander leaves and stems, finely chopped
  • Freshly-milled White pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes 
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil 

 Steps

  • In a clean bowl, prepare the marinade, mixing all the ingredients together (see marinade ingredients)

  

  •  In a large bowl, coat the chicken breast meat with olive oil. 
  • Select the Bake/ Fry function. Pan-fry 3 pieces of chicken meat at a time to seal and brown lightly for 1 minute each side. Transfer to a plate.  Continue with the rest until the entire batch is done. Select the Off/Keep Warm function.

  

  • Coat the chicken meat with the marinade and immediately transfer to the cooking bowl of the PMC. Select the Slow-Cook function and pre-set the timer to 35 minutes.
  • After 35 minutes, make a cornflour mixture to thicken the gravy. Slow-cook for another 20 minutes. 
  • Garnish with torn fresh coriander leaves and white sesame seeds

  

Verdict: The chicken was tender and succulent, not dry, which I liked. I was amazed that the chicken browned really nicely with the Bake/ Fry function. The sauce turned out rather thin despite the cornflour mixture. Overall, it was a tasty chicken. 

I will cook this again, but improving as I go along😉

I’m linking this post to Little Thumbs Up April event “CHICKEN“, organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe 

 

This post is also linked to HonestMum @ Tasty Tuesdays live.

 

I’m also linking this special slow-cooked chicken to Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs April Linky

 



Happy Easter everyone!

I’m glad to see the sun shining outside as I write this post😄

Have a great week!

Cheers!

I could not believe I made this cake!

I could not believe I made this cake in my almost ‘down-and-out’19-year old single button National Rice Cooker!

Isn’t she a knockout?

1. RC Kaya-coffee-nesquik cake 

Dead and Alive

On 21st May, I informed Miss B of the ‘death’ of my ‘grand old lady’ and that my last Rice Cooker Cake was my RC Lemon Sponge Cake !

While I was cooking rice in my 8-cup National Rice Cooker, the power cord sparked and caught fire. I panicked and took a pair of rubber gloves and removed the European two-pin plug from the power socket. I thought there was a common short circuit and that our power supply was down, but no, every connection outlet looked perfect and normal, except the rice cooker’s power cord. There was a leakage on the insulated cord, that’s why.

Since I had washed rice in the Cooker, I had to remove the rice and ended up cooking the rice the ‘old way’ – on the stovetop. I have cooked rice that way during our holidays in the kitchen of some rented cottages without Rice Cookers, hence, it was nothing new for me. The rice turned out okay, but it could have saved me a lot of time using the Rice Cooker. Yep, we are so darn pampered by all these electrical gadgets!

I had to set aside my Rice Cooker and kinda considered it as dead and gone. After all, it’s a ‘grand old lady’ who had served my family well for the past 19 years…

Likewise, that week I had a bad fall on our ‘polished’ stone stairs leading to our cellar. In order to avoid falling on my back, I fell badly on my hip instead and actually heard a ‘burst’ sound. I panicked thinking I had torn one of my living internal organs…

The pain was not that bad on the day I fell, but it was a total nightmare for me the next few days getting out of bed or going in and out of the car. To cut a long story short, I was given MC for the rest of the week. I felt really hopeless and helpless, in that order.

To rub salt in the wound, I had one of my molars surgically removed. All these misfortunes befell upon me that same week. I wonder if there was a wicked fairy godmother who had cast a spell on me… Urgh…

I wanted to cook myself a nice porridge, but my Rice Cooker was dead!! My body was physically ‘dead’ as well *sigh*

Last Friday, a friend came by my house to cheer me up. She’s none other than Miss B.  She was not alone. Her 2 cute little princesses were tagging along.

And guess what? She also brought her Korean Cuckoo (Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker) with her where she steamed some rice for our lunch. I made fresh soymilk from my Joyoung SoyMilk Maker and indeed we were ‘frolicking’ in my garden enjoying the nice weather while running after her active older little girl. Ha ha ha..

Before they left, Miss B gave me a jar of her homemade Kaya. Wow! I was really pampered that day!

It was also a day to rejoice as hubs repaired my Rice Cooker that same day!

My ‘grand old lady’ actually RIP and was risen again. Hallelujah!

Of Horlicks and Kaya …

Just a week before my fall, Miss B e-Mailed me which went like this Do you like Horlicks? Do you like Kaya? Do you like Steamed Cakes? You can let your family back in Kuching give it a try

This was probably the most contagious statement!

I have seen so many Horlicks Cake flying around the web recently. And mind you, they are not just simple Horlicks Cake or cupcakes we are talking about here, but the truly Trademarked DDMT Steamed Horlicks Cake.

By the way, Miss B, passed me the much acclaimed DDMT Steamed Horlicks Kaya Cake recipe of a popular Singapore Radio DJ, Violet Fenying. I didn’t know then, but now I know…so I am passing the fever on to you folks:-D

Well, I love Horlicks as much as Milo or Ovomaltine. By the way, Ovomaltine is the original Swiss name and Ovaltine is a mis-spelled word in the English-speaking markets. In Belgium they called it Ovomaltine, the real McCoy way, while back in Malaysia or Singapore, Ovaltine is the alter ego.

As much as I love drinking a mug of warm Horlicks, I love a nice spread of Kaya on my toast. I definitely enjoyed Miss B’s homemade Kaya on my crackers…

BUT… I did NOT have Horlicks!! However, I had Miss B’s Kaya and I have the recipe. To put the puzzle together, I introduced Instant Coffee and Nesquik, hence the twist.

Oh by the way, DDMT means Die Die Must Try. This is a very popular Singlish phrase which means that one goes to great lengths to find great dishes, even if one has to die in the process 😀

Here’s how I made my DDMT Cake. Not steamed and without Horlicks. My cake was “baked” in my risen-to-life Rice Cooker with Miss B’s homemade Kaya.

The ingredients I used were adapted from Violet Fenying’s DDMT Steamed Horlicks Kaya Cake with my adjustments in blue font.

Ingredients A

Butter: 250g (room temperature)   I used Solo butter, which was a bit salted. Honestly, I have never used that much butter in a single cake recipe! Well must do justice to the title of the recipe… Die Die Must Try lor..

Brown Sugar: 100g (I used Candico Cassonade Brown Sugar)

Ingredients B

Whole Egg: 6 nos. (300g) I used medium-sized eggs

Ingredients C (Mix well)

Evaporated Milk: 100ml (I used fresh milk in lieu)

Condense Milk   : 100ml (I used 3 heaped Tbsp)

Horlick: 125g (I did not use, but replaced that with 2 heaped teaspoons each of Instant Coffee Gold Dessert and Nesquik powder)                  

Kaya    : 125g (I used what was left in the jar, hence 2 heaped Tbsp)

Ingredients D (sieved)

Plain Flour: 185g (I added about 2 Tbsp as I was using fresh milk which was more liquid than the creamy Evaporated Milk)                       

Baking Powder: 1 tsp    

Method:

1) Place Ingredients A in the mixer bowl, beat at medium speed till light and creamy

2) Add whole egg one at a time beating till fluffy after each addition

3) Add in Ingredients C at low speed till well combined

4) Add in Ingredients D till well incorporated

5) Pour batter into 8″ square mould with bottom pre-lined with baking paper (I skipped this, however, I double-lined my removable Rice Cooker bowl with aluminium foil and parchment paper. You may want to refer to my posts here and herefor guidance)

6) Cover top of mould with a piece of aluminum foil and place in the steamer, cover lid (I omitted this step)

7) Steam at high flame for 15 min, then lower to medium flame, continue to steam for another hour till cooked, remove from steamer (I pressed the button to “Cooking” mode and checked my start time, which was 7.10 pm)

8) When cake cooled down, slide a knife round the 4 edges between cake and mould, over turn to remove cake from mould, cut into pieces and serve

2. collage kek kaya

My Rice Cooker Method

It is always crucial to note your start time. My start time was 7.10 pm at “Cooking” mode. 5 minutes later, the button switched automatically to “Keep Warm” mode.

At 7.25 pm, I pressed the “Cooking” mode for the 2nd time. 2 minutes later, the button switched to “Keep Warm”

At 7.40 pm, I pressed the “Cooking” mode for the 3rd time and back to “Keep Warm” after 1 minute.

At 7.55 pm, I opened the lid of the Rice Cooker. The batter was still runny. I closed the lid and 5 minutes later, at 8.00 pm I opened the lid for the 2nd time. Uh-uh… still wet lah…

At 8.10 pm another peek, but the cake batter seemed to be bubbling away, hence was not quite set, although I could smell the lovely coconut-ty, coffee-ey aroma from my Rice Cooker.

At 8.20 pm, the top layer was still steaming away, but when I touched the cake, it was cooked! So don’t be deceived by the look of the cake. What I did at this stage was flipped the cake to brown the top to get a crustier cake top and bottom.

At 8.25 pm, I pressed the “Cooking” mode for the last time. 1 minute later, the button switched automatically to “Keep Warm” mode. I left the cake in the Rice Cooker for another 2 minutes before taking it out and cooled it on a cooling rack.

CONCLUSION: 10 minutes on “Cooking” mode with 5 presses, and 68 minutes on “Keep Warm” mode. Total time: 78 minutes or 1 hour 18 minutes

3. kek top and bottom 

And the next step?

Well, of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating! My guinea pigs and priced critics are in the form of my older and younger sons. I did not tell them what went in the cake. My older son said he tasted coconut while my younger son tasted coffee. Double Thumbs UP, my boys! Both passed with flying colours.

The taste of Coconut was the result of Miss B’s Homemade Kaya (Coconut Egg Jam) and the Coffee came, well… from Coffee – Nescafé Gold Dessert to be precise. Unfortunately, Nesquik was not a prominent flavour in the cake. I added Nesquik powder to cut the overly bitterness taste of the Coffee, which was actually a brilliant idea *wink*

5. kek kaya crumb 

This cake reminded me of similar cakes I had eaten at open houses during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri (or Eid al-fitr) celebration. Although Malay cakes are almost always very sweet, my Rice Cooker Cake was not overly sweet.

And do not expect a chiffon-like cake, tall and springy that bounces back and forth with the press of your finger tip. This is a very dense, moist and heavy cake, which is also very addictive.

The following day, the visual and the taste of the cake reminded me of the inside of a Mooncake, especially the ones with the lotus seed paste filling. Mmmmm….. yummy!

7. wedge piece on plate

 

I’m submitting this post to Rice Cooker Cake Challenge #2 – What Else Can a Rice Cooker Do?, hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well In Flanders. What my humble and ‘old fashioned’ Rice Cooker can do is replicating recipes that are meant for ovens or steamers and still could make great eating cakes. I love the fact that my kitchen does not feel fiery hot from the heat of baking cakes in the oven, especially on a hot day!

Since milk is one of the essential ingredients in this recipe, I am linking up to the May 2014 LTU event with the selected item “MILK” hosted by Tze from Awayofmind Bakery House. Little Thumbs up (LTU) is organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. The May 2014 entries can be found on this post, which included the linkup of this write-up.

Little Thumbs Up

 

A Blessed Ascension Thursday and  a happy long weekend for those bridging Friday.  Unfortunately, not me 😦

Cheers!

If One’s a wanderer, Two’s a company, Three’s a crowd, what’s Four?

Too many?

Not allowed?

A party?

Well, I think I would go for Fantastic … as in Fantastic Four?

Nope, it’s not what you think!

Let’s just say that I’m wandering into my 4th fantastically crowded company 😉 Does it make sense?

I meant I was into my 4th Rice Cooker Cake *wink*

That’s correct! I made my Fantastic fourth as a request by my younger son WEEKS ago but I was up to my ears in work and then I had guests over for lunch and then I fell and took a week MC from work and then I had a molar surgically removed! Whew! Loads of mishaps and calamities the past weeks *sigh*

If you have read my 3rd attempt in cooking cakes in a Rice Cooker, my son was asking if Rice Cooker Cakes would be part of our weekly menu. Can you imagine that? LOL!

After discovering a way to outsmart my traditional 19-year old single-button National Rice Cooker, my third attempt was the litmus test. By following that method, I was more confident to move on further and even started ‘coaching’ interested newcomers 😉

Eureka!

By not going out too much of the box yet, I stuck to the basic ingredients of a sponge cake which I made in my 3rd attempt. Instead of using the green pandan paste, I used one fresh lemon, called Eureka Lemon. Yes, Eureka!

1. Eureka Lemon_closed up1 

Eureka Lemon is available all-year round. This is the most common lemon type sold in supermarkets. Since I had 4 lemons in my basket that day, giving up one was definitely very easy. It was better to consume the fruit when still very fresh than leaving it to rot unconsumed, right?

Right!

Here’s the end result of the cake I made recently.

2. closed up3 

For the ingredients and method, you may want to refer to my previous post here.   Instead of adding 1½ teaspoons of pandan extract or paste, I used the zest or grated rind of one fresh Eureka Lemon plus 2 Tbsp of the lemon juice. I also added one small packet of 8 grams Dr.Oetker pure Bourbon vanilla sugar.

3. RCC Lemon Sponge_collage_lemon zest 

If you are wondering, no, the cake was not sour – on the contrary – it was less sweet, yes!

It was perfect as far my taste bud is concerned. We all loved the moist lemon sponge cake and my sons were fighting to get the last wedged pieces. LOL!

Here’s another snapshot of the amazingly tasty cake cooked in my humble rice cooker.

4. closed up4 

A wee bit longer …

I noted the start time was 6.30 pm. Five minutes later, the Rice Cooker automatically shifted to the “Keep Warm” mode. I left the Rice Cooker alone, without pressing “Cooking”.

At 6.45 pm, I pressed “Cooking”. Two minutes later, the button switched to warming mode which I left it that way for the next 10 minutes.

At 6.55 pm, I pressed the “Cooking” mode for the 3rd time. One minute later, the button switched back to “Keep Warm”.

At 7.00 pm, I opened the lid of the Rice Cooker. The cake batter was not quite set yet, hence I pressed the “Cooking” mode for the 4th time.

At 7.15 pm, the first smell of the lovely sweet lemony aroma of the cake whizzed past my nostrils. At this juncture, I took the wire rack and flipped the cake from bottom up to top down. I wanted a golden crust on both sides of the cake 🙂

I pressed the “Cooking” mode for the last time. At exactly 7.20 pm, I turned the cake the right side up on the wire rack to cool. DONE!

Conclusion: 10 minutes on “Cooking mode” with 5 presses, and 40 minutes on “Keep Warm” mode. Total time: 50 minutes

Oh by the way, this cake took a slightly longer time to cook than the Pandan Sponge Cake because the lemon sponge batter was wetter or more moist than the pandan sponge batter. The slightly longer wait was worth the wait. The cake had a lovely light, spongy texture. We loved it!

5. RCC Lemon Sponge_closed up3

6. RCC Lemon Sponge_Wedge2

Miss B, I finally got down to posting this recipe! It’s a wee bit late but still within timeline, hence, I’m submitting this post to your Rice Cooker Cake Challenge #2 – What Else Can a Rice Cooker Do?, hosted by yourself, Miss B of Everybody Eats Well In Flanders.

With May slowly trailing to the tail end, I’m squeezing this post to “Wow, Vanilla” May’s Spice Trail, hosted by Solange Berchemin of Pebble Soup and Bangers ‘n Mash. I have used Dr.Oetker’s pure BourbonVanilla Sugar as part of the recipe.

spice-trail-badge-square[1]

The Eureka Lemon is available all year round. Since Spring is one of the 4 seasons, I’m ‘springing’ in with this entry to Four Seasons Food May Challenge: Celebrating Spring hosted by Delicieux and Eat Your Veg

fsf-spring

 

Have a great week ahead … and it’s back to the grind for me …. YIKES!

Cheers!

When I started this blog in March 2010, I had no clue about baking or steaming cakes, let alone “cook” a cake in the Rice Cooker!

I guess the only cake I have ever made from scratch on my own was the Malaysian Honeycomb Cake. Then again, I followed the recipe on you tube conscientiously and to a tee! Thanks Nate and Annie of House of Annie for posting the recipe on youtube. I have bookmarked the foolproof recipe ever since! My older son dubbed the cake “space cake” because it was really addictive 😉

And then Miss B came along! I was attracted to her blog because, firstly, it’s called “Everybody Eats Well in Flanders” (and we are both residents of Flanders!) and secondly, the earlier dishes she concocted were dishes I grew up eating! Kueh Salat, Angku Kueh, Kek Lapis, Onde-Onde, Huat Kueh and the list goes on. You bet I was curious *wink*

And then we became friends! To me, Miss B has the Midas touch in baking/ steaming cakes, cookies, breads and buns or anything to do with the “sweet” department. I am the savoury one. And yet, she was like me once-upon-a-time. Zero knowledge of cooking or baking back in our home countries (Singapore and Malaysia). Everything was done and prepared by Mummy dearest. We were the pampered lots, until we started to build our “own nests” in Flanders. Ha ha ha!

As the saying goes, ‘birds of a feather flock together’ 😉

Gentle Assuring Nudge(s)

Knock! Knock!” Guess who came?

Yep, Miss B came “knocking” on my blog’s wall and hinted that I contributed a recipe or two of a made-from-scratch “Steaming Hot Cakes” as she was hosting the Aspiring Bakers #25 (Nov 2012 edition) blog-hop event.

Huh? Me? Steaming hot cakes? Aspiring Bakers? You got to be kidding!

Well, I kid you not. If you have browsed my blog, you will notice that my first published “sweet” item was my Steamed Lemon Honey Cranberry Sponge Cake with Lemon and Ginger Syrup. Whew! A mouthful of a title, only because I wanted to make sure that – being a novice in baking – I did not want to miss out the essentials 🙂

And out of the blue – one day – I was craving for steamed buns (bak pao). I bought a store-bought all-in-one mix and ended up making Bakpao in Mini Cupcake Cases the cheat’s way. Poor pathetic me! Well, it was alright but not the real McCoy.

From one gentle nudge to another, Miss B came “buzzing” in and checked if I was interested to steam proper buns. She had given me the assurance how easy it was to home-steam buns that she gave me a packet of the Red Lotus flour for steaming buns plus a can of Crisco as gifts!

How could I not start steaming buns?

And guess what….I have not stopped steaming buns (including upon requests by friends at buffet or pot-luck lunches) ever since I contributed two entries to Aspiring Bakers #31: Steamed Bun/Pao Chicken-Filling With a Twist andNostalgic Tau Sar Pao – Red Bean Paste Steamed Bun

Then all of a sudden, came the bake-free period. No sweet bakes. It was a savoury journey for me …

And thenHallelujah! Miss B just came back recently from her maternity leave! Congratulations for being a Mummy again ;-). During her absence, she thought through what she would do when she came back blogging again.

And so the “Rice Cooker Cake Challenge #1 – Are you game for it?” was born…

Knock! Knock!”

Who’s there?”

“Ah… Miss B…”

With her gentle yet assuring nudge(s), Miss B “pushed” me to join in the blog-hop fun, once again!

And here were two previous posts of my manic saga of “baking” cakes in my 19-year old traditional single-button 8-cup National Rice Cooker.

1. RCC#1_pandan cake_1+2 attempts

 

Once upon a time, I never dreamt of baking or steaming cakes. And now, all I could say is, thanks to the mighty yet gentle push from Miss B, that I got this far!

Third Time Lucky

You bet! I made my third Rice Cooker Cake. After un-locking a way to outsmart Ms National in my 2nd Attempt, I wanted to find out if by not pressing “Cooking” all the time and letting the cake on “Keep Warm” mode most of the time would make a lot of difference.

You bet!!!

This was the result of my 3rd shot!

1a. RCC#1_pandan cake_closedup_wedge2

Yes, it’s green and Shreky-like, but it tasted divine! Trust me! As if the story never ends. The green colour was the result of yet another gift I got from Miss B!! It was a little 30ml bottle of pandan extract. Mind you, a little goes a LONG way…

2. RCC#1_Pandan cake_pandanus extract

Miss B, I finally made good use of all your gifts, including the po chai pills. *wink*

Green Victoria

I had originally wanted to make Victoria Sponge Cake in my Rice Cooker, since I had a bottle of strawberry jam in my kitchen cupboard. I intended to skip the cream part, as I am not a fan of a double dose of “fat” on my cake, if I may call it…

The Victoria Sponge or Victoria Sandwich Cake was named after Queen Victoria, who always enjoyed a slice of the sponge cake with her afternoon tea.

A classic Victoria Sponge consists of Raspberry (or Strawberry) jam and whipped double cream sandwiched between two layers of sponge cakes. The top layer is simply dusted with icing sugar.

According to Wikipedia, “Although Victoria Sponge is simple to make, the recipes are notoriously sensitive to cooking times and temperatures. As such, oven manufacturers often use a Victoria sponge recipe to test their ovens

Hmmm… but I was using an old and traditional Rice Cooker, tried and tested by moi, me and myself 😉

I did not make the classic Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake. Instead of strawberry jam and whipped cream, I replaced those with a more Asian touch, by adding some pandanus (screw pine leaves) extract, which gave the cake the vibrant green colour.

3. RCC#1_pandan cake_closedup_collage2

My Green Victoria Sponge *grin*

Ingredients –

(Adapted from Periplus Mini Cookbooks – Fabulous Fast Cakes)

This recipe is based on the Victoria Sponge Cake which I have made some adjustments with my comments in blue font.

  • 125g unsalted butter, chopped (meaning cold butter. Note a Classic Victoria Sponge Cake calls for soft butter at room temperature. My recipe was based on “Fabulous FAST Cakes”)
  • ½ cup caster sugar (I used raw cane sugar)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten (I did not pre-beat the eggs, but cracked one at a time)
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder (Note: For all-in-one-bowl-mix batter, I noted additional baking powder is needed to give the cake a lighter feel and look)
  • ½ cup strawberry jam (I did not use, but added 1½ tsp of pandan extract)
  • Icing sugar (I omitted)

 

Method –

 

1)      If using oven, preheat oven to moderate 180C. Brush two shallow 20 cm round sandwich tins with melted butter or oil. Line base with paper; grease paper (I lined the removal Rice Cooker bowl with aluminium foil and parchment paper similar to my 2nd attempt but I forgot to grease the parchment paper!)

2)      Using electric beaters, beat unsalted butter and sugar in a small mixing bowl until light and creamy. Add eggs gradually, beating thoroughly after each addition. (I used an electric hand whisk and beat the chopped butter and sugar until light and creamy and then added one egg at a time, whisking thoroughly)

3)      Add the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then on high speed for 1 minute or until the mixture is thick and creamy. (When the mixture was thick, smooth and creamy, I added the pandan extract. With a wooden spoon, I mixed to combine until the colour was evenly amalgamated into the batter)

4)      Pour mixture evenly into prepared tins; smooth surface. Bake 20 minutes or until sponge is lightly golden and shrinks from side of tin. (I poured the batter into the removal rice bowl, lined with aluminium foil AND parchment paper and noted the start time)

5)      Turn onto wire rack to cool and then spread top of one layer with jam; top with remaining layer to form a sandwich. Dust with icing sugar before serving (I omitted this step)

 4. RCC#1_pandan cake_batter-pandan extract2

5. RCC#1_pandan cake_timing

 

The Quest Continues …

I noted the start time was 7.02 pm. Five minutes later, the Rice Cooker automatically shifted to the “Keep Warm” mode. I left the Rice Cooker alone, without pressing “Cooking”.

At 7.15 pm I opened the lid to peek. The batter was still quite runny, but “cooking”. At this stage, I pressed “Cooking”. Two minutes later, the button switched to warming mode which I left it that way for the next 10 minutes.

At 7.25 pm, I peeked again. If it’s the oven, my sponge cake will be in a “confused” state. To rise or not to rise, however, the cake seemed to be rising in the Rice Cooker. I pressed the “Cooking” mode for the 3rd time. One minute later, the button switched back to “Keep Warm”.

At 7.30 pm, while still on the warming mode, I felt heat emitting from the Rice Cooker. I did not peek anymore, but left the cooker on the “Keep Warm” mode.

At 7.40 pm, the first smell of the lovely cooked pandan cake was breezing in my kitchen. At this juncture, I took the wire rack and flipped the cake from bottom up to top down. I wanted a golden crust on both sides of the cake 🙂

But I forgot to grease the parchment paper, hence a part of the crust stuck to the paper. It would not have happened if I had greased the paper (Lesson learnt for my next RCC …)

I started pressing the rice cooker to “Cooking” mode at 7.42 pm. I wanted to brown the top of the cake (which was now at the bottom of the rice cooker bowl). One minute later, the cooker switched automatically to “Keep Warm”. I kept it that way for the next 2 minutes.

At 7.45 pm, I turned the cake the right side up on the wire rack to cool. DONE!

Conclusion: 9 minutes on “Cooking mode” with 4 presses, and 34 minutes on “Keep Warm” mode. Total time: 43 minutes

6. RCC#1_pandan cake_flipped

According to the author of this recipe, he or she indicated “For a lighter sponge, sift flour three times before combining with the remaining ingredients. Sponge cakes are best eaten the day they are made. Keep in a cool, dry place until ready to serve”.

By the way, the Rice Cooker Pandan Sponge Cake was really moist, light and airy and it was gone in less than half a day!

My younger son proudly told his schoolmates that he ate a green cake that week. He came home and asked me if a Rice Cooker Cake will be on the menu every weekend and btw, he ate the last pieces of 2 wedges…

From Zero to Hero

7a. RCC#1_pandan cake_1+2+3 attempts

7b. RCC#1_pandan cake_1+2+3 attempts_framed

7c. RCC#1_pandan cake_1+2+3_textures

7d. RCC#1_pandan cake_closedup_wedge1

7e. RCC#1_pandan cake_closed up

 

I am linking this post to the following –

  1. Rice Cooker Cake Challenge #1 – Are You Game for It? hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders\
  2. Cook-Your-Books #11 hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours

 Cook Your Books

 

 3. Beth Fish Reads’ Weekend Cooking to round up the Rice Cooker Cake Story …

Weekend Cooking

Have a fantastic week

Cheers!

I was once asked this question “Is the glass half empty or half full?”

My answer has always been, “My glass is half full”. To me, my glass is empty only when it is completely empty, but never half empty. I guess that’s my perception of things and situation around me. You may have a different opinion…

On the other hand, my brother-in-law (my husband’s brother) would say that the glass is too big! That’s because he is an Engineer! Hah!

Similarly, if someone were to ask me if the cake I cooked in my Rice Cooker for the first time turned out good or bad, I would say neither, but rather, “Not bad”.

Remember this cake?

5. RCC#1_cake_bottom_soot 

Well it did turn out looking like a cake, so it’s definitely “Not bad”. I would not say, it’s “Not good”, because it was half good 🙂

<< Flashback <<<

I managed to salvage the good half while removing the burnt side. The good side actually tasted as gorgeous as it looked. The cake had a good height with the right texture but a bit dry because it was “over-baked” (?), and damn… the dark side!

The Dark Side had a smoky, almost barbecue-flavour that I was not at all used to.  The New Hope side had the familiar banana-ey flavour with just the right level of sweetness.

Will I take this challenge again? Is there hope for a success?

>>> Fastforward >>>

Why of course, I took the challenge – again, for the 2nd time ;-)!

Am I nuts? Nope. I went bananas! Ha ha ha..

Yep, I made a Banana Cake – again – albeit with a different recipe, slightly to play safe as I was, at the same time, experimenting with my Rice Cooker. I realized patience is key and understanding what my Rice Cooker was capable or not capable of was even more paramount to achieving a reasonably good end result.

Hello Ms National, who are you?

I have an 8-cup National Rice Cooker, a trusted companion for the past 19 years. She has served and fed my family and I well. As you can see, the result of cooking all sorts of rice and porridge feasts were amazingly excellent. My rice cooker just knew when to stop cooking at the right time.

2. RCC#1_banana cake2_collage_rice

With the “half good” result of cooking a cake in my rice cooker for the first time (Sugar-less Rice Cooker Banana Cake – My Insane 1st Attempt), I wanted to get to know Ms National a little bit more, for instance, how could I outsmart her?

By experimenting with “baking” cakes in the rice cooker, I discovered that not all rice cookers are made to function the same way. As I have mentioned in my previous post, Miss B’s Banana Cake took one hour to cook in her Toshiba 5.5-cup rice cooker with 3 presses of the button, while my Banana Cake “burnt” in less than 30 minutes. Well, okay – only because I had forcefully pressed the Rice Cooker to ‘Cooking’ function. Definitely, not a smart move.

By the way, the first cake was always the hardest, because, it was done by trial and error.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

The most significant lesson I learnt from my first attempt at cooking a cake in the Rice Cooker was, Do NOT forcefully press your Rice Cooker to Cook function. Leave it alone!

3. RCC#1_banana cake1_manual forced cook_V2

According to Wikipedia,The bowl in the rice cooker is usually removable; beneath is a heater and a thermostat. A spring pushes the thermostat against the bottom of the bowl for good thermal contact. During cooking the rice/water mixture is heated at full power. The water reaches a temperature of 100 °C (212 °F); it cannot get hotter than its boiling point. By the end of cooking there will be no free water left; most will have been absorbed by the rice, and some boiled off. As heating continues, the temperature can now rise above boiling point; this makes the thermostat trip. Some cookers switch to low-power “warming” mode, keeping the rice at a safe temperature of approximately 65 °C (150 °F); simpler models switch off”

4. RCC#1_banana cake2_RC function

Therefore, it is essential to check the model of your Rice Cooker first before attempting to cook a cake in your rice cooker. My Rice Cooker has very basic functions; “Cooking” and “Keep Warm” functions and a choice of cooking either Rice or Porridge. You may own a more advanced rice cooker than I have, ie, one that features a timer that back-calculates the cooking start time from a given finish time, or one that beeps automatically when the cooking is done or an additional function that includes high pressure cooking or slow cooking or baking breads or cake or making yoghurts, or one that includes a recipe book! I do NOT have any of those functions on my National Rice Cooker, but I DID manage to cook a cake in my humble rice cooker *wink*

I have also exchanged notes with Miss B recently. Her 5.5-cup Toshiba Rice Cooker takes 40 minutes to cook rice to perfection, while my 19-year 8-cup National Rice Cooker takes only 20 minutes! If her banana cake cooks to perfection in one hour, should my banana cake then cook to perfection at half the time?

Let’s find out …

I have used the Low-Fat Banana Bread recipe from Joy of Baking in my 2nd attempt of “baking” cakes in a Rice Cooker.

Ingredient –

(Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking.com with my comments in blue font)

  • 1 cup (240 ml) mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas) – I used 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) canola, vegetable, or corn oil (I used corn cooking oil)
  • 3/4 cup (165 grams) light brown sugar (I did not use sugar. I used ¼ cup Agave syrup)
  • 1 large egg or 2 large (60 grams) egg whites (I used 2 small eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I did not use)
  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour (I used 1½ cups self-raising flour)
  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) whole wheat flour (I did not use)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used 1 tsp)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (I did not use because I used self-raising flour, which already included baking powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I used just a pinch)

5. RCC#1_banana cake2_ingredients

Method –

  1. If using the oven, Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C) and place the rack in the centre of the oven. Spray an 8 x 4 inch (20 x 10cm) loaf pan with a non-stick vegetable cooking spray (I omitted this step, however, I did spray the inside of the rice cooker removal bowl)
  2. In a large bowl, mix the mashed bananas with the backing soda and yoghurt. Allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the batter.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs (and vanilla, if used)
  4. In another large bowl, whisk together the flour(s), ground cinnamon, salt (and baking powder, if used)
  5. Combine the banana mixture with the oil mixture and add these to the flour mixture. Stir just until the ingredients are moistened. Pour into the rice cooker removal bowl and tap the bowl gently on the kitchen counter to release air bubbles trapped in the batter.
  6. If baked in the oven, bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean.

My Adventure Continues …

The Rice Cooker is not an oven. But the Banana Cake is a Banana Cake and it’s a CAKE! Henceforth, I treated the cake like a cake.

If my first attempt produced a burnt result, then my humble thinking cap says “use a cake tin liner”.

I made double-layered “cake tin liners”, one with a tin foil placed at the base of the removal rice bowl and a parchment paper, placed on top of the aluminium foil. That way, I ensured the cake was “protected” to a maximum. If you must know, baking is not my cup of tea, so I was really thinking and doing things as logical as I saw fit and improvising as I went along 😉

6. RCC#1_banana cake2_lining_before

I poured the batter in the rice bowl and noted the time I started cooking the cake. It was 6.54 pm.

My Rice Cooker must have hit the boiling point after the first 5 minutes and automatically went into the “Keep Warm” mode. It was 6.59 pm. I rested my Rice Cooker for 2 minutes and pressed the “Cooking” button for the second time. After one minute, it went back to the “Keep Warm” mode. This went on, resting for 2 or 3 minutes and pressing “Cooking” 10 times in total. Note, I did NOT press the Cook function forcefully any more. Once bitten, twice shy 🙂

Between the start time from 6.54 pm to 7.31 pm when I took out the cake from the Rice Cooker, it was at 7.29 pm when the lovely smell of the banana cake started breezing in my kitchen. I opened the lid. It was actually cooked, but I went on pressing “Cooking” for the final 10th time.

7. RCC#1_banana cake2_timing

Conclusion: 14 minutes on “Cooking” mode and 23 minutes on “Keep Warm” mode. Total time: 37 minutes.

On hindsight, I should have taken out the cake at 7.29 pm as soon as the banana cake smell whiffed through my nostrils, but I wanted a bit more colour on the cake. Then the correct conclusion would have been 13 minutes on “Cooking mode” with a total time of 35 minutes. Can we then deduce that my 8-cup National Rice Cooker could cook a cake half the time of Miss B’s 5.5-cup Toshiba Rice Cooker?

Perhaps…

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!

Note I presented the cake, bottom side up because I thought it looked more appetising than the moon crater-lookalike side. Well, if you must know, I’m a crust girl. I LOVE eating the crusts of freshly (yep, must be fresh!) baked cakes, that’s if they are not burnt *wink*

8a. RCC#1_banana cake2_lining_after

8b. RCC#1_banana cake2_results

8c. RCC#1_banana cake2_a

8d. RCC#1_banana cake2

8e. RCC#1_banana cake_j

8f. RCC#1_banana cake2_b

8g. RCC#1_banana cake_i

8h. RCC#1_banana cake2_c

This piece of cake and the entire cake was gone in less than 12 hours! That was the litmus test …

And by the way, I made another RCC! Nope, nothing to do with bananas. I think I’m beginning to understand Ms National *wink*

!! IMPORTANT!!A note of precaution: If your Rice Cooker is not suited for cooking cakes, there is a chance that it will damage the appliance. If such cooking was outside indicated usage of the appliance, it typically violates the warranty, so please be careful before attempting such feat, unless you have a very old Rice Cooker (like mine) and considering buying a new one, in a not-so-distant future, or if you owned more than one Rice Cooker, then do give a shot with one of them.

 

Without a doubt, I am linking this post to the Rice Cooker Cake Challenge #1 – Are You Game for It?  hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders

I am sure when I submitted my first attempt in cooking cakes in a Rice Cooker, a few readers were left with a cliffhanger. So here I am, linking Part 2 of my adventure in Rice Cooker Cakes to Beth Fish ReadsWeekend Cooking

Weekend Cooking

 

Have a fruitful week!

Cheers!

According to Wikipedia, rice is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in Asia. For this, I cannot argue with the fact that the rice cooker is one of the most, if not, THE most indispensable kitchen equipments in Asia.

During my student days, the rice cooker was enshrined and revered as the be-all and end-all of all inventions. Being Asian, eating and self-taught cooking were the norm and being a student, money was scarce  😦

No Frills but Thrills

One of my housemates, who happened to be my roommate, had her internship in one of the law firms in Malaysia. With her well-deserved and decent student paycheck, she invested in a 10-cup rice cooker, the biggest pot she could find. My roommate is known for her generosity and by the way, that is the wittiest thing any student would and should do. The rice cooker became part and parcel of our daily bread. With our frugal students’ budget, we were never left hungry by eating smart 😉

My roommate’s rice cooker had only 2 functions, Cook and Keep Warm – nothing fancy. Although the rice cooker is “supposed” to function as a rice cooker, id est cooking or steaming rice, but lo and behold, we conjured wonders from the gadget. We have cooked many tasty meals of chicken curry, laksa, chicken rice, stir-fried water spinach, long beans, green beans, noodles and soups. A typical weekend meal would consist of steamed rice, one type of vegetable and a soup dish with meat or shellfish. The cooking was done in stages and always planned ahead. First the rice (20 mins cooking time), then the veg (10 mins cooking time) and finally the soup dish (20 to 30 minutes). Of course the easiest and fastest meal on busy weekdays was the all-in-one dish: noodles with vegetables, meat or seafood soup. Our favourite was the Tom Yum Kai-Kung noodle soup (Spicy fragrant Thai chicken-prawn noodle soup) all-in-one. No frills but only thrills in our palates. Those were the days!

Just One of the Gadgets …

Today, my rice cooker is just one of the many electric kitchen appliances in my house. I have a Soup Maker that makes a million and one types of quick and tasty soups in less than 25 minutes. There is a recipe book that came with the Soup Maker, but I never follow any of the recipes. I just create my own depending on what I have in my fridge.

Here are some of the examples of soups that I have contrived using my Soup Maker, currently one of my most utile kitchen gadgets – a blessing during cold winter period or any fleeting moments of hunger pangs 🙂

1. RCC#1_soupmaker 

I could probably make these soups in my rice cooker, but it never occurred to me anymore, because I’m no longer a student *wink*

Insanely mind-boggling challenge!

And then, I received an email from Miss B. She has invited me to participate in one of the most difficult challenges yet – baking or cooking or steaming, whatever-you-call-it cake in a rice cooker!

The rice cooker may be multi-faceted and from my testimony of using the appliance (during my student days), never in my mind’s eye would I “bake” a cake in that gadget. That’s completely insane!

But then again, I LOVE a challenge anytime 😉

In fact, I was plain curious …

You know, life is too short. If you haven’t tried out things you want to try out, you will never get to know the end result, right?

If you hop over to Miss B’s blog here, you will know why I took up her insanely mind-boggling challenge. If it worked and still works for her, why would there be any difference for me?

By the way, I’m the living proof of Miss B’s RCC creation. What I am trying to point out here is that last May, I invited Miss B and her family to our house for a simple housewarming buffet lunch, since we just moved house recently. She came to my house and brought not one, but two cakes! One of which was the rice cooker banana cake. Unfortunately I did not have a snapshot to proof, because the cakes were all gone in the blink of an eye.

It was really good – moist and buttery with the sweet taste of banana, ie, how a good cake should be. You would not have thought it was “baked” in a rice cooker!

19 years old and (still) looking great!

I have a very trusty National 8-cup rice cooker, which I had it shipped from Malaysia to Belgium in the autumn of 1995, however, I have steamed only rice in there. Chicken rice, nasi kunyit (turmeric rice), nasi lemak (coconut rice), Biryani, Pilau, pandan rice, chicken porridge and just simply, white steamed rice.

No soups, because I have a Soup Maker, remember?

No stir-fried vegetables or chicken curry or laksa or noodle dishes, because I have enough pots, pans, slow cooker, steamer and what have you in the kitchen 😉

A rice cooker cake? Not in a million years. Anyway, I have an oven and a steamer.

However, a challenge is a challenge, and the BIG question is, can my 19-year old rice cooker transcend the test?

Let’s check it out!

Cooking – Keep Warm

My 8-cupper has very basic functions. A “Cooking” function and a “Keep Warm” function with either a choice of cooking Rice or Porridge. There is no timer. No beeping sound when the Cooking button is shifted automatically to Keep Warm. I kind of know as well from experience that my rice will cook perfectly in 20 minutes or when the smell of cooked rice started whiffing and breezing in my kitchen. Mmmmm…. Heaven!

Being a complete novice to “baking” rice cooker cakes, I referred to one of Miss B’s tried and tested RCC. That’s right; it was her rice cooker banana cake! I adapted her recipe with some modifications. On her blog, Miss B indicated that the cake turned out too sweet and that she would reduce the amount of sugar the next time she were to bake the cake again. I do not like very sweet cakes; hence, I actually did NOT use sugar. Yep, I “baked” a sugar-less RCC banana cake!

Below are the ingredients adapted from Miss B’s RCC#4 with my adjustments in blue font.

Ingredients –

3 eggs
110g sugar (I did NOT use sugar but used about 15 dates –seeds removed and diced finely)
110g melted butter (110g butter, melted)
200g banana (I used 2 large ripe bananas, fork-mashed)
160g plain flour (I used 1 1/3 cups self-rising flour)
¾ tsp baking powder (I used 1/2 tsp as I was using self-raising flour)
¾ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon powder => this was not on Miss B’s recipe (Note: this is a personal choice as I love the cinnamon flavour in banana cakes)
A pinch of salt
 
2. RCC#1 ingredients

 Method –

  1. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter. Set aside to cool.
  3. Chop 15-20 dates and mash the bananas with a fork. Set aside
  4. Whisk the eggs until fluffy. Add the cool melted butter, mashed bananas and chopped dates. Mix to combine with a wooden spoon or spatula
  5. Add the sifted flour mixture. Fold to amalgamate the cake batter
  6. Pour the cake batter into the greased rice cooker pot
  7. Press the cook function of your rice cooker. In my case, the “Cooking” button.

 3a. RCC#1 cake batter

3b. RCC#1 cake batter

3c. RCC#1 cook function

I noted the time I first pressed the Cooking function. It was 8.10pm.

If I’m cooking rice, it would take about 20 minutes and the Cooking button will shift automatically to Keep Warm when the rice is cooked perfectly, but lo and behold, just after 5 minutes, my rice cooker button moved automatically to “Keep Warm

Huh? Only 5 minutes?

I dared not open my rice cooker otherwise I’d end up with a collapsed cake. Furthermore, there was no baked cake smell floating in my kitchen. I pressed the Cook function again, but it did not allow me to cook. I had to wait for another 5 minutes before I could change from Keep Warm to Cooking.

But again, after 5 minutes, the button switched to Keep Warm.

Arghhh!!!

All right it’s going to take the whole night. Miss B’s much-talk-about banana cake took one hour in her Toshiba 5.5-cup rice cooker with only 3 presses of the button, and here I am, manually pressing my rice cooker button to Cook function after every 5 minutes? No way, Jose! I did not plan to stay all night in my kitchen being a mechanical part of the rice cooker. So what I did was taking a cardboard and forcefully pressed down the button to Cook.

4. RCC#1 manual forced cook 

After 15 minutes (around 8.25pm) I smelled the beautiful banana cake smell emitting from my rice cooker. I did open the rice cooker to peep, but the batter was not quite set. I closed the lid and continued with the “forced-to-cook” operation.

Anyway, who would have thought that a cake would be cooked in 15 minutes?

Another 15 minutes passed by and I smelt something else. Nothing closed to a baked cake smell at all…. but….. Oh NO!!!

I immediately aborted the entire operation by removing the cardboard from its position, and the button shifted automatically to Keep Warm. Whether there was going to be a cake or not, it did not matter anymore *sob*

It was exactly 8.40pm when I opened the lid. The top side looked really good, but with the burnt smell (yes, B*U*R*N*T!); I could already deduce that the cake had a charred bottom. I was right!

It was soot black!

YIKES!!!

5. RCC#1_cake_bottom_soot

 

After all the effort, did I throw the cake away? Well, if you must know, I did thrash one cake in the past, if you have read my post Baking is not really my cup of tea or is it? A supposed swiss roll cake that wouldn’t roll – it was leather hard 😦 

The Dark Side and a New Hope …

I managed to salvage the good half while removing the burnt side. The good side actually tasted as gorgeous as it looked. The cake had a good height with the right texture but a bit dry because it was “over-baked” (?), and damn… the dark side!

6a. RCC#1 banana cake6b. RCC#1 banana cake

6c. RCC#1 banana cake6d. RCC#1 banana cake 

The Dark Side had a smoky, almost barbecue-flavour that I was not at all used to.  The New Hope side had the familiar banana-ey flavour with just the right level of sweetness.

Will I take this challenge again? Is there hope for a success? If this piece of cake had a pair eyes, I bet it would be gazing at me doe-eyed.

7. RCC#1 banana cake 

I apologize for the blurry snapshots as all pictures were taken at night in my dimly-lit kitchen *grin

Oh by the way, I baked another RCC. Was it a success?

Erm… my lips are sealed, but do stay tuned for my next episode of another crazy adventure in the world of RCC, a ‘fever’ that was passed on to me by Miss B. Ah-choo!! 😀

Well, as Sir Winston Churchill once said “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts” 😉

I am submitting this post to the Rice Cooker Cake Challenge #1 – Are You Game for It?  hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders

as well as to  Beth Fish Reads‘  Weekend Cooking: Kitchen Journals Week, albeit with a bummer 😀

 Weekend Cooking

 

Have a fantastic week!

Cheers!