Sunday, February 26, 2006

Eastern Delights: Black Sesame Sweet Soup & Red Bean Nian Gao

I am a fan of Chinese Tongshui (sweet soup) too. Black Sesame Paste (Hak Zi Ma Wu) is another classic tongshui, just not so common in KL. I usually have my fix in Hong Kong.
Anyway, I recently found a simple and easy recipe for it so I gave it a try.
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Verdict: Passable but no where as good as those found in Hong Kong. Still worth a try though. Recipe below.

Then, I discovered another gem of a recipe. Red Bean Nian Gao (Glutinous Rice Cake). I know Chinese New Year was way over but who says that there must always be an occasion for everything? Definitely not so, in my books.
The uniqueness of this recipe is that it is quick, fast and baked (instead of the usual labourous steaming method).
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Verdict: Ultra yummi-licious! Especially when just baked. The outer layer is very crispy (as if it was pan-fried) and fragrant while the inside remains soft and chewy (but not sticky chewy). Would definitely be making this again. Maybe I will substitute with Lotus Paste next time.

Black Sesame Paste Tongshui (Hak Zi Ma Wu) Recipe
(Apx 4 bowls)
- 100g dry-roasted black sesame (I toast it in the oven till fragrant)
- 750ml milk/water
- 1/2 sugar (adjust according to your taste)
- Thickening: Corn Starch/Potato Starch mixed in a little bit of water

1. Put the black sesame and milk/water in a blender. Pulse until paste-like.
2. Transfer to a pot and add sugar.
3. Cook over low/med fire. Stir at all times.
4. When it starts to simmer, add thickening until it reaches the consistency that you prefer.
5. Serve hot.
* Be careful when watching the fire to ensure that the tongsui remains liquidy paste-like at all times.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Oreo Muffins

Ok, this is strictly for the kids. Then again, maybe not. I know of many grown adults who are fixated on Oreos. I used to love them too when I was younger.
Anyhow, this is another recipe that I have been wanting to try out. So when I noticed a packet of unopened Oreos (which I have been saving to make a cheesecake base but was not in the mood to make a cheesecake) nearing expiry date, I decided "this shall be the day to try the recipe out".
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Cross-section: Studded with chunks of Oreo cookies.
Maybe all along I had very high expectations on how these muffins would turned out; or maybe my muffin-making skills need some brushing up, these muffins were not what I expected them to be. Average would be how I would desribe them to be. *sigh* I think the fault is most likely due to my muffin-making skills. My previous batch of muffins last week were also less than excellent.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Found out today that my mom threw out my prized whole vanilla pods that I kept in the freezer. She said that she thought those were some rotten vegetables. ????!!!!!!
Oh, no.................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 20, 2006

What to do with extra Cheddar Cheese? (Cheddar Cheese Black Sesame Loaf & Cheddar Cheese Muffins)

I have some leftover block of cheddar cheese sitting in the fridge for quite a while now. I thought I better use it before it turns bad...

Found these 2 recipes;
1) Cheddar Cheese Muffin
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2) Cheddar Cheese Black Sesame Bread
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I have to say I like this a lot. Baked in a tube pan, it looked good too. Easily one of my favourite bread recipe.
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Soft and fluffy texture inside!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Fancy a Black Chicken? (Braised Black-Sauce Chicken)

I like baking but I seldom cook. Well, yesterday was one of the rare incidents where I actually cooked a dish for my family's Sunday dinner.
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Braised Black Sauce Chicken buried under a bed of eggs and beancurd.

When I first saw a photo of this dish here, my first thought was what a delicious-looking chicken it is. And when I saw that the recipe wasn't too difficult, I decided to give it a try. The only near-mishap was much to my frustration, I discovered that the jar of "sweet sauce" (aka tim cheong) in the fridge was in fact "sweet hoisin sauce". I contemplated on using it but in the end, took the author's 2nd option that is to substitute the sweet sauce with some liquid molasses and brown sugar.

The entire cooking time was close to an hour. The end result? Well, it was nice although different from our usual dishes. You see, my mother almost never used spices (such as clove, cinnamon and star anise) in her cooking. It took my family some time in getting used to the taste. But overall, I would say it was worth the effort.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Black Gold (Hershey's Best Brownies)

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Discovered black gold today! In the form of a brownie. Mmmm...., this brownie is really as good as raved about by many. Simple to make too. As good as it is, it's even better when slathered with a layer of rich chocolate sauce (I made mine using Varlhona chocolate). Simply divine!
Don't hesitate, go make this brownie. It's worth every cal! (hehe...)
Recipe found here.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The End to a Season of Overindulgence (Vanilla Pudding Fruit Pie)

Been a long 15 days. 15 days of overindulging in cookies, savouries and basically all edible stuff. This is the typical scenario of a Chinese Lunar New Year (CNY) season. Today marks the end of CNY. Finally the official excuse to over-indulge is no more. For this occasion, I made a simple Vanilla Pudding Fruit Pie. Simple, not to rich and a good way to use up the abundant supply of mandarin oranges sitting at home (although I would suggest that canned mandarin oranges are better than using the fresh ones unless you are sure the fresh ones are very sweet, seedless but make sure that you remove all pith).
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To make, bake a pie crust. Then prepare the custard. I like the recipe found here. Pour the slighty cooled custard into the cooled pie crust. Assemble fruits on top and glaze with piping jelly or apricot glaze.