December 28, 2009


Fruitcake is not a Christmas tradition in our family since we don't celebrate Christmas per say. Instead, fruitcake is something I would make once in a while because making one fruitcake a year is such an unbearable thought that I want to curl up in fetal position. This is not the kind of fruitcake that you think of, the ones that are being passed down from one generation to another because it's just too horrid to eat. No, this is not the "American" fruit. This is the "European" fruitcake, the ones studded with fruits and enveloped in moist cake with hints of brandy. My family claims that they can't eat anything with alcohol in it so we usually make fruitcakes with no alcohol added or just a small splash after the cake is done. Orange juice can be used to spritz on the cake instead of alcohol. This is mostly done because fruitcakes need to mature for a few weeks and might dried up in the process. Spritzing alcohol or orange juice keeps it moist.

Putting together ingredients for a fruitcake is not an easy task because some of these ingredients might seem foreign to you. Candied peels and candied cherries are a must in our family's fruitcake recipe. If you can't find them in your grocery store, don't fret. Substitute them with existing ingredients, eg. another cup of raisins or another cup of dried apricots. Also, if you can't find candied orange peels and/or candied citron, just add more fruits. I prefer brandy than rum but if you like rum, you can use that instead.

Unfortunately, my family recipe are all in grams (as opposed to cups) and you know how lazy I am. Here's a good recipe I found online from Joe Pastry. I tweaked it a bit and tried to match it like the ones my family made. Just a quick note, candied cherries (glazed cherries) are not maraschino cherries. There are two steps to this recipe, requiring two days of work. Trust me, it's well worth it! This recipe makes 2 fruit cakes.

Step 1 (Day 1):
1 cup sultanas
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup chopped candied cherries (red and green)
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped pecans (or almonds)
1 cup chopped candied orange peels
1 cup chopped candied citron
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup brandy
1/4 cup orange juice

Combine fruits and nuts in a large bowl and mix. Make sure you use a large bowl because you'll need to mix these ingredients around. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and let it macerate overnight at room temperature. I've seen people macerating the fruits for a week so, you can do that and leave them inside the fridge.

Step 2 (Day 2):
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 lb. unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
 Some brandy (for spritzing)

Cream butter and dark brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Add in eggs, one by one, until well mixed. Add in vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy about 3 minutes.

In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add into the creamed mixture. Beat until well mixed.

Pour macerated fruits and nuts into the batter. Mix until it forms a thick batter.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Spray baking spray on 2 loaf pans. Line them with parchment paper and spray more baking spray on the loaf pans. Pour batter into the loaf pans. Bake in the oven for 2 hours or until cooked.

After cakes are cooled, spritz some brandy over the cake and wrap with parchment paper and aluminum foil.

Check the cake every other day and spritz more brandy if it's dry. You can serve the cake the next day or let it develop it's flavor in two weeks before serving. Store fruitcake in the fridge or somewhere cool.

December 15, 2009

Butter Spritz Cookies With Jam

This is the same as the Butter Spritz Cookies except you put jam in the middle of the cookie. Any jam of your choice is fine. Two tips on making successful spritz cookies: NEVER greased the cookie sheet. Run the cookie sheet in cold water after every batch to make the sheet cool again so the cookie sticks to the sheet.

1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Jam of your choice.

Combine everything except flour to a mixing bowl. Beat at a medium speed for 3 minutes until it is light and fluffy. Add flour. Beat at a low speed for 3 more minutes, scraping the sides often.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place dough inside a cookie gun. Using your desired template (flower shaped ones work best), press cookie onto cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. Using a piping bag or a ziploc bag, pipe some jam on the center of the cookies.

My partner and contributing author, Praetorblue, is proud of his cookie gun creations.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. Cool cookies before storing them away. Makes about 5 dozens.

December 13, 2009

Gingerbread Spritz Cookies

This recipe is for those who can't be bothered with rolling on cookies dough and then pressing them with a cookie cutter (me!). A classic recipe done in the style of "spritz". I used the pine tree template and decorated them with sugar confetti to make it look like Christmas trees. Two tips on making successful spritz cookies: NEVER greased the cookie sheet. Run the cookie sheet in cold water after every batch to make the sheet cool again so the cookie sticks to the sheet.

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

In a mixing bowl, beat butter, molasses and brown sugar for 1 minute. Add in egg and vanilla essence. Beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. Add to creamed mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed.

Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Add cookie dough into the cookie gun and press them on ungreased cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes. Let it cool before storing in a container. Makes about 5 dozens.

Butter Spritz Cookies

These cookies are colored with green food coloring and sprinkled with pastel confetti sprinkles. 
Looks like Christmas trees, don' they?

Spritz cookies are cookies that come out of a cookie gun. The word "spritz" comes from the German word "spritzen" meaning to spray. I've recently bought a cookie gun from Wilton's (Cookie Pro™ Ultra II) and it's a pretty good product. I remember making these cookies when I was in Malaysia with my aunts in preparation for Chinese New Year. These cookies are fun to make and are relatively easy. The cookie gun comes with a wide variety of templates so your cookies can be a different every time you make them! You can decorate them with colored sugar, candy confetti, candied cherries, etc. Two tips on making successful spritz cookies: NEVER greased the cookie sheet. Run the cookie sheet in cold water after every batch to make the sheet cool again so the cookie sticks to the sheet. Here's a basic butter spritz cookie recipe.
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine everything except flour to a mixing bowl. Beat at a medium speed for 3 minutes until it is light and fluffy. Add flour. Beat at a low speed for 3 more minutes, scraping the sides often.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place dough inside a cookie gun. Using your desired template, press cookie onto cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. Cool cookies before storing them away. Makes about 5 dozens.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

My partner said "Everything taste good wrapped in bacon!". Indeed he's right. It's tricky to cook bacon wrapped shrimp because shrimps generally take less time to cook than bacon. So, in order to get the shrimp and bacon done at the same time (while not having overcooked chewy shrimp or worse uncooked bacon), choose large shrimp and thin sliced bacon. I'm using "extra jumbo" shrimps in this recipe, which basically has 16-10 count per pound. You can de-vein the shrimps if you want but I generally do not bother doing it. If you are using medium sized or small shrimp, you can microwave the bacon for 2 minutes to get a head start.

1 lb. shrimp, 16-20 count (shelled, with tail on)
1 package bacon, cut slices into halves.
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Wooden skewers or picks

Mix shrimps with Old Bay seasoning, salt and pepper. Wrap them with bacon and secure with wooden skewers or picks.

Grill on each side for 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.

Grilled Asparagus ... With Bacon?

Here's a quick and easy way to prepare asparagus. Grilling them! What's better? Wrap them in bacon and then grilling them! I don't really have a measurement for this recipe, just get some asparagus and grill them. If you want to wrap them in bacon and then grill them, just get a package of bacon (although you want to avoid the thick cut ones). And congratulations, you just became the hero of meat eaters and vegetarians alike!

Salt and pepper to taste
A drizzle of olive oil (you don't need it if you're using bacon)
Bacon (cut slices in half)
Wooden skewers or picks

Wash and clean asparagus. Trim the fibrous stem.

If you're wrapping the asparagus with bacon, this is the time when you want to wrap them. Continue until you've finished wrapping the asparagus. Skewer two or three of these wrapped asparagus together. This will make turning them easier when grilling. Season with salt and pepper. In a hot grill, grill for about 2 minutes on each sides. Serve warm.

If you're just grilling the asparagus as is, skewer two of three of them together. This will make turning them easier when grilling. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper. In a hot grill, grill for about 2 minutes on each sides. More if you don't like your asparagus al dente. Serve warm with some Parmesan cheese or balsamic vinegar.

Teriyaki Baked Salmon

I saw really fresh salmon fillets the other day when went to Whole Foods and decided I should get some. I haven't cooked fish in a while and thought this would be good paired with the oyster mushrooms I've got the day before. You don't need to use oyster mushrooms for this recipe but it adds more texture to the dish and goes well with the marinate as well.

Salmon fillet (about 2 lbs.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 lbs. oyster mushroom, break into small clumps (optional)

Marinate fish with olive oil, chili flakes, dried rosemary, salt and pepper . Let it sit for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place fish in a baking dish and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

In a bowl, mix teriyaki sauce, sugar and sesame oil together. Microwave mixture for 2 minutes. Mix until sugar dissolves. Take the fish out and pour teriyaki mixture on top of fish. If you are using oyster mushrooms, this is the time you want to add it into the baking dish.Put them on the side of the fish, not on top.

Bake for about another 30 minutes, basting and turning the mushrooms occasionally. The doneness of the fish really depends on what type fillet you use (a big piece or a few pieces). Fish is done when it’s flaky.

If most of the marinate sticks to the bottom of the baking dish, you can use more teriyaki sauce or water to deglaze it for extra robust sauce.

October 13, 2009

Belacan Fried Chicken Wings

Belacan are fermented shrimp ubiquitous to Southeast Asian cooking. I've actually never eaten belacan fried chicken before, not even when I was in Malaysia. Saw them while food shopping the other day in an Asian supermarket. Though I'd picked up a few packets of "Belacan Chicken Powder" so I can try it on some frozen wings I have in my freezer. These wings are good as party food, appetizer or entree. You can also use chicken thighs, drumsticks, breast meat or even small chicken pieces. This is an easy recipe, the hardest part is to restrain yourself from finishing all those wings!

If you don't have a supermarket that sells Southeast Asian food products, you can try to buy them online. The product I use is "Hup Loong Belacan Chicken Powder".

4lbs. chicken wings
1 packet Hup Loong Belacan Chicken Powder (90g)
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Mix wings and seasoning. Marinate for an hour. Deep fry until golden brown. Serve immediately!

October 11, 2009

Kuih Bakar (Kuih Kemboja)

Sorry for not posting for a while. I haven't been cooking but been busy preparing for graduate school.

Kuih Bakar is kinda like a baked custard. It's not a "cake" in the sense that vanilla cake is, nor is it a custard like what flan is. One of the most popular "kuih" from Malaysia, Kuih Bakar is a dessert eaten throughout the day. Try a piece for breakfast! Kuih Bakar is also known as Kuih Kemboja, possibly due to the traditional mold used to make this kuih looks like a flower. Kemboja is the Malay word for Plumeria.

I used black sesame seeds in this recipe for the color contrast, although you can always use the regular white sesame seeds. Pandan leaves are sold frozen in Asian supermarkets. Also known as "screwpine" leave, it is the vanilla essence of Southeast Asian cooking.

11/4 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 1/4 cups coconut milk
1 cup pandan juice (10 pandan leaves + 1 cup water in food processor, strained)
4 large eggs
2 tablespoon melted butter
sesame seeds for garnishing

Add all ingredients, except sesame seeds, in a bowl. Mix well. Preheat oven to 325 °F.

Grease a baking pan. Pour mixture into the pan and sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the batter. Bake for about an hour or until cooked. Insert skewer in the middle, if it comes out clean then it's cooked. You also want the top to be slightly browned.

Let it cool before cutting into squares. Eat your heart out!

September 13, 2009

Connecticut-Style Pizza

Hi there! I'm Raymond's partner, Vance, and he's asked me to guest-blog one of my favorite recipes:

Throughout my youth I enjoyed thick, cheesy, savory pizza slices that couldn't be folded in half if you wanted to. Some people immediately think this must be Chicago deep-dish pizza; they're wrong. It's Connecticut-style pizza! Locals usually refer to it as "greek pizza", although the connection to Greece is questionable at best. It's almost exclusively made by Italian pizza joints. Personally, I think the best is from Tony's Pizza, in Willimantic, CT.

During my high school years in Connecticut, I worked at a local pizza parlor, and so I luckily have some insight into how this pizza is made. Info about it is very scarce online. I don't remember my restaurant's exact recipe (gosh, it's been over a decade!) but I remember the basics, and was able to recreate it by modifying standard pizza recipes. Without further ado, I give you ... Connecticut-style pizza!

Prep time: ~2 hours
Bake time: ~15 minutes

Crust ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup luke warm (not hot) water
1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. vegetable shortening

Sauce ingredients
10 oz. store-bought pizza sauce
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Cheese ingredients
3 parts whole milk mozzarella (about 8 oz.)
1 part mild white cheddar (about 3 oz.)

There are several secrets to Connecticut-style pizza dough: a little bit of sugar, more oil than usual, and rising in the pan for part of the time. First, whisk the water, yeast, sugar, and 1 tbsp. of the olive oil in a bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Then, manually mix in the salt and 1 1/2 cups of the flour with a fork, beating until it's smooth:

Using either a hand-mixer with dough hooks (what I used) or stand-mixer with same, gradually mix in the remaining flour in 1/4-cup increments. You may not need all of the flour. Once the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a fairly dense lump around the dough hooks, you know you've added enough. Continue to mix for 5 minutes, on a high setting.

Coat the bottom of a large bowl with the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, and gently form it into a sphere using your hands. It should be soft to the touch. Put it into the oiled bowl, and add another dash of oil to coat the top:

Cover the bowl, and set it in a warm area of your kitchen. Let it rise for 45 minutes. In the meantime, "season" your pizza pan if this is your first time making pizza with it; this is another secret of Connecticut-style pizza! Coat the pan with a thin layer of vegetable shortening:

and bake it in a 500 degree oven for 10 minutes. Immediately turn off the oven and remove the pan, wiping the excess shortening off with a paper towel. Don't leave it in too long, or you'll have rubberized glue. Also, don't wash the pan: the coating is very important for crust texture. Set it aside to completely cool. Then, coat it again with vegetable shortening.

Once the dough has risen for 45 minutes, transfer it to the pizza pan. Connecticut-style pizza needs to spend the remainder of its time rising in the pan; this is very different from New York-style pizza, which is baked immediately. If your pan is very large, you might use all of the dough. For my pan, about 3/4 of the dough was plenty. Once you press it out into the pan, it should be roughly 1/4" thick. To make a nice edge, don't pinch it. Instead, use your fingertips to press under the edge and make it bulge out.

Let the dough rise in the pan for 15 minutes. While it's rising, make the sauce. The key to the sauce is extra oregano. For the base, you can pick whatever store-bough brand you like most. Mix together the sauce, oregano, basil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. After 15 minutes, pour it on the pizza. Holding the pan by the edges, shake the pizza side-to-side to coat the bottom with just the right amount of sauce (this is how we did it at the restaurant). If you want to cheat, you can spread it out with a spoon.

Let the sauced dough rise for another 45 minutes. If any large bubbles rise in the dough during this rise, pop them with the tip of a sharp knife. Towards the end of this time, preheat the oven to 500 degrees again, and prepare your cheese mixture. Unlike New York-style pizza, which often uses pure mozzarella, Connecticut-style pizza uses a mix of mozzarella and mild white cheddar. Mix the two cheeses lightly in a bowl, and after the dough has risen 45 minutes, cover it very liberally with cheese.

Add toppings of your choosing (I just like plain cheese pizza), and pop it in the oven. Bake it about 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness, the number of toppings, and your oven. The cheese should be noticeably browned, and the bottom of the crust should be tan to light brown.

Enjoy your Connecticut-style pizza!

September 9, 2009

Broiled Mussels With Dynamite Sauce

Dynamite sauce is Japanese mayonnaise with hot sauce (such as Sriracha chili sauce). I don't know why they name it "dynamite", perhaps because it is spicy. You can get smelt roe (masago) in the frozen seafood section in most Asian supermarkets. This easy recipe makes a tasty appetizer or can be an entree as well.

1 box green mussels (2 lbs.)
1 cup Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie brand)
1/2 cup smelt roe (masago)
1 tablespoon half and half
Sriracha sauce (according to taste, I used 3 tablespoon)

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl except mussels. Line mussels on a baking tray. Spoon mayonnaise mixture on top of mussels, enough to cover the meat.

Broil mussels until it starts to brown and bubbly, around 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm.

July 2, 2009

Quick and Easy Garlic Bread

Here's a quick and easy garlic bread recipe. It's a perfect accompaniment to any soup, salad, pasta or when you want to soak up some delicious sauce!

1 baguette
4 tablespoon softened unsalted butter
2 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Slice baquette horizontally and then half to create 4 pieces of bread. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Mix butter, garlic and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread mixture on top of bread.

Bake in oven for about 30 minutes or when garlic starts to brown.

July 1, 2009

Tequila Mussels

What to do with leftover tequila? If you're not the kind that do tequila shots, try this mussels recipe.

2 lbs. New Zealand greenshell mussels
1 cup tequila
1 can diced tomato (14.5 oz.)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (more if you prefer)
2 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon oil
Lime juice (from 1 lime)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and butter in a pan or wok. Add in chopped garlic and cook till garlic is softened. Add in tomato, tequila and mussels.

Cook covered for 5 minutes, then uncovered for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off heat. Add in cilantro and lime juice. Mix well and serve hot with bread, garlic bread or my Quick and Easy Garlic Bread.

June 30, 2009

Chicken, Ham and Chorizo Jambalaya

After watching a show on Food Network about jambalaya, I've been jonesing to have some. I know this is not an "authentic" jambalaya recipe but I gotta do what I gotta do to satisfy my fix! Try to get smoked chorizo, I made the mistake of getting fresh chorizo and they turned into small meat patties instead of sliced sausage.

A helpful tip: Never stir your jambalaya, instead turn the rice and don't do it often. You don't want to break the rice into mush.

1 lbs. chicken breast or thigh, or both (cut into cubes)
1.5 lbs. smoked chorizo (sliced in an angle)
1.5 lbs. cooked ham (diced)
2 medium onion (chopped fine)
2 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 cups chicken stock
6 cups long grain rice
½ cup oil

Spice mix:
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili flakes
1 tablespoon salt
½ tablespoon cayenne
½ tablespoon onion powder
½ tablespoon garlic powder
black pepper, to taste

Marinade mix:
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Marinade chicken with marinade mix for about an hour. Add oil to a pot or wok, turn to medium heat. Add in chorizo and brown for about 5 minutes.

Add in marinated chicken and ham to brown for about 20 minutes.

Set meat aside, leaving oil in the pot or wok. Add chopped onion into oil. When onions are starting to brown, add in garlic. Be careful not to burn them.

Once onion and garlic are browned, add in browned meat, chicken stock and spice mix.

Turn heat to high. Once mixture is in a rolling boil, add in rice.

Turn heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes, covered. Uncover and turn rice from bottom to top, mixing everything together. If rice is starting to burn on the bottom, add a little bit of water. Cook for another 15 minutes, covered. If rice is not done, cook a few more minutes. Turn heat off and let stand for 10 minutes.

Turn rice and your jambalaya is done! Makes about 10 servings.

May 17, 2009

Grandma's Quick Ginger Braised Chicken

Just got home after a long bus ride from Connecticut. Realized I have some 2 month-old frozen chicken breasts in the freezer so I made this quick dinner dish to use it up. Now I'm not saying this recipe ask for 2 month-old frozen chicken breasts, I'm just saying it's quick. LOL.

2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1/2 cup thinly sliced ginger (more if you like)
1/2 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
4 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cup water
3 tablespoon oil

Heat wok. Add in ginger slices once it's hot, without oil. Fry until ginger is fragrant and dry. Set aside.

Add oil into wok and brown chicken pieces. Set aside. Return ginger back into the wok with onions. Fry until onions are soft, then add in garlic. Fry until it's brown.

Add in soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper and sugar. Fry until mixture is thick. Add in chicken pieces and water. Cook for about 15 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Add in sesame oil and stir. Dish and serve with white rice.

May 15, 2009

Maple Baked Butternut Squash

This is just another version of Sweet Baked Butternut Squash that I made for Thanksgiving. Instead of brown sugar, I'm using maple syrup. Makes good side dish.

2 medium sized butternut squash
1/2 cup maple syrup
6 tablespoon unsalted butter (or margarine)

Peel and cut butternut squash into wedges. Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Add squash into the baking sheet, cover squash with more aluminum foil. Bake for 30 mins.

Take squash out of the oven. Mix maple syrup with butter, drizzle half of the mixture on top of the squash, and return it to the oven for another 15 minutes on 400 °F.

Drizzle with remaining syrup mixture before serving.

May 10, 2009

Ray's Iced Lemon Tea

What's better than lemon and tea? Iced lemon tea! I've been drinking this since I was kid but I'd usually get them pre-packaged when I was in Malaysia. The smell of fresh juicy lemons mushed with sugar and mixed with freshly brewed tea. Yum ... this is one of the drinks that will keep you asking for more. This recipe yields a gallon.

6 lemons
6 tea bags, Lipton black tea
2 cups sugar
6 cups hot water
4 cups cold water

Wash lemons thoroughly. Slice lemons and put them into a pitcher (one that measures to a gallon). Add in sugar. Using a wooden spoon, mush lemon slices with sugar until sugar is almost dissolved. You now have a tasty mixture of lemon syrup, infused with the juices of the lemon and the oil from the zest.

Steep tea bags in 6 cups of hot water for 5 minutes. Add steeped tea into the pitcher. Mix with lemon syrup until sugar completely dissolve. Add in 4 cups of cold water. Mix well.

Serve chilled with ice cubes. Enjoy!

April 4, 2009

Cocoa Mochi

Got this recipe from the Mochiko Blue Star brand website. It's easy to make, almost a no fail recipe. Try it.

2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar

1 cup water
1 box (16 oz.)Mochiko Blue Star Brand Sweet Rice Flour
3 cups water
extra cocoa powder for dusting

In medium saucepan, using a whisk, combine sugar and cocoa together very thoroughly. Then add 1 cup water and mix well. Heat syrup over medium high, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Using a whisk, thoughly mix flour and 3 cups water in a large microwavable bowl until smooth.

Cover and microwave 5 minutes on high. Remove from oven and using a large spoon, mix thoroughly. Return to microwave oven, uncovered, and cook an additional 5 minutes on high.
Remove from microwave oven.

Add cocoa syrup and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 inch nonstick baking pan lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Let mochi cool overnight or until firm.

Dust top with cocoa powder and invert contents onto a cutting board dusted with cocoa powder (before inverting pan, gently pull the mochi along the pan sides free).

Cut mochi into small pieces and dust all surfaces in cocoa powder. Store in airtight container and refrigerate.

February 28, 2009

Stuffed Chinese Crullers

I used to make these back in Malaysia, my grandma loves eating them. I haven't made these for so long and kinda craved it the other day. This is an easy dish to make, all you gotta do is stuffed the crullers and pan fry them. This type of crullers are not to be confused with the sweet ones you buy from the bakery. Chinese fried crullers (Yao Ja Guai in Cantonese) are savory and are used in or eaten with savory dishes. If you can't find fresh Chinese fried crullers, they are sold in bags in any Chinese supermarkets.

1 container fish paste (13 oz.)
Chinese fried crullers (2 pairs)
1 tablespoon white pepper
Some oil for frying

Mix fish paste with white pepper. Set aside.

Break cruller pairs into individual crullers. Cut crullers in half (you should have 8 pieces). Slit cruller on the middle so it looks like a hot dog roll.

Scoop fish paste into the middle cavity and stuffed crullers. Repeat until all crullers are used up.

Heat oil on medium heat. Pan fry stuffed crullers, stuffing-side first. Cook for a few minutes, and then brown the other side for about a minute or two (be careful not to burn this side because the cruller was already fried).

Drain crullers on absorbent paper before serving. Serve with chilli sauce, ketchup or Kewpie Mayonnaise.

February 16, 2009

Fried Wontons

Wontons, Wantons, Wantans, Wuntun, whatever you want to call it, this dumpling is a favorite fried or cooked in broth. Here is a wiki entry for "Wontons". Fried wontons make good appetizers for parties or when you just need to satisfy your wonton fix! There are many versions of wonton fillings, this one is what my grandma used to make. Wonton fillings are usually made of pork but I don't really like pork so I substituted it with chicken. There are two types of wonton wrappers, yellow (with eggs) and white (without eggs). Get the yellow versions. Also, get the square ones instead of the round ones.

The secrets to great fried wontons are just enough filling and low heat when frying. If you put a lot of filling, you might not cook through them when the wonton skin browns. Frying in low heat lets you get a golden skin and ample time to thoroughly cook the wonton filling.

1 lb. minced chicken
2 tablespoon chopped scallion
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
1/2 tablespoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 pack, wonton wrappers (square)

1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Mix chicken, scallion, sesame seed oil, white pepper and salt. Let filling marinade for an hour. Mix cornstarch and water to form a cornstarch mixture.

Scoop a teaspoonful of filling and place it on the middle of the wrapper.

Wet the edges of wrapper with cornstarch mixture. Fold wrapper in half to form a triangle. This is the easy method to make a wonton. If you want a fancier wonton, continue to the next step.

Wet the two corners that have the longest sides. Invert the corners so one is overlapping the other.

Repeat until you used up all filling. If you are making extras, line a container with paper towels. Arrange wontons on top of paper towel. Be careful not to stack wontons on top of each other without a layer of paper towel or it'll stick in the freezer. Good in the freezer for about a week.

Heat oil. Once oil is hot, fry wontons on low heat. Fry until golden brown.

Serve as is or with chilli sauce. Makes about 4 dozens.