Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Curry Kapitan

I love all types of curries. One of my favourites is a Nyonya curry which is drier than most curries but bursting with flavour.

One thing to note: do try to get the spice paste as fine as you can. I adapted this recipe from Rasa Malaysia.

340 grams boneless chicken thigh and/or breast ; (cut into small cubes/pieces)
1 lemon grass ; (cut into 4-inch lengths, use only the white part, pounded)
4 piece kaffir lime leaves
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon lime juice
Salt ; to taste
~~ -- Spice Paste -- ~~
3/4 inch galangal
114 grams fresh red chili ; (seeded and sliced)
2 1/2 shallots ; (sliced)
1/2 inch Ginger
3 candlenuts ; (soaked in warm water)
1/4 inch fresh turmeric
1/8 teaspoon belacan ; (fermented shrimp paste)

1. Blend all spice paste ingredients to a very fine paste.

2. Heat up some cooking oil in a work and stir-fry paste until aromatic or a thin layer of oil rises to the top.

3. Add chicken and continue stirring until it''s almost cooked.

4. Add the coconut milk and the rest of the ingredients and continue to simmer for another 15-20 minutes, over low heat.

5. Add salt to taste and serve hot.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Orange Tian

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

This dessert was pretty time consuming. I split up the recipe and completed the dessert in 3 days. Taken apart, it is not difficult to make. I had no problems with any of it and the final dessert was very pretty and tasted good.

For the Pate Sablee

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams

Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.

Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.

Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.

For the Marmalade:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
pectin 5 grams
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked

Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.

Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.

Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.

Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).

Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.

In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).

Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

For the Orange Segments:

For this step you will need 8 oranges.

Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.

For the Caramel:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams

Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.

Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.

Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

[Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]

For the Whipped Cream:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.
[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]

Assembling the Dessert:

Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.

Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.

Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.

Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.

Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.

Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.

Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.

Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.

Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.

Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hot Lemon Souffle

Souffle is another dish I have not tried. All I know of it is that it is very very light in texture. I had some lemons I wanted to use up so I decided to make lemon souffle. It is not a very difficult dish to make. However, I used larger ramekins than the ones instructed in the recipe so it did not rise above the rim. It was slightly too sweet but I suppose you do need to add a lot sugar to lessen the sourness of lemons.

113 grams Unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons finely-minced lemon peel
4 large eggs ; separated

Butter six 3/4-cup ramekins; dust with sugar. Melt 1/2 cup butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sugar and stir until mixture is opaque, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and lemon peel. Whisk in yolks very slowly and temper first. Cook over medium-low heat until mixture thickens and thermometer registers 160°F, whisking constantly, about 12 minutes (do not boil). Transfer mixture to large bowl and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of beaten egg whites into lemon mixture to lighten. Fold remaining beaten egg whites into lemon mixture.

Divide soufflé mixture among prepared ramekins. Place filled ramekins in large roasting pan. Fill pan with enough hot water to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake soufflés until golden brown on top, about 14 minutes. Using tongs as aid, remove soufflés from water and serve immediately.

This recipe yields 6 servings.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chicken Liver Dog Biscuits

You would think dogs eat everything. I thought so until my dog came along. She is rather picky when it comes to food. She loves the beef liver treats I make for her so when I came across this recipe, I thought chicken liver might be safe too.

The difference is that with this recipe, the main ingredient is flour with a smattering of liver. My dog would pick out the liver and more often that not, leave the rest of the biscuit. Luckily I have another dog who typically eats everything. So she cleans up after the first dog!

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rice flour ; or oat flour
1/4 cup Vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup Chicken broth
1 cup Liver ; cooked and chopped

Mix the flours and parsley together in a bowl then blend all the wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet while mixing. After it is well blended, fold in the liver.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead a few times. Roll out about 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch depending on the size of your dog’s mouth and cut into shapes or just plain cut into rectangles.

Place on cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or till firm.

Store in the fridge or freezer.

Makes about 40 of the star shape.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Daring Cooks' Challenge: Risotto

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

I had such fun with this month's challenge. It's almost fool-proof. Here are tips I can give you in making risotto, based on my own experience:
1) Have all ingredients ready.
2) After the wine has evaporated, lower the temperature and add chicken broth.
3) Once the rice (if substituting with calrose) is almost cooked, add the chicken broth very slowly as the rice will not be able to absorb a lot more of the broth.

I did have someone tell me that if I substitute calrose for arborio, it is technically not risotto. However, I had calrose in the house and wanted to finish it off. I think the major difference is calrose cooks up less firm compared to arborio. But it was still a terrifically flavourful dish. I made a chicken and broccoli risotto the first time; the second time, I made a caramelised onion risotto and added lap cheong (Chinese sausage) which was much better.

Chicken Stock

1 large chicken 2-3 pounds about 1 kg
chicken bones 2-3 pounds 1 kg
2 onions, roughly diced
1 medium leek - white part only, roughly diced
2 sticks celery, roughly diced
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. white peppercorns ( Any type of whole peppercorn will do)
2 bay leaves (fresh or dried, it doesn't matter.)
peel of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. allspice


  1. Wash the chicken and bones and places in a 5 Litre pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil
  2. Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface
  3. Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil
  4. Add the rest remaining ingredients and simmer very gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours
  5. Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside. The chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded off and used for other things like soup!
  6. Simmer the stock gently for another hour. At , at the end you should have around 2 Liters
  7. Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less the bones and vegetables are disturbed in this process the clearer the stock will be. 
The stock is now ready for use. Freeze what you don't need for later use.

Risotto Base

olive oil 2 fluid oz 60 ml
1 small onion, quatered
rice 14 oz 400g
Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli.
white wine 2 fl oz 60 ml
chicken or vegetable stock , simmering 2 pints 1 L


  1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
  2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
  3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
  4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don't actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
  5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
  6. Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .
  7. Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
  8. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Low-Fat Banana Bread

I love oats. I put it in my morning coffee, make it for breakfast or lunch with bananas, put it in my yogurt; most of all, I love adding it to anything I'm baking, especially bread.

This recipe is pretty good. It was quite dry which I liked. Most banana breads taste too much like banana cakes to me.

This recipe makes 1 loaf.

1 1/4 cup All purpose flour
1/2 cup Brown sugar ; packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 teaspoons Canola Oil ; or walnut oil
1 large egg ; beaten
2 medium Egg white ; beaten
3 large bananas ; ripe
1 cup Oats ; uncooked

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients including the oats and cinnamon.

In a smaller bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or fork. Add oil and whole egg and mix thoroughly.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Batter will be fairly thick.

In a medium sized bowl, with an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites until medium stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter in three additions.

Pour batter into pan and bake until top of loaf is firm to touch, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Flip out and cool on a wire rack for another 10 minutes. Slice loaf into 10 equally sized slices.