Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sticky Date Pudding

The April 2010 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

I did not use Esther's recipes as I did not want to use suet. I searched the web and came across this pudding by The Pudding Club which used steaming as well. I've never taken Sticky Date Pudding so I'm unsure of the texture. The one I made had a very fine crumb and it was slightly on the dry side (I have a feeling puddings are supposed to be wetter). However, it tasted great and went terrifically with the caramel sauce.


45g margerine

45g light brown sugar

75g dates, chopped

100ml hot water

180g Plain Flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

¾ teaspoon vanilla essence

1 egg

~~ Sauce ~~

15g butter

60g mixed dark & light brown sugar

65ml double cream

Melt sauce ingredients together and put in to the base of a greased 1.1litre pudding bowl.

Put chopped dates in the hot water, add baking powder, vanilla essence and bicarbonate of soda, leave to soak for 10 minutes.

Cream together margarine and sugars, beat in the egg gradually. Add dates, water and flour and mix well (the mixture will be very liquid).

Pour mixture on to the sauce, cover and steam for 1.5 hours.

The sauce and sponge mixture mix together during cooking.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Assam Fish Curry

My grandmother used to use this Assam Fish Curry as a the soup base for her Laksa. I never could quite take to it. I prefer the Laksa my dad makes. However, the Assam Fish Curry goes terrifically with white or brown rice.

I adapted this recipe from Kuali. Serves 8.

1 kilogram mackerel ;
250 grams ladies fingers
1 Tomato ; quartered
3 sprigs polygonum leaves ; (daun kesum)
4 tablespoons tamarind paste ; mixed with
500 mililiters Water
1 wild ginger bud ; halve and smash stem
2 pieces dried tamarind skin
5 tablespoons oil
~~ -- Ground Ingredients -- ~~
12 shallots
8 fresh red chillies
4 slices Galangal
1 cm fresh turmeric
2 cm square belacan ; toasted
2 stalks Lemongrass
~~ -- Seasoning -- ~~
3/4 teaspoon salt ; or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar ; or to taste

Heat oil in a deep saucepan and sauté ground ingredients and wild ginger bud halves and polygonum leaves until aromatic and the oil rises.

Add asam jawa juice and bring to the boil. Add ladies fingers, dried tamarind skin and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Put in mackerel and cook for 10 minutes. Add tomato and adjust seasoning to taste. Dish out and serve with hot plain rice immediately.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Broccoli and Mushroom Pasta

This is a rather simple dish but oh so yummy. I used whole wheat fusilli and I prefer its nuttier crunch to plain white pasta.

This recipe serves 3.

2 cups broccoli florets
1/8 cup olive oil
114 grams shiitake mushrooms ; sliced
3 large garlic cloves ; minced
3/8 cup whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme ; crumbled
128 grams fusilli ; freshly cooked
Salt ; to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper ; to taste
3/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan ; (or enough to sprinkle)
Fresh parsley

Steam broccoli florets until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes (to check). Rinse under cold water. Drain.

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic and saute until mushrooms are almost tender, about 5 minutes.

Add cream and thyme and bring to boil. Add pasta and broccoli and cook until pasta is coated, tossing gently, about 3 minutes.

Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan and garnish with parsley.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Chicken Cacciotore

This is definitely a dish I will try again. The chicken was flavourful and very tender.

This recipe serves 4.

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves ; (4 oz ea)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup finely-chopped onions
1 large green pepper ; chopped
4 garlic cloves ; minced
3/4 cup dry red wine
3 fresh tomatoes ; chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley ; (optional)

Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Lightly spray a large skillet with olive oil no-stick spray. Add the oil and heat the skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook about 4 minutes on each side or until browned.

Add the onions and green peppers to the skillet. Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic. Cook and stir about 30 seconds. Stir in the wine, tomatoes, oregano and basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. To add water if it seems to dry up too much.

If desired, sprinkle with parsley just before serving. Serve over toast, hot rice or fettucini or with mashed potatoes.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I had great success with the
Parisian Bagels but Peter Reinhart is very respected in the baking community so when The Kitchn posted a recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day: Fast and Easy Recipes for World-Class Breads by Peter Reinhart, I had to try it out.

The bagels were delicious! Peter Reinhart's bagels have a softer dough which is much more difficult to shape compared to the Parisian Bagels but the taste and flavour of the bagels more than made up for their appearance.

This recipe is adapted and makes 6 to 8 bagels.

1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon (0.11 oz / 3 g) instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons (0.37 oz / 10.5 g) salt, or 21/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 oz / 255 g) lukewarm water (about 95°F or 35°C)
3 1/2 cups (16 oz / 454 g) unbleached bread flour

Poaching Liquid
2 to 3 quarts (64 to 96 oz / 181 to 272 g) water
1 1/2 tablespoons (1 oz / 28.5 g) honey (optional)
1 tablespoon (0.5 oz / 14 g) baking soda
1 teaspoon (0.25 oz / 7 g) salt, or 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

Do Ahead
To make the dough, stir the malt syrup, yeast, and salt into the lukewarm water. Place the flour into a mixing bowl and pour in the malt syrup mixture. If using a mixer, use the dough hook and mix on the lowest speed for 3 minutes. If mixing by hand, use a large, sturdy spoon and stir for about 3 minutes, until well blended. The dough should form a stiff, coarse ball, and the flour should be fully hydrated; if it isn’t, stir in a little more water. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Resume mixing with the dough hook on the lowest speed for another 3 minutes or transfer to a very lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for about 3 minutes to smooth out the dough and develop the gluten. The dough should be stiff yet supple, with a satiny, barely tacky feel. If the dough seems too soft or overly tacky, mix or knead in a little more flour.

Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 hour.

When you’re ready to shape the bagels, prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone mat, then misting it with spray oil or lightly coating it with oil. Divide the dough into 6 to 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a loose ball by rolling it on a clean, dry work surface with a cupped hand. (Don’t use any flour on the work surface. If the dough slides around and won’t ball up, wipe the surface with a damp paper towel and try again; the slight bit of moisture will provide enough traction for the dough to form into a ball.)

Place each shaped bagel on the prepared sheet pan, then mist with spray oil or brush with a light coating of oil. Cover the entire pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days. (You can also proof the full piece of dough in the oiled bowl overnight and then shape the bagels on baking day, 60 to 90 minutes before boiling and baking them, or as soon as they pass the float test.)

On Baking Day
Remove the bagels from the refrigerator 60 to 90 minutes before you plan to bake them, and if you plan to top them with dried onion or garlic, rehydrate those ingredients (see the variations on page 78). Immediately check whether the bagels are ready for baking using the “float test”: Place one of the bagels in a small bowl of cold water. If it sinks and doesn’t float back to the surface, shake it off, return it to the pan, and wait for another 15 to 20 minutes, then test it again. When one bagel passes the float test, they’re all ready to be boiled. If they pass the float test before you are ready to boil and bake them, return them to the refrigerator so they don’t overproof. About 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C) and gather and prepare your garnishes (seeds, onions, garlic, and so on).

To make the poaching liquid, fill a pot with 2 to 3 quarts (64 to 96 oz / 181 to 272 g) of water, making sure the water is at least 4 inches deep. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain at a simmer. Stir in the honey, baking soda, and salt.

Gently lower each bagel into the simmering poaching liquid, adding as many as will comfortably fit in the pot. They should all float to the surface within 15 seconds. After 1 minute, use a slotted spoon to turn each bagel over. Poach for another 30 to 60 seconds, then use the slotted spoon to transfer it back to the pan, domed side up. (It’s important that the parchment paper be lightly oiled, or the paper will glue itself to the dough as the bagels bake.) Sprinkle on a generous amount of whatever toppings you like as soon as the bagels come out of the water (except cinnamon sugar; see the variation on page 78 for details). Transfer the pan of bagels to the oven, then lower the oven heat to 450°F (232°C).

Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and check the underside of the bagels. If they’re getting too dark, place another pan under the baking sheet. (Doubling the pan will insulate the first baking sheet.) Bake for another 8 to 12 minutes, until the bagels are a golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Curry Chicken with Dhall

Here's another recipe for curry.

1 Chicken ; (cut into 8 pieces)
1 1/2 cups dhall ; (washed and drained; and soaked at least 4 hours)
1 pint Water ;
2 potatoes ; (skinned and minced)
2 Brinjal ; (skinned and minced)
1 teaspoon Turmeric
2 tablespoon Chicken curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoon Cooking oil
~~ -- Pounded Ingredients -- ~~
3 Red chillies
3 dried chillies
1 (2-in) Ginger
10 small Onion
6 cloves Garlic
1 (1-in) Lengkuas

1. Pour water into a saucepan. Bring to the boil. Put in dhall, turmeric powder, curry powder and salt. Continue to boil.

2. Heat oil and fry pounded ingredients till a film of oil forms on the surface. Stir well into the boiling dhall.

3. Add chicken pieces, potatoes and brinjals. Cook until dhall and chicken pieces are tender. Season well. Dish up and serve hot.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Muar Chee

Muar Chee is a popular street snack commonly found in Penang. It is basically glutinous rice balls smothered in peanuts, sugar and sesame seeds.

It is really easy to make at home. Just make sure you have a good processor to grind the peanuts. This recipe is adapted from Rasa Malaysia and serves about 5 people.

113 grams glutinous rice flour
1 tablespoons tapioca flour
3/4 cup water
some Cooking oil ; (for greasing)
Fried shallot crisps
~~ -- Roasted Peanuts Mixture -- ~~
57 grams ground roasted peanuts ;
57 grams sugar ;
28 grams sesame seeds ; (lightly toasted)

Mix the glutinous rice flour and tapioca flour with water to form a batter. Transfer the batter into a greased pan. Steamed over high heat for 10-15 minutes until the glutinous rice paste is completely cooked through in the center. Let cool, covered to prevent it from drying out.

In a deep dish, mix the ground roasted peanuts, sugar, and sesame seeds well. Cut a small piece of the rice paste using a oiled plastic knife. Drop it into the mixture and start cutting the rice paste into smaller cubes. Coat well with the mixture, dish out and serve immediately with some fried shallot crisps.