Rose Shaped Steamed Buns/Mantou (玫瑰花饅頭)


Rose Shaped Mantous

My friend, Janet who loves to cook and bake, was nice to share her buns with me last week.  It was a lovely purple color as it was made with purple yam.  When food is turned into an art piece, it makes the food more appealing.  Since it tasted and looked so good, I decided to make some, but with carrot juice to get a bright orange color.

I posted a recipe for making the milk mantou 4 years ago, and I used that recipe for the white petals.  Both milk mantou and carrot juice mantou recipes are listed below (for a total of 24 pieces).

Ingredients for orange petals:

500g All purpose flour
300ml Carrot juice
35g Sugar
5g Yeast
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil

Ingredients for white petals:

500g All purpose flour
300ml Fat free milk
35g Sugar
5g Yeast
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil

Directions:

You will need 3-4 carrots to get 300ml of carrot juice depending on the size of the carrots.

Carrot juice

  1.  Prepare all ingredients, one set for the orange petals and one set for the white petals.  Combine all ingredients for the orange petals in a mixing bowl, attach the dough hook and mix the ingredients with low speed.  Knead the dough until smooth (about 10 minutes).  Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.  Repeat this step for the ingredients for the white petals (pictures 1, 2 and 3).
  2. During the 10-minute resting period, make sure to cover the container with plastic wrap.  (picture 4)
  3. Take the dough out, punch down with your hands to deflate, and cut into half.  Cover the second half with plastic wrap to keep it soft.  Roll out the dough and roll it tightly to form a log.  (picture 5)
  4. Cut the log into pieces and each piece should weigh about 20g.  Cover pieces with plastic wrap. (picture 6)
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the orange petals.  (picture 7)
  6. Roll each piece thinly like gyoza wrappers.  (picture 8)
  7. You will need 3 pieces of the orange dough and 3 pieces of the white dough, alternate the colors. (picture 9)
  8. Roll the dough up (roll from the right hand side) to form a small thick log.  (picture 10)
  9. Cut the rolled up dough in half from the center.  When you turn the dough up, you will see the pretty rose shape and shape the petals with your fingers.  (picture 11)
  10. Pour some cold water in the bottom of the steamer.   Place rose shaped buns in the steamer lined with parchment paper, cover and let the buns rise for 20 minutes.   Make sure to space out the buns (picture 12)
  11. After the final rise, boil water and steam the buns for 15 minutes until they are cooked and puffed.

steps

Mantou 1

P.S.  Don’t skip the final rise, otherwise the bun outer layer won’t be fluffy.

Roast Prime Rib with Thyme Au Jus


Prime Rib

I adapted this recipe from Food Network, it is Bobby Flay’s recipe.  I always had delicious prime rib at my relatives during holidays.  They served their prime rib with very light au jus (like clear beef broth).  Since I wanted a richer au jus, Bobby Flay’s recipe contains red wine and everyone said it was amazing.  All those good comments caught my eye.  So, tonight to celebrate Easter, I roasted my prime rib for the very first time.  The only change I made was the temperature – I adjusted it down to 120F instead of 135F.   I am glad that I did that as the temperature continued to cook the meat during the resting period.  My husband only likes medium rare, so I had to make sure he gets his tender piece.  This recipe made me feel like I was a professional chef!

Picture below is a small piece of roast I purchased from the market, it is slightly less than 5lbs (bone-in 3 ribs).  The cooking time is about 1.5 hours, but don’t rely on the cooking time, you should use an oven thermometer to avoid overcooking.

a

Ingredients:  (If your roast is bigger than 5 lbs, please follow Bobby Flay’s recipe for the liquid amount)

1 bone-in prime rib (about 5 lbs)
8 cloves garlic, cut in half
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup red wine (I used Cabernet, Bobby Flay’s was Merlot)
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper on meat.  (picture 1)
  3. Make small slits all over the prime rib and push garlic pieces into each slit.  (picture 2)
  4. Place roast on a rack set inside a roasting pan and insert the thermometer into the center at the thickest part, away from bone.  (picture 3)
  5. Set temperature to 120F, when the internal temperature reaches 120F, it will alarm you.  (picture 4)
  6. Remove the meat to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.

prime rib steps

  • While the meat is resting, discard all the fat from the roasting pan but keep the pan drippings.  Place the pan on top of the stove over 2 burners set on high heat and add 1 cup of wine.  (picture A)
  • When the wine is reduced, add in 2 cups of beef stock and cook until reduced by half.  (picture B)
  • Whisk in 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves.  (picture C)
  • Use a wooden spoon to mix the au jus and add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.  (picture D)

AU JUS

  • Transfer the au jus to a gravy bowl  and serve.

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Mini Red Bean Pudding Cake (砵仔糕 Boot Jai Go / Put Chai Ko)


boot-chai-go

Boot Jai Go aka Put Chai Ko is a popular snack sold by street vendors in Hong Kong.  Traditionally, these pudding cakes were steamed in earthen bowls, which in Chinese means “Boot Jai”.  This is how it got its name “Boot Jai” pudding.  These pudding cakes are made from white or brown sugar, rice flour and wheat starch.  Sometimes red bean is also added.  I still remember during my childhood in Hong Kong, the hawker removed the pudding cake from a porcelain bowl by inserting two bamboo sticks and we just held the skewers while eating them.  Besides the Egg waffles, Boot Jai Go is one of Hong Kong’s must try street vendor’s snacks.

Today, I made these pudding cakes using mini muffin trays.  I made two types, one with brown sugar and one with white sugar and coconut cream.  I also made some without red bean as my daughter likes them plain.

Brown Sugar Boot Jai Go:

Ingredients:

60g Wheat Flour 澄麵
90g Rice Flour 粘米粉
110g Dark Brown Sugar 黑蔗糖
2 cup Water 水
1 cup Cooked red beans 熟紅豆

ingredients

Directions:

  1. Pour 1/2 cup of red bean and 1-1/2 cup of water into the pressure cooker, and set the pressure cooking time to 25 minutes (sugar can be added depending on your preference).  Discard water once red bean is cooked and set aside;
  2. Combine wheat starch and rice flour in a big bowl, add 1 cup of cold water to the flour mixture and mix well, make sure the batter has no lumps (picture 1);
  3. In a small pot, combine 1 cup of water and 110g of dark brown sugar, bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved (picture 2);
  4. Quickly pour the hot sugar water into the batter, mix thoroughly (picture 3);
  5. Scope out the batter to a mini muffin tray with a ladle (while transferring the batter, keep mixing the batter as the starch tend to sink to the bottom) (picture 4);
  6. In a big steamer/wok, bring water to a boil.  Transfer the muffin tray to the steamer and steam over high heat for 3 minutes.  Then add red bean to the middle of each pudding and continue steaming for 7 minutes.  If you want to make the plain pudding with red beans, just steam it for 10 minutes straight (picture 5).

puding-cake

Coconut Boot Jai Go:

  1. Replace brown sugar with white sugar, also 110g (picture A);
  2. Instead of 1 cup of boiling water, combine 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of coconut cream (pictures B & C);
  3. Pour sugar, water and coconut cream into a pot, bring to a boil (picture D);
  4. Repeat steps 4-6 above.

coconut-rice-cake

Note:

  • It’s normal that the cake droops in the middle after steaming.
  • You will need to steam this for 30 minutes or so if you use a porcelain bowl depending the size of the bowl.  Red bean can be added to the batter just prior to steaming.

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Sous Vide Steak


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Steak is one of the most popular foods to cook sous vide and since everyone in my family likes their steak medium rare, I decided to adopt the sous vide method instead of the typical grilling method.

Before we start, we need to pick the right steak.  The thickness of a steak should be at least 1.5 inches thick, either bone-in or boneless.  The reason to pick a thicker piece is because we need to sear the steak after sous-vide cooking.  A thinner piece will tend to overcook during the searing process.  Below is an excerpt from the Anova site and a complete guide can be found here .

Strip, Ribeye, and Porterhouse Steaks

Highly marbled cuts like a grain-finished Prime-grade ribeye and strip should be cooked a few degrees higher than leaner steaks like tenderloin as their copious intramuscular fat helps keep them moist while delivering plenty of flavor.  Fattier steaks also have natural insulation which means they’ll take slightly longer to reach the correct internal temperature.

Very rare to Rare:  120°F (49°C) to 128°F (53°C), 1 to 2 1/2 hours.
Medium-rare:  129°F (54°C) to 134°F (57°C), 1 to 4 hours (2 1/2 hours max for temperatures under 130°F/57°C).
Medium:  135°F (57°C) to 144°F (62°C), 1 to 4 hours.
Medium-well:  145°F (63°C) to 155°F (68°C), 1 to 3 1/2 hours.
Well done:  156°F (69°C) and up, 1 to 3 hours.

Here is how we made a mouth-watering sous-vide steak.

Ingredients:
2 Steaks (about 1 pound each)
Salt
Pepper
12 garlic clove

Direction:

  1. Preheat Precision Cooker to the desired final temperature according to the chart above.  I like my steaks medium rare, so I set my temperature to 129°F.
  2. Generously season the steak (including the edges) with salt and pepper. (picture 1)
  3. Put the steak into a bag and add 3 garlic cloves to each side of the steak (if you want herbs, you can add that to the bag as well).  Seal the bag with a vacuum sealer.  (picture 2)
  4. When water has reached the desired temperature, drop the bag(s) in the water bath.  (picture 3)
  5. You can connect your cell phone to your precision cooker and use the app to set the cooking time to 1 hour.  (picture 4)
  6. Remove the steak from the bag and pat dry with paper towel.  Preheat a cast iron skillet and add one tablespoon of grape seed oil until it starts to smoke, add your steak to the pan. (picture 5)
  7. Sear one side for 15 to 30 seconds and flip the steak and sear the other side for 15 t0 30 seconds.  Repeat this step once until the steak gets a nice brown sear.  Make sure not to cook for too long.  Immediately serve with your favorite vegetables/side dishes.  (picture 6)

steak

Note:  With sous-vide cooking, you can cut the steak right after searing, the 10-minute resting period can be skipped.

Sous Vide Soy Sauce Chicken


soy-sauce-chicken

Sous vide cooking is new to me, a lot of my friends have already owned a Sous Vide Precision Cooker for a couple of years.  I heard many good things about it but never thought about buying one until after the Thanksgiving holiday when there was a big sale.  I purchased mine (Anova brand) and used it the very first time yesterday.  Basically sous vide cooking is putting food in a bag and cooking it in a water bath.  This technique is about bringing food up to a precisely controlled temperature to deliver super-juicy, flavor-packed results throughout the entire piece of meat.  I personally don’t like the idea of cooking food in a plastic bag, but if I use those vacuum sealer bags that are BPA free, I think that is acceptable.  Below is my first recipe – A Chinese soy sauce chicken –  the meat was cooked just right, very tender and juicy.  Please note this soy sauce chicken doesn’t need the searing step after the water bath.

Ingredients:

1 3-4 pound free range brown chicken 黃毛雞
3 slices Fresh ginger
3 Star anise
3 Bay leaves
2 stalks Green onions
6 cloves Garlic
7 Tbsp Brown sugar
300ml Light soy sauce
300ml Water
2 Tbsp Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (Cooking wine) 玫瑰露酒

Directions for making the sauce:

  1. Measure all ingredients and set aside (picture 1).
  2. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to the frying pan, stir in ginger, garlic and green onion and cook for a minute. (pictures 2)
  3. Add a tablespoon of Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (cooking wine) and then add in 300 ml water. (pictures 3-4)
  4. Add in sugar, anise and bay leaves. (pictures 5 and 6)
  5. When the liquid is boiling, add a tablespoon of Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (cooking wine) and soy sauce. (pictures 7 and 8)
  6. Turn off fire after the sauce is slightly bubbling, transfer the sauce into a bowl and let it cool. (picture 9)

sauce

Directions for sous vide cooking:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and put the whole chicken in for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  This step will firm the chicken skin and allow the sauce to coat the chicken evenly.  (picture a)
  2. Fill a pot of water, clip the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to the side of the pot, download the app and connect Anova to your phone.  Use the phone to set the temperature that you want the food to finish at. For this chicken, I set it to 155.5 for 6 hours.
  3. While the cooker is heating up the water, put chicken in a bag and pour sauce into the bag.  Toss the chicken to make sure sauce gets on all sides.  (pictures c and d)
  4. When water has reached the desired temperature, seal the bag using the water immersion technique (drop the bag into water slowly and air will come out, use binder clips to secure the bag).  Place the bag in the water bath and let it cook for 6 hours.  (pictures e and f)
  5. When the timer goes off, remove the bag from the water bath.  Take out the chicken and let it cool.  You can save the sauce and use it next time, just re-boil and freeze in the freezer.

anova

Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting.  Serve with white steamed rice.

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Braised Pork Soft Bones (豬軟骨)


HKG_4555

Ever since I bought an electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot), I’ve tried different recipes that required long cooking times on the stove top.  I must say I love pressure cooking as it has saved me so much time!   This Instant Pot is very safe to use, if the cooker is still pressurized, the lid will be locked to prevent accidental opening.  I have tried cooking a whole chicken, tri-tip, soup and Oxtail.

Ingredients:

3 pounds
10 cloves
1
2 slices
3 stalks
2/3 cup
1/2 cup
1/2 cup
4 Tbsp
4 Tbsp
1 Tbsp
Pork Soft Bones
Garlic
Anise
Ginger
Green Onions
Light soy sauce
Mirin
Water
Dark soy sauce
Brown sugar
Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (or rice cooking wine)

Directions:

  1. I bought these pork soft bones in an Asian supermarket, as you can see from picture 1, they are like short ribs and has a little fat marbling in the meat. The little white circles are the soft bones, once the ribs are cooked for a long time, you can eat the bones together with the meat.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to a frying pan and fry the pork ribs until slightly golden brown. (picture 2)
  3. Add garlic, ginger and green onions to the ribs and stir well. (picture 3)
  4. Add a tablespoon of Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (if you don’t have this type of wine, just add rice cooking wine). (picture 4)
  5. Transfer the ribs to a pressure cooker. In a separate bowl, combine light soy sauce, mirin, water, dark soy sauce and brown sugar.  Pour the mixture into the pressure cooker. (pictures 5-10)
  6. I am using an electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot).  Close the pressure cooker lid tight and make sure the steam release knob is turned to “Sealing” position. Select “Meat/Stew” function, set pressure to “normal” and the cooking time to 35 minutes.  As the pressure increases inside the cooker, the Float Valve pops up and seals the cooker.  (picture 11)
  7. When the ribs are done cooking, slide the steam release knob to the “Venting” position to let out steam until the Float Valve drops down. The meat is so soft and tender, you can serve it with noodles in soup or rice.  (Picture 12)

soft-bone-ribs-collages

Note:  If you don’t have a pressure cooker and want to make this on the stove top, instead of 1/2 cup of water, add 4 cups of water to the pot.  Cook ribs in medium low heat for about 2 hours.

hkg_4556

Traditional Mooncakes 廣式月餅


Mooncakes.jpg

I made these traditional mooncakes two years ago with a 63g mooncake mold.  I’m posting this again with the ingredients for a 75g mold.  Please plan ahead of time as (i) the paste needs to be made and refrigerated (or you can buy the paste from a store), and (ii) the skin normally needs to rest for 2 days after baking to get the best texture,  called “回油” in Chinese.  If you have a sweet tooth, you may want to increase the sugar amount as my recipe is a healthier version – less sugar and less oil.

moon-cakes

Ingredients for Lotus Paste (yield: 17 pieces – 23g each paste ball):

400g
240g
200ml
2 Tbsps
2 Tbsps
1/4 tsp
Lotus Seeds
Sugar
Grape Seed Oil/Olive Oil
Honey
Condense Milk
Salt

Directions for making the lotus paste are in my previous mooncake recipe here.

Ingredients for making the dough:  (yield: 17 mooncakes – 52g each dough ball) 

200g All purpose flour
140g Golden Syrup (recipe courtesy of Christine Ho – here)
1 tsp Alkaline water
50g/ml Grape seed oil
Fillings:
900g Lotus Paste
9 Salted Egg Yolks
1 Tbsp Rose-flavored cooking wine (玫瑰露酒)
1 Egg (for egg wash)

Directions: (The dough/filling ratio is 3:7)

  1. Mix salted egg yolks with wine. Wipe dry the yolks with kitchen paper after a few minutes.  Cut each into two halves. Set aside.  (Note: if you don’t want to use cooking wine, you can use salt water to rinse the egg yolks to remove the excess egg whites).
  2. Place golden syrup in a bowl.  Add in alkaline water, stir to combine. Add in oil and mix well.
  3. Add flour into the syrup mixture and combine well. Gently knead the dough till smooth (takes 1~2 mins). Shape it into a round ball and wrap with cling wrap. Leave it in the fridge to rest for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Before making mooncakes, bring the dough to room temperature for 30 mins. Divide dough into 17 equal portions, each weighs 23g.  Roll each portion into a ball shape.  Divide lotus paste into 17 equal portions as well, each weighs 52g, the salted egg yolks are roughly 5g each half.  (Pictures 1-3)
  5. Take a lotus paste ball and poke a hole in the middle with your finger. Place egg yolk inside. (Picture 4).
  6. Flatten each dough into a small disc with a rolling pin. The dough is sticky, I suggest putting a piece of cling wrap on top and roll it out.  (Picture 5)
  7. Wrap the dough around the filling and shape it into a ball. (Picture 6)
  8. Lightly dust the stuffed dough with some flour and lightly dust the mold.  Place the stuffed dough into the mooncake mold.  Tip:  When wrapping the filling, the dough is thicker on the closing end, the thicker side of the dough should go into the mold first as you will get the pattern pressed on this side.  (Picture 7)
  9. Press the handle, then remove the mooncake from the mold.  Dust off any excess flour with a brush.  (Pictures 8-9)
  10. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and place mooncakes on top.
  11. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare the egg wash by whisking the egg, sift through a fine sieve.
  12. Lightly spray some water on the mooncakes. (Note: this step prevents the mooncakes from cracking during baking.)   (Picture 10)
  13. Position the rack in the upper third of the oven and bake for 10 mins. Remove from oven and leave to cool for 15mins (Note:  this step helps stabilizing the pattern on top).
  14. After 15 minutes, brush the top with very little egg wash (Note: too much egg wash, the pattern will disappear after baking). Return to oven and change the oven temperature to 325F and continue to bake for another 25-30 mins. (Picture 11)
  15. After baking, the skin doesn’t have the shiny look (picture 12).  Leave mooncakes to cool completely and store in air tight containers. Wait for 2 days before serving, the skin will become soft and shiny, called “回油” in Chinese.

mooncake-steps

This is the clear pattern before baking.

moon-cake-print

I ordered this customized mooncake mold in Hong Kong.  The disk can be removed for easy cleaning.  I personally do not like anything bigger than 75g or smaller than 63g.  However, you may like the 100g as it’s easier to work with.

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I also bought these containers and bags in Hong Kong.  They look nice and neat when giving them as a gift.hkg_4789