Polka Dot Mocha Swiss Roll Cake


Patterned roll cakes have been on my to-bake list for the longest time. Today, I’m posting this mocha roll cake with a brown polka dot design. This was made following the same basic Swiss roll cake recipe, but instead I added instant coffee for the mocha flavor. As for the patterns, I opted for cocoa powder for the natural coloring. You may need to use food coloring for some of them, as it depends on what flavor your cakes are and what color you want your patterns to be. I have tested different methods of adding patterns but failed several times to get a good result. I personally prefer freezing the patterns over pre-baking the patterns.

Ingredients for the circle pattern paste:

10gUnsalted butter (softened)
10gPowdered sugar
10gCake flour
10gEgg white
1 TbspCocoa powder

Ingredients for the roll cake:

Ingredients A
80gEgg Yolk
1gSalt
35gSugar
Ingredients B
45gOil
40gMilk
Ingredients C
72gCake flour
2 Tbsp (4g)Instant Coffee
2 TbspHot water
Ingredients D
120gEgg white
55gSugar

Cream filling:
1 CupHeavy whipping cream
1 TbspPowdered sugar
1 TbspInstant black coffee
1 TbspVanilla instant pudding

Directions for making the pattern:

  1. You can draw your own pattern template or download one online. Line a 9×13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper and place the pattern sheet beneath it.
  2. In a bowl, mix egg white, sugar, butter and flour until you get a smooth paste (DO NOT add cocoa powder yet). In a separate bowl, take out half of the mixture (one half for the white circles and one half for the brown circles) and slowly add in cocoa powder (add little by little until you get the color you want). (Pictures 1 & 2)
  3. Fill the Ziploc bag with the mixture and seal the top. Use scissors to snip off one corner of the bag – creating a tiny hole makes it easier to trace the patterns. (Picture 3)
  4. Once all patterns are done, place the whole baking sheet in the freezer. (Picture 4)

Directions for making the roll cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 340°F.
  2. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites into two bowls.
  3. Dissolve instant black coffee in hot water, set aside and let it cool. (Picture 1)
  4. In a large bowl, add salt to egg yolks and mix well.  Add in 35g of sugar, beat until well combined.  (Pictures 2 & 3)
  5. Add oil and milk to the egg yolk mixture and beat until the mixture is pale.  (Pictures 4 & 5)
  6. Sift the flour into the egg mixture and gently fold to combine.  (Pictures 6 and 7)
  7. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, gradually add sugar and beat until soft peaks form.  (Pictures 8 and 9)
  8. Add in black coffee liquid to the egg whites and fold to combine. (Picture 10)
  9. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and gently fold to combine with a spatula.  (Picture 11)
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Spread the batter evenly and tap the pan several times.  This will remove any air bubbles inside the batter.  (Pictures 12 & 13)
  11. Bake for about 13 minutes, remove the cake from the pan as soon as it is ready.  Allow it to cool for about 10 mins.  Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the cake (you may want to lightly spray the parchment paper with oil to prevent the outer layer from sticking), and flip the pan over so that the pattern is on top.  Peel away the original parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. Trim the top and bottom edges.  Hold the knife at a 30 degree angle and trim the right and left edges. (Picture 14)
  12. Using a knife to score 2 vertical lines along the cake from the right edge, careful not to cut all the way into the cake. (Picture 15)
  13. Spread an even layer of whipped cream over the cake.  (Picture 16)
  14. Tightly roll the cake from the side you just scored toward the other end. (Picture 17)
  15. Secure the roll by taping or twisting the parchment paper at both ends.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.  (Picture 18)

Directions for making the filling:

  1. Dissolve instant black coffee powder in 1 tsp. of hot water, set aside and let cool.
  2. Whip the heavy whipping cream on medium speed until it is smooth and firm, add powdered sugar and whip for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. To make the cream firmer, add vanilla instant pudding and whip for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add in coffee and whip for another minute.

Baked Pork Tenderloin


I got this recipe from my cousin who made a tri-tip roast for our family New Year’s Eve dinner. Ever since, the tri-tip roast has been a requested dish for our annual New Year’s gathering. I have discovered that the same recipe can be used for making pork tenderloin and the flavor is still amazing. The only adjustment is to reduce the cooking time.

Ingredients:

2 poundsPork Tenderloin (about 2-3 pieces)
1/2 CupFresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 CupCooking oil (grape seed oil)
1/4 CupBrown sugar
1/4 CupLight soy sauce
1-2 TbspBlack pepper
1/4 CupGarlic salt
1/4 CupChopped garlic
1/4 CupChopped dried onions

Ingredients for gravy:

1 CanChicken broth
2 tspCornstarch
2 TbspWater
1 TbspWhite wine
To tasteSalt

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl, transfer the mixture to a 1-gallon ziploc bag. (Picture 1)
  2. Place the pork tenderloin in the bag and toss the bag to make sure the meat is evenly coated with the marinade, refrigerate overnight. (Picture 2)
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. In a large skillet, drizzle a little cooking oil and brown the pork tenderloin on both sides. (Picture 3)
  5. Transfer the meat to a baking sheet and bake in the oven until the thermometer reads 160°F. (The federal agency says it is lowering the recommended safe cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork from 160°F to 145°F. This is your preference). Let it sit for 3-5 minutes before cutting.  (Pictures 4-5)
  6. While the meat is resting, heat up a cup of chicken broth. Scrape the brown pieces from the baking sheet and add into the chicken broth, then add in white wine. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl, then stir until smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture into hot broth to thicken the gravy. Add salt to taste. (Pictures 6 & 7)
  7. Slice pork tenderloin and pour gravy on top to serve.

Galbi / Kalbi (Korean BBQ Ribs)


As mentioned in my previous post, Galbi (also called Kalbi) is my family’s favorite Korean dish. Our go-to Korean restaurant is A Ri Rang Tofu House in San Gabriel, CA. They serve delicious dishes, amazing tofu soup as well as their free side dishes (banchan) which can be refilled upon request.

Since inflation in 2022 has gone up a lot, restaurants have to cover the cost by increasing the price or reducing the portion of the dish. The Galbi combination – meat + soup is $33 (used to be $10 cheaper) plus tip for dinner. This is the main reason why I had to learn to cook it myself.

Ingredients:

18 / approx 8 poundsBeef short ribs
1 1/2 cupLight soy sauce
1 1/4 CupBrown sugar
1 CupWater
1 Asian Pear (Ya Li) (blend)
1 1/2Onion (blend)
2 headsGarlic (blend)
6 TbspSesame oil
1.5 TbspGround pepper
1.5 TbspFreshly grated ginger

Directions:

  1. Please refer to picture 1 for the beef ribs, you can find them at the market. Rinse ribs under running water to wash off any bone bits that may exist. Pat dry and set aside.
  2. Peel and core the pear, chop into pieces. Peel the garlic and chop onion, puree all 3 ingredients in a blender until smooth. (Pictures 2-3)
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, mix until all combined. (Picture 4)
  4. Add beef ribs into the mixing bowl, mix everything so each piece is evenly coated. Marinate overnight. (Picture 5)
  5. Remove beef ribs from marinade and wipe off excess. Place directly over the hot side of the grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until beef is cooked and lightly charred on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes total (3 to 4 minutes per side). Transfer to a serving platter and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. (Picture 6)
  6. Sprinkle toasted sesame and fresh green onion for garnish.

Korean Spicy Chicken


I bet a lot of people became a good cook when the coronavirus pandemic hit. The pandemic had us stuck at home and many restaurants were closed. Having the opportunity to stay at home allowed us to discover more recipes that eventually led to more learning and experience. It’s important to have different cuisine daily as it can increase our appetite.

Of all the types of food I cook—Italian, Persian, Mexican, American, and Asian foods— I discovered my family really liked Korean cuisine. Their favorite is the beef shortribs (Galbi) (recipe here) and spicy tofu soup. Anyhow, I came across this spicy chicken recipe from rasamalaysia.com, it’s a good addition to my Korean recipe book.

Ingredients:

2 poundsBoneless and skinless chicken thighs
4 TbspCooking oil
3 TbspGochujang (Korean chili paste)
2 tspGochugaru (Korean red chili powder)
2 TbspSesame oil
4 TbspSoy sauce
3 TbspSugar
1 thumb sizeFresh ginger, peeled and minced
6 clovesGarlic, minced
To tasteSalt

Instructions:

  1. Wash chicken thighs and pat dry, trim off all the fat. (Picture 1)
  2. Mince garlic and ginger, set aside. (Picture 2)
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, mix well until combined. Marinate the chicken for 2 hours or overnight. (Pictures 3 & 4)
  4. Put chicken thighs on the grill and grill until slightly charred. You can also pan fry the chicken on a skillet.
  5. Cut chicken thighs into strips, sprinkle some toasted sesame on top for garnish, serve with steamed rice.

Below is a picture of the Gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste):

And below is a picture of Gochugaru (chili powder):

Black Cod with Miso Marinade


 

Black Cod, also known as Sablefish, is one of my favorite types of fish.  It also has another name “Butterfish” because of its a soft, flaky texture and buttery rich flavor, similar to Chilean sea bass.  Many people substitute Black Cod for Chilean sea bass due to its affordable price.

There are many ways to cook black cod—simply marinade with salt & pepper, garlic salt, soy sauce, lemon pepper, etc.—but the most popular and delicious marinade is miso.  Whichever way you prepare the fish, the buttery flavor from the black cod just makes the flavor so unique.

Ingredients:

Step 1:

8 fillets (1.5″ wide) Black Cod
3 tsp Sea salt
4 Tbsp Sake

Step 2:

1/2 cup White miso
6 Tbsp Mirin
4 Tbsp Sake

Directions:

  1. This fish needs to be marinated for at least 2 days to get the best flavor.
  2. To get rid of the fishy smell, sprinkle salt over the fish and set aside for 30 minutes. 
  3. Pour 4 Tbsp sake over fish to rinse off the salt and pat dry with paper towel.  Rinsing under tap water is not recommended.  
  4. In a container, combine white miso, mirin and sake and mix well.  
  5. Put fish fillets into the bowl and get a nice coat of marinade. 
  6. Place fish in a large glass container and pour excess marinade in.  Cover the lid and refrigerate for 2 days.
  7. Preheat oven to 400F.  Remove the marinade off the fish with your fingers.  Too much marinade will burn the fish easily.
  8. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and place fish fillets skin side up.
  9. Bake the fish until the edges are browned (about 25 mins).

Orange Sauce Pork Spareribs 橙汁肉排


This recipe is from Christine Ho’s cookbook (Christine’s recipe here). It is so delicious that I didn’t alter any ingredients, so this recipe must be saved here for my children. For all pork lovers, this is a must try dish.

Ingredients:

700gPork spare ribs
1 tspMinced fresh ginger
1 tspFinely chopped garlic
2 tspCooking wine
to tasteSalt
to tastePepper

Ingredients of sauce:

1 cupFreshly squeezed orange juice, sifted
1 cupChicken broth
2 TbspLight soy sauce
2 TbspBrown sugar
1/2 tspOrange zest

Directions:

  1. Rinse pork ribs and wipe dry with kitchen papers. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add all ingredients for the sauce in a pot and bring it to a boil over medium fire.
  3. Brown pork ribs on a frying pan/wok until both sides are golden. Push pork ribs to one side of the pan, then add in ginger and garlic, cook until fragrant. Pour in cooking wine and stir to combine all ingredients. (Pictures 1-3)
  4. Transfer the pork ribs to the pot with the sauce, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until sauce becomes thickened. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Black Sesame Balls 芝麻湯圓(Dessert)


Winter Solstice is one of the most important festivals of the year for Chinese people. One traditional food that must be served is the glutinous rice balls (“Tang Yuan”). These rice balls symbolize family reunion, so family members usually would get together and have a nice dinner on this day. It’s also served during the Lunar New Year.

I personally like both savory and sweet rice balls, but my family prefers the sweet ones. These Tang Yuan can be found in the frozen section at the Asian supermarkets. We used to get those but found out they were made with lard. Why not make your own with healthier ingredients?!

Ingredients for filling:

65gGranulated Sugar
110gRoasted black sesame powder
60gMelted unsalted butter
30gWater

Ingredients for dough:

250g Glutinous rice flour
140gBoiling water
70gRoom temperature water

Ingredients for syrup base:

800 mlWater
200gRock sugar (adjust the amount to your taste)

Directions – making the filling:

  1. Combine black sesame powder and sugar in a bowl, add in melted butter and water, mix well. (Pictures 1-3)
  2. Put the sesame mixture into a sandwich size ziploc bag, pat it flat and put in the freezer until hardened. (Picture 4)
  3. When filling is firm, lay the sesame filling on a chopping board and cut into approximately 1cm x 1cm cubes. You can make 27-30 cubes. (Picture 5 & 6)
  4. Roll each cube into a ball in your palms. (Picture 7)
  5. Once you got all the balls ready, put them back in the freezer until you finish preparing the dough. The purpose of cooling the balls is to harden the filling mixture for easy handling later. (Picture 8)

Directions – making dough:

  1. While the filling is cooling, make the dough.
  2. Measure out 250g of glutinous flour in a mixing bowl. Bring 140g of water to a boil, slowly add into the mixing bowl with flour and stir immediately. Then add in room temperature water and knead the dough until combined, about 2 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly tacky to the touch, but not sticky. Cover the dough and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. (Pictures 1 & 2)
  3. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll out each dough and cut into small pieces (about 27-30 pieces in total), this should match the number of filling pieces. Keep the dough pieces covered with a plastic wrap while assembling to prevent the dough from getting dry. (Picture 3)
  4. Take each dough and use your thumb to press into the ball and create a small concave bowl (Picture 4)
  5. Add the chilled sesame filling to the center and close the dough over the filling. (Pictures 5 & 6)
  6. Roll the ball around in your palms until it’s smooth and round. (Picture 7)
  7. Repeat Steps 3-5 until you have made all the sesame balls. (Picture 8)
  8. While assembling the sesame balls, bring a medium pot of water and rock sugar to a boil. And add in sesame balls and stir to prevent them from sticking. When the sesame balls float to the top, cook for 2 more minutes and they are ready to eat. (Pictures 9-11)

Note: Uncooked sesame balls can be frozen separately on a baking sheet until firm, then grouped and sealed in a freezer bag. Do not defrost frozen sesame balls before cooking them, just add the frozen balls to the boiling water and cook them for 5 minutes.

Activated Charcoal Sourdough Bread with Poppy Seeds


Charcoal sourdough

It’s 105°F in Southern California today, the outdoor air is so suffocating and unbearable.  This, however, gave me a chance to stay indoors and pick up where I left off on my blog – It’s been a long time since I last saved a recipe here.   This charcoal sourdough is one of my kids’ favorites among all other flavors.  It’s not because of its taste (charcoal doesn’t bring much taste to the bread at all), but its texture – it’s soft and chewy, perfect to dip in vinegar and olive oil or to spread butter on.

Ingredients (Hydration is about 72%)

Step 1 – Prep for the dough:

400gBread Flour
30gDark Rye Flour
20gSpelt Flour
1gActivated Charcoal Powder
2 TbspCocoa Powder (optional)
320gWater
1 tsppoppy seeds (add in later)

Step 2 – Mix and rest for 30 mins:

10gSalt
90gStarter

Directions:

  1. Feed your starter with equal amount of water, flour and starter until it is active and ready to use (you may want to start feeding the starter a few days ahead of time if the starter is stored in the fridge). When starter is ready to use, there will be a lot of bubbles – see picture 1).
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine all flour, charcoal powder, cocoa powder and water.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rest in room temperature for 1 hour.  (Pictures 2-6)
  3. After 1 hour, add 90g of starter and 10g of salt.  Use your hand to pinch and fold the dough over and over to get it nice and mixed.  The dough is more wet and sloppy than it was during the first mix.  Cover the dough and set the timer for 30 minutes.  (Pictures 7-9)
  4. Now we are going to stretch and fold the dough – Lift one side of the dough straight up until you meet resistance and fold it across the center.  Turn the bowl 90 degree and perform the stretch-and-folds (the dough is probably very relaxed in the beginning).  Once you have finished all the way around the bowl back to where you started, you have completed one set.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set the timer for 30 minutes.  (Pictures 10 & 11)
  5. Repeat Step 4 above three more times. Add in poppy seeds during the last round of stretch and fold. (Picture 12)
  6. After the last set of Stretch-And-Fold, lightly fold the dough a couple of times, cover the dough and let it rest for 1-2 hours instead of 30 mins.
  7. Dust the banneton basket with rice flour. Dust your work surface with flour and fold the dough a couple of times and shape the dough to a ball, carefully transfer the dough to the basket. Cover with a towel and put it in the refrigerator for 5-10 hours/overnight. (Pictures 17-19)

Baking the bread:

  1. During the dough’s last 45 minutes of final proof, preheat the oven and the cast iron pan at 500F (preheating the pan for at least 45 minutes). 
  2. Remove the basket from the fridge.  Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the banneton basket and put a chopping board on top of the parchment paper. Now hold the basket and chopping board tight and flip over the banneton basket. 
  3. You can score the dough either a line or a cross.  (Picture 20)
  4. Remove the cast iron pan from the oven and slide the dough to the pan.  (Picture 21)
  5. Cover the cast iron pan and turn the oven temperature down to 450F and set the timer to bake for 20 minutes. (Picture 22)
  6. After 20 minutes, uncover the pan and continue to bake for another 20 minutes.** (Picture 23)
  7. Let the bread cool down completely on a cooling rack before slicing it.

**Note:  Each oven is different, you may need to adjust the cooking time for longer.

Matcha Swiss Roll


Matcha swiss roll

Besides adding the Matcha powder, all ingredients for this Matcha Swiss Roll and the regular Swiss Roll are the same (recipe for Swiss Roll, click here).  A couple of differences when making the Matcha cake:  (1) the bottom of the cake will be the exterior of the cake roll while the regular Swiss Roll is the opposite; (2) adding oil and milk in the beginning instead of combining them at a later step.

I believe you will be enjoying this recipe as my family is obsessed with both the Swiss Roll and the Matcha Swiss Roll.  In my next post, I will share how to add patterns (such as heart shapes, polka dots, flowers, etc. to the cake roll).

Ingredients A:
80g Egg yolk
1g Salt
35g Sugar
45g Oil
40g Milk
Ingredients B:
72g Cake flour
2 Tbsp (or 10g) Matcha powder
Ingredients C:
120g Egg white
55g Sugar

Cream filling:

1 Cup Heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp Powdered sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla instant pudding

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 338°F (170°C). Line bottom of a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites into two bowls.
  3. In a large bowl, add salt to egg yolks and mix well.  Add in 35g of sugar, beat until well combined.  (Pictures 1 and 2)
  4. Add oil and milk to the egg yolks and beat until the mixture is pale.  (Pictures 3-5)
  5. Sift the flour into the egg mixture and gently fold to combine.  (Pictures 6 and 7)
  6. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, gradually add sugar and beat until soft peaks form.  (Pictures 8 and 9)
  7. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and gently fold to combine with a spatula.  (Picture 10)
  8. Sift Matcha powder into the batter and gently fold to combine.  (Pictures 11 and 12)
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Spread the batter evenly and tap the pan several times.  This will remove air bubbles inside the batter.  (Picture 13)
  10. Bake for about 13 minutes, remove the cake from the pan as soon as it is ready.  Allow it to cool for about 10 mins.  Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the cake (you may want to lightly spray the parchment paper with oil to prevent the outer layer from sticking), and flip the pan over (now the bottom is on top).  Peel away the original parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. Trim the top and bottom edges.  Also hold the knife at a 30 degree angle and trim the right and left edges. (Pictures 14 and 15)
  11. Using a knife to score 2 vertical lines along the cake from the right edge, careful not to cut all the way into the cake (pictures can be viewed from my Swiss Roll recipe here).  Note:  optional – you can pre-roll the cake on the parchment paper now and let it cool completely, about 20 mins.
  12. Spread an even layer of whipped cream over the cake.  (Picture 16)
  13. Tightly roll the cake from the right side toward the left side.  (Picture 17)
  14. Secure the roll by putting a tape on or twisting the parchment paper at both ends.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.  (Picture 18)

collages1

How to make the filling:

  1. Prepare the filling by whisking the cold whipping cream, add in 1 Tbsp of powdered sugar and whip until the cream starts to get thicker.  (Picture A)
  2. Add 1 Tbsp of vanilla instant pudding.  (Picture B)
  3. Whip until stiff peaks form.  (Picture C)

cream collage

The outside of the cake can be decorated with a layer of ganache or sprinkled powdered sugar on top.  The Chinese version is usually light and less sweet, as it tastes good without any toppings.   Perhaps if there are cracks all over the cake, a layer of ganache can hide them.

Matcha Swiss Roll 2

IMG_E0212

Swiss Roll


 

swiss roll 3

This fluffy and mildly sweet Swiss roll is my childhood favorite.  There weren’t too many choices back then, the most common ones were only chocolate, orange and plain.  The filling can be cream, butter cream, jam, red bean, etc. (you basically can put in anything you want), but I found that the whipped cream makes the best combination.  Besides this regular Swiss roll, I like the mocha, as well as the Matcha flavor (Matcha Swiss Roll recipe here).

I made this roll a few times, the first being a disaster.  The cake turned out really good; however, cracks were all over when I rolled it.  That cake was still tasty but it was just not presentable.  After making this cake a few times, I got a few tips — (i) do not over bake the cake, baking time between 10-13 minutes is the best; (ii) when whipping the egg whites, beat until soft peaks form (not stiff peaks form); (iii) cake pan cannot be too small, it’s harder to roll it up if it’s too thick; and (iv) pre-roll the cake while it’s still warm and flexible before applying the filling.  The size of my pan is 9″ x 13″, a slight bigger pan still will work but the cake will be thinner.

Ingredients A
80g Egg yolk
1g Salt
35g Sugar
Ingredients B
72g Cake flour
Ingredients C
120g Egg white
55g Sugar
Ingredients D
45g Oil
40g Milk

Cream filling:

1 Cup Heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp Powdered sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla instant pudding

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 338°F (170°C). Line bottom of a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites into two bowls.
  3. In a large bowl, add salt to egg yolks and mix well.  Add in 35g of sugar, beat until thick and lemon colored.  (Pictures 1-3)
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, gradually add sugar and beat until soft peaks form.  (Pictures 4 and 5)
  5. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and gently fold to combine with a spatula.  (Picture 6)
  6. Sift the flour into the egg mixture and gently fold to combine.  (Pictures 7 and 8)
  7. Combine oil and milk in a bowl.  Measure out 80g of the egg batter and add it into the oil and milk container, mix until combined.  (Pictures 9 and 10)
  8. Pour the oil mixture into the egg batter, gently fold to combine.  (Picture 12)
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Spread the batter evenly and tap the pan several times.  This will remove air bubbles inside the batter.  (Picture 13)
  10. Bake for about 13 minutes, remove the cake from the pan as soon as it is ready.  Allow it to cool for about 10 mins.  (Picture 14)
  11. Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the cake (you may want to lightly spray the parchment paper with oil to prevent the skin from sticking), and flip the pan over (now the bottom is on top). Peel away the original parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. (Picture 15)
  12. Trim the top and bottom edges.  Also hold the knife at a 30 degree angle and trim the right and left edges. (Pictures 16 and 17)
  13. Using a knife to score 2 lines along the cake from the right edge, careful not to cut all the way into the cake.  (Picture 18) Note:  optional – you can pre-roll the cake on the parchment paper now and let it cool completely, about 20 mins.
  14. Spread an even layer of whipped cream over the cake.  (Picture 19)
  15. Tightly roll the cake from the right side toward the left side (see arrows from picture 20 below).
  16. Secure the roll by putting a tape on or twisting the parchment paper at both ends.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.  (Picture 21)

collage

How to make the filling:

  1. Prepare the filling by whisking the cold whipping cream, add in 1 Tbsp of powdered sugar and whip until the cream starts to get thicker.  (Picture A)
  2. Add 1 Tbsp of vanilla instant pudding.  (Picture B)
  3. Whip until stiff peaks form.  (Picture C)

cream collage

The outside of the cake can be decorated with a layer of ganache or sprinkled powdered sugar on top.  The Chinese version is usually light and less sweet, as it tastes good without any toppings.   Perhaps when there are cracks all over the cake, a layer of ganache can hide them.

Swiss Roll

Swiss Roll slices

Swiss Roll 2

Raisin Cinnamon Sourdough Bread


 

Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough

Raisin sourdough

Lately, I feel like I’m hooked to sourdough baking.  Not only is the texture and the taste of the bread addictive, but the whole bread making process is addictive as well.  I just can’t describe the excitement I had when I took one successfully baked loaf out of my oven.  My friend is an amazing baker whose Instagram is yhsourdough; you can follow her to see all the amazing sourdough bread she bakes.  Although I didn’t get this Raisin Cinnamon Sourdough recipe from her, I learned from her that cinnamon breaks down gluten, and I should incorporate it to the dough towards the end of the bulk fermentation.  I still have a lot to learn, but this raisin cinnamon bread surely has a good texture and taste.

Ingredients (Hydration is about 72%):

Step 1 – Mix and rest for 1 hour

400g Bread Flour
35g Dark Rye Flour
15g Spelt Flour
320g Water

Step 2 – Mix and rest for 30  mins

10g Salt
90g Starter
3g Ground Cinnamon

Step 3 – Soak the Raisins

120g Raisin
¼ tsp Vanilla extract

½ cup

Water

If you already have your own sourdough starter, get it ready.  To make it from scratch, plan at least 7 days ahead of time (it may take up to 2 weeks if the weather is cold), please follow King Arthur’s sourdough starter recipe here.

2  Levain float test

Directions:

  1. Feed your starter with equal amount of water, flour and starter until it is active and ready to use (you will see a lot of bubbles, or you can run the float test if a levain is ready to use.  A small amount of levain is scooped out and dropped into a glass of room temperature water, and if it floats, it’s ready).  (Pictures above)
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine all flour and water.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rest in room temperature for 1 hour.  (Pictures 1)
  3. After 1 hour, add 90g of starter, 10g of salt.  Use your hand to pinch and fold the dough over and over to get it nice and mixed.  The dough is much more wet and sloppy than it was during the first mix.  Cover the dough and set the timer for 30 minutes.  (Pictures 2 & 4)
  4. Soak 120g raisins with 1/2 cup of water (water should be enough to cover the raisins).  Add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, mix well.  (Pictures 5 & 6)
  5. Now we are going to stretch and fold the dough – Lift one side of the dough straight up until you meet resistance and fold it across the center.  Turn the bowl 90 degree and perform the stretch-and-folds (the dough is probably very relaxed in the beginning).  Once you have finished all the way around the bowl back to where you started, you have completed one set.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set the timer for 30 minutes.  (Pictures 7 & 8)
  6. Repeat Step 4 above three more times.
  7. After the last set of stretch-and fold, stretch the dough and sprinkle cinnamon and raisins.  Fold the dough down and sprinkle another layer of  cinnamon and raisins to the dough.  Repeat this step until you finish all the cinnamon and raisins.  (Pictures 9-12)
  8. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 1-2 hours.  (Picture 13)
  9. Dust your work surface with flour, fold the dough a couple of times and shape the dough to a ball.  (Pictures 14-15)
  10. Dust the banneton basket with rice flour, carefully transfer the dough to the basket. Cover with a towel and put it in the refrigerator for 5-10 hours/overnight.  (Pictures 16-18)

 

collages

Baking the bread:

  1. During the dough’s last 45 minutes of final proof, preheat the oven and the cast iron pan at 500F (preheating the pan for at least 45 minutes).
  2. Remove the basket from the fridge.  Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the banneton basket and put a chopping board on top of the parchment paper. (Picture 19)
  3. Now hold the basket and chopping board tight and flip over the banneton basket.  You can score the dough now.  (Picture 20)
  4. Remove the cast iron pan from the oven and slide the dough to the pan.  (Picture 21)
  5. Cover the cast iron pan and turn the oven temperature down to 450F and set the timer to bake for 20 minutes.  (Picture 22)
  6. After 20 minutes, uncover the pan and continue to bake for another 20 minutes.** (Picture 23)
  7. Let the bread cool down completely on a cooling rack before slicing it.

Note:  Each oven is different, you may need to adjust the cooking time for longer.

Raisin sourdough slices closeup

 

whole cinnamon raisin sourdough 2

Raisin sourdough slices

 

 

Chicken Drumsticks with Seasoned Rub


spice blend chicken

Seasoned Rub Chicken Drumsticks

I adapted this recipe from That Low Carb Life.  The spice blend is packed full of flavor and is good for chicken thighs and drumsticks.  The meat turned out juicy with crispy skin.  If you cannot eat spicy food, you can leave the peppers out, and the chicken will still be very flavorful.

Ingredients:

8 pounds Chicken drumsticks
4 tsp Smoked paprika
4 tsp Garlic powder
4 tsp Onion powder
3 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cracked pepper
1 tsp Cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Put all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.  (Picture 1)
  3. Sprinkle the spice blend on each chicken drumstick.  (Picture 2)
  4. Arrange chicken drumsticks on the baking sheet and drizzle a little cooking oil (grape seed oil) on top.  (Picture 3)
  5. Put in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 35 minutes.  *My chicken drumsticks are pretty small; add 10 minutes of cooking time if chicken drumsticks are big. (Picture 4)
  6. Do not turn chicken, this will allow the drumsticks to have a crispy skin on the top.
  7. Serve chicken drumsticks immediately.

collage

drumsticks

 

Pork Chile Verde (Instant Pot Cooking)


chili verde final

The good thing about living in Southern California, besides the year round sunshine, is the food.  Here in Los Angeles, which is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, people from different countries allow us to taste different types of authentic cuisine.

There are many good Mexican restaurants and food trucks in East Los Angeles where you can find some of best tacos in the country.  If you go for the Taco Tuesday deals, each taco is as low as $1.  After your meal, you can walk along some streets in East LA, and there are some food trucks selling fresh churros, they are just delicious!

Just because my family loves Mexican food, I came across with this Pork Chile Verde recipe on seriouseats.com using a pressure cooker.  Simply add some homemade Mexican rice (recipe here), some beans and/or tortillas as your sides, and you will have a pretty satisfying meal.

Ingredients:

4 pounds Pork shoulder (Cut into chunks)
350g Tomatillos (quartered, papery husks removed)
300g Poblano peppers (about 2 peppers, chopped, seeds and stems discarded)
170g Anaheim peppers (about 2 peppers, chopped, seeds and stems discarded)
120g Jalapeno chilies (about 2 medium peppers, chopped, stems discarded, seeds retained)
1 medium White onion (chopped)
8 Garlic cloves (peeled)
6g Whole cumin seed (toasted and ground)
12g Kosher salt
1 Tbsp Asian fish sauce
Fresh cilantro for garnish

ingredients

Directions:

  1. Roughly chop all peppers, remember to keep the Jalapeno chili seeds.  Chop onion and peel garlic.  (Picture 1)
  2. Toast 6g of whole cumin seeds and then grind them with a mortar and pestle.  (Picture 2)
  3. Put all of the vegetables into a pressure cooker, then put meat on top.  (Pictures 3 and 4)
  4. Add ground cumin and salt to the pressure cooker, then use tongs to stir everything together.  (Pictures 5-7)
  5. Cover the lid and cook at high pressure for 30 minutes.  Turn the sealing vault to the “sealing” position.  (Picture 8)
  6. After 30 minutes, do a quick release of the pressure.
  7. Remove pork with tongs to a bowl and set aside.  (Picture 9)
  8. Use an immersion blender to blend the vegetables to a smooth puree.  (Picture 10)
  9. Add in a tablespoon of Asian fish sauce.  (Picture 11)
  10. Return pork to the pot.  (Picture 12)
  11. When serving, add a good amount of chopped cilantro.

collages

I had read some reviews about the vegetables being burned at the bottom of the pot.  The pressure cooker I’m using is an electric pressure cooker, so this problem will never happen.  If you have a traditional stovetop pressure cooker, you may want to test it out by adding a little water to the pot.

Tacos

chili verde final 2

Mexican Rice


Mexican rice 2

Rice is typically eaten to supplement meals in Asia.  I grew up eating rice almost every day when I lived in Hong Kong.  A meal without rice just feels incomplete – like something was missing.

Mexican food is not popular in Hong Kong, I never had Mexican food until I moved to Los Angeles.  I started cooking Mexican rice when one of my Hispanic co-workers gave me a recipe.  Now, whenever I make Pork Chili Verde (recipe here), my children always demand a pot of Mexican rice.  It’s not hard to make at all but it did take me several tries to get the correct water amount.  There are a lot of great recipes on the internet, but I’m recording this for my daughters because we use Jasmine rice in our household.

Ingredients:

3 cups Long grain rice / Jasmine rice
3 cups Water
2 medium Tomatoes
150g White onion
2 Tbsp Tomato paste
2 tsp Minced garlic
2 cubes (10g each) Knorr Chicken bouillon
½ tsp Salt

Directions:

  1. Chop tomatoes and onion, set aside.  (Pictures 1 & 2)
  2. Dissolve 2 cubes of chicken bouillon in 3 cups of water. (Picture 3)
  3. Add chopped tomatoes to the chicken broth.  (Picture 4)
  4. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add minced garlic and onion.  Cook until onion is slightly brown.  (Pictures 5 & 6)
  5. Add rice in to the pan and stir for about 2 minutes.  (Picture 7)
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and stir well.  (Picture 8)
  7. Pour the chicken broth with chopped tomatoes to the pot and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  (Pictures 9 & 10)
  8. When water is boiling, cover the rice and turn fire to low, cook for 20 minutes.  (Picture 11)
  9. After 20 minutes, turn off fire and leave the pot covered for about 10 minutes.
  10. Use a fork to loosen the rice.  (Picture 12)

collages

Tacos

Dutch Oven Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary


IMG_E8458

Last summer, I posted a recipe of this chicken cooked in a pressure cooker and promised to post a recipe using a Dutch Oven.   Every time I made this chicken, either one wing or a drumstick was already eaten by my family before I took out my camera to shoot a picture for my blog.   I have to say this is one of my family’s favorite dishes.

I like to use a Dutch Oven to bake the chicken as it keeps the meat very moist and tender, and it allows me to cook the potatoes and carrots together.  Once everything is cooked, I have both a meat and a vegetable dish to serve.

The chicken is best to be marinaded overnight.  It may take some time to prep, but the work is easy after you put the pot in the oven.  Some people may not like rosemary which can be substituted with other herbs or simply be omitted.

Ingredients:

1 (3-4 pounds) Whole roasting chicken
2 Tbsp Butter (melted)
2 Tbsp Lemon zest
2 Tbsp Rosemary (chopped)
3 Tbsp Minced Garlic
3 tsp Salt

Spices for Chicken Skin:

1 tsp Chili powder
2 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Salt

Vegetables:

1 White onion (chopped)
5 Medium size carrots (cut)
1 pound Red potatoes (cut into cubes)
2/3 tsp Season salt (or salt and pepper)

Ingredients for Gravy:

2 cup Low sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp Corn starch
2 Tbsp Cooking wine/water
  Salt to taste

Chicken Marinade:

  1. Clean the chicken and pat dry.
  2. Melt butter in a microwave and prepare all herbs.  (picture 1)
  3. Use a chopper to chop garlic, rosemary and lemon zest together.  (picture 2)
  4. Mix butter, salt and herb mixture in a container.  (picture 3)
  5. Rub herb mixture evenly underneath the chicken skin and cavity.  (picture 4)
  6. Cover with cling wrap and put the chicken in the fridge overnight.
  7. Combine all spices for chicken skin in a bowl.  (pictures 5 & 6)
  8. Remove chicken from the fridge and sprinkle the skin evenly with the spice mixture right before cooking it.  (picture 7)

collages 1

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of oil with a sprig of rosemary and 2 garlic cloves.  Brown the chicken until all sides are evenly golden brown. (pictures 8 & 9)
  3. Cut potatoes, carrots and onion into cubes, season with season salt. (picture 10)
  4. Add potatoes, carrots and onion to the Dutch oven, place them around the chicken. Chicken breast should be facing up before putting it in the oven. (picture 11)
  5. Cover with lid and transfer the Dutch Oven to the preheated oven. Bake for an hour or until the thermometer registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted in the thickest part of breast. (picture 12)
  6. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving and transfer vegetables from the Dutch Oven to a big container. (picture 13)

Untitled-1

 

IMG_E8455

To make gravy:

  1. Reserve the juice from the Dutch Oven and skim the fat from the top.  Place the Dutch Oven on stove top on medium heat.  Add 2 cups of chicken broth.  (picture A)
  2. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in 2 tbsp of water/cooking wine.  Pour the cornstarch slurry into the pot and use a spoon or whisk to mix (don’t pour in all cornstarch slurry, if gravy is still thin, add more in until it’s slightly thickened.)  (picture B)
  3. Transfer gravy to a sauce boat and serve hot. (picture C)

Gravy

 

Mango Mousse


13

Since we all are still facing this COVID-19 pandemic, many of us reached out to help each other – younger/stronger people have been helping older people with groceries and other necessities.  When friends couldn’t find masks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, disinfection wipes or rice, as long as one mentioned it in a group chat, everyone jumped in to donate.  This coronavirus outbreak is hard to handle, but tough times always reveal true friends.  There are so many nice people around us, and even strangers will give us a hand sometimes.  When I mentioned on FB that I had to sew my own masks, a stranger in Asia (through a private group I joined) offered to mail me two free boxes.  I’m so touched by all the nice people out there!

The same goes for my friends in Los Angeles, they always dropped off fruits/foods whenever they went to the market.  In the stack I received last week, I found two Manila mangoes so I decided to make my favorite mango mousse dessert.

Ingredients:

135g Mango puree (1 Manila mango)
1 whole Manila mango (cubed)
2 Tbsp Cane sugar
125g Heavy whipping cream
1 tsp Knox gelatin
2 Tbsp Water
Optional Mint (for garnish)

Directions:

  1. Put 1 teaspoon of gelatin in a small bowl.  Dissolve gelatin with 1 tablespoon of room temperature water, then add the 2nd tablespoon of water (HOT water) until gelatin is completely dissolved.  (Pictures 1-3).
  2. Peel and pit 1 ripe mango (135g) and cut into pieces.  In a food processor, puree mango and gelatin together on high speed.  (Pictures 4 & 5)
  3. In a stand mixer, add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 125g heavy cream and whip on high speed until soft peaks form.  (Picture 6)
  4. Slowly add puree into the whipped cream, fold it into the cream until completely mixed. (Pictures 7 & 8)
  5. Pour into individual portion cups and refrigerate for 2 hours to set.
  6. Peel and pit the 2nd mango, dice the mango and put on top of the mousse.  Garnish with fresh mint sprig. (Picture 9)

collages

I poured this into 2 big wine glasses.  The ingredients here will make 4 mini cups.

11

 

 

 

Taiwanese Taro, Sweet Potato and Purple Yam Balls (芋圓, 地瓜圓)


Taro balls

The Chinese name for these balls are 芋圓 “Taro Balls”, but they could be made from taro, sweet potato and purple yam.  You will find the texture of these balls slightly different, as sweet potato balls have an elastic texture.  The main reason is because sweet potatoes contain more liquid and need more tapioca flour to form the dough while kneading (more flour means higher elasticity).  In order to make these balls a little more chewy, I increased the water amount to make the dough more wet and add more flour during the kneading process.  Play around with it and you will get to the texture you like.

Ingredients:

Taro Balls Purple Yam Balls Sweet Potato Balls
Taro: 100g Purple yam: 100g Sweet potato: 100g
Tapioca flour: 55g* Tapioca flour: 55g* Tapioca flour: 55g*
Boiling water: 40g Boiling water: 40g Boiling water: 25g
Cane sugar: 20g Cane sugar: 20g Cane sugar: 20g

* Plus extra tapioca flour for kneading (this will give the elasticity to the balls).

Directions:

  1. Measure flour in 3 separate bowls (100g each) and set aside.
  2. Slice taro, purple yam and sweet potato, put them in separate containers and then steam for 20 minutes until soft.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  4. Start with one type of root vegetable first.  Pour 40g of boiling water into the first bowl of flour and let it sit for 30 seconds.   (Picture 1)
  5. Mix the flour and water and then add purple yam.  Use a fork to mix yam and flour (be careful, it may be very hot).  (Picture 2)
  6. Transfer the yam mixture to a clean floured work surface, use your hand to knead the dough.  (Picture 3)
  7. The dough will be very sticky in the beginning, add tapioca flour while kneading until you get a soft and smooth texture.  (Picture 4)
  8. Cut the dough into small portions.  Take a small portion of dough and roll it out into thin long log (around 1.5cm in diameter).  (Picture 5)
  9. Repeat steps 4-8 to make the taro balls and sweet potato balls (water amount for sweet potato balls is 25g).  (Pictures 6 and 7)
  10. To cook the taro balls, bring a pot of water to a boil then add the balls in.  When the balls float to the top, they are cooked.  (Picture 8)
  11. Use a strainer to take the balls out from the pot and put them in a bowl.  Add sugar to the bowl and mix well.  If you want to freeze some uncooked balls, adjust the sugar amount.  (Picture 9)

taro collages

Note:

Dust the balls with a thin layer of tapioca flour to prevent them from sticking together. Put them in a container and store in the freezer.

6

These balls are best eaten with the (i) taro, coconut and tapioca dessert, (ii) red bean dessert, or (iii) just pure brown sugar water.

To make the red bean tapioca pearls dessert:

200g adzuki beans
130g brown sugar
6 cups water
1 cup tapioca pearls

Put all ingredients (except the tapioca pearls) in the pressure cooker and cook at high pressure for 60 minutes and then natural release the pressure.

Bring a pot of hot water to a boil, add 1 cup of small tapioca pearls and cook for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat, cover and let the pearls soak for 10 minutes.  They will become translucent.  Drain and rinse with running water.

Add tapioca pearls and taro balls to a bowl of red bean dessert.  You can eat it hot or cold but the taro balls have to be made fresh without being refrigerated. Otherwise, the texture is very hard.

taro ball 3

To make the brown sugar drink:

2 slices of ginger
4 cups of water
1/4 cup brown sugar

Put all ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil until sugar has dissolved.  Serve taro balls and brown sugar water in a bowl.

Turmeric Sourdough


Turmeric sourdough 3

Tumeric bread cover

Turmeric, known as the Golden Spice, originated in India where it was used as a culinary spice.  It comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant which is part of the ginger family.  It’s interesting to learn that, before it was commonly used as a spice for food, it was used to as a natural dye for skin and clothing.

Turmeric is high in antioxidants and contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.  It is still used for menstrual pain, traumatic injuries, spleen, etc. and also has shown strong evidence of being a preventative herb, helping to ward off many diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

When I make curry, I usually add a teaspoon of turmeric.  Turmeric has a spicy and bitter flavor, so adding too much turmeric to your dish will probably overtake the flavor.  Today, I made my sourdough by adding just 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.  The color is beautiful and it doesn’t affect the flavor of my sourdough.

Ingredients (Hydration is about 72%):

Step 1 – Mix and rest for 1 hour

400g Bread Flour
30g Dark Rye Flour
15g Spelt Flour
¼ tsp Turmeric
320g Water

Step 2 – Mix and rest for 30  mins

10g Salt
90g Starter

Directions:

  1. Feed your starter with equal amount of water, flour and starter until it is active and ready to use (you will see a lot of bubbles).  (Picture 1)
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine all flour, turmeric and water.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rest in room temperature for 1 hour.  (Pictures 2-3)
  3. After 1 hour, add 90g of starter and 10g of salt.  Use your hand to pinch and fold the dough over and over to get it nice and mixed.  The dough is much more wet and sloppy than it was during the first mix.  Cover the dough and set the timer for 30 minutes.  (Pictures 4 & 5)
  4. Now we are going to stretch and fold the dough – Lift one side of the dough straight up until you meet resistance and fold it across the center.  Turn the bowl 90 degree and perform the stretch-and-folds (the dough is probably very relaxed in the beginning).  Once you have finished all the way around the bowl back to where you started, you have completed one set.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set the timer for 30 minutes.  (Pictures 6 & 7)
  5. Repeat Step 4 above three more times.
  6. After the last set of Stretch-And-Fold, lightly fold the dough a couple of times, cover the dough and let it rest for 1-2 hours.
  7. Dust your work surface with flour, and fold the dough a couple of times and shape the dough to a ball.  (Pictures 8-11)
  8. Dust the banneton basket with rice flour, carefully transfer the dough to the basket. Cover with a towel and put it in the refrigerator for 5-10 hours.  (Pictures 12-14)

collages

Baking the bread:

  1. During the dough’s last 45 minutes of final proof, preheat the oven and the cast iron pan at 500F (preheating the pan for at least 45 minutes).  (Picture A)
  2. Remove the basket from the fridge.  Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the banneton basket and put a chopping board on top of the parchment paper. (Picture B)
  3. Now hold the basket and chopping board tight and flip over the banneton basket.  (Picture C)
  4. You can score the dough either a line or a cross.  (Picture D)
  5. Remove the cast iron pan from the oven and slide the dough to the pan.  (Picture E)
  6. Cover the cast iron pan and turn the oven temperature down to 450F and set the timer to bake for 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes, uncover the pan and continue to bake for another 20 minutes.**’
  8. Let the bread cool down completely on a cooling rack before slicing it.

Note:  Each oven is different, you may need to adjust the cooking time for longer.

collages 2

 

sliced sourdough

Turmeric sourdough 2

Turmeric sourdough slices 2

Chinese Beef Noodle Soup (Instant Pot cooking)


Beef noodle in soup

It has been raining for a few days already.  When the weather is cold and wet, a bowl of hot beef noodle soup sounds very comforting.  Noodles are very popular in China, as there are many ways of cooking noodles.  They can be served with sauce or in soup, as well as pan fried or deep fried until crispy.  My favorite way of cooking noodles is to make it in soup.

Beef stew usually takes at least 2 hours to simmer on the stove top, until tender.  However, if you use a pressure cooker, the cooking time can easily be reduced in half.  I’m using my favorite Instant Pot for this dish. Once everything is in the pressure cooker, I can sit back and relax.

Ingredients for Beef Stew (8 servings):

4 pounds Beef stew meat
6 stalks Green onion
8 slices Fresh ginger
2 whole Anise star
10 Garlic cloves
1 White onion
3 Tomatoes
5 leaves Bay leaf
2 Red chili (either fresh or dried)
3 Tbsp Brown sugar
¾ Cup Light soy sauce
¾ Cup Dark soy sauce
1 ½ Cup Rice cooking wine
1 ½ Cup Water
2 Tbsp Ground Bean Paste (磨鼓醬)
1-2 Tbsp Chili Bean paste (depending on how spicy you want)

Ingredients for noodle soup (4 servings):

8 Bundle Shrimp noodles/Rice noodles
8 Cups Chicken broth
2 Cups Bok Choy
1 tsp Salt

Directions for making Beef Stew:

  1. Slice the onion, peel the garlic, halve the red chilies, halve the green onions, slice the ginger root, rinse the star anise and bay leaves.  Set aside (Picture 1)
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, put 4 slices of ginger in the water.  Add beef into the pot and cook for 5 minutes.  Discard the water and rinse beef under running tap water.  Set aside.  (Picture 2)
  3. Add a little oil to the wok, fry onion, garlic, green onion, remaining ginger and red chili. (Pictures 3 & 4)
  4. When onion is a little brown, add in beef and stir for 2 minutes. (Picture 5)
  5. Pour in cooking wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water. (Pictures 6-9)
  6. Add brown sugar, ground bean paste, chili bean paste, bay leaves and star anise.  (Pictures 10-13)
  7. Add in tomatoes and stir well. (Picture 14)
  8. After the sauce is boiled, transfer everything to the Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker).  Select “Meat Stew” and set timer for 1 hour.  Turn knob to the “sealing” position.  (Picture 15)
  9. When finished cooking, do a quick pressure release before you open the lid.

Beef noodle soup

Directions for making noodles in soup:

Noodles may be cooked from either their fresh or dry forms.  Below is a picture of the dried shrimp noodle.

IMG_7937

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the package instructions.  Remove noodles from the pot and rinse it under cold water.
  2. Add 8 cups of chicken broth to a pot and bring to a boil.  Add a teaspoon of salt for taste.  The broth can be a little light as we are going to add in a few spoons of the sauce from the beef stew.
  3. When the broth is boiling, add bok choy and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Put noodles and broth in a large bowl, lay bok choy on top and add some beef and its sauce to your bowl of noodles.  Garnish with cilantro or green onions.

Jalapeño Cheese Sourdough


sourdoughsougdough

Sourdough is known to be healthier and have a more complex flavor than white bread.  Good sourdough bread should have chewy crust and an airy moist interior characterized by lots of holes.  However, it will take some practice to make a good sourdough.

To make your own sourdough starter, you can follow King Arthur Flour’s page.  I am very lucky to have a sourdough starter passed down to me from my co-worker, who is also my good friend.  She has great enthusiasm for sourdough baking.  She practiced uncountable times to make perfect sourdough and started to be creative by using different ingredients.  Her energy motivated me, but I failed many times to reach today’s result.  This is one recipe that I tested out a few times and adjusted the ingredients to suit my taste.

I’m using the “Stretch-And-Fold” technique for my sourdough as the hydration is 78%.  When the dough is very wet, the traditional kneading method is impossible to handle.  Before you make this bread, make sure you have time staying home to stretch and fold your dough every 30 minutes for 2 hours.

Jalapeno Cheese sourdough

Ingredients:

Step 1 – Mix and rest for 1 hour
445g Bread flour
320g Water
Step 2 – Mix and rest for 30 mins
10g Salt
25g Water
90g Starter

Ingredients to add before final proof:

60g Jalapeno
170g Cheddar Cheese/Mozzarella Cheese (save some for sprinkling on top of the dough)

Making the Dough:

  1. Feed your starter with equal amount of water, flour and starter until it is active and ready to use (you will see a lot of bubbles).  (Picture 1)
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine 445g of bread flour and 320g of water.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rest in room temperature for 1 hour.  (Pictures 2-4)
  3. After 1 hour, add 90g of starter, 10g of salt and 25g of water.  Use your hand to pinch and fold the dough over and over to get it nice and mixed.  The dough is much more wet and sloppy than it was during the first mix.  Cover the dough and set the timer for 30 minutes. (Pictures 5-9)
  4. Now we are going to stretch and fold the dough – Lift one side of the dough straight up until you meet resistance and fold it across the center.  Turn the bowl 90 degree and perform the stretch-and-folds (the dough is probably very relaxed in the beginning).  Once you have finished all the way around the bowl back to where you started, you have completed one set.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set the timer for 30 minutes.  (Pictures 10-12)
  5. Repeat Step 4 above three more times.
  6. After the last set of Stretch-And-Fold, lightly fold the dough a couple of times, cover the dough and let it rest for 1-2 hours.
  7. Chop jalapeno in small pieces.  Leave the seeds if you like spicy food.  (Picture 13)
  8. Cut cheese into small chunks.  (Picture 14)
  9. Final proof – Lay 1/2 of the cheese and jalapeno into the middle of your dough, fold the dough and lay the second 1/2 of the cheese jalapeno onto the dough.   Dust your work surface with flour, and carefully transfer the dough and gently shape the dough to a ball.   (Pictures 15-16)
  10. Dust the banneton basket with rice flour.  Lightly flour the surface of the dough and place the dough in the banneton basket (seam side down).  (Pictures 17-18)
  11. Cover the basket with a towel and put it in the refrigerator for 5-10 hours.  Proofing the dough in the fridge will improve the gluten structure.  (Picture 19)

Collages 2a

Baking the bread:

  1. During the dough’s last 45 minutes of final proof, preheat the oven and the cast iron pan at 500F (preheating the pan for at least 45 minutes). (Picture A)
  2. Remove the basket from the fridge.  Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the banneton basket and put a chopping board on top of the parchment paper.  (Picture B)
  3. Now hold the basket and chopping board tight and flip over the banneton basket.  (Picture C)
  4. You can score the dough now and sprinkle shredded cheese on top.  Remove the cast iron pan from the oven and slide the dough to the pan.  (Pictures D and E)
  5. Cover the cast iron pan and turn the oven temperature down to 450F and set the time to bake for 20 minutes.
  6. After 20 minutes, uncover the pan and continue to bake for another 20 minutes.**
  7. Let the bread cool down completely on a cooling rack before slicing it.

Note:  Each oven is different, you may need to adjust the cooking time for longer.

Instructions

cheese sourdough