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.

dsc_6560

 

 

 

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.

hal_5642

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.

hkg_4703

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

Pandan Snow Skin Mooncakes


Snow mooncakes

Last year around this time, I made the traditional mooncakes.  If you never heard of the Mid-Autumn Festival (aka Moon Festival), a brief introduction is on that page.

I spent a month in Hong Kong this summer and ordered a customized mooncake mold which engraved with my blog’s name “Gin’s Kitchen”.  So I’m very excited to use it for the very first time today.

As you can see from my posts, I am a big fan of Christine Ho.  I like a lot of her recipes, including this Pandan Snow Skin Mooncake recipe.  Happy Moon Festival!!

Ingredients: (makes 10 mooncakes with a 75g mold)

55g
45g
25g
60g
190 ml
30ml
25ml
40ml
3 drops
2 TbspMung bean filling
Glutinous rice flour
Rice flour
Wheat starch
Caster sugar
Non-fat milk
Condensed milk
Vegetable Oil
Pandan juice
Pandan paste
Cooked glutinous rice flour (for coating)Pls see Christine’s recipe here

Directions:

(I’m using a 75g mold and the ratio for filling and dough is 2:3)

  1. To make the pandan juice, steam the frozen pandan leaves for about 10 minutes in a steamer, then cut leaves into small pieces and blend with a food processer.  (picture 1)
  2. Use a cheesecloth to squeeze out the pandan juice.  (picture 2)
  3. Combine all types of flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix milk, condensed milk, pandan juice and oil together and pour into the flour mixture. Mix until there is no lump. Pass through a fine sieve to have the finest texture. (picture 3)
  5. Steam the batter in a steamer over medium-high heat for about 20 minutes. Remove from the steamer and let it cool. Lightly knead dough by hand and until smooth. (picture 4)
  6. Cut dough into 10 portions, about 45g each.  Mung bean filling should be 35g each, roll each into a round shape.  (pictures 5 and 6)
  7. Wrap each filling ball with a dough and shape it into a ball.  (picture 7)
  8. Lightly dust the mooncake ball and dust the mooncake mould with cooked glutinous rice flour, shake off excess four from the mold. Place the mooncake ball in the mold and press to print the pattern. Repeat this step for the rest of the dough and fillings.  (pictures 8 and 9)
  9. Refrigerate overnight.

Snow Mooncakes

The flour help remove the mooncake from the mold easily.  You don’t need to worry about the excess flour (see picture below) as you can use a clean brush to brush it off.

mooncake

Mooncake

Moon Cake Mold

Pineapple Bun (Bo Lo Bao 菠蘿包)


Pineapple Buns

For years I had no idea why this bun was named “Pineapple Bun” 菠蘿包 as it contains no pineapple.  Instead, the name comes from its appearance where the sugary/buttery crust resembles a pineapple.  The traditional crust of the bun is made of lard, but this recipe (original recipe from Christine Ho) substitutes lard with butter for a slightly healthier version.  Everyone knows what is a Bo Lo Bao in Hong Kong.  It is very popular, and commonly found in bakeries, just like muffins and bagels in the States.  We eat it for breakfast (plain), lunch (with meat filling) or dessert (with custard or shredded coconut filling).  The plain one is still one of my favorite bakery items! If you ever get a chance to visit Hong Kong, pineapple buns are a must try item so make sure you grab one at the bakery.

Ingredients for Bread:

350 gm
70 gm
4 gm
56 gm
10 gm
6 gm
120 gm
125 ml
30 gm
Bread flour (高筋粉)
Caster sugar (幼砂糖)
Salt (鹽)
Whisked egg  (全蛋汁)
Milk powder  (奶粉)
Instant dry yeast  (即發乾酵母)
Tangzhong  (湯種) (recipe here)
Milk  (牛奶)
Unsalted Butter, softened  (無鹽牛油)

Ingredients for Topping:

188 gm
83 gm
60 gm
11 gm

1½ Tbsp
1½ tsp
¼ tsp
a bit > ¼ tsp
Cake flour  (低筋粉)
Caster sugar    (幼砂糖)
Butter, softened    (無鹽牛油)
Milk powder    (奶粉)
Egg yolk  (蛋黃)
Evaporated milk    (淡奶)
Condensed milk    (煉奶)
Edible ammonia powder  (食用臭粉) – Optional
Baking powder    (發粉)

Directions:

To make topping:

  1. Cream softened butter with an electric mixer over medium speed until smooth. Add sugar and continue to beat until fluffy.
  2. Add milk powder, egg yolk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, baking powder, combine well.  Sift in flour and ammonia powder (optional) and incorporate well. The mixture is quite moist and sticky. Use a piece of cling wrap to roll into several small logs. Chill for 30 to 40 minutes. When it becomes harder, it’s ready to use and shape it.

*  Keep the extra egg yolk and egg white for egg wash.

To make buns:

  1. Place all ingredients inside the pan in the breadmaker, the wet ingredients first, then followed by the dry ingredients: tangzhong (recipe here), milk, whisked egg, sugar, salt, milk powder and flour.  Fill the yeast dispenser with dry yeast (usually it is on the top of the breadmaker).
  2. Select the “dough” mode (refer to the manual of your breadmaker to select the dough program).  When all ingredients are combined, add butter.  The kneading process in the breadmaker is usually about 30 minutes, and the proofing time is about an hour (depending on the machine).
  3. When the first round of proofing is finished, transfer the dough to a clean floured surface and deflate the dough (Picture 1).
  4. Divide into 12 equal portions and roll each portion into a ball (Picture 2).  Place dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Let them complete the 2nd round of proofing until nearly doubled (if weather is too cold, you can proof at 90◦F in an oven with a pot of boiling water for 30 to 50 minutes.  The water will keep the humidity at certain level).
  5. When the dough portions are doubled in size, preheat oven to 410°F.  Remove topping paste from fridge, cut into 12 equal portions and roll in balls.  Roll each portion into a flat disc (Picture 3).
  6. Place the topping paste on top of dough.  Repeat this step with the remainder (Picture 4).
  7. Brush the top with whisked egg yolk and bake in a preheated oven for 5 minutes (Pictures 5 and 6).  Reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 10 minutes.

Pineapple buns

Notes:

  • If you do not have a breadmaker, you can knead the dough with your hands.  Make a well in the center of the flour, whisk and combine all wet ingredients, then add into the well of the dry ingredients. When all ingredients are combined, knead in the softened butter.  The dough is quite sticky and messy at this stage.  Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not sticky and elastic. Shape dough into a ball.  Place in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel or cling wrap. Let it proof till it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
  • Ammonia powder is quite hard to work with and not easy to find.  If use too little, you’d be disappointed with the patterns appear on the topping (no crackling patterns).  If use too much, your buns will smell weird.  So, this ingredient can be omitted.  Instead, you can use a sharp knife to make criss crosses, like a checkboard across the top of the topping.
  • Ammonia powder can be replaced by ¼ tsp baking soda.

Bo Lo Bao

Chinese Tamales (Zongzi 咸肉粽)


Chinese Tamales

One of the famous festivals in China is Dragon Boat festival (端午節).  This festival commemorates the patriotic poet Qu Yuan (屈原) who died on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese lunar calendar.  Like other Chinese festivals, there is also a legend behind it.  You can read the long story online and learn why Dragon boat racing and eating Zongzi have become the central customs of the festival.

This year, the festival falls on June 12 and I can see a lot of Chinese people at the market getting ingredients to make Zongzi.  Zongzi (also called Zong) has different shapes and various fillings and the main ingredients are sticky rice,  green beans, fresh meat and salted duck egg yolk.  People also added red beans, dried shrimp, peanuts, chestnuts, Chinese sausages, shiitake mushrooms etc.   I have made these Zongzi for many years (only once a year though) and I’m sharing my mom’s secret recipe today.  Every year she makes a lot and gives them to friends, relatives and neighbours.  Her Zongzi were fabulous and never disappointed anyone!

Ingredients (makes 20 Zongzi):

5 lbs
2 bags  (14oz each)
10
2 pounds
11 oz
7 oz
1 bag (14oz)
20
3 ½ Tbsp
6 Tbsp
Sticky rice (Glutinous rice) (糯米)
Peeled split mung bean (去皮開邊綠豆)
Salted Duck Egg Yolks (halved) (咸蛋黃)
Pork belly
Peanuts
Miniature dried shrimp
Bamboo leaves (荷葉)
Long strings
Salt
Vegetable oil

Marinate for Meat:

1 teaspoon
2-3
1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp
4 Tbsp
Salt
Red fermented beancurd (南乳)
Light soy sauce
Water
Five spice powder (五香粉)

Directions:

  1. Cut pork belly into approx. 1.5” cubes and marinate with 1 teaspoon of salt for 20 minutes.  In a small bowl, mash the red fermented beancurd and add light soy sauce and water, mix well.
  2. Heat the wok with 1 tablespoon of oil and stir in the beancurd mixture, add pork belly and stir fry until the meat gets a nice coat of the sauce  – about 5 minutes (the meat is not completely cooked).  When the meat is cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. After the meat is marinated overnight, take it out from the fridge, roughly rinse off the beancurd mixture and pad dry.  Sprinkle about 4 tablespoons of five spice powder and mix well.  The pork pieces should have a nice coat of powder, add more if necessary.  Set aside.
  4. Soak rice in water for 4 hours, drain.
  5. Add 3 ½ tablespoons of salt and 6 tablespoons of oil to the rice, mix well (taste the rice, add more salt if necessary).  Set aside.
  6. Soak Green mung beans in water for 2 hours, drain and set aside.
  7. Wash dried shrimp, pad dry and set aside.
  8. Boil a pot of hot water and put the bamboo leaves in, soak for 20 minutes.  Wash each one with a brush.
  9. Wrap ingredients with bamboo leaves (see instructions below).  Boil Zongzi for 4 hours.

These are all the ingredients you will need:

Zongzi ingredients

If leaves are very dirty, you may want to use a clean brush to brush each leaf.  After washing and boiling the bamboo leaves, choose two large ones, make a small cross with the leaves.   Bend and twist the leaves in the center to make a funnel shape (see pictures below).

How to wrap Zongzi

Fill the funnel shape with a few tablespoons of sticky rice, top with a sprinkling of mung beans.  Add meat, egg yolk, peanuts, dried shrimp, etc.  Now the ingredients are heavy enough to hold the funnel shape, add one leaf to each side and top with more sticky rice, mung beans, peanuts and dried shrimp (the meat and the egg yolk should be in the middle part of the Zongzi).   The mound should be generous but not overflowing.  Carefully fold the sides in over the mixture (folding both sides first), then fold the bottom over.  (see pictures below)

How to wrap Zongzi

Now you fold the top leaf flap downwards to make a package.  Take a long string and wrap the Zongzi firmly.

Zongzi

Place Zongzi in a large pot and fill the pot with water (water should cover all Zongzi), cover and bring it to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook for four hours.  You will need to check the water level, add water as necessary.

Note:

  • The pork belly should have some fat, do not trim the fat.  The meat will be too dry if it’s all lean.
  • I left one ingredient out (紅絲線 aka 紅藍) which is Chinese herb.  I just couldn’t find it in the States, probably sold in Asia only.

Turnip Cake (Law Bak Gow) 蘿蔔糕


ftb_4957

Turnip cake is my husband’s favorite dim sum dish which can be found in Chinese dim sum restaurants throughout the year.  Turnip cake is traditionally made during the Chinese New Year since turnip is a homophone for “good fortune”, so people would make 10 plus containers and give them to friends and relatives.

The difference between homemade one and restaurant one is the amount of filling.  Even you find an authentic Chinese dim sum restaurant, you still won’t be satisfied with the filling (quite stingy).  This recipe requires a lot of chopping, but you will appreciate every effort you put on making this.

Ingredients for filling:

550g
2½ cups
220g
250g
2 links
80 g
30 g
15g
5-6 pieces
2 stalks
Grated turnip
Turnip juice
Rice flour
Cornstarch
Chinese preserved sausage (chopped)
Chinese preserved bacon (chopped)
Dried shrimp
Dried scallops (soaked and chopped)
Shittake mushrooms (chopped)
Green onion (chopped)

Marinate for filling:

1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon
1 Tablespoon
Light soy sauce
Light brown sugar
Rice cooking wine

Seasoning for grated turnip:

2 Tablespoon
1 teaspoon
1 Tablespoon
½ teaspoon
½ cup
½ cup
Chicken powder
Salt
Light brown sugar
White pepper
Chicken broth
liquid from soaking the dried scallops

turnip cake ingredients

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, shred turnip with a grater or you can use a food processor.  Separate turnip liquid and grated turnip.  You should have about 2½ cups of liquid, if not, add water to make 2½ cups.  Save about 550g of grated turnip for later use.
  • Soak shiitake mushrooms until softened.  Squeeze the mushrooms to drain all water.  Chop and set aside.
  • Soak dried scallops until softened, reserve the water for later use, chop and set aside.
  • Rinse all ingredients, chop Chinese sausage, bacon, dried shrimp and green onion, set aside.

How to cook turnip cake

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice flour, cornstarch and turnip liquid, stir with a spatula until well blended.
  • Combine chopped sausage, bacon, dried shrimp, mushrooms and scallops in a large bowl and marinate with soy sauce, sugar and cooking wine.  Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a frying pan, stir fry for 2 minutes.  Set aside.
  • Add two tablespoons of oil and a clove of garlic to a large skillet, when garlic turns slightly brown, discard garlic and pour grated turnip into the skillet, stir fry for 2 minutes and add in chicken broth, liquid saved from soaking dried scallops, chicken powder, salt, sugar and pepper, mix well.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes over medium low heat.
  • After 5 minutes, add ingredients listed in item 6 to the skillet, stir fry until everything is combined.  Gradually add liquid mixture and chopped green onion to the pan and mix well.
  • Transfer the batter to two 8-inch pie pans.  Steam the batter for 40 minutes over medium high heat.

ftb_4949

  • The most common way to eat this turnip cake is to slice to 3/4″ thick pieces and pan fry until both sides are golden brown.  Served with hot sauce.