I don’t remember which magazine had this recipe, but it was a recipe from the writer’s grandma so it immediately caught my eye! We all know grandmas’ cooking is always full of delicious recipes created with ‘secret’ ingredients.
It is very important to choose a good piece of meat. For making Char Siu, the best piece is pork butt. Choose a piece that has more marbling than others as lean pieces will be very dry and won’t be as flavorful as well. If you still want to keep it healthy and lean, I’d recommend using pork neck since the texture is more tender yet lean (the pictures below in the collage show pork neck).
2 pounds pork butt
4 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp Shao Hsing rice cooking wine
2 Tbsp ground bean paste
2 tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp ground white pepper
2 Tbsp honey
- Quarter pork butt lengthwise. If you use pork neck, you don’t need to cut it. In a small bowl, combine sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice wine, ground bean paste, sesame oil, pepper, and stir to combine (save the honey for later). Pour mixture over pork, making sure it is well coated. Cover the container with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, turn pork at least once. (picture 1)
- When ready to roast, let pork come to room temperature and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Preheat broiler, place a rack in a roasting pan or use a broiling pan. Add enough hot water so that it reaches a depth of ¼ inch in the pan. Brush the broiling pan with oil so meat won’t stick to the pan. (Picture 2 and 3)
- Place pork on rack, discard marinade. Carefully place pan under broiler (pork should be about 4 inches from broiler element), and broil until meat is just beginning to char slightly, about 15 minutes. Brush with honey and broil for 2 more minutes (Pictures 4 and 5)
- Turn pork and repeat Item 3 above.
Let the meat rest for 5 minutes and cut into slices.
Served with rice and your favorite side dishes, or you can make noodles in soup.
Since I mentioned in my Boot Jai Go post that one of the most popular Hong Kong street vendor’s snacks is egg waffle, I must introduce and record a recipe on my blog. According to Wikipedia, egg waffles were ranked No.1 in a 100 most popular Hong Kong street snack listing. There are many English names (bubble waffle, egg puff, eggettes, just to name a few), but its Cantonese name is Gai Daan Jai (meaning little eggs). One story says the enterprising post-war generation created the egg-shaped mould to make up for an eggless batter as eggs became a luxury in China. Grocery stores would take the cracked eggs and sell the perfect eggs to customers. Throwing away the cracked eggs would be a waste of money, so they turned the eggs into batter and sold them as waffles. After making the egg waffles with the semi-spherical cell pans (pan base is deeper and the cover is shallower), they look like small eggs. I guess this is how it got its name “little eggs”.
Ingredients: (makes 5)
||All purpose flour
||Low fat milk
||Very cold water
|3 drops (slightly less than ¼ tsp)
- Measure all ingredients, set aside. (picture 1)
- Pour all ingredients into a blender (except vegetable oil and vanilla extract), blend until well mixed. (picture 2)
- Add in vanilla extract and oil and blend until combined. (pictures 3 and 4)
- Strain the batter through a sieve. (picture 5)
- Warm up each side of the mould and brush a thin layer of oil on each side. (picture 6)
- Pour the egg batter onto the mould with a ladle and close the mould. Hold the handles firm to keep two sides tight. I turned the fire to medium high. (picture 7)
- After 1-2 minutes, flip the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. You can slightly open the pan to check if the the waffle is slight brown. (picture 8)
- Remove the egg waffle from the mould with a fork and place it on a cooling rack. (picture 9)
It should be served hot or warm (cold is not as good). The waffles are crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.
This egg waffle mould/pan makes waffles over the stove. For first time use, clean the pan thoroughly. The first 2 waffles should be discarded. There are some fancy electricity-powered makers that make perfect egg waffles and you don’t need to pay too much attention to the cooking process or need any skill. However, one owner of the waffle shop said “If the skill isn’t there, it doesn’t matter how good your ingredients are.”
Note: Some recipes say the batter should be refrigerated for at least an hour in order to make a perfect egg waffle. To skip this step, I substituted room temperature water with icy-cold water. The result is the same.
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:
||All purpose flour
Ingredients for white petals:
||All purpose flour
||Fat free milk
You will need 3-4 carrots to get 300ml of carrot juice depending on the size of the carrots.
- 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).
- During the 10-minute resting period, make sure to cover the container with plastic wrap. (picture 4)
- 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)
- Cut the log into pieces and each piece should weigh about 20g. Cover pieces with plastic wrap. (picture 6)
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the orange petals. (picture 7)
- Roll each piece thinly like gyoza wrappers. (picture 8)
- You will need 3 pieces of the orange dough and 3 pieces of the white dough, alternate the colors. (picture 9)
- Roll the dough up (roll from the right hand side) to form a small thick log. (picture 10)
- 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)
- 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)
- After the final rise, boil water and steam the buns for 15 minutes until they are cooked and puffed.
P.S. Don’t skip the final rise, otherwise the bun outer layer won’t be fluffy.
Posted in Bread, Chinese, Dim Sum, Uncategorized
- Tagged carrot juice mantou, 玫瑰花饅頭，紅蘿蔔饅頭，曼頭, Mantou, milk mantou, Rose buns, Rose mantou, Rose shaped mantou, Rose shaped steamed buns
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:
||Wheat Flour 澄麵
||Rice Flour 粘米粉
||Dark Brown Sugar 黑蔗糖
||Cooked red beans 熟紅豆
- 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;
- 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);
- 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);
- Quickly pour the hot sugar water into the batter, mix thoroughly (picture 3);
- 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);
- 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).
Coconut Boot Jai Go:
- Replace brown sugar with white sugar, also 110g (picture A);
- Instead of 1 cup of boiling water, combine 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of coconut cream (pictures B & C);
- Pour sugar, water and coconut cream into a pot, bring to a boil (picture D);
- Repeat steps 4-6 above.
- 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.
Posted in Chinese, Desserts
- Tagged Boot Jai Go, bootjaigo, coconut, coconut boot jai go, 砵仔糕, 缽仔糕, 钵仔糕, pudding cake, Put Chai Ko, putchaiko, red bean rice flour pudding cake
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.
||3-4 pound free range brown chicken 黃毛雞
||Light soy sauce
||Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (Cooking wine) 玫瑰露酒
Directions for making the sauce:
- Measure all ingredients and set aside (picture 1).
- Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to the frying pan, stir in ginger, garlic and green onion and cook for a minute. (pictures 2)
- Add a tablespoon of Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (cooking wine) and then add in 300 ml water. (pictures 3-4)
- Add in sugar, anise and bay leaves. (pictures 5 and 6)
- When the liquid is boiling, add a tablespoon of Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (cooking wine) and soy sauce. (pictures 7 and 8)
- Turn off fire after the sauce is slightly bubbling, transfer the sauce into a bowl and let it cool. (picture 9)
Directions for sous vide cooking:
- 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)
- 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.
- 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)
- 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)
- 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.
Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with white steamed rice.
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.
Ingredients for Lotus Paste (yield: 17 pieces – 23g each paste ball):
Grape Seed Oil/Olive Oil
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)
||All purpose flour
||Golden Syrup (recipe courtesy of Christine Ho – here)
||Grape seed oil
||Salted Egg Yolks
||Rose-flavored cooking wine (玫瑰露酒)
||Egg (for egg wash)
Directions: (The dough/filling ratio is 3:7)
- 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).
- Place golden syrup in a bowl. Add in alkaline water, stir to combine. Add in oil and mix well.
- 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.
- 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)
- Take a lotus paste ball and poke a hole in the middle with your finger. Place egg yolk inside. (Picture 4).
- 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)
- Wrap the dough around the filling and shape it into a ball. (Picture 6)
- 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)
- Press the handle, then remove the mooncake from the mold. Dust off any excess flour with a brush. (Pictures 8-9)
- Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and place mooncakes on top.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare the egg wash by whisking the egg, sift through a fine sieve.
- Lightly spray some water on the mooncakes. (Note: this step prevents the mooncakes from cracking during baking.) (Picture 10)
- 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).
- 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)
- 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.
This is the clear pattern before baking.
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.
I also bought these containers and bags in Hong Kong. They look nice and neat when giving them as a gift.
Posted in Chinese, Cookies, Miscellaneous
- Tagged cake, lotus, lotus paste, mid-autumn festival, moon cake, moon festival, mooncake, salted egg yolk, traditional mooncake, 咸蛋月餅, 廣式月餅
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)
2 TbspMung bean filling
|Glutinous rice flour
Cooked glutinous rice flour (for coating)Pls see Christine’s recipe here
(I’m using a 75g mold and the ratio for filling and dough is 2:3)
- 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)
- Use a cheesecloth to squeeze out the pandan juice. (picture 2)
- Combine all types of flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- Wrap each filling ball with a dough and shape it into a ball. (picture 7)
- 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)
- Refrigerate overnight.
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.
Posted in Chinese, Uncategorized
- Tagged Ice Skin mooncake, mid-autumn fetival, moon cake, moon festival, mooncake, mooncakes, Mung Bean paste, Pandan, Pandan Mooncake, Snow Mooncake, Snow skin mooncake