Thursday, April 28, 2011

Better For You Creamy Potato Salad

I am happy to announce that I have finally fixed the technical issues which impede the progression of posts on this blog. Three days without blogging feels strange. Really strange!

Back to cooking, mum requested for a creamy potato salad for supper. If you can tell by now based on the recipes I have put on my blog for a while now, I am not a big fan of mayo. Yeah, they are good but I find it too rich. Yes, this from a girl who has no compunction eating a tiny scone with a cup full of clotted cream and enjoy every single bite of it. Mmmmmm.........

Creamy potato salad it is then. Though I warned mum not to expect a mayo laden potato salad. There will be some mayo but I am gonna make sure it is better for our health. This recipe is really easy and mum was pleasantly surprised at how good the potato salad came out despite the tiny amount of mayo I used.

Better For You Creamy Potato Salad
2lb yukon gold, white or red potatoes
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup vidalia onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped

1/4 cup low-fat mayo or miracle whip
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp sweet relish
1 tsp Dijon mustard
black pepper to taste


Step 1: Washed potatoes and place it in a pan. Fill it with enough water to cover potatoes. Add in 1 tsp salt. Bring water to a boil then let simmer for 15 minutes or till potatoes are fork tender.

Step 2: Once the potatoes are done, drain potato in a colander. Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let it stand for another 15 minutes. The heat from the cooking process will generate enough steam to cook the potatoes further.
Step 3: Peel the skin off the potatoes, if you wish. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix in mayo, sour cream, mustard, sweet relish, celery and onion. Mix well. Season with pepper.

Step 4: Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch chunk. Mix well with mayo-sour cream mix. I find it easier to use my hands to mix them up. It helps to avoid the potatoes from getting mashed. Let cool in refrigerator for at least an hour.

 Serve cold with grilled chicken, pork chops or steak.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Technical Issues

Dear Readers,

I am having some technical issue with my laptop at the moment. Will update the blog as soon as I get everything running again!


Your Editor

Friday, April 22, 2011

Baked BBQ Chicken Crisp - Char Siew So

I must be getting old. For some reason, I assume that I have enough Baked BBQ Pork Pasrty in my freezer from the last batch I have made. That would have been great to be served as an appetizer for Easter this weekend. Thank God I decided to check on my inventory today. There were only 9 of those babies left, which makes me wonder,"What happened to the rest?"

It is already Thursday and I still have a ton of stuff to do, according to my schedule. Yes, I have a 7-day preparation schedule for any party I am planning for. Wait till Thanksgiving is around the corner. Anyway, I have to make more of those pastry in order to have enough for everyone. That is when Char Siew So or Baked BBQ Pork Crisp comes into play.

The difference between BBQ Pork Pastry and BBQ Pork Crisp is the pastry. The earlier requires a multi-layer pastry whereas the crisp highlights a flaky thin pastry, hence its name. It is a lot easier to make the crisp too as it omits the countless folding and rolling process. For novice baker, I will definitely recommend trying this recipe before graduating to the more complicated pastry recipe.

The thing I love most about the recipe is the crispy dough. It is the perfect envelope for either sweet or savory filling. I have used this dough to make jam-filled pockets and chicken curry pockets. As I do not have any prepared BBQ pork on hand, I decided to go ahead and make the filling with chicken instead. The result is just as good.

Baked BBQ Chicken Crisp - Char Siew So
(Adapted from Lily's Wai Sek Hong)
(Makes 24)


For the Pastry
10 oz all purpose flour
3 oz cold butter
2 1/2 oz shortening
2 oz sugar
1 oz cold water
1 egg yolk plus 1 tsp water for glazing

For the Filling
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 carrot, diced
1 stalk scallion, sliced thin
1 Tbsp oil
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp cooking wine or dry sherry
dash of pepper
1/2 tsp cornstarch plus 1 Tbsp water


Step 1: Mix all the pastry ingredient except for the water.

Step 2: Using a pastry cutter, cut in the shortening and butter into the flour mix. It will take about 3-5 minutes.

Step 3: The flour mix should resemble coarse bread crumbs when all the fat are completely mix into the flour.

Step 4: Add in the water to the flour mix.

Step 5: Mix the water into the flour mix. Add an additional teaspoon of water to the mix if it is not moist enough to gather into a ball. Squeeze the dough together to form a ball.

Step 6: The pastry dough should look smooth like this.

Step 7: Wrap the pastry dough with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.

Step 8: Meanwhile, prepare all the filling ingredients and seasoning.

Step 9: Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a pan over medium high heat.

Step 10: Saute chicken breast till cooked.

Step 11: Dish out and set aside in a bowl.

Step 12: Add a teaspoon of oil into the pan. Saute onion till translucent.

Step 13: Add in carrot and mushrooms. Continue to cook till carrot has softened.

Step 14: Once all vegetables are caramelized, add in the chicken meat.

Step 15: Add in seasoning. Cook for another min. Stir in the scallion. Finish off with the cornstarch and water slurry. Cook till all sauces has thickened.

Step 16: Dish out in a bowl and let cool.

Step 17: Once dough is done resting, divide dough into 24 equal portions.

Step 18: Roll the dough into a ball.

Step 19: Place a piece of dough onto a wax paper.

Step 20: Cover with another piece of wax paper. Flatten dough with the palm of your hand.

Step 21: Using a rolling pin, gently roll the dough into a rectangle, about 3"x5".

Step 22: Gently, peel the wax paper off the dough. Repeat with the other side to ensure dough is not sticking to the wax paper.

Step 23: Place about 1 teaspoon of filling onto dough. Fold all edges together to form a parcel. Make sure that filling is fully enclosed.

Step 24: Place pastry onto a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.
At this point, you can go ahead and bake it or place it in the freezer for later use. To bake later, just place pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash. Bake for the full 20 mins. No need to defrost.

Step 25: Preheat oven to 400F or 200C. Combine egg yolk and a teaspoon of water. Brush pastry with the egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes or till golden brown. Mine takes 15 minutes when bake right away after forming the pastry.

The BBQ Chicken crisp came out light and flaky, comparable if not better than those served at Dim Sum place.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Grilled Sticky Rice - Pulut Panggang

Grilled Sticky Rice or Pulut Panggang is one of my all time favorite tea time treat. The grilled sticky rice is served among a few other different types of Malay sweets and snacks including fried banana fritters, curry puffs and steamed kuehs ~ sweet Malay desserts. Be it a legacy inherited from the colonial times or just a nice elaborate break time from the heat of the mid-day sun, tea time tradition in Malaysia is a feast to be savored. Among the Peranakan ~ the Straits Chinese clan in Malaysia, pulut panggang and rempah udang are treats commonly made to celebrate auspicious occasions. Birthdays, Weddings, New Year and the likes.

Traditionally, the pulut panggang is filled with a mildly spicy coconut sambal while the rempah udang uses shrimp and dried shrimp cooked in a mild spice blend. When I first started out making grilled sticky rice, I followed Aunt Lily's recipe to emulate the sticky rice I know from my childhood. Since a few people at our party is allergic to seafood, I came up with my own filling using a blend of spice mix and chicken instead~ Sambal Serunding.

Getting the right sticky rice is important as different grade sticky rice will produce different results. In making grilled sticky rice, I usually splurge a little and get the best Thai brand sticky rice I can find at the Asian grocery. Thailand has the best sticky rice available when it comes to making Southeast Asian sticky rice treats. It involves multiple step in preparing this dish but the result is so worth it, particularly if you are a big fan of sticky rice like me.

Grilled Sticky Rice - Pulut Panggang
(Makes 25)

25 pieces 6"x3" banana leaves (washed and pat dry) - You can find frozen banana leaves at the Asian store
50 toothpicks

For the sticky rice

1 1/2lb sticky rice (washed and soaked overnight)
1 350ml-can of coconut milk ( Do not shake the can, use the cream part only)
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 pieces of pandan leaves (Washed and tied into a knot)

For the filling
1 lb chicken breast meat, baked and shred fine or 3 cups of chicken meat floss (you can find this at the Asian grocery)
1 cup grated coconuts
8 dried hot peppers (de-seed and soaked in hot water till soft)
8 shallots
1 large onion
1 lemongrass
2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp coriander powder
1/8 tsp galangal powder
3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
2 Tbsp sugar
salt to taste


Step 1: Wash sticky rice till water runs clear. Soaked in cold water and leave on kitchen counter overnight.

Step 2: The next day, start by preparing the filling. Toast coconut in a pan till golden brown. Set aside.

Step 3: In a food processor, blend onion, shallots, hot peppers, garlic and lemongrass till fine. Heat up 3 Tbsp of oil in a pan. Add in spice blend. Cook over low heat till spice mix is aromatic, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. 

Step 4: Once spice mix is aromatic, add in finely shredded cooked chicken or chicken floss and toasted coconut. Toss till well combined.

Step 5: Continue to cook filling till it has all dried out. Add in sugar and salt to taste. Continue to cook till its color turned brownish, which means the spice mix is fully cooked. The filling should be dry.

Step 6: Dish filling out in a bowl and set aside.

Step 7: Prepare banana leaves. Cut into 6"x3". Washed and pat dry. Set aside.

Step 8: Lined a steamer tray with cheese cloth. Drain sticky rice into tray. Add in the knotted pandan leaves.

Step 9: Steam sticky rice over high heat for 20 minutes. Make sure water in the pot is not touching the sticky rice. You do not want mushy sticky rice.

Step 10: Meanwhile, open a can of coconut milk without shaking the content. This is the brand I use for coconut milk aside from Chao Koh brand. If you can find fresh coconut milk, use the fresh coconut milk instead.

Step 11: Skimp off the thick coconut cream at the top of the can carefully without stirring the content. Place the thick coconut cream in a bowl. Reserve the remainder of the thin coconut milk for other use. Add in sugar and salt to the coconut cream. Stir well to combine.

Step 12: Once the sticky rice is done steaming for 20 minutes, remove the pandan leaves.

Step 13: Add all the sticky rice into the bowl with coconut cream. Toss to mix well.

Step 14: Cover the bowl with a lid and let stand for 5 minutes till all coconut cream has been absorbed by sticky rice.

Step 15: Return sticky rice into the steamer tray lined with cheese cloth. Steam over high heat for another 15 minutes.

Step 16: Once sticky rice is cooked, prepare the assembly line. In a small bowl, dish out about 2 cups of sticky rice. Leave the rest of the sticky rice in the steamer tray to keep warm.

Step 17: Place a piece of banana leaves onto the board, smooth side up.

Step 18: Place about 2 Tbsp of sticky rice onto banana leaves, leaving 1 1/2 inch space all over. Press the sticky rice to make a shallow well in the center.

Step 19: Place a tsp of filling in the center of rice.

Step 20: Fold the two sides together, making sure the rice is covering the filling. Roll the parcel up into a tight roll, like sushi.

Step 21: Hold one end of the banana leaf together.

Step 22: Using a toothpick, close the end tight. Repeat with the other end of the banana leaf.

The sticky rice roll should look like this when done. You will want to roll it tight and ensure the toothpicks are holding the end securely. You do not want the parcel to fall apart during the grilling process.

Step 23: Repeat till all sticky rice and filling is used.

Step 24: To cook, grill sticky rice till the banana leaves wrap has grill mark on it. About 2 minutes per side.

It should look like this when done.

Serve warm or at room temperature. One word to describe this: Heaven!