Thursday, February 23, 2012

Char Siew - Chinese BBQ Pork

I make this recipe quite a bit, mostly for the filling of my Chinese-style baked goods. It has not occur to me to post the recipe for this till now. It's a combination of recipes I found on the few food blogs and through trial and error.
It is actually very easy to make your own Char Siew at home and eat them as is or if you are into baking like I am, use the roast pork as a filling for a lot of baked goodies. My family loves it and I hope you will enjoy it too.

Char Siew- Chinese BBQ Pork
2 lb pork (I use boneless pork chops but the belly cut or pork butt will yield better results)
Note: As a rule of thumb, I always brine all the meat before using. I find that the meat stays tender, moist, and juicy even after long hour of baking.

5 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
3 Tbsp Chinese Cooking Wine or Rose Wine
2 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 2/3 cup sugar (I like mine sweet, you can reduce it to a cup)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp 5 spice powder
A Few Drops of Red Food Coloring, if you prefer

1. In a bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients.

2. Place pork in the marinade and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

3. Preheat the oven to 400F.
4. Line a baking pan with heavy duty foil. You really want to do this to avoid the messy clean up.
5. Place pork and all the marinade into the pan. Bake 30 minutes and turn the pork chops over.

6. Bake for an additional 30 minutes till sauce begins to thicken. Remove from oven.
7. Turn broiler on to low.
8. Prepare a baking sheet lined with foil. Place a wire rack, lightly coat with baking spray onto the baking sheet.
9. Place pork on wire rack and place under broiler. Broil till the pork is lightly charred. Serve with the remaining sauce or use as a filling for savory baked goods.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

ATK's Perfect Chicken Cordon Bleu

Ever been frustrated with the cheese filling oozing out of your Chicken Cordon Bleu while baking in the oven? Well, I have and it is not a good sigh at all. Makes me wonder how the folks at Barber's Chicken processed their Chicken Cordon Bleu to bake into perfection without the cheese oozing out all over the place.
Then, I watched this episode on America's Test Kitchen where they were featuring chicken recipes and what do you know, they have a segment on making the perfect chicken Cordon Bleu and a technique I have not try using when making mine.
Smart people. Instead of pounding the chicken breast flat, they recommend cutting slits into the chicken breast and stuffed the roll up ham and cheese into the pockets itself. The result: AMAZING! Minimal cheese oozing out from those pockets. Will do better the next time. All in all, a really good recipe!

Chicken Cordon Bleu – America’s Test Kitchen Recipe
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
8 slices of ham
1 cup shredded Swiss Cheese
25 pieces Ritz Crackers
4 slices of hearty white bread
6 tablespoon of butter, melted
1 Tbsp of Dijon Mustard
3 eggs
¼ cup flour
Salt and pepper, to taste

   1) Slice pockets in chicken breast, about 1/3 way. Make deep slits inside pockets, leaving ¼ inch intact.
   2) Roll cheese inside of ham into cigar shaped.
   3) Place 2 cheese-ham cigars into each chicken breast pocket. Season breast with salt and pepper. Leave in fridge for 20 mins.
   4) For breadcrumbs, process Ritz crackers with bread. Add in the melted butter. Mix well.
   5) Preheat oven to 450F. Toast breadcrumbs mix for 3 mins till lightly golden.
   6) Prepare eggwash. Combine eggs with Dijon mustard. Set aside.
   7) Roll chicken in flour. Dust to remove excess.
   8) Dip chicken in egg wash and coat with breadcrumbs. Press to ensure an even layer of breadcrumbs all over chicken breast.
   9) Bake in the third rack of oven for 10 minutes.
10) Reduce heat to 400F. Move chicken onto the middle rack and bake for another 20 minutes.
11)   Remove from oven. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New York Style Crumbcake

Why will I make a crumb cake when I have the best coffee cake recipe ever?
Cos I am curious to try the American Test Kitchen recipe of the New York Style Crumb cake and the pictures posted on the internet looks really good. If you are not into chopped nuts in your cake, this will be a good recipe for you. I still miss the cinnamon swirls in my coffee cake though.
This cake came out really moist. Thanks to the experts at America's Test Kitchen for the recipe. They are really good.

NY Style Crumb Cake
(Adapted from America's Test Kitchen)

2 2/3 oz sugar
2 2/3 oz dark brown sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t salt
8 Tbsp melted butter
7 oz cake flour

5 oz cake flour
3 1/2 oz sugar
1/4 t soda
1/4 t salt
6 Tbsp cold butter
1 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 t vanilla
1/3 cup butter milk


1. Make the toppings. Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt and flour in a large bowl. Pour in the melted butter and mix with a spatula till large crumbs formed.
2. Make the cake batter. In a large bowl, combine sugar, soda, flour, and salt. Add in the cold butter. Using a pastry cutter, cut fat into flour till it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

3. In a measuring cup, combine buttermilk, vanilla, egg and egg yolk.
4. Add in the liquid into the flour mix. Beat with a hand mixer till well mixed. Mix a few times with a rubber spatula to ensure that cake batter is smooth.
5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325F. Grease a 8-inch square glass pan. Line with parchment paper.
6. Spread the batter evenly onto the pan. Top batter with toppings. Make sure that cake batter is well covered with toppings.
 7. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Mine took 45 minutes to bake. Cool on wire rack for  at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Great breakfast or teatime cake.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spicy Chicken Fajita

Finally......I found a recipe that works to make the real deal Chicken Fajita at home. They came out so delicious that I can't wait to share it on my blog. Scoot over Mexican restaurant and welcome homemade Chicken Fajita from now on.

Spicy Chicken Fajita
(Recipe adapted from Cottage Cookbook)


  • 2 Large Onions - Chopped
  • 3 Spring Onions - Derooted and chopped
  • 1 Green Pepper - Deseeded and chopped
  • 8 oz Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 4 Organic Chicken Breasts - Cut into medium pieces (use kitchen scissors)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Double Cream
  • 2 Cloves Garlic - Finely Chopped

Mexican Spice mix

  • 2 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 tsp Sweet Paprika
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Onion powder
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin

To Serve

  • Tortilla (Corn or Flour)
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Mexican Rice
  • Sour Cream
  • Grated Mature Cheddar Cheese

1. In a bowl, combine Mexican spice mix.
2. Slice up chicken breast into 1-inch strips. Place half the seasoning mix and leave chicken to marinade in the fridge for an hour or more.
3. Preheat an oven to 375F. Meanwhile, heat up a cast iron skillet over high heat. Pour about 1 Tbsp of olive oil into the pan. Throw in the mushrooms and onions.

4. Once mushrooms and onions are caramelized, add in the bell pepper, green onions, and 2 Tbsp of Mexican seasoning mix. Stir well and let cook for another 2 mins.
5. Push vegetables to the side. Pour in a tablespoon of olive oil into pan. Add in the chicken and garlic. Let cook till golden brown. Throw in more Mexican seasoning till chicken is well coated. Place skillet into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or till chicken is fully cooked.
6. Once chicken is cooked, pour in 1 Tbsp of cream and stir to coat well. It will help to de-glaze the pan.
7. Serve chicken fajita with Mexican rice, tortilla, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and grated cheese.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Not Your Pudding Box Vanilla Pudding

I can never understand why people are making pudding from a box. Really? I can understand brownie mix, cake mix (sometimes...okay, fine! Not really. I hate cake mix from a box.), or the occasional.....emmm.....I give up. I really am a baking snob.
To be fair, homemade vanilla pudding is so easy to throw together that I am finding it really difficult to justify the need of using the box stuff.

Homemade Vanilla Pudding
2 Cups of Whole Milk
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/3 Cup of sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla


1. In a 2 quart saucepan, combine cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Mix well.
2. In a bowl, combine milk and egg yolks. Pour slowly into saucepan, whisking all the while till smooth.

3. Place saucepan on stove and cook over medium heat while whisking continuously till mixture comes to a boil.
4. Remove saucepan from stove. Add in the butter and vanilla. Stir till well combined.
5. Divide pudding into 4 individual pudding cups. Chill for at least 6 hours before serving. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Simplicity At Its Best - Marble Pound Cake

I love to bake cakes. Any cakes, any recipes from scratch. It gives me endless amount of joy when my cake comes out looking and tasting great. Too often, cake recipes being featured on Websites deal with copious amount of ingredients and it makes me wonder, "What is wrong with a simple cake?"

Marble pound cake may be a simple recipe but it is one that is difficult to master. I have baked endless number of pound cakes till now and often, the cakes came out dry with coarse textures. which I detest. Then, a friend of mine tagged a picture of marble pound cake she baked and it was love at first sight for me. The cake has the fine, crumbly texture I have been looking for and she was generous enough to share the recipe with me.

This recipe she has is from the mother-in-law of a friend, who has had the recipe for ages now. I love nothing better than old recipes. It produces no frill, simple and buttery perfection every time. It reminds me of the marble pound cake one can find in the old school Hainanese Kopitiam in Malaysia. Give this a try.
Marble Pound Cake
(Makes 1 9-inch pound cake)
12 oz butter, softened (preferably European butter)
9 oz sugar
9 oz all purpose flour
8 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 170C/340F. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, cream butter till light and fluffy. Add in sugar and beat till well incorporated.
3. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time till well incorporated. Mix in the vanilla, if using.
4. In another bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. Mix well. Add into the butter-sugar-egg yolk mix till fully incorporated. The batter should be really thick at this point.
5. In a clear bowl, whisk egg whites till stiff, about 10 minutes. You should do in  mixer, trust me.
6. Fold in egg whites into cake batter gently. Do not overmix.
7. Scoop out about 1/4 of cake batter into a separate bowl. Add in the 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder and mix well.
8. Layer the cake batter into prepared pan. Using a fork or skewer, gently make swirls to create marble effect.
9. Bake in oven for 50-60 minutes. Start checking at 50 minutes.
10. Let cake cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing. Let cool completely before slicing. Best serve with a hot cup of coffee or tea.