Monday, January 31, 2011

Baking with Dorie: Coffee Break Muffins

Many thanks to Grapefruit of Needful Things for choosing this recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan for our BWD bake this week!

Honestly, it was a lazy Sunday afternoon for me yesterday - the gloomy, rainy weather did not motivate me to get up from the couch to prepare a batch of muffins. But I'm so glad I did! It took just a few minutes to put everything together and it came out beautifully from the oven 18 minutes later! And I'm happy to announce that it became my dinner (still on the couch) with a tall mug of Earl Grey tea. Bliss!

The muffins were moist - instead of 1 cup of strong coffee in the batch, mine was 1/2 cup of really strong coffee and 1/2 cup of evaporated milk. And I added 3/4 cups of chocolate chips for some texture and I can't be happier with the additions I made.

Do check out other BWD blogs here! The recipe is from page 15 of Baking from My Home to Yours and on Grapefruit's blog.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Buah Melaka

Little chewy balls with a surprise centre and fluffy coating!

A favourite tea-time treat!

These are pleasantly soft chewy balls made from glutinous rice paste with sweet gula Melaka or palm sugar filling and coated with fluffy, slightly salty grated coconut.

These are firm favourites among children and adults alike - their tiny size makes it irresistable to pop one after another into your mouth.

I also think this is one of the kuih Melayu or Malay desserts that young girls learn to make from their moms from an early age. As there are many steps, albeit simple ones that this gems require, an extra pair of hands is always welcomed in the kitchen.

Here is the recipe!

Buah Melaka

for the dough
200 gm glutinous rice flour
screwpine juice made from three medium-sized leaves and 100 ml water
90 ml - 110 ml hot water
few drops of green colouring

for the filling
100 gm gula Melaka or palm sugar, cut into tiny pieces (I think brown sugar would work too!)

for the coating
grated coconut from 1 shell, lightly salted


In a medium-sized bowl, add screwpine leave juice to glutinous rice. Add hot water in a steady slow stream, pausing as you mix them well. It is better to be cautious than to have too soft of a dough. Add drops of green colouring to your preference. You should be able to pinch the soft dough and form small balls. If dough is too soft, worry not - add small amounts of glutinous rice flour until you get the right consistency. On the other hand, if dough is too tough, add hot water.

Pinch a small amount of dough and make into a small ball (about 10 gm). Using your index finger, create a well and place small amount of palm sugar. Press the palm sugar with the tip of a spoon to ensure it is neatly tucked in the well. Close the well and gently form it into a ball.

Drop the balls into boiling water in a semi-deep pot. The balls will sink to the bottom. After a while, the balls will rise up to the surface - use a sieve to spoon them out and gently shake the sieve to remove excess water. Drop the balls into a shallow bowl of lightly salted grated coconut. Pick the bowl up and rock it in a circular motion to move the balls around and ensure they are thoroughly coated with coconut. Serve with your favourite cup of tea. Even better, share some with your neighbours!

This recipe makes about 35-40 small balls.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Aneka Kuih Melayu

Pulut Inti ~ steamed glutinous rice with coconut milk, topped with shredded coconut in palm sugar and wrapped in banana leaf

Serimuka Durian ~ steamed glutinous rice base, with top layer of durian flavoured coconut milk-based custard.

Talam Berlauk ~  a savoury dessert of rice flour and coconut milk custard, topped with slightly spicy shredded dried shrimp and garnished with fried shallots, sliced chili and spring onion.

Talam Suji ~ semolina custard base and coconut milk and palm sugar custard top.

NO - I did NOT make all of the above, but a dear friend, Sheema did!! For the benefit of non-Malay speaking readers, the title Aneka Kuih Melayu means Variety of Malay Desserts. Well, desserts may not exactly represent what kuih is because we eat kuih not just for desserts, but for breakfast, tea and everything in between.

I was the beneficiary of these wonderful treats at a birthday outing for our dear friend today. I have no clue how to make any of them!! I do intend to learn and have made a resolution to attempt more traditional Malay cakes and desserts this year. I'll need a LOT of help from my friend Sheema, I'm sure!!

I hope you enjoyed the photos!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rendang Ayam

Rendang Ayam or Chicken Rendang is one of the speciality and must-have dish during Eid , better known as Hari Raya in Malaysia. When I was growing up, they were only available then, when mom would cook chicken and beef rendang by the kilos (sometimes up to 20!!) to serve family and friends. Refrigerated, they keep well for days too.

Rendang is now available most of the time, not just during Eid. Being the sentimental that I am, I had resisted the idea of eating rendang outside of the festive season!! However in recent years, I have given up resistance LOL. I think part of it is because my children loves them so much. Their grandmother often make rendang for us and we'd always have frozen rations in the refrigerator.

I love my mom's rendang, but have recently discovered another way of preparing it from a colleague, Fatimah. While mom's rendang uses dried red chillies which gives it a deep brown color, this recipe only uses green cili padi. I love this even more (shhhhh...don't tell mom!!).

Here's the recipe!!

Rendang Ayam

1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces (about 1 kg)

(To blend in food processor)
8 stalks lemongrass
10 shallots
6 cloves of garlic
2" ginger
2" galangal or blue ginger
1" turmeric
20-30 cili padi (the more, the hotter!!)
3/4 - 1 cup water

40 gm kerisik
300 ml coconut milk (I used packed, low-fat)

1 large turmeric leaf (sliced thin)
6 kaffir lime leaves
Salt and sugar to taste
4 tablespoons cooking oil

Clockwise, from top centre: lemongrass, shallots, garlic, turmeric leaf (under shallots and garlic), cili padi, galangal, ginger, tumeric, kaffir lime leaves.

Below: turmeric leaf sliced thinly. Mom would disapprove of this - she'd cut hers much thinner!

Below: pre-packed kerisik. To make your own, go here.

In a large wok or wide pot, pour processed ingredients, chicken and coconut milk and cook over medium heat. Stir occasionally and bring it to a boil. When the spice and coconut milk mixture turns into a  thick, liquid gravy; add kerisik, salt and sugar to taste, kaffir lime leaves and sliced turmeric leaf. Keep on stirring occasionally to avoid gravy from sticking to the wok. As the chicken begins to dry up, add cooking oil and stir for 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Traditionally served with nasi impit during the festive season, rendang is also eaten with warm rice. I love to just have the thick gravy with bread!

This is my second Muhibbah Malaysian Monday post and I can't wait to see the other Malaysian dishes cooked up by participating bloggers during the round-up early next month! Thanks to Shaz of Test with a Skewer and Suresh of 3 Hungry Tummies!!

Baking with Dorie: Apple-Coconut Family Cake

Apple. Coconut. Family. Cake. Sounds inviting, doesn't it?

My kids looked forward to this bake as they loved the Brown Sugar Bundt Cake from Dorie which I made using apples. I've made the cake a few times already based on their request and now they seem to associate apples in a cake with yumminess.

They didn't quite fancy this cake, however. I think there could be too much apple in the cake (I used very large apples) which made it very very moist, rather soft and you can say slightly mushy, not that it is a bad thing in a cake - just not to the kids' liking. With only a small slice gone from the whole cake, I took it to work the next day to a very appreciative lot. I think this is a cake for grown-ups :)

This week's BWD was chosen by the talented Mia of Bright Morning Star. Hop over to Mia's blog or page 214 of Dorie Greenspan's  Baking from my home to yours for the recipe.

I followed the recipe thoroughly but instead of brushing the baked product with apple jelly which I didn't have, I smothered some raspberry jam on it. I must say the cake does have the 'family' cake look, whatever that's supposed to be!! :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cream Puffs of my childhood

When I think of a sophisticated dessert from my childhood, it has got to be Cream Puffs made by my mother's younger sister, Mak Su. Growing up, I never saw or had them anywhere else, unless when she makes them. Small mountains of fluffed pastry, a creamy filling, dusted with confectioner's sugar. They were truly special.

It's one of those things I've always wanted to make but they somehow seem unachievable and daunting to the untrained baker like me. But very early this year, I listed them as one of my 10 to-do desserts in 2011 - a list I named 10 Personal Favourites/Must-Try-To-Bake Desserts 2011. Yeah, I am corny that way. Poyo! I guess I can cross one out of the list now.

I'm not sure if you can use the name Cream Puff and Profiteroles alternately, but growing up, I've always called them  Cream Puffs.  I am under the impression that Cream Puffs are dusted with icing sugar while Profiteroles are glazed with chocolate ganache. Someone out there, please correct me! But what's in a name if they both taste so soooo good, right?? They are, basically the same thing after all - made from the same choux pastry.

The recipe was taken from Joy of Baking, the pastry cream recipe is Martha's (refer here) while for the chocolate ganache, I mixed some whipping cream and couverture bittersweet chocolate.

The recipe says it yields 12 shells, but I got 20!! And they were not tiny!! With 20 they're just the right size...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bingka Pandan

I don't make much of traditional Malay desserts, but I love eating them!!

In actual fact, I am intimidated to make them!! I don't know why, but I hope to not be anymore, as they are many wonderful bloggers out there who are simply wonderful with their tutorial of Malay desserts, it's a shame not to try making them! This particular recipe is one given to me by a colleague and I am ever grateful to her for it. My kids love this!

Bingka Pandan  or Bengkang in northern lingo, is a traditional Malay dessert which uses the most basic ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs, a bit of butter and of course, the key ingredients in many Malay desserts, the daun pandan or screwpine leaves and santan or coconut milk.

The result in three words - smooth, creamy and yummy!! (I wish I have a better photo of this - these were taken sometime ago, not to be meant as blogging photos. The bingka pandan I made yesterday dissapeared before I could even get the camera!)

Bingka Pandan


2 cups flour
2 cups coconut milk
3 cups juice of screwpine leaves
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
a drop or two of green colouring
1 tablespoon (heap) of sesame seed (I used poppyseed)


Preheat oven at 170C. Butter a 9x9 baking pan (I used Pyrex). Prepare the screwpine leaves juice. I used 15 medium-sized leaves - cut them into small pieces and put them in the food processor with 3 cups of water.

Strain the mixture and you will get this:

Mix all of the ingredients (except for sesame seed) in a food processor. Depending on the size of your processor, you may need to do it in two batches. Pour mixture in greased tin.

Bake for 30 mins. Remove tin from oven and sprinkle sesame seed. Return tin to oven in a rotated position. Bake for another 50-60 mins. Let cool for a minimum of two hours before cutting (the longer you wait, the better it is) unless you don't mind getting frustrated with a soggy blob. They still taste great, anyways. Yes, it has happened to the impatient me!!

By the way, just to demonstrate the coconut milk I used, here's the photo below.

And...I am excited to announce that I will be submitting this post to Muhibbah Malaysian Monday, a blog event hosted by Shaz of Test with Skewer and Suresh of 3 Hungry Tummies. Looking at previous Muhibbah Malaysian Monday makes me patriotic all over!! Heeeee...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sumptuous!! Seared Salmon with Spinach and Creamy Roasted Peppers

When I first saw this at Nancy's blog, I knew I had to make this. I love salmon, I love cream sauce and I heart spinach - just the perfect combo!!

Actually, salmon is such a tasty fish that needs little seasoning or sauce. You just need to lightly season it with salt and pepper, pan-sear it and you'll have a great tasting meal on its own!

The roasted peppers in the cream sauce gave it an interesting twist. Yumms!! You may find the recipe here.

Happy New Year to you reading and I hope to post more non-desserts on this blog this year!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Baking With Dorie: World Peace Cookies

This week, it's Rebecca's turn to pick a recipe from Baking from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan for our Baking with Dorie group.

This is THE BEST cookie ever. Period.

I have blogged about this before, do check it out here.

For the recipe, hop over to Rebecca's blog and do check out the BWD blogroll for members' bake this week!!