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Monday, April 30, 2012

Chinese Orange Chicken

This is actually my second attempt to make orange chicken. In the first attempt, I did manage to make an orange chicken, but not exactly like what I've wanted. But this 2nd attempt looks just right and tastes much better. I will no longer search for another orange chicken recipe :)

Adapted from here with some modification.

2 pounds boneless chicken pieces, skinned
2 teaspoon salt
white pepper
oil (for frying)
1/2 cup cornstarch PLUS
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon minced ginger root
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon crushed hot red chilies
1/4 cup chopped green onions (optional)
1 tablespoon apple juice
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon sesame oil/vegetable oil
***Orange Chicken Sauce***
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon water
tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons white vinegar

Cut chicken pieces into 2-inch squares and place in large bowl. Stir in egg, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons oil and mix well. Stir cornstarch and flour together. Add chicken pieces, stirring to coat. 

Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or deep-fryer to 375 degrees F. 

Add chicken pieces, small batch at time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and crisp. (Do not overcook or chicken will be tough.) Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside. 

Clean wok and heat 15 seconds over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Add and stir-fry crushed chilies and green onions. Add rice wine and stir 3 seconds. Add Orange Sauce and bring to boil. Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed. Stir water into remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth. Add to chicken and heat until sauce is thickened. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil and sesame oil. Serve at once. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chinese Steamed Bun (Bakpao)

This is my 2nd attempt of making chinese steamed bun. This attempt gives a much better result than before, so I decided to post the recipe. I used all-purpose flour instead of bao flour. 

Makes 1 dozen buns/ baos

1 1/2 tsps active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup bao/ pao flour (you can substitute with all purpose flour but the buns will just take on a yellowish tinge, you can find bao flours in most Asian grocery stores)
1/2 cup self-raising flour
3 tsps of melted butter (unsalted)

1.  In a small bowl, mix the yeast with 2 tbsps warm water, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp of bao flour.  Mix well to get rid of the lumps, cover with a damp kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place until frothy, this should take about 15 minutes.  If the mixture is not frothy at all, it is likely that the yeast has died so redo this step with some new yeast.  Meanwhile, cut up 12 squares of baking paper (measuring roughly 3 inches by 3 inches) for placing the buns on while steaming.

2.  In a large bowl, sift the remaining all-purpose flour and self-raising flour.  Add in the rest of the sugar, the yeast mixture, the warm water and melted butter.  Use a wooden spoon to form a soft dough.  
3.  Prepare a floured working surface.  Turn out the soft dough and start kneading with your hands until smooth and elastic, this should take at least 10 minutes.  The dough should not be too sticky.  Dust with extra bao flour as needed.

4.  Prepare an oiled bowl and place the dough into it.  Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to proof for at least 1 hour or until doubled.  Note that it will take longer usually to proof in colder and drier climate.
5.  Punch down dough to remove some of the air.  Prepare a floured working surface.  Knead the dough briefly for about 5 minutes.  Roll the dough into a log.  I do this for easier division of the dough for each bun.  Meanwhile, you can prepare a wok for steaming, by the time you finish sealing the buns, the water should be boiling rapidly and you can immediately steam the buns.
6.  Divide the dough into 12 portions roughly.  Take one portion of dough, knead with your hands lightly and form into a ball.  Flatten the ball with your hands and press down with your thumb in a circular motion.  

7.  Spoon about 1 1/2 tsps of red bean paste into the middle of the flattened dough.  Seal the dough by gathering the edges together and gently twist to seal.  Place the bun, seal-side down onto the prepared baking paper squares.
8.  Steam the buns over high heat (covered) for about 15 minutes.   Note that the buns will expand while steaming for the first time.  Do watch the wok to make sure that there is enough water while steaming.
9.  Serve hot.  If there are still leftover buns after the first serving, allow to cool and store in an air-tight container, they can be re-steamed later.

Chocolate Lava Cake

I bought these 2 cute ramekins with a good price. Right away, I'm thinking of souffle. But I ended up stumbling upon a recipe of a chocolate lava cake. This one turns out really good. LOVE it.
2whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons butter
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate , chopped (I used Ghirardelli)

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the sugar and cornstarch.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the butter to a simmer.  Add in the chopped chocolate .  Stir until the chocolate mixture is melted, smooth, and starts to bubble around the edges.  Remove from heat.

With the mixer on low, pour in the chocolate mixture and mix until combined.  With the mixer still on low, slowly pour in the eggs, whisking until the batter is smooth.  Transfer the batter to a bowl.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line each soufflé ring mold with a strip of parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the molds on top.  (For ramekins, line the bottom of each ramekin with a circle of parchment paper.  Spray the bottom and sides of the ramekins with non-stick spray.  Place ramekins on a baking sheet.)

Fill each ring mold or ramekin 2/3 full with the soufflé batter.  Bake on the top rack for 20-30 minutes, or until the top is just set, but the center is still melty.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven.  Slide a metal spatula under each soufflé, and using a pair of tongs, carefully transfer to a serving plate.  Gently lift off the ring mold and remove the parchment paper.  For ramekins, run a knife around the edge, then carefully invert the soufflé to remove, then place it on a serving dish.

Dust the soufflés with powdered sugar.  Serve immediately with fresh raspberry coulis (recipe below) and ice cream, if desired.  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Banana Pudding (Puding Pisang)

My husband and I tried the famous Magnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding in our trip to NY and we like it a lot. One day I had 5 ripe bananas. I have made banana muffins too many times, and I really wanted to try something else. So I decided to go with banana pudding. I don't know about other recipe. But the recipe I tried makes a super delish pudding that I don't want to try any other banana pudding recipe.

Vanilla Wafer Crust
       - 2 1/2 cups (about 30) crushed vanilla wafers
       - 1/2 cup butter, melted
Vanilla Pudding
       - 3/4 cup sugar
       - 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
       - 2 large eggs
       - 4 egg yolks
       - 2 cups milk
       - 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whipped Cream (I have some left overs of ready whip cream so I didn't make this)
       - 1 cup heavy cream
       - 1/4 cup powdered sugar
       - 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 medium bananas, cut into slices
20 vanilla wafers plus more for decoration

For the crust:
In a medium bowl, stir together crushed vanilla wafers and butter until blended. Firmly press on bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate.
Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove to a wire rack, and let cool 30 minutes or until completely cool.

For the pudding:
Whisk together sugar, flour, eggs, yolks, and milk in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, 10-12 minutes or until it reaches the thickness of chilled pudding (Mixture will just begin to bubble and will be thick enough to hold soft peaks when whisk is lifted. It must be thick an slightly bubbly to set up properly!) Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.
Transfer to a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure to press the plastic directly on top of the custard so it doesn't get a "skin" on it. Refrigerate till completely cool. (Can be made up to a day in advance)

For the whipped cream:
In a medium bowl whip cream on medium high speed till soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla, and continue to beat till thick and stiff. Don't overbeat or you'll have butter!

Arrange half of the banana slices evenly over the bottom of cooled crust. Spread 1/3 of cooled pudding over bananas, then layer with 20 vanilla wafers. Spread 1/3 more pudding over vanilla wafers, then add the remainder of the banana slices and cover them with the last of the pudding. Spread the whipped cream over the entire pie and decorate with more vanilla wafers if desired.

The layers from the bottom up should be: vanilla wafer crust, bananas, pudding, vanilla wafers, pudding, bananas, pudding, whipped cream.

Refrigerate at least for 4 hours. Overnight is best. Consume within 2 days.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Iday and Olive Farewell Cake

Yesterday we had farewell party at my house for our friends, Iday and Olive, who is going to leave town. They have been so kind to us all this time, so I thought why not made them a special farewell cake. This is the second project for me. Last time was making birthday cake for my husband, I was not able to make the buttercream roses. But this time, I succeeded:) Just by substituting the butter with vegetable shortening.
The one thing I'll try to remember next time is to take a picture of the cake from the top!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shumai (Chinese Steamed Dumpling)

I know that we can find wrappers for dumplings or shumai easily in asian stores. But I dared myself to make the shumai, including the wrappers. 
It was a lot of work, indeed. But I have 60 sheets of shumai wrappers in my freezer now that could be used anytime I need in the future. So I'm quiet happy. But next time, no, I will prefer go look for those in any asian store.

For Wrappers
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup cold water

For Filling
1 cup ground beef
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp apple juice
1/4 tsp white pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced green onion
1/4 cup shredded cabbage
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp minced garlic

For Sauce
1 cup ground salted peanut
2 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp ketchup
1 cup hot water

Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to form a smooth dough. Don't add more water than is ncessary. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine and white pepper to the meat, stirring in only one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well.

To make the dumpling dough: knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter.

Place a small portion (about 1 level tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the remainder of the dumplings.

For the sauce, mix all the ingredients.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Devil's Food Cupcake

I had this urge to make some of the chocolate cupcakes after watching Cupcake Wars today. I tasted the cupcakes and it was really good. It will be only me and my husband who have to finish all the 14 cupcakes. Too much sugar is not good, so I decided not to put any buttercream for the cupcakes ;)
I picked the recipe from Bakeaholic.

Unsweetened cocoa powder 1/2 cup

All-Purpose Flour 1 1/2 cups 
Salt ½ tsp
Baking soda 1 tsp
Baking powder ¼ tsp
Butter 7 tbsp 
Sugar 1 ½ cups (granulated)
Eggs 2 large
Milk 1/2 cup

  • Sift flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder together.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and smooth.
  • Add one egg at a time and continue beating.
  • Add half of dry ingredients and beat at slowest speed or with hand.
  • Add milk and beat.
  • Add rest of dry ingredients and beat.
  • Divide the batter into 12 standard size muffin pans lined with cup cake cases filling about 3/4 full.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes at 350 F