Monday, April 30, 2012

Mee Prata (Fried Prata Noodles)

Last week, I made some homemade prata (Indian pancake). I remember a while back, I saw a recipe that has prata as one of their ingredients. So I used some of the dough to make Mee Prata (Fried Prata Noodles). I also made some Tahu Telur (Tofu Omelette) to go with it.

Mee Prata (Fried Prata Noodles) ~Source: Aneka Hidang Mi recipe book
Ingredients (A):
400g all-purpose flour
80g margarine/butter
salt to taste
sugar to taste
water  (to mix the ingredients together)

Preheat oven to 350°F Mix all together. Knead until well blended. Keep aside for 5 hours.  Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick. Place on the well-greased tray and bake in the oven for about 10 minute. Remove and slice lengthwise thinly.  (I did not use this recipe since I already made some prata. But mixing and kneading the dough is something like how you make normal prata)

Ingredients (B):
400g ground beef
400g shrimps
200g bean sprouts
200g white choy sum (Chinese vegetables), cut
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp chili paste
1 red chili, cut
1 tbsp curry powder
cooking oil

Sauté the onion until golden brown. Remove from pan. Then fry the chili paste. Add the meat, curry powder, salt, and water. Cook meat until tender. Lastly, add bean sprouts, vegetables, cut red chillies and shrimps. Fry for 5 minutes. Serve hot. Garnish with diced tomatoes and chopped cilantro.

p.s: I don't have the some exact ingredients so I improvised and used what I had; potato, chicken hotdog, tofu, and 1 beaten egg. :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Grilled Prawns with Kiwifruit and Pineapple

This recipe is from a Singapore magazine but I can't remember the name of the magazine. I had cut out the page, paste the recipe on another paper and filed in my recipe folder. The method is grilling but I just cooked them in the oven. Whichever method you are using, it does not take too long to cook. :)

Source: Magazine cut-out. Makes 6 skewers
Grilled Prawns with Kiwifruit and Pineapple
12 medium-sized prawns (shrimps), washed & peeled, leave tails intact
1 tbsp Cajun spice
12 canned pineapple cubes
2 kiwifruit, peeled & sliced horizontally

Soak skewers in water before using. Season prawns with Cajun spice for 30 minutes. Alternate pineapple cubes and prawns on each skewer. Leave a 2 cm space near the top of the skewer for the kiwifruit.  Place the skewers on a tray and put them under the grill (medium heat) for 3 to 4 minutes. Take the skewers out from the oven and put a slice of kiwifruit on each skewer. Return the tray under the grill, and cook for another 2 minutes (check that prawns are pink and cooked).

Useful tips
Selection: When a kiwifruit yields to slight pressure, it is ready to be consumed. The softer the fruit, the sweeter it tastes, but don't allow it to get to squishy. 
If you don't want to eat it right away, ripe gold kiwifruit should be stored in the refrigerator. 
Kiwifruit that is still firm will ripen at room temperature, but you can speed up the process by placing it into a paper bag with a banana or an apple. Those fruits produce natural ethylene gas which quickens the ripening process.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Baked Scallops

I had made baked scallops and simple fried rice for dinner the other night. Yums!

Baked Scallops Recipe
4 tbsp butter, melted
1½ lbs bay scallops, rinsed & drained
½ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp dried parsley
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Pour melted butter into a 2 quart oval casserole dish. Distribute butter and scallops evenly inside the dish. Combine the bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, parsley, minced garlic and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle this mixture over the scallops. Bake for 20 minutes or until scallops are firm.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Shortcrust Pastry

I had some fillings left, so I use the shortcrust pastry to finish those fillings. The shortcrust pastry does taste good but not as great as the puff pastry. I feel that it's a little dry and makes me thirsty faster.

The secret to making a good shortcrust pastry is to work the dough quickly and lightly, in a cool room if possible, on a cool surface, and preferably not on a hot day. Once the dough is formed, chilling it for 30 minutes or so helps relax the gluten and set the fat, making the dough manageable and less likely to shrink.

Source: Baking A Common Sense Guide, 
Bay Books 
This will make about 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) pastry; enough to line a 23 cm (9 in) tin.
250g (9 oz/2 cups) all purpose flour
150g (5½ oz) chilled, chopped unsalted butter,
2-4 tbsp chilled water or more

Sift the flour and pinch of salt into a large bowl, holding the sieve as high as possible, so that they get a really good airing before you begin. 
Now add the butter, cut into smallish lumps, then take a knife and begin to cut the fat into the flour. Go on doing this until it looks fairly evenly blended, then begin to rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips only and being as light as possible. As you gently rub the fat into the flour, lift it up high and let it fall back into the bowl, which again means that all the time air is being incorporated, but do this just long enough to make the mixture crumbly with a few odd lumps here and there. 
Now sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water in, then, with a knife, start bringing the dough together, using the knife to make it cling. Then discard the knife and, finally, bring it together with your fingertips. When enough liquid is added, the pastry should leave the bowl fairly clean. If this hasn't happened, then add a spot more water. 
Press, don't knead, the dough together into a ball. Handle gently, keeping your actions light and to a minimum. 
Press the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest. 

Making the baked curry puff:
Preheat the oven 415°F (210°C). Divide the dough into six portions. Roll out each portion to 1/8 inch (3mm) thick on a floured surface. Using a 6¼ in (16cm) diameter place as a guide, cut six circles. (I used the cookie cutter to make the circles.) Divide the fillings among the circles. Brush the edges with beaten egg and bring the pastry together to form a semi-circle. Pinch the edges into a frill and place on the tray. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350°F (180°C) and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

If you making shortcrust pastry for pies/tarts:
Roll out between two sheets of baking paper or plastic wrap, or on a lightly floured surface. Always roll from the center outwards, rotating the dough.
If you used baking paper to roll out the pastry, remove the top sheet, invert the pastry over the tin, and then peel away the paper. If you rolled on a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry back over the rolling pin so it is hanging, and ease it into the tin. 
Once the pastry is in the tin, quickly lift up the sides so they don't break over the edges of the tin. Use a small ball of excess dough to help ease and press the pastry shell into the side of the tin. Allow the excess to hang over the side and, if using a tart tin, roll the rolling over the top of the tin to cut off the excess pastry. If you using a glass or ceramic pie dish, use a small knife to cut away the excess pastry. 
However gently you handle dough, it is bound to shrink a little, so let it sit a little above the side of the tin. If your dough has 'bunched' down the sides,press the sides of the pastry with your thumbs to flatten it a little. Refrigerate the pastry in the tin for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Karipap Lapis (Curry Puff)

These puffs tasted so good! They remind me of the curry puffs that I always get from Polar (pastry & cake cafe) in Singapore. I was looking at my recipe file last week. The file that I had compiled in Singapore many years ago. So I was flipping thru the papers, I saw Karipap Lapis, then I knew I have to make this!

Puff pastry - check the recipe HERE

200 g ground beef/chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
200 g diced potatoes
1-2 tbsp curry powder
salt to taste
cooking oil

Heat oil and saute minced garlic until almost crisp. Add the meat and curry powder. Saute well. Add the potatoes and enough water to cover the potatoes and meat. When the potatoes are almost cooked, add the diced onions and salt. (I added some peas too). Cook until dry. Remove and let it cool before using.

Unfold pastry sheet onto floured surface. cut round from the pastry with a 3 inch (8 cm) cutter. Spoon heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto one side of each pastry round, leaving a border wide enough for the pastry to be folded over. Brush the border with egg white. Fold the pastry over to make a half moon shape, pressing to seal. Transfer to the baking tray and brush top of the pastry with beaten egg. Bake in a preheated oven of at least 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) to get the maximum puff from your pastry for 15 minutes, or until golden.

I also tried to make some Vol-Au-Vents. The fillings on Vol-Au-Vents is from the curry potato & chicken filling and mushroom filling.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Homemade Classic Puff Pastry

Making puff pastry is time consuming but it's so worth it! The picture of the left is my first attempt to make homemade puff pastry. I was glad that the pastries turned out great. 

The main ingredients for puff pastry are flour, butter, water and salt. The most important thing to remember  when making puff pastry is everything gotta be chilled;  the ingredients, utensils, cool surface and including yourself. :-) 

Puff pastry consists of many fine layers. Between every layer of dough, there's a layer of butter. During baking, the melting butter will be absorbed by the dough. The moisture from the dough is converted into steam and the expanding air lifts the pastry, keeping the layers separated. Thus, this makes the pastry crisp and flaky:)
So for my first attempt, I decided to follow the recipe from Not Without Salt. She shared step-by-step pictures and video to make puff pastry too. Cool! ;)

Classic puff pastry
13 oz (390 g) all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp (7 ml) salt
3 oz (90 g) unsalted butter, cold
7 fluid oz (210 ml) water, cold
10 oz (300 g) unsalted butter, softened

To form the detrempe (dough), sift the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the cold butter (3 oz) into small pieces and then cut the pieces into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and add all the water at once. Using a rubber spatula or your fingers, gradually draw the flour into the water. Mix until all the flour is incorporated. Do not knead. The detrempe should be sticky and shaggy-looking.

Note: The detrempe can be made in a food processor. To do so, combine the flour, salt and pieces of cold butter in a food processor bowl fitted with the metal blade. Process until a coarse meal is formed. With the processor running, slowly add the water. Turn the machine off as soon as the dough comes together to form a ball. Process with the remainder of the recipe.

Turn the detrempe out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a few times by hand, rounding it into a ball. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and chill overnight.

To roll in the butter, first prepare the softened butter by placing it between two sheets of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to roll the softened butter into a rectangle, approximately 5 inches by 8 inches (12.5 cm by 20 cm). It is important that the detrempe and butter be of almost equal consistency. If necessary, allow the detrempe to sit at room temperature to soften or chill the butter briefly to harden.

On a lightly floured board, roll the detrempe into a rectangle approximately 12 inches by 15 inches (30cm by 37.5 cm) Lift and rotate the dough as necessary to prevent sticking.

Use a dry pastry brush to brush away any flour from the dough’s surface. Loose flour can cause gray streaks and can prevent the puff pastry from rising properly when baked.

Peel one piece of plastic wrap from the butter. Position the butter in the center of the rectangle and remove the remaining plastic. Fold the four edges of the detrempe over the butter enclosing it completely. Stretch the dough if necessary; it is important that none of the butter be exposed.

With the folded side facing up, press the dough several times with a rolling pin. Use a rocking motion to create ridges in the dough. Place the rolling pin in each ridge and slowly roll back and forth to widen the ridge. Repeat until all the ridges are doubled in size. Using the ridges as a starting point, roll the dough out into a smooth, even rectangle approximately 8 inches by 24 inches (20 cm by 50 cm). Be careful to keep the corners of the dough as right angles.

Use a dry pastry brush to remove any loose flour from the dough’s surface. Fold the dough in thirds, like a business letter. If one end is damaged or in worse condition, fold it in first; otherwise, start at the bottom. This completes the first turn.

Rotate the block of dough 90 degrees so that the folded edge is on your left and the dough faces you like a book. Roll out the dough again, repeating the ridging technique. Once again, the dough should be in a smooth, even rectangle of approximately 8 inches by 24 inches (20 cm by 60 cm).

Fold the dough in thirds again, completing the second turn. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling and folding technique until the dough has had a total of five turns. Do not perform more than two turns without a resting and chilling period. Cover the dough completely and chill overnight before shaping and baking.

A short video from Ashley Rodriguez.

Puff pastry is cooked when the bottom of the item is browned and the pastry does not collapse into itself.
  • Use a very sharp knife to cut puff pastry. A blunt knife will crush the layers together and prevent the pastry from rising to full height.
  • Do not get egg wash or milk wash on the sides of the pastry. This will glue the layers together during baking and result in uneven lift.
  • Excess flour left on the item will burn easily in the oven. Dust it off with a soft pastry brush.
  • Always bake puff pastry in a very hot oven (220°C/425°F). A hot oven ensures the moisture in the dough turns into steam, which is what makes puff pastry rise.
  • Puff pastry should only be baked for a short time. 15 to 20 minutes usually suffices. This is dependent on the oven and recipe used.
  • Open the oven flue during baking to allow steam to escape and the pastry to dry, or failing that, open the oven door near the end of the baking.
  • When using puff pastry as a base, small holes can be cut into the pastry allowing airflow to reach the under side (sometimes referred to as puffin' holes).
  • Puff pastry can be refrigerated for a week, or frozen for three months. Stored puff pastry will have less lift than fresh pastry.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Homemade Chwee Kueh

Chwee Kueh is a type of steamed rice cake, served with fried preserved radish or some top theirs with a fried shallot oil and hot chilli sauce. This is a popular Chinese breakfast item in Singapore. 

60ml cooking oil
3 cloves garlic (minced)
100 gram ground beef or chicken
200g preserved radish(chai poh) (if you want less salty, soak for a while before you used them) 
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp black sweet soy

Rice cake
 180g rice flour
2 tbsp sago flour (I used 1½ tbsp tapioca flour + ½ tbsp cornflour)
750ml water
2 tbsp corn oil
½ tsp salt

Method for the topping:
Heat oil in a saucepan or wok and saute the minced garlic until fragrant. Add meat and preserved radish. Stir and add the seasonings (sugar, white pepper and black sweet soy). Cook until dry. Then set aside to cool. 

Method for the steamed rice cake:
Prepare your steamer and grease your molds/cups. 
Stir the rice flour and sago flour (tapioca flour+cornflour) in a large bowl. make a hold in the center and 300 ml water to form a smooth batter. Strain the batter to remove any lumps. Set aside. 
Bring the remaining of the water, salt and salt to a boil.  Pour the boiling water mixture to the batter and stir well and quickly. Pour the batter into the molds and steam it over high heat for 10-12 minutes or until the rice cake is cooked. (Depending on your molds, the timing varies). Remove and let it cool for 10 minutes. Remove the kueh, top it with preserved radish and serve. 

The recipe I used was from the newspaper cutting but I found an excellent info about chwee kueh from Gastronommy. Check it out!
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