Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Steamed Roasted Pork Buns / Cha Siew Bao [叉烧包]

Steamed Roasted Pork Buns / Cha Siew Bao   [叉烧包]
Steamed Roasted Pork Buns / Cha Siew Bao   [叉烧包]
Steamed Roasted Pork Buns / Cha Siew Bao   [叉烧包]
Look at the paper-thin skin ...
Steamed Roasted Pork Buns / Cha Siew Bao   [叉烧包]
... and the fluffy, soft  texture 
I love steamed buns (also known as pau or bao or baozi) which has a light, fluffy and a little chewy texture with paper-thin skin that can be easily peeled off.  I remember when I was a kid, I was always told to peel the skin off the bao before eating.  I would silently peeled it and then put it into my mouth because I loved the feel of the bao skin in my mouth (weird or what?).  As I grew older I began to understand why we had to remove the skin off the bao - for hygienic reasons.  In those days no bao vendors wore disposable gloves or used tongs to handle the baos.  Now that I made my own bao, I still maintained the habit of peeling the skin off before I eat.  Old habits die hard, you know  :P

This is my first attempt at making bao using Hong Kong flour which is a highly bleached flour.  The extra bleaching produces whiter and softer bao. If you don't like the idea of using bleached flour, you can substitute with cake flour (or even plain flour) and some wheat starch.  The end result is still good except the bao won't turn out super white.  Refer to my Vegetarian Steamed Buns.

Recipe source:  No-Frills Recipe's Steamed Bun [with slight changes]

Starter Dough:

130g Hong Kong flour/bao flour
2.5 tsp (9g) dried instant yeast
110g lukewarm water
  • Sift flour into a mixing bowl and add in yeast.  Using a spoon, mix until well blended. 
  • Add in water and stir to form a dough. Cover with clingwrap and set aside for 20 mins.

Main Dough:
370g Hong Kong flour/bao flour
2-1/8 tsp (9g) baking powder
100g caster sugar
1/2 tsp (4g) salt
135g fresh milk
25g rice bran oil (or vegetable oil)

  • Sift flour and baking powder together into a mixer bowl.  Add in sugar, salt and all the starter dough. Using the dough hook attached to the mixer, incorporate everything.
  • Gradually add in milk (do not pour in all the milk at once; adjust accordingly).  Knead until well combined. 
  • Then add in oil and continue to knead until dough is smooth and elastic and leaves the sides of the bowl.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl, covered and allow it to rise until double in size (2 hours).
  • Punch down the dough and knead for a while. Divide the dough into 50g portions (makes 17 portions), shape each portion into a ball and cover with a damp cloth.  Rest for 10 minutes. 
  • Take a ball of dough and flatten into a circle.  Spoon cha siew filling onto the centre of the circle.  Pleat the dough to seal and place on a square piece of baking paper.  Rest the buns for 15 minutes before steaming.
  • Arrange buns on a steamer, leaving a gap between the buns.  Spray water mist over buns.
  • Steam the buns under rapidly boiling water on high heat for 10 - 12 minutes.
  • Remove buns from steamer and cool on a wire rack.

Char Siew:
    400g pork belly, remove skin
    400g pork neck, cut into strips of about 2cm thick
    1 tbsp oil
    30g grated palm sugar
    1 cup water

    1/8 tsp five-spiced powder
    1/2 tbsp garlic powder
    dash of pepper
    1 tbsp Chinese rose wine (or cooking wine)
    2 tbsp oyster sauce
    4 tbsp light soy sauce
    1 tbsp dark soy sauce
    1/2 tsp sesame oil

    • Marinate meat with all the marinade ingredients.  Cover and leave it overnight in the fridge.
    • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan and put in all the marinated meat. Fry meat for about 5 minutes, turning halfway. Add in palm sugar and water and let it simmer under low heat until meat is tender. Spoon out most of the sauce into a bowl and set aside for later use **
    • Under medium heat, cook the meat on both sides until they are glossy and the edges are slightly charred.  Remove meat from pan.
    • Once the meat is cooled enough to handle, dice into small pieces. 

    Char Siew Fillings:  
    370g char siew, diced
    1/2 tsp oil
    5 tbsp char siew sauce (retained from the roasted pork **)
    120 ml water + 1.5 tbsp cornstarch 
    • Heat oil in a frying pan and put in all the diced char siew.  Add in all the char siew sauce and stir to combine.  
    • Then pour in the cornstarch solution and stir until sauce thickens.
    • Transfer onto a plate, cover and refrigerate overnight.  

    Note:  The char siew fillings only enough to fill 14 baos.  So I made the other 3 bao into plain mantou (馒头).


    Tuesday, May 19, 2015

    Caramelised Pork

    Caramelised Pork Belly
    Caramelised Pork Belly
    onion, garlic, chilli & grated palm sugar
    fresh coriander roots

    400g pork belly, cut into 1.5cm thickness
    370g pork shank (猪展肉), cut into smaller pieces
    1 big Spanish onion, chopped finely
    5 cloves garlic, chopped finely
    7 coriander roots, scrape clean and chopped finely
    2 chilli, chopped
    2 tbsp cooking oil
    enough water

    1/2 tsp ground white pepper
    3 tbsp fish sauce
    2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
    2 tbsp light soy sauce
    2 tsp dark soy sauce
    1 tbsp oyster sauce
    15g grated palm sugar

    • Pour marinade into the pork and mix well to combine.  Cover and let it marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
    • Heat oil in a wok and saute chopped onion, garlic, coriander roots and chilli until fragrant.  Add in marinated pork and fry until meat changes colour.
    • Pour in enough water to cover the meat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until meat is tender and sauce has thicken and glistening with oil.
    • Serve with steamed rice.

    Pork shank (猪展肉)  also known as Gravy Pork is a cut of meat taken from the lower part of a pig's leg. It often comes with tendons attached and has tough and muscular texture. Therefore the connective tissue has to be broken down through a slow cooking process in order to tenderise the meat as well as to bring out the flavour.  

    Monday, May 11, 2015

    Mini Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

    Homemade Dulce de Leche

    Ingredients: (Makes 7 individual cheesecakes)

    130g digestive biscuits (or any biscuits of your choice)
    45g melted butter

    250g cream cheese, softened
    60g caster sugar
    6g corn starch
    pinch of salt
    1 egg
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp lemon zest
    70g Greek yogurt
    1/2 cup dulce de leche, microwave for a few seconds to soften slightly (you can opt for store-bought dulce de leche)

    • Line muffin pans with cupcake liners.
    • Process biscuits in a food processor; add in the melted butter and mix to combine.
    • Spoon biscuits crumbs into paper liners and press crumbs firmly over the base of the liners to form a crust.  Chill in the fridge while preparing the filling.
    • Preheat oven to 135 deg C.
    • Beat cream cheese on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy.
    • Beat in sugar, salt and cornstarch until combined.
    • Add in egg and beat on low speed until incorporated.
    • Add in yogurt, vanilla extract and lemon zest; on low speed beat until just combined.
    • Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared liners. Spoon about 1/4 tsp of Dulce de leche over cheesecake mixture and swirl gently with a toothpick.
    • Bake for about 20 minutes (cheesecakes should be firm but a little wobbly in the centre).
    • Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack, then refrigerate overnight.
    • Before serving, spoon a little Dulce de leche on the cheesecake and sprinkle with some seasalt (optional).

    I am submitting this post to the Best Recipes for Everyone - 
    May 2015 Event (Theme:  My Favourite Desserts)
    Organised by Fion of XuanHom's Mom and
    Co-host by Aunty Young


    This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by Cheryl of Baking Taitai.

    This post is linked to Bake Along - 4th Anniversary Theme:  Cheesecake
    hosted by Zoe of Bake for Happy KidsLena of Frozen Wings
    and Joyce of Kitchen Flavours 

    Wednesday, May 6, 2015

    Brioche Buns

    Brioche is a classic French bread with a high content of eggs and butter which gives it a rich, buttery and tender texture.  As bread goes, brioche is pretty easy to make.  However, the dough is tacky and very soft to handle so I would not recommend kneading by hand. 

    Recipe adapted from Honey Bee Sweets' Brioche 

    Pre-fermented dough:  (Makes 200g)
    125g bread flour
    1/8 tsp salt
    3/8 tsp instant dried yeast (1.5g)
    80g water
    • Mix bread flour and salt together to combine.  Add in yeast and mix to combine.
    • Stir in water and knead with hand until a soft and pliable dough is formed.
    • Cover and chill in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. (It can be frozen for up to 3 months).

    Main Dough:
    400g bread flour
    50g caster sugar (increase if you prefer a sweeter bread)
    4g salt
    4g instant dried yeast
    4 eggs (218g without shells), lightly beaten *         
    82g fresh milk *
    *  Weight of combined eggs and milk = 300g
    150g pre-fermented dough, bring to room temperature
    150g butter, softened

    1 beaten egg white, for glazing
    black sesame seeds (or any kind of seeds of your choice) - optional

    • In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine bread flour, sugar and salt together.  Then mix in yeast and combine well.
    • Add in eggs and milk; mix well to incorporate.  Then add in pre-fermented dough, piece by piece.  Knead well for about 10 mins. 
    • Add in butter, a little at a time while kneading.  Continue to knead until dough is smooth, shiny and elastic and leaves the sides of the bowl.  At this stage, the dough should passed the 'window pane test'.
    • Place the dough in a bowl, cover and leave it to rise until double in size.
    • Punch down the dough to release trapped air.  Divide dough into 60g portions (makes 17).
    • Roll each portion into a ball and cover with damp cloth.  Rest for 15 minutes.
    • Take a ball of dough and roll out into a rectangular shape.  Cut into three strips, lengthwise, leaving one end uncut. Then braid as tightly as possible.
    • Next, gently roll the braid into a ball and tuck the ends in neatly.

    • Place the braided buns onto a tray lined with baking paper.  Cover and let them rise until double in size.
    • Apply egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
    • Bake in a preheated oven at 175 deg C for about 35 - 40 minutes or until golden brown.

    Saturday, May 2, 2015

    Apple Rose Tarts

    Aren't these edible flower arrangement gorgeous?  Served them as dessert and I am sure your guests would be wowed by these pretty tarts. They are actually quite easy to make.  I must thank Lorraine of 'Not Quite Nigella' who recently shared this amazing recipe (The Most Magical Apple Flower Tarts). Hop over to her blog to watch her step-by-step video tutorial on making these pretty roses using apple slices.

    [Makes 6 tarts]

    1 red apple
    1 green apple
    a large bowl of water with lemon juice (from 1/2 a lemon)
    1 tbsp jam mixed with 1 tbsp water
    3 tsp almond meal
    1 sheet of ready-made puff pastry
    a little plain flour to roll the pastry
    icing sugar for dusting
    6 cupcake cases

    • Place cupcake cases into muffin pan.  Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
    • Cut the apples in half and core them using a melon scoop.  Leave the apple skin on.
    • Using a mandolin, slice the apples.  Then cut them in half.
    • Place the apple slices into the bowl of lemon water.
    • Then microwave the apples until they are pliable (about 4 minutes). Drain the apples and rinse with cold water to cool them.  Dry the apple slices with paper towel.
    • Flour a clean surface and roll out the puff pastry lengthwise so that it becomes longer.  Cut into 6 long strips.  Brush with jam and sprinkle some almond meal over the jam.
    • Line the apple slices on half of the pastry strip so that they slightly overlap each other.  Fold over the pastry to cover the bottom half of the apple slices.
    • Then start rolling up from one end to the other to form a flower.  
    • Place each tart into a cupcake case.  Bake for about 45 minutes until the pastry in the centre is cooked.
    • Dust icing sugar over the tarts and serve with ice cream.

    I am submitting this post to the Best Recipes for Everyone - 
    May 2015 Event (Theme:  My Favourite Desserts)
    Organised by Fion of XuanHom's Mom and
    Co-host by Aunty Young

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