Friday, May 27, 2016

One-time Proofing Soft Bread (Killer Toast)

Killer Toast
Killer Toast

It's the bread recipe that's gone viral in the social media lately - the Killer Toast and it claims to produce very soft and irresistible textured bread. Victoria Bakes highly recommended this super uber soft bread and I totally trust Victoria as she has shared quite a number of fantastic bread recipes before. Hop over to her blog for more great recipes.

If you are familiar with breadmaking, you would know the few basic steps - mixing, first rise (or bulk fermentation), shaping, proofing and baking which takes up a long time (at least in my case on cold days).  However this Killer Toast recipe skips one step in the fermentation process. One-time proofing?  Wow, that's music to my ears! You just need to knead, shape, proof and bake!   It means cutting down the number of hours in waiting for the dough to rise twice. 

Yesterday I decided to try out the famous recipe. It was a very cold day whereby the temperature dipped below 18°C indoors. I didn't record the time it took from start to finish, however, by 3pm I could sit down and have a slice of freshly baked bread with my cuppa.  

Liquid mixture:  90g eggs + 70g cream + 200g milk = 360g in total

Knead to get a smooth, silky and elastic dough that doesn't stick to the mixing bowl before incorporating the butter into the dough

To achieve the window-pane test (crucial) - the dough must be stretchy and smooth and translucent 

One-time proofing soft bread (Killer Toast)
A beautiful smooth, soft and silky dough ...

Shaping the dough

... before proofing

after proofing ...

I doubled the original recipe to make 2 loaves ~

Dry mixture:
520g bread flour
60g caster sugar
4g salt
9g instant dried yeast (increased the amount of yeast)

Liquid mixture: Total of 360g
90g eggs
70g thickened cream
200g fresh milk

60g butter, cut into cubes

  • Grease 2 loaf pans (8x4x3 in / 20.5x10.5x7.5 cm). 
  • In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. 
  • Pour in the liquid mixture and knead until the dough is elastic and smooth and leaves the sides of the mixing bowl.  
  • Incorporate the butter into the dough and continue to knead until it passed the window pane test (whereby the dough can be stretched into a paper-thin film without tearing and is translucent).
  • Divide the dough into 6 equal portions (165g each).  Flatten each portion of the dough and roll it up like swiss rolls.  Place 3 rolls in each greased loaf pan .  Cover with cling wrap and let it rise until it reaches 90% of the height of the pan.
  • Bake in a preheated oven of 170°C on the second lowest rack in the oven for about 45 - 50 minutes (tent the top loosely with foil once the bread is sufficiently brown).

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Stir fry French Beans with Preserved Radish

This is one of my "must-have" dish to go with plain congee.  There's saltiness, sweetness, heat and crunch, all in one dish!  There is no exact measurement required and it is really simple. Remember, most of the cooking that happens in the kitchen doesn't involve recipes!

French beans, diced
Preserved turnips (chai poh), diced
Carrot, diced
Firm tofu, diced
Dried shrimps, chopped
Chillies, chopped
Garlic, minced
Cooking oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Heat oil in a wok and fry preserved turnips until light brown.  Dish out and set aside.  
  • Add more oil in the wok and lightly fry dried shrimps, dish out and set aside. Next fry tofu until light brown.  Dish out.
  • Sauté minced garlic until aromatic, then toss in carrot, beans and chillies.  Fry until beans are cooked; add in preserved turnips, dried shrimps and tofu.  Season with salt and pepper and  stir fry to combine.
  • Serve hot.  

Monday, May 23, 2016

Pumpkin Buns

(Makes 9 buns)
310g bread flour
30g brown sugar
2g salt
5g instant dried yeast
125g mashed pumpkin
55g yogurt
1 egg
40g butter, softened
1 tbsp white/black chia seeds
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

  • Combine flour, sugar and salt together.  Add in yeast and stir to combine.  Add in mashed pumpkin, yogurt and egg.  Using the dough hook, knead until it forms a slightly sticky dough.
  • Add in butter and knead until dough is smooth and elastic.  Incorporate chia seeds and pumpkin seeds.
  • Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling wrap.  Allow to rise until double in size.
  • Punch down the dough to expel trapped air.  Divide dough into 9 equal portions.  Rest for 10 minutes.
  • Flatten a piece of dough and roll up like swiss roll. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Place the rolls slightly apart on a greased baking tray.  Cover and proof until almost double in size.
  • Preheat oven to 185°C.
  • Brush buns with egg wash and grate tasty cheese over the buns and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Steamed Yam Cake (芋头糕)

Steamed Taro Cake (芋头糕)
Steamed Taro Cake (芋头糕)
Steamed Taro Cake (芋头糕)
Steamed Taro Cake (芋头糕)
Steamed Taro Cake (芋头糕)

700g yam, cut into small cubes
1/4 tsp five-spice powder

250g rice flour
40g tapioca flour (or cornflour)
30g wheat starch (澄麵粉)
1250ml water
3 tbsp cooking oil

1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp white pepper
2 tsp chicken bouillon powder (optional)
1/4 tsp five-spice powder

150g dried shrimps (washed, soaked for 10 min, then blitz in food processor or chopped)
6 cloves garlic (47g), minced
5 shallots (100g), finely sliced 
cooking oil

spring onions, chopped finely
red chillies
ground toasted peanuts (optional)
toasted white sesame seeds (optional)

  • Sift rice flour, tapioca flour and wheat starch together into a large mixing bowl.  Add in water and stir to combine.  Make sure there are no lumps in the mixture.  Then add in the seasonings and oil.  Mix well and set aside.

  • Heat about 4 tbsp oil in a wok, fry shallots until golden brown.  Drain and set aside.

  • With the remaining oil in the wok, fry garlic until golden brown.  Transfer into a bowl.

  • Heat about 3 - 4 tbsp oil; fry the dried shrimps until fragrant.  Transfer into a bowl and set aside.

  • In the same wok, put in yam cubes and sprinkle 1/4 tsp of five-spice powder over it and stir fry for about 4 - 5 minutes (you may add a little oil if it's too dry). Meanwhile get ready steamer by bringing water in a wok to the boil.
  • Place the bowl of batter on a steaming rack over the boiling water. Keep stirring the batter until it is thickened.  Then add in fried yam cubes and combine well.

  • Transfer the mixture into a 25cm round steaming pan and steam over high heat for about 50 - 55 minutes (or until the yam is soft when you insert a chopstick into it). [There will be some liquid on the surface of the yam cake, which will be absorbed as the cake cools down].
  • While the yam cake is still warm, sprinkle the toppings evenly over the top.  
  • To serve, garnish with chopped spring onions, chopped chillies and sesame seeds and/or ground peanuts.
Note:  Instead of using one steaming pan, I used four 8"x4" aluminium foil food containers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Homemade Curry Paste

chilli paste
chilli paste

homemade curry paste
homemade curry paste

Using prepackaged curry paste is so convenient and I must admit I do stocked up a few packets in my pantry. However, when my mood strikes, I will make my own curry paste from scratch and the extra effort is worth the trouble.  It tastes so much better and is preservatives free!  Cook up a big batch and store them in jars and they can keep in the refrigerator for weeks.  Use this paste as a base for your curries, be it curry laksa or chicken curry or even vegetables curry.    How easy is that?  

The recipe below makes about 1285g of curry paste

(A) Processed into fine paste:
450g small brown onions, quartered
60g garlic
40g ginger
6 stalks lemongrass, cut finely
about 20 candlenuts
6 kaffir lime leaves, shredded

ingredients (A) 

(B) Processed into fine paste:
100g large dried chillies
20g dried bird's eye chillies
30g belacan (shrimp paste), toasted (see Note below)

softened dried chillies

toasted shrimp paste

(C) Processed until fine:
70g dried shrimps, washed and soaked 5 mins

40g grated gula melaka (palm sugar)
zest of 2 kaffir limes
60ml fish sauce 
2 tbsp light soy
5 tbsp tomato sauce (optional)
1 tbsp salt, adjust accordingly
1.5 cup cooking oil (approx)
4 blades of pandan leaves, optional

  1. With a little oil, lightly fry the dried shrimps until fragrant.  Transfer out and set aside.
  2. Heat up about 50ml oil, saute ingredients (A) under medium fire for about 20 - 25 minutes.  
  3. Then add in ingredients (B) and continue frying for about another 30 minutes. Add in fried dried shrimps and all the ingredients (D).  Keep stirring until oil begins to 'separate'.
  4. Remove the pandan leaves.  Store paste in clean, screw-top jars and keep them refrigerated.

Note: To toast belacan (shrimp paste), place it onto a piece of aluminium foil over a frying pan and toast over low heat for about a minute, until the edges of the belacan are lighter in colour. (Omit belacan if you can't stand the pungent smell).

    Monday, May 16, 2016

    Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar) Chiffon Cake

    I love cakes but if I have to choose one, I would say chiffon cake is my favourite.  I love the soft, light and fluffy texture of a chiffon.  The most common chiffon cakes would be the pandan flavour but once in a while I'd like to venture into other flavours as well.  Diana, the Domestic Goddess Wannabe is mad about chiffon cakes and when I saw her Gula Melaka Chiffon I told myself that I must bake this because of the way Diana described it. When I was mixing the batter, I could already smelled the beautiful aroma of  palm sugar, coconut milk and pandan leaves. Well, like Diana said ... you really have to make this cake and its die, die no regrets :P  

    140g gula melaka (palm sugar), grated or chopped into small pieces
    1/4 tsp salt
    90g coconut milk
    30g pandan leaves, cut into small pieces

    5 egg yolks (72g)
    40g coconut oil, melted
    115g self-raising flour

    5 egg whites (180g)
    1/4 tsp cream of tartar
    35g caster sugar

    • Put in all the ingredients (A) into a small saucepan and bring to the boil under low fire.  
    • Then strain the mixture into a bowl and set aside to cool.
    • In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks until it turns pale.  Gradually whisk in coconut oil. Then add in gula melaka mixture and whisk until combined.
    • Fold in flour and mix until just combined.
    • In a clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites until frothy.  Add in cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks formed.  Gradually add in sugar and beat until stiff peaks formed.
    • Transfer one-third of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture and beat until well combined.  Then fold in the rest of the meringue in two batches until no white streaks remain.
    • Pour the batter into an ungreased 20cm tube pan.  Lift the pan and drop it onto the benchtop three times to remove large air bubbles or you can use a chopstick to gently swirl around the batter to remove air bubbles.
    • Bake in a preheated oven of 155°C for 1 hour 20 mins. (Note:  every oven is different so adjust your oven temperature and baking time accordingly)
    • Once the cake comes out from the oven, invert it to cool completely before unmoulding (by hand),

    Friday, May 13, 2016

    Mak ("Easy") Kimchi


    korean kimchi

    If you've never made kimchi before, the process seems to sound quite intimidating. However, making your own kimchi doesn't have to be a laborious task if you follow this Mak-Kimchi (meaning Easy Kimchi) recipe by Maangchi. It requires only one and a half hours of salting the cabbage. 

    While the cabbage is salting, you can cook the porridge which serves as the base for the paste. Then prepare the paste by blending onion, garlic, ginger, pear or apple (optional), Korean red chilli pepper and fish sauce in a food processor. I cut down on the garlic since I don't like strong garlicky taste; and you can adjust the amount of chilli pepper to your liking. There are recipes which call for addition of some kind of salted seafood like shrimps, squids, oysters, etc but I prefer not to add these.

    Finally, just mix the cabbage and other vegetables together with the paste and pack them into air-tight plastic containers and refrigerate them. I personally prefer to bottle my kimchi in glass jars as I find that glass jars with tight lids tend to keep the kimchi smell contained. The first few times I made kimchi I stored them in plastic containers and boy, every time when I opened the fridge, I was hit by the funky smell of the kimchi!

    Usually kimchi is left in room temperature for a day or two to start the fermentation process before storing in the fridge.  However I skipped this step and put the jars straight into the fridge to let them ferment slowly.  I am not fond of eating sour kimchi which indicates that they are over-fermented unless I am cooking with it.

    Do you know that kimchi is a probiotic food, like yogurt - it aids digestion and helps strengthen our immune system?  

    Salting Cabbage:
    2.7kg Napa cabbage
    1/2 cup sea salt

    • Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters, remove the cores and cut into bite-size pieces.
    • Soak cabbage pieces in cold water, then transfer them into a large mixing bowl or basin.
    • Sprinkle salt over the cabbage and mix well. Every half an hour so turn the cabbage over so that the salt are evenly distributed. (Total salting time: 1 hr 30 mins)
    • Rinse the cabbage 3 times to wash the salt off thoroughly. Drain and set aside.

    2 cups water
    2 tbsp glutinous rice flour
    2 tbsp sugar
    • In a small saucepan, mix flour into the water and stir to combine.  
    • Cook over medium heat until it starts bubbling.
    • Add in sugar and stir for a few more minutes until it is translucent.
    • Remove saucepan from the heat and set aside to cool.

    Korean hot pepper flakes

    50g garlic
    15g ginger
    100g onion
    1/2 cup fish sauce
    2 cups hot pepper flakes
    2 small nashi pears
    • Blend all the ingredients together in the food processor and then mix in the porridge. Stir well to combine.

    265g radish, julienned
    110g carrot, julienned
    4 stalks spring onion, cut diagonally

    To put together the kimchi:
    • Put the paste into a large mixing bowl and add in radish, carrot, spring onion and cabbage.  Mix well.
    • Pack kimchi into jars, leaving about an inch of space below the lid.
    • Keep kimchi in the fridge to ferment.  

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