Monday, June 30, 2014

Chao Tom ( Vietnamese Grilled Shrimp on Sugarcane )

 Chao Tom is a well known food that comes from the central Vietnam. It is grilled shrimp paste on a sugarcane, the sugarcane basically acts as a skewer and we can chew on it after eating the meat. The paste comes with the marination are steamed first and then grilled to finish. I have made this once many months ago and that time, i baked them instead, also i did not use sugarcane but lemongrass stalk. This time i had used lemongrass too but instead of baking them, i shallow fried them on a non stick pan. I find that by frying them, bits of the lemongrass flavour can be detected unlike baking. yes, can chew on that lemongrass stalks too.

There is a little tricky wrapping the paste around the lemongrass stalk, i find. Get ready a bowl of water beside you and wet your palms so that the paste doesnt stick to your palms and will make the wrapping much easier. Also make sure to pat the prawns real dry before chopping them otherwise the paste will be soft and watery and that will make the wrapping part difficult. I did not make the dipping sauce this time but i have included the link to make the sauce, i only served them with our local chilli sauce and it's still good. If we do not want to make them into stick form, we can turn them into patties, fry them and cut them up and serve with a variety of herbs or leaves with minimal sauce, that's how i see the restaurants at my place here serve them .

Recipefrom ) with minor changes
makes 8
600gm medium shrimps ( peeled and deveined, net weight is about 11oz/320gms for mine )
1/4tsp salt
2tsp cornstarch
2tsps pounded palm sugar/ brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
13/4 tsp fish sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, crushed into paste
2tbsp minced shallot
1tbsp canola oil

1 can sugarcane or fat lemongrass stalks ( i used abt 5 lemongrass stalks ), for skewing
oil for grilling or frying
some accompaniments like mints, cilantro
3/4 cup Nuoc Cham dipping sauce ( i just serve with chilli sauce )

Clean the shrimps and pat dry with paper towel. Coarsely chop the shrimp, then put them in a bowl. Add 1/4 tsp of salt, cornstarch, pepper, sugar, fish sauce, egg, garlic and shallots. Transfer to a food processor and process till just a coarse paste forms. Transfer to a bowl , add in the oil, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 15-30mins at least. The mixture will stiffen as it sits  ( i let it sit overnight )

Cut off the end of the lemongrass and half or quarter it lengthwise, depending how fat the lemongrass is. Line a steamer with already oiled parchment paper or oiled plate and ready a pot of water for steaming. Have a bowl of water near you along with shrimp paste and sugarcane/lemongrass stalks. Wet one hand and with free hand put about 2 tbsps of shrimp paste onto the wet palms, spreading out into a circle about 2.5inches wide and 14inch thick ( estimate ) Centre the lemongrass stalk on the centre of the paste and close the palm to make the paste adhere to the stalk and surround it. You can turn the lemongrass stalk, patting the paste with wet hand to smooth out the surface. Repeat for all the remaining shrimp paste.

Set on the prepared steamer and steam over boiling water for about 3-4 minutes, slightly puffed and just cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool. They can now be covered and refrigerated up till 3 days for grilling, return to room temperature before grilling.

Preheat grill to medium high and rub some oil over the shrimp portion and grill for 6-8 minutes or till golden brown. I shallow fried them in a non stick pan instead and fried them till golden brown . To eat, you can cut the fried or grilled shrimp paste vertically ino 3 parts, they can be removed easily from the sticks and wrap them with lettuce leaves, mints and herbs dip with the sauce. Chew on the sugarcane or lemongrass :)

Note : you can refer to the source of the recipe here on the picture of the canned or cut sugarcane or lemongrass stalks. 

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest ( Indochina ) hosted by Kelly Siew Cooks

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pumpkin Butter Cake

Do check out the participating links over at Jozelyn's blog here if you have not. There are many many nice bakes that i've been wanting to try..also some new recipes that i hope to try the Magic Custard Cake, Wu Pau Chun Bread, i already seen a few at the links there and also getting popular it seems the Japanese Condensed Milk Bread..there a few there too. Those bloggers are so quick! Well, i'm keen to do too but i know my actions are very slow....When i feel like making something, i always end up doing something else..just like this pumpkin butter cake. It was an instant bake when i saw part of the pumpkin which i got before i went on the trip starting to get soft. Although it was an unintended bake, it was good. The cake is very nice, comes with a faint sweet flavour of pumpkin..i had used a little less of the original recipe cos that's all i got . Moist and buttery, i think you will like it too.

Recipe ( from Table for 2 ..or more )
200gm sugar
200gm butter
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean ( omitted )
5 large eggs
300gm cake flour sifted together with 1tsp baking powder
200gm soft steamed pumpkin flesh ( all i had was 160gm )
pumpkin seeds for garnishing

Preheat oven to 160C fan forced/180C . Line a 8 inch square pan.

Beat sugar, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add in half of the sifted flour, beat on low speed until well combined. Put in the pumpkin and beat until all mushed up. Put in remaining flour and beat until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Bake for 50 mins or until done when tested with skewer.

I am linking this post to Little Thumbs Up ( June 2014: Butter Theme ) event organised by Bake for Happy Kids and My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by Joyzelyn of Spice Up My Kitchen

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Crisp Chocolate Bites

Hmm.. are these chocolate crinkle cookies? They do look the same to me, might just be a different name the source is using,  they are still cookies anyway..hehe.. It is quite fascinating to see how these cookies rise up and crack, creating pretty cracks on the cookies.  There is also a nice colour contrast of the almost black cookies and the white icing sugar and for it to leave behind big white patches, i did rolled and coated the dough generously with icing sugar.

I tried to stick to the recipe as close as possible in regards to the unsweetened chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder. I am not really sure about totally unsweetened chocolate bars at my place so what i had used was the Lindt chocolate that contains 90% cocoa and my dutch process cocoa powder do contain a bit of sugar, hence i had reduced the sugar slightly as per in the recipe. The sweetness was okay for me but i can go for a little more sweeter than this.. I also find that taste of the dark chocolate that i used wasnt really intense enough for me and also i read that dutch process cocoa powder tends to be a little mellow on its flavour too compared to natural cocoa powder. If were to make this again, i'll get another chocolate, something that i enjoy eating . On the other side, the texture was nice, something that i like ..crisp but not real crunchy and what i got was still a little chewy on the inside. Well, it's still a good cracked cookie but if it could have been richer, that would be much more perfect for me: D

Recipe ( from )
6 tbsps ( 85gm ) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped ( i used 90% dark chocolate )
1 cup sugar ( 2/3 cup )
1 egg
1tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour ( 95gm )
1/4 cup unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4tsp salt
confectioner's sugar for rolling

In a small saucepan over very low heat, combine the butter and chocolate. Cook, stirring occasionally, just until they are melted and the mixture is smooth.

Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl and let cool slightly. Stir in the sugar until lightly moistened. Add the egg and vanilla, beating until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until firm , about an hour.

Preheat oven to 375F/192C . Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the cookie dough from refrigerator . Shape the dough into 3/4inch balls and roll in the confectioner's sugar to coat completely. Place the balls about 1.5 inches apart on the pan and bake the cookies until puffed and cracked on top , about 12 mins. They may appear undone in the center but will turn crisp as they cool . Let cool on pan for 2-3 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 42 cookies.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake

I have missed a couple of bakes since my last post here with The Home Bakers ( THB ), a group which we are all currently baking from the book, Coffee Cakes by Lou Seibert Pappas. This is our 35th bake, a recipe chosen by Mich of Piece of Cake. It is a simple cake that comes with pecan and brown sugar streusel toppings and undoubtedly, this is the best part of the cake. I did not reduce the sugar in the recipe, yes, it is sweet but not too sweet that i'm fine with it. I also scaled the recipe down by half and turned them into muffin sized cakes. The streusel did turned out a little too much for my smaller cakes but i just used it all up, hence i think my streusel toppings are a little overloaded..hehe..

I realised that i only have 15 mins up to put up this post and i must do it now and also after this, i will be away for a week so i hope to catch up with my blogging friends when i come back. To view the group baking, you can click here and for the full recipe, kindly refer to Mich's blog. Bye!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chicken Cottage Pie

As some of you may know, i'm getting lazier these days so i thought of making pie without a pie crust ..i dont really have much idea what sort of crustless pie i want to make.. i remember Sonia making something like this before, a cottage pie here but this recipe was not adapted from her blog. I got it from a local magazine after learning that Sonia contributed a few recipes in that issue.. so this cottage pie recipe is one of those. I however made some changes, there are carrots , broccoli, button mushrooms and cauliflower in her recipe but i dont hv any of those, not even one carrot. But i have tomatoes and 1 small can of green peas, so these go in there. A packet of those frozen mixed peas would be good too ( that comes with carrots, green peas and corn ) if you wish, it is always our own choice, afterall the star ingredients here are the chicken and the chicken soup, Thanks for this tasty recipe, Sonia! Sure will making this again in the near future.

Also dont forget to visit my 2 other hostesses, Joyce and Zoe with their savoury pies or tarts. The linky for this theme will be opened from today up till June14, 2014. Happy baking!

RecipeSonia's recipe, adapted from Y3K magazine, may/june2013 issue ) with some changes
Ingredients A
2 large russet potatoes, peeled
3-4tbsp milk
dash of black pepper and salt

Ingredients B
300 gm chicken breast, cubed or ground
300gm green peas
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 large tomatoes, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
2-3tbsp olive oil/vegetable oil
dash of pepper and salt to taste
Dried parsley for garnishing

Boil potatoes in boiling water until fork tender. While the potatoes are cooking, cook the chicken fillings.

Heat up oil of ingredients B in a pan, saute chopped onions and tomatoes and cook till onions till soft
Add in chicken and cook till no longer pink. Add in green peas ( or other veggies ) and cream of chicken, cook for 1-2 mins. Season with salt and pepper. Place into a baking dish.

When the potatoes are soft, mash them with a fork, add in milk and season with salt and pepper. Spoon mashed potatoes over the chicken and rough the top with a fork. Sprinkle dried parsley over before or after baking. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15-20mins, change to grill and continue to grill for 10mins or until top is golden.

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