Saturday 31 August 2013

Pecal - A Perak-syle

The Pecal recipe that I'm sharing with you tonight is a type of salad which is a cross between gado-gado & rojak petis. The assortment of vegetables added in this dish is almost similar to but not as wide as that of a typical gado-gado. The sauce is quite similar to that of the rojak petis except that here, the petis (black shrimp paste a.s.a. hae ko) is replaced with the dried shrimps. Also, unlike the rojak sauce, shallots are added into this sauce & most of the ingredients used are cooked first before they are blended & combined.

Pecal - A Perak-syle (Salad with Peanut Sauce)
Recipe by Datin Norsiah Bakhiri
fromA Taste of Batu Gajah, Traditional Malay Family Recipes by Datin Seri Raihan Abdul Rahman.

200 g or 1 bundle kangkung, remove hard stems & cut into small pieces
200g taugeh (bean sprouts), cleaned
6 strands long beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 cucumber, cut into strips
1 medium-sized sengkuang (sweet turnip), cut into strips
4 pcs fresh soft tofu (bean curd), deep fried & sliced
3 eggs, hard boiled & cut into wedges

500g peanuts
10 pcs dried chillies, sliced
4 shallots, sliced
2 tbsp udang  kering (dried shrimp)
1-inch square belacan (shrimp paste), roasted
2 level tbsp seedless tamarind paste or 2 tbsp asam jawa (tamarind pulp) mixed with 1/4 cup water, seeds discarded
2 tbsp white sugar - I used dark brown sugar (gula timbang).
1 cup hot water
salt to taste

  1. In a hot wok, fry the peanuts without any oil, stirring constantly to avoid burning.
  2. Transfer the fried peanuts onto a tray & remove the skin. They will come off quite easily after being fried.
  3. Pound the peanuts with a mortar & pestle until they are broken into thin pieces, but are not too fine. Alternatively, you can roughtly grind them in a food processor.
  4. In a wok or pan, fry the dried chillies, shallots & dried shrimp - one ingredient at a time - & set aside. Some oil is required for frying the dried shrimp, so start with the other two.
  5. Pound these fried ingredients together with the shrimp paste.
  6. Mix the pounded ingredients with the pounded or ground peanuts & transfer to a large bowl ( for easy mixing).
  7. Add in the tamarind paste, sugar & hot water. Make sure everything is thoroughly mixed, then season with salt accordingly.
  8. Just before serving, toss the vegetables & tofu with the sauce, making sure the ingredients are coated with this delectable peanut sauce.
I'm submitting this post to the Malaysian Food Fest (Perak Month) hosted by Wendy of Table for 2 .. or more &  Cook Your Books No 3 organised by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.

Mee Rebus - Perak-style

Today's lunch was Mee Rebus, Perak-syle.... I've been meaning to cook this dish since my husband bought me A Taste of Batu Gajah on our recent trip to KL. Just like the Penang-style Mee Rebus, the noodle is served with rich & spicy tomato-based broth. In Singapore, this noodle is referred to as Mee Bandung.  But this one is different as it uses dried cuttlefish, my favourite! The rich flavour of this noodle is derived from the combination of the ribs & 3 types of seafood. My siblings found the rich meat flavour a little overwhelming....  I agree with them... I would reduce or just do away with the ribs, in future.

Some notes & modifications:
  1. I made only half the recipe & it made a big pot.
  2. When serving, instead of pouring the gravy over the blanched noodle, I heated up some gravy & added the noodle, bean sprouts & chye sim. I cooked it for a few minutes. Then I lowered the fire & broke an egg & cooked the noodle until the egg is half-cooked.
  3. The combination of tamarind & tomato juice produced quite sour gravy. So I added some sugar to balance the sour with a little sweet flavour. I also omitted the limes.

Mee Rebus - Perak-style
Recipe by Datin Norsiah Bakhiri 
from A Taste of Batu Gajah, Traditional Malay Family Recipes by Datin Seri Raihan Abdul Rahman.
( I made only 1/2 of the recipe below.)

1 kg yellow noodles, scalded or 1 pkt spaghetti, cooked according to instructions.
300g bean sprouts, cleaned & trimmed
300g chye sim (sawi) - cleaned & trimmed - I added.
6 pieces soft bean curd, deep fried & sliced
8 hard-boiled eggs, halved - I didn't cook the eggs beforehand.
500g fresh cockles, blanched & shelled - I didn't add.

2 kg beef ribs
2 tbsp seedless tamarind paste or 2 tbsp asam jawa (tamarind pulp) mixed with 1/2 cup water, seeds discarded
500g sotong kering (rehydrated cuttlefish), cleaned & cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 kg medium-sized fresh prawns, cleaned & shelled
8 tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 potatoes, boiled, drained & mashed
2 litres store-bought tomato juice
8 cups of water for stock
3 cups of water
8 shallots*
4 cloves garlic* (*pounded)
4 tbsp cili boh (ground chilli paste)
2-square inches belacan ( shrimp paste), roasted
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cooking oil
4 tsp salt or to taste
2 tbsp sugar - I added.

1 cup crispy fried shallots
1 cup green chillies, sliced thinly - I added.
1 cup daun sup (Chinese celery), finely chopped
1 cup daun bawang (spring onions), finely chopped
1 cup kalamansi limes (halved) - I didn't use as the gravy is already quite sour.

  1. In a pot, boil the beef ribs in 8 cups of water for at least 2-3 hours until the stock is reduced by half & the meat is soft. Remove the bones, trim off the fat from the meat & set aside the stock.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot & fry the pounded ingredients until golden.
  3. Add in the ground chilli paste & tamarind paste, cover & cook over medium heat until the chilli paste is cooked.
  4. Add in 2 teaspoons of salt then pour in the beef stock. Cover & allow to boil fro 5 - 10 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato wedges & again, let the gravy boil while covered for another 10 minutes.
  6. The cuttlefish pieces go in next. Cover the pot & let the cuttlefish release its juices.
  7. Add the tomato juice & 2 tsp of salt, stir gently & let the gravy simmer for about 5 minute.
  8. Add the prawns. Prawns take very little time to cook so be careful not to overcook them.
  9. Finally, add in the mashed potatoes to thicken the gravy & give it that familiar mee rebus flavour. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes then check the taste before removing form heat.
  10. Divide the noodles, bean sprout, bean curd, eggs & cockles into individual serving dishes, pour the gravy over & sprinkle with garnishing.
I'm submitting this post to the Malaysian Food Fest ( Perak Month ) hosted by Wendy of Table for 2 .. or more &  Cook Your Books No 3 organised by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.

Friday 30 August 2013

Lapis Strawberry Ice-Cream

I bake Lapis Strawberry Ice-cream every Hari Raya. It's hard not to, as I'd always be reminded by my youngest son not to forget to bake it. Although I've shared this recipe two years ago, I'm sharing this again.... with new pictures & rewritten recipe. Also, I added some tips... hope they'd be helpful to the novice lapis baker.

Some tips when baking lapis cakes:
  1. I always bake my lapis cakes in my 20-year-old Baby Belling. I tried using my other ovens, but it took a longer baking time. So if you are using Belling oven, set the grill to No 3-4. That I believe is about 180-190 deg C. To gauge what temperature to set the oven at, bake each layer at a temperature such that it will cook & the top will turn golden brown in about 2-3 minutes. (Warning: don't try to wash the dishes while waiting for the layer to cook or your cake will end up burnt!) Just bear in mind, each layer must be cooked before baking another layer or the uncooked layer will not cook even after baking the next few layers.
  2. Once the mixture is ready for baking, do not stir the mixture anymore. Just scoop the top part of mixture onto the pan... the bottom of the mixing bowl may contain water or oil residue. Do not use this residue as, if baked, it will produce a hard layer.
  3. To produce nice & even layers, the amount of batter scooped for every layer must be the same. I usually just scoop 2 ladleful for each layer. But this time I used 100g for each layer.
  4. After baking the final layer, I usually bake the whole cake for 10-15 minutes using the top & bottom heat at about 180-200 deg C. This step is required, especially for very moist lapis cakes, so that the cake, especially its sides, is fully cooked & not so wet.
  5. As most lapis cakes contain a very high fat content from the eggs & butter, they keep very well! They freeze very well. I normally cut my whole cake into 4-5 parts. Then I wrap each part with a cling wrap, & then with an aluminium foil & followed by a newspaper. Then I freeze it if I'm keeping it for more than a week. Before serving, I  just leave it in room temperature for a while before cutting.

Lapis Strawberry Ice-Cream 
Recipe by Hawa Ismail from Resepi Pesta Perut. 
(I modified & simplified the method in the book.)

450g butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
24 egg yolks
5 egg whites
280g fine sugar
80g self-raising flour
1 tbsp ovelette
130g milk powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
170g strawberry ice-cream powder (I used vanilla ice-cream powder & added 1 tsp strawberry paste)
150g strawberry ice-cream (softened)
pink colouring

  1. Preheat oven at 180 deg C. Use top heat only. 
  2. Line & grease (based only) of a 10x 7-inch baking pan. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter & vanilla essence until white & creamy.
  4. Combine egg yolks, egg whites, sugar, self-raising flour & ovelette in a mixing bowl & beat on high speed for about 7 minutes until thick & fluffy.
  5. Add in butter & mix thoroughly. (I used a hand whisk.)
  6. Divide mixture into 2 parts.
  7. Add in milk powder & vanilla essence into 1 part & mix thoroughly.
  8. Add in strawberry ice-cream powder, strawberry ice-cream & pink colouring into another part & mix thoroughly.
  9. Pour 2 ladles of plain batter (this time, I weighed 100g) into  baking pan. Grill for about one & a half to two minutes or until the cake is cooked & the top turns golden brown.
  10. Repeat step 9.
  11. Then pour 2 ladles of strawberry batter into pan & bake.
  12. Repeat step 11.
  13. Then continue baking 2 layers of plain batter followed by 2 layers of strawberry batter until finish.
  14. After baking the last layer,  bake the whole cake using top & bottom heat at 200 deg C for about 10 minutes.
  15. Remove cake from pan and allow to cool on a cooling wire rack before serving.
I'm submitting this post to the:
  1. Little Thumbs Up "Egg" event organised by Bake for Happy Kids &  my little favourite DIY and hosted by Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out. Take a look at the other egg recipes here, &
  2. Cook Your Books No 3 organised by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Coffee Éclairs

The months of June & July were my busy blogging months this year...  I posted 11 & 10 times in June & July respectively! Wow!! That's amazing by my standards! That's possible only because I wasn't working in June because of the school holidays & I also took a month of leave from work in July. I returned to work early this month & since then, my blogging activity has also returned to the normal slow pace. Sigh....
I've already saved  pictures of some of the Hari Raya goodies in the draft folder... really hope to share the recipes soon. At the same time, I'm also trying my best to participate in a few blogging events. It's a challenge, but I'm going to take a step at a time.... 

Now, about today's recipe... I made this Coffee Éclairs because I wanted to take part in the Aspiring Baker's event - Choux Party. So I looked through my collection of baking books & decided to bake something from The Art of The Dessert, written by Ann Amernick. Apparently, Ann is one of American top ten pastry chefs who was also nominated several times for the James Beard Pastry Chef Award. I bought this hard-cover book for only SG$2 at the NBL book sale, I think it was last year... The price printed on the book jacket is US$40! 

I'm glad I made the éclairs... they're so delicious! This is my first time tasting coffee-flavoured pastry cream. The intense coffee flavour  of the creamy, smooth & rich filling complements the light pastry shells  very well. They are really great taken with tea or coffee!

Coffee Éclairs
Recipe by Ann Amernick  from The Art of The Dessert.

Éclair Shells
4-5 large eggs (200g & 50g, separated, or 1 cup) - I used only 4 eggs in all.
3/4 cup water
85g (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup (105g) all-purpose flour, sifted

  1. Lightly beat 1 of the eggs & set aside. 
  2. Place the water, butter, sugar, & salt in a medium saucepan & bring to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as the butter has melted & the mixture come to a boil, add the flour all at once, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the paste pulls away from the side of the pan, about 1 minute.
  3. Place the paste in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment & beat on medium speed. Add the remaining 4 eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated into the paste before adding the next. Add just enough of the beaten egg, 1 tsp at a time, to make the paste shiny, very smooth, & just thick enough to fall from the spoon. Reserve the remaining beaten egg for egg wash. The paste may be kept at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap, for up to several hours until ready to use.
  4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 5/8-inch plain tip with the eclair paste & pipe twelve to fourteen 5-inch-long strips, placing them about 2 inches apart on the pans lined with parchment paper. Brush quickly with the egg wash (I forgot to do this.). Immediately bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 deg F (190C) for 20 minutes (do not open the oven door), then reduce the temperature to 350 deg F (180 C) & bake for about 15 more minutes, or until golden, puffed & light in weight (airy).
Pastry Cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (30g) cake flour, sifted
2 cups milk
10 large egg youlks (200g or 7/8 cup)
2 tbsps unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsps coffee extract (I used 3 tsps of Nescafe granules.)

  1. Combine the sugar & cake flour in a bowl, whisking to remove any lumps to ensure the pastry cream is smooth.
  2. Bring the milk to a boil in a large saucepan. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment & whip on high speed for about 2 minutes. Add the flour mixture & continue whisking until the egg mixture is thick, heavy & pale. Remove the bowl from the mixer & bring it over to the stove.
  3. When the milk comes to a rolling boil & rises up the side of the pan, reduce the heat to low. Whisk several spoonfuls of the hot milk into the egg mixture to temper it, then return the tempered mixture to the saucepan & cook for about 2 minute, stirring constantly, until the pastry cream begins to bubble or "burp". Continue cooking for 2 minute to ensure that there is not floury after-taste.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat & whisk in the butter & coffee extract. (I added the Nescafe to the milk in step 2.) Pour the pastry cream into a bowl & tightly press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface, leaving only a small area uncovered to allow the heat to escape. This will prevent a skin from forming on the pastry cream. Refrigerate until chilled, then cover completely with plastic wrap. If refrigerated, the pastry cream may be made up to 4 days in advance.

Asssembling the Éclairs

Re crisp the éclair shells by putting them in a 300 deg F (150 C) oven for about 3 minutes. Let cool & then fill with pastry cream, using spoon or a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip. Place the tops back on the filled éclairs & top them up with sifted icing sugar, ganache or fondant.

I'm submitting this post to the:

2. Little Thumbs Up "Egg" event organised by Bake for Happy Kids,  my little favourite DIY and hosted by  Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out, and

3. Cook Your Books No 3 organised by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.

Thursday 15 August 2013

Lucky Hoof Roll a.k.a Roll Tapak Kuda

Wishing all Muslim readers Eid Mubarak. Hope you had a blessed & great time with your loved ones. Today, I'm sharing a recipe of an all-time favourite roll cake... so I realised.. I made Lucky Hoof Roll or Roll Tapak Kuda for my mum & she reported that it was so popular with the guests that it had to be replenished, again & again & again.....

Although I learnt to make this roll from Mdm Aini Salim many years ago, I think I've never made it for Hari Raya before. My sis, who is also my used-to-be hari raya  co-baker, asked how come she's not aware of the existence of such cake! Well, the only reason I decided to make this was because I thought it would be easier than making the colourful African Mambo Roll which I normally made for my mum every year. I was right, it's easier to make this roll & is as popular, if not more popular than the regular roll cake. I'd probably be baking this from this year onwards!

Lucky Hoof Roll (Roll Tapak Kuda)
Recipe by Aini Salim.

10 egg yolk
5 egg white
225g caster sugar
30g ovalette (cake stabilizer)
*110g plain flour or top flour
*1/2 tsp baking powder (I used double-acting.)
135g butter (melted)
*10g milk powder or vanilla ice-cream powder
(* sifted together)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp chocolate emulco
Nutella chocolate spread OR hazelnut paste OR Nutella chocolate filling (recipe follows)
** I used Nutella chocolate filling.

  1. Prepare baking pans. Line & grease pans. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine egg yolk, egg white, sugar & ovalette & beat until thick & fluffy. Add in flour & continue beating until well mixed.
  3. Add in melted butter & vanilla & mix well.
  4. Scoop up 5 big spoons of batter into a bowl & mix it with the chocolate emulco. Then pour into baking pans (Refer below for dimensions of pans.). Spread batter evenly.
  5. Fill the rest of plain batter into a piping bag. Pipe batter onto chocolate layer. (I did not use  piping bag, just spooned batter.)
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 deg C. Once cooked, remove pan from oven. Then remove cake from pan & leave to cool.
  7. Once cooled, cut off the edges of the cake. Then cut into 2 or 3, depending on the size of the pans. Spread Nutella / hazelnut paste / chocolate filling on the cake & fold into two. Wrap rolled cakes with grease paper or cling wrap & chill cakes before serving.
Dimension & number of pans used as suggested by Mdm Aini Salim:
1. two 10x10-inch pans - cut each pan of cake into 2, so total rolls yielded is 4, or
2. two 12x10-inch pans - cut each pan of cake into 3, so total rolls yielded is 6, or
3. four 9x9-inch pans - cut each pan of cake into 2, so total rolls yielded is 8.
*** I  used option 1.

Chocolate filling:
200g  Mohrenglane / Tulip / Selbourne chocolate
1/2 cup (125g) butter (melted)
1 bottle (400g) Nutella

Melt chocolate using double boiler. Add in melted butter & Nutella & mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool & thicken it before spreading onto cakes. ( I placed the filling in the fridge for few minutes so that it will thicken, but don't leave it there too long or it will harden.)

I am submitting this post to the Little Thumbs Up "Egg" event organised by Bake for Happy Kidsmy little favourite DIY and hosted by Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out. Take a look at other egg recipes here.
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