Monday, May 25, 2009

Learning how to make dumplings

Last Saturday, i make a trip down to Sifu's house without notifying her. Haha.....actually, she did hint that she will be making new type of dumplings. Since i could find the time to go down, i thought, it would be a good experience. I have never done any dumpling wrapping myself before except back during school days, i did help my mum with the preparation for making hokkien bak chang (dumpling) and nonya dumlings.

Wow, making the nonya dumpling is really a lot of work as my mum used to fry her own coriander seeds, pound it, sieve for the powder form, pound again and sieve again. Besides that, have to dice the pork, dice the pre-soaked chinese mushrooms, dice the 冬瓜糖 (dong gua tang) which is actually the sugar preserved melon strips, then fry them all togther to make the fillings for the nonya dumplings. Till this day, i still couldn't find any nonya dumplings as good as what my mum make. Perhaps because my mum makes everything the very traditional way and it just taste fantastic. Nowsday, a lot of things are being simplified for convenience, and as such it just losses it's traditional flavour. I really missed mum.

Making the hokkien bak chang will have lesser work because there's less cutting needed. Usually the pork is cutted into large chunk, mushroom is leaves as whole, dried chestnut is soaked, washed and peel off the skin and leaves as whole too. Besides that, there's also dried shrimp which is also leaves as whole. Sometimes my dad loves to add dried oyster too which is an optional item. All these will be pre-fried with five spice powder before wrapping into the glutinuous rice. I also missed my dad, some food (example is the China style mooncake and chinese tea although i didn't like dried oyster) was only shared between the two of us as other family members couldn't appreciate them like dad and me.

If i'm not wrong, for the cantonese style, the fillings ingredient are more or less the same as hokkiedn bak chang except minus the five spice powder but a salted egg yolk will be added into the fillings.

Oh so much of my dumplings talk, now back to my learning trip in sifu's house.

This was what i got from sifu's house after my learning experience

The above were wrapped by me. I specially make a marking so that i could retrieve it after the steaming. Normally the traditional "chang" were all boiled in water. I shall explain why i say steam instead of boil here later. What do you think? Sifu said for a beginner, i have done a good job. Heehee...... Oh, probably you would be wondering why am i a beginner since my mum is such a good dumpling maker. Well, those days, my mum use to make so many hundreds of "chang" for all my uncles, aunties, grandmother and even neighbours too. So she would always say, "Don't disturb me, you are slowing my process" Haha.......... so normally we would be kick out of the kitchen after all the preparations work is done. lolz...

This is done by sifu single handedly the day before my trip. It's make of glutinuous rice still, but it's not the usual fillings like the one that i describe above. This is actually the nonya kueh - rempah udang. The traditional rempah udang is actually in the form of a cyclinder shape. Over here, sifu make it into the shape of a dumpling. The fillings is actually make of shredded coconut and dried shrimp fried with chillies and many other spices.

Now, back to the new flavour of dumplings that sifu taught. Look at the blueish and pinkish little dumplings. The skin actually make from glutinuous rice flour. It tasted some what like the "Ang Ku Kueh" - QQ and smooth. Because the skin is make of glutinuous rice flour, so there's no need to boil it. Just steaming will do. Unlike the traditional one, the outer part is half cooked glutinous rice which will take a longer period to cook. As such, the traditional one are usually boiled to speed up the process. They say these glutinous rice flour tranluscent type are the taiwanese style of dumplings. For these, we make 3 different type of fillings - the blueish one is rempah udang fillings, the pinkish one is peanut fillings. There's one more shredded coconut filling which is not inside my picture because it was mixed up in the packet that i brought back so i was not able to snap a photograph. haha.... for this, i tell a little white lie saying that i didn't snap a photo because i'm saving it for consumption at a later date. But, those who were in the picture of my trip knew what's happening. Oops! i think i have let the cat out of the bag already. lolz...
Beside bring back the taiwanese style dumpling, i also brought back the traditional hokkien bak chang which is a compliment from another baking friend from Malaysia who was also there last saturday. I called these the "smuggle bak chang" because she really run the risk of not being able to bring it over if she's being stopped at the custom. She had single handedly make these bak chang herself in the early wee hour before setting off here.

Look at the generousity of the fillings.
Every time i goes down to sifu's house, it's always a fruitful and abundance one. Not only for the food but also the laughter shared among us. LAUGHTER IS ALWAYS THE BEST THERAPY.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Make recently


I make this crispy bacon prawn roll with the recipe from here.
I didn't use baby french bean thou as i have some aparagus in the fridge, so i decided to use aparagus instead. Ohterwise, i'm afraid my aparagus may go to waste.
As usual, for a quick meal, i top it off with some angel hair sphagetti again. Yummy!

I make a quick cake using optimal flour. As this is the 1st time i'm trying, the quantity seems too little for a 18cm cake tin. Next round, i shall test out with an increase quantity to check the result. Although the cake seems too thin, i still want to try out my skill in slicing the cake, putting fillings into it and decorating the cake to make it like a birthday cake.

Viola! my decorated cake.

The inside

Not very well done, but at least i get it started. Next time, i shall try my hand on more other topping and slicing the cake to more layer.

Steam tiapoca cake - hubby's favourite.

Friday, May 8, 2009


One fellow blogger Agy is interested in my crochet tote and asking if i have a pattern for it. I'm so sorry to disappoint her as i'm no expert in crocheting. Usually my crochet are done by looking at real sample itself. For this tote, there's no sample, i just make use of my balance yarn from many years back when i was crocheting tissue box cover for my classmate's parents and aunties. Wow, that's really a long time ago huh? Anyway, i do this tote bag base on my own preference and crochet the pattern as i go along. Haha...... genius huh? Actually not, i'm quite lousy, but i really loves to share. Now, i tried as best as i could by sketching the pattern out and i hope it's easy to understand.

Things needed:

Yarn based on rough estimation
1 ball of 80gm 4 ply single color yarn (mine is peach)
1/4 ball 80gm 4 ply with fossils yarn dual color (mine is grey with silver)
1 4mm crochet hood
4 pieces of white large 4 holes button
Matching color Thread for sewing button
Needle for sewing button

This is the base pattern

This is the base photo.

1) 1 row - Start with 6 chain stitch, join with a slip stitch to form a loop
2) 2nd row - Make 3 chain stitch (count as 1 double stitch), make 11 double stitch, each inserting to the centre of loop above, slip stitch to join
3) 3rd row - Make 3 chain stitch (count as 1 double stitch) and 1 double stitch in the same hole, in each double stitch hole above, make 2 double stitch, repeat to complete whole row, slip stitch to join
4) 4th row - repeat row 3 pattern
5) 5th row - Make 3 chain stitch (count as 1 double stitch), in the next double stitch hole, make 1 double stitch, repeat to complete the row, slip stitch to join
6) 6th row - Make 3 chain stitch (count as 1 double stitch), in the same hole, make a double stitch, in the next double stitch hole, make 2 double stitch, repeat to complete the row, slip stitch to join
7) 7th row - Make 3 chain stitch (count as 1 double stitch), in the next double stitch hole, make 1 double stitch, repeat to complete the row, slip stitch to join
8) 8th row - Make 3 chain stitch (count as 1 double stitch), in the same hole, make a double stitch, in the next double stitch hole, make 2 double stitch, repeat to complete the row, slip stitch to join.
The base is completed.
This is the side bottom pattern

This is the side bottom photo

9) 9th row, 10th row, 11th row - make 3 chain stitch at beginning, considered as 1 double stitch, then in each double stitch hole, make 1 double stitch
10) 12th row - change color (this part i'm not good in it. i only try to join the 2 different color yarn together as close the edge as possible so that when i make the next row, it would be the other color) - make 3 chain stitch at beginning, count as 1 double stitch, then in each double stitch hole, make 1 double stitch
11) 13th row - change back to base color again, do the same as above
12) 14th and 15th row - change to the other color again, do the same
13) 16th, 17th and 18th row - change to base color, repeat above
The side bottom is completed

This is the side middle pattern

This is the side middle photo

14) 19th row - Make 3 chain stitch, count as 1 double stitch, make another chain, skip 1 double stitch space, make a double stitch, repeat to complete the row, slip stitch to join
15) 20th row - repeat above

This is the side upper pattern

This is the side upper photo

16) 21st row - Make 3 chain stitch (count as 1 double stitch), in the same hole, make 3 double stitch, skip 1 double stitch and it would bring you to the space where the chain stitch from 20th row is, make 4 double stitch, repeat to complete the row, slip stitch to join
17) 22nd row - Make 3 chain stitch (count as 1 double stitch), in the same hole, make 3 double stitch, skip 4 double stitch, make 4 double stitch, repeat to complete the row, slip stitch to join
18) 23rd to 26th row - repeat as above

This is the top pattern

This is the top photo
19) 27th row - make 1 chain stitch (count as 1 single stitch), in every double stitch hole, make 1 single stitch, repeat to complete the row, slip stitch to join
20) 28th row to 31th row - repeat as above
21) 32nd row - change color - repeat above
22) 33rd row - same color as 32nd row - repeat the pattern, at the end of the 33rd row, loop backwards to prevent stitch from dropping
The crochet bag without the handle is completed

This is the handle pattern

This is the handle photo
1) Make 7 chain stitch, then 3 chain stitch, in the space of the 7th chain, make 1 double stitch, then in each chain, make 1 double stitch to complete the row
2) Turn around, make 3 chain stitch, then in the next double stitch, make 1 double stitch, repeat to complete the row
Depending on how long you want your handle to be, keep repeating above till you get your desired length for the handle, at the end, loop backwards to prevent the stitch from giving way.
I have make 2 different color for the 2 handle to add some fun to the tote bag.
Assemble the handle onto the crochet tote, put a button on it, sew the button on together with the handle.

The completed crochet tote with handle.
There's really no fixed rule to my crochet tote. So by all means, base on your own imagination and size of the bag you want, you may just add or reduce stitches to suit your own requirement. Just bare in mind, add stitches by adding additional stitch in 1 hole, reduce stitch by skipping hole and joining in the next stitch hole. The bag will turn out whatever way you desired as long as you base on the basic steps.
Ha.... never realise that this is an extremely long post, i hope anyone reading it would not find it tiring and boring. And since i already spend a substantial amount of time doing my this lousy sketch pattern, i might as well share it on cut out + keep too.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Popcorn anyone?

Whenever i passed by this movie theatre that sells freshly popped corn, i would always be attracted by the aroma of the pop corn there. Of course, whenever i do watch a movie, i would always buy a box to ease my craving before the movie starts. I don't want to keep my hands busy while watching the show neither do i want to miss the minor details, lolz. Most important of all, it would be such a nuisance to other movie goer too. Well, this habit don't come by cheap, for a small box like this, it would cost me seven sin dollars. Luckily, i'm not really a movie goer, but i am really a popcorn lover, haha....

Yesterday, i was able to experiment with my non-stick wok. I knew of this shopping mall that sells kitchen ware in their basement - there's always this promoter trying to sell his non-stick wok at hundreds of dollars. One of the demonstration that he always does is to make popcorn. According to him, he claimed that not ordinary wok can do this. Well, i was tempted to buy but on the other hand, it would really be crazy to buy a hundreds of dollars wok just to do pop corn since my family is rather small and i always make do with a smaller skillet wok which is less troublesome to wash too. Well, i do own a larger wok which i only use occassionally or for steaming large cake. Now, i'm going to do my experiment with it since this is also a non-stick wok that comes with a air-tight lid except it's so much cheaper than the one being promoted.

Well, my experiment was a success - viola! my very own CARAMEL POPCORN any time i crave for it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pan Grilled Rosemary Chicken Chop

My simple arrangement of pan grilled rosemary chicken chop.

This chicken chop is actually seasoned with salt, black pepper and rosemary. Subsequently you just need to pan grill it in a non-stick pan without any additional oil as the chicken skin would produce enough oil for the whole process of grilling. Top it off with a gravy make from a mixture of light soya sauce, honey, lemon juice and water. I blanched some aparagus and cooked some angel hair spaghetti to go along with it. With this, it's a complete meal again. Actually life can be very simple if you don't asked for too much.