Mrs. Chan

Archive for the ‘Traditional Kuehs’ Category

Pineapple Tarts

In Labour of Love, Snack Food, Traditional Kuehs on January 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Mom likes to keep things simple, and improvises a lot.  She prefers to learn from her friends tips on this and that instead of referring to recipe books because they are “too complicated.”

And her favourite go-to person is Ang Cho.

Ang Cho is widely regarded as the grandmaster of kueh-making in our kampong, and has no peer in this department. At a distant second would be a man named Nam Hua, a baba who makes very high quality nyonya kueh as a home business.

Mom is very close to Ang Cho, a recent breast-cancer surviver who lives a stone’s throw away.

Ang Cho never use ready-made rice flour that comes in the bags. She mills her own, at home, using heavy granite mill, like we used to do too, when grandma was alive.

Although mom is not as meticulous as Ang Cho, there is a certain art to her seeming chinchai-ness.

And that very chinchai-ness gives her culinary a charm unreplicatable.

RECIPE for Pineapple Tarts

makes more than 100

INGREDIENTS:-

  • 1 kg of flour
  • 500 grams of margarine (set aside some to line on trays)
  • 13 eggs
METHOD:-
  1. Heat oven at 160 degree Celsius.
  2. Sieve flour into a large bowl for kneading.
  3. On the side, crack 8 eggs and beat them lightly but even.
  4. Slowly add the margarine and pour beaten eggs, use your fingers lightly to combine them.
  5. Lightly knead and form them into a few manageable portions.
  6. Set aside a small portion to be cut into tiny strips for decor.
  7. The balance 3 eggs to separate and beat the yolks for glazing.
  8. Use a large piece of polystyrene to roll out the dough.
  9. Use the tart cutter and form the tart base.
  10. Glaze egg yolk over the dough before placing the pineapple jam inserts.
  11. Decorate with trimmings for presentation as necessary.
  12. Glaze egg yolk over trimmings.
  13. Bake for 20 minutes.

RECIPE for Pineapple Jam 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 bowls of scraped pineapples
  • 3 bowls of sugar

METHOD:-

  1. Skin pineapple and scrape out the flesh. Drain flesh on a sieve for 10 minutes to obtain ½ cup of juice.
  2. Place the scraped pineapple flesh in a non-stick pan and add granulated sugar and pineapple juice.
  3. Place pan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally for about ½ hour until pineapple jam is sticky.
  4. Set aside to cool.

Kueh Koci

In Apprentice Chef, Labour of Love, Traditional Kuehs on June 17, 2011 at 9:00 am

hakkachan

A very delicious tray of Kueh Koci was catered in for Momsie’s grand birthday a few months back. Pure white glutinous rice dough wrapped in white grated coconut, not the usual pandan dough with palm sugar coconut fillings. I thought it delicious and pretty.

But, I was told by everyone at the dinner that the best kueh koci are the ones made by my Momsie. Since she was the birthday girl, the family did not want her to sweat and labour the entire day to prepare any dishes; all food served that night was catered.

I don’t get to eat this kueh very often these days. Even if I do get to buy them, I find that they do not taste as good as the ones that I had tried when I was a little kid. Their glutinous rice skin tend to be harder and the fillings too sweet.

Luck was on my side, Agnes was craving for some and Momsie quickly volunteered to make them last Saturday. It was served as dessert over a luncheon set for Stevie’s parents to meet my parents. Bad me, the last time our parents met was during our wedding dinner banquet, some 16 months back.

hakkachan

Both my beautiful mothers.

hakkachan

Agnes Chan enjoying Momsie’s Kueh Koci.

Recipe for Kueh Koci

INGREDIENTS:-

Glutinous Rice Dough

Makes about 20 pillows of Kueh Koci

  • 500 gm glutinous rice flour
  • 2 tablespoon thick coconut milk
  •  salt
  • natural pandan juice for colouring
  • bunga telang juice for colouring

Filling:

  • 225 white granulated sugar/palm sugar
  • 225 gm grated white coconut
  • salt
  • 125 gm water
Others:
  • banana leaves for wraps
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

hakkachan

I laughed so loud when I found out the scientific name for bunga telang. Clitoria Ternatea, a named so inspired obviously by its shape . Anyway, the bunga telang plants are readily available in Momsie and Agnes sporadic gardens. They are organic food colouring and definitely handy in making Peranakan Kuehs. In Malacca, old folks plant them abundantly, collect and dry them to be sold at RM10 per 100 gram. Definitely not the crop to consider if you want to be ultra rich in a fast manner.

 

The great debate, simple white sugared grated coconut  or the popularly accepted palm sugared grated coconut?

I was playful. I tried both as an experiment so that I could decide objectively.

I am voting for the white grated coconut for taste, whilst I think palm sugared grated coconut makes a prettier and more inviting cake. However, I suggest that one can be creative by using pandan flavoured and coloured glutinous dough or the clitoria blue with pandan green glutinous dough to complement the white coconut fillings.

You get pretty food when you are prepared to labour.

hakkachan

Momsie preparing the torched banana leaves into decent sizes for wrapping.

Momsie is a great teacher. She encourages me to do it with her, giving tips and guidance each and every step of the way. Honestly, I struggled trying to fold them into tidy pillows. It looked easy but I surely need to practice this more often.

 

METHOD:-
Banana Leaves:
  1. Torch the bottom of the banana leaves on top of a gas burner, glide it under a moderate heat.
  2. Wipe it clean on both sides and cut it into 30 cm by 30 cm pieces for wrapping.
Fillings:
  1. Place knotted screwpine leaves, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugars. Continue cooking until you get a thick syrup.
  2.  Add the white grated coconut and lower the heat.
Glutinous Rice Flour Dough:
  1. Pour glutinous rice flour, some water, thick coconut milk and salt and start kneading.
  2. Continue to pour water till you get dough to a right consistency.
  3. Thumb rule, too soft to roll into balls without oil. The texture will be too hard if you can without oil.
  4. Scoop out some dough to prepare the colour dough of desired quantities.
  5. Oil the banana leave.
  6. Place a scoop of plain dough, flatten it out but not too thin that fillings can leak out.
  7. Wrap the dough up as if you are wrapping a pao dough. Round the edges with your palms.
  8. Fold and wrap them into small tortoise pillows.
  9. Steam for 10 minutes.

Keria Gula Melaka

In Snack Food, Traditional Kuehs on May 2, 2011 at 8:18 pm
My parents lodged us at relatives in Melaka during my mid term and long term school holidays. Firstly to ease their very tight cash flow, secondly, so mom could rest and not tend to her 3 do-re-me kids.
We loved it. From the cheap matinee movies, swimming in the public pool, long walks from Jalan Pengkalan Lama to Jalan Munshi Abdullah, from Jalan Hang Tuah to Bungaraya or the Esplanade. Melaka was so small indeed.
One of my favourite snack was the Kueh Keria from Pangsapuri 9 Tingkat, located next to the tiny Savoy Cinema. My late maternal grandma called it, Kueh Gelang. My memory of this kueh, chunky, creamy sweet potatoes on the inside; flaky crystalised sugar on the outside. She will reward me with this treat whenever I was there with her during my holidays. I miss my grandma and I miss this kueh gelang from Savoy.
Although Momsie’s attempt on these keria or potato donuts wasn’t as perfect, I had loved to share the experience and key area where the pitfalls you should avoid.
I was pretty excited when Momsie was boiling some leftover sweet potatoes. This was exactly what should not take place. Always steam your potatoes as they tend to be having just enough moisture inside to form a soft dough. Boiling it was bad, and not sieving it at all was disastrous. Boiling made the sweet potato absorb unnecessary water which requires more flour to make it mouldable.
That eventually led Momsie into using more flour than it was supposed to be; potato ratio should dominate here.
Just pick up a small ball of dough. As you form a rounded shape, slowly use your finger to dig in a hole in the middle. Quite easy.
Momsie declared that she made a tray years back and there were too much potatoes inside, making the dough lipid and soggy. At this point, we conscientiously knew our little donuts will come out harder that it should be. The corrective measure was to add in a little bit more mashed sweet potatoes, we had none left.
Fry them “bangles” till golden in colour, dish out and drain oil.
There was a great debate as to whether we should do this donuts with white sugar or palm sugar. Dad was in favour of palm sugar and I seconded him without any hesitation. My thought was, real high quality palm sugar is fragrant and should be a better choice. We cooked the syrup and were too hasty. The syrup was not condensed to a right consistency and in Momsie’s term, “tak cukup kering”. Therefore, our keria gula melaka does not possess a distinct layer of crystalised palm sugar. They looked “wet” and glossy.
Please use and adapt this recipe  from ALESIA.
INGREDIENTS:-
300grams of sweet potatoes (about two medium sized)
1/2 cup of all purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon *optional 
a pinch of salt enough
oil for frying
For sugar coating
1 tube of gula melaka or 1/3 cups of white sugar
3 tablespoons of water
How To
1. Peel, wash and cut the sweet potatoes into cubes. Steam and once cooked, mash them.
2. Sift flour and baking powder together and combine all the ingredients. Knead to form a smooth dough.
3. You can either roll the dough out to 1 inch and use a doughnut cutter or you can shape a ping pong size dough into a ball, flatten it and make a hole in the middle using your finger like a ring
4. Heat oil in a wok, deep fry the doughnuts over medium flame till golden brown. Dish out and drain.
To prepare the sugar coating 

1.Place the sugar or gula melaka and water in a small heavy-based saucepan and heat gently until sugar melts. Careful not to caramelize the white sugar, you only need a thick sugar syrup not caramel syrup.
2. Add in the fried kuih keria, coat well. Cool them on plates.

For those who are looking for a quick fix and resides in Melaka, I just bumped into an article on Keria Antarabangsa in Jalan Tengkera. Would appreciate if readers can share with us on places around KL/PJ that sell awesome sweet potato donuts.

Hee Pan 喜板

In Hakka Dishes, Snack Food, Traditional Kuehs on March 6, 2011 at 3:53 am

Hee Pan or Xi Ban, 喜板, is a childhood snack I loved, growing up in the then famous hakka village in Salak South. Back in the 60s, my mom used to treat us Hee Pan, and they used to taste so good.

Today, all 3 generations, my daughter, mom and I are crazy over Hee Pan. Any morning market outings, be sure we will pack few home for each other.

There is this warm, 溫暖 feeling and it has all to do with the texture, with every bite. It brings a special bond or attachment, yet it doesn’t stick and suffocate. You got it, right? That special feeling.

Hee Pan is generally a must item for Hakka weddings, birthdays and traditional ceremonies. Momsie makes them, especially in pink for such occasions. In less formal setting, she would use just about whatever flour in stock, whatever colour or flavour that fancy her that instance.

Marrying into the chan family, lets me enjoy many hakka cuisines. Some popularly available outside, more interesting are the many dishes,  chan-ised or adapted by momsie.

This Hee Pan snack is no exception.

Momsie is not making the regular pink ones. We are making Sweet Potato Hee Pan and she is sharing with us her secret recipe. If you noticed from the regular food blogs and their recipes, it calls for 2 doughs. The long wait for fermentation, some specify 6 hours or ovenight. This process that takes longer is absolutely unnecessary.

Momsie can do it all in 2 hours.

There are recipes that uses just wheat flour or a combination of wheat flour and glutinous rice flour.

Momsie’s secret ingredient ……. a little rice flour

SWEET POTATO HEE PAN

MAIN INGREDIENTS :

200 grams               steamed sweet potatoes

500 grams               glutinous flour

700 grams               wheat flour

200 grams               rice flour * (secret recipe)

200 grams               sugar

650 ml                      lukewarm water

2 tbs                          cooking oil (for dough)

t tablespoon              yeast (add with warm water)

2 tbs                          cooking oil (to mould)

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Brightly coloured orange potatoes are favoured, for the adventurous the purple ones are fun too. Momsie is easy. You can choose to steamed them peeled tuber or a faster way is to quickly boil them with some water. If you boiled, recycle the water for kneading dough. Use a small fork to mash the sweet potatoes up, set it aside.

Choose a big kneading pot, ideally with a large enough base and stable. Sieve in all flour ingredients, oil, sugar and slowly pour in the warm water while mixing them together. Gently fold in the yeast mixture and continue kneading. Momsie placed a floor mat at the bottom of the pot to ease my struggle. She truly wanted me to make my hands dirty with this Hee Pan, my maiden dish under her tutelage.

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Knead for 20 minutes. Do not worry if they are soft and a little gooey. Dust some flour on your fingers, clean up all the little clumps stuck there. Wrap the pot with a big piece of cloth or close the top. We need to set it aside in a warm corner for an hour, the warmth will help the dough to rise.

While waiting, momsie and I made a visit to her garden to gather some banana leaves. For momsie, the banana leaf is a must. They add aroma when steamed. I understand you can buy them banana leaves from wet markets and supermarkets. If they are unavailable, your option would be parchment paper.

After an hour, the dough has risen. Momsie lend her hand, she says good, strong kneading gives rise to greater texture and bite.

Put the 2 tablespoon of oil into a small bowl, ready and handy to mould the sticky dough into small balls. Put enough water on the steamer wok to boil. Apply enough oil on your fingers and palms, slowly pull out enough dough to form a small ball and gently drop them onto the banana sheets.

Do not worry if there is randomness in size. Practice makes perfect, momsie consoled me. Put the first 20, arrange nicely on a steamer tray. By the time you finished transferring the balls into the sheets, the steamer wok is ready and the first tray has raised and form into beautiful bun shapes. They are ready to be steamed.

Steaming tips. Make sure water is boiling. Each tray takes 15 minutes, do not uncover and close the steamer lid in midst of steaming. Condensation on lid can drip down and spoil your tray of golden treasure. With every tray you steam, make sure to dry the steamer lid of the condensed water trapped.

Despair not if few turned out dimpled and ugly. Momsie said it is a common phenomenon she herself find difficult to explain. Maybe too much oil when mould them balls, our fingers were a little wet or water dripped down from the steamer lid. Baffles me. Another tip that momsie share is, remove all steamed buns to cool down on some old newspapers. They helped remove moisture trapped on the banana leaves, making safe storing possible.

A larger square banana sheet is used to allow for dough to rise and spread. Use a pair of good kitchen scissors to trim the excess leaves around the random shape of these steamed buns.

Hubby get to be my hero, willing to taste my first Swee Potato Hee Pan. Bravo. Eat them fresh. Every bite is so, so nice.