Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Belly Pork Roast/Siew Yoke - Step-By-Step

I have been getting too many questions as to why the cracklings are not so crackling although they follow my recipe to the 'T".  So, i have decided to create this Step-By-Step and hope that the cracklings will crackle like it should. 

There are many factors to achieve a good 'Siew Yoke/Roasted Pork Belly".  First is to get a good piece of belly pork.  Choose one that is 2 inches in height which is quite difficult as the Asian stores here tend to leave a lot of meat to the ribs thus leaving a very thin piece of belly pork.  Secondly, choose a piece which is level in height,  an uneven level piece will have to be adjusted with aluminium foil so that the skin will be level while broiling/grilling. As suggested in my previous recipes Roast Belly Pork , Roast Belly Pork II and Roast Belly Pork III, the marinated piece of belly pork would like a vacation in the fridge, uncovered, overnight to dry out the skin.  This process will allow shorter crackling time.  I have now become lazy and found that i can achieve good crackling without drying.  So, you can omit the vacation process. 

An important tip:  When you scald the meat, make sure that the water is boiling hot when you put to meat to cook.  This is to remove scum and the piggy smell.  If the meat is thick, you can par-cook the meat by boiling it longer and this will ensure that the meat will cook through when the crackling is done.

The oven used for broiling/grilling has to be considered.  Here i have chosen the wall unit oven of which most of you will have in your kitchen, but, i have used the grill function on my Microwave oven and the Turbo Oven and made pretty good Siew Yoke.  If you are using the Turbo Oven, use the lower rack so that the meat is furthest away from the fan and half way through the grilling, put a piece of aluminium foil under the meat so that the meat will not cook further and dry out.

I hope i have covered all the tips and now get started to crackle...............

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Yan Yat Yee Sang

Yan Yat Yee Sang - this must sound like a tongue twister, that's how chinese sounds when you do not speak or know how to, Alexander will ask - What did you say? and mumble whatever came out of his mouth.  The Chinese Lunar New year is celebrated for 15 days, read about how  these 15 days are celebrated. The chinese has their humour in a funny way - 12th day is The Diarrhea Day - ha ha. Today is the seventh day and It is known as "人日" Rénrì in mandarin or Yan Yat in cantonese or Everyone's Birthday, the day when everyone grows one year older. In West Malaysia and Singapore, Yu Sheng/Yee Sang,  raw slivers of fish are tossed together with various pickles and vegeatble into a Salad.   As they toss the salad, they raise the salad high with their chopsticks and say auspicious words. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Seaweed Crispies


This is a spin-off from Nori Crisps.  These seaweed /nori crispies are so addictive and flavorful that they have to be fried and served for The Chinese New Year.  They are so easy, just 3 ingredients and oil for deep frying.  This year, instead of rolling them up or plain flat, i have twisted them into ribbons following Sesame Ribbon Crisp but do not double up the prepared pastry.  For this recipe i have tweaked and used egg whites instead of the whole egg and found that the crispies remained crispier.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kuih Bangkit Gula Melaka Flavored

Gula melaka a.k.a. Palm Sugar or 'Malacca Sugar'.  Why Melaka/Malacca,?  I have no idea and hope that you readers can enlighten me.  Gula melaka is made by first extracting the sap from the flower bud of a coconut tree. Several slits are cut into the bud and a pot is tied underneath the bud to collect the sap. Then, the sap is boiled until it thickens after which, in the traditional way, it is poured into bamboo tubes between 3-5 inches in length, and left to solidify to form cylindrical cake blocks.

 Coconut palm sugar is being advertised as a healthy sugar; low in the glycemic index and full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It apparently tastes great with amazing caramel and butterscotch taste and it's gaining popularity rapidly until most coconut farmers are cashing in to this new high demand of palm sugar as  "healthier sugar", by converting their coconut trees into coconut sugar production.  No wonder, the price for a can of coconut milk/cream has triple the price lately.

I do not use gula melaka/palm sugar for any other reasons except to flavor these few desserts like
Onde Onde,
Kuih Dadar,
Kuih Koci,
Kuih Koci Pulut Hitam,
Kuih Talam Ubi Kayu,
Lepat Ubi Kayu/Casava Wrap,
Kuih Kosui

and now am using it to flavor my Kuih Bangkit, and can you tell me the characters of these cookies?  They are pressed from the same mould.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I remembered that when i was frying this Taro Crunch, i was saying to myself that there must be a better way to hold the taro shreds together while frying them and i thought of the net ladle used for steam boat.  Yes, it is very successful and it makes pretty good balls of even sizes, light and crunchy.  Prepping for these taro balls is tedious, the taro has to be sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices, then using a potato peeler, peel taro along the edge of 1/4 inch slice to make long thin strips, do not peel along the flat 1/4 inch but peel the 2 edges, creating a slightly point in the middle, then peel the middle, thus making strips that are not too wide.  Try to peel the longest strips if possible.  The 1/4 inch thickness to the taro slices is the best for the peeling, as it is hardy enough to hold and does  bend like thinner slices would..  These long thin strips are desirable, cos then it can be curled up into a ball, enclosing the sprig of coriander inside it.  I have learned alot from this Hong Kong Video.  Unfortunately, this video is in cantonese and there are very valuable tips.  The most valuable tip is that if the shredded strips are mixed with all other ingredients, they have to be fried , otherwise they will be soggy and then the result will not be good eats.  This is definitely a buddy project in the kitchen and since that i have to fry it alone, i have broken down the recipe to this small portion which i can handle.  Please do double, triple ......... the recipe as much as you and your friends can handle, these taro balls are addictive. If making multiple recipes, mix in the rose wine and seasonings for 1 recipe at a time, this might look like too troublesome, but this is to ensure that the taro balls will be light.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sesame Ribbon Crisp

When i was making the Crispy Crackers for Yee Sang, i decided to make this Sesame Ribbon Crisp as it is the same recipe only it is formed into ribbons.  These ribbons do not need any introduction, one bit into one and before you can chew on it, your hand will be reaching out for another.  That's how good they are.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pineapple Tart Filling

Ever since i owned a microwave oven in 1986, i have been using it alot to aid my cooking and it is the most used appliance in my kitchen.  I would not have made or cooked so often if i have to slave on a stovetop for hours on end.  The microwave has allowed me to cook faster without having to attend to the cooking and allowing me time to fulfil other tasks and the best part is that i do not have extra pots and pans for cleaning.  This time of the year is always busy, busy, especially when the Chinese New Year is just 2 weeks away and it means that it is time to bake Pineapple Tarts which is a must for this celebration.  Why Pineapple Tarts??? Chinese is a tonal language and punning based on tones is very common. The word for 'pineapple' in Hokkien dialect 'ong la i' is also a pun for the "king" (ong ) or "prosperity"(ong) and "comes" (la i) i.e. hopes for royally rich or a prosperity year to come!  Before the pineapple tarts can be made, the filling has to be cooked first and i am sharing How to cook it in the Microwave.
I use crushed pineapple for the pineapple tart filling

Drain juice from crushed pineapple and process until fine

I use a bowl but a cup or whatever is ok, to measure the amount of processed pineapple -1 bowl/cup pinneapple pulp to 1 bowl/cup sugar, 3/4 bowl/cup will be acceptable as canned pineapple tend to be sweeter than fresh ones

Put the processed pineapple into a large microwave-safe bowl

Measure the amount of sugar with the same bowl/cup used to measure the processed pineapple

Add cinnamon sticks and cloves to the sugar and pineapple mixture and cook in the microwave.  Cook it for a longer period if you have a large amount

With this amount of sugar and processed pineapple, i cook for 10 minutes, stir after every cycle and continue another two more 10 minutes and stir.  I have a 900 watts microwave oven and if your microwave has a higher wattage, use shorter time and also it depends on how dry the processed pineapple is drained.  I do not drained until too dry cos i like the flavor of the pineapple in the juice.  When the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the time to 5 minutes and so forth, until filling thick and caramelized.

After every cycle of cooking, remove from the microwave oven and stir well to distribute the heat

After stirring, continue to cook in the microwave until filling has thicked and caramelized

Pineapple filling has thickened and caramelized.  It will be more dry when it hs been cooled, so do not cook until too dry otherwise the filling will be too hard after the tarts are baked.  If you have gone too dry when cooking, just add in a little water and give it a buzz or two to heat the water

Allow the cooked pineapple filling to cool before removing the cloves and cinnamon sticks.  Caution:  cooked pineapple filling is very hot, handle with extreme care.  When cooled, store in air-tight container.  This filling can be prepared ahead and can be frozen until needed.

Tip:  When the filling cooled, adjust the taste with lime/lemon juice and some salt will bring out the flavor of the pineapple

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Financiers, a small French cake, are as rich as the bankers they were named for. The financier is a light, moist teacake, sweet, tender and beautiful in their simplicity.  They are made from ground almonds, sugar, unwhipped egg whites, flour and an enormous quantity of melted butter, which is cooked until it is golden brown, imparting perfect nutty flavor. And, since the Chinese New Year is around the corner, these Financiers will be very auspicious to be served as they resemble ingots/gold bars.

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