Tuesday 24 January 2012

Bak Kwa (Chinese Pork Jerky)

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One item that most people can't do without during Chinese New Year is the awesomely tasty Bak Kwa. Moist, marinated meat barbecued to perfection. There are many out there who wouldn't think twice about queueing 1 or 2 hours under the hot sun to get a box of these salty, sweet delights from some of famous brands around Singapore and Malaysia, even with the price hike during this festive period. I've found out that making it at home isn't as difficult as I thought it would be so when I came across it on Just as Delish, I decided to give it a go since I haven't gotten myself a box this Chinese New Year. It came out really well and my only complaint was that it wasn't sweet enough. However, this was totally my fault as I used brown sugar instead of caster sugar. Brown Sugar is not as sweet as castor so I should have increased the proportion. Lesson Learnt!!!

May the Year of the Dragon be a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous Year for everyone! 
Gong Xi Fa Cai!!!
Ingredients (Adapted from Just as Delish and Singlish Swenglish)
1kg fatty(about 20) Meat Mince – either Chicken, Beef or Pork 
120g Caster Sugar
2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
3 tablespoon Fish Sauce
4 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
3 tablespoon Honey
15ml Light Olive Oil
1/2 tablespoon Dark Soy Sauce
A few drops of Sesame Oil

  1. Thoroughly combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl or container. Cover and marinate overnight in the fridge.
  2. Preheat oven to 100°C. Place mince onto the tray then spread and press down to form a thin sheet over the surface of the tray to a thickness of about 3mm. You can either use wet fingers/spoon to manually press it or you could lay a sheet of plastic wrap over it and roll it thin with a rolling pin. 
  3. Place the trays in the oven for about 45 minutes with the door ajar or until the meat has dried out – the surface is dry to the touch, most of the liquid has evaporated and is holding together without breaking (It’s fine to be a little moist underneath the sheet). Do the same with the rest of the pork.
  4. Cut the dried meat sheet into squares with a kitchen scissors.
  5. Heat up your charcoal bbq, oven grill(Preheated to 230°C) or broiler and grill each square until darkened and caramelised. It’s totally alright to have the tiniest hint of charring but keep your eyes on them because they burn quickly and easily.
  6. These Bak Kwa does not have preservatives, so it’s better to keep them in an airtight container in the fridge with sheets of greaseproof baking paper between each slice of Bak Kwa. When needed, reheat Bak Kwa in grill or microwave.
  7. You can also store and freeze the bak kwa after you have dried it out in the oven. Once cooled, place sheets of greaseproof baking paper between each slice of pork. Wrap very well with plastic wrap and place in a container to freeze. When ready to use, defrost in refrigerator and grill as normal.

Sunday 15 January 2012

Chinese New Year Almond Cookies

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Chinese New Year is a time for reunion, celebrations and feasting!! I haven't spent Chinese New Year back home for such a long time. 5 years in fact so what's the best thing to do to make myself feel better?? Bake some CNY goodies!! Didn't have to do so last Chinese New Year as my then fiance's father blessed us with loads of goodies when he came over. No 'special' delivery this year so I'll just have to bake some! Home baked goodies will definitely be better than the expensive ones being sold in Chinatown. Agreed?

Almond cookies are one of the traditional cookies that's enjoyed during the festivities. It so happened that Su-Yin over at Bread et Butter posted up the recipe so i didn't have to look too far for a great recipe. The result of this easy recipe was a meltingly crumbly cookie with a pretty cracked appearance like what it should be. Simply lovely!
Adapted from Bread et Butter
Ingredients (Makes about 50)

2 cups ground almonds
2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup golden icing sugar
1 cup light olive oil
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten

1. Dry fry the ground almonds in a wide non-stick pan (over medium heat), until they start to become fragrant and lightly browned, taking care not to burn the almonds.
2. Heat the oven to 180 deg C. 
3. Place the ground almonds, flour, sugar and salt in a bowl, and mix with a spatula until well combined.
4. In a food processor, pour in the dry mix and slowly trickle the oil while pulsing, until a cohesive dough is formed.
5. Form the dough into 2cm balls, and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Press down lightly with a chopstick or straw to form the indentation you see in the cookie.
6. Glaze lightly with the beaten egg.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Saturday 7 January 2012

Citrus Bloghop: Lemon Lime Basil Cookies

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Jan is the month to show some #citruslove and this month I feel very privileged to be hosting this together with some amazing bloggers from all around the globe! I love citrus fruits as their tangy flavour somehow perks me up! There's this lemon and lime shower gel I use that does wonders to wake me up in the morning!
When I first heard that citrus was the theme of the month, I immediately thought of this recipe I came across on Chasing Delicious. Fresh flavours of lemon, lime and basil all in a chewy refreshing cookie ...this is one that I'll be making more often to remind me of summer in these cold winter months. It'll also probably work quite well if basil is replaced with Thyme? Since lemon and thyme are always a good combi?
Adapted from Chasing Delicious

110g light olive oil
85g granulated sugar
65g soft brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Zest from 1 lemon
Zest from 1 lime
2 tablespoons basil leaves, finely chopped
200g bread flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat an oven to 190°C/375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Cream the sugar and olive oil together..
3. Add the egg, vanilla, zests and basil and mix in well.
4. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir until combined and everything is evenly distributed.
5. Spoon the dough onto the lined baking sheets. This recipe will make 32 medium sized cookies.
6. Bake in a preheated oven for 8 to 12 minutes; 8 minutes will yield a very soft doughy cookie whereas 12 minutes will yield a crispier cookie.
7. Let cool for a couple minutes before removing from the baking sheet.
January is #citruslove month!
Please join in on the #citruslove fun by linking up any citrus recipe from the month of January 2012. Don't forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #citruslove event! The twitter hashtag is #citruslove :). 

This bloghop is co-host by 
Easily Good Eats ~ Three Cookies
Oh Cake ~ Jessica ~ @jesshose

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