My Version of the Pork Siomai

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I love pork siomai.  I can’t think of any Filipino who does not love pork siomai. I put them in the category of the Pinoy’s pork barbecue — once you start eating it, you can’t stop.  I have tried making them once or twice before but although we finish the batch (my husband would eat anything), I was always not that satisfied with how it tasted. It’s like it’s-almost-there-but-not-quite kind of siomai for me.  Until I finally made these last night and decided that this one is for me.  I found hundreds of recipes online for pork siomai, but this combination of simple ingredients that I had, is one I have come up with, that gave me the taste I like.

What I had:

a packet of wonton wrappers

1 kilo of finely ground pork (Note the word “finely” there?  That means I only use the nearly paste like ground pork usually found in Asian stores — this is the kind of ground pork we use for our sausages and pork meatball steamed buns.  The usual ground or minced pork you find is usually more lumpy, and I use that for other recipes.)

1 carrot

4 large cloves of garlic

1 large onion

1 egg

1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 packed tablespoon brown sugar

What I did:

I placed my finely ground pork in a bowl and set it aside.

I peeled the carrot, washed it, and cut it up to fit my small food processor (it gave me approximately 1 cup of processed carrots, to give you an idea of the size of the carrot) .  Place this into the bowl of ground pork.

I processed together the garlic and onion and placed them in the same bowl (you probably could process the carrots, garlic and onion together if you want it faster).

I added the rest of the ingredients (excluding the wonton wrapper of course) and mixed everything thoroughly (I used clean hands for this).

I placed a generous amount of mixture in the centre of each wonton wrapper and gently pushed the sides up to make walls around the mixture to make it look square-ish (this would round out during cooking).  The corners were left sticking out.  Each of these corners I folded to its right side just so they are out of the way and the siomai would look neat.  I added some more of the filling if it looked like it needed some more, and patted the top with the back of a teaspoon to flatten.

 

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When they were all ready, I sprayed some oil on the steamer so they don’t stick, and steamed them for 20-25 minutes. (Make sure you leave spaces in between so they don’t stick to each other! – added 30 Dec 2015)

We ate them with a soy sauce/lemon juice dip and packed the left overs (not much) in the freezer.

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Severed Fingers/Witches’ Fingers Biscuits

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Halloween.  The time when kids you have taught never to accept sweets from strangers knock on strangers’ doors to ask for some hahaha.

I have often thought of making these Witches’ Fingers/Severed Fingers cookies but have never done so.  This time, I did with my daughter and we had a lot of fun.  They were gross to look at and after you have baked them, still looked gross.  But the surprise is that, after you hesitate and try one, you want some more.  Fingerssss!

What you need:

225 grams butter, softened (NOT melted, just softened)

125 grams icing sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

350 grams plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

almond flakes

liquid red food colouring

What you need to do:

First, in a small bowl, place your almond flakes (choose ones that look like fingernail shapes).  Pour about 2 tablespoons of the red food colouring, stir to soak and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and the icing sugar.  Add the egg, vanilla extract and salt.  Continue mixing until well combined.  Gradually add the flour and baking powder (gradually or else flour will spew all over you and make you look like a ghost… well… halloween!) and continue mixing until it looks like a smooth kind of dough (just for about 3 minutes of mixing perhaps).  My dough was really soft (maybe the heat of the day made the butter softer than usual) that I was able to use a piping bag to pipe finger sized and finger length lines of the dough on a wax paper lined baking tray. Just added: You can use your hands and fingers to roll about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the dough into finger length lines if you don’t want to pipe them.

For each of the fingers, make a light dent on one tip and using a pair or clean tweezers (preferably one that you exclusively use for baking!), pick up one of the red coloured almond flake and place on the dent.  Using your smallest finger, gently press down on two spots of the finger for the knuckles and with a knife, make little cuts to make it look more fingerlike.  I used a brush to paint the other end with more red colouring to look like blood.

The difference with what I did and what others do is that after I finish making everything on the tray, I refrigerate everything for about 20 minutes.  This will firm up the fingers (the first batch I made I refrigerated the dough before making the fingers and they turned out fat fingers after baking).

After refrigerating, pop into your oven preheated at 160 deg C and bake until golden brown (about 12-15 minutes).  FINGERS CROSSED, they come out good.  Cool and store in an airtight container.

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My Black Biko (Black Glutinous Rice Pudding)

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I finally was able to buy a pack of Thai black glutinous rice.  I have tried a black pudding from a Thai restaurant a very long time ago  and although it was very similar to the Filipino version, I liked its texture and was excited by its colour and just wanted to find out if we can make them ourselves.  This is our second attempt and loved it 🙂

What you need:

1 1/2 cups of regular (white) glutinous rice (see the note I have in the recipe below)

1/2 cup of black glutinous rice

1 1/2 cups water

400 mls coconut cream

1 packed cup of brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

What you need to do:

I used a microwavable rice cooker, it’s a red plastic one that cooks rice without having to cover it.  Take note that some microwavable rice cooker needs to be covered so it would be helpful if you read the manual of what you have.  If you don’t have the microwavable rice cooker, just use whatever you use to cook your rice (maybe an electric rice cooker, or a stove top pan).  This is what I did:  I mixed the black and white glutinous rice, washed it three times, draining the water after each wash. Add your 1 1/2 cups of water and let it soak for about 30 minutes.  After soaking, microwave for 16 -20 minutes, uncovered. Check if the rice is cooked, mine was just right after 18.   NOTE:  You will use only half of this cooked rice for this recipe — I had to cook this amount of rice as I am not sure my rice cooker can cook a smaller amount of rice — I froze the other half for next time.  If you want to use all of it you have to double the amount of cream, sugar and salt.

Rub butter (or coconut oil if you want) in a small pyrex dish.  Set aside.

After it is cooked, heat a pan for a few minutes and pour your coconut cream and add the salt.  When it is boiling, add the brown sugar and continue cooking while stirring until a little bit thick.  Add half of your cooked rice and continue stirring everything until mixed and thick.  Spoon or pour everything on your pyrex dish and let cool, or serve warm.  Yum.

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Parmesan Crusted Salmon (from Hello Fresh)

parmesan crusted salmon

My husband and I tried Hello Fresh just so we can use the voucher we received from a book shop.  It was exciting receiving the box of ingredients for three meals for 2 people and it was equally exciting to prepare the meals as they are recipes that are new to us.  We have decided to discontinue the service after we have done the three meals because although it is convenient, as a wife and mother, I find that (a) they don’t send a few of the ingredients as they assume you have them in your pantry (I didn’t have white wine vinegar so it sort of defeated the whole “convenience” thing as you would have had to go to the shops to get this, good thing we had red wine vinegar) and (b) without the voucher I would have to pay an amount that would somehow make me feel that at that price, I shouldn’t be required to do the washing up so I’d rather use that money to eat out.

This is our favorite among the recipes we tried and we keep on making it whenever we have salmon.

What you need:

2 fillets of salmon (with or without the skin; they provided skinless, but I sometimes use those with skin, no scales)

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

zest of half a lemon

about 17 grams fresh parmesan cheese, finely grated (use fresh)

1 teaspoon olive oil

pinch of finely chopped parsley

salt and pepper to season

What you need to do:

Preheat your oven to 180 deg C (for a fan forced oven).

In a bowl,combine all the ingredients except the salmon fillets and set aside.

Line a baking tray with wax paper.  Rub a bit of olive oil on the salmon fillets and place them on the lined tray (skin side down if your fillets have skin).  Spoon a generous amount of the mixture on top of the salmon and gently press so they would stick on.

Cook in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes or until the crust is golden and the fish is cooked through.

Serve with a siding of potatoes (they provided the recipe and ingredients for “Herby Potatoes” which I will also type as soon as I can as it was good too) and plain rocket leaves if you wish, with a fresh slice of lemon to squeeze onto the fish.

My version of the THREE Ingredient Japanese Cheesecake

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Again, I saw this recipe from the internet.  Actually, I look at photos first before I decide whether I want to try a recipe.  No photo, no trying for me.  This cheesecake has hundreds of photos and hundreds of recipes in the internet.  Take your pick, I chose this one, and with a bit of my personal tweaking, it was a success the first time I made it.  It is very delicate, very light, and very Japanese 🙂

What you need:

3 Extra Large eggs

120 grams cream cheese, room temperature and cut into four

120 grams white chocolate

What you need to do:

Preheat your oven to 170 deg C (fan forced).

Spray oil in a 6 inch round cake pan (yes, this is a small cake).  Line the bottom and sides with wax paper.  Then spray oil on the wax paper.  This would help the cake slide downwards and prevent cracking too much on top.  Mine did but just a bit.  Set aside.

Separate your eggs.  Place your egg whites in a mixing bowl and refrigerate while doing the next steps.  Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and set aside.

In a heatproof bowl on a saucepan filled with simmering water on low to medium heat, gently melt your white chocolate while stirring.  High heat could cause your white chocolate to seize.  When the chocolate has melted, add the cream cheese one piece at a time and continue stirring until smooth.  Turn off heat, and stir in the egg yolks.  Set aside.

Get your egg whites from the fridge and beat until stiff peaks form.  The stiff whites should not fall off the bowl if you tip the bowl upside down.  Spoon half the white mixture onto your yolk mixture and gently mix together using a whisk.  Then in a thin stream, gently fold in the yolk/white mixture onto the remaining white mixture with the whisk until combined.  Pour the batter onto the prepared pan.  Tap the pan gently onto your counter to set the bubbles.

Place the pan onto a baking tray.  Pour boiling water on the tray (not onto the pan!) until it reaches about a third of an inch high.

Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature of your oven to 150 deg C and bake for a further 15 minutes.  Turn off heat, and leave in the oven for another 15 minutes.  Take out, let it cool on a wire rack before transferring to a plate.  Sprinkle with sifted icing sugar.  Serve.

ONE MINUTE MICROWAVE RAMEKIN CHOCOLATE CAKE

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I want a warm chocolate cake, pronto.  I just woke up from a nap and it was quite chilly so I wanted a warm chocolate cake.  Pronto.  I decided to try those “One Minute” type of cake recipes that are going around in the internet.  I was dubious as to how it would turn out but then I thought, I really want a warm chocolate cake!  Pronto! So I tried it.  And it wasn’t bad.  In fact, with the recipe I used, I was able to make 4 ramekin cakes and all three of us loved it.  I had one, and my hubby and daughter had 1 1/2 each.  A keeper.

What you need:

50 grams salted butter

1/4 cup white sugar

6 tablespoons plain flour

2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

What you need to do:

Spray the sides and bottoms of 4 ramekin dishes (or microwave safe cups or mugs) with oil and set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter in a microwave oven for about 40 seconds.  Whisk the sugar in.  Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk again until everything is combined.  Spoon the batter into the ramekin about 2/3 full.  Cover with cling wrap, leaving a little gap on one side.  Microwave ONE AT A TIME for 1 minute each.  You can actually see the cake rising and stretching the wrap upwards.  Carefully take out of the microwave, take out the wrap and cool down a bit before serving straight from the ramekin dish.

You’re welcome.

BANOFFEE PIE on Shortcrust Pastry

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I have made another Banoffee Pie this time with a simple homemade shortcrust pastry.  I never knew how much difference a pie crust would make.  Whereas the other Banoffee Pie I have made with the biscuit is delicious as well, the taste of a shortcrust pastry I used in my Pecan Pie Recipe (perhaps the butter in it), makes it not saying better, but delightfully different! So here is the recipe of the Banoffee Pie I have just made, it’s basically the same as the other one except for the crust so I will be copy-and-pasting most of it but it would save you time by having everything in the same recipe.

What you need:

For the pie base:

about 8 oz butter, softened

2 1/2 cups plain flour (add more if needed)

To make the pastry:  Spray with oil a pie tin and set aside.  In a bowl, place your softened butter.  Dump the flour on top.  With your fingertips, mix the flour and the butter using a “pinching” motion (you will see what I mean when you start doing it) until it forms into a soft dough.  It will be a bit crumbly.  Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.  This will help make it easier to handle.  Place the dough on a sheet of wax paper.  Put another sheet on top and start rolling it flat using a rolling pin, until it is just big enough to cover your pie tin.  Take out the top sheet and invert quickly over your tin.  Peel off the bottom sheet.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t look good.  You will find it easy to pat the dough in place (cover the holes with excess dough) to make a neat base.  Prick the bottom with a fork and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Cover with a wax paper and spread baking beans and blind bake in 190 deg C (fan forced).  After 15 minutes, very carefully take out the beans and the paper and continue baking for a further 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

For the filling and topping:

100 grams butter

100 grams brown sugar

1 can of condensed milk

bananas (depending on the size, you would need enough for them to be sliced to cover the size of your pie tin)

300 mls thickened cream, whipped

grated chocolate for decoration (optional)

To make the filling:

Cook your butter and brown sugar In a pan (non-stick preferred), stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the condensed milk and continue stirring until the mixture thickens.  Spread the caramel on your prepared pie base, cool down and keep in the fridge until about ready to serve.

To assemble the pie:  

Cover the caramel with sliced bananas, then cover the bananas with whipped cream and decorate with grated chocolate (or more bananas, if you prefer).

Seafood Flakes with Celery and Walnuts Salad

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What you need:

seafood flakes, thawed

celery sticks, diced

walnuts, cut into halves or smaller

whole egg mayonnaise

pinch of salt, pepper and white sugar

What you need to do:

Mix everything together in a bowl, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Refrigerate before serving. Finished.

My Simple Sukiyaki Recipe

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My daughter wanted sukiyaki again.  I didn’t like the taste of my previous sukiyaki as the taste of the sake was too strong.  So today, I made a simpler and (to my family) a better tasting one.  No sake involved.

What you need:

For the sukiyaki sauce:  1/2 cup soy sauce + 2 tablespoons sugar + 1 cup water + 2 tablespoons mirin seasoning (I used the Obento brand I found in the shops)

Other ingredients:

about 600 grams rump steak, sliced thinly (as thin as you can)

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cooking oil

about 1/4 – 1/3 head of Chinese cabbage, cut into 2-3 inches wide squares

spring onions (because I didn’t have scallions), cut into about 2-3 inches length

about 200 grams fresh enoki mushrooms, roots and dirty parts discarded; gently separate the heads into smaller bundles with your fingers

whole shiitake mushrooms (if you only have the dried variety, soak them in hot water until soft); discard the stems

piece of carrot, cut into thin rounds (make flower shape if you want them to look fancy)

silken firm tofu, cubed into desired size

rice vermicelli, softened in boiling water for about 2 minutes and then drained

What you need to do:

  1.  In a bowl, combine all the sukiyaki sauce ingredients and set aside (if you want more liquid, just double the sauce recipe and add as needed while cooking later)
  2. Heat a wide and deep pan and put the cooking oil.  Stir fry the beef until cooked, and slowly add the sugar (do not overcook so the beef remains tender).  Push the cooked beef in one corner of your pan.
  3. Add the carrots, the tofu, the spring onions, softened shiitake, enoki and cabbage into the pan, gently grouping each together.  Slowly pour the sauce In the same pan.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Once it boils, turn down the heat to simmer until all the ingredients are cooked.
  4. In individual big bowls, place your drained cooked vermicellin, add some of each of the ingredients that were cooked in thepan and then ladle some of the sauce.
  5. Sukiyaki is normally eaten with raw eggs, I know.  I don’t 🙂  Enjoy.

Pork Belly with Dijon Mustard and Golden Syrup

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I had some pork belly.  I had some dijon mustard in the fridge.  And my golden syrup is in the pantry.  What to do?  Cook them together.  Yum.

What you need:

about 700 grams pork belly, cut into your desired serving size

water

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

4 tablespoons dark brown sugar (packed firmly on your spoon when measuring)

2 tablespoons golden syrup

dash of Worcestershire sauce

What you need to do:

Cover your ribs with water in a large saucepan and boil until desired tenderness (I did mine for around 30-40 minutes).  Drain until completely dry.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Place your pork on a pan with a bit of oil over medium heat until a bit brown-ish.  Turn over and do the same to the other side.  Pour the sauce mixture while cooking the pork and continue cooking until incorporated.

Serve with rice and vegetables.