Friday, 30 August 2013

{seremban siew pau/pow in hermie}

The Nonya Lady. The Nonya who? My family knows a woman through my Aunty that happens to make and sell a large variety of yummy Nonya or Peranakan treats throughout the year. This is where I first came across the Seremban Siew Pau. Most people in Australia know the Char Siew Pau that you can eat at nearly every yum cha restaurant that is a steamed white bun that is filled with a pork or chicken filling. This is similar but different. This Pau is not steamed and is in fact baked so that the outside is a crispy pastry. The filling is similar however, in Malaysia it often has peas included. The Nonya Lady's does not have peas and this is actually how I like them.

Anyway, because I like these Pau quite a lot, I thought to myself "what if for some reason the Nonya Lady can't or won't make these anymore?" What was I going to do? Here in Adelaide I really don't think there is anywhere commercial to buy these yummy savoury snacks (correct me if I'm wrong readers). So, I have scoured my recipe books and the web to see what was out there and below is my recipe. It is based on Elin's version with a filling and sauce made from Gourmet Traveller's Char Siew Pau recipe.

The verdict? Well, they were eaten by the family on the same day so they must have been good. Tips for next time include making double the amount so that I can freeze some for snacks and to use slightly less red fermented bean curd on the char siu. Maybe I was a bit heavy handed with using this ingredient but I felt it overpowered all the other flavours. I would also make the char sui and sauce the day before so that it doesn't feel like you're performing a cooking marathon. Enjoy!


Char Siu:
250 grams pork neck or I prefer a cut with a bit of fat
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
2 teaspoons white sugar
teaspoons red fermented beancurd (see note)
teaspoons hoisin sauce
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
teaspoon five-spice powder
tablespoon honey, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water

1. Cut pork into 3cm-thick, 5cm-wide strips, then combine in a bowl with Shaoxing, sugar, beancurd, hoisin, garlic and five-spice, stir to coat, cover and refrigerate to marinate (at least 2 hours, preferably overnight).
2. Preheat oven to 220C. Drain pork (reserve marinade), place on a rack placed in a roasting pan. Add a little water to pan and roast, basting with marinade and turning occasionally, until cooked and slightly charred (30-35 minutes). (I find that to make cleaning of the rack easier, I wrap the 'bars' of the rack in foil so that I can just peel it off when finished instead of scrubbing caramelised marinade off the metal).
3. Brush with honey mixture while still hot, cool to room temperature.
4. Place 3-4cm cubes of pork into TM bowl and shred 10-15secs/ speed 5 until desired coarseness is achieved and set aside.

Pork in the marinade
Pork ready for roasting
Char siu sauce:
tablespoons ginger, peeled
tablespoons spring onion, white part only
1 small golden shallot, peeled
1 garlic clove, peeled

10 grams vegetable oil
100 ml chicken stock or water
tablespoon caster sugar
tablespoon oyster sauce
teaspoons light soy sauce
½ teaspoon dark soy sauce
1½ tablespoons cornflour, mixed with 50ml cold water

1. Place ginger, spring onion, shallot and garlic into TM bowl. Chop 3secs/ speed 6. Scrape down sides of bowl.
2. Add oil and saute 6mins/ varoma/ speed 1/ reverse.
3. Add in other ingredients (except cornflour) and cook 5mins/ 100C/ stir speed/ reverse.
4. Add in cornflour and cook 1min/ varoma/ stir speed/ reverse.
5. Finally, add in reserved char siu and mix manually with spatula. Set aside. Note: if you are making this on the same day as the dough, I would put this in the fridge as it is a lot easier to use as a filling later on when cold.


Oil Dough:
240 grams plain flour
60 grams butter
60 grams coconut oil (or ghee or shortening)

1. Add all ingredients into TM bowl 4-5 times/ closed lid/ turbo button. It should have a sand like consistency.
2. Pour out onto bench and form into a bowl. Rest for 30 mins.

Water Dough:
240 grams plain flour
60 grams icing sugar (or raw sugar)
30 grams butter
30 grams coconut oil (or ghee)
120 grams water (I found this dough a bit 'wet' so would acutally add in 100 grams and if required, add in the additional 20 later)

1. If using raw sugar, place in TM bowl and mill 10 secs/ speed9. 
2. Put all ingredients into TM bowl. Mix 5 secs/ speed 5.
3. Knead 1 min/ closed lid/ knead button. Rest for 30 mins.

Dough resting for 30mins

Making the Pau:
1 egg for egg wash
sesame seeds to decorate

1. Divide both the water and oil dough into 24 equal pieces . 
2. Wrap 1 piece of water dough around 1 piece of oil dough.

3. Roll it flat into rectangular shape.

4. Roll it from the short end into a swiss roll and then repeat steps 2 & 3 two more times.

5. Flatten and roll into a round. 
I find that if I do all the rolling and flattening and rolling for all 24 pieces it's easier and less time consuming.

6. Place about 1 big tablespoon of filling in centre, wrap and pleat into a pau shape. I don't really do anything special and just push the bits together. It just works.

7. Place on greaseproof paper or silicone mat and brush the pau with egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top for decoration.

8. Bake at 190 ̊C for 20 -25 mins until golden brown.

Makes 24 pieces.

Bon Appetit xx

Notes: Red fermented beancurd is available in all good Asian Grocers. It looks like the picture below. Also, I store extra pau's (if any) in the freezer already baked. To re-heat, just put in the oven for about 15mins at 180C.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

{the best carrot & walnut cake in hermie}

Sometimes I feel like a nice piece of cake but it feels too naughty to have a sweet treat so often. Although this cake is still sweet, it does have half a kilogram of carrots. In my book, this is 'healthy'! It also happens to be the best carrot cake I have found and the original recipe is from Planet Cake. The recipe below is adjusted with slightly less oil and sugar. I have also added a quick cream cheese icing recipe to go on the top as it complements it perfectly (and it's the only icing that Mr S actually like as it's not too sweet). Taste tested by Miss I and myself and was so good, I've had 4 slices in my first sitting...

Carrot Cake:
500 grams carrots (about 5 carrots), peeled & chopped into 3cm lengths
170 grams self raising flour
170 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
180 grams vegetable oil
4 eggs
210 grams brown sugar
125 grams golden syrup
60 grams walnuts + extra for serving

Cream Cheese Icing:
250 grams cream cheese, room temperature, cut into 4cm cubes
juice of 1/2 lemon
100-110 grams icing sugar or raw sugar

1. Pre-heat oven 160C. Line a 20 cm square cake tin or 22 cm round cake tin with baking paper.
2. Place carrots in TM bowl. Chop 4secs/ speed 5. Set aside.
3. Add flours, spices and bicarbonate soda to TM bowl. Mix 3secs/ speed 3.
4. Add in oil, eggs, sugar & golden syrup and mix 6secs/ speed 6. Scrape down sides if required.
5. Add reserved carrots and stir through manually with spatula.
6. Add walnuts to TM bowl. Mix 5secs / speed 5/ reverse.
7. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 1hour 20 mins or until cooked and a skewer comes out clean.
8. Meanwhile, rinse out TM bowl and put all ingredients into TM bowl for icing. Mix 5secs/ speed5. Note, if using raw sugar, mill first 20secs/ speed 10 and then add in remaining ingredients.
9. When cake is cooked, cool in tin for 15mins, then turn out onto cooling rack. Ice with cream cheese icing when cool. Sprinkle extra crushed walnuts over the top.

Serve with a cup of tea or coffee.

Bon Appetit xx

Notes: This make quite a bit of cake and it is suitable to freeze for up to 2 months (without the icing). I personally pre-slice the cake and then wrap in cling wrap so it is easier to defrost in single slices. 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

{raspberry & coconut slice in hermie}

To be honest, this recipe is pretty easy and simple without a Thermomix. Today was my first time converting it and I have to say, it's even easier! Don't even bother to rinse the bowl in between making the base and the topping and it can be made in 10 minutes. Only the oven gets in the way because it's too slow. I often make this raspberry slice for family events, especially birthday parties and it's a hit. This time, I'm making it for my sister's kitchen tea and just cutting it into smaller bite size pieces so that everyone can try all the other yummy morsels of food available.

220 + 60 grams plain flour
3 tablespoons ground almonds (optional)
110 + 350 grams castor sugar
250 grams butter
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
300 grams raspberries (fresh / frozen)
90grams desiccated coconut

icing sugar to serve

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
2. Grease and line a 20x30cm lamington tray.
3. Add 220grams flour, almonds, 125 grams sugar & butter into TM bowl. Mix 5secs/ speed5. Pour into prepared tray and flatten to make a base.

4. Bake for 20-25mins.
5. Meanwhile, add nutmeg, baking powder, remaining flour and sugar, eggs and vanilla into TM bowl. Mix 10secs / speed 6.
6. Add in raspberries, lemon juice and coconut. Mix 4-5 times/ closed lid/ turbo pulse/ reverse.

7. Remove base from oven. Drop temperature to 150C.
8. Add raspberry mixture to top of base and bake 60 minutes until golden and firm.

9. Cool in the tin and cut into pieces. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

Bon Appetit xx

Tips & Notes: This makes quite a lot of slice and is a great option for parties. I also store this in the freezer and defrost a few hours before serving. The ground almonds above are optional and I personally don't put them in due to family nut allergies. Finally, if you want to reduce the sugar, the recipe should still be quite nice as the slice is pretty sweet.

Friday, 16 August 2013

{acar awak (spicy pickled mixed vegetables) in hermie}

Acar awak is one of those dishes that I remember from a child that my mum would make and then store in recycled glass bottles in the fridge and wonder what was so good about it. Now I realise that this was something that reminded her of growing up in Malaysia and the memories that it brought back when eating it. I think it also has something to do with the fact that when I was young, I couldn't eat much of it because it was quite chilli hot and although I make it now, I don't down size the chilli factor because I think it makes the dish what it is. Having said that, it again is a fine line between eating pleasure and eating pain when I eat this dish. It will keep in the fridge for a good couple of weeks if you don't add the peanut to it. I personally don't add peanuts because we have a nut allergy in the house.

1/2 continental cucumber, cut into 3 cm long strips with seeds removed
1 carrots, cut into 3cm strips
150 grams green beans, cut into 3 cm lengths
100-200 grams cabbage, cut into 3cm thick
100 grams cauliflower, cut into small florets

Pickling Liquid:
450grams water
300grams white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Spice Paste:
15 dried chillies, soaked in hot water
10-15 grams belacan
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
5 grams galangal
1 stalk lemongrass
2 tablespoons coriander seeds

30 grams vegetable oil (I use canola)
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon vinegar

1. Soak the dried chillies in hot water for the spice paste.
2. Add all ingredients for the pickling liquid into the TM bowl. Heat for 8mins/ 100C/ speed 1.
3. Meanwhile, chop the vegetables as above for pickling. 

4. While the liquid is still hot, set the controls to 2.5mins/ varoma/ reverse/ stir speed. When it boils, remove the MC and add the prepared vegetables through the hole. Drain in a colander. Dry the TM bowl.
5. Add belacan into dry TM bowl. Dry roast 5mins/ varoma/ speed 1.
6. Add in rest of the spice paste ingredients and blend 15-20secs/ speed 7 or until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl.
7. Add vegetable oil into TM bowl and saute 6mins/ varoma/ speed 1.
8. Add sugar, salt and vinegar to TM bowl and cook 2mins/ varoma/ speed 1/ reverse.
9. Finally, add the pre-pickled vegetables and stir through with spatula. Cook a further 1mins 30secs/ varoma/ stir speed/ reverse.
10. Store in a clean (preferably steralised) container in the fridge. Serve sprinkled with peanuts as a side dish to something like beef rendang.

Acar served here as part of Nasi Lemak

Makes about 800grams.

Bon Appetit xx

Notes: The vegetable quantities that I've listed above are just a guide. I basically just use what I have in the fridge and what can fit into the TM bowl. In the photos above, you can see that I forgot to add the cauliflower but it still tastes delicious! Also, belacan or dried shrimp paste can be found in all good Asian Grocery stores. Finally, I prefer to make this a day or 2 before being eaten as the flavour develops over those days and it tastes so much more better!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

{easy apple crumble in hermie}

As you would know from previous posts, we are a dessert family. The other night, I had made dinner and when it was cooked realised just how small it was going to be and I didn't want hungry tummies afterwards. As I hadn't actually planned any dessert (for once), I quickly scrummaged around the kitchen to see what I had and came up with a super easy apple crumble that can be made with a few simple ingredients and not much effort. I'm almost embarrassed to call it a Mei original recipe... it is that simple.

Apple Filling:
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cubed ~3cm (about 400 grams)
500mls water for cooking
sprinkle of ground cinnamon to taste

1/2 C plain flour
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C castor sugar
4 tablespoons butter

ice-cream or cream for serving

1. Preheat oven to 190C.
2. Place apple in TM basket. Add water to TM bowl and cook 12mins/ varoma/ speed 3.
3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, add all crumble ingredients and 'rub' together until it forms a sand like texture.
4. Spoon apple into a 4 Cup capacity pie dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top to taste.
5. Spread the crumble over the top.

6. Put in oven to bake for 20-25mins or until golden.
7. Serve immediately with ice-cream or cream.

Serves 4

Bon Appetit xx

Notes: This crumble is quite a fine crumble. If you would like to make it coarser, I would try replacing half the flour with some roughly milled oats and/or some roughly chopped walnuts. Also, as I'm in a hurry and there's 12 minutes for the apple to cook, I make the crumble manually. If you wanted to wait, I'm sure you could make it in the Thermomix using the turbo button a few times. 

** update 19th March 2014 ** 
Please find below, the "complete" Thermomix Version.

100 grams butter, cut into 2cm cubes
80 grams plain flour
60 grams brown sugar
60 grams castor sugar

Apple filling
500 grams water
2-3 largish granny smith apples

1. Pre-heat oven to 190C. Place all crumble ingredients into TM bowl. Mix 2-3times/ 1sec/ closed lid position/ Turbo. Set aside for later.
2. Place water into TM bowl. Heat 5mins/ 100C/ speed1.
3. Meanwhile, peel and core the apples. Cut into 2-3cm cubes and place in TM basket. When water is finished, place TM basket into TM bowl and steam apples 10mins/ Varoma/ speed3.
4. When steamed through, pour apples into baking dish and top with reserved crumble. Bake in oven 20-25mins.

Monday, 12 August 2013

{beef rendang in hermie}

One of the lunches that we used to eat on the weekend growing up was a curry or rendang with roti. Because my mum was a working mum and constantly time poor, the rendang that she would cook would often have a spice paste that originated from a packet and then she would add various ingredients of her own. I ate this from quite a young age so it was one of a number of dishes that I used to 'train' my chilli eating skills on. Not to say that I can eat very hot chilli now however, whenever I eat this beef rendang in a Nasi Lemak with Acar, I toe the line of eating chilli for the pleasure, and crossing over into a world of chilli pain where your tongue slowly starts to lose its feeling from the edges in and you can feel the sweat forming on your head! 

Anyway... back to the beef rendang. After going to cooking school in Singapore a few years back, I realised that all the ingredients that were in the spice paste of a rendang were readily available in Australia and that I was familiar with all of them. A simple trip to the local Asian grocer is all that was needed to come up with a home cooked version of the tasty dish. I then made it my mission to find a super tasty recipe and I didn't have to look far. One of my favourite blogs is Not Quite Nigella and she has written her mother's recipe on the site. I have previously tried it using a good old pot, stick mixer and stove and it was delicious. In fact, I gave some to my mum and dad to try and they too think that it's the best beef rendang that they've had for some time. 

So, this time round, I've tried to convert it (and have also adjusted some quantities) so that I can cook it in the Thermomix. I think it's just as good however, I didn't get the dark caramelly colour of the sauce as dark as I like. It may have been because I wanted to eat it but we'll see what happens when I make it the next time.

120 grams desiccated coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons tamarind paste
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
800-1000 grams beef, cubed about 3-4 cm

Spice Paste:
2 brown onions, peeled & halved
16 dried chillies, soaked in hot water (the original recipe was 30 so adjust to your chilli taste)
2 red chillies (more or less depending on how much heat you would like)
1 big thumb of ginger
1 small thumb of galangal
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons of toasted coconut (from above)

Curry Sauce:
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
3 kaffir lime leaves
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, bruised
1 slice galangal
2 1/2 tablespoons palm sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
4 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (e.g. canola)
560ml coconut milk

1. Place desiccated coconut in a normal fry pan. Dry roast until golden brown. I have tried doing this in the Thermomix and can't seem to get it to brown. I think it's a combination of too much moisture in the coconut and not enough heat from the Thermomix.

2. Meanwhile, place tamarind paste, salt and sugar in an extra bowl. Mix together and add beef.

3.  Add all spice paste ingredients to TM bowl and chop 10-12secs/ speed 6. Scrape down sides of bowl. Note: be careful when opening the lid, a big hit of chilli will hit you in the face and make you cough!

4. Add in rest of spice paste ingredients and cook 5mins/ varoma/ stir speed/ reverse until fragrant.

5. Add in half the coconut milk (the thicker,creamy milk) and the beef. Depending on how much beef you're using, I add in the beef pieces and leave the desiccated coconut behind until I see it's not going to exceed the maximum level of the TM bowl. If there's space, I then add in the rest of the coconut. Cook 40mins / varoma/ stir speed/ reverse. Note: Depending on how full your TM bowl is it may 'bubble' over through the MC. If this is the case, change the temp to 100C.

6. Add in the rest of the lighter coconut milk and cook further 40mins/ 90C/ stir speed/ reverse. Check to see how tender the meat is and if you like the sauce runnier or thicker. Cook a further 60mins/ 90C/ stir speed/ reverse if required for a thicker and darker sauce (i do this bit due to the amount of meat cooked but if you use less, then adjust accordingly).

Bon Appetit xx

Beef Rendang shown here as part of Nasi Lemak with Acar, Ikan Bilis and Eggs with Prawn Sambal

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

{chicken congee in hermie}

When you are sick, a bowl of steaming hot chicken noodle soup always makes you feel better. Don't get me wrong, I still love a bowl of chicken noodle soup but there is something about a bowl of Chicken Congee that is just as perfect. It may be the ginger or the fact that it is so easy to eat, but when I was sick with a cold and my mum made it for me to feel better... I felt better. She also used to make barley water which I liked but this was nicer. I have also fed this to my 2 little munchkins Miss I and Miss A since quite small as it is quite healthy and easy to eat for babies. Some people prefer theirs with more texture and other with the rice broken down and the congee smooth. I consider myself to be right in the middle. If you prefer the latter, you could either cook it for longer so that the rice breaks down by itself or, you could give it a quick blend in the Thermomix at the end.

150 grams rice
1400 grams water
250-350grams chicken meat (parts with bones will provide more flavour) This is about 3-4 chicken thighs
Big thumb of ginger (or to taste)
8-10 dried scallops (optional)
2 spring onions
handful of coriander (or to taste)
2-3 lettuce leaves, cut into thin strips
white pepper to serve
fish sauce or salt (optional)

1. Add rice, water, chicken, ginger and dried scallops into bowl and cook 20mins/ 100C/ stir speed/ reverse.
2. Remove chicken and manually shred into pieces (If you are lucky enough to have 2 Thermomix bowls, then use the other bowl to shred 3-4secs/ speed 4). While shredding chicken, cook for a further 15mins/ 100C/ stir speed/ reverse with MC removed.
3. Re-add chicken back into TM bowl. Cook further 30mins/ 100C/ stir speed/ reverse.
3. Chop spring onion and coriander into about 1cm pieces. Set aside.
4. Check consistency of congee when finished cooking. If it is not thick enough to your liking, cook a further 5-10mins and check again.
5. Serve scooped into a bowl, with spring onion, coriander, lettuce and pepper sprinkled over the top. Serve immediately.

This time I didn't have any lettuce to add but it was still delicious

Bon Appetit xx

Tips: I already serve this to my nearly 8 month old Miss A and this is why I have not added any salt to the congee. For an adult serve, add a teaspoon or more of fish sauce for the saltiness. It adds a nice flavour. If this is too strong for you, soy sauce or salt will do the job too.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

{dried prawn sambal in hermie}

Growing up in a Chinese/Malaysian household in Australia has it's advantages. One of those is the array of yummy food that I was exposed to as a child and continue to love eating today. Having said that, a lot of those dishes that my mum used to make can be accompanied by a good sambal. There are many different types including dried shrimp/prawn, belacan, salted fish, anchovy and the list goes on. Today we are making a dried shrimp/prawn sambal that I have come up with from numerous recipes over the years. It is great to store in the fridge and can be eaten with dishes like Nasi Lemak, noodles or rice. If you are new or old to chilli, just reduce or increase the chilli quantities to your palate and you should enjoy the flavour like I do. 

Tamarind paste, kaffir lime leaves, fresh & dried chilli and dried shrimps
10 dried chillies
3 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
100 grams dried shrimp
3-4 shallots, peeled (I have used 1/2 a brown onion as that's all I had)
1 fresh chilli, cut in half
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled
50grams + 10grams vegetable oil (e.g. canola)
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon sugar
salt to taste (I used a small sprinkle)

1. Soak dried chillies in hot water. Set aside.
2. Hand cut kaffir lime leaves and set aside. I find that with this small amount of leaves, the Thermomix does not chop them evenly so I prefer this way.
3. Place shrimp into TM bowl. Chop 9-10secs / speed 6-7. Set aside. This step is optional if you are using very small shrimp. However, mine were quite large and I don't want the sambal too chunky.

Chopped dried shrimp
4. Place dried chillies, fresh chilli, shallot & garlic into TM bowl. Chop 3secs/ speed 6. Be careful when you open the lid as a waft of chilli will hit your face. If you're sensitive like me, you'll start coughing! When you've recovered, scrape down sides of bowl.
5. Add 50 grams vegetable oil to TM bowl and saute 5mins/ varoma/ speed 1.
6. Add tamarind, salt, sugar and dried shrimp to TM bowl. Cook 8-10mins/ varoma/ Stir speed/ reverse. Check the sambal about halfway through and you may need to pause and scarpe down the sides of the bowl. Cooking time will depend on how 'dry' you like you sambal. If you like it drier, cook further in 5 minute lots until desired texture is created.
7. Add in the kaffir lime leaves and cook a further 5 minutes. If required, add another 10grams of oil. Cook 5mins/ varoma/ stir speed/ reverse.
8. Store in sterilised, dry jars in the fridge.

Makes about 180-200 grams.

Bon Appetit xx