Saturday, March 19, 2011

Deep Fried Nian Gao in Spring Roll Pastry

What is sticky, sweet, gooey and delicious? Caramel? No. What I am describing is a traditional Chinese delicacy that is available only during Chinese New Year, the Nian Gao. It is made from glutinous flour, sugar and water, steamed for many hours in a mould lined with banana leaves. I have heard of several ways of eating it but I still prefer the deep fried version.

My mum used to sandwich the Nian Gao in between a slice of sweet potato and a slice of yam then coat it with a batter, deep fried till golden brown. I have been eating this once every year for twenty over years and not tired of it yet. :) But my mum always complained to me that the oil splatters everywhere, even onto her arms when she is deep frying them. So when I saw what Wendy did with her Nian Gao, I proposed this idea to my mum and she was in for it.We did some modification to the recipe. Instead of mashing the yam and seasoning it, we just cut the yam into rectangles, rubbed them with salt and steamed them for 10 to 15 minutes. After which, the assembling part is the same as what Wendy did.

The outcome is simply divine. Haha. When it just came out of the fryer, the Nian Gao is gooey and the pastry is crispy. Left it to cool for a while, the Nian Gao becomes a bit chewy and the pastry is still crispy. This is my favourite texture. If left overnight, the pastry will turn soft and crumbles but still taste good. The pastry will regain its crispiness after toasting but the pastry looks darker and full of wrinkles. Tastewise is as good as before. Yum Yum.

Traditional Delicacy

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Weekend Afternoon Tea

Today, I invited my uncle and aunt to my house together with my parents to have a simple afternoon tea and also a bonding session. Haha. I have baked a blueberry pound cake yesterday. I need to bake in advance because I am a slow worker. Sigh. I inherited this from my mum as what my dad always says. :) I think I slightly overbaked this cake as you can see that the crust is rather thick. Other than that, I love this cake. It is so fragrant, fruity, buttery and tender. High cholesterol but I can't resist it. Love it. My mum brought back what was left as she didn't have enough of it too. I got this recipe from Seasaltwithfood. Thanks so much.

I think my skill still have lots of room for improvement. See the big holes there? I will definitely make this cake again. The next dish that I prepared is the savory dish called pearl balls. It is actually meatballs coated with glutinous rice. I got my inspiration from Honey Bee Sweets. It is a very simple dish to prepare. I made the meat mixture in advance and coated them with glutinous rice when I wanted to steam. I modified the recipe a bit by replacing the prawns with fish paste to make my life a little easier. As usual, lazy. ;) I am still not very confident with my seasoning skills so I boiled some water and cooked two meatballs to have a taste of it. Luckily the taste is well-balanced. Good enough to treat my parents and guests.

Pretty morsels. Looks elegant and cute. Easy to eat too. I think I will omit the grease paper next time and just simply grease the plate to prevent them from sticking.

Lastly, I also baked two hasselback sweet potatoes. The slicing of the potatoes is really a challenge to me. The sweet potatoes are so hard. I cut through it twice. So sad. No skill. After struggling for half an hour, I finally did it. Haha. Filled with satisfaction. I prepared according to what Seasaltwithfood has blogged. Towards the end of the baking, a familiar smell struck me. Roasted chestnuts. It must be the smell of the burnt sugar on the aluminium foil. This dish is also well-received. Just that I need to eat more spinach to gain more arm power before I do it again. ;) But I think I will make this again because my hubby likes it.