It is Monday and I am having that usual ‘I need new ideas’ freaking out moments. I probably never told anybody but I don’t actually have plans. I am making things up as I go along. I am keeping my fruit konnyaku dish as a back up if I don’t come up with anything exotic or new. Since I didn’t have time to shop or do anything else, the konnyaku is making its appearance here.
Blogging every day for 30 days is kinda exciting, not only words flow more freely but I actually grow to love writing more. I started blogging 4 years ago and that blog I started wasn’t this one. I posted pictures and topics that interests me. I made quite a few friends and they remain good friends and most of them still blog. I got my camera and started taking pictures of food, and cooking them. A couple of food blogs were popular three years ago and they were really kind bloggers. They inspired me to start my own. This blog starts to evolve and taking a more solid shape and I am actually very pleased at myself, for sticking to doing something for, well, more than 3 years. Anybody who knows my mother probably would know that I never finish what I started. Classic humanoid character that is. I have always been interested in stories behind people who blogs about food. Mine starts from owning a camera and my reluctance to go outside and shoot outdoor.
I love konnyaku. Everybody loves it. Konnyaku jelly gets famous and becomes household names years ago when it was marketed together with cheap plastic moulds. I always make mine using glass cups. I used the Royal Selangor mould, obviously, and from the top view, these babies look like flowers, don’t they?
Prepare your favorite fruits, I based my fruit choices on their colors. Red, yellow and green. Strawberries, mandarin oranges and kiwi fruit.
Ingredients are konnyaku powder, water, sugar and kaffir lime leaves.
The problem with documenting family recipes is that there isn’t any measurements and whenever you try to confirm the “recipe” you are told off-handly, it annoys people. When those people are much older, they tend to give you different cooking directions, even when you have notes that you wrote that day they would still be in denial and you would be the “crazy” person. At that point, I can tell from first hand experience, that it is best not to argue and be a wise girl and take that as a great opportunity. Sometimes I wonder if other bloggers have the same problem as I do. Do you record recipes from your family members?
This yam cake recipe is the one that I really need I have to nail and after the third times I think we did it. This time the cake turns out to be soft and silky enough to melt in your mouth, but solid enough to cut through. I love the texture of the cake, the base is soft and the top is crunchy with different level of crunchiness. It is particularly interesting when you bite into toasted sesame seeds which seems to pop. This cake is pretty fiery, as you can see, we love our chopped chilies.
I have had people asking me why does their yam cake is almost impossible to cut. I have a little tip for those whose cake is very soft and sticky. Pop the cake in the fridge for fifteen minutes or so before cutting. If you think it is too cold to serve, steam it for a couple of minutes over boiling water.
Steamed yam cake (or ‘or kueh’) is steamed taro cubes in rice flour mixture, with spring onions, Chinese celery, dried shrimp, Chinese BBQ pork, sesame seeds and fried shallots. Different families have different recipes, this is ours. And I totally love it. The mixture is prepared in advance and cook on stove top till thick and poured in greased mould, usually round or square pan. The pan is steamed for a bit till the cake is fully cooked, and condiments are scattered on top of cake and the whole thing is steamed further. Cake is served warm over breakfast or afternoon tea.
I used the cone moulds lined with banana leaves. The condiments are added after the cakes hold their forms. It is a new way of serving yam cake. Quite interesting for me. And people I gave the cones to. They must have thought I am getting weirder by the day.
Prepping for the cake starts the night before.
I have two group of friends who are divided into savory popcorn group and sweet popcorn group. The savory popcorn lovers are more sophisticated bunch. The bookies and the nerdies, who enjoys salted and peppery corn, or cheese corns or even corns with salted nuts. The sweet popcorn lovers are young spirited and more fun. I am neither young spirited nor fun, but I am a firm believer that popcorn should be richly coated with burnt sugar. The last fact is due to my amateurish attempt of over-cooking my caramel by a couple of minutes, every time.
I popped some corn, roasted some nuts, and coated everything with caramel. It is good. I tried to be generous with sprinkles of salt, but the caramel takes over everything. I am not complaining.
Ingredients are popcorns, almonds, cashews and sesame seeds.
I have a friend who was a distributor of that particular brand of ice cream with a lot of vowels on it which is the best ice cream maker in the world. Ever. She often gave us really, really good discount on some excess items she had in stock and I bought dozens of them. She always gave me a call first so I could pick out the flavor I liked best before they were chosen by other people. I filled up my freezers with those delicious frozen goodies and gave them away. Everybody loved me then.
When she stopped selling the ice cream due to some reasons, I was devastated. Okay, I have to admit that I refuse to pay retail. I called up a friend who helped me purchased ice cream maker and have it sent over. I decided it was time for me to churn up my own ice cream and make people love me again.
I only make ice cream based on one book. I ended up never give any away. People in the house polish everything I churn out of this fabulous machine and this even more fabulous recipe book. From the day I bought the machine and the book, I have been making ice cream twice a week and it is the most wonderful thing to have freezer stocked with frozen desserts that you know only the best ingredients go into it.
The sherbet was actually very beautiful and dense textured. A mocha in the real sense. When I was preparing the shots, I thought I had taken precautions of everything. I chilled the plate. I chilled the sherbet repeatedly between decorating steps. Well, they still melted. At the end of the shooting when I took this last shot, the fat content on the surface has melted completely, leaving me with this skeletal looking cones. Upset? Yeah. I panicked. But then there’s nothing else I could have done. So .. I hope you enjoy this post.
This simple snack, famously known as hunkwe pisang or kue pisang is made of mung bean starch. It is a popular market snack in the country, where normally a spoonful of batter is placed in the middle of one sheet of banana leaves and a slice of banana is placed on top of it before folding the leaves into a small packet. The starch gives it a unique bouncy texture and always serve cold. It is the perfect afternoon snack for hot days.
It has also been a while I have wanted to try making this. I think mother tried to show me how but both times ended disastrously. First time I burnt myself and the second time I burnt the batter. It seems to be one of the easiest snacks (or kue, as we call it in Indonesian). Everybody seems to have no problem with it. Mother suggested I made this as part of the Royal Selangor challenge, and I wasn’t very optimistic. I will let you decide.
The banana hunkwe I made used up about 10x more batter. The individual serving is usually only one bite, or two at most. This one, you will have to use a fork and knife to finish it up. But it is a good experience. I feel more confident in trying to shape it the traditional way. My brother is a big fan. I am still waiting for him to finish up the two cones.
Have you ever eaten our local kue (or kuih in Malaysian)? Which one is your favorite?