Healthy Kitchen Smells Fresh

July 30, 2009

Roti Canai (Malaysian Paratha)

Filed under: Asians, Breads, Breakfasts, Cooking, Malaysians, Savories, Side Dishes, Snacks — nshahida @ 12:42 am


I have never imagined myself making Roti Canai on my own. Thought roti canai is the most difficult thing to make.Grew up watching my aunt; from kneading to stretching this roti I knew I would fail this mission if I were to make one.

I wasn’t wrong at all. The first time, the 2nd also… is very predictable what would the outcome be… the bad one always goes to the chicken, you know it. Would I say Roti Canai is very tricky to make? Yes it is to me. But is it impossible? No, it is not. Because finally I made it, so can you.

To get the dough consistency correctly is what makes it adventurous,  I had to ask around including my mother-in-law(MIL) who makes  very good roti canai. With some of her tips I benefited, I should thank her. Oh yes, I did!!

Stretching roti canai.. It scared me big time. Safe to say, even more challenging, but not after several practices! Just like the one professional pizza makers do – they stretch and throw, almost exactly. I still remember, I learnt stretching and throwing my wet kitchen towel and got caught by hubby, he wondered what I was trying to do, some workout routine? Aha… may be!!  Well, it can also be done by stretching out the dough on a big plate till the dough gets really thin, according to my MIL. I think it’s a genius idea too!

The best part is when it just cooked – warm, flaky and soft. Serve it with Dhall Curry with dollop of Sambal (chili sauce)… or dip in anything… try with a little bit condensed milk, trust me… you couldn’t get any hyper-ly happier.

Now, isn’t it piece of cake!! You think?


Roti Canai (Makes 8-9 medium size roti)

4 ½ cups all purpose flour ( Extra 1-2 teaspoons if needed)

1 tsp fine salt

1 cup water ( 250 mL)

1 large egg , room temperature

¼ cup condensed milk

1 Tablespoon melted butter

Enough canola or other cooking oil and butter for submerging/soaking / coating and stretching .


1- In a large mixing bowl, mix all purpose flour with salt. Make a well in the center.

2- In a small bowl, stir together water, egg, condensed milk and melted butter until mixed.

3- Gradually pour in the mixture from small bowl ( wet mixture) into the prepared well in the large mixing bowl.

4- Using fingers to work the flour into the liquid until we can form a ball. Knead the dough until it is very smooth but we might notice the dough is a little sticky. Do not add flour just yet.. Keep kneading for about 10 minutes in total.

5- Cover the dough with kitchen towel and let it rest for 15 minutes.

( Note: This process helps the dough absorb the liquid evenly and to relax the gluten ever so slightly.)

6- Continue to knead the dough for another 8-10 minutes until elastic and feels like satin. Now, at this point.. we will notice that dough will be no longer sticky. BUT if it still is.. please add only one teaspoon. Continue kneading. Cover and let is rest once again for another 15 minutes. ( Kneading resting process helps minimizing development of the gluten and makes stretching and shaping the roti way easier without over tearing it.)

7- Knead the dough , this is to assure that all ingredients are evenly absorbed. At this point, we should be able to get a very elastic and smooth dough.

8- Divide the dough into half. Divide each half into 5-6, repeat with the other half, we will get 10-12 portion total. Form each portion into a ball.

Roti Canai How to's

9- Now, it’s an optional whether to coat the balls with butter or oil.

If we choose butter, grease the bottom of a large pan with generous amount of soften butter so the balls won’t stick. Then generously coat each ball with butter, please make sure that each of them are well coated otherwise they stick to each other.

If we choose submerge them in large amount of oil, simple!! Pour small amount of oil into a medium bowl.. enough to coat the bottom of the bowl. Add the balls , all of them.. yes, lay them stack on each other.. don’t worry, they won’t stick cause you will add more oil into the bowl enough to cover the top of the balls.

To my personal opinion, submerging into cooking oil is much easier to work  with , plus if coating with butter.. still we will need some amount of oil while working on the dough later.

10- Cover the bowl/pan with plastic wrap. Let them rest in the refrigerator for more than 4 hours. Preferably overnight, 12 hours.

11- We are ready for the adventure ; shaping, stretching and frying. Before that, remove the bowl/pan from the refrigerator, let them sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Just so the dough will be easy to work on.

12- Working on the dough, we need a large working space – about 35 inch  or bigger table , counter top etc. With palm, press each balls to make 5 inch diameter disk, one at a time. Let them rest for another 5 – 8 minutes. ( yes, a lot of resting require to minize the gluten from developing.)

13- This time we will have to play with oil.. lotsa oil.. Oil the working surface/board .. including our hands.. oil them generously. Oil prevents friction between our hands and the dough and between the dough and the working surface. Oil also keeps the dough moist. This is very important method to be followed otherwise we will have difficulty to stretch the dough really thin and the dough will stick and messy and tearing everywhere.

14- Start with the first pressed dough, lay the dough on oiled working surface.Brush the dough with oil  or oil plus melted butter. Lightly press in middle of the dough with fingers, from the center.. start pulling and stretching the dough evenly. Be careful not to tear it esp in the middle because the tear will grow bigger as your stretch and you really need to start over. Just lightly press it until we get about 8-9 inches disk. If by chance the dough spring back when stretching, let it rest for 5 minutes and then come back.

15- If the dough gets dry, brush more oil. Then work at the edges, with the heel of palm, press the edges .. stretching the dough evenly so as not to tear it and working all around the dough in a circle.

16- Oil our hands and the dough again. Take the dough from one edge with one hand. Slam the dough quickly and working all around in circle the same way. This is what we call ‘kebar/tebar’ or stretching roti canai. Repeat until the dough gets really thin and translucent. There will be tears and holes at the edges, do not worry, they will be covered by the many layers on untorn part.

If this method is found tricky .. yes it is for the beginner. Here is another method we can try.

On oiled big plate, lay the dough in the middle. Stretch  dough (See step 14 and 15) until we get to edges of the plate. Keep oiling the dough if it start to dry out. Stretch and pull into thinner sheet.

17- Bring one side of the thin dough to center. The other side to center to form a long dough. . If we can get air trapped in the thin sheet at this point, don’t press air out as it would give a lighter fluffier result.

Roti Canai How to's 1

18. Hold one end upwards and the other end on the working surface. Swirl it down to form a  piece of  swirly turban . Let it rest for about 15 minutes, the longer the better ( reason? Because later we will  pat it to make a larger and thinner turban, so we need to rest the gluten again to make it easy to shape it.)

Repeat step no.13 – 18 with the rest of the balls.

19- Pat the turban dough with tips of our fingers. If needed,Only slightly stretching required. Pat until 10-12 inches disk is formed. Preheat  a medium pan on medium heat, pan fry/cook the roti . Flip on the other side when it start to bubble , slightly brown and crisp. Keep flipping until cooked. Repeat with the remaining.

20- Serve it warm with Dhall Curry with dollop of sambal or anything to your liking.

Roti Canai

Troubleshooting and Notes to success :

1- Whole wheat flour is not recommended for this recipe.

2- This is important to get a very elastic dough before resting it, too soft dough may cause lots of holes and tears on the thin dough. The right consistency of the dough is very crucial in making roti canai.

3-  I know, this roti canai method requires several of resting process but I can vouch you, iA.. the end result that make you thank yourself. It worth the waiting. Flaky, light and pliable soft roti canai is what we aim for.

4- Work the dough very quickly to avoid the dough from drying and tearing.

5- Brushing the dough with oil and butter makes our roti canai flakier and layery . Either way works just fine.

6- Do not overcook the roti canai cause it will get too flaky, dry out and crumbly.


If cooked fully, store them in a clean and dry Ziploc, refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. If planned for longer storing, cooked the roti just until bubbled and slightly crisp , lay each half cooked roti canai on a parchment paper, stack on each other. Place in a Ziploc /freezer bag, double it. Freeze for up to 4 months.


July 26, 2009

Explosively Delicious Banana Muffins

Filed under: Bakings, Breads, Breakfasts, Cakes, Desserts, Snacks — nshahida @ 12:33 am

Banana Muffins

What would you make when your bananas go uber and unpleasantly juicy with the flesh oozes out from the cracked skin? Not so pleasant to be devoured just as is – though they smells great when they go overly ripen . If you ask me, I’d say Banana Bread at most . Can’t go wrong with banana bread with some favorite add ins of mine – bitter still sweet chocolate chip or bites of chopped toasted walnuts or spice it up with hint of cinnamon .. ginger it a little bit… or may be the combination of all. Plain as is , you ask me? Why not, right..

Whenever I wish to go on the fancy side.. I transform loaf size into muffin. How? Of course by scooping out the batter into a muffin pan.. then tadaaa!! let it be as fancy as I imagine. As long as the end result pleases everyone…

I adapted the recipe from Ina’s Tri-berry Breakfast muffin with some major alteration, it’s obvious.. isn’t it? I love this recipe and all I could think of is.. I’d make this over and over.

Or.. do you have any other suggestions?


Banana Muffins (Makes 16-18 medium muffins)


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger ( optional)
2/3 cup milk
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup butter, melted and cooled

½ cup canola oil
3 over ripen medium bananas, ( about 1 cup)  mashed till smooth
1 cup white sugar

Add ins:

½ cup walnuts, Toasted and chopped

1/3 bittersweet choc chips


1- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

2- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger (if using) together in a large bowl. Stir with your hand to be sure the ingredients are combined. In another bowl, combine the milk, mashed bananas, eggs, canola oil and melted butter. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture, pour the wet mixture into the well, and stir until just combined. There will be some lumps but don’t overmix the batter! Add the chopped walnuts, choc chips and sugar and stir gently to combine.

3- Using a 2¼-inch ice cream scoop, spoon the batter into the muffin cups to fill the liners. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the tops are nicely browned.

July 24, 2009

Kuih Dangai ( Malaysian Coconut Macaroon Pie)

Freshly Baked Kuih Dangai

Months back, I promised a good friend of mine to make a Malay Kuih for her – Kuih Dangai. I am not sure if she still remember this but I gave a good laughed at myself because I ended up with an empty hand, nothing even a back up. I apologized and amazingly she didn’t mad at me at all !! No, I didn’t break my promise. The kuih wasn’t appetizingly edible to be presented, by it’s texture mainly. The gooey oozy and sticky result was not wasted; I forced myself and hubby to eat them all (We do this all the time so no food wasting) with the determination of I will try again till I get it . Scary thing I did to us .. sorry husband!

Honest to be told, I didn’t know how to make this kuih exactly by measurement.. how embarrassing!. Watching my grandma made this family favorite, I memorized the ingredients but the measurement is over my head, could not understand to measure by can , regular cup etc. So I have to figure out the exact consistency and of course using a standard measurement. With quite number of trial and errors and also scary moments for both me and hubby,  it eventually turned out as I’ve been after for,  I am so thankful for that!

The minor problem now, to make kuih dangai, there is a particular mold. I can’t remember what element the mold is made but it’s quite heavy and it comes in dual. If I can find it here, it will surely be a big party to celebrate because you can hardly find it anywhere lately in Malaysia, even. Reason? Kuih Dangai is a long forgotten kuih and not everyone makes this kuih.

No mold, No problem.. use what ever you have.. really! Sandwich toaster is what I would recommend because It looks almost the same and toast / cook the kuih evenly and nicely – crusty and toasty externally and very moist and mildly sweet in the inside.. just prefect.. just like the one with the real mold. I am pretty sure.. iA.  Did you just ask me what I used for my kuih dangai? I will explain later in the method section ..iA.

If you enjoy coconut macaroon , this is pretty much the same.. a Malaysian version, A Malaysian Macaroon Pie it is. The differences are kuih dangai is more fragrant, very toasty and rich in coconut flavor,  the sweetness is not overpowering. A big bonus, It is very simple to make too. You can ask your kids to make it for you, I suspect they will be amazed how easy it is to make… if only they know how to measure things!

One thing I learned though, I should make a promise something I know for sure or something I have experienced.


My promise  to make that kuih dangai has yet to reach because she (my friend aka sister) has moved away. The idea of mailing this kuih to her is not even appealing either or it will get sticky oozy again  or the worse.. non-edible at all . You can’t force people to eat a rotten food, it is sinful, isn’t it?


Kuih Dangai ( Makes 4 wedges)

You can definitely double the portion, just double all ingredients mentioned. For baking/toasting , you can also use a regular baking dish for this kuih. If the portion doubled, fit in a bigger pan. This kuih is great to serve warm, it gets soggy when cooled. Pop in the oven or microwave or on stove for reheating.


  • 2 cups grated fresh coconut, press and drain off the juice ever so slightly until you obtain about 1/3 cup coconut milk ( keep it for other use)
  • ½ cup glutinous rice flour ( sweet rice flour)
  • 2 teaspoons white granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar, ( for sprinkling)  add 1-2 teaspoons for sweeter but no more than that.


1- Preheat the oven to 400 F/ 205 Celsius .


2- Grease well a small cast iron pan (yes, this is what I used) with canola oil. Set Aside.

3- In a mixing bowl, mix grated coconut, glutinous flour, white sugar and salt. Stir until well combined. It looks crumbly at this point. Take a scoop of the mixture, pack it up in your palm.. if it comes together, you are good to continue the next step. If otherwise, add 1 teaspoon of glutinous flour.. bit by bit until it comes together if pressing. ( DO NOT add too much flour to the mixture,  kuih dangai will be tough and taste more flour than coconut).


4- In a well greased iron cast pan, scoop half of the coconut mixture in. Press with finger or spatula to fill and fit the pan fully. (why you want to do this? So the sugar won’t oozes to the bottom of the pan while baking.)

5- Sprinkle light brown sugar on the press mixture, leave out the edges about 1/2 inch apart.


6- The other half of the mixture remained, repeat the same thing in step-4.

7- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges browned and crispy.. the top browned and toasted. Remove from the oven. Let it cool for 10 minutes so that caramelized brown sugar is settled  and then cut into wedges. Enjoy while it is still warm.

Note: If using sandwhich makers/toaster, do not toast too long.. 8-10 minutes should be good enough. Sandwhich makers cooks kuih dangai much faster because the heat is direct and comes from the top and the bottom.

If using cast iron, you can also toast/cook on a stove on low heat.

July 11, 2009

Pau or Steamed Buns with Bean Filling

Filed under: Asians, Breads, Breakfasts, Chinese, Desserts, Malaysians, Savories, Side Dishes, Snacks, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 8:41 pm


It’s been while I didn’t make this ..long enough to get me drool over a Chinese bun – what’s so called steamed bun or we Malaysians call Pau. I really enjoy this very moist but still chewy gummy ( in a good way) bun with balance of sweet salty creamy or sometimes savory filling.. really.. the filling is of your choice. I prefer bean filling that is not overly sweet, personally! also can be store bought or homemade. I adore the homemade one.

Making these Chinese steamed bun isn’t tricky at all  if you do a lot bread baking or not.. I agree, the recipe might be a little different.. it really depends on how you want it. I mean, the type of flour calls for the recipes is varied. For instance, if you are like me, be it slightlychewy , fluffy and soft at the same time, regular all purpose flour is all you need. For more on fluffier cakey like, you might want to grab some sort of low gluten flour – cake or superfine flour. It’s all up to your preferences.


For pleating, again, is up to your own creativity. I love making it the way Chinese make their steamed bun or the like. There is art of making it. Just like karipap , takes some times to master the skill that you will finally proud of yourself. Or, another choice, make it snappy simple! Wrap the filling up, roll it then in one second you are ready for steaming.. can’t get any easier. It still ends you with a good result anyway .Especially when it just comes out from the steamer – adorable fresh looking and warm soft fluffy bun with the filling on each bite. Can’t get over it !


For the recipe, I adapted from few collection of Chinese/Asian cook books and some online recipes. Came up with the combination of all and that’s what I’ve been using so far ; with the result I after for.

Bean Paste

Bean Filling Paste. ( Makes 2 Cups)


  • 2 cups Dried green beans

(Soaked in water overnight, 8-12 hours. Cook till tender , drain to separate all the excess liquid and set aside)

  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon white sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil


1- On medium heat, In a medium sauce pan, add in the cooked drained green beans. Stir in light brown sugar, white sugar and salt. Let them cooked together and the sugar caramelized. Adjust the salt as needed.

2- Drizzle in canola oil, toss them to well incorporated. Turn off the heat.

3- Now it’s up to you, you may want to mash this bean mixture with potato masher. Mash until you get smooth mushy paste. Or another easier option, my personal favorite, put the mixture in the food processor, process till smooth consistency paste – not too crumbly or runny. DO NOT add any liquid to the mixture, if needed, pour in 1 tablespoon canola oil if the mixture is very crumbly and too pasty.

Ready to use or STORE in a clean dry container in the refrigerator up to 1 ½ week or freeze it for up to 3-4 month.

Steamed Bun ( Pau) (Makes 12-14 buns)


  • 4 ¼ cups all purpose flour, 2-3 Tablespoons extra as needed
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Instant Dry yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (or white sugar)
  • 250 mL ice cold water , 2 teaspoons extra as needed
The Simple Easy Method For Wrapping The filling

The Simple Easy Method For Wrapping The filling


1- In a large mixing bowl, mix well all purpose flour and baking powder. Then add in dry yeast.

2- Stir in honey or sugar, canola oil and pour in ½ cup of water. Mix everything together. Then add another ½ cup of water, mix until smooth and soft dough is formed, about 4 minutes.

3- Cover the bowl and let it sit for 15 minutes.

4- On lightly floured surface, knead the rested dough till soft and elastic dough is formed, about 8 minutes. ( if by chance, your dough is still sticky, add 1 teaspoon of flour , knead and add bit by bit of flour, keep kneading until the dough becomes smooth soft and elastic. Add 1 teaspoon of water if otherwise.)

I repeat Steps 3 and 4 one more time , just to assure all ingredients are well combined and the dough are really silky smooth.

5- Divided the dough into 12-14, roll into balls.

6- Spray a large baking pan or any large container to fit the balls. Sprinkle with a little bit of flour. Place the balls on the flour pan. Space each ball about 2 inches apart so that they won’t stick to each other as they rise. Cover with large plastic bags or wrap with plastic wrapper. Let them rest in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours. (or the balls can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days, if not using after that, wrap them individually with plastic wrapper , place in a Ziploc/freezer bag and keep in the freezer for up to one month).

7- Take the balls out of refrigerator, 30-45 minutes in advance before working on it again. Let them sit at room temperature just so they rise almost double in volume.

If you choose the simple way, here is the method:

1- Roll up flat one ball at a time, spoon the filling (of your choice) , about 1 teaspoon in the middle of the dough. Wrap up the filling by stretching out the edges of the dough. Cover it tightly so that it’s wont ooze out while steaming. Repeat with the remaining.

2- Cover them with damp kitchen towel, or large plastic bag. Let them rest again, the last one for about 15-20 minutes, they rise again at this point. DO NOT let them rise too much, your steamed bun will fall while steaming and the skin wrinkle.. that’s not pretty, though won’t effect the taste.

3- While waiting them rise, heat the steamer on medium-high heat , makesure the steamer is hot, I mean really2 hot. Line the steamer pan with parchment paper or banana leave so the buns won’t stick to the pan.

4- Arrange the buns on the steamer pan, 3-4 dough balls at a time, depending on the size of your steamer. Make sure to space each ball, 2 inches apart just so they don’t stick to each other. Steam for about 20 minutes. Remove from the steamer and enjoy.

May 30, 2009

Multi-Grain Whole Wheat bread and buns-

Filed under: Bakings, Breads, Breakfasts, Vegan, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 1:02 pm

Whole bread

For months I have been torturing myself – skipping breakfast each morning, unpurposely  .This morning , I somehow determined to start a new habit again and with hope it ‘s not a “yo-yo” one. I want to start my morning with breakfast.

‘but with what?’ I asked myself as if there is nothing at all.

Yes, I saw a full jar of rolled oats but I was imagining of something nutty and grainy… may be a slice or two whole wheat bread? Oh wait! May be something sandwich with it. Sounds satisfying!!

Being fussy again, no wonder I have been skipping food!

Unfortunately, It could only be a dream if I don’t put effort to bake the  whole loaf myself – because we were out of bread for weeks now, surprisingly. I then decided to do some kneading, waiting and baking a whole loaf whole grain bread or may be two. At least, we can possibly enjoy our bread for another week .

The bread turned out as expected, better that the commercial whole wheat bread, I believe.. Alhamdulilah.. nothing better to say.

I used a basic whole wheat recipe from this cookbook – been using it eversince my first bread making attempt, about 3 years ago. Of course I make some major and minor tweaks for my own variations each time making bread. I hope it’d be alright because I share the credit to the original recipe, am I correct?

Multi-Grain Whole wheat Bread ( Yields: 2Loaves, 12 Slices each Loaf)

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup flax seeds ( or toasted sesame seeds)
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds ( or any nuts of your choice or may be omitted)
  • ½ cup Fat free non dairy milk powder ( or dairy milk powder)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 package ( 2 and ½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons Turbinado sugar ( or light brown sugar)
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses (or honey)
  • 2 cups warm soy milk (120F – 130F) ( or can be juice, water  and other milk alternatives)
  • 2 Tablespoons margarine , melted and cooled
  • 3 cups all purpose flour , another ½ cup or as needed.
  • 1 Tablespoon margarine , for brushing


1- Combine first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. ( mixture A)

2- In another bowl, mix warm milk, Turbinado sugar, dry yeast and molasses or honey. Mix thoroughly to well-combined and let it sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture start bubbly. It is to help activate the yeast and the dough will rise more effectively.

3- Gradually stir in the yeast mixture and cooled margarine into the combined dry ingredients (mixture A). Stir with wood spatula until moistened for about 2-3 minutes OR Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until moistened. Stir in enough all-purpose flour to make a soft dough.

4- Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes).

Greased bowl

Grease a large bowl with a drop canola oil

dough 1

Place dough in a well-greased bowl,and…


turning to grease top.


Cover andlet rise in a warm place (80F), free from drafts, 55 minutes or


until doubled in bulk,


5- Punch dough down.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 4 to 5 times. Divide dough in half.


Roll 1 portion of dough into 14- x 7-inch rectangle. Stretch (would be best)or roll up dough.

Fold the dough in half, pinch the end edge tightly.


Then fold in half again, pinch the end edge.

Fold and pinch the dough again until a log formed. Pinch end to seal. Fold both pinch ends to fit a 9- x 5-inch loafpan.

Place dough, seam side down in the loaf pan.

Repeat procedure with remaining of dough. Or you can be creative with variety of shapes.( I will show you later on).


Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts , 30 minutes . Meanwhile, for about 1 hour before placing/baking the dough, preheat the oven 375F.

6- With a sharf knife, make 3 diagonal slit (this is optional) and baking in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top start and the edge look brown and sound hollow when tapped at the bottom. Remove bread from from pans immediately; and brush with melted margarine right while it still hot.

7- Cool on wire racks. Ready to slice.

Here is another method you might want to try:



Whole Bread Bun

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