Healthy Kitchen Smells Fresh

October 16, 2009

A Malaysian Wedding Cookie , Biskut Mazola

Filed under: Asians, Bakings, Cookies, Desserts, Snacks, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 11:35 pm

Biskut Mazola

Before baking

Biskut Mazola ( Makes 2 dozen (24 pieces) medium size cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup finely grounded toasted peanuts
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup white sugar ( preferably icing (superfine) sugar)
  • ¼ cup nonfat milk powder (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 200 L canola oil, extra 2-3 tablespoons if needed

For topping:

  • Egg wash (1 large egg yolk + 1 teaspoon fresh milk or water )
  • Toasted sesame seeds , for sprinkling (optional)

Methods:

1- Preheat the oven to 300 F / 150 Celcius. Grease a cookie baking sheet with oil or line parchment paper or silicon mate on.

step1

2- In a large mixing bowl, stir together grounded peanut, all purpose flour, cornstarch ,  milk powder ( if using) ,sugar,  baking soda, baking powder. Mix to well combine.

step2

3- Gradually stir the oil in bit by bit until a firm glossy dough is formed. If the dough is crumbly ( when packed in palm and it falls apart) , add more oil 1 teaspoon at a time.

4- Scope out 1 Tablespoon of the dough, roll into a ball. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place on a prepared baking sheet. You should get 20 – 24 balls . A dough ball should be 1 inch apart from the other balls, the cookie spread slightly.

5- Brush each top with egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on it, just before baking.

6- Bake them for 8- 10 minutes or until browned but not burned. The cookie will be slightly fragile to touch right after baked, that’s ok. It gets hardened as cooled completely. Enjoy with your tea or coffee.

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September 16, 2009

Asian Chicken Meat Balls

Filed under: Allergy Free, Asians, Cooking, Gluten-Free, Malaysians, Savories, Side Dishes, Snacks — nshahida @ 10:58 pm

Meat Balls

This is definitely my comfort food, one of the kinds. I love this chicken meat ball recipe, very Asian-y and of course healthy. This recipe was created in order to fulfill  my crave toward a good chicken ball, the one that suits my taste buds and diet. I didn’t want to throw this and that and end up with unpleasant flavorless chicken balls. So there I went, scanning my kitchen pantry and some pondering I did . I knew I wanted to go differently this time – ginger and cardamom were in my head. Grated carrot as the add in to boost up my fiber intake, since I love veggies…why not!

The ending was a surprise in delightfulness to me,  at least.. with punch of bright gingery flavor and hints of  cardamom, the meat itself so moist, flavorful and light , absolutely what I after for, perfecto Alhamdulillah!. This is a keeper. A plus, this recipe is kids friendly, too, cause you can hide the vegetables in the meat while they enjoying it without noticing. My 18 month toddler loves it.

How do we serve it? Enjoy it as snack, or to go with salad or along with pasta or rice.  Oh..I have an idea.. how about sandwich it! What do you think?

The Ingredients

Asian Chicken Meat Balls ( Makes 8-12 medium size balls)

It really is the ginger that makes this recipe an Asian flare but If you do not like ginger and cardamom at all, create you own by omitting or replacing  any of your favorite spices or herbs  such as cinnamon, chopped parsley , oregano and the like. The key is be moderate in adding spices or herbs so it will not be overpowering.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs (about 2 Cups) minced chicken breast, if the meat is too wet, squeeze the juice slightly
  • ¾ cup grated carrots , the juice slightly squeezed ( about ¼ cup juice is obtained, set aside for other use.)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2-3 Tablespoons finely chopped scallions or green onion
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped cilantro (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper powder ( add more for more heat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch ( or all purpose flour)

Methods:

1- Toss everything together in a medium mixing bowl. Lightly mix them to well combined. Scoop out a tablespoon of the mixture, form into a ball to makesure the mixture is easy to handle, if it crumbles.. add 1 teaspoon of the carrot juice or if it’s too wet and fall apart.. add 1 teaspoon cornstarch at a time until the mixture is easy to form. Cover the bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

2- Scoop out 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture. Lightly roll it into a ball. ( be careful not to squeeze it or pack it up too much otherwise the chicken ball will lose it’s moist and tough in texture.. really.. we do not want that.) Place it on a big plate or baking sheet. Repeat the same thing with the remaining. You will finally get 8-12 balls depending on size actually.

3- Heat a medium pan or cast iron. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon canola oil ( do this each batch). Let the oil heated.

4- Place 3-4 balls each batch on the heated pan. ( Do not overcrowd the pan if you want them seared well and not overcooked.) Let them cooked for 4-5 minutes , no more than that. Turn them over , and let cook on the other side for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and repeat step 3 with the remaining batch.

5- Serve while it still warm.

 I served my chicken meat balls along with rice porridge

I served my chicken meat balls along with rice porridge

Storing: If you have some leftovers, place them in a dry and clean Ziploc bag or container and sit up to a week in the refrigerator or 2-3 weeks (approximately) in the freezer.

Notes:

1- Why we do not want to over cook them? To keep the meat tender , moist , sweet and flavorful.

2- If somehow you happen to notice your meat is undercooked, place it back on the pan, let cook for 1-2 minutes.

Lemon Curd

Filed under: Bakings, Cakes, Desserts, Snacks — nshahida @ 8:36 pm

Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is somewhat a bright citrusy yellow custard . To make this lemon curd needs some large amount of lemons and egg yolks, that’s why we call it custard.. the more yolks we add.. the more creamier it gets. No.. no milk required but butter. You can’t really think about health and diet for while if you want to indulge this. Should we consider skipping dinner just for this luscious custard? Hmm.. I sure would!

Lemon curd can be served as a topping to your dessert.. cheesecake like I did from the previous post, doughnut, may be cookies , cakes or anything you desire. According to Lori Longbotham, “ this spread is very popular in Great Britain, where it is eaten on toasted bread or cake, on scones fresh out of the oven, in tart fillings, and in triffle.”

Lemon Curd

Adaptation:Lori Longbotham , Luscious Lemon Dessert

Ingredients:

½ cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter

¾ cup sugar

½ cup fresh lemon juice

3 Tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

Pinch of salt ( if using salted butter, please skip this)

6 large egg yolks

Methods:

1- Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

2- Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, zest and salt. Whisk in the yolks until smooth.

3- Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickens and leaves a path on the back of a wooden spoon when a finger is drawn across it, do not allow the mixture to boil.

4- Immediately pour the lemon curd through a strainer into a bowl. Let cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally, refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Storing: If not using immediately, store in a dry and clean glass jar or plastic container . Refrigerate up to a month and up to 3 months in the freezer.

Note:If somehow your lemon curd gets unspreadable, warm on the stove on low heat or microwave it just until just smooth and slightly warm again.

Lemon Curd on top of my cheesecake

August 5, 2009

Summer Berries Crostata ( Rustic Pie)

Filed under: Bakings, Desserts, Snacks, Uncategorized — nshahida @ 10:31 pm

IMG_6358

I will update more on this later..iA but nothing more interesting than the recipe itself, correct? So feel free to try this with your own creativity and variation for the filling.. make it fascinating.

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Summer Berries Crostata (Rustic Pie)

Source: Ina Garten Cookbook, (Ina at home)

Ingredients

IMG_6371

For the pastry (makes 2 crostatas)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) ice water.

For the pastry:

Methods:

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and toss quickly (and carefully!) with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour. Pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board, roll it into a ball, cut in half, and form into 2 flat disks. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If you only need 1 disk of dough The other disk of dough can be frozen.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to the baking sheet

For the filling (makes 1 crostata)

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh cherries , seeded and sliced in half
  • 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 Tablespoon for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh milk, for brushing, optional

For the filling:

Methods:

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1-Place blueberries and cherries in a bowl. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of the flour, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the orange zest, and the orange juice.

IMG_6309

Place the mixed fruit on the dough circle, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.

2-Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the fruit. Gently fold the border of the pastry over the fruit, pleating it to make an edge. Brush the pastry with fresh milk. Sprinkle with a little bit of sugar.

IMG_6315

3-Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender. Let the crostata cool for 5 minutes, then use 2 large spatulas to transfer it to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

IMG_6351

July 30, 2009

Roti Canai (Malaysian Paratha)

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

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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?

IMG_6407

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 .

Methods:

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.

Storing:

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.

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