Healthy Kitchen Smells Fresh

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.

Because…

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?

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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.

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Methods:

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

1

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).

2

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.

3

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 16, 2009

Gluten Free ‘Graham’ Crackers

Filed under: Allergy Free, Bakings, Cookies, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 12:14 am

Gluten Free 'Graham' Crackers

When This graham crackers was made in the process  , I pondered for some variation that could be derived from the recipe.

Could that be allergen free or something? I questioned myself.

Perhaps!! I declared hesitantly

The answer was not a promise since I haven’t tried any gluten free crackers just yet. Thinking it would not hurt trying, I pursued with all possible ingredients that had been planned in mind. With “not too many but ok” baking with allergy free know-how, I continued my mission and hoped for the best.

When it first came out from the oven, the skeptical thought gushed in. I started to worry , it might fall apart. I remember I had an equal experience with this one too so I let it cool completely and be positive.

I didn’t get hurt or disappointed at all, big alhamdulillah.It finally holds up together wonderfully.  Indeed, I was so pleased it didn’t have to go to the trash plus it came out as planned, even better I’d say. The texture was perfect  and everything else.. alhamdulillah , not exactly but almost to say the least with  normal non allergen free graham cracker.

If you ask my  opinion, I’d choose this one over the regular one. The reason for that is indescribable until you try it yourself, you don’t even need me to say it here.

Just don’t overbaked them, they are quite fragile to touch right after baking , they get hardened as they cooled . Overbaking may end up teeth breaking crackers.

Crackers

Gluten Free ‘Graham’ Crackers  (Yields 12 small Crackers)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (or white rice flour)
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 coconut flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon  cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger powder (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoons Vegetable shortening or coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoons molasses (honey or another 2 tbsp brown sugar)
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons applesauce

Methods:

1- In a medium mixing bowl, Mix together the flours ( brown rice and buckwheat flour), cornstarch ,coconut flakes (if using) baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and gonger powder ( if using). Add shortening/ oil, stir and rub with tip of your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 30 seconds or so.

2- In a large mixing bowl, whip the shortening, oil and sugar till smooth. Add in applesauce ,molasses,and vanilla. Mix well to combine.

3- Stir in the flour mixture into the large bowl ( wet ingredients) . Mix them to form a smooth soft dough… until the dough starts to come together in a ball, another 30 seconds. Scrape dough out.

3- Between 2 sheets of waxed or parchment paper, roll the dough 1/8-inch thick. Chill for at least 1 hour, until firm – several hours.

4- Preheat oven to 350F. Retrieve dough and roll it a bit more if it is not yet 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, score into 2 x 4 -inch squares. Leave the squares together; you can break them up after they’re baked. With a fork or toothpick, prick several holes in each cracker.

5- Bake for 20 minutes 0r until lightly browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan. Do not overbake them.

June 12, 2009

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Filed under: Allergy Free, Bakings, Gluten-Free, Savories, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 12:06 pm

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Here is another version for healthier chips. Sweet potato chips, in replace for greasy deep fried, high sodium potato chips that being craved by most of us. Honest to be said, I am no a big fan for chips but I crave for it sometimes whenever my mind starts imagining something munchable and satisfying to be snacked. I am such a huge “snacker”, don’t you know me?

Good news, you don’t have to waste your cooking oil for chips, no more! I baked it in the oven, a very low heat as for the cooking method. With small amount of oil – only a couple drops. And it turned out really crispy just as I wanted.. the crunch aspect , you won’t believe it’s not deep fried.

Another good news, sweet potato is lower glycemic carb compared to potato which is high in glycemic index and may increase blood sugar tremendously if consumed unsparingly. Plus, sweet potato offers more flavor and nutritional value in our diet. And it’s very easy to make too.

Sweet Potato Chips ( Makes about 2 ½ cups)

Spice it up with herbs or any spices of choice for variations. I just like it plain.

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium size sweet potatoes, peeled or unpeeled, it’s an optional
  • Sea salt or regular salt , to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons grape seed oil (or canola oil, olive oil)

Methods:

1- Preheat the oven to 400F.

Sliced thinly

2.Thinly slice sweet potatoes, no more than 1/8 inch thick – as it may take longer to cook  and crisp if sliced thicker. Place the slices into a large bowl.

Well Seasoned

3- Season with salt , spices ( if using) and pepper. Drizzle with oil.

4- Toss everything together until sweet potato slices are well seasoned.

Layered singly

5- On a baking sheet pan, arrange the well seasoned sweet potatoes. Be sure to arrange them on single layer. Do not overlap them , if you can’t fit everything on the baking pan, bake for the second round.

6- Bake in the 400F preheated oven for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 300F. Continue to bake for 15 minutes. Once again, lower the heat to 200F, let it crisp up for 15-20 minutes or until you notice the chips turn brown at the edges. Be sure not to burn them down. Keep eyes on it.

7- Remove from the oven and let them cooled completely ,they get crispier as they cooled.

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Chips

June 11, 2009

Homemade Koew Teow ( Flat Rice Noodles)

Filed under: Allergy Free, Asians, Chinese, Cooking, Gluten-Free, Malaysians, Noodles, Vegan, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 10:39 pm

Koew Teow

After quite number of times trying to make homemade rice flat noodles or koew teow , which were disastrous , I had never tried to make it again ever since. Thought it was easy to make, unfortunately I was wrong.. err.. may be it just me.

I don’t remember what happened until I was convinced to make it again. Perhaps, it popped up in my head when I was thinking about making an allergy free version of noodles. With my mother’s big help, I finally got full bowl of rice noodles of my own. Still after a couple unsuccessful attempts, but I guess all the efforts is paid off and I am so thankful.

With compliments my husband awarded me for this homemade koew teow, I feel confident and happy to share this with you.

Different people make this noodle differently, so do I. I find the version I am about to share with you works best for me, I hope it does for you too. This recipe does not call for all purpose flour or any source of wheat or gluten so for those who has problem with gluten , this is for you. Especially for my sister, Kak J who makes a lot of AF foods for her son.

Warning : this noodle recipe is not suitable for those who is allergic to rice , corn or potato.

Flat Rice Noodles. (makes 12-14 crepes , 4-5 servings of noodles )

TIPS:The first round making this ‘crepes’ may be gone to the chicken for some of you, the same thing happened to me so don’t get discouraged! Keep trying until you get it. You will finally figure out how it works.

It is highly recommended to use non-stick pan.. any kind otherwise you only get dumpling instead of flat noodles. Different size of pan will need different amount of batter mixture each time cooking the ‘crepes’ , play around with the amount until you get it.

If making rice spring roll wrapper, reduce the amount of batter to pour on the hot pan, this make thinner crepes .

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour (see Note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups Luke warm water
  • ¼ cup canola oil or vegetable oil and some extra for brushing.

Methods:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca starch/flour and salt.IMG_3959
  2. Stir in the water and canola oil , whisk to well-combined. Set aside to allow the batter to sit and absorb liquid at room temperature for 20 minutes.Measures and brushing
  3. Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet and brush with oil. Whisk the rice-flour batter well each time before pouring on the hot pan.

    IMG_3967

    When you see the batter starts bubbling, it means you are good.

  4. When the oil is hot, pour 1/3 cup of the batter into the skillet, tilting and shaking the pan slowly to evenly coat the pan with batter.

    Cover with lit

    Cover with lit

  5. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the ‘crêpe’ is firm, about 3-4 minutes. Let it continue to cook for about 2 minutes. With a spatula, slowly remove the cooked batter from the pan to avoid the crepe from tearing.Methods
  6. Flip the crêpe out flat onto a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining batter , it make approximately 12-14 crepes in total; don’t let the crêpes overlap on the baking sheets or they will stick together. Let them cooled and completely firm to touch.
  7. Take one crepe , score it into 8-10 pieces of flat noodles, depending size of preferences. Continue with the remainings and ready to use. ( you may want to roll the crepe up before cutting into noodles size but be careful because it may stick, make sure the crepes are completely firm and cooled).

Koew Teow

Storing: If making a head, place the noodles in a clean and dry freezer/Ziploc bag, refrigerate  up to 5 days, freeze up to 4 weeks

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

Methods:

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…

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turning to grease top.

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

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until doubled in bulk,

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5- Punch dough down.

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

fold

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.

fold2

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).

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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:

Cuts

Shaping

Whole Bread Bun

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