Malaysian Monday 84: Satisfying a hometown craving.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Monday everyone! Now that the holidays are over, I do solemnly promise to try and feed the blog better. Hmm, better not hold me to that since sumer is just around the corner with her enticing drifty, drowsy days.

But while I’m still coherent, let’s talk about these puff-thingys. I never actually knew what they were called until today*. I just knew that they were tasty and that they would appear around the same time as the “wu gok” (deep fried taro dumplings) during the yum-cha service.

Since I didn’t know what they were called, I couldn’t look up the recipe could I? But luckily, I found something called “Hometown Salty Puff” when looking through my Delicious Dim Sum cookbook.

The resulting puffs were pretty good, even though I had to substitute the shortening and the final texture may have been slightly affected. But judging from the speed in which I downed them, I think my tastebuds may not have cared too much.

These puffs are probably a bit of an acquired taste. They have a lightly crisp exterior which gives way to a mildly sweet chewy middle, and a salty/sweet filling.  Mr. Kitchen Hand quite liked the exterior but he found the filling a bit too overpowering for his delicate little tastebuds. MC Senior loved them and MC Junior took me completely by surprise and actually ate a whole one and declared it “yum”.

How about you give these a try and decide for yourself?

Don’t forget, the Muhibbah Malaysian Monday round-up for October will be hosted by my friend Suresh over at 3 Hungry Tummies, so send your entries to him at this address : sureshchong(at)yahoo(dot)com.

* I think they are known as “Ham sui gok” in Cantonese. Don’t ask me what that means because I don't know.

Chewy Salty Puffs (or Ham sui gok if you prefer)
(adapted from Delicious Dim Sum, compiled by Wong Kee Sum, recipes by Chin Woo Long)

For the filling
(I didn’t follow the given recipe for the filling as I made mine up from whatever I had in the house. The recipe in the book suggests using chicken, mushrooms and salted radish).

about 5 dried shitake mushrooms (soaked in water until soft)
small handful dried shrimp (roughly a tablespoon worth, or to taste)
2 stalks eschallots / spring onions - diced
oyster sauce to taste

Rinse the shrimp to remove excess salt and pat dry with kitchen paper. Rinse and squeeze the mushrooms dry, discard stems and chop into small dice.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and saute the spring onions and shrimp. When it smells fragrant, add the mushrooms and cook until tender. Add a little water if necessary so the ingredients don’t burn. When almost done, add a splash of oyster sauce to taste.

(If you want a filling with a bit more “gravy”, you can add a little more water then thicken the mixture with cornflour. I personally think wet fillings make it hard to fold the dumplings properly).

Set the filling aside to cool.

For the dough.
150g - 210g glutinous rice flour (I had to add extra)
50gm sugar
120gm water
60g wheat starch
60g boiling water
50gm room temp butter and 40g sunflower oil (the recipe in the book suggests 90g shortening).

Measure out the wheat starch in a heatproof bowl, add the boiling water then stir until you get a dough. When cool enough to handle, you can use your hands to knead it a bit.

Measure out 150g of glutinous rice flour, mix with the sugar, then add just enough water to form a soft dough. I think I may have added too much water so the mixture was a bit gluggy at this point. Also, the oil may have contributed to the need for more flour.

Mix the two doughs together and add the butter and oil. Knead to a pliable dough. Add more glutinous rice flour if necessary. I had to add about 60g more.

The dough will “crack” a little when handled, don’t worry too much, it’s the nature of the beast.

Take small balls of dough, flatten out into a circle which is slightly thicker in the middle and thinner on the edges. Place a little filling in the middle, fold the circle in half and press the edges to seal. I then carefully rolled the dough around to make a smooth oval shape.

Deep fry the puffs over a medium heat ( I actually shallow fried). Don’t fry them at too high a temperature or the filling may leak out. Slow, even, heat is what we’re after.

Drain the puffs on kitchen paper and serve warm with chilli sauce.



Janine said...

ooh the idea of shallow frying them is pretty enticing - ensures I don't waste all that oil ;p

i'm wondering if the butter and oil didn't affect the texture of the puff? I always use shortening for fear that using butter will make it too melty :/

shaz said...

Hi Janine,
I'm not too sure, the end result seemed good, maybe even a teeny bit stiffer than the ones at the yum cha places, because of the extra flour I added. And I suppose, I might have had to add the extra flour because of the oil. If I find try the shortening version, I can compare it.

Dmarie said...

ooh, those look absolutely delish!!

Hungry Dog said...

I bet I'd like these a lot--salty savory filling in a little puff? perfection.

My Little Space said...

Hmmm..mmm...these look nice & crispy. Happy Malaysian Monday!
Enjoy your day.

Barbara said...

Well, I think they look great, Shaz. I like the crispy outer layer of dough with the soft inside. Think I'd prefer a chicken and mushroom filling though.

shaz said...

Dmarie - thank you

Hungry Dog - don't forget, chewy too!

My Little Space - have a lovely day too dear.

Fiona said...

Great to have you back Shaz! Are these the same things I tried in Hong Kong at Lin Heung Tea House?

They were fabulous! Great you found and tried a recipe - thanks a million!

shaz said...

Barbara - ah, but the mushrooms there are also the dehydrated kind :)

Fiona - yes! They look very similar. Good luck with the recipe. I've actually seen some other recipes out there that don't use any shortening too, but I'm not sure if it makes a difference and how (since it's deep fried rather than baked).

chowwithchow said...

Awesome! I love those things! I should try to find my auntie's old recipe for these...

"Ham sui gok" actually means "salty water horns" in Canto!

Renata said...

They look super tasty for my tastebuds (I'm drooling). I think I will love it. Definitely bookmarked!

grace said...

i like and appreciate when foods are given straightforward names. salty puff sounds delicious and descriptive and you've depicted them well!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Great job Shaz! I adore these puffs and we always seem to order them when we go to yum cha. We seem to prefer the steamed items but this and the other "footballs" are a favourite :)

Beth said...

Those look delicious! And I love the name!

Vanille said...

Like the "nature of the beast" ;)

No doubt those little chewy puffs are made for my taste buds with this tasty filling !

shaz said...

chowwithchow - thanks for the translation. I like the name bettr and better.

Renata - thank you :)

grace - glad you like approve :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - I like both the steamed and the deep fried cause I'm a guts :)

Beth - so descriptive right?

Vanille - thank you, hope you get to try it out.