Malaysian Monday 83: Tauhu Sumbat (Stuffed Tofu Pockets)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Aaaand, we’re back!

Aaaand, I meant to post this yesterday but jet-lag got the better of me. That and an impromptu request from Mr. Kitchen Hand for cupcakes to take to work.

Aaaand, today is supposed to be Daring Bakers reveal day but I haven’t even started.

And just like that, I’ve been pulled sharply out of vacation mode back into the real world.

Happy Monday :) Er, I mean Tuesday.

So, enough with the talking, let me introduce you  to these yummy snacks called Tauhu Sumbat (sumbat = stuffed, tauhu = tofu). They are absolutely the easiest thing to throw together, even if you’re recovering from 21 hours of travel. (5 hrs domestic + 2 hrs transit + 14 hrs international + 2 children).

These tofu pockets are really versatile too, they can be eaten as a snack, or an appetiser or even as part of the main meal. Best of all, apart from a little frying, they are so healthy! Carb free, gluten free and vegan to boot.

And did I mention they’re easy?

Thanks for dropping by, and I look forward to getting back into blog reading again. Also, thanks to all of you who have been sending Muhibbah Monday entries my way. This is the last week to get those submissions in, as I will be posting the round-up next Monday. Send your entries to its(dot)sharon(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks again from moi and my co-host Suresh at 3 Hungry Tummies.

Tauhu Sumbat
(I won’t give set measurements for this because you can scale up or down depending on your needs)

A block of firm tofu - make sure to get the really firm kind, otherwise it will just fall apart.
A selection of vegetables to stuff into tofu - traditionally, jicama, bean sprouts and cucumber are used. But I used shredded cabbage, carrot and cucumber instead.
Vegetable oil for frying
Chilli sauce or peanut sauce/ satay sauce to serve

First of all, rinse and drain the tofu, then place on a flat surface (eg: a chopping board) lined with absorbent/ kitchen paper. Place another flat object, (plate/ tray/ chopping board) over the tofu and weight that down with something heavy, a can of something would do the trick. Leave for about 20 minutes or so. This step helps remove the excess water from the tofu.

Prepare the vegetables, peel and julienne (cut into thin matchsticks). Blanch the vegetables that need blanching. For such small quantities, I just boiled the kettle, placed my veges in a heatproof bowl and scalded them with the boiling water. I only blanched the cabbage and the carrots. Drain veges well and set aside.

Pat the tofu block dry and cut into squares depending on the finished size of the pockets you’d like. Rub some salt into the squares. Alternatively, cut your squares into triangles if you want all sides browned. I like the contrast of white and brown, and it’s easier to shallow fry square shapes.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan or wok, and either shallow fry turning often to ensure all sides are evenly browned, or deep fry.

Drain on kitchen paper, and when cool enough to handle slice into triangles (if you haven’t done so already). Cut a slit in the triangle face and stuff with the prepared veges.

See, told you it was easy. If you’re feeling particularly industrious, make some peanut/ satay sauce to go with it. I just dipped mine into Lingam’s chilli sauce ;)

B is for

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brooklyn. And Brigadeiro.

What these two things have in common is anybody’s guess. Well, actually they have me in common :) Hopefully, while you read this, the Skewer family will still be on holiday, and staying in Brooklyn. And before we left on our little holiday, I made a plateful of these to take to a party.

(by the way, thanks for all the comments on the previous posts)

If you are familiar with Brasilian cuisine, you’ll be familiar with these. They’re like little balls of sweet, chewy fudge, and often appear at parties or gatherings. The reason they are so popular is because they taste good (well, goes without saying huh?), and are extremely simple to make.

Even on my first try, I managed to whip these up within half an hour. I followed a recipe found here at Brazilian Food dot com , and used a 375g can of condensed milk. The only tricky part was judging when the mixture was ready. I was quite sure my mixture was too “slumpy” but after cooling they were the perfect texture.

The mixture is quite sticky, and I found the simplest way to shape the balls was to drop teaspoonfuls of the batter into a shallow bowl filled with the chocolate sprinkles. Using another clean spoon, I moved the mixture around until it was coated. Then I used my hands to roll these into the ball shapes.

I’d definitely make these again, and next time I might even try coating them  in crushed toasted nuts or rainbow sprinkles for a bit of fun.

See you real soon!

Malaysian Monday 82 : Rainbow agar-agar / Agar-agar pelangi

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hello again. How are we all keeping?

Hopefully this post has gone up without a glitch as we are still traipsing around on holiday. Thanks for all the lovely comments on my previous posts, will be back to read your blogs again soon :)

Nothing too fancy today, just a simple serve of agar-agar with a bit of reminiscing on the side.

This agar-agar was often trotted out at celebrations. As schoolkids, we’d have a class party on the last day of the year. Everyone would bring a plate and this was the dish Mum would often make. It’s simple yet very eye-catching, and appeals to anyone with a sweet tooth.

I’d actually attempted this agar-agar using a different recipe a few times before, without success. That recipe used custard powder, and I didn’t like the final flavour. This time, I found a similar recipe here (it’s in Bahasa Malaysia), so I tweaked it a little and gave it a try. This was definitely very close to the agar-agar of my childhood. Happily, my own little MC’s enjoyed this treat too.

Muhibbah Malaysian Monday is still running, and I’ll be your host for the next round-up.  Please send all your entries for September to me at its(dot) sharon(at) gmail(dot) com. Don’t worry if you don’t hear back from me immediately when you send an email. I’ll be checking intermittently. Muhibbah Malaysian Monday is a monthly event that is co-hosted with Suresh from 3 Hungry Tummies.

Rainbow agar-agar

1 egg yolk
1/2 cup milk
grated zest of 1 orange
3 1/4 tsp agar-agar powder
500ml water
1/4 cup caster sugar
food colouring of choice

Prepare a mold in which to set the agar-agar. Anything non-stick will work, just sprinkle it with a little water to help the agar-agar release later. I used silicon cupcake cups. Also have handy the food coloring and bowls for mixing the coloured portions. It helps to put the bowls in the fridge to cool them down first.

Place the agar-agar powder and water in a saucepan and stir well. Bring to the boil and stir until all the agar-agar has dissolved. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.  Meanwhile, beat the egg yolk and milk gently together in a bowl and stir in the orange rind.

Use a ladle to remove about 2/3rds of the liquid agar-agar in the pan, and place this clear portion into the mold or cupcake liners. Do not let this mixture set. (I think set agar-agar can be reboiled to return it to its liquid state but I’ve never tried it before).

Pour the rest (1/3) of the agar-agar in the pan into the egg mixture and mix well. Return this egg/milk/agar portion to the pan and stir over gentle to medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly.

Divide this mixture between three bowls (or as many colours as desired), add the food colouring and stir well.

Work quickly now because agar-agar sets fast, even at room temperature. Use a teaspoon to gently dollop the coloured agar mixes onto the clear agar sitting in the mold. If the clear agar isn’t cool enough, the coloured mix might spread too much. We are aiming for the coloured mix to stay droplet like suspended in the clear layer.

Let set, then transfer to the fridge to chill. Best served cold. There will be more coloured mix than clear mix, so just set the colourful mixture in a separate mold.

Malaysian Monday 81 : Soya bean drink / milk

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Monday everyone.

Today let’s look at soy milk. I know it doesn’t sound very Malaysian, but believe it or not, cold sweetened soy milk is a favourite thirst quencher. In fact, the drink is so popular it’s sold commercially as a bottled drink and even in tetra paks the same way you’d buy juice over here in Oz. It’s known locally as Tau chui (sounds like Tao chewy), and I think the literal translation of that is “bean water”.

And bean water it certainly is. The process of making this soybean drink is pretty simple and straightforward. It involves soaking the beans, grinding them to a pulp, then cooking the pulp with water. This mix is then drained and the resulting “milk” is collected. I could give you instructions, but I found a very well detailed post over here at Just hungry which I followed and it yielded perfect results. I used 1 cup soybeans, blended with 1.5 cups water and an additional 4.5 cups water to cook. Usually, we add some pandan leaves to add a bit of fragrance (soymilk does smell a tad strange), but since I didn’t have any, I added the tiniest drop of vanilla extract, just enough to give it a nice scent without overpowering the drink.

The dried beans

The soybean drink can be served either hot or cold, plain or unsweetened. I prefer the sweetened version. To do this, just make up a simple sugar syrup (1 part sugar to 1part water), and add a couple of teaspoons of this syrup to the bottom of a glass before adding the milk. Stir well and serve.

Fresh soybean milk tastes a hundred times better than the commercial variety you can find sold as a cow’s milk alternative in the supermarkets here. I’ve tried a couple of those and just don’t like them. At all.

Oops - make sure you use a large pan as suggested by Maki of Just Hungry.

However, as the homemade version contains no preservatives, it needs to be used up fairly quickly. Using a tip found on the same "how-to" post at Just Hungry, I made mango smoothies (fresh soybean milk, fresh mango, a little sugar syrup and scoop of vanilla ice-cream) and the MCs absolutely adored these. It doesn’t taste as creamy as ones made using cow’s milk, but I prefer it that way.

 I learnt something new. The stuff left over after draining is called okara, and can be used to add to cooking.

Have a great start to the week :).

We are still on holidays and hopefully this auto-post when up without a hitch.

I’ll be your host for the next Muhibbah Malaysian Monday round-up, a monthly event that is co-hosted with Suresh from 3 Hungry Tummies. Please send all your entries for September to me at its(dot) sharon(at) gmail(dot) com. Please don’t worry if you don’t hear back from me immediately when you send an email. I’ll be checking intermittently.

Whoopie for holidays

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Skewerians are heading off on holiday for a couple of weeks, to the home of the whoopie pie. Technically, I think the whoopie heralds from the South but we’re actually heading east, to NYC.

Are we excited? You betcha!

While we’re gone, I’ve scheduled a couple of auto posts (fingers crossed they publish properly) so you won’t miss me too much ;).

I’m looking forward to the break and to coming back and reading all your blogs again.

Meanwhile, here’s something I prepared earlier. I tweaked the pumpkin whoopie pie recipe from Baked as I wanted to use purple sweet potato instead. Turned out a rather bilious green. Ah well, at least they tasted good. Hopefully, I’ll be able to seek out and taste the real thing when we’re away.

 Looks blue here but it was actually greener like the following photos

Thanks everyone who sent me your helpful recommendations for things to do/ places to eat in NY when I asked a while back, not sure if we’ll get to everything but we’ll definitely try our hardest!

Enjoy the rest of the week and see you soon.

Here’s how I made my whoopie pies, maybe you’ll have better luck churning out ones which don’t look so scary?

300g purple sweet potato/ Okinawan sweet potato, pureed with 75g water and chilled
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
1 egg
dash of vanilla extract
pinch of salt.

See how pretty the sweet potato really is?

Whisk the flour, spices, baking soda and baking powder together in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the oil and brown sugar together, add the sweet potato puree and mix well. Then add the egg and vanilla extract and stir well to combine

Sprinkle the flour over the wet mixture and stir well until combined.

Drop tablespoonfuls on a lined baking tray, bake for 10 minutes until starting to crack on top. Insert a toothpick to test, it should come out clean. (I baked these at about 180˚C). Cool on tray.

I filled these with a simple cream cheese frosting.

(At least if purple whoopies didn't work, my sweet potato doughnuts/ kuih keria stayed true.)

Muhibbah Malaysian Monday Roundup No. 14

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Monday everyone. It’s time for the round-up so please head on over to Suresh’s blog, 3 Hungry Tummies to check out the delicacies there. Thank you very much for taking part!

I’ll be your host for the next round-up, so please send all your Muhibbah Malaysian Monday entries to me at its(dot) sharon(at) gmail(dot) com. Please don’t worry if you don’t hear back from me immediately when you send an email. I’ll be heading off for a couple of weeks holiday, but will be checking email intermittently.

Have a great start to the week.

(Ps- I’ll tell you tomorrow where I’m going ;) ) 

A stiff drink and finding macaron mojo

Thursday, September 1, 2011

“Kick it up!” for Macattack the macaron mavens said. “Create something intoxicating, heady with flavor and create a macaron kissed by your favorite liquor.”

If I had to pick a favourite liquor, it would probably be dark rum, but I wanted to channel the Cosmopolitan. That drink made famous by Ms Bradshaw et. al. Actually I never watched the series but it was so huge it was pretty hard to escape. Like a juggernaut on stilettos.

Um, where were we? Oh yeah, alcohol.

A Cosmo contains vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime. I don’t keep triple sec handy but Cointreau makes a good substitute.  So I soaked some craisins (dried sweetened cranberries), added some orange zest and a touch more sugar and stewed it up into a thick jam-like paste. Then I took some of the paste and added a splash of Cointreau and vodka to it. The rest of the paste was left un-alcoholed to fill macarons for the MC’s.

Then I made macaron shells flavoured with a bit of lime zest.

Or tried to.

Ack! Macaron fail. Instead of feet, I got brown bottomed almond cookies. What happened?

Ok, I’ll admit, I was extremely lazy and made a couple of errors. I didn’t bother to blitz the almond meal and icing sugar in the food processor, just sifted them together. Unfortunately, the almond meal wasn’t fine enough and the results speak for themselves. Also, I was using an unfamiliar recipe, but just worked from memory instead of double checking. Did I mention I was halving the measurements too? Yup, living on the edge, that’s me.

But the browned bottoms weren’t entirely my fault. That was just the  new oven’s way of getting to know me better. The oven in our previous place heated heavily from above, causing burnt tops. This oven obviously has stonger heat from below.

I had to get my mojo back, so started again. This time with macaron ratios that never fail me (from Tartelette), and double stacked baking trays to temper the heat.

Thankfully, the macs turned out beautifully. I think this little oven and I are in for a beautiful friendship :)

Remember to check out what tipples the other mac-attackers mixed up this month.

(I thought I'd show you my photography set-up. I really don't know all that much about taking photos and they are often a very rushed affair, whenever I can grab a few seconds during the day when the light is good. Here I "chased" the light into the girls bedroom, threw a tea-towel onto the bed, propped a magnetic notice board up against a doll to bounce the light back and snapped. Of course, those macarons didn't go to waste after their shoot ;) )