Monday, June 27, 2011

Steamed Vegetable Dumplings (Chai Kueh aka Soon Kuay)

When I was back in Singapore in March 2011, mom and John's MIL collaborated to make Soon Kuay. I gave a whoop of joy when  I saw what the 2 elderly women was toiling about in the pretty messy kitchen. One was frying the filling in the wok while the other was using all her might to make the skin and later on, wrapped it nicely using the Soon Kuay mould. When the steaming tray came out, I couldn't wait to sink my teeth in it and boy, the taste was super fantastic while the skin was absolutely soft , thin and silky. I couldn't forget the taste  many days after that.

Mom actually bought 2 packets of the Soon Kuay flour and brought it over to KL. I helped her with the frying and wrapping. I still need to practise a little on how to knead the Soon Kuay flour. She bought the Soon Kuay flour in Singapore under the brand name Sunflower. The flour is a premix of rice flour, tapioca flour, wheat flour and corn flour. If this premix is not accessible to you, you'll need to find out the exact measurement on how to make it. It's of course easier to use the premix. It is best eaten with a little sweet sauce (甜酱)  and chilli sauce.

Soon Kuay Flour premix. Brand : Sunflower

 Here's the recipe that has mom generously shared :

Ingredients :
2 mid size turnip (about 1kg)
1 tbsp dried shrimp - coarsely minced
300g thinly sliced pork (with a little fat in it)
8 small onions - thinly sliced
1 tsp cornflour - add with a little water
light soy sauce
oyster sauce
dash of salt
dash of sugar
dash of pepper
1 packet of Soon Kueh Flour (brand is Sunflower bought in Singapore)

Filling method :
  1. Heat up oil, fry shallots till fragrant in low heat. Before it starts to turn color, add in dried shrimp. Turn on low heat.
  2. When color changes to slight brown, add in sliced pork. Saute till meat is cook. Add in oyster sauce before adding in turnip. Saute and add in a little water.
  3. Add in soy sauce, sugar, pepper and salt. Please taste it before you continue adding more of the sauces to suit your preference. If it gets drier, add in water little by little. Saute till turnips are soft. Taste it for one last time to decide whether you need to add in more of the sauces.
  4. The mould to make Soon Kuay
  5. Add in cornflour and stir before dishing out. Set it aside to cool while you work on the dumpling skin.

Dumpling skin method:
  1. Pour 500ml of water into a pot, bring to boil. Add 260gm of Soon Kuah flour into the briskly boiling water. Turn fire off immediately. Add one soup spoonful of cooking oil into it, use a pair of chopstick or wooden saucepan to stir well, use palm to blend it hard until it forms into a smooth and elastic dough.
  2. Divide dough into several portions and flatten into Kuay Sheet, wrap Kuay Sheet with prepared fillings.
Steaming Method :
  1. Ensure steaming tray is fully "oiled" before placing the Soon Kuay on it to steam.
  2. Steam for about 10 - 13 minutes, remove tray from steaming pot and glaze it with a little vegetable oil on top. Serve immediately with sweet sauce and chilli sauce

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fried Vermicelli (in white) (炒米粉)

A little bored with rice for dinner, mom told me she wanted to fry bihun for us for dinner but it will be 'white' in color instead of the usual dark type. I couldn't agree more to her suggestion. Everything she whips up seems to be 'effortless'. I gotta hand it to her because everything she claims to be simple and easy. For the past few weeks, I've been blessed with delectable homecooked dinner. With the simplest ingredients, she fried this delicious vermicelli with refreshing taste : minus the taste of dark soy sauce. Since I cannot do without any spicy note, I sprinkled some course chilli pepper on top.

Ingredients :
bai chai
carrots shreded
mushroom (soaked) - slice
pork - slice
fish cake - slice
spring onion
small onions - thinly sliced
garlic - thinly sliced

Seasoning :
chicken powder
oyster sauce
light soy sauce

Method :
  1. Soaked vermicelli for 30 minutes, drain and set aside. Mix all the seasonings with water and set aside.
  2. Heat oil to saute small onions and garlic till aromtic or light brown.  Add in the  mushrooms and stirfry  for about 2 mins before adding in the sliced meat.
  3. Once the meat turned color (meaning cooked), add in fishcake to fry for 2 - 3 minutes before adding in the vegetables.
  4. Stir in the vermicelli and add in the seasonings.  Continue to fry for another 3 - 5 minutes or until vermicelli turn soft. Turn off fire and garnish with spring onions and/or cut red chillis.
My cooking note : You may wish to substitute pork with chicken slice or beef strips or any other seafood.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fern's One Bowl Custard Cake

Firstly, cousin Fern is on a baking streak (always have, I think). Secondly, hubby's ex-classmate, SJ who has never bake in her entire life before, called me up last week and we met up this morning to get her baking supplies. Lastly, my sister in law who hardly bakes, actually made a nice looking chocolate sponge cake. That did it. I told myself I had to bake a cake .... NOW!!! It was an outrageous hour to attempt baking and even a more outrageous hour to gobble up the freshly baked cake at 9.30pm when just an hour ago, I had my dinner.

The preparation time took no more than half an hour. I wish there are more people in the house to help me finish the cake. Hubby was away camping in some godforsaken place, dad put his hands up in total surrender because he was still full with dinner, mom at least gave me face and politely abided with 1 tiny slice and I, well... I had to give moral support to myself, hadn't I? I ate 3 fat slices of the cake. The texture of the cake was fluffy and moist. It was absolutely heavenly to go with a cup of tea my mom made (thanks to cousin Soo for contributing the tea leaves). Thanks to cousin Fern for sharing this wonderful recipe in her blog.

Ingredients :
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
250g butter at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
Rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 3/4 cups caster sugar ( I reduced to 1 1/2 cup)
4 eggs
3/4 cup custard powder
1 cup milk

Method :

Preheat oven to 175C. Cream butter and sugar with vanilla extract, lemon rind and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time until well combined. Add flour, custard powder and milk and beat at very low speed until just combined. Pour into lined 23cm deep square tin. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Turn onto a cooling rack.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wet fun at Sunway Lagoon

I'm a Malaysian and I've been staying in KL for the past 14 years. I'm embarass to admit that I've never been to Sunway Lagoon which is one famous tourist attraction in KL. I did however had a brief tour (about 30 mins) of the lagoon itself while I was waiting for my STPM results (many many moons ago).  Finally, the opportunity for me to make a trip there surfaced a week ago, thanks to my bro and his family who was here for holidays (and to visit me).

Spanning over some 80 acres, the theme park emphasis is largely water-based with wild adventurous rides and amusement park. Few days before my trip there, I found out the theme park actually were separated to 5 parks : Water Park, Amusement Park, Extreme Park, Wildlife Park and Scream Park. Huh.. to think that I was still living in the days where they used to have only Wet or Dry Park. Anyway, I personally think the admission ticket was exorbitant but then again, being a Malaysian, I had a advantage because I was charged at a cheaper price. Basically, you have 2 packages to choose from :

Package 1: 3 Theme Parks:
  1. Wet Park
  2. Amusement Park
  3. Wildlife Park
  • Ticket price (non Malaysian) Adult  @ RM80 (Malaysian @ RM 65)
  • Ticket price (non Malaysian) Kid @ RM65 (Malaysian @ RM45)

Package 2 : 5 Theme Parks
  1. Wet Park --> needless to say.
  2. Amusement Park --> where all the rides are
  3. Wildlife Park --> animals and there's a rabbit place where you can feed them.
  4. Extreme Park --> go kart
  5. Scream Park -->ghostlings, ghastly looking faces, gory scenes
  • Ticket price (non Malaysia) Adult @ RM100 (Malaysian @ RM75)
  • Ticket price (non Malaysian) Kid @ RM80 (Malaysian @ RM60)

My warning :
If you have a faint heart, do not, I repeat, do not try  Congo Challenger . It may look innocent but it's actually quite steep. As for the rest of the rides, if you take one look at them, you'll know instantly whether it will pump your adrenaline or not. Outside food & drinks are not allowed. Once you're in the theme park, there is no re-entry UNLESS you are a guest staying in Sunway Hotel.

My verdict :
It's a fun place to spend the entire  day here with kids as the place promised lots of fun. Surprisingly the food sold there are not only edible but subtly nice to my tastebud.  Yes, the admission tickets are sort of costly but I guess this would be the nearest and most economical place to give your kids a treat.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Steamed Silky Eggs

Lately, the weather is back to the usual sweltering heat. Mom was saying it'll be a nice change to have congee to go with some simple dishes for dinner. With mom around for the past 2 weeks, she has fed me and hubby with lots of super yummy food but the best of all is, there's food on the table when we got home from work :) Since it's congee, I told mom I'll make the Steamed Silky Eggs. It's fast and it's as simple as ABC. I've never tried this recipe before but it has been there in one of my recipe book for a long time. It turned out perfectly soft and silky as promised by the title. The trick is the heat and of course, the proportion of water added to the eggs. A swift way to know exactly how much water you should add (if you have more than 3 egss or the size of your eggs varies ) is to measure the portion of the beaten eggs. How much eggs it is, how much water you should add in. I should've scoop a portion of the egg to show how silky and smooth the eggs are. By the time I remembered, the eggs were almost gone from the tray.

Ingredients :
300ml water
3 eggs

Seasoning :
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper
dash of chicken stock granules/ powder
1 thsp chopped spring onion
1 thsp gried garlic oil
1 tsp light soya sauce

Method :
  1. Combine water, eggs, seasoning, and mix well. Strain into a steaming tray
  2. Steam at low heat 10 minutes or until set. Remove.
  3. Sprinkle choped spring onion, fried garlic oil, light soya sauce on egg and serve.
My cooking tips : Lightly beat the eggs to avoid too much air from getting in. This is to ensure the surface is smooth and nice. Do not steam the eggs with high heat, otherwise the texture will be course and not smooth.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Review : Baiyoke Boutique Hotel

Good gracious.... I know I've been absent from my blog but I didn't know it was more than a month ago since I last posted. I've been real busy with countless stuffs : my work, travelling, cycling, yoga, cleaning etc. Then when I'm free, the lazy bug got into me. I wanted to write but I just couldn't bring myself to start blogging again. And precisely that's what people said about procrastination.

In mid of May, hubby and I boarded a plane to Bangkok. Bangkok seems to be our annual destination these days and it has been 3 consecutive years that we visited this bustling city. I simply love Bangkok. I love the authentic Thai food, I love the so very much affordable Thai massage but most of all, I love the crazy shopping there. Hubby is only keen on the food and masssage but obviously these 2 indulgence of his will not take up a lot of time. In the end, he spent most of his time waiting for me while I shop or sleeping away while I shop to the fullest.

Baiyoke Boutique Hotel Bangkok - Lobby
Last year when we were there, our friend actually booked the Baiyoke Boutique Hotel but somehow, the hotel screwed up our reservation. We were then upgraded to Baiyoke Sky Hotel. Since we've missed staying there the previous time, I thought I'd give this hotel a try this time. And here's what I've gathered :

Why I like it :
  •  It's cheap. I finally bought it from PYO Travel as it was the cheapest fare offered in conjunction with Matta Fair. Cost me about RM 120 per room inclusive of 2 breakfast.
  • The room was fairly clean with simple deco, TV with many channels, bathtub, basic toiletries provided, bedroom slippers and hair dryer are provided as well.
  • The location is what drove me to book this hotel. It's located right in the heart of Pratunam Shopping and that's where Platinum Mall is and also the rest of other wholesale shops.
  • There are rows of 'portable' shops along the road. They open early in the morning till late in the evening. I don't think the shops will be there during the weekdays but on weekends, certain roads will be blocked away to make access for the shops and shoppers. Prices here are somewhat cheaper than those in Jatuchak market.
  • It's about 15 - 20 minutes of walking to Sukhumvit Road where all the malls are located :Siam Paragon, MBK, Central World, Amarin Plaza Bangkok. We actually walked all the way to the hotel once and all the way back. And after that......., 2 hours of massage :)

  • It is only a 10 minutes walk from the hotel to BTS Sky Train at Chidlom Station. Otherwise, you can always hop on the the bus/van service provided by the hotel which will bring you to the station. Of course, you need to adhere to the schedule.
  • Hotel Room at Baiyoke Boutique Hotel, Bangkok
  • There are many massage parlors located in Pratunam area. The normal range is priced at RM16.90/hour for a traditional Thai massage.
Why I dislike it :
  • I was first given a room right at the end of the hallway and God, the noise outside the alley was driving me nuts. Within 2 hours, I had had enough and requested to switch to another room. This time, I was given a room right in the centre.
  • I personally think the walls of the hotel rooms are very very thin. I could hear everyone that walk pass by my room and not to mention at the noise they make with their talking. I didn't have very good sleep because of this.
  • The breakfast was lousy. Breakfast ends at 10am which I think was a wee bit too early. There was a day we went down at 9.30am and believe me, there was nothing there except bread, several miserable pieces of 'smashed and injured" slices of papaya/watermelon and a few shrivelled frankfurters.