Shiratama Dango (Japanese Rice Dumpling)

In my previous post about Rice Dumplings with Adzuki Beans & Brown Syrup, it is actually Shiratama Dango wannabe. Because I didn’t go and hunt for Mochiko. But this time is the real Shiratama Dango that I’m making. I found Mochiko & Kinako in Meidi-Ya Liang Court! Mad happy!

I love Japanese food. But I have reserve when it comes to their desserts. And I must confess that I don’t like those traditional Japanese sweets that are based on sweetened beans. For the most part they are way too sweet for me, and I always imagine that if I were to make them for myself I will definitely adjust the sweetness level.

Diabetes leh! Hahahas…

I had been reading about Shiratama Dango recently. This is the 1st time I make Japanese dessert, and I somehow I find myself courageous. Hahas. Okays, before I start writing, allow me to give a simple explanation about this Japanese dessert :-

Dango is literally a Japanese dumpling made from Mochiko (Rice Flour), related to Mochi.

Shiratama-ko (白玉粉)is sweet or glutinous rice flour, or mochiko, mixed with a little corn starch or potato starch.

Kinako is a soy bean flour that is commonly used in Japanese cuisine as it is a healthy topping that contains Vit B and protein. Kinako is produced by finely grinding roasted soybeans into powder.

This is easy to make. Trust me. If you know how to make Tang-Yuan (汤圆), you can make this. And once you know how to make this, you will not want to pay S$5 – S$7 for a miserable portion of this dessert at Japanese Restaurants.

Ingredient 1 (Shiramata Dango)
4 tablespoons of glutinous rice flour
2 tablespoons of Mochiko
about 8 tablespoons of water
pink & green coloring
some Kinako – for finishing

Ingredient Source…
Glutinous Rice Flour – Any convenient store. NTUC / Cold Storage & etc.
Mochiko – So far I only saw it at Meidi-Ya Liang Court. It cost S$6.90/pack.
Kinako – Daiso sell S$2.00/200g pack. Meidi-Ya sell S$3.00/300g pack.
Pink / Green Coloring – Genera convenient stores that carry basic bakery stuffs should have. NTUC / Cold Storage / Sheng Siong / Phoon Huat & etc.

Method
1. Combine two flours in a bowl. Drizzle in half of the water and use fingers to stir and moisten the ingredients. U can use spoon instead. No issue here. Then, gradually work in the remaining liquid, kneading the dough into a PlayDoh type of consistency, that is firm yet soft and smooth.

2. Divide dough into two, use a toothpick to dap a few drops of coloring, and continue to knead till the color turned evenly on the dough. Just like this…

3. Oh yea.. this is my favorite part here. It’s PlayDoh Time! Divide them into small little cute balls. About 5 grams each. Just estimate will do. You should be getting about 16 to 17 balls in total.

4. Drop them into the boiling water one by one. Give it a gentle stir to avoid the balls sticking to each other.

5. Until the balls float on top, it means they are cooked. Let it simmer for another minute. At this point of time, you can prepare a bowl of ice cube water.

6. Dish up the balls, and drop them into the ice cube water and let it cool down completely.

7. Once it has cooled down, scoop it up, and it’s ready.

Lovely color! I should have make some white balls instead. I’m so engrossed with the color dough until I forgotten to keep some dough for white leh! Sigh!

Nice?

Topped with some Kinako…

Love!!! ❤

I really love the taste of the Kinako. It has a taste that is very much similar to the peanut butter that is indescribably good.

You know what I did? I actually scoop a spoon of Kinako straight my mouth. Eating plain Kinako just like that. It taste soooooo good!!! 😀

Okay.. I’m crazy.

Oh Yea… You will have to eat this cute little balls with something really sweet. Because this Shiratama Dango itself is basically tasteless. It’s normally eaten together with Sweet Adzuki Beans. Or alternatively, you can eat with Brown Sugar Syrup or something else sweet. It’s up to you. So, here’s the basic sweet adzuki bean method.
 
Ingredient 2 (Sweet Adzuki Beans) 
half cups of adzuki beans
50 grams of brown sugar. This is sweet enough for me.
water

Method (Sweet Adzuki Beans)
1. Pre-soak adzuki beans for 5 hours. This is to shorten the cooking time.
2. Cook adzuki beans with water till soft.
3. Add in sugar. Stir till sugar is completely melted. Remember to adjust your own sugar level to your preferred sweetness. Heat off. Serve.

I like it when my sweet adzuki beans is more watery. And I mess it up like this!

This is the way! 😀

Easy Sambal Tumis Petai

This dish is just like durians. You will either hate it or love it madly. Max loves durian and petai equally mad. Seriously…

Petai (Parkia speciosa), we called it chou-dou “臭豆”, or literally stinky beans. It is a unique green bean used in Malaysian home cooking. It grows in long pods on a large tree. Petai is semi-wild; it is usually grown on the outskirts of villages. Normally people get it directly from the forest. The beans have its unique pungency. It is usually cooked in sambal tumis ikan bilis, a fried chilli paste with dried anchovies. Traditionally, petai is believed to flush or “cleanse” the kidneys and urinary tract. How true? I don’t really know or care, but the elderly told me that. But you get a sense of its effect, from the pungent urine, after your petai meal. For that, I think the elderly makes sense. 

Preparing ingredients for Sambal Tumis is never easy. During my secondary school time, I ever saw a Malay auntee cooking Sambal Tumis in a traditional way. It’s really a pain when it comes to preparation this all the way from scratch. She prepared the spice and ingredients to be pounded with mortar and pestle. It consists of shallots, garlic, red chili, lemon grass, belacan and lots of dried shrimps. To cook the dish, she sautes the spice and pounded dried shrimps till fragrant and the chili oil separated. Then the petai is added to mix well. Gah! This is not for the lazy person like me!

Last week, while I was doing my shopping at Tebrau City Jusco, a lady approach me and asked me to purchase a pack of this to give it a try. Another cheat recipe. Sigh!

Pre-packed Sambal Tumis sauce. She kept assuring me that this pack of pre-packed sauce is really tasty and I will regret if I don’t give it a try. I was like… “Urgh? Really so nice meh? Describe until so good wo“. Well, since I don’t have the habit nor any intention of making my own sambal tumis from scratch at home because I felt that it is too much of effort for doing that. And since this lady say until so good, I decided to give this pack of pre-packed Sambal Tumis sauce a try.

Here’s the ingredients I’ve got :-
Some people may think that since I’ve got myself a pre-packed sauce, those chopped garlic, onions, chillis may not be necessary. But well…. I don’t think so. No matter what, nothing beats the taste of the real stuff you know?

Ingredients
A pack of Petai from the market. I weighed, and it’s about 135grams. Cost me S$2.00
A pack of Sambal Tumis sauce.
About 10 prawns or more. It’s up to you.
chopped shallot
chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1 chilli (half chopped, half julienned)
a small onion
1 cup water
a handful of anchovy fish (Ikan Bilis) – Optional.

You noticed that my Petai is splitted into two? Leave it if you don’t have the time to do this step. It’s fine. And it’s really individual preference…..

You’ll spot some tiny white worms if you are lucky. This is why I always like to split them into two. Unless you dont bother about it, as you don’t mind to add some exotic “protein” to our sambal petai dish. Ahh… well…

Method
1. Cooking oil on the pan. Fry chopped garlic, shallots, chillis till fragrant.
2. Add in Sambal Tumis sauce. Give it a quick stir.
3. Add in the remaining ingredients (except water), give it a quick toss.
4. Add in water, stir evenly. Cover up, simmer for a minute or two. Until the sauce has thickened and no longer watery. Heat off & dish up. Garnish with julienned chillies, and fried anchovies. Serve.

I fried some anchovies to put on top as a garnishing. Max loves crunchy anchovies. Hence, I did it on purpose for him. However, this is optional. You don’t really need to follow.

I think this is a very good pre-packed sauce that will not fail you. It’s worth a try. One thing I need to warn you is that… This is another dish that need you to cook more rice for the meal.

Like it?

p/s : Friends, if you really can’t get this pre-packed Sambal Tumis in Singapore, email me (mwmannie@yahoo.com). I will try to get it for you when I happened to go JB for shopping. But… must self collection at my place ok? 🙂

Japanese Style Light Thin Crust Pizza

It’s 10pm. Max is crying for food, telling me that he’s hungry. But he say “I feel like eating, but I don’t want to eat too full.”

He and all his request. Sigh!

So, being a lazy good wife is never easy here, I have to always be prepared. I open the fridge and see what I have. And there, I think I can make him a thin crust pizza. A light one. He never liked thick pizza with every mouthful of pizza bread. He only eat pizza when it is thin crust. Fussy man!

So here it is… Something simple, something light, something that makes him feels special when I serve him this…

Nice? Don’t get cheated by it’s outlook. Actually, there’s nothing much in this pizza. Because I don’t want it to be heavy. So, you look at the ingredients and you will know what I mean.

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet of Mission Wraps. I used Garlic Flavour. This is a good cheat for your thin crust pizza skin when you don’t wanna put in effort to make pizza crust on your own.
  • a tablespoons of olive oil
  • a tablespoons of Teriyaki Sauce
  • a handful of Mozarella Cheese
  • a handful of Striped Roasted Seaweed
  • a handful of Dried Bonito Flakes
  • sprinkles of seaweed flakes
  • Tomato ketchup (for finishing)

Don’t know what the hell is all these ingredients about? Refer to my picture…

Feeling stressed on where to get those stuffs? Here, I’ll tell you where to source for all these ingredients :

1) Mission Wraps / Teriyaki Sauce / Mozarella Cheese
= You can get it from major NTUC, Cold Storage. Or even Sheng Siong.

2) Striped Roasted Seaweed / Dried Bonito Flakes / Seaweed flakes = You can get it from Daiso. S$2.00 each. Cheap cheap. But of course, you can also get it from Meidi-Ya at Liang Court if you are rich. They do carry these for sure.

Method
1. Heat up your non-stick pan. Brush olive oil on both side of the wrap sheet. By doing this, your pizza will have a real nice crust. Put it on the pan. When the wrap sheet is on the pan, brush the Teriyaki Sauce on top.

2. Sprinkle Mozarella Cheese generously. Cover it up, let it cook under low heat for 3 minutes. Check the bottom of the pizza when you feel necessary, don’t burn it. It should be in toasted light brown color, and yet crispy. After 3 minutes later, if you feel that the pizza is not crust enough, continue to toast it for another minute or two. Gauge it yourself.

3. When your pizza is ready, heat off, put your pizza on the chopping board, sprinkle with seaweed flakes, dried bonito flakes, striped roasted seaweed.

4. Squeeze tomato ketchup over as a finishing. Take photo. Then, cut it into 8 pieces. Take photo again, and then serve! You really have to trust me on this.

This pizza is really thin and crispy. I didn’t cut it when I take picture.

After I took the photo of the whole pizza, I bring it back to the kitchen and cut it. And serve it to Max straight after cutting. I walk back to the kitchen, wanting to wash my chopping board & knife before I come out to take another picture, thought of wanting to show you peeps how thin & how crust the pizza skin is.

But by the time I finished doing my washing, the pizza is gone.  It was a real big regret for doing the washing 1st!

@#$!&^%*#!@$&#!!!!

Hoisin Sauce Pork Ribs

I would say, this yummy ribs is totally a cheat. Because it’s simply effortless BBQ Ribs!

It’s quick, easy, and most importantly yummy. Sometimes, I would really close one eye and don’t bother if it is a cheat or not. Remember posted my 1st BBQ Ribs recipe early this month? I think that BBQ Ribs is rather complicated and too much of effort for some people. One of my girlfriend complaint to me and asked me for a simplified version. That is the reason why, I come up with this.

Ingredients

  • 450g Pork Ribs (about 8 bone strips. Scroll down and refer to my picture)
  • 120g Hoisin Sauce. I used Lee Kum Kee brand.
  • few dashes of pepper
  • few dashes of sesame oil
  • half cups of water (or more…. Eyeball it yourself)

Yes! You didn’t see it wrongly. No need to rub your eyes. Other than the ribs, what we need here is just 4 ingredients.

So, what is the cheat thing about?
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This is the one loh…

And I’ve got myself a beautiful ribs rack here. Max pester me to buy it.

Method
1. Wash your ribs, pat dry using kitchen towel. Cut the ribs in between the bones.

2. In a bowl, everything in, except water. Marinade for at least half hour, or one hour is always better if you have the time. I leave it in the fridge, covered, for 2 hours. Oh yea! Just mess it up!

3. Heat up your oven at 200 degrees. You will need to use it later.

4. Use your fingers to “wipe” away the sauce, you don’t want the ribs to be too “wet”, leave the sauce in the bowl. Do not discard. You will need it later.

5. Pan-sear the ribs lightly… This to seal in the meat juices. No need to cook it thoroughly. I just wants to brown it a little before finishing it in the oven later.

6. Line your baking pan with foil paper, place ribs on it, and straight into the oven for 30 mins or upto 40mins if you want it to looks more charred.

7. While the oven is doing the work. Add water & the remaining marinade sauce into the pan that you just pan-seared the ribs. (Eyeball it yourself. Just add more sauce if needed.) In a medium heat, bring it to boil. Stir occasionally until it has thickened. Heat off. Leave the sauce in the pan. No need to dish up.

8. Here’s my ribs just out of the oven after 30mins.

9. Once the ribs is out of the oven, put it back to the pan. Under medium heat, mix the sauce with the ribs evenly. While you’re mixing them, the heat is caramelizing the sauce while sticking it to the ribs.

10. Heat off, garnish, serve.

How does it taste?

Max ate 2 and a half bowls of rice with this. Maybe from here, you should be able to judge if it is yummy or not.

For those who seldom cook, maybe you wanna give it a try at home. I’m sure this dish could impress your loved ones! But I’ve got to warn you, be prepared to cook a lil’ more rice for the meal. It’s gonna be well received 🙂

Happy Cooking!

Review : My Zojirushi NP-HBQ10 Rice Cooker (Part 1)

Before I start off with my rice cooker review. Let me briefly tell you what I had been using all these while.

This is my old rice cooker. The big one belongs to my Mother-In-Law. The small one is mine. My mother gave it to me. All of us loved this rice cooker so much because of it’s petite size. It can only cook upto 3 cups. That is juuuuust nice for us. The big rice cooker is more suitable for party time tho. Haha…

Seriously, I don’t feel like throwing away the mini rice cooker that my mama gave me. I just keep it.

As all of you aware, I’ve got myself a new Zojirushi Rice Cooker that cost me alot.

I love eating rice. I’m rather particular and opinionated on how rice should taste. But people always says rice makes me fat. Serve me some noodles, porridge, bread, pita & whatever, and I’ll kindly stick up my nose and pout about the lack of plain rice to eat my meal with. Okays, I shall cut the crap about myself.

Here’s the function available on this rice cooker…

Another reason why I spent so much for this rice cooker is because it comes with stainless steel inner bowl. It has real heavy weight. I like it.

And another impressive part is that, the upper detachable lid is also stainless steel. In which, none of the Tiger rice cooker models has this. This lid is a real thing!

It has this steam vent set on top, to capture the steam water. Detachable and washable.

This morning, I decided to give it a try. But I’m not really hungry. So, I just cooked half cup of rice. I used Japanese Sakura Hitomebore Rice here. Added the water according to the white rice level. The water indicator is really really useful.

Pressed Regular White Rice on the menu and start cooking. 45mins later, my rice finally ready. It looks ordinary when it’s just cooked.

But when I loosen the rice, the rice gives me a deliciously fluffy texture.

Side track abit… Saw the rice paddle? The rice paddle comes with little bumpity bumps, which are supposed to help with mixing your rice and is supposed to keep rice from sticking to your paddle. Unfortunately, I don’t like the paddle, as rice still sticks to it. If you want to keep it rice-free, you’ll need to have a little bowl of water to store it in, otherwise when you store the paddle in the holder, the rice will simply crust on it.

Let’s take a close look at the rice.. Nice?

Ahhh… The rice tasted utterly fantastic.

And let’s see the fluffiness… It doesn’t looks only nice looking. It taste delicious too.
It’s not just it’s immediate taste; there’s a distinct aftertaste with the rice that is, in fact, sweet and tasty. I appear to be addicted to the rice, which isn’t exactly the greatest thing when you’re trying to lose weight.

Let’s add some furikake on top…

What about making it into Onigri?

Yummm~!!!

In overall, this rice cooker produces very delicious rice on a consistent basis provided you use the correct amount of water and the setting.With Extended Warm, keeps rice moist and fluffy for a much longer period of time without drying up. It’s easy to clean outside and inside too. For the cons part, so far the rice paddle not the greatest, which it doesn’t really affect me. I can always get another one.

Upcoming next, I will blog more about my experiment on my rice cooker. The next one would be GABA Rice.

Stay tuned!

Rice Dumplings with Adzuki Beans & Brown Sugar Syrup

I’m gonna make Rice Dumplings with Adzuki beans & Brown Sugar Syrup. It’s kinda Japanese Style. I remember I read one of the recipe online, but I’d forgotten where I saw it. I supposed to make the dumplings larger and dimpled so that they’d have tiny wells for holding thick brown sugar syrup. Hmm.. what about piling up some adzuki beans in those indented dumplings? We shall see…

To avoid confusion, I shall separate the recipe into 3 portion. The Adzuki Beans, The Rice Dumplings, and The Brown Sugar.

The Adzuki Beans
I saw a beautiful pack of Organic Adzuki Beans at Tebrau Jusco JB a week ago, and I don’t know what should I do with it. But I just can’t help buying it. Hahas!

It’s beautiful isn’t it? This cost me RM 7.60! Mad expensive!

Since I’ve got myself a new rice cooker, and I’d need to test the limit. I shall give it a try.
After I bought my rice cooker, the 1st thing I cook is not rice. It’s Adzuki Beans! Hahahas…

I supposed to pre-soak the beans before I cook, so that the beans will get soften easily. But I skipped this step. I’m lazy. You all knew it. So, I just throw half cups of beans into the rice cooker, water, set as “Porridge” and start cooking.

What you need here is just half cups of Adzuki beans, water, and some rock sugar.

The Porridge menu takes about 1 hour to cook. The 1st 1 hour, the beans is abit soft, but still within the bean shape. So, I decided to cook another hour. And here, the beans started to “flower” and soften. I leave it there as a “Keep Warm” mode till the next day morning, and the beans is softer than last night…

I added a piece of rock sugar in there, to give the beans a hint of sweetness. Just a hint of sweetness will do. The Adzuki Beans is now done. Set aside for later use.

The Rice Dumplings
I supposed to get some Mochiko sweet rice flour. But… I skipped this. So, I just use glutinous rice flour instead. So, what I made now is literally Tang Yuan (Chinese rice dumplings with sweet soup)

Ingredients
1 & half cups of glutinous rice flour
half cups of water.

This is easy. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer to knead the dough. Stress free! Just knead for about 5mins, and it’s done! It should be kinda PlayDoh type of consistency that’s firm yet soft and smooth.

Once the dough is done, roll it in this way… into a 12-inch-long log. Just eyeball it yourself.

Cut it crosswise into about 12 pieces. If you are unsure about the size, it should be about 10grams each dumpling. Roll each one into a 3/4-inch ball and then flatten it into a thick disc, about a scant 1/2 inch thick.

Use your index finger or thumb to make an indentation in the center. Set aside and repeat with the remaining dough.

You’ll form about 23 to 24 1 inch wide dumplings in total.

Bring water to boil, cook the dumplings.

After all the dumplings float to the top, let them cook for another minute, then use a skimmer to scoop them from the water.

Drop them into a bowl of cold or room temperature water to let them cool. The hot dumplings will cause the water turned cloudy. So, you could change the cold or room temperature water for 2 to 3 times to get rid of the cloudy water. I changed the water twice.

I can assure you that you will like this soft and chewy dumplings.

The Brown Sugar Syrup

Ingredients
3/4 cup Muscovado. Or any dark brown sugar. You may use Molasses if you like it darker.
1/4 cup water
Pinch of salt

Incase if you are unsure what is the difference between Molasses and Muscovado. Here is the packing difference for your reference :

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to vigorously simmer for about 3 minutes, until the syrup has kinda caramelized and thickened.

When the syrup is done, take it off the heat and wait for the bubbling action to subside before stirring in the salt. Set the brown sugar aside and let it cool.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
How to eat? Here….

For each portion, put 2 to 3 tablespoons of adzuki beans in a bowl. Top with some dumplings, and a drizzle of the sugar syrup.

The dumplings are dimpled, and as I mentioned, they’d have tiny wells for holding thick brown sugar syrup just like this….

Oh yes! Must eat this dessert with a spoon to ensure that you get some of each of the ingredients in every bite.

Messed it up! Haha!
Yumm!!! 😀

I should have get some kinako and put on top! Regretted for not buying it that day. Darn!

Lotus Root Soup 莲藕汤

I love this soup!

This is also one of the soup that I cook very often. It’s easy, and nutritious. Lotus root has many benefits like strengthening the bodies, dispelling heat and enhancing the appetite.

I love the delicious soup with ingredients which have been softened through long hours of brewing. It is really very heart-warming.

Although the cooking time is long, the preparation procedure is pretty simple. See my picture and you will know what you need to prepare.

Does my blog just made your life easier? 🙂

Ingredients (Serve 4 to 6 pax)

  • 480grams of Lotus Root, cleaned, peeled and sliced.
  • 200 grams of Pork Ribs, scalded (200grams is about S$3.00 from wet market butcher. You can buy more ribs if you like your soup to have more meaty taste.)
  • 5 to 6 red dates. Mine is really miserably mini sized, so I throw in 7 instead.
  • 4 to 5 dried scallops
  • 60 grams of dried peanuts
  • 1/2 of a foot long dried octopus. Snipped into small pieces.
  • 3000ml water
  • sea salt to taste

This is the dried octopus that I get from market. It cost S$5.00 per 100g. This is about 88g, and I paid S$4.50 for it. Expensive! I cut it into half, keep the other half for next time use.

For the Lotus root, I would highly recommend you to put in effort to make a trip to the wet market to get the muddy type of Lotus root. The fresh root is harvested from ponds, so they are usually covered in mud. That’s one of the ways we tell the fresh ones from the not so fresh ones. Avoid those that look dry or too white. This type of muddy root is fresh, crunchy and it taste really good. See this picture… This cost me S$2.00, weighed about 480 grams.

Cleaned, peeled, sliced… You should only left with about 370 grams.

For the dried peanuts… I always put in effort to remove the skin by rubbing it hard with each other. The reason is because I would prefer my soup to have a clearer broth. Peanut skins tends to darken the color of the soup. Slowly read on, and you will know…

You don’t need to put in so much effort for those peanuts. If you have somebody (be it husband, kids, parents or whoever) is sitting infront of the TV comfortably, engrossed with their favorite TV show, get them to do this for you!

And don’t be bothered to remove the skins for all of them. Just estimate will do. I just did half of it. I don’t bother to put in effort to remove all of them today. I’m lazy. My maid husband is not around to help me when I’m preparing this soup.

Some people like to pre-soak the peanuts overnight (or at least 5 hours) before use. You can do that if you have the time. It will soak away all the peanut skins color.

For me, I have a speedy way. After I removed the peanut skins, I soak it for half to 1 hour. And then, par-boiled it in a boiling water for about 5 minutes, and you can see the color of the water is pale brownish. This color comes from the peanut skin. It’s edible. Don’t worry. But I just personally don’t want this dull color. You can skip all these extra work if you want.

Discard the water…

And your peanut will turn softer, light in color and it’s ready to use.

Method
1. Rinse pork ribs, scald in boiling water for awhile, remove and rinse. (Refer to this if you are unsure on how to prepare the ribs)

2. Wash scallops, red dates, dried octopus. Prepare lotus roots & peanuts according to what I’d mentioned above.

4. In a soup pot, put everything in (except salt). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the soup over low heat for 2 hours. And if you have more time, make it 3 hours.

5. Your soup will definitely have the Umph! after 3 hours! Woohoo!!! Remember to add salt to taste before serve.

Now you can take a look at the soup. And if you were to compare my lotus root soup with others (who also use dried peanuts), you will realized that mine is clearer in color. This is the reason why I always put in extra effort to remove the dried peanut skins.

Now… would you like to have a bowl of soup?

Oh! By the way, I love to dip the pork ribs and the lotus root slices in soy sauce. It’s nice!