Sunday, 15 June 2008

Mike's 70th Birthday Celebration

The Happy Chefs

Chocolate con Churros

Chocolate con Churros is a quintessential Spanish treat. It's usually sold by weight and a plateful is more than sufficient for two.

It's quite fascinating to see them prepare the dough for deep frying. Shall take some photographs if I have the chance.

Porras are thicker than churros, very similar to our Chinese Dough Deep Fried Fritters. The price for a plate with a serving of thick, creamy and warm chocolate is between 3 to 4 Euro.

It's good enough to eat on its own, with a sprinkling of sugar or dunked in chocolate. Should I crave some usually I buy the minimum order of a euro. It comes, wrapped in cone-shaped paper. Churros are best eaten hot. I enjoy them most as is without sugar or dunking in warm chocolate.

Avoid this if you are on a diet as it's disastrous for your waistline.

Chwee Kueh

The yearning for chwee kueh was overwhelming and when I realised a mistake had been made over the rice flour in the larder I was over the moon.

The inspiration came from a recipe posted by San Choo from SWA and challenged me to the task of attempting to make the chye poh immediately.

My sister brought over a packet of preserved radish from Singapore thus there wasn't a reason to procrastinate any further.

As this is my first attempt in making chwee kueh, I am clueless in how the consistency of the cooked mixtures should look like and hope the photographs help you along should you like to try it out.
I opted for table salt and onion oil to incorporate into the mixture, minus the chicken stock. Mix gently with one cup of water first followed by rest of liquid requirement.
Potato flour was used as I didn’t have any corn flour.
The heat to cook the mixture was increased slightly to one notch from low heat during the cooking process as it took too long for the mixture to thicken.
Flat stainless dishes were used as I didn't have the correct moulds.
The smaller dish was steamed before the mixture was poured in. I have a problem in removing them from the dish after cooking.
It was easier to retrieve the second dish which was oiled very lightly before the mixture was poured in.

Tips from Sarinxr and San Choo from SWA, Singapore Women Association:
1. Use silicon muffin trays as suggested by Sarinxr. Chwee kueh can come out easily even without lining it with oil.
2. As per San Choo, pre-steaming means heating the empty moulds by steam before filling them. He thought that this step can be omitted but found that heating the moulds in advance (which does make it a little fiddly to handle them when filling with the rice flour mix) does help in making the chwee kueh come out more easily.


Chye Poh Toppings

San Choo's Friend recipe

Recipe from San Choo's friend
1 cup of rice flour
2¼ cup/550 ml of water (room temperature)
1 tbsp corn flour
1 tsp lard or oil
A pinch of salt
A large pinch of chicken stock powder (optional)

1 Mix the rice flour and corn flour well with water
2. Add salt and oil, and chicken stock powder if using
3. Stir the mixture over low heat till the mixture thickens. Keep stirring to prevent lumps.
4. Pre-steam the moulds for 5 minutes
5. Pour the mixture into the moulds and steam for 10-15 minutes

Chye Poh toppings:
8-12 tbsp Chye Poh (dried preserved radish) - depending on how much you like Chye Poh!
½ - 1 tsp sugar (optional)
¼ Cup/60 ml of lard or oil
2 cloves of garlic

1. Soak the chye poh to wash/remove the salt and drain dry.
2. Heat lard or oil in pan
3. Fry chopped garlic until it turns golden, and then remove because only the flavoured oil is needed.
4. Add in the chye poh and fry over a low heat
5. Add sugar if using
6. Transfer to a smaller pot to simmer the chye poh in the oil over very low low heat until it is required.


This is my version for the Chye Poh Toppings:

1. One tsp toasted sesame seeds
2. Sufficient vegetable oil to cover preserved salted radish.
3. Six cloves or garlic or more depending on taste. Lightly bruised but leave garlic whole.
4. 150g preserved salted radish, washed and drained on colander.
5. One tablespoon or more of Kikkoman light soya sauce.
6. Half a teaspoon or more of Cheong Chan Caramel Sauce to enrich the colour of the chye poh.
7. Dash of white pepper.
8. One teaspoon of demerra sugar.

1. Toast the sesame seeds till fragrant and brown without burning.
2. On medium heat in a small pot, add oil and brown garlic till golden. Set garlic aside.
3. Add rest of ingredients except for the toasted sesame seeds. Mix well
4. Cook gently for about thirty minutes
5. Stir bottom of pan periodically to prevent burning.
6. After about thirty minutes, taste radish and adjust seasoning. Add toasted sesame seeds and continue to cook for another five minutes.

a. If possible use lard for the ultimate taste.
b. Do not discard the garlic once they are golden brown as it's good to eat on its own or grind to a paste for a salad dressing. Or simply add to caramelized onions for future recipes.
c. To save time, toast more sesame seeds than you need for this recipe as they keep very well in an air tight container or zip lock bag and can be used at a later date.