Chinese Style Steamed Fish


My children love to eat fishes, especially my princess! Be it steamed or deep fried, she can literally finishes a whole fish by herself. (Well, a whole fish here means 800g or less per fish)

Meanwhile on the other side..., my hubby is a little... hmm.. no, i meant is VERY finicky about fishes. He cannot takes even a tiny weeny smell of fishy smell, he would reject the whole dish! (But more shares for the kids! Haha...) That is why I must be very careful when I handle the fishes.

But also because of his high expectation, I was trained to cook 'fishy smell'-FREE fish dishes. First, I learn how to choose a fresh fish by looking at the eyes of the fish. If it is clear, then it is fresh. The clearer, the fresher! If the eyes has gone very blur, don't buy that, no matter how hard you try to clear off the fishy smell, there will still be a strong stench. And don't buy those fishes with bruises on its body, it may be a sign of stress during the struggle of getting caught. This can affect the quality of the fish.

Secondly, clean the fish thoroughly. Washed out everything from its cavity and head. There will be a blood line on its back bone. Pierce through the membrane and wash out the blood line. Don't leave any blood streaks, it will caused a fishy smell when it's cooked.

Thirdly, marinate the fish with a pinch of salt and white pepper powder. Just a pinch for both sides will do. Don't put too much of salt because we wanted to taste the sweet freshness of the fish, not a salted fish.

Lastly, before putting to steam, stuff spring onions and ginger slices in its cavity, top and bottom of the fish.

And that's it! With the 4 points above, I am sure you will never go wrong with this recipe. Happy cooking!

CHINESE STYLE STEAMED FISH
Prep Time  : 20 mins
Cook Time : 8 mins
Total Time : 28 mins
Serves       : 3 - 4 pax

Ingredients:
1 pc talapia fish/ your preferred fish (800g)
1 stalk spring onion, halves in length
8 slices ginger
A pinch of salt and white pepper

Sauce (Combine in a small bowl)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp hot water (*)

Topping
1 stalk spring onion, finely shredded
1cm ginger, thin strips
A handful of coriander
2 Tbsp peanut oil/ your preferred oil

Directions:
1. For even cooking, score the thickest part of the fish, making 2-3 deep cuts on its flesh down to the bone. (Be careful not to cut through the bone.)

2. Lightly season the fish with a pinch of salt and white pepper, and marinate for 5 -10 minutes.

3. Insert a slice of ginger in each incisions (**) and stuff its cavity with half stalk of spring onion and few ginger slices. Then use the remaining half stalk of spring onion as a base, together with a few ginger slices. Place the fish on the base and top with ginger slices again, the head and tail. Steam on high heat for 8-10 mins, depending on the size of your fish.

4. While the fish is steaming, get ready the sauce and hot oil.

5. When the fish is cooked, transfer the fish to a new plate. Garnish with fresh ginger strips, coriander and shredded spring onions. Pour the hot oil on top of the garnish in few batches, making a sizzle sound each time. Lastly pour the sauce mixture around the fish and serve immediately.

Notes:
(*) If you are keeping the fish water which is the water accumulated on the plate while steaming, you may omit adding water to the sauce mixture. I find that fish water is good to use when your fish is really fresh and you've cleaned it thoroughly. (But because I have a fussy hubby who can detect even a 0.01% of fishy smell, I rather discard the fish water.)

(**) For the bottom side of the fish, you can cut the ginger slices vertically halves before insert into the incisions. Because it is facing down on the plate, using a whole ginger slice might be too big.

● For better timing, usually i steam the fish for 7 mins 15 secs. After 7 mins 15 secs, i'll off the heat and let it sit in the wok, untouched. The residual heat will continue to cook the fish. And at this time, I will work on my sauce and hot oil. It takes less than a minute to get 2 Tbsp of oil to sizzling hot. But if you are making this dish for the first time, it is better to prepare everything in advance.

● If you are using a bigger fish, ie 1.2kg and above, you may use a chopstick under the fish for even heat circulation.


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Snowskin Mooncakes (Steaming Method)

Snowskin mooncake is a non-baked mooncake eaten chilled during Mid-Autumn Festival. It has a skin texture similar to mochi and the filling can be of the common ones like lotus paste or red bean paste to the exotic ones like durian paste.


My hubby love the traditional snowskin mooncake with the lotus paste or daoyung filling. Many years ago, I've been making the showskin mooncakes with kao fen/cooked glutinous rice flour and shortening. The recipe was great, it was easy to make and the taste was great too! But after a few rounds, i soon realized that the skin will start to dry up after the 3rd day.

So 2 years back, I tried a new recipe with steaming method. It was perfect because the skin was still soft on the 3rd day, and throughout the week. I hasn't got a chance to test the skin for longer than a week because it'll be all gone in our tummies before that! So, if you are making these mooncakes and they lasted more than a week, please let me know how's the texture ya!


Usually the mini mooncake weight at 50g each but mines are 55g each because I like the mooncakes to be taller. If you are using the same mold as mine, you can adjust the total weight in between 50g - 60g. I am using 25g filling with 30g dough. This distribution is just right for my hubby. But if you like to have more skin, then you can adjust accordingly.

Hope you'll enjoy my recipe!


MOONCAKE MOLD

This is the mooncake mold I am using. Just secure the design plate by twisting the handle. Usually each mold comes with 4 design plates and this cost me around RM10++ at a bakery supplies shop.


SNOWSKIN MOONCAKES (STEAMING METHOD)
Prep Time  : 60 mins
Cook Time : 15 mins
Total Time : 1 hour 15 mins (+3 hours resting)
Makes       : +/- 400g snowskin dough (approx. 13pcs mini mooncakes)

Ingredients:
70g glutinous rice flour
45g rice flour
25g wheat starch
60g castor sugar
220ml water
38g condensed milk
1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp banana essence or essence of your choice

Filling
325g filling of your choice

Coating
3 Tbsp glutinous rice flour
1 pandan leave, cut into 3 - 4 sections

Directions:
1. For Coating : In a pan under low heat, stir-fry glutinous rice flour with pandan leave for approx. 5 mins. As you cook, the pandan leave will emit a nice aroma and this will enhance the smell of the cooked glutinous rice flour. The glutinous rice flour is done when you see that the pandan leave has dried up and turned slightly brown. There shouldn't be any raw flour smell. Dish up and set aside to cool completely.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine glutinous rice flour, rice flour and wheat starch. Mix well and set aside until needed.

3. In another medium bowl, combine water, castor sugar and condensed milk. Mix until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in vegetable oil and essence of your choice.

4. Pour the liquid batter into the flour mixture and stir well until they are well combined. It should be a liquid batter with no lumps. If there are lumps, press it against the side of the bowl with your spatula to break it. (A few tiny lumps are acceptable)

5. Strain the batter into a shallow dish and steam for 15 - 20 mins until the dough is cooked. The dough is cooked when you can cut through the dough with a spatula and it comes out clean. Remove from steaming rack and let it cool for 5 minutes.

6. While the dough is still hot (not piping hot) and in the steaming dish, knead the dough with a spatula in folding motion until it becomes smooth and let the dough cool down completely. The dough may seems very oily at first but don't worry it wont be oily after kneading and cooled down.

7. Wrap the dough with cling wrap and put in refrigerator for 2 - 4 hours.

MOLDING THE MOONCAKES
8. Weight your filling by 25g each and your dough by 30g each. Shape them into balls and cover both ingredients with cling wrap to avoid drying up while you are working on them one by one.

9. Take a ball of dough and flatten it on your palm to form a circle (approx. 7 - 8 cm in diameter). The center should be thinner than the sides. Form a C-shape with your left hand and rest the flattened dough on the C-shape. Then place a ball of filling in the center of the dough, the ball of filling will gently slide into your C-shape hand with your thumb and index finger holding it. Then using your right hand gently push and pull the sides of the dough upward so that all edges will meet together. Seal all the edges together and gently shape into an oval ball. (Oval shape will be easier to fit into the mold later)

10. Coat the oval ball and the inside of the mooncake mold with cooked glutinous rice flour. Place the oval ball on your working mat with the thinner side facing the top. Gently lower the mold onto the oval ball and press the mooncake mechanism. Lift the mooncake mold up and press the mooncake mechanism to release the mooncake. Repeat with the rest of your dough. Keep the mooncakes in an airtight container and chill before consuming.

Notes:
● You may use kao fen/ cooked glutinous rice flour for coating.

● You may replace the water for any fruit juice, liquid flavor or color as you like.

● The dough will be very sticky. So it is best to work with disposable gloves when molding the mooncakes.

● These mooncakes are best to be eaten after chilled for a day. It can be kept in the refrigerator for upto a week.


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Steamed Enoki with Crispy Garlic in Soy Sauce


I've always like to eat enoki mushrooms a.k.a golden needles especially in Bak Kut Teh soup. Well, come to think of it, that is the only way I know how to cook enoki mushrooms, (last time!). Or just cook them with other ingredients during steamboat.

Enoki mushrooms are usually vacuum packed and is available at a very low price. You can get them at less than a ringgit per packet. Even tho' they are low price, it doesn't mean that they are low in nutrient too. As a matter of fact, enoki mushrooms are known for their anti-cancer capabilities and immune-boosting benefits.


These enoki mushrooms are garlicky and savory with a hint of spiciness. It also has the fragrant of the sizzled spring onions from the searing of the hot garlic oil. Oh, it is so yummylicious!


STEAMED ENOKI WITH CRISPY GARLIC IN SOY SAUCE
Prep Time  : 10 mins
Cook Time : 10 mins
Total Time : 20 mins
Serves       : 1 - 2 pax

Ingredients:
1 pkt enoki mushroom
3 clove garlic, minced
1 bird's eyes chilli, minced
1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp hot water
1 tsp sugar
A handful of chopped spring onions

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, mix minced chilli, soy sauce, fish sauce, hot water and sugar together until sugar dissolved. Set aside until needed.

2. Run enoki mushroom under running tap water to wash off any dirt. Gently squeeze out the excess water from enoki. Cut off the woody stem of the enoki mushroom and arrange enoki on steaming plate. Steam for 10 minutes (electric steamer) or 5 mins on high heat (stovetop).

3. Discard the water from enoki, pour soy sauce mixture around the enoki and add chopped spring onions on top of the enoki.

4. In a small pot under low heat, add minced garlic and 1-2 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Slowly fry the garlic until they are light golden. Once they turned light brown, stir for another 5-6 seconds and immediately pour the hot oil on top of the spring onions. Arrange the crispy garlic on top.

Notes:
● You may prepare the crispy garlic oil before the enoki is done, but you need to arrange the timing so that by the time you've garnished the spring onoins on top of the enoki, the oil is just right to pour onto the spring onions.

● Garlic is easily burnt. Once they turned light golden brown, you only need a few more seconds to golden brown. So, be sure you are just next to the stove.


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Homemade Chilli Flakes


I was half a mind on doing this post. Since this recipe is so simple, I wasn't sure to just post a short recipe on my instagram or make an official recipe on Yummy~licious. After a long thought, I choose the latter because it would be easier for my daughter or son to search for it in the future. (You see, one of my wish for this blog is that this blog will be a place where my children would come to for their mommy's recipes.)


As I was saying, this recipe is so simple and straight-forward that you almost do not need a recipe to do it. It only need one ingredient, which is dried red chillies. You can easily get dried red chillies from supermarket, and if it is not available on the shelf, you may dried your own red chillies.

If you are drying your own chillies, you have the flexibility to choose the types of chillies used, hence controlling the spiciness. For a spicy tone, you can use red cayenne pepper with habenero or bird's eyes chillies; or if you want super spicy, you can sneak in a ghost pepper. And if you prefer a milder hot, you can use red cayenne pepper with chipotle. Of course, these are just suggestion of combinations. You may use whatever chillies you wanted.

These chili flakes are good to go on anything - pizza, pasta, Asian style fried noodles, chicken dishes and basically anything that you needed an extra kick!

HOMEMADE CHILLI FLAKES
Prep Time  : 10 mins
Cook Time : 15 mins
Total Time : 25 mins
Makes       : 20g chilli flakes/ approx. 1/3 cup

Ingredients:
25g dried red chillies

Directions:
1. In a pan, using low heat, dry roast chillies until they turned slightly brown/ dark red. Let them cool completely.

2. Blitz the roasted chillies for few seconds to get a coarse texture or to a texture that you prefer. Don't over do it, or else you will end up with chilli powder.

3. Store in a jar and keep refrigerated for upto 6 months.


Notes:
● The roasted chillies will further crisp up after you've cooled them down. Be careful not to over-roast your chillies. Best is you try it after cooling them down. If they break easily, means they are ready for next step. If they do not break easily/ bend, dry roast again on pan for a few more minutes.


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Rice Cooker Pandan Sponge Cake


I am beginning to fall in love with rice cooker cakes. They are always soft and moist. You can never over-baked a cake in a rice cooker, well... at least for me! Just keep a watch on your cake after the 35 minutes mark, once the skewer inserted came out clean, it's done!


If you've baked a pandan cake before, you will know that the pandan smell will fill your kitchen with a nice pandan aroma. It's the same with cooking in a rice cooker. The pandan smell filled my kitchen as soon as it started to cook in the rice cooker. Aside from the fragarnt pandan aroma, my kitchen was also filled with a soothing coconut smell. The smells will hit you first before you eat.

This pandan sponge cake is spongy, soft and moist. It's a perfect cake to pair with a nice hot milk coffee! Yumm... I took a video to show you guys on the texture. Please excuse my clumsiness with trying to peel with one hand (I was holding the camera with the other hand).


Enjoy my recipe!

RICE COOKER PANDAN SPONGE CAKE
(Recipe adapted from Kitchen101)
Prep Time  : 20 mins
Cook Time : 50 mins
Total Time : 1 hour 10 mins
Makes       : One 8" cake

Ingredients:
5 eggs
120g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
130g sugar
50ml coconut milk
30ml water
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
8 - 10 pcs pandan leaves
Butter for coating

Directions:
You will need a rice cooker bowl (approx. 8"), coat bottom and sides generously with butter.

1. Sift baking powder and cake flour into a bowl. Set aside until needed.

2. Blend 30ml water with pandan leaves. Strain and squeeze out the juice, measure 20ml of pandan water. Set aside until needed.

3. Separate the egg whites from the yolk. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat egg whites until frothy. Then gradually add in sugar and beat until stiff peak. Add in the egg yolks, one at a time and beat until fully incorporated.

4. In another mixing bowl, combine pandan water, coconut milk, vegetable oil and half of the previously sieved flour mixture. Mix well using a whisk.

5. Add in 1/3 of the egg batter into the flour batter, and whisk gently to combined. Add in the other half of the previously sieved flour mixture, and again whisk gently to combined. When everything is well combined, add in the rest of the egg batter and using a whisk, mix well in a fold motion. Lastly using a spatula, get to the bottom of the batter and fold to mix evenly.

6. Pour batter into the rice cooker bowl and drop the bowl from a height on the kitchen countertop to release large air bubbles. Do it a few times.

7. Cook batter for 40 - 50 minutes, or until skewer inserted came out clean.

8. To Unmould: When done, let it rest in the rice cooker bowl for a few minutes. The cake would slightly shrink, making it to detach itself from all sides. If some parts are still sticking, gently tilt the cake to the opposite side so that the weight of the cake would pull itself away from the sides. After that, you may turn the rice cooker bowl upside down, with a wire rack to catch it at the bottom. Leave to cool before slicing the cake.

Notes:
● I am using a 5.5cup (uncooked) rice cooker. The base of the rice cooker bowl is approx. 8".

● By using a whisk during mixing in Step 5, it will help to reduce the deflation of the egg batter.


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