Sunday, May 22, 2011

Char Siew Pao (Chinese Steamed BBQ Roast Pork Buns)

Today, I am going to share with you our customer, Phay Ing Landers's, Char Siew Pao (Chinese Steamed Oyster Sauce Pork Buns) that she made with the Easy To Make Happy Grass Pao Flour .   They look so delicious!!!

My mother makes Char Siew Pao (Chinese Steamed BBQ Roast Pork Buns) from scratch.  She knows that I can't do it from scratch so she suggested that I use the Easy To Make Happy Grass Pao Flour.  I haven't tried it yet but I will definitely try it one day!

Phay Ing Landers, thank you again for your participation in our '$10 gift voucher' campaign!!!

Phay Ing Landers:

I had a bag of pao flour, Easy To Make Happy Grass Pao Flour, sitting in the pantry, bought in Sept 2010. Last week I caved in to my steamed char siew pao craving! My maiden attempt in making pao was an adventure in every sense of the word as I had not made any pao before and had no inkling of how the end result would be. However, I have eaten countless paos.

I am not the only pao fan in the family. My husband and the boys are a big fan of pao too! Char siew, red bean paste and lotus paste paos are the family’s favorite. The last time we had paos was in 2009 when we visited my parents in Kuching. The local Chinese eateries in Fairmont, WV do not include dim sum in their menus, except potstickers.

Back to my paos making adventure, the Easy To Make Happy Grass Pao Flour is great for first-timers. Everything I needed for the pao dough was there in separate plastic bags: pao flour, instant yeast, sugar and lard.

The whole process took me 2.5 hours, starting from kneading-resting-flattening-rolling-filling-shaping-steaming. Just follow the instructions printed on the package for the dough making. The step-by-step photos on the package helped me to understand the written instructions. I knew I was on the right track when I could smell the familiar pao doughy aroma as I was kneading the dough.

These are the steps I used to make the paos from the divided dough portions. I used a pizza cutter to cut the dough into small portions. I didn’t use any measuring device, instead I just eyeballed the portions and cut.

1. Use the palm to press the divided dough to flatten. Roll the dough into rounds and place 1 tbsp of filling in the center. Shape into pao and seal by pleating the edges. (Make sure the pao is sealed properly, otherwise it will open when it is steamed).

2. Place the pao on a piece of precut small square parchment paper so the pao will not stick to the bottom of the steamer rack. Cover with damp cloth and leave to rest for 40 mins, as instructed by the package.

3. 5-10 mins toward the end of the paos resting time, prepare a steamer pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. Steam the paos over high heat for 10 mins. (The steaming time depends on the size of the pao.)

4. Continue to wrap paos with fillings and steam.

5. Serve the paos warm.

I used the entire bag as I wasn’t sure if the ingredients would keep once opened. I only managed to make 25 small paos (2” in diameter) with 300g of Char Siew. I didn’t want to waste the rest of dough, so I just made plain mantous. That gave me approximate 40 mantous. They tasted heavenly dipped in the char siew gravy.

A decent char siew pao not only depends on the dough’s fluffiness, but it has to be accompanied with tasty and juicy filling. Credits must be given to Lily Ng from Lily’s Wai Shek Hong blog for her Char Siew recipes. She has been very generous to give me her blessings to link her recipes to this write-up. I have been following her food blog for a few years, and her recipes are simple to follow. Most importantly the end results suit my palette.

I used 2 recipes for the paos fillings.
1. Char Siew recipe to make a batch of meat.
2. From the Char siew meat I baked, I followed this recipe to recreate the meat into Oyster Sauce Char Siew to be used for the pao fillings.

Overall I am very satisfied with the paos. After the success of the maiden attempt in making char siew paos, I will try making red bean paste paos next. In fact my boys are very excited and have been asking for it ever since they knew that I could make paos. The red bean paste can be ordered from AsianSupermarket365.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Frozen Yogurt with Canned Lychee (Litchi)

I did very well at the gym so I pampered myself with a cup of Caribbean Coffee Frozen Yogurt with Canned Lychee (Litchi) at Berrywild Yogurt opposite my gym. I was surprised to see that they have Canned Lychee (Litchi) as one of the toppings. So instead of having fresh fruits as the toppings like I always do, I picked Canned Lychee (Litchi) this time. Another surprise... it is more delicious than the fresh fruits.

I am sure ice cream and frozen yogurt will also go very well with other types of Canned Fruits.We have a very wide selections of Canned Fruits such as: Lychee (Litchi), Longan (Dragon Eyes), Guava, Nata De Coco, Young Coconut Meat, Young Green Jack Fruit, Rambutan, Jack Fruit, Tropical Fruit Salad, Rambutan with Pineapple, Toddy Palm's Seed Slices, Palm's Seeds, Papaya, Sapota, Soursop and Mangosteen.  Click here to view them.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bakuteh (Bak Kut Teh) Herbal Soup

The first $10 gift voucher goes to...Rak Singh!! Below is Rak's Bakuteh (Bak Kut Teh) Herbal Soup and introduction about himself.

Rak Singh's Bak Kut Teh:

1 Tean's Gourmet Herbs & Spices packet (has two bags in it)
2 to 2.5 lbs of pork spare ribs
2 garlic bulbs (peeled and cleaned)
8-12 dried mushrooms (note, if you use more than 12 mushrooms, you may want to add the optional spices below)
8-12 dried red dates
8-10 cups of water (measuring cups)
Soft tofu
Chinese Lettuce

2 Tablespoons of light soy sauce
1 Tablespoon of dark thick soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Oyster sauce.  You can find a few different brands of oyster sauce here.
White pepper and salt to taste

Optional Spices (rinse them before use)
2 Star Anise (Dried Aniseed)
2 Licorice
6 Dried Cloves

1. Blanch the spare ribs separately first in boiled water so that the Bak Kut Teh soup does not become murky when you cook the ribs with the spices. Discard the water after ribs have been blanched.
2. Soak the dried mushrooms and dried red dates in warm water
3. Boil the 8-10 cups of water and add the Tean's Gourmet Herbs & Spices packet (the packet has two herb bags in it)
4. Boil the herb bags in water for 30 minutes. Cover the pot.
5. Now add the blanched spare ribs, garlic bulbs, dried mushrooms and dried red dates. Ensure there is enough water to cover all the ingredients. Bring water to boil again.
6. Turn down the heat and simmer over low-medium heat for 1.5 to 2 hrs. Simmer covered till the meat starts to fall off the bone easily. Add more water as you go along if needed.
7. Add the optional spices if you feel that the dried mushrooms are starting to overpower the taste of the broth or if you would like a strong herbal taste to the soup.
8. Skim the fat off occasionally.
9. About 10 minutes before the end, add the additional seasoning (light soy sauce, dark thick soy sauce, Oyster sauce (you can find a few different brands of oyster sauce here), white pepper and salt.
10. Add the soft tofu at the very end. Alternatively, you can also fry firm tofu and use that instead. Or you can use tofu puffs and add to the broth while boiling.

When serving, add the Chinese lettuce to your bowl/dish and then pour the broth over. Best served with steamed rice, steamed or stir-fried vegetables and chillies.

A little bit about me:
I was born in Kuching but grew up in Brunei as my dad ran a construction services company there. I left Brunei in 93 to head to the UK to study for a degree and then ended up landing a job in America (in San Francisco). I've moved around the States quite a bit and also spent some time in between in Amsterdam, New Delhi and Toronto before finally moving to Denver in 2004, where I currently am now.

I grew up eating a lot of Hokkien food and that is why I like to cook traditional dishes from Malaysia for my family now. And as for why I cooked Bak Kut Teh, well it is one of my dad's favorite lunch time meals and even now when I visit my parents (they still live in Malaysia), we will often go to the Bak Kut Teh restaurant near their house (a trip home is not complete unless we have bak kut teh and Hainanese Chicken Rice at least) . And now that I live in America and have my own son, I would like him to experience the foods that I grew up with so that his culinary experience is as diverse as possible. And I look forward to cooking bak kut teh for my dad too the next time I visit. I bet he will be very proud of my bak kut teh cooking abilities!

Now, I must give credit to a dear friend of mine who lives in the UK (but was from Kuantan initially). I met her while I was in the UK as she was there studying in the same college (and was a class-mate). She recently shared her mom's special bak kut teh recipe with me and that is why you see red dates in the list of ingredients. It adds a little bit of sweetness and also provides a lovely layer of depth to the meal. She can cook some wonderful dishes too so I must steal more recipes from her.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thai Sweet Glutinous Rice (Sticky Rice) with Mango

Mangoes are in season now!!!  You can get sweet and delicious mangoes from the fruit stands everywhere in New York City.  

After eating lots of mangoes for more than a month, I am still not sick of it yet.  I had dinner with some friends at a Thai Restaurant last Friday and ordered Thai Sweet Glutinous Rice (Sticky Rice) with Mango for dessert.  It was delicious!!!

You can find many Thai Sweet Glutinous Rice (Sticky Rice) with Mango's recipes on Google.  It's pretty easy to make.

The below items are available on our site for making this dessert. 
1. Glutinous Rice (White) or Glutinous Rice (Black)
2. Palm Sugar
3. Coconut Milk
4. Pandan Leaves Extract

Serve the rice warm with cold mangoes.

Have something different for dessert at home:)  Hope you like it.