Saturday, November 19, 2011

Red Bean Paste Mochi

Red Bean Paste Mochi by Phay Ing Landers:
I have always like eating anything that has to do with red beans, be it in a form of soup or pastry. I think this must be due to my parents’ influence. In my growing up years, almost every other Sunday my mother would cooked red bean soup. It was compulsory for everyone in the household to have a bowl! I grew up having a bowl of red bean soup for Sunday’s breakfast.

The lack of good satisfying Chinese dessert at the local Chinese eatery is my driving force to make my own mochi. The eatery serves jin dui 煎堆 (red bean paste sesame balls), and each time I ate the jin dui I ended up disappointed. A tiny dollop of red bean paste is not enough to satisfy my palate.

I want a less oily version of jin dui, so mochi came to mind. I bought the glutinous rice flour and canned sweetened red bean paste with the intent of making mochi. Believe it or not this is my first attempt, and the red bean paste mochi tasted fantastic, with the right amount of chewiness and they were soft to bite! Simply marvelous.

Making your own mochi right in your own turf aka kitchen is a simple procedure. All one needs are the ingredients (which can be obtain through AsianSupermarket365), and an attitude of ‘can do’. The recipe is foolproof, and it is one of the easiest for anyone to follow.

Mochi making (yields 10-11 mochi)
• 1 cup glutinous rice flour
• 1 cup water
• 4 Tbsp sugar
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 cup water

Filling and coating:
• ¾ cup canned sweetened red bean paste#
• 1/3 cup toasted glutinous rice flour for coating and work surface. Alternatively you can use desiccated coconut to coat the mochi.

A. Filling for mochi : Shape the sweetened red bean paste into a 1inch diameter ball, and place them on a plate.

B. Toasted glutinous rice flour: Toast the glutinous rice flour on a non-stick frying-pan over medium-low heat without any oil. Let it cook for 5 minutes until aromatic. Continuous stirring of the flour will ensure it doesn’t get burnt. Allow the toasted flour cools down in a bowl and proceed to batter making.

C. Mochi:
1. For the mochi batter, combine the glutinous rice flour, sugar and salt in a large, microwave-proof bowl. Add water gradually and mix well till smooth. Make sure there are no lumps. The batter should be runny.
2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave the batter for 2 minutes on ‘high’ power setting, then remove from microwave and give it a thorough stir to ensure even cooking. Microwave for another 1-2 minutes. (Depending on the microwave voltage. Mine is an 1100W.) Or until cooked through. The cooked dough will be sticky and should be translucent.
3. Remove it from the microwave, and give it a good stir. Allow the dough to cool down for 3 min or until you feel it is not too hot to handle.
4. Rub your hands with toasted glutinous rice flour and dust generously the surface of your working area with the toasted flour. Empty the dough onto the toasted flour working area. Expect the dough to be very sticky.
5. Take a small amount of dough (about the size of a ping pong ball), roll it into a ball then flatten it into a disc. Place 1 red bean paste ball in the center. Pinch to seal the edges around it.
6. Coat the ball in the toasted glutinous rice flour and roll between the palms to make it round. Repeat until done.
7. Store the red bean paste mochi in an air tight container at room temperature. They are good for 2 days.

Mochi can be served as dessert to end your meal on a high note, or to be eaten as a snack accompanied by a cup of Oolong tea. Enjoy.

#The canned sweetened red bean paste was too runny for my liking. In order to remove the moisture to create the paste like consistency, I had to ‘cook’ the mixture. Below are the steps.
1. Heat up a pan/skillet over medium heat with 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil.
2. Add the runny paste to the pan and using the spatula, stir the runny paste.
3. Continue stirring until it turns into a thick paste.
4. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Allow the paste to cool down.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sambal Tumis Fried Rice

Sambal Tumis Fried Rice by Phay Ing Landers:
Fried rice is a versatile dish.  It is good enough to be eaten on its own, or to be served as a side dish. Just have this wild/crazy idea of using sambal tumis to fry rice and it gave the spicy kick I was looking for!

Precooked sambal tumis sauce by Tean’s Gourmet… what can I say? A very handy sauce to have in the pantry, and what better way than to marry sambal tumis with rice. These 2 combinations can certainly bring your fried rice up a notch.

3 cups of cooled, cooked rice
1/3 cup sambal tumis (Tean’s Gourmet)* more if you want the fried rice to be spicy
1 cup cooked ham, diced*can be replaced with any meat you fancy
2 large eggs, beaten into a bowl
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ cup onion, diced
½ cup carrot, diced
½ cup French beans, cut into small rounds
½ cup fresh sweet corn kernels
2 tbsp. chicken bouillon powder
Black pepper for seasoning
Cilantro sprigs for garnish

Heat the oil in a wok/sauté pan until it is hot, add the garlic, onion, carrot and French beans and stir fry for 3-4 min.  Set aside and put eggs into the pan and scramble immediately.  When the eggs are set , return the cooked vegetables from the sides to the center and toss to combine.

Add the rice, ham and sambal tumis into the pan.  Stir-fry for several minutes until the rice is well heated through and well mixed with the sambal tumis, ham and vegetables.

Lastly add in the fresh sweet corn kernels and adjust the taste with the chicken bouillon powder and black pepper.

Dish up.  Garnish rice with cilantro sprigs and serve.