Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chinese Rice Wine for Postpartum Confinement Oh Yeah

Being ever industrious and especially so when pregnant I decided to try and at brewing my own moonshine for the noble use as confinement food after giving birth.

Only two things I need it for making rice wine: glutinous rice and yeast balls and I managed to snag them at the Chinese grocer on the strip District (find glutinous rice on Amazon and yeast balls on Ebay). 

Glutinous Rice

Yeast balls

More Yeast balls
I used four balls to one kilogram of rice. This makes enough steamed rice to fill two one gallon glass jars, which in turn yields about 1 liter of wine. The rice is soaked for at least four hours then steamed for an hour. I let it cool completely. Then I rinsed the rice And drained it. Using a mortar and pesto pulverized the yeast rolls. I sprinkled it all over the rice and mixed it thoroughly with a clean spoon. Then I poured it into clean glass jars. And covered it with gauze cloth. And I forgot it for two months.

Pulverized yeast mixed into the thoroughly cooled steamed rice. And sprinkled liberally
over the top of the rice. 

The result a super alcoholic sludge! Success! I filtered out the liquid and that it sit for a day in the fridge then poured the clear stuff into bottles. The rice lees sediment is saved for cooking. Yummmm.

All ready!

The filtered wine is left overnight in the fridge to settle and the clear wine is bottled. The rice lees is kept for cooking.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Home made Raw Almond Milk

I'm currently dairy free because I think my baby girl gets gassy whenever I drink cow milk. I tried some store bought almond milk (blue diamond) and didn't like it much although I could use it in a pinch. It's also expensive at $2.70 per carton of 32 oz (4 cups). 

Mmmm mmm good.

I had almonds in a 10 lb bulk pack ($55, from Amazon) and calculated the cost of making my own. 

The basic recipe calls for 1 cup (4 oz) almonds to two cups water. So four cups of milk would need 8 oz almonds ($2.50).  That works out to cost just as much as store bought.

I'd still make my own because it tastes better, isn't pasteurized, and doesn't have other stuff added to it like carrageen gum, sugar etc. 

Ok here's the recipe:

  • Soak the almonds in a bowl of water overnight or up to two days. I like to soak longer as the almonds really plump up and yield creamier milk. 
  • Drain, put in blender with 2 cups water and blend till smooth. 
  • Filter with a cheesecloth, and squeeze as much as you can out. I save the almond meal and dehydrate it to use as flour in my baking. 
  • Season with sugar and sea salt, to taste. 

My favorite Vanilla Sunrise Gluten Free Cereal with Freshly made Almond Milk

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Groundhog ginger stir fry

Anyone interested? 

Tender slices of young groundhog quick sautéed in peanut oil with ginger and garlic slivers. 

Groundhogs are vegans and their meat is clean and tasty. Older ones are fattier but the young ones are quite lean. 

This young one is just about right. :p

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Best Ever Mango Lassi

Mango lassi is a great accompaniment to spicy Indian foods. Tame that fire on your tongue with this cool, soothing and tummy-settling concoction. This is so easy to make - all you need is a blender, some ice, ripe mangoes, yoghurt, milk, and sugar to taste.

Choose Your Mango
The tastier the mango, the tastier the resulting lassi. Pick mangoes that are softer (yet not bruised) - these are usually riper. Try to get the ones that give off a sweet, aromatic mango-ey scent.

(makes 6 cups lassi)
1 large ripe mango
1 cup yoghurt (I like full cream)
1/2 cup milk (I like full cream too!)
3 cups ice cubes
3 tablespoons sugar or honey

  1. Peel mango and deseed. Cube the mango. It should yield 2 cups.
  2. Put all the ingredients into the blender and whizz till smooth. It's ok to add a little water to help with the blending process. 
  3. Taste, add more sugar or honey if desired.
  4. Serve immediately. Yum!

Just a Really Good Crispy Pork Wonton

I've sold thousands of these delicious wontons throughout the years. From what I've heard, they're pretty good:

Satisfied customer #1: "Oh. My. God."
Satisfied customer #2:  "These are the best wontons I've ever had".
Satisfied customer #3:  (Doesn't say much, but eats about 25 wontons) :p

Sharing is Caring?
Should I share my recipe here? So far, I've only revealed the recipe to students in my cooking classes. After much careful deliberation, I've decided to share my basic recipe here. It will taste good and is super easy to make. I'll also detail my quick wonton production method - 200 wontons an hour.

My original recipe, adapted from my Popo's, has a few additional ingredients that (in my opinion) elevate the dish. I *might* share it with you some day. :)

In the meantime, if you need your wonton cravings satisfied, place your orders with me! These things freeze and reheat well so order more ;)


For filling
1 lb ground pork
1 oz finely diced water chestnut
1 oz finely diced carrot
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 egg
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 packet wonton wrappers
4 cups peanut oil
(Makes about 60 wontons)

  1. Thoroughly mix all the filling ingredients together
  2. Preheat oil in a wok or deep fryer to 375 F
  3. To wrap the wontons: peel off a piece of wonton 'skin'. Place in the palm of your left hand.

  4. Using a teaspoon, scoop up about a heaping teaspoonful of filling. Sort of 'smear' the filling onto the wonton skin on your palm so it forms a balled shaped.
  5. With the wonton skin still in your left palm, use your right forefinger and thumb to pick up the bottom corner of the skin and bring it up to meet the opposite corner. Lightly pinch the skins together where they meet just above the balled filling.
  6. Again using your right forefinger and thumb hold the pinched corners. Then your left forefinger and thumb draw the other two loose corners inward to meet the pinched corners, at the same time pressing quite firmly into the balled filling. Try to get maximum contact for skin and filling, eliminate air pockets. 

  7. Place on tray lightly dusted with corn flour. This prevents the wontons from sticking to the tray.
  8. Keep going until the filling is used up.
  9. Drop the wontons into the hot oil and fry for three minutes. At the end of three minutes the wontons should be golden brown in color and safely cooked through. If they turn dark too quickly, reduce the heat for the next batch.
  10. Serve immediately with sweet sour dipping sauce (recipe to follow!) 

  11. Any leftovers can be reheated at 350 F for 10 minutes.
I'd love to know how the wontons turned out for you and if you had any problems making them. Leave a comment!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chocolate Cupcakes: Coffee Kahlua Mousse filled, Choc Ganache frosted

I've been testing chocolate cupcake recipes for months now and found on Stef's Cupcake Project site what I might just call the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake.

It has everything I desire in a cupcake, and more:

  • A light, fluffy yet moist and extremely rich chocolatey cupcake
  • A luscious, silken chocolate ganache icing on top
  • And a surprise - a creamy chocolate mousse center that gives your tastebuds a huge coffee and Kahlua hit as you bite unsuspectingly into it.
Note: Chilling the cupcakes lets the mousse firm up to the proper consistency, but I couldn't wait!

Each of the three batches I've made have turned out consistently amazing and have drawn rave reviews from my panel of testers. :)

The recipe for the chocolate cupcake and chocolate ganache is adapted from Stef's 'Better than Sex Cupcakes: Chocolate Times Five'. The mousse recipe is my own.

  • All ingredients at room temperature
  • Use a very light hand when mixing the cupcake batter. 
  • Do NOT overmix

Chocolate Cupcakes 
(makes 16 regular cupcakes)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat butter with sugar till light and fluffy, and a pale yellow color (3 minutes).
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well combined. Beat in the vanilla essence. (1 minute)
  4. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder in a small bowl. Then sieve the dry ingredients into another bowl to help aerate it.
  5. Add three heaping tablespoons of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, sprinkling it evenly over the top of the butter mixture. Use a spatula to gently fold the flour into the butter. Mix until just combined.
  6. Add about four tablespoons of milk to the batter mix. Use a spatula to gently fold the milk into the batter. Mix until just combined. 
  7. Alternate between dry and wet ingredients, making sure to finish with the dry ingredients.
  8. Scoop batter into cupcake liners about 1/2 full (don't overfill).
  9. Bake for 22 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
  10. Leave to cool while making the mousse. 

Moist and airy - a fine crumb despite using organic all-purpose flour

Chocolate Coffee Kahlua Mousse
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1/2 teaspoon gelatin
2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons Kahlua
  1. Place the 2 tablespoons of whipping cream, chocolate chips and coffee in a small bowl held over heated water in a pot. Stir until the chocolate chips have just melted, then remove from heat.
  2. In a small cup, dissolve the gelatin in the water and set aside.
  3. Whip the 1/2 cup of whipping cream until firm peaks form. 
  4. Using a whisk, incorporate the (still liquid-y) gelatin mixture into the melted chocolate. Whisk well.
  5. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream. 
  6. Chill in fridge while making the ganache.

Chocolate Ganache
3 oz bittersweet chocolate pieces
1/3 cup heavy cream
  1. Melt chocolate in a small bowl held over heated water in a pot. 
  2. When chocolate is melted, add cream and stir until combined and smooth.
  3. Cool slightly till slightly thicker in consistency before use.

Assembling the Cupcakes
  1. Using a cupcake corer ($5 on Amazon), extract the center of the cupcake. You can also use a knife but this will be more time-consuming. 
  2. Spoon the mousse into the cored cupcakes, filling all the way to the top. I like to pipe the mousse filling instead. 
  3. Pour the ganache over the cupcake, coating the top evenly.
  4. Serve chilled or at room temperature. 

I would love to know if your cuppies turned out or if you have a favorite chocolate cupcake recipe to share. Please do leave a comment!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hearty Five Grain Dinner Rolls

I make these dinner rolls for every family dinner and they go really fast. I usually plan for two rolls per person, but some people take up to five (don't ask me how they manage that many!). I use organic ingredients but regular will do too. I prefer high-gluten flour as it carries the (heavier) added seeds and grains better but all-purpose flour is fine also. This is my fail safe, go to recipe. It takes less than 10 minutes actual prep time (to knead and shape), plus another hour to let the dough rise. Try it!

(makes eight medium sized rolls)
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg, room temperature
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tablespoon chia seed*
1/2 tablespoon flax seed powder*
1 tablespoon quinoa*
1 teaspoon sesame seed*
1 tablespoon oats*
1 packet yeast or 1 teaspoon instant yeast
*optional and can be substituted with any other seeds/grains that you like, amounting to 1/4 cup total. For plain dinner rolls, just use 2 cups flour total.

  1. Mix all the ingredients in mixing bowl and knead for 5 minutes.
  2. Cover with cling wrap or damp cloth, and let rise till double in a warm place (about 75 deg F). This should be at least 30 minutes.
  3. Punch down the dough, divide into 8 equal size dough balls, and shape into rolls. Place on greased baking sheet, spaced 1/2 inch apart and let rise till double. This should be another 30 minutes.
  4. Bake at 400 deg F for 12 minutes.