Nonya Chang

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This year’s Duanwu jie is on 25 June. The price of zongzi would have been doubled or tripled by now.

Thanks to the Covid 19, we all have to spend more time at home. This is my 3rd batch of zongzi by now. My first batch was Kee Chang; second batch hokkien chang and now this nonya chang.  I have never made so many different kinds in such a short span of time before, usually only making nonya chang. This year I was inspired by the extra time I suddenly found on my hands.

This is my mom’s recipe from way back. Her recipe made a huge amount. We would spend 2 days prepping and wrapping and boiling. Then she would give them to her 7 siblings and parents. Phew! We don’t do that anymore. And I’ve cut down the amount so that it’s more manageable and enough for a family of 4 for a couple days’ breakfasts.

Nonya Chang (makes about 19 small chang)

500g glutinous rice (soaked overnight)

300g shoulder butt pork (cut into 1 cm cubes, season with 1/2 tsp salt)

100g dried shitake mushrooms (diced into 1/2 cm)

100g candied wintermelon (diced into 1/2 cm)

4 Tbsp fried shallots

3 cloves garlic

3 Tbsp kicap manis

1 Tbsp coriander powder

2 tsp salt + 2 tsp salt for rice

1/2 tsp 5-spice powder

1/2 tsp pepper powder

20 bamboo leaves (soaked for a couple of hours)

1/2 m butcher’s string per chang

1. After having soaked the rice overnight, drain it and season with 2 tsp salt.
2. Fry the garlic and shallots and brown the pork. Then add in the rest (except rice).
3. To wrap, the proportions I like is 1 dsp rice at the bottom, 2 Tbsp stuffing, and 1 dsp rice on top.
4. For the size I make (small) I *boil for about an hour.

* open one to check to make sure it’s cooked. My mom would light up one joss stick and use that as a timer. I found out that our joss stick lasted about an hour. I never deviated from that since. For all I know, the whole thing might have been cooked by half an hour!🤷🏻‍♀️

 

What’s For Dinner Today?

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Nothing grand. Just easy-to-cook chicken one -dish meal. The measurements are estimated. No right or wrong. Cook it and get out of the kitchen asap.

Kicap Manis Chicken Dish

3 boneless chicken leg quarters, marinate in 2 Tbsp kicap manis sauce and 1 tsp grated ginger for a few hours
1 carrot, cut into chunks

2 handfuls of peas

2 potatoes, cut into chunks

1 tbsp fried shallots

3 Tbsp kicap manis sauce

1. Fry the ready-made fried shallots in a bit of oil.

2. Put in chicken and pan fry until it’s half cooked.

3. Add everything else and let it simmer at low heat for about 1/2 h or until everything is cooked.

4. Serve with rice.

 

Chinese Dumpling Kee Chang

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My mom taught me how to wrap these when I was in my teens. It’s time for me to pass it on to GG.
You can watch YouTube videos on how to wrap. At present, my account doesn’t support videos.

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This is Kee. Looks like pieces of fishball-sized rocks. It dissolves quite readily in hot water. Just take one and dissolve in about 100ml hot water. You can get Kee from the wet market or local grocery stores during the season. That’s in May/June.

Kee Chang (makes about 24)

8 cups glutinous rice (or about 1kg give or take)

1 kee dissolves in 100ml hot water

1 Tbsp oil

25-30 bamboo leaves (better to have more coz some may be torned)

butcher’s string or raffia

1. Soak the glutinous rice and leaves overnight. The next day, drain the rice and pour in the Kee solution and oil to soak for about an hour.
2. Prepare the strings by cutting them into about 1 m x 4. Fold each one into half and make a knot at the top for hanging. Split each string length wise. Now you’ll get about 6 strings per batch. Total 24.

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3. Now you are ready to wrap. You have the option to make it plain rice or stuff it with red bean paste.
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4. I make mine smaller coz you can’t eat this in large amount. Anyhow it’s limited by the size of the leaves. For that size, I would boil mine in a large pot for about an hour. Open one up to check that it’s cooked, if you want, to make sure.
5. Drain it and let it cool. It can be kept in the fridge for a few days.

You can eat it with honey, gula Melaka, brown sugar, kaya. For me, I’ve always eaten it with white sugar. Unless it’s stuffed with red bean paste, then it can be eaten on its own.

Total time it took for me to make this is about an hour to wrap and an hour to boil. Compared to the meat chang, it’s very fast.

 

 

 

Red Bean Paste

DCF9C76C-FF2A-4194-B7B9-CCBFB78D09D6So…. it’s really difficult to get red bean paste these days…. one would have to check that it’s the day which number is the same as the last number as one’s ID card… wear a mask, drive to the store, get a queue number…  if there’s more than 10 in the queue, you can’t hang around… wait around but don’t loiter 🤷🏻‍♀️… then when you finally get into the store, it’s out of stock.  So….

Here’s an easy way if one is desperate…

Red Bean Paste for baos

500g small red beans (soaked 12- 24 hours)

300g of sugar (or to taste)

Pinch of salt

1. Before going to bed that night, cook beans in slow cooker.
2. Wake up next morning to the wonderful smell of soft red beans.
3. Remove the beans, saving the soup for … red bean soup for people who don’t like the beans in the soup.
4. Put the drained beans in a pot with 300g sugar and pinch of salt and as you boil, stir and mash. If you have pandan leaves, put in some.

5. When it looks dryish to you, turn off the fire. As it cools, it will get drier.

You can use it in buns, baos and prata. Hey, you can even make red bean soup. Just add water!

Granola Bar

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Finally, I figured out how to make granola bars that don’t crumble when I touch them.  There’s no long story. Just a secret ingredient. Which won’t be a secret any longer.

Maltose. Also known as 麦芽糖. It’s super sticky. SUPER.

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Granola Bar

2.5 cups rolled oats

2 big dollops of maltose (as shown above)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup nuts

1/2 cup dried fruits

2 tbsp protein powder (optional)

Melt the maltose in a pot. Put in everything and stir. Then pack  them into an 8×8” lined pan. Use a nonstick baking paper and press down the granola. Bake for 20 min at 170c.

Cool and slice.

 

 

Agar-agar

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I have been making loads of agar agar jelly. It’s so refreshing on a hot day.

Usually people would buy a small sachet of agar agar powder that’s about 10g each. That will yield about 1 liter worth of agar agar jelly. 1 liter worth of agar agar really isn’t much. So look what I bought!

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That’s, erm, 700g. That’s like, erm, 70 sachets… To some, that sounds like a life time worth of agar agar. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Don’t judge. 😬

Anyhow, it’s not like I’m leaving it on the shelf to rot, so you can stop rolling your eyes, A. The expiry date is December 2020, so I have about 1.5 years to use it up. I have been making all kinds of flavor… soy milk, milk, coconut milk, strawberry, Milo, almond, lychee, longan…. the picture shows almond milk agar agar. Yum!

The recipe is very simple.

1 tsp agar agar powder

1 to 2.5 cups room temp water/liquid (more liquid yields a softer jelly)

1 Tbsp sugar per cup of water or to taste

Put the agar agar powder in a pot and pour the liquid in. Dissolves more easily this way. Add sugar. Bring to a boil. Doesn’t need to boil for long. I usually turn off the heat when it boils.

Pour into molds and leave to set. Agar agar sets without refrigeration but it’s nicer eaten cold. Not suitable for freezing though.

That’s it. So 700g? Easy.

Biscotti with coconut

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I am seriously addicted to these. Not even funny.

They are thinly sliced, crunchy, chock full of nuts and not too sweet. Simply great for hours of happy nibbling. This is already my 4th batch. 😖

Biscotti

1/4 cup coconut oil

2/3 cup sugar

2 tbsp desiccated coconut

2 large eggs

1  3/4 cup plain flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup pistachio nuts

1/2 cup whole almond nuts

Mix everything together in a large bowl. The dough  will be very sticky. Let it rest for a couple of hours and it will be less sticky. To combat this sticking issue, wet your hands before shaping the dough into 2-4 logs.

Then bake at 150c for about 35 min. Leave it to cool for at least an hour. Using a very sharp knife, slice them as thinly as you can. Spread out the pieces on a cookie sheet and bake at 135c for about 10 min. Turn off the oven and leave them in the oven for about half an hour for them to continue to crisp up.

Cool before storing in an airtight container.

To appreciate it fully, nibble and enjoy it slowly. It’s dainty food. No scarfing allowed. Coffee optional.

Enjoy.

 

I AM 3!

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3 years. Feels like so long ago. Yet 3 seems like a small number. Like 3 pieces of chocolate. That’s too little!

I’ve been busy testing out artisan bread. Testing as in trying to simplify the recipe. No long paragraphs. Just to the point. Coming up soon.

For today, I just knitted a lace sampler (pattern designed by Vera Sanon). A friend was having difficulty because I gave her this knitted lace pattern that was meant to be knitted in the round. I forgot to mention to her that it doesn’t work for straight needles. Apologies C! So anyhow, I translated it to straight needle knitting and here’s the pattern!

Lace Pattern (9 stitches, 12 rows)

R1: *K2, K2tog, yo, K1, yo, SSK, K2* (repeat from *to*)

R2: P all sts

R3: *K1, K2tog, yo, K3, yo, SSK, K1* (repeat from *to*)

R4: P all sts

R5: *K2, K2tog, yo, K1, yo, SSK, K2*(repeat from *to*)

R6: P all sts

R7: *K1, yo, SSK, K3, K2tog, yo, K1*(repeat from *to*)

R8: P all sts

R9: *K2, yo, SSK, K1, K2tog, yo, K2*(repeat from *to*)

R10: P all sts

R11: *K1, yo, SSK, K3, K2tog, yo, K1*(repeat from *to*)

R12: P all sts

*For my sampler, I made 2 repeats of the lace pattern. So that’s 9×2=18. And I cast on 3 sts for each end. That brings it up to 18+3+3=24 sts. Hence I cast on 24 stitches.

I repeated the pattern 2.5 times. That means I knitted 12 rows of the pattern, 12 rows again and then 6 rows.

 

Have fun!