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Ramadan Buffet at Big Apple Restaurant Berjaya Times Square Hotel

BRINGING IN THE FESTIVITIES OF THE SEASON WITH “RAMADAN DI HATI”
Awakening the Spirit of Peace and Forgiveness this Ramadan and Syawal as
Berjaya Times Square Hotel Presents “Ramadan Di Hati”

Ramadan Buffet at Big Apple Restaurant 37

Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur is ushering in Ramadan Al-Mubarak this year with its “Ramadan Di Hati” that signify the essence and true spirit of peace, forgiveness and togetherness at the forefront this holy month and I got to experience it recently.

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Mid-Autumn Festival – Mrs Cheng’s Mooncake


Mrs Cheng’s Mooncake

Mid-Autumn Festival is intricately linked to the legends of Chang E, the mythical Moon Goddess of Immortality

In Ming revolution mooncakes were used as a medium by the Ming revolutionaries in their espionage effort to secretly distribute letters in order to overthrow the Mongolian rulers of China in the Yuan dynasty. The idea is said to be conceived by Zhu Yuanzhang (???) and his advisor Liu Bowen (???), who circulated a rumor that a deadly plague was spreading and the only way to prevent it was to eat the special mooncakes. This prompted the quick distribution of the mooncakes, which were used to hide a secret message coordinating the Han Chinese revolt on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month.

Another method of hiding the message was printed in the surface of mooncakes as a simple puzzle or mosaic. In order to read the encrypted message, each of the 4 mooncakes packaged together must be cut into 4 parts each. The 16 pieces of mooncake, must then be pieced together in such a fashion that the secret messages can be read. The pieces of mooncake are then eaten to destroy the message.

Mooncake is a Chinese pastry traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Typical mooncakes are round or rectangular pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4-5 cm thick. A thick filling usually made from lotus paste is surrounded by a relatively thin (2-3 mm) crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. Mooncakes are rich, heavy, and dense compared with most Western cakes and pastries. They are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea.

There are many types of fillings can be found in traditional mooncakes according to the region’s culture and lotus seed paste (??, lían róng) is considered by some to be the original and most luxurious mooncake filling, lotus paste filling is found in all types of mooncakes. Due to the high price of lotus paste, white kidney bean paste is sometimes used as a filler.

Ingredients
500g lotus seeds with skins, washed
1 tbsp alkaline water (kan sui)
3½-4 cups water
350-375g castor sugar
450g oil
1-1½ tbsp maltose (mak ngah tong)

Method
Put lotus seeds into a large mixing bowl. Add alkaline water and steep for 5-10 minutes. Pour boiling water over the seeds then cover and soak for 10 minutes. Drain the water from the seeds then add cold water. Next, completely remove the skins from the seeds by rubbing them off. If whole lotus seeds are used, remove the green centres then boil seeds in water until soft and tender.

Blend the cooked lotus seeds into a fine paste in an electric blender or food processor. Heat up a wok and melt half the sugar until it turns lightly golden. Add lotus seed paste. Cook, stirring all the time until the lotus seed paste thickens. Add in the remaining sugar and pour in the oil a little at a time. Continue to cook until it is thick. Stir in maltose. Use a wooden spatula to stir until the paste leaves the sides of the wok. Dish up and leave to cool before use.

Crusts
Traditional mooncake vary widely depending on the region where the mooncake is produced. While most regions produce traditional mooncakes with many types of fillings, they usually only make their mooncake from one type of crust or another. Although vegetarian mooncakes may use vegetable oil, many mooncakes use lard in their recipes for an optimum mouthfeel. There are three types of mooncake crust used in Chinese cuisine:

Chewy: This crust has a reddish-brown tone and glossy sheen. It is the most common type of crust used on Cantonese-style mooncakes. It is also the most commonly seen type of mooncake in North America and many western countries. Chewy mooncake crusts are made using a combination of thick sugar syrup, lye water, flour, and oil, thus giving this crust its rich taste and a chewy yet tender texture. Chewiness can be increased further by adding maltose syrup to the mixture.

The dough is also baked into fish or piglet shapes (Cantonese: “Jue Zai Bang”; ???; lit. “Piglet Biscuits”) and sold at mooncake bakeries as a chewy snack. They often come individually packaged in small plastic baskets, to symbolize fish being caught or piglets being bound for sale.

Flaky: Flaky crusts are most indicative of Suzhou-style mooncakes. The dough is made by rolling together alternating layers of oily dough and flour that has been stir-fried in oil. This crust has a very similar texture to the likes of puff pastry.

Tender: Mooncakes from certain provinces of China and Taiwan are often made to be tender rather than flaky or chewy. The texture of this type of mooncake crust is similar to the likes of the shortcrust pastry used in Western pie crusts or tart shells. Tender crusts are made mainly of a homogenous mix of sugar, oil, flour, and water. This type of crust is also commonly used in other type of Chinese pastries, such as the egg tart.

Ingredients
400g golden syrup
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tbsp alkaline water (kan sui)
100g corn oil
550g flour
A few drops of dark soy sauce

Method
Mix sieved bicarbonate of soda, golden syrup, alkaline water and oil with a wooden spoon and allow to rest for 4-5 hours in a basin. Add the dark soy sauce, then fold in sifted flour gradually and mix evenly to form a smooth and soft dough. Let the dough rest for another 6-7 hours. Divide dough into even balls, each weighing 40-50g.

Divide the dough into even pieces of 40g each. Roll the dough into a ball and flatten out with your hand.Weigh the lotus seed paste. If you like the yolk of salted eggs, you can insert one in the centre.

Place the filling in the middle of the flat dough and slowly wrap around it. Seal the edges and roll dough lightly between your palms until the filling is hidden.

Dust mould lightly with flour. Press doughball into the mooncake mould. Knock the mould against the table to dislodge the mooncake.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 ºC for 10 minutes. Remove and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Brush on beaten egg glaze. Return to bake for another 10 minutes or till golden.

Note
Do not overbake mooncake otherwise filling will overflow and mooncake will lose its shape.



A lovely piece of moomcake with salted egg yolk, full of flavour. Reduction in sugar will make the mooncake less sweet.


Dragon Fruit Ping Pei Mooncake or Chilled Mooncake

Ingredients

Filling:
Lotus paste

Pastry (Skin):
225g kao fun (cooked glutinous rice flour)
200g sugar
290ml water
1 tbsp condensed milk
3 tbsp shortening
25g dragon fruit paste

Method
Boil water and sugar together until sugar dissolves. Leave to cool, add in condensed milk and mix well.Sift kao fun into the cooled syrup solution. Add in shortening, dragon fruit paste and mix into a smooth dough. Leave aside, covered, for 15-20 minutes.Divide dough into equal portions. Wrap dough around filling. Press into mooncake mould, knock out and chill in the refrigerator.

Mrs Cheng’s mooncakes are gorgeous, lovely and delicious. I just can’t get enough of her mooncakes. If you like to taste Mrs Cheng’s mooncake, she can be contacted at 016 2783089 located in Petaling Jaya.

Hope you will have a great mid-autumn festival eating and serving mooncakes over a cuppa of jasmine tea or a cuppa of black coffee.


Love Sunny Yaw
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