Monday, December 3, 2012

The Right Choice

Lately, there's a TV commercial about mini chocolate chip cookies that appears around 15 to 20 seconds. Not the cheerful little animated cookies that yell "Mini Chips AHOY!" that attract me, but the size of the cookies has been minimized to only one-inch big! Just one toss and you'll be able to fill your mouth with two or three of it. It seems nice but I still prefer the big (normal) size one, around 4 or 5 centimeters. It always feels good to grab one side of the cookie and dip the other into a glass of milk. Yummy!

Last week, watching that commercial made me think of baking matter. Why don't try to make it myself? Then I went to find my mum for a recipe. Well, she does have a choco chip cookie recipe which she got years ago but she never tried it before so we were not sure whether that old recipe would work. However, from the back of the chocolate chip carton box, we found another slightly different cookie recipe. My mum said in baking, even a small difference in ingredients may influence the entire result. That moment we were quite confused with choosing the one that might work well. Since the carton box recipe looks more convincing, eventually we decided to use that. 

Every time my mum's doing her cooking experiment, usually I only help her with simple things like washing dirty dishes but that time I got involved more in the process of making my favorite cookies. She told me to weigh sugar, flour, butter, etc. while she handled the baking part. It was fun and I learned a lot from her. What made me happier was that the result tasted sooo good! It was crunchy on the outside, but the inner part was soft and tender. These are the photos! ^^ Below them you'll find the recipe that I translated for you.

*Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe*

130 grams Palm/brown sugar
160 grams Granulated white sugar
170 grams Margarine
1/2 tablespoon Butter
70 grams Egg
45 grams Water
3 grams Baking Soda
370 grams Multi-purpose flour (In Indonesia, we have Kunci Biru brand)
6 grams Salt
300 grams Chocolate chips (or as desired)

Preheat the oven to 160 Celcius. Blend together margarine, butter, brown and white sugar for 5 minutes. Afterwards, add the egg and water. Stir well till the mixture is smooth. Then pour in the flour, baking soda, and salt. When stirring, add the chocolate chips into the dough and make sure they are evenly spread. Use a tablespoon to scoop and shape the cookie. Place the cookie on a lightly-greased baking sheet. Give a little space between each cookies and bake for 15 or 20 minutes. After cooling them, store in an airtight container.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Beef Fettucini with Red Bean Sauce

If you roam in search of delicious Western food, you would find out that almost all Western-oriented restaurants and cafes in Medan have Italian food in their menus. surely has been well-accepted by many people due to its flavour and unique characteristics. Talking about Italian food, the thing that I could never resist is CHEESE! To me, it is a worldly indulgence, haha... A lot of Italian cuisines contain cheese and cream as the ingredients. The rich flavor indeed is the reason why Italian foods, like Pizza, Risotto, etc. become so popular. 

Don't forget about Pasta! Oh, it is my favorite! As you know, there are many types of pasta available now. If I go to Pizza Hut restaurant, usually I prefer either Fettucini or Lasagna as the side dish. There's commonly a thick layer of cheese on top of the pasta, yummy! Now instant dried pasta is very commonplace, sold in supermarkets so everyone can make delicious pasta with his/her own recipe.

My mother likes to do cooking experiments at home so of course she has her own special recipe collection. On one Sunday morning, she cooked Fettucini and made special sauce for it. Afterwards, she served it without adding any grated cheese on top. The photo below is the look of the delicious pasta.

I found out that there were some soft red beans (Kidney beans) in the sauce. Red/Kidney bean is usually used in Asian dishes but that day my mother deliberately included it in the Pasta sauce. Unlike the usual rich creamy one, this pasta sauce was thick but refreshing since a lot of tomatoes were used as the sauce base. To enrich it, beef chunks were included. As the result, the taste of this unique pasta was awesome! 

Al dente! :) 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cha Sio Rice

A classmate once 'declaimed' about the importance of being a vegetarian to the class. To her, maybe a vegetarian is like a hero who helps save the world from catastrophe. I was quite interested at that time but I think no one can stop me when it comes to eating MEAT. I'm truly a meat-lover! But I just don't know why I'm still a skinny girl no matter how much I eat. This is also why I can't be influenced by the theory that overstates the benefits of being a vegetarian, hahahaha...

In cooking Chinese food, which my mother commonly cooks, there is a wide range of meat processing methods. Pork is the favorite item used in Chinese cooking. It can be roasted, boiled, fried, and many more. There are indeed many delicious food made of pork, such as Cha Sio and Sio Bak

I used to think Cha Sio (a name derived from local Hokkian dialect, means fork-barbeque) and Sio Bak (also from Hokkian dialect, means roasted meat) were the same. Certainly they're completely different.

Sio Bak is made of brined pork belly. It is roasted till the rind/skin turns brown and crisp. Yummy! Absolutely a perfect 'companion' for rice! You can refer to this blog to know more about Sio Bak.

What about Cha Sio? Unlike Sio Bak, this Canton-originated cuisine uses pork loin to produce better texture of Cha Sio, even though pork belly is sometimes included. The color is reddish brown, tastes a little sweeter than Sio Bak but less crispier. Ooohh, I love both of them!

In order to make a fine Sio Bak, particular techniques and instrument are actually required. That's why famous Sio Bak is quite costly in Medan (around IDR 150.000 - 300.000/kg). Cha Sio making is quite easier. Luckily my mother knows how to make it.

All you need to do is to clean the pork loin and marinate it with soy sauce, sugar, arrack (Chinese liquor), and crushed salted soy beans (tauco) for 1 until 2 hours. Then just heat the pan/wok with a little vegetable oil and cook it with the pan/wok covered. Don't forget to open and turn the loin every two or three minutes until it is dry and done. Afterwards, slice it and serve with rice or buns!

Happy cooking! ^^

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wolfberry and Raisin?!!

It’s been a while since the last post! Things were quite tough back then but we still have to move on, right? Haha...I’m so pleased to continue posting about delicious food on this blog so hope you’ll like it! By the way, now I have my own DSLR camera to capture beautiful food photos! Yihaa! It’s NIKON and I’m gonna learn taking better photos with it.

Amid my busy daily activities, I am lucky to have a little time doing my hobbies. I also have a great mother who always provides her family nutritious meals everyday. Sometimes she likes to do some experiments too. A few days ago she made steamed buns (again) but with special filling.  She scattered some dried fruits, such as wolfberries and raisins, on the rolled dough. Wolfberry is fine but raisin...! Oh no, not for me!

My mom said they were good for health. I know wolfberry, or goji berry, can help prevent vision-related diseases, which means it is good for eyes. While raisins...hmm, I myself prefer fresh grapes to the dried ones but since my mom loves it, I tried to accept it. Well, this was how the buns looked like, came out freshly from the steamer! 

Surprisingly, the taste was not as bad as I thought. Quite delicious! Maybe the sourness of the raisins was slightly covered by the sweetness of the bun and wolfberries. Suitable for breakfast and snack time, indeed!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bakcang (Zong Zi) – Cultural Heritage and A Mother’s Love

Last Saturday was actually the d-day of the Duan Wu Jie (Dragon Boat Festival) but since I was so busy till the weekend, I couldn’t post anything about this great event. Luckily now the internet connection is quite good and my tasks are done so it’s time to blog! ^^;
Duan Wu Jie (Dragon Boat Festival) is a cultural event celebrated mainly by Chinese people on the 5th day of the 5th month according to the Lunar calendar. It was first held to commemorate Qu Yuan, a faithful servant of the Zhou Dynasty, who was accused of betrayal due to opposing the King’s new ally. To prove his innocence and show his disappointment, he committed suicide by drowning himself in a river. The people who knew he was a good man, made Zong Zi (glutinous rice dumplings wrapped with bamboo leaves) and threw them into the river so the fish would not eat his body. Some people also believe that Qu Yuan turned into god because of his good deed in life.
Recently, Duan Wu Jie has become a festival celebrated globally. There are several places that held international competitions last Saturday, like dragon boat rowing competition in Macau which attended by various countries and international lion dance competition in Medan last Sunday.
For the food, of course Bakcang (the popular name of Zong Zi for Chinese people in South East region, derived from Hokkian dialect) is one of the symbols of the event. Even though now people do not make it merely for commemorating Qu Yuan, eating Bakcang has been an irreplaceable custom of Chinese descendants all over the world.
The rice dumpling is commonly divided into two types, i.e. salty Bakcang and sweet Cang. Both of them are made of glutinous rice for the outer but they differ in the fillings. Salty Bakcang usually contains mushroom, pork, chestnut, salted duck egg yolk, la chang (Chinese sausage), and small dried shrimps; while the sweet one commonly contains red bean paste, or just plain.
Glutinous rice

Salty Bakcang fillings
No matter sweet or salty, Bakcang is one of the seasonal foods that we longed for, hahaha…. Since the market price was so high, my mom decided to make it by herself. Her skill in cooking makes me so proud of her! I took a picture of her when she was wrapping a Bakcang.
My lovely mother ^^
The results of the home-made Bakcangs were so successful that I encouraged my mom to make more next year and sell them to get extra income, haha… Here are the results:
Salty Bakcang

Besides the common glutinous rice Bakcang, she also tried to make another Bakcang of different color which was never seen before. It was black! 
Black Bakcang! One of a kind!
Hoho…maybe there’s no place on Earth that sells black Bakcang like my Mom’s. It was actually made of a mixture of black rice, carrot, and corn with the same fillings. Surprisingly, it tasted better! It was not as rich as the glutinous rice and moreover, it was healthier. That was surely a symbol of love from Mom to the family. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


It’s always nice to write something related to Japan. Haha…it’s one of my favorite countries in the world and a place that I always dream to go. Japanese people are innovative in creating products and always have fresh and unique ideas in building an image. Even Japanese culture is also one of a kind! They have intricate eating manner and foods which are not only delicious but appealing as well.
Many people dislike eating sushi but for me, it’s yummy, no matter what topping or filling it has! Unluckily, Japanese food is so costly in Medan. I have to think twice before entering the restaurant to enjoy a plate of Dragon roll sushi.
Thus, I tried to make one at home (of course with my mom as the supervisor :P). We never go to any sushi-making class. We just learned by observing how the sushi chef worked in the open-kitchen when we were having a dinner once :P
We prepared a lot of things to make our first sushi. We bought sushi roller (a set of bamboo sticks tied together), dry roasted nori, canned tuna, cucumber, vinegar, etc. from the nearest mini market and started our first trial. It was fun to learn how to roll sushi and put various fillings like sausage, tuna, etc. I also found out that it was not easy as it looked to roll sushi. If we did not grab it tightly, the sushi would break and look messy because the fillings would fall from the rice. At first we intended to use Japanese rice to make sushi but it was not sold in the minimarket. It was also quite hard to find that kind of rice in Medan so we decided to use common local rice to make. However, we cooked the rice with more water so it would be stickier then my mom mixed it with the white vinegar.
Afterwards, we sprinkled some drops of water onto the nori, added some rice and the fillings, and rolled it with the bamboo roller. Voila! We’d got a pretty sushi! ^o^/
My yummy sushi ;P

Pretty Sushi ^^
Let’s eat and say “Itadakimasu!”

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Seafood and Smoked Ham Soup en Croûte

Last month a friend of my mom faxed a recipe for her. She recommended my mom to try it. It was a cream soup recipe.  Hmm… sometimes my mom cooks cream soup for lunch so this recipe was not completely new to her. However, the different thing was that the recipe said the soup is eaten with puff pastry which is pasted above the soup. It is just like the one sold in Pizza Hut restaurant. Interested in the recipe, mom finally decided to try it one day. Of course, I did not forget to take some pictures of the results. They were as yummy as the one sold in cafes or restaurants!
Puffy Cream Soup ^^
Soup en Croute/Puffy cream soup
Serve it hot!

Later, I realized that there is a particular name for this kind of food. Look at the title and you know the name. Yup, it’s soup en croute. The term “en croute” is derived from French. The term refers to food that is wrapped or covered with pastry and then baked. The word "croute" itself means crust. It was so fascinating to hear the crisp sound of the puff pastry when I was breaking the crust, hoho…! Afterwards the mouth-watering smell of the soup rising from under the crust really whetted my appetite! That was an unforgettable delight, haha…
Are you curious about the recipe? Here I share it with you!
30grs Onion – chopped
2 tablespoons Butter
50grs Shrimps
100grs Sweet corn kernels (canned corn is fine too)
250cc Cooking cream (ex.: Elle&Vire)
550cc water
2 pcs Bay leaves
2 pcs Smoked ham
Salt, pepper as desired
2-3 tablespoons multi-purpose flour (optional)
Puff pastry sheets – take out from the freezer and set aside to let it melt

Cooking Methods:
  1. Clean the shrimps and remove the shells. Heat the pan, sauté the shrimps with onion and butter until half-done.
  2. Chop the smoked ham. Pour the corn and smoked ham into the pan, stir well.
  3.  Next, it’s time to add the cooking cream. While stirring the cream mixture, slowly pour in water.
  4.  Add the bay leaves into the soup. If you think the cream soup is not thick enough, dissolve the flour with some water and pour it into the mixture, stir well.
  5.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper. If you see boiling bubbles appear while stirring, it’s time to turn off the stove.
  6. Remove the bay leaves from the soup. Pour it into bowls and let it chill.
  7. After the puff pastry has turned supple and the soup has cooled down, cut the pastry a little bigger than the bowl. Stretch and tighten it to the surface of the bowl. Make sure not to touch the soup. 
  8. Beat an egg and spread onto the puff pastry. Oven it until the color turned golden brown.