Saturday, October 9, 2010

Repeat Telecast

I had not intended to make yam cake this week. But my grandma requested for it, and we had leftover yam in the freezer as well. So here we go: repeat telecast of yam cake.

This time round, I know what to expect while preparing the batter. After frying the ingredients, I off the flame and poured the flour mixture. Since the wok and the ingredients are hot, the heat will be able to cook the batter till thick, without drying out the batter. The cake is softer this time round,, only complaint is that I'm too generous with the salt!

My lunch: red bean soup with leftover 芋圓. Now I know the importance of dumping the cooked balls into iced water after cooking. The balls were much chewier! Even though it's quite troublesome to prepare a bowl of iced water.

I was craving for this fruit pastry cake and decided to bake them into cupcakes before I take a 3-week break from the kitchen. The texture is soft and moist and the lemon zest made the cake refreshing.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Of Yam and Corn: Yam Cake + Corn Muffins

After last week's radish cake, this week is a sequel to steamed cakes: yam cake. Yam cake is almost similar to radish cake or carrot, as both uses rice flour to get the sticky, springy texture. After last week's too-sticky cake, I tried out the cook-batter way, which looks like a more common way to make such cakes.

Once again, the best thing about homemade food is that you can add as much of your favourite ingredients as you wish. I certainly did not stinge on the amount of dried shrimps and mushrooms!

As usual, I am horrible with the stove. Frying the ingredients was not too diffcult, but I did not know when to stop frying. Next comes the problematic part: adding the flour mixture to the fried ingredients. I did not anticipate the batter to be *this* gooey. It was so thick to the point of becoming too dry, I had to add more water. I wonder if the wok was too hot because even though I switched off the flame, the batter dried up almost immediately after the flour mixture was poured in.

After 45 mins of steaming, the cake was fully cooked. Unlike last week, a chopstick inserted into the centre came out almost clean. However, I find the cake too dry, which I had sort of predicted, after seeing the dry, gooey batter.

Ingredients (makes 1 7-inch cake):
1 1/2 bowl yam, diced
1 bowl rice flour
2 tbsp corn flour
2 bowls water ( I added another 1/2 bowl while frying the batter)
1/2 bowl dried shrimps, chopped
5 Chinese mushrooms, diced
5 shallots, chopped
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
1 tsp salt
Some pepper
1 tsp sugar

  1. Fry dried shrimps and shallots until aromatic.
  2. Add mushrooms and yam and fry. Sprinkle sugar over yam while frying (to get rid of the stinging taste of yam). Fry until yam becomes brown.
  3. In a bowl, mix rice flour and corn flour with water and stir until smooth.
  4. Add in flour mixture slowly and stir until a thick paste forms.
  5. Add salt, pepper and five-spice powder and stir.
  6. Spoon mixture into a heat-proof pan and steam over high for 45 mins or until cooked.
Recipe adapted from Rasa Malaysia's Taro Cake.

Since I had plenty of leftover yam, I jumped at this chance to try out this 芋圓 recipe. After eating the famous 芋圓 at Taipei last year, I've been missing this fantastic dessert. I chanced upon the recipe at 小小米桶's blog and can't wait to try it out. Making the dough is fairly simple, and I think the outcome is pretty good. Soft and chewy, and able to taste the fibre of the yam. Since I did not cook any red bean soup, I made a ginger-black sugar syrup as the base and added leftover corn kernels and some 芋圓 as lunch.

150 g yam
60 g tapioca flour
15 g potato flour + more for dusting
1 tbsp sugar
60 ml water

  1. Steam and mash yam. For better texture, do not mash too fine.
  2. Add in tapioca flour, potato flour and sugar and mix well.
  3. Slowly add in water and knead until a dough forms.
  4. Since the dough will be dry and crumbly, pinch off about 1/3 of the dough and cook in boiling water. Add the cooked dough back to the rest of the dough and knead.
  5. Dust work surface with potato flour. Roll the dough to a thin log. Cut into lengths of 1.5 cm.
  6. To cook, boil the pieces of dough until they float. Cook for one more minute. Serve in cold sugar syrup or ginger or red bean soup.
Recipe adapted and translated from 小小米桶's 芋圓、地瓜圓.

So why is there leftover corn kernels? Because I bought 2 fresh maize corn to make these cornbread. I love Kenny Roger's cornbread since I first tried it 10 years ago. Even though I wasn't a fan of muffins back then, the cornbread was something I will look forward to when I go the Kenny Rogers. But ever since the branch near my place closed down, I seldom have the chance to eat them. My mum is also a fan of their cornbread. She used to buy them for breakfast back then. Upon her request to replicate them, I tried out this recipe online, which claims to yield Kenny Rogers-like cornbread. I wouldn't say they taste similar, in fact it is nowhere close to the real McCoy, but my sister and I do give it a thumbs up.

Ingredients (makes 6-7 muffins)
55g butter
50 g sugar (orginal recipe uses 70 g)
2 tbsp honey
1 egg
Pinch of salt
100 g plain flour
60 g cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder (original recipe uses 1/4 tsp)
60 ml milk
2/3 cup corn kernel

  1. Cream butter, sugar and honey together. Add in egg gradually and mix well.
  2. In another bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture into the creamed mixture. Add 1/2 of the milk. Add 1/2 of the remaining flour mixture. Add in remaining milk, followed by remaining flour. Stir until the dry ingredients is just moistened. Fold in corn kernels.
  4. Spoon into muffin cups. Bake at 200 deg C for 25 mins or until cooked.
Recipe adapted from BigOven's Kenny Rogers Roasters Corn Bread.