Sunday, February 28, 2010

Harumi-san's Tuna and Carrot Salad

It's the last day of the Chinese New Year. (the Chinese celebrates their Lunar New Year for 15 days). With the whole fortnight of feasting and stuffing myself silly with all the culinary pleasures, it is now time for me to start preparing and eating light and healthy food.

My children love Japanese food. So, I can never go wrong if I were to whip up a dish or two from that part of the world. In January, Ju of The Little Teowchew posted a very simple recipe called Tuna and Carrot Salad. This recipe originates from Harumi Kunhara (栗原はるみ), the Martha Stewart of Japan. I had it earmarked and decided to make it today. Despite it's simplicity, this is such a delicious salad. I doubled the portion and we finished everything in one sitting!!!!! Thanks Ju for the recipe.

Tuna & Carrot Salad (orignally from Harumi Kurihara and adapted from The Little Teowchew)

Serves 4
Ingredients :
200g carrots, peeled
90g tinned tuna

50g finely chopped onion
(like Little TeowChew, I also julienned them instead of finely chopping them)
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp mustard, preferably French grain mustard
(I used Wasabi , just like Little TeowChew)
Salt and pepper to taste
Soy sauce to taste (I omitted this)
A light drizzle of honey (to balance the tang of the vinegar)
Toasted Sesame seeds

  • Cut the carrots into lengths of 5-6cm thick juliennes.
  • Put them into a microwavable bowl and mix in the onions, garlic and sunflower oil. Cover and microwave for 1-1.5 minutes (600W).
  • Once the veggies are lightly cooked, put them onto a serving plate, add the drained tuna and then the dressing and toss to mix well.
  • Sprinkle same toasted sesame seeds on top.
  • Serve hot or cold. (I had it chilled as the weather these days is so hot).

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Steamed Buns II (with chocolate and almond nibs fillings)

The Steamed Buns I made earlier was a hit and by popular demand I made another batch yesterday. This time around, I made them a wee bit smaller (dough weight of 30 gm instead of 40gm) to yield 16 buns.

Apart from the so called mice or should I now call them bunnies, I played with the dough and made some flowers too!!!

What I did was just snip the surface of the dough with a pair of scissors after the final proving.
I used cupcake paper liners instead of the normal greaseproof paper to line these buns as I was too lazy to cut those greaseproof paper.

Hubby commented that the red bean paste was a bit too sweet for him. So, I tweaked the recipe and changed the filling to chocolate and almond nibs. It's like a fusion dish (East meet west).....Chinese steamed pau dough with chocolate and almond. I used chocolate paste combined with chopped almond nibs. The combination is great as the bitter sweet chocolate with the crunchy almond goes well with the pau.

Little bunnies and flowers for my friends.

I brought 1/2 dozen to give to my dear friends during our lunch date yesterday. The rest did not even last until lunch time they were swept clean during breakfast by my family ;p

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Steamed Buns (Pau)

Despite the fact that I have been pretty successfully in baking bread and buns, I have always had reservations when it comes to making Chinese Steamed Buns (or Pau in Chinese). I often encounter the problem of the buns appearing yellowish or not fluffy. I can never make "Pau"s that are so soft, white and fluffy that is sold by most hawkers here in Malaysia.

Early February, I stumbled upon a blog post by Happy Home Baking on steamed buns. I was immediately sold after reading her post and looking at how beautiful and cute her buns turned out to be. I just had to try my hands on it.....

So, last Sunday while I prepared my bread/bun doughs for this weeks consumption, I made a batch of dough using this recipe. Stashed it in the freezer and took it out today to play with!!!

Here's the recipe.

Steamed Buns with Red Bean Paste (adapted from Happy Home Baking)

Ingredients :
(makes 12)

300 gm Hong Kong pau flour (I used Blue Key's pau flour)
3 gm baking powder
3 gm instant yeast
30 gm caster sugar (I used organic raw cane sugar)
160 ml water
15 gm vegetable oil

Filling : 240 gm red bean paste

Method :
  1. Sieve Hong Kong pau flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add yeast, caster sugar and mix well.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, add in water and mix to form a dough. Transfer dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead dough until it becomes smooth (about 5 mins). Knead in the vegetable oil and continue to knead for another 10-15 mins or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Take a piece of dough (about the size of a table tennis ball) and stretch it, you should be able to stretch it to a fairly thin membrane without tearing off easily, if not continue to knead for another 5 to 10mins.
  3. Roll dough into a smooth round, place in a lightly greased mixing bowl, cover with cling wrap and let it proof for about 1 hr or until it doubles in bulk.
  4. Punch down the dough and give a few light kneading to release the trapped air bubbles. Divide the dough into 12 portions (about 40g each). Roll each portion into a smooth round.
  5. Flatten each dough into a small disc with your palm or a small rolling pin, make the edges thinner and the centre portion thicker. Wrap each dough with 20g of red bean paste. Pinch and seal the seams. Place dough seam side down on a square piece of parchment paper. Cover loosely with cling wrap and leave buns to proof for 20-25 mins.
  6. Place buns in a steamer* and space them apart so that they do not touch one another. Steam at medium to high heat for 12mins (make sure the water is already boiling before steaming). When ready, remove the lid carefully to prevent water from dripping over the buns. Remove immediately and serve warm. Keep any leftovers in fridge (covered with cling wrap or store in airtight containers) and re-steam till hot before serving.
Note :
  • I threw all the ingredients (except the vegetable oil) into my Kenwood mixer and knead till dough is smooth(about 3 minutes).
  • Then I add in vegetable oil and knead for another 15 minutes (till dough is smooth and elastic).
  • Next I put the dough in a sealed plastic bag and stashed it in the freezer (to sleep).
  • Took it out this morning (around 10am) and place the frozen dough in a mixing bowl (covered with cling wrap) to defrost.
  • Since the weather is really hot and humid today (about 33C), the dough was well proved by 2pm when I returned home after fetching my children back from school.
  • I made 10 mice buns with red bean paste and 2 piggy buns with kaya filling (as I ran out of red bean paste).
  • It's so soft and fluffy!!

    3 cute mice ;p
The eyes are made of black sesame seeds


This recipe is definitely a keeper. The buns are soft and it remain soft even after 6 hours. Yummie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's so easy to make. My piggies and mice do not look very pretty....but they are still cute ;p
My children love them... definitely going to see smiles tomorrow morning during breakfast!!!

Thanks Happy Home Baking for sharing this great recipe.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


It's the 5th day of the Lunar New Year (the Chinese celebrate Lunar New Year for 15 days) and I am now back home. Spent 4 days in Batu Pahat , Johore celebrating the Lunar New Year in my Hubby's hometown. Came home the 3rd day of the Lunar New Year and continued the festive celebration here with my side of the family. During this festive season, almost everyone here spend their time visiting friends and relatives and feasting. I bet I must have loaded up enough calories to add a few kilos to my body (note... I have not been to the gym for almost a week now!)
There will be some more get-to-gathers and dinner parties to attend before the end of this Lunar New Year.!!!!!

Anyway... school is closed the whole of this week. We finally managed to watch Avatar (3D) tonight. Despite the fact that it has been screening in many cinemas here for the last 2 months, tickets are hard to come by. We drove almost 30 kilometers to Kuala Lumpur City just to watch it. No regrets as it was just awesome.

My verdict :
2 thumbs up (would have given more if I have more to spare ;p ). Kudos to James Cameron for the masterpiece. (5 years to make this movie). Worth every single cent. No wonder it has managed to surpass the achievement of Titanic in box office collection in less than a month!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sigh !!!!!

It's final & official!

This year I will not be baking any Chinese New Year cookies or cakes ;(
Today is already the eve of Chinese New Year and I have not baked any thing!!

How embarrassing !!

In the beginning of year 2010, I had drawn out a list of bakes that I would like to do for this Lunar New Year.

with the super busy schedule that I have been experiencing lately (thanks to my precious children's schedule.. school, extra curricular activities, tuitions, etc)
I have hardly anytime to bake.
I am so pre-occupied with the household chores when I am not running around ferrying my kids.
Apart from that, my online shop is also keeping me on my toes lately.
(this is good news)

before we set off to drive 3 hours back to my Hubby's hometown,
here's wishing all my Chinese readers

"A very Happy & Prosperous New Year"
May the year of the Tiger, bring abundance of luck, happiness and great health to you!!

"Gong Xi Fa Chai"

"Keong Hee Huat Chai"

"Kong Hei Fatt Choy"

To all my readers....

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pre-CNY Reunion

Oh, modern technology is just great!!!

Last weekend, (thanks to modern technology - Facebook to be exact), I managed to meet up with a number of my high school friends. There were a total of 10 of us, of which some of whom I have not met since we last graduated from High School (some 3 decades ago). Since we started using Facebook, we have managed to track down quite a handful of our long lost friends. For those who are still residing in this country, we would try to meet up once in a while. For those in the other parts of the world and occasional chat would always brighten up my day.

This time around, since Chinese New Year is just round the corner, someone suggested that we should meet up before we head off to our respective "hometown" for Chinese New Year. With the message sent through Facebook and a few SMSes, we managed to round up 10 ladies!

So, on last Saturday 10 ladies met up for lunch at in Subang Parade, Selangor.
We had a whale of a time. Lunch was supposed to be at 1 pm. Since a couple of them were late the lunch proper only began at 2pm. Food was nothing to shout about. Here are some of the dishes.

Started off with a "Yee Sang" dish.

The pot of steamboat in clear chicken soup
The Pineapple Fried Rice

Steamboat in Tom yam soup

I must say the highlight of this lunch is definitely not the food. It is the great company that we had. Spent almost 3 hours in the restaurant talking, catching up, laughing and giggling like teenage girls. It is just so wonderful to rekindle those memories we had and the times we spent as young school kids. We should definitely do this again. Looking forward to another such gathering later this month, when another classmate of ours comes back from Australia.

Here are snap shots of those 10 ladies having a great time. Thanks Ladies!!!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Weekend Brunch Outing

I have been very much "under the weather" since last Friday. The nasty flu has been giving me a hard time.

Despite all that, we opted to take the children out on Sunday morning for a weekend Brunch Outing. What's the occasion??? Well... my little girl will be turning 12 this February 3. Since it falls on a weekday and school is on, we reckon there would not be much time for us to really celebrate her big day.

We went to this place called DucKing Restaurant @ Jaya One, Jalan Universiti in Petaling Jaya. (It's about 20km from my residence). It serves Chinese cuisine and as the name will tell, this restaurant's specialty is Duck. We arrived before noon and the place was almost full. Luckily, we managed to get a table.

We ordered 1/2 a Peking Duck, where the crispy skin is served wrap with a thin "poh piah" (spring roll skin). It was scrumptious and the plate was cleaned within minutes. My children's favorite dish for the day.

The meat of the duck were used for a dish of fried noodles. Apart from these, we ordered some dim sum, fried radish cake and chee cheong fan too! I did not managed to snap pictures of all the dishes as I was not feeling well. Only this plate of mini egg tarts which is yet another of my girl's favorite.

Over all the food was good. The children were smiling from ear-to-ear as they chomped down their favorite dishes.

After the Brunch, we planned to watch Avatar 3D. We actually went to 3 different malls (where the cinemas were located) just to get those tickets. However, our 2 hours' ticket hunting trail was a failure as the shows were all SOLD OUT!!!! Goodness, it had never came into my mind that a movie is still so "HOT" after 7 weeks of screening!!!!!. There were actually tickets for later that evening but we have opted out as the children needs to go to school on Monday. the end, it was just Brunch, driving around and mall hopping trying to get tickets for the movie. No complaints though, as we all did managed to spend quality time together.

It's time like this that binds the family ;p