Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mung bean Paste 綠豆蓉餡

In advance of the mid autumn festival (a.k.a. mooncake festival) tomorrow,I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my friends, relatives and readers a happy moon cake festival and happy reunion with your family.
To the Chinese, especially those staying away from their home town, the mid autumn festival (八月十五中秋节)is a big day for them to rush back to get together and celebrate with family members. The Chinese believe full moon symbolises reunion (月圆庆团圆).
This year, I had made both types of moon cakes, traditional baked moon cakes and snow skin moon cakes. (Click to access my old posts on moon cake making).
I had made 3 types of fillings which were Taro paste, red bean paste and mung bean paste. For the first two, I had already covered in previous posts. Just click on the words to lead you to the posts.
I brought these moon cakes and shared with my colleagues in the office a few days ago:
In conjunction with this happy occasion, I’m going to introduce another traditional moon cake fillings that I had used for my homemade moon cakes this year – Mung Bean Paste.
Mung bean is more widely known as green bean in South East Asia. As the name suggests, they are green in colour but when their skins are removed, Mung beans are light yellow in colour.
Mung Bean 綠豆

When these green beans are left to germinate and grow in water for days, they become “bean sprouts”, a type of vegetable that is commonly used for stir-frying, salad and soup in many Asian cuisine.
Check out my old post of Stir-fry Bean Sprouts with Prawn cutlets 豆芽炒虾球 this is a super fast and easy stir fry vegetable recipe.

Similar to red beans, Mung beans are also widely used in Chinese cuisine especially as dessert filling when made into paste form.
For the recipe I shared, I didn’t specify the measured quantity in details but merely sharing the major ingredients.  Usage ratio is very much depending on the flexibility of own taste preference.
The result of my mung bean paste was a bit dry and crumby. To have a finer texture I recommend to blend it further with a blender just like the red bean paste method. If you wish to have creamier and more flavourful texture, I recommend to substitute water with milk or coconut cream but for weight watchers it's better to stick to water.Smile

Mung Bean Paste 綠豆蓉餡

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Healthy and Cost effective homemade yogurt

I forgot where I heard this quote which said there were 2 good habits that’re all good and no bad - swimming and yogurt! Hubby is a strong believer in this quote and has been promoting this health message to our boy from young.

Frankly, I must admit all these years I have had no problem practicing the 1st habit but not so much on the yogurt part.  The reason that put me off from yogurt is its sour fermentation taste and smell. Only recently, knowing yogurt has a great benefit of slimming, I gradually acquired its taste and able to consume flavored yogurt.

For us to maintain the swimming habit is no issue as we live only 5 minutes away from our club which has an Olympic size pool. However for the yogurt part, we tend to have some difficulty where the nearest store for us to get fresh yogurt is 30 minutes away. Not only is the distance a letdown, yogurt is quite costly too if consumed daily.

Even though I’m a keen enthusiast in venturing into homemade cooking, homemade dairy products have never crossed my mind. Not until one day I stumbled upon a blog on cheesecake making that lead me to homemade cheese and yogurt.
When I made further research on the Net and watched some YouTube clips, I was thrilled to learn that making own yogurt is so simple and need no expensive and special gadget such as a yogurt maker.  All we need are the ingredients of fresh milk (low or full cream), milk powder, yogurt starter and sterile bottles, towels and microwave/oven which are standard items found in most kitchens. Next is the incubating time for the live bacteria in the yogurt starter to do their gem in culturing the liquid milk into tart to yield yogurt.

For my attempts, I made the yogurt at night around 9pm and by the next morning at 7am when I checked, I had beautiful fresh yogurt to serve for breakfast. Once you have successfully made the yogurt, do scoop out some of this yogurt and keep as yogurt starter for your next batch of homemade yogurt. Unless you are making yogurt daily, the yogurt starter can typically last for only 5-6 batches.   After that, you may need to buy new commercial plain yogurt to start the cycle again.
My 1st attempt using pasteurized milk with the incubation time of 8 hours showed the resulting yogurt to be a bit too runny. As for my second attempt using milk powder and a longer fermentation time of 12 hours, the texture was firmer (like bean curb) with stronger and more sour fermentation taste which better suited hubby’s preference.

homemade yogurt - 12 hours fermentation
You may notice a layer of yellowish liquid when the yogurt formed; this is the Whey water which is rich in Whey protein, an ingredient that’s good for fat burning. That is why yogurt is great for slimming.
A layer of Whey water on the surface of yogurt

However for both Ming Ray and I who preferred to have fruit flavored yogurt, we decided to make Passion Fruit Yogurt.  The outcome was a big thumb up from us! You can also enjoy simple sweetened yogurt by merely adding honey into the homemade yogurt.
Passion Fruit yogurt
Are you a yogurt lover? A LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) believer? Cost conscious in household planning? This homemade recipe is definitely a gem in your kitchen!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Palm Sugar Steamed Cake 椰糖马来糕

 24th August 2012 marked the 8th day of the 7th month in the Lunar calendar and was my late mother in law’s 4 years passing anniversary.  To commemorate that, Auntie Lan reminded us to pay respect by making a lunch meal as prayer offering at home.
With a week-long Raya break at home not going anywhere, I offered to make cake and my signature dish Hong Kong Style Crispy Roasted Pork Belly as part of the offering.  As I remembered my late MIL loved eating roasted pork.
HK style Crispy Roasted Pork Belly
The following steamed cake is a type of Malay Kuih/cake which is similar to Chinese “Huat Kuih” (发糕) commonly served in Chinese prayer offering. 

Palm Sugar Steamed Cake 椰糖马来糕

Palm sugar, also called Gula Melaka in Malaysia is a type of sugar made from palm tree. In Malaysia, this dark chocolate colored sugar is usually sold in a solid log form and the Malay loves to use it as sweetener to their dessert.


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