Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tongsui 糖水

Tongsui 糖水, is a collective term for any sweet, warm or chilled soup or custard served as a dessert at the end of a meal in Cantonese cuisine. ( so it was said ).

There is a wide variety of tongsui, ( of some I never heard of ) namely black sesame paste 芝麻糊 , douhua豆腐花 , egg tongsui 鸡蛋糖水, got fan 葛粉, gui ling gao 龟苓膏, hasma 雪蛤, red bean soup 红豆汤, sai mai lo 西米露, mung bean soup 绿豆汤, six-flavors六味, peanut paste soup花生糊, steamed egg custard 炖蛋, sweet potato soup 番薯糖水, sweet almond soup杏仁糊, sweet walnut soup. ( )

Are tongsui belong solely to Cantonese cuisine ? I doubt it. I am a Hokkien, but my family had as far as I can recall, served tongsui as such as red bean soup, mung bean soup, sweet potato etc.

糖水之谈 ?! 免谈!

不然!糖水之可在粤菜占一席, 并非无过人之处。以简单的材料煮出不简单的糖水, 何曾简单!

又、糖水之所以甜, 不止在于糖的分量,而是在于心 ( Ongzi’s 煮义论 )。 固汤水之谈, 非泛泛之谈也!



Thursday, June 11, 2009


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pandan flavor extract

Something a kitchen should have #1 : pandan flavor extract

Pandan leaves are used widely in Southeast Asian cooking. They have a nutty, botanical fragrance which enhances the flavor of foods. Pandan leaves are from the Pandanus amaryllifolius of the screwpine family. The aromatic scent is of 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline, which also give jasmine rice and bread flower ( Vallaris glabra ) their smell.

Pandan is so important in SE Asian cuisine, that it can be found in every village and sub-urban. Propagation is very easy, a cutting properly watered and fertilized will grow into a huge bush.

However, pandan leaves are sometime not as easily available as it should be. And sometime even though I put a generous bunch of pandan leaves into my tong sui 糖水, there are hardly any fragrant out of it ! Lagipun, getting fresh pandan leaves is especially difficult when work long hours and hardly finds time to go to market.

This is when I find a little bottle of pandan extract is most useful and convenience. It comes in small bottle e.g. 25ml, in various brands. A little drop of it is suffice to flavor a big pot of tong sui. Magic potion it is !


Kaya, also known as seri kaya, is a coconut jam made from a base of coconut milk and eggs. It is sweet and creamy, often in golden brown or green depending of the amount of pandan and caramel.

Ingredient :

1. Sugar 70g
2. Egg x 2
3. coconut milk powder 25mg
4. pandan flavour

Instruction :

1. beat egg with sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
2. add in coconut milk powder and pandan flavour, blend well
3. steam over water, stir till cooked
to make the kaya golden brown in colour, melt 2 tsp of sugar separately, and stir in the caramel

as a child , I'd watch over and over again as my mother prepared the jam .
she, of c0urse, used the traditional original coconut milk and pandan leaves.
it was a lot more tedious back then, as we cooked from gasoline-stoves. its a long process stiring the jam over the flame.
however, the kaya my mom made was the best i had ever tasted.
there are still room for improvement for my kaya. it is far from perfect. yet, its delicious despite the look, I assure you.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cassava Cake木薯糕 Kuih Ubi Kayu

Ingredients :

A1 fresh cassava 1kg ( ≈ 3pc ), grated
A2 fresh coconut 200g ( 1/4 pc ), grated
A3 sugar 白糖5 tbsp
A4 corn flour 薯粉4 tsp
A5 pandan flavoring
A6 margarine 植物油 for frying

1. grate the cassava with a grater.

This is a very tedious job. Dangerous at times. It will spoil the mood if one carelessly grated own hand

I prefer the modern way using a food processor instead. Only need to cut the cassava into small pieces before putting into the food processor. A push of the button will do. May need to add a little bit of water to smoothen the grinding though.

2. Add in the grated coconut, corn flour, sugar and a pandan flavouring

Fresh grated coconut is not easily available in big cities, therefore can replace with coconut milk. packed coconut milk can be readily available in almost all supermarkets and hypermarkets, whether in liquid or powder form.

Sugar is optional as freshly harvested cassava is sweet by itself.
Corn flour too is just another ingredient can be omitted. However adding some will help make the cake more sticky and voluminous.

3. Steam the dough in steamer for around 15 – 20 minutes

The cake can be kept in refrigerator for days. Can be heated over frying pan.
To heat over frying pan, put some margerine in the pan over small flame. Wait till the margerine melted and spread it over the pan. After frying , its a bit yellowish, crispy outside, with a nice fragrant. The taste is as good, if not better.

I like to have it with a nice spread of kaya. Yum yum !

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ubi Kayu Rebus

Cassava, or Ubi Karyu (Malay), or 木薯(华语), was a poor-man’s staple food during the yester years, especially during WW II.

Steamed Cassava is best with a cup of coffee or Milo. It’s served for morning breakfast or afternoon tea, often with grated coconut, Nipah syrup, sugar, sweetened milk, kaya or can even eat it on its own.

Fresh Cassava is cream-white in colour. After steamed for 10-15 minutes, the colour turns to a transparent-white, with a delicate flavour. Its sticky a bit, yet easily breaks, and melts in the mouth.

Cassava roots and leaves cannot be consumed raw because they contain two cyanogenic glucosides :- linamarin and lotaustralin. These are decomposed by linamarase, a naturally occurring enzyme in cassava, liberating hydrogen cyanide (HCN).

It had to be properly de-skinned and cooked prior to consumption