Thursday, 12 April 2012

Chinese Sticky Spare Ribs - the easy way out!

Ever wondered how to make those sticky ribs you get served at Chinese restaurants? Or perhaps the famous 'barbecued pork' that has a shiny tinge, but so sticky when in your mouth and simply melts when you bite into it? Then look no further...always an experiment in my kitchen, I've been trying to find a sure fire way to get this sticky ribs to perfection without having to buy the 100 other Asian ingredients you would need just to make it. My mom had one bite and refused for anyone else to have there...when your mom fights to keep a portion, you know it is a definite winner.

8 medium sized ribs (about 350 to 500gms depending on weight of meat on the bone)
To marinade ribs in:
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp black soy sauce (the dark caramel kind)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp five-spice powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 heaping tbsp of muscovado sugar
2 tbsp of runny honey or two squirts of honey
2 tsp sesame oil

The baste ribs after barbecuing:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp / 2 squirts of golden syrup

  1. In a plastic container or ziplock bag, place the ribs in it. Then add all the ingredients for the marinade in the container / bag. Close the container / lock the bag properly and shake it vigorously. If you have music on, then dance with the container / bag to the music!
  2. Leave the container / bag to marinade for up to 1 hour or overnight preferably. But 1 hour is fine as well.
  3. Crank up your oven to 190 Degrees Celcius first. In a ceramic baking dish, pour the contents in the container / bag on the dish. Cover it with aluminium foil. When oven is evenly heated up, then pop the baking dish in for 45 minutes with the foil still on.
  4. After that, remove the foil, lower the oven temp to 180 Degrees Celcius and let is continue to roast after turning the ribs around. Roast it for another 30 minutes before turning the ribs once more and let it sit for a further 10 minutes. The marinade will slowly thicken as the honey and sugar begins to caramelise. 
  5. Just before removing from the oven, pour in the second marinade to baste the ribs in to give it the shiny texture and let its sit in the oven a further 5 minutes. Remember to twist and turn those ribs to ensure maximum shine!
  6. Remove from oven, place on serving plate or serve as is and voila!
Those ribs did not last long I can tell you that. And the ingredients are easily found anywhere in your supermarket. Discard those funny looking take out ribs and make this one instead. You'll find it easy and straight forward!

NOTE: Not a fan of pork? No fear...substitute it with chicken, turkey, lamb or beef. Just remember that roasting chicken or turkey take a shorter time so don't over cook it!

Still salivating and licking her fingers,
The Innovative Baker

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Malaysian 'Doughnuts' with Cinnamon Sugar

For the Very Good Recipe's April Fool's Recipe Challenge, I've been digging my brains and came up with a few recipes. This is the first of many... 

This is in fact quite simple and forgive me for the atrocious lighting as I made these in the dead of the night and yellow lighting isn't the best for my utterly simple camera. But in any case, they turned out great...

I give you....(drumroll.......) Malaysian Doughnuts! It has the look of normal doughnuts, and it is tossed in Cinnamon and sugar, but does it actually use the ingredients of a doughnut? With the exception of the flour and sugar that went in, everything else wasn't used but for an added ingredients... BANANAS!

Yes... you got that right... the bananas gave it the moisture it needed to make it into a batter like consistency that when scooped with a spoon and dropped into hot oil, it would be of drip like consistency as well. Almost like pancake batter but puffs up like a doughnut... cool eh? So what were the ingredients? 

3 over-ripe bananas
1 tbsp caster sugar (or any sugar you have in the pantry)
3 heaping tbsp self-raising flour
Oil for deep frying

Sugar Toss:
1 clean plastic / self-sealing bag
1 to 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder

  1. Firstly cut the bananas into mashable sizes before adding in caster sugar and self-raising flour into a mixing bowl. Using a fork mash all the ingredients together until everything is combined and looks like a batter. 
  2. Heat up some oil for deep frying. I don't own a deep fryer, so a pot and oil is good enough.
  3. Use two teaspoons. One to scoop the dough, the other to push it down into the oil. Test the oil to see whether it is hot enough by putting a little bit of dough in it. When it sizzles, then  you know it is ready. Add dollops of the dough into the hot oil and fry away. Turn the balls around to ensure even frying.
  4. Place fried doughnuts onto a plate with some kitchen towels to drain excess oil.
  5. In a plastic / self-sealing bag, add in the soft brown sugar  or caster sugar and cinnamon powder. Shake it a little first to ensure sugar and cinnamon powder is evenly distributed. Then add in the cooled down doughnuts, a few at a time, to coat them with the cinnamon and sugar. Seal the bag or grab the sides of the plastic bag ensuring there are no holes for the sugar to escape. Then shake like you're shaking a maracas! 
  6. Take it out and place it on a plate.
  7. Serve with tea or you can alternatively dip into a bowl of hot chocolate sauce to add more flavour!
Malaysian doughnuts don't necessarily have cinnamon sugar tossed together and is usually eaten plain because of the high sugar content it already has from the bananas and the added sugar in the dough mixture. But as I didn't add very much sugar in the beginning and soft brown sugar is more caramel like in taste then sweet to the core, this added a tad more depth to the doughnuts then usual.

The next recipe for the challenge is definitely more challenging in nature... but as this was the quickest and to also provide fellow foodies out there the benefit that the recipe doesn't have to be exactly complicated, I figured why not give this the credence it deserves!

The doughnuts were eaten within a matter of minutes. So you know it is that good. Try it and see whether you like it! Tell me about it too!

Recipe challenges are my game now....
The Innovative Baker

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Cold weather recipes!

It is never nice when weather changes especially in unsuspecting London, UK. But weather that changes gives us all the opportunity to enjoy nice wintery soups again (even if it is April and we should be able to able to wear espadrilles, shorts and a nice top). So just in case you're wondering to cook for such rainy weather but can't bear the thought of putting in too much work then here's some recipe suggestions:

Bak Kut Teh (A Malaysian Herbal Soup with Pork and Shiitake Mushrooms)
Pan Mee (Home Made Chinese Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms, Minced Meat and Chinese Mustard Leaves)


Take your time and indulge in some of these delectable dishes and they're hearty, warms you up and provides you a warm fuzzy feeling at the end of the day!

Have fun while I experiment with Coconut and Cashew Nut Rice,
The Innovative Baker

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Smile! You're on Candid Camera!

Huh? What do you mean? It is April Fool's Day silly! what? Well...together with 7 other bloggers, we are judging this month's challenge courtesy of Very Good Recipes. The theme? You got it! April Fool's! Dare yourself to cook something that would look like something else!

Like fellow judge, Jessie from Jessie-CookingMoments, she has prepared 'Scrambled Eggs' with mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. 
(courtesy of Jessie's creation)

Not inspired yet? Then maybe derive more inspiration from Wayfarer's version of 2 fake eggs and an apricot:

(courtesy of Wayfarer)

I'm definitely cooking up something but have been mightily busy with weekend plans, i.e. visiting the chocolate festival and getting inspired by the many different varieties that were on display.

The trick is to use ingredients alternatively producing something that may look like eggs for instance but turn out to be entirely something else. It can be cookies, a hearty stew to a fullblown cake! So where can you find details?

Visit the April Fool's Recipe Challenge and submit your recipes once you know what you are doing! My recipe should appear in the coming weeks to provide you guys further inspiration! Think meringue but it ain't sweet!

The Challenge will run a month long and the lucky winner's will get a cookbook of their choice! Now I would want that for sure!!! 

So become a participant now!
The Innovative Baker

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