Monday, 30 January 2012

Kam Heong Chicken (Stir-fried chicken in dried prawn and curry leaf sauce)


As promised for the last two weeks, Kam Heong Chicken for the home chef! I do not know how to translate it per se but the description would be Stir-fried chicken in a dried prawn and curry leaf sauce. Anyway, I was enchanted by the taste of it all from home and from the once famous Special Zone 1997 restaurant in London that now has phased out the ever famous dish that us Malaysians order when we head there. So researching for the perfect recipe was quite daunting as not many do know what goes into it. But I found one and loosely based on the recipe, I came up with my own version:

Ingredients:

The sauce:
200gms dried prawns - soaked in warm water
8 small shallots or 3 medium sized ones - skin removed
8 cloves of garlic - skin removed
1/2 bowl of curry leaves
6 bird's eye chillies - stems removed
3 tbsp oil
2 heaping tbsp curry powder

The chicken marinade:
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cornflour


Method:
  1. Firstly marinade the chicken and set aside for 30 minutes. The longer the better.
  2. In a blender or a mini chopper, place the pre-soaked dried prawns with some water, shallots, garlic and chillies and blend into a rough a paste. That means not to a pulp but you can still see rough pieces of prawn, shallots, garlic and chillies.
  3. Next heat up a small frying pan with the oil before adding the paste for frying. Add in the curry leaves and curry powder and continue stir-frying until oil comes out from the mixture and becomes fragrant. Switch off the fire and set aside.
  4. Prepare some oil to deep fry the chicken. There won't be any crust of course when deep frying. Just enough to make sure the chicken is covered and can be cooked through.
  5. Place on a kitchen towel to absorb excess oil and then slice into bite size pieces.
  6. On a separate pan, heat up some of the sauce with oil and toss in the chicken. Stir until finely coated and combined.
  7. Serve with piping hot rice and vegetables on the side.

This is how the sauce would look like!

Easy as can be! Next on the chopping board, Sausage Rolls ala Innovative Baker!

The Innovative Baker


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Useful kitchen utensils: The Ice Cream Scoop



When you're making cupcakes, you'd normally use two spoons - one to scoop out the batter from the mixing bowl, the other to slide the batter down from the first spoon into the cupcake cup right? Well, after watching one too many baking programs, one utensil stood out - the ice cream scoop. This was definitely THE tool to get when portioning your cupcakes to the perfect cupcake portion. Half a scoop for a smaller cupcake, full scoop for a big one! Do not worry when you're making mini cupcakes as there are smaller ice cream scoops too! Where can you buy them? Anywhere and everywhere actually. From Sainsbury's, Tesco's, your local sundry shop to even the specialist kitchen shops. They do not cost too much and would save you time and hassle when making your cupcakes. Naturally, it does not stop at cupcakes but perfect for portioning your muffins too!

The Innovative Baker looking for yet another tool!


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Red Wine Chocolate Cupcakes with Brandy and Chocolate Liquour Frosting


When researching for a new taste, I always wondered whether wine would be a fitting choice of liquid in a cupcake. Then cupcake wars on the Food Network started and that sold me. Then I wondered whether red wine and chocolate in a cupcake go together and it sure did because the combination is no stranger in the US. While researching for a recipe I could loosely base my version on, I found a ton of blogs and recipe websites that have one version or the other. The closest was Rachel Ray's version. Then I figured why not amend my own recipe that I have and see where that takes me. And then voila, it gave birth to...Red Wine Chocolate Cupcakes with Brandy and Chocolate Liquour Frosting.

The Ingredients:
300g self-raising flour - sifted
15g cocoa powder - sifted
1 tsp baking soda - sifted
2 eggs
100g butter - slightly melted
225g golden caster sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup red wine (any kind)
100g dark chocolate - melted

Method:
  1. Firstly crank up your oven to 180 Degrees Celcius. Then line your cupcake cups in a muffin tray.
  2. Sift all three dry ingredients together into a bowl. Set aside. Melt the dark chocolate in a bain marie. 
  3. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy before adding the eggs one by one. 
  4. Then pour in half the dry ingredients and the red wine, beat it until combined, before adding in the second half of the dry ingredients and the milk. Continue beating. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl to make sure all the dry ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Finally add in the melted dark chocolate. Stir until combined.
  5. The using an ice cream scoop, scoop a portion into each cupcake cup. Pop into the oven for about 25 minutes depending on the size of your cupcake. If it is smaller, it would only need 20 minutes or so. 
  6. Take it out and leave it to cool while continuing the baking process for the rest of the cupcake batter.
Brandy and Chocolate Liquour Frosting Ingredients:

1x 300g cream cheese (philadelphia cream cheese was used)
1x 284ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla essence / syrup
100g icing sugar
1 tbsp brandy
1 tbsp chocolate liquour
100g butter melted with
200g dark chocolate

Method:
  1. In the mixer, put everything in and whiz away!!! It will combine quite quickly.
  2. Then add in the melted dark chocolate and butter and combine well. Put aside.
Once the cupcakes are cooled, poke a knife in the centre of each cupcake. Make sure it is deep enough. Then in a piping bag, add some of the frosting in and stick it into the cupcake to inject more frosting inside the cupcake. Then in a bigger piping bag and a nozzle of your choice, pipe the frosting on top of the cupcake. I used a normal circular nozzle. To add a more decorative touch, add a fresh raspberry (or as Rachael Ray would suggest half a grape) and a chocolate stick. Here I used chocolate fingers from cadbury.

The cake will have the taste of the red wine when eaten. But it isn't too overpowering that you can't taste the rest of the chocolate. But this was heavenly. Not too sweet either :)

Yes...I promised the Kam Heong Chicken recipe. And it will appear over the weekend. Figured something sweet would be nice!

The Innovative Baker on the go!


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Curried Pork Belly without Coconut Milk


Don't be daunted by that glint of oil you see floating at the top. It is actually a combination of the pork belly fat and tomato sauce. So it isn't actually oil to begin with. And a good curry must have some kind of oil floating on the top anyway. You can spoon it away after you've cooked. But getting on... I was not in the mood for cooking curry with coconut milk simply because I didn't fancy coconut milk. I read a recipe not too long ago for Indian curries that normally doesn't require coconut milk and thought I'd adapt that to suit the ingredients I had in my kitchen. So here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
400g sliced pork belly (leave skin on)
2 tsbp meat curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
A handful of curry leaves
6 Asian shallots or 2 Echalion shallots (chopped)
A handful of kaffir lime leaves (dried or fresh)
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 x 390g carton of chopped tomatoes (I used the Sainsbury's brand)
100ml water
Salt to taste

Method:
  1. Firstly, make sure to trim the pork belly off any hairs and rid of additional fat but keep the skin on as this would add to the oil. Leave aside.
  2. Next heat up a pot big enough with oil and shallots. Stir until fragrant before adding in the curry leaves and kaffir lime leaves. Stir again to release the aromas of both the leaves and then add in the dried ingredients. Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients together. Let it be for a bit until you see some oil coming out from the spice mix.
  3. Then add in your pork belly. Stir well until everything is coated. Let it be for a bit and then add in the chopped tomatoes. Stir again before adding in the water and salt. Stir once more and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to simmer.
  4. Stir every once in a while and you'll see the oil starting to appear on the top of the curry.
  5. Continue to simmer for another 15 minutes or so and then switch off the heat.
  6. Serve with rice and vegetables.
This curry was so simple and you didn't need that long to prepare it. Plus you don't have to run out to the nearby off license to buy a can coconut milk just to cook curry. How's that for a convenience?

Next on the line - Kam Heong Chicken (Chicken cooked in a spiced sauce)

The Innovative Baker on the rise!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Soft Coconut Cookies with Chocolate Drizzle




Cookies to me are a delight to bake. So to start the new year, I figured a cookie recipe would be nice to start it off. I made these for Christmas along with a ton of other cookies and cakes but these remained my favourite. Coconut is somewhat exotic in this part of the world unlike Asia where most of the coconut comes fresh. Here I had to depend on dried desiccated coconut to give me the texture and taste but the taste remains fantastically yummy! The original recipe, courtesy of 'The Golden Book of Cookies', given by a good friend not too long ago was the basis of it and then jazzed up with additional trimmings, i.e. the chocolate drizzle. And trust me...it wasn't too difficult to make. So what went into it?

Ingredients:

150g self-raising flour - sifted
1tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt (or a pinch would do)
125g butter - melted or softened
100g granulated sugar
1 medium or large egg
125g desiccated coconut

For the chocolate drizzle:
1 x 200g bar of dark or milk chocolate

Method:
  1. Firstly heat up the oven to 190 Degree Celcius. Lay baking paper on flat baking trays or any baking tray you have just so you don't have to run out and buy cookie trays.
  2. Then prepare the cookie dough. Beat the butter and sugar in a mixer or a mixing bowl with a whisk until light and fluffy. I tend not to wait so I beat it until both sugar and butter are mixed well before adding the egg in. Then, add in all the dry ingredients and stir until well mixed.
  3. Next, use two teaspoons. One to scoop out the cookie dough, the other to scrape it from the first teaspoon onto the baking tray. As the cookie dough dough spread a little, remember not to scoop too much out and space it accordingly. Once the baking tray is full, place in the oven to bake for no longer than 10 minutes or until bottom of cookie is lightly brown. Remove and repeat the process until cookie dough is finished.
  4. Let the baked cookies rest on the baking tray before removing onto a cooling rack. (see image 2)
  5. Let the cookies rest for a further hour or so on the cooling rack before laying them flat on a baking tray laid with baking paper.
  6. Next make your chocolate drizzle. In a bowl, break your chocolate into pieces. Then heat up some water in a small saucepot before placing the bowl in the pot. This is the bain-marie method. Then carefully stirring, making sure the chocolate doesn't split. Make sure to always keep the gas at its lowest. Once fully melted, take it out of the pot and onto the table next to the cookie tray.
  7. Drizzle the melted chocolate with a spatula or a spoon any which way you want. (see image 3). This You can also try dipping the cookie into the chocolate instead and place on the baking tray. Don't worry, the baking paper is there for a purpose. When the chocolate dries, and you peel away the cookies, the chocolate goes with it. 
  8. Then put all the cookies into a cookie tin or a cookie jar like what I did (see image 4), tie it with a ribbon and present it as a gift.
Image 2 - cookies on the cooling rack
Image 3 - cookies drizzled with melted chocolate
Image 4 - Cookies in a cookie jar

There you go! The cookies all good to go. This is also perfect for Chinese New Year. Chocolate is not a traditional flavour for Chinese New Year but you can still make the cookies nonetheless!

Happy baking peeps while I go try experimenting on red wine and chocolate cupcakes and Malaysian inspired shish kebab on a lemongrass stick!

Innovating once more,
The Innovative Baker

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Winners of the Christmas Giveaway!


Announcing the Winners of the Christmas Giveaway! In your various posting in various forms of social networking including twitter, facebook, direct comments on the blog and everything else... the people who won are... (DRUMROLL...)

1. Squiikivois
2. Genial
3. Harpreet
4. Anonymous person who wrote about their experience on eating tempoyak
5. Mikhail
6. Linda
7. G. Anuradha
8. Ms. Marie
9. Nic
10. Ricardo

Applause!!!!!!!! Please contact me via e-mail at donnowhat2cook@gmail.com by providing me your contact details including your address so that I can ship it you!

Happy New Year everyone!
The Innovative Baker

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