Monday, June 24, 2013

Kuih Bengka Beras (肥豬肉) - (MFF - Penang)

I missed last month's Malaysian Food Fest (MFF) fun due to hectic school assignment. This month I told myself that I really can't miss it. This kuih looked unattractive and pale looking. But it taste really nice and bouncy with the existence of coconut milk, pandan leaves and rice flour. Coconut milk and pandan are good friends. It will never goes wrong.

I remembered I ate this kuih in Penang when I was 8 yrs old. The memory is so fresh that I could still remember how I bite the delicious kuih and it dropped the other half on the floor, and I cried because there's no more left. Hahaha...
Why bengka beras and not other Nyonya kuih's? That's because last month Max randomly picked one of my cookbook, and he pointed at the recipe, asking me if I could make this for him. He say this is one of his favorite nyonya kuih. I ignored his request. Later, I decided to bake kuih bengka beras after I get a confirmation from this website, showing that bengka beras is actually the Nyonya Kuih in Penang.  
Oh no. Please don't misunderstood me. I didn't say this kuih is originated in Penang. Infact, this kuih is widely selling in Malaysia, particularly in Penang, as there's alot of Nyonya kuih's available there.
Kampar do sell bengka beras too. And we called this kueh "fei-jue-yoke" 肥豬肉, literally pork fats in cantonese. This kuih looked really like a thick slab of pork fats. Probably that's why they named  the kuih based on it's appearance resembles it? I'm not sure.
All I could remember is, my late father is madly in love with this bengka beras. Whenever he goes back to hometown, he will want to buy this, and he can swallow 5 pieces at a time! Now, when I see Max eating the bengka beras that I baked, makes me remind of my late father, holding a slice of bengka beras with his satisfaction smile. Priceless!
I adapted my recipe from a cookbook called Nyonya Traditional Kueh, Snacks and Desserts, written by Chef Ricky Ng. He's nothern nyonya descendants. His recipe ask for 8 x 8 inch square pan. But I didn't wanna make that much kuih, as I knew I won't be able to finish it. So, I reduce the recipe ratio by 24% just to fit into a 7 x 7 inch square pan instead.
(Source :  Nyonya Traditional Kueh, Snacks and Desserts cookbook, by Chef Ricky Ng, with modification)
  • 153g Rice Flour
  • 42g Green Bean Flour
  • 12g Tapioca Flour or Sago Flour (I used Sago Flour)
  • 500ml Coconut Milk
  • 500ml Water
  • 150g Sugar
  • 3 blades of Pandan Leaves, tie knot.
  • a pinch of salt
  1. Grease a 7 inch square pan with some oil, and pre-heat oven to 220 degree.
  2. Mix all ingredients together, except pandan leaves. Stir till sugar has completely dissolved and strain.
  3. In a heavy based pan or pot, add in mixture and pandan leaves knot. Cook under low flame and stirring continuously till mixture begin thickened.
  4. Discard pandan leaves and pour the mixture into the greased tin. If your mixture has lots of lumps at this point of time, do consider to strain it when you pour them into the greased tin.
  5. Bake bengka beras for 30 to 35 minutes, and then switch to 240 degree and let it grill for 5 mins, or until top of kuih turns dark brown.
  6. Let it cool completely before cutting the kuih.
This is my bengka beras just out of the oven.
Unmoulded. Nice charred color! I like! But if you compare with those shop-bought ones, they are not as charred as this. This is the best thing about home-made stuffs. I like the way I want :)
Once kuih completely cooled, trim away the charred sides and cut into slices.
Take a look at this... They are soft, bouncy and fragrant!

If you had this kuih before, you won't need me to further elaborate it's addictive yumms. If you never had this before, give this a try. It's really simple to make.
I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, Penang Month hosted by Alan of Travellingfoodies

Sunday, June 16, 2013

BEST Double Chocolate Walnut Brownies

I absolutely love the result of this double chocolate walnut brownies! It's moist and taste amazing!

These were easy to make and the results were absolutely satisfying! I put in some chocolate chips and it tasted really good. If you don't like walnuts, you could opt out or replaced with macadamia.

I don't intend to blog this recipe so soon. But upon Henny and Linda's request, I just post it for them.

I love brownies. But I refrain from baking it due to it's sinfulness. But then, recently I got myself a new pro-ceramic brownies baking pan at a discount price! So, I have a reason to bake it! And at the same time, I'm a little nervous about baking brownies.

Believe it or not? This is the 2nd time I bake brownies. The 1st time didn't turned up well as I just started pick up baking back then. I over-baked it, and I followed online recipe blindly. The brownies turned up to be an overly-sugared chocolate bar. Now I think back, this really makes me laugh at myself. Hahaha..

This might be the Brownies recipe that you are looking for, but this might not! But allow me to share with you, Max is the one who named this brownie. Max gave me his review about this brownies. He says "Ohhh!!! This is one of the BEST brownies that I'd ever tasted!" ..... Oh! I have to agree with him. Because I really love this brownies too. He said I should name it BEST double chocolate walnut brownies. And there you go! He name it!

But I won't wanna shout to the whole world that this is the BEST! No... I won't wanna debate nor claim this is the best brownies in the world or something like that. Because different people has different expectation on brownies.

There are many types of brownies recipe out there. There's fudgy, chewy or cakey brownies types of brownies. Fudgy brownies is dense, moist, packed with intense chocolatey interior. Cakey brownie has a moist crumb and a slightly fluffy interior. Chewy brownie is moist, but not quite as gooey as fudgy one.

The thing about fudgy brownies is "gooey", though what it really is ... should be like a gummy bar if I were to describe em'. No. I'm not making fudgy brownies this time.

My brownies is cakey and chewy. Not fudgy. If you are looking for fudgy brownies, skip this recipe.

(Recipe Source : Hershey's Kitchen with modification)
  • 200g All Purpose Flour
  • 80g Cocoa Powder 
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 75g + 75g Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 120ml Boiling Water
  • 70g Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate, melted 
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 350g Castor Sugar
  • 1tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 120g Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 50g Chopped Walnut, lightly toasted. 
I adapted this recipe from Hershey's Kitchen. But I modified the recipe based on my personal feel. I decreased 80g sugar from the original recipe. I just can't convince myself to use so much sugar. But if I decrease sugar, I will affect the moisture of the brownies. So, I increased the butter to add more moisture. I increased the flour ratio, and added melted dark chocolate too. And of course, I added walnuts!

  1. Lightly grease 13 x 9 inch Brownie baking pan. Or TWO 8 x 8 inch square baking pans if you don't have standard (13 x 9 inch) brownie baking pan. Line baking pan with baking sheet. Or lightly grease them with oil. I personally prefer to line the pan tho. It's much easier to remove the brownies from the pan later. 
  2. Pre-heat oven at 175 degree. Fan OFF. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine cocoa powder and baking soda. Stir in 75g melted butter and boiling water. Stir until mixture thickens.
  4. Stir in sugar, eggs, melted chocolate and remaining 75g melted butter. Stir until mixture turned smooth.
  5. Add flour, vanilla extract and salt. Mix until all ingredients well blended. 
  6. Stir in half portion of chocolate chips and half portion of chopped walnuts.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips and walnuts on top and bake for 35 to 40 mins for rectangular pan. 30 to 35 mins for square pan. Or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Brownies are done when toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs still clinging. It's okay for the pick to look moist, but if you see wet batter, keep baking.
  8. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Once brownies completely cooled, cut into squares and serve. 
You could make this ahead. Once the brownies are well baked and completely cooled, wrap them nicely and freeze them. Brownies freeze well. Just thaw to room temperature and serve. But I personally would suggest you to serve the brownies warm. Just microwave it awhile before serving. It makes really perfect match with vanilla ice cream! :)

Eggs is the ingredient that pack everything together and make it deep, intense and chewy richness. 

The chewiness of the brownies seems to come from a couple of different factors. More on all-purpose flour, whose proteins provide "bite". You could use cake flour or super-lite flour too. But the result would be much lighter and it might turned out to be chocolate cake. No, I don't prefer that. I want those "bite".

This is just out of the oven. It looked slightly bumpy. I kinda slightly over-baked them. I confess, I throw the brownies into the oven and I forgotten about it. And this is NOT the 1st time I repeat this bad habit. Hahaha... So, this has caused the brownies crack at the side.

Once brownies completely cooled, it will go turn flat and nice. My advice is not to attempt to cut warm brownies. Because this brownies is cakey and crumbly it might turned messy if you cut it while it's warm. Let the brownies sit inside the pan for few hours (I leave it there for 8 hours) before I remove it.

Look at this dark beauty... It's moist, soft, cakey but yet chewy. This is absolutely rich and delicious! The thin crust at the top makes the brownies looked really sexy!

I gave some to Soke Kuan (who came all the way from M'sia to Singapore) and Meng Teng too. They looked so happy when they sees my brownies. Their facial expression? ...... Priceless! :D

Happy baking!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Lye Water Rice Dumplings / 鹼水粽 (aka Kee Zhang)

Oh! I just couldn't tell you how much I love this! Cantonese called this Gan Sui Joong (鹼水粽), also known as Kee Chang in Hokkien is one of the most basic rice dumplings during the Chinese Rice Dumplings Festivals. But I also knows that this lye water rice dumpling is the least favorite to most modern people nowadays. Some don't even wanna look at it.

But Woohhhh!!! Look at my Kee Chang! The smokey effect! Hehehe...

Last year, I posted My Mama's Savory Rice Dumpling (我妈妈的咸肉粽) recipe and Nyonya Rice Dumpling (娘惹粽子) recipe. This year, I'm gonna post Lye Water Rice Dumplings (鹼水粽) recipe.

This rice dumpling may appear to be boring and taste bland. But hey! When you get the dipping right, you will fall in love with it! It can be anything sweet! I love to dunk my Kee Chang in Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar), or Kaya (Coconut Jam), or some really good Honey, or even just plain fine grain white sugar! One dumpling, but many ways of enjoying it :)

I want my Kee Chang to have golden effect. So, I used some really nice Honey to do the photography work :)

This recipe makes about 35 to 40 rice dumplings. Depends on how big you want your rice dumplings to be. I've got 37pcs if I'm not wrong. If you are not feeding a village or giveaway, half of the recipe will do :)

  • 1 kg Glutinous Rice
  • 1 Lye Rock (鹼水头)
  • 40 to 50pcs of Dumpling Leaves (or more, incase some leaves are not in good shape)
  • some grass strands to tie the dumplings


  1. Prepare dumpling leaves. Boil the dumpling leaves for 20mins or upto 30mins if you are boiling alot of leaves. Remember to add in the grass strands and boil together. Let the whole pot of leaves cool down on it's own. Use water to kinda gently wash them, drained. Use a cloth to wipe the leaves piece by piece. Set aside for later use. 
  2. Use mortar pestle to break the lye rock into small pieces. Add broken lye bits into a bowl of water, stir until dissolved. Some people says it will speed up this process if hot water is used. I never try it before. I just use room temperature water. It worked fine. It dissolves well.
  3. Wash glutinous rice for few times until water runs clear. Add enough water to cover the rice by 5cm or so. Pour in the bowl lye water into the rice and give it a good stir. Make sure it is mixed evenly. Leave it soaked overnight thoroughly.
  4. The next day, drain the rice using colander. Once rice well drained, you could start wrapping the dumplings. 
  5. Once dumplings are wrapped, using a big pot, cook half pot of water. Once water is boiled, add in the rice dumplings and let it cook for at least 2 hours (if you have 20+pcs in the pot), or upto 3 hours or more (if you have more dumplings in the pot).
  6. To check if dumplings are done, simply dish up one dumpling, unwrap it and check if the inside of the dumpling is soft enough. If it is hard or bitter, continue to boil for another 20 or 30 mins. 
  7. Once dumplings are cooked, remove dumplings from water and hang it up. Let it air dry and cool down for at least 1 hour before eating. 

The most painful part about making nice Kee Chang is the rice picking work. Nope! I'm not asking you to go to the paddy field to harvest glutinous rice yourself. But you have to pick the jasmine rice out of the bag of glutinous rice! For dunnowot reason, glutinous rice available in Malaysia and Singapore somehow mixed with a little bit of jasmine rice. I hate it! And this is where all the "rice-picking" work came in. You could skip this step if you are feeling lazy. But in order to make some really good Kee Chang that gives you every good mouthful of gooey and waxy feel, you really have to do this "pain-in-your-arse" work if you want quality Kee Chang. Last year, I get my MIL and Max to help me. This year, I've got Henny and Linda! Haha :)

This is the lye rock 鹼水头 (a.k.a Kee in Hokkien). Easily available at any grocery shops or even supermarket during rice dumpling festivals. It should cost about 20cts to 30cts per piece. If you are staying in Malaysia, usually they sell lye water instead. After soaked for 2 hours. The lye water gives really nice color to the glutinous rice. But NO... 2 hours isn't enough. You got to soak this overnight! :)

Ooohhhh!!! Look at this sexy shiny and waxy looking Kee Zhang! Yumms!!!

If you intend to learn how to make rice dumplings, Kee Chang is the 1st rice dumpling you should try making. They are the easiest of all and they are the best rice dumpling for you to practice wrapping because if you failed to shape your dumpling, you could always re-wrap it again and again as long as the dumpling leaf is still in good shape. And yes! Henny and Linda picked up rice dumpling skills through wrapping Kee Chang too!

Don't forget to take a look at My Mama's Savory Rice Dumpling (我妈妈的咸肉粽) recipe and Nyonya Rice Dumpling (娘惹粽子) recipe too!

Happy Rice Dumpling Festival everyone! :)