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Jiu Ceng Gao (九层糕)| Kueh Lapis Sagu

In Recipes, Singaporean on November 7, 2010 at 11:03 am

1. There are foods that taste great.
2. There are foods that are so pretty that they taste great even before they touch the tongue.
3. There are foods that taste great simply because you grew up with them.

And there are foods that fit all 3 categories:

I’d peel them layer….by layer….by layer…4, 5, 6th…… 7, 8th…and with brief hesitation, I’d nibble through the 9th and final of the rainbow-coloured soft n chewy layers, mm by mm by mm… mmmmm 🙂 Happy food.

Of course, being a poor student with limited cash and limited space on the shelf, stocking up on all those colours is not economically nor logistically sensible.  Too bad that nyonya kueh doesn’t keep long (starch retrogrades and coconut milk goes rancid) and getting some from home on mama’s tab wouldn’t work. Surprise surprise, poorskinnychef makes her own, but with less colours in the equation:

The verdict: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


Jiu Ceng Gao | Kueh Lapis Sagu Recipe modified from IndoLists

Ingredients:

  • 200g tapioca / sago starch
  • 100g rice flour
  • 500ml coconut milk
  • 300ml water
  • 240g sugar
  • essence and colouring (I used pandan paste for green and rose paste for pink)

[use more tapioca starch for chewier texture, more coconut milk for stronger coconut flavour – this recipe yielded the same texture as the ones I have at home! soft yet springy!]

Method:

  1. Dissolve sugar in hot water to make a syrup and pour in coconut milk.
  2. Mix in starches with a hand whisk.
  3. Divide mixture into 3 portions (~350ml each)
  4. Grease a smooth-based tin (about 10” diameter or square tin would be even better for cutting later!) and heat in the steamer.
  5. Pour in 1/3 of white layer (~110-120ml) and steam for 3-4 min on high heat.
  6. Alternate with colours and steam each layer 3-4 min until 9 layers have been created!
  7. Cool, oil surfaces, unmould and cut into pieces with greased knife.
  8. Wrap pieces with greased plastic to prevent sticking!

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The Squishy Surprise : Onde-Onde | Klepon

In Recipes, Singaporean on October 21, 2010 at 1:39 am

Did I mention in my last post that I’m done making green-coloured sweet snacks? Well, apparently not! Until onde-onde (as it’s called in M’sia / S’pore vs ‘klepon’ in Indonesia) is on the blog, it definitely warrants a revisit (to make the proper instructional photos). Within its soft chewy green exterior and snowy coconut-y coat, hides an unexpected sweet explosive surprise. Pop one into your mouth and BAM*! you’re hit with a burst of fragrant melted palm sugar that oozes out and engulfs your taste buds. Mmm, I really really love these green bally thingies!

This post is for the cuz who settled in Perth for 2 years now and unbelievably misses none of the lip-smacking Singaporean food except for — ONDE-ONDE (seriously, how can that be, A?)… as well as for the bunches of friends who have been pestering me for it since I was obsessively making it for every other international food gathering last year~ (and even for sale at the Asian supermarket). These little squishy surprises are such simple bundles of jumpy joy!

Onde-Onde | Klepon recipe (recipe by my own ‘feel’) makes 25 small balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • Small piece of sweet potato (~50g)
  • 1/2 tsp pandan paste
  • 50g gula melaka (coconut palm sugar)
  • 1 tbsp white sugar / brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dessicated / shredded coconut
  • pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Cut sweet potato into small segments and boil / steam.
  2. Chop palm sugar into bits and mix in 1 tbsp of white / brown sugar. Set aside.
  3. Mash the cooked sweet potato and mix into glutinous rice flour.
  4. Bind together flour and sweet potato with warm water into a smooth dough. It should be easily shaped, not crumbly and not sticky. Adjust with water / flour.
  5. Add pandan paste to the dough and knead till colour is even. Alternatively, you could also add it in to the water at step 4.
  6. Pinch small balls of dough, flatten it with thumb, place a small amount of sugar in the middle, close and roll into a ball with the palms of your hand.
  7. Drop the balls into a pot of boiling water and give it a few stirs during cooking. When dough is cooked, it will rise to the surface (~3-5min).
  8. Meanwhile place the coconut in a deep dish and mix in a pinch of salt.
  9. Scoop the cooked dough into the coconut and swirl around to coat.
  10. Set aside to cool! Best enjoyed fresh as keeping overnight causes it to harden.

Simplification: Sweet potato amount can be increased for a softer texture, or eliminated altogether for a more chewy ball.

Announcement: Poorskinnychef’s onde-onde will be selling at Toko Indrani @ Salverdaplein frozen section 🙂  wheee~

Steamed Sago Cake – Kueh Sagu

In Recipes, Singaporean on September 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm

I’ve been refraining as much as possible from buying new ingredients at the Asian supermarket, because they all come in packs of 500g – 1kg and I’m just about to move across town. Don’t want to be carting additional boxes of ingredients when I already have a massive amount of stuff to worry about. And so I decided to convert the remains of my packet of tapioca pearls into one of my favourite nyonya kueh for a recent international gathering. Steamed sago cake a.k.a. kueh sagu! But naturally, if I ever attempt to make anything, it’s of course ‘one of my favourites’, why else do I go through the effort then?


Just what is sago? And what are tapioca pearls and why do I seem to use it so interchangeably? NO, they are not FROG EGGS (in reference to their appearance) contrary to some Western belief that resulted from too much mischievous Asian teasing. Both are actually starches of very similar characteristics (transparent and chewy), and are produced in the form of granules or ‘pearls’ to be used conveniently for cooking. The former is obtained from the pith of the sago palm stem, while the latter is obtained from the cassava root. Nothing weird about it at all. Just starch, like potato starch, corn starch, wheat starch… made into a more convenient and potentially innovative form.

Yep, so here’s yet another green recipe (apart from ondeh ondeh and kueh dadar that I’ve been making frequently in the past year). It just happens that I never see any pressing need to obtain other colours for my recipes, apart from the green of my pandan paste. I hope that I’m not sending the wrong message that nyonya kueh are all green in colour, because they’re not and hopefully I will have a chance to show you soon 🙂


Kueh Sagu Recipe modified from here

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pearl sago / tapioca pearls
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • a few drops of pandan paste
  • 1/2 tsp pandan essence (or 1 tsp pandan essence + colouring)
  • 20g dessicated coconut with a pinch of salt mixed in

Method:

  1. Soak the pearls in a generous amount of water (1L maybe?) and leave aside for 1h. Will double to triple in volume.
  2. Drain away excess water then mix in sugar and pandan paste / essence.
  3. Transfer to a greased pot / bowl that fits in your steamer. Here’s how to do it if you don’t have a steamer.
  4. Steam on high heat for 20min.
  5. Cool and coat with dessicated coconut while cutting into bite-sized pieces.

Alternative spellings of the name: sago kueh / kuih sago

Variations on the recipe: create layers by splitting into 2 batches after flavouring with sugar and pandan essence. Add an additional few drops of pandan paste to colour one batch green. Steam the white layer for 10 min, then pour the green batch over and steam for another 20min.

Other variations: colour with other colours and make layers the same way, or use coconut palm sugar (gula melaka) in place of white sugar!

Lazy Honeydew Sago with Coconut Milk

In Recipes, Singaporean on September 25, 2010 at 5:07 pm

When you’re a lazy and poor student living in the Netherlands, you might be in search of refreshing dessert alternatives apart from yoghurt, vla (custard dessert) and rijst pap (rice pudding). The solution to this is simple — that is, to look eastwards and then southwards, where warmer climates and more recently developed countries mean that sweets that are brought to the table are often simple, cheap and refreshing.

If I were to always get my way, I’d say that fresh fruits would be sufficient to end the meal. But once, it seemed that my nicely cut apples weren’t too well-received as a dessert for a dinner gathering 😛 So this time, when I got my hands on some really sweet honeydew melon from the farmer’s market, I made some into lazy honeydew dessert! Hmm, so lazy that I didn’t even bother to measure my ingredients nor take the time to make a proper photo of it. But anyway, here it is. A lazy alternative for non-yoghurt, non-vla, non-rijstpap dessert in a student dormitory dinner.

Honeydew Sago with Coconut Milk Recipe simplified from here

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a honeydew melon
  • ~ 1/2 cup pearl sago / tapioca pearls
  • 1 can (400ml) thin coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 100ml water
  • ice if convenient

Method:

  1. Boil sago in 1L of water. When sago turns translucent, pour into sieve / strainer and wash away excess starch with cold water.
  2. Dissolve sugar in warm water to make a sugar syrup (I used the microwave).
  3. Add syrup to coconut milk until desired sweetness is attained.
  4. Cut honeydew melon into small pieces.
  5. To serve, spoon some sago and honeydew into a bowl, top over with sweetened coconut milk and add some ice. 🙂 That’s it!

Long Live the Century Egg

In Chinese, Recipes on September 19, 2010 at 10:49 am

My dear readers, apologies for my long hiatus from blogging.

After five weeks of food indulgence in my food haven home of Singapore and…
five weeks of food travels and organic farming in Eastern Europe…

I’m now back in the Netherlands, once again living within one of the most neophobic cultures in the world. The Dutch have a saying that goes: Wat de boer niet kent dat eet hij niet, often used in excuse of their reluctance to allow unknown foods on their palate or even their plate. It happens to be the only Dutch saying that I know, as ever so often when I prepare something unusual from Southeast Asia, it would be met with equal reactions of delightful curiosity and of politely watered-down gag reflexes, AND a proclamation of this saying.

Surprisingly though, with this return to Wageningen, the friends seem to be a lot more fearless, unquestioning, and willing to ingest some foreign objects laid on the table by yours truly. Perhaps, by now they have been positively conditioned to know that poorskinnychef here loves them and loves food and will not poison them with ingredients laboriously lugged 10,000km across the globe?

With that, I refer to one of the foods that I missed so much while being away for 11 months last year. It is probably the last thing I would expect a Dutch person to want to try due to its freakish appearance… yet, several friends have pleasantly surprised me by their positive acceptance of the CENTURY EGG. 🙂

(See the snow-flake pattern on the egg that I had with pickled ginger as a side with my dinner? Beautiful, isn’t it?)

While being home this summer, I had a fair dose of this wonder of traditional Chinese preservations. The century egg or 皮蛋 (leather egg, in reference to its leathery texture of the brown jelly that was once the white) is made by preserving eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, calcium oxide (alkaline ingredient), coated in rice husks, and left to be transformed over the next several weeks to months.

The alkaline medium that the egg is stored in raises the pH of the egg, and in the process, proteins are denatured, sulfur and ammonia is released from the amino acids, resulting in reactions that are responsible for:
1. green colour of the yolk (iron sulfide that is also responsible for the green layer on the yolk of overcooked hardboiled eggs)
2. broken down proteins and fats to produce a sweetish ammonia flavour and other flavourful compounds (MMM!) that give this egg so much more character than a ‘normal’ one.
3. clear gelled egg ‘white’ probably due to the breakdown of proteins that result in a more open gel that forms in comparison with a heat-coagulated opaque egg white. just my hypothesis.
The point is that, there’s really nothing to be afraid of (no horse urine myth, please)…

My favourite way of eating the century egg is in Century Egg and Minced Pork Congee, because the flavour of the egg compliments the rice porridge deliciously well, sending a warm and wonderful sensation through my entire body 🙂 It’s the ultimate comfort food, the ultimate winter food, the ultimate homesickness food.

Century Egg Minced Pork Congee Recipe my own recipe for 2 from previous congee-cooking experiences

Ingredients:

  • 100g minced pork marinated in soya sauce
  • 1 cup rice (long-grained)
  • 1 litre of water
  • 1/2 chicken stock cube
  • 2 slices of ginger
  • sesame oil, white pepper, soya sauce, fried shallots, chopped spring onions, fried dough fritters (you tiao) for optional but recommended topping
  • 1 century egg

Method:

  1. Stir fry minced pork in pot (enough fat in the meat to not have to grease pan), and set aside when cooked.
  2. Add rice, water, ginger to the pot and bring to a boil
  3. When rice has softened after 15 min, lower to a simmer and stir until rice has broken down (about 30 min)
  4. Add chicken stock cube to taste (depends on how salty you like your congee!). Add more water to the desired consistency.
  5. Remove ginger slice, mix in minced pork and century egg sliced into small wedges / cubes.
  6. Top with a sprinkle of soya sauce, sesame oil, pepper, spring onions, fried shallots… and tuck in!

But of course, you wouldn’t have to spend a whole hour at the stove stirring the magic pot to enjoy the egg as here’s a couple other alternatives that are just as awesome.

Century Egg with Pickled Ginger Recipe see Camemberu’s

Ingredients:

  • 1 century egg
  • pickled ginger

Method:

  1. Slice century egg into 8 wedges
  2. Top each wedge with a slice of pickled ginger
  3. Eat!

That was too simple, wasn’t it? Here’s another delicious one.

Century Egg with Silken Tofu Recipe from the Graces of NUS FST’05 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 century egg
  • 1 block / 1 tube of soft chilled silken tofu
  • 2 tsp soya sauce

Method:

  1. Slice silken tofu into 1cm slices.
  2. Chop up century egg into cubes of half cm dimensions (or bigger or smaller, it’s up to you) and sprinkle on top of the tofu.
  3. Sprinkle soya sauce over the dish.

To the supportive Wageningen readers of my blog, I have 2 more of these treasures remaining, and I would love to prepare these dishes for you IF you would make a comment here that you would like to try it. Really, good food isn’t good food until it’s shared. To non-Wageningen Dutch residents, I’ve seen these century eggs (6 euros for 6 eggs) in a hidden bottom corner of a shelf of a Chinese supermarket in Amsterdam’s Chinatown. 😉
Interestingly, an alternative Chinese name for this egg is the ‘松花蛋’ or ‘Pine-patterned egg’ — Why interesting? Because I have just started my research project on the Pine Nut Syndrome and I’m currently (and desperately) collecting reports and samples from the public regarding pine nuts that have caused their taste disturbance that is described as : an offending bitter metallic aftertaste in the mouth upon consumption of any food, and these symptoms show itself 1-2 days after ingesting the pine nuts, and lasts for 1-2 weeks. Please contact me at pinenutsyndrome@gmail.com if you have a recent experience of this!

Breakfast #1: Chee Cheong Fun | 猪肠粉

In Eats, Recipes, Singaporean, Singaporean on July 1, 2010 at 1:07 pm

One question that I’ve constantly been asked by my classmates is that IF I don’t eat bread or muesli for breakfast, then what is it that I eat?? Well, I can’t possibly expect people who have been eating bread for centuries and muesli for decades to make any sense of tau sar pau, roti prata, char kway, tau hway, chwee kueh, png kueh, you tiao, hum chee peng, chut bee png, can I? Explaining myself is always synonymous to ramming my head against a wall. Each time, it is a look of polite confusion or mock disgust at how I could eat sweet / salty / hot / spicy / funny coloured stuff for my breakfast. So most of the time, I just say I eat ‘rice, sticky rice and soy products’ or if I’m in a lazy or not-too-good mood, I say ‘I eat bread, cheese and spreads like you do, and a lot of other things too‘… and most often people are satisfied with the first half of my comment.

After my first long night of jetlagged sleeplessness, it was wonderful to wake up to one of my favourite breakfast foods that mom had bought from the supermarket (SGD$2.30/1.20 euro for 4 rolls – serving size 1-2 rolls). Chee Cheong Fun (dialect) or zhu chang fen (mandarin) literally means pig intestines noodles. It’s actually rice noodle rolls made of rice flour, water and a little oil that is steamed in thin sheets and rolled up in such a way that it resembles pig intestines. Most of the time it has little bits of mushrooms / shrimp / chicken / pork rolled in between the sheets, but mine was with a little bit of spring onions. It has the texture of very smooth rice noodle sheets, eaten warm with a generous scoop of sweet soya sauce and chilli sauce, and a sprinkle of sesame oil and sesame seeds. Great way to start the day!

I’ve also just found out that it’s possible to make it in a microwave too!

Here’s an easy Chee Cheong Fun recipe from notquitenigella:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups rice flour
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Method:

  1. Mix ingredients together.
  2. Pour a thin layer (about 1-2mm) into a microwave-safe flat container.
  3. Microwave on high for 2 min until just set.
  4. Sprinkle your desired chopped up filling and roll up.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until you’ve used up all the batter.
  6. Serve with a sprinkle of soya sauce, chilli sauce and sesame oil!

Disclaimer: I have not tried this recipe myself, but it does sound quite fool-proof. I’ll give it a shot when I’m once again 9987km away from NTUC fairprice / Bukit Timah Market! 🙂

Update: Upon meeting another foodie Singaporean, K, here in Wageningen, we decided to put Chee Cheong Fun to action after raving about how much we miss it when we’re away from home 🙂 Hereby delighted to declare that this recipe is awesomely SIMPLE and DELICIOUS.

Because it tastes so good when it’s warm, we could barely resist gobbling it before the proper photos were taken!


So Long, Scandie #3 – the Unpronounceables

In Danish, Danish, Eats, Recipes on June 30, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Usually, when I travel to non-English-speaking countries, the only words of the local language I could speak would be hello, thank you, and the words on a menu. Usually, those words and a few hand gestures are more than enough to satisfy me (it gets me the food I want) and satisfy my server (who happily serves me the food I want). But after FIVE months of eating rugbrød (rye bread) sandwiches and smørrebrød (open sandwich) in Denmark, and hearing their names being pronounced a million times by a million different people….I still can’t say it right. Anyway, whatever you’re saying in your head right now, is probably not right too.

Photo credits: <http://magnesiumagency.com/2010/01/17/the-food-we-hate-to-love/&gt;

The way I hear my Danish housemate say it, rugbrød sounds something remotely like ‘ROALLB-BPLOALLH’ or ‘ROW-BLOW’ pronounced with a frikadeller/fishball in each cheek; and smørrebrød uhhhh…sounds s o m e t h i n g like ‘SMOUHR-BPLOALLH‘. Even if I’m given a script of ten random words and an audio guide, I don’t think I can manage to pick out which word is rugbrød and which one is smørrebrød. I’m thankful that at least ‘Thank you’ is as easy as ‘tak’ (pronounced as it looks)…. though the response of *##$@$* that I hear from the cashier almost every other day has never ever been understood by my Asian ears.

Smørrebrod is a traditional Danish open-faced sandwich that originated from the words ‘smørre og brød’ or ‘butter and bread’. It’s usually served on rugbrød, which is a Danish dense rye bread that is as healthy as it looks (very high fibre low calorie – 9g fibre and 180kcal / 100g while keeping you full for twice as long) and definitely a lot more flavourful and moist than it looks (thin and almost-black rectangular slab of grains bounded together). Unlike most other sandwiches that are dominated by the bread, Smørrebrød features the sandwich ingredients while the rugbrød quietly supports from under with pleasing contrasts in flavours and textures. And unlike most other sandwiches that are modes of nutrient delivery, smørrebrød is a work of art, pleasing to the eye and extremely easy to impress the observer.

The basic idea of smørrebrød is to TOTALLY cover the buttered rye-bread with toppings such as salad vegetables, shrimps, fish, meat, egg, cold cuts, sauces, cheese, liver paste… whatever you have in the fridge in the combination that you would like to eat them. DON’T even try to pick it up with your hands. Eat with fork and knife.


How to make your own Smørrebrød (Video instructions here!)
1. Cut a piece of rugbrød in half.
1*. Lavish butter on it (I didn’t have butter with me then)
2.-4. Start stacking your ingredients until you can’t see the bread.
5. Stack more ingredients.
6. Put sauce or something with a sauce (I had a last bit of marinaded herring in mustard)
7. Add more ingredients until your sandwich threatens to topple…. then, DEMOLISH IT!

That was my version from ingredients that were available in my refrigerator at that time. Check out these typical Danish combinations from the Danish Food Culture Website!

Smørrebrød. Rugbrød.
It’s healthy, delicious, pleasing to the eye. I’ll miss you, roallb-bploallhh. I’ll miss you, smouhr-bploallh.

FAB – Hands-Free Bread

In Baking, Friday Afternoon Baking, Recipes on June 5, 2010 at 6:49 pm

For these past 10 months in Europe, I have been forced to give up my normal diet of tropical veggies / soy products / surimi / seafood/ kueh / malay and indian foods and adjust to a diet very much based on seasonal vegetables, dairy and bread products. I think the largest change I had to deal with going from Singapore to Europe would be this difference in the variety of food, but also the absence of like-minded superduperly-food-obsessed companions (I think other cultural changes are slightly easier to deal with haha). There is no better homesick-therapy than dining with a friend who explodes in fireworks of joy over bakkwa (Chinese sweet bbq pork) and a bowl of plain rice porridge.

But 10 months is also long enough to start feeling at home in this different world of food, and one of the things I will miss very much as I delve back into my Asian food haven this summer would be the crusty and flavourful European breads. Perhaps it was a sign to start nurturing my bread-baking skills when this week, Fakta slashed the price of high gluten wheat flour from 18kr (2.4 euros/SGD$4.20) per 2kg to a third of its price.


Honestly, my experience with bread-baking is almost entirely limited to theoretical knowledge. Apart from knowing that the requisites include a high-protein flour (to form strong gluten networks to trap the gas bubbles and give the bread a good structure) and yeast (that generates CO2 bubbles and lotsa lotsa lovely aroma compounds as it ferments the starch)…. I’m pretty useless when it comes to practical bread-baking. Hence for starters, I’ve decided to try Steamy Kitchen’s No-Knead Bread recipe, that is apparently ‘so easy even a 4 year old could do it’.

My bread-baking skill level is evidently lousier than a 4-year old because I had some trouble following the instructions and ended up with quite a mess in the kitchen. I aborted the plan and decided to just shove my dough into the oven anyway and ended up with a pretty good result 🙂 Crispy crust and a soft spongey interior, though lacking in some saltiness and flavour. Well, I never eat my breads plain anyway — so I enjoyed it with a slop of salted butter and sweet thick honey. Delicious. 🙂 Goodbye <Gardenia>… Goodbye <Sunshine>….
Kneadless Bread-Baking adapted from Steamy Kitchen

  • 350-400g bread flour
  • 1/4 yeast cake- I’d double it next time for better flavour (1 yeast cake ~ 2.5 tsp instant yeast)
  • 1 tbsp salt ( I misread it as 1tsp and hence learned the importance of salt in bread flavour)
  • 350ml warm water
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water then mix with the flour and salt using a spatula.
  2. Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and leave to ferment overnight. Dough becomes puffy and stickier.
  3. Fold dough around in bowl with a spatula, flouring the surfaces of the dough to reduce sticking to the spatula. After 5min, dump it into a floured loaf tin and leave aside to rise for another 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 230˚C half an hour before baking. Cover loaf tin with aluminium foil and bake for 30 min. Uncover and bake for another 20 min or until golden brown and crusty.

‘FAB’-Steamed Banana Cake

In Experimental, Friday Afternoon Baking, Recipes on May 29, 2010 at 12:57 am

Surprise surprise! Another steamed cake recipe! When I say I am obsessed with something, I really mean it. I’m not going to just let it go after one try. I’d do it / make it / eat it again and again. But eating too much of the same thing would result in Sensory Specific Satiety and a decreased desire to continue eating it. That is why I set out to make as many variations of it. Neh. That was just some lame attempt to scientifically justify my actions. I simply want my muffins and cakes lower in calories, in all sorts of flavours that I like, yet still soft and moist so that I can enjoy my cakes and still have caloric allowance to enjoy all the other pleasurable foods that are out there waiting for me to enjoy. Is that too much to ask for?

You might have realized that the basic recipe of flour-sugar-egg-baking powder limits the possibilities of variations to dry flavouring ingredients like spices, essences and currants. With just 4 ingredients on the list, it might seem rather difficult to make the ingredient substitutions… but I realized it actually isn’t that complicated, really.

I found a recipe on chowtimes for steamed banana cake to make as a reward for my project group’s sensory panel. A quick comparison with the basic steamed cake recipe shows a partial substitution of egg (wet ingredient) with mashed banana (wet ingredient), and a larger amount of baking powder (1.5tsp vs 0.5tsp) to provide additional air bubbles for the rising of the cake that was originally contributed by the egg foam. The teaspoon of oil added contributes to a softer crumb texture as there is now less egg yolk (I’ll try it next time without oil just to see how significant the difference is).

The result? Soft and moist with a lovely flavour like banana quickbread. 😀


Steamed Banana Cake Recipe
adapted from ChowTimes

  • 1 ripe banana (~100g) roughly mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp oil (optional)
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 50g sugar (or adjust batter to desired sweetness)
  • 100g flour
  1. Heat up your steamer.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients together and fold in the dry ingredients quickly.
  3. Pour into dish and steam for ~15min. (I made one 15cm x 22cm oval cake, 3-4cm in height)
  4. Voila! Done in a jiffy!

Variation #1: with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon added. While this was steaming, I mixed together Variation #2: with 1 heaping tsp cocoa powder added.
The cinnamon version was so well-received that I made another for tomorrow’s Project Emotions Picnic in Sweden 🙂 This time with 1.5 times the above recipe with 1 tsp of cinnamon, additional 1 tbsp of water to substitute the extra half an egg, an extra handful of raisins and a half banana sliced and arranged on top! 😀

Steamy Solution to Low-Fat Cake-Making

In Chinese, Recipes on May 28, 2010 at 11:24 pm

My recent interest in steaming has escalated into a full-blown obsession with steamed cakes.

Yes, steamed cakes! Soft fluffy and moist sponge cakes in 30min or less! …no more long lists of ingredients, nor lengthy energy-consuming pre-heating of oven, nor even a need for sticks of buttery unhealthiness to keep the cake moist… not even a messy cleaning aftermath. It saves time, it saves energy, it saves money — absolutely PERFECT for a busy and poor student who craves a sweet treat.

Steaming cake eradicates the problem of tough chewy textures that often plague low fat / fat-free baking. With a little help from baking powder and whisked eggs, cooking the cake in the moist heat of the steamer results in a quick rise and quick set of the sponge cake due to the more effective heat transfer via steam. At the same time, the steam keeps the cake from drying out as it would during oven-baking. This gives the cake a nice open texture with good moisture retention without having to add a whole lot of empty calories to prevent the flour proteins from forming tight gluten networks that result in a tough final product.

I hereby declare the end of my struggles with fat-replacement in baked muffins and cakes.

Just steam ’em!

Steamed Egg Cake Recipe adapted from HappyHomeMaker

  • 3 eggs
  • 150g sugar (I used half brown half white)
  • 100g flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Optional: Raisins / Vanilla essence / Almond essence / Ground cinnamon
  1. Heat up the water in your steamer.
  2. Separate the egg whites from the yolks and whisk the whites adding sugar halfway until stiff peaks form. (Alternatively, beating the whole eggs till foamy will work too, but takes longer.)
  3. Mix in the yolks and fold in flour and baking powder.
  4. Add in 1 tsp of essence and a large handful of raisins at the end if you’d like.
  5. Pour batter into a dish and steam for ~20min in the heated steamer. (Mine: 20cm diameter cake, ~4cm height)