One of my favourite daikon radish dishes is this – Singapore style soon kueh (turnip dumplings). The original dumpling has a savoury filling made from what is known as a chinese turnip or jicama. However using the daikon was stemmed from the fact that I lived in the UK where turnips are mostly swedes which were not suitable and there were no jicamas in sight. The daikon is versatile and its texture is similar and makes for a good substitute.
I bought a ginormous daikon recently and was intending to cook it in a soup but a bout of peckishness and craving made me change my mind and I rolled up my sleeves for some kneading and moulding action.
I’ve made this dumpling before with a different recipe for the pastry and I wanted to try out a different recipe that is known as the ‘crystal’ version. This meant that the skin of the dumpling is translucent when cooked rather than the opague version that I made before.
I’m pretty sure this isn’t the best recipe, because I found the pastry to be a little too tough and chewy. A good crystal dumpling is nice and translucent with a soft skin that has a slight chew. Having said that, the dumplings were still yummy and the hubs and I shared a large plateful for dinner, with loads to spare for breakfast. It’s probably a strange idea for many of you that we have the same kind of food for dinner and breakfast. Probably like having cereal for dinner – which by the way is becoming quite norm for young people in Australia! (Source: some morning show in Australia, can’t remember which one)
The truth is that in Singapore, these dumplings are usually eaten more as a snack (morning or afternoon) and sometimes as breakfast. I don’t follow rules very well and decided I wanted them for dinner. The hubs just eats whatever I cook and so breakfast food for dinner it is! Yay!
In comparison to the two pastries (crystal and opague), the crystal version is a lot easier to work with as it starts off sticky but ends up clean and easy to mould. The other one was much softer and fiddlier (is there such a word?) but it was also softer and less chewy after it’s been cooked.
Might give a different crystal pastry recipe a try next time. For the opague version and filling recipe, go to my soon kueh post.
CRYSTAL DUMPLINGS (Pastry recipe)
Makes about 20-24
375 g Wheat Starch
180 g Tapioca flour
450 ml Boiling water
3 tbsp Vegetable oil
Oil for greasing
Put wheat starch and tapioca flour into a mixing bowl, pour in boiling water and mix quickly with ladle or big spoon. Cover and leave aside for 15 minutes.
Add in oil and knead into a pliable dough. Roll out in a cylinder about 1.5 inches in diameter. Cut with a sharp knife into 3/4 inch slices. Dab a little oil on both sides of the slice and roll out gently into thin round shapes. Cover the rest of the dough with a damp cloth while working to prevent them from drying out
Place 2 teaspoons of filling in the centre of each slice of dough and fold in half. Seal the edges by pressing together.
Steam dumplings for 15-20 minutes and brush with oil after removing from steamer. Serve with crisp fried shallots, sweet caramel soy sauce (kecap manis) and chilli sauce.
Atrocious. I have been away for too long! Went away last week to Sydney with the hubs. He was there for work, while I played tourist. It’s great to be funemployed for a while. I’m still enjoying the break. Usually by this time, I’ll be itching to go back to work, but not right now! Loving spring in Melbourne, loving the time I have to potter around. I’m sure I’ll get bored of this soon enough.
I also planted my first crop of herbs in two galvanised buckets. They started of as seedlings and are flourishing under my care *ahem* It’s quite a surprise really, because I’m not known for my green thumbs. Let’s hope they continue to grow and be consumed throughout the summer months!
I can see more parsley and dill recipes coming this way. For now, I do have a fabulous chimichurri recipe to share. I couldn’t use all of my homegrown parsley as they were still busy growing…so I supplemented with a store bought bunch. I have a chimichurri recipe that I used while in the UK but I think this one’s the one I’ll be using from now. It’s simple, fresh and delicious.
Chimichurri is basically a green sauce originating from Argentina. It is made mostly from parsley and is totally delicious as a marinade or served with grilled meat. I had a couple of grilled thick, juicy steaks recently and served them with this. The combination of herbs, garlic and vinegar lifted the already juicy and delicious grilled steaks and brought them to a whole new level of yum. The Argentinians sure knew what they were doing.
If you haven’t had chimichurri before, you HAVE to try this.
Enough for 2 – 4 steaks
- 1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, trimmed of thick stems
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsps fresh oregano leaves (can sub 2 teaspoons dried oregano)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Finely chop the parsley, fresh oregano, and garlic (or process in a food processor several pulses). Place in a small bowl.
2 Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Adjust seasonings.
Serve immediately or refrigerate. If chilled, return to room temperature before serving. Can keep for a day or two.
My last installment for the 365 Challenge. This time, it’s Stephane Reynauld’s recipe for Mozzarella Tart. This is a very easy recipe to follow – and it is similar to many tomato and mozzarella tarts. However Reynauld’s recipe called for rosemary and tarragon, which is unique as many other recipes use basil. I guess this is significantly more ‘french’ as basil, tomato and mozzarella is known to be an italian combination.
The recipe also says that medium grain semolina is used to scatter on the pastry before layering the tomatoes. This is so the semolina will absorb the juice of the tomatoes and thus prevent the pastry from becoming soggy. Unfortunately, I do not have semolina ready in my pantry and wasn’t about to buy a bag just to use two tablespoons of it. So I went onto trusty google to seek out a solution.
Many other recipes recommended baking the pastry for a bit first before adding the tomatoes. This works for me – so I pierced the pastry with a fork (to prevent it from rising too much), brushed it with egg wash, sprinkled some grated parmesan (I just can’t help myself!) and baked the pastry for about 5 minutes. This allowed the pastry to pre-cook for a bit. Once removed from the oven and cooled a little, I layered the tomatoes, cheese and herbs according to the recipe.
Instead of one large tart, I made baby versions of it, using two sheets of ready-rolled puff pastry and splitting into four squares. Very easy, very delicious. It kinda turned out to be posh herby versions of an open faced grilled cheese and tomato croissant. Yum.
Original recipe serves 6
150g mozzarella cheese
6 garlic cloves
2 tbsp medium-grain semolina
200g butter puff pastry
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked
fleur de sel
1 bunch tarragon, leaves picked
Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
Slice tomatoes into 5mm slices, do the same with mozzarella. Peel and slice garlic cloves. Roll out pastry and scatter semolina over.
Arrange tomatoes over pastry so they overlap, then add garlic, rosemary and mozzarella. Season, scatter tarragon and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
Okonomiyaki is a savoury Japanese pancake. A traditional Osaka style okonomiyaki is usually made with flour, grated yam, dashi, eggs and cabbage and the toppings usually include meat (usually pork / bacon) and or seafood such as octopus, squid or shrimps. The Osaka people have way better marketing skills as this is the version that is predominant throughout the world. The Hiroshima style okonomiyaki has the ingredients in layers instead of being mixed in the batter and they sometimes have noodles, cheese and a fried egg as topping options and I have personally never tried the Hiroshima version. Like I often say, marketing is very important. Go Osaka!
Now, this homemade easy-peasy version is made from basic, common day to day ingredients. The flavours will definitely be enhanced with actual bonito flakes, japanese mayonnaise and the proper okonomiyaki sauce. However, not everyone has access to these wonderful japanese goodies and so, we make do. And I’m happy to say that it’s still as tasty. If you’re keen to try out the traditional recipe, see this.
Makes about 6-8 small pancakes
- 1 cup – all purpose flour
- 1 cup – dashi stock (I used diluted chicken stock instead)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 – head of cabbage, shredded
- 6 – 8 strips of streaky bacon (1 strip per pancake)
- Makeshift okonomi sauce (1/4 cup bbq sauce mixed with 1 tsp worchestershire sauce)
- Regular mayonnaise
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and stock with a pinch of salt and whisk till you get a smooth batter.
2. Add in the shredded cabbage and beaten egg. Mix well.
3. In a hot greased skillet, place about 5 – 6 tablespoons of the cabbage mixture – keeping it as round as possible. (Just like you would a pancake) Lower the heat and keep an eye on the bottom to make sure it doesn’t burn.
4. In the meantime, slice one strip of bacon into 4 one inch pieces and place them on the topside of the cooking pancake. After about 2 – 3 mins or until the bottom is nicely golden, flip the pancake. The bacon should now be on the underside, busily browning away. Cook another 2 – 3 minutes or until bacon and the rest of the pancake is cooked, crisp and golden brown.
4. Remove from skillet, and top with mayonnaise and the bbq sauce mixture. Serve hot. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday. For people in the UK, it’s also called Pancake Day. Basically the traditions of Shrove Tuesday is the day preceding Ash Wednesday where the sombre season of Lent begins. Where the more religious-inclined take to a period of praying and fasting. Where foods such as sugar, fat and eggs were restricted. (Omg!) Which is why on Shrove Tuesday, you celebrate with a feast full of food made from sugar, fat and eggs. I guess in the old days, that means pancakes? Whatever it was, I’m happy it’s Pancake Day.
Which led me to post about a Japanese pancake. Hmm…I guess it’d do. Pancakes – savoury or sweet are just as good!
And in line with tradition, I will be having buttermilk pancakes for dinner tomorrow and I can’t wait!