Baking #143: Pandan Chiffon Cake (Pandan Juice)

Pandan Chiffon Cake has never been one of my regular bakes since I started baking. Reason being, I hate making pandan juice extract from scratch and that was one of the reasons which hinder me from baking it on regular basis despite that it’s one of my parent’s favorite flavor.

The ones that I had previously baked, I made do with store bought Pandan paste. However, I baked with au naturale ingredient this time round. Instead of using the store bought Pandan paste, I made my Pandan juice extract from scratch!

Aside from finding Pandan juice extract making process tedious, there was another reason as well. A colleague of mine had previously baked her Pandan Chiffon Cake made with Pandan juice extract and I find the taste of Pandan too raw for my liking. I can taste the Pandan leaves! A kind colleague later taught me how to remove the raw taste of the Pandan leaves. She taught me to cook the juice extract over double boiler method before using it and it worked.

Without further ado, let me show you my Pandan Chiffon Cake made with the au naturale Pandan juice extract!

Pandan Chiffon Cake (adapted from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe)

The crust turned out to be slightly over baked. I think the cake would be perfect if I had cut down on the baking time five minutes shorter. Despite having a drier crust, the cake was soft and fluffy on the inside. It was bouncy too!

Ingredients:

  • 100g Pandan leaves
  • 70-100ml water
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 25g fine granulated white sugar *20g*
  • 42ml coconut oil *sunflower oil*
  • 55ml Pandan juice *4 tbsp*
  • 75ml coconut milk *coconut cream*
  • 125g cake flour/superlite flour *cake flour*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 120g fine granulated white sugar *100g*
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Directions:

  1. To make the Pandan juice extract, wash the leaves thoroughly to ensure no dirt is trapped inside the leaves. Cut the leaves into smaller pieces.
  2. Add the leaves into the blender and add in enough water to enable the blender to blend the leaves.
  3. Blend until all leaves are pulverized.
  4. Strain as much juice out of the leaves as possible. Bring the strained juice to the stove and cook over a double boiler. Remove from heat when you see steam coming out from the Pandan juice.
  5. Leave to cool down completely and put into the fridge for at least a few hours or leave overnight.
  6. To make the cake, cream the egg yolks with 20g of white sugar until pale and creamy.
  7. Add in sunflower oil and mix well.
  8. Combine Pandan juice with coconut extract, add into the batter and mix well.
  9. Sift in cake flour and salt and mix well until no flour lump could be seen.
  10. In another clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until frothy.
  11. Gradually add in 100g of white sugar in three batches until the egg whites reached stiff peaks stage.
  12. Gently fold in one third of the meringue into the Pandan batter and repeat the same with the remaining two thirds of the meringue until no white streak could be seen.
  13. Gently drop the mixing bowl onto the kitchen worktop for a few times to break the air bubbles trapped inside the batter.
  14. Pour batter from a height into an ungreased 21cm chiffon pan and bake in a preheated oven of 170 degree Celsius for 45 to 50 minutes or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean.
  15. Remove from oven and invert immediately for approximately two hours or until cool enough to be handled.

So, this was how my Pandan Chiffon Cake turned out to be. Like I said, the crust was tad drier in texture as I had over baked the cake. I think the crust would be just nice if I had baked the cake for about 45 minutes instead of 50 minutes. However, the chiffon cake was spongy, fluffy and bouncy in texture.

Taste wise, it had a mild and subtle taste of Pandan. To be honest, I personally find that Pandan and coconut milk tasted almost equivalent. If I had used coconut milk instead of coconut cream, the taste of Pandan might be more distinctive. I would love to attempt this recipe again next time as I had made some mistakes in the process of making this cake.

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Of Random Things #150: Gai Pad Krapow

As mentioned in my previous blog entry, here comes my blog post on Gai Pad Krapow. Gai Pad Krapow is literally known as Thai Basil Chicken in English. It is one of the common dishes found in Bangkok.

I had been craving for Thai Basil Chicken for days. So, I decided to whip the dish myself instead of having it at a local Thai restaurant in town. The last one I had was at THAI BOAT NOODLE which was rather salty for my liking despite that it went well with the white rice.

I had previously attempted Thai Basil Chicken but the recipes I found online were overly seasoned. Most of the recipes which I had previously attempted were overly salty for my liking. Lesson learnt and I decided to gauge the amount of seasoning myself this time round by halving the main ingredients.

The outcome was a lot better and satisfactory as compared to my previous attempts despite that my colleagues commented that it would be nicer with lesser basil leaves and adding lemongrass stalk and some pounded ginger.

Without further ado, let me show you how my Gai Pad Krapow turned out to be!

Gai Pad Krapow (adapted from The Woks of Life)

Ingredients:

  • 3 -4 tbsp cooking oil
  • 3 Thai bird or Holland chilies, de-seeded and thinly sliced *1 red chili*
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced *roasted garlic* 
  • 1 pound ground chicken *about 1kg*
  • 2 tsp sugar or honey *1 tsp raw sugar*
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce *dark soy sauce*
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce *3/4 tbsp*
  • 1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth or water *hot water*
  • 1 bunch holy or Thai basil leaves *Thai basil leaves*

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, sugar and fish sauce. Set aside.
  2. In a wok over high heat, add the cooking oil, shallots, garlic and chilies. Fry for about a minute or two until they are slightly browned.
  3. Add the ground chicken and stir fry for a minute or two and breaking up the chicken into smaller bits.
  4. Add in the soy sauce mixture and stir fry for another minute.
  5. Deglaze the wok with hot water.
  6. Add in basil leaves and stir fry until wilted.
  7. Dish up and serve.

Gai Pad Krapow is mostly seen with a sunny side up on the top of the dish. As I cooked the dish early in the morning to bring to workplace for lunch, I decided not to do the sunny side up. I had previously attempted Gai Pad Krapow with thinly sliced chicken breast but the outcome wasn’t that great due to the texture of the meat.

Baking #142: Beetroot Chiffon Cake

Beetroot is quite a rare ingredient that we would use when it comes to baking. For the coloring, maybe? But not for the taste, I suppose? As I was telling Jennifer that I baked Cha Yen Chiffon Cake the other day, she suggested that perhaps I should try baking with healthy ingredients as opposed to the ordinary all time favorite flavors?

I had to admit that she had a point. So, point taken and off I went to search for the recipe for Beetroot Chiffon Cake and I found quite a few. I opted for the fuss free and used regular ingredients that could be easily obtained from my household kitchen. I bought a packet of beetroots from Hua Ho, Kiulap and some oranges from Sim Kim Huat, Airport Mall.

Without further ado, let’s get today’s business on the roll, shall we?

Beetroot Chiffon Cake (adapted from Cuisine Paradise)

Ingredients:

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 20g fine granulated white sugar
  • 80g cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder, optional
  • 40ml corn oil *sunflower oil*
  • 80ml beetroot juice
  • 100g beetroot residues, drained
  • 5 egg whites
  • 50g fine granulated white sugar
  • 8g corn flour *1/4 tsp cream of tartar*

Directions:

  1. To obtain 80ml of beetroot juice, blend two medium sized beetroot with 200ml of freshly squeezed orange juice (obtained from three medium sized oranges). Use a strainer to drain the beetroot orange juice for residues and set aside.
  2. Mix dry ingredients – cake flour and baking powder. Set aside for later use.
  3. In a clean mixing bowl, beat egg yolks with 20g of white sugar until pale and creamy.
  4. Stir in sunflower oil and mix until well incorporated.
  5. Pour in beetroot orange juice and beetroot residues. Mix well.
  6. Sift in flour mixture and mix well until no flour lump could be seen. Set aside.
  7. In another clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until frothy.
  8. Gradually add in 50g of white sugar in three batches until the egg whites reached stiff peaks stage.
  9. Gently fold in one third of the meringue and repeat the same with the remaining two thirds of the meringue until no white streak could be seen in the batter.
  10. Give the bowl a few taps on the counter worktop to break the air bubbles trapped inside the batter.
  11. Pour the batter from a height into an ungreased 20cm chiffon pan and bake in a preheated oven of 160 degree Celsius for 43 to 45 minutes or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean.
  12. Invert the cake immediately when removed from the oven for about two hours or until the cake is cool enough to be handled.

My Beetroot Chiffon Cake rose well when baking in the oven but slumped to the same height as my chiffon pan when it was nearing the end of baking time. I used bare hand method to dislodge the cake from the chiffon pan. I didn’t do the bottom properly hence I got a slightly torn chiffon top when dislodged.

I had a bit of taste test yesterday evening while dislodging the cake. As quite an amount of beetroots were used, the cake tasted rather raw of beetroots even when baked. The cake was a lot denser and wet in texture as compared to my other chiffon bakes. I think it could be due to the fact that my beetroot residues weren’t properly drained. My colleagues who taste tested my Beetroot Chiffon Cake told me not that the flavor was a bit off. Texture wise, it was good.

I don’t think I would be attempting this recipe again. Not because of what my colleague said of the flavor but the process of making it was tedious involving loads of cleaning. In the course of preparing the beetroot juice, I had to wear an apron so that the red coloring from the beetroot would not stain on my clothing!

Of Random Things #148: Long Bean Chinese Pancakes

I had been craving for Scallion/Spring Onion Pancakes for almost a week. It was Pandan Chiffon Cake which was in my itinerary yesterday evening but I was unable to make it due to some unforeseen circumstance.

With extra time to spare, I decided to drop by my neighborhood supermarkets for some spring onions. But unfortunately, all supermarkets were out of spring onion. Mom suggested that I make do with long beans instead. I remembered having Long Bean Chinese Pancakes for breakfast as a kid. As I wasn’t confident with stir frying the ingredients, Mom did it for me while I prepare the batter.

Long Bean Chinese Pancakes (adapted from HONEST COOKING)

Most people were familiar with the Scallion Pancakes that came with a flaky texture. That being said, it was tedious to make in my opinion and time consuming at the same time. So, what I made was the fuss free version of Scallion Pancakes but making do with long beans instead.

Without further ado, let’s get today’s business rollin’!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted *250g*
  • 420 – 440ml water *440ml*
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped long beans
  • 1/8 tsp five-spices powder, optional *omitted*
  • vegetable oil for frying *sunflower oil*
  • some dried shrimps
  • some red onions
  • some salt
  • some chicken stock powder
  • some white pepper powder

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir water into the flour mixture with a balloon whisk until both ingredients were well combined. Set aside for later use.
  2. In a heated pan, sauté red onions until they turned slightly golden. Add in the dried shrimps and long beans.
  3. Add in flavorings – salt, chicken stock powder and white pepper powder. Add more if necessary. Do a bit of taste test before you dump the long bean mixture into the flour batter.
  4. Stir in long bean mixture into the flour batter and mix well.
  5. In a non-stick frying pan, heat oil over medium low flame. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter and let it cook for about two to three minutes until it turned golden brown.
  6. Carefully turn over to the other side and cook for another two to three minutes until it turns golden brown as well.
  7. Dish out and absorb the extra layer of oil with kitchen paper and repeat the same with the remaining batter.

This was how my batter looked like when it was ready to go into the non-stick frying pan. If you find the batter not flavored enough, you could always add in extra but they are best dissolved with some water so that they will be evenly distributed in the batter. It wouldn’t compromise the consistency of the batter if you’re wondering.

This recipe yielded about 7 medium and 3 large sized pancakes. As I’m making some to share with my colleagues, I made them in medium size for easy sharing and they looked more presentable. I am going to use the same recipe again when I could get hold of scallion next time.

Of Random Things #148: Purple Sweet Potato Pancakes

Having successfully made Banana Oatmeal Pancakes earlier this week, I decided to attempt another recipe which I found online. Sadly speaking, the batter didn’t turn out as good as I anticipated it to be. It was rather thick in my opinion. Hence, the pancakes looked like they were undercooked. The texture was a bit custard alike to be honest. Flavor wise, it was quite good.

Purple Sweet Potato Pancakes (adapted from Silver Chopstix)

The picture looks good, doesn’t it? When I first showed it to Jennifer, she commented that the background of the picture looked good. I think green compliments purple extremely well. Sister asked whether the coloring was made out of purple potato powder or from the real deal?

Without further ado, let’s get today’s business rollin’!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour *125g*
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup purple sweet potatoes, mashed
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt *vanilla bean flavored Greek yogurt*
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp melted butter *sunflower oil*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, optional *omitted*

Directions:

  1. In a blender, place the wet ingredients – mashed purple sweet potatoes, Greek yogurt, milk, egg, maple syrup, melted butter (sunflower oil) and vanilla extract and pulse until you get a smooth and creamy consistency.
  2. Add in the dry ingredients – all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pulse until you can no longer see any flour lump.
  3. In a non-stick frying pan, heat oil in medium low flame. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter and cook for about two to three minutes, or until bubbles formed on the surface of the batter. Flip over and cook until both sides are evenly browned.
  4. Remove from frying pan and serve with your preferred toppings.

As I was writing this blog entry, I came to realize that there was one thing which I missed out from the ingredients while preparing the batter. It was the egg. To be honest, I wonder if it does make a huge difference? I am going to attempt this again next time and hopefully I won’t be making the same mistake again.