Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Homemade Plain and Chocolate Yogurt

I kept seeing posts about people being successful in making their own yogurt at home. I'm super envious of course, wondering how did they do it, don't they need some special equipment or cultivate / grow some active culture? Then I saw someone posted on FB that they merely heat up the milk, add some yogurt (which already contains the active culture), let it sit at room temp for 4 hours, chill overnight and voila! I was totally wide eyed and excited! Being a huge yogurt consumer...ahem, like 1 litre in 2 days sometimes. :P This could mean money in the pocket! Plus what can be better then homemade with no preservatives?

So I did some reading and also found fellow bloggers like Grace from KitchenCorner whom also did her version. And finally settled with David LeBovitz's recipe. His recipe seems easy enough (actually all the recipes are relatively easy lah) and requires reasonable waiting time. But again I made the necessary changes to suit my own needs. 
Check it out! I am so not gonna get store bought yogurt again. This is seriously easy please. And the result is really applaudable ! It is silky and smooth and totally better then what I expected. But please don't ask me why it is sour, yogurt is sour. So if you have never tasted plain yogurt before, please go ahead and buy one at the grocery first. :P Plus this is sugar free, so it is way healthier. By all means, you can add honey and syrup or chocolate sauce to your yogurt after it is made...but that is how plain yogurt should be. ;) Ahem...I like (more like love) with Peanut butter. :X

Ingredients for Plain Yogurt (makes 2 jar of 350 ml)
700 ml fresh whole milk
50 ml plain yogurt of your favourite brand
2 glass jars with lids (you can find them in Daiso)
A candy thermometer would be helpful
  • Heat up a pot of water and pour over the glass jars to sterilise. Dry and cool them on kitchen towels.


  • Next weigh out the milk and stick a thermometer in the pot with the milk added to it. Heat the milk till it reaches 80C. Remove from the fire immediately and let cool.

  • I placed mine in some ice water and when it reaches 45C, add in the plain yogurt and mix well till well combined.


  • Ladle the milk into the cooled jars and cover the lids. 

  • Place the filled jars in a warm place up to 8-10 hours. I actually placed mine in a thermal cooker filled with lukewarm water.

  • After 8-10 hours, remove the yogurt from the cooker and you will notice it has "solidified". 
  • Place the jars in the fridge and let chill overnight or for 4 hours. And you will have yummy healthy homemade yogurt to enjoy!

Happiness is eating your own homemade yummies and this is just now of them. As you can see this is truly easy to make, really no reason why you have to spend money to buy anymore. :)

I even attempted with chocolate milk! The result slightly differs from the plain milk. Definitely less tangy but more soft and almost like a thick milkshake. My kids love the chocolate version though. They can just eat it plain like that or with fruits with no additional sweetener. 

Such a treat though if you add some berries and chocolate biscuit rolls. So yummy! And can you believe this is homemade chocolate yogurt you are feeding your kids? It is way better ice cream if you ask me. ;)

The formula for chocolate version is the same as the plain milk one just that it uses chocolate milk instead. I experimented it twice and it still comes out softer then the plain ones. Anyway, I am gonna try with .....ahem black sesame and peanut butter next time! #OMG Hahaha!

Hope you will give this a try and let me know how yours turn out!
Happy making yogurt!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Prawn and Minced Pork Steamed Buns (风尾虾包), Yakitori and Salmon Noodle salad

Recently I came across this website, Rakuten.com.sg, which is a one stop shopping for any Japanese products you ever need. It carries a wide variety of of items, ranging from fashion, home and living to even food and beverage. I was particularly interested in the food section (not surprising) and was surprise to find the wide selection of food items available on their site. Since this was my first time getting items from this website, I decided to go easy and bought only 3 things. Delivery arrived swiftly in 2 days and all was in good condition. I ordered Nobashi Prawns, Chicken Yakitori and Yuzu Sesame dressing. Why Nobashi prawns? I love tempura prawns, and always wanted to try out cooking them myself! But this time I am using them for another recipe which I have been wanting to try out. A recipe that will put these prawns' taste and texture to the "test". 

I also ordered those Chicken Yakitori because every busy mom needs some easy to prep dish on hectic days. Something I can get it ready in minutes for the kids to enjoy without much fuss. And who doesn't love meat on a stick!? It's fun eating them. :9

Lastly the yuzu dressing was a change from my usual sesame dressing that I add in my salads. Definitely a more refreshing taste compared to the latter.

The recipe which I tried using these Nobashi prawns with was this Prawn and Minced Pork Steamed Buns (风尾虾包). As we all know, overcooked prawns can be rubbery and totally unappetising. And frankly speaking prawns are not cheap, I did not want to waste my effort and time making something that tasted horrible in the end. Thus using higher quality prawns like Nobashi, really made it all worthwhile. The end result in terms of flavor and texture, the prawn gave it a great taste. Plus there was a 20% sale! 

As you can see, the prawns does take the "lime light" in this dish. So it matters a lot if you want it to turn out looking and tasting better, choose quality over quantity. :)

This recipe is an adaptation from 孟老师's recipe which can be found in "面食小点".  Though I made a few changes to suit my own taste. :) Shall go through in a step by step method on how I make these baos.

Now let's take a good look at what ingredients we need for our Prawn and Minced Pork Steamed Buns (风尾虾包).

Ingredients:


Filling:
15 pieces of Nobashi prawns (if you using normal prawn, you need to peel and devein them)
200 g minced pork meat
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp water
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp finely chopped green onion
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Note: I did not season the prawns because I wanted to taste the original sweetness from the seafood.

  • In a mixing bowl, add in everything except the prawns. Use a pair of chopsticks and mix in a quick circular motion till the mixture is all combined and like thick paste. 
  • Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for use later.


Bao Dough ingredients:
Starter:
70 ml water
3 g instant active yeast
100 g plain flour

  • In a small mixing bowl, add in all the above ingredients and stir well till it slowly comes together to a sticky soft dough. Make sure you mixed in all the flour. Doesn't have to be smooth, so long as the dough comes together is suffix. Cover and let proof for 1.5hr.

Main Dough:
All of the above starter dough
50 g water
10 g caster sugar
3 g instant active yeast
125 g plain flour
5 g vegetable oil

  • In a mixing bowl, add in the above starter dough and the above all ingredients for the main dough. Mix well using a stand mixer.
  • Mixture should come together to a soft pliable dough and not sticky after a few minutes of kneading. Remove from bowl and cover with damp cloth and let rest for 5 mins before shaping.
  • After 5 minutes, divide the dough into 15 equal portions.


  • Take one dough portion and roll out on the edges leaving slightly thicker in the middle. 


  • Repeat till all the 15 portions has been rolled out.


  • It is okay if the edges are not that neat, it will be fold in later. Or you can opt to use more flour (which I didn't), so it will roll out neater.
  • Next take one rolled out dough and scoop about 1 heaping teaspoon of the minced pork on to it.


  • Next take a Nobashi prawn and place it over the minced pork.








Then carefully seal up the edges by slowly by folding in sides in a pleating action



  • Life the prawn tail up so it won't get in the way when you are sealing up the bao.
  • It should look like the above complete bao. Place the bao over a small square parchment paper which will help prevent the bao from getting wet when steaming. Repeat for the rest of the portions. 
  • Let the baos proof at room temperature for 210-15 minutes before steaming. In the meantime, prepare the steamer at low fire.  My steamer can contain up to 8 bags at a go. Remember to use a kitchen towel to wrap the steamer cover so as to steamed water from dripping on the bao.
  • Steam the baos at medium low fire for 10-12 minutes. There after, off the fire and leave the baos inside the steamer with the cover still on for another 10 minutes. Then slowly open the cover halfway and let the cool air slowly flow in. This slow and "tedious" steps is to prevent the bao from deflating. Ever happened to me a few times and I swore never again I will rush open the steamer cover again. :P Yup, learning through the hard ways.

Lovely steamed buns... fit for any occasion! Whether for a weekend lunch or a gathering with friends or family, these are sure to impress them! And you have to tell them it is homemade! Though I have to work on those pleating skills though. :P
A close up to see how nice and fresh those Nobashi prawns look in this steamed baos. It tasted fresh too! You can be sure it doesn't taste rubbery but a slight crunch and sweetness, yum!


Another close up of the bao with a look at the filling inside. Fluffy bao skin, a good amount of juicy mince pork and that Nobashi prawn. So good and totally worth the effort to make them. :9

Now a look at those chicken Yakitori I was talking about earlier. I actually got 3 different varieties!  Click on the item to view more details on the products at Rakuten.com.sg

All these are already pre-cooked, all I need to do prior to serving them is just grill them in the oven  180C for 15 minutes or a quick pan sear on the stove.

So easy and convenient to whip these up, especially on busy days when I am tight down by the hundred and one things I need to complete, these are lifesavers! And my kids love food on stick! Seriously, yakitori, satay or popsicles, you name it! So having these are actually a treat for them. 
Well hey there delicious! I actually like eating the yakitori on its own without any teriyaki sauce or condiments, it is still tender, juicy and flavourful. :9
A mandatory close up shot here. :D Some steamy sushi rice will do. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I usually have a salad dish on the side when I serve up some main course. This time I did something really simple. Flaked salmon and julienned vegetables over cold noodles. I marinated the cold noodles with light soy sauce and mirin and then drizzle the whole salad with this Yuzu Sesame Dressing which I too bought it at Rakuten.com.sg.

Loving the refreshing flavour of yuzu dressing in this cold noodle salad. And it adds creaminess to the flaky salmon and noodles. Perfect side dish to go with the yakitori. :9

All these are just some of the simple ideas that you can try out using the items from the online shop Rakuten.com.sg.  Do feel free to browse through the other items they offer online. And their ongoing great sales that you shouldn't miss! 

And hopefully I will be able to share more yummy recipes to you guys using their fresh ingredients soon! I am currently eyeing on that Japan Mentaiko Tube 500G 福岡産 明太子  haha!

Remember...never stop doing what you love ;)