Monday, July 21, 2014

Have a rock and roll spring roll party

Having a cookout or BBQ? Try this eye roller spring rolls....
No person in the world has more courage than the person who can stop after eating one spring roll.

A spring roll is a traditional Chinese snack, made with a round, thin dough sheet with fillings rolled inside and deep fried in oil. Spring rolls have a long history in China. It is said that the pastry appeared way back in the Eastern Jin Dynasty, when people would make thin cakes with flour and eat them with vegetables on the day of Beginning of Spring.

China Spring Roll. Picture with compliments from a friend.

The cakes were called “spring dish” at that time. In the Tang and Song Dynasties, the cakes were all the rage. And the custom was even featured in the poems by the great poets Du Fu and Lu You. In the Tang Dynasty, Spring Dish was also known as “the Five-Spice Dish”, because five hot and spicy ingredients like spring onion and garlic were added in the fillings.

Ingredients for the spring roll.

Spring rolls are usually eaten during the Spring Festival in China, hence the name. Later, Spring Dishes and Five-Spice Dishes evolved into spring cakes. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, there was a custom of “biting spring”, which means welcoming spring by eating spring cakes.

Another version of spring roll using egg crepe

The practice was believed to ward off disaster and evil. Along with ever improving cooking skills, spring cakes evolved into spring rolls, which were smaller in size. Spring rolls were included in imperial court snacks. Today, the making of spring rolls usually involves four steps: dough sheet making, fillings preparing, wrapping and deep frying.

There are numerous types of fillings, including shredded pork with chives, shepherd's purses and sweetened bean paste etc. Spring rolls are ready when they are golden in color and come on top of the oil after being fried. When served, the rolls taste better if dipped in sauces. The snacks are crisp outside and fresh inside, really delicious.

Vietnamese lady making rice paper for spring roll.

Spring rolls vary slightly from places to places, with well known types being Shanghai Spring Roll and Fuzhou Spring Rolls.

Home made spring roll wraps

To make spring roll wrapper.
1/  Mix 500gm plain flour with 1 tbsp tapioca flour, 1 tsp salt and 2 1/4 cup water in a mixing bowl to form into lumpy batter.
2/  Then use your hand to lift up the batter and slam it several times, roughly about 5 mins until it hold together in robe.
3/  Cover with cling wrap and keep in the fridge over night or minimum 6 to 8  hours.
4/  Remove from fridge and beat the batter with food processor or mixer using dough hook for 3 to 4 mins.
5/  The fun part of cooking the's tedious but fun.

6/ Use an 8 inch non stick pan, heat up the pan using low medium heat. Put a drop of oil and brush it round the pan. Reduce the heat to low.
7/  Let's play with the dough. Use your hand lift up a lump of dough and bounce it a little. The dough is very soft. Keep the dough cold for easier handling.

8/ Drop the lump of dough in the middle of the pan and smear it quickly clockwise or anticlockwise depending whether you're right or left handed. Smear as thin as possible. Pull up the balance dough quickly.
Be careful, don't burn your hand while smearing the dough.

9/  The spring roll wrap cook fairly fast, when you see the edge of the crepe start to curl up, lift up the crepe with your other hand. Made 16 to 20 pieces depend on thickness of the wrap.

10/  Cover the wraps with a damp tea towel.

Note: To make paper thin spring roll wrap require skill and practicing. For this batch the wraps is still not to my expectation, will give it a try again to get a thinner wrap.

Let's prepare the spring roll filling.

1 medium size turnip
1 small carrot - cut julienne
50gm french beans - dice
2 tbsp dried prawns
1 tbsp cooking oil
3 cloves garlic - chop
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/4 tsp black sauce ( optional )
1 tbsp sugar or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Enough water to cook the turnip


1/  Peel off the turnip skin, wash and pat dry. Slice thinly and cut julienne. 
2/  Wash the dried prawn and soak for 15 mins. Rinse and drain dry.
3/  Heat up the wok, add oil and stir fry garlic until fragrant and slightly brown. Add the dried prawn and stir fry for 1 min.

To enhance the turnip flavor, you can add chicken stock to cook it until perfectly done. Add lots of pepper too to bring out the flavor.

4/  Add carrot, french beans and turnip, stir fry for 2 mins. Add about 1/2 bowl of water and let it boil.
5/  Add oyster sauce, black sauce, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Shake a generous amount of pepper of enhance the turnip taste.
6/  Cook for about 20 to 25 mins.
7/  Keep aside till ready to use.

300gm shrimps
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp soya sauce
1/4 tsp pepper
few drop of sesame oil
1/4 tsp corn flour
1 clove garlic
1/2 tbsp oil

1/  Peel the shrimp shell, rinse and drain dry.
2/  Season with sugar, soya sauce, pepper, sesame oil, corn flour and pepper.
3/  Heat up the wok, add cooking oil and stir fry the garlic until fragrant.
4/  Add shrimp and stir fry until cook. Dish up and keep aside.

Beat 2 chicken eggs, add 1/2 tsp salt, a dash of pepper and sesame oil. Fry into thin egg omelet. Cut into thin strips.

Dice 2 pieces of bean curds and deep fry until golden brown.

Peel the cucumber skin and remove the seed. Cut julienne.

Remove the bean sprout tail and rinse, you need approximate 100gm. Bring 1/2 pot of water to boil, put in the bean sprout and remove from heat. Give a quick stir and drain off the hot water. Do not over cook the bean sprout or else it turn soggy.

1 bunch of lettuce and coriander leaves. Rinse and drain dry.

 Fried shallots

Sweet sauce. Mix 1 tbsp hoisin sauce with 1/2 tbsp hot water. Mix well.

1/ Blend 100gm red chilli with 5 clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 cup water. Bring to simmering boil.
2/ Mix corn flour with water, pour into the chilli sauce and mix well. Adjust the chilli sauce consistency according to your preference. Remove from heat.

Stir fry 100gm peanuts in non stick pan until cook, remove the husks and pound coarsely.

Now let's start the rolling.......

1/ Lay one piece of spring roll pastry on the plate and brush 1/2 tsp sweet sauce and chilli sauce.
Note: This spring roll wrap tear easily.

2/ Put one leave of lettuce and top with 2 tsp of cooked turnip starting at 1/3 of the wrap.

3/  Add a small amount of bean sprout.

4/ Top with few strips of egg omelet.

5/ Top with 3 pieces of shrimp.

6/ Sprinkle fried shallots and 1 tsp of crushed peanuts.

7/   Fold the bottom of the wrap up over the filling to encase the filling together..

8/  Tuck in both sides and roll through making sure that you keep all filling together and tight.

9/  Tuck and roll neatly.

10/  Do not over stuff your spring rolls or else, the wrap will burst.
 The first roll is always extremely huge cos you tend to over stuff it upon looking at all the laid out ingredients.

Cut the roll into 4 section and enjoy slowly to taste the varieties of ingredients in the spring roll.

There are various type of wraps to make spring rolls.

This frozen spring roll pastry is suitable for deep frying.

Vietnamese rice paper. Brush the rice paper with water, put the filling and wrap. Serve immediately.

Egg crepe
120gm plain flour
1 1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 eggs

1/  Beat the eggs lightly and mix with salt and water.
2/  Stir in the flour and mix well until smooth.
3/  Grease a 8in non stick pan lightly with a drop of cooking oil.
4/  Scoop approximate 3 tbsp of batter and cook the pastry for 2 to 3 mins.
No need to flip over the pastry.
5/  Remove from heat and cover the egg wrap with tea towel till ready to use.

While waiting for your turn to wrap the spring roll, try this finger licking good Coconut Glazed Chicken Wings.

6 chicken wings
3/4 cup thick coconut milk
1 tbsp soya sauce
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice

1/ Marinate the chicken wings with coconut milk, soya sauce, salt, brown sugar, pepper and lemon juice for 4 to 6 hours.
2/ Grill the chicken wings using open fire or hot coals for 6 to 8 minutes, flipping and basting the wings with the remaining marinate sauce several times until the chicken wings is cook.

This chicken wings is sweet, slightly sticky, tender and moist. Serve with chilli sauce of your choice.

Be a hit among your relatives and different from the usual BBQ parties, throw a 'spring roll party' at home, in your garden...where the ingredients are laid out and guests make their own proportions to their own personal liking. It'll be fun.

Have a nice week ahead.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Another milestone in my life.........

One year has again passed by,
Time has wings and is set to fly.

It doesn't matter how old I get, I'm still going to sing the ABC's to see which letter comes next.
Join me and let's have some fun with the A to Z alphabets.

A birthday is just another 365 days trip round the sun. So I will put on my sunglasses and enjoy the trip.

Birthdays give us the opportunity to stop and appreciate all the beautiful things we have been blessed with.

Celebrating my 21st birthday for the first time, three decades ago on the 3rd July.

Do not worry about avoiding temptation.

18's to 40's milestone

Eighteen to forty is considered as one life's most exciting milestone.

Fifties...time becomes precious and must not be wasted. Every minute is an excellent opportunity for a good power nap.

Beautiful view from Bayu Marina Resort , Johor Bahru, Malaysia. 
Another beautiful view from Bayu Marina Resort, Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Grow old gracefully is about enjoying life. There is always a lot to be thankful for, if one takes the time to look.

Hair not grey.... and my hearing still good. ( Count my blessings )

I look better than I was when I'm forty + 1
And definitely fitter and healthier than I was at thirty + 1
But alas, I'm 33 Ibs heavier than I was at twenty + 1 

Just remember, once you're over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.

Keep calm, age is an issue of mind over matter

Look good....It's when you don't "look good" anymore. It's when you "look good" for your age.

My ultimate over the moon happy thing.....Two of my recipes, Canadian Steamed Fish with Coconut Rice and Banana Dessert aka Putu Pisang will be aired on Malaysia TV  RTM 1 on the 6th July 2014 @ 12pm. Program: Pelik Tapi Sedap ( Weird but delicious ) You can catch a glimpse of me demonstrating to Malaysian famous artist Mr. Zaibo. Stay tuned.
You can click  here to read my recording adventure and view here for the Banana dessert recipe and  view here for the Canadian Steamed Fish with Coconut Rice recipe.

Some TV snapshots of me in action......

SPECIAL NOTE: Thank you very much to my dear friend who gave me these two recipes. Your kindness and warm gesture I'll always remember and appreciate it much much. Cheers to you.

Nifty at fifty? I've heard it said!

Oh.... the big 5 oh oh....isn't that old right? Turning 50 oh doesn't have to be gloomy.

Pause to smell the flowers.

That's my Barbie doll collection.
Quote of the day: If you haven't grown by age 50, you don't have to.....

Remember how exciting you were when you turned 5 years old? When you were 5, you could put all fingers on one hand up.You were one real HANDFUL. ( I'm one of them )

Smile is the best way to age gracefully.

Touch wood....My body's still working well.
I can still touch my toes with my knuckles.
I'm quite full of vigour.
Inside the old body I'm still young but then if life start at fifty....I'm really just eighteen. LOL

Unfortunately.... aging is the only scientifically known way to living longer.

Vain... Yes, I'm very vain.

We are only young once but you can be immature for a life time.

In my early 20's 
Xtra... I'm definitely 33 Ibs xtra than I was at twenty +1

In my 50 oh oh......taken 2 months ago in Bayu Marina Resort.

You've got four sizes of clothes in your closet. Three of which most likely will never be worn again.

These are my dresses from XS, S, M, & L. Hope I won't grow any larger.
Zestful youth, relish what we have. Youth comes but once in a life time.
My flowery birthday cake to celebrate my 21st birthday for the 30th times.

Chocolate Peppermint Cake
200gm self raising flour
250gm butter
200gm castor sugar
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cocoa powder
50mls hot milk
1 tsp peppermint essence / Stevia peppermint
Few drops of green colouring

Honey Chocolate Fudge
150gm cooking chocolate- chopped
90gm fresh cream
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey
Double boil all the ingredients until chocolate melt. Whisk until smooth and glossy.  Pour the warm fudge on top the cake, chill in the fridge.

1/  Pre heat over to 180 deg c.
2/  Line an 8 in cake pan with grease proof paper.
3/  Sieve the self raising flour.
4/  Mix the cocoa powder with hot milk until well blend.

5/  Cream butter and flour to a smooth paste.
6/  In a separate bowl, beat sugar and eggs until spongy.
7/  Add the sponge mixture to the butter mixture in batches and cream until smooth.
8/  Divide the batter to 60% & 40%.  Mix the cocoa mixture to the 60% cake batter. Add vanilla and mix well.

9/  Add the peppermint essence and green colouring to the 40% cake batter.
10/ Scoop 4 tbsp cocoa batter to the lined cake pan and top with 3 tbsp peppermint cake batter. Alternate 3 tbsp cocoa cake batter with 2 tbsp peppermint cake batter.
11/  Bake for 45 to 50 mins at 180 deg c.

12/  Cool the cake on wire rack. Decorate with sugar paste as desire or top with chocolate fudge.

Texture of the cake is soft and moist. One of the best chocolate peppermint cake I ever tested.

To all my blog buddies and friends, enjoy the chocolate peppermint cake from me.

Have a nice week ahead, Cheers!