This is one of my favourite desserts at dim sum. We came across a recipe when we were researching snacks for Chinese New Year, so of course we had to try it! The first recipe we found used only agar to set the jelly. It held the liquid, but the texture had way too much crunch and not enough of a softer jelly feel. We decided we needed a mix of gelatine and agar — it turned out that finding the right proportions were a lot harder than we thought. After numerous trials, this is the recipe we settled on! We are pretty happy with it, but I guess it all comes down to personal taste. If you like a bit more crunch, then you can add a little agar and take out some of the gelatine mass. If you don’t like any crunch at all, you could try using only gelatine (though we’ve been strongly cautioned that is not authentic). For a little more firmness, you could reduce the amount of tea (or simply simmer for a bit longer to reduce the water content). There are so many variables! Continue reading
Last week, we wrote about making peanut puffs, a treat from Royce’s childhood. Siu hao jo, or “laughing balls” are another snack traditionally enjoyed around Lunar New Year. These balls are basically sesame fried dough, and are so-named because they split open when fried, which I guess someone decided looked like a laughing mouth. We first made these a few years ago, with a recipe passed along from a friend’s dad, and we were thrilled with how they turned out. It was particularly rewarding, as that year we had experimented with several other treats without much success. Continue reading
Happy Lunar New Year! Sometimes you can’t help but reminisce about the good old days, especially with traditional celebrations just around the corner. For me, part of the good old days was making treats with my family on the roof of the building where my po po (婆 婆) lived. Continue reading
I first saw the play on soap and bubbles as a dessert by Andoni of Mugaritz. Inspired by this, for some time now I had been meaning to work on a rubber ducky and bubbles dessert. I finally got around to putting something together the other day. The resulting dish was nostalgic and playful — and it gave me the chance to try out a fun application of an aquarium air pump.
In my cooking program, students typically have the freedom to explore whatever recipes they want, with a budget and a final consumer in mind of course. When students create a savoury dish, it normally goes to a catering gig or to clients of the food bank. On the other hand, sweets often end up in the stomachs of hungry teenagers. If you know teenagers like I do, it won’t come as a surprise that each year there are requests for a few common items: cookies, brownies and a molten lava cake.
A major challenge of giving students freedom with their recipe choices is consistency. If we want to be able to sell the product, and avoid wasting ingredients, we need to have some confidence in the results. One goal of mine is to come up with a reliable set of recipes for some of these favourites. First up: the brownie.
A fun approach to this recipe would be to make two batches – one coke gummy mixture and one rum gummy mixture and pipe them into two separate layers for some nice colour/flavour contrast. This would work for other drinks as well…Moscow mule anyone? With enough planning, our next party may have a gummy bar. Continue reading
For some time now, I have been debating whether or not it’s worthwhile to polish panned products. The approach of making your chocolate panned items shine is becoming more and more popular recently. This process is sometimes finicky, the final shine is very much dependent on time, temperature, relative humidity, and even batch size – many variables as you can see. I guess it comes down to a preference, what do you prefer?