Showing posts with label Malaysia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Malaysia. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jasmine Lychee Green Tea Shortbread

Tea is not just for drinking anymore. It makes a great flavoring for baked goods of any kind and goes exceptionally well in shortbread cookies. Buttery shortbread flavored with jasmine lychee green tea is the perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of tea.

As I flew from Dubai to Boston on Saturday, I walked the cabin of that 777, looking at the faces of my fellow passengers, many asleep in the usual awkward way we sleep on long haul flights, in the back of the plane. And I choked up. All these people, people like many I know and love: With families and friends and dreams and lives to lead. What must it have been like to be on that MAS flight that went missing? Did they cling together, those strangers? Did they pray or cry or scream in fear? Did they know what was happening?

As I walked the aisle, I prayed for them, for their families, for answers and closure, and row by row, I prayed for my own fellow passengers, that they would have safety and God’s protection, all the way to their final destinations. It was a very emotional experience, 35,000 feet in the air, being held aloft by the laws of physics and, I firmly believe, the angels around us. If you don’t believe in angels, I hope you at least believe that we can be that for each other, supporting and uplifting, bringing joy and light whenever and wherever we can.

As I mentioned yesterday, this week I am visiting an old friend in Michigan., someone who has been a source of inspiration and unabashed giggling for many years. We met in Malaysia back in 2001 and she is one of my closest friends in all the world. Naszreen was raised in her home country of Sri Lanka, then Saudi Arabia, finally finishing her education at boarding school in the UK. She married an American and has two wonderful children. Together we have been through years of PTA work, including two exhausting years on the executive committee, chaired two fundraising galas for the American Association of Malaysia, braved through and won a vigorous fight for her health.

These days she is fulfilling a dream she has had for many years, with the opening of a teashop in the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods. I am inspired by her courage, the way she has worked steadily and with purpose to make her dream come true. She’d deny it forever but she is one of those angels I mentioned, for me.

Today’s cookie is flavored with one of the hundreds of teas she sells. As I browsed her little shop (If you'd like to see some photos, scroll to the bottom of this post.) yesterday, opening bulk tins and reading labels and inhaling the fragrance of everything, she regaled me with her wealth of knowledge about the various teas, their properties and uses. I finally settled on a flavored green tea because it smelled so fabulous. The shortbread turned out wonderfully as well.  Bake a batch for someone you want to lift up.

This recipe was adapted from Food Network.

Jasmine Lychee Green Tea Shortbread

2 cups or 250g flour
2 tablespoons loose tea leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup or 95g powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup or 225g butter, at room temperature

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, tea, and salt, until the tea is chopped up fairly small and it's well distributed throughout.

Add in the sugar, vanilla, and butter and pulse again until a soft dough forms.

Pour your dough out in a line on a big sheet of cling film. Roll the dough into sausage and wrap it tightly in the cling film.

Put the dough into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill. I left mine overnight and it was lovely and firm.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F or 190°C.

Use a sharp knife to slice the log into circles. If you prefer a thicker, soft cookie, cut them about 1/2 inch or a little thicker than 1 cm. For a crispier cookie, cut them about 1/3 inch or 8mm thick. Line your baking pan with parchment paper and place the dough slices about two inches or five centimeters apart.

Bake in your preheated oven until the edges are just brown, about 9 or 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies cool in the pan for several minutes.

Use a spatula to remove them to a serving plate.


The Creative Cookie Exchange challenge this month was to create a cookie using tea or coffee for flavoring and the group has some great recipes to share. Many thanks to our host this month, Laura of The Spiced Life.

If you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:
If you are a blogger who would like to join us for future Creative Cookie Challenges, send an email to Laura (at) thespicedlife (dot) com with your blog URL and she will add you to our private Facebook group where all the planning and logistics take place.

You are also invited to follow our Pinterest board where you will find links to loads of Creative Cookie recipes from all of our members and Like our public Facebook page.   Happy baking!

The store front. Isn't it adorable? You can like her Facebook page here. Thanks! 

Tea on offer.

Teaware on offer.

Tea in wooden boxes and personally branded tea mixtures.

Black teas with fruit.

More teaware.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pineapple Bundt with Kuih Tat Filling #BundtaMonth

A tender crumbed pineapple Bundt cake filled with pineapple jam, just like the Malaysian kuih tats or pineapple tarts made for Chinese New Year and Hari Raya. What are you celebrating?

Food Lust People Love: A tender crumbed pineapple Bundt cake filled with pineapple jam, just like the Malaysian kuih tats or pineapple tarts made for Chinese New Year and Hari Raya.

When we moved to Kuala Lumpur for the first time in late December of 2001, we arrived as preparations for the Chinese New Year’s celebrations for the Year of the Horse got underway.  The whole month of January was filled with special offers and big sales in all the shops and the opening of many road-side stalls selling specialties of the season.

The one that caught my eye the most were small pineapple tarts, or kuih tat in Malay, because they seemed so exotic.  (The full name is kuih tat nanas, or  pineapple cake tart, with nanas meaning pineapple but it is often left off since everyone knows that kuih tat is pineapple.)  Sure, I had eaten pineapple a thousand times but not in baked goods or jam.  I discovered that pineapple jam is as common in the supermarkets of Asia as the ubiquitous strawberry spread you find in the rest of the world.  But it was new to me!

Traditional lion dance during a Chinese New Year celebration
When the tropical theme for March’s BundtaMonth was announced, the kuih tat popped into my head, because I wanted to share how easy pineapple jam is to make and how delicious it is as a filling in a Bundt cake.  It’s a great celebration cake, for Chinese New Year or for whatever you happen to be celebrating.

Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of this post to see all of the fabulous (and I am not even joking a little bit) tropical Bundt cakes that the group has created this month.

For the pineapple filling or jam:
1 fresh pineapple, about 1 lb 3 oz or 550g, after peeling and coring
3/4 cup or 175g sugar
Pinch salt
(Some Malaysian recipes call for spices or yellow food coloring but I prefer the natural flavor of the pineapple and the coloring is unnecessary.  This filling or jam turns the most amazing golden yellow color without it.)

For the cake batter:
2 1/2 cups or 310g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 rounded 1/2 cup or 125g soft unsalted butter
3/4 cup or 175g sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup or 120ml sour cream or crème fraîche or whole fat yogurt
1/4 cup or 60ml pineapple filling or jam

For the glaze:
1/4 cup pineapple filling
Pineapple juice to loosen the filling (maybe one or two tablespoons)
1 tablespoon butter

To make the pineapple jam filling, pulse the pineapple in your food processor until it is cut into small pieces.  You don’t want it completely smooth so there should be small chunks.

Pour the chopped pineapple into a strainer over a small bowl or measuring cup to catch the juice.  Once the pineapple has stopped dripping, cover the juice and refrigerate until needed.

Cook the drained pineapple in a small covered pot for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the sugar and cook over a low heat until the jam is sticky and pretty dry, stirring frequently.

It will turn slightly darker.  Transfer the jam to a bowl and allow to cool.  (You can put this in the refrigerator.)

Look!  Pineapple jam!  Also great on toast. 

When your pineapple filling is cool, preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your Bundt pan by greasing or spraying liberally with non stick spray and adding a tablespoon or two of flour and shaking it around till the pan is coated.

To make the cake batter, measure your dry cake ingredients into a small bowl: the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix well.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl with beaters or in your standing mixer.

Now mix in 1/4 cup or 60ml of the pineapple filling, avoiding any liquid that has settled around the bottom in the jam bowl.

Then beat in a couple of tablespoons of the flour mixture, with one egg.

Then beat in another couple of tablespoons of flour mixture with the second egg.

Add the rest of the flour mixture and the sour cream and beat again.  (I actually used yogurt this time.)  The batter will be very thick.

Spoon just more than half of the cake batter around the Bundt pan.  Make a channel of sorts in the middle of the batter for the filling.  This should prevent the filling from leaking out while baking.

Use a small spoon to fill the channel in the batter with your pineapple filling, once again, using the driest bits.   Make sure to leave behind about 1/4 cup of the filling with the runny bits to use for the glaze.

Cover with the remaining batter and smooth the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until the cake starts to pull away from the sides a little bit.

Let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes and then loosen the sides with a small spatula or knife.  Turn the cake out on to a rack to finish cooling.

Meanwhile, warm the remaining filling to loosen it and add in a couple of tablespoons of reserved pineapple juice, if necessary.  When it’s all warm and shiny, add in one tablespoon of butter and stir well.

Once the cake is cool, use a pastry brush to add the glaze.

Food Lust People Love: A tender crumbed pineapple Bundt cake filled with pineapple jam, just like the Malaysian kuih tats or pineapple tarts made for Chinese New Year and Hari Raya.
The national flower of Malaysia is a beautiful red hibiscus referred to there as Bunga Raya.   


Food Lust People Love: A tender crumbed pineapple Bundt cake filled with pineapple jam, just like the Malaysian kuih tats or pineapple tarts made for Chinese New Year and Hari Raya.

Here are the links to the great round-up of tropical Bundts we have for you this month:

Bananas Foster Bundt by Anita from Hungry Couple
Blue Hawaiian Bundt Cake by Tara from Noshing With The Nolands
Chocolate Bundt With Coconut Cream Cheese Filling by Karen from In The Kitchen With KP
Chocolate Coconut Bundt Cake by Kim from Cravings Of A Lunatic Coconut and Rum Tea Cake by Anuradha from Baker Street
Coconut Banana Bundt Cake with Rum Glaze by Lora from Cake Duchess
Coconut Bundt Cake by Holly from A Baker’s House
Coconut Lime Bundt Cake by Kate from Food Babbles
Hummingbird Bundt Cake by Heather from Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks
Hummingbird Bundt Cake by Jennie from The Messy Baker Blog
Lime Glazed Bundt Cake by Carrie from Poet In The Pantry
Mini Pineapple Bundt Cakes with White Chocolate Ganache by Alice from Hip Foodie Mom Pina Colada Bundt Cake by Renee from Magnolia Days
Vanilla Orange Bundt Cake with a Hint of Coconut by Laura from The Spiced Life
Very Vanilla Bundt Bake by Dorothy from Shockingly Delicious
White Chocolate Guava Cake by Kim from Ninja Baking

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Flounder (or Lemon Sole)

We live in the land of perennial summer, right here in Kuala Lumpur, not far north of the equator, so I am guessing our flounder is lemon sole, so-called summer flounder.  All I know for sure is that it is relatively cheap, with a delicious delicate flavor and succulent white meat.

Today being Sunday, we went to drop of our recyclable goods near Carrefour Wangsa Maju (How on earth can so few people have so many empty bottles?) and popped into one of my favorite stores for fresh baguettes.  The original French managers in Carrefour have taught the bakers well. We came across two lovely flounder(s?) in the fish department and decided they looked an awful lot like lunch.

After rinsing well and making sure that the fish guys had cleaned all the scales off, I placed the two fish on top of a piece of parchment (so the fish doesn’t stick to the foil), on top of a cross of heavy duty foil, on top of a cookie sheet.  I seasoned them simply, with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, 

cutting slashes in their sides and then topping them with the leftover molho from last night.  ( I put a little bit in their tiny cavities as well. Flat fish like flounder don't have very big insides.

I closed up the foil and popped the whole tray into the pre-heated oven (425 °F) for 20 minutes. 

Not the neatest wrap job, but it worked, okay?

At that point I took it out and opened the foil, checking for doneness. The fish was still cool when I stuck a finger in the slash (I am sure that is how the fancy chefs check for doneness.) so I set my timer for another 20 minutes. The molho began to brown and the fish was cooking beautifully.   

When those 20 minutes were up, I turned the oven off and left the pan in for a further 10 minutes.

The flounder were cooked to perfection, very moist. I served them with garlic bread and salad with a simple vinaigrette. And some cold white wine. My recycle bottle box was too empty.