Posts Tagged ‘Asian’

Egg Custard

It’s Sunday.

To different people, Sundays mean different things. To some it’s a day of relaxation, some prepare for the busy week ahead, some celebrate their religions, and so on and so forth.

My family?

We eat.

We’re not foodies by any means but I was always raised to love food and to love to eat it. My shining example of this is how we used to drive to Newport, Rhode Island at least once a summer (more if we had out-of-town/country guests or if we were feeling particularly gluttonous that year) to eat lobster. We’d pile up into our van in the early morning and drive the 4 hours to the wharf where we’d pick up some freshly caught and freshly steamed baby lobsters (they’re much sweeter and more tender than their larger friends). From there we’d drive off to Brenton Point State Park where we’d unload the car, sit at a picnic table, and eat our succulent lobsters while watching all the kites being flown overhead.

Then, we’d pack it all up and drive the 4 hours home on the same day. Yup. That’s how my family rolls.

A more local tradition we enjoy is to have dim sum on Sunday afternoons following church services. If you’ve never been to Chinese dim sum, it’s basically carts full of little bites of food that roam around the room that allow you to pick the hot plates at your leisure. It’s almost their form of brunch. You get served right away (provided you like what’s on the carts at the time) and can get full fast ordering plate after plate before you even realize you’re full to the brim.

(We don’t usually eat dinner after this type of gorging.)

One of our favorite carts is the dessert cart which always holds these little babies, the egg custards. After seeing this recipe, I knew I had to try it out. The recipe calls for puff pastry to make the shells which isn’t conventional (they don’t use puff pastry in China) but was a good substitute for a homemade version. The custard itself will remind anyone of the sought after dim sum treat with its creamy and rich texture. These are easy to make in very little time so if you’re still looking for something special for Valentine’s Day I definitely recommend trying these out!

This Week I Ate..

  • Tiny Urban Kitchen’s Taiwanese Meat Sauce over Rice. I used half normal and half dark soy sauce and after it began to simmer I realized that I had accidentally doubled the amount of pork. No difference though! Also, the sauce is NOT meant for consumption. It’s quite salty — Dilute with water as needed. Other than that though it was delicious and reminded my Taiwanese Boy of a dish his mom makes. (Score!) Over rice, this is an easy dinner to pull together.
  • Pizza with caramelized yellow and red onions, mozzarella, prosciutto, and a light sprinkling of gorgonzola. My 93-year-old grandmother loved this! She kept calling the prosciutto “bacon” but whatever. As long as it’s good, does it matter what it’s called?
  • Annie’s Eats Ginger Beef Stir Fry. The sauce was delicious but my beef came out overly tough and the broccoli didn’t soften up as much as I would like. In the future I’d slice the steak much thinner and maybe steam the broccoli a little beforehand. With some adjustments this could be a new weeknight staple.

Egg Custard
adapted from Tiny Urban Kitchen

Makes 10.

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • yellow food coloring (optional)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400F.

For shells, Cut out 3-inch rounds of puff pastry. Press rounds into a muffin tin, shaping them like little tarts. Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly browned.

For custard, Lightly beat eggs until yolks and whites are well combined. Try not to beat too much air into them. Set aside. Heat milk and sugar in a saucepan until hot but not boiling and the sugar is mostly, if not completely, dissolved. Remove pan from heat. While stirring constantly, add the beaten eggs in a slow stream. Strain mixture into a clean bowl (or measuring cup to save a step). Allow to cool for several minutes. Add food coloring if using (to achieve more of the typical color, otherwise custards will be pale yellow).

Once shells are baked, decrease oven to 350F and poke holes in the shells to allow for filling. Fill with custard. Bake for 15 minutes or until set.

What’s your favorite dim sum treat?

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Red Bean Mochi Cake

Happy Chinese New Year!!

I’m not Chinese but Boy is (actually, he’s Taiwanese and he makes a big fuss over the difference.. but they all still celebrate CNY) so I decided this year I would find a way to be a part of his tradition.

While we’ll be having our own little CNY celebration later today, he went back to his parents’ house last night (they live an hour away) and I wanted to send a little gift home with him. After several hours of researching about the traditions of CNY and looking at a whole bunch of Asian recipes, I settled on this one from Tiny Urban Kitchen. “Nian gao” can have a dual meaning of both “sticky cake” and “high/tall year.” The latter meaning is often used during CNY to signify reaching new heights in the new year. I also liked this recipe because it incorporates red beans, one of my favorite flavors and coincidentally the lucky color in Chinese culture. The recipe was quite simple to make with ingredients easily found at my local Asian supermarket. So I sent Boy off home with eight slices of the loaf.

Why eight?

Eight is the luckiest number in Chinese culture. I ended up cutting the loaf into 12 pieces but I got worried that 12 may be unlucky somehow and I didn’t want to chance offending anyone so I played it safe and went with eight. The loaf was well-received and thankfully no one made any comments that I had accidentally ruined their New Year.

CNY is a 15-day celebration so you’re by no means late if you make this within the next two weeks. Although, you can always just stick to the “sticky cake” meaning and make it all year round (which is what I plan to do anyhow)! If you’ve never had mochi before, it’s sticky in the best way possible, not very sweet, and just subtly flavored by the red bean in this version. I highly recommend trying it. You won’t be disappointed!

Red Bean Mochi Cake (Nian Gao)
adapted from Tiny Urban Kitchen

Makes 2 loaves, 1 9×13 cake, or 24 cupcakes.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Mochiko sweet rice flour (found in Asian markets or here)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 c vegetable oil
  • 2 c milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 3/4 c red bean paste (also found in Asian markets)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. (No need to line your pans.)

Mix all ingredients except the red bean paste together in a large bowl. Add in the red bean paste. Divide among pans. Bake for 45 min – 1 hour, or until a knife comes out clean. Cut and enjoy either warmed or at room temperature.

HOW EASY IS THAT?!

Here’s to the Year of the Rabbit!