Wednesday, April 17, 2013

CHAR SIU (叉燒) / CHAR SHAO (Chinese Barbecue Pork)

You will see the eyes of any Chinese person literally light up at the mention of Char Siu, especially good Char Siu !  It is a classic and it is classified as a type of siu mei (燒味), Cantonese Roasted Meats.   I may be slightly partial but the Chinese do their barbecue well and the flavors of Chinese roasted meats is hard to match and beat.  

The sight of bad Char Siu turns off your appetite especially when even the color is not of the correct red hue - it looks anemic, dry, lifeless and unappetizing. 

Char siu is a Cantonese word that translates into “fork burned”, which describes the traditional method of skewering the meat on a long fork and roasting it on spits over an open fire.  Char Siu is very versatile, it goes well with rice, noodles, stir-fry dishes, wrapped in a bun or simply all alone by itself.  My first bite of excellent Char Siu (prepared the traditional way) is when I was under 10 years of age and it was an unforgettable experience.  Today, that bite still lingers in my memory.  It is my personal quest to continue to improve my Char Siu each time I make a batch.  

I hope that this recipe will help you make some finger-licking good Char Siu right in your own kitchen.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pandan Chiffon Cake

I started baking Chiffon Cakes when I was living at sea level but was not happy with my recipe once I moved  back to higher altitude.   I had fun checking out all the chiffon cakes on the web.  It is amazing the wealth of information one can gather online these days.  The problem is 'Information OVERLOAD' and which recipe to choose.   Pictures still speaks a thousand words so I started with checking out all the Images for a good looking cake and go from there.  I feel like I was about to turn Green after looking at so many cakes.  Special thanks to Lily Ng of for her inspiration, passion and guidance and  whose extensive research and details for the ultimate Pandan Chiffon Cake has helped me.  Here is a recipe that I have slightly adapted for baking a chiffon cake in high altitude.


- Get the freshest eggs you can
  Use eggs at room temperature and get them separated
- 9" tube pan (preferably regular but non-stick pans will work too)
- Measure all ingredients and sieve the dry ingredients (No. 4)
- Get pandan juice ready No. 3 * (if you choose to use pandan leaves, if not just use a little more pandan
- Get mixture No. 3 ready

1.  Preheat oven to 350F/170C

2.  6 Egg Yolks (US Size Large Egg)
     1/2 cup /100 grams sugar
Whisk egg yolk for about 5 mins with (Wire whisk on Speed 5 or 6 - Kitchen Aid)

3.  In a bowl, mix below ingredients with whisk and add in slowly to the egg yolk mixture above while whisking with machine until incorporated.

2/3 cup/140 ml coconut milk
1/2 cup/115 ml oil
2 - 3 Tbs. pandan juice *
1/2    tsp pandan paste

*Blend or food processed about 6-8 roughly-chopped leaves  plus 1/4 cup water.
Put mixture through sieve to strain the pandan juice.
(I used frozen since I have no access to fresh pandan leaves.  This will yield about 2-3 Tbs.)

4.  Sift together :
1 3/4 cups/200grams sifted cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add dry ingredients into the cake batter on low speed and mix until incorporated.  Transfer
mixture into a clean bowl.  Washed the work bowl well and wiped dry.

5.  Add egg whites in the dry clean work bowl on Speed 4 or 5 until frothy and gradually add in sugar on
Speed 4 or 5 until the egg whites reach soft peak stage.  (Refer to diagram below)

9 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup /100 grams sugar

6.  Fold in gently 1/3 of the meringue mixture into the green cake batter and repeat until the meringue is done.
Transfer cake batter into a Tube Pan, run a spatula around the cake mixture to rid any air bubbles.  Place the pan on the lowest rung of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 F and for another 45 minutes at 325 F/160 C.

7.  When cake is done, overturn cake on a cooling rack for at least 1 hour or until completely cooled.  When cake is cool, flip it back over.  Run a dull knife around the sides and center core to loosen cake.  Gently remove cake.  This step is as important as the other steps as you do not want to end up with a broken cake which is very easy to do if not careful.

Happy Baking!

Sunday, July 1, 2012