Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mango Cheesecake (Baked) 芒果芝士蛋糕


Are you a cheesecake lover? Do you like mango? If your answers are both positive, then don't miss out on this mango cheesecake. What makes this cheesecake different from all others is the concentrated mango pulp mixed into the mango cheese filling. As you bite into it, you experience an intense mango flavor.

This recipe is adapted from the newly published Baking Bible by renowned baker and cookbook author Rose Levy Beranbaum.



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winners of Giveaway

Three lucky winners are drawn for the Christmas and New Year Cookbook Giveaway sponsored by Tuttle Publishing Company:

1) Sushma P
2) Alex Hui
3) Christine Lui

Congratulations ! Please send me (phoebechow@morethanbread.net) your mailing address. If I do not receive your address within 48 hours, you will be replaced by another participant.

Merry Christmas to all of you !


Friday, December 12, 2014

Sriracha Honey Popcorn 是拉差爆谷


The popularity of this hot sauce is quite the phenomenon. There are not a lot of products that only rely on word of mouth and reach such a level of success. People who love Sriracha put it in almost everything they eat. There are even Sriracha mayonnaise and ketchup in the market.

So when I was flipping through the pages of a new cookbook named The Kitchn (without an "e"), this recipe for Sriracha popcorn caught my eyes.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas and New Year Cookbook Giveaway 食譜免費送贈活動

I should say this giveaway is killing two birds with one stone. The holidays are approaching, making it a great time for a giveaway. This event is also a way to reward my readers who have been so supportive in following my blog. I was so busy lately that I forgot to celebrate my blog's fourth anniversary.

What have I been busy with? Here are some pictures (visit my facebook page for more):



During the last week of November I was honored to cater a wedding with over 200 guests. It was a great challenge and I am thankful that it went well with very good responses from the hosts and guests.

To celebrate the holidays and my blog's fourth anniversary, I am giving away Easy Chinese Recipes by Bee Yinn Low and The Ancient Art of Tea by Warren Peltier, courtesy of Tuttle Publishing Company. Three winners will be chosen to receive one copy of each book.

1) Easy Chinese Recipes by Bee Yinn Low. Bee is also a Southern California blogger (rasamalaysia.com). This cookbook has a lot of easy-to-follow recipes and many tips for novices in making Chinese food.


2) The Ancient Art of Tea by Warren Peltier (Chinese name: 夏雲峰) Mr. Peltier is an expert on tea. He spent years in China studying the history and culture of tea. In the book, he will show you how to brew an amazing cup of tea. 


For more information on the books, click on the links.


Instructions for the giveaways:
1) Like my blog page on Facebook (skip if you already did)
2) Follow my blog either by directly subscribing or signing up for updates by email (skip if you already did)
3) Comment on this post (with your full name) on what you like about this blog.

Deadline for submission: 12/17/14 midnight PST

I will generate the results on Random.org and announce the winners on 12/18/14. There is no geographical limitation. The publisher will send the books to the winners worldwide.

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for reviewing the cookbooks or holding this giveaway. The giveaway is courtesy of Tuttle Publishing Company.




Friday, November 7, 2014

Walnut Cinnamon Swirl Bread 核桃肉桂麵包




I always get excited about learning, no matter if it is new knowledge, technology or, of course, new recipes.

Until recently, I did not know about this kind of bread, called Povitica. It is a Croatian sweet bread. For Croatians, Povitica is a very common gift between friends and families. This culture is very similar to gifting of mooncakes during Mid Autumn Festival for the Chinese.

Although Povitica is similar to cinnamon rolls here in America, it has its own characteristics. The dough needs to be rolled out as thin as possible and it does not need a lengthy second rise as in making regular yeast bread.

And the filling is decadent: lots and lots of ground walnuts with cinnamon and cocoa powder, all of my favorites. Perfect choice for the Holidays.

Please read the recipe and the notes at least once before you begin for best results.



Friday, October 24, 2014

Raspberry Tart with Almond Cream 紅桑子杏仁醬撻


Raspberry is often referred to as the king of berries. It is often used to make all kinds of yummy desserts. When it is paired with the other king of nuts--almond, it makes a superb tart.

紅桑子被稱為莓中之王,實至名歸,用來做各款甜點,都大受歡迎。另外,杏仁也有果仁之王的美譽,將兩者用來做這個撻,實在相得益彰。



Sunday, October 5, 2014

Purple Rice Bread 紫米麵包


If you are like me who eat bread on a daily basis, do you get bored with white toast or whole wheat bread? Here is something different: whole grain bread, not only with whole wheat flour, but also with rice.

This is my first time using rice to make bread. I should have made it earlier! It stays soft for 3-4 days in room temperature, just like tong zhong bread.

Purple rice is also called black glutinous rice or sticky black rice. It is one of the fragrant type of rice. Cook it in a rice cooker and cool before adding to the bread dough.



Sunday, September 21, 2014

Banana Flavored Roll 香蕉糕


Glutinous rice balls, mochi, Chinese New Year steamed cakes and boba all have something in common. They are comprised of glutinous flour as the major ingredient. It is what gives them their chewy, gummy texture. Banana rolls are also one of these foods which fit the description. But it has a misleading name (just like bo lo bao/pineapple bao without pineapple). Anyhow, how I have missed this glutinous flour roll! Besides Hong Kong Style Waffle and Chinese Steamed Cake, this is my other favorite childhood snack.

It only has a few major ingredients--water, sugar, glutinous flour, and banana flavoring--but the right ratio is important to bring out the best texture. I have been searching and experimenting a long time for a good recipe. Some make it by steaming raw glutinous flour while others use cooked flour to make the roll without further steaming. The following recipe from another blogger has the best texture with the right ratio of glutinous flour, wheat starch, and tapioca flour and it is super easy to make.



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Matcha Ice Cream 綠茶雪糕


Summer seems never end in Southern California. Mid Autumn Festival is over but it still has a few weeks before official Fall (Sept 23) arrives. This Asian flavor matcha ice cream is refreshing and full of green tea flavor. It greatly helps to relieve some summer heat.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Godiva's Chocolate Mooncake 朱古力月餅


The Mid Autumn Festival or August Moon Festival is the second most celebrated holiday in Chinese culture. If you live in an area highly populated with Chinese people, there will be some sort of celebration around this time of the year. This holiday, to the Chinese, is like Thanksgiving to Americans; the first thing that pops up in your head when it is mentioned is, most likely, food.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Custard Moon Cake 奶皇月餅


These exquisite moon cakes are created by innovative bakers from Hong Kong. A box of eight reportedly fetches almost HK$500 (~USD$65-70)!! The cake is filled with moist and rich custard with a nice coconut flavor. The recipe is straight forward but it takes some tricks and a lot of practice to create a nice and distinctive look.

I tried different recipes and finally came up with this one with modifications.

這款近年風靡香港的奶皇月餅,身價越來越貴,據報一盒八個要港幣近五百大元 !!
不過又真是很好食,奶皇餡香滑,加上一杯熱茶,真是一絕。



Friday, July 25, 2014

New Classes 又有新班啦


Custard Moon Cake 酥皮奶皇月餅


Date: 8/23/14
Time: 1pm~3pm
Place: Diamond Ba

In this hands-on class, you will learn how to make this popular and exquisite moon cake at home. No experience required. Moon cake molds and special gift packaging boxes are available for purchase.




Snowy Moon Cake 冰皮月餅



Date: 8/16/14
Time: 1pm~3pm
Place: Diamond Bar


This popular class is back by demand. Learn how to make this simple, easy-to-make and healthy moon cake. Moon cake molds and gift packaging boxes are available for purchase.



Each class is limited to 8 students. Questions and registration: phoebechow@morethanbread.net





Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Moon Cake Mold 月餅模


This year's Mid Autumn Festival is on Sept 8, less than two months away. In order to make homemade moon cake, either the baked traditional kind or easy-to-make snowy moon cake, you will need an indispensable tool. This plastic moon cake mold is so much easier to use than the traditional wood mold that it makes the whole process a breeze.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sliver Thread Roll 銀絲卷


"Fun to eat and easy to make" is the best description of this dim sum bao. A variation of mantau, the sliver thread roll is made by cutting the dough into many thin strips and wrapping them together in a bundle. The most common way to enjoy it after breaking open the outer layer is to pull out and eat the threads one by one. Some people like to dip it in condensed milk. I like the deep fried version: the outer layer is crispy while the threads inside are still soft.

I have been searching for a good English translation for the name of this bread: sliced roll, bread roll, etc, but I've given up and am now using my own translation.

For a successful roll, please read the whole recipe and pay attention to the notes below.



Friday, June 27, 2014

Lychee Mousse Cake 茘枝慕斯蛋糕


Oh summer is here...this means there will be plenty of mangoes, peaches, plums, watermelons, and lychee around. Lychee is a tropical fruit that originates in China. Through global trading and local cultivation, many countries around the world can also enjoy this delicious, flavorful fruit.



Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lemon Cream Tart 檸檬撻


When pastry chefs develop recipes, there are a few elements that they always have in mind. Being able to incorporate different textures is important in producing a delightful dessert. Furthermore, it would be wonderful if the dessert also has some acidity to balance the sweetness. Therefore this lemon tart truly satisfies all of the above: a creamy, smooth and tangy lemon curd with a sweet and crunchy meringue topping a flaky tart shell. A dessert made in heaven!!

一款美味的甜點,除了甜味之外,如能有不同的質地去提升口感,便能雙得益彰。就以這個檸檬撻為例,甜中帶酸,餡料幼滑,撻皮鬆化,加上脆口的法式蛋白餅,實在是一款絕頂的美點。



Friday, May 23, 2014

Seeded Whole Wheat Bread 全麥種子麵包




Since I started making my own bread a few years ago, I have almost exclusively been using the Tong Zhong method. It gives me consistently soft and fluffy bread that lasts up to four or five days at room temperature. However, I learned this is not the only method for soft, long-lasting bread.

I have been exploring new ways to make bread with a higher percentage of whole wheat. Most breads that are labelled as whole wheat in the market are made with only 30% whole wheat flour while the majority is white bread flour. I think the main reason is not so much the cost but the nature of wheat flour.



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mango Ice Cream 芒果雪糕


Many of you would probably think fresh mango is the best choice to use in homemade mango ice cream. But contrary to that thought, freeze dried mango is a better option. Fresh fruits are best to enjoy when they are ripe and juicy. However, when they are used to make ice cream, the juice is your enemy. The more juicy it is, the worse it is to make ice cream. That may be the reason why watermelon is rarely used in ice cream even though it maybe good in making sorbet. Juice will turn into ice and make ice cream icy instead of creamy.



Friday, April 18, 2014

Tea Eggs with Five Spices 五香茶葉蛋


There are certain things in life that really train or test your patience. If I were to rate which role would be the toughest test of patience, I would vote that being a parent is number one. I think many parents would be on my side. From taking care of an infant to parenting a teenager, there are endless challenges a parent has to face. It is through these trials that we all mature and grow up.

Another role that build up one's patience level is to be a cook. As it is said, no pain, no gain. To make a good meal, you simply have to put in time and effort. I am not referring to instant TV dinners or instant noodles. I have learned much about patience and perseverance through cooking and baking. Making yeast bread takes hours; aged dough takes days to mature; a successful batch of French macaron took me over ten trials to achieve.

Take these tea eggs as another trial of patience. Making hard boiled eggs does not require a lot of time nor patience. But to make delicious tea eggs, there is no shortcuts. In order for the marinade to infuse into the eggs, they have to sit overnight. Without patience, you will just have hard boiled eggs.

Remember, no shortcuts!!


Friday, April 11, 2014

Chinese Pork Jerky with Fruity Flavor 果汁豬肉乾





I am a big fan of jerky. It is a great snack to have while watching TV or to serve in a party. However, instead of American store-bought flavors I more particularly like jerky styled after Chinese flavors. It is more juicy and flavorful. The last time I visited Hong Kong, I had a great time satisfying my appetite! Too bad meat products are prohibited from entering or leaving the country, or otherwise I would have filled up my bags with them.

Here in America, you can only buy jerky that is made in this country. Those Chinese brands that you see in Asian grocery stores most likely are not made overseas.

Making it at home is far simpler than you would expect, with a low failure rate. You can easily choose a flavor you like without adding sodium nitrate or any preservatives!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pistachio Cake with Orange Flavored Honey Whipped Cream 開心果蛋糕


The Mediterranean diet has been advocated by many nutritionists because it is low in saturated fat and high in dietary fiber. Statistics have also shown that a plant-based diet is good for the heart. Using olive oil instead of animal fat helps to lower cholesterol. Eating less red meat and more fish in addition to regular exercise contributes to a healthy life style.

Although they are high in fat, nuts are a key part in the Mediterranean diet because they contain good fats--omega 3 fatty acids. This cake is loaded with ground pistachios which gives it a lot of flavor and those healthy fats. In addition, the nutty flavor perfectly compliments and is accented by the orange scented honey cream.

What a cake to have to celebrate the arrival of Spring!


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lava Custard Bao 流沙包


Dim Sum Series, part 5:

This is another classic steamed bao in dim sum restaurants. I think it is a rather recent addition because I do not recall having it before I immigrated to the US. I still remember my embarrassing moment when I first encountered it. It was quite messy because the custard just burst out like lava from an volcano. The salted duck yolk in the custard adds a different dimension of flavor. It is an amazing and wonderful experience.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chinese Steamed Cake Ma Lai Gao 古法馬拉糕


Dim Sum Series, part 4:

This steamed cake is called ma lai gao. I have tried a few recipes using different ways to leaven the cake batter: beating whole eggs (physical), using yeast (biological) and/or baking soda/powder (chemical). None of the above gave me a satisfactory result.

The average maximum heat a household steamer can generate is about 212F/100C. This temperature is so much lower than the usual 350F/180C oven temperature used in baking a cake. It means that the way the cake batter is prepared is a crucial factor in determining whether it is a dense or soft cake.

I kept telling myself that there must be a way to make a fluffy and moist steamed cake. So, as a last resort, I went back to the traditional method: using an aged (prefermented) dough. This is a combination of biological and chemical methods. By making an aged dough (similar to a levain in making a sourdough bread), natural yeast and bacteria are cultivated. Later on, baking soda is added to balance the pH level. Leavening is provided by the yeast and baking powder. Although egg beating is not required in this recipe, some patience and time is required :).... However, you will be rewarded with a steamed melt-in-your-mouth cake that was achieved without the addition of lard (commonly used in restaurants).



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Matcha Pastry 旋風綠茶酥


Dim Sum Series, part 3:

Matcha is just another name for green tea, right? This is what I always thought, until I recently attended a food show in Northern California. The Fancy Food Show is an international food show offered twice a year: San Francisco hosts during winter while New York City hosts the summer show. With over a thousand exhibits from all over the world, it is an exciting time for all those related to food industry, whether you are a retailer or wholesaler, or somewhere in between. New trends, products and tastes are often introduced during the show.



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dual Color Dumplings 雙色蒸餃


This is the second post on the dim sum series. Click here for the other post.

These little dumplings are also known as pomegranate dumplings because their shapes are like little pomegranate. I love the transparent wrapper with crisp green color which is made from the juice of spinach, all natural. 


Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 Library Demonstrations Line Up 新一年度烘焙示範陣容



2013 has been a very busy and fruitful year for me. From the surrounding San Gabriel Valley communities to more distant beach communities, I have made new friends and met enthusiastic library patrons through 17 different baking demonstration programs. Through the coordination of many different librarians, I was able to share my passion in baking and Chinese heritage with a diverse population. They were made possible through county funding and non-profit organizations and were successful because of your participation!

In addition to the current programs (pineapple bun, snowy mooncake, wife cake and egg tart), this year I have added two new items to the library cooking demonstration programs in Los Angeles county public library: homemade char siu/BBQ Pork and Chinese Pineapple Cake/Pastry.

Below is a list of upcoming programs. It will be updated frequently. If you are in the area, come join me. For more information, click on the library closest to you.


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