Sunday, February 8, 2009

Desserts: East meets West

Another weekend has passed... so fast... I actually slept for 13 hours this Saturday night... So much for partying on the weekends huh?

But indeed, this weekend has been a very busy one for me. I made a week worth of meal today, hoping that they would last and I don't have come home from work and think about dinner. I'm not very good at that. I'm usually very tired, lazy and too slow to fix myself another meal. Coming home at 5:30pm, change, skype Bing for 30 min to an hour: 6:30pm. Cook some pasta, pasta sauce: 7:30pm, eat, do the dishes, clean up: 8:30pm!!! Where did all my time just go?! I could only handle some microwave actions during the weekdays. Weekends, I could do more.

Living in Minneapolis hasn't been the most enjoyable thing for me whenever I'm craving for Asian food. We have some Asian stores here selling local and imported Asian goodies. But sometimes it's just not good enough.

Maybe you will wonder, what do Asians eat for desserts? No brownies, no creme brulee, no chocolate at all! Yea, I don't think chocolate has ever made it into the Asian menu. One of the most common desserts (as in some-sweets-after-dinner) will be "Sweet Soup". A liquid desserts. Water, with cane sugar, dates and whatever should go in it: Ta Da! There you go the most basic ingredients for any sweet soup. This one I made is Yam Sweet Soup:

Sweet Yam: 1 medium size Ginger: 3-4 slices Dried Red Dates: 5 Water: enough to cover and leave an inch above the ingredients.

Okay, this recipe is nothing close to accurate. But you get the picture, and feel free to drop me a comment if you have any questions. But basically, boil the water with the dried red dates and ginger. This allows the dates to soak up some water and release its sweetness, and also the spiciness from the ginger. I especially like the taste of ginger. My mom would make me ginger tea in the winter, or when I was sick. It's the best home remedies ever. Spicy and warm, just seems to kick the cold away.
But if you don't like the spice, take away one or two, or none at all. Cook till the yams are soft, but not completely mushy. Add about 100 g of cane or rock sugar to taste. The soup should have a spicy and sweet taste to it. Great for a cold winter!

And I also made the sweet rice cake. I usually eat this in the Chinese new year. The rice cake in Chinese means "higher year", as in a higher success every year. So, rice cake is a must in New Year celebration. And since I couldn't have quality ones in MN, and further challenged by my co-worker claiming that it's impossible to make one, I decided to make my own sweet rice cake! haha! So, after some recipe researches, it came down to this:

Sticky Rice Flour: 300 g Cane Sugar: 300 g Coconut Cream: 1 tbsp Water: 490 g Wheat Starch: 75 g

Measure the water and sugar and let them boil. Add the coconut cream after the sugar water cools. Mix the sticky rice flour and wheat starch together, add the water mixture slowly into the flour mixture. Mix thoroughly as you are adding the water mixture. This helps to make the cake softer and sticker. Grease the cake pan and pour the mixture in. Steam for an hour. Stick a fork into the cake after an hour. It should comes out clean when it's done.

Perfect. I think this is a great success. A little on the sticky side, but the coconut flavor is great. Normally, I would cut the cake into slices and coat with some beaten eggs, and pan fried. So it'll be a little crispy on the outside (due to the eggs) and sticky on the inside. Yumm.

So much for the East desserts, let's take a look at the West side. What's cooking today Bing?

Birthday cake? Gold and Purple? With a Chicken?! hmmmm...
And a sexy flour frog on a leaf? well oh well... I think Bing still needs some practice on figure creation?


© free template 3 columns