Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tau Sar Piah 豆沙饼 Mung Bean Paste Biscuit

Tau Sar Piah Singlish Swenglish

We welcomed our little one early this month and I must say, motherhood needs some getting used to! This is probably something I won't have time to do for the time being but I have had this craving for the Penang tau sar piah since when I went back to Singapore last July and I finally got some from Sylvia in a yummy package she sent to me with goodies from Malaysia when her hubby went back recently. I could have eaten them all in a day but restrained myself to spread them out over a week. They came to an end eventually and the only thing I could do is to finally try them out, as it was also one of my resolution for this year and good that I tried making them before the little one came along!  I didn't have any recipe of my own and followed the one from My Kitchen Snippets, so all credit to her. However, after making it I came to a few conclusions:

1) It's definitely worth it to pay for those good brands of this biscuit because it takes quite a lot of work.
2) It's not going to be as good as those famous brands but it suffices as a craving when you are overseas and not able to buy it readily.
3) Some people like it freshly baked, but I find it was better after sitting in a container for a day or two.
4) The bean paste filling needs a really good balance of seasoning, otherwise it will just taste strange. Having said that, I hope there is another way to make this filling next time so it doesn't taste as dry, be more savory and doesn't remind one of it being a green bean paste so much.

You can follow her blog which comes with detailed instructions and pictures, the following are my observations while making them. 

Oil Dough
175 gram Flour
100 ml vegetable oil

Oil & Water Dough
345 gram Flour
180 ml vegetable oil
135 ml water
¾ teaspoon vinegar

Mung Bean Paste:

50 ml vegetable oil
2 shallots - thinly sliced
150 gram sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
400 gram dried mung beans

  1. Wash the mung beans a few times and let it soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain and steam it for 30 minutes or until soft. (I took about 6-7 tablespoons out to try making tau saun separately this time round)

    Tau Sar Piah Singlish Swenglish

    Tau Sar Piah Singlish Swenglish
  2. While steaming, prepare the oil dough and the oil & water dough, cover and let it rest in separate bowls for at least 30 minutes.

    Tau Sar Piah Singlish Swenglish
  3. Let the mung beans cool a bit before blitzing it it briefly in a food processor together with the sugar.

    Tau Sar Piah Singlish Swenglish
  4. Heat up the oil in a pan and fry the shallots until slightly brown before adding in the processed mung beans and add the rest of the seasonings, adjusting it where necessary.

    Tau Sar Piah Singlish Swenglish

    Tau Sar Piah Singlish Swenglish
  5. Don't fry it too long but you should be able to form firm balls about 9-10g each. If it gets too dry to hold well together, add some water. I formed about 60 balls of fillings.
  6. Divide the doughs each into 60 portions. I weigh each dough and divide each weight by 60 so I get a roughly equal amount of dough.

    Tau Sar Piah Singlish Swenglish
  7. Flatten the oil & water dough, using it to envelope the oil dough, forming a ball.
  8. Using a rolling pin, flatten the mixed dough ball once, then roll it up like a Swiss roll, and flatten it one more time . Roll it up again like a Swiss roll, pinch in the sides and roll it out into a rough round shape to place the prepared filling on (you might get some kind of thin 'skin' at this point of time when you roll out the dough but it's normal and not a mistake).

    IMG_3009Tau Sar Piah Singlish Swenglish

    Tau Sar Piah Singlish Swenglish

    Tau Sar Piah Singlish Swenglish
  9. Beat up one egg and use it to help seal the edges, resting the biscuit on a baking sheet on its sealed edge.
  10. Egg wash the top of the biscuits and bake it at 190°C for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
    Tau Sar Piah Singlish Swenglish
  11. Let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.
    Tau Sar Piah Singlish Swenglish

    Tau Sar Piah Singlish Swenglish

Quick Lunch Idea: Pad Ga Prao or Spicy Minced Beef with Thai Sweet Basil

Fried Minced Beef with Thai Sweet Basil Singlish Swenglish

This dish always reminded me of that one trip I took with a Thai couple so many years back.  I had a male colleague who was a architect turned designer and now turned Thai restaurant owner in California with his wife (Check out their Facebook page at  They are the nicest and most creative couple I have ever known and I am still glad they let me tag along and be a light bulb on their trip from Singapore to Phi-Phi Island. Mind you, we didn't travel by the usual route of budget airlines but took a tour bus from Golden Mile Complex (Singapore), all the way to Hat Yai (southern Thailand near the Malaysia border) and then boat to a less-known island (Trang something) before heading for Phi-Phi Island. AND, then we just took the bus back again all the way to Singapore. Needless to say, this is probably the once-in-a-lifetime thing I would probably do for traveling exclusively on buses and the way back is probably one of the longest I've ever experienced.

However, being with them was a really authentic and interesting experience. Besides getting to see the not-so-tourist side of things and traveling on off-beat tracks, the food was fantastic and I got to eat many good Thai dishes and this was one I really liked and I ate it almost everyday on Phi Phi Island. I used to cook it with this ready sauce from Knorr, but I can't find it anymore so have to resort to cooking it from scratch. Having said that, if you have all the ingredients at hand, it's really a matter of stir-frying everything in one pan. I like it with a nice fried egg on top of rice and it has been my first choices for quick and fast lunches/dinner.

So James and Nooch, this post is dedicated to you!

Ingredients (2-3 portions as a side dish with rice)
1 egg (if you like a fried egg with your rice)
250-400g minced Beef (or pork or chicken)
1 onion, quarted
2-3 bird chili, chopped
1/2 or 1 paprika, sliced thinly
A good handful of sweet thai basil (This is different from holy basil!)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce or to taste
Sugar to taste

Pad Ga Prao Spicy Minced Beef with Thai Sweet Basil Singlish Swenglish

  1. Heat up a pan with 2 tablespoon cooking oil till hot fry the egg first. Remove and set aside before adding in the onion and fry until slightly soften before adding the minced beef to brown slightly.
  2. Add in the paprika, bird chili and basil. Mix well before adding the oyster sauce and fish sauce. Add some sugar to taste or bring down the heat of the chili according to your liking. Add some water if required, otherwise let it simmer till the minced meat is done and the paprika is soften.

    Pad Ga Prao Spicy Minced Beef with Thai Sweet Basil Singlish Swenglish
  3. Dish it over rice, add in your fried egg and eat!

    Pad Ga Prao Spicy Minced Beef with Thai Sweet Basil Singlish Swenglish

Dried Longan and Sweet Potato Soup

Dried Longan and Sweet Potato Soup Singlish Swenglish

Had a craving for this dessert the other day and decided to use some of the longans I was saving for use during my confinement to 'chase' the craving away. It's a very simple dessert which can be served cold too. I usually buy this at the Zion Road Hawker center where a grumpy man sells it at a simple dessert store. You can choose to add gingko nuts too for additional crunch but this was perfect the way it is here in Sweden.

Ingredients (for 1 greedy eater)
A handful of dried longans
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
Some rock sugar for taste
1.5 bowl of water
2-3 blades pandan leaves (optional)

  1. Bring to boil the water in a small pot and add all the ingredients. Boil it for about 15-20 minutes until the sweet potato has soften.
  2. Remove the pandan leaves and serve hot. You can chill it in the fridge or add ice if you like it cold.

    Dried Longan and Sweet Potato Soup Singlish Swenglish

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cashew Nut Cookies

 Singlish Swenglish Cashew Nut Cookies

Ah! It's just two days before Chinese New Year and all I read about on Facebook are my friends doing all they can to prepare for the reunion dinner or getting their nails ready for visiting friends and relatives. I miss such New Year Spirit, as you can guess, it's kinda of scarce here in Sweden. So the only way to warm things up is by using the oven and baking one more Chinese New Year goodie, and this is one I find it a bit hard to stop eating. So double the recipe if you have a feeling you are going to be in the same predicament as me.

The recipe is doubled from the one I used from Small Small Baker which I made about 120 cookies, using the smallest Christmas cookie cutter I can find that still can fit half a piece of cashew nut comfortably. One thing that I think I will do it next time is to increase the amount of ground cashew nuts because I really like deep, nutty taste of cashew nuts in the cookies, but for now, this is a faithful following (only doubled) of her very good recipe.

220g butter
140g castor sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 egg
80g grounded cashew nuts
360g plain flour
40g cornflour
1 teaspoon baking powder 

For the egg wash, separate one egg and prepare enough cashew nuts halves to place on top the cookies. I find it easy if you use a butter knife and apply a light pressure on the curve of the thickest part of the the nut.


  1. Roast the whole cashew nuts in a dry pan over the stove until fragrant before grinding it in the food processor as fine as you can.  I used salted cashew nuts because it's quite hard to find the natural ones, but I think it works out well too.

    ISinglish Swenglish Cashew Nut Cookies
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until well mixed. Add in the grounded nuts first, follow by the vanilla extract and egg. Add in the flours and baking powder until incorporated and coming together as a dough. 
  3. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it to a pliable stage. If it's too soft, you can try putting it in the fridge for half an hour before rolling it out to be about 3/4 cm thickness.

    Singlish Swenglish Cashew Nut Cookies
  4. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the desire shapes and place on the baking sheet, spacing them equally apart. Lightly beat the egg white so it's easier to brush lightly on each cookie, placing a cashew nut half on each cookie, then brushing it again with the beaten egg yolk to achieve a golden brown tinge after baking.

    Singlish Swenglish Cashew Nut Cookies
  5. Bake at 180°C for 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool thoroughly before storing (or eating!).
    Singlish Swenglish Cashew Nut Cookies

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Finska Pinnar / Finnish Fingers

    Singlish Swenglish Finska Pinnar

    Before you think otherwise, these Finnish Fingers are actually a traditional cookie my mother-in-law bakes every year for Christmas.  I've got a liking for buttery stuff since Christmas and thought this would be good as a Chinese New Year goodie too since it 1) is buttery and sweet 2) can keep well 3) can be offered to guests like other goodies during Chinese New Year 4) it's very easy to make! The recipe is catered for 50 fingers, but I only produced half the amount because I've cut it too thick. However, I think they will be equally good if you cut them into small, bite-size squares, that way, you can eat more without 'feeling guilty'.  This recipe is from a traditional Swedish baking books called 'Sju Sorters Kakor' - 7 types of cookies/cakes, but it contains much more recipes than that.

    Ingredients (makes 50 fingers)
    50g sweet almonds
    5 pieces of bitter almonds
    4.5dl plain flour
    1 dl sugar
    200g butter
    1/2-1 egg white
    Pearl Sugar/Nib Sugar
    Chopped sweet almonds

    1. Soaked the almonds in hot water for a minute, drain and peel off the skins (if you didn't buy those already peeled). There is a difference between sweet and bitter almonds, the latter being dangerous if consumed in large quantity.  The bitter almonds as shown in the picture on the right side of the blade is flatter and broader than the sweet ones.

      Singlish Swenglish Finska Pinnar
    2. In a food processor, mix the almonds, butter, sugar and flour until it comes together in a dough.

      Singlish Swenglish Finska Pinnar
    3. I placed the dough in a bag before flattening it until its about finger thickness before putting it in the chiller on a flat surface to cool for at least half and hour.

      Singlish Swenglish Finska Pinnar
    4. Remove the dough as one single piece and place it on your baking sheet. Brush the whole surface with lightly whipped egg white before decorating it with the nib sugar and more chopped sweet almonds.

      Singlish Swenglish Finska Pinnar
    5. Use a cutter and divide them up into thin fingers, bearing in mind they will expand slightly. My ones in this picture was too thick so that can serve as your gauge to 'slim' them down. Bake at 175°C for around 12 minutes or golden brown.  Let it cool before storing. They should hold up quite firmly like cookies.

      Singlish Swenglish Finska Pinnar

      Singlish Swenglish Finska Pinnar

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Chinese New Year - Kueh Bahulu

    Singlish Swenglish Pandan Kueh Bahulu

    My first post in 2012, and on Friday 13th :) I look at the date as more of one more week to Chinese New Year, which I'm going to miss all the goodies back home :( However, at least I have time to bake again after an intense period of reading and writing.

    This was taken from Rasa Malaysia's site, I have modified it by adding a few drop of pandan paste to make it pandan-flavoured.  I have seen blogs that add chocolate chip and such too, so I think its really up to your imagination what you want to tweak with it. It's a good basic recipe too, but I did not have the traditional baking mould, so I used one that I bought from Paris. It's quite a good silicon tray that produce what looks like little muffins.  There's another name for this baked goodie from France which you can buy at the bakeries along the train stations, but I can't remember it so hopefully someone will recognize and tell me.

    There are other Chinese New Year goodies I've made previously, so if you are interested, here are the links:

    Pineapple Tarts
    Bak Kwa
    First day Chinese New Year Noodles

    3 eggs
    1 cup sugar
    1 1/4 cup flour
    1 teaspoon vanilla essence
    1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 drops of pandan paste

    Singlish Swenglish Kueh Bahulu

    1. Beat the eggs until frothy with an electric beater.
    2. Add the sugar and beat well until slightly pale yellow.  Add in the vanilla essence.
    3. Add the bicarbonate of soda to the flour and gradually add it to the egg mixture while the mixer is still on, making sure to incorporate it.
    4. Add in the the butter last. If you want two flavors, divide the batter into half and add the pandan paste to half the batter while keeping the other one original.

      Singlish Swenglish Kueh Bahulu
    5. Bake at 190°C for 15 minutes or until browned. Cool and store in airtight container.

      Singlish Swenglish Pandan Kuih Bahulu