NoT Halloween – Squash/Pumpkin pancakes – nán guā bǐng 南瓜饼

October 30, 2015

squash bing

I ate a lot of these in Beijing…

Chewy little pancakes, slightly crisp and nutty on the outside and chewy on the inside. Rolling in sesame seeds before frying adds nuttiness.

There are no exact measurements for this recipe, quantities vary according to the size and water content of the pumpkin.

Use roughly between 1:1 and 1:2; pumpkin: glutinous rice/ mochi flour.

Eat as they are, or with fruit and honey/condensed milk/ gula melaka syrup/ ice cream.. .


200g roasted pumpkin/ squash (roughly 1/2 squash)
200-300g glutinous rice flour/ mochi flour
sesame seeds (optional)
vegetable oil (for frying)


Cut the pumpkin/ squash into large sections, remove seeds and roast for 30 minutes (or until soft) at 200C/390F.
Scoop the flesh out from the skins and mash, removing as many lumps as possible.
Weigh the squash (mass/ volume) and add equal amounts of glutinous rice flour.
Mix until a smooth dough is formed, adding more flour if necessary. It should be a bit like play-dough, will form a ball, not sticky.
If dough is too dry, sprinkle a teaspoon of water, gradually adding until the right consistency is formed.
Divide dough into balls about an inch or so in diameter (or however big you like ’em).
Roll in sesame seeds (if required).
If you have big balls (!) you can boil the bing first, to speed up the cooking time.
To boil: add the balls to a pan of boiling water, cook until they float to the top, then drain.
Heat a teaspoon or so of oil in a non-stick frying pan, and fry the balls until they’re golden brown on the outside.
If they seem to stick to the pan, they’re merely not done yet, so give them a little while longer.
Serve immediately and EAT with anything you like :)

CNY Pineapple Mango Tarts aka Greedy Tarts

March 18, 2015

pineapple mango tarts

Confession: I’m not the massive-est fan of pineapple tarts, but baked these in some attempt to appease family/ ancestral guilt
Confession 2: I altered the recipe to be the opposite of what pineapple tarts are supposed to be like. ie. pastry shell: less crumbly and more solid, jam: less sweet

Makes approximately 20 tarts – 10g filling, 12-15 g cookie layer

Pineapple “Jam” filling

1 can pineapple, drained
2 tbsp/ 40g sugar
50-100g dried mango, chopped
1-1.5 tbsp cornflour
plain/ all purpose flour – dusting, optional

Blend or grate the pineapple until almost pureed
In a small saucepan, simmer pineapple with sugar and dried mango until liquid has dried up and the pineapple is golden
Add cornflour and cook for another few more minutes
Cool pineapple completely, then form into 10g balls. Lightly dust hands with plain flour if the filling is sticky.

Almond cookie dough used for the tart “shell”
Use 1/3 quantity of the almond cookie recipe, omitting the baking powder (if you remember) instructions here (based on an awesome almond cookie recipe from Everybody Eats Well in Flanders).
Plus: glaze: 1 egg yolk beaten with 1-2tsp water

Form the pineapple filling into 10g balls, using a light dusting of plain flour if the filling is too sticky.
Form the almond cookie dough into 12-15g balls.

Roll each cookie dough ball out to a circle big enough to wrap the pineapple balls.
It may be helpful to roll the cookie dough between sheets of cling film, to avoid it getting too sticky/ crumbly.
If you’re having trouble wrapping the tarts, you can also use the cling film to form the tarts by placing a ball of filling onto a circle of cookie dough, then gathering the cling film up and twisting, which will gradually press it all into a round wrapped ball.

“Mend” any cracks in the tarts by gently smoothing them over with a flat edge eg. butter knife.

Glaze the tarts with egg yolk and bake at 150C for about 15 minutes (until golden brown)

baking pineapple tarts

If you have any leftover almond cookie dough, bake some almond cookies :)

CNY (tardy) Almond Cookies

March 16, 2015

Almond Cookies

Recipe adapted from the Everybody Eats Well in Flanders’ almond cookie recipe

I used all butter, omitted the vanilla essence, and used caster sugar (icing sugar had run out, I prefer a slightly less crumbly cookie, and it’s so much more manageable). Reduced the amount of baking powder to almost nothing as I don’t want the cookies to spread too much and lose their shape. Also, shaped the cookies to a smaller size using a mould so cooking time is adjusted accordingly. And baked it at my usual “cookie” temperature/ time as I like to bake cookies at a lower temperature to get (my preferred) crispy vs melty texture. No glaze.

This makes about 60 teeny tiny cookies. I bake about 1/3 of the dough at a time, storing the rest in the fridge/ freezer.

125g butter (room temperature/ soft)
100g sugar (icing, caster, granulated, it doesn’t matter really)
1 egg yolk
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 (very light sprinkle) salt
75g ground almonds

Cream the butter and sugar together.
Add the egg yolk
Fold/ stir in the flour/ salt/ baking powder
Stir in the ground almonds. Combine with your hands if necessary.

Divide the dough into 3, and either bake right away or form into logs, wrap in cling film and store in the fridge/ freezer as required.

Shape the cookies into 9g balls, and bake at 140C for about 15 minutes.

unbaked almond cookies

Baked BBQ Chicken bao

January 20, 2015
bbq chicken bao

bbq chicken bao

I used this recipe from an incredible blog, using boneless chicken thighs. I used about 200g, half a 450g pack, cooked the whole pack with char-siu marinade, use the rest for snacking…

The recipe is very easy to make as it’s just a standard yeasted dough, no tang zhong method or anything vaguely intuitive.

BBQ the chicken and make the filling the night before so it can cool. Let the dough first rise over night somewhere v v cool, then finish it the next morning, so you have fresh buns for breakfast! (after a long lie-in)

Char siu recipe to follow….

Makes about 12 (small buns) and the universal response was “must eat more”

Fluffy Buns I – HK style Red Bean Buns

November 14, 2011
Hong Kong style Red bean buns

Hong Kong style Red bean buns

Based on this recipe. A half quantity of the original recipe made approximately 10 rolls.

The original recipe uses yeast in packs of 11g, the ones I get here are 7g, I just made do and the rolls turned out fine. I also reduced the oven temperature by 20C to 180C as my oven is fan assisted.

1 packet active yeast (7gm)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
100 ml milk (luke warm/ just above room temperature)
250 gm ‘strong’ white flour
75 gm plain ‘all purpose’ flour
35 gm softened butter
40 gm granulated sugar
1 egg
1 pinch of salt
milk or olive oil if needed for dough
milk or egg for glazing buns before baking
approx. 200g red bean paste for filling (if desired)

Sprinkle the yeast and sugar on top of the milk and leave to froth (approx. 10 minutes)
Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, create a ‘well’ in the middle of the flour, add the yeast mixture, and knead until an elastic dough is formed (approx. 10-15 minutes), adding milk or olive oil if dough is too dry.
Cover the dough (I usually just bung the whole mixing bowl into a plastic bag and tie the top) and leave to prove until doubled in size – 45 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the warmth of the kitchen etc.
Divide the dough into 50g portions and either shape and leave to rest, or fill with red bean paste (I used 20g for each bun) and then leave to rest, until double again. Second rise will take approx. 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Glaze with milk or beaten egg (egg will give a much more shiny finish – the buns in the picture above are glazed with milk) then bake for 20 minutes.
Cool buns on a wire rack before serving

Buns will stay soft for a day or two, or can also be frozen (in which case freeze asap after cooling to maximise softness).