Orh Nee Roll – My Rendition of Orh Nee

Decided to do up a post before going to dreamland to recharge my energy for a crazy day of work tomorrow! It is FHA week and the morning crowd is so CRAZY! Too bad my off days are after FHA and I could not go although I had complementary ticket from my chef. (Gave away the ticket already…) I posted about my last day of school and my presentation previously (click here to view) and below is the dessert I created. The recipe I used included if anyone want to try making it?  
(Picture taken from my school instructor’s album.) Nicely taken from his DSLR! 

A summarized version of my report (modified)
Orh Nee Roll is my rendition of the popular Teochew dessert that goes a long way back.
Orh Nee in Teochew means Taro Paste and memories of this dish come from attending
wedding banquets, where it is almost customary for it to be served as the last course in resturants.
The main ingredient used is yam, which is one of the oldest food plants known. It is also a common plant found around the rustic and rural kampung environment in the past. Yams are a good source of potassium, manganese, copper, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and vitamin B6.
The other secondary ingredients used are coconut cream, pandan leaves, shallots and pumpkin seed (to replace the actual pumpkin flesh).   
Since the past, coconut cream is added to Orh Nee to enhance the flavor, giving it a creamier texture. As for shallots, when fried, they produce a fragrant aroma which would mask the undesirable smell of the yam. Pandan leaves are used as additional flavoring for the skin.
To further depict the kampong style, I choose to present my Orh Nee rolled up in light pandan fragrance snowskin, looking like a piece of home made traditional kueh. It is also to break the monotonous habit of serving Orh Nee in a bowl, looking like a pile of unappetizing dull looking gooey mess. The spongy texture of the snow skin with fried shallots and pumpkin seed provide a slight contrast to the rich creamy texture of the yam paste itself. This sweet as well as savory dessert is made from scratch, just like from the kampung days.


Dessert name: Orh Nee Roll (About 100 pcs)
(Adjust oil and coconut cream base on your desired consistency.)
Ingredient List
Yam Paste 
Fresh Yam        1200g
Caster Sugar        200g
Peanut Oil            300g
Shallots             15 no.s
Coconut Cream    600g
Salt                    A pinch
Snow Skin
Fried Glutinous Rice Flour (Kou Fien)          600g + (100g for dusting)
Icing Sugar                                                   750g
Shortening                                                    180g
Water (Cold)                                                 600ml
Green Colouring                                            Few drops
Pandan Leaves                                              100g
Method
1)      Peel taro and cut into thin slices. Arrange on a dish/tray and steam for 20-30 min until soft.
2)      Once the taro slices are out of the steamer, mash them up with the back of a fork, adding caster sugar at the same time. Taste and add more caster sugar if required. Tweak the level of sweetness to personal preference. Cover with clingfilm.
3)      Peel shallots and finely slice them.
4)      In a wok or wide saucepan, add oil and sliced shallots. Gently stir-fry on medium low heat until the shallot discs begin to brown and crisp up. Strain the shallots from the oil.
5)      Return oil back to the wok, turn down the flame to low. Add mashed taro paste and mix until well amalgamated. Taste again and add more sugar if required. Also, if coconut milk is used, it can be added at this point with a pinch of salt. Cut back the oil by half if so and add accordingly until the desired texture is achieved.
6)      Allow the taro paste to cool down considerably. Transfer into a food blender and blitz until smooth. Chill the mixture till firm.
7)      Sift the flour and mix with icing sugar and add into a bowl
8)      Blend the pandan leaves for its juice, add into the cold water with a few drops of colouring.
9)      Add shortening and water to the flour mixture, mix together to form a smooth dough and keep aside for 30 minutes.
10)   Roll out the dough into a rectangular flat surface, spread the taro paste across it and roll it up like a swiss roll.
11)  Chill before slicing into portion and serve. 

(I had my reference from http://travelling-foodies.com)

Graduated from At-Sunrice! Spice Odyssey 2014

This 18 months was like a whirlwind to me. I enrolled into At-sunrice and started my course almost 4 months after my army days. Even the pictures I am about to post felt like an aftermath of the whirlwind since I am at a loss of what sequence should I start my story line with!  
Every story have a starting as well as an ending. I shall begin mine with the layout of my group’s given
presentation theme – Survival and Preservation. I further modified the concept to Kampong Survival and
Preservation of our Heritage so that it would make things easier. I present to you our layout that day of our
presentation! (Not the full layout actually)

My team that comprises of 3 pastry and 3 culinary students. With kampung theme, we dress kampung style! 

Another group shot sitting on the floor like kids! I wore singlet that day although I know I do not have a perfect body.
Who cares? I am known to dress anyhow as long as I am comfortable with. Note: For hygiene purpose, I
did shave my armpit hair the day before.  

A selfie playing with a paper kite that day. Although badly taken but no choice as this was the
only picture my friend sent to me….

My Orh Nee Roll which is my own rendition of the popular Teochew dessert. Shall post the recipe next
time. Really survival looking right?

We had to pack some door gifts for our guests and we bought some of these really old school toys and
candies! Remember these? We also bought some other toys like five stones, paper balls and chapteh to
play with during our presentation (not shown here). We wanted our guests to walk down the memory lane
and re-experience the past. 

I know it looked quite cheapo in plastic bags but it is Kampung style! Each group was only given $100 to
spend on whatever props and stuffs we need for our presentation.
We had to present our concept and food 3 times to different batches of guests. We were only allowed
one invite each. Taken a photo with one of my close friend’s wife when she visited my group for food
tasting.
My classmates! We all dressed accordingly to our theme that day. My dressing is definitely the most
‘CUI’! LOL! 
My close cliquey of friends! 
Guys only shot! One of them went for smoke break I think…

Back at Sats, thank you chef for loaning me some of the equipment for my presentation! 

This is just a brief post and I did not have time to try my friends’ food or to take pictures of other teams’ layout/food. We all knew we did what we could and to happily graduate from our course, no matter whether we would want to continue this profession in future.

Finalized Bak Kwa

Quite an obvious delayed post on Bak Kwa since Chinese New Year had passed more than a month ago.
Anyway, this was the finalised version which tasted as good as the actual commercialised ones out there!
Tested and many tasted!! (For method 2b below) Satisfied!

I guessed this was the final form… 

My reference for different types of meat for Bak Kwa trial can be found here.

The second post on the more complicated version using dehydrator and smoking of Bak Kwa can be found
here.

The finalised version (the picture above):

Ingredients:

300g Minced Pork
1 tbs Thai Fish Sauce
1 tbs Light Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sesame Oil
120g Caster Sugar
1 drop of red food colouring
Method:
1) Marinated overnight (or a few hours, up to you)
2a)  Spread on tray, placed into the oven for 10 mins at 100 degrees. Flip over and place back into the over
       for another 10 minutes till a bit charred.
(Better Results)
2b)  After spreading on tray (your desired thickness), dehydrate using your dehydrator for 3 hours, medium
       heat about 55 degrees. (Want to dehydrate longer to remove more moisture also can.) After that, place
       it over a bamboo tray (for better results) and cook/smoke over charcoal, which is about 200 degrees 
       for up to an hour. Remember to oil your bamboo to prevent sticking. Grill on pan a while before serving.  

Making Sugar Showpieces – An art that I enjoyed!

Posting this post about sugar showpiece would meant that my graduation day is approaching!! Like finally?
Woohoo… Left a week more of school (basically examination week) before my final group presentation
and I am out of there. I shall blog about my final presentation next time! Anyway, I had a 5 days module
on sugar works and was taught to do sugar casting, sugar pulling as well as blowing. Among the entire 17
months course, this module was my favorite as I could express my artistic style through the showpieces. In
a team of 2 throughout the 5 days, my friend and I created 5 showpieces, only to demolish everyone of
them (except the last) at the end of the day.
The 1st day was basically to hands on and get a feel of the extreme heat! Despite the 2 layers of glove, the
heat could still penetrate through, making sure my hands were constantly in perspiration mode. Such heat
would not stop us from assembling our masterpiece!

 Showpiece #1 – Fruit Farm    
Started blowing sugar in the first day itself! Dam difficult to blow but managed to get an apple done! My
friend was practicing doing some twirls and leaves using molds. 

A bit too much text above? I shall go straight to the point then…

Showpiece #2 – Fruit PartyMore blowing to practice my skill although the shapes were slightly (ok, very) mutated.
Spot the lemon and bell pepper? A bit of rose petal design on the casting itself. Basically
I handled the blowing part while my friend focused on the swirls and leaves. This is what
I would call assigning specialization! 

Showpiece #3 – Do you want to build a snowman?
Based on the recent trend of the Disney movie called ‘Frozen’ and one of the songs ‘Do you
want to build a snowman?’, we too, decided to build a snowman! Not with snow and magic
but with heat and sugar LOL! Practiced a bit of shape manipulation to create objects such as
the broom. Damn difficult to blow up large regular sphere shape sugar pieces as the room
humidity was not right in the first place. I did managed to blow one up as large as your face!

Showpiece #4 – Into the depth
Day 4 already and we got more enthusiastic and adventurous, so we decided to go for
the underwater theme. That day was when I started to blow teardrop and oval shaped
sugar pieces, creating whales mating and a bird..? Underwater? Trying out casting for
irregular shaped base, with 4 rectangular blocks of water swirling design as backdrop.
Not to forget a mesh of spiderweb-like extract for additional contrast.  
Showpiece #5 – Do you want to build a snowman? Again?
The final day of our sugar showpiece module as well as our assessment day! A new
improved version of ‘Do you want to build a snowman?’. A very Christmas theme with
the tree for extended height purpose and presents to showcase fine detailing of ribbons.
Hi cute little snowman! It was so much fun and I bet it would be my first and last chance
to do sugar showpieces.

Bak Kwa Madness for coming Chinese New Year??

Chinese New Year is just around the corner tomorrow and I have been experimenting to make Bak Kwa
with my friend since the start of January.

I came across an article on New Paper – ‘Behind the scenes in a bak kwa shop’ which featured Lim Chee
Guan. There was even a video to give public a peek at its HQ at Pandan Loop. Obviously the secret recipe
was not included in this article.

My eyes almost popped out of my socket when I saw that 1kg of Bak Kwa was going for $50.00 at the
shop! Gosh! Those people have been queuing for hours too and they mentioned that it was worth the wait.
Is it a tradition that Chinese New Year means Bak Kwa time?

The link of the article can be found here.

Another article which I came across last Monday with the heading

HED CHEF EXTRA: How to make your own bak kwa
  

sparked my interest.
The recipe given was:

-1kg minced pork (shoulder butt)
-220g fine sugar
-1½ tsp salt
-1 tsp light soya sauce
-1 tbsp oyster sauce
-½ tsp five spice powder
-1½ tbsp Chinese rice wine
-Pinch of red food colouring powder

I guessed many people who tried making it would be greatly disappointed as it would never turn out the
same as those commercialized outlets like Lim Chee Guan, Bee Cheng Hiang or Fragrance Bak Kwa.

The reason of me writing this post was because I was a bit pissed off. I have already tried making Bak Kwa
even before this article’s recipe was published, using the oven, even with barbecuing, and the results was so off! It could be found on my previous post here. Not to mention the texture was not right too…

Notice the article’s recipe above contained sugar as the main sweetening agent? My friend and I did a batch
with only sugar and no honey (the recipe I used have), the taste turned out really flat! Honey not only
sweetened the Bak Kwa but also provides flavor. (Different brand, different flower, different flavor also.)
Be careful as honey is sweeter than sugar too.

Another thing that would happen when you place the marinated meat into the oven would be the oozing out
of marination which I experienced many times before. To prevent that from happening, I suggested using the
dehydrator which I did not expect my friend to actually buy it  

The same dehydrator that could be used to make fruit and vegetable chips! It cost my friend about $250.
Basically he dehydrated the marinated meat for about an hour, about 65 degrees (high). (Also have low
and medium heat options.)  

After that, the marinated meat is smoked with his own-made smoker, made from a 3 tier Ikea rack,
covered by some board used for artwork. (Sushi bamboo racks to place the marinated meat on.)

(Top view) An opening for smoke to escape and and thermometer to determine the temperature
of the smoking.   

Just a tin with hickory wood/charcoal to produce the smoke.

Final outcome of the Bak Kwa! Do not use hickory wood but stick to charcoal instead as the smokey
flavor was overwhelming. It made the Bak Kwa taste like Lap Cheong (Chinese sausages) instead.
The Bak Kwa was also like a sponge, absorbing all the moisture from my mouth, making it dry.
Almost there!!!!
(Everything stated is based on personal opinion ; open to suggestions and advice)