Hong Kong Style Milk Tea

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Milk tea is ubiquitous in Hong Kong. It uses a special blend of tea leaves from Sri Lanka (i.e. Ceylon tea leaves), which gives it a unique taste that you can’t quite find elsewhere. With the right kind of evaporated milk, this home recipe is the closest I can ever get to the ones in Hong Kong. It is very simple. I hope you will enjoy it, too!

Ingredients:

1 cup of hot water (close to boiling)
2 Ceylon tea bags (please see Direction #1)
1/4 cup of Evaporate Milk (please see Note under Directions)
1 Tablespoonful of Sugar

Directions:

  1. Place 2 Ceylon tea bags in 1 cup of hot water and Steep for at least 10 minutes. (You can find tea bags specially marketed as Hong Kong Style Milk Tea in Chinese supermarket, such as 99 Ranch. Alternatively, you can also find Twiling Ceylon Orange Pekoe Tea Bags from places like Cost Plus World Market. I haven’t tried this particular tea but lots of bloggers find them very close)
  2. Remove the tea bags. Then add evaporated milk and sugar. You can also adjust these 2 ingredients to your taste.
  3. If you enjoy it hot, heat it in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. If you like it cold, place it in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours. Once out of the fridge, enjoying it in an insulated cup is highly recommended!
  5. Enjoy!

 

Note:

If you have a water boiler (the ones that keep your water hot all the time), you can simply hit “Reboil.” You can then use the water once it is at 212F (= boiling water).

For evaporated milk, I used  a brand called “California Farms,” which can be purchased at PCC in Seattle area. It is very creamy and gives it a very smooth texture.

 

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Chocolate Chiffon Cake

It’s been a very long time since we last posted anything. I finally got the encouragement to do some baking again a couple days ago. The original recipe was green tea chiffon cake from a Taiwanese cookbook. But I made a little modification to make it chocolate. This is a non-dairy cake and I like it a lot. I hope you will like it, too!

Iris

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Ingredients: 6 eggs, Kosher salt, cream of tartar, canola oil, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar, and water

Tools: kitchen scale, 2 big mixing bowls, mixer with whisk attachment, 2 7-inch Bundt cake mold or 1 10.5-inch Bundt cake mold

Ingredients for Part A:

  • Egg Yolk                                6
  • Sugar                                     40 gm
  • Kosher salt                          ½ teaspoonful (~3 gm)
  • Canola Oil (or salad oil)  100mL (~ 80gm)
  • Water                                   120mL (~120gm)

Ingredients for Part B:

  • Cake Flour                           120gm
  • Cocoa Powder                   25gm (or green tea powder 6gm)
  • Baking Powder                  1 teaspoonful (~4gm)

Ingredients for Part C:

  • Egg White                            6
  • Cream of Tartar                 1 teaspoonful (~ 3gm)
  • Sugar                                     80 gm

To Decorate: Powdered Sugar

Directions:

  1. Separate egg yolks and egg whites into 2 big mixing bowls.
  2. Part A: add egg yolks into 40gm of sugar. Then slowly add salt, salad oil and water into it until mixed well.
  3. Part B: measure all ingredients and sift them into Part A. Mix well. It will now be a good time to preheat the oven to 340°F.
  4. Part C: Add cream of tartar into egg white, then beat it until rough bubbles. Then add 80gm of sugar in a few different batch while continue to beat the egg whites until it shows stiff peak (i.e. when you hold the whisk up, the mixture will hold its shape and not be affected by gravity).
  5. Add the mixture from step 4 into mixtures from Step 3. Mix it just enough so everything is distributed evenly. Do not over mix.
  6. Prepping the Bundt cake mold: using a paper towel, cover the surface inside the Bundt cake mold with a thin layer of vegetable shortening (e.g. Crisco). Then dust it with all-purpose flour.
  7. Pour the final mixture into the prepped Bundt cake mold(s). Bake it at 340°F for about 40 to 45 minutes (if the whole batch in one Bundt cake mold, bake it at 300°F for 90 minutes)
  8. Once out of the oven, flip the mold(s) upside down and tap it on the cooling rack until it comes out. If using a paper mold, the cake does not need to be removed before cooling. Let it cool for at least 2 hours on a cooling rack. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and serve! (Please note the powdered sugar will melt over time. It will be best if sprinkled just before serving)

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Hong Kong Bistro: A review

I have been to Hong Kong Bistro at the Seattle Chinatown many, many times and have never thought about writing a review about. But today, I decided to flex my typing muscles and “write” my first review!

I grew up in Hong Kong and I do miss my comfort food from time to time. My craving has been getting stronger these days! Hong Kong Bistro has been the restaurant of choice when I want comfort food, especially so after a hard day at work. After finishing my work weekend, Ben took me to Hong Kong Bistro as my reward! 🙂

On top of all the selections in the menu, there are also dishes posted on the wall, which can be overwhelming. We always seem to order the same dishes over and over again, which include Singapore fried noodles, beef chow fun, and steam beef ball. (that’s right! they have it all-day! :D) But this time around, we decided to mix it up a little, ordering some of our usual and some that we had never ordered before.

Singapore Fried Noodles
WP_20150906_003It was a classic Hong Kong style Singapore Fried Noodles, meaning curry was used in cooking them. (I actually didn’t know until my friend, Charlene, told me about it. She is a big-time foodie! I am really no comparison to her. Check her blog out! The web address is http://doofniks.com).

Besides rice noodles, there were also onion, bell pepper, bean sprouts, eggs, shrimps, and Chinese BBQ pork. The dish has the right “humidity” to it: not too wet and not too dry. Rice noodles were not brittle. It also has a little spiciness to it, but not too overwhelming.

This dish is complicated enough to try to make it at home for me so I will pay the price to get a good one in a restaurant. And this one from Hong Kong Bistro just hit the spot! Overall, it has always been very consistent with the quality every time I had it here. I love it!

Grilled Mixed Steak (Beef, Pork, and Chicken) with Pan Fried Egg
WP_20150906_004It served with three types of meats, a hotdog sausage, and a small portion of veggies on a hot sizzling pan with your choice of sauce, which I went with black pepper sauce. It was topped with an easy over egg.

Ben pointed out that this dish is “western” style but it’s definitely a Hong-Kong-invented dish as he has never seen something like this elsewhere. I guess it is a Specialty in Hong-Kong-run western style restaurants! 🙂

Pork Chop and chicken filet (dark meat) were very good but the beef steak was on the tough side. The sauce was just a little on the salty side for me. (but Ben has been telling me it’s because of my reduced salt intake but it was okay with him)

I love eggs and this one did not disappoint!

I like this dish but not as much as Singapore Fried Noodles. But overall, it was not too bad! If I order this again, I will stick with the chicken filet and pork chop.

Pan Fried Chives and Shrimp Dumplings
WP_20150906_005It is always the best when it’s fresh! Since we were ordering for dinner, it was made to order!

It was crunchy on top. Contents inside the dumpling tasted great: a good mixture of chives and shrimps with the right saltiness. If I really have to pick something that it could improve, the wrapping was a little thick. (Jade Garden wins here :)) It is another great dish!

Hong Kong Style Milk Tea
WP_20150906_002I have tried to make this at home many, many times and have never been able to get it close to what I have in Hong Kong! With a little research, I learned that it is some what of a trade secret. All businesses get their tea supply from the supplier(s) that have a specific blend of tea from Sri Lanka, which are called Ceylon Tea (When Sri Lanka was a British Colony, it was named Ceylon). Besides tea, the proportion of evaporated milk (or milk, or mixture of both) is an art.

Anyway, this cup had satisfied my craving! 🙂

If I am successful in making it at home, I will certainly share with you! 🙂

Alright, that’s my first review of a restaurant. Until next time, keep on eating!

Iris’ First Blog: Introduction + First Trial in Making Chinese Steam Bun (饅頭)

Ben has been nudging me for the longest time to write a blog. After we had started this site about a year ago, I finally get the courage (and time!) to write a post! (For those of you who don’t want to read the intro, feel free to scroll down to the Chinese Steam Bun. I promise I won’t get upset about it 🙂 )

Anyway, I enjoy eating a lot. Most people will think I am addicted to food. But I think most of us from Hong Kong are a little obsessed with food so I am the norm! 🙂

I enjoy cooking to a lesser degree because I am usually consumed by work. Being exhausted after work most days, the last thing I want to do is to spend 1+ hour to cook a meal, which only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to consume and another 30+ minutes to clean up! By the time everything is done, it’s time for me to go to bed! I didn’t want to spend my whole day just for work and cooking, so I mostly do the cooking on my days off. And even then, I don’t cook all the time when I have my days off…

All I can say is that I enjoy the end results of cooking so much (i.e. eating) that I will cook so I can enjoy it! 😀

Chinese Steam Bun (饅頭)

This is my first trial in making the Chinese Steam Bun. Those are very close to the breading for BBQ pork bun. Ben really likes it. Since I have recipe for it in one of my cook book and it was relatively easy, I went ahead and give it a try yesterday.

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Ingredients: 8oz of all purpose flour, 1TBSP of sugar, 1TBSP of lard, 1/2 tsp of dry yeast, 1/2 tsp of baking powder, and 1/2 cup of warm water.

Total prep, idle, and cooking time: 1.75 hour

The actual prep time is quite manageable. It took me about 15 to 20 minutes (the book estimate was 10 minutes. Well, with me, the time is usually doubled. I think estimate in all the cook books are for chef or somebody who cook a lot but not for a slow poke like me :p).

It requires about an hour to wait for the dough to rise. It was my first time working with dry yeast. With the mild temperature we had yesterday, my best solution was to put the dough with a couple of bowls of hot water in the oven, which I don’t think was sufficient but it did rise a little (as far as I can tell). Please note the picture above was before it rose.

After an hour, I rolled them into 2 long sausage-like shape, cut them into about 10 pieces. I was supposed to let it rise for another 10 minutes before steaming but I didn’t because I didn’t finish the recipe! I had to steam them in 2 batches so I did that with the second batch. I did put each of them on parchment paper. I probably didn’t need to leave too much extra space on the paper since the buns wouldn’t rise in the steaming process. I steamed each batch for about 15 minutes.

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The final products tasted great with the 2nd batch being a little better. They were not too sweet, just right! As you can see though, their surface didn’t look as smooth as the ones in restaurants. They were also a little dry. And I think they needed some more rising. There is certainly room for improvement. Maybe I need a little more water and lard? (the dough was looking a little dry) I will try to adjust next time.

The best thing is getting Ben’s approval! Or as my Dad’s saying: “as long as the food tastes good, it doesn’t have to look good!” I myself treasure the taste in my mouth much more than the look itself. But if both can be achieved, that would be better. 🙂

Nice to meet you all! Hope we will see you back again soon! (And I will try my best to write more often!)

Until next time, keep on eating!