Saturday, September 21, 2019

Traditional Mooncake Baking - Penning Down The Recipe For Future References #mooncakerecipe #traditionalmooncake

Strangely, i was never a big fan of traditional mooncakes until i am in my 30s. And now that i have moved to my own humble abode, i had taken up the task of baking my own mooncakes with the fool-proof recipe from Ms Jeannie Tay

Do click here for her original recipe! I decided to post one of my own today as there are some small steps / process that could be different (like the Osmanthus Jelly with Red Dates & Chinese Wolfberries) and it's safer to pen here in this blog, rather than on paper. 

- Golden Syrup (350 grams)
- Alkaline Water (10 grams)
- Peanut Oil (125 grams)
- Plain Flour (500 grams)

- Paste (1 kilogram)
- Melon Seeds (Depends on your Preference)
- Salted Egg Yolk (Optional)

Egg Wash
- Egg Yolks (Two)
- Milk (Two Tablespoons)
- A bit of sesame oil

Large Mooncake - Dough (50 grams) / Filling (125 grams)
Piggy Mooncake - Dough (15 grams) / Filling (15 grams) 

Put the golden syrup, alkaline water and peanut oil in a bowl and stir with a whisk. The colour would initially be a bit milky but what you really want is to get a honey-like consistency. 

Pour the mixture into the plain flour. From the above photo, it seems like there's a lot of flour and that's because i usually make larger batches that's double the recipe i am sharing here. 

Attach the paddle attachment and let the mixing begin! 

There's no hard and fast rule on how long the mixing would take as it depends on the mixer you have. I also play by ear most of them; so long the mix is combined, i would be fine. There were times when i had to stop and use a spatula to scrape the bottom and the side.

Being a stingy person, i had to take the extra effort to ensure i could remove most of the sticky mix from the paddle and that's a chore! 

Shape the dough by the pressing and smoothing the mixture with the spatula. I find a typical spatula to be quite restrictive in their movement and got the Joseph Joseph's bowl scraper; p.s. absolutely didn't regret my purchase.

Cover with a cling wrap and leave the dough to rest for two hours. Why? Because the current mixture would be too sticky for you to mold. Leaving it to rest make it a lot pliable for 'hand manipulation'.

Optional - if you like salted egg yolks in your mooncake, the two-hour rest would be a good time for you to steam the yolks. I bought the de-shelled salted egg yolks from the egg store at Chong Pang market which is technically easier.

However, the texture was found to be harder than usual. A few things to note for future references; i saw a few recipes spraying the yolks with sesame oil / rice wine and / or then baking them (at 175 -190 degrees celcius) for about 8 minutes. Leave them to cool.

Line the trays with baking paper! At the same time, i would also wrap my table with cling wrap for ease of cleaning up after the preparation and molding session.  

Mix your favourite paste with melon seeds! Our family's favourite is the white lotus paste from Phoon Huat and as we enjoy melon seeds, i am super generous on the amount to put in! By the way, do mix them real well.

Shape the filling mixture into balls; as per ratio indicated somewhere in the beginning of this blog, it's 125 grams for the large mooncakes. If you are putting in salted egg yolk, do be mindful to deduct the weight too; typically around 10 grams for one yolk. 

Two hours are up and the dough is ready!
Switch on and preheat your oven to 170 degrees celcius.

Sprinkle some plain flour on the clean table and put the now-pliable dough on them. If the dough is a tad sticky, just mix in some flour. No measurement here; just use your hands to 'feel'.

Divide and shape them into 50-gram balls. As you can see, i have the tendency to prepare everything first for efficiency. It would be easier if you have another pair of hands but i have done it alone and it's seriously easy once you get the flow.

Start of the molding; given the hot weather we have in Singapore, it can be hard to roll the dough into a round, flat disc. To make it easier, cut a piece of cling wrap. 

Put the 50-gram dough in between the cling wrap, cover with cling wrap and use the rolling pin to flatten it! The dough doesn't stick to the pin and you can get it real thin! 

Take the 125-gram filling, put it in the middle of the flattened dough and wrap it up. If you have rolled up the dough into quite a large piece, you should be able to cover up the entire filling. 

That's it; ready to be put into the mold! 

An important step - dust the wrapped dough with plain flour and roll it a bit more using your hands. You can also dust the insides of the mold as this would ease the removal later.

Insert the wrapped dough into the mold.

You have to press the wrapped dough in so that it can reach the innermost section but do not force your worse through. After which, press the sides of the mold pattern; this would ensure your mooncake doesn't have that unsightly bottom edges. 

Plunge out the molded mooncake! I have used both traditional wooden molds and the now, more popular plastic plunger molds. Which one do i prefer? Obviously, the plunger although traditionalists swear by the wooden ones.

Hold the molded mooncake using your palm and give it a light, gentle twist. Too hard and you would get a mooncake with distorted sides.

Ta-dah! Beautifully molded mooncake that's ready for baking! If the top pattern isn't too defined, you can usually still roll it into a ball and put into the mold again. For harder fillings like the five-nut, it might be harder though.

To prevent cracking, spray the molded mooncakes with plain water! Don't attempt to spray too much as it would result in blurring the surface pattern of the mooncakes.

Put the tray in the middle of the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Some recipes said to put them into the second upper level but they tend to brown too quickly.

After 20 minutes, take out the mooncakes from the oven and leave them to cool for 15 minutes. In that 15 minutes, prepare the egg wash and once the 15 minutes are up, glaze the top and side of the mooncakes; a light brush would do. Too much and the pattern would become fuzzy. Throw them back into the oven (second upper layer) and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Leave them out to cool completely after they are done (and sufficiently browned). To quicken the process, i switch on the air-conditioning and fan in my living room.  

This would be another important step so that the mooncakes would look nicer as gifts. Consolidate all the cooled mooncakes and put into a box.

Seal them well and keep for about 3 days. This would allow a process known as 回油 (return of the oil) which would result in a nicer sheen and better texture for the mooncakes.

Yummy, with tons of melon seeds!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Hougang Hainanese Curry Rice (龙香后港海南咖喱饭) @ Kovan Hawker Centre [Singapore] #hainanesecurryrice #kovanfoodcentre

The perpetual, snaking queue outside Hougang Hainanese Curry Rice stall at Kovan Food Centre has long attracted my attention and while i saw it being featured on a TV programme; i knew it's time for me to check it out!

In the programme, it was said that the popular stall had over 40 different dishes; a feat considering how small the space was and how difficult it is to churn out so many kinds of food. The number fluctuates throughout the day and when i was there at 2pm on a Saturday; i think it was maybe about 20-odd dishes on display.

Mine; Joyce actually helped me to buy as she's buying for Jovyn too and my order was rather standard for Hainanese curry rice. There's braised pork, egg omelette, curry cabbage and sotong (squid).

Braised pork (kongba) wasn't overly sweet yet it retained a tenderness that would have met the approval of the elderly. There's a slight porky taste which honestly wasn't too much of a problem. Omelette had chye poh (preserved radish) which had that marvelous effect on taste and texture. Squid was surprisingly not fascinating enough for me to re-order in the future.

I am leaving the unassuming curry cabbage to the last for obvious reason; known generally as chap chye, i can never imagine this would be the star of my meal. The texture was at the optimal level of soft crunchiness and in spite of the obvious spiciness, there's a lingering trace of sweetness i find so endearing!

So good until i am craving for more!


209 Hougang Street 21, #01-25, 
Kovan Food Centre, Singapore 530209 
(Next to Kovan MRT Station) 

Location Map 

As above. 


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