First Year Blogiversary!
Dear Family & Friends,
Have you eaten?
As some of you would know, today (September 29, 2017) marks the first year since I've started my blog, "Miss Crumbs A Lot". I cannot believe that a whole year has gone by and how much I have accomplished! And because I am one who loves traditions and celebrations, I think blogiversaries should be celebrated in one way or another (perhaps, there will be cake! Pandan Cake!). I have definitely come a long way but I am still a work in progress. So, for my first blogiversary post, I would like to share with you my "why". Why did I start the blog and why do I want to keep blogging?
Moving to Houston from Singapore 8 years ago definitely took me out of my comfort zone. But Kian's and my love for food and Singaporean cuisine has definitely given me a passion to pursue. I have always enjoyed cooking and particularly love hosting family and friends in our home with an authentic home-cooked meal. Just like my Godmother and my 3rd Grandaunt, who would cook the most amazing traditional Singaporean dishes for Chinese New Year. Everyone would always look forward to visiting them at home and to savor the glorious food. I want to be that aunt, that cousin or that friend etc, whom everyone looks forward to visiting because they love my cooking too.
What started off as simply just sharing pictures of what I cooked and my excitement of being able to create Singaporean local dishes here in Houston on social media turned into many friends suggesting that I should start a blog. I never gave much thought to that until I got requests for recipes a couple of years ago. And soon, I found myself constantly emailing my recipes to family and friends. Then last year, Kian gave me the nudge that I needed and I started the blog to share the recipes online.
I wanted to make these Singaporean dishes as authentic as possible with the ingredients that are available to me here. So, I researched and consulted the elders in my family to create the recipe as close to the originals as possible. And I soon realize that if I had not asked for these recipes, this piece of valuable knowledge would not have been passed down to the next generation or to anyone. Not many people would know how to recreate these dishes that are fortunately still readily available in restaurants, hawker centers and food courts. But as society becomes more sophisticated, I fear that these traditional foods would be left behind along with their heritage.
So, I have big dreams! I want to publish a cookbook featuring Singaporean cuisine and preserve these traditional recipes in writing while keeping its heritage alive. With globalization and technology advancement, the world can be a borderless place. I want to bring Singapore to the rest of the world as well, through our diverse food culture. That everyone and anyone can make these dishes, that I hold so dearly to my heart, at home. I understand that people will progress and move with times. And so will their palate, which is why I will also continue to create recipes that will incorporate a fusion of cultures from all over the world. That is what Singapore's food culture truly is anyway, a world of influences.
I invite you to explore my blog and share your thoughts with me. What do you like, what would you like to see more of, if there is any other foods that I have missed out, or a fusion idea that you have. Share them with me by leaving me a comment! While I will move with the times by experimenting with the integration of other culture elements to Singapore traditional foods, I am determined to document traditional recipes down before the memories get wiped away.
Here are some of my favorite traditional dishes as well as fusion recipes that I have shared:
Ginger Soy Minced Beef, an immensely flavorful stir fry that can be prepared in less than 15 minutes and is guaranteed to be way better than any take out!
Ginger Soy Minced Beef is a quick stir fry so easy to prepare and yet still packs in an immense amount of flavor. I promise you that with this recipe, you will not need to order take outs ever again.
School has started for a couple of weeks now here in Houston. We are all getting back into the swing of things and with after school activities & homework starting up, the day seems rather short for the entire family. While I usually have more time to prepare more elaborate meals for my family towards the weekend, I was determined to still make tasty meals that do not require too much time in the kitchen on weeknights. If you noticed, before the summer, I had frequently shared quick and easy meals that are wonderful for weeknight dinners.
Some of the quick and easy weeknight meals that I had previously shared include:
These are just a handful of the many recipes that would be great for weeknight meals. I invite you to explore my website and hope these recipes will help with your meal planning and start off your school year or Fall season on a good note.
Ginger Soy Minced Beef is a recipe that is not only great for weeknight meals, it is also perfect for weekly meal planning as well. They can been made in advanced, packed into lunch boxes with rice and kept refrigerated for your lunches for the next few days. Just throw in a side of your favorite vegetable or salad.
It was a Monday night for us and Bella had martial arts classes that evening (yes, my little princess takes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes). Kian, who usually takes her to the classes had a work dinner engagement that night so I had to take Bella to class, with Jamie tagging along. Class would end at 6.30pm and it would take us 10 minutes to get home after that. I did not want the kids to have dinner too late so this is what I did. I set the rice cooker on timer, cooked the Ginger Soy Minced Beef & kept it covered in my pot (heat off, of course) before leaving. When we got home, I prepared a side of sautéed spinach with garlic, salt and pepper and warmed up the Ginger Soy Minced Beef. Within minutes, I was ready to feed two very hungry children a healthy serve of Ginger Soy Minced Beef over piping hot rice and a side of sautéed spinach. I assure you, it was really that quick and easy to make. And it was definitely delicious because, both Bella and Jamie finished their bowls happily!
Ginger Soy Minced Beef
by Miss Crumbs A Lot
2 lb Minced Beef (90% lean, 10% fat) *I usually get grass-fed beef as well
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
2 oz Ginger (minced)
1 Onion (finely diced)
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
3 tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing Chinese Cooking Wine
1 tsp Light Soy Sauce
1 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Shallot Oil
Dash of White Pepper Powder.
1. Prepare the sauce by mixing 3 tbsp oyster sauce, 2 tbsp Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp light soy sauce, 1 tsp dark soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp shallot oil and a dash of white pepper powder together in a bowl and set aside.
2. In a cast iron pot or a pot with a heavy bottom, heat up 2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Add in minced garlic and ginger, stir fry for a few minutes until it is fragrant.
3. Add in finely diced onion and continue stir frying until the onions are translucent.
4. Add in minced beef and stir fry further, breaking up the meat as you fry until the meat is cooked. Add in the prepared sauce and mix well. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes.
5. Serve over plain rice and garnish with sesame seeds and chopped spring onions.
Serves 4 to 6
Mung Bean Sweet Soup (Tau Suan) is a sweet Chinese dessert that is served warm and topped with Chinese donuts (You Tiao).
Mung Bean Sweet Soup, or more commonly known by its Hokkien name "Tau Suan" is a popular Chinese dessert in Singapore and Southeast Asia. A quick and easy recipe that used only a handful of ingredients, it is served warm and topped with sliced Chinese donuts or "You Tiao" in Mandarin. All ingredients are available at the Asian supermarkets and if the bakery does not have fresh Chinese donuts (you tiao), they can be found in the frozen section. Mung Bean Sweet Soup (Tau Suan) is one of my father's favorite dessert. So simple and comforting, it is also not uncommon to have it for breakfast.
Mung Bean Sweet Soup (Tau Suan)
by Miss Crumbs A Lot
7 oz Split Mung Beans (soaked for 4 hours or overnight)
3/4 cup Sugar
5 stalk Pandan Leaves (Screwpine Leaves) (knotted)
2 1/2 tbsp Cornstarch
2 1/2 tbsp Wheat Starch
6 cups Water + 6 tbsp Water
Deep Fried Chinese Donuts (You Tiao)
1. Drain soaked mung beans and place it on a shallow dish. Steam cook it for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2. In a pot, add in 6 cups of water, 3/4 cup sugar and knotted pandan leaves. Bring it to a boil. Remove and discard pandan leaves after it boils.
3. Prepare the thickening glaze by mixing 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch, 2 1/2 tbsp wheat starch and 6 tbsp of water together.
4. Stir the thickening glaze into the pot. Add in cooked mung beans and stir well.
5. Serve with sliced deep fried Chinese donuts (you tiao).
Gem Biscuits, the humble round biscuit with a bright sugary top, is a nostalgic and colorful Singaporean snack.
Gem Biscuits are one of the "old school" snacks that is possibly every Singaporean's favorite childhood sweet treat. The small round biscuits are topped with bright colored icing, typically pink, yellow, white and green (as a kid, the white gem biscuit was my least favorite so I omitted white and added blue instead). And they have been a hit with children in Singapore for several generations now.
Bella has tried them before when I bought some back to Houston from Singapore years ago. But Jamie has never tried them. So, I decided to make some and surprise them when they came home from school. I made the biscuit portion a little different from the original - mine tastes more like butter shortbread which I personally liked better. They were not quite ready yet when the kids got home so I promised them that they could have some for desserts if they finished their dinner. Dinner has never gone as smoothly as that night!
by Miss Crumbs A Lot
1 stick Salted Butter (4 oz) (cold)
2 oz Sugar
5 1/2 oz Flour (sifted)
4 cups Powdered Sugar
2 Egg Whites
1 tsp Water
Gel Food Coloring
1. Mix 2 oz sugar with 5 1/2 oz of sifted flour in a large bowl.
2. Cut 1 stick of cold butter into small cubes into the flour and sugar mixture. Using your finger tips, rub in the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Using your hands, pack and knead it until a soft dough is form (do not overwork it as the warmth from your hands will melt the butter).
3. Place the dough in between some plastic wrap and roll it with a rolling pin till about 1/4 inch thick. Using a small cookie cutter, cut out the biscuits and place them on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Refrigerate them for 30 minutes.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before icing them.
5. Mix 2 egg whites and 1 tsp of water together. Whisk it on low speed until it is frothy. Add in 4 cups of powdered sugar in small batches and whisk in on medium speed. Once all sugar has been added, whisk on high speed until a firm peak is form.
6. Divide the icing into portions and add gel food coloring. Pipe the icing on top of the cooled biscuits with a piping bag and tip.
Makes 100 pieces
Snow Skin Mooncakes with Mung Bean Paste, one of the many variations of a Chinese traditional sweet treat that is typically eaten during Mid-Autumn Festival.
Snow Skin Mooncakes with Mung Bean Paste is one of the many variations of mooncakes, a Chinese traditional sweet treat that is consumed during Mid Autumn Festival. The Mid Autumn Festival is a harvest festival celebrated by ethnic Chinese people. It is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month with a full moon at night, corresponding to a late September or early October date. This year, it falls on October 4, 2017.
Making and sharing mooncakes is one of the hallmark traditions of this festival. In the Chinese culture, a round shape symbolizes reunion and completeness. Hence, eating and sharing mooncakes with family during the week of the festival signifies the unity and completeness of families. In Singapore, about a month before the actual festival, bakeries, hotels and restaurants will start selling wide varities of mooncakes. They often come in beautiful boxes as it was a common practice to give them as gifts to family and friends.
Apart from the traditional baked round mooncake that is typically filled with lotus seed paste or red bean paste, there are also many variations in Singapore; from ice cream filled to flaky pastries. Snow skin mooncakes originated in Hong Kong and are similar to Japanese mochi ice cream with a glutinous rice wrap and does not require baking. It is also eaten cold. The name snow skin mooncake refers to the original cake's white translucent appearance, like snow and because it is consumed cold. Hence, the name snow skin. It is also very common now to add food coloring to the glutinous rice wrap, giving it a colorful appearance.
I made these petite versions last weekend to take to a friend's home where we were invited to dinner. Everyone enjoyed it. And both Bella and Jamie absolutely loved it. I was wrapping the mooncakes and I had not even finished making them yet, I was flanked by the both them with sneaky hands trying to reach for the mooncakes and them constantly asking, " Can I try some? Can I try some?" Well, I am glad I did not disappoint them. The first batch of 14 petite mooncakes were all gone that day. I will definitely be making more again.
I recommend measuring the ingredients with a digital weight scale for food and preparing the wrap a day in advance then the filling and assembly the next day. All ingredients can be found at your local Asian supermarket.
Snow Skin Mooncakes with Mung Bean Paste
by Miss Crumbs A Lot, adapted from China Sichuan Food & Christine's Recipes
Snow Skin Wrap Ingredients
45g (1.6oz) Glutinous Rice Flour
35g (1.2oz) Rice Flour (water milled)
20g (0.8oz) Wheat Starch
40g (1.5oz) Sugar
180ml (6 fl oz) Unsweetened Coconut Milk
18ml (0.6 fl oz) Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Glutinous Rice Flour (for dusting)
Mung Bean Paste Filling Ingredients
200g (7oz) Peeled Split Mung Beans (rinsed and soaked for 4 hours or overnight)
100g (3.5oz) Sugar
80ml (2.75 fl oz) Unsweetened Coconut Milk
70ml (2.4 fl oz) Vegetable Oil
1/8 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tbsp Wheat Starch
5 stalk Pandan Leaves (Screwpine Leaves) (knotted)
1 50g size Mooncake Mold
Snow Skin Wrap Cooking Method
1. In a bowl, mix 45g (1.6oz) of glutinous rice flour with 35g (1.2oz) rice flour and 20g (0.8oz) wheat starch together.
2. In another bowl, dissolve 40g (1.5oz) sugar in 180ml (6 fl oz) unsweetened coconut milk. Then mix in 18ml (0.6 fl oz) of vegetable oil.
3. Slowly pour the coconut milk mixture into the flour mixture while whisking it gently. Mix well. Strain it once and set it aside, allowing it to rest for 30 minutes.
4. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and steam cook it over high heat for 30 minutes.
5. Once ready, remove from heat and use a pair of chopsticks or fork to stir the mixture until a soft and smooth dough is formed.
6. Once cooled, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and knead it with your hands for a few minutes. It is imperative to knead it to ensure that the wrap will be soft and smooth.
7. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours before assembling the mooncake.
Mung Bean Paste Cooking Method
1. Drain soaked mung beans and place them in a shallow dish. Pour boiling water just enough to cover the mung beans. (The water will be absorbed by the mung beans as it cooks) Place knotted pandan leaves on top. Steam cook on high heat for 30 minutes.
2. Remove from heat. The mung beans should be soft and easily mashed by your fingers. Remove and discard pandan leaves.
3. Place cooked mung beans in a food processor and blend it till a smooth paste is formed.
4. Transfer mung bean paste into a non stick wok or pan. Add 100g (3.5oz) sugar, 80ml (2.75 fl oz) unsweetened coconut milk, 70ml (2.4 fl oz) vegetable oil and 1/8 tsp salt. Mix well.
5. Cook on medium heat until the moisture is reduced by 2/3 and it is back to the smooth paste form, stirring constantly. This takes about 20 to 25 minutes.
6. Reduce heat to low and add in 1 1/2 tbsp sieved wheat starch in small batches and continue mixing it in.
7. Continue stirring and simmering until it thickens for about 20 minutes. At this point, it should be in a soft dough form, easily pulled away from the wok and able to hold a molded shape.
8. Transfer to a plate to cool. You may wrap the mung bean paste in plastic wrap refrigerate it if you are making this in advance.
1. Toast 1/2 cup of glutinous rice flour in a non-stick wok or pan over medium heat until it turns light yellow. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2. Measure each snow skin wrap and mung bean paste to around 20g and 30g respectively. Shape them into balls and set aside.
3. Dust your hands, counter top and mooncake mold with toasted glutinous rice flour.
4. Wrap each mung bean paste ball with snow skin wrap and seal completely. Shape it into a ball first then gently mold it into an oval.
5. Place the oval into the mooncake mold, place it on the counter top and gently push the shaping tool to shape the mooncake into the mold. Remove from mold gently.
Makes 14 pieces
Basic Donuts, a super quick and easy recipe made with ingredients that you would probably already have in your pantry.
Basic Donuts is a recipe that is made from scratch and so simple to make, you can have them ready in under 20 minutes. With basic ingredients that you would probably already have in your pantry, the flavor is anything but basic. With this classic donut recipe, you can let your creativity take over by creating different shapes and seasoning them in various ways.
Bella and Jamie are always starving after they come home from school. So, I decided to make some homemade donuts for them. I kept it simple by dusting the donuts with powdered sugar. Other seasoning suggestions include cinnamon sugar, glazing, topping with icing and sprinkles etc.
by Miss Crumbs A Lot, adapted from allrecipes.com
2 tbsp White Vinegar
6 tbsp Milk
2 tbsp Shortening (butter flavor)
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour (sifted and divided)
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 quart Vegetable Oil (for frying)
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar (for dusting)
1. Mix 2 tbsp of white vinegar with 6 tbsp of milk together. Set aside as it thickens slightly.
2. Cream 2 tbsp of shortening with 1/2 cup sugar until smooth.
3. Add in 1 eggs and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
4. Mix in 1 cup sifted all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt until well combined.
5. Add in vinegar and milk mixture. Mix until well combined.
6. Add in 1 more cup of sifted all purpose flour. Mix until well combined and a soft dough is formed.
7. Heat 1 quart vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat.
8. At this point, the dough will be very soft and sticky. Dust counter top and hands with the remaining 1/4 cup of sifted all purpose flour.
9. Pinch off about 3 tbsp of dough, roll into a ball with hands then press it flat on the counter top till about 1/4 inch thick. Using a bottle cap, cut out a hole in the middle and immediately place dough into oil to fry. You may fry the cut out holes and make donut holes or combine them to make a whole donut.
10. Fry until they are golden brown, turning over once. You may have to lower the heat to prevent the donuts from browning too quickly. Drain the donuts on paper towels then dust them with powdered sugar or any other seasoning of choice.
Makes 10 3" wide pieces
Stir Fried Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish, an extremely simple dish but so tasty and flavorful.
Stir Fried Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish has always been one of my favorite dishes, even as a child. While most children disliked bean sprouts (also known as mung bean sprouts), My younger brother, Jody and I have always enjoyed them. Not my youngest brother, Jordan though. It has always been a challenge to get him to eat vegetables, even till this day.
When we were kids, we would go food shopping at the wet market with my mom. Wet markets are usually partially covered markets where food vendors sell their products. There will be the meats and fish sections, fruits and produce, dry goods and usually a hawker center selling cooked one dish meals as well. The vegetable stalls would usually have bean sprouts for sale. They are typically displayed in a large round sieve and sold by weight. Unlike now where bean sprouts are cleaned and roots picked off in a sealed packet, those bean sprouts then still have the roots attached to them. We would buy a large packet of bean sprouts and then head home to pick off the roots before cooking them.
Salted fish is one of the most popular ingredient to cook bean sprouts with. Salted fish is a traditional Chinese food originating from the Guandong province in China. The fish is preserved or cured with salt and was a staple food in southern China. Historically known as the "poor man's food" because the extreme saltiness of the fish was useful in adding variety and taste to the simpler rice based meals. More recently, it has become a popular cuisine in its own right. Another dish that I had shared previously that uses salted fish as flavoring is the "Steamed Pork Patty Rice".
Stir Fried Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish
by Miss Crumbs A Lot
16 oz Bean Sprouts (rinsed and drained)
1/4 cup Salted Fish (finely diced)
1 tbsp Chopped Garlic
1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Shallot Oil
1 tbsp Water
2 tbsp Chopped Cilantro
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1. Prepare the sauce first by mixing 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp shallot oil, 1 tbsp water in a bowl and set aside.
2. Heat up 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a wok on medium heat. Add in finely diced salted fish and stir fry until they are golden brown and crispy.
3. Add in 1 tbsp chopped garlic and stir fry until fragrant.
4. Reduce heat to low and add in bean sprouts. Stir fry for a few minutes. Add in prepared sauce and mix well. (Do not overcook bean sprouts, you'd still want a crisp and crunchy texture).
5. Turn heat off and stir in chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.
Chickpea Salad, a healthy and easy salad that combines some of my favorite vegetables that can be made in advance for potlucks and parties too!
Chickpea Salad is actually a recipe that I kind of accidentally put together. I was attempting to "eat down" our refrigerator & pantry and had 2 avocados left that honestly, had seen better days. If I did not consume them that day, they would have to go into the trash. Determined to reduce wastage, I cut up the avocados and picked out the brown bits. It wasn't bad, they were very ripe but still edible. Pulling out what else was left in the refrigerator, I found myself left with mostly vegetables and beans that could still be a great salad. Super quick and easy to make, they can be made in advance and refrigerated till ready for consumption. Perfect for meal preps, potlucks and parties!
by Miss Crumbs A Lot
1 19oz can Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
2 Avocados (diced)
5 oz Cherry Tomatoes (cut into halves)
8 oz Cucumber (diced)
Juice of 1 Lime (approx. 3 1/2oz)
3/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Dill Weed
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
1. Put chickpeas, diced avocados, cherry tomatoes, and diced cucumbers in a large bowl.
2. Season with juice of 1 lime, sea salt, dill weed and freshly cracked pepper. Mix well.
3. Top with some red pepper flakes, if desired.
4. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
A Singaporean SAHM living in Houston, Texas. Discovering her potential in the kitchen with authentic Singaporean Cuisine. And exploring the dynamic food scene Houston has to offer.