Monday, October 12, 2015

Tea-Smoked Chicken Legs & Duck Breasts (熏雞)

During a trip to Taiwan a couple of years ago, my parents-in-law introduced me to this shop near their home that sold all sorts of smoked meat.  They were known for their smoked chicken legs in particular, and I could not stop thinking about it when we came back home!  As with most things, if I couldn't find it easily in the store or at a restaurant, I would get the itch to figure out how to make it myself. (^_^)v  Since we live in a condo we don't have a traditional smoker, but luckily for me, my friend Audrey knew of a recipe that could be done with just a lidded wok and a steaming rack!

The original recipe from The Breath of a Wok by Grace Young and Alan Richardson is super easy, but it will make your house smell smokey for a couple days after (I try to double the recipe usually and freeze it to make it worth it :P).  It keeps quite well vacuum-sealed in the freezer, and you also get some delicious concentrated chicken broth to use after the steaming step.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Chinese Steamed Buns - Mantou (饅頭)

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the soft inside fluffy parts of bread.  Crust can be ok, but by and far it is always the fluffy insides that I love to sink my teeth into when eating a piece of a bread.  Chinese steamed buns, or mantou (饅頭) are like the fluffy insides of a fresh baked loaf of bread, without any of the hard or dry crusts that comes with regular bread.  Unfortunately, most of the mantou you can buy at the grocery stores here in the U.S. are always too dense or dry for my liking, and I missed the ones my mom used to make which were chewier and fluffier, with a bounce.


Asking my mom for a recipe though usually amounts to "just add a little of this, and some of that and mix until it looks/feels about right." So... I turned to Google Search and browsed a bunch of sites, read some comments, and chose to Frankenstein together several of the ideas.  I specifically wanted to try and make black sesame and sweet potato versions.  It took a few batches, but I'm pretty happy with how it finally came out for the sweet potato and plain versions.  The black sesame ones, alas, will still need some work (didn't help that I overcooked them and they kinda burned too - I REALLY want to make a Totoro version!!!). (。-_-。)

My poor deformed and burned Totoros
Feel free to play with the ratios of flours.  If you like a denser feel, you can try replacing some of the AP flour with bread flour (50% AP, 25% BF, 25% CF for example).  Most recipes call for adding a bit of lard or canola oil - I chose to use butter instead, but you can replace with equivalent amount of lard/shortening or 1TB of oil.

I need to start my baking earlier for better lighting... (^^ゞ