Salted Egg Yolk Cookies (CNY)

It’s exactly one week to go until Chinese New Year! Have you bought all the necessary things (by necessary I mean mostly food) yet? Some of you have been baking up a frenzy, no doubt. Since we finally got a decent oven for this household, I’ve been hardworking enough to churn out some Chinese New Year cookies as well, and this year I’ve decided to try something new: Salted Egg Yolk Cookies!

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Salted Egg Yolk (SEY) anything have always been hugely popular in Malaysia/Singapore and people are putting them in everything: ice cream, croissant, waffles, pasta…. you name it and it has been tried. It’s hard to resist the allure of it, of course. It’s the very definition of umami, and adds that extra decadence to your dishes, be it sweet or savoury. Because of the SEY craze, I’ve tried putting it on pizza, pasta and our favourite concoction has to be these melt-in-the-mouth cookies. Easy to make, absolutely delightful to eat. You just can’t stop at one bite!

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Here’s the recipe I use with a little bit of adaptation of my own. It’s pretty straight forward and it goes without saying that the better ingredients you use, the better it will taste. So try to get Salted Egg from the market, and best butter you can buy (I’d suggest Kerrygold because I only use Grassfed butter, the cheaper alternative is Anchor). I added milk powder because I like the taste, you can totally omit it if you wish. Let’s get to it!

Salted Egg Yolk Cookies (adapted from Bake for Happy Kids)
125g Plan Flour
10g Corn Starch
1/8 Teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Salted Egg Yolks
85g Butter
40g Sugar
1 Tablespoon Milk Powder
Pinch of Salt
Egg wash
Sesame Seeds

First, cook the salted egg yolks, you may choose to cook the salted egg whole and just scoop out the egg yolks, or steam the yolks alone. What I do is I usually boil the whole egg for about 9 minutes (I’ve tried cooking for shorter time but the egg yolks tend to be undercooked). By the way if you have some fantastic ideas for leftover salted egg whites, send it my way! Mash the egg yolk with a fork and set aside until needed.

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Weigh out the ingredients accordingly. I usually do the flour, corn starch baking powder, salt and milk powder together.

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In a big bowl, weigh out butter and sugar and mix it together well (you can use a handmixer for this too). Pour the rest of the dry ingredients together along with the salted egg yolks, and mix well.

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The dough now should come together easily when you gather by hands.
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Flatten the dough to a disc (around 6mm thickness would be ideal) and wrap in cling film to cool in fridge for around half an hour. When you are ready, pick your favourite cookie cutter and cut out the dough. When it’s sufficiently cold, it should be quite easy to handle. If it gets too soft, put it back into the fridge for a while and then continue working.

By now you should have your oven preheated to 170 degree Celsius. This number should yield around 80 small cookies so you can do it in 2 batches. Brush the top with some egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. The egg wash is important here because not only it will give the cookies a nice sheen, it also acts as a glue for the sesame seeds.

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Send the baking tray into the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until lovely golden. Let cool completely and try not to steal too many of it before storing it in airtight container.

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I’ve already made 3 batches of these and there’s barely anything left now (it’s only a 3 person household, mind you). Kevin actually finished the first batch in one seating. So much for watching his diet. Hehe. I guess I need to make some more before next week then.

Happy Baking (and Eating)!

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Easy Steamed Tofu

This is a question I get asked a lot: “How do you manage your time with so many things on your plate?”. My typical answer would be “Well, I don’t think about it, I just go about finishing my tasks and doing what I have to do to make myself happy.” The second most common question is: “How do you even have time to cook?”. This is simple: I cook complicated dishes when I have more time (admittedly sometimes I have to clear the schedule for cooking especially now with Plateculture, not complaining though), and when I don’t or when I don’t feel like it, my dishes are simple and usually take less than 30 minutes. I’m also more relaxed after I spend sometime in the kitchen, which is always a good thing. I was already cooking almost everyday when I was working full-time as a doctor and part-time singer. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

Well, that brings us to the recipe I’d like to share today: The humble steamed tofu. Tofu is usually not high on anyone’s list of favourite food, which is a shame seeing it’s a great source of protein and has cholesterol reducing properties. It also contains soy isoflavones which has been shown to be extremely beneficial for women (more on that in my upcoming post). Besides the nutritional benefits, it’s also a great vehicle for transporting flavours. Here I’ve used very simple toppings and seasonings to transform the blank canvas.

Steamed Tofu with Minced Pork, Mushrooms and Salted Egg Yolk.
Steamed Tofu with Minced Pork, Mushrooms and Salted Egg Yolk.

Apart from the short amount of time needed for this, the best thing is that everything is steamed and there is no need to fire up any frying pan. Which means the kitchen will remain relatively clean. I’m sure that’s a bonus for everyone.

Steamed Tofu with Minced Pork, Mushrooms and Salted Egg Yolk (serve 2)
1 block Smooth Tofu (also called Silken Tofu)
50g Minced Pork, marinated with light soy sauce, salt and pepper
3 Shitake Mushrooms, rehydrated and diced into small pieces
1 Salted Egg, steamed or boiled.
2 stalks Spring Onion, thinly chopped
1 tablespoon Shao Xing Wine
1 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil

Optional: Dried Shrimp and Fried shallots but kinda defeats the purpose of no frying.

Remove tofu from packaging and drain excess liquid.

Mix the seasoning with the minced pork and stir into a sticky paste, mixed in the chopped mushrooms. Then place the meat mixture on top of the tofu, lightly press it flat (be careful not to break the tofu). Drizzle Shao Xing Wine, Soy sauce on top and steam on high for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the salted egg with rice. When it’s ready, cut in half and remove the egg yolk (you can use the egg white for other dishes). Break egg yolk into small pieces and place on top of the tofu when it’s ready, finish with sprinkle of spring onions and drizzle of sesame oil.

Ready in less than 15 minutes!
Ready to eat in less than 20 minutes!

Pair this dish with another steamed vegetable dish (I steamed some choy sum with my rice too) and brown rice and you have yourself a very comforting and satisfying meal.

Want some?
Want some?

Granted, the salted egg yolk is probably not the healthiest thing on the plate but what it does is providing the much needed umaminess. To bring this dish to next level, you can even try adding century egg too (funky looking and slightly funky in taste but goes extremely well with tofu).

Do you like tofu? What is your favourite tofu dish?

I am submitting this to the Little Thumbs Up “Egg” event organized by Bake for Happy Kidsmy little favourite DIY and hosted by Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out.