Cooking is really not too different from say, synthesising a polymer in a chemical laboratory. Very often starting formulations or formulation guidelines provided by raw material suppliers yield results that are far from exciting. One would still need to continue to tweak the formulation until the right performance is achieved. Similarly, in cooking, recipes from most off the shelf cookbooks, sometimes even expensive cooking classes will fail to deliver the right taste. Off course, I do not discount the fact that my cooking skills are far from being professional but I do believe that most chefs will tend to reserve a few little secrets that set them apart from others. Or it could be that I I have fussy tastebuds and am not willing to compromise when something does not turn out right. As a result of which, I find myself throwing away quite alot of (edible) food when I start out with new recipes. It's sinful and I pray fervently that I will not have to go to hell for wasting food like this.
I first found this recipe in a cookbook that features Nonya Kueh. The first trial yielded a Kueh that was hard and tastes chalky in the mouth. It was depressing but it did not stop me from poring over a few other cookbooks to compare recipes. I eventually found an interesting recipe from the internet from which I adapted the process. The 2nd trial yielded a more reasonable Kueh that has an attractive pearly white translucence - in contrast to the chalky white cake from my first trial. However, I was still not quite pleased with the texture. It was not soft enough for me though friends were telling me this was good enough.
I carried out 2 more trials by tweaking the solid content and the liquid in the recipe to finally achieve a texture and a taste that I am satisfied with. Luckily, I didn't have to do too many trials with the Chai Po. All in all, given the right recipe, this is an amazingly simple dish to make.
Rice Flour 150g
Corn Flour 20g
Salt 1/2 tsp
1. Place rice flour, corn flour in a mixing bowl and add 300ml of room temperature water. Stir well until there are no lumps of flour.
2. In a heavy saucepan, add the 800ml water, oil and salt. Heat the content until it just begin to boil.
3. Pour the flour mixture slowly into the saucepan and stir continuously with a wooden spatula to prevent lumping. The mixture will thicken to a gluey consistency. Turn off the heat and continue to stir.
4. Spoon the gluey paste into individual Chwee Kueh molds (available from Phoon Huat). Steam over boiling water for 15mins.
Chai Po (Dried Radish)
Chai Po 300g
Dark Soya Sauce 1tsp
1. Heat oil in a heavy sauce pan. Fry Chai Po and minced garlic until fragrant. Add sugar, salt and dark soya sauce for seasoning.