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Sunday, May 9, 2010
This is my second time postng on Chwee Kueh. The first time was way back in July last year when I first started blogging - when I was struggling with my compact camera and agonising over finding a voice. I don't know if anyone ever read that post but till this day, I have not gotten any comments for it... those were the days.
I decide to revisit this because a 'Chwee Kueh Expert' friend of mine kept asking me if my chai po (preserved radish) has any Heibi Hiam (fried dried shrimps) in it. Unsure if Chwee Kueh is available across the straits in Malaysia but this is a popular breakfast snack in Singapore. Among my friends, there are already a couple of die-hard fans for this and most of them swear by the Chwee Kueh from Tiong Bahru market. That's how this insistence on Heibi Hiam came about - one of them claims that the Tiong Bahru Chwee Kueh has Heibi Hiam in the Chai Po.
Second reason for me to redo this is because I have finally got my DSLR camera. Quite coincidentally, both Ju and myself got the camera at about the same time after playing with a DSLR camera loaned from a friend. After alot of griping about how expensive the DSLR is, we still ended up buying.... almost the same model! But Ju is more fortunate, she got it as a birthday present - I had to dig into my own pocket for it - hence the slightly older model Canon EOS 500D I've had my eyes on this camera for a while, like the way they call it the 'Rebel' in the US. So Trissa, yes, I have finally bought it and like you had adviced earlier, I have no regrets about it - yet. Having a DSLR camera does not automatically guarantee great photos. I still feel that 'the eye' is the most important element in photo taking, the camera is just a medium, a tool to let people see what you see... and there are still many times when I can't see beauty. What the DSLR affords though, is better control over how the photos are captured. I like the fact that I can choose to control what I want to focus on and what I want to de-emphasis. I have been shooting with my new camera for the last three or 4 posts and I must say, the results are starting to become less frustrating compared to the days I was shooting with my compact camera....
Back to Chwee Kueh - for those who have never had this snack before, this is simply a steamed rice cake made from rice flour. The preserved radish is the important accompaniment that gives it flavour and for me, it is the reason to eat Chwee Kueh. For those who have watched the Chwee Kueh vendor work, you would have noticed how the preserved radish is always kept simmering in a copious pot of oil. The beauty of preparing such dishes by yourself is that it allows you to make adjustments and for me I had chosen to cut back the amount of oil used to fry the preserved radish and yes, I did add dried shrimp to it this time and in addition to that, I also added toasted sesame seed for extra flavour. I truly feel I have got a winning Chwee Kueh dish this time - the kueh was extremely tender and the Chai Po is bursting with flavours.
The best part of it is, it is actually extremely easy to make. So here's encore to the recipe with a tweak to the Chai Po...
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
Dried Shrimps 30g (pounded or flossed in food processer)
Dark Soya Sauce 1tsp
Toasted white sesame 1 tbsp (grounded coarsely)
1. Heat oil in a heavy sauce pan. Fry Chai Po, dried shrimp and minced garlic until fragrant. Add sugar, salt and dark soya sauce for seasoning.
2. Add toasted white sesame.