Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Japanese curry buns

With the weather getting warmer , I need to bake as much as I can before our very tiny kitchen turns into a hell's kitchen ! Baking can be therapeutic but not if the kitchen's temperature can go as high as mid-30's in the morning *sigh*

I never had this kind of bread before so when I saw Sonia's post about Japanese curry buns , I was delighted to see another savoury buns to  try . Of course , she posted the recipe way back in 2013 but as the saying goes , Too many breads to bake , so little time ha !

Japanese curry bun is made by wrapping a prepared curry filling inside a small portion of dough . It is then covered in breadcrumbs or panko and traditionally , deep fried but baking it is a good , healthy choice .  

Recipe is pretty much straightforward , make the curry filling first and you can do it the day before . If you love Japanese curry with rice , double the recipe , trust me , the filling on its own tastes really good ! If you tried Izumi's curry , this recipe is a copycat or maybe it's the other way around lol

The dough is very easy to handle but I added some water as the dough is a bit dry while I was kneading it . When you wrap in the filling , be sure to seal the edge well and roll the dough until it is smooth and tight , you want the filling to be in the middle , so that after it is baked , the filling should be evenly distributed , not in the other half of the bun and the other part has no filling at all . I used a very coarse breadcrumbs and I'm not so happy with how the bread look , I should have crushed some of the more coarser crumbs .

Remember to let the buns cool down for about 10 minutes before consuming . The filling is piping hot and it nearly burned my greedy mouth ....

Recipe adapted from Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover

Makes 14 curry buns and 4 ( no filling ) buns

Japanese curry buns filling : 

90 grams ( peeled weight ) onion , finely sliced
115 grams ( peeled weight ) carrot , cut into small cubes 
300 grams boneless , skinless whole chicken legs , thinly sliced 
75 grams Japanese curry roux
420 grams water 

42 grams butter , cut into small cubes 
42 grams flour 

* Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a wok over medium heat , stir-fry onion and carrot until fragrant , 3 minutes , add in water . 

* In a nonstick pan , pan fry chicken slices over high heat until it changes color , 2 minutes . Add chicken into the  wok , let mixture boil , then turn down heat to medium-low , cover and simmer for 13 minutes . Add in the curry roux , stir well until dissolved and continue to cook for another 2 minutes . 

* Meanwhile , in a clean nonstick pan , melt butter over low heat , when melted add in the flour , stir until flour is incorporated and mixture is smooth and thickened . Add it to the curry mixture , stir well until thick . Transfer to a bowl , let cool completely before using , you can refrigerate the mixture overnight .

* Divide mixture into 14 pieces at 45 grams each and form into a small balls , place into a baking sheet and chill in the fridge until needed  . 

For the curry buns dough : 

500 grams bread flour 
60 grams caster sugar 
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast 
1 large egg , lightly beaten , at room temperature 
235 grams water ( plus 15 grams )
50 grams unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch cubes , at room temperature 

1 egg , lightly beaten and strain 
panko or breadcrumbs 

* Mix all ingredients for the dough except the butter . Knead for 10 minutes , add water if the dough is a bit dry , then add in the butter in 3 additions until dough is smooth and elastic , another 15 minutes . Transfer dough into a lightly-oiled bowl , cover tightly with plastic wrap and let proof until doubled in size , about 1 hour or depending on the warmth of your place . 

* Final dough is 895 grams . Weigh dough into 14 pieces at 50 grams each ( 4 at 48 grams each ) . Form into balls , cover and let rest for 15 minutes . 

* Working 1 dough/portion at a time , using your fingers , flatten one dough into about 3 1/2-inch diameter . Place one curry filling on top , wrap dough around it and seal , rolling between your hands so that dough will be smooth . 

* Brush bun with egg wash , place onto the plate with bread crumbs and cover the glazed dough well . Place in a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet , cover with plastic wrap or tea towel and continue with the rest of the dough and filling . 

* Proof filled dough for 35 to 45 minutes .

* Preheat oven to 200°C . Bake curry buns , in the middle of the oven , for 16 to 18 minutes or until tops are lightly-golden . The filling will be very hot so be cautious when consuming  after few minutes of taking buns out of the oven . 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pasar malam / Hawker-style fried chicken wings

I saw Doreen's pasar malam ( hawker stall/street market in Malay ) fried wings and boy , those wings certainly made my mouth water ! The recipe was given to her by a friend who works in a canteen and according to her these hawker-style wings sell like hot cakes ! I only followed the batter recipe and used some aromatics and chicken powder to marinate the wings as I don't have Ajinamoto ( one of the company which produces MSG ) . MSG is a flavor enhancer with umami taste , which intensifies the flavor of meat . I grew up eating foods with MSG , my Mom added it in some dishes like meat stew , fish soup , for marinating meat ,  I think she even uses it until now .  If you're leery of using MSG or chicken powder , just use coarse sea salt with any aromatics that you prefer in marinating the wings . 

The recipe is pretty straightforward as most fried chicken recipe , turmeric powder is added to the batter so it gives a beautiful yellow color to the batter . Note that the batter is bland , it has only a subtle turmeric taste so you need the chicken to be flavorful and marinating it for several hours or overnight is a must especially if you won't use MSG .

The wings were delightfully crunchy in every bite and it'll stay that way until it's cold . But then if you're looking at a plateful of beautifully-cooked chicken wings , how long does it take you to finish scarfing it all ?!

Please check original recipe @ Doreen of My Favourite DIY

850 grams chicken wings , 5 whole wings and 6 mid-joint wings 
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoons finely chopped ginger 
1 stalk lemongrass , white part only , finely chopped
1 1/2  teaspoons chicken powder

Batter : 

10 tablespoons / 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 
4 tablespoons rice flour
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder 
generous pinch of salt 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
150 ml water 

* Combine the wings , garlic , ginger , lemongrass , and chicken powder , mix well and marinate for at least 1 hour , preferably overnight . If you marinate it overnight , take out from the fridge 30 minutes before using .

* In a small mixing bowl , combine the 2 flours , turmeric powder , salt and pepper , whisk until well combined . Pour in water gradually , whisking as you pour until batter is smooth , set aside . 

* Heat oil in a wok , 1 inch in depth (  about 1 liter )  over medium heat . You'll know that the oil is hot if you dip a wooden chopstick into the oil and bubbles will appear around it .

* Drain any liquid from the marinated wings , discard any aromatics and pat dry with paper towel . Dip each wings into the batter , let excess batter drip off back into the bowl . Gently place each wings into the hot oil and fry in batches for 5 to 7 minutes in each sides  or until wings are golden brown . Transfer wings into the paper towel-lined plate , continue with the rest of the wings , heating the oil between batches . 

* Serve hot or at room temperature .

This post is linked to the Little Thumbs Up event , a baking and cooking blog organized by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Favourite DIY . This month host is Diana of The Domestic Goddess Wannabee and the theme is Chicken .