Friday, October 28, 2016

Spookily cute cupcakes aka double chocolate mini cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Trick or treat ?!!!!!

It's almost that time of the year again !

Most people in this side of the world don't celebrate Halloween so , no trick-or-treating if your neighbours are mostly locals , except , of course , in those estates where a high concentration of expats live . But that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy this celebration here , theme parks are great place to visit , malls are decked out for Halloween fun and let's not forget the Lan Kwai Fong Halloween street party .

Making these Halloween-themed cupcakes is just an excuse so that I can go overboard with toppings lol 

Found the perfect recipe for mini cupcakes , soft , moist and chocolaty , deliciously awesome on its own but who can't resist a cream cheese frosting ?

Whether you're celebrating Halloween or not , these cupcakes are great for any occasions sans the eyeballs and blood , of course !

Recipe adapted from Food Network

Double chocolate mini cupcakes : 

Makes 24 minis 

57 grams semi-sweet chocolate chips
21 grams ( Valrhona ) dutch-processed cocoa powder
53 grams light brown sugar
57 grams hot brewed coffee 
63 grams all purpose flour
50 grams granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk , at room temperature
50 grams ( rice bran ) oil
56 grams ***diy buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

* Preheat oven to 180ºC . Line a mini-muffin pan with paper liners .

* In a large bowl , combine the chocolate chips , cocoa powder , and brown sugar , pour in the hot coffee and whisk until smooth . Let cool to room temperature .

* In another bowl , whisk flour , sugar , salt and baking soda .

* Add in egg , yolk , oil , buttermilk and vanilla into the cooled melted chocolate mixture and whisk until combined . Sift in the flour mixture and mix until smooth . Batter would be runny .

* Spoon batter , about two thirds full , into the prepared mini muffin cups .

* Bake for 14 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean .

* Let cool completely before frosting .

*** For the diy buttermilk , combine 3 tablespoons plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon milk , stir well , set aside until needed .

*** If you only have 1 mini muffin pan as I do , after baking the first batch , gently take out the cupcakes from the pan and place into the wire rack to cool . Place the pan inside the freezer to cool , a minute or 2 , take it out , line with paper liners and spoon batter into each cups , bake as usual .

Cream cheese frosting : 

Recipe adapted from Jamie's America , page 38 ( with slight modification )

170 grams cream cheese , at room temperature
57 grams unsalted butter , at room temp.
2 teaspoons lime juice
100 grams icing sugar

* In a medium bowl , combine cream cheese , butter and lime juice , sift in powdered sugar . Beat until fluffy and smooth . Pipe or spoon onto cupcakes . Frosting is perfect for 24 minis .

Strained cherry jam : 

90 grams cherry jam , at room temperature
1 teaspoon strawberry paste

* Strain jam into a small saucepan , add in the paste . Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes , transfer to a small bowl and let cool completely . Mixture will set as it cools down , just stir until smooth before using .

To assemble the cupcakes : 

* Pipe some cream cheese frosting onto a cupcake , stick one or 2 candy eyeballs and drizzle some jam . Repeat with the rest .

* Piped frosting will nicely hold for about an hour at room temperature . Chill leftovers .

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Chicken karaage / Japanese fried chicken

I think this is my 3rd chicken karaage post . There is no such thing as too much Japanese fried chicken , right ? 😀

Karaage ( kara-ageh) is a technique of Japanese deep-frying , you just simply dredge the seasoned ingredients in flour or potato starch and deep-fry them . 

This fried chicken is simply seasoned with the usual suspects that you can find in your pantry . If you're fond of Japanese food , you've probably got 2 of the ingredients .

Sake is a Japanese alcoholic drink brewed from rice , it is also an important ingredient , it adds umami , sweetness , acidity and depth to foods . Mirin is a sweet cooking liquid , it is brewed from glutinous rice and just like sake , it also adds depth and umami-rich flavour . ( Source : Japanese Soul Cooking ) 

I used cooking sake ( check the last photo ) in all of my Japanese dishes and it's way cheaper the sake that you can find in the wine section . It does the job and so far , my taste buds have no complaints about it lol 

If you can't find potato starch ( scroll down for the photo ) , use cornstarch instead .

I made half of the recipe listed below , I used 475 grams ( 2 pieces ) boneless chicken legs . This cut of chicken is perfect for deep-frying ,  the meat is really moist and soft after cooking , as long as you won't overcooked it . 

Tired of you same ol' same ol' fried chicken recipe ? Try this dish ! Simple and easy to prepare with amazing flavour payoff ! 

Recipe adapted from Japanese Soul Cooking

4 chicken legs ( about 2 pounds ) , boned and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic , peeled and grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons grated ginger
1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1 cup katakuriko / potato starch

Oil for deep-frying  
Steamed rice , for serving
Lemon ,  cut into wedges , for drizzling 

* Mix together the chicken , garlic , salt , ginger , sake , soy sauce and mirin in a bowl ,  stir until well combined . Marinate chicken for 15 minutes . I marinated mine for 1 hour 

* In a shallow bowl , add in potato starch . Squeeze excess marinade from the chicken and dredge each piece into the starch , shake off excess . Or you can put the starch in a ziplock or food bag , add pieces of chicken inside and shake until each piece is well coated . Transfer the dredged chicken pieces on a plate . 

* Fill a saucepan or a skillet with oil to a height of at least 1-inch . When the oil is hot , carefully add the chicken pieces , cook in batches . Fry for 5 minutes or until chicken turns golden brown . Transfer chicken to the paper-lined plate to drain or place on a wire rack to drain excess oil . 

* Serve piping hot with rice or on its own .