January 2017 | Christine's Recipes: Easy Chinese Recipes | Delicious Recipes

Pineapple Buns (Bo Luo Bao 菠蘿包)

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Pineapple buns (aka Bo Luo Bao 菠蘿包) is a classic soft, sweet buns in Hong Kong where I grew up with eating countless pineapple buns as afternoon tea. The recipe I developed here, was adapted from the owner of a Hong Kong bakery shop, specialized in making and selling pineapple buns. There are two important ingredients in the original recipe, lard for making the topping crispy, and ammonia powder for making the crackling patterns on the crispy topping. As I don’t use lard in my home-cooking at all, I tweaked it and used butter only. Besides, how would I make Asian breads without tangzhong (湯種)? Absolutely not. Many of my readers have already known that I’m addicted to tangzhong breads because they are soft and fluffy, and can be kept for days. Since I tweaked the original recipe with butter and tangzhong, I have had three trials until I got it right and feel satisfied.

As for using ammonia powder, it’s quite tricky. If used not enough, you’d be disappointed for no crackling patterns appear on the topping. If more than enough, your buns would smell weird (yes, like wee). Hope that I didn’t scare you off. If you don’t want to risk, or can’t find any ammonia powder, you can skip the ingredient, and use a knife to score the top pastry before transferring your buns in oven for baking. You’d get regular patterns, instead of getting irregular crackling that classic Hong Kong pineapple buns would have. Taste remains the same anyway. Hope you all like my sharing here.

(Update: This recipe was originally created and guest posted for Ann's PigpigsCorner on 31 Jan. 2011. For some reason, she stopped blogging on the site, so I've put the full recipe back on my blog again for my readers.)
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Chinese New Year Cake (Sticky Rice Cake 年糕)

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Chinese New Year’s Cake01
2010 is the year of tiger (Chinese zodiac)

Chinese New Year is a time of enjoying many delicious foods and snacks. One of popular desserts eaten during this festive season is Chinese New Year’s cake (nian gao 年糕), that made with sticky, glutinous rice flour (mochi flour) with brown sugar because it’s symbolic of growing taller, achieving higher every year, that signifies a prosperous year awaiting ahead.

Chinese New Year Cake02

It’s often served warm as it is. However, in Hong Kong, people like to have the steamed sticky rice cake, sliced and then pan-fried with egg. If it's pan-fried without egg, the texture would be slightly crispy outside and still pasty inside. When some relatives or friends come to visit them (bai nian拜年), they’d serve the sticky cake warm, with some other snacks, like turnip cake and taro cake.

Update: If you have an electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot, you might like to take a look at this radish recipe with video tutorial.
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Turnip Cake/Radish Cake (Chinese New Year)

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Turnip Cake (aka radish cake) is a must-eat snack during Chinese New Year traditionally. You also easily find it at many dim sum restaurants through out the year though.

Chinese New Year Turnip Cake

Normally we don’t have any holidays during Chinese New Year season in Australia. As for this year, Chinese New Year coincidentally falls on the same day as Australia Day – 26 January. Fantastic ! We’ll get one day off for celebration. In the meantime, I start to make some Chinese cakes for this special season. The first one is my most favorite, Turnip Cake (aka radish cake).
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Beef Cheek Stew with Red Wine

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This dish was made on a cold day, bringing so much warmth in our house. I didn’t have any chance to try beef cheek in Hong Kong until I came here down under.

If you’re like me, wanting to explore and expand your dietary repertoire, go for it. If unfortunately, you can’t find any beef cheek available around your area, you can replace beef cheek with any cheap cuts you like, for example, chuck steak is a good choice.

The beef meat was slow-cooked until it’s tremendously tender, almost melted in your mouth. The juice inside with the red wind sauce was so wonderfully tasty. After a few mouthfuls, I felt my whole body warming up. Cheers!
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