Sunday, November 14, 2010

14 Nov 10 (Sun) - Osmanthus Red Bean Pudding (桂花红豆布丁) & Coconut Candy (椰子糖)

Initially wanted to cook Abok-Abok Sagu (Sago Cake) over the weekend but my sis suggested going to pray to my folks in Mandai and so decided to spend the weekend at her place after praying. Since I was at her place, I decided to try out the Osmanthus Red Bean Pudding (桂花红豆布丁) recipe found in Do What I Like food blog and the Coconut Candy (椰子糖) recipe in one of my cook books.

Started cooking only around 10am coz I wanted to borrow the electronic weighing scale, the vanilla essence and the food coloring from sis's SIL. Didn't manage to borrow the electronic weighing scale coz it was spoiled and discarded. So had to do the Osmanthus Red Bean Pudding (桂花红豆布丁) based on estimation.

Dried Osmanthus Flowers and Red Beans

Swallow Globe Agar-Agar Powder (White) and
Bake King Gelatine

Osmanthus Red Bean Pudding (桂花红豆布丁)

Ingredients (Red Bean Layer):
420g red beans
600ml red bean water
150g fine sugar
30g gelatin powder
12g agar-agar powder

1.  Soak red beans overnight. Cook till soft, drain and reserve 600ml red bean water for use later
2.  Add sugar, agar-agar powder into red bean water and cook till sugar dissolved
3.  Add gelatine powder and drained red beans, stir to mix well
4.  Cool the whole pot of mixture in cold water
5.  Pour cooled mixture into 3 or 4 15cm x 10cm x 6cm container and let it cool futher
6.  Chill in the refrigerator for 30min before topping them with the Osmanthus layer

Ingredients (Osmanthus Layer):
3 tbsp dried osmanthus flowers
450ml water
150g fine sugar
22.5g gelatine powder

1.  Boil water in a pot, add in sugar and dried osmanthus flowers and stir till sugar dissolved
2.  Stir in the gelatine powder till well mixed and leave aside to cool
3.  Pour the osmanthus mixture onto the chilled red bean layer and refrigerate till set

Coconut Candy (椰子糖)

500g grated coconut
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp coloring

1.  Mix coconut with sugar and milk in a pan. Cook over low fire for about 45mins, stirring all the time so the mixture doesn't burn
2.  Once mixture is dry and sticky - you know this when it becomes difficult to continue stirring - add vanilla essence and desired coloring. Stir for another 3-5mins until color is even
3.  Press into a 30cm tray 2-3cm thick and leave to cool. Cut into 3cm or larger squares

The Osmanthus Red Bean Pudding (桂花红豆布丁) didn't turn out too bad though I felt that the red bean layer is too thick while the osmanthus layer is too thin. Also the red bean didn't seem soft enough. Perhaps next time will need to adjust the red bean to osmanthus ratio so that both will be more even and cook the red bean longer. The jelly made using gelatine powder has a softer texture than those made using the konnyaku powder and personally I prefer konnyaku powder which gives a firmer texture. Perhaps next time I can try using konnyaku powder instead.

As for the coconut candy (椰子糖), it wasn't too bad either just that I didn't press the mixture hard enough and so when I cut the candy, some of the coconut actually broke off and crumpled.

----- edited on 16 November 2010 -----

Feedback from my group of tasters:
1.  The red bean layer was too thick and the red bean was not soft enough.
2.  The osmanthus jelly layer was not sweet enough.
3.  The coconut candy was a bit too sweet and dry.
4.  The coconut candy was not compressed hard enough.

Monday, November 8, 2010

8 Nov 10 (Mon) - Osmanthus Jelly (桂花糕)

Saw a photo ( posted by a fellow twitter, Victoria, on Osmanthus Jelly (桂花糕) and it looked very nice. Recalled that my secondary school friend mentioned that she would like to make that someday and so did a google on the dessert. Saw a couple of websites with easy-to-follow recipes with very nice photos of the dessert. Felt kind of excited about it and read on to see where to get the dried Osmanthus flowers. One of the authors bought hers from Hong Kong and so immediately sent a text message to my sis who is currently on vacation in Hong Kong to help get the flowers. Read the other website and that author said that she found the flowers in Yu Hua Guo Huo (裕华国货) in Chinatown selling at 100g for S$9.

Planned to get the flowers from Yu Hua sometime soon to make the jelly over the weekend. Emailed my friend, SWT, to remind her about tomorrow's movie date and suddenly had a thought. Asked her if she would like to have jelly as dinner tomorrow and she was equally excited about it. So decided to go to Yu Hua after work to get the Osmanthus flowers and on the way back, drop by the minimart to get the Konnyaku Jelly powder.

After work, took bus 970 to Chinatown area and headed to Yu Hua. Found the flowers on level 3 under the Tea Section on the counter and they were selling at 50g for S$9. Bought it and managed to get on bus 851 to head home. Went to the minimart and was disappointed that they were out of the small packet Konnyaku Jelly powder. Contemplating if I should just drop the idea of making the jelly or catch a bus to Bukit Merah Central to get from the NTUC.

While thinking and walking, bus 132 came along and hopped on it to Bukit Merah Central. Headed straight to the Baking Section and grabbed a packet of the powder, paid up and headed home. Showered, cooked rice for my lunch tomorrow and prepared the ingredients for the jelly.

Dried Osmanthus Flowers and
Red Man Konnyaku Jelly Powder
Osmanthus Jelly (桂花糕)

2.5 tsp dried osmanthus flowers
10g konnyaku jelly power
210g sugar
950ml water
2 tsp wolfberries, soaked for 20min till puffy

1.  Bring water to a boil in a pot, lower heat, add osmanthus flowers and simmer for roughly 2mins
2.  Add konnyaku jelly powder and sugar. Stir until powder and sugar are fully dissolved then off the flame
3.  Add 2-4 wolfberries to each jelly mould, then pour the jelly solution to fill each mould
4.  Let the jelly cool down a bit in room temperature and chill in fridge till the jelly is set

These tiny golden-yellow (when in full bloom) flowers are not just pretty to look at, they are also well known for the superb sweet and pleasant fragrance they impart. There is a Chinese phrase “桂花香”(meaning the fragrance/aroma of osmanthus flowers) which is commonly used in Chinese literature and popular culture to describe sweet aroma or sweet things, both literally and abstractly. The aroma of the flowers is unbelievably distinctive and yet, gentle at the same time. These flowers are usually available for purchase in its dried form.

Common Uses
They are often used to make osmanthus tea (桂花茶) or Chinese desserts such as osmanthus jelly (桂花糕).

Chinese (both simplified and traditional): 桂花
Mandarin Pinyin: guìhuā

Health Benefits & Properties
Some of the many health benefits include promoting beautiful skin, a balanced state of mind, digestion and detoxification. It is also known to relieve fatigue and improve appetite. You should consult a doctor for the suitability of consuming this ingredient if you are pregnant or have a special medical history.

Store flowers (sealed, in an air-tight vessel) in a cool, dry place (such as fridge or freezer section).

Recipe by Noob Cook -
Osmanthus flower information by Noob Cook -

----- edited on 9 November 2010 -----

Feedback from my group of tasters:
1. The osmanthus jelly was very frangrant and not too sweet.