Tag Archives: Potato

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Steamed Buns Recipe

How can anyone resist freshly steamed Chinese steamed buns, let alone one shaped in rose, and come in light purple and bordering pinkish hue? After saving so many of these recipes for a long long while in my Pinterest board, I finally took the plunge and make these babies. Verdict: taste really good, soft fluffy texture, and most importantly, cannot suppress the smile as I bite into the soft fluffy purple/pink rose buns.

Preparing the dough for purple steamed buns.

Steps to create rose shaped mantou (steamed buns)

It takes slightly more steps than you regular steamed buns because:

  1. You need to steam purple sweet potato and mash,
  2. You need to prepare the steamed buns dough, and finally
  3. You need to shape them into roses, which took me 3-4 times longer than regular round steamed buns.

So time yourself accordingly. Having said that, it is not actually that hard to make these, so let me guide you along the way.

How to make rose shape steamed buns.

How to make rose shape steamed buns.

Prepare the purple sweet potato dough

First, steam some purple sweet potato. While your sweet potato is being steamed, you can prepare other ingredients.

My next step is to mix warm water with yeast and sugar and let it sit until frothy and foamy.

Then, I weigh all my dry ingredients (cake flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) and place them in a mixing bowl. And don’t forget to weigh your unsalted butter too (you can use shortening too).

Once everything is ready, take out sweet potato from steamer and mash with a fork.

Make a well in the dry ingredients, add mashed sweet potato, and yeast solution. Knead into a smooth dough. Add unsalted butter to the dough, and knead until dough is not oily. At the end, it should be smooth, soft, and elastic.

Place in an oiled bowl, cover with wet kitchen towel/saran plastic, and proof until doubled, about 1 hour.

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Steamed Buns. Just shaped and prior to proofing.

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Steamed Buns. Just shaped and prior to proofing.

How to create rose shape mantou (steamed buns)

Once it has finished proofing, punch the dough to release air bubbles, and knead for 2 minutes. Make 15 gram dough balls. You will need 6×15 gram dough balls to make 2 roses.

For a detailed instructions on how to shape the rose, please refer to my step-by-step photo.

My dough yields 36×15 gram dough balls, which give me a total of 12 roses!

Place each rose in a cup cake liner. Once you are done shaping the roses, let the dough proof again for 45 minutes.

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Steamed Buns. After proofing.

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Steamed Buns. After proofing.

How to steam mantou (steamed buns)

My steamer is only one tier, and I can only steam 6 roses at a time. I chose to steam the first six that I shaped first since they have become bigger compared to the later 6. That way, in the end, all of my roses ended with roughly the same size. If you have a multi-tier steamer, you can wait until all buns have fully expanded before steaming everything in one go.

The buns actually expand slightly after steaming, so don’t crowd them too much. Also, I think the color becomes slightly lighter compared to pre-steamed color. If pre-steamed is more purple, I think after steaming, it is more pink, but look pretty regardless 😉 Taste wise, it doesn’t differ too much from your regular mantou (Chinese steamed buns), but the shape and the color definitely make these special.

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Steamed Buns

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Steamed Buns

How to store leftover steamed buns

As with other steamed buns, you can freeze any leftovers once they are steamed. To reheat, simply steam again from frozen state. Alternatively, you can place frozen buns in a plate, cover with a wet paper towel, and microwave until soft and fluffy again. Your choice.

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Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread Recipe

Fall is when my kitchen is stocked with sweet potatoes and all sort of squashes, and I have a very delicious sweet potato bread recipe for you today. If you have some sweet potato at home, you must give this brown butter honey sweet potato bread a try. Forgive the literal name of this bread, it is quite a mouthful I admit, but I guarantee you and everyone you serve will enjoy every single bite of this bread.

Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread.

Mashed/pureed sweet potato

Start by making a batch of mashed/pureed sweet potato. For this recipe, even one sweet potato should yield more than enough puree for one batch of this recipe.

After making this bread for a while, I think my average is 1 sweet potato = 2 batches of this bread.

If you are making this for a family/friend gathering, you may very well need to prepare two batches anyway since everyone will want a second serving! If you want a shortcut, you can also use canned sweet potato puree. 😀

Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread.

Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread.

Plain vs. sweet red bean paste filling

Maybe because I am Asian, I am very fond of sweet red bean paste. I have this crazy unexplainable tick to always stock my fridge with some red bean paste.

If sweet red bean paste is not your favorite food, feel free to omit. This bread is still super lovely and super yummy even when plain!

If you are like me, then you can either make ahead some sweet red bean paste, or just buy some koshi-an.

Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread.

Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread.

Brown butter

The last key ingredient for this bread is the brown butter.

No you cannot buy brown butter in the grocery. You need to make this at home, and it is a very simple process.

Basically you heat some unsalted butter in a small sauce pot on medium (or low-medium) heat until it turns into golden toffee brown color.

This extremely easy step transforms regular butter into brown butter, which tastes amazing compared to regular butter.

Of course, using brown butter will make your bread extra special, perfect for all those special occasions where you will want to serve this bread.

Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread.

Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread.

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Perkedel Kentang – Potato Fritters Recipe

Perkedel kentang (Indonesian potato fritters) is a ubiquitous everyday side dish in Indonesian, and is popular for lunch, dinner, or even as snacks! The humble perkedel is tasty and filling, and you will spot these everywhere in Indonesia, from street hawkers, tiny Mom-and-Pop family restaurants, all the way to fancy formal banquets.

Interestingly, the name “perkedel” is derived from “frikandel”, a Dutch term for deep-fried minced meat patties. It becomes perkedel when we adopt it into our cuisine. Other varieties of perkedel also exist, such as perkedel tahu (tofu fritters), perkedel tempe (tempeh fritters) and perkedel jagung (corn fritters) to name a few.

Ingredients to prepare perkedel kentang (Indonesian potato fritters).

What are the ingredients to prepare perkedel kentang?

The main ingredient of a perkedel kentang is potatoes. I use Russet potatoes since they are the most common potatoes you can find, but any variety of potato that is suitable for deep-frying will be perfect to make perkedel.

Aside from potatoes, you will also need:

ground beef

You can omit this if you want to keep the dish strictly vegetarian/vegan, but I highly recommend adding some ground beef for everyone else.

scallions/chives/Chinese celery

You can use a combination of these, or just pick one out of these to use as your main greens.

fried shallot flakes (Indonesian: bawang goreng)

This is non-negotiable, perkedel without fried shallot will lack major oomph, and you will be wondering why yours doesn’t taste as good as the ones you bought.

nutmeg (Indonesian: pala)

You can skip this, but I am almost certain once you try the perkedel version with nutmeg, you won’t ever want to skip this secret ingredient.

salt, pepper, and sugar

Step-by-step visual guide to prepare perkedel dough: (1) Deep-fry some potatoes. (2) Mash the deep-fried potatoes. (3) Pan-fry ground beef, and add this to the mashed potatoes along with chives, bawang goreng (fried shallot flakes), nutmeg, salt, sugar, and pepper. (4) Mix all the ingredients together and shape into a ball.

Step-by-step visual guide to prepare perkedel dough: (1) Deep-fry some potatoes. (2) Mash the deep-fried potatoes. (3) Pan-fry ground beef, and add this to the mashed potatoes along with chives, bawang goreng (fried shallot flakes), nutmeg, salt, sugar, and pepper. (4) Mix all the ingredients together and shape into a ball.

First step: Prepare perkedel kentang dough/batter/mixture

There are two major steps in preparing perkedel. The first step is to prepare the dough/batter/mixture, which is then used to shape into patties. The second step is the deep-frying of said patties after coated in egg and turn them into perkedel that we all know and love.

The first step to prepare perkedel involves these following process:

1. Deep-fry potatoes.

Peel and cut potatoes into 1-inch wedges, and deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown. You may see other recipes suggesting steaming or boiling, but you get the best perkedel texture by deep-frying.

2. Pan-fry ground beef.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the ground beef with a little bit of salt and pepper until fully cooked.

3. Mix potatoes with the rest of the ingredients.

Use a fork/potato masher to mash the deep-fried potatoes until smooth, then add the cooked ground beef, along with chives, bawang goreng (fried shallot flakes), nutmeg, salt, sugar, and pepper.

4. Shape into patties.

Gather all the potato mixtures into a ball, then divide it into 16 portions. Shape each into a patty shape. Arrange the shaped patties on a baking sheet and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Shaped and chilled patties of potato mixture, ready to be deep-fried into perkedel kentang (potato fritters).

Shaped and chilled patties of potato mixture, ready to be deep-fried into perkedel kentang (potato fritters).

Second step: Deep-fry chilled potato mixture patties into perkedel/fritters

The second step of perkedel making is much easier compared to the first step. Once you have chilled your potato patties for one hour, it is time to do the following:

1. Heat a pot of oil.

I highly suggest you have at least 2-inches of oil to deep-fry your perkedel.

2. Lightly beat 1-2 eggs.

Depending on the size of your egg, you may need up to two eggs, lightly beaten, to coat your potato patties.

3. Deep-fry potato patties.

Once the oil is hot. The easiest, no thermometer needed method, is to stick a bamboo chopstick into the hot oil. If you see bubbles around the chopstick, the oil is ready!

Coat each of the patties with some lightly beaten egg, then gently drop into hot oil and deep-fry until golden brown. Drain over a wire rack to remove excess oil.

Perkedel kentang - Indonesian potato fritters.

Perkedel kentang – Indonesian potato fritters.

Storing your leftover perkedel/potato fritters

Perkedel kentang/potato fritters are best served hot, just like any other deep-fried food. But I get it that making perkedel takes effort, and you may want to make a really big batch in one go and store them for later. Here is how to do it:

1. Only freeze cooked perkedel.

You may be tempted to freeze the shaped patties and deep-fry as needed, but I’ve tried it, and they’re not pretty! So you definitely want to only freeze cooked perkedel.

2. Freeze cooked perkedel.

You will want to arrange cooked perkedel on a lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once solid, it is best to transfer the frozen cooked perkedel into a ziplock bag.

3. Reheat with an oven/toaster oven.

To reheat/serve the frozen perkedel, bake frozen perkedel in a 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) preheated oven, or a toaster oven, for about 10 minutes.

Perkedel kentang - Indonesian potato fritters.

Perkedel kentang – Indonesian potato fritters.

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Bingka Ubi Jalar – Sweet Potato Cake Recipe

Ingredients to prepare Indonesian bingka ubi jalar (sweet potato cake): sweet potato, coconut milk, eggs, butter, all-purpose flour, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and sugar.

Are you in the mood for a sweet potato pie but cannot muster the will to prepare a separate recipe for a pie crust followed with another recipe for the sweet potato filling? Then I got just the solution for you, try baking a bingka ubi jalar (Indonesian sweet potato cake) instead.

I will forever think of a bingka as a hassle-free, super easy, cheat version of a pie. A bingka cake batter is extremely easy to prepare, and at the end of the baking time, you will be greeted with a cake that has a magical outer crust encasing a soft custardy sweet potato filling. An instant pie!

How to prepare the cake batter for bingka ubi jalar: (1) Place steamed sweet potatoes, eggs, melted butter, coconut milk, vanilla, salt, sugar, and cinnamon into a blender. (2) Puree into a smooth batter. (3) Transfer to a mixing bowl and sift in all-purpose flour. (4) Fold with a spatula until well mixed.

How to prepare the cake batter for bingka ubi jalar: (1) Place steamed sweet potatoes, eggs, melted butter, coconut milk, vanilla, salt, sugar, and cinnamon into a blender. (2) Puree into a smooth batter. (3) Transfer to a mixing bowl and sift in all-purpose flour. (4) Fold with a spatula until well mixed.

What is a bingka cake?

Bingka (read: bing + car) is the traditional dessert of Banjar people, an ethnic group native to the South Kalimantan province of Indonesia. This dessert is made with flour, egg, coconut milk, and a main ingredient of choice.

I am using sweet potato as the main ingredient of choice in this recipe, but there are many other varieties of bingka too. Some other popular choices are cassava, fermented cassava (Indonesian: tape), pumpkin, kabocha, eggs, and pandan.

(Top) Pour the cake batter into a line and greased 8-inch round cake pan, and optionally garnish with toasted black sesame seeds. (Bottom) Freshly baked bingka ubi jalar (sweet potato cake) with it's signature slightly wrinkly top.

(Top) Pour the cake batter into a line and greased 8-inch round cake pan, and optionally garnish with toasted black sesame seeds. (Bottom) Freshly baked bingka ubi jalar (sweet potato cake) with it’s signature slightly wrinkly top.

Ingredients for a bingka ubi jalar (Indonesian sweet potato cake)

We will need sweet potato, eggs, coconut milk, butter, all-purpose flour, vanilla extract, cinnamon powder, salt, and sugar. All are super common ingredients in all parts of the world, so everyone can enjoy this exotic Indonesian cake.

Bingka pan

Traditionally we bake a bingka cake in a special flower shaped cake pan, somewhat similar to a dancing daisy cake pan. But since it is impossible to get this exact bingka pan outside of Indonesia, I simply bake this cake in a round cake pan instead.

You can use either an 8″ round pan or a 9″ round pan. Both will take the same baking temperature, but the 9″ cake will simply be thinner, and will bake slightly faster.

Wait until the cake is completely cool before cutting and serving.

Wait until the cake is completely cool before cutting and serving.

How to bake a bingka

First, peel and cut sweet potatoes into wedges, then steam until fork tender and easily mashable.

Meanwhile, grease and line/flour an 8″x2″ or a 9″x2″ round cake pan and set aside. Also, preheat oven to 170 Celsius (340 Fahrenheit).

Place the steamed sweet potato wedges in a blender, along with eggs, sugar, coconut milk, melted butter, vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon powder. Blend until smooth.

Transfer the sweet potato mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the flour and mix with a spatula until well combined. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. If using an 8″ pan, it is more likely that the cake will need the whole hour.

A slice of bingka ubi jalar. The cake magically creates an outer crust encasing a soft and custardy sweet potato filling. The top crust may look wrinkly but that's the charm of the cake.

A slice of bingka ubi jalar. The cake magically creates an outer crust encasing a soft and custardy sweet potato filling. The top crust may look wrinkly but that’s the charm of the cake.

Interesting points regarding a bingka

1. Use a blender to prepare the batter

Bingka is the only cake I make using a blender instead of say, a food processor, or a mixer. I guess you can also use a food processor if you must, but if you harbor some deep dark fantasy about using a blender to make a cake, now would be the right time to turn it into a reality.

2. Wait until completely cool before slicing and serving

You can serve most cakes warm, or even right out from the oven. But you must wait patiently until a bingka is completely cool before slicing and serving.

When a bingka cake is just out from the oven, the center is usually still quite soft and gooey. Once the cake is completely cool, the center will harden, though it will still retain its custardy texture, it definitely won’t fall apart if you wait until cool to slice the cake.

3. No need for a cake tester

Since the center of the cake is most likely gooey even when it’s completely cooked, it is pointless to test for the doneness of the cake with a cake tester. You will only be guided with visual cues and your sense of smell.

When the cake is still in the oven, especially near the very end when it’s about to become fully cooked, you may notice that the cake rises quite dramatically in the oven, with the top portion making a dome shape like it’s going to explode.

Don’t worry though, once you take the cake out from the oven, the top part will deflate on its own and become slightly wrinkly and crunchy too. This is the magical crust of a bingka cake, and this outer crust gives a nice contrast to the dense and custardy inner filling.

Bingka ubi jalar is an easy version of a sweet potato pie. Although the batter looks wet like any other cake batter, the finished cake has an outer crust, while the center is filled with custardy sweet potato filling.

Bingka ubi jalar is an easy version of a sweet potato pie. Although the batter looks wet like any other cake batter, the finished cake has an outer crust, while the center is filled with custardy sweet potato filling.

Other Indonesian cakes to try

I must say that most traditional Indonesian desserts are not baked, instead many are either steamed or cooked on a stovetop.

If you love baked desserts/cakes like this bingka, you may want to try baking a lapis legit, an onbitjkoek, a kue sarang semut, a pie susu Bali, or a klapertart Bandung.

Or if you want to try other bingka varieties, you may want to try a bingka labu, a bingka singkong, or a bingka telur instead. You may think that all these different bingka cakes are similar, but I can attest that each of them not only has a different flavor, but each has its unique texture too. 🙂

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Niku Jaga – Japanese Meat and Potato Stew Recipe

Niku Jaga (肉じゃが) is a quintessential Japanese home dish. Food is very seasonal in Japan, and niku jaga typically appears on dining tables across the nation in wintertime.

Meat and potatoes are the main ingredients of niku jaga, but it is in no way an expensive dish since there is more potato than meat in a typical niku jaga.

If you have never tried niku jaga before, it may surprise you that you may need to hunt it down in restaurants that specialize in serving homecooked meals. I wager that if you have easy access to Japanese pantry ingredients, such as soy sauce, dashi, sake, and mirin, it will be much easier to learn how to cook this dish yourself than trying to find one in a restaurant unless you live in Japan.

Niku Jaga – Japanese Meat and Potato Stew.

Ingredients to prepare a typical niku jaga

The absolute minimum ingredients to prepare niku jaga are:

Meat

Thinly sliced beef or pork are the usual choices, with more households opting for pork since it is usually cheaper compared to beef.

For beef, you can choose from brisket, rib, or sirloin. For pork, choose between pork belly, pork shoulder, or pork loin.

If your supermarket sells thinly sliced meat packages for hot pot, you can grab one of those and save yourself from cutting meat into thin slices.

Potatoes

Always choose potatoes that are better suited for stewing and won’t easily turn to mush. I love using either Yukon gold or new potatoes.

If you are in a pinch and all you have are russet potatoes, you can use those too. Since russets have higher starch content, be careful not to cook them too long to prevent them from disintegrating.

Vegetables

Onion is a must for niku jaga. For me, niku jaga without onion is just weird. Anything else is not necessary.

Some of the more commonly used add-ons include carrots, snow peas, green beans, konnyaku, and shirataki. But really, just about any hardy vegetables that work in a stew can be used and added to a niku jaga.

Ingredients for preparing niku jaga (Japanese meat and potato stew): pork/beef, potatoes, onion, green beans, dashi, soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar.

Ingredients for preparing niku jaga (Japanese meat and potato stew): pork/beef, potatoes, onion, green beans, dashi, soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar.

Niku jaga sauce

To make niku jaga sauce, we will need:

  • dashi stock
  • sake
  • soy sauce
  • mirin
  • sugar

Dashi

Dashi is a basic Japanese stock made from kombu seaweed and dried bonito fish. You can make dashi from scratch, but using store-bought dashi granules to prepare dashi stock is still a great way to make niku jaga at home.

Sake

Instead of cooking sake, I usually use drinkable sake for cooking Japanese dishes. My Asian supermarket usually has several cheap options in different bottle sizes to choose from, and they are not expensive too, typically less than US$10 for a 750 ml bottle. When they have sales going on, sometimes even the 1500 ml bottle is under US$10! If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can also order Gekkeikan sake online.

Soy Sauce

For soy sauce, I prefer using soy sauce imported from Japan since it has lower sodium and also tastes better than US Kikkoman. If you must use US Kikkoman soy sauce, please choose the low sodium version.

(1) Heat oil in a pot and sauté thinly sliced pork/beef. (2) Add potatoes and onion, mix well. (3) Add dashi, soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar. (4) Simmer until potatoes are tender.

(1) Heat oil in a pot and sauté thinly sliced pork/beef. (2) Add potatoes and onion, mix well. (3) Add dashi, soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar. (4) Simmer until potatoes are tender.

How to cook niku jaga at home

1. Prep meat and vegetables

If you buy pork or beef in a slab, you must start by cutting the meat into thin slices (hot pot thin). It is easier to cut partially frozen meat into thin slices compared to fresh meat, so chill them in the freezer until slightly solid before cutting.

For potatoes, peel and cut each into eight wedges. And for onion, peel and cut into thin slices.

If you are using other vegetables like carrots, cut them so they take about the same time to cook as the potatoes.

2. Cook meat potatoes

Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat and lightly sauté thinly sliced pork/beef. Add potato and onion, mix well.

3. Cook the sauce

Add all sauce ingredients (dashi stock, sake, soy sauce, sugar, and mirin) into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes, and other vegetables, are tender (about 15 minutes).

4. Prepare green beans

Meanwhile, blanch green beans and cut them into thin diagonal slices. I always store frozen green beans at home, so this is an automatic add-on. You can also use snow peas instead of green beans.

5. Serve

Turn off the heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Scatter blanched green beans on top of the stew and served immediately with steamed white rice.

TIPS: Store the blanched green beans separately from the leftover stew. You don’t need to reheat the blanched green beans, just the leftover stew.

Serve niku jaga immediately in serving bowl(s) and top with thinly sliced blanched green beans.

Serve niku jaga immediately in serving bowl(s) and top with thinly sliced blanched green beans.

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