I have finally conquered the Chinese books! See, the only time I actually studied chinese was when I was in primary school. It wasn’t a chinese school where every subject is in Chinese and it’s a do or die situation. I was bumming around in a private primary school that taught the Chinese language as a subject; POL. So comparatively, my level of writing and reading Chinese language is probably only up to Standard 2 of those from the chinese schools. Yeap, you can say it’s not much actually.
I speak Chinese tho, so conversing is not much of a problem; but it is when I try to read them. During the old times, I would only learn Chinese if I want to go to karaoke; thats just cause Chinese songs are nicer So I had no choice but to pick up some and recognise some words. Then when internet and technology has come into the picture, learning Chinese (or any other language I would say) is now much easy and more convenient. I am using the iPad now to handwrite the chinese word onto it and translate it via google translator or another translator app. (that also mean that I can take on Japanese books now!! YAY!)
And well you know, I don’t really use the Malaysian published bilingual baking / cooking books because it’s just not what I’m looking for anyway. So first one up is by 孟老師 ‘s 中式麵食 book. I had wanted to know how to make 小籠包 (Chinese steamed pork dumplings) for the longest time ever but just no English book would illustrate that well enough. Hence I gotta go get a trusted Chinese recipe book and for all you know, 孟老師 is pretty popular in the blogosphere. I then saw her book and browsed through the recipes of buns, mantou, steamed dumplings, bao and lots more. It looked good so I decided to get it since I’ve already bought a few Chinese cookbooks before this and translating is not a prob. If all else fail, I will ask my mum cause, of course, she is Chinese literate. heh. Why did I go through so much trouble when I have a live translator at home right ? I guess then I will never learn any of the Chinese words if I had asked my mum to translate them for me. You could also ask me why I need to go through all the trouble when there are tons of recipes on the internet, well, I’m a cookbook junkie, and they are much more of a collectibles for me. People collect toys and coins, I collect cookbook! Easy as that.
Flipping through the pages, I was eager to make something already because I’ve not made mantous or bao (buns) before, ever! I had wanted to make the Dai Bao (Big Bun) with minced pork and boiled egg inside, but nope, something quicker, something of which I would have those ingredients at home already. Then I saw the black sesame mantou, bingo!! That’s it, I’m making you After some translation of the recipes, I immediately went back home after work to make it. Lol, I am usually NOT THAT EFFICIENT. really.
And, no I still don’t like sweet buns or Asian style breads. I would prefer bao, dumpling and mantou.
So here it is, translated for all you bananas.
Black Sesame Mantou 黑芝麻饅頭
(makes 8 )
Adapted from 中式麵食 by 孟老師
260ml tepid water / lukewarm water
5g instant yeast
500g medium-protein flour (I used a 50/50 of high & low protein cause thats all I have)
60g caster sugar
5g vegetable oil
25g toasted black sesame seeds
pinch of salt
25g toasted black sesame seeds
15g caster sugar
1. Dissolve yeast in tepid water in a bowl (you can use the mixing bowl if you’re using a mixer, like me) and let it sit for 5 minutes. Into the same bowl, pour in flour, caster sugar, vegetable oil, toasted black sesame seeds and salt. Using a dough hook, mix the dough for about 10 minutes. It should be like a smooth surfaced dough. Remove the dough, lightly knead it and shape into a log. Cover with a cloth and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. (Pic 1)
2. In the meantime, make the filling, lightly blend toasted black sesame seeds and caster sugar in a food processor. Keep aside. Then roll the dough out to 45 cm x 20cm. (Pic 2)
4. Visually divide your dough into 3 parts. Fold the left flap in, then the right. (Pic 3 and 4)
5. Roll the dough out again into approximate 60cm x 20cm. Brush some water on the top surface, then sprinkle the black sesame filling on the surface. (Pic 1&2)
6. Then roll in like a swiss roll or into a log. At the end, the log should measure 60cm in length and probably have 3-4 circular swirls in it. (Pic 3-5)
7. Cut the dough into 8 portions, place them on a greaseproof paper. (Pic 6 and 7) Put them into a steamer and let it sit in there for 20 minutes until it has proofed.(Pic 8)
8. Turn on the steamer for about 15-20 minutes. It should be slightly bigger as well after steaming.
9. Eat with condensed milk!! So yum.
I wished I had known Chinese earlier. But it is never too late. 中式麵食 by 孟老師 comes with a cd or two with the book, so if all else fail, you would at least know the method of rolling mantou or pleating the dumplings. Just last weekend, I went to BookFest Malaysia 2011 in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. There were so much book, some are from publishers from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. I’ve had my good time browsing through some books. Managed to score some books from the place.
CIA Professional Chef book was only RM69.90, slashed from the original price of abt RM 250.++. Jamie’s Italy was at a 25% off, My life in France by Julia Child was only RM16.90 and the 3 other chinese books were on average about RM24/book. Lots more book to buy there, but I had ordered a book from Kinokuniya KLCC, It should be here soon…So enough of buying this month.. Wheeeee Wanna guess what book is that ? It’s from Japan.