Recipe: Chè Xôi Nuoc (Vietnamese Dessert)

Chè Xôi Nuoc
Recipe


credit wikipedia

This dessert is has ingredients related to sesame balls and Xôi Dau Xanh, so naturally this was the last of the 3 desserts grand aunt would teach me that day. (This is also the least detailed in terms of amounts because it is the last dish of the cooking lesson.) From deep frying with Jin Deui, to steaming the Xoi and finally we were boiling the Chè Xôi Nuoc. Chè Xôi Nuoc is a glutinous rice ball filled with mung bean sweetened with coconut milk. It is a fun dessert to eat because the soft, chewy rice ball is paired with a ginger syrup, cool/creamy coconut milk. It is a great summer dessert.

    Ingredients:

Soaking Mung Bean Soaking Glutinous Rice Washing Soaked Mung Bean Dry Dry the Mung Bean

– 2 bags Mung Bean soaked 9 to 12 hours (Do not soak more because it affects the texture when cooking) and rinsed clean
– 5-6 lbs (This amount is a little fuzzy) Glutinous Rice, soaked for 12-14 hours, rinsed every 5 hours to prevent it from spoiling
– 4 lb bag of granulated white sugar
– Water (Grand Aunt emphasized to never use warm or hot water!)

    Equipment:

Muscle
Blenders
Steamer
Lots of pans and strainers

    Simple syrup (heat ingredients until dissolved):

Rock sugar Ginger Syrup

Fresh Ginger slices
Rock sugar
Water

    Topping:

Coconut milk
Crushed sesame seeds

1. Pile mung bean into steaming tray with open area in the middle to allow for steam to circulate

Prepare Mung Bean for Steaming

2. Bring water to rolling boil. Steam mung bean starting on high heat but we turned it down to medium high (level 6) – don’t want too much moisture lost. Approximately 45 minutes.
3. Mash in wok on low heat with coconut milk. Make sure you don’t burn it. Allow to cool.
Pour in the steamed mung bean Finished mashed mung bean

4. Knead and form into balls.
Knead the mung bean Make the mung bean balls Mung bean balls!

    How to prepare dough (FROM SCRATCH!)

1. Blend glutinous rice with water until completely smooth and you feel no grains! About 10 minutes but may be more or less time depending on the horsepower of your blender.

IMG_1701 Glutinous rice in blender Blending glutinous rice

2. Pour blended glutinous rice into a cheese cloth or similar bag
Wet processed-in-blender glutinous rice powder Pressing water out of wet glutinous rice Bag of pressed glutinous rice powder

    Time to fill ’em!

1. Roll, knead and cut wet dough

Making a tube of dough to cut cutting the dough

2. Fill dough chunks with mung bean balls. Tip: Take your lump of dough and rough to round ball first, gently smash a with palm of hand. Grand aunt also recommends making the edges thinner than the center so that it doesn’t get too thick when you seal it.
3. Final step is to cook them in your ginger syrup until floating.
4. Allow to cool and serve with coconut milk.

Nitrogen Made Gelato

N2 Extreme Gelato
Chinatown
43/1 Dixon St
Sydney, NSW 2000

Storefront Science! Getting ready to blend Making it creamy extreme creaminess! pandan!

In goes the ingredients into the stand mixer, pour in some liquid nitrogen, and out comes the creamiest gelato ever! It is by far the CREAMIEST gelato I’ve ever had (Yes, including the real stuff from Italy a la Rome/Venice/Florence). The end.

Harry’s Meat Pie: Thanksgiving in a cup

Harry’s Cafe de Wheels
730/742 George Street
Haymarket NSW 2000, Australia
(02) 9211 2506

Exterior

When you go to Sydney, there’s a few things you probably have to do. Among those are going to the Opera House and viewing/walking their famous bridge, and of course, one MUST try Harry’s famous meat pies. Hubby and I were in Sydney around Thanksgiving, so I found it all appropriate to have the original meat pie with peas and mash. The doughy crust along with the savory meat, comforting peas, mash and gravy made it like Thanksgiving in a cup.

Lean Meat Pie Inside

p.s. We also tried another meat pie vendor called Pie Face. I found that their crust was more flaky, and it was just as delicious. http://pieface.com.au/

Sydney Fish Market: Seafood Galore

Sydney Fish Market
Pyrmont Bridge Rd
Pyrmont NSW 2009, Australia
(02)9004 1100

Map of Sydney FIsh Market

This was by far our best meal of in Sydney. All seafood was pretty much straight from the sea and it was reasonably priced compared to what you have to pay in say a seafood/steakhouse or Japanese restaurant.

Oysters Fish Red Emperor The Spread More oysters The Receipt

Our spread included tuna and salmon sashimi, oysters of various types, sea urchin (butter from the sea! oh the sweetness!), tempura shrimp sushi roll and raw shrimp. All this food for 4 people for a total of $79.40 AUS.

For our dessert, we indulged in a classic Australian cake called the Lamington. It is a sponge cake covered in chocolate icing and covered in coconut shavings. It was light, moist and not too sweet.

Lamington Inside of Lamington Storefront

$ to Value Ratio: 5/5 Beeps
Yummy Factor: 5/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 5/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 5 Beeps

Conclusion: The best meal in Sydney! Must try for anyone.

Dim Sum Day

On our last day in Hong Kong, I wanted to make up for the disappointing dim sum at Luk Yu Tea House, so we set out to try Lin Heung Tea House as my favorite during my 2008 adventures and nostalgic Hei Yuet Seafood Restaurant (we spent a few mornings eating here during level 8 typhoons as well during our 2008 trip) as my back up plan in case Lin Heung disappoints. Well, I’m sad to report back that both did not impress this time around (nor the last in 2011). We started at Lin Heung and then bailed across the street to Hei Yuet. Texture, flavor, temperature all not on point.

Lin Heung Tea House
160 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Traditional Push Cart Style – Share tables
(South side of Wellington, right on the corner of Wellington and Aberdeen St)

Lin Heung Sign

Shrimp Cheung Fun Cha Siu Bao Siu Mai Traditional Push Carts

Hei Yuet
162 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
Order from a check off menu – no push carts
(This address is misleading, the entrance is actually from Wellington St, right across from Lin Heung)

Hei Yuet Exterior

Menu 2 Menu 1 Trio Fried Taro Cake Mah Lai Go Shrimp Cheung Fun Xiao Long Bao

Conclusion: My memories of perfectly made dim sum keep my hope up at these two locations. Will still go back on our subsequent trips.

Tip for dim sum: There are bowls and boiling water for you to rinse your eating utensils and bowls and plates before eating. Don’t be shy. Do as the Romans do.

To make up, I tried to satiate my search for the “yummy” by going to Mak’s Noodles, having some fresh fruit from the abundant fruit stands and a Hong Kong Style Waffle. The waffle was just what was expected – extra crispy/chewy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Then we were off to Hong Kong airport where we indulged in our last meal at Maxim’s in the awesome Hong Kong Airport food court of their noodles and roast duck.

Fruit Stand Hong Kong Style Egg Waffle (???)

[CFG Hong Kong Dining Tips: 1. Be ready to share a table with strangers. 2. Don’t expect to make “small talk” with the stranger – they might look at you weirdly. 3. Don’t idle. Make your decision quickly. 4. Be ready to pay up and get out. Most casual restaurants you pay at the cashier when you’re done, unless you’re somewhere fancy. In that case, once the check is delivered, they will stand there and wait for you to pay, so be ready to pay as they stare at you (yes, awkward for us Gui Lo’s). 5. Don’t expect friendly service. Just efficient Service. They might just bark at you, but don’t take it personally. The cashier might throw change at you, but I wouldn’t take that personally either. They’re just trying to get you out the door for more business to come in. “Mo Juo Zhu Sai lah!!” – Don’t get in the way. 6. Oh yea, it is customary to NOT tip unless already automatically added on.]

Mak’s Noodles: “Song”

Mak’s Noodle
7 Wellington Street Hong Kong
(On north side of the street, 2 minutes east of Cochrane St)

Another famous noodle place for dumplings, noodles and beef brisket, but since we already had tender brisket at Kau Kee, we went with dumplings and wontons. “Song, Song, Song!” So, in Cantonese, the adjective “song” to describe the food consistency that is bouncy/chewy and possibly almost crunchy depending on the item (i.e. noodles, shrimp, dumplings, etc.), and the items at Mak’s were just that. The noodles here were cooked just right – not soggy. The dumplings and wontons were tasty.

Mak's Noodles

Sui Jiao (Dumplings) Egg Noodles and Oyster Sauce Wonton Noodles

Menu

$ to Value Ratio: 5/5 Beeps, around 50 HKD.
Yummy Factor: 4.75/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 5/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 4.92 Beeps

Conclusion: Good noodles. Good dumplings.

[CFG Hong Kong Dining Tips: 1. Be ready to share a table with strangers. 2. Don’t expect to make “small talk” with the stranger – they might look at you weirdly. 3. Don’t idle. Make your decision quickly. 4. Be ready to pay up and get out. Most casual restaurants you pay at the cashier when you’re done, unless you’re somewhere fancy. In that case, once the check is delivered, they will stand there and wait for you to pay, so be ready to pay as they stare at you (yes, awkward for us Gui Lo’s). 5. Don’t expect friendly service. Just efficient Service. They might just bark at you, but don’t take it personally. The cashier might throw change at you, but I wouldn’t take that personally either. They’re just trying to get you out the door for more business to come in. “Mo Juo Zhu Sai lah!!” – Don’t get in the way.]

Bleh: “Yut Pet”

Luk Yu Tea House
24 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong
(South side of Stanley St between Cochrane St and Theater Ln)

Sign

Entrance Check Trays

Okay, so I got this tip from CNN Travel. Let’s not listen to CNN Travel for this one. It’s a famous old tea house, where the dim sum ladies wear trays instead of carting the food around. While it is famous, it is not tasty and rather with it old and stale decor, the food seems old and tired as well. The beef meatball was mushy and bland. Siu Mai and Ha Gow (Shrimp dumplings) were both bland and not “song”/springy/bouncy in texture. The cha siu bao filling was way too sweet, and bun itself was actually too soft. The egg tart filling was not silky smooth like it was cooked too fast or too much egg, and what’s with the 1:1 crust to filling ratio?

Meatball Cha Siu Bao Har Gow Siu Mai Egg Tart

$ to Value Ratio: 5/5 Beeps, around 130-200 HKD.
Yummy Factor: 1/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 2/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 2.66 Beeps

Conclusion: Overall, my feeling is everything was just “yut pet.” In Cantonese, if food is soggy or looks bad, sometimes you say looks like “yut pet yeh” – looks like a pile of mush. Sorely disappointed. How you going to make me look bad in front of my dim sum loving husband?

[CFG Hong Kong Dining Tips: 1. Be ready to share a table with strangers. 2. Don’t expect to make “small talk” with the stranger – they might look at you weirdly. 3. Don’t idle. Make your decision quickly. 4. Be ready to pay up and get out. Most casual restaurants you pay at the cashier when you’re done, unless you’re somewhere fancy. In that case, once the check is delivered, they will stand there and wait for you to pay, so be ready to pay as they stare at you (yes, awkward for us Gui Lo’s). 5. Don’t expect friendly service. Just efficient Service. They might just bark at you, but don’t take it personally. The cashier might throw change at you, but I wouldn’t take that personally either. They’re just trying to get you out the door for more business to come in. “Mo Juo Zhu Sai lah!!” – Don’t get in the way. 6. Oh yea, it is customary to NOT tip unless already automatically added on.]