It’s such a shame if i were to miss this month’s Little Thumbs Up chosen theme of Pandan. Especially since i have an overgrown pandan shrub at my mini garden, outside my house.
I didn’t want to make a pandan chiffon cake. That’s a bit overdone
I wanted to make a cool refreshing cup of cendol, an Indonesian (or is it Malaysian?) dessert of coconut milk sweetened with palm sugar.
I’ve been reading a lot of blogs which contrary to our long standing beliefs, regard that coconut milk is good for you. especially when it’s served raw. Ditto for palm sugar in relation to our common out of the mill white sugar.
I didn’t have a problem with those findings. In fact, i am ecstatic. Indonesia is like a coconut depot. i can get a whole coconut for less than USD 50 cents and get:
- 1. coconut water (another superfood),
- 2 coconut milk,
- 3. coconut shavings (which can be ground into coconut flour).
Talk about making your dollar stretch!
So, back to my cendol adventure. I just had a very tiny, insignificant problem: I didnt have that fancy tool needed to make the cendol strands!
*image taken from alatapa.blogspot.com
right, like i would let that get in the way.
So here i go, showing you a step by step pictorial on making cendol. If you’ve been following this blog, you probably noticed that i almost never do a step by step.
A good reason for that is my kitchen is like a hot mess each time i am in it.
a better reason is that i was always too lazy.
But here i am, laziness cast aside.
First, we snip the pandan leaves like so. Drop them into a blender and…
When all the leaves have been blended to pulp sized, and your water is a nice shade of green, you strain it to catch all the water, and discard the pandan leaves pulp.
Pour the green pandan water into your flour which is made up of hunkwee flour, rice flour, and sago flour. Whisk the mixture till well combined.
Restrain this flour mixture, to get rid of any lumps that might form during whisking.
Next, find the biggest cooking vessel at your home.
For me, it’s my giant chinese wok.
Cook over low heat while whisking till the mixture thickens like so:
If you have that fancy cendol tool, good for you!
If you dont, you just have to be extra creative.
Today i used a pipping bag.
Get out your oven mitt! Because you are gonna squeeze the hot pandan mixture into an awaiting bowl of ice cold water. Do not wait for the mixture to cool or it won’t gel!
Next we go to assembly.
A nice serving of melted palm sugar (gula melaka)
Spoon some of that cendol you just made in…
Okay, without the cendol maker, these may be fatter than your average cendol. That’s ok. No one minds. I’m cool with it. You’re cool with it. We’re cool.
Top with coconut milk, freshly squeezed of course.
All the way to the top! *In my haste to taste the drink, I don’t have a picture of the finished glass of cendol with coconut milk all the way to the top.*
50 grams of Pandan Leaves snipped
325 grams of water
Blend the pandan leaves with the water till the leaves are pulped, and the water turns a nice shade of green. Strain the mixture.
The dry ingredients:
25 grams hunkwee flour (Mung Bean flour)
20 grams rice flour
5 grams sago flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
Whisk the flours together. Add the sugar and salt. Stir to combine.
Pour the pandan water into the flour mixture. Give a good stir. Strain the mixture for any lumps.
Prepare a basin of ice water, ice cubes are welcome. Prepare oven mittens and a pipping bag.
Pour strained mixture into a wok. Cook over low heat till thickened
Pour it into a pipping bag. Using the oven mitts, gently squeeze the cendol into the basin of ice water.
1 L of Freshly squeezed coconut milk, salted with 1tsp of salt.
2 blocks of gula melaka, melted (add water if too thick).
Ladle some of the gula melaka onto an awaiting cup. Ladle some of the cendol, and top the glass with the freshly coconut milk. Enjoy at room temperature or with ice 🙂
I’ve been observing numerous foodblogs and their abstinence to grains.
A Grain-Free diet, as they call it, is a diet devoid of grains. This includes things like rice, barley, oats, etc.
To summarize, ALL the flours in my pantry, be it rice flour, wheat flour or corn flour unmitigatedly breach this grain free diet.
“So what the heck are you supposed to bake with?” screamed the baker in me.
Well, take it easy, Because baking is still possible without the above mentioned flours. Days after days of blogstalking activities revealed that almond flour (almond being a nut, not a grain), and coconut flour (coconut is a fruit), are the top favourites amongst the grain-free dieters.
And since i live in the tropics where coconuts are aplenty. I am using coconut flour on this grain free adventure
but WHY ???? you ask. Aren’t grains good for you? Aren’t they full of fiber? Don’t they reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Well, i guess there are two sides to every story.
The followers of a grain free diet believe that:
1. Grain are inflammatory food due to its high starch content.
Grains that are refined have higher inflammatory index than unrefined grains. So a white flour is more inflammatory than a whole wheat flour.
2. Grain contain phytic acid which binds minerals and prevent absorbtion.
This pretty much means that you won’t be able to fully and effeciently absorb the minerals that the grains boasts about.
3. Grains are linked to tooth decay.
High starches in grain is a breeding ground for bacterial growth in your mouth.
There are probably a more extensive list of the detrimental effects of grains. But I’ll leave it up to you guys to research into it on your own. My brain is starting to hurt just by highlighting the three points above. I guess i could never look into health advisor as an occupation.
Sugar Free Coconut Flour Chiffon Banana Cake with blueberries
Makes two ramekins
5 grams coconut flour
1 egg yolk (preferable organic)
10 grams coconut oil
10 grams coconut milk
60 grams ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg white
a handful of frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 165 C (330 F).
Mix egg yolk, mashed banana, coconut flour, oil, and milk into a bowl. Stir till you get a smooth batter
Beat egg white till stiff peak.
Fold egg white into banana batter
Transfer batter into ramekins
Drop blueberries on the batter
Bake for +- 20 minutes or till the cake turns a golden brown
I’ve recently joined a facebook group called the “Indonesian Foodblogger”
Like most groups you see on the internet, this group aims to bring together Indonesian foodbloggers around the world. It is a place where you can share or question anything food related.
To further engange its members, the Indonesian Foodblogger (IFDB) puts forward a challenge each month. And for the month of May, the theme is “layered cake”.
However, there is a catch.
The challenge does not accept cakes that are baked, and then LAYERED with buttercream, ganache and the likes.
It accepts cakes which are layered WHILE they (the cake) is cooking..
Which pretty much means you gotta stand around, fiddling your thumbs while you pour your cake batter and watch it cook layer by layer. It involves a great deal of time.
So, i set aside an evening for it.
I carried baby Crustabakes on my hip as i started weighing my ingredients.It’s crazy, but I have developed some kind of superpower whereby i can balance baby Crustabakes on my left hip and still be completely functional with my right arm.
Like a good trade off, this cake is fairly simple to execute. A time consuming, but minimal labor kinda cake.
All you need is a simple whisk, and a lot of bowls.
Three bowls, for the three different colours on the cake.
I’ve chosen pink and green for this cake.
Because those are the colours stated in the recipe.
Also because those were the only food colorings i had at home. Yes, unfortunately, i used food coloring for this cake.
I may be functional with my right arm, but i am not THAT functional to be pounding at leaves or fruits to get natural food dye.
So off i go, steaming this cake, layer by layer.
8 minutes per layer.
Alternating the layers between white, green, then pink and repeating the sequence over and over again till the batter gets used up.It took a total of about 2 hours.
By the end of it, i had put baby C to sleep, took a shower, brushed my teeth and got ready for bed.
All while cooking a cake.
Talk about multi-tasking!
Loosely translated from 52 Resep Kue Berlapis
1.5 Litres coconut milk, squeezed from 2 heads of coconuts
3 blades of pandan leaves
1 tsp salt
300 gram rice flour
85 gram sago flour
300 grams granulated sugar
6 drops green food coloring
6 drops red food coloring
1. Bring to boil coconut milk, pandan leaves and salt, all the while stirring. Strain, and discard the pandan leaves. Set aside to cool.
2. Sift the rice flour, sago flour and the sugar.Slowly whisk warm (not hot) coconut milk into the flour mixture.
3. Divide the batter into 3 bowls. Drop green food coloring into one bowl. Drop red food coloring into another bowl and leave the third one white.
4.Pour 100 ml of white batter onto a greased square tin (18cm x 18cm x 7 cm). Steam for 8 minutes.
5. Pour 100 ml of green batter over the white batter, steam for 8 minutes
6. Pour 100 ml of red batter over the white batter, steam for 8 minutes.
7. Repeat the sequence of white, green and red, till all the batter gets used up.
8. For the last layer, steam for a final 30 minutes. Let cool before serving.
So I have been baking too many cheesecakes.
No one complained, but I decided to give my oven a break and work the stove once in a while.
So, here i go, returning to my south east asian roots, with a steamed 9 layer cake.
Why 9 layers u ask?
Well, I am sure there must be some pretty interesting story behind it.
I tried googling, expecting to be mesmerized by some folk story explaining the layers of the cake. But nothing came up.
So i guess no one would get all tight up about the fact that my cake only had 8 layers.(OOps!).
After all, 8 is considered a lucky number amongst us, Chinese.
This cake is mildly sweet. It relies more on the richness of the coconut milk for taste. The texture of this cake is springy (think mochi). And like mochi, it is rather sticky too.
The texture of the cake makes it possible for us to peel it layer by layer before popping it into our mouths.
Which is what I used to do as a kid.
Or as an adult.
I’ve used daun suji for the green colour batter of this cake. As for the red, i had to rely on red color food dye as i didnt believe beet juice would have given such a vibrant red.
9 Layer Cake
Adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover
70g coarse sugar (I would increase this next time as i found the cake not sweet enough)
5 pandan leaves, knotted
400ml coconut milk ( squeezed from one shredded coconut)
180g rice flour
120g tapioca flour
Daun Suji water (achieved by pounding daun suji with water and then straining it)
1. Simmer water with pandan leaves for about 5 minutes, add sugar. Stir in the coconut milk
2. Add in rice flour and tapioca flour, stir to mix well. Strain the batter.
3. Grease a 7″ steam pan with a little oil. Place the pan in a steamer and steam until hot.
4. Divide batter into 2 portions.
5. Add the daun suji water into one of the portions, leaving the other portion white.
6. Take 126 grams of the white batter, and add a few drops of red coloring
5. Pour 1st layer with green batter into steam pan, and steam for 5mins over medium heat.
6. Pour 2nd layer with white batter into steam pan, and steam for 5mins.
7. Repeat until all 7 layers set. End the layer with the red batter