Sunday, April 13, 2014

Xtreme Express Bread / Buns / Rolls Recipe

This recipe catch my eyes! It's definately the best bread recipe ever if you're baking bread for the 1st time. Be it if you want your family to have fresh bread daily, if you want to last minute bake some breakfast to bring to office to share.

It's just too stunning and unbelievable that this recipe only takes approx 50mins or 70mins depending on how fast and experience you are... Definately the fastest bread recipe in my bread recipe list that I'm yet to explore!

Yeast Activation Ingredients
50g Fine Sugar
250ml Warm Water or Warm Milk
90ml Olive Oil
2 tablespoons of Dry Yeast or Instant Yeast

In a mixer bowl combine Sugar, Warm Water/Warm Milk, Olive Oil, Dry Yeast/Instant Yeast. Give it a mix and allow it to rest for 15mins and it'll be ready for use.

Rest of the Ingredients
1.5 teaspoon of Fine Salt or Sea Salt
1 Egg
480g Bread Flour or All-Purpose Flour

Preheat overn to 190ºC. Add all the rest of the ingredients in to the Yeast Mixture. Use your mixer dough hook to knead until incorporated or use hand to knead in your mixing bowl.

The dough will be a little sticky at touch but it should not stick on your hand. Scoop out the dough on a flat surface. Slightly Roll out the dough and cut it into approx size required.

Time to design!!! This is a good base bread to bake a loaf, bake buns, bake rolls... It's up to your imagination! Below is my few creations, will be adding more as i continue to create with joy & with curiosity...

After having fun shaping and designing your buns/roll. Cover it with a damp clothe and let it proof for 10mins only. It will kind of double in size (I didn't measure..haha).

Glaze the whole expose area with Egg wash or Melted Butter. Place it in the oven to bake for approx 25mins or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool in the tray for 10 to 15 minutes when it's totally cool it can be stored in a air-tight container for breakfast the next day!

Lesson Learnt:
1. Replacement of Warm Milk will give the bread a more milky taste which we love.
2. Bread Flour has 14% to 16 % Protien Content, however, All-Purpose Flour has 10% to 12% Protien Content. To have softer bread All-Purpose Flour is the best. If you want a healtier version, replace half of the flour with Wholemeal Flour.
3. If it is sticky add a little more olive oil and flour.
4. Dust your hands with Flour or oil your hand to avoid the dough from sticking when you're designing your buns.
5. A good size bun will need approximately 78g which is 1/14 dough of this recipe.
6. Do not put the buns too close as it will continue to grow during the baking process.
7. IMPORTANT for small families: Immediately after cut up the dough in to the portions, wrap it in kitchen wrap and store it the following 2 possible ways.
- Storage in the freezer and use within 3months.
- Storage in the fridge is best used within 3days but every 12hours check out the dough and give it a light press to slow down the proofing process.
Do not bake frozen/refridgerated bread dough right out of the fridge/freezer. Allow it to thaw and warm to room temperature first for the best results and to ensure that it will rise properly when baked.

Below is my creations: Good and bad ideas of mine. All here to share! Will update more soon and hopefully add on the step by step guide photos.

Rose Ham Bun : In this picture i'm pretty generous with the Ham. Used 2 round Ham sliced in half. Roll the dough into a worm and line the Hams overlapping each another. Once done, roll up the bread like a snail and place the flat side on the bread paper prepared.
Used 78g which is 1/14 dough of this recipe.

Raisins Invasion Bun : Knead in half a tablespoon of Raisins and shape it nicely before placing it in on the bread paper to proof.
Used 78g which is 1/14 dough of this recipe.

Normal Slice Cheese Bun : Bad choice I would say! Please avoid using normal slice cheese.

Click here for our blog page Baking Classes for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Contemporary Indian Fine Dining at Varq, Taj Mahal Hotel New Delhi

A couple of weeks ago we reviewed Bukhara, which was voted India's best restaurant. That stalwart was unapologetically traditional Indian cuisine, so today we're going to review a more contemporary restaurant - Varq at the Taj Mahal Hotel. Varq is also ranked on this year's Acqua Panna / San Pellegrino list - 4th best restaurant in India and the 32nd best in Asia!

Varq Restaurant Taj Mahal Hotel New Delhi

I'm pretty happy that Varq also makes allowances for the solo diner - with the Varqui Lunch option. For 1500Rs (SGD 31.20), you get a pick of either starter, soup or dessert plus a main course, from anything off the menu, served with a selection of Indian bread. I take my picks and settle down to the amuse bouche which reminds me a lot of palak paneer (cottage cheese and creamed spinach).

Varq Restaurant Taj Mahal Hotel New Delhi Amuse Bouche

One problem I've found when ordering in India is how to properly communicate the spice level you want. For example I ordered the Sukha Mutton, which I understood is traditionally a very spicy preparation. Naturally I asked the waiter to get the spice level tuned down "a little," but it ended up being tuned down "a lot." Wish there was a worldwide standard heat level which we could all use to talk to each other - "I'd like a 4-star heat level please" :)

In any case other than it perhaps being not as spicy as it should, the starter is gorgeous! Lamb with coconut shavings in a black pepper preparation with curry leaves - all served up in an Asian fried spring roll bowl. I find Delhi cuisine to be generally less spicy but bigger on flavour, creaminess (from milk, cream or butter) as compared to most Indian food we get back in SG/Malaysia - and I like it here a lot.

Varq Restaurant Taj Mahal Hotel New Delhi Sukha Mutton

The main course - Kali Mirch Ka Murg - is Corn Fed chicken breast with mango relish served in a creamy black pepper curry. This actually tastes very, very Italian. Like a spicy, peppery carbonara sauce. The chicken is expertly cooked - tender and juicy - and that sauce is oh-so-delicious. Plus points for them providing an additional cup of it on the side for lapping up with the Indian breads!

Varq Restaurant Taj Mahal Hotel New Delhi Kali Mirch Ka Murg

Speaking of breads, instead of a 'bread basket' or an assortment being served to you all at once, they cook up small 5" diameter breads to order. So you're almost always eating your bread fresh and hot out of the clay oven. Great concept! I ordered a butter naan (which surprisingly ended up more like a parata), and two wholemeal actual paratas - all delicious and piping hot! Apologies for the not-particularly-presentable half-eaten photo here :)

Varq Restaurant Taj Mahal Hotel New Delhi Fresh Indian Bread

I still have some room in the tummy so I order up an Apple Kheer (Rs 475 or SGD 9.89) - this is a stewed golden apple with reduced sweetened milk and nuts. It turned out to be pretty nice, although I must admit that Indian desserts are in general a taste that I haven't fully acquired.

Varq Restaurant Taj Mahal Hotel New Delhi Apple Kheer

Nor, it seems, have I acquired a taste for indian palatte cleansers - in Varq we get a few Betel leaves wrapped around something or other. That something or other isn't that important because the pungent acidity of the leaf simply overpowers every other flavor. Good thing the waiter warned me before hand to take a small nibble instead of popping the entire mouthful :)

Varq Restaurant Taj Mahal Hotel New Delhi Betel Leaf

In comparison with the higher ranked Bukhara, I actually enjoyed Varq a lot more. I thought there was very interesting usage and crossover of ingredients and flavors from other cuisines, the dishes were presented in a more upscale fashion, and the food was simply better overall. Five thumbs up.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Wasabi New Delhi by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto

Before that sushi documentary came out, the most well known Celebrity Japanese Chef worldwide was probably Masaharu Morimoto, by virtue of his being Iron Chef Japanese on both the Japan and American versions of Iron Chef. His celebrity status has, naturally, allowed him to open a number of restaurants in different cities around the world - one of them in New Delhi, India - so of course I had to take a taxi ride and get myself seated in a corner of the Wasabi by Morimoto restaurant in the Taj Mahal Hotel.

Wasabi New Delhi by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto

Morimoto is known for creative and modern, almost fusion Japanese cuisine, so it's perhaps no surprise that his restaurant here is as un-traditional as it gets. Bright yellow and red neons light up a modern dining area, flanked by teppanyaki and sushi bars.

Wasabi New Delhi by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto

I give my orders to the cordial and polite waiter, and take stock of the amuse bouche - a curiously mini sized slice of maki sushi with wasabi mayonnaise. I have to say that there wasn't really anything special here, other than perhaps the tempura battered and deep-fried nori (seaweed).

Wasabi New Delhi by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto Amuse Bouche

If you're a serious sushi/sashimi eater you'll know that any proper sushi place will always serve its wasabi freshly grated off a sharkskin board. The flavour profile of fresh wasabi is simply so different from the powdered stuff - it's more fragrant, more delicate, less pungent, and less likely to overpower the relatively delicate flavors of fish and rice.

Wasabi New Delhi by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto Freshly Grated Wasabi

Speaking of fish, I wanted to go for the sushi set but decided at the last minute on the Assorted Sashimi (Rs 3,850 or SGD 81). There's 2 slices of each of the usual suspects - maguro, chutoro, salmon, scallops, kanpachi - all freshly flown over from the Tsukiji Fish market in Tokyo. Strangely enough though the salmon was smoked rather than raw.

Wasabi New Delhi by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto Assorted Sashimi Platter

Moving on to a hot entree then - couldn't pass up the Ishi Yaki Unagi Bop (Rs 1,800 or SGD 39) - slices of Unagi, garlic and vegetables on rice, served in a hot river stone bowl. I'm not sure if you can see it from the photo but it's a big bowl and there's a lot of rice. Overall while the flavor profile was pretty good, I sorely missed a proper char on the Unagi like the one we had at Zipangu years ago. To me, a good unagi must be grilled, and a good grill means a char on the exterior.

Wasabi New Delhi by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto Unagi Bop

The waiter suggested the Grilled Banana (Rs 700 or SGD 15) for dessert. It's a very filling and very sweet dessert - two bananas grilled and served with candied nuts and dried fruits, lathered with a sweet syrup, flanking a scoop of banana caramel ice cream. It's nice, but it really is too much sweetness for a South East Asian palate.

Wasabi New Delhi by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto Grilled Banana

I wasn't blown away by Morimoto's New Delhi restaurant - although I think that speaks more of the quality of Japanese cuisine we get over in Singapore more than anything. I thought the sashimi was pretty fresh and the other warm dishes were pretty good, but the prices are pretty steep and I'd easily get better food over here with the same kind of money.

Wasabi by Morimoto is in the Taj Mahal Hotel. Reservations probably not required except for large groups - I visited on a Sunday night but the restaurant was barely half full. Non-halal.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Espresso Cake drown with Kahlua Syrup

Special request deary to get me a bottle of Kahlua on his way back from his business trip. Got a few recipes lined up in my baking list that I want to experiment with this popular bottle of coffee liqueur.

Espresso Cake Ingredients
6 teaspoons of Instant Coffee
60ml Hot Water
60ml Water
315g Cake Flour
10g Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
0.5 teaspoon Sea Salt
113g Butter
250g Fine Sugar
3 Eggs
0.5 cup Sour Cream

1. Pre-heat the oven to 160ºC.
2. Dissolve the Instant Coffee in Hot Water, stir in the Water and set aside to cool.
3. Sift Cake Flour, Cocoa Powder, Baking Soda. Add Sea Salt in mix up the ingredients and set aside.
4. Place the butter and Sugar in the mixer and cream until smooth and light in color. This will take approx 8 to 10minutes.
5. Add in the Eggs one at a time with 1 min intervals.
6. Blend in the Sour Cream.
7. Divide the dry ingredients in to 3 parts and divide the espresso into 2 parts.
8. Add in the dry ingredients alternating mix until incorporated then alternating with the espresso.
9. Spray a baking pan. Pour in the batter and smooth the surface with the spatula.
10. Position the baking pan in the lower third of the oven and bake it for 50mins or until when you insert a cake tester in the middle it comes out clean.
11. Remove from oven but do not remove from pan and cool in the tray while you prepare the Kahlua Syrup.

Kahlua Syrup Ingredients
100ml Kahlua
80ml Water
3 tablespoons Honey

12. In a small pan blend Kahlua, Water, and Honey. Bring it to a slow simmer 2 to 3 minutes then remove from heat.

13. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC, top only.
14. Feed the Espresso Cake by using a spoon and slowly pour over the top of the warm cake.
15. After feeding, let it stand in the pan for at least 1 hour to allow the cake to absorb the Kahlua Syrup.
16. Place the feed cake back in the oven for 3 to 5mins to dry up the top which is wet from the feeding.
17. Remove from oven and let it cool in the tray for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Storage: Store at room tempreature in an airtight container or cake dome for up to 7days.

Click here for our blog page Baking Classes for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~