Tag Archives: dim sum

Chinese Coconut Milk Pudding (椰汁糕)

One of my favourite sweet dim sum to have at yum cha is 椰汁糕 or Coconut Milk Pudding. It’s a very light little morsel of coconutty goodness and is also wonderfully refreshing but doesn’t require a lot of effort to make yourself at home either!

To get the correct balance of coconut flavour, I use an almost one to one ratio of coconut milk to whole milk; using too much coconut milk can make it very overpowering. Most tins of coconut milk are also sold in 400ml tins so you don’t have to worry about having any leftover. One tip is to use a chopstick or a fork to give the contents of the tin a mix before pouring into the saucepan as the coconut milk usually separates into water and the coconut cream and if the pudding mixture is not well mixed, it tends to separate out later on.

I prefer using gelatine powder as opposed to the sheets which all the chefs seems to use on TV. I find using the weight of a powder is much easier to control the set of the pudding and it’s also much cheaper too; I stocked up on gelatine powder when I went to Hong Kong however it can be easily found online.

150ml boiling water

20g gelatine powder

1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

350ml whole milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

100g granulated sugar

Dissolve the gelatine powder in the boiling water, stirring until completely lump free. Set aside.

In a saucepan over a medium heat, stir together the coconut milk, whole milk, vanilla extract and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Then add in the gelatin mixture and stir again to dissolve.

Strain the mixture into a deep rectangular or square plastic container and leave to cool for 30 minutes before covering and refrigerating for 4 hours or until it is set; it should have a firm wobble and come away from the edges cleanly when you pull the pudding away.

To serve the pudding, flip out the pudding onto a chopping board and use a knife to slice into even cubes.


Buffet at the Shamrock Cafe and 227 Desserts Tavern: #AITKitchenInHK: Day 11

Today was a fantastic day spent with my mum’s relatives full of lots of food!
To start the day, we went out to buy lunch in Tai Po to bring back to our flat. We had a salted fish and chicken rice, a spare rib and chicken feet rice, fish ball noodles and gyoza soup noodles. Unfortunately they swapped my beef ball soup for another fish soup which obviously I couldn’t eat so luckily we had bought some microwaveable dim sum from Wellcome the other night and I had some pork siu mai and glutinous rice dumplings.

 We headed off to Prince Edward in Kowloon to meet up with my mum’s family before heading off to 227 Desserts Tavern along Fa Yuen Street. I’m still not entirely sure what we ate but I know we had a sago and red bean ice cream, a mango crushed ice, green tea pudding with red bean crushed ice, milk pudding with red bean crushed ice and some glutinous rice balls.


 For dinner, we headed into Jordan and went to the Shamrock Cafe above the Shamrock Hotel. It was a buffet restaurant where you ordered a main course but you could help yourself to soups, salads, dessert and drinks. I had missed having Western food so I made the most of my money by creating many salads to accompany my meal!

There were many different leaves such as lollo rosso, frissee, jade peashoots, red chicory and rocket as well as 4 different dressings ranging from Caesar to thousand island to a simple vinaigrette to a pear and black truffle dressing. There were also herb croutons, crispy bacon and Parmesan on the side. Here were the salads I ended up with:

 For mains, we had a range of choices on our table; lamb chops, New Zealand sirloin steak, US tenderloin and the chef’s special which was a fish dish.

 Then it came to the dessert buffet. As a self-proclaiming dessert connoisseur, I got some of everything they had to try. The first plate I got had pancakes with peanut butter drizzle, a piece of chocolate Swiss roll and tiramisu. I didn’t particularly rate the Swiss roll or tiramisu mainly because the balance of flavours weren’t right and the cream wasn’t sweetened in both instances.

The second plate I got had New York Cheesecake, Fruit tarts and a Blueberry Mousse Cake. The cheesecake had the sour cream topping which was in perfect contrast to the cheesy filling but the biscuit to filling ratio was off. The fruit tarts looked fantastic but they weren’t impressive; the pastry wasn’t golden and remained quite soft although it was short. The cream must have come out of a can too! The mousse cake was quite unforgettable as it has no mouthfeel.

My third set of desserts were the soups and jellies. I had a bowl of grass jelly with evaporated milk which is essentially a black jelly and you can find it in Asian supermarkets at home! I also had a bowl of sweet red bean soup which had sago and gingko nuts in it. It had the perfect balance of sweetness and was one of the better desserts. Then we tried a fresh waffle with cinnamon sugar and syrup and a red bean pudding which is often served at dim sum.

All in all, for the amount of food we all ate – the salads alone were worth it as well as the bread toasting conveyor machine which I was loving playing with and being in charge of (I had 8 pieces of garlic bread in there at once and I was mastering flipping the toasted side around putting it back in while the next one came out) – the prices were very reasonable! My sirloin steak meal came to $238HKD which is around £23.

Remember you can stay up to date with my holiday as it happens and read all of the posts using #AITKitchenInHK!

Chinese-style Cocktail Buns

A staple of the Chinese bakery is the Cocktail Bun. This Chinese bun, found in every Hong Kong bakery, is an enriched sweet bun with a buttery sweet coconut filling. It is said that this bun came about when a baker didn’t want to throw away any unsold breads so he crumbled it up with some sugar and coconut to create a filling and the Cocktail Bun was born.


The recipe for the filling usually includes milk powder – and this does tend to be a common ingredient in a lot of Chinese baking. It adds creaminess but I have struggled to find milk powder in supermarkets around my area so I have found custard powder is a good replacement adding that creamy flavour as well as making the filling really golden yellow.

Traditionally, these buns are long and are piped with a paste similar to that use on a hot cross bun. They are batch-baked and this means that they are placed near to each other on the baking tray so when they expand, they join together and they form 1 long bread which can be easily split into individual buns. These buns are always finished off with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

I like using plain flour as opposed to strong flour; I prefer the texture of the bread using plain. The gluten content is only up to 2% more in strong flour.


The other bread in the picture is a Strawberry Cheesecake Bun. The recipe for that will come out later this week.

For the bread dough

500g plain flour

100g sugar

1 tsp salt

180ml whole milk

60g margarine

2 x 7g sachets of fast-action dried yeast

1 egg

For the cocktail bun filling

90g margarine

50g sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

20g custard powder

32g self-raising flour

45g desiccated coconut

Sesame seeds, to decorate

Heat up the milk and margarine in the microwave until the fat has melted. Allow to cool to body temperature and add the 2 sachets of yeast. Stir and allow the yeast to bubble up for about 10 minutes.

For the bread dough, pour the flour into a large bowl and add the sugar and salt to one side of the bowl. Use your finger to stir through and make a well in the centre. Add in the egg with all of the liquid and use your hands to bring the mix into a ball of dough – it shouldn’t be too sticky or too dry.

Once the dough has combined nicely, transfer to a floured work surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes. The dough should not be sticking to the surface neither should it be crumbly. Test whether the dough is kneaded enough by pressing a finger into the dough and it should spring back fully.

Place into the bowl and cover with clingfilm and prove until doubled in size.

Meanwhile make the coconut filling. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon until the filling is even, golden yellow, flecked with plenty of coconut and is thick.

When the dough has proved, knock back the air and divide the dough into 50g portions (you should get 18). Roll out each of the dough balls into a rectangle slightly longer than it is wide. Place a heaped teaspoon of the coconut filling onto the bottom third of the rectangle. Leave as a quenelle shape, do not press it down.

Fold down the top third so you have two thirds lying on top of each other. Then fold over the bottom third dough over the coconut filling and around the bottom. Press down slightly to flatten, fold the open edges on the bottom and shape into a rectangle which measures about 8x4cm. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment. Put 3 of the buns near each other, leaving a 4cm gap.

Repeat with all the buns, and cover with clingfilm and prove for a further hour or so until doubled in size. The buns should almost be touching. When you are ready to bake, sprinkle the buns with a few sesame seeds and place the buns into the oven as it is preheating to 170°C. Bake for 18 minutes until the buns are browned well.


Cool on a wire rack for an hour before eating. I recommend microwaving the buns for 10 seconds to warm up, they taste much better that way.

Hong Kong Day 3

Sleep update: 3 hours, it was enough to survive today walking around the touristy areas of Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui. We had planned to visit the Ami-Con at the Hong Kong Exhibition Centre however arriving at 2:45pm, queues were long and from where we were, it was around 4 hours until you were allowed in. So we rightfully left for Causeway Bay.

We hadn’t eaten by this time so Blooming Mari, a Korean restaurant, was our next step at Times Square, one of the largest tourist hotspots. Even so the food was delicious and spicy. We ordered food ranging from a Grilled Cheese Kimchi Bobbemkipap to a Cajun Chicken Salad to BBQ Beef Ribs with Rice and Potato Wedges. One dish in particular was way too each, even hotter than my Quick Korean Kimchi!

 We walked around Tsim Sha Tsui until night came; nothing really foodie happened however we did see a Where’s Wally convention and the beautiful cloudy landscape near the sea. Don’t be fooled by the weather, it is truly stunning.

So we had dinner back in Tai Po and we ordered from the same place, albeit different foods this time. I had Lo Mai Gai, a glutinous rice parcel filled with meat wrapped in lotus lead, and a creamy custard bun just for $27 (£2.25). Like much else on this trip, it was delicious.

 Tomorrow we are planning to do a lot of shopping in the nearby areas. Food highlights include the bakeries and a congee restaurant.

Hong Kong Day 2

My second day started at 2:18am when I woke up after a mere 45 minutes sleep. Since then I wasn’t able to get back to sleep and by that time, it was 3am and I took part in the weekly #fdbloggers chat and once that had finished, I was most definitely wide awake and unable to get back to sleep. I had just accepted the fact that I was going to live on 45 minutes of sleep and soon 7:45am came around. It was literally chucking it down and we needed breakfast. We combined a mix of the same food from day one, the Pork Gyozas with McDonalds, this time Sausage and Egg McMuffins with Hash Browns and hot Soy Milk.

We decided to meet up with my great-aunt and uncle in Shek Kip Mei, a fair way from Tai Po so we boarded the train (MTR) to Shek Kip Mei where we went to yum cha (eat dim sum) with them. We had a variety of dishes and some of them I’m still not really sure how to explain in English, but I did take many pictures of them:

 We then visited a nearby shopping centre and there were shops aplenty with food goods. From baking to general home cooking, there was something for every cook as well as some crafting activities for those who want to make cakes, macarons and wedding cakes.

 After we sampled some different flavours of ice cream, including taro, rum and raisin, green tea, rocky road and cookie. The rum and raisin was beautifully potent with rum but the green tea was terribly bland, so mixed reviews. But 5 scoops for $12 (£1.00), we were very pleased.

So day 2 of Hong Kong 2015 is almost over, I hope I manage to sleep for slightly longer and I’m surprised I haven’t died of exhaustion as of yet. I’ll be back tomorrow with another holiday update!

Hong Kong Day 1

So it’s the first day I’ve been in Hong Kong and it’s already been full of food! Ranging from market restaurants to McDonalds, I think I’ve covered quite the spectrum of food possibilities here in Hong Kong.

Not having eaten anything on the plane, I was notably hungry and the only thing I wanted was something comforting, something to fill my empty stomach and the golden M was all that was on my mind. The McSpicy fillet burger is my personal favourite, despite the problems surrounding this burger last year (something to do with the source of the chicken, I’m still not really sure) and you simply will never get anything like this in the UK. Costing $40.80 (around £3.40) for a meal, this was pretty amazing and I loved every bite of it! I am unashamed to say I didn’t think it could be topped.

So it was time for dinner with the whole family and we went to Tai Po Hui Market. Now being allergic to fish and seafood, going out to eat in Hong Kong is a bit problematic when fish is a popular option. So I was left with Capital Pork Chops and a bowl of rice. It’s fair to say I wasn’t full after the dinner but among the other dishes included Cuttlefish Balls, Steamed Bream, Salt and Pepper Squid and Whole Stir-Fried Crab.

And I also came up with a new drink that will get me drunk one day; Orange Juice + Cold Beer. It might exist but all I know is that it’s delicious!

So we went for a walk around a local square and found a dim sum store and I decided to get a Fried Pork Bun and some Pork Gyozas, that cost $5 and $14 respectively (£0.40 and £1.20) and I was satisfied. They came with this great chilli dipping sauce, almost like a salsa.

 So that’s my first day in Hong Kong in food. I’d love to know what you all think of it!

Steamed Malaysian Sponge Cake

It’s Mother’s Day, the day when all children give their mothers, and grandmothers, gifts to say thank you. Whilst it’s all good and well buying a bouquet of flowers or a massive box of chocolates, I think the best gifts are homemade, the ones that mean something to them and show love and care. I chose to make their favourite cake, Steamed Malaysian Sponge Cake.

Ma Lai Gao

I have to admit that this is my favourite cake as well because it is just so simple. There’s no need to serve this cake with anything except a cup of tea and its flavour shines through. It is traditionally served as a dim sum dish, the Chinese equivalent of afternoon tea, and like most dim sum, it is steamed rather than baked. This leads to a wonderfully fluffy texture.

You’d expect a steamed Chinese cake to contain some odd ingredient that you don’t have in the cupboard because many Chinese cakes tend to be whisked sponges and contain either cream of tartar or ammonium bicarbonate, both of which are replacements for baking powder. However there is nothing out of the ordinary here, except from maybe custard powder but this is still readily available. For a darker sponge, brown sugar is used and this also lends a deeper caramel flavour. I keep it easy by using granulated sugar.


The cake is simple and easy enough to be made completely by hand. It uses American cup measures and this is the perfect ratio. I suggest investing in a set of these and they make baking quite a lot easier and it means I do not have to convert American recipes into metric!

320g self-raising flour (2 ½ cups of all purpose flour, 3 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt)

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp custard powder

½ tsp baking powder

100g margarine

300g granulated sugar (1.5 cups)

80ml sunflower oil – any flavourless oil will do

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp honey

5 eggs

Prepare your tins. You can use baking tins but I like using metal containers. They are quite shallow so it cooks relatively quickly. Grease 2 with oil and line with some parchment.

Into a large bowl, sift together the self-raising flour, salt, the custard powder and baking powder. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream together the margarine, sugar and oil until it has turned a few shades lighter and is fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and honey until incorporated.


Beat in the eggs one by one. The mixture will feel thicker with the addition of each egg. Continue to mix until it forms a smooth paste. If the mixture has curdled and looks lumpy, add 1 tablespoon of the dry ingredients.

Prepare your steamer. Electric steamers are best but you can fill a wok or large saucepan with water about 2 inches high and bring to the boil, just make sure it does not touch the steamer. Bamboo steaming baskets, like the ones below, impart a slight flavour during steaming.

Add the dry ingredients all at once and fold into the batter. You may need to add a tablespoon of water to the cake batter as it is very thick.

IMG_0776 IMG_0777

Divide between the 2 containers and place each into their own steamer basket. Steam for 20 minutes and the test is the same as baked cakes, if a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, they are done.


This sponge is best served warm, so heat the sponge in the microwave to have that authentic Chinese dim sum feeling.