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脆皮炸鲜奶 (Fried Coconut Milk)

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! <3 I actually forgot that it was this weekend (well, today) until my mom called me and told me a couple days beforehand. (I know, bad Asian.) My neighbor also mentioned it, which makes me doubly terrible because he ain’t anything close to Chinese (other than his mannerisms and the fact that he’s an egg). He asked me if I’d be giving him any red envelopes and I explained to him that only married couples had to give them out. But later, my friend suggested that I try to swindle him out of some monies since he’s always giving me crap, so I attempted that.

F: Actually, I was wrong. If you’re older, you have to give me a red envelope. :D I expect some monies on Sunday!
A: It’s worth it just to hear you say that you’re wrong.
He will only consent to giving me monopoly money though.

Anyway, our group decided to celebrate Chinese New Year on Friday evening, since we have a quiz tomorrow morning. We didn’t really make too many traditional foods for the new year because we are just a tad bit lacking in terms of ingredients (the closest Asian market is 2 hours away :'( ), so we did what we could. This was basically the first time I really had anyone other than my neighbor over, so Andrea was ripping on me for not having “real sugar” (I only have brown sugar) or oil (I only have EVOO and sesame oil). She thinks my apocalyptic pantry is hilariously awesome and has also taken to feeling my biceps whenever I walk by. They joke that I should enter one of them fitness competitions, but I think I have about 10% too much body fat for that sort of thing (not to mention, I would absolutely hate to have to watch every single thing that I ate and med school + everything else I’m currently doing would make that just a tad bit difficult). Gotta say, I definitely wouldn’t mind looking like a NPC bikini competitor. :O

Some early morning during Renal, I happened upon a jackpot of Chinese recipes (mostly for dim sum <3!) and ended up staying up past 3 a.m. collecting all the ones that I thought sounded pretty awesome. The original recipe called for 1/4 a cup of sugar, but since we used coconut milk (well, the can says “cream of coconut”), it was plenty sweet without the added sugar. It also called for German flour, which we did not have (not even sure what the difference is, to be honest), so we subbed that with regular all-purpose flour.

Please ignore the 炸馒头 (fried mantou) in the back for the moment. I’ll get to a recipe on that later. :O

脆皮炸鲜奶 (Fried Coconut Milk)

(Milk Custard)
-1/4 cup cornstarch
-1 can cream of coconut
-1 cup skim milk

-1/3 cup water
-1/2 cup flour
-1/5 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking powder

1) Mix cornstarch and milk in a saucepan and stir until combined. Set it on a slow fire and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly until thick. Turn off the heat and pour the mixture in an ungreased square dish. Spread the surface evenly. Allow it to cool a bit and chill until firm. (We stuck it in the freezer for a while just to speed up the process. Don’t forget about it like we did though. :x )
2) For the coating, mix water, flour and salt first, then add baking powder at the time you start frying the milk. Add more water if necessary to make a thick paste for coating.
3) Heat some oil to 350. Cut the milk custard into smaller slices, using a wet knife. Coat the custard with the prepared mixture and fry until light brown and crunchy. Drain on paper towels.

You could sprinkle them with powdered sugar if you want, but ours came out plenty sweet without it.

We also made egg tarts, boiled cabbage, matzo balls in broth, 炸馒头, noodles with snow peas, another vegetable dish (I don’t know what it’s called in English), and Walmart dumplings (har har; we may attempt to make these from scratch-scratch sometime [by that, I mean making even the wrappers from scratch since we can’t buy them here]).


蛋撻 (Egg Tarts)

Earlier last year, a friend of mine was feeling pretty down, so I promised to make some 蛋撻 for him to cheer him up. Another friend of mine has been like a super-cool older brother to me since I first got accepted into Davis. Through him, I got everything from dinner to tours of the campus to chemistry tutoring to biochem/anatomy notes to mock interviews for med school. He is, in short, freaking awesome, so it is no small wonder that I’m always trying to thank him in one way or another–for instance, being his winggirl (lawl, just kidding; he already had a girlfriend at the time). In reality, I’d make him food since he’d refuse anything else. You would not believe how hard I had to fight to convince him to let me treat him to lunch. (Yep, I couldn’t even win for dinner.)

蛋撻 = probably one of my most favorite dim sums. (“Dim sums” sounds so weird. It’s probably not a word.) When we buy em’ in bulk in Oakland, 16 are usually gone in two days and none of them will have made it to my lips because my brother generally eats them all. But since he was off in China when we got the last batch, I had no competition for them. :O

Several years ago, Suzanna and I made an almost butter-less version of these, not because the recipe didn’t call for it, but because we just didn’t have any. (This was before she got a car, and we didn’t feel like taking the bus/I didn’t feel like biking through the pouring rain just to get butter.) They turned out semi-okay, but definitely could have been better.

蛋撻 (Egg Tarts)

~1.5 cups flour
~1/4 cup sugar
-1 egg, beaten
~1/3-1/2 cups butter
-1-2 tbsp cold water
-3 eggs
~1/3-1/2 cups hot water
~1/3-1/2 cups sugar
~1/3-1/2 cups milk

The spots are because of my lack of a sieve. :[

1) Take hot water and stir it into the sugar so it’ll be ready by the time you need it.
2) Blend flour and sugar together, then add the butter (you can melt it in the microwave to make life easier) and crack in the egg. Stick the dough into the refrigerator.
3) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat the eggs well and add in the sugar-water mixture and milk. Beat well. Pour everything through a sieve to get all the gunky egg parts out. But if you don’t have one, I guess you can’t do that part. sigh.
4) Keep the custard mixture in measuring cup for easy pouring. (I also neglected to do this. :[ This would have made life much easier)
5) Rather painstakingly assemble the crust. Fill the egg mixture into the baking tray.
6) Bake for 20-25-ish minutes.