January 20, 2010

Red Fermented Beancurd Cookies & A Cheerful Award 腐香酥條與開心果之獎

Having been suffering from misery at work, I'm glad that the day is over! Argh ...! I now understand why on most working days, my dad would come back preferring silence to hullabaloo. (Well, who else would make all the noise besides us kids? LOL!) Sigh ... I've been feeling overwhelmed with indignation! It's just unfair to be indirectly blamed for something (potentially wrong) that I never do. And, why are some people just so cocky!? Goodness, just because I'm an inexperienced newbie and they are ill-tempered ambulance chasers? Bah ... Sorry, guys! Just bear with me for my long-windedness!

Since late last year, blogging has sort of been a weekly homework for me--one that I enjoy immersing myself in a lot. I always find myself missing this little journal whenever I'm away taking care of other responsibilities in life. Once again, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to read about my rambling (or so I think.) =D

Also, I'd like to thank Faithy for passing on to me the Happy 101 Award! When I first learned about this, I was surprised because it was unexpected. Fortunately, I stumbled upon her beautiful baking blog about two months ago. Don't be fooled by the label of "the Amateur Baker," she is definitely more than that--in fact, one of the advanced ones I've seen so far in the food blogosphere! She's--hands-down--a baker with high versatility, patience, humility and charisma. Don't forget she's one great, great macaron bakers! Kudos to you, Faithy! Thanks once again for the honor.

So, for the recipients of the award (including me), here are what to do next:
  • Having the picture of the award posted onto your blog
  • Sharing the 10 things in life that make you happy with your readers
  • Passing on the award to 10 other bloggers who brighten up your day
  • Sharing the links to the 10 bloggers', as mentioned above, on your blog
  • Getting the 10 bloggers informed about the award
  • Asking the 10 award recipients to relink their blogs to yours.
Before moving forward on to sharing a little bit about myself, I'd like to share the award with my good blogger friends who have been cheering me up on bad days like today. But because there are only 10 seats for this many of you, this is what I've got to do. (Yea, I know this sucks! But heck, no choice!) Here's just a random list of the 10 bloggers for the award:
Okay now, take a deep breath. *Huummm ..., Haahhh ...* Here are some random crappy trivia about myself. (I'd probably get Queen Elizabeth saying, "Nonsense!" Muahaha ...!) So, the 10 things in life that make me grin are:
  • Baking
  • Cooking
  • Bakeware
  • Cookware
  • (Food) photography
  • Cookbooks, culinary magazines and the like
  • My family
  • Writing
  • Shopping
  • My pet dog Chevy
(Sorry for the same old picture.)

Alright, enough of nonsense from me! Hope I didn't turn your appetite off. Haha ...! I actually want to share my first Chinese New Year (CNY) creation with you. So beginning now, there will be some CNY creations that I'll be posting up from time to time.

In less than a month, Chinese all over the world will be celebrating the first day of the Chinese New Year (農歷新年) on Feb 14, which coincides with Valentine's this year! (Oh, well! The latter one won't affect me a wee bit. So, my purse will be spared this time around. Hehe ...) For most Chinese in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand, we traditionally bake up a storm before CNY. Specifically, we love cookies--those local specialties.

I believe baking treats is a custom we adopted from the Portuguese, Dutch and British during those colonial days. In part, this is also due to our southern Chinese roots as southern Chinese are known to possess a sweeter tooth than northern Chinese do. I was, in fact, surprised that my northern Chinese friends from mainland China do not serve candy and dessert during CNY. They were only talking about gyoza 鍋貼, steamed 蒸餃 and boiled dumplings 水餃--something new I've learned from them. =)

Most cookies are either sweet or savory. But, I'm having a hard time defining these. They are eggless. They are great cookies that withstand heat and humidity--if you're thinking of keeping some till the Chinese New Year. They are chewy to chew on. They stand in between the sweet and the savory. They almost sent me on a déjà vu of my childhood days. I almost mistook them for the sweet and salty Kampar "chicken" cookies (or gai zai beng, 雞仔餅). They gave out an almost identical flavor! Thanks to the red fermented beancurd used, an ingredient that can be found at any Asian grocers. It's considered by some as creamy cheese-like delicacy with an acrid taste. Some of us can even gobble up bowls of rice with it!

Red fermented beancurd 南乳

As the (overused) popular line goes, "It's an acquired taste." Red fermented beancurd (南乳) is an either-you-hate-it-or-love-it. That said. If you love the aged tofu, you'll love these cookies; if you hate the aged tofu, you'll hate these cookies. And for the adventurous who didn't grow up acquiring the complex blend of flavors, this is something you ought to consider trying to conquer the "fear factor" in you. And for those looking for interesting cookies this festive season, why not try these--especially when you love Kampar "chicken" cookies?

Red Fermented Beancurd Cookies 腐香酥條 [Adapted from Old-Fashioned Tidbits for CNY, by sQuall Chin 《過年古早味糖餅》。小王子 著]

10 g red fermented beancurd 南乳
*In fact, you may adjust the quantity of the beancurd to your preference
1 tsp mirin 味醂 (a.k.a. Japanese sweet cooking wine)

15 g neutral-flavored cooking oil
50 g maltose 麥芽
**For ease in working, moisten your hands with water to get the maltose out from the container. Maltose doesn't stick as bad to wet hands.
15 g granulated/caster sugar

100 g cake flour, sifted once
***I used all-purpose/plain flour

1 egg yolk, slightly beaten for glazing
Some white sesame seeds, for sprinkling onto the tops of the cookies
  1. Mash (A) together, then mix in (B) and stir well to combine.
  2. Sift in the flour to the wet mixture and combine well--stop when a dough has formed. Then, cover the dough up with a sheet of cling wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
  3. After 20 minutes of resting, divide the dough up by 10g into smaller portions. Next, roll the smaller portions of dough in between your palms to shape each into a "stick" with 5~6 cm in length and 1 cm in width.
  4. Place shaped cookies onto lined baking trays. Then, glaze the top of each cookie with the egg yolk before sprinkling on the white sesame seeds
  5. Bake them at 170C for 10-15 minutes or till golden brown
  6. Remove the cookies from the oven, then transfer them onto cooling rack(s) to let cool thoroughly before serving and/or storing


Angie's Recipes said...

WOW!They look divine. I want some! Need to look out for some red fermented tofu.

Swee San said...

wowww i didn't know fermented tofu can be used to make cookies!

Chow and Chatter said...

great cookies Pei Lin did you leave your job? you deserve better hope you find the perfect match love ya Rebecca

Su-yin said...

You know what, I've never heard of these. How terrible! Will have to look out for them when I go back for CNY. :)

Your cookies look great, will be looking forward to your CNY cookie posts.

ICook4Fun said...

Beautiful pictures Pei-Lin. I have to get some pointers from you on how to take beautiful pictures. I never cook or with fermented beancurd yet and I've already seen a few cookies using it. Now your make me curious to try it out :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Thanks for the award, what an honour! :):)

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

This looks good, I still have a can of red fermented beancurd, maybe I should try this.

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Thanks for the award, Pei-Lin! Much appreciated. :) The cookies are very, very unique. A truly Asian cookie, I say! I have to agree with Angie - they look like divine lil darlings. Well done, girl!

Anncoo said...

Hi Pei-Lin:
I love this type of cookies because of the red fermented beancurd and this is definitely savory.
Thank you for passing this award to me. I love it :DD

squall said...

thanks for support my book...how u feel on the cookies???

noobcook said...

wow the cookies look fab! I haven't seen the red fermented beancurd b4, the ones I've seen so far are the orange type. will keep a look out for it. look forward to more CNY recipes!

Quinn said...

Thanks for the award Pei Lin. The cookies look awesome but the coward in me got a little turned off when I saw 'red fermented beancurd'. I like it in chicken but in cookies....might have to gimme some time before I have the courage to attempt this!

Quinn said...

I forgot to mention, come to Australia and work and be with me! They cannot bully employees like that just because you're a newbie for all reasons! It's just wrong and you have all the rights to file a complain to the biggest boss. I don't knwo how it works in Malaysia but here in Australia, employees are very well taken care of!

sophia said...

Wow! This is intense, and VERY fascinating. I've tried tofu chips before...I wonder if it's made in a similar way!

Jo said...

What an unusual cookie recipe! At first glance I thought it was "chicken biscuit" as well. Love the picture of Chevy, so cute!

homeladychef said...

Thanks Pei Lin for passing me the award! I'm honoured. ^^ didn't know that fermented tofu can be used in baking too.

I will be back to KL for a couple of days during CNY back to SG on th 18th, so can't really meet up with you guys, thanks for the invitation though. But I hope that we will have a chance to meet up soon. ;)

Mrs Ergül said...

I have never seen this CNY pastry around! How cute!

faithy, the baker said...

Thanks Pei-Lin for saying such nice things about me! You certainly put me on cloud9! :D
All jobs are like that..well, i should say working life is like that..my advise will be just do your very best. So don't let things get you down, remember: Be Happy! :)) And do more things to make yourself happy!
I love the pic of your dog, is he a Jack Russell? I have a Jack Russell.
Fermented tofu cookies sounds interesting..i should try it soon..for CNY!

Mochachocolata Rita said...

very interesting combo! i wanna try some!

Elin said...

Hi Pei Lin...I have added this to to do list :) just nice for the cuming CNY . Thanks for sharing and you are a good baker yourself. You deserve the award :)

maameemoomoo said...

Heh.. what a combination!! An eye opener for sure ;)

And i love gai zai beng!

Honey boy said...

Hey Pei Lin,

It's so rear to see just combo. I'm sure it tastes good.

Thanks fo dropping by my blog, hope to see more of your comments! I am also a M'sian, but been leaving in Spore for 15 years.... So enjoy to read our the wonderful food blogs here. I love your doggy! I always like Beagles. Just can't resist thier cute looking faces. :)

Honey Boy

Honey boy said...

I'll link up our blogs ya?!

Dodol & Mochi said...

@Angie: Thanks a lot for coming by and dropping a few lines!! Yes, do try it and let me know what ya think about the cookies! =)

@Swee San: Thanks for dropping a few lines!! Yea, for us Chinese ... fermented tofu can be in pastries, too!! I guess not for those who haven't acquired the taste! LOL!

@Rebecca: Thanks for the kind words! Oh, no! LOL! You just cracked me up! I've barely started my first real job for a little over four months! Definitely won't leave it, hahaha ...! I still need to gain experience before I'm qualified to be picky about my job. =) ... Thanks a lot for the encouragement, yea? Love ya!

Dodol & Mochi said...

@Su-yin: Hey, thanks for dropping a few lines! I ain't surprised if you've not heard about the cookies because it's from a cookbook! They are not like they are traditional famous cookies e.g. kuih kapit & gai zai beng. But, I bet you love gai zai beng, huh? Time to have some when you're home. =)

@Gertrude: Oh, thank you!! Nah, I'm a photography novice ... You've overrated me! LOL! Does that mean you aren't quite a big fan of aged tofu then? You know gai zai beng are made with aged tofu, too! =D

@HHB: Oh, you're most definitely welcomed!! You totally deserve it!! You know you've cheered me up on so many gloomy days!! Your posts are simply inspiring!!

Dodol & Mochi said...

@Sonia: Hello! Thanks for dropping by!! Oh, do try the cookies and let me know what ya think about them! =D Look forward to your post on that!

@Ju: Hey, dear! Thanks for the encouraging words!! You truly deserve it for the kind words that you've been giving me on many gloomy days! Thank you! Yours is really wonderful, too! That's why I keep coming back for more! Lovely writing!!

@Anncoo: Oh, you're most definitely welcomed! You deserve it, really. Yea, I've now come to think these cookies are on the savory side. I love them for their unique flavor and chewy texture! =)

Dodol & Mochi said...

@squall: Hello! Thanks for swinging by and dropping a few lines here! You sort of surprised me! How on earth did you find out this little corner of mine? LOL! You're one master in baking and cooking, man! Yes, I've got a few of your books. But, just haven't gotten around to try all of the recipes out due to busy schedule! Oh, well! There are so many things for us to do in such short time. Anyhow, it's pretty good. I think the nam yu flavor is there: for some, it's too strong whilst for some, it's just right. (Like me, because I ain't picky eater and I heart aged tofu.) And, I did find the texture rather chewy. Well, I'm not surprised because just by looking at the use of ingredients, it's clear that the end result was gonna be chewy. I was just a bit wary when others were trying the cookie out--I hope they weren't expecting something crunchy & dry out of the cookies! Aside that, everything is pretty good! Really! Keep up with the good work! 加油!You're truly talented! =)

zurin said...

those are so cute!!!!!perfectly formed n shaped!

Aimei said...

This is interesting. I've never heard of fermented beancurd cookies before. Your blog has certainly widened the horizon into the world of baking across the globe!

Dodol & Mochi said...

@noobcook: Thanks for coming by!! What!? You've not seen red ones!? Hmm ... The flavor and intensity are rather different between the two. I think the red ones are more intense than the orange ones. You know there's also the Sichuan type (四川麻辣腐乳) that is supposed to be "numbing & hot." (Oh, well ... Not really ...) Yes, they're all good for cooking, too ... e.g. for steaming chicken, stir-frying veggies, etc.

@Quinn: Thanks for swinging by and you're most definitely welcomed! You deserve it! Dear, no worries blaming yourself for not liking aged tofu in cookies. For some, these two can never be in one body!! People are just different from one another! =) Oh, well ... As per our MSN conversation, we've been considering that. We truly hope it will happen someday. Perhaps, it's not gonna be too soon. Hopefully, in 5-7 years, eh? I do miss the friendliness/hospitality! I don't like the mentality here!! This is sad. =(

Dodol & Mochi said...

@sophia: Thank you for stopping by and dropping a few lines! Now that I know you! Hmm ... Surprised, eh? I've not tried tofu chips before! How do they taste like? Are they flavored somehow since tofu itself is bland in taste? Thank you once again!

@Jo: Aww ..., thanks a lot!! Yea, they do sort of taste like Kampar chicken biscuits to me. Very chewy. Oh, I bet Chevy will love you just as much, too! So far, he's been wagging his tail at pretty much anyone ... even strangers!! =_="" Perhaps, not the right candidate as watchdog. He's a pretty good rat buster. @@

@homeladychefs: Hello! Thanks for coming by!! You're most definitely welcomed, you deserve it!! Really! Yes, for us Chinese, aged tofu can be used in pastries. Perhaps, for people who aren't used to the flavor, it's a no-no? My brothers don't like aged tofu though. ^^

@Pei Lin: Thanks for dropping a few lines here. Yea, I ain't surprised that you've not heard about these. They're not like super, super famous classic like pineapple tarts or kuih kapit. Oh, yes! They do look adorable! =)

Dodol & Mochi said...

@faithy: Thank you for coming by and honoring me with the award!! Really thank you! ^^ Yes, that's what I've been telling myself: "Just do my best and complete my part. Working life exposes myself to the multi-faceted life of human personality." You know what, as a writer, I've been learning tremendously, be it in linguistics, sciences/foods/nutritions, cultures or relation management (though I'm that kind of person who doesn't talk much ... I write more.) Yes, I reward myself by doing what I love on weekends and everyday after work! I honestly think all of us working people deserve such treat after long hours of work! Oh, my dog Chevy is a mix between beagle and foxhound. LOL! Oh, yes! Do try this recipe out let me know how you think because I need more confirmation from all you bakers out there!! =D

Dodol & Mochi said...

@Rita: Oh, thanks for coming by! I hope you can have some ... =(

@Elin: Hey, there!! Thank you for coming by!! Oh, do try it out and let me know what ya think about the cookies because I need more confirmation. Yes, it seems like all of us are in a CNY bake-athon mode now. LOL! Well, I'm still learning ... I'm barely a baking novice!! =) You're damn good!

@Cherie: Hello! Haha ...! Anything can go into cookies! I heart gai zai beng, too!! =D

Dodol & Mochi said...

@Honey boy: Thanks for dropping by! Oh, yes! Gotta agree with ya! This is sure an interesting cookie recipe, which was why I did it. Seriously, what you've shared on your blog amazed me!! You're one hella baker!! Good cook, too!! So nice to have found another Malaysian foodie who LOVES to cook & bake!! Yay! Sure, we link each other up!! ;)

@zurin: Thanks for the feedback!! They look like wieners!? Hahaha ...!

@Aimei: Thanks for coming by and dropping a few lines!! Yea, I agree this is indeed an interesting one. =) ... So glad to share interesting, new, different things with all of you who share interests alike! ^^

pigpigscorner said...

Congrats on the award! Very interesting recipe. I cook with red beancurd a lot but never cookies!

Dodol & Mochi said...

Anne & Jeff, thanks for the feedback!! I love aged tofu in my dishes & certain kinds of pastries, too!! Of course, it won't definitely be paired with choco!! LOL!


Kate at Serendipity said...

Pei Lin, I wish I could try these. We had so many new foods in Japan--I miss them. I've tried to re-create some of them here in Belgium, but it's not the same at all...

Blessed Homemaker said...

I love 南乳! I've seen this cookie but never get a chance to make it. I worry I may be the only one eating them :P

My Asian Kitchen said...

this cookies really look delicious!! hmmm maybe I should try your recipe for this CNY!! thanks for sharing:)

Ellie said...

Nice cookies! I have never had cookies with fermented tofu. Very intrigued with the idea. Congrats on the well deserved award!

Food For Tots said...

I still have a bottle of the red fermented beancurd "hiding" in my fridge. Now, I know what to do with it next. Your cookies always look perfect and inviting to me. So inspiring!

zenchef said...

And i thought zenchef was gonna make it to the list of things that makes you grin. :P Dang, maybe next year.
Take a deep breath from all the misery at work and have another of these delicious cookies instead.

Cakebrain said...

don't tell any of my friends...but I like red fermented beancurd. I draw the line at stinky tofu though! In a cookie, I can only imagine how good it would be!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

@Kate: Thank you for visiting! I'm glad that you two had an amazing, unforgettable cultural experience in Japan! I know, I know! It's just not the same when you try to recreate some of the foods you once had in that land far, far away ... especially when the ingredients needed are hard to locate. And you are thus forced to sub this for that with whatever that's closest and within your reach! All these make things all just too hard! =(

@Blessed Homemaker: Thanks for dropping by! I love all 腐乳! Oh, well! Both my brothers don't like it, too! This ain't surprising, but it's obvious I'm the least and not a fussy eater! And when you say you might be the only one finishing these cookies up at home, I ain't gonna blame ya for that! LOL! It's perfectly understandable! =)

@My Asian Kitchen: Thanks a lot for coming by! Oh, yes! Do try the recipe and tell me what ya think about the cookies!! I need more feedback! =) ... Aren't we all getting into a CNY baking madness!? LOL!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

@Ellie: Thanks for visiting and for the encouraging words! Oh, well! I'm pretty sure you've had some aged tofu in cookies! Kampar "chicken" biscuits? Don't we all love it!!?? Yumm!

@Lai Kwan: Thank you for dropping by! Oh, please do try the recipe out and let me know what ya think of the cookies! The more feedback, the better! Thanks a lot for the encouragement you've given me, yea!

@Zen: Thanks for coming by! LOL! Man, you always cracked me up! Oh, well! Good try! But better luck next time around, yea? Hope your wife wouldn't be mad about this, LOL! Geez ..., this is so darn funny! Maybe you can be the zenmaster of humor!

@Cakebrain: Thanks for leaving a line or two here! Hahaha ...! I thought aged tofu wasn't part of your diet anymore! Now, you've proven me wrong! So wrong! OK, that was a bad stereotype! Shame on me! Oh, yes! Red fermented tofu reminds me so much of a Malaysian-Chinese cookies called Kampar chicken biscuits!! =)

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