YouTube Channel Launch – Kueh Bahulu Recipe Video

Happy New Year!

A new year, a new beginning! 2018 marks the start of my first ever YouTube channel. In 2016 some friends had already suggested YouTube since I’m trained in video and animation. But I was so occupied with work at a design studio that I didn’t have much free time. It was only when I started freelancing in 2017 (even though the workload is the same), I had the flexibility to take on new personal projects.

Hope to bring more engaging content to anyone interested in healthier foods, as I know people generally like viewing than reading. Many recipes also require techniques that are best shown visually. Please like, subscribe and enable notifications to my channel to be notified when new videos are out. Currently planning to release one video per month, that’s the best I can do as I need to prioritise my clients’ works, but the wait will be worth it! I’ll still have regular 2-3 times monthly blog posts here, so don’t worry, I won’t be leaving here 🙂

In some Southeast Asian countries, kueh (or kuih) is a generic Malay (or Bahasa) word for snack, usually referring to traditional snacks made with wheat or rice flour, coconut, tapioca, sticky rice and pandan.

Kueh bahulu is a bite-sized sponge cake quite similar to French madeleines but with much simpler ingredients, in fact it’s been called the Asian madeleine by some. It was chosen to be the first video recipe as this snack is close to every Singaporean’s heart. I’ve never seen an eggless recipe for it yet. It’s something that every neighbourhood bakery has, packed in small plastic bags, usually sold for a dollar or two. Also a regular sight at Malay or Chinese familys’ snack tables during Hari Raya or Chinese New Year. If you don’t take eggs for whatever reason, you won’t miss out on the nostalgia with this recipe. Here I used aquafaba (chickpea water) to replace the eggs and tweaked the traditional recipe to maximise rising. Since there’s a limit to the degree of fluffiness achievable with aquafaba, it’s not as airy as the egg ones. Still it’s a soft, slightly chewy and delightful snack reminiscent of childhood.


Kueh Bahulu (makes 18-22 depends on mould)

  • 90g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 90g raw sugar
  • Aquafaba from 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence/paste
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp neutral flavoured oil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/355F.
  2. Grease and flour your mould(s). If you’re using the traditional aluminium one, preheat it in oven for about 20mins after greasing, then flour it after removing from oven.
  3. Put flour and sugar into metal pans and place in oven. This is to remove moisture so it keeps longer.
  4. Using an electric mixer, whip aquafaba and vinegar in a large bowl till soft to stiff peaks. Took me about 15mins on high speed.
  5. Remove flour and sugar from oven.
  6. Add 1/3 of the sugar into the whipped aquafaba, and whip at medium speed till just combined.
  7. Repeat till all sugar is used up. Beat till mixture ribbons, about 10-15mins on high speed.
  8. Add oil, vanilla and mix on low for few seconds till you see no more patches of both.
  9. Sieve the heated flour into the mixture 1/3 at a time. Using a whisk, mix till just combined.
  10. Repeat till all flour is used up. Do not over mix.
  11. Pour batter into your mould(s). Tap the moulds lightly few times to remove air bubbles. Bake for 15mins or till golden brown, rotating the pan at around 8mins.
  12. Repeat till all batter is used up. If you’re using the same mould, you will need to grease and flour again before pouring the batter.
  13. Let kueh cool in mould for about 5mins or until it is easy to remove, then use toothpick to release it. Let cool on a rack completely before storing.

Notes:

  • Use a non-stick metal mould instead, the traditional aluminium one sticks too easily and is very hard to clean :/
  • Don’t keep sugar in the oven too long as it’ll melt. About 10-15mins of heating on fan mode is good enough.
  • Bake longer for more crisp and brown exterior.
  • Keeps well in fridge for 1week, not recommended to keep at room temperature (in the tropics) for more than 2 days.
  • The kueh will harden in the fridge, best to toast it lightly for few mins before eating.

If you enjoyed the video, please like, share and subscribe for more! Thank you SO MUCH for your support over the past years! I’m really excited to bring more varied recipes to different platforms, hope to show more people the beauty of vegan food! May your 2018 be full of blessings, health and happiness.

 

rustic gingerbread cookies

Christmas is around the corner, so I’m posting a Western recipe for a change! As a spice lover, I love anything gingerbread. Ginger isn’t the only spice used despite the name, cinnamon, nutmeg are usually also present as well. The traditional gingerbread also includes cloves, but I didn’t have any on hand so I use Chinese five spice and sometimes cardamom. I’ve been making it like this for 2 years, and it always turns out moist, slightly chewy, homely and comforting. So I’m sharing the recipe here.

As a (sometimes) lazy cook, I love simplifying and reducing the steps needed. This recipe is very basic. I didn’t want to top it off with icing or frosting as I find it’s too sweet and troublesome. Icing sugar is my least favourite baking ingredient – it has no nutritional value, a mess to work with and will attract ants if some gets on the floor! If you want to add icing, I’ve included the recipe below too. This year I also didn’t want to use cookie cutters as that means more steps and more utensils to wash.

The dough can be made in advance up to 2 days. Keep in the fridge and remove once you are ready to portion and bake. The dough also rolls well and can be cut with cookie cutters into various shapes before baking.


RUSTIC GINGERBREAD COOKIES

Makes around 20 pieces

  • 1/3 cup neutral flavoured plant oil (I use grapeseed)
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I use oat)
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves or cardamom or five spice powder
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla paste

In a large bowl, whisk oil with molasses and raw sugar till mixed together into wet crumb-like texture. Add non-dairy milk, vanilla and whisk till combined. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and all spices into the mixture. Add salt. Use a spatula and mix in one direction till just combined into a dough. Place dough into a sheet of cling wrap, spread it out, flatten and wrap. Chill in fridge for 1 hour to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 175C. Portion dough into 25g balls and place onto a pan lined with baking paper. Flatten slightly. Bake at 175C for 12-16mins, rotating halfway. Remove from oven, let it cool on baking paper for 1 min and transfer to cooling rack. Let it cool completely before serving or storing. Cookies can keep up to 4 days at room temperature.

FOR ROYAL ICING (Makes around 1 cup of icing)

  • 1 cup icing sugar, or more if needed
  • 4 tbsp aquafaba, or more if needed (it’s chickpea water, simply drain out a can of chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • Colourings or other flavours, optional

Whip aquafaba and vanilla in a metal bowl with an electric mixer till foamy. Add sugar and vanilla, mix till glossy with soft peaks. Add more liquid (if too dry) or sugar (if too runny) till desired consistency. Do not over mix. Transfer a small amount into piping bag and test on a piece of baking paper. If it sinks a few mins after drawing, it’s too runny so add few tbsp more sugar. Once you’re happy with the consistency, draw onto cooled cookies. Keep the iced cookies uncovered at room temperature to dry the icing before storing. It takes about 1 hour to half a day depending on room temperature, humidity and design of the icing.

Gingerbread men I made last year.

To make shapes with cookie cutters, simply roll out the dough onto a clean flour surface till about 0.5-0.7 cm thick. Cut with cutters, remove the extra dough in-between shapes and repeat the rolling and cutting till you use up all the dough. For these cookies, reduce the baking time by 5 – 8 mins to avoid them turning out too hard as they are much thinner.

Still prefer making these – much less hassle, just as tasty.

Announcement:

I’ve started conducting cooking and baking classes! I aim to keep my classes more affordable than regular classes so that it’s as accessible to more people. To keep costs low, I will try to get sponsors. If you’re a vegan business or one selling quality vegan products and will like to sponsor ingredients for my future classes, email me at morethanveggies@outlook.com.


In this session, I will share straightforward recipes using common ingredients to make rustic Christmas treats for your loved ones. I will explain basics like how to measure ingredients correctly, the roles of ingredients, how to change the recipes to suit your tastes – basically things that are hard to describe in writing and best shown.

You will work with quality ingredients for the toppings, kindly sponsored by local health grocers, Little Farms​. Email (morethanveggies@outlook.com) to book! Limited slots available as class is kept small for max benefit.

Testimonials from the previous class’ participants:

  • “Very simple and easily available ingredients, clear and easy to follow instructions, great mix of students, absolutely and sinfully delish brownies, muffins and cookies!!! I was SUPER IMPRESSED with my baking” – Hui
  • “Morethanveggies baking class was utterly wonderful! Chef patiently explained the procedures and showed us the tricks. With a wealth of up-to-date knowledge, she also advised us on where to get the best ingredients and what to do if we wish to experiment with different flavours.” – Erin

Wholewheat Masala Chai Muffins

Happy Deepavali!

I’m not an expert on Indian cooking, have attempted a few dishes but they never taste as good as the restaurants. A friend recently gave me a bag of masala chai blend (Black tea spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, clove). So I combined it with something I’m more confident at – baking! I also have a masala chai recipe using soymilk. That was approved by two Indian friends, so I’m pretty sure it’s good.

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This is my first muffin recipe using 100% wholewheat. I used Pillsbury Gold Atta flour, which is meant to make rotis. I find that generally atta meant for chapati or similar Indian breads works excellent in baking. Texture is slightly denser than my usual muffin recipe using white flour, but still soft and moist. Also has a more rustic and hearty flavour that complements the spiced tea taste well.

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Steep the tea in non-dairy milk first.
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Add wet to dry ingredients.
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Batter will be thicker than ones made with white flour.

 

wholewheat masala chai muffins

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups wholewheat atta flour (available from Indian grocery shops)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp quality masala chai blend (use more if you want a stronger chai taste)
  • 2 cups coconut milk (also works with oatmilk)
  • 2/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 175C. Bring the coconut milk and tea blend to a light simmer over low heat. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 20mins. Strain out the tea mixture with a sieve. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk tea mixture with other wet ingredients in a smaller bowl. Make a hole in dry ingredients, add wet mixture and stir with spatula until just combined. Scoop batter into muffin cups till 2/3 filled. Bake at 175C for 15-20mins until a toothpick inserted into each cup comes out clean. Rotate pan halfway for even heating. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. Let cool before serving or storing.


Notes to ensure a good rise and moist texture:

  • Make sure your baking soda and powder is still active.
  • Do not overmix, stop immediately when you see no more flour.
  • Do not over bake, start checking at the 15min mark for doneness with the toothpick test.

Check out my chocolate chip pecan muffin recipe too.

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Dark Chocolate Brownies

This is not only a recipe post, but a message to all girls.

Some girls have the habit of rejecting dessert, counting calories to a T, avoiding certain whole foods like coconut, nuts or avocados for the sole goal of “I don’t want to look fat.” What I find even more disturbing is the number of slim girl friends saying that they are “fat”, and the increasing number of eating disorders among young girls in recent years.

Firstly I’d like to question, with my usual frankness that’s notorious among my friends:

  • Why do you want to avoid being “fat”?
  • Is being bigger than “normal size” a bad thing?
  • Do you think there even should be a “normal size”?
  • Are you truly happy counting calories everyday?

My take on this is very simple:

  • Humans have survived millions of years thanks to genetic diversity. A smaller body that lived in a warm climate would not have survived well in a winter climate compared to a larger body. A larger body could be better at intimidating away predators than a smaller one.
  • Fast forward to modern times, body size was suddenly assigned positive or negative values purely based on appearance.
  • In most developed countries, anything that jiggles is bad. In some developing places, like my family’s hometown in North China, a bigger body = richer pocket = promises financial security (for men) and in good health to bear children (for women).
  • Your body is a result of the complex and practical evolutionary story – there’s no good and bad to your size. Diversity is to be celebrated and there should not be a “normal size” as a benchmark to judge yourself against.

Whole foods that contain good fats like nuts, seeds, avocados etc, are incredibly good for us when taken in suitable amounts. As long as you’re eating whole foods roughly 80% of the time, moving regularly and getting enough rest, I believe our bodies are smart enough to regulate our metabolism well.

For the other 20% of the time, enjoy your favourite coconut-rich curry cooked by grandma, don’t say no to the piece of cake at a party and indulge in those pineapple tarts when they come once a year.

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Life’s too short to reject a bite of fudgy, moist brownies, especially if they are egg-free, dairy-free,  hydrogenated oils-free and refined sugar-free. Here’s my favourite chocolate brownie recipe. Treat yourself well!


 

Vegan dark chocolate brownies

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour, sieved (If you want to use whole wheat, reduce the amount of flour and increase the amount of non-dairy milk.)
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder

Preheat oven to 200C. Mix all together into a large bowl, make a hole in the centre and leave aside.

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 cup plant oil (I used grapeseed oil, avoid using strong flavoured ones like olive or coconut.)
  • 1 tbsp black coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract/paste
  • 1 and ¼ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk.)
  • 15g – 20g dark chocolate (at least 70%. More or less is fine, depending on preference)
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life, for cheaper but lower quality chips, go for the dark chocolate chips at Phoon Huat)

Melt the dark chocolate in the non-dairy milk over low heat. Whisk sugar, molasses and oil together in a medium bowl until combined. Add coffee, vanilla, non-dairy milk and chocolate mixture and mix till a smooth paste.

Pour wet mixture into dry mix. Using a spatula, mix until just combined then add chocolate chips. Sprinkle some chocolate chips onto the surface. Line a pan with baking paper. Pour mixture into pan and use spatula to flatten it out evenly. Bake for 15 – 20 mins, until a fork inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove, let cool in pan for 1 minute before transferring onto rack. Cool completely before cutting. Note: a longer baking time will result in a crumblier brownie, a shorter time makes a fudgy brownie.


 

 

 

 

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If fitting into society’s skewed ideas of beauty is making you unhappy, re-evaluate your goals. Pursue physical and mental health rather than a weight. A strong body and mind can do much more than just getting the look you wanted. Don’t gauge your worth on how you look, but how you feel.

This message from me was inspired by my friend Allison from New York. Allison has a brand inspired by China’s strong women, called 女汉子 pronounced as Nü3 Han4 Zi4 in Chinese. Although frowned upon especially by guys, I identify as a Nühanzi as I grew up among strong women. My grandmother fought for her right to enroll in university while her father wanted her to stay on the farm to raise pigs. My aunt overcame domestic abuse and is now running a business in China. My mother mocked for her poor English when we just arrived in Singapore and used that as the driving force to successfully climb up the corporate ladder. She has never cushioned her opinions and I got my frankness from her. To the guys that criticised me for being too direct, sorry not sorry, it just runs in the family!

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Imagine how thrilled I was to receive Nühanzi’s tops (now my Muay Thai class’ go-to tank) and necklaces! Some proceeds from her necklace will go to the MoreThanMe organisation, helping to build all-girls, tuition free schools in Liberia. Check them out and support a good cause for all girls.

Pink Warrior Charity Bake Sale

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After the success of my first bake sale, Meraki Yoga kindly invited me to be part of another one! This time is for their Warrior In Pink fundraising event where 10% of proceeds goes to the Singapore Breast Cancer Foundation. Greatly appreciate my aunt and mom who lent a helping hand during the baking of 300 over cookies!

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THANK YOU all who came down and enjoyed the cookies! Very happy that most people who sampled loved one or more flavours and thus bought them. People are usually fascinated by how cookies can be rich, chewy and moist without eggs, dairy milks and butter. Baking is simply a play on protein, sugar and fats which plenty of plants can provide. You just need to find the right plant ingredient to use in the right ratio! Here are the ingredients:

Cranberry Lemonade:

Wheat flour, grapeseed oil, organic raw sugar, coconut milk, Madagascar vanilla paste, baking soda, lemon juice, lemon zest, orange zest, sea salt, dried cranberries.

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Rose coconut caramel:

Wheat flour, grapeseed oil, dark muscovado sugar, rose water, Madagascar vanilla paste, baking soda, palm sugar, coconut milk, sea salt, rose petals.

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Double chocolate chip:

Wheat flour, grapeseed oil, organic raw sugar, cocoa powder, semi-sweet chocolate chips, black coffee, Madagascar vanilla paste, baking soda, coconut milk, sea salt.

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Had a great time meeting fellow yogis, new & long-time veg*n friends! Thanks to your strong support, I donated more than 10% to the foundation. Also greatly enjoyed yummy cake loaves from Kai’s Fresh Bakes and homemade rose drinks & nut mylks from The Sweeet Stuff . (Nut mylk photo credit to Cheryl)

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If you missed this event and would like some cookies, email me to make a cookie order!

Tropical Christmas pudding (non-alcoholic)

Happy holidays! I love the idea of British Christmas pudding – moist, cake-like, warm spices and oozing with fruity bits and flavours. Why is it called pudding when it’s..cake-y? Anyway, I made it more relevant to the Southeast Asia context by using tropical fruits, no alcohol (halal), reduced sweetness, regional spices. AND, a handful of a quirky addition for more textural interest – black glutinous rice (pulut hitam). Pulut hitam is an Indonesian sweet rice porridge already used to make chiffon cakes and cream cakes here, so I wanted to explore its potential in other baked sweets. Turned out the spices covered the nutty rice flavour, but the rice grains give an interesting chewy bites in between moist fruit and spice!

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Traditionally Christmas pudding is steamed for hours and matured at room temperature (brushed with brandy regularly) for months. Ain’t got time for that! Plus it might not last a few days at our humidity and temperature. This is a simplified baked version that significantly reduces time and effort. Recipe adapted from The Vegan Society.

For the fruit mix:

200g dried mixed fruits
100g chopped dried mango
100g chopped dried pineapple
3 teabags of black tea (assam or darjeeling works best)

Brew the tea for 10mins with about 800ml of hot water in a large bowl. Add in dried fruits and soak for 30mins – 1 hour, until they swell up to a plump mass. Sieve out the fruits and drain. DON’T pour the soaking liquid – it should taste like a delicious fruity tea now!

Other tropical fruit mix ideas can include tamarind, coconut (desiccated should give best flavour), banana, jackfruit, lychee, and if you’re feeling adventurous, durian (Honestly, try it! Might give the alcohol taste without using actual alcohol). Basically any flavourful fruit that is not too wet should work well. You can steep the fruits a day in advance too.

For the base:

200g vegan butter
2 tbsp gula melaka (coconut sugar syrup)
100g wholemeal flour
100g oatmeal flour (simply pulse oatmeal in food processor)
1 tsp baking powder
100g soft brown sugar
1 grated granny smith apple
3 tsp five-spice powder
1 tsp ginger powder (or 1 tbsp grated ginger)
1 tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp salt
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
3 tbsp fruit mix soaking liquid
1 cup cooked black glutinous rice (Optional. Can tapao from food court, but remember those are sweetened already!)

Preheat oven to 180C. Cream butter and syrup in a large bowl. Add all base ingredients and fruit mix, mix until just combined. Grease a large metal basin (around 1.5 litres) and line the base with parchment paper. Pour in the mixture, leave 2.5 cm till the top free to give room for rising. Cover basin with parchment paper and aluminum foil, tie tightly with a non-plastic string. Bake for 2 hours or so until a skewer comes out clean from the center. (I cut the string after an hour and lifted the papers to check then sealed it back without string – didn’t seem to affect the baking). Let cool in bowl for 5 mins before removing gently onto cooling rack.

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Can be kept in fridge for up to a week. Brushing with soaking liquid everyday will help develop richer flavours. To reheat after taking out of fridge, brush with soaking liquid and steam for 8-10mins. Serve with a drizzle of coconut milk or cream and enjoy with tea or coffee.

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Soft Pretzels

We all love baked goodies because it’s warm, soft, sweet or savoury. People often ask, ‘What baked foods can vegans eat without the butter, eggs and dairy?’ As a fan of baking I’d say we don’t need those, as there are vegan alternatives available! Here’s a basic soft pretzel recipe using vegan butter and healthier ingredients. The fun part is creating the flavours – sugar crusted, salty or herb-infused.. possibilities are endless!

Vegan soft pretzels – makes 8-10 pieces
Ingredients:

2 ½ cups plain flour (2 cups if you want to use whole wheat flour)
2 ¼ teaspoon yeast
1 ½ tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup water, warmed to 35-40 C
¼ cup melted vegan butter, more for brushing (I used Nuttelex Olive. Try using the same amount of olive oil as healthier alternative.)

Instructions:
In a small bowl mix the water with sugar and yeast. Within a few minutes it should start becoming frothy. Leave it aside for now. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt. Add the yeast mixture with melted butter/oil in, mix until it forms a dough.

 

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Sprinkle a flat surface with flour and knead the dough until it springs back when pressed. Place dough in a large bowl, cover and let it rise for 30 to 90 minutes at room temperature. It will grow to about twice the original size. Now pinch a small handful of dough and shape into a 30-40cm long roll.

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Preheat oven to 210C. Place the ends together, overlap and twist them into a pretzel. Do this till all dough is used. Transfer them to a baking tray with baking paper/mat and brush the tops with butter/oil. Now it’s left with placing various flavours on top – you can get creative! Some flavours I tried here are garlic and mixed herbs, cumin and sea salt, salt and pepper, molasses, coconut and brown sugar.

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Bake at 210C for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on a cooling rack before serving. Leftovers can be stored in fridge for 5-7 days.

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