Lazy Mommy Kaya (Singapore Coconut Egg Jam)

I still remember the first time i packed a kaya sandwich in Ryan’s packed lunch to daycare. When I went to pick him up, the awesome daycare ladies asked me what was the green stuff in his sandwich πŸ˜› . They probably wondered why any mom would slather green food coloring to their kid’s sandwich LOL.

So, Kaya is a Southeast Asia jam that basically consist of eggs, coconut cream, sugar and Pandan Essence. Pandan Essence is made from Pandan leaves which is in abundance in Singapore. Not so much in where we live in Canada. So next best thing – I brought back Pandan Paste and Pandan extract πŸ˜€ . I mean…what’s a girl gonna do to get her favorite jam fix? πŸ˜‰

Pandan Paste Vs. Pandan Extract
Pandan Leaves

For those of you who do not know what Pandan Leaves are like, they are a tropical plant that grows abundantly in Southeast Asia. You can read more about the plant at thespruceeats.com if you like but it is known as a “fragrant plant” because of its unique, sweet aroma and growing up, my mom uses it fairly often for baking. It’s got such a sweet and fragrant aroma i love just sniffing the bottle LOL. And Kaya Sandwich is to me like how PB&J sandwich is to my Caucasian friends πŸ˜€ . Well, until now where every kid’s packed lunch has to be nut free anyway.

Traditional Kaya Jam takes at least a couple hours to make. It is really a very easy recipe with less than 5 ingredients. Challenge is it requires a lot of patience slaving over the stove using a double boiler to cook it slowly, making sure you stir it constantly over low heat. The patience is what makes good kaya jam smooth instead of lumpy. Well, I like to think I have many virtues but patience is not always one of them ^^’

So I decided to use the same ingredients as I would in a traditional recipe. Except that instead of a double boiler, I just cook it in a pot directly over stove on low to medium heat. Took way lesser time to get it to a jam kinda texture. Sure, it wasn’t as smooth but it didn’t affect the taste one bit. In fact, it taste every bit the same ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ as I remember growing up eating that for breakfast made by my adorable mom.. I wonder if Ryan thinks I’m adorable too lol.. probably not πŸ˜€ . What matters is he loves his kaya toast as much as I do & that’s a win for a lazy mommy trying to integrate him to his Singapore roots.

Best way to eat it – spread margarine and kaya on your toast πŸ˜€

Ingredients:

  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup coconut cream (full fat version please)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Pandan Essence

Instructions:

  1. Add sugar, coconut cream & essence to the lightly beaten eggs in a pot
  2. Cook the mixture directly on stove over low to medium heat
  3. Keep stirring constantly until it becomes the jam texture you are looking for
  4. When it is cooled, you can store in fridge just like you keep your store bought strawberry jam


Easy Peasy Egg Tarts

Honestly, never even really occurred to me where egg tarts actually come from… as in from which culture. Growing up, I always remember eating them when my parents would bring us to go eat dim sum on weekend mornings. Those were very fond memories indeed. These days, you can pretty much eat dim sum any day.

But this I do know – while it is a Asian dish, it has influences from the Portuguese. Might be the reason why some Asian places call them Portuguese Egg Tarts.

So usually, I will try to make my own crust and I have a really wicked awesome flaky pie crust which I feel will work great for the egg tarts but this weekend, Ryan and I weren’t feeling really well so I just really didn’t feel like making it from scratch so store bought ones will have to do for this weekend πŸ˜€

And really, Tenderflake Tart Shells works perfect with Egg Tarts.

There are many many egg tart recipes but remembering that this is a Easy Peasy one, so I did skip some steps such as straining the egg mixture. Straining the egg mixture/filling helps remove any lumps and ensures your custard filling comes out looking smooth & pretty.

Also, it usually ask you to chill the filling in fridge first. Again, skipped by this mommy. One thing to note too that my original recipe usually uses evaporated milk but sometimes when I dun have that, I use my coffee cream instead. I just use 2 tbsp of coffee cream instead of 1/4 cup evaporated milk.

Since I am baking for my family and not to sell, I really could care less about straining it. Maybe when I have more time or when I decide to see if anyone will buy it from me at the Farmers Market lol

Here goes the super easy ingredients:

  • 1 box of Tenderflake Tart Shells (12 tarts)
  • 4 beaten eggs with a pinch of vanilla extract & salt
  • ΒΎ cup hot water
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk

My Easy Peasy Lazy Mommy Recipe:

  • To make the custard filling, stir in sugar in hot water and let it cool slightly
  • Once water is cooled, add in your beaten eggs, vanilla, salt and evaporated milk. If you don’t have evaporated milk, I would just add 2 Tbsp of coffee cream or half & half
  • Mix it all up thoroughly
  • Strain it if you want your custard to look smooth and pretty and without lumps but I didn’t.
  • Pour it into the 12 tart shells till about 80% full
  • Bake at 400 f for 20-25 mins. Mine came out at 25 mins Cos I filled the tart shells to the brim lol. But if you fill it to 80% full, 20 mins works suffice

And that is it. Super easy. Super lazy recipe. And now my son gets to have a taste of what my parents would bring me to eat on a Sunday morning πŸ˜€ and he ate 2 for breakfast this morning so I’m gonna call that a Mommy Win!

😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎


Air Fryer Crab Stick Chips

Welcoming the Year of the Rat

If I have not said this yet, I love love love my Air Fryer πŸ™‚ . With Chinese New Year approaching, I’m trying to find recipes I can replicate easily in Canada & it isn’t always easy. With Christmas, I wake up every day feeling festive like everyone else because Christmas is a much bigger event than Chinese New Year in my town. Chinese New Year really isn’t widely celebrated in my town so it can feel harder to be the only one getting excited about it. Thankfully, my Instant Vortex Plus is helping me get excited Cos there are so many Chinese New Year stuff that I can easily replicate using this one appliance πŸ™‚

Anyhow, this took me 2 packets of crab sticks. Make sure you buy the rectangular ones.

In Singapore, they sell this during Chinese New Year and they are deep fried so it is pretty labour intensive which also meant they sell it pretty expensive but this air fryer version taste as good, uses way less oil and is so easy to make. I made all these in 4 batches in my air fryer and each batch took about 20 mins at 320 fahrenheit. While it was cooking, I just used the time to make my wontons.

Before
After

It is Yum Yum in my tum tum πŸ˜€


Instant Vortex Plus Chinese New Year Baking – Green Pea Cookies

One of my favourite Chinese New Year Cookie

Green Pea Cookie, I feel is one of those very understated cookie. If Chinese New Year Cookies were a group of friends, Green Pea would be the wallflower, Pineapple Cookies would be my popular & vivacious friends and Me, I am definitely the Walnut Cookie, the Nutty & Klutzy one in the group haha πŸ˜›

Ryan is definitely a NUTTY Walnut Cookie like his mommy too πŸ˜€ lol

Lol anyhow, while Green Pea Cookie is very often overlooked compared to her more flashy friends, she is so so yummy. And it’s the type of cookie that the more you eat, the more you want more.

And it is a very easy recipe. Oh well maybe not my first round Cos the first time I made it, I had to wash the peas, dry them, roast and then grind them πŸ˜₯ . Definitely not this Lazy Mommy idea of a lazy way to bake lol.

I might be lazy but I’m definitely determined when it comes to finding lazy ways to bake quality food. So this time, I had this bright idea and it actually worked!!!! πŸ˜‰

Instead of fresh peas, I used these green pea snacks 😎 & they work perfectly! πŸ˜€ . Just make sure you are using the plain flavored ones and not the Wasabi Spicy ones lol. Otherwise, be prepared for a very spicy cookie hahaa..

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Ground Green Peas
  • 1.5 Cup Flour
  • 2/3 Cup Icing Sugar
  • 100 gram Vegetable Oil
  • 1 beaten Egg Yolk to glaze the top of cookies

Instructions

  • Combine top 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl until well mixed into a dough
  • If too dry, add a bit more oil gradually
  • If too oily, add a bit more flour gradually
  • I find this recipe very forgiving
  • Glaze the top of cookies
  • Bake in Vortex Plus for 12 mins
  • Switch the trays midway
  • When it’s done, let it cool before storing it. This would stay well in freezer as well.
Before going into Vortex Plus

They were soooo yummy πŸ˜€

Enjoy!


Instant Vortex Plus Asian Chicken Wings

Yahoo! Finally it’s the weekend & I get to try out my Christmas Gift from my hubby – the Instant Pot Vortex Plus Air Fryer πŸ˜€ & I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. They got me at Deep Fried Juicy Chicken Wings LOL

So while it’s called an Air Fryer, IT BOASTS a total of 7 functions!! Well, I hope the other 6 functions lives up to the Air Fryer function I used tonight :D. Only time and a lot of cooking will tell πŸ˜€

With this appliance, you can Air Fry, Roast, Bake, Broil, Reheat, Dehydrate and Rotisserie cook your food…I don’t know how other Vortex Plus users feel but I kinda feel like this is my adult version of the Easy-Bake Oven LOL. Oh well, i must be missing my childhood πŸ˜€

Anyhow, I got this at Christmas and when i did the initial testing as per the instruction manual, i was really disappointed at how loud the appliance was. And I was actually having thoughts about returning the product. I am so glad though that I decided to give it a try first because I can tell you this!!

This Bad Ass Vortex Plus is not going anywhere!!! I love it! πŸ™‚

So let me tell you about these Chicken Wings. I love love love Chicken Wings! But I am quite picky about my Chicken Wings. My favorite chicken wings are from a food stall in Singapore Ghim Moh Market. You know that I’m a serious fan when the owners of the food stall knows me hahaha..

Since moving to Canada many years ago, I have found other good chicken wings but never found one that could rival my favorite in Singapore. So, I can’t believe that the first wings I made using my Vortex Plus tonight actually reminds me of my favorite wings in Singapore. So much so that I ate 3 chicken wings after 9:00pm…Oops I dun even want to think about how many calories that is but whatever. Clean eating can come another day lol.

It’s a really easy recipe too πŸ™‚

Ingredients:

  • Whole Chicken Wings
  • 2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Corn Starch
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • Less than a tsp of oil (to grease the 2 grill plates slightly)

Instructions:

  1. Marinate the chicken wings in all the ingredients except oil and leave it in fridge for 2 hours for better tasting chicken wings
  2. Note that I had enough marinate for 14 wings but the Vortex Plus could only hold 10 whole chicken wings comfortably
  3. Start the Air Fryer function at 380 F or 193 C and set time to 30 minutes
  4. Once it beeps and signals to “Add Food”, insert your 2 grill trays with the wings in. You can see in video I didn’t use oven mitts at this stage but I highly suggest you wearing one every time you insert a tray in cos it just takes a second of carelessness to get yourself burned
  5. Midway through, it will signal you to switch the trays
  6. Switch the 2 trays and close the oven (MAKE SURE YOU USE OVEN MITTS!!)
  7. 30 minutes of waiting is over and I eagerly get my wings out!!
  8. REMEMBER THE OVEN MITTS! I can’t emphasize that enough.
  9. Enjoy! πŸ˜€

Enjoy the video and the wings & let me know how it turns out for you or share with me your favorite chicken wing recipe!

I know my 2 favorite men gave them the Thumbs Up! 😎 😎 😎 That make this Lazy Mommy soooo very happy


Dummy Guide to Chinese New Year in Singapore

Winter vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

While I really love Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations, I only celebrate CNY if I am back in Singapore during that period of time. But now that we have a kid, there’s this urge in me to start celebrating CNY in Canada with hubby and kid. Maybe it’s a maternal thing. Maybe I hope he doesn’t forget his Singapore roots. Either way, it feels so important to me now to start recreating certain CNY traditions for my own family.

So for the very first time since I moved to Canada, we are gonna host a CNY Party and invite our friends over. Needless to say, both hubby and me want to make sure we incorporate CNY stuff and food at this party. But really, ny hubby has never celebrated CNY so how would he know? He will probably say he knows but really, he wants to bake Toblerone Shortbread Cookies for CNY hmmmmmm….Ya, he doesn’t know CNY but hey, it’s the love & effort that counts πŸ˜€ and I do love that he is for us trying to integrate CNY into our family so LOVE YOU DADDY

With limited ingredients here, we can’t recreate everything but we will recreate selectively lol. So I thought what better way to start than to write up a Beginner Guide to CNY in Singapore πŸ˜€

THE MONTH BEFORE CHINESE NEW YEAR

1. SPRING CLEANING

What this step essentially means is to usher in the new year with a clean slate in life, giving you the opportunity to prosper in the new year.

  • Major Cleaning before CNY 1st day – symbolizes a fresh start & sweeping away all the bad luck for last year out the door
  • Decorate the house with CNY decorations
  • No cleaning especially on the first day of CNY – symbolizes sweeping away all your new and good vibes/luck out the door so NO CLEANING on 1st day.
  • If you owe anyone money, try to repay them before the first day of CNY. What it symbolizes is that if you went into the new year owing people money, then you will always be owing people money in the new year. Clearing that debt will symbolizes good money luck in the year ahead. To us, this is also a form of cleaning.
  • We also use this time to pay our respects and worship our deities either at home at at the temple. One prays to different deities for different wishes. You pray to God of Wealth for obviously more wealth, to Kitchen God who has witnessed and recorded your family dynamics for the last year ready to go back to Heaven to report your good and misdeeds to Heaven. There are many other gods.

2. RED PACKET MONEY ( KNOWN AS η΄…εŒ… OR HONGBAO)

  • During CNY, it is our tradition for the married people to give Red Packet to unmarried guests as well as seniors and the elderly at home. These are filled with money and symbolize good fortune and luck for the new year. So basically, every married couple including us will give Ryan a Red Packet and me & Darren will give my Mom (the senior in the home) a Red Packet.
  • Amounts usually differ depending on how close the relationship is and hierarchy. Fear Not if you are clueless about this. Of course, there is a short dummy guide published yearly on amount rules πŸ˜€ . You can have a quick read at here.
  • One should only use new dollars and the amount should always be in even numbers but never the number 4. So no odd amount like $7.00 but also never use the even number 4. Number 4 in Chinese sounds like death so never give $4.00, $44.00, $24.00. While other even numbers are acceptable, we love the number 8. 8 is considered a very auspicious number.
  • Go to bank to obtain new or good as new dollar notes for the Red Packets. While most Singaporeans use online banking, this is the time of the year where the banks will be filled with customers coming in to withdraw new dollar notes. You can even reserve your new notes online πŸ˜€ .
  • For recipients of the Red Packet, make sure you wear bright colored clothing. Always bring 2 mandarin oranges when visiting during CNY and as soon as you enter someone home, offer the oranges to the family and say a auspicious greeting. If in doubt, just offer with both hands and say “Happy Chinese New Year”. The family says thanks, receives your oranges and gives you a Red Packet. NEVER open your Red Packet until you get home. It is just rude.

3. BUY NEW CLOTHES

  • New clothes preferably in Red or auspicious colors for at least the first 3 days of CNY (By the way, CNY runs for 15 days but no, we dun get time off for all 15 days lol)
  • In stricter households, most still would avoid white and black colors as those are associated with death. Kinda funny that in the western world, white is considered a wedding beautiful color whereas it is associated as death or funeral in Asian cultures.
  • It’s not so strict in my family so we can wear any colors but i would still suggest leaving your goth makeup at home πŸ˜€
  • Some would even buy new bed sheets to usher in the new year as well. Not sure if my mom ever did. Have to remember to ask her.

4. PREPARE CHINESE NEW YEAR FOODS

  • There is a lot of playing with words in Chinese New Year traditions so preparing foods that translate to auspicious meanings is important. In my family, I don’t think we observe it that strictly but some families still do. Example: Long Noodles symbolize long life, Fish symbolize being blessed every year, mandarin oranges symbolize abundance & prosperity, Glutinous Rice Cakes symbolize great improvement in study and work, Pineapple Tarts symbolize ushering a sweet & prospering life, Sweet Rice Balls for family harmony, Spring Rolls symbolize wealth & etc. The list goes on and on.
  • Prepare food for the Reunion Dinner which is on the last night before Chinese New Year. I love love love Reunion Dinner. It’s a Must in my family, I grew up having Hot Pot for our Reunion Dinner and I miss it soooo much. Wish we could be there this Chinese New Year :(. Oh well, such is Life but at least, we would be doing our own mini celebration in Canada

CHINESE NEW YEAR EVE

1. REUNION DINNER

  • As the name depicts, it really is a gathering of the family members for a sit down meal. Traditionally, Reunion dinner always happens on CNY Eve but nowadays, some families choose to do their dinner earlier. Reunion dinner has to be the favorite part of CNY for me personally πŸ˜€
  • The format of the meal depends on the family but growing up, we always had Steam Boat or Hot Pot for Reunion Dinner.
  • I just ordered a Hot Pot from Amazon.ca . Hope it arrives in time for our 2020 CNY Party

2. COUNTING DOWN TO NEW YEAR

  • Once Reunion Dinner is over, some people would go to Chinatown to usher in the New Year and join the locals in various celebrations, street performances, night markets in counting down. Be warned. It is a sea of people packed together but if you want to feel the CNY atmosphere, this is the best way to.
  • Expect plenty of loud celebrations when you are out and about. If you hate crowds, people and loud noises, do yourself a favor and just stay home
  • For Lazy people like me, we count down at home with our full bellies and reminisce about the family and the last year.

DURING CHINESE NEW YEAR

1. VISITING, VISITING & MORE VISITING

  • While CNY last for 15 days, the statutory holidays only cover first 2 days of CNY so we do a lot of visiting of and with families and friends during these two days. Growing up, it’s not uncommon for my family to be out visiting 3 to 4 families within a day. It’s pretty hectic and so no, you can’t be staying at one place for that long
  • As a single, I would receive Red Packets but sigh now that I am married, I am the giver lol

2. LO HEI (PROSPERITY TOSS)

  • Best way I can describe a Prosperity Toss is the tossing of a very colorful salad with sashimi and every ingredient in this salad has a auspicious meaning
  • It is really quite hard for me to describe how we do the Prosperity Toss but check out this quick YouTube Video and it gives you a good idea of how that looks like
  • If you prefer a short step by step guide, check out this article on LadyIronChef.com on How To Lo Hei Like a Boss πŸ˜€
  • Traditionally, people do this on the 7th day of CNY but nowadays, people do it on any day of the 15 days of CNY
  • I really would like to incorporate LO HEI in our CNY Party but not sure how to with limited ingredients.

3. WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE

  • Ermmmmm not that I always have the best language but for us, swearing, scolding and talking negatively or behind other backs during CNY is like the worst thing you can do to yourself. We believe that how we chose to behave during CNY sets the tone and fortune for the year to come. Well, obviously, we should strive to better people anyway not just during CNY but throughout the year but it definitely will get you disapproving looks if you did that during CNY

Bear in mind that CNY celebrations might differ slightly in different countries, the whole idea is that CNY is a time of family togetherness, joy, abundance and prosperity and is the time to get all your family together, pay respects to your deities and gods and usher in the new year with good fortune and luck.

I hope you enjoy this beginner guide and that gives you a better idea of my culture πŸ˜€ Now I better get started on my CNY Baking