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Malaysian Mouth Invasion

Malaysian Mouth Invasion

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The upper-middle-class suburb of Tustin, Calif., isn't the first place that comes to mind when craving fresh roti canai or heavenly Hainan chicken, but it should. Belacan Grill Malaysian Bistro may not be the Malaysian cooking of your mom's in Penang but, really, unless you're Malaysian, whose is?

Belacan is located in a very suburb-esque shopping center off of the 55 freeway in South Orange County. It's not an over-the-top exotic atmosphere, but something less intimidating and more welcoming. It's not exactly Malaysia, but it's definitely not Tustin either.

Starting a meal by cleansing your palate of the day you just left behind is always a great idea. A freshly opened coconut brimming with cool, detoxifying coconut juice with delicate slivers of white coconut flesh is like a chance at being reborn.

For a fuss-free taste of Southeast Asia, the lychee ice beverage (made of lychee pulp, lychee juice, and crushed ice) is a nice treat that's not too sweet. This drink is what a Slurpee wishes it could be when it grows up.

The roti canai at Belacan is one of the flakiest and chewiest I've had. When used as a scoop to grab a mouthful of the fantastic Malaysian chicken curry, it's a flavorful combination with myriad textures. Roti canai is a very similar to the Indian unleavened flatbread known as paratha. Belacan's roti canai is highly habit forming and can lead one to overload on the carbs even before the first course arrives, thanks to a super-tasty curry dipping sauce with just the right mix of spicy heat.

I love greasy Asian noodles. Chow fun is one of my favorite Chinese noodle dishes and pad Thai is a standard Thai fave. Belacan's char kway teow would be as if chow fun hooked up with pad Thai and begat this tasty noodle plate. The flat rice noodles reminiscent of chow fun noodles combined with the pad Thai components of chicken, shrimp, bean sprouts, and scrambled eggs result in great tastes from mom and dad.

Crispy curry leaf shrimp is cooked like many Asian shrimp dishes are — prepared with the shell on. This makes for crispier texture and deeper flavor. The curry flavor is not overwhelming since it is sautéed with curry leaves, but you can taste it. The heat from the chiles is also subtle. It's easy to keep eating these shrimp and lose track of exactly how many have been gobbled.

A sweet meat dish with heat called daging kecap manis contains supremely tender stir-fried pieces of beef thick with a sweet soy glaze. It really is almost like candy with an afterburn. Top it on steamed rice and it's perfection.

Hainan chicken and rice are popular Malaysian dishes that were created on China's Hainan island. The chicken-flavored rice that is commonly associated with the chicken dish is available all over Malaysia, especially as a fast food at hawker stalls and in cafes. In Malaysia, chicken rice balls are more typical than a bowl of chicken rice.

Belacan includes a bowl of chicken rice with any order of Hainan chicken. The chicken rice has a gentle flavor with a light golden hue. It's not as oily as some traditional chicken rice. I would've preferred mine with more chicken oil and flavor.

Hainan Chicken itself is always presented at room temperature. This fact can bewilder or turn off diners who aren't familiar with the chicken. At Belacan, chicken breast is poached instead of boiled so the meat is quite tender. There are three sauces that accompany the poultry — a ginger sauce, sweet chile sauce, and a special soy sauce. The finely grated ginger sauce is what purists use and is delicious. The sweet chile sauce makes the chicken that much more flavorful and exciting.

And it can be honestly said that Belacan Grill makes Tustin and South Orange County that much more flavorful and exciting as well.

Malaysian Mouth Invasion - Recipes

Pineapple tarts is a must-have amongst many households during Chinese New Year, especially in Singapore. Baking pineapple tarts for Chinese New Year has become yearly affair ever since I picked up baking.

Baking pineapple tarts is a very laborious affair and it needs alot of patience and time. But I just couldn't help it. Shop-bought ones are either no good, or over-priced.Trust-worthy quality pineapple tarts are not easy to find. I might as well bake it then.

Max had been living with shop-bought pineapple tarts for the past 29 years. He has no complaint and he eat what his mom fed him. But after I started baking, I'm surprised to hear from him how precise he wants his pineapple tart to taste! He wanted buttery and melt-in-the-mouth pastry with some tang on the pineapple jam. For me, my personal requirement is flaky and NO to milky taste. So, I work based on that.

I did googled some recipes and flip some recipe books. I skipped those that uses milk or milk powder. I skipped those that ask for margarine or shortening. I tried baking using 3 to 4 recipes for the past three years. And I finally convinced and settled down with The Little Teochew's recipe, because I believe simplicity could deliver the best.

I baked 3 batches of pineapple tart last year. Used Lurpak and President butter for the first two batches. It was good. But my MIL complaint that the buttery taste is not what she's looking for. She said "That's not local taste!"

. She makes my face turned green.

I had a sleepless night, thinking what she meant by local taste. And for the 3rd batch, I used SCS butter, as this is widely used especially for Chinese New Year baking. And the result, she says "This is local taste lah!". I guessed it right! This is the buttery taste that she's looking for!

. Duh. I keep calm and continue my baking. Hahaha.

This year, I used SCS for my pineapple tarts as well. And for the pineapple jam, I got myself some Morris pineapple, followed Wendy's home-made pineapple jam recipe and cook up a big batch from scratch.

Ingredients (for Pineapple Jam)
(Source : Wendyinkk)

  • 2 large Morris Pineapple
  • 400g Sugar
  • 1 small stick of Cinnamon
  • some lemon juice (optional, if you prefer more sourish taste)
  1. Peel the pineapple, cleaned, cut into large chunk, included the core.
  2. Put half the pineapple chunks into a blender, add 1/3 water and blitz away. Pour 80% of the blended pineapple into a large pan or wok that has large evaporation surface.
  3. With the remaining blended pineapple in the blender, add the rest of the pineapple chunks into the blender and blitz away. Always leave some blended liquid on the blender, so that you don't have to add water for the next blending process.
  4. Cook pineapple paste with the cinnamon stick under medium heat until it turned pasty, like oatmeal kind of thickness. Stir it occasionally.
  5. Add sugar and stir. The pineapple paste will turn watery when sugars are added. Stir once a while.
  6. Increase the heat to high. Don’t stir and let the base take on some color. It will caramelize the jam. Stir once a while to check on the color. Stop when it almost reaches your preferred color. Do take note that some pans will continue to caramelize even when the heat is off.
  7. Do take note that the jam will thicken further upon cooling. It is better to undercook the jam rather than overcook it. You can cool the jam and see the texture. If it is too wet, you can always cook it again to achieve dry texture.
  8. Once jam is kept in the fridge for a day, pre-roll pineapple jam into balls the night before your baking day.

Ingredients (for Pastry)
(Source : The Little Teochew, with modification)

  • 400g Plain Flour
  • 50g Corn Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Salt
  • 280g Cold, Unsalted Butter, cut into cubes.
  • 3 Egg Yolks, beaten
  • 3 tbsp Ice-Cold Water
  • 6 tbsp Icing Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • For the pastry glaze, mix 1 Egg Yolk + 1 tbsp Water.

Method(for Pastry)

  1. Cut butter into small cubes. Put it back to the fridge. Take the butter cubes out when you are ready to use it.
  2. Sift flour, icing sugar and salt together. Mix well. I keep mine in the fridge to keep my flour cold. The weather in Singapore is hot. I can't help it.
  3. Using the pointed ends of a fork, rub the cubed cold butter into the flour until it looks like fine bread crumbs. If necessary, use fingertips to continue rubbing lightly on the bigger pieces of butter into finer pieces.
  4. Beat together egg yolks, cold water and vanilla extract (and lard oil if you are using it). Add it into the butter flour mixture. Using finger tips, gently coax all the crumbs into one large dough ball. Do not knead the dough. As long as the crumbs comes together, you should stop working.
  5. Divide dough into two balls. Wrap the dough using clingwrap, chill in the fridge for 10mins.
  1. Take one dough ball out of the fridge, roll out to desired thickness. Cut out dough using tart cutter. Arrange neatly onto baking tray, with at least 1.5cm apart.
  2. Glaze the tart shells (the entire tart pastry surface, not just the rims). Bake it at 175 o C for 5mins.
  3. Take the tart shells out of the oven, glaze the tart shells one more time (but just the rims for this time). Place pre-rolled pineapple jam balls onto the centre of each tart shells.
  4. Bake the pineapple tart for another 15mins, or until the tart pastry looked golden brown.

I have pastry cutter to do the work, so, it is much easier compared to fork.

If you made shortbread pastry before, you will know how this should go about. Handling the dough is the key. If you overworked the dough, you will ruin everything. You have to be gentle to the dough, so as to achieve wonderful buttery, flaky texture.

. my camera sucks. It doesn't bring out the color of the buttery dough. Sigh!

You can choose not to glaze the tart. But I'd highly recommend you to do that. Because glazing the tart will makes the tart sturdier during baking. And glazing gives you a nicer orange-y festive looking tart too. Btw, Max says tarts without glaze looked like under-cooked tart. Hahaha. He and his very own logic.

Accomplishment! Alot of work, it sucks my energy dry. But definitely worth it.

Always remember that good food either comes with a price tag or it takes patience and effort to make it right. You can choose to buy shop-bought pineapple jam if you are not picky about it. It definitely save you alot of work. But if you are particular with that, like me, be prepared to do it from scratch. Cooking the pineapple jam can be quite strenuous.

So, if you wanna make some good pineapple tarts, you don't expect it to be easy. That's the simple rule. And no, my tart doesn't look like that on my 1st attempt 3 years back. Practice makes perfect. I need more of that for sure.

Will I make it again? Yes! This is indeed melt-in-your-mouth pastry and it taste really awesome!

I hope you like it! And I have to thank to the fellow ladies who shared the recipe and tips :)

Malaysian Mouth Invasion - Recipes

Egg wash: 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
(Do not use whole egg wash for this recipe. The egg yolk wash is better as it gives the cookies a nicer glossy finish.)

To make the dough for all recipes:
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder (if there is any), baking soda (if there is any) and salt and sift flour mixture into a large mixing bowl. Then, use a spatula to mix in ground almond (pre-roasted if required) and chopped almond (for recipe three only) into the flour mixture.

For recipe one, three and four:
Add oil and melted butter (for recipe four only) into the dry ingredients and use a spatula to mix until the mixture comes together to form a soft pliable dough. For recipe four: If dough is too dry, add a bit more oil.

For recipe two:
Using a pastry blender or your finger tips, rub cold butter into the flour mixture until it forms a breadcrumb looking mixture. Then use your hand to combine the crumbs into a dough. Do not knead or over handle the mixture.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line baking trays with baking papers.

For recipe one, two and four:
Roll cookie dough on non stick surfaces (like baking paper) to about 1 cm thick. Cut dough with cookie cutters. Transfer and arrange the cut dough onto the prepared baking tray with about 1-2 cm apart. Gather scraps and continue to roll and cut out dough until the dough is used up. Important: The dough made with recipe four can be too crumbly to roll and difficult to handle and so it is better to use basic shapes like circle or oval cookie cutters to cut the rolled dough.

For recipe three:
Divide dough into balls that are about 2.5cm (1 inches) in diameter, and place on baking trays lined with baking paper. Repeat until all the dough is used up. Arrange cookie dough with about 1-2 cm apart onto the prepared baking tray.

To bake for all recipes:
Use a pastry brush to lightly glaze the tops of the cookie dough with egg wash. Brush the first coat of egg wash mixture onto cookie dough. Let dry for approximately 15 mins, then brush on the second layer.

Bake for 13-18 mins, or until the cookies are slightly golden. Important: Depending on the shapes and sizes of the cookies, please note the baking duration and number of cookies yielded can vary.

Leave to cool slightly on the baking tray for 5-10 mins to a wire rack, then transfer the cookies to cool on the wire racks to cool completely. Store cookies in airtight container when they are completely cooled.

Happy Chinese New Year Baking
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How traditional cakes became a force for good in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR -- They are probably the smallest edible items in Malaysia. Yet a project aimed at preserving homemakers' vanishing recipes for kuih -- bite-sized desserts and snacks made mostly from rice flour -- may be making a big difference in combating hunger during the pandemic.

"We believe that food can be a great enabler to uplift livelihoods of people caught in the current poverty trap," says Mohd Adly Rizal, founder of FriedChillies, a Malaysian food media and events company. "Our experience and analysis showed that Malaysian kuih are one of the fast-moving items that can help us achieve this objective."

In 2016, long before the coronavirus outbreak affected incomes and spurred the growth of the home delivery industry, Rizal and his writing-researching partner Honey Ahmad found their lives shifting from staging competitions for the best nasi lemak in Kuala Lumpur to making a social impact with the sweeter side of Malaysian cuisine.

Seeking to launch an initiative to combat disappearing food traditions, they found a sympathetic ear in Zainariah Johari, head of arts and culture at Yayasan Hasanah, a foundation associated with Khazanah Nasional, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

Having already worked on an application to UNESCO to register kuih as a Malaysian gastronomic heritage -- an estimated 2 million pieces are consumed each day in the Kuala Lumpur metropolitan area alone -- Johari says she was horrified to overhear a restaurant conversation in which young people asked their parents to identify "those purple things with blue dots" and praised "delicious muffins" that were actually kuih.

This family on Malaysia's east coast still makes traditional tatnagnka, or jackfruit tarts. (Courtesy of FriedChillies Media)

&ldquoOK, people,&rdquo Johari says, &ldquoyou can have your Pavlova, or doughnuts, but don&rsquot forget your own desserts! We want to make sure kuih is cool, too!&rdquo

The result was two-and-a-half years of culinary detective work throughout peninsular Malaysia, finding the most skilled makers of old-time delights through word-of-mouth, community organizations and foodie &ldquofixers.&rdquo

In their kuih mapping, FriedChillies&rsquo researchers zeroed in on specialized cakes for each region -- the state of Perak, for example, prefers kuih with pumpkin and corn -- identifying endless variations including peanuts, fragrant pandan leaves, coconut, curries, pastry puffs, caramelized pastes wrapped in banana leaf and fruit-studded puddings sliced with string.

The end result was two handsome books -- &ldquoThe Sweet Little Book of East Coast Kuih,&rdquo and &ldquoAround the West Coast in 80 Kuih&rdquo -- that feature superb photography, tips on techniques and guidance on how to host kuih parties.

&ldquoThe books were a very noble cause,&rdquo says former Kuala Lumpur restaurant owner Jasmeen Zahri, 47. Brought up in the southern state of Johor, she was able to contribute two recipes, including a rare variety with Arabic origins that was a favorite snack of the state&rsquos royal family, plus an Indonesian-influenced dessert provided by a 68-year-old aunt. None can be found easily in shops.

&ldquoPeople feel that anything labeled kuih should be cheap, and don&rsquot understand the time that goes into preparing them,&rdquo says Zahri. &ldquoBut those of my generation are starting to miss the old ones we had in our school days as many are no longer around or don&rsquot taste the same.&rdquo

Though many of the anonymous legions of kuih makers tracked down by the researchers were flattered by the attention, repeated visits were often required to gain trust. Some of the women did not want to reveal inherited secrets, and in some cases husbands jealously guarded their wives&rsquo cooking (and in some cases their &ldquohonor&rdquo) from &ldquointruders.&rdquo

Harder still was the work of testing the recipes gathered, often six or seven times. As Ahmad explains, &ldquoMost of the women cooked by feel, without proper metric measurements, working from a time before there were mixers or no-stick pans. So we had to bring along weighing scales and videotape everything.&rdquo

Top: A home cook strains pandan juice to demonstrate her kuih recipe for the first time. Bottom: Detailed instructions from the West Coast kuih book. (Courtesy of FriedChillies Media)

Having never made kuih herself, Ahmad says she learned &ldquoa new vocabulary of cooking that was really rewarding -- this wasn&rsquot just our food, but our history.&rdquo

As a nonprofit organization, Yayasan Hasanah does not sell the books, but offers them as gifts and as a resource for educators and communities. &ldquoWe used them to stage kuih festivals and passed research on to universities, but we wanted to go further,&rdquo says Johari.

The pandemic, which hit the food trade and day laborers hard, provided fresh stimulus for spreading the kuih story, and in 2020 Yayasan Hasanah and Malaysia&rsquos finance ministry provided funding to FriedChillies&rsquo Projek KWIH, a self-help program trying to scale up production as an economic stimulus. The program, says Ahmad, was aimed at people who &ldquoweren&rsquot prepared for unemployment, who lived alone [or] worked menial jobs like hotel cleaners.&rdquo

FriedChillies&rsquo Projek KWIH aims to impart kuih-making skills to homemakers so they can earn extra income during the pandemic.(Courtesy of FriedChillies Media)

Projek KWIH's third phase began in November by offering instruction in kuih-making and marketing in an ethnic-Malay area in Gombak, a large district just north of central Kuala Lumpur. Starting with six women targeting an increase in household income of 30 ringgit ($7.23) a day, the program is currently scaling up to around 30 participants, and aiming at tripling the initial profit target.

&ldquoThere&rsquos no point if you know how to create a great product but aren&rsquot sure how to sell it,&rdquo says Rizal. &ldquoThis is where the knowledge of micro-entrepreneurship comes in.&rdquo

The project shared archived recipes with participants and offered subsidized ingredients, social media marketing strategies and basic startup advice. A central kitchen in Gombak provided classes, as well as opportunities for kuih makers to increase profit margins through buying ingredients more cheaply by bulk. Packaged products, dubbed &ldquoKuih Bentos,&rdquo sold fast both in physical markets and online.

A box combining onde-onde with curry puffs sold by kuih micro-entrepreneurs. (Courtesy of FriedChillies Media)

Plans to expand to other districts are dovetailing with the rapid development of food-delivery systems and frozen food products. &ldquoSome people in this area have become quiet millionaires,&rdquo Ahmad says, adding that frozen kuih may become a popular staple in the future. &ldquoBut people are bored staying at home, so [they are] cooking more, planting their own bean sprouts and such, appreciating more all the work their ancestors put into this,&rdquo Rizal adds.

Meanwhile, thinking globally while acting locally, FriedChillies has placed its kuih recipes on the company&rsquos Facebook/Projek KWIH page so that, as Rizal puts it, &ldquoanyone anywhere can learn from the experts.&rdquo His team believes there will someday be a place for upscale kuih shops in Tokyo, London and other global gourmet hubs (especially where there are large Malaysian communities).

Like building on a kuih lapis -- the gelatinous kuih version of a Western layer cake -- Johari also envisions specialized cafes matching coffee varieties with unique kuih, to continue what she calls &ldquoour humble journey began from an overheard conversation.&rdquo

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Simple Tips and Recipes that Work as a Mouse Repellent

We have scoured the web and browsed dozens of books to help you with your mouse problem. So, to keep the little critters out, your properties safe, and your family unharmed from mouse infestation, you can try these all natural mouse repellent methods listed below.

Keep Your House Clean

One key aspect of keeping the mice away that is often overlooked is merely keeping the house clean. Even if you have a new home, mice will visit your house to look for a place to stay. They are not there for the cheese they are waiting for garbage build-up and crumbs on the floor.

They are lurking in the shadowy corners of your home where your vacuum cleaner can’t reach or inside cabinets or dressers monopolized by unorganized clothes. So clean up and empty your trash cans regularly! Remember, cleanliness is next to mouse-lessness!

Starve Mice of Food

Starving them of food makes an excellent natural rat repellent. We know that you are not intentionally giving them food and feeding them. What we mean is that you make sure to cut their food source by checking your kitchen cabinets and food packages that they can get into.

For example, instead of using plastic bags or boxes for your cookies and cereals, keep them sealed in airtight containers. No food source, no happy mouse.

Avoid Trash Build-up

So you have sealed your food in airtight containers. It is a good start. A follow-up tip, however, is to keep your trash away and prevent build up of crumbs and food leftovers in the garbage.

Keep in mind that a hungry rodent would not be picky about where to get his/her next meal. He can dive deep the trash bin and go through all of the trash to find and eat anything tasty to them.

Reduce their Outside Habitat

Another effective outdoor mouse repellent is reducing the amount of outside habitat such as shrubs, bushes, and trees near your home. You don’t need to remove and cut down all of them.

Just trim excessive branches, remove fallen debris, and remove hiding spots where rodents may reside. Keep the bins closed and as tidy as possible.

Use Peppermint Oil to Deter Mice

There are several essential oils that repel mice but peppermint oil works well and is commonly found almost everywhere. Aromatherapists recommend this essential oil for its stimulating, anti-spasmodic, cooling properties.

According to research conducted by the Sense of Smell Institute, peppermint oil can also help people feel happy because of its stress-relieving properties.

Other benefits of peppermint oil include relief for muscular pain, allergies, joint discomfort, and so on. With peppermint, you can even treat your houseguests with a relaxing smell!

2 Most Important Elements: Carbon Steel Wok & High Heat

If you have a well stocked Chinese pantry or can get the specialty ingredients and spices for this dish, then you are on your way to Char Kway Teow heaven.

This dish is tricky to get right with omissions and substitutions, but the most important factors to making an authentic Char Kway Teow are probably the carbon steel wok and high heat.

While Asian street food chefs might not have the benefit of a full kitchen, the constant is always a solid cooking vessel and plenty of roaring heat. Just check out some of the photos from our trip to Xi’an, where we sampled plenty of street food , and you’ll get the picture.

A large carbon steel wok provides a larger surface area that can be superheated to sear and char the noodles, creating that wok hei flavor. If you don’t have a wok yet, check out our post on the Best Wok to Buy to choose the right one for you. If you already own a carbon steel wok, be sure to check our post on How to Season and Care for your Carbon Steel Wok .

If you like the looks of this rice noodle dish, give our Shrimp Pad Thai , Pad Kee Mao, or Pad See Ew recipes a try!

Home invaders terrorize Oakland family

A couple and their seven-year-old daughter were terrified when a group of armed home invaders ransacked their home. The husband was tied up and struck in the mouth in front of the little girl. Oakland police are investigating.

OAKLAND, Calif. - ਊn Oakland family was confronted at gunpoint by armed home invaders who stole much of their life savings after ransacking their house. 

"They just push in the door and come in and point a gun at me," said a woman who wanted to be identified only as Roseni.

It happened late Tuesday night when several men਋roke through the back door of Roseni&aposs home in Oakland&aposs Dimond District. They tied up Roseni and her husband and punched him in the mouth, right in front of their 7-year-old daughter.

"They cover up my daughter with a blanket," she said Friday.

They had a chilling warning:

"They say, "If I move and try to run away, the first person I&aposll shoot will be your daughter,&apos " she said.

The robbers did reassure Roseni, if you could call it that.

"We&aposre not gonna rape you or hurt you and your family, we&aposre not gonna kill you," she recalled them saying.

They told the robbers they had no money. They weren&apost satisified.

"They start searching my house, over and over," she said.

Every single room was rifled through and ransacked.They were looking for anything of value: cash, jewelry, even their son&aposs shoes.

Eventually, they found much of the family&aposs life savings.

"They finally got it at the last minute before they leave my house," Roseni said. "They got what they want."

The robbery has traumatized her daughter.

"She couldn&apost sleep all night, and she is really frightened and she keeps asking me, &aposAre they going to come back?&apos "

At a media briefing Friday, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said, "We understand how traumatic that can be, especially for a young child."

The chief said investigators are following up on leads.

"My heart goes out to that family. I want her to know that we are investigating that case. We hope that people will come forward and bring forth information that will help us find out who was responsible," Armstrong said.

How to Make a Stenciled Cake Roll

While it might seem more complicated, I’d argue the stencil design is easier than a piped design, as all you really have to do is smear the batter across the stencil and peel it off. No piping skills necessary.

You’ll first want to make up your design paste, which is thicker and pastier than the bulk of the cake batter. I added a bit of green pandan extract to my paste as a ‘base color’, then split it into three small bowls to which I added a bit more food coloring. The result was three different shades of green, which I applied to the stencil like a painter with a palette knife. Then scrape the excess off with an offset spatula or a straight-edged bench scraper, leaving a thin (but not too thin) layer behind.

If you want to match the same colors I used here, you’ll want to get yourself the following colors of Americolor gel food coloring: Electric Pink (for the cake base), Teal, Leaf Green, Mint Green, and Electric Green (for the leaves).

If you’d prefer to pipe a design (which you can totally do!) depending on the complexity of your design, you may want to double the paste recipe just to ensure you have enough to finish the full pattern.

You can find the same monstera leaf stencil I used for this recipe on Etsy (the 7.5-by-10-inch size).

I wish the stencil had been an inch or two wider (there’s an inch or so of bare space that I positioned so it was on the bottom of the roll), 9 or 10 inches wide would be the ideal size for a cake roll stencil. The seller has mentioned she may be able to do a slightly larger size – worth messaging her about it if you’re interested!

Any stencil will work here, although stencils will super fine details may have issues with air bubbles (the inner loops of the leaves, for example, are very small spaces that the airy batter of the cake doesn’t fully settle into. You can see in the ‘pour’ shot below I tried to remedy this by hand-piping a tiny bit of pink batter into the small spaces, which helped a bit but was rather tedious). For that reason larger, slightly less complex designs are preferable.

The key to preventing a cake roll from cracking is to roll it up in a tea towel while it is still warm. This creates a muscle memory of sorts, so once cooled and filled, it’ll roll right back into shape without cracking.

Cake roll tip: to preserve the perfectly round shape, chill/store your cake roll in a cardboard tube about 3.5 to 4-inches in diameter. I use a tube that came with one of Taylor’s whiskey bottles (interestingly enough called E.H. Taylor brand, probably why he bought it in the first place!) that happens to be the perfect size. Something like this would also work, though you’ll need to cut it down so it fits in your fridge.

The cake will be set enough to cut in about 2 hours, though if you have time to chill it longer it’ll hold its shape even better.

Chopped After Hours

Chopped judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Scott Conant and Marcus Samuelsson get some helping hands in the kitchen.

After Hours: Ugly Foods 09:51

After Hours: Ugly Foods 09:51

Chopped judges Marc Murphy, Maneet Chauhan and Scott Conant cook from a basket that includes dogfish and cucumbers.

After Hours: Star Power 09:59

After Hours: Star Power 09:59

Chopped judges Marc Murphy, Scott Conant and Alex Guarnaschelli cook the appetizer basket from the Star Power finale.

After Hours: Chocolate 09:34

After Hours: Chocolate 09:34

Maneet Chauhan, Scott Conant and Amanda Freitag cook with dessert baskets that include a chocolate decadence cake and a chocolate seaweed candy bar.

After Hours: Whiskey and Wings 09:38

After Hours: Whiskey and Wings 09:38

Scott, Marc and Geoffrey cook dishes with quinoa whiskey and turkey wings.

After Hours: Fried 09:50

Alex, Amanda and Scott fry up dishes using sweet and savory ingredients.

After Hours: Grandpas 08:52

After Hours: Grandpas 08:52

Maneet, Chris and Amanda take on London broil and peanut butter taffy.

After Hours: Family Affair 09:49

After Hours: Family Affair 09:49

Maneet, Marc and Geoffrey create appetizers with pork rolls and Chinese spaghetti sauce.

After Hours: In-Laws 08:49

Alex, Amanda and Maneet make appetizers with baked lasagna and wine purses.

After Hours: Holiday 08:58

Scott, Geoffrey and Aarón prepare fusion dishes for Christmas and Hanukkah.

After Hours: Mac and Cheese 08:00

After Hours: Mac and Cheese 08:00

Alex, Aarón and Maneet make appetizers with boxed mac and cheese and fish.

After Hours: Pub Food 09:47

After Hours: Pub Food 09:47

Alex, Amanda and Marc cook appetizers fit for a meal at a gastropub.

After Hours: Cooking with Bass 09:32

After Hours: Cooking with Bass 09:32

Amanda, Maneet and Marc balance super sweet ingredients with zucchini.

After Hours: Sitcom Moms 08:49

After Hours: Sitcom Moms 08:49

Amanda, Marc and Alex go retro with appetizers inspired by sitcom moms.

After Hours: Just Desserts 10:03

After Hours: Just Desserts 10:03

Alex, Geoffrey and Maneet whip up playful chocolate desserts.

After Hours: Veterans 08:45

After Hours: Veterans 08:45

Alex, Geoffrey and Marc crank out desserts with All-American baskets.

After Hours: Bizarre Foods 09:54

After Hours: Bizarre Foods 09:54

Marc, Aaron and Chris make delicious dishes using "bizarre" ingredients.

After Hours: Thanksgiving Soup-er Stars 09:04

After Hours: Thanksgiving Soup-er Stars 09:04

Scott, Amanda and Aaron put a festive spin on Thanksgiving leftovers.

After Hours: Chopped Halloween 08:48

After Hours: Chopped Halloween 08:48

Chris, Geoffrey and Alex trick-or-treat for a special Halloween dessert.

After Hours: Carnival 09:40

After Hours: Carnival 09:40

Scott, Maneet and Ted bring the carnival to their plates with fried ham.

After Hours: Rock Stars 09:32

After Hours: Rock Stars 09:32

Chris, Alex and Aaron spice up their desserts with German liqueur.

After Hours: Tendon Intentions 09:15

After Hours: Tendon Intentions 09:15

Geoffrey, Amanda and Marc transform "trash fish" into delicious entrees.

After Hours: Barbecue 09:08

After Hours: Barbecue 09:08

Amanda, Marc and Maneet put a creative spin on a barbecue basket.

After Hours: Four Fathers 09:29

After Hours: Four Fathers 09:29

Chris, Maneet and Scott put soul into their Dover sole appetizers.

After Hours: College 08:49

Aaron, Marc and Chris channel their inner college kid for tasty entrees.

After Hours: Hot Stuff 09:06

After Hours: Hot Stuff 09:06

Alex, Marc and Maneet transform spicy ingredients into balanced desserts.

After Hours: Return and Redeem 09:20

After Hours: Return and Redeem 09:20

Geoffrey, Scott and Ted make red snapper the star of their entree dishes.

After Hours: Grandmas 09:34

After Hours: Grandmas 09:34

Chris, Amanda and Scott remodel meatloaf mix into five-star entrees.

After Hours: Breakfast Lunch Dinner 10:13

After Hours: Breakfast Lunch Dinner 10:13

Aaron Sanchez, Scott Conant and Chris Santos remodel coffee cake and mimosas into clever breakfast dishes.

After Hours: All-Star Finale 09:35

After Hours: All-Star Finale 09:35

Geoffrey, Scott and Alex turn fish carcasses into beautiful appetizers.

After Hours: April Fools 09:31

After Hours: April Fools 09:31

Geoffrey, Amanda and Alex create desserts with disguised ingredients.

After Hours: Late-Night Food 09:24

After Hours: Late-Night Food 09:24

Geoffrey, Scott and Maneet create desserts from late-night snacks.

After Hours: Bizarre Baskets 09:54

After Hours: Bizarre Baskets 09:54

Geoffrey, Alex and Chris build entrees with bizarre basket ingredients.

After Hours: Meatball Madness 10:20

After Hours: Meatball Madness 10:20

Geoffrey, Amanda and Scott create meatballs with lamb and creme brulee.

After Hours: Short-Order Cooks 09:46

After Hours: Short-Order Cooks 09:46

Geoffrey, Alex and Chris transform a sweet basket into balanced desserts.

After Hours: Ultimate Champs 09:30

After Hours: Ultimate Champs 09:30

Geoffrey Zakarian, Aarón Sánchez and Chris Santos make exotic appetizers featuring eel.

After Hours: Food Truck Fight 09:54

After Hours: Food Truck Fight 09:54

Amanda Freitag, Aarón Sánchez and Scott Conant create food truck inspired entrees using whole suckling roast pig.

After Hours: Teen Tournament 09:29

After Hours: Teen Tournament 09:29

Watch Chopped judges, Amanda Freitag, Aarón Sánchez and Scott Conant transform giant bone-in lamb chops into mouth-watering appetizers. Get more Chopped on Food Network.

Biryani recipes

Biryani is a traditional dish of meat or vegetables layered with rice and spices. Most commonly attributed to southern Indian cuisine, there are variations of the dish found in many parts of Asia including Bangladeshi, Malaysian and Pakistani cuisines. For many, biryani is the ultimate Indian comfort food – if you like the sound of a big bowl of rich, spicy rice for supper browse our collection of delicious biryani recipes for some mouth-watering ideas.

Sumayya Usmani's nostalgic Prawn biryani is inspired by childhood seafood fishing trips and flavoured with minty green masala. For a meatier option try Shu Han Lee's Rabbit biryani - with the rabbit baked whole in the pot, this recipe results in heavenly, deeply flavoured rice.

For a fantastic vegetarian biryani try Vivek Singh's Hyderabadi vegetable biryani – perfect for autumn, this vegetable dish is innovatively served in a hollowed out pumpkin shell. Monica Shaw, too, leaves the meat out of her biryani, also omitting rice in favour of blitzed cauliflower for a low-carb alternative.


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