Have you ever craved for a food so badly but cannot source it in the area you live in, so much so that you decided to take the matter into your own hands--to make it from scratch? Well, I have. In fact, ALL. THE. TIME.
And for that, the baking/cooking bug in me always gives myself the "excuse" to attempt the recipe for the first time, regardless whether it's a success or a total failure. Thank God that most of the time, it turned out quite well.
This time, I have decided to make kai chai paeng, a type of biscuit originally from Kampar, Ipoh, to fix that craving of mine. So, I looked no further than my two gorgeous gourmande girlfriends, May and Karen, for inspiration. As always, they never disappoint me by providing me with a recipe by Lily and I did some cross-referencing different recipes on Google (I know, OCD much?). I realized that most of the recipes resemble the recipe posted by Amy Beh on Kuali.
I did some tweak the recipe, and here they are:
- the original recipe calls for ammonia but I didn't have it and this ingredient sounds too "chemically" (Yes, I am aware that a lot of food contains ammonia, but if I have the choice of NOT including it, why should I?)
- use organic ingredients such as flour, egg, salt and sesame seeds to make the biscuit wholesome
- cut the sugar level by 30% (I didn't do it for the first time, but I've gotten smarter)
- to make the biscuits vegetarian, I replaced chicken granules with mushroom seasoning, which is equally yummy!
It's a rather simple recipe and if you have a food processor, it will save at least 50% of the physically mixing and kneading. The only time-consuming part is the shaping. I shaped them into thin and crisp oval-shaped biscuits by shaping them in small balls and rolling them thinly.
70 g icing sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly-ground pepper
1 tsp five spice powder (五香粉)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp stock granules (I used mushroom seasoning granules )
2 cloves garlic, minced
80 g white sesame seeds
70g candied winter melon strips (冬瓜糖), finely chopped or easier done with a food processor
1 large egg
1 tbsp malt or commonly known as glucose (麦芽糖)
2 pieces red fermented tofu (南腐乳), mashed
1 tbsp dark soy sauce (kicap manis)
100 ml sesame oil
1. Preheat the oven at 175⁰C. Pulse all ingredients A in a food processor, pulse until all mixed.
2. In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients B, whisk until all mixture blended.
5. Bake the biscuits 10 minutes (if you prefer a crisp on the edges but slightly chewy in the middle texture) or 12 minutes (if you like crispy and crunchy biscuits).
6. Cook the biscuits on a rack before serving and storing them in air-tight containers.