Thursday, March 18, 2010

Puto Pao

And so, after the leche flan adventure, I am left with a lot of leftover egg whites, and so is Manny. I hate to see the egg whites go down the drain so I looked for ways to use them. At first, I thought of making merengue but I thought, I would just end up eating everything again. I thought of chiffon cake but Rad doesn`t like it very much and I thought it would be too "mendokusai". And then I found out this website with pictures on how to make PUTO PAO! I followed their recipe changing a little bit in the the measurements.

Way back when I was still with DMMMSU, a colleague`s sister made this for us when we visited their house in Pangasinan and I remembered how yummy it was. This is not her recipe but at least, I have made another "breakthrough" in my cooking experiments!


for the dough:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 to 3/4 cup)
2 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups fresh milk (the original recipe used water)
7 egg whites (although there are times when I used up to 10 egg whites)
a dash of salt or a pinch of lemon juice (to stabilize the egg whites)

for the filling:
ground pork (I used about 250-300 g)
2 tbsp soysauce
1 tbsp mirin (optional)

1. Sift the APF, sugar and baking powder and mix.

2. Add the milk and mix well.

3. Mix the salt or lemon with the egg whites and beat until fluffy.

4. Fold the beaten egg whites into the first mixture.

5. Saute the ground pork with the filling.

6. Pour the dough about 1/4-1/3 into the baking pan or mold, put the filling then cover it again with the dough. Be sure not to fill the pan all the way though because the mixture will rise.

7. You can put cheese, or salted eggs as topping.

8. Steam or bake for 30-40 minutes at 180-200℃. Or, use the toothpick method to make sure that the dough is already cooked.

I do not have an electric mixer so I had to request Rad to beat the egg whites everytime I make puto pao. Using fresh milk made it tastier and indeed, the fluffier the egg whites are, the better is the dough. Using mirin in the filling is optional. I just couldn`t resist. I believe it tastes better if it has mirin though.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More Experiments! (Leche Flan)

I am, right now, in Miyazaki City, having just attended my perhaps last academic conference in Japan (till graduation that is) and so, with time in my hands, I finally got to update this blog after yet another hiatus.

More experiments! Yup in all aspects of my life at present.... At the lab, with my family and the kitchen.... Since I am not graduating this March, my professors deemed it better to add yet more experiments to my research thus, my time, till June will have to be spent again in the lab.

At home, after almost 2 years of being long-distance parents, we find ourselves adjusting to each other (Rad and I with Ken and vice versa). Life has suddenly been so busy getting to know Ken once again and establishing a routine for him and for Rad and I as well. Since we (Ken and I) came back from the Philippines, Rad and I have been trying out all sorts of food and drinks with Ken. Being in Japan suddenly made him suspicious of everything we put on his plate. Fortunately, though, lately, his appetite is back and he is liking everything already. Don`t you just love kids?

For a time, I found myself having no interest in cooking and even hating just being in the kitchen and the thought of making food. Rad was also baffled why the sudden change and that`s when we found out that we are infanticipating! Yes, my dears, Ken will have a sister by May. It is gonna be a big change for all of us but well, God is always there to see us through.

Now, in the kitchen, one of my cravings lately is for that sweet, creamy Filipino caramel custard called Leche Flan. I have always thought that making it would be very troublesome but thanks to Daisy (who has come all the way from Australia to spend Christmas in Japan) and Manny, for showing me how easy it is.

for the Custard:

10 egg yolks
1 can (300mL) condensed milk
300 mL fresh milk
lemon rind or vanilla

for Caramel topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water


1. For the custard, just mix everything well. Do not beat as this would leave air spaces and would affect the texture or appearance of the flan. If you use lemon rind, be sure to strain the mixture first before pouring into the mold.

2. For the caramel topping, mix the sugar and water and cook over medium fire until the sugar turns a little bit brown. Be careful not to over caramelize it as it would give a different taste to your flan.

3. Pour the caramelized sugar into the mold then the flan mixture.

4. Steam for 20-40 minutes or better yet, use the toothpick method to make sure that the flan is already cooked. I did mine in an oven though, at 180��, for 35 minutes using a baking pan half-filled with water.

I have done this several times and came up with a ratio that I liked but I loved the result too much that we ate the flan right away and I forgot to take down notes. However, I have stopped making leche flan lately because it came to a point that I would eat one whole flan in just one day! That`s 8-10 egg yolks! Rad had to do the buying for supplies because if I do it, I`d always end up buying more eggs and more milk than we can ever eat and I would go back to making leche flan again.

Now, the egg whites is another story. I`ll reserve it for tomorrow`s post.