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Snowskin Mooncakes Part 2: Making the Dough and the Cakes (Cach Lam Vo Banh)

Beautiful and delicate, these Snowskin Mooncakes are so much fun to make!This is Part 2 of the recipe for making Snowskin Mooncakes, must-have cakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival.  Last week I posted Snowskin Mooncakes Part 1 which shares the recipes for the Simple Syrup and Taro Root filling.  These delicious mooncakes come in a wide variety of fillings from sweet to savory and traditional to trendy.  The taro root is one of my favorite fillings but there are plenty of other scrumptious options.  So, if there’s another filling you enjoy, by all means, substitute that filling for the taro root.  You can also refer to my earlier Mooncake posts for a Lotus Seed filling and a Red Bean filling.

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Please note you must use roasted or cooked glutinous rice flour.  There are no substitutes for this unique flour.  As this flour is already cooked, no additional cooking is required.  Using glutinous rice flour will not work in this recipe and you will have raw dough that should not be eaten.  The roasted/cooked glutinous rice brand is typically sold right next to the rice flours and glutinous rice flours.  If may be labeled “Cooked Glutinous Rice Flour”, “Roast(ed) Glutinous Rice Flour” or “Glutinous-Fried Rice Flour”.  It has a distinct roasted rice aroma and taste, unlike raw rice flour.  Some of the brands that are available are in the US are:  Coconut Tree, (brand I use in this recipe) and Fortuna.  I use to be able to buy the Cock brand but haven’t been able to find it the markets in recent years.  This brand was my favorite.  (Update:  A special thanks to Amy (who in the comments below) shared with me the store carrying the Cock brand:  AA Marketplace, 13220 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92843.  It’s a really awesome Asian grocery store with tons of products.)

This dough is quite sticky.  When working with it, make sure there’s a thin layer of the cooked glutinous rice flour between the dough and your hands.  Work the dough gently with your hands and avoid squashing your fingers in the dough or they will be incredibly sticky.

The texture and consistency of the dough varies with the brand of cooked glutinous rice flour used.  You’ll need to experiment  to achieve the same dough consistency I showed in the video.  You may have to add more cooked glutinous rice flour or even cut back so sift in the flour gradually.

As you need to use a good amount of the flour in the recipe and then to knead the dough, I recommend sifting an entire package of the flour.  That way it’s ready to go and you don’t have to sift each time the flour is needed.

I do not add oil to my dough.  If the dough is extremely sticky and adding flour leaves it really dry, add 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil and knead it for 1-2 minutes.

If you enjoy the pomelo essence that’s commonly added to these cakes, add about 1/2 teaspoon while kneading the dough.  Go easy on pomelo essence as the fragrance can be overpowering and too much can make the cake bitter.

The below recipe yields approximately 2 pounds or 907 grams of dough.  You can make 9-200 gram cakes having 100 grams of dough and 100 grams of filling per cake.

When all the cakes are made, place them in a cake dish/pan, cover and let rest overnight.  Enjoy these delicious cakes the next day and you’ll be pleased to find the cakes are softer and sweeter after they’ve had time to rest.  The mooncakes can be left unrefrigerated for about 2 days.  After that time, cover and refrigerate.  Allow to warm to room temperature before serving or warm in the microwave on Low power.

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

2 3/4 cups Simple Syrup
1 3/4 cups roasted/cooked glutinous rice flour + 2/3 cup for rolling, dusting the molds
Taro Root filling (or your choice of filling)

Directions

Pour the simple syrup into a large bowl.  Sift 1/2 cup cooked glutinous rice flour into the simple syrup and stir quickly.  Repeat the process 2 more times making sure to stir vigorously for at least 1 minute with the addition of each 1/2 cup of cooked glutinous rice flour.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup flour and combine well.  Note the dough will be quite thick and sticky.  Let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes.

Cover the work surface with a 1/4 cup of sifted cooked glutinous rice flour.  Transfer the dough to the work surface.  Sprinkle the dough with another layer of sifted cooked glutinous rice flour.  Gently roll the dough in the flour coating it well.   Roll the dough into a log.  Fold over the ends and then roll again.  Repeat this process 3 times.  Gently knead the dough a few times.  Do not overwork the dough.  This process should take about 5 minutes.

Cut off a golf ball-sized amount of the dough.  Roll into a ball and allow to rest on the work surface for 5 minutes.  If the ball does not flatten or lose its shape, it’s good and you can continue to making the cakes.  If the ball flattens or loses its shape, add more flour and incorporate into the dough.  Perform the ball test again.

Dust the mooncake molds with the sifted flour and then remove the excess amounts by inverting the mold and tapping it gently with our fingers.

Cut a piece of dough and weigh it to make sure it’s the needed size.  Shaped the dough into a small patty.  Place the filling ball in the center of the dough and then wrap the dough around the filling.  Pinch the dough together to seal.  Gently roll the ball between your palms to smooth out the dough.

Please the cake ball into the mooncake mold with the seams facing upward.  Using your palm, gently press the cake into the molds.  Use your fingers to push the dough to the edges of the mold making sure to fill it completely.

Flip the mold over.  Remove the lid and then tap the sides of the mold to remove the cake.

Dust off the excess flour using a pastry brush and transfer to a plate using an small offet spatula.  These cakes are delicate so move them with care.

Yields: 2 lbs dough, number of cakes varies depending on size of the mooncake molds

To make these pretty and colorful mooncakes, watch the video below.


These Snowskin Mooncakes with a Taro Root filling really pop with just a bit of food coloring!

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Snowskin Mooncakes Part 1: Making the Syrup and Taro Root Filling (Banh Deo: Cach Nau Nuoc Duong, Lam Nhan Khoai Mon)

Snowskin Mooncake with a sweet Taro Root FillingI am counting down the days to the Mid-Autumn Festival.  Every year as this holiday approaches, I wish I had more time to make these beautiful mooncakes.  They are fun to make, lovely to look at and so delicious to eat.  The only downside is they are labor-intensive.  Over the years, I’ve developed a method of making these cakes over two days so it’s more manageable.  I make the filling and syrup one day.  Then on the following day, I make the dough and form the cakes.  In sharing these videos, I am following the same timeline.  Below is the first part of the recipe where we make the simple syrup and filling balls.  Please click this link for Snowskin Mooncakes Part 2.

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

When making the syrup, remember there’s no stirring while it’s cooking.  (I know this is difficult. 🙂 )  Stirring causes the sugar to recrystallize and we don’t want this.  The lemon juice also helps to prevent recrystallization as well.

I don’t typically cook in grams, but for this recipe it’s best, as most mooncake molds are sized in grams.  You can eye-ball the measurements but I do recommend using a food scale to size the filling balls appropriately.

The typical dough to filling ratio is 1:1 although this is not a hard and fast rule.  For a 200 gram mold, you would make the dough 100 grams and the filling 100 grams.  I prefer slightly more dough to filling in my mooncakes.  For a 200 gram cake, I use 120 grams for the dough and 80 grams for the filling.  Again, there’s no set rule so feel free to adjust to your preference.

There’s just enough water in the recipe to cook the taro root and provide liquid for processing.  If you over-boil the taro root, you won’t have enough liquid and will unwittingly overwork the food processor as the taro root is quite starchy.  If you need to add more water during processing to make the filling smooth, go ahead but be sure to use hot water.  It’s better to have a looser filling where we can cook-off the liquid later than a filling that is too dry.

It is very common for taro root filling to get crusty or form a skin on the pan when cooking.  We can add more vegetable oil if you don’t mind the extra oil or we can be diligent about stirring continually and scrapping the bottom and sides of the pan.  If the pan gets too crusty, transfer to a clean one and continue cooking.

If the filling is initially loose and drippy, you may need to cook for more than 20-25 minutes.  In this case, add an extra 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil after 20 minutes so the filling doesn’t get too dry.

Watch the video below for instructions.


Simple Syrup

Ingredients

4 cups water
4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions

Add the water and sugar into a saucepan.  Whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Put away the whisk.  There’s no stirring after this step.

Set the heat to Medium and bring to a gentle boil.  Reduce the heat to Low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the lemon juice.  Gently swirl the pan combining the lemon juice and syrup.  Bring the syrup to a gentle boil again.

Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely.

If not using right away, store in a jar or air-tight container.  No refrigeration is needed.

Yields: 5 cups

Taro Root Filling

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs taro root (fresh or frozen)
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups water

Optional: 1 oz cooked purple sweet potato or yam
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp powdered milk or creamer
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp roasted/cooked glutinous rice flour
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Directions

Remove the skin of the taro root using a vegetable peeler.  Cut into small chunks.  Place in a saucepan along with salt and water.  Cover the pan and bring to a boil over High heat.  When it comes to a boil, stir the taro root.  Reduce the heat to Low and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the taro root is soft and can be easily mashed.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

Transfer the taro root along with the liquid into a food processor.  Optionally add the purple sweet potato or yam.  Add the butter, powdered milk, sugar, and cooked glutinous rice flour.  Process for 2 minutes or until the filling is smooth and resembles a thick cake batter.

In a large frying pan or skillet, add the vegetable oil and then the filling.  Cook the filling over Low heat making sure to stir it constantly so it doesn’t stick to the pan.  Cook the filling for approximately 20-25 minutes.  As the liquid is cooked-off, the filling becomes much thicker, resembling dough.  When the filling can be folded several times, hold its shape and not flatten, it’s done.  Turn-off the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Divide the filling into the sized needed for your mooncakes.  Roll into balls and allow to cool completely.

Cover and refrigerate the balls if not using right away.  Allow to come to room temperature before using to make mooncakes.

Yields: 1 1/2 lbs or 680 grams

Taro Root Filling Balls for Mooncakes

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Egg Rolls (Cha Gio/Nem Ran)

Pork and Shrimp Egg Rolls served with a Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce | recipe from runaway rice.com

This is my Mom’s recipe and I have to say, these egg rolls are the best I’ve tasted.  (Thanks Mom!)  I like the balance of meat–pork and shrimp, and vegetables in the filling.  This recipe uses carrots which is quite common.  The taro root is a differentiating ingredient and adds a nice mealy texture to the egg rolls.  There’s no cabbage in this recipe which I find makes the filling wet and gives the egg rolls that funny (you know!) smell.

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks
  • Make sure to remove any excess water from the noodles and vegetables.  Adding 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to the filling helps to absorb any excess moisture.  This helps to reduce the chance of egg rolls popping and exploding when deep frying.  (We don’t want any oil splatters or burns!)
  • Peel off a small stack, about 5-7 egg roll wrappers at a time, fold in half to form two triangles, and then using scissors cut along the folded line.  I cut the entire package first.  When rolling, I take one of the small stacks, peel off the individual wrappers and then make the egg rolls.  To keep the unrolled wrappers moist, cover with a damp paper towel.
  • When I am short on time, I make the filling the night before and then refrigerate.  The next day, I roll and fry.
  • Any leftover egg rolls can be refrigerated and then reheated in a toaster oven.  They’re just as delicious as freshly fried!
  • Strive to have the same amount of filling in each egg roll.  Also prior to rolling, evenly distribute the filling forming a small log on the wrapper.  This way you will have an even amount of meat and wrapper and they will all cook at the same time.
  • Don’t let the egg rolls sit too long before frying.  The wrapper will get moist from the filling.
  • Make sure to use enough oil to completely immerse the egg rolls when deep frying.  If you use too little oil, the egg rolls will not brown evenly.
  • I find the egg rolls cook faster when deep frying in a single layer.  Double stacking or over-filing the fryer increases the cooking time.
  • I love the taste of peanut oil!  The egg rolls brown up really nicely and quickly with this oil.
  • If you don’t have an electric fryer, deep fry the egg rolls in a saucepan or wok.  Use a thermometer to get the right temperature.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Grilled Pork Sausage Fresh Spring Rolls (Nem Nuong Cuon) and Grilled Shrimp, Egg Rolls and Rice Vermicelli (Bun Cha Gio Tom Nuong).

Ingredients

1 lb ground pork or country style rib pork pieces
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 lb carrots
1/4 lb yellow onions
1/2 lb taro root (fresh or frozen)
1-1.8 oz package bean thread noodles
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp cornstarch (optional)
1 package egg roll wrappers (25 square sheets per package)
1 Tbsp cornstarch + 1 Tbsp water
vegetable oil for deep frying

Directions

Peel skins off carrots and taro root and rinse with water.  Pat thoroughly dry with a paper towel.  If using frozen taro root, cut into smaller chunks.  Use a stand mixer with a shredder attachment to finely shred the taro root and carrots.  Alternatively, use a food processor or mandoline to achieve the fine shreds.  Finely dice the onions.

Mince the shrimp by hand or use a meat grinder attached to the stand mixer.  If using pork pieces, grind the pork using the meat attachment as well.

Soak the noodles in warm water for 10 minutes to soften.  Blot the noodles dry using a paper towel.  Using scissors, cut noodles into short strands.

In a large bowl, combine the pork, shrimp, carrots, onions, taro root, noodles, sugar, salt, ground black pepper and optionally cornstarch.  Mix all ingredients well.  (I use my hands and this takes approximately 2 minutes.)

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water and stir until smooth.  We will use this mixture later to seal the wrapper.

See above for tips on cutting and peeling the egg roll wrappers.  Place a single wrapper triangle on a cutting board so the point is on top and the longest side of the triangle is closest to you.  Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling on the wrapper centering it along the bottom edge of the wrapper.  Fold the left and right sides of the wrapper over the filling.  (The two folded sides should meet in the middle of the roll.)  Take the bottom edge and fold it over and then roll gently away from you.  Use firm pressure but don’t roll too tightly or the wrapper will tear.  When there’s just a 1/2-inch triangle section of wrapper left, dip a finger in the cornstarch/water mixture and dab the top triangle with the “glue”.  Finish rolling, sealing the wrapper edge well.  Roll a batch of a dozen egg rolls and the fry per below.

Heat the oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit in an electric fryer or saucepan.  Place the egg rolls into a fryer basket with the seam side down.  Put the basket in the oil so that it partially covers the egg rolls.  Hold the basket in place for 10 seconds.  (This seals the edges of the egg roll.)  Now release the basket into the oil completely.  Deep fry for 10-12 minutes until they are golden brown.  If you like them crispier, fry for 13-15 minutes.  Remove the egg rolls from fryer and place on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce as an appetizer.  Optionally serve with rice noodles, fish sauce dipping sauce, and fresh greens and herbs.

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

Yields:  35-40 egg rolls

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