Thursday, August 22, 2013

Xôi Khúc

I made xôi cúc for the first time today using a combination of various recipes.  I meant to do proper measurements to create my own recipe, but once I started, I completely forgot about measuring.  So this is one of "those" recipes that you just have to "eyeball" it.

I also wanted to make the vegetarian version, not expecting much.  Surprisingly, it was so good, better than some of the meaty ones I've had in the stores.

First, the filling.

Soak 400g of mung bean overnight.  Drain.  Steam for about 30 minutes until cook and soft.
Smash the bean with salt, ground pepper (lots of it).  Add vegetable broth to make a soft paste, but not so much that it'd be soupy.

In a saucepan, heat up the oil (3 Tbsp) and saute diced shallot (7-8 small), diced onion (1 small), the white part of green onion (6 heads) in medium heat until soften but not brown, about 6 minutes.  Add diced garlic (5 cloves) and saute for another 2 minutes.

Add the smashed mung bean, mix well.  Taste, and adjust seasonings. I added more ground pepper and some mushroom seasoning.  Add about 1/4 cup of green onions at the end so it still retains color.

The shell.

Soften (microwave, saute with a bit of water) the 6 ounces baby spinach until wilted, about 1 minute (optional).  Puree the spinach with vegetable broth (not more than 150ml).  Cook the puree mixture.

Mix the 450g glutinous rice flour (bột gạo nếp) with 90g rice flour (bột gạo tẻ)  (Note:  5:1 ratio).  Add some mushroom seasoning (1/2 tsp).  Use the mixer with dough attachment, pour the boiling spinach mixture into the flour, mix in low speed until combined.  At this point, I just warmed more vegetable broth and keep mix more in a bit at a time until a soft dough form.  Let the dough rest in a greased, covered bowl for about an hour.

My dough was a bit dry after an hour rest since it kept breaking when I stretched it out.  It should be pliable.  I just put it back in the mixer and added more hot water until the dough is pliable enough that I can stretch it out.  I think I used somewhere between 200ml - 300ml.  You can see the consistency in the picture below.

Double the recipe for the dough, as I only had enough shell for half of the filling.  Portion the dough into 1.5 ounces ball.  I had enough dough for 24 balls, but I had about 42 balls of mung bean filling.

Flatten and stretch the dough into a circular shape, wrap the mung bean balls, and form a ball.  (My dough was soft enough for hand stretching, but I couldn't roll it as the dough would stick on the mat.  However, this doesn't have to be perfect.  Just something circular is good enough).

Soak 500g of glutinous rice in water overnight.  (Might want to double this).  Drain.
Soak the rice in boiling water for about 10 minutes.  Drain again.

(Someone told me that soaking or blanching the rice in boiling water will make it sticky.  This would help to get more rice stick to the balls in the next step.  But I'm not sure it helped much.  My balls are quite bald.  :-)

Mix with 1tsp salt.

Once the balls are shaped, roll them in the soaked and drained glutinous rice.

This was how they looked after rolling in the rice.  It had a nice coverage, but not much sticking out.

To steam, put a small layer of rice in the steamer.  Put the balls on top of the rice.  Spread, pat, paste, do whatever you can to get some more rice stick onto the balls.  Whatever I did, I couldn't get more rice sticking to the balls, thus, they were bald.

Steam for 20 minutes.

Voila!  See how much darker the shell became.  It was a light green.  After steaming, it had a very deep green color.  I want to know how to get more rice to cover the ball.

And I didn't wrap the shell tightly enough, so there was a lot of air pocket between the shell and the filling.  But maybe that's why they tasted so awesome!

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