Happy Chinese New Year folks! I think it is fitting to enjoy ene bon ti bol mee-foon during this rather rainy season. This delicious chicken and rice vermicelli soup, derived from traditional Chinese cuisine, is a well loved entrée in many Mauritian households. Packed with as many vegetables as you would care to add, the bouillon is a nutritious start to the heavier calorie-laden dishes to be served for the festivities this Monday. I sincerely hope that the Year of the Monkey brings happiness and prosperity to everyone throughout 2016 and well beyond.

BOUILLON MEE-FOON

Ingredients:

200g thin rice noodles/meefoon

200g chicken breasts, deboned

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

1 bunch brede tom pouce

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1/2 cup sweet corn kernels

1/4 cup bamboo shoots

1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms

4 cups warm water

1 cube chicken stock

4 eggs, fried sunny side up

Method:

  • Clean chicken and into medium size cubes. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt, pepper, chili and oil.

  • Mix well, cover with cling film and leave chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

  • Remove marinated chicken from refrigerator and place in a medium cooking pan. Cover and simmer.

  • Cook over low heat for 15 minutes until chicken is tender and half cooked. Add the carrots and steam.

  • Soak the shiitake mushrooms in boiling water till softened and add to pan. Throw in the corn kernels.

  • Add in the brede tom pouce and bamboo shoots and stir. Dissolve the cube of chicken stock in water.

  • Pour the chicken stock and remaining water over the vegetables and bring to the boil until it thickens.

  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop into serving bowls and serve with fried egg as topping. Serves 4.

Bouillon Meefoon

From Malika Kallichurn‘s Manzé Lontan, this traditional sugar candy has been a well-loved treat for Mauritians before the advent of chocolate and industrialized sweets. Bheli, from pure sugar cane syrup, could be made in large amounts and stored for months to cater families with several children. On the occasion of the 181th anniversary of Abolition of Slavery in Mauritius, I hereby share with you this forgotten Mauritian candy in all its rustic simplicity.

BHELI

Ingredients:

500ml pure sugar cane syrup

100g toasted peanuts, chopped

50g toasted sesame seeds

Method:

  • Prepare a large baking sheet/pan or metal plate by greasing the surface with a generous amount of butter.

  • Select a large, heavy-based pan or caraille for the preparation of bheli as it needs to cook for almost 1 hour.

  • Pour the sugar cane syrup into the pan and cook over low heat, stirring syrup regularly with a metal spoon.

  • Cook till the syrup thickens and leaves the edges of the pan. It should have reached two-string consistency.

  • Reserve about 1 tablespoon of chopped peanuts and toasted sesame seeds. Add the rest to the cane syrup.

  • Stir vigorously until well combined. Working quickly, drop spoonfuls of the mixture on the prepared pan.

  • The mixture will start to solidify almost immediately. Sprinkle with remaining peanuts and sesame seeds.

  • Leave to cool completely before storing in an airtight container away from sunlight. Makes about 15 pieces.

Bheli – Traditional Sugar Candy

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016 to the lovely members of the Daring Kitchen. Hope you have a year of complete Baking and Culinary bliss! Let 2016 unleash your unbound creativity and raise the bar of this platform. This month’s challenge is hosted by Shillpa Bhaambri from Cakeline the Journey, a Baker and Cake designer living in Mumbai, India. She runs a cakery, aptly called Cakeline that specializes in customized cakes and desserts. Cake designing is an extension of baking. It is a surging craft, hobby or profession in today’s times. Making plain cakes look visually stunning has become a unique artistry and a professional baker who specializes in making and decorating cakes is called a cake artist.

In this challenge Shillpa explains in detail about some edible mediums used in cake decoration, including “edible clays” like Fondant; Modeling paste, Gum paste and Modeling chocolate. They are used by cake designers to recreate mind blowing concepts and themes on cakes. Fondant in cake designing context, refers to rolled fondant or sugar paste, which is primarily used to cover cakes and boards. This is soft sugar dough that cuts through instantly with a knife. It easily rolls out and is quite malleable. Fondant stays fairly soft, even after it has been shaped. Designing cakes with it gives them a smooth and polished finish, and it can be colored or flavored to taste.

FONDANT/SUGAR PASTE

Ingredients:

800g / 6 2/5 cups icing sugar, unsifted

100g / 7 tablespoons white butter or shortening

1 tablespoon powdered gelatin or agar agar

30ml / 2 tablespoons cold water

100g / 1/3 cup liquid glucose

15ml / 1 tablespoon glycerin

Large pinch of kitchen salt

5ml / 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

7g / 1/2 tablespoon white butter or shortening

Method:

  • Measure all the ingredients and set aside. Sieve the icing sugar and keep 300gms / 2 2/5 cups of it aside.

  • Soak the gelatin in the cold water and melt it in a microwave or double boiler. Melt the butter/shortening.

  • Mix butter/shortening into gelatin. Add liquid glucose and glycerin and mix well. Warm it for 20 seconds.

  • You can do this in a microwave oven. Add clear vanilla extract and salt. Take 500gm icing sugar in a bowl.

  • Stir in the liquid mixture, a little at a time. Keep blending and adding the liquid, slowly to the icing sugar.

  • To make colored fondant, add the required amount of edible gel color to warmed gelatin glucose liquid.

  • Move mixture onto a smooth kitchen counter. Keep kneading gently and adding the reserved icing sugar.

  • Add as much icing sugar the dough can take in to make a pliable texture. It should not stick to your hands.

  • Lastly smear 7g / 1/2 tablespoon butter or shortening onto the counter. Knead gently to absorb all the fat.

  • Roll and shape the fondant into an oblong. Wrap fondant tightly with cling film.  Makes about 1kg fondant.

Fondant Icing from Scratch

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