A fine savour on simple pleasures

My aim is to reduce the tension in my mind by sharing my thoughts and experiences in the things that I love; which I could not express openly due to circumstances. Be it in doing stupid things, experimenting on new recipes, failings in research work, writings..just some doodle ranting stuff

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice! A guide to make tangyuan :)

Today is the winter solstice festival, also known as Dongzhe Festival..This festival signifies the starting of winter and the start of a new year..well, am not a chinese (only 1/2 though), but the significance of this day are rather obscure previously..I knew about this from my buddy, MF..from last year, which unfortunately, a tad bit late, hence, wasn't able to prepare anything.

Well, according to my dearest sweet MF, once, this celebration was more important than chinese new year, which signifies the starting of spring. It is a humble celebration where all family members come together to prepare and eat colourful glutinous rice balls served in sweet syrup known as tangyuan during winter.

So, of coz la we prepare and eat some yay! (Feeling the winter-ness from the IBS aircond..brrrr =__=)

(Although today was a tough day where we have to do someone else's work (and he was not there to share the burden), AND A LOT PULAK TUH *sigh* SGT XBERTANGGUNGJAWAB! pekena BM bg pkcik tuh xphm!)

It was tiring, and rather time consuming (the labwork, cooking is ever the joy for me), but due to friends letting me do my work first, I manage to complete them by about 4 pm like dat and went home to prepare the tangyuan for all with the help of HF and Noly :)

Receipe - How make tangyuan (enough for 6 - 7 people)


Sweet rice flour/glutinous rice flour
room temp plain filtered water
bright pink - I use cochneal red (for the cake colouring)
pale green - I use pandanus leaves (they grew in abundance infront of my house, sure thick with plumbum)
pearly white - original colour of the tangyuan

Enough water - boiling

A pot of water flavoured with 1 bruised lemongrass, 3 pandan leaves and a few thin slice of ginger if you like..these are optional to bring out fragrance and flavour besides sugar..lotsa sugar haha


1. Bring both pots to boiling at medium fire.

2. While waiting for the pots to boil, use a big bowl, add in yer sweet rice flour and add a wee bit of water (with a pinch of salt, dissolve it well 1st k) lil by lil and mix em up. Use as much flour as you wish (shrug). But I think just now it could amount to 4 cups.

3. Use yer hands to knead em up and divide to 2 portions. I portion you juz add with a 2-3 drops of cochneal red. Knead well and observe the colouring. Adjust to your liking

4. To prepare a green tangyuan, blend 4-5 pandan leaves in a mixer and strain the well..preserving the murky green juice to be mixed with 2 cups of sweet rice flour in a different bowl. Add lil by lil (the juice I mean) and knead well.

How do you know the texture of the dough is right? It should be a lil dry, but must have a springy texture, not brittle so that when you roll them in your palm it made a nice round cute balls.

5. Roll them separately and place in a flour dusted bowl, swish it a bit to let a fine layer of flour to coat the surface of the tangyuans, this will make em not to stick to each other. Place on a tray. This is the parts where the 3 of us played at rolling alot. Its a fun activity for the whole family :)

6. Turn off the fire for the pot filled with flavoured syrup and let it cooled. This should be done in the middle of preparing the tangyuans. If your tangyuans are nearly ready, use ice cubes to cool it down more rapidly. You would like to achieve a slightly warm temperature. This is important so that the tangyuan won't become too squishy or runny when being transferred here after cooking.

7. The water in the pot should be boiling by now. Juz pour in all those round balls and let em cooked up! When they float, it means they're cooked. Simply transfer to the next pot filled with the sweet syrup huhu..and its done!

8. Serves warm :)

I'm not sure about the exact quantification for the measurings, I think you should just do trial-and-error (part of the reason was because at the moment of preparation, my buddies were doing it w/o measuring properly, so I can't vouch for the measurements coz I didn't see it mah self..agak2 je)

(credits to HF for the receipe! Thanks to HF n Noly for helping out muah2!)

Happy Winter Solstice!

The pretty bright pink with pale green tangyuan :)

 Another way to eat the tangyuan, mix ground peanuts with course sugar and some sesame seeds, rolled the cooked tangyuan in and eat em up! Juz like muachi huhu..

 My friend, Iera, HF and Noly :)

MF looked so happy eating em after working so hard with the cultures, it cools my heart..thats the joy a cook gets when they fed the people they love haha

Monday, December 19, 2011

Manga review: Shingeki no Kyojin

An opening for the long awaited post for a blog that is full of 3 months old cobwebs lol. A great manga with intense violence and gore, Shingeki no Kyojin, or 'Advancing Giants'. At first the name sounded like a baseball oriented manga..or something about sport of the sort, but when I read them reviews, well, maybe a few months or so ago, it does not, by all means related to sport. It's a really awesome manga with an exponential burst on the storyline a little further inside. Hence, one has to be patient and to keep on reading to reach to the exciting parts. You could feel ultimate fear from reading this manga, boy I haven't felt this way since 'Monster'.

Title: Shingeki no Kyojin
Status: Ongoing
Nationality: Japanese
 Genre: Drama, Shounen, Psychological, Supernatural, Tragedy, Horror, Mystery, Action, Mature
Source: mangafox

Written and drawn by Hajime Isayama sensei, this great manga was nominated for the 4th Taisho Manga Award and winner for the 35th annual Kodansha Manga award for Best Shounen category as explained in Mangafox. The scanlator group responsible for the current chapters is the TDX Scanlation Group. Currently scanlated at ep 28, the manga has soared in popularity while being able to maintain a non-generic shounen storyline. Truly, a jewel amongst jewels.

The manga is centered around Eren Jaeger (middle) and his foster sister, Mikasa Aekerman (on right), and later with increasing importance, their great buddy, Armin Arelet (left). Their lives were in a setting where giants and titans (fyi, they eat humans for no plain reason) roam freely with the population of humanity dwindled to the ones living behind gigantic walls, about 50 meters high. This actually occurs few hundred years ago before the presence of our 3 little heroes I think.

Armin, Eren and Mikasa

Hence, these kids never see the wide plains, the forest nor the sea. Very pitiful. The walls got a few layers, Wall Maria, the outermost wall, Wall Rose, the middle one, and Wall Sina, the centermost wall. The situation is that the higher your ranking/nobility/level, you'll have clearance to stay at the inner side of the wall. And of course to avoid the walls to be breached easily, the concentrations of population was placed at 4 corners of each walls. This is because the giants has a tendency to target a mass number of humans rather than the scattered ones. So, the probability for the walls to be breached at these 4 sides are much higher than the rest, and ammunitions were concentrated to these sites. Its pretty sick strategy don't you think? But necessary.

The view of the layer of walls

The kickstart of the story was initiated with the presence of a 50 meter titan, exceeding the height of the wall, breaking the wall near Eren's hometown and letting loose all the normal giants ranging between 15 - 3 meters. It's a total massacre with Wall Rose being compromised. Eren, together with Mikasa, saw the death of his own mother, being ripped and chewed by a giant which ignite his already pumping desire to kill the sonuvabitches (ehem, excuse me hee :D). He entered the military, learned the 3D maneuver gear, and enter the Scouting Legion, juz so that he could kill more giants and maybe save humanity just a wee bit. Later on, he acquired the ability to turn himself into a 15 m giant, with no way of controlling it. From this you can even smell the stink of a scheme don't you? Soon he and his friends realize that, the danger was not just outside the walls..

The types and ranges of giants that devour humans for pleasure..scary..

The latest page of the manga :)

Eren, in his giant skin

A coloured scene, by a fan (i think), where Eren fought the 50 m titan.

This manga gave me goosebump. Sometimes, I feel intense fear. I would say the mangaka was able to bring us into his world which is full of despair, horror and death. The storyline is powerful, the drawing, getting better although a lil shaggy but enough to illustrate the necessary information. I was really thankful that I browse through mangas in Mangafox when this manga got an update. What luck. It seems that the updates came once a month lately at about 40 page. And, again I was thankful because I was patient and read through till the end. A jewel amongst jewels indeed. A must read for the adults.

Ratings: 9.5/10

Oh how I wish the updates were sooner... :)

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