Friday, January 17, 2014

Banh Januk (glutinous rice balls in sweet ginger syrup and coconut milk)


Today's post is another popular Cambodian dessert. It will always be one of my favorite desserts, EVER! The rice balls are filled with cooked mung bean and then cooked to perfection. You place them into a serving bowl and then add a little bit of the sweet ginger syrup and then top it all off with some coconut milk and roasted sesame seeds. YUM, right?!?


8 ounces of peeled/split mung beans
2 cups of warm water


1 lb of glutinous rice flour
1 1/2 cups to 2 cups of LUKE WARM WATER


1 large piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
6 cups of water
6 pieces of palm sugar (or 12.5 ounces)
1/2 tsp of salt


1 can of coconut milk (14 ounces)
1/2 tsp of salt
2 tsp of corn starch

Additional items:

toasted sesame seeds
ice water bath
Melon baller(optional)

1. Place your mung beans into your rice pot/steamer. Don't have a rice cooker? Get creative. :) Wash the mung beans really well. Drain them and repeat process, at least 3 more times. Add in 2 cups of warm water, and then soak for 1 hour before steaming. Steam until done.
2. Meanwhile, slice up your ginger.
3. Boil 6 cups of water and add in your palm sugar, ginger, and salt. Stir to combine. Once your palm sugar has fully melted, bring everything to a quick rolling boil and then turn it down, and allow your ginger syrup to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Place your coconut milk into a small saucepan. Add in your salt and allow it to come to a gentle simmer. Do not walk away or else your coconut milk could boil over! Place your corn starch into a small bowl, add in some of the hot coconut milk, and then stir until smooth. Pour your corn starch mixture into the saucepan. Cook until slightly thickened and then remove from heat.
5. Is your mung bean done steaming? If so, add in your salt and then mix until softened. If you're rolling your filling by hand and not using a melon baller like me, then do so now.
6. Place your glutinous rice flour into a very large (and shallow) mixing bowl. Start off with 1 1/2 cups of luke warm water, and then gradually add the rest in until it starts to form a ball. Knead for additional 2-3 minutes.
7. Boil a large pot of water.
8. Pinch off a piece of dough (quarter size) and work it into a smooth ball. Flatten it out with the palm of your hand, and using your melon baller, scoop some of your mung bean filling into the middle. Pinch to seal and then GENTLY, smooth it out to form a ball again. You are done at this point but you may also flatten it out, as well. Using your palm, gently flatten it out and repeat process with the rest of the dough. Don't forget to make some tiny, rice balls (without the filling). Get your kids to help with this part! :)
9. Add your finished rice balls into your pot of boiling water. They are finished when they all float to the top. Using a slotted spoon, remove and place them into an ice water bath for a few minutes.


Add some glutinous rice balls into a small serving bowl. Then, add a little bit of the sweet ginger syrup. Top if off with some coconut milk and then some sesame seeds. YUM!!

NOTES: These are best served immediately! They do not refrigerate well. Also, the sugar syrup may taste a little sweet to you but once you assemble everything together, it should taste just right! :) You can also make the mung bean filling ahead. After you're done steaming them, shape them into balls and then place them onto a baking sheet in a SINGLE LAYER and then freeze. Once frozen, you may put the filling into a ziplock baggie and store for future use. Just remove from freezer and thaw before using! :)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nom Plai Ai (glutinous rice balls filled w/palm sugar)


If you are Cambodian and looooove your desserts like I do, then these sweet little suckers need no introduction. They are like...little soft pillows, filled with happiness and joy and then off topped with a little bit of heaven.

You do get what I'm saying, right?!?


For the dough:

1 lb of glutinous rice flour

1 1/2 cups-2 cups of LUKE WARM WATER

A pair of food safe gloves

To make the filling:

8 small pieces of palm sugar (about 4.4 ounces)
2 Tbsp of water
*makes about 28 dime sized balls

Other ingredients:

shredded unsweetened coconut
some coconut oil or vegetable oil


1. Place your palm sugar into a microwave safe bowl and then add in your water. Cover with saran wrap and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Drain out all excess water and stir until smooth.
2. Let your palm sugar firm up SLIGHTLY (about 2 minutes) and begin to roll them into dime sized balls. Work quickly because as it cools, it becomes more difficult to shape. Place palm sugar balls onto parchment paper and set aside.
3. Pour your glutinous rice flour into a large (very large, if you have it) mixing bowl, and add in 1 1/2 cups of luke warm water. Begin to work the water into the dough until it forms a ball. If you need to, add the rest of the water in and continue to work the dough. Once it starts to come together, continue kneading for about 3 more minutes. When done, cover with saran wrap.
4. Boil a large pot water.
5. Take a small piece of dough and work it into a nice, smooth ball. Use your thumbs and flatten it out and place a piece of palm sugar in the middle. Using your fingers and hands, close and then smooth out the seams. Gently, smooth out the finished balls by using the circular motion as seen in the video, below. Place them on parchment paper until ready to cook.
6. Add your balls into the boiling water (being careful not to overcrowd) and cook them until they float to the top. Place them into a colander to drain slightly. THE FILLING WILL BE EXTREMELY HOT! Please allow several minutes to pass before consuming!!
7. Roll your glutinous rice balls into some coconut oil (this prevents them from sticking to one another) and then top them off with some shredded coconut.
As soon as you've made your dough, you must use it immediately. The longer it sits out, the more dry the dough will become and then it will be a pain to work with! In the video, I placed the rice balls onto mini cupcake liners but I recommend against this! They still stuck like crazy to the liner and I MAY or MAY HAVE NOT eaten a few cupcake liners in the process because they were THAT GOOD. Maybe if you generously coated them in coconut oil first, they wouldn't stick as much. Also, it's good to have some extra rice flour on hand just in case your dough is too wet.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls


Mmm..Cinnamon rolls!! Not just any cinnamon roll...these are super soft, HUGE, and taste HEAVENLY!! They may not be forgiving for my figure, but what the hell, I was having a terrible day and the fat girl inside of me was DYING to come out and play! Try this recipe out and you won't be disappointed!!

-Sav the savage

For the dough you will need:

1 cup of warm water
2 tsp of active dry yeast
1/4 cup of sugar
1 extra large beaten egg
3 1/2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
*3 T of bakers special dry milk powder
1 T of vital wheat gluten
*1 tsp of diastatic malt powder or dough enhancer(use 2 tsp of malt powder if you are using this dough for baked bbq buns!!)
1 1/2 tsp of salt
Vegetable oil
Softened butter for pan

For the filling you will need:

1/3 cup of brown sugar
3 T of white sugar
1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
2-3 T of melted butter

For the frosting you will need:

2 pkgs of softened cream cheese
1 stick of SALTED butter
1 1/4 cup of powdered sugar(or more if you like it sweeter)
1 tsp of vanilla extract
*This frosting makes enough for two batches so cut recipe in half or keep the rest in an airtight container and keep in fridge for later use).

*You can purchase the diastatic malt powder and baker's special dry milk from King Arthur's website! I wouldn't skip out on these two items because I KNOW, it's what sets my recipe apart from others. The result is a softer and fluffier cinnamon roll. Bakers dry milk powder is NOT the same as the dry milk powder found in your local grocery store! A lot of people use milk in their recipe but I find that dry milk powder works best, especially when using with yeast. If you MUST use milk, use skim milk instead of whole milk.

Take your warm water and add in your sugar. Sprinkle in your yeast and allow to proof for about 5-7 minutes or so. You know your yeast is activated when your mixture looks foamy/creamy.

While your yeast is proofing, take your all purpose flour, potato flour, vital wheat gluten, salt, diastatic malt powder, and bakers dry milk powder, and combine them in a large mixing bowl.

Take your egg and slightly beat it with a fork and set aside.

Once your yeast is activated, give it a small stir to loosen up the sugar that has sunk to the bottom. Pour it into your flour mixture along with your beaten egg. Mix it with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated.

Pour your dough into a food processor and pulse for about 1 minute and 20 seconds. Take a small handful of flour and spread it on a clean work surface. Dump out your dough onto the counter and work quickly with your hands to make a small, more manageable ball. It doesn't need to be completely smooth for this part. It'll be slightly tacky and wet, but try to refrain from adding any additional flour.

Place your dough into a slightly oiled bowl. Toss the dough to coat to prevent a crust on the tops. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and allow to double in size, about an hour.

While your dough is rising, make your filling. Mix your cinnamon, brown sugar, and white sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

After an hour or so, remove your dough from the bowl, and place it on a lightly floured surface. Take your lightly floured rolling pin and shape your dough into a large rectangular shape, trying to make it as even as possible.

Take some melted butter and spread it over the dough but not all the way to the edges.

Take your brown sugar and cinnamon mixture and spread it on the melted butter, leaving at least 1/4 inch space along the borders.

Roll up your dough into a tight log and pinch to seal the seams. Do the same to the ends.

Take a pastry cutter or serrated knife and lightly coat it with some baking spray. Cut your log in half at first and then proceed with cutting the rest into even slices. If you want really big cinnamon rolls, cut 6 to 8 slices instead of 10-12. The bigger the slices, the faster the second rise as well!

Take some softened butter and spread it in your baking dish.

Place your rolls cut side down in your baking dish, spray some cooking spray(like pam) on a piece of saran wrap, cover your pan, and then wait till tripled in size. Don't forget to allow some room for your rolls to grow(at least 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in between each roll). Let them rise in a warm, draft free place until tripled in size! Two hours is a good time for me but may differ for you!

Once your rolls are ready, bake them in a preheated 325 degree oven for 25 minutes.

While your rolls are baking, take your softened cream cheese, softened butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract and beat until nice and creamy. Taste check and add more powdered sugar if you wish. Set aside.

Once your cinnamon rolls are done baking Take some melted butter and lightly coat each roll. This will add to the overall softness of it. Immediately, take your cream cheese frosting and slather them all over the rolls while they are still hot. Serve warm and ENJOY!!

Notes: If you wish to make these ahead of time and want to have some ready for breakfast then you can place the rolls in the fridge, overnight, during their last and final rise. In the morning, take the rolls out and allow them to come to room temp before baking. If you want to speed up the process, pre heat your oven to the LOWEST temp you can(mine is 170 degrees) place a pot of boiling water in the bottom of your oven, and then place your rolls in there and allow them to puff up for about 15 minutes or so. I must admit though, that I have NOT tried the overnight method with my recipe yet but plan on doing it soon! If there's any problem with this method, please do bring it to my attention! Thanks ahead of time! :)

Watch how I make them here.
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