It’s that time of year again and mooncakes are everywhere in the Asian grocery stores here in San Jose. It makes me a little wistful for Malaysia, as I was making them myself last year when I could easily get my hands on ready-made mooncake fillings. Thankfully, a friend from Singapore visited me just about a week back and brought me some mooncake filling so I will at least get to make some this year.
Last year, besides making traditional baked mooncakes, piggy mooncakes and spiral mooncakes, I decided I was going to give snowskin mooncakes another try to get them more perfect (we weren’t too happy with our first attempt). I also bought a book all about mooncakes called “Mooncake Sonata” by Alan Ooi and the recipes in there really helped me to perfect those snowskin types.
I’m going to share with you one of the snowskin mooncakes that was really popular when I was selling them last year—this pandan custard snowskin mooncake. It is a little bit more complicated to make as there are multiple steps but the cake itself is so pretty and the flavors so yummy that you have to give it a try.
Pandan Custard Snowskin Mooncake
Now that we’re back in the Bay Area, I had to go visit the Saratoga Farmer’s Market that Nate mentioned in a previous post. One of the usual things I always get there is the salmon collars that we’ve blogged about before. They’re still there and even though the price has increased to $5/lb, they are still a good deal and I snagged a few bags.
My whole family enjoyed eating them in the way I usually prepare them (broiled with a simple seasoning of salt and pepper) but, having been away in Asia for so long, our appetites were smaller and we actually had some leftovers. The leftovers weren’t really enough for another whole meal on its own so I decided to try something new. I decided to go with fried rice.
Salmon Fried Rice
Annie’s extended family on her father’s side is from George Town, Penang, and every time we’ve gone to visit, we stayed with family. Usually, that meant staying with Annie’s godparents, her uncle and aunt. They are such hospitable and kind folks, and we always loved spending time with them.
Staying at their place is pretty cool because it’s in a relatively quiet neighborhood, but with quick access to some main roads if we want to go somewhere. We could be sitting at home, chatting (usually about where we want to go eat) and the next minute be on our way out for some assam laksa, char kway teow, or nasi kandar.
The neighborhood itself is very walkable. Many times I just take my camera and go wandering off in one direction, looking for neat stuff to snap. It was on one of these jaunts that I came upon a fence that was completely covered in this dense vine, bearing these incredibly blue flowers:
Blue Pea / Butterfly Pea Flower
I can’t believe it’s been 9 months since we left Sarawak to return to the States! While we are settling in to our new home, we still keep in touch with our old friends from Kuching, through Facebook, email and WhatsApp. They’re always sending pictures of the yummy Sarawakian food that they’re eating, like Sarawak laksa and kampua mee. The good thing about dishes like these, though, is that we can make them at home, as the ingredients are not impossible to get.
One thing we cannot get, though, is dabai. Dabai, also known as “Sibu olive” (though it is not a true olive but a completely different species, Canarium odontophyllum), is grown only in Sarawak, generally in the central part of Sarawak around the town of Sibu. Over the years that we lived in Sarawak, we grew to love eating dabai. It’s one of the foods I really miss.
Fresh Dabai, “Sibu Olive”