Nothing is more romantic than the child’s mind. Joy, wonder and discovery is around every corner and undertaking an exposition in to the unknown is part of every day life. From these adventures we plan out our future path. The family pet inspires us to be vet or zoo keeper. The fire trucks or police cars become more than toys but inspiring vehicle. Sometimes we dream to one day become an animal, dressing up with a tail and only responding in animal language.
I wish I was a child again. No I do not miss being that short again and not be able to react the top freezer for ice cream. Also I can not forget the memories of social isolation and ridicule by other kids however home was my safe haven from that. At home I was able to plan for the future and be positive about the years to come. Totally unwritten and open to me for the taking. Was home the place that your imagination ran wild too?
In my house I had a few toys which became more to me than simple objects but career paths. I do not discover a real path way until I was 8 years old when I discovered I really loved mystery and crime. Yes not your typical doctor or army guy dream. I think it was a simple set that came with a yellow police tape, finger printing set, magnifying glass, finger print dust and a book detailing things we call forensics. During that year I think my clothes were stained with the black print ink and the house was littered with yellow tape which I put across the doors of my room (and sometimes others to their annoyance). No matter how annoying and cluttering my antics were my parents never yell at me for it. In fact my Dad told me his bother in Singapore did work like this. My mum just smiled, signed and washed my whites with black prints.
The romantic edge soon disappeared as joy, wonder and discovery were replaced by fear, questioning and cynicism. The future was not place of possibility but uncertainty. Maybe my teenage angst contributed to feelings like this but now, well into my 20s, the future is different.
Once again I have discovered unpredictability is not all bad. In fact the impulse to deep fry lead me to the recipe in today’s post. As many of you may have had heard Chinese New year was in the late February which means only one thing. Golden, gorgeous, sweets and savouries that are all fried. They are meant to symbolise gold and wealth for the year new but I think it just an excuse to get deep-frying all at once to save on oil wastage. What ever you think Today’s recipe is an adaption upon the traditional sweet fried dumpling called Gok Zai.
Gok zai ( is often an oil based pastry which is filled with a sweet mixture of finely crushed roasted peanuts, sesames and coconut. This makes for a very moreish and flavour packed snack which is then folded like a dumpling and deep-fried to get a crispy coat. The only reason I know about these sweets is because it was one of the many sweets my mum brought for us at new year.
Let me say this I HAVE DEEP FRIED FOR THE FIRST TIME!!! \_(^_^)_/ and this lead me to make 3 batches of this sweet in a period of 3 days. Yes they are THAT addictive.
The dough is really easy because it is not worked for a long time but just enough for it come together. Also it contains hassle with cold butter but uses oil, so you do not even have the melt it.
The filling is even simpler, roasted peanut, sesame and crushing with fine coconut. After you throw in sugar and stir. That’s it. Ye, it is really simple. Now you only need to wrap the dumplings and deep fry.
OK, here is where you can be intimated but seriously as a deep fry virgin I got the hang of it after a few minutes. I recommend you set up the station as well as possible because when oil cooks it turns food from golden and crispy to black and burnt very quickly. Also no water bottles or water should be anywhere near you! Safety first with the Moon blush Baker. Mise en plus is important in any kitchen activity however more so for deep drying for the reason given above.
While I love the traditional sweet filling inside, I found it better when you could adjust the sweetness yourself. So In order to change it up a bit I left out the sugar in the filling and served it lightly dusted in icing sugar with salted caramel sauce. By omitting the sugar, it allows the flavour of the aromatic roasted insides to remain untouched until it is dipped into the sauce.
I hardly need to tell you any more why caramel sauce is the bomb but trust me on this. The sauce is the thing that makes it. Think along the lines of churros and chocolate sauce. Dip into the sauce, allow it to coat the tip only. Break open the crispy pastry and allow flaky layers of pastry melt with roasted filling. Smell the aromatic coconut , sesame and peanuts. Really give in, eat another. Seriously so easy there is always more.
Golden Peanut, Sesame and Coconut Dumplings with Salted Caramel Sauce
Makes 40-50 ish depending on size of cutter and rolling.
Adapted from this recipe by Mama Chueng.
- 300g plain flour
- 30g castor sugar
- 1 egg
- 90ml rice bran oil
- 75ml water
- 3 cups of extra rice bran oil for frying
- 40g roasted sesame seeds
- 60g roasted peanuts
- 30g desiccated coconut
- 450g sugar
- 130ml water
- 400 ml cream
- 50g cold cubed unsalted butter
- 2 tsp sea salt flakes
FOR CARAMEL SAUCE
- Combine sugar and water in a large sauce pan. Over high heat bring the mixture to the boil. Continue to cook the mixture until it turn deep brown.
- Immediately remove from heat and whisk in cream slowly. It will bubbles a lot but continue to whisk in the cream until it all added.
- Slowly stir in salt and butter cubes into the caramel. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, place the water, sugar, egg and oil. Whisk the mixture until the sugar dissolves.
- Over the large bowl sieve in the flour and whisk to combine. Once it gets too hard use a spoon to bring into a dough ball.
- On a floured work surface, knead the dough lightly for 30 seconds and wrap in a cling film to rest for 30 minutes.
- In a mini processor crush coconut, roasted peanuts and sesame until they are fine. Set aside in a bowl for later.
- Once dough is rested, lightly dust a dry surface with flour. Roll out the dough to 1-2mm thickness. Using a 8 cm circle cutter, cut circle out of the dough and set aside. Cover with cling film to prevent drying out.
- Place the wrapper in your hands and place a 1-1.5tsp of filling inside the wrapper. Seal the edge of the dumpling tightly and crimp the edges with your index finger and thumb. To do this gently stretch the edge of the semi circle with your index finger and thumb.
- Flip the corner upwards to meet your index finger and press the seal. Move forward and continue to stretch, fold and pressing the pastry edge.
- Continue to do this all the pastry. You can re-roll the pastry dough again.
FOR DUMPLING FRYING
- In a small , high sided, heavy based saucepan fill with rice bran oil. Heat on medium low the oil until it reaches 160C. Make sure you have two trays lined with lots! paper towel and strainer to remove the dumplings.
- Once it does place in MAX 5 dumpling at once. Fry in oil until it develops bubbles and blisters on the pastry. Remove from the oil on to towels. Continue to do this all of the dumplings.
- Bring the same pot of oil up to 180C. Place a few of the pre fried dumpling in this oil again. Fry for 2 minutes until deep golden brown and remove with strainer to clean paper towel tray.
- Serve with caramel sauce and dust with sugar.