~ Steamed Fa Gao with Easy Quick Lid ~
Fa Gao (Mandarin) or Fatt Gou (Cantonese) or Leavened Cake when literally translated. It is a type of steamed cupcake with a long history amongst the Chinese community, being famous for its symbolism for “Leavened” or “Raised” prosperity and in other aspects of life. This is an especially popular snack during the festive seasons and practised by many for prayers on special dates on the Chinese Lunar calendar. Fa Gao is traditionally made with rice flour and is typically in pink with colouring added. Batter is left to rest for fermentation and steam-cooked on high heat to ensure the cupcakes are successfully raised and expanded to a nice split of 3 to 4 segments on the top. Many classify Fa Gao as dessert. Some like to serve them as breakfast or for an afternoon tea. I would say they are best served warm and fresh at any time of the day.
These days, instead of rice flour batter raised with fermentation process, self-raising flour and baking powder may be used as a substitute, for practical reasons. I would call it modernisation for any evolution of traditional recipes with a change in ingredients and methods used to make Fa Gao. Although this seems to be a revamped of the main ingredients, the purpose of Fa Gao remains. As the younger generation shows less appreciation in traditional Fa Gao, the more variation of recipes with an innovation in flavours and colours emerged. If I were to make Fa Gao the traditional way with fermentation process, I do not think I will make them. This is indeed an easy recipe shared by Madam Yin Ying Yuk, Director of AMC Malaysia, which reflects a modern and simplified version of Fa Gao.
With the AMC Easy Quick Lid, I “Super-steamed” Fa Gao. When the Pot unit is tightly sealed with an AMC Easy Quick Lid from the start till the end of a Super-steaming process, there is no leakage of heat generated. This is by far the most ideal way of steam-cooking Fa Gao that I have ever known. As little as 150ml of water is sufficient for the entire 15 minutes Super-steaming process, which is controlled automatically without exceeding 100°C. There is no wastage of energy usage in our daily cooking when this method is used. This is indeed a great way we can preserve our environment by saving approximately 50% of energy consumption. The conventional steaming method where a large amount of water is required to ensure sufficient heat is generated without drying up the pot used and when lid is subsequently lifted for food content to be placed onto the pot with pre-boiled water, is no longer practiced.
Growing up with a culture full of carbohydrates rich food, Fa Gao being one of them, it is no wonder I sometimes crave them. I am pleased to have tried this Super steamed recipe which yielded full bloomed Fa Gao with soft and fluffy texture that comes with a great aroma from the freshly squeezed Pandan essence. Since Fa Gao is best enjoyed warm, steaming the unfinished ones for a minute before serving again is recommended. As the growing fact of healthier diet calls for low carbohydrate intake these days, there is no room for imperfect Fa Gao. So, let’s steam them right!
Steamed Fa Gao Recipe (Yield 7 Cupcakes) :
- 10 Fresh Pandan Leaves (cut into 1 inch long)
- 230ml Water (to make Pandan Extract/Juice)
- 1 Egg
- 4 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 100 grams Black Jaggery Sugar
- 250 grams Self Raising Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 150ml Water (for Super-steaming)
- Whisk/Plastic Spatula
- 7 Muffin Liner
- 7 Tart Moulds (or any similar mould, 7cm in diameter, used to hold shape of Fa Gao)
- AMC 20cm Combi Bowl
- AMC 24cm Steamer Unit
- AMC 24cm 3.5 litre Pot Unit
- AMC Navigenio
AMC Super-Steaming Method :
A. Making the Batter
- Blend the cut Pandan leaves with water in a blender for about 1 minute. Strain the pulps over a strainer and squeeze out the fresh Pandan juice.
- Mix Pandan juice, egg, olive oil and sugar in an AMC 20cm Combi Bowl. Whisk to mix and melt.
- Fold in the flour and baking powder over a sift into the Combi Bowl. Gently mix evenly with a whisk or use a plastic spatula.
- Line the moulds with muffin liners. Pour or scoop the batter into the lined moulds.
B. Super-steaming the Fa Gao
- Add 150ml water into the AMC 24cm 3.5 litre Pot unit.
- Stack the AMC 24cm Steamer unit onto the Pot unit. Place all filled moulds prepared in A above into the Steamer unit and cover with an AMC Easy Quick Lid.
- Turn Navigenio on to the Automatic mode, “A“. Turn on Audiotherm, place onto lid knob/Visiotherm on lid, indicating 97°C or “Super Window” and set 15 minutes to Super-steam.
- When Audiotherm beeps, turn off both Navigenio & Audiotherm. Serve warm.
- With a pair of scissors, snip 2 times to make a cross on the wet batter in each mould. This will make Fa Gao steamed up with a nice 4 segmemts split on the top when done. This is a special tip shared by Madam Yin. No harm trying! I missed out this step after I got everything done. So, all my Fa Gao mostly split into just 3 segments.
- Super-steaming with the AMC Easy Quick Lid means bringing all contents in Pot to 97°C by generating vigorous steam to cook. With the AMC Navigenio on an automatic mode, temperature is maintained at the range of 97°C to 99°C to complete the steam- cooking time required and set. Food that are steam heat sensitive or require hot steam to cook well is best to be prepared with the AMC Easy Quick Lid. Extraordinary aroma and flavour are greatly escalated this way.
- No pre-boiling and no large amount of water required for any steam-cooking with the AMC Pots and Pans. Super-steam cooking requires as little as 120ml to 150ml of water to complete 15 to 30 minutes of steam cooking without drying up the Pot unit.