Thursday, September 30, 2010

Paifala video

By panipopos

This is the last sweet recipe I'm going to make for a while.

My dentist demands it. My doctor demands it. My scales demand it.

So, till next month ;).

Paifala – Samoan half-moon pies (traditional recipe)

I’ve done something a little different this time. I’ve made someone else’s recipe.

You see, back in my pre-blogging days, whenever I googled “paifala recipe”, this one recipe would show up 95% of the time. (And Google would also ask me if I meant to search for “paella recipe”. The nerve!)

Since this recipe is out there in Googleland as the recipe for paifala, I was intrigued and had to try it out. Now this is not, I repeat, this is NOT my recipe. Paifala at my house were pineapple-custard stuffed confections enrobed in a buttery, smooth shortcrust pastry. No, this is definitely not that recipe.

This recipe uses cornstarch instead of custard, and the piecrust is similar to masi samoa. The pastry is much nuttier and fragrant than the paifala I’m used to, and the filling is just as good as custard. The ingredients are so simple and unpretentious, and the taste is – what’s the word I’m looking for – honest. That’s why I’m labelling this a ‘traditional’ recipe. No yellow food colouring to be found here folks!

So really, whose recipe is this?
Why, it’s Lily Dayton’s.

Here, check it out for yourself. I think she finally deserves credit for her much-plagarised recipe.

Unless she got it off Google herself. LOL.
JK. Much respect for Ms Dayton and her paifala.

I’ve made slight changes (5 cups of flour was a tad bit too much for me and her baking time was too short), but otherwise, this is a solid recipe. So here it is, good ole’ honest island-style paifala.

Paifala (makes 5)

2 cups drained crushed pineapple
1 cup (200g) sugar
½ cup (120ml) milk
cup (30g) cornstarch
cup (80ml) syrup from crushed pineapple

3 cups (375g) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
cup (75g) butter
1 cup (240ml) coconut milk
pinch salt

Make the filling ahead and give it ample time to cool to room temperature. Simply mix the pineapple, sugar and milk in a saucepan and heat until simmering. Dilute the cornstarch with the pineapple juice and add this to the pineapple mixture. Stir it over low heat for 1-2 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and cool.

For the piecrust, throw everything in a bowl and mix. When it starts to come together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and press it together. Don’t knead this dough or it’ll be chewy and tough.

Cut your dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into an 8” (20cm) circle. Put some of your cooled pineapple filling into the centre. But pay attention to how much you put in - too much and the pie will burst in the oven, too little and people will complain. The recipe above makes just enough for five pies.

Lightly wet the edges of the piecrust with water, and then fold one half of the pie over the other. Press the edges together with your fingers or, if you wanna be fancy, with a fork. Pierce the top of the pie several times then bake at 375°F (190°C) for 35-40 minutes until light golden. Remove from the oven and cool.

Big half-moon pies are usually served in thick strips, but since these are only 8” wide, I reckon you could give a hungry Samoan a whole one. Or two.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Keke pua'a video

So I've been seriously procrastinating with this video because everytime I sat down at the computer, the last thing I felt like doing was a video edit. I found every excuse in the book to put it off. Gotta check my emails. Gotta order some stuff online. Gotta check my Visa balance to see if I can afford to order stuff online. Gotta see what's going on with those trapped miners in Chile. 47 days and no end in sight! No way! Hey, I wonder if anyone is on Skype? Gotta check out the current exchange rate. Ooh, and maybe I'll just see how much airfares are to Tahiti.

I admit, it's embarrassing how much of my adult life has been wasted surfing this never-ending playground called the internet.

But you know what finally lit a fire under my butt to get this video done? It was this comment on Youtube. It was posted under my suafa'i vid because, due to aforementioned procrastination, my keke pua'a one hadn't been posted. Aufdieinsel wrote:

i couldn't wait for you to put your keke puaa video up. so i just went ahead with the one on your blog and tried it. HEAVEN! your dough for some reason is better than the chinatown one. it's more bready???? lol. we've had it for 2 days now and my flatmates are all "kay kay" puaa'ed out! thanks for sharing!!!!!!

Now is that cool or WHAT?!?!
Like someone actually cares about what I do on my blog!
Like someone actually tried a recipe that was here!
And it worked!!!

So thanks to aufdieinsel, here, finally, after a week of trying to avoid it, is the video for how to make keke pua'a.

Now the blog can move on!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Keke pua’a – Samoan-style bao

By panipopos

Bao are Chinese steamed buns with a wide variety of fillings, both savoury and sweet. In Samoa, bao are always filled with meat, usually pork, which is why they are called keke (cake), pua’a (pork).

Yeah, I know it’s not a cake.

Anyhoo, it's not common to make keke pua’a at home, because they are labour-intensive, and they’re relatively cheap to buy. Plus not many of us have a three tiered bamboo steamer at home.

The usual Samoan filling is a basic mixture of pork, onions, maybe garlic and then seasonings like soy sauce. But you could fill your keke with practically anything, leftover sapasui, curry, beef stew - anything you would eat between two slices of bread.

Whatever you decide to put in your buns, make sure your filling is really well-seasoned, a touch over-seasoned, so that one bite of it has enough flavour to carry the soft but bland bread.

Keke pua’a dough (makes 16)

2 Tablespoons dry yeast
¼ cup (60ml) warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ cup (120ml) warm milk
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup (50g) sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
3½ cups (437.5g) all purpose flour

Mix the yeast, water and first measure of sugar in a large bowl. Let it stand for 5 minutes until it’s frothy.

In the meantime, combine the milk, butter, second lot of sugar, salt and eggs. Add this to the yeast mixture and mix until combined.

Add 3 cups of the flour and gradually mix it together until it forms a dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it’s smooth, about 10 minutes, working in the remaining ½ cup of flour.

Grease the bowl, place the dough back in there, cover and let rise until it’s doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, cut out 16 4” (10cm) square pieces of waxed paper. Set up your steamer. Get your keke filling to room temperature. Anything else? Yeah, while you’re at it, do the dishes.

When your dough has doubled, punch it down then divide into 16 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then roll or press into a 4 inch (10cm) circle, dusting with flour if necessary.

Spoon a generous amount of filling into the centre of each circle, being careful not to get liquid on the edges. (Wet edges are hard to seal.)

Pleat the edges together over the filling and close the top by pinching and twisting the dough together.

Place each bun on a piece of waxed paper, pleated side up if you’re proud of your pleats, or pleated side down if you screwed it up prefer a smooth top surface. Put your buns at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart from each other to rise. Let them rise until doubled in size (about 45 minutes) and then steam them on full steam for 15 minutes.

Alternatively, bake at 375°F (190°C) for 15 minutes or until golden brown. As soon as they come out of the oven, brush the tops with melted butter to keep the surface soft.

Whether baked or steamed, eat immediately, or within a few hours.
And don’t forget to peel away the waxed paper before eating.
No seriously, don’t forget.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Masi Samoa video

By panipopos

Masi Samoa is really one of the simple pleasures in life. Like eating watermelon with the juices running down your chin. Like bathing in a cool river on a hot day. Like mixing hot white rice, onions and eleni (canned mackarel in tomato sauce) in a big bowl for dinner. OK, masi samoa is nothing like mixing rice, onions and eleni but I'm hungry and that's what I feel like eating.  

Here's the vid for making one of the simplest but most gratifying cookies in the world.

Oh, and don't forget to store them in an airtight container so they don't soften.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Masi Samoa – Samoan coconut cookies

By panipopos

In Samoa, these are usually sold in neatly piled-up stacks which are wrapped in unmarked plastic bags. They look very plain, and on looks alone, you wouldn’t expect much flavour from the masi samoa.

But don't let their bland golden surfaces deceive you.

Just one bite of this buttery, flaky, not-too-sweet, shortbreadish cookie will have you going back for more.

Which is probably why they're sold in stacks and not one by one.

And a word of warning. When masi samoa are baking, the whole house will smell like Willy Wonka's cookie factory (if Willy Wonka had a cookie factory). You cannot hide these from those you live with.

Masi Samoa (makes 24)

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a cookie sheet or, for easy clean-up, line a cookie sheet with baking paper.

Beat together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the coconut milk and vanilla and beat some more. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until it forms a dough.

Knead lightly then roll the dough out thinly (less than ¼ inch; 6mm thick) on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 3 x 3” (7.5 x 7.5 cm) squares. Transfer to the cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool completely.

These are rich enough that they don’t need any spread, but I know people who like masi samoa with a thin pat of butter and strawberry jam.

Enjoy masi samoa with a piping hot cup of – you guessed it! – kokosamoa (Samoan cocoa).