Friday, August 24, 2012

Baking: Malaysia Edition

I love to bake. If you've known me for any amount of time, that shouldn't be a surprise. Hopefully you've gotten the chance to taste my brownies, cookies, or some other concoction and lived to tell about it!

So, enter new chapter of my life... living as an adult in Asia. I was so excited to move into my new apartment to have the opportunity to make some meals at home. Now, granted, it's just as cheap and a whole lot easier to eat out every meal, but it definitely loses it's appeal quickly. I moved in to our apartment on Wednesday, August15th, my roommate moved in that Friday, and we finally sat down to our first home-cooked dinner on Monday, August 20th. We had a scrumptious Spaghetti dinner. It appeared all was well with the world.

Well, the next day I discovered my bananas had seen better days, so naturally I decided to put them to use in banana bread. And that's when we discovered some of the Asian challenges of baking.

Challenge #1: Recipe. In the States, I had a whole collection of recipe books and a ton of recipes printed off that I had tried and liked. Here I had nothing... including internet. So, I took a trip to my school, googled some banana bread recipes that looked yummy, and realized there was no printer I could use. Good thing I have such lovely teacher penmanship.
I was proactive in the fact that I had been craving chocolate chip cookies, and went ahead and copied down that recipe while I was at it. Oh, did I mention I had to make sure I copied down everything in Metric AND Customary units because I hadn't bought measuring cups yet and had no idea what I'd find? Right, well, I did.

Challenge #2: Grocery Shopping. From the office, I went out to buy a banana bread pan and the rest of the ingredients. Easier said than done. Did you know that Baking Soda is actually "Soda Bicarbonate"? I didn't until I could only find Soda Bicarbonate at the store and decided to bring it home and try it out! Thankfully, the rest of the stuff was reasonably easy to find and called familiar names.

Challenge #3: Mixing. As expected, I needed to metric measurements... and the customary ones... and the Japanese ones? Wasn't planning on that one! Apparently measuring SPOONS are not a hot commodity here and so the ones I bought just happened to be from Japan. The sizes looked reasonable and the funny writing on them looked Chinese, so I figured my roommate could decipher for me. Well, it wasn't Chinese, but she has studied some Japanese, so was able to decipher. Her translation of the writing: "Big Size." "Small Size." "Smallest Size." Um, not helpful? Thankfully, my mom is a professional 'eyeballer' when it comes to dumping ingredients into a recipe, so I prayed I had inherited that gene and started at it. The measuring CUPS I bought were customary measurements, so those were very familiar. And then, of course, the butter was measured in grams. But, I eventually got it all mixed up and looking/tasting like some banana bread batter, so I greased the pan and dumped it in!

Challenge #4: Baking. Ovens aren't a thing here. People don't bake. It's hot and ovens heat up the house. Most meals are fried. It's super cheap and easy to eat out. Ovens aren't a thing here. But, we have a toaster oven! Thankfully we had one at my house back in Newport News, so I was semi-familiar with them, but had never used one for baking baking. Set the temperature to 175*C, put the pan in, set the timer, and started praying! It started out slow (probably because I didn't preheat!), but 75 minutes later, I had some banana bread!

I hadn't preheated the oven, which is why I think it took a little longer to bake than expected and didn't get quite as brown, but it still tastes yummy!

The next day, I did get around to making my chocolate chip cookies. Same sort of challenges, but they turned out scrumptious! Also, because I can only bake 4 at a time, I decided to refrigerate the dough and so now I can A) have chocolate chip cookie dough whenever I want it and B) have fresh-baked homemade chocolate chip cookies ready in 10 minutes whenever I want them! NOW who wants to visit?

They don't come in a bag and I'm not sure they're actually chocolate. But they're yummy!


1 comment:

  1. This entry made me happy I'm lazy and can't cook. Or I might have faced these same frustrations.