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By Request

By Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, March 29, 2000



By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Silky Almond Tofu, as prepared by Little Hong Kong
and Beijing Restaurant can be served plain or
topped with fruit cocktail from a can.



Almond flavors
a classic dessert

The confusing thing about Almond Tofu is -- no tofu. It's one of those culinary contradictions, which is probably why it also goes by the alternative name of Almond Float.

The tofu connection would be in the look and texture of the dessert, a light gelatin that is perfect to top off a heavy or salty meal. It's a standard offering in Chinese restaurants.

Almond Tofu is not hard to make -- actually it's a good way for a novice cook to first work with gelatin -- and a recipe has run in this space before. But Marcella Chock insisted on the recipe from Little Hong Kong, a fast-food-type restaurant on South King Street. "Their Almond Tofu is the tastiest I've tasted, not too plain and not too hard," Chock said.

Little Hong Kong shut down about two weeks ago, after just seven months of operation, but the owners were still willing to share this recipe. The restaurant was actually an offshoot of Beijing Restaurant in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, a 10-year-old eatery that specializes in live seafood and dim sum lunches. You can still taste this dessert there.

Beijing's general manager, Gary Chan, said the Almond Tofu recipe is fairly standard. Controlling the amount of gelatin is key to the softness, he said.

This recipe is also for Evelyn Kurihara, who wrote looking for this "very refreshing" dessert.

Almond Tofu

1 cup sugar
2 cups water
2 packets unflavored gelatin
4 teaspoons almond extract
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

Boil water and sugar together. Stir in gelatin until dissolved. Add extract and milk, stirring well. Pour into serving cups and cool, then refrigerate.

Top with canned fruit cocktail if desired. Serves 6-8, depending on size of the cups.

Tapa

Several readers have written over the last few months for the recipe for the low-fat oatcakes baked for Starbucks coffee shops. Starbucks declines to share, and attempts to locate something similar have failed.

Ann Tong, the most recent requester of this recipe, said she'd settle for a basic oatcake formula. So here are two.

This first was sent in by Ann Todd, who got it from "Modern Ways with Traditional Scottish Recipes" by Rosalie Gow.

The cookbook states that this dough can be hard to work with, as it is very sticky. It also uses ground oats, not the Quaker-type rolled oats and produces a traditional flat, hard cake.

Another version -- more cakelike in texture and using regular rolled oats -- first ran in this column in 1997 and is reprinted here.

Neither version is low fat, but to reduce the fat in any baked recipe, try substituting all or part of the butter or margarine with applesauce.

Oatcakes

1 cup medium ground oats (not rolled oats)
Pinch baking soda
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons hot water or less

Preheat a griddle or frying pan over gentle heat.

Combine oatmeal, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center and add butter. Add water slowly just until a firm dough is formed.

Roll the dough out on a board dusted with finely ground oats into a 6-7 inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into a neat circle, then cut the circle into 4-8 pieces. Fry on the dry griddle until edges begin to curl upward; remove to rack.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until oatcakes are crisp but not too brown.

Oatcakes

Rickie Loomer, via the Internet

3 cups rolled oats
3 cups white flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt or less
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 cups margarine
1/2 cup cold water

Combine dry ingredients. Incorporate margarine with a pastry blender. Add a little water to form a rollable textured dough.

On a counter sprinkled with oats, roll dough 1/2 inch thick. Use a 2-1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut oatcakes.

Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes about 24 oatcakes.

Nutritional information unavailable.

Food Stuffs: Morsels



Send queries along with name and phone number to:
By Request, Honolulu Star-Bulletin Food Section,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Or send e-mail to bshimabukuro@starbulletin.com


Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.




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