Ma Lai Goh (Steamed “Malay” Cake)

6 Feb

For some reason, this old school Chinese bakery goodie is called “Malay cake”, even though it has nothing to do with Malaysia. The light cake was always my favorite dessert after dim sum (Chinese small plates eaten at lunch time). Unfortunately, traditional style Malay cake is disappearing from menus, and I can’t find them at bakeries either. So I decided to make my own. It turns out that this cake requires only a few basic ingredients.


Malay cake is a steamed cake, not a baked cake. I used a 9″ steamer basket, lined with parchment paper. 


  • 1 ¼ cups dark brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 120 ml corn oil
  • 130 ml milk
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla



  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until the sugar is well dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.
    Ingredients for Mah Lai Goh
  2. Whisk in oil and milk until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Mix well.DSC05230
  5. Add vanilla. Mix until bubbly.
  6. Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight.
  7. Pour mixer into parchment lined steaming tray.
  8. Bring water in steamer to a boil. DSC05235
  9. Place steaming tray in the steamer and steam until cake is done and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.


I added some chopped walnuts on top, just to make it look a little prettier.


Slice and enjoy! This cake is best devoured while fresh and warm!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

30 Jan

Nothing warms the tummy like a creamy soup. Here’s a thick and creamy soup made without the use of any cream at all! It’s a great, guilt-free soup on a winter’s night. If you want enough for leftovers or some soup to freeze for later, double the recipe. (I definitely wish I had made more soup – it’s so yummy!)

I cooked the squash and shallots separately from the other ingredients. If you’re feeling lazy and don’t want these extra steps, cut the squash into small cubes and dump the uncooked squash and diced shallot into the slow cooker with all the other ingredients. Then cook everything together on HIGH for 4 hours.



  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • dash ground sage
  • olive oil
  • salt, fresh ground pepper to taste



  1. Cut butternut squash into quarters. Coat with olive oil and pepper. Roast at 425°F for about 30 minutes until tender and fragrant. Scoop out the squash flesh and discard the skin.
  2. Meanwhile, put everything else in a slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours.
  3. Sauté diced shallot on high heat for a few minutes until caramelized.
  4. DSC05271Add squash and shallots to the slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 1 more hour.DSC05274
  5. Puree the soup in a blender or using an immersion blender.

Serve and enjoy! 

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

24 Jan DSC05267

You’ve got a couple of mushy, dying bananas….what to do? How about a batch of banana muffins? They’re easy to whip up quickly and they make a great snack.

Monkeys love banana muffins, of course!

Monkeys love banana muffins, of course!

Now, I hate it when recipes produce too much batter, forcing me to either bake a second, tiny batch of muffins, or tempt me into overfilling my muffin tins, throwing off baking times or resulting in half burnt, half raw muffins. But it turns out that a 2-banana recipe makes a good amount of batter for about a dozen regular muffins – I actually made 6 regular muffins and a little under two dozen mini muffins with this recipe.

I’ve also always had a problem creating fluffy muffins with crispy tops – they would always come out dense and slightly wet/sticky on top – but the higher baking temperature of this recipe fixes the problem! I used a mix of all-purpose flour and coconut flour in this recipe to reduce the gluten content, but you can use all AP flour too.


  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream (I used light sour cream)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


  1. Cream together bananas and sugar.
  2. Mix in vanilla, sour cream, eggs, and oil.
  3. In a separate bowl, blend together flour, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture. Mix well.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Fill muffin tins to 2/3 full.
  7. Sprinkle a few more chocolate chips over each muffin, if desired.
  8. Bake in preheated oven at 400°F until tops are crispy with golden brown edges (about 16-18 minutes for regular muffins, 10 minutes for mini muffins).

Mini muffins

Overhyped: Girl and the Goat, Chicago

14 Jan

Girl and the Goat is a much talked about, trendy West Loop spot. Walk in without a reservation on a Saturday evening and you could be faced with a 2 hour-long wait. So of course, I had to check it out.

Hubby and I got a 5:15 pm reservation on a Saturday – a little early for dinner, but the place was packed already. We were seated directly behind the hostess stand – not an ideal spot, as hungry diners hanging by the bar seemed to hover over our table. It was a little difficult at times to ignore their conversation – as it was pretty much right over our heads. A row of two-tops opposite the aisle beside us, with bench seating, didn’t appear to be significantly more comfortable given the scant 3 inches between each table. 

Hubby is much more of a food snob than I am – he found the meal to be just ok. He wouldn’t return for the price. He didn’t think the elements of each dish went together very well – the Brussels sprout leaves in the grilled octopus dish were too bitter for example. I didn’t mind the Brussel sprouts, though I didn’t feel like they added much to the dish either in terms of flavour. I guess they’re good for adding some colour. We both agreed that the octopus itself  was cooked excellently though.


Perhaps because it’s winter, the dishes were quite heavy – everything we ordered was paired with cheese or a creamy sauce. A gigantic plate of wood grilled broccoli came atop a blue cheese dressing for example. The dressing brought a great sweetness to the crunchy broccoli, but I do think the dish could have come with less of it. The “spiced crispies” were basically Rice Krispies, an interesting twist but…c’mon, it’s Rice Krispies. If you’re charging $13 for broccoli, you could do a little better than pulling the garnish out of a cereal box. 


Hubby really enjoyed the goat empanadas topped with feta. I found them alright – tasty but not outstanding or particularly memorable.


The wood oven roasted pig face is the restaurant’s top seller, according to our server. It was definitely interesting. Pork jowl, cheek, and tongue formed into a sausage patty provided a texture reminiscent of pork belly. This is a stick-to-your ribs breakfasty dish.


The dish is best enjoyed with the elements all mixed together into a mess:


Service was spot-on that night and I was satisfied at the end of my meal. Hubby, because he’s a big, hungry guy with the appetite of two pregnant women, was still hungry after our dinner….but didn’t want to order any more food because most dishes were quite heavy and fatty. 

The best dish of the night was the perfectly pan roasted drum fish with thinly sliced autumn crisp apples (ok I’ll buy that idea), and a Szechuan vinaigrette (a questionable pairing).


The Final Word: Glad I tried this place once, but it was overpriced for the experience. Service is great, but seating is crowded and the dishes try a little too hard to be unique.



Info: Girl and the Goat, 809 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607 USA

Girl & the Goat Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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