March 23, 2017

Tofu Skin Gingko Nuts Sweet Soup 白果腐竹糖水

Tofu Skin Gingko Nuts Sweet Soup 白果腐竹糖水

Tofu Skin, Gingko Nuts, Sweet Soup, chinese, dessert soup, recipe,  白果, 腐竹, 糖水, fuzhu, 銀杏果
By Published: 2017-03-23
We previously wrote about the traditional Chinese way to way "YES!" to love, with food of course, specifically with a wonderfully yummilicious plate of Sticky Rice Balls with Sesame and Crushed Peanuts 糖不甩, so stickily delicious that no one can resist your love.  This time we are going to flip it over and talk about how to say a gentle "NO" to love, with food again of course, this time with a bowl of Tofu Skin Gingko Nuts Sweet Soup 白果腐竹糖水, a delicate, warm and comforting way to let a lover down.

March 14, 2017

Homemade Chinese Fermented Rice 自製甜酒釀

Homemade Chinese Fermented Rice 自製甜酒釀

Homemade, Chinese, Fermented Rice, jiuniang, jiu niang, 自製, 甜酒釀, shanghai wine yeast ball, rice wine starter, 酒麴, 上海酒餅丸, glutinous rice, sticky rice
By Published: 2017-03-14
One of the special traditional foods that my grandma knew how to make was Homemade Chinese Fermented Rice, also known as Jiu Niang or 甜酒釀, a fresh, sweet and slighty winey fermented rice with a porridge like texture.  She would make tons of the stuff and pass it out to all the family but no one liked to eat it as much as me.  I loooved the stuff and would eat it slowly, one delicious creamy spoonful at a time, from a huge jar in the fridge.  Now I know that my childhood fondness for Chinese fermented rice was probably due in a large part to my predilection for the tastes and flavors of alcoholic beverages as this fermented rice is slightly boozy.  (Ummm...mom, dad, what the hey?!)  But I digress from the topic at hand.  The point here is that I still love this stuff and I finally got up the gumption to try to make Chinese Fermented Rice at home.  Guess what?  It was easy peasy and it is so d*mn good when freshly fermented!  I'm over the moon...I can have all the Jiu Niang I want forever!

February 24, 2017

Sticky Rice Balls with Sesame & Crushed Peanuts 糖不甩

Sticky Rice Balls with Sesame & Crushed Peanuts 糖不甩

glutinous rice balls, crushed peanuts, recipe, rice balls, sesame, sticky, 糖不甩, chinese
By Published: 2017-02-24
The end of the Chinese New Year period of festivities is marked by the Lantern Festival 元宵節, a sort of Chinese Valentine's Day.  Lovely glowing lanterns are hung everywhere from rafters and eaves.   Riddles are carefully composed, gracefully written out with brush and ink, hung alongside the lanterns and then the game is on to guess the answers to the riddles.  Traditionally this night is for young men and women to stroll about attired in their best, admiring both the lanterns and potential lovers.  And then if the heavens are aligned, love will blossom.  Or will it?

glutinous rice balls, crushed peanuts, recipe, rice balls, sesame, sticky, 糖不甩, chinese
glutinous rice balls, crushed peanuts, recipe, rice balls, sesame, sticky, 糖不甩, chinese

Whether loves blossoms or no, the southern Chinese have developed a subtle food based (naturally!) method of letting lovers know if their love is reciprocated.  To give the nod to love just serve up a bowl of delicious Sticky Rice Balls with Sesame and Crushed Peanuts, or 糖不甩, which is the deliciously sweet and sticky Chinese way to say yes to love!

February 14, 2017

Valentine Heart Candy

Valentine Heart Candy

Valentine day, Heart Candy, conversation candy, recipe, treat, sweetheart candy, homemade, personalized
By Published: 2017-02-14
My little girl and I have been brainstorming like crazy what to do for Valentine's Day, something fun and cool and not too hard nor expensive that she could share with her whole class.  And what do you know, we found the perfect thing!  I was reminiscing that when I was a little girl, all the kid would stuff Valentine's Day cards with heart candies that had cute little sayings on them.  Which we bought at a store back then, of course, and I'm sure that you can still buy it but just not in Hong Kong!  Then I thought, they might not be so hard to make at home, so I had a look around, and what do you know, Valentine's Day Heart Candies are not hard to make at home at all !  Plus you get to write whatever LOVE message you like on them!

February 10, 2017

Chinese Candied Walnuts 琥珀核桃

Chinese Candied Walnuts 琥珀核桃

Chinese, recipe, Candied Walnuts, candy walnut, caramel walnut, sugar walnut,  琥珀核桃, snack, dessert, chinese new year
By Published: 2017-02-10
I've been wanting to make these special treats for a long time, since last year actually.  I had everything prepared to make it last Chinese New Year but never got around to it...sigh.  I love eating these nuts, it's absolutely my favorite way to eat walnuts!  These Chinese Candied Walnuts, or 琥珀核桃, are just gorgeous: lovely caramel coated walnuts deep fried to a crunchy deep golden brown sheen.  It tastes like nothing else, the lick of sweetness of the almost burnt caramel in pleasing contrast to the slightly bitter nuttiness of the walnut.  So yummilicious!  This Chinese New Year we made a whole bunch of these delicious traditional symbols of abundance and wealth and presented them, the lovely darling things, to our New Year's guest as part of the selection in our Tray of Togetherness 攢盒.

February 3, 2017

Bing Tanghulu Candied Hawthorn Stick 冰糖葫蘆

Bing Tanghulu Candied Hawthorn Stick 冰糖葫蘆

Bing Tanghulu, stick, Candied Hawthorns, candied fruit, caramel fruit, skewer, traditional, snack, street, recipe, 冰糖葫蘆, chinese, dessert, chinese new year
By Published: 2017-02-03
Gosh darn-namit...I'm super excited about these!  For up to a thousand dusty long years, on any street corner in China might be found a street vendor holding a wood pole spiked with these traditional candy fruit skewers for children.  And since they are a lovely lucky red color and a beautifully rounded symbol of happiness and family reunion, they are especially popular during the Chinese New Year celebrations when all children would get one of these as an extra special treat!  Besides being super cool and fun to eat and super yummilicious to boot, these lovely traditional Chinese hard caramel coated fruit skewers also have the coolest name: Bing Tanghulu Candied Hawthorn Stick or 冰糖葫蘆.

January 28, 2017

Chinese Water Chestnut Cake 馬蹄糕

Chinese Water Chestnut Cake 馬蹄糕

Chinese, chinese new year, recipe, Water Chestnut Cake, water chestnut jelly, dessert,  馬蹄糕, cantonese, traditional, 中國新年
By Published: 2017-01-28
We've been busy preparing for Chinese New Year 農曆新年; it's pretty festive here in HK this year.  Picking out our lucky flowers at the crush of humanity that is the Chinese New Year Flower Market, cleaning our darnit too small of a house, getting our little red packets prepared as gifts to children and unmarried big persons.  And the food!  There's New Year's food everywhere one looks, it's just fabulous!  The traditional trinity of cakes that one must have during the Chinese New Year, at least here in Hong Kong, is as follows:  Sweet Rice Cake Nian Gao 年糕Radish Cake 蘿蔔糕, and Water Chestnut Cake 馬蹄糕.  The Three Queens that welcome the Lunar New Year!  We have already posted about the first two cakes and you can just click on the links above to find our recipes.  Today we will complete the trinity with the recipe for Water Chestnut Cake, or 馬蹄糕, a very unique sweet jelly traditional Chinese cake that is made with both fresh water chestnuts and water chestnut flour.

January 24, 2017

Tong Yuan Dumplings in Osmanthus Sweet Soup 桂花酒釀湯圓

Tong Yuan Dumplings in Osmanthus Sweet Soup 桂花酒釀湯圓

丸子, 圓子, 湯圓, 蛋花, 酒釀,  Tong Yuan, rice Dumplings, Osmanthus flower, Sweet Soup, dessert soup, chinese, recipe, chinese new year
By Published: 2017-01-24
Chinese New Year 中國新年 is come again and the city is stirring itself once again to great activity and anticipation for this most important and festive of Chinese festivals.  One thing I especially love about Chinese festivals is that they put into high gear the twin Chinese obsessions of eating and word play.  So first (and most importantly for me) there are tons of yummilicious things to stuff yourself silly with during the New Year celebration.  Secondly, not only are you're eating all this deliciousness you are also bringing yourself many good things by means of all this eating!  And how is that?  Well that's because all the Chinese New Year dishes have symbolic names that are lucky and auspicious.  

So for our first Chinese New Year recipe, we present you with Tong Yuan Dumplings in Osmanthus Scented Sweet Fermented Rice Soup, 桂花酒釀湯圓, a traditional Chinese dessert soup of tiny chewy rice dumplings nestled cozily into a soup flavored with the unique sweetness of fermented rice and scented with the aroma of delicate osmanthus flower.  The symbolic meaning here is the "roundness" or "圓" of the tong yuan 湯圓 which the Chinese interpret as the circle of family or life being complete and full.  

January 16, 2017

Chinese Hawthorn Fruit 山楂

Chinese Hawthorn, Fruit, chinese fruit, mountain hawthorn, chinese haw, chinese hawberry, Crataegus pinnatifida,  山楂, 大紅果
By Published: 2017-01-16
This little red fruit is something I had never seen before in the flesh, so to speak, until the other day when we walked past a neighborhood mom and pop grocer 士多 and I spied the rosy orbs rolling about in a cardboard box placed along the sidewalk in front.  Actually I had never actually properly seen these fruit even in images, as I had only ever seen them as part of a traditional sugar coated candy fruit treat called Tanghulu, or Bingtanghulu 糖葫蘆.  But I had wondered about them and so was extremely delighted upon inquiring to discover that these tiny red fruits were indeed the elusive Chinese Hawthorn, or 山楂.

January 8, 2017

Star Anise Ice Cream 八角雪糕

Star Anise Ice Cream 八角雪糕

ice cream, recipe, Star Anise, 八角, 冰淇淋, 雪糕, spice infused, spice, infusion
By Published: 2017-01-08
If you are one of those, as I am, that love the heady almost erotic taste and aroma of licorice then you will love, love, love this ice cream!  This is a spice infused ice cream made from my love of Star Anise, a wonderfully versatile spice that is used in Chinese cooking mostly for its excellent companionship with savory meats.  So into this spice am I that I have been experimenting with Star Anise in sweet foods, in my baking for one and now in my ice cream making.  So here is our Star Anise Ice Cream, 八角雪糕, a wowzer of an cool luscious licorice treat with the spice's exotic and distinctive aroma nestled snugly against a velvety smooth and creamy ice cream.  Yummilicious!

January 2, 2017

Hong Kong Local Food Recommendations 香港美食推薦

Hong Kong, Local Food, local eats, food exploration, Recommendations,  介紹, 海味街, 香港, 美食, 推薦, 好吃, sheung wan, dried seafood street,
By Published: 2017-01-02
Dear Hong Kong Cookery Readers - We've been asked every once in a while about specific recommends for Hong Kong food places and now one of our readers,  Michelle from Indiana, has written in to ask about where to find the best Hong Kong local eating places and food exploration places and I thought I should share our reply with all of you!  So here it is and Happy New Year to All!  (Special thanks to Michelle for the inspiration for this post!)

December 24, 2016

Make Your Own Gingerbread House | Day 3 自製薑餅屋

Make Your Own Gingerbread House | Day 3 自製薑餅屋

Make your own, homemade, recipe, hansel and gretel, Gingerbread House,step by step, guide, 自製, 薑餅屋, royal icing, decoration, how to
The back of our gingerbread house
By Published: 2016-12-
Dear readers, this is the last day!  I have to admit it, this little gingerbread house took longer to do (and a caused a bit of nervous hair tearing) than I thought it would...but what can I say, it was worth it.  There's nothing quite like a house made completely of candy and cookies, not when I was a little girl reading over and over again the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel and the little candy house they found nestled in the woods, and not even now when I'm all grown up and seen, well, lots of strange and wonderful things.  When my little girl and I finally finished our little gingerbread house and it was sitting so pretty on our table...it was just the feeling of magic...I felt almost as if we were transported to that fairy forest, looking through the trees, eyes big with wonder, peeking at a house delightfully  and completely made of candy, with a wicked wee witch hiding inside...

We mixed and baked the gingerbread house shapes according to our downloadable templates in our post Make Your Own Gingerbread House | Day 1.  We constructed the gingerbread house on Make Your Own Gingerbread House | Day 2.  Today on Day 3 we finally decorate our gingerbread house with candies of all sorts!  This is the best part!

Make Your Own Gingerbread House | Day 2 自製薑餅屋

Make Your Own Gingerbread House | Day 2

Make your own, homemade, recipe, hansel and gretel, Gingerbread House,step by step, guide, 自製, 薑餅屋, royal icing
By Published: 2016-12-24
We're making a Hansel and Gretel inspired gingerbread house!  This is Day 2 of our step by step guide to making your own gingerbread house where we construct the gingerbread house from the gingerbread shapes baked on Day 1.  It's house construction time!

Check out our previous post Make Your Own Gingerbread House | Day 1 to find the recipe for gingerbread dough, our downloadable gingerbread house templates and step by step instructions for making and baking the dough, .  To find out how we decorated the candy house and get tips on which candies make the best decoration please see our next post Make Your Own Gingerbread House | Day 3.

Make Your Own Gingerbread House | Day 1 自製薑餅屋

Make Your Own Gingerbread House | Day 1 自製薑餅屋

Make your own, homemade, recipe, hansel and gretel, Gingerbread House,step by step, guide, 自製, 薑餅屋
By Published: 2016-12-24
My favorite time of the year, Christmas season, is near to hand and, inspired by that age old Brothers Grimm fairy tale, we made a Hansel and Gretel themed Gingerbread House!!  Do you remember the part in the original tale where the brother and sister, abandoned in the woods and very hungry, find a life sized gingerbread house:

"On they walked and walked, til suddenly they came upon a strange cottage in the middle of a glade.

     'This is chocolate!' gasped Hansel as he broke a lump of plaster from the wall.

     'And this is icing!' exclaimed Gretel, putting another piece of wall in her mouth.  Starving but delighted, the children began to eat pieces of candy broken off the cottage." 

~Hansel and Gretel from Grimm's Fairy Tales, 1812

Hansel and Gretel illustration by Ludwig Richter, 19th century

As a kid I was so fascinated by that wonderful cottage in the woods completely made of candy that I wanted to live there!  Can you imagine?  Both shelter and food sweetly and surely taken care of!  Without that evil old witch, of course.  So now all these years later I'm finally sorta fulfilling that fantasy by making our own Hansel and Gretel Gingerbread House...

December 6, 2016

Almond Nougat Candy 杏仁牛軋糖

Almond Nougat Candy 杏仁牛軋糖

Almond, Nougat, Candy, soft, torrone, recipe, holiday, christmas, treat, 杏仁, 牛軋糖
By Published: 2016-12-06
Okay, I seriously like nougat a lot...a very a lot.  It's so festive!  And yummy.  Every once in a while I will splurge on prettily wrapped bags of nougats to nibble on,  bags that empty way too quickly into the tummy of the nearest nougat addict.  (Umm...that would probably be me.)  

The problem I found was that I always wanted to eat a LOT of nougat, darnit that honey scented soft fluffy whiteness interspersed with the nutty crunch of roasted nuts makes it just simply irresistible and addictive.  So I figured if I wanted to eat a LOT of nougie maybe I should try to make some at home and pig out standing in the comfort of my own kitchen.  

But then I got discouraged cuz there was a lot of stuff in nougat making like sugar 'crack' stage and glucose syrup and so on and I thought, meh...this is too hard.  (I've been struggling with sugar work...more on that later.)  But then...then I found a classic nougat recipe that was really simple and straightforward to make, only three ingredients! and a bit of time.  With this traditional recipe I made my own Almond Nougat Candy (just in time for wrapping up as gorgeous homemade Christmas gifts!  After I nosh my way through the first batch, that is...) and what can I say, it's soooo yummilicious!  Gosh darn it, this freshly made nougat, just soft enough to be deliciously chewy, really beats the socks off anything you can buy in the stores!

November 27, 2016

Pear & Snow Fungus Tonic Soup 雪梨雪耳湯

Pear & Snow Fungus Tonic Soup 雪梨雪耳湯

asian pear, chinese, health, Herbal, Pear, recipe, Snow Fungus, snow pear, Soup, sweet, Tonic, 北杏, 湯 apricot kernel, 雪梨, 雪耳
By Published: 2016-11-27
With the change in the weather in Hong Kong really kicking in this month, the famous humidity of the long, long summer has dropped away, leaving cool and very dry days behind.  My little girl has a 'hot' nature according to Chinese Medicine, with dry skin, hot body and easy perspiration and thus the sudden dryness of the weather has inflamed her 'hot' nature to the point where she has also been getting a lot of nose bleeds.  The Chinese, naturally, have a healing soup for everything and so there are plenty of soups that soothe the heat of the body   I bustled myself down to the wet market today to get the fresh ingredients to make a little pot of the traditional Chinese healing and strengthening soup known as Pear & Snow Fungus Tonic Soup, or 雪梨雪耳湯, that helps to soothe and tonify the body to more easily make the transition into the dryer cooler temperatures of the autumn.  

November 15, 2016

Steamed Chinese Cured Pork Belly Lap Yuk 蒸臘肉

Steamed Chinese Cured Pork Belly Lap Yuk 蒸臘肉

chinese, chinese bacon, Cured, Lap Yuk, Pork Belly, preserved meat, preserved sausage, recipe, steamed, 蒸, 臘肉,
By Published: 2016-11-15
Dear friends, it's time for those dishes that warm you up and provide you with the slow burning energy throughout these long chilly days.  I want to introduce the Chinese Cured Pork Belly, also known as Lap Yuk or 臘肉, a Cantonese preserved meat specialty that is sooo delicious and comforting to eat during the autumn and winter months.  Absolute perfection with a steaming hot bowl of rice.  If you've never had it before, it's vaguely reminiscent of bacon being from the same cut of meat but, I think, even better in its own unique luscious porky sort of way.

November 8, 2016

How to Make Chen Pi Dried Mandarin Peel 陳皮做法

How to Make Chen Pi Dried Mandarin Peel 陳皮做法

How Make, homemade, Chen Pi , chenpi, Dried, Mandarin Peel, chinese, recipe, tangerine peel, 陳皮, 做法, 自製
By Published: 2016-11-08
Inspired perhaps by the seasonal chill finally blowing our way, I remembered this year, finally, to try making my own Chen Pi Dried Mandarin Peels (also known as Dried Tangerine Peels), or 陳皮.  These wonderful dried citrus peels are used as a flavoring agent in both savory and sweet dishes in Chinese cuisine as well as being used as an ingredient in Chinese medicine to help digestion and relieve nausea and cough.  Every year come early autumn I've seen fruit vendors at the wet market making the chen pi, hanging the graceful loops of drying citrus peels topsy turvy from every nook and crook they could find and have always wanted to try making it at home.  Chen Pi is, after all, what the Cantonese would call an essential in the Chinese kitchen, the flavor of this humble dried tangerine peel is out of this world unique, based in citrus but much, much more nuanced, with an aromatic slightly bitter taste that whets the appetite and prepares the palate for more.  As the Chinese saying '苦盡甘來' goes: 'When bitterness ends, sweetness begins.'

Chen Pi, chenpi, chinese, dried, homemade, how make, Mandarin Peel, recipe, Tangerine Peel, 做法, 自製, 陳皮,

October 31, 2016

Sweet Pickled Purple Quail Eggs 甜醃鵪鶉蛋

Sweet Pickled Purple Quail Eggs 甜醃鵪鶉蛋

Sweet, Pickled, Purple, Quail, Eggs, recipe, dyed, natural dye,  甜, 醃, 鵪鶉蛋
By Published: 2016-10-31
It's time for Halloween, little ghosts and zombies are waiting around every corner, greedy outstretched hands hungry for candy, candy, and more candy!  Instead of packing yet another bag of sweet candy for my little girl to take to school to share with her little goblin and princess friends, I thought to make a more healthy sweet Halloween treat.  I ended up making these quick, easy, fun little snacks, the Sweet Pickled Quail Eggs, naturally colored a lovely ghoulish Halloween purple with the dye from purple sweet potato.  "These are monster eggs," I whispered in a scary voice to my little girl and she loved them, gobbled up 3 in one go and then asked for more and we are making another big batch for school!

October 26, 2016

Homemade Red Bean Mochi 紅豆麻糬

Homemade Red Bean Mochi 紅豆麻糬

Homemade, Red Bean, Mochi, daifuku,  紅豆麻糬, 大福, 糯米糍, sweet rice cake, recipe, sweet mochi
By Published: 2016-10-26
I must confess, this little treat is something I'm deliriously, seriously in love with...ever since fateful day long ago when I wandered into that tiny mochi shop somewhere in Tokyo and tentatively bought one of the red bean mochi (expensive, I thought), bit into it and discovered...food nirvana.  It was a revelation, the mochi soft, gooey, sexy, oh so fresh and smelling deliciously of fragrant rice, the red bean paste so light, fresh and tasty.  Really it was an OMG moment...what food magic was this?  I mean I had had mochi before this point but hadn't especially liked them that much...they were usually so-so, dense, chewy things with slightly stale too sweet red bean paste tinged with preservative.  But these, these tender sexy things were out of this world yummilicous!  And thus I discovered the joys of the freshly made japanese mochi.  

While we in Hong Kong have the luxury to buy freshly made japanese mochi, it is quite expensive so I have been thinking to try to make mochi at home for a while.  Finally got around to it and was tickled pink to discover that Homemade Red Bean Mochi 紅豆麻糬 is not only really, really easy to make but really deliriously tasty as well.  Almost as good as that first red bean mochi I ate standing in the streets of Tokyo, if I do say so myself!  
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