June 10, 2021

Chinese Flaky Pastry with Lotus Seed Paste 白蓮蓉酥餅

Chinese Flaky Pastry,Lotus Seed Paste,chinese,recipe,flaky pastry,白蓮蓉,酥餅,Huaiyang Flaky Pastry, 淮揚酥皮, dessert

For the Dragon Boat Festival 端午節 this year we decided to supplement our traditional yummilicious zongzi meat dumplings 粽子 with these lovely Chinese Flaky Pastries stuffed with white lotus seed paste 白蓮蓉酥餅, a traditional pastry featuring golden fragrant rich filling wrapped in a wonderful melt in your mouth flaky pastry skin that is layered just like western butter flaky pastry but even more delicate and light.  It takes a bit of time to make this kind of pastry, but this lovely and delicately flaky pastry  is so totally worth the effort!  

May 28, 2021

Chinese Bean Sprout Salad Cold Dish 冷拌芽菜

Bean Sprout,chinese,salad,cold dish,recipe,冷拌芽菜,綠豆芽,mung bean sprout,芽菜,

Here's another deliciously chill veggie dish for a hot summer's meal.  We discovered this unusual vegetable dish in the wonderful The Key to Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo, one of our favorite Chinese cookbooks as our dear readers will already know.  This seemly very simple and humble vegetable cold dish knocked our socks off the first time we tried it and we've been making this simple dish often ever since.  

It was not so much the very yummilicious taste and texture of this dish, but rather the fact that the taste and texture of this vegetarian dish is somehow exactly like that of the exotic Chinese Jellyfish Salad!!  Yes, we're talking about a dish made from real jellyfish and it's quite the seafood treat as you can see if you check our Jellyfish Salad 涼拌海蜇 recipe.  So, if you've interested in a vegetarian version of Chinese jellyfish salad or just would like to explore a new, simple and delicious veggie dish,  try out this Bean Sprout Salad Cold Dish, a refreshing cold dish of crunchy yet tender vegetables marinated to chilly perfection in a light sweet and sour dressing.

May 22, 2021

Chinese Celtuce Vegetable Cold Dish 薑汁萵筍

薑汁,salad,浪干,cold dish,celtuce,萵筍,recipe,ginger sauce,青笋,chinese,薑汁萵筍,油麥菜,沙拉,vegetable, vegetarian

Recently we've been deep in the veggie zone, dipping through our cookbooks and trying out all kinds of Chinese ways of preparing vegetables,  a fabulously fun and delicious thing to do cuz Chinese cuisine kicks some serious veggie a**!   One treasure we discovered was this recipe that goes all the way back to the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1368) when a hermit/poet named Lin Hong 林洪 compiled one of the earliest Chinese recipe books beautifully titled Simple Offerings of a Mountain Hermit 山家清供.  That makes this recipe around 800 years old!  This Chinese Celtuce Vegetable Cold Dish 薑汁萵筍 is a simple yet elegant salad cold dish featuring the unusual crisp yet tender jade hued celtuce vegetable drizzled with a tasty tart and gingery dressing.

May 12, 2021

Spring Rolls 春捲

Spring Rolls,chinese,春捲,traditional,chicken,deep fried,炸春捲,recipe,egg rolls,pork,

I love, love, love spring rolls!  There's just something about getting to bite through all that lovely golden crunchiness into a juicy and yummilicious meat and veg filling that is soooo divine.  Whenever we go to have dim sum I always have to get a plate or two of the spring rolls and indulge myself, oh yeah, it's spring roll heaven time baby!  It's so hard to stop myself from being a pig and eating all the spring rolls...so, in the spirit of spring roll fever, I thought why not make spring rolls at home, lots of them, hot and delicious, so that all of us could pig out (instead of just me :).  These shatteringly crispy crunchy on the outside, juicy and deliciously savory meat and veg stuffed on the inside Chinese Spring Rolls 春捲 are super easy to make at home.  That way everyone can crunch their way through as many yummilicious spring rolls as their heart desires!

May 2, 2021

Grandma's Spring Onion Egg Pancakes 蔥油蛋餅

蔥油蛋餅,grandma,egg,recipe,spring onion,蛋餅,Pancakes,chinese Dearest readers, I've been feeling really homesick for some of my beloved grandma's 奶奶 wonderful cooking and was ever so pleased when I discovered this recipe in one of my favorite Chinese cookbooks, The Key to Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo, an absolute treasure trove of authentic Chinese recipes first published in 1977.  I was casually flipping through this book the other day and reading here and there and suddenly I realized that this was it! This was the recipe for my grandma's delicious after school pancakes!!  I had never quite been able to recreate it and couldn't find a recipe through research, probably because it's such a humble homey kind of food that no one ever thought to put it in a book.  Well, no one except the talented and very smart Ms. Kuo, that is.  

Let me just say, y'all in for a treat!  My grandma's humble little Chinese Spring Onion Egg Pancakes, 蔥油蛋餅, are super duper yummilicious!  So easy to make (perfect for after school snacks or breakfast), just mix the simple batter, fold in the aromatic spring onions and ladle on to pan and minutes later you've got a hot golden savory pancake in hand, its aromatic folds wrapped around a lush half cooked eggy center that is the secret heart and soul of this Chinese pancake.  Ohhh...the contrast of the soft spring onion infused pancake, the lusciously gooey yolk and the just firmed whites... what a delight to the eyes, tummy and heart!  Home cooking at its humble best...gobble, gobble and my pancake's all gone and it's time for another one!

March 21, 2021

Liangpi Cold Skin Starch Noodles 凉皮

wheat starch, Cold Skin, 自製, noodles, Liang Pi, recipe, starch, how make, 凉皮, liangpi

Our homemade wheat gluten 麵筋 post is a popular one, many of our readers enjoying the magic of making delicious wheat gluten, also known as seitan or kao fu, from just washing the starch out of a simple flour and water dough.  One recurring question that comes up, however, is what to do with all the starch that is washed out when making wheat gluten?  Well, here's the answer!  With all that goopy leftover starch and a good bit of effort you can make these Liangpi Cold Skin Noodles 凉皮: thin, white, smooth noodles that have a delightfully chewy texture and a neutral taste that is perfect for absorbing the flavors of the sauces it's mixed with.  Once the homemade Liangpi Noodles are made they are traditionally mixed with thinly sliced vegetables and various aromatics then tossed with a kick ass sauce of soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and chili oil.  If you like yummiliciously flavorful cold noodles then you're in for a treat!

March 10, 2021

Chinese Steamed Chicken Buns 雞包仔

Chinese, traditional, recipe, Steamed buns, Chicken, chicken buns, Buns, 雞包仔, 蒸包

Recently my 老公 decided that he doesn't want to eat 'red meat'.  Red meat like beef and pork.  Makes dinner kinda crazy sometimes cuz we have to cook his stuff and the regular stuff for us (he insists a growing girl, meaning my little girl not me LOL, needs her red meat.)  Teensie tiny eyeroll...I mean proteins are proteins, wherever they're from, amirite?  But I digress. 

Actually this limitation has challenged us in directions we probably wouldn't usually consider.  Like these Chinese Steamed Chicken Buns.  I myself grew up eating my grandma's Steamed Pork and Veggie Buns.  For quite a period of time it was my breakfast and after school meal.  This skinny little growing Chinese girl could gobble up 3 to 4 buns in one go!  

I wanted my family to enjoy the same kind of bun fun so I decided to make these chicken buns so that everyone in our little family could enjoy them.  In the process I discovered that these Chinese Steamed Chicken Buns 雞包仔, with its juicily delicious, tenderly aromatic infused chicken pieces wrapped inside a soft pillowy bread is actually super yummilicious as well as quite easy to make!

February 17, 2021

Osmanthus Chinese New Year Rice Cake 桂花年糕

Osmanthus, Chinese New Year, Rice Cake, chinese, recipe,  traditional, festival food, 桂花, 年糕

An important part of the Chinese New Year is the making and eating of the Chinese New Year Rice Cake 年糕.  These perfectly round cakes symbolize the yearly reaffirmation of the whole, the union, the endless unbroken circle of family and life.  So you see how important a role these cakes take on?  This year I decided to add a twist on the usual sweet rice cake by adding flower blossoms to the mix.  This Osmanthus Chinese New Year Rice Cake 桂花年糕 is made with osmanthus infused sugar syrup, resulting in a cake that has all the wonderful chewy rice-i-ness of the traditional rice cake but permeated with the lightly floral, sweet and mouthwatering fragrance of the osmanthus flower.  

As I have mentioned before, osmanthus is one of my 媽媽's favorite flowers, so this one's for you dearest 媽媽!

February 11, 2021

Osmanthus Flower Tea 桂花茶

Osmanthus, Flower, Tea, recipe, syrup,  桂花茶, 桂花醬

This post is for my dearest 媽媽.  She loves osmanthus flowers and has always planted an osmanthus tree wherever we lived.  When I was a little girl, our osmanthus tree was just outside my bedroom window and the flower's drifting scent would steal in on the night breezes to soothe me to gentle sleep.  There is something otherworldly about the delicate, enchanting fragrance from these tiny flowers.  

That is why it is my great pleasure to share this very simple to make Osmanthus Flower Tea 桂花茶, which uses the dried flowers of the osmanthus to make a truly wonderfully fragrant and uplifting tea which is 100 percent guaranteed to make your day that much brighter and better!

Osmanthus fragrans (photo by Laitr Keiows)

February 3, 2021

Chinese Winter Sun Dried Fish 臘鯪魚

sun dried, chinese, how to, 鯪魚乾, 臘鯪魚, fish ,recipe, winter, air dry, preserved

Dear readers...it's been a hard year, hasn't it?  Well there's a new year ahead of us and here's hoping (fingers very seriously crossed) that the coming year is better,  much better.  Aristotle Onassis said "It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light."  Well said, sir.

As with everyone else all around the world, we've been staying mostly inside our homes for a while now.  I've noticed that limitations, at first seemingly restrictive, can in the end actually push you to exercise your mind in interesting and less used pathways.  Thus we present our slash of light in the darkness, an experiment born out of a bit of boredom (umm...still at home...) and a bit of necessity (umm...still must stay at home...)  Out of this time of 'limitations' comes my 老公's very successful attempt at Chinese Winter Sun Dried Fish 臘鯪魚: fresh fish, lightly salted, marinated and then hung dried in the winter sun, resulting in a preserved fish that tastes fresh but intensified, slightly salty yet still sea sweet with a chewy texture similar to very soft jerky.  This whole procedure, done in our tiny kitchen and hung to dry in our common stairwell is a simple yet strong reaffirmation back to our roots as humans with just the sun to preserve our precious food. 

December 13, 2020

Stir Fry King 小炒皇

seafood, Shunde, chinese, Stir Fry King, 小炒皇, 順德小炒王, recipe,  stir fry,

I have heard tell of certain dishes that Chinese chefs use to test the culinary skills of applicants to their kitchens.  This classic Cantonese stir fry dish with the rather cheeky name of Stir Fry King 小炒王 is one of them. This dish originates I believe from the famous Chinese city of gastronomy, Shunde 順德 of Guangdong 廣東 province, where the chefs aspire to enhance the natural flavors of fresh ingredients and strive toward a taste that is light, fresh, crispy, tender and smooth.  If done well, this Stir Fry King 小炒皇 demonstrates these traits to perfection,  the stir fry working its hot and furious magic to cook the seafood and vegetables just enough and no more while melding the flavors of all to form a delightful unified stir fry incorporating all differents kinds of tastes and textures.  And that is why the name for this dish is Stir Fry King!  If you want to truly test the skills of the Chinese kitchen, order this dish next time you are at a Cantonese restaurant and test for yourself how good the chefs are.

November 20, 2020

Chinese Fermented Rice Poached Egg Soup 酒釀蛋

Chinese, recipe, Fermented Rice, Poached Egg, Soup, 酒釀蛋, Jiu Niang
 
We made a big jar of Chinese Fermented Rice 甜酒釀 recently cuz my little girl loves the stuff and she's been bugging me to make some for her.  And it's the perfect thing to help boost our immunity for the oncoming winter weather.  This wonderfully fresh, sweet and slighty winey fermented food is packed full of all kinds of probiotics, amino acids, vitamins and minerals that your body needs to thrive.  The probiotics in particular help to balance the bacteria in your gut which is a key player in helping to boost immunity.  Now that we have a big ol' jar of this stuff, I've started making this homey but wonderfully satisfying breakfast treat, Chinese Fermented Rice Poached Egg Soup 酒釀蛋, a simple soup of sweet fermented rice mixed with hot water and topped with a poached egg.  Each spoonful carries the winey sweet taste of fermented rice and a swirl of bright creamy egg yolk.   This soup makes you feel warm and fuzzy and totally ready to take on a new day!

October 22, 2020

Chinese Cha Siu Bao Roasted Pork Buns 叉燒包

chinese,recipe,Cha Siu Bao,char siu bao,Roasted Pork Buns,Bread,bun,叉燒包,

 A hot Chinese bun is a wonderful thing.  Hot, steaming and fragrant, each soft pillowy bun encases a delicious filling, sometimes just a bite of savoury meat, sometimes a yummy mix of meat and vegetables and sometimes just a sweet bit of something.  When I was little my dearest grannie 奶奶 would make buns for us girls all the time.  We were skinny chinese girls in the growing stage and boyo could we eat alot!  I loved the meat and veggie buns she made (I could eat 3 buns in one go!) but my favorites were the buns stuffed with red bean paste.  To my young taste buds red bean paste tasted as good as chocolate! 

This particular type of Chinese bun, the Cha Siu Bao Roasted Pork Bun 叉燒包, is not something my grannie ever made herself but, since living in HK, it's become one of my favorites.  Chinese roasted pork Cha Siu 叉燒 by itself is already soooo good.  But luscious roasted pork cha siu, diced into a deliciously sweet and savory filling as the secret heart of a warm and incredibly soft and hot Chinese bun?  Ammmaazing!

September 29, 2020

Chinese Sesame Candy 黑芝麻酥糖

Sesame Candy, chinese, black sesame candy, homemade, nuts, recipe, 黑芝麻酥糖,

For the upcoming Chinese Mid Autumn Festival, my most favorite festival of the year, we decided to make some traditional Chinese candy along with making mooncakes (we decided on snow skin custard mooncakes 奶皇冰皮月餅 this year!).   I've always loved these Chinese Sesame Candy, buying them by the bagfuls, but wowzers if homemade Chinese Sesame Candies don't beat em all for fresh nutty fragrance and a delightfully crispy crunch!  

September 16, 2020

Chinese Egg Fried Rice 蛋炒飯 - A Different Method

Chinese, Egg, Fried Rice, recipe,  蛋炒飯

Here's a different and tasty way to make that old favorite, Chinese Egg Fried Rice!  This alternative method my hubby 老公 discovered makes for a gorgeously yellow hued and creamy version of fried rice.  It's super yummy and just as easy to make.  I haven't decided yet which version I prefer, the traditional way of making Chinese Fried Rice or this new creamier version of fried rice.  

August 25, 2020

White Bread

basic bread, recipe, white bread, french fold

I'm so happy today!  Today I made and baked a bread using a new method and it came out really fabulous and was easy to make (mostly)!  

Sooo...confession first...I'm a bit obsessed by bread baking (and eating!) and have, over the years, baked bread time and again.  In the beginning my efforts resulted mostly in what I fondly call 'brick breads'...true story, I once almost broke a tooth foolishly bravely trying to eat a slice of one of my handmade 'brick breads'!

Wind forward to nowadays and many, many breads later and I can finally happily supply my little family with homemade yummy fragrant bread stuffs, yay!  (Check out all the way down for more about our other yummilicious breads!)  But the one thing that I could never be satisfied with was the making and baking of a basic white bread to use for, you know, basic things, like sandwiches or just a toast with some yummy butter.  Previous attempts required too much work for so so results.  Finally, however, I'm super pleased to announce that basic bread quest has been conquered!  My family are so happy with it, I'm so happy with it!  This Richard Bertinet White Bread is a bread that knocks it out of the ball park for flavor, has incredibly light super airy tender crumb, excellently crusty crust, it toasts like a dream and perhaps most surprisingly, this beautiful bread was pretty easy to achieve!

August 13, 2020

Chinese Crab Sauce Noodles 蟹肉醬麵

Chinese, recipe, Crab, Sauce, Noodles,  蟹肉醬, 麵

This Chinese Crab Sauce Noodle is a dish to impress, no doubt about it, and it's perfect both to amaze with its gorgeous sexy looks as well as its sublime knock it out of the ball park taste explosion of ultimate crabbiness.  Luckily for us the ones we most like to impress with good food is ourselves...meaning me... because we're making this for my birthday!  (I'm a summer baby.)  It's the Chinese custom, for those of you who don't know, to have a bowl of noodles to celebrate a birthday and what better celebration of my wonderful self (hehe) and our love of pure foody goodness than this bowl of sinfully decadent Crab Sauce Noodles 蟹肉醬麵, slippery chewy noodles smothered with a generous golden dollop of rich umami packed crab meat and roe sauce.

July 25, 2020

Macanese African Chicken Galinha à Africana 非洲雞

非洲雞,  澳門, macau, macanese, african, chicken, recipe, galinha a africana

More yummy stuff from Macau!  And we've found that a fun way to travel during this home bound time (I feel like I've been in my house for a year!) is thru the cooking of foods from other places.  This one is the famous Macanese African Chicken 非洲雞, also known as Galinha à Africana, a fragrant spice infused chicken dish that's baked in a deliciously spicy, slightly sweet, nutty sauce. This dish also, amusingly enough, has barely nary a thing to do with Africa.  The name, I believe, comes from the fact that from the 1400s until just recently Portugal has had colonies in countries all over the world and one of the main things they procured early on from these colonies was spices.  

June 23, 2020

Chinese Sachima Soft Flour Pastry Cake 沙琪瑪

Sachima, cake, fried noodles, chinese, dessert, recipe, pastry, 沙琪瑪, 薩琪瑪, 馬仔

With the Dragon Boat Festival 端午節 around the corner, we're already dreaming of those aromatic, meltingly tender bites of savory pork filled zong zi and sweet red bean zong zi.  YUM!  I love festival foods!  This year, in addition to these traditional festival dumplings I decided to try making a personal childhood favorite of mine, the delectable Chinese Sachima Soft Flour Pastry Cake 沙琪瑪 (or 馬仔 as it is known locally in HK), a light, fluffy, tender pastry made of fried dough strips tossed with delicious caramelized syrup, dotted with raisins and roasted sesame seeds, then pressed and cut into delectable squares.  Kinda like a Chinese rice krispie cake in principle but uniquely different and even more delicious!  

I remember that my folks used to go all the way downtown to the Chinese bakery to bring back these treats, packed carefully in a beautiful pink box tied with a red string.  My sisters and I, the three of us, would fight fiercely over the biggest squares of sachima, which my sneaky older sister usually won.  Nowadays my little girl loves it as well and so we decided to make it together, it was so much fun!