December 26, 2014

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Christmas cookies, egg white icing, pasteurized egg, recipe, rolled cookies, royal icing, sugar cookies, cookie cutter cookies, 糖餅乾, 聖誕節

A very very Merry Christmas to all!!  It's that wonderful time of the year again, time for the baking, decorating and eating of Christmas Sugar Cookies!  

Do you like my little girl's Santa Claus Cookie?  We're going to save this cute one to put out for Santa Claus when he comes by on Christmas Eve.  (Don't know how he's going to get into our tiny house!)  

These cookies are a great Xmas project to do with your kids cuz all kids love to draw and what better thing to draw on than a cookie you can eat!  My little girl and I had a blast making these decorated cookies in preparation for the holiday season and we figured out some great tips for the cookie decorating part that made it much, much easier for my little girl to work with the icing to decorate the cookies.

December 24, 2014

Perfect Stove Top Steamed Rice 蒸米飯

bamboo steamer, beggars bowl, how to make, Perfect, recipe, steamed rice, Stove cooked, stovetop, chinese, 完美, 蒸米飯

In the past I have always been astonished that people would want to steam rice in a pot instead of using a rice cooker.  Why, I would wail, would anyone want to add more work into cooking a Chinese dinner!  After all, if you wash your rice out well and are careful with the measurements, your rice cooker cooked pot of rice is a beautiful thing.  

However, recently we decided to try to Cook Steamed Rice on the Stove 完美的蒸米飯 and I realized at the moment I first tasted the perfect, perfect steamed white rice, that it was soooo worth that little bit of extra effort!

December 15, 2014

Watercress & Fish Ball Soup 鯪魚球西洋菜湯

Watercress, Dace, Fish, Ball, fishball, Soup, recipe, cantonese, chinese  鯪魚, 球, 西洋菜, 湯

Recently my 老公 has been trekking out to all the far flung ends of Hong Kong for his work.  There has been a wonderful side benefit to us on the eating side of things, though, cuz he's been finding and bringing back home all sorts of delicious things to cook and eat!  

The other day he came back tired and hungry with a really huge bag of something green.  I scratched my head at first, wondering what on earth he could of brought back that was so big and green.  Turns out it wasa big ol bag of farm fresh watercress, picked that very day from Hong Kong fields!  

Wow, I could have never imaged that, living as we do in the middle of a concrete jungle, we could still cook up a yummilicious pot of Watercress & Fish Ball Soup 鯪魚球西洋菜湯 using freshly picked watercress!

December 5, 2014

Steamed Lap Cheong Rice 蒸臘腸飯

A classic (and easy!) way to wrangle two delicious things to eat out of one pot!  If you've never tried Chinese Lap Cheong, or Chinese sausage, you are in for a treat.  These lovely dried sausages hung from hooks in pairs tied to colorful strings are so distinct in look, texture, taste and smell, just thinking of them reminds me of all the chinese groceries I have ever visited.  A happy memory indeed!  

So this is one for all the sausage lovers as well as all the rice lovers in this world, not only will you end up with a delectable dish of steamed Lap Cheong but also a heavenly pot of rice aromatically infused with all the sausage's flavors!  Steamed Lap Cheong Rice, or 蒸臘腸飯, is the perfect cold weather comfort two-in-one dish!

November 27, 2014

Winter Melon Pork Bone Soup 冬瓜豬骨湯

Winter Melon, Pork, Bone, bone broth, Soup, recipe, chinese,  冬瓜, 豬骨, 湯

For the Cantonese, drinking soup is like drinking from the fountain of life.  Since I've been in Hong Kong, I've caught the soup bug too, and why not, Chinese soups are soooo delicious!  Once I got used to having soups like these, I now find that I long for them, feeling like a wrung out rag when I don't get enough of these luscious liquids into my tummy.  

Lately we've been super happy cooking with our latest yummilicious discovery for making soup: using pork bones!  (I know, I know...everyone knows that already, right?!)  But do you seriously realize just how good of a soup you can make at home with just a bit of pork bones?  It is so good that it's sinful!  

It's a soup so sweetly savoury that it'll knock your socks right off!  Try out our Winter Melon Pork Bone Soup 冬瓜豬骨湯 recipe (with our secret for intensifying flavor) and see if you're still wearing socks after your first luscious sip!

November 19, 2014

Chinese Fried Fish Skins 炸魚皮

Chinese, deep, Fried, Fish Skins,  炸魚皮

Do you like potato chips?  I do!  I love crispy crunchy potato chips so much I usually end up eating the whole bag!  Well, if you love potato chips, you'll love, love, love these Chinese Fried Fish Skin Chips as much as we do!  

A local Hong Kong staple available as a side order in most noodle shops, these absolutely deliciously thin, tasty and crispy deep fried Chinese Fried Fish Skin, or 炸魚皮 could possibly be more yummilicious than potato chips! (Seriously, I'm not kidding!)

November 15, 2014

Steamed Sun Dried Dace 蒸臘鯪魚

Steamed, Sun Dried, Mud Carp, Dace, fish, chinese, recipe,  蒸, 臘, 鯪魚, preserved fish, 順德

The fact is that Hong Kong is an island, though sometimes this is easily forgotten living inside of Hong Kong's massive, soaring concrete jungle of a city.  And because of this island history there is a strong tradition of fishery, seafood, and also, to many a food lover's delight, a diverse and rich local history of many ways of preserving, preparing and eating that seafood.  

We love the super fresh and happening seafood we get at the wet market in Hong Kong and have posted many recipes of our favorite fresh and preserved seafood dishes.  

Today I want to introduce you to an amazing southern Chinese speciality, the Sun Dried Dace, or 臘鯪魚.  This sun preserved fish, also know as Mud Carp, is nowadays rarely to be seen, but we found some the other day at the market at one of our favorite stalls and snapped it up quick as a flash!

November 10, 2014

Stir Fry Chinese Pea Shoots 炒豆苗

Stir Fry, Chinese, Pea Shoots, pea tips, dou maio,  pea vines, pea shoots, 炒, 豆苗, recipe, vegetable

This classic Chinese vegetable dish is one of those things that is really, really simple to make and yet unforgettable in all its comforting yumminess.  I first had Stir Fry Chinese Pea Shoots long ago in a little hotel restaurant in Beijing on my first ever trip to China.  

This was rather long ago, when China was not the aggressive China of today, a much more relaxed and (for me at least) a much more interesting China.  I remember clearly that this humble little stir fry vegetable dish which my cousin ordered, though nothing special to look at, was a revelation to me.  

What was this vegetable, so tender, distinctive and tasty, I wondered while stuffing my face full of greens.  The really cool thing about this classic vegetable dish is that ever since that first tasting, every time I have happened to have this Stir Fry Chinese Pea Shoots, or 炒豆苗, it is always cooked the exactly the same perfect way!

November 7, 2014

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

fresh, halloween, jack o lantern, recipe, pumpkin seeds, homemade, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, 南瓜子, 烤

Happy (after) Halloween to one and all!  I hope all of you have had just as gruesome and spookity a Halloween as we did!  Well, to be honest, ours was probably not so spookity as yours since it was mostly centered around tiny crazy costumed kids and their apparently insatiable appetite for sugary treats.  

And of course there was the Halloween costume to be made to order (umm...anybody else still traumatized from weeks spent making a Queen Elsa costume?) and the treats to be purchased and distributed and...last, but not least, one of my personal favorite parts of Halloween, the choosing and the carving of dear ol' Jack O' Lantern pumpkin!  (Do you like the slightly creepy way Jack's eyes came out?)   

And under the general motto of 'Waste not, want not," we always try to repurpose dear ol' Jack by eating his flesh (see our delicious Anise Pumpkin Cookies recipe!) or, this year, by ripping out his gook-ily guts and making yummilicious Roasted Pumpkin Seeds from the very seeds that we plucked out from Jack's innards!

October 28, 2014

Winter Jujubes 冬棗

Winter Jujube, jujube, dates, chinese dates,  冬棗, chinese, fruit, seasonal

One great thing that happens when you start regularly going to the your neighborhood wet market or farmer's market is that you start to become more attuned to nature's seasons as they pass.  For example, fruits, in their original state, are a seasonal thing, coming into the markets as they ripen to their full sweetness.  

Nowadays however, corporate needs, science, etc. have combined to convolute nature's four seasons into one large air-conditioned endless supermarket that serves your fruity needs, whatever they are, seemingly all year round.  Meh, I'd rather have it fresh than air conditioned!  

October 24, 2014

Fish Ball Soup Rice Noodles 魚蛋湯米粉

Fish Balls,  Soup, Rice Noodles, rice sticks, 魚蛋, 湯, 米粉, recipe, chinese, soup noodles, fish slices

Sluuuuurp!  Nothing like a good ol' bowl of chinese soup noodles to warm you up on a cool windy day!  Not that it's that cold yet here in Hong Kong, but it's slowly and surely (I hope!) getting there.  Slightly cooler days now with rough and tumble winds sweeping in from the sea.  So on the other (slightly cooler) day we were feeling lazy for the cooking and all the washing up and stuff and we were like, hey, why don't we just make a couple of easy hot bowls of noodles for dinner?!  Sluuuuurp!
What we ended up with, this delectable bowl of Fish Ball Soup Rice Noodle, or 魚蛋湯米粉, is soooo easy to prepare and soooo yummilicious to your tummy and (yeah!) super easy to clean up after!  Plus I just love fish balls, they're so damn sexy!

October 20, 2014

Braised Cabbage w/ Dried Shrimp & Mushroom 白菜燜香菇蝦米

braised, cabbage, chinese, dried shrimp, mushroom, napa cabbage, recipe, 燜, 白菜, 蝦米, 香菇,

Ummm...yum, yum, ummmm!  This is one of the best, most satisfying Chinese vegetable dishes to cook and eat on chilly wind swept autumn's day.  Tasty, gorgeously saucy, simple yet richly layered with flavors, tenderly melting in your mouth and warming to the depths of your toes!  Best of all the star of the show, the humble looking Napa Cabbage, is very cheap.  

One finds mounds of this veg stacked up in tall piles at the wet market, although here in Hong Kong it is usually neglected for other more favored southern vegetables such as the Choi Sum 菜心 or Gai Lan 芥蘭.  But don't miss out, pick up a handsome head of cabbage and make this simple classic Northern Chinese comfort dish, Braised Cabbage with Dried Shrimp and Mushroom, or 白菜燉香菇蝦米, perfect for these cool autumn days!

October 11, 2014

Chinese Pear Herbal Tonic Soup 川貝雪梨湯

chinese, Herbal, Pear, pear soup, recipe, soothes cough, Soup, Tonic, 川貝, 糖水, 雪梨, 湯

One lovely autumn day long, long ago, my Grandma, the dearest stubbornest little old Chinese lady that ever was, decided enough was enough!  She had waited and watched over the large pear tree in our neighbor's yard, just drooping with ripe juicy fruit, for days upon days.  Our neighbors evinced no interest at all in their luscious pears and they were starting to fall to the ground and rot.  

Waste not, want not was ever my Grandma's motto, and so very early that morning she, a little old Chinese lady armed with a big long stick, marched over to our neighbor's garden fence and began to knock those juicy pears right out of the tree.  Whatever fell outside the fence was hers and she came proudly  home that day with huge bagfuls of pears.  

My 爸爸 was so exasperated!  "You could have been shot!" he huffed.  But Grandma didn't care one whiff and soon a delicious potful of Chinese Pear Herbal Tonic Soup  川貝燉雪梨 was simmering on the stove.  I still remember that first golden spoonful of deliciously sweet, light, soothing soup.  Just the thing to sooth and heal sniffles and a cough.  There's really nothing quite like Grandma's pear soup!

October 10, 2014

Best Banana Bread

Best, Banana, Bread,  easy, recipe, 香蕉, 麵包

If you're anything like us you'll know what I mean when I say that you've got to keep the cookie jar supplied.  I don't like to buy sweet treats from the stores, preferring to make them myself.  But the family eats the sweet treats as fast as I can make them!  And oftentimes when I'm busy doing this and that it always feels like I don't have enough time.  

That's why I love, love, love this banana bread recipe so much!  It's really easy, quick and, best of all, this Best Banana Bread 香蕉麵包 comes out tender and moist and super duper yummilicious every time!

October 5, 2014

Steamed Chicken with Cordyceps Flower and Lap Cheong 蟲草臘腸蒸雞

Steamed Chicken,  Cordyceps Flower, Lap Cheong, chinese, recipe, 蟲草, 臘腸, 蒸雞, Cordyceps

The cool seems to blow in around this time of year in every other place that I've lived except Hong Kong.  In Hong Kong we have turbid summer heat until somewhere near the end of October up to mid November.  I think, anyways.  The coming of real autumn weather seems to shift every year so I could be inaccurate on this point.  My point is that one really starts to long for the soothing winds of calm after a long hot summer.  

Especially this summer, a real hotbed of dissension for Hong Kong, chaos and madness everywhere in a usually restrained and orderly dense city life.  (I'm sure you must have heard about it in the news.)  School has been cancelled in our area for a whole week already!  (And my little girl's loving it!)   The rest of us oldies (with principles and responsibilities) are stuck in the strange ditch of understanding the monumental problem but also knowing of the eons old wily dragon that breathes behind it.  

So, for the meantime, we decided to simply celebrate the hope of the coming of the fresh, free breeze of autumn with an easy, delicious and healing recipe for Steamed Chicken with Cordyceps Flower and Lap Cheong, or  蟲草臘腸蒸雞.

October 1, 2014

Homemade Salt Preserved Vegetables

Dry Salted, homemade, oriental pickling melon, recipe, salt, vegetable,  幹腌, 白皮越瓜, 自製, 菜,

This tale of Homemade Salt Preserved Vegetables, or 自製干腌菜, started one sunny Hong Kong afternoon when we decided to take my little girl to a park (which shall remain nameless for reasons you will soon understand) which was not our usual neighborhood park.  A small trip for our small family.  A fun, though still hot and muggy, day spent in a magnificent old park.  A refreshing sojourn amongst the green trees for us weary city dwellers.  

As the twilight fell we were resting and eating ice cream on park benches when my 老公's sharp eye spotted something strange nearby.  We sauntered over in the quickly fading light and discovered to our surprise, where once had been flower beds was now a bed of vegetables!  How, you ask, did we know it was a vegetable bed?  

Well, dear readers, there were little melon/cucumber looking vegetables snuggled amongst the vines!  Why on earth these vegetables were growing in a prime spot of a Hong Kong park I know not, but I will admit (Sh! Don't tell anyone!) that two of these melon/cucumbers were tucked into our pockets as we left the park that day!

September 26, 2014

Fish Tail Rice Soup 魚尾泡飯湯

Fish, Tail, Rice, Soup,  魚尾, 泡飯, 湯, chinese, recipe, big head carp, carp, fish soup

Here's a great two in one Chinese seafood dish that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.   For the Chinese there's nothing like fresh fish and super duper nothing like hot, aromatic, milky white fish soup!  

So if, one of these days, you thinking what to make for dinner, but're feeling a little lazy, plus you've got a sudden craving for fish and soup and have some leftover rice in your fridge, why not try this yummilicious and easy to make Fish Tail Rice Soup, or 魚尾泡飯湯, and get two (and a half, really) dishes for the effort of making one!

September 23, 2014

Homemade Peanut Oil 自製花生油

Homemade, Peanut Oil,  自製, 花生油, recipe

The glistening golden liquid in this delicate porcelain dish is something that y'all have probably never tried in your life!  Actually, until very recently, we had never tried it either!  

My 老公's mother had an old friend of hers from her home town of Xinhui 新會區 (near Macau) bring down a bottle of her 媽媽's homemade peanut oil!  This homemade peanut oil was lovingly prepared from the peanuts all the way thru the process of cleaning and crushing of the peanuts to the long wait of extracting the oil.  You would not believe how easy it is to make and how divine this peanut oil smells and tastes!

September 20, 2014

Chinese Pan Fried Fish with Sauce 煎紅衫魚

chinese, fish, fried fish, pan fried, recipe, sauce, with, soy sauce, 煎, 紅衫魚,

This simple and easy to prepare pan fried fish dish is a favorite in our house for the rare times when we decide not to steam a fish for dinner (usually our favorite way to prepare fresh fish!)  

Deceptively simple to look at and make, we find this fish dish incredibly tasty: a firm white fish meat cooked to golden crispy skinned perfection, then, at the last minute, inundated with a multi flavored sauce that permeates every bite with dash, zip and multiple layers of tastiness.  Try this Chinese Pan Fried Fish with Sauce, or 煎紅衫魚, and see if you don't find it just as yummilicious as we do!

September 15, 2014

Five Nuts Mooncake Part II 五仁月餅

Chinese candied citrus, chinese olive seed, cooked glutinous rice flour, five kernel mooncake, Five Nuts Mooncake, homemade golden syrup, mid autumn festival, recipe, 五仁月餅, 桔餅, 欖仁, 糕粉

We're finally ready to assemble our deliriously nutty and yummilicious Five Nuts Mooncake!  Only we seem to have missed Mid Autumn Festival!  Ooops!  To check out our excuses for posting late and our detailed and crazy Five Nuts Mooncake ingredient sourcing and pre-assembly phase, please see our previous post Five Nuts Mooncake Part I  五仁月餅.  

So, at this point we have all the ingredients sourced, toasted and roasted, chopped and bopped into the right configurations.  It's time to put this Five Nut Mooncake together!

Five Nuts Mooncake Part I 五仁月餅

Five Nuts Mooncake, five kernel mooncake, 五仁月餅, recipe, mid autumn festival, cooked glutinous rice flour, 糕粉, chinese olive seed, 欖仁, Chinese candied citrus, 桔餅, homemade golden syrup

Okay, so first off, I know this post is kinda late.  No, no, you're right, it's not kinda, it's totally late!  (And I apologize.)  Mid Autumn Festival is over and done with, lanterns are doused, etc., but, darn it all, I'm going to post this traditional Chinese Five Nut Mooncake 五仁月饼 recipe anyway.

I think I have a couple of pretty good excuses for my lateness, the first being that this wonderful, amazing, fragrant to the heavens, nuttily delicious, soul gripping Five Nuts Mooncake was a b***h to make and the second being that it took us forever to source some of the really traditional ingredients that are supposed to be in the Five Nuts Mooncake.

September 9, 2014

Boiled Water Caltrop 鮮煮菱角

bat nut, Boiled, buffalo nut, chinese, chinese water chestnut, devil pod, ling nut, recipe, Water Caltrop, 菱角, 鮮煮, mid autumn festival

Nope...these things are not the deadly bat shaped ninja weapons that you're thinking they might be.  Rather, these are Water Caltrops, or 菱角, which are probably some of the funkiest, strangest nuts that ever existed.  I mean, who would know that these are 1) made by Mother Nature herself and 2) that one could actually eat these?!  It looks way too dangerous to eat!  

But it turns out that these mysterious nuts from an aquatic plant similar to the water lily has been cultivated and eaten in different countries for centuries.  The water caltrop even shows up as a motif in one of my favorite books of all time, The Dream of the Red Chamber, where one of the minor characters is even named Xiang Ling 香菱, translated to mean Fragrant Water Caltrop. (You have to read this novel, it's so amazing!)

September 4, 2014

Wuxi Spareribs 無錫排骨

chinese, pork, recipe, spareribs, wuxi, Wuxi Spareribs, 無錫排骨

This is my dish, this is me:  Wuxi Spareribs!   Hee, hee!  This is a famous dish from my hometown, Wuxi 無錫 in the province of Jiangsu 江蘇, where my 爸爸 was born and grew up and where my ancestors lived peaceably for generations before the upheavals of the twentieth century tore them up and threw them, topsy-turvy, all over the place.  

The famous cuisine of Jiangsu is known for its wonderful red braising, a star combination of soy sauce and sugar, slowly cooked down and caramelized into sweet, meltingly tender meat dishes. I grew up on this stuff!  Pots and pots of delicious red braised meats...yummilicious!  (uh, oh homesick now!)  

The star of the meaty bunch is this absolutely delectable Wuxi Spareribs, or 無錫排骨, tender, almost melting off the bone meat enrobed in a glossy thick gorgeous herb infused soy based sauce.

August 30, 2014

White Rabbit Creamy Candy 大白兔奶糖

I can still remember very clearly the first time I had one of these little milk candies.  I was still a wee lass, we were in LA Chinatown, buying a bit of chinese groceries, which in those long ago days (eons really!) were hard to come by even in LaLa Land.  My dear 爸爸 spotted them and immediately bought a bag of White Rabbit Creamy Candy as a treat for us girls.  (He was really thrilled to find these!)   

Curious and excited, I carefully untwisted the beautifully colorful waxy wrapping paper with the cute bunny on it.

August 28, 2014

Chinese Shrimp & Eggs Stir Fry 蝦仁炒蛋

chinese, eggs, recipe, shrimp, stir fry, 炒, 蛋, 蝦仁, comfort food, scrambled eggs

Another favorite comfort food that we grew up with is the easy to prepare and delicious to eat Shrimp and Eggs Stir Fry, or 蝦仁炒蛋.  Tender soft flakes of egg clinging gently to plump pink sea fresh shrimp.  Two of my all time favorite things in one dish!  

Too bad that my eczema acts up if I eat this too often, otherwise I would seriously make this dish at least once a week.  But no one likes a grumpy gal with itchies all over, so we only have this every once in a while.  But when we do, it sure is a treat!  While this homey Chinese dish is quite straight forward to prepare, one does need to have a few things in their bag of tricks to pull it off.