May 28, 2016

Mini Crystal Red Bean Zong Zi 水晶紅豆粽子

Crystal, Sago, tapioca, boba, Red Bean, Zong Zi, zongzi, 水晶, 紅豆, 粽子, rice dumpling, recipe, mini, how to wrap

It's almost that time of the year for the beating drums of the Dragon Boat races and the deliciously tantalizing aroma of zong zi 粽子 floating in the air: it's time for Duanwu Dragon Boat Festival 端午節!  

For me, this time of the year is always filled with thoughts of my dearest Grandma 奶奶, busy and bossy in her kitchen, making all kinds of special traditional treats for us that no one else bothered to learn how to make.  Except me, I guess, I finally did some learning myself on these things and always have her in my mind and heart as I bustle away in my own little kitchen.  

So it is that every Dragon Boat Festival I always try to find the time to make two kinds of zong zi just as Grandma made, one kind the savory pork and salted duck egg zong zi 肉粽子  and the other kind the sweet red bean zong zi 紅豆沙粽子.  This year I thought I would try adding a twist to this traditional combo and thus made these Mini Crystal Red Bean Zong Zi, or 水晶紅豆粽子, a light and delightfully chewy, beautifully translucent version of the traditional zong zi.

May 24, 2016

How to Temper Chocolate

How to, Temper, tempering, Chocolate,  巧克力, 回火, recipe, at home, 朱古力

At the beginning, all I knew was that I loved chocolate.  Loved, loved, loved chocolate.  And when I got more interested in baking and all that jazz I naturally started wanting to do some chocolate stuff.  

First I decided to make some molded chocolates with my little girl.  Should be easy, right?  We melted some dark chocolate, poured it into molds and put it in the fridge to set.  The next day we popped them out, looking pretty and...they melted immediately to the touch.  Ugh...what were we doing wrong?

It turns out that to do most of the cool things one can do with chocolate, one must temper the chocolate.  Tempering melted chocolate allows one to coat with chocolate or mold chocolate that will end up to be shiny, smooth, break with a snap and able to stay at room temperature and be touched without melting right away.  I was determined to learn how to temper chocolate and here I share what I learned, how I screwed up, and the tips that really helped me.

May 17, 2016

Hong Kong Style Mango Pudding 香港芒果布甸

chinese, classic, dim sum, hong kong, Mango Pudding  recipe, Style, traditional, 芒果布甸, 香港, dessert, fruit, mango

One of the delights of the Hong Kong dim sum feast is the mango pudding.  Not just any old mango pudding, mind you, but the classic one developed by the ingenious chefs of dim sum who have been trained in the tradition of creating small, beautiful, delightful tasty treats that can be eaten as part of the buffet of tidbits that is the dim sum lunch.

While mango pudding has existed in many other permutations, this particular Hong Kong Style Mango Pudding, or 香港芒果布甸, is light as a feather, melting in the mouth, packed to the brim with the freshest mango taste and texture and creamy with an aromatic hint of dairy.  Now you don't need to come to Hong Kong for this dim sum treat, you can make it quite easily at home!

May 7, 2016

Vietnamese Lemongrass Beef Noodle Salad Bun Bo Xao

beef, Bun Bo Xao, lemongrass, recipe, Rice Noodles, salad, Vermicelli Noodles, Vietnamese, chilled, cold, noodles

When it gets hot and muggy (yup, that's right, it feels like summer already here in Hong Kong), there's nothing like a chilled bowl of noodles, amiright? But at the same time why not go for a refreshing green salad? Heck, why not have both at the same time?! 

One of the best kinda noodles /salads for when you want to cool down and you're in the mood for lots and lots of fabulous flavor is a chilled bowl of Vietnamese Beef Vermicelli Noodles or Bun Bo Xao : tender, chewy noodles cradled in a bed of baby greens, dressed in a tangy sweet spicy sauce and topped with more luscious greens (including mint and basil!), strips of oh so flavorful grilled lemongrass marinated beef and, to top it all off, sprinkled generously with crushed peanuts and crispy fried shallots.