July 17, 2021

Chinese Fermented Rice Drunken Chicken 糟雞

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This is a twist on the classic version of the famous deliciously chilled and wine flavored Chinese Drunken Chicken.  Y'all be knowing that wine has a most wonderful way of flavoring food.  In our previous recipe post on the traditional style of Chinese Drunken Chicken 醉雞 we remarked on the fact that different types and mixes of chinese wine can be used to produce tailored to your taste buds flavorsome results.  For this chilled Chinese Fermented Rice Drunken Chicken 糟雞 a new element is added to the wine marination, a Chinese fermented rice, a sweetly fresh,winey concoction of fermented rice, and the results are a tender chicken deeply infused with winey flavor as well as hints of sweet ricey umami that is arguably even more delicious than the traditional drunken chicken.   Fans of the unique addictive taste of fermented rice will have to try this dish while those who haven't tried it yet, you're in for a treat!

July 9, 2021

Banana Jam

Banana Jam, recipe, easy, homemade, jam, banana

Here it is, our super easy to make Banana Jam recipe, a yummiliciously intense banana jam flavored with brown sugar toffee hints and caramelized to jammy perfection.  We discovered the joys of this jam when searching for ways to power up the banana flavor factor for our ooey gooey chewy fabulously banana-y Chinese Banana Rolls 香蕉糕.  And what a discovery!  Not only did it do the flavor trick for our banana rolls but boy, oh, boy is a peanut butter banana jam sandwich yummy!

June 30, 2021

Chinese Banana Rolls 香蕉糕

chinese,香蕉糕,banana mochi,香蕉卷,hong kong,recipe,banana roll,

We were asked by a reader for a recipe for these quintessential Hong Kong treats, the Chinese Banana Roll 香蕉糕, a banana flavored rice mochi roll that would "taste like the ones I bought in a hong kong bakery when I was little".  After discussing with my hubby about his childhood memory of these delicious rolls, researching recipes, scouring about for store bought banana rolls (they're not that easy to find nowadays) and making more banana rolls than we could eat, we finally came to two conclusions.  

First conclusion: most of the banana rolls nowadays most likely get their distinctive banana aroma from using either real banana extract or synthetic banana oil (probably the latter).  Second conclusion: the banana roll recipes we tried that used fresh banana as a flavoring base didn't really work as the final banana aroma was way too weak.

So after much experimentation and making and eating a couple of yards of the delicious stuff, we've come up with a way to use natural bananas but with their flavor intensified so that our version of 
Chinese Banana Roll 香蕉糕 comes out as a soft lusciously chewy piece of tender mochi roll flavored sixty percent creamy banana flavor and forty percent ricey goodness.  It's purrrfectly bananas!

June 27, 2021

Chinese Flaky Pastry Dough | Huaiyang Pastry 淮揚酥皮

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The Chinese Flaky Pastry Dough 油酥皮, also known as Huaiyang Flaky Pastry Dough 淮揚酥皮, creates a layered pastry that is similar and yet not similar to the western style of layered pastry like the kind achieved in the croissant.   The western layered pastry is usually constructed with butter while the Chinese layered pastry is constructed with lard or shortening.  The western style achieves beautiful firm layering, chewy bite and a crispy golden surface.  Yum, amiright?  But the Chinese Huaiyang Flaky Pastry Dough 淮揚酥皮  achieves another kind pastry heaven, a delicate tender, flaky, white pastry skin that practically melts in your mouth!

Chinese, Flaky Pastry Dough ,Huaiyang Flaky Pastry, recipe, how to make, 油酥皮,淮揚酥皮, flaky pastry

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.