December 18, 2021

Chinese Almond Dessert Soup 杏仁糊

Almond Dessert Soup, recipe, Chinese, dessert, soup, Almond Tea, 杏仁糊,杏仁茶,

This delicious and soothing sweet concoction is know as Chinese Almond Dessert Soup 杏仁糊, or also sometimes as Chinese Almond Tea 杏仁茶.   Rather ironically it's not made of almonds at all, rather it's made from the kernels of apricots, apricot seeds, also known as xingren or 杏仁.  Probably the reason it's called an 'almond' dessert is because apricot seeds exude an intense, delicious, almond-y aroma that is really just lovely.  More almond-y than almonds!  

This dessert soup is considered by the Chinese to be soothing for the lungs, helping to stop coughs and just generally boosting your health.  

November 28, 2021

Chinese Black Sesame Dessert Soup 黑芝麻糊

tong shui, Chinese, recipe, tong shui, Black Sesame, Dessert Soup, dessert,  黑芝麻糊

At long last the chill winds of autumn are blowing through Hong Kong, blasting away the warm long lasting humidity of the sometimes seemingly unending Hong Kong summer.  In other words, it's finally getting cold!  

I'm sitting at my writing desk, snuggled contentedly into my soft and very warm and comfy Chinese silk padded jacket 棉襖.  Guarded against the autumn chills, my thoughts turn to warming myself and my family from the inside out.  Hum...  Ah ha, I've got it!  What better way to do that then to whip up some deliciously soul soothing and warming Chinese dessert soups?  Not only tasty but, according to Chinese beliefs, these soups are essential to supporting health and warming the body throughout the cool months.  

And to start with is my personal favorite, the rock star of Chinese dessert soups, the black and  gorgeous Chinese Black Sesame Dessert Soup 黑芝麻糊, a thick and sweetly nutty soup packed with intense aroma of freshly roasted and ground black sesame seed.  Warms the heart and sweetens the day, all in one yummilicious bowl!

November 12, 2021

Spanish Persimmons

Spanish Persimmon, persimmon, rojo brillante, fruit, Ribera del Xuquer

 I adore fruit.  It's just so amazing that nature can gift us with such amazing little packets of deliciousness!  Here in Hong Kong we are so lucky that we can try fruits from all over the world.  So whenever we see new and exotic fruits, we like to try them out.  

This is our latest fruity discovery, the Spanish persimmon, known by the trademarked name 'Persimon® ' (one 'm'), or 'Ribera del Xuquer' or as 'Rojo Brillante', a fruit so delicately and refreshingly sweet that it brings to mind what I imagine the nectar of the gods would taste like.  The persimmon is after all the fruit of the Diospyros tree and tellingly, 'Diospyros' is a ancient Greek word that means 'divine fruit'.

The unique delicate flavor of this Spanish persimmon simply blew us out of the water!  Though pricier than the regular persimmon we took a chance and now would gladly pay the extra.  Having actually discovered it last year, we have been waiting eagerly all year for the Spanish persimmon season to start again!  (Which is now, oct-jan, so keep an eye out at the markets!).

November 4, 2021

How to Wrap a Wonton 餛飩包法

How to Wrap a Wonton 餛飩包法
How to, Wrap, fold, Wonton, chinese, dumpling, 餛飩, 包法

Today I'm going to show you how my dearest Grandma 奶奶 taught me to wrap a wonton.  On wonton making day my 奶奶 would always round up all us kids to help her.  First we would make homemade wonton wrappers.  

The nifty pasta maker (I bought one recently and it's still unchanged after all this time!) would be clamped firmly to our dining table.  Us kids would fight for the chance to turn the crank on the pasta maker and watch the dough roll through again and again until at last it magically rolled out in thin shiny supple sheets.  Grams 奶奶 would then cut the dough sheets into squares with her big chopper knife and then she would have our extra (and small) hands to help wrap up plump snowy row after row of wontons.  It's easy once you done it once or twice.

There are other methods to wrap wonton but they all revolve around the most important rule of wonton wrapping: wrap it up snug and tight so that the wonton doesn't fall apart during boiling!  For myself, the wrapping I always use is the same one dearest grandma taught me all those years ago.

October 25, 2021

Vegetarian Plant Based Wontons 植物肉餛飩

素,植物肉,餛飩, Vegetarian, Plant Based, Wontons,  chinese, recipe, how to wrap

Wontons are Chinese boiled dumplings, slippery chewy meat and veggie filled dumplings that are just the perfect combo bite of yummilicious food.  When I was a little girl I could eat two whole large plates of my Grandma's homemade wontons!  It's one of those 'you just can't eat one' kind of foods.  

Recently, inspired by all the plant based meat products coming out in the market, we decided to try to make plant based vegetarian wontons!  Our Vegetarian Plant Based Wontons 植物肉餛飩 are simple to make, stuffed with plant based mince and an assortment of veggies that add flavor and texture.  It's a yummilicious and satisfying alternative to the traditional meat filled wontons.

October 10, 2021

Stir Fry Pizza ala Gong Bao Chicken 宮保雞丁比薩

Stir Fry Pizza,  Gong Bao Chicken Pizza, kung pao chicken pizza, chinese, pizza, recipe,  宮保雞丁比薩, 宮保雞丁, 比薩

What you're seeing here is the result of some serious pizza experimentation! It all started when we tried out some interesting pizzas at a local pizza joint (for my B-D!)  Their pizzas were topped with all kinds of foods that I didn't usually associate with pizzas and it was pretty delish.  That got me thinking about ways to make a different kind of pizza, a kind that tasted not like a pizza but was still totally a pizza.  

Sounds confusing, eh?  I was confused at first too.  After a bit of thought I realized what I wanted was a pizza to taste like two things: 1) a pizza and 2) another dish of my choosing.  So if you've got a favorite dish like barbeque chicken and you love pizza as well, you could make a barbeque chicken pizza that tastes like both barbeque chicken and pizza!  Double the yummy, amirite?!

September 28, 2021

Ginger Scallion Sauce 薑蔥醬

Ginger Scallion Sauce, ginger spring onion sauce, sauce, chinese, recipe, oil, 薑蔥醬, 薑蔥油

Here's a quick and easy Chinese sauce that's simply fabulous.  It's found in many places in Hong Kong but mostly at the siu mei shops 燒味鋪 that sell those delectable barbeque Chinese meats.  An order of 'white cut chicken 白切雞' or 'soy sauce chicken 豉油雞' comes with a generous side of this Ginger Scallion Sauce 薑蔥醬, also known as Ginger Spring Onion Sauce, an aromatic oil sauce intensely infused as well as packed with scallion and ginger.  

September 17, 2021

Chinese Spiral Flaky Pastry Mooncake 千層紫薯酥

Chinese, recipe, how to wrap,  Spiral, Flaky Pastry, dough, Mooncake, 紫蕃薯酥, 淮揚圓酥, 月餅,千層紫薯酥酥

The Chinese way of making flaky pastry, also known as Huaiyang Pastry 淮揚酥皮, is the bomb!  You start with a basic layered dough that produces a wonderfully light and delicate flaky pastry.  This basic dough can be rolled out and wrapped in three different ways to produce different pastry skins.   

In the first method the layers are hidden, only showing after the pastry is opened (see our Chinese Flaky Pastry with Lotus Seed Paste 白蓮蓉酥餅 recipe).  

The second way exposes the flaky layers.  We wanted to try something alternative for this year's Mid Autumn Festival 中秋節 so we used the exposed layers method to make this truly elegant Chinese Spiral Flaky Pastry Mooncake 千層紫薯酥, yummiliciously stuffed with a lush soft purple sweet potato filling and a hidden heart of tender white mochi.  

September 9, 2021

Purple Sweet Potato Mooncake Filling Paste 紫蕃薯餡

chinese,recipe,Purple Sweet Potato,mooncake,filling,paste,紫地瓜餡,紫地瓜泥,紫蕃薯餡,月餅,餡,泥,蓉

It's almost time for my favorite Chinese festival of the year, the Mid Autumn Festival 中秋節. Mooncakes, glowing lanterns, the full moon in the velvet sky, what's there not to like!  We're serious about our mooncakes in this household and every year will prepare one of our homemade mooncakes, choosing between fragrant Lotus Paste Double Yolk Mooncake, nutty Five Nuts Mooncake, delectable Black Sesame Walnut Mooncake, or the icily delicious Snow Skin Custard Mooncake.  

This year we wanted to try something different so we decided to try making mooncakes with both a new filling and skin.  To wrap the mooncake we chose to use the Chinese Flaky Pastry Dough that we wrote about recently.  There's a different way to the roll out the pastry dough that exposes the delicate layers in a flaky spiral swirl.  So beautiful!  

And for the mooncake filling, we experimented with this Chinese Purple Sweet Potato Mooncake Filling Paste 紫蕃薯餡 which, as it turns out, makes an amazing filling: lush and gorgeously purple hued, the sticky soft paste rich and deliciously sweet with a fragrant hint of cloves and nutmeg.  We stuffed our mooncakes with this yammilicious filling along with a hidden heart of soft and tender mochi.  

Note that not only is this filling for mooncakes but also for all other kinds of pastry, for example these Chinese Flaky Pastries.

August 31, 2021

Winged Bean Garlic Stir Fry 蒜蓉炒翼豆

Winged Bean, Garlic, Stir Fry, Chinese, recipe,  stir fry, 蒜蓉, 炒翼豆

 Have you ever seen a bean with wings?  Or wings with a bean?  No?  Well then, I am very pleased to introduce you to the fabulous Winged Bean 翼豆!  We discovered these strange beans in the wet market the other day.  So funny looking with four little wing like corners on each bean. Never seen them before but the vegetable lady assured us that they were quite delicious.  

Excited as always to try a new veggie, we scooped up a bag full to take home.  True to the vegetable lady's advice a very simply prepared Winged Bean Stir Fry was delicious: kissed with fragrant garlic, these stir fried beans were tender yet still lightly crunch with a sweet light flavor reminiscent of green peas and snow peas.

August 24, 2021

Gong Bao Chicken | Kung Pao Chicken 宮保雞丁

Gong Bao Chicken, Kung pao chicken, recipe, chinese,  chicken, szechuan, sichuan, 宮保雞丁

This easy Chinese stir fry, the Gong Bao Chicken 宮保雞丁, also known as the Kung Pao Chicken, is a dish of bold and striking flavor and textures, a voluptuous treat for the culinary senses.  It is a savory dish, touched with the umami of soy sauce, the tang of black vinegar, the pepperyness of ginger, the hot of chili pepper, a hint of numbness from the szechuan pepper,  and the fragrant aroma of sesame and spring onion.  

In texture the Gong Bao Chicken is tender and chewy (the chicken), crisp ( the water chestnut) and crunchy (the peanuts).  This easy to make yet spectacularly bold stir fry has a little bit of everything nice!

Note:  This dish has chili pepper in it!  Integral part of the dish.  As you've probably noted ours doesn't.  This is because our little girl can't tolerate spicy at all (working on training her!) so for the time being we cook without it :(

August 16, 2021

Chinese Salt Pickled Vegetables 自製中式泡菜

chinese,自製,泡菜,Pickled Vegetables,recipe,中式,how to make,salt

These little veggie goodies that you can make at home are fantastic little bombs of fermented probiotic goodness!  With a simple brine of salt and water vegetables can be transformed into delicious health boosting pickles that can keep for a long time.  

This process to do this is known as lacto fermentation whereby good bacteria known as Lactobacillus are used to break down starch and sugars into lactic acid, a natural preservative.  The transformative result is veggie pickles with a tanginess introduced, flavors intensified and layered with new taste notes, texture still packing a bit of crunch.

As this was the traditional way to preserve vegetables in the days of old, one can find lacto fermented food in most every culture.  Sauerkraut, kimchi, jalapeños, dill pickles, yogurt, kefir, natto (our new obbession!), kombucha, tempeh and miso are just a few examples of the endless variety of fermented foods found around the world.  

Today we introduce the traditional Chinese way of making Pickled Vegetables 泡菜, a brine soak resulting in yummiliciously delicious veggie pickles infused with aromatic Chinese spices.  It's super simple to make, just need a bit of time and patience.

August 9, 2021

Mandarin Pancakes 荷葉餅

chinese,Mandarin Pancakes,flatbread,duck pancake,lotus pad,單餅,中式薄餅,荷葉餅,recipe,

I love flatbreads of all kinds.  Probably cuz I love finger foods and these little breads are so wonderful for making snackable packages of finger food!  Perhaps you have tried these particular Mandarin Pancake flatbreads before while having Peking Duck or Moo Shu Pork: they are used to wrap up the cooked meat and veg into yummilicious little packages before consuming.  

These Chinese breads look like and serve similar purposes with flatbreads from other cultures, like the chapati from India and the tortilla from Mexico, but actually these Chinese flatbreads have unique charm and feel all their own.  

And while traditionally this flatbread is used with specific Chinese dishes like the Peking Duck, etc., we like to modern it up by using the Mandarin Pancake to wrap up just about anything, be it warm and saucy or cool and spicy.  The great thing about these easy to make sesame scented Mandarin Pancakes 荷葉餅 is that they are soft and flexible yet strong enough to hold both food and sauce without leaking.  Make a bit of stir fry and,  instead of cooking up rice, just use these flatbreads to wrap up your stir fry and there's your dinner! 

chinese,Mandarin Pancakes,flatbread,duck pancake,lotus pad,單餅,中式薄餅,荷葉餅,recipe,

July 29, 2021

Shunde Style Sashimi 順德魚生

chinese,shunde,Sashimi,raw fish,魚生,魚膾,recipe,Style,撈生,yusheng

You'd probably be surprised to know that eating raw fish actually started in China, not Japan. I know that I was pretty surprised as raw fish is synonymous with Japanese food these days.  But the Chinese have been enjoying raw fish since the Zhou Dynasty, around 823 BC.  A long time, that.  Even the rebel leader Song Jiang 宋江 from the 14th century classic Chinese novel 'Outlaws of the Marsh' 水滸傳 enjoyed a platter of raw fish now and then!

July 17, 2021

Chinese Fermented Rice Drunken Chicken 酒釀雞

糟雞,chinese,jiu niang,Drunken Chicken,甜酒釀,Fermented Rice,醉雞,recipe,

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 酒釀雞 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

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

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!