May 18, 2022

Peanut Tang Yuan Dumplings 花生湯圓

Peanut,chinese,tang yuan,tong yuan,from scratch,recipe,Dumplings,rice,花生湯圓,

Time for more of those sexy tang yuan dumplings!  These lovely little sweet morsels of lusciously soft and tender rice dough hide hearts of ooey gooey delicious fillings like sesame, red bean paste or peanut.  We're making the nuttily delicious Peanut Tang Yuan dumplings 花生湯圓 today, a general favorite among tang yuan fans.  

While we noted that most recipes for peanut tang yuan used store bought peanut butter we decided to make it the traditional way, from scratch!  Our made from scratch Peanut Tang Yuan Dumplings 花生湯圓 are not only easy to make but also super yummilicous, with a tender yet chewy skin concealing a luscious heart of gooey aromatic roasted peanut filling highlighted with hints of caramel and vanilla.  

April 30, 2022

Chrysanthemum Wolfberry Tea 菊花枸杞茶

Chrysanthemum, Wolfberry. goji berry, recipe, Tea 菊花枸杞茶, chinese, tonic

The weather been a-changing and the winds a-blowing and it's finally officially warm and sunny in Hong Kong!  And, as promised, here's our version of spring in a cuppa tea, just the thing to cool you right down on a warm day.  This beautiful, easy to brew,  Chrysanthemum Wolfberry Tea 菊花枸杞茶 is infused with the light, entrancing floral fragrance and punctuated by bursts of plumply tart wolfberries.  Cooling to the body, calming to the nerves, boosting to the immune system as well as being super easy on the eye, a more soothing healthy tea tonic is naught to be found.  Let's hear it for Flower Power!

April 17, 2022

Longan Jujube Tea 桂圓紅棗茶

Longan, chinese red date, Jujube, Tea, wolfberry, goji, recipe, 桂圓, 紅棗, 茶, 龍眼

Here's another one of the easy to make drinks we've been exploring making at home cuz we think it's great to make your own healthy drinks instead of buying them.  This Chinese "tea" will delight your throat and sooth your tummy; it's simple and quick to prepare yet very yummy.

The "tea" is not actually a tea but a simple simmer of Chinese dried fruits.  This Longan Jujube Tea 桂圓紅棗茶 is a delicious sweet drink, infused with the delicate florals of longan fruit and the rich undertones of Chinese jujubes and accented with the tart juiciness of wolfberries.   This tea is a warming tea and will help calm your mind and to have better sleep.  I've been waffling about whether to do this post now or not as the weather here in HK has been having a topsy turvy month, first cold one day, then warm the next and then repeat.  Finally I've decided to do the warming one for now and a cooling one a bit later when the weather really does decide to change for good.  That way, dear readers, you can choose according to your needs!

March 28, 2022

Macerating Your Fruit

Macerating, Fruit, macerated fruit, recipe, plums

Dear readers, this one is for all you fruit lovers.  Spring is here at long last and the markets are filled with all kinds of delectable friuits.  Yum!  I'm pretty serious when I buy fruit, trying my very best to choose the best ripe fruit, checking for the right color, the right hardness or softness, the good smell, no bruises, etc.  And still, sigh, sometimes, I end up with fruit that's totally 'meh'.  Tasteless, lifeless fruit.  Why even sell such fruit, amirite!?  So disappointing!  😞   

At other times, I forget the fruit that I bought and stashed in the fridge for too long (I'm quite absent minded) and when I rediscover them they look sad, shriveled and resentful (my bad).  I have discovered that there is a super simple fix for both these cases of fruit gone sad.  A bit of sugar, a bit of time and the magic of maceration will turn your Plain Jane or neglected fruit into plump, juicy, flavor intensified fruity superstars!  It's time to Macerate your Fruit!

March 16, 2022

Winter Melon Tea 冬瓜茶

Winter Melon,tea,drink,冬瓜茶,chinese,recipe,taiwan,

This delightfully soothing and refreshing Winter Melon Tea 冬瓜茶 is something we recently discovered when eating out at a local Taiwanese restaurant.  It was so refreshing and good I couldn't believe that I'd never come across this delicious drink before!  Apparently it's a widely enjoyed beverage in Taiwan and super healthy to boot, chock full of vitamin C (boosts immunity!), antioxidants, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium.  Super good for your health!  Winter melon is considered cooling to the body in Chinese medicine so this is the perfect refreshing drink as the weather starts to warm up.  

It was a serendipitous discovery as I've been obsessing recently over the issue of drinks and the fact that modern life seems to requires that a lot of drinks be purchased and lugged home.  I always wondered, what did folk do for drinks back in the days before supermarkets and convenience stores?  They made them at home, of course, and thus my search has been to discover traditional healthy teas and tonic drinks that can be easily made at home.   What a cool thing it is to have a constant supply of delicious easy to make healthy tea/drink in fridge to sip whenever one is thirsty!

February 28, 2022

Pork Floss Buns 豬肉鬆包

Pork Floss Buns, pork floss, buns, chinese, recipe,  豬肉鬆, 包, bread

Have you ever tried Chinese pork floss, 豬肉鬆?  If not, you're totally missing out cuz pork floss is the bomb and it's the meat version of cotton candy!  Pork floss is meat that is stewed in soy sauce and spices until imbued with flavor and fall apart tender, then teased apart and cooked again until completely dry, in the process becoming a light tender fluff that's packed with intense and incredible yummilicious meat flavor.  It's so good that you just always want to have a bit more!  

Pork floss is used inside rice rolls, or eaten with congee, or with a bit of bread.  One of my favorite (and easy!) tricks is to grab a slice of bread, slaughter on some butter, add some pork floss, roll it up and it's a quick delicious and very popular snack in our household.  Even my wee cat loves the stuff!  This time I decided to go a bit more formal and make the proper Pork Floss buns, just like you can buy at the bakery!  A soft enriched bun with a hidden heart of pork floss as well as a luscious piling of pork floss on top, this bun is as good looking as it is tasty!

February 9, 2022

Salted Egg Yolk Lotus Seed Paste Bun 白蓮蓉鹹蛋包

chinese,鹹蛋黃,salted egg yolk,recipe,bun,蓮蓉,Lotus Seed Paste,  pastry, dessert

This gorgeous gold and orange round within round of yummiliciousness in a pristine white bun is our offering for this year's Chinese New Year, the Year of the Tiger.   The perfect circle of the yolk in this Salted Egg Yolk Lotus Seed Paste Bun symbolizes the all important Chinese concept of the family unity.  Not saying that Chinese families don't fight, they do and they do it just as robustly as other folk do (yeah, personal experience).  

But even with all the fighting that can happen, the Chinese believe that family is the bedrock.  This is especially so around Chinese New Year when the whole family gets together to bring in the New Year.  Our Salted Egg Yolk Lotus Seed Paste Bun 白蓮蓉鹹蛋包 is not only yummilicious with its soft fluffy white bread wrapped around a heart of creamy sweet lotus seed paste and lusciously melty salted egg yolk but also rich in its symbolism of unity.  It's the perfect way to celebrate the New Year!

January 29, 2022

Chinese Iron Eggs 鐵蛋

Iron Eggs,egg, chinese,taiwan,鐵蛋,recipe,quail eggs,soy sauce

These unusual looking treats, called Iron Eggs 鐵蛋, are an interesting snack that originates from Taiwan.  One can sometimes find them in convenience stores in HK; that's where we first discovered them, these tiny dark brown almost black eggs vacuum packed into see through packages.  Liking to try weird foods (almost black eggs!) we bought a pack and in the first delectable tiny bite became instant iron fans.

The legendary Iron Egg started at a Taiwan food stall that sold normal soy sauce eggs.  One day due to bad weather there was a serious lack of customers.  So the soy cooked eggs were thrown back into the pot and recooked again, still no customers, recooked again, still no customers, and so on.  Eventually the eggs shrank and became dark and dense.  However they tasted really, really good!  So good that customers began to request them and thus began the legend of the iron egg.  (Don’t you just love that name!  And the iron only refers to the color and not the texture BTW.)  

This is an exceptionally tasty treat that goes great as a party snack or drinking snack or just a whatever snack.  The making is simple but it takes quite a bit of time.  The final result, these Chinese Iron Eggs 鐵蛋, are tiny eggs with a chewy outer shell and a lush yolk, all throughly infused with the aromatics that it has been cooked in repeatedly.  A burst of intense spiced eggy goodness in a perfect little package, Iron Eggs are just the most delicious little snack!

January 19, 2022

Homemade Lotus Seed Paste 白蓮蓉

Homemade, Lotus Seed, Paste, chinese, recipe, pastry, stuffing, 白蓮蓉

This lovely round of goldenness is my homemade Lotus Seed Paste,  白蓮蓉 , a soft, luscious, slightly nutty sweet paste made from lotus seeds that is used in many Chinese pastries and cake, including the famous Lotus Paste Double Yolk Mooncake 雙黃白蓮蓉月餅.  During our making of Lotus Seed Egg Tea  蓮子蛋茶 recently we discovered the secret of cooking lotus seeds that allows them to become meltingly soft.  Then I realized that this technique might make a huge impact on the lotus seed paste (that we previously wrote about when making Double Lotus Mooncake) that we make at home for our various mooncakes and Chinese pastries.  I tried it and I was right!  It totally made a huge difference, the softer lotus seeds pureed and cooked down into a lusciously soft creamy and melty paste, just like the ones in the shops!

January 2, 2022

Lotus Seed Egg Tea 蓮子蛋茶

Lotus Seed, Egg, lotus seed tea, lotus seed soup, chinese, dessert, sweet soup, recipe,  蓮子蛋茶, 蓮子茶

To bring in the new year we present our next delectable Chinese dessert soup.  This subtly delicious and comforting sweet soup will warm your heart and tummy in the depths of any wintery chill. Requiring only a few ingredients, this Lotus Seed Egg Tea (not sure why it’s called a ‘tea’ and not a soup?) 蓮子蛋茶 is deceptively simple to make.  The result is a beautifully golden hued soup with a clear sweet delicate taste, bejeweled with melt in your mouth lotus seeds and sweet soft red jujubes.  Oh,  and there is the added delight of a hard boiled egg!  The egg is my favorite part, the slippery egg white and the melty egg yolk just tastes so good slurped in with the soup!  It's the perfect afternoon snack for a wintery day, both fortifying and comforting.

Add-on Note: I just found out that this tea is served to newlyweds to symbolize the hopes that they will soon conceive children.  The rather obvious symbols being the 'seed' and the 'egg'--he he!