March 29, 2023

Candied Winter Melon Tea 冬瓜糖涼茶

Candied, Winter Melon, candy, herbal, Tea,  冬瓜糖, 涼茶, 茶

As the season turns and the days grow warmer it's time for some "cooling teas" also known as 涼茶.  Chinese believe that the food that they eat balance and nourish the body to good health, especially with respect to the needs that seasonal changes bring to the body.  Cooling teas help to dispel the heat, or 熱氣, caused by warm weather.

This particular cooling tea caught my eye because the main ingredient is one of my favorite fruit candies, the candied winter melon 冬瓜糖.  We've actually made winter melon tea before from fresh winter melon and it was plenty delish.  So now we got to try it with candied winter melon. 

The results were most satisfying and a lot easier to make. The candied fruit provided an intense but totally light vanilla sweetness with grassy notes and a touch of smokiness to a most delightfully refreshing Candied Winter Melon Tea 冬瓜糖涼.  This fragrant herbal tea was a cinch to whip up!

March 17, 2023

Shanghai Braised Vegetarian Chicken 上海紅燒素雞

Shanghai, Braised, Vegetarian Chicken, 上海,紅燒,素雞, five spice,五香, chinese, vegetarian, recipe

Did you know that the Chinese have the most delicious vegetarian fare?  There are even vegetarian restaurants which serve a throve of ‘meat’ entitled dishes entirely made from tofu!  But note that, despite the names of the dishes, the ‘meats’ don’t actually taste like meat, they just taste veggie-licious!

We recently discovered a source of Shanghai style vegetarian chicken and so were able to make this truly yummilicious veggie dish.  This Shanghai Braised Vegetarian Chicken 上海紅燒素雞 is deliciously creamy and tender and soaked thru with the five spice infused savory sauce.

March 11, 2023

Homemade Pandan Extract 自製香蘭精


Have you ever passed a bakery and wondered what that wonderful vanilla-y, grassy, oh so comforting floral aroma floating thru the air was?  Or passed by the windows of a South Asian restaurant and wondered what the tempting green tinted desserts were made from?  

Well, you wouldn't be the first.  Rare in the west but common in Asia, the distinctive flavor and aroma of pandan is a delightful surprise to the uninitiated.  

Pandan is also used to flavor savory rice and curry dishes in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia as well as used in that fan favorite, Thai chicken wrapped in pandan leaves.  Oh, man, those chicken morsels are so delicious!

The pandan extract can of course be bought in bakery supply stores but you can also quite easily make it at home.  If you can access fresh pandan leaves then you can very easily make homemade pandan extract 自製香蘭精!

March 10, 2023

Pandan Bread 香蘭麵包

Pandan Bread, recipe, milk bread, bread, 香蘭, 麵包

This delicious bread is made by using the natural flavor and coloring from the pandan leaf.   Yes, that's right, an actual leaf!  The pandan leaf is so packed with flavor and color that it is used to flavor all kinds of foods from the sweet to the savory!

My little girl has always loved the floral, vanilla-y, grassy fragrance and flavor of the pandan leaf and so has long begged me to make her some homemade pandan bread.  Finally I have gotten around to it, coincidentally just in time for St. Patrick's Day.  Make yourself some lucky Pandan Bread 香蘭麵包: deliciously aromatic, soft and fluffy, and verily luckily green!