November 16, 2023

Rose Dragon Eye Jelly 龍眼玫瑰茶果凍

Rose, rose tea, rose flavored, jello, recipe, Dragon Eye fruit, dragon eye, longan, chinese, longan fruit, lychee, fruit, Jelly

This delicate little jelly is actually inspired by my one of my attempts at a super fancy type of cake, known as 'entremet', which pretty much gobbled me up and spit me right back out.  Delicious but, ouch, not much to look at.  Oh well, live, try, fail, and try again, amirite?  

But one thing that I took away was this utterly delicious rose infused jelly.  Oh my gosh darn!  What a taste!  The delicate heavenly scent of rose (I LOVE the scent of roses!) captured in a cool quivering jelly state contrasted oh so sweetly with the clear fresh sweetness of the dragon eye fruit, also known as longan.  So good had to share!

October 31, 2023

Homemade Kombucha - Second Fermentation

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When you make kombucha, fermented tea, you have the option of making kombucha tea up to the first fermentation and then enjoying it immediately with all the probiotic health benefits or you can go on to do a second fermentation, which is optional but very much recommended.  The second fermentation is an opportunity to add both flavor and fizz to your kombucha tea.  Most of the kombucha sold in stores are flavored kombucha that have gone thru second fermentation.

We have found the addition of extra flavor to really boost the taste of the kombucha.  Especially enjoyable is the delightful fizz that can be produced due to the carbonation created by the further fermentation.  A fizzy fruit flavored healthful homemade drink, what more can you ask for?!

October 29, 2023

Homemade Kombucha - First Fermentation

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Making kombucha, or sweet fermented tea, is easily done at home!  It’s a fabulous drink, tart and refreshing, to have handy for you and your family, full of gut healthy probiotics and anti-oxidents.  And did you know that kombucha originally came from China?  That's right, kombucha came originally from northeast China around 200 B.C.  After that kombucha traveled around the world, passing through Japan, Europe, and Russia, celebrated everywhere for its health benefits.

The thing about making kombucha is that you have to set it up first.  Once you’ve got everything set up it’s just a matter of keeping it going, very easy.  I’m breaking my homemade kombucha posts into three parts so as to be really clear and avoid the misunderstandings that confused me when I first started my kombucha journey.

The first thing to do is to make the SCOBY, a gelatinous blob that contains all the good bacteria and yeast that is needed to power the kombucha fermentation.  We’ve done that in our first post on How To Make a SCOBY.  Once you have a viable SCOBY you’re ready for the next step which is making the kombucha tea, first fermentation, which is what this post is about.  In our next post we’ll talk about the final optional step:  kombucha tea, second fermentation.

October 24, 2023

Homemade Scoby for Making Kombucha

homemade, how to make, scoby, kombucha, fermented drinks, fermented tea, recipe

I’ve seen kombucha, a fermented tea drink originating long, long ago from China, around on health food store shelves for a long time.  Never tried it.  But it has stuck around and I've heard more and more about it.  But it's expensive!  

Recently I realized that it could be made at home.  As our dear readers will already know we've much interest in fermentation and its health benefits - probiotics!  anti-oxidents!  We've been fermenting all sorts of things.  This is our first fermented drink.  

Overall I found that homemade kombucha is pretty easy, but you gotta setup a system first.  I really love, love that I can make a refreshing and healthful homemade fizzy drink that the whole family enjoys!  How cool is that!?

Okay, then, the first essential step to homemade kombucha is to make a ‘SCOBY.'  What is this thing with the cute name, you say?  Well, SCOBY stands for 'symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast'.  In reality it's a gelatinous blob (see photo above) that acts as the central control station of kombucha fermentation.  Let's make a SCOBY!

October 4, 2023

Mango Pomelo Sago Dessert 楊枝甘露

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This yummilicious Chinese spoon dessert is just the thing to take advantage of the autumn pomelos that are flooding the market at the moment.  It's pomelo (and mango) time, folks!  

You'll find these kind of desserts in Hong Kong specialty dessert shops, 糖水鋪, which, if you haven't tried yet, you must cuz the desserts they serve are pretty fab!  These dessert shops are in every residential neighborhood, usually open later and into late night, and serve all kinds of traditional and newer types of Chinese desserts.  

This fabulous Mango Pamelo Sago Dessert 楊枝甘露, also known as 芒果柚子西米露,  is one of the newer HK desserts, a most delectable concoction of flavors and textures: chewy sago pearls, juicy pomelo sacs and deliciously sweet mango all tied together with lusciously creamy coconut cream.

September 25, 2023

Fruit Mooncake 水果月餅

If you've been following our little food adventures, you may recall how delighted I was with our efforts with homemade humble but versatile white bean paste and the revelation that all kinds of flavors could be very successfully infused with it.  Check out our post on Chocolate Filled Raspberry Tang Yuan for one such very successful chocolately infusion.

For Mid Autumn Festival this year we decided to experiment again, this time infusing the flavors and gorgeous colors of fruit into the white bean paste fillings for our homemade mooncakes.  Here are, if I may say so myself, the absolutely beautiful results of our efforts.  Our Homemade Fruit Mooncakes 水果月餅  are out of this world: tender golden crusts beautifully imprinted with traditional mooncake patterns wrapped snuggly about brilliantly hued fruit infused fillings.  

September 18, 2023

Chrysanthemum White Bean Paste Nerikiri Cake

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This lovely chrysanthemum flower is actually an edible treat!  It’s a Japanese sweet treat known as nerikiri and is simply made with white bean paste.  We’ve previously made a super cute Easter Bunny nerikiri with white bean paste and it was super fun as well as delicious.  

We’ve made a Chrysanthemum White Bean Paste Nerikiri Cake this time in the same way, just in time for the Mid Autumn Festival 中秋節.  Chrysanthemums bloom in the fall and are traditionally used as a background to gleaming mooncakes and flowered filled osmanthus jellies that celebrate the festival.   Today the chrysanthemum leads the way as a delicate, gorgeous to look at and yummilicious to eat treat. What a revelation!

September 10, 2023

Chinese Steamed Egg with Mushroom 香菇蒸蛋

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There's absolutely nothing better than a silky smooth Chinese egg custard as we've shown our dear readers how to achieve successfully in our post on Chinese steamed eggs 蒸蛋 (click the link!).  Today we'te going to talk about a twist on the classic steamed egg that had my hubby and little girl asking for seconds and thirds and finally demanding why I hadn't made more!

The twist?  We infuse the intense and fragrant flavors of dried shitake mushroom into our silky smooth egg custard.  Wow oh whoppity wow, why haven't I made this before?  Chinese Steamed Egg with Mushroom 香菇蒸蛋 is so yummilicious:  delicate slippery bites of tender egg custard with delectably flavorful chewy bites of mushroomy mushroom.  YUM!  And we'll show you how to make it to perfection!

August 28, 2023

Crystal Skin Dim Sum Wrapper 水晶皮製作

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Have you ever had Dim Sum 點心?  You know, that Cantonese teahouse tradition where tea is paired with tiny delectable dishes or steamers of sweet or savory treats.  Sooo goood!  And in the midst of these delectable treats have you ever had those dumplings where the skin was transparent enough to see through to the inside filling?  So amazing amirite?!  

Well these thin transparent wrappers are known as Crystal Skin Wrappers, 水晶皮.  So delicate these wrappers: thin enough to see through yet strong enough to pleat and hold the shape of the dumplings with ease.  Check out the beautiful Har Gow 蝦餃 shrimp dumplings (photo above) that we made with this crystal skin!

Tricky wrappers to make but we managed through much trial and error to get it just right.  Check out how to make the most excellent Crystal Skin Dim Sum Wrappers 水晶皮, both thin enough to see through and yet pliable and easy enough to work with to make and hold the pleats necessary for these fancy dim sum dumpling shapes.

Har Gow Shrimp Dumpling 蝦餃點心

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Our latest Dim Sum adventure!  Naturally it must be the world famous Shrimp Dumpling, also known as Har Gow.  Anyone can tell you that Har Gow 蝦餃 (and that other superstar Siu Mai 燒賣) is a must at any dim sum lunch!  (Psst..check out our fab Siu Mai 燒賣 recipe!)

Psst...For those who don't know what Dim Sum 點心 is, it's a food tradition started in Chinese teahouses where little steamers or plates of delicately made foods both savory and sweet were served to go with fragrant cups of tea.  Today this food tradition is still going strong in Dim Sum restaurants everywhere!

Okay, first, confession time: we've been having lots of har gow dumplings lately.  Cuz we wanted to make the perfect Har Gow and our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd attempts were just not quite right.  The dumplings that we managed to make were tasty but the wrapper, oh, the wrapper was quite the bitch to get right.  Too sticky, too thick, too lumpy, etc...

Attempt number four, finally, we got it!  Oh the Har Gow 蝦餃 we made!   Perfect and delicate little dumplings of deliciously sea sweet shrimp fillings encased in thin translucent skins, all wrapped with the quintessential 13 nos of pleats that form the distinctive half moon Har Gow shape.

August 12, 2023

Homemade Limoncello - Italian Lemon Liqueur

Homemade, recipe, Limoncello, Italian, Lemon Liqueur, vodka

Do you find yourself ever going on food tangents?  You know, an idea pops into you head, a food idea mind you, and you’re off down the rabbit hole, chasing a new food adventure.  So much fun, amirite?!

Well, this time I got tangled up in an old food obsession of mine, lemons.  I LOVE lemons, they are so amazing!  The flavors and fragrance from the peel to the juice that they gift to us is just endless and wonderful.  I mean, have you ever had lemon curd?  To die for amirite?!  

Anyhoo, I discovered a traditional Italian liqueur called limoncello that can be simply made at home  with lemon peels, vodka and sugar syrup.  Of course I had to try it right away.  Straight down the rabbit hole I went.

At the end of this food adventure I have to honestly say I cannot believe how well it turned out.  It was gosh darn mind blowing.  Our homemade Limoncello liqueur was astounding: so fragrant, so lemony, so delicious, so beautiful!  Surely a gift of nectar from the gods of lemon ;)

July 31, 2023

Osmanthus Egg Imitation Shark Fin 桂花翅

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This dainty and marvellously delicious stir fry, the Osmanthus Egg Shark Fin  桂花翅, is a dish fit for an emperor!  Or, rather fit for an Empress as this dish was originally created as a tribute to the redoubtable Empress Dowager Cixi 慈禧太后, she who ruled China from behind an embroidered screen for five decades from 1861 until her death in 1908.  

July 22, 2023

Hong Kong Crispy Noodles 港式煎麵

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This ridiculously delicious dish is something probably anyone who has ever eaten at a Chinese restaurant has had before.  These Hong Kong Crispy Noodles 港式煎麵 or 兩面黃, also known as Crispy Chow Mein or Hong Kong Style Fried Noodles is a dish of lush contrasts.  It features a bottom layer of pan fried crispy crunchy golden browned noodles topped with a savoury stir fry of vegetable and meat/seafood with an extra heaping of soy flavored sauce.  That extra heaping of sauce trickles through the crispy crunchy noodles, softening and flavoring some while leaving others still delightfully crunchy.  

Savory tender bites of veggies and meat mixed with crunchy bits of noodles...eating these HK Crispy Noodles is so much fun!

July 11, 2023

Sichuan Fish with Pickled Mustard Greens | Suan Cai Yu 酸菜魚

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This post gives me so much pleasure.  It is always a delight to share the joy that food brings to us but especially so in this case.  Because this dish is soooo good, like food for the soul good.  Comforting, seductive, addictive, pleasing in all ways is the Sichuan Fish with Pickled Mustard Greens.  One heck of a sexy dish if you ask me.

This showstopper seafood dish can almost be a meal in itself, to be shared in a Chinese style family diner.  You could add another dish or two, we added a vegetable dish along with white rice and it was just right for the three of us.  Sichuan Fish with Pickled Mustard Greens, also known as Suan Cai Yu 酸菜魚 is a resplendent dish full of velvety tender fish slices, delicately soured pickled mustard greens, crunchy sprouts and slippery vermicelli all immersed in a most deliciously addictive tangy savory soup.

June 30, 2023

Chinese Pickled Sour Mustard Greens 酸菜

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Recently we've been obsessed with what the Chinese call '酸菜', directly translated as 'sour vegetable.'  What is meant by 酸菜 is actually mustard greens which have been pickled or brined. It's simple to make with a basic salt brine but wow is the resultant flavor big!

The result of the pickling/brining is a delicately soured pickled vegetable with a soft yet crunchy texture.  It's addictive I tell you, just addictive!  These Homemade Chinese Pickled Sour Mustard Greens 自製酸菜 can be used to stir fry with pork or chicken, eat plain as a relish, or toss in with fish to make the famous (and my favorite) Sichuan Fish Soup with Pickled Mustard Greens 酸菜魚 (recipe coming up next!)

June 17, 2023

Spicy Mala Peanuts 麻辣花生

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We made the most crazily delicious peanut snack ever - the Spicy Mala Peanuts  麻辣花生 - fried peanuts flavored with a mouthwatering mix of spices and fired up with hot chilies and tongue numbing Sichuan pepper.  This snack has been all the rage in recent years, rising in popularity along with the Sichuan Spicy Stews that have become ubiquitous.  (Psst...check out our Sichuan Spicy Fish Stew 水煮魚 recipe.)

OMgosh but these peanuts are soooo additive!  Once you start eating these luscious spice coated, tongue numbing bits of peanut crunchiness you just can't stop!  So aromatic!  So yummilicious!  Now you can enjoy making Spicy Mala Peanuts 麻辣花生 at home for a fraction of the cost of buying them from the store!