The very first time I tried Guoba was with my grandfather. We went to a Chinese restaurant in Taipei for Sunday lunch. Sunday lunch eating out is very much a family tradition where my grandfather would order all kinds of different dishes I hadn’t tried before. This time he ordered Guoba and I believe he ordered it to try to impress me.

Back then I was really young so my grandfather would try to impress his princess granddaughter and say things like the magic dish will “talk”. Even back then at such a young age I thought my grandfather was talking silly. How could a dish “talk”. I remember the waiter put a big plate of “crispy rice thing” on the table and wondering why they served crispy popped rice treats and when will it talk. Crispy popped rice treats, or “爆米香”, are a kind of street dessert in Taiwan. During the process of making this dish the machines that make them sound like they have really loud fireworks going off inside. If you walk down a street in Taiwan and someone is making Guoba, it almost sounds like a bomb is going off. It’s funny, scary, crazy.

So, two minutes later, the same waiter came back with a pot of hot, steamy, fragrant shrimp sauce and sourced the sauce on top of this weird looking crispy rice thing and the moment the sauce touched the guoba, a loud sizzling sound came out and it was absolutely eye opening to me! That was my first memory of this fun and interesting dish.

Nowadays you can guoba that has already been cooked and is “ready-to- use” in supermarkets so the first time I made it was for an article I was asked to make for Luckily, I always have my mother and grandmother (the latter being an amazing cook) available on Skype to ask for tips.


This is the longest process for making this dish. Measurements in the recipe below, I first of all rinse the rice three times before using a rice cooker to cook all the rice. I use a water/rice ratio of 1:1 (1 cup rice, 1 cup water). Every rice cooker model has slightly different requirements but as a general starting point, 1:1 usually works). In case you’re wondering why I use a rice cooker, well, almost everyone in the Far East uses one. They produce very reliable cooking results and you can use them to make soups, steam vegetables and different kinds of meats, desserts and all kinds of other things. They’re not just limited to cooking rice and they don’t have to be expensive so I definitely recommend investing in one.

The rice for Guoba should be like the rice that you will use for cooking fried rice. I used Taiwan Chishang rice “池上米” for this recipe but you can use any other kind of Chinese rice, Japanese rice or Korean rice for making this dish.

Some tips for making Guoba:

  1. Dehydration is the key! If your rice is dehydrated properly then you have a better chance of getting a crispy texture. The wetter the rice, the less chance of crispy. I left the freshly cooked rice in a fridge overnight before baking in my oven. By leaving the rice overnight, it helps the rice stay in shape as so when you slice the rice it will keep it’s shape better (won’t fall apart).
  2. If you find it’s hard to spread the rice on the tray with your spatula or spoon, apply some cooking oil on the surface of your spatula or spoon. The same thing with the knife you use to slice the rice as well.
  3. If you find the knife is hard to slice the rice then use a food scissor to cut it. If you find the rice is falling apart use your hand to gently press them back together.
  4. You can adjust the amount of seasoning or the amount of vegetables you use in this recipe as you wish. You can use tofu to replace shrimp if you are a vegan. You just need to air fry the tofu or pan fry the tofu until it’s lightly golden brown on both side and remember to use firm tofu.
  5. Don’t worry too much and just enjoy the process of trying and making new dish! Cooking should be fun and free. Just enjoy the process.
  6. If you want the “popping” sound when you pour the sauce on top of the guoba then you have to fry the guoba before you going to serve this dish so the guoba will be in the most fresh and crispy states and you will be able to hear the popping sound once you pour the sauce on.
  7. You can make guoba ahead if you don’t really mind if this dish will make the noise or not. It will still taste delicious with or without the sound effects.

You can also eat guoba without any sauce and just treat it like a snack or rice crips. My husband and daughter love munching on guoba and I have to hide the guoba from them before the sauce is made, otherwise they’ll eat everything. You can store the baked rice sheet in the freezer for a couple months and fry it when you want to eat.



Guoba Rice Dish with Hot Shrimp Sauce

Course Main Dish
Cuisine Taiwan
Keyword guoba, rice dish, shrimp sauce
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4


Guoba Ingredients

  • 3 cups Cooked Rice White
  • 2 pinches Salt
  • 1 cup Cooking oil

Shrimp Sauce Ingredients

  • 20 Shrimps shelled
  • 1 cup Edamame beans shelled
  • 1 Yellow pepper diced
  • 1 clove Garlic minced
  • 1/4 Onion diced

Shrimp Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp Asian chili bean sauce Toban Djan
  • 3 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Demerara sugar Can also use caster sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 cup Cornstarch slurry

Cornstarch Slurry

  • 1/2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp Water

Shrimp Marinade

  • 1 tbsp Rice wine
  • 1 tsp Cornstarch
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Ground white pepper


Guoba Instructions

  1. Prepare 3 cups of cooked rice. Rinse and cook the rice as you would normally do when cooking rice for a meal

  2. Place the rice on one of the baking sheets and sprinkle salt on the rice and mix it gently with spoon. Spread some oil on the surface of the spoon if you find the rice is too sticky

  3. Gently flatten the rice on the baking sheet as shown in the instruction photo. Please don’t press the rice too hard to the baking sheet. Just gently press down to help the rice to form the shape and not too crumbly

  4. If your rice is still quite warm, leave it to cool down before you cover the cling film on top and store in the fridge over night

  5. Next day, heat up the oven to 100c (212F) and bake the step 4 rice for 1 hour

  6. After 1 hour, take out the rice from the oven and use a knife to slice the rice into even square shapes. I sliced the rice into 12 portions but you can decide the size you want and adjust the portion to suit

  7. After slicing the rice, turn the rice to the other side and bake for another hour to make sure the rice is dehydrated like shown in the photo. If you feel the rice still a little bit moist then cook a little bit longer in the oven

  8. After the rice has dehydrated, take out from the oven. Heat up some oil to 180c (356F) and put a little piece of the rice into the wok and see if the rice puffs up. This should only take around 5 seconds to see the rice has puffed up in the oil. The first time I made guoba I was a bit worry as the rice isn’t puff up immediately when I put into the oil but after 3-5 seconds the rice puffed up nicely like magic! 

  9. When the rice has start to puff up in the oil, I was turn off the fire and cook for 15-20 seconds. Take out after this time so as to not overcook or burn the gouda. Leave aside on a plate then prepare the shrimp sauce

Shrimp sauce

  1. Marinade the shrimps with all the marinade ingredients for 20 minutes

  2. Mix water, chilli bean sauce, ketchup, sugar and black vinegar in a bowl

  3. Heat up 2 tbsp oil in the wok, stir fry the shrimps until the shrimps have changed colour and immediately take the shrimps out but leave the oil in the wok, place the shrimps on a plate and leave it aside for use later

  4. Use the same wok to stir fry the onion and garlic until it’s fragrant

  5. Add step 2 sauce into the wok bring to boil

  6. Add edamame beans and yellow pepper and boil for 10-20 seconds

  7. Add prawns back into the wok

  8. Stir in 1 tsp corn starch slurry into the sauce and check the density of the sauce. Once it starts to thicken and boil, turn the stove off. Season with salt. If you feel the sauce isn’t thick enough, add more cornstarch slurry and bring the sauce to boil again

  9. Place guoba on the serving plate, pour the sauce on the dish is ready to serve. You can also pour the sauce on to the guoba on the table so everyone can listen the to crackling sounds

Recipe Notes

Add salt and pepper to taste. The chili bean paste is quite salty so be careful with extra seasonings

guoba ingredients
guoba recipe
guoba recipe
guoba recipe
guoba recipe
guoba recipe
guoba recipe

Caramelised Pineapple Coconut Rice Pudding

Caramelised Pineapple Coconut Rice Pudding. This is the first time I’ve made this caramelised pineapple with coconut rice pudding. My daughter has been eating rice pudding at her nursery recently and she mentioned it a few times so I thought I’d have a go at making rice pudding from scratch.

Almost everyone loves rice pudding and I like it so much I decided to illustrate this recipe as well as cook it. The recipe I used for the illustration is a variation of a recipe I learnt while working in a restaurant kitchen (I forget which one) but for the actual dish I cooked I changed a few ingredients as I found some improvements could be made. So you’ll see the illustration recipe shows one thing but the real food is a little different. Both are really delicious though.

I’ve made recipe pudding plenty of times in my life but like most people I’ve always used milk to make rice pudding. Today I decided to use coconut milk for a different taste. You can choose whether to use milk for this recipe or coconut milk as I used. You can even go half and half but this is entirely up to you.

I’ve also made caramelised pineapple many times before but this is the first I’ve combined these two delicious desserts together and I have to say it’s delicious! The other reason I used coconut milk in this recipe is because I think the coconut flavour goes really well with all the spices and caramelised pineapple. It makes this dessert taste very “tropical”!

If you are vegan then you can use only coconut milk in this recipe and you can also replace the butter with vegan butter. I used salted Kerrygold butter in this recipe, I think bar deli shop/real farmhouse butter, Kerrygold is the most delicious butter available commonly here. I’m not a huge sweet food fan so I added a little bit of salt to balance out the sweetness. In fact whenever I bake I nearly always add a little salt.

For the rice, I used Thai fragrant rice for this recipe. It cooks really quickly and is delicious. This is a dish to warm your heart and tummy. I hope you like this delicious and easy to make Caramelised Pineapple with Coconut Rice Pudding.

For the rice, I used Thai fragrant rice in this recipe. It cook really quickly and taste delicious. This is a dish to warm your heart and tummy. I hope you like this delicious and easy dessert recipe.

caramelised pineapple cococnut rice pudding

Caramelised Pineapple Coconut Rice Pudding

Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 people


Ingredients for Caramelised Pineapple

  • 80 g dark brown or demerara sugar
  • 1 small pineapple peeled and sliced thick
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 60 g butter
  • 150 ml water

Ingredients for Coconut Rice Pudding

  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 400 ml semi skimmed milk
  • 125 g long grain rice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150 g caster sugar or demerara sugar
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg


Procedures for Caramelised Pineapple

  1. Add sugar, pineapple, cinnamon and star anise into a large frying pan

  2. Cook at medium-low heat until the sugar has melted. 

  3. Add butter into step 2 and cook until the butter has melted then add water and bring to a boil. Once it has started to boil simmer until the syrup is thick and ready to serve.

Procedures for Coconut Rice Pudding

  1. Add coconut milk, milk, rice, sugar and salt into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil then turn the stove to medium-low heat and cook for 10 minutes, stir often. 

  2. Pour it into a greased baking dish and sprinkle the nutmeg on top. 

  3. Cover it with tin foil and bake at 160c for 1 hour, stir it and checking it often. Cook until the rice is tender. 

  4. Serve with caramelised pineapple, pomegranate and pistachio. 

caramelised rice pudding illustration

How To Make a Basic Japanese Ramen Noodle Soup

Ramen is one of my family’s favourite Japanese dishes. In a city like Edinburgh where it’s almost always wet and/or cold, ramen (along with hot pots) are the perfect dishes for warming yourself up.

A good ramen is one of the most rewarding dishes you can eat, full of noodles, meat, eggs and with a really thick delicious broth but it does take a long time to prepare and there are a lot of procedures. So be aware, this recipe is kind of long but don’t be afraid, as long as you prepare all the ingredients, such as the ramen eggs, char siu pork and stock a day before then on the day it’s pretty quick to prepare.

I personally spent around two hours making the stock for this dish. I didn’t want to simmer it for too long simply because of time constraints but in really good ramen restaurants it’s not unheard of stock be cooked for half a day to a day or even more. As with most stocks, the longer you cook, the better they taste and ramen is true of this.

A good example of preparing the ingredients in advance as I mentioned above is the stock. Quite often I’ll cook a LOT of stock then I’ll separate it into small portions and store in a freezer. You can do the same thing with char siu pork as well.

Some cooking tips:

  1. If you like the egg quite runny then set your timer to 3 minutes. I like to cook them for 3 ½ minutes but some recipes online say 4 minutes but personally I think this is a little too long.
  2. I always cook a couple extra eggs for two reasons. The main reason is just in case the egg shell breaks during cooking, if this happens you may end up with only 3-4 beautiful boiled eggs and the others will look alien. The other reason is the eggs taste so good and my husband has sticky fingers so inevitably a couple/few eggs go missing during cooking.
  3. Please consume these within 2-3 days and always use fresh eggs!
  4. I used red onion in this recipe for making the char siu pork but you can also use white onion. I just use the ingredients I had at home.
  5. I used a banana shallot in this recipe which is really quiet big in size so I only used 1. If you use a normal sized shallot, use 3 cloves.
  6. As mentioned before, if you have any extra stock you can separate into small portions and store in a freezer for another dish or meal. Stock can be stored for up to 1 month in a freezer.

I will also keep the char siu pork sauce and ramen egg sauce in the freezer so I can use for another time. You can keep them in the freezer for a month and re-use them for 2-3 times.

ramen recipe


Course Main Dish
Cuisine Japanese
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 2 minutes
Servings 6 servings


Ingredients for ramen eggs

  • 6 large fresh eggs

Seasonings for ramen eggs

  • 120 ml light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar caster or demerara
  • 120 ml mirin
  • 200 ml water
  • 100 ml sake
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic

Ingredients for ramen stock

  • 800 g pork ribs
  • 20 g katsuobushi also known as bonito flakes
  • 15 g kombu
  • 1 onion cut into half
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 ltr water

Ingredients for char siu pork

  • 2 kg pork belly skinless and boneless
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 banana shallot sliced thick
  • 1 spring onion slice into half
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic

Seasonings for char siu pork

  • 200 ml light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 100 ml mirin
  • 200 ml sake
  • 1 ltr water
  • 3 tbsp honey


Ramen Eggs Procedure

  1. Add all the seasonings into a saucepan and bring it to a boil and let it boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the fire and leave to cool down.
  2. Place 8 eggs into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring it to a boil and once it’s boiling set a timer to 3-3.5 minutes. Gently stir the eggs while cooking so the egg yolk will be in the middle.
  3. When the timer has stopped, immediately cool down the eggs under running cold water.
  4. Gently peel the eggs and marinade the eggs with the sauce from step 1. You can store the eggs with sauce in a freezer bag or container and leave them to marinade for 1-2 days.

Ramen Stock Procedure

  1. Cut kombu into small pieces (3cm long) and place into a stock pot with 3 litres of water for 20 minutes.
  2. After 20 minutes, place step 1 on a stove and use medium-low heat to cook for 10 minutes then turn the fire to highest temperature and bring it to a boil.
  3. Blanch the ribs and wash with cold water. Leave it aside.
  4. Add Katsuobushi into step 2 and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off fire and leave it to cool down.
  5. Pass through the stock with a sieve and keep the katsubushi and kombu on the side.
  6. Put the stock back into the stock pot and add ribs, onion and garlic. Bring it to a boil first then simmer for 1 ½ hours.
  7. Pass through the stock with a sieve and leave it aside.

Char Siu Pork Procedure

  1. Roll the pork belly and use cling film to wrap it very tight. The pork belly should resemble a cylinder shape. Freeze it for few hours.
  2. Take the pork belly out of the freezer once it has turned hard. Remove the cling film and use string to tie it up.
  3. Heat up some oil in a frying pan or skillet and pan-fry every side of the pork until it’s golden brown in colour. Leave it aside.
  4. Use the same frying pan and the oil left over to fry red the onion, shallot, spring onion, ginger and garlic until it’s aromatic.
  5. Put all the seasonings apart from the honey into a big stock pot. Place step 4 and the pork belly into this stock pot.
  6. Bring it to a boil first then add honey and simmer for 1 ½ hour or until the pork belly is tender. Leave it to cool down.
  7. Place pork belly and remaining sauce into a container and store it in the refrigerator over night. Slice it before serving.

Final Preparation

  1. Cook the ramen noodles by following the cooking instructions on the packaging.
  2. Heat up the stock in a saucepan and put the miso in a small bowl then mix with a little bit of warm stock evenly. Make sure there are no lumps and pour this mixture into the stock and bring it to a boil. Season the stock with salt and pepper. Turn off the fire.
  3. Place the ramen noodles in a big bowl and pour the hot ramen stock from step 2 into the bowl.
  4. Garnish with char siu pork, spring onion, seaweed and eggs. Ready to serve!

Recipe Notes

Notes about serving ramen: 250ml ramen stock per person ½ tablespoon miso per 250ml stock 3-4 slices of char siu pork 2 slices of seaweed Some julienned spring onion 1 ramen egg, cut into half Some salt and pepper to taste

ramen recipe

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich

buttermilk fried chicken sandwich
I’ve always been a big fan of fried chicken but recently I kept seeing “buttermilk fried chicken” on both the internet and menus in local restaurant. I rarely have  a chance to visit restaurants and if I do I usually go for sushi/Korean/burger, those kinds of things, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how good the texture and taste of buttermilk fried chicken will be so I decided to give it a go myself.

Also because I’m not working for anymore where I was publishing dozens of articles about just East Asian food I’ve decided to become a bit more adventurous with my food blog and that’s why if you compare my website recently to say a couple years ago there’s more diverse food.

Why am I doing this? Well sure I’m from Taiwan, my grandparents were from China etc etc and I have a lot of knowledge about Eastern food but I studied Western cooking at food college and I worked in Western restaurants for many years so I do know a lot of Western style recipes. I also like to eat out and try different cuisines when I can. Who knows I may end up doing some Indian curries at some point.

I’ll certainly go back to cooking some of my favourite Taiwanese, Chinese and other East Asian foods in the near future but right now I’m on an inspired food journey and I’m having lots of fun on it.

Today’s dish is a completely new dish to me and while I’ve cooked lots of fried chicken at home and in professional kitchens, I’ve never made buttermilk fried chicken before so I researched a good few buttermilk fried chicken recipes online and in the end I came up with this recipe that I think tastes delicious (my husband and daughter definitely approved!).

I’m a big fan of paprika so I put some paprika in the chicken marinade. In fact one of the favourite simple dishes in my home is chicken marinated in paprika and finely chopped garlic served with roast vegetables. My husband loves roast garlic which amuses my daughter when he tells her “it’s to keep away the vampires”.

So I put a decent amount of paprika in this dish but you can adjust the amount of seasonings in this dish to suit your own taste.

I also made some pickled vegetables and a sriracha mayo to accompany the buttermilk fried chicken in the sandwiches which I made. If you think there are too many ingredients then you can leave them out. As with a lot of East Asian dishes and especially my own cooking, seasonings are entirely adjustable.

A bit of sweet and sour pickled vegetables contrasts perfectly with the greasiness of the fried chicken and makes the whole dish more balanced. If you have some pickled vegetables left over you can store them in a clear container in your refrigerator for up to 7 days. If you want you can make the pickled vegetables and sriracha mayo the day before you make this dish to save time, although this is a pretty quick dish to make.

buttermilk fried chicken sandwich
5 from 1 vote

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 sandwiches


Main Ingredients

  • 1 kg chicken breast cut into long strips
  • 1 cucumber peel it like a long ribbon
  • 1 shallot sliced
  • 1 carrot peel it like a long ribbon
  • 6 raddish slice
  • 2 long baguettes
  • 650 ml oil

Ingredients for chicken marinade

  • 180 ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Ingredients for pickled vegetables

  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 lemon grass
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 250 ml water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients for spice flour

  • 170 g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp butter milk

Ingredients for sriracha mayo

  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise


  1. Marinade chicken overnight with all the ingredients for the marinade. If you can’t marinade overnight marinade at least 1 hour before cooking. The longer you marinade the better the taste.

  2. Mix all the ingredients for the pickled vegetables into a small sauce pan. Bring it to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. 

  3. Put the sliced radish, sliced shallot, ribbon cucumber and ribbon carrot into a container or bowl. Pour the step 2 sauce into the bowl and gently mix it evenly. Leave it for at least 30 minutes. 

  4. Mix flour, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, baking powder evenly in a bowl then mix with buttermilk. You will see the flour will look a bit lumpy but that’s ok. 

  5. Heat up oil in a saucepan or deep skillet. The oil temperature should be 180 c. 

  6. Coat the chicken with the spice flour from step 4 and leave it for a couple minutes. 

  7. To check if the oil is the right temperate, you can put a piece of the spice flour crumb into the oil and if the crumb immediately bubbles and floats on the oil then the temperature is perfect for frying the chicken. 

  8. Deep-fry the chicken until golden brown. 

  9. Slice the baguettes 12cm long and slice horizontally. 

  10. Spread some sriracha mayo first then put a couple slices of fried chicken and some pickled vegetables into the sandwich. Make sure to drain the vinegar from the vegetables before you put them in the sandwich or otherwise the sandwich will be soggy. 

buttermilk fried chicken sandwich

Blood Orange and Seared Tuna Quinoa Salad

blood orange

Blood Orange and Seared Tuna Quinoa Salad

Course Salad
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 3 people


Main Ingredients

  • 155 g quinoa
  • 310 ml water
  • 500 g tuna
  • 2 blood oranges peel and slice
  • 4 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 handful salad leaves
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate
  • 100 g feta cheese
  • 5 mint leaves fresh and chopped finely

Marinade for Tuna

  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp mirin


  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 blood orange


  1. Put all the ingredients for marinading the tuna into a deep plate or bowl and mix evenly. Place tuna into the bowl and gently coat the tuna with all the marinade. Leave it to marinade in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Occasionally turn the tuna while marinading so the flavour will be even on every side of the tuna. 

  2. Coat the tuna with black and white sesame seeds and wrap in cling film individually and leave in the freezer for 20 minutes to set. 

  3. Cook the quinoa by following the instructions on the packaging. 

  4. Mix the seasonings for the dressing in a small mixing bowl. 

  5. Mix 2 tablespoons of dressing with quinoa and check the seasonings. If you like a strong flavour then add more salt or pepper. 

  6. Remove the cling film from the tuna and heat up some oil in a skillet or frying pan. Sear the tuna 40-50 seconds on each side and remove from the pan. 

  7. Toss the quinoa, salad leaves, pomegranate and dressing together. 

  8. Slice the tuna. 

  9. Garnish step 7 with the sliced tuna, sliced blood orange, mint and feta cheese. It’s ready to serve. 

Blood Orange and Seared Tuna Quinoa Salad
Blood Orange and Seared Tuna Quinoa Salad