Coriander Chili Beef Mince

When I was a child coriander chili beef mince was one of my favourite dishes. It’s a very popular dish within my family and my mother and grandmother used to cook this dish often. I always pigged out on this coriander chili beef mince with a big bowl of rice and my grandmother always felt really proud I loved it so much. My grandmother loves cooking for people and is happy when people walk away from the table feeling pregnant from eating.

Coriander is also known in the Far East as “Chinese parsley”. We use a lot of coriander in our dishes in Taiwan. Coriander has a special fragrance and the taste can really enhance the flavour of the fish.

I had bit of a problem making this dish though. British Supermarkets only sell chopped coriander but in China and Taiwan we can buy whole stalks of coriander. For us the stalks/roots have the most flavour so while this dish has a coriander taste it’s not as strong as I would have liked. So as compensation I added a small amount of celery diced really small to enhance the flavour.

Before service you can deep fry some shredded sweet potato for garnish for this dish. The colour alone of the sweet potato makes this dish look a lot better and it tastes really great.  You can also use Chinese celery instead of coriander if you have problem finding coriander.

Here is another tip to make this dish even more delicious. Don’t use packet mince from a supermarket. I bought rib eye steak (or you can use sirloin steak) and froze it for 40 minutes to 1 hour. The meat will be a little bit hard but not “frozen” hard. Shred the steak first then chop really really finely. Steak chopped up always tastes so much better than mince although it’s really up to you if you want to do this or not.

coriander chili beef mince

 

Coriander Chili Beef Mince

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch coriander stalk chop finely
  • 400 g rib eye steak or sirloin stake, mince it
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 1 chili remove seeds and chop finely

Marinade for beef mince

  • 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 pinch pepper powder
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine

Instructions

  1. Wash the coriander and remove the leaves, chop stalk finely
  2. Take the ribeye (or sirloin) and freeze it for 40 minutes to 1 hour. The meat will be a little bit hard but not frozen hard. Shred the steak first then chop really finely.
  3. Marinade the steak mince with all the seasoning and leave it for half an hour.
  4. Heat the wok with some oil until the oil is smoking and stir fry the steak mince for 10 seconds. Get rid of the oil and place the mince on to a plate.
  5. Heat the wok with some oil. Turn to a low heat and stir fry the garlic and chili first and then add the coriander and stir fry for another 10 seconds. Add a little bit of salt to season it and turn the gas to strong heat and add beef mince to stir fry it together for 1 minute. It’s now ready to serve.

 

Longhorn 96 Steakhouse Restaurant

This blog post is all about one of my favourite restaurants in Taiwan, Longhorn 96 Steakhouse Restaurant. I love a good steak just as much as anyone else. One of my favourite things to eat regularly is a really good rib eye. I love the taste of the juicy fat and for me it’s one of the tastiest cuts of beef.

One of our good friends in Edinburgh has been raving about a steakhouse in East Kilbride that sells at 32-ounce steak. This is pretty big but for a few months my parents have been talking about a steakhouse in the north of Taiwan that sells a 96-ounce steak. This is huge! For any weight fanatics out there 96-ounces works out at 2.5kg.

48 ounce steak!!!

On our last full day in Taiwan my family and I visited the graveyard of my grandfather (my dad’s father) on the north side of Yangmingshan Mountain. We had an interesting drive to the graveyard as Taipei itself had nice weather but the top of Yangmingshan, which measures over 1000 metres high, was covered in thick fog.

We also saw a procession of Ferrari’s driving past us on the mountain. I know nothing about Ferrari’s, apart from they look good in red and they’re expensive, but Chris said he saw quite a few F355’s, a 458 Italia, a few 480 Modena’s and one of the new California’s. Nice!

After visiting the graveyard we went straight to Longhorn Steakhouse. Longhorn Steakhouse was started by an American who married a Taiwanese lady. The couple have since divorced and he has now started a new restaurant but Longhorn Steakhouse remains. The steakhouse itself doesn’t look exciting. We sat on park benches that were covered with giant umbrellas. Not the prettiest but who cares when the food is really good.

Longhorn 96’s website can be found here: http://www.longhorn96.com/. The website can be viewed in both Chinese and English and make sure you check the bottom of the menu, it’s quite funny.

Note: Make sure you click on each photo for a much larger version.

Giant steak menu

Other steaks and options

96 ounce steak challenge

We ordered drinks and several plates of chips with chili bean and cheese dips. We also ordered a cesar salad but the pièce de résistance was the steak. Longhorn Steakhouse does serve a 96 ounce steak but although Chris said he could have eaten it (he didn’t eat much for a few days as he had heatstroke) I won’t allow him to eat a steak that size as quite frankly a 2.5kg can kill people.

My hand and 48 ounce steak! How huge is that steak!

We ordered our steak medium-rare (it came more on the rare side) and it was really good. In hindsight we probably should have had it in medium but it was really tasty and was sold at a really excellent price. The 48 ounce steak if I remember correctly was £25 while the 96 ounce steak was about £40-45. Not bad at all! As a reference 16 ounce steak in the UK can cost £15-25 depending on where you go but it’s no better quality.

Taiwanese fish and chips. Super tasty!

Longhorn 96 restaurant sign

Longhorn 96 restaurant entrance

Chinese Style Deep Fried Chicken Wings

These Chinese style deep fried chicken wings use a special ingredient called “fermented bean curd” to enhanced it’s flavour. Fermented bean curd is also known as “tofu cheese”. I know a lot of Western people are scared about tofu so tofu cheese probably sounds horrendous but for a lot of Eastern people it’s like a delight from heaven.

We use it in a lot of different dishes, such as stir fry vegetables. For me this is just like cheese and you will either love it or hate I. If you’re a bit more adventurous with your food I definitely recommend you give this dish a try.

Different Chinese speaking countries have their own style and flavour of tofu cheese. For example, Sichuan tofu cheese is more spicy, Beijing tofu cheese has a red colour, Shaoxing tofu cheese has a wine flavour and so forth. Different kinds of tofu cheese add different qualities to different dishes.

The dish I made for this post, Chinese Style Deep Fried Chicken Wings is a really easy to cook dish. It’s really tasty and all of the ingredients and all of the ingredients can be bought from either your local regular supermarket and virtually all Chinese supermarkets. I used 2 pieces of spicy tofu cheese to enhance the flavour of the marination. you can adjust the usage of tofu cheese to suit your taste as tofu cheese has a very strong flavour. If you use tofu cheese I suggest you use less salt than you would normally when you marinade the chicken wings.

chinese style deep fried chicken wings
fermented beancurd

 

Chinese Style Deep Fried Chicken Wings

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 15 chicken wings

Ingredients for Marinade

  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 2 chunks tofu cheese
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 spring onion chop finely
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 2 pieces ginger chop finely
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pinch pepper powder

Instructions

  1. Mix all the marination ingredients in a big bowl evenly  and add the chicken wings. Use your hand to gently massage the chicken wings with the marination to ensure the marinade covers the chicken wings evenly. If you have any excess marination on the chicken be sure to gently brush this off with your hand.
  2. Marinade the chicken wings for 1 hour at least.
  3. Heat up the oil to around 180 degrees. Deep fry the chicken wings until they have turned a light golden brown colour.

 

Modern Toilet Taipei Restaurant Review

Ximending for young people is one of the coolest parts of Taipei. It is one of the many local districts within Taipei but has a number of fashionable shops but also lots of restaurants.

There’s a whole array of restaurants in Ximending but one restaurant which we didn’t know existed when Chris and I visited Taipei together for the first time is called Modern Toilet. Modern Toilet has a unique gimmick in that the whole restaurant is style liked a toilet. You sit on a toilet when you eat your food, you eat out of plastic toilets and you also drink out of plastic tubes that are shaped like the tubes men pee into in hospital.

They serve all kinds of food from curries to seafood hotpots and all kinds of other dishes in between. I’ve included pictures of the menu below for you to have a look through. They also do desserts that look like, as Chris calls it “swirly dog poops” lol.

Modern Toilet is fairly difficult to find. We tried following google maps which wasn’t a great help and we had to ask local shop keepers where to go. Once we arrived at Modern Toilet I had a seafood hotpot and Chris had a curry. Chris’s curry was so so, not very tasty and it wasn’t spicy at all but my hotpot was ok. Some of the fish was quite tasty but certainly this restaurant is all about the gimmick and not the food.

I’ll definitely give this restaurant 5 out of 5 for style, it’s hilarious and the staff were attentive and the food was served really quickly (as is normal in Taipei). They also sell a number of items like plastic toilets and they gave us the drink pots to bring home free of charge.

Strawberry Almond Tofu Dessert

In the last week my life has changed so much and hopefully for the better. As you know I’ve been working as a chef for a few years but as well as cooking one of my other passions is drawing. When I was in my teens I had the option of either studying art or studying cooking and I ended up studying the latter but I’ve always wanted to see what I can achieve by studying something else.

So in the last few weeks I applied to study a full time course in Illustration at a well known college in Edinburgh and I’ve been accepted. Yay! I really love the people I work with but one day I will have to move back to my country and in Taiwan there are no places for female chefs. The vast majority of chefs in Taiwan are men and it’s very difficult for a woman to have a decent place in a professional kitchen.

Also, you’ll have to admit I’m a bit too delicate to work as a chef. Remember my broken finger last week and all my burns? It’s too much.

Another great bit of news is I’ll keep working part time at the same restaurant while I study but I’ll also have a lot more time to update my blog so you should expect to see a lot more recipes coming from me in the future and maybe one day (hopefully!) I’ll get my book finished!

So let’s talk about today’s recipe…

Strawberry Almond Tofu Dessert

The way I made this dish isn’t the traditional way for making Almond Tofu Dessert. The traditional way is you cut the almond tofu into small diamond shapes surrounded by pieces of diced fruit and syrup. I made this dish with strawberries as we’re in strawberry season right now and I chilled the dish in the fridge so this is a nice cool dish. This is a great dessert for the summer.

We believe almonds will give you beautiful smooth skin so we like to eat lots of almonds. The name of this dish might sound like a contradiction as there’s no tofu in this dish but the main ingredient, soy milk, is the same as from tofu, so I guess this is why we call it Almond Tofu.

This dish is made up of strawberry coulis at the bottom with the almond tofu on top, topped with fresh fruit of choice. The strawberry coulis has pieces of fresh strawberry in it as well.

strawberry almond tofu dessert

 

Strawberry Almond Tofu Dessert

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 4 portions

Ingredients

Ingredients for Strawberry Coulis

  • 100 g fresh strawberries
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 70 g water
  • 2 tsp corn flour

Ingredients for Almond Tofu

  • 1 ltr soy milk
  • 4 pieces gelatine
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 200 g peeled almonds
  • 100 g water
  • 2 drops almond extract

Instructions

Procedure for Strawberry Coulis

  1. Use a food processor to purify 100g of fresh strawberries then put into a small sauce pot along with the water and sugar. Bring  this to the boil.
  2. Mix the corn flour with 2 teaspoons of water in a separate bowl and gradually stir into the saucepan from step one to ensure  even texture. Bring the sauce to the boil again after adding this mixture. Once it has boiled pour the mixture into a bowl and allow to cool down.

Procedure for Almond Tofu

  1. Use the food processor to blend the almonds almost to a powder texture.
  2. Put the almond powder, soy milk, water, sugar and almond extract into a saucepan and bring this to boil. Once at the boil allow to simmer for 45 minutes but stir occasionally while simmering to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
  3. After the 45 minutes pass the mixture through a sieve as we don’t want any lumps of almond. After passing though allow the mixture to cool down a little. Soften the gelatine and stir this into the cooled mixture. Cooling the mixture down before adding the gelatine is essential otherwise the gelatine would be destroyed at a high temperature.
  4. Once you have added gelatine allow the mixture to cool down until the dish is warm but not hot. At this moment you can prepare the glasses for pouring the mixture into.
  5. In the glass or dish that you choose to use, place fresh strawberries at the bottom and cover this with strawberry coulis. This should fill about one fifth of the glass/dish. Being gentle, cover the strawberry coulis with the almond tofu mixture until about 4/5ths of the glass are filled. Leave in a fridge until it has set (this should take about 1 hour but I left it overnight).
  6. Once the dessert has set place fresh strawberries on top and it’s ready to serve. I added blackberries for extra garnish but this is entirely optional.