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Eight Treasure Rice Pudding Chinese new year dish

Eight Treasure Rice Pudding Chinese new year dish

eight treasure rice pudding

Eight Treasures Rice Pudding is a traditional Chinese new year pudding. Eight treasures topping is made up with eight different kind of dried fruits, raisin and sweets. You can choose any ingredients which are easy for you to buy. Of course, you don’t have to use “eight” different toppings but the number of toppings you use is really down to personal preference.

I used five different kinds of toppings today because I only a small rice pudding for Chris and I. If I were to use eight different kinds of toppings for a rice pudding this size it would look a bit of a mess

The number eight is a magic number for Chinese people. In Chinese the number eight sounds like another Chinese word “”. in Chinese means rich and I believe everybody likes being rich.  So, eight is a lucky number. Also, this dessert is really colourful and pretty so Chinese people love to have this dessert in Chinese New Year.

China has so many different provinces and different provinces also have different traditions. Whether you go to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore or even Malaysia, although we all celebrate Chinese New Year the customs are different. Sometimes it’s really hard to say which Chinese dish is a typical Chinese New Year dish but I always say as long as the dish is petty, colourful and has a lucky or pretty name then it’s a good Chinese New Year dish.

Here is recipe for this eight treasures rice pudding. I wish all of you have a great Chinese new year and I hope you will give my recipe a go and make eight treasures rice pudding for your friends and family. Trust me, they’ll love it.

Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com


Eight Treasure Rice Pudding Chinese new year dish

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 3 people



  • 1 handful sugar glazed cherries
  • 1 handful black raisins
  • 1 handful yellow raisins
  • 1 handful sugar lotus seeds available in Chinese supermarkets
  • 1 dried apricot
  • 2 cups round glutinous rice
  • 100 g red bean paste available in Chinese supermarkets


  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for sugar syrup

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp potato starch water (1/2 tsp potato starch with 1 tbsp water, mix evenly)
  • 2 drops rose or any kind of flower essence **


  1. Soak round glutinous rice in cold water for 1 hour at least. Cook it in a rice cooker or steamer. Mix the cooked rice with sunflower oil and salt when it’s still hot.
  2. Brush some oil on a medium size bowl and cut the sugar glazed cherry in half. Place the dried fruits and sugar glazed cherries as shown in the photos.
  3. Put half of the cooked glutinous rice in the bowl and press down a little bit then put 100g red bean paste in the middle.
  4. Use a little bit of glutinous rice to cover the red bean paste and place the sugar lotus seeds and sugar glazed cherries around the bowl.
  5. Put all of the glutinous rice in the bowl and press down. Steam for 30 minutes.
  6. Use a small pot to boil all the ingredients for the sugar syrup. Stir in potato starch water to thicken the syrup.
  7. Flip the rice pudding on a plate and brush sugar syrup on top. Ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

** In some traditional eight treasures rice pudding recipes, it says use “sweet-scented osmanthus sauce” but it’s very difficult to get in UK so I use rose essence to replace it.


Chili Bean Paste Fish and Tofu Chinese new year dish

Chili Bean Paste Fish and Tofu Chinese new year dish

Chili Bean Paste Fish and Tofu

Chili bean paste fish and tofu is the name of this Chinese fish dish.  This dish is also my first recipe for this Chinese new year. A lot of people probably don’t know when Chinese New Year is this year but it’s actually the 2nd of February. People from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan will usually celebrate from this day and celebrations will go on for about a week. In

In Chinese language we call Chinese new year eve “除夕” (Chu xi). All of our families will gather together, wear new shoes and wear new clothes. We usually wear red and then we’ll have a large new year dinner together. We call this new year dinner “年夜飯” (Nian ye fan).

Fish is one of the dishes that we must have for new year dinner. Fish in Chinese is called “yu” and it sounds similar to the word “” which means “more than enough, spare”. We usually call the fish dish in New year supper “Nian nian you yu 年年有餘”, The whole phrase means “every year have some good things happen and/or money left. Or every year have more than enough money or luck”.

Different families have different traditions for this fish dish for New Year dinner. In my family, we can’t finish this fish in one go. We must leave some fish on the plate, we can’t eat all of it. This is because we believe leaving some fish will bring us luck and money, which also means more than enough money or luck. My grandfather told me, in his navy friend’s home, they can’t turn over the fish because the method for turning over fish looks like a ship or boat capsizing, which of course no-one and especially a navy officer doesn’t want to see.

There is no strict rule of how to cook “Nian Nian you yu” (this dish) for Chinese New Year. You can use any kind of fish you want so long as it’s a whole fish that includes it’s head and tail. I know you’re probably wondering why it has to be a whole fish but using a whole fish represents you doing everything from start to finish and not just doing something halfway.

For this dish I decided to cook Dou Ban Yu. Dou Ban Yu is a really tasty Sichuan style fish dish that can be as spicy as you like but has a really strong taste typical of Sichuan cooking. The most important thing is the red colour from the chilli bean paste (sauce). As mentioned before red is a very good colour for Chinese New Year.

The English translation for Dou Ban Yu is “Chili Bean Paste Fish” and here is my recipe for this dish. I hope you enjoyed reading about this dish and maybe you could give it a go this Chinese New Year.

Chili Bean Paste Fish and Tofu


Chili Bean Paste Fish and Tofu Chinese new year dish

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 2 people



  • 1 whole fish I used sea bass
  • 2 thin slices ginger chop finely
  • 2 spring onions chop finely
  • 3 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 1/2 chili remove seeds and chop finely
  • 50 g beef or pork mince
  • 350 g tofu cut into the size as the photo shows, pan fry both sides


  • 1.5 tbsp chili bean paste sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 ltr boiled water or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp rice vinegar


  1. Remove all the dirty bits of fish as procedures photo. This procedure ensures the fish tastes better and removes any unpleasant fishy taste.
  2. A teaspoon or similar can help to get rid of the bits you don't want
  3. Cut the fish as the photo shows and use your finger to rub some chilli bean paste into those cuts and inside the fish belly. Leave it aside for 15 minutes after you have done that.
  4. Use your finger to rub some chilli bean paste into those cuts
  5. Use your finger to rub some of chili bean paste inside of fish belly.
  6. Heat a wok with 1 tablespoon of oil and panfry both sides of the fish. Leave each side to fry for 2~3 minutes at least, don’t keep turning the fish or you will just make a mess of the fish. Place the fish on a plate after both sides are a golden brown colour.
  7. Cut the tofu into the size as this photo shows
  8. Pan fry the tofu on both sides
  9. Using the wok from step 3, stir-fry the chilli bean paste first for a couple minutes then add the mince to fry it for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Add rice wine, chilli, ginger, garlic and just half of a spring onion into the wok and stir-fry it until all the fragrance comes out from the wok.
  11. Put the fish back in the wok and add the boiled water or stock to cook.
  12. Add tofu and simmer it to reduce down the sauce.


Los Argentinos Steak House review

Last Sunday I went to an Argentinian steak house called “Los Argentinos” with Chris and our friends Michael and Anja. One of my colleagues has been talking about their Chimichurri sauce. When I heard about this sauce from my colleague I thought he was calling it “Jimmy Choori” and I joked with him about this restaurant selling designer shoes.

A lot of people have said Argentine steaks are the best and as I’ve eaten American, Australian and Scottish steaks I was really curious to try this. I also did a little bit of research and read that Argentina is one of the top three exporters in the world for beef (the top three being Argentina, Brazil and Austrlalia).

The interior of Los Argentinos is really simple. You can recognise this restaurant is a steakhouse from the gigantic cattle skin on the wall which you see immediately as you walk into the restaurant. I really can’t compare this restaurant to a steakhouse (if such a thing exists) in Argentina but I liked it. Every table has 1 or 2 pots of chimichurri sauce which you can just help yourself to.

I ordered a no 52 Combinacio Ranchera and Chris ordered a 450g ribeye steak. Maybe Argentina has a different method of weighing steaks but we’re used to ordering steaks in ounces so when Chris asked the waitress to describe the size of the steak (if the largest steak was small he would have ordered something else) her response was less than friendly.

Some of the steak dishes come with fries and salad and you can choose between fries or baked potato. I had a lot of chimichurri sauce with my steak. All I can tell you is that this sauce is beautiful. I really really like it and I highly recommend you give it a go if you go to Los Argentinos.

The steak itself was ok but with the chimichurri sauce it’s really superb! Service is ok but I do think the waitress can be a little more friendly. If you don’t know the answer to my question you could ask the chef in the kitchen or your manager, that’s certainly what we do in restaurants I’ve worked in.

Our friends ordered ribs for their starters, which we sampled and were average. However Anja asked for her steak to be cooked really well done and after two attempts at cooking it, it still came back less than well cooked. I ordered my steak medium-rare and Chris ordered his rare.

The selection of desserts was quite limited. Chris and I shared a pistachio and whipped cream ice cream, which was ok, but Anja ordered an apple pie which I really liked. It tasted like an American style apple pie rather than British style apple pie. I’ve always felt British apple pies are always quite thin, sour and have a rather sharp taste. The apple pie in Los Argentinos is really mellow, sweet but not sickly sweet and it’s warm!!! A slice of warm apple pie and some cold whipped cream is one of the best things ever, it almost makes my heart melt.

In terms of what we spent, between the four of us we spent £103. This includes four steak/steak platters, ribs, two beers, one cider, one coke, a cappuccino, side order of onions, side order of fries, pistachio ice cream and a slice of apple pie.

In conclusion, would we go back? Probably not. The waitress’ attitude, the undercooked steak and the overpriced menu would make us try other restaurants long before we come back here.

Sixi Scallop authentic Chinese seafood dish

Sixi Scallop authentic Chinese seafood dish

sixi scallop recipe

Happy New Year everyone! Sixi scallops is my first post of 2011. I decided to make a quick, tasty and healthy dish for the first day of the year. Sixi in Chinese means “four happiness” or “four lucky, joy”, which also means a lot of happiness. So, I wish this dish can bring you a lot of luck and joy in 2011.

Recently as well as working none stop in my normal job as usual I’ve been preparing speeches for a Chinese New Year festival in Glasgow which is coming up in February and March. I think this dish is one of the healthiest dishes within Chinese cuisine. A lot of authentic dishes are actually really healthy and absolutely nothing like dishes one buys in the UK. Authentic Chinese dishes contain less meat and a lot more vegetable or soy bean products which are really good for our health.

So, here is the recipe for this Sixi Scallops. I wish all of you have a happy and healthy year and remember to keep visiting my blog during 2011.

Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com


Sixi Scallop authentic Chinese seafood dish

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 people



  • 400 g scallops
  • 1 medium carrot washed and peeled. Cut into slightly thick slices
  • 1 red pepper cut into 2cm diamond shapes
  • 1 yellow pepper cut into 2cm diamond shapes
  • 200 g mange tout
  • 1 clove garlic chop finely
  • 1 slice ginger chop finely
  • 1/2 chili cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup stock


  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp potato starch 1 tbsp potato or corn flour starch mixed with 2 tbsp cold water, mixed evenly

Marinade for scallops

  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp rice wine


  1. Marinade scallops with rice wine and a couple pinches salt and pepper powder.
  2. Wash and peel the carrot and mange tout. Cut the carrot into thick slices
  3. Heat a wok with 1 tablespoon oil and stir-fry yellow and red pepper first for 2 minutes.
  4. Add carrot and keep stir-frying for another minute or two.
  5. Add mange tout, garlic ,chilli and ginger. Stir-fry everything for another 2 minutes.
  6. Add scallop, stock and cover the lid and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Stir in potato starch and water and bring it to boil again. It’s now ready to serve.


New theme and New change

Recently, since the weather turned dark and cold, I’ve become a bit dismayed with both blogging and cooking. Just as with my good fried Chef Dennis I work extremely long hours and have very limited time to cook any food let alone photograph it.

So, while the light and time still suck, to revitalize my interest in blogging I’ve been looking at changing my blog theme. Since I started blogging in English (I used to blog in Chinese) I’ve been using a theme we bought from Themeforest called Unite, made by a developer called Parallelus. While it looks professional it looks too professional, I wanted something more personal.

I’ve wanted a new theme for my blog for a very long time and a pink blog theme has always been my dream since I started blogging. Neither Chris or I are trained in web design and developing and although Chris knows some CSS/HTML he doesn’t have the time to sit down and really learn how to create a WordPress theme from scratch.

We spent quite a bit of time searching online and we found one WordPress Consultant in the US who makes stunning themes but charges in the region of $2000-3000 a theme, which is too much. Chris then found this amazing theme company called DIYThemes who created a theme called Thesis.

The thing that really stood out to us is the level of customisation possible with this theme. You can really change virtually anything you want in terms of layouts, colours, etc without needing any coding. It’s also optimised way beyond anything we’ve seen elsewhere for SEO. Because of this awesome theme I can now finally own what is for now the perfect blog theme for myself. It’s “pink”!!! My favourite colour!!!

(You can see the difference compare with these 2 photos so you can tell the thesis theme can actually allow you to do a lot of changes. )

People who follow my blog have also heard me talk about wanting to change my blog a bit. I have to admit I’m that kind of person who can’t always keep doing the same thing and live the same routine every day, it drives me nuts!

So it’s time for me and my blog to have new change and it’s start from this new theme. If you remember I cooked Souvlaki for my blog a month or so ago and you’ll also remember I work in one of the busiest and most famous restaurants in Edinburgh. From now on this blog will still be mainly about Eastern food but I’ll also start cooking Western food that I have learnt from my time working as a chef.