Deep Fried Prawn Balls with Almond Flakes

deep fried prawn balls with almond flakes

Today’s recipe is Deep Fried Prawn Balls with Almond Flakes but before I get onto the recipe I’ve now been back in the UK from Taiwan for a month now and my life has been very busy but I’m really happy I’ve finally quit my job as a chef. Sometimes you just have to take a jump from one career to another and now I’ve quit working as a chef I’m suddenly got a lot of illustration enquiries so it’s perfect that I’m now working for myself.

I’ve also finally caught up with most of then projects I have been working on but I’m still struggling to find enough time to balance studying, commission projects and family. I have absolutely no idea how I managed to work in a kitchen and do all my other work as well.

With regards to my cookbook, I am always monitoring stock levels of my cookbook on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com so I can get an idea of how well the book is selling (it appears to be selling well). It also allows me to chase up my editor to make sure there is enough stock.

So back to today’s recipe for Deep Fried Prawn Balls with Almond Flakes, this is a dish really suitable for banquets and special events. I’ve always loved seafood, especially prawns, and the deep fried almond flakes are crispy and delicious. Prawns and almonds are a great combination both in terms of texture and flavour and if you put these Deep Fried Prawn Balls together properly they both look and taste great, making them perfect for banquets and special events. So maybe you can make this dish to treat your friends and family.

deep fried prawn balls with almond flakes

 

 

Deep Fried Prawn Balls with Almond Flakes

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 13 balls

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 380 g prawns peeled
  • 120 g fatty pork
  • 75 g onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp spring onions finely chopped
  • 150 g almond flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp potato starch or corn flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 600 ml oil for frying the prawn balls

Seasonings

  • 1/2 tbsp potato starch or corn flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper

Instructions

  1. Use a food processor to process the fatty pork first. Process the pork until it looks like fine mince.
  2. Add the prawns to the mix and process for a further 1-2 minutes. Move everything into a big bowl once the prawns and mince are finely minced.
  3. Add all the seasonings, onion and spring onion. Mix the the mixture clock wise for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Roughly chop the almond flakes and spread onto a plate. This way the almond is smaller and easier to stick to the prawn balls.
  5. Wet both hands with cold water and take a little bit of mixture and roll it into a ball. Repeat this procedures until all the mixture has been rolled into balls.
  6. Coat the prawn balls with almond flakes.
  7. Heat up the oil in a wok and fry the prawn balls at the lowest heat for 3-4 minutes. Moving the prawn balls around gently will help the prawn balls keep a nice round shape. After 3-4 minutes turn the stove to the highest temperature and try the balls until they turned to a nice golden colour.

Thai Rice Noodle Seafood Salad

Today’s new recipe is Thai Rice Noodle Seafood Salad but before I talk about this recipe I have some huge news. I QUIT MY CHEF JOB!

Yes, I handed in my notice on Saturday, packed all my belongings, handed in my keys and left. I haven’t had a chance to say goodbye to all of my colleagues who were really kind to me so I decided to use this blog post to tell them “thank you” for looking after me and for tolerating me during my “silly” moments at work. I’m proud to say I’ve made some real friends at work and will miss a lot of people. It was a really interesting 4 years, 6 months and 4 days (OCD side showing itself) and there were a lot of great moments I’ll remember.

However, I have been unhappy working as a chef for some time (not necessarily because of the place I worked at) and with recent events, my new career which is coming on really well and my husband picking up a lot more work we made the decision for me to quit work and focus full time on my illustration business. That’s not to say I won’t be cooking anymore, if anything the total opposite. Before with work, child, university and everything else I simply had no time for updating this blog but although I’m busy with the illustration side of things I’ll have a lot more time to cook new recipes and update this website.

Recently my health has been a bit funny. Earlier this year I had my gallbladder removed and with the recent travelling, stresses of dealing with my father’s death and jumping from 40C in Taiwan to Scottish autumn 12-15C, my body has been playing up so I’m really into eating light dishes like salads and seafood. I really love all of the main ingredients in this dish so I made a Thai Rice Noodle Seafood Salad. This dish is everything I need right now; sweet, sour, refreshing, light and a little spicy.

I used prawns, mussels and squid in this recipe but there are so many other kinds of seafood you can use for this dish such as scallops, fish meat, langoustine, crab meat etc. So in effect you can use any seafood you want in this recipe.

Hope you like my Thai Rice Noodle Seafood Salad recipe.

 

thai rice noodle seafood salad

 

Thai Rice Noodle Seafood Salad

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 250 g rice noodle
  • 150 g prawns
  • 500 g mussels
  • 200 g squid
  • 12 cherry tomatoes cut into half

Ingredients for dressing

  • 1 tbsp lemon grass finely chop
  • 1 handful coriander finely chop
  • 1 tbsp spring onions finely chop
  • 1 chili finely chop
  • 1 tsp ginger finely chop
  • 1 lemon zest and juice

Seasonings

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Mix all of the ingredients for making the dressing in a bowl
  2. Clean the squid and cross-cut it
  3. Boil a pot of water and blanch the squid and rinse it in cold water after it’s cooked. The squid only needs 2-3 minutes to cook
  4. Blanch the prawns and rinse in cold water after they are cooked. Peel the shell after the prawns have cooled down
  5. Wash and remove all the dirt on the mussels. Steam for 3-5 minutes then leave to cool down. Once cooled down remove the shells
  6. Boil a pot of water to blanch the rice noodle and the soak rice noodle in cold water after it’s cooked. Drain the water and leave it aside. Use a pair of scissors to cut the rice noodles a few times just incase they are too long to eat
  7. Mix everything together in a big bowl and taste it. Adjust the seasoning for personal taste. Ready to serve!

thai rice noodle seafood salad
thai rice noodle seafood salad

Chinese Daikon Carrot and Tomato Beef Stew

Chinese Daikon Carrot and Tomato Beef Stew

Chinese Daikon Carrot and Tomato Beef Stew. One day while back in Taipei, I was watching TV with my grandmother and smelt this really awesome dish coming out of a neighbour’s home. So I asked grandma to make this dish for me. I know people might think I’m horrible asking my grandmother to cook for me but grandma is a very old fashioned traditional Eastern lady.

Few things make her happier than cooking a big meal for her family. She loves cooking for he children and grandchildren and when we say something along the lines of “Oh grandma, the food you made is so DELICIOUS! We love it!” you can often here her giggling. For a lot of older Eastern ladies, most of them are housewives their whole lives. They sacrifice themselves to their family and children so the “kitchen” is their stage. When my grandmother came to the UK in 2012 she brought her rubber gloves with her and when she was cutting vegetables she refused to let me help her, even though I’m a trained chef. This kind of thing always makes me laugh.

I cook most of the meals at home for my husband and daughter but a lot of times I really don’t know what to cook. I’m used to people ordering food from me at work so I guess this carries over at home so I usually present Chris with the question “Eastern or Western food” “noodles or rice?” then I have a pretty good idea about what to cook. I believe for a lot of mums who cook most of the food at home they must have the same feeling so whenever I go back to Taipei I always prepare a “list” of food for my grandma or my mum. This way everyone is extremely happy.

While I was back in Taipei recently dealing with the death of my father, I was away from home sorting things out and grandma, being the cute old lady she is, even phoned me to ask me if I want her to put tomatoes in this beef stew she was cooking. I told her to cook it anyway she likes, which she will really love hearing but in all honesty the addition of tomato was perfect. It made the beef stew less fatty/greasy. I cooked a very similar dish in my cookbook without tomato and I have to admit this recipe tastes so much better.

So this is my grandmother’s recipe for Chinese Daikon, carrot and tomato beef stew:

Chinese Daikon Carrot and Tomato Beef Stew

 

 

Chinese Daikon, Carrot and Tomato Beef Stew

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 kg beef flank or shin or any slow cook beef, cut into big dice
  • 480 g vine tomato chop roughly
  • 120 g onion or 1 medium size onion, chop roughly
  • 10 g ginger slice thin
  • 200 g carrot peel and slice 2cm thick
  • 600 g daikon peel, slice 2cm thick and cut into quarters
  • 1 ltr boiling water

Seasonings

  • 200 ml light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 70 ml rice wine
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/4 cinnamon stick you could add tangerine peel for extra flavour

Instructions

  1. Boil a big pot of water and add the beef. Boil for 5 minutes to clean any dirt off the beef. After 5 minutes, use cold water to wash away any dirt on the surface of the meat and drain the water. Leave the beef aside for later
  2. Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil and stir-fry the ginger and onion until the fragrance comes out. Add the beef and stir-fry for another 3-5 minutes
  3. Pour the rice wine in and cook for 30 seconds. Add light and dark soy sauce and boil
  4. After step 3 has boiled, add tomato, water, star anise, cinnamon stick and tangerine peel (optional)
  5. Cook for 1.5 hours. The beef should be nearly soft and then add the carrots and daikon. Cook until the carrots and daikon are soft. Check the seasonings to suit your taste before serving

General Tso Chicken Recipe

General Tso chicken is a really popular Chinese dish all over the world. There are several stories behind this dish but my favourite is about General Tso‘s son who is a drug addict. During a period of time when the Chinese government tried to ban people from using opium, General Tso was really worried about his son so he lost all of his appetite. General Tso‘s chef was really worried about him so he made up this chicken dish and hoped the flavours from this dish would help General Tso to enjoy food again.

 

authentic general tso chicken

I honestly don’t know if this dish actually helped General Tso or not but this dish and the story has certainly helped my appetite after recent events that have happened.

On the 30th August my father passed away after suffering a heart attack. He needed open heart surgery but due to other underlying health issues which needed fixing first he wasn’t able to make it to surgery and suffered a heart attack at home from he sadly passed. So one week after he died I flew back to Taipei for three weeks to sort out his funeral and other family things.

The last time I spoke to him was just two days before he passed away and on that day he looked well so when I received the news on the 30th I completely broke down and I’m still in total shock one month on. Right now I’m suffering badly. I’m completely depressed, I have no will to illustrate and I can’t even think about going back to work right now. During the last conversation I had with my father on Skype the only positive I can give is that he saw Amelia playing and being really happy. A lot of my conversation was me complaining about my work situation. I won’t name where I work but suffice to say as a part time worker and a woman working conditions are pretty awful. We don’t get breaks and the more senior chefs bully the junior and part time chefs. I could honestly write a whole book about the disgusting things that have been said to myself and other colleagues but of course this conversation has left me riddled with guilt. Why couldn’t I have been more positive or even told him I loved him? Now I don’t have a chance to do so. Even the day before he passed away he told my mother that he was really worried about me and my mother.

After my father passed, all I have left from him is his diary and on every single page he wrote about how much he loved me and wished he could spend more time with me. He felt like he never did a good job in raising or looking after me but now he has passed I really understand that he was a great father and did the absolute best he could despite all the problems he faced. But still, even now I wish I could tell him once more how great he was, how much I loved him and tell him about all the great memories I have with him.

Right now, all I want to do is curl into a ball and hide inside my bedding. But unfortunately, life has to move on. I still have my family to look after, although my husband has been great with his support, and I still need to complete my University degree which my father always wanted me to achieve. I was expecting he and my step mum (I refer to her as my mum as she is 1000x times a better mother than my birth mother) would come to the UK to see my graduation. This won’t happen now.

So. Food has always been a big comfort for me and I feeling cooking (not for work) and eating is one of the best remedies when you feel sad. While I was back in Taipei my grandmother cooked a lot for me and her food always has a tremendous amount of love in it, so that was a huge comfort and really helped me. So I’ve decided to start cooking for my food blog again to try to help me find some peace. I love cooking for myself and my family and I’ve always loved sharing recipes and receiving wonderful feedback so here is my first dish for this blog in a really long time.

I’m really sorry this is not a happy blog post but no matter, I really wanted to share this really simple but really delicious recipe with you. I’ve got a whole load of new recipes in the pipeline so I promise there won’t be anymore five month gaps between posts in the future.

As a final note, for General Tso chicken you can adjust the usage of sugar if you would like this to be a little sweeter.

Authentic General Tso Chicken Recipe

 

General Tso Chicken Recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 500 g chicken thigh fillets
  • 2 chilis remove the seeds and slice 3cm lengthways
  • 2 spring onions slice 2-3cm lengthways
  • 1 ltr oil to fry the chicken. Use sunflower or vegetable oil

Seasonings for chicken thigh fillet marinade

  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 egg beaten
  • 2 tsp potato starch or corn flour
  • 1 tsp oil sunflower or olive oil

Seasonings

  • 1.5 tbsp ketchup
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar

Instructions

  1. Cut chicken thigh fillets into big dices and marinade with seasonings for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat up 1 liter of oil in a wok and add one chicken dice at a time into the wok. Fry until the chicken turns golden brown in colour. Drain any liquid/oil from the chicken and leave aside.
  3. Mix all the seasonings in a bowl. Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok and stir fry the chilli for 20 seconds until the fragrance comes out of the wok.
  4. Add the chicken into the wok and stir fry for 10 seconds. Pour the seasonings form the bowl into the wok and stir fry until the sauce has reduced down. Add spring onion and stir fry it for 10 seconds.  Sprinkle a few drops of sesame oil and add a little bit of ground pepper. The dish is ready to serve.

 

Fen Jen Ro Steamed Pork Belly in Rice Powder with Sweet Potato

fen jen ro

After finishing off my cook book and breaking up from University for the summer I’ve suddenly had some spare time (shock!) which I’m really happy about. I’ve been running this blog since the end of 2009 and I have so many great memories from this blog. From all the great people I’ve met through my blog and all the great feedback it’s been a great experience sharing my recipes. Of course there are some smart-arses who like to make snide comments but they really are an absolute minority so, with great joy, I’m now back cooking for this blog and my first recipe is one of my husband‘s all time favourite dishes called Fen Jen Ro.

Fen Jen Ro (粉蒸肉 in Chinese) or probably easiest translated as “Steamed Pork Belly in Rice Powder with Sweet Potato” is a commonly served dish in Chinese and Taiwanese households. This is also one of my grandfather’s favourite dishes so I’m very familiar with this dish. In Taiwan, we use rice cookers to steam most dishes and for Taiwanese people or even people who have spent some time in Taiwan will know, rice cookers in Taiwan and possibly Chinese are used for a lot more than just cooking rice. Taiwanese people will use rice cookers to steam cakes, make soups, make Chinese buns, make rice of course(!) and many more uses.

For the first few years I lived in Edinburgh and the UK I just used a really cheap rice cooker solely for cooking rice and even though I have now bought a more expensive one that can steam, make soup etc, I haven’t gotten round to messing around with the functions so I still use a very traditional method of steaming my food. The way I steam food is to place a steam rack in the middle of a wok, pour some water inside (measurements below) and steam.

There are a few different origins and stories about this dish. One of my favourite stories is about a couple who ran a small restaurant that had poor business. The husband also had a terrible gambling habit and when his wife one day gave him some money to buy some plates, bowls and food from the market he squandered it on gambling. Upon returning home his wife was really angry and they had a big fight. After the fight they were both really hungry but they thought they had no food to eat. The husband then suddenly remembered he had some pork so he marinaded the pork with some soy sauce and he picked some lotus leave to hold the food (they were so poor they didn’t even have bowls or plates). The wife steamed the pork and when they unwrapped it they discovered the pork was really tender.

Even though the pork was really tender it lacked some flavour so they combined it with jenrofen powder which is basically a glutinous rice powder, steamed it some more and it was absolutely delicious. They then served this dish in their restaurant and people came from afar to eat this dish which is still immensely popular to this day and the husband also managed to quit his gambling habit. Here is my favourite recipe for Fen Jen Ro.

 

Fen Jen Ro

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 800 g pork belly
  • 250 g sweet potato peeled and sliced 1cm thick
  • 150 g jenrofen powder only this kind of powder

Seasonings

  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp chili bean sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 70 ml light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp rice wine
  • 1/2 tsp ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp spring onion finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Slice pork belly into 5cm wide and 1cm thick sections. Marinade with all the seasonings for at least 1 hour
  2. Coat the pork belly with jenrofen powder/rice powder and leave it aside
  3. Prepare a 21.5cm wide bamboo steamer or similar size heat proof bowl and line it with baking paper
  4. Place a layer of sweet potato on the bottom of the bamboo steamer then layer the rest of the bamboo steamer with the pork belly. Sprinkle some extra jenrofen powder on top and cover with the bamboo steamer lid
  5. Place a steam rack into the wok and pour 1 litre of water into the wok. Boil the water first then put step 4 on the rack and cover everything with the wok lid. Turn the gas power to medium and steam it for 2 hours. Check occasionally but make sure there’s always water in the bottom of the wok

 

fen jen ro ingredients
fen jen ro ingredients

Zha Jiang Noodles Recipe

Monday afternoon has officially become my food blogging day. Monday is the one day each week that I definitely don’t have work and Amelia is in the nursery in the afternoon. Right now with the summer holidays she goes to nursery on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and while recently I’ve been working on both of those days, I’m not on the Monday.

So on Mondays Chris is always out working the whole day so I play with Amelia, do some houseworks but in the afternoon I cook. If you read my last blog post you’ll see that I’ve started baking, which I’m really enjoying, but I wanted to cook something savoury for my blog. Monday is kind of like my preparation day for the week. I cook for my blog but I also cook many days worth of food for the week. For example I cooked the recipe below today but I also cooked fish pie which will last us at least a couple of days,

It feels really nice to be able to cook for my blog again. I love sharing recipes that I know and once I start university this autumn I really hope I can find time to keep updating this blog.

And yes, I mentioned university. University! One of the dreams I had as a young adult was to study at university and while I studied the equivalent of a diploma in Taiwan in cooking, I’ve always wanted to study something to do with art. Towards the end of my college course most of my class mates, including myself, applied to study illustration at Edinburgh College of Art (part of University of Edinburgh) and I was the only one to get a place on the course. I’m both really excited and nervous about starting the course but this is a real “dream come true” for me and I’m anxious to get started.

I feel nervous about starting a new course and meeting new people but fingers crossed my new classmates are at least as nice as my college classmates (well, most of them!).

Back to this blog post, today’s recipe is for one of my favourite noodle dishes; Zha Jiang Noodles (Zha Jiang Mian, 炸醬麵). My grandfather and my mother used to cook this noodle dish very often when I lived at home and I believe this was for quite a few reasons. First of all it’s really easy dish to prepare, has lots of vegetables and it’s pretty cheap. Essentially you can have a big bowl of hot delicious noodles in the same time it takes to make mash potato.

I altered the recipe a little bit by adding edamame beans as all of my family love these beans. The original recipe had things like finely chopped green beans but for preference I added edamame beans instead.

So that’s Zha Jiang Noodles, hope you like them.

Zha Jiang Noodles Recipe

 

Zha Jiang Noodles Recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • dry noodles no exact amount
  • 200 g pork mince or beef mince
  • 120 g bean sprouts
  • 1 carrot
  • 6 pcs dried bean curd finely chopped, you can find it in Asian supermarkets
  • 1 bowl edamame beans
  • 2 tbsp shallots finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions

Seasonings

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp corn flour
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp sweet bean sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp chili bean sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions

  1. Boil a big pot of water and blanch the carrot and bean sprouts. Use the same water to cook the noodles. Once the noodles are cooked, refresh in cold water and toss some oil on the noodles to prevent the noodles sticking together.
  2. Heat up two tablespoons of oil in a wok and saute the spring onions and shallots until soft.
  3. Keep the stove at full power and add the pork mince until cooked (the mince should turn white). Add dried bean curd and stir fry for another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add sweet bean sauce and chilli bean sauce, stir fry for another 3 minutes. Add edamame beans (optional), water, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Mix evenly.
  5. Mix corn flour with a couple tablespoons of cold water and add into step 4 and mix evenly. Cook for another couple minutes and it’s ready to serve.
  6. Serve with noodle, bean sprout and carrot.

 

Zha Jiang Noodles Recipe