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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Big Breasts Food – Green Papaya with Pork Rib Soup

So recently I haven’t updated my blog and for a really good reason. I broke a finger and more specifically my ring finger. Recently at work we’ve been really busy at work and a few people have called in sick so we’ve been super busy and I was at work one day in a rush and I banged my ring finger on a fridge door. My finger was bleeding a bit but really swelled up so I was worried I damaged the tendons in my finger.

Chris especially but also myself are the kind of people where if it hurts on the day we kind of leave injuries but if it’s still hurting two weeks later we seek medical advice. So the one weekend Chris hired a car and drove me to hospital where they x-rayed it and found I broke my finger. I got seen to fairly quickly but as usual the NHS didn’t want to do anything apart from give me a tiny piece of tape to tape my fingers together for a day or two.

Two weeks later we went back to hospital where we had a really long wait (this is very normal for the NHS) and I was told my the doctor I would have to live with a “wonky” finger (the tip of my ring finger isn’t straight). The doctor then said “you will never be a hand model” and builders have loads of wonky fingers. Hello! I’m a woman! Not a builder! Thanks!

They also didn’t give me any painkillers. In Taiwan you get sympathetic treatment all the time and the doctor will give you painkillers if you need them. Essentially our health care system is more humane. Doctors in Taiwan also aren’t sarcastic. They treat you effectively and compassionately.

broken chef finger
broken chef finger

Anyway, on with a recipe…

Green Papaya with Pork Rib Soup

A long time ago Taiwanese people were crazy about this soup. In Taiwan we believe green papaya will help young women grow larger breasts so as you can imagine loads of young girls ate green papaya thinking it will grow them big breasts so they will have a more beautiful curved body. Boys as you can imagine encouraged girls to eat green papaya so they would have bigger breasts to admire lol.

I tried eating this myself to see if I can enhance my boobs but I think I’ve grown too old for this to work, shame! But no matter if this grow big breasts or not soup is very important for one’s daily diet as it helps our bodies to hydrate and clean it.

green papaya with pork rib soup
green papaya

 

Green Papaya with Pork Rib Soup

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

Ingredients

  • 1 small green papaya available in Chinese supermarkets
  • 400 g pork ribs diced
  • 2 small ginger
  • 1 small carrot for garnish
  • water

Instructions

  1. Boil a pot of water and blanch the pork ribs. This will clean the ribs and remove any dirt from the bones. You’ll see the excess dirt, for example blood, float on top of the water. Once you see this wash the ribs under cold water.
  2. Put the ribs back into the pot along with the ginger and around 2 litres of cold water and boil it. Once it reaches the boil reduce heat and simmer for 1.5 hours.
  3. Peel and remove the seeds from the green papaya. Dice the papaya and for the carrots you can use a ring cutter to cut it into a flower shape (if you wish to do so).
  4. Put the papaya into the pot and cook with the ribs until the papaya has softened. Season the soup with salt and white pepper powder. Once the papaya is soft this dish is ready to serve.

 

Stir Fried Rice Cake with Spring Greens and Pork recipe

Stir Fried Rice Cake with Spring Greens and Pork recipe. Hello everyone, I’m home! So two days ago we returned from our holiday and we’re still suffering from jet leg (not helped by both of us shooting a full day’s wedding the day after we returned) but also suffering from not being able to eat the food we’ve been eating in Taipei and to an extent Bali.

Before going on holiday I was starting to struggle for ideas about what to cook but going home and eating both my grandma’s food but also visiting a number of restaurants that I used to go to has rejuvinated me. I’ll be writing up some restaurant reviews for various restaurants that we visited in the very near future and these restaurants had everything from authentic Chinese and Taiwanese food to the most fabulous Japanese fine dining.

So this dish is called Stir Fried Rice Cake with Spring Greens and Pork (long title I know!). Rice cake is known as Nian Gao in Chinese. Nian Gao has been part of Chinese cuisine for more than 3000 years and there are many different kinds of Nian Gao. Nian Gao can be eaten sweet or savoury. This recipe was influenced by Nian Gao from Ningbo.

The first time I ate this dish was in one of my elementary school classmate’s home. Her grandparents came from Ningbo and they would cook this dish for me. Immediately after eating it for the first time I fell in love with this dish.

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

stir fried rice cake with spring greens and pork

 

 

Stir Fried Rice Cake with Spring Greens and Pork recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 150 g shredded pork
  • 200 g spring greens shredded
  • 450 g Ningbo rice cake bought from local Chinese supermarket
  • 1 chili shredded
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 dried shiitake mushroms soak in hot water to soften then slice
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp sugar

Seasonings for Pork Marinade

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp potato starch or cornflour starch
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 drops dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions

  1. Marinade the pork for 20 minutes and heat up a wok with a little bit of cooking oil. Stir fry the pork until it’s cooked on the outside.
  2. Beat the eggs and add 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Keep mixing together until all of the seasonings have mixed evenly.
  3. Heat a frying pan with one tablespoon of oil and just fry the eggs. Once fried leave aside.
  4. Heat up a wok with a small amount of oil. Stir fry the ginger and garlic until the fragrance comes out from the wok. Add the spring greens into the wok and stir fry for 1 minute then add the rice cake and shitake mushrooms with half a cup of water.
  5. Lower the heat and continue to stir fry the dish until the rice cake has softened. Add the pork and eggs and continue to stir fry the dish for another 2 minutes. It’s now cooked and ready to serve.

Chorizo Focaccia Recipe

chorizo focaccia recipe

So it’s just two days until my holiday and I’m so excited about going travelling again. Sadly we don’t have time to go for long but we’re spending 10 days in Taipei then 4 days in Bali. I’ve never been to Bali but I’m super excited about it.

Recently I’ve been sorting out recipes that I’ve learned at work. While working at a previous restaurant that I prefer not to name (I don’t want to give the bastards any credit) I had the pleasure of working alongside two Italian chefs. One of them is a really good friend called Lorenzo, who is from Verona, who we visited in Granada last year. I also met another Italian chef, this time from Sicily who taught me how to make another kind of focaccia.

Both told me that different regions of Italy cook focaccia completely differently. For example, Lorenzo cooks focaccia with milk while the Sicilian chef uses white wine. Lorenzo sadly never gave me a recipe for focaccia (I can’t remember if I forgot to ask or if he forgot to give me a recipe) but I did get the white wine focaccia recipe.

I made a fairly major adjustment to this focaccia by including chorizo on top. Regardless of whether you use chorizo or not focaccia is really delicious, easily one of my favourite types of bread, but I love chorizo so used it.

I also fancied having a go at making a completely different kind of focaccia. Squid ink is pretty hard to get hold of in the UK and I wanted to have a go at making squid ink pasta but never got round to it. Firstly I need a pasta machine but also delivery of the squid ink took ages! Recently I found the squid ink in my cupboard and thought I would try making this squid ink, rosemary and garlic focaccia. As a note squid ink doesn’t have a taste but acts as an amazing dye in food.

So anyway, hope you enjoy this recipe and I’ll no doubt put more recipe on this blog when I come back from holiday. While we’re in Taiwan I plan to visit a lot of restaurants, both familiar and new, and will be doing a few restaurant reviews when we come back. Also if I can get my damn laptop to work again (long story!) I’ll try to post some pictures while on holiday).

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

focaccia recipe
focaccia recipe
how to make focaccia
how to make focaccia
how to make focaccia

 

Chorizo Focaccia Recipe

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

Ingredients

Ingredients for Chorizo and Spring Onion Focaccia

  • 30 g yeast
  • 175 ml water
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 175 ml water
  • 1 kg white bread flour
  • 15 g Salt
  • 1 chorizo sausage cut into 0.5cm thick slices. Good size chorizo
  • 1 spring onion chop finely

Ingredients for Squid Ink, Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia

  • 30 g yeast
  • 175 ml water
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 175 ml water
  • 1 kg white bread flour
  • 15 g Salt
  • 5 g squid ink
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Put yeast, sugar and 175ml water into a large bowl and leave it for 15 minutes (don’t mix yet).
  2. Add olive oil, white wine and another 175ml of water into another bowl.
  3. After 15 minutes mix the mixture from step 1 with the flour and salt and leave for 20 minutes. Cover this mixture/bowl with a damp kitchen cloth to stop the mixture from drying out.
  4. After 20 minutes mix everything apart from the chorizo together and use your hands to need the dough and the mixture has a softness but elasticity to it. Cover with a damp kitchen cloth and find somewhere warm and leave for 30 minutes for it to rise.
  5. After 30 minutes put the dough into a rectangle shaped baking tray and you can put your chorizo on top of the dough. Preheat the oven at 190C and bake the bread for 20-30 minutes until cooked. The times are approximate depending on your oven. For example a home oven will take approximately 30 minutes while a professional oven takes 20 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Note: Both Focaccia’s are made in the same way but for the squid ink, rosemary and garlic focaccia of course don’t add chorizo. Otherwise mix all of the ingredients together as per the steps.