Honey Cake Chinese Desert

honey cake recipe

Honey Cake is a dessert that we usually give to our families when there is a new born member of the family.

We will host a part for our family and friends to celebrate the one month birth of the baby and we call this party “Man-yue-jiu”. Usually the family will prepare boiled eggs which are dyed red as well as prepare savoury sticky rice and this honey cake as gifts to friends and family who attend the party as a thank you to them joining us.

I personally think this is a great tradition. When I have children I want to do the same thing. Of course if you want to eat honey cake and you don’t have friends or family you can still buy this cake in some bakeries in Taiwan.

In this recipe I added some black sesame and almonds for a modern twist. This is of course

completely optional. If you don’t like either black sesame or almonds you can leave them out.

Credit: These photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography

honey cake procedure

 

Honey Cake Chinese Desert

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

Ingredients

  • 3 whole eggs
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 150 g honey
  • 200 g vegetable oil
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 15 g black sesame
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • Few drops vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Add eggs, sugar, honey and oil to mixer and beat until everything has dissolved. The mixture should be a light creamy colour.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder into the mixture from step 1. Add vanilla extract, almond and sesame into the mixture and mix everything evenly.
  3. Put a couple sheets of baking paper into a square baking tray (20cm x 20cm x 3 cm) and pour the cake mixture into it. Set the oven at 150C and bake for around 35 minutes.

 

Pearl Meatballs

pearl meatballs recipe

Because of the layer of glutinous rice that surrounds this meatball we give it the great name of “Pearl Meatball”. This is because the rice looks translucent and the colour and shape of this meatballs looks like a pearl.

This dish can often to be seen in banquets and parties in both Taiwan and China because people love the name, the taste and also the pretty shape of it.

I loved this dish when I was younger and I remember my grandfather found out I love this dish and he just keep cooking this pearl meat ball dish pretty much everyday. So one day, I got really tired of this dish and I have to tell my grandfather to cook a new dish in a very sweet and none hurt his feelings way. I know what he did is for love but some time even though a dish is so tasty you still have to take break from it some time or you will just feel tired of it.

There are so many dishes that my grandfather cooked for me when I was young and now I share with you all these recipe and I hope you will enjoy it just like me and cook those dishes for your love one.

Credit: These photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography

 

Pearl Meatballs

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 12 meatballs

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 200 g beef mince
  • 120 g pork fat or you can use 220g of pork belly without the skin and 100g beef mince
  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimps available in Chinese supermarkets
  • 2 thin slices ginger
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 1/4 cups glutinous rice soak in water for at least 1 hour

Seasonings

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp potato starch
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Use a food processor to mince the meat together and after the meat has totally blended, add an egg to mix for another 30 second.
  2. Plate all the meat into a mixing bowl and start to beat the meat for few minutes to help the meat get that wonderful elasticity texture. (This step is a great therapy for the daily stressful life, lol).
  3. Soak dried shitake mushrooms and dried shrimp into a bowl of warm water until it’s soft. Chop the shitake mushrooms roughly.
  4. Two thin slices of ginger chopped finely and wash and cut the carrot roughly.
  5. Use a food processor to mince mushrooms, shrimps, ginger and carrot finely and mix them with step 2 evenly.
  6. Add all the seasonings with ingredients together and mix them nicely.
  7. Make the mixture into small but equal size balls and cover the meatball with a layer of glutinous rice.
  8. Use a bamboo steamer or regular steamer to steam the meatballs for 12~15 minutes with full gas power.

 

Bang Bang Chicken

bang bang chicken

Is everybody feeling the heat lately? Recently Edinburgh has been getting a lot warmer. It’s great weather when I have a day off but it’s really horrible when I have to work under this kind of weather because the temperature can easily reach 40~50 degree.

So today I share with you the recipe of this Bang Bang Chicken. This dish is great for hot weather. I always love to have this dish during the summer and it’s healthy and low fat as well. Especially the green bean noodle is really low in calories and fills you up quickly. It’s a great food for people who want to lose some weight ready for wearing their summer bikinis.

In this particular method of preparing bang bang chicken, I chose to steam the chicken rather than use traditional way of boiling in water because I think steaming the chicken helps keep the texture and taste better. I actually made the sesame paste myself at home because I was too lazy to go to Chinese supermarket just for a bottle of sesame paste. So I went to Sainsbury and bought two small bags of white sesame (for some reason I can’t find any where in the Edinburgh that sells black sesame!! Please contact with me if you know where you can buy the black sesame in Edinburgh and Glasgow), sauté them and use my food processor to grind them into a paste. It’s not difficult at all and taste even better than the sesame paste you bought in the market and cheaper as well.

Credit: These photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography

 

Bang Bang Chicken

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 chicken leg including thigh. You can use chicken breast if you're on a diet
  • 1/2 cucumber julienne it
  • Handful bean sprouts blanched
  • 3 bunches green bean noodles available in Chinese supermarkets
  • 1 chili julienne it
  • 1 tsp spring onion finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground Sichuan pepper saute for 20 seconds before grinding it

Seasonings

  • 1 tsp sesame paste
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1.5 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp chili oil

Instructions

  1. Use a tablespoon of rice wine, 1 teaspoon grind Sichuan pepper, 1 teaspoon salt to marinade the chicken breast and leg for 30 minutes.
  2. Use a steamer to cook the chicken with a little bit of ginger slice and spring onion. After it cook just leave it to cool down.
  3. Peel the chicken with your hands after it’s cool down.
  4. Soak the green bean noodle into a bowl of warm water for 15~20 minutes until it’s soft. Cook the green bean noodle in a pot of boiling water for 5~10 minutes and soak in the cold water.
  5. Mix all the seasonings with 1 teaspoon finely chopped spring onion, 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic, ½ teaspoon finely chopped ginger and leave it for 20 minutes and stir it a few times every few minutes to help the sugar, salt to dissolve in the sauce.
  6. Plate up all the vegetables, chicken, green bean noodle into a plate and sprinkle the sauce on the top.

 

Salad Boat Sandwich

salad boat sandwich

Salad boat sandwich is one of my favourite snacks in Taiwanese cuisine. It’s also known as “MiaoKou Sandwich” for which MiaoKou is the name of a night market in Keelung, Taiwan. This night market sell a lot of tasty food and it’s always full of tourists. This salad boat sandwich is one of the most famous street food in this night market.

The best part of this sandwich is the bread. The bread is crispy on the outside and soft in the inside. It has a little bit milk flavour and a little bit sweetness but not too strong with fresh cucumber, tomato, stewed eggs and ham plus Taiwanese sweet mayonnaise. Ohh…just one bite of this amazing sandwich can make my day full of sunshine.

Of course if you don’t like cucumber, tomato, ham and then you can change any kind of filling you like. I like my Salad boat with sweet corn tuna mayonnaise or rocket lettuce with roast chicken which is really depends on personal flavour but here I’m only introduce you the most original method that we use in Taiwan and I hope you will enjoy my recipe and have fun to make this sandwich.

Just to give you an idea of what people thought of this sandwich here they said it’s almost like eating a savoury doughnut. The dough is just like that used in a doughnut but the bread is entirely savoury and not sweet, making this sandwich extremely unique.

Credit: These photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography

salad boat sandwich procedures

 

Salad Boat Sandwich

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 14 bread rolls

Ingredients

Ingredients for Salad Boat Sandwich

  • 350 g bread flour
  • 60 g plain flour
  • 45 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 15 g milk powder
  • 14 g yeast
  • 180 g water
  • 45 g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • Some Taiwanese style sweet mayonnaise
  • Some thin slices cucumber
  • Few slices ham
  • Some stewed eggs

Ingredients for Taiwanese Style Sweet Mayonnaise

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 10 g salt
  • 90 g caster sugar
  • 60 g potato starch
  • 20 g rice vinegar
  • A little bit of oil

Instructions

Procedures for Salad Boat Sandwich

  1. Add flour, sugar salt, milk powder, egg into a mixing bowl and melt the yeast in the water and add them into the mixing bowl too.
  2. Knead the step 1 for 5 to 10 minutes when it’s turn to a smooth ball and then add the butter to mix evenly.
  3. Cover the dough with cling film and wet tea towel and leave it to arise for 1 hour - 90 minutes.
  4. We separate the dough into a small balls weigh 50g for one after the dough arise to twice bigger than the original size.
  5. Put a rolling pin in the middle of the small ball and flatten it towards the sides.
  6. Use fingers to roll the flattened dough into an olive shape. Wet the dough in the cold water and then coat the dough with breadcrumb then leave it on the side for another 30~40 minutes to allow it to rise again.
  7. Heat up the oil in a wok and deep-fry the bread roll for 3~5 minutes at a lower heat. Throw a small piece of bread into the oil if the temperature is right and the bread will flow on the oil with a lot of bubble immediately. I will cook three bread rolls at once in case the oil temperature drops too quickly.
  8. Use a pair of scissor to cut the bread roll and put a little bit of mayonnaise first then add cucumber, tomato, ham and stewed eggs in it.

Procedures for Taiwanese Sweet Mayonnaise

  1. Add salt, sugar, potato starch and vinegar into a small saucepan and cook it at the lowest gas power. Keep stirring it while cooking and once the mixture begins to turn into a sticky paste turn off the heat.
  2. Whisk the step 1 mixture into the eggs, a little bit at once. (You will see the eggs with the mixture will start turning to a creamy colour). After this, just use the oil to change the thickness to whatever you desire. (This is the reason why I didn’t put down the amount of the oil in my recipe.)

 

Authentic Tang Yuan Soup recipe

Tang Yuan

The other day I read about Ching He Huang’s recipe for this Tang Yuan soup on the good food channel and she mentioned this dish is specifically for Chinese new year which is not right.

Chinese and Taiwanese people eat Tang Yuan during the Yuan Xiao Festival (Lantern festival) and also Winter solstice. This is a very old tradition in both China and Taiwan.

The pronunciation of Tang Yuan also has a meaning of family reunion so when we eat Tang Yuan we are thinking about our friends and family who work or live far away.

My family didn’t have money for me to learn piano or painting, drawing when I was a child so I remember I always pulled a chair into the kitchen and stand on the chair where I would watch my grandfather cook.

I used to help him cook rice and wash vegetables when I was young but although he passed away some 10 years ago I still think about him all the time, especially when I’m cooking.

I think cooking for me is not just a job or daily routine for me. It’s also my childhood memory. I hope I can share more recipes and show that Chinese and Taiwanese culture and food is not the typical stereotype. Sadly a lot of people thinking all Eastern people eat dogs, cats and anything that moves. These people are of course narrow minded idiots.

I always remember one of the head chef I worked for before shook a goose gut in front of my face and asked me: “Do you Chinese all eat this kind of stuff??” However I already told him a million times that I’m not Chinese. But I think to a lot of people if you’re “Yellow” you must be Chinese.

So today I share with you my version of Tang Yuan recipe with you and I hope you will like it. I hope one day if you see a yellow person like me you can be a bit more welcome to them. They might be a nice person and a good friend in your life. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Credit: These photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography

Tang Yuan meatballs

 

Tang Yuan

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 5 portions

Ingredients

Ingredients for Tang Yuan pastry

  • 400 g glutinous rice flour
  • 1 tbsp potato starch
  • 200 g water
  • 20 g oil

Ingredients for Tang Yuan filling

  • 250 g pork mince try to use pork belly or fatty pork as it will improve the texture and taste
  • 30 g fried shallots
  • 1 spring onion chop finely
  • 1 thin slice ginger chop finely

Seasonings for Tang Yuan filling

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Couple pinches white pepper

Instructions

Tang Yuan pastry procedures

  1. Mix everything together and knead it until it’s smooth.
  2. Take 15% of the mixture and separate them into 2 or 3 small balls and flatten them by hand. Boil some water in a small saucepan and cook those flatten mixture until it flow on the water.
  3. Mix the cooked mixture with the other raw mixture together evenly and separate the mixture into 25g each small balls.

Procedures for Tang Yuan

  1. Mix all the ingredients and seasonings for filling together evenly and leave it on aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Separate the filling into small balls and freeze them until they are hard. (It’s easier to make Tang Yuan if the filling is hard.)
  3. Use the pastry to cover the filling and make it look like a round shape.
  4. Boil some water to cook the Tang Yuan and when they float on the water they are cooked.
  5. Use another soup pot to cook stock and when it’s boiling add some chopped celery and dried shallots into the stock and season the stock with a bit of salt and sesame oil.
  6. Place the Tang Yuan into the soup and cook them for 1 more minute. You can also put some vegetables into the soup such as Bok Choy or any green vegetable.

 

Glutinous Rice Shumai

glutinous rice shumai

I’ve caught the flu recently that’s the reason I haven’t replied to all of your comments recently, really sorry about that but I hope you can understand a person like me who has to work 48 hours in 3 days with flu basically doesn’t have any extra energy to do other thing else.

I know a lot of people love Dim Sum so I decide to make this Glutinous Rice Shumai. It has a different filling compared to normal yellow pastry shumai that people usually order in a Cantonese restaurant.

I have completely forgotten the first time when I tried to make this shumai but the flavour of it is very unique. When Chris tried it for the first time he wasn’t too sure about the taste but after trying one, he tried another and then before you know it they were all gone.

Shumai is a dish that grows on you. It’s really cheap to make, very tasty and very filling. A perfect snack.

I searched for the history of this dish and shumai was created in Yuan Dynasty. For those who aren’t sure, the ruler of the Yuan Dynasty was from Mongol, of which the most famous ruler was Genghis Khan. I always thought Shumai was created by Cantonese or Chinese people but amazingly I found out it was actually created by the Mongolian people. This is another benefit for writing a blog. I have learnt another lesson from history by researching the ingredients for my blog.

Credit: These photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography

 

Glutinous Rice Shumai

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

Ingredients

Ingredients for Shumai pastry

  • 1.5 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup cold water

Ingredients for Shumai

  • 1.5 cups glutinous rice
  • 2 dried shiitake mushroms soak in hot water for 10-15 minutes to soften then chop finely
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimps also soak in hot water for 10-15 minutes then chop finely
  • 150 g pork belly remove the skin an cut into 2.5cm dices. We will use this pork belly to make a stewed pork for shumai filling

Seasonings for Shumai filling

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Couple pinches black pepper

Seasonings and ingredients for stewed pork for Shumai

  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 thin slice ginger
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Some water to cover the pork

Instructions

Procedures for Shumai pastry

  1. Mix flour together and pour the boiling water in the flour, mix with a pair of chopsticks and add 1/3 cup of cold water.
  2. Use your hands to knead the dough until it’s smooth and cover by wet kitchen napkin of tea towel. Leave it on aside for 20 minutes and separate to small portions (depends on what kind of size you like).
  3. Use a rolling pin to flatten the small dough from step 2 and use your finger tips to make the pastry have some wrinkle bits (looks a bit like flower petals).

Procedures for stewed pork for shumai

  1. Heat a wok with 1 table spoon of oil. Stir fry the ginger, spring onion and garlic first for 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar into wok and wait for it melt. Add the pork into the wok and stir fry it until the pork get a little bit colour.
  2. Add all the seasonings and spices into the wok and stir fry it for another 2 minutes. Place everything into a small soup pot or small sauce pan with lit and cover the pork by water.
  3. Use full gas power to boiling the pork first then turn to lowest power to simmer the pork until it is soft.
  4. After the pork cooked, place it into a bowl or plate and cool it down. After it cool down, chop it and use for shumai filling.

Procedures for Shumai fillings

  1. Cook glutinous rice by rice cooker. 1 ½  cup rice : 1 ½ water. Because it’s glutinous rice so I will put another 2 tablespoons water to cook it.
  2. Mix Shitake mushroom, dried shrimps, chopped pork, soy soy sauce, black pepper with hot glutinous rice together and make sure it mix evenly.
  3. Take one pastry we made earlier and put 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle.
  4. Use your hand to close the “waist” part and the shumai should look like a “vase” shape. Put a little bit more filling on top of it.
  5. Use bamboo steamer to steam for 10~15 minutes and ready to serve.