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Stir Fried Beef with Thai Chive Flower and Bean Curd

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Ma Po Tofu Sichuan Recipe

Ma Po Tofu Sichuan Recipe

It feels like months since I last updated my blog and prior to giving birth I used to update my blog every week or so, but recently I’ve spent a lot of time working towards my new illustrator business, setting up a website for it and most importantly working on my portfolio. While I have still been cooking in recent times, with both Chris and my workloads we don’t really have time to sit down and eat elaborate meals so we’ve been eating fairly simply.

One thing I have felt though is a bit lost for not having time to cook. I’m due to go back to working in the same restaurant I worked in before part-time and I do actually miss the feeling of cooking properly. I also spent roughly two years working on this website so it’s upset me a litle not being able to update it.

Just recently as well, Chris has been incredibly busy with his photography business so he hasn’t had the time to photograph any dishes for me and we’ve both been really sick with baby flu which Amelia picked up at nursery. Seriously, if you haven’t had a baby, be warned(!), baby flu is literally 10 times worse than adult flu.

So to get back into the run of my blog, I had a re go at cooking and photographing one of my original recipes from this website, Ma Po Tofu. Here is the orignal blog with the story behind this dish and the recipe. I hope you will like it. 🙂

麻婆豆腐) Ma Po Tofu is a well known dish from Sichuan. The creator is a lady who has pockmark on her face and pockmark is Ma in Chinese and Po is a respectful form for a old lady. Ma Po had this small restaurant in Chengdu city and the most of her customers were porters. They usually bought some tofu and mince to ask Ma Po to cook them something to eat. After a long time, this tofu dish got more and more popular and famous, so people named this dish after Ma Po’s name. That’s how we called this dish Ma Po tofu.

I also know of a British chef called Fuchsia Dunlop who is a so called expert on Chinese food after she learnt some Chinese and spent some time at a cookery school in China. The way she pronounces this dish in Chinese translates to “Pock-Marked Mother Chen’s Bean Curd” but if you ever go to a Chinese restaurant in Sichuan or Sichuan restaurant in Taiwan and China . ” Ma Po Tofu “ is the proper way to call this dish.

I went to the original site of Ma Po’s restaurant in Chengdu when I was 14 year-old. But this restaurant was burned down in 2005. Many people felt really sad about this as Ma Po’s restaurant plays an important part in the history of Sichuan cuisine. So, the Sichuan government rebuilt it again at another address in Chengdu city.

Here is one of the cooking methods for Ma Po tofu which was taught to me by my grandpa. My grandpa originated from Sichuan and was a really excellent cook and some of my happiest memories are of the time I spent with him in the kitchen learning to cook many different delicious dishes.

ma po tofu sichuan recipe

 

 

Ma Po Tofu Sichuan Recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 600 g tofu
  • 230 g pork mince or beef mince but I used pork
  • 2 spring onions chop really fine
  • 2 cloves garlic chop really fine

Seasonings

  • 1.5 tbsp chili bean sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1.5 tsp Sichuan pepper powder

Instructions

  1. Remove the hard edge of Tofu and cut it into 1.5 cm cubes. Place it into a plate with kitchen napkin to suck the water from tofu.
  2. Heat your wok with two tablespoons of oil and sauté pork mince. Add spring onion, garlic and chilli bean paste in. stir it constantly for another 20 seconds. Season it with soy sauce, salt, sugar and add tofu cubes into it, gently mix everything together but do not damage the shape of the tofu.
  3. Pour a cup of stock to reduce it down. This way can make tofu suck all flavour from sauce and stock.
  4. After reducing the stock, place it into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle a little bit of chopped spring onion on top to garnish it.

ma po tofu sichuan recipe

Lion Head Meatballs

Lion Head Meatballs

lion head meatballs

(獅子頭) Lion head is a famous dish in Chinese cuisine. It originates from Eastern China and the history of this dish goes back to the Sui Dynasty.

Emperor Yang of Sui brought his queens had take a boat trip to south east China. He especially loved the landscape and views of Yangzhou. So, afterwards he went back to his palace and gave his chefs four cooking subjects which were inspirited from landscapes of Yangzhou. Lion head was one of the dishes been created but back at that time Lion head is not known as Lion head. It wasn’t until the Tang Dynasty that the name changed to Lion head because it looks like a male lion’s head.

You will find out the meat balls really look like a Chinese guardian lions head if you have ever seen the pictures. Well, now you know when Chinese people talking about “ hey, let’s have lion head tonight for dinner “ it doesn’t mean real “Lion’s head”, it’s just Chinese style of meatball. I always remember when I told my Italian friend that I’m going to cook him “Lion head” and his jaw nearly dropped to the floor with a terrified look. Until now, this memory still makes us laugh all the time.

Here is the recipe for Lion head meatballs:

 

Lion Head Meatballs

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

Ingredients

Lion Head Meatball's Ingredients

  • 50 g pork mince
  • 300 g pork belly without skin
  • 2 spring onions chop really finely
  • 10 g ginger chop really finely
  • 1 large egg
  • 50 g tofu

Seasonings for Meatballs

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch white pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp potato starch

Ingredients for soup

  • 1/2 medium Chinese leaf medium size leaf quartered lengthways
  • 3 bunches glass noodles soak in warm water until soft
  • 2 spring onions cut 3cm lengthways
  • 1 leek
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 thin slices ginger
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 small piece cinnamon
  • 200 g tofu place into a container and cover in the water. Frozen it for a few hours until it has small honeycomb ish holds. After it defrost a little bit and slice it to 2 cm thick squire shape. (This is optional. “frozen tofu” is very popular in Taiwan because I had lots tofu left over from make mixture of lion head so I deicide to cook with it.)

Seasonings for soup

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • water or stock
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Instructions

Lion Head Meatballs Procedure

  1. Cut the pork belly into small dice and use blender to blend it into really finely mince.
  2. Mix all the ingredients and seasonings together and start throwing down the meatballs mixture a few times. This is for pursuing the better texture and taste of meatballs. It’s also a fantastic way to release your anger.
  3. With damp hands, take a large mound of the minced meat mixture and mould into a ball. Place on a plate and repeat with the remaining meatball mixture.
  4. Heat up a deep pan with oil for fry the meatballs or use a frying pay with more than 1cm high of oil to fry the meatballs. This is help the meatballs to settle the shape and enhance the colour of it. After just leave meatballs on aside.

Soup Procedure

  1. Use a frying pan to sauté ginger, garlic, spring onion and leek until it turned a little bit soft.
  2. Add star anise and cinnamon to sauté with.
  3. Place procedures 2 and meatballs we made earlier into a stock pot or a casserole dish.
  4. Add all the seasonings into the pot and use water or stock to cover the meatballs.
  5. Use full strength power to boil it then turn to lowest fire to simmer it for 30~45 minutes and then put Chinese leaf, frozen tofu into the pot to cook for another 15~20 minutes until it’s soft.
  6. Add glass noodle at the end to cook with the meatballs as glass noodles will absorb a lot of soup. After the glass noodles soften add the lion head meatballs. Then of course you can eat.

Recipe Notes

You can also blanch some bok choy for garnish.

 

Stir Fried Rice Cake with Spring Greens and Pork recipe

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.

Prawn and Scallop Shumai Recipe

Prawn and Scallop Shumai Recipe

prawn and scallop shumai recipe

It’s only 12 days now and I’m going back home for two weeks. I try to go back to my home country, Taiwan, once every couple of years so I can catch up with friends, see my family, do some shopping and perhaps most importantly have a rest.

I’m especially desperate to go home this time as two of my relatives died last year but I wasn’t able to go back. So with this in mind I’m making food that I regularly eat in Taiwan.

This recipe, called Prawn and Scallop Shumai doesn’t have a story behind but even though it originates from China it’s a popular dish in Taiwan. If you remember some time I made another kind of shumai which contained glutinous rice and I’ve been wanting to make another kind of shumai since then.

Shumai itself is basically dim sum, but with a different name. They can be made really quickly and you can put whatever you like inside but for this recipe I chose one of my favourite things which is scallops.

I have bit of a love hate relationship with scallops. I really like the taste of scallops but one of my regular jobs in my chef job is to empty live scallops from their shells. For anyone that’s opened a scallop before you’ll know that can have a nasty bite to them but nonetheless they’re really tasty.

Hope you enjoy this recipe.

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

prawn and scallop shumai
prawn and scallop shumai
prawn and scallop shumai
prawn and scallop shumai
prawn and scallop shumai

 

Prawn and Scallop Shumai Recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 20 shumai

Ingredients

  • 300 g scallops
  • 225 g prawns for garnishing the shumai afterwards
  • 1 pack shumai pastry available from Chinese supermarkets
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder
  • 2 drops sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Use a food processor to blend all of the ingredients.
  2. Put the filling use a teaspoon into the fillings as shown in the procedure photos below.
  3. Cut the ten spare prawns in half and then place one on top of each shumai.
  4. Steam the shumai for around 15 minutes.
  5. It’s now ready to serve. Shumai can be eaten on it’s own or you can dip it in some soy sauce.

 

Egg Spinach and Squid Roll Recipe

Egg Spinach and Squid Roll Recipe

egg spinach and squid roll

Egg Spinach and Squid Roll Recipe. Recently I’ve been busy doing a series of speeches in Glasgow for Chinese New Year. I was asked by www.ricefield.org which is based in the trendy Trongate building in central Glasgow if I could present some speeches as part of their celebrations for Chinese New Year.

These have now finished, spring is coming and I can now focus properly on my blog once again. I’m also going back to Taiwan for a couple weeks at the end of March which I’m super excited about.

Today I felt like making a roll and while I didn’t want to do sushi I wanted to make something that looks fairly similar.  This recipe doesn’t have a story about it but it has a delicious egg skin filled with squid, carrots and regular seasonings.

This dish is light to eat but tastes really good if you like squid.

Hope you enjoy this recipe. I’ll also be doing another Western recipe in the next couple of weeks, this time a Focaccia, so keep an eye on my site for that.

egg spinach and squid roll
egg spinach and squid roll procedure
egg spinach and squid roll procedure
egg spinach and squid roll procedure
egg spinach and squid roll procedure
egg spinach and squid roll procedure
egg spinach and squid roll procedure

 

Egg Spinach and Squid Roll Recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients for filling

  • 270 g squid
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder
  • 2 drops sesame oil approximately

Ingredients for egg skin

  • 1 egg yolk that we got from the egg white
  • 3 eggs whole
  • 2 tsp potato starch or corn flour
  • 1 tbsp water

Other ingredients

  • 150 g spinach to wrap between the layers as explained in the procedure

Instructions

Procedure for filling

  1. Remove the skin and insides from the squid and give it a thorough clean.
  2. Cut the squid into small dices and chop up in a food processor until the mixture is fine.
  3. Add the egg white, salt, pepper powder and sesame powder and blend for another couple of minutes.
  4. Chop the carrots and spring onion. Mix with the mixture from the previous steps evenly. Leave aside for later.

Procedure for egg skin

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together and heat up a frying pan with a couple drops of oil. Fry the eggs as you would do when making a crepe (the skin should be quite thin).
  2. An important part of the procedure is to make sure the potato starch or corn flour has been mixed with the one tablespoon of water before it’s added to the egg mixture. This is to stop the potato starch having lumps.

Procedures for wrapping

  1. Blanche the spinach, rinse under cold water and squeeze out as much water as you can but don’t squeeze so much as to damage the shape of the leaves.
  2. Lay out the spinach on the egg skin as the photo below shows.
  3. Spread the squid mixture evenly on top of the spinach as the photos below show.
  4. Roll the egg skin, spinach and squid filling and cover with cling film. Roll the cling film on the counter or chopping board a few times to make sure the roll has been rolled evenly.
  5. Use a steamer to steam the rolls (including the cling film) for around 20 minutes.
  6. Once steamed cool the rolls in a fridge or leave aside. Once cooled chop into suitable sized shapes. I wanted to mimick sushi with my rolls so I chopped everything about the same size as I would do with sushi (each slice is maybe 1.5cm wide). It's now ready to eat!