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Dan Bing: Taiwanese Egg Crepe. Delicious!

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Stir Fried Beef with Thai Chive Flower and Bean Curd

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Stir Fried Pickled Bamboo shoot with chili beef mince

Stir Fried Pickled Bamboo shoot with chili beef mince

Stir Fried Pickled Bamboo shoot with chili beef mince

Stir-fry pickled bamboo shoot with chilli beef mince is one of my favourite dishes that my grandma cooks. Every time I go back to Taiwan I always ask grandma cook this dish for me which she does and I really love.

Grandma is a very traditional Chinese and Taiwanese mother and grandma. Kitchen is her stage and she is the queen of kitchen. She will kick you out if you try to cook in her kitchen and her happiness comes from her children or grand children’s compliments about her food. So, I especially taught my husband to say: “I love you grandma, your food is delicious” when we went back to Taiwan.

She is original from Guangdong (Canton), China. So all the dishes she has cooked for her family are always influenced by Cantonese cuisine. She and my grandfather are two of the best chefs in my heart. She is also my role model for my old and retired life. She is always full of energy, enthusiasm and has a real passion for life. She’s been through a lot of really bad moments in her life but she always stays such a strong, happy person and rarely complains about her life. She is also the busiest old retired lady I’ve ever met in my life. She learnt (patchy) English, how to swim, play the erhu fiddle, ballroom dance, join the chorus, become a member of women’s Federation meeting and much much and more. She also has so many friends who always invite her shopping and have tea together. Even she is that busy she still manages to look after us. Whenever we come home she always prepares the tastiest dinner imaginable. I wish when I get old I can be just like her.

I was so excited to see they sell this pickled bamboo shoot in my local Chinese supermarket. I even called grandma on Skype to show her it. I know how to cook bamboo shoots just like grandma but I still ask for it when I go home and somehow it tastes so much better.

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

pickled bamboo shoot

 

Stir Fried Pickled Bamboo shoot with chili beef mince

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 400 g pickled bamboo shoot
  • 100 g beef mince
  • 2 chilies (optional), chop roughly
  • 1 piece ginger chop finely

Marinade for beef mince

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp potato starch or corn flour
  • 1/4 tsp rice wine

Seasonings

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. 1. Soak the bamboo shoot in water for 15 minutes and drain it. Rinse it with water and leave it to dry.
  2. 2. Cut the bamboo shoot into the size as photo shows.
  3. 3. Marinade the beef mince with marinade.
  4. 4. Heat the wok with a little bit oil to fry the bamboo shoot first until the surface looks slightly golden brown. Place it on a plate and leave it aside.
  5. 5. Heat the wok with 1 tablespoon oil and stir fry the mince for 30 seconds and add chilli, keep stir fry until the mince is cooked.
  6. 6. Add bamboo shoot and stir fry for a couple minutes. Add seasonings and check the seasonings before plate it up.

Recipe Notes

* This dish should taste a little bit sour and a little bit spicy. It’s great when served with rice. (I always have 2 big bowls of rice with this dish)

 

Steamed Tofu with prawn

Steamed Tofu with prawn

steamed tofu with prawn

Yesterday I went to the supermarket opposite my house, Sainsbury’s, and was really happy to find that they are now selling tofu. One of my favourite things to cook with but one of the more inconvenient things is Tofu, inconvenient as it means I have to go to the Chinese supermarket. Tofu is one of the greatest things to come out of Chinese cuisine. It’s incredibly health and has high protein, vitamins, calcium and minerals but it’s also low in calories, sodium and fat.

Research has also shown that tofu is great for combating heart disease and is good for ladies when they’re going through their menopause.

So, with all those great benefits, why can’t we buy tofu in every supermarket in the UK? I think it’s because people don’t know how to cook tofu or they had bad experiences with a tofu dish that has been cooked incorrectly. For example, my husband was talking to his colleagues and they said when they tried to cook tofu it turned into a sloppy mess. Cooked properly it should keep it’s shape and texture.

Tofu is a very common ingredient in Chinese and Taiwanese cooking. We cook Tofu in many different cooking ways including stir-fry, pan fry, steam, stew, deep fry and more.

So, here is my recipe for my tofu dish today. It’s called “steamed tofu with prawn”. The preparation time for this dish is around 20 minutes. It’s quick to make, simple, healthy and cooked without any oil at all. How great is that?! Next time people who try to call Chinese food unhealthy might start thinking again. People in western society often think Chinese food is about sweet and sour, prawn toasts, msg, fat etc but in actual fact good Chinese food is nothing like this.

Credits: Preparation photos were taken by myself but final photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

steamed tofu with prawn

 

Steamed Tofu with prawn

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 250 g prawn
  • 500 g tofu
  • 1 piece ginger chop finely

Seasonings for prawns

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder

Seasonings for sauce

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 stock cube
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp potato powder

Instructions

  1. Take out the tofu from package and dry it. Sprinkle a couple pinches of salt on the tofu and leave for a couple minutes.
  2. Cut the tofu into 1 cm thick pieces.  Use a cookie cutter to cut the tofu and use a teaspoon to dig a small hole in central of tofu.
  3. Use a food processor to process the prawn with all the seasonings.
  4. Roll the prawn mixture from step 3 into a small ball and put in the central of tofu.
  5. Steam the tofu with full power for 10 minutes.
  6. Mix all the seasonings for sauce in a small saucepan and bring it to boil. You must stir it occasionally while it cook.
  7. Pour appropriate among of sauce on top of tofu and ready to serve.

 

Crystal Dumplings

Crystal Dumplings

crystal dumplings

Crystal dumplings are a unique kind of dumpling that takes the name crystal as it looks a bit like a crystal on the outside with it’s almost translucent skin. Obviously this dish doesn’t contain a crystal.

Sometimes Taiwanese families will cook crystal dumplings around Chinese New Year because both the look and name of this dish sounds pleasant. You will find often in Chinese, Cantonese and Taiwanese cuisine people love to serve food with a name like dragon, phoenix, pearl, gold, diamond, crystal or something else.

I tried using a couple different recipes for the pastry in this dish but in the end I found the easiest but best recipe is simply to use potato starch and sweet potato starch. If it’s too difficult for you to find sweet potato starch then just potato starch on it’s own is fine.

For the filling I used beef mince instead of pork mince for a change. An awfully large number of Chinese and Taiwanese dishes use pork or chicken as their main meat ingredients but I don’t always want to use this ingredients. My work partner told me “change is the spice of life” last week and that has stuck with me. I really dislike falling into a certain cooking pattern so for this and my new few blog posts I’ll be using completely different ingredients.

crystal dumplings

Another thing I’m thinking about doing is expanding my website to include some western dishes that I have learnt over the years. Through college, eating out in different cities, friends and working as a chef I have learnt a lot of really tasty Western recipes.

So here is the recipe for today. It’s not pork or chicken and also it hasn’t been deep-fried. I hope you will enjoy it and remember give me some feedback.

Credits: Preparation photos were taken by myself but final photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

crystal dumplings procedure
crystal dumplings procedure
crystal dumplings procedure
crystal dumplings procedure
crystal dumplings procedure
crystal dumplings procedure

 

 

crystal dumplings
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Crystal Dumplings

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

Ingredients

Ingredients for filling

  • 500 g beef mince
  • 1 small carrot chop finely
  • 2 stalks celery chop finely
  • 1/2 onion thinly sliced
  • 1 slice ginger chop finely
  • 2 shitake mushrooms soften in hot water and chop finely
  • 1 tbsp deep fried shallots

Seasonings for fillings

  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice wine
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 tbsp rock sugar

Ingredients for pastry

  • 1 cup sweet potato powder
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 1 cup hot water around 95 degrees
  • Few drops Vegetable or sunflower oil

Taiwanese sweet chili sauce ingredients

  • 3 tbsp miso sauce
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp glutinous rice flour

Instructions

Procedures for filling

  1. Heat a wok with 2 tablespoons oil. Stir fry the onion and ginger until onion gets a little bit golden and brown colour.
  2. Add mince and keep stir-fry it until outside of mince cooked.
  3. Add celery and carrot and keep stir-fry it for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add all the seasonings and water. Bring it to the boil first then turn the gas power down to medium and reduce down the sauce until it’s nearly dry.

Procedures for pastry

  1. Add salt, sweet potato powder and potato starch into a big bowl and pour the hot water a little bit once.
  2. Add some oil to knead the mixture until it’s not sticky anymore.
  3. Cover a wet clothes on top of the mixture and leave it for 10 minutes to relax the mixture.

Final procedures for crystal dumplings

  1. Separate the pastry mixture to appropriate size of small balls and flatten it by your hand.
  2. Put 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle and close tightly by your hand.
  3. Use your fingertips to change the shape from a ball to a triangle shape.
  4. Boil a pot of water and cook the crystal dumplings in it. They are cooked when the dumplings float on top of the water.

Sweet chili sauce procedure

  1. Mix everything evenly in a small pot.
  2. Bring the mixture to boil and turn to low heat to cook it until the mixture turns fairly sticky.

Recipe Notes

** You can use soy sauce as dipping for crystal dumplings or you can also try to make this Taiwanese sweet chilli sauce at home.

Tan Tsai Noodles

Tan Tsai Noodles

tan tsai noodles recipe

In Edinburgh the season has changed once again and it’s turned really cold now. I feel like I’m still recovering from our holiday where we had really hot weather but recently I’ve had a really nasty flu and so the weather in Edinburgh hasn’t helped. The best kind of food for this kind of cold wet weather is a bowl of hot and tasty noodle soup. So, today I’m sharing with you a famous Taiwanese noodle soup called Tan Tsai Noodles.

The story of Tan Tsai noodle began in 1895. There was a fishmonger, Mr Hong, whose family migrated to Fucheng from Zhangzhou in China where he learnt how to cook noodles while making a living catching fish. After some time he moved to Tainan in Taiwan where he still made a living catching fish.

In Taiwan there are two festivals, one called the Tomb-Sweeping Fesetival which is held in March and the other called the Moon Festival which is held in August. Between these seasons is a period called the “Slack Season” where fisherman can’t go out on the water, so Mr Hong began selling noodles.

His noodles had a unique taste and so became really popular so he then decided to sell noodles full time. During the beginning he would carry his noodles on shoulder poles so he could sell them in the streets, so he called these noodles “Slack season Tan Tsai Noodles”. These are known as “Tu Hsian Yueh Tan Tsai Noodles”. “Tu Hsian Yueh” means slack season in Chinese and “Tan Tsai” translates to shoulder poles in Taiwanese.

So, as you can imagine this noodle soup perfectly sums up my situation right now. Since coming back from holiday I’ve been experiencing a slight “financial slack season” and all of the ingredients for this recipe are easy and cheap to get hold of. But the most important thing about this dish is the price doesn’t reflect on the taste, it’s still incredibly tasty. It proves that both expensive and cheap food can be equally tasty. Personally, I like local market food rather than fancy restaurant. It tastes a lot more home made but good home made food is always better than restaurant food.

By the way, I finally took a final picture myself. Now it’s getting dark and with Chris’s work schedule he really doesn’t have time to take photos himself so he taught me how to do the photos. Hope you like it.

Credits: Preparation photos were taken by myself but final photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

tan tsai noodles inredients

 

Tan Tsai Noodles

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients for the noodle stock

  • 1 chicken bone
  • 6 Prawns only use the shells for the stock, keep the prawns for garnish
  • 1 handful bonito shaving also known as Katsuobushi shavings
  • 3 Spring Onions cut into 3cm lengthways
  • 2 slices ginger
  • water

Ingredients for the mince sauce

  • 400 g pork mince
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Rice Wine
  • 2 tbsp fried shallots
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tsp rock sugar

Instructions

Procedure for the noodle stock

  1. Remove the shell from prawns and use a little bit of oil to sauté the prawn shell
    tan tsai noodles procedure
  2. Roast the chicken bone in the oven until the bone gets some colour on it
    tan tsai noodles recipe
  3. Put everything into a stock pot and cover the ingredients with water.
  4. Boil it first then simmer for 2 hours. It’s now ready to serve with noodle.

Procedure for mince sauce

  1. Heat a wok with 2 tablespoons oil and stir-fry the pork until it’s cooked on the outside.
  2. Add all the ingredients and mix them evenly. Boil it first then simmer around 30 minutes to reduce down half of the sauce.

Final procedure for Tan Tsai Noodle

  1. Poach the prawn and vegetable in a pot of boiling water first. After cook the noodle in the boiling water.
  2. Place noodle and some mash garlic (optional) into a bowl and pour some mince sauce on top. Garnish with prawn and vegetable and add the soup.

 

Deep fried chicken legs with savoury sticky rice

Normally for female chefs it’s very hard to get promotion and near impossible in my home country but no matter how hard you work men always seem to get the promotions first. So after I left college I worked as a chef for a period of time but couldn’t go anywhere with it and gave it up for a few years. Then I moved to the UK in 2007 and found I could get a job as a chef fairly easily and have gone on from since then.

During my time in the UK I have worked in two really top quality restaurants and a number of lesser quality restaurants but as some may now getting promoted as a chef takes time. So, I joined the Witchery in March of this year and after six months I have a promotion. When I was told I have it I nearly danced across the kitchen and almost cried my eyes out but I was afraid he would think I’m a lunatic.

So, it’s now time for me to share a new recipe with you. I saw this “Deep fried chicken leg with savoury sticky rice” dish a long time ago but I’ve always wanted to try to make this dish and now it’s the time for it.

Even though the cooking method for this dish is deep fry it’s not entirely deep-fried. The chicken legs must steam first to make sure the whole shape has set but then you can deep fry it to make the skin turn crispy. I hope you can try it and give me some feedback.

 

Ingredients for savoury sticky rice:

2 cups sticky rice, soak with 3 cups of water for 1 hour
300g of pork belly. Remove the skin and cut it into rectangle shape as per the procedure photo.
4 dried shitake mushrooms, soak in warm water to soften it and thin slice it after.
2 tablespoons dried shrimp, soak in warm water to soften it and chop roughly after.
2 slices ginger, chop roughly
2 cloves garlic, chop roughly
1 spring onion, chop roughly

Seasonings for savoury sticky rice:

½ tablespoon rock sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cut soy sauce
1 ½ cup water
1 tablespoon rice wine

 

Procedures for savoury sticky rice:

  1. Cook the sticky rice in the steamer or rice cooker. The water and rice percentage should be 0.9: 1. So, if it’s 100g of sticky rice and you should pour 90g of water in the rice to cook with. I, personally use a rice cooker to cook my rice so I put my sticky rice and water in a big bowl and pour a cup of water outside of the bowl to cook. It will take around 45 minutes to cook the rice.
  2. Heat a wok with 2 tablespoons oil and stir-fry the garlic, ginger, spring onion. Add the rock sugar after the aroma starts to come out of the wok.
  3. Add pork to stir-fry it until the pork is cooked on the outside.
  4. Then add shitake mushroom and dried shrimp, mix evenly.
  5. Add all the seasoning and water. Boil it first then simmer it to reduce down the sauce.
  6. Mix everything together with cooked sticky rice and pour ¼ teaspoon of sesame oil. This is the savoury sticky rice done.

Ingredients for Deep fry chicken legs with savoury sticky rice:

2 chicken legs, including thighs. De-bone them but we keep the skin.
Some sticky rice

 

Seasonings for Deep fry chicken legs with savoury sticky rice:

1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper powder
½ teaspoon rice wine
Some corn flour

 

Procedures:

  1. Marinade the chicken legs with salt, black pepper powder and rice.
  2. Wrap some sticky rice within the chicken legs and wrap up with cling film. Steam for around 15 minutes.
  3. After the chicken legs have cooked. Cool it down before you remove the cling film and coat them with corn flour and deep-fry it in 180-degree oil until the ouside is a nice golden colour.
  4. Cut it into 1.5 cm ~ 2 cm slice to serve with some sweet chilli sauce or ketchup.

* Chicken legs must cool down first before removing the cling film or they will easily break up and cause a problem when deep-frying them.

Credits: Preparation photos were taken by myself but final photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com