Feb 15, 2017 by Liv Wan

Blood Orange Quinoia Salad: The best summer salad

Apr 9, 2017 by Liv Wan

Caramalised Pineapple Coconut Rice Pudding

Feb 04, 2017 by Liv Wan

Prawn and Lemon Butter Pasta

Jan 15, 2017 by Liv Wan

Chinese Fish Fragrant Omelette

Nov 20, 2016 by Liv Wan

Red Cooked Pork Belly with Lotus Root

Feb 20, 2017 by Liv Wan

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Jan 22, 2017 by Liv Wan

Thai Steamed Fish with Coconut Quinoia

Oct 20, 2016 by Liv Wan

Dan Bing: Taiwanese Egg Crepe. Delicious!

Oct 10, 2016 by Liv Wan

Stir Fried Beef with Thai Chive Flower and Bean Curd

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Simple Chinese Garlic Chicken with Quinoa Salad

Simple Chinese Garlic Chicken with Quinoa Salad. Quinoa has become a really popular grain/food in recent years. There are more and more talking about quinoa so I decided to get my hands on some of these little seeds. Yes, quinoa is actually a “seed” and it’s not to be confused with any kind of cereal.

Here are some of the health benefits of quinoa:

  1. Quinoa is a nutritious dense grain.
  2. Quinoa is gluten-free
  3. Quinoa contains high levels of protein and is one of a few plants to do so
  4. Consuming Quinoa regularly can help your body to reduce the risk of inflammation
  5. Quinoa is also high in fibre so it can also help your body to maintain healthy levels of blood sugar
  6. Consuming Quinoa in your diet regularly can also help your body reduce the risk of allergies
  7. Lower your cholesterol and help maintain HDL cholesterol level.

Quinoa is also high in iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and Vitamin E. So it’s no wonder people often called quinoa a superfood.

Before writing this blog post I had never eaten or cooked quinoa before so to be honest I just followed the instructions from the packaging on how to cook. Turns out it’s a really easy thing to cook.

I just love the texture of quinoa. i think it tastes better than cous cous and if you like your quinoa quite soft then you can add a bit more water to cook but if you like it a little al-dente then reduce the amount of the water you use to cook it.

Quinoa is not a typical food in Chinese cooking so I will say this dish is a bit like Chinese meats Western type of food. I use the marinade in this post for chicken legs really often and you can use the marinade with pretty much any kind of meat. You can also coat the meat with some flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs to deep-fry the chicken after marinading. You can also roast it in the oven and either way will taste really good. If you’re not a fan of chicken legs then you can use chicken breast instead.

What I will often do to save time and hassle is buy a few chicken legs or chicken breasts, depending on what I fancy, and marinade in this way then separate into smallish portions. I’ll bag them in a freezer bag, free them and that’s dinner sorted out for at least a couple meals.

This is an ideal week day dinner or lunch for any household.

chinese garlic chicken and quinoa salad

Ingredients

chinese garlic chicken and quinoa salad

How to Debone a Chicken

chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
 

Simple Chinese Garlic Chicken with Quinoa Salad

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken de-boned, including thigh and drumstick
  • 100 g white quinoa
  • 500 ml boiling water for cooking the quinoa
  • 100 g cucumber cut into half then slice 0.5cm thick
  • 8 cherry tomatoes cut into half
  • Coriander and mint finely chop

Marinade for Chicken legs

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp coarse black pepper

Seasonings for Quinoa Salad

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 lime zest and juice
  • 1/2 tsp demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil

Instructions

  1. De-bone the chicken legs and marinade with all the seasonings from the light soy sauce to coarse black pepper for at least 30 minutes. I would recommend you marinade overnight if you can as everything will taste much better.
  2. Follow the instructions on the packaging of the quinoa. I rinsed the quinoa under cold water a few times to wash away the bitterness of the quinoa.
  3. I soaked the quinoa in cold water for five minutes and drained the water completely. Put boiling water and quinoa in a saucepan and bring it to a boil first. Then turn to lowest heat, simmer and cover the quinoa until the water is nearly dry and the quinoa is tender. Then it’s ready (this will take around 15-20 minutes).
  4. Use a fork to loosen up the quinoa and mix with all the seasonings from salt to olive oil. Then leave aside to cool down.
  5. Pre-heat an oven to 200c.
  6. Heat up some oil in frying pan or skillet. Place the chicken legs skin side down and fry each side for 2 minutes then put in the oven and roast for 10 minutes.
  7. Use the remaining oil in the frying pan to quickly fry cucumber and cherry tomatoes for 20 seconds.
  8. Mix step 6 cherry tomatoes, cucumber, chopped coriander and mint with the quinoa.
  9. Let the chicken legs cool down a little bit then slice and serve with some quinoa salad.
  10. You can garnish this dish with some chopped coriander, mint and some lime.

Salt and Pepper Squid

This salt and pepper squid is one of my favourite Chinese Taiwanese snacks and appetizers. On a hot summer’s day I especially enjoy paring this with a nice iced cold beer.

Preparing this dish is very simple. You only need a few ingredients then you can make this dish but please be very careful when you fry the squid as the oil can explode (water on oil effect) and potentially burn you. I personally pad the squid dry after cleaning and washing it because I coat it with corn flour and normal flour.

I personally like to cross-cut the squid because it makes the squid look prettier but if you think cross-cutting is too much hassle then you can either cut it into rings or pieces. Either method is fine.

How to cross-cut squid:

  1. Place the squid tube flat on a cutting board, with the inside facing up.
  2. Score the squid tube with a criss-cross pattern. Cut into rectangular pieces.

How to clean and prepare squid video

Squid health benefits:

  1. Squid contains high levels of copper that can fulfill 90% of the body’s requirements.
  2. Eating squid can relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
  3. Squid is high in proteins
  4. Squid is high in Vitamin B2, which also can prevent migraines.
  5. Eating squid can help to stabilize sugar levels in your blood because it contains high levels of vitamin B3.
  6. Squid is a good source of Zinc which can help strengthen the immune system.
  7. Squid is a very good source of vitamin B12, which can lower the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Even though squid has many health benefits please remember to eat a healthy and balanced diet. If you have any medical issues please consult a medical professional.

If you like this recipe please have a look of my cookbook “Home-Style Taiwanese Cooking“.

 

salt and pepper squid
 

 

Salt and Pepper Squid

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 370 g squid tubes cross cut a medium to large squid. I only use squid tubes but you can use the whole squid
  • 85 g corn flour
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 750 ml oil for the squid
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 chili sauce
  • basil for garnish

Ingredients for Squid Marinade

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp rice wine

Seasonings

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper

Wasabi mayo dipping sauce ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp wasabi
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

Procedure for salt and pepper squid

  1. Clean and wash the squid under running cold water. Pad dry with a kitchen towel.
  2. Cross-cut the squid and cut into 3-4 cm (on each side) squares.
  3. Marinade the squid with all the ingredient for marinade for 30 minutes.
  4. Mix corn flour, plain flour and all the seasonings.
  5. Heat up oil in a wok or a deep saucepan to around 180C.
  6. Coat the squid with step 4 corn flour mixture.
  7. Gently slide the squid into the hot oil. Please keep your distance and be very careful just incase the hot oil splashes or spits on you.
  8. Deep fry the squid for 30 seconds. You will see the squid curl up and turn a beautiful golden colour.
  9. Put a couple sheets of kitchen towel on a plate and take the squid out of the hot oil and place onto the kitchen towel to get rid of the oil.
  10. Mix the squid with spring onions and chilli. Place on a serving plate and garnish with some basil leaves. Ready to serve.

Procedure for Wasabi Mayo

  1. Mix wasabi with lemon juice first until there are no lumps of wasabi left.
  2. Mix step 1 with mayonnaise until it’s perfectly combined together.

George Heriot’s School Chinese Cooking Class

I had my first Chinese cooking class with George Heriot’s School yesterday and it was also my first proper teaching experience in a school.

George heriot's school Chinese cooking class

Last week, I was contacted by Linsey Ballantyne, who is the teacher of health and food technology at George Heriot’s school regarding teaching her students how to make Chinese dumplings as these dumplings are a huge part of Chinese and Taiwanese traditions during the Chinese New Year period. I was really excited about this project as I have never taught in a school and George Heriot’s is one of the top schools in Edinburgh. Of course I’ve taught many people how to cook many things in professional kitchens and I have done a couple cooking classes outside of restaurants but this is my first school job.

If you follow my blog you will know I studied at Edinburgh College of Art so I have passed George Heriot’s school almost every day for the past three years. I’ve always been completely fascinated about this building because the building itself is breathtakingly beautiful, it’s 388 years old and it’s ranked as one of the very best independent schools in Edinburgh. This is another factor as to why I’m so interested in the school. My daughter Amelia will start school in Autumn 2017 so we’ve started looking at primary schools. Both myself and my husband Chris had indifferent experiences at our own schools and unfortunately our local school is ranked the worst in Edinburgh (87 out of 87) so we’re seriously thinking about going down the independent route.

But back to this blog post, you don’t always get a chance to visit a school like this so this teaching opportunity gave me a chance to visit this truly amazing school.

George Heriot's School main building

Chris and I are both very excited about this teaching opportunity. We always say if we are not rich in finance at least we can be rich in life experience. So by visiting this beautiful school there is one thing to tick off from our bucket list.

I have to admit I was very nervous as I have never taught in a school before nor children so I was really worried that they wouldn’t want to listen to me or find that I’m too boring. But thankfully the class which was made up of around 30 pupils (all girls except for 2 boys) were great. They giggled a lot but it felt like they genuinely listened and Linsey said that was the best they had ever behaved in class. So, I must have done something right?!

When I demonstrated four different ways to make dumplings I have never heard so many “wows” in my life and that was a very interesting experience. Most of the time when I teach junior chefs in the kitchen they are either quiet, have an attitude in general, have an attitude with me because I’m a woman (remember real chef environments are still very much male dominated) or in some cases have an attitude with me because I look “Chinese” and so they don’t think they have to listen. So most of the time I have to be aggressive with my students which made me loose interest in teaching anyone. This is also another reason why I haven’t taught for a while so I’ve been spending my last couple years working on my illustration business as well as my writing job at about.com Chinese food. I’m also working on my third cook book right now which is taking up a lot of time but I’m super excited to see the final product.

Linsey, the other two teachers and her assistant were all very helpful and friendly. Linsey was especially awesome (she’s the lady in the middle below) and I thought she was really easy to talk to and working with her felt completely natural. It was also awesome to learn that she visited Shanghai in the past which is somewhere I lived for one year. Her comment that she has “never eaten Chinese food in the UK since coming back from China” was brilliant. Chris is exactly the same. After he travelled to China and then travelled to Taiwan a few times he/we very rarely eat Chinese food outside. I think for a teacher who has researched other people’s work/cooking and invited them to come into her class and get them to teach speciality foods is absolutely great.

I remember in Taiwan we didn’t really have cooking classes at school and Chris said when he was at school they were only taught how to make British food. Maybe this is a “independent school / George Heriot” thing but it’s great and Linsey was awesome to work with.

George Heriot's school dumpling class

I would really love to go back to teach any of students again or even if other schools have interest in Chinese cooking class. Something I have to bare in mind next time is time management. We only had 1.5 hours for the class and that included some of the prep, making the dumplings and cooking them in two different ways. When I make dumplings at home I usually make between 80-100 and I’ll usually spend a few hours making the mixture and then I’ll make them while watching TV/drinking tea etc. For the class I had to prepare mixture for around 300 dumplings. I intended for the students to be able to make around 10 dumplings each but everyone did really well. The students had to leave at five but apart from a couple students who had to shoot off (they took dumplings anyway) everyone managed to boil their dumplings in class. As well as boiling the dumplings I showed them how to pan fry the dumplings as well.

As I explained in class, during the Chinese New Year we’ll make masses of dumplings but because we make and cook so many there are always leftovers. So the next day(s) when we want to eat something we just quickly pan fry them and they’re absolutely delicious.

george heriots chinese cooking class

We weren’t allowed to take any photographs of the students due to protections rules/laws but we took some photos anyway. Incidentally the dumpling fills I made were “prawn and sponge gourd” and “pork and Chinese chive”. Sponge gourd (also known as luffa), which is the long green vegetable above, is popular in the East and is a really interesting/unique vegetable. I must also mention that I decided to buy all the ingredients from See Woo in Glasgow. We had been wanting to find an excuse to go to Glasgow for a few weeks and See Woo Chinese Supermarket was the only Chinese supermarket in the area that had enough sponge gourd. I called ahead with an order, picked up on the Sunday afternoon and then had lunch at See Woo restaurant which is my favourite Chinese restaurant in the area.

Liv Wan Chinese cooking class

George Heriot's school Chinese cookery class

George Heriot's school

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

Stir fried Cats Ear Noodle

Stir fried Cats Ear Noodle

stir fry cats ear noodle

I can imagine what you are thinking. Oh no, an Eastern person has cooked her cat! Don’t worry, our cat Popo still has his ears. Cat’s ears noodles is an interesting dish with an interesting story behind it.

During the Qing Dynasty, one day the Qianlong Emperor dressed himself as an ordinary person and travelled to West Lake, Hangzhou. He hired a ship and travelled along the West Lake.

Suddenly the weather turned really horrible. It was raining really heavily so they, it’s raining heavily, so they had to stop of the lake until the weather improved and they could continue their journey. However the rain continued and the emperor felt really hungry so he asked the old boatman for some food to eat.

The old boatman told him: “I have some flour but I don’t have a rolling pin to make noodles for you”. When they didn’t know what to do the boatman’s daughter, who was holding a pretty little kitten in her arms, told the boatman “it’s ok that we don’t have a rolling pin, I can use my hands to make noodles”. After she had finished making the noodles, the old old boatman cooked these noodles and mixed it with some sauce and gave Qianlong a bowl of noodle to eat. Qianlong had a bite of the noodle and was surprise about how tasty this noodle was. So he asked the boatman’s daughter for the name of the dish and she answed “Cat’s ears” due to the shape looking a bit like a cat’s ear). Afterwards the Qianlong Emperor went back to his palace and he hired the boatman’s daughter to be his chef and gave her and her family a lot of money and jewellery.

There are many ways to make cat’s ear noodle. I know some people like to make cat’s ear noodle soup or just stir-fry with some dried shitake mushroom and other vegetables. But today I use broad beans and prawn to cook with this cat’s ear noodle because I love broad beans with prawn and stir-fry broad beans with prawn is also another childhood dish for me. I hope you like my story today but also my recipe.

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

 

Stir fried Cats Ear Noodle

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

Ingredients

Ingredients for cat's ear noodle

  • 1.5 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water

Ingredients for stir-fry cat's ear noodle

  • 1 cup broad beans
  • 250 g baby corn cut into small dices
  • 500 g prawn
  • 1 small carrot diced into 0.5cm squares
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 2 thin slice ginger chop finely
  • 1 chili remove seeds and chop finely

Seasonings for stir-fry cat’s ear noodle

  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

Procedures for cat’s ear noodle

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together and use your hands to knead the dough until it’s nice and smooth.
  2. Cover the dough with cling film and leave it for 20 minutes.
  3. After 20 minutes, cut the dough into 3 portions and use a rolling pin to flatten each portion individually, Use a knife to cut it into small dices.
  4. Use your thumb to press down the small dices of dough individually first and then gently push forward. You will see the dough starts curling like a shell.
  5. Boil half a pot of water to cook the noodle. Pour a cup of cold water in the pot when it’s boiling. Repeat this procedure twice and when the noodle is floating on top of the water it’s cooked. Place the noodle into a big bowl and toss with some oil or sesame oil and leave it on aside. It’s now ready to serve.

Procedure for stir-fry cat’s ear noodle

  1. Heat up one tablespoon oil in a wok set to full gas power and stir-fry the garlic, ginger and chilli first until you smell they have cooked. This will take around 10-20 seconds.
  2. Add broad bean and carrot into the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour water into wok and bring it to the boil.
  3. Once the water is boiling turn the gas power to the lowest temperature and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add all the seasonings into the wok and mix evenly. Place cat’s ear noodle into the wok and stir-fry together for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the prawns to the noodles and continue to stir-fry until the prawns have cooked.