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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Red Cooked Pork Belly with Lotus Root

Red-cooked pork belly, or as some people called it Chinese braised pork, is one of the most popular dishes in many Chinese and Taiwanese households.

There are many different ways to prepare this dish. You can add vegetables to accompany this dish, including carrots, taro and potatoes, but for this recipe I used something a bit more unique; lotus root.

People often ask me how to cook different Chinese vegetables and one of the Chinese vegetables I can asked more often about is lotus root. It seems like a lot of people have no idea what kind of Chinese vegetables this and even less of an idea what to do with it.

So for this reason, I have tried to include different ways of preparing lotus root in both my blog and also in my cookbooks.

Lotus root is a super food in both Chinese medicine and cuisine. Chinese people believe lotus root can improve your digestive system, help blood circulation, improve energy and help with anti-aging. It’s also high in fiber. Some Chinese people also believe lotus root juice is very good for getting rid of hangovers.

I simply like lotus root because of both the taste and texture of it. Nowadays, it’s much easier to get hold of lotus root outside of the East. You can usually find lotus root in Chinese/Asian supermarkets in their fresh produce fridge section.

You can serve this delicious dish with some hot rice and different kinds of green vegetables. I didn’t use a lot of water to cook this dish with, but if you think it’s a little bit dry while cooking, you can add more water.

You can also use a slow cooker to finish cooking this dish but it naturally takes a longer time to cook. Typically with a slow cooker, if you cook at a high heat it will take roughly 6 hours to cook. This can vary depending on the brand of your slow cooker but please check with your slow cooker provider or the cooking instructions provided with it for advice.

red cooked pork belly with lotus root ingredients

 

 

Red Cooked Pork Belly with Lotus Root

Ingredients

  • 1 kg pork belly (slice into 1.5cm thick slices)
  • 700 g lotus root
  • 2 Spring Onions (slice)
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 slices licorice root
  • 1 chenpi
  • 500 ml water
  • 6 Sugar snap peas (just a handful and not an exact amount)

Marinade for pork belly

  • 3 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce

Seasonings

  • 2.5 tbsp demerara sugar (or rock sugar)
  • 3 tbsp Rice Wine (or shaoxing rice wine)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  1. Slice the pork belly into 1.5 cm thick slices and marinade with light soy sauce and dark soy sauce for at least 30 minutes. Don’t discard the soy sauce left over from marinating the pork.
  2. Wash and peel the lotus root and slice it into 2 cm thick slice and cut each slice it into quarters.
  3. Peel garlic and leave aside.
  4. Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan or skillet. Pan fry the pork belly until both sides of the pork belly are golden brown. Leave aside.
  5. Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok and stir-fry spring onion, ginger, garlic and all the spices until it’s aroma.
  6. Add the sugar into step 5 and turn down the fire to medium-low heat and gently stir until the sugar starts melting.
  7. Once the sugar has melted add the pork belly back in and mix evenly. This allows the sugar to coat the pork all over.
  8. Add all the seasonings and the left over soy sauce into step 7. Gently stir and mix evenly.
  9. Transfer everything from step 8 (pork belly, sauce and spice) to a stock pot and add lotus root and water. Bring it to a boil first and let it boil for a couple minutes then simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. Add more water if it’s too dry and check it a couple times while simmering, just in case the sauce dies out. If you decide to cut the pork into different shapes, for example big cubes, the simmer time might increase. So please be aware of this.
  10. You can garnish with some blanched sugar snap peas or snow peas. Serve with some cooked rice.

Pineapple Prawn Fried Rice

One of my favourite dishes when I was young is this pineapple and prawn fried rice. Possibly the most endearing memory of this dish is having the fried rice served literally in a pineapple. It’s just so much fun to see food that has been served in a pineapple rather than ordinary plates or bowls.

I’m not really a big fan of pineapple, I won’t eat it as a fruit on itself, but I really like cooking dishes with pineapple in them. These include this prawn and pineapple fried rice dish as well as sweet and sour dishes in general. I just think pineapple once “cooked” tastes so delicious.

You can also add some toasted cashews or sweet cashews to give this dish a little bit of a nutty and earthy aroma. If you have a shellfish or seafood allergy you can replace the shrimps/prawns with chicken.

I think the most difficult part of this recipe is how to dig out the pineapple meat from the pineapple. We will use the shell of the pineapple to serve our pineapple fried rice inside. I have included procedure photos with information on what to do in this article.

pineapple prawn fried rice ingredients
Procedures for how to dig out the pineapple meat:
1. Take a whole pineapple
pineapple prawn fried rice
2. Slice the pineapple along the middle
pineapple prawn fried rice
pineapple prawn fried rice
3. Cut around the inside of edge of the pineapple in a square pattern
pineapple prawn fried rice
pineapple prawn fried rice
pineapple prawn fried rice
4. It’s easiest if you cut out the pineapple meat in square or rectangular sections. This method is much tidier
pineapple prawn fried rice
5. Pineapple meat has been cut-out. You may need to pull the meat out by hand but this is perfectly fine.
 

Pineapple Prawn Fried Rice

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 25 pcs prawns peel, de-vein and clean
  • 800 g pineapple 1 small whole pineapple including skin, head, etc
  • 450 g rice cold or leftover
  • 2 spring onions keep all parts
  • 100 g Frozen peas and sweetcorn
  • 100 g carrot small diced
  • 4 eggs large

Seasonings

  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • Salt to taste

Marinade for prawns

  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1/4 tsp coarse black pepper

Instructions

  1. Marinade prawns with marinade for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Mix 3 eggs yolks with cold rice and leave aside.
  3. Beat the other egg, egg whites and leave aside.
  4. Cut pineapple into half and dig out the pineapple, then cut the pineapple meat into small dices.
  5. Boil water in a small saucepan and cook carrots until al-dente and add peas and sweet corn to finish. Drain the water and leave aside.
  6. Heat up a little bit of oil in a wok and stir-fry onions first until they are soft. Then add pineapple to stir-fry for 20 seconds.
  7. Add prawns and stir-fry until it starts to change to a red colour. Cook until prawns have completely turned red in colour then place on a plate and leave them aside.
  8. Clean the wok and dry it. Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil and stir-fry the green part of the spring onion first until the fragrance comes out.
  9. Add beaten eggs and stir-fry it like scramble eggs. When you see the eggs still half runny, add rice and stir-fry it. Use a wooden spoon to gently press the rice and mix up to try to loose any lumps in the rice.
  10. Add white part of spring onion and vegetables (carrot, sweet corn and peas) then keep stir-frying for another 30 seconds.
  11. Add prawns and pineapple back in the wok and stir-fry for a further 20 seconds.
  12. Add salt and soy sauce into rice and stir-fry for another 20 seconds. Ready.

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.

Squid salad with Taiwanese five-flavour sauce

Salad is always one of the best foods to eat during the summer time. In fact salad is great to eat anytime of the year but one of my favourite summer dishes is this squid salad with Taiwanese five-flavour sauce (五味醬). My husband is only now really warming to salad in his mid thirties but I made this the other day and everyone, my daughter included, loved it.

Taiwanese five-flavour sauce is a popular dipping sauce for seafood in Taiwan. Taiwanese people serve this sauce with raw oysters, cooked prawns, cooked squid, octopus and mussels. You will see this sauce in every seafood restaurant in Taiwan.

This five-flavour sauce as the name suggests embraces five different flavours; sour, sweet, bitter, spicy and pungent. I added some olive oil to this recipe because I hope people can use this sauce as a salad dressing rather than just a dipping sauce. You can adjust the amount of seasonings as per your personal preference. I found the kitchen I got from the supermarkets here in the UK is quite sour so sometimes I will add a little extra sugar to make this sauce sweeter. You can replace the vinegar with rice vinegar, sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar as you wish.

If you are not sure about cross-cutting the squid or you think it’s simply too much hassle or will take too long, then cut the squid into rings or simply dice it. Any method is complete fine. Cooking should be both enjoyable and free and you should never be bounded by a recipe. When I worked as a fine dining chef we were bound by recipes, and that was fine for that cooking scenario, but in my personal cooking I like to improvise a lot. That way rather than eating someone else’s preference you’re discovering your own.

Also if you don’t like boiled or blanched squid, then you can try to chargrill the squid.

I hope you like this simple, quick and delicious salad dish from my home country Taiwan.

 

A little bit of an update about my life:

I’m now working on a few exciting illustration projects right now which is making me really happy but also super busy. As you’ll know I was a full time fine dining chef a few years but I’ve spent the past five years studying illustration to try to turn my life and career around. Now instead of working all kinds of awful hours with poor pay and even worse conditions I’m now able to
dictate how much and when I’m work, so I’m super happy about that.

I’m also trying to find a new home right now. Over five years ago Chris and I working not brilliant jobs and even though Chris’ earnings went up my earnings hadn’t because I sacrificed work to become a student. So right now we’re still renting and we’re looking for not only a bigger flat with more space and a bigger kitchen we’re also looking into catchment areas f
or our daughter’s school.

In case you’re not familiar with a catchment area, in the UK your child can only go to the school designated for the postcode you live in. The small block of flats we live in is fine but the nearest primary school is in Muirhouse which is a really god awful area. Have you ever watched Trainspotting? Well Irvine Welse, the author, is from Muirhouse and the ideas and story
behind Trainspotting came from Muirhouse. Statistically out of 86 primary schools in Edinburgh, our local is the worst. So we need to move.

So right now I work as an illustrator during the day time but at night I’m a food writer and food blogger. So you can imagine I need a really decent size kitchen t work in. My current kitchen is the size of a birdcage so making complex dishes, the ones where you need to cook multiple things at once while having all the space you need for prep, plating etc is really difficult. As it stands we’ve applied for a new housing development being built in a good area of Edinburgh but Edinburgh is so damn expensive nowadays (easily £1000 a month for a 2 bedroom flat) we’re also considering moving just outside of Edinburgh so Amelia can have a garden, we can have a bigger property and we can save money.

So wish me luck finding a new property and hope you like this recipe for Squid Salad with Taiwanese Five-Flavour Sauce.

 

 

Squid salad with Taiwanese five-flavour sauce

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 370 g squid tube clean, wash and cross-cut
  • 140 g broccoli cut into small florets
  • 6 babycorn cut into half
  • 6 cherry tomatoes cut into half

Ingredients for five-flavour sauce

  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp black vinegar
  • 1 tsp ginger finely chop
  • 1 tsp garlic finely chop
  • 1 tbsp coriander finely chop

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients for five-flavour sauce in a small bowl and leave it aside for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Boil some water in a saucepan and blanch the broccoli until it’s tender. Take it out from the water and cool down immediately under cold water. Then drain the water. Leave it aside.
  3. Keep the water from blanched broccoli and blanch the baby corn in the same way. Cool down immediately under cold water then drain the water. Leave it aside.
  4. Use step 3 water to blanch squid for 30 seconds then cool down immediately under cold water. Then drain the water and leave it aside.
  5. Place broccoli, baby corn, cherry tomato and squid on a serving plate and you can drizzle the sauce on top or you can just serve the sauce on the side. So people can use the sauce as dipping sauce.