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

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider

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.

Stuffed Lotus Root with Sweet Sticky Rice

Stuffed Lotus Root with Sweet Sticky Rice

Recently I’ve been going through a really busy period. I just had my final year exhibition and graded unit which along with looking after Amelia really has taken up all of my time. Chris has also had a lot of photography work to complete so I’ve been doing the extra rounds with childcare while he got his work done.

But finally, I now have some free time for myself. I’ve been thinking about posting a recipe for this Chinese dessert called “stuffed lotus root with sweet sticky rice” for a long time but because of my college course and works I’ve decided I want to try to illustrator the procedures for most recipes from now on. Of course if the dish is really simple I probably won’t illustrate it but this dish does need some guidance.

It’s really good fun but also a pain doing these illustrated procedures. It requires a lot of time to finish one recipe but it’s really good practice, really therapeutic and I hope I can eventually produce an illustrated cook book. If you remember I started designing a cook book a couple years ago and while it looks really professional, I want something a lot more fun so over a period of time I’ll re-illustrate a number of recipes while adding new recipes.

When I worked as a chef, drawing was always really important for remembering recipes. Every restaurant has completely different recipes and some recipes can be quite complicated, so I use a small notebook to illustrate the final dish and I would write the ingredients and procedure in the book. Sometimes I would have to remember 20 or more dishes in one day so the quicker you learn then better. So that’s how and I why I started drawing these recipes. I think this is also one of the reasons I got a place on my college course as the teacher seemed to be really impressed about my recipe book.

So here is my another illustrated recipe for this Chinese dessert “Stuffed lotus root with sweet sticky rice”. I hope you will enjoy it.

Also a few weeks ago, Chris, Amelia and I discovered a very cool castle in West Scotland called “Kelburn Castle”. It was built in the late 16th century but what makes this castle so special? What makes it different to all of the other castles in Scotland? Well, the castle walls needed some repairs back in 2007 and rather than just re-plaster the walls and apply a plain paint, the owner of the castle hired a group of Brazilian graffiti artists to paint the West wall of the Castle.

If you come to Scotland and have a fascination with castles, you should definitely check Kelburn Castle out. The painting on the castle looks amazing but just as importantly the grounds of the castle are fantastic for both adults and children. There’s a secret forest and many playgrounds for children, there are cafe’s and shops for adults, you can go horse riding but also the staff are extremely friendly.

I’ve put some photos of Kelburn Castle on this post, hope you like them.

stuffed lotus root with sweet sticky rice

 

Stuffed Lotus Root with Sweet Sticky Rice

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sticky rice
  • 2 lotus roots they should be 12-15cm long ideally
  • 5 dried jujubes
  • 50 g rock sugar
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey

Instructions

  1. Soak the sticky rice in a bowl of water for 2 hours.
  2. Cut the lotus root as per the steps in this procedure picture. Make sure you keep the top of the lotus root as you will use this as a lid.
  3. Stuff the sticky rice from step 1 into the lotus root and use chopsticks to push the rice into the lotus root, effectively stuffing it.
  4. After you have stuffed the lotus root use 2 or 3 toothpicks to fasten the lid to the lotus root.
  5. Boil a pot of water and add 4-5 dried jujubes and 50 grammes of rock sugar. Stir until the rock sugar has dissolved. Add step 4 into the pot and cook for 1.5 hour. Make sure you have enough water to cover the lotus root.
  6. Use 200ml of the liquid from step 5 and add brown sugar and honey. Boil this mixture and simmer until the sauce has reduced by 50%. Use this as a sauce for the lotus root.
  7. Leave the lotus root to cool down. Once it has cooled down, slice it to serve with the sauce from step 6.

 

stuffed lotus root with sweet sticky rice
kelburn castle
kelburn castle
kelburn castle
kelburn castle
kelburn castle
kelburn castle

Three Cup Chicken

Three Cup Chicken

three cup chicken

From the first time I heard about three cup chicken I thought it was a Taiwanese dish, but after doing some research I discovered it’s actually a Chinese dish.

Wen Tiansiang was the Duke of Xinguo and famous in Chinese history for his loyalty to the Song Dynasty. He refused Khubilai Khan’s demand for the Song forces to surrender to the Khan invasion, so he suffered for 4 years in a military prison before his execution. He wrote a lot of good poems in the prison and one of his famous quotations is “None since the advent of time have escaped death, may my loyalty forever illuminate the annuals of history.”

This three cup chicken was cooked by a kind prison warden who was also from Jiangxi Province (Wen Tiansiang’s home town is Jiangxi.). He made this dish with limited ingredients; one cup of sweet rice wine, one cup soy sauce and one cup of lard to stew the chicken for Wen Tiansiang before his execution.

In Taiwan, three cup chicken has evolved into one cup of rice wine, one cup of soy sauce and one cup of dark sesame oil. The smell and the taste of this three cup chicken is just divine. In Taiwan, especially the area around Yangming mountain (Yangmingshan) has a lot of hot spring B&B and restaurants. The guests can use hot spring first and then have meal in the restaurant after. One of the more popular dishes is this three cup chicken.

Procedures:

  1. Heat up wok with dark sesame oil and fry the ginger until the ginger dry up.
  2. Add chicken legs to stir fry it until the chicken meat turn into white colour.
  3. Add garlic, chilli and all the seasonings and cover the wok to simmer the chicken for 15~20 minutes until the sauce is dry out.
  4. Add basil to stir fry it before place the chicken into plate to serve.

 

Three Cup Chicken

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

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken legs including thighs, de-bone
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 6 slices ginger thin
  • 1 chili
  • 1 basil just a handful

Seasonings

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice wine
  • 1/2 cup dark sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Heat up wok with dark sesame oil and fry the ginger until the ginger dry up.
  2. Add chicken legs to stir fry it until the chicken meat turn into white colour.
  3. Add garlic, chilli and all the seasonings and cover the wok to simmer the chicken for 15~20 minutes until the sauce has dried out.
  4. Add basil to stir fry it before place the chicken into plate to serve.

Salmon Rice Noodle Soup

Salmon Rice Noodle Soup

When I lived in Taipei there was a particular Taiwanese rice noodle soup which I really loved called “Swordfish Rice Noodle Soup”.

Whenever my parents and I went out for weekend brunch, I would almost always eat a bowl of Swordfish Rice Noodle Soup. Unfortunately due to my pregnancy I’m absolutely not allowed to eat Swordfish due to it’s mercury content (which could harm the baby) so I swapped swordfish to salmon. So now we have Salmon Rice Noodle Soup

Salmon Rice Noodle Soup is a really light and low fat dish. This is absolutely perfect for myself right now as high fat foods give me chronic heartburn and also if I eat a lot of high fat foods I would probably get really fat, which I absolutely don’t want to do.

You can use any kind of stock for this salmon rice noodle soup. I used really simple ingredients to make my stock which contains spring onions, bonito flakes, shallots and ginger. You can use any vegetable, chicken or fish stock if you wish to do so. It all depends on your personal flavour.

salmon rice noodle soup

 

Salmon Rice Noodle Soup

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients for stock

  • 1 bunch spring onions cut into 3cm lengths
  • 2 pieces ginger
  • 3 shallots get rid of the head and bottom, remove skin
  • 1 handful bonito flakes
  • 2 ltrs water

Ingredients for rice noodle soup

  • 2 bunches rice noodle soften in warm water (a little warmer than bath water)
  • 250 g salmon fillet remove skin and cut into 2cm dices
  • dried pre-fried shallots
  • 1 spring onion and coriander for garnish

Seasonings

  • 1 drop sesame oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch white pepper powder

Instructions

Procedure for stock

  1. Heat up a little bit of oil in a stock pot and when the oil is hot, stir fry the ginger, spring onions and shallots until they are soft and they produce an aroma
  2. Add water and bonito flakes and boil it
  3. Once the stock pot has reached the boil simmer for 1 hour
  4. Pass the stock and leave it in a pot for cooking with the salmon and rice noodle later.

Procedure for rice noodle soup

  1. Boil the stock and use stock to poach the salmon. Keep the salmon in a bowl for later
  2. Cook rice in the boiling stock
  3. Add sesame oil, salt, fried shallots and white pepper powder into a soup bowl. Pour rice noodle and hot stock into the bowl. Put salmon, spring onion and coriander on top. It’s ready to eat!

Recipe Notes

Please note I didn’t really write any measurements for the seasonings as it really depends on your personal taste. Adjust accordingly.

 

Taiwanese Home Made Noodle Salad Recipe

Taiwanese Home Made Noodle Salad Recipe

We often eat this Taiwanese home made noodle salad during the summer but as I’m pregnant this year and I feel my body temperature is quite high, I’ve been really craving this dish. I believe a lot of pregnant ladies can understand how I feel when their bodies are growing and you feel really quite hot. Normally in Scotland I’m absolutely freezing but even with the recent temperature drop I’m feeling comfortable.

So now rather than me chattering I’m enjoying watching my husband and my cat chatter instead.

My good friend Lorenzo, remember the Italian guy I used to live with, once asked me if it’s difficult to make good noodles at home. Without a pasta machine it’s very difficult but with a pasta machine it’s just so much easier and so much more consistent. With this in mind we popped out to a local Italian patisserie that we go to and bought a really fantastic little pasta machine.

Taiwanese home made noodle salad is great for pregnant woman but also really good for people trying to lose weight as the ingredients are very light and fresh. There’s no frying here and in the case of the chicken I steamed it. I also made a sesame sauce which is really delicious.

taiwanese home made noodle salad
lye water
how to make noodles at home
how to make noodles at home
how to make noodles at home
how to make noodles at home
how to make noodles at home
how to make noodles at home
how to make noodles at home
how to make noodles at home

 

Taiwanese Home Made Noodle Salad Recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients for noodles

  • 350 g water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 850 g bread flour
  • Lye water lye water is like bicarbonate of soda in a bottle

Ingredients for salad

  • 1 cucumber julienne it
  • 1 small carrot julienne it
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 large eggs

Ingredients for sesame dressing

  • 150 g toasted white sesame
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions

Procedure for noodles

  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the noodles together in a large mixing bowl. Kneed the dough until it’s loose and even.
  2. Flatten the dough as per the fourth preparation below and cut into even amounts.
  3. Roll each load of dough until it’s thin enough to fit through the pasta machine (approximately 1cm thick).
  4. Use the pasta machine to flatten the mixture. Repeat this process several times and each time make the rollers in the machine closer. In the case of the machine I used I set it at the end to setting number 4 (1 being the thickest, 9 being the thinnest).
  5. After the dough has been flattened feed the mixture through the rollers that cut the dough on the other end. Cover the noodles with flour and set aside.
  6. When you’re ready to cook the noodles, boil a pan of water and cook the noodles for approximately 2-3 minutes. After they are cooked cool the noodles down with cold water and then drain the water. Cover the noodles with a little cooking oil (sesame/sunflower etc) to stop the noodles sticking together).

Procedure for salad

  1. Julienne the cucumber and carrot.
  2. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Roll the chicken breast in some cling film and steam the chicken breast until it has cooked.
  3. After it has cooked remove the cling film, allow it to cool down and then julienne the chicken.
  4. Beat the eggs, mix with the soy sauce and a little white pepper powder. Heat up a frying pan and make a crepe-thin fried egg. After the egg has cooled julienne it.

Procedure for sesame dressing

  1. Toast the white sesame in a frying pan. Use a food processor or smoothie machine to puree the white sesame with 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil.
  2. Add all of the ingredients into the machine and continue to mix everything together until there are no lumps. Taste the sauce before service. You can adjust the seasoning yourself to suit personal preference. I like the dressing quite strong but adjust the amounts of salt and soy sauce to suit.