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Authentic Tang Yuan Soup recipe

Authentic Tang Yuan Soup recipe

Tang Yuan

The other day I read about Ching He Huang’s recipe for this Tang Yuan soup on the good food channel and she mentioned this dish is specifically for Chinese new year which is not right.

Chinese and Taiwanese people eat Tang Yuan during the Yuan Xiao Festival (Lantern festival) and also Winter solstice. This is a very old tradition in both China and Taiwan.

The pronunciation of Tang Yuan also has a meaning of family reunion so when we eat Tang Yuan we are thinking about our friends and family who work or live far away.

My family didn’t have money for me to learn piano or painting, drawing when I was a child so I remember I always pulled a chair into the kitchen and stand on the chair where I would watch my grandfather cook.

I used to help him cook rice and wash vegetables when I was young but although he passed away some 10 years ago I still think about him all the time, especially when I’m cooking.

I think cooking for me is not just a job or daily routine for me. It’s also my childhood memory. I hope I can share more recipes and show that Chinese and Taiwanese culture and food is not the typical stereotype. Sadly a lot of people thinking all Eastern people eat dogs, cats and anything that moves. These people are of course narrow minded idiots.

I always remember one of the head chef I worked for before shook a goose gut in front of my face and asked me: “Do you Chinese all eat this kind of stuff??” However I already told him a million times that I’m not Chinese. But I think to a lot of people if you’re “Yellow” you must be Chinese.

So today I share with you my version of Tang Yuan recipe with you and I hope you will like it. I hope one day if you see a yellow person like me you can be a bit more welcome to them. They might be a nice person and a good friend in your life. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Credit: These photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography

Tang Yuan meatballs

 

Tang Yuan

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 5 portions

Ingredients

Ingredients for Tang Yuan pastry

  • 400 g glutinous rice flour
  • 1 tbsp potato starch
  • 200 g water
  • 20 g oil

Ingredients for Tang Yuan filling

  • 250 g pork mince try to use pork belly or fatty pork as it will improve the texture and taste
  • 30 g fried shallots
  • 1 spring onion chop finely
  • 1 thin slice ginger chop finely

Seasonings for Tang Yuan filling

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Couple pinches white pepper

Instructions

Tang Yuan pastry procedures

  1. Mix everything together and knead it until it’s smooth.
  2. Take 15% of the mixture and separate them into 2 or 3 small balls and flatten them by hand. Boil some water in a small saucepan and cook those flatten mixture until it flow on the water.
  3. Mix the cooked mixture with the other raw mixture together evenly and separate the mixture into 25g each small balls.

Procedures for Tang Yuan

  1. Mix all the ingredients and seasonings for filling together evenly and leave it on aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Separate the filling into small balls and freeze them until they are hard. (It’s easier to make Tang Yuan if the filling is hard.)
  3. Use the pastry to cover the filling and make it look like a round shape.
  4. Boil some water to cook the Tang Yuan and when they float on the water they are cooked.
  5. Use another soup pot to cook stock and when it’s boiling add some chopped celery and dried shallots into the stock and season the stock with a bit of salt and sesame oil.
  6. Place the Tang Yuan into the soup and cook them for 1 more minute. You can also put some vegetables into the soup such as Bok Choy or any green vegetable.

 

Chicken Chow Mein Recipe

Chicken Chow Mein Recipe

chicken chow mein

My friends and family are always fascinated to know what kind of food Chris and I eat at home. Most people think we eat really posh Chinese food, like we have a large feast with peking duck, dumplings and so forth, but actually most of the time we eat fairly simple food and often a lot of junk.

While we both love eating Taiwanese and Chinese food, especially Chris, usually once a week we eat an amazing 14” pizza from Asda but the rest of the time we eat things like chow mein.

Listening to people while I’ve been living in the UK, a lot of people are really fascinated about chow mein and think it’s a really complicated dish, but for me it’s a simple, tasty and quite importantly, a cheap meal.

Chow mein in my country is like chicken and mushroom pie here. It’s just normal food. So, for my loyal readers, this is what we eat on a very regular basis. If it’s not this, it will be something equally simple like fried rice or Korean fast noodle. Sadly Taiwanese fast noodles, which are simply awesome, are very difficult (if not impossible) to buy here.

 

Chicken Chow Mein

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 medium Carrot
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 1/2 Chili chop really finely
  • 2 Spring Onions chop finely
  • 1 thin slice ginger chop finely
  • 1 pepper any colour, I used green
  • 50 g Chinese white chive cut 2cm lengthways
  • 150 g Chinese dried noodles available in any Chinese supermarket

Seasonings

  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Couple pinches Black Pepper

Marinade for the chicken

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 pinch Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken breast into fine stripes and marinade for 30 minutes at least.
  2. Julienne the carrot and green pepper.
  3. Cook the Chinese dried noodle in a pot of boiling water until al dente and rinse under cold running water and drain again. Drizzle with a dash of sesame oil and toss through to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.
  4. Heat a frying pan with some oil with full strength gas power to fry the chicken breast until the meat turned white colour and turn off the stove and leave it on a side. (At the time of writing this article I haven't found a good wok in the UK. I tried a Ken Hom wok but every time I try to stir fry of food with a bit of potato starch in it it always sticks to the wok really badly, effectively ruining the wok). These woks are completely useless.
  5. Heat a wok with 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry chilli, spring onion, ginger and garlic first then add all the vegetable. Stir fry all the vegetables until it’s soften.
  6. Add noodle and chicken into wok and keep stir fry for a couple minutes then add all the seasonings for chow mein and give it a good stir fry for another couple minutes.
  7. Place it into a plate and serve.

 

Stewed Egg Salad (Lu Dan)

Stewed Egg Salad (Lu Dan)

Stewed Egg Lu Dan Salad

Stewed Egg is a very common dish in Taiwan and we call it “Lu Dan”. I loved to order a stewed egg with my lunchbox when I live in Taiwan or I will order stewed egg with my mince rice or mince noodle. Stewed egg is just simply the best friend with a lunchbox.

I always remember the first time my husband tried this stewed egg at home his face looked like he had been struck by lightning. After the first time he tried this stewed egg he fell in love with it. He always asks me to cook this stewed egg if he knows I’m going to cook stewed pork or chicken.

This stewed egg needs to cook in soy sauce and spices for a while and soak in the sauce for few hours to make sure eggs has all the fragrances from the sauce. So, you can imagine this egg has a lot of flavour in it.

 

Stewed Egg Salad (Lu Dan)

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 thin slice ginger
  • 1 spring onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 chili

Seasonings

  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 cm cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Sichuan pepper use a Chinese spice bag if you have one

Instructions

  1. Use a little bit of oil to sauté ginger, spring onion, garlic and chilli.
  2. Place all the seasonings into a sauce pan and boil it by full strength gas power.
  3. After sauce boiling we turn the gas power to the lowest and simmer for 2 hours.
  4. Take out the eggs from fridge and leave it aside for while to make sure it’s reach room temperature.
  5. Cook the eggs from cold water and keep moving them when you cooking. (This way can make sure the egg yolk will stay in the middle.)
  6. After the water is boiling we turn the gas power to medium and cook for another 5 minutes.
  7. After 5 minutes we take the eggs out of the hot water and soak it in cold water. Peel the eggs when they have cooled down.
  8. Place the eggs into the sauce we made and cook them for 40 minutes.
  9. After 40 minutes just soak them in the sauce for a couple hours. You will see the eggs turning a light brown colour and it’s ready to eat. My grandma always cook the egg a day before and soak them over night.

 

Dumplings shui jiao

Dumplings shui jiao

Chinese dumplings shui jiao

Dumplings, or shui jiao, are one of my favourite foods. They are really tasty but also the perfect food for a working couple like Chris and I, for whom both of us work shift patterns.

Living in the UK is so different to living in Taiwan. Taiwan has many 7-11 shops which are open 24 hours, night market which are open until midnight and a lot of 24 hours restaurants such as Swensens, N.Y. Bagel and Citystar 24 hours Dim sum restaurant.

Whenever I make dumplings I always make at least 100 to 150. Compared to dumplings that you can buy in restaurants here, which normally cost about £1 each, we can make 100 hundred at home for approximately £10. This works out at around 10p each.

When I’ve made the dumplings I put them in the freezer in case we run out food or feel hungry in the night or just come back home from work.

This recipe is just one of the methods of making dumplings that I have used for a very long time. It’s a very common but also basic flavour in Taiwan. Of course there are so many different kind of filling that you can put it into your dumplings such as shitake mushroom, scallops, cabbage, cucumber, chinese white chive, carrots, prawns and so on.

Maybe you can try different filling at home and you could easily create your own special kind of dumplings!

By the way, some Chinese provinces have a new year’s tradition which is when the people will eat dumplings for New Year’s Eve and sometime they will put a coin inside the dumpling. The person who has the dumpling with that coin will be the luckiest one in the coming year.

Credit: These photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography

 

Dumplings Shui Jiao

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 150 dumplings

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 150 dumpling pastry sheets 1 pack usually has around 50 sheets
  • 600 g pork mince you can also use beef mince
  • 400 g pork fat or pork belly without skin fat or fatty meat will improve the texture and taste
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 handful dried shrimp soak in warm water for 15-20 minutes to soften then chop finely
  • 300 g Chinese chive chop finely
  • 30 g ginger chop finely

Seasonings

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Couple pinches white pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients and seasonings evenly and leave it on aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Make dumplings as the procedures photo shows. You can use a little bit of water to help the edge of dumpling pastry to stick together.
    how to make Chinese dumplings
  3. Place the dumplings onto a plate with some flour on the plate to prevent dumplings stick on the plate.
  4. Boil a big pot of water and cook dumplings in the boiling water.
  5. When the dumplings float on the top of water they are cooked and ready to be served.

Recipe Notes

The amount of time to prepare these depends on how many you make. I'm pretty quick at making dumplings and I'll make anywhere between 80-150 each time. Typically I'll spend 2-3 hours making dumplings.

 

Shengjianbao

Shengjianbao

shengjianbao

Shengjian mantou, also known as Shengjianbao, is a common and popular dish in both Taiwan and Shanghai. It’s very popular in Shanghai for breakfast and we eat it pretty much any time in Taiwan.

We usually make Shengjianbao with mince and cabbage in Taiwan and people usually use only mince and spring onion in Shanghai.

My recipe for this Shengjianbao is mince with carrots and spring onion because my husband doesn’t like the taste of cabbage so I change the recipe a little bit. I guess people who doesn’t like cabbage will like this dish as well.

Most people tolerate carrot more than cabbage and carrot has special vegetable sweetness for this dish. On the other hand, carrot is also a healthy vegetable and I tried my best to make sure my husband have his daily vegetable all the time to ensure he is happy and healthy.

Here is the recipe for this Shengjianbao.

 

Shengjianbao

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 20 Shengjianbao

Ingredients

Ingredients for filling

  • 100 g beef mince
  • 200 g pork belly remove skin and chop into small dice first
  • 1.5 medium carrots use food processor to mince it
  • 2 spring onions chop really finely
  • 2 thin slices ginger chop really finely

Seasonings for filling

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Ingredients for the pastry

  • 250 g white bread flour
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 7 g yeast
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar

Instructions

Procedure for making Shengjianbao

  1. Mix yeast and water together. After the yeast melt, mix everything together.
  2. Knead the dough until it’s smooth without lumps and cover by cling film or clean wet kitchen napkin. After covering it up just leave it on aside for 30~40 minutes to allow it arise.
  3. Mix all the ingredients and seasonings for filling together. Use both of your hands to mix it evenly.
  4. Use a scale to weight up the dough 40g per one and after knead the small dough into round shape.
  5. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough and put 1 tablespoon of filling onto the flatten dough.
  6. Fold it as in the procedures photos you can see and leave the Shengjianbao on aside for 10 minutes to allow the pastry arise again.

Procedure for cooking Shengjianbao

  1. Use a frying pan with a lit or use 2 frying pan but 1 is bigger than the other to fry the Shengjianbao that we made.
  2. Heat up a tablespoon of oil in the big frying pan with medium gas power. Put the Shengjianbao into frying pan with some space between them because the Shengjianbao will get bigger after heat it up.(I put 5 of them in one go and my frying pan is around 9” wide from IKEA.)
  3. We only fry it until Shengjianbao’s button getting a little bit of  colour. Pour 1 cup of water into the pan and cover the lit or the smaller frying pan on top. We use the steam to cook the Shengjianbao.
  4. Cook the Shengjianbao for 8~10 minutes until the water is dry out then it’s cook.

Recipe Notes

In most of the Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine for the filling that we like to use a little fat to make the texture taste better, such as dumplings, Chinese bun. I use pork belly because it’s easy to buy it in supermarket and it has the fat also the skinny part of meat.