Author: Lydia Wong

Roasted Butternut Squash, Chestnut Miso Soup recipe

Roasted Butternut Squash, Chestnut Miso Soup served with Crispy Sage

I do love a heart warming bowl of soup seasoned with warm spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, tastes festive like Christmas in a cold winter night. I know everyone has at least one winter squash soup recipe up their sleeves, but this one I made is a little different from the others – with a subtle umami flavour. The addition of dashi stock and miso paste which not only gives the soup another layer of flavour but also balances out the sweetness of butternut and chestnut. You can of course replace dashi stock with water or vegetable stock if you want to make it vegetarian. Note: If you don’t have the time to roast the butternut squash, you can skip the roasting bit and just peel and chop the squash and add to the onion fennel mixture and pour enough stock to just cover the vegetables. I love the nutty and intense flavour of the squash after roasting though, so give it a try if you have some spare times in hand. But I …

Thai Curry coconut soup with Aubergine and Kale recipe

Thai Curry Coconut Soup with Aubergine and Kale

I lost count of how many times I have made this soup and I am not sure why I have never thought of putting the recipe up on the blog.  This soup is so easy to make and the type of curry – Masaman is mild (compares to the more popular green and red curry) but yet full of flavours. I love to add lots of fresh herbs such as coriander, lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime leaf, chilis and Thai basil when cooking this curry as all the lovely flavours from the herbs will be infused into the soup, every spoonful becomes a delight to the taste buds! I always use shop bought curry paste as there are really good quality ones on the market (I use this one, only handful of ingredients without any additives, MSG etc). But of course if you want to make your own, I am sure you can find hundreds of recipe online for masaman curry paste. As for now, I am sticking with the quick and convenient way and I …

Braised Aubergine with Pork in Spicy Bean Sauce recipe

Braised Aubergine and Pork in Spicy Bean Sauce

The incredible aroma of this dish fills up the air in our apartment, it brings me straight down to memory lane.  This Braised Aubergine and Pork in Spicy Bean Sauce is definitely one of my favourite childhood dishes, whenever I cook this dish, the smell always reminds me of my mother’s cooking and our small compact kitchen in Macau. Traditionally, this dish is cooked with dried cured salted fish which is a famous locally produced delicacy in Macau, which gives the dish an extra layer of intense umami flavour, hence its name   魚香茄子 ‘fish fragrant aubergine’.  Unfortunately, I can’t get hold onto this amazing ingredient for my recipe I am sharing with you today, so I used dashi stock for the sauce instead, which still provides a subtle umami note to the whole dish.  But if you don’t have dashi stock, just use water with a splash of fish sauce (optional) and it will still be brilliantly delicious! Ingredients: 2 Japanese (Asian) Aubergine, or 1 small globe aubergine if not available, peel lengthwise partially, …

Tamari Peanut Tofu with Courgette Ribbons recipe

Crispy Tamari Peanut Tofu served with Courgette Ribbons

I know tofu is not everyone’s cup of tea, some insist that it is bland and flavourless, but if you cook it right, tofu is wonderfully delicious and pack full of protein.  The key is to pair it with a sharp and well-seasoned sauce/dressing and it will absorb all the flavours like a sponge.  This recipe here calls for firm tofu and my favourite way to cook it is to dust it first with seasoned corn starch or potato starch, then pan-fry it until crispy and golden brown, follows by coating them generously with the silky and flavourful Tamari Peanut sauce just before serving.  The second you sink your teeth into a piece of these luscious jewels, you will change your mind about tofu forever. Ingredients: Serves 2 200g Organic Non-GMO firm tofu 3/4 – 1 cup Potato starch (or corn Starch) 1-2 tsp. garlic powder 1 medium courgette Sesame seeds (for garnish) Vegetable oil for frying For the peanut sauce: 2 tbsp. pure peanut butter 1 tbsp. tamari or regular soy sauce (if gluten …

chicken karaage served with Sriracha Mayo recipe

Chicken Karaage served with Sriracha Mayo

This Japanese style fried chicken dish has been one of my favourites for many years, the perfect karaage is crispy on the outside and tender, juicy and full of flavour on the inside. The important step is to marinate the meat for at least an hour or even overnight, which ensures that the meat soaks up all the lovely flavours; and it will take on a nice golden colour when fried. Before frying, the meat should be at room temperature so that it won’t cool down the oil while placing in, in another word, the meat will be cooked quicker instead of sitting in the oil longer to wait for the temperature to raise up again, which also means crispier! The size of the meat matters, the smaller the cut, the faster they cook. I find the perfect size is a ‘2-bites’ size, which mean a piece that can be eaten in two bites. Chicken thigh is commonly used for Karaage, but I use breast here and it is equally juicy and finger licking! Note: I didn’t …

Braised Yuba with Mixed Mushrooms and Asparagus recipe

Braised Yuba with Mixed Mushrooms and Asparagus

The other day when I was writing a family story about how my father mastered cooking after my mother passed away, there I mentioned his specialty dish – ‘buddha vegetables’ –  a vegetarian dish that was made with at least seven different types of fresh and dried vegetables and mung bean noodles braised in a fermented beancurd sauce.  I realised while going through my notes that I had forgotten to include one particular ingredient in the description – Yuba – is also known as ‘tofu skin’, a very popular ingredient in Chinese cooking.  It is a food product made from soy beans, as a result, it shares a similar taste with soy milk and tofu.  But unlike tofu, it doesn’t made with added coagulant.  While soy milk is being boiled, a film is formed on the surface of the liquid, and the film will then be collected and dried in sheet or stick form.  Since Yuba retains its shape and texture after cooking, therefore it is widely used for stir-fried, as a wrapper for dim sum, for braising or for slow-cooked dishes.  Yuba is easily found in …

teriyaki king oyster mushroom recipe

Teriyaki King Oyster Mushroom with Snow Peas

This wonderful teriyaki sauce is one of the easiest sauces to make, it is deliciously piquant and so versatile that it can be used on nearly anything: meat, vegetables, noodles or grains. I always turn to this sauce when I am not sure what to cook. My favourite one is teriyaki salmon or chicken served on steamy hot rice with a side of nori seaweed and green leafy vegetables. But today, I opt for a vegetarian version with my new found favourite king oyster mushroom. This mushroom has the most meaty texture with the least water content compares to all of its other contemporaries. It holds its shape beautifully when cooked which makes it a brilliant replacement for meat. In this dish, the powerful flavour of the teriyaki sauce is complimented with refreshing and naturally sweet snow peas. The snow peas are barely cooked to retain its freshness and crunchiness, it goes perfectly well with the piquant teriyaki sauce and add a lovely contrast to the tender velvety mushroom. Serve with pipping hot rice as a comforting and satisfying meal. …

shiitake-meat-ball-noodles-soup recipe

Shiitake Meatball Noodle Soup with Courgette Ribbons

The outside air smelled of firework the other morning when we were on the way to school. The air was crisp, cold and familiar. Though it didn’t take me long to recognise the combination of the cold air and the smell of exploded firework was part of my special childhood memory. I told my daughter who stood right next to me that it was how Chinese New year smelled like in Macau. We talked about we should try to spend Chinese New Year there in the near future, but it seemed far too long for me to wait, so I closed my eyes, breathed deep and hard as if doing so would bring me back to Macau immediately. We have entered the new Lunar Year, perhaps that’s why the smell of firework seemed so signifiant that morning. Sadly I don’t celebrate it as much as I did when I was still living in Macau with my family. But having said that, I still like to cook one or two dishes that I miss most from home to soothe my homesickness. My mother used …

baba-ganoush recipe

Baba Ganoush with Pink Peppercorns

I didn’t intend to be absent from the blog for so long, I had planned for a mere three weeks break but it turned out to be an ongoing journey of self- (re)discovery, and somehow I didn’t want it to stop. During the break, I returned to my drawing board, literally, and my sketch book, doing sketches of all kinds; things that surround me, people who passing by, or even just ideas in my head. And I realised that I have forgotten how much I enjoyed drawing when I was growing up. I also spent a lot of the time reading novels and writing short stories, and I met some amazing people through a fiction writing class. I hope I can share some of the stories with you soon. I haven’t stopped cooking though, as you know if you are following my Instagram account, and can’t wait to share the recipes that I have created during the break. All in all, it has been a relax and inspiring time for me and I am glad that I had made this decision. …

tenerife mountain

Tenerife

We spent our first week of  2017 in the warm and wonderful Tenerife, the largest island of the Canaries situated on the Atlantic Ocean, about 100 km from west coast of Morocco. The island formed by an eruption of a volcano three million years ago. The landscape of the island is, in my opinion, most intriguing. The south side of the island features almost desert like landscape dotted with gigantic cactuses, aloe vera, weeds and palm trees where the climate is relatively dryer and warmer compared to the northern side. The more one travels north, where altitude is significantly and gradually higher with a more humid climate, the more green trees and shrubs one sees. Pine forests usually cover the mountain area. I was enthralled by the radical change of the ecosystem on this island which is unique to the world, and I was once again amazed by our wondrous nature. We landed in the Tenerife South Airport and had to drive along the coast to the north where our hotel was, therefore we had seen the change of landscape, the diversity …