All posts filed under: Main Course

Char Siu - Chinese Style BBQ Pork recipe

Roasted Chinese Style Pork Filet served with Ginger Spring Onion Sauce

Exactly one week today will be Chinese New Year day. If you are planning to host a big new year party, I hope you are nearly ready with all the ideas that I have prepared you since the last couple of weeks (on the blog, my facebook page and Instagram). But I am not stopping with my Chinese food theme yet, today I have another recipe for you. This roasted pork recipe is one of my childhood favourites, it is known as Char Siu 叉燒 in Cantonese. The original cooking method is barbecue but I roasted mine instead (maybe I will try barbecue it in the summer with our outdoor grill) since I find the top grill of my oven is not the best and I want the pork to cook evenly inside the oven. The filet came out nicely charred on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, because of the long marinating time, the flavour has developed deep into the meat. No wonder it is one of the most popular dishes …

Braised Aubergine Ramen in Spicy Blackbean Sauce recipe

Braised Aubergine Ramen in Spicy Black Bean Sauce

I have the most vivid memory of my mother making this black bean sauce, she would mash the fermented black bean with the end of the knife handle together with crushed garlic, she would work on it patiently until it was well mashed and combined. After that, she added soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and mix it into a thick glossy paste. The aroma of the umami black bean and the strong pungent garlic filled our tiny kitchen. I have no idea why I remember so well with her making this particular sauce since I had learned so many other homemade sauces from her. But whatever reason it might be, it remains one of my favourite sauces to make if I crave for a taste of home as it will always remind me of this picture, in which my beloved mother and I stood in our kitchen together, making dinner for the whole family. When I was planning this week’s recipe, I wanted to make something Chinese, not because I was homesick (yes I do miss …

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 …

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 …

Braised Chicken Meatballs and Fennel with Miso Gochujang recipe

Chicken Meatballs and Fennel Braised in Miso Gochujang

These chicken meatballs are tender on the inside but firm and springy on the outside, if you care enough to ground your own meat, it tastes so much better than the ready-minced supermarket type, a little effort goes a long way. For the sauce, since I want something rich and spicy, I use a mixture of my favorite pantry staples: miso paste and Gochujang (Korean chili paste), this combination delivers a sharp umami taste with a spicy kick which works wonderfully well with the meatballs. In fact the sauce itself is quite flavoursome, so it becomes amazingly versatile, it makes wonder to all food wherever it is added (I literately use it on everything: salad, stew, marinade, stir fry, even just drizzle it on rice and noodles!) and it only takes a few minutes to whip up. My ‘go to sauce’ when I crave for something hearty and spicy, especially in cool autumn days. Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables and it adapts well with various flavours without losing its own. Once cooked, its licorice taste became subtle …

Grilled shrimps, figs and summer squash salad recipe

Grilled Prawn, Fig and Summer Squash Salad in Harrisa Yogurt Dressing

I love the feeling of my teeth sink into a cold, plump fig from the fridge every late summer morning, the chill does a better job of waking me up than my strong Oolong tea. Beside that I feel especially nurtured eating them first thing in the morning, nothing too overwhelming for the empty stomach, just a hint of sweetness with the most delicate texture, and most importantly, it is packed with nutrients and a good source of fibre. I also love to add a few slices in my yogurt with honey and toasted coconut, or on my crispy toast with a spread of salty goat cheese and a drizzle of honey; bake them in buttery puff pastry with berries jam, or lay them on top of cake batter, bake until they turn dark burgundy and bursting with heavenly sweetness. I especially fond of adding them to salad, with torn mozzarella cheese and dry-cured ham, or with crumbled goat cheese and peppery rocket. So here it is for today, a humble experiment turns into a wonderful salad recipe. The fig provides a subtle sweetness for …

Portuguese Tomato Rice (Arroz de Tomate) recipe

Arroz de Tomate – Portuguese Tomato Rice

As I was doing some research on Portuguese food for one of my writing projects, I came across a simple recipe which makes use of one of the most delicious summer produces – tomatoes – and they are in season currently and are sold abundantly. Although they are available all year round but the summer tomatoes are definitely more flavorful as they ripen beneath the summer sun, grow into pleasantly sweet, aromatic and succulent fruits that are bursting with flavour. It is hard to imagine not to enjoy these jewels as much as we can throughout the high of summer when they are at their best. I remember how much I fond of many tomato based dishes in Portuguese/Macanese cuisine when I was growing up in Macau: Feijoada, tomato cream soup, stew seafood with chorizo, pan-fried whole fish then braised in rich tomato sauce (this was one of my mother’s specialties), etc. One of my absolute favorites was baked pork chop with rice (it is more like a local Macau special), long grain rice cooked perfectly in tomato paste and then …