All posts filed under: Main Course

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 …

braised mushroom and glass noodles with chili bean sauce recipe

Braised Mushrooms and Glass Noodles in Szechuan Chili Bean Sauce

There are several types of cellophane noodles, also known as ‘glass noodles’, are commonly used in Asian cuisine. The most popular one in Chinese kitchen is made of mung bean starch, others are made of sweet potato starch, arrowroot starch, potato starch, yum or cassava starch etc. One of my favorite childhood dishes was braise Chinese courgette (which is crunchier and mellower in taste than its European counterpart) with dried shrimps and mung bean noodles, it was one of the most humble but yet delicious Chinese dishes I know. Fresh courgette cooked in a light chicken (or vegetable) broth flavoured with dried shrimp and ginger, the mung bean noodles soak up the subtle sweet, umami flavours from the broth and give the dish a slightly chewy texture. It is nothing over the top about this dish but the taste is just comforting and delightful. But I have to say from time to time, a good spicy dish is often the right taste to awaken your tastebuds, at least that is what I like to eat when I feel like my spirit needs a …

Thai Steak Salad Recipe

Memory of The Significance (with a recipe)

I remember vividly when Patsy opened the black lacquer painted door when we (my Korean friend and I) were standing in front of her tall Georgian terrace house in London Islington fifteen years ago. She had a big smile on her face. My then future landlady is tall with fair skin and thick blond hair, she has a friendly face with a confident voice, “come on in!” she said. We walked into the light drenched hallway where a massive golden framed mirror hung on one side, and at the end of the hallway, a small potted palm tree stood at the bottom of the stairs. We were immediately leading up the stairs laid with dark blue carpet, all the way to the top of the house. We went into a room to the left of the landing which was small but flooded with light. There were a bed, a desk, a wardrobe stood next to a wooden shelf all arranged neatly inside the room. An unusually large sash window (in relation to the room) next to the bed, overlooking to the back garden and the …

Hainanese Chicken Rice recipe

Hainanese Chicken Rice served with My Favorite Dipping Sauces

Hainanese chicken rice is one of my absolute favorite childhood dishes. It is a national dish of Singapore, one can find it in every restaurant, cafe and street food stalls in the country. It is even served exclusively in some restaurants! However, according to research, this dish is believed to be originated from Hainan province in China (hence the name), and apparently the recipe was brought to other South East Asia countries by the Hainanese immigrants and it then became one of the most popular dishes in places like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Hong Kong). There are many different ways of cooking the chicken, usually it is poached or steamed or even roasted, served with rice, dipping sauces and a light broth on the side. My version is a little different than the traditional one by first simmering a whole chicken for a very short time, and then keeping it ‘poached/steeped’ (heat off) in the same hot fragrant broth (consists of few aromatic asian herb and spice such as ginger, lemongrass and spring onion) until cooked through. This ‘long-poach’ cooking method produces tender and …