All posts filed under: Side Dishes

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 …

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. …

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. …

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 …

Roasted za'atar carrot with goat cheese, pistachio and promagranate dressing recipe

Roasted Za’atar and Sumac Carrots Salad

These carrots are roasted to perfection, flavoured with za’atar and sumac; a combined taste of tangy sweet and yet earthy and savory. Za’atar is a spice blend that originates in Middle East countries, such as Lebanon, Israel, Jordon, Palestine and Saudi Arabia; and also popular in some north African countries such as Morocco and Tunisia. Every country has their own blend of spices. The one I have (and I use here) is from Israel, it is a blend of dried oregano, white sesame, thyme, sumac, dill and salt, it has an intense earthy flavour with a hint of licorice note. It gives a wonderful taste to almost anything, I love to sprinkle it on egg of all kinds, or rub the spice on chicken and lamb then put straight onto the grill; scatter it on homemade hummus and baked pitta bread, to say the few examples. The other spice I use here is called Sumac, it is also native to the Middle East; a red coarse powder made from ground sumac berries. It has a floral …

Wakame Salad with Toasted Sesame Dressing recipe

Wakame Avocado Salad with Toasted Sesame Dressing

Sesame sauce is hugely popular in Asian countries, I grew up eating steamed wobbly rice rolls topped with flavoursome sesame sauce for breakfast, one of my absolute childhood favorites. The other of my beloved dish is hand-torn chicken and julienned cucumber served with silky, sweet sesame sauce. In fact, I love everything with a toasted sesame flavour, so sesame oil becomes my definite pantry item, a drizzle here and a drizzle there, a natural flavour enhancer. I was at my daughter’s school summer fair the other day and I was helping out at one of the food stalls. A fellow mother made summer rolls with a sesame dipping sauce which were so delicious that they sold out almost within just an hour. I was definitely spellbound by the smooth, delectable sauce that I didn’t hesitate to ask her for the recipe. She has given me the list of ingredients but I have to work out the quantities myself. So here is my version of the sesame sauce which I serve here as a salad dressing, and I hope you will like it and will make …

Agedashi Nasu recipe

Baked Aubergine served in Dashi Broth – Almost Agedashi Nasu

Tender aubergine half bathed in a light warm broth, garnished with chopped spring onions and grated ginger. The flesh of the fruit which has saturated with the rich umami flavour from the broth just melts in the mouth. While the green young spring onion is providing a few fresh crunches, the grated ginger adds a raw, spicy excitement to the whole dish. It is how I remember its taste, the Agedashi Nasu (deep-fried aubergine served in dashi broth) which I first tasted in a Japanese restaurant a few weeks ago. It made such an impression to me that, by the second I left the restaurant, I decided to recreate it at home. Note: as I have been trying to avoid deep frying food as much as I can, so the cooking method I use here is baking rather than the traditional deep-frying. It means less oily and less messy. Just brush enough oil on both sides (and the skin) of the aubergine slices, and they are good to go. Score the skins on the end-slices so it cooks …

Tamari Maple Noodles with Grilled Spring Onions recipe

Tamari Maple Noodles with Grilled Spring Onions

To my surprised (I imagine it will be my family’s as well), I am writing a recipe with spring onions, not as a garnish, but as the main ingredient! I was never keen on spring onion so much since I was a child, although I grew up seeing them often in our kitchen and whenever I went to the market with my mother, we were always given spring onion for free if we bought vegetables from the stalls, but I could somehow avoid eating it. If any of it did land on my bowl, it would be skillfully removed by me with chopsticks almost immediately, even the smallest loop that was hidden in my food (and I was famous for that). I remember vividly that my sister Karen and I once went for congee (Chinese style slow-cooked rice soup) in a local eatery in the old Macau city, when the food arrived, I was horrify by the sight of a large pile of chopped raw green onions on top of my congee, and I scooped it out with my porcelain soup spoon without hesitation, in a split …

Chinese ginger fried rice recipe

Crispy Ginger Fried Rice

Two weeks ago, our dearest neighbour friend Insaf gave birth to a baby boy, a small, delicate human being who instantly brought so much joy to the family upon the minute he was born. When we visited them a few days later, the whole household was filled with delight and the smell of a new born baby. I was besotted with the touch of his porcelain smooth skin, his tiny soft fingers and the warmth of his body when I hold him in my arms. Then I realised I have forgotten how small and dainty Lilly was when she was born seven years ago, but what I do remember was I could just look at her petite face enthrallingly, for as long as she allowed me to. As I thought nothing would be better than having a warm, delectable meal after hours of labour, so naturally, cooking a few meals for Insaf would be my ideal gift for her. Therefore I have cooked her a couple of meals for the first few days after the birth. Having to see the satisfying expression (for both …

Asparagus tempura recipe

Asparagus Tempura with Ginger Lime Tamari, Chili Miso and Gomasio

‘We are eating asparagus again? Oh, I like the white one mama, mmm… they look delicious!’ It was the first reaction from Lilly when I served these asparagus Tempura for our dinner last night. I was enthralled by the way she gobbled them up with her favorite ginger lime Tamari dipping sauce, a pure enjoyment! Nothing makes me happier to see her loving food as much as I do. I was surprisingly impressed the other day by her liking for white asparagus, when she finished off (in fact licked clean!) her very first plate of blanched white asparagus, served with boiled new potato, cured ham and Hollandaise sauce (which is the traditional German way to serve white asparagus). Since asparagus season only last for about 2 months (between end of April and end of June in Germany), I will get hold on some whenever I see very fresh ones available in the market, since they are much tenderer when cooked compare to the green ones, with a subtle sweet note accompanied by silky smooth texture. It pairs brilliantly with a …