Month: August 2015

Pork and bok choy dumplings with home made rice and tapioca wrappings (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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Our friend Bill has gut problems and is on a low FODMAP diet. He posted on facebook today, saying “I am sick of being sad; and sad for being sick”.  To lift his spirit, we invited Bill over for some food.

I made some steamed rice flour and tapioca dumplings with pork and bokchoy.

Pork and bok choy dumplings with home made rice and tapioca wrappings (fodmap friendly, gluten free)

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Egg ‘pancake’ with Asian style meat balls, vegetables and fish sauce (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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I bought some minced pork from the local butcher early this afternoon with the intention to make some Low FODMAP dumplings. By the time I get around processing the mince with bok choy as filling, I was getting quite hungry and fancied something a bit more substantial.  So here is the afternoon snack / dinner – really nice with a Vietnamese fish sauce.

Egg 'pancake' with Asian style meat balls, vegetables and fish sauce (low FODMAP, gluten free)

Recipe is as follow:   Read the rest of this entry »

Steamed tofu with pork floss (肉松), noodles, soy and vinegar

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This dish is simply refreshing & refreshingly simple – the silkiness of the tofu, the tangy soy & vinegar sauce enhanced by the sweetness of the pork floss, add soba noodles to make a full lunch out of it.

Steamed tofu with pork floss (肉松), noodles, soy & vinegar

Recipe is as follow:  Read the rest of this entry »

Pork belly with Chinese dry mustard greens (Mei Cai Kou Rou 梅菜扣肉)

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Pork belly with Chinese dry mustard greens (Mei Cai Kou Rou 梅菜扣肉)

When I was a little girl, my grandmother often sent me to the market across the road to get groceries. At the market, there were urns of soy sauce, slabs of tofu, loads of vegetables, a fish stand and a pork stand.  When it was my turn at the butcher’s stand, with his huge chopping cleaver in his hand, he looked down to me and asked loudly: ‘soup or for stir fry’. I looked up and quietly said: “kou rou’. He would then cut me a small piece of pork belly and tight it with a bamboo string as I handed over coupons and money.

A Chinese butcher at the market
A Chinese butcher at the market

I still remember how the bundles of dry ‘Mei Cai’, or salted Chinese dry mustard greens, hanging from the bamboo racks at the markets. There were preserved greens as well, being fermented in large brown urns. In the good old days, ‘mei cai’ was popular in China – it was cheap and can be use with so many dishes. If one ran out of money, ‘mei cai’ and boiled rice was considered a far superior option than soy sauce and boiled rice.

Here is one of my grandmother’s favorite dish – ‘mei cai kou rou’, or pork belly with Chinese dry mustard greens.

Recipe is as follows:  Read the rest of this entry »

Soba noodles with pearl mushrooms (vegan)

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I walked pass an Asian grocery store today and saw some beautiful pearl mushrooms at the front. I could not help myself – I had a visual of a bowl of juicy noodles with deep dark soy & sesame flavor. And here it is…

Soba noodles with pearl mushrooms (vegan)

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Tofu skin rolls with chicken, bamboo shoots and Chinese mushrooms 鮮竹卷 (gluten free)

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This is a popular Cantonese dim sim dish found in most yum cha restaurants, often steamed and sometimes vegetarian. My version is first steamed then pan fried for extra flavor.

Tofu skin rolls with chicken, bamboo shoots and Chinese mushrooms 鮮竹卷 (gluten free)

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Hometown (中山) style steamed rice cake with radish, bacon and dried shrimps; memories of grand uncle ‘Chi’

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I am visiting my old grandaunt & granduncle today. I will cook them their favorite steamed glutinous rice cake.

Hometown (中山) style steamed rice cake with radish, bacon and dried shrimps

As an orphan, my mother wished to join her sister in the U.S. since she was a young girl. After trying for many years without success, she married my father at the age of 28. My father has many relatives in Australia, one of them is the Uncle Chi’s family.

Uncle Chi is my granduncle. He is a cousin of my late grandfather from the ZhongShan (中山) prefecture in the GuangDong province. My granduncle’s family came to Australia during the gold rush era in early 1900s. The family opened a peanut shop in Newcastle with a roasting workshop at the back. The peanut shop had a table in the corner, with old Chinese ladies dropping by daily to enjoy a cup of Chinese tea and a few chats.

My granduncle went to high school and he was academically excellent. He took over the family business instead of pursuing university. This was considered the right thing to do by the family.

During 1940s, granduncle went back to ZhongShan for an arranged marriage. He married a pretty and educated maiden from a well-off family. My grandaunt came to Australia, without a maid on her side for the first time, learned to cook and raised 6 children.

When the peanut shop was sold to a large competitor, the family opened up a Chinese restaurant. They worked really hard.  According to their children, they were in the restaurant ‘all the time’.  Over this period, they sponsored many relatives to migrate to Australia for a better life.  They moved to Sydney in early 1970s as the children studied in universities around Sydney.

My father connected with granduncle in early 1970s by mail.  My grandfather was an educated man (rare those days) and a well-respected figure in our hometown. The two families got on very well in the past.  Since I was a little girl, my parents told me that I must study hard, I must go overseas, and I must seek a better life than the one that I was in. The idea was that, once I could make a break through, my parents could tag along too.

Reasonably good at school work, I attended one of the most selective high schools in Guangzhou city.  My father diligently wrote to my granduncle each year on my academic achievements and suggested that one day I’d have the ability to have a go at a new life in Australia.  So when I graduated from high school in 1980s, my granduncle sponsored me to come to Australia. My granduncle found a school for me, paid for the exuberance school fee and bought an air ticket for me – my parents couldn’t even afford the airfare. I lived with them until I was on my own two feet. With their help, I was able to secure a university degree, became a qualified accountant and later on an investment professional.  Thanks to their generosity, I have a wonderful life in a beautiful country.   I am grateful for their support, kindness & care.

So today I am cooking them a dish from our hometown, ZhongShan, a steamed glutinous rice cake that they loved when I was living with them.

Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »