Steamed blue eye cod 蒸鱼 and the market across the ‘Yayan Lane’ 雅言里 (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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How I love steamed fish!

Steamed blue eye cod with shallot & soy (low FODMAP & gluten free)

Growing up in Guangzhou in the early 1970s, we lived in a rundown 5-bedroom terrace house on a little lane way called the ‘Yayan Lane’ 雅言里  , translated as the ‘elegant words lane’. The house was bought by my grandfather in early 1950s for $1,200 yuan from a tea merchant. At the time there was a ‘movement’ to crack down tax evasion. Like some other small businesses, the tea merchant had to sell his house to pay his tax bill.  It was said that most houses on the market were going cheap over that period.

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My grandfather at the old terrace house, Yayan lane, guangzhou

There were many family members lived at the terrace house at various intervals – my great grandmother, my grandparents, my family, 3 uncles & 1 aunt and their families. My grandma cooked dinners for all the families. Food & basic essentials such as rice, oil, meat, fish, coal & fabric were on rations, and we had books of colorful coupons.

There was a state-ran market across the road from our lane way. The market sold all sort of food – meat & vegetables, seafood, Chinese sausages & BBQ meat, tofu, preserves, oil & soy sauce. When very small fish were caught from large schools, sometime coupons were not required.  The neighbors always kept a look out for such rare occasions, and we would hear a shout across the lane way.  Grandmother and I would grab a bamboo basket as fast as we could, rushed over to join the crowd.  There were no such things as lining up – layers of people cramped in front of the concrete table where the fish piled up among large blocks of ice, pushing each other, yelling to attract attention. The fish was always fresh and undeniably small,  not longer than my little hand.  My grandmother steamed the fish with soy sauce for dinner. Our skinny house cats would fight over the bones & left-over sauce mixed with some rice – a rare treat for them.

Riding a bike at Yayan Lane, GuangZhou, China in 1970s
Riding a bike at the Yayan lane in 1970s

Today, we are so very lucky in Australia with all the wonderful seafood, spices & herbs. My favorite method of cooking fish is steaming. From time to time, when I enjoy a good steamed fish, I could still smell the sea at the crowded market place across the road from the Yayan Lane.

Here is my version of steamed fish – fresh & simple.  I used Blue Eye Cod on this occasion. You can use most sort of white flesh fish. My favorite fish for steaming is perch.

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

Chocolate, coconut, sesame and dates balls (gluten free, vegan)

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As a part time working mum dashing between workplace and school drop offs & pick ups, some days I don’t time for breakfast or lunch. This is a tasty treat that can really enhance energy level.

So simple – you can add your other favorite dried fruits; and make a large batch and freeze them.

Chocolate, coconut, sesame and dates balls   (gluten free, vegan)

 

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

Rice paper roll with chicken, quinoa, pumpkin, carrot, capsicum and lettuce (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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A friend has recently moved to a low FODMAP diet. When we have dinner parties, I try to accommodate his diet with the simplest, freshest ingredients with low FODMAP. It is fun and challenging working with limited ingredients.

Here is a super easy recipe & well balanced – the pan fried capsicums & pumpkins add lots of sweetness to this dish, lettuce add  crunchiness, quinoa adds texture, chicken for protein.

Rice paper roll with chicken, quinoa, pumpkin, carrot, capsicum and lettuce   (low FODMAP, gluten free)

 

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

Mango pudding with coconut kumquat (gluten free)

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The Kumquat shrub is bearing fruits in the garden – super juicy and adds lots of flavor to a mango & coconut pudding.  Mango pudding is one of my favorite dessert at yum cha.

Mango pudding with coconut kumquat (gluten free)

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

Chinese traditional steamed pork ‘cake’ 蒸肉餅 (gluten free)

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My old aunt & my cousin are coming over for lunch today.  My aunt can’t cook much any more, so I am cooking them a traditional Chinese meal.  No other meat could be more traditional than pork. I remembered that my old aunt had a secret for all good Chinese pork dishes – ginger, shallot, soy & wine.

Chinese traditional steamed pork 'cake' 蒸肉餅 (gluten free)

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

Hot and sour soup 酸辣湯

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When I first arrived in Australia in late 1980s, I studied full time & worked part time in an upmarket Chinese restaurant serving northern style cuisines. I was always amazed by the beautiful aroma from the hot and sour soup and its interesting taste – hot but not overwhelming, sour with a woody base,  sweet and crunchy, offering so much comfort on a winter’s night.

Hot and sour soup 酸辣湯

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

Sambal eggs with tamarind sauce

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I am constantly puzzled by the restaurant business – why is it so tough? Some restaurants served such wonderful food but still could not survive.

Many years ago I found this tiny Indonesian restaurant at Bondi that cooked he most amazing sambal eggs; however it closed down after a year of trading.  Nowadays I make my own sambal eggs with a lighter style – more of a modern Malaysian than Indonesian.This dish is so tasty – sweet, sour, spicy, salty and nutty. The sambal salsa is enhanced by a tamarind sauce, which is also called the ‘son in law’.

Sambal eggs with tamarind sauce

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