Recipe

Pie tees with jicama, carrot, pork and dried shrimps

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A traditional Nonya (Malay-Chinese) food, these cute & crispy little cups got me wondering… hmm.. what goodies can I fill them up with?

In Singapore the pie tee cups are available in sealed plastic jars from supermarkets – but we don’t have such luxury in Australia. So I bought a brass pie tee mould online from the U.K. and made my own pastry. For the filling, I stirred fry some graded jicama & carrot, minced pork and oyster sauce. Then I topped the pastry cups with fried shrimps and shallot. It was really tasty.

Pie tees with jicama, carrot, pork and dried shrimps

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

Mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐), and my father’s story of two spoonful of oil

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Mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐), and my father's story of two spoonful of oil

The province of Sichuan in China is famous for its taste bud killing pepper corn & spicy food.  One of their most famous dishes is the ‘mapo tofu’, sometimes translated as the ‘pockmarked grandma’s bean curd’.

When my father was a young lad, he attended a university far away from home. Ever since then, he developed a strong desire for traveling. After graduation, he worked for a state-owned factory with a starting salary of 51 yuan a month. He did not have the money to travel other than travelling for work.

One year, he was fortunate enough to be sent to Sichuan for a research project. He asked my grandmother for an oil coupon.  Those days most essentials were scarce and required coupons. When he arrived, he took the coupon to a well-known local restaurant and ordered a big bowl of mapo tofu. ‘The tofu was so good,’ he said to me, still with great enthusiasm, ‘ it had two spoonfuls of oil in it.”

A young traveler, somewhere in the Nortern China
A young traveler, somewhere in the Northern China

I have had many mapo tofu dishes over the years – they all seemed to be overly oily. But I liked them just like that  – I soaked up the oil with boiled rice. I could feel  my father’s joy and excitement as a far-away-from-home young traveler.

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 »

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 »

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 »

Hometown sweet and savory rice dumplings (家乡咸水角) – memories of my grandfather’s village at ZhongShan (中山)

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These dumplings are distinctively Cantonese- sweet & savory, gentle and tasty. Someone told me that it was originated from the Zhongshan region (中山) where my grandfather was born.

Hometown Sweet & Savory Glutinous Rice Dumplings (家乡咸水角) XianSuiJiao

My grandfather’s family lived in a village called Yunhan (云汉村) in a town called Shaxi (沙溪镇). The town was well known for its connection to overseas Chinese – nearly every family had some relatives overseas.

My childhood memory of the village where our relatives lived was picturesque –  peaceful lychee trees growing alongside a small river, laden with juicy purple-red fruits. The houses in the village were the traditional terrace houses with beautiful classic wooden furniture called red Suanzhi, translated as the red sour-wood (酸枝), one of the most expensive furniture hardwood in southern China. At the back of each house, there was a courtyard with a sand filter.  Water was carried home from a nearby well, commonly in two wooden buckets on a pole, then filtered to drinking water in a sand filter.  Most courtyards were lined with stones. The stoves were also made of stones where straws and sticks were burned to cook food. A well-off region with fertile farm land and money from offshore relations, hospitality at the village was always warm and welcoming.

Zhongshan 云汉村 in 1970s
Relatives walking along the lychee tree lined river, at Yunhan village (云汉村), Zhonghshan, 1970s

 

DelishHomeCook, village, ZhongShan 中山, GuangDong, China
My family’s village at ZhongShan in early 1980s

These savory dumplings are wonderfully interesting  – glutinous rice skin that tastes a little like a doughnut, with extremely tasty fillings.  They are time-consuming to make, but very worthwhile.

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

Golden coconut flan

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I learned about flan when I was working as a waitress in an Asian restaurant during my university days. I have to say, my flan is so much better than that restaurant’s.

 Coconut Flan

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