Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐

May 24, 2010 § 1 Comment

Mapo Tofu is a traditional Sichuan dish, it’s a combination of tofu, minced meat and spicy bean based sauce.  Authentic Sichuan’s mapo tofu is really spicy, my version of it has been adjust to medium spicy because neither I nor my family can take the heat!  In addition, tomatoes are added to enhance the sourness a little bit and to make this dish more healthy.


  • 1 pack – Medium firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes;
  • 1/2 pounds – Minced port;
  • 2 – Medium tomatoes, sliced;
  • 2 cloves – Garlic, minced;
  • 1 little piece – Ginger, minced;
  • Seasoning:
    • 2-3 tablespoon – Chili bean sauce;
    • 1 tablespoon – Sweet bean paste;
    • 1 tablespoon – Shaohsing cooking wine;
    • 1 tablespoon – Soy sauce, less sodium f possible;
    • 1 teaspoon – Sugar;
  • 2 tablespoon – Water;
  • 1 teaspoon – Corn starch.

Mix corn starch and water, set aside.  Heat a non-stick pan or wok with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, add ginger, garlic and minced pork, quickly stir fry until the meat change color.  Add seasoning and mix well, keep stirring it for a minute or two until you can smell the chili bean paste.  Add tomato and tofu cubes, let it cook for 3-4 minutes, until the tomato become soft, lower the heat and add corn starch water, cook until it’s not cloudy.  Serve on rice.


Hong Kong Style Beef Tendon Stew 本場香港風牛筋の煮込み

May 23, 2010 § 2 Comments

Is there any HongKongers who live oversea ever miss the Hong Kong style beef tendon stew (牛筋,牛腩)?  Well, I really do!!  I’ve been looking for beef tendon after I came to the States, I couldn’t find it anywhere else until I visited a Korean Supermarket!!  I know this is a dish requires long hour cooking, it really is, but tendon dishes in restaurants that I’ve tried so far disappointed me, they always either too tough (cooking not long enough) or taste like rubber.  I really miss the beef tendon that absorbs all the soup’s flavor and soft enough to melt in my mouth, so I think it’s time for me to make my own beef tendon!  I have tried a few versions that developed by myself but this one taste most alike to what I was having in Hong Kong!  And by the way, tendon is basically  a big piece of collagen, so the more you eat the more beautiful you will become (this is the way how my mum encourage us to eat! haha!).


  • 1.5 pounds – Beef tendon;
  • 1 pound – Beef for stew, cut into large pieces;
  • 1 – Japanese white radish, cut 1 inch crosswise, halved;
  • 1 – Onion, sliced;
  • 2 cups – Cooking Sake;
  • 1/3 cup – Soy sauce, less sodium if possible;
  • 1/3 cup – Dark soy sauce;
  • 4 tablespoons – Sugar;
  • 4 tablespoons – Chili Bean Paste (medium spicy);
  • Other spices, put into a filter bag for tea (please look at the picture):
    • 1 tablespoon – Black peppercorn;
    • 1/2 tablespoon – Sichuan peppercorn;
    • 1 teaspoon – Celery seed;
    • 1 tablespoon – Chili flake.

Heat a 6-quant large stockpot with 2 tablespoon of vegetable oil, add onion and saute for a minute, add beef tendon, the whole pieces, cause it’s so much easier to cut after it’s cooked.  Add cooking sake when the pot is hot again, let the alcohol evaporates for a couple of minutes, add water enough to cover everything and add every other seasonings.  Bring it to a boil and let it cook on a medium heat for 30 minutes, turn off heat, cover, it’s important not to open it in 1 hour.  After 1 hour, cut tendon in small pieces with a kitchen scissors, bring it to a boil, add beef, cook for another 30 minutes, turn off heat, cover and let it sit for 1 hour.  Turn on the heat again after 1 hour, add white radish, cook for another 30 minutes, and again turn off heat, cover and wait for another hour.  Then cook for 30 more minutes on medium heat, serve hot on noodles or rice!

Japanese Cucumber Pickle きゅうりの甘酢漬け

May 23, 2010 § 2 Comments

Preserved vegetables (漬け物) are very popular in Japan, they preserve many kind of vegetables like eggplant, carrot, radish, cucumber with typically sugar, vinegar, salt, soy sauce and so on.  Cucumber is one of the most common vegetable for preserving!

To make this dish, all you have to do is to mix everything (easy enough right?).  I have cut cucumber this time with a food slicer just because I wanted to take a pretty picture, actually you can cut cucumbers into any shape you like, strips, crosswise, or even more creative ways!  Garlic slices is added to spice it up, you can add even thai chilies if you like it extra spicy!


  • 3 – Baby cucumber, cut into any shape you like;
  • 4 – Cloves of garlic, thinly sliced;
  • 1 Tablespoon – Sugar;
  • 3 Tablespoon – Rice Vinegar;
  • 1 Teaspoon – Sesame oil;
  • 1/2 Teaspoon – Salt;
  • Spring onion to garnish on top.

Toppoki, Korean Stir Fry Rice Cake トッポッキ

May 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Toppoki (also known as Teokbokki), sounds funny isn’t it?  It is my favorite Korean dish!  It has a little bit of many things, typically beef, spring onion, egg, carrot, fish cake and so on; but the main ingredient is Korean rice cake.  I love rice cakes a lot; Shanghai rice cakes are sliced thinly, fast-cooking, and good for soup recipes cause they absorb flavor very well; Japanese rice cakes usually looks like a piece of soap, I like the way they simply grill it with sweet soy sauce and wrap with a seaweed, the crunchy outside soft inside plus caramelized sweet soy sauce, I’m in heaven XD; Korean rice cakes take a little bit longer to cook, but their chewiness is incomparable!  (Drooling yet?)


  • 300g – Korean rice cakes;
  • 1 – Big piece of thin fish cakes, cut into small triangles;
  • 1 – Small cucumber, cut into strips;
  • 1/2 – Carrot, cut into match-sticks;
  • 1/2 – Pack Mushrooms, halved, any kind;
  • 2 cups – Water;
  • 3 Tablespoon – Korean roasted Red Pepper Sauce (Medium spicy);
  • 4 Tablespoon – Maltose, or 2 Tablespoon of sugar;
  • 1 Tablespoon – Sweet bean sauce (optional);
  • Roasted sesame to garnish on top.

Heat a non-stick pan with a tablespoon of oil, stir fry onion and carrot for a couple of minutes, add everything else other than cucumber (or any green vegetables, because they will lose the bright green color if they are over-cooked).  Then simply cook on a medium heat until liquid reduced and the sauce become thick, add cucumber, mix well and cook for a minute or two.  Serve in bowls.

Well, my version of Toppoki may not be a very traditional Korean one.  What I usually do is open my fridge, check what I got and add what I have suitable for this dish, but of course at least you need to have rice cakes or it would be stir fry rice cake.  I like to put something red, something yellow and something green, so please feel free to add anything you like!  (I have a friend cooked only rice cake itself =.= it won’t taste bad but it’s better to make your meal well-balanced right?)

Oyster and Spinach Gratin with Gorgonzola カキとほうれん草のグラタン

May 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Ocean, my sister-in-law’s 4 years old boy, is crazy about seafood.  Oyster is one of his favorite, they come to our house to have dinner together every week and I guess I’m making oyster dishes at least once a month, so 1 out of 4 times I cook oyster because I know if it is oyster in his bowl, he will eat really fast and a lot!  I like cooking one-dish-meal not only because it’s convenient, it also helps to get reluctant kids eat nutritious food when you cook their favorites with vegetables and stuff.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 bottles – Oysters (about 15 medium size oysters), washed;
  • 2 pounds – Spinach;
  • half of an onion, sliced;
  • 2 tablespoon – Unsalted butter;
  • 3 tablespoon – All-purpose flour;
  • 2 cups – Milk, or even better if you use half and half;
  • 2 cups – Rice

Cook rice in rick cooker.  Bring water to boil in a deep pan, put a pinch of salt, add spinach and cook for a minute, until completely wilted, drain and set aside.  Keep water boiling and add oysters, cook for a couple minutes, drain and cut each in 2 with a kitchen scissors, set aside.  Heat a deep skillet with butter, add onion and cook for a minute, add 1 tbsp of flour, stir well, then add 2/3 cup of milk, stir well again, repeat 3 times.  Then add oysters and spinach back into the white sauce, season with salt and pepper, mix well and take it off the heat after cooking another minute.  Spread rice in a ceramic baking dish, then spread gently the oyster and spinach white sauce on top, and sprinkle gorgonzola cheese on it.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the surface is lightly golden in a 375 degrees pre-heated oven.

Ginger Glazed Salmon さけの生薑焼き

May 21, 2010 § 3 Comments

Ginger has been used in a lot of dishes in China, it has been adding in dishes for women after giving birth, it has been adding in teas to prevent cold, it has been adding in seafood dishes to remove the fishy smell and yet the aroma of ginger is so amazing!  Ginger can be find in any supermarket and I prefer to use young ones, which is more juicy and less spicy; to identify a young one you just have to feel it, see if the skin is moist and has less wrinkles (sounds like us! haha).  This glaze works on not only salmon but also many other kind of fishes like yellow tail (ブリ) and also thin slices of meat!  I’ll introduce them soon!

To get ginger juice, the fastest way is to use a mini food processor (lazy me!).  Cut the ginger into small pieces, then just pulse until they look like the picture in the middle.  Then extract as much as possible juicy like the last picture.  In fact, I found it much faster to squeeze with my hands (of course I wash my hands every-time I do this before and after)!

What you’ll need:

  • Juice of 1 big ginger (about the size of your hand);
  • 1 tablespoon – Soy sauce, less sodium if possible;
  • 1 tablespoon – Brown sugar, alternatively you can use honey;
  • 2 – Salmon fillets.

Mix ginger juice, soy sauce and sugar, set aside.  Heat a non-stick pan with a tablespoon of vegetable oil, if your salmon fillet has skin, put them in the pan skin side down, cook until it’s golden, 1-2 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and flip the fillet over, and cook for a couple of minutes for medium-rare, or longer if desired.  Add ginger juice mixture in the pan and cover for a minute, cook until glaze has thickened to the consistency of syrup, about 1 minute. Serve salmon with glaze on the side.  Any kind of vegetables can be a good match for this tasty fish fillet, I used broccoli this time, but any kind will do!

Mushroom Black Pepper Sauce マッシュルーム胡椒ソース

May 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

This sauce is great to serve on meat, on rice and my favorite way is to serve on mashed potato!  Major ingredients of this recipe other than mushroom and onion is a bottle of black pepper sauce, which you can find it in supermarket.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pack – Mushroom, cleaned and halved;
  • Half of an onion, Sliced;
  • 2 tablespoon – Unsalted Butter;
  • 3 tablespoon – Black pepper sauce;
  • 1/4 cup – water;
  • 1 teaspoon – Corn Starch.

Mix water and corn starch, set aside.  Heat a non-stick skillet with butter; add onion and cook for a minute, then add mushrooms and cook for a couple more minutes.  Add black pepper sauce, mix well, reduce the heat and add corn starch water (you always want to reduce the heat when you add corn starch water so then you have enough time to mix well).  Bring the heat back to high and cook until the sauce is thick like this picture!