Tag Archives: chinese

Spring onion pancakes


Chinese Spring onion pancakes 葱油餠

Sometimes we just crave simple food that brings back memories. For a simple meal, we often make rice congee and have stir fry noodles with it. The rice congee would take some time to prepare, in order for the rice grains to break down enough to be creamy. While that’s going, I can also prepare Spring Onion pancakes to go with the meal. They do not resemble the western pancakes though, as these are not light or fluffy. Instead, they are chewy and most definitely savoury in taste (you can also make sweet versions with red bean paste filling, another stunner!).

By bringing back this oldie, I’m creating memories with my daughter too. J loves rolling these out, and have recently discovered via the Woks of Life a shortcut to these crispy delights: using round store-bought wonton pastry, create 6 layer stacks of pastry, oil, salt and spring onions. Roll these out and pan fry on a dry pan. Super quick and I hope that she will remember these and make them in the future, be it traditional way or the shortcut!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp Sesame Oil for the pancakes
  • 2 tsp fine salt
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • Rice bran oil for the pan

Dough Instructions

  1. Mix flour with water until it forms a smooth dough. Knead by doubling the dough over and pressing it down repeatedly, until the dough is shiny, smooth and very elastic. Coat this ball of dough lightly in oil and put it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.
  2. Finely chop the spring onion. (I use both the green tops and the white parts.) Set them on your work surface along with a small bowl of salt.
  3. Time to roll out the dough – Cut the dough into 4 equal parts. Roll out one part of the dough on the board. Roll until it is a thin rectangle at least 20 x 15 cm.
  4. Lightly brush the surface of the dough with sesame oil, then sprinkle it evenly with chopped spring onions and salt.Chinese Spring onion pancakes
  5. Starting from the long end, roll the dough up tightly, creating one long log of rolled-up dough.
  6. Cut the dough log into two equal parts.
  7. Take one of these halves, coil into a round dough disc. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes and ideally longer, while you repeat this process with the rest of the dough.Chinese Spring onion pancakes
  8. With you hands, press down a rolled dough disc into a flat, smooth, round pancake. Flatten it further by rolling with a rolling pin.Chinese Spring onion pancakes
  9. Chinese Spring onion pancakes
  10. Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Place the pancake dough in the dry pan and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes.
  11. Flip the pancake over and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes on the other side, or until golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the pancake dough rolls.

To Serve
Cut the pancake into wedges with a sharp knife, and serve immediately. Serve with your usual dumpling sauce (soy and vinegar).

Recipe Notes
Oils: This recipe calls for oil in two different places: Once to make the filling, and once to fry the pancakes. For the filling, any neutral oil will do, but tasters (and I!) prefer sesame oil.

Make-Ahead Tip: If you would like to make a few pancakes but save the rest for later, you can save the dough in the fridge for up to 3 days and in the freezer. Just make sure the dough is oiled and well-covered. You can also roll out individual pancakes and stack them between well-oiled layers of baking paper.

Chinese Spring onion pancakes 葱油餠

Chinese Roast Pork with crispy crackling


Roast pork. Bao. Crispy crackling
Roast pork. Bao. Crispy crackling
The closest chinese roast meat shop is 30 mins of driving away. To get our roast pork fix, we have to plan ahead and go on weekends. 

There has to be a better way, I thought to myself. So I decided that I will make my own!

Ingredients:

  • 2kg pork belly
  • 3 tablespoon five spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 3 tablespoon shaoxhing wine
  • 1 cup salt (coarse or table, i used a mixture)

Method:

  1. Wash and use paper towels to dry the pork belly.
  2. Make some horizontal slits on the skin side of the pork.
  3. Rub the meat side with wine, the five spice and white pepper powder.
  4. Flip meat over and brush skin with some white vinegar.
  5. Leave overnight to dry in fridge. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 350F/180c, arrange a pan on the bottom 1/3 of oven rack and fill with water. Line a roast pan with foil and place the pork belly on a rack that fits this pan.
  7. Layer the top of the pork belly with the salt evenly.
  8. Place the pork belly at the bottom 1/3 of the oven and bake for 1 hour.
  9. Bake until the salt crust forms, the salt should be hardened. Check water in the pan below and add if needed.
  10. Remove the pork belly from the oven, pull off the salt crust and discard.
  11. Raise the heat of oven to 465f/240c, place the pork belly back in and roast for another 30 to 40 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes. Cut and serve immediately with some chilli sauce and hoisin sauce, or eat as is.

    Roast pork. Bao. Crispy crackling
    You should have left overs for lunch. What I really mean is you should make enough so that there are left overs, afterall you are going to have the oven on for an hour, so might as well make use of all that heat! 

    You can use the roasted pork belly in soup noodles, fried rice and stir fry dishes. I had them with some steamed baos for lunch the other day and they were soooo good. 😋

    Roast pork. Bao. Crispy crackling

    Traditional Hong Kong street food – ‘Bubble Waffle’ (雞蛋仔)


    Bubble waffle, HK street food

    Of all the things I miss of Hong Kong since moving to NZ, 8 out of 10 things are food related. Some of them I have been able to recreate, like the desserts, claypot rice, combination coffee and tea ‘Yin Yeung’ and appetisers such as barbecue pork and cold cuts. One special dish, has eluded me thus far and that is the Bubble Waffle, also known as eggettes. I needed both the tools and the recipe in order to make it and I have not been able to acquire them until this year. Perhaps this is the reason why everytime I returned to HK I needed to frequent the tiny stall for my Bubble Waffle fix. Luckily this establishment is in my neighbourhood, so I am always close to it should I need to satisfy my craving. It also received an honorary mention in the 2016 Michelin Guide to Hong Kong and Macau so I was fully expecting to see queues and hiked up prices. When I went today, queues were present but prices had not gone up one cent. What a gem!

    In case you are wondering what the fuss is all about – after all, aren’t these just plain old waffles? What makes these bubble waffles so special?

    Bubble waffle, HK street food

    • Extra crunchy bite
    • Soft waffle centre with an air pocket
    • Melted fillings (if you chose one other than the original flavour) and lots of it

    I have tried and tested many waffle recipes and this below is the closest I have got to recreating the bubble waffle taste, texture and flavour. I hope you find this authentic enough and will enjoy it.

    Ingredients:
    (The following quantity is sufficient for making quite a few pieces but it really depends on the size of mould that you use and the success rate of making good ones.)

    • 110g plain flour
    • 40g corn flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 60g eggs (About 1 size 8 egg)
    • 120g white sugar
    • 60ml evaporated milk
    • 120ml milk
    • small quantity of vegetable oil, for greasing the mould

    Method:

    1. Firstly mix and sieve the plain flour, cornflour and baking powder. Set aside.
    2. Beat the eggs and mix in the white sugar using a small whisk. Add in the evaporated milk and milk. Mix thoroughly. I use a large measuring jug for this.
    3. Add the sieved flour mixture (1) into the egg mixture (2) in the measuring jug. Stir thoroughly until the batter is smooth without any lumps.
    4. Cover the batter and refrigerate for at least an hour (this ensures you have crunchy eggettes). Give it a stir when it’s time to cook.
    5. Warm up the mould, and brush a thin layer of oil on each side.
    6. Add in any fillings you wish to the batter just before you pour onto the mould.
    7. Pour the batter into the mould, be careful not to overfill, just to the top of each hole. Close the mould and count to 5. Then flip and turn the closed mould over so that the batter fills the other side of the mould. Leave it to cook for 3 minutes and then flip the mould again to cook the other side for a further 1 to 2 minutes until the bubble waffle is cooked.
    8. Use silicone tongs to remove the waffle from the mould and place it on a cake cooling rack to cool. You can also fold it up slightly so that it curves up. Using a plastic lid or plate, fan the cooked waffle for a minute for extra crispiness.
    9. Repeat until all of the batter is used up.

    Flavour combinations: You can make many other flavours by adding these to the batter:

    • Dark chocolate (1 tbsp of cocoa powder and chocolate chips) 
    • Shredded coconuts
    • Black sesame
    • Green tea powder 
    • Red bean (cooked – you can use the canned ones found in Asian grocery stores)
    • Chestnut purée or pieces
    • Coffee (powder mixed in with batter)
    • Mocha (coffee and chocolate)
    • Cheese for a savoury twist (grated cheese)
    • Honey
    • Taro purée

    Bubble waffle, HK street food

    Chinese pickle – turnip, carrot and cucumber


    Sushi has become a very common choice for meals these days, for its multitude of flavours and healthy ingredients (perhaps not so the fried pork cutlet with layers of fat-ladden mayo).
    Surprisingly, J doesn’t like sushi and I still haven’t figured out exactly why. With her new found love for prawns, I might try a prawn salad filling next time to tempt her. Except she might unpick the whole thing and eat just the prawns. Well that will be an entirely different post and I digress.
    One evening I served an extra dish of scallop sushi – bought from Sushi Pac as a reward for S – and J frowned and asked me what the pink coloured slices on the side of the box were.
    “They are ginger slices, pickled in vinegar.” and J replied,
    “Oh life can be a real pickle, eh?” I was stunned! Where did she pick this up from? So I ask,
    “Who taught you this?”
    “er…Linda!” (her teacher at childcare)
    “Do you know what it means?”
    “Yes it means sometimes, some things shouldn’t break, you know, but some things then break! We don’t know what to do. That’s a pickle!” she said a matter of factly.

    I was made speechless by that explanation, and was inspired to make some pickled turnip, carrot and cucumber.

    Ingredients

    • 600g turnip (about half of a large one) – in Chinese it is called ‘white carrot’
    • 2 carrots
    • 1 small cucumber
    • 2 tbsp salt
    • 750 ml apple cidar vinegar
    • 2 3/4 cups sugar

    Instructions

    1. Peel the carrots and cut them into logs: about finger-length and half centimeter by half centimeter wide. Half the cucumber lengthwise and scoop the seeds out and discard. Cut the cucumber into the same size as the carrots.
    2. Sprinkle about 2 tbsp of salt over the vegetables and gently massage it in. This draws the moisture content out and makes a nice crunchy pickle. Leave this in a colander to drain for 30 minutes.

    20120420-123007.jpg

    3. In the mean time, pour the apple cider vinegar into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add sugar in, stir to dissolve it. Turn off the heat and let it cool.

    4. Give the vegetables a good firm squeeze and use paper towels to dry them further. Put these in a large glass jar, and pour the cooled pickle solution in. Leave overnight in fridge.

    5. Serve with anything really. After all, you never know what kind of pickle life is going to throw at you.

    20120420-123048.jpg

    Chinese Poached Chicken


    This is a dish where most of the cooking is done without spending too much time in front of the stove. You can work on your other dishes while this is cooking. Yes you have a bit of chopping and tearing to do in the end, but to me it is time well spent for a healthy, delicious and succulent dish. Chicken cooked like this remains very moist and tender. J loves this.

    Ingredients:
    1 size 14 whole chicken
    2 litres chicken stock
    2 teaspoon salt
    8 whole black peppercorns
    1 stalk of green onions, chopped into finger long lengths
    5 slices of ginger
    Enough water to cover the chicken

    Dipping Sauce:
    5 Tbsp oil
    2 stalks of green onions, chopped into small thin rounds
    4 slices of ginger, chopped into small pieces
    3 tsp salt

    Garnish (optional):
    Cucumber ribbons
    Coriander
    Spring onions
    Garlic chilli sauce
    ——————————————————————————–
    Preparation time: 20 minutes
    Cooking and cooling time: 1 hour and 10 minutes

    Instructions:

    1. Place the chicken, chicken stock, salt, peppercorns, green onions, ginger in a large stockpot and set it over high heat. Add enough water to cover the chicken.
    2. Bring this to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer, and cook for about 1 hour until the chicken is still very tender. Skim the surface of any foam. (If you own a Thermos cooker, then you would bring this to a boil for 5 minutes, take it off the heat and place it in the outer shell of the Thermos cooker for an hour).
    3. Remove the chicken and place in a large bowl. Chill it with cold water. Replace water a few times until the chicken has cooled down.
    4. Once the chicken is cool to the touch, set it in a large bowl.
    5. If you don’t like eating chicken skin, gently remove it and discard.
    6. Remove the wings and drums off. Reserve for plating.
    7. Tease the two breasts off the bones – they should come off quite easily if the chicken is cooked. (If there are any signs of an undercooked chicken, you can put the whole chicken in the microwave for a short 30 seconds to finish the cooking process.) Set aside.
    8. Continue to remove all the meat off the bones. Discard all bones.
    9. Slice the chicken meat into thin pieces. Plate up with wings and drums on the side.
    10. Make your dipping sauce by heating the oil in a small pan. Add the chopped green onions, ginger and salt. Fry until it is fragrant, about 1 minute.
    11. Pour this into a dipping sauce dish, and serve with chicken.
    12. Best served with hot rice and optional garnish of cucumber ribbons, coriander, extra spring onions and hot chilli sauce.