Monthly Archives: July 2011

蒜香排骨煲仔飯 Garlic Spare Ribs on Claypot Rice

This is the third clay pot rice we had in one month.  We love it so much for weeknights because it is so quick and easy to make.  Simply marinate the pork ribs and cook the rice.  Once you learn to cook it, you’ll find the rice taste so much better in the clay pot and do not want to go back to electric rice cooker.

And note the only difference with this dish compared to the other two clay pot recipes is the addition of corn starch to the spare ribs after marinating for 30 minutes.  This allows the ribs to absorb the flavors and keep the juices inside, so that meat is more tender after cooked.

The baking soda is used as a tenderizer for the ribs.  However, some people do not like its taste, so you may want adjust as needed.


  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 lb of spare ribs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cooked garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon chicken seasoning powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 scallion/green onion, chopped
  • 1 red birdeye chili
Sweet Soy Sauce for Claypot Rice: In a saucepan, add 3 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.  Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.

Garlic Spare Ribs on Claypot Rice:
  1. Wash and drain spare ribs pieces
  2. In a small bowl, combine ribs with cooked and raw minced garlic, baking soda, sesame oil and sugar.  Marinate for 30 minute.  Add corn starch and mix well.
  3. Rinse the rice with water until the water comes out nearly clear; drain completely.
  4. Thinly oil the inside of the claypot.   (Apply oil to the pot before adding rice and water to avoid sticking and to make a crispy rice effect.) Heat over medium-high heat.  Add the rice and water and cover.  Bring it to boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat to high; add spare ribs.  Cook over low heat for 10-13 minutes.  Turn off the heat and cover for another 5-8 minutes or until the ribs are cooked.  Add scallions, red chili and drizzle sweet soy sauce mixture over the rice to serve.

More Claypot Recipe:

鲜蝦煲仔飯 Claypot Rice with Garlic Shrimps

田雞煲仔飯 Claypot Rice with Frog Meat and Shiitake Mushroom

北菇滑雞煲仔飯 Claypot Rice with Chicken and Shitake Mushrooms

粉絲蟹煲 Crab with Vermicelli in Claypot





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Lemon Basil Shrimp Pasta

This dish is inspired by one of my favorite pasta places in New York City – Il Corallo Trattoria in Soho. When I went there for the first time, I was blown away by the simplicity but deliciousness of their Capellini Limone. This recipe is meant to recreate the dish at home. While it is not exactly the same, I think that I was able to capture the essence of the dish: clean and fresh flavors, simple, and feels like summer.


  • 1/2 box of angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Montreal Steak Seasonings
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, julienned
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
  1. Marinate shrimps with 1 teaspoon McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt and spaghetti.  Cook for 4-5 minutes or follow instructions on the box.  Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pasta and mix well.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add shrimp and cook until the shrimps are opaque.  Remove from skillet.
  4. In the same skillet, stir in garlic, onion and tomato, cook for a couple minutes.  Add pasta and lemon juice, cook for 1-2 minute or until everything cooked through.  Then add basil and shrimp.  Serve with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
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Posted by on July 30, 2011 in Italian, Pasta Recipes, Shrimp Recipes


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青椒山藥炒螺片 Conch with Pepper and Yamaimo Stir-fry

Question: what is usually the actual ingredient for fake abalone?

Answer: Conch

It is no coincidence that conch is often used for this purpose, as it has a somewhat similar texture and flavor, at a small fraction of the price.

Conch is an interesting ingredient to work with and can be eaten raw or cooked in many different ways, including fried, included in a salad, made into a soup, or even . In Chinese cuisine, it is often stir fried.



  • 2 fresh conchs, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 3 garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • White pepper, to your taste
  1. In a pot of hot boiling water, add yamaimo and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. In a skillet/pan, heat oil over high heat.  Add ginger and stir fry until fragrant.  Add pepper, stirring and cook for 2 minutes.  Add Yamaimo then
  3. Add the sliced conch and cooking wine, stirring for 1 minute then add sesame oil and dash of white pepper.  Mix well to serve.

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海參花膠煲 Braised Sea Cucumber with Fish Maw Casserole

Fish maw is sun-dried swim bladder of fish.  There are two kinds of fish maw, deep fried and non-deep fried.  Both are used in savory dishes like soup, stew or stir fry.  While the deep dried fish maw have a marshmallow-like texture, the non-deep fried fish maw have a soft and glutinous texture, somewhat similar to beef tendon. Non-deep fried fish maw is used to prepare this dish.  Fish maw has no flavor in itself and therefore need the flavors from dried oyster, dried scallops and dried ham in this casserole.

Similar to sea cucumber, fish maw is a very healthy food with many benefits.  (See here)   An excellent source of collagen, fish maw improves complexion, blood circulation and heals wound after operation.  Some people also believes fish maw helps fertility.


  • 2 pre-soaked sea cucumbers, cut into 3 inches a piece
  • 2 fish stomach/fish maw
  • 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup of dried Wood Ear
  • 5 dried oysters
  • 5 dried scallops
  • 3 slices of dried ham 金華火腿
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 5 slices ginger
  • 2 stalks scallions/green onion, cut into 2 inches a piece
  • 2 dried orange peel
  • 3 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine

Fish Stomach/Swim Bladder/Fish maw Preparation:
In a pot of hot boiling water, add 2 slices of ginger and 2 stalks of scallions, along with two fish maw.  Let it cook over high heat for 20 minutes.  Drain and cut into 2 inches a piece.
  1. Follow Sea Cucumber Cleaning Direction to prepare the cucumber or use pre-soaked sea cucumber. Set aside.
  2. Follow directions above to prepare fish stomach.  Cut into 2 inches a piece.
  3. Soak wood ear in hot water and let it sit for 20 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  4. Heat oil in pan. Add ginger, garlic and dried tangerine peel, until fragrant. Add dried oysters and ham, stir-fry for a minute.  Add in sea cucumbers and stir fry for 3 minutes.  Add 2 tbsp oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar.  Add 4 cups of water, enough water to cover the ingredients.  Add dried scallops.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer for 2.5 hours.
  5. Add wood ear, cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Add broccoli, fish stomach and 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, mix well, cover and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add cooking wine and cook for few minutes.

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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Chinese


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芋頭雞 Stir-fry Chicken with Taro

Make a dinner for two in a flash with this stir-fry recipe. Taro is a root vegetable that is used in the cuisines of many places around the world.  It is similar to the potato, but has a nuttier flavor and heartier quality.  Many Chinese dishes make use of the taro. Examples include taro dumpling, a dim sum dish, and taro cake, typically eaten during Chinese New Year.  It is also often braised with meat, such as pork ribs or duck.

From a nutritional standpoint, the taro has three times the amount of fiber than the potato, and has a low Glycemic Index.  It is slightly more calorie-rich, but is still a good choice as a starch vegetable.


  • 1 medium size Taro or about 1.5 cups, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 lb chicken, chopped into bite-size
  • 1 red bell pepper, cubed
  • carrot cut into 10 – 1×1 inch
  • 10 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlics, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 can chicken stock or water

Chicken Marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch


  1. Marinate chicken with oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and cornstarch.  Place in fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over high heat. Pan fry taro for a few minutes.  Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and chicken stock.  Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed (about 15 minutes).  Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in skillet over high heat.  Stir in 1 garlic, cook until fragrant.  Add carrot, pepper and mushroom and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Heat oil in pan. Add shallots and 1 garlic, cook until fragrant. Add chicken, cook for about 4 minutes.  Stir in taro, pepper and mushroom.  Stir-fry for about a minute or until the meat is cooked through.
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Posted by on July 24, 2011 in Chicken, Chinese


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Mashed Potato and Mozzarella Baked Egg Casserole

Using the same mixture from Crispy Potato Bites as the base and with inspiration after reading Zucchini mozzarella baked egg, I created this breakfast dish.  It has a filling of mashed potato and is topped with a baked egg. Bread crumbs provide a slight crunch and the cilantro some color and extra flavor.  It may seem that a baking casserole is too much work for the morning rush, but using pre-cooked ingredients or making it the night before (except the baking part), you’ll only need 12 minutes in the oven for this quick and nutritious breakfast.


Ingredients: (makes 2 casseroles)

  • 1 potato
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons corn
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of mozzarella
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Panko breadcrumbs


  1. Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water.  Cover and bring to a boil; cook for 20 to 25 minute or until very tender.
  2. Mash the potatoes and mix with corn, cilantro, corn starch, salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the mixture into two oven-safe 16 oz round dishes.  Add 1/2 cup of mozzarella into each dish. Carefully crack an egg into each one, making sure to keep the yolk intact.  Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of panko and 1/2 teaspoon cilantro on top.  Bake for about 15 minutes at 450 degree or until the whites are just set.

Other Baked Egg Recipe:

Baked Egg with Mushrooms Roasted Pepper and Spinach


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Eggs Florentine with Hollandaise Sauce

A variation of Egg Benedict, Eggs Florentine substitutes the ham/bacon with spinach.  The Hollandaise sauce could not have been easier to make.  Just make sure the butter is hot and that you pour it very slowly in the running blender.  You also must have enough ingredients for 6 servings in the blender in order for the sauce to blend well.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 English muffin, split in half
  • 1/2 bags of spinach (5 oz), thawed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper

Blender Hollandaise Sauce Ingredients: (for 6 eggs)

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
  • 1/2 cup butter

A. Poached Egg Directions:

  1. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a pot of water
  2. Bring the water to boil, then reduce the heat to medium.
  3. Crack an egg to the water
  4. Poach the egg for 3 minute then remove with a slotted spoon

B. Sauteed Spinach:

  1. Heat oil or butter over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add spinach and saute, stirring for 2 minutes.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and nutmeg to taste.

C. Blender Hollandaise Sauce Recipe: – 

  1. In the container of a blender, combine the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Cover, and blend for about 5 seconds.
  2. Place the butter in a glass measuring cup. Heat butter in the microwave for about 1 minute, or until completely melted and hot. Set the blender on high speed, and pour the butter into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream. It should thicken almost immediately. Keep the sauce warm until serving by placing the blender container in a pan of hot tap water.

Egg Florentine Directions:

Toast the English muffin. Spoon the sauteed spinach on the toast.  Top with the poached egg and drizzle with hollandaise sauce.  Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in Breakfast Recipes


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拍黄瓜 Marinated Cucumbers

At this time of the year, it is harvesting time in the family backyard and we have lots of fresh cucumbers to work with. Cucumbers by themselves have a great fresh smell and taste that quickly reminds one of summer and fresh vegetables in general. But the flavor is also extremely light because of the high water content in them.

Marinated cucumbers is often served as an appetizer in a Chinese restaurant.  It is also served after eating a lot of fried foods and oily dishes in the New Year. The subtle balance of saltiness, sourness and sweetness can really boost one’s appetite.  As with many Chinese dishes, achieving a desirable smell is important. In this case, the sesame oil, garlic, and fish sauce combined with the fresh smell of cucumbers really define the dish.

Marinating achieves two important goals: firstly to draw the water out of the cucumber so that it becomes more crunchy and to concentrate its flavors, and secondly to impart flavors and a desirable smell into the somewhat bland cucumber. To achieve the second goal in particular, a key step in the preparation of the dish is to “smash” the cumbers before the marination process. Smashing the cucumbers has the effect of producing rugged edges, increasing the surface area of the pieces of cucumber and therefore making the seasonings more easily absorbed.

I have noticed that the fresher the cucumber, the higher the water content seems to be. With the freshest cucumbers, like I am using here, a longer marination process is recommended. For example, I made a batch last night by marinating for about 3 hours. To my surprise, they were even better today after being refrigerated overnight!


  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 red bird eye chili or 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Using a large knife, preferably a cleaver, smash the cucumber on the chopping block, until the cucumber cracks open.  Remove the seeds inside of the cucumber,  then chop them into smaller pieces (about 1.5 inches long).
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. You should notice that a significant amount of liquid has emerged. Rinse off the salt and drain.  Add 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 minced garlic, and 1 chili.  Mix well and refrigerate at least another 2 hours.
  4. Drain the excess water from the cucumbers again.  Add fish sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 minced garlic, 1 chili, and sesame oil. Top with cilantro to serve.   You may serve the dish now or refrigerate even longer for the best taste.

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豉椒炒蜆 Clams in Black bean Sauce

These mouthwatering clams in black bean sauce is one of the most popular dish every time we go to a Chinese restaurant for family gathering. The crushed fermented black beans along with the minced garlic and chili bring out both flavor and fragrance. This dish is sure to be a hit for any seafood lover!

Live clams should be used for this dish. There really isn’t any viable substitute for this, as clams lose flavor very quickly if they are not extremely fresh. Live clams are usually available in larger Asian grocery stores that feature a seafood section. Preferably, you have access to a store that simply has the clams put in a pile and you are allowed to pick them out individually. You can tell if the clam is alive by checking for the following:

  • Shells should be complete without any broken pieces
  • If the shells were slightly open, they should close when lightly tapped. The clam is dead If the shells re-open after you force them to a close
  • If the shells were already closed, it is very hard to tell. If a bowl of water is available, try checking to see if it floats. A floating clam is a dead clam. If no water is available, try picking heavier clams (but this is not always reliable)
  • You can usually tell whether the entire batch is fresh or not after a while. For example, if I end up picking 2 or 3 out of 10 examined clams. This is when I know the entire batch is probably not that great and would try to buy the clams at another store

Once you get home, put the clams in a bowl in cold salt water, and put the bowl in the fridge for 2-3 hours. This supposedly causes the clams to spit out any sand particles. Before cooking, scrub the shells thoroughly with a stiff brush and with plenty of water. Clams live in muddy/sandy areas and you do not want any of that to end up on your dish!


  • 1 lb manila clams
  • 1.5 tablespoon crushed fermented black beans
  • 2 red bird eye chili
  • 1/8 green pepper,  julienned
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped


  1. Wash and clean clams using directions above
  2. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, corn starch, sugar and water.  Set aside.
  3. In the large skillet, heat oil under medium-high heat.  Add shallots, garlic, and fermented black beans; cook until fragrant.
  4. Add clams, stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, add chili and green pepper, then cover and lower the heat.  When the clams open, stir in the corn starch mixture.  Cook until sauce is slightly thickened.  Discard any clam that remains closed at this point as this is an indication that it is not fresh. Sprinkle cilantro on top and serve.

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Crispy Potato Bites

While I was thinking of a way to use a leftover potato I have in the fridge, I came up with this idea to make them into crispy, bite-sized balls. The idea originates from from some of the other potatoes dishes that I’ve made in the past, like seaweed potato pancakes. This is probably a good way to use leftover mashed potato as well.  I love how they are crispy without frying, and how they look cute like roasted marshmallows.

In this recipe, I used corn and cilantro as the filling, but you can easily use any number of ingredients. I am certain that things like cheese, onions, ham, bacon bits would go great with this and I will for sure try them out when I make these next time!


  • 1 potato
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons corn
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

Directions: (makes 24 potato bites)

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water.  Cover and bring to a boil; cook for 20 to 25 minute or until very tender.
  3. Mash the potatoes and mix with corn, cilantro, corn starch and salt.
  4. Shape mixture into balls.  Dip each one in bread crumbs then transfer to a lightly greased baking pan or cooking sheet and bake until golden brown. (about 15 minutes).  If they don’t turn brown after 15 minutes.  Broil for 1-2 minutes.

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