Jul 6, 2020

Water Lily Stir-Fry with Cordia Dichotoma 破布子炒水蓮

If you're wondering what in the world is cordia dichotoma, also known as "pua po ji" in Taiwan, check out my previous post for more details. 

Switching focus back to water lily. Its full name is nymphoides hydrophylla, guess let's just stick with water lily for now. It's a type of aquatic plant that can be found in tropical Asian, also one of the major agricultural products in southern Taiwan. The part used in this recipe is the long and slim tube-shaped petiole. Crunchy and considered "slightly cold" ingredient in Asian cooking, that's why usually you'll find ginger, which is considered "warm" ingredient stir-fried together with water lily.

Water lily stir-fry with cordia dichotoma 破布子炒水蓮 - 


  • 1 big bundle water lily
  • 3 tablespoons cordia dichotoma
  • 8 shiitake mushroom
  • 300 grams shredded pork (can cut down to half)
  • 1/2 cup shredded ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 to 2 red chilies
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese rice cooking wine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


Use 1 teaspoon of Chinese rice cooking wine plus 2 teaspoons of soy sauce to massage the shredded pork. Marinate the pork first while prepping other ingredients.

Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Destem and finely chop the red chilies. Peel and shred the ginger. Destem and slice the shiitake mushrooms.

Rinse then soak the water lily in water, it'll help revive the water lily, so the texture stays crunchy and fresh. After about 10 to 15 minutes, drain and cut the water lily into shorter sections, about 2-inch long.

Drizzle some olive oil to the wok and turn to high heat. Add in garlic and red chilies, give it a quick stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Make sure not to burn the garlic pieces.

Transfer shredded pork and shiitake mushroom to the wok, give it a quick mix. 

Add in water lily and shredded ginger. Also add in 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cordia dichotoma. Cook for about one more minute.

Right before serving, pour in about 1 teaspoon of rice cooking wine along the side of the wok. That direct contact to the hot surface can further draw out the aroma from the rice cooking wine.

Plate and serve.

I used more pork here because I don't want to have any unused leftover ingredients. No way around it, I already picked the smallest box of pork that was available at the market. You can cut down to 100 grams to 150 grams of pork instead. No need to adjust the amount for other ingredients if doing so.

Water lily stir-fry is such a popular dish in Taiwan, you can find it in many Taiwanese restaurants. I guess its watery crunch bite can be a little bit addicting. Usually water lily are prepared as a simple stir-fry and doesn't really have cordia dichotoma in it, but I like that gentle sweet note from the cordia dichotoma. Some also add goji berries. No matter what, try to keep some shredded ginger to balance off water lily's "coldness" property.

Other recipe using cordia dichotoma:

Jun 30, 2020

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Frankly speaking, making gumbo can be quite a challenge in Taiwan. Try to find some specialty spices, even in the big city Taipei, and you'll know what I'm talking about. It requires luck and mostly connections, but even that, I still have no idea where to find filé powder. Glad that I still have full stock of Creole seasoning, with this magic blend of spices on hand, missing one or two other flavors shouldn't be a big problem.

Chicken and sausage gumbo -


  • 2 deboned, skin-off chicken quarters
  • 5 links/500 grams spicy sausages
  • 20 okra
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • Some salt
  • Some black pepper
  • Some olive oil
  • Some cooked long grain white rice
  • Some chopped scallion (optional) 


Precook the rice, use a little less water than usual to get harder texture grains. That dryer, chewier bite can pair well with saucy gumbo. Once the rice is ready, fluff the grains, keep warm while waiting for the gumbo to be ready.

Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Massage the chicken with some salt and black pepper. Cut the sausages into chunks.

Peel and dice the onion. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Trim off the stem end of okra and slice into smaller star-shaped pieces. Remove the stem and seeds from bell pepper, then cut into smaller chunks. Cut the celery into smaller chunks. 

Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a Dutch oven or a large pot. Turn to medium heat. Once warmed up, add in chicken and sausage. Sear till almost fully cooked through then scoop them out for later use.

Judging from the oil remained in the pot, drizzle 1 or 2 more tablespoons of olive oil. Turn to lower heat, add in flour to make the roux. Keep stirring to prevent the flour from burning. Cook till browned a little bit, but keep in mind that the color might get tinted by the fats from the spicy sausages. Making roux can take some time, about 12 minutes for me here.

Roux is the key here, so don't be lazy and make sure to keep watching out the roux. Don't burn it. Otherwise, you might have to start over and waste all that flavorful fat drizzling from the sausages. You can't sear these sausages twice right? Keep an eye on it.

Add in onion, celery, and bell pepper. Cook till the onion is about translucent, about 10 minutes. Make sure to stir the mixture once a while.

Pour in chicken stock and turn up the heat to bring the whole thing to a boil. Then lower the heat to keep it at a simmer.

Add in garlics, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 4 teaspoons Creole seasoning, and 1 bay leaf. Cook for couple more minutes.

Add the chicken and sausages back to the pot. Cook for one hour uncovered. The entire mixture will gradually turn darker and thickens during the process.

Transfer okra to the mixture and continue to cook for another 30 minutes or so. Taste and see if more salt is needed.

When ready to serve, have some rice ready and scoop some gumbo around. Garnish with chopped scallion if desired.

If you can't find Creole seasoning or filé powder, perhaps try to mix a batch yourself. Sounds hard, but most spices used in Creole seasoning are not that hard to get. Below are the spices in my Creole seasoning blend: paprika, onion, black pepper, lemon peel, chili pepper, red pepper, all spice, thyme, clove, mace, and bay leaf.

Creole part solved, now where can I find filé powder in Taiwan?