Feb 25, 2011

Chinese Fried Rice with Canadian Bacon

Fried rice is definitely one of my all time favorite comfort food,
This is especially the case when trying to get rid of leftover ingredients in the fridge,
You can almost chop off everything into little pieces and turn these unwanted "stuff" into another yummy meal, just like the one below -

Ingredients (4 to 5 portions)?

5 cups of leftover brown rice
2 cups of diced Canadian bacon
2 eggs
1 small onion
1 medium size carrot
1 zucchini
1 can of corn
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Sriracha sauce
1/2 teaspoon of chili sauce (optional)
Some sea salt
Some freshly ground black pepper
Some white pepper powder
Some olive oil
Some toasted sesame seeds


I actually prefer to use freshly made rice when making fried rice dishes,
However, I got some leftover brown rice,
For those who are not so familiar with brown rice,
Its texture tends to be on the tougher side compared to regular white rice, which makes it a perfect ingredient when mixing up with additional sauce.
Perfect for fried rice -

Peel the onion, carrot, and zucchini,
Dice these ingredients into small pieces,
Beat 2 eggs and set aside,
For the canned corn, drain out the liquid and set aside also.

Below is the chunky Canadian bacon -

Pretty thing huh? Dice that into smaller pieces too.

Have a big pan ready, drizzle some olive oil, toss in diced onion, sprinkle some salt and pepper,
Let it cook till the color turns translucent or just a wee bit browned on the edges,
You can add additional chili sauce at this moment if preferred.

Transfer the bacon to the pan to cook out some excess fat, about 1 minute,
Add in diced carrot, some soy sauce, and Sriracha sauce,
Give it a quick stir, cook for couple minutes.

Add the zucchini, corn, and some sesame seeds,
Mix well and let it cook for a little bit longer so that the spongy zucchini can fully absorb the sauce mixture.

Add in the rice in two batches,
Make sure the first batch mixes well with all the ingredients in the pan before adding the remaining rice,
Sprinkle some white pepper powder and more ground black pepper once all the rice is added to the pan,
Combine well, sprinkle the fried rice with more toasted sesame seeds before serving.

See! That's how I got rid of my one week old veggies and a chunk of bacon in the fridge,
Foodie rule #1: We shall not waste food!

Cindy's Rating: 8
*My dad finished 1 1/2 plate of my fried rice for lunch today!

Feb 20, 2011

Chinese Lantern Festival Pictures from Taiwan, Taipei

It was Chinese Lantern Festival few days ago,
You can refer to our all mighty "Wikipedia" for the history background,
But now, let me share some holiday mood with these pictures.

Exhibition site is located close to Taipei 101, Taipei City Hall, and Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall -

You can see light decorations everywhere along the streets and plazas -

Some temples also have stands at the lantern exhibition site,
They offer free wish cards, where you can write your name and most importantly, your wishes on the card,
You can tie your wishes under the lantern after infusing the incense smoke with the cards.

I believe the wish cards will outweigh the lanterns as more and more people visiting the site -

Taipei City Hall -

Animal themed decor -

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall -

Main light/lantern, front -

Main light/lantern, bunny butt -

Crazy looking chicken -

Rabbit holding Chinese soup dumplings! -

Based on 12 Chinese horoscopes,
This is the year of rabbit, which explains many of the rabbit themed lanterns here -

Mad tiger attacking Taipei 101,
*Tiger was the horoscope for last year, I guess there's some jealousy going on here -

So our heroic rabbit came to the rescue -

Fat koi -

Rabbit enjoying "torturing" all other horoscope animals,
I say, wait till next year and it'll be rabbit's turn to suffer! -

Even Taipei 101 has cute rabbit light on -

Other not so rabbit related lanterns -

This must got the idea from that whale movie -

Below is my favorite, character from a Japanese comic book -

That's about it for now,
Happy belated Chinese Lantern Festival!

Feb 15, 2011

Ponkan (Chinese Honey Orange) Marmalade

Happy Be-lated Valentine's Day!
Since it's such a sweet holiday, let's make something sugary~!

Pokan (Chinese honey orange marmalade) -


7 Pokan (small tangerine works too)
1 small lemon or lime
1/3 cup of granulated sugar


Pokan is similar to tangerine; however, the taste is definitely on the sweet side -

Thoroughly wash the pokan and lemon/lime.
Zest the lime, cut it in half then set aside for later use -

Peel all the pokan,
Remove as much white pith and membrane as possible,
Also remove the seeds,
Toss everything into a flat surfaced pot -

Remove excess juice if needed since pokan can get quite juicy sometimes,
Also give it a quick taste, it'll help in judging how much sugar we need for the mixture.

Turn to medium high heat till boiling, then lower the heat a bit,
About 10 minutes, add the lime zest and all the juices from that lime,
Pour in about 1/4 to 1 cup of sugar and cook till fully dissolved.

Just keep simmering the whole thing till desired thickness,
It should be more runny than regular jam but still spreadable on a piece of bread.

Once done, refrigerate for at least couple hours for the mixture to cool down,
You can preserve the marmalade in a jar,
But do remember to properly sterilize the jar before use,
Otherwise try to finish the marmalade in few days!

Once again, happy Belated Valentine's Day everyone!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Feb 9, 2011

Egg Wrap with Chinese Pork Floss - 肉鬆蛋餅

Egg wrap is one of the Chinese traditional breakfast items,
Usually you can find the wrap in Chinese grocery store, maybe around frozen food isles,
If not, you can always substitute with Mexican soft tortilla shells,
Well, there's one other way - make it yourself,
But since my lazy mode is on, we'll save that for later ( ^ _.< )b

Ingredients (for one)?

1 Chinese flour wrap or soft tortilla shell
2 eggs
Some Chinese pork floss
Some toasted sesame seeds
Some olive oil
Some salt
Some freshly ground black pepper
Optional: soy sauce


Drizzle just enough oil to evenly coat the surface of the pan, turn to high heat,
Add in the wrap or tortilla shell,
Cook till one of the sides turn slightly brown then remove the wrap for later use.

Here's the premade frozen wrap I got from the grocery store -

Add in more oil or butter, bring to high heat,
Beat 2 eggs together with a small pinch of salt and pepper,
Pour the beaten eggs onto the pan,
You can also add some chopped scallion to the egg mixture to bring up the aroma,
But my premade wrap actually comes with scallion inside, so I omitted this step.

Cook the egg till 60% doneness,
Evenly sprinkle some Chinese pork floss and toasted sesame seeds.

Now take the pre-seared wrap and put it on top of the pork floss,
Remember, the already seared side down,
Use a spatula to press down the whole thing,
The semi-cooked egg will help binding all the ingredients together.

Carefully flip the whole thing so the other side of the wrap can be cooked,
The dish is ready when the color of the wrap turns slightly brown.

Starting from the edge and fold the round shaped wrap into a tube shaped wrap,
Well, just like a burrito!

Cut into small pieces,
You can even drizzle some soy sauce to add some moisture to the dish,
Especially for tortilla shell since it tends to be dryer compared to Asian wrap.

I usually add some cheese on top of the eggs during the cooking process,
Unfortunately there was no cheese in sight,
Otherwise it'll taste even better,
Of course, everything tastes better with cheese!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Feb 4, 2011

Thyme Infused Steam Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkins are in season right now!
Well at least it is the case for Taiwan.

My parents got a giant pumpkin from their friend,
Apparently this friend's parents grow pumpkins and other sort of veggies in the country-side,
So they can always get the freshest ingredients all year round,
And this time, we got pumpkins!

Half of the pumpkin was used by my mom in stir fry dishes,
What about the other half?
How about some thyme infused steamed pumpkin soup?

Ingredients (for 3 to 4 people)?

6 cups of pumpkin
4 garlic cloves
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup of chicken stock
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/2 onion
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
Some olive oil
Some sea salt
Some freshly ground black pepper


I was actually planning in roasting the pumpkin first instead of steaming it,
Sadly there was an unfortunate technical issue as my oven couldn't keep the heat for over 5 minutes,
Well, good thing there's a nearly fully equipped kitchen,
Let me steam these orange cubes instead.

Peel or cut off the harder skin of the pumpkin and spoon out the seeds,
Cut the meaty part into large cubes and lay them in a flat surface container.
Season with some salt and pepper,
Peel 4 garlic cloves and spread them evenly next to the pumpkin cubes.

Here's my little gardening area -

It's kind of pricey to buy foreign herbs in Taiwan,
So I've decided to grow some myself!
It seems that little mosquitoes here in Taiwan love basil, maybe you should avoid it by all means.
(I was frightened)

Lay 2 fresh thyme springs on top of the pumpkin cubes,
Steam till the pumpkin softens -

You can test it by poking the pumpkin with a fork or a chopstick,
It's ready when the utensils can go in without much resistant.

If you do have a well-functioned oven unlike mine,
Simply preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and roast the pumpkin till similar hardness.

Have a soup pot ready,
Drizzle some olive oil, toss in diced onions, sprinkle some salt and pepper,
Cook till the onion turns translucent,
Add the previously steamed/roasted pumpkins including those 4 garlic cloves,
But do remember to discard the thyme springs.

Sprinkle some nutmeg, give it a quick stir then pour in 1 cup of chicken stock,
Bring to a boil then turn off the heat.

Have a blender or food processor ready,
Carefully spoon the ingredients into the blender and blend till smooth,
You might have to do it in few batches, better safe than sorry!

Pour the mixture onto a sifter first then gradually sift it back to the soup pot,
Turn to medium heat, stir in about 1 cup of heavy whipping cream,
Mix well, give it a taste to see if more salts are needed,
You can also add more cream or nutmeg depending on your personal preference.

Garnish with thyme springs, dinner's ready!
Actualy....partial dinner is ready!
(No way I'll get full just by that one small bowl of soup.)

Cindy's Rating: 8
*My dad gave to a whopping number of 10!