Feb 23, 2012

Stir Fry Cured Meat with Garlic Sprout - 蒜苗炒臘肉

This is my first time cooking with Chinese cured meat,
Depending on the region, the cured meat is usually made by smoking or marinating pork belly strips -

After consulted with my mom, here's my very first try of this traditional dish,
Stir fry cured meat with garlic sprout -


1 strip of Chinese cured meat
1 garlic sprout
3 red chili peppers
Tiny bit of olive oil


Bring a pot of water to a boil then add in the cured meat,
Cook about 5 minutes on each side to get rid of excess salty flavor from the meat.

Wait till the meat cools down a little bit then cut off the upper tough skin part,
Just cut away a thin layer on the top and discard it,
Cut the remaining strip into very thin pieces.

Mine doesn't look that thin..well...guess I'm not very good with knives*
Plus I didn't cut off the chewy skin part..because my mom forgot to mention this crucial step..

One of my fellow food blogger recommended another tip to deal with the chewy skin - by steaming the strip with rice wine prior stir frying the meat, maybe I'll test it out next time!

Remove the stem from the garlic sprout and slice it diagonally,
Remove the stems from chili peppers and cut into tiny pieces.

Drizzle just a tiny bit of olive oil to the pan and toss in garlic sprouts and chili peppers,
Cook till almost burned, add in cured meat,
Give it a quick stir, the dish is ready once the garlic sprouts turned slightly burned on the edges.

Even though that chewy skin is kind of annoying, but overall this is still a very flavorful dish, despite the fact that only few seasonings were used,
What do you think?
At least not bad for a first try?

Cindy's Rating: 7

Feb 15, 2012

Matcha and Honey Madeleines

Last time I used lemon as main ingredient for madeleines,
Just by twisting the recipe a little bit, today I have matcha and honey madeleines -

Please see original recipe for lemon madeleines here.

Most of the ingredients and portions are the same,
But instead of lemon zest and lemon juice, I substitute with 1 teaspoon of matcha powder,
The granulated sugar amount has also been reduced a bit in exchange of 1 tablespoon of honey.

If you get to make these yummy sweet treats, what will be your variations?

Cindy's Rating: 7

Feb 7, 2012

Homemade Pork and Veggie Balls

Once in a while I'm in the mood for making a batch of food that can be stored for a long time, preferably in the freezer,
For western items, mostly spaghetti sauce and flavored butter,
For Asian items, usually dumplings, sweet bean paste, and meatballs.

My pork and veggie balls can be stored in the freezer for a long time,
They're lightly seasoned in order to be utilized for all types of food later on,
However, despite the light seasoning, these meatballs are definitely packed with fresh vegetable aroma and crunchy bites.

But why spend all that effort making pork and veggie balls when I can easily pick up a big pack almost everywhere?
Safety and healthy eating of course, especially for ground meat products that intended to be stored for a long period. Who knows what weird part of meat or chemicals have been grinded together? I'm only sure about one thing, my meatballs are made with 100% freshest ingredients and no chemical traces can be found.

Ingredients (30 to 35 balls)?

3 lbs of ground pork
8 water chestnuts
3 celery roots
1 large carrot (or 3 skinny ones)
1 tablespoon of sea salt


Cut off the very top and bottom of the carrot then peel it,
Cut half into tiny cubes and the other half into larger cubes,
Transfer the larger cubes into a food processor.

Cut off the tough part from the celery root,
Same as carrot, cut half into tiny cubes and the other half into larger cubes,
Transfer the larger cubs into a food processor.

Puree the big cubes along with 1 tablespoon of salt,
Remember to scoop down the side once a while to ensure all the veggie bits get blended,
When ready, set aside for later use.

Carefully peel the water chestnuts -

Water chestnut might be Asian's favorite ingredient when making food like meatballs, spring rolls, etc. Its texture adds crunchiness to the bite, creating a sense of freshness to the dish you make.

Finely chop them and mix with previously cubed carrot and celery.

Transfer the ground pork to a big container and pour in the puree,
Give it a few stir, add the veggie cubes and mix well.

Prepare a big pot of water and turn to high heat,
Form the mixture into medium balls, gently add to the hot water before boiling,
Don't overload the pot, you might have to cook them in two batches if necessary.

Remember to scoop out the dirty foamy bits during the cooking process,
Bring to a boil and turn down the heat a wee bit,
Cook for about 10 minutes, drain well and wait till the meatballs cool down completely.

I saved 15 for my parents, 12 for myself, and the remaining 4 into the oden soup,
So gonna devour them after the oden flavor soaked in!

These meatballs are perfect for Asian oriented dishes ranging from soup to stewed pot. You can re-boil, sear, or even fry them depending on the type of food you are making.
By the way, for parents trying to make their kids eat more veggies, this can be a good alternative full of carrot and celery nutrients!

Cindy's Rating: 8

Feb 1, 2012

Refreshing Treat - Lemon Madeleines

Usually when I'm craving for luscious dessert, chocolate is my ultimate answer,
As for a refreshing one, I can't think of anything better (at this moment) than lemon!

This little round thing will definitely bring my regular madeleines up a notch!

Ingredients (for 10)?

3/4 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs
5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Few drops of vanilla extract
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon


Brush the baking mold with some melted butter then dust with flour,
Turn the mold upside down and give it a few taps to remove excess flour -

Take a large bowl,
Add in the eggs, sugar, and room temperature melted butter,
Blend till smooth.

Change to lower speed and pour in baking powder and flour,
Remember to add the flour in 2 or 3 batches to prevent large lumps,
Pour in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest,
Mix well and let it sit in room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Evenly spoon the mixture to the mold, about 3/4 full for each shell shaped space,
You might feel 3/4 is not enough, trust me, these madeleines sure do get "fat" during the baking process,
Bake for about 9 to 10 minutes -

Once done, transfer the whole thing onto a rack to cool down before removing the madeleines from the mold.

Preferably serve with a cup of hot coffee or tea,
Hopefully this recipe will brighten up your day!

Cindy's Rating: 8