Aug 30, 2021

Pan-Fried Chinese Beef Pie 牛肉餡餅

Good thing that I saved the whole morning, actually it extended all the way till afternoon just for making these pan-fried Chinese beef pies. 

It's not that hard actually, and I'm sure whoever is familiar with making Chinese pastry or savory pies wouldn't take that long to make just a dozen beef pies. I'm a newbie here though, plus all that picture-taking involved. By the end of the day, I had a lot of fun making these savory pies from scratch. It was also a popular turnout at home, so perhaps I'll take on the mission again, rolling up my sleeves, diving into the flour when I get another whole day free just to make more beef pies for the family.

Pan-fried Chinese beef pie 牛肉餡餅 -

Pan-fried Chinese beef pie

Ingredients (about a dozen)?


  • 350 grams all purpose flour
  • 3 grams salt
  • 180ml water (65 degrees Celsius/150 degrees Fahrenheit)


  • 300 grams ground beef
  • 1 small bundle scallion
  • 10 grams grated ginger
  • 10 grams Chinese rice cooking wine 米酒
  • 10 grams soy sauce
  • 3 grams salt
  • 3 grams sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper powder
  • 50ml hot water
  • Some cooking oil
  • Extra flour for dusting


Prepare a bowl and pour in 50ml of hot water. Add in 1 teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorn and just let it soak while prepping other ingredients.

Sichuan peppercorn water

Use a big mixing bowl, sift in 350 grams of flour along with 3 grams of salt. Pour in 65 degrees Celsius/150 degrees Fahrenheit water. Take a spoon and stir the mixture till flaky.

Flaky Chinese flour dough

Put the spoon aside and switch gear to our own hand. Knead the mixture till it start to shape like a smooth ball.

Chinese flour dough

Cover with cling foil and let it rest in room temperature for about 30 minutes. Let's start working on other ingredients during this period.

Remove the Sichuan peppercorn from the water. We are going to add this aroma-infused water to the filling shortly. 

Scrape the skin and grate the ginger. Destem and chop the scallion.

Transfer ground beef to a big container/bowl, make sure the beef doesn't stick to the chosen container. Use your hand, I like to keep my other hand clean if possible. So use one hand to mix the ground beef till slightly sticky and the texture appears consistent throughout. It'll look like a big chunk of beefy paste here.

Kneading ground beef

Gradually pour in the Sichuan peppercorn water in about 4 batches. Mixing the beef while adding the water at the same time. Make sure to keep mixing till the meat almost fully absorbs the water before adding more.

Mixing ground beef with flavored water

Once all the flavored water has been added and absorbed by the beef, it's time to introduce 10 grams of soy sauce, 10 grams of Chinese rice cooking wine, 3 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of salt. Mix till fully blended.

Add  grated ginger, 1 teaspoon of white pepper powder, and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Mix to combine. Lastly, add in all the chopped scallion over and mix till blended.

Ground beef filling for Chinese beef pie

Cover with cling foil and transfer the whole mixture to the fridge, this will help firming up the filling, making it easier to wrap later on. 

Time to get back to the dough. Sprinkle some flour on the working surface. Form the dough into a thick log. Have a scale close by, divide the dough to smaller balls that weights 40 grams each. Cover the dough with damp sheet or cling foil to prevent it from drying out during the process.

Making smaller dough for Chinese beef pie

Dust these balls with some flour. Use a rolling pin to roll into round sheets. Some thickness still remain, you can try to measure it, the diameter should be about 4 inches (10 centimeters). Repeat till all the dough balls are rolled into round flat pieces.

Rolling Chinese flour dough into round flat pieces

Remove the meat filling from the fridge, the same weight as the dough balls, use about 40 grams per serving. Here's the hardest part I think, wrapping the fillings while trying to make it look all pretty.

So have a rolled sheet ready on hand, weight the filling then scoop to the center of the dough piece, start pinching the edge together and make sure it gets sealed tightly in the end/center. Sealed side down. Gently press down the dough so it's more like a fat flat bun, instead of puffy round bun looking. Repeat for all other beef pies.

Chinese beef pie dough

Take a non-stick pan and add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil, just enough to evenly coat the bottom. Turn to medium or medium high heat. Transfer the beef pie over, again, sealed side down first. Let it sear slowly till golden brown. Flip and continue to sear the other side. Flipping back and forth after the dough has been hardened is fine. Sometimes you can also stack them on the edge of the pan to sear the sides if wanted to.

Searing Chinese beef pie/Chinese beef pancake

Depending on the size of the pan, perhaps you'll have to repeat the steps and sear these beef pies in two separate batches. 

Once done, serve immediately or enjoy the beef pies while still hot. There is no need to prepare any extra sauce for this recipe, the filling itself really is well-flavored, that I can guarantee.

Pan-fried Chinese beef pie/Chinese beef pancake

The shape of these Chinese beef pies are not perfect, like I can make the closed ends thinner and prettier. Or perhaps I can even squeeze in more fillings without breaking the dough.

Pan-fried Chinese beef pie/Chinese beef pancake

Plenty of room for improvements, especially on the wrapping part. However, one thing for sure is that the seasonings for the filling is almost right on point. It's moist and packed with beefy aroma, also a hint of Sichuan peppercorn but without that numbing sensation. I would definitely use the same filling again and not changing a thing about it next time.

Aug 24, 2021

Sun-Dried Cauliflower and Shredded Pork Stir-Fry 白花椰菜乾炒肉絲

Have you ever try sun-dried ingredients in cooking? I think one of the most common sun-dried items being used is sun-dried tomatoes. All that sweetness and aroma were well-preserved and concentrated, making sun-dried tomatoes a great use in many pasta dishes.

As for this Asian recipe, I'm going to use sun-dried cauliflower here. It's not as common at the local grocery stores, but can be found in rural cities in Taiwan, usually from a street stand, where the seller actually sun-dried a wide variety of vegetables. On top of sun-dried cauliflower, you can also find items like sun-dried cabbage, string beans, radish, and more.

Sun-dried cauliflower

The texture changes once the cauliflower has been sun-dried. I would say you probably won't recognize it at all. Cauliflower as it is can be crunchy or easily crumbled, but once sun-dried, it can turn soft and harder to chew, much sturdier so to speak. That's why sun-dried cauliflower works well in prolonged stir-fry, or even pork stew dishes. If you can get a hold of sun-dried cauliflower, or brave it up and make it yourself, do give this recipe a try.

Sun-dried cauliflower and shredded pork stir-fry 白花椰菜乾炒肉絲 -

Sun-dried cauliflower and shredded pork stir-fry


  • 2 loosely packed cups sun-dried cauliflower
  • 0.5 lb shredded pork
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or other preferred cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup water

Pork marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine 米酒


Rinse the sun-dried cauliflower first then soak in room-temperature water for about an hour. Once ready, drain and pat dry, set aside for later use.

Soaking sun-dried cauliflower

Prepare the shredded pork with simple marinade. Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of Chinese rice cooking wine in a container. Transfer the pork over and give it a gentle massage. Let it marinate while prepping other ingredients.

Marinating shredded pork

Destem the scallion and cut into sections. Destem the red chili and fine chop it. Peel and chop the garlic cloves.

Use a non-stick pan or a wok, drizzle about 2 tablespoons of preferred cooking oil to evenly coat the bottom. Turn to medium high heat. Add in the scallion sections and cook for about 30 seconds to one minute, or till slightly browned.

Searing scallion sections

Add in shredded pork along with the marinade. Give it a few tosses till the pork starts to turn white. Add in garlic and chili, keep stir-frying till slightly dried out, but not burnt.

Searing shredded pork

Add in sun-dried cauliflower along with 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 cup of water. 

Making sun-dried cauliflower and shredded pork stir-fry

Bring to a boil then lower the heat to about light bubbling. Continue to cook till the liquid has been reduced almost completely. The color will start to darken as it continues to cook and reduce. Plate and serve.

Sun-dried cauliflower and shredded pork stir-fry

If you're intrigued enough and would like to try making sun-dried cauliflower yourself, here's how it goes. Break the cauliflower into smaller florets. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and season with some salt. Quickly cook the cauliflower in boiling water, it takes less than one minute.

Sun-dried cauliflower and shredded pork stir-fry

Drain out the liquid and pat dry. You can use some kitchen towel to absorb extra moisture. Transfer to a bamboo sieve, or something else that can hold up the cauliflower and won't accumulate moisture on the bottom. Evenly lay out the cauliflower, make sure there's no overlapping of the florets. 

Expose the crop under direct sunlight during day time, and store indoor at night, or collect semi-dried cauliflower in a bag and store in the fridge at night. Continue to lay out the cauliflower under the sun the next day. Repeat for 3 to 4 days. Once done, store in an air-tight bag, or even in the freezer for longer storage time. Make sure to prepare at least 2 cauliflowers if you're taking on this sun-drying venture. Otherwise once fully dried, the florets can really shrink down and you'll only end up with a handful of sun-dried result. Might as well make more with almost the same effort right?

Other Asian stir-fry recipes:

Aug 18, 2021

Pear and Danish Blue Cheese Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

My hubby's family eats a lot of fruits, I really mean it. Sometimes we stopped by for a short visit, we will also end up with bags or full box of fruits to take home with. Keep in mind that it's only two of us here. This time my mother-in-law told the vendor to drop-off some fruits to us directly instead. There're bananas, apples, lychee, peaches, and pears. Pear sounds great, on top of eating pears as it is, it's pretty versatile for savory dishes too. I can turn pears into Korean barbecue marinade, or salad with some blue cheese like this recipe below.

Pear and Danish blue cheese salad with red wine vinaigrette - 

Pear and Danish blue cheese salad

Ingredients (for two portions)?

  • 1/2 or 1/4 Asian pear 
  • 50 grams blue cheese 
  • 1 medium small box mixed salad greens
  • 12 to 14 roasted candied walnuts
  • Some extra virgin olive oil 
  • Some black pepper


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar


Peel and remove the core inside the pear. Cut into bite size chunks then thinly slice the pear. Depending on the size of the pear, about half or a quarter should be enough.

Asian pear slices

Peel and finely chop the garlic. Mix the chopped garlic together with all other ingredients listed under the "dressing" section. Stir or shake well till the sugar has been fully dissolved.

Red wine vinaigrette

If not sure about the acidity level, start with 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar first. Taste and adjust the amount of vinegar used accordingly. 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar will give you a more sourish taste, which I enjoyed a lot, not my hubby though. Need to tone down the vinegar used for his portion.

Transfer the salad greens to a big bowl and pour over the dressing. Toss till blended. Transfer the salad greens to serving plates.

Crumble some blue cheese over. I used creamy Danish blue cheese, gorgonzola works great too. Arrange pear slices and candied walnuts throughout.

Pear and Danish blue cheese salad with red wine vinaigrette

Lastly, drizzle extra virgin olive oil if preferred, also crack some black pepper right before serving. 

Pear and Danish blue cheese salad with red wine vinaigrette

This is also a vegetarian version of pear and blue cheese salad. However, smoked salmon or prosciutto can be added if you'd like.

Pear and Danish blue cheese salad with red wine vinaigrette

Family love overload, but no complaints there, we are feeling blessed. Now that pears are gone, time to tackle other fruits piling up in the fridge.

Extended reading:

Aug 13, 2021

Taiwanese Oyster Soup with Pickled Mustard Greens and Magao Pepper 馬告酸菜蚵仔湯

Back then I thought that oysters are better purchased fresh and cooked on the same date, but thanks to the continuous improvements of food storage technology, frozen oysters nowadays taste nearly as great as fresh off the boat counterparts.

So instead of rushing to get groceries and prepping to cook right away, now I can just relax, maybe do some seafood shopping online, and just cook them on a later date, whenever I want. 

Taiwanese oyster soup with pickled mustard greens and magao pepper 馬告酸菜蚵仔湯 - 

Taiwanese oyster soup with pickled mustard greens and magao pepper


  • 200 grams oysters
  • 1/2 cup threaded pickled mustard greens
  • 1/8 cup threaded young ginger
  • 1 small stalk scallion
  • 1/2 teaspoon magao pepper
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine 米酒
  • 6 cups water
  • Some salt
  • Small pinch white pepper powder


Rinse the oysters, drain, and transfer to a medium sized bowl. Add in about 1 tablespoon of corn starch and gently mix till evenly coating the oysters. This will help holding up the shape of the oysters and prevent them from shrinking too much during the cooking process.

Prepping oysters with corn starch

When you buy picked mustard greens, usually you'll get few stems from one pack. However, we only need a small amount here, so what I usually do is that I'll chop the remaining pickled mustard greens and make another stir-fry dish with ground pork. Of course you can wrap the pickled mustard greens nicely and store in the fridge for another time too.

Taiwanese pickled mustard greens

Rinse the pickled mustard greens, which will also wash away some excess salt by doing so. Drain well, squeeze dry, then cut into long strips, about 1.5 inches in length. 

Destem and chop the scallion. Scrape off the ginger skin then cut into long and thin strips, like juliennes. About 2 tablespoons.

Prepare a medium pot and pour in 6 cups of water. Add in pickled mustard greens, ginger, and magao pepper. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to just about bubbling. Cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Making Taiwanese oyster soup with ginger and pickled mustard greens

Add in the oysters and let it cook in simmering heat for about one minute only.

Season the soup with about 1 tablespoon of Chinese rice cooking wine and small pinch of salt. Use less salt first, taste, then readjust. The pickled mustard greens can be quite salty, its saltiness also depends on how long you've washed it, so the safest way is to taste and change the amount of salt used accordingly. I used about 1 teaspoon here. Also sprinkle some white pepper powder, just a slight touch.

Taiwanese oyster soup with pickled mustard greens and magao pepper

Scoop the soup to serving bowls and sprinkle some chopped scallion on top right before serving.

Taiwanese magao pepper used in soup

Simply omit the use of magao pepper if you can't find any. It can be hard to source outside of Taiwan since it's more of a common ingredients used by the aboriginal tribes and not as commonly distributed even in general Taiwanese households. 

Oyster in soup

However, if you can get a hold of magao pepper, its lemony scent can definitely add a few points to the oyster soup. One substitute is sesame oil, a few drops can add a different aroma profile to the soup, but it'll be a bit heavier compared to magao pepper. Not using any of those works fine too, no worries.

Other Asian soup recipes:

Aug 6, 2021

Arroz con Chorizo y Camarones (Rice with Chorizo and Shrimp)

I think it's true, that many great home chefs are born during this COVID-19 pandemic. For a long period of time, we can't really go out, not mentioning dining at a restaurant. So instead of food delivery, the next best option might be rolling up the sleeves and get to work in the kitchen.

Even if the first few weeks of home-cooked food are more so merely acceptable, but there's time to keep trying and time for improvements. People who doesn't cook often now grown into home chefs. And for those who were already pretty good at cooking before the lockdown, they started making more complicating dishes. Baking bread, pastries, authentic or exotic recipes, all start from scratch. This arroz con chorizo y camarones recipe is one example per my case. It's not that hard, but something I probably won't think about when my daily schedule was more so in a rush. Now that I've got plenty of time at home, working on cuisines that I'm not the most familiar with is actually quite fun and satisfying.

Arroz con chorizo y camarones (rice with chorizo and shrimp) - 

Arroz con chorizo y camarones

Ingredients (for about 6 portions)?

  • 2 regular measuring cups basmati rice
  • 6 links chorizo 
  • 12 to 18 shrimp
  • 2 bell peppers (I used one yellow and one red)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion
  • 1 small bundle cilantro or flat leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


Remove the stem and seeds from bell peppers then chop into smaller cubes. Cut the tomatoes into smaller chunks, save the juice if possible. Peel and dice the onion. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Squeeze the juice of half lemon and slice the other half into wedges.

Peel and devein the shrimp. 

Peeled and deveined shrimps

Remove the chorizo from its casing and separate into smaller chunks.

Chorizo without the casing

Finely chop the cilantro or parsley, including the stems. Save some chopped leafy part for garnish in the end.

Use a big pot or a Dutch oven, drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and turn to medium high heat. Transfer chopped onion over along with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. Give it a quick stir, continue to cook till the onion turns translucent.

Cook till the onion turns translucent

Add in bell pepper along with garlic and chorizo. Mix till evenly distributed. Continue to cook for about 5 more minutes.

Cooking chorizo with bell pepper and aromatics

Add in chopped tomatoes. Stir and cook for couple more minutes.

Pour in raw basmati rice and mix till the oil evenly coats every grain. Sear for couple more minutes.

Cooking basmati rice with chorizo and bell pepper

Pour in the stock and turn up the heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer. Cover with lid and cook for about 15 minutes.

Remove the lid, add in the shrimps and most of the chopped cilantro or parsley. Gently mix all the ingredients till blended. 

Making arroz con chorizo y camarones

Cover with lid again and cook till the shrimp just about to fully cooked through. If using low heat, should be close to 10 minutes.

Remove the lid again. This time, add in lemon juice and mix again.

Scoop to serving plates and garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley that we saved earlier. Serve with some lemon wedges on the side, in case someone prefers a more sourish taste.

Arroz con chorizo y camarones

I didn't use any dried spices since the chorizo and chicken stock were already pretty flavorful. But if you'd like, extra smoked paprika or cayenne pepper can be added in the beginning to further enhance the depth of the flavor.

The basmati rice was so good because the grains really picked up the fats from chorizo. Also the lemon did a good job brightening up the senses. Even though I don't make Spanish recipes that often, but it was a good change of scene especially I have been eating Asian food most of the time during the pandemic lockdown. 

Extended reading: