Jul 29, 2023

Salsa Salad with Roasted Chicken and Baby Greens

Nothing can go wrong with salsa. Seriously, salsa on its own is delicious enough, but it can even act like a flavor boost when pairing with other ingredients. If you love a basic and simple salsa, my salsa salad with roasted chicken and baby greens won't disappoints.

Salsa salad with roasted chicken and baby greens - 

Salsa salad with roasted chicken and baby greens

Ingredients (about 3 to 4 portions)?

Roasted chicken:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Some salt
  • Some black pepper


  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 small canned corn kernels
  • 1 small box baby salad greens
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1/2 lemon (need 1 tablespoon of lemon juice from it)
  • Small bundle cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Some black pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit/220 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet with foil. Transfer chicken breasts over.

Rub both sides of the chicken with some salt and black pepper. Also rub in dried oregano, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Drizzle some olive oil on top, about 1 tablespoon for each breast.

Chicken breasts ready for roasting

Into the oven for 15 plus or minus 2 minutes. Once fully cooked through, remove from heat and let the chicken rest till cool enough to handle by hand. Once ready, slice to big cubes and set aside.

Roasted and cubed chicken breast

Peel and cube the onion. Cube the tomatoes. Drain out the liquid from canned corn kernels. Finely chop the cilantro. Add all these ingredients to a big mixing bowl. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Mix till evenly blended. Taste and adjust if needed. 

Simple and basic salsa

Mix in cubed chicken and give it a few gentle mixes. Lastly fold in baby salad greens. Don't over mix it here otherwise the leaves might get too soggy early on.

Salsa salad with roasted chicken and baby greens

Plate and crack more black pepper on top. 

Salsa salad with roasted chicken and baby greens

If you don't like the taste of raw onion, simply soak the chopped onion to icy cold water for about 10 minutes. Drain well then add to the salad mixture. This will help drawing out some of the pungency from the onion.  

Other salad recipes:

Jul 23, 2023

Steamed Tofu and Egg with Ground Pork Toppings 肉末豆腐蒸蛋

This is more of a milder rice-killing dish. If making for kids, simply omit the chilies used in the recipe. However, for adults, a little spicy kick will only make the tofu even tastier. 

Steamed tofu and egg with ground pork toppings 肉末豆腐蒸蛋 - 

Steamed tofu and egg with ground pork toppings


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 box/300 grams silken tofu
  • 1 small box/less than 1lb ground pork
  • 1 string scallion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small chunk young ginger
  • 1 red chili (or 1 teaspoon of chopped chili sauce, optional)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup room temperature water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Some corn starch and water mixture


If using fresh chili, destem and chop the remaining. Destem and chop the scallion. Scrape the skin of young ginger then give it a fine chop. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Drain the tofu and slice to medium size cubes. Prepare the corn starch and water mixture on the side.

Beat 3 eggs in a bowl along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix in 1/3 cup of room temperature water and beat again. Skim-off the bubbles on top.

Beaten egg and water mixture

Prepare a serving dish with some depth that can be used in a steamer. If you're not sure, try to find something that's oven-safe. 

Add the cubed tofu to the serving dish and make sure it spreads out evenly. Pour the beaten egg over. Cover with cling foil and poke some holes to allow the steam to escape. The holes can also keep out any water dripping down.

Beaten egg and tofu mixture

Steam for 15 minutes. It's ok if you over-steam it, the texture of the egg and tofu mixture won't get too hard even with longer steaming time. Once ready, remove the container from the steamer and also remove the cling foil.

Steamed beaten egg and tofu

Not let's prepare the ground pork toppings. Use a pan and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Switch to medium heat. Transfer ground pork over and stir-fry till almost changed color, that means almost cooked-through.

Add in garlic and ginger. Also add in chilies if using. Stir-fry till aromatic.

Stir-frying ground pork with aromatics

Add in 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Give it a mix and let it cook for a little longer. Once the pork seemed absorbed the sauce, switch to lowest heat.

Have the corn starch and water mixture ready. Mix again right before using. Pour that to the pan while stirring the ground pork at the same time to prevent clumping. There's no need to add too much corn starch and water mixture because we are aiming for a slightly thickened consistency, not a sticky gooey topping.

Seasoning ground pork topping

Pour the ground pork right over steamed tofu and egg. Garnish with some chopped scallion.

Steamed tofu and egg with ground pork toppings

Steamed tofu and egg with ground pork toppings

When enjoying this dish, simply scoop all the way down in order to get both the light steamed tofu and egg on the bottom together with flavorful toppings. 

Steamed tofu and egg with ground pork toppings

This dish is quite simple to make. In fact, I can recall eating similar version of it from elementary school's lunch boxes many times in Taiwan. Definitely one of the favorites among younger kids.   

Extended reading:

Jul 18, 2023

Green Beans and Lardon Risotto for Four

Even the most plain ingredient can be used in a risotto recipe and shine. Take the green beans for instance, some might not be fond of its earthy taste, but once you cook the chopped green beans in lardon fat with extended cooking time in chicken stock, green beans can transformed into soft and flavorful element for a somewhat fancy risotto dish.

Green beans and lardon risotto -

Green beans and lardon risotto

Ingredients (about 4 portions)?

  • 22~24 green beans
  • 120 grams lardon 
  • 2 regular measuring cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small bundle/25 grams flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 lemon (for the zest only)
  • Some aged Parmigiano Reggiano


Slice the lardon to strips. Peel and chop the onion. Finely chop the flat leaf parsley, including the stems. Zest half the lemon. Snap both ends of the green beans and pull out the strings attached if any. Once done, chop the green beans.

Trimming green beans

Prepare a big pan or I used a Dutch oven instead. Add in the lardon and switch to medium heat. Sear till the fat starts to render and the lardon turned crispy brown. 

Searing lardon strips

Transfer onion over along with 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix and sear till the onion turns translucent or even slightly golden on the edges.

Add the beans and give it a quick stir. Cook for about two minutes.

Cooking lardon and chopped green beans

Add in rice and give it a few mixes. Make sure every grain has been coated with the lardon fat.

Searing arborio rice first for the risotto

Pour in dry white wine and mix a bit, cook for about 30 seconds. Pour in some chicken stock and water, about one cup at a time. Cook till the liquid has been nearly fully absorbed by the grains then continue to add more stock or water. 

Making green beans and lardon risotto

Keep doing so till the rice is about ready. Towards the end, add in some unsalted butter, which will create a velvety touch to the risotto.

Creamy touch for the risotto

Also add in most of the chopped parsley and all the lemon zest. Mix and let it cook for one more minutes.

Plate and garnish with some of the remaining chopped parsley. Also shave some aged Parmigiano Reggiano over.

Green beans and lardon risotto

It's up to you how long you would like to cook the risotto. Some prefer a "dryer" consistency, like the one I have here this time. Some prefer to cook the rice a bit longer. In that case, perhaps use one to two more cups of chicken stock or water for a creamier result. 

Extended reading:

Jul 11, 2023

Tomato Egg and Tofu Soup 番茄雞蛋豆腐湯

It tastes somewhat like a Chinese sour and spicy soup, but more of a milder version. The tomato egg and tofu soup requires less ingredients and thus easier to make. One might think that the flavor can be dull. To be honest, the end result was just the opposite and quite refreshing, light but still tasty thanks to the fruity aroma from the tomatoes and a slight herbal touch from the cilantro.

Tomato egg and tofu soup 番茄雞蛋豆腐湯 - 

Tomato egg and tofu soup


  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 small box/290 grams silken tofu
  • 1 small pack/200 grams enoki mushroom
  • 1 small pack/100 grams white beech mushroom
  • 1 small bundle cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or other preferred cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • Some white pepper powder
  • Some salt
  • 6 cups water
  • Some corn starch and water mixture
  • Some rice vinegar (optional)


Dice the tomatoes. Finely chop the cilantro. Trim-off the stem for the enoki mushroom and slice the remaining to shorter sections. Trim-off the stem for white beech mushroom and separate to individual pieces. Drain and cube the tofu. Beat the eggs in a bowl first.

Prepped ingredients for the tomato egg and tofu soup

Use a big pot and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil or other preferred light-tasting cooking oil. Switch to medium heat. Add in diced tomatoes along with 2 teaspoon of salt. Give it a quick mix and cook for about 2 minutes.

Cooking chopped tomatoes

Season with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce. Mix then pour in 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil.

Add in both mushrooms and bring to a boil again. Once boiling, switch to lower heat to keep it at a light bubbling stage, continue to cook for couple more minutes.

Cooking tomatoes and mushrooms

Add in tofu and cook for a minute. Taste and adjust with salt if needed. I actually added 1 more teaspoon of salt here. Also seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper powder. Mix till evenly blended.

Turn to lowest heat and wait for couple minutes. Ready the corn starch and water mixture. Pour in the mixture while stirring the soup at the same time to prevent clumping. We are aiming for slightly thickened but still runny consistency. Imagine thinner sour and spicy soup, that should do it.

Pour in beaten egg and give it a nice swirl.

Lastly, mix in chopped cilantro and let it cook in low heat for one or two more minutes. If you don't like the texture of the cilantro stems, you can only add in chopped leaves instead. Per my case, stems don't bother me at all. 

Tomato egg and tofu soup

you can enjoy the soup as it is, or sprinkle some more white pepper powder for a pungent kick. Personally I love to add some rice vinegar, the translucent kind, for an even sourer taste. Once more vinegar was added, the soup actually tastes similar to the common sour and spicy soup, but with a brighter and cleaner flavor approach.

I suppose you can also modify the recipe a bit and turn it into a hearty meal. Just add some pork slices and pump up the seasonings. Also incorporate more corn starch and water mixture for thicker consistency. Simply scoop that over steamed rice and enjoy.  

Other Asian soup recipes:

Jul 5, 2023

Bitter Gourd Stir-Fry with Salted Black Beans (Try My "Not Quite as Bitter" Way of Cooking)

Never a fan of bitter gourd/bitter melon because no matter what others claim that it's not bitter at all, it is! Let it be a stir-fry, cold dish, or soup, bitter gourd always taste pretty bitter to me. Despite all my bitter past experiences, I still determined to take on the challenge and decided to cook the bitter gourd myself instead.

Turned out it might be the most delicious bitter gourd stir-fry I've even tried so far. I thinly sliced the bitter gourd, massage and marinate with salt, rinse and squeeze dry, and further stir-fry it with a dry hot wok. All that steps really helped in getting rid of that bitter taste from the melon. What's left was the soft gourd fully soaked up the savory seasonings with a slight sweet hint from the salted black beans and sugar. Really loved it.

Bitter gourd stir-fry with salted black beans - 

Bitter gourd stir-fry with salted black beans


  • 300 grams white bitter gourd
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1~2 red chilies
  • 1 tablespoon salted black beans in oil 豆豉
  • 2 tablespoons preferred cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Some salt


Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Destem and remove the seeds from red chilies, chop the red chilies too. I actually used 1 tablespoons of chopped red chilies marinated in flavored oil (剁椒) instead.

Halved white bitter gourd

Cut the bitter gourd in half and remove the seeds and pith in the center. Slice the bitter gourd, no thicker than 1mm. Use about 1/4 teaspoon of salt to massage the bitter gourd slices and let it sit for 5 minutes. 

Massage bitter gourd slices with salt

The salt will draw out some liquid from the bitter gourd slices. Drain first then rinse the bitter gourd slices. It won't take long and there's no need to use cold water. Just a quick rinse to wash away excess salt then squeeze really dry again.

Use a wok and turn to medium low heat. Transfer the bitter gourd slices over and just stir-fry without any oil for few minutes. Once ready, remove and set aside for later use.

Cooking bitter gourd slices with dry wok

Now drizzle 2 tablespoons of preferred cooking oil, something lighter tasting. This time switch to medium heat or medium high heat. Add in garlic, red chilies, and salted black beans. Mix and cook for about a minute.

Aromatics and salted black beans

Add the bitter gourd slices back to the wok and give it a quick mix. Season with tiny pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Mix till evenly blended and stir-fry till the gourd soaked in some sauce. 

Stir-frying bitter gourd with salted black beans

Scoop to serving plate.

Bitter gourd stir-fry with salted black beans

If you're never a fan of bitter gourd, this recipe might change your mind for good. It truly turned the gourd into a well-seasoned stir-fry vegetable dish. A rice-killing recipe for sure.