Feb 24, 2024

Lotus Root and Pork Belly in Asian Seasonings

Usually I would slice the lotus root so that it'll look like a round-shaped vegetable with some holes throughout. However, this time let's cut the lotus root into thick sticks instead in order to achieve maximum crunchiness in every bite.

Lotus root and pork belly in Asian seasonings - 

Lotus root and pork belly in Asian seasonings


  • 1 medium section lotus root
  • 370 grams pork belly
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 big stalks scallion
  • 6 dried red chilies
  • 1 chunk ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons preferred cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce 老抽
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon aged Chinese Shaoxing wine


Rinse and dry the lotus root. After washing away all the dirt on it, the lotus root's true color reveals and I absolutely adore it. The brownish appearance and scattering dark marks might be rustic, but somehow feel so artistic to me.

Lotus root

Peel the lotus root then cut to thick sticks. It might feel funny cutting it since there are holes inside, but just do it till you got like skinny woman's pinky finger sized lotus root.

Prepare a pot of boiling water and add in 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar. Transfer lotus root over and bring to a boil again. Let it cook for two more minutes. Once ready, drain and set aside.

Lotus root in thick strips form

Don't worry if you see some purple color throughout even after cooking the lotus root in vinegary water. It's because of the natural polyphenols in lotus root. When in contact with air, it triggers the oxidation and so the color change.

Cut the pork to medium size chunks with some thickness. Mine was a bit too thick, which might result in harder texture in the end depending on the cut of pork used. I would say keep the pork at about 1 to 2 mm thickness the best. 

Pork belly chunks

Destem and section the scallion. Separate the white and the green parts. Peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves. Scrape the skin then chop the ginger, we'll need about 1 tablespoon of prepped ginger for this recipe.

Have a big wok ready and drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of preferred cooking oil. Switch to medium heat, but you can use medium high heat if confident enough. Remember, bigger fire means you have to work your way in the kitchen faster, and you'll get more wok hei as a reward in the end. 

Add in pork and sear till some fats start to render. Once slightly browned, make sure to flip and continue to sear the other side. It might take a few minutes here.

Searing pork belly chunks

Add in garlics, ginger, white section of the scallion, and 6 dried red chilies. Cook till aromatic but not overly burn the garlics.

Searing pork belly chunks with Asian aromatics

Pour in 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of aged Shaoxing wine. Give it a quick mix. Cook for a minute.

Searing pork belly with dark soy sauce

Transfer prepped lotus root to the wok. Also add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce. Mix and cook for couple more minutes.

Making lotus root and pork belly dish

Add in green section of scallion towards the end. Give it a quick mix and scoop out to serving plate while that nice green color still remains. 

Lotus root and pork belly in Asian seasonings

This recipe is quite different than the other lotus root dishes I've made in the past. Not because of the seasonings, but the shape of the lotus root. It is quite crunchy, but not in a way hard to bite. 

Lotus root and pork belly in Asian seasonings

Mister is fond it I think, he even asked what those thick sticks were when I first serving him this dish. I guess without the signature thinly sliced shape and holes, lotus root can be hard to identify sometimes. 

Feb 18, 2024

Whipped Brie with Mascarpone, Honey, and Pink Peppercorn

It was meant to be ricotta, but the only option I have at the grocery store that day was crème fraîche and mascarpone. Imagining the final taste in my head, I quickly grabbed the mascarpone and started putting all the ingredients together in the kitchen.

Whipped brie with mascarpone, honey, and pink peppercorn - 

Whipped brie with mascarpone, honey, and pink peppercorn


  • 250 grams brie
  • 200 grams mascarpone 
  • 1 to 2 baguette 
  • Some honey
  • Some pink peppercorn
  • Some salt flakes (optional)


Slice the baguette and set aside for later use. I serve the baguette slices as it is. Ok, I admit I was a bit lazy. However, if you would like to go all out for this recipe, drizzle some olive oil to the baguette slices and toast till the bread gets nice grill marks.

Slice the baguette bread

Cut off the rinds from brie then dice the soft center part. Smaller pieces will be easier to blend in a food processor.

Trimmed brie

Add the brie chunks to the food processor, the end total after removing the rind was about one cup full. Also add in 200 grams of mascarpone. 

Adding brie and mascarpone to food processor

Start blending till smooth.

Whipped brie and mascarpone

Scoop out the whipped brie and mascarpone to a serving plate. Perhaps make a swirl like serving hummus if you can. Drizzle some good quality honey and crack some pink peppercorn throughout. 

Whipped brie with mascarpone, honey, and pink peppercorn

Give it a taste first then decide if you would like some salt flakes too. Serve the whipped brie with baguette slices.

Whipped brie with mascarpone, honey, and pink peppercorn

I was going to make it even more fancier with fresh strawberries, though that whipped brie, mascarpone, and honey all sound very compatible with strawberries on the side. But you know what, the grocery store I went to was a bit high-end, so they only carry imported strawberries from Japan. The cheapest box I could find was nearly $20 USD. That's why you won't find any strawberries here, what a shame. 

Feb 13, 2024

Diced Chicken with Preserved Yibin Suimiyacai 雞米芽菜

It might not be as well-known to the western world, but Yibin yacai or suimiyacai is a popular preserved mustard greens in China. Yibin is a prefecture-level city in Sichuan, China. Yacai is the name of the preserved veggies, and suimiyacai simply means the already rinsed and chopped version.

The vegetable needs to go through many steps such as drying, flavoring, and preserving to become a useful flavor booster in many Chinese dishes. You can use it in soup, stir-fry, or steamed meat to add more depth and flavor profile. And about my recipe this time, it's used in diced chicken stir-fry, also one of the classics in Sichuan cuisine, but a bit modification to simplify the process for the common households. 

Diced chicken with preserved Yibin suimiyacai 雞米芽菜 - 

Diced chicken with preserved Yibin suimiyacai


  • 4 tablespoons Yibin suimiyacai
  • 440 grams chicken breast
  • 100 grams red chilies (the long and not super spicy kind)
  • 100 grams green chilies (I also used the long and no so spicy kind)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon scraped and chopped ginger
  • 2 tablespoons light-tasting cooking oil

Marinade - 

  • 1 tablespoon aged Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch 


Destem and chop both the red and green chilies. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Scrape and finely chop the ginger, we'll need about 1 teaspoon of prepped ginger for this recipe.

Yibin suimiyacai 碎米芽菜

Thinly sliced the chicken crosswise, then slice to strips, then finally slice to little pieces, like smaller diced chicken. If you follow the classic way of doing it, the chicken needs to cut to the size of rice grains, which explains the Chinese name for this dish 雞米, meaning chicken rice. 雞 means chicken and 米 means rice. Nope, that's a bit too much work for a common housewife, so I settled for chunkier size.

Transfer the chicken to a bowl and add in all the ingredients listed under the "marinade" section. Give it a gentle massage so that the seasonings can fully bond with the meat. Let it marinate for about 10 minutes.

Diced chicken in Asian marinade

Bring out a pan and drizzle 2 tablespoons of light-tasting cooking oil. Also add in chopped garlic and ginger. Switch to medium heat and cook till aromatic but not burnt.

Add in the chicken and stir-fry till separated. Further stir-fry the meat till dries out a little bit.

Stir-frying diced chicken

Add in suimiyacai, stir-fry till evenly distributed.

Stir-frying diced chicken and Yibin suimiyacai

Add in all the chilies and stir-fry for 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Once checked, plate and serve. 

Diced chicken with preserved Yibin suimiyacai

I like to enjoy this dish with steamed rice, but using it as base for dry noodles is equally appetizing. 

So for the pack of Yibin suimiyacai, I've used about half of it for this recipe. The rest was stored in an airtight container in the fridge. The remaining Yibin suimiyacau was actually added to fried rice about a week later. The amount I used won't heavily alter the flavor of the fried rice, but more so enhance the savory note in the end. Perhaps you can do the same if there're any leftover preserved mustard greens too. 

Feb 6, 2024

Creamy Mussels and Seaweed Pasta

It doesn't have to be mussels, you can also use clams, scallops, or hearty fish. In fact, I'm using canned smoked mussels, the very last canned seafood I've brought home all the way from Denmark.

Creamy mussels and seaweed pasta - 

Creamy mussels and seaweed pasta

Ingredients (for 2 servings)?

  • 200 grams spaghettini pasta
  • 1 can/about 100 grams smoked mussels (many substitutions)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons dried seaweed flakes
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Some salt
  • Some pasta water (optional)


Prepare a big pot of water and add in few pinches of salt. Bring to a boil and cook the pasta till almost al dente. Save about 1 cup of pasta water for emulsification later on, then drain out the rest.

Peel and chop the shallots and garlic cloves.

Take a big pan and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Switch to medium heat. Add in shallots, garlics, dried red chili flakes, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook till aromatic but not burning the garlic pieces.

Searing the aromatics for pasta

Pour in 1 cup of heavy cream and give it a nice stir. Then add in most of the dried seaweed flakes, only save a little for dusting on top after plating. Stir till mixed.

Mixing heavy cream and dried seaweed flakes for the pasta sauce

Depending on the consistency of the sauce, it's up to you if adding the preserved pasta water or not. But I would pour in about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of pasta water and cook till emulsified. You'll know the sauce is ready when the cream has fully intertwined with the water.

Transfer drained pasta over and stir till mixed. Add in drained canned mussels. If using fresh seafood, add it before the pasta and let it simmer in the sauce till almost fully cooked-through, or till the shells open. Then we add the pasta afterwards.

Fangst smoked mussels

Taste and adjust accordingly. Once checked, plate and garnish with the remaining dried seaweed flakes.  

Creamy mussels and seaweed pasta

I used dried seaweed flakes here because I have like a big full bag at home. You can also use those roasted nori sheets sold as snacks. Simply tear them into smaller pieces and add to the pasta. 

Creamy mussels and seaweed pasta

However, the roasted nori sheets are usually flavored or salted, so remember to keep that in mind and adjust the amount of salt used accordingly. 


Other spaghettini recipes: