Baked Pork Loin with Thai Sweet & Sour Sauce烤猪柳kǎo zhū liǔ

coverOne of my favorite easy dinners has always been this easy baked pork loin – its hearty, rich and delicious, super easy to make, and so delicious. Since pork loin has little fat, it can become tough very quickly when overcooked. Marinating or brining pork loin before cooking will always help to soften the pork tenderloin and keep it from drying out. Searing the pork before baking not only helps to lock in the pork’s juices, but also makes it taste great and give you a perfect crunchy texture. And you can top it with any of your favorite sauces you like.

Serving 3-4

  • 500g                             pork loin
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoons                   olive oil
  • 1/3 teaspoon                             sea salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon                              ground pepper corn

Thai Inspired sauce

  • 1 tablespoon                            olive oil
  • 100g                                          French Beans or asparagus, minced
  • A half of the Red Bell Pepper, minced
  • 2 tablespoons                          light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons                            Lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon                             palm sugar or brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon                            corn starch (optional, it helps thicken the sauce)IMG_4648.jpg


  1. Rinse the pork loin under running water, pat dry with kitchen towel. Mix 1 teaspoon of freshly ground sea salt and black peppercorn, ¼ cup of olive oil in a bowl. Mix well. Place the pork in and have it marinated it for 4 to 12 hours.
  2. Now let’s sear the pork loin. Place one tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over high heat. Once the oil is hot, place into the pork loin over medium heat. Fry till both sides golden. This takes about 6-8 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 175℃ .  Place the seared pork loin on a baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes. Once done, remove the pork loin out and let it rest for 8-10 minutes before cutting. The resting part is important as it allows residual heat keeps cooking and helps lock the juice in the meat.  The perfect cooked meat looks a little bit pink in the middle, but that’s perfectly all right.
  4. IMG_4657.jpg
  5. In the meantime, let’s make the sauce. Heat the oil in another frying pan, fry ¾ of the minced beans or asparagus and pepper for 2 minutes over low heat. Add light soy sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Pour the sauce into a bowl.


6. Cut the pork loin into thick serving pieces and place them into a serving plate. Pour the sauce over the pork loin. Ready to serve.



Guizhou Ribs馋嘴排骨chán zuǐ pái gǔ

cover1The satisfying spicy ribs just crumbled off the bone, and with all of those savory seasonings as an added bonus. It is inspired by a trademark dish from Three Guizhou Men, my all-time favorite restaurant in Beijing that offers authentic Guizhou Cuisine. Guizhou Province borders Sichuan thus is similar in that the food is spicy. Unlike Sichuan food though, it does not prominently feature those numbing peppercorns. The food tends to be mildly sour instead.

 Serves 4-6,  

  • 1500g   pork spareribs 整条猪肋排


  • 1 tablespoon                           coriander seeds香菜籽
  • 1 tablespoon                           white peppercorns (or use the same amount of white peppercorn powder)白胡椒粒或者白胡椒粉
  • 1 teaspoon                               salt
  • 1 tablespoon                           light soy sauce生抽
  • ½ tablespoon                          dark soy sauce老抽
  • 10 – 12 cloves                         garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup                                       fresh coriander stems and roots, minced香菜梗
  • 2 tablespoons                         Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon                           cooking oil


  • 1 tablespoon                           Cooking Oil
  • 8-10                                           mix of green and red chili, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons                         Fermented Black Beans干豆豉
  • 2 tablespoon                           Seasonings made as indicated above
  • 1 tablespoon                           light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon                         sugar
  • ½ cup                                        water
  • 3 tablespoon                           unsalted peanuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup                                         Coriander leaves, roughly chopped, for garnishingIMG_4168


Make the Seasonings

  1. Wash the ribs and pat dry with paper kitchen towel. To make the meat absorb the seasonings better, you can use a sharp knife to remove the membrane from the back side of the ribs. Line up a baking try with aluminum foil. Place the ribs on top of the tray.IMG_4170
  2. Place the peeled garlic, coriander seeds, peppercorn seeds, fresh coriander stems and roots, salt and Chinese cooking wine in an electric blender. Pulse until finely minced.
  3. Scoop out two tablespoons of the seasonings. Set aside for later use for cooking toppings.

Marinate the ribs

  1. Now let’s coat the ribs with the rest of the seasonings, then Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil on top of the ribs. The oil helps lock the moisture of the meat when it is cooking in the oven. Cover the ribs completely with another layer of the aluminum foil. Place the baking tray in the middle rack of the oven. Set aside for about 60 minutes.

Grill the Ribs

  1. Turn the oven on and bring it up to 180C°. And bake for 2 – 2.5 hours till the bones are exposed. The slow cook time ensures the seasoning flavours are to be very absorbed by the ribs.
  2. Remove the aluminum foil on the top of the tray. Bake the ribs for another 30 minutes (no need to cover the ribs). The ribs are ready to serve when it is nearly falling off the bone.

Cook the toppings

  1. Place a sauce pan on the stove. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil over low medium heat, add chopped chili peppers and stir fry for a few minutes, add into 3 tablespoons of fermented black bean, stir fry for another 2-3 minutes, add into 2 tablespoons of toppings, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, ½ tablespoon of sugar, 1tablespoon of light soy sauce and ½ cup of water. Once it starts boiling, turn off the heat. The toppings is done.
  2. Place the ribs on a serving plate. Arrange toppings and peanuts. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Cook notes

  1. The Seasonings can be made ahead and refrigerated for two weeks.
  2. You can always make large quantity of the slow cooked ribs ahead of time (until step 5) and store it in the fridge or freezer. When ready to use, just place the desired amount of ribs and bake another 30 minutes then add freshly cooked toppings.


Pork Belly and Kimchi Stir-Fry韩式泡菜五花肉hán shì pào cài wǔ huā ròu

cover1The dish is insanely simple to make yet out of this world satisfying! The ever so popular kimchi, the national pickle of Korea, is also praised as a probiotic food. It makes the dish more digestible, nutritious and flavourful, as well as breaking down toxins. If you don’t like pork belly, then by all means switch to pork tenderloin or a lean pork of your choice. However, added oil will be necessary when using a lean cut.

Serve 2-4

  • 1-2 tablespoons    cooking oil
  • 200g  pork belly, very thinly sliced, 五花肉肉片
  • 100g                         golden mushroom金针菇
  • 100g                        bamboo shoots (optional)
  • 2 to 3 cloves          garlic, peeled and sliced (optional)
  • 200g kimchi (available at most of the Asian markets or click here for home-made kimchi) 韩国泡菜
  • 2 to 2.5 tablespoons light soy sauce生抽
  • 1 tablespoon         caster sugar白糖
  • 1 tablespoon          corn starch (mix it with 2 tablespoons of water to make water starch)           玉米淀粉
  • 3-4 sprigs              green chives韭菜, cut into pieces of 5cm in lengthIMG_4528


  1. Slice the pork belly as thin as possible or buy pre-cut ones from the store.
  2. Heat a frying pan or wok over high heat. While the pan is very hot, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and pork belly – adjust the amount of cooking oil depending on the fattiness of your pork belly. Stir fry until turned pale, for approximately 5 to 6 minutes.  You should see some fat being cooked out of the pork belly at this point.
  3. Add the bamboo shoots, garlic, golden mushroom and cook for 2 minutes, then add kimchi into the pan, stir fry for another 2-3 minutes. Mix well. Add 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of sugar and continue to cook for another 1 minutes. Stir into the water starch (by mixing 1 tablespoon of corn flour and 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl). Fry for another 2-3 minutes till the sauce thickened.
  4. Turn off the heat. Add sliced green chives. Mix well.IMG_4535
  5. Ready to serve.


  1. If you use a store-bought kimchi, make sure to check the ingredients. I use home-made fermented kimchi that’s free of MSG and excessive sugar. Click here for recipe.

Cantonese Style Beef Brisket Stew萝卜牛腩煲luó bo niú nǎn bāo

cover3.jpgThis classic Cantonese braised beef stew is served from almost all traditional restaurants around the world. Traditionally, this dish calls for beef brisket which is relatively tough cut but really flavorful when prepared properly. If you can access to Chinese butchery, look for the brisket with a layer of membrane attached to the meat. The membrane is a little tougher than the meat but adds even more flavor to the dish.

One of the key condiments for this dish is Chu Hou Sauce柱侯酱, a soybean based sauce commonly use in Cantonese cooking. It tastes and looks somewhat like hoisin sauce but more garlicky. It comes in glass jars under different brands and it can be found in most local Chinese supermarkets. If you can’t get a hold of it, you can substitute with hoisin sauce with additional garlic.

Serves 4-6,

  • 600g beef brisket, blanched and cut into bite size牛腩
  • 20g ginger, sliced
  • 2 spring onions roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon  cooking oil
  • 1tablespoon   rock sugar冰糖
  • 4 clove garlic    roughly chopped
  • 5 tablespoons chu hou sauce 柱候酱
  • 1 teaspoon  oyster sauce蚝油
  • 1tablespoon light soy sauce to taste生抽
  • ½ tablespoon  dark soy sauce老抽
  • 2 and ½ cups water
  • 300g daikon radish, cut into bite size白罗卜
  • 200g carrots, cut into bite size 胡罗卜
  • ½ teaspoon Salt or salt to taste
  • Water Starch by combining 1 tablespoon corn starch and 2 tablespoons of water. This is to help thicken the sauce
  • Scallion for garnishIMG_3961


  1. Blanch beef brisket – place the brisket in a pot of cold water. Add into 10g sliced ginger, spring onions and 1 tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine. Bring it to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes. Rinse under the running water. Drain the excess water, cut into bite size. Set aside.

    2. Heat up 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a clay pot or wok. Add rock sugar. Add into rock sugar and cook over low-medium heat for about 3-4 minutes till sugar melted and caramelized. Add into chopped garlic and sliced ginger on low heat until aromatic. About 30 seconds. Add into beef brisket pieces.

    3. Add chu hou sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese cooking wine, light soy sauce and dark sauce and stir fry on low heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 and half cups of water and bring to boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer with lid on for about 1.5 hours until tender. Turn the beef with a spatula every now and then.

    4. In the meantime, peel the daikon radish and carrots. Cut them into bite-size small pieces.img_3964.jpg5. Add daikon radish and carrot pieces and mix with the beef. Bring the stew to boil and simmer with lip on until the radish is soft. Add salt. Use a spatula to move around the beef and vegetables to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook about 30 minutes.

    6.Pour into the water starch (by mixing 1 tablespoon of corn starch and 2 tablespoons of water). Mix well. Cook until sauce thicken. IMG_39857. Sprinkle some scallions and serve with rice or as a noodle soup topping.cover3.jpg



Steamed Fish with Soy Sauce港式蒸鱼gǎng shì zhēng yú

coverI personally think that fresh fish is best eaten steamed in addition to Sashimi and Sushi. For me, nothing tastes as satisfying as delicately steamed fish with a bowl of rice. Though few ingredients are involved, you will need a very fresh fish and a high-quality Chinese cooking wine to make it Chinese-restaurant worthy. The perfect, right amount of steaming time is also critical so that cooked flesh is tender, moist and silky. Never overcook.

 Serves 3-4,  

  • 1  Whole red snapper (or seabass), about 600g红鲷鱼或者海鲈. You may use fish fillet if you find deboning fish troublesome.
  • 4 slices   ginger  姜片
  • 2 tablespoons  premium Chinese cooking wine (click here foe homemade Chinese cooking wine)
  • 3      spring onions, cut it into slices in 5cm

For sauce

  • 2 tablespoons        cooking oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons     soy sauce生抽IMG_2267.jpg


  1. Scale the fish, discard the guts and clean well (hopefully you can get the cleaned one from your grocery store.) Pat dry with kitchen paper towel. Slice the ginger. Slash the fish on the both sides of the back to allow your seasoning to penetrate evenly later. cut.jpg
  2. Place the fish in a serving plate (should be able to fit into the steamer pot). Tuck 2 slices of ginger in the belly of the fish then place the other two slices on top of the fish. Sprinkle the fish with two tablespoons of Chinese cooking wine. A high-quality cooking wine is critical for the success of the dish.IMG_2268.jpg
  3. Place a steamer pot in the stove. Add into a big pot of water and bring it to a boil. to Place the serving plate in a steamer. Cover the steamer with a lid. Steam over high heat for 10-12 minutes. You will need reduce 1-2 minutes if your fish is smaller. Use the shortest amount of time you to get the fish cooked but NEVER overcooked.
  4. Remove the serving plate from the steamer. Spread evenly the spring onions and on top of the fish. In the meantime, let’s cook sauce. Heat the cooking oil in a sauce pan over medium heat for about 2 minutes, then add soy sauce sugar, mix well. Once you see bubbles, turn the heat off. The sauce is done now. Pour the sauce onto the fish in the serving plate.
  5. Serve the dish with a bowl of rice. By the way, the slightly chewy texture of fish cheeks is simply divine.



Chocolate Spiral Mantou (Steamed Chinese Bun)双色馒头shuāng sè mán tóu

cover.jpgMantou (Chinese Steamed Bun) is a simple bun without filling. I call them Chinese version of dinner rolls. They are great options for breakfast or snack too. Mantou can have many varieties of flavour as you would like. The texture of the mantou is soft but denser than bao.

This chocolate spiral Mantou has a mild sweet and chocolate flavour, it tastes good even on its own. Kids love it so much.

You may make lots of these mantou ahead of time and freeze it. To serve, just steam it again until softened.

 Yields about 16 Buns,

  • 80g                     lukewarm water (40°C)
  • 2 teaspoons     yeast酵母
  • 350g                  plain flour 中筋面粉
  • 40g                   caster sugar 白糖
  • 6g                     coca powder可可粉
  • 120g milk (room temperature), It is important to use the milk in room temperature. So either take milk from fridge earlier or heat it up to 40°C IMG_4085.jpg


  1. Split the yeast and place them in two separate bowls with a total of 80g lukewarm water (in 40℃.). Mix well. Set aside for 5 minutes.IMG_4088.jpg
  2. In the meantime, split the flour and place them in two separate mixing bowls. Split the sugar and add into the two bowls respectively. Add coca powder into 1 mixing bowl.
  3. Mix the flour mixtures well. Let’ start with the non-coca powder flour mixture first. Add into resolved yeast and half of the milk gradually. Knead the dough for about 5-minutes, until the outer is smooth. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If your dough is drier, add in a bit more water. If it is sticky, lightly coat hand with flour when kneading. Once done, cover the bowl with clingy film. Set aside. Continue to work on the second bowl. Cover the coca powder dough with clingy film and set aside. Let the dough rest for about 60 to 90 minutes until both dough doubles in size.
  4. Divide the white dough into two equal pieces; do the same with ‘chocolate’ dough. Put 1 pieces of ‘white’ dough on lightly floured counter top, punch air out of dough, knead the dough again for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Roll out into thin flat dough (cover the rolled dough to prevent it from drying). Do the same with I piece of the ‘chocolate’ dough. Put chocolate dough on top of white dough, roll out again to left and right into thinner dough. Then roll up the thin dough into a rod shape.

    6. Now let’s work on the other twp pieces of dough. Roll out into thin flat dough. Put white dough on top of the chocolate dough, roll outagain to left and right into thinner dough. Then roll up the thin dough into a rod shape. Cut into 8 portions using knife.

  6. Arrange mantou pieces on a parchment paper-lined bamboo basket. Leave some space between each as the buns will expand when steaming. If you do not have the bamboo basket, any stainless steamer will work fine. Just make sure the lid has a hole as the hole helps prevent the condensation water from dripping onto buns, Cover the bamboo baskets with a lid and let them proof for 25– 30 minutes. This is we call the second proof/rest.2nd proof
  7. Fill a steamer pot or wok with water and bring the water to a boil. Place onto the stack of bamboo baskets or any the stainless steamer you would have. Cover the steamer. Turn to the high heat and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Don’t open the lid yet. Let it rest for 5 minutes then open the lid.IMG_0606
  8. Enjoy your soft and chewy Mantou!after steam

Red-braised Dried Bamboo Shoots笋干烧肉sǔn gàn shāo ròu

coverBamboo shoots are always a culinary delicacy in Asia especially in Chinese and Japanese cuisines. Freshly dug bamboo shoots are seasonal and are appreciated by people of that particular region. Yet easily accessible dried bamboo shoots have a meaty quality and are incredibly delicious. It has a chewy-tenderness and pleasant sweetness that’s not found in fresh or canned bamboo.

Serves 3-4

  • 250g                                      dried bamboo shoots 笋干 (it will turn into about 750g after rehydration. You would need half of the 750g to cook for this recipe.)
  • 2 tablespoons                       cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon                        rock sugar冰糖
  • 250g                                        pork belly 五花肉, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon                         Chinese cooking wine
  • 2-3 slices                                 ginger 姜片
  • 2 and ½ tablespoons           light soy sauce生抽酱油
  • 1 tablespoon                        dark soy sauce老抽酱油
  • 3-4 dried                               red chili (optional)
  • 2 cups                                    water
  • 2-3 sprigs                              Chinese parsley 芹菜, roughly chopped 



  1. The step one – let’s get dried bamboo shoots rehydrated. Soak dried bamboo shoots in water in room temperature for 24 hour. If your house is too warm, just leave them in the fridge. Rinse rehydrated bamboo shoots a few times. Place them in a big pot of water and cook for about 5-10 minutes after the water has boiled.  Use a chopstick to poke the bamboo shoots. If the chopstick can go through, it means that bamboo shoots are properly rehydrated. 

  2. This is how rehydrated bamboo shoots look like now. Remember that 250g dried bamboo shoots will turn into about 750g after rehydration. In this recipe, we will only use half of the 750g. The other half can be stored in the fridge or freezer for future use.img_3920.jpg
  3. Cut the pork into bite size. Slice the bamboo shoots into strips as thin as you could handle with knife. 

  4. Place 2 tablespoons of oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add into rock sugar and cook over low-medium heat for about 3-4 minutes till sugar melted and caramelized. Add into pork belly. Fry for a few minutes till meat turn white. Add ginger slices and cook for 1 minute. Pour into cooking wine and cook for another 2 minutes. Add into light soy sauce and dark soy sauce. Mix well. Cook for about 2 minutes. Turn to medium heat. Cook till pork is nicely browned. Add 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes. 

  5. Stir into bamboo strips. Add dried chili – this is optional if you do not care for spicy taste. Bring it to a boil. Then turn to low heat. Cover the pot. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes till bamboo shoots are soft to your taste. Stir a few times to avoid burning on the bottom. Stir into sliced Chinese parsley and cook for another 2 minutes before serving.