Wild Rice Stem with Soy Sauce油焖茭白yóu mèn jiāo bái

cover1 (2).JPGWild Rice Stem, or Water Bamboo, is a unique and extraordinary Chinese vegetable. It has the fresh delicacy of bamboo shoots but a softer texture. The plant is widely cultivated in the wetland in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and believed to grow in Vietnam as well. Wid Rice Stem is particularly delicious cooked in this Shanghainese way, with soy sauce and hints of sugar sweetness and sesame oil.

Serves 3-4

  • 400g                          fresh wild rice stem新鲜茭白
  • 2 tablespoons          cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon           Chinese cooking wine料酒
  • 1 tablespoon            light soy sauce生抽
  • 1 tablespoon           dark soy sauce老抽
  • 1 tablespoon            caster sugar白砂糖
  • 1/3 cup (75Ml)          water or stock水或者高汤
  • ½ teaspoon               sesame oil香油
  • ¼ teaspoon or to taste      Salt


  1. Strip off any remaining layers of husk from the wild rice stem, so that you are left with the crisp, pale and ivory-colored stems (the peeled weight will be about 300g). Start from the tips, roll-cut the stems evenly into bite-sized pieces: holding your knife at an angle, cut off a chunk, the rotate the stem a half-turn towards you and, holding your knife at the same angle, cut off another chunk. Repeat the turning and cutting for the rest of the stem.


  1. Heat the oil in s seasoned wok over a high flame. Add the chopped stems and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until tinged with gold. Add the cooking wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, water and season with a bit salt and mix well. Bring to the boil, then simmer over medium heat for 3-4 minutes to allow the vegetable to absorb the flavors of the sauce. Turn up the heat and reduce the sauce until syrupy, stirring constantly to avoid the bottom of the wok sticking. Turn off the heat, stir in sesame oil and serve.

Soy Sauce Chicken 豉油鸡chǐ yóu jī

cover 3.JPGThe humble Cantonese dish, served in a Singapore Hawker Center, was awarded a much coveted Michelin star in 2017. It is actually quite simple to make it at your home kitchen. Superior soy sauce is obviously the key. However, the process of caramelizing sugar is equally important – it makes the chicken nicely glazed and adds into a sweet and smoky flavour to the tender, springy yet juicy meat.

Serve 2-4

  • I whole chicken, 1.3 kg or 3 to 4 chicken leg quarters if you do not have a big deep pot to hold a whole chicken
  • 2 tablespoons                       cooking oil
  • 25g                                          Rock sugar冰糖
  • 30g (3-4 sprigs)                    spring onions香葱, crushed and tie into knots
  • 20g                                         ginger (crushed to loosen the fiber)生姜
  • 3 star anise      八角
  • 2 cinnamon stick (about 2-inch length) 桂皮
  • 2 tablespoons                      Chinese cooking wine. Either Shaoxing wine or Chinese Rose wine is fine.
  • 3 tablespoons                       light soy sauce生抽
  • 3 tablespoons                       dark soy sauce老抽
  • 500ml, water

Ginger and Spring Onion dip sauce:

  • 10g    ginger, skim removed and minced
  • 1 spring onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons, cooking oil
  • ½ teaspoon, salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon, sesame oil (optional)IMG_9173.JPG


  1. Use a Chinese cleaver to smash the spring onions and ginger to loosen the fibres. Tie the spring onions into knots (this makes it easier later when you remove it from the cooked chicken out of pot.)
  2. Now let’s caramelize the rock sugar. There are two most distinguishing flavours in the soy sauce chicken. And caramel is one of them. Caramelizing the sugar helps infuse a sweet and a hint of smoky flavour to the dish and brown (add color to) the chicken. Just start with adding rock sugar to cold oil. Cook slowly over low-medium heat until the sugar melts and turns golden. It’s important to get a hot oil temperature without burning the sugar.IMG_9219.JPG
  3. Place start anise, cinnamon stalk, ginger and spring onions and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add cooking wine, light soy sauce, dark sauce and water. Mix well. Turn off the heat.IMG_9220.JPG
  4. Plunge the chicken into the pot. Leave it soak in the pot for about 30 minutes. Flip the chicken a couple times so the entire chicken is evenly soaked with liquid.
  5. Bring the pot to a boil, then cook the chicken over a medium heat for 30 minutes without covered (no lid). Flip the chicken a couple of times to ensure the bird is evenly cooked. Use a spoon to spray some liquid onto exposed surface of the chicken from time to time. Turn the heat off. Leave the chicken soak in the liquid for at least 30 minutes. Drain. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. It is ready to serve. Soy sauce chicken is usually served cold or at room temperature. Do not dump the sauce left in the pot. You can keep it in the fridge or freezer to reuse it for you next soy sauce chicken.IMG_9221.JPG
  6. In the meantime, prepare the ginger and spring onion dip sauce, place minced ginger, spring onion, salt, and into a small bowl. Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok until it starts to smoke. Pour the oil into the small bowl and blend well. Set aside.dipping sauce.JPG


Shanghai Potsticker Buns 生煎馒头shēng jiān mán tóu

Let's Play Dough

main image 1The most popular street snack in Shanghai. These golden-bottomed buns, known as Sheng Jian Man Tou in Chinese, meaning pan-fried directly without steaming, are the heftier yet equally irresistible big brother of Shanghai Xiao Long Bao.

Yields about 20 Buns,


  • 300g          plain flour 中筋面粉
  • 1 tablespoon       yeast酵母
  • 1 teaspoon     baking powder泡打粉
  • 150g          water in room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon                       black or white sesame seeds芝麻, toasted
  • 3-4 tablespoons    minced spring onions (green parts only)葱花


  • 300g           ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons    water in room temperature
  • 100g           pork jelly 肉皮冻 (click here for recipe), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon    cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon    ginger (minced) 姜末
  • 30g or 2-3 tablespoons   spring onions (minced) 香葱末
  • 1 teaspoon      salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons    light soy sauce 生抽
  • 1 tablespoon     Chinese cooking wine料酒
  • 2 teaspoons      caster sugar 白糖
  • 1 teaspoon     sesame oil 香油
  • 1/3 teaspoon    white pepper 白胡椒粉

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tablespoon   Chinkiang vinegar 镇江香醋

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Wood Ear Mushroom Salad捞汁黑木耳lāo zhī hēi mù ěr

coverA simple, refreshing and healthy cold appetizer. The wood ear mushroom is called black fungus in English and mu er (木耳) in Chinese – a must-have item in the Chinese pantry because of its super long shelf life, unique texture of crunchiness after cooked and magically making every dish taste better. It is also long acclaimed as a superfood that will cleanse your body by removing toxins from the digestive tract。

The vinegar dressing, highlighted by two different types of rice-based Chinese vinegar, can be made in large quantity in advance and store in fridge for up to two months. And you can mix and match to use any vegetables of your choice.

Serves 4-6

 Vinegar dressing

  • 4 sprigs               spring onions, roughly chopped,香葱切丝
  • 3 tablespoons    Cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons    Chinese white rice vinegar 白米醋
  • 2 tablespoons    Chinkiang vinegar镇江香醋
  • 2 teaspoons         Sesame oil 香油
  • 1/2 teaspoon       table salt
  • 1 tablespoon      light soy sauce 生抽
  • 2 teaspoons       caster sugar白糖


  • 150g           Rehydrated Wood Ear Mushroom (You will need about 25 gram dried Wood Ear Mushroom in water) 黑木耳 (水发后)
  • 1-2            Fresh green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2-3            Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2-3            Thai bird chili or any small red chili, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 sprigs      coriander (optional)
  • 250ML        drinking water


  1. Soak the dry wood ear mushrooms in warm water until hydrated. This takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, let’s prepare the Vinegar Dressing. Heat the cooking oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add spring onions and fry over low medium heat for about 5 minutes. Drain by removing the caramelized spring onions. This will yield 2-3 tablespoons of spring onions oil. Place the spring onions oil in a mixing bowl. Add into rest of the vinegar dressing seasonings. Mix well. The vinegar dressing is done. Set aside.
  3. Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Blanch all the Wood Ear Mushroom by batches. Cool off the mushroom under the running water. The step #3 takes about 3-4 minutes. Drain.IMG_8893.JPG
  4. Place drained mushroom in a mixing bowl. Add the vinegar dressing. Add 250ml drinking water and toss into sliced green/red peppers, shallots and coriander. Mix well.IMG_8895.JPG
  5. Chill in the fridge for a half hour then enjoy.

Hello Kitty Snow Skin Mooncake卡通冰皮月饼bīng pí yuè bǐng

Let's Play Dough

Cover imageSnow skin (Mochi) mooncake is a non-baked mooncake eaten during Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. The mooncake skin texture is quite similar with mochi: soft, chewy and milky. While snow skin mooncake can be filled with variety of things, lotus seeds paste is my favorite. Lotus seeds are used extensively in Chinese cooking, especially in the form of paste. The paste can be made in advance and keep refrigerated or frozen. Snow skin mooncake should be kept refrigerated in airtight container and typically serve cold. You shall be able to find all the ingredients and the mooncake mould in Asian markets or Amazon.

Makes about 25 pieces (40g each piece)

Homemade lotus seeds paste filling 莲蓉馅 (yield 450g lotus seeds paste)

  • 150g           dry lotus seeds 白莲子
  • 800ml          water
  • 110g           granulated sugar 白砂糖
  • 15g            glutinous rice flour糯米粉
  • 3 tablespoons    water
  • ¼ teaspoon      saltIMG_2524.JPG

Wrappers (yields about 640g snow skin/Mochi

  • 360g …

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Kung Pao Shrimp 宫保虾球gōng bǎo xiā qiú

Let's Play Dough


The emphasis on flavour makes Sichuanese food a robust and confident cuisine. The Sichuan cuisine boasts 24 different types of ‘complex flavours’复合味. The Kung Pao taste (the sweet-sour-scorched chili flavour) is obviously the most beautiful one. The two spices (Szechuan Peppercorns and Dried Chillies) are sizzled in oil until the chillies are darkening. Throw in a bit of sweet and sour. And you have Kung Bao Flavour, a truly marvellous taste.

Serves 3-4,

  • 500g                            shrimp, peeled and deveined (this calls for about 1000g fresh shrimp)
  • 1 teaspoon                  salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons           Chinese cooking wine料酒
  • 1 teaspoon                  corn flour玉米淀粉
  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) cooking oil
  • 3 tablespoons               Sichuan peppercorns四川花椒
  • 1.5 tablespoons           garlic, minced蒜末
  • 1 tablespoon                ginger, minced姜末
  • 10g                               dried red chili, roughly chopped干红辣椒
  •  60g                              leek (only white part), cut into small sections. Try to get 2 small-size of leek if possible. If not…

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Steamed Chicken with Chinse Red Dates and Mushrooms枣姑蒸鸡zǎo gū zhēng jī

cover.JPGI believe the recipe originates from the Hakka food,客家菜kè jiā cài or “guest families”. Unlike most cuisines in China, Hakka food is defined by a group of people rather than a geographical region. The Hakka had to make do with whatever unclaimed territory they could find, so frugality became a defining characteristic of their food. This lovely, lightly seasoned dish comes together so easily that some Chinese families adopt it as a staple. I will certainly scoop up spoonfuls of savory, earthy and yet subtly sweet sauce to put over mounds of jasmine rice,

Serves 2-4

  • 400-500g (two bone or boneless chick thighs), cut into small pieces
  • 3g                        ginger, thinly sliced姜片
  • 2 sprigs               spring onions, separate green and white parts, green part for garnish only,香葱
  • 3 to 5                red dates (remove the seed and split the date in half)
  • 3 to 5               dried shiitake mushroom 香菇, dehydrated, stalk removed (soak in the water for 30 minutes)
  • ½ cup              dried black wood wears 黑木耳, dehydrated (soak in the water for 30 minutes)


  • ½ teaspoon     salt
  • 2 tablespoons   light soy sauce生抽
  • 1 tablespoon     corn starch淀粉
  • ¼ teaspoon        ground white pepper 白胡椒粉
  • 2 tablespoons     Chinese cooking wine 料酒IMG_7510


  1. Cut the chicken into small pieces. Separate green and white parts of spring onions.IMG_7637.JPG
  2. Place chicken, spring onions (white part only) and ginger in a mixing bowl. Add in all the seasonings and mix well. Allow it to marinate for half an hour. Then add dried dates and soaked mushrooms.  Mix well. IMG_7638.JPG
  3. Place the marinated ingredients in a shallow, heat proof bowl. Prepare the steamer and bring the water up to a rapid boil. Cover the bowl with a plate or aluminium foil. Steam the chicken over high heat for 15-20 minutes, making sure it is thoroughly cooked. Remove from steamer and sprinkle on spring onions (green part) before serving.IMG_7639.JPG