Grilled Mini Pork Ribs焦糖小排jiāo táng xiǎo pái

coverThe recipe was inspired by a delightful Spanish Tapas meal we had in Japan years ago.  The chef cooked those flavorful and beautifully-charred ribs over a barbeque grill. I tried using a home oven instead and was able to achieve the same results.

Serves 2-4

  • 11/2 pounds             750g  spareribs, cut to the bite size 猪肋排,切成小块
  • ¼ cup (30g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (120ml)        Sherry cooking wine or Mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrate)
  • 1 tablespoon             light soy sauce生抽
  • 1 tablespoon            brown sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt
  • Tabasco sauce, optionalIMG_8036


  1. Cut the pork ribs into small bite size. Preheat over to 380F° (190C°). Line a baking tray with double layers of aluminium foil – this helps cleaning work much easier!
  2. Place the ribs in a large plastic bag with the flour and shake well.
  3. Combine the cooking wine, tomato paste, soy sauce, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Place the ribs in the sauce. Mix well to ensure the ribs are evenly coated. Place the ribs on the tray and grill for about 30 minutes. Save any leftover sauce in the bowl.
  4. If you wish your ribs softer, you can cook it in a longer time for a total of 60 minutes or so. But you need to cover the ribs with aluminium foil so the ribs will not dry out because of the extended cooking time in the oven.IMG_8368
  5. (Remove the aluminium foil), turn up the oven to 420F° (210C°). Cook for another 15 minutes till ribs are nicely charred. During the time, brush the ribs from  time to time with any leftover sauce.
  6. Serve with Tabasco sauce for a spicy kick.



Stir-fried Tofu Skin with Tomato and Bell Pepper青椒西红柿炒豆腐皮qīng jiāo xī hóng shì chǎo dòu fǔ pí

coverI never missed this dish whenever visiting my favorite Yunnan restaurant in Beijing. This recipe is about as simple as it gets, in fact: the tofu skin is softened in the water, then quickly stir-fried with large pieces of bell pepper and tomato until it is tender and almost meaty.

 Serve 2-4

  • 100g                       2 to 3 big dried tofu sheets  (tofu skin) , cut into 4-inch long pieces, 豆腐衣
  • 2 tablespoons     cooking oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ large green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 or 2 medium size firm tomatoes, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 to 2.5 tablespoons, light soy sauce 生抽, adjust the quantity based on the sodium level of your soy sauce
  • 2 spring onions, white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise and then into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon, Chinese cooking wine, (optional), click here for homemade Chinese cooking wineIMG_8243


  1. Rehydrate the tofu skin by submerging it into the warm water for about 20 to 30 minutes. Then drain.IMG_8245
  2. Place cooking oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add into thinly sliced garlic. Fry till fragrant. About 2 minutes. Add into tomato and green pepper cubes. Fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add tofu sheets into the pan. Mix well. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add into light soy sauce. Mix well. Lastly, place spring onion pieces into the pan and fry for another 1 minute.
  4. If you have high-quality Chinese cooking wine, add 1 tablespoon. Cook for another 1 minute. The wine will help add a nice touch of natural sweetness to balance the light acidity coming from the tomato and mild bitterness of the green bell pepper. This is optional. Unless you have high quality of rice wine, otherwise, just skip this step.
  5. Serve hot with a bowl of rice.

Baked Tonkastsu (Baked Pork Chop)烤猪排kǎo zhū pái

coverThese pork cutlets are juicy on the inside and are crispy on the outside. This is my favorite way to have pork chops. An important tip for oven-baked tonkatsu is that you can’t use thick pieces of pork loin.  It will take too long for the pork to cook through so keep in mind that the thickness of pork should be no more than 1/2 inch (1.2 cm).

Serves 4

  • 1 and half cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ½ inch-thick (1/2 inch = 1.2cm) boneless pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon                   kosher sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup                      all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 spring onion (minced) and a few cherry tomatoes (cut into half), for garnishing, optional

For Tonkatsu sauce

  • 1 tablespoon             ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon              Worcestershire sauce
  • A half tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon             sugarIMG_6422


  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400F°(200C°).
  2. Combine the panko and oil in a frying pan and toast over medium heat until golden brown. Transfer panko into a shallow dish and allow to cool.
  3. Tenderize the pork chops by bashing with a meat mallet or rolling pin – this is optional. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground black pepper on the pork chops.
  4. Dredge each pork piece in the flour to coat completely and pat off the excess flour. Then dip into the beaten egg and finally coat with the toasted panko. Press on the panko flakes to make sure they adhere to the pork. Place the pork on the prepared baking pan or even better if you have an oven-safe wire rack (as air goes through on the bottom so panko won’t get crushed). Bake until the pork is no longer pink inside, about 20 minutes.
  5. Cut Tonkatsu into 1-inch pieces (so you can eat with chopsticks or fork) by pressing the knife directly down instead of moving back and forth. This way the panko will not come off. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.
  6. To make Tonkatsu sauce, combine 1 tablespoon of ketchup, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a half tablespoon of oyster sauce and 1 teaspoon of sugar and whisk together. Adjust the sauce according to your liking. You can store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks.



Bulgogi (Korean Grilled Beef)韩式烤牛柳hán shì kǎo niú liǔ

coverThis flavorful grilled beef needs to make an appearance on your summertime dinner soon! Literally speaking, bulgogi means “fire meat” in Korean.  You can grill on a barbecue or on a stove-top griddle. The thin slices of meat cooks quickly, and it’s so tender. The meat with its delicious glaze is often enjoyed with an addictively tasty dipping sauce.

 Serve 4

650g (1.5 pounds)       sirloin steak, thinly sliced

Marinade sauce

  • 2                       spring onions, thinly sliced
  • ½                      medium-size yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1                       large Asia pear, core and chopped into cubes
  • 2                       garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons  dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon    sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons     lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon       freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons  caster sugar

Dipping sauce

  • 1 tablespoon               spring onions, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon             Korean chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon              caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon                rice vinegar
  • 1 to 1.5 tablespoon     light soy sauce (adjust the quantity to your taste and the sodium level of your soy sauce.)
  • 1 teaspoon                  sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon                  sesame seeds, toastedIMG_6500


  1. To make the marinade sauce, place the sliced spring onions and yellow onions in a large bowl. Core and chop the Asian pear, being careful to save the juices. Then add into the bowl. Combine rest of the marinade ingredients and mix well.
  2. Tenderize the steak by bashing with a meat mallet or rolling pin – this is optional. Then slice the sirloin steak into bite-size strips. The key here is to slice the meat as thin as possible. Throwing the steak in the freezer for 20-30 minutes helps with this process tremendously. Add the beef pieces to the marinade, stirring to coat them, leave to stand for 30 minutes to 2 hours to allow flavors to permeate and the meat to soften. Do not marinade it too long. The meat will become too salty.
  3. Heat a heavy griddle pan or frying pan. Add the beef slices and cook over medium heat. The meat cooks  very quickly, literally in seconds. Once the meat is cooked through, serve immediately with the dipping sauce. Garnish with the sliced green spring onion if necessary.