Chinese Walnut Cookies核桃酥hé táo sū

cover.jpgThese beautiful cookies are traditionally served to guests on the Chinese New Year. But they can certainly be a great healthy snack choice for children as well as wonderful sweet treats for adults all year around. It is so easy to make. So just grab a bag of walnuts, along with other the ingredients already in your pantry, and head into the kitchen!

Makes 15 pieces

Recipe adapted from Mykitchen101en

  • 150g all purpose flour中筋面粉
  • 1¼ tsp of baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp table salt

Ingredients (B):

  • 40g walnut
  • 40g salted butter, softened (room temperature)
  • 40g cooking oil
  • 100g caster sugar白糖
  • 1 large size egg, about 50g-60g. You will ONLY use 30g beaten egg. Save the other 20g beaten egg for egg wash (brush unbaked cookies)


  1. Preheat the oven to 170℃/340F°.
  2. Combine 150g all purpose flour, 1¼ tsp of baking powder and ⅛ tsp fine salt, sift the flour mixture twice to incorporate and distribute the salt and baking powder evenly. Place walnuts in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into small bits. Pan roast the walnut bits with a dry pan over medium heat. Stir constantly with a spatula until fragrant or lightly brown. This recipe uses small amount of walnut, it should take about 2-3 minutes of toasting, set aside to cool.
  3. Add walnut to a food processor/dry mill, mix with some flour mixture, about the same amount of flour from instruction 1. Adding flour will help keep the nut dry so that it can be ground finely without turning to paste. Combine walnut with the flour mixture, press any lumps with a spatula to break them up, mix until well blended.
  4. Place 40g softened salted butter in a deep mixing bowl. Turn your electric beater into the slowest mode and beat the butter. Gradually add the 100g sugar and keep beating. Then add 40g cooking oil and 30g eggs. Keeping beating and mixing. The mixture will become fluffy and light. The whole process takes about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Mix in dry ingredients, fold with a spatula until dough forms. Wrap the cookie dough with cling wrap and rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Cookie dough is about 400g, Divide into 15 portions with 26g each, arrange on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Roll each dough into ball-shaped and flatten slightly, press the cookies dough with your thumb to create a hollow center. Brush with egg wash.
  7. Place the baking try in the middle deck of the oven. Bake at 170℃/340F° for 24 minutes or till they become golden brown.
  8. Cool for about 20-30 minutes on a cooling rack for before enjoying.

Panang Curry Paste

coverPanang, also spelled Phanaeng or phanang, is a type of red Thai curry that is thick, salty and sweet, with a nutty peanut flavor. Loads of fresh, fragrant herbs and spices go into the paste. But don’t be put off by the long list of the ingredients. All of them require little to no preparation and are simply tossed in a food processor or chopper and easily blitzed. If you have trouble in finding Thai shrimp paste, you can use Japanese red miso which guarantees the authentic, rich and complex flavour the paste is meant to have.

Makes 1 cup

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 12 cloves, garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons, cilantro stems
  • 20-30 dried red chili depending on your tolerance level of spiciness, softened in warm water
  • 2 teaspoons, white peppercorns, dry-roasted
  • 1 big thumb of galangal
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only香茅, roughly cut
  • 2 shallots, peeled小红葱头
  • 2 teaspoons, kaffir lime or lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons of Thai shrimp paste, or use 2 tablespoons of red miso
  • 6-8 tablespoons of unsalted peanuts, dry-roasted
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup, waterIMG_5746


  1. Place all the ingredients into a food processor, blender or chopper. Add 1/3 to ½ cup of water to help the machine running. Blender till the mixture becomes paste. The paste does not have to be very smooth. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate until ready to use.




Chinese Style Borscht Soup罗宋汤luó sòng tāng

coverThis tomato-based “Chinese Borscht” soup was in fact introduced and adapted by Russian refugees who migrated to Shanghai. Hence the Chinese name: 罗宋汤, which derived from the pronunciation of “Russian Soup”. The “Chinese Borscht” doesn’t include beetroots though, as Shanghai doesn’t have the suitable environment to plant beets.

Serve 4-6

  • 300 to 400                      beef chunk or shank (any cuts for stew), cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 large yellow onion (about 250g), roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 medium size carrot, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 stick of celery, cut into cubes
  • 2 to 3 tomatoes (about 300g), roughly chopped
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 cups of unsalted beef stock (Use 3 cups of beef stock + 3 cups of water if you use concentrated beef stock)
  • 200g cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 to 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground black peppercorn
  • 1 small russet potato, peeled and cut into 7 to 8 large pieces
  • Ground black peppercorn and salt to tasteIMG_5725


  1. Rinse the beef chunks and pat them very dry (this helps brown the meat.). Cut them into small cubes. Place two tablespoons of cooking oil in a thick-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the beef cubes and saute till they are browned.Add into garlic and yellow onion cubes and cook over medium heat till the onions turns soft.   IMG_5726
  2. Add into carrot and celery cubes and cook for a few minutes. Add into chopped tomatoes. Clear a space in the center of the pot, and add 3 to 4 tablespoons of tomato paste, letting it fry lightly. Stir and cook until the tomatoes are slightly dissolved and the oil in the pot turns reddish––a few minutes over medium heat.IMG_5730.jpg
  3. Now add 6 cups of beef stock (or 3 cups of beef stock + 3 cups of water) and turn up the heat to high. Add into cabbage and bay leaves add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/3 teaspoon of ground black peppercorn. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 60 minutes.
  4. After 60 minutes of simmering, peel and cut the potatoes, and add them to the soup. Bring it to boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 30 more minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Salt to taste before serving.
  5. Soup and stews always taste better the next day, so don’t fret if you have leftovers. Freeze the soup for another meal, and you will be very happy that you did.


  1. As this is tomato-based soup, the quantity of the tomato paste varies depending on how flavourful of your fresh tomatoes are. If you are luck to find very good quality tomato, you can use less tomato paste.

Chicken Corn Soup 鸡茸玉米羹jī róng yù mǐ gēng

coverThis light and healthy dish uses all the ingredients you would have in your pantry.  The contrast of natural sweetness from the corn and savoriness from the chicken is so obvious and truly delightful. It can be served as soup all year around or can be a perfect main course for young children.

Serve 2-4

  •  5 cups   chicken stock (click here for homemade chicken stock)
  • 150g    any leftover chicken meat, minced or diced. If you do not have any leftover chicken, just use chicken tenderloin
  • 250g     sweet corn by cutting the kennels off the cobs, those store-bought frozen whole kennel corn works perfectly fine too
  • ½ teaspoon, salt
  • 2 tablespoons, corn flour or potato flour + 4 tablespoons, water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon  sesame oil
  • a pinch      white peppercorn powder白胡椒粉
  • 1 teaspoon    light soy sauce (optional)
  • Spring onions, sliced, for garnish (optional)IMG_6564


  1. Pour in the chicken stock, stir and cook to the boiling. Reduce to low heat, add in chicken tenderloin or cooked chicken and cook until done. Add sweet corn, continue simmering until everything is cooked through. Add salt and stir to combine. Mix corn flour with water to obtain batter and stir in. This mixture will help thicken the soup.
  2. This step needs a bit attention and technique. Turn to low-medium heat. Use a spoon to remix your water starch (as indicated in step 2) in the bowl so it’s well combined. Use your soup ladle or spatula and stir the simmering soup at the center of the pot in a steady and circular motion to make a whirlpool while slowly pouring the water starch in a thin stream. This prevents the corn starch from clumping. Stop when you are about ¾ of the way done with your water starch to check the consistency of the soup. It should be thick enough to coat your spatula or ladle.
  3. Now let’s add in the beaten eggs. Keep the soup simmering and use the same technique with the beaten eggs and again, make sure the motion is fast enough so it will result in the beautiful swirls or egg “flowers” 蛋花instead of end up egg clumps.
  4. Season the soup with sesame oil and white peppercorn powder.
  5. Ladle into a soup bowl and garnish with spring onion. Serve hot.

Three-ingredient Duck Confit法式油封鸭fǎ shì yóu fēng yā

coverThis recipe and method will yield restaurant-worthy duck leg confit as well as a supply of duck fat to keep on hand for future duck leg confit experiments. This duck leg confit recipe bucks tradition, calling for three ingredients and three hours of time. You don’t need a supply of duck fat; you don’t need to devote three days of your life.

Serve 2-4

  • 4  duck legs
  • 1 tablespoon   kosher salt
  • 450g                  unsalted butter


Bake the duck in fat in low temperature

  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
  2. Place duck legs in a 9×13-inch or other similarly sized baking pan — you want them to fit somewhat snuggly (more snug than what you see in the pictures is just fine). Sprinkle with the tablespoon of kosher salt. Cover legs with sticks of butter, breaking the sticks in half if necessary. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil — use a couple of sheets of foil if necessary. Be sure to wrap tightly.
  3. Bake for 2.5 hours. Remove pan from oven. Let cool briefly, then remove foil to cool completely. Once cool enough to handle, transfer legs to a plate. Label it duck fat. Store in fridge indefinitely. When you make confit again, use this fat in place of butter. (Note: You may need to pop your vat of duck fat in the microwave so that you can pour it out of its container. Alternatively, plop the container into hot water, or let it sit at room temperature for a few hours.)IMG_6343
  4. If possible, bring the cooked duck legs to room temperature an hour before cooking. If you feel like being fancy, use the heel of your knife to whack off the top half of the bone nub at the end of each duck leg. Also, trim off any fat extending up the bone. Note: this is purely for presentation purposes and truly is not necessary.

Right before you serve the meal,

5. When you are ready to serve the meal, heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. You should not need to add any fat to the pan — the duck legs should have enough fat clinging to their skin sides. Once hot, add duck legs skin side down. Let them crisp undisturbed for a minute or two. Shake the pan to make sure the skin isn’t sticking. If it is, use a spatula to gently separate the legs from the pan, being careful not to tear the skin. Continue crisping, repositioning the legs if necessary to ensure the skin is browning evenly, about 5 to 8 minutes total. Then flip the legs over and cooking for one minute skin side up. You don’t want to cook the legs too much on the flesh side or the meat will get too tough.




Homemade Bagels全麦面包圈quán mài miàn bāo quān

cover2Bagels seem really complicated to make at home, but secretly couldn’t be easier. Homemade bagels taste fresher and are cheaper. This easy homemade bagels recipe proves that you can make deliciously chewy bagels in your own kitchen with only a few basic ingredients and baking tools!

Yield: 8 bagels

  • 320g                 lukewarm water (between 100-110°F, 38-43°C)
  • 1 tablespoon     instant or active dry yeast*酵母
  • 432g                    bread flour, plus more for work surface and hands, bagels require a high protein flour. Largely using bread flour is a must.高筋面粉
  • 48g                      wholemeal flour全麦面粉
  • 1 tablespoon     brown sugar (or barley malt syrup)*红糖
  • 1 teaspoon       salt
  • coating the bowl: 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • egg wash: 1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water

For Boiling

  • 2 quarts         water
  • 60g                 honey (or barley malt syrup)IMG_6401.jpg


Prepare the Dough

  1. Whisk the lukewarm water and yeast together in a big mixing bowl Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add into the bowl the bread flour and whole meal flour, brown sugar, and salt. Mix well. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Lightly grease the mixing bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel.  Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 60-90 minutes or until double in size.
  4. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Shape the Bagels 

  1. When the dough is ready, punch it down to release any air bubbles. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. (Just eyeball it– doesn’t need to be perfect!) Shape each piece into a ball.
  2. Press your index finger through the center of each ball to make a hole about 1.5 – 2 inches in diameter. Loosely cover the shaped bagels with kitchen towel and rest for 15-20 minutes as you prepare the water bath.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).

Water Bath

8. Fill a large, wide pot with 2 quarts of water. Whisk in the honey. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high. Drop bagels in, 2-4 at a time, making sure they have enough room to float around. Cook the bagels for 1 minute on each side.


9. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash on top and around the sides of each bagel. Place 4 bagels onto each lined baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. You want the bagels to be a dark golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow bagels to cool on the baking sheets for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

10. Slice, toast, top, whatever you want! Cover leftover bagels tightly and store at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


  1. Overnight Make Ahead Instructions:Prepare the dough through step 4, but allow the dough to rise overnight in the refrigerator. The slow rise gives the bagels wonderful flavor! In the morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let the dough rise for 45 minutes at room temperature. Continue with step 5. I don’t recommend shaping the bagels the night before as they may puff up too much overnight.
  2. Bagel Varieties: Note that the toppings are added after the egg wash in step 9. You can use this bagel recipe to make 100% bread-flour bagels or adding more wholemeal flour by replacing 10% to up to 20%.


Thai-style Baby Eggplant Salad泰式茄子沙拉tài shì qié zǐ shā lā

cover.JPGWhen thinly-skinned Asia eggplants are difficult to come by, I turn to their American cousin to make this simple yet irresistible salad. It makes a fine appetizer, or a perfect little side salad when you’re serving Asia food. Sometimes, at lunch, I’ll just eat the eggplant over rice.

Serves 2-4,

1 ½ pound           (650g)              Baby Eggplants or long, thin Asian eggplants


  • 3 tablespoons                    fish sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoons                brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons                    Lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 big or 2 small   shallots, thinly sliced
  • A few Thai Bird Chili, finely sliced
  • A few cilantro or mint leaves for garnishIMG_5977.jpg


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F (or 200°C)
  2. Cut the eggplant into half, prick the eggplants all over with a fork and place them in a baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes till the flesh becomes soft and the skin is charred.IMG_5978.jpg
  3. In the meantime, let’s prepare the dressing. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except cilantro.
  4. Carefully peel the skin from the eggplant (this can be fussy, and you want to get the skin off.) Pull the eggplant into strips and lay them in a shallow bowl.IMG_5981.jpg
  5. Pour the dressing over the eggplant and marinate in the fridge for a few hours. When ready to serve, garnish with a few leaves of chopped cilantro or mint.