Archive for September, 2011

September 19, 2011

Sweet & Sour Pork (糖醋排骨)

by tina

My bro calls this my specialty :D … But in reality, it’s just another one of the secret family recipes passed down from my awesome madre of course <3

I’m not sure why it’s called sweet and sour pork when it’s actually more salty and sour. shrugs. “Sweet and sour” does roll off the tongue a lot better though.


  • 2 lbs pork ribs
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 1/4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon water

There are 2 parts to making this.

1) Preparing the ribs. Like the Pork Ribs Soup with Wakame & Carrots, you’d have to first boil the pork ribs:

In a large pot, boil about 800 ml of water.  After it comes to a boil, place the strips of ribs in. Continue boiling until you see a little bit of blood coming out of the bones (about 3-5 minutes). Turn the temperature off and bring the pot over to the sink.  Drain the hot water immediately and then run cold water through the pot. Wash the pork, especially where the bone is to rid of any bone shards.  Then cut the ribs into small pieces keeping the bone in the center of each piece.

In a small bowl, mix the sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce together.

2) Cooking the ribs. Use a large pan and turn the temperature to high. Once the pan is hot, place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in. Once the oil is hot, place the garlic in. Stir. When the garlic is becoming very light brown, add the ribs in. Stir and mix the ribs around to evenly distribute the oil and garlic. After about 2 minutes, add the sauce mixture in. It should sizzle a little and then die down. Mix the ribs around in the sauce for about 3 minutes. Turn temperature down to medium. Place the lid on the pan.  Check it in about 2 minutes, and try to flip each ribs to the other side (where it didn’t touch the sauce). Place the lid back on and repeat a couple more times–do this for about 10-14 mins or when you see that the sauce has mostly been soaked up. Turn the temperature down to low.

The ribs should have progressively become darker, which means that they’re slowly becoming more marinated as they’re being cooked.

Now make the corn starch and water mixture in a bowl. Mix to dissolve all the starch in the water and add into the pan. Stir the ribs ASAP, and the excess sauce should stick onto the ribs. Turn the temperature back to medium. Stir and make sure the starch is cooked. (For some reason if you put the starch mixture in initially at medium/high heat, it becomes clumpy).

Sometimes I get lazy and decide not to do the last step of adding the corn starch mixture in. It doesn’t make too much of a difference.. :]

September 18, 2011

Daikon Carrot Chicken Soup

by tina

One of a couple chicken soup variations that I make. Sometimes this would be all I make for dinner (along with rice on the side) since I get my veggies and meats all in one pot!


  • 5 cups water
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into small pieces (approx. 3 lbs)
  • 8 ginger slices, thin
  • 1 daikon, medium sized
  • 1 carrot
  • salt

(yields about 6 servings)

When I’m at the store buying the whole chicken, I immediately ask them to cut it into small pieces for me. It saves me the trouble of cutting it up myself when I get home. So you have your chicken already cut and now all you need to do is cut the ginger, cut the daikon into smaller chunks, and cut the carrot into slices.

In a large pot, place the water and ginger in and turn the temperature to high. Once it reaches a boil, place the chicken in. Put the lid on for about 3 mins.  The fats should be bubbling and forming on the surface of the soup and you’d want to scoop that out. I like a little fat in my soup for the flavor, so I don’t scoop all of it out completely. Let the soup boil for about 3 more mins.

Add the daikon and carrot in the soup and try to soak most of it in the soup. Add a few dashes of salt and use the ladle to mix and spread the salt in the soup. (For the salt, start out with a small amount and if it isn’t salty enough after the soup is cooked, you can always add a little more. I like to put less salt in this soup because it brings out the natural flavors better.) Place the lid back on. Wait for it to reach a boil (about 5 mins) and then turn the temperature down to medium low. It should take about another 15 mins for the daikon and carrots to cook.



If you find that the chicken soup is too concentrated, you can add more water in and bring it to a boil.

simple and yums :)

September 3, 2011

Wonton Soup (餛飩湯)

by tina

*(check out my updated version: Wonton Soup – Take 2 (Pork and Green Onion))*

Growing up, my mother had always called wontons in Chinese, 餛飩 (hun tun). It wasn’t until I payed a visit to Hualien, Taiwan, a few years ago, that I found out all the wonton restaurants in this city calls wontons, 扁食 (bian shi). Even if you don’t know Chinese, you can totally tell that those words are quite different by the English spelling. Confusing… indeed. I got curious so I did some research, and many websites say that Taiwanese cuisine is mainly influenced by both the aboriginal people and of Fujian Province in China. Wontons in Fujian are called 扁食, so I suppose that name was carried over to Taiwan. My mother is of Fujian descent and didn’t even know about this. Apparently, 餛飩 is still more widely used in Taiwan though.


Anyway, I love this stuff as I love potstickers–must be the Fujian descent in me. :)

So this was the first time that I made wontons from scratch, on my own at least, and I’ve got to say there is still a lot of room for improvement to perfect this.  They still turned out well, but something seems to be missing. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d be glad to hear it!


For Filling:

  • 0.75 lb ground pork
  • 8 shrimps
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons potato starch (太白粉)
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 pack thin wonton wraps

(yields approx. 93  wontons)

For Soup: 

  • water
  • shallot, sliced, fried (紅蔥頭)
  • cilantro/coriander, chopped

1) Make the filling. Ground up the ground pork even more, ground up the shrimp, and finely chop the cilantro. In a mixing bowl, mix the pork and shrimp. Always mix in the same direction. Add a little of the water in, mix. Repeat until water fully added. Add the potato starch, mix. Add the rice wine, salt, soy sauce, fish sauce, white pepper, and sesame oil. Mix many times to evenly distribute the ingredients. Add the cilantro. Mix. The more you mix, the more tender your filling should be.

2) Wrapping. Take a wonton wrap in your hand and spread on a very thin layer of the filling. Place the chopticks in the center of the wrap and gently fold over in half. Now take the whole wrap and as you slide the chopstick out, scrunch the wrap tightly together and there is your wonton! (The pictures below may help you illustrate this process better)

*The wonton wrap may “blow up” and the top when you’re scrunching these tightly together.  But after practicing a couple of times, you’ll get the hang of it and it should happen less. These do need to be scrunched together tightly or else the filling will not stay in the wrap after you cook it. 

A platter full of them:

Up close:

3) Cooking. Boil them in water for about 8-12 mins, depending on how many you boil at once. Garnish with shallot (紅蔥頭) and cilantro/coriander.


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September 2, 2011

Baked Soy Sauce Chicken Wings

by tina

A favorite back in my college days, this was the fastest way of making chicken, besides making chicken soup. This is basically the soy sauce version of the baked lemon pepper chicken wings, but much faster to prepare.


  • 6-10 whole chicken wings (wings and drummettes intact)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • black pepper

You can marinate this 30 mins-1 hr before you want to bake it. Allow 30 mins for total bake time. If you know that you’ll be cooking this for dinner, make sure you prepare this first before you start anything else! 

*I usually just eye ball these measurements… so don’t worry about following the recipe super accurately. The chicken can only soak up so much of the marinade within the 30 mins-1hr anyway.

1) Prepare Marinade: Place the garlic, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil in a tupperware. Sprinkle some black pepper in as well (amount depending on you). I personally like it more peppery, so I add a good amount. Mix the marinade.

2) Prepare Chicken: Cut and separate all the wings and the drummettes. Place them in the tupperware mix around a little to have them soak in the marinade. Leave it for 30 mins (while you prepare other things in the kitchen).

3) Bake: Preheat oven to 350F. On a baking pan, put foil over it and place the wings in and all of the marinade in. Put the pan on the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 25 mins on 350F. Then turn the temperature to 400F for another 5 mins.

If you’d like to marinate the chicken wings the night before instead, then I would put a little less soy sauce.

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