Tips, Tricks & Substitutes


Here are a few helpful tips and tricks I always find myself using. I’ll keep updating this page as I find more useful tips for cooking!

Substitutions

Brown Sugar

Light brown sugar: 1 Tbsp molasses + 1 cup white sugar

Dark brown sugar: 2 Tbsps molasses + 1 cup white sugar

Buttermilk

1 cup milk (low fat or whole) + 1 Tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar

Let the mixture sit for 5-10 mins at room temp until it curdles.

Cake Flour

1 cup minus 2 Tbsps all purpose flour + 2 Tbsps cornstarch

Cooking Ratios

Jasmine Rice

1 cup rice + 1 1/2 cups water (or to the first joint of your finger).

Add more as needed and stir often when water level is getting low.

Stovetop Popcorn

1/3 cup popcorn kernels + 3 Tbsps oil

Cheesy Kimchi Pancake


Date Published: Sept 6th, 2020 | Last Updated: Sept 6th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: asian, snacks, appetizer, easy
Serves: 2 large pancakes | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Jump to recipe |

Yum. I love a good kimchi pancake, especially when there’s cheese! If you’re unfamiliar, kimchi is pickled cabbage and its a staple in Korean food. I’ll admit, I didn’t like kimchi initially, but over the years it grew on me. I still don’t love it enough to have cravings or want to eat mouthfuls of it on its own, but I LOVE it in a kimchi pancake. The batter ingredients tones down the bold flavour of the kimchi and the cheese mellows it out.

These pancakes are very quick and easy to make. They’re slightly crispy on the edges and soft on the inside laced with cheese. I’ve based the original recipe from My Korean Kitchen but I’ve put a twist on it and adapted it with some extra add-ins (read: cheese). The dipping sauce isn’t necessary, but it does give the pancake some extra flavour. You can also serve it up with some curry mayo or sriracha mayo.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Batter:
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/4 cups water
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 spring onion, chopped
    • 1 cup (~220g) Kimchi, roughly chopped
    • 1/2 Tbsp Kimchi liquid
    • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • Dipping sauce:
    • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 Tbsp water
    • 1 tsp rice vinegar
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
  • Neutral oil for cooking

Directions:

Make the batter: In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt and water. Then add in the egg, spring onion, kimchi, kimchi liquid and cheese. Refrigerate to firm up the batter until ready to use.

Make the dipping sauce: Combine all the dipping sauce ingredients into a bowl and mix: soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and sesame seeds. Set aside.

Cook the pancakes: Heat a skillet or wide pan on MEDIUM heat. Add a drizzle of oil and swirl the pan around until it coats the bottom well. Pour half of the batter into the centre of the heated pan and swirl gently to spread out the mixture for even thickness. Cook until browned on both sides. Use your spatula to press down the pancake to make it crispy. When finished, remove from heat onto a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Slice into small pieces to serve. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Cheesy Kimchi Pancake

Date Published: Sept 6th, 2020 | Last Updated: Sept 6th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: asian, snacks, appetizer, easy
Serves: 2 large pancakes | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • Batter:
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/4 cups water
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 spring onion, chopped
    • 1 cup (~220g) Kimchi, roughly chopped
    • 1/2 Tbsp Kimchi liquid
    • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • Dipping sauce:
    • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 Tbsp water
    • 1 tsp rice vinegar
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
  • Neutral oil for cooking

Directions:

  1. Make the batter: In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt and water. Then add in the egg, spring onion, kimchi, kimchi liquid and cheese. Refrigerate to firm up the batter until ready to use.
  2. Make the dipping sauce: Combine all the dipping sauce ingredients into a bowl and mix: soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and sesame seeds. Set aside.
  3. Cook the pancakes: Heat a skillet or wide pan on MEDIUM heat. Add a drizzle of oil and swirl the pan around until it coats the bottom well. Pour half of the batter into the centre of the heated pan and swirl gently to spread out the mixture for even thickness. Cook until browned on both sides. Use your spatula to press down the pancake to make it crispy. When finished, remove from heat onto a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  4. Slice into small pieces to serve. Enjoy!

Flavour Bomb Beef


Date Published: August 29th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 29th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: mains, appetizer, Asian, sides
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 45 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

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At the start of the pandemic Toby and I started religiously watching Masterchef AU 2020. Neither of us had watched Masterchef before and neither of us watch much reality television. Perhaps it was the constant ads or perhaps it was the extra time we had on our hands from the pandemic, we got sucked in. At 7:30pm, 5 days a week, we were glued to the tv. We had a few favourite contestants on this show and Kanh is one of them. His dishes always looked so good with so much flavour on the show that I couldn’t wait to get his cookbook when it came out. His book definitely didn’t disappoint (although it’s a bit of a pain to navigate through the ebook version) and as expected, it’s full of amazing recipes with hilarious personal notes. This recipe is straight from Kanh Ong’s cookbook: A Gay Guy’s Guide to Life Love Food with a few tweaks in the methods and reorganizing of the ingredients. He calls it “Shaking Beef” in his book in reference to the shaking of the pan when you make it. We’ve made at least half a dozen dishes from his book but I think this may be our favourite!

This dish is a flavour BOMB. The beef tenderloin is marinated in a sweet dark sauce then seared on a hot pan for a caramelized outside and soft melt-in-your-mouth rare beef on the inside. The bold salty flavours of the beef is best paired with the pickled red onions and dipping sauce (also included in this recipe). I was skeptical at first, but the pickled red onions really makes a huge difference and brings the beef to the next level. This dish got rave reviews with our family and there were no empty plates!

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Marinade:
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 3 Tbsps oyster sauce
    • 2 Tbsps dark soy sauce
    • 1 Tbsp caster sugar
    • Pinch of salt & pepper
  • 600g beef tenderloin/eye fillet, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and divided
  • 1 red capsicum/red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 1 large tomato
  • Handful of leafy greens (like watercress or lettuce) – optional
  • Pickled Red Onion:
    • 1 red onion, finely sliced
    • 2 Tbsps caster sugar
    • 1/3 cup (80ml) white vinegar
  • Dipping Sauce:
    • 2 tsps sea salt
    • 2 tsps freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 Tbsps lemon juice

Directions:

Marinate the beef: Combine the marinade ingredients into a large bowl (garlic, oil, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, pinch of salt and pepper). Mix and marinate the beef pieces for at least 30mins or ideally overnight.

Make the Pickled Red Onion: Mix the red onion, sugar and white vinegar in a glass or ceramic bowl. Set aside.

Make the Dipping Sauce: Add the salt, black pepper and lemon juice together in a bowl. Set aside.

Cook the beef: You want to cook the beef in two batches to not crowd the pan. Heat a wok or skillet (ideally use a wok because this dish will splatter!) on HIGH heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add in 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds until lightly brown then add in half the amount of marinated beef to the pan and toss for 2-3 minutes until seared. In the last 15 seconds, add in half of the capsicum pieces and sauté. Remove from the pan and set aside. Repeat with the second half of the garlic, beef, and capsicum.

We’re aiming for med-rare with these beef pieces. Remove it from the pan when the outside is just cooked and still soft on the inside.

Serving: Drain the pickled red onion mixture and discard the liquid. Serve the beef with some tomato slices, pickled red onion, dipping sauce, and some greens (like watercress or lettuce) for freshness. Done!

Summarized Recipe:

Flavour Bomb Beef

Date Published: August 29th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 29th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: mains, appetizer, Asian, sides
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 45 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • Marinade:
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 3 Tbsps oyster sauce
    • 2 Tbsps dark soy sauce
    • 1 Tbsp caster sugar
    • Pinch of salt & pepper
  • 600g beef tenderloin/eye fillet, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and divided
  • 1 red capsicum/red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 1 large tomato
  • Handful of leafy greens (like watercress or lettuce) – optional
  • Pickled Red Onion:
    • 1 red onion, finely sliced
    • 2 Tbsps caster sugar
    • 1/3 cup (80ml) white vinegar
  • Dipping Sauce:
    • 2 tsps sea salt
    • 2 tsps freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 Tbsps lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Marinate the beef: Combine the marinade ingredients into a large bowl (garlic, oil, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, pinch of salt and pepper). Mix and marinate the beef pieces for at least 30mins or ideally overnight.
  2. Make the Pickled Red Onion: Mix the red onion, sugar and white vinegar in a glass or ceramic bowl. Set aside.
  3. Make the Dipping Sauce: Add the salt, black pepper and lemon juice together in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Cook the beef: You want to cook the beef in two batches to not crowd the pan. Heat a wok or skillet (ideally use a wok because this dish will splatter!) on HIGH heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add in 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds until lightly brown then add in half the amount of marinated beef to the pan and toss for 2-3 minutes until seared. In the last 15 seconds, add in half of the capsicum pieces and sauté. Remove from the pan and set aside. Repeat with the second half of the garlic, beef, and capsicum.
    • We’re aiming for med-rare with these beef pieces. Remove it from the pan when the outside is just cooked and still soft on the inside.
  5. Serving: Drain the pickled red onion mixture and discard the liquid. Serve the beef with some tomato slices, pickled red onion, dipping sauce, and some greens (like watercress or lettuce) for freshness. Done!

Chicken Lychee Thai Red Curry


Date Published: August 28th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 28th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: mains, Asian, easy
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

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This recipe was inspired by my favourite roast duck red curry from Nakorn Siam, a Thai restaurant in Balwyn where we used to live. Funny enough we’ve never actually eaten in the restaurant before. I was craving Thai food one day afterwork and Toby and I were too tired to cook or pick up food after long shifts so we decided to get delivery. I can never pass up a good Thai curry and even harder to ignore when there’s roast duck and lychee involved! Within half an hour our food had arrived and the aroma of the duck curry was amaaaaazing. I never would’ve thought to put lychee in a curry (or anything, really!) but it was SO GOOD. The creamy coconut milk cooked in the aromatic and slightly spicy red curry paste was everything I expected, but the sweetness from the juicy lychees was next level. I kept craving this dish and probably ordered it 4 more times within the month. We sadly never got to dine in at the restaurant because that was about the time COVID hit Melbourne but they were always so friendly when we would pick up our food. If you’re ever in the Balwyn area, I highly recommend you get the roast duck red curry!

This recipe is an homage to my beloved roast duck curry, minus the duck because I’m not quite that adventurous yet to attempt a roast duck, so I’ve used chicken. I’ve used my homemade Thai red curry paste for this recipe because in my opinion you just can’t beat fresh curry paste with fresh ingredients. This homemade paste isn’t as red as the canned versions so your curry won’t turn out very red but I promise it will be every bit as flavourful! This recipe is easily customizable and you can put in or take out whatever vegetables you like, but you should definitely keep the lychee in or substitute it for pineapple if you can’t get any lychee. I also love the crunch of the bamboo shoots in this curry so keep that in too 😜.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 400g chicken thighs, diced
  • 1/4 cup homemade Thai red curry paste
  • 1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • Veg:
    • Handful of snow peas, washed
    • 1 red bell pepper/capsicum, diced or sliced
    • 1 can (560g) bamboo shoots, drained
    • 1 can (567g) lychees, drained and roughly chopped
    • + anything else you like!
  • 3 Tbsps fish sauce (or more to taste)

Directions:

In a non-stick skillet or wok on MED-HIGH heat, add a tablespoon of oil and sauté the garlic for a minute until fragrant.

Add in the chicken and cook until the outside becomes white/light brown. Don’t worry about fully cooking the chicken, it will finish cooking in the curry later. We just want them seared on the outside for now to lock in the juices. Remove from pan and set aside.

Clean your pan if there are chicken bits leftover, otherwise lower the heat to MED and add half a tablespoon of oil (if there is a lot of oil leftover from the chicken, skip the oil). Add the red curry paste and sauté the paste until aromatic and a little dry (~2-3 mins).

Next, add in the chicken stock and coconut milk and let it come to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes uncovered then add in peas, capsicum, bamboo shoots, and chicken pieces and cook covered for another 5 mins until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are done.

Add fish sauce to the pot and mix. Taste and adjust flavours as needed. Turn off heat and stir in the lychees. Done!! Serve with a side of jasmine rice.

Summarized Recipe:

Chicken Lychee Thai Red Curry

Date Published: August 28th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 28th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: mains, Asian, easy
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 400g chicken thighs, diced
  • 1/4 cup homemade Thai red curry paste
  • 1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • Veg:
    • Handful of snow peas, washed
    • 1 red bell pepper/capsicum, diced or sliced
    • 1 can (560g) bamboo shoots, drained
    • 1 can (567g) lychees, drained and roughly chopped
    • + anything else you like!
  • 3 Tbsps fish sauce (or more to taste)

Directions:

  1. In a non-stick skillet or wok on MED-HIGH heat, add a tablespoon of oil and sauté the garlic for a minute until fragrant. Add in the chicken and cook until the outside becomes white/light brown. Don’t worry about fully cooking the chicken, it will finish cooking in the curry later. We just want them seared on the outside for now to lock in the juices. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Clean your pan if there are chicken bits leftover, otherwise lower the heat to MED and add half a tablespoon of oil (if there is a lot of oil leftover from the chicken, skip the oil). Add the red curry paste and sauté the paste until aromatic and a little dry (~2-3 mins).
  3. Next, add in the chicken stock and coconut milk and let it come to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes uncovered then add in peas, capsicum, bamboo shoots, and chicken pieces and cook covered for another 5 mins until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are done.
  4. Add fish sauce to the pot and mix. Taste and adjust flavours as needed. Turn off heat and stir in the lychees. Done!! Serve with a side of jasmine rice.

Radish/Turnip Cake 蘿蔔糕 (Luo Buo Gao/Lo Bak Go)


Date Published: August 28th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 28th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: Asian, sides, snacks
Serves: 1 large plate | Prep time: 1 hr | Cook time: 1 hr

Jump to recipe |

Om nom nom I love radish cake. I know it originally in Mandarin as ‘luo buo gao’ which actually directly translates to ‘carrot cake’ because the common Mandarin name for a daikon radish (or Chinese turnip) is a ‘white carrot’ which it kind of looks like – don’t you think? You may see it more commonly called ‘lo bak go’ in dim sum restaurants, which is the Cantonese name. Whatever name you call it, it’s still delicious. I grew up with it in Taiwan as a common breakfast item or side dish. The best is when it’s fried until it’s lightly crispy then served with some garlic soy sauce paste and a garlic chilli hot sauce. It’s also really good when stir-fried in XO sauce (I’m literally salivating writing this).

I always thought luo buo gao was this impossibly complicated dish and never even thought about attempting to make it until I came upon the Woks of Life recipe. After a quick read through, it was definitely doable, but it does take a little effort and time – but hey, in pandemic times all I’ve got is extra time. Now’s the time to experiment! The first time I made this the texture was perfect and I was surprised how well it turned out. The flavours were spot-on, but I wanted more of it so I’ve tweaked the recipe to give it more of a boost so you can enjoy it with or without sauce.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp
  • 5 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 daikon radish (~600g)
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chicken powder
  • 1 lap cheong (Chinese sausage), diced
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups (130g) rice flour
  • 1 Tbsp (8g) cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper

Directions:

Soak the dried shrimp and shiitake mushrooms in a few cups of warm water until softened (~10-15mins).

While the shrimp and mushrooms soak, rinse and grate the daikon radish on the largest grater hole.

Toby’s mom has the sumo grater (see photo above) which is an as-seen-on-tv product that actually surprisingly works REALLY well at grating things super quickly and easily. I don’t trust many TV products, but I’d definitely get one of these when we move out.

Add the grated radish to a wok or large pan with 1 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon chicken powder and simmer until the radish is cooked and soft (~10-15mins). Stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn. Once the radish is cooked, scoop it out into a large bowl and measure out the remaining leftover liquid. You should have about 1 cup left – if not, add more water until you get 1 cup. Add this liquid to the radish bowl and set aside.

While the radish cooks, chop up the soaked shrimp, mushrooms, sausage and spring onion (make sure you keep an eye on the radish and keep stirring every few minutes). Make sure you remove the tough stem of the mushrooms.

Clean your pan from the radish and over MEDIUM heat, add a few tablespoons of oil and sauté the shrimp, mushrooms, and sausage for 5 minutes and fragrant. Stir in the oyster sauce and spring onions then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Add rice flour, cornstarch, salt, sugar and white pepper to the cooked radish bowl. Mix until everything is incorporated, then mix in the sautéed shrimp/mushroom/spring onion mixture. Set this batter aside for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, prepare your steamer and grease a heat-proof pan (make sure it fits in your steamer and ideally square shaped). I didn’t have a square pan in the house so I used a round cake tin instead. Stir the batter one more time and pour it into the greased pan. Steam over MED-HIGH heat for about 1 hour until your batter resembles the radish cake texture. The radish cake is pretty forgiving when it comes to cooking times so you don’t need to worry too much about over-cooking – just don’t go overboard and cook it for three hours 😜!

Remove from the steamer and let it cool for about 30mins. If you’re making this ahead of time you can leave it in the fridge overnight and fry them when you’re ready.

Once the radish cake has cooled, slice it into squares and you’re ready to fry! Heat a non-stick skillet over MEDIUM heat and add a few tablespoons of oil. Fry the radish squares until golden brown and lightly crispy on both sides (~3-5 mins per side). Done!

Dust a little ground white pepper over the squares before serving with a side of soy sauce paste, garlic chilli paste/sriracha, or oyster sauce. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Radish/Turnip Cake 蘿蔔糕 (Luo Buo Gao/Lo Bak Go)

Date Published: August 28th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 28th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: Asian, sides, snacks
Serves: 1 large plate | Prep time: 1 hr | Cook time: 1 hr

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp
  • 5 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 daikon radish (~600g)
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • 1 lap cheong (Chinese sausage), diced
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups (130g) rice flour
  • 1 Tbsp (8g) cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper

Directions:

  1. Soak the dried shrimp and shiitake mushrooms in a few cups of warm water until softened (~10-15mins).
  2. While the shrimp and mushrooms soak, rinse and grate the daikon radish on the largest grater hole.
  3. Add the grated radish to a wok or large pan with 1 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon chicken powder and simmer until the radish is cooked and soft (~10-15mins). Stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn. Once the radish is cooked, scoop it out into a large bowl and measure out the remaining leftover liquid. You should have about 1 cup left – if not, add more water until you get 1 cup. Add this liquid to the radish bowl and set aside.
  4. While the radish cooks, chop up the soaked shrimp, mushrooms, sausage and spring onion (make sure you keep an eye on the radish and keep stirring every few minutes). Make sure you remove the tough stem of the mushrooms.
  5. Clean your pan from the radish and over MEDIUM heat, add a few tablespoons of oil and sauté the shrimp, mushrooms, and sausage for 5 minutes and fragrant. Stir in the oyster sauce and spring onions then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  6. Add rice flour, cornstarch, salt, sugar and white pepper to the cooked radish bowl. Mix until everything is incorporated, then mix in the sautéed shrimp/mushroom/spring onion mixture. Set this batter aside for 15 minutes.
  7. After 15 minutes, prepare your steamer and grease a heat-proof pan (make sure it fits in your steamer and ideally square shaped). Stir the batter one more time and pour it into the greased pan. Steam over MED-HIGH heat for about 1 hour until your batter resembles the radish cake texture.
  8. Remove from the steamer and let it cool for about 30mins.
    • If you’re making this ahead of time you can leave it in the fridge overnight and fry them when you’re ready.
  9. Once the radish cake has cooled, slice it into squares and you’re ready to fry! Heat a non-stick skillet over MEDIUM heat and add a few tablespoons of oil. Fry the radish squares until golden brown and lightly crispy on both sides (~3-5 mins per side). Done!
  10. Dust a little ground white pepper over the squares before serving with a side of soy sauce paste, garlic chilli paste/sriracha, or oyster sauce. Enjoy!

Taiwanese Breakfast Burger


Date Published: August 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: mains, Taiwanese, Asian
Serves: 6 patties (or 4 large ones) | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins per patty

Jump to recipe |
Toby enjoying a Taiwanese breakfast burger feat. the triangle sandwich!

Taiwanese people love breakfast food. When I say breakfast food, I don’t mean scrambled eggs, pancakes or eggs benedict. I mean Taiwanese breakfast food that can include dan bing (cheese crepes), oil sticks, white triangle sandwiches with pork floss, noodles and even breakfast burgers (yes, burgers for breakfast!) – all often served with a side of hot or cold soya bean milk or milk tea (always my preference). I’ll be honest and admit that I don’t often order burgers for breakfast in Taiwan because A) I always tend to sleep in when I can and miss breakfast and B) it’s just way too much food for me early in the morning. When Toby visited Taiwan for the first time in 2019, he saw someone order one and it looked so delicious that he wanted to try it himself. This burger BLEW. HIS. MIND. It was his new favourite breakfast item, even surpassing my personal favourite cheese dan bing. I forgot all about this burger until recently when I came upon on Lady&Pups blog while looking for some recipe inspo for this week’s menu. Despite her rant on Taiwan, she makes a mean breakfast burger, which is where this recipe originally came from. I’ve tweaked it a little and simplified the directions with some added personal notes on my experience with this recipe.

What makes Taiwanese breakfast burgers different from regular burgers? The construction of the burger is pretty similar: burger bun, lettuce, tomato, ketchup…etc., but the difference is all in the burger patty. These patties are packed with flavour and often made with ground pork or beef with carrots, onion and soy sauce. It kind of reminds me of the filling of a dumpling but with more intensity and grilled. It’s also commonly topped up with sweet mayonnaise and a fried egg. This recipe comes together pretty easy and quickly. Just chop, mix, form the patties and you’re good to start grilling! Stack the burger however you like and add or takeaway anything you fancy.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Burger patty:
    • 500g ground pork or beef
    • 1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped or grated
    • 1/2 cup onion, finely minced
    • 2 1/2 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
    • 2 tsps cornstarch
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
    • 1/4 tsp five spice powder
  • Oil and butter for frying
  • Condiments:
  • To assemble:
    • Large eggs (1 per burger)
    • Hamburger buns
    • Lettuce
    • Cucumber
    • Thinly sliced tomato
    • + whatever else you prefer

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients for the burger patties in a bowl and mix until combined.

Divide the meat mixture into 6 equal balls (or 4 for larger patties) and flatten them to create patties. Use your thumb and make an impression in the middle of each patty (this helps the patty keep a flat shape and stops it from puffing up in the middle).

Heat a skillet on MEDIUM heat (or a grill) and add in a couple of teaspoons of oil and a small teaspoonful of butter. When the oil and butter starts sizzling, lower your patties into the pan and cook until both sides are browned (~3-5 mins on each side).

Remove the finished patties from the pan and use the leftover oil to fry the eggs.

Assemble the burger: bottom bun + lettuce + cucumber slices + beef patty + fried egg + dusting of white pepper + ketchup + sweet mayonnaise (spread on the top bun) + top bun. Feel free to take away or add more ingredients to your liking! Done!

Summarized Recipe:

Taiwanese Breakfast Burger

Date Published: August 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: mains, Taiwanese, Asian
Serves: 6 patties (or 4 large ones) | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins per patty

Ingredients:

  • Burger patty:
    • 500g ground pork or beef
    • 1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped or grated
    • 1/2 cup onion, finely minced
    • 2 1/2 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
    • 2 tsps cornstarch
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
    • 1/4 tsp five spice powder
  • Oil and butter for frying
  • Condiments:
  • To assemble:
    • Large eggs (1 per burger)
    • Hamburger buns
    • Lettuce
    • Cucumber
    • Thinly sliced tomato
    • + whatever else you prefer

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the burger patties in a bowl and mix until combined.
  2. Divide the meat mixture into 6 equal balls (or 4 for larger patties) and flatten them to create patties. Use your thumb and make an impression in the middle of each patty (this helps the patty keep a flat shape and stops it from puffing up in the middle).
  3. Heat a skillet on MEDIUM heat (or a grill) and add in a couple of teaspoons of oil and a small teaspoonful of butter. When the oil and butter starts sizzling, lower your patties into the pan and cook until both sides are browned (~3-5 mins on each side).
  4. Remove the finished patties from the pan and use the leftover oil to fry the eggs.
  5. Assemble the burger: bottom bun + lettuce + cucumber slices + beef patty + fried egg + dusting of white pepper + ketchup + sweet mayonnaise (spread on the top bun) + top bun. Feel free to take away or add more ingredients to your liking! Done!

Vietnamese Spring Rolls


Date Published: August 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: appetizers, snacks, Asian
Serves: 12 spring rolls | Prep time: 20 mins mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Jump to recipe |

I don’t love deep-frying things at home, but I sure do love spring rolls, especially with a good dipping sauce or tossed in a bùn bowl (Vietnamese vermicelli salad) with a good nuoc mam. Mmmmmm… This spring rolls recipe is adapted from Sarah Tiong’s cookbook: Sweet, Savoury, Spicy – you might’ve seen me mention her book before in a couple other posts. Sarah was my favourite Masterchef AU 2020 contestant and I encourage you to check out her book – it’s full of amazing recipes. Girl’s got a talent for packing in big bold flavours!

The original recipe called for rice paper wrappers which creates a slightly crispy but also chewier texture compared to the regular spring roll wrappers that are much crispier. I couldn’t decide which I liked better, so I included both methods in this recipe so you can choose for yourself 😜. Toby prefers the original spring roll wrappers but I’m still torn.

These spring rolls call for the classic pork and prawn combo, but feel free to change it up to a different protein of your choice or add in some rice noodles or black fungus to bulk it up. This recipe seems complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy. Just chop and mix everything up in a bowl and you’re ready to wrap! I actually really love wrapping spring rolls. I find them more fun and less room for error than dumplings 😂. Toby actually wrapped these ones in the photos – pretty pro, eh?

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Filling:
    • 8 fresh large prawns (140g), shelled, deveined, tails removed and meat coarsely chopped
    • 250g fatty ground pork (more fat = juicier spring roll)
    • 2 large red Asian shallots or 1 small brown or yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 Tbsps (30 ml) fish sauce
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 Tbsp (9 g) cornstarch
  • Wrappers:
    • If using rice paper wrappers:
      • 12 rice paper wrappers
      • 1 cup warm water
      • 2 tsps sugar
    • If using spring roll wrappers:
      • 12 spring roll wrappers
      • 1 large egg, beaten

Directions:

Mix all of the filling ingredients into a bowl until combined: prawns, pork, shallots, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, black pepper, salt, egg, and cornstarch. Set aside.

Assemble the spring roll:

If using rice paper rolls:

Dissolve the sugar in the warm water and pour it into a large bowl. Dunk a sheet of rice paper in the sugar water and quickly remove it, shaking off any excess water. You only want to wet it. It will get softer and softer as you wrap your spring roll.

Place the rice paper on a plate then place 2 tablespoons of the filling centred in the bottom third of the wrap. Fold in the left and right sides over the filling then fold up the bottom edge over the filling, tucking the bottom edge under the filling. Roll upwards until you reach the top. Repeat until all the filling has been wrapped.

Let all the spring rolls air-dry for 15 minutes (you can use paper towels to soak up any excess moisture). You can also fold these a few hours in advance and refrigerate for a few hours until they dry out.

If using spring roll wrappers:

Place a spring roll wrapper on a flat surface diagonally with a corner facing you. Add 2 tablespoons of the filling near the corner closest to you. Fold the left and right sides in over the filling. Brush the top third of the wrapper with the beaten egg then start rolling the wrapper with the filling from the bottom upwards. The egg helps seal the spring roll wrapper together.

Fry the spring rolls:

Fill half a saucepan with a neutral oil and heat it to 175˚C. Fry a few spring rolls at a time to not crowd the pan until golden brown and turning occasionally (~2-3 mins for rice paper rolls, 3-4 mins for spring rolls). Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Serve.

Summarized Recipe:

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Date Published: August 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: appetizers, snacks, Asian
Serves: 12 spring rolls | Prep time: 20 mins mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • Filling:
    • 8 fresh large prawns (140g), shelled, deveined, tails removed and meat coarsely chopped
    • 250g fatty ground pork (more fat = juicier)
    • 2 large red Asian shallots or 1 small brown or yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 Tbsps (30 ml) fish sauce
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 Tbsp (9 g) cornstarch
  • Wrappers:
    • If using rice paper wrappers:
      • 12 rice paper wrappers
      • 1 cup warm water
      • 2 tsps sugar
    • If using spring roll wrappers:
      • 12 spring roll wrappers
      • 1 large egg, beaten

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the filling ingredients into a bowl until combined: prawns, pork, shallots, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, black pepper, salt, egg, and cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. Assemble the spring roll:
    • If using rice paper rolls:
      • Dissolve the sugar in the warm water and pour it into a large bowl.
      • Dunk a sheet of rice paper in the sugar water and quickly remove it, shaking off any excess water. Place the rice paper on a plate then place 2 tablespoons of the filling centred in the bottom third of the wrap. Fold in the left and right sides over the filling then fold up the bottom edge over the filling, tucking the bottom edge under the filling. Roll upwards until you reach the top. Repeat until all the filling has been wrapped.
      • Let all the spring rolls air-dry for 15 minutes (you can use paper towels to soak up any excess moisture). You can also fold these a few hours in advance and refrigerate for a few hours until they dry out.
    • If using spring roll wrappers:
      • Place a spring roll wrapper on a plate diagonally with a corner facing you. Add 2 tablespoons of the filling near the corner closest to you. Fold the left and right sides in over the filling. Brush the top third of the wrapper with the beaten egg then start rolling the wrapper with the filling from the bottom upwards. The egg helps seal the spring roll wrapper together.
  3. Fry the spring rolls:
    1. Fill half a saucepan with a neutral oil and heat it to 175˚C. Fry a few spring rolls at a time to not crowd the pan until golden brown and turning occasionally (~2-3 mins for rice paper rolls, 3-4 mins for spring rolls). Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Serve.

Red Curry Satay Sauce


Date Published: August 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: sauces, dips, Asian
Serves: roughly 1 cup | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

Jump to recipe |

There are few things in the world better than a good creamy peanut satay sauce and when you pair it with coconut milk and red curry paste? Ohhhh boy. Get your tastebuds ready for a flavour explosion! This recipe uses the homemade red curry chilli paste recipe for a bold and fresh flavour. Depending on how much you make your curry paste, this satay sauce can add a kick! Use the leftovers mixed with cold noodles for a quick lunch or save it for a dip with spring rolls or prawn toast. You’re only 5 minutes away from making this delicious red curry satay sauce!

Recipe adapted from Recipe Tin Eats.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 330ml coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) water
  • 2 Tbsps homemade red curry paste 
  • 3/4 cup (180g) peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tsps white sugar
  • 2 Tbsps apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsps dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsps fish sauce
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

In a saucepan on LOW-MED heat, add in all of the ingredients and stir. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes for the flavours to infuse. Taste and adjust flavours as needed. Done! Easy, huh?

If the sauce is too thick for you, add in a little bit of water until you reach your desired consistency.

Summarized Recipe:

Red Curry Satay Sauce

Date Published: August 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: sauces, dips, Asian
Serves: roughly 1 cup | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 330ml coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) water
  • 2 Tbsps homemade red curry paste 
  • 3/4 cup (180g) peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tsps white sugar
  • 2 Tbsps apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsps dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsps fish sauce
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan on LOW-MED heat, add in all of the ingredients and stir. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes for the flavours to infuse. Taste and adjust flavours as needed. Done!
  • Note: If the sauce is too thick for you, add in a little bit of water until you reach your desired consistency.

Green Curry Prawn Toast


Date Published: August 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: snacks, easy, appetizer, Asian
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

Jump to recipe |

I’ve surprisingly never had prawn toast until recently. I saw a couple recipes from the new cookbooks of my favourite Masterchef contestants, Sarah Tiong and Kanh Ong and decided to give them a try. This recipe is an adaptation from Kanh’s green curry prawn toast recipe and uses the homemade Thai green curry paste. Although I’m not sure what real prawn toast is supposed to taste like since I’ve never had one from a restaurant before, but Toby and his family tells me they used to have it all the time at their old go-to Chinese restaurant and this version is much better! These prawn toasts don’t taste quite like a Thai green curry because there’s no coconut milk, but they do have the beautiful aromatics from the homemade green curry paste that really shine through with every bite. It’s even better when paired with a mayo-based dipping sauce such as curry mayo or sriracha mayo.

As long as you’ve got the curry paste made up, this recipe is SO simple and comes together quickly. You will however need to deep-fry these. I don’t frequently like to deep-fry things at home, but when I do I like to make the best use of the oil by making multiple things with it before tossing it out such as pork and prawn spring rolls! You can also make a big batch beforehand and serve it as an appetizer or a snack for a party.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 250g raw prawn meat
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 1/2 tsps sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup homemade Thai green curry paste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 spring onion (optional)
  • 4 slices of sourdough or regular white bread
  • Sesame seeds for dipping

Directions:

In a food processor, add the prawn meat, egg white, sesame oil, green curry paste, salt, white pepper, spring onion, and garlic. Pulse until you get a thick paste.

Divide and spread the paste equally on the 4 slices of sourdough. If the paste is runny, put it in the fridge for 20 mins to firm up.

Place sesame seeds on a plate and dip the bread (prawn side down) onto the sesame seeds.

Fill a saucepan 1/3 up with neutral oil and heat the oil until it reaches 180˚C (or when a cube of bread turns brown in 15 seconds). Place the prawn toast prawn side down (it might be easier to lower it prawn side up first then flip it around in the oil to minimize splashing) into the oil and fry for 2-4 minutes until golden then flip and fry for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from the oil and let it drain on a paper towel.

Serve! Ideally serve with curry mayo or sriracha mayo.

Summarized Recipe:

Green Curry Prawn Toast

Date Published: August 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: snacks, easy, appetizer, Asian
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 250g raw prawn meat
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 1/2 tsps sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup homemade Thai green curry paste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 spring onion (optional)
  • 4 slices of sourdough or regular white bread
  • Sesame seeds for dipping

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, add the prawn meat, egg white, sesame oil, green curry paste, salt, white pepper, spring onion, and garlic. Pulse until you get a thick paste.
  2. Divide and spread the paste equally on the 4 slices of sourdough. If the paste is runny, put it in the fridge for 20 mins to firm up.
  3. Place sesame seeds on a plate and dip the bread (prawn side down) onto the sesame seeds.
  4. Fill a saucepan 1/3 up with neutral oil and heat the oil until it reaches 180˚C (or when a cube of bread turns brown in 15 seconds). Place the prawn toast prawn side down (it might be easier to lower it prawn side up first then flip it around in the oil to minimize splashing) into the oil and fry for 2-4 minutes until golden then flip and fry for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from the oil and let it drain on a paper towel.
  5. Serve! Ideally serve with curry mayo or sriracha mayo.

Taiwanese Stir-fry Lamb with Water Spinach 炒羊肉 (chǎo yáng ròu)


Date Published: August 23rd, 2020 | Last Updated: August 23rd, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: taiwanese, mains, asian, sides
Serves: 1 large plate (enough for 4 ppl as sides) | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Jump to recipe |

Shihlin is home to the largest and arguably the most popular night market (士林夜市) in Taiwan. Lucky for me our home was only a 5 minute walk from the famous night market and it was almost a nightly ritual to have supper there after closing time of my dad’s vet clinic. The night market is full of the best street food Taiwan has to offer. The food stalls are always bustling with the sound of sizzling oil, the scraping of woks, and shouting across the room from servers that hastily take your order.

Image courtesy of mecocute.com

Over the many years we’ve lived in Shihlin, we’ve seen many food stalls come and go and many food trends suddenly appear then disappear, but the old school stalls where the locals know and love always stay right where they are. Same location, same time, rain or shine. 士林炒羊肉 (Shihlin Stir-Fry Lamb) is one of these OG stalls. This place actually started off in a shop across the road from my dad’s vet clinic on DaDong Road over a decade ago. The shop was run by a man and his family. In the morning they’d serve traditional breakfast items like soya bean milk, oil sticks, sandwiches…etc. I remember buying breakfast for my family at the start of the work day. Then at night he’d open late and serve stir-fry lamb. My dad would often work until 11-midnight and we’d head over to his place for a late night supper after closing. I don’t ever remember it being that crowded, but then again we’d always go really late at night. I’m not really sure of the reason for their move (perhaps the rent was getting to expensive, perhaps the man had health issues, or maybe he just didn’t want to run the business anymore 🤷🏻‍♀️), but I remember returning back to Taiwan one summer and my parents told me he closed his shop and now his daughters run a food stall at the Shihlin night market serving only the stir-fry lamb we know and love. They opened up the stall in a small alleyway just off of the main road of the night market where exposure was limited, but surprisingly over the years they’ve built up their business pretty well and always seems to be busy despite of the location. Their place used to be one of our go-to locations when we visit Taiwan, however they’re not open as often anymore with seemingly random operating hours which makes it hard to plan for and their prices have gone up drastically as well ($150NT for a plate is quite expensive for Taiwan street food). However on those nights when the stars have aligned and we happen to catch them while they’re open, we indulge ourselves and order a plate of stir-fry lamb each. My mom doesn’t usually eat lamb, but this is the only place she’ll ever have it. Stir-fry lamb is a common dish across many street food/hole in the wall restaurants in Taiwan, but this places makes it different. I’m not sure what it is, but their sauce just seems more rich and creamy than the other places.

Bull head brand Sa-cha sauce

If you’ve never had stir-fry lamb before, it’s thin-sliced lamb that’s cooked in sa-cha sauce (Chinese bbq sauce) with water spinach and garlic. If you’re a fan of sa-cha sauce, then you’ll love this dish. It’s funny that it’s translated as bbq sauce because I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone use it for barbecues. I see it most often used in stir-fries or eaten as a dip with hotpot or dumplings. The most famous brand is the “bull head” brand and it’s really the only brand I’ve ever known. The sauce is oily and pasty, mainly made of shallots, garlic, and dried shrimp. I don’t quite know how else to describe this since there aren’t any other sauces that is quite like this one (or at least none that I know of).

As you may already know, I’ve been trying to cook more Taiwanese/Chinese foods lately to get back to my roots. Now that we’re all in a pandemic, international travel is out of reach for probably another 6 months (or likely longer) and it will be a long time before I’m able to see my family or visit Taiwan again. Trying to recreate my favourite childhood foods is a way for me to reconnect with home from so far away. This recipe is my copycat version of the stir-fry lamb from the Shihlin night market. It’s still not as good as the night market version, but I suspect that’s due to the lack of MSG in my recipe. I hope you enjoy it anyway as much as I do!

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 375g lamb, thinly sliced (Slice it as thin as you can manage. It may be easier to freeze the lamb for half an hour first before you slice it. You can use sliced hotpot lamb as well.)
  • Marinade:
    • 1 medium egg
    • 2 tsps Chinese BBQ sauce 沙茶酱 (Bull head brand), try to avoid the excess oil
    • 2 tsps black vinegar
    • 2 Tbsps cornstarch
    • 2 Tbsps vegetable oil
  • Sauce:
    • 1/4 cup Chinese BBQ sauce 沙茶酱 (Bull head brand)
    • 1 1/2 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 2 Tbsps Chinese cooking wine (ie ShaoXing Wine or rice wine)
    • 1 tsp black vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp ground peanuts (or substitute with 1 Tbsp all natural peanut butter without sugar)
    • 1/2 Tbsps white sugar
  • 6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 large serrano red chilli (for mild spiciness – feel free to add more!)
  • 1 large bunch of water spinach (also called Kang Kong or 空心菜)
  • 1/4 cup Chinese cooking wine (ie Shao Xing Wine or rice wine)

Directions:

Make the marinade by mixing all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl (egg, bbq sauce, black vinegar, cornstarch, vegetable oil). Add the lamb slices to the bowl and mix. Set aside to marinate for about 15mins while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Make the sauce by adding all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside (bbq sauce, soy sauce, black vinegar, peanuts, sugar).

Prepare the water spinach by first washing and trimming off the ends of the stems that may be discoloured or hardened. Discard these pieces. Next, separate the leaves from the stems by chopping the bunch in half (it doesn’t have to be too exact, just eyeball the halfway point). Chop the stems into 4-5 cm pieces and set aside in a bowl. Put the leaves in another bowl.

In a non-stick wok or a wide base pan on MED-HIGH, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and stir-fry the marinated lamb for a couple of minutes until just brown (doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through). Remove the lamb from the pot (strain it if there’s a lot of oil) and discard the rest of the oil from the pot except for 1 tablespoon.

I used hotpot lamb slices for this recipe which happened to be a fattier cut so I had a LOT of oil in my pot. Try to use a leaner cut or be prepared to strain out all the oil!

Add in the garlic and chillies and stir-fry in the leftover oil until fragrant (~30 seconds). Add in the spinach stems and stir-fry for another couple of minutes until it starts to soften.

Then add in the lamb, water spinach leaves and 1/4 cup cooking wine. Do not stir the pot and put on the lid to let the veg steam for 1 minute.

We’re not stirring the layers at this point because we want to keep the tougher spinach stems on the bottom to cook more while the leaves on the top layer steams as the cooking wine evaporates.

Remove the lid and stir everything together. Add in the sauce and stir-fry until it’s evenly mixed through. Taste and adjust flavours as needed. Turn off the heat and add a drizzle of sesame oil before serving.

(Optional: If you find that your cut of lamb is too fatty and there’s too much oil in your dish, you can strain out the oil before serving.) Done! Serve as a main dish with some rice or as a side.

Summarized Recipe:

Taiwanese Stir-fry Lamb with Water Spinach 炒羊肉 (chǎo yáng ròu)

Date Published: August 23rd, 2020 | Last Updated: August 23rd, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: taiwanese, mains, asian, sides
Serves: 1 large plate (enough for 4 ppl as sides) | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • 375g lamb, thinly sliced (You can buy it already sliced usually in the hotpot section at the Asian grocer, or just buy regular lamb and slice it as thin as you can manage. It may be easier to freeze the lamb for half an hour first before you slice it.)
  • Marinade:
    • 1 medium egg
    • 2 tsps Chinese BBQ sauce 沙茶酱 (Bull head brand), try to avoid the excess oil
    • 2 tsps black vinegar
    • 2 Tbsps cornstarch
    • 2 Tbsps vegetable oil
  • Sauce:
    • 1/4 cup Chinese BBQ sauce 沙茶酱 (Bull head brand)
    • 1 1/2 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 2 Tbsps Chinese cooking wine (ie ShaoXing Wine or rice wine)
    • 1 tsp black vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp ground peanuts (or substitute with 1 Tbsp all natural peanut butter without sugar)
    • 1/2 Tbsps white sugar
  • 6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 large serrano red chilli (for mild spiciness – feel free to add more!)
  • 1 large bunch of water spinach (also called Kang Kong or 空心菜)
  • 1/4 cup Chinese cooking wine (ie Shao Xing Wine or rice wine)

Directions:

  1. Make the marinade by mixing all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl (egg, bbq sauce, black vinegar, cornstarch, vegetable oil). Add the lamb slices to the bowl and mix. Set aside to marinate for about 15mins while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Make the sauce by adding all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside (bbq sauce, soy sauce, black vinegar, peanuts, sugar).
  3. Wash the water spinach and trim off the ends. Next, separate the leaves from the stems by chopping the bunch in half. Chop the stems into 4-5 cm pieces and set aside in a bowl. Put the leaves in another bowl.
  4. In a non-stick wok or a wide base pan on MED-HIGH, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and stir-fry the marinated lamb for a couple of minutes until just brown (doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through). Remove the lamb from the pot (strain it if there’s a lot of oil) and discard the rest of the oil from the pot except for 1 tablespoon.
  5. Add in the garlic and chillies and stir-fry in the leftover oil until fragrant (~30 seconds). Add in the spinach stems and stir-fry for another couple of minutes until it starts to soften.
  6. Then add in the lamb, water spinach leaves and 1/4 cup cooking wine. Do not stir the pot and put on the lid to let the veg steam for 1 minute.
  7. Remove the lid and stir everything together. Add in the sauce and stir-fry until it’s evenly mixed through. Taste and adjust flavours as needed. Turn off the heat and add a drizzle of sesame oil before serving. Done! Serve as a main dish with some rice or as a side.
    • (Optional: If you find that your cut of lamb is too fatty and there’s too much oil in your dish, you can strain out the oil before serving.)