Unintentionally Amazing Soft Tea Eggs (茶葉蛋)


Date Published: Aug 8th, 2022 | Last Updated: Aug 8th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: Asian, sides, snack, appetizers, healthy, low cal
Serves: 8 eggs | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 5-10 mins + resting overnight

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The empty bottle of the brand of sweet vinegar I used. Any sweet vinegar should be fine.

I’ve had a bottle of Chinese sweet black vinegar in the back of my pantry for the past 2 years that has gone untouched and collecting dust. I have no idea what I originally bought it for but whatever it was, I only ever used a small amount. Toby says I bought it originally because I couldn’t find regular black vinegar and tried to use this as a substitute and failed – I have no recollection of this 😅🤷🏻‍♀️. I’ve tried to look for recipes to use up this bottle over the years but I can only ever find it used in a very specific Chinese pork knuckle dish. This bottle has become an eye sore and in a desperate attempt to clean out my pantry before we hit the road again, I decided to try adding it to a marinade for tea eggs. I had very low expectations for this – I just wanted to make something somewhat edible so I’m not wasting it. The end result turned out so much better than I could have ever hoped for! It gave the egg a subtle sweetness along with the saltiness. In fact, it was so good that I ended up buying another bottle of sweet black vinegar just so I can keep making these tea eggs, which is now my favourite way to eat them.

Chinese sweet black vinegar isn’t as tangy as regular vinegar. It’s more subtle and has a light sweetness with a star anise/liquorice flavour. When mixed with the rest of the marinade ingredients, it makes a slightly sweeter tea egg that’s lighter on the palate compared to the classic tea egg that’s usually only soy sauce based. Soft boiled eggs are my favourite style of eggs and perfect for this recipe. The yolk remains soft and jammy which allows some of the marinade to penetrate through giving it more flavour. Make sure you set a timer to cook them perfectly. I’ve included cooking times for medium and hardboiled eggs as well if that’s your thing.

What is a tea egg?

If you’re unfamiliar with tea eggs, it’s a classic Chinese side dish commonly made of hardboiled eggs marinated in a soy-sauce based concoction with black tea leaves. The eggs are cracked before marinating and as a result you get a beautiful marbled appearance on the eggs with a savoury umami flavour with a hint of tea. I remember getting a few of these in a baggie from the local 7-11 in Taiwan before hopping on a train and having these as a snack. I’ve never had them soft-boiled until I started playing around with this recipe. It’s a total game changer and I think this will be the only way I’ll be having my tea eggs from now. 😛

Tips for using up leftover marinade:

  • Sauté with garlic, cabbage, splash of shaoxing wine until the cabbage cooks down, then stir in chilli paste like lao gan ma or leftover red chilli oil wonton sauce.
  • Reuse the marinade again! Make sure you reboil the liquid and let it cool before using it again.

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:
    • 1/2 cup Sweet Black Vinegar
    • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
    • 2 Tbsps dark soy sauce
    • 2.5 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
    • 2 Tbsps (or 2 tea bags) extra strong black tea leaves
    • 1 cup water
  • 8 large eggs

Directions:

Simmer the marinade on low for 10 mins

Make the marinade: Mix all the ingredients of the marinade (vinegar, soy sauces, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, tea leaves, water) in a saucepan and heat on MEDIUM until it boils, then turn the heat down to LOW-MED and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.

Make the eggs: While the marinade cools, boil a pot of water (use a pot large enough to allow all the eggs to submerge in the boiling water without crowding). Once the water boils, carefully lower the eggs into the water – be careful not to crack them. Start a timer and boil for 5 minutes and 30 seconds for soft-boiled eggs, 7 minutes for medium eggs, or 10 minutes for hard boiled eggs.

Dunk them in an ice bath or under cold running water until cooled

Prepare an ice bath for the eggs while they are boiling. Once the timer goes off, immediate transfer the eggs to the ice bath to cool. If you don’t have any ice, run the eggs under cold water until completely cooled.

More cracks = more marbling

Once the eggs are cooled, use the back of a spoon and gently crack the egg shells around the entirety of the egg. You want the egg shells to be cracked and broken without breaking the actual egg. This allows the marinade to get through the shell and create a marbled effect. Be careful not to hit them too hard, especially for soft-boiled eggs.

Once the marinade has fully cooled, transfer the marinade with the ingredients to a container or a large ziplock bag and add in the cracked eggs. Ensure the eggs are submerged in the marinade. Choose a container or a bag big enough to fit all the marinade and eggs. It’s better to use a deeper container than a wider one so the eggs submerge better.

Let the eggs marinate in the fridge overnight, or best for 24 hours (or longer!).

Serve the eggs either cold, room temperature, or slightly warmed. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Unintentionally Amazing Soft Tea Eggs (茶葉蛋)

Date Published: Aug 8th, 2022 | Last Updated: Aug 8th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: Asian, sides, snack, appetizers, healthy, low cal
Serves: 8 eggs | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 5-10 mins + resting overnight

Ingredients:

  • Marinade:
    • 1/2 cup Sweet Black Vinegar
    • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
    • 2 Tbsps dark soy sauce
    • 2.5 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
    • 2 Tbsps (or 2 tea bags) extra strong black tea leaves
    • 1 cup water
  • 8 large eggs

Directions:

  1. Make the marinade: Mix all the ingredients of the marinade (vinegar, soy sauces, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, tea leaves, water) in a saucepan and heat on MEDIUM until it boils, then turn the heat down to LOW-MED and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.
  2. Make the eggs: While the marinade cools, boil a pot of water (use a pot large enough to allow all the eggs to submerge in the boiling water without crowding). Once the water boils, carefully lower the eggs into the water – be careful not to crack them. Start a timer and boil for 5 minutes and 15 seconds for soft-boiled eggs, 7 minutes for medium eggs, or 10 minutes for hard boiled eggs.
  3. Prepare an ice bath for the eggs while they are boiling. Once the timer goes off, immediate transfer the eggs to the ice bath to cool. If you don’t have any ice, run the eggs under cold water until completely cooled.
  4. Once the eggs are cooled, use the back of a spoon and gently crack the egg shells around the entirety of the egg. You want the egg shells to be cracked and broken without breaking the actual egg. This allows the marinade to get through the shell and create a marbled effect. Be careful not to hit them too hard to break the eggs inside, especially for soft-boiled eggs.
  5. Once the marinade has fully cooled, transfer the marinade with the ingredients to a container or a large ziplock bag and add in the cracked eggs. Ensure the eggs are submerged in the marinade. Choose a container or a bag big enough to fit all the marinade and eggs. It’s better to use a deeper container than a wider one so the eggs submerge better.
  6. Let the eggs marinate in the fridge overnight, or best for 24 hours (or longer!).
  7. Serve the eggs either cold, room temperature, or slightly warmed. Enjoy!

Taiwanese Style Beerhouse Clams (台式九層塔炒海瓜子)


Date Published: Feb 16th, 2022 | Last Updated: Feb 16th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: Taiwanese, Asian, easy, mains, sides
Serves: 2-4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

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This was one of my all-time favourite dishes growing up in Taiwan. My brother once got mad at me when we were kids when I ate them too fast, lol. The sauce is SO good, you MUST serve it over white rice to soak up all the delicious flavours. This recipe is commonly found in the beerhouses of Taiwan or seafood shops.

The clams that are traditionally used are called hai gua zi (海瓜子) which roughly translates to ‘ocean melon seeds’ – I think it has to do with the oval shape of them that resembles melon seeds? 🤷🏻‍♀️ They’re small oval clams with a patterned shell that are commonly found in the region. Any small species of clams can be used in this recipe as long as they’re fresh! I actually had a bit of a hard time finding fresh small clams for this recipe in Australia – even the local seafood shops didn’t have them. Surprisingly they were available at the Costco in Adelaide, SA however were a bit pricy at $20/kg for pipis (it was totally worth it though 😜).

Note the patterned shell and the oval shape of the hai gua zi –>

Image source: https://inf.news/en/nature/b6dd63ea2ba851d1cda05f356fb35732.html

What is a Taiwanese Beerhouse (啤酒屋)?

A Taiwanese beerhouse is a place where locals like to go afterwork to unwind, drink beer and eat hot stir-fry dishes. They’re not breweries, they’re just a place to drink and eat. If you’re a foreign visitor to Taiwan, chances are your host wouldn’t bring you to one of these beerhouses. They’re usually noisy, loud with drunk people, and no doubt lots of cigarette smoke. It’s frequented by people of lower socioeconomic classes and call girls as well as the average working man with their coworkers. It’s kind of like taking a guest to a rowdy grungy bar – it’s not for everyone, but the food is usually damn good. These beerhouses are becoming a dying culture and it’s getting harder to find them in Taiwan – possibly due to an attempt to elevate the social status of the area or maybe from the years of economic downturn and less availability of disposable income, or maybe it’s from Westernization 🤷🏻‍♀️. I remember my dad taking us out afterwork when I was a kid and getting out of the cab to see a long street of back to back beerhouses lit up with flashing neon lights (although in hindsight, beerhouses definitely aren’t the best place to bring children 😅). The last time I visited a couple years ago there were only two left on the street – the food was still just as good though!

What is beerhouse-style food?

Taiwanese beerhouses usually serve food that is made quickly over a high heat that packs a ton of flavour. These dishes are commonly very salty and/or spicy which goes great with a bowl of rice and a bottle of cold beer. Common dishes you’ll find are “three-cup” based recipes, which involve the triple threat for a lip-smacking combination: soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine. It is often sautéed with ginger, garlic, and Thai basil – the basis of classic Taiwanese beerhouse flavours. This clam recipe doesn’t diverge far from the beerhouse basics.

Thai Basil vs Italian Basil?

There are no substitutions for basil in this recipe. You MUST use Thai basil which is a lot stronger in flavour. Basil is a key component of this dish and without a good strong basil, the flavours just won’t be right. You’d have to probably at least double the amount of Italian basil to get similar results.

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:

  • 1kg fresh small clams (ie. Pipis)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4cm ginger, peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks
  • 2-3 long Thai red chilis, sliced (remove the seeds if you want it less spicy)
  • Sauce:
    • 2 Tbsps Chinese cooking wine (ie. Shaoxing)
    • 1 Tbsp of black vinegar
    • 2 Tbsps oyster sauce
    • 3 tsps white granulated sugar
    • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 LARGE handful (~3 cups) of Thai basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil for drizzling

Directions:

*This recipe cooks QUICKLY on HIGH HEAT! Make sure all your ingredients are chopped, prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.

Rinse the clams thoroughly under running water. Optional: soak in salty water 15mins before.

Prepare the sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients in a bowl: cooking wine, black vinegar, oyster sauce, sugar, and white pepper. Set aside.

In a wok on HIGH heat, add a drizzle of oil and sauté the garlic, ginger, and chilli for 2-3 mins until fragrant.

Add the clams to the pot and sauté for 30 seconds then drizzle in the sauce ingredients: cooking wine, black vinegar, oyster sauce, and white pepper. Mix around and let the sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes then put the lid on. Let the clams steam for 3-4 minutes or until they all open up. Careful not to steam them for too long or else the clams will get tough and chewy.

Once the clams have opened up, add in the basil leaves and drizzle the sesame oil over the clams. Sauté for another minute and turn off the heat. Serve! Best served over white rice.

Summarized Recipe:

Taiwanese Style Beerhouse Clams (台式九層塔炒海瓜子)

Date Published: Feb 16th, 2022 | Last Updated: Feb 16th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: Taiwanese, Asian, easy, mains, sides
Serves: 2-4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1kg fresh small clams (ie. Pipis)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4cm ginger, peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks
  • 2-3 long Thai red chilis, sliced (remove the seeds if you want it less spicy)
  • Sauce:
    • 2 Tbsps Chinese cooking wine (ie. Shaoxing)
    • 1 Tbsp of black vinegar
    • 2 Tbsps oyster sauce
    • 3 tsps white granulated sugar
    • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 LARGE handful (~3 cups) of Thai basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil for drizzling

Directions:

*This recipe cooks QUICKLY on HIGH HEAT! Make sure all your ingredients are chopped, prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.

  1. Rinse the clams thoroughly under running water. Optional: soak in salty water 15mins before.
  2. Prepare the sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients in a bowl: cooking wine, black vinegar, oyster sauce, sugar, and white pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a wok on HIGH heat, add a drizzle of oil and sauté the garlic, ginger, and chilli for 2-3 mins until fragrant.
  4. Add the clams to the pot and sauté for 30 seconds then drizzle in the sauce ingredients: cooking wine, black vinegar, oyster sauce, and white pepper. Mix around and let the sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes then put the lid on. Let the clams steam for 3-4 minutes or until they all open up. Careful not to steam them for too long or else the clams will get tough and chewy.
  5. Once the clams have opened up, add in the basil leaves and drizzle the sesame oil over the clams. Sauté for another minute and turn off the heat. Serve! Best served over white rice.

Healthy Fudgy Red Bean Brownies


Date Published: Feb 16th, 2022 | Last Updated: Feb 16th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: dessert, healthy, low-cal, Asian, easy
Serves: 6-8 | Prep time: 1hr | Cook time: 30 mins

Jump to recipe |

These guilt-free brownies are rich, dense, flourless, butter-free, and sugar-free. They’re naturally sweetened with dates and are a healthy alternative to regular brownies. Best of all, they’re so easy to make and there aren’t many ingredients involved. I will admit that I’d still choose a regular buttery brownie over this healthy alternative, however these are still pretty damn good and you can eat them guilt-free without getting a sugar crash. Toby liked them so much that he ate half a batch in one sitting 😅! The original recipe is from Hey Nutrition Lady which has a ton of nutrition information on this recipe – highly recommend checking it out.

What are Red Beans?

The term “red bean” can be synonymous with different types of beans that are red in colour. In Western culture, red bean commonly refers to ‘kidney beans‘ which have an earthy plain taste but absorbs flavours easily so they’re commonly used in stews or sauces. In Eastern Asian culture, red bean is the ‘adzuki bean‘ which is much smaller than the kidney bean and has a sweet flavour. This recipe uses adzuki beans. You’ll commonly see red/adzuki bean paste baked goods at Chinese bakeries. At OG Chinese restaurants they often serve red bean soup as dessert. Beans are starchy by nature which is the perfect substitute for flour in this recipe.

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:

  • 1.5 cups adzuki beans
  • 1.5 cups (200g) Medjool dates
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 180g milk or dark chocolate, chopped

Directions:

Prepare the beans: Soak the adzuki beans overnight (the longer the better to soften the beans). Once soaked, boil the beans in a pot of water for 1 hour, then drain and set aside. (Make sure the water is at least 2-3cm above the beans since they will expand and absorb water as they cook).

Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Line a brownie pan (8″x11″ or 20cm x 30cm) with baking paper.

Prepare the dates: soak the dates in boiling hot water for 10mins, then drain and set aside.

In a food processor, add in the cooked adzuki beans and the dates. Blend until you get a chunky thick paste (see photo). Next, add in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, coconut oil, and eggs. Continue blending until you get a smooth paste.

Stir in half of the chocolate into the batter and pour the batter in the prepared brownie pan. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate over the top. Bake for 25-30mins until the edges are set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool for 10mins before slicing. Enjoy!

Ta-da!

Summarized Recipe:

Healthy Fudgy Red Bean Brownies

Date Published: Feb 16th, 2022 | Last Updated: Feb 16th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: dessert, healthy, low-cal, Asian, easy
Serves: 6-8 | Prep time: 1hr | Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups adzuki beans
  • 1.5 cups (200g) Medjool dates
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 180g milk or dark chocolate, chopped

Directions:

  1. Prepare the beans: Soak the adzuki beans overnight (the longer the better to soften the beans). Once soaked, boil the beans in a pot of water for 1 hour, then drain and set aside. (Make sure the water is at least 2-3cm above the beans since they will expand and absorb water as they cook).
  2. Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Line a brownie pan (8″x11″ or 20cm x 30cm) with baking paper.
  3. Prepare the dates: soak the dates in boiling hot water for 10mins, then drain and set aside.
  4. In a food processor, add in the cooked adzuki beans and the dates. Blend until you get a chunky thick paste (see photo). Next, add in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, coconut oil, and eggs. Continue blending until you get a smooth paste.
  5. Stir in half of the chocolate into the batter and pour the batter in the prepared brownie pan. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate over the top. Bake for 25-30mins until the edges are set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool for 10mins before slicing. Enjoy!

Lamb and Onion Dumplings


Date Published: Dec 24th, 2021 | Last Updated: Dec 24th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: Asian, easy, < 30mins, mains
Serves: 100 dumplings | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Jump to recipe |

Every time Toby and I travel, we’re always looking for the best local eats with the highest reviews. We might be stingy on hotel rooms, but we never skimp on good food. When we were exploring Alice Springs, a local dumpling house came up on our radar called Confucius Palace Dumpling Restaurant. I always question the authenticity of Chinese restaurants especially when they’re in a rural setting with very few Asian people around and even more skeptical when most of the reviews were posted by non-Asian people. I didn’t hold my breath because I’ve been let down too many times, but we were both pleasantly surprised! We ordered a few different types of dumplings, but our favourite was the lamb and onion (their chicken and corn wasn’t bad either). I had never had lamb in a dumpling until now and it was delicious! It went straight to my list of things to recreate when I got home and here it is! This recipe took a little trial and error, but I think I’ve got it pretty close to what it was in the restaurant. The filling is surprisingly basic and contains minimal ingredients. Most dumpling fillings include a lot of chopping, but not this one! You can whip up the filling in as quick as 15 mins and the rest is just wrapping. If you’re ever in Alice Springs, I’d highly recommend trying out that dumpling place!

You can pan-fry them or boil them (scroll to the end to see instructions on how to do either). I find boiling is best with this type of filling. They’re best served hot and eaten straight away. They’re not quite as good when microwaved.

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:
    • 2.5 cups onions diced (1 large or two small)
    • 1kg lamb mince
    • 6 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 3 tsps white pepper
    • 1/2 cup shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
  • Dumpling wrappers (2 packs = ~100 wrappers)

Directions:

Sauté the onion in a pan with a drizzle of oil until the onion becomes translucent and softened. Then turn off the heat and set aside to cool.

Add the rest of the ingredients to a mixing bowl: lamb, soy sauce, white pepper, shaoxing wine. When the onion has cooled, add it to the bowl and mix everything together. You’re ready to wrap!

After wrapping them, you can either cook them straight away (see instructions below), or freeze them. When freezing, arrange the dumplings neatly in a tray and try not to let them all touch or else they’ll stick together when frozen. Once the dumplings are frozen, you can place them in an airtight container or bag.

How to Cook Dumplings:

Check out this post on detailed step-by-step instructions.

How to Cook Dumplings – 2 ways!


In this entry, I’m sharing the two ways I cook my dumplings: pan-fried and boiled. I find boiling is best for dumplings that have a filling with a stronger flavour. Pan-frying is better in fillings with a lighter flavour where you can notice the extra fried toastiness.… Continue reading →

Summarized Recipe:

Lamb & Onion Dumplings

Date Published: Dec 24th, 2021 | Last Updated: Dec 24th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: Asian, easy, < 30mins, mains
Serves: 100 dumplings | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • Filling:
    • 2.5 cups onions diced (1 large or two small)
    • 1kg lamb mince
    • 6 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 3 tsps white pepper
    • 1/2 cup shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
  • Dumpling wrappers (2 packs = ~100 wrappers)

Directions:

  1. Sauté the onion in a pan with a drizzle of oil until the onion becomes translucent and softened. Then turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to a mixing bowl: lamb, soy sauce, white pepper, shaoxing wine. When the onion has cooled, add it to the bowl and mix everything together. You’re ready to wrap!

Check out post above on how to cook dumplings

Vegetable Dumplings


Date Published: Dec 16th, 2021 | Last Updated: Dec 16th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: mains, Asian, vegetarian
Serves: ~100 dumplings | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Jump to recipe |

These veggie dumplings are a mix of carrots, cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, and chives. The slight crunch of the veggies with the umami soft mushrooms make these my go-to dumplings to make! They’re also great to bring at parties when you don’t know everyone’s dietary preferences. I think they’re best pan-fried but you can also steam or boil them too.

Warning: this recipe makes a buttload of dumplings (~100), but don’t worry, they last ages in the freezer and is perfect for those days when you don’t feel like putting in any effort to feeding yourself or if you just want something quick and easy. This is pretty much the rule of most Asian households when it comes to making dumplings. You either make a ton of dumplings for yourself and cram it in the freezer to slowly eat them throughout the next year or gift them to friends and family. When you break it down, on average I’ll eat about 15 dumplings per meals (20 if I’m really hungry), which only results in 6-7 meals.

Fun story: at the start of the COVID pandemic when everyone was raiding all the supermarkets, Toby and I bought a ton of minced pork and made 500 dumplings in one night incase there actually was a food shortage or if the pandemic became too out of control and we couldn’t safely leave the house to buy groceries. From memory the pork wasn’t too expensive, but the napa cabbage we used was like $10 😐.

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!

Recipe adapted from: Woks of Life

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 Tbsps minced ginger
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 cups shiitake mushrooms*, chopped
  • 3 cups cabbage, finely chopped
  • 3 cups carrot, finely shredded
  • 2 cups garlic chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1.5 Tbsps sesame oil
  • 6 Tbsps Shaoxing cooking wine or dry sherry
  • 4 Tbsps soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 packages of pre-made dumpling skins (~100 skins) (follow the original recipe if you want to make your own skins instead)

* You can use either fresh shiitake mushrooms or the dehydrated ones and rehydrate them by soaking in hot water for 10 mins. You’ll have to cut off the hard woody stems before chopping. I find the dehydrated mushrooms to have better umami flavour than the fresh ones.

Directions:

Over MED heat, cook the minced ginger in some oil until fragrant (~30secs). Then add the onions to the pot and stir-fry until translucent.

Add the mushrooms to the pot and cook until tender.

Add the cabbage and carrot to the pot until veggies are tender and the released liquids have been cooked off. Transfer the entire mixture to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixing bowl: chives, white pepper, sesame oil, cooking wine, soy sauce, sugar, oil, and salt to taste (the soy sauce is usually enough).

Mix all the ingredients together. You’re ready to wrap! (If there’s too much liquid, you can add some cornstarch to thicken the liquid, but some liquid pooling at the bottom will be inevitable due to the salt drawing out the fluids from the veggies.)

After wrapping them, you can either cook them straight away (see instructions below), or freeze them. When freezing, arrange the dumplings neatly in a tray and try not to let them all touch or else they’ll stick together when frozen. Once the dumplings are frozen, you can place them in an airtight container or bag.

How to Cook Dumplings:

Check out this post on more detailed step-by-step instructions.

How to Cook Dumplings – 2 ways!


In this entry, I’m sharing the two ways I cook my dumplings: pan-fried and boiled. I find boiling is best for dumplings that have a filling with a stronger flavour. Pan-frying is better in fillings with a lighter flavour where you can notice the extra fried toastiness.… Continue reading →

There are a few methods to cook dumplings, but my favourite way is to pan-fry them for that extra crunch. If you prefer to be a little healthier, then boiling them would be the way to go.

A. Pan-frying

You’ll need a flat wok or pan with a lid for this method. The method is essentially first steaming the dumplings with a bit of water and oil. The steam from the water cooks the filling and the skin of the dumpling, then the remaining oil cooks the bottom of the dumplings for crispiness. 👌

  1. Heat up a flat wok or pan on MED heat. Add a drizzle of neutral oil and place the dumplings fat side down on top of the oil. Try not to crowd the dumplings so they don’t stick together and makes it easier to flip.
  2. Add 1 cm of water to the pan and put the lid on.
  3. Once all of the water evaporates, remove the lid and continue cooking the dumplings until the bottoms are toasty golden brown. Then flip the dumplings over and cook the other side of the dumplings until it’s golden brown. You can add a little extra oil into the pan to help the other side brown. Serve!

B. Boiling

This method is a lot more straight-forward. You’re essentially boiling the dumplings until the insides are cooked. Make sure your dumplings are sealed well, otherwise the filling will fall out in the boiling process. Try not to over boil it, or else the skin will become too soggy and break apart. If your dumplings are stuck together from the freezing process, just throw them in the pot altogether. Do not try to break them apart of else the skin will break. They will naturally separate in the pot.

  1. In a large pot, fill 2/3 of the pot with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Once the water is boiling (we want a big boil where the water is moving vigorously, not just a simmer), gently add in the dumplings.
  3. When the water starts boiling again, add in a cup of cold water.
  4. When the water starts boiling again, add in ANOTHER cup of cold water.
  5. When the water boils a fourth time, the dumplings should be ready. The dumplings should be floating and you’ll see little pockets of air under the skin to signify the inside is cooked. If not, boil them for a little longer.
  6. When the dumplings are cooked, strain them from the pot to a plate and add a drizzle of sesame oil (or neutral oil) and mix it around to prevent them from sticking together. Serve!

Summarized Recipe:

Vegetable Dumplings

Date Published: Dec 16th, 2021 | Last Updated: Dec 16th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: mains, Asian, vegetarian
Serves: ~100 dumplings | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsps minced ginger
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 cups shiitake mushrooms*, chopped
  • 3 cups cabbage, finely chopped
  • 3 cups carrot, finely shredded
  • 2 cups garlic chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1.5 Tbsps sesame oil
  • 6 Tbsps Shaoxing cooking wine or dry sherry
  • 4 Tbsps soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 packages of pre-made dumpling skins (~100 skins) (follow the original recipe if you want to make your own skins instead)

* You can use either fresh shiitake mushrooms or the dehydrated ones and rehydrate them by soaking in boiling water for 10 mins. You’ll have to cut off the hard woody stems before chopping. I find the dehydrated mushrooms have better umami flavour.

Directions:

  1. Over MED heat, cook the minced ginger in some oil until fragrant (~30secs).
  2. Add onions to the pot and stir-fry until translucent.
  3. Add the mushrooms to the pot and cook until tender.
  4. Add the cabbage and carrot to the pot until veggies are tender and the released liquids have been cooked off. Transfer the entire mixture to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixing bowl: chives, white pepper, sesame oil, cooking wine, soy sauce, sugar, oil, and salt to taste (the soy sauce is usually enough).
  6. Mix all the ingredients together. You’re ready to wrap! (If there’s too much liquid, you can add some cornstarch to thicken the liquid, but some liquid pooling at the bottom will be inevitable due to the salt drawing out the fluids from the veggies.)

How to Pan-Fry Dumplings:

  1. Heat up a flat wok or pan on MED heat. Add a drizzle of neutral oil and place the dumplings fat side down on top of the oil. Try not to crowd the dumplings so they don’t stick together and makes it easier to flip.
  2. Add 1 cm of water to the pan and put the lid on.
  3. Once all of the water evaporates, remove the lid and continue cooking the dumplings until the bottoms are toasty golden brown. Then flip the dumplings over and cook the other side of the dumplings until it’s golden brown. You can add a little extra oil into the pan to help the other side brown. Serve!

Beef Rendang


Date Published: Dec 14th, 2021 | Last Updated: Dec 14th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: mains, Asian
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 6 hours

Jump to recipe |

Beef Rendang is a beef curry that originated from Indonesia and has been widely popularized across southeast Asia. It’s so damn good that it’s considered one of Indonesia’s national dishes! It’s a beef curry that is cooked down over a few hours until it is super tender and the rest of the curry sauce simmers down to an aromatic paste that coats the beef.

I absolutely love the complex flavours of a good beef rendang, however it is very time consuming to make so I recommend either making it the night before or very early morning. Set aside 4-5 hours for this dish. The prep time only takes about 15-20 mins but the time it takes for the beef to tenderize can be up to 3-4 hours. Don’t rush the process. Trust me, it’s worth the wait! The flavours actually taste better the next day once all the spices marinate a bit more, so if you’re serving this for a special occasion, I’d recommend making it the day before – which spares up free time for you for other preparations.

Although there are quite a lot of spices and ingredients in this recipe, the actual process of making it isn’t difficult at all. The amazing results were worth me doubling my spice rack. I picked up most of the ingredients from the local asian supermarket, where I find the spices much cheaper than regular grocery stores.

This version of a beef rendang is adapted from Sarah Tiong’s cookbook Sweet, Savoury, Spicy. I used to make my rendang a much different way that was way more time-consuming, but since stumbling upon her recipe, it has been much easier with fewer steps, spices, and the flavours are just as good! Definitely recommend checking out her book for more awesome recipes.

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:

  • Paste:
    • 4 large red Asian shallots
    • 5 cloves garlic
    • 4cm piece of fresh ginger (or galangal), peeled and sliced
    • 3 stalks of lemon grass (white parts only), finely sliced – you’ll need another 3 later on = 6 total
    • 2 Tbsp of a neutral oil
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (ie. canola, vegetable…etc.)
  • 650g (~1.5lbs) chuck steak cut into cubes
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Rendang Spices:
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 4 star anise
    • 6 cardamom pods
    • 8 kaffir lime leaves (fresh or dried), stems removed and thinly sliced
    • 3 stalks of lemongrass, bruised/lightly pounded
  • 1 tsp hot chili powder (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup (240ml) water
  • 1 cup (240ml) full fat coconut cream
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut, toasted
  • Serve with steamed rice or flatbread – or both! Also goes well with sambal.

Directions:

Make the paste by blending together: shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and oil. Blend until a thick paste forms. Set aside.

In a wok, heat the 1/2 cup oil on medium-high heat. While the oil is warming up, dust the beef cubes in the flour. When the oil starts to smoke, sear the beef cubes in batches (careful not to overcrowd the pot – you may need to do this in two batches) until you get a dark brown crust on both sides). Set aside the beef.

Use the remaining oil in the pot to stir-fry the paste (made in step 1) for 5 mins until caramelized and aromatic.

Add the spices to the pot: cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass. Stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Then add in the chilli powder, brown sugar and seared beef cubes. Stir-fry for another 3 minutes.

Add the water, coconut cream and salt to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and bring it to the simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 15mins.

(Toast the desiccated coconut in this time if you haven’t already.)

After 15mins, add the toasted coconut and stir thoroughly. If everything seems too dry at this time, add 1/4 cup of water at a time and mix. Cover the pot again and reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 2 hours or more until the beef is “fork-tender” and easy to break down and the liquid has been absorbed. You’ll notice that the curry is a pale brown colour for most of the cook, but once the majority of the sauce cooks down, the oils separate and it becomes a reddish-brown colour. Serve with rice and a good sambal or chilli paste.

Tip: Flavours taste even better the next day!

Summarized Recipe:

Beef Rendang

Date Published: Dec 14th, 2021 | Last Updated: Dec 14th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: mains, Asian
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 6 hours

Ingredients:

  • Paste:
    • 4 large red Asian shallots
    • 5 cloves garlic
    • 4cm piece of fresh ginger (or galangal), peeled and sliced
    • 3 stalks of lemon grass (white parts only), finely sliced – you’ll need another 3 later on = 6 total
    • 2 Tbsp of a neutral oil
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (ie. canola, vegetable…etc.)
  • 650g (~1.5lbs) chuck steak cut into cubes
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Rendang Spices:
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 4 star anise
    • 6 cardamom pods
    • 8 kaffir lime leaves (fresh or dried), stems removed and thinly sliced
    • 3 stalks of lemongrass, bruised/lightly pounded
  • 1 tsp hot chili powder (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup (240ml) water
  • 1 cup (240ml) full fat coconut cream
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut, toasted
  • Serve with steamed rice or flatbread – or both! Also goes well with sambal.

Directions:

  1. Make the paste by blending together: shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and oil. Blend until a thick paste forms. Set aside.
  2. In a wok, heat the 1/2 cup oil on medium-high heat. While the oil is warming up, dust the beef cubes in the flour. When the oil starts to smoke, sear the beef cubes in batches (careful not to overcrowd the pot – you may need to do this in two batches) until you get a dark brown crust on both sides). Set aside the beef.
  3. Use the remaining oil in the pot to stir-fry the paste (made in step 1) for 5 mins until caramelized and aromatic.
  4. Add the spices to the pot: cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass. Stir-fry for another 3 minutes.
  5. Add in the chilli powder, brown sugar and seared beef cubes. Stir-fry for another 3 minutes.
  6. Add the water, coconut cream and salt to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and bring it to the simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 15mins.
  7. (Toast the desiccated coconut in this time if you haven’t already.)
  8. After 15mins, add the toasted coconut and stir thoroughly. If everything seems too dry at this time, add 1/4 cup of water at a time and mix. Cover the pot again and reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 2 hours or more until the beef is “fork-tender” and easy to break down and the liquid has been absorbed. You’ll notice that the curry is a pale brown colour for most of the cook, but once the majority of the sauce cooks down, the oils separate and it becomes a reddish-brown colour. Serve with rice and a good sambal or chilli paste.
    • Tip: Flavours taste even better the next day!

Mom’s Savoury Pork & Cabbage Congee 鹹稀飯


Date Published: Nov 8th, 2021 | Last Updated: Nov 8th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: mains, Asian, easy, healthy, soups, Taiwanese
Serves: 4-6 (as a main) | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 45 mins

Jump to recipe |

This recipe is easy and cooks up quickly!

This recipe is near and dear to me. My mom used to make it for us when I was a kid and I don’t think I properly appreciated it until I moved out from home. I had to get a dental procedure done a couple months ago and was instructed not to eat any hard foods for a day or two and the first thing I thought about making was mom’s salty congee. I called her up in Canada on the way home from my procedure and she gave me the rough instructions and ratios for me to figure out (she never writes down recipes and just eyes the ratios when she cooks). I picked up the ingredients before heading home and made it that night for dinner. It was surprisingly super easy and it turned out just like mom’s. It was amazing, nostalgic, and brought me right back to my childhood. I ate 3 bowls in one sitting!

Now I crave this every time I’m sick (Toby has amazingly learned how to make this dish for me for when I’m unwell 😊). It’s so warm and comforting, kind of like the effects of a chicken noodle soup. I hope you enjoy this recipe 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:

  • 350g pork mince
  • 3/4 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 7 cups (1.75L) water
  • 4 cups of cabbage, chopped to 2cm squares 
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp chicken stock powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil

Directions:

In a bowl, mix the pork mince and cornstarch together (this may be easier to do by hand). Set aside.

In a large pot, add in the rice, water and pork. Break up the pork into smaller pieces when adding it to the pot and stir. Turn the heat on HIGH and bring it to a boil with the lid on.

Once the water boils, add in the cabbage, salt and chicken stock powder. When the water boils again, turn the heat down to LOW and let it simmer with the lid on until the congee is to your desired consistency. Stir occasionally to ensure your congee doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.

I like my congee thick and porridge-y consistency so I let it simmer a bit longer. If you prefer your congee more watery and soupy, turn off the heat earlier.

When the congee is to your liking, turn off the heat and immediately add in the beaten eggs. Stir the eggs into the congee until they are cooked (a few seconds). Mix in the white pepper and sesame oil. Add more salt and pepper to taste if you like. Serve!

Summarized Recipe:

Mom’s Savoury Pork & Cabbage Congee 鹹稀飯


Date Published:
Nov 8th, 2021 | Last Updated: Nov 8th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: mains, Asian, easy, healthy, soups, Taiwanese
Serves: 4-6 (as a main) | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 45 mins

Ingredients:

  • 350g pork mince
  • 3/4 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 7 cups (1.75L) water
  • 4 cups of cabbage, chopped to 2cm squares 
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp chicken stock powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, mix the pork mince and cornstarch together (this may be easier to do by hand). Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, add in the rice, water and pork. Break up the pork into smaller pieces when adding it to the pot and stir. Turn the heat on HIGH and bring it to a boil with the lid on.
  3. Once the water boils, add in the cabbage, salt and chicken stock powder. When the water boils again, turn the heat down to LOW and let it simmer with the lid on until the congee is to your desired consistency. Stir occasionally to ensure your congee doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
    • I like my congee thick and porridge-y consistency so I let it simmer a bit longer. If you prefer your congee more watery and soupy, turn off the heat earlier.
  4. When the congee is to your liking, turn off the heat and immediately add in the beaten eggs. Stir the eggs into the congee until they are cooked (a few seconds). Mix in the white pepper and sesame oil. Add more salt and pepper to taste if you like. Serve!

Corn Egg Drop Soup (玉米蛋花湯)


Date Published: June 28th, 2021 | Last Updated: June 28th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: asian, soup, healthy, vegetarian, easy, <15mins, appetizers, low calorie
Serves: 6 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Jump to recipe |

Egg drop soup is a Chinese dish commonly served in restaurants as an appetizer or a side with your meal. The Chinese name translates to “egg flower soup” because the way the egg disseminates in the soup makes beautiful swirls that resemble a floral pattern. The english name relates to the fact that the egg is “dropped” into the soup at the end to make the swirls – a little less poetic, eh?

The most basic version of the soup is just the swirly egg and broth. You’ll probably see this version most often in Asia because it’s a quick and cheap addition to a meal. Another common version (and my favourite) has added corn for extra crunch and sweetness. Some places will bulk it up with chopped ham, tofu or even chicken to make it a full meal.

This soup is so ridiculously quick and easy – all you need are a few basic ingredients and 15 minutes to whip this up. It’s also super cheap and satisfying if you’re cooking on a budget. The egg-laced chicken broth based soup with the fresh sweet crunch of the corn makes this one of my favourite classic Asian soups!

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:

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper (or more to your liking)
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 can (420g) of corn kernels, drained (or kernels cut off of 2 husks of corn)
  • 4 Tbsps cornstarch
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 spring onions, chopped for garnish

Add-ins to consider: ham, chicken, tofu

Directions:

In a pot on MED heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer then add in sesame oil, white pepper, sugar and corn. Let it come to a simmer again, then taste the soup and adjust seasonings as needed, salt & pepper to taste.

Take out a few ladles of soup into a bowl and add in the cornstarch. Mix it around until smooth then drizzle it into the soup while stirring continuously (if you don’t stir, the corn starch will clump together). Feel free to add more cornstarch if you prefer a thicker consistency (remember to mix it with soup first in a small bowl, never add cornstarch directly into the soup or else it will clump).

Once the taste and consistency of the soup is to your liking, turn off the heat.

Scramble the eggs in a separate bowl, then slowly add it to the soup while stirring. The faster you stir, the more disseminated the eggs will be. The slower you stir the soup, the bigger egg pieces you’ll get.

Serve garnished with spring onions on top. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Corn Egg Drop Soup (玉米蛋花湯)

Date Published: June 28th, 2021 | Last Updated: June 28th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: asian, soup, healthy, vegetarian, easy, <15mins, appetizers, low calorie
Serves: 6 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper (or more to your liking)
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 can (420g) of corn kernels, drained (or kernels cut off of 2 husks of corn)
  • 4 Tbsps cornstarch
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 spring onions, chopped for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a pot on MED heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer then add in sesame oil, white pepper, sugar and corn. Let it come to a simmer again, then taste the soup and adjust seasonings as needed, salt & pepper to taste.
  2. Take out a few ladles of soup into a bowl and add in the cornstarch. Mix it around until smooth then drizzle it into the soup while stirring continuously (if you don’t stir, the corn starch will clump together). Feel free to add more cornstarch if you prefer a thicker consistency (remember to mix it with soup first in a small bowl, never add cornstarch directly into the soup or else it will clump).
  3. Once the taste and consistency of the soup is to your liking, turn off the heat. Scramble the eggs in a separate bowl, then slowly add it to the soup while stirring. The faster you stir, the more disseminated the eggs will be. The slower you stir the soup, the bigger egg pieces you’ll get.
  4. Serve garnished with spring onions on top. Enjoy!

Malaysian Satay Sauce


Date Published: June 28th, 2021 | Last Updated: June 28th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: asian, sauces, <15mins, quick and easy
Serves: ~1.5 cups | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 7 mins

Jump to recipe |

This recipe is from Sarah Tiong, one of my favourite contestants on Masterchef Australia. I’d strongly recommend everyone to check out her cookbook which is full of amazing flavourful Southeast Asian dishes.

What is Satay?

Satay is a very popular dish in Southeast Asia (especially Malaysia and Indonesia) made of skewered meat marinated and grilled in a savoury peanut sauce. The flavourful sauce is what makes the dish and there are so many variations of it. In its essence, the sauce base is made of ground roasted peanuts and the mix of different spices and aromatics are what takes it to the next level.

This recipe uses curry powder and tamarind paste for its robust flavour. It’s quick any easy to make, with minimal ingredients. You can use this as a marinade or dipping sauce for whatever you like. I’ve even tossed this sauce with some roasted cauliflower for a quick savoury side dish!

If you’re a fan of satay, check out my other satay recipe that uses red chilli paste and coconut milk: Red Curry Satay 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 cup (150 g) roasted salted peanuts, finely ground or blended
  • 1 Tbsp (9 g) curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp (15 g) tamarind paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (14 g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) water (or more if you want a runnier sauce)

Directions:

Heat a dry small skillet or saucepan over LOW heat.

Add the ground peanuts and curry powder to the pan and stir together for 1 minute until fragrant. Mix in the tamarind paste, brown sugar and water and let it simmer for 5 mins or until it reduces to a thick sauce. If you prefer a runnier sauce, add more water. Done!

Summarized Recipe:

Malaysian Satay Sauce

Date Published: June 28th, 2021 | Last Updated: June 28th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: asian, sauces, <15mins, quick and easy
Serves: ~1.5 cups | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 7 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (150 g) roasted salted peanuts, finely ground or blended
  • 1 Tbsp (9 g) curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp (15 g) tamarind paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (14 g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) water (or more if you want a runnier sauce)

Directions:

  1. Heat a dry small skillet or saucepan over LOW heat.
  2. Add the ground peanuts and curry powder to the pan and stir together for 1 minute until fragrant. Mix in the tamarind paste, brown sugar and water and let it simmer for 5 mins or until it reduces to a thick sauce. If you prefer a runnier sauce, add more water. Done!

Not KFC: KBC – Korean Baked Cauliflower in a Sticky Sweet & Spicy Sauce


Date Published: June 24th, 2021 | Last Updated: June 24th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: sides, main, snacks, vegetarian, healthy, appetizer, asian
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 60 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

Jump to recipe |

In an attempt to eat healthier, I stumbled across this recipe by Chez Jorge. Toby has an undying love for Korean Fried Chicken so of course we had to try this recipe as soon as we saw it. The recipe turned out fantastic and the flavours were just like classic Korean fried chicken except we felt guilt-free eating the whole batch in one sitting. Even Toby’s parents were raving about it and asked for the recipe. I’ve made this a handful of times since and always find I run out of the breading ingredients way too early, so I’ve adjusted the recipe to double the coating, but the main recipe is essentially the same. I’d recommend checking out Chez Jorge’s original recipe and the beautiful food photography.

This recipe is on the spicy side so if you’re not a fan of spice, either get a mild gochujang or lessen the amount of it in the sauce. You can serve this as a side dish or eat it as a main with a small side of rice or cold noodles to break up the bold flavours.

I will warn you, this recipe does take some time to prepare and you’ll probably get really tired of breading all the cauliflower florets, but I promise it’s worth it! This recipe is also air fryer-friendly so you can get in a little extra crunch!

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 large cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsps potato starch or corn starch
  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 3 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsps white sesame seeds, to finish (optional)
  • Buttermilk Brine
    • 3 cups milk or any non-dairy milk (ie. soy milk, almond milk)
    • 3 Tbsps lemon juice
    • 3 tsps cayenne pepper
    • 3 tsps white pepper
    • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
    • 3 tsps garlic powder
    • 3 tsps fine sea salt
  • Sticky Spicy Sauce
    • 2 tsps sesame oil
    • 1.5 tsps ginger, grated
    • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
    • 1 cup mirin
    • 1/4 cup sriracha
    • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 4 tsps rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

Directions:

Make the brine: In a large wide-based bowl or pan, mix all the ingredients for the brine (milk, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, white pepper, ginger powder, garlic powder, salt) and add the cauliflower florets in and mix it around. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Place the raw almonds in a food processor and pulse until you get small coarse almonds pieces (do not blend – you don’t want it too fine or else you lose the crunch). Transfer the almonds to a bowl and mix with panko and set aside.

In another bowl, mix together the flour and cornstarch. Set aside.

Make the sauce: In a medium skillet on medium heat, fry the garlic and ginger in the sesame oil for 30 seconds then add in the rest of the ingredients (mirin, sriracha, light soy sauce, maple syrup, rice wine vinegar, gochujang). Simmer for a few minutes or until the desired consistency. You should have a sticky sauce. Tip: Don’t make it too thick or else it will be hard to evenly coat all the cauliflower.

Preheat oven to 215˚C (420˚F) and prepare two baking trays lined with parchment paper. You can also do this in an air fryer at 180˚C for 15 minutes.

Bread the cauliflower: Separate the cauliflower from the brine. Bread your cauliflower in this order, making sure to cover all sides:

  1. Dip into the flour/cornstarch mixture. Shake off excess.
  2. Dip into the brine. Shake off excess.
  3. Dip into the almond/panko and gently press it into the cauliflower to help it stick.

Place the breaded cauliflower on the baking trays and drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top. Bake at 215˚C for roughly 30mins or until golden brown. You can also do this in an air fryer at 180˚C for 15 minutes.

When the cauliflower is almost done, heat up the sauce until it’s hot and immediately toss the cauliflower in the sauce when it comes out the oven. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve!

Summarized Recipe:

Not KFC: KBC – Korean Baked Cauliflower in a Sticky Sweet & Spicy Sauce

Date Published: June 24th, 2021 | Last Updated: June 24th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: sides, main, snacks, vegetarian, healthy, appetizer, asian
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 60 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsps potato starch or corn starch
  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 3 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsps white sesame seeds, to finish (optional)
  • Buttermilk Brine
    • 3 cups milk or any non-dairy milk (ie. soy milk, almond milk)
    • 3 Tbsps lemon juice
    • 3 tsps cayenne pepper
    • 3 tsps white pepper
    • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
    • 3 tsps garlic powder
    • 3 tsps fine sea salt
  • Sticky Spicy Sauce
    • 2 tsps sesame oil
    • 1.5 tsps ginger, grated
    • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
    • 1 cup mirin
    • 1/4 cup sriracha
    • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 4 tsps rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

Directions:

  1. Make the brine: In a large wide-based bowl or pan, mix all the ingredients for the brine (milk, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, white pepper, ginger powder, garlic powder, salt) and add the cauliflower florets in and mix it around. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
  2. Place the raw almonds in a food processor and pulse until you get small coarse almonds pieces (do not blend – you don’t want it too fine or else you lose the crunch). Transfer the almonds to a bowl and mix with panko and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the flour and cornstarch. Set aside.
  4. Make the sauce: In a medium skillet on medium heat, fry the garlic and ginger in the sesame oil for 30 seconds then add in the rest of the ingredients (mirin, sriracha, light soy sauce, maple syrup, rice wine vinegar, gochujang). Simmer for a few minutes or until the desired consistency. You should have a sticky sauce. Tip: Don’t make it too thick or else it will be hard to evenly coat all the cauliflower.
  5. Preheat oven to 215˚C (420˚F) and prepare two baking trays lined with parchment paper. You can also do this in an air fryer at 180˚C for 15 minutes.
  6. Bread the cauliflower: Separate the cauliflower from the brine. Bread your cauliflower in this order, making sure to cover all sides:
    1. Dip into the flour/cornstarch mixture. Shake off excess.
    2. Dip into the brine. Shake off excess.
    3. Dip into the almond/panko and gently press it into the cauliflower to help it stick.
  7. Place the breaded cauliflower on the baking trays and drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top. Bake at 215˚C for roughly 30mins or until golden brown. You can also do this in an air fryer at 180˚C for 15 minutes.
  8. When the cauliflower is almost done, heat up the sauce until it’s hot and immediately toss the cauliflower in the sauce when it comes out the oven. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve!