Traditional Mooncakes (gluten- and dairy-free)

gf mooncakes

gf mooncakes in tin


Mooncakes? Yes please! Homemade mooncakes? Yes please! Homemade gluten-free mooncakes? Yesssssssssss, please!

I love mooncakes. Growing up, we’d be lucky if we had a tin of four to share between six of us. They were never great in quality, but what did I know? For many years, I didn’t eat mooncakes. This was until about 4-5 years ago, when I stumbled across them and had to buy them. After that, I couldn’t stop eating them! (I’m surprised I’m not the size of a house).

Since each fresh mooncake is about $5 each, I was determined to make my own. I even have a wooden mold! This project was put on hold when I went gluten-free Continue reading

Lotus Seed Paste

This is a great filling for steamed or baked Chinese buns. It’s rich, smooth, nutty and barely sweet. I used it in my gluten-free mooncakes.

This recipe does not use lard, lye water or rose water. It’s simple: lotus seeds, sugar, water and olive oil (believe it or not). There is definitely a difference in taste, but I do like the flavor of olive oil so it doesn’t perturb me. I’d also rather use olive oil than some dodgy vegetable oil. Most traditionalists Continue reading

Kimchi for Cheats

kimchi


Everybody should eat more probiotic food… period. Kimchi is one of those foods where you can sneak probiotics into your diet without noticing it, well, ok, you will notice it if you don’t like kimchi. I guess it is definitely an acquired taste, and to be honest with you, I’m not sure if I have that acquired taste. I like the kimchi when it’s not fully ripe, that is when it’s not fully fermented, which kind of defeats the object Continue reading

Pork Chops with Ginger and Spring Onions


It’s funny how we often crave the foods we enjoyed when we were children. This recipe is based on a dish my mother used to make, and still makes. Thinly sliced, boneless, pork chops are marinated in a mixture of Marsala wine, light soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and spring onions.

The combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and spring onions bring out the Chinese-influence on this dish. Although my mother used to use Sherry Continue reading

Toasted Black Sesame (Goma) Ice Cream – Vegan


Ever since I ordered black sesame jin dui (fried sesame glutinous rice balls) at a dim sum restaurant in Vancouver B.C., J has been slightly obsessed with the aromatic flavor of black sesame seeds. He refused to eat any jin dui stuffed with red bean paste! I, on the other hand, am no stranger to the wonderful aromas of black sesame seeds. One of my favorite desserts is sweet black sesame soup.

When I saw the recipe for “black sesame ice cream” in my latest test book “The Vegan Scoop”, I just had to try it! I adapted the recipe by toasting Continue reading

Chinese Grass Jelly Pudding


You have to believe me when I tell you that this is not a bowl of thickened squid ink.

It’s a dessert/snack, which tastes like a grass jelly flavored Angel Delight (pudding). The creation was made purely accidentally. I had half a can of grass jelly left, and I wanted to make it into a drink with rock sugar syrup… only the amount of syrup I used was not substantial enough to make a drink, but a silky dessert/snack.

I thought it was pretty pleasant. However, if the black gelatinous mass doesn’t put you off, Continue reading

Chinese Grass Jelly with Rock Sugar Syrup


I’ve been going through a weird phase recently. I’ve been craving foods from my childhood… often the ones that I hated then. The most recent craving was Chinese grass jelly.

It was warm in Seattle for about a week, and all I could think about was a bowl of nicely chilled Chinese grass jelly with rock sugar syrup. Only I didn’t have any at home. The idea of this jelly normally disgusts me, Continue reading

Smoked Salmon Kedgeree

 

Enough with chocolate already! My last six posts were about chocolate. It’s not to say we don’t love chocolate, we do… especially J, but the page is getting a little overly-chocolatey, if that is at all possible.

I’m not a huge fan of cold-smoked salmon. Although it’s packed full of flavor, I just find it a little over-slimy for me. Hot-smoked salmon on the other hand is another matter. It is far more robust in flavor, and not at all slimy. The last few months I keep seeing it in the chilled seafood displays in PCC, but I never got around to buying any. Once I bought some, I was thinking of a way to incorporate it into a whole, wholesome, square meal. Continue reading

Plain Egg Fried Rice with Prawns (Shrimp)

 

Let’s get back to basics.

Plain egg fried rice is one of the easiest, quickest, simplest and cheapest Chinese dishes you can make. It can be served as a side dish or as a main meal. The best part is that you can add anything to it to make it a little more substantial. In this recipe I’ve added prawns (shrimp), but feel free to omit them, or add something else. It’s also a great way of making use of any leftover rice.

I’ve cut down on the amount of oil used typically in Chinese restaurants, mainly because I think it is unnecessary. Continue reading

Baked Char Siu Bao (Chinese BBQ Pork Buns) – Tangzhong (Water-Roux) Method

 

One of J’s favorite dim sum items is char siu bao – baked or steamed, he loves both the same. Only the other day, we were in Uwajimaya and he felt hungry for something warm. He opted for steamed BBQ pork buns. He offered me a bite, but I refused – the dough looked rubbery, the interior was scarily red, and the meat was non-existent. Ugh!

I’ve only ever made baked char siu bao once. It was not that they weren’t super-tasty, they were. They just took a lot of effort to make. However, one evening whilst surfing for food porn, Continue reading

Cauliflower and Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Curry

  

This is a delicious and quick curry, which is easy to make, vegan-friendly and tastes fantastic. It’s Indian-inspired, and uses the cheat ingredient of pre-made concentrated curry paste. I’ve grown up with Patak’s, so I’m delighted that they sell it in the US. I have a variety of Patak’s curry pastes. On this occasion, I used the biryani (cilantro and cumin) paste. If you use a different brand, you may need to adjust the amounts to get the flavor right.

The dish can be made in under 30 minutes. I pop on the rice to cook first, then start prepping the cauliflower, onion and garlic. When ready, I just start to cook it. The curry is a dry one, with the spices sticking onto the cauliflower and chickpeas (garbanzo beans). The trick is to cook the cauliflower and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) until they are soft and tender. I love to serve it over brown rice.

  

Continue reading

Badam Burfi (Almond Candy)

  

I have fond memories of my mother picking me up from junior school and occasionally stopping off at her Indian friend, Dolly’s shop. I don’t even remember which shop was Dolly’s, what she looked like, or what her shop sold… but I do remember that she used to have a limited selection of mithai (Indian sweets). We’d buy a very small selection (as our budget didn’t allow for more), but more often than not, we’d have jalebis or burfi (barfi) of some sort.

Many years have passed since then. When I visited my parents (who still live in the same place for over 40+ years) in the mid 2000’s, I noticed a couple of shops (directly opposite each other) who specialized in mithai. I was like a child at the window of a sweet (candy) shop. The shops were well lit and the displays were vast. Now that I could afford it, I had to buy one of everything! Continue reading