Sweet Potato Glutinous Rice Balls with Coconut Sugar

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I have not celebrated Chinese New Year (CNY) for many many years. “Celebrating” in my family meant receiving red envelopes and gorging on good, homemade, traditional Chinese food.

It’s been twenty years since I celebrated Chinese New Year with my folks! They do still go about the tradition with my siblings, but living 5,000+ miles away doesn’t make it easy to rush over for dinner.

This year, I wanted to eat something “special” for CNY. Continue reading

Sweet and Sour Chicken / Pork

sweet and sour

I have never have liked sweet and sour sauce, whether it was with vegetables, chicken, pork, or prawns! I hated the smell. I hated the consistency. I just plain hated it. The funniest thing is that I have never tried it, but the smell of vinegar has always put me off food.

Since I hate it so much, I never paid any attention to how my father made it.

So why am I blogging about it? Well…. Continue reading

Honey-Sweetened Coconut Soup with Sweet Potato, Kabocha Squash and Beans

coconut soup with sweet potato and beans

One morning, I really felt like a sweetened coconut milk soup for breakfast and came up with this rather weird concoction. Ok, it’s not that weird, I mean, my father used to make a pasta dish with a super-sweet sugary broth and served it with boiled eggs. However, the honey in this soup did lend a rather “honey-ish” flavor to the soup (not surprisingly). Continue reading

Coconut Curry Soup with Kabocha Squash and Rice Noodles

coconut curry kabocha and rice noodles coconut curry kabocha and rice noodles spoon

I love coconut curry. I love kabocha squash. I love boiled eggs. I love rice noodles. So why on earth did I not mix them together to make a dish that I would love earlier? Who knows. It’s Easy. Simple. Delicious.

I used a Panang curry paste to make this soup, but you can use any curry paste of your choosing. I think yellow, red or even green Thai curry pastes would work well with this. Continue reading

Creamy Coconut Curry and Lentil Soup (dairy-free)

coconut curry red lentil soup

This is one of those recipes that I bookmarked ages ago, but didn’t get around to making it until [insert date/special occasion]. I am assuming that we’ve all done it, bookmark something that looks incredibly awesome, forget about it, then revisit it many times before making it. We then kick ourselves because we should have made it earlier… much much earlier! Yes, this soup is one of them. I am obsessed with this soup. It’s dairy-free, vegan and packed of protein, flavor and nutrition. It’s thick, rich, satisfying, creamy, spicy, warming and you would never guess it is vegan. It might even be better than dhal, if possible! Continue reading

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


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