I love dumplings and can eat them everyday, something I actually did once for 3 months. There are so many different types of dumplings right here in Asia – Japanese Gyoza, Korean Mandoo, Cantonese Wanton, Shanghainese xiaolongbao, Szechuan dumplings in hot oil, all with different fillings and varied methods of eating. I love them all! While I am not sure where exactly potstickers originated from, I do know that they are more popular in some parts of China and in Taiwan than they are in Hong Kong, where the cantonese steamed or boiled wantons can be found everywhere. Here is a recipe for potstickers stuffed with juicy ground pork, crunchy chopped cabbage and julienned ginger that is my favourite type of dumpling right now.
How dare I make this outrageous claim, you ask? Well, because it really is pretty darned fantastic and living life with a little more confidence never hurt anyone, am I right?
Okay, so I confess – the husband came up with this recipe. He made it numerous times, improving his precious recipe with every steam, sought advice from professional kitchen chefs and he finally perfected it. I am not a fan of steamed foods (fried chicken is the way to go always, thank you very much), but I have to admit that this steamed chicken never fails to tantalize my taste buds.
Noodles can NOT be made any simpler and any more delicious. This idiot proof recipe for black sauce noodles with fried garlic and spring onions is my go-to recipe for a quick lunch on busy days when there are a butt-load of chores to be done and, dirty and hungry children to clean and feed, or on lazy days when all I want to do is anything that does not result in me slaving over the stove with sweat dripping down my forehead. It is unbelievably quick (all you need is 10 minutes or less!), made with only 3 main ingredients, mad simple and insanely yummy.
Admittedly, I have always sucked at frying rice. My fried rice usually turns out too mushy, or too dry, or too salty. It’s only on the rare occasions that I get fried rice that is just passable. My ineptness at cooking fried rice never really bothered me, until I met the husband who counts fried rice as one of his all-time favourite foods – Yikes. Despite this, I rarely cooked fried rice and as such we hardly ate fried rice at home, until recently when the husband himself mastered the art of cooking perfect fried rice. I am thrilled to share these fried rice hacks with you, all it takes is a few easy steps to take note of, and you will be cooking fried rice ALL the time, trust me.
There are occasions when I get into the mood to cook more complex recipes that require more prep time and technique, and then there are days that inspire me to whip up something extremely simple and straightforward like this Japanese Steamed Salmon and Pumpkin Rice. Only 4 ingredients and 2 seasoning sauces that you toss right into the rice cooker. Oh, and get this – it tastes incredible as well!
I’ve recently been obsessed with cooking with peas, and have been incorporating them as much as possible into my daily cooking – frying rice for dinner? Throw in a cup of peas. In the mood for some broth-y chicken pasta soup? Peas away! Quick stir-fried pork with onions? Oh, let’s throw in some peas for colour. Fortunately, my daughter loves peas and my son tolerates them so I get to carry on with my pea-obsession. For pasta day this last week of February, I decided to whip up a quick one-pot pasta with fresh prawns, fragrant basil and bright summery green peas in a sweet-savoury tomato sauce.
One ingredient I make sure to have in my pantry at ALL times is the multi-purpose Korean Spicy Chilli Paste (Gochujang). I use it to stir-fry, as a dip, to mix with noodles and/or plain rice and to make simple spicy stews. These are the ways that the Korean themselves use the Gochujang sauce as well. It is flavourful, versatile and easy-to-use, I simply LOVE it.
Being half-cantonese, I love my boiled soups. Now that I have children of my own, I make it a point to brew one of the many nutritious cantonese-style soups that I have learned from my mother at least once a week. This lotus root soup is a personal favourite of mine, as I just really love cooking with lotus root and also I enjoy dipping the cooked lotus root, with all its essences from the red dates, dried oysters and chicken bones or pork spare ribs, into a saucer of chopped chilli and dark soy sauce – it’s like an entirely separate dish from the soup, I absolutely love love love it.