Chinese Turnip Cake (Lor Bak Go)

Chinese New Years may have passed but that doesn’t mean we still can’t celebrate with Chinese Turnip Cake! I love ordering these at the restaurants and with our never ending obsession with buying daikon to make pickled daikon or Japanese dishes, it seemed to make sense to make turnip cake with any extra daikon that we can’t finish.

However, as some of you may know, finding Chinese recipes on the internet isn’t exactly the easiest thing and even when I do find one, I’m skeptical as to how credible the source is how ‘authentic’ the recipe is. Lucky for us, we’ve stumbled across the blog WoksOfLife and tried a few of their recipes and found them to be quite authentic and delicious. And thus, they became our default go to site for any Chinese recipes. When we decided to make Chinese Turnip Cake, lo and behold, we checked their site first and luckily, they had it (yay!)

The ingredients aren’t too hard to find – in fact, we would say most of them are staples in a Chinese household.

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Momofuku Pork Buns

In our previous post, we talked about how we made steamed buns. Well, it’s time to put it all together! As part of our Momofuku week, we made a variety of dishes from the Momofuku cookbook including the Compost cookie, Roasted Sweet Summer Corn, and now this! Pork Buns 🙂

These little buns were so much fun to make and realistically, you can put whatever the heck you want inside as fillings. The original cookbook suggested this to be served with pickled cucumbers but we ran out so we used pickled carrots and daikon instead which was just as good! It could also be served with lettuce or any greens of your choice.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a pork bun without the pork. We purchased thick cut pork belly for this at our local grocery store (which was surprisingly hard to find in our area!). I personally found that the thicker the cut, the better.

In order to maximize flavour of the pork belly, it needs to be brined first. So, liberally coat both sides of the pork belly with equal parts sugar and salt. One they’re both fully covered, leave it to sit overnight in the fridge for at least a day.

When you’re ready to cook them, rinse off the extra sugar and salt – otherwise, it’ll be overly salty when you cook them. Pat them dry and bake the pork belly at 250F in a baking tray for approximately an hour and a half. Be sure to flip them halfway into the cooking time to ensure even cooking. Then turn up the oven to 400F and roast for another 10 minutes or so or until golden brown as shown below.

Cut the pork belly into smaller pieces and insert in steamed buns along with pickled veggies and serve with other accompaniments such as Hoisin sauce and rice!

 

 

Steamed Buns Recipe

There is nothing I love more than steamed buns. If I had to choose between artisanal bread and steamed buns, I will choose steamed buns. For the longest time, I’ve put off making steamed buns because I was a bit intimidated by the process – and also because I didn’t have a steamer.

I’ve made steamed buns in the past but mostly it was used in the form of a traditional steamed bun where there’s filling inside and you can’t see it until you bite into it. See my Nikuman – Chinese Steamed Pork Buns recipe I made in the past to better understand what I’m talking about.

However, while I was making my Momofuku themed dinner, I stumbled across David Chang’s Pork Buns recipe which used the traditional steamed buns recipe but instead of stuffing it with filling, it was used almost like a taco wrap.

This recipe was really easy to make – it took about the same amount of time as making any standard bread recipe. Plus, I also found the bun a bit sweet which I like! The buns turned out really well – it was super soft and fluffy 🙂 I think I might use this recipe as the foundation of my other steamed buns recipe moving forward.

From an aesthetics point of view, this style of bun was great because you get to see exactly what you eat and it can be more visually appealing. It also lends a different texture than a crunchy lettuce wrap if you were to have pork belly ssam for example.

To learn how to make this steamed buns recipe, see below! To learn more about the Momofuku Pork Buns that I made using this steamed buns recipe (see photo above), click here.

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Roasted Sweet Summer Corn recipe

As mentioned in our previous blog post, we recently purchased the Momofuku cookbook by David Chang. As part of our Valentine’s day dinner, I tried a few of his recipes and decided to blog about my experience and how the dishes turned out. Spoiler alert – it turned out surprisingly well!

One of the dishes that I was compelled to was the Roasted Sweet Summer Corn recipe. I was compelled for several reasons:

  • I already had all the ingredients on hand though I did make a substitution for one of the ingredients
  • It had miso butter – the two things we love!
  • BACON (need I say more?)
  • Roasted Onions. MM sweet and savoury 🙂

I didn’t have fresh corn on hand but frozen corn did the trick. I personally found this dish to be quite rich on its own so I tend to pair it with some carbs to cut the richness such as rice. I presume it would also taste great with potatoes (whether baked, mashed, or roasted).  This dish was a great accompaniment to the steamed pork buns that I made, along with the cherry tomato salad and compost cookie for dessert.

Find out how to make this dish using the recipe below, adapted from the Momofuku cookbook. I substituted ramen broth with dashi simply because I don’t have the time or resource to make it and I felt it turned out just as well.

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Compost Cookie recipe from Momomufuku’s Milk Bar

Recently we bought the Momofuku cookbooks – both the original and the milk bar one.

To be honest, both books have been gathering dust since we bought it a couple months ago – mostly because we were too lazy to get around reading it and most importantly, attempting the recipes. I did quickly glance over the recipes and I felt that quite a few of them were labour intensive but given Valentine’s Day was coming up, I felt now was a good time to put the book to good use. I planned everything out – I was going to make him a Momofuku themed dinner with this Compost Cookie being the final dessert. I’ll link to the other recipes I made once I post them 🙂

Now I’ve had the real compost cookie before and it was really good. I believe it is called the Compost Cookie because it has an assortment of mix-ins to the cookie. It’s not your standard singular flavour chocolate chip cookie. This cookie has ingredients such as potato chips, coffee grounds, rolled oats, chocolate chips just to name a few.  Mind you I did leave out a couple of ingredients (mostly because I didn’t have them on hand but I was also desperately craving these cookies) but in my opinion, they turned out really well! In fact, we felt it taste very close to the cookies we got at the Milk Bar.

I did encounter some problems when baking it and that was the issue with spreading. The first time I baked these cookies, I followed the instructions to the T including the baking temperature and my cookies almost turned out like chips because they spread so thin. I tried it again but this time baking it at a much lower temperature and it turned out much better! It’s also important to bake the cookie dough when it’s cold and not room temperature.

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Snowflake Sugar Cookies

Continuing with our holiday baking are these snowflake sugar cookies! The thing I love about sugar cookies is that they are so versatile. Sure… they may look and taste plain at first, but they are essentially a blank canvas for you to decorate! This christmas, I decided to make snowflake sugar cookies because quite frankly… my cookie cutter selection is quite limited so I worked with what I had.. I definitely want to stock up on more cookie cutter shapes next year!

Decorating sugar cookies is quite the art – one I have yet to perfect. Just recently did I get the consistency of the royal icing just right so that it doesn’t run all over the cookie upon piping it. What I still currently struggle with is having the right control when piping the outline. In essence, I have trouble staying inside the lines when coloring -_- Luckily, there were enough cookies that by the time I decorated the last few, I finally started to get the hang of it!

This sugar cookie recipe is my go to. It usually makes a pretty large batch but I try to either halve it or just freeze the rest for another occasion. These sugar cookies are not only perfect for the holidays, but can be great for bake sales or any other occasion where you have an excuse to be creative. For instructions, see below.

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Gingerbread Cookie Bars

Tis the season for holiday baking! I love to bake all year round regardless of the time of year but I feel extra festive during Christmas 🙂

One of my favourite holiday treats are gingerbread cookies. I love the kick that the spices have to offer and the opportunity to decorate them make it extra fun. While I was browsing Pinterest (my muse and inspirational god), I stumbled across gingerbread bars and thought “Oh how cool is that, I’ve never really made a cookie bar before” and given all the Christmas dinners we have coming up, now is the best time to make them.

These gingerbread cookie bars have the texture of a chewy brownie and the flavour of a gingerbread cookie. They actually taste fine on their own but if you want to be extra festive, the cream cheese frosting serves a a beautiful canvas to your holiday garnishing/decorations. I opted for the christmas-y sprinkles and crushed candy canes.

We have a lot of friends who don’t like cream cheese (or frosting for that matter) so I decided to half the batch of cream cheese frosting so that some bars have it while others don’t. It worked out really well!

I would’ve eaten more bars but today was full of non-stop eating. However, I always have an extra stomach just for dessert and was able to squeeze in a small piece but I just wish I had space to eat more 🙁

This is going to be a tough month with all the christmas dinners and gatherings – I’ll be busting at the seams 24/7. Does not help that my gym membership is also expiring end of this year…. O_O

To find out how I made these bars, see recipe below which I adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything. I increased the amount of ground ginger by 1/2 tsp as I personally like it more gingery. I also halved the cream cheese frosting recipe listed below given a number of our friends don’t like it.

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Chinese egg tarts

Hello everyone!

It has been a while since our last blog post. A lot has happened since then – we got engaged, we went on vacation for 2 weeks to Italy and Greece, and I got a new job!

Our bunny Beans breaking the news to our family and friends
Our hotel at Santorini, Greece. Isn’t the view breathtaking?! No filter required..

I think that’s a good reason as to why we’ve been MIA, right?

Anyways, we are back and this time, with a classic Chinese pastry dish – egg tart! This is a very popular item that can typically be ordered at dim sum restaurants or bought at local chinese bakeries. They usually come in two types of crust – puff pastry or cookie crust. I personally prefer the cookie crust but my SO prefers the puff pastry kind.

Given I’m pretty lazy and making puff pastry from scratch is a lot of work (and requires A LOT of butter), I decided to cheat and buy the pre-made stuff (I know – blasphemy!) These frozen tart shells make making egg tarts so much easier. The custard itself is super easy and you can probably make this within 5 minutes. If you’re unsure what treat to bring to your friend’s dinner or potluck and you’re short on time, you can easily gravitate toward this recipe.

To make these egg tarts, whisk together eggs, sugar, milk, water, and salt into a bowl until thoroughly combined. You may have some residual egg whites not fully integrated into your custard mixture – to ensure a smooth batter, be sure to strain the custard mixture into a separate bowl to ensure a smoother custard texture. I like to strain my mixture into a measuring cup because it makes pouring into the tart shells much easier.

Fill them up to the brim and bake them at 365F for approximately 20 minutes.

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Steak dinner with friends

Last night we met up with our other foodie friends who also loves to cook. They recently bought a Kamado BBQ charcoal grill and have been looking for every opportunity to use it. They kindly invited us over for dinner, having bought some prime ribs and T-bone steak from McEwan’s grocery store, along with some bone marrow.

Knowing our friends would be supplying the mains, we stopped by J town in the morning to pick up some groceries that we felt would be great on the grill. It just so happened that we stumbled across an old man selling fresh Japanese vegetables that morning and decided to pick some up for the BBQ.

Myoga (Japanese ginger), Japanese green peppers, Shishito peppers, tomatoes, White Kabocha

Of all the vegetables we bought, we only ended up grilling the Shishito peppers and the tomatoes. If you haven’t had charcoal grilled tomatoes before, you must! It tastes amazing! As for the Shishito peppers (the skinny long ones), did you know approximately 1 in every 10 peppers is spicy? This can be a fun game to play with your friends to see who gets lucky 😉

For dinner, we also made our popular green lettuce salad with roasted tomato vinaigrette. We also added in some fresh pork belly (Bacon), toasted some baguette as crutons, and sliced up some radishes and cucumber for garnish.

Our friends also bought a bunch of bone marrow for approximately $4 each which isn’t bad considering how large they were. We soaked the bone marrow in some salted water first to get rid of all the impurities. After 30 mins or so, we rinsed them and seasoned them with salt and pepper, then topped them with lots of chopped garlic (because we are huge garlic lovers..).  We then proceeded to pop them in the charcoal BBQ until the bone marrow was jiggly to the touch as we know that would make a great spreadable consistency.

I must tell you… that bone marrow was so good! When spread on freshly toasted bread, it was the bomb! I tried not to think about how bad that must be for my arteries… but they always say the better it tastes… the worser it is for your health 🙁 …

The T bone steak and prime ribs were done very well too. We used the reverse sear method and finished it off on the flaming grill.

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Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) – Updated Recipe

If you follow us on Instagram, you’ll know that chicken and duck went on sale for us last week and we stocked up quite a bit…

With all this poultry that is enough to last us a a couple of months, we had think of different recipes to make with it. One easy one we could think of was Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken). It just required a simple marinade and a light dusting of potato starch before deep frying.

We made this a while back using a different recipe which you can read about here and although J could barely taste a difference, I personally prefer this recipe more as I felt that the chicken had more flavour than the other recipe.

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