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!
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.
There aren’t that many traditional Chinese dishes that we know how to make but this one is one that we are proud of.
Growing up, my dad made me beef brisket all the time, usually in really large batches so that we could freeze them and eat it whenever we want. It wasn’t until I moved out that I realized how much I missed it but at the same time, I also realized how difficult it was to find good, authentic Chinese recipes online. Truth is, most chinese people don’t follow a cookbook and they kind of just make it up along the way, not keeping track of the portions of each ingredients needed to cook the dish. Luckily, my dad is pretty good at giving rough measurements of the ingredients needed to make this dish so he emailed it to me and we’ve been tweaking it ever since. We served it to our friends and family recently and they all loved it 🙂
This dish does require a bit of prep time… in fact, we recommend you make it a day in advance from when you want to serve it. The dish needs time to braise in its own juices so that the flavour can really develop.
To make the dish, you will need 2-3 lbs of beef brisket, cut into cubes.
If there’s one thing we missed about living at home, it’s the soup that our parents used to make us. We generally prefer drinking Chinese soup opposed to western soup as it tends to be more light. I don’t think you’ll ever see heavy cream being used in a Chinese soup recipe lol. Surprisingly enough, Chinese soup is pretty easy to make but getting the right ingredients can be tricky.
Before I moved out, I asked my dad to give me his Chinese wintermelon soup recipe. It’s quite common for Chinese people to not follow a recipe and just wing it so he did his best to give me his guestimations when it came to how much of each ingredient to put in. We made this several times now and let’s just say the Chinese dried mushrooms made a huge difference in terms of adding flavour!
It’s best to let this soup sit overnight to help the flavours really develop. You can still drink this right away and it’ll taste good but it’ll taste even better tomorrow so try to make this a day in advance 🙂
Here’s how we made the soup:
First, gather your ingredients. As you can see, there aren’t that many.
There are a few key things to note:
Presoak your dried Chinese shiitake mushrooms and dried dates (found in your local chinese supermarket – likely dried soup mix section) in warm water for at least an hour
Do NOT throw away the water which it was soaking in. These ingredients released a lot of flavour so do not waste them. Save them for the soup later.
Try to have a mixture of pork and chicken bones to make the stock. This will enhance the flavour of the soup
Once you have all those items ready, it’s time to parbroil your chicken and pork bones to get rid of all the impurities. Do this for 5 minutes and then rinse it under cold water. Make sure to give them a good rub to really get rid of all the dirty.
After parbroiling the bones, put it back into a large stock pot along with the rest of the ingredients (and the water which the mushrooms and dates were soaking in!) and fill the pot up until all the ingredients are covered. Bring it up to a boil and once boiling, turn it down to a gentle simmer for at least 1 hour.
We were going grocery shopping at our local chinese supermarket one day when we discovered that bitter melon was on sale. I’m personally not a fan of bitter melon – in fact, I really dislike it but since the bf loves it so much, I let him buy it and do what he wants with it, so long as he doesn’t cook my dishes with it as it often leaves a strong bitter taste along with whatever it’s cooked with.
One day I came home late from my workout — starving. I was excited to see what the bf was cooking for dinner when lo and behold – he was making pork with bitter melon and black beans sauce. I urged him to cook the bitter melon separately but seeing as it would prove too difficult – I accepted the fact that I will just have to pick them out myself later 🙁
The dish itself was actually really good – I didn’t taste the bitter melon in my pork which was great for me!
Here’s how it’s made:
Prepare the marinated pork by marinating it with shaoxing wine, sugar, and salt. We added some grated ginger to give it a little kick.
Also prepare your bitter melons by chopping it up into 1/4 inch thick slices. For the black bean sauce, thoroughly wash the preserved black beans and season it with grated garlic, fish sauce, shaoxing wine, soy sauce, salt and sugar. Mix to combine.
Once you have all your ingredients prepped, it’s time to put it all together.
Recently we started watching another food anime called Shokugeki no Soma. It’s similar to Master Chef Junior which for those of you who don’t watch that show, is about really young cooking professionals between the ages of 8 to 13 who are put in unpredictable cooking challenges to test their skills and competencies in the kitchen. The only difference is that this anime is way more sexual in my opinion… and much more intense and exaggerated as you can expect in any anime.
We noticed a few bloggers who tried to recreate the recipes they’ve done in the anime which were reportedly created by chefs in real life to ensure that the show was as realistic as possible. We decided to take a stab at it ourselves and this was our end result.
The cool thing behind this recipe is the science behind it. Supposedly the onion juice contains enzymes that helps break down the protein in the meat, helping it tenderize it further. It also helps marinate the meat as well.
There’s an interesting story behind this dish as well. The Chaliapin Steak is a Japanese Steak that was originally created for Russian Opera singer Feodor Chaliapin when he visited Japan as he requested a tender steak due to a toothache. As a result, this steak was created.
This dish is easy to make and doesn’t require too many ingredients. Best of all, the steak is full of flavour 🙂
To begin, make criss cross cuts along your steak to help it absorb the onion juices better. Season it well with salt and pepper.
It’s finally the long weekend, yay! Monday is Victoria Day here in Canada so I decided to take advantage of my extra day off and do more creative baking.
Last week, I made Nikuman (Chinese Steamed Bun) in an effort to step outside my comfort zone. Having been quite proud of how my steamed buns turned out, I decided to take it one step further this time and turn them into cute animals! Quite often I go to my local Chinese grocery store and see pre-made steamed buns shaped into pigs which I thought were super adorable. I’ve always wondered how they did it and upon some additional research, I may have figured it out!
So how did I do this? Well first, you need to make the dough and filling as per my Nikuman recipe.
One of my favourite Chinese noodle dish is Zhajiangmian. I almost always order it whenever I see it available on the menu because of the great texture of the dish. The sweet bean sauce on the ground pork combined with the cool and refreshing taste of the julienned cucumber and carrots is a great combination, in my opinion.
The thing is, this dish looks pretty easy to make but I never got around to making it because I didn’t even know where to start. Like, what do I even need to make the sauce? Good authentic Chinese recipes are hard to stumble across online and when I do stumble across one, it’s written entirely in Chinese and I don’t understand what ingredients even go into the dish -_-