Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 Cooking Demonstration Programs

The new year is a time for reflection and planning for the days ahead. As I looked back the past 5 years of doing cooking programs in LA county libraries, I am thankful for all the opportunities to share my passion for cooking with everyone who attended. With support from many libraries and their patrons, I was able to do over 60 programs with approximately 2100 in attendance.

As for plans for the new year, below is a list of future programs. Some have been confirmed while others are still in the planning stage. Visit or like my Facebook page to stay updated. Or visit Los Angeles County Library website.

Jan 28 Saturday at Temple City: Street Foods of Hong Kong 香港街頭小食

Feb 9 Thursday at S. El Monte: Snowy Mooncake 冰皮月餅

Mar 4 Saturday at Clifton M. Brakensiek: Street Foods of Hong Kong 香港街頭小食

Apr 22 Saturday at Rosemead: Goldfish Niao Gao (new program) 錦鯉年糕(新)

Apr 29 Saturday at La Verne: Red Bean Pastry 紅豆酥

May 17 Wednesday at Sunkist: Street Foods of Hong Kong I 香港街頭小食I

May 24 Wednesday at Sunkist: Street Foods of Hong Kong II 香港街頭小食II

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Steamed Crab with Egg and Chinese Wine 花雕水蛋蒸蟹

Out of the many cooking classes I took in Hong Kong, I think this is the most simple and yet very delicious one. The flavors of the crab and egg blend very well together and the addition of the Chinese wine adds complex flavor! It will definitely wow your family and guests. You can twist the recipe a bit to suit your tastes and needs. Follow the tips and tricks below will guarantee you a silky and smooth steamed egg.


one crab, clean and cut into pieces 蟹,斬件
4 large eggs, slight beaten 蛋,打散
450ml chicken soup/stock 雞湯
50ml Shaoxing Hua Tiao cooking wine 花雕酒
25ml rice wine 米酒
1 tsp sugar 糖
1 scallion, diced 蔥花

1) Put the crab pieces in a steamer and steam for 15 minutes. Drain and discard the liquid.
2) Mix the beaten egg with the chicken stock. Pour over and around the crab.
3) Cover the dish with plastic wrap. Put into the steamer. Use a chopstick to keep the steamer lid slightly ajar. Steam for 5 minutes on high heat. Then lower the heat to medium and continue steaming for another 15 minutes.

4) While the egg is steaming, mix the two wines and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
5) Remove the plastic wrap. Sprinkle scallion and wine mixture on top. Serve immediately.

1) The best ratio of egg to liquid (water or chicken stock) is between 1:2 to 1:2.5 This will give you the best texture. Adjust the amount of eggs and chicken stock according to the volume of your dish.
2) To prevent overcooking of the egg, it is essential that the lid of the steamer is kept slightly open.
3) If a steamer is not available, steaming in a wok also works. But make sure the boiling water is not touching the dish.

1) 蟹洗淨斬件,蒸十五分鐘至熟,汁倒去不要。
2) 蛋打散後加入雞湯,伴勻。倒入蟹碟,用保鮮紙蓋好,大火蒸五分鐘後,教中火再蒸十五分鐘。蒸時用筷子頂開蓋。
3) 酒與糖混合、攪至糖溶。
4) 蒸好後灑上蔥花及酒,熱食。

1) 蛋液與液體(水或雞湯)的比例最理想是1:2 到 1:2.5. 太小液體蛋蒸出來會硬,過多很難成形。跟據你的碟容量調教用蛋的數量。
2) 蒸時用筷子頂開蓋會防止蛋過熟,變蜂巢。
3) 如沒有蒸籠,可用鑊,但蒸碟不要觸到水。

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Journey of 365 三百六十五之旅

Long time no post! I think this must be my longest stretch without a post. Am I quitting? No, I am not giving up this blog....yet : )

I have been away to my homeland, Hong Kong. (Thanks to the historically low airfare--$365 non-stop round trip from Los Angeles to HK.) This month-long trip served a few purposes. One of them was to continue my culinary education. I had the opportunity to learn from the best chefs in HK.

Some of the classes I took were to learn how to make HK style milk tea 港式絲襪奶茶、Pan fried bao 生煎包、Chiu Chau Marinade 潮洲滷水、Hand pulled rice noodles, etc 布拉腸粉,等等....

"The more I learn, the more I know I don't know" 學而知不足

Hopefully I will have the chance to share with you in the near future, after I recover from jet lag.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Apple Cake (no added sugar) 萍果蛋糕 (無添加白糖)

This is my first time baking without granulated sugar and the result is surprisingly good. Maple syrup gives the cake a fine and moist crumb. A good choice for Fall dessert.

It is a straightforward recipe and easy to follow. It uses the simple muffin method which the dry ingredients are mixed in a bowl and the wet in another bowl then they are mixed together and bake.

Ingredients for a 9 inch round cake:

50g walnuts, chopped
280g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, room temperature
160g/½ cup grade B Maple syrup
225g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
120g/ ½ cup whole milk, room temperature
3 medium apples, any sweet baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9 inch cake pan.
2) Toast walnuts pieces in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3) Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
4) In another bowl, stir the wet ingredients together: eggs, maple syrup, melted butter, vanilla and milk.
5) With a spatula, stir the apples and walnuts into the wet ingredients until evenly distributed.
6) Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and carefully fold until no dry flour pockets.
7) Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until it is golden brown.
8) Let the cake cool on a rack completely before removing it from the pan and serve.

Recipe source: Baking with Less Sugar, Joanne Chang

Monday, August 1, 2016

Lemon Bar 檸檬吧

One of the benefits of living in Southern California is the abundance of sunshine. Many people have backyards with different types of fruit trees: lemon, peach, orange, loquat, pear, passion fruit.....Even though I don't have any, I am blessed to know friends who do : )

What can I with so much fruit, especially lemon, other than making lemonade? Here is a great recipe to make lemon bars with the right balance of sweetness and tanginess.

Ingredients to make about 18 bars, in a 13x9" baking pan:

Crust 餅底:
218g all-purpose flour 中筋麵粉
170g unsalted butter, softened 無鹽牛油,室溫
80g powdered sugar 糖粉
32g cornstarch 粟粉
1 tbsp lemon zest 檸檬屑
¾ tsp salt 鹽

Lemon Ricotta Filling 檸檬芝士餡:
8oz fresh whole milk ricotta cheese, drained 新鮮芝士,隔去水份
4 eggs, beaten 蛋,打散
200g sugar 糖
3 tbsp all-purpose flour 中筋麵粉
2 tbsp lemon zest 檸檬屑
⅔ cup lemon juice, strained 檸檬汁,隔篩
¼ tsp salt 鹽

To make the crust:
1) Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 13x9 baking pan and line with parchment paper.
2) In a food processor, pulse flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, and salt to combine.
3) Add butter and process to blend until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal.
4) Pour the mixture into the lined baking pan.

5) Press firmly with fingers or the back of a spoon into an even layer.

6) Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then bake until lightly brown, 30-35 minutes.
7) Cool slightly on a rack.
8) Reduce oven temperature to 325F.

To make the filling:
1) While the crust is baking, using a blender or a food processor blend ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt.
2) Give the batter a good stir before pouring into the warm crust. Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling feels firm when touched lightly.
3) Cool on a rack to room temperature, at least 2 hours, before cutting into squares. Dust with powdered sugar to serve.



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Handmade Steamed Rice Roll 布拉腸粉

What should be the quality of a good rice roll? Silky smooth, thin, soft and warm. And don't forget the dipping sauce. Some like plain soy sauce while others like a combination of soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sesame paste and some like to add hot, spicy sauce as well. A good rice roll, well combined sauce and a sprinkle of roasted sesame are a match made in heaven!

No matter what you prefer, it is a breakfast staple for many Chinese around the world. It is also a common and popular street food in Hong Kong. In dim sum restaurant, there are a variety of rice roll available: shrimp, minced beef and char siu. Many people also like the one wrap with Chinese fried bread stick (aka: Chinese donut)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Tofu Pudding/Dou Fu Hua 幼滑豆腐花

The texture of a dish is as important as its taste. It will be a big disappointment if a food that is supposed to be crunchy turns out to be soft or soggy. On the other hand, if it should be smooth and silky but it is rough and firm, people might be surprised and wary. The best texture for tofu pudding is smooth and silky, which you can just swallow.

What's the trick to making silky tofu pudding? The temperature of the soymilk is critical. The optimal temperature to mix soy milk and the coagulant is 155F/85C. If the soy milk is boiling hot, the resulting pudding will not be as smooth.

The coagulant used in most of tofu making is gypsum (calcium sulfate). It is a mineral mined from natural rock, not a synthetic chemical.

The correct ratio between gypsum and potato starch in the following recipe gives the best texture and minimal amount of whey.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Sweet Rice Balls with Peanuts and Sesame 糖不甩

"Sugar is not rejection" is the translation from Google for this Chinese dessert! Obviously something is lost from translating this classic and well-loved dessert of many Cantonese people. The literal meaning of the name comes from the fact that when the sweet rice ball rolls on the peanut, sesame, and sugar mixture, the coating does not come off. It sticks to the rice ball like this:

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Best and Easiest Ma Lai Gao 最好味及易做的馬拉糕

This is my third update of some of the older recipes/posts (the other two are: Pineapple Cake/PastryTurnip Cake). The old recipe uses an aged dough, which takes a long time and a lot of patience. This new one is a lot simpler to make and does not require lye while the result is still soft and fluffy.

隨著鳳梨酥 及 羅蔔糕 食譜的更新,今次輪到馬拉糕了。舊的食譜 用麵種做,比較費時,這個新食譜比較簡單及不須加鹼水,也一樣鬆軟可口。

Monday, April 18, 2016

Hong Kong Style Vegetarian Lo Mei 港式齋鹵味

This is one of the most popular street foods in Hong Kong. Vegetarian sweet and sour pork, curry chicken, BBQ pork....the list is quite long. I am always amazed how they are made vegetarian but taste more authentic than the real meat!!

Even though Southern California is home to the largest Asian population in the US, it is a big disappointment that I cannot find this kind of vegetarian lo mei in Chinese restaurants. If you do know where I can get this, though, let me know!

Fortunately, it is very easy to DIY. Many Chinese vegetarian dishes are made with soy product or these fried gluten balls. The ones I used are available in Chinese markets.

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