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)



炸兩的典故: 話說上個世紀四十年代,廣州一間茶樓的點心師傅為了食客可以花一個價錢可以食到腸粉及油炸鬼,便靈機一動,用腸粉包著油炸鬼做成點心。結果因外皮滑溜,餡料香脆而大受歡迎,並流傳至香港。炸兩是由兩條腸粉包著一孖油炸鬼而成,為了迎合不同口胃的食客,用一條腸粉包一條油炸鬼的 "炸一" 也應運而生。(資料來源:香港地道小食:煎、炸焗系列,中華廚藝學院出版)

Ingredients to make about 8 rice rolls:

200g/1¼ cup rice flour 粘米粉
12g/1 tbsp water chestnut flour 馬蹄粉
12g/1.5 tbsp wheat starch 澄麵
12g/1.5 tbsp cornstarch 粟米粉
12g/1.5 tbsp potato starch 薯仔澱粉
25g/2 tbsp vegetable oil 菜油
757/3¼ cup water 水
spring onion, diced 蔥花
dry shrimps, soaked 浸軟蝦米

Dipping sauce 醬汁:
2 tbsp soy sauce 生抽
1 tsp dark soy sauce 老抽
1 tsp fish sauce 魚露
1 tbsp sugar 糖
4 tbsp water 水

1) Mix all the flour in a large mixing bowl.
2) Add a third of the water, about one cup. Mix thoroughly with a whisk.
3) Add the oil and mix vigorously until it is absorbed by the batter.
4) Add the remaining water.
5) Prepare a steamer and line it with a wet white cloth.
6) When the water boils, ladle enough batter until it covers the steamer. Sprinkle spring onions and shrimps on top, if using. Steam for 3-5 minutes.

7) Remove the cloth from the steamer and lay it, upside down, on an oiled tray. Remove the cloth carefully. Roll up the rice noodle.
8) Continue with the rest of the batter.

1) Potato starch is different from potato flour. Make sure you use the starch, not flour.
2) Use cotton fabric without lint for lining the steamer. Always use the same side.

1) 將所有粉類放大碗內。
2) 加入三份一之水,約一杯,攪拌成粉漿。
3) 加油,大力攪至完全被吸收。
4) 再加餘下之水。
5) 準備蒸籠及蒸布。
6) 水滾後放濕了的布在蒸籠內,放入適量粉漿,撒上蔥花和蝦米,上蓋蒸約三分鐘。取出小心揭開布,卷起成腸粉。

1) 粉漿用的薯仔澱粉有異於薯粉或其他叫生粉的粉,認明英文名稱才不會買錯。
2) 蒸腸粉白布可用任何質地,沒有"毛毛"的便行。每次要用布的同一面。

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.




Ingredients to make half a gallon of pudding:

2 quarts/half gallon soy milk, unsweetened
10g/2 tsp gypsum
10g/3 tsp potato or tapioca starch
½ cup water

Ginger Syrup:
¾ cup sugar or 140g rock sugar
4 thick slices of ginger, peeled, about 50g
2 cups water

1) Use ½ cup of water to dissolve gypsum and potato starch in a tall pot or container.
2) Bring the soy milk to a boil in another pot. Stir frequently to prevent a skin from forming. Remove from heat and let it cool down slightly to about 155°F/85°C. (Or heat until the soy milk reaches 155°F/85°C.)
3) Whisk the pot of coagulant before pouring in the hot soy milk.
4) Hold the hot soy milk pot about a foot higher than the gypsum mixture pot. Pour the hot soy milk into the coagulant. The gush of turbulence will mix the ingredients. DO NOT STIR.
5) Cover and let it sit undisturbed for at least 15 minutes.

Ginger Syrup:
1) Put sugar, ginger, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
2) Let it simmer for at least 5 minutes.
3)  Remove from heat. If a stronger ginger flavor is desired, leave the ginger in the syrup for longer time. Otherwise, remove the ginger.


¾ 杯白糖或140g 片糖,約兩片
四片薑, 去皮,約五十克

1) 在一高身鍋內加入石膏粉和薯粉,放入水,攪勻。
2) 用另一鍋煲豆漿至滾,不時攪拌,熄火。讓溫度稍降至約華氏155度/攝氏85度。(或直接將豆漿加熱至華氏155度)
3) 再次攪勻高身鍋內之粉漿。
4) 將熱豆漿從約一尺高撞入高身鍋內。不要攪拌
5) 上蓋,靜待至少十五分鐘。

1) 在一鍋內放入水、糖及薑片,煮至滾。
2) 讓糖水煮約五分鐘。
3) 熄火,如要多薑味,可讓它浸泡長一點時間

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.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Best Pineapple Cake/Pastry 最好味的鳳梨酥

After posting the the Best Turnip Cake, I feel the need to update my old pineapple pastry recipe as well. Pineapple pastry is one of my blog's most popular posts. It has been quoted and used to compare with other bloggers' recipes by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. I admire her spirit to search the best and not settle for mediocrity.

How does this new recipe different from the old one? By having more egg in this new version, it basically produces a crust which brown more nicely than the old one. The higher percentage of milk powder contributes to a richer crust as well.

As for the filling, I think what people dread most is the time it takes to cook the pineapple to a thick paste. It is a real test of your patience! Continue reading below as I show you how to cut down the cooking time.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Updated Library Cooking Programs 免費圖書館烹飪節目更新

Go to for locations of different libraries.

Please note that there are a few programs which are on weekdays. The list will be updated periodically.

April 9
Saturday 2pm
Street Foods of Hong Kong: 
Steamed rice cake in a bowl, HK Egg Waffle
April 21
Thursday 4:30pm
Chet Holifield,
Char Siu/BBQ Pork

April 30
Saturday 2pm
Street Foods of Hong Kong: 
HK Egg Waffle, Tofu Pudding, Curry fish ball

May 11
Wednesday 6pm
Sunkist Library,
La Puente
Bo Law Bao/Pineapple Bun
May 14
Saturday 2pm
West Covina
Street Foods of Hong Kong
Black Sesame roll, HK Egg Waffle
May 18
Wednesday 4:30pm
Chet Holifield Library,
Char Siu/BBQ Pork

May 21
Saturday 2pm
Sorensen Library, Whittier
Char Siu/BBQ Pork, Egg Tart
May 25
Wednesday 6pm
Sunkist Library
La Puente
Snowy Mooncake
June 4
Saturday 2pm
Charter Oak Library
Street Foods of Hong Kong: 
Steamed rice cake in a bowl
 香港街頭小食: 缽仔糕
June 25
Saturday 2pm
Baldwin Park
Street Foods of Hong Kong: 
Vegetarian Lo Mei, Steamed rice cake in a bowl
July 9
Saturday 2pm
Live Oak Library,
Street Foods of Hong Kong: 
Vegetarian Lo Mei, Steamed rice cake in a bowl
July 23
Saturday 2pm
Street Foods of Hong Kong:
HK Egg Waffle, Tofu Pudding

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Hand Made Egg Roll 香脆手工蛋卷

Making egg rolls has been on my to-do list for quite some time. It is a very straightforward recipe, using only butter, egg, sugar, and flour. They just need to be blended together with a handheld mixer for a few minutes and the batter is ready to be cooked. But it does need a special pan that can be flipped to cook both sides. I tried different recipes and this one is the best, full of egg flavor and with a pleasantly crunchy texture.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Best Turnip Cake 最好味的蘿蔔糕

I have been using the same recipe to make turnip cake since high school... It's been a very long time, and I thought it was the best, that is, until I tried this recipe.

Basically, how this recipe is different from my old one is it includes two more types of flour in addition to rice flour--wheat starch and potato starch. It gives the cake a far better texture, making it softer and lighter.

Another way it is different is the way the turnip is prepared. I used to use a food processor to grate it. If you don't have a food processor or if you dread hand-grating a whole turnip, try cutting the turnip into strips. Not only does it save work and time, it provides a very good texture as you bite into the pudding. 

Simply put, this is a wonderful recipe!

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