Category Archives: hipfood

Ham and Corn Taiwanese Homemade Bun (火腿玉米手工麵包)

(Edited October 18 2011)

close up view of the soft and fluffy bread….

3 years after I first wrote this article, I finally discovered a secret to making soft bread that lasts for more than a day. The secret lies in TangZhong, 65 degrees C, also known as the water roux method in some blogs.

The night before you bake bread, prepare a paste call TangZhong. The process of cooking the flour helps retain the moisture.

TangZhong is 1 part of flour to 5 parts of water. It is also known as the 65 degrees C because it is at this temperature that TangZhong is ready. Transfer TangZhong paste to a clean bowl. When it is slightly cooled, cover with a plastic wrap to prevent from drying up. Chill the TangZhong paste in the refrigerator overnight. This paste can be stored up to a few days. (If it turns grey, it is bad, throw it away!) Making TangZhong takes only a few minutes and the results is soft and fluffy homemade bread that stays soft longer.

Here are the ingredients:
TangZhong or Water Roux Starter 湯種
1/3 cup flour
1 cup water
Mix 1/3 cup bread flour with 1 cup water until there are NO more lumps. Put the mixture in a pot and cook over medium heat. I stir continuously with my wooden chopstick. The mixture will thicken. Once you see “lines” in your mixture, turn off the heat.

Bread Dough
2½ cups bread flour
3tbsp+2tsp caster sugar
1tsp salt
1 large egg
1tbsp+1tsp milk powder
½cup milk
half of the tangzhong you made
2 tsp instant yeast
3tbsp butter (cut into small pieces)

Method for preparing the dough:
(1) Put all the bread dough ingredients into the bread machine. Choose the dough setting and press start.

(2) After this cycle (about one hour and 30 minutes) the machine will beep. Remove the dough from the bread machine and place onto a silpat. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions. Shape into bun-like shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.

(3) Flatten each bun, add cheese slice, roll, cut and fold (as shown on pictures above). Do not top the ham and corn yet at this time. Arrange the buns on silpat and cover with a cling wrap. Leave it for the 2nd round of proofing, about 30 minutes.

(4) After 30 minutes, the bread is ready for its topping. Brush whisked egg white on surface. Spread corn, ham and mayonnaise mixture onto each bun.

(5) Bake in a pre-heated 375F oven for 13 to 15 minutes (reduce to 350F the last 5 min). Remove from the oven.

related article: Hokkaido Bread


Filed under Asian Snacks, food, hipfood

Hot Pot (火鍋)

Hot pot or steamboat is also known as the chinese fondue. You can read more about Hot Pots on this world foodie guide blog.

A good Hot Pot has good stock. Since I did not have time to boil chicken or pork bones, I used whole garlic, sliced ginger, Chicken Base and water for my stock.

Black Cod tastes delicious in Hot Pot. The trick is to seal the flavor of the fish by pan frying the marinated fillet of fish before cooking in the Hot Pot. Carrots, golden mushrooms and bean threads can be used to accompany the fish.

tip: marinate fish with salt and 1 tbsp wine for 15 minutes. Coat the fish with thin layer of cornstarch before pan frying.

Another variation to this hotpot using the same type of stock, is whole shitake mushrooms, tofu and pre-made tempura.


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Asparagus (蘆筍)

I love to serve Asparagus as dinner for 2 or dinner for a crowd because it is:

1) a simple dish to prepare
(rinse and drain; pick one stem up and snap the end off; drizzle olive oil and season with salt and pepper)

2) a dish that I can prepare a few hours before dinner
(store seasoned asparagus in a single layer on a baking pan in the refrigerator)

3) a simple dish to make
(bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until crunchy or tender for about 12 minutes to 20 minutes)

4) elegant
(the green stems of beauty stands out on a white platter)

5) nutritional
(vitamins B6, iron, C, plus fiber)

Asparagus also has no fat and no cholesterol.

Choose asparagus with tips that are closed and dry, not soggy or slimy. The smaller stems are the most tender, the larger ones taste heartier and bolder and tend to have woodier stems.

Interesting facts:

1) One distinctive problem with asparagus is that a constituent chemical of the plant is metabolised and excreted in the urine, giving it a distinctive, mildly unpleasant odor. Apparently not everyone who eats asparagus produces the odor, but also not everyone is able to smell the odor once it is produced. Some people prefer not to eat asparagus because of this effect, as it can put a damper on an otherwise romantic evening…

2) Asparagus comes in purple, white and the most common, green. Purple asparagus is a little sweeter than the green asparagus and the white asparagus is sunlight-deprived with milder and more delicate taste.

If you have time, try wrapping each stalk of Asparagus with bacon and the result is as such.


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Care for a 30 minute or less meal?

Take outs and leftovers have taken over my refrigerator for the past two weeks. Yes, that is how long that I haven’t been cooking a full meal.

Fortunately, uncut cabbage keep real well in the refrigerator. This particular one has been in my refrigerator for at least two weeks.

Tonight, I wasn’t ready to cook anything complicated, so I made two simple dishes, Bake Salmon and Stir Fry Cabbage. Unlike the Cabbage, I bought the Salmon fresh this morning. I love this Salmon recipe because the fish’s flesh is tender and full of flavor.

Stir fry Cabbage with Szechuan (Sichuan) Peppercorns
(Recipe adapted from Chinese Cuisine by Huang Su Huei)

1 cabbage (about 1 lb)
3 dried hot red peppers
1 t szechuan peppercorn
1/2 T mashed ginger root
1/2 T each: cooking wine or sherry, white vinegar, sugar
1/2 T sesame oil
3/4 T soy sauce
1/3 t salt
1/2 t cornstarch

Rinse the cabbage and cut it into 2 inch squares. Heat the wok then add 3 T oil. Add the cabbage and 3 T water. Turn heat to high and stir fry until cabbage is soft but crunchy, do not overcook. Remove and drain water.
Reheat the wok then add 2 T oil. Stir fry red peppers, peppercorns and ginger root untl fragrant. Remove the szechuan peppercorn. Return the cabbage and seasonings to wok and stir fry. Transfer to serving platter and serve.

Hoisin Baked Salmon
(from an old newspaper clipping)

Two 6-oz pieces salmon
2 T hoisin sauce
2 t soy sauce
few drops of sesame oil
1/4 tsp chili paste
1 tsp sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place salmon in a baking dish. Brush seasonings onto fish and bake for 10 minutes.


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Chinese New Year and Turning Point

A couple of years ago, we celebrated Chinese New Year with three other families from Singapore and Malaysia in Portland. Font, we had a great time at your home. Thanks!

Our dinner began with an elaborate appetizer. Each of us (adults) held a pair of chopsticks and gathered around the table. In the center of the table was a big plate of Chinese-style raw fish salad, (Yu Sheng or Yee Sang in Cantonese 鱼生).

We took up a pair of chopsticks and on cue, started to “Lo Hei” (Cantonese 撈起). We tossed shredded ingredients into the air with chopsticks while saying auspicious wishes (Jíxiáng Huà 吉祥话) out loud.

This year, I attempted to make this dish myself. Recipe posted here.  Here’s some Yu Sheng photos.

On this festive day, I pray that I can be a real Christian. I want to walk in the way of life, the way to life that can only be found in Jesus Christ. I want God’s peace and love to fill my heart. Only with Jesus will I get the everlasting peace (歲歲平安 Suìsuì píng’ān).


Filed under hipfood, Stream in the Hip Desert 新沙漠甘泉

Croque Madame (法式三明治)

My favorite dish on our recent cruise to Alaska was Croque Madame, a French sandwich which has slices of Black Forest Ham on toasted bread, smothered with creamy Bechamel sauce with grated Gruyere cheese and top with one sunny side up egg. Gruyere cheese, although at $16.99 a pound (New Seasons Market), is a must in this dish. Additionally, what makes this recipe extra special is the Bechamel sauce made from butter, flour and milk.

Recipe was adapted from William Sonoma.

Can you guess what is the difference between a Croque Madame and a Croque Monsieur?

Continue reading

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Green Acorn Squash



I first ate this at a church sister’s home. I have always wanted to learn how to cook “hard skin” vegetables. Mom said to put the whole acorn squash into the oven and bake it until soft (400 degress Fahrenheit for about 1 hour). This method can be used for pumpkin as well.

Since, I am not cooking many acorn squash at a time, it will be a waste to cook a small acorn squash in a big oven. Hence, I usually cook acorn squash when I am baking a cake.

Choose an acorn squash that is hard (very firm) to touch. Wash only prior to cooking. Put in the whole acorn squash (uncut) into the oven. When or before the cake is done, the acorn is nice and soft. Cut the acorn into slices and sprinkle with some brown sugar.

I have categorized this article under Hip food because

  1. it is healthy (check out their vitamins in Wikipedia)
  2. it is simple to prepare
  3. it is delightfully delicious

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