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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Shrimp and Mango Appetizer

“Mom, you are an iron chef!”
“Mom, can you make this everyday?”

My children are so sweet. I love hearing those compliments.

This is a simple appetizer that I learned from a church sister. As you can see, the ingredients are simple: wonton skin, mango, shrimp, cilantro, mayonnaise, and ketchup. Enclose the wonton skin, seal it tight (with some water, if necessary) and deep fry until golden brown.

This appetizer is super delicious and highly addictive.


Filed under Asian Snacks, hipfood

Quail Egg Shao Mai and Pork Shao Mai (燒賣)

Harrrr Gaoooo, Siuuuu Maiiii

Harrrr Gaoooo, Siuuuu Maiiii


Asian ladies chants as they push carts full of steamy Dim Sum across the aisles of a crowded Cantonese Dim Sum Restaurant.

Siu Mai is in Cantonese dialect. In the Mandarin dialect, it is called Shao Mai. Currently, there are two versions of Shao Mai in Wikipedia, the Cantonese version which has the ground pork, shrimp(optional), chinese black mushroom and the Jiangnan version which has an additional ingredient, the sweet glutinous rice.

photo of Shao Mai taken at Wong’s King Restaurant

In this article, I will be sharing the traditional Pork Shao Mai and my favorite, the Quail Egg Shao Mai recipes.

Tip 1: Although it is more convenient to buy peeled shrimp, I always buy shell-on and head-on shrimps, and peel the head and skin off myself, because the all the shrimp flavor are still in tact.

Tip 2: Use a little more water to mix with the ground pork if leaner ground pork is used.

Tip 3: With your hands, gather the mixture into a ball and throw it against the inside of the bowl for 3 to 4 minutes. I saw my MIL doing this and I find that her meat balls are ever so tender.

Caution: Quail eggs (thanks Julie Yee for this note) and shrimps have high cholesterol. So, eat in moderation.


Recipes adapted from Chinese Snacks by Huang Su Huei

Quail Eggs Shao Mai

(makes 20)

1/3 lb pork loin (ground pork can be used instead)
1 1/2 T pork fat
1/6 lb raw shelled shrimp
1/2 precooked bamboo shoot

1/2 T each cooking wine, sesame oil
2 t cornstarch
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

20 quail eggs (Cook about 5 minutes in boiling water until hard. Remove, drain and shell the skin.)

20 wonton skins (Trim the skin to make them round.)
For the filling: Dice Chop the pork loin, shrimp, pork fat and bamboo shoot. Place in a mixing bowl and add seasonings. Mix well.

To wrap the Quail Egg Shao Mai: Place a quail egg in the center of the wonton skin. Put 1 portion of the filling on top of the egg. Push the filling down gently with a wet spoon. Place the Shao Mai, open side down, in a steamer about 1/2 inch apart. Steam for 6 minutes over high heat. Remove and serve.

Pork Shau Mai

(makes 24)

3/4 lb pork loin (ground pork can be used instead)
1 1/3 oz pork fat
4 presoftened shitake mushroom
1 tbsp chopped bamboo shoot

1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 T cooking wine
1/2 T sesame oil
1 t sugar
3/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper

24 wonton skin

masago eggs for garnish

For the filling: Dice Chop the pork loin, pork fat, mushroom and bamboo shoot. Place in a mixing bowl and add seasonings. Mix well.

To wrap the Pork Shao Mai: Place 1 portion of the filling in the center of the wonton skin. Push the filling down gently with a wet spoon. Place the Shao Mai, open side up, in a steamer about 1/2 inch apart. Steam for 6 minutes over high heat. Remove, garnish with masago eggs and serve.

7 Random Facts about me….

And now for some fun. I have been tagged by Suganya. I will use the similar format as her.

1) I have never own a pet. A few years ago, someone gave me 3 small gold fishes. I was excited, so I bought fish food, water neutralizer, etc. However, after 3 days, the fishes all died, one after another. (Suganya owned 22 cats over a period of 10 years of before marriage!)

2) Took piano lessons but not musically inclined. My daughter, on the other hand, is musically gifted. She has won piano competitions one after the other. Her fingers glide through the black and white keys effortlessly.

3) Not too crazy about cartoons but my hubby and 2 older children are fans of Scooby Dooby Doo.

4) After 16 years, I am thankful to God that I can maintain a great friendship with my classmate from college. Currently, we email each other, at least once a week, and sometimes once or twice a day. She is my Angel who advices and comforts me. Although she never leaves a comment on my blog, she leaves nice encouraging comments via emails to me.

5) Like Suganya, I can also easily start a conversation even with a stranger and can make friends within minutes.

6) The details on how I started blogging is in my “About Me” page but in short, I was inspired by another Mom who blogs about food.

7) I have never baked a pumpkin pie but if Suganya can’t do it well, I probably can’t as well.


Filed under Asian Snacks, hipfood

Bamboo Shoots (竹笋) and Bamboo Leaves for Glutinous Rice Dumpling (粽子)

My husband loves to eat Bamboo Shoot. My blogger friend, Alice who lives in Japan, has Bamboo Shoots growing in her backyard. How cool is that?

The shoots are used in numerous Asian dishes and broths, and are available in supermarkets in various sliced forms, both fresh and canned version.

The following is stir fry bamboo shoots with mushroom and garnish with colorful chilies. I used stock to cook the shoots.


Additionally, bamboo leaves can be used as wrappers for zongzi, a steamed dumpling which contains glutinous rice and other yummy ingredients. The recipe I used was adapted from kuali. Instead of using the blue color extract from bunga telang, I used, “black glutinous rice”. The translucent square piece is not lard. It is a piece of winter melon. The dark red color is from black glutinous rice. The filling is Nyonya Pork Stew.



It is the Zongzhi season. Here are a couple of blogs that has recent articles on ZhongZhi: HaveFoodWillTravel, LittleCornerofMine.


Filed under hipfood, Malaysian Food

Roast Pork (Char Siu)

I have a very good friend from Beijing China who is a great cook. Watching her cook in the kitchen is like watching a ballerina gracefully performing a dance.

One important lesson that I learned from her was using the right kind of meat to make Char Siu, and that is to use the Pork Shoulder Butt cut.

If you live in Portland, Costco Warehouse sells this type of cut in the meat department. I usually buy in bulk, roast the marinated pork and make different dishes with this meat. Sometimes, I would distribute the roast pork to my neighbors and friends or vacuum seal it for future use.

Use a plastic bag to marinate your strips of pork overnight with the following:
3 tbsp of sugar
1 1/2 tbsp of wine
1 1/2 tbsp of oyster sauce

This recipe is for 2 to 3 lbs of meat. If you have more meat, adjust the amount of marinade. Bake the meat in a preheated oven with 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. The following are before and after photos. Additionally, you can dip the cooked strips of pork into (1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1 tbsp honey) glaze and grill it for a short while to give the pork a shine. Glazing recipe is from Auntie Lily. Traditionally, char siu were dipped in red food coloring. I prefer to omit the coloring.

Here are some ideas to make different meals out of these 6 strips of meat.

Sliced Roast Pork with Saffron Rice.


Siew Pao (Baked Roast Pork Bun) 燒包

Char Siu Pao 燒包

Other dishes that uses roast pork include Wonton Mein and Char Siu Fried Rice. I have posted an article on Wonton Mein recipe but the photo does not look as delicious as WMW‘s Wonton Mein photo. I took that photo before WMW told me about the “best shot” option on my camera.


Filed under Asian Snacks, hipfood, Malaysian Food, Taiwanese Food

Presentation Matters

Both of the following two dishes contain the same ingredients, with the exception of cilantro in the second photo. However, the first photo looks more appetizing.

Why is that?

I thought I share a few tips on how to best present the food that you spent hours preparing.

Tip 1: Use an attractive dish to display your food. Jaden of Steamy Kitchen is great at “dressing” her dishes. Tonight, I scoured around my kitchen looking for a platter or dish to display dinner. Finally, I used earthenware’s lid. Yes you read right, I turned the lid upside down and used it as a bowl to hold the food.

Tip 2: Always try to use a garnish to tie back to your dish. This is a tip that I learned from an article written by L from Still Life With. Since the dish I made tonight was slow cooked with shallots, I garnished with a few slices of fried shallots.

Tip 3: Put condiments in a smaller container and display that with the dish. Sliced colorful chilies in a small clear bowl stand beautifully on a pair of chopsticks, a trick I learned from Rasa Malaysia’s article on Penang Char Hor Fun.

Tip 4: Use a clear platter or dish to display your food art. In the following photo, the platter had Asian prints all around and it became a competition with the food itself for attention.


The recipe is as follows:
Taiwanese Ground Pork with garlic and shallots

1 lb ground pork
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 tablespoons minced garlic
1 (3 ounce) package fried shallots (can be found at any Oriental grocery store)
2 cups water
1/3-1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon msg (optional)
steam rice

Brown pork in skillet until cooked; drain off oil and set aside.
Add vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat.
Saute garlic for 1 minute.
Add pork and shallots, stir a few times.
Add water and the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil.
(Lee Ping’s note: I added a couple of chopped shitake mushrooms.)
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
Uncover and cook for 15 more minutes.


Filed under Hip Tips, hipfood, Malaysian Food, Taiwanese Food

Steamed Char Siu Bun

Success! Success! Success! I made steamed Char Siu Bun from scratch.

Two years ago, when I was in Australia visiting, I told my 2nd younger sister I can make Pao. She was amazed, however, after half a day of labor, she was disappointed with the Pao that I made. She told me that it did not taste like the Pao from Dim Sum Restaurant.

Two years later, after many failures, I have discovered the secret to making light, fluffy and delicate with delicious flavor char siu buns.


Char Shao Pao 燒包



This recipe is complicated because you need to prepare a dough starter. To make the dough starter you need to save a small piece of simple dough and let it stand overnight in the refrigerator until it becomes sour. The dough starter can be kept for one week in the refrigerator.

Char Siu Bun filling (makes about 24).
1 lb roasted pork
mix slightly less than 1 cup water with 1 1/2 T each: sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce
mix 2 T cornstarch with 2 1/2 T water
2 T lard (which I omitted)
1 1/2 t sesame oil
1/4 t pepper
Cut the cooked roasted pork into 1/4″ cubes. Bring the soy sauce mixture to a boil. Add cornstarch mixture to thicken. Add sesame oil and pepper. Let the mixture cool. Add the pork and mix well.


Recipe adapted from Chinese Snacks by Huang Su-Huei.

Simple Dough Recipe
6 cup flour (all purpose flour)
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup warm water
1 T yeast
1 T baking powder
2 T shortening

I used my bread machine to make this dough. But you can make the dough without using the bread machine. Results will be the same. The first step in making any “yeasty” dough is the yeast itself. Check the expiration date on the yeast. If the yeast is not expired, dissolve the sugar in a warm water and the add the yeast. After 10 minutes, if the yeast becomes foamy and floats to the top, the chances of your dough rising is high. If the yeast does not become foamy and float to the top, your yeast is not active. Perhaps the water you used is too hot or too cold. Do not proceed further until you are sure the yeast you are using is active.

If you are using bread machine, just throw all the ingredients into the bread pan, choose the dough setting and push the start button, after 3 hours or so, when the machine beeps, the dough has risen and is ready for use.

If you are kneading the dough by hand, put all the ingredients in a bowl and knead the dough until smooth and elastic. I read somewhere that if you touch the dough and it feels like a baby’s bottom, it is ready. Cover the kneaded dough with a sheet of plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for about two hours until it has tripled in bulk.

To make the dough starter, after the dough tripled in size, save a piece of dough about 4 oz. Wrap the small piece of 4 oz dough in a plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator.

If you are not a picky like my sister, you can use the remainder dough to make buns. The dough is not as light and fluffy but it is still delicious. The following photo shows how to wrap a pao. I used the left-over filling from Siew Pao.

Roll the dough into a long roll and cut it into 24 pieces; Flatten each piece with the palm of the hand to form a thin circle. Place one portion of the filling on the center of a dough circle. Wrap the dough to enclose the filling. Shape the dough circle by pleating and pinching the edges to form the bun. Make the other buns in the same manner. Let the buns stand for 10 minutes then steam them for 12 minutes. Remove and serve.



If you have extra dough, you can make Peanut Butter Flower Rolls.



Now, once your dough starter turns sour after a night in the refrigerator, you are ready to make the fluffy Dim Sum Char Siu Buns. Here is the recipe:
Dissolve 4 oz dough starter with 3/4 cup water and add 2 cup flour. After kneading, place the dough in a bowl and cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place. Let the dough rise for 8 hours or until it has doubled or tripled in size. I used the bread machine to knead and to keep warm.

After the dough has doubled or tripled in size, prepare the following dough with 1 t baking soda, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 T shortening, 3 cup flour (use less if you feel the air surrounding you is dry, I always use less flour and add a little by little if needed), 1 T baking powder. Combine these two doughs and knead until smooth and elastic. I also used the bread machine for this step. Since the bread machine is still on, you have to push the stop button first. I left the original dough in the bread machine, added the rest of the ingredients (baking soda, water, sugar, shortening, flour and baking powder) into the bread machine, choose the dough setting and push the start button.

Roll the dough into a long roll and cut it into 24 pieces; Flatten each piece with the palm of the hand to form a thin circle. Place one portion of the filling on the center of a dough circle. Wrap the dough to enclose the filling. Shape the dough circle by pleating and pinching the edges to form the bun. Make the other buns in the same manner. Let the buns stand for 10 minutes then steam them for 12 minutes. Remove and serve.

If you leave more than 30 minutes, the dough will be over risen and dough may shrink after steaming.

Lee Ping’s notes: (1) For health reasons, I used unbleached flour, so the bun looks a little off-white. (2) Also, I use bamboo steamer lined with parchment paper. Bamboo steamer is good for steaming buns because the water from condensation is absorbed by the bamboo and not dripped back to the bun during the steaming process. (3) If you find that during your kneading, the dough is too dry and you add water, make sure you knead it well. Otherwise, your bun will look like a face with tiny pimple holes (mo peng in Hokkein Language). (4) If your dough smells sour, a little baking soda (less than 1/4 tsp) will neutralize the sourness.


Filed under Asian Snacks, hipfood

Homemade Pizza

Ever since I started using bread machine, making homemade pizza is a breeze. This is also a fun project for your kids. They enjoy throwing flour around and shaping the dough. Even my 22 month old baby enjoys rolling out the dough.

If you have the time, do invest in making your own pizza dough. The taste of fresh dough makes all the difference. I made the sauce by blending olive oil with basil leaf, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. The gooey stuff on the top is mozzarella cheese.

1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp sugar
3 cups all purpose flour (additional if neccessary)
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

If you do NOT have a bread machine, dissolve yeast in water with sugar and allow to proof. Mix 2 cups flour, salt and oil in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture, and beat until smooth. Stir in additional flour until the dough begins to form a ball and easy to handle. Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a warm place, cover and let rise until double in size, approximately 1 hour. Punch down and knead again and let rise for another 20 minutes. Roll the dough out. Bake with toppings at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you have a bread machine, put all the ingredients into the bread machine’s baking pan. Set the bread machine to “Pizza Dough” setting and push the start button. After a couple of hours the dough is ready for you to punch down and roll out. Bake with toppings at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

The baking time depend on the thickness of your pizza dough. Just keep a close watch at your pizza after the first 10 minutes.

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What Should I Pray?

We have bible study every Friday and before we go home, we would break into smaller groups and everyone would take turn praying aloud.  The week before, my 22 month old baby was fussing, so I did not get to pray.  I felt relieved because I have been afraid of praying in public. 

However, last Friday, before I could have any bad thoughts, the facilitator in our bible study group said, “Let’s all pray first before we begin!”  Okay, there was no escape this time.  I began to think hard what I should pray about. 

The lady who was sitting next to me said, “Can I be skipped?  I do not know how to pray.”  I thought, “Great! There is somebody else who doesn’t know how to pray.”  Without much thought, I took out my hand, touched the lady’s hand, and whispered, “I don’t know how to pray either, and once you hear me pray, you will have the courage to pray.”

What should I pray?  While I turned to my Bible this morning, I found a passage that I like, Psalm 51:10-12.  Perhaps I could use it when I am speaking to God in public.  But first, I would have to translate it to Mandarin.

God, create a pure heart in me. 

Give me a new spirit that is faithful to you. 

Don’t send me away from you. 

Don’t take Your Holy Spirit away from me. 

Give me back the joy that comes from being saved by you. 

Give me a spirit that obeys you. 

That will keep me going.

Japanese Night
Last week, I was still recovering from flu. I found a simple dish to make. Our local Japanese Grocery had frozen packages of Unagi on sale. I bought a few packages. This dish could not be easier. Just open the package and place it into the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes until it is cooked.

The edamame peas are also frozen. Simply open the package and cook in salted boiling water for a few minutes.

For presentation, I placed some cooked brown and white rice into plastic molds. I top with some sesame seeds and roasted seaweed. Quite appetizing, isn’t it?

Miso soup was also simple.  I put in some miso paste into boiling pork bone stock, put in some tofu pieces, seaweed and green onion as garnish.

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Persistent Cough

To be honest, I haven’t been praying hard for my cough.  To sleep better at night, I took all kinds of over-the-counter drugs to suppress the cough at night.  When drugs did not work, I tried drinking barley water and steamed asian pear with rock sugar.

However, I slept well last night.  I only started coughing when I woke up this morning.  I have a feeling that someone else must have been praying for me.  My angels, thank you for your prayers

Yummy Homemade Food

Chinese Donut

I used my bread machine to make this last night using Lily‘s recipe.   I improvised her recipe a little.  Instead of making a hole in the middle, I just left it whole.  I named mine Chinese Donut because the taste reminded me of the chinese donuts that chinese buffet usually serves.  I made at least 15 but are you surprise that there are no left overs? 

This recipe is real simple to make.  I just throw all the ingredients into my bread machine, set it to “dough” setting and push the start button.  After the bread machine beeps, I take it out and cut into smaller pieces.  My daughters helped me shape them into rounds and roll each round piece into flat 2 inch pieces.  Even the baby was helping out.  Fun project to do with kids.  When the donut is cooked, you can coat it with sugar or dip it in condensed milk.

After posting this, I received comments about Ham Cheem Paeng.  I thought, yeah, it does look and even taste a little like Ham Cheem Paeng.

Steam Fish (Topped with garlic, ginger, barbeque sauce/sa cha, soy sauce)

I steamed this fresh tilapia in my rice cooker for about 10 minutes.  Again, another simple dish to make.  I had to cut the fish into pieces because my rice cooker cannot accomodate the fish as a whole.  

The key to delicious steam fish is you have to start with fresh fish.   The best fish to buy, is fish that is still swimming in the tank.  However, if that is not available, make sure the fish’s eye is not blurry.  I learned that from my husband!   I think he is a pro when it comes to fish.  The scales are left on the fish as long as possible to preserve the freshness.  Since removing scales from the fish is messy, you can ask the fish monger to clean the fish for you.  

Little Chicken

My Little Chicken is starting to understand the word beautiful.

She is starting to enjoy posing for photos.


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

Faith Vs. Sight (Part 2)

I prayed for more faith in God, but what I really wanted was faith to change into sight.

Faith does not say, “I see this is good for me; therefore God must have sent it.” Instead faith declares, “God sent it; therefore it must be good for me.” Cowman

One Major Ingredient….

White Radish



Three Good Eats


Kimchi. Cut up pieces of white radish marinate with salt, sugar, red pepper flakes (from Korean store), garlic, ginger and green onion.
White Radish and Pork Bone Soup
White Radish Rice Cake. (I used shredded radish and rice flour, chinese sausage, dried shrimp, shallots and roasted pork. Lily has a complete recipe on her Lor Bak Ko page.)



Non-Drug Treatment For Cough

Raw Barley (Thanks FireHorse for this tip!) After boiling in water for 20 minutes, it is ready to be consumed with some rock sugar syrup.

Steamed Asian Pear with Rock Sugar
(Thanks Sister Rebecca for this recipe and the 川貝粉)

After I posted this, I received several more suggestion to cure my cough. I even found an article on Phlegm Remedy.
I received the following home remedy from a dear friend. If there’s a Chinese herbal medicine store, you might want to consider going there and buy 川貝粉. Take one tsp of 川貝粉 with warm water 3-4 times a day. If the powder is authentic, you will feel better very soon. If there’s no Chinese herbal medicine store nearby but a Chinese grocery store in town, buy 杏仁粉(almond powder) and drink it. That will be the second best option. In addition, if you can buy 白蘿蔔(Chinese white radish), cook in the soup or cook with dry shrimp. It doesn’t matter how you cook it, the most important thing is to EAT it. Don’t eat any spicy food or dry crackers. Drink a lot of warm water and clear broth. Don’t drink cold stuff. Don’t eat dairy food such as milk, cheese and butter because they produce mucus in our body, which means you will cough even more.

One reader suggested boiling water with mint leaves and rock sugar. I thought that idea is brilliant. How about steeping a teabag with that?



The Next American Idols?


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

Faith Vs. Sight

My battle with the flu has tested my faith.  It is so easy to believe something that we can see or touch.  I wanted so badly to know that God was there for me.  My Dad, and my blogger friends, thanks for praying for me.  Your comments meant a lot to me.  It is what keeps me going. 

I know, I know.  I should rest, instead of blogging.  I tried to rest as much as I can but the cough kept me awake.  I went back to read yesterday’s daily devotional readings from Streams in the Desert. 

Elijah was a man just like us.  He prayed earnestly. (James 5:17) 

Elijah did not stop praying.   He paid no attention to what he saw.   In spite of utterly hopeless reports received from sight, he continued to pray.

Roast Pork / Siew Yoke

A few years ago, Mom made this when she visited us in the US.  When I saw the recipe on Lily’s website, I was determined to try it.  Since I was still not feeling well, I only ate a couple of pieces.  However, my daughters loved them.  Even my husband who is on low cholesterol diet could not resist the temptation.  He ate the non-fat part.


I used a ziploc bag to marinate the pork strips.  Marinate includes salt, pepper, sugar and five spiced powder. 

The pork strip will stand nicely with rind side up with skewars inserted on each end.  I used a drip-pan over a regular baking sheet pan to drain the extra fat.  I set my convection oven on broiler and on high.  In less than 3 minutes, there was lots of smoke inside the oven.  The skin began to crackle in less than 5 minutes.  I turned off the heat and reset the oven to bake at 450 degrees fahrenheit.  Make sure you have good ventilation, open the windows if it is too smoky inside the kitchen.  After about 40 minutes or so, I check the meat.  Most of it were cooked, so I turned off the oven.  When I was chopping the meat, I noticed a few pieces looked reddish, so, I put it back into the warmed oven.


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