Cooking with Alison

Archive for the ‘Other Asian Foods’ Category

How to Make the Best Chinese Rice Dumplings (Joong)

In Other Asian Foods on January 4, 2014 at am

Cooking with Alison’s Grandma (Part 4 of 4)

‘Joong’ or Chinese rice dumplings have also been called Chinese tamales.  My grandma makes the best joong in the world.  I can’t eat other peoples’ or restaurants’ joong, because nothing comes close to grandma’s joong.  So I was very happy when she agreed to teach me how to make them.  It takes a lot of work and the preparation starts days in advance, but her recipe makes 32 and they can be frozen for future meals.

The first joong that I ever wrapped.

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Pickled Daikon Radish and Carrot Recipe

In Asian, Other Asian Foods, Sides and Sauces on November 3, 2013 at am

One of the reasons why I love love love Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi), is that they contain pickled daikon radishes and carrots.  These pickled daikon radishes and carrots are very easy to make and are a great side dish to almost any meal.  Enjoy them with a bowl of Vietnamese beef noodle soup (pho tai) (see recipe here), or a dish of meat and rice, or add them to your rice paper rolls (see recipe here).  These are also a great accompaniment to Korean food (see my beef short ribs (kalbi) recipe here).  I love making my own pickled vegetables, because I can control the salt and sugar content.  If you are not sure what to do with your leftover daikon radishes, you will find a list of different recipes that use this radish here.


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What to Cook When Daikon Radish Goes on Sale for 9 Cents per Pound

In Appetizers, Hors D'oeuvres, Snacks, Asian, Dim Sum, How-To, Meat and Eggs, Other Asian Foods, Rice and Noodle Dishes, Soups on October 26, 2013 at am

When white daikon radish went on sale for only 9 cents per pound, I did what I had to do – I bought pounds and pounds and pounds of it, found different ways to cook it, and ate nothing but daikon radish for two weeks.  It was awesome!  🙂  So here is a list of dishes that you can make using white daikon radish.  Let me know if you can think of more items!

  • braised beef dishes (see recipes here and here)
  • Vietnamese beef noodle soup (pho tai) (see recipe here)
  • steamed cake (lo bak go) (see recipe here)
  • pickled condiment (see recipe here)
  • soup (see recipe here)
  • pan fried dish with beef

If you’ve never cooked daikon radish before, I should warn you that the cooking process releases an unpleasant odour.  But once the radish is fully cooked, the smell goes away, and the radish has a mild flavour.

Thai Mango Salad Recipe

In Appetizers, Hors D'oeuvres, Snacks, Asian, Other Asian Foods, Sides and Sauces on September 1, 2013 at am


This Thai mango salad is delicious and very easy to make.  The key to success is to use mangoes that have the perfect ripeness, just starting to ripe and still firm.  Some recipes call for green mangoes, but I’ve found that using green mangoes results in a crunchy salad that lacks mango flavour and colour.  I made this for my sister’s lunch group at work and everyone loved it.  I served it as an appetizer to a cold Thai noodle salad (recipe here).

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Hot Chili Oil Recipe

In Other Asian Foods, Sides and Sauces on June 19, 2012 at pm

Chinese hot chili oil is versatile, delicious, and cheap and easy to make.  Use this as a condiment (e.g. for dumplings), use it in sauces (see bang bang chicken recipe here), soups (hot and sour soup recipe here, Chinese borscht (lor sung tong) recipe here), add this to a noodle dish (even instant noodles), or use it as a substitute for cooking oil to add heat to any dish.

Normally, this is made using whole, dried red chilies, which gives the hot chili oil a red colour.  However, I happened to have a lot of red chili flakes on hand, so I used that instead.

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How to Make Shrimp Chips From Scratch

In Appetizers, Hors D'oeuvres, Snacks, How-To, Other Asian Foods on January 11, 2012 at am

Shrimp chips (also known as prawn crackers) are light, puffed up, crunchy snacks that are very popular all around the world.  In some North American Chinese restaurants, multi coloured (with food colouring) “shrimp chips” are served atop a deep fried whole chicken, but those shrimp chips almost never have any real shrimp in them.  They taste like styrofoam and don’t resemble the real thing in flavour or in texture.  The best shrimp chips in the world, in our opinion, are made in Brunei.  It’s been many years since any of us were in Brunei, and I thought that I might never taste their shrimp chips again, until I discovered how easy they are to make at home.  Malaysian shrimp chips are a very close second best in my opinion.

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Duck Tongues Recipe

In Other Asian Foods on October 30, 2011 at am

I love love love eating duck tongues, and I have no problem consuming an entire box in one sitting, despite the fact that they are pricey and high in calories.  I also happen to be in love with this sauce.  Duck tongues can be deep fried, braised, or stir fried.  My favourite way to cook duck tongues is to stir fry them.

For those of you who have never tried a duck tongue, most of the tongue is edible.  A thin piece of soft bone (I love eating the soft bone) runs up the middle of the tongue and connects to an inedible bone in the middle of the back end of the tongue.  The flesh surrounding the bone is neither meaty nor tough like cow’s tongue.  Rather, it is soft and slightly chewy, and rich and fatty without being greasy or oily.  It’s the texture that makes these so popular.  They are relatively neutral in taste, so flavourful sauces are often used.

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Steamed Tofu with Shrimp Recipe

In Other Asian Foods on October 11, 2011 at am

Steamed tofu stuffed/topped with shrimp is a healthy dish that is very easy to make.  Alternatively, you could top your tofu with marinated minced pork (with mushrooms and/or red chili peppers, etc.).  If you are using pork for this dish, you can follow the method in the recipe below or you can steam the tofu and cook the pork separately in a pan.  Then simply top your hot tofu with the cooked pork mixture and serve.

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Stir Fried Snow Pea Shoots with Garlic

In Other Asian Foods on September 12, 2011 at am

Living in an apartment that faces north prevented me from growing my own vegetables until now.  This summer, I rented a community garden plot and tried gardening for the first time.  I wasn’t as successful as I had hoped, because I was (too often) too lazy to make the trip to the plot and water it.  I was the most excited when a single Japanese eggplant started to grow.  I proudly inspected it for a couple of weeks while researching recipes that would be worthy of this adorable, surely to be delicious, eggplant.  But before it was fully grown, a rabbit ate it.  I was really disappointed.  Luckily, I was able to enjoy a bunch of young and tender snow pea shoots.

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Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls with Dipping Sauce Recipes

In Other Asian Foods, Rice and Noodle Dishes on July 24, 2011 at am

Vietnamese rice paper rolls are versatile, easy to make, and can be served as an appetizer or the main.  They’re perfect for parties and pot lucks, because they can be made in advance and they make wonderful gluten free, vegetarian or vegan options.  Just slice them in half crosswise on a diagonal and serve with dipping sauce.

The most commonly known Vietnamese rice paper rolls have prawns (see recipe below).  However, you could think of it like a tortilla wrap and use whatever fresh vegetables, herbs, protein, and rice noodles or mung bean noodles that you happen to have on hand.  For vegetables, I recommend using bean sprouts or julienned cucumber, carrots, bell peppers, cooked shiitake mushrooms, etc.  Try adding slices of fresh mango!  For protein, use strips of cooked chicken, pork, beef, tofu, or even Korean bulgogi (marinated and barbecued meat).  I love making a simple Peking duck inspired rice noodle roll with shredded roasted chicken, julienned English cucumbers, shredded green onions, hoisin sauce, and sesame paste or tahini.  This is a great way to transform leftovers into something completely different.  The components of the rice noodle rolls are usually simple and even a bit bland, but they are delicious when paired with flavourful dipping sauces.  I particularly like making these in the summer, because you don’t have to use the oven or stand over the stove.

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Chinese Ginger Vinegar with Pig Trotters and Eggs

In Other Asian Foods on July 8, 2011 at am

Cooking with Alison’s Grandma (Part 2 of 4)

Chinese ginger vinegar (geung chou) is very good for your health.  It supposedly helps your body to warm itself and expel “wind” from your body.  According to Chinese medicine, excess “wind” inside your body can cause all sorts of ailments including joint pain, arthritis, headaches, etc.  This is traditionally made for women who have just given birth and is shared with friends and visitors in celebration of the arrival of the baby.  However, it can be enjoyed by anyone, at any time of the year.  I love the flavour and the texture of the pigs feet.  Everyone makes this dish slightly differently, but my favourite version has always been my grandma’s.  So when I visited her in NYC, I asked her to share her recipe. I was surprised by how few ingredients are required.  My grandma starts the process 3 months ahead of time, but the steps are simple and most of the time is spent resting the ginger and vinegar.

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Pan Fried Steamed Buns Recipe

In Other Asian Foods, Steamed Bread on June 21, 2011 at am

Chinese steamed buns are delicious plain and straight out of the steamer.  But if you haven’t tried pan fried steamed buns, then you’re definitely missing out.  Unlike steamed buns, pan fried buns have crispy, golden brown bottoms and are often served with a Chinese black vinegar dip.  You start with fresh, raw homemade buns and you pan fry and steam cook them at the same time.  (Next time, I will try doing this with frozen, raw buns and I will update this post at that time.)

In the photo below, I’ve shown most of the buns upside down, but when serving pan fried buns, you should plate them with the crispy bottom down.

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