Category: China

Deep-Fried Spare Ribs Recipe

Deep-Fried Spare Ribs Recipe

This is truly delicious, a real treat to those who like a bit of meat, just like me.  The ribs are crunchy and spicy, perfect as a buffet dish for a party this Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 700 g pork spare ribs
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp rice wine or substituted with the same amount of dry sherry
  • 2 egg, beaten
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • vegetable oil for deep frying

Method of Preparation:

  • Chop each spare rib into  3-4 small pieces
  • Using a large bowl mix together the curry powder, rice wine, salt and black and pepper.
  • Mix in all the spare rib and thoroughly cover all the pieces.
  • In a separate bowl, make a batter by mixing in the beaten eggs with the flour.
  • Heat a wok or a large frying.
  • Add the oil.
  • Take a  few ribs and coat with the egg batter and then carefully drop into the hot oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until golden all over.
  • Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain over kitchen paper towels.
  • Repeat with the rest of the spare ribs.
  • Serve immediately with some salad.

A Love So Beautiful (Chinese Drama Review)


A Love So Beautiful (Chinese Drama Review)

This is such a cute drama.  I have seen about 16 episodes, in which only 11 so far are subtitled in English.  Despite the language barrier (can’t understand Chinese), I still found the drama quite engaging.  Probably because of the script is well developed plus the fact that the cast is beautiful and handsome.  Most of them are newbies, new to the business, which is amazing in itself as they do deliver fine acting.  When you have a good line-up of actors, it is usually hard to go wrong.

Cast:

  • Hu Yi Tian as Jiang Chen
  • Chen Yue as Chen Xiao Xi
  • Wang Zi Wei as Lin Jing Xiao
  • Gao Zhi Ting as Wu Bai Song
  • Zhang He Hao Zhen as Li Shu
  • Sun Ning as Lu Yang
  • Lv Yan as Li Wei

I love the main girl, Chen Xiao Xi.  She’s so lovely, full of vim.  She knows what she wants and goes for it.  At the age of 16 she wanted Jiang Chen, the genius boy of her class.

This drama spans 19 years of their turbulent romantic life.  Based from the trailers of forthcoming episodes, it will not be all roses all the way through; there are a lot of angsts and buckets of tears!

There are apparently 24 episodes.  It is probably divided into 2 series, that is why their is hiatus after episode 12.

By the way, it can be hard to wait for Chinese dramas to be subbed in English, which is rather frustrating sometimes especially when the drama is deemed to be good. I would like, therefore, to thank some hard-working youtube subbers (most of them hold full time jobs and study), who do subtitling in their spare time.  I would therefore would like to encourage you to subscribe to their channels to show appreciation.

Cheers!

 

Episode 1 

Chen Xiao Xi was without any qualms in pursuing Jiang Chen.  She told him she liked him in which he replied “I don’t like you.”  This hardly made Chen Xiao Xi stopped on her track.  In fact she researched on the internet how to make someone like you back.  So funny.  love it.

I love the characters.  Chen Xiao Xi is a least a foot shorter than Jiang Chen but somehow they looks so cute together.

Episode 2

This is story about children and parents.  Appreciate your parents while you still can.

Episode 3

This episode is about Chen Xiao Xi wanting to be the class monitor.

Episode 9

This episode is cuteness overload.  Jiang Chen and Xiao Xi riding the same bike together is just the cutest!  It is a bit sad though for the second male lead.  He is rather adorable in his own way because he always put Xiao Xi first before himself.. all the time!  The main topic of this episode is joining the class debating team.

Episode 10

This one is about Avian flu.  Of course Xiao Xi would be at least of those suspected of contracting bird flu.

Episode 11

This is rather sweet.  Finally Jiang Chen is showing a romantic interest in Xiao Xi.

It was nearing Christmas and about gift giving.  The girls were frantically knitting scarves, hats and gloves for their crushes.  Of course Xiao Xi can’t knit.  Instead Jiang Chen gave her his scarf when it was snowing.  So sweet.

Episode 12,

Their class was going on a field trip.  During the trip Xiao Xi and her friends prepared for her confession again to Jiang Chen.  They brought fireworks with them which they would lit up as she was confessing.  Unfortunately, it did not go the way it was planned.  Another girl was confessing to Jiang Chen when the fireworks burst into a myriad of colours. Xiao Xi witnessed Jiang Chen hugging the girl. Thank goodness Wo Bu Song(second male lead) was there to take the crying Xiao Xi away from the scene.

Episode 13

This episode is the aftermath of the aborted confession by Xiao Xi to Jiang Chen.

Episode 14

Episode 15

Episode 16

 

 

 

Crispy Seaweed Recipe

 

Crispy Seaweed

Peter and I love crispy seaweeds.  We always order it as one of our starters when we dine out in Chinese restaurants.

There is something about its crispy texture that is rather pleasing to the tastebuds.

Of course we are well aware that this seaweed is not really seaweed as we know it.  It did not come from the sea. 🙂  In fact it is made from finely shredded spring green cabbage.

Peter asked me why is it then called a seaweed?!!! To hazard guest, I think because it does look like a seaweed when it is being prepared and cooked. Its corrugated crispy texture is like seaweed.

Anyway, as I have said, it is quite delicious and here a recipe for it.

Crispy Seaweed Recipe

 

Ingredients

  • 250 g Spring green cabbage (Kale is a good substitute)
  • 1½ tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp shrimp powder (optional)
  • Oil for deep frying

Method of Preparation:

  • Prepare the spring green by washing it completely and ridding it of grits and little insects, you never know!  🙂 .  Trim off the tough stalks that run through each leaf.  Drain the leaves thoroughly with kitchen paper towels.
  • Using a good chopping board and an equally good and sharp knife, sliced the leaves into thin ribbons.
  • Spread them in a flat surface for 10-15 minutes to allow them to completely dry.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or a deep-fat fryer.
  • To cook the finely shredded cabbage evenly, they must be done in batches.  Carefully lower a bit of the spring green shreds into the hot oil.  When they have been cook they would crinkle and float.  Remove them with a slotted ladle and put them over kitchen paper towels to soak up excess oil.  Do the same thing with the rest of the batch.
  • For the topping, mix the the sugar and salt with the shrimp powder and sprinkle over the cabbage.
  • Serve immediately as a starter.

Beef in Oyster Sauce

Beef in Oyster Sauce, photo by JMorton

Beef in Oyster Sauce

Beef cooked in oyster sauce is a great family favourite.  We order it when dining in restaurants and also when we do not have time to cook and we just want a Chinese take-away 🙂

Below is an easy to follow recipe for your convenience 🙂

 

Ingredients

  • 300 g beef steak
  • 1 tsp Demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine (dry sherry is a good substitute)
  • 1 tsp cornflour paste
  • 1 small carrot
  • 60 g mange taut (sitsaro) topped and tailed
  • 60 g bamboo shoots (from the tin or can is suitable)
  • 60 g straw mushroom (canned ones are suitable)
  • 300 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 stalk spring onion cut into inch segments
  • 1 inch ginger, julliened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tbsp water

Method of Preparation:

  • Prepare the beef by cutting it into thin small slices.
  • Place the beef slices into a bowl.
  • Stir in the Demerara sugar.
  • Pour in the light soy sauce, rice wine and cornflour paste all over the beef.
  • Give it a good stir, then set aside to marinate for at least half and hour.
  • Slice the carrot and straw mushrooms thinly to be in uniform in size as the bamboo shoot and mange taut.
  • Heat the wok, and when smoking hot :), carefully pour in the oil.  Heat it up.
  • Add the beef and stir-fry for a minute or two.
  • Remove the beef from the oil using a slotted spoon/ladle.
  • Pour out the oil leaving about a tablespoon only in the wok.
  • Stir fry the carrot, straw mushrooms, bamboo shots, mange taut and spring onion for two minutes.
  • Add the beef, oyster sauce and water.
  • Season with salt.
  • Blend throughly and cook for a minute.
  • Serve immediately with freshly boiled rice.

Enjoy!

 

Szechuan Shredded Pork

Shredded Pork, by Arnold Gamboa

Szechuan Shredded Pork

This recipe is a real winner.  Delicious and filling.  Szechuan way of cooking this dish can be used to cook fish as well, which is a healthier option.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp dried wood ears mushroom
  • 300 g pork fillet
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cornflour paste
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks spring onions, chopped finely (separate the green from the white part)
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

 

Method of Preparation:

  • Prepare the dried  wood ear mushrooms by soaking them in warm water for half an hour.  Rinse well in cold water and leave to drain for a few minutes.  Cut them into find shreds.
  • Cut the fillet of pork into thin shreds.  Mix the salt with the cornflour paste and use to cover the pork shreds with this mixture.
  • Heat a wok until smoking hot :).  Pour in the vegetable oil.  Add the pork shreds and stir-fry until golden brown.  Then remove from the pieces of pork with a slotted spoon and set aside for the minute.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, white of the spring onions, celery and the wood ear mushrooms into the wok and stir fry for a minute.
  • Return the pork into the wok and also adding the sugar, soy sauce, chilli sauce. rice vinegar and rice wine.  Give it a good stir until everything is incorporated.
  • Add the sesame oil as well as the green part of the spring onion.  Stir for a minute and then transfer into a serving plate.
  • Serve hot with a dish of freshly boiled rice.

 

 

Chow Mein with Seasonal Vegetables

Chow mein, photo by JMorton

Chow Mein with Seasonal Vegetables

Today is my son, James’s birthday.

There is Asian tradition to serve noodles on birthdays for long life.  Added to this, I saw in a Korean drama that one must eat the first spoonful or chopstick-ful of noodles without chewing or biting on to the strands so that one life span is not cut short.  🙂

James said that he might choke on the noodles if he swallowed them whole.  🙂  He’s got a point but I told him I have got my mobile phone ready to call an ambulance and while waiting for them to arrive, I will give him the Heimlich manoeuvre.

🙂

To report, he was fine and had a good time at his birthday dinner.

Ingredients

  • 500g egg noodle (miki)
  • 4 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot, peeled, julliened
  • 125 g bean sprouts
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, julliened
  • 1/2 Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
  • 125 g baby corn, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sherry
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Method of Preparation:

  • Prepare the noodles.  Cook it according to the packet’s instruction.  Drain and run it under cool water to prevent it from cooking further.  Drain and set aside.
  • Heat the oil using a large pan or better yet a wok over high heat.
  • Stir in the onions and then the carrots and baby corn. Fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the bell pepper, cabbage, bean-sprouts and the noodles.
  • Tip in the soy sauce, sherry, salt, sugar, cornflour and sesame oil.
  • Stir-fry until the seasoning has been mixed in thoroughly.

Serve hot!  Enjoy!

 

Chinese & Taiwanese Dramas OST

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Chinese & Taiwanese Dramas OST

What makes a drama memorable?  There are a lot to consider but I think one big factor is the soundtrack that goes with it.  With just a few notes, you know what drama the soundtrack is from.

I can’t understand Chinese Mandarin or Cantonese but somehow the tune of the music gets to me.

Here is a list of my favourite.

  • Guess, by Joanne Tseng for Attention, Love (Taiwanese Drama)
  • Ending Cut, by Eleanor Lee for The Big Boss (Chinese Drama)
  • I’ll be There, by Silence Wang for Dear Prince (Taiwanese Drama)
  • Promise by A.N. Jell for Fabulous Boys (Taiwanese Drama)
  • Is This a Dream by Hu Ti Yian for A Love So Beautiful (Chinese Drama)

 

Salt & Pepper Shrimps Recipe

Salt & Pepper Shrimps, photo by Bless Mercado

Salt & Pepper Shrimps Recipe

Salt and pepper chicken is a great favourite of our family.  We just love the crispness of the chicken and its spiciness.

We also recently discovered the shrimps version and it is even more luscious in taste.  There are two ways of cooking the shrimps.  If the shrimps or prawns are large, I would recommend perhaps to peel them but if there are small to medium in size, I would cook them in their shell.  The shell will add extra crispness in the texture after deep frying.

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 300g medium shrimps or smaller shrimps; head removed, deveined
  • 3-4 tbsp cornflour or cornstarch
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp sea salt granules
  • ¾ tablespoon ground Szechuan peppercorns or black pepper
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 bird’s eyes chilli, chopped or a tsp of chilli flakes
  • coriander for decorating

Instructions

  1. Prepare the shrimp, remove the shells if you prefer.  Put the shrimps over some kitchen paper towel to drain thoroughly.
  2. Spice up the cornstarch with the fine salt, black pepper and garlic powder.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Drop the shrimps onto the cornstarch.  Coat the shrimps with the powdery mix.
  4. In a wok over low heat, stir fry the salt granules and Sichuan peppercorn.  Dry fry for a couple of minutes.  Set aside.
  5. Using a deep-fat fryer, fry the shrimps until they have turned golden.  Do this in batches to ensure even cooking.  Remove with slotted spoon.  Set aside.
  6. Add a tablespoon of oil to the wok with the salt and peppercorn mix.  Stir in the chopped garlic and chilli.  Fry for a minute or two.  Add the deep fried shrimps and mix them all in.
  7. Serve over a bed of salad leaves.  Enjoy!

Princess Agents & Legend of Lu Zhen

I have to admit that I was not really into historical action dramas but after watching Yang yang’s Once Upon A time, I thought I should give it a go.

Here are my first choices and both dramas featured Zanilia Zhao, also sometimes called Zhao Liying.

Princess Agents & Legend of Lu Zhen

Princess Agents

Princess Agents

This is a historical drama which currently hold the top rating as the most watched Chinese drama of all time.

As I previously mentioned, the leading lady is played by Zanilia Zhao (Chu Qiao / Jin Xiaoliu / Xing’er)  and the two male leads vying for her affection were Lin Gengxin as Yuwan Yue and Shawn Dou as Yan Xun.

Zanilia was cute and slightly chubby in her previous dramas like in Boss & Me but she lost a lot of weight for this drama.  Probably from intentional dieting or the rigorous training for the kungfu scenes.

I have to admit (I am admitting a lot of things here 🙂 lol) that I am not one for prolong fights like boxing, punching & kicking but in this drama it was done in another level.  It was so beautiful.  I could actually watch just the fighting scenes all day if I have to.  The fight scenes between Ying’er and Yuwan Yue were rather erotic.  Lots of flying into the air, lots of swishing of beautiful and colourful garments and both of them looking bloody gorgeous.

The story was quite memorable (or just probably the leads gave such good performance) that it was so disappointing when it finally ended after 58 episodes.

The earlier episodes grabbed you so tightly that you can’t help yourself but be hooked.

Princess Agents was during the time when Northern Wei was in chaos.  Factions were sprouting against the emperor all the time, due to the state of the region.  Ordinary citizens where captured and turned into slaves.  And this what exactly happened to Jin Xiaoliu.  She was kidnapped to be one of the running maidens to be hunted by ferocious wolves as well as the kingdom’s royalty.  This scene was gloriously well composed and the cinematography was a sensory delight.

Jin Xiaoliu survived the perilous hunt and ended up as a slave in Yuwan Yue’s manor.  He renamed her as Xing’er and started training her in Kungfu.

She found out later (she has amnesia 🙂 ) that she is the daughter of Luo He, the master of Feng Yun order and that she could find all the answers to her question at Yibai, which coincidentally is the principality of Yan Xun’s family.  At this time his family were all slaughtered by the Wei emperor.

The ending is so sad and a tad annoying as it was left hanging.  The gorgeous Yuwan Yue dies while Xing’er who has now reverted back to her original name of Chu Qiao dove into the freezing water to save him.  But with his last remaining straining he pushed her away to survive.

There are so many beautiful scene and a full use of CGI was used.  Some hated it but I just love it.

Highly recommended for good viewing even for just the fight scenes!  Enjoy!

Legend of Lu Zhen aka Female Prime Minister

Legend of Lu Zhen

This is an earlier Zanilia Zhao drama, where she constantly reminded me of Jang Na ra.

Anyway Zanilia played Lu Zhen, a young girl who was very capable, patient and methodical and with a good heart.

She saved a young man from a near death occurrence, not knowing that he was the Prince of Northern Qi dynasty.

Anyway the story is more straight forward that the Princess Agents.  It tells the rise to power from a mere palace maid to the first female Prime Minister of the kingdom.

She also got her man in the end, however she did not get the title of his Empress because of circumstances that foist upon her.

The drama is very watchable and the gorgeous actor Chen Xiao played Gao Zhan so affectingly.

Again, lovely drama of 59 episodes.

I know I have not had a good or enough night sleep for ages.

The Eternal Love (Chinese Drama Review)

The Eternal Love poster

 

The Eternal Love (Chinese Drama Review)

I am watching this drama this weekend.

I have just finished episode 1 and I must say, I enjoyed it.

It is a time travelling drama.

A girl from the present time, travels to the past and possessing the body of the Second Daughter, Qu Tan Er of the Qu Family.

Qu Tan Er, poor girl has developed a rather schizophrenic personality.  One minute she is the demure, introverted and shy Qu Tan Er and then she is possessed by the girl from the 21st century who is feisty, modern and self-confident, Xiao Tan.

The back story was that Qu Tan Er tried committing suicide as she was being forced to marry the 8th Prince when she was already in love with the King’s oldest son.

When she recovered enough from her suicide attempt, she became a different person.

I must say this drama is so entertaining that I have just finished watching episode 2.  I was surprised how quick it went.

Episode 2, Qu Tan Er has now become the consort of the 8th Prince.

Episode 24:  Yup it is 12:58am and finally finished last episode of this interesting and enjoyable drama.  It is full of action, and beautiful sceneries.  There are also yards upon yards of beautiful free-flowing Hanfu costume.

And the actors are so flawlessly gorgeous.

Most importantly, if you wanted romance, this sure is big, I mean huge in romance.  The kissing scenes are so sweetly erotic.

Love this drama. It is not flawless because some of the dialogues (or probably the English translation) would leave you feeling mehhhh!  Like when ‘Old Weirdo” said that the Demon king has grown really powerful and became an expert in Martial arts.  That was funny.

If you are feeling nostalgic in living in the past, wearing all those beautiful flowy hanfu, think again, apparently your family can be your own worst enemy.

So much so that I shall be watching Princess Agents or is it Agent Princess. 🙂

And last but not the least to mention is that it has  beautifully haunting original soundstracks (OST)

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