Hunan Spicy Ribs

by Dory on April 15, 2014

in Uncategorized

I miss Shanghai, terribly. It’s been almost 4 years since I visited this beautiful city. It’s the first and only city I’ve visited in China (so far). The most memorable about Shanghai to me is the amazing food. Recently I stumbled upon Fiona’s blog about all Shanghai street food and it made me miss the place even more. I’ve tasted a variety of new food in Shanghai but aside from their breakfast jian bing, I’d say the most impressionable food I’ve had is the Hunan Spicy Ribs from Di Shui Dong Restaurant that my friend Viki took me too. Although I didn’t have the right camera gear to take pictures and capture the ambiance of the place and these amazing ribs, it certainly left a deep impression that I still remember how it tasted.

Here’s recipe that I’ve found online and tweaked. The only thing that would make it taste exactly like the ribs in Di Shui Dong Restaurant is the “wok hei” which can be achieved by cooking in very high flame. The total time to prepare and cook the ribs is a bit longer than what I normally would prefer but it is undeniably worth it.

I hope you will try it too and then let me know if turned out great for you as well.



6 cups Water
3 cloves of garlic Sliced
1 knob of ginger sliced
1 small handful green onion (ends only)
1 stick cinnamon stick
3 star anise
1 1/2 c light soy sauce
1 1/2 c Shoaxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
75 g Chinese rock sugar

Ingredients for MARINADE and SPICE COATING

1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or good medium-dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon potato starch or cornflour
1 3/4 cups peanut oil
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 fresh red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
2 to 4 teaspoons dried chili flakes
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 spring onions, green parts only, finely sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil


Fill your stockpot with water. Add the stock ingredients together and bring to a boil. Once stock is boiling, turn down the flame to low and add the ribs.
Simmer the ribs for 1 – 2 hours, switch off the pot and leave for 30 mins.
Transfer ribs to a dish and cool in the fridge. (I left mine in fridge overnight)


In a bowl, mix the wine, salt, soy sauces, flour and one tablespoon water. Add cooled ribs to marinade.


In a wok, heat peanut oil. Add ribs and stir gently for two to three minutes, then remove from oil with tongs and drain ribs well.
Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of oil from the wok.


Now is where the magic begins, Over a high flame, add the ginger, garlic, fresh chilies, chili flakes and cumin seeds to the work and stir-fry briefly, until spices are fragrant. (DO NOT cook too long or spices will taste burnt!). Return ribs to the wok and stir well, season with salt to taste.




Honey Castella Cake (Kasutera)

by Dory on April 12, 2014

in Japan

Hello! It’s cherry blossom season once again here in Washington DC! I’ve had enough of the loooong bad winter we had this year and I just can’t wait to go out and enjoy the awesome weather that’s finally here!  Earlier this week, we went to see the cherry blossom trees in full bloom around the tidal basin. It’s fun to see so many tourists visit and enjoying one of the best time of the year.  I got so inspired with the lovely cherry blossom trees it made me want to make something Japanese.

Here’s my first try in making castella cake. It’s soft like sponge cake! I always see these in Korean bakery and love them. Check out how I made them and try em too!


85 g egg whites
60 g sugar
60 g egg yolks
20 g honey
60 g bread flour
20 g whole  milk

The first step to making castella is meringue.  With a mixer, I whisked 85 g of egg whites (roughly 3-4 eggs) until the bubbles become some. Then, slowly add sugar and continue whisking (in medium – fast speed) until the meringue reaches firm peak (see image below). Next, add 60 g egg yolks one at a time.


Next, add 60 g egg yolks one at a time. At this time, the batter start becoming creamy.  Remember  to whisk only in one direction.

Next, add 20 honey and whisk again.

Then, sift 30 g of bread flour into the mixture and mix.  Add the rest of the flour in and mix.

Lastly, add 20 g milk.


Neatly place parchment paper inside a baking pan, then pour the batter.


Place the batter in a preheated oven at 320F and bake for 35 minutes.   After 35 minutes, take it out of  the even and tap on wooden surface three times to stop the cake from shrinking :)


Let the cake cool down for about 10 minutes and slowly slice all four sides of the cake like a traditional castella cake. (see next two images below) except the top part.




The top of my castella cake got slightly messed up because I didn’t wait long enough to let it cool down.  Nonetheless, I loved how it tasted and the texture is moist and soft!





Ginger and Brown Sugar Cake

by Dory on April 5, 2014

in Chinese, Dessert

Ginger and Brown Sugar Cake


glutinous rice flour 450 g
sweet rice flour 100 g
fresh coconut milk 190 g
brown sugar 380 g
canola oil 30 g
Water 140 g
ginger 340 grams

1. Chop ginger into one inch small pieces and rinse off to clean. Add the ginger pieces and water in a food blender and puree into a pulp.
2. Place the pulp in a cheese cloth and squeeze out the ginger juice, until the ginger is left dry.
3. In a pot over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, ginger juice, coconut milk, oil and stir. There is no need to cook until it’s boiling, it just needs to be hot.
4. Turn on kitchen mixer to medium speed then add the flours and gradually pour the brown sugar ginger juice mixture (from #3). Mix for about 5 minutes, before lowering to slow speed to mix for another 7 minutes. Turn off the mixer and strain the mixture/batter.
5. Pour mixture into oiled baking pans until about ninety percent full.
6. Steam in medium heat for two hours and turn off the heat.
7. Cool down the cake before serving.



Crispy Lemongrass Chicken Spring Rolls

by Dory on January 19, 2014

in Uncategorized

2014_1 Lemongrass rolls

I got this idea of making lemongrass chicken spring roll from Trader Joe’s. I saw a packet that they are selling for around $4.99. I ask, why not make it myself? I’ve made the dish before with Bee’s recand aside from making the sugar syrup, all the other steps are easy. So, I’ve substituted the steps making sugar syrup with a tablespoon of corn syrup. There, problem solved. Now this recipe is simple yet satisfying.

Crispy Lemongrass Chicken Spring Rolls

12 pieces of fresh spring roll wrappers, covered

2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast/thigh, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 fresh lemongrass stalks, tender inner white bulbs only, minced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
3 chilies, seeded and minced
1 scallion for garnishing

In a bowl, combine the fish sauce, garlic, curry powder, salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the sugar. Add the chicken meat and mix to coat evenly.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the lemongrass, shallot, and chilies and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the chicken and syrup then stir-fry until the chicken is half cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.

Add a tablespoon of ground chicken on spring roll wrapper and wrap tightly.

Heat a wok over medium high heat. Add spring rolls and fry until golden brown. Cut the spring roll into halves with sharp knife. Serve with sweet and source sauce.



The Black Sheep

by Dory on December 25, 2013

in Richmond

2013.11 Black Sheep8After 10 years in Virginia, I finally visit the capital-Richmond. Beats me why it took me this long. I guess I just never knew the city has so much to offer aside from history. Richmond, turns out has lot of great local restaurants. I was in the area apartment hunting with a friend who went to college in Richmond and she’s showing me one of her favorite food spots, The Black Sheep. I can taste why this place is so popular among locals that it got featured on Man vs Food show.

We arrive at 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday. There was a twenty minute wait, so we decided to drive around to see a little bit of the area.

2013.11 Black Sheep2.

By the time we came back, our tables weren’t ready yet so we waited at the back side of the restaurants.

2013.11 Black Sheep3

I ordered a warm apple spiced cider. It tasted nice and balanced. Not too sour.

Finally, our tables were ready and we were seated in the middle of the restaurant.

2013.11 Black Sheep1

The menu of Black Sheep is mouth watering. They offer a wide variety of options. My eyes gaze in envy whenever I see another dish comes out from the kitchen, served to another table. You can tell the food served here is made with love and pride.

We ordered their famous USS Brooklyn Subs. Honestly, I am not a big sub person but Beth recommended and it’s the most popular item on the menu…so good that it was featured on national TV. It got to have some merit.

2013.11 Black Sheep5

2013.11 Black Sheep6WOW. If you like heat and flavor in your sandwich, THIS is what you want to get. OMG, I love it. Where do I begin? First off, the sub is humongous. It is 2 foot long. It’s slightly longer than two regular forks combined. Inside the baguette is a thick layer of fresh peach chutney with a few golden raisins. Then it is followed by a generous amount of big chunks of charcoal grilled Jamaican jerk chicken, meaty and tender. They put so much chicken in it that it was falling off the sandwich! (which I certainly enjoyed) Then, shredded cabbage and as final touch, drizzled spicy banana ketchup.

I love how they used banana ketchup. I seriously do. I’ve only seen banana ketchup used in Filipinos dishes, never outside that. No wonder that when I took a bite and tasted the sauce, I’m hooked. I didn’t guess that it was banana ketchup but I loved it nonetheless.

The Black Sheep makes me remember that great tasting food doesn’t have to only come from fancy restaurants. Definitely coming back!


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