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How to make Taiwanese ZhongZi (or ZongZi) 粽子

16 Jun

Today is the 5th day of the 5th lunar month in Chinese calendar, aka The Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Festival 端午节 in Chinese). I hardly look at the lunar calendar but only know when it’s coming when T&T starts selling 粽子 (ZongZi or ZhongZi), lychee is in season or when Grandma starts making zhongi. I asked her to teach me how to make it this year, and she was glad to pass down the tradition to me. It’s actually quite easy, but the preparation process is complex and the wrapping needs to be practiced.

What this is great for, is getting friends and family together to make it and eat together – and that’s what it’s really about.

粽子 / ZhongZi / ZongZi Recipe

(courtesy of and featuring my Grandma)

Ingredients:

If you are comfortable with cooking and experimenting, discard all my measurements (as usual), but use it as a reference.

  • 1.3 lbs sticky rice
  • bamboo leaves as needed (and string)
  • 1/6lb peanuts (optional, as much as you like)
  • 0.65oz dried miniature shrimp
  • 0.65oz dried chinese mushrooms
  • 1/2lbs pork (fatty, belly, whatever… chunked)
  • fried shallots as needed
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp rice wine (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (or brown sugar syrup. DO NOT use Taiwanese black sugar)
  • salt, white pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Salted duck egg, chestnuts, dried minced daikon radish.
  • Serve with: sweet chili sauce or sweet soy sauce.

Preparation:

  • Soak overnight: peanuts, dried chinese mushrooms, dried miniature shrimp
  • Wash bamboo leaves thoroughly and till pliable. Remove stems and leave in bowl with some water to keep moist but not soak.
  • Wash rice thoroughly and rinse 3-4 times. Add 3 tsp of salt and mix. Update: soak for at least half an hour if you are planning to use a pressure cooker, 3 hours to overnight if using a steamer
  • Peel cooked salted duck egg. Remove the white and the membrane around the yolk. Toss with a tbsp of rice wine for flavour.

Methods – meat filling:

  1. Heat oil in wok. Add pork chunks and stirfry till fragrant. Remove from heat.
  2. Add more oil to wok if necessary. Stirfry shrimp and fried shallots, then add mushrooms and stirfry till fragrant. Add peanuts and mix.
  3. Add meat, season with soy sauce, rice wine, sugar. Saute rapidly over high heat until boiling (add enough soy and rice wine so that there is some liquid). Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. ALWAYS TASTE and add more if necessary of any ingredient.

Methods – wrapping:

  1. Take 2 leaves, one larger than the other and opposite end to opposite end. Overlap, with the smaller leaf on the top, line the edge of the leaves up but with the smaller leaf a little higher. (You’ll need to watch the video to know what I mean).
  2. Fold and form a funnel shape, with the left end longer than the right.
  3. Place rice, filling, and more rice as in the video.
  4. Fold the bottom over, pinch the sides in and push the rice and filling upwards. Make sure it’s tight or else when it’s cooked the rice will turn into mush. Pinch the top and fold. Secure with cotton string.

Methods – cooking – 2 ways:

  1. Boiling in pressure cooker: Put dumplings into pressure cooker and cover with water. Cook until boiling and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove and cool. But always test first to see amount of cooking time depending on heat source, pressure cooker etc.
  2. Steaming: Bring water in steamer to a boil, and steam over low heat for 1 hour or until done.

Serve with sweet chili sauce or sweet soy paste.

For all your Taiwanese imports….

19 Sep

So I headed down to this event that my Grandma’s ‘school’ was holding – it was a food fair fundraiser. Found every Taiwanese dish from beef noodle soup, to fermented rice to bubble tea… all the food you grew up with. Came across these tiny tapioca balls – I’ve always avoided making the regular tapioca that you find in the tea shops – the larger 1cm diameter ones because it needs to be watched, carefully cooked and is time consuming. Found these tasty small ones about 1/5 the size – cooking time 5 minutes!

Got introed to this Taiwanese warehouse that supplied the tapioca, along with Taiwanese imports such as rock sugar, tea, fruit syrups (for all your bubble tea needs), 8 treasure beans (and all your ice plate needs), grass jelly, egg milk powder etc.

Shine Enterprise Limited
1624 West 75th Avenue
Vancouver BC V6P 6G2, Canada
tel: 604-737-8403
Fax: 604-737-9849

tw food

Taiwanese Salt Pepper Chicken (鹽酥雞)

16 Jun

chickenAs usual, all measurements are just a guideline, but this came out quite delicious! Just need to figure out now to make it even crispier – if I remember correctly, my 2nd uncle (who’s a fantastic cook) double fried it in a large vat with lots of oil and over a gas stove outdoors.

Ingredients:

Marinade:
1 lbs chicken – cut into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp cooking wine
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 scallion/green onion – segmented
sliced ginger – large pieces
sugar

Coating:
sweet yam flour/starch
corn starch
flour
egg <– I didn’t use this, but will try the next round

Seasoning:
peppercorns
salt
five spice powder

Other:
oil
pan
pot
tongs/chopsticks
gloves
paper towels/lettuce leaves

1) Combine all the marinade ingredients and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Don’t cut the ginger and green onion too small or they might stick onto the chicken and will burn when you fry it.
2) Heat oil slowly in wok/pan/pot. I also pan fried a few pieces to see the effect – about the same, but used less oil. For best results use a gas stove, heat on low heat for about 5 minutes, then increase to low/medium. Adjust accordingly.
3) Combine all the dry ingredients for the coating. Should be 50% yam flour, 15% flour, 35% corn starch.
4) When the oil is hot enough, coat the chicken in the egg wash (optional) then dip into dry coat mix. Make sure it’s fully coated, squeeze as much powder as you can get on it (makes it crispier/fluffier) and drop into oil. Try a piece at first to test if the temperature of the oil is right. Fry till brown and remove onto paper towel or lettuce leaf.
5) Top with seasoning (see below) and serve immediately.

Seasoning:
1) In pan, panfry dry ingredients on very low heat till fragrant. Pepper 50%, salt 40%, five pice powder 10%.

TaiwanFest 2008!!

25 Aug

Highlights: FOOD!, Wu Bai concert on Saturday August 30th (in Seattle – =(, and FOOD!

August 30-September 1
Plaza of Nations
750 Pacific Blvd.

http://www.taiwanfest.ca/

Friiend – we go on Sunday? or the Monday?

Note to self: Learn Wu Bai’s “Flower Dance”

Chinese dictionary

11 Jun

http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php

八仙果 “Ba1 xian1 guo3”

11 Jun

or Chen Pi Ba Xian Guo 陈皮八仙果

Makes the nausea go away. Otherwise a tasty snack.

八仙果中國一種涼果,帶中藥味及薄荷味,能紓緩喉部痕癢,並且化

八仙果的製法是將陳皮半夏茯苓甘草二陳湯冰片中藥塞進佛手瓜的果肉內,風乾之後切粒而成。由於成本問題,近年已改用葡萄柚代替佛手瓜。

http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%85%AB%E4%BB%99%E6%9E%9C

For more preserved stuff (the Taiwanese love the preserves aka 蜜饯, mi4 jian4 – goes especially well with the tea) go to:http://www.pakary.com/driedbot3.htm

Blog about Taiwan (and some China)

5 Jun

An Australian academic working on Taiwan and China at a university in London. This blog is a space for articles, commentaries, reviews, conference papers, and other miscellany and ephemera which would not otherwise find a permanent place in books or journals.

http://mharrison.wordpress.com/