Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Steamed Pearl Balls

A few weeks ago, the two packages that I sent out this summer from Taiwan finally arrived, yippeeee! It's been so long since I've sent them that I almost forgot about all the goodies I've packed up inside-- from snacks, condiments to noodles and rice! Yes, that's right, rice! Glutinous rice to be exact. I can't believe they don't sell glutinous rice here... these polaks are seriously missing out. So before i splurge all the rice on JLo's famous 油飯 (glutinous oil rice) that he keeps bragging about, i decided to make my favorite dim sum that I totally forgot to eat this time in TW, 珍珠丸 (Pearl Balls)! I never knew these things were so easy to make until I found a short and simple cooking video for it on ytower. If you exclude the rice-soaking step, the entire process only took 15 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to steam... it doesn't get any easier than that ;) !

Steamed Pearl Balls
from ytower.com

  • 250g ground pork
  • 200g shrimp (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, depending on your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons spring onions, minced
  • 3/4 cup glutinous rice (a.k.a sweet rice, sticky rice)
  • white pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Soak the glutinous rice in water for at least 2 hours or over night.
  2. In a big bowl, combine the ground pork and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, toss it around.
  3. Add in the shrimp pieces (optional) and continue tossing.
  4. Mix in the sugar, potato starch, white pepper, spring onions, and sesame oil.
  5. Continue kneading and tossing until it's well mixed and elastic. Set aside.
  6. Drain the glutinous rice and add a pinch of salt and a dash of sesame oil, mix well.
  7. Shape the pork into little balls and roll them and cover them with glutinous rice.
  8. Place the meat balls 1/2-inch apart on a greased plate. Steam for 15-20 minutes.

Steamed Pearl Balls

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fish n' Chips

Here comes another acne-popping entry-- Fish n' Chips!Rodeo Drive at Stary Browar serves suuuuper yummy Fish n' Chips, but due to my 阿嬤心態, I've refused to order this since their 5zl price increase. Hahaha, but seriously, if you think about it, that's like a 60NT increase... 不整個就是黑店嗎?? But 好啦, i still go there pretty often cuz the food is still pretty good XD. So with their Fish n' Chips out of the picture, the only thing left to do was to... make my own! 2 huge panga fillets cut into 8 pieces (6.50 zl) + 5 potatoes (2.00 zl) + oil for frying (5.00 zl) + 1 bottle of beer (2.5 zl) = 16 freakin' zlotys + enough food to feed 3-4 people. BEAT THAT, 24.95zl Rodeo Drive! Muahahaha (ok, the grandma thing might be going a little bit overboard). I got the recipe off of: http://ifoods.tv/fish/Fish-and-Chips/87/ which also includes a great cooking video clip with super detailed instructions. If you're thinking about trying this sometime, you must watch the video. The fish and fries came out golden and crisp, and it only took me one try! The only tricky part would be maintaining the right temperature and thankfully, I had a cooking thermometer to help me out w/ that. I'll be making this again once my face clears up... arghhh, love and hate... love and hate... hahaha.

Fish n' Chips
from ifoods.tv
  • 4 x 180g Fish Fillets (Panga)
  • 5 Big Potatoes
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt
  • Paper Towels
    Tartare Sauce:
  • 1 Pickle
  • 2 tbsp Capers (i left it out)
  • 1 tbsp Chopped Parsley (i left it out)
  • 1 Medium Red Onion
  • 1 Juiced Lemon
  • 250g Mayonnaise
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 120g All Purpose Flour
  • 30g Corn Flour (any type of starch)
  • 250ml Beer


  1. Chop the ends off the pickle and cut a fine dice into a large bowl to start the sauce.
  2. Add some chopped parsley, fresh capers, lemon juice and a whole chopped red onion to the bowl.
  3. Add the mayonnaise and bring the whole mixture together using a spatula. Cover the sauce and place in the fridge until later.
  4. Peel and wash the potatoes before cutting uniform sized chips, it is essential that they are as uniform as possible as this will affect their cooking time. Place the chips in a bowl of water to avoid discoloration.
  5. To make the batter place the egg whites into a large bowl and whisk them until they get to soft peak stage.
  6. In a separate bowl combine the flour, corn flour and bring together into a smooth paste using the beer.
  7. Fold the contents of the 2 bowls together. Make sure to gently fold the egg whites into the flour/beer mixture as you don’t want to lose the fluffy texture.
  8. Bring the oil to 140C/280F and blanch the strained chips for 4 minutes until they are soft before removing them from the oil and drying on a paper towel.
  9. With the temperature at the same level repeat the process with the fish. Dust it lightly in flour ensuring to shake of any excess before dipping into the batter and again shaking any excess batter before placing in the oil. Blanch for 2 minutes before straining on to the same towel as the chips.
  10. Turn the oil up to 180C/360F and wait for it to heat up before adding the fish and chips back into the hot oil. Cook them both until golden brown (The fish may cook quicker than the chips here).
  11. Using a slotted spoon remove them to a fresh plate with a paper towel to absorb any excess grease. Season both the fish and chips and serve immediately with a generous dollop of the tartar sauce.

Fish n' Chips
with tartare sauce

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Chicken and cider stew with mashed potatoes and apples

School has started for about 3 weeks now and it has never been so busy-- 8'am classes all around the city with endless seminar quizzes and course final exams. That's one of the reasons why i haven't been cooking much... the 2nd reason is because our kitchen has been occupied EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT
by kitchen-hogging newbies from different floors who don't seem to have anything else to do (like, studying for example??) but arrange cooking fests and dinner gatherings... leaving me no other choice but to either go all the way down to the 2nd floor or settle for 大同 steamer dinners. I mean, sure, the kitchen is a public area for anyone to use... but do you REALLY have to hog it up for another 2 hours to fool around and eat? The last time I checked, Kitchen does NOT equal Dining room. Kitchen counters does NOT equal Dining table. Especially when we're living in the dorms, 用完 清理乾淨 就快走. 拿回自己房間吃, 方便自己也方便別人. If it was a weekly class dinner/lunch gathering then by all means, go ahead. But seriously, EVERY DAY? Sigh, if people are really too ignorant to think for others, then its time to put them in our shoes. UGHHH.... common sense, people, it's all just common sense. There's new crap to deal with every year... and Yes, I complain. so bite me.

With that off my chest, here's something JLo and I whipped up during our 1st cooking session of the school year... "Chicken and cider stew with mashed potatoes and apples" (oh gosh, name's a bit too long). I got it off the new "Fast Food" cookbook JLo gave me this summer and I've already made a mess with it w/ my tag marks :) Since I don't like chicken breasts, i thought the chicken was so-so. But to my surprise, the combo of potatoes and apples was fantabulous! I've never really liked the savory+sweet type of food (Hawaiian pizza, sweet and sour pork/chicken, 梅子綠茶...etc), but these mashed potatoes were something else :D Hopefully the kitchen'll clear out soon so that I can put this cookbook into good use.

Chicken and cider stew with mashed potatoes and apples
from my Fast Food recipe book
  • 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch cubes.
  • 1.5 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 cups apple cider (or apple juice but it won't be as flavorful/tangy)
  • 2 lbs. potatoes, cubed
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 8 pieces
  • 2/3 cup cream


  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and 2 teaspoons o thyme.
  2. Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Brown the chicken for 2-3 minutes. Remove.
  4. Add the shallots and the remaining thyme to the saucepan and saute for 2 minutes.
  5. Pour in the cider, then bring to a boil, scraping off any sediment from the bottom.
  6. Return the chicken to the saucepan and cover.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the sauce has reduced. (check occasionally to see if water needs to be added)
  8. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes and apples or 15-20 minutes or until tender.
  9. Drain and mash them together.
  10. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the cream and the remaining butter, then season well.
  11. Stir the remaining cream into the chicken stew and cook for another 2-4 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  12. Serve with mashed potatoes, apples, and a crisp green salad.

Chicken and cider stew
with mashed potatoes and apples