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Savoury Dumpling(Zhang)

The last time I eat Zhang(dumpling) was at my mom's home in Kuala Lumpur,2 months ago.I watch how my mom wrapped zhang and try one myself but find it's really challenging to wrap a good one without leakage when boiling.I think to wrap zhang really need the skill and experience.But the most important is how good is the zhang infusion taste when we take the first bite,right?.
The Zhang (dumpling)festival is celebrated on the 5th of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar .Yeah.. I was weeks late but it's OK,I make Zhang for fun.Zongzi is the most popular food for Dragon Boat Festival. Zongzi is a special kind of dumpling. It is usually made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. Fresh bamboo leaves are the best for the wrapping since the taste and smell of the fresh bamboo leaves is part of zongzi. Unfortunately fresh bamboo leaves are hard to find so I have to find dried bamboo leaves in Chinatown..
The most interesting and fun filled time when I was able to tie the perfect Zhang!At last I learn the art of tying my own dumplings ,it's not perfect but editable! .There are few type of zhang that my mom wrap for the festival but I just whack my own recipe since I can't find some of the ingredients at last minutes.
Nonya Dumplings -A family recipe that has proven to be immensely popular!!!They are fragrant and scrumptious with just the right balance of sweetness and saltiness.
Hokkien Dumplings -Chunks of delicious meat marinated in peppered aromatic sauce with fragrant chestnuts and enclosed in fragrant glutinous rice.
Crystal Dumplings(Kee Zhangs)- These are served with a gula melaka sauce or kaya. A must have during the dumpling festival.
Mine Zhang are done of the above!!Here are my own recipe:

Yield 20 dumplings


30 pcs dried bamboo leaves(boiled for 1 hour)

3 cups glutinous rice(soaked overnight and drained)

5-6 cloves garlic(minced)

1 tsp 5 spice powder

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp dark soy(caramel) sauce

1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp oil


300 gm or 3 pc boneless breast chicken

20 pc dried oyster(soaked overnight)*optional*

15 pc shitake mushroom(soaked and sliced)

5-6 cloves fresh garlic/shallot(minced)

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp caramel soy sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp 5 spice powder


Prepared bamboo leaves and plastic string (or hemp) in advance.Boiled the leaves for an hour and clean again with cold water before drained.Set aside.

1:Heat up 2 tbsp oil,saute minced garlic until fragrant,add glutinous rice and all seasoning (A) and stir-fry until well mixed.Taste and dish up,set aside in a big bowl.

2:Heat up 1 tbsp oil,saute with minced garlic until fragrant.Add on boneless breast,shitake mushroom,oyster and all the seasoning,stir fried until mixed well.(don't have to dry up ,just half cook since it's going to boil for hours).dish up and set aside in another big bowl.

Wrapping method:

1:Use 2 pieces of bamboo leaves to fold into a cone shape.Fill in 1/2 tbsp glutinous rice,one piece of chicken,one piece mushroom and one oyster .Top with another 1/2 tbsp glutinous rice to cover the ingredients.

2:Press the rice firm and cover the extended ends of leaves an form into the shape of triangle.Tie and secure with plastic string.(I don't have hemp) .Repeat the wrapping procedure until all the glutinous rice finish.

3:Prepared 4 liter water in boiling pot,pot must big enough to cook all the dumpling.

4:When the water is rolling boil ,add in the whole bunch of dumpling,pour in more water to cover all the dumpling if necessary.Boil the dumpling for 3-4 hours.

5:Removed the dumpling from the pot and hang up to drip dry.Serve it hot or warm.

I like to eat my zhang(dumpling) with chili sauce.How about you?


The dumplings must be immersed in boiling water all the time during cooking.If not some part of the rice is still raw.You can be creative with your own ingredients,don't have to be traditional zhang recipe.You notice I didn't have pork or pork belly in my zhang,the reason I don't have any pork in hand,so I subtitues with boneless chicken.You can add dried shrimp,chestnut,spicy sambal or any meat. I wrapped 20 pieces zhang with above ingredients but 3 pieces of my zhang open during boiling.That mean I still need more practise ,practise and practise!!..Enjoy!!

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Daily Blogger Award

I received this award from Little Corner Of Mine ,Thank you very much!!

"This award is to be given to blogs that have at least 3 posts per week. I appreciate their kindness and generousity of sharing their wonderful recipes with us rain or shine". Quoted jthorge

That right!!I posted more than 3 post a week and I need it!!lol!.

Well,mostly the blogger I know was awarded this award..So feel free to spread this love if you like this!!

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Sauteed Rabe Broccolli with Garlic

I remember when I was young I hate vegetable.I would pick every one strand of the green on my plate and refused to drink any soup with scallion or parsley.But now it's has changed.I think when our body get older, our taste bud changed too.Maybe when I get older I understand how vegetable bring good to our healthy body than just feel good.I bought a bundle of Rabe Broccoli in local market at sale.Rabe Broccoli also know as Rapini.The flavor of rapini has been described as nutty, bitter, pungent, and "an acquired taste". The Italian cultivar is similar to, but much more bitter than, the Chinese. However the Chinese cultivar is of a lighter green colour, not at all bitter or pungent, and more tender.I usually order this dish when I visit Italian restaurant.As you know mostly American like their vegetable well done or overcooked.


I bunch Rabe Broccoli(wash and clean)

2 red pepper/chili(cut)

4-5 cloves garlic(cut coarsely or smashed)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt


1:Heat skillet with olive oil ,add in garlic,saute until fragrant.Then add rabe broccoli and red pepper,stir fry for another 3-5 minutes.Add in salt.Ready to serve warm.

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Winter Melon and Daikon Soup

I bought some daikon 大根 and winter melon 冬瓜 from Chinatown when I was there last week.Actually I intend to use the daikon for my sushi but it's doesn't turn out as I wanted.Daikon also know as white radish but I think they come from the same family.Anyway,I made some soup for Mishu.


1 lb or 1/2 daikon(white radish)(cut)

1 lbs winter melon(cut small chunk)

1-2 lb pork ribs(cut small)

2 carrot(peel and cut)

4 liter water

salt to taste


1:Peel and cut daikon,soak in cold water overnight to remove it's strong smell.

2:Peel,cut carrot and winter melon into chunk.

3:Prepare hot water to remove pork ribs fats and oil before let it run under cold water.

4:Prepare 4 liter water with pork ribs at high heat until boil.Then add in winter melon,daikon and carrot.Let it simmer at medium heat for another 1 hour.Add in salt to your taste.ready to serve warm or hot.


Usually winter melon size are quite big.I only used half of the quarted melon I bought.The rest I'm going to make winter melon dessert soup.Chinese believe winter melon is good for cooling down your body during hot weather.

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Carrot Cake wt Cream Cheese Frosting

I was inspired by Rita Homemade Carrot cake especially made for David.I have no idea whether Elliot like carrot cake so far ,so in the early morning of Father Day's I asked him,would he care for Carrot Cake.He told me he loved Carrot Cake in which I failed to notice for so many years.He never buy cake ,as for me I only buy cake from Chinese bakery in Chinatown.I'm afraid to eat American cake which has tons of sugar inside out!!...I found this Carrot Cake recipe in one of my Baking Book I bought last year.Of course ,I alter some of the ingredients to suit my taste..

Ingredients: Yield 10 person

2 cup flour (bleached)

1 cup sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 pound finely grated carrots(about 4 cups)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

For The Frosting:

4 cups confectioners' sugar(sugar powder)

2x8 oz cream cheese at room temperature(2pack)

4 tbsp butter /margarine at room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract(prefer white color)

1 tsp salt(optional)to reduce sweetness

1 tsp meringue powder(optional)for stabilize


1:Preheat oven at 375 F.Butter and powder 2 x9 inch pans or 2 square pans

2:In mixing bowl,combine the sugar,oil,eggs and carrot,beat until incorporated

3:Sift the dry ingredients into another bowl and add little by little into the whisking bowl until all the mixture combine.

4:Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes our clean or 35-40 minutes.

5:Let it cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes,then unmold the cakes from the pans onto the wire racks and let it cool completely

6:For the frosting combine everything in the mixing bowl ,beat until smooth.

7:To assemble ,set 1 cake layer on a serving plate and spread with one third frosting.Place the second layer on top.Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides of the cake

I cut some bulky top layer away to balance the cakes for easy assembly when spreading the frosting. Note:

I used I cup of sugar instead,to reduce the sweetness coz I'm coating the outer layer with icing.This recipe yield for 2 cake or 10 person.If you think you can't finish the whole cake within a week,use half of this recipe including the frosting.You can top the topping with crush almond,walnut ,cashew nuts or Cinnamon powder.Actually my carrot cake
has too much icing .The reason I want to practice my decorating skill.

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Pernil Al Horno ll (Roast Pork Shoulder)

Pernil horneado, or roasted pork shoulder, is a staple for many Latin dishes and is found is a range of Latin countries from Venezuela to Mexico. But if I'm not mistaken it's originated from Puerto Rico.This is the perfect dish if you are expecting a crowd and want a simple, inexpensive way to impress everyone.In fact it's really simple and easy to make.I recalled the first time I make Pernil HERE ,I thought making Pernil is a difficult task,but I'm dead wrong.Every since then I been making Pernil few occasion but this time I alter my recipe .There are many other Pernil recipe out there but with different version.


1 pork shoulder, 8-10 pounds (or use fresh ham)

5 shallot peeled

2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tbsp Paprika

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp Cayenne pepper

1 tbsp sea salt

2 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 cup Olive oil

Method Preparing the Meat:

1.Crush the garlic,shallot and fresh oregano with mortar and pestle until pasty. Place garlic into a small bowl and mix with above ingredients well.

2.Wash the meat and dry. Score meat’s skin with a sharp knife, making a cross-hatch pattern.Make very deep slits all over the meat.Season the meat, making sure that seasoning goes into all the slits.Rub the remaining seasoning allover the shoulder pork.Score meat’s skin with a sharp knife, making a cross-hatch pattern.

3.Refrigerate the shoulder, wrap with aluminium foil, for 24 hours or overnight.

Place the meat in a deep pan with the fat side up. There will be a lot of grease so be sure to use a deep pan. The fat side up will make nice crunchy "cueritos" (pork rinds).

Fresh Oregano from my garden.Every summer,this oregano come back but this year it's been lesser.

Method Baking:

1:Heat oven to 350 F degrees for baking.. Put pork in a roasting pan and film bottom with water. Roast pork for several hours (I calculate each pound is about 35- 45 minutes ), adding more water as necessary, until meat is very tender.You might have to let it cook longer if the cueritos are not right yet.

2:Remove the aluminum foil the top part,let it cook for another 1/2 hour at broiling setting.Finish roasting with the skin side up until crisp and golden brown, raising heat at end of cooking if necessary.

3. If using a meat thermometer, it will be ready when it reaches 185F. But I prefer to use a chopstick to test the meat,insert a single chopstick all the way through the bottom.

4. Let meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting it up; meat should be so tender that cutting it into uniform slices is almost impossible; rather, whack it up into chunks .

Best to serve warm with bean and rice ,sweet plantains. Cold Pernil is sliced thin paired with Swiss cheese, pickles and ham to make the famous Cuban sandwich.


Cover the Pernil well with aluminum foil so the meat will come out juicy, not dry. Uncover it for the last 20 to 30 minutes on a high setting for some crunchy "chicharrón" skin.Mostly the recipe out there doesn't encourage to use aluminum foil for cooking.But I prefer to cover with foil and bake it with water at the bottom.If you like your Pernil skin crackling(cueritos) not hard,before marinating the seasoning,poke the skin with sharp spike or fork(Ice spike preferred).

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Somen or Mee Sua?

Sōmen served in hot soup is usually called "nyumen," and is frequently served in the winter much like soba or udon would be.Sōmen (, Sōmen?) are very thin, white Japanese noodles made of wheat flour.Mee Sua is the Chinese longevity fine noodle.Does both Somen and Mee Sua look alike?.Yes,they come from same family but Somen texture and body is more bouncy than Mee Sua.In fact Mee Sua(mein sin) is really soft and disintegrate once it's add into the soup.Usually Chinese serve Mee Sua to their family or friends on their lunar calender Birthday. This Somen is made in China,even though it's have Japanese name.The cooking method is slightly different from Mee Sua.This brand have 5 bundle ,each bundle is good for one person.It's have cooking instruction on the back of the packaging.


2 bundle of Somen

2 liter water


2 liter water

1 cube shrimp bullion

1 tbsp chicken bullion powder

2 egg

1 bundle chives(clean and cut)

Fried Shallot

Pepper and salt to taste


1:Boil water (A) add in Somen in rolling boiled for 5 minutes.Removed Somen in a seived and let it run under cold water for 5 minutes.

2:Prepared (B) water at high heat,add in shrimp bullion cube and chicken powder as the soup stock.

3:Add in sliced tenderloin pork and chives.When the soup base is rolling boil,add in eggsand somen.Sprinkle some fried shallot before serve.Serve it hot or warm.


This somen is suitable to serve as Mee Sua.Honestly I prefer Somen than Mee Sua because it's have better texture and tenderness when add into soup.

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Eggy Bean Curd With Minced Pork

My daughter Mishu love Bean Curd (tofu) with her white rice.I guess tofu is another "must" food staple for us Asian.Even thought Mishu is only half Chinese,she really eat like Chinese.She don't mind eating spicy hot curry or rice everyday.I bought Egg Tofu in a tube shape packaging when I was in Queens weeks ago.I never cook egg tofu before but recently I eat this dish in Malaysia.Actually this dish is quite popular in any chinese Malaysia restaurant.Usually this dish present in a claypot but I don't have claypot...plate will do


1 tube Egg Tofu(bean curd)

300 gm minced pork

3-4 cloves garlic ( minced)

2 tbsp corn starch

1 tbsp oyster sauce

2 tsp soy sauce

2 dash white pepper

1 tsp chicken bouillon powder

1 cup water

I stalk scallion(cut)

2 tsbp oil


1:Cut both side egg tofu tube to release the air before cut again in the middle to take out the tofu.Handle with care.Cut each slice 1 -2 inch.

2:Coated with corn starch and pan fried with high heat until golden brown each side.Remove to a plate.

3:Mixed minced meat with 1 tbsp corn starch,soy sauce ,white pepper and 1-2 drop water in a bowl.

4:Heat skillet with 1 tbsp oil ,add garlic,fry for 1 minutes then add in water .Let it boil and add in minced meat mixture,then add in oyster sauce and chicken bouillon powder.Sprinkle some cut scallion on top.Serve warm with white rice.


You can use any meat like minced beef,minced turkey or chicken.You can also add in shrimp or scallop enhance the flavor.If you're a vegan just omit the meat and add in sweet peas,green peas,snow peas,carrot,mushroom,string beans,Chinese cabbage and other green.

This egg tofu taste better compare with other soft tofu I have cooked so far.The egg tofu texture is eggy and creamy.I definitely will cook this dish more in future.Tofu is a healthy food which make from soy bean.I don't mind letting Mishu eat everyday!!

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Chinese Cruller/ Fried Devils (Yauh Char Kwai)

When I was in Malaysia ,I bought Agnes Chang's Hawker Delights cookbook.I would like to try each individual recipe she published.I never make Chinese Cruller or Yauh Char Kwai before,so this is a good chance for me to try out her recipe.I also bought a ammonia powder from Malaysia.Of course, I alter some of her recipe since I can't find alum(pak fun) and high protein flour.I never understand how Malaysia grade their flour!!.So I used bread flour instead.


1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp water

1 tsp flour

250 ml water

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

3/4 tsp alum(I omit)

3/4 tsp ammonia powder(chow fan)

1 tsp salt

300 gm bread flour

oil for deep frying


1:Mix yeast,sugar,flour and 1tbsp water.Leave for 10-15 minutes until foamy.

2:Mix in 250 ml water,bicarbonate soda,alum,ammonia powder and salt.

3:Sift bread flour into a mixing bowl.Form a well in the center.Add the mixed ingredients and knead well.

4:Roll out into a long rectangle,cover and leave for 1 to 2 hours.


When I took my first bite,I can smell ammonia powder is very very strong(stink).And I have no way to eat this Yauh Char Kwai with the powerful flavor of ammonia powder.Next time if I'm going to make this Yauh Char Kwai,I should reduce the portion of ammonia to 1/4 instead of 3/4.Another thought,I think I can use bread dough recipe and deep fried as Fried Deep Devil!.Did anyone of you try this alter method before,please let me know how your result:)

Well,I refried again later and coated with cinnamon sugar.Elliot love it,he thought it's cruller from Great Adventure!.

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Banana Fritters (Jemput Jemput Pisang)

As I promise to post Kueh Kodok/Jemput-Jemput Pisang or Banana Fritters recipe for my over ripe banana.If you have overripe or black banana ,don't throw away because it's not yellow anymore!!.The best banana to make this snack is over ripe banana.I make Banana Fritter few times but usually it's don't turn out as good as this time.Now I know the secret of making Banana Fritter soft inside and crispy on the outside.


2 over ripe banana mashed

1/2 cup sugar

1 dash salt

1 1/2 cup self-raising flour (sifted)

Clean oil for frying

Look how soft and fluffy the dough look inside!!.


1:Mixed above ingredients well together.Prepare clean oil in frying pan in medium heat.Use a clean spoon dip with oil before scoop the dough into the medium heat frying oil.Fry the fritters until float or golden brown.Serve hot as snack.

Note:Don't fry the fritters in high heat,it's turn black or burn outside and raw dough inside.Sugar tend to make the fritter black quickly on the outside.If you use regular flour make sure you add in some baking powder to make the dough fluffy and soft.

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Banana Cup Cake with Buttercream Icing

I bought a comb of banana 2 weeks ago,I guess Mishu and hubby is not a fan of banana.I still left with 6 overripe banana.Well,so I figure I should do something with it before it's really go bad and black.I also used some for Kueh Kodok (Banana Fritters)and some for banana cup cake which you're admiring now in this post..
I used left over butter cream icing from my Wilton's cake decorating class last week.You can see my Wilton's Lesson 1cake decoration graduation HERE

Ingredients for Butter cream:

1 cup solid white vegetable shortening

1 tsp Wilton Flavor Vanilla

2 tbsp water

1 lb pure confectioner's sugar(sugar powder)

1 tbsp Wilton Meringue Powder

a pinch of salt.

*above are for stiff consistency.* suitable for flower or roses .

(For the leave,I used thin consistency which I add 2 tsp for each cup plus 1 tsp pipping gel)

Cake Ingredients;

2 cup Self Raising flour (sifted)

8 oz butter or 2 stick

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

4 ripe bananas

1 tsp vanilla essence

3 tbsp milk

Yield 12 cup cakes

I wonder why my cup cake have air pocket!!Maybe I beat too long or used self-raising flour?.


1:Preheat oven at 350F.Cream butter and sugar until light,then add eggs,one at a time,beat well.

2:Mix in bananas,vanilla essence milk and self raising flour until well mixed.

3:Pour the mixture into a muffin pan over cup cake paper.Bake in preheat oven for about 20-25 minutes until cooked or golden brown.

4:Remove cup cake from oven ,leave to cool before icing with butter cream icing.


I used tip M 1 for the flower and tip 67 for leaves.As you can see I still need more practise holding pipping angle.As for the flower color I used orange and rose Wilton's color which I find is better quality than other brand in the market.

After I finished icing my Banana Cup Cake,I present 8 cup cakes to Elliot's friend who did us a favor.I think it's a nice gesture to said Thank You . She love my cup cake and keep saying thank you.I'm glad she like my Banana Cake especially the icing!!.Stay tune for my Kueh Kodok(Banana Fritters) posting which is really good!!

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Kam Heong Pork (Golden Fragrant Pork)

My recent trip back to Malaysia,my mom introduced me to "Kam Heong" spices.I don't know what is the other name for"Kam Heong" in English but in Cantonese translation it's "Golden Fragrant or Flavour".The name sound cool,right?.Usually,"Kam Heong" spices cook with seafood like crab,shrimp or squid but I have some pork sitting in my fridge,so why not use it before go bad.Yea,I defrosted my pork for days and I always have to throw away when it get slimy.I know ,I know I waste plenty of food....well...Before I'm coming back to NY,my mom gave me her recipe but I adjust some ingredients as you know in USA we can't really get all Malaysia ingredients same par as Malaysia standard.My mom even choose different type of curry leaves,said some are not fragrant at all!!

Ingredients for paste:

100gm dry pepper

20-25 Thai's bird pepper

2 tbsp chili boh

10-15 cloves garlic

10-15 shallot

1/2 cup dry shrimp

4-5 sprig curry leave

1/4 cup curry powder

2-3 tbsp salt
3-4 tbsp sugar
1 cup cooking oil
*(Blend above ingredients together until fine and fry until fragrant.You can store for many months in freezer)*

I make 3 pint of "Kam Heong" and store it in the fridge.So whenever I feel like cooking this spices with my favourite dish,I just scoop it out from the container.


I sliced about one pound of pork.Heat skillet or wok and add 2 tbsp "Kam Heong" spices.Stir fry your meat or seafood until cooked.I don't have extra curry leave if not just add in together.Add salt and sugar to your taste before serving.Serve with white rice or noodle.

I still prefer "Kam Heong"cook with seafood not meat.Kam Heong is sort of curry ,dry shrimp(hei bee) and chili flavour dish,which is quite good and different from our usual regular sambal and curry dish.


When you blend your paste ingredients,add in cooking oil together.The oil mix with spices ingredients,make your paste fine and smooth when frying,it's also reduced the water retention.Easy for sauteed until golden brown or fragrant.

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About the Author:

Hi!! My name is Lesley and I'm a simple SAHM(stay at home mom) who currantly live in Long Island,New York with my daughter Mishu and hubby Eliot .I'm Malaysian who live in US and A for many many moon and I'm also a person who love to eat, cook and bake. If you have any suggestions ,questions or comments please feel free to email me at beachlover1917(at)yahoo(dot)com. To know more about my life or my kitchen you can always hop over to my other 2 blog.