Fuchsia DunlopHere is Fuchsia Dunlop frying some pork belly slices in a wok at a cooking class in London, for ‘twice cooked pork’. Her class, “Sincerely Sichuan” at the Divertimenti cookery school, was completely sold out.

Sitting in the front row (and in the back rows too!) one could smell the lovely fragrance of Sichuan pepper being ground to a fine powder (to be sprinkled on Mapo tofu later on). Fuchsia handed out a small bowl of this Sichuan pepper so everyone could have a taste. They were (or it was, because I had only one!) was the most powerful huajiao I have ever had. Although Fuchsia warned everyone just to bite on it gently for 3 times and then spit it out, most of the participants started coughing and scraping their throats for at least 5 minutes. Continue reading ‘Fuchsia Dunlop’s cooking class’

Making kimchi


kimchiKimchi is Korea’s national dish: fermented Chinese cabbage preserved in a spicy chili mixture. It tastes zingy, spicy and fresh at the same time and goes really well with all kinds of dishes, also with fried rice. In Korea, they have it with about every meal and the Koreans believe strongly in its healthy properties. They even took it along on their first space flight as astronaut food.

I made it myself the other day, and it really is not hard. YouTube videos, for example Maangchi‘s one, make huge amounts with massive cabbages. The cabbages one buys here in the supermarket are about twice as small, and I recommend just one plain Chinese cabbage for starters, to get a feel of the whole kimchi making process and to see if you like it! Continue reading ‘Making kimchi’

You know it by now, I love watching Chinese cooking videos – for example on YouTube- and getting new inspiration. The older Chinese cookbooks are to blame- they hardly have any photos, nor mouthwatering pictures, only boring pages with only characters, so you have to be super dedicated to really read it all without a picture to make one hungry.

Watching a video is much easier. There is a series from CCTV or Beijing TV which is quite nice. Every time the Beijing host invites a new cook or a new guest and they do one or two recipes. It is great to listen to the beautiful Beijing accents and see a dish develop. Continue reading ‘Chinese fried eggplant’

Summer cooking


Big Green EggAlthough the summer was not half as long as I hoped it would be – and I could use a lot more of summer heat – I really enjoyed cooking outdoors. After one year of indecisiveness I finally jumped into action and spent my money on a Big Green Egg, the Rolls Royce of barbecues (or, as they would like to say, ‘smoker and grill’).

This green Egg is like a large ceramic oven in which you put chunks of charcoal. The heat is incredible, it will rise from 0 to 350 Celcius in 20 minutes time. And when you think this takes expertise or careful fanning with newspapers on my part, you are wrong. Continue reading ‘Summer cooking’

chive pocketsFinally some time to write up a recipe- I’ve been too busy with nothing, holidaying, shooting pictures, cooking simple and not so simple food, and my new addiction twitter, which is fun enough to post little things on about stuff that interests you, but seriously keeps one from blogging or writing up longer pieces altogether.

After my holiday in Malta where I cooked like 2 meals of pasta each day, because it’s perfect in hot weather, I am now back in the 20C zone of the Netherlands and not feeling happy about it. A cold drizzly summer makes me lose interest in cooking, but I know the remedy. I start flipping cookbooks or surfing YouTube to find interesting cooking videos. Continue reading ‘Chinese chive pockets (韭菜盒子)’

Panko shrimp


This is, in my opinion, the perfect snack food for long summer evenings. Shrimp always tastes heavenly, and coating them with Japanese breadcrumbs (panko) is even nicer. They get a great crunch. When you serve these shrimp with a mix of mayonaise and sriracha hot sauce, my recent addiction, the whole plate of shrimp will be gone in no time.

You will need:
1 box of freezer shrimp, heads/tails on;
panko bread crumbs (Asian store);
1 egg, some soy sauce, mashed garlic if you like;
oil for frying
Sauce: a nice mayo + Sriracha hot sauce will do

Thaw the shrimp, peel them – keep the tails on for a nicer look, and save the shells to make a nice stock to keep for later. Continue reading ‘Panko shrimp’

Of course the attractive thing of this salad is, first of all, its name.
Laohu cai 老虎菜, ‘tiger vegetable’ or ‘tiger salad’ is an intriguing sounding dish which came into vogue in China in the past five years or so.
I actually can’t tell you when exactly it came on the scene, since I have no recollection of it appearing. But then, lots of dishes come to the Chinese dining scene without us knowing about it!

There are said to be two versions of the ‘tiger salad’. One is a Uyghur version from Xinjiang province, from the far west of China; another version from the salad is from Manchuria, which also happens to be the birthplace of the Manchurian tiger. Continue reading ‘Tiger salad (laohu cai 老虎菜)’