It all started 2 months ago when I, as usual, was strolling though a Chinese supermarket for fun. I found an intriguing box called ‘Easy Cake‘ in the shape of a mini-size microwave oven, which claimed on the box to produce a lovely chocolate cake in the microwave in just 2,5 minutes. Of course I found it irrestistible and bought it right away. I took it home, much to the delight of my daughter. We made the cake a few weeks back. Continue reading ‘Three minute cake’


Tonight there are celebrations for the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Ox. An ox is called ‘niu’ in Chinese, so you can wish everyone a happy niu-year! Don’t believe it when you read somewhere the Chinese are celebrating the year 4753 or whatever figure you might be reading – traditionally, the Chinese really don’t count that way.

Chinese count the years of the reign of the emperor. So your year might be something like “12th year of emperor Kangxi (K’ang-hsi) of the Qing (Ch’ing) dynasty”. As an emperor dies, the counting starts all over again. Continue reading ‘Happy Chinese Niu year’

lotus buns


lotus bunsThese ‘lotus leaf buns’ (heye jia or ‘lotus buns’) have been on my to-make-list forever. At least, since I rediscovered them on my trip to China last May, where we had them several times in both Beijing and Shanghai. These lotus buns are a Chinese steamed bread-variety, made from the same dough as baozi, mantou or other steamed goodies. But their fun lies in the fact that they open up so you can stuff them with things and eat them.. like a bun. I had them with wonderfully crisp pork slices, spring onions and cucumber strips.

Of course there is no way Continue reading ‘lotus buns’

noodlesTo start the beginning of this new year, I am going to share one of my favorite recipes with you: Chinese noodles, also known as “one-spoon noodles” or “sniffy nose noodles” because it takes a spoonful of all kinds of Chinese ingredients to give these noodles their wonderful kick – and a sniffy nose while eating them! The strands of noodles are darkened by a yummy soy, sesame, garlic & chili sauce, covered by a dark sauce with minced meat, have some nice greens on the side, and are beautifully sprinkled with spring onions and crushed peanuts on top. Because you mix the ingredients of the sesame sauce in each bowl, it is very easy to adjust this recipe to everyone’s taste: some like chili oil, some don’t eat meat sauce, some love extra sesame paste.. whatever.

I thought I blogged about these noodles ages ago, but found I really didn’t – I guess it is one of these recipes you have made for years now and thought everyone knew about. Continue reading ‘Sniffy nose noodles’

These home made chocolate truffles are definitely very, very delicious. Of course they are full of butter and cream – I mean, deliciousness comes with the very best ingredients, doesn’t it? Sometimes these chocolate truffles are for sale in supermarkets in a very small bag with a large price tag attached, but you can easily make them at home. Making chocolate things is messy, though, so just be prepared to mess up your kitchen. The rewards will be well worth it. Making truffles is not hard, but you will need some time to freeze the filling, so you have to plan this in some way. Continue reading ‘Chocolate truffles’

Christmas ahead


ChristmasOn the darkest, shortest day of the year, with dull grey weather, nobody really wants to do anything. Least of all think about a Christmas menu. The supermarkets are suddenly filled with all kinds of interesting foodstuffs, things they don’t usually stock. Things I would like them to stock all year round, because why would I only want to eat nice things at Christmas?

My Christmas menu is not at all set. It used to be otherwise! Continue reading ‘Christmas ahead’

Apple sauce


apple orchardWhat do you do after picking about 50 kilos of apples from a friend’s orchard in September and they are still not finished? You bake an apple pie, you drink fresh apple juice every day (chore: cleaning the juicer) and bake another apple pie. But then there still are so many bags of apples, you really have to think big now. Making cider would be nice, or making a strong apple liqueur – but that is a little bit out of my range of expertise. So there you have it: apple sauce.
Continue reading ‘Apple sauce’

Peking duckHaving Peking duck in Peking (Beijing) is one if the joys of the city. I remember one of the first times in the 1980s, at the Quanjude branch in a side alley of Wangfujing, then the main shopping street. No fancy stuff then: we were seated at a large round table with several other guests, and had the 6 or so courses that make up a duck meal.

Webbed feet (skip), gizzards (try), and a milky white soup to end it off (just some sips). in between we got what we came for: crispy duck with Mandarin pancakes, spring onions and sweet bean sauce.

Trying this at home? I would never have thought of it. But now, at the Chinese store, you can buy lots of the Peking duck ingredients. Continue reading ‘Quick style Peking duck’

glass noodle saladThere are these dishes you just forget about. They used to have their golden years, when they were regularly on the menu, you had their ingredients in the cupboard all the time, and everyone really enjoyed them (especially you) – and then they were all forgotten.

Perhaps you had it too much; or you met new people who thought it nothing special, or the ingredients disappeared from your regular shopping trips – or you just moved on to some nicer, newer dishes. Or you simply forgot. This is one of these dishes, lengban fensi Chinese ‘cold mixed glass noodles’.

I had it at least once a month in the 90s, because it is so easy, and I wrote about it in my cookbook-to-be Continue reading ‘Glass noodle salad [凉拌粉丝]’

beef with orange peelWell, it has been a while, hasn’t it? I must say, after starting the site tokowijzer I really didn’t see the hype coming! The new site was very well received; we got a lot of good reviews and more visitors that kattebelletje ever had. I have spent many hours updating the site and making pictures. And I have been lurking in Chinese supermarkets for even longer times than before. I have tried many ingredients I wouldn’t have bought otherwise – and I have tried out more frozen dumplings than I have in the last 5 years!

This is one of the dishes I made with the ingredient orange peel, 陈皮牛肉 chenpi niurou. It is one of my favorite Szechuan beef dishes : it has a dark flavor, mildly spiced by the red dried peppers and with a very fragant flavor of the orange peel. The beef is chewy and has a sweet tinge. Continue reading ‘Beef with orange peel [陈皮牛肉]’

tokowijzerZojuist is de nieuwe website ‘tokowijzer‘ live gegaan!

De tokowijzer is een samenwerkingsinitiatief van Kok Robin en kattebelletje. Allebei zijn we nogal fanaat met Chinees eten en koken, en op Flickr waren we al ieder voor zich bezig met het fotograferen van pakjes, zakjes en andere ingredienten uit de toko.

De opzet is om bij tokowijzer een verzameling op te bouwen van vaak gebruikte, voornamelijk Chinese ingredienten. We leggen uit hoe het heet, wat het is en hoe je het moet gebruiken, wat er te koop is, en welke het lekkerst is. Dan is er nog ruimte voor opmerkingen en zijn er links naar recepten waar dat ingrediënt wordt gebruikt. Ook is er een lijst van grote toko’s in Nederland.

Hopelijk wordt deze website een handig hulpmiddel bij het winkelen in de toko. Suggesties of commentaar? Ga naar de site, kijk rond, doe inspiratie op, en ga lekker winkelen in een toko bij jou in de buurt ! Zie je op tokowijzer!

De Chinezen hebben lang genoeg gewacht. Ze begonnen al meer dan twee jaar geleden met de Grote Countdown vanaf het Tian’anmenplein, die de dagen telde tot op vandaag. Ik was net op tijd thuis van een weekje weg om hun gigantische show in het Vogelnest live op tv te zien.
Opeens is China heel erg in het nieuws en wordt overal gegoogled naar Chinese recepten. Gisterochtend had De Pers een artikel over de ‘nieuwe’ Chinese keuken, en ‘s avonds kwam zelfs het NOS nieuws met een item over de Olympische menu’s, iets waar ik in april al een blog post over schreef.

Omdat de zoekfunctie van deze blog soms te wensen overlaat, ik nooit echt een overzicht heb gemaakt, maar ik de afgelopen jaren toch al een behoorlijke verzameling Chinese recepten op dit blog heb verzameld, geef ik hier een overzicht van recepten en verhalen over China. Wel in het engels, maar dat kan geen probleem zijn toch? Continue reading ‘Eindelijk: 8-8-8’

This dish is really nice if you want to eat fish the Chinese style. It is quick to prepare if using whitefish fillets, and a meal by itself or with more dishes for a larger Chinese dinner.
You will need:

400 grams of cod (or other white fish)
1 spring onion
1 cm of ginger
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, Shaoxing rice wine, corn flour,
dried black beans from a jar/pot. [I use the dried kind which keeps forever].

Cut the fish into chunks and marinate in a tablespoon of Shaoxing rice wine and a tablespoon of light soy sauce. Meanwhile, take a tablespoon of black beans and soak in cold water. Continue reading ‘Fish with black bean sauce’

Dadar isi


dadar isiFellow bloggers are taking a break in blogging, or are about to – everyone needs a holiday. So do I, I think, but since I have been to China in May there is not really a long holiday going to happen this summer. Summer? HA! It is really awful now, an outside temperature of 13 degrees and more rain than anyone in the summer can handle. I feel sorry for travelers in Holland, they are probably waiting for the rain to stop and craving for winter foods.

I was craving for hot, hot foods as well. No salads today, but this Indonesian style omelette, filled with minced meat. Here is what you need (2 persons): 4 eggs, 2-300 grams of minced meat; 1 kemiri nut; Continue reading ‘Dadar isi’

After several years of just buying the stuff, the cheesemaking bug started to itch again. There was a time I made this regularly, in a sunny kitchen at the end of the day: a fresh white cheese, home made from fresh milk, buttermilk and rennet in just over 1 hour. The process is simple and no trouble: anyone can do it. So can you, if you can get hold of rennet.

I searched for quite some time this year. I had some stuff in the fridge, but rennet doesn’t keep forever, so I had to get it new. There used to be a supply at these organic shops, but they didn’t sell it anymore. The place to find your rennet nowadays Continue reading ‘Home made cheese’