Archive for March, 2020

Hong Kong Style Iced Lemon Tea

Mar 13th, 2020 Posted in Desserts recipes, Dim Sum recipes | no comment »

In Hong Kong where summers are long, hot and exhausting, there is that one and only quintessential Hong Kong drink that can really quench that terrible summer thirst: Hong Kong Style Iced Lemon Tea.  You can order this refreshing drink at almost all local Hong Kong style diners, i.e. cha chaan tengs.  I love this deliciously icy drink enough to miss it terribly when I’m away from Hong Kong.  There’s really nothing quite like walking into a cha chaan teng, feeling the blast of ice cold air conditioning, folding yourself into one of the tiny booths and slowly drinking up a Hong Kong Style Iced Lemon Tea.  The only thing that I don’t like is that I know that they probably use high fructose corn syrup for sweetening the tea.  Recently as it’s been getting hotter and hotter in Hong Kong as the days swing into the long summer, we have been longing for something cool and refreshing to drink at home.  So we thought, why not try to make our favorite Hong Kong Style Iced Lemon Tea at home?

Hong Kong Style Iced Lemon Tea Recipe
Glass Pitcher (1 liter capacity)

7- 10 bags Lipton Yellow Label Tea
4 1/4 cups boiling water
2 lemons
4 tbsp sugar (or more to taste)

Boil water and pour into your glass jug.  Immerse tea bags in the water for 10-15 minutes.  Add sugar and stir a bit while the water is still hot so as to melt the sugar.  Once you think the tea is strong enough for your taste, remove the tea bags.  (In Hong Kong, this tea is made quite strong.)  Allow the tea to cool.  Slice four slices of lemon.  Add ice to your glass (long and tall is preferred), then place lemon slices over.  Fill up glass with your sugared tea and serve!

Tip:  In Hong Kong Cha Chaan Teng ( or Hong Kong style diners)  this Iced Lemon Tea is served along with a spoon and a straw.  The spoon is for pressing down on the lemon slices to release lemon juice into the iced tea.  How much you press is your preference.  Personally I usually don’t press very much, finding that the presence of the lemon slices already creates enough of a lemony fragrance.

Star Anise Ice Cream

Mar 13th, 2020 Posted in Desserts recipes | no comment »

If you are one of those, as I am, that love the heady almost erotic taste and aroma of licorice then you will love, love, love this ice cream!  This is a spice infused ice cream made from my love of Star Anise, a wonderfully versatile spice that is used in Chinese cooking mostly for its excellent companionship with savory meats.  So into this spice am I that I have been experimenting with Star Anise in sweet foods, in my baking for one and now in my ice cream making.  So here is our Star Anise Ice Cream, a wowzer of an cool luscious licorice treat with the spice’s exotic and distinctive aroma nestled snugly against a velvety smooth and creamy ice cream.  Yummilicious!

Star Anise Ice Cream Recipe (makes 1.5 quart) (adapted from epicurous recipe here)
Prep time: 30 mins   Cook time: 30 mins

2 cups  milk
2 cups cream1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole star anise(or up to 1/4 cup more if you like really strong anise flavor)
pinch salt
8  egg yolks
2 tbsp anise flavored liqueur* (optional)


Roast your star anise gently over a low heat in a thick bottomed swallow pan until aromatic.  Let cool.
Combine milk, cream, sugar, star anise and salt in a small pot and bring just to the boil, remove from heat, cover and let cool.  Taste the milk mixture for the strength of the star anise infusion.  If satisfied, proceed to next steps.  If not, heat mixture again just to the boil, cover and let cool.  When satisfied with spice infusion strain out the star anise and heat the milk mixture again just to the boil and remove from heat.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, add cream mixture in a thin steady stream, stirring all the while. Pour all back into pot and cook over medium low heat, stirring and scrapping the bottom of your pot, until the custard coats the back of spoon, 170°F (77°C).  Strain custard through a sieve and let cool.  Stir in liqueur, then make ice cream according to your ice cream machine.
Or, if like us, you don’t have an ice cream machine, you can make ice cream easily like this.  Place completely cooled custard in freezer for about an hour or until the custard starts to freeze up on the edges.  Use a whisk or a wooden spoon to stir custard completely.  Refreeze for another 3/4 hour to hour until custard starts to freeze again.  Again stir completely.  Repeat freezing and stirring at intervals until the custard reaches a consistency of soft serve ice cream.  Pour into ice cream storage container and freeze overnight or until firm.  You’ve just made ice cream without a machine!
*Tip: Some anise flavored liqueurs are anisette, absinthe, pastis, pernod (French), ouzo (Greek), Jaegermiester (German), Galliano and Sambuca (Italian).  
*Tip: Adding alcohol to ice cream lower the freezing point and in essence, makes your ice cream softer and easier to scoop.

Chinese Five Spice Ribs

Mar 13th, 2020 Posted in Pork recipes | no comment »

Chinese Five Spice Ribs Recipe

It’s getting chilly in Hong Kong (finally!) and the cool refreshing winds that were absent all summer (and most of the autumn…sigh) are now come back, nipping at my legs and arms, urging me to dig out those stored away down jackets.  I’m loving it, the coolness, the brilliant blue of the almost winter sky, the feeling of space opening up everywhere.  I love the cooler seasons and all that it brings and especially love the food!  These are the warming foods, the foods that insist on warm huddles about the table, the cold kept out as we devour the foods that warm and sustain us with the extra energy we need.  
One constant at our autumn and winter table is this Chinese Five Spice Ribs, ribs marinated with a special dry rub spice mix then slow roasted at low heat until the flavor infused meat tenderly, deliciously falls off the bone and straight into your mouth.  YUMMM!  If you like eating spare ribs, you’ve gotta try this easy foolproof recipe.  You’ll find yourself making ribs at home that are as good as or better than what you’ve ever had outside!

Chinese Five Spice Ribs Recipe
Prep time: 10 mins  Cook time: 3 hours 20 mins

Ingredients :

2-3 racks pork baby back ribs or 2 racks pork spare ribs
Dry Rub Spice Marinade
2 tsp five spice powder1 tsp sweet paprika powder2 tsp freshly ground black pepper2 tbsp brown sugar2 tsp salt1 tsp garlic powder1/2 tsp ginger powder1 tsp cumin
Mop Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup1/2 cup hoisin sauce1/4 cup water1/4 cup light soy sauce2 tbsp apple cider vinegar3 tbsp brown sugar

Rinse rib racks and then dry with paper towels.  Remove the transparent skin from back of rack by lifting the skin in one corner and slowly peeling back until completely removed.

Mix the dry rub marinade spices together.  Rub the dry rub generously all over the ribs.  Cover the ribs and marinate 4-8 hours in the fridge or overnight.

When ready to bake let the ribs get to room temperature while preheating the oven to 225°F (107°C).  In a foiled lined baking tray lay the ribs meat side down.  Cover with another sheet of foil, folding the edges over and pinching shut.  Bake for 3 hours.

Meanwhile prepare mop sauce by combining all ingredients in a small pot and heating over medium heat, stirring until the sauce thickens and can cling the back of a spoon.  Set aside to cool.

At 3 hour mark remove the ribs and check to see if knife can pierce the meat.  If so remove the top foil, pour out any accumulated juices and use a brush to thickly coat the ribs all over with the mop sauce, leaving the ribs meat side up this time.  Return to oven for another 15-20 mins or until the sauce is glossy, thickened and slightly carmelized.  Remove from oven and brush with any remaining sauce.  Let rest for 5 mins, slice between ribs with a sharp knife to separate and serve.  Enjoy!