Category: Soups and Appetizers

Turtle Soup

Chinese New Years is coming up!!!! It’s the year of the Rooster, and my dad is a rooster! Usually, we (or at least I) would go to my grandparent’s place. Unfortunately, this year we can’t go. Luckily, my grandparents picked up the slack. They sent a box with smoked meat, local fish and 3 soft shelled turtles. I was not expecting the turtles, but one of my grandpa’s friends raises them…. what a nice surprise! Turtles represent wealth and longevity in China, so this is perfect. Anyways, I honestly had no idea how to prepare, but luckily they were armed with a really nice recipe.


Turtle has a very distinctive but delicious taste, sort of like very tender, less fibrous chicken. The part around the shell is fatty and gelatinous, like tendon, except it’s impossible to overcook. Okay, it might not sound very good, but it’s AMAZING.

Turtle Soup


  •   1 medium- large soft shelled turtle, broken down
  • 1/3- 1/2 small chicken (for flavor), diced
  • ginger, sliced into wide thin peices
  • cooking wine
  • salt, to taste
  • green onion, chopped
  • 1-1.5l water


  1. Wash the chicken and turtle, remove most of the blood
  2. Heat a wok to medium, add a little bit of oil and cook the chicken with some salt until browned
  3. Transfer the chicken into a pot with the turtle. Add water, ginger, wine and more salt. Bring to boil
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 40-50min. Garnish with green onion. Serve and enjoy!

Tip: do NOT skimp on the ginger and cooking wine. Turtle has a strong flavor that needs to be neutralized by the ginger and wine. This is especially important if the turtle wasn’t killed within 6 hrs of cooking.






Salted Duck Eggs

Guess what…..

yep, my last exam , Trig, was on Friday. I’m FREEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With that said, onto the food

This post is 40 days in the making. Behold……. Salted Duck Eggs!!!! Check these babies out


Salted duck eggs are a common delicacy in China. They are basically duck eggs marinated in salt water for a little more than a month then boiled. In that time, the flavour penetrates the egg and the oils from the yolk actually start to seperate. Most people, like my family, eat it with their congee or steamed buns, but they are also commonly found in moon cakes. This technique can be applied to all types of eggs including chicken or quail. In early May, my mom ordered 12 duck eggs so this was the perfect opportunity. I found a nice recipe (link here) and tried it out on 4 of them. Here’s the recipe:

Salted Duck Eggs


  •  4 fresh eggs or 8-10 quail eggs
  • 1 + cup water
  •  1/4 cup salt (preferably sea salt)
  • unground spices of choice


Boil the spices in the water until the flavor is infused. I used bay leaves, a few dried chilies and some cloves. Measure out one cup of the water and discard the rest. Add the salt and continue boiling until dissolved. Place the eggs in a jar and cover with the salt water. If the eggs float, add in a weight to keep them down. I put in a large chunk of ginger. Seal well and put in a cool, dry place for 30-40 days. Boil and Enjoy!!!!!


Yep, it’s that simple. We boiled them and cut one open on Friday, and check it out


Admittedly, I left it marinating too long so it was a bit salty, but it was still delicious. Anyways, Happy Weekend. Next week is Dragon Boat Festival!!!!


Yellow Croaker and Clover soup

Hi!!! My taste buds and stomach have been very happy lately. Why? Well, a few days ago, my driver (aka Shanghai food expert) went to the market and got us fish. Finally, FISH!!!!! I had literally been waiting the entire winter for fresh, “inseason” fish. Needless to say, I was excited.


For most of the week, we just steamed the fish with some soy sauce. As expected, the fish was fresh, tender and AMAZING. However, last night, my mom decided to mix things up and make a soup. Behold, Mini Yellow croaker and Clover soup


While most people are familiar with yellow croaker, but clover??? Yes, clover is actually edible and very nutritions. The Chinese call it 草头 (cao tou) which literally translates as grass head. It has a fresh, nutty taste- perfect match for the rich, velvety yellow croaker. Anyways, my dad went to the market and came back with  clover

Of course, if clover isn’t available, almost any leafy green will work. The most traditional substitution would be pickled mustard greens.

As you probably see, the clover is much more attractive (not to mention lower in sodium)- not that pickled mustard greens are any less delicious

Tips: Let the fish marinate in salt 15-20min before cooking so the flavor goes into the meat. Add enough oil when frying the fish. They will stick. Excess oil can always be drained. The fish is very delicate and tender; be very careful when flipping. Finally, be very careful not to overcook.

Anyways, enjoy this quick, delicious, nutritious soup!!!!

Yellow Croaker Soup with Clover


  •  4-5 mini yellow croakers
  • Clover
  • 1-1.5l water
  • salt
  • oil
  • ginger
  • cooking wine


Throughly clean the fish and apply salt. Allow the fish to marinate for 15-20min. Heat a wok over medium high heat and rub some ginger on the wok (prevents sticking). Heat some oil in the wok and pan fry the fish for 2-3 min/side until cooked. Be careful not to overcook and burn. Remove from heat and set aside. Using the leftover oil, or add more if necessary, stir fry the clover with  a little salt. Add cooking wine, fish, ginger strips and water. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10-15min. Remove from heat, serve and enjoy!!!!




Fishhead Soup

Hi!!! Sorry for not posting last weekend. So lately, I’ve been wanting steamed fish like crazy, but it’s winter and all the fish must be in hibernation or something because not a single place had decent fresh fish. All we could find were crazily over priced, questionably raised or treated fish. UGH!!!!!! However, the supermarket did have some amazing Big head carp and my dad is coming home. Hence, we decided to make one of his (and my) favorites: Spicy fish head soup!!!!!


FISH HEAD??? I know, it sounds strange, but I’m Chinese, and the Chinese don’t waste any part of any animal. Plus, fish heads are chock full of iron and  omega-3. It’s eaten all over China and varies from region to region, but in my opinion, the spicy, Hunanese version is superior!!!!


Note: Many markets in the US do not sell large fish heads. Don’t worry, just use a small fish (around 1 lb) or a large filet. Shoulder or belly meat is the best. Onto the cooking


First, throughly wash the fish head, generously sprinkle on salt and allow to marinate for 10-15min. Be sure to remove the gills and wash away the blood.

After, brush off excess salt. Heat a wok on high heat, add some oil and fry the fish head for 5-6 min. The meat should be opaque. Drain off excess oil We fried both halves but only used 1 to make soup. Sorry no picture


Pour in water and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. The soup should be white. Once the soup is white, add the pepper and cook for an additional 10-15min. Serve and Enjoy!!!!

Spicy Fish head Soup


  •  1/2 large Fish head or 1 small fish (around 1lb)
  • salt
  • oil
  • ginger, sliced in large, thin slices
  • green onion
  • 1.5-2l water
  • 1-2 tbsp Diced hot red peppers (duo la jiao), by taste


Thoroughly clean the fish head and generously apply salt. Let the fish marinate for 10-15 min. Dust off excess salt. Heat a wok on high heat, add oil and fry the fish head until the meat is opaque (5-6min), drain off excess oil. Add the water and allow to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cook for 15-20min. The soup should be white. Add the pepper, cover and continue cooking for 10-15 more minutes. Serve and Enjoy!!!!!


Only 16 more days until I get to go to my grandparents for Chinese New Year!!! YAY 🙂


Duck soup

Two days ago, I came back from school, opened the refrigerator for a container of Greek yogurt and found myself staring at a large, alien looking foil package. As it turns out, that package was a 3.5 kilo whole wild duck!!! In a world of factory farming and growth hormones, that is pretty freaking awesome. Hence, duck soup.


Good news is it’s also very simple to make. First, soak the duck in water and wash out all the blood and nasty bits (not the organs). Then parboil for 5-10 minutes. Discard the water and put the duck in a pressure cooker with some water, ginger and cooking wine. Once it’s pretty much cooked, add in extra stuff and salt, continue cooking and……… It’s done!!!!!  As “extra stuff” I suggest foods with a lighter taste like fresh mushrooms, leafy greens, vermicelli or even chestnuts(they’re in season). We used wood ear mushroom and fresh duck blood- sooooo goood!!!!!

20151203_172424_resized_2 20151203_172350_resized_2 Tips:

  1. Invest in a good quality duck. The duck is preferably free range, organic and hormone free. The meat should not be fresh and tight, not too fatty. If it is, trim off some of the excess fat or the soup will be very greasy
  2. Cook the meat for at least 40min so it is tender but don’t go over 1hr 15min
  3. DO NOT over season the soup, the duck should already have a delicious natural flavor. Anything more than a little bit of salt will mask that.



Duck Soup


  •  1/2 large duck
  • Ginger (chopped in thin, wide pieces)
  • cooking wine
  • 2-3l water
  • green onion (finely chopped)
  • salt
  • dried Wood ear mushroom (optional)


Soak the duck in water and wash thoroughly to get rid of blood or other nasty stuff. If using, put the wood ear in a bowl and allow it to soak in warm/hot water for at least 30min. Parboil the duck for 5-10 minutes and discard the water. Place duck in a pressure cooker with the water, cooking wine and ginger. Cook under pressure for 40-75min the remove from heat. Once the pressure is released, open the pot. Add the salt and wood ear and cook without pressure for another 10min. Remove from heat, stir in the green onion and DONE!!!!!!!! 🙂



Oxtail Soup

Hi! So this weekend, Shasmun happened! It’s my school’s very own MUN conference. Even better, my resolution passed and I got Most Diplomatic!!!!!! Since I was pretty busy representing New Zealand in the General Assembly, I forgot to post, but don’t worry, my mom made oxtail soup. Onto the cooking!!!!


Some tips :

  1.   Before making the soup, trim off the fat or parboil the meat or else the soup will end up overly greasy
  2. The best add-in’s are vegetables with a unami flavor such as tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach. Those flavors compliment very well with the earthyness of the oxtail.
  3. Divide the tomatoes and put one group in at the beginning and  the other at the very end. That way, the soup will have  flavor and not all the tomatoes will melt into the soup.


Oxtail Soup


  •  500-600g oxtail
  • 4-5 medium tomatoes, chopped (more or less, depending on taste)
  • vermicelli (soaked at least 3hrs)
  • onion, peeled and chopped
  • spinach
  • cooking wine
  • ginger (sliced into wide, thin pieces)
  • green onions, finely chopped
  • water


  1.  Defrost and soak the meat for 2-3hrs and wash thoroughly to remove blood.
  2. Put the meat in a pot with some of the ginger and cooking wine. Parboil for 10-15min.
  3. Remove from heat and transfer to a pressure cooker. Add 2-3l of water, 1-2 tomatoes and potato.
  4. Cook under pressure for 40-50min then remove pressure  and add in the rest of the tomatoes and vermicelli. Continue cooking for another 10-15min.
  5. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Serve and enjoy!!!!



Bone Soup 骨头汤

Sorry for the lack of posting. I’ve spent the last two weekends at travel meets for XC. Our team did great at the meets but the weather was horrendous. We all look terrible in the pictures so I won’t post any. Onto the food.

It’s getting cold outside so I thought I would share one of my favorite winter recipes- Bone soup with daikon radish. It’s delicious, comforting and full of health benefits. So head to your nearest butcher and let’s get cooking!!!!! Note: the recipe calls for pork thigh bone, which is hard to find in the states. Ribs are a good substitute but  they won’t have the delicious marrow 😦

Gather the ingredients
Parboil to cleanse the meat





Cook in pressure cooker
Cook in pressure cooker (a traditional pot works but will take considerably longer)

Bone Soup with Daikon Radish


  •  1-1.5 lb pork thigh bone (chopped)
  • 1 large daikon radish (cubed)
  • ginger (sliced into wide, thin peices)
  • cooking wine
  • salt
  • water


  1.  Soak the meat for 10-15 minutes until relatively blood free.
  2. Place the meat in a pot with some ginger and cooking wine. Cover with water and cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Then, remove from heat and discard liquid- this thoroughly cleanses the meat.
  3. Put the meat in with 2-3L water (more or less depending on how much soup you want) into a pressure cooker and cook on high heat. Once the cooker starts steaming, turn down the fire.
  4. After 35-40min (1.5-2hr if not using pressure cooker), add in the radish and salt and continue cooking for another 15-20min without pressure.
  5. Serve and enjoy 🙂

Note: Besides radish, green onion, seaweed, leafy greens ,corn and vermicelli are also great additions. Leftover soup is also the perfect base for noodles or as stock to cook other dishes.

Quick Chinese-style Pickled Daikon

Hi, its Saturday. Today has been absolutely amazing. This morning, I  went horse back riding with one of my classmate’s family and some of their friends. We went to the beach and it was SOOO much fun. The horses did arrive about 2 hrs late so I ended up doing only one ride instead of 2 but building sandcastles with my brother and classmate was just as fun. Plus, I was pretty tired and didn’t really want to ride that much anyways so all went well:)

IMG_5566  IMG_5575

Now onto the actual topic of the post: Chinese pickled Daikon!!!!

Pickles are very popular all over China. I love them. The Chinese love pickling so much that they’ve figured out how to pickle pretty much every vegetable out there. There’s the normal ones like daikon and cabbage to the really wierd, like papaya and even baby coconut. The recipe I’m using is a simple one that my ayi taught me.


I’m using white vinegar since I ran out of ChiangKang vinegar. According to my ayi though, black vinegar tastes better, I’ll see how this batch goes


First gather the ingredients. Then wash and chop the radish, making sure there is no visible dirt, blemishes or root bits. You could also peel it, but I find that annoying and unnecessary. Plus, a lot of the nutrients are in the skin.


Mix in the salt and sugar and let it sit until there is liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Be sure the salt and sugar are mixed fairly evenly.

3-5 days may sound like a long time, but considering that normal pickles take anywhere from a week to a year, this is pretty quick

Finally, put the daikon in a jar, pour in the vinegar and liquid in the bowl, add in the peppers (if using) and let it pickle for 3-5 days. Enjoy!!!!


Quick Chinese- style Pickled Daikon


  •  1 daikon radish
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • duo la jiao (Chinese salted pickled chilies), optional


Wash and chop the daikon into quarters around 1.5 in thick. Place into a large bowl and mix in salt and sugar. Let it sit for at least 15 min and up to 40 min (25-30min is ideal). Put the radish into a jar and pour in radish juice, vinegar and add in chilies if using. Close the jar and let is sit for 3-5 days. 🙂