Monthly Archives: February 2013

Participating in Appetite for China’s Chinese New Year Virtual Potluck – Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs


For my third entry in the virtual potluck over at Appetite for China , I know I don’t want another meat dish. The Chinese Tea Eggs recipe appealed to me because the marbled effect looks so much prettier that the convenience store tea eggs I’m used to growing up in China. If I hadn’t read Diana’s post I would’ve never guessed how easy it was to create the “spiderweb” look for these healthy and delicious eggs!


Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs

recipe clipped directly from ; my notes/changes are marked in red below)

  • 6 to 8 eggs, any size
  • 2 tea bags of black tea (I used organic black tea leaves)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorn (optional) (I didn’t have any, so I used Sichuan pepper instead)
  • 2 to 3 strips dried mandarin peel (optional) (I omitted)
  1. Add enough water to a medium pot to cover the eggs. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for 10 minutes, until the eggs are hard-boiled.
  2. Remove the eggs with a strainer and run under cold water until they are cool enough to handle. Tap the eggs with the back of a butter knife to crack them evenly all around, being careful not to peel off the shells. Return the eggs to the pot.
  3. In the same pot, add the tea bags, soy sauce, brown sugar, star anise, cinnamon, black peppercorns, and orange peel (if using). Add enough water to cover the eggs by an inch. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat to a bare simmer. Allow the eggs to simmer for 1 to 2 hours, longer for a more intense flavor and color.
  4. Remove from the heat and drain the eggs, saving a little of the liquid to serve with the eggs if you choose. You can either peel and serve the eggs immediately or store them in the fridge for up to 4 days in a tightly covered container. Serve as a snack as-is or as an addition to rice or noodles.

Updated February 19, 2013. Original recipe posted May 8, 2008 (the update is for the video instructions, wish I would’ve seen this before making them, but oh well, I know I’ll make this over and over again!)

My thoughts on this recipe:

  • It sure was a lot of fun to tap and crack the hard boiled eggs before simmering them and just watch the beautiful marble effect create itself after a couple of hours. Who would’ve thought!
  • The idea of adding a cinnamon stick was strange to me at first, because in the past, I’d think the only acceptable ingredient would be Luo Han Guo, which would add a nice sweet touch to the liquid. But I’m sold as soon as the liquid reached a boil and it smelled so good I almost helped myself to it! I bet if I had dried mandarin peel on hand it would be even more wonderful. Next time I eat mandarin oranges guess what I’ll be saving!
  • I followed the steps religiously and turned off the heat at the 2 hour mark but left the eggs submerged in the liquid for another 2 hours. Next time I’ll probably let it simmer for much longer as the eggs didn’t taste as salty as I expected them to be.
  • Maybe if I didn’t drain the liquid, but I got another use out of it: I blanched some Kombu and used the remaining liquid to cook it, that was my veggies for last night! After that though, I couldn’t possibly reuse the liquid because it’d turned slimey.

I love recipes where ingredients can be reused. I’m already planning for the next dish before the deadline of the virtual potluck. I’ve been having such a blast and I encourage anybody to participate! Don’t forget to check out Diana’s book “The Chinese Takeout Cookbook” on Amazon where this recipe can also be found.

Participating in Appetite for China’s Chinese New Year Virtual Potluck – Chinese Barbecued Pork (Char Siu)


Since I had so much fun making the Dan Dan Noodles for the virtual potluck over at Appetite for China during the week, I thought I’d give another recipe a shot over the weekend.  The Chinese Barbecued Pork (Char Siu) jumped out because, well, we are meat lovers! And I loved the idea of being able to tell my mom, see, you really don’t need to buy those Lee Kum Kee Char Siu sauce to make Chinese BBQ Pork, all can be made from scratch:


Chinese Roast Pork / Chinese Barbecued Pork

(recipe clipped directly from ; Don’t forget to check out Diana’s book “The Chinese Takeout Cookbook” on Amazon where this recipe can also be found.)

Serves 4 to 6 as part of a multi-course meal

  • 1 pound pork belly, unsliced with skin trimmed off (we left the skin on since it’s my boyfriend’s favorite!)
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce, or substitute regular soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • ½ teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the rice wine, dark soy sauce, sugar, garlic, hoisin sauce, and five-spice powder. Rub the pork belly with the marinade mixture and marinate for 2 to 3 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Rub the excess marinade off the pork belly (but don’t rub it all off!) and place in a roasting pan. Brush the top with the honey. Roast the pork for 40 to 45 minutes, flipping the pork belly over half-way through and brushing honey on the other side. The pork is done when the outsides begin to crisp and blacken, and the center of the pork belly strip feels firm.
  3. Remove the pork from oven and let it cool for a 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into thin slices. Arrange the slices on a plate and serve, either plain as part of a multi-course meal, or with rice or noodles.

I used every listed ingredients and left the meat in the marinade for about 8 hours. The pork belly in my freezer was already sliced. Next time though, I’ll probably go for a much leaner cut. As roasting the pork belly really makes the fat parts chewy, not like braising would make it soft. Our entire kitchen was filled with authentic Chinese BBQ aroma and it was so hard to wait for the Char Siu to cool off before digging in. The Chinese five spice powder was a killer touch! Thanks to Diana. It reminds me of the meat in Cantonese style Zongzi (rice dumplings or Chinese tamale).

We ate about half of it in one sitting! The next day, I sliced the leftover very thin (much easier to slice now that they’ve been in the fridge and had time to harden up), added a little bit of red food coloring to make it look more like Char Siu in a BBQ-joint, and made a delicious stirfry with asparagus and fermented black beans. Now that’s something we could eat all week long!


Participating in Appetite for China’s Chinese New Year Virtual Potluck – Dan Dan Noodles


I am so excited about this virtual potluck over at Appetite for China! What a wonderful idea! Before this, I’d already clipped tons of recipes from the ingenious Diana, this event pushed me to finally make a few of them. My boyfriend and I are definitely noodles people, and we happened to have some ground pork on hand, naturally, we went for the Dan Dan Noodles.


Dan Dan Noodles

(recipe clipped directly from ; I’m glad small adjustments are allowed, I’ve marked them in red below)

Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal, or 2 to 3 as a single dish

  • 6 ounces ground pork or beef
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts chopped used 2 tablespoons minced onions instead
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Sichuan preserved vegetable (optional) used finedly minced Taiwanese preserved cucumbers instead, one of his dad’s secret ingredients!
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or salt to taste
  • 8 ounces dried Chinese egg noodles
  • 1 handful dry-roasted peanuts, finely chopped (skipped because of allergy)
  • 1 small chunk of rock sugar (another one of his dad’s secret ingredients, it makes a world’s difference!)


  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Chinese sesame paste or tahini
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black rice vinegar, or substitute good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chili oil (adjust according to your tolerance of spiciness)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper didn’t have this, used a mixture of ground black and white pepper instead
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain the noodles, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Transfer the noodles to a serving dish.
  2. Prepare the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, soy sauce, sesame paste, vinegar, chili oil, sesame oil, sugar, and Sichuan pepper. Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss so the sauce is evenly distributed. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the base and sides. Add the garlic, ginger, white parts of the scallions, and optional Sichuan preserved vegetable and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the meat and stir-fry until the meat is a little crispy on the outside and no longer pink. Add rice wine to deglaze the pan. Season with salt to taste.
  4. Spoon the cooked meat mixture over the noodles, sprinkle the chopped scallions greens and chopped peanuts on top, and serve.

We followed Diana’s directions pretty closely. Since the meat sauce is very similar to a Taiwanese minced pork dish, I asked my boyfriend’s dad for advice. And he strongly recommended using onions (since it’ll blend “right in” to the meat sauce) and said a little bit of rock sugar and some finely minced Taiwanese preserved cumcumbers (photos follow) would create a wonderful contrast to the meat. He was right on!

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These Dan Dan Noodles are a real treat! If you walked right into our dining room at dinner time you’d have to excuse us because we were slurping so loudly on the noodles! We had some more meat sauce left so the next day for lunch, I poured it over white rice, it was just as yummy and hearty! Now that lead me to think it might work on other grains such as couscous and quinoa. I know I’d be making this over and over, it’s definitly a recipe worth keeping! Don’t forget to check out Diana’s book “The Chinese Takeout Cookbook” on Amazon where this recipe can also be found.