Dongbei stew (luan dun) with ribs and winter vegetables

Stew is one of the best hearty and warming winter foods, and North-Eastern Chinese (Dongbei) cuisine is full these. Luan Dun (cooked here with ribs and winter vegetables) literally means messy stew, so as you can imagine, the recipe is far from precise. It also involves ripping as many ingredients apart with your hands as…

A Classic: Spaghetti alla Carbonara

I won’t dwell too much on the name origin of this Italian classic recipe, for which many are the presumed stories , but none of them sure. What is certain is that this classic recipe from Lazio was popular only after the Second World War, it is one of the most famous recipes in the world, and also one of the…

Imitated crab (sai pang xie) – an imperial recipe from Beijing – revisited

There’s a story behind this imitated crab (sai pang xie) recipe, and it starts with the Empress Dowager Cixi craving crabs. Unfortunately, being based in Beijing means a lack of fresh crabs, so the imperial chefs found a clever way to cook eggs to make them taste as good as crab meat. I love this recipe because you can make a huge quantity of the “crab” without breaking the bank – and the bonus is that there’s no need to get fiddly with crab shells!

Courgette pancakes – using a simple Hu Ta Zi recipe from Beijing, China

Summer has brought courgette spaghetti/noodles onto the shelves in some supermarkets here, so yes, this is another courgette recipe! If you can’t buy courgette spaghetti, then just spiralise a normal courgette. Hu Ta Zi is a snack from Beijing, and is originally made with calabash (bottle gourd), but as that’s difficult to buy in many…

Tofu and Chinese cabbage – a quick and simple recipe

Just home from a trip to Kyoto, the city of tofu, I’ve been thinking more about easy home-cooking tofu recipes, and this tofu and Chinese cabbage combo is a typical one to make at home. It’s not quite a completely stir-fry recipe, so I haven’t called it as such. You will need to drop the…

Sevillian Spinach and Chickpeas (Espinacas con Garbanzos)

Having a Spanish partner means not only finding curious similarities with the traditional Sardinian cooking (Sardinia was a Spanish colony for many years, and this can be seen at the dinner table), but, more importantly, it means exploring the differences. For example I am particularly fascinated by the influence that the Arabs had on Spanish culture…

Steamed fish – sea bass – a super simple recipe

As a continuation of our steamed recipes, here comes a really simple Chinese-style steamed fish recipe. The fish we’re using here is sea bass, though other kinds of thin white fish fillets such as sole will also work well. Steaming fish is a bit different from steaming the veggies from previous recipes, as the timing…

Corn and red kidney beans – a staple food from northern China

When people think about the staple food in China, white rice usually comes to mind, but this is actually not true in Dongbei, the north east of China. Maize (corn) is the traditional staple there, and the most well-known version is a porridge made from maize kernels: Da Zha Zi. Nutritionally speaking, corn tends to…