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Taiwanese cooking Taiwanese Culture

My Chinese New Year Party Food 新年辦桌 – what to cook

Chinese and Taiwanese New year is coming along shortly! One of the big questions that many people will have is what dishes to prepare. One of the best places to find traditional and New Year Taiwanese dishes is Taiwan Cooking on YouTube. It’s my mother’s site and she loves to cook – a lot.

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農曆新年將近,今年很高興可以和很多台灣姐妹與她們的家人一起提早過了一個既溫馨又快樂的新年團聚,內心理真的有著滿滿的溫暖,喜悅和感恩! 在此也恭祝大家新年快樂! 羊羊得意!!

She recently held an early New Year lunch party and made a huge amount of great food for the day. Many Taiwanese sisters managed to share a great, happy, warm New Year together! Please have a look at the wonderful range of food she prepared in the video I have embedded below.

There’s lots of favourite Taiwanese and Chinese dishes shown off above. To help you easily find some of my favourites she prepared that day you can look at these links:

Happy New Year everyone! 羊羊得意!

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Taiwanese cooking

Liu’s braised red yeast chicken feet 劉家紅麴辣豆瓣魯鳳爪

Braised red yeast chicken feet
Braised red yeast chicken feet

Back when I was little, my grandmother would always use this special red yeast sauce to marinate all kinds of meat in preparation for Chinese New Year (We have an especially big family.) After moving to England, I started craving that special taste one day and had to ring back home to find out the secret of making the sauce.

記得小時候阿嬤總是會用這特製的紅麴醬 醃漬各種肉類以備過年時的不時之需(咱家的家族特別的大),來英之後有天突然憶起那特別的味道,趕緊打回台灣問那密方

The good news was that my auntie actually remembered being taught my grandma’s recipe and was able to send me the ingredients from Taiwan. After receiving it, it took me a few attempts but I was finally able to bring back that taste that has been long stuck in my distant childhood memory. Since then, I have been using this sauce whenever I am missing home, and of course, during special days and the festive season.

還好! 我家四有得到阿嬤的真傳給了我這秘方!收到從台灣來的材料後不敢怠慢的趕緊動手做,當然是經過了好幾次後才大功告成。

Today, I will be showing you how to slow cook chicken’s feet with our special sauce, in preparation for a party I have set up to treat my best friends.
Traditional Liu’s Red Yeast Spicy Bean Curd Cured Chicken’s Feet.

現在,每當年節想家時必會以此紅麴醬來滷些家香味以安胃內心思鄉之苦!今天魯的是~~鳳爪!!堪稱人間極品講用它來招待我金愛的朋友們!!

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Taiwanese cooking Taiwanese Culture

How to make Spring Rolls 春捲 for Taiwanese, and Chinese, New Year

Here’s some great Spring Rolls my mother made. These are beef and onion ones but you can alter the recipe to include any sorts of other fillings including the likes of pork, chicken, bamboo and bean sprouts – whatever you like. Chinese (Taiwanese) New Year is almost here and these would be a great addition to your dinner table spread!

Please watch the video and you will be able to see the cooking method and technique for making beautiful, golden crispy spring rolls at home – using the best ingredients from your local shops.

In my mother’s recipe the following ingredients were used:

  • 500g beef mince,
  • sliced spring onions,
  • spring roll pastry,
  • salt, pepper,
  • egg for ‘glue’
  • sesame oil, rice wine, a little sugar
  • + dipping sauce made from ketchup, lemon & sugar

 

Spring rolls, ready to eat!
Spring rolls, ready to eat!

As mentioned above you can change the contents to suit your own taste and also you might like to use chilli or sweet chilli in the dipping sauce. Hope you like it!

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Taiwanese cooking Taiwanese fruit and vegetables

Favourite special fruits of Taiwan

I’ve been to Taiwan this summer as readers will know. Now I’ve been back a couple of weeks but really miss a couple of fruits that are really hard to find in the UK. It’s a shame because it includes two of my favourite fruits.

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I went to see my great-uncle one day and he runs a very small scale farm, you might call him a market gardener, with a smallish plot but a big variety of fruits and vegetables all together. Some of the fruits come from trees that have been established for many years but there are also things that need planting every year like the vegetables. In the picture above you can see the beautiful collection of vegetables I gathered that day.

longan

Let’s move on to my favourite fruits, the ones I miss so much. The first is called the longan and it is a close relative to the lychee but grows wild in Taiwan. The name is pronounced “Long -yen” in Taiwan. Though Lychees are specially bred trees to produce this kind of fruit; the cultivation over the years has produced a fruit with a minimal ‘stone’ or ‘pip’, I find them to be unsettlingly fleshy and watery. Longan have a very large black stone in the middle and the layer of flesh is relatively small but it’s flavour is much better in my opinion!


I have found longan for sale in the UK on vegetable stalls in Markets which sell Thai food and ingredients. There is a season for these fruits and in the northern hemisphere it’s just about over now.

custard-apple

My second favourite fruit from Taiwan is the ‘shi jia’ which is pronounced “ser jia” and known by English speakers as the Custard Apple. This fruit seems to be a popular one in Australia but I’ve never seen it in the UK. However ‘custard apple’ is a pretty good description of the overall flavour of the fruit. To my tastebuds the best description would be “rice pudding with a teaspoon of apricot jam”. It’s really delicious and once it is ripe I will put one in the fridge to eat cold, picking up the flesh covered seeds with my chopsticks!

I’m surprised there aren’t so many ‘custard apple’ flavoulred drinks and desserts but I did find one I particularly liked in Hualien, in eastern Taiwan. Here you can buy shi jia ice cream. If you ever go to Taiwan’s east side I recommend you try and find some pots of this tasty ice cream. I bought some, very easily, when we stopped to fill up at a CPC petrol station.

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Taiwanese Culture

Visiting a potter in Yuanlin

Yesterday I visited a potter in Yuanlin in Taiwan. He lives in the town where my auntie lives and is an old school friend of my mother’s. Now pottery isn’t his full time job but he has developed this hobby into a very nice little business and so the whole ground floor of the house is dedicated to pottery, art and the making and display of these pieces.

teapot2

There are so many variations of the teapot and cup shape to see in his studios and they look fantastic as you can see from these pictures.

teapot1

Tea is important to Taiwanese culture and having a show-piece set of traditional tea making and tea drinking pottery is very important to most families. A matching set with teapot at it’s centre can be a great talking point for visitors and guests.

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A full tea set can contain a teapot, various kinds of burners to heat water and/or keep your tea hot and of course cups. The pottery in Yuanlin I visited had many beautiful examples to see but also lots of other pottery examples, mainly consisting of bowls and vases which could look good anywhere in your home in groups or individually.

pottery

Also here you can see pottery being made at the weekends and see the craftsman at work. Currently the studio doesn’t have its own website but when it does I will share the link here.