Soft Boiled Eggs in Soy Sauce and Rice Wine

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If you are a fan of ramen noodles like me, you would be familiar with the soft boiled eggs in soy sauce and know how great they taste. 

Tonkotsu ramen is very hard and time consuming to make from scratch at home.   On the other hand, soft boiled eggs are quite simple and easy.

Making authentic Japanese style soft boiled eggs recipe requires merin, which is similar to rice wine but sweeter.  When you don’t have merin at hand (well, I guess most people in America don’t), you can always substitute with rice wine like I do.  And it works out pretty good too.


8 fresh eggs
water for boiling eggs plus more for soaking
ice cubes
2/3 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup rice wine
1 1/3 cup water
salt to taste



In a medium stainless steel pot, add water and eggs. 

Cook over high heat until water boils.  Turn off heat and cover eggs with lid immediately.  Wait for 3 to 4 minutes.  If you like egg yolks to be less runny, wait for another a couple minutes.

Fill a large bowl with water and ice

Add eggs

Add soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, salt and water to a medium pot.  Cook over medium high heat until the mixture boils. 

Remove from heat and allow it to cool down to room temperature.

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Peel the eggs and soak them into soy mixture.  Cover with lid or plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.

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I use a small bowl to help eggs to completely submerse under soy mixture.

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The second day, eggs are ready.

With a sharp knife, cut eggs open in the center

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Homemade Noodles in Thick Pork Broth



Since I got stand mixer with pasta roller set and Philips pasta machine, I have been making a lot of noodles.  Homemade noodles from scratch is so much fun that the whole family can enjoy.

A bowl of great noodles depends on its broth, noodles and topping/ seasoning.  For the broth part, I personally love thick pork broth the most.  It is not hard to make at home but it will take hours.  After it is done, you will love it as much as I do. O(∩_∩)O~


2 packages of pork femur bones (about 5 to 6 pounds; usually sold in meat department in most Asian grocery stores)
1 large piece ginger root, smashed with knife
2 tablespoons rice cooking wine
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper 
2 to 3 star anises
2 bay leaves
3 to 4 pieces of dried ginger
water for cleaning and stewing
salt to taste



Soak pork bones in cold water for an hour.  Change water twice in between

Rinse well under running cold water.

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Fill a large cast iron pot with water.  Add pork bones. 

Cook over high heat until water boils.

Continue to cook on high for 5 minutes.  Get the bones out.  Discard the boiled water in the pot and clean pot with running water.

Refill the pot with water.  Cook over high heat again until water boils. 

Add bones, along with rice wine, ginger root, bay leaves, star anises and dried ginger.  Continue to cook over high heat for another 10 to 15 minutes when then water boils again.

Use a spoon to skim off crumbled blood bubbles that come to the top.

Cover with lid.  Reduce the heat to simmer for 5 hours.

I love to simmer, stew and braise with Staub cast iron pots.  The heat and cooking liquid are very evenly circulated and redistributed inside the pot, which is perfect for long hours’ slow cooking.

Here is a pot of thick pork broth.

Discard the spices added early.  Add salt and ground white pepper to taste.

When the broth is stewed, I make noodles.

Ingredients for noodles (serves two):

1 cup bread flour
1/4 cup water
a pinch of salt

In a medium bowl, add flour, water and salt.  Knead with hand until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Cover with plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to rest for 2 hours.

Transfer the dough to a light dusted wooden board.  With a large rolling pin, roll out the dough into 1/4 inch thick.

Feed the flat rolled dough sheet the stand mixer’s pasta roller.  It will further roll out the dough into long flat rectangle sheet.  I always set the thickness to 1 for this purpose.

Repeat the last step several times until the rectangle is very smooth, elastic and slightly shiny.

Adjust the thickness to 3. 

The thickness can be adjusted according to your own personal preference.

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Change pasta roller to pasta cutter.  My favorite is the one that cuts sheet into spaghettis.  Feed the dough sheet through pasta cutter.

Noodles are thin and long.  They are firm but not tough; just the way I love. 

Our favorite vegetable to go with noodle is snow pea tips.

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Cook the noodle in boiling water for about 45 seconds to 1 minute.

Add thick pork broth, blanched snow pea tips, soft boiled egg, and chili oil.  And then sprinkle with crash toasted peanut and chopped green onions.

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Stir-fry Smoked Pork Belly and Garlic Leaves

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Garlic leaves taste a lot like leeks, with a more intense garlicky and spicy flavor.  We usually use them in stir-fries.  I personally consider garlic leaves pair best with pork belly in stir-fries.  They help to get rid of mild hog flavor in pork belly, and add refreshing herbal spicy garlic flavor to the whole dish. 

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Pork belly I use here has been marinated, smoked, briefly soaked and then stir-fried in a wok.  All the extra effort pays off in the end. 

For pork belly smoking:

1 large piece of pork belly (weighs about 3 pounds)
1 to 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon thirteen spices powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 to 4 tablespoon rice wine (sold in most Asian grocery stores)
salt to taste


With a sharp knife, cut the pork belly into three thick slices.  Add Sichuan peppercorns, thirteen spices powder, sugar, rice wine and salt.  Rub the spices on to pork belly.

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Cover with lid or plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for a couple days.

I twist some stainless steel paper clips to hook pork belly onto smoker racks.

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Add smoking chips.  Preheat smoker to 200F/93C

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Add pork belly

Smoke for about 2 hours.  Pork belly turns to beautiful golden amber color.

Please remember to tightly hook up the meat.  One of the three pieces slips off and half of it is burnt before I realize it.

When the smoked pork belly has been cooled down, we can slice and stir-fry it.


Smoked pork belly
4 to 5 stalks of garlic plants
1 small piece of ginger root, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
2 tablespoon Pixian chili paste
1 to 2 low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar
a handful dried chili peppers, cut into pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt to taste


Clean and rinse the garlic leaves under running water.  Cut into 1 inch pieces.

They look and taste similar to leek, just smaller sized and come with a stronger flavor.

With a sharp knife, thinly slice the pork belly.  If they are too tough to slice, soak them in the water for twenty minutes.  That will help. 

Heat a cast iron wok over high heat.  Add oil, and then Sichuan peppercorns and chili peppers.  Sauté for 1 minute.  Add pork belly.

Stir fry for several minutes.  Pork belly turns golden brown.

Add garlic leaves, along with oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, Pixian chili paste and salt to taste. 

Stir fry until the garlic leaves turn into deep dark green color.  That means they have been cooked through.  Once they are cooked through, garlic leaves’ flavor become mild and sweet.

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Serve hot immediately.

The dish is served in a cast iron shabu pot. I use a Staub universal base with a candle or fuel burner inside to keep the dish hot through whole dinner time.  Pork belly taste best when they are hot.

Compared to the non-smoked version, smoked pork belly packs richer, more complicated flavors.  And the texture is pleasantly al dente. 

Colorful Sweet Rice Cake Balls with Black Sesame Filling

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The fifteen day of Chinese New Year is called Lantern Festival.  Lantern Festival Day is the last day of Chinese New Year celebration. On this day, we traditionally celebrate with lanterns and dance balls.  Families and friends get together to have another feast before going back to work. 

One of the traditional foods served on this feast is sweet rice cakes balls.  There are so many varieties of sweet rice cakes out there on the market that everyone can find his favorite flavor.  As for me, I love black sesame filling the most.  

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It is not difficult to make them at home.  But I have been told many times that American people are not great fans of sticky sweet rice.  That is interesting.   If you are curious about rice cakes but don’t want to make them at home, go get one package in your local Asian grocery store.  They are sold in frozen food aisle.  The classic flavors are sesame, peanuts, red beans and jujube.

Ingredients for black sesames filling:

1 cup of raw black sesame seeds
1 firmly packed brown sugar
4 to 6 tablespoons butter
1/4 to 1/3 cup water



There are roasted sesame seeds available.  But I always prefer raw ones and pan roast them at home myself.  Its flavor and scent are so much better and stronger.

Shift raw sesame seeds a couple times. 

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat.  Add black sesame seeds.  Pan roast for several minutes.  Stir with a whisk from time to time.

 I always add a pinch of white sesame seeds to the pan too.  When white sesame seeds are starting to change color to light creamy beige, I know they are done.

Allow roasted sesame seeds to cool down to room temperature.  Finely grind them in a coffee grinder

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Turn off the heat.  Add ground black sesame

Mix everything until well combined

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  The sesame filling will be harden when chilled.

Divide the filling into small pieces and roll into tiny sesame balls. 

Send them back to fridge for later use

When waiting for the sesame filling to chill, I prepare five pieces natural colorful sweet rice cake dough.

They are in fact quite easy to make.  Just mix vegetable puree, water, a few drops of vegetable oil and sweet rice cake flour and knead. 

The purple color comes from purple sweet potato; red color comes from beet puree; yellow one is from carrot puree; green one is from spinach puree and the brown one is from coco powder.

Divide the dough into small pieces.  Press each piece flat; add black sesame filling; wrap it up and roll into sweet rice cake balls.

Fill a large pot with water.  Cook over high heat until the water boils.  Add sweet rice cake balls.

 Cook on high heat until sweet rice cake balls float.

The black sesame filling becomes runny when cooked.  Isn’t it cool? O(∩_∩)O~

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Dried Purple Sweet Potatoes



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Dried purple sweet potatoes are one of my favorite snacks.  Unfortunately it is very hard to find tasty ones available in store.  I usually make them from scratch at home.  It is so simple and easy that even a person who doesn’t cook can manage it in no time.  O(∩_∩)O~

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After drying, the natural sweetness in sweet potatoes is concentrated and enlightened.  Dried sweet potatoes become soft but chewy in a very pleasant way.  It is kind of like eating gummy candies, but with intense sweet potatoes flavors.

There are several kinds of purple sweet potatoes available in the market.  I have two varieties here plus some regular yellow color ones.

Rinse them well under running water. 

Set up a vegetable steamer in a large stainless steel pan.  Add sweet potatoes to the steamer. 

Add water.  Heat over high heat until the water boils.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue to steam for another 30 to 40 minutes.  Time needed depends on the size of sweet potatoes.  Larger ones will take longer to cook through.

This is one of my favorite purple sweet potatoes.  Look at that gorgeous the color inside and out!

Here is another kind purple sweet potato

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Peel all the sweet potatoes.  Cut them into long trips, and place them half inch apart from each other on dehydrator racks.

Set the dehydrator to 135F/ 57C

Dehydrate them in dehydrator for 8 to 9 hours.  Again, the actual time needed depends on the size of sweet potatoes and personal preference for their softness/ chewiness. 

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Remove sweet potato strips from dehydrator.  Store them in a large Ziploc bag overnight or for at least a couple hours, which helps to redistribute moisture within sweet potatoes strips and they would taste much better.  

These are my favorite.  They are sweet, gorgeous and have the best combination of softness and chewiness. 

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These purple sweet potatoes which come with white skins taste a bit dry and starchy.  They are good, but not great.

The yellow ones taste very much like the ones from my childhood.  Love them too.

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