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    How to Make Youtiao, Chinese Doughnuts, the Fried Breadsticks Recipe

    Today let’s learn to cook youtiao! Youtiao (said yo-tee-ow) are also called Chinese doughnuts or fried breadsticks. The ingredients are fairly simple—flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and water—but the process is quite time consuming. It can take up to 9 hours. But regardless, the results are priceless.

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    The Best Hainanese Chicken and Rice Recipe 海南雞飯

    For about the three years I was living in Singapore, I remember ordering food daily from the hot and humid hawker center near my apartment. Along with customers sitting around the old-fashioned metal tables, occasionally there were cats passing under the tables shopping for their own meals. A variety of food stands were at the complex and one of my favorites was the Hainanese chicken and rice place.


    Hainanese chicken and rice originated from the Hainan Province in China. The early Chinese immigrants from Hainan brought the dish to places in Southeast Asia like Singapore and Malaysia. Nowadays, Hainanese chicken and rice is more popular in Singapore and Malaysia than in Hainan Province itself.


    Since moving to New York City, I have missed the taste of Hainanese chicken from time to time. Recently chef Steven Ng invited me to Malaysian Kitchen USA in Battery Park and I tried out his Hainanese chicken rice. Ng is in his early 40s and has been cooking Malaysian food for 14 years. He seemed shy when we first met but I discovered he has a great sense of humor, especially when he spoke Chinese.


    Cici Li makes Hainanese Chicken at Malaysia Kitchen USA. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)


    I found his Hainanese chicken recipe quiet easy to follow in comparison to many others I saw on the Internet. He said one of the most important parts in cooking it right is to place the chicken in an ice cold water bath after it’s fully cooked. He said, “You just can’t compromise that part.”


    The chicken was served at room temperature. I drizzled soy sauce and sesame oil over it, then dipped it in the chili sauce, and took a bite. The skin immediately separated from the meat. “Wow, it’s perfectly refreshing!” I said. I know, as Americans, we rarely describe chicken as being refreshing, but this one definitely was. The rice is the best part. It has an explosion of flavors –savory, garlicky, and with just a hint of sweetness. It was flawless! It was the taste that I’d been missing.

    Hainanese Chicken and Rice


    Preparation: 20 minutes
    Cooking: 90 minutes

    Makes 4 servings



    1 whole chicken, about 3 pounds
    10 cups cold water
    1 cucumber, peeled, halved, and sliced diagonally


    4 cups chicken stock
    2 cups jasmine rice, washed and drained
    2 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1/4 cup oil
    1/4 cup butter
    1/2 onion, minced
    1 small thumb ginger, minced
    6 cloves garlic, minced
    6 pandan leaves


    Red Chili Sauce (mix everything well)

    1/2 small thumb ginger, minced
    1 teaspoon red pepper
    1 teaspoon lime juice
    1 teaspoon vinegar
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon sweet and sour chili sauce


    Dark Sauce (mix everything well)
    1 tablespoon light soy sauce
    1 tablespoon chicken stock
    1 tablespoon oil
    1 teaspoon sesame oil
    1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
    1 teaspoon sugar


    Instruction for the chicken

    Rinse the chicken and remove all the chicken fat and set aside for the chicken rice. In a large stockpot, add water, then bring to a boiled. Submerge the whole chicken and cook over medium high heat for 45 minutes until it’s well done. Remove chicken and let it cool in iced water for about 30 minutes. Drain the chicken and chop into small serving-size pieces. Keep the chicken broth for the rice.


    Instruction for the rice

    In medium saucepan, add vegetable oil,and  butter, and cook until everything is blended and mildly  softened. Then add onion, ginger, garlic, pandan leaves, and stir until the aroma comes out. Put in rice, salt, and sugar, and stir for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, cover and cook for 30 minutes over medium high heat until well done.



    Place the chicken on a plate. Pour the dark sauce on the chicken. Garnish with cucumber slices. Serve with rice and chili sauce.

    (Adapted from the original recipe)

    Relishing a Chinese ‘Char Siu’ Rack of Spareribs Recipe


    Of the medley of meats savored across the world, spareribs may be among the most inexpensive cut—but when slow cooked, they give a flavor that’s rich and a texture that’s heavenly.


    Southern-style spareribs are held up as a scrumptious staple of family barbecues in America. And though different recipes abound—as do Southern matriarchs compelled by tradition not to divulge them—racks of ribs are usually cooked on a grill, or over an open fire. They are served as a slab with sauce, often in the company of corn on the cob or other starchy sides like potato purée.


    Just as jealously guarded in Cantonese cuisine of southern China, a typical recipe for spareribs calls for cooking in the “char siu” barbecue style, which gives that characteristic glazed red veneer to the meat as it is roasted in a sweet and savory sauce.


    Earlier this week, I stepped into Uncle Ted’s Modern Chinese Cuisine in Greenwich Village, and learned executive chef Ming Wong’s barbecue spareribs recipe.


    Wong is from Hong Kong and is in his early 60s. With a pair of round-framed


    glasses over his deep-set eyes, Wong looks like a European gentleman from the 1800s.


    “Apple sauce is the magic ingredient in this recipe,” he said.


    After we finished cooking the ribs, I contemplated for five seconds how to eat them with chopsticks. Then I was thought: “Forget it.” The best way to eat them is the most primitive one: use your bare hands.


    I bit into a succulent piece of rib. The texture was juicy and tender, and it was at once smoky with many layers of sweet flavors. I must agree with Wong that the apple sauce really made a huge difference. This isn’t your average Chinese barbecue spareribs!


    Now what’s a girl to do but share such treasure with her readers!


    CiCi Li about to savor barbecued spare ribs at Uncle Ted's. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)



    Chinese ‘Char Siu’ Spareribs à la Mode

    Makes 4 servings
    Preparation and cooking time: 1 hour 45 minutes


    1/2 rack St. Louis-style spareribs, cut into individual ribs, about 2 pounds
    1/4 cup barbecue sauce
    1/4 cup apple sauce
    1/4 cup ketchup
    1/4 cup ground bean sauce
    1/4 cup hoisin sauce
    1/4 cup oyster sauce
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 teaspoon salt


    Preheat the oven to 450F degrees.


    Combine the char siu (barbecue sauce), ketchup, ground bean sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, salt, and sugar. Stir for 10 minutes until the sauce is thoroughly mixed.


    Line a roasting pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, lay the spare ribs on the foil, and brush the sauce on both sides of the ribs.


    Transfer the roasting pan to the oven. Heat one side of the ribs for 45 minutes, then flip the ribs and heat for another 45 minutes until well done.


    You can find char sui and ground bean sauce at a Chinese grocery store.

    Cinderella’s Shoes Shaped Duck Dumplings Dim Sum Recipe 鴨肉餃子


    Plenty of stories are told around dining tables and food that unite us. As a Chinese-American, oftentimes the magic element that brings us together is the dumpling.


    Since I was a little child, my family has gathered around the dining table and made dumplings. The sounds of chitchat and laughter filtered even through the living room. There was flour on the table—and perhaps on the floor around the table too.


    Grandma started the reunion by creating the enchanted dough with just flour and water. Everyone had something to do. Some were in charge of getting the filling ready. Others were in charge of scooping the filling onto the wrappers and sealing them. And of course, all of us were responsible for the eating part.


    The dumpling is a celebratory and staple food for Chinese. It’s like ravioli, and it has a filling sealed inside a flour-based wrapper. The fillings are only limited by one’s imagination–minced chicken, pork, beef, lamb, vegetables, or seafood. And the dumplings can be made into many different shapes as well.


    At Uncle Ted’s Modern Chinese Cuisine in Greenwich Village in New York City, Ted Chang’s specialty is duck dumplings. I had never had them before and thought I’d love to try. So a couple of days ago, I went to his kitchen, and he taught me his secret recipe.


    According to Chang, duck dumplings are made into the shape of a woman’s shoe. It’s sort of like Cinderella’s glass slipper, translucently stunning. The recipe is surprisingly easy and yet shockingly delicious.


    I believe this is a recipe with a fairy tale ending: uniting your whole family. Happy eating!


    Cici Li, host of "CiCi's Food Paradise," eats duck dumplings at Uncle Ted's restaurant. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

    Uncle Ted’s Duck Dumplings

    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 10 minutes
    Makes 2 servings
    It’s adapted from the original recipe


    12 dumpling wrappers
    1 duck breast, minced, about 8 ounces
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 tablespoon oyster sauce
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon white pepper


    Mix the minced duck breast, sugar, oyster sauce, salt, and white pepper together to make the filling. Place 1 tablespoon of filling on each dumpling wrapper. Dip one fingertip in a bowl of water and dampen the edge of the dumpling wrapper. (Press and firmly seal three edges of the wrapper together to create a triangular dumpling. Then two of the sides down and inward to form circular shapes. Place the dumplings on a steamer and cook for 8 minutes. Carefully take out the dumplings and enjoy.


    This recipe has been adapted from the original recipe from Uncle Ted’s, Greenwich Village.