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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 Mapo Tofu Recipe 麻婆豆腐 by CiCi Li

    Mapo Tofu is a traditional Sichuan dish. It has a numbing sensation when you eat it. It’s spicy, hot and savory. It’s definitely my kind of good eats!


    According to legend, an elderly widow named Chen Qiaoqiao invented the dish. Ms. Chen’s face was scarred with pockmarks, so people started calling the dish Mapo Tofu, which literary means “pockmarked grandma’s bean curd.”


    Ms. Chen’s story started as a tragedy. Her husband died of a disease and she became very poor. Her friends tried to help her and occasionally gave her some meat and tofu. She had always been an amazing cook so she created a brilliant dish with their donated ingredients: Mapo Tofu.


    She first minced the meat, cut the tofu into cubes, and cooked them with a variety of Sichuan spices. All of her friends loved the dish and encouraged her to make a living off it. She eventually opened a small shop and sold Mapo Tofu.


    The story has a happy ending, because her Mapo Tofu became famous through word of mouth!
    I now bring you the Mapo Tofu recipe:


    1 pack of soft tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    4 oz of beef, minced
    3 dry red peppers, minced
    1 teaspoon of scallions, minced
    1 teaspoon of garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon of gingers, minced


    1/2 teaspoon of Sichuan pepper powder
    1 tablespoon of Sichuan pepper oil
    1 tablespoon of chili bean paste
    1/4 teaspoon of salt
    1/2 teaspoon of sugar
    1/2 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
    2 teaspoons of hot chili oil
    A dash of sesame oil
    A pinch of white pepper
    1 cup of water
    2 teaspoons of cornstarch water mixed with 2 tablespoons of water


    1. Blanch the tofu in boiling water for about 30 seconds, adding a pinch of salt to make the pieces more durable. Take the tofu out and drain all the excess water.


    2. Heat up the wok. Add 3 tablespoons of oil and heat to a medium heat. Add the minced beef and then stir fry until well done. Take it out and put it aside.


    3. With the excess oil in the wok, add the minced ginger, dry red peppers and chili bean paste, and stir well until fragrant. Add the Sichuan pepper oil and water. Then add all the other ingredients for the sauce (Sichuan pepper powder, salt, sugar, pepper, dark soy sauce, sesame oil), and then stir in the cooked minced beef. Cover the wok for about 10 seconds. Then add the minced garlic, cornstarch water, chili oil, and scallions. Carefully stir until everything is combined.


    You can now enjoy your Mapo Tofu with a bowl of white rice. Let me know how this recipe works for you. Please subscribe to my channel, like, comment, and share this video! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Happy eating!



    【美食天堂】The Bao, the Best Chinese Soup Dumplings & Hirohisa Kappo Japanese

    The Bao 小笼汤包,皮薄馅多,肉汁饱满。猪肉馅 $7.95/蟹粉 (6) $9.95/哇沙米 $8.95, /巧克力馅(4) $6.95。地址:13 St Marks Pl,在2nd Ave跟3rd Ave之间。地铁4和6都可以到。


    Hirohisa 日式割烹料理,推荐Omakase: 一套让厨师根据季节和食材自创的割烹料理。7道菜 $100/ 9道菜$150。地 址:73 Thompson St,在Spring St & Broome St中间。地铁A, C, E 都可以到

    What’s the Art of Hot Pot? How to Eat Hot Pot?

    What’s the art of hot pot? I personally think the art of hotpot is simply to have fun and enjoy the experience. As people gather around a steaming hotpot, everyone becomes a team player—they participate in both cooking and eating. At the same time they share stories and laughter.


    Hotpot is called huoguo in Chinese, which literary means fire pot. It originated in Mongolia more than 1000 years ago. Many varieties of hotpot exist, as different regions of China have their own methods and ingredients. Traditionally, people gather and eat around one large pot placed in the center of a table. This circular formation symbolizes unity and good luck for the whole family.


    When you eat hotpot in restaurants nowadays, either a simmering pot of broth is placed in the middle of your table, or a mini hot pot is given to each individual. I like the mini hot pot better because I can then just create my own magic and turn my hotpot into what I like best.


    I’d like to share some of my preferences for enjoyinghotpot:


    How do I order?


    – Broth: Chicken, Hot Oil Spicy (Ma La), Chinese Herbs, or Combination (Yuan Yang)


    – Protein:


    a. Meat Slices: Beef Slices, PorkSlices, Lamb Slices, Chicken Slices

    b. Surimi: Fish balls, Squid balls, Pork balls, Beef balls, Chicken Balls

    c. Seafood: Crab, Shrimps, Squid


    – Different types of tofu


    – Veggies: Chinese cabbage, spinach, mushrooms


    – Dumplings


    – Noodles


    – Sauce: the restaurant either gives you sauce or you can mix your own. The most popular ones are Chinese BBQ (Sha Cha), ponzu, and sesame sauce. My favorite is ponzu sauce, a citrus-seasoned soy sauce, and I usually add cilantro and scallions to it. You can personalize your sauce with almost any herbs.


    How to cook your hot pot?


    – Cook the harder textured and more durable foods first, including cabbage, surimi, dumplings, and tofu. Wait until the water is boiling before adding them. You can either throw everything intogether, oradd small portions at a time.


    – When everything is boiled, it’s best to take some of the food out and eat it. Then you can add some other softer textured and less durable foods, like seafood and meat slices. Seafood usually cooks in a minute or two andthe thinly sliced meat takes about 30 seconds to be fully cooked.


    – Repeat step 1 and 2 at your own pace.


    – I usually add the noodles last because they tend to soak up the broth. But if you want to eat them earlier that’s fine too. When the broth level reduces, you can always ask for more. It’s free.


    – Some people like to drink the broth at the end of their meal. Some like to drink it with their noodles. I like to drink it intermittently throughout my meal.


    Remember, the key to hotpot is to have fun. You can prepare it any way you want. You are the magician and you are in charge! Enjoy!


    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.

    There’s an interesting story behind the Cantonese word for fried breadsticks or yauhjagwai. It literally means “oil-fried ghost” and refers to two despicable figures from ancient China. History has it that Mr. and Mrs. Qin were the most hated couple during the time of the Song Dynasty. Also known as Qin Hui and Lady Wang, these two villains conspired with foreign invaders against China’s greatest general, the legendary Yue Fei.


    Shen Yun Performing Arts, the New York-based classical Chinese dance company, included a dance in its program entitled Sweeping Out the Tyrant, based on the tale of an insane monk sweeping the villainous Mr. Chin out of a temple.


    “Following their deaths, the couple’s exploits were exposed, and from then on, Mr. and Mrs. Qin have been etched into the Chinese blacklist,” wrote principal dancer Alison Chen on Shen Yun’s blog. “Chinese people have hated the Qins so much, they’ve even made voodoo statues and voodoo snacks in their dishonor.”


    So yes, many people today still hate wicked Mr. and Mrs Qin so much that they want to deep fry them, and dunk them into warm sweetened soymilk!



    1 lb of flour

    1 teaspoon of baking powder

    1/3 teaspoon of baking soda

    1/3 teaspoon of sugar

    A dash of salt

    1 cup of water




    Put the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour the water into the well. Then add the sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix together, and then knead to form dough. Cover the dough for about 30 minutes.


    Knead the dough until the surface becomes smoother (1 to 2 minutes). Cover the dough again, and this time let it ferment for 7 hours.


    Put the dough on a floured surface. Then roll it to form a long ½ inch thick rectangle about 4 inches wide by 24 inches long. Then cut the rectangular dough into ½ inch strips. Place the strips together in pairs, with one on top of each other. Use the back of your knife to press a line through the center of each pair of strips.


    Add four cups of oil to a deep skillet. Once the oil is hot, lightly press and stretch the strips to the desired length and gently lower them into the hot oil to deep fry until golden brown and puffy.


    You can enjoy youtiao with a bowl of hot sweetened soymilk or a savory rice congee.


    Comment below to let me know how this recipe worked for you and what other Chinese recipes you would like to learn.


    P.S. If you are interested in learning more about the 5000 years of classical Chinese culture, you must watch Shen Yun Performing Arts! The company returns to Lincoln Center in New York City from Jan 9th to 18th, 2015. Enjoy!

    7 Superfoods You Must Eat this Winter!


    As the weather turns colder, instead of craving for fresh fruits and salads, my cravings for hot soups, stews, and teas grow excessively. But did you know this is normal according to Traditional Chinese Medicine? It’s pretty much the way our body tells us what it needs in order to survive in freezing cold weather.

    Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that the universe is a balance of yin and yang energy and that all living beings follow the course of nature. As the seasons change, the proportions of yin and yang in our bodies also change. In winter the body’s yang energy becomes hidden inside the body, and the warm yang energy becomes far removed from the extremities of the body, such as the hands and the feet. Therefore, we should make some changes to our diet throughout the year to maintain a good balance of yin and yang.

    According to Dr. Jenny Fan, an acupuncturist and herbalist in Milpitas, California, “Our bodies are instinctively expressing the fundamental principles of winter—rest, reflection, conservation and storage. It is important to nurture and nourish our kidney qi.”

    Think about what people used to do back in the ancient time. They followed the cycles of nature. In winter, days are short and nights are long, so people rest more and conserve energy for the upcoming spring. They also ate seasonal foods. During the winter, fruit and leafy vegetables wouldn’t grow, so people ate whatever was available. People in ancient China emphasized eating warming foods. For example:

    1. Lamb: nourishes and warms your body, because it promotes blood circulation and removes dampness and coldness. During winter it can also help boost your immune system.

    2. Yam: is considered good for treating a yin deficiency, kidney problems, fatigue, and a dry cough. It’s also an excellent source of mucus protein (thought to have a role in reducing blood sugar), B-complex group vitamins, and vitamin C. It contains minerals such as copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

    3. Ginger: helps expel coldness and dampness inside the body and improves blood circulation. It can help relieve a variety of illness symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and the symptoms of a cold or the flu. According to the American Cancer Society, some patients undergoing chemotherapy have found ginger helpful for reducing nausea. Some proponents have said ginger can keep tumors from developing, but scientific evidence has not supported this claim.

    4. Garlic: has been used as both a food and a medicine in China for thousands of years. It can help the body remove toxins, including bad or waste blood. It can kill bad elements in your body, like bacteria. It contains several important nutrients and minerals, including vitamins B6 and C, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc.

    5. Goji: traditionally this should be cooked before consumption. It can be added to rice congees, or soups, as well as to herbal teas. It helps to lower blood sugar, is good for blood circulation, and helps to promote better eyesight. Chinese women often eat it to promote youth and beauty. It has 6 types of vitamins, 18 amino acids, and 11 essential and 22 trace dietary minerals.

    6. Jujube: also known as Hong Zao can be eaten in a similar fashion to Goji. Some people make jujube vinegar and wine. Jujube is believed to ease stress, and was a traditional antifungal, antibacterial, antiulcer, and anti-inflammatory treatment. It also helps to promote heart health and can aid blood circulation. Chinese women also eat this to promote youth and beauty.

    7. Adzuki Bean: also known as Hong Dou, is commonly eaten in sweet foods, either by making it into red bean paste or adding it to dessert soups. It helps with qi and blood circulation. It can help the body detox. It’s high in protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

    These are all superfoods in Winter according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, you don’t need to go overboard and start eating a whole lot more. Remember, everything in your diet should still maintain a healthy balance of yin and yang. The recommendation is only to eat proportionally more.


    Please comment below and share any other superfoods we should try this winter. I’d love to check out your suggestions. In the meantime stay warm, and happy eating!