Cucumber salad (凉拌拍黄瓜)

That this cucumber salad (liang ban pai huang gua) is like none other would be a most accurate statement because of how deliciously it’s layered to not only make the cucumbers juicier but also that much more interesting, because really what are cucumbers if not crunchy water?

This recipe comes from the mountainous Dong Bei region of China and it literally translates to cold cucumber as it’s served cold as an accompaniment to Dong Bei dishes, however, due to its absolutely delicious nature it’s now a rather popular dish eaten across the country.

I got the recipe for this dish from a friend’s mother-in-law who is from Shenyang and makes this salad almost every day as a part of their meals.

The ingredients are fairly simple. You need juicy cucumbers, green onions, coriander, garlic, red chillies, soy sauce, Chinese vinegar, sugar, salt, boiled water, and MSG.

We begin by making the dressing first, which is the heart and soul of this salad. Finely chop the garlic and chillies and mix in the soy sauce and the vinegar.

Mix in the salt, sugar, and MSG and the boiled water.

Finely chop the coriander and the green parts of the green onion.

Add the chopped coriander and onions to the dressing. At this stage you can if you want to add some sesame oil which is optional, but so good. Give it a good stir and keep it aside for later.

The beauty of the salad apart from its dressing is the way the cucumbers are cut which enables maximum absorption of the thin dressing. This style of chopping is called ‘pat cut’ which is literally forcefully patting or rather smashing the said ingredient and then chopping it. usually one uses the flat side of a cleaver for this but I use a rolling pin because cleavers are I aren’t very good friends at times.

So you just smash the cucumber on its side until it breaks and looks like it’s going to fall apart.

Something like this and then chop it as you like.

I go for the usual.

Once smashed and chopped, put the cucumbers into a bowl of choice and pour over the dressing. Mix thoroughly and let it sit for at least half an hour before serving/eating.

Serve chilled.

Recipe ingredients

Garlic :  1 medium size or 2 small cloves
Red chillies: 1
Light soy sauce: 6 tsp
Chinese aged vinegar: 2 tbsp
Sesame oil (optional): 1 tbsp
Salt: a small pinch
Sugar: 1 tsp
MSG: a small pinch
Boiled water :50mls
Coriander: a small bunch
Green onions : 2-3
Cucumber: 300-500g

Recipe instructions

In a clean bowl add the finely diced garlic and red chillies. To this mixture add the soy sauce, aged vinegar, salt, sugar, msg, and boiling water. Finely chop the coriander and green part of the onions. Mix in with the dressing and keep aside later. Smash the cucumbers with the flat side of a cleaver or a rolling pin and chop them into bite-sized pieces.
Mix the cucumbers with the dressing and let sit for at least 15-30 minutes before serving.

Chinese pancake sandwich (hangover cure & stoner’s grub)

DSC_1059These are by no means an innovation that ever appeared in gastronomic heaven, but in fact a hearty street food staple very commonly found in China. There are many a variations to it, but I’m sharing the one I find in my locality.

Before I begin let me just tell you how incredibly fantastic these street food pancakes are; sold mostly out of a small shop or mobile stall, and usually eaten after a drink too many or breakfast and even as a not so light snack.. they’re crispy, fried on a hot pan without skimping on the oil and meat. The pancakes are flaky, almost like a puff pastry sheet, slathered with a thin coating of viciously hot sweetness, a layer of egg, meat of choices, bundled up and wrapped in a packet. Every bite is a steamy, meaty, spicy morsel wrapped in flaky pancake heaven. Every bite a revelation! I usually buy these sometime around tea time from a very kind lady near my house. She has a stall decked with small jars of condiments and spices, and an array of meat. The most popular combinations are eggs+bacon+spam with a generous brush of her homemade spicy sauce.

I’ve tried to recreate something similar here which is gratifyingly delicious and stunningly delectable but absolutely no match to what she whips out of her 5 feet x 3 feet stall.

So here it is.

DSC_1015the ingredients are straight and simple. Just frozen Chinese pancakes which are easily available in any supermarket, lettuce leaves, eggs, fried bacon and ham (instead of spam) and sriracha.

I’ve cut ham into thick coins and very slightly charred them on a hot pan to recreate those smoky flavours that emanate from the street stall’s seasoned skillets.

DSC_1017these are what the pancakes look like. They come frozen and neatly wrapped in wax paper on both sides. These pancakes are smaller than the street food stall ones, but work just as well.

DSC_1020I slightly charred the lettuce as well on a very hot pan for that burnt crisp texture. This step is entirely optional.

DSC_1022ok, so in a pan on medium heat add some oil. This is about a teaspoon and let it coat the pan.

DSC_1024once the oil is evenly heated, slap on your pancake and let it be. The trick is knowing that you can not and will not flip it until the underside is done, or else you will break, tear and ruin your pancake.

DSC_1025this is how you figure out if it’s done. It’ll start turning translucent as it cooks. So the sides are cooked but the middle isn’t. Give it another few minutes

DSC_1026there you go. It’s ready for a flip

DSC_1027see.. so nice and golden and cooked.. now while the other side is cooking

DSC_1042crack en egg

DSC_1043mutilate it with a fork to let it evenly spread

DSC_1044and flip! for maybe half a minute until the egg is cooked

DSC_1045flip it back to let the egg face you

DSC_1029add sriracha or your favourite hot sauce, and paint it all over the egg

DSC_1030now we have to start layering. start with lettuce

DSC_1031followed by bacon

DSC_1050followed by ham

DSC_1033followed by folding over, to form a sort of pancake sandwich, which is also weirdly the name of this blog post.

DSC_1034and just like that you have a hearty meal to satisfy your inner glutton. Perfect for curing hangovers and stoner hunger pangs.


Frozen Chinese pancakes: 2

eggs: 2

bacon: 4-5 strips

ham: 4-5 slices

sriracha: 2 tablespoons

oil: 2-3 teaspoons

(of course there’s no particular recipe, you can make as many for a lot of people or just a couple for solitary indulgence. Change the ingredients to make a Chinese pancake BLT or even a vegetarian version)

Cooking directions: On medium high heat, coat the surface of a pan with some oil. Once hot, lay the pancake gently so as not to tear and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Once its surface is translucent flip over and crack and egg on the cooked side. Break the yolk with a fork to coat the pancake and flip over to the let the egg cook for at least half a minute.

Flip again to spread some hot sauce over the now cooked egg and start layering with lettuce, bacon and ham on one side of the pancake. Fold over the other end to form a sort of half moon.

The sandwich is now ready to be devoured. These are easy to make and quick to eat. You can make plenty for a crowd or just a couple for lunch.





Chinese fried rice

DSC_0983Zen, pure and a work of moments. These fried rice are a breeze to make and their savory, mellow, fresh taste makes it a delight to eat. They are nutritious, low-fat, versatile and catapult your leftover cooked rice into a delish meal.

This dish can be cooked using whatever leftover vegetables you have in your fridge and somehow it never goes wrong. This recipe was given to me by my Chinese friend and it is as much a pleasure to cook as it is to eat. Try this and you’d never want another recipe for your fried rice.

DSC_09441The ingredients are really up to you and what you have in your fridge, but this is as basic as it gets. Spring onions, Chinese chives, leftover mushroom & onion mix from my sandwich (this is optional), peas, carrot, red pepper, sugar, ginger, soya sauce & egg (not pictured)

I’m not using any garlic here, because my Chinese friends tell me that if a recipe includes spring onions there is no need for garlic.

DSC_0946Starting with pepper

DSC_0947De-seed, de-vein

DSC_0948and chop into about 1/4 inch dices

DSC_0949I used half of that carrot I showed in the picture simply because this was a solitary meal and how much can a gal eat?

DSC_0950carrot into two segments. each segment into three segments.

DSC_0951chopped into chunky small pieces.

DSC_0952ditto with green onions.

DSC_0953I reserve the white and light green part for the initial cooking as a flavour base and the green ones to put in later for flavour enhancement and garnish.

DSC_0954and these Chinese chives. I have a soft spot for these, and end up putting them in everything I cook.

DSC_0955As with the green onions, I use the lighter part for initial flavour base and the green part for second flavour layer and garnish.

DSC_0956Here we are with our chopped vegetables and the pictured egg.

DSC_0958Oil into your favourite wok, as you can see mine is pretty old and has seen many a burnt foods and adventures and I love it to bits. It’s my moms actually, I stole it from her and carried it to China.

DSC_0959while the oil is getting hot, here is my rice. It’s not much, but enough to feed me.

DSC_0961make sure the oil starts smoking before you add in your vegetables. The oil has to be ferociously hot. In a big swoop add in the peppers, carrots, white part of the chives,finely minced ginger and spring onions. It’ll sizzle and you’d salivate.

DSC_0963in with the peas

DSC_0966pepper, lots of it.

DSC_0967leftovers.. mushrooms in my case

DSC_0968pinch of sugar and this doesn’t sweeten anything but rather balances all the flavours.

DSC_0969finally half of the soya sauce

DSC_0971bring it all together and mix well for a few seconds.

DSC_0972add in the rice. I have here some beautiful jasmine rice, but use any rice you have.

DSC_0974mix well until most of the rice is slicked with vegetables and oil

DSC_0976now grab a handful of the green parts of the spring onions and chives and add to your hot wok. This boosts the flavours and brings together this entire dish

DSC_0977Now crack in the egg.

DSC_0978Mix until it’s scrambled and coated each rice strand.

DSC_0979Add in the remaining soya sauce

DSC_0980another handful of greens and mix and adjust for seasoning. If you need more salt and black pepper, now’s the time. My soya sauce was very salty and I really didn’t need any more salt but make sure this dish isn’t under salted. Mix well and it’s done.

DSC_0991how easy was this? rich rewards with minimum effort. You have to make this.


  • Rice: 1/2 cup
  • spring onions:  3-4
  • Chinese chives: 2-3
  • mushrooms: 4-5
  • egg: 1 large
  • peas: 60g (about 1/4cup)
  • carrot: 30g (scant 1/4 cup)
  • ginger finely minced : 1 teaspoon
  • red pepper: 1 medium size
  • soya sauce: 1 tablespoon
  • black pepper: 1 teaspoon
  • sugar: 1/4 teaspoon
  • salt: to taste
  • Vegetable oil: 2 teaspoons

(this recipe doesn’t really need measurements since it’s up to you, how much or how little vegetables you need. You can double or triple the amount of rice and ingredients to suit your needs)

Recipe: Chop the vegetables into 1/4 inch thick chunks. Reserve the green part of the chives and green onions for garnishing and later layer of flavours.

In a wok, heat oil and once it nearly starts smoking add in your ginger,vegetables, except the green parts of the chives and spring onions. Mix well. add the pepper, sugar and half of the soya sauce. Mix until well combined. Add in the rice and mix until the rice is slicked with oil and vegetables. Add in half the green part of spring onions and chives, crack in the egg and mix again until the rice is fairly coated with scrambled egg. Finally add in the remaining soya sauce and the remaining green parts of chives and spring onion, adjust for seasoning and serve hot.

This is not a very pungent, or overwhelmingly flavourful dish. It’s a very mild, subtle and fresh tasting rice dish. It’s pure and simple and a perfect light lunch or dinner.


Schezuan Rice


Leftovers !!! the most dreaded word in a house. Nothing good ever comes out of leftovers they say. My fridge is full of so much stale food they say. Actually leftovers are just some food already cooked for you, and all you’ve gotta do is change something about it and make it into another meal.

In my case I had a bowlful of leftover rice. To me, leftovers can result in some of the most versatile snacks, dinners, meals. Just tinkering around with some random pulled out food from a fridge raid can result in creative meals you never thought you’d otherwise have.

I made a fabulous bowl of fiery Schezuan rice with green peppers.

You can either use the Schezuan sauce that comes out of jars or make some of your own. Of-course life is easy if it comes out of a jar but since I didn’t have any, I opted to make some for myself, and its piece of cake.

Ingredients for Schezuan sauce in case you’re not using it from a jar.

this might not be the authentic recipe (sorry Sichuan, China), but this is how I make… it’s ferociously hot and lip smacking tasty.

8-10 dried red chillies soaking in water for at least a couple of hours.

10 cloves of garlic minced

2 tsp minced ginger

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp chilli sauce

1 tsp pepper

2 tbsp vinegar

2 tbsp water

2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp oil

Drain the red chillies soaking in water and grind them into a fine paste. In a pan, add oil, mix in the garlic and saute until soft and golden, Now add the ginger and saute. Take a moment to die in the fragrance emitting from your pan and stir in the ground chilly paste.

add salt, pepper, sot sauce, chilli sauce, water and mix until bubbling and thick. finally add in the sugar and vinegar. Mix until fully incorporated and thickened. Allow to cool.

Ingredients for Schezuan Rice

Cooked rice – I had about a 1.5 cup

small onion diced

peppers sliced thinly. I had green, but you can use any colour you like.

2 tbsp Schezuan sauce (recipe above)

1 Tbsp oil.

1/2 tsp salt

The procedure is pretty straightforward. Heat oil in a pan, add in the onions and cook until softened. Add in the peppers and saute until the onions have caramelized a bit and taken on the peppery flavour. add the Schezuan sauce, and mix until the vegetables have turned red. Finally mix in the rice until coated with the sauce. Serve very hot..