Making fast miso soup in the morning

Recently, I found I am sometimes a little too sensitive to coffee in the early morning. Too much caffeine too early seems to be a shock for my stomach, and can cause stomach irritation for me.


When I stayed in Kyoto this autumn, I learned the Japanese habit of waking up to have a nice cup of miso soup first thing, instead of coffee. Maybe it's a way of gently restarting your deeply relaxed body after a night of resting.


In Taiqi-influenced cooking and eating, we think it's better to start the day with a warm drink. Miso soup is a fermented lactobacillus drink. It improves the digestion, absorption of nutrients, and warms the body. Drinking miso soup is a good start to the morning, and like Taiqi, I think it balances the yin and yang energy of the body


Making miso soup fast

This is a very simple way of making miso soup, almost as simple as making an aromatic cup of coffee in the morning.


Guanyin in Long Shan temple

Many people wonder if Long Shan temple in Taipei is a Daoist or a Buddhist temple. Because they can see many statues and paintings of Daoist Gods inside, but they can see also Buddhist Gods. Meanwhile, the architecture and decor of the Longsan temple is clearly looks like Daoist style.

However, the main God in Long Shan temple is Guanyin, and Guanyin is a Buddhist Bodhisattva. Guanyin Bodhisattva is a symbol of people or gods who practice "Guanyin dharma". Guanyin means to observe our inner voice, to look into our mind, to listen to the words which we don't express outwardly.

Guanyin is also called the Bodhisattva of compassion, Guanyin dharma is a widely spread teaching in Taiwan, and even in Asia. When people have difficulties in their lives, they often pray for Guanyin Bodhisattva's help.

Cloud above Kyoto

This autumn, I had an opportunity to rent a small old style Japanese house in Kyoto. It was so much better than staying in a hotel room. But there were two mysteries in the house. I didn't have anyone to explain them for me, because I didn't meet the landlord during my stay at all – everything was handled online.

When we arrived, I noticed there was a special corner in the living room and bedroom, some paintings hanging up on the wall, and right in front of the paintings stood a small wooden table with a vase. I couldn't understand why, in a small wooden house, with only limited space, why the owner of the house would still make a space for those things?

First Bai Bai in LongSan temple

When you enter a Taiwanese temple like LongSan temple, you will see people offering incense to the Gods. There is incense burning right in front of each God's image or statue. People hold the incensee and pray, then put the incense in the incense burners.

In Taiwanese temples, have you noticed that at the first incense burner, there is no God sitting in front of it? But you still see people holding the incense and praying, and still offering the incense in the burner.

Mazu Temple beer garden

During our Dihua Street tour, we usually have a lunch at the Mazu temple beer garden, particularly if it is not raining. You can see a few photos of my guests there on this page. We order a few hot stir-fried dishes and bottles of beer from the simple seafood restaurants on the street around the temple. The staff are all friendly, but it's a casual atmosphere so there are no waiters telling us where to sit. We simply find an empty table and then go to the restauraunts to order. We share the experience with the local people under the banyan trees, eating and drinking in the middle of the temple courtyard. 

Although it looks like a simple place, the food is delicious here. The street restaurants that provide the food specialize in old-style Taipei cuisine.

Japanese homecooking class in Tokyo

My friend in Tokyo, Japan, Tsukako Imura, is a very good teacher of Japanese cuisine. 

The pictures on this page show her cooking

Ms. Imura and Ms. Mizuno taught me many of the basics of Japanese home cooking. I learned about key Japanese ingredients and how to use them; how to prepare classic Japanese homestyle dishes like gyudon, rolled sushi, grilled rice balls, and miso soup; and even some important Japanese cutting techniques! Together, we created many delicious and healthy meals, and we had a great time doing it.

Lesson Overview 

☆ Cooking Lessons

1. Tofu cooking (Two kinds of Tohu dishes, one side dish, Miso soup and rice) 6500 JPY

2. Tonkatsu (japanese pork cutlet) cooking (Tonkatsu and Rolled Tonkatsu, salad, Miso soup and rice) 8000 JPY

Morning Market Tour and Dumpling Cooking Class Video

Recently I had the good fortune to cooperate with in designing a new event for our guests, a morning market tour and dumpling cooking class. Tripinsiders made this beautiful two minute video to introduce me and the tour. 
I really appreciate the kindness and expertise of Rosa, Ray, Gabriel and everyone at Tripinsiders for helping me so much with this, and giving me an insight into their world. 

Making a video with TripinsidersYou can find out about this tour, including how to book it, at (And there you can also read about all the other interesting activities that Tripinsiders offer in Taiwan and other countries).


Dumpling engineering: How to cook pot stickers

Here is the procedure for frying pot stickers, a kind of fried dumpling (In Chinese, they are called Guo Tie, which is pronounced gwor tee-ay and written 鍋貼)

1) Turn on the heat and dry the frying pan.

2) Put about a tablespoon of oil into the pan, turn down the heat so you have time to put the dumplings side-by-side in the pan.

3) Turn the heat up to medium. Gradually you will notice the bottom of the dumplings becoming brown and a little crispy.

4) Add water right on top of the dumplings. Then cover the pan with a lid, and turn the heat high.

4.1) If you are cooking fresh dumplings, you usually need only half a cup of water for 10 to 12 dumplings. But if you are cooking frozen, add more water, and allow more time for the dumplings to be cooked.

I don't want to cook the pandan leaves

My neighbors all know that I cook lots of food. They think that I must know what to do with any ingredients. So they very often give me a lot of ingredients for cooking. Yesterday, a neighbor very kindly gave me a bunch of pandan leaves. I can use pandan leaves to make soup, tea, sweet coconut dressing, dessert, flavor rice, wrapping sticky rice, wrapping grilled fish. According to tradition, pandan leaves also act as a kind of herbal medicine that is good for cooling our body's internal heat.

But at the moment, I really don't want to make any special dishes, or add any special flavor to my food – my tastebuds need a rest. I don't want to use the bunch of pandan leaves for cooking immediately. But I especially don't want to waste my neighbor’s kindness .

Suddenly, I had an idea: I picked up a big white jug, and I put the bunch of green leaves in the cup, like flowers. Suddenly the bunch of pandan leaves was standing like a star on the stage, brightening up my home.

Dumpling Engineering: Why is my dumpling dough coming out too sticky?

Why is my dumpling dough coming out too sticky?

This is a very common question that our students ask when making dumpling dough.

Obviously, there could simply be too much water for the amount of flour. You can avoid this problem by simply using the exact amounts of ingredients specified in the recipe.

Apart from that, there are other two common reasons that the dough will be too sticky: the dough was too warm when you started, or you're in a place with high humidity and temperature.

If you're noticing that your dough is too sticky, you need to use your own judgment to figure out the reason. If you think the dough is too warm, just allow it to rest for two to five minutes, and it will cool down naturally after a couple of minutes.

If you think the dough is too wet, then sprinkle a little flour on your hands, and gently knead the dough. If it still seems wet, repeat the same procedure..
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