Taiwanese cooking

Cherry Tomato Kitchen Diary

This spring, I was lucky enough to find cherry radishes at the local street market. Cherry radish isn’t a common ingredient in traditional cooking here, so it’s unusual to find it in Taiwanese markets. I was inspired to use it to enhance a traditional recipe.

This recipe is based on a Taiwanese cabbage salad dish, but with a choice of two different dressings. So you can enjoy a very Taiwanese flavor, or an Italian flavor.


Sweet sticky dumpling balls with peanut icing

Preparing the sticky rice dough


3 cups of glutinous rice flour (sticky rice flour), 1 ½ cups of water


1. Mix all the sticky rice flour with the water, to make dough.
2. Put 20% of the dough into boiling water, and cook for about 2 minutes.
3. Put the cooked dough back together with the remaining uncooked dough.
4. Knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic.
5. Allow the dough to rest for about half an hour.
6. Divide the dough into 3 portions.
7. Roll each portion of dough into a sheet 1cm thick, then slice that into 3cm x 3cm pieces.
8. Roll each dough piece in your hands, and make it into a round ball.

Preparing the peanut icing


1 cup peanut powder, ½ cup of caster (superfine) sugar – you can adjust the amount to your taste.


1. Mix the peanut powder and caster sugar together well.

Southern Taiwan sweet licorice tomato


2 tablespoons soy paste

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon refined sugar (or adjust the amount according to your taste)

Taro and Purple sticky rice


1 cup sticky rice, and 0.75 cup water

1 cup black or purple rice, and 1.5 cup water

1 tablespoon cooking oil


5 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar


4 tablespoons cooking oil or black sesame oil

A small chunk of ginger, sliced


12 small shiitake mushrooms, sliced


2 cups cooked taro, chopped 1cm square

½ cup soup stock

Coriander, chopped for garnishing

Iron Plate Toban Tofu and eggplant

Cooking ingredients

Cooking oil, 3 tablespoons

Hard tofu, about 270g, cut into triangular shapes

Eggplant 100g, sliced 0.5 cm thick

2-3 shiitake mushrooms, sliced 0.5 cm thick

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon chopped ginger

Toban paste, 1 tablespoon

1 tablespoon sugar

½ cup water

A small bunch of basil

Taiwanese sweet and sour pickled ginger recipe:


1000g young ginger

4 teaspoons salt

400ml rice vinegar

200g crystal sugar


What is young ginger?

There are several things to look for to identify young ginger:

1. The color is pale, not dark like aged ginger.

2. The texture is tender, not strong like older ginger.

3. Young ginger is less than 30 days old. Aged ginger is from 3 months to 2 years old.

Taiwanese sweet and sour pickled ginger

During Taiwan’s hot and humid summer, it’s very common to see Taiwanese people add a few pieces of pickled ginger to their food. In this season, Taiwanese people believe that pickled ginger is appetizing, and it’s also good for the stomach if your stomach tends to feel bloated.

I learned how to make sweet and sour picked ginger from a very experienced Taiwanese chef. She said there’s no exact recipe – the amount of sugar and rice vinegar you add is up to you, so how sweet or acid you want it depends on your taste. Some people like it sweeter; Some prefer to add more vinegar.

You Can Make Fast Food, Taiwan Style

The tiniest food stand or street restaurant can serve delicious, fresh food only minutes after you order, but when you try to cook in your own kitchen, it can take hours of work. Why? It's mainly because those professional chefs know how to keep things simple. Obviously, they have skill and experience, but the most important trick they've learned for amazing food is to use fast, simple techniques and minimal ingredients. They create fascinating flavors just by combining a few seasonings like white pepper, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, chili green, and coriander. Even if you don’t have as much skill or experience as these chefs, you can still benefit from these simple cooking ideas that are commonly seen throughout Taiwan and China.

New potato salad with Taiwanese garlic and sesame oil dressing


400g new potato, semicircle cut

100g carrot, 0.3cm sliced

1-2 teaspoons salt, or enough salt to taste

Taiwanese garlic and sesame oil dressing

3 tablespoons green onion, 0.2cm sliced


1. Bring one liter of water to the boil. When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and carrots. Cover with a lid, and allow it to simmer for about 12 minutes, or until it’s cooked.

2. When the potatoes and carrots are cooked, use a colander to drain away excess water.

3. Put the cooked potatoes and carrots in a bowl, and season with the garlic and sesame oil dressing, and salt. Garnish the salad with green onion, and serve.

Taiwanese garlic and sesame oil dressing


1-2 teaspoons garlic (smashed)

1 teaspoon chili (smashed)

4 tablespoons sesame oil


1. Use a bowl to mix the garlic, chili, and sesame oil finely.

2. Feel free to adjust the amount of garlic and chili.

How to use the garlic and sesame oil dressing?

The garlic and sesame oil dressing can be use on cold salad such as cucumber, cabbage, kohlrabi, tomato, and red radish. You can also use on warm salad such as asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, pak choi and so on. Remember to add some salt to the salad to taste.
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