Taiwanese food

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

Ingredients

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


Instructions

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

Ingredients

1-2 teaspoons garlic (smashed)

1 teaspoon chili (smashed)

4 tablespoons sesame oil


Instructions

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.

Taiwanese spicy garlic sauce

Ingredients

1 teaspoon garlic (smashed)

1 teaspoon chili (smashed)

2 teaspoon drinking water

3 tablespoons soy paste

Note: Please see the soy paste details here: http://kitchen.j321.com/soy-paste-key-to-taiwanese-cuisine


Instructions


1. Use a pestle and mortar to mix the water, chili and garlic finely. (The purpose of the water is help to you grind the chili and garlic finely).

2. Add the soy paste, and mix well.

3. Taste it. If it is too salty or too strong, add a little bit of water to balance it. You can also adjust the amount of garlic and chili, if it is too much or little for you.


How to use the spicy garlic sauce?

The sauce is very often used on Taiwanese dishes such as white chicken, steamed shrimps, squid, green vegetables, tofu, omelet, fried radish cakes, boiled dumplings, and so on. You can feel free to use it on anything which needs sauce to add flavour or to make it more pleasant to eat.

Taiwanese sweet garlic sauce

Ingredients

1 teaspoon garlic (smashed)

1 teaspoon drinking water

3 tablespoons soy paste

Note: Please see the soy paste details here: http://kitchen.j321.com/soy-paste-key-to-taiwanese-cuisine

 

Instructions

1. Use a pestle and mortar to mix the water and garlic finely. (The purpose of the water is help to you grind the garlic finely).

2. Add the soy paste, and mix well.

3. Taste it. If you think the taste is too strong or too salty, add a little water to balance it. You can also adjust the amount of the garlic, if it is too much or little for you.

How to use the sweet garlic sauce?

This sauce is very often used on Taiwanese dishes such as, white chicken, steamed shrimps, squid, green vegetables, tofu, omelet, fried radish cakes, boiled dumplings, and so on. You can feel free to use it on anything which needs sauce to add flavour or to make it more pleasant to eat.

Taiwanese shallot oil noodles

Ingredients
2 tablespoons shallot oil
1 tablespoon soy paste
1 litre of water
1 teaspoon salt
1 bunch of wheat noodles
1 bunch of pak choi (bok choy)


Instructions
1. Warm a bowl (you can use boiling water). Add the shallot oil and soy paste to the bowl.
2. Put 1 litre of water in a saucepan, and bring it to the boil.
3. When the water is boiling, add the salt and noodles.
4. When the noodles float to the top of the boiling water, they are almost cooked. Pick up a noodle from the top of the water (use chopsticks if it’s too hot), and press it between your thumb and fingernail. This way, you can get a feeling for how firm or crunchy the noodles are. Then it’s up to you if you like the noodles al dente, or cook them a few seconds longer so they’re softer.
5. Drain the noodles with a sieve, and mix well with the shallot oil and soy paste in the bowl.

Taiwanese shallot oil

Taiwanese shallot oil

Ingredients
300g shallots (peeled)
250ml cooking oil or lard

Instructions
1. Thinly slice the shallots (about 2mm thick)
2. Heat up an empty saucepan to ensure it's dry, then put the shallots into the saucepan. Don't add the cooking oil yet.
3. As the shallots are beginning to dry out, you will smell very pleasant aroma from them Then you can add the cooking oil to the saucepan. 
4. Fry the shallots and oil in the saucepan at medium heat. After a while, you will see the oil is bubbling around the shallots (these bubbles are actually the shallot's internal moisture boiling away as steam). When the bubbling is almost finished, turn up the heat a little higher until the shallots are brown and crispy. The shallots are cooked.
5. Turn off the heat.  Keep this shallot oil in a jar, in the refrigerator.

The Taiwanese street food spirit: Shallot oil

Sit down in a Taiwanese noodle shop, and in less than three minutes the shop owner can bring you a great bowl of noodles. The flavor is well balanced: salty, sweet, and spicy, with aromatic herbs.

Shallot oil is the essential spirit of this delicious Taiwanese noodle soup, which is fast and easy to make. Shallot oil is an influential flavor in Taiwanese food.

Shallot oil is used on sticky rice, noodle soup, taro rice noodle soup, fish ball soup, warm green vegetables, and so on. Shallot oil is the secret that lets street noodle shops and stands serve a tasty and aromatic dish within three minutes.

Shallot oil isn’t difficult to make, but it takes time and it’s very easy to overcook. We need to use low heat to cook away the shallots’ moisture, and bring out their aroma. We need to be patient, because the finely chopped shallots can easily burn.

Tomato salads with sesame oil dressing

Sesame oil is very often used in Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean cooking. But this recipe is based on a very common Italian dressing, just replacing the olive oil with white sesame oil.

Salad ingredients

2 or 3 medium size tomato, sliced
½ cup of zucchini or cucumber, sliced
½ cup of basil leaves
¼ lime, sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Sesame oil dressing ingredients

1 tablespoon white sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
½ teaspoon salt


Instructions

1. Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl.
2. Make the sesame oil dressing with the white sesame oil, vinegar, salt.

Chives and water chestnuts dumplings: Guo Tie, Zhēng jiǎo & Shuǐjiǎo

1. Preparing dumpling dough

Ingredients

3 cups of all purpose flour, 1 cup hot water, ½ cup cold water.
Instructions
Pour the hot water into the flour and use the chopsticks to mix well. Then pour the cold water into the mixture. Knead the dough until it's elastic and smooth, it will take about 20 minutes, then cover the dough with a wet tea-towel. Leave for 20 minutes.

Roll the dough until it is 1.5cm (just under ½ inch) thick. Then cut it 1.5cm x 1cm pieces.

Roll each piece into a ball shape. Flatten the ball into a round shape which is 6-7cm (2½ inches) wide.

2. Preparing dumpling filling

Ingredients

Chives 600g, water chestnut 400g, fresh shiitake mushroom 600g, 2 bunches of dry glass noodles
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