Taiwanese cooking

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.

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.

Ghost month party

In the seventh month of the lunar calendar, I remember my grandmother would always prepare a table of delicious food, and offer a meal to the ghosts. The ghosts or spirits included our family's ancestors, the gods of the land, and any other lesser ghosts that dwelled in the area – all were invited.

However, as a small child, I honestly had great doubts about this tradition. I watched very carefully, but I wasn't so sure if the ghosts and spirits really came to eat the meal. Every time, my grandmother would put all the food out nicely on the table, but as far as I could see there was no sign that the ghosts were eating it. In fact, it looked like it hadn't been touched at all.

Toasted eggplant with 5 flavors sweet and sour sauce

Dressing Ingredients

4 tablespoons vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon freshly chopped garlic
1 tablespoon freshly chopped ginger
1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander
1 teaspoon freshly chopped chili (optional)


Cooking Ingredients

3 long, slender purple eggplants


Instructions

1. Mix all the ingredients well. You can adjust the amounts slightly to taste, and find out the balance of ingredients you prefer.
2. Chop the eggplants into sections 4cm long, and then carefully slice each piece into two halves lengthwise. Soak the chopped eggplants in 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 cups of water for about 2 hours.
3. Drain away the salty water from the eggplant. Cook the eggplant in the toaster oven or oven with 220C, for about 15 minutes, or until they are cooked.

Toased mushrooms with Taiwanese ginger dressing

Dressing Ingredients

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon white sesame oil
1 tablespoon mashed ginger
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1 teaspoon chopped chili (optional)

Cooking Ingredients

200g fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped into quarters
200g fresh king oyster mushrooms, chopped 1.5cm length

Instructions

1. Mix all the ingredients well. You can adjust the amounts slightly to taste, and find out the balance of ingredients you prefer.
2. Cook the chopped mushrooms in the toaster oven or oven at 220C for about 15 minutes, or until they are cooked.
3. Mixed the toasted mushrooms with the Taiwanese ginger dressing well. Allow it to set for about 30 minutes, then it's ready to serve. Garnish with some sesame seeds if you like.

 

Taiwanese fast food: Lu rou fan

What is the most popular dish in Taiwan?
What is a typical Taiwanese dish?


When we were little, my mom was sometimes too busy to prepare our lunch. She would give us some money and tell us to eat at the Luroufan stand near our home.

We would be so glad to have the chance to eat out, especially Luroufan, because it was our favorite. My sisters and I would run to the Luroufan stand.

At lunch time, the shop were always busy, but the luroufan was usually served very quickly. Everything was prepared, so the waitress simply needed to spoon the sauce on top of the rice in the bowl, and bring it to us right away. We never needed to wait for long.
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