string beans

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

The holidays are coming.  I'm sure many of us have already started our holiday menu planning.  This dish is great as a starter.  It actually came to mind because I got some lettuce that I was desperate to get rid of.  Plus I didn't want to eat a salad that is made with lettuce for the next three days.  And I certainly don't want to put any of my food to waste.  

So I remember this delicious Thai dish that I used to love -- minced spicy pork with lettuce wrap.  I recall all those lettuce greens served on the side.  So this is a veggie version of that.  :) And this dish is another perfect leftovers recipe.  I think most meat eaters would love it too because the taste is just phenomenal plus it looks presentable. ;)  I highly recommend you to try making it.  

Happy Holidays! 


Cindy x

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap


Servings: 2-4 persons

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes


1 eggplant, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 cup corn

1 capsicum, diced

1 bunch string beans, chopped into small bits

2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 bunch spring onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp sesame oil

1-2 tbsp fish sauce* (optional) 

1 lime zest & 1/2 lime juice

1 tsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp thai basil pesto

1 bunch fresh lettuce leafs 

extra-virgin olive oil

Dipping Sauce Ingredients: 

1 tbsp brown sugar

2-3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce* (optional) 

2 tbsp sesame oil 

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 fresh lime juice 

1/2 chopped chilli

2 tbsp chopped spring onion or coriander 

Thai Basil Pesto Ingredients: 

1 bunch thai basil

1/2 green chilli and 1/2 red chilli 

1 garlic clove

extra-virgin olive oil


1) Preheat a frying pan with olive oil on medium heat, cook eggplant for 3-5 minutes first.  Then add the chopped vegetables such as corn, beans, capsicums, and zucchini.  Cook for another 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low.  Add a splash of fish sauce, sesame oil, and brown sugar.  

2) Add the chopped garlic, spring onion, ginger, and chilli.  Cook 3-5 minutes.  Add basil pesto and fresh lime juice and zest.  Season.  Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes more to allow all the flavors to come out.  Heat off.  Set aside. 

3) Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and garnish with some coriander if you like. I didn't have any so I skipped that. 

4) Serve this fragrant spicy veggies with some fresh lettuce leafs and the sweet and spicy dipping on the side.  Enjoy!

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

Gado Gado with a Canto Twist

I know I know.  Gado Gado is an Indonesian salad and if I call it with a canto twist, then should it be called Gado Gado?  I've been pondering on that for awhile.  Then my attention got drifted to other things and then I'm back again rambling about the legit name for this recipe.  This is what's happening in the over abundant informative world of today.  I feel like I'm exposed to so much yet I know so little.  I get so confused with my own reasonings in my own head.  Meh...    

Ok, let's focus and go back to my recipe here.  I've created this recipe based on a few crucial reasons - 1) I want to utilize accessible local fresh produces 2) I want a salad that could truly fill me up 3) I want something that reveals a hint of Cantonese taste and 4) I very much prefer all vegetarian.  So no, I didn't use shrimp paste to make the dressing.  Instead, I used the common yellow bean paste that Cantos use for cooking.  I don't have bean sprouts and peanuts at home so I skipped those, too.  But I bet they would make a huge difference to the taste of yumminess. :) 

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15-20 minutes


2-3 new potatoes, cut into chunks

1 bowl chopped chinese cabbage, thinly chopped

1/2 carrot, julienned

1 egg, boiled and halved

1 bunch string beans

1/2 block firm tofu, cut in cubes 

For the dressing: 

1/2 fresh lemon juice

1-2 tsp yellow bean paste (chinese miso)

1/2 tsp dried chili flakes

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

1-2 tsp cream

3-5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions for the dressing: 

1) Preheat a small frying pan with oil on medium low heat, fry the chopped shallots and garlic for 2-3 minutes.  Avoid burning and reduce heat if needed.  

2) I used a mortar and pestle to grind the chili flakes and bean paste with the garlicky oil.  Add some fresh lemon juice and cream to the dressing.  

Instructions for the salad: 

1) Cook the potatoes, boil egg, string beans and tofu ALL separately.  

2) I boiled the potatoes in salted water.

3) I roasted the string beans after seasoning them with a little bit of garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper.  

4) I made the crispy tofu similarly except I coated the tofu with whisked egg first follow by mixed breadcrumbs with paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Go here for detailed instructions.  

5) Mix all vegetables together with this awesome dressing.  Splash more fresh lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil if you'd like.  

Happy Fourth of July.. :)

Well, July First has just swung by (with its annual protest) quickly in Hong Kong and July Fourth is just around the corner for those in the US.  Honestly, I am not here to stir up any controversial topics as I am not keen on sharing too much of my thoughts.  I might make a few comments here and there only when I chat with friends in person.  Besides, I don't read much news and this is something that I should really start doing - just to know what is going on in this world.  One thing I learn throughout the years of encountering numerous mistakes is that I learn to shut up.  When I say shut up, I mean both physically and digitally.  I have no problem with people sharing online.  Every now and then, there are some who might annoy me a bit with their destructive and deviated posts.  I usually hide their feeds so I don't have to read them.  Perhaps, that's why I find blogging rather tough because I get too self-conscious with what I say.  I often contradict myself and start doubting my thinkings.  I don't want to spread the wrong message and end up causing a dispute with anybody.  And most importantly, I don't want to make a fool out of myself.  In fact, I feel like I already am.  ;-)  So yeah, coming up with words has become extremely cautious for me nowadays.  This is what I'm aiming to do and that is being responsible with my words.  It's not easy sometime and certainly requires a lot of mindfulness.   

Instead of voicing out so much of my thoughts, I turn to creating things and that is with cooking.  I would rather use my meals and photos to speak for me.  I love it so much and I can't stop doing it.  I also love staring at those beautiful food images that are posted by the other food bloggers.  That's probably the biggest joy I find in everyday - checking out and getting inspired by the other bloggers.  Just give me a bit more time to get comfortable at rambling on my blog.  One thing at a time.   

So I spent the entire week messing around with Lightroom and consolidating a few awesome recipes and images as a celebration for the coming Fourth of July.  I hope these recipes can inspire some of you out there.  Happy Birthday America!

This salad is spicy and minty.  The taste suits perfectly for the summer.  

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes


1/2 block grilled extra-firm tofu, quartered/halved* 

1/2 carrot, julienne

1 bowl mixed greens

1 bowl cooked soba, drained after running with cold water

1 handful chopped fresh mint leaves

Dressing Ingredients: 

1/2 garlic, finely chopped

1/2 chili, finely chopped

2-3 thin sliced fresh ginger, finely chopped

1-2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

1 tsp honey

1/2 lime juice & lime zest

2-3 tbsp water

1 tbsp sesame oil

1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

spicy & minty string beans crostini

Servings: 2 pieces

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes


100g-150g string beans

1 bunch of mint leaves

1-2 eggs

2 slices of sour dough bread, grilled

Parmesan, shaved

1 lime, halved/quartered

1 tbsp butter


1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped

1/2 chili, finely chopped

1/2 garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


1) Preheat oven at 200ºC.  Place the string beans on a baking tray with olive oil and season.  Bake for 20 minutes.  

2) Use a halved garlic to brush the grilled breads' surface, spread butter and place the string beans on top.  Add chopped mints and shaved parmesan.  Drizzle with pesto.  Serve with an egg of any style you like on top with a twist of fresh lime juice.  Bam!  Easy and pretty.   

what do you do when you have one potato and 6 little mushrooms?

Servings: 1-2 persons

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes


1 baked potato

6 brown button mushrooms, stem removed*

1/2 carrot, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 garlic, finely chopped

1/2 chili, deseeded, finely chopped

1/4 cup milk

1-2 tbsp butter

3-4 roasted almonds, finely chopped

1/4 cup of breadcrumbs

2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

1-2 tbsp grated cheddar

1 bunch parsley, chopped

1-2 tbsp sour cream

1 lemon juice

extra-virgin olive oil


1) Boil and cook the potato for 20-25 minutes in boiling water.  Let it cool down.  

2) Cut the potato in half and scoop out the inside.  Set the potato skin on the side and transfer the flesh to a mixing bowl.  

3) In a mixing bowl, add potato flesh, chopped mushroom stem*, carrots, shallot, chili, garlic, almond, and parmesan.  Mix well.  

4) Heat up a small frying pan on medium-low heat, add butter, milk, and potato mixture.  Use a potato crusher to mesh the potato mixture.  Heat off as soon as the milk and butter blends with the potato.  Add breadcrumbs and season.  

5) Preheat the oven at 200ºC.  Brush oil on the halved potato skins and mushrooms(inside and outside).  Season.  

6) Transfer a tablespoon full of potato mixture onto each mushroom bottom.  Lay the mushrooms on a baking tray.  Drizzle oil on the surface to avoid sticking to the tray. 

7) Sprinkle a bit of cheddar cheese on each top.  Bake for 20 minutes.

8) In the midway of baking the mushrooms, add the potato skins to the oven and bake each side for 5-10 minutes.  Keep checking to avoid burning the skins.  Heat off.  

9) Garnish with some chopped parsley and serve with sour cream and lemon juice.  

* I chopped the mushroom stems and mix them with the potato for a more mushroomy taste.  This way, we are not wasting any parts of the mushrooms.  :)