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Ma Lai Goh (Steamed “Malay” Cake)

6 Feb

For some reason, this old school Chinese bakery goodie is called “Malay cake”, even though it has nothing to do with Malaysia. The light cake was always my favorite dessert after dim sum (Chinese small plates eaten at lunch time). Unfortunately, traditional style Malay cake is disappearing from menus, and I can’t find them at bakeries either. So I decided to make my own. It turns out that this cake requires only a few basic ingredients.


Malay cake is a steamed cake, not a baked cake. I used a 9″ steamer basket, lined with parchment paper. 


  • 1 ¼ cups dark brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 120 ml corn oil
  • 130 ml milk
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla



  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until the sugar is well dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.
    Ingredients for Mah Lai Goh
  2. Whisk in oil and milk until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Mix well.DSC05230
  5. Add vanilla. Mix until bubbly.
  6. Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight.
  7. Pour mixer into parchment lined steaming tray.
  8. Bring water in steamer to a boil. DSC05235
  9. Place steaming tray in the steamer and steam until cake is done and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.


I added some chopped walnuts on top, just to make it look a little prettier.


Slice and enjoy! This cake is best devoured while fresh and warm!

Easy Soy Ginger Chicken

21 Dec

One of my favourite summertime foods is chicken drumsticks that my dad would grill outside on the barbecue.  Now that it’s winter and cold outside, I decided to bake my chicken drumsticks indoors… and they came out great! The key is to marinate the chicken for 12-48 hours, turning once. This easy soy-ginger marinade makes for a yummy Asian-inspired meal.


  • 3 lbs chicken drumsticks
  • ½ cup soy sauce, low-sodium
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ + ⅛ tsp ginger  (or 3 Tbsp fresh ginger)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp black pepper


  1. Make the marinade by combining all ingredients except chicken.
  2. Place the drumsticks in a large Ziploc bag, a glass bowl, or baking dish. Cover with the marinade.
  3. Refrigerate for 12-48 hours. Turn the drumsticks at least once during the marinating time, to ensure they are all coated evenly.
  4. When you’re reading to cook: Bring the chicken to room temperature (let it sit out on the counter for 30 minutes before baking). Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 475F with rack in the middle.
  5. Arrange the drumsticks in a single layer in a broiler-proof baking dish or a pan.DSC01116
  6. Bake until the chicken turns a dark brown colour, about 40 minutes.
  7. Set the oven to broil. Broil until the chicken skin is crisp, about 3-5 minutes.DSC01118
  8. Serve with Chinese vegetables like bok choy and enjoy!



Authentic Chinese in Sarasota: Yummy House

21 Jun

With a name like Yummy House, this place could easily fade in with the plethora of Happy Family’s, Lucky Panda’s, or Asia Wok’s that serve greasy Americanized slop some people call “Chinese food.” But Yummy House is the real deal; its owners hail from Toishan, China. I’ve been to Sarasota several times now, and spending a few days in the town certainly gives the impression that there are no Chinese people around. That’s because they are all inside, at Yummy House.

IMAG1831Yummy House prides itself on its Salt and Pepper mix. We ordered the Salt and Pepper shrimp – lightly battered, large, fresh shrimp. Absolutely delicious!

bok choy and mushroomsShitake mushrooms over bok choy is a well-executed, classic dish.

IMAG1836Sizzling beef with onions in black pepper sauce // Eight Treasures Pot with scallops, shrimp, bbq pork, chicken, shitake mushrooms, and tofu.

IMAG1837There are a few dishes on the menu to please those looking for something more Americanized, like the chicken lo mein (Above photo, bottom left), orange chicken, beef and broccoli, and egg rolls // stir-fried chicken with vegetables (Above photo, bottom right). Most dishes hover in the $10-$12 range.

The menu is a manageable size – you won’t find yourself overwhelmed – but there is a good variety, ranging from sizzling plates, bbq dishes, fried rice and noodle plates, pork, chicken, fish, and lobster. Nothing is out-of-this-world, but every dish we had was solid.

The Final Word: Florida is not exactly known as a mecca for Asian food, but if you’re in the area with a hankering for authentic Chinese food, Yummy House is the place you need.

Yummy House on Urbanspoon

Stir-fried Tofu in Peanut Sauce

26 Apr

peanut sauceMy boyfriend is a huge carnivore. So when I suggested that we have tofu for dinner, he laughed at me. Then I made this peanut tofu stir-fry, and that got him to stop laughing – because he was too busy devouring it. The sauce also works really well stir-fried with udon noodles, which you can chill and serve as a cold appetizer at picnics or potlucks.


To make the peanut sauce, mix together:

  • 1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chili paste


Ingredients for stir-fried tofu:

  • peanut sauce (from recipe above)
  • 2 packages firm tofu (about 14 oz. each)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro (optional)


  1. Prepare the tofu by getting rid of any excess moisture – drain any liquid from the package, and pat the tofu with paper towels. I like to sit the tofu in a shallow dish, cover it with some paper towels, and then set a flat pan or skillet over it, to press down on the tofu gently, squeezing out the liquid. Remove the liquid from the dish a couple times.
  2. If you didn’t do Step 1, go back and do it! It’s important. Otherwise, your tofu will fall apart while stir-frying, and you’ll end up with a tofu scramble.
  3. Cut tofu into cubes.
  4. Heat olive oil in a pan. Stir-fry tofu until slightly browned.
  5. Add peanut sauce. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve with cilantro and scallions
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