Roasted pig head soup recipe

If you get grossed out by seeing a pigs head in a pot, you can skip this post right now!

First off, you’re probably wondering where do you even get a roasted pig head and what’s so good about this soup?

The best place to get it is your local Chinese BBQ butcher. Last time I ordered a whole pig for an event, the butcher gave me an extra head for free. Alternatively, some Chinese supermarkets in Toronto sell it as well. I got mine from a BBQ style culinary class I took at George Brown College where we made a Chinese suckling pig. My teacher was kind enough to give the only roasted pig head in class…also, no one else wanted it! As the saying goes “one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.”

Since the pig was already roasted, the flavours in the broth will have a natural deep and smokey flavour. It was incredible!

The recipe will be very rough. For the broth, I used 1 pigs heads, a large handful of roasted pork, 4 carrots peeled and rough chopped, a handful of Chinese apricot seed kernels (aka called “Chinese almonds”) and 2 dates. If you have extra roasted pork bones and meat, throw it in for extra flavour.

For the soup, I added 2 + cups of shredded roasted pork, 2 handfuls of watercress, a handful of Chinese apricot seed kernels, 2 carrots peeled and diced and 1/2 tsp of salt.

Steps:

1. Make the broth: Wash the roasted pig head in a colander for any sauce and discard the skin. Add the ingredients in a large pot. Cover enough water to cover the head. Boil and then reduce the heat and let the broth simmer for about 3 hours.

2. For the soup, ladle the broth without the ingredients in it (in step 1) into a smaller pot, add the carrots and apricot seed kernels and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Before serving, add in the watercress, roasted pork meat and salt. Once the watercress is cooked, serve immediately. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Sorry I couldn’t find the final picture of the soup but I assure you that it was easy to make and the healthy and hearty soup is delicious!

Preparing the ingredients for the soup

Preparing the ingredients for the soup

 

Making the broth

Making the broth

How to make Susur Lee’s chicken and shrimp siu mai recipe at home

At the end of July, I attended a #dimsum101 workshop by the world-renowned Chef, Susur Lee. At the event (read about my experience here), a group of us got to learn how to make siu mai, a traditional pork dumpling with a won ton wrapper seen at every dim sum restaurant. Chef Lee’s version was extremely delicious with chicken and shrimp, topped with scallops and black truffles. 

Here is Chef’s Lee’s siu mai recipe courtesy of Luckee and Chef Lee.

Chef Lee's siu mai recipe

Chef Lee’s siu mai recipe

I cook often and enjoy trying out new dishes, and sharing my experience with you. Making siu mai at home was a first, so I had to try out Chef Lee’s recipe using tips I learned from his workshop.

Please note that my meat portion was slightly more than the above recipe as I used 1 skinless and boneless chicken breast and 1 chicken thigh and had less shrimp than the recommended recipe. I used about 10 tiger shrimps. The mixture made about 22 ultra fat dumplings. I did not have scallops or black truffles, so I topped the dumplings with shiitake mushrooms.

Here are the steps to making my version of Chef Lee’s siu mai at home:

1. Soak about 2 shiitake mushrooms in a bowl of water overnight. On the day of preparing the dumplings, blanch the mushrooms. Slice the mushrooms and set aside.

2. Soak a dry orange peel in water for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take out the peel and scrape all the white flesh underneath the skin. This is an important step to eliminate the bitter taste. I used store-bought dry orange skin found at most Chinese supermarkets. Dice the orange peel.

3. Prepare all ingredients before mixing.  Peel, devien and dice the shrimp and keep in a separate bowl. Dice and add the chicken into the food processor.

Preparing the ingredients

Preparing the ingredients

4. Follow Chef Lee’s instructions in the “method” section of the recipe card. Mix well.

5. Cut the 4 corners of the wonton wrappers. This is important for the presentation.

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6. Using a spoon, stuff the mixture into the centre of the wonton. Pack it tightly or the mixture will fall out after steaming. Place a butter knife in the middle of the mixture and flip the dumpling upside down. Use your hands to shape the wonton.

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7. If you are using a bamboo steamer, line it with parchment paper. Feel free to poke a few holes in it. Place the uncooked siu mais in the tray. I topped each one with a small slice of mushroom. Feel free to top the dumplings with your favourite garnishes. Shrimp or scallops would make a great topping.

8. Steam the tray on medium-high heat for about 8 minutes. Remove, add cilantro and green onions before serving. Enjoy!

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The siu mai’s I made at Luckee:

 

Sui Mai made at #dimsum101 at Luckee

Sui Mai made at #dimsum101 at Luckee

My home version. Not bad! I couldn’t find wonton wrappers as yellow as the ones that Chef Lee had at Luckee which impacted the final presentation between the two. Since I made these for my husband and I, I made them extra fat. If I was serving guest, I would have made them smaller, closer to what they would like at a restaurant.

They were delicious! Thank you Chef Lee for the lesson, tips and the recipe.

Siu mai made at home

Siu mai made at home

 

Try out the recipe. Happy cooking and happy eating!

Mary Tang casted in a new reality food TV series, Pressure Cooker, airing Oct. 7th, 2014 on the W Network

Last week, I promised that I would make a very special announcement, so here it is! I have already informed my friends and family on Facebook and now it’s time to let my readers know.

The reason why I started my blog stemmed from my passion for food and cooking and NOW you can see me on TV this fall cooking away. 

The show “illustrates the real-life pressures of cooking at home when time is tight and ingredients are scarce, pitting skilled home cooks against the clock – and each other. Featuring Giles Coren as tasting expert and host Anne-Marie Withenshaw, competing home cooks race against time for a grand prize of one year’s worth of groceries” (Source: Bristow Global Media website)

Read more about the award-winning host Anne-Marie Withenshaw and “the world’s fiercest restaurant critic” Giles Coren on the W Network. 

Picture from W Network

Picture from W Network

THE PRESSURE COOKER STARTS TUES. OCTOBER 7th on the W Network. I will let you know when my EXACT episode airs, so don’t miss out!!

I will be paired with an awesome and huge celebrity chef. Watch and find out who it is…and find out how I perform against other home cooks!

Chefs on the show include Chef Ann Burrell, Hugh Acheson, Duff Goldman and Graham Elliot!! It’s going to be amazing!!

For NOW, check out the PROMO VIDEO HERE and follow pressure cooker on Twitter (@PressureCookrCA) and Instagram (@pressurecookerca).

{Event} Chef Susur Lee’s Veggielicious menu from Sept 9-20th, 2014 at Bent Restaurant

Website: http://www.bentrestaurant.com/
Address: 777 Dundas St. W. Toronto ON
When I visited:
 August. 25th, 2014

Yes, #Luckee me, I got another cooking cooking lesson by Toronto’s culinary giant Chef Susur Lee. In July, an intimate group of food bloggers and I learned how to make delicious dumplings topped with black truffles at Luckee (Read about the #dimsum101 workshop here).

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At Susur Lee’s restaurant Bent, a restaurant named after Susur’s wife Brenda Bent (who also designed the beautiful interior), our group got to try out Bent’s 5 course vegetarian tasting menu. On top of the feast, we were part of a #veggielicious101 workshop where we got a hands on lesson on how to make a perfect meringue dessert where we got to pipe, bake and eat our creations.

Bent has a bright and welcoming interior and a beautiful patio. The back wall of the restaurant has a unique display of vintage toys, mainly dolls, that Brenda Bent has collected over the past 25 years. It adds a personal touch to the restaurant and looks like a multicoloured wall from afar. Utilizing “fresh ingredients” is an important theme at Bent with displays of fish and vegetables at the bar. The restaurant has a dedicated garden at the back of the restaurant where Chef Lee cultivates and uses the plants and herbs in his kitchen. That’s what I call “garden-to-table”, amazing!

For blog

 

Vintage toy wall

Vintage toy wall

 

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What we ate:

We got to try the VEGGIELICIOUS 5 course vegetarian tasting menu which is available at Bent from Sept.9th to 20th, 2014 for $45/person. 

I loved every dish that I ate at Bent. Yes, I’m a meat lover but I enjoy tasty vegetarian dishes. No bland vegetarian/vegan food is served at the restaurant. The dishes were filling and every bite was popping with flavour! Please note that the portion sizes we sampled at the event was made for our group size.

Course 1: Dip 3 ways with hummus of romano beans with salted chilis, sherry vinegar, roasted olive with sumach and lemon preserve, spicy mustard seed tomato stew with walnut and curry leaf, Caribbean eggplant babaganoush with cilanto, all served with baked garlic lavash. All rich in flavour! I was addicted to the dips and kept going back for more.

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Course 2:  Tingly chilled soba with shredded local vegetable and yuba cake, confit of shiitake, shiso leaf, nori crisps with a Taiwanese vinaigrette. Susur is the king of wicked slaws and this one won me over!

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Course 3: Chickpea tempura tofu with pickled brassica and fish mint, shishito peppers, Korean sweet chili sauce and braised burdock root. Chef Lee introduced me to fish mint which I want to get my hands on. I like the thin crispy batter with the sweet and spicy sauce. Yum!

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Fish mint

Fish mint

Course 4: Wild mushroom quinoa risotto with roasted cauliflower, romano parmigiano emulsion and tempeh crouton (available without cheese). This was creamy and filling!

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Course 5 (dessert): French meringue with golden licorice with lemon curd, wild blueberry, peaches, passionfruit syrup and raspberry coulis. This was a gorgeous and light, a nice ending to a substantial meal.

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Not part of the 5 course tasting menu but we also got to taste the delicious crispy dumplings and lobster tacos (available on the menu).

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AND finally, we got to taste Chef Lee’s signature Singaporean slaw (coming to Bent!!). The tower of 19 delicious ingredients with a Japanese plum dressing!

Chef Lee's Singapore slaw

Chef Lee’s Singapore slaw

 

What we drank:

Bartender Manuel made us a beautiful and refreshing Karate Kid II cocktail with sake, jasmine tea infused gin, vanilla syrup and yuzu juice.

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As a Caesar fanatic, I was so happy that Manuel made us Chef Lee’s “Asian Caesar” (RECIPE to the Asian Caesar here).

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Asian Caesar

Asian Caesar

The lesson:

We got the recipe, tips and hands on experience on making wicked meringue.  

Meringue lesson

Meringue lesson

I was proud of how mine turned out and will try making it at home one day!

My meringue dessert

My meringue dessert

 

Who attended:

 

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Check out my Instagram version of the photo which has Instagram handles of some of the bloggers.

Thank you Kelsea, Chef Susur Lee, Kai Bent-Lee and Manuel for an amazing event!

Bent on Urbanspoon

* The food and drinks were complimentary but the opinions in the post are entirely my own.

Chatime Annex opens Sept. 8, 2014 – The best location in Toronto!

Website: http://chatime.com/
Address: 337 Bloor St. W, Toronto ON
When I attended: Sept. 5, 2014

I first heard of Chatime from my little sister who raved about the best bubbletea she has ever had during her trip to Australia.  When Chatime first opened it’s first store in Toronto on Dundas St. W. (near the Toronto Eaton Centre), we frequented the bubbletea shop and spread the news to our friends.This location needed a renovation when it first opened but that did not stop the intrigued and happy customers from returning. With the recent renovations, the shop is more welcoming as a hang out spot.

Fast forward to 2014 and we got several locations across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and in Waterloo with long lineups as the norm.

What makes Chatime stand out?

For me, I enjoy the smooth consistency of the tea (not the grainy powdered taste from some of the tea shops) and their specialty flavours including roasted milk tea, matcha red bean milk tea and lychee black/green tea. Their bubbletea is pricier than many of their competition (my average spend is about $5 per visit) but the taste and quality had surpassed many bubbleteas I have tried before. I don’t have the funds to drink Chatime everyday but it’s definitely a treat when I crave bubbletea.

The drink tastes good because Chatime focuses on the quality of the teas. The teas are imported from Taiwan and carefully selected from their tea farm. The equipment they have ensures precise timing and temperature to brew the tea. Chatime is also the first bubbletea shop to allow for customization of the sugar levels and ice levels.

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About Chatime Annex:

The Chatime Annex location took over the old “Say Cheese shop” on Bloor St., right by the St. George subway and the University of Toronto. With ample seating space, this location is going to be the HOT spot for bubbletea lovers! 

Chatime Annex store front

Chatime Annex store front

At the media launch for the store, I got to meet Kenton Chan who  brought Chatime to Toronto. Kenton and his business partner Thomas Wong who are the Chatime representatives in Ontario are young and passionate entrepreneurs who are knowledgeable about their teas and passionate about Chatime. They got more expansions in the pipeline so look out for more Chatime locations in Ontario. I wonder if they need a third business partner?! (*hint hint)

Inside Chatime

Inside Chatime

Kenton speaking and Thomas listening in

Kenton speaking and Thomas listening in

What we sampled:

About 15 bloggers and I got to sample a variety of teas from their signature milk teas, special mixed teas, mousse/lattes and their fresh tea leaf teas. I have never had so much bubbletea in my life! I was hyper from the drinks for the rest of the day.

Here is the list (I may have missed 1/2):

  • Chatime’s most popular teas:
    • Chatime pearl milk tea
    • Taro milk tea with pudding.  The grainy texture in taro drink is from using real taro.
    • Grass jelly with roasted milk tea
  • Wintermelon milk tea with mousse. I normally have wintermelon is soups but this is a treat as a tea.
  • Matcha mousse
  • Hazlenut chocolate milk tea
  • Brown rice green milk tea
  • Matcha red bean milk tea with tapioca. The chunky red beans were tasty.
  • Fresh tea:
    • Taiwan Alishan JinShuan
    • Japanese Sakura Senchan

Chatime Annex media preview Sept 5 14

They were all great in their own way. Rather than getting my usual roasted milk tea, I may change things up on my next visit with my favourites of the tasting. I loved the matcha red bean and their fresh tea selections. The Japanese Sakura Sencha was fragrant with a strong tea flavour without being bitter.

As the store will officially open to the public on September 8th, 2014, we had a celebratory cake for the media launch! How cute is this cake made by Kelly’s Baked Goods?!

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Check out some of Chatime’s other locations worldwide seen on their wall.

 

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Thank you Dolly and Winson for the invitation and congratulations to Kenton and Thomas for opening another Chatime. The new location is going to kick ass!

* The drinks were complimentary but as always, the opinions in the post are my own.

Chatime Annex on Urbanspoon

Special seafood menu at Lee Restaurant for TIFF 2014

I will be heading to Susur Lee’s restaurant Lee this month for a special celebration. Stay tuned for drooling pictures!

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you a cool deal that the restaurant is running during TIFF from Sept. 4th -14th, 2014. Chef Lee has created a 4 course seafood meal for $32 (I love seafood!). With the restaurant close to the action, you may even run into your favourite celebrity while enjoying a delicious bite!

Check out the special menu:

If you love DIM SUM, you got it!! Chef Lee’s other restaurant Luckee is in a prime location to do some star gazing! For more info, check out Luckee’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LuckeeToronto.

Enjoy TIFF and happy eating!