Low Fat Banana Bread


1 cup (130g) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (65g) whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 cup (240mL) mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup (120mL) low fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup of canola, vegetable, or corn oil
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
1 large egg or 2 large (60 grams) egg white

1) Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and place the rack in the center of the oven.
2) Spray on 8″ by 4″ (20cm x 10cm) loaf pan with non stick vegetable cooking spray or wipe vegetable oil on aluminum foil.
3) In a large bowl, mix the mashed bananas with baking soda and yogurt. Allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the batter.
4) Meanwhile in separate bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, egg/egg white, and vanilla extract.
5) In another large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon and salt.
6) Then combine the banana mixture with the oil mixture and then add the flour mixture. Stir just until all the ingredients are moistened. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
7) Bake for 45~55 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clear.
8) Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.

Makes one loaf (about 12 slices)


Pork and Shrimp Dumplings


Made ~40 Sue Gow dumplings

1 package of frozen dumpling skins, defrosted overnight in refrigerator or 40 minutes room temp (do not microwave or set in water)
3/4 pound raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 stalks green onions, cut into 2 inch sections
1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots
1/2 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon rice wine (or dry sherry)
for the slurry: 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl
water OR egg and water
cooking oil

1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Wash the shrimp and pat very dry. In a food processor, add the shrimp, green onions, bamboo shoots and pulse several times until the shrimp is chopped to about 1/4 inch. In a large bowl, combine the shrimp mixture with ground pork, soy sauce, salt, cornstarch, ginger, rice wine. Mix well.

Spoon 1 teaspoon of the filling onto dumpling skin. Brush a bit of the cornstarch slurry
all around the edge of the dumpling skin. Fold over and press to secure edges. Make sure edges are sealed tightly. Shape the dumpling so that it has a flat bottom. Cover loosely with plastic wrap so that it doesn’t dry out.

Steam for 15~20 minutes on medium heat.

Pan Fry:
When you are ready to cook, heat a large nonstick pan with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the dumplings, flat side down, not touching, to the pan. Let fry for 1 minute until the bottoms are light golden brown. Pour 1/4 cup of water into the pan and immediately cover with a tight fitting lid. Turn heat to medium and let the dumplings steam for 3minutes. Open lid and let the remaining liquid cook off about 1 minute. Cut into a dumpling to make sure that the filling is cooked through. Remove to plate, wipe the pan clean with paper towels (or wash) and repeat with remaining dumplings. Serve with dipping sauce.


Roast Pork Belly


Crispy Roast Pork

1 kg (about 2 lb) skin-on pork belly
sea salt
vegetable oil


1) Pat dry your pork belly with paper towel. Take a very sharp knife (a sharp utility or stanley knife works well) and cut lines across the pork skin about 1 cm apart. You want to cut through the skin and but only a couple of millimeters into the fat underneath. Now rub the skin with about a tablespoon of salt. Sit your pork belly on a baking tray and chill in the fridge (uncovered) for at least 2 hours (overnight is even better).

2) Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F.

3) Pat dry the pork skin with paper towel. Rub the skin with a little oil and sprinkle with a little extra salt. Place the pork belly skin side down in a roasting dish. Top with baking paper and place an oven-proof weight on top (a cast iron pan or a heavy casserole dish will work well). Roast the pork belly for 1 hour. Then remove the weight and baking paper and turn pork belly over so it is skin-side up. Roast for a further 10 minutes.


Baked Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce

2 (5 ounce) salmon fillets
kosher salt and pepper
4 lemon slices
non-stick spray

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons capers drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
juice of 1/2 of a lemon
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray.

3) Place salmon fillets on the prepared baking sheet. (Note: I don’t like the bones so I remove them. Some use needle-nose pliers, I used my finger nails but it did take me a little while). Sprinkle fillets with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Place 2 lemon slices on top of each fillet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and tent with aluminum foil for 10 more minutes. Fish will continue to cook during this time. It will flake easily when done.

4) While salmon is cooking, in a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once butter has melted add garlic, capers, lemon zest and lemon juice. Cook for 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5) Remove lemon slices and discard. Gently slide a turner or serving spatula between the skin and the flesh of the fillet to remove the skin, it should separate very easily. Transfer fillet to a serving platter and spoon lemon caper butter over the top. Serve.


Boiled Pinto Beans


1 pound (453 g) pinto beans*, soaked overnight in cool water (or for at least 6 hours)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1/2 white onion, finely diced (55 g)
3 large cloves garlic, minced (1 1/2 Tbsp or 9 g) OR garlic powder
1 pinch each sea salt + black pepper, plus more to taste
1 packet of red peppers (from the costco pizza)
1 Tbsp (8 g) ground cumin or marjoram

1. Add pinto beans to a large pot and cover with cool water (at least a few inches above the beans as they will expand). Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight* uncovered at room temperature.
2. Once beans are soaked, drain and set aside.
3. Heat your large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil, diced onion and garlic (powder), and season with a healthy pinch each sea salt and black pepper. Stir to coat and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until onion is soft and translucent.
4. Next add drained beans and cover with water about 2 inches over the top, as the beans will expand while cooking.
5. Place lid on pot. Then reduce heat to medium to medium-high and simmer for 40-50 minutes, or until beans are tender.
6. Stir to coat and cook on low for 10 more minutes to let the flavors meld.

Store beans well covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Will keep in the freezer for 1 month (oftentimes longer).
*1 pound dried beans typically equals 2 cups dried or 4-5 cups cooked.
*The chili powder I used was from Whole Foods and contains a blend of chili peppers, cumin, garlic, oregano, coriander, cloves and allspice.
*6-8 hours is the optimal amount of time for soaking your beans. The longer you soak them, the more tender they will become, and the more likely they will split and separate during cooking. So if you can’t get to them right away, simply drain, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Inspired from

Taro Cake 2

2 tablespoons oil, plus more for pan-frying and greasing the pans
3 links Chinese sausage, roughly chopped (you can also substitute 4 oz. bacon)
½ cup dried shrimp, roughly chopped (optional)
6 scallions, chopped
1½ to 2 lbs. taro, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 teaspoons salt
2½ cups water, plus 2⅔ cups
7 cups rice flour
3 ½ cups glutinous rice flour
Heat oil in a large wok over high heat. Add the Chinese sausage and pan-fry for 2 minutes. Add the dried shrimp and stir-fry for another minute. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the scallions to the hot wok and stir-fry 1 minute.
Add the sausage, dried shrimp, and taro to the wok. Stir-fry for 3 minutes and season with 2 teaspoons salt. Cover the mixture with 2½ cups of water and make sure all the ingredients are evenly submerged. Cover the wok, turn the heat down to medium low and allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes.
In the largest bowl you have, add the rice flour and glutinous rice flour. Add another 2⅔ cups water along with the taro mixture. Mix thoroughly until a cement-like paste forms.
Generously oil two standard 9-inch round cake pans and divide the mixture between the pans. Spread the mixture evenly in the pan, making sure there are no air pockets in the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly onto the surface of the taro mixture. Let stand at room temperature for an hour.
In a steamer, bring the water to a simmer. Steam the taro cakes for 45 minutes. If a toothpick inserted in the taro cakes comes out clean, it’s done. Allow the taro cakes to cool completely.
At this point, you can seal the taro cakes tightly in a ziplock bag and freeze them for later. If you’d like to eat them now, simply slice into rectangles. Heat a couple tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium heat and pan fry the slices of taro cake on both sides until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle with salt and serve. You can put out a little oyster sauce for dipping, or just eat these plain!


Pressure Cooker HK Oxtail Soup

2 lb oxtails (2 lb = 900 g)
1 onion
3 celery stalks
3 carrots
¼ cabbage (1/4 cabbage = 160 g/5.4 oz)
2 tomatoes
2 Yukon gold potatoes or 1 large potato
½ lb stew beef (chuck cut into bite-size cubes) (1/2 lb = 227 g)
1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups water + salt (instead of beef stock)
2 Tbsp tomato paste

Seasonings A
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp dried basil/thyme
2 bay leaves

Seasonings B
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp kosher salt (for table salt, use half)
Freshly ground black pepper

1) To completely remove blood from the bone, soak the oxtails in cold water for 1 hour and discard the water.

2) Meanwhile, cut the onions into wedges, chop celery stalks into small pieces, and cut the carrots into chunks.

3) Roughly cut the cabbage into 1 inch squares and rinse under running water.

4) Cut the tomatoes into wedges and cut them in halves. Cut Yukon gold potatoes into quarters and soak in water for 15 minutes to remove excess starch.

5) Cut the stew beef into smaller pieces.

6) After soaking the oxtails in one hour, drain and place them in a large pot and cover it with cold water. Bring it to boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, skimming foam on the surface frequently. After 10-15 minutes, take out the oxtail.

7) Press the “Saute” button on your Instant Pot and heat 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil. Once the pot is hot, add the stew beef and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Brown the beef. Don’t flip the pieces around until they release themselves. Transfer the meats to a plate from the pot.

8) Add the onion and sauté until they are coated with oil and become tender. While sautéing, scrape the flavorful charred bits from the bottom of the pot. 9) Add the tomatoes, carrots, and cabbage and coat them with oil.

9) When the vegetables are a bit wilted and soft, add the boiled oxtail, browned stew beef, and beef broth

10) Add tomato paste and Seasonings A (1 tsp paprika, 1 Tbsp dried basil, and 2 bay leaves).

11) Cover and lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Make sure the steam release handle points at “sealing” and not “venting”. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button on the Instant Pot to stop “saute” mode. Press the “Meat/Stew” button to switch to the pressure cooking mode. Press “plus” button to change the cooking time to 45 minutes.

12) When it is finished cooking, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to the “Keep Warm” mode. You have 2 options to release the pressure: 1) slide the steam release handle to the “Venting” position to let out steam until the float valve drops down, OR 2) let the pressure release naturally, about 15-20 minutes.

13) After de-pressurizing is completed, unlock the lid and add the potatoes and celery and 2 tsp. kosher salt.

14) Cover and lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Make sure the steam release handle points at “sealing”. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button and. Press the “Manual” button to switch to the pressure cooking mode. Press “minus” button to change the cooking time to 15 minutes.

15) Again, de-pressurizing with one of 2 methods, unlock the lid. Mix well and ladle the soup to individual bowls. Mix in 3 Tbsp. brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar, and black pepper