Education: TYPES OF CURRICULUM: TYPES OF CURRICULUM There are many types of curriculum design, but here we will discuss only the few. Types or patterns are being f...

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Braised duck with beancurd stick and shitake

Braised duck
is one of my favourite dishes, there are so many different ways of braising
including plum sauce duck . Here is to introduce a very common Cantonese style
braised duck with beancurd
stick and Shitake

I love beancurd
sticks but there is no set standard with manufacturers, some beancurd
sticks will soften very quickly after boiling or braising for a short while,
other will remain chewy and rubbery even after cooking for a long time. For
this recipe I preferred to fry the beancurd sticks first before braising, one
is to avoid the chewy texture if it does not soften fairy quickly other main
reason is deep frying the beancurd sticks give them a very nice nutty
flavour, the texture is very nice too, a bit chewy but not unpleasant.

Here is the difference between deep/shallow fried and plain beancurd

is the recipe. This will feed 4 -5 with other dishes.


1 whole duck or large duck crown or few duck legs (about 1.3 - 1.5kg)

1 x 200g pack of dried bean curd sticks

60 -70g Shitake or Chinese black mushrooms

1.5 - 2 tbsp red fermented beancurd - about 3 small squares or 1.25 large
square depending on brand

1.5 tbsp of the red pickling juice from the red fermented beancurd

2 tbsp of chopped garlic (about 5 - 6 cloves)

3 shallots (about 1 inch wide)

1 chuck of ginger (about thumb size)

3 tsp five spice powder

1/4 tsp ground pepper

3 star anise

2 tsp of sugar

1.5 tbsp of dark soy sauce

1 tbsp of light soy sauce

1/4 cup of Shoashing or Chinese cooking wine

1 - 2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 heap tbsp of cornflour with 2 tbsp water

Cooking oil


First cut the duck into
large chunks (they will shrink a lot so don't cut too small) with a cleaver or
meat scissors. Then marinate the duck with dark soy sauce and half of the five
spice powder, leave aside for 30 min - 1 hour.

Soak the mushrooms,
clean and cut into thick slices. You can reserve the soaking water for

Break the beancurd
sticks via the u bent. Then cut each stick into half again with scissors
(scissors makes a cleaner cut then breaking with hand). Heat the wok with 1 cup
of oil till quite hot, put in 2 - 3 pieces of the dried beancurd sticks, the
sticks will blister immediately in contact with the hot oil, turning them
around and fry till golden brown around 10 - 15 seconds. Take them out to
drain. When finished frying the whole batch, soak the lot with boiling water
till softened then washed and squeezed lightly several times with warm water to
release excess oil. Then cut them into 3 (about 5 cm long)

Chop the garlic and
shallots. Cut ginger into slices.

Get ready the red
fermented bean curd. See all the prepared ingredients below.

Remove the frying
oil. Clean the wok.

Heat the wok till
hot, without any oil. Then lay the duck pieces skin side down and fry them till
most of the fat is released and duck pieces turned brown, turn over and fry for
another minute or two. Take them all out. Remove most of the duck fat except
for around 2 tbsp. Scrape off any burnt sticky bits. (keep the marinate)

Add in the ginger,
garlic, shallots and star anise, stir fry till fragrant. Add in the red
fermented bean curd with its juice, mash the beancurd with back of the wooden
spoon or any cooking utensil. Stir frying for a minute of two, add in remaining
five spice powder, the meat marinate, ground pepper, cooking wine, sugar and
light soy. Stir then add in 2 cups of water or mushroom soaking water. Let the
mixture come to the boil.

Add in the duck
pieces and mushrooms. Stir and let the liquid boil again. Then remove most of
the scum floating on top. Heat down to low, cover and let it simmer for about
15 minutes then add in fried and soaked beancurd sticks. Continue simmering for
about half hour or till the duck pieces are tender.

Add in enough oyster
sauce to taste. Heat up high and add in the slacken cornflour, stirring and
reducing the sauce to the consistency you like.

Here is the result. Great with rice and some stir fried vegetables.

**With the
same recipe, the duck can sub with pork belly, pork hock, pork trotter or spare
ribs. Ask the butcher to cut the pork hock/trotter/spare ribs into smaller
pieces for you. Meat with bones same weight around 1.3 - 1.5 kg, meat without
bones around 900g - 1 kg. Use a bit of cooking oil to brown the meat if not

Spice infused pineapple

I love fresh pineapple just can't get enough of it. The only thing I
have to be careful is fresh pineapple sometime gives me mouth ulcers. I
love stewing pineapple for a short while with a little sugar and a few
strips of lime zest, that's nice and helps to avoid ulcers. Lately I
found stewing pineapple with spices is very tasty and I can have it with
a meal.


This recipe is my current favourite side dish at the
moment. It's lovely and fat free. So easy to make just simmer pineapple
with spices and water. It's kind of like a pickled spicy fruit. I love
it cold but it is also great serving it at room temperature. Nice with a
rich meat curry meal.


3/4 cup water
4 - 5 green cardamom
4 - 5 cloves
2 star anise
1 pc of cassia bark or cinnamon (about 3" long)
2 slices of ginger
about 1/4 tsp turmeric powder

about 800g fresh pineapple (cut into chunks)
1 green and 1 red chilli (seeded, sliced or quartered, if you like less spicy use 1/2 red and 1/2 green)
3 - 4 tbsp sugar (to your taste, less if pineapple is sweet)
about 1 tsp of salt


  1. Put
    water, whole spices (except chillies) and turmeric powder in a saucepan
    and let it simmer for about 10 - 12 minutes till the liquid is very
  2. Put in remaining ingredients and let this simmer
    for another 10 - 15 till the liquid is hot and steaming but not boiling.
    Stirring a few times so the pineapple is coated with the spiced liquid.
  3. Heat off, cover and leave to cool. Serve at warm temperature or keep in the fridge till cold.
Do use stainless steel, glass or enamel coated pan. If you use
aluminium or bare cast iron pan or spun steel wok, the pineapple could
be discoloured and tasted metallic.

If you have a lot of the juice left you can use it to make a spicy sweet and sour sauce just simmer and thicken with cornflour.

Sichuan dry fried shredded beef

Cumin beef for all

Cumin beef originates from the Muslim populated North-West of China. This dish is popular in many parts of China like Sichuan and Hunan, over here in UK I believe this has become very popular in many Sichuanese restaurants and home cooking introduced by Fuchsia Dunlop. Here is my version if you like to give it a try.
This spice packed beef is simple to cook. I twice fried the beef in oil, the beef is tender with a caramelised flavour. It's a bit oily but you will not be disappointed with the flavour and texture of beef.

500g rump, sirloin or frank steak (trimmed without the fat or gristle), I normally use rump I find sirloin is a bit too expensive for this purpose
2 tbsp light soy
few drops or 1/2 tsp dark soy (for colour)
1 medium to small egg white ( beaten)
1 heap tbsp cornflour
1.5 tbsp Chinese cooking wine

3/4 cup cooking oil

2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 - 3 tsp chilli flakes (much as you like)
2 stalks of spring onion (white part only)
1 small piece of ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion (I did not add this time cos I run out)
some chopped fresh chilli if you like

dash of light soy or oyster sauce
pinch of chicken bouillon powder (optional)
1 - 3 tsp chilli oil (much as you like)

  1. Cut beef (against the grain) into thin slices. Mix with light soy, few drops of dark soy, egg white, cornflour and cooking wine. Leave to marinate for 1 hour or overnight in the fridge if you like to prepare in advance. 
  2. Crush the cumin seeds to release the aroma. Chop the spring onion, ginger and garlic. Cut onion into small pieces. Rinse or wet the Sichuan peppercorns this is to avoid getting them burnt too quickly. 
  3. When you are ready to cook. Heat oil in wok till smoking. Slowly tip the beef into the hot oil. The oil will boil rapidly, be careful. Stir the beef to ensure the pieces do not stick together. Highest heat and fry beef till all pieces are no longer pink about 1 - 1.5 min. Remove the beef onto a large metal sieve to drain. Lower heat to medium and continue heating the frying oil, this oil will bubble rapidly and may splatter because of the moisture from the beef.  Keep stirring the oil slowly till bubbles subside and the oil becomes very hot again. Wait till the oil is smoking, add drained beef into hot oil again. Highest heat again, stir and fry the beef for 2 - 3 minutes this time till beef has caramelised around the edges. Remove beef and drain on the same large metal sieve. Why frying the beef twice you may ask. This is to ensure the beef will caramelise quicker without letting the beef turning tough. If the beef is fried once till caramelised this will take much longer and by that time the beef will shrink more and becoming tough. 
  4. Remove the oil for other use and clean the wok.
  5. Add some oil to the clean wok heat till medium hot. Add Sichuan peppercorns, stir till fragrant. Add chilli flakes and most of the cumin seeds (leave about 1/2 tsp to sprinkle on the beef before serving). Stir till fragrant. Add chopped spring onion, garlic and ginger. Add onion stir till slightly soften. Add chopped fresh chilli if using. 
  6. Add beef, pinch of chicken bouillon powder and enough light soy or oyster sauce to taste. Stir and have a taste if you like more spicy add some chilli oil.  
  7. Plate up and sprinkle with remaining crushed cumin seeds on top.

Pulut Udang Panggang (Sticky Rice Rolls with dried shrimps sambal wrapped in banana leaf)

Rice Vermicelli with beef and spring onion

To serve 4,

Stir fried rice vermicelli
400g dried rice vermicelli
2 onions
splash of soy sauce
cooking oil

Stir fried beef with spring onion sauce

500g rump steak or silverside
1 level tsp of bicarb mix with a few drops of water (optional to tenderise meat if required)
2 - 3 tbsp of brandy (you can use chinese wine but I find brandy gives a very nice flavour)
3 tbsp oyster sauce
2 - 3 tsp of soy sauce
ground black pepper
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp corn flour

1 thumb size ginger
3 garlic cloves
cooking oil

4 - 5 stalks of spring onion

1 - 2 tbsp of corn flour mix with a little water
some boiling water

1. Soak rice noodles in tap hot water till softened. Test some if chewy it is not ready.
2. Slice onion.
3. Slice beef into very thin slices.
4. If using bicarb, mix into beef and leave for 30 minutes.
5. Then mix in the other marinate ingredients and leave to marinate for about 2o minutes
6. Grate or shred ginger and chopped garlic
7. Cut spring onion into 3 cm long
Fry onion in few tbsp of oil till slightly brown, add rice noodles and
stir till hot add enough light soy sauce and continue stir frying for
another 5 minutes. Do use a non stick pan, rice noodles will stick very
easily. Take noodles out, cover and keep warm.
In a clean pan/wok, add 2 – 3 tbsp of oil, add ginger and garlic stir
fry till fragrant. Turn heat right up add beef and stir fry till almost
cooked through but still a little pink, add splosh of boiling water
(about ¾ - 1 cup) to make a sauce. Taste to see if you need more soy or
oyster sauce. Add ground pepper to taste. Thicken the sauce with
slackened cornflour then lastly add spring onion.
10. Spoon meat and sauce over rice noodles.

Homestyle stir fried rice vermicelli

Rice vermicelli (mee fun, mee hoon or fine rice noodles) can be a
pain to stir fry. If anyone finds rice vermicelli always clump together,
broken into bits and sticking to the pan/wok, you may find this post

To make delicious stir fried rice vermicelli, there are a few rules to follow.

  • the noodles must be soaked with cold or lightly warm water, never use boiling water.
  • noodles must not be over soaked.
  • unless
    you pan or wok is guaranteed non stick with whatever you throw into it,
    one must not stir fry the noodles together with the vegetables or meat
    or you will find the noodles stick very quickly to the pan or wok.
Here is picture to show the noodles are nicely separated and not broken at all using this method.

Below is the recipe how I normally do it if you like to give it a try.
You can use various different vegetables and meat/prawns you have at
hand. I always add egg to fried noodles.

Other vegetables can be
used are woodears, shitake mushroom, pak choi, Chinese cabbage, onion,
leeks, Sichuan preserved vegetable (zha chai), jicama (mungkuang), fresh
green beans. All vegetables to be shredded quite fine.

For a vegetarian version, can sub meat and egg with fried or super firm tofu or seitan

Stir fried rice vermicelli


This qty makes a big plateful, enough for 3 - 4 people generously.

250g dried rice vermicelli or mee hoon (I like the superfine type, you and use any type you like)

2 large eggs, beaten

3 - 4 cloves garlic chopped
about a third cup minced (ground) pork, beef, chicken or roughly chopped prawns
a third to half cup sliced/shredded Chinese sausage (lap cheong), ham
any type or bacon, for non pork eater can use Chinese fried fish cake or
leftover roast beef, chicken or lamb or peeled cooked prawns
1 medium carrot shredded (I used the mandoline)
about 4 leaf of cabbage, finely shredded (about 1.5 cup)
about 1.5 cup beansprouts
about 3 - 4 stalks of spring onion (scallion), chopped
few tbsp light soy sauce, to taste
1 tsp of chicken stock granules/bullion (optional)
some ground pepper.

cooking oil

  1. Soak
    the dried noodles with cold or lightly warm tap water till soften.
    Drain with colander and shake the noodles to release as much water as
    you can. Leave aside for 10 minutes before stir frying.
  2. Prepare the other ingredients.
  3. When
    wok is hot add about 1 - 1.5 tbsp oil, spread oil around the wok. When
    almost smoking hot, add in the egg spread it evenly to form a thin
    omelette. Brown on one side, flip over and break the omelette into small
    bitesize. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add about 1.5 tbsp of oil
    in wok, when wok is really hot add half the chopped garlic follow by the
    noodles. Stir and toss with chopsticks, to loosen and stir fry till
    noodles are hot. Drizzle on some light soy while stirring to evenly mix
    soy with noodles. Stir till noodles are cooked through and hot. Remove
    and set aside.
  5. Add more oil in wok (about 1.5 tbsp) and the
    remaining garlic. Stir then add meat/prawn and lap cheong or bacon (if
    using cooked meat, fish cake or prawns, add in a little later till raw
    meat is cooked. Stir till meat is cooked and fragrant. Add dash of light
  6. Add cabbage and carrot, stir till vegetables are
    soften. Add more soy and chicken stock granules to taste. Can add a
    little water to create steam to cook the vegetables. When vegetables are
    soften add beansprouts. Stir briefly.
  7. Add in omelette, stir briefly.
  8. Turn
    off heat. Add in spring onion and noodles. Add ground pepper. Tease and
    toss the noodles, so the noodles are loosen and mix evenly with the
    vegetables, meat and egg. When done, if noodles are somewhat cooled
    down, turn the heat on, tossing the noodles while stirring. Heat till
    noodles are hot or when starting to stick to the pan/wok turn heat off.
    Ready to eat.

Can eat on its own or drizzle with your favourite chilli sauce.

If you like you can add some chopped fresh chilli to the stir fry.

Sunflower Food Galore: Steamed fish with black bean sauce and tomato

Sunflower Food Galore: Steamed fish with black bean sauce and tomato

Sunflower Food Galore: Steamed fish with black bean sauce and tomato

Trotter and ginger in sweetened black vinegar

Pig trotter and ginger stewed in sweet black vinegar is an old
traditional Cantonese recipe originally formulated for mothers after
birth, to keep new mums warm during the first month after birth. Also
many Cantonese families who has new baby will cook a shed load of this,
together with some red coloured hard boiled eggs in their shells and
some some chicken cooked in homemade rice wine, all these packed and
given to friends and relatives proudly announcing the arrival of a new

So can everyone eat this gingery vinegary pork? Yes to most people only
people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol is to avoid this or
eat less because ginger will raise blood temperature and trotter is
high in cholesterol. I adore this sweet, sour and tasty pork and ginger
since I was a kid. I love it during winter over here when the weather is
very cold out there. Eating a bowl of this vinegary pork trotter will
keep me warm and cosy. I was told anyone with cold feet and insomnia
will benefit from eating this.

This stew is a labour of love and will take a long time to prepare so
it's not for you if you just want to rush it and eat within an hour or
two. This will take about 2 days to prepare and cook and another day or
night refraining from eating so the flavour can get better.

If you never have this before I would describe it as a bowl of deep
brown looking soft and succulent pork trotter/pork hock flavoured with a
gingery sweet vinegar. The ingredients are very simple vinegar, ginger,
trotter and/or pork hock, hard boiled eggs and salt. Massive amount of
ginger is used to prepare one pot of this. This is stewed and pickled in
the sweet vinegar, most people including myself love to eat the chunks
of ginger but don't like them too spicy hot, that is why the ginger is
stewed for a very long time. Not any kind of vinegar can be used, anyone
who has learnt how to cook this from their mum or granmother will
probably only recognise one brand of vinegar which is Pat Chun's sweetened vinegar
from Hong Kong. It is not cheap in UK around £5 a bottle of 600ml.
 This vinegar is quite sweet and syrupy. I normally also add some
unsweetened black rice vinegar so the stew is not so sweet. Vinegar is
the only liquid used to make this stew, no water is necessary. The only
seasoning needed is salt, do not add any soy sauce. Hard boiled eggs are
also indispensable, after soaking in the sweet gingery vinegar they
will become firm and very tasty.

So if you like this and looking for a recipe here is how to prepare this.


2 trotters (the lower ends about 6 - 8 inches long)

1 unsalted pork hock (I like a meaty stew, so I always add hock)

about 800g ginger

2 bottles (600ml each) of sweetened vinegar (Pat Chun)

1 cup of black rice vinegar, unsweetened (preferably Pat Chun brand, if not use any other Chinese black rice vinegar)

a little sesame oil

6 - 8 peeled hard boiled eggs

salt to taste


  1. Scrape off the ginger skin using a blunt small knife or a
    teaspoon. Do not peel or you will lose quite a bit of the flesh. Clean
    the ginger. Pat dry with clean cloth or spread out and leave to air dry
    for a little while. Get a plastic sandwich or freezer bag. Put one piece
    of ginger in at a time. Bash with the flat side of a Chinese cleaver,
    if you don't have one use a large rolling pin. Crush the ginger, not too
    hard into very fine pieces, but still whole or still in big pieces and
    the fibres are loosen. Ginger is never cut into slices with knife. Using
    a plastic bag will prevent the ginger from flying around in the kitchen
    when you bash it.  The reason why the ginger is crushed not cut into
    slices is because this will allow the ginger to absorb more vinegar. If
    the crushed ginger is still in very large piece, break it up with hand
    or cut with a knife into large chunks
  2. Get ready a wok or large frying pan, heat it without any oil. Then
    add in the ginger pieces, dry fry at medium heat for few minutes till
    hot and slightly brown on the edges. There is no need to
    stir continuously just fry till pieces are slightly brown all over. Then
    add a little good quality 100% sesame, stir fry the ginger for a little
    while longer till fragrant. Leave aside. You can fry the ginger in
  3. Get ready a medium large cooking pot to cook this stew. Do not use
    aluminium, cast iron or pot with a non stick coating because they will
    react with vinegar. Best use claypot, glass casserole pot, stainless
    steel pot. Slow cooker with a crock pot is suitable for this. 
  4. Put fried ginger into the pot, add about 1.5 bottle of vinegar.
    Vinegar must cover the ginger. Simmer this at medium low heat till
    boiling. If you are using a slow cooker. Pour this into the crock pot
    and stew for 8 - 10 hours. If you are cooking on the stove only,
    continue simmering at low heat using the same pot for 1.5 - 2 hour, with
    the lid on. Do not let the liquid dry up, if it does dry up a lot, add
    some water or more sweet vinegar. After cooking do not open the lid and
    leave it to cool slowly and leave the ginger to soak in ginger overnight
    or up to 24 hours. Then have a taste if the ginger is tender and not
    too spicy for your taste, continue to next step. If ginger is still very
    spicy, reheat till boiling and simmer for a while then turn off heat
    and leave it too cool slowly. Leave if for few hours or overnight again.
    By this time the ginger should be tender and completely pickled and
  5. The next step is to prepare the trotters and/or hock. Get ready a
    kettle of boiling water. Put the pork in a large bowl, pour in the
    boiling water leave it to soak for a while. If there are stubbles or
    hair you will see them clearly after soaking in boiling water. You can
    either pluck them off using a tweezers or pat dry the skin and burn the
    hairs off on naked flame on the stove. Then using a blunt small knife
    and scrape the skin repeatedly under slow running water. You will see
    scrum, dirt and deadskins being scrape off. For the trotter watch out
    for an outer skin, between the toes and also the end part of the toes,
    which can be scraped off or peeled off. If you get trotters from English
    butcher or supermarket it is usually in one whole chunk, but if you get
    it from Chinese butcher you can ask the butcher to chop it or sold in
    packet already chopped. For the hock I just trimmed off the bone and cut
    the meat with skin into large chunks after cleaning. The next step is
    to blanch the meat. Get ready a pot of boiling water. Add the meat and
    bones pieces. Boil for 5 - 10 minutes till a thick scum floating on top
    of the water. Remove the scum with a skimmer. Discard the blanching
  6. While you are blanching the meat, heat the vinegary ginger to
    boiling. Add in the meat and bone pieces. The vinegar should cover meat
    if not add in some or all the remaining vinegar still in the bottle. Add
    in 1 cup of unsweetened black rice vinegar. Continue heating till the
    liquid is boiling. Cover and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Check
    the meat to see if tender, if not continue boiling for another another
    10 -15 minutes. The meat will tenderise much quicker in vinegar so watch
    it carefully. Do not let the meat softened too much or the vinegar
    sauce can become sticky due to the pig skin (gelatine) melting into the
    sauce. Season with some salt and nothing else. Skim off the fat floating
    on the surface.
  7. While the meat is boiling, boil the eggs and peel the shell. When
    the meat is tender, add eggs into the stew, buried them as much as you
    can so they are totally covered in vinegar. Heat off and let it cool
  8. This stew is ready to eat now if you can't wait, but if you leave it
    aside it will become much better flavoured after few hours or
    overnight. Once cooled, reheat and serve. If there is any more fat on
    the liquid surface skim it off. 
Eat on its own as a snack or eaten with rice.