Sweet & Sour Pork

This weekend, we are celebrating National Pig Day. It is my favorite event that my local farmer’s market organizes, where there are many pig theme decors, activities and yep food too! In the spirit, I’ll share this sweet and sour pork recipe, which I learned from my recent trip.

During my trip to Hong Kong, I managed to peek into Yip’s mom’s kitchen to see her secret in master cooking. This recipe was said to be passed from grandma to her and now to me. This is merely based on observation. I had to come up with the measurements as I cooked it myself when I returned home. All the ingredients are the same, but somehow food always taste better when mom cooks. This is not a dish we eat often at home, due to it’s popularity in take out and cumbersome steps. It is sure impressive for guests and colorful too. I feel happy knowing how it is prepared and cooking a tasty dish on my own.

Sweet and Sour Pork
(makes about 4 servings)

1 boneless pork chop (cubed)
1/4 of green and red bell pepper (chopped)
1/4 of onion (chopped)
3/4 cup pineapple (cubed)
1 egg
oil for frying

3 tb ketchup
2 tb vinegar (white/rice)
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tb water
1/2 tb cornstarch

1. Chop pork chop into 1/2 inch cubes and marinate for 1 hour or overnight with salt, sugar, and cornstarch.

2. Making the sauce:
Add ketchup, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, sugar, and water in a pot, cooking in medium heat. Stir to mix and adjusting the taste to your liking. (Example: needing more sour, add vinegar.) In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and a little water together. Add to your sweet and sour sauce to thicken it. Put sauce aside.

3. Frying pork:
Coat pork with egg wash and then flour to fry in oil. Take crispy pork out when golden brown and drain on paper towels. Put aside to cool. Refry pork to get it more crispy. Drain on paper towels to soak up oil.

4. In a wok, stir fry bell pepper, onion, pineapple. Don’t over cook. Add pork and sauce.

Hopefully, next time I go back to Hong Kong, I will learn more cooking. I know the bf will like that:)


Potsticker Recipe

Homemade potstickers are the best! Yip and I make them a lot at home and they are great with guests and parties. Back in college, my friends and I would have “wrapping” parties to wrap wontons and potstickers. It’s so interesting to see how different families have different styles of wrapping. We all bring our skills to the table to enjoy cooking and eating together. Making potstickers is not difficult, just a little time consuming if you’re wrapping them by yourself. (That’s why you have helpers!) I’ve never really have a standard recipe to go by because savory cooking is not quite as exact as baking recipes. You can basically mix the meat filling with any variety of vegetable or seafood. Some combinations I’ve added are mushroom, cabbage, chives, shrimp, and even pumpkin! They can be boiled, steamed, pan-fried (potstickers), and freezed. Recently, I made some delicious potstickers and remembered to jot down my ingredients. So I’d like share with you my homemade recipe:)

Pork Potstickers

1 package of potsticker wrappers

1 lb ground pork (I like to ground my own pork)

1 bundle spinach

1 small-sized carrot (julienne)

2 springs green onion (diced)

2 cloves of garlic (minced)

1 tb fresh ginger (minced and mashed)

1 tb corn starch

1 egg

splash of rice wine

salt & white pepper



1. Prepare ingredients: julienne carrots (thin and small), diced green onions, mince garlic, mince and mash fresh ginger. Place fresh ingredients in a large bowl with the ground pork.

2. Cook spinach until welted. Squeeze out the juice with a strainer and spoon, cheese cloth, or your hands. Chop cooked spinach into small pieces and add to the bowl.

3. Add seasoning to the bowl of ingredients: cornstarch, salt, pepper, egg and rice wine.

4. Mix everything together.

Wrapping Potstickers:

5. Fill a small bowl with some water. This will act as “glue” to seal your wrapper.

6. Spoon 1 tablespoon of filling onto the center of the wrapper. Use your finger to brush water all around the edges of the wrapper.

7. Bring opposite sides together at one point and pinch in the middle. Pleating only the upper half of the dumpling, make about three pleats on one side going in the direction toward the center. Then repeat with the opposite side, so that the pleats on each sides are pointing towards the middle. You’ll get a nice crescent shape and a flat bottom.  (Stroll down for pictures.) If this is too complicated, you can just sealed the edges tightly.

8. Place your dumpling on a floured surfaced and continue to wrap more.

9. Before you wrap too many, it is a good idea to taste to see whether your filling is seasoned to your liking. Boil a small pot of water and cook a couple of dumplings. Let them cook in boiling water for a few minutes or until they float up. Taste test if you need more salt. If the flavor is good or got the approval of your taste tester, go ahead and finish wrapping your potstickers.

Cooking potstickers:

10. On a non-stick pan, arrange potstickers flat-side down and fill with water just covering the bottom of potstickers.

11. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, turn on high heat and cover with lid.

12. When the water starts to simmer, turn to low heat to steam potstickers.

13. Let the water evaporate and fried til golden brown.

14. Serve with dipping sauce like soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!

Ta-da! Homemade Potstickers!

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Last fall, when I made a bunch of pumpkin puree from our Halloween Jack o Lanterns, I was inspired to make all these pumpkin goodies. The recipe that caught my interest in my search was pumpkin gnocchi.  Gnocchi are soft dumplings usually made of potatoes and flour. It just so yummy. What’s funny is that we can never pronounce gnocchi correctly. Guh-noki?, Nyo-chi?  My bf, Yip gave up and by default he says guh-noogie 🙂

So recently, I bought a can of pumpkin puree and made gnocchi again, following Closet cooking’s recipe. I love the color and the hint of pumpkin flavor. The dough is really sticky, so I used more flour than what the recipe calls for. It takes a long time to shape the little pieces of dough, especially since I want markings on each piece. For some reason, I had a hard time rolling pieces of dough with the fork, but Yip picked it up really fast (he is the better cook) and showed me. Now I can whip through the whole batch and have the patience to finish the job. Warning…making gnocchi is very time consuming, so you may want to shape half the dough and the other half the next day. But it is a fun activity with the help of  little ones or big friends too.

Since it’s usually the two of us, we freeze the gnocchi separately and place them in a zip lock bag. When ready to eat,  place however much in boiling water and cook in a sauce. Gnocchi tastes so good and a great alternative to our usual boring spaghetti.

Pumpkin Gnocchi
2 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg yolk
2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 pinch nutmeg (optional)
1 cup flour for working surface/ dusting

1. Simmer pumpkin puree in a sauce pan to absorb some wetness and let it cool.
2. Mix egg yolk into the puree.
3. Combine salt, nutmeg, and flour together.
4. Add flour mixture into the puree to form a soft sticky dough.
5. Take pieces of dough and roll out into long ropes about 1/2 inch thick.
6. Cut the rolled ropes into 1/2 inch pieces and then roll the pieces in flour lightly shaking off any excess.
7. Roll the pieces with a fork (or gnocchi board) to give them the ridges.
8. Cook desired amount of  gnocchi in boiling water until it floats to the surface, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and drain.
9. Cook in a sauce or fry.

I made a tomatoe sauce with spicy Italian sausage, mushrooms, onion and  asparagus on the side, topped with cilantro and Parmesan cheese :9

Look at the cute little pumpkin hats I made for the cats:)