Sunday, December 12, 2010

Do you love bread? Chocolate? Or both?
Recipe #61: chocolate chip bun

If you are one of those people who never get tired of eating bread or if you are one of those people who never get tired of eating chocolate, then you defintely won't get tired of our chocolate chip bun.

If you're tired from working overtime, or if you have a carefree afternoon, or if you're enjoying a rainy day, a chocolate chip bun and a cup of tea or coffee will make you feel like you're the luckiest person in the world.

Some of my colleagues even asked me where I bought this. If you follow this recipe, your creation will look very professional.


1. 3/4 c. water
2. 1 egg
3. 1/4 c. butter
4. 1/4 c. sugar
5. 3 c. bread flour
6. 1 tsp. salt
7. 2 tsp. yeast
8. handful of chocolate chips
9. chocolate syrup
10. half of an egg yolk and 1 tsp. water, mixed well

Directions (dough)

1. Mix all ingredients, except chocolate chip, syrup and egg yolk, in bread machine
2. Set to "dough"; once the dough is ready, remove it from the container and punch it down.
3. Split dough into 8 to 12 pieces, depending on how large you want each to be.
4. Flatten the center of each piece a bit
5. Apply egg yolk mixture to surface of dough pieces.
6. Add chocolate chips on center of buns.
7. When dough has risen a little more (after about 20 to 30 minutes), add chocolate syrup.
8. Put in oven (preheated at 350 degrees) for about 15-18 minutes.
9. When buns are golden, remove from oven and add chocolate syrup.


1. Chocolate chips can be used whole or chopped into small pieces.
2. If you do not have chocolate syrup, the buns will still taste very good.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Recipe #60: fried tilapia with green sauce (salsa verde)

My parents grew up in Taiwan. When they were younger, the Taiwanese economy was not as strong as it is now. Everyone was on a budget, and commodities had to be carefully rationed. At that time, tilapia was a staple food for the middle class; it was both affordable and high in protein. There were many ways to prepare tilapia, so it was highly welcomed. Even after my parents moved to America, their love for tilapia has not changed.

On day, we saw fried tilapia at a family-owned Mexican restaurant. My mother immediately ordered it. As soon as the crispy, freshly-fried tilapia was brought onto the table, all of us grabbed a chunk of it, eager to dip them in the green sauce. To my mother, it was the best sauce she's ever tasted.

Ever since then, we have started preparing tilapia this way. In our home, we have an additional method of making this dish.

Ingredients (tilapia)

1. 1 tilapia, cleaned (guts must be removed)
2. oil for frying
3. 1/2 c. flour (for breading)

Directions (tilapia)

1. Pat tilapia dry with a paper towel.
2. Using a knife, cut two or three gashes in both sides of the fish, at an angle.
3. Fill a large skillet with oil; using medium-high, gradually heat until oil is hot.
4. Spread flour evenly on large plate. Put fish on flour and press until bottom has gathered enough flour. Flip fish over and repeat.
5. Put fish into oil fry until golden brown.

Tips (green sauce)

1. If you are using a skillet, the flour will make the fish more crispy and reduce the time needed for frying. If you are using a deep pot, then the flour is not needed; you can use the cleaned fish directly.
2. If you don't cut the fish open, it will be too thick; in other words, the interior of the fish may be still raw while the outside is golden brown.
3. Some Chinese supermarkets will fry the fish for you; ask the fishmonger if the store has this service. However, supermarkets have the tendency to reuse oil for frying, which is less healthy and has a lower quality.

Ingredients (green sauce)

1. 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2. 6 tomatillos, cooked in water until tender, chopped (canned is OK)
3. 4 chilis serrano
4. 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
5. pinch of salt
6. 1/2 tsp. mild chili powder
7. 1/2 tsp. ground cumin (optional)
8. 2 c. water
9. 1 Tbsp. onion, chopped
10. 1 Tbsp. cilantro
11. 1 fresno pepper, chopped (optional)

Directions (green sauce)

1. Boil water in pot. Add tomatillos and cook briefly.
2. Remove skin; add garlic, serrano onion and a pinch of salt; puree mixture with blender.
2. Heat a little oil in a deep skillet. Add above mixture and cook on medium-high for 10 minutes or until it has thickened.
3. If you want the sauce to be spicy, you can add cumin and chili powder.
4. Add chopped fresno chilis and mix well for best presentation.
5. Serve as a side with tilapia.