Category: China

Love of Aurora (Chinese Drama Review)

Love of Aurora (Chinese Drama Review)

 

Love of Aurora is a modern drama romance which will be made up of 50 episodes and directed by Liu Bo.

I love the leading girl in this because she was so cute in that 2016 drama, Hello, Mr Right with Korean actor, Lee Dong Gun

Cast:

Ma Ke as Li Jun Tai

Guan Xiao Tong as Han Zing Xi

Zhang Xiao Long as Li Ming Zi

Zhao Han Ying Zi as He Jin Wen

Ma He as Lei Yuan Yuan

Zhu Xiao Peng as He Hua Hao

It started rather dramatically.  Our heroine, Han Zing Xi was being chased by a man in suit.  While she was running she got hit by a car and later woke up with psychogenic amnesia.  Apparently this is a way for the brain to cope with unbearable traumatic memory.

The synopsis of the story is about a girl who is an actress with extra-ordinary talent who meets an heir to a large fortune but running away from responsibility and a very strict parents.

Deep-Fried Spare Ribs Recipe

Deep-Fried Spare Ribs Recipe

This is truly delicious, a real treat to those who like a bit of meat, just like me.  The ribs are crunchy and spicy, perfect as a buffet dish for a party this Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 700 g pork spare ribs
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp rice wine or substituted with the same amount of dry sherry
  • 2 egg, beaten
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • vegetable oil for deep frying

Method of Preparation:

  • Chop each spare rib into  3-4 small pieces
  • Using a large bowl mix together the curry powder, rice wine, salt and black and pepper.
  • Mix in all the spare rib and thoroughly cover all the pieces.
  • In a separate bowl, make a batter by mixing in the beaten eggs with the flour.
  • Heat a wok or a large frying.
  • Add the oil.
  • Take a  few ribs and coat with the egg batter and then carefully drop into the hot oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until golden all over.
  • Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain over kitchen paper towels.
  • Repeat with the rest of the spare ribs.
  • Serve immediately with some salad.

A Love So Beautiful (Chinese Drama Review)

Jiang Chen (Hu Ti Yian) & Chen Xiao Xi (Shen Yue)

A Love So Beautiful (Chinese Drama Review)

This is such a cute drama.  I have seen about 20 episodes, in which only 16 so far are subtitled in English.  Despite the language barrier (can’t understand Chinese), I still found the drama quite engaging.  Probably because of the script is well developed plus the fact that the cast is beautiful and handsome.  Most of them are newbies, new to the business, which is amazing in itself as they do deliver fine acting.  When you have a good line-up of actors, it is usually hard to go wrong.

Update: 13 Dec 2017

I have seen all the episodes, which have been subtitled in English.  It was wonderful.

Cast:

  • Hu Yi Tian as Jiang Chen
  • Chen Yue as Chen Xiao Xi
  • Wang Zi Wei as Lin Jing Xiao
  • Gao Zhi Ting as Wu Bai Song
  • Zhang He Hao Zhen as Li Shu
  • Sun Ning as Lu Yang
  • Lv Yan as Li Wei

I love the main girl, Chen Xiao Xi.  She’s so lovely, full of vim.  She knows what she wants and goes for it.  At the age of 16 she wanted Jiang Chen, the geniusproud boy of her class.

This drama spans 19 years of their turbulent romantic life.  Based from the trailers of forthcoming episodes, it will not be all roses all the way through; there are a lot of angst and drama.  But having said that,it is predominantly cute scenes that will leave you gooeyly mesmerised!

This drama has been liken to the Japanese Itazura Na Kiss, which is I supposed the same formula where arrogant genius boy meets scatty girl.  The difference I think, which I prefer is that in A Love So Beautiful, the viewers are given a chance to know that the genius boy has really fallen for the girl almost from the beginning.  We see him becoming jealous and doing thousands of different ways to show the viewers how much he cares for the girl.  The subtle smile, the widening and furrowing of his eyes, glowering, grimacing, secretly grinning, his facial expressions are so sweet.

There are apparently 23 episodes.

By the way, it can be hard to wait for Chinese dramas to be subbed in English, which is rather frustrating sometimes especially when the drama is deemed to be good. I would like, therefore, to thank some hard-working youtube subbers (most of them hold full time jobs and study), who do subtitling in their spare time.  I would therefore would like to encourage you to subscribe to their channels to show appreciation.

Cheers!

 

Episode 1 Dear Jiang Chen

Chen Xiao Xi was shown reminiscing,  She said that the most important thing in her life is drawing… and drawing, this was at present time 2017.  But back then (2005),it was a boy called Jiang Chen.

It all started in 2005 when she was16 and enrolled in Chen Xi Middle School.

Chen Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen grew up together in the same neighbourhood, in fact the same apartment complex.

They went to the same kindergarten, primary school, junior school and high school.

Chen Xiao Xi was without any qualms in pursuing Jiang Chen.  She told him she liked him in which he replied “I don’t like you.”  This hardly made Chen Xiao Xi stopped on her track.  In fact she researched on the internet how to make someone like you back.  So funny.  love it.

Back then, sending love letters was still the norm.  🙂  Xiao Xi sent a love letter to Jiang Chen, ergo the the title of this episode.

I love the characters.  Chen Xiao Xi is a least a foot shorter than Jiang Chen but somehow they looks so cute together.  Even from the beginning, their chemistry was apparent.

Episode 2 Can You Find Me

This episode also strengthen the growing bond between Xiao Xi, Jiang Chen, Bo Song, Lu Yang & Lin Jing Xiao.

This is story about children and parents.  Being filial.  Appreciate your parents while you still can.  This episode also gives a bit of a background why Jiang Chen is a bit of a loner or having a rather cold demeanour.  He was very young when he lost his father.

And one of his memories regarding his father was when he was 7 years old.  He accidentally made his little brother fall down and got hurt and cried.  He was so upset that he run away.  It took ages for his father to come along and find him.

Episode 3

This episode is about Chen Xiao Xi wanting to be the class monitor.  She would have been the clear winner if Jiang Chen had voted for her instead of Li Wei.  She was so annoyed she kicked Jiang Chen in the shin.  Ouch!  She tied with Li Wei and temporary they were the two class monitors.

In the end Jiang Chen told her that she made a good class monitor despite misplacing the money for the class fees.

The 5 main characters were such a hoot in this episode.  Bo Song is delightfully helpful but clueless.  He’s adorable.

Episode 4 Run With The Wind, Towards Freedom

It was going to be Jiang Chen’s birthday and Xiao Xi wanted to give him a present but she lacks funds.  Previously she does not want to participate in their sports day but because the prize would be a watch, she steeled herself to do the hurdle.  It was rather hilarious given that she has short legs.  LOL.  Bo Song once again was there to help her.  Running along with her in the track in a mascot costume.

Stand-out scene was in the bookshop where Xiao Xi was reading a comic mag giggling to herself which captivated Jiang Chen.  So cute

Episode 5

This episode is about a drama competition.  It was hilarious.  Shen Yue is such a good actress for a newbie.  She made Xiao Xi so adorable, so human and so funny.

Jiang Chen is beginning to show serious jealousy between the comfortable friendship of Xiao Xi and Bo Song.

Highlight: Xiao Xi trying to reach a book on the top shelf.  Then came Jiang Chen, who was seemingly prepared to help but put the book even more out of reach.

Episode 6

Xiao Xi is doing badly at school, so her parents mooted the idea of transferring her to a stricter school.  But of course Jiang Chen was there to tell her not to transfer at the last minute.

Episode 7 2 Days and 1 Night

This is a rather hectic episode.  Xiao Xi thinking that Jiang Chen would like her if she appears to more vulnerable just like Li Wei, over-dramatised her parents domestic spat.  She was told of by Jiang Cheng for making things up.

But it seems there might be cause for concern as Xiao Xi saw her father on a ‘date’ with another woman.  We went home crying for real must to the surprise of Jiang Chen, who became so concerned.  Standout scene:  Xiao Xi crying using the sleeve of Jiang Chen tracksuit.  Btw, it was all a misunderstanding.  Xiao Xi’s dad is a devoted husband and father.

Also in this episode,  Lu Yang won a scammish contest in which the prize was a 2 days-1 night get away in the suburb.

During the away night, they played pen deity, much iike the ouija board.  Jiang Chen was rather curious what Xiao Xi asked the pen.  Xiao Xi said she was too embarrass to ask whether Jiang Chen would ever like her.  She doesn’t want to know that Jiang Chen wouldn’t as her love will be a useless miserable one and therefore she has to stop liking him.  Jiang Chen was rather touch.

Episode 8

Episode 9

This episode is cuteness overload.  Jiang Chen and Xiao Xi riding the same bike together is just the cutest!  It is a bit sad though for the second male lead.  He is rather adorable in his own way because he always put Xiao Xi first before himself.. all the time!  The main topic of this episode is joining the class debating team.

Episode 10

This one is about Avian flu.  Of course Xiao Xi would be at least of those suspected of contracting bird flu.

Episode 11

This is rather sweet.  Finally Jiang Chen is showing a romantic interest in Xiao Xi.

It was nearing Christmas and about gift giving.  The girls were frantically knitting scarves, hats and gloves for their crushes.  Of course Xiao Xi can’t knit.  Instead Jiang Chen gave her his scarf when it was snowing.  So sweet.

Episode 12,

Their class was going on a field trip.  During the trip Xiao Xi and her friends prepared for her confession again to Jiang Chen.  They brought fireworks with them which they would lit up as she was confessing.  Unfortunately, it did not go the way it was planned.  Another girl was confessing to Jiang Chen when the fireworks burst into a myriad of colours. Xiao Xi witnessed Jiang Chen hugging the girl. Thank goodness Wo Bu Song(second male lead) was there to take the crying Xiao Xi away from the scene.

I have to say that Jiang Chen is rather frustratingly annoying sometimes.  He knew how much Xiao Xi is aching to be his girlfriend and chase him every at available moment  and yet Jiang Chen is toying with her by not discouraging the other girl, Li Wei, to run after him as well.

Episode 13

This episode is the aftermath of the aborted confession by Xiao Xi to Jiang Chen.  It was lovely that her friends were there to support her.  Wo Bu Song was there all the way through her heartache giving her a shoulder to cry on, which only made Jiang Chen lonelier because he actually misses the bubbly Xiao Xi who was always on his face and then suddenly avoiding him like the plague. To be fair to him, he did do everything to make amends.  And at the end of the episode, he explain to Xiao Xi that what happened with Li Wei was not what it seemed.  This episode also showed that Li Wei was caught cheating in their English exam, which meant an expulsion from the school.

Episode 14

This is the episode where there was that cute hair tucking behind Xiao Xi’s ear using a pen by Jiang Chen.  Xiao Xi said that she will not ask ever again what was going on with Li Wei but she ask Jiang Chen not to hang out with Li Wei.

Jiang Chen can’t respond to such request.  So their estrangement continues on.

But Li Wei was caught cheating at the exam. She became depressed that she even thought of jumping from the rooftop of their school building.

She was so upset and depressed that she even taken the Diazepam drug from the school clinic without prescription or permission.  Unfortunately for the handsome doctor, the object of Ling Jing Xiao’s crush, became the scapegoat and got fired.  Before he left he saved the life of Li Shu, who got very very upset after finding out that Ling Jing Xiao is crazy about the doctor.  Li Shu ended up in the hospital due to his congenital heart problem.

By the end of this episode, Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen are back at their most flirtatious. 🙂

Episode 15

Bo Song’s dad asked Xiao Xi to cheer up Bo Song, who has a more complicated injury to his shoulder, thus will not be able to join the national team.

Xiao Xi being a good friend became very attentive to Bo Song much to the chagrin of Jiang Chen.  Jealousy doesn’t recognise double standard.  He did not repel Li Wei advances immediately previously and made Xiao Xi upset and jealous and yet expected Xiao Xi to be not too friendly Bo Song.

Again there are so many cute scenes here, showing the jealous Jiang Chen, including going out to get water only to come back with an empty one.  Precious!  There was also that pool game between Bo Song and Jiang Chen.

In order to pacify Jiang Chen who lost the game, Xiao Xi said that he played a very good game and would have won against normal player.  And rubbing salt to injury, she tactlessly said that Bo Song is just above him because he is amazing.  Jiang Chen can’t take it anymore so he had to cover her mouth with his hand.  Kawaii!!!

 

Episode 16 

This is a bittersweet episode.  Wo Bu Song finally confessed to Xiao Xi but at the same time accepting defeat.  He finally gave up the hope of being with Xiao Xi, because he knew she only sees Jiang Chen.

As much as Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen are so cute together, there are times that I wish Xiao Xi to just give up and just be with Wo Bu Song who was really devoted to her.

There was a cute tiny bromance between Bo Song and Jiang Chen.  Bo Song said he will Xiao Xi under the care of Jiang Chen as he was going to pursue his swimming dream in Beijing, to which Jiang Chen said “She was never yours to leave”

Bo Song said you are annoying sometimes and Jiang Chen, “it’s mutual”

Episode 17

Xiao Xi  did not get into any university but went to an art college and revising to retake exam upon advise by Jiang Chen, who said that he will help her get to the university he was going to.  She did get into Zheijiang university and officially dating Jiang Chen.  This episode is so cute.  It seems Jiang Chen is missing Xiao Xi more than she misses him. Their telephone conversation was so excruciatingly cute. They also shared their first kiss.  However Xiao Xi was drunk at the time.  Jiang Chen said that if she remember the night, she has to contact him.  Sweet.

Episode 18

A specially sweet episode.  Jiang Chen is the perfect caring boyfriend, masterful and yet gentle at the same time.  Their hug when she was wearing a pink dinosaur outfit was so romantic.  Love it.

Episode 19

It is graduation from university and they had to move on from their dormitory.

Xiao Xi needed to find somewhere to stay and rather upset that Jiang Chen was forever busy with his hospital life.  She was envious of her friends who were all moving in with their respective boyfriends.  When she went to view an apartment by herself, Xiao Xi was almost assaulted by the realtor.

She went crying all the way to the hospital where Jiang Chen was.  But she found out that he was going to Beijing without consulting her.  She felt belittled and immaterial in Jiang Chen’s life scheme that she said she doesn’t want to like him anymore.  What she doesn’t know was that Jiang Chen had always planned to marry her and if he was going to Beijing then he was taking her with him.  But Jiang Chen is rather poor in communicating his feelings so Xiao Xi is left feeling just like a surplus and her old insecurities surfaced, thinking that it was always a one sided life that Jiang Chen never really liked her anyway even from the first.

Jiang Chen was rather distraught after having a patient dying (first death he has witnessed) on the operating table under his team.

He went to Xiao Xi for comfort but she was really upset with Jiang Chen that she turned her back on him.  For the first time, when he called her name, she did not listen and just left him.  Thinking that Xiao Xi doesn’t care anymore, he accepted a post of further study to Beijing.

As the last minute at the airport, Jiang Chen called Xiao Xi, begging her to go find him to which Xiao Xi replied, you bastard, I am not going to find you.

But of course, Xiao Xi did go look for him but she missed him. Xiao Xi was left crying only to be faced by the smilingly gorgeous Bo Song. 🙂

Episode 20

Jiang Chen is back after three years in  Beijing. He saw Xiao Xi on his peripheral vision in the hospital.  He was excited to see her.  But it looked like that he was too late as Bo Song was rather too familiar with Xiao Xi.

It ended with Jiang Chen under the spotlight of his car walking towards Xiao Xi, who was rather mesmerised by the tall, slim and elegant visage of her ex.  What else can she do?  Of course she has to give in to her longings.  Kissesssss!

Episode 21

TBA

Episode 22

TBA

Episode 23

Final one

 

Melt your heart. The sweetest ever!
I have followed it religiously for more than a week now.  I have hardly watch any other dramas at all because I have been watching episode after episodes over and over.

This drama is truly addictive.  The script writer got it so right but most of all the young actor, Hu Yi Tian was brilliant in his role.  every facial expression is spot on.  He might be perceived as rather cold but he does wear his heart on his sleeves.  We can see what goes on in his mind and heart in every twists of his nose, curl and pout of his lips and the way he stares at Xiao Xi is just adorable.  He was also very tactile.  He holds her, hugs her unashamedly.  Yue Shen as Xiao Xi is also a good actress considering that this is her first role ever.  She is lovely and fun. I love her, love her character and so looking forward to her next drama serial in Meteor Garden next year.  But one thing do, she has to practise her crying.  It is not believable to the point of rather annoying.  But other than that, I hope she makes another drama with Hu Yi Tian in the near future.

I can’t wait for the rest of the episodes but at the same time dreading that it will be ending this Thursday, 07 December 2017.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS! HOPE TO SEE MORE OF HU YI TIAN AND SHEN YUE IN 2018

Crispy Seaweed Recipe

 

Crispy Seaweed

Peter and I love crispy seaweeds.  We always order it as one of our starters when we dine out in Chinese restaurants.

There is something about its crispy texture that is rather pleasing to the tastebuds.

Of course we are well aware that this seaweed is not really seaweed as we know it.  It did not come from the sea. 🙂  In fact it is made from finely shredded spring green cabbage.

Peter asked me why is it then called a seaweed?!!! To hazard guest, I think because it does look like a seaweed when it is being prepared and cooked. Its corrugated crispy texture is like seaweed.

Anyway, as I have said, it is quite delicious and here a recipe for it.

Crispy Seaweed Recipe

 

Ingredients

  • 250 g Spring green cabbage (Kale is a good substitute)
  • 1½ tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp shrimp powder (optional)
  • Oil for deep frying

Method of Preparation:

  • Prepare the spring green by washing it completely and ridding it of grits and little insects, you never know!  🙂 .  Trim off the tough stalks that run through each leaf.  Drain the leaves thoroughly with kitchen paper towels.
  • Using a good chopping board and an equally good and sharp knife, sliced the leaves into thin ribbons.
  • Spread them in a flat surface for 10-15 minutes to allow them to completely dry.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or a deep-fat fryer.
  • To cook the finely shredded cabbage evenly, they must be done in batches.  Carefully lower a bit of the spring green shreds into the hot oil.  When they have been cook they would crinkle and float.  Remove them with a slotted ladle and put them over kitchen paper towels to soak up excess oil.  Do the same thing with the rest of the batch.
  • For the topping, mix the the sugar and salt with the shrimp powder and sprinkle over the cabbage.
  • Serve immediately as a starter.

Beef in Oyster Sauce

Beef in Oyster Sauce, photo by JMorton

Beef in Oyster Sauce

Beef cooked in oyster sauce is a great family favourite.  We order it when dining in restaurants and also when we do not have time to cook and we just want a Chinese take-away 🙂

Below is an easy to follow recipe for your convenience 🙂

 

Ingredients

  • 300 g beef steak
  • 1 tsp Demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine (dry sherry is a good substitute)
  • 1 tsp cornflour paste
  • 1 small carrot
  • 60 g mange taut (sitsaro) topped and tailed
  • 60 g bamboo shoots (from the tin or can is suitable)
  • 60 g straw mushroom (canned ones are suitable)
  • 300 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 stalk spring onion cut into inch segments
  • 1 inch ginger, julliened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tbsp water

Method of Preparation:

  • Prepare the beef by cutting it into thin small slices.
  • Place the beef slices into a bowl.
  • Stir in the Demerara sugar.
  • Pour in the light soy sauce, rice wine and cornflour paste all over the beef.
  • Give it a good stir, then set aside to marinate for at least half and hour.
  • Slice the carrot and straw mushrooms thinly to be in uniform in size as the bamboo shoot and mange taut.
  • Heat the wok, and when smoking hot :), carefully pour in the oil.  Heat it up.
  • Add the beef and stir-fry for a minute or two.
  • Remove the beef from the oil using a slotted spoon/ladle.
  • Pour out the oil leaving about a tablespoon only in the wok.
  • Stir fry the carrot, straw mushrooms, bamboo shots, mange taut and spring onion for two minutes.
  • Add the beef, oyster sauce and water.
  • Season with salt.
  • Blend throughly and cook for a minute.
  • Serve immediately with freshly boiled rice.

Enjoy!

 

Szechuan Shredded Pork

Shredded Pork, by Arnold Gamboa

Szechuan Shredded Pork

This recipe is a real winner.  Delicious and filling.  Szechuan way of cooking this dish can be used to cook fish as well, which is a healthier option.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp dried wood ears mushroom
  • 300 g pork fillet
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cornflour paste
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks spring onions, chopped finely (separate the green from the white part)
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

 

Method of Preparation:

  • Prepare the dried  wood ear mushrooms by soaking them in warm water for half an hour.  Rinse well in cold water and leave to drain for a few minutes.  Cut them into find shreds.
  • Cut the fillet of pork into thin shreds.  Mix the salt with the cornflour paste and use to cover the pork shreds with this mixture.
  • Heat a wok until smoking hot :).  Pour in the vegetable oil.  Add the pork shreds and stir-fry until golden brown.  Then remove from the pieces of pork with a slotted spoon and set aside for the minute.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, white of the spring onions, celery and the wood ear mushrooms into the wok and stir fry for a minute.
  • Return the pork into the wok and also adding the sugar, soy sauce, chilli sauce. rice vinegar and rice wine.  Give it a good stir until everything is incorporated.
  • Add the sesame oil as well as the green part of the spring onion.  Stir for a minute and then transfer into a serving plate.
  • Serve hot with a dish of freshly boiled rice.

 

 

Chow Mein with Seasonal Vegetables

Chow mein, photo by JMorton

Chow Mein with Seasonal Vegetables

Today is my son, James’s birthday.

There is Asian tradition to serve noodles on birthdays for long life.  Added to this, I saw in a Korean drama that one must eat the first spoonful or chopstick-ful of noodles without chewing or biting on to the strands so that one life span is not cut short.  🙂

James said that he might choke on the noodles if he swallowed them whole.  🙂  He’s got a point but I told him I have got my mobile phone ready to call an ambulance and while waiting for them to arrive, I will give him the Heimlich manoeuvre.

🙂

To report, he was fine and had a good time at his birthday dinner.

Ingredients

  • 500g egg noodle (miki)
  • 4 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot, peeled, julliened
  • 125 g bean sprouts
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, julliened
  • 1/2 Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
  • 125 g baby corn, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sherry
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Method of Preparation:

  • Prepare the noodles.  Cook it according to the packet’s instruction.  Drain and run it under cool water to prevent it from cooking further.  Drain and set aside.
  • Heat the oil using a large pan or better yet a wok over high heat.
  • Stir in the onions and then the carrots and baby corn. Fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the bell pepper, cabbage, bean-sprouts and the noodles.
  • Tip in the soy sauce, sherry, salt, sugar, cornflour and sesame oil.
  • Stir-fry until the seasoning has been mixed in thoroughly.

Serve hot!  Enjoy!

 

Chinese & Taiwanese Dramas OST

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Chinese & Taiwanese Dramas OST

What makes a drama memorable?  There are a lot to consider but I think one big factor is the soundtrack that goes with it.  With just a few notes, you know what drama the soundtrack is from.

I can’t understand Chinese Mandarin or Cantonese but somehow the tune of the music gets to me.

Here is a list of my favourite.

 

Salt & Pepper Shrimps Recipe

Salt & Pepper Shrimps, photo by Bless Mercado

Salt & Pepper Shrimps Recipe

Salt and pepper chicken is a great favourite of our family.  We just love the crispness of the chicken and its spiciness.

We also recently discovered the shrimps version and it is even more luscious in taste.  There are two ways of cooking the shrimps.  If the shrimps or prawns are large, I would recommend perhaps to peel them but if there are small to medium in size, I would cook them in their shell.  The shell will add extra crispness in the texture after deep frying.

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 300g medium shrimps or smaller shrimps; head removed, deveined
  • 3-4 tbsp cornflour or cornstarch
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp sea salt granules
  • ¾ tablespoon ground Szechuan peppercorns or black pepper
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 bird’s eyes chilli, chopped or a tsp of chilli flakes
  • coriander for decorating

Instructions

  1. Prepare the shrimp, remove the shells if you prefer.  Put the shrimps over some kitchen paper towel to drain thoroughly.
  2. Spice up the cornstarch with the fine salt, black pepper and garlic powder.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Drop the shrimps onto the cornstarch.  Coat the shrimps with the powdery mix.
  4. In a wok over low heat, stir fry the salt granules and Sichuan peppercorn.  Dry fry for a couple of minutes.  Set aside.
  5. Using a deep-fat fryer, fry the shrimps until they have turned golden.  Do this in batches to ensure even cooking.  Remove with slotted spoon.  Set aside.
  6. Add a tablespoon of oil to the wok with the salt and peppercorn mix.  Stir in the chopped garlic and chilli.  Fry for a minute or two.  Add the deep fried shrimps and mix them all in.
  7. Serve over a bed of salad leaves.  Enjoy!

Princess Agents & Legend of Lu Zhen

I have to admit that I was not really into historical action dramas but after watching Yang yang’s Once Upon A time, I thought I should give it a go.

Here are my first choices and both dramas featured Zanilia Zhao, also sometimes called Zhao Liying.

Princess Agents & Legend of Lu Zhen

Princess Agents

Princess Agents

This is a historical drama which currently hold the top rating as the most watched Chinese drama of all time.

As I previously mentioned, the leading lady is played by Zanilia Zhao (Chu Qiao / Jin Xiaoliu / Xing’er)  and the two male leads vying for her affection were Lin Gengxin as Yuwan Yue and Shawn Dou as Yan Xun.

Zanilia was cute and slightly chubby in her previous dramas like in Boss & Me but she lost a lot of weight for this drama.  Probably from intentional dieting or the rigorous training for the kungfu scenes.

I have to admit (I am admitting a lot of things here 🙂 lol) that I am not one for prolong fights like boxing, punching & kicking but in this drama it was done in another level.  It was so beautiful.  I could actually watch just the fighting scenes all day if I have to.  The fight scenes between Ying’er and Yuwan Yue were rather erotic.  Lots of flying into the air, lots of swishing of beautiful and colourful garments and both of them looking bloody gorgeous.

The story was quite memorable (or just probably the leads gave such good performance) that it was so disappointing when it finally ended after 58 episodes.

The earlier episodes grabbed you so tightly that you can’t help yourself but be hooked.

Princess Agents was during the time when Northern Wei was in chaos.  Factions were sprouting against the emperor all the time, due to the state of the region.  Ordinary citizens where captured and turned into slaves.  And this what exactly happened to Jin Xiaoliu.  She was kidnapped to be one of the running maidens to be hunted by ferocious wolves as well as the kingdom’s royalty.  This scene was gloriously well composed and the cinematography was a sensory delight.

Jin Xiaoliu survived the perilous hunt and ended up as a slave in Yuwan Yue’s manor.  He renamed her as Xing’er and started training her in Kungfu.

She found out later (she has amnesia 🙂 ) that she is the daughter of Luo He, the master of Feng Yun order and that she could find all the answers to her question at Yibai, which coincidentally is the principality of Yan Xun’s family.  At this time his family were all slaughtered by the Wei emperor.

The ending is so sad and a tad annoying as it was left hanging.  The gorgeous Yuwan Yue dies while Xing’er who has now reverted back to her original name of Chu Qiao dove into the freezing water to save him.  But with his last remaining straining he pushed her away to survive.

There are so many beautiful scene and a full use of CGI was used.  Some hated it but I just love it.

Highly recommended for good viewing even for just the fight scenes!  Enjoy!

Legend of Lu Zhen aka Female Prime Minister

Legend of Lu Zhen

This is an earlier Zanilia Zhao drama, where she constantly reminded me of Jang Na ra.

Anyway Zanilia played Lu Zhen, a young girl who was very capable, patient and methodical and with a good heart.

She saved a young man from a near death occurrence, not knowing that he was the Prince of Northern Qi dynasty.

Anyway the story is more straight forward that the Princess Agents.  It tells the rise to power from a mere palace maid to the first female Prime Minister of the kingdom.

She also got her man in the end, however she did not get the title of his Empress because of circumstances that foist upon her.

The drama is very watchable and the gorgeous actor Chen Xiao played Gao Zhan so affectingly.

Again, lovely drama of 59 episodes.

I know I have not had a good or enough night sleep for ages.

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