Tag: chinese food

Fragrant Lamb and Bamboo Shoot Soup – Recipe By Tiana Matson

Fragrant Lamb and Bamboo Shoot Soup – Recipe By Tiana Matson

Fragrant Lamb and Bamboo Shoot Soup

Lamb is good for you and is perfect for warm winter casseroles and satisfying comfort food. Lamb can increase your body heat to resist the cold, so it is one of the best ingredients for winter meals.

I remember during my childhood, my thrifty grandparents ate mostly vegetarian, but always cooked up a big batch of lamb soup every winter.

Lamb has a stronger smell than beef and poultry that is not liked by everyone, and some simply won’t eat it due to its unique ‘aroma.’ Lamb is so versatile, and often a cheaper alternative than beef, so it’s worth taking a good look at what you can do with it besides a leg roast and chops.

The method of cooking lamb is the same as for beef. You can braise it, stew it, make soup with it, even stir fry it. The difference is that to reduce lamb’s smell and increase its aroma, wine and spices are often used.

I often use lamb mostly for soup if I want a meat soup, however, it is also delicious braised and served with rice noodles. Today’s recipe is an Asian twist on lamb soup, and I’m sure you’ll love it!

The standard practice for lamb soups is to use herbs, but this time I’m using fresh bamboo shoots.

Sweet bamboo shoots are low in calories, low in fat, and rich in vitamins and fiber. Served with lamb (or steak) chops, the sweet bamboo shoots aid digestion.

This soup is different from the usual thick winter soup often made with lamb, but it highlights the lamb chops and sweet bamboo shoots, rather than just using the lamb as a stock base.


300 g peeled sweet bamboo shoots

300 g lamb chops

150 ml cooking wine

800 ml boiling water

1 x 2” piece ginger

1 tablespoon tea oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper



Step 1

Wash the lamb chops and drain.

Step 2

Cut the sweet bamboo shoots in half lengthwise and wash. Slice the bamboo diagonally and put aside.

Step 3

Add the sweet bamboo shoots to a pot and fill with enough water to come to the top of them.

Step 4

Bring the bamboo shoots to the boil, and boil for 2-3 minutes.

Step 5

Remove the bamboo shoots with a skimmer and put aside.

Step 6

Add the lamb shops to the water and boil for 20 seconds. Remove and put aside. Discard the water.

Step 7

Wash and slice the ginger.

Step 9

Pour the tea oil in in the pan and spread it to cover the surface.

Step 10

Add the chopped ginger and sauté for a few seconds, and then add the lamb. Stir fry until golden brown.

Step 11

Pour in the cooking wine and simmer for 30 seconds.

Step 12

Pour in the 800ml of boiling water.

Step 13

Skim off the foam floating on the surface with a spoon.

Step 14

Transfer the meat and the liquid to a ceramic soup pot and simmer for 20 minutes.

Step 15

Add the sweet bamboo shoots and continue to simmer the soup on low for one hour.

Step 16

Finally, season with salt and pepper, and serve.


  1. Tea oil has the effect of ridding the ‘fishy’ smell from the meat, however, if you don’t have any tea oil at home, you can use other cooking oil instead.
  2. The green wine can be replaced with cooking wine.
  3. Boiling the sweet bamboo shoots helps to remove the oxalic acid.


Warm and hearty, Sweet Bamboo Shoots and Lamb Soup is a perfect tummy filler for those chilly days. Fragrant and satisfying!

Tiana is a food blogger who loves to cook, she is the creator of https://www.yumofchina.com/, a site that shares authentic Chinese recipes and China culture.

The Racist Reason You Think MSG Is Bad For You

The Racist Reason You Think MSG Is Bad For You

When you think of MSG, what are the first thoughts that come to mind? Probably that MSG is bad for you and that it is used in Chinese food. But have you ever wondered where this belief came from? Have you ever really researched MSG and its relation to Chinese food?

A recent episode of Adam Ruins Everything (one of the best shows on TV) tackled this issue. Even though I live in China and have written about Chinese food quite a bit, I never gave MSG much thought. It can’t be avoided over here, so even though I believed it was an unhealthy food additive, I didn’t worry about it much. (Between the annual milk scandals and cancer-causing rice and water here in China, MSG has been a pretty low-order concern). But I remember when living in the US, everyone seems to know a Chinese restaurant that must be avoided because they used the dreaded MSG.

However, the shocking truth is that this fear of MSG is far more rooted in racism than concern for public health. As Adam Conover explains in “Adam Ruins Spa Day“, MSG was discovered and created by Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda in 1907. The seasoning caught on, not just in East Asia, but around the world. By the 1950s, every restaurant and chef in the world was using it, and it was a staple in most American kitchens.

“In 1968, the New England Journal of Medicine published a letter from a doctor complaining about radiating pain in his arms, weakness and heart palpitations after eating at Chinese restaurants. He mused that cooking wine, MSG or excessive salt might be to blame. Reader responses poured in with similar complaints, and scientists jumped to research the phenomenon. “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” was born.”

So even though MSG was used by almost everyone at the time, this doctor only pointed the finger at Chinese restaurants, inexorably linking MSG to Chinese restaurants and Chinese food ever since.

And lest you doubt the racial component here, have you ever heard anyone complain about MSG in Doritos? Or Campbell’s Soup? No. The only times I have ever heard anyone complain about MSG is in relation to Chinese food.

But is there a reason to worry about MSG in your food? No. No study has ever found a link between MSG and supposed “side effects.” In fact, MSG is naturally occurring in your own body and you would die without it.

The history of MSG, the xenophobic reactions to it, and the extreme ways chefs are trying to recreate MSG without the negative stigma is all pretty fascinating and I encourage you read more about it and check out Adam Ruins Everything.

Check out The Crazy Dumplings Cookbook!

Dumplings. Wontons. Jiaozi. This remarkably simple food is found throughout Asia and in Chinese restaurants and kitchens around the world, but have you ever filled a dumpling wrapper with chicken? Lobster? North American Plains Bison? Hardly anyone has! The Crazy Dumplings Cookbook features over 100 recipes with some of the craziest and most delicious dumpling filling recipes you will ever see. From Chicken Taquito Dumplings to Timey-Wimey Dumplings to a dumpling for your dog, Crazy Dumplings will show you all the crazy things you can stuff into a dumpling wrapper for an easy meal or snack.

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Crazy Dumplings II – Final Days!

Crazy Dumplings II – Final Days!

Hard to believe the Crazy Dumplings II Kickstarter campaign is almost over! There are only 4 days left for you to back Crazy Dumplings II and get some great backer rewards. So if you haven’t backed us already, what are you waiting for?

If you back, you’ll get a Thank You from me (along with a really awesome cookbook!) just like all these awesome people:

Just some of our awesome backer rewards!
Just some of our awesome backer rewards!

Heather Morgan, Kathleen Young Tejeda, Brendan Clougherty, Richard Telford, Erin Foster, João Paulo Bonatelli, Julia Jimenez, McCloud!, Joschka Schaffner, Jolene Schleicher, Florian Schupp, David Krouse, Holly Brown BSc Hons, SKDouglass, Alvin Vincent Leung, Shaunda L Bowman, Eric, John Rommel, Shelly Wright, Kerry, Jose C. Pombo, Andreas Clauss, Dan Pierson, Bob S., Hector Vega, Karren Orozco, Welmoed Sisson, Mike, Thomas Mögel, Alex Charles, Richard Glenn-Reller, Sara Chitown, Andrea L, Cesar De La Riva, Thuong Tran, SK, Gloria Salvetti, Tobias, Trisha Seaman, John Clayton, Elisha Alford, Skye Norton, Jason Graffius, The Thornton Bros., Alan Walendowski, Cole Whitney, James Hutton, Neville Isles, Nick Jardine, Jared Lovett, Angelica Garrison, Paul Arpaia, Catherine Croft, Anna Hoener, Amanda Miller, Gil Pettingell, Steven Cullity, Týna Dvořáková, Saruta, No one important, Joan T. Masters, Tanya Noreen, Chris Johnson, Eric White, Jessica Weinberg, Alison Radzun, Erin Day, Steve, Abby, Big Bad Boston, Scott Bain, Reece liddicoat, Jess, Anthony, Samantha Meyer, cheryl koval, Savannah Koolaidria Chasing Hawk, Keith Travis, Amanda Wallace, Matthew Pemble, R van Haften, Kevin Chan, Andrew, Viktor J., Kelley Ross, Ruediger Zapf, Jim Bryan, Bill Johnson, Andrew McCarthy, benoita74, Laura Beasley, Ian ‘Smurf’ Murphy, Michelle Wang, Nicole Prince, Seow Wan Yi, GloriousDelicious, Landan Smith, Rebecca Dominguez, Bryan Pace, Breeann Napotnik, Ahmed Mainul Bari, Jean Lee MC, BlackMagicM66, Kimberley Timmings, Steven Rychetnik, Marcus Reed, Angela Day, Benjamin Leow, Sarah, Rich Hussein Gibson, Gunnar Heide Aadland, Arnel, Tristan Hams, Daniel Connolly, montage hix, Julie Viens, ryan mucklin, Katt, Alana Wolfgang-Duran, Steve Eldridge, L. P., Leah Zelnick, and Breánna Hope.

In case you missed it, I have shared some interesting updates through the campaign as well. I got a little person in “Who Are the Two Americans in China?” and shared a recipe inspired by my recent trip to Vietnam in “It’s Over 9,000! Enjoy This Vietnamese-Inspired Dumpling!” Both of those updates are available to everyone, not just backers, so check them out and let me know what you think.

I’m so excited for how well this campaign has gone, and I can’t wait to collect the backer-submitted recipes (check out the $40 reward level!) and put the finishing touches on the book. But it’s not over yet! We still need all the support we can get during the final days, so please support us by backing Crazy Dumplings II: Even Dumplinger or by sharing the campaign on Facebook and Twitter to help us get the word out!

To back Crazy Dumplings II: Even Dumplinger on Kickstarter click here

To share Crazy Dumplings II: Even Dumplinger on Twitter click here

To share Crazy Dumplings II: Even Dumplinger on Facebook click here

Sweet and Spicy Salmon Dumpling Recipe

Sweet and Spicy Salmon Dumpling Recipe

Hi everyone! Today I want to share a really yummy dumpling recipe with you! I already shared this with my backers on Kickstarter, so if you want to get a hundred more dumpling recipes, be sure to check out the campaign!

You can find the dumpling wrapper recipe here.

This flavorful recipe is sweet with a kick of pepper. Sure to be your new favorite!

Sweet and Spicy Salmon Dumplings


This recipe says you can use cooked salmon (maybe from a leftover meal at home or from a restaurant), but you can also used fresh salmon. The dumplings will get hot enough when fried to cook the salmon. You can also use canned salmon in a pinch. 

¾ cup honey
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup pineapple juice
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Dash of paprika
Dash of garlic powder
1 cup cooked salmon, chopped or shredded
12 dumpling wrappers
1 cup of oil, if frying

  1. In a saucepan, add all filling ingredients except salmon and heat over medium heat. Stir occasionally until sauce begins to boil. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes until syrupy.
  2. Remove from heat and blend in salmon.
  3. Drain sauce from salmon and set aside.
  4. Spoon salmon mixture into dumpling wrappers and pinch closed.
  5. Cook dumplings.
    • To fry dumplings, preheat oil in a wok for 30 seconds on high heat, then lower heat to medium. Cook dumplings on each side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.
    • To steam dumplings, place in a steamer basket or on an elevated plate in a wok over water on high heat for about 10 minutes.
  6. Always cut a dumpling open to make sure it is cooked through.
  7. Serve hot with excess sauce for dipping.

To get more than a hundred Crazy Dumpling recipes, check out Crazy Dumplings II: Even Dumplinger, now on Kickstarter!

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.21.24 PM (1)

Throwback Thursday – Learning to Cook

Throwback Thursday – Learning to Cook

CIMG3072As I’ve mentioned before on this blog and in my book, moving to China (especially to a rural area) meant having to relearn how to cook. At our first school, Lanjiang Zhizhong, three of our best students, Zoe, Arlene, and Jack, came over one night to help give me a crash course. Even 4 years later, fried potatoes, egg and tomato soup, and sliced carrots are staples around our house. I’ve come a long way since then, but they helped give me the foundations to start cooking again. CIMG3075

What about you? What struggles with cooking overseas have you had to deal with? How did you cope?

Crazy Dumplings is here!

Crazy Dumplings is here!

print book cover

It’s here! It’s here! After more than a year of work, Crazy Dumplings is finally available on Amazon Kindle. It should be available in paperback from Amazon in a couple of days.

What is Crazy Dumplings? Dumplings are found throughout Asia and in Chinese restaurants and kitchens around the world, but have you ever filled a dumpling wrapper with chicken? Lobster? North American Plains Bison? Hardly anyone has! The Crazy Dumplings Cookbook features over 100 recipes with some of the craziest and most delicious dumpling filling recipes you will ever see. From Chicken Taquito Dumplings to Timey-Wimey Dumplings to a dumpling for your dog, Crazy Dumplings will show you all the crazy things you can stuff into a dumpling wrapper for an easy meal or snack.

Crazy Dumplings is my first cookbook, and it pre-sold over 400 copies on my Kickstarter campaign this summer. The recipes are fun, delicious, and unique. Be sure to get your copy today!


Vegetarian Thai Peanut Stir Fry Dumplings

Vegetarian Thai Peanut Stir Fry Dumplings

fbb567ef4ac6988e1d8252c098d8c1b5_largeThese were made for Kickstarter backer Jay Haney, who wanted something peanutty and vegetarian. My husband declared them “pretty good for vegetarian.” This recipe is really versatile. You can use whatever veggies you like; the ones listed here are just examples. You could even use frozen mixed vegetables and just mash them or chop them up smaller after they cook. All the ingredients have to be chopped up really small to go into the dumpling wrapper. This recipe also has a kick thanks to the chili garlic sauce. If you can’t find chili garlic sauce or don’t want it spicy, you can leave it out.

Vegetarian Thai Peanut Stir Fry Dumplings

½ cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp cornstarch
¼ cup peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup water
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 cups chopped vegetables (onion, broccoli florets, carrots, peas, mushrooms, eggplant)
12 dumpling wrappers

  1. In a sauce pan, whisk cornstarch into vegetable broth. Add peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and chili garlic sauce and mix well.
  2. Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously. Lower heat to low and keep stirring until sauce thickens. Set aside.
  3. In a wok, heat vegetable oil on medium heat. Add vegetables and water and cover. Let veggies steam until veggies are tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Mix cooked veggies and half of the sauce mixture together in a bowl.
  5. Rinse out the wok so you can use it to fry the dumplings.
  6. Spoon veggie mixture into dumpling wrappers and pinch closed.
  7. To fry dumplings, preheat oil for 30 second on high heat, then lower heat to medium. Cook dumplings on each side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Serve hot with remaining sauce mixture.

We are in countdown mode on the Crazy Dumplings campaign now, only 13 days left! So jump over to Kickstarter and support me if you haven’t yet. 

Crazy Dumplings Are Now On Kickstarter!

Crazy Dumplings Are Now On Kickstarter!

I just relaunched my Kickstarter campaign to raise funding and support for my first cookbook, Crazy Dumplings! I have been cooking and writing in China for almost 4 years now (geeze, has it been that long?), and I have been wanting to write a cookbook since almost the beginning. This will definitely only be the first cookbook I’ll complete in the next two years. But this is the one that has come together the easiest and been the most fun.

front coverCrazy Dumplings is a food fusion cookbook that combines traditional Chinese dumplings with crazy fillings such as buffalo chicken, taco, and apple pie.

Crazy Dumplings will contain over 40 dumpling recipes as well as recipes for various dumpling sauces and dips. People who back at the $40 level will also be able to contribute their own crazy dumpling ideas to the book. For just $5, people will receive an e-copy of the book. For just $15, people will receive a printed copy of the book.





duplingerThere are also lots of other special thank yous people will receive for backing the project. The most popular thank you gift is the amazing dumpling dumplinger! This handy tool will help you make perfect dumplings every single time.




teaAnother thank you that I am very proud to offer is a very special tea blend that I made myself. The tea, containing peach infused jasmine, strawberry oolong tea, and blueberries, among other flavors, is sourced from a local tea producer and will be sent in very lovely Chinese tins.

There are also many other crazy gifts for backers, so be sure to checkout the campaign and back Crazy Dumplings at the level that is right for you.

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