The Spice Trade

Industry insider knowledge, and usage tips on spices and other ingredients

Recipe: Zongzi (chinese style dumplings)

Zongzi

Both my Chinese and Japanese grandma make zongzi (or chimaki in Japanese). Yet, they differ quite a bit. The ones made by my Japanese grandma are very simple and eaten with sweetened kinako (roasted soy bean powder). On the contrary, the ones made by my Chinese grandma contain lots of seasoned ingredients. Today, I’d like to share the recipe for a Chinese version. It takes a bit of preparation time but it’s worth it 😀 Photo: Raita Futo Recipe: Zongzi Yield: About 10-12 zongzi Ingredients 300g glutinous rice (the same kind used for making sticky rice or mochi) 200g pork shoulder loin ∗ … keep reading

Recipe: Tortilla Chip Dip

Tortilla Chips Dip

In the year Japan was struck with Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake, I was living in Tokyo. I used to go to Ueno Park often for a stroll and whenever I got hungry, I went into Hard Rock Cafe located in Ueno station. I always ordered the same dish, Nachos. The combination of crispy corn tortilla with slightly hot tomato salsa and melted cheese on top was a treat for me. It was one of the dish I had missed from the United States. Whenever my father bought tortilla chips and tomato salsa, they were gone in few days because I couldn’t stop eating it! So … keep reading

Recipe: Hibiscus & Rose Tea

Hibiscus & Rose Tea

When my Japanese grandma was in her 30s, she used to make sweetened lemon water and drink it everyday for her skin. She wanted to make her skin lighter in tone. When I was still a child, she used to tell me my skin is too dark. As an Asian myself, I grew up in a culture which adored women with fair skin. According to her standard, my skin was way too dark (haha). When I reached early teen, she gave me a lemon squeezer made of glass so that I can make my own lemon water…makes me smile when … keep reading

Recipe: Homemade Mayonnaise

Homemade Mayonnaise

In some dishes I use mayonnaise instead of cooking oil to fry meat. Yet, each commercially available mayonnaise in the market tastes slightly different from each other. Having tried Regency’s fisherman’s seafood spices, I’ve decided to add it to homemade mayonnaise for a hint of lemony herbs. If you want spicy mayonnaise then you can replace the herbs with cayenne pepper (Adjust the amount to your liking). If you don’t want garlic flavor, you can omit it 😉 Tips: (1) To avoid the mixture separate into liquid and oil, keep whisking vigorously at steps 3 and 4. The mixture tends to separate in … keep reading

Recipe: Raspberry Lemonade with a Hint of Spice

Raspberry Lemonade with s Hint of Spice

Yesterday I was hunting for a sunscreen for my family in a shopping center. Then I came across this product which contained raspberry seed oil. It was actually the first time I saw a sun screen product which contained raspberry seed oil. Raspberry seed oil has been a subject of interest (or controversy) regarding its ultraviolet absorbance property. Yet, I was more curious how they processed the seeds. I wondered what they did with the leftover raspberry fruits and juice. Ah, perhaps they used or sold for raspberry jam. I would have it as raspberry lemonade now! I’m melting in this hot weather. … keep reading

Recipe: Red Kidney Bean Curry (Rajma Masala)

Red Bean Curry

Among Regency’s recently introduced items, vindaloo curry masala is my favorite. The mixture of each spice is perfect that I have been using it not only for Indian curry, but for Japanese curry as well. I have also been using it on non-curry dishes such as fried eggs and they taste delicious with added flavor. The other day, I made red bean curry using vindaloo curry masala and I was wowed. I usually use red bean to make sweets, but I decided to give it a try. What’s good about red bean is that it doesn’t require too much cooking time, and with … keep reading

Recipe: Lentil Soup with Allspice

Lentil Soup with Allspice

I was checking what’s on sale on Regency’s site, and the first item that was on the list was allspice. I use allspice for quite a few dishes from oven baked chicken drumsticks to tomato-based Indian curry. When I first heard of allspice, I thought it was a blend of spices. But actually, they are dried unripe berries! Once you smell its aroma, you know why they were given the name, allspice. This aromatic spice is very useful and I use this every time I make tofu burger. Today I like to share a recipe for tomato-based lentil soup using allspice. … keep reading

Recipe: Spicy Taco Rice

Spicy Taco Rice

I have been to Okinawa only once, and that was when I had just broken up with my first relationship (hahaha, I wanted to enjoy life even though I was still sad, so I chose to travel alone 😉 ) While I was there, I tried local cuisines such as Okinawa soba and goya chanpuru. I also tried yummy sweets, sata andagi. They were so good. But taco rice! I missed taco rice while I was there. So I cooked my own version when I came back. Different households have a different way of cooking taco rice. Many people use lettuce and … keep reading

Recipe: Guacamole

Guacamole

Whenever I go to a supermarket for grocery shopping in Hong Kong, I always see some people buying avocado. What I find it very interesting is the Chinese characters used for avocado, 鳄梨. It literally means “crocodile pear.” It seems they were named that way because the surface of avocado skin resembles that of crocodile’s 😀 It’s always interesting to learn something new. Anyway, I have always been a big fan of this crocodile pear, and I always make guacamole when I make tacos. The addition of lime juice and a bit of hot chili makes avocado dip tastes so good. … keep reading

Recipe: Chicken Quesadillas

Chicken Quesadilla

When I was still living in Yokohama, Japan, my colleagues and I would sometimes have supper together at T.G.I. Friday’s located just outside of Yokohama station. And one of my colleagues always ordered quesadillas. She loved it so much that she didn’t even glance at other dishes on the menu. In Hong Kong, I have a difficulty finding corn flour, but I’ve seen flour tortilla. With right ingredients, quesadillas is not hard to make at home Tips: (1) Some people add cherry tomatoes or fresh coriander to the chicken mixture. (2) This goes very well with guacamole. Enjoy your own arrangement! Recipe: Chicken … keep reading