Tag: asian

sticky soy and honey pork

Sticky soy and honey pork

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 20 minutes + 10 minutes

Serves: 4





2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp clear honey
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
500g piece pork tenderloin
2 nests medium egg noodles
2 tsp sesame oil
Vegetables: baby sweetcorn, pepper, sugar snap peas (whichever ones you like)
small bunch spring onion


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I like to introduce the kids to new tastes and cuisines. It doesn’t always go down well, but this sticky soy and honey pork did – they both polished off, probably because the honey gives it a little tasty, sticky, sweetness. You can get your toddler to help prepare this in advance so you just need to cook it just before you serve it.


Prepare the pork and vegetables
Trim any excess fat from the meat and cut into bite size pieces. I didn’t get Hannah to help with this, but if your child is older and confident with a sharp knife they could do this step.
If they can, get your toddler to help you cut the peppers and any other vegetables you’re using into nice strips. Hannah cut some of the peppers with a blunt knife, but had a bit more success helping me with a sharp knife (I put my hand over hers to help guide the knife, making sure no fingers were in the way.)



Prepare the sauce
Get your toddler to help measure the soy sauce, ketchup, honey and Chinese five spice into a bowl.



Add the pork and give it a stir so all the meat is coated.


Cook the noodles
Add the noodles to a pan and cook according to the packet instructions. (We just added boiling water and cooked for a few minutes.) Drain and keep back a little (50ml) of water.

Cook the stir fry
This step I mostly did on my own with Hannah watching as I don’t quite trust her around the hot pan.

Heat the sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the pork and sauce and cook for a few minutes until the meat has browned. Add the vegetables and spring onions and continue to stir fry. Add the remaining noodle water to help steam the vegetables.


 sticky soy and honey pork


Add the cooked noodles to the wok and stir so everything is coated in the sauce.


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vegetable spring rolls

Vegetable spring rolls

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 30 minutes + 30 minutes cooking

Serves: 4 as a side






50g vermicelli noodles
1 medium carrot (or 2 small), grated
3 spring onions, finely chopped
½ red pepper, finely sliced
75g Beansprouts
Thumbsized peice of ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp Chinese five spice
8 spring roll wrappers
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp water


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We’ve got a Chinese supermarket near us and when I was in there recently I came across some spring roll wrappers which got me thinking of another cooking project for Hannah. I thought vegetable spring rolls would be easiest as they don’t require any pre-cooking and found a Jamie Oliver recipe I was able to simplify a wee bit. We had them as a side with our dinner but they would make a nice lunch treat or snack.


Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C Fan

Combine the ingredients in a bowl
Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. We just cooked them on the hob for a few minutes. Once cooked let them cool then add them to a bowl.

Prepare the vegetables and add to your bowl. I did this part in advance as the kids can’t really help with chopping yet.

Add the beansprouts to your vegetables.


Peel the ginger then get your toddler to help you grate it into the bowl.


Get your toddler to help you measure the soy sauce and oyster sauce and add that to your vegetables. I normally hold the measuring spoon and get Hannah to pour the sauce into it or vice versa. Add the Chinese five spice. Give everything a good mix.


In a small bowl, spoon in the cornflour and water and mix together until you have a thin paste.

Make the vegetable spring rolls
Lay a spring roll wrapper down on a clean surface with a point facing towards you. Get your child to spoon 2 table spoons of your mixture on to the bottom corner of the paper.

Brush each corner of the wrapper with the cornflour mixture then start rolling from the bottom up. Try and make it quite tight (Hannah needed a little help with this). When the filling is covered fold the corners in to seal the edges then keep rolling until the top corner is sealed down.


Cook the spring rolls
Lay on a baking sheet. Continue until you have made all your spring rolls.


Pop them in the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until the spring rolls are golden and crispy.

An alternative way to cook these is to heat a litre of oil in wok or saucepan. Cook the spring rolls in batches for 2-3 minutes until they’re golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Serve with a sweet chilli dipping sauce.

vegetable spring rolls

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steamed bao buns

Steamed Bao buns

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 45 minutes + 4 hours proving

Serves: 8

525g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1½ tbsp caster sugar, plus a pinch
½ tsp salt
1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
50ml milk
1 tbsp sunflower oil , plus extra for greasing and brushing
1 tbsp rice vinegar
200ml water
1 tsp baking powder


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We made these bao buns to go with some char sui (bbq pork) we had cooked in the slow cooker. They take a bit of time, mainly because having to leave them to rise twice, but I think they’re worth the effort. As well as the pork, we served them with some pickled carrot which added a tasty crunch. The recipe makes a lot, but extra buns, once steamed, can be frozen.You can make the dough by hand or using a mixer with a dough hook. There’s still plenty for your little one to help with even if you don’t do all the kneading by hand.


Mix the ingredients together
Measure the flour, sugar and salt into your mixer.*

Dissolve the yeast and a pinch of salt in a tbsp of warm water, then add it to the flour with the milk, oil, vinegar and the water.

* If you’re not using a mixer, mix everything together in a bowl before kneading on a floured work surface for 10-15 minutes or until it’s smooth.

Make the dough
Use the dough hook on a medium setting for around 5 minutes until the dough has come together in a nice smooth ball. Add a splash more water if you need to.

Place in an oiled bowl, cover then set aside in a warm place for 2 hours until doubled in size.

Make the bao buns
Line a few baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Tip the dough out onto a clean work surface and get your child to punch it down (to get the air out). Flatten it with your hands then sprinkle over the baking powder. Knead with your hands for 5 minutes.




Roll out the dough into a long sausage about 3cm thick. Cut into pieces about 3cm wide (you should end up with about 18).



Get your child to help you roll each piece of dough into a ball and leave to rest for a few minutes.


Together, use a rolling pin to roll each ball into an oval shape about 3-4mm thick. Brush the top with a little oil, and brush a little extra oil over a chopstick.



Place the chopstick on to the middle of the bun, fold it in half then pull out the chopstick.



Place on your baking tray. Hannah enjoyed helping with this bit the most which meant I could roll them out while she was busy doing this.

Once all your buns are done, cover each baking tray with lightly oiled cling film or a tea towel then leave to prove in a warm place for about an hour and a half or until doubled in size.



Steam the bao buns
Steam the buns for 8 minutes or so until they have puffed up. We tried a few in our bamboo steamer but to save having to do loads of batches we got the electric steamer out and managed most of them at the same time.


steamed bao buns 


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