Phoenix & The Feasts Preview

Page 1


A collection of recipes from a Chinese-Canadian family

Taylen Lee-Chin

in Canada First Printing, 2023 Credits
Published in collaboration by Turn/Up Press and the Belzberg Library, SFU Vancouver. Simon Fraser University 515 West Hastings St. Vancouver, BC, V6B 5K3
Copyright © 2023 Taylen Lee-Chin Phoenix & The Feasts All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the editor. Printed
Designer: Taylen Lee-Chin Editor: Taylen Lee-Chin Photographer: Taylen Lee-Chin

To my grandparents, who sacrificed so much to start a new life in Canada.

Lois Pui Chik Lee

Charlie Quon Lee

Ngan Sung Chin

In loving memory of my grandfather, Tuck Ming Chin

TABLE OF CONTENTS 6 Foreward 11 Tips & Tricks 12 Sauces 14 Ginger Scallion Oil 15 All About The Snacks QUICK & EASY 20 Instant Ramen 22 Chinese Sausage & Rice 24 Basic Soup Stock 26 Chicken Corn Soup DIM SUM MORE 30 Watch & Learn 32 Gerry's Fried Chicken 34 Vegetarian Egg Rolls 36 Wrapping Egg Rolls 38 Daikon Cake 40 Chinese Sausage Scones 42 Steamed Buns 44 Forming Steamed Buns DISHES AT THE FEASTS 48 My Dad's Congee 52 Chicken Congee 56 Sticky Rice 58 Julie's Kale Salad 62 Anise Root Salad 64 Fried Rice 66 1-2-3-4-5 Ribs 68 Poached Chicken 70 Tomato & Beef 72 Steamed Minced Pork 74 Bamboo Leaf Sticky Rice 76 Wrapping Sticky Rice THE SWEETS 82 Food, Families, Laughter & Love 86 Almond Float 88 Crown Jewel Dessert 90 Malay Cake 92 Chiffon Cake 95 Acknowledgements 96 About the Author
(Outer rim pattern) Chock-full of goodness; representing longevity, prosperity, peace, altruism, and good health. (The Bat) A symbol for good luck. 工 (Gong) The Chinese character for "work"; representing the working class.



Some of the recipes in this book ask to use shortening, but standard products such as margarine, butter and cooking oil will work as well.


If you have a bamboo steamer, great! Otherwise, a deep dish with a steamer rack will work too. Make sure that there is enough water to begin the process so that the pan does not dry out, but not too much so that the water pools into your dish. In steaming dishes such as cakes and buns, wrap a towel around the lid to prevent droplets from dripping on the surface, which may cause dark spots to appear. Allow items to cook for their stated time to allow heat to retain during cooking time.


When cooking veggies, always cut the ends of the vegetables off. Adding oil, salt, ginger, and garlic will help make vegetables colourful and tasty.


With a bamboo chopstick, place the chopstick tip in oil. If bubbles form around the chopstick, the oil is hot enough to be ready for frying. When frying, make sure you remove as much liquid as possible; hot oil and water do not mix. Make sure the tip of the item enters the pot from the rim closest to you and then place the rest of the item away from you. This will reduce the chances of oil splashing toward you.

Prep time is the most time that is spent cooking, so make sure to leave lots of time.

This book uses a mixture of measurement systems, but mainly imperial. Please refer to another resource for conversion equivalents. This book also uses the traditional Chinese writing system in Cantonese and been simplified without accents for phonetic pronunciation.



Approximately 1 serving size, refer to ramen package

1 package of instant ramen

Additional ingredients of choosing

Although the noodles may seem slightly undercooked, when the noodles are submerged in soup, they will continue cooking until ready to eat.

A childhood afternoon snack that always paired nicely with a grilled cheese sandwhich. Some of my favourite additions to include are preserved radishes with chili, some veggies and a protein.

In a medium pot, boil about 3 cups of water. When water is boiled, open a package of instant noodles and submerge the noodles in the water. Let the noodles cook for about a minute. When the noodles begin to separate, cook for another 30 seconds then immediately transfer into a serving bowl and drain the water into the sink.

For the soup, boil another 2 cups of water. Add the soup seasoning pack, stir and add any other additional ingredients of your choosing. Once boiled, add the soup to noodles and serve.



Cheung Jien (春捲) • Makes around 24 servings

1 package or 2 cups of bean sprouts

2 large carrots

4 cups or half a Taiwanese cabbage

3 cloves of garlic

1 tsp salt

1 egg

About 4 to 6 cups of oil for frying

Taiwanese cabbage is recommended as it cooks softer than green, savoy and red cabbage. After cooking vegetables and during the cooling process, make sure to drain any large amounts of access water out before wrapping egg rolls and deep frying.

In a small bowl, soak the bean sprouts for about 10 minutes. Pour into a collider to drain all access water out. Set aside. Cut up the carrots, onions, and cabbage into medium-large julienne slices. Dice gloves of garlic.

In a large oiled pan at medium-high heat, add garlic and onions once the pan is hot. Caramelize the onions, then add the carrots. Stir together and add salt. After about a minute, add the cabbage. Break apart the cabbage in the pan to get rid of any large chunks stuck together. Once the vegetables are about semi-cooked, add the bean sprouts and stir. Turn off the stovetop and take the pan off the heat to let the vegetables cool to stop them from cooking further.

Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, crack an egg and mix to prepare the egg wash. When vegetables have cooled down, egg rolls are now ready to fold (see page 36 on the folding method). Once all egg rolls are prepared, in a separate large pot, add oil and set at medium heat. Set a cooling rack on the counter.

When the oil is at around 335°F and the oil has been tested with a chopstick, place about 3–4 egg rolls in the pot. Cook for around 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the egg rolls and place them on top of the cooling rack. Let it rest and cool before serving.



Loosely follow instructions and use photos for reference

Prepared egg roll filling (refer to page 35)

2 packages of egg roll wraps

Bowl of egg wash

This is one of the easier methods to wrap the egg roll together if you are limited in the size of the egg roll wrap. When beginning, you can also rotate the egg roll wrap in a diamond shape to make it look more like a cylinder for the finished product.

With a whole lot of crunch and just vegtables, these egg rolls are a favourite amongst family and friends at our home dinner parties.

Lay out the egg roll wrap as a rectangular square and place about 2 tbsp of filling as a line in the center.

Brush the egg wash along each side. Fold the bottom edge upward and make ⅓ of a fold. Press along the side of the egg roll to help enclose it together. Brush the egg wash along the outer bottom-center edge of the egg roll wrap, then fold the top edge downward ⅓ to wrap the roll together. Ensure there are no openings so that the filling cannot spill out.

Once done, place it on the cookie sheet. Repeat the process for the remaining egg roll wraps. Make sure none of the egg rolls touch each other and there’s space in between. Egg rolls can be frozen for several weeks.



Bao (包子) • Makes 16–20 buns

1 package of active dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp)

Rice bowl of lukewarm water

1 tsp white sugar

½ cup white sugar

2 heaping tbsp of Crisco shortening

½ tsp salt

1 cup milk

⅔ cup boiled water

Approx. 5 cups flour

Ensure liquids are at a lukewarm temperature, as being too hot will kill the yeast. If buns are not being cooked right away, leave them at room temperature and only place them in the oven before steaming.

In a small bowl, mix together lukewarm water and a teaspoon of sugar. Add the yeast, stir and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Bubbles will form and yeast will turn into a fluffy-like texture on the surface.

In a large bowl, mix together shortening, salt and sugar. When yeast is ready, prepare milk and hot water in a large measuring cup. Add yeast and milk mixture into the bowl. Combine together. Add in 2 cups of flour and mix. Continue to add 1 cup of flour at a time. When the mixture begins to thicken, begin kneading the dough. Knead until smooth and fully combined. If the dough still sticks to the bowl or hands, continue to add very small amounts of flour.

Divide dough into 5 parts and cut 20 pieces. Form into small-sized balls. Buns are now ready to fold (see page 44 on the folding method). When the buns are prepared, set the oven to 200°F. When heated, place the buns in the oven and turn the oven off. Leave for about 10 minutes to rise.

Prepare steamer with high heat, bring to boil, turn it down to medium-high heat. Place buns to steam on a separate plate or place them directly inside the steamer. Steam for 15 minutes. Ensure filling is cooked, modify cooking time accordingly.



Loosely follow instructions and use photos for reference

Steamed bun dough

(from page 42)

20 2”x2” wax paper squares

2 cookie sheets

2 tea towels

Wear gloves when kneading to prevent the dough from sticking to hands. If the filling is too oily, this will make wrapping the buns more difficult as the dough will not stick together. If making buns with multiple fillings, use red food colouring and a chopstick to identify each bun with a dot or two.

A childhood favourite that can be eaten sweet or savoury. On old family trips over to Victoria, my Po Po learned how to make this dough from a family friend. I’ve learned that it takes lots of practice to fully learn how to wrap these quickly. For a full demonstration, watch the video from the link or QR code.

Place prepared dough balls on 2 cookie sheets and cover over with a tea towel. This will ensure the dough does not dry out while in the process of wrapping.

Flatten a dough ball and place it in the center of your right or left hand. By using your thumb and index finger, pinch the edges upward. This could leave the base of the bun thicker than the outer edges.

With your filling of choice, place about a tablespoon in the center of the disk. Using your right thumb and index finger, create even pleats along the top of the bun counterclockwise. Work your way around the bun until finished. Pinch the top together to fully enclose and reform the bun into a ball. Place finished bun on a pre-cut square of wax paper.





My father Dick Lee was known for his congee. Classified by myself as a comfort food, my dad would make this dish as a midnight snack or bring it to the hospital when visiting family and friends who were recovering from illness.

The photo on the right is of the notes I took one day while following my dad around the kitchen as he made his famous “jook” as we knew it to be called. In English it is congee.

Congee or conjee is a type of rice porridge or gruel eaten in Asian countries. It can be eaten plain, where it is typically served with side dishes, or it can be served with ingredients such as meat, fish, seasonings and flavourings, most often savory, but sometimes sweet.

Growing up, my parents used to play poker and Mah Jong with family members after a celebratory gathering such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. These parties went so late into the night that my cousins & I would fall asleep after playing with our Barbie & Ken dolls. The adults would lay us down to sleep on a bed width wise - head to toe - so that we would all fit. Then as the morning came, our parents would bundle us up and carry us to the car for a late/early ride home as the sun rose.

Eventually these all night poker and Mah Jong games occurred more frequently. In addition to holiday parties it was a reason for everyone to get together, socialize and invite friends to join in on the fun.


When it was my parents’ turn to host a gathering, my dad would start the day by preparing the ingredients for congee and my mom would start setting up the rooms for the potential players and get the dishes ready for the evening’s midnight snack.

As a teenager, I remember coming home through the front door after a night out with my friends to hear loud talking, laughing and the “clacking” of Mah Jong tiles through the smokey room of poker players. Typically the men would play poker and the women would play Mah Jong, but this wasn’t a hard and fast rule as sometimes an uncle would join the ladies to make up the 4 required to play a game.

At around 11:30 pm, everyone would come up for air from the heavy gambling (they made friendly bets of 25–50 cents). Everyone would gather around the kitchen island, tell stories, tease each other and gossip while my dad made the finishing touches to his jook before serving it as the night’s feature amongst the table full of snacks & treats.

Jook became a tradition whenever the party was at our house, and dad was proud to serve up his special dish every single time. His recipe came from years of experimenting with different ingredients and talking to cooks from the back door of various Chinese restaurants about their culinary secrets. There were no measurements - a little bit of this and a dash of that - but I think the most important ingredient was his huge love of cooking. Dad was not a man who expressed his feelings through words but through carefully crafted dishes like Cornish game hen and various accompaniments to rice for everyday dinners. He was happy providing a good meal for those he cared about. It was his gift to us all.

Pictured (left to right): Ann Jo, Louise (Rose) Chinn and Dick Lee


Gai Jook (鷄粥) • Makes 16–20 servings

1 cup Japanese rice

Pinch of salt

1 tsp oil

13 cups of water/ chicken stock

½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms

Raw chicken with bones

½ cup dried tofu or bean curd

(Optional) ½ cup fresh, unskinned raw peanuts

1 tbsp light soy sauce

Dash of whisky

2 tsp cornstarch

1 sliver of ginger

1 tsp of oil

Be patient when waiting for the congee to thicken. Let it boil for the recommended time, then allow it too keep cooking when it is simmering.

Refer to page 50 for the story of this marvelous congee.


In a large bowl, wash the rice in lukewarm water. Drain the water and repeat the process 2 more times using cold water. Refill the bowl with cold water, just enough so that the rice is fully immersed. Add a pinch of salt and oil and leave to soak overnight. In 3 separate small-medium bowls, soak the mushrooms, bean curd and peanuts overnight.


Debone the chicken and separate the meat and the bones. In a large pot, place bones and make a chicken stock (refer to page 24). With the meat, cut into small pieces. In a medium bowl, combine with ingredients for the marinade. Set aside.


After the soaking process, drain out the access water from all soaking ingredients. Slice the mushrooms and tofu into small strips. In a large pot, measure out the amount of chicken stock made, then add the remaining water to add 13 cups of liquid to the pot. Place on the stove at high heat for half an hour. Once boiled, add rice, mushrooms, raw chicken and peanuts. Stir ingredients, but not too often as this can make the congee too watery.



Make sure not to stir the dish too much when cooking

This recipe has been adapted from the original notes of the recipe (shown on page 48). As bone fragments may appear in the main meal when cooked together, this dish was attempted by cooking the chicken bones separately to still incorporate all the flavours into the dish.

After half an hour, check the congee. If the consistency is too thick, add a little bit of boiling water. Once it’s at the right consistency, bring it to the lowest heat and leave for 2+ hours. Continue to stir regularly, but not too much. 15 minutes before serving, remove the ginger from the chicken marinate and add all contents into the congee. Add salt for taste and choose to serve alongside ginger and soy sauce.



Noh Mai Fan (臘味糯米飯)

4 cups glutinous rice

1 cup jasmine rice

1 can chicken stock

1 can water

2 strips Chinese sausage

4/5 shiitake mushrooms

2-3 tbsp oyster flavour sauce

You can either choose to cook the sauage and mushrooms separately, or you can cook in along with all the other contents in the rice cooker.

• Makes 8–10 servings

One of the Lee family's favourite dinner dishes that everyone always looks forward to eating.

Measure out the rice and add it to the rice pot. Wash rice then drain all water out. Add one can of chicken stock, then refill with water and add a can of water to the pot. Turn on the rice cooker.

Prepare the steamer and set it on the stove at medium-high heat. Place Chinese sausage and mushrooms in a medium-deep dish and steam for about 10-15 minutes. When cooked, remove from steamer and dice into small pieces. After the rice has finished, fluff the rice and add the Chinese sausage and mushrooms. Stir, then add oyster flavour sauce. Prepare for serving and garnish with green onions.



Buk Chi Gai (白切鸡) • Makes 4–6 servings

3-4lb whole chicken

3 chunks of ginger

1-3 green onions (cut to 4”-5” pieces)

During the cooking when the lid is on the pot, do not attempt to remove the lid as this will release heat and throw off the duration of the cooking process.

This chicken recipe is fantastic to not only served as a Chinese-styled dish, but also another as another method to cook moist and juicy chicken for other recipes.

In a very large pot, fill with water and add the ginger and green onions. Bring the water to a boil, then put the chicken in the water. Bring the water back to a boil then turn heat down and simmer for 10 minutes at medium heat with the lid on. No peeking. Take off the heat and leave for 45 minutes with the lid on. When time is up, fill another large pot with water and ice and transfer the chicken to the ice bath for 30 minutes. Cut up the chicken and serve with the ginger scallion sauce (found on page 14).



Doong / Joong (廣式粽) • Makes 16–20 servings

2 lb glutinous rice

2 strips Chinese sausage

1 lb raw pork loin/belly

3 dried shiitake mushrooms

1 lb yellow mung beans

80 large bamboo leaves (about 3 per serving)

10 pieces salted duck egg (approx. 2 raw salted duck eggs)

Ball of twine


1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp cooking wine

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp five spice powder

1 tbsp oil

Any of the ingredients mentioned can be substituted, however, it is recommended to include the duck yolk as well as one protein ingredient.


Pre-soak the mushrooms, mung beans, and bamboo leaves overnight. Wash the rice under cold water then leave it to pre-soak overnight.Cut up the pork into small pieces and place into a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix all pork marinade ingredients together. Add to the pork, combine and leave to marinate overnight.


Because the eggs have fermented, the yolk is “harder” than a standard chicken egg. Separate the egg whites from the yolks and cut the yolks into about 10 small pieces.

Drain out excess water from the rice, mushrooms, mung beans and bamboo leaves. Add and drain the water from the bamboo leaves about 2 more times to ensure they are cleaned. Cut up the mushrooms and Chinese sausage into small strips. All ingredients are now ready for assembly (see page 76 for wrapping method).

Once all the sticky rice has been wrapped together, place all the sticky rice into a large pot and fill it with water. Make sure all portions are submerged and leave about 1–1½ inches of water, as the sticky rice will expand and collect water when cooking. Turn stovetop to high heat until the water is boiled, then reduce to medium heat and cook for about 4 hours.



Loosely follow instructions and use photos for reference

Bamboo leaves


Chinese sausage

Mung beans

Shiitake mushrooms

Marinated pork

Duck egg yolks

Ball of twine

Try to be consistent with the size of each sticky rice wrap. Varying sizes may result in some of the wraps undercooked or overcooked. Place twine on the ground to help control the tension when wrapping the sticky rice together.

Take 2 bamboo leaves and stagger them so that one overlaps the other halfway. Make sure that the outerside containing the vein is on the outside of the wrap; this will reduce the contents sticking to the leaf when eating. Take the two ends and cross them over each other to create a “pocket” at the base and a V-shape at the top; the more narrow the V-shape, the tighter the pocket will hold.

Fill the pocket with about ¼ cup of rice. Then layer with a couple scoops of mung beans, one piece of mushroom, Chinese sausage, pork and egg yolk. Top it off with one more scoop of rice before proceeding to wrap.

Taking another bamboo leaf, create another layer on the outside by overlapping half of the leaf around the pocket. Fold the left side of the outer leaf inwards to wrap the contents together, then take the right side and wrap it around. The pocket should now be enclosed on the sides. Pinch the top of the sticky rice with your thumb and index finger. Tap the wrap on the table to pack contents together. Fold the top down towards one of the bottom corners of the wrap to fully enclose it together.

Take the twine and leave about an 8 inch tail. Start at the center and wrap the tail of the string in one direction about 3–5 times. When completed, begin winding the connected end of the twine in the same direction about 3–5 times. Cut the twine and secure both ends together.



Loosely follow instructions and use photos for reference

Commonly made and served during the month of June in the time of the Dragon Boat Festival season, the history of sticky rice has a folklore of their own This recipe is also dedicated to my Ying Ying, who showed me these steps at the time of creating this book. I’ve learned that it takes lots of practice to fully learn how to wrap these quickly. For a full demonstration, watch the video at the link below.

Make sure the twine does not wrap around too tightly, as the sticky rice will expand during cooking. If too tight, slightly loosen by moving the strings around to create room. Repeat process for all remaining ingredients.

Pictured (left to right): Pearl Cumyow, Rose Mah, Ida Lee, Lois Lee and Gladys Gee



Ma Lai Go (马拉糕) • Makes 2 cakes

5 eggs

1 ½ cups brown sugar

¾ cup evaporated milk

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup melted shortening

2 cups flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

Make sure the pan or steamer has enough depth to allow the cake to rise during cooking time.

A lightly sweetened, fluffy brown sugar sponge cake that pairs nicely with a cup of tea. In my childhood, I remember my Gung Gung would often make this and practice on getting his recipe just right. This recipe is also dedicated to Charlie Lee and Gladys Lee.

Separate the egg whites from yolks and place into separate small bowls. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar together for about 5 minutes until thick and lemon-like colour. Add evaporated milk, vanilla and shortening. Beat the mixture for about 1 minute. In a separate large bowl, sift in and combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Fold dry ingredients into the egg mixture in small increments. Make sure not to over-mix the batter.

Using a mixer, add egg whites and quickly froth together for about 4–5 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Fold in egg whites into the batter. To ensure bubbles remain from frothing, combine them into the batter slowly and carefully.

Line a 9-inch cake pan or steamer with parchment paper. Pour in half the batter and steam for 30 minutes over high heat. Do not lift the lid during cooking time. When complete, let it stand for about 5 minutes before serving. Repeat cooking process for the other half of the batter.



Makes 1 cake

8 or 9 eggs (5 egg yolks)

2 cups flour

1 ½ cup sugar

1 tsp salt

3 tsp baking powder

½ cup cooking oil

1 tsp vanilla

¾ cup warm milk

½ tsp cream of tartar

When the cake has finished baking, allow the cake to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing it from the pan. Choose to serve with powdered sugar on top, icing or berries alongside.

These chiffon cakes were once made and brought to many family gatherings where Ida and her sister, Stella, would see who could make the best chiffon cake.

Separate egg whites from egg yolks. Set aside egg whites and 5 egg yolks for later use. In a mixer bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine together. With the dry ingredients, make a well in the center and add oil, egg yolks, vanilla and warm milk. Beat ingredients together on low speed until combined, then beat on high speed for 6 minutes until pale and smooth.

In a large bowl, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat till stiff peaks form. Pour the batter in thin streams over the surface of the egg whites. Fold gently without lifting the spatula to the surface while folding for 15 minutes.

Pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan. Bake at 325°F for 60–70 minutes. When finished, invert pan to cool.



Firstly, I want to thank my parents, Gerry and Ava, who are my biggest supporters in every project I create and are there with me throughout the entire process, from the initial idea to the final product. Shoutout to my brother, Declan, for trying out all the food we made and always giving me helpful feedback.

To my Po Po, Lois Lee, who showed me her cooking techniques of some of my favourite recipes of hers, right from her kitchen. To my Ying Ying, Ngan Sung Chin, who showed me her techniques in mastering the skill in how to wrap bamboo sticky rice. To my Gung Gung, Charlie Lee, who I am very thankful to continue to learn more about his stories of being a World War II veteran and part of the Special Operations Executive of Force 136.

I would like to thank the following family members who have contributed and supported me throughout this project: Ida Lee, Randy Lee, Julie Lee, Teri Lee, Alan Mah, Anna and Jim Rudolph. This project is also dedicated in loving memory of my great aunts and great uncles whose recipes and stories are part of this book, making this project a true labour of love.

Special thanks to Mauve Pagé and Ruth Ormiston, who helped guide me throughout the design and production process.


Taylen Lee-Chin is a third-generation Chinese-Canadian. She is a graphic designer and photographer based out of Vancouver, British Columbia.

For more photos, videos, bonus content and other projects, check out the website or scan the QR code below:

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