Cover Image: Summer Pavilion

Even culinary masterminds have to feed themselves while social distancing, so here are their tried-and-tested dishes even home cooks can easily replicate

As we stay cooped up at home, we can't help but miss the simple pleasures in life, such as enjoying a family meal at our favourite Chinese restaurants. So, while waiting for the government to ease the restrictions on dining out, use your free time to learn how to cook. To get you started, we asked some of the celebrated chefs in Singapore to share simple recipes you'll have no trouble whipping up.

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1. Twice-cooked pork

This recipe has actually been in chef Chen Kentaro's family for generations. His grandfather, the culinary legend Chen Ken Mi who introduced Szechuan cuisine in Japan, used to prepare it when he was a child so it holds a lot of fond memories. Back then, garlic scapes were not so common in Japan so cabbage was used as a substitute. That said, Kentaro encourages home cooks to use their creativity in the kitchen especially if some spices and ingredients may not be available. "Don't shy away from making the dishes your own by adding condiments you find the most suitable."

Serves three to four


150g pork belly
140g green cabbage
100g green capsicum
50g Japanese leek, white part
50g Japanese spring onion
As needed cooking oil
1 tbsp chilli oil

Seasoning A
1 tsp fermented black beans (douchi), minced
1/2 tsp grated garlic
1/2 tbsp Chinese fermented rice (jiuniang)
2/3 tbsp chilli bean paste (doubanjiang)

Seasoning B
2/3 tbsp sweet bean paste (tianmianjiang)
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1/2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
A dash of ground white pepper


1. Boil the pork in a large pot of water until the juices run clear when the pork is pricked with a skewer. Cut the pork into 2-mm thick slices.
2. Cut and discard the core from the cabbage, then cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Cut the capsicum into strips. Cut the Japanese leek diagonally into 5-mm slices. Cut the Japanese spring onion into 3-cm lengths.
3. Heat some oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the cabbage and sauté lightly. Transfer the cabbage to a plate. Drain any excess oil from the wok.
4. Place the pork in the wok slice by slice and avoid overlapping them. Allow to brown on both sides.
5. Add the capsicum and Japanese leek, and sauté.
6. Add seasoning A and sauté until fragrant. Return the cabbage to the wok. Add the Japanese spring onion.
7. Add seasoning B and simmer over low heat for the flavours to blend.
8. Add the chilli oil and give it a quick stir. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.

2. Silky scrambled egg assorted seafood hor fun

While this dish is a classic Hong Kong speciality found in Chinese restaurants and zi char stalls, you can easily recreate this at home for your next family meal. Group executive chef Martin Foo uses prawns as the main ingredient, but he suggests customising it to your liking by adding a different vegetable like wong bok, throwing in thinly-sliced pork, or even changing the hor fun to bee hoon. 

Serves one


180g flat rice noodles (hor fun)
20g onions, sliced thinly
20g beansprout
5 sea prawns, approx. 110g, shelled and marinated with pinch of salt and potato starch
75g squid, sliced into rings
40g Hong Kong Choy Sum 1 knob carrot, thinly sliced 1 red chili, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
5g spring onions Cooking oil for frying

Seasoning for hor fun
1/2 tablespoon dark soya sauce 3/4 tablespoon light soya sauce
Gravy Seasoning (to taste, according to preference)
Chicken extract powder Pepper
For Prawn Broth:
1 thumb-sized knob of ginger, sliced 500ml boiling water
For potato starch slurry:
2tbsp potato starch
2 tbsp water
*Remarks: Mix both well together and set aside for use.


To make prawn broth
1. Add oil to a pot over high heat and stir-fry prawn head and shells with ginger till fragrant, about 4-5
2. Add boiling water and simmer stock over low heat for about 15-18 mins until it is reduced to about
3. Set aside for use later.

1. Add oil into frying pan and stir fry onions and beansprouts over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.
2. Add hor fun and stir fry over high heat until hor fun is slightly charred and imbued with wok hei.
3. Add dark soya sauce and light soya sauce and toss to coat strands evenly.
4. Remove hor fun from pan and place on serving plate.
5. Add prawns, squid, choy sum, carrot, red chili and gravy seasoning to the reduced prawn stock.
6. Once stock comes to a boil, add potato starch slurry while stirring gently in a clockwise direction
gently, until stock thickens to a smooth gravy.
7. Remove the pot from the heat, add beaten egg and spring onion. Stir gently to mix.
8. Pour gravy over hor fun and serve.

3. Pan-fried A4 Miyazaki Wagyu beef sirloin with garlic barbecue sauce and sautéed vegetables

It might take some time before we can go back to Cherry Garden for a filling meal, that's why executive Chinese chef Cheng Hon Chau has shared one of his signatures from the lunch and dinner menu, which is surprisingly easy to cook. When preparing the dish, the chef recommends "ensuring the beef sirloin cools down before slicing it (refer to step four) so it retains the texture and taste of the meat".

Serves one to two


Garlic barbecue sauce
100g soya sauce 
30g Japanese teriyaki sauce 
40g honey 
160ml water 
30g yakiniku sauce 
20g sugar 
5g potato starch 
A pinch of deep-fried minced garlic 

Other ingredients
500g Japanese Miyazaki beef sirloin (sliced) 
50g carrot (shredded) 
20g Matsutake mushroom (roots removed) 
20g Bean sprouts (roots removed) 
5g butter 
5g lemon balm (as garnish)
Black pepper (to taste)
Salt (to taste)


1. Add all ingredients for garlic barbecue sauce (except potato starch) into a pot and bring to boil. Once boiled, continue cooking over low heat for 3 minutes and add potato starch. Set aside.
2. Slice the beef sirloin (into 1 cm thickness per piece)
3. Heat oil in frying pan over high heat. Add carrot, matsutake mushroom and bean sprouts and stir fry. Set aside.
4. Heat the butter in a frying pan over high heat. Add the sliced beef sirloin and cook the meat for 3 minutes (flip the meat every 15 to 20 seconds during this step). Once cooked, remove the beef sirloin from the frying pan and let it cool for 3 minutes.
5. Once cooled, slice the beef sirloin into thick shredded pieces.
6. Pan-fried beef sirloin is ready to be served together with stir-fried items in step 3, and add lemon balm as garnish and top it off with garlic barbecue sauce.

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4. Pan-fried prawns in soy sauce

To create a delicious dish, master chef Lap Fai recommends buying fresh prawns (without black spots) and using Hua Ting's special homemade XO chilli sauce to complement the dish. 

Serves three


300g prawns
10g raw green onions
5g ginger

1/2 tbsp oyster sauce 
1 tsp light soy sauce 
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp Hua Ting XO chilli sauce 
Chinese "Shaoxing" wine
Pepper (to taste)
Sesame Oil (to taste)


1. Prepare the prawns by removing the whiskers and intestines. 
2. Prepare raw shallots and dice ginger.
3. Heat the pan with oil and pan-fry prawn till 80 per cent well-dine.
4. Sautée raw shallots and diced ginger, then add pan-fried prawns to the pan
5. Add all seasonings and cook dish evenly; top off with Hua Ting XO chilli sauce and serve.

5. X.O vinegar sauce dumplings

Dumplings are the ultimate comfort food for chef Cheung Siu Kong, who enjoys preparing these for his family. He encourages you to do the same; it's fun to make and wrapping these little goodies makes for a good bonding session with the kids. Chef Cheung recommends not putting too much filling in each wrap, so it doesn't burst during the boiling process. For something more convenient, you can also buy ready-made dumpling wrappers. 

Makes 30 dumplings


Dumpling wrappers 
300g flour
170g water
Dumpling filling
150g minced pork
2 whole shiitake mushrooms
100g chives 
5g salt
5g sugar
8g soy sauce
5g flour
Dipping sauce
10g  spring onion
20g garlic
30g soy sauce
30g aged vinegar
10g Sugar
15g X.O sauce


1. Add water to flour and mix until dough starts to form. Cover in cling wrap and leave to rest for 25 minutes.
2. Knead the dough and cut into small pieces, before rolling each piece to make a thin wrap.
3. Mince the shiitake mushrooms and soak in water.
4. Chop the chives, and fry until fragrant using oil and a dash of salt.
5. Add the minced mushrooms, sugar, soy sauce and flour, and continue frying until well mixed. Set aside the dumpling filling and let it cool.
6. Add filling onto each dumpling wrap and boil for 8 to 10 minutes.
7. Toss the dumplings in the dipping sauce and mix well before serving.

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