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Chef Tiffany Lo with her mum in Jean May
Photograph: Tiffany Lo

Mum's Recipe: Shanghainese rice cake by Tiffany Lo of Jean May

The Pierre Koffmann alumna and chef on her inspiration to cook and her favourite mum's recipe for Mother’s Day

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Written by
Fontaine Cheng
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For the next instalment of our Mother’s Day recipe series – where five Hong Kong chefs share their moments with mum as well as simple and nostalgic dishes that make them think of her – we chat to Tiffany Lo of neighbourhood French bistro Jean May.

Did your mum inspire your love of cooking?
My mum undoubtedly inspired my love for cooking. We could feel my mum’s love with how much effort she put into planning our meals together as a family. She used fresh and seasonal ingredients, prepared and cooked with the utmost care, love, and a sprinkling of OCD. This act of love resulted in the most delicious and heartfelt dishes that inspired me to cook.

What are your earliest memories of cooking?
As a kid, I never thought of myself as a cook. I enjoyed spending time with my mum in the kitchen. I loved helping her here and there, but I was very clumsy. So my family’s earlier memories of me cooking are a few unforgettable accidents which caused a bit of stressful shouting and laughing at the same time. Being in the kitchen with my mum, watching her, enjoying the aromas, stirring the pots while chatting with her and my siblings was an intimate family affair.

Tiffany Lo and her brother, Ramon, outside Jean May

What is your favourite dish cooked by your mother?
It's tricky to choose. I have a few favourites, but one that my siblings and I request often is my mum’s Shanghainese fried rice cake. My mum is half Shanghainese and my late grandmother [whose name is used for Jean May] used to cook this dish too. It’s one of the most delicious and heart-warming dishes to me. It reminds me of family gatherings and the love and laughter we all shared.

What’s the best cooking advice you got from her?
To use good quality, seasonal ingredients, and to taste. She has her own ways and techniques to make her sauces and soups and I have learnt a few things here and there. She also always looks for ways to improve every dish she cooks, inspiring me to always look for improvement in everything I do.

French bistro-style food at Jean May

Where would you take your mum out for Mother’s Day in Hong Kong?
I love having meals with my mum, whether it’s together with the family or just us two. While we love many different kinds of food from street snacks, cheung fun, and wonton noodles, to more luxurious sit-down meals, we also enjoy going out for sushi or a great meal at chef Shane Osbourne’s Arcane or chef Raphael Duntoye’s LPM.

Share a memory of your mum with us and a message for her.
We took this picture (top image) at Jean May in front of my grandma’s picture. I can never thank my mum enough for her unconditional love and all that she has done for me, especially since I opened the restaurant. I feel very grateful to be her daughter and I just want to say thank you and I love you so much! Also, to apologise to her for all the worries I’ve caused her.

Shanghainese fried rice cake

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

8pcs Shanghainese rice cakes (not the pre-cut, packaged type)
5pcs shiitake mushrooms (large)
2 whole winter bamboo shoot
200g shredded lean pork
1 whole Tientsin cabbage (small)
Dark Soy
Cooking wine
Cooking oil
Sugar

Directions

  1. Soak the rice cake in water for two hours and slice thinly (about 2mm thickness).
  2. Wash and soak the mushrooms for a few hours and slice thinly. Keep the mushroom water.
  3. Thinly shred (2mm) the bamboo shoot.
  4. Thinly shred the pork (about 3mm) and marinate with dark soy, wine, sugar, and white pepper.
  5. Slice the cabbage into half-inch pieces, separate stems and leaves.
  6. Stir fry the mushrooms in preheated cooking oil until cooked in low to medium fire.
  7. Add in bamboo shoots until cooked.
  8. Remove from heat and put the mixture through a strainer.
  9. In a pan, heat oil and once hot, add in pork, and stir fry.
  10. Once the pork is cooked, drizzle cooking wine in circles around the pork for three to four rounds. Stir fry quickly, then remove from heat and add it to the mushroom mixture.
  11. Fry the cabbage stems first until half cooked, then add the leaves and three tablespoons of dark soy. Fry until evenly cooked.
  12. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well, then add the mushroom water and let it boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning according to preference.
  13. When boiling, spread the ingredients to line the bottom half of the wok and spread the rice cake slices out within the spread. Cover and cook over medium to high heat for five minutes. Remove the cover and quickly stir fry until well mixed. Serve immediately.

For more Mother’s Day recipes, check out the pork and cabbage dumplings by Jowett Yu of Ho Lee Fook.

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