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Mexican Salsa & Guacamole with Tortilla Chips

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Happy 4th of July weekend everyone! Hope all of you had an amazing weekend full of fun, laughter and most importantly great food. We went to the London Bridge at Lake Havasu, Arizona for a weekend getaway.  It was way too hot there, 100 degrees F and above. We were just like the roasted pigs in the hot oven, hot and heat steaming. However the best thing was just to stay in the water with a beer on hand, that felt so good. There were many families and friends out in the lake with boat party and barbecue all day long. Since we didn’t prepare for barbecue, we managed to go some food and hang out in the park by the lake in the evening waiting for the fireworks. Overall it was a good trip, it would be perfect if it was not that hot.  :P

I made some Salsa & Guacamole dip for Tortilla chips last weekend for a hot summer Sunday afternoon. It is always popular snack to munch on for any parties especially for hot days like these. It is really an easy recipe, no cooking is needed which is good, just some chopping and mixing to do. I usually serve it with Mexican Tortilla chips, but we bought a big bag of Five Grain Tortilla chips from Costco to tryout, it is thicker with grains, still taste good with the dips. This is definitely a great snack to prepare for barbecue, pool party, or even for the coming World Cup final this weekend. We are really excited and looking forward to it.

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Taro / Yam Cake (芋頭糕)

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When I go to the Chinese restaurant for Dim Sum, I always order the daikon radish cake (蘿蔔糕) or taro / yam cake (芋頭糕). However every time after I taste it, it always disappoints me, there aren’t enough ingredients and flavor in it, plus the texture is either too mushy or too hard. They just never taste the same like home made rice cake. Back home my grandma’s cousin sister (姨婆) always made a big serving of  taro cake for us, fully loaded with ingredients and flavor. She truly made the best taro cake. I missed it so much that I decided to try this complicated dish.

Taro or Yam Cake (芋頭糕) is not that kind of sweet cake that you find in dessert, in fact it is a savory cake made with the main ingredients of taro or yam and rice flour. It is also one of the Chinese New Year recipes that you can prepare. Traditionally it is cooked and steamed for long period of time in a big round deep mold. When it is done, they are cut into cute diamond shapes. Now they can be found in dim sum cuisines, usually cut into slices, you can either eat it as original or pan fried for extra crunchiness and fragrant.

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Chinese Egg Roll (炸春卷)

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One of my favor party starters is Chinese egg roll. It is made by wrapping a combination of vegetables and meat in a sheet of dough, and then it is deep fried until golden brown. I love eating it since I was a kiddo. Well, I suppose everyone especially kids like the crispy food. I still remember my family always prepared this dish during the Chinese New Year. My sisters and I would help my mom to wrap the egg rolls, and then my mom would deep fry them. Believe it or not, I could finish up 20 egg rolls continuously in less than 10 minutes.

Since my home isn’t equipped with a fryer, it took me quite sometimes to deep fry all the rolls. For those with a fryer at home, you have advantage of doing this. Anyway, if you never try this recipe before, I personally recommend you to at least try making it once at home even you don’t have the fryer. Trust me, you will enjoy toward the last bite of the last roll!

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Deep Fried Taro Ball with Shrimp (炸芋頭蝦球)

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One of my favorite appetizers is the Deep Fried Taro Ball with Shrimp. I still remember when I was a kid, my mum always prepared this dish for my family. The taro ball is like a size of a golf ball, with a shrimp tucks inside it and leaving the tail outside forming like a curve drumstick. The taro ball is then deep fried till golden brown, it is crunchy on the outside with the crisp of the bread crumbs, but still tasted soft and sweet on the inside.

Well, it had been quite some time since the last time I had eaten this. I really can’t wait till my next hometown visit to have my mum making this again. So I called my mum to get the recipe and tried to to prepare this appetizer for the first time.

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Tuna Crackers

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Tuna cracker is  one of the most popular appetizers/snacks for parties or events. It is always a good starter while we are hanging around waiting for the opening.  Serving with appetite wine is a good combination too.  I love to serve tuna crackers because they are easy and fun to be made – and yet, delicious. Also, the tuna cracker itself is like an art of a chef’s presentation.

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Lama Kitchen is a food and cooking blog fills with savory food with great cooking recipes and ideas for those of you who love food and home cooked meals. Read more