Easy Chinese recipe: Red-Braised Pork (Chinese Hong Shao Rou)

Written by Health, Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Did you know?

Red-braised pork is a dish that in Hunan is inseparably bound up with the memory of Chairman Mao: many restaurants call it “The Mao Family’s red-braised pork.” Mao Zedong loved it, and insisted his Hunanese chefs cook it for him in Beijing!

Hong Shao Rou—Chinese style red braised pork belly. Hong Zhao or red-braising or red-cooking are methods of cooking meats or vegetables with soy sauce, sugar and sometimes other spices. It’s a powerful concoction, best eaten with plain steamed rice and simple stir-fried vegetables; the sweet, aromatic chunks of meat are irresistible. This recipe is from Jeno, a Chinese student from Monash University in Melbourne. “The savory-sweet combination just seduces your taste buds,”, she commented with excitement. “It is a part of my sweetest childhood memories–I learned it from my mum.”



Your Red-Braised Pork is Waiting


  • 3 /4 lb. of lean pork belly (cut into 3/4-inch thick pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (rock sugar is preferred if you have it)
  • 3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 cups warm water

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1/ Start by cutting your pork into pieces. Then bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch the pork for a couple minutes. This gets rid of impurities and starts the cooking process. Take the pork out of the pot and set aside.

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2/ Over low heat, add oil and sugar to your wok. Melt the sugar slightly and add the pork. Raise the heat to medium and cook until the pork is lightly browned. Turn the heat back down to low and add cooking wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and warm water.

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3/ Put the sugar* in another pot to stir fry until all the sugar melts and you can see large bubbles. Keep stirring in the process and add cooking wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce. Turn off the fire and add warm water to make the sauce*.  Pour the caramelized sugar sauce into the pot. This is another way to cook the meat beautifully!

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4/ Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until pork is fork tender. Every 5-10 minutes, stir to prevent burning and add more water if it gets too dry. Turn up the fire to thicken the sauce. 

5/ Here we are! Garnish some chopped green onion and serve hot!

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  • If you are using brown sugar it is perfect for an amazing caramelized color.
  • Be careful when you pour hot water on the sugar sauce, but you need to pour all the water at once, quickly without hesitation.
  • It’s imperative to the color and flavor of this dish that you have both kinds of soy sauce! Just head to your local Asian market, buy a bottle of each, and it will last you a year!

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“Fast”-Food: Seafood Pesto Pasta

Written by Health, Student Life

Pesto turns shrimp and scallops into superstars in this fresh-flavored entree from Delicia. ‘It’s perfect for a cool summer’, she smiled and winked. 

Your seafood pesto pasta recipe is waiting

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  • Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
    • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
    • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, divided
    • 12 ounces uncooked spaghetti 
    • 2 green onions, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 40g pine nuts
    • 3 cherry tomatoes
    • 1/2 pound fresh sea scallops
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

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  • Step 1

Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente (around 8 minutes).

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  • Step 2

Flush cold water over the pasta and drain.

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  • Step 3

Heat a frying pan over high heat. Cook the pine nuts with no oil, stirring occasionally in case it gets burned.

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  • Step 4

To make the pesto, place the basil, pine nuts, mint leaves and garlic in the bowl of a food processor, and process until finely chopped. Add oil and water, and process until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

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  • Step 5

Heat a frying pan over high heat. Place the butter inside and cook the sea scallops for less than 1 minute.

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  • Step 6

Add the spaghetti and pesto to the seafood mixture. Toss to combine, adding enough of the reserved cooking liquid to coat the pasta. Divide the spaghetti mixture among serving bowls. Top with basil leaves.

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Photo + Recipe | Delicia
Editing | Jasmine

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Jet Lag, Schmet Lag: Yes or No?

Written by Entertainment, Health

“More than half of travelers believe that sleeping on the plane is the best way to counteract jetlag, while 15 per cent change their watch to the new timezone in advance to help avoid tiredness.”


(Photo: GETTY)

It is four in the morning and your eyes still wide open, your brain is drained out and you are lying on your bed in a hotel. Thanks jet lag! This costs you for a single flight over 10 hours and travelling through to many time zones.


“There is nothing worse than being exhausted on vacation or on a business trip.” 

Jo Piazza, Managing Editor for Yahoo Travel

What is Jet Lag?

Jet lag is defined as “travelling across time zones…which can disrupt regular patterns of sleep and wakefulness” (Jet Lag and Shift Work, 2007). When you are flying fast from west to east, or east to west, you will have a change in time zones. For instance, when you fly from Paris at 7:00 p.m, after 6 hours your flight will land at 7:00 a.m. Boston time.

Yet, your body clock will feel like the middle of the day — because back in Paris, it actually is, midday.

Then, if you feel a mixture of nasty symptoms:

  • fatigue
  • poor sleep
  • insomnia
  • disorientation
  • reduced concentration
  • headache
  • stress
  • nausea
  • gastrointestinal distress
  • stiffness and muscle pain

– most likely you will be suffering jet lag!


“There’s no single silver bullet, because the physiological cause and impact of jet lag upon your body is complicated stuff”

– David Flynn, business travel expert and editor of Australian Business Traveller

Shifting to new time zones can confuse your circadian rhythm (body clock) which regulates your hormone production, body temperature, sleep patterns, and appetite. As a result, it may cause sleep disturbances. In this situation, you probably feel sleepy when everyone else is having breakfast, and you stay wide awake when people around you are falling  to sleep.


Stories of overcoming jet-lag

Quentin Long, owner of Australian Traveller and International Traveller magazines

Mr Long, annually travels between four and five return long-haul (plus numerous domestic) flights, can be considered a ‘travel professional’. He states that its effects worsen as one gets older.

His tips:

  • drink a lot of water on the flight
  • sleep if you need to sleep or perhaps use sleeping pills

Anh Dang, a current exchange student in the US

He was suffering “horrible” effects of jet lag last summer, when he had a chance to fly from the US to Vietnam to visit his parents. In the first 2 weeks, he could not sleep before 2 in the morning (that is the time when he takes nap in the US) and had to take longer nap during lunch (about 4-5 hours).

His tips:

  • Sleep or stay up in the first 24 hours when going to a new time zone
  • Then waking up or sleeping and tried to catch up with the schedule of this time zone.

This way, he felt much better after the second time.


But…. It seems to be easier to speed our internal clocks than to slow them down.

“Fortunately, jet lag is usually temporary…” says Healthy Sleep website. Since our internal biological clock gets used to external signs in the new environment, it will slightly adjust itself day by day until it is aligned with the external environment.

So, common advice for the first few days for you

  • exposure to daylight
  •  be active
  • eat and sleep at in the new time zone
  • avoid long daytime naps in order to promote nighttime sleep

And Enjoy Your Trip!

Photo by disgustipadoIan ‘Harry’ Harris and Youngtae Kim

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A Mental Health Illness: How to overcome?

Written by Health, Tips & Tricks

Everyone has those days when they’re feeling a bit blue, anxious, or irritable. But when those feelings start changing the way you see things or disrupt your ability to carry out daily activities, seeking help might be what you need.

Mental health problems are not uncommon. In Australia, approximately one in four young people experiences a mental health illness each year. These might stem from anywhere – study and work issues, strained relationships, problems with socialising, financial issues and more.

Unfortunately, unhelpful stigmatisation still sticks. Some people might dismiss the idea of looking for help, and even tell persons with mental health problems to just “move on”, “suck it up”, or “get over it”. However, the earlier you obtain help, the better it is for your well-being. There should be no shame in reaching out and trying to get better.

Talking to the people who are close to you (friends or family) can support your journey towards solving these problems. However, as an international student, these people might not always be readily available. Nevertheless, HELP is always provided in Australia. Here are some ways in which you can get professional yet affordable well-being services.

Your Institution’s Counselling and Psychological Service

Most education institutions provide free and confidential individual counselling on campus. Not only do they offer consultation on personal problems, but also they give out tips on academic productivity. Booking an appointment is recommended as the centres are usually busy! Their websites may also have online resources and self-help information that you can refer to.

Support Services and Helplines

National helplines such as beyond blue, headspace and Mindspot provide their services in various ways – you may give them a call, send them an email or even chat online. Other than providing direct help and referrals, they are also packed with information kits that are tailored to meet the needs of people with different backgrounds and issues.


For a more extensive treatment, your institution’s counsellor or the help lines might refer you to a GP or psychologist. Your Overseas Health Student Cover (OSHC) can cover some or even all of your expenses. Talk to your OSHC provider to find out more about the details: your entitlements, possible waiting period, and more.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, you may call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14or Suicide Call Back on 1300 659 467. If in immediate danger or emergency, please call 000.

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