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Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest} | Yi Reservation

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

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Let’s admit it. If you are a food blogger, an avid home cook, a long time food network devotee, or just someone enjoys being in the kitchen, you’ve probably at some point thought of competing in one of those cooking challenge shows

I’ve certainly had my own food fantasies about putting that final touch on a multi-course meal cooking competition in a hectic kitchen studio with just seconds left to go. Hey dreaming is free right 🙂

That’s why I couldn’t help but be super excited when I get to participate in this “East Meets Delicious Recipe Contest” sponsored by Marx Foods.  I had never done a cooking contest before so I have to say I was pretty nervous especially the prize at the stake is high.

The competition requires each challenger to prepare one appetizer and an entrée with no less than four sample ingredients provided by Marx Foods. The dish will be judged by the readers and judging panel at Marx Foods. The two winners will receive their choice of either 4 Kobe Tomahawk Steaks or 5lbs of sushi greade Yellowfin Tuna (gulping).

The polls are now open. Please follow this link to vote for Yi Reservation’s Entry! You’ll have until Feb 23rd so don’t wait for too long! I appreciate for your visit and your support to Yi Reservation 🙂

I received my sample ingredients promptly after the wonderful folks from Marx Foods confirmed my participation. The ingredients included adzuki beans, maitake mushrooms, mochi rice, dried star fruit, organic millet, and hijiki.

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

With all these wonderful Asian ingredients lying in front of me I decided to recreate some of the classic Chinese dishes with some twist.

I named my appetizer Zen Roll. The use of maitake mushrooms presented a stronger mushroom flavor in this all time Chinese classic appetizer. Also the addition of hijiki gave these Zen Rolls a great natural seaweed flavor that I’d never had before.

The Zen Roll filling also calls for ingredients such as wood ear mushrooms, carrots, and napa.  The first step is to julienne all the ingredients.

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

Stir fry the vegetables until soft. Thicken with some corn starch. The corn starch is the magic behind the juicy stuffing under those crispy Zen Roll skins.

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

My favorite step is to roll the Zen Rolls. It’s fun and easy just follow the illustrations below.

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

Next is to fry the Zen Rolls. Make sure you check on them frequently as they can get over-fried very easily.

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

To add some more twist, I have created this creamy hijiki dipping sauce to serve the Zen Rolls wtih.  I have to say the hint of seaweed flavor goes very well with the Zen Rolls.

These Zen Rolls are better when enjoyed hot.

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

As for the entrée, I married two separate Chinese dishes into one which I named it Steamed Pork and Millet over Rice Tower.

I drew inspiration from a classic Sichuan dish called Steamed Pork with Rice Flour. This amazing dish combines the melt-in-your mouth tender pork is wrapped around with aromatic rice flour which absorbs a lot of flavors. I replaced the rice flour with millet and the dish came equally delicious if not better.
Moreover, the rice tower underneath the pork is the Cantonese-style-like fried glutinous rice. When steamed with the pork and everything else, the glutinous rice becomes incredibly savory that you’ll want to finish every bit of it:)

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

The ingredients used are somewhat extensive but you should be able to find them in a large Asian grocery store.
To start, you’ll first have to pre-steam the glutinous rice (instructions here). And prepare the ingredients for fried rice.

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

Make the fried glutinous rice. Flavor the rice with soy sauce and white pepper powder.

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

Marinate the thinly sliced pork belly (recommended but other types of meat are OK) with Sichuan bean paste, soy sauce, and cooking wine. Coat the yam with oil and salt.

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

The millet is used for coating. It needs to be toasted with five spice powder. Coat the pork and yam with the roasted millet.

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

In a glass cup or tube-shaped container, arrange the pork on the bottom and place a layer of yam.

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

Fill the rest of the container with the fried glutinous rice. Steam for 30 minutes face up and 30 minutes face down. Last make a shiitake mushroom sauce to serve the dish.

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

I hope you enjoyed this extended post and the two dishes you created. I certainly hope you’ll check back in a few days to learn how to vote for your favorite dish 🙂

~~Vote For Yi Reservation Here~~

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest} Oh yes. As a bonus I also created a steamed red bean paste mochi ball dessert using the adzuki beans (red beans) and some more glutinous rice. Will post the recipe if a request is made in the comments area

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

Zen Rolls

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 10 Rolls


  • Ingredient
  • 3 pieces dried maitake mushrooms, reconstituted
  • 3 pieces dried wood ear mushrooms, reconstituted
  • 1 tbsp hijiki, soaked until soft
  • 5 slice carrots
  • 6 napa leaves
  • Spring roll wrappers
  • 1 tbsp Cooking wine
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • White pepper powder


  1. Julienne the maitake, wood ear, carrots, and napa. Add 1 tbsp oil to a hot wok and stir fry all the vegetables except hijiki. Add cooking wine, salt, and white pepper. Continue to cook until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add half of hijiki and sesame oil. Thicken the vegetables with diluted corn starch. This is the Zen Roll filling
  2. Place a spring roll wrapper flat on a work surface with corners pointing in four directions. Place a about 2 tbsp of vegetable filling close to the lower corner. Fold and roll up the skin to the mid-point. Fold sides of wrapper in toward center. Brush the upper corner with so egg wash or wet corn starch. Roll up the wrapper to seal the Zen Roll.
  3. To make the creamy hijiki dipping sauce:
  4. mix 1 tbsp of low fat creamy cheese and 1 tbsp of sour creamy together. Chop the rest of the hijiki and some scallion. Add the hijiki and scallion to the creamy sauce. Mix well.
  5. Heat up oil in a skillet in medium heat. Fry a few Zen Rolls at a time until golden crispy. For about 3 minutes each. Drain on paper towels. Serve with the creamy hijiki sauce on the side

Steamed Pork and Millet over Glutinous Rice Tower

Prep Time: 10 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 2


  • 10 slice pork belly. Slice to ¼ inch thick
  • 1 cup of diced yam. 1”x1” cubes
  • 1 cup millet
  • 2 cup glutinous rice
  • 2 Shiitake mushroom, reconstituted
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp, soak until soft
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 tsp Sichuan spicy bean paste
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cooking wine
  • 1 tsp Five Spice powder
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder
  • ½ cup of chicken stock
  • Soy sauce and oyster sauce
  • Corn starch


  1. Prepare and steam the glutinous rice (refresh youe memory here). This can be done ahead of time. Coarsely dice the onion, dried shrimp, and 1 shittake mushroom. Minced the dried shrimp and 1 shiitake mushroom.
  2. In a pan, cook the onion, minced shrimp, and shiitake. Add the steamed glutinous rice and stir to mix. Add the 1 tsp of salt and white pepper. Cook for another 1 minute. Set aside for later use.
  3. Roast millet in low heat for 2 minutes. Stir frequently. Add Five Spice powder and continue to roast for another 2 minutes. Set aside for later use.
  4. Marinate the pork belly with Sichuan spicy bean paste, soy sauce, and cooking wine for at least 10 minutes. Add 1 tsp of oil and 1 tbsp of salt to the diced yam. Toss to coat.
  5. Place the roasted millet in a small plate. Evenly coat the marinated pork and yam with millet. In a greased glass cup, arrange the coated pork on the bottom layer. Then place a layer of yam on top of the pork. Lastly stuff the glass cup with the cooked glutinous rice until the cup is completely filled. Wrap the cup ream with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  6. In a steamer, steam the stuffed cups face up for half an hour and steam with the face down for another half an hour. Removed the pork and rice stuffing from glass onto a plate.
  7. To make the sauce, combine 1 sliced shittake mushroom, stock, 1 tbsp soy sauce, and tbsp of oyster sauce. Bring to boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Thicken the sauce with some corn starch. Serve the sauce either on top of the steamed pork or on the side.

Zen Rolls and More {Marx Foods Recipe Contest}

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  4. 22


    Can you post the recipe for the glutinous rice red bean balls? I have a ton of red bean paste (made from your recipe!).

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  6. 21

    Congratulations on your win (sorry for the late congrats, I’m catching up on my blog reading tonight!) Well deserved. 🙂 So, will you blog about how you’re going to prepare and enjoy your prize? I look forward to reading your posts.

  7. 20

    Congratulations Yi! I knew you would win! Your recipes look sooooo delicious! I’m hungry now…. =D

  8. 19

    Oh my gosh, you won!!! Congratulations Yi!!! I’m such a terrible friend, seriously. I didn’t make it to voting and now it ended maybe a few hours ago. But I’m so glad you won even without my vote! Next time shoot me an email because I’d love to support you. Great recipes and no wonder you won this!!! Congrats again!

  9. 18

    Congrats, Yi! I was hoping for a tie when I saw how close it was, but maybe next time. Enjoy your winnings!

    • 18.1

      Hi Donna, I can’t agree with you enough on how close the race was and tie is the only way this is fair. I am happy I participated this contest and made many other food bloggers!

  10. 17

    Yi Peng! Jun sent me your address and told us about your contest. So we will vote. In the meantime just to tell you your website is GREAT, easy to read and scroll thru. I’m not on Facebook, won’t do it, but as long as I can access your website for recipes I’m going to do it. Wonderful photos and “how-to’s”. Good Luck!!! Ken and Susan

    • 17.1

      Hi Sue and Ken. It is so nice to hear from you guys!! I thank you for your compliments and I hope you find something interesting here!

  11. 16

    Wow, you are certainly a gourmet chef!:) Both looks so good, and from the comments here, you are definitely a winner already!;)

  12. 15

    Both dishes are gorgeous, but I love the crunchy rolls more.

  13. 14

    Amazing job!!! I’d love a zen roll (or 2!) right now 😉

  14. 13

    Good luck, Yi! Those zen rolls look amazing, they got my vote 🙂

  15. 12

    We voted for you! Looks great!

  16. 11

    Looks awesome I bet Oreo and Tinks like them too 🙂

  17. 10

    Wow Yi, they both look delicious…I like the crispy rolls and the tasty pork with glutinous rice…
    Good luck on the competition and hope you are having a fabulous week 🙂

  18. 9

    Wow, great use of the ingredients! Those rolls look great, and perfectly browned.

  19. 8

    Hi Yipeng!

    Where can I vote for your dishes?! Send/post the link. I went on marxfoods.com and couldn’t find it.

  20. 7

    perfectly fried golden zen rolls…can’t get any better than that 😀 shouldnt read your blog at night seriously…makes my tummy grumble.

    how do we vote for you?!

  21. 6

    These 2 recipes look absolutely wonderful, and you surely have my vote to be the winner! Good luck and please post recipe to mochi balls!

  22. 5

    This is such a gorgeous entry! I would savor everything 🙂

    Good luck!

  23. 4

    As I was wondering who else participated in this month’s Marx Foods contest, here I found your post! Yes, I’m one of the participants as well. 🙂 What a great entry and wonderful recipes! As I won’t expect anything less from you. Best of luck with the contest! ^^

    • 4.1

      Hi Amy thank you for the comment…I am just really excited to be in the contest and winning a prize will be great lol. Wish you good luck with the contest as well!

  24. 3

    Bravo! One step toward your fantasy (dream come true). I will definitely cast my vote when called for. All the details you provided here showed vast knowledge of Asian culinary. The presentation of every step was informative. Your plating is appealingly inviting. Well done, Che Yi

    • 3.1

      Hey Pam, thank you for your kind words. This recipe contest was really like a dream come true. I’ve learn something I’ve otherwise not learn. Thank you for liking the recipes.

  25. 2

    Wow, these recipes look great! Good luck on the competition. I hope you win.

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