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Suffolk private chef Lilian Hiw, of Lilian’s Kitchen, shares her recipes in her first cookbook to be launched soon

By: Lilian Hiw

Published: 05:00, 13 January 2024

I have always cooked by sight. When I started Lilian’s Kitchen seven years ago, I had to develop recipes for my cooking classes to share with my students. This meant measuring the ‘dash of soya sauce’ and weighing the ‘handful of peanuts’. The recipes were tested and retested to make sure it tasted exactly as it should, every time.


Some of you may know that I am in the process of producing a cookbook. For my debut book, Lilian’s Kitchen Home Cooked Food, I wanted to include recipes that are comforting and can be cooked often at home. Some that are easy and quick for weekdays, and some that are more indulgent, show-stopping recipes that will impress friends at a dinner party.

Lilian's Kitchen Home Cooked Food

I wanted to share more than just recipes, so I have included lots of advice, tips and trade secrets that I have picked up over my 40 plus years in the food and catering industry. My aim is to demystify Asian cooking, making traditional dishes more approachable and less complicated, and using readily available ingredients to achieve that authentic taste.

To make sure it was foolproof, I asked friends from different walks of life to try out these recipes. I chose friends of different genders and ages, from novice cooks to professional chefs. The feedback I asked for included their experience of obtaining the ingredients, whether my logic made sense, whether my sequence and methods were easy to understand and follow, etc.


I also asked them to include a photo of their finished dish, so that I could assess if it produced the desired end product. I am so blessed to have such great friends to entrust this important task. I was so happy to hear that some of them went on to cook the dishes again for their family and friends.

Props for food photography


I thought it would be fun to share some behind-the-scene photos of the styling and food photography sessions. Not all of the photos made it into the cookbook as I took different versions with changes to the set up, crockery and use of props. I promise to showcase them on my social media platforms gradually.


Mum’s sweet and sour pork

Home Cooked Food will take you through 10 different Asian countries. Look out for some of my personal favourites such as Indian tandoori salmon, which only requires three ingredients and can be on the table in under 15 minutes. This is very popular with my students and they often cook this at home, also great for a summer barbecue. The garlic and coriander yoghurt dip goes brilliantly with this.

The Korean beef bulgogi is so tasty - the meat is tenderised with pear and only takes 10 minutes to cook. It’s delicious wrapped in lettuce and served with rice.

My mum’s sweet and sour pork is a personal comfort food for me, I have tweaked it a bit (sorry mum) swapping out tomato ketchup for tomato paste as it gives a deeper golden hue and has rich umami flavours.

Miso toffee pineapple

If you are entertaining, you can zoom in on make ahead dishes such as the Thai green chicken curry, the flavours infuse overnight and taste even better the next day. For a drink’s party finger food, check out the Hong Kong dim sum dishes such as siew mai, wontons and prawn toast. There are stories that come with the dishes, too.

To impress, I would recommend the king of curries - Indonesian beef rendang. The flavour is complex with layers of spices. It is not difficult to make, it just needs time to cook the meat to that iconic melt-in-the-mouth sensation and for the flavours to infuse. It is definitely worth the 1 hour 40 minutes though.


Complete the meal with a classic Thai mango sticky rice with salted coconut cream or my Sexy wobble panna cotta. It is so easy to make and takes just 10 minutes. Just throw all the ingredients into a pan, stir until the sugar has melted, strain and pour into the serving dishes, chill and enjoy your wobbly panna cotta. For drinks, you can serve the legendary Singapore Sling or try a fusion lemongrass mojito.

Singapore Sling


The recipes and food images are all in, the final design is with the editor as we speak and will be with the printer by mid-January. In honour of my late mum, I am aiming to launch the book in time for Mother’s Day.

I love the privilege of sharing my experiences and the cuisine of my heritage and my part of the world. I am proud, excited and hope that you will love Lilian’s Kitchen - Home Cooked Food as much as I do.

Drunken beef noodles

Until the next time, take care of yourselves!

Private chef Lilian Hiw



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